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The Oregon missions. The story of how the line was run between Canada and the United States Bashford, J. W. (James Whitford), 1849-1919 1918

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An Interpretation 
Crown 8vo, $2.50 
GOD'S Missionary plan for the world 
12mo, net, 75 cents 
16mo, net, 35 cents 
16mo, net, 25 cents  The Oregon Country THE OREGON MISSIONS 
The Story of How the Line was Run Between 
Canada and the United States 
Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
Copyright, 1918, by

The Bible text used in this volume is taken from the American Standard
Edition of the Revised Bible, copyright/1901, by Thomas Nelson & Sons, and
is used by permission. CHAPTER
Preface  7
The Indians' Search for God  19
Jason Lee  36
The Hudson's Bay Company and Great
Britain  45
Dr. McLoughlin  59
The Roman Catholic Church  70
The United States Government  81
Oregon Pioneers  109
Ebberts, Meek, Drannan, and Thornton 127
Mission Work  148
Lee Arouses the East  160
The Provisional Government  173
From Indians to Whites  185
Lee's Sun Sets  203
Marcus Whitman  232
Marcus Whitman (Concluded)  255
RiisuMis  268
Appendix 1  287
Appendix II  298
Bibliography  301
Index  305  •k.
The aim of this book is to portray the deeds which
determined the boundary line between Great Britain and
the United States from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific
Ocean. When the contest began, Mexico owned the southwestern portion of North America as far north as 42°—
the northern boundary of California; and Russia owned
Alaska and a portion of the mainland, which both Great
Britain and the United States in 1824 recognized as extending as far south as 54° 40'. Originally, therefore,
the contest involved the question as to how the territory
west of the Rocky Mountains between Russia on the north
and Mexico on the south should be divided between the
United States and Great Britain. The entire region was
known as The Oregon Country. The area embraced
443,871 square miles of territory,1 a territory considerably
larger than the whole Atlantic Coast east of the Appalachian Mountains, a territory whose climate and whose
mineral and agricultural resources make its natural value
as great as that of any equal amount of territory in eastern
North America or western Europe. Moreover, as this
territory lies within the Pacific Basin—the largest and
the last great world basin to be developed—probably its
political and strategic value eventually will become great,
just as coastal lands in the Atlantic Basin and in the
Mediterranean Basin are of great importance to-day.
The line of division of this territory between the United
1 Chambers's Encyclopaedia, Philadelphia, 1884, vol. ix, p. 647.
7 !3tttfrcs^ir«5*te«|*{g
States and Great Britain, which was suggested by our
government in 1818, 1824, 1826, 1843, and 1845, was the
extension to the Pacific Coast of the boundary line running from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains,
that is, the 49th parallel of north latitude. This proposed
line would give to the United States 286,541 square miles2
of this territory and Great Britain 157,330 square miles.
The United States did not make any settlement upon the
157,000 square miles. Hence, as shown by the offers of
our government, the United States at first was willing to
surrender all claims to the territory north of the 49th
parallel and to settle the question easily and speedily by
the extension of that parallel from the Rocky Mountains
to the Pacific Coast. We could readily afford this line
of division because ii gave the United States the larger
and better portion of the territory in dispute. Great
Britain fLye times rejected the 49th parallel of latitude
as the boundary line, and she finally accepted it in 1846
because she realized that the only alternative was war.
The bitter and defiant feeling existing against Great
Britain as the result of the wars of 1776 and 1812, the
erection of forts and the exercise of civil and military
authority by officers of the Hudson's Bay Company over
British subjects and Indians as far south as the Mexican
border, at last provoked Americans to claim authority as
far north as the Russian border; and the bitterness and
excitement became so great that the Democratic party
won the election of 1844 with the campaign cry, "Fifty-
four Forty or Fight." Hence, the entire region of 443,000
square miles again became involved in the conflict.
a Hammond, Atlas, part ii, p. 140.
The struggle, known as the Northwest Boundary dispute, clearly emerged into consciousness at the convention
of Ghent in 1818, which provided for the joint occupation
of the territory, became serious on the union of the North-
West Fur Company with the Hudson's Bay Company in
1821, and the establishment of Fort Vancouver on the
Columbia River in 1824-25, rapidly developed on the
erection of forts by the Hudson's Bay Company south
of the 49th parallel, and the entrance in 1834 of American
missionaries into the Columbia River valley, became acute
on the organization of the Provisional Government of
Oregon in 1843, and nearly involved the two nations in
war in 1846.
It is because the Oregon Missions, including the Con-
gregationalists, the Presbyterians, the Dutch Reformed,
and the Methodists, helped to solve the problem; it is
because Jason Lee, of the Methodist Mission, and Dr.
John McLoughlin, of the Hudson's Bay Company, helped
to solve the problem without a war, helped to solve it in
a manner which gave each of the two great Anglo-Saxon
races a place upon the Pacific for the struggles of the
twentieth century; and it is because these missions struggled for the conversion, the preservation, and the uplift
of the Indian race, that our share in the Oregon Missions
is the most important joint home and foreign missionary
enterprise of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
We make bold to take our readers into our confidence
and tell how this book originated. It is a growth rather
than the result of a deliberate plan. When I was pastor
at Auburn dale, Massachusetts, 1881-84, I met some relatives of Cyrus Shepard, a member of the first group of
missionaries to Oregon; they were living in the adjoining PREFACE
town of Weston, where I occasionally preached. From
them I first heard the story of the work of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in Oregon. The story greatly stirred
me, and upon obtaining the address of Daniel Lee, another
member of the first group, then living at Caldwell, Kansas,
I wrote him for confirmation and for fuller facts. I
received letters from Daniel Lee and later from his son,
the Rev. William H. Lee. The facts thus gathered seemed
of such importance that I spent considerable time in the
BostonJPublic Library studying the material bearing upon
the Oregon question in order to verify the statements and
interpret them. I here first learned of the noble part
which the American Board had played in the settlement
of Oregon. During my study of the subject, Professor
William I. Marshall, of Chicago, lectured at the Auburn-
dale church and spent the night in our home, and did
much to stimulate my interest, especially in the problem
of Dr. Whitman's services to the government, in which
he then believed. Out of the personal narratives and the
letters and the volumes read grew an address on missions,
which I delivered at the church in Auburndale in 1882.
Reports of the address reaching my district superintendent, Willard F. Mallalieu, I was made one of the speakers
on missions at the Sunday evening session of the New
England Conference of 1883, and revised the address and
delivered it in Music Hall, Boston. Chaplain C. C.
McCabe heard the address and requested it for publication.
I furnished him the manuscript under the title "A Romance of Missions." He told me later that he had sold
between twenty and thirty thousand copies of the tract.
The narrative thus far covers the first result of my interest
in the Oregon Missions.
But my interest had been aroused to such an extent
that I continued year after year reading upon the subject.3
In my reading I found five points of view emerging. The
conflicting views led to the consultation of additional
volumes in the Congressional Library at Washington, in
the library of the Wisconsin State Historical Society, in
the library of the British Museum, and in the library
of the University of California, which contains the great
collection upon the Pacific Coast made by H. H. Bancroft.
The volumes by Mowry, Nixon, Barrows, Eells, and Gray
emphasized—indeed, overemphasized—the work of Dr.
Whitman to the neglect of other factors in the struggle.
The volumes of Lee and Frost, of H. K. Hines, and of
Atwood4 did the same for Jason Lee. The volumes by
Mrs. Dye, and the monumental works of H. H. Bancroft,
justly honor Dr. McLoughlin, but depreciate other actors.
The volumes by the English writers, George Bryce, Will-
son, and Fitzgerald, magnify the work of the Hudson's
Bay Company at the expense of the other parties, including Dr. McLoughlin. The lives of Tyler and of Benton
magnify the work of American political leaders and of
the American government. I became convinced that the
various parties were portraying the work of the actors in
which each was interested, and that I also had fallen into
partisanship through partial knowledge. My dissatisfaction with the tract published in 1884, my desire to render
justice to the men I had overlooked, and a strong conviction of the value of the story for instruction and inspira-
8 See Bibliography.
4 Dr. Atwood's gathering of data showing Jason Lee's influence on the newspapers of the Middle West is an exceedingly
valuable piece of work.
tion led me in 1910, twenty-six years after the first tract
was published, to furnish the Pacific Christian Advocate
a brief history of the Oregon Missions. In these articles
I attempted to set forth in a balanced form the services
of the various actors who contributed to the solution of
the problem. At that time I had not seen any volume
distinctively recognizing the work of each factor which
contributed to the settlement of the Oregon problem and
setting forth the claims of all the factors in due proportion. But I was convinced that a fair treatment of the
subjecb demanded such a recognition.
We have read carefully all we can find on all sides of
the question. We appreciate the earnestness and, in general, the good motives of the champions of the respective
views. We join with Professor Bourne and Mr. Marshall
in correcting the extravagant claims originally made in
behalf of Dr. Whitman's services. In the natural reaction
from exaggerated claims we have tried not to fail in
recognition of such influence as Dr. Whitman may have
exerted upon the administration at Washington, and especially upon the American people.
H. H. Bancroft's Works on the Pacific Coast are a monument of great foresight, of untiring industry, and of unselfish expenditure of time and money in collecting sources
which were rapidly disappearing. Mr. Bancroft has a passion for gathering and publishing facts, and this determination to tell the truth and the whole truth gives great value
to his writings. We think that his volumes reveal dependence upon the labors of others with a lack of sufficient
oversight to give unity to the writings published under
his name. This defect grows out of the greatness of his
enterprise.    He has produced over fifty volumes, many
of them running from five hundred to seven hundred
pages in length. No author can personally create so large
an historical literature involving literally tens of thousands of historical references. It must be said, however,
that while these various books reveal the style and in some
measure reflect the views of the different writers, they
are distinguished by rare accuracy in their historical references and by a lofty purpose molding them throughout.
Possibly the author of the volumes has not examined with
sufficient care all the material relating to early settlements
in Arizona, New Mexico, etc. But the most serious defect,
and in our judgment the only serious fault, of Bancroft's
volumes is the bias sometimes revealed in his judgment
of the various actors. While an historian not only has
the right, but is under the obligation to publish all the
facts which reveal the character of a public man whose
life he is portraying, he should follow the golden rule
in going back of these facts and determining the motives
which prompted them. At this point Mr. Bancroft sometimes reveals a cynical tendency which is to be deplored.
We have an illustration of this tendency in the controversy
which arose between him and the Society of California
Pioneers. The Rev. Myron Eells criticizes' Mr. Bancroft's
rebuttal of the high claims set up for Dr. Whitman. To
establish his claim that Mr. Bancroft is an unfair historian, he cites Bancroft's expulsion from honorary membership in the Society of California Pioneers. Dr. Eells
writes: "Mr. Bancroft was an honorary member of the
Society. In October, 1893, charges were made against
his histories. . . . His name was by vote stricken from
the roll. At the next meeting of the Society this was
reconsidered in order to give Mr. Bancroft an opportunity
to defend himself, and a committee was appointed to take
the matter in charge. Seven counts were prepared against
him, to sustain which his books were witnesses. In these
counts he was charged with having distorted the facts
and truth of history, 'maligned the memory of many of
the men' conspicuous in early events, . . . and of having
a spirit of prejudice and seemingly malignant dislikes
and hatreds of the men about whom he had written."5
"Mr. Bancroft was requested to appear before a committee
of the Society and answer the charges. He failed to
appear, and another time was set when he also failed to
appear. A third time was set which he likewise ignored,
whereupon, February 5, 1894, when eighty members of
the Society were present, his name was unanimously
stricken from the roll of honorary membership of the
We appreciate the indignation with which Mr. Bancroft
and his co-workers witnessed the misrepresentation of Dr.
McLoughlin's motives and some injustice done him
throughout his life by American citizens, by some missionaries, and for a time by the governments of Oregon
and the United States. We appreciate too the moral
indignation with which they witnessed the later struggles
of certain representatives of the churches, including the
Methodist Episcopal Church, to secure valuable land
grants from the government in return for spiritual services
5 Eells, A Reply to Professor Bourne's "The Whitman
Legend/' p. 26.
8 Ibid., pp. 26-27. Dr. Eells bases his statement upon a
pamphlet of thirty-seven pages published in February, 1894,
entitled The Proceedings of the Society of California Pioneers
in Reference to the Histories of Hubert Howe Bancroft.
14    . PREFACE
rendered by their predecessors to the Indians and the
pioneers. The tendency of all such efforts is to commercialize Christianity, to lead to extravagant claims in
behalf of spiritual workers, and to drag into the mire of
controversy the memories of dead heroes and heroines.
But in the reaction we think Mr. Bancroft went too far—
not in publishing facts but in misinterpreting them. Our
readers will be prepared for his occasional misjudgment
of the efforts of missionaries from reading his false and
antiquated estimate of missionary work in general, though
even here he shows a desire to be fair: "The missionaries
of the several denominations who played so prominent a
part in the settlement of Oregon and of other sections of
the Northwest Coast were, in the main, intelligent, honest,
well-meaning men, who sought to do the best for themselves, their families, their country, and their God. . . .
I am prepared to do honor to the pioneer missionaries of
the Northwest, Catholic and Protestant, for I believe them
to have been single-hearted men and actuated by the purest
motives, though I must be permitted to take exception to
such acts as appear to me unwise, impolitic, or unjust. . . .
Speaking generally, all missionary effort is a failure. . . .
Missionary effort seeks to lift the savage mind from the
darkness of its own religion, which God and nature have
given it as the best for it, and to hx it on the abstract
principles of civilized belief which it cannot comprehend.
It seeks to improve the moral and material conditions of
the savage when its very touch is death. The greatest
boon Christianity can confer upon the heathen is to let
them alone."7    This utterly false philosophy of history
7 Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol. i, pp. 548-
led Bancroft at times to fail to do justice to the motives
of men employed in what he regarded as a Quixotic enterprise. But it will be easy to point out his bias where it
threatens any injustice to the characters which we are
portraying. We cannot sufficiently express our personal
indebtedness to Bancroft's volumes or our appreciation
of the man who has undertaken and has carried to a
successful issue so monumental a service to the people
of the Pacific Coast. Besides, we are sure that he too
has striven honestly according to his judgment to set forth
in balanced form the work of the various actors in the
drama. Moreover, his occasional unjust exaggeration of
faults in our heroes helps to correct the tendency to dramatize history, which all historians fall into, and which most
of us as readers demand. We instinctively create heroes.
The American Revolution, with all its glorious consequences, is credited to Washington, the Civil War to Lincoln, while we fail to give the just meed of praise to the
minor actors whose sacrifices made possible the triumphs
of our heroes. Hence, if we tarry in our exaltation of
the missionaries to narrate the achievements of others; if
Bancroft forces us in portraying the services of Lee and
Whitman to descend from the heights, to abate much of
partisan claims in their behalf, to recognize their blunders
and their limitations, or even to engage in controversy
over them, we trust that the disappointment of our readers
over delays and diversions in the story will be overborne
by their growing conviction that our narrative is rooted
in reality. The desire to justify this conviction in dealing
with controverted questions is our only excuse for burdening our pages with references to authorities.
We are deeply indebted to our secretary, the Rev. Joseph
P. MacMillan, whose passion for accuracy led him to a
large amount of research as to dates, names, and details
found in the volume. Doubtless mistakes will yet be discovered, but we do not think any serious error of fact will
be found upon any controverted subject.
We have'called this book "The Oregon Missions," because we have given the most space to the missionaries.
We have done this, first, because we think their work the
most important single factor in securing without a war
the wise division of this territory between Great Britain
and the United States; and, second, because their work,
and especially that of the Methodists, is the least known.
It is due to Methodism that one of her greatest heroes
should be reclaimed from the unfair estimate in which
Bancroft's portrayal leaves him and placed before the
world in his true proportions. It is also due to the
strongest Protestant church in Christendom that her
writers rise above provincialism and place Methodist men
and movements in due perspective with the men of other
churches and the great movements of the nation and the
In a word, the desire to recognize clearly, even if we
do not fully portray, the services of each group of actors
in the Oregon drama is one of the motives which have led
to the writing of this volume. Incidentally we wish to set
forth for.the Methodist Episcopal Church the work of
one of her great missionaries while the materials are available for placing these services upon a plane beyond reasonable controversy. But the determining motive which led
to the writing of the volume was the desire growing through
thirty years to show how the Divine Providence guided all
the complex forces engaged in the struggle to such a di-
vision of this territory as conserved justice, preserved peace,
advanced civilization and gave each of the English-speaking nations a position on the Pacific Coast of inestimable
value for the struggles of the coming centuries.
History will recognize that the Indians themselves by
a visit to Saint Louis helped start the movements which
created the Oregon Missions and precipitated the struggle
for the possession of the Oregon Country. Despite the
efforts of the missionaries, and in part by reason of those
efforts, the visit of the Indians caused their own more
speedy death. Their cry for light brought the missionaries
to their side; the reports sent home by the missionaries
brought the hunters and trappers and settlers with firearms, liquor, and lust, which hastened the decay of the
Indian race; the missionaries themselves by digging and
plowing up the ground and leaving ditches and furrows
for pools of water, and by providing schoolhouses for the
children and advising homes for the Indians, unwittingly
contributed to the more rapid spread of malaria and of
tuberculosis, which swept off their Indian wards like a
plague. Christians mourn all the more deeply the outcome for the Indians, since their visit to Saint Louis
originated in the highest impulses which can move the
human soul. ,
One afternoon in the winter of 1831-32 three Nez Percys
and one Flathead Indian appeared on the streets of Saint
Louis with a request which no white man had ever heard
before.1    They came, they said, from the land of the
1 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 54t 55.
setting sun; they had heard of the white man's God, and
they wished to learn how to worship Him.
General William Clark, then Indian agent resident at
Saint Louis, had become acquainted with these tribes on
the famous tour of exploration of the Columbia River
region by Captain Meriwether Lewis and himself in 1804-
06. He accordingly tried to teach them what he regarded
as the true Christian doctrine, but, in accordance with his
religious views, he did not deem it wise to give them the
Bible. J |
In 1832 the United States government sent William
Walker, Jr., a Christian halfbreed of the Wyandot nation,
from Ohio to Missouri to select lands to which the Wyan-
dots could be moved. On reaching Saint Louis, Walker
called on General Clark and presented his credentials.
While discussing the mission upon which he was sent,
General Clark remarked that three Indians from the West
were now in another room ill, and that the fourth member
of the company had died recently. On Clark's invitation,
Walker went into the room to see these Indians, and soon
learned from them and General Clark that they had made
a journey of some two thousand miles to secure the Bible.
Was there a suggestion of Divine Providence in the fact
that this government official with Indian blood in his
veins, three hundred miles from home, should meet these
searchers after God, two thousand miles from their home,
and that a United States general should tell a Methodist
Indian agent of the pagan Indians' wish to learn the way
of eternal life ? The story deeply stirred William Walker,
and he at once wrote a letter to G. P. Disosway, a Methodist merchant of New York city. Walker appealed to
Disosway because Disosway had helped furnish the funds
to support the mission among his Wyandot brethren, just
as in 1819 he had helped form the Missionary Society of
the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Disosway sent
Walker's letter to the Christian Advocate and Journal
and Zion's Herald, with an appeal for help written by
himself, both of which appeared in the issue of March 1,
1833. When President Wilbur Fisk, of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, read Walker's story, it
was like fire shut up in his bones. He sounded through
the Advocate a trumpet blast: "Hear! Hear! Who will
respond to the call from beyond the Rocky Mountains?"
He called for two young men, unencumbered by families,
and with the spirit of the martyrs, to throw themselves
into the Indian nation, learn the language, teach them
Christianity and farming and civilization. He added in
closing that he had one of these young men in mind, "of
whom I can say, I know of none like him for the enterprise."2
Varying accounts of the cause of this strange Indian
journey are given, and probably some knowledge of the
true God had reached the Indians through several sources:
(1) In Walker's letter to G. P. Disosway he says that
General Clark gave the following as the reason of their
journey: Some white men passing through the Indians'
country had witnessed their religious ceremonies. One
of the white hunters told them that their mode of worship
was wrong and displeasing to the Great Spirit. He added
that the white men far to the rising sun had a book
containing directions. The Indians called a council and
said: "If this be true, we must know more about it; it
Quoted by Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 25.
is a matter that cannot be put off."3   As a result of this
council four of their chiefs were sent on the long journey.
(2) The Rev. Samuel Parker in his Journal of an
Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains attributes
the knowledge which the Nez Percys had of Christianity
to Pierre C. Pambrum one of the agents of the Hudson's
Bay Company, a man of the Roman Catholic faith;4 and
this testimony is repeated by Lyman in his History of
(3) E. W. Sehon, of Saint Louis, on seeing Walker's
letter in the Christian Advocate and Journal and Zion's
Herald of March 1, 1833, narrating the story of the Indians' search for God, was greatly interested and called on
General Clark and showed him the account. Later he
wrote a letter which was published in the Advocate of
May 10, 1833, in which he says: "General Clark informed
me that the publication which appeared in the Advocate
was correct, and that the cause of the visit of the Indians
was: Two of their number had received an education at
some Jesuitical school in Montreal, Canada, and had returned to the tribe and endeavored as far as possible, to
instruct their brethren how the whites approached the
Great Spirit. A spirit of inquiry was aroused, a deputation was appointed, and a tedious journey of three thousand miles was performed to learn for themselves of Jesus
and him crucified. . . ."6 This third account is inaccurate
in the use of the word "Jesuitical" for "Jesuit," and in
s Quoted by Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 25.
4 Quoted by Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 110.
6 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 85.
•Quoted by Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 27.
making the length of the journey three thousand miles, instead of approximately two thousand miles, and it differs
from Walker's report of General Clark's statement of the
cause of the journey. But General Clark's information that
the Indians gained some knowledge of God through Indian
students returning from Catholic schools probably was
gained by interviews with the Indians subsequent to his
statement made to Walker; and it is reenforced by the
experience of the Rev. Samuel Parker, who found a young
Indian who had attended school in the Red River settlement able to translate for him as he preached to a group
of Nez Perces and Spokanes.7 Parker also observed the
Indians preparing, according to Roman Catholic custom,
to place a cross at the head of the grave of an Indian
child which they had just buried, but he objected to their
doing this.8 The return of Indian students from a Christian school is a very probable source of some Indian knowledge of the true God.
(4) The Roman Catholic bishop of Saint Louis, in a
letter written October 20, 1839, to the General of the
Society of Jesus at Rome, says that as early as 1812 some
Catholic Iroquois from Canada settled among the Flat-
heads and taught them religion, and that about 1830,
again in 1832, and once more in 1839, Flatheads or
Iroquois-Flatheads came to Saint Louis for more light.9
Probably the Iroquois immigrants were an additional
source of Nez Perce enlightenment.
Inasmuch as Hee-oh-ks-te-kin's speech shows that the
'Quoted by Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 122.
•Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 115.
•Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i, p. 287.
23 MMiETOff^^
object of the Indians' visit to Saint Louis was to get the
Bible, which the Catholics do not use in public worship
or furnish to their members, the Indians apparently were
influenced by the statement of the Protestant hunter as
well as by earlier Roman Catholic teaching. At any rate,
Protestant missions on the Pacific Coast and the settlement of Oregon at the time and in the manner in which
it took place were due to the journey of the Nez Perce and
Flathead Indians to Saint Louis in 1833. The genuineness of Hee-oh-ks-te-kin's speech has been questioned. We
cannot trace it back of the Rev. H. H. Spalding—a Presbyterian missionary who first published it about 1865, as he
claimed it was originally delivered by the Indian. The
brevity and eloquence of this speech in comparison with
Mr. Spalding's style lead to the conviction that the basis
of the speech is genuine. We have included the speech
in Chapter XVI—the "Resume," so that our readers
may see it and form their own conclusions.
But the Indians contributed more to the missionary
settlement of Oregon than the single visit to Saint Louis.
Two Indian boys of the Flathead tribe, with their heads
flattened according to the custom of the tribe, were brought
to Massachusetts by Captain N. J. Wyeth on his return
in 1833 from his first trip to Oregon, and he kept them
until he returned to the West in 1834. Jason Lee, of
whom we shall learn later, with the genius for friendship
and for securing cooperation which characterized him in
all his enterprises, induced Captain Wyeth and the two
Indian boys to attend a mass meeting in Bromfield Street
Methodist Episcopal Church, Boston, in November, 1833.
Wilbur Fisk, Jason Lee, and Captain Wyeth spoke, and
the two Indian boys were introduced and created great
enthusiasm—all of which led to an offering of $120 for the
mission to the Indians. Thus the Indians helped to secure
the funds which made possible the Methodist participation
in the Oregon Missions.
The Indians made a further contribution to the Oregon
Missions. When Jason Lee returned from Oregon in 1837,
he brought with him three half-Indian boys, sons of
Captain Thomas McKay, whom he placed in Wilbraham
Academy. He also brought two other Indian boys named
William Brooks and Thomas Adams, whom he planned
to put into school later, but through whom first he hoped
to interest the church in the evangelization of the Indians
in the Oregon Country. Both boys proved interesting
speakers, and Brooks especially helped Lee greatly in
awakening the enthusiasm which secured funds for the
Mission and led to emigration to Oregon. At a public
meeting in Washington, Brooks spoke for the first time
in English. Among other things he said, "Indians must
have agreement in writing that white man do not sell
whisky to Indians; white man make it, and white man
must drink it." Immense applause greeted this remark.
A woman in another audience asked him why the Indians
followed the foolish custom of flattening the head. He
answered: "All custom; Indian make flat the head. . . .
You," looking at her and putting his hands on his waist,
"make small here; customs differ; all custom."
As Brooks turned from his witty answer and began to
portray his people's ignorance of God and of the way to
heaven, and their lonely lives, he burst into tears and the
audience was deeply stirred, and money was freely offered
for the evangelization of Oregon. Like multitudes of his
brothers and sisters in Oregon, Brooks could not stand
the sudden change from outdoor to indoor life, and he
was stricken with tuberculosis.   He was taken to a beautiful home in New York city, but Christian comforts could
not compensate for the sick lad's loneliness.
'I want to go home," he said.
fTo your home in Oregon?" asked Jason Lee, bending
over him.
"No," he replied, "to my home in heaven."
Who doubts that the keen-witted Indian boy, by his
eloquent speeches and his lonely death, helped stir the
hearts of Methodists to make the large contributions which
that church put into the Oregon Missions?
But the greatest work which the Indians did for the
encouragement of the missionary societies and the churches
was their response to the efforts of the missionaries. Never
before had these Indians known white men who came to
them solely for the Indian's welfare, as did the Lees, the
Perkins, the Spaldings, the Whitmans, and the Roman
Catholic missionaries; and their responsiveness to missionary efforts was often remarkable. One Indian boy in
the Hudson's Bay Company's school, taught by Solomon
Smith at Fort Vancouver, mastered reading, writing, and
Daboll's arithmetic in eleven months.10 Large numbers,
old and young, heard the gospel and readily accepted the
Christian faith. The total number of those who responded
to the preaching of the Methodists aggregated several thousand. Many of them backslid and many died, but a
remnant remained faithful. H. K. W. Perkins kept a
diary which he sent home. In 1841 the Missionary Society
of the Methodist Episcopal Church published tract No.
Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 162.
26 Hi
300, entitled, "Wonderful Work of God Among the Indians of Oregon." It consisted of extracts from Perkins's
diary showing the conversion of over eight hundred Indians at Wascopam (The Dalles) in the revival of 1839.
Daniel Lee records the following prayer of one of the
Indians who had been converted: "0 thou great God on
high, we now pray to thee. Our fathers knew thee not;
they died in darkness, but we have heard of thee. Now
we see a little. Truly we are wretched; our hearts are
blind, dark as night; our ears are closed; our hearts are
bad, full of evil, nothing good. Truly we now pray to
thee. 0 make us good; put away our bad hearts; give
thy Holy Spirit to make our hearts soft! 0 make our
hearts good, all good, always good! Now we desire thee;
0 come into our hearts—now come. Jesus Christ, thy
Son, died for us. 0 Jesus, wash our hearts! Behold and
bless. Amen."11 Tens of thousands of copies of the
tract containing the extracts from Perkins's diary and
this prayer were circulated.
The Rev. Cushing Eells, of the American Board, reports
that the Indians in his station sometimes spent whole
nights repeating the Lord's Prayer, portions of the Bible,
and the words of the missionaries, and that as many as
two thousand Indians at one time made a public confession of sin and promised to serve God.12 He adds that
many of them evidently had no clear idea of what they
were doing; yet not a few gave evidence later of genuine
conversion. The Rev. Mr. Eells's report shows that there
were large revivals among the Indians under the labors
of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists of the Ameri-
11 Quoted by Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 99.
"Warren, Memoirs of the West, o. 11.
27 mmOTomi
can Board as well as under the Methodist missionaries.
Reports of these large revivals were sent East and contributed to the reenforcement of the Missions and to the
American settlement of Oregon.
There are indeed calamities which lead to the downfall
of a nation or a race; and a reading of Francis Parkman's
The California and Oregon Trail, with his careful portrayal of the daily life of the Indians among whom he
lived for months, shows that in 1846 the buffalo already
was disappearing from the Western plains and that with
the disappearance of the buffalo the Indian must become
a farmer or else that the race was doomed. His picture
of the degrading habits of the Indians was more than
confirmed by the observations of other travelers living in
the regions farther west. But while Parkman's depressing
picture was a true characterization of the majority of the
Indians, nevertheless missionaries, hunters, and trappers
found many exceptions to the rule. An illustration of the
splendid natural qualities of the Indian is found in Saca-
jawea, the Indian wife of Toussaint Chaboneau, who
served as guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition during
the most dangerous part of their journey. A yet stronger
illustration is found in the Indian wife of Paul Dorion.
Wilson P. Hunt had charge of John Jacob Astor's first
party of American fur traders. Just below the point where
the Boise enters the Snake River. Hunt built a trading
post on an island in the Snake River and left it in charge
of Paul Dorion. Soon after Hunt and the fur traders
left this little post it was attacked by Indians and every
man killed save one white man, and he was severely
wounded; only Dorion's Indian wife, now a widow, and
'her two children were left unhurt.    After the attacking
party withdrew Madame Dorion placed the wounded white
man on a horse and she mounted another horse with her
two children, and they succeeded in escaping from the
little island and hiding in the woods. The man died that
night, and the next morning the Indian woman dug the
best grave she could with her knife and gave the body
honorable burial. She then traveled west as rapidly as
possible with one child before her and the other child
behind her on one horse, while she led another horse with
a bark rope. She was compelled, in order to escape the
vigilance of the Indians, to avoid the trails, and travel on
such lines as her Indian instinct enabled her to find until
she reached the Grande Ronde. The winter was coming
on and already the snow was too deep for further travel.
Accordingly, she selected a sheltered spot, killed her two
horses, skinned them, and made the best tent possible
with the two hides and the rushes which she gathered
from the marsh. She dried the meat of the horses and
tried to keep the children alive during the winter. One
of the children died, but she bore her grief like a stoic.
In the spring she took the remaining child, Baptiste
Dorion, on her back, and traveled on foot through the
snows of the mountains toward the Walla Walla region,
and from there on to Fort Vancouver. What finer material for missionary work can any nation or race furnish ?
Sacajawea, the Indian woman who served as guide to the
Lewis and Clark expedition, has been immortalized in
bronze. Surely, Madame Dorion deserves an equal monument.
But the highest proof of the power of Christianity
among the Indians was the lasting character of some of
the conversions.   It is true that most of the Indians back-
29 ^BfflTfJJTniSf
slid, but many reversions to the original type characterize
every great religious revival among all races of men. Indeed, Matthew Arnold finds the key to Isaiah's writings,
the key to the history of Israel in general, and the key
to the history of the human race, in the doctrine of "The
Remnant." Isaiah's hope is based on the conviction that
a remnant shall be saved and this was the only hope of
all the Jewish reformers after the ten tribes abandoned
the religion of Jehovah and the other two tribes were
honeycombed by pagan practices. Certainly, a remnant
among the Indian converts remained true to God. Dr.
Hines, in his Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest,
records meeting, about 1868, a score of Indians, converted
in the great revivals of 1839-40, who were still leading
consistent Christian lives. He even mentions meeting
Indians in 1898, fifty-seven years after the revival of
1841, who still "held the beginnings of their confidence
steadfast unto the end."13 Mrs. Eliza Spalding Warren,
daughter of the Rev. H. H. Spalding, presents a summary,
whose origin she cannot trace, but which she thinks is
substantially correct, of the achievements of the American
Board missions from the founding of the missions down
to the Whitman massacre eleven years later. "The cows
brought by the missionaries had multiplied into numerous
herds; the sheep given by the Sandwich Islanders had
grown into flocks.14   In the school which Mrs. Spalding
18 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
14 At the time of the massacre Whitman had at Waiilatpu,
not counting the other stations, about one hundred horses,
two hundred cattle, and two hundred sheep (Bancroft, History
of Oregon, vol. i, p. 739, note).
taught there had been five hundred pupils. A church of
one hundred members had been gathered. The language
had been reduced to writing. A patriarchal government
had been established. They had adopted a code of laws.
The Sabbath was observed."15 The Rev. H. H. Spalding
returned to Idaho in 1862, fifteen years after the Whitman
massacre, and found still faithful to Christ some Indians
who had been converted during his early ministry. Mr.
Spalding supported himself by farming, but did considerable mission work among the Indians. In 1871 he was
again appointed a missionary to the Nez Perce Indians—
this time by the Presbyterian Board; and he died among
his spiritual children August 3, 1874. During the last
three years of his life he baptized over nine hundred Indians.16 Indeed, the original Indian church which Mr.
Spalding organized in 1838 still exists in the Lapwai
Indian Presbyterian Church, with a full-blood Indian as
pastor and more than one hundred steadfast Indian members. As a matter of fact, God deals with the human
race as individuals even more than as families or nations
or races.
Probably the accounts of the revivals and of the early
successes of the Protestant missions among the Indians
were too highly colored, and the missionaries slowly discovered that they were dealing with a diseased and degraded race. But, despite the condition of the race, or,
rather, because of their critical condition, because of the
rapid disappearance of the buffalo and the necessity of
the Indians speedily learning farming to avoid perishing
from the earth, there were all the more reasons for the
"Warren, Memoirs of the West, p. 11.
M Jbid., p. 34.
unceasing prosecution of mission work among them. The
results, as seen at the close of three generations, demonstrate that there were many individual cases of superior
character still existing among the Indians, and that the
gospel among the Indians, as among all other peoples, is
able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God
through Christ. Jason Lee, Gustavus Hines, Cyrus Shep-
ard, Cushing Eells, Marcus Whitman, and H. H. Spalding
were right in maintaining down to the end of their lives
their unabated faith that many Indians would accept
Christ and that he would prove the power of God unto
salvation unto all who believed. Despite the sad lack of
faith which characterized the Methodist bishop who
ordered Lee's retirement and the lack of faith upon the
part of the secretaries of the American Board and of the
Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church
in hastily closing these missions, despite the Indian wars
in the Oregon Country which suspended missionary work
for years, despite the slowness of Protestant Christianity
in resuming its Indian work, and the low standard of
civilization demanded by the Roman Catholic missionaries
among their wards, there has survived a remnant of the
Indian race which will yet prove an honor to our country
and to Christianity. The remnant would have been much
larger had not the faith of the churches failed. It is
worse than idle, it is false and misleading to speak of an
entire race as decadent, then use that phrase to excuse
our failure to evangelize that race. Christ's command is,
"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations."
Every person is degraded and decadent without the
inner Christ. No case is hopeless which looks to Christ
for help.   Some souls are more deeply steeped in sin and
less willing to accept Christ than other souls; and a larger
proportion of hardened souls may be found in some
families, cities, nations, races^ than in others. The latest
teachings of evolution, according to Weismann, of Germany, and Professor E. C. Conklin, of America, are that
acquired habits, good or evil, are not transmitted. In
any case, salvation is the gift of God through grace by
faith, and multitudes more of the Indians would have
experienced it had the churches not lost faith and abandoned obedience. As it is, an impartial review of the
history reveals the fact that not the American people or
the churches of any or all faiths, but the Indians themselves were the primary occasion of the Oregon Missions.
Another fact must be borne in mind in estimating the
indirect service of the Indians to missions; their needs
in the Wyandot Mission at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in
1816-19, led to the formation of the Missionary Society
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which later developed
into the Board of Home and the Board of Foreign Missions. The article in the Encyclopaedia of Missions on
the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church
opens as follows:
"The conversion of a colored man by the name of
Stewart, and his subsequent work among the Indians,
profoundly stirred the Methodist Episcopal Church and
was the first impulse for the formation of the Missionary
Society for the whole church."17 Under the Divine Providence an ignorant and degraded mulatto, John Stewart,
called into being the society which to-day in every State
in the Union, in Alaska, Porto Rico, Hawaii, the Philip-
17 The Encyclopaedia of Missions, 2d ed., 1904, art, "Methodist Episcopal Church Missions."
pines, and in thirty-four nations is helping make good
the divine declaration that God made of one blood all the
nations of the earth. It is interesting to recall that three
of the best-known men who ever worked for the salvation of the Indians—David Brainerd, Jonathan Edwards,
and John Wesley—all passed through the greatest spiritual
crisis of their lives in 1738. These men were far removed
from each other and without knowledge of each other's
inner struggles. But all were under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit, and under his guidance became unconscious
coworkers in the kingdom of grace and glory. One hundred years later—1838—are Whitman, Spalding, and Lee,
representing the same three churches: worthy successors
of this apostolic group in the struggle for the conversion
of the Indians. But eighty years after Wesley and twenty
years before Lee, we find a providential link in the mulatto,
John Stewart, whose heroic sacrifice for a dying race called
forth the two great missionary societies of Methodism.
October 11-12, 1916, there was celebrated at Upper
Sandusky, Ohio, the one hundredth anniversary of John
Stewart's mission to the Wyandots. Not in honor of
James B. Finley, in whose veins ran the best blood of the
white race and whose scholastic training harked back to
Princeton University; not in honor of Charles Elliott,
panoplied with the best scholastic training of Europe; but
in honor of the Indian-White-Negro, John Stewart, devoid
of learning and sodden with drink and resolved on suicide,
led, almost constrained, by the Holy Spirit into a Methodist prayer meeting, converted by the grace of God, transformed into a missionary by the Holy Spirit, and called
by the voice of God to serve the Indian race, was this
celebration held.     Governor  Willis,   Bishops  Anderson,
Edwin H. Hughes, and Herbert Welch; Professor R. T.
Stevenson, Who has recovered for posterity this heroic
chapter in the history of our church;18 Dr. F. M. Thomas
for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; I. Garland
Penn for the Negro race; Mrs. Bishop Thirkield for the
women; Dr. A. C. Kynett, descendant of one of the missionaries to the Indians, and representing the Board of
Home Missions and Church Extension, distinguished
visitors from Ohio and other States, gathered to honor
the memory of this humble man. The monument is built
with stones taken from Tymochtee Creek near by, and
on the plate is a title which no man in Methodism can
even claim to share with this man of mongrel blood, chosen
by God as the visible sign of our divine call to serve all
the races of mankind:
John Stewart,
Apostle to the Wyandott Indians
Father oe  Missions  oe  the  Methodist  Episcopal
181 am indebted for this paragraph largely to Professor
It. T. Stevenson's Introduction to the History of the Wyandott
Mission of Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
"The early history of the Methodist Church [in Oregon]
is the history of the first American colonization [in that
State]." Bancroft.1
The-Tndians who visited Saint Louis in search of God,
Dr. McLoughlin, the Hudson's Bay Company, and the
British government, the Oregon pioneers, and the missionaries of the American Board, all contributed to the settlement of the Oregon problem. But neither the Hudson's
Bay Company, the British government, nor the government of the United States, alone established civilization
in that land. The early settlers would have established
civilization in due time, as other leaders aside from the
Puritans in due time would have introduced civilization
into New England. But the decisive factors in introducing Christian civilization into Oregon, and one of the
most influential factors in settling the whole Oregon problem when it was settled and as it was settled, were the
Oregon Missions, embracing the work of the American
and Methodist Boards. The significance of the work of
the Methodist Episcopal Board is recognized by the quotation made above from the great historian of the Pacific
Coast. Again Bancroft writes: "The Methodists have
been foremost in propagating their principles by means
of schools, as the history of Willamette University illus-
1 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 677.
trates. In new communities these means seem to be necessary to give coherence to effort."2 Unquestionably the
American Board contributed much to the introduction of
Christian civilization into the Oregon Country. Again,
the United States government without the aid of any
church was able to take possession of the Columbia River
basin, and unquestionably it was the United States government and no church which in the end did take possession
of the country. We are inclined to think that no boundary
line south of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude would
in the end have been acceptable to the people of the United
States. But it was largely due to Jason Lee, to the information he furnished, to the newspapers whose support he
enlisted, to the plans of emigration which he proposed,
to the land bills which he suggested, to the tide of emigration to the Pacific Coast which he started, to the petitions
to Congress which he originated, to the influence which
he exercised directly upon the Missionary Society, and
indirectly in the halls of Congress and upon at least
two administrations, that the United States government
secured Puget Sound territory. He is the young man to
whom President Fisk referred in Chapter I. He had
been a student under Fisk at Wilbraham Academy in
1828; he was teaching in Stanstead, and awaiting a summons to missionary work among the Indians when Fisk
issued his trumpet call in 1833.
Jason Lee was born June 27, 1803, at Stanstead, which
is now within the bounds of Canada. He was of American
blood and of Revolutionary stock. John Lee, the
ancestor of Jason Lee, came to America at the age of
a Ibid., vol. ii, p. 678.
thirteen with the family of William Westwood. The
Westwood family, including John Lee, was among the
first fifty-four settlers of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In
1635 the Westwoods and Lee, with others, under the
leadership of Thomas Hunter, became the founders of
Hartford, Connecticut. Soon after John Lee was twenty-
one years of age he joined eighty-four others in the purchase of two hundred and twenty-five square miles of land
of the Indians in the Connecticut Valley. This land is
now occupied by Farmington, Southington, Bristol, Bur-
lingtorr; New Britain, Berlin, and Kensington. The old
chart is still in existence which shows the boundaries of
John Lee's land. The descendants of John Lee served
the country in several Indian wars, and seventeen of them
participated in the struggle for American independence.
Colonel Noah Lee raised a regiment of Green Mountain
boys and fought in important battles. Another descendant, Captain Nathan Hale, General Washington's trusted
officer, became the martyr spy. The Rev. Edward Everett
Hale, the Rev. William Allen Lee, at one time president
of Dartmouth and later of Bowdoin College; General
Kirby Smith, of the Confederate Army; the Hon. Thad-
deus Stevens, of Congressional fame; the Rev. Louis 0.
Lee, president of the Theological Seminary of Marash,
Turkey, under the American Board; and Justice William
Strong, of the Supreme Court of the United States, are
among the descendants of John Lee. Jason Lee was
descended from John Lee through David Lee, born in
Farmington in 1674; Jedediah Lee, born in Northampton
in 1697; Elias Lee, born in Northampton in 1723; and
Daniel Lee, born in Willington, Connecticut, in 1753.
Daniel Lee, Jason Lee's father, was a soldier in the Revolu-
tionary Army, fought at the battles of Lexington, White
Plains, and Long Island, and was a pensioner under the
act of 1818. He was one of a large number of emigrants
who went from the Connecticut Valley to New Hampshire
and to northern Vermont, where he settled in 1797 on
land which was supposed to be within the United States.
Here Jason Lee was born. Down until the Ashburton
treaty of 1842 this land was a part of the United States,
and the Lee family paid taxes to the United States. When
the line was finally run in 1843 it crossed the Lee farm,
and Daniel Lee's house was left a stone's throw north of
the line.3
Jason Lee was six feet, three inches tall, one inch below
the height of Abraham Lincoln, powerfully built, stoop-
shouldered, rather awkward and slow in movement. The
pictures of Lee resemble in a rather striking manner
those of ex-Justice Hughes in head and beard and firm
sot jaws, though Lee's hair was light and the general expression of his face was not so severe as that of Mr.
Hughes. Bancroft describes him as of "light complexion,
thin lips closely shut, prominent nose, and rather massive
jaws; eyes of superlative spiritualistic blue, high, retreating forehead, carrying mind within; somewhat long hair,
pushed back, and giving to the not too stern but positively
marked features a slightly Puritanical aspect; and withal,
a stomach like that of an ostrich, which would digest anything. . . . Though not devoid of worldly ambition, he
was sincere and sound to the core. Strong in his possession of himself, there was nothing intrusive in his nature.
Though talking was a part of his profession, his skill was
•Atwood, The Conquerors, pp. 206, 207.
exhibited as much in what he left unsaid as in his most
studied utterances. Frank and affable in his intercourse
with men, he inspired confidence in those with whom he
had dealings and was a general favorite."4
President Fisk wrote to Jason Lee telling him of the
Indian cry for light, and the young teacher accepted as
providential the call to become a missionary to the Oregon
Indians, was admitted to the New England Conference
and ordained. After his selection Lee was kept in the
Eastern States nearly a year waiting for an emigrant train
to therWest, in the meantime addressing churches and
securing money to finance the enterprise. During the
year Bishop Emory opened the way for him, and he visited
Washington and secured the indorsement of President
Jackson and the secretaries of state and war, to found a
mission in the Oregon Country, then under the joint
occupation of Great Britain and the United States. This
meeting gave him access to the heads of the United States
government throughout his missionary career. In the
meantime Jason Lee selected his nephew, Daniel Lee, a
minister in the New England Conference, and Cyrus
Shepard, a teacher, of Lynn, Massachusetts, to accompany
him. These three men, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, joined Captain N. J. Wyeth, of
Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was going west to found
a fur company, and they started from Saint Louis on their
long journey April 28, 1834, although Jason Lee had
bidden his friends farewell and left home three and a half
months earlier. Philip L. Edwards and Courtney M.
Walker,  of  Richmond,  Missouri, were  also engaged as
* Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 57.
teachers, and joined the caravan when it passed through
Independence, Missouri. Walker agreed to teach for one
year, and after his term expired he entered the service
of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The mission group crossed the plains with a company
of some seventy men, largely hunters and fur traders,
two hundred and fifty horses, and some cattle taken by
the missionaries. One night when the horses were stampeded and every one expected the Indian warwhoop to
sound, Jason Lee led a few of the bravest men in recapturing the animals; and from that hour no man doubted
the courage any more than he had previously doubted the
piety. of the Methodist preacher. "Looks as though he
were well calculated to buffet difficulties in a wild country," wrote Townsend, one of his fellow travelers.5
Bancroft says of Lee's fellow laborers, Daniel Lee,
Cyrus Shepard, Courtney M. Walker, and P. L. Edwards:
"Nor were his associates broad-collared, long-haired, Puritanical prayer-mongers, but wide-awake, hearty, and
sympathetic men, bent on saving souls and having a good
time."6       §§§ j|        ff
On June 15, 1834, the travelers reached the summit of
the Rocky Mountains, soon after passing which the missionaries changed to a company under the leadership of
Captain Thomas McKay, an American hunter and trapper,
because Captain Wyeth and his men planned to stop and
erect a fort, which Wyeth named Fort Hall, at the junction
of the Oreeron and Missouri with the Canadian and Utah
trails.   When the Indians from the Columbia River region,
6 Townsend's Narrative, p. 24.   Quoted by Bancroft, History
of Oregon, vol. i, p. 61, note.
•Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. 1, p. 61.
who were with Captain McKay, learned that Lee was
journeying to the Oregon Country to teach the Indians
a knowledge of the true God and how to worship him,,
they expressed great joy, and presented him with two
horses. Jason Lee secured permission to preach to Captain
McKay's men, as he had done to Captain Wyeth's, and
preached the first Protestant sermon west of the Rocky
Mountains July 27, 1834, at the point where Captain
Wyeth built Fort Hall. The need of religion and the
slight impression of the sermon alike are shown by the
fact that the company adjourned from the service to a
horse race, in which one of the men was thrown from his
horse and killed; and Jason Lee conducted the first American Protestant funeral service west of the Rocky Mountains on the next day. Captain McKay's company reached
Fort Vancouver, on the north bank of the Columbia River
and six miles from the mouth of the Multnomah or Willamette, September 16, 1834.7 Here Jason Lee preached
the first Protestant sermon on the Pacific Coast September
28, 1834. - December 14 Lee baptized the first ingathering
of his mission, consisting, not of full-blood Indians, but
of four adult members of the Hudson's Bay Company
and seventeen half-breed children. This was the first
ingathering of Protestant converts on the Pacific shore.
Meanwhile what had become of the remaining Nez;
Perces, and where was the tribe which was seeking light?
After leaving Saint Louis for the West in 1833, the two
Nez Perces fell in with George Catlin, the famous painter
of Indians. But, with Indian stoicism and reserve, they
did not mention the object of their visit.   Indeed, Catlin
T Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 63.
on his return East denied the whole Saint Louis story
until he wrote General Clark and learned that the Indians
came for the Bible and that he gave them Christian instruction, but did not give them the Book. It will interest
readers and add to the romance to know that Catlin, without knowing that these Indians were to become historic,
enriched his gallery with their portraits, which are numbered 207 and 208 in his collection in the Capitol at
Washington, D. C. After parting from Catlin one of the
two Indians died, and only one of the four reached the
tribe, and he only to announce that the white men would
not give the Indians the Book of Heaven. Worse still,
Jason Lee on the trip out learned that the Flathead
Indians were engaged in constant and bitter warfare with
the Blackfeet Indians, and that they had been nearly
annihilated, that they had been driven back into almost
inaccessible mountains some two hundred miles north of
his route, and some six hundred miles east of the Pacific
Coast. But the clothing, books, and the farming utensils,
garden seeds, and seed grain with which Lee was to introduce Christian civilization had been shipped on the May
Dacre around Cape Horn to Fort Vancouver; and the
missionaries must go on to Fort Vancouver for their goods,
then induce the Coast Indians, if possible, to carry their
goods and farming utensils in boats some five hundred
miles east, and then on horses or on their backs northeast
into the almost inaccessible mountains of Montana. The
task was well-nigh impossible, and the Methodists with
heavy hearts journeyed down the Pacific slope to Fort
Vancouver away from the special field of service to which
they supposed God had called them. The romance of the
movement was beginning to fade away, and the whole
affair seemed a miserable Methodist fiasco in which zeal
had outrun knowledge. Did you ever think that the Bible
says nothing of Paul on crossing into Macedonia finding
the identical man who appeared to him in the vision?
But Paul found Macedonian heathen and concluded that
he had a mission. So Jason Lee found pagan Indians in
abundance in the Willamette Valley, including numerous
Nez Perces, which tribe furnished three of the four Indians who made the journey to Saint Louis and to whom,
as well as to the Flatheads, he had been sent. He also
found^Chinooks and other Coast Indians with flattened
heads, thus possessing the very sign by which he expected
to recognize the Indians to whom he was called.8 He
also found members of the Hudson's Bay Company who
had not heard the gospel preached for years, and he was
thus enabled to become a missionary to the white race as
well as to the Indians. So, feeling that he was sent of
God and that he was in touch with the larger portion of
those who had summoned him, he decided to stay; and
the four missionaries began work among the Indians in
the Columbia River basin in October, 1834.
Let us leave the Methodists founding their work among
the Indians while we devote several chapters to the other
actors in the drama. We believe that the study of all the
factors in the problem will show that God was in the
movement, that he aimed at and accomplished, largely
through the missionaries, a far greater work than they
had dreamed of.
Irving, Astoria, p. 67.
The Hudson's Bay Company. The Hudson's Bay Company was organized in London in 1670 for trading purposes; but, like the famous East India Company and like
the British North Borneo Company of to-day, it was
authorized to exercise military and civil authority, and
even to make wars and to conclude peace in the name of
Great Britain, over the territory which it occupied. The
charter granted the company "complete lordship and
entire legislative, judicial, and executive power."1 Great
Britain, in the Nootka Sound Convention of 1790, had
compelled Spain to grant her equal rights in the Pacific
Northwest; and on Spain's virtual abandonment of the
country a little later Great Britain, through the Hudson's
Bay Company, exercised control over the Northwest coast
from the Russian possessions down to the Mexican possessions from 1790 to 1818. In 1821 the Hudson's Bay
Company and the North-West Fur Company of Montreal
were consolidated by an act of the British Parliament;
and Parliament granted the enlarged Hudson's Bay Company dominion and exclusive rights to the trade for the
"Indian Territories," expressly declaring that these territories included all the wilderness of British North America
1 Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. xiii, p. 853a.
west of and including Rupert's land. Thus the Hudson's
Bay Company "ruled the western world through seventy-
five degrees of longitude, from Davis Strait to Mount Saint
Elias, and through twenty-eight degrees of latitude, from
the mouth of the Mackenzie to the borders of California,
dominions second in size to Russia alone among the compact organizations of the world."2 It is true that under
an act of the British Parliament in 1821, the authority
of the Canadian government was extended over all British
subjects throughout this territory.3 But even Dr. McLoughlin seldom sent a man to the Canadian courts for
trial and punishment. He ordered an Indian tied to the
cannon at Fort Vancouver and whipped; and a Canadian
committing the same offense was punished in the same
manner.4 Other agents of the company disregarded the
law more fully than did Dr. McLoughlin. An Indian was
reported to James Douglas, whom McLoughlin trained
as his successor, as having committed murder. Douglas
shot the Indian without trial as he lay concealed under a
bundle of skins.5 The murder of Dr. McLoughlin's son
John by a Canadian while the young man was in charge
of Fort Stikeen possibly shows that the young ruler abused
his power.6
The restoration of Astoria to American authority and
the treaty of 1818 containing the clause providing for
joint occupancy followed the war of 1812, and confirmed
2 Chambers's Encyclopaedia, Philadelphia, 1884, vol. v, p. 448.
3 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 235, 236, and 581.
* Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 378.
5 Ibid., vol ii, pp. 368, 369.
•Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 236, note.
the legal right of the United States to the control of all
American citizens and subjects in the Oregon Country.
Bancroft says: "It was not true that the British company controlled by law the Russian possessions in America,
or strove to govern the American settlers in the Willamette
Valley. By an act of Parliament the laws of Canada were
extended over British subjects in the territory west of
the Rocky Mountains, but this was never enforced so far
as Russians and Americans were concerned."7 This statement is carefully guarded, and in its guarded form, it is
in the main correct; but three facts must be borne in mind
for a clear knowledge of the difficulties which emerged
between the American and British settlers.
First. In Canada the Company built throughout her
wide domain forts, trading posts, and factories, from
which she exercised military and civil authority over both
the Indians and the whites. After crossing the Rocky
Mountains she extended her forts south of the 49th parallel
into the Oregon Country. She erected Fort Vancouver
on the north bank of the Columbia in 1824-25, and Fort
Boise in what is now Idaho in 1834. Through Fort Boise
she deprived Captain Wyeth of all the trade with the
Indians at Fort Hall, and practically drove him from the
field, but softened and hastened his departure by buying
his fort in 1836. In addition to these three forts, she
erected Forts Disappointment, George, Okanogan, Kootenai, Flat Head, Cowlitz, Nisqually, Colville, -Walla
Walla, and Umpqua. Through these thirteen forts,8 or
fortified trading posts, all of them south of 49°, and some
7 Ibid., vol. i, pp. 235, 236.
8 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 109.
of them four hundred miles south of that parallel, she
ruled as far south as the then northern border of Mexico,
not only her employees, but the Indians occupying the two
countries; and she continued this rule from 1821 down
to the appointment of Dr. White in 1842 and the establishment of the provisional government in 1843.
Second. Although joint occupancy by the subjects of
Great Britain and the citizens of the United States was
provided for by the treaty of 1818, nevertheless citizens
of the United States, through the failure of Congress to
provide for them a government, entered that country as
isolated trappers and hunters, without either financial or
governmental backing, and thus were led, though reluctantly, to depend upon the Hudson's Bay Company for
the maintenance of law and order. Occasionally, indeed,
as in ordering Ewing Young not to distill and sell liquor,
and in tearing down the log house of Alderman and
Williamson and in threatening to send Williamson to
York Factory for trial before a British justice, the Company attempted to impose British authority upon the
Americans. In the first of these three oases the moral,
though not the legal, right was clearly on its side. In
the second, tearing down the log cabin of Alderman and
Williamson, opinion was much divided, the Executive Committee of the American Provisional Government deciding
in favor of McLoughlin. But John Minto and H. S.
Lyman, both of them intelligent and fair men, claim, with
good reason, that Alderman and Williamson had a better
right to the one square mile of land which they claimed
north of the Columbia River than the Hudson's Bay Company had to the thirty-five miles east and west, which
it claimed along the north bank of the Columbia "as far
back as their stock traveled."9 Moreover, in Williamson's
case, James Douglas's threat to arrest an American citizen
and send him in chains to York Factory for trial before
a British justice of the peace was full of danger.
Third. The Hudson's Bay Company's method of dealing with white American competitors usually was not by
attempting to impose British law, but by the far harsher,
though strictly legal, process of utterly destroying their
trade through competition, and thus driving them from
the country. She treated all American visitors with rare
hospitality, but she exercised her legal right of refusing
to trade with all American companies and of refusing to
trade with all Indians who ventured to trade with American companies. She thus drove, one after another, nine
American fur companies from the field.
An illustration of the policy of the North-West Fur
Company, which occupied the north of the Columbia River
from 1814-21,10 is its treatment of John Jacob Astor.
In 1811 Mr. Astor had sent a ship around Cape Horn and
a company of sixty men across the continent to found
Astoria some twelve miles east of the entrance of the
Columbia River. On February 15, 1812, Wilson P. Hunt,
and a few companions, out of the sixty men who started,
succeeded in reaching the mouth of the Columbia and
founding Astoria, having suffered great hardships on the
way. Mr. Astor had taken into his company some British
subjects from Canada, among them Duncan McDougal,
who betrayed him. War between the United States and
Great Britain broke out in 1812. The North-West Fur
Company sent the Isaac Todd around the Horn with a
9 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 391, note.
10 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 292.
letter of marque to capture and destroy Astoria, and also
J. J. McTavish and seventy-five men across the continent
to take charge of the stores and pelts after the post should
be captured by the Isaac Todd. McTavish arrived October
7, 1813, before the ship; all his provisions and ammunition were exhausted and he was thus at the mercy of
Aster's company. Mr. Hunt had gone to the Sandwich
Islands and Duncan McDougal was in charge of the post.
McDougal was one of Aster's partners and the one whom
Astor had intrusted with legal authority to represent him.
So far from resisting McTavish's claims and preserving
the property of Astor, he sold the post and all its stores
to the North-West Fur Company for $80,500,13- although
there were rumors that the furs were worth $1,000,000,12
probably altogether too high an estimate. After the sale
McDougal was taken into partnership with the Company,
the Company thus revealing her participation in Mc-
Dougal's betrayal of Aster. McDougal was regarded by
the Americans as a traitor, by the British as a cheat, and
by the Indian Concomly as a squaw.13 A little later the
British armed ship Raccoon arrived, formally captured
Astoria, raised the British flag, and renamed the post Fort
George. Mr. Hunt on arriving from the Sandwich Islands
on February 15, 1814, and finding all the goods sold and
the post in the hands of Great Britain, took ship April 3,
1814, back to the Islands and on to the United States.
April 4, 1814; all the Americans who had belonged to the
"Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol. ii, p. 331.
"Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 293.
18 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 294. But it should be added that Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol. ii, pp. 221-225,
stoutly defends McDougal.
post started back east overland. Fortunately, this formal
capture compelled Great Britain under the terms of the
treaty of peace to restore Fort George to the United States
and the name was changed back to Astoria. The entire
venture proved so costly and unfortunate that Mr. Astor
made no further attempts to trade on the Columbia, and
the post practically reverted to the North-West Fur Company. After the erection of Fort Vancouver, during the
winter of 1824-25, Astoria became a small trading post.
These methods of banishing American competitors
through monopoly of trade and through establishing military and civil authority over her own white people and
over the Indians were unchallenged until the Methodist
missionaries, who did not desire to buy furs or sell goods
to the Indians, settled south of the Columbia in 1834,
and until the missionaries of the American Board settled
at Lapwai, Idaho, and at Waiilatpu, Washington, in 1836,
and until the Methodists began preaching north of the
Columbia in 1838 and settled there in 1839. Apparently,
the arrival of the American missionaries, who did not
come for trade, was entirely unexpected. Dr. McLoughlin, with no orders from his superiors in London, with the
innate kindness of the Christian gentleman, with the
loneliness of the wilderness upon him, and with his parental interest in the spiritual welfare of his Canadian
servants and of his Indian wards, welcomed these missionaries and showed them every kindness. There was no
occasion for the Hudson's Bay Company to call upon the
missionaries to obey British law, for their conduct was
within all civil law. But a little later there was occasion
at times for the Hudson's Bay Company to exercise authority for the protection of American citizens from the
Indians, and such authority was always promptly exercised. When a few white Americans gathered around the
missionary post for safety, the question of sovereignty became perplexing. Dr. McLoughlin apparently at first
suggested that Jason Lee, supported by himself, should
exercise such authority as was necessary over American
citizens, as he exercised authority over the British subjects
and the Indians; and Lee, instead of taking the office himself, appointed the Rev. David Leslie justice of the peace
to represent American authority.
Itlvas a condition and not a theory which confronted
the Hudson's Bay Company. Her officers well knew that
the Columbia River Basin could not remain a game preserve and at the same time become an American settlement. Already the Company had been driven west stage
after stage by the advance of British and of American
civilization; and it was now defending its last intrench-
ment on the Pacific Coast, south of the Russian game preserves. But under the treaty of joint occupation the
Company had no right whatever to exclude American
missionaries from this region. In these conditions Dr.
McLoughlin and the chief officers of the Hudson's Bay
Company in the Oregon Country pursued the only honorable and the only wise course. A struggle against these
men who were not competitors in the fur trade would
have revealed so plain a purpose to violate the treaty providing for joint occupation that it speedily would have
led to war; and war with the United States any time after
1830 in all probability would have terminated in the
American occupancy of the land. Besides, Drs. John
McLoughlin and William Frazer Tolmie, Mr. Edward
Huggins and Mr. Heron were Christian men and felt their
responsibility for the spiritual welfare of both the whites
and the Indians. Dr. McLoughlin always observed the
Lord's Day at Fort Vancouver, and while he remained an
Anglican read the services of the Established Church
every Sunday with impressive reverence.14 Dr. Tolmie
and Mr. Heron observed Sunday at Fort Nisqually and
held the first service ever conducted on the Northwest
Coast for Indians in December, 1833. Dr. McLoughlin
established a school for the half-breed children of the
officers and employees of the Company, to which some
Indian children were admitted; and Solomon Smith, a
citizen of the United States who came to Oregon with
Wyeth on his first trip in 1832, was employed by the
Company to teach the children of Fort Vancouver English branches, singing, deportment, and morality, before
a missionary arrived. The directors of the Company in
London were humane when humanity did not interfere
with dividends. At and around their posts in Canada
they encouraged the Roman Catholic priests to go among
the Indians and baptize them, in order that the children
of the forest might attain felicity in another world; but
the directors did not plan that the Indians should reach
civilization in this world. The school at Fort Vancouver
was due to the humanity of Dr. McLoughlin and was
conducted without orders from and probably without the
knowledge of the directors in London.
As directors of the Company in London learned of the
presence of American missionaries in their game preserves,
they recognized the danger to their trade and also to the
sovereignty of the British nation.    About the same time
14 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 10.
there was a call from the French-Canadian Catholics in
the Oregon Country for the spiritual ministry of men of
their own race and tongue and church. Hence the Company arranged, in 1838, for the transportation of two
Catholic priests, probably hoping that they would take
possession of the religious field, as the Company had taken
possession of the land politically and commercially. The
competition of the Protestant missionaries and the priests
soon aroused the savage Indians to such an extent as
revealed the danger of pushing out the Protestant missionaries by taking possession of their fields. How Dr.
McLoughlin's conduct in ever admitting the Protestant
missionaries to the field was regarded in London later is
seen in the following editorial utterance of Fisher's Colonial Magazine for January, 1843: "By a strange and
unpardonable oversight of the local officers of the Company, missionaries from the United States were allowed
to take religious charge of the population; and these artful men lost no time in introducing such a number of their
countrymen as reduced the influence of the small number
of British settlers to a minimum."
The religious struggle for the conversion or baptism of
the Indians inevitably developed into a political struggle
for the possession of the lower Columbia between the
Hudson's Bay Company and the Methodist missionaries
who came out in 1834, while the missions in the upper
Columbia region led to a more serious struggle between
the representatives of the Hudson's Bay Company and
Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding, who came out in 1836;
the reports of the missionaries in both cases bringing permanent American settlers to the country. Indeed, before
the arrival of settlers the efforts of the missionaries in
behalf of American authority were reenforced by a few
American hunters and trappers who came and went according to their desires.
Meantime Dr. McLoughlin received orders from London
not to sell to the Indians or the missionaries any hoes or
spades or plows or cattle, thus showing that the directors
of the Company were fully committed to the plan of keepr
ing the Indians as well as the whites back from any settled
civilization. The orders seemed to Dr. McLoughlin, with
his large heart and broad sympathies, severe, but he carried
them out. The Hudson's Bay Company, through the kindness of Dr. McLoughlin, supplied the needs of the Methodist missionaries until they were able to provide for
themselves, "even although," in the words of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "it is the manifest interest of monopolists to retard the advance of civilization toward their
hunting grounds."15 It was this fundamental difference
in aim between a fur company desiring to keep the country in its wild state as a vast game preserve and a missionary party desiring the speedy Christianization and civilization of Indians and whites, their settlement upon the
lands, and the establishment of homes, which led to divergent policies and brought on the scarcely concealed conflict between the Company and the Protestant missionaries. The Hudson's Bay Company, as was entirely
proper, made an earnest effort to secure the territory for
its own government, Great Britain. It must be recognized
that the Company also, by preserving order around its vast
domains, among the Indians, among its own employees,
and in part by maintaining order and furnishing food,
15 Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. xiii, p. 853a.
shelter, and medicine to Americans who reached Fort
Vancouver, contributed to the maintenance of peace and
of the existing civilization within the Oregon Country.
Great Britain. The first white man to cross North
America was Alexander Mackenzie. He accomplished the
great journey and reached the Pacific Ocean July 23,
1793, at the mouth of an inlet called the Cascade Canal,
north latitude 52° 20'. In his narrative he tells of the
Indians calling the mountain range which he crossed the
Shining Mountains, or Mountains of Bright Stones. The
Indians thus named these mountains to distinguish their
bare, stony sides from the mountains covered with forests.
The British modified the name into Stony Mountains
and the Americans transformed the name Stony Moun-
tains into the more imposing title, Rocky Mountains.
Thus Mackenzie gave to the world the first translation of
the Indian name for our greatest mountain range. He
advanced the geographical knowledge of North America
over a wider area than any other human being. Credit
a British subject with the heroic feat of first crossing the
North American continent.
The British government often appointed the agents of
the Hudson's Bay Company justices of the peace, so that
they might exercise civil authority. We do not think
these agents were blamable for stretching their authority
at times. The lives of all the white men—American as
well as British—often depended upon the prompt exercise of strong authority, and the United States government had failed to provide any civil authority whatever.
Hence in times of crisis the representative of the Hudson's
Bay Company and the government pursued the only
practicable course.   History shows that, in general, they
left the Americans to control themselves and, as already
mentioned, encouraged Jason Lee through David Leslie,
to exercise authority over the American settlers in the
Willamette Valley. Moreover, they generally induced the
Indians to punish their own criminals. The lack of
American authority in Oregon was due to the failure of
Congress rather than to opposition by the British government or the Hudson's Bay Company. But history also
shows that, as a matter of fact, British authority was the
only authority exercised south as well as north of the
Columbia River down to 1843. We must credit Dr. McLoughlin and the British government with success in
securing 157,000 square miles out of the 443,000 square
miles of the disputed territory, whereas had the issue
reached a forcible decision, Great Britain probably would
have lost it all. So far from regarding this outcome as
proof of overreaching on the part of the Company or the
British government, it seems to us a demonstration rather
of the foresight, the firmness, and also of the fairness of
the British government, and especially of Dr. McLoughlin.
Upon the whole, the British government surpassed the
United States government by providing for the legal
control of her own people and of the Indians, without
necessarily trenching upon our rights. The Hudson's
Bay Company, under Dr. McLoughlin, upon the whole,
exercised the large authority committed by the government
to the Company with wisdom. The disappointment of
the British people over the loss of the Puget Sound
region sprang out of ignorance of the situation and led
to unjust criticism of the government, of the Company,
and especially of Dr. McLoughlin. Unless the American
missionaries,   the   American   pioneers,   and   the   United
States government had wholly failed, the British government in the final treaty could not have gained a single
foot more of the territory than she did secure. Indeed,
had it not been for the good judgment and fine character
of Dr. McLoughlin and for the Divine Providence, the
British government would not have retained a foot of
ground on the Pacific Coast. But that calls for another
dr. McLoughlin
Lyman in one of his noblest passages says, "The old
Oregon from California to Alaska and from the Pacific
to the Rocky Mountains, had already attracted the thought
and obtained the action of the brightest men of all nations: Cortez from the Spaniards, Drake and Cook from
the English, La Perouse from the French, Peter the Great
and Catherine II from the Russians, Ledyard, Jefferson,
and Astor from the Americans." To these he adds John
McLoughlin, whom he ranks among the heroes.1
John McLoughlin was born October 19, 1784, in Parish
La Riviere du Loup, one hundred and twenty miles below
Quebec, Canada. His father was born in Ireland and
his mother, of Scotch parents, in Canada.2 He was a
giant in body, mind, and heart, being six feet, four inches
in height, of fine physical proportions, and of character
matching his body. In the case of Dr. McLoughlin and
Jason Lee, we see two giants contending for the possession
of an empire. Young McLoughlin secured a good general
education in Canada, then completed a thorough medical
course in Scotland. He entered the service of the North-
West Fur Company of Montreal and was retained by the
Hudson's Bay Company when the two companies were
1 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 354.
2 Holman, Dr. John McLoughlin, p. 23.
consolidated. In due time his skill as a physician, his
business abilities, his political sagacity, and his sterling
character raised him to the post of chief factor of the Company on the Pacific Coast. In this capacity he exercised
political and commercial authority over some 443,000
square miles of territory, and he used his authority in a
kindly manner, but in the highest interests of the Company. He was wise, usually self-possessed, and he had
a genius for friendship. His Company and the American
settlers drifted into the sharpest political and commercial
competition. But while Dr. McLoughlin enforced some
harsh decrees adopted by the directors of the Company in
London, he himself never lost the instincts of a physician,
the principles of a just man, nor the charity of a Christian; and he rendered all with whom he came in contact,
including his American competitors, innumerable acts of
service. Though at times, on orders from London, he
refused to sell Americans certain kinds of goods either
on credit or for cash, yet he seldom if ever refused credit
to an American settler. We are sorry to add that some
of these settlers failed to pay their debts, though they
became able to do so, and Dr. McLoughlin bore the loss.
When Captain N. J. Wyeth visited the Columbia River
region in 1834, following the custom of the great majority
of New England grocers of that time, he included liquors
in the goods which he shipped to the mouth of the Columbia for sale. Dr. McLoughlin's Journal contains the
statement: "From morality and policy I stopped the sale
and issue of spirituous liquor to the Indians, but to do
this effectually I had to stop the sale of liquor to all whites.
In 1834, when Mr. Wyeth, of Boston, came, he began by
selling liquor, but on my assuring him the Hudson's Bay
60 dr. McLoughlin
Company sold no liquor to whites or Indians, he immediately adopted the same rule."3 The facts show the moral
initiative of Dr. McLoughlin and the good judgment of
Captain Wyeth in following the Doctor's example. Jason
and Daniel Lee owed Dr. McLoughlin undying gratitude.
When they arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1834 Dr. McLoughlin wisely advised Jason Lee to settle in the Willamette Valley and teach the Indians religion and farming.
The advice was in the interests of the Company, which
desired all the white settlers to be gathered into one location south of the Columbia and under the Company's supervision. But the founding of the Mission in the Willamette
Valley was even more advantageous to the missionaries
than to the Company. Dr. McLoughlin also invited Jason
Lee to preach at Fort Vancouver where, as we have already
seen, he soon baptized four adults and seventeen half-
breed children. In March, 1836, he presented Lee with
a purse of $130, which he had collected from his own
helpers, with a prayer for the blessing of "our heavenly
Father, without whose assistance we can do nothing, that
of his infinite mercy he may vouchsafe to bless and prosper
your pious endeavors."4 The Willamette Valley proved
to be a large region, remarkable for the mildness of
its climate and the fertility of its soil. In 1838 Lee
started back to the States to report to the Missionary
Socieiy and the government, and to bring more American
recruits. These recruits, in the very nature of the case,
would tend to drive away the fur-bearing animals upon
which the Company depended for its profits, and they
3 Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i, p. 215.
* Hines, Oregon:  Its History, Condition, and Prospects, p.
would also tend to strengthen the hold of the Americans
upon the country which Dr. McLoughlin desired for Great
Britain. Some three months after Jason Lee's departure
Lee's wife died in childbirth, and Dr. McLoughlin sent
a courier at his own expense all the way from Fort Vancouver to Westport, Missouri, to overtake the preacher of
the gospel and inform him of the death of his wife and
the infant son. Again, when Jason Lee returned to Oregon
in 1840 with fifty-two American men, women, and children—a number which openly challenged the supremacy
of the Company—Dr. McLoughlin received him with his
old-time friendship and hospitality, assuring him that
there was always room enough at Fort Vancouver for
"Jason Lee and all of his." Again, when Daniel Lee,
under the long winter rains of the Oregon coast and his
heavy labors and responsibilities, developed tuberculosis,
Dr. McLoughlin sent him at his own expense to the Sandwich Islands, and thus enabled him to recover his health
and to live and work for half a century longer.
In 1838 Lee told McLoughlin of his desire to open a
mission station at Fort Nisqually, about twenty miles
below what is now Tacoma and one hundred miles north
of the Columbia, and within the territory to which the
Company laid special claim for Great Britain. Dr. McLoughlin must have recognized that this proposal involved
some danger to British supremacy in the Puget Sound
region; nevertheless, he was so influenced by his desire
to see the Indians saved and by his friendship for Jason
Lee that he wrote to A. C. Anderson, then in charge of
Fort Nisqually, directing him to open the way for Lee
to establish a station there. The Rev. David Leslie and
W. H. Willson were sent to select a site and erect build-
62 dr. McLoughlin
ings. They arrived April 10, 1839, and were welcomed
by the Hudson's Bay Company's factor; and on April 17,
1839, the first tree was cut for the mission buildings.5
When Lee, in 1840, sent the Rev. J. P. Richmond, M.D.,
and his family to preach and teach among the Indians at
Fort Nisqually, Dr. McLoughlin wrote another letter to
Dr. Tolmie, requesting him to loan Dr. Richmond cows
sufficient to supply the mission with milk, and to use his
kindly offices in making the mission comfortable. It was
in recognition of Dr. McLoughlin's early services in inviting Lee to settle in the Willamette Valley, in inviting him
to preach and baptize converts at Fort Vancouver, and in
raising the subscription for him, that Lee wrote to the
Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church
as follows on March 28, 1837: "At the special request of
Dr. McLoughlin, I am about to send him a note of introduction to you. Would it not be well to present him a
certificate of life membership in our Missionary Society?
We have been obliged to draw frequently upon him for
medicine, for which he refuses to take any remuneration.
I mentioned in my last letter that I was fully convinced
that this country would be settled at no distant period."6
It was by such services not only to the Lees but to other
Americans that Dr. McLoughlin displayed his manliness
and at the same time advanced the permanent interests
of his Company and his country, for fairness and kindliness are political and business assets of real value. Lyman
writes, "It is stated that the cargo of the annual ship sent
from the Columbia to England was worth £200,000 sterling. ... It is thought that during its occupancy of the
6 Meeker, Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound, p. 488.
•Atwood, The Conquerors, pp. 54, 55.
Columbia Valley as much as twenty-eight million dollars*
worth of furs were sent to the London stockholders."7
In the Oregon Country—that is, the region west of the
Rocky Mountains between 42° and 54° 40' north latitude—
Dr. McLoughlin declares that since 1826 the Americans
had outnumbered the British.8 Again, he declares that
as early as 1826 there were as many as &ve hundred American trappers on the Snake River.9 We think Dr. McLoughlin made an overestimate of the number of Americans west of the Rocky Mountains, though he doubtless
possessed, through his own hunters and trappers who
traversed the entire region, better data than any other man
for a correct estimate. The total number of American
immigrants in the Willamette Valley at the end of 1841
was perhaps no more than four hundred.10 It was not
until after the arrival of Dr. White's party in 1842 that
the Americans in the Willamette Valley were able to
carry the measure for the provisional government, and
then only by the aid of two or three Canadian votes.
But Dr. McLoughlin was forced to consider the entire
region which he governed, and in this region, as a whole,
with bold and resolute Americans outnumbering the
British, and with the American nation occupying the
adjoining portion of the continent, kindness was a far
wiser policy than harshness. We have striking illustrations of the opposite policy which Dr. McLoughlin, under
the spur of the London directors, enforced in two or three
T Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 375.
8 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 500, note.
•Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 374.
10 Garry, Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, vol. 1, p. 370.
64 ~^r
dr. McLoughlin
cases. We condense the account from Bancroft.11 On
the arrival of the American immigrants in 1844 Dr. McLoughlin refused Michael T. Simmons permission to live
in Fort Vancouver with his family during the winter of
1844-45 unless he would agree to settle south of the
Columbia River. Simmons at once decided that the north
side of the Columbia River was more desirable; he secured
a log house for the winter and in the spring of 1845 set
out for Puget Sound with five other American men. Dr.
McLoughlin's enforcement of his claims against Henry
Williamson and Isaac W. Alderman provoked conflict and
threatened to develop into war. Dr. McLoughlin possibly
was within his technical rights because his Company
already was using for pasture the land to which Williamson and Alderman laid claim, and he was sustained by
the provisional government of Oregon. Alderman especially was a violent and unprincipled character who was
killed in 1848 in California "under circumstances that
justified the homicide."12 "Thus," as Bancroft well observes, "by an effort to avoid the censure of the directors
of the Hudson's Bay Company in London, some of whom
had influence with members of the British cabinet, by
keeping American settlers south of the Columbia River,
McLoughlin provoked their opposition and hastened the
beginning of their occupancy in the region about that
beautiful inland sea, which the Company had no doubt
at that time would come into the possession of Great
Britain."13 Had some other man been chief factor, and
had he not been harsh but simply firm and unyielding in
11 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 458-465.
"Ibid., vol. i, p. 459, note.
18 Ibid., vol. i, pp. 464-465.
maintaining what he considered to be the legal rights of
his Company and his country, such firmness would have
been regarded by the Americans as harshness and would
have led to a struggle which, judging by the wars of 1776
and 1812, must have resulted in defeat for Great Britain.
Again when the inevitable struggle arose on the Pacific
Coast and the loss by the British of the territory north
of the Columbia became evident, Dr. McLoughlin saw
to it that the disappointment of the officers and employees
of the Company and of British subjects did not precipitate
bloodshed between them and the American settlers. Dr.
McLoughlin saved for Great Britain far more of the land
embraced in the original territory than a hard-headed
chief factor could have secured. It will be remembered
that the political campaign of 1844 in the United States
was carried on with the winning party using as its campaign cry, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight." The Democratic
party, which was the war party, won by a large majority,
and by this campaign cry was committed to the extension
of the American boundaries as far north as the Russian
possessions. While the sober judgment of the Democratic
leaders never approved this extreme claim, and while these
leaders did not really desire to add to the United States
large territory to the north which they feared would exclude slavery, yet with their campaign cry and pledges, a
single harsh act on Dr. Mclaughlin's part might easily
have precipitated a war with the United States for the
entire territory up to the Russian line.
Another important fact must be borne in mind. The
purchase of Alaska and the settlement of the Alaskan
boundary gives the United States a coast line along the
southern border of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands almost
66 dr. McLoughlin
the entire distance across the Pacific, as far west as
Chicagof Harbor, Attu Island, 186° 47' west longitude,
that is, almost to the borders of Asia.14 Nor is this
stretch of sea coast across the north Pacific valueless. On
the contrary, it abounds in harbors like Resurrection Bay,
Chiginig Bay, Denmark Bay, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska
Bay, Constantine Harbor, Kiska Island and Bay, and
Chicagof Harbor, each of which is open all the year and
is large enough to hold a large navy. The report of the
recent survey of these harbors by the United States has
been pronounced the most important geographical information of this century. For strategic purposes these
harbors are of incalculable value. With this coast line
across the northern borders of the Pacific Ocean along
the shortest route to Asia, and with our harbors in the
Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Panama, and along the coast
from Mexico to British America, we are sure that the best
interests of the United States and of Christendom were
conserved by Great Britain securing the fine harbors on
the coast from 49° to 54° 40'; and we do not know any
man in the Hudson's Bay Company, in Canada, or among
the British statesmen of that day who could have held
this territory for Great Britain aside from John McLoughlin. The fiery Douglas, who became McLoughlin's
successor, would have lost it in the first controversy with
Finally, when the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company in London criticized Dr. McLoughlin for his generous treatment of Americans, his self-respect led him to
resign his office, thus surrendering his almost unlimited
authority over a territory four times as large as Great
"Nelson's Encyclopaedia, art., "Alaska."
Britain, and his income of $12,000 a year. Moreover,
through these very acts of humanity and real statesmanship, Dr. McLoughlin came in the end to be regarded by
the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company in London
and by the people of Great Britain as a traitor to his
country. Indeed, the feeling that he was an outcast
from his own country led him to throw in his lot with the
Americans and become a citizen of Oregon. But the
Americans in Oregon had suffered too much from the
monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company and had become
too partisan to treat the head of that Company on the
Pacific Coast with justice, not to speak of generosity.
Even the Methodists, including, as he believed for a time,
Jason Lee, whom he had trusted more fully than any other
man among the Americans, appeared to betray him in
his old age; and he bitterly resented the "jumping" of
a part of his claim to the site of Oregon City by a member
of the Methodist Mission in 1840. As we show in Chapter
XIII, entitled "Lee's Sun Sets," Lee supported McLoughlin at the cost of the support of his fellow missionaries and at a time when he greatly needed their support.
The Oregon Legislature later accepted Lee's view. But
the restitution by the Oregon Legislature of Dr. McLoughlin's rights did not come until after his death; and the
noble old man lived his last years, as he himself said, "a
man without a country," and died in loneliness September
3,1857, at Oregon City, at the age of seventy-three.15 The
disappointing close of John McLoughlin's life with his
lonely death is one of the tragedies of the Oregon Country.
For more than a century Great Britain and the United
States have failed to recognize him.   Believing that citi-
16 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 130.
68 dr. McLoughlin
zens of all countries in the long run desire to render justice
to their fellow citizens, we anticipate the time when British
historians will honor the memory of John McLoughlin
as the man who saved her the northern section of the
Oregon territory and secured his country an everlasting
position on the Pacific Ocean. We trust the time will
come when citizens of Oregon and the United States will
recognize him as an American citizen and raise a monument to the memory of the man who knew how to yield
an empire to the arbitrament of justice and to the inevitable march of civilization, and who thus gave our country
her just rights without a bitter war. Lyman, in opening
his sketch of over seventy pages of Dr. McLoughlin's
career, writes this wise and just estimate of the leader of
the British forces for the possession of an imperial domain: "It almost forces itself upon one to say . . . that
a period of twenty years of uncertainty and dispute over
a territory that was felt to carry with it the empire of
North America, and even dimly that of the Pacific Ocean,
could have been covered under no other hand than that
of McLoughlin without drenching the soil of Oregon with
blood."16 Surely, the time will come when the people
of Great Britain and the United States—Protestants and
Catholics—all will join in honoring the memory of the
man whose sense of justice and whose Christian kindliness
conserved not only the highest interests of his country
and his church, but of humanity as well, and who, by his
services, his position, and his character, looms as the
largest single factor in the early history of the Northwest
Lyman, History of Oregon, voL ii, p. 357.
The Roman Catholic Church has been noted for its
work among the Indians. In time her work has extended
from the earliest settlements in the New World down to
the present moment and in area over both North and
South America. It is not to be wondered at, therefore,
that the Roman Catholic Church became a factor in the
settlement of the Northwest Boundary dispute, and a
still more important factor in the subsequent life of the
Indians. The presence of the Methodist and American
Board missionaries in the Oregon Country naturally led
the French Canadians to desire missionaries of their own
faith. Accordingly, the Hudson's Bay Company furnished
transportation to Oregon for Fathers F. N. Blanchet and
Modesto Demers in 1838. The Methodist missionaries
had told the Indian women not to live with the white
men unless the white men would marry them; and several
French-Canadian men and Indian women had been married by the Methodist preachers. On his arrival in Oregon
Father Blanchet told his members that their marriage by
the Methodists was not lawful, and under the influence
of the priests many of the Canadian employees were remarried. Father Blanchet describes how in a struggle
against the Methodists he Christianized some of the most
depraved Indians in a few days. Again he records his
success in baptizing eleven children and inducing their
parents to forsake the Methodists. Father De Smet, in
1841, visited the Flatheads, after their return to the Upper
Columbia, some of whom the American Board missionaries had awakened. On returning from them he founded
the Mission of Saint Mary, long one of the most successful
Indian missions in the Northwest. During the struggle
between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics Dr.
McLoughlin joined the Roman Catholic Church, November 18, 1842, and the priests won a notable victory in
bringing him back into the church of his childhood.
Father Blanchet, who had held the rank of vicar-general
of the Oregon Mission, was raised to the rank of archbishop, Oregon being erected into an apostolic vicariate
by Pope Gregory XVI December 1, 1843. Later it was
erected into an ecclesiastical province with three sees—
Oregon City, Walla Walla, and Vancouver Island; the
first was allotted to the archbishop, the second to his
brother, the Rev. A. M. A. Blanchet, canon of Montreal,
and the third to the Rev. Modesto Demers, who had succeeded Archbishop Blanchet as vicar-general. Archbishop
Blanchet went to Europe after his consecration by the
Archbishop of Quebec, and met with great success in
securing funds and fellow workers for the Oregon Mission,
his plea being that in conjunction with the missions in
Mexico, which included California, he was saving the
entire Pacific Coast to the Catholic faith. By November,
1847, he had three bishops, fourteen Jesuit priests, four
oblate priests, thirteen secular priests, and thirteen sisters, aside from the lay brethren, whose numbers are not
given.1   The Catholics, as well as the Methodists, had a
1 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 328.
larger number of lay missionaries than clerical. Archbishop Blanchet's plans were farseeing and statesmanlike;
and he and the Catholic missionaries put forth heroic
efforts to carry these plans out. It should be freely recognized also that the Roman Catholic missionaries by very
widely extended and long-continued labors among the
Indians contributed to the peace and safety of all the
inhabitants of the region.
As recorded in Eell's "Marcus Whitman," the Cay-
use Indians on November 29, 1847, attacked Dr. Whitman's Mission station at Waiilatpu, murdered Dr. and
Mrs. Whitman and twelve other persons and took the
remaining white women prisoners. Surviving members
of white families slaughtered in the Whitman massacre
of 1847 believed down to their death that the Roman
Catholic missionaries tolerated, if they did not encourage,
in the superstitious Indians the conviction that Dr. Whitman and the missionaries were spreading the disease which
was sweeping them from the earth; and that it was this
superstitious conviction of the Indians which aroused them
to the massacre. Just following the massacre Vicar-
General Brouillet arrived at the Waiilatpu Station. Father
Brouillet was assigned for the night by the Indians to
the home of one of the murdered missionaries. All night
long the air was rent with the shrieks and groans of the
white women, with whom the Indians were sating their
lust. There was no protest by Father Brouillet against
the satanic conduct of the Indians. The next morning,
while the bodies of the slaughtered white men still lay
unburied, and the women and girls were yet crying in
their distress, Father Brouillet assembled the Indians who
were present at the massacre and baptized their children.
The fact is undisputed, Father Brouillet himself relating
it to Mr. Spalding. Two or three days later, Miss Bewley
was forcibly put upon a horse aUd carried to the Umatilla
to be the wife of Five Crows, a Cayuse chief, who under
Dr. Whitman had professed the Protestant faith. Her
sworn testimony, taken before Squire Walling at the trial
of the murderers at Oregon City in 1848, shows that on
being brought to the Umatilla the Cayuse chief received
her in his lodge. In response to her entreaties, the chief
told her that she might go over to the house of the priests
and that he would come for her at night. Accordingly,
she went over to Bishop Blanchef s house and met Bishop
Blanchet, Vicar-General Brouillet, two priests, and three
French laymen—seven white men in all. Five Crows
came for her that evening, but she refused to go and spend
the night with him. After the chief returned to his lodge,
Bishop Blanchet urged her to go and be the wife of Five
Crows, and Vicar-General Brouillet ordered his servant to
take her over. "I fell upon my knees," she said, before the
priest. '0, do pity me, save me; don't give me up to the
Indians, but shoot me.' He arose and brushed away my
hands, and said to the servant to take me away. I then
sprang toward the two young priests, holding my hand
appealingly, but they said nothing and moved not a hand,
and the servant, half-dragging, half carrying me, hurried
We have read the evidence furnished by H. H. Spalding
in the series of lectures given by him and printed in the
Albany (Oregon) Democrat in 1867-68, in which Mr.
Spalding charges the Roman Catholic missionaries with
'Warren, Memoirs of the West, p. 134.
complicity in this massacre. Bancroft holds that Spalding's mind was unbalanced by the seven days of exposure
and suffering and fear through which he passed in escaping from the Indians near Waiilatpu the day following
the massacre and during the journey to Lapwai, and that
he remained unbalanced upon this subject.3 The Rev.
Myron Eells, while accepting Spalding's accusation against
the Roman Catholic missionaries and his claim that Dr.
Whitman saved the Oregon Country to the United States,
nevertheless recognizes six important errors in a brief
statement by Mr. Spalding in regard to Whitman saving
Oregon; and he accounts for these vital errors in matters
of fact on the ground that Mr. Spalding's mind was unbalanced on some topics by the massacre.4 The Rev. H. K.
Hines, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, after stating
that some writers, including W. H. Gray, charged the
massacre almost wholly to the influence of the Roman
Catholic missionaries, adds: "The consensus of later and
calmer judgment, however, has been that, while the presence of the Roman Catholic missionaries in the country,
with their always unrelenting and unconcealed opposition
to Protestantism, had a strong influence on many of the
Indians against the missions and the missionaries, they
did not seek or advise the destruction of the mission in
this awful way. The controversy on this theme has been
very extended, and we cannot enter upon it in this book.
Still, it would not be fair to the unstudied reader if we
did not say, that, after many years of examination, and
a personal acquaintance with all the chief actors in the
events of that thrilling era in Oregon history except Dr.
* Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 665, note.
4 Eells, Marcus Whitman, pp. 236-238.
Whitman himself, including the Catholic priests and the
leading characters of the Hudson's Bay Company, such
seems to us to be the most reasonable conclusion of history."5 Bancroft says, "The position of the priests was
made ground for serious accusation."6 He recognizes that
the sworn testimony at the trial convicts the priests of
acquiescence in the brutal assaults of the Indian men upon
the white women and girls, but adds in apology for the
conduct of the priests, "It is difficult to see how they could
have interfered without first having resolved to give up
their mission and risk their lives."7 He adds that at least
one American man who had been wounded fled and left
his wife and children in the hands of the Indians.8 In a
word, Bancroft admits the facts as to the extreme lust
and brutalities of the savages and the acquiescence of
the priests, but accounts for them, not through any deliberate purpose upon the part of the priests to abandon
the Prdtestant missionaries to their fate, but through a
fear so craven that white men and women, Protestant as
well as Catholic, acquiesced in almost any acts which
would save their lives.9 We are clear in our conviction
that the massacre was not planned or deliberately encouraged by the Roman Catholic priests. On the contrary,
when Vicar-General Brouillet, the morning after the
massacre, met Mr. Spalding on his way to Waiilatpu, he
told Spalding of the massacre, thus enabling him to turn
5 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
8 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 663.
7 Ibid,, vol. i, p. 663.
8 Ibid., vol. i, p. 663.
"Ibid., vol. i, p. 663, note.
back toward Lapwai and save his life; and Brouillet was
savagely rebuked by the Indians for giving Spalding warning. Moreover, the fact that Brouillet told Spalding of
his baptism of the Indian children and burial of the dead
whites shows that Brouillet was not conscious of guilt in
this conduct. Surely, a Catholic priest would not confess
his sins to a Protestant minister and then help to preserve
the life of that minister and thus enable him to bruit
his Catholic brother's crime to the world. Brouillet testi-
fied-that he expected to be murdered for joining another
white man in burying the bodies of the missionaries, and
he did come near being killed because of his warning to
Spalding; nevertheless, he warned the living and took
part in this act of reverence for the dead. We can understand how a priest, fearing that he might be murdered
for joining another white man in burying the bodies of
the whites, believing in the efficacy of baptism for eternal
salvation and anxious to snatch some brands from the
burning, decided to baptize the children before joining
in burying the bodies of the victims of the massacre. We
are compelled to say that the acts of most of the white
men—agents, priests, and Protestants—were unheroic and
cowardly. For the first few hours, and perhaps for the
first few days after the massacre, it was a sad illustration
of the sudden savagery of the Indians blazing out and of
panic upon the part of the whites overcoming their sense
of duty; it was another case of Peter denying his Lord.
It is well for us all that Jesus graciously forgives and
restores; and the Catholic priests showed by their later
life-long hardships and sufferings and victories that,
though stampeded in a crisis, yet, like Peter, they were
capable of heroic living and dying.
Turning from the sad incidents connected with the
massacre to the general attitude of the Hudson's Bay
Company toward the Roman Catholic Church, Dr. McLoughlin's union with that church and the transportation
of Fathers Blanchet and Demers to the Pacific Coast by
the Company leaves no doubt that the Company at first
welcomed the Roman Catholic aid, probably on the ground
that the priests would leave the Indians longer in their
hunting and trapping stage; though a little later, when
sectarian strife aroused the Indians to savagery and resulted in the slaughter of the Whitman group, the Company refused free transportation to additional priests.
The Hudson's Bay Company had the legal right to follow
its own interests as far as they did not conflict with the
treaty of joint occupancy or the claims of humanity, and
the priests had the right to enjoy the advantages which
the favor of the Company gave them.
It has been claimed for the Hudson's Bay Company and
the British and Canadian governments that they never
expatriated the Indians, as the United States government
has done. This claim is true, and is greatly to their credit.
It has been claimed with some show of reason that the
slower pace at which the priests led their wards toward
civilization preserved more Indians alive than did the
faster pace of the Protestant missionaries. Probably there
is truth in this claim. It has been claimed further, that
the Company, the British government, and the Roman
Catholic Church elevated the half-breed Indians to equal
political rights with the white men, and lifted the mixed
race to the .white man's stage of civilization. The first
part of this claim is true, but the latter part is not true.
