The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, February 20, 1806

Lewis, February 20, 1806

Thursday February 20th 1806. Permited Collins to hunt this morning he returned in the evening unsuccessfull as to the chase but brought with him some cranberries for the sick. Gibson is on the recovery fast; Bratton has an obstenate cough and pain in his back and still appears to be geting weaker. McNeal from his inattention to his disorder has become worse.

This forenoon we were visited by Tdh-cum a principal Chief of the Chinnooks and 25 men of his nation. we had never seen this cheif before he is a good looking man of about 50 years of age reather larger in statue than most of his nation; as he came on a friendly visit we gave himself and party some thing to eat and plyed them plentifully with smoke. we gave this cheif a small medal with which he seemed much grati-fyed. in the evening at sunset we desired them to depart as is our custom and closed our gates. we never suffer parties of such number to remain within the fort all night; for notwithstanding their apparent friendly disposition, their great averice and hope of plunder might induce them to be treacherous. at all events we determined allways to be on our guard as much as the nature of our situation will permit us, and never place our selves at the mercy of any savages. we well know, that the treachery of the aborigenes of America and the too great confidence of our countrymen in their sincerity and friendship, has caused the distruction of many hundreds of us. so long have our men been accustomed to a friendly intercourse with the natives, that we find it difficult to impress on their minds the necessity of always being on their guard with rispect to them. this confidence on our part, we know to be the effect of a series of uninterupted friendly intercouse, but the well known treachery of the natives by no means entitle them to such confidence, and we must check it's growth in our own minds, as well as those of our men, by recollecting ourselves, and repeating to our men, that our preservation depends on never loosing sight of this trait in their character, and being always prepared to meet it in whatever shape it may present itself.-

The Mule deer are the same with those of the plains of the Missouri so frequently mentioned. we met with them under the Rocky mountains in the Neighbourhood of the Chopunnish nation on the Kooskooske river, but have not seen them since nor do we know whether they exist in the interior of the great plains of Columbia or on their lower border near the mountains which pass the river about the great falls. The Elk is the same with that found in much the greatest portion of North America, they are common to every part of this country, as well the timbered lands as the plains, but are much more abundant in the former than the latter The large brown woolf is like that of the Atlantic States and are found only in the woody country on the Pacific Ocean imbracing the mountains which pass the Columbia between the great falls and rapids of the same. the large and small woolves of the plains are the inhabitants principally of the open country and the woodlands on their borders and resemble in their habits and appearance those of the plains of the Missouri precisely. they are not abundant in the plains of Columbia because there is but little game on which for them to subsist.