I reflected that I had as yet done but little,
to further the happiness of the human race,
or to advance the information of succeeding generation.
I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence,
and now sorely 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 resolve in future to redouble my exertion
and at least endeavor to promote those two primary objects of human existence,
by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestowed on me;
or, in future,
to live for mankind,
as I have heretofore lived for myself.
Captain Merriweather Lewis
August 18, 1805