Summing up the whole case: The conduct of Bishop
Blanchet, Vicar-General Brouillet, and Mr. McBean, the
Hudson's Bay Company's agent, was unheroic; white men
at their best would not have been guilty of such cowardice.
But, unfortunately, in the panic neither Protestant nor
Catholic white men were at their best. But Peter Skeen
Ogden, of the Hudson's Bay Company, acting upon the
instructions of James Douglas, the chief factor, aided by
one of the priests, later purchased and delivered the captive women and children from the Indians. We must also,
givejthe Roman Catholic Church credit for resuming its
missionary work earlier, after the massacre and Indian
war, and prosecuting it more earnestly than the American
Board, the Presbyterian Board, or the Missionary Society
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. We are glad the
Protestant churches repented of their sins of omission and
later resumed missionary activities, and that they have
since done good work in saving the remnant of the Indians.
That the work of the Roman Catholic priests was, upon
the whole, more helpful to the Indians than the work of
Protestant missions we do not believe. Horace S. Lyman's
volumes have the general indorsement of an associate
board of editors composed of Harvey W. Scott, the famous
editor of the Oregonian; Charles B. Bellinger and Frederick G. Young, men of high standing and character in
Oregon. After reviewing the whole history of missions
down to the present time, Lyman reaches this conclusion:
"That the effects of the Catholic teaching were more salutary upon the Indians than had been those of the Protestant, as has been contended by a number of historians
of this State, may be doubted."10   We ourselves doubt the
10 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 422.
superiority of the method of dealing with the Indians
adopted by the Hudson's Bay Company, the British and
Canadian governments, and the Roman Catholic Church.
Of the 209,766 Indians in the United States in 1916,
31,665 were members of the Protestant churches, 67,176
were adherents, and 17,771 were in the Sunday schools.
The Sunday school scholars in a measure duplicate the
church members. But these statistics show that substantially one half of the Indians in the United States are
affiliated with the Protestant churches.11 Of the remnant
of the Indians preserved, 209,766 are found in the United
States and 105,492 in Canada.12 These numbers show
that the slow and partial method of advancing the Indians
in civilization has not resulted in the survival of a larger
11 The Missionary Review of the World, October, 1916, p.
776, gives the following statistics of Protestant missions
among the Indians: g s
Members. Adherents. Scholars.
Baptists    I 5,408 13,582 1,220
Congregationalists     1,331          3,000 463
Methodist Episcopal  2,500           6,000 1,750
Methodist Episcopal, South  2,875           7,187 766
Presbyterian,   North  8,955 18,319 7,915
Protestant Episcopal  6,982 10,000 1,500
Others    3,614           9,088 4,157
Totals  31,665 67,176 17,771
These figures show that nearly one half of the 209,000 surviving Indians are members or adherents of some Protestant
church, and that of this number the Presbyterians have the
largest number of church members and the largest number
of adherents, and that the Protestant Episcopal Church ranks
12 World Almanac, 1917, p. 519.
number of Indians in Canada than in the United States.
We have read, though we cannot recall the authority, that
the rate of increase to-day is not so rapid among the Indians of Canada as among the Indians of the United
States. On the other hand, the original Indian population
of Canada was smaller than that of. the United States;
and Canada probably has preserved a larger proportion
of the aboriginal population than we have. Again, the
American schools in which the Indians living in the
United States have been educated, while more largely
taught by Roman Catholics than by Protestants, are supported by the United States government and not by Roman Catholic gifts. The government spent $4,391,000
for Indian education for the year ending June 30, 1916.13
Consequently, credit for this work belongs to the United
States government rather than to the Roman Catholic
or to any Protestant church. Moreover, the fact that the
Indians in the United States are making more progress
than the Indians of Canada is due to larger opportunities
in the United States than the Canadian government is
offering them. Possibly their advance in civilization and
in their acceptance of republican institutions is due to
Protestant rather more than to Roman Catholic influences.
All students of the Indian race must give credit both to
Roman Catholic and to Protestant missionaries for its
preservation; and it is safer as well as more modest to leave
to Christ on the Judgment Day the apportionment of the
praise which belongs to each of these heroic bands of
18 World Almanac, 1917, p. 519.
We shall not take time to discuss the claims of the
United States to the entire Oregon Country through Captain Robert Gray's discovery of the mouth of the Columbia
in 1792, through our purchase from France in 1803 of
the Louisiana Territory and of the entire French claims
to the Northwest Coast, through the Lewis and Clark exploration of the Columbia River region in 1804-06, through
the founding of the trading post of Astoria in 1811,
through our purchase from Spain in 1819 of Florida, and
of the entire Spanish claims to the Northwest Coast based
on the Spanish discoveries. Suffice it to say that both the
United States and Great Britain presented plausible
claims to the entire coast. The United States had a better
title than any other nations could show to the valley of
the Columbia, comprising the coast as far north as perhaps the 49 th parallel of north latitude. But even this
rich region "the United States all but lost by reason of
the indifference of the American Government and people."1
To understand clearly the early indifference of our government to this coast we must remember that one fact of
vast importance in determining the value of the Northwest
Coast seems at that time not to have been recognized by
1 Bruce, Romance of American Expansion, p. 108.
our government or people. The Japan Current, or Black
Current, raises the temperature of Oregon and Washington just as the Gulf Stream raises the temperature of
England, Ireland, and Scotland. But we can find no hint
of any recognition of this fact by American statesmen
between 1800 and 1830. The Great Lakes, for several
hundred miles, form a natural boundary between the two
nations and carried the boundary line as far south as the
forty-second degree and north almost to the forty-ninth
degree at the western end of Lake Superior. An erroneous
impression from certain old maps led the commissioners
at the treaty of Ghent to believe that the 49th parallel of
latitude was the boundary line drawn in 1718 between the
British and French claims west of the Great Lakes.
Hence from the mouth of Pigeon River on Lake Superior
the line was carried northwest to the Lake of the Woods
and then extended along the 49th parallel from the Lake
of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains by the -Convention
of 1818. The northern boundary of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine ranges from 45° to 47° north latitude,
and Americans knew how cold and rugged and inhospitable
were these northern regions. Lewis and Clark reported
that the Western country was mountainous from the Rocky
Mountains to the Pacific Coast. While Americans from
their knowledge of the northern counties of New Hampshire and Maine did not esteem a mountain region north
of 45° of any practical value, nevertheless, for the sake
of showing the world that they would not yield anything
to Great Britain, they were determined to run the boundary line across the mountainous regions to the Pacific
Coast along the parallel of 49°, which they thought France
and Great Britain had agreed upon in 1718, and which
Great Britain and the United States had agreed upon as
far as the Rocky Mountains in 1818. This was four degrees, some two hundred and forty miles, north of the
Vermont line. In the mountain region of the Pacific
Northwest what possible object could there be in going
still farther north ? Hence, our government offered Great
Britain the 49th parallel as the boundary line from the
Lake of the Woods to the Pacific Coast at the Convention
of 1818. But Great Britain would not agree to run the
boundary along that line any farther than the Rocky Mountains. This line was accepted to the mountains and a
clause written into the treaty whereby the disputed territory
west of the Rocky Mountains was to be jointly occupied
by both nations for ten years, without jeopardizing the
claims of either. In order to assert ourselves against
Great Britain, and especially to offset the extreme British
claim to the territory between the 49th parallel and the
Columbia River, Richard Rush, our minister to Great
Britain, in 1824 set up the claim that the territory of the
United States extended as far north as 51 degrees; but
modified this to a claim for the 49th parallel. On June 19,
1826, Henry Clay, then secretary of state, wrote to Albert
Gallatin, our minister to Great Britain, directing him to
propose the termination of joint occupancy and offer latitude 49° as an ultimatum. But Great Britain rejected
the offer.
A revelation of the ignorance of intelligent Americans
of the value of the Oregon Country is furnished by the
following facts: May 22, 1818, President Monroe appointed Albert Gallatin and Richard Rush to represent
the United States in fixing the boundary line between the
two countries.   These men were instructed to propose the
extension of the 49th parallel to the Pacific Ocean. But
John Quincy Adams, secretary of state, wrote them: "Save
pretensions, there is no object to any party worth contending for."2 In February, 1825, Senator Dicker son,
of New Jersey, said: "Oregon can never be one of the
United States. If we extend our laws to it, we must
consider it as a colony."3 Again'he showed that it would
take four hundred and sixty-five days to make the journey
from Oregon to Washington and return, and would cost
each representative $3,720 for the round trip.4 Congressman Tracy, of New York, said: "No scheme can appear
more visionary than that of an internal commerce between
the Hudson and Columbia. The God of nature has interposed obstacles to this connection, which neither the
enterprise nor the science of this or any other age can
overcome."5 Senator Winthrop, of Massachusetts, in
1845, asked: "Are our Western brethren straitened for
elbow room, or likely to be for a thousand years? . . .
The West has no interest, the country has no interest, in
extending our territorial possessions."6
Thus our statesmen stood for a boundary line along the
49th parallel because they felt sure that this gave us all
the land on the north Pacific Coast which could possibly
be of any value; and we consented to the joint occupation,
from 1818 onward, of the entire region west of the Rocky
"Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol. ii, p. 336.
3 Quoted by Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol.
ii, p. 361.
*Ibid., vol. ii, p. 425, note.
8 Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 345-346, note.
•Quoted by Barrows, Oregon, the Struggle for Possession,
p. 200.
Mountains, because we thought the territory probably
worthless and because we felt confident that later we could
maintain our claim as far north as the 49th parallel if we
so desired.
A second fact which more than any other prevented the
United States claiming all that she might have claimed
under our ownership of the French and Spanish claims
and our own discoveries, was that ours was the first really
prominent attempt in all history to establish a republic,
and that Europe was skeptical of the experiment. All
Americans believed that the real danger to the republic
would arise from the falling apart of widely separated
States with diverse and even antagonistic interests. These
fears were by no means wholly speculative but grew out
of the dangers threatening the republic in the Whisky
Insurrection, the Burr conspiracy, etc. Hence, as conservative patriots, our statesmen were much more anxious
that the republic with its existing immense reaches of
territory should be consolidated into a strong nation than
that we should strive to enlarge our borders by semimili-
tary conquests. Leaders in both houses of Congress who
favored the acquisition of the Oregon Country, at first
contemplated the planting therein of an American colony
which should later become a second republic, rather than
the incorporation of that distant land as an integral portion of the United States. When Astor communicated to
President Jefferson his plan to establish a trading post
at the mouth of the Columbia, the President replied that
he "considered, as a good public acquisition, the commencement of a settlement on that part of the west coast
of America, and looked forward, with gratification, to the
time when its descendants shall have spread themselves
through the whole length of that coast, covering it with
free and independent Americans, unconnected with us
but by ties of blood and interest, and enjoying, like us,
the rights of self-government."7 It is clear from this
sentence that President Jefferson did not at that time
contemplate the extension of the authority of the United
States over the Pacific Coast, but, rather, the formation
of another republic "unconnected with us but by the ties
of blood and interest." Again, Congressman Baylies, of
Massachusetts, during the second session of Congress of
18227 replied to the objections made on the floor that our
republic could never extend so far west as the Columbia
River by advocating, not the formation of a territorial
government for the country, but an American colony; and
Congressman Floyd's bill of January 19, 1824, provided
for a military colony for the Oregon Country.8 H. H.
Spalding, the American Board missionary at Lapwai,
Idaho, wrote as late as April 7, 1846: "Soon this little,
obscure point upon the map of the United States will become a second North American Republic, her commerce
whitening every sea and her crowded ports fanned by the
flags of every nation."9 Mr. Roosevelt in The Winning
of the West, speaking of our purchase in May, 1803, of the
Louisiana Territory, says: "Napoleon forced Madison and
Livingston to become the reluctant purchasers not merely
of New Orleans, but of all the immense territory which
T Quoted by Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i,
p. 41.
"Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, pp. 629-
'Quoted by Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, pp.
18, 19.
stretched vaguely northwestward to the Pacific. Jefferson
at moments felt a desire to get all this western territory;
but he was too timid and vacillating. . . . Madison felt
a strong disinclination to see the national domain extend
west of the Mississippi; and he so instructed Monroe and
Livingston."10 Again Mr. Roosevelt writes: "The Federalists of the Northeast, both in the Middle States and in
New England, at this juncture behaved far worse than the
Jeffersonian Republicans. . . . The Northeastern Federalists, though with many exceptions, did as a whole
stand as the opponents of national growth. . . . They
showed that jealous fear of western growth which was the
most marked defect of Northeastern public sentiment until
past the middle of the present century."11 The conspiracy
of Aaron Burr apparently justified the fears of the people
in the older sections of the country that the people of the
West would establish an independent republic. Even
General James Wilkinson, at that time head of the United
States army and governor of Upper Louisiana, was involved for a time in Burr's plot;12 but seeing that it was
doomed to failure, he withdrew and revealed the whole
scheme to President Jefferson. Mr. Roosevelt maintains
that the significance of Burr's conspiracy is due to the
fact that it was one of several similar escapades which
indicated a general tendency on the part of the frontiersmen at that time to found a western republic.    Indeed,
w Roosevelt, Winning of the West, part vi, pp. 208-209.
But see for a juster view of Jefferson, Bruce, Romance of
American Expansion, pp. 24-50.
11 Ibid., part vi, p. 211.
12 Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, vol.
vii, p. 595, 596.
Sam Houston a little later did form an independent republic out of that portion of Mexico called Texas.
This attitude of the western frontiersmen is explained
but not justified by the fact that Quincy and other opponents of expansion \tent so far as to threaten a dissolution
of the Union on their part on the ground that the contract
establishing the nation was being violated by the addition of so much territory in the West and South. These
known dangers and these serious conditions prevailing in
the Northeast and the Southwest led even General Jackson
in 1825 to express the opinion that our safety as a republic
lay in a compact territory and a dense population. Also
Senator Benton in 1825, despite his hatred of Great
Britain and his larger knowledge and greater appreciation
of the West, in view of the danger threatening a republic
extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, said in one of
his speeches: "The ridge of the Rocky Mountains may be
named as the convenient, natural, and everlasting barrier.
Along this ridge the western limits of the republic should
be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus
should be erected on its highest peak, never to be thrown
down." Fortunately, Senator Benton later outgrew this
narrow conception of the boundaries of the United States.
Here, then, were the two fundamental considerations which
determined American policy on the Pacific Coast during
the first third of the nineteenth century: first, an entire
and inevitable ignorance of the value of the country north
of the 49th parallel of latitude or even of the 45th; second,
a grave fear that the republic would fall to pieces of its
own weight if extended over boundless stretches of territory and made up of sections with diverse and conflicting
But despite the lack of knowledge by American statesmen of the fine climate and the natural value of the Northwest Coast, the United States government was not so negligent of this western territory as some advocates of the
missionary claim to the preservation of Oregon maintain.
The following summary shows that whatever the influences
which contributed to these actions, some statesmen were
far more active in regard to our Northwest boundary than
most writers upon the Oregon question have realized:
1. President Jefferson asked for an appropriation for
the Lewis and Clark expedition, which was granted, and
the expedition was sent in 1804-06 and explored these
northwestern regions as far as the Pacific Coast.
2. In 1814 the government published a partial report
of the Lewis and Clark expedition which awakened interest
in the Oregon question.
3. At the Convention of 1818, as already noted, our
government proposed that the 49th parallel be the boundary line from the Lake of the Woods to the Pacific Ocean.
4. December 19, 1820, Congressman Floyd, of Virginia,
made the first motion in the House for a committee of
inquiry into "the expediency of occupying the Columbia
River and the territory of the United States adjacent
thereto." The motion prevailed, and Floyd, Metcalf of
Kentucky, and Swearingen of Virginia were appointed.
5. January 25, 1821, Floyd's committee reported, reviewing the history of the discovery of the northwest
Pacific Coast, maintaining the validity of the United
States's title to sovereignty, the value of the coast for
trade, the possibilities of trade with China, and presenting
a bill to occupy the territory, extinguish the Indian title,
and establish a stable government.    The bill passed the
second reading, was referred to the Committee of the
Whole, and held over to December 10, 1821, when a second
committee, consisting of Floyd, Baylies of Massachusetts,
and Scott of Missouri, was appointed.
6. January 18, 1822, the second committee reported a
bill similar to the first one. The bill passed the second
reading and came up for discussion in the second session
of Congress for 1822. On December 17, 1822, Floyd made
the first Congressional speech on the Oregon question,
which is reported to have fallen flat on the members.
Then "Baylies spoke, showing the value of the fish and
lumber trade and advocated the establishment of an American colony. A general debate followed and the bill was
lost by a vote of one hundred to sixty-one.
7. At the next session of Congress, in 1823, another
committee of seven was appointed with Floyd as chairman.
January 19, 1824, a bill was introduced authorizing the
erection of a territorial government and granting a section
of land to each head of a household who settled in the
Oregon territory. This bill, after discussion at intervals,
passed the House December 23, 1824, by a vote of one
hundred and thirteen to fifty-seven, and was sent to the
Senate February 25, 1825, where it was tabled after discussion.
8. In 1824 the United States concluded a treaty with
Russia fixing the southern limit of all claims by her as
against the United States at 54° 40'; before this treaty
Russia had claimed the territory as far south as 51 °.
9. The United States offered the 49th parallel again in
1824, but the offer was rejected.
10. In 1826 our government again proposed the 49th
parallel as the boundary line; again rejected.
11. Great Britain having rejected our offer, an agreement for joint occupation of the territory for an indeterminate time was renewed August 6, 1827. Indeterminate
occupation was by this agreement accompanied by the
provision that joint occupation could be terminated by
either party giving one year's notice.
12. In August, 1831, Edward Livingston, secretary of
state, directed Martin Van Buren, our minister to Great
Britain, to open a discussion with a view of settling the
Oregon question.   Nothing of importance came from this.
13. In response to information which Lee sent back to
Washington in 1834-35, and especially to representations
made by Hall J. Kelley, Mr. William J. Slacum, connected
with our naval service, was sent by the government to
visit the Columbia River region. Slacum arrived December 22, 1835, in the brig Loriot. During his five or six
weeks' stay he spent most of the time with Jason Lee in
the Willamette Valley. With Lee's aid he compiled the
names of all the white settlers in the valley. Lee wrote
a petition for the establishment of a territorial government for Oregon by the United States, and Slacum went
with Lee and helped secure the signatures of the ex-
employees of the Hudson's Bay Company to the petition
by assuring them that the government would recognize
and validate their titles to their farms. Slacum carried
this petition back and presented it to Congress in 1837.
On information largely furnished by Lee, Mr. Slacum
prepared a very favorable report of the extent and value
of the country.13   Mr. Slacum also encouraged the organ-
18 See Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs ... in
Relation to the Territory of the United States beyond the
Rocky Mountains.
ization of the Willamette Cattle Company, invested some
money for himself through Lee, loaned Lee money to
invest for the Methodist Mission in the Company, and
carried Ewing Young, P. L. Edwards, and the employees
of the Company in his brig to San Francisco without
charge save for food. Slacum's report helped to create
public sentiment, and especially to awaken senators and
representatives to the value and importance of the country.
The facts which Lee provided in earlier letters and in
Slacum's report in regard to the climate and the extent
of the fertile lands of Oregon were a revelation to Congress
and did much to shape its subsequent action in regard to
14. February 7, 1838, Senator Linn, of Missouri, introduced a bill for the occupation of the Columbia River by
a military force, for the establishment of a port of entry,
and the extension of the revenue laws of the United States
to the Oregon Country. In his speech he showed the vast
sources of wealth in that country awaiting development
under the protection of our government. The bill was
referred to a select committee of which Linn was chairman
and an elaborate report was presented to the Senate on
June 6. Despite the efforts of Benton and Linn, the bill
failed to pass the Senate.
15. December 11, 1838, Linn presented a second bill for
the occupation of Oregon and the protection of the citizens of the United States residing there. Fearing that
the success of this measure would work to our disadvantage
in negotiations pending with Great Britain, the bill was
finally referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations;
but Hive thousand copies of the bill and of information
relating to Oregon were printed for public distribution.
16. Early in 1839 a resolution was being considered
by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for the
occupation of Oregon. The Committee did not recommend the establishment of a territorial government because
they were "anxious to observe the letter and spirit of the
treaties between the United States and Great Britain."14
The report was accompanied by communications from the
secretary of war and the secretary of the navy, Lee's letter
to Cushing and the memorial which Lee brought from
Oregon, Slacum's report, memoirs from Wyeth and Kelley,
a letter from the secretary of the Oregon Provisional Emigration Society, organized at Lynn, Massachusetts, through
letters by Cyrus Shepard and the personal influence of
Lee. Ten thousand copies of this report with its illuminating documents were printed and spread broadcast,
and they contributed largely to the emigration to Oregon.
17. December 18, 1839, Linn called the attention of
the Senate to a series of resolutions relating to Oregon
which were referred to Linn's committee. The committee
offered March 31, 1840, a substitute bill asserting the title
of the United States to Oregon, authorizing the President
to take necessary measures for the protection of persons
and property of the United States residing in that territory, and granting each white male inhabitant of the
territory over eighteen years of age, one thousand acres
of land. Bancroft speaks of this liberal grant of land
being the chief feature of the bill and as being the suggestion of Jason Lee.15 This bill of 1839, with its provisions for a grant of one thousand acres of land to each
male inhabitant eighteen jea,T& old, perhaps more than
"Quoted by Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 373.
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 374.
any other single cause created the emigrations to Oregon
of 1841-43. Ip
18. In 1838 the government, influenced by these reportsj
sent out an exploring expedition to the Pacific Ocean. The
squadron consisted of two sloops of war, a brig, a ship,
and two tenders, under the command of Lieutenant Charles
Wilkes, who during the Civil War startled the South, the
United States, and Great Britain, by seizing Mason and
Slidell on the British mailship Trent. The company consisted, in addition to the members of the navy, of several
naturalists and botanists, a mineralogist, taxidermist,
philologist, etc., and the cruise occupied four years.16 It
made a thorough exploration of the Northwest Coast and
of the Columbia River region; and the report added largely
to the scientific knowledge of the regions visited. It is
interesting in this connection to note that the Rev. Dr.
Richmond, of Nisqually, and Captain Wilkes celebrated
the Fourth of July at the Nisqually Mission in 1841, at
which the Hudson's Bay Company's officers, the missionaries, the ships' officers, one hundred marines, and four
hundred Indians constituted the audience. The Declaration of Independence was read by a sergeant of marines,
the Scripture by Captain Wilkes, the prayer was offered
by Dr. Richmond, the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "My
Country, 'Tis of Thee," were sung under the lead of the
marines, and the oration was delivered by Dr. Richmond,
in which he uttered the sentence: "The whole of this
magnificent region of country, so rich in the bounties of
nature, is destined to become a part of the American republic." Dr. McLoughlin was expected to attend the
celebration.   Perhaps it was just as well for his peace of
"Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 398.
mind that he did not reach the Fort in time to attend the
first celebration of Independence Day ever held west of
the Rocky Mountains on territory which he confidently
claimed for the British government.17
19. In 1839, while Lee was still in the East securing
recruits for Oregon, the Rev. David Leslie prepared an
important petition or memorial to the government signed
by himself and some seventy others, setting forth the
great value of the country and the necessity for the immediate extension of the authority of the United States.
This was the third petition for the extension of the rau-
thority of the United States over Oregon—all of them
framed and forwarded by the Methodists. Through the
general information now reaching Washington, of which
the letters and representations of Lee and the petition of
the settlers were a part, the government in 1842 sent
Lieutenant John 0. Fremont to select sites for military
posts from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains.
It was on this tour that Fremont explored the South Pass
—the eastern gateway of the Rocky Mountains—and in
1843 visited the Pacific Coast, where he was the guest of
the Methodist missionaries at The Dalles. Fremont made
a report which was of much scientific value and doubtless
helped the administration to stand firm for the 49th
parallel in the treaty of 1846, although the report was
not published in time to help in the campaign of 1844.
20. December 7, 1841, the President and secretary of
war recommended the establishment of military posts as
"Wilkes* Narrative embraces three volumes. Our sketch
is a brief summary of Chapter XL of Clarke's Pioneer Days
of Oregon History. The account of the celebration is from
Atwood, The Conquerors, pp. 118, 119.
far west as the Rocky Mountains. In accordance with
this recommendation, but advancing beyond the President's recommendation, Senator Linn introduced a bill
December 16, 1841, for the occupation and settlement of
Oregon and a grant of six hundred and forty acres of
land to every white male inhabitant eighteen years or over
who should cultivate the land for five years. This provision was along the line of Jason Lee's recommendation
to Caleb Cushing, and with his recommendation embodied
in Linn's bill of 1840; it kept alive the expectation of a
land grant to every emigrant to Oregon and thus encouraged the emigrations of 1842 and 1843. The bill also provided for the extension of the civil and criminal jurisdiction of Iowa over all the territory west of the Missouri
River and east of the Rocky Mountains from the northern
boundary of Texas, and also over all the country west of
the Rocky Mountains between latitude 42° and 49°, but
provided for the delivery of criminal British subjects to
the Canadian authorities. The arrival of Lord Ashburton,
the British plenipotentiary, led to the postponement of
the consideration of the bill in order that Mr. Webster
might be unembarrassed in his negotiations with Lord
Ashburton over the boundary line. The treaty framed by
Webster and Lord Ashburton disappointed the nation by
failing to touch the Oregon question. Resolutions from
the assemblies of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri were sent
to Congress urging the immediate occupation of the country by the United States as far north as 49°. Petitions
from Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, New
Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and the "Mississippi Valley,"
poured into Congress calling for action. Senator Linn
now pressed his bill with great ardor, and the debate en-
listed the best talent of the Senate—Benton, Buchanan,
Linn, Phelps, Sevier, Walker, and Young favoring it,
and Archer, Berrien, Calhoun, Choate, Crittenden, and
McDuffie opposing it. It finally passed the Senate February 3, 1843, by a vote of twenty-four to twenty-two, but
failed in the House.18
21. In 1842 President Tyler appointed Dr. Elijah
White, sub-Indian agent for the country west of the Rocky
Mountains. This was the first attempt of the government
at Washington to establish civil authority west of the
Eocky Mountains, although British authority had been
extended over British subjects and Indians as early as
1821. f||||p   ■ ppf ■ §|     ||
22. Meantime the failure of the Webster-Ashburton
treaty to include the settlement of the Oregon question
led Great Britain to instruct her minister to the United
States, Mr. H. S. Fox, to bring up the question for friendly
adjustment. President Tyler in his message to Congress
of December, 1843, gave the impression that the United
States was forcing Great Britain to action, whereas Lord
Aberdeen observed, "It would have been more candid had
he stated that he had already received from the British
government a pressing overture, . . . and that he had
responded to the overture in the same conciliatory spirit
in which it was made."19
23. This brings us to a remarkable and little known
episode in the history of our country. In 1842 President
Tyler and his secretary of state, Daniel Webster, formu-
18 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 378-380. See p. 380,
19 Smith, England and America After Independence, pp.
290, 291.
lated a plan for the settlement of the Oregon question by
the United States's acceptance of the Columbia River as
the boundary in return for Great Britain's consent to
Mexico's surrender to the United States of all her territory from the 42d parallel down to 36° 30'; and also
to Mexico's release of all claims on Texas, which had
established its independence. Lyon G. Tyler, son of President. Tyler, his official secretary at this time and his
authoritative biographer, thus writes: "Even as early as
the special mission of Lord Ashburton the question had
been put, whether if Mexico would concede six degrees
south of our boundary of forty-two degrees across the
continent, so as to include the ports of San Francisco and
Monterey, England would make any objection to it, and
Lord Ashburton thought she would not."20 The plan, or,
as it deserves to be called, the plot, is narrated at length
in the biography, but L. G. Tyler thus sums up the matter
in the Magazine of American History: "The policy of
the administration was to use Oregon as the handmaid to
California and Texas. . . . Writing to Webster, the President discloses the scheme of a tripartite treaty between
the United States, Great Britain, and Mexico, whereby
Great Britain was to have the line of the Columbia River,
we surrendering most of Washington Territory, the northern half of what was then Oregon, and taking in exchange
the much greater and more fertile equivalent of California,
down to 36° 30'. At the same time the independence of
Texas was to be recognized by Mexico. Such a treaty
would satisfy all sections of the Union. Texas would
reconcile all to California, and California to the line pro-
80 Tyler, Letters and Times of the Tylers, vol. ii, p. 260.
posed for Oregon. As Mexico was at the time a mere
colony of Great Britain and largely in debt to her capitalists, the assent of Great Britain was all that was necessary to the treaty, and this the latter was desirous, nay,
anxious to give. To accomplish this policy the President
contemplated sending Webster to England on a special
mission, but the subject halted before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Congress expired before
taking action on the mission. The sole cause of failure
lay with Congress, which was as impotent a body of men
at this period, consuming the hours in shameless invectives
against the President and his secretary of state, and resorting to every endeavor to embarrass the government."21
Webster was anxious to avoid a war with Great Britain
over the Oregon boundary because he knew that such a
war would destroy New England shipping and fall with
great severity upon his constituents. Besides, while Webster was provincial in his attitude toward the West, he
did not share American animosities against Great Britain,
but had a just appreciation of her institutions. Unfortunately, this was not the first or the last time in history
that strong nations have tried to profit by mutually despoiling a weak nation. The whole plot is fully confirmed
by John Quincy Adams's Memoirs.22 Owing to the pressure of the Massachusetts Whigs,23 who had renounced
Tyler and desired Webster to run as the Whig candidate
for the presidency, and possibly to Webster's uneasiness
of conscience over a proposed compromise which would do
21 The Magazine of American History, vol. xi, pp. 168-169.
"Adams, Memoirs, vol. xi, pp. 327, 340, 347, 351, 355.
23 Wilson, The Presidents of the United States, pp. 207-209
(Sketch of Tyler by John Fiske).
a grave injustice to Mexico and would give the South the
immense region of Texas for the spread of slavery, Webster resigned from Tyler's Cabinet May 8, 1843, and was
succeeded by Abel P. Upshur June 24, 1843, Hugh S.
Legare and William S. Derrick having filled the office in
the interim.
The next point which is clear is that between the failure
of Tyler's compromise, March 3, 1843, and October 9,
1843, Tyler changed his mind. On the latter date he;
directed Upshur to write Edward Everett, our minister to
Great Britain, as follows: "The offer of the forty-ninth
parallel of latitude, although it has been once rejected,
may be again tendered, together with the right of navigating the Columbia River upon equitable terms; beyond
this the President is not prepared to go."24 L. G. Tyler
as quoted above claims that the compromise failed through
the failure of Congress to act upon his father's plan before its adjournment March 3, 1843. But Adams's
Memoirs show that Webster was still active on the compromise and approached General Almonte on it about April
1, 1843.25 May 16, 1843, is the latest date at which we
can find traces of compromise activities.
While Lyon G. Tyler's statement that Mexico was at
that time a mere colony of Great Britain is very inaccurate, it is true that Great Britain opposed the alienation of any land by Mexico on the ground that the Mexican government and people owed British citizens large
sums of money. It is quite possible also that British
statesmen, as well as Americans, were still influenced by
the animosities of 1776 and 1812, and that British states-
24 Quoted by Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 197.
M Adams, Memoirs, vol. zi, pp. 340, 347, 351, 355.
men in general did not desire the enlargement of the territory of the United States. Although Texas revolted and
set up a republic in 1835, and achieved her independence
in the battle of San Jacinto that year, and was gradually
recognized by other governments, Great Britain denied
her recognition until 1842. It is true that from 1839 on,
Great Britain believed that both Texas and Mexico had
a better prospect of avoiding aggression by the United
States if they were united in the bonds of friendship rather
than at war; and she urged Mexico to recognize the independence of Texas and make a friendly alliance with her.
On November 13, 1840, a treaty recognizing the independence of Texas was signed by the British representative
in Texas;26 but as Mexico sturdily refused to concede
the loss of this great territory, Great Britain refused to
ratify this treaty. But Lyon G. Tyler says that his
father's proposal to Great Britain to yield to her the entire
Puget Sound region, which was made through Webster
and Lord Ashburton early in 1842, was favorably received.
It is possible that Great Britain's recognition of the independence of Texas, June 28, 1842,27 was a preparation for
her consent to the union of Texas with the United States.
Dunning mentions a fact which amply accounts for
Tyler's change of policy. He writes: "The first diplomatic
representative sent by Great Britain to Texas was an
ardent abolitionist, who began unofficial efforts to bring
about the emancipation of the slaves in Texas through
money loaned by Great Britain. ... In the course of 1843
Lord Aberdeen committed his government definitely to
28 Garrison, The American Nation, vol. xvii, p. 96.
27 Ibid., vol. xvii, p. 96.
the policy of promoting abolition in Texas."28 August 3,
1843, Upshur, our secretary of state, officially communicated that information to our charge d'affaires in Mexico.
Lord Aberdeen, hearing this report, sent a dispatch December 26, 1843, to the British minister at Washington,
contradicting the statement and declaring that England
had no intention of interfering with slavery in Texas, but
would leave that country free to make her own "unfettered
arrangements" concerning her own affairs.29 But Tyler
believed the report of his secret agent, and it was this
belief-which led to his abandonment of compromise in the
summer of 1843, and to his message to Congress in December, stating, "The United States have always contended
that their rights appertain to the entire region of country
. . . embraced within 42° and 54° 40' of north latitude."
Professor Garrison writes: "Putting all things together,
it seems certain that the information possessed by the
department of state at Washington in the summer of 1843
Was such as to lead to the conclusion that British influence
was working strongly in Texas, and that it was one aim
of Great Britain to secure the abolition of slavery in that
republic. Tyler and Upshur therefore decided to forestall such an event by concluding a treaty of annexation
with Texas. The negotiations, so far as they are recorded,
began October 16, 1843."80 Remembering that Tyler was
a Virginian, that while elected as a Whig he became a
Democrat and protected slavery, it is clear that the change
28 Dunning, The British Empire and the United States, pp.
29 Texas, State Historical Association Quarterly, vol. ix, pp.
29, 30.
*° Garrison, The American Nation, vol. xvii, p. 114.
102 f*
from his gracious attitude toward Great Britain in 1842
and his proposed compromise of 1842-43 to his reckless
claim in the December message of 1843 of the entire
coast up to 54° 40', was a blow in revenge aimed at Great
Britain for discouraging slavery in Texas. It may be
well to add that Calhoun, our secretary of state, received
Lord Aberdeen's official denial of interference in the internal affairs of Texas February 26, 1844, that the treaty
of annexation of Texas was made by Tyler and Calhoun
April 12, 1844, six weeks after the denial had been received; that April 19, 1844, seven weeks after the United
States had the official denial of the British government,
Calhoun instructed our charge d'affaires in Mexico to
explain to the Mexican government our motives in the
annexation of Texas by stating "that the step had been
forced on the government of the United States in self-
defense in consequence of the policy adopted by Great
Britain in reference to the abolition of slavery." Thompson's narrative of the annexation of Texas, speaking of
the reports of Great Britain's motives with regard to
slavery in that State, well says: "The knowledge of their
falsification could not be concealed from the Senate,
although they were successfully hidden from the country,
and when exposed to that body they were found to be so
unjust to Great Britain that in order to condemn them
as • emphatically as possible, it rejected the treaty by a
vote of more than two to one."31 This was the first treaty
of annexation.
24. Great Britain now recognized the dangers inherent
in the American attitude; and Richard Pakenham, who
31 Thompson, Recollections of Sixteen Presidents from Washington to Lincoln, vol. i, p. 229.
had succeeded H. S. Fox as minister, was able in August,
1844, to secure a conference on the boundary line. Great
Britain proposed the 49th parallel to the Columbia, then
down the Columbia to its mouth, with a free port for
the United States either on Vancouver Island or on the
mainland above the mouth of the Columbia but below
latitude 49.32 This proposal was promptly rejected by
our government.83
25. February 3, 1845, a bill in favor of establishing a
territorial government in Oregon passed the House by a
vote of one hundred and forty to fifty-nine, but being
postponed when on the point of-a vote, failed in the Senate
through lack of time.
26. July 12, 1845, President Polk, through Buchanan,
his secretary of state, despite the campaign cry on which
he was elected, but in view of the actions of his predecessors, again offered the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, but it was promptly rejected
by Mr. Pakenham on July 29 without referring it to his
government.84 This gave great offense to the American
people and again started the cry, "Fifty-four Forty or
Fight." December 2, 1845, Polk in his message to Congress favored inferentially 54° 40', and suggested that the
authority of the United States be extended over all our
citizens in Oregon and that the President be given authority to give the year's notice for the termination of
joint occupation.35 Both houses of Congress after prolonged debate voted authorizing the President to give the
M Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 383.
83 Smith, England and America After Independence, p. 291.
"Johnson, America's Foreign Relations, vol. ii, p. 422.
85 Ibid., voL ii, p. 422.
notice, and it was given May 22, 1846. On June 6 a
proposal arrived from the British government offering the
49th parallel as the boundary line.
But the settlement was by no means effected by this
late concession of Great Britain. "So strong was the
'fifty-four forty' sentiment in the Senate that it was questionable whether a treaty constituting the forty-ninth
parallel as the boundary would be ratified. ... In his
dilemma Polk turned to the one man who, he felt, could
save the day for him and for Oregon—Benton, of Missouri. Already one of the most abused statesmen in the
country by reason of the bravery and honesty with which
he denied the right of the United States to any part of
Oregon north of the forty-ninth parallel, Benton cheerfully accepted the added burden laid upon him. His
counsel to Polk was to fall back upon an obsolete custom
and request the Senate to give him, as President, its advice
upon the terms of the treaty to be negotiated. . . . Eagerly
Polk clutched at this straw. But, he nervously asked,
would the Senate take the desired action, a two-thirds vote
being requisite? Benton engaged that it would, and, to
make good his pledge, saw personally every Senatorial member of the opposition party—the Whig party—and secured
the promise of sufficient votes to carry the day over those
Democrats who, like Cass and Hannegan, would have all of
Oregon or none."
"June 10, 1846, the 'advice' was asked. It was an
anxious moment for both Polk and Benton, facing a
torrent of angry invective and denounced as traitors to
their party and their country. For two days the storm
raged, and then, the Whigs faithfully falling into line, by
thirty-seven votes to twelve the President's wishes were
met in a terse, businesslike resolution. Three days afterward the treaty itself was signed by the Secretary of State
and the British Minister, and in another two days the
Senate ratified it by an increased vote on each side—forty-
one in favor of, and fourteen opposed to, ratification. In
such wise, nearly thirty years after he had uttered his first
protest against the presence of the British in the pleasant
lands about the Columbia River, did Thomas Hart Benton
triumph in the cause he had so stoutly advocated."36
This review of the activity of our government shows
that^he United States, however slow, played an important
part in the preservation of the most valuable portion
of the Oregon Country. But this conviction does not call
for any denial of the value and the providential character
of missionary work, any more than the conviction that
the American colonies eventually would have won their
independence had Washington never been born calls for
any denial of the greatness and providential character of
his service.
Moreover, we must bear in mind that popular governments are moved by wide, deep currents of popular feeling, which, though sometimes unrecognized by contemporaries and sometimes confused with temporary eddies,
nevertheless in the end control the national life. Two
such currents swayed the nation between the close of the
Revolution and 1850. For the first forty years the founders and leaders of the republic were impressed and almost
overawed by the greatness of their task; and they were
willing to limit the republic in area for the sake of greater
unity in its aims and stronger prospects for its continu-
36 Bruce, Romance of American Expansion, pp. 134-135.
ance. But Anglo-Saxon land hunger and the confusion
of greatness with bigness found expression as early as
1803 in the purchase of Louisiana by Jefferson, a strict
constructionist, and of Florida in 1819. This impulse
grew stronger and stronger, and even against the strength
of the earlier current it triumphed in the annexation of
Texas in 1845, in securing the larger portion of the Oregon
Country in 1846, and in the conquest of the northern
portion of Mexico in 1848. On the whole, it was this deep
undercurrent of expansion beginning as early as 1803
and sweeping the country from 1844-1848 which saved the
Puget Sound region to the United States.
Before turning from the government's services in behalf
of the Oregon Territory, it is not amiss to correct the
impression of her total neglect of the Indians. The transformation of the Indians from savage to civilized life
through conversion and education was the only possible
solution of their problem. The United States as a government could not take part in the evangelization of the
Indians. But the United States government did take part
in their education. She spent $4,391,000 in 1911, and
she is spending substantially that amount each year for
their education. As only 73,464 were eligible for school
attendance in 1913,37 this appropriation gives over fifty-
nine dollars annually for each Indian pupil—the largest
appropriation made by any nation for the education of
her youth. For the education of the Indians from 1876-
1913 inclusive, the United States government spent $84,-
985,000.38 Moreover, we should remember that the United
87 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1913,
p. 181.
88 Ibid., p. 154.
107 mm
States for all purposes, is spending over $16,000,000 a year
for her Indian wards; and she has spent from 1789 to
1916 on account of the Indian people, $598,701,294.8»
The United States government deserves the credit of taking, after long hesitancy and much discussion, the just,
wise, and successful course in her struggle with Great
Britain and of at last adopting a humane and generous
policy in dealing with the Indians.
The World Almanac, 1917, p. 519, note.
108 BMb
"This gradual and continuous progress of the European
race toward the Rocky Mountains has the solemnity of a
providential event. It is like a deluge of men rising un-
abatedly and daily driven onward by the hand of God"
It is impossible to portray the services of all the early
settlers in the Oregon Country who contributed to the
solution of our problem. As the lives of an unusual proportion of these actors in the drama ended in tragedy, let
us begin with one who, cherishing an unrealized ideal,
never set foot in Oregon.
Jonathan Carver was born in Connecticut before the
Revolutionary War, and was consequently a subject of
Great Britain. He served the mother country in the
French war which resulted in the acquisition of Canada.
His ideal was, in his own language, "to ascertain the
breadth of the vast continent which extends from the
Atlantic to the Pacific. . . Z'1 He got no farther on his
westward journey than the headwaters of the Mississippi,
which he reached in 1766. He spent two years with the
Indian tribes of this region, and says, "From these nations
and my own observations, I have learned that the four
1 Quoted by Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 313.
most capital rivers on the continent of North America,
viz., the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the River Bourbon
—Red River of the North, and the Oregon, . . . have
their sources in the same neighborhood. The waters of
the three former are within thirty miles of each other;
the latter, however, is rather farther west."2 Credit
Jonathan Carver with contributing the name of the vast
region whose settlement we discuss, for this is the first
mention in books of the word "Oregon."
Among the intellectual children of Jonathan Carver
were. John Ledyard and Hall J. Kelley, each of whom was
as odd and inexplicable as himself. John Ledyard was
born at Groton, Connecticut, in 1751. His father dying,
his mother in 1772 sent him to Dartmouth College to prepare for missionary work among the Indians. He was a
quaint, gentle, humane, humorous fellow, who undertook
study only to be passed by one professor to another; business only to fail; fell in love, only to be sent wandering
over the earth. He had a passion for travel, as Thoreau
for nature. Once he took a canoe which he had built in
Vermont and floated down the Connecticut with a Greek
Testament as a companion. Studying the book, he nearly
floated over Bellows Falls. After some months on Long
Island he made a voyage to Gibraltar and back, then went
to England as a sailor, and in July, 1776, entered the
British service under Captain Cook for Cook's third voyage
to the South Sea. On this voyage Captain Cook discovered
New Zealand and later the Sandwich Islands. Then Cook
sailed to the northwest coast of America, then through
Bering's Strait and made the important discovery that the
Quoted by Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 314.
supposed Northwest Passage did not exist, returned to the
Sandwich Islands, and was killed. The ship, with Ledyard, again proceeded north for fur9, which were sold at
Canton for a fabulous price; the ship returned to London
in October, 1780. The British government was deeply
disappointed over the discovery that there was no Northwest Passage, but published the records of the voyage,
including Ledyard's notes, in 1784-85. Ledyard left the
British service when they attempted to force him into the
conflict between Great Britain and the colonies and returned to Long Island in December, 1782. He soon attempted to interest Americans in commercial enterprises
on the Northwest Coast, but not meeting with success he
sailed for Europe and finally reached Paris, where Louis
XVI was led by his statements to plan an expedition to
the Northwest Coast under La Perouse. Jared Sparks,
Ledyard's biographer, says he was the first either in Europe or America to suggest a commercial voyage to the
Northwest Coast for trade in furs with China.3 While in
Paris Ledyard met Thomas Jefferson and talked over his
plans with him, thus awakening the interest which led
to the expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804-06, after
Jefferson had come to the presidency; so far as can be
learned, it was these conversations with Jefferson, and
especially Ledyard's history of his travels with Captain
Cook, published in the summer of 1783, which helped call
Jefferson's attention to the possible value of the Northwest Coast and led to his letter to George Rogers Clark
of December 4, 1783, in which he asked whether Clark
would be willing to lead a party for exploring the country
Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 69.
from the Mississippi to California.4 It was George Roger
Clark's brother, William, who, with Captain Meriwether
Lewis, twenty years later made the tour of exploration.
Ledyard, with every enterprise with which he was connected failing, and dying of African fever while seeking
the headwaters of the Nile, fittingly ends his career in
tragedy. Yet, he awakened the great French navigator,
La Perouse, to the value of the Northwest Coast and furnished the political idealist, Jefferson, the information and
inspiration which enabled him largely to shape the destiny
of the nation.5
We find Captain Robert Gray discovering and naming
the Columbia River in 1792, the three hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America. Credit another
American with the greatest discovery of the Northwest
The Missouri Fur Company was founded in 1802 and
established the first American settlement west of the Rocky
Mountains at Fort Henry on the headwaters of the
Snake River in 1809. But this post was abandoned in
1810 on account of the hostility of the Indians.6
William Weir and nine more Americans trapped down
the Columbia River in 1809; they were the first American
group to winter on its lower waters.
Captain Winship, a new Englander, built and occupied
the first permanent residence on the Columbia River in
* Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, p. 113. See also Bruce,
Romance of American Expansion, pp. 30-36, for the view that
Jefferson already was an expansionist when Ledyard met him
in Paris.
•Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 63-80.    eEells, Marcus Whitman, p. 145.
Wilson P. Hunt, in the employment of Mr. Astor,
started with some sixty men across the continent, reached
the mouth of the Columbia River in 1811 with about one
half of them and founded the town of Astoria in 1812.
The death or falling out of the ranks of nearly one half
of Hunt's company reveals the tragic struggle through
which these heroes of the continent passed. It has been
asserted that two fifths of all the men engaged in the fur
trade west of the Missouri lost their lives; though it should
be added that this large fatality was not wholly due to the
inherent hardships of the trader's life, but in part to
alcohol and to lust.7 It should be further added that the
fur companies did not in any practical sense subdue the
wilderness, but they rendered invaluable service in exploring vast regions, ascertaining the routes for the
pioneers, and guiding them on their early journeys.
Hall J. Kelley8 was a graduate of Harvard, a Boston
schoolmaster, and a religious, political, and commercial
fanatic. He became impressed with the value of Oregon
from the report of Lewis and Clark published in 1814,
from some accounts of the Astor expedition, and possibly
from New England sailors who had sailed with Captain
Gray and others along the Pacific Coast. About 1815
Kelley began publishing articles in the newspapers on the
necessity of American occupation of the Northwest Coast.
In 1827 he issued under a title almost as long as the article
itself, "A General Circular to All Persons of Good Moral
Character Who Wish to Migrate to the Oregon Territory,
etc.   This tract indicated that a society already had been
'Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i, p. 83.
