Order from Jefferson

To Meriwether Lewis, Esquire, Captain of the First Regiment of Infantry of the United States of America:

. . . . 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 the purposes of commerce.

. . .The commerce which may be carried on with the people inhabiting the line you will pursue renders a knowledge of those people important.

. . . The soils and face of the country; its growth and vegetable productions…The animals of the country generally...The remains and accounts of any which may be deemed rare or extinct...The mineral productions of every kind…Volcanic appearances Climate...the date at which particular plants put forth or lose their flower or leaf; times of appearance of particular birds, reptiles, or insects....

Given under my hand at the City of Washington, this twentieth day of June, 1803.
President of the United States

Painting of President Thomas Jefferson by Charles Wilson Peale