Thomas Jefferson's 1806 Message provided the U.S. Congress, the
American people, and interested parties throughout the world with a
summary not only of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but of other
expeditions of the time. The value of this "Message from the
President, " in addition to its rarity, is in the wealth of
information it provided to individuals in the early nineteenth
century about the wilderness in the unknown West, and the insights
provided to today's reader.
It is one of the rarest of printed items in the bibliography of
early works on Lewis and Clark.
Jefferson's Search for Information. The 1806 Message is an
example of the Jeffersonian value of and search for information
about the western lands recently acquired from France. The Message
brings together the most authoritative accounts of the Louisiana
Purchase, combining information from the explorations of Lewis and
Clark on the Missouri, William Dunbar and George Hunter on the
Ouachita, and Dr. John Sibley's researches on the Red River
territory into one report, introduced by Jefferson himself.
Editorial Background. The editors place the document in the
context of Jefferson's interest in exploration of the West. They
offer comparisons between the expeditions included in the Message
and discuss the sources that assisted the leaders of these
endeavors. A thorough history of the printer and his press is
provided, along with an informative assessment of the location and
provenance of known copies of the Natchez edition.
Additional material included. The Natchez reprint of the
Message, appearing after versions published in Washington and New
York, also includes extracts from Dunbar's journal, as well as
significant botanical observations not printed in those earlier
editions. As such, the Natchez reprint is distinctly valuable in
providing this unique information--a printed facsimile of this item
is long overdue.
Two appendices follow the text, including pages from the
Washington edition not included in the Natchez edition, and a
survey of correspondence of John Sibley available at the Library of
Congress. The volume also includes four maps intended to accompany
the original 1806 publications.
Four folding maps are included in a special envelope at the rear
of the book. The facsimile is augmented by an extensive
introduction, two appendices, works cited, index, and seven
illustrations. Printed on acid-free paper and bound in rich
moss-green cloth with gold foil-stamped spine and front cover.
Issued in an edition of only 750 copies.
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