8 Ibid., vol. i, pp. 267-276; Lyman, History of Oregon, vol.
ill, pp. 71-82.
formed in Boston to promote the settlement of the Northwest Territory; but this society was originated by Kelley
and existed, as did most of his schemes, chiefly on paper.
Between 1830 and 1833 Kelley spent two or three winters
in Washington trying to influence legislation upon Oregon.
He bored congressmen and probably had little influence,
at least we can trace no congressional action to his personal initiation. He left for Oregon in 1833, but his
idiosyncrasies were such that all his party deserted him
at New Orleans. He, however, succeeded in making his
way to Oregon through California. The travel and exposure brought upon Kelley a very severe attack of malaria
and he owed much to the employees of the Hudson's Bay
Company. We are sorry to say that Kelley's egotism led
him to interpret this kindness as a bribe to silence on his
part. His vagaries made pioneer life impossible to him
and in a short time he returned East, praising the country,
furnishing some facts in regard to its possibilities, but
denouncing the tyranny of the Hudson's Bay Company.
After his return he lost his properly and his mind became
unsettled. He left his family and died as a hermit in
1874 at the age of eighty-three. His permanent contributions are the early stimulus which his writings gave to
the settlement of Oregon and the names "Adams" and
"Jefferson" which he gave to two peaks of the everlasting
hills which guard the riches of the land. Despite all his
vagaries and the unfortunate termination of his plans, a
desire to render justice to Kelley's unselfish efforts led
Bancroft to write of him: "On the other hand, among
those who laid the foundations of Oregon's present institutions, of Oregon's present society and prosperity, I should
mention first of all the Boston schoolmaster, the enthu-
siast, the schemer, Hall J. Kelley, though he never was a
settler in the country, though he remained there but a
short time, under inauspicious circumstances, and departed
without making any apparent mark. It was he who, more
than any other, by gathering information since 1815 and
spreading it before the people, kept alive an intelligent
interest in Oregon; . . .it was he, this fanatic, who
stimulated senators to speak for Oregon on the floor of
congress, and even shaped the presidential policy."9 Mrs.
Frances Fuller Victor also wrote of Kelley: "It is only
justice to agree with him that he set on foot by his writings the immigration movement to the shores of the
Pacific in all its forms, whether missionary, commercial
or colonizing."10 These estimates of Kelley's services
seem to us too high, though we sympathize with this lonely,
stricken man whose life, like the lives of his greater contemporaries, ended in tears which watered the seeds for
future harvests.
Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth's services in visiting the
lower portion of the Columbia River in 1832, in leading
a company of Americans, including the first Protestant
missionaries, as far as the western side of the Rocky Mountains in 1834, in founding Fort Hall in 1834-35, and his
defeat by the Hudson's Bay Company, already have been
described. He deserves honorable mention among the
Oregon pioneers for contributing in a practical manner
to the early settlement of the country.
John Ball.   Zion's Herald, of Boston, Massachusetts, in
9 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 67-68.
"Oregon Historical Quarterly, December, 1901.
Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 81.
its issue of December 18, 1833, reproduced an article from
the New York Observer under the caption, "Oregon Expedition." This article was evidently inspired by and
contained extracts from a letter by John Ball. The issue
of Zion's Herald for January 1, 1834, contains a second
article, consisting of a letter from John Ball again, reproduced from the New York Observer; and the Herald of
January 8, 1834, contains a third letter from Mr. Ball—
this time reproduced from the New York Commercial
Advertiser. The writer, who came out with Captain
Wyeth in 1832 and taught the half-breed school at Fort
Vancouver in 1833, gives graphic sketches of Oregon, its
soil, climate, possibilities, and its commercial and political
importance to the United States. Bancroft gives Mr. Ball
the unique distinction of being the first American farmer
in the Willamette Valley.11 As no other Americans settled near him and he disliked the Hudson's Bay Company,
he went on a whaling vessel to South America and eventually settled at Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Captain O'Neal. Probably influenced by Kelley's writings, Captain O'Neal, a Boston skipper, visited the Columbia about 1832 with the brig Llama, taking from New
England to the Columbia a large consignment of children's
toys and various interesting and useful contrivances which
greatly took the fancy of the Indians. Dr. McLoughlin,
for the protection of the Hudson's Bay Company, soon
found himself constrained to buy all that Captain O'Neal
had left of his cargo, then he bought his ship, and finally
hired the enterprising captain. Thus the Hudson's Bay
Company transformed another rival into  an employee,
u Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 75.
and Captain O'Neal remained in the service of the Company for thirty yeajs.12
Webley J. Hauxhurst was born on Long Island, New
York, received an excellent Christian training in a good
Quaker home, but, like many another young man, he was
seized with the "wanderlust" and strayed to California
and later went to Oregon with the Young and Kelley
party. The year after his arrival in Oregon he was
brought under conviction of sin by Lee's preaching and
by the earnestness of the Indian children's prayers, was
converted, joined the church, and remained a useful citizen of Oregon until his death. Being a millwright, he
erected for the Methodist Mission the first American grist
mill in Oregon and thus also made a practical and very
real contribution to the delivery of the Americans from the
Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly and to the advancement of the settlement in the Willamette Valley.
Dr. Elijah White's name and services should be recorded among the Oregon pioneers. He went out originally
as a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church; but
his character was not strong, and his obsequious manners
rendered him unpopular with the sturdy pioneers. He
fell into some misconduct with women, resigned under
charges, and returned East. But he brought back to the
East the latest information in regard to Oregon at a time
when national interest made such information of great
value. He said nothing of the charges against him or of
any difficulties with the settlers and the mission; he was
a physician, a man of intelligence, a good talker, and he
was enthusiastic  over  Oregon.    In  January,  1842,  he
"Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i, p. 199
visited New York and called upon Messrs. Fry and Farn-
ham, owners of the Lausanne, which had carried out the
Methodist party in 1839-40. They gave him letters to
President Tyler and Secretary of State Daniel Webster;
Dr. White went to Washington and secured the support of
Senator Linn, who was the warmest and wisest supporter
of Oregon in Congress, and also of J. C. Spencer, secretary
of war; Jason Lee had suggested to the President that
he appoint an Indian agent and governor for Oregon. Dr.
White's standing in Oregon being not known, and he being
an intelligent professional man, a good talker, and an
enthusiast over Oregon, President Tyler acted on Lee's
suggestion far enough to appoint Dr. White sub-Indian
agent at Saint Louis with authority 'beyond the Rocky
Mountains. Dr. White was greatly pleased with the appointment and at once announced that he would return
to Oregon under appointment by the government. This
announcement rallied to him all who contemplated going
to Oregon. By enthusiastic labor on his part he increased
the company and several men joined the party while on
the journey, notably Francis X, Matthieu. With his
knowledge of the country and with the aid of guides he
succeeded in reaching Oregon in October, 1842, with about
one hundred and twenty-five persons, fifty-two of whom
were men. As these recruits were absolutely essential to
carrying the measure for the provisional government in
1843, it will thus be seen that Dr. White rendered a great
service to Oregon. While he never secured real moral
leadership in Oregon, and the political leadership of the
Americans passed to the provisional government, so far
as we can learn, under the responsibilities of his office, he
strove actively for the welfare of the people.   Bancroft's
characterization of him as a sycophant, his statement that
the Western men disliked him for what they termed his
smooth-tongued duplicity, and the resolution of the Oregon
Legislature of 1845 that he was an unfit person to fill
any office in Oregon, amply justified Lee's request that
Dr. White surrender his credentials as a missionary. But
we accept Bancroft's final estimate of him: "Notwithstanding his faults, it cannot be said that he was ever an
enemy to good order or good government."13
Ewing Young reached Oregon in the summer of 1834
with six out of the nine men who started with him from
California. A group of horse thieves had joined their
party before they left California, but parted from them as
they crossed the Oregon border. The details were unknown, however, to Governor Figueroa, of California, and
he believed that the Young and Kelley group were the
guilty ones. A message to this effect was sent to Dr.
McLoughlin by the governor, and the Hudson's Bay Company refused to have anything to do with the supposed
horse thieves. But while Ewing Young and Hall J. Kelley
and the other members of the company were not guilty
of stealing horses, Clarke in his volumes published as late
as 1905 charges them with a far more serious crime. We
have no ground for challenging Clarke's statement, and
we deplore the stain which it leaves upon the memories
of two men who, despite vagaries and serious faults, rendered good service to Oregon. After the horse thieves
separated from the company of which Young and Kelley
were in charge, several members of the group, including
Kelley, suffered from malaria so seriously that they re-
18 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 487, note.
tired to an island in the Rogue River for recuperation.
They thought they were concealed from all observation
by the Indians, but one day they were visited by two
friendly Indians who remained several hours with them.
Seized with fear that these two Indians might be spies,
and that in any case they would report their illness, the
white men, after brief consultation killed the Indians,
concealed their bodies, and resumed their journey; they
soon passed beyond the territory of the murdered Indians
and so escaped punishment. Kelley speaks of the company lis having killed several California Indians who hung
upon their rear, and added that Young approved of the
murders, saying they were "d d villains, and ought to
be shot."14 Once in Oregon, Young, like Absalom, chafed
at neglect and entered into partnership with a member
of his party, Lawrence Carmichael, to start a distillery.
They secured one or two kettles and began their nefarious
business. Jason Lee at once organized the Oregon Temperance Society, wrote a petition in favor of temperance,
had it signed by every settler in the Willamette Valley,
called on Dr. McLoughlin—who had already established
prohibition by edict and had offered to establish Young
in some honorable enterprise—then wrote a friendly letter
to Young and Carmichael, setting forth the dangers of
liquor among the Indians and the whites, inclosing the
petition and urging them to abandon the distillery. Recognizing the expense they had already incurred, Lee offered
the sixty dollars which the signers to the petition had
subscribed for temperance work to repay Young and
Carmichael for their expenditures.    Young was deeply
Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. i, pp. 294-298.
impressed by the fairness and friendly spirit of Lee's
letter, by the petition couched in respectful terms and
signed by all the white settlers in the region, and especially
by the generous offer to refund already expended, and he promised Lee. that he would abandon the
enterprise, but declined with thanks the contributions. On
the other hand, Young declared: "McLoughlin's tyrannizing oppression and disdain were 'more than the feelings
of an American citizen could support,' and declared that
the innumerable difficulties placed in his way by the Company under McLoughlin's authority were the occasion of
his being driven to consider so objectionable a means of
obtaining a livelihood."15
But Young did much to redeem himself by helping
organize the Willamette Cattle Company and by his notable
service in connection with it. On the arrival of the Methodist missionaries in 1834 Jason Lee told Dr. McLoughlin
that he had driven two cows as far west as Fort Boise and
that he had left them there for use when he returned to
the Flathead Indians. When, on Dr. McLoughlin's advice,
Jason Lee decided to settle in the Willamette Valley, Dr.
McLoughlin traded him two cows for the cattle at Fort
Boise, and loaned him seven oxen, one bull, and eight
cows, with the provision that all the calves should be returned to the Company as soon as weaned, and that the
older cattle should be returned when the company called
for them. Dr. McLoughlin rendered a similar kindness
to other settlers; but in all cases under the strict orders
from the governor and the directors in London he refused
to sell any cattle to anyone.   This left all the American
18 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 99.
settlers in the Willamette Valley with only two cows and
these belonging to the Methodist Mission and not sufficient
to supply their wants. Young reported that cattle were
selling in California at three dollars per head; Jason Lee
offered Dr. McLoughlin $200 for a cow of the same breed
as those in California, but under strict orders from the
London directors Dr. McLoughlin declined the offer.
Young also reported that Russian ships coming down the
coast from their fur companies were paying one dollar and
fifty cents per bushel for wheat in California, whereas
the Willamette Valley farmers and the Hudson's Bay Company were in a struggle, the farmers holding five thousand
bushels of wheat in their granaries, because the Company
would pay them only fifty cents per bushel. Hence the settlers under the lead of the Methodists formed the Willamette Cattle Company. The company apparently took its
final shape after Mr. Slacum arrived with the brig Loriot
and offered to carry the managers of the company and
their employees to San Francisco without charge save for
food. As proof of his confidence in Jason Lee and in
order to encourage the company, Mr. Slacum offered Lee
$500 to invest in cattle. As neither Lee nor the Mission
at that time had any money, he accepted the loan in the
name of the Mission and the cattle which he secured in
return for the $500 became the property of the Mission.
Mr. Slacum also invested $175 in the company under
Lee's direction, which entitled him to twenty-three head
of cattle at seven dollars and sixty-seven cents per head,
and these in turn, with their increase, yielded Slacum four
years later $860.16    As Jason Lee had been impressed
M Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, voL i, p. 311.
with the honorable conduct of Young in giving up the
distillery without compensation, and was especially impressed with his practical ability, Young was made captain of the company, while P. L. Edwards, of the Mission,
was made treasurer. Dr. McLoughlin, who felt deeply
humiliated over the orders of the company in London and
perceived that the settlers would import the cattle without
the consent of the Hudson's Bay Company, offered to take
for the Hudson's Bay Company half the stock in the
Willamette Cattle Company. All the settlers combined,
invested $1,100 in the company. Mr. Slacum invested
$175; Lee invested $500 for the Methodists, and McLoughlin $900, according to Bancroft, though Daniel Lee
represents the total investment as $2,880.17 We are sorry
that in the references to the Oregon Cattle Company
Hines, Slacum, and Daniel Lee do not mention Dr. McLoughlin's subscription, for it is another illustration of
Dr. McLoughlin the man rising above the restrictions
of his company; but had not Bancroft rescued the fact
from Dr. McLoughlin's papers, the world would have remained ignorant of another illustration of McLoughlin's
strength of character. Jason Lee accompanied Young
and his company as far as the Columbia River and had
prayers with them aboard the vessel before they set sail;
and as he was leaving the ship, Mr. Slacum handed him
an envelope containing fifty dollars as a token of his high
esteem. It was due to Ewing Young's good judgment in
buying live stock, it was due to Young's knowledge of the
route, and to his courage, energy, and ability as a leader
that the company returned in the fall of 1836 with six
17 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 141-150.
hundred and thirty head of cattle, thus breaking forever
one of the greatest monopolies of the Hudson's Bay Company. Ewing Young deserves honorable mention as one
who helped to lay the foundations for independence and
wealth for the Americans in Oregon, but severe blame for
his sanction of the murder of two Indian guests.
Joseph Gale was a seaman, a mountain man, a free
trapper, an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company for
some years, and a settler in the Willamette Valley. Owing
to the shortage of live stock even after Young's trip to
California, and stimulated by the large profits of that trip
and the supply of ship timber in Oregon, there arose a
proposal in 1840 to build a schooner, sail her to San
Francisco, sell or trade her for live stock, and drive the
stock back to Oregon. John Canan, Ralph Kilbourne,
Pleasant Armstrong, Henry Woods, George Davis, and
Jacob Green formed a company and secured the promise
of Joseph Gale to join it as captain of the ship they purposed building when the work was so far advanced as to
assure its completion. Felix Hathaway, an excellent ship
carpenter, was hired to lay out, assist, and superintend
the building of the ship. The money and provisions of the
company failing when the ship was about half built, Hathaway quit its service, and Gale and Kilbourne finished
the schooner and launched her without accident. Dr. McLoughlin refused to sell the necessary furnishings for the
ship on the ground that Gale, the so-called captain, had
worked for him for years and, in Ms judgment, knew
nothing about a ship; he said that the men were simply
building themselves a coffin. Captain Wilkes, of the
United States navy, whom the government had sent on a
scientific expedition to the Oregon Country, told Dr. Mc-
Loughlin, somewhat sharply, that he had had a talk with
Gale and knew him to be an experienced seaman, and
asked that the goods be charged to Wilkes's account. Captain Wilkes then furnished Gale some questions and after
reading his answers licensed him to take charge of a ship.
Wilkes's license of Gale as a captain was as irregular as
Lee's appointment of Leslie as justice of the peace, but,
like Lee's appointment, it had necessity and the interests
of the country back of it, and was amply justified by the
results. Gale was accompanied by the other members of
the company with the exception of Davis and Woods; he
spent several days sailing up and down the Columbia training the men to handle the ship and teaching them to steer
by the compass. When he dropped down near the mouth
of the river the men became deadly seasick and begged
Gale to take them back, but he slipped over the bar without damage to the ship and pushed into the Pacific, where
he immediately encountered a severe storm. Captain Gale
personally stood at the helm for thirty-six hours while the
men, in fear of death, obeyed his commands according to
the best of their knowledge and ability. After a voyage
of five days Gale brought them safely to San Francisco,
September 17, 1842. He and his partners traded the ship
for three hundred and fifty head of cattle; and Gale wrote
a circular and sent it to several stations in California and
gathered forty-two men in all, with twelve hundred and
fifty head of cattle, six hundred head of horses, and nearly
three thousand sheep. The company started to Oregon
May 14, 1843, and on July 28, 1843, reached the Willamette Valley with slight loss of live stock and with neither
death nor accident befalling a single man on the trip.
It is one of the most daring adventures of daring American
adventurers recorded in history and ended in glory and
profit to all. Joseph Gale deserved his election as a member of the first executive committee of three to govern
Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, pp. 616-
The recognition of the services of the men who helped
save Oregon demands the portrayal of four more pioneers.
One of these men, Ebberts, is a fine combination of trapper, farmer, and public citizen. Two of them, Meek and
Drannan, remind us of Kit Carson and Daniel Boone,
while Thornton suggests what Abraham Lincoln might
have become had he gone to Oregon in the early days, as
once seemed probable.1 The services of these men were
of a half-political, half-military character. Ebberts, Meek,
and Thornton helped to awaken the East and lead Congress to act on the territorial organization of Oregon,
while Drannan as chief of the scouts helped bring the
Modoc war to a conclusion.
George W. Ebberts, called from boyhood "Squire"
Ebberts, was born in Kentucky in 1810. He came from
the land of Daniel Boone. His family was in good circumstances. He learned the machinist's trade, entered the
Eocky Mountains as a trapper in 1829, served six years
in the American Fur Company and three years in the
Hudson's Bay Company, and in 1838 worked during the
winter for the American Board mission tat Lapwai, as a
blacksmith. Probably while there he married his Nez
Perce wife, who held his affection to the last and proved,
^harnwood, Abraham Lincoln, p. 95.
like McLoughlin's Indian wife, a helpmate entirely worthy
of her white husband. The Hudson's Bay Company would
tolerate no competition in fur traffic; so Ebberts, after
crossing into the Willamette Valley in 1839, settled near
Champoeg, worked for the Methodists for a time, took
up land for himself and raised wheat and live stock,
and became a well-known citizen in good circumstances*
Though a poor shot, he was unrivaled in skill and courage
as a traveler and a trapper. He was the companion of
Meek in the dangerous journey across the continent in
the winter of 1847-48; was solemnly promised by Meek
that he should share equally in any compensation which
might be paid, received not a penny of the more than
$8,000 which Meek secured from Oregon and the United
States government, but gave eighteen months of his life
and $500 of his own money, and equally with Meek risked
his life in the service of Oregon and of the United States.
All honor to George W. Ebberts.
Joseph L. Meek was a Rocky Mountain hunter and
trapper who came with his Indian wife and children to
the Willamette Valley in 1840. Too poor to own a wagon
for himself, on this journey he drove a team for Robert
Newell from Fort Hall to Fort Walla Walla. This and
a second wagon owned by Newell and driven by himself
and a third Owned and driven by Caleb Wilkins were the
first three wagons ever driven from Fort Hall to Fort
Walla Walla. Meek was a tall, lithe man, of black eyes
and swarthy complexion, of boundless courage and great
powers of endurance, and intense patriotism. He was fond
of drink, but was converted at the first camp meeting
for white men, held by Jason Lee in Oregon in 1843. He
soon backslid and lapsed into his old habits, though his!
stronger and better nature frequently asserted itself. At
the convention of all the citizens of the Willamette Valley
held in 1843, when the vote for the provisional government was taken, the chairman, the Rev. Gustavus Hines,
after counting hands as best he could in the dense company, was forced to declare the motion lost. Before the
British had the wit to move an adjournment of the convention, Meek's stentorian voice rang out calling for a
division on the question and summoning all who favored
the United States to follow him to one side of the yard,
while those favoring the Hudson's Bay Company and
British rule remained on the other side. For perhaps a
minute the old trapper, Francis X. Matthieu, was seen
standing in the center of the yard talking earnestly with
a Canadian settler, who had been an employee of the
Hudson's Bay Company. They then passed over to the
American side; the count was again taken and the vote
was found to be fifty-two for provisional government and
fifty against; the Americans won by two votes.
November 29, 1847, the Whitman massacre occurred
and was followed by the Cayuse war. The Roman Catholic
mission was temporarily paralyzed, even the Hudson's
Bay Company was awed, and the life of the entire American community was hanging in the balance. It was of
vital importance to send news of the massacre and the war
to the government at Washington, and Governor Aber-
nethy paid Joseph Meek the rare compliment of selecting
him for this dangerous task. Governor Abernethy raised
what money he could toward the expenses of the journey,
Dr. Gary, then head of the Methodist Mission, advancing
$500. Immediately Meek asked for Ebberts as a companion, and Governor Abernethy, at Meek's request, gave
the latter a letter to Ebberts begging him to undertake
the perilous journey with Meek. While Ebberts lacked
Meek's dashing leadership, he was known to be a far saner
and more reliable man, who probably would have more
weight in the halls of Congress and better judgment in
meeting Indians where life and death were hanging in
the balance. Besides, Ebberts as a man of substance was
able to pay his own way to Washington, as Meek was not.
Meek lifted up his hand and placing it on his heart swore
in the presence of Mrs. Ebberts that if "Squire" Ebberts
would go with him, he should be treated as an equal and
that he should share with himself in any compensation
which either the Oregon settlers or the United States government might grant them., Ebberts accepted promptly
this appeal to his courage and his patriotism; and immediately the two brave men entered upon their task.
Their journey led directly through the country of the
Indians, who had already begun the war and who were
exceedingly anxious that no report of their massacre
should reach Washington. Meek and Ebberts left the
Willamette country January 4, 1848. They were obliged
to ride seven hundred miles farther than Whitman on his
famous journey because they were seven hundred miles
west of Whitman's station when they started. On reaching The Dalles they waited until nearly the close of January for Gilliam's troop as a guard. Gilliam accompanied
them with a regiment of men as far as Waiilatpu. Here
the party stopped and reburied the bodies of the Whitman
party which Father Brouillet and another white man had
covered lightly with earth, but which the wolves had dug
up and stripped to the bone. Meek reburied the skeleton
of his own daughter, which he recognized from the hair.
She had been in Mrs. Whitman's school and had been
killed with the rest of the victims. One hundred men
under Adjutant Wilcox accompanied Meek and Ebberts
as far as the Blue Mountains through the Cayuse Country.
From that point the Meek and Ebberts party consisted
of themselves, Owens, and four Americans returning to
the States. The snow was very deep and the weather very
cold, and two of the Americans dropped out at Fort Boise.
Here Meek adopted the red belt and the Canadian cap
of the Hudson's Bay Company employees. The Bannock
Indians, who were greatly stirred by the report of the
Cayuse war, saw Meek's party at a distance and at once
pursued them. But on drawing near and perceiving
Meek's cap and belt, they came up without firing. Meek
assured them that he was from the Hudson's Bay Company on the way to Fort Hall and that Captan McKay
was only a day's journey in the rear with a large body of
men, and goods for barter with them. On receiving this
news the Bannock chief ordered his braves to stand back
and permit Meek and his men to pass on. Meek reported the party of traders only a day's journey in the
rear in order to awaken the chief's desire for trade and
also to lead him to believe that if he murdered Meek and
his men, the massacre would be speedily discovered and
avenged. As Meek knew that his falsehood would soon be
discovered, he stopped at Fort Hall only for a meal and
then pushed on in a driving snowstorm so as to escape
the rage of the Bannocks. For two days the Ave men
struggled on in the snow on horseback, then made themselves snowshoes of willow withes and abandoned their
horses. They had only the food they could carry, slept in
their blankets out of doors, nearly perished, killed two
polecats which served as food for two or three days, and
on the headwaters of Bear River fell in with Pegleg
Smith, a famous mountaineer, who had lost a leg fighting
the Crow Indians. Smith and ten men were herding a
drove of cattle which were living on the tall grass not
wholly covered by snow. Smith killed a cow and made a
feast and a dance for them with some Indian women.
The next morning with what beef they could carry they
started from Bear River for the headwaters of Green
River, then, crossing Muddy Fork, on to Fort Bridger.
Here "Meek met Bridger, whose daughter had also been
at school at Dr. Whitman's and who also had been slain,
and whose bones Meek assured Bridger that he had reburied, thus greatly stirring Bridger's feelings. Hence,
Bridger, in order that Meek might aid to avenge their
common wrongs against the Cayuses, gave the travelers
his four mules and all the food they could carry. As there
were Ave men they took turns walking and now made more
speed, and in due time reached the South Pass. The snow
was very deep and two of the mules were lost in it, their
loss retarding the speed of the company. Besides, owing
to the deep snow, little game was to be seen, and the men
suffered much from cold and hunger as they journeyed
down the Sweetwater River to the Platte. At Red Buttes
they killed a single buffalo which had fallen out of some
herd and whose meat providentially kept them alive until
they reached the Platte. Here the traveling was better,
and they found game and thus reached a French trader
named Papillon. The Frenchman received them hospitably, and, stirred by Meek's story, furnished them
fresh mules and warned them against a body of hostile
Sioux at Ash Hollow, a hundred miles down the river.
They planned to pass the Sioux camp in the night, but,
owing to a blinding snowstorm, they ran into the Sioux
camp in the afternoon before they saw it. Providentially
another Frenchman named Le Beau, who was living with
the Sioux, saw the party first, preserved their lives, and
guided them safely through the camp. After bidding
farewell to Le Beau, they made a wide detour to throw
the Sioux off their track in case of pursuit. By hard
travel, with many hardships and through grave dangers,
the party reached Saint Joseph, Missouri, in a little over
two months from the time it started, as compared with
four months which Dr. Whitman spent on the Southern
route in 1842-43. Meek was soon out of money, having
spent it with a lavish hand. But a man in Saint Joseph,
to whom he brought a letter from his son, took Meek and
Ebberts in a carriage on to Independence, Missouri, where
Meek had a sister whom he had not seen for nineteen years.
A steamboat was just starting on its first spring trip to
Saint Louie, and the captain, on hearing Meek's story,
took him and Ebberts down the river without charge.
Meek had a wonderful story to tell; besides he was a
gifted liar, and had a positive genius for getting everything for nothing. He was a born actor, while his fertile
imagination gave hints of an uncouth and undeveloped
Mark Twain or Bret Harte. At the wharf in Saint Louis
Meek met a man named Campbell, whom he had known
in the Rocky Mountains, and told him a lurid story.
Campbell gave the story to the papers that night and the
next morning Meek awoke famous. The night of his
arrival at Saint Louis Meek telegraphed President Polk,
to whom he was known and, indeed, related, and soon
received an answer from the President bidding him come
at once to Washington. Two boats were starting the next
morning for Pittsburgh; Meek picked out the Declaration,
mounted the hurricane deck, and in stentorian tones announced the massacre, the heroic ride east, the summons
of the President to Washington, and displayed the telegram. He bade those going up the Ohio take the Declaration and he would tell them all the story. The Declaration
was crowded, and its rival ran up the river empty. As a
result, Meek and Ebberts had free transportation with
drinks thrown in. Meek and Ebberts reached Wheeling
afterihe stage had left for Cumberland, but Meek stretched
himself up to his full height of six feet two inches, and
announced himself in stentorian tones as "envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the republic of Oregon to the court of the United States." This,
with his letter from Governor Abernethy and his telegram
from President Polk and his marvelous stories, led the
manager to order another team at once and send the two
envoys on their way. On the train, when the conductor
called for tickets, Meek played the part of an Indian with
no knowledge of the language, but showed the letter and
telegram—and the conductor permitted them to ride without even the formality of a pass. At Washington Meek
went to the Coleman House, the most fashionable hotel
in the city. He at once attracted the notice of senators,
who paid him great attention. His remarkable stories,
his histrionic manners, and his telegram from President
Polk drew all eyes toward him. He demanded to be driven
to the President at once. The colored servant of President
Polk at the White House had known him in childhood,
and on recognizing him ushered him into the White House.
Meek was related to the President's family, and Knox EBBERTS, MEEK, DRANNAN, AND THORNTON
Walker, the President's secretary, also a relative, rushed
forward and saluted him as "Uncle Joe," and Meek called
him "Knox." He sent the secretary at once to the President, who came out of a conference and greeted him
cordially. After a few words by Meek the President dismissed the committee waiting upon him, gave Meek a
two-hours interview, then prepared a message and sent it
the very next day to Congress, calling urgently for relief
for Oregon.2 The message was sent to Congress May 29,
1848, and this gives us May 28 as the day of Meek's and
Ebberts's arrival, making the journey from January 4 only
four months and twenty-four days—the shortest journey
from Oregon to Washington on record at that time.
After remaining three weeks in Washington and discharging in full their task, Ebberts proposed that they
return home. But Meek had no thought of leaving so soon
his dear cousins at the White House. But he again
solemnly promised Ebberts to share with him any money
which the government might appropriate for expenses and
compensation. Ebberts started back to Oregon, and, on
account of being forced to work at times for wages in order
to complete his journey, was eighteen months on the trip
East and back, and the trip, as already narrated, cost him
$500 in addition to eighteen months' time. On account
of Meek's relationship to the secretary of the President,
and to the President himself, he was freely received at the
White House, and at the suggestion of social friends was
fitted out in a dress suit, and with his handsome appearance and gift of story-telling became the social lion of the
season.   Congress had been deeply impressed with Judge
2 Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vol.
vi, pp. 2434-2436.
Thornton and with the reliable statements of "Squire"
Ebberts. It voted $10,000 to cover the expenses of Thornton, Meek, and Ebberts and for the purpose of a few presents to the Indians; and it was understood that Thornton,
who must be absent about two years, was to have some
compensation for his services. The treasurer of the United
States on a certified bill of expenses paid Thornton $2,750
and gave Meek $7,250—and Ebberts and the Indians got
the balance! When Meek recovered from his indulgences
and returned to Oregon, he had nothing to divide with
Ebberts, and neither Ebberts nor his descendants have
received to this day compensation or expenses for one of
the most heroic rides in America. It is unnecessary to
add that neither Governor Abernethy nor the. Methodist
Mission ever received back the money they advanced
toward Meek's expenses. Nevertheless, we are forced to
admit that, with the wit and manners and braggadocio
of a Falstaff, Meek had great courage and common sense
and power of initiative; and on account of his acquaintance and Mnship with the President, no other man in
Oregon could have made this journey and secured government aid with equal speed and success.
Captain Drannan.3 This scout and hunter was born
on the Atlantic Ocean, January 30, 1832, of French parents on their way to the United States. His parents dying
in a plague, the child grew up until he was fifteen years
old under the care of a bachelor and was then adopted by
the famous hunter Kit Carson. May 3, 1847, at the age
of fifteen, he killed his first wild turkey and a little later
his first buffalo.    With his Uncle Kit, he met Indians
'Drannan, Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the
and in addition to French and English, soon learned
enough of the Chinook jargon to converse with them. As
this jargon originated with the missionaries and the trappers of Oregon, he was thus early brought into contact
with them.4 His Uncle Kit took him and a Mr. Hughes
into South Park to spend the winter in trapping. They
constructed a rude "dug-out" for their winter shelter.
Uncle Kit and Mr. Hughes then started back to the last
cache, twenty-one miles distant, for one hundred pounds
each of additional baggage, instructing the boy to kill a
young deer and prepare it for the late evening meal. While
hunting deer, young Drannan saw three Indians traveling
along the ridge in the direction of the dug-out. He had
heard his Uncle Kit tell of Indians robbing cabins, so
with a total lack of conscience, matched by an equal lack
of fear, the fifteen-year-old boy decided to kill the three
Indians. Crawling behind a log and taking careful aim,
he brought down the leader. The Indians fell to their
knees and carefully looked around. The wind blowing
from them and over the ridge on which the boy was lying
carried the smoke out of sight and he loaded his rifle, lying
on his back, as his Uncle Kit had taught him to do. When
the two Indians arose and were standing, bows and arrows
in their hands, looking for the enemy, he succeeded in
killing the second one, whereupon the third fled in great
terror. "I had never seen an Indian scalped, but had often
heard how it was done, so I pulled out my hunting-knife
and took their topknots and started for the dug-out, a
great hunter and Indian fighter in my own estimation."
As soon as the two men returned, the boy poured out his
4 Drannan,  Thirty-One Years  on the Plains  and  in  the
Mountains, p. 42.
story and showed his scalps, when Uncle Kit said, "My
boy, don't let me ever hear of your taking any such chances
again; not that I care for your Mllin' the Injuns, but
you took great chances of losing your own hair."5 A
little later, on meeting Fremont, the General asked whose
boy he was. "Uncle Kit replied that I was his boy, and
a first-class hunter and trapper, 'and he shoots Injuns'
purty well.' He then related the incident of my killing
the two Utes."6 § I
Again Drannan tells of Kit Carson, two other men, and
himself killing seven Utes who had stolen a band of horses
from the Arapahoe Indians, and each man receiving a
horse from the Arapahoes in return for their trouble and
risk. Mr. Drannan recognized good qualities in the Indians and tells of two Pima Indians who, with himself,
restored a white girl whom this tribe had captured. He
adds, "These two young Indians seemed to be as kind-
hearted persons as I have ever met."7 Captain Drannan
goes farther in his recognition of the good qualities of the
Indians, maintaining that General Ross broke faith with
the Indians and that Captain Jack, the Modoc chief, was
treated unjustly by the whites. "While I am no friend
to a hostile, I believe in giving even an Indian that which
is justly due him, and I must admit that all through this
Modoc War I could not help in a measure feeling sorry for
the Modocs, particularly Captain Jack, for I knew that
through the negligence of soldiers upon Lost River while
there catching fish to keep his own people from starving,
•Drannan, Thirty-One  Years on the Plains and  in the
Mountains, p. 61.
•Ibid., p. 68.
7 Ibid., p. 286.
he had been driven and dragged into this war, and I do
not believe to-day, nor ever did believe, that Captain Jack
ought to have been hanged."8 Despite this testimonial,
Captain Drannan captured Captain Jack and turned him
over to the white men to be hanged. His sympathy was
much like the sympathy which he might feel for a mother
wolf or bear which died defending its young.
That men of the intelligence and character of Kit
Carson and Captain Drannan, honest men, men who used
liquor only as a medicine, men who saw the good qualities
of the Indians, who believed in a Divine Providence and
in a future life, could show such utter lack of conscience
in regard to killing Indians as to mention with pride the
number that they killed, Captain Drannan's reaching more
than forty, shows the need and the difficulties of missionary labor in the Oregon Country. We could duplicate this
utterly pagan attitude toward the Indians by scores of
similar stories. This sketch of Captain Drannan is needed
to reveal the prevailing attitude of American pioneers that
"The only good Indian is a dead Indian." It shows the
absolute necessity of Lee and Whitman inducing Christian
families to settle in Oregon in order that there might be
at least a partially Christian environment in which the
Indians might be converted and civilized. At the same
time it reveals almost insuperable barriers in the way of
missionary labor among the Indians.
J. Q. Thornton. Service of a high type was rendered
the territory of Oregon at Washington by J. Q. Thornton.
Mr. Thornton came to Oregon in 1846, where his character
and abilities led almost immediately to his selection as
8 Drannan, Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the
Mountains, p. 587.
a judge of the Supreme Court. Before the massacre of
Dr. Whitman and the Cayuse war, the unsettled state of
the country, the increasing hostility of the Indians, the
disturbances by the Molallas, by the Walla Wallas9 at
Battle Creek and the Wascoes at The Dalles, the failure
of the government at Washington to recognize the provisional government of Oregon or to make any other provision for the control of the Oregon territory, save the
appointment of Dr. White, which was not regarded seriously by the Oregonians, led Governor Abernethy, at the
request of some leading citizens, and especially of Dr.
Whitman, to appoint Judge Thornton a delegate to Washington to secure favorable action for Oregon.10 As business was transacted by barter, there was no money in the
treasury of the provisional government. But the Rev.
George Gary, superintendent of the Methodist Missions,
gave the Judge a draft on the Missionary Society in New
York for $150, and Noyes Smith gave or loaned Judge
Thornton fifty barrels of flour with permission to sell the
flour at San Francisco and use the funds. In addition,
Governor Abernethy, M. M. McCarver, and Samuel Parker
jointly signed a note for $300 which was given to Thornton. Judge Thornton started by ship October 19, 1847,
and reached Boston May 14, 1848. When he arrived at
Washington he found that Mr. Ritchie, whose son had been
with Thornton in college, was editing the organ of the
administration; later Ritchie gave Thornton a very favorable notice in the paper.   Senators Benton and Stephen
•Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 301.
10 For the following account of Judge Thornton's services
I am indebted to Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol.
ii, chap. 62.
A. Douglas called upon him and promised aid, and Douglas introduced him to President Polk, who listened eagerly
to the news from Oregon. The news from the new government awakened public interest and admiration. "There
was an anomaly in the case of Oregon that commanded
the admiration of the world and secured for the representative of this region universal attention and respect. A
handful of Americans, who seemed animated as much by
patriotic as personal feeling, had taken their leave of
civilized life, and with their household penates, had crossed
the wilderness of the mid-continent to make homes on the
banks of the Oregon. Their presence had settled the
dispute as to boundary and had terminated the long period
of joint occupancy. The world read of this immigration
to the Pacific with almost reverence for the few who dared
so much and had reclaimed the beautiful region by the
Pacific, not only from savagery but from British rule and
occupation. The advent in Washington of one of these
greater than Argonauts, as a representative of his fellow
Oregonians, who had only reached the national capital
by half circumnavigating the entire world, the fact of a
growing community so remote from trade that they had
no money and had only actual barter and exchange of
products to depend on—all this cast a glamour of romance
over the much-voyaging representative of far-off Oregon,
and made his presence at Washington not only a welcome
event, but gave him influence and personal magnetism and
power that—most fortunately for Oregon—he proved himself wise enough to use to good advantage."11
Judge Thornton drafted a land bill giving a section of
11 Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, pp. 702,
land to the head of every family settling in Oregon and
setting aside two sections of every township for public
education. Congress on organizing the territories had
never granted more than one section of land in each township for the public schools. She had just refused the
request of Wisconsin Territory for two sections of each
township for schools, and in the same bill which provided
for the organization of the Oregon Territory the organization of the Territories of California and New Mexico was
included, but with no grant at all for public schools. Judge
Thornton secured from Calhoun a promise not to oppose
the school grant in the bill. Calhoun said he preferred
no free schools, and he did not support the bill as a whole
because Thornton had incorporated in the bill admitting
Oregon the famous anti-slavery clause found in the Ordinance of 1787. Thornton incorporated the clause because
it was in the constitution adopted by the provisional government and also embodied his own convictions. The
slavery interests approached Thornton with the promise
of unanimous support for the Oregon Bill if Thornton
would leave out the clause forbidding slavery. Thornton
refused, and the bill became one of the milestones in the
struggle in the United States Senate between the forces
of freedom and of slavery. Diplomatic representatives
from every court in Europe were present and the galleries
were packed to hear the two-hour speech of Senator Tom
Corwin, of Ohio, whose eloquence in extemporaneous
debate was equaled by few and excelled by none. Not a
sound was heard save an occasional catching of breath
by a listener, and not a movement was seen save an occasional twitching of the muscles of an opponent's face a8
Corwin, beginning with the Ordinance of 1787 and closing
with the proposed constitution of the new territory, poured
forth his plea for human freedom. At the close of the
speech the Senate sat spellbound apparently for some time,
when, on motion, the body adjourned and the dazed company slowly poured out of the Senate chamber. Thornton
says, "The elder Ritchie nervously laid his hand on my
shoulder, and with lips white as paper and quivering with
emotion said, 'A few speeches such as that would sever the
bonds of this Union.'"12 It was from the day of the
debate and the vote on the Oregon question that the thought
of withdrawal from the Union began to take formal shape
in the minds of Southerners, though it had often been
suggested before.
The debate was also the beginning of the break in the
Democratic party which resulted in Lincoln's election.
The provisional government having excluded slavery,
Douglas acted on his "Popular Sovereignty" theory, which
was the theory of territorial option on the slavery question,
and voted for the organization of the territory. But in
due time the organization of the Oregon Territory was
followed by the Dred Scott decision, which gave slavery
a national standing under the constitution and made it
the duty of Northern as well as Southern citizens to assist
in its preservation. Lincoln, who was a thousand miles
from Congress in an obscure law office in Illinois, saw
more clearly than Douglas the rift between Douglas's
position and the position of Calhoun, who antagonized him
in the Oregon struggle and who formulated the theory
legalized by Taney. Hence in the famous debate of 1858,
Lincoln asked Douglas a question which would force him
"Quoted by Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iv, p. 81. See
also Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 696.
either to antagonize the people of Illinois and miss the
Senate, or else to reveal the fundamental difference between his view of "Popular Sovereignty" and the Calhoun-
Taney view then universal in the South, and thus miss
the presidency. Lincoln's friends were sure Douglas
would take the side of "Squatter Sovereignty"; they advised him to hint that Douglas would prove the tool of
the Southern Democrats, but with no vision beyond the
senatorial contest begged him not to ask a question which
would give his rival the coveted opportunity to win the
support of Illinois. Lincoln, in the interest of honest
speech, which in the long run is wise speech, asked the
question; and Douglas's ready answer in favor of "Squatter Sovereignty" was received with tremendous enthusiasm throughout Illinois and won him the senatorship.
Lincoln's friends in sorrow and anger felt that he had
been too honest and simple in debate; they told him that
he ought to have known Douglas would answer as he did,
and that he had lost the senatorship by his question.
"Yes," said Lincoln, with satisfaction, "and Douglas has
lost the presidency by his answer." Douglas should have
remembered that in 1848 the Southern senators—Calhoun,
Foote, Butler, Hunter, Mason, and Jefferson Davis—had
voted against his "Popular Sovereignty" plea on the Oregon question, and he should have foreseen that his answer
in 1858 would never be accepted by the South. But the
man with the double motive sees crooked. Simpleness
of heart is the price of vision; and Lincoln, not Douglas,
saw the fateful import of the latter's hasty answer in his
Freeport speech.
Thornton's refusal to compromise and the triumph of
his measure were due to a mind, a heart, and an ability
to win friends to his ideals somewhat resembling Lincoln's.
Without Judge Thornton's presence in Washington it is
clear that Oregon would not have received the grant of
two sections of land in each township for free schools;
without Judge Thornton's presence Oregon would not have
been admitted at all as a free Territory in 1848. His
influence with the members of Congress of both parties
proved strong and wholesome.
After the passing of the bill President Polk's secretary,
Knox Walker, brought George M. Sanders to Judge Thornton's room, and after introducing him immediately withdrew. Mr. Sanders told Thornton that Sir George Simpson had placed in his hands $75,000 to be used where it
would do the most good in procuring the sale of the Oregon
interests of the Hudson's Bay Company to the United
States government for $3,000,000; that a treaty had
already been drawn up by the administration for the purpose which was indorsed by the majority of the Cabinet;
that it was desirable for the Cabinet to act as a unit, and
that the opposing members would favor the purchase if
Thornton would write them a letter indorsing it. After
a conversation which Judge Thornton made two or three
efforts to close, Mr. Sanders offered him $25,000 if he
would write the note. Judge Thornton promptly opened
the door and ordered him out; then after due deliberation
he sent President Polk a note informing him that the
property was not worth one tenth of the amount asked
and that he had been offered a bribe of $25,000 to indorse
the scheme. That Thornton's estimate of the value of the
property was substantially just is shown by the fact that
twenty-one years later—a period during which property
in a new territory usually trebles in price—a joint commis-
sion of the two countries estimated the entire fourteen
pieces of property to be worth $650,000, and the United
States government paid that sum for them in 1869.13
Knox Walker, the President's secretary, called the next
day, saying that on opening the letters to the President
he had found Judge Thornton's communication and
begged Thornton to withdraw it. Thornton refused, and
Vfalker, in his distress, told Meek, who was at the White
House, and who had already written a letter heartily
indorsing the purchase. Meek never could keep a secret,
andnvithin a week he had taken the correspondent of the
New York Herald into his sacred confidence and told him
the entire story. Within a few days the story was published by that excellent newspaper. While executive sessions of the Senate are supposed to be secret, yet it is
believed that President Polk had sent the treaty purchasing
the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company to the Senate
for ratification, but that after the Herald's exposure he
withdrew it from the Senate. President Polk had on his
own initiative offered Judge Thornton an appointment
as federal judge of Oregon. But after sending his letter
to the President, Thornton found his welcome to the White
House at an end, and never received the appointment, and
never received a penny for his nineteen months' service.
We submit that in ability, in character, and moral influence
the services of the unknown supreme court judge of the
provisional government of Oregon outweighed those of
the President and his Cabinet.
We have thus portrayed briefly the deeds of a few Americans who helped in the early discovery of Oregon, in the
"Johnson, America's Foreign Relations, vol. ii, p. 429.
early settlement of the country, in saving the land from
slavery, in laying broad foundations for education, in preventing a war with Great Britain, and in the preservation
of the Union. Time would fail us to tell of Abernethy
and Applegate, of Burnett and Nesmith, of Matthieu and
Sublette and Shortess, of Wilbur and Boyce, of Ebez,
Goldsmith, Hilles, Hines, Edwards, and Shepard, of Clarke
and Eells, of Kilbourne, Kelby, and Lang, of the Beers,
Belknaps, Campbells, Dennys, DeVores, of the Garrisons,
Helms, Holmans, and Howells, of the Parishes, Perkins,
Starrs, Smiths, Spaldings, and Wilsons, and the unnamed
women, "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, obtained promises, . . . from weakness were
made strong . . . turned to flight armies of aliens. Women
received their dead by a resurrection: and other's were
tortured, not accepting their deliverance; . . . And these
all, having had witness borne to them through their faith,
received not the promise, God having provided some better
thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not
be made perfect."14,15
u Hebrews, 11: 33-35, 39-40.
15 For partial list of Oregon pioneers, see Appendix I.
"The real colonization of Oregon, however, the movement which Floyd and Benton had so long hoped to see
under way, began two years later (1834) with the arrival
from the East of a small party of American missionaries
to the Oregon Indians."1
It is significant that H. Addington Bruce, the able and
conscientious writer who more fully than any other person
has set forth the services of Senators Benton and Linn and
Congressman Floyd, nevertheless says, "Yet, singularly
enough, until that time the great danger was that the
United States would, through sheer negligence, lose what
undoubtedly belonged to her."2 And again, after describing the rich territory involved in the contest, Mr. Bruce
adds, "This it was that the United States all but lost by
reason of the indifference of the American Government and
people."3 Then, after portraying the hopelessness of the
efforts of Benton, Linn, and Floyd down to 1832, Mr.
Bruce introduces the Methodist missionaries with the
quotation placed at the head of the chapter. Mr. Bruce
was criticized for attaching too much importance to the
work of the missionaries, the critic writing, "It seems
probable that the future writers of Oregon history will not
1 Bruce, The Romance of American Expansion, p. 123.
3 Ibid., pp. 106-107.
8 Ibid., p. 108.
emphasize a present popular belief that there ever was
great danger that through sheer negligence the United
States would lose what undoubtedly belonged to her." Mr.
