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Marshall, William I. Acquisition of Oregon and the Long Suppressed Evidence about Marcus Whitman, 1911, Vol. I., pages 285-450.]
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RELATION OF THE HUDSON'S BAY CO. TO AMERICAN EXPLORATION, OCCUPATION, AND SETTLEMENT OF THE OREGON TERRITORY, AS APPEARS FROM A CAREFUL STUDY OF ALL THE ACCESSIBLE CONTEMPORANEOUS LETTERS, DIARIES, REPORTS TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND BOOKS WRITTEN BY THE AMERICAN FUR TRADERS, SCIENTISTS, PLEASURE TRAVELERS, MISSIONARIES, AND LEADERS OF PARTIES OF EMIGRANTS, DOWN TO THE SIGNING OF THE TREATY OF JUNE 15, 1846, FIXING THE BOUNDARY.
Intimately connected with this question is the history of the contest between the North West Co. and the Hudson's Bay Co. (1805-1821) and the founding of the Red River Colony, near the site of the present city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1811-12, its destruction in 1815, and again in 1816, and the consolidation of the two companies in 1821.
To fully understand the motive which led to the establishment of the Red River Colony, and its success in forcing the consolidation of the North West and Hudson's Bay companies, one must read the equivalent of about 3,000 pages like this, in the following list of 12 books, all but the first two of which are so very rare that I have never seen but one full set--that in the Ayer Collection of the Newberry Library, Chicago.
(1) "Observation on the Present State of the Highlands of Scotland, with a View of the Causes and Probable Consequences of Emigration. By the Earl of Selkirk." Edinburgh, 1805, p. 232, and Appendix LXI. equal 283.
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(2) "Sketch of the British Fur Trade in North America. By the Earl of Selkirk." London, 1816, p. 130.
(3 "Letters to the Honorable the Earl of Selkirk on His Settlement at the Red River. By Rev. John Strachan, D. D., Rector of York (now Toronto), Upper Canada." London, 1816, p. 76.
(4) "Narrative of Transactions in the Red River Country from the Commencement of the Operations of the Earl of Selkirk till the Summer of the Year 1816. By Alexander McDonnell." London, 1819, pp. 152 and 87. This is the North West Co.'s side of the case.
(5) "Statement Respecting the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement of Kildonan Upon the Red River in North. America, Its Destruction in 1815-16, and the Massacre of Governor Semple and His Party." London, 1817, pp. 125 and 89. This was the Hudson's Bay Co.'s side of the case.
(6) "Statement Respecting the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement," etc. (as above) "with Observations Upon a Narrative of Occurrences in the Indian Countries" (i. e., upon Alex. McDonnell's book, No. 4 above). London, 1818; New York, 1818, pp. 194 and C equal 294.
(Like No. 5, this is the Hudson's Bay Co.'s side of the case, and though no author is given they were both written by John Halket, a London lawyer, and a brother-in-law of the Earl of Selkirk. --W. I. M.)
(7) "Narrative of John Pritchard, Pierre Chrysologue Pambrun of Montreal, formerly Lieutenant in the Voltiguer Corps of Lower Canada, and Frederick Damien Heurter, late Acting Sergeant Major and Clerk in the Regiment De Mueron, Respecting the Aggressions of the North West Co. against the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement upon the Red River." London, 1819, p. 91.
This is, of course, on the Hudson's Bay Co.'s side of the case.
(8) "Letter Book of Capt. Miles McDonnell, First Governor of the Red River Colony." ("From the Canadian Archives.") Only a fragment, covering pp. 187-226. No date.
(9) "Letter to the Earl of Liverpool by the Earl of Selkirk, on the subject of the Red River Settlement." London, 1819, p. 224. This is, of course, the Hudson's Bay Co.'s side of the case.
(10) "Report of Proceedings connected with the Dispute between the Earl of Selkirk and the North West Co. at the Assizes held at York, in U. C., October, 1818. From Minutes Taken in Court." Montreal and London, 1819, pp. 424 and 48.
(11) "Report of Trials in the Courts of Canada Relative to the Destruction of the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement on the Red River,
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with Observations by A. Amos." London, 1820. (No. 11 is the same as No. 10, with the addition of "Observations" by A. Amos, a London lawyer in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Co. These' "Observations" were designed to make the official "Report" seem less unfavorable to the Hudson's Bay Co. and to Lord Selkirk --W. I. M.)
(12) "Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement. Ordered printed by the House of Commons, July 19, 1819." Folio 287 p.
Titles (3), (10) and (12) are the ones on which I have mainly depended.
How vital is the connection between the story of the reasons for and results of the founding of the Red River Colony, and the treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co. of the Indians in Oregon, and the relations between the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Americans in Oregon from 1828 to 1846 will appear later.
The matters stated in these books also are of great value as showing the total falsity of the assertion--so often made with a self-complacent air of superiority by Englishmen wholly ignorant of this dismal chapter in their history, and echoed by the few equally ignorant and very snobbish Americans, who always delight in belittling their own country, and who, wherever they are, "always turn up their trousers when it rains in 'dear old Lunnon,'" that "the English always get along much better with the Indians than the Americans," for the story of this contest between rival British fur companies, especially after the consolidation of the leading Canadian companies in 1805, under the name of the North West Co., demonstrates beyond any possibility of dispute that in all the vast regions where these two equally loyal British companies--the North West Co. and the Hudson's Bay Co.--came in competition for many years, not with Americans, but with each other, the Indians were thoroughly debased, and as greatly injured in morals by the greed and selfishness of these two British corporations, and their determination to over reach each other, even if to do it wholesale robbery and murder alike of Indians and whites were needful to accomplish their purposes, as Indians ever were anywhere in the United States or British America.
We have seen in Chapter IV. that the North West Co., the great Canadian fur company, was the competitor Astor feared, and that it was that company which, aided by the breaking out of the war of 1812, finally wrought the undoing of the Astoria enterprise, and, at the same time by a cunningly devised scheme of purchase forestalled the capture of Astoria by His Majesty's ship Raccoon, and gathering all the profits into the coffers of the North West Co., tricked Capt. Black and his officers and crew out of the snug fortune which they had expected to realize as prize money by the capture, not
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merely of a rude blockhouse, but of an immense stock of furs and merchandise belonging to an American fur company.
And in Chapter VI. we have seen that the North West Co. remained in charge of Astoria (or, as they had renamed it, Fort George), when, on October 6, 1818, it was unconditionally restored to us by Great Britain.
At that time the Hudson's Bay Co. not only had no post within many hundred miles of any part of the Oregon Territory, but had none in British America west of the Rocky Mountains, yet less than two and one-half years later, on March 26, 1821, the North West Co., which had explored British America north to the Arctic and west to the Pacific, was blotted out of existence by a consolidation with the Hudson's Bay Co., the terms of which, while probably the best that could then be obtained, and perhaps somewhat equitable as to future conduct of business and division of profits, yet, considering their relative enterprise in exploring and in developing the fur trade, certainly gave a disproportionately large share of its benefits to the older, but far less enterprising and energetic company. (Cf. for the terms of this consolidation "The Hudson's Bay Territories," etc., by R. M. Martin, London, 1849, p. 50; "The Canadian Northwest, Its History and Its Troubles," by G. Mercer Adams, Toronto, 1885, p. 145; "History of the Great Company," by Beckles Willson, Toronto, 1899, pp. 433-5.)
The License of Exclusive right to trade with Indians in all such parts of British America "as shall not form any part of our province in North America," and of the exclusive right as against any other British subjects to trade with Indians in the region which afterwards came to be known as Oregon, was granted by the English government on December 6, 1821, for the period of 21 years, to the Hudson's Bay Co., and W. McGillivray, of Montreal, and S. McGillivray and E. Ellice, of England (the last three representing the North West Co.), though the business was to be carried on only in the name of the Hudson's Bay Co.
"In 1824 the claims of the North West Co. were extinguished by mutual consent," though as the rights of the "Norwesters" to stock in the consolidated company remained unchanged, this 1824 agreement seems to have been merely a technical change for administrative and bookkeeping convenience, and the Hudson's Bay Co. thenceforward was the sole owner of the rights under this license.
May 30th, 1838, the company surrendered this license, and received in lieu thereof another similar grant for 21 years from that date. (Cf. for the copies of the Consolidation agreements of March 26, 1821, and of 15th of September, 1824. "A. 2" and "A. 3," pp. 277-312, Vol. 1, H. B. Co. vs. U. S., and for copies of the Licenses
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of Exclusive trade of December 6th, 1821, and May 30, 1838 Idem "A. 4" and "A. 5," pp, 312-319.)
How came this consolidation (which had been first recommended by McKenzie on pp. 433-7 of his "Voyages from Montreal Through the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans." London, 1801) to be effected?
Thos. Douglas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, was a very thrifty Scotch nobleman, much inclined to "safe" speculations (i. e., when he possessed such inside information as would not merely secure him from loss, but assure him ample profit).
He was also so thorough a believer in "the right divine of kings to govern wrong" that it grieved him much to observe that many a native-born British subject--Englishman, Scotchman or Irishman --was migrating to the United States, and so generally prospering there that their correspondence with those left behind was constantly swelling the number of those who deserted the monarchy for the republic, and speedily learned that a nation could prosper better without kings, and earls, and dukes and barons than with them.
His Lordship thereupon thriftily determined to exert all his influence to turn this migration from the United States to the British colonies, and, at the same time, thereby to increase his own already ample fortune.
His first essays in establishing colonies were in 1803, on Prince Edward's Island, and speedily thereafter at Baldoon, in the extreme southwest part of Upper Canada, on a small creek that flows into Lake St. Clair.
In connection with this latter project he visited Canada, and what followed is told in "A Narrative of Transactions," etc., by Alex. McDonnell, as follows:
(P. 1) "Previous to the year 1806, the Earl of Selkirk had been engaged in various landed and colonizing speculations in British North America, in the course of which he visited Canada.
"In the course of his travels his attention was naturally directed to the situation of the trade, and particularly to that carried on with the Indians in the barter of manufactured goods and other articles for furs and peltries, which ever since the discovery of and establishment of the colony by the French had been considered as the chief branch of its commerce.
"During His Lordship's residence in Montreal he was received with the hospitality which so much characterizes the inhabitants of that city, and to none was he indebted for more pointed attentions and civility than to the merchants connected with the fur trade, and more especially the partners of the North West Co. His inquiries into the nature and extent of the trade, and their
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particular establishment, which has always been an (p. 2) object of curiosity to strangers visiting Canada, were readily answered by these gentlemen, who withheld no information which could gratify the liberal and useful researches of a noble traveler. They remarked at the time that these inquiries were more extended than usual; but they little expected that their confidential communications to a person expressing his admiration at the result of their exertions, and his sincere friendship and thankful acknowledgments to themselves, should have awakened the spirit of self-interest which has subsequently been so apparent; still less did they suppose they were placing means in the hands of a commercial rival, to be applied first in opposition to their trade, and, after the failure of that experiment, in an attempt to effect the ruin of their establishment.
"On the noble Lord's return to England he prosecuted with much anxiety the inquiries he had commenced in Canada connected with this subject, and the situation of the Hudson's Bay Co., with the great advantages under which the fur trade might be conducted from Hudson's Bay, when compared with the obstacles and difficulties opposed to the Canadian merchants, soon presented themselves to his discernment. The route to the remote and most valuable trading stations in the Northwest country was nearly 2,000 miles more distant by interior communication from Montreal than from Hudson's Bay, and it was evident, if the assumed (p. 3) rights of this chartered company to the exclusive commerce and navigation of the bay were legal, by a strict enforcement of them the whole fur trade might be diverted into that channel.
"His Lordship communicated his ideas on the subject, though very partially, to a gentleman then in England, who had been long interested in the North West Co., and to whom the public are indebted for a description of the country and of his own voyages and discoveries (i. e., Alex. McKenzie.--W. I. M.)
"In consequence of this communication, an agreement was subsequently entered into by Lord Selkirk and this gentleman to speculate in the stock of the Hudson's Bay Co., without any definite object on the part of His Lordship's associate, beyond possibly a resale at an enhanced price, when a sufficient amount should have been procured to enable them to exercise a beneficial influence in the management of the company's concerns, and thereby to increase the value of their stock. The moment was peculiarly favorable for their purpose: the stock of the company had fallen from 250 per cent, to between 50 and 60, in consequence of misfortune or mismanagement of their affairs, which were in a state of rapid decay and considered bordering upon insolvency, no dividend having been paid for several years. Under such circumstances considerable purchases were easily
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made by the parties, but His Lordship's (p. 4) views becoming enlarged, with the extended knowledge he obtained of the supposed rights conferred upon the company by its charter, a disagreement took place as to the further objects they had originally in view; and after some legal proceedings an arrangement was made between the parties, by which Lord Selkirk became proprietor of the greatest part of the stock acquired on their joint account.
"Being thus disengaged from any connection which could interfere with his views, and having established for himself a sufficient footing in the affairs of the company, Lord Selkirk extended his purchases to the amount of nearly £40,000, the whole amount of the company's stock being rather under £100,000. Several members of the committee immediately made way for the appointment of his near relatives and friends to the direction, and from this period His Lordship may be considered as possessing an unlimited influence and control in the management of the affairs and disposal of the property of the company. Although more activity was perceived in the general conduct of their concerns, some time elapsed before His Lordship's ultimate object and plans were disclosed; but his preparations being made, a general court was convened by public notice in the month of May, 1811. The proprietors were informed at this meeting that the Governor and committee considered it beneficial to their general (p. 5) interests to grant His Lordship in fee simple about 116,000 square miles (or 74,240,000 acres) of what was supposed to be their territory on condition that he should establish a colony on the grant and furnish on certain terms from among the settlers such laborers as are required by the company in their trade. The proprietors did not see in these conditions any sufficient consideration for the grant, and every one present, with the exception of the noble Lord and the committee, signed and delivered a protest vs. it to the court. Notwithstanding this opposition the grant was confirmed, and His Lordship became the ideal proprietor of a domain exceeding in extent the Kingdom of England, with only one objection to the title, that with respect to the right of the grantors they had equal power to assign him a similar kingdom in the moon.
"In addition to the protest offered by the proprietors, remonstrances were made against the wild and hopeless project of establishing the proposed colony by every person interested in the trade of the country. . . .
"The distance between the spot where the first settlement was afterward formed and York Factory in Hudson's Bay, the point of communication (p. 6) with the sea, is by actual measurement 725 miles; and the navigation, such as it is, may be called open between the months of June and October. . . . The distance of the Red River from Lake Superior is rather greater than from Hudson's Bay,
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and from Montreal, by the nearest route (that of Lake Superior), about 2,300 miles. The distance from the nearest inhabited part of Upper Canada, which may possibly be another colony of Lord Selkirk's, called Baldoon, is about: 1,600 miles.
"It must be obvious, from the distances here described, and the difficulty of communication, which is only practicable in birch bark canoes, that no market could be found beyond the immediate consumption of the colony for the agricultural product of a settlement so situated.
Idem (p. 9) ''To the North West Co. this establishment was particularly objectionable. They denied the right of either the Hudson's Bay Co. or Lord Selkirk to any part of the territory ceded to him, of which their predecessors and themselves had been in occupancy for at least a century. They were aware that it was further intended to enforce against them the penalties provided by the charter of seizure of their persons and confiscation of their property as interlopers on the territories absurdly claimed by the company; and they saw in the terms cm which the grant was made that the establishment of this colony was only a pretext to induce settlers to emigrate and thus to introduce into the country at an inconsiderable expense a sufficient number of persons to carry into effect (p. 10) the Noble Lord's plans of aggression and competition vs. their trade. The North West Co. was founded in 1783 by an association of traders, prior to that time engaged in rival undertakings, and who, on the conquest of Canada, following the footsteps of their predecessors, the French colonists, had engaged in the trade."
How drastic were the measures by which the Noble Lord meant to utterly ruin the trade of the North West Co., or so injure it as to force the consolidation of the two, by asserting and enforcing in the most arbitrary manner, over all this vast wilderness, to which the North West Co. denied that either the Earl or the Hudson's Bay Co. had any rights of ownership, the same rights as owner in fee simple, that an Englishman would be allowed to exercise respecting the lawns and flower gardens on his private estate in Great Britain, may be seen from this extract from a letter from the Earl of Selkirk to Mr. William Hillier, a principal agent of the Hudson's Bay Co.: "You must give them solemn warning that the land belongs to the Hudson's Bay Co., and that they must remove from it; after this warning they should not be allowed to cut any timber either for building or fuel; what they have cut should be openly and forcibly seized and their buildings destroyed. In like manner they should be warned not to fish in your waters, and if they put down nets, seize them as you would in England those of a poacher. We are so fully advised of the unimpeachable validity of these rights of property, that there can be no scruple in enforcing them wherever
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you have the physical means." (Cf. "Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement," p. 154.)
As his grant covered for several hundred miles the only possible line of travel for the "North Westers," from their great headquarters, at Fort William, on the north shore of Lake Superior, to the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast regions, which their enterprise had explored, and where by far the greater and more valuable part of their fur trade was found, they would have been something very much more or less than human if they had not determined to resist to the utmost these monstrous pretensions of a right to prevent them from navigating the streams and lakes, and traveling over the portages, and catching fish and killing game for their subsistence in the vast unsettled wilderness where they and their predecessors in interest had enjoyed these rights undisturbed for several generations, while it was "only twenty-five years since the Hudson's Bay Co. first made an establishment on Red River" (Cf. "Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement," p. 165).
This aggression was not, however, attempted to its fullest extent at first, and so open hostilities did not begin with the very founding of the colony, though there had been for several years not only a very vigorous, but often a very unscrupulous competition between the traders of the two companies, which had thoroughly demoralized the Indians about all the regions where both the companies sought the trade of the natives. (Cf. on this article in London and Westminster Review, Vol. 29, April to August, 1838, pp. 373-392, as follows: "The Indians, without doubt, would have been more numerous, more moral find more comfortable had they never seen the face of a man professing to be a Christian."
As to these evils, it must be borne in mind that the Indians were for many years subjected to all the corrupting influences of a competition between two rival companies, who prospered by their debasement, the North West Co. of Montreal and the Hudson's Bay Co. Spirituous liquors were introduced as early as the first settlements of the latter company, in 1670. During the competition, "which did not cease until the year 1821, it was the. interest of the rival Europeans to gain possession of the Indians, by whatever means, and it used to happen that whenever an Indian canoe was seen approaching on the lake rival boats would start on a race to reach it first, and scenes of bloodshed were the consequence."
To the same tenor is what Daniel W. Harmon says in his "Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of North America, etc.," after 10 years' continuous service in the North West Co. (1800-1819), as follows (p. 314) (in an account of the Indians generally on the east side of the Rocky Mountains in British America) :
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"The white people have been among these above mentioned for about 150 years. . . . But I very much question whether they have improved in their character or condition by their acquaintance with civilized people. In their savage state they were contented with the mere necessaries of life, which they could procure with considerable ease; but now they have many artificial wants created by the luxuries which we (p. 315) have introduced among them, and as they find it difficult to obtain these luxuries, they have become to a degree discontented with their condition and practice fraud in their dealings. A half-civilized Indian is more savage than one in his original state. The latter has some sense of honor, while the former has none. I have always experienced the greatest hospitality and kindness among those Indians who have had the least intercourse with white people. They readily discover and adopt our evil practices; but they are not as quick to discern and as ready to follow the few good examples which we set before them."
This was written after Harmon had retired from the service of the North West Co., and it will be observed that he does not charge this condition to the one company more than to the other.
Turning now to the Earl of Selkirk's "Sketch of the British Fur Trade," in which he is seeking to make a case against the "North Westers" (pp. 38-9), he arraigns them for "speculating on the vices of their servants by encouraging them to habits of drink and dissipation," and (p. 51) "It is an indisputable fact that the native Indians have been growing more deficient in every estimable point of character from the time that Canada fell under the Protestant Government of Great Britain. The cause of this lamentable and humiliating fact can no longer be a mystery, when it is known that the immediate management of these people has been left without control in the hands of men who speculate upon the vices of their servants."
On p. 82, desiring to make the Hudson's Bay Co. (of which he had been for five years the real manager) appear to have been as angelic as he had sought to make the "Norwesters" satanic, he wrote:
"So far from 'speculating upon their vices,' the Hudson's Bay Co. have uniformly expressed the strongest desire to preserve moral and religious habits among their people, nor have their efforts for this purpose been without effect."
Though His Lordship does not claim that great things had actually been done for the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Co., it is evident from his contrasting the North West Co.'s treatment of its employes with that of the Hudson's Bay Co. and ascribing the debasement of the Indians to the "Norwesters," that he would have it inferred that the Indians who had been only under the influence of the Hudson's Bay Co. were in vastly better condition than those who
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had been contaminated by the influence of their rivals, but, unfortunately for him, not only have we the before quoted extract from Harmon's Journal, but, in the fragment of the "Letter Book of Miles McDonnell" (who, as Governor of the Red River Colony, led out the first party of settlers for it from Scotland, in 1811, via Hudson's Bay, and arrived at York Factory, the chief Hudson's Bay Co.'s post on the Bay, too late to go on to Red River till the spring of 1812), on pp. 217 and 218, after describing the lack of discipline among clerks and other white employes at that place, he continues as follows:
"Mr. Auld and Mr. Cook are both very unpopular amongst the Indians here, who have likewise caught the spirit of dissatisfaction to a very great degree.
"These people, who in 1782 offered to defend the Factories against the French, refuse now to come to the Goose Hunt, and feel indifferent on all occasions to obey the orders of the company's officers. There are no chiefs among them, and they are in the utmost state of individual debasement and depravity that can be conceived. It is a melancholy reflection that during their long intercourse with the whites they have not acquired one moral virtue, nor is the faintest idea of the true Deity to be found among them."
It must be remembered that for more than a century these Indians and their ancestors had never had any intercourse with any white men except the Hudson's Bay Co.'s employes, their habitat being hundreds of miles northeast of any line of travel of the North West Co.; while Miles McDonnell's position as the first Governor of the Red River Colony is assurance that he would not exaggerate anything to the injury of the Hudson's Bay Co.
To His Lordship's charge that they speculated on the vices of their servants and carried an excessive amount of intoxicating liquors into the Indian country, the "Norwesters" retorted as follows: "An offer made by Lord Selkirk in the year 1803 to the North West Co. to furnish them with spirits for their Indian trade from distilleries to be carried on at his settlement at Baldoon in Western Canada, shows that he held a different doctrine in respect to supplying the Indians with spirits until he found it convenient to lavish his abuse on the North West Co." (Cf. Papers Respecting Red River Settlement, p. 135.)
They also stated that "Great improvements had taken place in this (p. 10) respect" (i, e., the trade in liquors by the North West Co.) "before Lord Selkirk's interference, which it is essential to state, that he may not lay claim to the little merit the reviled fur traders are entitled to on the subject.
"It was shown that the quantity of spirituous liquors introduced into the Northwest country had in the two preceding years been re-
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duced from 50,000 to 10,000 gallons; no great quantity, considering there were at that time 2,000 white persons in their employment, of which the greater number were to pass the winter in a Siberian climate." (Cf. Narrative of Transactions, etc. Preface, p. 9.)
Returning now to the history of the Red River Colony: "The first emigrants to Red River were about twenty-five families, Irish and Scotch, in the spring of 1811. They reached York Fort too late to go on to Red River in 1811, and spent the winter of 1811-12 at York Fort in much misery, and did not reach Red River till the autumn of 1812."
The next party of settlers arrived early in the winter of 1812-13. During the first winter there was not only no friction between the colonists and the Norwesters (one of whose principal forts was at the forks of Red River, but a few miles from the colony), but it is admitted that the colonists were only kept from great suffering if not starvation by the kindness of the Norwesters in giving them food.
This peaceful condition was of short duration, for on January 8, 1814, Miles McDonnell issued a proclamation forbidding for twelve months the exportation of any provisions procured or raised within the territory, "except what might be necessary for taking to their respective destinations the parties then with the same."
Soon after "an order was published by Miles McDonnell forbidding the hunting of buffalo on horseback, under the penalty of three mouths' imprisonment for the first offense, and forfeiture of the horse with a similar imprisonment for the second." (Cf. Papers Respecting Red River Settlement, pp. 155-8.)
If these orders could be enforced they would have starved the North West Co.'s trading and exploring parties, for the Red River Valley had been their source of supply for the buffalo meat and fat with which, for many years before a Hudson's Bay Co.'s post was established anywhere near there, they and their predecessors in interest had made the pemmican, which was the main food of their parties when traveling or living at times and in regions where game and fish could not be obtained.
On October 21, 1814, Miles McDonnell sent the following letter to Mr. Duncan Cameron, acting for the North West Co. at the forks of the Red River:
"Take notice, that by the authority and on the behalf of your landlord, the Right Hon. Thomas, Earl of Selkirk, I do hereby warn you and all your associates of the North West Co. to quit the post and premises yon now occupy at the forks of the Red River within six calendar months from the date hereof." (Cf. Papers Respecting Red River Settlement, p. 10.)
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Soon after his proclamation forbidding the export of any provisions, Miles McDonnell attacked a fort of the North West Co., and took from it 600 packages of 85 pounds each of pemmican, and took them to the Hudson's Bay Co.'s fort. (Cf. Narrative of Transactions, etc., p. 28.)
Sir Gordon Drummon was then Governor General of Canada, and a dispatch from him to Earl Bathurst dated "Castle Quebec, August 15, 1815," thus gives his opinion of "Governor" Miles McDonnell: "The plan of affording military protection to the Earl of Selkirk's settlement is in my opinion decidedly impracticable, on account of expense of transporting and supporting the troops there, and the certain consequence of involving England in an Indian war for objects foreign to the interests of the British Government." . . . "The most mischievous consequences are likely to occur from the conduct and character of the individual whom Lord Selkirk has selected for his agent, who styles himself a governor, and from whose intercourse with the persons in the employ of the North West Co. it is in vain to look for the spirit of moderation and conciliation which is so desirable should animate persons situated as these traders and settlers are, cut off as they are from the whole civilized world and dependent on their union and mutual good offices for protection, not only from the savage tribes by which they are surrounded, but against an enemy not less formidable, viz., famine." (Cf. "Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement," pp. 4-5.)
