Catalog Archive
Auction 186, Lot 785

Remarkable Magazine Issue with Important Louisiana and Lewis & Clark Reports

"[Louisiana Territory and Lewis & Clark] The Medical Repository and Review of American Publications … Second Hexade. Vol. I ",

Subject: Document - Lewis & Clark

Period: 1804 (published)


Color: Black & White

5.3 x 8.4 inches
13.5 x 21.3 cm
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Samuel L. Mitchill was a physician, U.S. Congressman and Senator, founding editor of the first medical journal in the U.S. (Medical Repository) and active correspondent of Thomas Jefferson who called him the “Congressional Dictionary.” Mitchill had a strong interest in maps and western exploration and his medical journal presented many of the earliest reports of trans-Mississippi explorations, many of which were communicated directly to Mitchill. The issue of the Medical Repository, For February, March , and April, 1804 contains the following important items: “Art. II. An Account of Louisiana: being an Abstract of Documents in the Offices of the Departments of State and of the Treasury….” Mitchill’s review of the first official account of Louisiana describes “the publication now before us is understood to possess genuine and authentic information… in a good degree derived from intelligent persons in that country…It may, therefore, be relied on as the most useful and modern account of Louisiana extant.” Mitchill publishes lengthy sections from the report Jefferson provided to Congress and adds his speculative thoughts: “…some persons have asserted, with great confidence and appearance of probability, that the western boundary of Louisiana was the Pacific Ocean…But this construction has been thought to be rather extravagant…we may content ourselves with a more moderate, and, perhaps, more rational estimate of the extent of Louisiana.” Mitchill thought that the western boundary might be “the great chain of Shining Mountains,” i.e. Rocky Mountains. Mitchill’s observations are highly relevant as the same issue contains his “Report made by Dr. Mitchill, Chairman of the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, [regarding] the Expediency of authorizing the President of the United States to cause certain remote and unknown Parts of Louisiana to be explored…” The report mentions the Lewis and Clark expedition is underway and supports further explorations on the Red River and the Arkansas. His final note indicates that the report’s recommended appropriation was made “and the expedition is probably going on by this time.” In addition, the same issue contains a letter to Dr. Mitchill reporting on Major Pike’s findings and a letter with an account by Joseph Baird of Upper Louisiana.

Four complete issues totaling 434 pages with an index (missing some pages due to a binding error). Hardbound in full contemporary leather with red spine label.


Condition: C+

Text is light toned with occasional dampstains, and some pages are missing due to a binding error. Page 97-98 is torn along with small tears mostly in the margins of pages 99-104 and 363-366. Endpapers and covers are taped at spine. Covers are worn and abraded. Spine is cracked and the volume has split in two.

Estimate: $300 - $400

Sold for: $150

Closed on 2/9/2022