Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, 23 April 1803

To Meriwether Lewis

Washington Apr. 23. 1803.

Dear Sir

I have not been able to hear any thing of you since Mar. 7. till two or three days ago, Lieutt. Wilson told me you would leave Frederic the 18th. inst. & that you had been detained till then at Harper’s ferry, where Capt Murray also told me he had seen you. I have no doubt you have used every possible exertion to get off, and therefore we have only to lament what cannot be helped, as the delay of a month now may lose a year in the end.—will you be so good as to call on Doctr. Bollman with my compliments & pay him for some wine sent me? I suppose it will be about 12. Doll. but it must be whatever he says. I will also thank you to purchase for me a Leopard or tyger’s skin, such as the covers of our saddles were cut out of. in North 3d. street & North 4th. street a few doors only from Market street there used to be a considerable furrier’s store in each. at one of them it was that I saw a robe of what they called the Peruvian sheep, and I took to be of the Lama or Vigogna. it was made up of several skins, & was of the price of 12. D. if there be such a thing there now, you can either observe & report it to me, or if you think it good (for I have almost forgot it) I would take it at once. let me hear from you on your reciept of this, and inform me of your prospect of getting off. I have letters here for you from your friends in Albemarle. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Capt M. Lewis.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

James wilson, a first lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers, was in transit from West Point, New York, to Norfolk (Dearborn to Wilson, 13 Apr. 1802, 21 Apr. 1803, Dearborn to Jonathan Williams, 16 Mch. 1803, in DNA: RG 107, LSMA; Wilson to War Department, 25 Aug. 1802, 14 May 1803, recorded in same, RLRMS; Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:1046).

TJ saw John murray on 19 Apr., when Murray gave him letters of introduction from James Currie and John Page; see Currie’s and Page’s letters at 16 Mch.

vigogna: vicuña.

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