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CHARACTERISTICS In the years 1804, 1805, and 1806, two men commanded an expedition which explored the wilderness that stretched from the mouth of the Missouri River to where the Columbia enters the Pacific, and dedicated to civilization a new empire. Their names were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. As a rule, one who tries to discover and to set down in order the simple signs that spell the story of a large man's life is confused by a chaos of data. No such trouble arises in this case. There is great poverty of fact and circumstance in the records of the private lives of these men; so careless were they of notoriety, so wholly did they merge themselves in their work. Anything like ostentation was foreign to their taste, and to the spirit of their time, which took plain, dutiful heroism as a matter of course. No one knows any "characteristic anecdotes" of Meriwether Lewis; and the best stories about Clark are those preserved in the tribal histories of Western Indians. The separate identity of the two men is practically lost to all except the careful reader. Each had his baptismal name, to be sure; but even their private names are fused, and they are best known to us under the joint style of Lewis and Clark. In effect they were one and indivisible. For evidence of their individuality we must look to the labors which they performed in common. When, several years after the conclusion of the great expedition, the manuscript journals were being prepared for publication, the editor could not find sufficient material out of which to make a memoir of Captain Lewis, and was forced to appeal to Mr. Jefferson for aid; for Jefferson had been an early neighbor and friend of the Lewis family, and later, on becoming President, had made the lad Meriwether his private secretary, and had afterwards appointed him to direct the exploration. The sketch written by Mr. Jefferson is, like most of his papers, appreciative and vital. It is to this document, dated at Monticello, August 18, 1813, that every biographer must have recourse:— "Meriwether Lewis, late governor of Louisiana, was born on the 18th of August, 1774, near the town of Charlottesville, in the county of Albemarle, in Virginia, of one of the distinguished families of that State. John Lewis, one of his father's uncles, was a member of the king's council before the Revolution. AnOther of them, Fielding Lewis, married a sister of General Washington. His father, William Lewis, was the youngest of five sons of Colonel Robert Lewis of Albemarle, the fourth of whom, Charles, was one of the early patriots who stepped forward in the commencement of the Revolution, and commanded one of the regiments first raised in Virginia, and placed on continental establishment.... Nicholas Lewis, the second of his father's brOthers, commanded a regiment of militia in the successful expedition of 1776 against the Cherokee Indians.... This member of the family of the Lewises, whose bravery was so usefully proved on this occasion, was endeared to all who knew him by his inflexible probity, courteous disposition, benevolent heart, and engaging modesty and manners. He was the umpire of all the private differences of his county,—selected always by both parties. He was also the guardian of Meriwether Lewis, of whom we are now to speak, and who had lost his father at an early age

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