Idem (p. 12) "Inclosure 12" is a copy of a letter from Lieut. Col. J. Harvey, Rept. Adjt. Gen., to Messrs. Maitland, Gordon and Auldjo of Montreal, which says: "Sir Gordon Drummond is of opinion that if the lives of and property of the Earl of Selkirk's settlers are or may hereafter be endangered, that danger will arise principally from the conduct of Mr. Miles McDonald, His Lordship's agent, who appears to His Excellency to be actuated by anything but a spirit of moderation and conciliation, in his language and demeanor, toward the servants of the North West Co. He has, moreover, assumed powers which cannot possibly, in His Excellency's opinion, have been vested in him, or any agent, private or public, of any individual or of any chartered body."
The leaders of the North West Co. held commissions from Canada as magistrates for the Indian country, and they now proceeded to try what virtue resided in this judicial power, and from their headquarters at Fort William issued a warrant for the arrest of Governor McDonnell, to which, after no small demurring, he reluctantly submitted, and "on the 21st of June, 1815, Miles McDonnell quitted the Red River, having surrendered himself a prisoner, under the warrant from Fort William, a few days before to Alex. McKenzie, a partner and one of the agents of the North West Co." . . .
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Their Governor gone, the discontent which had been steadily growing in the minds of the great majority of the colonists burst forth, and they resolved to quit the colony, and accordingly, "On the 27th of June, 1815, the colony was finally broken up, and the remaining settlers and servants embarked for Jack River." (Cf. Papers, etc., p. 171.)
About 50 families, in all 140 persons, "threw themselves upon the compassion of the North West Co. for passage away from the scene of their misery and were conveyed in their canoes to York (now Toronto), Upper Canada, while some 13 or 14 families, consisting of about 40 persons, started for Jack River on their way to Hudson's Bay." (Cf. Narrative of Trans., etc., p. 39; also Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement, p. 24.)
Immediately on the arrival of these people in York, Rev. John Strachan wrote and published his "Letter to the Right Honorable the Earl of Selkirk," its preface being dated "York, U. C., Oct. 15, 1816."
Dr. Strachan was probably the most brilliantly gifted and the most useful Episcopal clergyman of his generation in Canada, and was Bishop of Toronto from 1839 to his death in 1867, in his eighty-second year. While somewhat narrow in his views, especially in regard to the rights of other churches than his own, he .always had the full courage of his convictions, and was always absolutely fearless in expressing and contending for what he believed to be right on any subject.
He was also as intense a Tory, and as anxious to prevent any one born subject to "His Gracious Majesty," George the Third, from bettering his condition by migrating to the United States, as was the Earl of Selkirk, as witness the following passages from his "Letter to the Earl of Selkirk (pp. 20-21): "But to turn the stream of emigration from the United States to the British Colonies is confessedly an object of the greatest importance. . . It appears that the Ministry begins to be sensible of its importance, and it is to be hoped that a total exclusion of American settlers will form part of their plan; for unless this policy be adopted and rigidly adhered to, this valuable colony (i. e., Canada) cannot be long preserved to the British Crown (p. 21).
"You are too well acquainted with the depravity of the American character to desire any number of that people in your settlement. I am, nevertheless, persuaded that so far from raising a colony of British subjects, whose principles and morals shall be free from the contamination of the United States, etc."
In extenuation of this bitterness it should be remembered that York had been captured by the army of the United States in 1813.
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The "Advertisement" or preface of his little book is as follows: "As soon as I heard that the Earl of Selkirk was commencing a settlement on Red River, I determined to warn the public of the deception, and of the great misery which emigrants must experience in such a distant and inhospitable region. But it was difficult to procure the necessary information, and before it could be obtained the progress of the American war called my attention to distress nearer home. It was not till last June that I was able to get a copy of His Lordship's Prospectus, a paper neatly drawn up, but, alas! destitute of truth. To those who are amazed, after reading my remarks, at the promises and assertions which it contains, I am justified in saying that promises still more remarkable, and assertions still more extravagant, were made by the Earl of Selkirk himself, at Stromness, in June, 1813, to persons whom he was enticing to go out. Few of these wretched men have any written agreement; an omission, I hope, not wilfully made to prevent legal redress; for surely punishment ought to be inflicted on speculators who persuade families under false pretenses to leave their native homes.
"Of the settlers who went to the Red River many died at Churchill in Hudson's Bay from the severity of the climate and the quality of their food. Others seriously injured their health, and not one of those who have escaped saw a joyful day from the time they left Scotland till they began their journey to Canada. The following letter may prevent any more from encountering the miseries of the polar regions; and this is all I am able to effect. But retributive justice is due; and I flatter myself that among the many great examples of disinterested benevolence so common in Great Britain, one may be found sufficiently powerful to compel Lord Selkirk and his brother proprietors to make ample compensation to the survivors for the money and effects lost at Churchill and the miseries they have endured."
The following extracts will show how thoroughly selfish and destitute of any vestige of philanthropy were all of Selkirk's colonization schemes.
(P. 6) Writing of Selkirk's Prince Edward's Island colony he says: "The quantity of land assigned to each family, of 50 or even 100 acres, was too small. In a very few years the farmer, if industrious, must have sold out or purchased the adjacent lands at their own price. Had farms, even large farms, been given to the first settlers for nothing, and the means of cultivation for the first year, the advantage would have been yours.
"It is the settlers that give value to the surrounding soil. Nothing is more common in the United States than for the proprietors of large tracts to give extensive farms gratis to the few that first
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encounter the difficulty of settling. Your people could not sit down with satisfaction on a purchase of 50 acres when they saw (p. 7) their neighbors getting 200 from the Government for nothing.
(P. 9) "For every settler brought into Upper Canada by Tour Lordship you received 200 acres of land, of which you were bound to grant him 50, making a net profit of 150 acres on each settler. This portion of 50 acres being too small for a farm, must in a few years be sold for a trifle, or the pioneer be compelled to purchase at any price as soon as he was able (if that could ever happen on so small a farm) the adjoining lands. This is a way of accumulating property not the most honorable to the peerage and attended with the most pernicious consequences to the colony and its administration. Such settlers consider themselves dupes, they become discontented with their situation and with the Government which permits such transactions.
"And it must be allowed that it would be much better for the King to grant at once any quantity of land that he chooses to a person whom he wished to serve than to give it in this manner. I am ready to acquit Your Lordship of any profit, as yet, in either of these speculations; grasping at too much, nothing has been obtained, and though marked with more than the precaution of an American land jobber, they have been singularly unsuccessful.
"Taking these things into consideration, I was disposed to pass over in silence Your Lordship's land speculations in Prince Edward's Island and in Upper Canada. You might have been deceived and really supposed that the conditions offered on both occasions were extremely liberal, but after the experience which they must have given yon, and your visit to America, it will not be so easy to excuse you for offering worse conditions to emigrants, going to an infinitely worse situation, where they can only meet with disappointment and misery.
"Your projected settlement at the Red River, or third attempt at colonization, appears to me not only more extravagant than either of the former, but one of the most gross impositions that ever was attempted on the British public and must be attended with the most baneful consequences to all those unfortunate men who, deluded by the false promises held out to them, shall leave their homes for such a dreary wilderness."
(P. 12) "The proprietors may be ignorant, but you know, my Lord, that situation is the true criterion of the value of lands and the principal cause of retarding or accelerating their settlement." . . . "In this portion of the Prospectus" (i. e., Selkirk's Prospectus, which Strachan quotes in full on pp. 69, 76, and which is an example of as conscienceless ingenuity in misrepresentation of the desirability of the Red River Valley as a place to which to migrate
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from Great Britain as was ever printed by the most rascally land speculator on earth.--W. I. M.) I particularly call the reader's attention to the very slight manner of noticing the remoteness of the projected colony. A stranger would naturally suppose that, as Upper Canada is carefully omitted in comparing the lands of the Red River with the other colonies, they formed part of that extensive province, more especially since they are declared to he equal in soil and climate to any in British America. As respects the value of land, situation is everything. The most fruitful valley in the world is worth nothing if surrounded with impassable mountains. The assertion, therefore, that these lands are in no ways different in advantages from those of Lower Canada and Nova Scotia is false, unless their situation be equally favorable."
(P. 16) Speaking of the title of the Hudson's Bay Co. to the fee simple of all the land draining into Hudson's Bay, he says: "As to the opinion of lawyers of the first eminence declaring the title unexceptionable, it is here, as on many other occasions, of little weight, since other gentlemen of the first legal character in England have pronounced the charter illegal and void. The Hudson's Bay Co. thought this latter the more correct opinion, for, in 1802, when their commerce was infringed upon by rival traders, they very wisely declined bringing the question to a decision in a court of justice."
(P. 27) Commenting on the statement in the prospectus that the expense of bringing out emigrants will average £10 for each family, he says in a footnote: "It appears that instead of £10 for each family, 10 guineas are paid for man, woman and child, which makes an immense difference to the settler--see the postscript." Turning to the postscript, 62-68, we find statements of Alexander Matheson, John Macpherson, Andrew Macbeath and William Gunn, who had been brought from the Red River Settlement in the North West Co.'s boats, and also a copy of Alexander Matheson's agreement with Lord Selkirk, which fully justify all the severe things Strachan has written.
(P. 28) "To charge £50 for every 100 acres, in a place so remote, is to pillage the unfortunate emigrant; for if he had found his way to Canada he would have received 200 acres for nothing, or, at most, £9, the price of survey; and instead of being cut off from all the world, he could have been in a good neighborhood, and near a good market for his produce. In this province farms are frequently purchased, with improvements, for $2 per acre; that is, from 10 to 20 acres clear, -with a small log house. In the midst of the rich settlements, and in favorable situations, the price is greater, sometimes f 10 per acre; but the average price of land through the whole province does not exceed $1."
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Pages 30 to 46 he gives tables showing the distances, "first, from Red River Settlement to Hudson's Bay, 710 miles, with 25 portages and many other impediments."
"Second, from Port William on Lake Superior, about 1,300 miles from Montreal or 2,000 from the sea to Your Lordship's colony on the Red River, 644 miles, with about 40 portages; and third, from Red River to the Falls of St. Anthony, about 764 miles, with two portages."
I have copied thus at length from Dr. Strachan's letter because nowhere else can so clear and convincing a statement be found of the heartless selfishness of the Earl of Selkirk's various colonization schemes, for which he has received from some eulogists of the Hudson's Bay Co. the reputation of a philanthropist, though all of these eulogists carefully refrain from stating any details of Selkirk's schemes, or from intimating the real purpose of his founding the Red River colony.
Mr. Colin Robertson--an old Norwester who had gone over to the Hudson's Bay Co.--was on his way to the colony from Montreal with a party of the Hudson's Bay Co. employes, and at the Lake of the Woods heard of the destruction of the colony, and that those who had not gone in the North West Co.'s boats to Canada had gone to the Hudson's Bay Co.'s post at Jack River, near the outlet of Lake Winnipeg. He therefore hastened thither, and put himself at their head, and "on the 19th of August, 1815, Colin Robertson arrived in Red River, accompanied by the colonists, who had been driven off, together with about 20 clerks and servants." (Cf. Papers, etc., p. 174; also the beginning of Pambrun's Narrative.)
"On the 3d of November, 1815, Mr. Robert Semple arrived in Red River as Governor in Chief of the Hudson's Bay Territories, accompanied by a Mr. Alexander McDonnell, sheriff to the settlement, in charge of about 160 persons, a few of them servants, but the greater part settlers with their families from Scotland, and by Mr. James Sutherland, in charge of supplies for the Hudson's Bay Co.'s trading posts."
Connected with this first destruction and re-establishment of the Red River Settlement two winter journeys were made, one east by Lagomoniere, the other west by John Pritchard, which are thus related.
"These letters" (i. e., from Lord Selkirk to the colonists announcing his intention in the spring of 1816 to join them as soon as possible), "were entrusted to a person named Lagomoniere, whom Lord Selkirk could depend upon, and who had made a hazardous winter journey, on foot, of upward of 2,000 miles for the purpose of bringing intelligence to Montreal from the Red River of the re-estab-
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lishment of the colony." (Cf. "Statement Respecting the Earl of Selkirk's Settlement," etc., p. 41.)
Pritchard had been with the North West Co. from 1801 to 1814 when he decided to settle in the Red River Colony.
On p. 11 of his "Narrative" he says that in the autumn of 1814 the Northwesters in Montreal had told him that the Red River Colony would be broken up, and continues: "In the hope of preventing the evil by warning Governor McDonnell of the danger which menaced the settlement, I undertook a journey to Red River by the circuitous route of Hudson's Bay, a distance of near 4,000 miles, the greatest part of which I performed on snowshoes, hauling after me upon a sledge provisions and every other requisite to serve me for 20 or 30 days at a time.
"I set out from Montreal on the 28th of October, 1814, and arrived at Red River on the 15th of April ensuing, when I had the mortification to find that the prediction of McKenzie was in part accomplished."
Either of these journeys--on foot and alone--was a very much more remarkable performance than Whitman's journey--not on foot and alone, but with saddle and pack animals and one companion, Lovejoy--all the way to Fort Bent, besides a guide from Port Hall to the Missouri frontier, and the company of a small party of fur traders, the last 550 miles of the way from Bent's Fort to the Missouri frontier.
In the late winter of 1815-16 Selkirk reached Montreal via New York from England, and renewed the efforts previously made to secure from Sir Gordon Drummond a garrison of regular British soldiers to be stationed at Red River, but failing for the reasons set forth in Drummond's dispatch of August 18, 1815, Selkirk, like a feudal lord of the Middle Ages, proceeded to raise a small army of his own by enlisting something more than a hundred of the discharged soldiers of two regiments of the German mercenaries that England had hired to fight against the United States (and who had been discharged in Canada on the conclusion of peace), and having by some means obtained a bodyguard for himself from the Thirty-seventh Regiment and a commission as "Magistrate in the Indian country" under the Canada Judicature Act, he marshaled his forces in full uniform, and with colors flying and drums beating set out from Lachine, near Montreal, in the beginning of June, 1816, for Fort William and the Red River.
Meanwhile events were moving rapidly toward the bloody tragedy of the second destruction of the ill-fated colony.
In October, 1815, Colin Robertson surprised and captured Fort Gibraltar, the North West Co.'s post at the confluence of the Red
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and Assiniboine without bloodshed, but contented himself with taking two cannon and 30 stand of arms that had been taken from the settlement the preceding year. (Cf. "The Great Company," p. 408.) Whether or not Governor Semple approved of this act does not appear.
In March Semple went west to inspect certain Hudson's Bay Co.'s forts, and in his absence, on the 17th of March, 1816, the North West Co.'s post at the forks of the Red River was again forcibly seized by Colin Robertson at the head of an armed party.
Robertson and his party having on the 19th of March, 1816, seized the North West express, and having opened the letters therein addressed to Duncan Cameron and S. Lamar of the North West Co., and seized the papers found in Cameron's desk and on his table, Robertson declared that he had succeeded beyond his expectations, as well in getting possession of the fort without bloodshed as in having found papers therein which would justify all he had done; and after the capture of the express he further said that he was now in possession of such documents and so completely master of the secrets of the North West Co. that he should be able to bring them to what terms he pleased in the coalition which must take place to prevent the ruin of both companies; and lastly, that he declared he would fortify the post and sink all the boats and pemmican that Alex McDonnell of the North West Co. might bring down, should he venture to make the trial. (Cf. Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement, etc., pp. 176-7.)
Robertson destroyed Fort Gibraltar and took Chief Factor Duncan Cameron prisoner and sent him via Hudson's Bay to England, where he was at once discharged without trial. (Cf. "The Great Company," p. 409.)
"On the 19th of June, 1816, the unfortunate affray took place in which Governor Semple and about 20 of his officers and men lost their lives.
"The numbers killed and wounded on each side appear to have been one killed and one wounded on the part of the half-breeds, and one wounded and 20 or 21 killed on that of the colonists. . . The time occupied by the whole affair . . . did not exceed a quarter of an hour ... if the fact that the colonists were the assailants (of which I apprehend there can be little doubt) be admitted.
"On the 22d of June, 1816, the colony was a second time broken up and the settlers proceeded on the afternoon of that day from Fort Douglas to Lake Winnipic." (Cf. Papers Relating to the Red River Settlement, pp. 185, 192, 194.)
Some of the leading colonists were carried to Fort William as prisoners.
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Meanwhile Selkirk and his private army were hastening toward Red River, and at Sault Ste. Marie received news of the battle between the half-breeds and Governor Semple's party and the second destruction of the colony.
Pushing on as rapidly as possible, he camped his army opposite Fort William, late in August, 1816, and issuing warrants proceeded to arrest all of the partners of the North West Co., who were then gathered there for the annual meeting, and sent them prisoners to Montreal, accused of high treason, murder, robbery and conspiracy, and then proceeded to occupy Port William till May, 1817, and to do as he pleased with all the correspondence and records and property of the North West Co. there, and sent out expeditions and captured three other of the North West Co.'s forts.
No sooner did the Norwesters reach Montreal than they were all released on bail and warrants were at once sworn out for the arrest of the Earl, but when an officer reached Port William with them the doughty nobleman, instead of submitting to the law as the "Norwesters" had done, made the officer a prisoner, and after a few days' confinement released him and ordered him to go back whence he came.
The Canadian Government at once (in October, 1816) revoked Selkirk's commission as justice of the peace, likewise all other commissions held in the Indian country by "Norwesters" or Hudson's Bay Co. officers, and appointed Colonel W. B. Coltman and Major John Fletcher as special commissioners to proceed to the scene of the disturbance in the Indian country and investigate and report upon the nature, extent and causes of the difficulties between the North West Co. and the Hudson's Bay Co., and their report covers pp. 152-250 of the "Papers Respecting the Red River Settlement," and, while evidently fair, is very distinctly more favorable to the North West Co. than to Selkirk and the Hudson's Bay Co. The commissioners left Quebec October 31, 1816, and Montreal November 7,1816, but were unable to reach Port William, and accordingly returned to York and waited for spring.
Meanwhile these tales of wholesale murder and robbery and oppression had reached London, and so scandalized all England that in February, 1817, while Selkirk was still carrying things with a high hand at Fort William and capturing North West Co.'s forts whenever possible, the Governor General of Canada received from the home Government a dispatch which contained the following passage:
"You will also require, under similar penalties, a restitution of all forts, buildings and trading stations, with the property which they contain, which may have been seized or taken possession of by either party, to the party who originally established or constructed
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the same, and who were in possession of them previous to the recent disputes between the two companies. You will also require the removal of any blockade or impediment by which any party may have attempted to prevent the free passage of traders or other of His Majesty's subjects, or the natives of the country, with their merchandise, furs, provisions or other effects, throughout the lakes, rivers, roads and every other usual route of communication heretofore used for the purpose of the fur trade in the interior of North America, and the full and free permission of all persons to pursue their usual and accustomed trade without hindrance or molestation. The mutual restoration of all property captured during these disputes and the freedom of trade and intercourse with the Indians, until the trials now pending can be brought to a judicial decision, and the great question at issue with respect to the rights of the companies, shall be definitely settled." (Cf. "The Great Company," p. 423.)
This was followed, May 3, 1817, by a public proclamation by the Prince Regent ordering all officers and servants of the Hudson's Bay Co. and the North West Co. to refrain from in any way molesting each other or interfering with one another's trade, and ordering restitution of all places captured by either party from the other. (Cf. Report of the Proceedings, etc., at the Assizes held at York, App. 2, pp. 4145.)
Armed with this authority the Sheriff of Upper Canada arrived at Fort William very soon after Selkirk had left, dispossessing those he had left in charge, and restored it to its owners, and it was hoped that peace would be speedily restored throughout the Indian country, at least as far as white men were concerned.
But this hope proved vain, as Williams, Semple's successor in the Governorship, continued to harass the "Norwesters" with the aid of Selkirk's mercenaries, so that "There were numerous examples of the abuse of force and the utter abandonment to lawlessness during this and the following year." (Cf. "The Great Company," p. 427.)
This was the natural result of the long delay in trying the prisoners sent from Fort William to Montreal by Selkirk in August, 1816. Naturally His Lordship sought to have them all transported across seas and tried in England, and an order was actually issued by the Home Government for that to be done, but on vigorous remonstrance from Canada it was countermanded.
At length, when Selkirk's utmost ingenuity could no longer postpone the trial, it took place in October, 1818, at York (now Toronto), Upper Canada.
The only full report of it is contained in "The Report of Proceedings, etc., at the Assizes in York," which was published by the North
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West Co., with a brief advertisement and preface. The advertisement is as follows:
"In reprinting this report of the recent proceedings in Upper Canada, connected with the disputes between the Earl of Selkirk and the North West Co., the agents of the company have to state that the minutes of these proceedings were taken by a sworn shorthand writer employed under the sanction of the Court, and on condition of furnishing the Court with a copy of his minutes in the event of any conviction taking place.
"The report and the appendix, therefore, are to he considered as documents strictly official, and the preface and notes, reprinted from the Montreal edition, are the only comments offered by the North West Co. in answer to the numerous calumnies with which they have been assailed through the medium of the press, as well as by ex parte statements in the House of Commons. When the papers laid on the table of that honorable house are printed for the use of the members of the Legislature, it will be seen how far these calumnies are supported by the documents bearing upon the case; and when the agents of the North West Co. shall be acquainted with the nature of these documents, if it shall appear that the conduct of those with whom they are connected requires further explanation, they will take an early opportunity to offer the same. In the meantime they entreat the attention of the public to the reports of the trials which have taken place, and they request that the cases made out in evidence before juries may be compared with the aggravated statements and ex parte affidavits previously published and industriously circulated by the Earl of Selkirk and his agents.
"They also request those who may take any interest in the question to compare the recently published narrative of Mr. Pritchard, the late petitioner to the House of Commons, and his associates, Mr. Pambrun and Mr. Heurter, with the evidence of the same persons subjected to cross-examination in an open court, and contrasted with (.he testimony of the witnesses for the defense.
"It appears that the result of this comparison, on the trials, induced the juries to reject the evidence of these persons as unworthy of belief; and considering the circumstances under which their narratives are now produced, and pending the legal investigations which are still at issue, as well as the parliamentary proceedings which have been instituted, it is submitted that no impartial person can give credit to ex parte statements resting on such suspicious authority, and manifestly published with a view to prejudge a question depending on official documents and legal decisions."
The preface says: "The arrest by the Earl of Selkirk of several partners and people in the employ of the North West Co. at Port
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William in August, 1816, on charges of high treason, murder, robbery and conspiracy is well known to the public, and the trials at York, in Upper Canada . . . demonstratively exhibit the utter futility of those charges; and the long period that has elapsed between the time they were brought and that when the trials upon them have taken place is an additional proof, if any were wanting, of the oppressions under colour of law to which Lord Selkirk has subjected the North West Co."
The preface goes on to declare that the defendants had tried in vain to obtain a more speedy trial, which had been postponed because of the claim constantly made by the prosecution that the Earl of Selkirk had the evidence and was not within reach of the court, and declares that "The Earl of Selkirk was only dragged into the arena as the 'private prosecutor' by the determination of the Governor General of Canada to order the liberation of the prisoners if they were not speedily brought to trial," and continues, "Instead, however, of making his appearance as the private prosecutor in these causes at York, where he was anxiously expected up to the very hour of the commencement of Brown and Boucher's trial, His Lordship disappointed the Crown officers, his own witnesses and the public, and although he started from Montreal in the direction of Upper Canada, he soon after turned off to the left and proceeded by way of New York to England, anticipating, no doubt, this signal defeat and unable to withstand the mortification of witnessing it in person."
Indictments for murder of Robert Semple, June 19, 1816, had been returned against four persons as principals, four more as accessories before the fact and against 10 persons, among whom were Alex McKenzie, John McDonald, Simon Fraser, Allen McDonnell and John McLoughlin, as accessories after the fact.
Paul Brown and Francois F. Boucher were the only ones arrested as principals, and their trial began October 19, 1818. The evidence and Judge's charge cover 225 pages, and in less than an hour--in fact before the Judges had left the courtroom when they had adjourned court for an hour--the jury acquitted the prisoners. The trial lasted nine days.
Trial of the accessories, October 30, 1818: John Siveright, as accessory both before and after the fact, and Alexander McKenzie, Hugh McGillis, John McDonald, John McLoughlin and Simon Fraser, as accessories after the fact, were put on trial. The report covers 155 pages, and in three-quarters of an hour the jury acquitted all the defendants.
This is followed by the report of the trial of John Cooper and Hugh Bennerman, Red River settlers who had left the colony for stealing a cannon, which resulted in their acquittal.
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On p. 200 of the part relating to the trial of the accessories and of Cooper and Bennerman is a postscript stating that on February 22, 1819, the Grand Jury at York, Upper Canada, had indicted Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, Miles McDonnell, P. C. Pambrun, John Pritchard and others to the number of 20 in all, for a conspiracy to ruin the trade of the North West Co.
This is followed by the reports of two civil cases, William Smith (the constable to whose warrant Selkirk had refused to submit) vs. the Earl of Selkirk, and Daniel McKenzie vs. the Earl of Selkirk, each for false imprisonment at Fort William. Smith recovered £500 and McKenzie £1,000 damages.
(P. 155) "So far as regarded the seizure of property and the interruption of trade (i. e., of the North West Co. by the Earl of Selkirk) the point was decided by the Prince Regent's proclamation of the 3rd of May, 1817, in consequence of which the North West Co. recovered possession of their property and re-established their trade; but that proclamation left the rights of parties and the crimes alleged against individuals to be investigated and decided upon by law."
Selkirk did not again appear in America, but, broken in health, retired to the south of France, and died at Pau, April 8, 1820.
Meanwhile the contemptuous disobedience to the proclamation of the Prince Regent by Governor Williams and his mercenaries, especially his wholly inexcusable arrest of leaders of the North West Co., and his sending them to Hudson's Bay, whence some were transported to England and some to Canada, where they were immediately released without any attempt at trying them for anything; and, worst of all, his arrest of the famous Benjamin Frobisher, against whom there was neither accusation nor warrant, and sending him a prisoner to Hudson's Bay, whence he escaped with two companions, though suffering from a severe wound in the head, and started on foot for the nearest North West Co.'s post, some 500 miles distant, and though of an iron constitution, perished from starvation on the way, in November, 1819, stirred both Canada and England with intense indignation.
