American explorers who led the Expedition (“Voyage of Discovery”) of 1804.
A portion of an Autograph Letter written by Meriwether Lewis, Signed in the text, Capt Lewis, circa 1801, and an Autograph Document Signed by William Clark, 1815, framed together as an ensemble.
During the late 1790’s Meriwether Lewis was in the Army and was stationed at several posts, including in Virginia where he was a recruiter. It was there that he befriended Dr. Alexander Humphreys. On one side of this Partial Autograph Letter (likely a retained copy written by Lewis of the text of two letters he sent), all in his hand, Lewis wrote: “made some remarks which you present. I applied to Mr. Dexter who acted as Secretary of War and who obstinately refused to do anything in the business but referred me to Mr. Simmons and wished him to state his objections in writing. To this Simmons with the greatest insolence said Mr. Dexter had no right to demand any such thing.” On the verso, apparently in another document, he writes: “the said Humphries’s note to Capt. Lewis, for one hundred and forty nine dollars and 96 cents, dated in Decr. 3rd, 1799. The balance in cash amounting is sixty four-dollars thirty four cents.”
William Clark’s Autograph Document is Signed Wm. Clark, “Received St. Louis February 18th, 1815 full payment and satisfaction of the mortgage. Witness my hand and seal.”
The Voyage of Discovery, better known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was the most important exploring expedition in American history. Thomas Jefferson conceived the expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory America he had just purchased from Napoleonic France. It was hoped that they would find a water route to the Pacific that would unite the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It didn’t exist, but beyond the natural wonders they discovered, William Clark’s map of the continent from the Mississippi River to the Pacific opened the West, initially to trappers and mountain men, followed by other exploring and scientific expeditions and finally by the railroad and settlement.
The great rarity of anything written by Meriwether Lewis is based on his early death upon his return from the expedition. Had he lived, he likely would have received appointment to an important post and his fame would have ensured that everything he wrote would be saved, as was the case with William Clark.
After the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-06), Clark was appointed brigadier general of militia and superintendent of Indian affairs for the Louisiana Territory by President Jefferson. The new territory was beset with problems including a sudden influx of population and contention between ambitious government officials and scheming businessmen. One of the biggest problems was the administration of the Indian department which had to deal especially with the control of the Indian trade. Unscrupulous traders attempted to cheat Indians and the government while making handsome profits for themselves. William Clark was successful in controlling these problems, while maintaining a consistent policy with the Indians for the next thirty years.
In 1813, Clark was appointed the first governor of the newly created Missouri Territory, and was reappointed three times, until Missouri achieved statehood in 1821. A busy man, he held several offices at the same time and was involved in the fur trade and in real estate.
Framed (with separate engravings of Lewis and Clark) dimensions: 22 inches wide by 18 inches high.
This item is associated with these categories in our inventory:
- Western Americana