In a desolate camp in the middle of modern day Montana, Captain Meriwether Lewis of the Corps of Discovery sat down in a thoughtful mood. The Pacific Ocean seemed a long way away through impenetrable wilderness. Lewis picked up his pen and wrote the following. Historian’s have argued what this passage is about. I don’t know. You decide.

“This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the hapiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least indeavour to promote those two primary objects of human existance, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestoed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.”

— Captain Meriwether Lewis, 18 August 1805