The Duke of Richmond, then Governor General of Canada, at once sent two officers of his suite to the Red River with dispatches enjoining obedience to the laws, while the North West Co. warned the Home Government that if the Hudson's Bay Co., or Lord Selkirk and his agents, continued their illegal acts intended to ruin their business, they would resist with arms.
These representations caused the Home Government to notify the Hudson's Bay Co.'s directors that they must stop the lawless outrages of their subordinates against the North West Co. or take the consequences.
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Under the pressure of the Home Government (which saw no other way to secure peace in the Indian country), on March 26, 1821, the contract of consolidation of the companies was signed, each to furnish half the capital and to share equally the profits, but all in the name of the Hudson's Bay Co.
The new company, however, adopted in toto the organization and methods of conducting the business of the North West Co. (which experience had proved vastly superior to those of the Hudson's Bay Co.), by which there were three principal classes of employes in the Indian country, viz: Clerks (on salaries ranging from £20 to £100 a year), chief traders and chief factors, with an elaborate scheme for promoting clerks to chief traders, and chief traders to chief factors, and for retiring chief factors and chief traders when they might desire it (if consistent with the continued prosperity of the business).
As the compensation of chief traders and chief factors was a certain share of the profits, and as if there were losses instead of profits, those losses were charged up against and deducted from the profits of subsequent years instead of being deducted from the capital stock, this plan insured a constant succession of the most capable men for the leading positions, all carefully trained through long years of apprenticeship as clerks before they could become chief traders and chief traders before they could become chief factors, and all having the keen interest of partners in the success of the business.
By the contract of consolidation "There were 25 chief factors and 28 chief traders appointed, who were named in alternate succession from the Hudson's Bay Co.'s and the North West Co.'s servants. The servants of both companies were placed on an equal footing." (Cf. "The Hudson's Bay Territories, etc., by R. M. Martin, Esq., Author of the History of the British Colonies," London, 1849, p. 50; also "The Canadian Northwest," etc., pp. 145-6.)
As the Red River Colony could no longer be carried on in defiance of the proclamation of the Prince Regent, in a spirit of hostility to the North West Co.'s interests, there ceased to be any reason why that company should oppose colonization, and so "Even hostility to colonization by the conditions of the new license was specifically forbidden." (Cf. "The Canadian North West. Its History and Its Troubles. By G. Mercer Adams," Toronto, 1885, p. 148.)
With the consolidation of the two companies and the death of Lord Selkirk, it ceased to be needful to beguile Europeans into migrating to a region whose situation was so inaccessible that nothing the colonists raised could be profitably exported till more than half a century later, when the invention of Bessemer steel made it pos-
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sible to substitute steel for iron in rails and bridge construction, and so to reduce freight charges on railroads that regions hundreds of miles from navigable water could be densely populated by communities accustomed to the comforts of modern civilized life.
On p. 22 of R. M. Martin's "Hudson's Bay Co. Territories, etc.," speaking of the Red River Settlement, he says: "Lord Selkirk died in 1820, since which period no emigrants have been sent out from Europe." . . . "The people revel in abundance, but it is all for home consumption; they have no market for their produce."
The only things obtainable in the country which were valuable enough in proportion to their weight to pay for exportation were furs and peltries, in which their "landlord," the Hudson's Bay Co., forbade them to trade.
It is not within the scope of this work to discuss whether or not this consolidation and the means by which it was accomplished was good for the world at large, or for the best interests of British America, but there can be no doubt that once accomplished it exercised a very beneficial influence over all the region they occupied on the relations between the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Indians, and on the relations between the Hudson's Bay Co. in Oregon and the Americans who went there to explore and to settle. For as to the Indians: First, they had no longer any temptation to furnish them liquor to prevent them going to rival traders who would furnish it, and thus one of the greatest sources of Indian demoralization and ruin was done away with.
Second, they could prescribe and enforce on their employes uniform rules for the treatment of the Indians, which treatment in a few years' time gave them great influence over all the Indians with whom they came in contact.
How beneficial that influence was we shall speedily see by the unanimous contemporaneous testimony of the Americans who actually went to Oregon and there encountered the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers and the Indians.
As to their relation to the American exploration, occupation and settlement of Oregon, the chief factors and chief traders who were sent to the Oregon Country understood perfectly that here was no question of doubtful rights, as in the case of the claims of the Hudson's Bay Co. to the ownership in fee simple of all lands draining into Hudson's Bay, but a matter of certain right, established by treaty between the United States and Great Britain, that Americans had exactly the same rights in any part of the Oregon Territory as they had while the treaty continued in force, and their experience of the disastrous conditions during the long contest between the two companies--to whichever one they originally belonged--would most powerfully dispose them to avoid contentions
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and to live in peace with any Americans who might seek to establish homes for themselves in Oregon.
They also understood perfectly well some years before any Americans went to Oregon after the treaty of 1818, that "in no event could the British claim to Oregon extend south of the Columbia," the Hudson's Bay Co. having officially notified Dr. John McLoughlin so in 1825 (Cf. Copy of a Document, etc., in Tr. O. P. A., 1880, p. 49, quoted herein (pp. 429-439, infra), and they equally well knew that by the express terms of the treaties of 1818 and 1827 nothing done by either nation in establishing trading posts or making settlements while those treaties remained in force could in any way affect the question of title to Oregon.
As to the disastrous effects of the competition with the North West Co. on the business of the Hudson's Bay Co (aggravated, it is true, as to the years 1800-1815 by the Napoleonic wars), it appears from a letter of J. H. Pelly, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co., to the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council for Trade, dated February 7, 1838, that in the years 1800-1807 their dividends were only 4% a year, 1808-1813 there were no dividends and 1814-1821 their dividends were only 4% a year. (Cf. Vol. 9, Report of Case of Hudson's Bay Co. and P. S. Agl. Co. vs. U. S., being Argument of Caleb Cushing, p. 23.)
When the consolidation was made the capital was doubled, but how much of this was "water" cannot be told, as the capital was so largely a matter of stocks of furs and merchandise and transportation facilities--horses, carts, canoes, boats, etc., and weapons and forts--the inventorying of which gave much opportunity for over-estimation.
On this capital stock of £400,000 dividends of 4% were paid in 1823-24, from 1824 to 1841 half-yearly dividends of 5%, with bonuses of 10% for the years 1828 and 1832, and an average bonus of 6% annually from 1832 to 1841, making in all an average yearly profit of about 14%, against a little less than 2¾% on an average from 1800 to 1833, inclusive. (Cf. R. M. Martin's Hudson's Bay Territories, p. 56.)
By the contract of consolidation of March 26, 1821, five shares, or one-twentieth of the capital stock, was allotted to the Governor and company (i. e., of the Hudson's Bay Co.) "in order to carry into effect certain arrangements to be by them made with the representatives of the said Earl of Selkirk, deceased," and by the contract of September 15, 1824, it was declared that "the said representatives had been admitted members of the company and proprietors of stock in lieu thereof." (Cf. Vol. L, pp. 282 and 296, Rept. of Cases of Hudson's Bay Co. and P. S. Agl. Co. vs. U. S.)
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In 1835 the Hudson's Bay Co. purchased from the heirs of Selkirk all their claims to the 116,000 square miles of land and all their interest in the improvements at Red River Colony.
"The price, being the amount--£85,000--which it had cost His Lordship and his executors to found and so far maintain this settlement in the wilderness." (Cf. "The Canadian Northwest, by G. Mercer Adams," p. 173.)
Justin Winsor, in his "Narrative and Critical History of America," Vol. 8, p. 61, says: "In 1836 the company had paid to the heirs of Lord Selkirk for the return of the Red River Territory a sum which stood on its hooks as a balance between the cost, the interest added and the profits deducted at £84,111."
Before entering on the true relations of the Hudson's Bay Co. to the American exploration, occupation and settlement of Oregon, two results of this contest and the books published about it are worthy of notice.
First--"In Chapter VI. we have noticed the report of Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, on December 5, 1818, recommending the chartering by Congress of a great fur company, which should have a monopoly of trading with the Indians in all of our Indian country."
There can be no doubt but what these disturbances between the North West Co., of which fullest knowledge was spread at that precise time by these books published in the interest of the two companies, and by newspaper articles, had a great if not a decisive influence in defeating the project for a United States fur-trading monopoly.
Its opponents could ask no better arguments against it than to say: "Look across the boundary into Canada and see what wholesale oppression, robbery and murder of whites and demoralization of Indians a fur-trading monopoly and the attempt to maintain it has produced for the past five or six years"--for then the new Hudson's Bay Co. monopoly was not created.
Second--There is no doubt that a large part of the false charges made by newspapers and the "Oregon Jingo" politicians, in the years 1820 to 1846, against the Hudson's Bay Co., of having incited the Indians to attack and kill Americans in the Rocky Mountains, and of opposing American settlement in Oregon, which were later revived and amplified by Gray and Spalding and other advocates of the Whitman Legend, are examples of that most common source of historical errors, the transference to the valley of the Columbia by credulous and careless and myth-loving minds of their vague recollections of what they had read in these various books about what actually took place in the Red River Valley.
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Though these books are now very rare they must have been common enough in the years 1816 to 1840 or 1850, and McLoughlin and Pambrun, names prominent in them, were also prominent in Oregon ; McLoughlin, Chief Factor, in charge of the whole Oregon country, with headquarters at Fort Vancouver, and Pambrun at Walla Walla, till his accidental death in May, 1841. Let us now examine briefly the accusations made against the Hudson's Bay Co. by the leading advocates of the Whitman Legend, and then the indisputable proofs of their total falsity in the contemporaneous testimony of the Americans themselves on the subject.
At the request, first of the late Dr. Justin Winsor more than a score of years ago, when he was librarian of the Boston Public Library, and later of various other librarians and historians, that a thorough study should be made of this subject, I have carefully examined during the past 23 years every diary and contemporary letter, published and unpublished, to which I could get access, and every report to the Government, and every newspaper and magazine article I could find, and every book published by each and every American--fur trader, ship captain, leader or member of a party of settlers, missionary, scientist, and private or Government explorer--who went to Oregon at any time before the treaty of 1846 settled the boundary, and who was at any post of the Hudson's Bay Co. in that territory, and have copied from these documents every word they wrote therein about their treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co. officials, at any and all places where they met them.
In the cases of J. L. Meek, and some other pioneers, and of the leaders of the migrations of 1844 and 1845, and of the first American settlers north of the Columbia (in 1845), who did not, as far as yet appears, leave any contemporaneous written records of their reception and treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co. (except Joel Palmer's Journal hereinbefore quoted), I have studied carefully their statements and addresses at the meetings of the Oregon Pioneer Association and their testimony in the cases of the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Puget Sound Agricultural Co. vs. the United States, and copied all that related to their own personal reception and treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers and employes at their various posts in the Oregon Territory, and all that came under their own observation of the treatment accorded to each and every other American of honest reputation by the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers and employes anywhere in the Oregon Territory.
The whole makes more than 200 pages like this, and when fairly quoted in connection with its context and with other contemporaneous documents it is uniformly favorable to the Hudson's Bay Co., a result which not a little surprised me, for, while long since satisfied that the vast preponderance of the contemporaneous evidence
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was on that side, the contrary had been so constantly and vehemently asserted by Benton and the other "Oregon Jingoes" in Congress from 1825 to 1846, and by Spalding and Gray and M. Eells and Barrows and Nixon and Craighead and Laurie and Coffin and Penrose and the other advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Story, that I supposed that there must be somewhere some little valid evidence in support of their accusations against the company.
Plenty of noisy politicians and reckless newspaper editors in the States, no one of whom had ever been within from 1,000 to 2,000 miles of any Hudson's Bay Co.'s post in Oregon during all these years, were "twisting the tail of the British lion" by vehemently denouncing the Hudson's Bay Co. for committing all kinds of wrongs upon each and every unfortunate American who entered Oregon; but not only is there not a single sentence in all the contemporaneous written and printed records made by those Americans who actually went to Oregon, which, taken fairly in connection with its context, shows the least opposition on the part of the Hudson's Bay Co. officers and employes to the exploration of any or all of Oregon by Americans, or to the establishment of missions therein, or the making of settlements anywhere in Oregon (excepting of course on the lands already occupied by the Hudson's Bay Co., which were not the one-ten-thousandth part of the whole of the territory), but there is the most abundant evidence that the Hudson's Bay Co. aided every American of decent character who sought to explore any part of the Oregon Territory, or to found missions or begin settlements therein.
When any of these Americans attempted to wrest the fur trade from the Hudson's Bay Co. they were met with vigorous competition, but even this was no fiercer than rival American fur companies waged with each other in regions farther east in the Rocky Mountain country where the Hudson's Bay Co. never had a trading post.
It is true, also, that a few of these people from whom I quote, notably Captain Spaulding of the ship Lausanne, which carried out the great reinforcement of 52 persons to the Methodist Mission in 1840, after speaking in the warmest terms of the unbounded kindness that he personally and all his 52 passengers received from the day the ship entered the Columbia till it left, indulges in severe strictures on the policy of the Hudson's Bay Co. toward the Indians.
As this, however, relates to matters hundreds of miles from any place where he was, and of which he could have no opportunity for personal observation, and as it was squarely contradicted by many a staunch American fur trader who had had amplest opportunity for personal observation, it requires no farther comment than to
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state that it was mere unsupported hearsay, unworthy of the slightest credence.
Similarly Rev. G. Hines, one of this 1840 party, after the Methodist Mission was broken up in 1844, returned to the States and in 1850 published in New York his "History of Oregon," and though repeatedly acknowledging the unbounded kindness with which he and his missionary associates had been treated by the Hudson's Bay Co., he indulges in unfavorable criticism of the course of the company in opposing settlement, mixing the conditions of the Red River country, where the company claimed absolute title to the soil, with the conditions in Oregon, where they never claimed any other or greater rights than any American had, and evidently transferring to the Hudson's Bay Co. the actions of the North West Co. in opposing the establishment of the Red River Colony, as stated hereinbefore.
This evidence from the best sources existing, and most of it from strictly original sources, and much of it never yet published, is from five officers of the United States Army and Navy, four of the most famous American fur traders, ten of the A. B. C. F. M. missionaries, two independent Protestant missionaries, six Methodist missionaries, two scientists, fourteen leaders of parties of American settlers who were neither fur traders nor missionaries, and two of Wyeth's 1832 party (which was the first party of Americans to migrate to Oregon for the purpose of founding a permanent settlement there) --in all 45 persons. While I hope some time to publish the whole of this evidence with full bibliography of it all, the scope of this book will only permit quotations of part of it. The reader may rest assured that these are fair samples of it all, and that the ideas he gets from these samples are the ideas he would get if he had the whole of it before him.
But before examining this contemporaneous evidence let us glance at the accusations made against the Hudson's Bay Co. by the leading advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Story.
From Gray's "Oregon," p. 137: "I am fully aware of the great number of pensioned satellites that have fawned for Hudson's Bay Co. pap, and would swear no injustice was ever done to a single American, giving this hypocritical, double-dealing, smooth-swindling, called honorable Hudson's Bay Co. credit for what they never did, and really for stealing credit for good deeds done by others." . . . "An overgrown monopoly, in using its influence with Catholicism to destroy Protestantism in Oregon and the American settlements, has destroyed itself."
Idem, p. 159. "The Protestant missions were not dependent on the Hudson's Bay Co. for supplies, any more than the Sandwich Islands were, or the American Fur Co. were. . . Whitman's
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party brought seeds of all kinds. They had no occasion to ask of the Hudson's Bay Co. a single seed for farming purposes, a single thing in establishing their mission, only as they had disposed of things at the suggestion of McLeod and McKay" (in July, 1836, at Green River) "as unnecessary to pack them further."
This is what Gray wrote in 1870, but May 20, 1836, Rev. H. H. Spalding wrote to D. Greene, Secretary, a letter (never yet published), from Otoe Agency, mouth of the Platte River (more than 900 miles east of Green River), in which is the following:
"We find that we must leave many things we consider almost indispensable. My classical and theological books will nearly all be left. We can take no seeds except a few garden seeds."
Gray (p. 383): "The Hudson's Bay Co., under the guidance of James Douglas and P. S. Ogden, carried forward their plans and arrangements by placing men at their posts along the line of the immigrant route, who were doing all they could by misrepresentation and falsehood to deceive and rob those who were journeying to this country." (p. 532): "That this influence" (i. e., of the Hudson's Bay Co.) was exerted to destroy that mission" (i. e., Whitman's) there can be no doubt."
Gray's outrageous accusations against Captain Grant we have shown (in Chapter V. ante) to be directly contrary to the facts.
Rev. H. H. Spalding's Memorial in his pamphlet (published as Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 37, 41st Cong., 3d Sess., p. 42): "The said Whitman massacre, and the long and expensive wars that followed, were commenced by the above said British monopoly" (i. e., the Hudson's Bay Co.) "for the purpose of breaking up the American settlements, and of regaining the territory, and that they were especially chagrined against the said Whitman as being the principal agent in disappointing their schemes."
This accusation is repeated many times with slight variations in phraseology in this pamphlet.
Barrows' "Oregon" copies, amplifies and reiterates these accusations, and so do Nixon and Coffin, while Craighead, Mowry and M. Eells, though avoiding direct citation of several of the more outrageous of these accusations, not only by endorsing Gray and Spalding as honest and trustworthy, and quoting largely from them, but also by direct charges against the Hudson's Bay Co., create in the minds of their readers the belief that that company were guilty of all the wicked practices against American explorers, settlers and missionaries of which Gray and Spalding and Barrows have accused them. Thus Mowry (pp. 225-6) on the "Causes of the Whitman Massacre," instead of quoting the letters of Whitman, Spalding and Mrs. Whitman, which show plainly enough the true causes, says (p. 225): "The Oregon Presbytery of the Old School Presby-
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terian Church, after a full investigation, adopted a report which says: 'The causes of the massacre were reducible to two, viz.: "The purpose of the English Government, or of the Hudson's Bay Co. to exclude American settlers from the country; and the efforts of Catholic priests to prevent the introduction of education and Protestantism, by preventing the settlement of American citizens; and the efforts which both parties made, operating on the ignorant and suspicious minds of the savages, led to the butchery in which twenty-five lives were lost.'" How "full" this "investigation" was is shown by the fact that there were but 14 lives lost in this massacre (p. 226). "There is no question but that the Hudson's Bay Co., in its interests and feelings, was largely antagonistic to the American movement, and therefore to the work of the Protestant missionaries. Some of its officers can hardly be held blameless." But he is very careful not to name any of those officers, nor to specify any evidences of this alleged "antagonism to the work of the Protestant missionaries."
Craighead declares (p. 96): "They" (i. e., the American missionaries) "necessarily encountered the opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co. in their efforts to improve the material conditions of the people among whom they labored, and the power of the company at that time was well nigh irresistible."
Idem (p. 54): "From this time forward" (i. e., 1838, when the first Catholic missionaries arrived in Oregon.--W. I. M.) "there was also a marked change in the feelings of most of the company toward the Protestant missionaries."
Idem (p. 55): "The jealousy and unfriendliness of which we have spoken was not exhibited toward the Protestant missionaries alone, but toward all persons wishing to settle in and improve the country, and especially to Americans."
Let us see now how these accusations appear in view of all the contemporaneous testimony that can be found of American missionaries, settlers, explorers, fur traders, scientists and "United States military and naval officers who actually went to Oregon.
The first Americans who have left any record of their experience at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts in Oregon are two of the most famous of the fur traders, Joshua Pilcher, who in 1827 set out from St. Louis, followed the Platte to the Rocky Mountains, crossed at the South Pass, explored what is now Eastern Idaho and Western Montana, and spent the winter of 1828-9 in the Flathead Valley, where he met a Hudson's Bay Co. trader, who invited him to Fort Colvile, their most important post on the Upper Columbia. Here he was most kindly received and hospitably entertained, and invited to join their annual east-bound express, which he did, and went with them up the Columbia and across the mountains and down the Sas-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 319
katchewan to the Red River Settlement, and thence across the prairies to the Missouri River, and so back to St. Louis in June, 1830. Jedediah Smith led a party of eighteen fur traders to and through California and then turned north, and in Oregon was attacked in August, 1828, by the Rogue River Indians, and all but Smith and three other men were killed and all the furs stolen.
The survivors soon after reached Fort Vancouver, where they were welcomed and freely entertained, and Dr. McLoughlin at once fitted out a strong party, who proceeded to the scene of the massacre and recovered the greater part of the furs, which he afterward purchased from Mr. Smith on terms satisfactory to him.
Nothing more chivalrous and courteous is recorded in the annals of commerce than the reception and treatment of these American rivals in the fur trade by the Hudson's Bay Co., and in their letters to the Secretary of War, written in the autumn of 1830, and published with other documents relating to the fur trade and the exploration of the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast regions, in Sen. Ex. Doc. 39, 21st Cong., 2d Sess. (of which 1,500 extra copies were ordered to be printed January 26, 1831), both Pilcher and Smith, while pointing out to the Government the legislation needful to enable the American fur traders to compete on something like equal terms with the Hudson's Bay Co., and urging the abrogation of the treaty of 1827, and the assertion of our title to Oregon, did not forget to make grateful mention of their obligations to the Hudson's Bay Co. for most kind and hospitable treatment, as follows:
From Pilcher's letter to the Secretary of War.
"I remained 20 days at Fort Colvile, received the most kind and hospitable treatment from the gentlemen of the post; and having received from them an offer of the protection of their annual express packet along the line of their posts and establishments, across the continent to Lake Winnipic, I determined to accept it, and relinquished the intention of going down the Columbia to its mouth. (P. 10) I set out from Fort Colvile the 21st of September, 1829, in company with six men of the post carrying annual express or packet across the continent.
"Our route was up the main river Columbia; our conveyance a batteau of four or five tons. In this batteau we ascended the river about 300 miles, when the river divides into three forks, the main one being still navigable to its head, which issues from a lake in the Rocky Mountains. We arived at the Boat Encampment the 4th of October and remained there till the 2nd of November, waiting for the arrival of a party from Hudson's Bay. They arrived at the end of this time, and by them I had the happiness to hear from the United States. The news had of course to be somewhat old, as they
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brought it from Hudson's Bay. One item of intelligence was the election of President Jackson, which had taken place just about one year before; and here I met the master ship carpenter of whom I have spoken going on to Fort Vancouver." November 4th they set out on horseback to cross the continental divide, the summit of which they reached in three days. (p. 11) "Where two small ponds within a few yards of each other send their waters in opposite directions, forming the head sources of the Athabasca and the middle fork of the Columbia." (p. 12) "We were still on foot and on snowshoes; but my fatigue and labor in traveling were greatly lessened by a most valuable present, kindly made me by Mr. Round" (the Hudson's Bay agent in charge of Edmonton House) "of a carrole and three good dogs to draw it, which carried my baggage always and myself often." . . . "My company from Carlton House was two Indians, trained up to the service of the Company and well fitted for the part they had to act, vigilant, active, faithful, and full of resources for conquering the difficulties of the way. One of them had brought the express from York Factory on Hudson's Bay, about 1,000 miles on foot, on a pair of snowshoes; and they were now carrying the express back. This express consisted not only of letters, but of all the accounts of the Company collected from every post, and transmitted annually along the whole line, from the mouth of the Columbia to Hudson's Bay, and thence to the partners in England. With these valuable dispatches these Indians were intrusted, and everything safely and expeditiously conducted."
He was hospitably entertained by Governor McKenzie at Red River Settlement for three days; left there March 29th, and traveled across the country to the Mandan Indian villages, where he arrived April 22,1830, and considered his journey terminated there, though he was still 1,600 miles from St. Louis, (p. 13) "I had been seven months getting from Fort Colvile to the Mandans, having been detained three and a half months on the route, and having traveled near 2,500 miles between these two points during the winter months, and chiefly on snowshoes." . . . "From the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co. I experienced everywhere the most kind and hospitable treatment, for which my thanks and gratitude are eminently due and cordially rendered."
(P. 17) "Both the Hudson's Bay Co. and citizens of the United States engage in trapping, and each suffers occasionally from the attacks of the Indians. And here I take occasion as an act of justice to the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co. to say that I saw nothing to justify the opinion that they excited the Indians to kill and rob our citizens." (Cf. Sen. Ex. Doc. 39, pp. 9-17, also copy of a document found among the papers of Dr. John McLoughlin in
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Transcript Oregon Pioneer Association, 1880, pp. 46-55, and herein quoted (pp. 429-439, infra), as no one can understand the beginning of settlement in Oregon without reading that document carefully.)
Mr. Jedediah S. Smith wrote, at the end of the letter signed by himself and his two partners, David E. Jackson and W. L. Sublette, as follows: "One of the undersigned, to-wit, Jedediah S. Smith, in his excursions west of the mountains arrived at the post of the Hudson's Bay Co. called Fort Vancouver, near the mouth of the Multnomah River.
"He arrived there in August, 1828, and left the 12th of March, 1829, and made observations which he deems it material to communicate to the Government. . . The crop of 1828 was 700 bushels of wheat. The grain full and plump and making good flour; fourteen acres of corn, the same number of acres of peas, eight acres of oats, four or five acres of barley and fine garden, some small apple trees and grapevines. The ensuing spring eighty bushels of seed wheat were sown; about 200 head of cattle, fifty-two horses and breeding mares, 300 head of hogs, fourteen goats, the usual domestic fowls. They have mechanics of various kinds, to-wit, blacksmiths, gunsmiths, carpenters, coopers, tinner and baker, a good saw mill on the bank of the river five miles above, a grist mill worked by hand, but intended to work by water." . . . "Their (i. e., the Hudson's Bay Co.'s) influence over the Indians is now decisive. Of this the Americans have constant and striking proofs, in the preference which they give to the British in every particular.
