Around the world, ON foot or BY foot! Pt. 1 of 2


I had a letter from [world explorer] Lediard [Ledyard] lately dated at St. Petersburg. He had but two shirts, and yet more shirts than shillings. Still he was determined to obtain the palm [triumph] of being the first circum-ambulator of the earth. He sais that having no money they kick him from place to place and thus he expects to be kicked round the globe.

Source: To John Banister, Jr., June 19, 1787

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

A positive attitude goes a l-o-n-g way!
While researching the post that will come in two days, I found this letter on the same subject, written 34 years earlier. The intrepid Ledyard was in France and became acquainted with Ambassador Jefferson. His plan was to bring Jefferson a report on the American west by going east, across Europe, Russia, and then by ship southeast to America’s west coast, and then east on foot across the continent of North America to the Atlantic Ocean. He was not successful.

When Jefferson wrote this to fellow-explorer Banister, he relayed Ledyard’s most recent communication. Ledyard had a sense of humor! Since he had no money and couldn’t support himself, he would be kicked out of one place to another, and then to another. In that manner, he would complete his adventure all the way around the world.

In Ledyard’s March 19, 1787 letter, the one Jefferson refers to, the explorer described his sartorial scarcity: “I dined to day with Doctr. Pallas Professor of Natural history &c. &c.—an Accomplished Sweed: my friend: has been all thro European and asiatic Russia … But I dined in a shirt that I had worn four days. I have but two: and I suppose when I write you next I shall have none.”

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Self-Educated American Thomas Jefferson Editor, Patrick Lee, is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

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