Publication: Francis P Harper, 1893, New York
First edition. 4 Volumes. #233 of a numbered set limited to 1,000 copies. Cloth, x-cxxxii, 1-352pp. + 353-820pp. + 821-1298pp. + 1299-1364pp. + maps, charts, facsimiles, and large folding map. "A new edition, faithfully reprinted from the only authorized edition of 1814, with copious critical commentary, prepared upon examination of unpublished official archives and many other sources of information, including a diligent study of the official manuscript journals and field notebooks of the explorers, together with a new biographical and bibliographical introduction, new maps, and other illustrations, and a complete index by Elliott Coues." The book describes the Government-backed expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase undertaken from 1804 to 1806 by ascending the Missouri to its source, crossing the Rocky Mountains, and reaching the Pacific Ocean. In total, the expedition covered some eight thousand miles in slightly more than twenty-eight months. Lewis and Clark brought back the first reliable information about much of the area they traversed, made contact with the Indian inhabitants as a prelude to the expansion of the fur trade, and advanced the geographical knowledge of the continent. According to Wright Howes, this is "the most scholarly" edition. "Coues was a remarkable man: physician, naturalist, military officer, lexicographer, author, and editor, he brought to his work a superb background of knowledge and experience as well as an ability to organize information and to write fluently. He was responsible for first calling attention to the remarkable scientific accomplishments of the expedition. He was also responsible for rediscovering the original journals of Lewis and Clark which had been, from a practical standpoint "lost" in the archives of the American Philosophical Society for many decades."---Dr. Roger K. Larson. Of the Coues edited edition, Wagner-Camp states "...his edition of 1893 ranks second in importance only to the original journals. His lengthy annotations, based on first-hand knowledge of the territory, are highly informative, and his bibliographical essay is a major contribution." Based on the detailed journals kept by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the leaders of expedition. "The book begins with 'Life of Captain Lewis,' written by Thomas Jefferson, which reproduces Jefferson's detailed instructions to Lewis regarding the goals of the expedition. 'The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregan [sic], Colorado, or any other river, may offer the most direct and practicable water communication across the continent, for purposes of commerce.' The 29-man Corps of Discovery set out from St. Louis on May 14, 1804. In the next 28 months, Lewis and Clark traveled more than 12,000 kilometers through unfamiliar terrain inhabited by Indian tribes. By the end of 1804, they had made it to the Great Bend of the Missouri River. In 1805, they journeyed up the Missouri, across the Rocky Mountains, and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. After suffering through a dismal winter, the members of the expedition began their long return journey, finally reaching Saint Louis on September 23, 1806. An exceptional set in bright, near fine, condition. This beautiful set is protected in a custom slipcase in matching green cloth, with title on gilt-stamped label on spine of slipcase.
Inventory Number: 50815