"In saying this, it is an act of justice to say also that the treatment received by Mr. Smith at Fort Vancouver was kind and hospitable, that personally he owes thanks to Governor Simpson and the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co. for the hospitable entertainment he received from them, and for the efficient and successful aid which they gave him in recovering from the Umpquah Indians a quantity of fur and many horses of which these Indians had robbed him in 1828. As to the injury which must happen to the United States from the British getting control of all the Indians beyond the mountains, building and repairing ships in the tidewaters of the Columbia, and having a station there for privateers and vessels of war, is too obvious to need a recapitulation.
"The object of this communication being to state facts to the Government, and to show the facility of crossing the continent to the great falls of the Columbia with wagons, the ease of supporting any number of men by driving cattle to supply them where there was no buffalo, and also to show the true nature of the British establishments on the Columbia, and the unequal operation of the convention of 1818.
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"These facts being communicated to the Government, they consider that they have complied with their duty, and rendered an acceptable service to the administration; and respectfully request you, sir, to lay it before President Jackson."
Capt. B. L. E. Bonneville, of the United States Army, was the next American who led a fur-trading party into the Oregon country (1832-35) and left any record of his reception and treatment there by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. with whom he came in contact.
It is very brief, as follows: "Capt. Bonneville and his comrades experienced a polite reception from Mr. Pambrune, the superintendent; for, however hostile the members of the British company may be to the enterprises of American traders, they have always manifested great courtesy and hospitality to the traders themselves," . . . "As he stood in need of some supplies for his journey, he applied to purchase them from Mr. Pambrune; but soon found the difference between being treated as a guest or as a rival trader. The worthy superintendent, who had extended to him all the genial rites of hospitality, now suddenly assumed a withered up aspect and demeanor, and observed that, however he might feel disposed to serve him personally, he felt bound by his duty to the Hudson's Bay Co. to do nothing which should facilitate or encourage the visits of other traders among the Indians in that part of the country." (Cf. Irving's Bonneville, Chapter XXXIV.)
No sensible man would think of complaining because his competitors in business were unwilling to assist him with supplies to be used in trade which they desired to keep for themselves, and in Bonneville's unpublished dispatches in the War Department (which I have twice gone over carefully) there is not a word of censure of the Hudson's Bay Co., though he points out in his dispatch dated Crow Country, July 29, 1833, the advantages the Hudson's Bay Co. have over the Americans by having cheaper goods, etc., and recommends our Government to occupy Oregon, recommending "a full company" for the purpose, and saying: "Five men there would be as safe as a hundred, either from the Indians, who are extremely peaceable and honest, or from the establishments of the Hudson's Bay Co., who are themselves too much exposed by their numerous small posts ever to offer the least violence to the smallest force."
Nathaniel J. Wyeth, in 1832, led out a small party of settlers to Oregon, of whom eleven arrived at Vancouver and eight remained in the country, and were very kindly received, and those who wished to settle were helped by the loan of tools, seeds, etc., and began the permanent American settlement of Oregon.
One member of this party, John Ball, a graduate of Dartsmouth, was promptly hired by the Hudson's Bay Co. to teach their school
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at Vancouver, and when at the end of ten weeks he resigned, another member of it, Solomon H. Smith, was employed, and remained in charge of it for two years, and on the expiration of his term Mr. Cyrus Shepard, one of the laymen who went out with the Lees in 1834 to found the Methodist Mission, was employed for the winter of 1834-5, so that for some two and a half years this, the first school in the Oregon country, though established and maintained entirely by the Hudson's Bay Co., was taught by Americans.
"Silliman's Journal" (then a widely circulated periodical) published in its December, 1833, number, an article by Prof. Eaton, of Rensselaer School, Troy, N. Y., on the "Geology and Meteorology of the Rocky Mountains," in which he acknowledges his obligations to John Ball for very valuable observations, and says his last letter was dated Port Vancouver, March 3, 1833, and says: "McLoughlin raised 1,200 bushels of wheat at Vancouver in 1832, and a great quantity of barley, peas, potatoes, etc." . . . "He lent Mr. Ball oxen, plough, cows, axes, etc., and he commenced ploughing in January in latitude 46 deg. The vegetables of the preceding season were still standing in gardens untouched by frost. New grass had sprung up sufficiently for excellent pasture."
Idem (January, 1834) In an article on the fur trade: "The Hudson's Bay Co. are humane and attentive to settlers, encouraging them both with assistance and protection, but they are extremely jealous of any interference or participation in the fur trade."
Idem (July, 1835), is letter from John Ball, assigning as the only reason why he had returned to the States that he had no wish to follow the customs of the country, and "become identified with the natives" (i. e., marry a squaw).
In 1833 Wyeth returned to the States and organized "the Columbia Fishing and Trading Co.," and on April 28, 1834, set out from Independence, Mo., for Oregon with his second party, consisting of "between fifty and sixty men" ("Lee and Frost's Ten Years in Oregon," p. 114), conveying the Methodist missionary party and the scientists, J. K. Townsend and Thomas Nuttall.
He took a large bill of Indian goods, not for the purpose of trade with the Indians, but to deliver to the Rocky Mountain Fur Co., but that company refusing to keep their contract with him, he was obliged to establish a post and trade them to the Indians. (Cf. his letter to his uncle, Leonard Jarvis, from Ham's Fork of the Colorado, June 21, 1834, as follows): "The companies here have not complied with their contracts with me, and in consequence I am obliged to make a fort on Lewis River to dispose of the goods I have with me." (Cf. "The Correspondence and Journals of Nathaniel J. Wyeth," p. 135; also pp. 134, 137, 139.)
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This fort he built between July 15 and August 6, 1834, and his journal for August 6, 1834, reads: "Having done as much as was requisite for safety to the fort and drank a bale of liquor, and named it Fort Hall in honor of the oldest partner of our concern, we left it." (Idem, p. 227) Two years later he sold this to the Hudson's Bay Co. and returned to Cambridge, Mass., and acquired a competency in the ice business.
The advocates of the Whitman Legend--following W. H. Gray-- have, with one voice, accused the Hudson's Bay Co. of oppressing Wyeth and driving him out of the business by unfair means, and conveyed the impression that he would have continued in the business if he had been treated fairly; but there has always been abundant proof, though not easily accessible, that these accusations were false, and that lack of capital and of willingness on the part of his partners in the east (mostly in and about Boston, who furnished nearly all the capital) to hold on long enough for a paying business to be built up were the causes of his abandoning Oregon.
In 1899 the Oregon Historical Society printed, as Vol. I. of the "Sources of Oregon History," "The Correspondence and Journals of Nathaniel J. Wyeth" (p. 262 with maps), which furnishes overwhelming proof that it was caused by the above stated reasons, together with sundry misfortunes for which no mortal was responsible, viz., the delay of his brig, May Dacre (sent round Cape Horn, which was struck by lightning and obliged to put into Valparaiso for three months for repairs, and so did not arrive in the Columbia till September, 1834, after the salmon season was entirely over), and an epidemic of malarious disease which carried off thirteen of his party, as stated in his letters as follows:
Correspondence (pp. 146-7), Wyeth to his uncle, Leonard Jarvis.
"Columbia River, October 6, 1834. ... On the 14th ulto. met the brig, then just arrived and coming up the river to find me. She was struck by lightning on the way out, which occasioned a delay of about three months, in consequence of which our fishing season was entirely lost."
Wyeth to Weld (pp. 148-9): "Wappatoo Island, April 3, 1835. . . . I have had a severe winter of it. All my men have been sick, except myself and one man, and nothing but pure obstinacy has kept me from being hauled up. This Wappatoo Island which I have selected for our establishment is about fifteen miles long and about an average of three wide. On one side runs the Columbia, on the other the Multnomah. It consists of woodlands and prairie and on it there is considerable deer and those who could spare time to hunt could live well, but a mortality has carried off to a man its inhabitants and there is nothing to attest that they ever existed except their decaying houses, their graves and their unburied bones,
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of which, there are heaps. So you see, as the righteous people of New England say, Providence has made room for me, and without doing them more injury than I should if I had made room for myself, viz., by killing them off."
Wyeth to F. Tudor (pp. 149-50): "Fort William, September 6, 1835. . . . This business has not been successful in any of its branches, therefore it will terminate soon. The business I am in must be closed; not that it might not be made a good one, but because those who are now engaged in it are not the men to make it so. The smallest loss makes them 'fly the handle,' and such can rarely succeed in a new business."
Wyeth to Brown (pp. 150-51): "Fort William, September 6, 1835. . . . We this year put up about half a cargo of salmon, half a barrel of which you will find marked with your name; also one for my father, one for my wife, for Leond Jarvis, Chas. Wyeth, Leond I. Wyeth, N. J. Wyeth and Frederic Tudor. Any expense please charge to me."
Wyeth to Leo. Jarvis (pp. 151-2): "Columbia River, September 20, 1835. . . . We have had a bad season for salmon. About half of a cargo only obtained. The salmon part of the business will never do. I have sent half a barrel to you, which you will receive through Mr. Brown. I am now a little better from a severe attack of bilious fever. I did not expect to recover, and am still a wreck. Our sick list has been this summer usually about one-third the whole number, and the rest much frightened. Thirteen deaths have occurred, besides some in the interior killed by the Indians. Some property has been lost also by Indians."
Wyeth to Brother Charles (pp. 152-3): "Columbia River, September 22, 1835. . . . Our salmon fishing has not succeeded. Half a cargo only obtained. Our people are sick and dying off like rotten sheep of bilious disorders."
Wyeth to Brother Leonard (p. 153): "Columbia River, September 22, 1835. . . . Salmon half a cargo; one-third of our people on the sick list continually; seventeen dead to this date is the amount of the summer. I am but just alive after having been so bad as to think of writing up my last letters."
Wyeth to his wife (p. 154): "Columbia River, September 22, 1835. . . . The season has been very sickly. We have lost by drowning and disease and warfare seventeen persons to this date, and fourteen now sick."
Unless, therefore, Gray and Spalding, Barrows, Craighead, M. Eells, Coffin, Mowry, Nixon, Penrose, Geo. Ludington Weed et al. can show that the Hudson's Bay Co. controlled the lightning in the Southern Pacific, the course of the salmon in the Northern Pacific, the malaria along the Columbia River Valley, the actions of the
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Rocky Mountain Fur Co. in breaking their contract -with Wyeth in the Green River Valley, about 340 miles east of any fort they then possessed, and the minds of the eastern partners of Wyeth, all their accusations against that company of having driven Wyeth out of Oregon are proven false.
That Wyeth had not the least complaint to make of his treatment has been manifest to any one who has been content to look up evidence, instead of writing "history" from his imagination or his prejudices, since 1839, when, in "Cushing's Supplemental Report" (No. 101, Reports of Corns., H. of R., 25th Cong., 3d Sess., Vol. I.), his "Memoir" was printed, from which the following extract shows clearly why the Hudson's Bay Co. held the trade of the Indians, and states clearly how he and all other Americans were received at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts.
(P. 21) "Experience has satisfied me that the entire weight of this company will be made to bear on any trader who shall attempt to prosecute his business within its reach; in proof of which is the establishment of the post at the mouth of the Big Wood River (i. e., Fort Boise), which was done immediately after Fort Hall was built; and the fact that a party was kept in the vicinity of Fort Hall, with an especial view to injure its trade, the whole time that it remained in the hands of its projectors. There has never been any successful trade in this country by the Americans, and it is only by trapping that they have been able to make any use of it; and in this they are much annoyed by the English traders, who follow them with goods and do not scruple to trade furs from hired men, who they are well aware do not own them.
"I do not wish to charge this dishonest practice to them alone, nor do I know that they began it, for it is common to both parties against the other, and also between the different parties of the Americans, but it results in the complete destruction of the American trade and business in the country. No sooner does (p. 21) an American concern start in these regions than one of these trading parties is put in motion, headed by the clerk of the company, whose zeal is stimulated by the prospect of an election to a partnership in it, fitted out with the best assorted goods from their ample stores and men who have been long in the service of the company and whose wages of many years are in its hands as security for their fidelity. Under these circumstances we come in contact. If there are furs in the hands of the Indians their superior assortment of goods will obtain them. The trappers who catch the furs are mainly fitted out on credit by the companies, and there are too many of them who do not scruple to avail of an opportunity to sell their peltries for new supplies of luxuries or of finery, rather than to pay their debts. In this way the American companies are broken up."
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(P. 21) "In their personal intercourse with Americans who come into the country (p. 22) they are uniformly hospitable and kind. The circumstances under which we meet them are mortifying in the extreme, making us too often but the recipients of the bounty of others instead of occupants to administer it, as should be the case. No one who has visited their posts, I presume, can say anything in dispraise of his reception, and for myself, setting matters of trade aside, I have received the most kind and considerate attention from them."
Wyeth's "Correspondence and Journals" fully confirm this, as witness the following:
Letter LXVL, probably to F. Tudor, undated (pp. 52-3) . . . "When I arrived at the British posts my men, what were then left, being determined to wander no more, I was left to myself. In this dilemma I was invited by Dr. J. McGlaucland (McLoughlin) (Governor in behalf of the Hudson's Bay Co. in this country) to make this post my habitation until I returned. I have been treated in the most hospitable and kind manner by all the gentlemen of this country."
Letter LXIX., Wyeth to Brother Leonard: "Fort Vancouver, January 16, 1833 (p. 54). . . This letter will reach you by the favor of the Hudson's Bay Co., to whose agents in this quarter I am much indebted for assistance and information."
Letter LXX., Wyeth to Brother Charles: "Fort Vancouver, January 16, 1833 (p. 55). . . This will be short and I hope sweet. It comes to you by the politeness of the Hudson's Bay Co. I have received all manner of attention and assistance rendered in such a way as to make it palatable."
Letter LXXIL, Wyeth to (fragment undated, and no address): (P. 56) ... "I cannot close this without expressing to you how much I am indebted to Mr. Pambrun, Mr. Herron and Mr. Hermatinger (Ermatinger) for the attention they have shown me."
Letter LXXXIII, Wyeth to McLoughlin: "Plain of the Three Buttes, July 5, 1833 (p. 68).
"Dear Sir: Having arrived at the camp of Mr. Bonneville I take the liberty of writing you by this last opportunity to express how much I am under obligation to Mr. Hermatinger for the polite and agreeable manner in which he has dispensed your hospitality to me during the whole route.
"I am here in a direct train for the States, and cannot without some extraordinary accident fail of reaching home in October next. Should you visit the States I would feel myself highly honored by a visit or any intercourse which might be agreeable to you, for which
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purpose I have enclosed my direction. Should any of your friends visit the States a letter would procure them any attention which may be in my power. It will be a pleasure to execute any business commands with which you may entrust me. Models of American agricultural implements, seeds and other matters connected with your tastes or business.
"Respectfully, your obedient servant,
"NATHL. J. WYETH." "To Doctor McLaughland (McLoughlin), Fort Vancouver."
Letter LXXIX., Wyeth to Mess. Editors: "Cambridge, November 11, 1833 (p. 79). Having while on a recent visit to the Columbia received much attention and kindness from the English traders there, I deem it a duty to express my gratitude for the same, more especially as I am frequently asked the question if I was ever molested by them. By all their acts toward myself I am fully convinced that all persons who from any cause may come into contact with them will receive honorable and gentlemanly treatment. Among the many to whom I am under obligation I wish to name Chief Factors John McLaughlin and Finlinson (Finlayson), Chief Trader Francis Heron, Mr. Francis Ermatinger and Mr. Pambrun. Among the American traders I have received much attention from Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Laidlow of the American Fur Co. and Mr. Wm. L. Sublette. To all the above gentlemen I tender my thanks. "Your obedient servant,
"NATHL. J. WYETH."
Letter CCXXIII, Wyeth to Ermatinger: "Bear River, July 5, 1834 (p. 140). Your esteemed favor of the 12th ulto. reached me by the politeness of Mr. Newell on Ham's Fork of Green River. Mr. N. also informed me of the particulars of the battle with the Blackfeet. It must have been a capital mixture of wine and gunpowder. I am happy to hear that you had some success last year, but am afraid that you will do but little this season.
"I am quite happy to hear that the doctor remains at Vancouver. I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing him."
Turning now to his journal (p. 173): "October 14, 1832. . . Arrived at Fort Walla Walla about 5 o'clock in the evening. I was received in the most hospitable and gentlemanly manner by Peanbron (Pambrun), the agent for this post. The fort is of no strength, merely sufficient to frighten Indians (pp. 176-7). October 29, 1832. Started at 10 o'clock and arrived at the fort of Vancouver at 12, four miles. Here I was received with the utmost kindness and hospitality by Dr. McLauchland (McLoughlin), the acting Governor of the place. I find Dr. McLauchland a fine old gentleman, truly
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philanthropic in his ideas. He is doing much good by introducing fruits into this country, which will much facilitate the progress of its settlement (Indian corn 3,000 bushels). The gentlemen of this company do much credit to their country and concern by their education, deportment and talents. I find myself involved in much difficulty on account of my men, some of whom wish to leave me, and whom the company do not wish to engage nor to have them in the country without being attached to some company able to protect them, alleging that if any of them are killed they will be obliged to avenge it at any expense of money and amicable relations with the Indians. And it is disagreeable for me to have men who wish to leave me. The company seem disposed to render me all the assistance they can. They live well at these posts. They have 200 acres of land under cultivation; the land is of the finest quality."
(P. 177) "November 6, 1833. I must here mention the very kind, gentlemanly conduct of Mr. Jas. Bernie, superintendent of Fort George, who assisted me to a boat and pilot for the outer harbor and acted the part of host to perfection;" . . . (and then, without changing date) "I am now afloat on the great sea of life without stay or support, but in good hands, i. e., myself and Providence and a few of the Hudson's Bay Co., who are perfect gentlemen."
(P. 181) "31st to the 3d of February we had warm and wet weather. On the 3d at 10 o'clock we started for Walla Walla. I had with me two men and am in company with Mr. Ermatinger of the Hudson's Bay Co., who has in charge three boats with 120 pieces of goods and twenty-nine men. I parted with feelings of sorrow from the gentlemen of Fort Vancouver. Their unremitted kindness to me while there much endeared them to me, more so than it would seem possible during so short a time. Dr. McGlaucland (McLoughlin), the Governor of the place, is a man distinguished as much for his kindness and humanity as his good sense and information, and to whom I am so much indebted as that he will never be forgotten by me."
(P. 232) "September 2, 1834. Then down the Walla Walla River west by north ten miles to Fort Walla Walla, where I found Mr. Pambrun, who did the honors of the fort in his usual handsome style."
(P. 233) "September 14, 1834. At 12 o'clock arrived at Fort Vancouver, where I found Dr. McLaughlin in charge, who received us in his usual manner. He has here power, and uses it as a man should to make those about him and those who come in contact with him comfortable and happy."
(P. 250) "February 12, 1835. In the morning made to Vancouver and found there a polite reception and to my great astonish-
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ment Mr. Hall J. Kelley. He came in company with Mr. Young from Monte El Rey (i. e., Monterey, Cal.) It is said stole between them a bunch of horses. Kelley is not received at the fort on this account as a gentleman. A house is given him and food sent him from the Governor's table, but he is not suffered to mess here."
(P. 251) "February 23, 1835. I arrived at Vancouver in the morning 23d February and met a reception such as one loves to find in such a country as this."
Finally in a letter to J. G. Palfrey, M. 0. from Massachusetts, dated Cambridge, December 13, 1847 (i. e., eighteen months after the treaty fixing the boundary at 49 degrees), urging that his claims to Fort William and Wappatoo Island should be recognized in the bill for organizing Oregon Territory, Wyeth enclosed a long statement of his work in beginning the American settlement of Oregon by his two expeditions thither.
In this statement there is not one word of criticism, of the Hudson's Bay Co., nor the least intimation that it was in any way responsible for his abandoning his Oregon business; but (Idem, p. 255) there is the following straightforward statement of why he abandoned the country, while its concluding sentence shows the friendly relations subsisting between him and Dr. McLoughlin.
"During the winter of 1836 I resided at my post of Fort Hall, and in the spring of that year returned to Fort William of Wappatoo Island, whence I carried more supplies to Fort Hall, arriving there the 18th of June, and on the 25th left for the United States by way of Taos and the Arkansas River and arrived home early in the autumn of 1836. The commercial distress of that time precluded the further prosecution of our enterprise, that so far had yielded little but misfortunes. It remained only to close the active business, which was done by paying every debt, and returning every man who desired to the place whence he was taken, and disposing of the property to the best advantage. All the property in the interior, including Fort Hall, was sold, it being necessary in order to retain that post to keep up a garrison for its defense against the Indians and to forward annual supplies to it, an operation at that time beyond our means. Fort William at Wappatoo Island, requiring nothing of that kind, was retained, and the gentleman then in charge of it, Mr. 0. M. Walker, was directed to lease it to some trusty person for fifteen years unless sooner reclaimed. Nothing having been heard from Mr. Walker for a long time, I sent a request to John McLaughlin Esq. for the same purpose, and also to have the island entered in my name at the land office established by the provisional government."
As Wyeth was the only American who ever founded a fur trading post in the Oregon Territory between 1813 and 1846 (for Fort
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Bridger was south of 42 degrees and so in Mexican Territory), it has seemed to me advisable to treat of Mr. Wyeth's experience very fully, since the advocates of the Whitman Legend have so persistently held him up to view as the chief victim of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s oppression of American fur traders.
The first American missionaries to Oregon were the Methodists, Revs. Jason and Daniel Lee, and Cyrus Shepard, P. L. Edwards and 0. M. Walker, laymen, who went overland in N. J. Wyeth's 1834 party.
September 14, 1834, Rev. J. Lee, narrating their arrival at Fort Vancouver, wrote: "When we landed the Governor (i. e., Dr. McLoughlin) and gentlemen of the fort were on shore awaiting our arrival, and received us and conducted us to the fort. The polite attentions we received from these gentlemen caused us almost to think we were in our own native land." (New York Christian Advocate and Zion's Herald, October 30, 1835.)
(Idem, November 13, 1835.) In a letter from Cyrus Shepard, dated Fort Vancouver, January 16, 1835. "On our arrival we were received in the most friendly manner by the Governor and gentlemen of the fort, who till the present time have remained sincere friends to us and to the cause in which we are engaged."
(Idem, September 2, 1836.) In a letter from Jason Lee, dated Mission House, Willamette River, March 14, 1836, he copies a very friendly letter from Dr. McLoughlin, enclosing a subscription list of the gentlemen of the company at Fort Vancouver, aggregating £26, for the use of this American Methodist Mission.
No one of these men was a Methodist, so that there was no church obligation impelling them to subscribe.
McLoughlin was a Catholic, and he headed the list with £6, and the rest were either Presbyterians, Episcopalians or Catholics.
Rev. D. Lee and Rev. J. H. Frost (who went out with the great reinforcement to this mission in 1840) published in 1844, in New York, a book entitled "Ten Tears in Oregon," and there are numerous passages in it which show that this kind treatment of these Methodist missionaries continued during the whole nine years of Mr. Lee's stay in Oregon.
(P. 225) Lee and Frost. As to the reception of the great reinforcement to the Methodist Mission, consisting of fifty-two persons, which arrived at Fort Vancouver June 1, 1840 :
"Dr. McLoughlin came on board, and was introduced to the mission family, and gave them a very kind invitation to partake of the hospitalities of the fort. . . On the following day all were comfortably roomed in the fort, and nothing was lacking on the part
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of the ladies and gentlemen of the establishment to render our sojourn comfortable and pleasant."
(Idem, p. 265) On August 13, 1843, when ready to embark for the United States, Mr. Lee writes this of their reception and treatment by Mr. Birnie, in charge of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s post at Fort George (or Astoria) : "While we were here the kind hospitalities of Mr. James Birnie's house were very generously served up for our entertainment."
For other passages in this book stating similar acts of kindness by Mr. Pambrun at Walla Walla, Dr. McLoughlin at Vancouver and Mr. Birnie at Astoria and of the captain of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s ship Cadboro, Cf. pp. 123, 126, 134, 213, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 281, 327.
Another of these Methodist missionaries who was one of the great reinforcement in 1840 was Rev. Gustavus Hines, who remained till after the mission was broken up in 1844, and in 1851 he published a "History of Oregon" in New York. It contains abundance of statements of the great kindness of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers through all those years.
Four brief extracts must suffice for Hines.
(P. 90) Relating the arrival of the great reinforcement of fifty-two persons in the ship Lausanne, on June 1, 1840, at Fort Vancouver, Mr. Hines says: "Dr. John McLoughlin, the superintendent of the company's affairs--though a Catholic* himself--received us with much cordiality, and extended to us the hospitalities of the place so long as we should find it convenient to remain." And the whole fifty-two of them did remain without any charge for their entertainment till they were sent to their several destinations.
(Idem, p. 120) "December 8, 1840. Arrived at Vancouver at 2 p. in. I was received with all that courtesy and hospitality which usually characterize the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co."
(Idem, p. 245) Reception at Fort Vancouver, August 29, 1845. This was after the election of James K. Polk to the Presidency on the "fifty-four, forty or fight" platform, when, if ever, it might be
* Many erroneous statements have been made about Dr. McLoughlin's religious convictions and affiliations. In 1878 there were published in Portland, Ore., in the Catholic Sentinel, "Historical Sketches of the Catholic Church in Oregon During the Past Forty Years" (1838-1878). Their author was the first Archbishop of Oregon, Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, D. D. In giving a sketch of Dr. John McLoughlin's life, Father Blanchet said: "Dr. McLoughlin was the arbiter to whom both whites and Indians looked for the settlement of their differences and the friend from whom they sought relief in all their difficulties. His ashes rest beneath the shadow of the Cathedral cross of Oregon City, where he died in April, 1857. He was originally a member of the Anglican church, but was converted by Archbishop Blanchet In 1842, and was ever afterwards a most exemplary Catholic. May his soul rest in peace." This should be accepted as conclusive.--C. B. BAGLEY.
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supposed the Hudson's Bay Co. would be extremely antagonistic to all Americans, but this is Mr. Hines' report:
"Next morning went up to the fort to complete our preparations for sea; were very kindly received by James Douglas, Esq., who, by his friendly attentions and acts of benevolence, paved the way to render our voyage much more agreeable than it otherwise would have been."