Bruce, with abundant source material at his command,
thus answered his critic: "It may well be that some new
and important evidence will be adduced, but I do not
anticipate that it will revolutionize the present judgment
as to the principal actors in the impressive drama."
The facts confirm Mr. Brace's judgment and show how
the missionaries helped overcome the claim that the land
was worthless by furnishing the government information
in regard to Oregon; met the fear of a second republic
by demonstrating that there were no more loyal and devoted citizens of the American republic than themselves
and the American settlers beyond the Rocky Mountains
who organized the provisional government of Oregon; and
helped overcome the preponderance of the British in Oregon by creating the first tides of emigration, which enabled
the Americans barely to outvote the British in the crucial
struggle for the provisional government in 1843, but a fevf
months later gave them an overwhelming majority.
When the Methodist missionaries reached the lower
Columbia in the fall of 1834, they were surprised at the
mildness of the climate and were delighted with the great
extent and unsurpassed fertility of the Willamette Valley.
They found ex-employees of the Hudson's Bay Company
settled upon farms on what is now called French Prairie
and living with Indian wives. They found the supply of
fish at the Willamette Falls and The Dalles of the Columbia
apparently inexhaustible. The large number of Indians
in the lower Columbia River basin, the fact that they were
at peace with the Hudson's Bay Company—where the
missionaries could find relief in case of need and supplies
at all times—the kind of welcome of Dr. McLoughlin, the
fact that it was practically impossible to carry back to
the Flatheads, seven hundred miles in the interior, supplies
which were coming by ship, and the presence at The Dalles
and Willamette Falls of Nez Perces, who sent three of the
four messengers to Saint Louis for the Bible, and of
Chinooks with flattened heads—the providential sign
which the missionaries were looking for—led Lee and his
colaborers to begin work among the Indians in the Willamette Valley.
They built at French Prairie a log house twenty by
thirty feet which served as a home for themselves and for
some Indian children, as a schoolhouse, and as a church
and hospital. While the others were building the house,
Cyrus Shepard took charge of the Hudson's Bay Company
school at Fort Vancouver,4 where the achievements of an
Indian boy in reading, writing, and arithmetic had filled
the missionaries with enthusiasm. They opened a mission
school for the Indians in their new home as soon as it was
" Lee wrote to the Missionary Society December 18, 1834,
telling of his change of base to the Willamette Valley and
of the number and apparent interest of the Valley tribes.
He gave an enthusiastic account of the country, of the
mildness of the climate, the fertility of the soil, and the
abundance of fish in the rivers. To enable the Mission
to care for the Indians and to become self-supporting as
soon as possible, he urged the Missionary Society to send
out a physician, a blacksmith, and several teachers.   The
* Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. 1, p. 80.
church at home was sorry not to hear of the discovery
and conversion of the Flathead Magi who had visited Saint
Louis, and the people supposed that the Indians needed
preachers instead of blacksmiths. But the Society accepted the judgment of Lee and his fellow workers and
began to search for more men and means for the Oregon
In the spring of 1835 the missionaries, having completed
their house, inclosed forty acres of land, broke up part
of it and put it in wheat; the yield was forty bushels per
acre. This enormous yield, with equally remarkable yields
of the various vegetables whose seeds they had brought
with them and planted, revealed to the missionaries future
possibilities of the territory of which they little dreamed
when they started out to convert the Indians. But while
cultivating the land as a part of their program in order
to teach the Indians farming and for the support of themselves and their Indian wards, and while sending home
stirring reports of the fertility of the soil, their energies
were engrossed in the Mission work. They built an addition to their house equal to the original and filled their
building with Indian children, most of whomwere orphans,
and continued teaching reading, writing, the truths of the
Bible, farming, and, in general, Christian civilization.
But their success was not equal to their hopes.5 A clear
perception that the Indians must be taught to work in
order to achieve civilization, and that they could be led
to work only by example, constrained the missionaries
themselves to work at farming, in the erection of a barn
thirty by forty feet, and in the care of the home, as well
•Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 82, 83.
as to engage in teaching and preaching. They arranged
for the Indians to study and recite half the day and to
work on the farm the rest of the time, thus anticipating by
a half century General Armstrong's wise method of civilizing the red man.
As soon as Cyrus Shepard returned from teaching school
at Fort Vancouver he took charge of the school at the
Mission, and P. L. Edwards opened another school at
Champoeg, at or just above Willamette Falls. Teaching
school, preaching the gospel, religious conversations with
the "Indian leaders, working on the farm, in the erection
of buildings, in the garden and in the home with their
Indian wards, and caring for the sick were the daily duties
of Mission life, week in and week out, month in and month
out, during all the years of missionary work on the Pacific
Coast. Narration of stirring incidents gives an entirely
false view of missions, if it leads or even permits readers
to lose sight of this daily discharge of routine duties which
is the substance of missionary life and service.
One of the first and most lasting services which Jason
Lee rendered to civilization on the Pacific Coast was the
abolition of a few cases of slavery which had already appeared. On the tour of exploration of 1804-06 Captain
Clark carried a Negro slave with him as a body servant
The very month the Methodist missionaries reached the
Willamette Valley in 1834, Louis Shaugarette, a Hudson's
Bay Company trapper, died and left three half-breed
orphan children—his wife having died some time before—
and five Indian slaves. Shaugarette left a small amount
of property in addition to these slaves. Dr. McLoughlin
urged Jason Lee to accept the property, including the
slaves, and bring up the children in the home he was
building. Lee refused to administer the estate unless
the slaves were openly set free, and with the consent of
Dr. McLoughlin, who practically ruled the country, their
freedom was formally declared.8 Dr. McLoughlin himself
had bought Indian children with benevolent purposes, and
as soon as they were able to work had begun paying wages
to them, the same as to the other Indians employed by him.
He approved Lee's action and was confirmed in his own
purpose of giving his purchased Indians their freedom.
Thus under the two leaders of American and British interests, slavery disappeared from the north Pacific Coast,
and Jason Lee helped to develop in this distant region a
civilization which in the later crisis contributed some share
toward the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the
We have mentioned in the chapter on the Oregon
pioneers Lee's organization of the Oregon Temperance
Society, which took place in 1835, and the success of his
effort to persuade Ewing Young and Lawrence Carmichael
to abandon the distillery project. As the missionaries now
came into longer and closer contact with the Indians they
recognized their filth, their immorality, and their diseases,
some caught from white men, others engendered by their
own filth and immorality. Bancroft says that more than
half the Indian children in the Willamette and Columbia
Valleys were infected with syphilis.7 Above all, the missionaries were impressed by the unconquerable laziness
of their Indian wards. The missionaries were forced,
much against their wishes, to recognize that the noble red
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 82.
T Ibid., vol. i, pp. 82, 83.
man looking for the white man's "Book of Heaven," which
had fired their hearts and the heart of the church at home,
was not true to the existing realities. At times they wondered whether they had not sinned in passing beyond the
seats of the Nez Perces and the Flatheads who uttered
the original cry for light, and settling in the Willamette
Valley; but they learned later that the experiences of
Whitman and Spalding in the interior were similar to their
own. They now saw that it would take years of patient
teaching, line upon line, precept upon precept, and, above
all, example after example in industrial training and in
Christian living, to bring the barbarous Indian nature up
to the nineteenth-century standard of civilization. They
had met great encouragement at the start; the Indians had
been greatly stirred by the coming of the white men, who
apparently had no other aim in life than to help them, and
many Indians professed conversion and were baptized;
and some of the converts were displaying in their daily
lives some at least of the fruits of the Spirit.
During 1836 and 1837 there were twenty-three Indian
and halfbreed children in the home, ten of whom were
orphans, while eighteen adult Indians and half-breeds
attended school. Hence, in addition to the large numbers
who usually came to religious services, forty-one were receiving daily instruction and being trained to become fellow workers with the missionaries among their own people.
Most of them learned to speak some English and to read
sufficiently to spell out portions of the Bible for their
people. At first the Indians were eager to pray, but the
missionaries found that with their inveterate laziness they
regarded prayer as a magic method of securing food and
clothing without work.   One day an Indian asked Perkins
for a coat; Perkins replied, "You must work and earn
one." "0," said the neophyte, "I was told if I took your
religion, and prayed for what I wanted to have, I should
get it. If I am to work for it, I can earn a coat at any
time of the Hudson's Bay Company."8 Another Indian
came one day and reported that his whole tribe had become
Christians and learned to pray. "My heart is full of pray,"
he said, and fell upon his knees and began a broken prayer
which was very touching. But he stopped in the middle
of his petitions and demanded clothes. Thus the Indians
were perverting the most important means of promoting
the spiritual life and were using prayer as magic to obtain
food and clothing without work.
To meet the conditions which confronted them the missionaries from the beginning attempted to impress upon
their Indian wards two doctrines: first, the necessity of
trusting in Christ and obeying him as the condition of
eternal salvation; and, second, the necessity of work, and
especially of farm work, to meet the competition of the
white race, which the missionaries saw would be drawn
to Oregon by the marvelous soil and climate.
At this point the missionaries were met by another danger which confounded themselves as well as the Indians,
namely, the high death rate among their wards. Of the
fourteen children received into the home the first year,
five died, five through fear of death ran away, and of the
remaining four, two died in the second year. Thus out
of the fourteen children first received into the home the
missionaries had only two left at the end of the second
year of instruction.   The history of the Indian students
8 Lee and Frost, Oregon, p. 230.
at Dartmouth College and at Hamilton College repeated
itself in an aggravated form in the Willamette Valley.
Twenty-five more children were received into the homej
in 1836, and sixteen of these fell ill, apparently of malaria,
but the disease proved to be a form of diphtheria. Through
lack of accommodations and also in order to separate the sick from the well, all the stricken ones were
kept in a single room, and the death rate was fearful.
Evidently, the missionaries were justified in appealing for a
We have thus portrayed the difficulties which beset the
missionaries from the start in their effort to Christianize
and civilize the Indians. The Missions of the American
Board at Waiilatpu and at Lapwai opened in the same
encouraging manner as the Missions in the Willamette
Valley. Owing to the greater isolation of the Indians at
the missions of Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding and also
to the stronger constitutions of the less contaminated Indians, those of the interior stations remained more constant in the Christian life for a few years than did the Indians at The Dalles, French Prairie, and Champoeg. But
the reaction during the next ten years was greater among
the Indians of the American Board stations and resulted in
the massacre of the Whitman party. The missionaries
of neither Board realized at first how serious were the
difficulties; they still believed in the possibility of the
immediate salvation of the Indians and were frequently
encouraged in the belief that the Missions would prove
an incalculable blessing to the Indians of the Pacific
Coast. But they also believed in the more rapid transformation of the pagan character and of pagan civilization
than New Testament experience, with its examples of lust
invading Christian households and of drunkenness at the
Lord's Supper, warranted.9
In response to Lee's appeal of December 18, 1834, there
arrived in May, 1837, the second missionary group.10 This
group of reenforcements was soon followed by a third
j group, who failed to catch the earlier boat, but reached
'Fort Vancouver September 7, 1837.11   The hearts of the
■ missionaries beat high with joy as they now looked forward to the speedy evangelization of the Willamette Valley
and the establishment of civilization within its borders.
The Misses Susan Downing, Elvira Johnson, Anna Pit-
<man, and Margaret Smith, and the Mesdames Alanson
I Beers and Elijah White were the first American white
women to set foot on the Pacific Coast; Mrs. Jane Beaver,
an English woman, came with her husband, the Rev. Herbert Beaver, chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company at
I Fort Vancouver, in the summer of 1836.   Mr. and Mrs.
Beaver returned to England in 1838.12   Jason Lee was
informed by the Missionary Society that they had selected
Miss Pitman as a suitable woman for his wife; and before
Miss Pitman sailed she received a hint that the Society
■would not be offended if she married Jason Lee.    Miss
I Downing and Cyrus Shepard already were engaged. Hence,
! some six weeks after the arrival of the boat a solemn service
was held: the baptism of some Indian children and adults
and the reception of the adults into the church, a sermon
91 Corinthians, 11: 21.
"•See Appendix I, under date of 1837, for Second Group of
Methodist Missionaries, pp. 287-297.
"See Appendix I, under date of 1837, for Third Group of
Methodist Missionaries, pp. 287-297.
12 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 50-53.
on the sanctity of marriage, followed by the marriage of
Jason Lee and Miss Pitman, the service being performed
by Daniel Lee; then Jason Lee united Cyrus Shepard and
Miss Downing in marriage, and later in the day he performed a similar service for a Hudson's Bay employee
named Charles J. Roe and Nancy McKay, a half-breed
daughter of Captain McKay; the religious service closed
with a love feast, in which not only every Methodist spoke,
but several French-Canadian Catholics expressed sorrow
for their sins and their purpose to lead a new life; Charles
J. Roe and Webley J. Hauxhurst were baptized and received into the church. Soon after the arrival of the
third group,13 H. H. W. Perkins and Miss Johnson, who
had been engaged before sailing, were united in marriage.
On the arrival of this group, Lee extended the activities
of the Mission, establishing a station at Wascopam (The
Dalles) in 1838 with Daniel Lee and H. K. W. Perkins
in charge. In 1838 Jason Lee visited Nisqually, at the
head of Puget Sound, and planned a mission station for
that point.14
The arrival of the white women, of a physician, a blacksmith, a carpenter, of teachers, and, above all, of home-
makers added incalculably to the serviceableness of the
Methodist Mission. The Indians were witnessing priceless
demonstrations of the advantages of Christian civilization
and of Christian family Hfe. Meantime American interests were being instinctively conserved. As already
narrated, the Hudson's Bay Company in 1838 furnished
transportation to the Roman Catholic missionaries to the!
Oregon Country to win the hearts of the Indians away
" Atwood, The Conquerors, pp. 55, 56.
14 Ibid., p. 106.
from the Congregationalists, the Methodists, and the
Presbyterians and thus remove the missionary motive*
which had brought the Lees, Whitmans, and Spaldings
to Oregon. They proposed to solve the religious problems,
exactly as they had solved the commercial problem, by
capturing the field from their competitors. Indeed, so
confident was the Hudson's Bay Company of its triumph
in 1837 that it began to survey and plot a portion of the
country in Puget Sound for individual ownership. But
Lee also was forecasting the future. As early as January,
1837, he wrote the Missionary Society in New York: "I
am fully of the opinion that this country will settle ere
long, and if you can send us a few good, pious settlers, you
will aid essentially in laying a good foundation for the
time to come and confer incalculable benefit upon the
people, which will be felt by generations yet unborn."15
Do you see the questions involved in the entrance of the
lower basin of the Columbia by the Methodists in 1834
and of the upper basin by the American Board in 1836 ?
15 Ibid., p. 129.
"He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he
who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes
statutes and decisions possible or impossible."—Lincoln.
We concluded the last chapter with Lee's letter to the
Missionary Society urging them on patriotic as well as
Christian grounds to send out settlers to Oregon. Lee did
not let the matter rest with the formation of an opinion
and the dispatch of a letter; he was emphatically a man
of action, and his actions display the energy, power of initiative, and willingness to take responsibility which characterize the leader of men.
The Methodist missionaries united in the conviction
that Lee himself ought to go East to explain the changing
conditions to the Society and the church, to secure more
recruits for the Mission, to induce American Christians
to come to Oregon as settlers, to impress upon the government the peril to the sovereignty of the United States
involved in her neglect, and to urge the administration
to provide protection for Americans. On account of the
condition of his wife Lee was very reluctant to leave her,
and it was only after much prayer and her approval and
blessing that Lee decided to make the trip. Before starting East he took further steps in the interest of the United
States.   Already he had sent one petition to the govern-
ment by Slacum. Now he and P. L. Edwards and David
Leslie, all members of the Mission, drew up a second petition setting forth the extent and remarkable fertility of
the country, its mild climate, its certainty of speedy settlement, the advantage of the Pacific ports for trade with
China and India, and petitioning the government at once
to extend its laws over the territory. The passage in regard
to the trade with China and India sounds as if those missionaries anticipated "the guns of Dewey at Manila,"
whose reverberations sixty years later were heard around
the world. A convention of the settlers was called in 1838;
the prospects of the settlement were discussed, and the
petition was adopted and signed by twenty-two Americans
residing in the valley, including the nine missionaries and
J. L. Whitcomb, employed by the Mission as a teacher.
Lee's personal influence was such that in addition to the
American signers he induced nine French Canadians, ex-
employees of the Hudson's Bay Company, to sign his
petition for American government. This is the petition
mentioned in Chapter VI as the second petition; it was
presented to the Senate January 28, 1839, as the petition
signed by J. L. Whitcomb and thirty others.
Jason Lee, with P. L. Edwards, then started East March
15, 1838, taking three half-Indian sons of Captain McKay
for an education and two full-blooded Indians to aid in
his campaign. Lee reached Dr. Whitman's station April
14 and spent Sunday, the 15th, with him. The conference
was full and brotherly, and it is incredible that Lee did
not tell Whitman of his plans for an American government
on the Pacific Coast as well as of his plans for securing
additional missionary reenforcements. Thus, Dr. Whitman probably heard of Jason Lee's plans for American
control of the Pacific Coast four years before he started
on his famous ride to Washington.
Lee refused to travel on Sundays, maintaining that the
horses would cover as great a distance by one day of rest
in seven as by constant travel, and his convictions won
the company of pioneers with whom he journeyed to the
temporary observance of the Lord's Day. On the way
East it was learned that the rendezvous for American
traders this year had been changed to an island in the
Popo Agie, a branch of the Wind River, and, on account
of the danger, the other travelers decided that they would
not attempt to reach this rendezvous. Lee, however, with
greater courage, decided that if necessary he would ride
on alone to the meeting place; one after another each member of the company decided to join him, so that he led
them through a particularly dangerous part of the journey.1 He met here Ave men and four women of the
American Board, the first recruits going to join Dr.
Whitman and Mr. Spalding; and they all united in a
mountain prayer meeting. On September 1 the company
was overtaken at the Shawnee Mission, near Westport,
Missouri,2 by the courier referred to in Chapter IV, sent by
Dr. McLoughlin with a letter to Lee informing him that
the little son who had been born to him had died June 7,
1 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
154, 155.
'Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 170, says the messenger overtook Jason Lee at the Pawnee Mission near Council
Bluffs, Iowa; but Hines, a few years later, visited the Shawnee
Mission, at Westport, Missouri, and was shown by Mr. Johnson,
the superintendent, the room which Jason Lee occupied when j
he received the news. See Missionary History of the Pacific
Northwest, p. 156.
and that his wife had died June 26, 1838. Anna Pitman
Lee was the first white woman to die in Oregon, and her
death, far removed from her family and her early friends,
without proper medical care or nursing, and without her
husband's presence, was full of heroism. Dr. H. K. Hines
thus describes Lee's receipt of the news: "Late at night,
however, after he had retired to his room, and while he
was offering up his evening devotions, his door was unexpectedly alarmed. On opening it an unknown messenger
put into his hands a package of letters and immediately
retired. They were from Oregon, and one bore a black
seal, a fearful omen to his eye. He broke it with trembling
hand only to read in the first line that his Anna Maria
and her infant son were numbered with the dead. All the
light seemed to go out of his life in a moment. It seemed
only shadow; dark, unrelieved, blinding shadow all around.
. . . The night was spent most mournfully; but in its
darkness the strong soul had received greater strength
from its wrestling with self and sorrow and God. In the
morning his dark brow had a deeper shade, his eye told
a tale of nightly weeping, but his calmed spirit breathed
out its wealth of trust. For the few days he remained at
this place his meek, chastened spirituality, his lofty faith
in God, his manly bearing in his sorrows, won all minds
and all gave him the throne of the good, great man in
their hearts."8
At the Shawnee Mission Lee began preaching and
lecturing on the Oregon Mission and on Oregon. He made
a campaign like that of Peter the Hermit in the Dark
Ages,  of  Bishop   Simpson  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal
"Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
Church in behalf of the Union, 1861-65, and of Bishop
McCabe in his lecture on Libby Prison—a campaign based
on religion and patriotism. Lee spoke at Saint Louis*
His story of the Mission, the presence of the Indian boys
and the repetition in their native language of the Lord's
Prayer and portions of the Scriptures awakened great
enthusiasm, while his description of Oregon helped to
create the emigration which later saved the country to
the United States. Lee reached Alton September 13, 1838,
where the Illinois Conference was then in session. Unannounced and unexpected, he entered the church like an
apparition with his Ave Indians marching behind him.
The bishop presiding embraced him, and his speeches and
the Indian songs and prayers deeply stirred the audience.
The influence of Lee's speech and conversations finds voice
in the Alton Telegraph's issue of October 17, 1838, which
said: "Citizens of the West, will you tamely consent that
Oregon, one of the loveliest regions that nature ever bestowed upon man, shall become a powerful country in the
hands of England? If Oregon goes from us, the honor of
the United States goes with it. Never, no, never yield."4
In the issue of November 9, 1839, it comments as follows
on the value of Oregon to the United States: "It would
become a grand thoroughfare to Asia and the countries
bordering on the Pacific Ocean. ... It would be of great
advantage to the Western States, and cause them to increase in population and industrial development and make
them the center of this great republic. . . . Nothing but
the power of Omnipotence could prevent the United States
from becoming the leading nation of the world."5   Evi-
* Quoted by Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 143.
•Ibid., p. 144.
dently, Lee had kindled the fires of patriotism as well as
of religion.
Jason Lee thus spoke at many places through Missouri,
Hlinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and reached New York city
October 31, 1838, seven and one half months after leaving
the Mission.6 Through the illness of one of the Indian
boys he had been detained a few weeks at Peoria, Illinois.
The detention, which he chafed under at the time, fell
out for the advancement of American influence in Oregon.
It enabled him to make the addresses and hold the personal conferences with interested parties which helped to
start to Oregon the emigrations of 1838, 1841, and 1843
—the emigrations which secured the region to the United
States. It was not Lee's visit alone which created this
tide of emigration, though he contributed to it probably
more than any other man. The first ripple of emigration
through Lee's initiative, but not by missionary support,
was felt at Peoria, Illinois, in the autumn of 1838. A
band of fourteen persons, among them Joseph Holman
and Robert Shortess, was formed during the fall and winter. Their motto was "Oregon or the Grave." They gathered before the courthouse about May 1, 1839, prayer was
offered for their safety and success, and they boldly set out
on their long expedition. They were followed a little
later by a small party from Quincy, Illinois, also inspired
by the speeches of Lee.
At Jacksonville, Illinois, the Rev. John P. Richmond,
M.D., was pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He
was a man whom Lee at once greatly desired for Mission
work. He combined the qualifications of the minister,
the educator, the physician, and the statesman in a remark-
8 Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 67.
able degree.    He was a graduate of the University of
Pennsylvania and had completed a medical course in
Philadelphia.   He was a member of two State Constitutional  Conventions, was  superintendent of  schools  for
Illinois for eight years, was speaker of the Illinois Assembly when General John A. Logan and Chief Justice
Fuller were members of that body, and was a member
of the Illinois State Senate when Abraham Lincoln was
a member of the Assembly.7   Lee's sermons on missions
and the songs of his Indian wards appealed to the heroic
element in Dr.  Richmond's nature.    He responded to
Lee's appeal to go to Oregon; and before starting West
helped by sermons and speeches to make southwestern
Illinois the classic ground for Oregon emigrants.    Lee
gave him the most important station in the Mission—
Nisqually, at the head of Puget Sound and not far from
the present site of Tacoma, the buildings for which had
been erected by the Rev. David Leslie and W. H. Willson
in 1839.   Had not his discouragement over the disappearance of the Indians and the broken health of himself and
his family led to his resignation from the Oregon Mission
and a few years later to his retirement from the ministry,
Dr. Richmond would have proved Lee's strongest helper
in missionary and patriotic work.   As it was, Dr. Richmond's decision led such men as Hillis, Kelby, Boyce,
Ebez, Goldsmith, Lang, Royal, and others to Oregon; and
they contributed greatly to the upbuilding of the church
and the commonwealth.   Dr. Richmond's interest in the
work continued unabated, as a letter published in the
Tacoma News of April 8, 1884, shows.8
* Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 110.
8 Ibid., p. 108.
Lee also spoke at Springfield, Illinois, and the Sanga*
mon Journal9 in the issue of February 23, 1839, published
Lee's memorial to Congress. The issue of March 9 has
an article on the climate, fertility of the soil, and the
resources of Oregon; the issue of April 12 announces the
formation of the Oregon Emigration Society in Peoria, and
similar societies at Saint Charles, Missouri; Michigan
City, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; while the issue of October
12 had a long article describing the sailing of the Lausanne
with Jason Lee and the missionary party. Also the Illinois
State Register,10 then published at Vandalia, had an article
in its issue of September 21, 1838, based on one of Lee's
addresses and describing the mild climate and fertile soil,
the work of the missionaries, and the importance of the
country to the United States. Its issue of June 10, 1842,
contains an article saying: "For Oregon, the people are
in motion. . . . The expedition includes Dr. White, who
goes as government agent, and many of the most respectable families of the West are now encamped near Independence, Missouri. . . ." It is unnecessary to quote more
reports from the Western newspapers. It is interesting
to read that a few years later Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois,
was offered the first appointment as governor of the Oregon
Territory, and through the interest which had been aroused
by the Illinois newspapers, was inclined to accept the
office, but finally declined it, on his wife's advice.11
Jason Lee was not the only man who went to Oregon and
wrote enthusiastic letters back, not the only man who
•Ibid., pp. 141, 142.
10 Ibid., pp. 142, 143.
uCharnwood, Abraham Lincoln, p. 95.
returned East, but he is the only man, so far as we can
learn, the record of whose missionary and patriotic zeal
can be traced through twelve States from Missouri to
Massachusetts, from the District of Columbia to New
England, and who conducted a systematic campaign for
emigration to Oregon through the religious and secular
The letters of Cyrus Shepard and of Susan Downing
Shepard, and possibly some contributions of Lee to Zion's
Herald, led the Methodists of Lynn, Massachusetts, to
organize the Oregon Provisional Emigration Society in
August, 1838. The Society published a monthly magazine
called the Oregonian, and secured three thousand members,
each of whom consented to an annual assessment of one
dollar. The four officers of the society were Methodist
preachers, and ten of the fourteen members of the Executive Committee were also ministers, thus showing that the
movement was organized under Methodist influence and
is not the society reported as organized in Boston by Hall
J. Kelley. The great aim of this organization was to
induce Christian families to move to Oregon and save the
Indians by Christian example and neighborly aid. It was
a remarkable program in applied Christianity.
Under the treaty of joint occupancy, the conviction grew
on both sides that the sovereignty of the country eventually
would be determined by the predominance of British or
of American settlers. This conviction, along with later
developments along the line of this conviction, shows the
importance of Lee's work in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and
Ohio, New York and the New England States, and especially the value of enlisting the newspapers in the campaign in favor of the Oregon Country and in favor of its
control by the United States. The Peoria Party of 1839-
40, and the party with which Lee reached Oregon in 1840
were wholly due to his visit to the East in 1838-39; while
Dr. White's party of 1842 and the more than eight hundred
Americans who migrated to Oregon in 1843 were, in a
large measure, due to Lee's visit, to the petitions which he
sent to Congress, to the information furnished in part by
him and published by the government, to the land grant
bills; and to the newspapers of Illinois and neighboring
States which he largely enlisted in the Oregon enterprise,
which, indeed, continued the agitation long after his departure.
Caleb Cushing, chairman of the House Conlmittee of
Foreign Relations, and one of the ablest lawyers in the
United States, received the second memorial which Lee
himself carried from Oregon; he wrote to Lee for fuller
information. Lee replied from Middletown, Connecticut,
January 17, 1839, giving the latest information in regard
to Oregon and his plan for securing the territory to the
United States by emigration. He closed the letter with
words which proved prophetic: "It may be thought that
Oregon is of little importance; but, rely upon it, there is
the germ of a great state."12 We have already furnished
in Chapter VI some strong illustrations of Lee's influence
upon Congress.13
But the most striking proof of Lee's influence was the
fact that the government granted him fifty dollars per
person out of the secret service fund to aid him in carrying
back the missionary party in 1839.14    This amounted to
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 173.
I Ibid., vol. i, p. 217.
"Ibid., vol. i, p. 177, note.
about $2,600.16 Bancroft thus comments upon Lee's influence with the government: "It is not necessary to follow
the action of Congress further, in this place. The reference is here made to point out the agency of Jason Lee
in directing that action, and the strong influence he seems
to have wielded in Washington as well as with missionary
board. How much his suggestions, especially concerning
land matters, molded subsequent legislation will be made
evident in considering the action of the government at
a later period. A proof of the favor with which his
designs were regarded by the Cabinet is furnished by the
appropriation of considerable money from the secret service fund for the charter of the Lausanne, as related by one
of her passengers. Lee kept the secret, and so did those
who gave him the money, until the boundary question was
settled between the United States and Great Britain."1*
In view of the fact that the entire reenforcements of Lee
and of White were needed to establish the provisional government and to secure the territory without a war, it is
doubtful if our government ever made a wiser use of the
secret service fund than in helping pay for the ship which
carried Lee's band of emigrants to the Pacific Coast.
Jason Lee did not originate Congressional agitation in
behalf of Oregon. As shown in Chapter VI, this began
as early as 1821. But an examination of the Congressional
records shows that the first three petitions asking the
"Pacific Christian Advocate, April 20, 1904 (quoted by
Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 67), and Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, p. 201, say that $5,000 was appropriated from the secret service fund.
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 176, 177.
government to extend its authority over Oregon were
written by Methodists, and that nine of the twenty-six
measures inaugurated by the government, including four
of the nine bills introduced, were due in part at least to
Methodist initiative.
Lee's influence in New York is shown by the fact that
the Missionary Society accepted the fundamental changes
in its policy, namely, the change from pure evangelism
to applied Christianity and the adaptation of the Mission
in increasing measure to the whites while caring for the
Indians. The Society authorized Lee to procure and take
back every person whom he asked for, and gave him three
more ministers than Lee himself had included in his program. Upon the whole, the Society sent out with Lee, on
his return in 1839-40, thirty-three adults and nineteen
children, making fifty-two persons in all, of whom Ave
were ministers.17 In addition, the Society authorized the
purchase of machinery for farming, including a threshing
machine, the iron works for a saw mill, for a grist mill,
and all kinds of merchandise, so as to render the missionaries as far as practicable independent of the Hudson's
Bay Company and enable them to introduce Christian
civilization among the Indians and the whites. To accomplish this task the Society made a grant to Lee of $42,000
for the machinery and merchandise, the outgoing expenses
and the salaries for the first year—the largest grant ever
made to a single mission thus far in the history of the
Society. The Missionary Society, by this action, both
recognized and indorsed Lee's policy of introducing Christian civilization into the country, both for the Indians and
" See Appendix I, under date 1840.
the whites, instead of the narrower policy of sending
ministers only to preach the gospel to the Indians.
One more illustration of Jason Lee's influence over men
of affairs is furnished by Bancroft. The Lausanne, which
Lee had chartered for the fourth group of Methodist re-
enforcements, reached Honolulu on April 11, 1840, and
remained there until the 28th. "During their sojourn,
Lee held a conference with Kamehameha III, relative to the
exchange of productions between the Island and Oregon,
and an informal treaty of commerce was entered into, to
the manifest pleasure of the king." This treaty of commerce was between the Hawaiian government and the
Oregon Americans whom Lee represented. Lee with his
customary foresight was providing for the commercial
growth of the new commonwealth.
We believe this chapter makes clear the fact that Jason
Lee's influence upon the country, upon the government of
the United States, and upon the Missionary Society of his
church, was, upon the whole, far greater than even he
dreamed of exerting when he set out in 1838 upon his
lonely journey to the East. The Divine Providence is the
key to history, and human agents are effective as God
works in and through them.
S. A. Claeke, who, upon the whole, is an exceedingly
fair writer, falls into a strange error as to the origin of
American local government in Oregon. Mr. Clarke's
defective and in part misleading account springs from his
reliance upon W. H. Gray, whose writings Bancroft characterizes as wholly unreliable. Gray's aim was to magnify
his work as the author of the provisional government of
Oregon. Gray did not need to misconstrue the earlier
work of the Methodists in behalf of civil government in
Oregon, much less did he need falsely to charge them with
opposition to organized American government in the Territory; the facts show that the efforts of the Methodists
resulted in only a partial or incomplete government; that
the help of the so-called 'Wolf Meeting" called by Gray
was needed, and that Gray was an effective and perhaps
the most effective promoter of the provisional government
of Oregon. Let us set forth fully, fairly, and in order,
the various steps taken for the establishment of American
government in Oregon.
1. The Methodists and other Americans called a meeting, which was held at the Methodist Mission at Cham-
poeg, February 7, 1841,1 for the purpose of consulting
upon the steps necessary to be taken for the formation of
laws and the election of officers to execute them.   Jason
1 Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 92.
Lee was elected chairman of this meeting; and this meeting was held two years before the so-called 'Wolf Meeting," which is often named as the first meeting held for
the organization of American government in Oregon.
2. Eight days after this meeting, February 15, 1841,
Ewing Young died. As he left considerable property and
as there was no American court of law in the Oregon
Country for the administration of the estate, at the close
of the funeral all present were asked to tarry and complete
the plans discussed February 7.2 The meeting, like the
funeral, was held in the Methodist church and Jason Lee
was again chosen to preside, and Gustavus Hines, another
member of the Methodist Mission, was elected secretary.8
Indeed, Bancroft says that the meeting of the 17th was
composed chiefly of the members of the Mission.4 The
meeting passed resolutions to form a code of laws for
the government of the settlements south of the Columbia,
to admit to the protection of these laws all settlers north
of the Columbia not connected with the Hudson's Bay
Company, to form an organization with a governor, supreme judge with probate powers, three justices of the
peace, three constables, three road commissioners, an
attorney-general, a clerk of the courts and public recorder,
a treasurer, and two overseers of the poor. The meeting
nominated a committee to frame the constitution and code
of laws and to nominate men for the various offices.5   It
a Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, pp. 650,
651. See also Hines, Oregon: Its History, Conditions and Prospects, p. 418.
Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 293.
*Ibid., vol. i, p. 293.
•Ibid., vol. i, p. 293.
will thus be seen that the meeting of February 17, 1841,
contemplated the organization of a full civil government.
The meeting adjourned to the 18th to hear the committee's report.
3. February 18 the French-Canadians met with the
American settlers. "To propitiate and to secure the cooperation of the Canadians were the aims of the leading
Americans, as without them, or opposed by them, there
would be difficulty in organizing a government." "David
Leslie being in the chair with Sidney Smith and Hines
as secretaries, the minutes of the previous meeting were
presented and accepted so far as choosing a committee
to frame a constitution and code of laws was concerned.
The meeting chose as the committee F. N. Blanchet, Jason
Lee, David Donpierre, Gustavus Hines, Charlevon, Robert
Moore, J. L. Parrish, Etienne Lucier, and William Johnson."6 By making Father Blanchet chairman of the committee the Mission party hoped to secure the French-
Canadian Catholic influence and to harmonize sectarian
differences. As Lee's was the one name considered for
the governorship, but as it seemed unwise to elect the head
of the Methodist Mission to this office, it was found expedient to defer the election of a governor, and the convention proceeded to the choice of other officers. I. L.
Babcock was chosen supreme judge with probate powers;
George W. LeBreton clerk of the court and public recorder; William Johnson, high sheriff; and Zavier Lada-
root, Pierre Billique, and William McCarty, constables.
. . . "Until the code of laws should be drafted Judge
Babcock should be instructed to act according to the laws of
•Ibid., vol. i, pp. 293, 294.
the State of New York."7 The convention then adjourned
to meet June 7 at Saint Pauls, the mission station of the
Roman Catholic Church. A partial territorial government was thus organized February 18, 1841, with a judge,
clerk of the court, sheriff, constables, and laws.
4. On reassembling June 7 it was found that Father
Blanchet, chairman of the committee, had not called the
committee together; on the contrary, he sent a letter to
the meeting asking to be excused from service. His withdrawal was taken, as was probably intended, to signify
thatr_the Canadians had decided to take no part in the
organization of a government. Father Blanchet's resignation having been accepted, W. J. Bailey was chosen a
member of the committee, and the committee was instructed to report to an adjourned meeting of the convention to be held on the first Thursday in October.
Prior to the October meeting, Dr. McLoughlin advised
against the organization of a government. Lieutenant
Wilkes was in Oregon in charge of an exploring expedition
for the United States government; he had been the guest
of Dr. McLoughlin and had been treated with great hospitality by the Hudson's Bay Company, and we believe he
was a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Dr. McLoughlin had placed guides and boats and all other aids
which it was possible to procure at the service of the
scientists of the party. It was natural, therefore, for
Lieutenant Wilkes to share Dr. McLoughlin's view, and
he also advised against the scheme. Bancroft says: "Finding themselves baffled at every turn, but encouraged to
believe that the United States government would soon
7 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 294.
extend its jurisdiction over them, the missionary party
now reluctantly consented to let drop their political scheme
for the present."8 Nevertheless an incomplete but real
civil government had been organized by the settlers in the
Willamette Valley in the four meetings which we have
described; and an American government, independent of
the Hudson's Bay Company, was thus formed. Dr. I. L.
Babcock had been elected Supreme Court judge with probate powers and during the next two years he was the
"head and front of the infant State," as Clarke himself
admits.9 He administered the estate of Ewing Young to
the satisfaction of all concerned.10
Owing to the opposition of the Hudson's Bay Company
and the Roman Catholics the convention probably did not
meet in October; at least no record of the October meeting
has been found. But the subject continued to be discussed
through the winter of 1842-43 by a debating society said
to have been organized in Oregon City for this purpose.11
The question of establishing a government independent
of both the United States and Great Britain was said to
have been favored by Dr. McLoughlin and several American colonists. Hastings, an American who came with
Dr. White's party, but was strongly opposed to White,
went so far as to offer a resolution in favor of the plan.
George Abernethy, treasurer of the Methodist Mission,
offered as a substitute the following: "If the United States
extends its jurisdiction over this country within four
years, it will not be expedient to form an independent
8 Ibid., vol. i, p. 296.
9 Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 655.
"Ibid., vol. ii, p. 655.
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 296.
government."   This resolution was warmly discussed and
finally carried.12
5. In the autumn of 1842 overtures were again made
to the Canadians to join in a temporary government, and
a meeting to consider the matter was held at French
Prairie. The Canadians declined, presumably upon the
advice of Dr. McLoughlin and Father Blanchet. McLoughlin saw that to aid or countenance the establishment
of a government owing exclusive allegiance to the United
States would be disloyal to his country and his Company.
Independent government would be preferable to this;
though there was danger that such an organization might
fall under the control of Americans and might enact laws
inimical to his unsettled claim to land at Willamette Falls*
south of the Columbia River. Hence he tried to avoid the
issue until the matter of sovereignly could be settled. The
Canadians made a formal reply, professing cordial sentiments toward the Americans, declaring they were in favor
of certain regulations for the protection of persons and
property, and that they were willing to yield obedience
to the officers chosen February 18, 1841, although they
did not approve of all their measures. They declined to
address a petition to the United States to solicit aid until
the boundary should be established. They opposed taxation, but favored a council or senate similar to the
Canadian Parliament. This answer was directed to the
sixth meeting to be held at Champoeg, March 4, 1843.1*
It will thus be seen that, while the opposition of Father
Blanchet, Dr. McLoughlin, and Lieutenant Wilkes prevented the meeting of October, 1841, for the adoption
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 297.
"Ibid., vol i, pp. 298, 299.
of a constitution, nevertheless the officers elected by the
American settlers in February, 1841, were accepted by
the Canadian settlers, and that a sixth meeting was called
for the further discussion and settlement of problems of
local government. It is thus clear that the plans for a
government started by the Methodists in 1841 had not
come to naught, that they had resulted in five meetings,
in the election of American civil officers whom the Canadians had accepted, and in plans for a sixth meeting. It
will also be recognized that Jason Lee was the moving
spirit in these five meetings.
6. At this point W. H. Gray, who had come West as a
mechanic and secular aid for the American Board Mission
in 1836, but who had resigned from that mission and come
on to the Willamette Valley in 1842, and who was employed by the Methodist Mission as a carpenter and a
teacher, intervened. He wrote and circulated a petition
for a meeting of all the settlers February 2, 1843, at the
Oregon Institute, the Methodist school where Gray was
employed and was living. This meeting anticipated by
a month the sixth meeting called for March 4, and in
reality took its place. From this time forward Gray seized
the reins from Lee's hands and led in the struggle for the
provisional government. Owing to the discussion of Lee's
name for the governorship, he retired from the active
management of the meetings. But some were jealous of
his influence with McLoughlin and, as we shall see in
Chapter XIII, Lee was at this time unpopular with some
of the Methodists. These facts, together with all absence
of self-seeking on Lee's part and a general desire of all
to avoid factionalism and a general willingness to support
every effort looking toward American government, gave
Gray his opportunity. It is only just to Gray to say that
he managed with wisdom the meeting of February 2, 1843.
This meeting appointed a committee of six to circulate a
notice for a meeting of all citizens in the Willamette Valley
at the home of Joseph Gervais on March 6 to devise means
for the protection of flocks and herds from the ravages of
7. This became the seventh meeting held by the Americans in the interest of civil government.   By general acquiescence the meeting of March 4 was allowed to lapse with
the understanding upon the part of some at least that its
object would be considered at the "Wolf Meeting" of
March 6.   As soon as the meeting of March 6 had agreed
upon a bounty for wolves, W. H. Gray, by an understand-1
ing with the chairman, introduced the subject of better \
protection for the settlers as well as for their live stock,!
and he made a very able plea for a committee of twelve to j
devise or complete a plan of government.   Gray's motion
prevailed, and the committee was appointed and reported
to the second meeting called at Gray's suggestion, but the I
eighth meeting in the series in favor of a provisional!
8. The eighth meeting, which was held May 2, 1843, |
was attended by the representatives of both the British!
and American sides.   After an earnest debate the meeting
voted 52 to 50 in favor of a provisional government, and
such a government was organized at the ninth meeting
held May 3.
Clarke says: "The most powerful opponents of organized
government were the Hudson's Bay Company and the
Methodist Mission."14   Gray represents the Hudson's Bay
14 Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 660.
Company and the Methodists, or practically Dr. McLoughlin and Jason Lee, as having formed a government in 1838
and as preferring this autocratic government to a government of the people. As a letter by Mrs. Beggs informs us,
the Methodists and the Hudson's Bay Company had agreed
upon certain regulations for the settlement. But these
regulations were in force in 1841, when the Methodists
started the forward movement for the organization of a
civil government. The Methodists would not have started
this movement had they been satisfied with the incipient
government of 1838 and opposed to the establishment of
a civil government by the settlers. W. H. Gray, upon
whose book Clarke depends, mistakes some criticisms of
his own plan of government, and of his indirection in
inducing Canadians to attend a meeting for the destruction of wolves and then turning this meeting into a movement for American government, for opposition to the provisional government per se.
Against Clarke's statement, based on Gray declaring
that the Methodists were joined with the Hudson's Bay
Company as opponents of the provisional government, are
the following facts:
If The Hudson's Bay Company and the Methodists far
outnumbered all other parties combined, and had they
been united in opposition to the provisional government,
such a government could not have been organized.
2. The Methodists started the movement for a provisional government in 1841, called six meetings between
1841 and 1843 in favor of the movement and took the
leading part in Ave of them.
3. After W. H. Gray succeeded Jason Lee in the leadership of the movement for American government, the Meth-
odists still cooperated, Dr. Babcock presiding at the sixth
4. At the seventh meeting—the so-called "Wolf Meeting"—another Methodist, James H. O'Neil, presided, and
Ave of the committee of twelve selected to formulate the
plan for the provisional government were Methodists.
5. At the meeting of May 2, 1843, when'the provisional
government was adopted, a Methodist, Dr. Hines, was
chosen to preside. At the convention of May 3, when the
government was organized, Dr. Babcock, another Methodist, was chosen to preside, and one of the three members
of the Executive Committee was Alanson Beers, of the
Methodist Mission. Also W. H. Willson, of the Methodist
Mission, was elected treasurer of Oregon at the meeting of
May 3, 1843. We find also the name of A. E. Wilson,
who was elected supreme judge as a subscriber of thirty
dollars for the erection of the first Methodist church on
the Pacific Coast, thus showing that whether he was a
member of the church or not, he was a supporter of it.15
G. W. LeBreton, elected clerk of the court, had come to
Oregon through Lee's letters to the Cushings and is also
found in the list of subscribers to the Methodist Church.
Robert Shortess, elected a member of the committee to
draft laws, came to Oregon in the Peoria party through
the inspiration of Jason Lee and soon after was converted
and joined the Methodist Church.16 Gustavus Hines
was chosen to deliver the address of July 4, 1843, and in
the absence of Dr. Babcock presided at the meeting of
July 5.   This recorded activity of the Methodists in the
"Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, p.
"Ibid., p. 255.
two meetings in which the provisional government was
organized of itself disposes of Gray's statement made
years later that the Methodists were opposed to the provisional government.
6. The Methodists furnished the house for the meetings
of the provisional government of May 16-19 and June 27,
28, and that of July 5.17 Again, Clarke states that one
of the greatest obstacles to the success of the provisional
government was the unwillingness of the settlers to levy a
tax upon themselves for the support of it, but he adds:
"Messrs. Beers, Parrish, and Babcock [of the Methodist
Mission] engaged to see that board was provided them
[the lawmakers]; and the old granary of the Methodist
Mission was offered as a legislative chamber. So the legislative department of the provisional government was put
into motion without a dollar's expense."18
7. When the Executive Committee gave way to a governor on June 3, 1843, George Abernethy, treasurer of
the Methodist Mission, was chosen governor, and held the
office during the four critical years until the United States
government sent General Joseph Lane to Oregon in March,
1849, as governor of the Territory.19
8. Clarke furnishes the names of those who voted for and
against the provisional government. We cannot trace the
religious record of all these men. But so far as we can
analyze their record we find that seven, of the fifty-two
who voted for the provisional government were Methodist
missionaries, four more were members of the Methodist
Church, Ave were subscribers to the Methodist Church,
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 305.
" Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 662.
"Atwood, The Conquerors, p. 156.
though we do not know whether or not they were members,
six came out in the Peoria party as the direct result of
Jason Lee's speeches, seven came out with Dr. White as
the result of the influence of Lee and White and of the
land grant bill which Lee had suggested. One was an
attache of the Methodist Mission and married one of the
Methodist women who came as a missionary, while one
came out on the steamship Maryland as a result of Lee's
letter to Cushing.20
Deducting three names counted twice, the record shows
thaff twenty-eight of the fifty-two voters in favor of the
provisional government came to Oregon or remained in
Oregon through the influence of the Methodist Mission.
On the other side we cannot find a single one of the fifty
men who voted against the provisional government who
came to Oregon through Methodist influence or was in
any way connected with the Methodists. What becomes
of the claim that the "most powerful opponents of organized government were the Hudson's Bay Company and
the Methodist Mission"? Do you understand why Jesse
Applegate, noted for fairness and accuracy, in his marginal notes on Gray's History of Oregon, characterizes
Gray's claim as the man who carried through the provisional government as "new to me" ? Do you understand
why Bancroft denounces Gray as unreliable, and sums up
the work of the famous convention which adopted the provisional government by saying, "The missionary party
had won the day"? and by the "missionary party" Bancroft meant the Methodists, who were the only missionary
party in the Willamette Valley.
See Appendix II.
