April 5, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

April 5, 1805


we have our 2 perogues & Six Canoes loaded with our Stores & provisions, principally provisions.    the wind verry high from the N W.    a number of Mandans visit us to day


Friday 5th April 1805.    clear and pleasant.    we Sorted all our loading and divided a proportion of each Sort for each perogue, and loaded all the perogues and got ready for a Start, on our Journey.    the wind high from the N. W.—


Friday 5th. This was a clear day and the wind blew hard and cold from the N. W. We took all our goods, stores and baggage out, divided and put them aboard our craft, that we might be ready to continue our voyage.

If this brief Journal should happen to be preserved, and be ever thought worthy of appearing in print: some readers will perhaps expect, that, after our long friendly intercourse with these Indians, among whom we have spent the winter; our acquaintance with those nations lower down the river and the information we received relative to several other nations, we ought to be prepared now, when we are about to renew our voyage, to give some account of the fair sex of the Missouri; and entertain them with narratives of feats of love as well as of arms. [1] Though we could furnish a sufficient number of entertaining stories and pleasant anecdotes, we do not think it prudent to swell our Journal with them; as our views are directed to more useful information. Besides, as we are yet ignorant of the dangers, which may await us, and the difficulty of escape, should certain probable incidents occur, it may not be inconsistent with good policy to keep the Journal of as small and portable a size as circumstances will make practicable. It may be observed generally that chastity is not very highly esteemed by these people, and that the severe and loathsome effects of certain French principles are not uncommon among them. [2] The fact is, that the women are generally considered an article of traffic and indulgencies are sold at a very moderate price. As a proof of this I will just mention, that for an old tobacco box, one of our men was granted the honour of passing a night with the daughter of the headchief of the Mandan nation. An old bawd with her punks, may also be found in some of the villages on the Missouri, as well as in the large cities of polished nations.

1. In this passage McKeehan, like many another publisher, seeks to titillate his readers without actually risking the accusation of indecency. Explorers' accounts of the day, such as those describing South Sea expeditions, commonly described the sexual encounters of European explorers and native women in some detail. (back)
2. A statement with a double meaning; it alludes, of course, to popular American notions about French behavior, and probably to French Revolutionary ideas. It also alludes to the fact that syphilis was commonly known as the "French disease" or the "French pox." (back)