(Idem, p. 389) "Few persons, whether coming by land or by sea, have ever visited Vancouver without being received with a hospitality which knew no bounds, until every want of the traveler was supplied. Innumerable have been the favors conferred by them upon the American missionaries, and their assistance has been rendered at times when great inconvenience and even suffering would have resulted from neglect."
(Idem, p. 149) April 28, 1843. Mr. Hines gives the following account of his reception at Fort Vancouver, on the way to the upper Columbia with Dr. E. White (U. S. sub-Indian Agent for the Oregon Indians, and organizer of the first migration from the States to Oregon, that of 1842):
"Called on Dr. McLoughlin for goods, provisions, powder, balls, etc., for our accommodation on our voyage up the Columbia, and though he was greatly surprised that, under the circumstances, we should think of going among those excited Indians, yet he ordered his clerks to let us have whatever we wanted. However, we found it rather squally at the fort, not so much on account of our going among the Indians of the interior, as in consequence of a certain memorial having been sent to the United States Congress implicating the conduct of Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Co., and bearing the signatures of seventy Americans. I inquired of the doctor if he had refused to grant supplies to those Americans who had signed that document; he replied that he had not, but that the authors of the memorial need expect no more favors from him. Not being one of the authors, but merely a signer of the petition, I did not come under the ban of the company; consequently I obtained my outfit for the expedition, though at first there were strong indications that I would be refused. We remained at the fort over night and part of the next day, and after a close conversation with the gentleman in command" (i, e., McLoughlin) "were treated with great courtesy."
This memorial to Congress we will consider later.
This expedition was in connection with certain reports of Indian disturbances, and as the advocates of the Whitman Legend, quoting a single sentence from this chapter, entirely disconnected from its context, and without comparison with other contempo-
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raneous documents, have claimed that it furnishes strictly contemporary proof that it was generally understood in Oregon in the spring of 1843 that Whitman's ride was to save Oregon, and as, when so compared, it is shown to prove nothing of the kind, but to show the kindness of both McLoughlin and McKinlay toward Americans, we will examine it at this point.
The sentence they quote is as follows: (p. 143) "The arrival of a large party of emigrants" (i. e., Dr. White's party) "about this time, and the sudden departure of Dr. Whitman to the United States, with the avowed intention of bringing back with him as many as he could enlist for Oregon," etc. (Cf. articles in reply to Prof. Bourne's "The Whitman Legend," by Rev. S. B. L. Penrose, President of Whitman College, widely printed in newspapers in January, 1901; by W. A. Mowry in Boston Transcript, near April 12, 1901; W. A. Mowry and M. Eells, S. S. Times, November 15, 1902; and M. Eells' "Reply to Prof. Bourne," p. 66.)
At first sight it does look as if here was a statement that gives some support to the claim that the "Saving Oregon" theory of Whitman's ride was known in Oregon in the winter of 1842-3, and indorsed by Hines as early as 1845-6 (when it is supposed his book was written), and if it were not for those--to the advocates of myths--most vexatious things known as "contexts" and "other contemporaneous documents" the advocates of the Whitman myth might claim that they had at last produced one little bit of evidence of some value on the single point of the publication of the myth earlier than 1864-1865, though as Hines had no connection with the A. B. C. F. M. mission, and knew nothing of the dissensions of that mission, and the destructive order of the Board which caused Whitman's ride, even if he had published a "Saving Oregon" theory of it, that could not be accepted as proving that theory to be true, but only that he--an outsider--had heard such a theory for it before he left Oregon.
But let us examine the context, and also two letters of Mrs. Whitman to her husband, the first dated March 29, 1843 (which letter is No. 103, Vol. 138, of the Am. Bd. Mss.), and the second dated April 14, 1843, Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1893, pp. 160-162). The passage from Hines (pp. 142-3) relates to the rumors of the hostile intentions toward the whites on the part of the Cayuse, Nez Perces and Walla Walla Indians.
In an endeavor to pacify those excited Indians, Dr. White, the Indian Agent, and Mr. Hines left the Willamette settlement for a journey of some 300 miles up the Columbia, and at The Dalles were joined by Rev. H. K. W. Perkins, and under date of May 9, 1843, Hines (after stating that they reached Whitman's mission at 5 that afternoon) goes on: (p. 164) "When the Indians were first
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told that the Americans were designing to subjugate them and take away their lands, the young chiefs of the Kayuse tribe were in favor of proceeding immediately to hostilities. They were for raising a large war party and, rushing directly down to the Willamette settlement, cut off the inhabitants at a blow. The old chiefs were of a different opinion; they suggested more cautious measures. Taking into consideration the difficulty, at that season of the year, of marching a large party the distance of three or four hundred miles through a wide range of mountains covered with snow, they advised all the Indians to wait until they should obtain more information concerning the designs of the Americans. They also thought it would not be wisdom in them, in any case, to commence an offensive war, but to prepare themselves for a vigorous defense against any attack. They frequently remarked to Mr. Geiger that they did not wish to go to war, but if the Americans came to take away their lands, and bring them into a state of vassalage, they would fight so long as they had a drop (p. 165) of blood to shed. They said they had received their information concerning the designs of the Americans from Baptiste Dorio. This individual, who is a half-breed son of Madame Dorio, the heroine of Washington Irving's "Astoria," understands the Nez Perces language well, and had given the Kayuses the information that had alarmed them. Mr. Geiger endeavored to induce them to prepare, early in the spring, to cultivate the ground as they did the year before, but they refused to do anything, saying that Baptiste Dorio had told them that it would be of no consequence; that the whites would come in the summer and kill them all off and destroy their plantations.
"After Dorio had told them this story, they sent a Walla Walla chief called Yellow Serpent to Vancouver, to learn from Dr. McLoughlin the facts in the case. Yellow Serpent returned and told the Kayuses that Dr. McLoughlin said he had nothing to do in a war with the Indians; that he did not believe the Americans designed to attack them, and that, if the Americans did go to war with the Indians, the Hudson's Bay Co. would not assist them. After they got this information from the bias (great) doctor, the Indians became more calm, many of them went to cultivating the ground as formerly and a large number of little patches had been planted and sown before we arrived at the station."
Mrs. Whitman's letter of March 29, 1843 (never yet published) was written from Waskopum (i. e., the Methodist missionary station at The Dalles, where Rev. H. K. W. Perkins was located). It was directed on the outside to "Dr. M. Whitman, or Rev. D. Greene," and indorsed as "Received August 9, acted to Dr. Whitman, April 12, D. G."
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It covers fourteen pages. The first two pages of this letter are mostly filled with the excitement among the Cayuse (or Kaiuse) Indians, caused by Dr. White's folly in November, 1842, in attempting to force them to adopt the code of laws which had been adopted by the Nez Perces.
On p. 3 she wrote: "Mr. Geiger writes me that 'the Indians are constantly talking about going to war with the Americans and will not believe anything else but that you have gone for men to fight them.' This last is the most trying to me of all the rest. This originated, I am sorry to say, from some remarks which, as the Indians tell me, Mr. Spalding made while at the station last fall. They never have heard a lisp from me of the object of your visit to the States, no more than you told them before you left, and one would think they had seen enough of you to know you had not the least desire of that kind toward them."
Turning to Mrs. Whitman's letter of April 14, 1843, we find the following (after the statement that she had left the Methodist Mission at The Dalles on Monday, April 3, and reached Walla Walla Saturday, April 8): "The excitement among the Kaiuses has abated considerably from what it was when I commenced this letter. Mr. McKinlay of this fort has been to Vancouver and brought back word to them from Dr. McLoughlin that they, the British, do not, neither have they intended to make war upon them. This relieves them considerably. Now their fear is the Americans. They have been led to believe that deceitful measures are being taken to rob them of their land, to kill them all off. Language like this has been told them, and at the meeting last fall, 'that if you do not make laws and protect the whites and their property, we will put you in the way of doing it.' They consider this a declaration to fight and they have prepared accordingly. We hope no depredations will be committed upon us or the mission property, and think the difficulties can be removed and adjusted to their minds, but not without the most prudent and wise measures. The agent (i. e., Dr. White.--W. I. M.) is quite ignorant of Indian character, and especially of the character of the Kaiuses. Husband's presence is needed very much at this juncture. A great loss is sustained by his going to the States. I mean a present loss to the station and to the Indians, and hope and expect a greater good will be accomplished by it. There was no other way for us to do. We felt that we could not remain, as we were without more help, and we are so far off that to send by letter and get returns was too slow a way for the present emergency."
So it appears that Mr. Hines did not hear that Whitman had gone east to save Oregon in 1843, but that he had gone east, according to the Indians, to bring out soldiers to fight and conquer the
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Indians and to settle the Nez Perces country, i. e., where Spalding's mission station was situated.
As these Indians were exceedingly jealous of any settlement of whites in their country, this, combined with some wild talk of Spalding's that Whitman had gone for soldiers to fight them and the unwisdom of Dr. White, the Indian Agent, in forcing laws upon them in the autumn of 1842, soon after Whitman started for the States (which were assigned by Mrs. Whitman in her two letters of March 29 and April 14, 1843 as the real causes of the excitement among the Indians) gives a perfectly reasonable ground for this excitement, with which the Hudson's Bay Co. had nothing whatever to do, except that when the Indians turned to their long-time Mends, McKinlay and McLoughlin, for advice, they received from them precisely the advice best adapted to calm them and end the warlike excitement among them, as is testified to both by Hines in the passage quoted from his page, 165, and also by Mrs. Whitman in hers of April 14, 1843.
While all that Mr. Hines writes of his own personal experience and that of his associates in the Methodist mission is entirely favorable to the Hudson's Bay Co., yet when he came to write his book in the States in 1845-6, when the "fifty-four forty or fight" craze was rampant among a large part of the Democratic politicians, he could not resist the temptation to add to the popularity of his book by the following attack on the Hudson's Bay Co. (pp. 386-8) :
"Another feature of the policy of the company is the course which they have pursued in relation to colonizing the country. They have always been opposed to its settlement by any people except such as, by a strict subjection to the company, would become subservient to their wishes. This has, doubtless, arisen from two circumstances: First, the fur trade of Oregon has been rapidly declining for a number of years past, and the Hudson's Bay Co. are fully aware that this trade alone will not be sufficient to sustain them in the country for many years to come, and to abandon the country would involve themselves in an immense loss. These liabilities they wish to guard against by opening sources of wealth in other branches of business, to be under their control.
"Secondly, they have had in their employment, every year, many hundreds of persons, consisting of Canadian French, Hawaiians, half-breed Iroquois, and others, who are under their absolute control so long as they remain in the Indian country. Many of these, from year to year, either by having large families, by the decline of the fur trade, or by superannuation, become unprofitable servants, and by the company are settled in various parts of the country, where they support themselves, and become, indirectly, a source of profit to the company. They wished to preserve Oregon as an asy-
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lum for their servants, on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, where they could use them to advantage in agricultural, pastoral and manufacturing pursuits, when they could be no longer serviceable to them in the business of the fur trade. That the company have contemplated a rapid decline, and probable termination of the fur trade, west of the Rocky Mountains, appears from the fact of their having been formed into a new company, under the name of 'Puget's Sound Agricultural Company,' with a capital of £2,000,000. This company has pretended to hold large tracts of land in the vicinity of Puget's Sound, under grants of letters patent from the English Government; and here they have attempted to establish a colony, but without success.
"This attempt was made in 1842. The half-breed descendants of the gentlemen and servants of the Hudson's Bay Co. had been collecting together in a colony on a small tract of fertile land, lying on Red River, east of the Rocky Mountains, for more than thirty years, and so rapid was the increase of the colony, and so limited the arable country of the Red River, that the company resolved to send off a colony of the numerous Scotch and English half-breeds settled on that river to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Accordingly, in 1842, Sir George Simpson, who for many years has been the resident Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co., by holding out the most flattering inducements, succeeded in forming a colony of some thirty families, of which he took the charge in person. They left the Red River Settlement late in the spring, with their scanty supplies packed upon the backs of mules and Indian ponies, and passing through the stupendous gates of the Rocky Mountains, they arrived on the borders of Puget's Sound some time in the month of October. If the fertility of the soil, where they were planted by Sir George, had corresponded with the picturesque beauty of the face of the country, doubtless the colony would have succeeded; but, in consequence of a total failure of the crops the first year, the colonists abandoned the place, contrary to the wishes of the company, and settled in a more fertile portion of the country.
"Two other settlements intended for the reception and support of retiring servants of the company have been established in Oregon; one in the valley of the Cowlitz, north of the lower Columbia, the other on the delightful plains watered by the Willamette River, south of the Columbia. As interested motives first induced the company to establish these settlements, so it has always been their policy to keep them in a state of absolute dependence. The colonists have not only been responsible to the company for the course of conduct they have pursued, but from it alone, until very recently, they have been obliged to receive all their supplies of foreign necessaries, consisting of clothing, groceries, etc., for which they have
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been obliged to pay in the produce of the soil, at prices to suit the avaricious propensities which have developed themselves in the whole policy of the Hudson's Bay Co.
"The oppressive measures adopted by the company, in reference to these settlements, were such as to cause them to languish for years, and to induce some of the most active and enterprising among the settlers to take refuge in the United States."
On this it is only needful to remark:
First. The contemporary evidence in this chapter demonstrates beyond any question the total falsity of his opening statement that the "Hudson's Bay Co. have always been opposed, etc."
Second. Instead of "many" of these discharged employes being settled by the company in various parts of the country, the total number so settled in Oregon up to the autumn of 1843 was only fifty, or less than an average of two a year for the whole time since the North West Co. acquired Astoria. The "Copy of a Document" (cf. pp. 429-439 infra) shows how wise were the regulations under which McLoughlin began the colonization of Oregon.
Third. As a British corporation, it was the patriotic duty of the Hudson's Bay Co. by all honorable means to endeavor to secure as much of Oregon as possible for Great Britain, precisely as it was of Americans to secure as much as possible for the United States.
Fourth. There is the most unanswerable evidence in the diplomatic papers and the debates in Congress and in the "Copy of a Document" (pp. 429439 infra) that it was perfectly understood by both Governments after 1824 that "in no event could the British claim extend south of the Columbia River."
Fifth. The Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. was not formed to hold Oregon, since nothing done while the treaties of 1818 and 1827 remained in force could effect that, but to separate the agricultural and stock raising business of the company, as it became extensive, from the fur trade, which was that for which the Hudson's Bay Co. had its exclusive license.
Sixth. Instead of having a capital of £2,000,000, the capital stock of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. was only £200,000, of which only £20,000 was ever paid up, and on this the total dividends up to the payment made to the company of $200,000 by the United States on September 10, 1869, were only 55%, equal to £11,000. (Cf. pp. 113, 124 and 149 of the evidence for the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co., being Vol. II. of the Report of the Cases of the Hudson's Bay Co. and Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. vs. the United States.)
Seventh. Neither "in the vicinity of Puget's Sound" nor anywhere else in the Oregon Territory south of 49 degrees did either
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the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. or the Hudson's Bay Co. ever, for one instant, pretend to hold "large tracts of land/' or so much as one acre of land "under grants of letters patent from the English Government."
Neither Great Britain nor the United States had any right, while the treaties of 1818 and 1827 remained in force, to grant any land in any part of Oregon, and neither Government did make any such grants to any person or corporation till after the treaty of 1846 had given the United States the right to make such grants south of 49 degrees, and Great Britain the right to make such grants north of 49 degrees.
Eighth. Mr. Hines is entirely mistaken about (a) "a small tract of fertile land on Red River"; (b) "the rapid increase of that colony" ; (c) "the limited area of the arable country on the Red River"; (d) that the company sent off a colony from the Red River to Oregon in 1842; (e) that the colony contained "some thirty families"; (f) that Sir George Simpson "took the charge in person" of that colony; (g) that "they left the Red River with their belongings packed on the hacks of mules and ponies."
There was an immense tract of fertile land in the Red River country, as was well known then by all persons who cared to write from knowledge and not from their imaginations. Instead of a rapid increase of that colony its increase had been very slow, and continued so till the extension of railroads there (more than thirty years after the time of which Mr. Hines is writing) gave them access to markets for their produce.
"In March, 1843, the total population of the Red River settlement was 5,143, of which number 2,798 were Roman Catholics and 2,345 were Protestants. . . . The heads of families were 870, of whom 571 were Indians or half-breeds, natives of the territory; 152 Canadians, 61 Orkneymen, 49 Scotchmen, 22 Englishmen, 5 Irishmen and 2 Swiss, and Wales, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland and the United States of America one each. There was also one Esquimaux. . . . The people revel in abundance, but it is all for home consumption; they have no outlet, no market for their produce. (Cf. "Hudson's Bay Co.'s Territories and Vancouver's Island," by Robert Montgomery Martin, London, 1849, pp. 21-22.)
As there was enough fertile land in the Red River Settlement-- now known as Manitoba--to support more than a hundred times as many people as lived there in 1841, it was not at all "because of the limited area of arable country on the Red River that a party not of "about thirty families," but of "twenty-three heads of families, in all eighty persons, men, women and children," were engaged by the Hudson's Bay Co. to go to Oregon, in 1841--not 1842--not
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as colonists to strengthen the British claim to Oregon (which was impossible while the treaty of 1827 continued in force), but as half-servants of the company, to work the farms of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. on the Cowlitz River, on the north side of the Columbia, i. e., in the region which the English hoped to retain when the boundary line should be settled.
Instead of "Sir George Simpson being in charge of this party in person," it left the Red River Settlement June 5, 1841, five days before Sir George Simpson arrived there (on June 10, 1841), from Montreal, on his tour around the world, and he did not overtake them till July 19, 1841, when they had made more than one-third of the journey to Fort Vancouver, and he and his party only remained with them part of two days and the night between. He passed on after advising that they should change their route to that of the boat parties down the Columbia, which they thought they would do, but afterward followed on his trail, which was the regular saddle route all the way to Fort Colvile, and thence down the Columbia by boats. He reached Fort Vancouver on or about August 27, 1841, but this Red River migration did not arrive at Fort Walla Walla, 220 miles up the Columbia from Vancouver, till October 4, 1841. They started with their goods packed not "on the backs of mules and ponies," but in the Red River carts, and used them to the mountains, where the difficulties of the way were so much greater than on the route from the States to Oregon that they abandoned their carts and packed their goods on their oxen and other spare animals the rest of the way. Whether this migration--the only one ever made, or, so far as any contemporary evidence shows, ever planned from the Red River Settlement to Oregon--was in 1841 or 1842 would be of no particular consequence if it were not that the original, or Spalding-Gray version of the origin of Whitman's ride made that ride originate in the announcement in September or October, 1842, that these Red River settlers were then on their way to ravish Oregon from the United States.
With this demonstration of the total lack of accuracy in the particulars on which Mr. Hines bases his accusations vs. the Hudson's Bay Co. the reader can form his own conclusions as to the credence to be given to his charge that the Hudson's Bay Co. opposed the settlement of the country and oppressed the settlers.
Turn now to the missionaries of the A. B. C. F. M.
In 1835 Rev. Samuel Parker went to Oregon on an exploring tour, and this is what the Missionary Herald had to say, on p. 445, November, 1836, about his reception and treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co.:
"Communications have been received from Mr. Parker, dated May 21, 1836. ... He received much aid and numerous kind
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attentions from the gentlemen connected with the Hudson's Bay Co.- . . . Facilities have been afforded him by them for exploring large tracts of country not otherwise easily accessible by him."
(Idem, March, 1837, p. 124) "Mr. Parker makes a grateful mention of the kind and polite treatment he had received from the officers of the company, who, together with the gentlemen engaged in trade from the United States, with whom he traveled through the mountains, had borne nearly all his expenses of conveyance, clothing and subsistence, he not having been obliged to spend more than two dollars in money from the time he left the Missouri till his arrival at the Sandwich Islands."
Of this time he was the guest of the Hudson's Bay Co. continuously from October 6, 1835, to July 14, 1836, when he reached Honolulu as a free passenger in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s ship.
(For Mr. Parker's grateful acknowledgments of the kindness he received at the various posts of the Hudson's Bay Co. and his enthusiastic commendations of the kind treatment of the Indians by the Hudson's Bay Co., Cf. "Parker's Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains." Ithaca, N. Y., 1838, pp. 130, 131, 132, 148, 169, 172, 272, 273, 304, 347).
In 1836 the Spalding-Whitman party went overland to found the American Board Mission, and July 16, 1836, from the rendezvous near Green River, in a six and a half page foolscap letter to D. Greene, Secretary, from which nothing has yet been printed, Whitman wrote: "By the arrival of Messrs. McCloud and McCay" (should be McLeod and McKay.--W. I. M.) "we are furnished with a safe and direct escort to Walla Walla, and have availed ourselves of their company and protection. We received the most flattering encouragement from these gentlemen, one of whom, Mr. McCloud, is a partner in the North West Fur Co. (should be Hudson's Bay Co.) that we should have every facility in our journey, and all necessary supplies of goods, provisions, etc., at Walla Walla."
Under the gratuitous escort of these two Hudson's Bay Co. traders the party traveled not only to Walla Walla, but to Fort Vancouver, a distance of more than 1,000 miles, or more than one-half of their whole journey from the Missouri River to Vancouver.
The Whitman Saved Oregon advocates are never tired of expatiating on the hardships of this journey, and the great heroism it required to undertake it, but as they were every mile of the way under the escort of either American fur traders or these Hudson's Bay Co. traders, they were all the way perfectly safe, and in this same letter Whitman wrote: "I see no reason to regret our choice of a journey by land. ... It is one of the best trips that can be made for invalids, such as dyspeptics, liver, spleen or scrofulous affections, all of which I confidently believe will be greatly relieved
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if not permanently cured. . . . In my own case and Mrs. Whitman's we are more than compensated for the journey by the improvement of health." Which simply shows that for them, as for not a few men engaged in the fur trade before that time, the overland journey "was its own reward" as a benefit to their health.
Mrs. Whitman kept a journal for her mother of this journey (which was published in Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn. for 1891).
It contains many accounts of favors extended to them by Messrs. McLeod and McKay on the journey, of which space will only allow quoting the following: "August 27. This morning Mr. McLeod remained behind in pursuit of game, and did not come into camp until we had made a long nooning, yet about 3 o'clock he came into camp loaded with wild ducks, having taken twenty-two. Now, mother, he has, just as he always did during the whole journey, sent over nine of them."
All that relates to Whitman's wagon in this journal of Mrs. Whitman has been already quoted in Chapter V.
For other extracts from it as to the kindness of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers en route and at Forts Hall, Boise, Walla Walla and Vancouver, Cf. Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1891, pp. 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 53, 56, 57, 58, 59, 63, 66.
Mrs. Whitman, so far as known, kept no journal except this one in the form of a letter to her mother covering (though not by any means for every day) June 27 to October 18, 1836.
In Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1891 and 1893, are quite a large number of letters of Mrs. Whitman, and a few of her husband, to relations and friends, and there are many passages in these stating the favors done them by various Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers, and showing the friendly relations subsisting between the various mission families and the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers in charge of Forts Walla Walla, Colvile, Vancouver, Hall and Fort George (i. e., Astoria) and the visiting back and forth between the mission families and these Hudson's Bay Co.'s forts, and there is not the least intimation that there was any antagonism between the missions and the Hudson's Bay Co. I regret that space will not allow me to quote all these extracts, but the reader will find them on pages 88, 97, 103, 111, 139, 158-161, 164, 166, 168 and 189 of 1891, Trans., and pages 111, 161, 206 and 207 of 1893 Trans.
So far as has yet appeared Dr. Whitman kept no journal at any time, and if either W. H. Gray or his wife kept journals he carefully refrained from ever quoting anything from any of them. Rev. C. Eells kept a journal constantly, but it was destroyed when his house was burned in 1872, His eldest son, Mr. Edw. Eells, told me this on August 23, 1905, at Portland, Ore.
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Mrs. Eells, Mr. and Mrs. Walker and Mr. and Mrs. Spalding seem to have kept journals part of the time, and in the Mss. of the Oregon Historical Society are the following fragmentary journals of these people, viz., Mrs. Walker, June, 1838, to December 26, 1838, and September 7, 1847, to October 26, 1848; Rev. E. Walker, September 10, 1838, to October 4, 1838, and January 5, 1841, to November 15, 1842.
Mrs. H. H. Spalding, February 1, 1836, to June 8, 1840. While in the Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn. for 1889, pp. 54-88 (a), is printed Mrs. C. Eells' Journal, March 5 to September 2, 1836.
Rev. H. H. Spalding kept a journal pretty regularly from November, 1838, to April, 1842, then a blank till February 21, 1843, and then a few entries covering a page and a half, and ending March 7, 1843. This journal has been for some years in possession of Rev. M. Eells.
I have gone over all of these with care, and not only is there not a sentence in any one of them indicating the slightest feeling of antagonism between any of these missionaries and the Hudson's Bay Co., but there are in all of them the most abundant evidences that the mission families and the Chief Traders in charge of Forts Hall, Boise, Walla Walla, Vancouver and Colvile were on the friendliest possible terms, visiting back and forth freely, and the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers not only helping them to establish their several mission stations, but subsequently rendering them frequent assistance in various ways as long as the missions existed.
Want of space only allows the quotation of a few samples on this point.
Mrs. Eells' journal was very concise.
The mission party consisted of six men and four women, viz.: Rev. G. Eells and wife, Rev. A. B. Smith and wife, Rev. Elkanah Walker and wife, Mr. W. H. Gray and wife, Mr. Cornelius Rogers and a "Mr. Stevens, an old mountain man whom we have hired to go with us." (Cf. Transactions, 1889, p. 66.)
"Friday, July 27, 1838. . . . Arrive at Fort Hall; introduced to Mr. McKay, one of the Chief Factors of the Hudson's Bay Fur Co. ... Received kindly by all at the fort." . . "Sunday, July 29th, Mr. Gray lodges in the fort. . . About 10 o'clock Mr. Ermatinger" (the chief trader in charge of Fort Hall from 1838 to 1842.--W. I. M.) "comes to invite us to breakfast; says he has just got up. After breakfast he comes again to invite us to have preaching in the fort. Afternoon, Mr. Eells preaches in the dining room; some fifty or sixty hearers."
"Tuesday, July 31. Make arrangements for moving camp. . . Ermatinger gives ten pounds sugar."