'They waste us—aye—.like April snow,
In the warm noon we shrink away;
And fast they follow, as we go
Toward the setting day."1
After Lee's return to Oregon in 1840 he met the crisis
of his life. Hines says that Lee was amazed at the death
and departure of Indians from the Willamette Valley during the two years of his absence. Parrish says that five
hundred Indians died in the Willamette Valley in 1840,
and by Willamette Valley he means the neighborhood of
the Mission. The death of Indians in the Willamette
Valley is due to causes similar to those which Dr. W. F.
Wagner mentions in his introduction to The Narrative
of Zenas Leonard: "The introduction by the whites of
vices and diseases among the Indians, and particularly
the latter, undermined and sapped the vitality of the
natives, making them a mere shadow of their former
selves and a hopelessly degenerate race. . . . We have
already alluded to the destruction of wars among the Indian tribes, . . . yet these wars were a mere bagatelle
when compared with the loss of life as a result of the
vices and diseases introduced by the white people."2 Again,
1 Bryant, An Indian at the Burial Place of His Fathers.
2 Leonard, Narrative, pp. 37, 38.
Dr. Wagner relates that smallpox was carried up the
Missouri by the steamboat Saint Peter in 1837. The
smallpox spread like wildfire. The epidemic of 1837 surpassed anything ever known or heard of in the annals of
Missouri.3 The Mandans caught the disease June 15,
1837, and were soon reduced from fifteen hundred or two
thousand persons to thirty.4 The pestilence reached the
Blackf eet through the Crows,5 and spread in all directions.
Dr. Wagner adds: "The mortality of this epidemic has
scarcely a parallel in the history of plagues, and fully
justifies the quotation from the work of Maximilian, 'The
destroying angel has visited the unfortunate sons of the
wilderness with terrors never before known, and has converted the extensive hunting grounds as well as peaceful
settlements of these tribes into desolate and boundless
cemeteries.' "6 "Others [plagues] in 1801-02 and in
1837-38, are estimated to have reduced the plains Indians
by one half."7 The missionaries on the Pacific Coast
could not understand the blight of their hopes and the
destruction of their work apparently by the hand of God;
the Indians concluded that the white man's God was not
the Indian's God, and that they were being punished for
having abandoned their own Great Spirit. Hines, speaking of the condition of the Indians which confronted Jason
Lee on his return in 1840, says: "The Indian race was
melting away. Where two years before were populous
villages, there were now but scattered wigwams.    The
* Leonard, Narrative, p. 40.
4 Ibid., p. 43.
5 Ibid., p. 47.
' Quoted by Leonard, Ibid., p. 48.
7 Moffett, The American Indian on the New Trail, p. 7.
change was appalling to the superintendent and cast a
gloom over every mind."8 The fact that the Indians did
not erect permanent houses or cultivate the land enabled
tribes and nations to migrate, and made such changes a
characteristic of Indian life. Parkman in one of the
fairest and most discriminating chapters upon the Indians
with which we are familiar says: "The Indian, hopelessly
unchanging in respect to individual and social development, was as regarded . . . local haunts mutable as the
wind."9 The difficulty appeared among the Indians with
whom the Hudson's Bay Company traded as well as among
those of the Mission. Beckles Willson says that by the
Hudson's Bay Company the Cree Indians in all their
possessions were estimated at 1,000,000 in 1709, at 100,000
in 1749, and about half a century later at 14,000.10
The gradual and increasing flow of whites into the
Willamette Valley which accompanied the death of the
Indians awakened the suspicion of the Indian chiefs; they
believed that there was a connection between the advancement of the one race and the disappearance of the other;
and they were reaching the conviction which made a clash
between the two races inevitable. Thomas Hill, a Delaware
Indian, who made his way across the plains in 1845, was
living among the Cayuse Indians near Dr. Whitman's
station, and at times at Dr. Whitman's home. During his
wanderings across the plains and his residence in the regions of the upper Columbia in 1844, he had told the
Indians the fate of his people in the East.    He said
"Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
228, 229.
•Parkman, The Jesuits in North America, p. 30.
"Willson, The Great Company, vol. i, p. 222.
that first, white religious teachers came; then, white settlers; then, war between the Indians and the whites; and
then, the disappearance of the Indians. He prophesied a
similar fate for the Indians of the Pacific Coast, if they
waited as did the Indians of the East until the white settlers became strong; and he urged upon the Indians immediate war for their altars and the graves of their sires.
Joseph Lewis, a half-breed Chinook, had been sent to
Maine for an education, and on his return West he became
an inmate of Dr. Whitman's home. Despite the kindness
of the Whitmans, Lewis remained an enemy of civilization.
He confirmed all that Hill had reported, and maintained
that the plague around Waiilatpu was due to Dr. Whitman's poison; Lewis was largely responsible for the Whitman massacre of 1847. The Canadian Iroquois employed
by the Hudson's Bay Company confirmed the reports of
Hill and Lewis in regard to the disappearance of the Indians from the eastern portion of the continent. The
fears of the Indians were more than justified. Through
malaria, measles, smallpox, syphilis, tuberculosis already
they were a swiftly dying race; and they were a doomed
people unless measures of relief could be largely and
speedily adopted. The tragedy was heightened by the
fact that the very speed with which the Indians accepted
one part of the missionary program and the parents began
to live in houses and the children to study books, only
hastened the spread of tuberculosis. Apparently, the only
solution of the problem was on the part of the Protestant
missionaries large patience, provision for more outdoor
life, and less hastening and crowding of the Indians into
schoolhouses and dwelling houses; and upon the side of
the Indians a full acceptance of the missionary program,
namely, Christianity with its self-restraints, farming,
housekeeping, and education, and a firm adherence to that
program despite all temporary losses.
While Jason Lee little dreamed that the Indians would
disappear so rapidly, no one saw the inevitable conflict
more clearly than did he. He did not wait for the clash
to come, but attempted to prevent it by early and vigorous
1. The chieftain Peu-Peu-Mox-Mox, or Yellow Serpent,
was greatly enraged against the whites because of their
brutal murder of his son. He had sent this son to the
Methodists on the Willamette, and the boy had learned
to speak English, and read and write, had been converted
and was living a Christian life. After he returned home
he went with his father to visit Captain Sutter, of California, on Sutter's invitation. During the visit some
cattle were gathered in by Yellow Serpent and some of his
men, and in the herd, part of which belonged to the Indians, were a few cattle claimed by some white hunters.
The son was suddenly confronted by these white men in
the absence of his father and Captain Sutter; and the
whites demanded the immediate return of the stolen cattle.
The son replied, "I have spoken in favor of their return,
but my father is chief and he is absent." The son saw
that the white men intended to shoot him and asked time
to pray, and fell upon his knees. While praying he was
shot by a white man. His father, with a heart crying for
vengeance, returned to the region of Walla Walla. Here
he learned that Dr. Whitman had started East in October,
1842, and that probably he would lead back more white
men. The prospect of the incoming of more white enemies
awakened fear and bitterness in the chieftain's heart; and
some of the Indians now began to believe that the missionaries who had come to them in the name of the Great
Spirit and professing a desire to help them were the secret
agents of white men who were coming to steal away their
lands. In view of these dangers, Jason Lee took his life
in his hand in a double sense and went boldly into the
Walla Walla country in the winter of 1842-43, sending
word to Yellow Serpent that he wished to meet him. On
this winter trip up the Columbia River Lee came near
losing his life. The rise of the river, the floating ice, and
the blinding storms made the voyage exceedingly slow and
perilous. They had no shelter at night, and Lee and his
faithful Indian boatman very nearly died from hunger,
wet, and cold. Lee and Peu-Peu-Mox-Mox met on February 7, 1843. Lee expressed his great sorrow over the
murder of the son, and condemned in strong terms the
brutality of the whites in that affair. In response to Yellow Serpent's question as to whether the whites wished
peace or war, Lee, as recorded in his Journal, replied,
"That will depend largely upon yourselves." In response
to the chieftain's question as to what effect the coming of
so many white people into the country would have upon
the Indians, Lee again answered as before, and added: "If
you imitate our industry and adopt our habits, your
poverty will disappear, and your people will have wealth
as well as we. Our hands are our wealth, and your people
have hands as well as we, and you only need to use them
properly in order to gain property." Lee illustrated by
pointing out the fact that the Americans, who had passed
through their country entirely destitute a few years before, now through their industry had in the Willamette
Valley houses and horses and cattle and other property.
Yellow Serpent further asked if Dr. White, the Indian
agent, who had visited them at Walla Walla, intended to
give them presents. Lee answered, "To be always looking
for gifts is a sure sign of laziness, for the industrious
would rather labor and earn things than to beg them."
Lee appealed to the chieftain in proof of the fact that he
had taught the Indians two lessons from the start: first,
the way to heaven; and, second, the way of this life. He
insisted that from the beginning he had tried to impress
upon the Indians the necessity of tilling the soil and thus
meeting white men by the use of the white man's own arts.
So transparent was Lee's honesty, so unswerving his courage, that his winter visit to Yellow Serpent succeeded in
warding off from The Dalles a fatal attack from Indians
who could easily have overcome the whites.
2. Jason Lee had largely changed his own missionary
policy, and for a time he had almost revolutionized the
policy of the Missionary Society because he had seen
clearly that mission work among the Indians must consist largely of applied Christianity. Lee had gained soon
after entering Oregon the statesman's outlook, and he had
been used in a strange and providential manner to inaugurate enterprises which would create an American commonwealth of whose glory he hardly dreamed. But he had
never been disloyal to the purpose which brought him to
Oregon, namely, the salvation and transformation of the
Indians. He remained to the last a missionary at heart.
It is true that he had encouraged settlers to come to Oregon
as American citizens and that he had written as early as
1837 to the Missionary Society urging them to encourage
such migration. It is true that he also asked during his
entire   superintendency   for   more   laymen—physicians,
teachers, and artisans—and for fewer preachers than harmonized with the views of the church at large. But Lee's
request for laymen was not that he might bring settlers
to Oregon in the guise of missionaries and with the mission funds, and then use them to save Oregon to the United
States; his political aims were entirely subordinate to his
religious motives. His demand for laymen was based
upon his clear perception of the absolute necessity of introducing applied Christianity, not merely preaching the
doctrines and administering the rites of the church. The i
conviction was more and more borne in upon Lee by his
residence in Oregon that the very life of the Indian race
upon the Pacific Coast depended upon the Indians mastering practical Christianity with its homely virtues of honesty, industry and chastity, and upon their mastering
at least the rudiments of education, including English,
arithmetic and hygiene, and upon their mastering housekeeping and farming, thus transforming their rude paganism into modern Christian civilization. Moreover, he felt
that the crisis demanded the greatest speed upon the part
of the Missionary Society and the Indians before the race
melted away.
It was after Lee's return from the East in 1840 that
he made his most heroic efforts to save the Indians. Farn-
ham's criticism that Lee brought from the East more missionaries than he could use, and that he brought them for
the purpose of securing Oregon to the United States, was
based upon an utter misconception of Lee's plans and was
thus wide of the mark. Dr. H. K. Hines, in his history of
the missionaries' work, shows that Lee actually assumed the
spiritual oversight of sixty thousand square miles of territory, as compared with sixty-six thousand in all New
England; and that with only forty adult missionaries,
of whom only twenty-three were men, he undertook to
Christianize and civilize the Indians over this vast region
and to build up on the Pacific Coast a New England for
the Indians and the whites alike. By our reckoning Lee
had in the Oregon Country, after his arrival in 1840, only
twenty-three men, of whom eighteen were married, and
five single women, and of this number only ten men and
five single women were on salaries after the first year, with
whom to supply preachers, teachers, physicians, farmers,
and home-makers for this entire region. Hence, Lee stationed these missionaries throughout this immense stretch
of territory. It is indeed true that he placed them at
the very spots which later became American settlements.
But Lee sent his missionaries to these favored locations
because Indians most abounded there, and the same advantages which drew the Indians to these centers later made
them the cities of white men.
3. Again, Lee, in the hope of saving as many Indians
as possible, rendered our government a large service by
stationing Methodist missionaries in territory north of
the Columbia River, which territory down to that time had
been held unchallenged by the British. Lee visited Nisqually at the head of Puget Sound as early as 1838, met
many Indians there and after conferring with them decided upon it as a suitable site for a missionary station.
In April, 1839, David Leslie and W. H. Willson, a carpenter, went to Nisqually and again met and conferred
with many of the Indians and erected a log house eighteen
feet by thirty-two feet, for work among them. June 15,
11840, Lee appointed Dr. J. P. Richmond and his wife,
W. H. Willson and Miss Chloe A. Clark, a teacher, to the
193 w
Nisqually mission. These missionaries antedated by five
years all other American settlers north of the Columbia,
in territory to which the Hudson's Bay Company claimed
an almost undisputed right. Mr. Willson and Miss Clark
were married by Dr. Richmond on August 28, 1842—the
first white couple married in what is now the State of
Washington; and Francis Richmond was the first American child born north of the Columbia.
4. It was in connection with the crisis which the missionaries felt was confronting the Indians1—a crisis involving the very life of the race—and in answer to prayers
rising at times almost to agony, that the great revivals
among the Indians broke out in the winter of 1839-40,
1840-41, and 1841-42. These revivals extended some fifty
miles up and down the Columbia and a long distance north
and south; and they affected more or less seriously many
of the Indians within tkis territory. The Indians at the
stations had received during the preceding years a sufficient
amount of Christian training and they had learned enough
in regard to Christian experience to prepare them for a
work of grace of the Methodist type. Hence the missionaries witnessed among them what they believed to be a
genuine conviction of sin and the regeneration of their
hearts by the Holy Spirit such as would lead to the transformation of their lives. This gracious work reached its
culmination at the camp-meeting held at The Dalles in
1842, at which twelve hundred Indians were present and
Lee baptized one hundred and fifty converts, and administered communion to between four and five hundred Indians at a single service. The missionaries, with their
experiences limited to a more fully developed race, did not
yet fully realize that the Indians, with wills and spirits
changeable as children and with passions strong and with
little training in self-control, would need long spiritual
discipline before the Christian lives of most of them wouM
become established. God's grace is sufficient for just sueh
cases, and those who proved loyal to the grace given them
revealed a supernatural power molding their lives. But
the majority of the Indian converts soon lapsed into their
lifelong habits of idleness and self-indulgence.
5. Lee also founded an Indian branch mission settlement a short distance from Willamette Falls in the hope
that the Indians, freed from contamination with the unconverted whites who visited the larger settlements, and
especially in the hope that the Indians thrown upon their
own resources and intrusted with self-government, would
develop a Christian type of civilization. In order to enable
them to buy machinery and some household utensils without debt, Lee raised $400 for them, securing five dollars
to twenty-five dollars each, from a considerable number
of American and Canadian settlers, he being the largest
contributor. The Indian Farm Mission was a failure, for,
though assisted in their farming, the Indians proved so
indolent and apathetic that they failed to earn their own
support, and soon drifted back to beg in the American
6. Out of the fears which the failure of the Indian
Farm Settlement inspired grew the most heroic effort ever
made by the Oregon missionaries to provide for the preservation and uplift of the Indian race. At a meeting held
May 10, 1841, a committee was appointed to select a new
1 site for the Mission school.11   At this meeting Lee pro-
u Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol i, p. 20J.
posed a Manual Labor Boarding School, into which the!
young Indians should be taken, away from the barbarous
contaminations of the camp and trail.    He proposed to!
take the young people rather than mere children, and to j
furnish them an education in which intellectual training!
should be largely supplemented by domestic science fori
the girls, by farming for the boys, and by general cultivation of the arts of home-making and modern living.   With!
remarkable faith and self-sacrifice the Mission was re-i
moved from Chemawa to Chemekete, ten miles farther
south on the southern edge of the Chemekete plain, onj
land which is now a part of Salem, the capital of Oregon.12
Here was erected a building costing $10,000—for long the!
largest and most imposing building on the Pacific Coast i
It contained a manual training department, recitation
rooms, a dormitory for the young men, and a dormitory!
for the young women.    Here the Indians of both sexes
were gathered in 1842-43, and the missionaries here made
their last and most heroic struggle to save a dying race.!
Dr. Hines, with intimate knowledge of the movement,!
writes: "It was a great and noble effort to stay the tide!
of destruction that was setting in upon the red men ofi
the Willamette Valley, and showed the splendid stead-!
fastness of Mr. Lee and his colaborers to the original purpose for which the church had commissioned them at the!
first—the instruction and elevation of the Indian people.13
In 1844 Dr. Gary had superseded Jason Lee.   Unfortunately, he closed the Manual Labor Boarding School for
the Indians, according to Hines, against the judgment "of
12 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
232, 420, 421.
18 Ibid., p. 251.
the oldest and most steadfast and capable of the missionaries." Dr. Gary, not waiting for experience to determine
his policy, but following the policy agreed upon by him
and the Missionary Society before he left New York,
namely, to close the Mission but to save Methodism the
property so far as practicable, sold to the trustees of the
Oregon Institute the property for $4,000.14 Dr. Gary
by his sale of the Mission claim to the private corporation
sacrificed both the Mission claim and the claim of the
corporation to a square mile of the property which is now
in the very heart of Salem, the capital of Oregon.15 Had
he followed the advice of the older missionaries, and, above
all, had Jason Lee been present as superintendent, the
Methodists would have maintained the Manual Labor
School for the Indians, and the Missionary Society would
have received from the government land worth far more
to-day than the entire cost of the Mission.16 That Jason
Lee and the older missionaries had not contemplated the
abandonment of the Indian young people is shown by the
removal of their entire Mission to an isolated station for
their Indian .school and by putting $10,000 of personal
subscriptions into the Indian school building. That
neither Lee nor the older missionaries contemplated securing the fine Indian school building for the use of their
own white children is shown by the fact that January 17,
1842, Lee called a meeting to plan a school in Chemekete
for the white children and that a committee was appointed
and $4,000 subscribed, all save $350 by the missionaries,
for the school building, and that a building was begun
14 Ibid., p. 421.
16 Ibid., pp. 352, 353.
16 Ibid., p. 351.
and $3,000 were expended on it during 1843.17 It should
be added that the Rev. Harvey Clark, an independent
Presbyterian missionary, was a member of the committee
to select a site for the building for the white children, and
that W. H. Gray, who had come from Waiilatpu to the
Willamette Valley, superintended the erection of the building;18 and it was in this original Oregon Institute building, in what is now Salem—not in the building later
known as the Oregon Institute, but then known as the
Manual Labor School, also in Salem—that the famous
"Wolf Meeting" was held.      | §
Dr. Hines called the year 1842 the New Era. It was
in this year, he says, that the Methodists generally perceived the failure of the great revivals to transform any
large proportion of the Indians, and that the increasing
tide of American emigration made necessary the turning
of the energies of the missionaries to the building up of
white civilization on the Pacific Coast, along with continued care for the Indians. Dr. Hines writes: "Up to
1840 it had been entirely an Indian Mission. After that
date it began to take on the character of an American
colony, though it did not lay aside its missionary character
or purposes."19 He wisely adds: "This change could not
be avoided, and it ought not to have been even if it could.
... If they [the missionaries] came to convert Indians,
they came as well to plant the seed of Anglo-Saxon civilization in the soil of Hie decayed and decaying paganism."20
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 201-203.
18 Ibid., vol. i, pp. 202, 203.
"Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, p.
80 Ibid., p. 239.
As marking this transition, Lee conducted the first
camp-meeting for the white people in 1843. The number
was small, but the interest was great. Nineteen unconverted white men were present at the camp-meeting Sunday morning. Before the evening service ended sixteen
of these had become Christians, among them Joseph L.
Meek, the Rocky Mountain hunter. This revival greatly
encouraged the missionaries in their work among the
whites, especially as the results, upon the whole, proved
more permanent than the great revival among the Indians
—though it must be admitted that several of the men,
including Meek, soon fell again under the dominion of
their appetites.
Jason Lee and several of his brethren never abandoned
all hope for the Indians. As late as August 12, 1843, Lee
wrote the Society at New York: "With all the discouragements which I encounter, I feel it to be a duty to God and
the Board to say that our interest in the Oregon Mission
is not in the least abated. Oregon is still of infinite importance as a field for missionary operations among the
One can readily understand how a missionary, realizing
the infinite worth of each human soul and bound to these
Indian wards by nine years of unremitting devotion, could
write such a letter as this in the midst of his discouragements. And he was entirely right in maintaining, despite
the lapse of the majority of the converts, that the salvation
of this Indian remnant was of infinite importance. The
history of the Indians in Oklahoma and other States today, like the history of the remnant among the Israelites,
will yet vindicate Lee's prophecy. As Hines well says of
Lee and the other missionaries, "They clung to the In-
dians and the Indian missions with the tenacity with
which faithful men cling to the work in which they have
invested the love of their heart and the strength of their
life."21 The crisis was hastened by the death on January
1, 1840, of Cyrus Shepard, whom Bancroft regards as the
missionary most devoted to the Indians, by the return to
the States in 1842 of Daniel Lee and of Dr. Richmond,
whom we regard as two of Jason Lee's most efficient helpers in the Indian work; and it was still further hastened
by the return to the States in 1844 of H. K. W. Perkins,
whom Bancroft ranks next to Shepard in devotion to the
All admit that Jason Lee and his compeers showed no
lack of practical foresight, or, we would prefer to say, no
lack of divine guidance, in shaping the Christian civilization of the Northwest Coast for the white people who were
increasingly occupying the region. In October, 1843,
Lee, in writing to the Society, assured its members that
the mission had also vast possibilities for the white race.
"On one point I have not a shadow of doubt, namely, that
the growth, rise, glory and triumph of Methodism in the
Willamette Valley are destined to be commensurate with
the growth, rise, and prosperity of our infant, but flourishing and rapidly increasing settlement." These last two
quotations from Lee mark the two thoughts which during
his career were uppermost in his mind: the salvation and
civilization of the Indians, the salvation and civilization
of the whites. But the faith of the missionaries in the
Indians and their heroic efforts to save them show not
"Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, p.
200 m
alone the clearness of their judgment, but the largeness
of their hearts and the greatness of their devotion to a
dying race. While they believed that the whites would
certainly come to the country, they did not think the Indians must disappear. And, indeed, there never was any
divine reason for the doom of the entire race. A spiritual
kingdom depends upon the spirit of each member; hence
God always deals spiritually with individuals, not with
races. The promise from of old has been, "But now I will
not be unto the remnant of this people as in the former
days [when it knew not God], saith Jehovah of hosts. For
there shall be the seed of peace; the vine shall give its
fruit, and the ground shall give its increase, and the
heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant
of this people to inherit all these things."22
It is true that a decaying race, as the Indian race was
at that time, coming into contact with a strong but half-
Christian race, as the white race was and is, speedily
adopts the vices of the stronger race; and only slowly, and
as individuals, masters its virtues. This makes all the
more solemn the responsibility of the white races in the
world. Hence it was true that after the great revivals
of 1839-42, and after the later struggles of the missionaries in founding the Manual Labor School, they still saw
a majority of their converts sink into the grave and a
portion of the remnant lapse back into paganism. But
a remnant was saved, and it has survived; and it is increasing faster than the Negro population of the United
States. The commissioner of Indian affairs reported recently that the Indians in the United States numbered
"Zechariah, 8: 11, 12.
137,000 in 1900 and 209,000 in 1916. It constitutes the
seed through which Almighty God will perpetuate the
Indian race. And the glory of Gustavus Hines and Cyrus
Shepard, of H. H. Spalding and Harvey Clark, as well as
of Jason Lee and Dr. Whitman, and the Roman Catholic
priests, is the survival of that remnant which shall yet
become the glory of the American aborigines.
202 is
Jason Lee—"the peer of any man who adorns the roll
of modern workers in the Church of Christ."—Bishop
Matthew Simpson.
Jason Lee's affairs now rapidly drew to a crisis. While
the results of his services constitute an epoch in the history of the church and an honorable incident in the history of his country, yet the years 1840-1843 broke his
health and ended in his death.
Lee's personal tragedy was precipitated by a colossal
blunder on his part; and the tragedy is in part due to the
fact that the blunder was the result of an absorption in his
work, a lack of thought in regard to himself or his own
personal interest, which often characterizes men engaged
in great tasks. We are amazed in Lee's case over his mistake as to the time of his second marriage, as we are
amazed in Wesley's case over his blunder in the choice of
a wife. Neither man reckoned wisely with those domestic
influences which often prove the making or marring of
a career. Lee learned of the death of his first wife while
at Westport, Missouri, on his journey to the East. Our
readers will remember that immediately after learning
of her death, perhaps in part to drown his sorrow, Lee
plunged into the work of awakening interest in the Indian
race and in Oregon.   Before he left Westport, he gave the
first of the series of lectures which were to arouse Missouri,
Iowa, and Illinois and to start emigrant trains to Oregon.
But the white women in Oregon were not engrossed in
public affairs. Moreover, Anna Pitman Lee was the first
white 'woman on the Pacific Coast to die; and she died
honored and loved by all her associates. The hearts of all
the settlers were greatly stirred; we can easily imagine
how deeply moved were the women in that distant settlement, and how in the intervening two years, they thought
often of Jason Lee's loneliness and sorrows. Mrs. Lee
had "been given Christian burial; but everybody in the
Mission and in the Willamette Valley expected a memorial
service on Lee's return to them.
Meantime other friends in the East, who did not know
Lee's first wife, who did not fully appreciate the tragedy
of her death, but who marked the loneliness of Lee when
he was not absorbed in his work, saw the need of a companion for him during the coming years and suggested
to him the wisdom of a second marriage before going back
to those distant wilds. The name of Miss Lucy Thompson, of Burlington, Vermont, was mentioned as that of a
suitable helpmate. Following his own impulses and the
advice of his friends in the East, and with no foresight
whatever of the shock that would come to his friends in
Oregon, fifteen months after the death of his first wife,
and just before sailing for the Columbia, without the
slightest hint to his friends in Oregon, Lee was married
to Miss Thompson. After the first terrible surprise and
reaction on the part of Lee's friends in Oregon over the
unexpected second marriage, Mrs. Lucy Thompson Lee
won universal respect and love by her unselfish Christian
character.   If Lee was to take a second wife back to Oregon
he made a wise selection in Miss Thompson, or had the
good sense to accept the wise selection largely made for
him by his friends. We may add that on the birth of her
first child, a daughter, she died—March 22, 1842.
But Lee overlooked the embarrassment in which he
inevitably placed himself, his friends in Oregon, and his
second wife by his marriage before he returned to the
Willamette Valley. Lee had not met these friends since
the death of his first wife; he had had no opportunity to
hear from them the story of her devotion to him between
his departure for the East, and her illness and death, and
the messages she had left for him; and he could not now
tell them of the agony through which he had passed when
the messenger brought the news of her death and the
death of their son. Bancroft thus portrays Lee's painful
announcement of his second marriage to his friends:
"Jason Lee . . . took a canoe and went in advance to the
Mission. When there he handed over the ship's list of
passengers, headed by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Jason
Lee, that he might notify his old companions that he had
returned with another wife. He made no remark on the
subject, and nothing was said to him. Deeply stirred had
been the sympathies of his old associates as they thought
of his return to his desolate home; and now the revulsion
of feeling was so great that the supremacy of Jason Lee
in their hearts was thenceforth a thing of the past."
This revulsion of feeling speedily led to misunderstanding of Lee's present motives. First of all, the new missionary party was entirely too large to be absorbed by the few
missionaries already on the field and led by their experience to accept those modifications of early ideals and
illusions with which young people enter upon mission
work; and Dr. McLoughlin and others noticed that they
did not enter into the spirit of the older workers or fully
accept their point of view. Like most new missionaries,
they failed to anticipate the discouragements inherent in
the very nature of missionary work. The ground of missionary activity is the fact that pagan races are on a lower
plane of spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical life
than are Christian people; but the new missionary never
quite realizes how much is involved in this statement until
he faces the actual conditions of paganism. Experience
on the field leads older missionaries to accept lower standards of physical comfort, and a mixture of manners which
often offends the taste of new missionaries. Experience
in the field sometimes broadens the sympathies of older
missionaries and leads them to a recognition of truth in
a pagan faith or of reason for a pagan custom which the
younger missionary regards as inconsistent with his ideal
—an ideal narrower and sometimes loftier, than that of
his older brothers. In some cases it is true that long
contact with a lower civilization dims the vision of the
ideal, and the older missionary has a lesson to learn from
his younger brother. A period of reaction and discouragement is almost inevitable on entering a mission field.
When the number of new recruits is large, it is almost
impossible to prevent this discouragement finding voice
among themselves and giving rise to complaints to the
friends at home and often to the missionary authorities.
Thus a large influx of new missionaries always involves the
possibilities of a tragedy. In this case the tragedy was
rendered imminent by the fact that the Mission to the
Indians began with the belief that the Indians could be
transformed by sudden conversion into the equals of the
206 ffflff»»ffl
white race; and that it was undertaken with the purpose
of thus transforming the Indians, while work among the
whites was regarded as purely incidental. It is true that
the early missionaries wrote back repeatedly that the white
work was bulking larger and that the Indians were suffering much from disease. The very fact that out of the
fifty-two men, women, and children whom Lee brought
out for his work in 1840, only five were ministers was a
demonstration on its face that the new group were to undertake the settlement of the country and work for the
whites as well as for the Indians, and, above all, that the
new Christian settlers were slowly to mold the Indians
to higher ideals by their example in Christian homes and
industries. But the church at home, and even the missionaries on coming to Oregon, still cherished the old
ideal of transforming the Indians suddenly into civilized
people equal to the whites. There seemed to be little
recognition upon the part of anyone that even the white
races have been many centuries in reaching their present
stage of Christian civilization. Hence when the group
of 1840 reached Oregon and saw how rapidly the Indians
were disappearing from the Willamette Valley and the
whites supplanting them—indeed, how largely the Indians
already had disappeared—they almost felt that Lee had
misled them as to the purpose of their coming. The
tragedy of Lee's premature second marriage was that the
i marriage in advance of any memorial service—a marriage
which rendered any memorial service impossible—shocked
this old friends and lost him their moral support at the
very time when he most needed it to lead the missionaries
fin the transition which was inevitable, if civilization in
| Oregon was to become in any sense Christian.   Jason Lee's
influence over the missionaries in Oregon began to suffer
almost as if Lee himself were to blame for the doom befalling his wards and for the change in the work to which
the missionaries must more and more adapt themselves.
Jason Lee and Dr. Whitman each, after their conference
on Lee's journey to the United States in 1838, urged the
wisdom and necessity of bringing Christian laymen and
their families to Oregon as a home mission field in the
expectation that they would become self-supporting on
reaching their destination, and that as Christians helped
by the church to new opportunities for their own families
they would by precept and example teach the Indians to
become Christian citizens and to establish Christian homes.
The American Board had sent out at first one layman.
But Dr. Whitman in his hurried trip to the East in 1842-
43 did not succeed in inducing his Board to give him a
single additional layman. Jason Lee had far more influence with his Society, and brought back Abernethy as
steward and Miss Lankton as stewardess; Babcock as a
physician; Misses Clark, Phelps, Phillips, and Ware and
Thomas Adams, the Indian young man, as teachers;
Campbell and Olley as carpenters; Judson as a cabinetmaker ; Parrish as a blacksmith; and Brewer and Raymond
as farmers. But when some of the missionaries sent to
the more distant posts saw that of the fifty-two men,
women, and children, including himself and wife, who went
to Oregon in 1840, thirty-two1 were left in the Willamette
Valley, they blamed Lee for an unequal distribution of
the force. But the laity, most of whom remained in the
valley, were expected to support themselves and by example
1 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. iii, p. 188.
and by Christian helpfulness show the Indians what Christianity means. Including himself, who was superintendent of the entire Mission; Leslie and Walker, the two
ministers; Abernethy, the treasurer and storekeeper for
the entire Mission; Miss Lankton, the stewardess for the
school; and one woman teacher, there were only six persons supported by the Missionary Society for work in the
Willamette Valley, a section of his field which was about
the size of Massachusetts.2 Surely, this was not an extravagant appropriation for so large a field. But the death
and the flight of the Indians led some of the laymen forthwith to give themselves wholly to secular pursuits, blaming
Lee for the lowering of the ideal with which they had
come to Oregon. Besides, it was impossible that the Missionary Society and Lee as the prime mover should make
this radical change from the accepted missionary program
of the period without serious criticism upon the part of
the more conservative Christians and some reflections
upon motives upon the part of the world. Hence the
criticism of Lee and the Missionary Society by so good
and so great a man as President Olin, of Wesleyan University, and the appointment, by Bishop Hedding, of Dr.
Gary to supersede Jason Lee, are not to be wondered at,
though greatly to be deplored. Long experience of failures
in Indian missions conducted on the old lines, General
Armstrong's later success along the very lines laid down
by Lee, and Booker T. Washington's success at Tuskegee
among the Negroes, more than confirm the wisdom of Lee's
and Whitman's plans.
Near the close of 1843, Lee, without the knowledge that
f Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol. xx, p. 242c.
he had been superseded, had heard enough complaints
during the three years since his return to recognize the
necessity of once more going East to explain the latest
changes in the conditions of Oregon and the corresponding
changes in the work of the missionaries. On reaching
Hawaii in 1844 on his way home he learned that he had
been superseded, and left Hawaii February 28, and arrived
in the United States in time to reach the General Conference in May of the same year. But the General Conference
of 1844 was in the throes of its great struggle over slavery
—the struggle which resulted in the division of the Church
—and had no time to think of a Mission in a distant part
of the country. Lee was advised to go to Washington and
report progress to the government, and meet the Missionary Society after the General Conference. That his efforts,
as a whole, in Washington had not been in vain is shown
by the report of the secretary of the interior, Columbus Delano, later in a decision awarding the Methodist Episcopal
Church the property at The Dalles, on which Jason Lee
had established one of his missions: "From 1834, when
the American missionaries first penetrated this remote
region, a contest was going on as to which nation should
possess it; and that probably depended on the fact as to
which could first settle it with emigrants. The Hudson's
Bay Company, the Catholic missionaries, and the British)
government were on one side; on the other side were the
missionaries of the American Board and the Methodist
Society who had established their stations among the
Indians and who attracted the tide of American emigration
that turned the scale in favor of our government, resulting I
in the establishment of the territorial government of Ore- j
gon, wholly American in interest, which exercised all the
functions of government until the erection of the new
Territory of Oregon by Congress." The United States
through this official representative thus recognized the
services of the American churches.
Jason Lee appeared before the Missionary Society July
1, 1844, and explained that he had carried out the exact
policy he had outlined to them when he had written from
Oregon in 1834 asking, not for ministers, but for a physician, a blacksmith, a farmer, a carpenter, and teachers,
and that the Missionary Society had indorsed his policy
by sending him the very persons he asked for—a physician,
a blacksmith, a carpenter, two women teachers, and one
minister. Again, he pointed out that on his visit to the
East in 1838-39 the Society, after hearing his report, questioning him as to his plans, and discussing the subject
fully, accepted his policy, and sent him back to the Mission
with the machinery, merchandise, etc., for which he had
asked and with thirty-three adult missionaries, of whom
only five were ministers. He showed that the changes which
had now taken place in Oregon, the strange and sudden
disappearance of the Indians, and the increase of white
emigration made the plans which they originally adopted
in 1834 and readopted in 1838-39 almost perfectly adapted
to the new conditions which now confronted them. The
Rev. A. F. Waller's article, published in the Christian
Advocate and Journal of May 19, 1841, and his own long
letter published August 25, 1842, had told them of the
rapid disappearance of the Indians through smallpox and
other diseases. He maintained that had he or the Society
foreseen the changes which were coming, they could not
better have adapted their plans to the conditions which
now faced them in Oregon.   The facts which Jason Lee
presented to the Society amply vindicated his foresight;
and the conviction grew upon the members that, as Lee
maintained, the credit for the adaptation of the Mission
to the changing conditions was not due to any human
foresight but to the Divine Providence. At the close of
Lee's address his personal vindication was complete. Probably had not the Rev. George Gary already been sent to
the field, the Society would have continued Lee in charge
of the Mission. Lee, with real modesty and unselfishness,
bowed to the decision of the Society and announced his
willingness to return and serve under Dr. Gary. The
Society gladly accepted his offer, but urged him to remain
East for a few months for the recuperation of his health
and the collection of funds for the Oregon Institute. He
visited Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he held a public
meeting in the interest of Oregon; and then his nephew,
Daniel Lee, at North Haverhill, New Hampshire, where he
again spoke on his favorite theme; he then returned to his
old home at Stanstead for a few weeks of rest before starting for Oregon. But his eleven years of toil and exposure,
the loneliness of his homeless life, the burdens of the Mission and of the country, broke his Herculean frame; he
felt keenly the complaints of the missionaries in Oregon;
above all, the implied reproach of his brethren of the Missionary Society and of the church nearly broke his heart;
and he found himself rapidly falling a victim to tuberculosis probably contracted from his Indian wards. We
must remember that Lee's second wife had died, and that
he was burdened by domestic sorrow as well as by the
complaints of his brethren. His brethren assured him
that they had not meant to hurt his feelings; but the lonely
man could not grip life again, and he sank into the grave
March 12, 1845—one of the most statesmanlike and heroic
figures in missionary annals.
Unfortunately, Jason Lee not only suffered at the close
of his life, but his memory has suffered since his death
by the unworthy detraction of careless writers. Mrs. Dye
has made an unfair portrayal of Lee's relation with Dr.
McLoughlin; and even a man with the general knowledge
of the whole field, and the passion for facts which characterizes Bancroft, has permitted one of the writers of his
history to give the following mixed estimate of Lee's character, which inevitably leads the reader to condemnation
for which the writer escapes the blame: "I would not
present Jason Lee as a bad man, or as a good man becoming bad, or as worse now, while tricking his eastern directors and cheating McLoughlin out of his land, than while
preaching at Fort Hall or seeking the salvation of the
dying Indian children. He was the self-same person
throughout, and grew wiser and better if anything as years
added experience to his life. He was endeavoring to make
the most of himself, to do the best for his country, whether
laboring in the field of piety or patriotism; and if on
abandoning the missionary work and engaging in that of
empire-building, he fell into ways called devious by business men, it must be attributed to that specious line of
education which leads to the appropriation of the Lord's
earth by ministers of the Lord, in so far as the power is
given them. In all these things he sought to do the best,
and he certainly was doing better work, work more beneficial to mankind, and more praiseworthy, as colonizer,
than he had formerly achieved as missionary."3    "How
3 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 214.
he justified the change in himself no one can tell. He
certainly saw how grand a work it was to lay the foundation of a new empire on the shores of the Pacific, and how
discouraging the prospect of raising a doomed race to a
momentary recognition of its lost condition, which was
all that ever could be hoped for the Indians of western
Oregon. There is much credit to be imputed to him as
the man who carried to successful completion the dream
of Hall J. Kelley and the purpose of Ewing Young. . . .
Taken all in all, and I should say, Honor to the memory
of Jason Lee."4 "That he had the ability to impress upon
the Willamette Valley a character for religious and literary
aspiration, which remains to this day; that he suggested
the manner in which Congress could promote and reward
American emigration, . . . "5 the facts make clear.
The references found in Bancroft's volumes derogatory
to Jason Lee may be summed up in the statements: (1)
that Jason Lee was angry with the Rev. David Leslie and
left him for at least a year without an appointment and
with no support for himself and five motherless children
because Leslie had the temerity to differ from him in his
discharge of Dr. White from the Mission;6 (2) that Lee
played the hypocrite while cheating Dr. McLoughlin out
of land at Willamette Falls;7 and (3) that Lee was worldly
and ambitious, and deceived the Missionary Society and
misappropriated a large amount of their funds.8 In considering these charges it is only fair to bear in mind Ban-
* Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 221.
B Ibid., vol. i, p. 220.
•Ibid., vol i, pp. 196, 197.
7 Ibid., vol. i, pp. 203-225.
8 Ibid., vol. i, p. 220.
croft's condemnation of all missionary work mentioned in
'the Preface and the criticism of ministerial training and
of ministers in general in the quotation made above.
In regard to the first charge: the picture drawn in
Bancroft's volume of Dr. White furnishes justification for
Lee's conclusion that White ought to sever his connection
with the Mission. But there is not a line of evidence
adduced in proof of the statement that Lee left Leslie
without an appointment because Leslie favored White.
The facts are these: As the statement in Bancroft's volume
itself makes clear, Leslie's wife died in February, 1841,
leaving him with Ave motherless daughters to support and
educate;9 but the writer does not state that the mother
of these children was the aunt of the Rev. Bradford K.
Pierce, D.D., long the able and beloved editor of Zion's
Herald of Boston, and that these children were, therefore,
Dr. Pierce's cousins. These motherless children were thus
connected with one of the finest New England families
and were sure of care and education, if Leslie could only
take them or send them to New England. Leslie was,
therefore, at his own request, left without an appointment
in 1842 in order to take his children to Hawaii and, if
possible, send them from there on to New England. We
find no record that he was left without a salary; the present custom of the Missionary Society in such cases is to
provide half salary and traveling expenses; though it may
not have acted so favorably in the early days. Cornelius
Rogers, who had been a member of the American Board
Mission, and had been honorably released from the Mission, had come to Oregon, had met the Leslie family, and
Ibid., vol. i, p. 190.
had fallen in love with Leslie's oldest daughter. He proposed marriage to her after the family had gone aboard
the brig Chenemas to sail for Hawaii. Mr. Rogers's proposal was accepted and the marriage service was performed.
Then with a mother's interest this eldest daughter, with
the full consent of her husband, begged her father to leave
the two youngest sisters with her, and Mr. Leslie consented.
This left him with only two daughters to provide for
instead of Ave. Nevertheless, he went on with these two
daughters to Hawaii and placed them in school there until
he eould send them back to New England. Mr. and Mrs.
Rogers, with the youngest of Mr. Leslie's daughters, were
drowned at Willamette Falls Ave months after their marriage, that is, early in 1843. Another one of Dr. Leslie's
daughters died in Hawaii. Leslie returned to Oregon in
1843. Later he himself married and provided a home for
the two remaining daughters. This simple recital of the
facts ought to set at rest the charge that Jason Lee left
a brother missionary, who had five motherless children
to care for, without any visible means of support because
Leslie differed from Lee in his estimate of Dr. White.
This baseless assumption of Lee's jealousy is rendered
forever impossible by the fact that when Lee decided to
return to the East in 1843, that is, within a year of the
time when it is alleged "Lee punished Leslie," he selected
Leslie of all men in the Mission to represent him in his
absence, and appointed him acting superintendent of the
entire Mission. What fuller refutation is needed of the
baseless charge of Lee's ill treatment of Leslie ?
The second charge, that Lee cheated Dr. McLoughlin
out of land at Willamette Falls, is equally baseless. Dr.
McLoughlin had and exercised despotic power over the
216 yffl
employees of the Hudson's Bay Company, controlling not
only their service but their conduct outside their hours
of labor. The charge against Jason Lee is based on the
assumption that he had and exercised an equally despotic
authority over the lay missionaries, and especially the
ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The charge
rests on the further supposition that Lee, Waller, Parrish,
and the other Methodists at Willamette Falls were in a
conspiracy to cheat Dr. McLoughlin out of his claims.
The evidence as cited by the writer in Bancroft's History
shows that Lee openly always favored McLoughlin's claim,
that he disagreed with most of his Mission at that point.
But it is assumed that this is a part of the conspiracy and
that Lee played the hypocrite in order to deceive McLoughlin ; that he had the power to control the Methodist ministers not only as to their appointments, but in all their
acts as citizens, and that had Lee sincerely desired to support McLoughlin's claim, he would have prevented the
Rev. A. F. Waller, a Methodist minister whom Lee stationed at Willamette Falls in 1840, ever laying claim to
the land in dispute. A careful analysis of the facts even
as stated by the writer in Bancroft fails to convict Lee
of falsehood, of hypocrisy, or of attempting to perpetrate
the slightest injustice upon Dr. McLoughlin. The story
of conflicting claims to the ownership of Willamette Falls,
set up by Dr. McLoughlin and by Waller, is a long one,
and much has been written on each side. Lee believed
in the justice of Dr. McLoughlin's claim. But a majority
of the Methodists then on the ground, with all the facts
before them, supported Waller's claim. Congress dealt
generously with the early settlers of Oregon by making
grants to most of them, but Congress also, even after
Waller's claim had lapsed, rejected Dr. McLoughlin's
claim. The Legislature of Oregon, with all the facts
before it, rejected Dr. McLoughlin's claim for years, and
in so doing it reflected the general judgment of the citizens
at that time. But Lee stood out against the overwhelming
majority of the Americans and supported McLoughlin's
£laim. The story of the claim in brief is as follows: Dr.
McLoughlin recognized the great value of these Falls and
laid claim to them in the name of the Hudson's Bay Company as early as 1829 and began some improvements on
them-. But the Company objected to the location of a mill
south of the Columbia River on the ground that they
purposed making this river the dividing line between the
two countries.10 Later McLoughlin determined to build
a mill at the Falls for himself, and it is said that he
erected several houses and a mill race.11 McLoughlin's
attempt to claim land south of the Columbia being strenuously opposed by some of his British friends, he decided^
about 1838, to relinquish the land and waterpower to his
stepson, Thomas McKay. Later still he decided to keep
it himself, and he built a house to replace improvements
destroyed by the Indians, and openly claimed the right of
preemption. Upon the whole, it seems to us that McLoughlin had maintained a claim to the land and water-
power at the Falls superior to that of any other man, and
that his claim should have been granted by Congress.
Waller's claim rested on the ground that neither McLoughlin nor any representative of McLoughlin ever had lived
at the Falls, that he himself was the first white man living
upon and actively occupying this land, and that he (Wal-
10 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 217.
"Ibid., vol. i, p. 203.
ler) was an actual bona fide citizen of the United States,
whereas McLoughlin was an alien and the agent of a
"foreign corporate monopoly."12 It is stated by Bancroft13 that Felix Hathaway, in the employment of the
Mission, began in 1841 to erect a house on an island below
the Falls—a part of the land included in McLoughlin's
claim; and that McLoughlin on speaking to Waller about
this trespass was assured by Waller that he had taken a
claim lying below McLoughlin's claim and that Hathaway
then discontinued building a house on the island. I cannot find that Lee had any connection with Hathaway's
attempt to erect this building or that Hathaway was employed by Lee, who was superintendent of the Mission.
So far as we can learn, Lee's first connection with the case
was in the autumn of 1842, when Dr. McLoughlin told
him of the report that Waller intended to dispute his
claim.14 Lee, after consulting Waller, assured McLoughlin that Waller had no such design. Later in the year
McLoughlin again appealed to Lee. On Lee going to
Waller a second time, Waller insisted that Lee had not
understood him correctly, though Lee understood him
exactly as McLoughlin understood him in McLoughlin's
first interview. Lee now learned for the first time that
Waller intended to contest McLoughlin's claim. Hence
Lee wrote McLoughlin in answer to his second complaint
as follows: "From what I have since heard, I am inclined
to think I did not understand Mr. Waller correctly, but
I am not certain it is so."15   We are not attempting to
12 Ibid., vol. i, p. 215.
13 Ibid., vol. i, p. 204.
"Ibid., vol. i, p. 205.