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"Wednesday, August 15. . . Encamped on the river opposite Port Boise; feasted with milk, butter, turnips, pumpkins and salmon."
"Friday, August 17. . . Some of the gentlemen at the post sent us a piece of sturgeon for breakfast."
"Sunday, August 19. . . Mr. Payton (Payette) sends another sturgeon." (Cf. 1889, Transactions, pp. 83, 86, 87.)
Rev. E. Walker's 1838 journal covers his and Rev. G. Bells' exploring trip to decide on a location for their mission station.
They reached Fort Colvile (about 230 miles north of Whitman's mission).
"Monday, September 17, 1838" (having that morning eaten the last mouthful of their stock of provisions), the journal reads: . . "We reached here about 1 this day. Received a cordial welcome from Mr. McDonald and lady."
"Wednesday, September 19th. . . After dinner I opened the subject of our coming. Found Mr. McDonald favorably disposed, and willing to assist us. This was a great relief to my mind. We purposed starting tomorrow, but he thought it not best, so have altered our determination. . . Mr. McDonald promised to send tools to us at Big Head's place, so we shall be saved the trouble with them on the route."
"Thursday, September 20th. Received a present of two pairs of moccasins this morning from Mr. McDonald. . . He seems more and more interested. He has engaged to give us what supplies we want for the journey, and to send some on for us while building, and told us if we want more to send for them. . . Mr. McDonald said he felt very anxious that our station should exceed all the rest in this country."
"Friday, September 21st. . . We did not get prepared to start till nearly 11; but when we did we found ourselves well prepared with provisions through the kindness of Mr. McDonald and lady."
"He sent for an Indian, one of the Ponderays, and told him he must take care of our animals and packs, and must not expect any pay for it, for we came with the Bible and Testament to do them good. They must do all we wanted them to. Accordingly we had very little trouble with our packs and animals."
After traveling about for five days they decided to locate at Tshimakain (The Place of a Spring) (the place recommended by Mr. McDonald), about sixty-five miles south of Colvile, and not finding any tools and supplies were worrying about them, when . . . "to our joy the Indian sent by Mr. McDonald arrived soon after dinner with two axes, 10 pounds of Indian meal, 30 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of buffalo meat (dried), 15 pounds of bacon, all
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of the first quality, making 95 pounds in all. "Big Head" (the Indian chief on whose land they had located) "gave us some potatoes soon after, so that we have a good stock of provisions at present, enough to last us what time we wanted to stay."
Turning now to Rev. H. H. Spalding's Journal (from which only sixty-one words have yet been published that have any bearing on the Whitman Saved Oregon Story).
In December, 1847, and January, 1848, as shown by Spalding's own letters in the chapter on "The Whitman Massacre and Its True Causes," Spalding thankfully admitted that he owed his own life to the humanity of the Catholic priest, Father Brouillet, and that he was ready to implore the good services of that Hudson's Bay Co.'s officer, the Catholic McBean, who had succeeded, in 1846, the Scotch Presbyterian, McKinlay, in charge of Fort Walla Walla, and also the aid of Capt. Richard Grant, whom he and Gray subsequently so shamefully slandered, as have all the other leading advocates of the Whitman Legend, and that in letters to D. Greene, Secretary, he gratefully acknowledged that not only he and his family, but all of the captives at Wailatpu, a total of sixty persons, owed their rescue from death at the hands of the Indians to "the timely, prompt, judicious and Christian efforts of the Hudson's Bay Co., and especially Mr. Ogden and Mr. Douglas," and from his letters we have seen how great and constant was the kindness he and his family had received year by year from Mr. McDonald, the Hudson's Bay Co.'s chief trader in charge of Fort Colvile, some 200 miles northwest of his station.
In his journal we shall see that from Mr. Pambrun (the Hudson's Bay Co.'s chief trader in charge of Fort Walla Walla--about 125 miles west of his station--till his death in May, 1841), he also received friendly assistance, both in presents and in help to keep the Indians in order.
September 19, 1838, he wrote: . . "Canoes return from Walla Walla with three turkeys, a present from Mr. Pambrun."
January 10, 1840: "Sabbath. Good number at Sunday school. Mr. Griffin preaches in English. Meet with the people as usual at eve. Mr. Pambrun speaks to the people, encourages them to work their land and to listen to their own teacher and not go after strangers."
Pambrun, it must be remembered, was not only a Hudson's Bay Co.'s officer, but a Catholic. Could any stronger proof be needed that the excitement and exposure incident to Spalding's narrow escape at the time of the Whitman massacre had brought on the lunacy predicted by A. B. Smith and Dr. Whitman (Cf. Smith's letter of September 28, 1840), than the fact that in the summer of 1848 Spalding started the story and all the rest of his life asserted
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it to be true that the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Catholics had instigated the Whitman massacre to break up Protestant missions and destroy American settlements in Oregon?
Passing over their very kind reception at Walla Walla, and the kindness of the Hudson's Bay Co. in furnishing them transportation down the Columbia to Port Vancouver, and their hospitable reception there (where the two wives remained as guests from September 12 to November 3, 1836, while their husbands were selecting sites for missions and building houses), I can only find space to quote the following from Mrs. Whitman's journal, under date of September 16th. After describing the extensive farming and stock-raising operations of the Hudson's Bay Co. at Vancouver, and their mills there and at Colvile, she says: "Dr. McLoughlin promises to lend us enough to make a beginning, and all the return he asks is that we supply other settlers in the same way. He appears desirous to afford us every facility for living in his power. No person could have received a more hearty welcome, or be treated with greater kindness than we have been since our arrival." This generous offer to help these American Presbyterian missionaries to establish themselves, precisely as two years before he had helped the Methodist missionaries, and as McDonald, the Hudson's Bay Co.'s Chief Trader at Fort Colvile helped Spalding in 1836, and in 1838 helped Eells and Walker, with, wheat and other grains, and vegetables for seed and provisions, till they could raise a crop, and the loan of cattle and hogs and horses and farming implements, with no wish for any return except that they should "pass the good deed along," by "helping others in the same way," was the curious way in which the great-hearted McLoughlin, head of the Hudson's Bay Co. in Oregon, and whose word was absolute law at all their posts west of the Rockies from 1824 to 1845, though himself a Catholic, "opposed the American occupation of Oregon," by Protestant missionaries, and he took the same remarkable way of opposing the establishment of American settlers" by treating the great migrations of 1842, 1843 and 1844 and 1845 in precisely the same way, except that as there were so many of them, and they were not missionaries, he did expect them to pay, from the crops they should raise, the advances he made to them, without which advances there must have been great suffering among them.
May 5, 1837, Dr. Whitman in an eight-page foolscap letter to D. Greene, Secretary, wrote: "At Vancouver we were received in the kindest manner by Dr. McLoughlin, Chief Factor, etc., and by all the other gentlemen of the company. After obtaining such supplies as we needed for building and exploring, and making arrangements for future supplies, we returned to explore and build, leaving our wives at Vancouver. . . . The present worship of the In-
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dians was established by the traders of the Hudson's Bay Co. It consists of singing and a form of prayer taught them, after which the Chief gives them a talk. It has had a favorable influence on them in rendering them more civil and little addicted to steal. Some of the leading truths of civilization have been taught them.
"A system of punishment for crime established by the traders has done much good."
Mrs. Spalding also kept a diary of their journey to Oregon (now among Mss. of Oregon Historical Society), and under date of July 6, 1836, at the rendezvous on Green River, she wrote: "A trader of the Hudson's Bay Co., with a party of men, has arrived and camped near. ... He has kindly invited us to travel with his company, promising to afford us all the assistance in his power." August 3, 1836, of their reception at Port Hall she wrote: "Arrived at this place a little after noon; were invited to dine at the fort, where we again had a taste of bread." August 20, 1836, at Snake Fort or Fort Boise, she wrote: "Have received many favors from the gentlemen of the fort." September 3, 1836, at Fort Walla Walla, she wrote: "Reached this post today. Mr. Pambrun, the clerk in charge of this establishment, kindly received us into his dwelling as guests, for which may we feel true gratitude." September 13, 1836, at Fort Vancouver: "Beached this place yesterday. . . . Met with the warmest expressions of friendship and find ourselves in the midst of civilization, where the luxuries of this life seem to abound."
In the Missionary Herald for October, 1838, p. 387, is a summary of a letter of Mr. Spalding, dated September 4, 1837, in which, after brief description of Fort Colvile, then in charge of Mr. McDonald, and stating that the company raised 3,500 bushels of grain and an equal quantity of potatoes there, it continues: "Mr. McDonald kindly furnished Mr. Spalding with thirty-five bushels of grain, twelve hundred-weight of flour, a yoke of oxen and three swine to aid him in beginning his new establishment among the Nez Perces, besides numerous other articles for the comfort of his family." A later letter of Mr. Spalding shows that these supplies were a free gift.
March 15, 1838, Mr. Spalding wrote a letter to D. Greene, Secretary (from which I think nothing has yet been published), in which, after stating cost of flour at Vancouver, he continues:
"The reason of my asking flour from Boston was to provide for extremities, as we were told several times while on our journey by a gentleman who had spent some time at Vancouver that we must not expect many favors from Vancouver and Walla Walla. But the Lord ordered it otherwise, and we find in the gentlemen of the Hon. Hudson's Bay Co. a disposition to render us every possible
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favor. Of course there is no reason why this should pass from your room. . . . Dr. McLoughlin leaves this spring for England, passing with the express to Montreal, and has expressed a determination to visit Boston if possible. He will receive a letter of introduction from us to the secretaries of the Board. Should he call he will take pleasure in giving you all the information you may wish respecting this country. In a former letter I have mentioned his strong desire that the Board should commence immediately a mission in the lower country. As you will have seen in a former letter he speaks very favorably of the Cowlitz. Should he fail of visiting Boston, I would suggest the propriety of opening a correspondence with him."
September 11, 1838. Spalding to D. Greene, Secretary (a nine-page letter hitherto unpublished). After defending himself and Whitman from the charge that they were devoting too much of their time to farming he goes on: "The question will be asked, has not the Hudson's Bay Co. several establishments in the country where large quantities of grain are raised every year? Yes, two, Vancouver and Colvile. But these and all other posts of the company in the country are for a specified object, and did the gentlemen in charge adhere strictly to their instructions no missionary or settler could receive any article or anything from these posts except for beaver, and no provisions for that, as they are raised only at two stations to any extent, vis., Vancouver and Colvile, and at these only sufficient to meet the wants of the company, the former designed for the shipping and the posts on or near the coast, the latter for the posts in the interior. But the gentlemen in charge at these stations have seen fit to treat us with the greatest kindness and to furnish us as yet with every needed merchandise, for which they have been blamed from the other side of the mountains, and with sufficient provisions for our two families to begin with. But these supplies, especially provisions, have ever been furnished us as a favor, and not in the way of trade, and for this truly great favor I trust we ever shall be truly thankful; but while we remember these favors and bless God for so wonderfully providing for us in the infancy of our mission, I hope that none of us will bring ourselves to think that because we are missionaries we are therefore not to be regulated by the rules that regulate gentlemen in their intercourse with each other, but grasp all favors we can get and ask for more, which would only certainly make it necessary for the company sooner or later to deny us and throw us on our own resources, but bring ourselves and perhaps the Board into disgrace. Consequently your mission in this country cannot depend on the Hudson's Bay Co. for supplies of provisions. Doubtless a station in the region of Colvile would receive, as I have, abundance of pro-
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visions for one or two years till it could sustain itself, provided the Yankee be not too pronounced in questions, etc., such as 'What do you charge a pound for pork?' 'What will you let me have a bushel of wheat for?' 'Can I get a pound of sugar here?' Mr. McDonald gave me to understand when here that the supplies of provisions I received last fall were all that the fort could safely part with, and that was furnished as a favor, as all supplies from that fort would be, and not in the way of trade. And here let me say that the favors which we have received from Mr. McDonald and wife have not been few nor of little consequence to us. Besides the supplies furnished us for a given price, which are no less favors for being sold, and frequent presents of a bag of fine flour, a ham, a side of pork, buffalo tongues, etc., etc., there has been no charge for the first supply of provisions in 1836, the amount of which I will give you when I am certain it is not to be charged."
September 22, 1838, Spalding to D. Greene, Secretary (hitherto unpublished).
Besides a financial statement of the mission it contains the following :
"As we are not in a country of trade except for beaver, all our supplies are furnished as favors, and not in the way of barter. They are furnished us at only 80 per cent, advance on the prime cost in London. We feel ourselves greatly favored that we can receive our supplies in this country without being obliged to wait two or four years for their arrival from Boston. But if we may not dictate as to our drafts, we may regulate the time of sending in our bills (and) as our drafts usually go out in the spring our bills can usually be sent down in the summer, which will be the same as drawing at ten or eleven months' sight."
Some of the advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Story, notably Gray, Barrows and Craighead, have declared that after the Catholic missionaries reached Oregon (which was in 1838) there was a marked change for the worse in the actions of the Hudson's Bay Co. toward Americans.
Let us see what the record says.
July 13, 1841, Dr. Whitman wrote a six-page letter to D. Greene, Secretary (from which nothing has yet been printed), in which we find the following: "Your fears lest our good understanding with the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co. should have been interrupted are not well founded--for it has remained undisturbed up to this date; indeed, we never were on better terms than at present. I believe I have told you that Mr. McLoughlin and Mr. Pambrun were the only two professed Catholics among the gentlemen of the company with whom we have to do business. To the hour of Mr.
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Pambrun's death (which was in May, 1841), without interruption we were growing more and more in confidence and kind offices."
Mr. Pambrun had been continuously in charge of Port Walla Walla, only twenty-five miles from Whitman's Station, from 1832 to 1841, and every American who went there in all those years and has left any record spoke in the highest terms of his kindness and hospitality.
The mission house in which Mr. Eells lived burned January 11, 1841, and March 6, 1841, Rev. C. Eells wrote to D. Greene, Secretary, a letter the essential parts of which were printed in the Missionary Herald for October, 1841. After giving an account of the fire, he continues:
"Mr. McDonald, who is in charge of Port Colvile" (sixty miles from them), "on hearing of our misfortune, unasked, dispatched four men immediately, and they soon made our house habitable. Two gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co., Messrs. McLean and McPherson, volunteered their services to assist in whatever was necessary to be done, and came at the same time with them, or rather led the march.
"All camped upon the ground when the mercury must have been not less than 10 below zero and the snow from six inches to one foot in depth. This is but a specimen of the unvarying kindness shown us by the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co. with whom we have had any particular intercourse or connection."
No advocate of the Whitman Legend has ever quoted this letter, or alluded to this action of the Hudson's Bay Co., except that Rev. M. Eells, in the life of his father, Rev. C. Eells, published it in 1895, but he, has never even alluded to it in any of his articles specially devoted to advocating the Whitman Saved Oregon Story.
Rev. E. Walker's diary, under date of Sunday, January 17,1841, reads as follows:
"Just as the sun was setting Mr. McLean and Mr. McPherson rode up with four men to assist in repairing the burnt house and bringing letters to Mr. Eells and myself from Mr. McDonald.
"They were more or less frozen and suffered much on the route."
March 18, 1845, Rev. C. Eells wrote an eight-page letter to D. Greene, Secretary, in which is the following concerning Mr. McDonald, who had for years been in charge of Fort Colvile--the nearest white neighbor they had--and who had left Fort Colvile in September, 1844, to take his children where they could be educated: "The kindness of that estimable family toward us was unabated to the last. The politeness and cordiality with which we have ever been welcomed to their generous hospitality, the prompt and cheerful manner in which they have attended to frequent calls for assist-
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ance and the numerous unsolicited and gratuitous favors they have conferred upon us deserve grateful acknowledgment."
John Lee Lewes succeeded McDonald at Fort Col vile and was equally kind to these missionaries.
Rev. B. Walker to D. Greene, April 3, 1848, says that on December 9, 1847, when the news of the Whitman massacre reached them, they sent an express to Fort Colvile, and Mr. Lewes at once replied, urging if there seemed to them any danger that they "fly to this establishment one and all without delay, and I will do my best for your protection, till we can find the means to convey you all to Vancouver, or till the times of peace return again, making it safe for you to return to your own abode."
They remained at Tshimakain till Wednesday, March 15th, but the following extracts from Mrs. Walker's journal will show how earnestly solicitous Mr. Lewes was for their safety:
"Saturday, February 12, 1848. An express from Colvile. Mr. Lewes alarmed about us in consequence of Indian rumors. We are much perplexed to know what to do. We fear to go, we fear to stay.
"Sunday, 13th. . . . This afternoon another express arrived from Colvile. Affairs there have taken a serious turn. The men are under arms and in alarm for themselves and for us.
"Sunday, 20th. . . , Another letter from Mr. Lewes. He has also sent a Canadian to remain awhile.
"Friday, March 10th. Thos. Roy left for Colvile this morning.
"Sunday, March 12th. Frederick Lewes (son of John Lee Lewes) and Thomas Boy arrived. Mr. Lewes seems rather afraid to have us remain longer.
"Monday, March 13th. We conclude that it is best to remove to Colvile for awhile.
"Wednesday, March 16th. We left home about noon, perhaps to return no more.
"Saturday, March 18th. We reached Colvile about noon, where we received a cordial welcome."
The two families remained guests of Mr. Lewes till June 1, 1848, when they left under an escort of the First Oregon Riflemen, and under date of June 1, 1848 (in a twenty-two-page letter in the form of a diary) to Rev. D. Greene, Secretary, Rev. C. Eells wrote: "With emotions which we cannot well express for the great kindness and invaluable assistance of John Lee Lewes, Esq., we took leave of that worthy gentleman."
In 1835 Lieut. W. A. Slacum, of the United States Navy, was sent by President Jackson's personal orders on a special mission to obtain all possible information that would be useful to our Government about Oregon, and his memorial was printed as Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 24, 25th Cong., 2d Sess.
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In it he says: "Mr. Jason Lee, one of the founders of the Methodist Mission, acknowledges the kindest assistance from Dr. McLoughlin, of Fort Vancouver, who gave him the use of horses, oxen and milch cows, and furnished him all supplies. Indeed Dr. McLoughlin has acted toward many of the settlers in the same manner, giving them the use of cattle and horses on the following terms:
"The produce of the neat cattle and horses belong to the Hudson's Bay Co., and are liable to be called for at any time. If the cattle die, the persons holding them are not charged with their value. Horses to be returned in kind, or the sum of $8, the current value of the horse, is charged."
As to his own treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co. there is only space for the following extract:
(P. 5) "The next day Mr. Douglas, returning from Fort George, called aboard the Loriot, and repeated the invitation given me by Mr. Finlayson to visit Fort Vancouver; and as there was but one more Indian settlement between this point and the Hudson's Bay Co.'s establishment at Vancouver, I embarked with Mr. Douglass, in his canoe, with nine 'Canadian voyagers.' We made about fifty miles in twenty-four hours and landed next day at the fort, where I met a hospitable reception from Dr. John McLoughlin and Mr. Duncan Finlayson."
In 1839 Thomas J. Farnham (characterized by a prominent Englishman who traveled with him on the Pacific as "a flamboyantly patriotic American"), went to Oregon at the head of a small migration, mostly from the vicinity of Peoria, 111. In 1841 he published, at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., "Travels in the Great Western Prairies, and in the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains, and in the Oregon Territory," of which two more editions were published in New York City, and one in London in 1843.
He had this to say of his reception and treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co. in their "desperate attempts to prevent Americans reaching and settling Oregon."
(P. 132-6) "A friendly salutation was followed by an invitation to enter the fort, and a 'welcome to Fort Hall' was given in a manner so kind and obliging that nothing seemed wanting to make us feel that we were at home. . . . Goods are sold at this establishment 100 per cent, lower than at the American posts."
(He doubtless meant for half the price, which is 50 instead of 100 per cent, lower.--W. I. M.)
Having spent three days enjoying the kindest hospitality at Fort Hall, Farnham went on and (on pp. 83-84 ante) we have already quoted his equally kind reception at Fort Boise.
September 22, 1839, Mr. Farnham reached Whitman's station, and under date of September 27th he thus records the arrival of
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Chief Trader Ermatinger, on his return from Vancouver to Fort Hall (p. 153): "In the afternoon of this date, the arrival of Mr. Ermatinger, the senior clerk at Fort Hall, created quite a sensation. His uniform kindness to the missionaries has endeared him to them."
There is not one word in any contemporaneous letter or diary of any of the American missionaries or travelers who had to do with Mr. Ermatinger which is not of the same tenor as this, and as the extract from Father De Smet heretofore quoted (on p. 124). But some years later Ermatinger became a Catholic, and so Gray, some years later still, when Ermatinger was dead, began to abuse him, and though most of the advocates of the Whitman Legend have refrained from following Gray in this matter, the very imaginative Mrs. Dye, in "McLoughlin and Old Oregon" (McClurg, 1900), devotes Chapter XXII. to "Ermatinger Guards the Frontier," and though he was certainly in command of Fort Hall in 1838 and 1839, she represents him as having been sent to Fort Hall in 1840 (the very year that he helped Newell, Meek and Wilkins to outfit and drive from there to Walla Walla the first three wagons which ever went through to the Columbia (Cf. pp. 85-88 ante), to prevent wagons going beyond there to Oregon, and to deceive the missionaries and Americans generally as to the accessibility of Oregon from the United States! She quotes not a solitary authority for her statements on these points, but says: "He slyly led the missionaries through the most difficult goat trails over the mountains." . . . "Through jungles (things which cannot be found between Fort Hall and the Columbia River.--W. I. M.) and over mountain patches of snow, where never man or beast had trod before." This related to the parties of 1840 and 1841, and when we come to examine Lieut. Wilkes' report we shall see how very wide of the truth her statements are as to the missionaries of 1840 as far as their opinion of the accessibility of Oregon from the States is concerned, while Newell's account hereinbefore quoted of the wagons of 1840 from Fort Hall to Walla Walla makes it absolutely certain that Ermatinger did not, as Mrs. Dye asserts, conduct these missionaries at all. Instead of giving the correct account (as Newell himself gave it) of Ermatinger helping Meek, Wilkins and himself drive through three wagons from Fort Hall, Mrs. Dye says in Chapter XX: "Jo Meek, the American trapper, and his 'pard' had decided to settle in the Willamette Valley. They went to Fort Boise and got Whitman's 'old wagon.' Into it they packed their Indian wives and babies, and drove by a recently discovered trail over the Blue Mountains to Wailatpu."
For this, as in fact for all the statements in her book, she quotes no authority.
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But that is doubtless the safest way when a writer desires to write history out of the profound depths of a very lively imagination.
(P. 155) Farnham thus relates his reception and treatment at Fort Walla Walla: "I was kindly received by Mr. Pambrun at Walla Walla. This gentleman is a half-pay officer in the British Army. ... I breakfasted with him and his family. ... I tarried only two hours with the hospitable Mr. Pambrun, but as if determined that I should remember that I would have been a welcome guest a much longer time, he put some tea and sugar into the packs. ... A fine, companionable fellow. I hope he will command Fort Walla Walla as long as Britons occupy it, and live a hundred years afterward."
(P. 170) He thus describes his reception and treatment at Fort Vancouver: "Mr. James Douglas, the gentleman who has been in charge of the post during the absence of Dr. McLoughlin" (while on his trip to England and back) "conducted us to a room warmed by a well-fed stove; insisted that I should exchange my wet garments for dry ones, and proffered every other act that the kindest hospitality could suggest to relieve me of the discomforts resulting from four months' journeying in the wilderness."
The missionary parties of 1838, 1839 and 1840 were just as kindly received and treated at these forts as Farnham, except that the 1838 party (Gray, C. Eells, A. B. Smith, E. Walker and their wives, Mr. Stevens and Cornelius Rogers) did not go to Walla Walla and Vancouver. Barrows, with his habitual indifference as to facts, says (p. 147), speaking of the 1838 party: "Impediments, perils and Indians do not seem to have been put before their fancies there at that fur traders' Gibraltar, for they had no carriages. They had acted on the already well-established impressions in the East that carriages could not travel to Oregon." This is the sort of imaginative writing about Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts that all the advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Story indulge in.
One of Fremont's party to Oregon in 1843 was Col. Wm. Gilpin, graduate of West Point, who took a distinguished part in the Mexican War and was afterward Governor of Colorado. In 1867 he testified in Washington, D. C., in the case of the Hudson's Bay Co. vs. the United States that he spent several days at Fort Hall in September, 1843, and several weeks there on his return in 1844, and that it was an adobe and log cabin trading post, worth in his judgment about $2,000, and occupied by eleven men (Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States Ev., Vol. VI., p. 330). "So much for this fur traders' Gibraltar." That there was no "well-established impression in the States that carriages could not travel to Oregon" is evident from the fact that Dr. Weed, who kept a re-
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ligious book store in Cincinnati (and was the agent there of the American Board Corns. Foreign Missions), sent a wagon to the frontier for this party, which not being suitable they traded for another, and Gray, in a letter (never yet published) to D. Greene, Secretary, dated Rendezvous on Wind River, July (no day), 1838, thus describes its disposition: "The wagon we purchased to supply the place of the one sent by Dr. Weed we have exchanged with Capt. Fontenelle (an American fur trader never connected with the Hudson's Bay Co.), who kindly exchanged with us when we could bring it no farther for want of horses." This was more than seven hundred miles east of Fort Hall, for, though Gray does not state the precise place where the trade was made, Mrs. Eells' diary for May, 31, 1838, says: "Give the wagon to Capts. Drips and Fontenelle" (Cf. Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1889, p. 73). This was when they were camped at Fort William on Laramie Fork of the Platte River.
The parties of 1839 and 1840 left their wagons at Fort Hall for precisely the same reason that Whitman left his cart at Fort Boise, and Gray traded off his wagon to Fontenelle "on account of the fatigue of our animals."
We have already (pp. 227-232 ante) stated the great extent and value of Lieut. Wilkes' explorations of Oregon during April to October, 1841, and quoted from his hitherto unpublished dispatch No. 98 and from his special report of June 13, 1842, to the Navy Department.
Surely if the Hudson's Bay Co. was disposed to throw obstacles in the way of the exploration of Oregon by Americans, here was an opportunity for them to do so very effectively by declining to furnish any information, and by dealing out supplies grudgingly, and only when paid for at the highest market rates.
Turn now to the testimony of (no longer Lieutenant) Bear Admiral Charles Wilkes, who being duly sworn at his residence, in Charlotte, N. C., on December 31, 1866, testified as follows in the case of "The Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. vs. United States," after testifying that he was in command of the United States exploring expedition in Oregon in 1841:
"Interrogatory 3. What report of this expedition has ever been made, and by what authority has it been published?
"Ans. It was made by the direction of the Congress of the United States and published by their authority, and at the expense of the Government.
"Int. 4. Was the report so published written by you; and if so, from what was it prepared?
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"Ans. It was written by me entire--prepared from my own notes and from official reports made by the officers under me, in the carrying out of orders issued by me."
(Idem, p. 234) Cross-examination.
"Cross. Int. 4. How long after the time you saw these posts of the company was this report written?
"Ans. I kept a diary during the expedition of every day's proceedings and occurrences throughout the whole time embraced in the publication, written daily, before I retired to rest. It had been my practice long before the expedition, and has been ever since."
(Idem, p. 238) "Cross Int. 18. Did you not receive from the officers of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. all the attention in their power and did they not afford you every facility that they could in carrying out the objects of your expeditions?
"Ans. For the first week I did not. I understood from the gentlemen that they were precluded from giving me aid until they received instructions from Vancouver. Afterward, in arranging my traveling parties, procuring horses from the Indians, and giving us models and instructions for making saddles for the horses, they were very kind. As regards the surveying duties, they afforded me no assistance.
"Int. 19. Was there any government in the country when you were there?
"Ans. There was none, nor did I look for any.
"Int. 20. How many vessels and how large a force of men had you while at Nisqually?
"Ans. A sloop-of-war and a brig-of-war, with two (2) launches and some ten boats. The crews comprised upward of three hundred (300) men" (Cf. Vol. 8, Rept. P. S. Agl. Co. vs. U. S., pp. 228-238).
Turning to Vol. VI. (Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States) we find on p. 289:
"Int. 62. What opportunities did you have for learning the value of the trade of the Hudson's Bay Co. ?
"Ans. I had a great many opportunities of learning, in conversation, and eliciting opinions in relation to the then value as well as future prospects of the trade in furs and peltries obtained, the modes of trapping, fitting out, discipline, and operations at their various posts, the times and seasons best suited for the conveyance of the articles dealt in, both by land and water, and also information in regard to the climate and the character and numbers and intercourse with the Indians. Also, the emigration from the States and the condition in which the parties arrived in the territory, together with the routes most practicable through the Rocky Mountains," and on p. 299 the following:
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"Gross Int. 60. Have you not stated, in speaking, in a report made by you of your explorations after 1841, of the members of the Willamette Mission and Dr. McLoughlin, that 'they invariably spoke of Dr. McLoughlin in the highest terms. They were averse to his absolute rule of the whole territory, and, although it was considered by them as despotic, they could not adduce any instance of the wrong application of his power?' "
"Ans. The paragraphs quoted are to be understood as referring to the moneyed power which Dr. McLoughlin, being at the head of the Hudson's Bay Co., could give or withhold at his pleasure. In some cases he thought proper to extend a helping hand or afford means to settlers, while in other cases he denied it. This was calculated to produce a great deal of ill feeling, as well as good feeling.
"Int. 61. Have you not also stated at the same time and in the same report, speaking of the settlers, that the settlers are also deterred from crimes, as the company has the power of sending them to Canada for trial ?
"Ans. I have stated so; and this applies to those settlers who were formerly in the service of the Hudson's Bay Co.
"Int. 62. So far as your knowledge extends, has Dr. McLoughlin extended to newcomers and settlers, of good character, every facility in his power and also invariably given them the use of cattle, horses, farming implements and supplies, to facilitate their operations until such time as they are able to provide for themselves ?
"Ans. I think he has. All cases of any misunderstanding between himself and settlers, that came to my knowledge, proved his liberality and solicitude for their welfare.
"Int. 63. Did not the officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. afford to yourself and the officers under your command every facility within their power to further the exploration in which you were engaged ?
"Ans. I think they did, sir."
Idem, p. 301, the following is of interest, though not bearing strictly on the matter now immediately under discussion:
"Int. 5. Whether or no you ever at any time before 1847 made any estimate of the value of all the posts and trade of the Hudson's Bay Co. south of the 49th degree of north latitude; if so, state under what circumstances you made it, and what it was?
"Ans. I made such an estimate at the suggestions of many persons connected with the Government and Congress, and to Sir George Simpson during a visit of his to Washington. I think this visit was about the year, 1846, prior to or about the time of the making of the treaty. The amount I estimated them to be worth was a half million dollars for all the posts of Hudson's Bay and Puget's Sound Com-
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panies. Sir George Simpson thought it ought to be a million. I told him that it might be so, but advised him to get that sum inserted in the treaty, for I thought that if he left it out of the treaty he might get much less."
Turning now to his great five volume report published in 1845, let us read a few of the many acknowledgments therein of the kindness of the Hudson's Bay Co.--not of Dr. McLoughlin at Port Vancouver alone, but at every post of the company they visited and every officer they encountered. Vol. IV., p. 30: "On the 13th of May, Mr. Anderson, in charge at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s post of Nisqually, was kind enough to present me with two bullocks for the crews and a quantity of vegetables, for which we felt ourselves much indebted. A large supply of milk was also sent to us daily from the dairy and many other little kindnesses and attentions were manifested."
(Vol. IV., p. 310) "Mr. Anderson's kindnesses had obviated many of these obstacles."
(Vol. IV., p. 315) "We were kindly received by Mr. Forrest, the superintendent" (i. e., of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s farm on the Cowlitz), "who quickly made arrangements for canoes to carry us down the Cowlitz and Columbia rivers to Astoria or Fort George. He also provided us with an excellent repast and pressed us to remain over night."
(Idem, p. 320) Describing their arrival at Astoria: "Mr. Birnie, the agent of the Hudson's Bay Co., met us at the landing with lanterns and every assistance, and gave us a truly Scotch welcome. We soon found ourselves in his quarters, where in a short time a fire was burning brightly, and his hospitable board spread with good cheer, although it was past midnight."
(Idem, p. 323) "The Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers possess and exert a most salutary influence, endeavoring to preserve peace at all hazards. It is now quite safe for a man to pass in any direction through the part of the country where their posts are."
(Idem, p. 327) Describing Vancouver, he says: "Between the steps are two old cannons on sea carriages, with a few shot, to speak defiance to the natives, who no doubt look upon these as very formidable weapons of destruction. I mention these, as they are the only warlike instruments to my knowledge that are within the pickets of Vancouver, which differs from all the other forts in having no bastions, galleries or loop-holes." . . .On their arrival at Vancouver they found Dr. McLoughlin absent, but "only a few minutes elapsed before Dr. McLoughlin came galloping up. He gave us that kind reception we had been led to expect from his well-known hospitality. . . . He at once ordered dinner for us, and we soon
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felt ourselves at home, having comfortable rooms assigned us and being treated as part of the establishment."
(Idem, p. 328) "All goods are sold at Vancouver at 80 per cent, advance on the London prime cost; . . . but at the other posts it is about 100 per cent, to cover the extra expense of transportation."
(Idem, p. 331) . . . "All the above-named missionaries except the Methodists came across the Rocky Mountains; they represented the pass through them as by no means difficult, and that they had entertained no apprehension of the hostile Indians. They had accompanied a party of fur traders from St. Louis, and gave a deplorable account of the dissipation and morals of the party. Messrs. Griffith and Clarke (should be Griffen and Clark.--W. I. M.) were entirely disappointed in finding self-support here, and had it not been for the kindness of Dr. McLoughlin, who took them in, they would have suffered much. They were advised to settle themselves on the Paulitz Plains, where I understand they have since taken land and succeeded in acquiring quite respectable farms." ... "I was introduced to several of the missionaries. . . . They, for the most part, make Vancouver their home, where they are kindly received and well entertained at no expense to themselves. The liberality and freedom from sectarian principles of Dr. McLoughlin may be estimated from his being thus hospitable to missionaries of so many Protestant denominations, although he is a professed Catholic, and has a priest of the same faith officiating daily at the chapel."
(Idem, p. 333) "Wherever the operations of the company extend they have opened the way to future emigration, provided the means necessary for the success of the emigrants and rendered its" (the country's) "peaceable occupation an easy and cheap task."
(Idem, p. 341) "On the 3d of June we made arrangements for leaving Vancouver and proceeding up the Willamette; but the weather was so stormy that we deferred our departure until the following day. Dr. McLoughlin had kindly furnished us with a large boat, and although we had provided ourselves with provisions, we found in her a large basket filled with everything that travelers could need or kindness suggest."
(Idem, p. 343) "There was a petty dispute between Rev. Mr. Waller and the company, and he complained of them. It seems that the company refuses to buy any beaver skins except from the hunters and trappers, and he accuses them of monopoly in consequence. The company, on the other hand, say that they have no idea of selling goods out of their own stores for the purpose of enabling others to enter into competition with them; and that they will spare no expense to keep the trade as long as they can in their hands. This
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is certainly not unfair. I cannot help feeling that it is quite unsuited to the life of a missionary to be entering into trade of any kind. To embark in traffic must, I think, tend to destroy the usefulness of a missionary, or divert his attention from the great cause in which he is engaged. ... I am disposed to think that any complaints against the Hudson's Bay Co. for endeavoring to keep the trade in their own hands come with an ill grace from the members of a mission who are daily receiving the kindest attentions and hospitality from its officers."
(Idem, p. 393) "In taking leave of Mr. Ogden, I must express the great indebtedness I am under for his attentions and kindness to Mr. Drayton, as well as for the facility he offered him for obtaining information during their progress up the Columbia. I am also under obligations to him for much interesting information respecting this country, which he gave without hesitation or reserve. He was anxious Mr. Drayton should accompany him to Okanagan.
(Idem, p. 395) "As respects the success of the missionary labors, it is very small here" (i. e., at Wailatpu).
(Idem, p. 401) "By the kindness of Mr. McKinlay (chief trader in charge of Fort Walla Walla) and by the direction of Mr. Ogden, Mr. Drayton found himself fitted with good horses and every convenience requisite for the journey, besides a quantity of provisions."
Lieut. Johnson's party had gone east from Puget's Sound to the Columbia over a region previously wholly unexplored and nearly in the center line east and west of that part north and west of the Columbia, which was the only part really in dispute between the United States and Great Britain after 1824, and their reception at Colvile is thus stated.
(Idem, p. 440) "They (i. e., part of Johnson's party) reached Fort Colvile late in the afternoon, and were all soon made to forget the fatigues of the journey by the kind attentions of Messrs. McDonald and Maxwell, who had charge of the post."
(Idem, p. 443) "Lieut. Johnson having reached Fort Colvile with his party, it was determined that they should spend three days there, not only to refresh their horses, but to repair the damages which their saddles and packs had received. For these purposes Mr. McDonald afforded every facility in his power, besides supplying all their wants, and received in payment of the articles he furnished Lieut. Johnson's orders upon the ship, to be collected through the authorities at Vancouver."
(Idem, p. 450) "Of the more northern parts of the Oregon Territory" (i. e., north of 49 degrees), "through the kindness of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. I obtained much interesting information, little of which has, I believe, been yet communicated to the public."
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(Idem, p. 454) "On the 19th (June, 1841) Lieut. Johnson was preparing to depart, with his party, having recruited his horses and mended his accoutrements. The kindness of Messrs. McDonald and Maxwell supplied all their wants, and enabled the party to leave Colvile in a better state than they had originally departed from Nisqually. To these gentlemen my thanks are especially due for their attention to the officers, who all spoke in high terms of the kindness they received. After their departure they found that the ladies of the establishment had been equally mindful of their comforts, in not only filling their haversacks, but in supplying them with moccasins."
(Idem, p. 463) "They" (i. e., part of Lieut. Johnson's party) "reached Walla Walla before dark and were kindly welcomed by Mr. McLean, one of the company's clerks, who was in charge of that post."
(Idem, p. 468) "On the 4th of July they" (i. e., Lieut. Johnson's party) "left the fort and crossed the river. . . . Mr. McLean's kindness and attention were similar to that already met with, and he provided them with necessary horses, provisions, etc."
(Idem, p. 470) "On the 15th" (July) "reached Nisqually, all well, having performed the journey of about 1,000 miles." . . . "They traversed a route which white men had never before taken, thus enabling us to become acquainted with a portion of the country about which all had before been conjecture."
(Vol. V., p. 123) "Soon after the Avreck of the Peacock, Capt. Hudson, hearing that Dr. McLoughlin was in want of hands to aid him in the harvest, dispatched the Kanakas (i. e., Sandwich Islanders) belonging to the Peacock up to Vancouver to assist in gathering it in. It afforded some little pleasure to contribute this aid, and thus in some small degree to repay the attentions and kindness of the company's officers." . . . "The articles necessary for this purpose (i. e., the repairs of the brig Oregon), which we ourselves were not able to supply, were cheerfully furnished us at reasonable prices from the stores and workshops of the company. Indeed, nothing could exceed the kind attentions that were lavished upon us; and the moment we expressed a desire it was immediately complied with." . . . "It will be remembered that Passed Midshipmen Eld and Oolvocoressis were ordered to make a journey through the Chickeeles country to Gray's Harbor, just as the ship was getting under way from Nisqually, and that circumstances rendered their departure more hurried than it was desirable it should be. But through the kindness of Mr. Anderson and Capts. McNeil and Scarborough" (all three Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers.--W. I. M.), "the party was not left in want of anything very material."
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(Idem, p. 136) . . . The number of posts occupied by the Hudson's Bay Co. in this territory is twenty-five. (This includes those west of the Rockies between 49 deg. and 54 deg. 40 min.--W. I. M.). These are located at the best points for fur trade, and so as to secure the resort of the Indians without interfering with their usual habits. Places are also occupied in the vicinity of their abodes during the most favorable part of the year for obtaining the proceeds of their hunting. This is regulated with much skill, and the portion of the country once under their care is never suffered to become exhausted of furs; for whenever they discover a decrease the ground is abandoned for several years until the animals have time to increase again. A charge has been made against the company that they were desirous of exterminating the beaver south of the Columbia, and would continue to hunt them until every fur-bearing animal was exhausted. This from the information I received I believe to be erroneous; the story has probably proceeded from feelings of rivalry on the part of those who spread the repent. Another charge made against them of exciting attacks on the free trappers, who are generally from our borders, is to be received with many allowances. It has been made in many cases from interested motives, and I am satisfied that nothing of this kind could emanate from Vancouver or from any of the officers.
"The whole conduct of Dr. McLoughlin is totally at variance with such a course; every facility has been at all times extended to newcomers and settlers; it is sufficient that they are of good character, and the use of cattle and horses, farming utensils and suplies is invariably extended to facilitate their operations until such time as they are able to provide for themselves.
"During our stay at Vancouver I had the pleasure of seeing many members of the Wallamette Missions" (i. e., the Methodist Mission.--W. I. M.), "but they were unable to give me much information. They invariably spoke of Dr. McLoughlin in the highest terms. They were averse to his absolute rule over the whole territory, and although it was considered by them as despotic, they could not adduce any instance of the wrong application of his power. He is, notwithstanding, extremely unpopular among all classes of our countrymen, but for what reason it is difficult to conceive."
Idem, p. 147, contains the following letter from Wilkes to Dr. McLoughlin and Mr. Douglas, dated U. S. Brig Porpoise, Baker's Bay, October 5, 1841:
"Gentlemen: My last duty before leaving the Columbia I feel to be that of expressing to you my sincere thanks for the important aid and facilities which you have afforded the expedition on all occasions for carrying out the object of our visit to this part of the world; and be assured it will prove a very pleasant part of my duty
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to make a due representation of it to my Government. Your personal kindness and friendly attentions to myself and officers from our first arrival have laid me under many obligations, which I trust it may be at some future day in our power to return," and he adds: . . . "At the same time I wrote a letter to our Government, informing them of the assistance we had received, stating the services these gentlemen had rendered us, and asking that an expression of acknowledgment might be made through the British Minister at Washington to the directors of the Hudson's Bay Co. in England." The letter to our Government was dated October 31, 1841, and is as follows:
"U. S. Ship Vincennes, Port of San Francisco,
"Upper Oal., Oct. 31, 1841.
"Sir: It becomes my pleasing duty to make known to the Government previous to leaving the northwest coast of America the strong obligations we feel for the many kind attentions and courtesies which we have received from John McLoughlin, Esq., Chief Factor of the Hon. Hudson's Bay Co., at Fort Vancouver, and to all the officers of the honorable company with whom we have had intercourse in the prosecution of the duties in the Oregon Territory required by my instructions.
"These gentlemen have done everything to facilitate our operations by the prompt attentions and liberal supplies rendered the officers and crew of the late II. S. ship Peacock on the occasion of her wreck on the bar of the Columbia, and also in the outfit of the U. S. Brig Oregon, for which I view the expedition greatly indebted, having enabled me to carry my instructions more promptly and fully into effect.
"I cannot but consider the Government in duty bound to make a proper expression to the Hon. Hudson's Bay Co., through the British Minister at Washington, for the liberal services rendered, which I beg leave to assure you would be extremely gratifying to my feelings and duly appreciated by them.
"I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) "OHAS. WILKES."
For other acknowledgments by Lieut. Wilkes of kindness received from the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers, Cf. Vol. IV., pp. 322, 329, 364, 369, 372, 404, 419, 433, 434, 445, 494, and Vol. V., pp. 135, 136.)
Before parting with Lieut. Wilkes it seems proper to take up the account of the building of the first small ship in Oregon, as published in "Transactions of Oregon Pioneer Assn." for 1891, pp.
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181-192, and compare it with Wilkes' account of the matter as far as he and the Hudson's Bay Co. were concerned in the matter.
In the "Transactions" as above is a letter (undated, but wMch seems to have been written somewhere about 1880), to Hon. J. W. Nesmith, by Joseph Gale, one of the little company who helped to build "The Star of Oregon" in 1841, and who in September, 1842, as captain, with a crew of four men and a little Indian boy and one passenger, sailed the schooner Star (48 ft. 8 in. on the keel and 10 ft. 9 in. on the beam) from the mouth of the Columbia to San Francisco.
The letter is too long to quote in full and I will only quote such parts as are necessary to consider in connection with the attitude of the Hudson's Bay Co. toward Americans in Oregon.
(Trans., p. 181) "This is intended only as a synopsis of the following transactions:
"It was not until the latter part of the summer of 1840 that the spirit of American enterprise began to manifest itself in Oregon. Previous to that it appeared to be dead; but, instead, it was only inactive for the want of something to arouse it into action. Among the desiderata of the country were horses and cattle. It is true that there were quite a number of cattle in the valley, and these were held by Ewing Young, the Methodist Mission and the Hudson's Bay Co., and with such tenacity that it was next to an impossibility to purchase them at any reasonable price. The want of these were severely felt by nearly every settler in the Wallamet Valley. How to better our cases by supplying ourselves with such animals was a question that troubled and puzzled us all.
"Consequent upon our deficiency was the question of the practicability of building a vessel and sail her to California and there dispose of her for stock. This proposition was favorably received and thoroughly discussed pro and con. The result was an organization of a company of the following-named men for that purpose, viz.: John Canan, Ralph Kilbourn, Pleasant Armstrong, Henry Woods, George Davis and Jacob Green. These men secured the services of Felix Hathaway, an excellent ship carpenter, to lay out, assist and superintend the work generally. They all shortly after got their tools, provisions, etc., together and descended the Wallamet River to near its junction with the Columbia, and there, on the east side of Swan Island, selected a site upon which to build their vessel. ... (p. 182). "The work went rapidly on, notwithstanding the opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co., which had been anticipated. . . . It is not pertinent to this narrative to dwell (p. 183) upon the treatment of the Hudson's Bay Co. to us. Suffice it to say that they did all they could to deter us from the work; but it went on until completed in spite of them. And had
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it not been for Captain Wilkes, in all probability we would have been obliged to lay the vessel up on account of not being able to procure cordage and canvas for rigging and sails.
"He interviewed Dr. McLoughlin on the subject pretty roughly. The doctor excused himself by saying that he thought they were making a coffin for themselves, for, said he, 'There is Gale at the head, who has been in the Hudson's Bay Co. for several years as a hunter and trapper, and what does he or the rest of them know about the managing and navigating of a vessel at sea?' 'Never mind,' said or retorted the captain, 'I have seen enough to convince me that he knows what he is about, and if you have such things as they need you will oblige not only me, but, I believe, every American in the country, by letting them have them, and should they not be able to pay you for them, and as I shall want a considerable amount of such things myself, you may charge the aggregated amount to me and I will settle the same with you.' 'Oh, well, well,' said the doctor, 'they can have as much of cordage and other materials as they wish.'
"So the store, through Commodore Wilkes' influence, was thrown open to us; but, alas, the season was too far advanced for us to get the vessel in readiness to make the passage that fall. We, nevertheless, while the chances of getting those things were so favorable, and for fear that after the Commodore would leave the river might shut down on us again, purchased an ample supply of all the necessaries we needed, such as cordage, canvas, paints, oils, etc., etc., for which we paid the company in wheat and furs of different kinds, and returned thanks to Commodore Wilkes for his generous offer." ... (p. 184) "I received a letter from Commodore Wilkes, in which he stated that he was on the point of leaving the country, and that he felt greatly interested in the successful issue of our enterprise, and as there was no port or town from which we could hail or clear, and that without such, or papers to show from and to what Government we belonged, there would be the probability of having our vessel seized. And he further stated:
"'If you can convince me that you understand navigation, I am ready to furnish you with papers that will be honored in whatever port you may enter, for I do not think it advisable for you or any other person to attempt it without an adequate knowledge of that science, it matters not in other respects how good a seaman one may be.'
"How generous and noble the old Commodore. He was perfectly right. Now for me to wait on him in person was out of the question. I therefore called Kilbourn and told him to get his pen, ink and papers and write while I dictated. So we soon had the following letter written:
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"'To Commodore Charles Wilkes, of the United States Navy.
"'Dear Sir: I received your very kind letter and am very thankful for the interest you have taken in our affairs, but I am very sorry that I cannot see you in person, owing to being confined to my bed by the fever and ague. I acknowledge the propriety of your remarks in reference to going to sea without a knowledge of navigation, and also the entering of a foreign port without papers to show from whence I came. I do not, my dear sir, profess to be a consummate navigator, yet I have a sufficient knowledge of that science to take a vessel to any given port upon the globe, and, as it is almost impossible for me to see you in person, you will very much oblige me by proposing such questions which, should I be able to satisfactorily answer, may convince you of that fact. With much respect,
"'I am your obliged and humble servant,
"'To Commodore Charles Wilkes, of the U. S. M.'
"This letter was dispatched immediately to the mouth of the Columbia River and delivered to the Commodore. The next morning our boat started on its return and in three days after I received an answer in which were a few questions regarding the science of navigation, which I answered and dispatched in a second letter to the Commodore, and on the return of our boat I was highly rejoiced to find that my answers were satisfactory. In consequence of this I received a large document with the United States seal upon it, which was the papers alluded to by the Commodore.
"The exploring squadron left the country a few days afterward. The grand old Commodore, before leaving, made us a present of a flag, an ensign, and also a compass, a kedge anchor, and hawser 140 fathoms long, a log line and two log glasses--14 and 20 second glasses. I bought a quadrant epitome and a nautical almanac from Kilbourn, who was Capt. Couch's mate, for which I paid him $45. These were sufficient for all ordinary purposes."
It was not till September 3, 1842, that they were at Astoria ready with their little craft to try the voyage to San Francisco, and adverse winds prevented them from putting to sea till September 12, and on the 17th of September they reached their destination. They sold the little schooner for 350 cows, and the following spring they recruited a party of forty-two men for Oregon, all bringing more or less stock, and May 17, 1843, started to drive to Oregon "1,250 head of cattle, 600 head of mares, horses and mules--mares, horses and colts principally--and nearly 5,000 head of sheep, and after a toilsome journey of seventy-five days arrived in the Willamette Valley with comparatively small loss. The rest of what disposition was
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made of that stock is known, I presume, to everybody. There is one thing certain, it done away with the stock monopoly and set the people of Oregon in a fair way of getting on in the future. This result was brought about by the indomitable wills of a few men who are now scarcely known."
So much for Capt. Gale's account, written somewhere near thirty-eight years after the event, and without any claim of reference to any contemporaneous written diary or other record of the affair except as hereinbefore quoted and the following two brief notes (pp. 186-7): "I penned the following note to Mr. Douglas, Dr. McLoughlin being absent:
" 'James Douglas, Esq.
" 'Sir: As I am now on my way to California, if you have any letters or commands that you wish to send to Mr. Ray, residing there, I will, with pleasure, take them to him. " 'Very respectfully,
" 'JOSEPH GALE.' "I received the following answer: " 'Mr. Joseph Gale.
"'Sir: As the schooner Oadborough, Oapt. Scarborough, will leave for that port soon we will not trouble you in that particular.' (His very words.)
" 'Yours, etc.,
" <J. DOUGLAS.'
"Of course, like the rest, he thought such a thing as our reaching California was all braggadocio in us."
It is to be observed, first, that naturally Mr. Gale desired to make the best showing for himself throughout the transaction; and second, that Gale had spent some years in the Rocky Mountains as an American trapper before going to Oregon to settle as a farmer and stock raiser (Cf. Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1880, pp. 10-12) and evidently had the strong prejudice against the Hudson's Bay Co. resulting from that life, reinforced by hearing from 1865 to 1880 the constant iteration and reiteration of the accusations hereinbefore quoted against the Hudson's Bay Co. of Gray and Spalding and sundry other advocates of the Whitman Legend; and third, that, though there is no reason to question his honesty and the intensity of his patriotism, it would seem from Wilkes' account of this same matter that Gale's recollection was not entirely trustworthy after the lapse of thirty-eight years as to the cause of the attitude of the Hudson's Bay Co. toward them at first, or as to exactly what changed that attitude a little later.