15 Quoted by Bancroft, Ibid., vol. i, p. 205.
219 -I
clear Waller, but to vindicate Lee. Had Lee possessed the
power to control Waller's acts as an American citizen, then
Lee was responsible for his failure to do so and for the
pressure of Waller's claim against McLoughlin; and Lee's
letter to McLoughlin had in that case been deceitful. But
everyone at all familiar with Methodism knows that no
superintendent of a mission and no bishop in that church
has the slightest authority to interfere with the civil or
political rights of any minister. He has the authority to
appoint him to his work; and the minister is compelled
to accept the appointment given or else withdraw from
the Conference, though not from the church. Lee's additional statement in his letter to McLoughlin is correct;
"You will here allow me to say, that a citizen of the United
States by becoming a missionary does not renounce any
civil or political right. I cannot control any man in these
matters, though I had not the most distant idea when I
stationed Mr. Waller there that he would set up a private
claim to the land."16 Hence, instead of starting with an
entirely false theory of the power of a superintendent of
missions and charging Lee with hypocrisy, the writer in
Bancroft's History should have known that the laws of
the church relieve him of all responsibility for Waller^
action in filing this claim. It is true that six Methodists
and three other citizens of the Falls joined with Waller
in 1841 in the organization of the Island Milling Company, which in 1842 erected a sawmill on the disputed
claim.17 It must be borne in mind that Lee had lost the
sympathy of the missionaries by his second marriage; that
already several of the missionaries had sent home com-
18 Quoted by Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 205.
17 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 206, 207.
plaints against him; that apparently one of the grounds
of complaint was Lee's inclination to surrender what they
regarded as their rights as American citizens to Dr. McLoughlin, the head of a Company which they claimed was
unjustly usurping authority over the Oregon Country.
This charge against the Hudson's Bay Company appears
in the petition of 1842 written by Shortess, who was a
Methodist.18 Again, Lee said that a compromise which
was rejected by the Mission party and others composing
the milling company, was a fair and liberal offer on McLoughlin's part.19 Again, when Lee and J. L. Parrish,
of the Methodist Mission, were visiting Fort Vancouver
in 1843, and Parrish affirmed at the public table that he
never heard of McLoughlin's claim to the island before
the milling company began the erection of the sawmill
upon it, Lee immediately corrected him, saying, "I attended your first or second meeting, and it is the only
meeting I attended, and I told you that McLoughlin
claimed the island."20 This shows clearly that Lee was
present at one meeting of the milling company; that in
that meeting Lee told the company that McLoughlin
claimed the island, and that despite the information given
them by Lee, the company erected a sawmill on the claim
in dispute.
The Methodist Episcopal Church by the action of either
Lee or Leslie as superintendent of the Mission, probably
by the act of Leslie on his knowledge of Lee's judgment,
removed Waller from Oregon City to The Dalles, thus
compelling him to abandon his claim, through failure to
18 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 207-209, note.
19 Ibid., vol. i, p. 213.
20 Quoted by Bancroft, Ibid., vol. i, p. 214, note.
continue his residence at the Falls.21 We do not believe
that Waller was removed from Willamette Falls in order
to destroy his claim. It is probable that his business
affairs at Willamette Falls were injuring his usefulness
as a minister at that station. But his transfer to The
Dalles was due to the need of ministerial help at that point
Daniel Lee and his wife, who were stationed at The Dalles,
sailed for home in April, 1843. This forced the problem
of The Dalles upon Jason Lee before he sailed for home
probably early in 1844. Toward the close of the summer
of 1844 Perkins also left The Dalles for the East. Hence
either Jason Lee before sailing, or Leslie some time after
Jason Lee sailed, appointed Waller to The Dalles to continue the work in that mission; and Waller, like a loyal
Methodist minister, accepted the appointment and went
to The Dalles, thus sacrificing his claim at the Falls.
Hence, either Lee or Leslie, or more probably both combined, by changing Waller's appointment removed that
bar to McLoughlin's claim.
We have the following additional assurance of the
friendship of Jason Lee for Dr. McLoughlin and of his
fairness toward the French-Canadian settlers:, In Congress
a persistent effort was made, especially against McLoughlin, by limiting the grant of six hundred and forty acres
of land in the proposed Oregon land grants to citizens of
the United States. But Bancroft says that "Linn's land
bill, which was suggested by Jason Lee himself, had no
clause preventing foreigners of any nation from becoming
citizens of Oregon, but bestowed on every white male
81 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, p.
inhabitant six hundred and forty acres of land. McLoughlin accordingly had that amount surveyed to himself in
1842. . . ."22 I
It would be far more plausible to charge Lee with a
weak surrender to McLoughlin and injustice to Waller.
Because of Waller's removal to The Dalles, neither he nor
the Methodist Mission in the end set up a rival claim for
the grant of Willamette Falls. Dr. McLoughlin's petition,
therefore, went before Congress with no rival claimant.
How, therefore, is it possible to maintain that Lee contributed to McLoughlin's failure to receive the favor which
he asked of Congress? Congress, however, refused McLoughlin's petition and granted the Falls to the State of
Oregon toward the endowment of a State university. Dr.
McLoughlin then petitioned the State of Oregon to grant
him the Willamette Falls site. The Oregon Legislature
refused the petition and voted to grant the claim to the
State university. Many years later, though unfortunately
not until after Dr. McLoughlin's death, the State reversed
its early decision and made a grant to Dr. McLoughlin's
We hold, with Lee, that morally Dr. MeLoughlin was
entitled to the site which the Island Milling Company, a
majority of whom were Methodists, claimed. But Jesse
Applegate, whom Bancroft commends so highly for his
accuracy and fairness, held that McLoughlin's claim to
the site of Willamette Falls was invalidated by the position taken by the Hudson's Bay Company. After narrating the efforts of Dr. McLoughlin in 1844-45, under orders
of his company in London, to keep Americans from set-
i Bancroft, History of 6regon, vol. i, pp. 217, 218.
tling north of the Columbia, and of Dr. McLoughlin's
tearing down the log house which two Americans had
built on some uninclosed land, just north of the river,
claimed by the Hudson's Bay Company and used by them
for the pasture of their cattle, Bancroft gives the following
resume of Applegate's comments: "The British in Oregon
had also a local weak point to defend. They had been
ordered by the Board of Management (the London officials
of the Hudson's Bay Company) to remove their establishment on the south side of the Columbia to the north side,
butTiad not done so, and were occupying territory supposed
to belong to the United States, when they forcibly ejected
an American citizen from the territory they claimed for
Great Britain."2* § M
A summary of the recorded facts, in regard to Dr. McLoughlin's claim furnishes clear proof of Lee's fairness
and his friendship for McLoughlin: (1) He accepted a
quit claim deed from McLoughlin for the lot at Willamette
Falls on which the Methodist church was located, thus
legally recognizing McLoughlin's claim to the Falls; (2)
he located the Methodist claim for land at the Falls outside of McLoughlin's claim, thus again recognizing the
validity of that claim; (3) he corrected Parrish's statement that he, Parrish, did not know McLoughlin claimed
the island; (4) he asserted that the compromise proposed
by McLoughlin and rejected by the Methodists was fair;
(5) he refused to insert the word "American" before
"settler," which he was asked to do in order to exclude
McLoughlin and other Britishers from the land grants
made to settlers in Oregon; (6) he maintained these views
M Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 463.
224 2333
and performed these acts against the sentiment of his
fellow missionaries, of the local community, of the Oregon
Legislature, and of the United States Congress. Indeed,
Lee's support of McLoughlin was one of the causes of that
opposition to himself by members of the Mission which led
to his own downfall. It is a pity that a man should be
represented after his death as a hypocrite in the transaction in which in some measure at least he sacrificed the
support of his followers, at a time when this failure cost
him his own position, through his loyalty to a friend of
an alien faith and a foreign nation.
As to the third charge—that Lee was worldly and ambitious, that he deceived the Missionary Society in New York
and misappropriated missionary funds—the facts disprove
it as fully as they disprove the two former charges. In
regard to the claim that Lee misappropriated missionary
funds: a careful study of the charge shows that all the
writer in Bancroft's history means by this ugly charge is
that Lee used for white work money which the Society
appropriated for work among the Indians. Even the
writer does not mean that Lee appropriated to his own
use any money contributed for mission work. On the
contrary, the writer recognizes that with many opportunities to make wise investments, Lee remained a poor
man to his death. She records the fact that the last letter
which Lee wrote practically gave his own daughter, without property, to Dr. and Mrs. Hines, who had cared for
her since her mother's death and coveted the privilege
of bringing her up in their own home and allowing her
to bear her father's name; and that the next to the last
letter which Lee wrote was one bestowing upon the Oregon
Institute the small amount of property which he possessed,
225 -I
thus showing his unselfish devotion to his church and the
Mission down to the hour of his death.
What is left of the charge, namely that Lee deceived the
Society in New York and used for white men money "sent
for the Indians, is wholly disproved by the record. So
far from Lee deceiving the Society, it was with their full
knowledge that he took to the field in 1839 the mixed
group of preachers, teachers, physicians, mechanics, and
farmers, with their wives and children. The facts were
not only discussed in detail and unanimously adopted by j
the~Society, but they were spread before the church. If
the writer in Bancroft had consulted the Christian Advocate and Journal, he would have found spread out in the
pages of the official organ of the church in its issue of
December 21, 1838, a sort of proclamation by Nathan
Bangs, the secretary of the Missionary Society, setting
forth to the entire membership of the Methodist Episcopal
Church the program in detail, stating clearly that the
plans as unanimously approved, by the Society embraced
a gristmill and a sawmill with all necessary building materials, tools, and implements; authorized Lee to take out,
in addition to this machinery, $5,000 worth of goods;
provided for Lee to take out, in addition to five preachers,
six mechanics, four farmers, a missionary steward or
treasurer and a stewardess, one physician, and five teachers,
and suggested that men be selected whose wives were
competent to teach the Indian children; and, finally, that
of the five preachers as many as possible be physicians also.
The proclamation stated that $30,000 were needed to cover
the initial expenses of materials, cost of passage, and
salaries for the first six months.24   This appeal by Dr.
M Atwood, The Conquerors, pp. 68, 69.
Bangs, spread before the church, shows how wide of the
mark is the charge that Jason Lee deceived *he Methodist
people, much less the Society, which unanimously adopted
his program. As a matter of fact, Lee secured $37,000
from the church, which with the $2,600 received from the
secret service fund of the government, made $39,600—
$9,000 more than the amount originally called for. The
only item in the budget over which there was any secrecy
was the gift of the government, and the government did
not wish this gift published lest it prejudice her negotiations with Great Britain. But Lee entered the gift in his
Journal with all other gifts, and on the other side of the
account entered the money as paid out in securing passage
for the missionaries to Oregon. We account for the charge
that Lee tricked his Eastern directors on the theory that
the brilliant author of the chapter in Bancroft had no
conception of the common sense of the folks called Methodists, or the methods of modern mission work, but thought
that the managers of the Missionary Society were pious
ninnies who believed only in sermons and tracts, but would
raise their hands in holy horror over the common sense
methods of Lee and Whitman, of General Armstrong and
Booker T. Washington.
It was a time of transition, and there were grounds for
honest differences of opinion as to the proper mission
policy for work among the Indians, and we do not wonder
that Christian men, and especially writers who had never
devoted serious thought to mission problems, became confused over the issues. But there were only three possible
solutions for the Indian problem which confronted the
American churches:
First is the attitude which the historian of the Pacific
Coast, H. H. Bancroft, takes: "Speaking generally, all
missionary effort is a failure. . . . The greatest boon
Christianity can confer upon the heathen is to let them
alone."25 This view is of a piece with the principle which
for half a century dominated the secular thought and
sometimes the conduct of the frontier settlers, and found
expression in the proverb, "The only good Indian is a
dead Indian." We are ashamed to add that during three
centuries of contact with the Indians the churches, by
their neglect of the Indian race, largely have acted upon
Mr. "Bancroft's view. This view is essentially pagan and
is a century out of date.
The second policy, which, could it have been embodied,
might have proved best for the Indian race, was their
separation from the white race until they approximated
the white man's stage of civilization. As the white races
required centuries to pass from their first knowledge of
the gospel to their present stage of civilization, probably
the Indians could not have compassed the journey in a
century. But such a separation of the two races could
not be achieved by the churches; it demanded government
action. The United States government seriously contemplated this policy; and again and again she initiated
it by establishing reservations for the Indians. But two
grave difficulties prevented the success of government
reservations. Great Britain as well as the United States
recognized the Indians as a separate nation by making
treaties with them. It was, however, inconsistent with
our theory of personal freedom and also a violation of our
recognition of the sovereignty of the Indians, and repug-
25 Bancroft, History of Northwest Coast, vol. i, p. 549.
nant to the wishes and ideals of the Indians, for the people
of the republic to compel the people of a sister nation to
remain upon one side of an imaginary reservation line;
theoretically the Indians had a greater right to cross the
line of reservation and revisit the scenes of their childhood
and the graves of their fathers and to remain in the United
States as settlers than the people of Russia and Italy and
Spain. With the conception of the untrammeled sovereignty of nations and of personal and religious freedom
which prevailed in the United States down to the twentieth
century, the second solution of the problem was as impracticable as the first was pagan. Moreover, no political
party during the last century could have continued in
office any length of time if it had attempted to maintain
against the encroaching whites a reservation for the Indians sufficiently large to give them a fair opportunity to
pass from the hunting to the farming stage of civilization;
the second solution of the problem was impossible.
The third and only other solution of the Christianization
of the Indians possible to the churches of the United
States was that proposed by Jason Lee and Marcus WTiit-
man and for a time adopted by our Missionary Society.
It was indeed revolutionary; it seemed extravagant; it
involved an abandonment of the old lines between sacred
and secular callings; it rested back upon the conception
that not the life of the minister only but of every Christian is a plan of God. But in the inevitable and the speedy
settlement of the Oregon Country, and especially of the
Willamette and Columbia River Valleys, by the whites,
what other course was open to Jason Lee and Dr. Whitman
except to urge the missionary societies to send preachers
and teachers and Christian carpenters and blacksmiths
and physicians and farmers into the country as rapidly as
possible, make plain and attractive to the Indians applied
Christianity, and thus, through example and cooperation,
through regeneration and education, lift the Indian race
to a plane where it could compete with the incoming
whites ? It has been said that the Missionary Society was
extravagant in asking for $30,000 to aid Lee in 1839, and
that any aid of Lee by the government trenched upon the
independence of church and state. But in view of the fact
that it was only four years from the time of Whitman's
appeal to his Board until he and Mrs. Whitman were
massacred and the three glimmering torches of civilization
which the American Board had kindled in the upper basin
of the Columbia went out in darkness, that it was only
nine years from the time the Methodist missionaries set
foot in Oregon until the American whites were there in
force and the provisional government was established, and
only thirteen years until their missions also were closed
by the Indian war, the verdict of history will be that all
the churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, should have
moved with far more energy and speed along the only linU
possible to prevent the impending crisis.
In the missionary annals of the Methodist Episcopal
Church Jason Lee bears the same relation to Melville B.
Cox as in our early history Bishop Asbury bore to Bishop
Coke. Coke was the prophetic dreamer; Asbury realized
Coke's dream. So Cox was a splendid prophecy of the
triumphs of the Kingdom. He entered Africa with comprehensive plans and flawless consecration on March 9,
1833. Four months and twelve days later he lay dead
upon the field, leaving the church only his heroic summons,
"Let a thousand fall before Africa be given up!"   Lee
had barely time to hear this dying cry for Africa before
taking up the march toward the western shores of America.
There he became in fact what Cox was in splendid purpose
—the man who set the stamp of his life, as well as the glory
of his death, upon the missionary enterprises of the church.
Well may Bishop Simpson in the Cyclopaedia of Methodism
pronounce him "the peer of any man who adorns the roll
of modern workers in the Church of Christ."
'Upholding, like the Ark of God,
The Bible in their van,
They went to test the truth of God
Against the fraud of man.
They trod the prairie as of old
Their fathers sailed the sea,
And made the West as they the East
The homestead of the free."
We have portrayed the work of seven factors in the struggle : of the American Indians; of the Hudson's Bay Company; of the Roman Catholic Church; of the British government; of the United States government; of the Ameri-
oan pioneers; of the Methodist Episcopal Church. We
have yet to describe another important factor.
In its early history the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions represented the Congregational, the Dutch Reformed, and the Presbyterian
Churches of the United States. This Board, like the
Methodist Missionary Society, had been stirred by the
appeal of the Nez Percys and Flatheads. The Presbyterians, whose representative had attended and spoken at
the farewell meeting held in New York for Jason Lee,
were not behind the Methodists in a desire to evangelize
the Indians. But tempering their zeal with caution, the
Dutch Reformed Church at Ithaca, New York, sent out
in 1835 the Rev. Samuel Parker with directions for a
preliminary survey of the field before locating a mission.
By arrangement of the American Board the Rev. Mr.
Parker met at Saint Louis Dr. Whitman, who was going
out for the Presbyterian Church on the same mission.
They traveled together in a company of white trappers
from Saint Louis as far as Green River. On meeting
representatives of the Nez Percys at Green River and
learning that the Methodist missionaries had passed beyond their country, Dr. Whitman in his zeal resolved to
return at once to the States and bring out reenforcements
in the spring of 1836 and go to work among these Indians.
Mr. Parker consented to Dr. Whitman's return, but he
continued with the hunters and trappers and Indians and
reached Fort Vancouver October 16, 1835—a year after
the Methodists arrived.1 He visited the mouth of the
Columbia River and the Willamette Valley, spent the
winter at Fort Vancouver, where he originated the custom
of assembling the Canadians twice each Sunday and reading to them in French a portion of the Scriptures and a
sermon, went back in the spring to Fort Walla Walla,
selected Waiilatpu and Chemekane as future stations for
mission work; he then returned to the States by way of
Vancouver and Honolulu, reaching Ithaca May 23, 1837,
having traveled twenty-eight thousand miles.2 In 1838
he published his Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond
the Rocky Mountains. Through this book Parker made
a real contribution to the knowledge of Oregon at a time
when such knowledge was greatly needed. He thus made
a double contribution: first, to the cause of missions, and,
1 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, pp. 104-112.
2 Ibid., vol. i, p. 124.
second, to the American settlement of Oregon. Owing to
its issue in 1838, four years before Dr. Whitman's trip
to the East, and to the sale of fifteen hundred copies within
a few years of its issue, Mr. Parker's volume did more to
awaken the East and secure emigrants for Oregon than
did Dr. Whitman's famous trip to Boston and Washington
in 1842-43.     ' ■    f |
Dr. Whitman returned to Boston from Green River and
reported the facts and received authority from the American Board to secure reenforcements for work among the
Nez Perces and Flatheads. He appealed successfully to
Miss Narcissa Prentiss, daughter of Judge Prentiss, of
Prattsburg, New York, to become his bride. They were
married in February, 1836, and with his wife he set out
on his second trip West February 6. At Pittsburgh they
met the Rev. H. H. Spalding and his wife, who were on
their way from Oneida County, New Yor'k, as missionaries
to the Osage Indians. After due consideration and prayer
the Spaldings accepted the urgent invitation of the Whit^
mans and changed their plans from the Osage to the Nez
Perces Indians. At Liberty, Missouri, the four were
joined by W. H. Gray, previously referred to, a single man,
who had been engaged by the American Board as a mechanic and secular aid to the mission. Dr. Whitman had
been furnished by the Board with blacksmiths' tools, some
carpenters' tools, a plow, grain, and garden seeds, etc., for
making the Mission as far as possible self-supporting. At
Liberty they .bought wagons, pack mules, horses, and sixteen cows. Dr. Whitman succeeded in taking his wagon
as far as Fort Boise; this is the first wagon ever taken
beyond Fort Hall.3   The missionaries went past the In-
8 Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 133, note.
234 nflHiitBM-yvrn™™Tffffi
dians to whom they were sent and on to Fort Vancouver,
which they reached September 13, 1836. There the two
women remained while the men went back to explore the
country. Mrs. Spalding and Mrs. Whitman were the first
white women to cross the Rocky Mountains, going over
the South Pass, six years before Fremont gained fame as
"The Pathfinder" by describing it; the two brides enjoyed
one of the longest wedding journeys on record. The men
left Fort Vancouver on the return tour of exploration
November 3 and reached Waiilatpu, six miles from what
is now Walla Walla, November 14. In accordance with
the Rev. Samuel Parker's judgment, Dr. Whitman decided to settle here among the Cayuse Indians. After constructing temporary quarters, W. H. Gray was left here
while Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding went ninety miles
farther east to Lapwai, about ten miles from what is now
Lewiston, Idaho, which they reached November 28. Mr.
Spalding decided to settle here among the Nez Perces
Indians. In 1837 Mr. Gray returned to the East for re-
enforcements, married, and came back to the mission field,
bringing his wife and accompanied by the Revs. Cushing
Eells, A. B. Smith, Elkanah Walker and their wives, and
Mr. Cornelius Rogers. The Revs. Cushing, Eells, and
Elkanah Walker settled among the Spokanes at Cheme-
kane, not far from Fort Colville, on a site which had been
selected for the mission by the Rev. Samuel Parker. We
believe the Rev. A. B. Smith and wife settled at Kamiah.
As a matter of fact, after investigating the conditions on
the field, no Protestant or Roman Catholic missionary
considered it wise to found a mission among the scattered
Flatheads in the mountains of Montana.
The missionaries at Lapwai and Waiilatpu built log
houses, broke up the land, sowed grain and planted garden
seeds, and carefully attended to the horses, sheep, and
cattle; at the same time they began preaching to the Indians, teaching the Indian children to read, and the older
people to break up the land, build houses and do housework. Mr. Spalding erected at Lapwai a gristmill and
a sawmill, both of which proved of great service. Dr.
Whitman had a small mill consisting of a spherical
wrought-iron burr, four or Ave inches in diameter, surrounded by a counterburred surface of the same material,
run By water, in which he could grind flour enough in
a day to last the large family, including the Indian children whom he soon had on his hands, for a week. Mrs.
Whitman started a school at Waiilatpu which contributed
greatly to the civilization of the Indians. A Presbyterian
church was organized at Lapwai in 1838 and another at*
Waiilatpu about the same time. The church at Lapwai
is still in existence with a full-blood Indian pastor, and
is the mother of Presbyterianism on the Pacific Coast.
The Presbyterian Church, since the separation of the work
of the two churches, has shown greater perseverance and
accomplished more for the remaining Indians than any
other Protestant church.4
In starting schools and also in teaching the Indians
farming the American Board followed in the footsteps of
the Methodist Mission, because similar conditions called
forth similar efforts. The native church of the American
Board at Honolulu sent Mr. Spalding a printing press in
1839, Mr. Hall, one of the printers of Honolulu, bringing
it and teaching the missionaries at Lapwai how to operate
4 See footnote 11, page 79.
it. This was the first printing press west of the Rocky
Mountains. The members of the American Board at
Boston, like the members of the Methodist Missionary
Society at New York, were surprised that their missionaries were so soon engaged in teaching, farming, milling,
weaving, etc., instead of being completely absorbed in
preaching the gospel. During the next few years the
Board also was hard pressed to secure funds for the Mission. From its start in 1835 to its close in 1847 the Mission is reported to have cost the Board over $40,000.
Again, like Jason Lee, Dr. Whitman gradually became
interested in saving the Oregon Country to the United
States. As already narrated Lee visited Dr. Whitman on
his first trip to the States in 1838, carrying with him the
second petition for the establishment of the United States
government in Oregon. Lee remained with Whitman over
Sunday and was enthusiastic over the possibilities of the
Willamette Valley, while Whitman was equally enthusiastic over the fertility of Waiilatpu. Dr. Whitman was
stirred over the coming of the Roman Catholic missionaries to Oregon in 1838, and especially over the arrival
of some eighty emigrants, including women and children
from the Red River Country in 1841.
Dissensions having arisen between Dr. Whitman and
Mr. Spalding, Whitman decided to resign. But the accidental drowning of Dr. Whitman's daughter, June 23,
1839, brought the missionaries together in sorrow, and
their dissensions were temporarily healed. But Cornelius
Rogers resigned from the Mission in 1841 and went to the
Willamette Valley, and W. H. Gray resigned in October,
1842, and also went to the Willamette Valley. On Dr.
Elijah WTiite's return to Oregon in 1842 with about one
hundred and twenty-five emigrants, he brought with him
a letter from the American Board to Dr. Whitman. On
account of the cost of the Missions and the dissensions of
the missionaries this letter instructed Mr. Spalding to
return East.
The fate of the Mission was hanging in the balance;
for the letter of the Prudential Committee which Dr.
Whitman had received not only recalled Mr. Spalding and
wife, but also advised the return of W. H. Gray and wife
and the Rev. A. B. Smith and wife, and the closing of
the stations at Lapwai and Waiilatpu and the continuance
of only one station, that at Chemekane. This station was
not far from Fort Colville, was six miles north of the
Spokane River and about one hundred and twenty-five
miles north of Waiilatpu and fully that distance off the
main line of emigration then setting toward the Columbia.
The Spokane Indians were less intelligent and enterprising than the Cayuse Indians and the Nez Percys,5 and
farming at Chemekane was not so successful on account
of the frosts.6 As Mr. Rogers and Mr. and Mrs. Gray
already had resigned and gone to the Willamette, and the
Rev. A. B. Smith and wife, both broken in health, had
resigned and gone to the Sandwich Islands, the recall of
Mr. and Mrs. Spalding would decrease the missionary
force by seven. Besides, J. D. Paris and wife and W. G.
Rice and wife, who had been sent out by the Board in
1840, had located at the Sandwich Islands. Obeying the
orders from the Board would leave only six on the field,
namely, Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Eells,
Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Walker, with no prospect of reenforce-
6 Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 123.
"Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i. p. 339.
ments. The Mission was facing a crisis. This was Dr.
Whitman's chief and sufficient motive for the journey East.
Whitman, Spalding, Eells, and Walker met at Waiilatpu
September 26, 1842; their dissensions were composed and
Dr. Whitman resolved to return to Boston and consult
with the Board before closing Mr. Spalding's station. In
addition to the missionary motive, Dr. Whitman wished
to see the government at Washington and hasten its efforts
to preserve the territory to the United States. He wished
also, if possible, to secure some American, Christian emigrants for Waiilatpu. These also were worthy and important motives for the journey.
Owing to dissensions, Dr. White's party had broken into
two sections. A. L. Lovejoy, who later rose to eminence
in Oregon, was with the Hastings section of the party.
He was left behind by Hastings to search for a lost companion; and when he reached Waiilatpu Hastings had
gone on, so he remained at the Mission for about a month.7
As the route was clear in Mr. Lovejoy's memory, Dr.
Whitman urged him to return East with him; and, after
some thought, Mr. Lovejoy consented. October 3, 1842,
they mounted horses and with three pack mules and a
faithful dog started East. From a human point of view
it did not seem possible that the journey could be made
during the winter, when there would be little food for
the horses and not a house to shelter them for the twenty-
five hundred miles, save at the trading posts. But Dr.
Whitman felt that God would help them, and they set out
bravely on the journey. In eleven days they reached Fort
Hall, six hundred miles southeast, although they rested
Sunday.    Averaging sixty miles a day was proof that
Ibid., vol. i, p. 262, note.
the men realized the danger of the oncoming winter. At
Fort Hall, Captain Grant of the Hudson's Bay Company
assured them that the Cheyennes and the Pawnees were
at war and that it was sure death to cross their country,
and that the snow was already falling on the mountains
to the south.8 As both routes seemed thus closed, Captain
Grant advised them to return to Waiilatpu or else to stay
with him. until spring. Dr. Whitman declined his advice
and kind offer, but decided to take the old Spanish trail
from^Fort Hall to Santa Fe instead of crossing the mountains over the South Pass and then going down the trail
along the Platte and the Missouri to Saint Louis. They
hoped thus to escape hostile Indians; they would be bearing southeast to Santa Fe and thus hoped for warmer
weather; and they hoped they could procure guides from
point to point. They took their first guide at Fort Hall.
They encountered terrible snowstorms in the mountains
between Forts Hall and Uinta which caused much loss of
time. With a new guide they pushed on to Fort Uncom-
pahgre, where another guide was obtained and they started
for Taos, New Mexico. After four or Ave days of travel
they encountered a western blizzard and were forced to
stop four days in a canon, feeding their horses on the bark
of the cottonwood trees and sleeping without a tent for
shelter. They then attempted to go on, but were driven
back by snow and wind and spent three days more in the
canon, making seven days' delay caused by this blizzard.
Their next effort to advance was equally dangerous; the
landmarks were covered with snow, the guide admitted
that he had lost his way, they made but little progress for
two or three days, and finally the guide refused to lead in
8 Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 158.
any further advance. As Lovejoy showed signs of exhaustion from the journey West and the severe trials of the
return trip, Dr. Whitman advised him to stop in the canon
for recuperation (?) while he went back with the guide
to Fort Uncompahgre. At the Fort Dr. Whitman's imperious will overcame the frightened half-frozen guide's
prophecy of sure death, and a second guide started out
with Whitman. After seven days of lonely waiting in
the canon, Lovejoy was delighted at Whitman's return
with a new guide. As the storm had abated they again
set forth, but at a snail's pace on account of the deep snow
J and the severe cold. They came to Grand River, which,
despite its swiftness, was frozen a third of the way over
on each side. The new guide despaired and said they
could not cross the stream. Dr. Whitman rode his horse
out upon the ice and Lovejoy and the Indian prodded the
horse with poles and he advanced until the ice broke and
horse and rider were plunged into the stream. They were
carried down the river, but, breaking the ice with a pole
until he came to thick ice, Dr. Whitman succeeded in
landing and then in helping the horse out. Lovejoy and
I the Indian pushed the two pack mules in and then followed
Ithemselves; and by divine favor all, including the dog,
I got over safely. January 12, 1843, was so cold that many
I people throughout the West perished in the blizzard. The
I little company was encamped in a mountain canon. The
■guide protested against moving, but Dr. WTiitman was
■determined to start. Soon wind and snow blinded them
land chilled them to the bone. The animals refused to
(travel against the storm, and animals and men turned
back toward the camp which they had left an hour or
two before.   But the tracks soon filled with snow so that
they could not tell the direction, and after a short time,
men and animals were lost. They huddled together for
shelter, and Dr. Whitman, despairing of their lives, dismounted, knelt in the snow, and commended them all to
God. While the doctor was praying, the guide noticed
one of the pack mules prick up its ears. He stopped the
doctor and started the mule forward. The mule moved,
at first with hesitation, but presently taking a course
down the mountain it led them to the ravine and up to
the very embers of the fire which they had left in the morning. Whitman and Lovejoy dismounted and helped down
the guide, who was partially frozen. The doctor and Lovejoy were also badly frost-bitten. After waiting several
days until the storm had abated they pushed forward
again. Their provisions now gave out and they killed the
faithful dog, which had stayed the seven lonely days with
Lovejoy in the canon; later they killed one of the mules.
(We hope that mule's spirit went to heaven, and the dog's
too; and the hope is in line with the teaching of John
Wesley, who believed that animals in some higher form
will enjoy a future life.)
When they reached Taos they were so frozen and emaciated with hunger that they rested two weeks; the horses
were unable to travel farther and they exchanged them
for fresh ones. But they had now passed the points of
greatest danger and the remainder of the journey promised
to be comparatively warm and safe. But, strange to say,
between Taos and Bent's Fort, Dr. Whitman came nearest
to death.9   Suddenly learning that a party was leaving
9 (Note discrepancies in Lovejoy's letter in Clarke and
Eells.) Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, pp. 425-427,
Eells, Marcus Whitman, pp. 156-158.
Bent's Fort for Saint Louis in a few days, Dr. Whitman
bought the best horse he could procure, and, leaving Lovejoy to come on at a more leisurely pace, he attempted to
catch the Bent's Fort party. Thus far the doctor had
rested every Sunday and had held morning and evening
prayers. But without observing Sunday he now tried to
overtake the party. A day or two later Lovejoy started
on, and after four days of travel reached Benfs Fort,
there to learn with dismay that the party had started
on to Saint Louis two days earlier, but that Dr. Whitman
had not overtaken them or been seen at all. Sending on
a courier to ask the party to wait, Lovejoy started out
to search for the lost doctor. On Friday evening the
doctor reached the Fort greatly worn out physically, and
mentally bewildered. His loss of the trail and his close
i call to death were attributed by him to the fact that he
i traveled on Sunday. Joining the party a little later, the
journey was made safely to Saint Louis and on to Washington.
History records few more heroic journeys than this ride
by Dr. Whitman of about one hundred and fifty days, from
Waiilatpu to Washington. Lovejoy was his companion on
ithe dangerous part of the journey, but decided to wait at
Bent's Fort until the doctor's return, and they met again
;at Fort Laramie in the spring of 1843. This ride and
Ithe ride which "Squire" Ebberts and Joseph L. Meek
made in 1847-48 from Willamette Falls to Washington
are the two most heroic horseback journeys in American
Many people had decided to go to Oregon in the spring
!of 1843 through the campaign in favor of Oregon started
;by Jason Lee during 1838-39, through the distribution
of Congressional documents, the editorials and news items
in the newspapers, and especially through the provision
in the bills before Congress for the grant of a square mile
of land to every man over eighteen years of age who became
a settler in Oregon. Dr. Whitman encouraged those proposing emigration and doubtless influenced a few more
to start by announcing that he was returning in the spring
and would help pilot the company across the plains and
The Tyler administration in 1843 was hesitating between a compromise with Great Britain and a demand on
Mexico for the surrender of the northern portion of Cali-'
fornia and of Texas, or a demand on Great Britain for the
49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific
Coast. In considering Dr. Whitman's part in this struggle
we are face to face with a long and bitter controversy over
matters of fact. On the one side it Is affirmed that Dr.
Whitman on learning that Lord Ashburton had reached
Washington for the purpose of making a treaty with our
government settling boundaries between Canada and the
United States, left Waiilatpu October 3, 1842, making his
journey East in the winter time in order that he might
influence the action of the United States government in
regard to Oregon; that he went direct from Saint Louis
to Washington, reaching that city March 3, 1843,10 that
he met Daniel Webster, the secretary of state, President
Tyler, and the entire Cabinet;11 and that as the result of
these meetings President Tyler promised to stop negotiations relating to  Oregon until Dr.  Whitman  could
10 Barrows, Oregon: The Struggle for Possession, pp. 174-
11 Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 160.
demonstrate the feasibility of a wagon road to the Columbia; that Dr. Whitman helped to create and then led in
safety the company of over eight hundred emigrants to
the Columbia in 1843, and thus contributed more than
any other American to secure Oregon to the United States.
On the other side it is pointed out that the Ashburton
treaty was signed August 9, 1842, nearly two months
before Dr. Whitman left Waiilatpu, and that Lord Ashburton had sailed back to England; that the plain cause
of Dr. Whitman's visit to the East was the letter from
the American Board brought to Waiilatpu by Dr. White
in September, 1842, and the crisis in the affairs of the
Mission. The advocates of this view maintain that there
was no treaty pending between the United States and
Great Britain relating to Oregon in 1843, when Dr. Whitman is said to have visited Washington and called upon
Webster, Tyler, and the Cabinet; that the claim of his
great services in saving Oregon was never put forward
until 1864, twenty-one years after the supposed service was
rendered; that those who put it forward have been convicted of numerous mistakes in their statements as to
facts of history, and that the whole claim may be justly
characterized as the "Whitman Legend." The leaders in
supporting Dr. Whitman's claim are Spalding, Barrows,
Clarke, Eells, Gray, Lyman, Mowry, and Nixon; the leaders among the opponents are Bancroft, Bourne, Marshall,
Evans, Hines, Scott, and Mrs. Victor. The claim was
first put forward by H. H. Spalding in 1864. In 1865
the Rev. G. H. Atkinson called the attention of the Rev.
S. B. Treat, secretary of the American Board, to Spalding's statement. Mr. Treat expressed doubt as to the
reliability of Spalding's statements, but on Dr. Atkinson
asking him to write the Rev. Cushing Eells for confirmation and mentioning the great value of the story for mission purposes, Mr. Treat wrote, and upon Mr. Eells's confirmation, the statement was put forth at the annual meeting of the Board at Piftsfield, Massachusetts, in 1866.12
The statement produced a profound impression upon the
audience and was widely reported in the newspapers. It
was stoutly reaffirmed by W. H. Gray, History of Oregon,
in 1870, by H. H. Spalding in 1871 (Exec-Document
No. 37, 41st Congress, 3rd Session), by the Rev. Myron
Eells in a pamphlet published in 1883 and in one published in 1902 in reply to Professor Bourne, and in his
volume on Marcus Whitman, published in 1909.
Originally we accepted the statements made in favor
of Dr. Whitman's claim, and our pamphlet, A Romance
of Missions, published in 1884, presents his services from
this point of view. After reading the volumes upon both
sides of the controversy we are constrained to the conlj
viction that while Dr. Whitman rendered real, important,
and lasting services to the emigrants who went to Oregon
in 1843, and real service to the country, the claims put
forth on his behalf were far beyond the facts.
We reverse our early opinion reluctantly and only in
the face of what seems to us overwhelming evidence. The
early story furnished a remarkable illustration of the influence of a single missionary in helping keep an invaluable
territory under the sovereignty of the United States by
one of the most heroic rides in history. But that the
evidence against the claims of Spalding, Gray, Barrows,
Nixon, Mowry, and Eells in behalf of Whitman is con-
12 Eells, Marcus Whitman, pp. 202, 203.
246 iifMnrffiiiMi
vincing to those who look up evidence is shown by the
fact that the following writers who originally lent their
authority and gave currency to the claim put forth for
Dr. Whitman have changed their convictions: Mrs. F. F.
Victor gave currency to the story of Dr. WTiitman's remarkable achievements in her River of the West, published in 1870, but later openly repudiated the claim in
Bancroft's History of Oregon, of which she is largely the
author.13 The Rev. H. K. Hines introduced to the Methodist public the story of Whitman's saving Oregon in an
article published in The Ladies' Repository about 1869.
Thirty years later in his Missionary History of the Pacific
Northwest he no longer supports the claim of Dr. Whitman's services in saving the country, which he had embodied in the early article.14 William J. Marshall first
accepted through Dr. Mowry in 1877 the story of Dr.
Whitman's remarkable services to the government. In
November, 1884, he gave the first expression to his doubts
of Whitman's special services to the nation, and later
made the fullest refutation yet published of these claims
in the two volumes entitled The Acquisition of Oregon,
published in 1911. In addition the following authors of
textbooks on the history of the United States who had set
forth the services of Dr. Whitman to our government have
accepted the conclusions of Bourne and Marshall and have
announced their purpose to omit or revise their accounts
of Dr. Whitman's services to the nation: J. B. McMaster,
H. E. Scudder, D. H. Montgomery, W. F. Gordy, A. F.
"Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, p. 36 (see also
pp. 23, 25).
14 Hines, Missionary History of the Pacific Northwest, pp.
Blaisdell, Mrs. A. H. Burton, and John Fiske.15 Mr.
Fiske in his centennial oration on Astoria, Oregon, embodied the story of Dr. Whitman's remarkable services to
the country. But after Professor Bourne's publication
of the Legend of Marcus Whitman in the American Historical Review, January, 1901, Fiske wrote him: "You
have entirely demolished the Whitman delusion. ... I
am sorry to say that I was taken in by Barrows and
Gray."16 Here are the names of ten writers who at first
accepted the story of Dr. Whitman's services to our government in saving Oregon to the United States, each one
of whom now repudiates that claim. On the other hand
we do not know a single recognized historian who has been
led by the sifting of evidence to accept the claims put
forth by H. H. Spalding and maintained by Dr. Eells.
But as Dr. Eells does not accept the verdict of these
historians, an examination of his views becomes necessary.
An analysis of all the facts and an examination of the
theories advanced to explain the facts forces us to the
conclusion that Whitman's visit to Washington in the
winter or spring of 1843 had no decisive influence upon
the administration, though we think it had an influence
in shaping public opinion in the presidential election of
1844. 1- 1
The advocates of Dr. Whitman ask why he took the
great risk and passed through the great hardships of the
winter journey if his only or chief aim in going East was
to save the Mission, whereas on their theory that it was
essential for him to reach Washington before the adjournment of Congress March 3, 1843, there is ample ground
15 Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, p. 51, note.
"Ibid., p. 51, note.
for the risk and the hardships. The reply is twofold:
First, we have the definite reason for the immediate start
given by Mrs. Whitman in her letter of September 30,
1843, written at the time when the facts and reasons were
clearly in mind and also written when there was no dream
of controversy. When Dr. WTiitman decided to go East
two courses were open to him. As it was the last of
September, he could remain at Waiilatpu until the spring
and make the journey in the spring and summer of 1843.
But in that case he could not return in 1843, for he could
not cross the continent and return during a single summer.
On the other hand, he could start East immediately and
by reaching Saint Louis in December he could go on to
Boston and Washington in the winter, and start back in
May and reach his family and work by the fall of 1843.
If he started East about October 1, he would be absent
from his home and his work only a year and would resume
the work, with reenforcements as he hoped, in the fall
of 1843. If he started in the spring of 1843, he could
not get to work on the new basis before the fall of 1844.
Anyone who has studied Dr. Whitman's character knows
that he was of the Roosevelt type—quick to reach a decision, full of courage, and energetic in action. With this
situation before us, read this sentence in Mrs. Whitman's
letter to her parents, written September 30, 1842, and
sent by her husband: "He wishes to cross the mountains
during this month, I mean October, and to reach Saint
Louis about the first of December."17 Here is Dr. Whitman's program stated by his wife four days before he
started.    Had they followed the northern trail, as they
17 Ibid., p. 98, note.
expected to do when they started, and rested on Sundays,
they had forty days of travel to December 1. By exchanging horses at two or three of the posts and averaging forty
miles a day they could have reached Saint Louis by December 1, which was the time fixed in Dr. Whitman's program,
as stated by Mrs. Whitman. In view of these considera-
tions Mrs. Whitman's statement of his plans written only
four days before he started answers the question as to why
Dr. Whitman started East as late as October. It was the
report of James Grant, the agent of the Hudson's Bay
Company at Fort Hall, that on account of the bitter war
between the Indians the northern route was impossible
which led Whitman to choose the southern route diagonally through the mountains instead of crossing them at
South Pass. This change of route, the lack of knowledge
of the new route, together with the exceptionally severe
winter, delayed their arrival at Westport, Missouri, until
February, 1843.18 Here, then, is the clear and decisive
reason why Dr. Whitman started East October 3, 1842,
instead of waiting until the spring of 1843.
That there was another reason for Dr. Whitman's haste
in his desire to reach Washington before the adjournment
of Congress March 3, 1843, is a matter of controversy.
The statement originally made by Dr. Barrows that Dr.
Whitman reached Washington before the adjournment of
Congress on March 3 is no longer maintained by Eells in
his latest volume, Marcus Whitman (1909). We think it
would be to the advantage of the claim that Dr. Whitman
exercised a decisive influence upon President Tyler if we
could place his visit to Washington as late as May, 1843,
"Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, p. 86.
250 mfMfmmmmmm
as we shall show a little later. But let us first analyze the
claim still maintained by Dr. Myron Eells in his volume
on Dr. Whitman that the doctor was instrumental in
changing the plan of Webster and President Tyler in
regard to the boundary line between the United States
and Canada.
Dr. Eells, in the latest, most elaborate, and ablest defense of the view that Dr. Whitman secured to the United
States at least the territory lying between the Columbia
River and the 49th parallel, says: "Soon after the Ashburton treaty was signed in August, 1842, Lord Aberdeen
had, through H. S. Fox, the British minister at Washington, consulted with Secretary Webster about resuming
negotiations on the Oregon question. This was October
18, 1842. On November 25, following, Mr. Webster had
replied, saying that President Tyler concurred in the
suggestion and would make a communication to our minister in England at no distant day. The next letter extant,
however, is dated nearly a year later—October 9, 1843.
Then Hon. A. P. Upshur, who had succeeded Mr. Webster
as secretary of state, wrote Edward Everett, our minister
in London saying: 'The offer of the forty-ninth parallel
of latitude, although it has been once rejected, may be
again tendered, together with the right of navigating the
Columbia River upon equitable terms: beyond this, the
President is not prepared to go.' Why was this delay of
nearly a year? It certainly gave time for the President
to know practically that the immigration which Dr. Whitman had promised to lead through was a large one, and
so that Oregon could be peopled overland from the United
States. If this is not so, can anyone answer the question,
Why, when the President had said he would make the
Oregon question the subject of immediate attention, and
promised that at no distant day, a communication would
be sent on the subject, none is now on record for nearly
a whole year?"19 Hence Dr. Eells says in the conclusion
of his pamphlet: "Just how much of Oregon was saved,
the writer has never decided, but for nearly twenty years
has stated, 'The whole or a part of it.' The papers found
in regard to the trade for California and Webster's statement point to that part north of the Columbia River. But
the statement of Sir Robert Peel, Dr. Whitman's letters,
and the ideas of Judge Strong and some other western
statesmen point to all of the then Oregon."20
Why do we not accept Dr. Eells's view? Simply because Dr. Eells is entirely mistaken as to the facts. Webster, indeed, promised the British minister on November
25 that the President would make a communication to our
minister in London at no distant date. Dr. Eells says,
"The next letter extant, however, is dated nearly a year
later, October 9, 1843." The facts show that so far from
delaying a year through Dr. Whitman's influence or any
other influence, on November 28, 1842—only three days
after Mr. Webster promised that the President would communicate with our minister in London—Mr. Webster sent
Mr. Everett the promised communication upon the subject
of Oregon.21 This indisputable letter of Mr. Webster's
entirely disposes of Dr. Eells's hypothesis that after Webster promised immediate attention and a communication
at no distant date, the President was induced by Dr.
"Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 197.
20 Eells,  A Reply to  Professor  Bourne's  "The  Whitman
Legend," pp. 119, 120.
n Webster, Private Correspondence, vol. ii, pp. 153-154.
Whitman to delay the reply for nearly a whole year in
order to learn before answering of the success or failure
of Dr. Whitman's effort to lead emigrants to Oregon.
Again on January 1, 1843, Webster approached General
Almonte, the Mexican minister to the United States, on
a tripartite solution of the boundary line between Great
Britain, Mexico, and the United States.22 Mr. Webster
approached General Almonte a second time about April 1,
urging his acceptance for Mexico of this solution of the
boundary lines between the three governments.23 Dr. Eells
no longer insists upon the statement of Barrows that Dr.
Whitman reached Washington before Congress adjourned
March 3, 1843, but simply that he reached Washington
some time during March. This is also the view of Bourne;
but in this case the fact that Webster is still pushing for
the settlement the first days in April and along compromise lines which yielded to Great Britain all north and
west of the Columbia River shows that President Tyler
is not in the least observing any supposed promise made
to Dr. Whitman in March to postpone further consideration of the question until Wnbitman can lead a great
migration across the plains and mountains and demonstrate the practicability of the wagon road to the Columbia.
Mr. Webster resigns his position as secretary of state on
May 8, 1843, and the President asks Attorney-General
Legare" to assume the portfolio until he can select another
secretary of state. But President Tyler does' not even wait
until he can select a successor to Webster, but on May 16,
1843, he asks Legare" to resume negotiations over the Ore-
22 Adams, Memoirs, vol. xi, p. 340 (see also Tyler, Letters
and Times of the Tylers, vol. ii, pp. 260, 261).
28 Adams, Memoirs, vol. xi, pp. 351-355.
gon boundary.24 It is not only the entire absence in all
the printed documents of 1843, of any reference to Dr.
Whitman's visit, the entire absence of a line of evidence
that President Tyler made any promise to Dr. Whitmans
to postpone negotiations until he could learn of the outcome of Whitman's proposal, but it is the positive, written,
contemporary evidence that the government was carrying
on negotiations over the Oregon boundary, and that Tyler
and Webster after the time assigned by all of Whitman's
friends for his visit to Washington were trying to secure
a compromise in direct conflict with Whitman's views that
discredits the contention of Barrows, Nixon, Gray, Mowry,
and Eells, of Whitman's influence over the Tyler administration in the spring of 1843.
"Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, p. 83, note (see
also Tyler, Letters and Times of the Tylers, vol. iii, p. Ill).
What service did Dr. Whitman render to the government and the people of the United States by his trip to
the East in the winter of 1842-43 ? f
If we turn from speculation to Whitman's correspondence, we get authoritative statements from his own pen as
to the services he rendered by his trip:
1. In a letter to the American Board dated Waiilatpu,
November 1, 1843, he says> "If I never do more than to
have been one of the first to take white women across the
mountains and prevent the disorder and inaction which
Would have occurred by the breaking up of the present
emigration, and establishing the first wagon road across
the border to the Columbia River, I am satisfied."1 Dr.
Whitman thus sums up his services to the country in
three items, neither of which has the slightest connection
with the great service assigned to him by Barrows, Eells,
and others.
2. In a letter to the Hon. James M. Porter, secretary
of war, received at the War Department June 22, 1844,
Dr. Whitman narrates the complete success of his trip
West and dwells upon his service in piloting the emigrants
1 Bourne, Essays in Historical Criticism, p. 91.
to Oregon, incloses a bill for Secretary Porter to put before
Congress, but makes no reference whatever to any agreement with the President and the Cabinet to the effect
that the President was to delay signing a treaty relating
to the Oregon boundary until Dr. Whitman could report
whether or not he had discovered a wagon road to Oregon.
This testimony is negative, but as Porter was a member
of the Cabinet, failure to refer to an agreement with the
Cabinet which would have been well known to them both
is practically decisive against the existence of any such
3. In a letter to the Rev. L. P. Judson, written November 5, 1846, a trifle over three years after Whitman returned to Oregon,8 Dr. Whitman says: "I had adopted
Oregon as my country, as well as the Indians for my field
of labor, so that I must superintend the emigration of
that year [1843], which was to lay the foundation for
the speedy settlement of the country if prosperously conducted and safely carried through; but if it failed and
became disastrous, the reflex influence would be to discourage for a long time any further attempt to settle the
country across the mountains, which would be to see it
abandoned altogether. ... I have returned to my field
of labor, and on my return brought a large immigration
of about a thousand individuals safely through the long,
and the last part of it an untried, route to the western
shores of the continent. ... It is quite important that
such a country as Oregon should not on one hand fall
into the exclusive hands of the Jesuits, nor on the other
a Eells, Marcus Whitman, pp. 336-343.
• See Transactions Oregon Pioneer Associations, 1893, p.
200. •   '    If Iff
under the English government."4 Here is the statement
made by Dr. Whitman himself of the services which he
rendered the government in 1843. In this statement he
lays the whole emphasis upon his guidance of the emigrants of 1843 to Oregon; he does not mention any agreement with the President to be guided in signing or not
signing some supposed treaty by the success or failure
of this expedition.
4. If Dr. Whitman had a secret agreement with our
government affecting international affairs, prudence would
have prevented the publication of the fact until after the
treaty was signed, though in this case he could safely have
mentioned the fact to his Board and especially to Secretary Porter, who was supposed to be a partner to the agreement. But in Dr. Whitman's letter of April 1, 1847, to
the American Board, which reveals his knowledge that
the treaty had been signed and Oregon secured to the
United States, he again fails to refer to any agreement
with President Tyler. In this letter, in which Dr. Whitman tried to justify to the Board his trip East, it seems
to us incredible, had he been able to secure any agreement
with the President and the Cabinet by which they made
a treaty relating to Oregon dependent on his success in
leading a band of emigrants across the mountains, and
had he, as he claims in the letter, successfully led such a
band to Oregon, that he should have failed to mention
this greatest single servrce any citizen of Oregon could
have rendered the United States. But the letter of April
1, 1847, simply reiterates and emphasizes the fact that his
service consisted in guiding safely to Oregon the emigra-
* Quoted by Eells, Marcus Whitman, pp. 182-183.
tion of 1843. It says: "I often reflect on the fact that
you told me you were sorry I came East. It did not then,
nor has it since, altered my opinion in the matter. American interests, acquired in the country, which the success
of the immigration of 1843 alone did and could have
secured, have become the foundation of the late treaty
between England and the United States in regard to
Oregon, for it,may be easily seen what would have become
of American interests had the immigration of 1843 been
as disastrous as have been the two attempts in 1845 and
1846 "^o alter the route then followed. The disaster was
great again last year to those who left the track which I
made for them in 1843, as it has been on every attempt
to improve it, not that it cannot be improved, but it
demonstrates what I did in making my way to the States
in the winter of 1842-43, after the third of October. . . .
Anyone can see that American interests as now acquired
have had more to do in securing the treaty than our
original rights. From 1835 till now it has been apparent
that there was a choice of only two things: (1) The increase of British interests to the exclusion of all other
rights in the country, or (2) the establishment of American interests by citizens."5 This elaborate defense of his
action makes no reference to any agreement with Tyler
and his Cabinet, but holds that the treaty, of Polk in 1846
securing the Puget So'und region was due to his service
in guiding the emigrants to Oregon in 1843.
5. A final letter by Dr. Whitman defending his return
to the States is addressed to the American Board and is
dated October 18, 1847, about six weeks before his death.
•Quoted by Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 183.
In it he makes no reference to any agreement with President Tyler. He says: "Two things, and it is true those
which were the most important, were accomplished by
my return to the States. By means of the establishment
of the wagon road, which is due to that effort alone, the
emigration was secured and saved from disaster in the
fall of 1843. Upon that event the present acquired rights
of the United States by her citizens hung. And not less
certain is it that upon the results of emigration to this
country, the present existence of this Mission and of
Protestanism hung also."6 In this letter Wliitman mentions the two most important services accomplished by
his return to the States: the establishment of the wagon
road and the preservation of the emigrants of 1843 from
disaster. Upon these two services he claims hung two
important results: the securing of the country to the
United States and the preservation of the American Board
Mission arid of Protestantism upon the Pacific Coast.
We thus have clear, straightforward statements by Dr.
Whitman in five letters dating from a few weeks after his
return to Oregon to within six weeks of his death showing
what he regarded as his great service to the United States
government and people. Dr. Whitman's statements in
these five letters do not furnish the slightest support to
Dr. Eells's view that Dr. Whitman had an agreement with
President Tyler and the Cabinet by which Tyler was not
to sign a treaty sacrificing any portion of Oregon until
he could hear of the success or failure of Dr* Whitman's
effort to guide a party to Oregon. The absence of all
testimony by Whitman in the Ave statements of his serv-
6 Eells, Marcus Whitman, p. 231.
ices as to this agreement with the President is to us conclusive evidence that no such agreement existed. Dr.
Whitman's services were considerable; they consisted in
the encouragement, warning, medical aid, help, and guidance furnished to the largest body of emigrants which up
to that time ever started for Oregon, and they consisted
further in a clearer demonstration than ever before that
a national highway for wagons was feasible from Saint
Louis to the Pacific Coast. Here, then, in an authoritative
form is Dr. Whitman's definition of his services.
We must not press even these two claims too far. Dr.
Whitman did not create the emigration of 1843. Bancroft says: "The discussions in Congress and the popularity of Linn's bill, with the missionary efforts herein
narrated, resulted in a pronounced emigration movement.
It began in 1842, when a hundred persons followed
Elijah White westward."7 Bancroft connects Jason Lee,
not Dr. Whitman, with the Linn bill and the Congressional
documents whose circulation started the emigration of
1843. Dr. Eells thinks that Dr. Whitman may have induced one third or two fifths of the emigrants of 1843
to start to Oregon. Owing to the fact that Dr. Whitman
reached Saint Louis only three months before the emigrants started on their journey, and owing to the slowness
with which any message from him could have reached
these emigrants scattered through four or Ave States, and
owing to the slowness with which farmers were able to
sell their land, collect their money, and make arrangements for the journey, Bancroft's view that the emigration of 1843 was largely the result of the earlier agitation
T Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 391.
is far better founded than Dr. Eells's view. Nevertheless,
it is entirely reasonable that some hesitating families were
encouraged to enter upon the journey by hearing of Whitman's arrival and of his proposal to guide a band of emigrants back to Oregon in the spring of 1843.
Again, we must make Dr. Whitman's claim to the guidance of the company on the long journey a modest one.
Bancroft shows that on May 20, 1843, twelve miles
west of Independence, Missouri, the emigrant body adopted
the usual rules for parties crossing the plains and elected
Peter H. Burnett captain, and J. W. Nesmith orderly
sergeant, and nine others as councilmen to assist in settling
questions, and employed Captain John Gantt, a former
army officer, now a "mountain man," as official guide to
Fort Hall.8 Clearly, Captain Gantt, not Dr. Whitman,
was the guide from Independence to Fort Hall. As the
company embraced men who later became leaders of the
State, Burnett becoming a judge of the Supreme Court of
Oregon and later governor of California, and Nesmith
becoming a United States senator from Oregon, and Jesse
Applegate, who later led one division of the emigrant band,
becoming a prominent citizen of Oregon, it is very probable that these men under the guidance of Captain Gantt,
who had frequently made the journey, would have reached
Fort Hall in safety had not Dr. Whitman been with
them. Captain Burnett resigned at the end of eight days
because the large company failed to observe his regulations. Bancroft states that the resignation evidently produced an effect upon the company, because William Martin,
who was chosen in Captain Burnett's place, held the com-
Ibid., vol. i, p. 395.
mand for the remainder of the journey. But it is significant that after Burnett resigned, William Martin, not
Dr. Whitman, was elected captain. It shows that the
company was not relying upon Dr. Whitman for leadership. The size of this body of emigrants making any
Indian attack extremely hazardous for the Indians, and
the fact that Captain Bennett Riley with his artillery
had severely chastised the Indians a few years before and
frightened with his cannon even more than he had hurt
them, preserved the company from serious danger of Indian attacks during the journey.
Remeau, one of the Hudson's Bay Company's guides,
met the band of emigrants at Fort Hall, where Captain
Gantt's term of service expired, and offered his services
for the remainder of the journey. Dr. Whitman expressed
the judgment that with his Cayuse Indians who had just^
come over the trail and met him at the Fort, and with
his own recollections of the trail which he had traversed
the previous October, he could guide them without charge
the rest of the way in safety; hence the councilmen did
not think it necessary for the party to take the extra
expense of Remeau as a guide. Remeau knew the trail
far better than did Dr. Whitman; and he showed his fine
character by sitting down with Dr. Whitman, after the
emigrants decided not to employ him, and working out
the entire course from Fort Hall to Dr. Whitman's home;
he indicated each camping place, the distance between
camps and each difficult portion of the road. With Dr.
Whitman's recollection of the route from his journey of
the preceding October, and with Remeau's sketch of the
route, Dr. Whitman safely guided the emigrants from
Fort Hall as far as Grande Ronde River, that is, about
three hundred miles. At this station other Indians from
Spalding's station met him with a letter informing him
of the illness of Mr. and Mrs. Spalding; and from Grande
Ronde Dr. Whitman hurried on, and the company was
guided safely by Sticcas, a converted Indian chief who had
the full confidence of Dr. Whitman. With Remeau—one
of the best guides of the Hudson's Bay Company—at
Fort Hall to guide them, it is practically certain that the
company would have come through safely had not Dr.
Whitman been with them. Nevertheless, it was with Dr.
Whitman's presence, advice, and encouragement all the
way, and his guidance from Fort Hall to Grande Ronde
that the company safely made the journey. They had
started a little late and Dr. WTiitman's unceasing exhortation was, "Travel, travel, travel."9 The snow began to
fall. upon the mountains by the time they reached the
Grande Ronde Valley; and the missing of the trail at any
part of the journey, or even delay in following the trail,
would probably have been attended with serious consequences. It is easy to say and it is probably correct that
the Federalist would have been written had Madison not
been able to contribute a single article, but such a consideration will not rob Madison of his share of the fame
for that remarkable interpretation of our constitution. So,
while it is probable that this company of strong Americans, under such leaders as Burnett and Nesmith and the
regular guides, would have reached their destination in
safety, we ought not to rob Dr. Whitman of his share in
encouraging and inspiring the eight hundred emigrants
in making the remarkable journey of 1843.
8 Jesse Applegate, A Day with the Cow Column, quoted
by Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History, vol. ii, p. 55.
We think that Dr. Whitman also deserves credit for
inducing the emigrants to take their wagons to Oregon.
At this point he claimed too much for himself.   In the
spring of 1830 wagons were first used instead of pack
animals on the northern route.   They had been used long
before that date on the Santa Fe trail.   These northern
wagons followed what was known as the Oregon trail and
went as far as Wind River, Wyoming, before Dr. Whitman
made his first journey.10    Wagons also had been taken
from Wind River on to Fort Hall, Idaho.   Dr. Whitman
was the first man to take a wagon from Fort Hall on to
Fort Boise, Idaho.   It must also be borne in mind that
in 1840 three Americans, Robert Newell, Joseph L. Meek,
and one other man, had taken three wagons belonging to
Newell all the way from Saint Louis to Walla Walla, a
few miles beyond Dr. Whitman's home at Waiilatpu.   This
was three years before Dr. Whitman induced the emigrants
to take their wagons on to Waiilatpu.    So far from Dr.
Whitman being the first man to take a wagon across the
continent, he was the first man to take a wagon from
Fort Hall to Fort Boise—less than a tenth of the distance
from Saint Louis to the Pacific, and by no means the
worst part of the journey.   Moreover, the Hudson's Bay
Company's guide, Remeau, joined Dr. Whitman in advising the emigrants to take their wagons with them.   Again,
in the company was William Fowler, who had made the
journey before and who, according to Jesse Applegate,
had a better knowledge of what ox-teams could do with
wagons than had Dr. Whitman.11   Worse still, on reaching Waiilatpu, Dr. Whitman advised the company to leave
"Leonard, Narrative, p. 27.
n Bancroft, History of Oregon, vol. i, p. 399.
their wagons and cattle in the Walla Walla Valley for the
winter and that a few men return and take them down in
the spring. Dr. Whitman told them that the Indians
had burned off the grass and that the cattle would perish
if they attempted to take them through that autumn. But
Dr. Whitman's advice proved harmful and almost dangerous. Part of the emigrants left their cattle, and one or
two groups of them were delayed on the journey and
nearly perished from hunger12—a condition which would
have been avoided had they taken their cattle with them.
On the other hand, those who took their cattle, found
abundance of grass.13 But the fact remains that it was
Dr. Whitman's advice and encouragement which more
than any other single influence led these eight hundred
emigrants to take their wagons from Fort Hall to Waiilatpu.
In addition to these two services, can Dr. WTiitman
be credited with any further service to the government?
Dr. Whitman's letter addressed to the Hon. James M.
Porter, the secretary of war, received at the War Department June 22, 1844, and now on file there, opens with
the sentence, "In compliance with the request you did me
the honor to make last winter while at Washington, I
herewith transmit the synopsis of a bill, ..." etc. This
proves conclusively that Dr. Whitman visited Washington. It is certain that this visit did not affect the Ashburton treaty, which was signed before he left Waiilatpu.
We have already pointed out in Chapter VI, on "The
United States Government," that President Tyler from
the time of Lord Ashburton's visit to Washington in 1842
12 Ibid., vol. i, p. 410.
" Ibid., vol. i, p. 405.
down to May 16, 1843, was busy carrying through a disgraceful plot by which the United States and Great Britain
were to rob Mexico of the northern portion of her territory.
If, therefore, Whitman's visit to Washington had taken
place during the latter half of May or any time before
October 9, 1843, the date of Secretary Upshur's letter to
our minister in London stating that the President would
not yield any territory below the 49th parallel, we might
possibly attribute the final abandonment of the compromise plans to Whitman's influence over Tyler. But Perrin
B. Whitman says that his uncle, Marcus Whitman, bade
goodby to his mother and left Middlesex, New York, for
Oregon April 20, 1843. Besides, Dr. Whitman, in his
letter to the secretary of war, received at the War Department June 22, 1844, speaks of his visit to the secretary
"last winter." All the facts constrain us to put this visit
in March. It is simply impossible, therefore, to make
Dr. Whitman's visit the decisive factor in determining
Tyler's change of policy, since the efforts to compromise
by the surrender of the territory to Great Britain continued for two months after Whitman's visit. Moreover,
Dunning and Garrison both assure us that Tyler's change
of policy was due to information furnished him in the
summer of 1843 by a secret agent whom he had sent to
Great Britain to the effect that Great Britain was attempt*
ing by the offer of a liberal loan to induce Texas to abolish
slavery; and that it was Tyler's anger over the supposed
meddling of Great Britain with slavery in Texas which
led to his abandonment of compromise in the letter of
October and the message of December, 1843.
We have tried to state clearly and fairly all the facts
on both sides, and our readers can form their own judg-
ment. Our own conviction is as follows: First, Dr. Whitman is entitled to great credit for inspiring, encouraging,
helping to guide, and furnishing medical aid to the great
company .of over eight hundred emigrants who went to
Oregon in 1843; second, to Dr. Whitman more than to
any other man belongs the credit of inducing the eight
hundred emigrants to take their wagons to Oregon. When
the eight hundred settlers wrote back to friends in all
parts of the United States that they had taken their
wagons through, the government and, the people knew that
a wagon road from the Mississippi to Oregon was practicable; third, Dr. Whitman's visit to Washington was not
the decisive influence which led President Tyler to change
his policy, and turned that compromiser into a braggart
and a bluffer; it would not add to Dr. Whitman's fame
to even share in producing this political tergiversation.
But it is correct to credit the emigration to Oregon in
1843 with considerable influence in the interjection of
the Oregon issue into the campaign of 1844, and the
carrying of the election at least partly upon that issue.
Fourth, and above all, it must be said of Dr. and Mrs.
Whitman, that their power of initiative made them leaders
among their Indian wards; that in addition to teaching
the Indians by precept and example the arts of farming,
housekeeping, milling, etc., their kindness of heart turned
their station into a school, a hospital, and an orphanage.
Finally, it must be added that the martyrdom at Waiilatpu
November 29, 1847, of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman gave the
last, full proof of their devotion to their country and their
church, to the Indians whom they loved, and the Master
whom they followed, and placed their names high on the
roll of Christendom.
Our aim throughout the book has been to portray the
actions which determined how the territory west of the
Rocky Mountains, lying between Russia on the north and
Mexico on the south, was divided between the United
States and Great Britain. We have tried to point out the
work of the leading factors in determining that division.
For the sake of a deeper and clearer general impression,
let us now summarize our work.
1.   The American Indians
One afternoon in the winter of 1831-32 three Nez
Perces and one Flathead Indian appeared upon the streets
of Saint Louis with a request which no white men had
ever heard before. They came, they said, from the land
of the setting sun. They had heard of the white man's
God.   They wanted the white man's Book of Heaven.
General William Clark, then in command of the military post of Saint Louis, had met similar tribes in his
famous journey to the Columbia River with Captain Meriwether Lewis in 1804-06. A kind-hearted Christian man,
he tried to tell the Indians the doctrines of the Roman
Catholic Church necessary to salvation; but he did not
deem it wise to give them the Bible.
Two of the four Indians died from the hardships of the
journey and the other two, homesick and disappointed,
prepared to return. General Clark made them a banquet and bade them Godspeed. Hee-oh-ks-te-kin, a Nez
Perce, replied in a speech, which made a deep impression.
The genuineness of the published speech has been a subject
of much controversy. We have no data which contradict
Rev. H. H. Spalding's claim that the speech is genuine.
But the late date of its publication—1865—together with
the many inaccuracies in Mr. Spalding's narrative of the
Whitman massacre, throw doubt upon this claim. Upon
the other side the brevity and style of the speech suggest its Indian origin. If genuine it is the highest example
of Indian oratory, as Lincoln's Gettysburg speech is the
highest example of American eloquence. It deserves to
rank with Jeremiah's Lamentations in its longing for the
knowledge of the eternal world.
"We came to you over a trail of many moons from the
Setting Sun. You were the friend of our fathers who
have all gone the long way. We came with one eye partly
opened for more light for our people who sit in darkness.
We go back with both eyes closed. How can we go back
blind to our blind people ? We made our way to you with
strong arms through many enemies that we might carry
back much to them. We go back with both arms empty
and broken.
"Two fathers came with us. They were the braves of
many winters and wars. They were tired in many moons
and their moccasins wore out. We leave them asleep by
your great water and wigwam.
"Our people sent us to get the white man's Book of
Heaven.   You took us where you worship the Great Spirit
with candles, but the Book was not there. You showed
us images of the Good Spirit and pictures of the land
beyond, but the Book was not among them to tell us the
way. We are going back the long, sad trail to our people
of the dark land. You make our feet heavy with gifts
and our moccasins will grow old carrying them. But the
Book is not among them. When, after one more snow
we tell our poor, blind people in the Big Council that we
did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by our
old men or our young braves. One by one, they will rise
up and go in silence. Our people will die in darkness and they will go on the long journey to other
hunting grounds. No white man will go with them and
no white man's Book to the way plain. I have no more
But while the Indians apparently failed, the journey
was not in vain. William Walker, Jr., a Methodist half-
breed of the Wyandot tribe, was sent by our government
from Upper Sandusky to Saint Louis to arrange for the
transfer of the Wyandots to a reservation farther west.
General Clark told Walker of the strange request of the
Indians and introduced him to them. Walker sent a
letter East which was published in the New York Christian Advocate and Journal. This awakened the Methodist Church and led to the first mission to the Oregon
Indians. Moreover, the conversion of many Wyandots
and the deep need of this and other tribes led to the
formation of the Missionary Society of the Methodist
Episcopal Church which raised and spent $200,000 in the
evangelization of the Oregon Indians. The account of
this strange journey by the Indians also led the American
Board, then representing the Congregational, the Dutch
Reformed, and the Presbyterian Churches, to send out
Marcus Whitman, Samuel Parker, and H. H. Spalding—
one by each denomination—who rendered providential service to the Indians and to the United States government in
securing Oregon. Under the divine providence, the American Indians inspired the founding of the Oregon Missions.
2.   Hudson's Bay Company and Great Britain
Impartial history will not fail to recognize the far-
seeing and heroic efforts which the Hudson's Bay Company, the British government, and above all, Dr. McLoughlin put forth in the early discovery and control of
the Oregon Country. Our record also shows that the
Hudson's Bay Company built eleven forts and trading
posts in what is now American territory and exercised
authority over the British, the Indians, and occasionally
the Americans, over the entire Pacific Coast from the
Russian possessions to California—then the northern
province of Mexico. We have written in vain, if our narrative has failed to show the firmness, promptness, financial
ability, and Christian spirit of Dr. McLoughlin, who
ruled a country second in size to Russia alone among the
compact organizations of the world; secured immense
profits for his Company, a just and rich portion of the
vast territory for Great Britain, and who led her without
a war to make the inevitable surrender of the larger and
richer portion of the country to the United States. We
accept Lyman's estimate of the wisdom of McLoughlin's
administration: "It may be said too that he gave to
America all she could have gained by war, and that he
saved England all that could have been saved by war."
"He ruled for twenty years a country as large as Charlemagne's as absolutely and as worthily as Charlemagne."1
3.   The Roman Catholic Missionaries
No one can read the story of Fathers Brebeuf, Chau-
monot, Gamier and Jogues, of Hennepin and Marquette,
of Blanchet and Demers, without recognizing that the
Roman Catholic missionaries in Canada, in the Mississippi
Valley, and on the Pacific Coast equaled and often excelled
in heroism and untiring efforts the pioneers, hunters, and
Protestant missionaries. Most of the Catholic missionaries
came from France; and the French names, Champlain,
Superior, Prairie du Chien, Saint Louis, Vincennes, and
New Orleans, are the imperishable records of their journeys and their labors. The escape from capture of Marie
Baptiste and her two-months journey alone and that of
another Algonquin woman2 equal the stories of Mrs.
Chaboneau and Mrs. Dorion, and show equally fine material for Christian missions among the Indians whom the
Roman Catholics reached. But the slaughter of the Iroquois by their savage neighbors, the fact that an overwhelming majority of the converts among the Catholic
as among the Protestant missionaries accepted Christianity
as a magic power to deliver them from hunger and dangers
and abandoned it when they discovered that it did not
furnish miraculous relief, above all the disappearance of
the Indians as a whole, left the Roman Catholic missionaries in the larger portion of the United States only a
1 Lyman, History of Oregon, vol. ii, pp. 354, 355.
* Parkman, The Jesuits of North America, pp. 405414.
few French names as the evidence of their influence upon
the civilization of the country. The Roman Catholic
Church worked longer and more continuously in behalf
of the Indians, she brought a larger number of missionaries to the field, and she made conditions of church membership more acceptable to the Indians than did the
Protestants; consequently she has enrolled a larger number of converts. But because the Roman Catholic missionaries chiefly came from France, or from French-Canada,
and represented a foreign nation and an autocratic form
of civil and religious life, they contributed almost nothing
to the shaping of the civilization which now prevails
throughout the continent. Francis Parkman thus sums
up their work in one section of the country, and his judgment applies equally to the whole of the United States:
"The Jesuits saw their hopes struck down; and their faith,
though not shaken, was sorely tried. The providence of
God seemed in their eyes dark and inexplicable; but from
the standpoint of liberty, that providence was as clear
as the sun at noon. Meanwhile let those who have prevailed yield due honor to the defeated. Their virtues shine
amidst the rubbish of error like diamonds and gold in
the gravel of the torrent."3
4.   The United States
During the first forty years of our republic our peoples
did not realize that the Japanese Current raises the temperature of Oregon and Washington as the Gulf Stream
raises the temperature of England and Ireland. The
founders of the republic deemed the Oregon Country a
8 Ibid., pp. 552-555.
mountainous waste with cold and inhospitable shores.
They believed that the Rocky Mountains presented an
impassable barrier to the further progress of western
migration. They regarded even the country west of the
Mississippi as largely composed of the Great American
Desert. Moreover, our fathers believed that the republic
would fall to pieces of its own weight if they attempted
to extend it across the continent, with such widely separated peoples and such diverse interests. On account of
these -conditions American statesmen were in serious danger at first of losing the Oregon Country. But despite
these apparently insuperable obstacles to the possession
of a fair share of the Oregon Country by the United
States, careful search of the records has shown that a few
congressmen and senators and at least four Presidents—
Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, and Polk—put forth statesmanlike efforts to make secure American rights in the
country, and that in the end the United States succeeded
in her purpose.
5.   The Oregon Pioneers
The United States owes a very large debt of gratitude
to Captain Gray and John Jacob Astor and N. J. Wyeth,
to Kelley, Gale, Ebberts, Meek, and Thornton, and to
Christian pioneers of the type of Hall, Royal, Whitcomb,
Gray, Shortess, Babcock, and Abernethy, whose services
and sacrifices helped the nation to secure her magnificent
position upon Puget Sound and to lay the foundations
for that influence upon the Pacific Basin which America
will exercise for all time to come. That American civilization is as promising as it is on the Pacific Coast is due
to the silent labors and sufferings of heroic men and
women who lived unheralded lives and rest in unvisited
6.1 Marcus Whitman
We are sorry that facts which can no longer be set aside
compel the rejection of what now seem to be partisan
claims in behalf of Dr. WTiitman, and to a lower estimate
of Dr. Whitman's services to the nation than we held for
many years. But a survey of all of the facts leads to an
even higher estimate of heroism and unselfish devotion to the Indians and to the Kingdom upon the part
of both Dr. and Mrs. Whitman than we had formerly
After long investigation we are clear that Dr. WTiitman
did not lead our government to modify her treaty with
Great Britain and thus secure for us the Puget Sound
region, and in this judgment we are following the overwhelming majority of American historians. Dr. Whitman
did not induce any considerable number of the eight hundred emigrants who went to Oregon in 1843 to start upon
that journey, and he was their official guide during only
a small portion of the way. But Dr. Whitman, with A. L.
Lovejoy, did make, during the winter of 1842-43, one of
the most heroic journeys recorded in history; he did visit
Washington and confer with Webster and President Tyler,
and he possibly exercised a slight influence upon the
administration; he did encourage some citizens to start
on the famous journey to Oregon, and he accompanied
that famous band of emigrants, ministering to the sick,
encouraging the down-hearted and inspiring the farmers
to take their wagons through the mountains. He did
hasten their journey, and the largest band of American
emigrants which down to that time had ever crossed the
Rocky Mountains made the journey to the Pacific Coast
in safety. Not Dr. Whitman but this great migration of
settlers by sheer weight of numbers insured the continuance of the provisional government. Moreover, the success
of this great migration to Oregon deepened interest in the
Oregon problem, helped to shape the Democratic platform
of 1844 and to carry the election on a platform which
secured the 49th parallel as a boundary line to the Pacific
Ocean. But Dr. and Mrs. Whitman did lead in the introduction of education, modern medicine, farming, and
Christian civilization into that vast inland region lying
between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast,
ministered to thousands of roaming Indians in the gospel
and in applied Christianity, and sealed their ministry by
death as the first Christian martyrs west of the Rocky
Mountains. No exaggerated claims are needed to place
Marcus and Priscilla Whitman's names on the martyr roll
of Christendom.
7.   Jason Lee
In regard to the work of Methodists in the Indian
Missions, the record shows that the Wyandot Indians were
the occasion leading to the organization of the greatest
society in Methodism, now represented by the Board of
Home and the Board of Foreign Missions; that Jason
Lee met President Andrew Jackson and secured the
indorsement of the President, the secretary of state and
the secretary of war for the founding of our Mission in
Oregon; that the Methodist Mission was the earliest mission, Protestant or Roman Catholic, organized in Oregon,
and that Jason Lee preached the first Protestant sermon,
baptized and received into the church the first Protestant
converts on the Pacific Coast; that he was in touch with
the heads of the United States government in 1833, 1838,
1839, and 1840; that the Methodists drafted the first three
petitions to our government to extend its authority over
Oregon; that some nine of the twenty-six measures which
the government inaugurated, including four of the nine
bills introduced into Congress, were connected in some
measure with Methodist initiative; that Jason Lee suggested the land grants which from 1838 onward were
incorporated in all the bills relating to Oregon and which,
with his speaking tour through twelve States and the
newspaper campaign he inaugurated, were the chief causes
of those large emigrations to Oregon which saved the
country to the United States; and that the President of
the United States granted Lee, from the secret service
fund, aid to lead out, in 1840, the largest body of missionaries and emigrants which to that date had entered Oregon,
and that these emigrants, with the one hundred and
twenty-five which Dr. White, an ex-Methodist Missionary,
led to Oregon in 1842, made possible the provisional government of 1843; that while W. H. Gray, a Congregational
layman, took the lead in the final step for a provisional
government, the Methodists were the influence back of
him making possible this government, and that the first
governor, treasurer, and judge of the Supreme Court were
members of our church. It was the struggle in the Willamette Valley of the preacher and the school teacher, of the
farmer and home-maker, against the trapper and the
hunter; and the Methodists were the leaders of civilization
in that struggle. The simple story of his deeds places
Jason Lee's name high on the bead-roll of prophets and
martyrs begun in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and not
yet concluded.
8.   Divine Providence
Above all the efforts of all the parties in this struggle,
a study of the facts must more and more impress upon
all students of the problem the conviction of a Divine
Providence operating in human affairs.
(1) The patient, heroic, but very discouraging labor
of Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries, chiefly in
the Oregon Country, has resulted in the salvation of a
remnant of the Indians which gives promise of yet producing the reformers and lawgivers and prophets of that
race, as the remnant of Judaism under God produced the
Saviour of the world.
(2) The inspired author of the first Gospel mentions
as a token of the divine favor that Peter caught a fish
and found in its mouth a shekel, some sixty cents, by
which he was enabled to pay the temple tax of Jesus and
himself. The salmon fisheries of the Columbia River
have sometimes yielded as high as $15,000,000 in a season,
and they will average $5,000,000 a year perpetually.
Would not Saint Matthew to-day find a larger illustration
of the divine favor? A million and a quarter of people
now live in the American portion of the Columbia watershed. This region yields annually $200,000,000 worth of
grain, minerals, lumber, fish, fruits, and garden products,
with only a fraction of its resources yet utilized. A territory larger than New England, with a far milder climate,
facing the most populous part of the globe, with unsurpassed harbors, and with boundless possibilities, is God's
way of saying to Christians of the twentieth century—•
"Manifold more in this time, and in the world to come
eternal life."
(3) But this fine territory with its large material
products is not God's only answer to the efforts of the
Oregon missionaries and pioneers. After the arrival of
the emigrants in the fall of 1843, the Americans in the
Columbia Valley outnumbered the British three or four
to one. But the British were so reluctant to yield the
country between the Columbia River and the 49th parallel
that Great Britain did not sign the treaty until 1846. No
one dreams that the Puget Sound region would have been
yielded June 15, 1846, had not more than a thousand
Americans, through the efforts of Lee and Whitman,
and Dr. White, poured into Oregon before the treaty was
(4) January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in California. Since negotiations for our Oregon boundary had
dragged on from 1818 to 1846—and Great Britain was
exceedingly loath to give up the claim to the territory
even then—does anyone believe that, had she waited until
gold had been discovered and reports of untold wealth had
spread like wildfire, she would have signed away her claim
without a war?
(5) But there is another important factor which made
it necessary that the claim should be settled not only before
the discovery of gold in 1848, but during the first half of
1846. We were on the verge of war with Mexico—indeed,
we were in a war with Mexico; the battle of Palo Alto
was fought May 8, 1846, and the Oregon treaty was not
signed until June 15, 1846. Had the news of the Mexican
War reached Great Britain before she had dispatched
instructions to her minister in Washington to sign the
treaty, that treaty in all human probability would not have
been signed in 1846. Instead of confining our forces to
Mexico alone, the United States would have been forced
to struggle with two nations at once; and this would
have prolonged the war until the discovery of gold in 1848.
The discovery of gold on the Pacific Coast would have led
Great Britain and Mexico to redouble their efforts to hold
their claims. Each of the events of this drama presses
upon the heels of its predecessor. It is probable that only
the settlement of Oregon through missionary initiative,
which resulted in the yielding of the claims to the Puget
Sound region in 1846, saved us from war with Great
Britain, the strongest nation on earth, in addition to the
war we were then waging with Mexico. These Nez Perce
and Flathead Indians were as truly sent by God as were
the visions of the man of Macedonia; and Jason Lee and
Marcus Whitman were following plans as providential
as were those of Paul when he invaded Europe with his
(6) But the acquisition of territory of large extent and
boundless wealth and the avoidance of war with Great
Britain were not the only results which missionary enterprise helped to achieve; the church sent her sons to bless
others; indirectly they secured the greatest blessings for
ourselves, that is, for the American people, including our
Negro fellow citizens. Jason Lee, with the cooperation
of Dr. McLoughlin, effected the abolition of the last traces
of slave owning by white men on the Pacific Coast in 1834,
twenty-seven years before the great war of 1861-65. Down
to the Mexican War the United States included thirteen
free States with 361,000 square miles of territory, and
fourteen slave States with 635,000 square miles, not count-
ing Texas.4 The party leaders on both sides knew that
the area of the United States north of the Mason and
Dixon line and east of the Mississippi embraced 417,000
square miles as compared with 474,000 south of the line.
But the northern territory consecrated to freedom was
increasing in population and wealth more rapidly than
the southern territory. Moreover, the northern boundary
of the United States was carried north by the Great Lakes
and extended from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky
Mountains along the 49th parallel; whereas Mexico owned
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California, with portions of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and
Wyoming, that is, almost all of what is now the southern
* The list and area of States
fore the declaration of war with
Free States
Connecticut         4,965
Hlinois,     56,665
Indiana   36,354
Massachusetts         8,266
Maine   33,040
Michigan     57,980
New Hampshire      9,341
New Jersey      8,224
New  York  49,204
Ohio     41,040
Pennsylvania    45,126
Rhode   Island      1,248
Vermont        9,564
admitted into the Union be-
Mexico in 1846 is as follows:
Slave States
Alabama     51,998
Arkansas    >.. 53,335
Delaware     2,370
Florida     58,666
Georgia     59,265
Kentucky    40,598
Louisiana     48,508
Maryland     12,327
Mississippi     46,865
Missouri     69,420
North Carolina  52,426
South  Carolina  30,989
Tennessee     42,022
Virginia     42,627
West Virginia  24,170
West Virginia and Virginia were united in 1846.
area of the United States west of the Mississippi. Hence,
Mason and Dixon's line, separating the free from the
slave territory, if extended west of the Mississippi, would
have left almost the entire area on the side of freedom.
Texas was annexed and the Mexican War was begun to
redress this balance and secure this southwestern territory
for slavery. Had the United States surrendered Washington and most of Oregon to Great Britain (and Calhoun,
Jefferson Davis, and other Democratic leaders voted against
the organization of the Oregon territory), then the territory secured by the Mexican War would have given slavery
the larger area west, as well as east, of the Mississippi.
It is true that some American pioneers had settled in
Texas; and these pioneers claimed that Texas had conducted a successful revolution and had won her independence from Mexico; and Texas's independence was acknowledged by Great Britain as well as by the United States.
But as we showed in Chapter VI, Great Britain possibly
was induced to recognize the independence of Texas by
the proposal of Tyler to surrender the Puget Sound region
in return for British connivance in our annexation of
Texas and seizure of Mexican territory. At any rate, it
is clear that the United States through the Mexican War
robbed a weaker nation of an immense territory, partly
for the purpose of extending slavery. A few years later
the people of the United States, North and South alike,
paid dearly in blood and money and tears for our injustice
to the Mexicans and to the Negroes. An impartial historian declares i "No previous war had ever in the same
time entailed upon the combatants such enormous sacrifices in life and wealth."5
6Charnwood, Abraham Lincoln, p. 361.
282 flWfiltfMHW
But the securing to the United States of 286,000 miles
of the Oregon Country in which the last traces of slave-
owning by white men had been abolished, gave to freedom
even after the annexation of Texas, etc., the larger area
west of the Mississippi. This was the divine significance
of the struggle upon the part of missionaries and pioneers
and the United States government for the Oregon Country.
It is significant, and suggests divine influence in the affairs
of men and nations, that while a great majority of the
Southern members of Congress followed Calhoun and
Davis in opposing the bill organizing the Oregon territory
with its anti-slavery clause, nevertheless the bill passed
through the vote of such Democrats as Benton, Linn, and
Douglas, who placed patriotism above sectional interests.
To-day the South perceives as clearly as the North that
not human wisdom or strength, but Divine Providence
abolished slavery and preserved the Union. California,
which became part of the United States as the result of
the war with Mexico, waged in part at least for the extension of slavery, and Oregon, made sure to the United
States in 1846, poured their men and money into the
Union side in that great struggle. Suppose that this
western territory had been held by foreign powers, or
that at the time of the contest over slavery we had still
been battling for Texas and the gold fields of California
and the Puget Sound region against Mexico and Great
Britain combined, humanly speaking, it would have been
impossible to free the slaves and preserve the Union in
1865. The Divine Providence is the key to history.
"Manifold more in this time, and in the world to come
eternal life."
(7) But the salvation of a remnant of the Indians, the
possession of a large and invaluable territory, the avoidance of war with Great Britain, the preservation of the
Union, and the abolition of slavery, were not the only
blessings which the early settlement of Oregon under missionary impulse helped to secure to the United States.
The forces for the last great struggle in human history
are now gathering around the Pacific Basin. The struggle
of the twentieth century largely will determine what race,
what language, what civilization and what religion shall
become most influential in this great Basin during the
remainder of earthly history. The United States and
Great Britain by their positions on the Pacific Basin
already are playing large parts in that struggle. Because
these two nations are contributing in some measure to a
Christian type of civilization, it is of incalculable advantage to all races that they settled the Oregon problem in
such a manner as to give both of them good harbors on
the Pacific Coast. Only future centuries can reveal the
significance of the peaceable settlement along the eastern
shores of the Pacific of two great peoples—one holding
Seattle and Tacoma and the other Vancouver and Victoria,
both peoples speaking the same language, governed by the
same ideals and aiming in some measure at least to embody
Christian principles in the civilization of the largest basin
of our earth.
It is because the Roman Catholic and the Congregational, the Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, and Methodist
missionaries labored to save the Indian race and, under
God, did save a remnant of that race; it is because the
combined efforts on each side led to a fair division of this
territory without a war, and in such a manner as to place
the two great Anglo-Saxon races side by side on the
Pacific Coast for the struggle of the coming centuries;
and it is because these tasks were accomplished without
war but with a heroism unsurpassed in the records of
human history, that Oregon Missions take their place
among the modern "Acts of the Apostles."
W. A. Mowry and 0. W. Nixon have shown great ability
in telling the world of the heroism of Marcus Whitman,
H. H. Bancroft, S. A. Clarke, and Horace S. Lyman have
surpassed Mowry and Nixon by recognizing the heroic
services of other actors in the drama. Professor Bourne
and Mr. Marshall discharged a loyal duty to the church
and to the nation by correcting the indefensible claims
made in behalf of Dr. Whitman, while at the same time
they recognized the lofty character of the missionaries
and their valuable service in behalf of Christian civilization in Oregon. H. Addington Bruce has made a valuable
contribution in setting forth the great services of our
statesmen, while at the same time recognizing the services
of the missionaries. We would not take a leaf from the
laurels with which any of the heroes of American history
have been crowned. But impartial history owes to Mrs.
Whitman and Mrs. Spalding, the first white women to
cross the Rocky Mountains; impartial history owes to
Mrs. White and Mrs. Beers, the first white women to
establish homes on the Pacific Coast; to Solomon Smith,
Cyrus Shephard, P. L. Edwards, Susan Downing, and
Elizabeth Johnson, the first white school teachers on the
Pacific Coast; to Harvey Clark, who founded the University of the Pacific; to Daniel Lee, one of the two first
Protestant preachers on the Pacific Coast; to Anna Pitman
Lee, the first missionary woman dying for posterity on the
Pacific Coast; and, above all, to Marcus Whitman and to
Jason Lee, who, like Moses, led their peoples to the
promised land, but were not permitted to enter in themselves—laurels not less green and lasting than those upon
the brows of the Pilgrim Fathers.
When the population of that golden coast rises to 30,-
000,000 and Victoria becomes the Glasgow, and Seattle,
Tacoma, San Francisco, and Los Angeles the Liverpool,
Antwerp, Hamburg, and London of the boundless commerce of the Pacific, may not the landing place of the first
missionary ship, Lausanne, become the Plymouth Rock
of the Pacific Coast, and Willamette University and Whitman College be their Harvard and their Yale ? Will there
not arise a Buchanan Read or a Longfellow to sing of
rides more heroic than Sheridan's, of more spiritual significance than that of Paul Revere ? Will not some spiritual descendant of Mrs. Hemans arise to sing of the second
Pilgrim Band who left home, not for freedom to worship
God themselves but to carry light to those who sat in darkness, and who, while struggling to save a dying race, mar-
velously helped their own? "For the eyes of Jehovah
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect
toward him."
This list is not complete. We have included all the Americans whose names we could find down to and including those
who voted for the provisional government, as narrated in
Chapter XI. Imperfect as the list is, it is by far the com-
pletest list of Oregon pioneers which, so far as our knowledge
goes, has been hitherto compiled.
Lewis and Clark Expedition—1805
Degie, Philip.
DeLoar  (Lyman III, 251).
Rivet, Francis.
Arrived on Tonquin—1811
Thomas McKay.
Astor party—1812
Cannon, William.
Dorion, Madame.
Dorion, Baptiste.
Gervais, Joseph.
LaBonte, Louis.
LaFramboise, Michel.
Lucier, Etienne.
McKay, Jean Baptiste Deportes.
Revoir, Antoine.
The above are believed to belong to the Astor party, though
not all of them have been identified.
Hudson's Bay Company—1818
Birnie, James.
Latta, William.
Pichette, Louis (Bancroft I, 74, says settled in Valley, 1832).
Ogden, Peter Skeen.
Hudson's Bay Company—1821
Plumondeau, Simon (Lyman III, 264).
Hudson's Bay Company—1824
Douglas, James (later Sir James).
McLoughlin, Dr. John.
Hudson's Bay Company—1824 to 1828
Ermatinger,  Frank.
Manson, Donald.
McKinlay, Archibald.
Pambrun, Pierre C.
Work, John.
Hudson's Bay Company—1828-29
Felix Hathaway, saved from wreck of H. B. Co. vessel
William and Ann.
James M. Bates.
Hudson's Bay Company—1830
Dunn, John.
Roberts, George B.
Hudson's Bay Company—1881
Finlayson, Duncan.
Others of Hudson's Bay people of unknown datef out "believed
to have come before 1832
Dubois, Andrew.
Dupre, Francis.
La Chapelle, Andre.
Quesnel, Francis.
Shaugarette, Louis.
Hudson's Bay Company—1832
Allen, George T.
McLeod, John.
McNeill, William.
N. J. Wyeth party—1882
Abbot—Killed by Bannock Indians.
Ball, John.
Breck, W.
Burditt, S.
Sargent, G., died 1836.
Smith, J. Woodman.
Smith, Solomon Howard.
St. Clair.
Tibbets, Calvin.
Trumbull, G.
Captain O'Neal—Clarke, vol. i, p. 199.
Hudson's Bay Company—1883
Tolmie, Dr. William Frazer,
Hudson's Bay Company—1884
Rae, William Glen—In Calif, from 1841 till death in 1846.
N. J. Wyeth party of 1884—and First Group of Methodist Missionaries
Edmunds, J., mentioned by Methodists, probably came with
this party.
Edwards, Philip L., Methodist missionary-teacher.
Hubbard, Thomas Jefferson.
Lee, Daniel, Methodist missionary, retired to States August
14, 1843.
Lee, Jason, Methodist missionary.
McCrary, Richard.
O'Neil, James H., converted and joined Methodist Church.
Richardson, Paul, guide; did not remain in country,
289 -o-
Roe, Charles J., mentioned by Methodists, probably came
with party.
Shepard. Cyrus, Methodist missionary-teacher.
Thornburg, killed by Hubbard in self-defense in 1835.
Walker, Courtney M., contract teacher for Methodists for
one year, and others.
Young and Kelley party—1834
Carmichael, Lawrence.
Ezekiel, Elisha.
Gale, Joseph.
Hauxhurst, Webley J., built first gristmill in Willamette
Valley in 1834; converted January, 1837, and joined Methodist
Howard, John.
Kelley, Hall J.
McCarty, John.
Winslow, George (colored).
Young, Ewing.
Hudson's Bay Company—1834 (about)
Anderson, Alexander Caulfield.
Hudson's Bay Company—1835
McLeod, Donald.
Bailey, Dr. William J., an attache of Methodist Mission;
married Margaret Smith.
Gay, George.
Turner, John.
American Board missionaries—1836
Gray, William H., layman.
Spalding, Henry Harmon, minister, and wife.
Whitman, Dr. Marcus, medical missionary, and wife.
Second Group Methodist Missionaries—May, 1881
Beers, Alanson, blacksmith, wife and three children.
Downing, Susan, engaged to marry Cyrus Shepard.
Johnson, Elvira, teacher.
Pitman, Anna Maria, later married Jason Lee.
Whitcomb, J. L.
White, Elijah, physician, wife and two children; left mission summer of 1840 on Lausanne.
Willson, W. H., carpenter.
Third Group Methodist Missionaries—September 7, 1837
Leslie, David, minister, wife and three daughters.
Perkins, H. K. W., minister, left Mission in late summer
of 1844.
Smith, Margaret, teacher.
Second Group of American Board Missionaries—1888
Eells, Cushing C, minister, and wife.
Rogers, Cornelius, layman, drowned February 4, 1843.
Smith, Asa B., min