In Vol. IV. of Wilkes' Report, written as he testified entirely by himself, and published not thirty-eight, but only four years after
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the event, and prepared not from unassisted memory, but by constant reference, not merely to notes, but to a diary which he testified he always wrote up daily "before retiring to rest," we find his account of this affair as follows:
(P. 337) "During my stay at Vancouver I had a visit from three of a party of eight young Americans, who were desirous of leaving the country, but could not accomplish it in any other way but by building a vessel. They were not dissatisfied with the territory, but they would not settle themselves down in it because there were no young women to marry except squaws or half-breeds. They informed me that they were then engaged in building a vessel on Oak Island, in the Willamette, where I promised to visit them on my way up the river. I found them in difficulty with Dr. McLoughlin, who had refused to furnish them with any more supplies, in consequence, as he stated, of their having obtained those already given them under false pretenses."
(Idem, p. 342) "We encamped on the island occupied by the young Americans, of whom I spoke in the preceding chapter (p. 337) and close to the place where they were building their vessel. The group of which it is one is called the Oak Islands.
"On landing we were introduced to them all. They had reached the Oregon country by crossing the Rocky Mountains a year before, and worked on the Willamette, where they at first proposed to settle themselves; but they found that that was out of the question, as there was little or no prospect of their being contented, and they were now bent on leaving the country at all hazards. Every one with whom I spoke gave them a good character, except one, and I found that shortly before my visit he had been turned out of the partnership.
"The vessel they were building was a small schooner. One of their number having served a short time in a ship-yard in the United States, the rest were employed as his assistants, cutting timber and preparing the plank, which they procured from the cedar on the bank of the river.
"I explained to them the cause of Dr. McLoughlin's refusal to assist them, which they denied most positively. I then told them it was proper for them to deny having authorized any trick or deception, on doing which I was sure they would receive any assistance that lay in the power of Dr. McLoughlin. This they subsequently did, and I was informed that they then received all the aid he had in his power to give. I tried to dissuade these young men from making their voyage; for I found on conversing with them that not one of them knew anything about the sailing of a vessel or navigation.
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"I therefore knew how great dangers they would experience on the voyage, even to California, whither they intended to go, with the intention of taking sea-otter by the way on the coast of Oregon. After their arrival at San Francisco it was their plan to sell their vessel and cargo, if they were fortunate enough to obtain any; or, if not, to go down the coast further (p. 343), when they would cross over the country and return by the way of Mexico or Texas. It gave me much pleasure to see the buoyancy of spirit so characteristic of our countrymen with which they carried on their plan. Before I left the Columbia in September they asked me for a sea letter for their protection, at the same time informing me that their vessel was launched, met their expectation and was called the 'Star of Oregon.' . . . The next morning I left the boat builders, after assuring them that they should have all the assistance I could give them in their outfit."
This account, it will be seen, is radically different from Gale's, and it would appear that the decision not to try and hunt sea-otter along the rock-bound coast of Oregon (which with their inexperience in navigation would almost certainly have meant the wrecking of their craft and the probable loss of all on board), but to go to San Francisco and sell their craft and return to Oregon with stock and settle there was an afterthought during the year that elapsed between the finishing of their craft and their start for California. Gale's account represents Wilkes as calling McLoughlin to account, but Wilkes says that he advised them to go to McLoughlin and deny having authorized any trick or deception, and that "they subsequently did this and then received all the aid he" (i. e., McLoughlin) "had it in his power to give."
Perhaps an explanation of most of Gale's mistakes lies in the fact that according to his own account he was not actively connected with the work of building the schooner till after she had been launched from, the ways at Oak Island and towed up the Willamette to the falls to be finished (i. e., till after Wilkes' visit to the boat-builders' camp), and that the friction with McLoughlin was due to some actions of some of the other seven men concerned in the matter of which he was not fully informed.
Mrs. Dye not only assumes all of Gale's account to be accurate, but, according to her usual habit, embellishes his tale with sundry (supposed) discussions at Fort Vancouver and conversations with Dr. McLoughlin and Lieutenant Wilkes, duly inclosed in the quotation marks, which with her only serve to show that she has found the alleged quotations in the exhaustless storehouse of her own remarkable imagination (Cf. McLoughlin and Old Oregon, pp. 185-193).
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It will be noticed that Gale accuses the Methodist Mission with aiding the Hudson's Bay Co. to keep up a monopoly of cattle in the Willamette. He also mentions Ewing Young, but as Young died in February, 1841, while the "Star" was not launched till late in May, 1841, he must certainly be left out of the account. He also takes credit for breaking the monopoly in cattle as the result of the building of the "Star of Oregon," and his daring voyage in her to San Francisco with only four men and an Indian boy as crew, none of whom knew anything about a sailor's duties. This totally ignores the cattle driven from the States by the 1842 party under White, and the much greater number--some 1,300 head--brought by the 1843 migration, which reached the Willamette only sixty days after Gale's party.
While Gale's party are entitled to much credit, it would appear therefore that their efforts were not quite so indispensable to the welfare of Oregon as he seemed to imagine when, in his old age, he wrote what he doubtless intended for a true account of the building of the first sea-going craft in the Old Oregon Territory, and of his exploit in sailing her to California and leading back a party to Oregon with horses, cattle and sheep.
Of the experiences of the 1842, 1843 and 1845 migrations at Fort Hall we have written fully in Chapter V., and have shown that, according to all the contemporaneous statements of the leaders and members of those parties that are known to exist, they were all kindly treated at that post, and that there was not the least effort made to prevent them from going on to the settlements in Oregon with wagons. I have found no contemporaneous record of the 1844 party except the diary of Rev. Edw. E. Parrish, who does not say one word about their reception and treatment at Hall, Boise, Walla Walla or Vancouver (Cf. Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1888, p. 82).
Before we take up the contemporaneous testimony of the leaders and members of those parties as to their reception and treatment at Walla Walla and Vancouver, let us examine Lieutenant Fremont's report of his second expedition, in 1S43-4, and the experience of the scientists Nuttall and Townsend.
Following Spalding (Cf. Pacific, November 9, 1865, and same in Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 37, 41st Gong., 3d Sess.) and Gray (Cf. his "History of Oregon," pp. 290 and 314), Mxon (Cf. "How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon," p. 131) asserts that Fremont was detailed to escort the 1843 migration (which they all claim was under Whitman's leadership).
The claim that Fremont was to escort this migration is as ridiculous as all the rest of the Whitman Legend, for Fremont's re-
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port (p. 106 of Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 174, 28th Gong., 1st Sess., being the second page of the report of the second expedition), distinctly declares that "it was to vary the route to the Rocky Mountains from that of the 1842 expedition," which had followed the Oregon trail all the way to the South Pass.
Freinont did not start from the Missouri frontier till May 29th, whereas the Oregon migration had started May 22, and he only kept the Oregon trail to the crossing of the Kansas River, eighty-eight miles from Independence, Mo., and then left that trail and kept up the Kansas, and then went southwest to the Arkansas River, and did not again reach the Oregon trail till 761 miles from Independence on that trail, but 1,066 by the route he had traveled.
This put him so far behind the migration that he did not overtake its rear till August 22, on Bear River, and he parted from it on the 26th at Soda Springs and went to explore the Great Salt Lake, and saw no more of the migration until he reached Fort Walla Walla.
At Fort Hall he makes no other mention of Mr. Richard Grant than this, under date of September 19, 1843: "I rode up to the fort and purchased from Mr. Grant (the officer in charge of the post) several very indifferent horses and five oxen in very fine order." The migration, so vastly greater than was expected, had stripped the fort of all supplies that could be spared (Cf. Fremont's Report, p. 149).
October 8, 1843, the expedition reached Fort Boise, and Fremont thus states what reception they encountered:
"We were received with an agreeable hospitality by Mr. Payette, an officer of the Hudson's Bay Co. in charge of the fort; all of whose garrison consisted of a Canadian engage." . . . "Mr. Payette had made but slight attempts at cultivation, his efforts being limited to raising a few vegetables, in which he succeeded tolerably well, the post being principally supported by salmon. He was very hospitable and kind to us, and we made a sensible impression upon all his comestibles; but our principal inroad was into the dairy, which was abundantly supplied, stock appearing to thrive extremely well; and we had an unusual luxury in a present of fresh butter, which was, however, by no means equal to that of Fort Hall, probably from some accidental cause."
October 26, 1843, they reached Fort Nez Perce or Walla Walla, and the report says: "Mr. McKinlay, the commander of the post, received us with great civility; and both to myself and the heads of the emigrants who were there at the time, extended the rites of hospitality in a comfortable dinner to which he invited us."
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November 8, 1843, they reached Fort Vancouver, and the report says: "I immediately waited upon Dr. McLoughlin, the executive officer of the Hudson's Bay Co. in the territory west of the Rocky Mountains, who received me with the courtesy and hospitality for which he has been eminently distinguished, and which makes a forcible and delightful impression on a traveler from the long wilderness from which we had issued. I was immediately supplied by him with the necessary stores and provisions to refit and support my party in our contemplated winter journey to the States; and also with a Mackinaw boat and canoes, manned with Canadian and Iroquois voyagers and Indians, for their transportation to The Dalles of the Columbia. In addition to this efficient kindness in furnishing me with these necessary supplies, I received from him a warm and gratifying sympathy in the suffering which his great experience led him to anticipate for us in our homeward journey and a letter of recommendation and credit for any officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. into whose posts we might be driven by unexpected misfortune.
"Of course the future supplies for my party were paid for, bills on the Government of the United States being readily taken; but every hospitable attention was extended to me, and I accepted an invitation to take a room in the fort and to make myself at home while I staid.
"I found many American emigrants at the fort; others had already crossed the river into their land of promise--the Willamette Valley. Others were daily arriving, and all of them had been furnished with shelter, as far as it could be afforded by the buildings connected with the establishment. Necessary clothing and provisions (the latter to be afterward returned in kind from the produce of their labor) were also furnished. This friendly assistance was of very great value to the emigrants, whose families were otherwise exposed to much suffering in the winter rains, which had now commenced, at the same time that they were in want of all the common necessities of life."
We have already shown in Chapter V. what very material service Payette rendered Fremont by informing him of the easier pass over the Blue Mountains, of which he had informed Farnham in 1839. Next let us see what treatment was accorded to the two eminent naturalists, Thomas Nuttall, a botanist, and John K. Townsend, an ornithologist, who went to Oregon with Wyeth's second party in 1834.
In 1839 Mr. Townsend published, in Philadelphia, his "Narrative of a Journey Across the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River," which was immediately republished in London, and on p. 169 he
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thus describes their arrival and reception at Fort Vancouver: "On the beach in front of the fort we were met by Mr. Lee, the missionary (who had gone on in advance with his associates from Fort Hall), and Dr. John McLoughlin, the Chief Factor and Governor of the Hudson's Bay posts in this vicinity.
"The doctor is a large, dignified and very noble-looking man, with a fine expressive countenance and remarkably bland and pleasing manners. The missionaries introduced Mr. Nuttall and myself in due form, and we were greeted and received with a frank and unassuming politeness which was most peculiarly grateful to our feelings.
"He requested us to consider his house our home, provided a separate room for our use, a servant to wait upon us, and furnished us with every convenience which we could possibly wish for.
"I shall never cease to feel grateful to him for his disinterested kindness to the poor, houseless and travel-worn strangers."
On p. 244 he writes thus of his reception by Mr. Pambrun when on his way up the Columbia in 1836 to explore the Blue Mountains: "On the evening of the 6th (of June) we arrived at Walla Walla or Nez Perces Fort, where I was kindly received by Mr. Pambrun, the superintendent."
On p. 255 he thus describes his reception at Fort George (or Astoria) in September: "On the 24th I embarked in a canoe with Indians for Fort George and arrived in two days. Here I was kindly received by the superintendent, Mr. James Birnie, and promised every assistance in forwarding my views."
On p. 263 he writes thus of his leaving Fort Vancouver for his return home via the Sandwich Islands: "I took leave of Dr. McLoughlin with feelings akin to those with which I should bid adieu to an affectionate parent; and to his fervent 'God bless you, sir, and may you have a happy meeting with your friends,' I could only reply by a look of the sincerest gratitude. Words are inadequate to express my deep sense of the obligations which I feel under to this truly generous and excellent man, and I fear I can only repay them by the sincerity with which I shall always cherish the recollection of his kindness and the ardent prayers I shall breathe for his prosperity and happiness."
On p. 265 he writes thus of the treatment received from the Hudson's Bay Co.'s agent at Honolulu: "On my arrival Mr. George Pelly, agent of the Honorable Hudson's Bay Co., kindly invited me to his house, where I remained three days, and at the end of that time Mr. Jones procured for me a neat and very comfortable grass cottage, in which I live like a prince."
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Returning now to the 1842 migration. "Hasting's Emigrant's Guide to Oregon and California" (p. 20) says: "Arriving at Fort Boise, we were very kindly received and entertained hy the gentleman in charge, who kindly proffered to let us have such provisions as we needed and to render us any additional service in his power."
(P. 27) After describing their arrival in the lower settlements of Oregon he goes on: "The country did not appear to us, in reality, that delightful region which we had thus long and laboriously sought. Dismay and dissatisfaction appeared to be visibly impressed upon every countenance, and deep discontent pervaded every breast. All, however, soon obtained temporary residences. Dr. McLoughlin kindly proffered to render them any assistance in his power. He proposed to sell goods on a credit to all those who were unable to make immediate payment. He also commenced building extensively at the falls of the Wallamette, and thereby gave immediate employment, at the highest wages, to all those who wished to labor."
(P. 51) "Dr. McLoughlin, who is Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Co. west of the Rocky Mountains, is in charge" (i. e., at Vancouver). "He is courteous, intelligent and companionable, and a more kind, hospitable and liberal gentleman the world never saw. Every possible attention, kindness and hospitality are extended to all who visit him, either upon business or otherwise; some of whom he invites to his own table, where they are treated with all the courtesy and etiquette of English refinement.
"For all others a spacious apartment is provided, which is called the 'bachelors' hall,' and which contains a convenient sitting-room, a dining-room and several comfortable lodging apartments, all of which are provided expressly for those who are not invited to his private table. Those who occupy the 'bachelors' hall' are also furnished with all the luxuries of the fort, servants are in readiness to give them any attention, and, although they remain for weeks, or even months together, as many have, the kindness, attention and hospitality of the doctor are still unremittingly bestowed. But the kindness and hospitality of this gentleman do not end here, for when his guests wish to return to their homes a cart with servants is sent to convey their baggage or goods to the river, and all this, too, without promise or hope of reward. A Mr. James Douglas, who is occasionally in charge of this fort in the absence of the doctor, is also an intelligent gentleman, and is alike courteous, kind and hospitable as the doctor.
(P. 58) "A kindness and hospitality exist, among those pioneers of the west, which are almost unparalleled. Upon the arrival of emigrants in the country immediate arrangements are made by
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the former settlers to provide them with houses and provisions, and every aid is rendered them in making their selection of lands and procuring houses for themselves. The doctor, McLoughlin, also affords them every aid in his power, furnishing them with goods and teams upon a credit, if they are unable to make immediate payment, providing them with wheat for their bread and seed and receiving wheat the next year in payment, and letting them have cows and other cattle, to be returned in such kind as shall be agreed upon, with a portion of the increase. This kindness and generosity of the doctor are not confined to emigrants upon their arrival merely, but they are extended to every settler and respectable inhabitant in all the various portions of the country."
Dr. Elijah White, sub-Indian Agent, in his report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated April 1, 1843, says: "I think I mentioned the kind and hospitable manner we were received and entertained on the way by the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Co., and the cordial and most handsome reception I met with at Fort Vancouver from Gov. McLoughlin and his worthy associate Chief Factor, James Douglas, Esq."
We have already in Chapter V. discussed the account of the migration of 1843, in George Wilkes' "History of Oregon," based on Burnett's letters, and quoted its account of the kindness to it of Captain Richard Grant, the Hudson's Bay officer in charge of Fort Hall.
Of their reception at Fort Boise nothing is said, but of their treatment at Forts Walla Walla and Vancouver Burnett wrote as follows: (Geo. Wilkes, p. 90) "We found Mr. McKinlay, a very intelligent Scotchman, in charge of this post, and at his hands received every civility and attention."
(Idem, p. 93) He thus describes his arrival and reception at Fort Vancouver: "On my arrival I was received with great kindness by Doctor McLoughlin and Mr. James Douglas, the second in command. They both tendered me the hospitalities of the fort, which offer, it is scarcely necessary to say, I accepted willingly and with pleasure. Dr. McLoughlin is the Governor or Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Co., a situation most difficult and arduous in its duties, and requiring most consummate ability in the person aspiring to fill it. The Hudson's Bay Co. have been most fortunate in their selection of Dr. McLoughlin for this important trust. Possessed of a commanding person, a refined, benevolent and amiable manner; owning extensive acquirements drawn from study, travel and intercourse with mankind; a profound knowledge of human nature, and withal a firmness that insured obedience and respect, he is peculiarly qualified to protect the important interests of this
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powerful company and to control its wayward servants while thus far removed from the reach of other civil authority. Dr. McLoughlin is upward of six feet high and over sixty years of age. In person he is robust, erect and a little inclined to corpulency, one of the natural results of contentment and repose. The clear flush of rosy health glows upon his cheeks, his eye still sparkles with youthful vivacity while he is in conversation with you, and his fine" head of snow-white hair adds not a little to the impressiveness of his appearance. His hospitality is unbounded, and I will sum up all his qualities by saying that he is beloved by all who know him."
(Idem, pp. 96-7) He has this to say about the treatment of the emigration by Dr. McLoughlin: "Whatever may he the cause of complaint existing against the Hudson's Bay Co. in their treatment of former emigrants from the United States, the kindness of Dr. McLoughlin to this emigration has been very great. He furnished them with goods and provisions on credit, and such as were sick were sent to the hospital free of expense, where they had the strict and careful attendance of Dr. Barclay, a skilful physician and an excellent and humane man. The Chief Factor likewise lent the emigrants the company's boats to bring down such of the families and baggage as had been left at the Cascades by the advanced guard of the expedition which had preceded me; and he also furnished them with the same facilities for crossing the river with their cattle at Vancouver. Had it not been for the kindness of this excellent man many of us would have suffered greatly, and I have no doubt that much injustice has been done him by confounding his personal conduct with that of many of his countrymen. The policy of the company has, it is true, been very seriously condemned, as will be seen by Mr. Spaulding's communication" (This was Capt. T. Spaulding of the ship Lausanne, hereinafter commented on by me.--W. I. M.) "embraced in Mr. Pendleton's report, but it is very questionable whether Dr. McLoughlin is justly chargeable with all the evils that have arisen out of it. It is certainly true that he has been in some measure the victim of misrepresentation, for I know of my own knowledge that the Indians of Southern Oregon and those bordering on the California line, instead of being inoffensive and well-disposed, as described by Mr. Spaulding, are on the contrary hostile, thievish and treacherous. This is something toward a general refutation. It is certain that the doctor himself has uniformly aided settlers by supplying them with farming implements and with seed grain, as a loan, to be returned out of the succeeding crop. He has even gone so far as to lend them hogs, to be returned two or three years afterward by their issue of the same age; to furnish oxen to break their ground and cows
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to supply milk to their families. This certainly appears to me to be a very poor way to retard the settlement of the region and to discourage adventurers who arrive in it.
"A great deal has been said against him because he has refused to sell the cattle belonging to the company, and those who have made these complaints have certainly reflected very little upon the subject and are incapable of measuring the enlarged scope of the doctor's policy. The supply of cattle and sheep of the settlements was very limited, and the great object has been to increase it. This could only be carried out by secure measures for their protection; and it would have been absurd, indeed, while the authorities of the fort were denying themselves the luxury of beef or mutton to carry out this important object, if they should have sold cattle to those whose caprice might destroy them at pleasure. Besides, all the cattle, with the exception of a very few, were inferior Spanish animals, and it was a matter of necessity to improve the stock by crossing them with those of the English breed. The same case existed with regard to the sheep, which were from California, but which, by repeated crossings, have at length not only been greatly increased, but have been improved nearly to the condition of full-bloods.
"The science of stock raising the rough mountain men who were the first settlers from the States did not understand. They could only understand that brutes were made to kill, and hence the dissatisfaction and consequent complaint. Having improved his stock and accomplished a proper degree of increase, the doctor was ready enough to sell on reasonable terms, though, to say the truth, he did not find a very ready market."
(Idem, p. 98) "The utmost liberality characterizes all the dealings with the stranger and even with the resident. If your fortunes have been adverse, and you are not able to pay for the last year's dealings, you are required to give your note, drawing interest at five per cent. Instances have come to my knowledge since my arrival in which Dr .McLoughlin has extended the credit of some of his customers for two or three years together. He has supplied most of the members of last year's emigration with such articles as they needed, taking in payment only the pledge of their honest faces and hard hands."
In Niles' Register for November 2, 1844, is a letter from Mr. Burnett, dated Lincoln, Oregon, July 25, 1844, in which is the following: "I was six weeks at Vancouver, where myself and family were most hospitably entertained by Dr. McLoughlin free of all charge. He has been a great friend to me and has done much for the emigration generally."
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November 10, 1843, Mr. Burnett addressed a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Reporter, from which paper it was copied into various other papers.
In it he wrote: "Provisions are abundant here, and Dr. McLoughlin (who is the most liberal and hospitable man in the world) furnishes the emigrants with wheat to be paid for in cash or in wheat next year. At the Cascades we met provisions sent us by the doctor, and all purchased who applied, even without money. Two boats have been sent us with provisions, and the doctor has lent two boats to the emigrants free of charge. We find him doing everything to aid the emigrants."
Capt. T. Spaulding commanded the ship Lausanne, which carried from New York to Vancouver the great reinforcement of fifty-two persons to the Methodist Mission, leaving New York October 9, 1839, and arriving at Vancouver June 1, 1840.
Turning to Pendleton's two reports hereinbefore mentioned ("No. 830, 2d Sess., and No. 31, 3d Sess., 2Tth Gong., Reports Corns. H. of R.), we find (on pp. 56-61) "extracts from the journal of Capt. Spaulding of the ship Lausanne, in the year 1841." (Should be 1840.--W. I. M.)
(P. 56) "Dr. McLoughlin, chief agent for the Hudson's Bay Co., has charge of all their affairs in this part of the territory. He is a gentleman of pleasing address, possessing great -urbanity of manners and unbounded hospitality, opening his house to all strangers who can furnish any recommendations, or who have any claim, as men of character, upon his hospitality; even the trappers and other desperate men from the Rocky Mountains and from California are not turned away, but are provided for outside the fort. Indeed, I received every civility, not only from the doctor, but all the Hudson's Bay Co.'s servants, especially from Mr. Barrit (Birnie?), in charge of Astoria, or Port George, who kindly came on board at Baker's Bay and piloted the ship to the fort (fourteen miles), and supplied all my large company with every refreshment the place afforded; also sent on board the best Indian pilot on the river; but, not even satisfied with this, he kindly accompanied me himself to Gray's Bay, the most difficult part of the river, where I found the Hudson's Bay Co.'s ship Columbia waiting a wind to pass Tongue Point channel. Capt Humphries of the Columbia came on board and rendered me every assistance in his power and sent his first officer, Mr. Letty, up with me to Pillar Rock, about fourteen miles from Gray's Bay. The next morning, after getting under way, I was hailed by a canoe, which I found had been dispatched by Mr. McLoughlin, who, hearing of my arrival, immediately sent on board the best pilot at the fort to assist me, sending
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also a large tub of fresh butter and a bag of fresh bread. This civility and attention can only be appreciated when I state that I had no chart of the river that I could run ten miles by without getting aground; and that, out of the company's service, there is no chart of the river of any value. That of Mr. Slacum is very good for the bar, but of no value afterward. Arrowsmith's is of no use whatever.
"On my arrival abreast Fort Vancouver, about 6 o'clock in the evening, I found the doctor on the bank ready to receive us. He immediately came on board and invited all the ship's company, fifty-four in number, to take tea with him at the fort; I with four of my passengers accepted the invitation. The next day all the ship's company were provided with comfortable quarters and an abundant table at the fort; and this hospitality was continued till they were all sent to their several destinations. One of the peculiar traits of the doctor's character is that he never tires in his benevolent acts. This I was told by those who have been intimate with him for years; and, so far as my experience goes, I can truly confirm all that was told me, for while at Vancouver I received from him every civility, and his kind offices followed me all the way down the river and even out over the bar."
It is true that Capt. Spaulding on pp. 58-9 criticises the Hudson's Bay Co. for intruding on American territory and for cruelty to the Indians, but concerning these criticisms it must be remarked:
(1) That the Hudson's Bay Co. had exactly as good a right there as any American had, because our Government, by freely executed treaties made, not at the end of a war, but in time of profound peace, had consented that any English citizen who chose might be there; and
(2) That the accusations of cruelty to Indians must have been incorrect gossip which he heard, being directly contrary to the uniform policy of that company; and
(3) That while what I have quoted from him is his report of his own experiences and observations, all his derogatory criticisms are of matters of which he had no chance for personal observation and are mere hearsay, and from abundant contemporaneous sources there is indisputable evidence that these derogatory statements based on hearsay are incorrect.
In 1834 Hall J. Kelley, a Boston school teacher, who had been urging the settlement of Oregon by lectures, newspaper articles and pamphlets ever since 1817, and who had journeyed to Oregon via Mexico and California, led a small party "of about a dozen" from California to Oregon, arriving in the Willamette Valley the last of October, 1834. It seems impossible to determine the exact num-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 381
ber in Kelley's party, he himself giving it variously in different places and some other authorities giving it nine and some fifteen. Lee and Frost say "about a dozen." Though Kelley himself was a thoroughly honorable man, a few disreputable individuals who had loose ideas as to the titles to horses had attached themselves to the party, and in the northern settlements of California these men had stolen some horses and taken them along to Oregon, and so upon the whole party rested the disgrace of the charge (which Governor Figueroa of California sent by sea to McLoughlin) that Kelley's party were horse thieves--a crime which in the pioneer days of all the Far West has meant a worse offense than murder. Under this dreadful stigma the party remained till Ewing Young, the leading spirit in the party (but not of the dishonest faction of it) secured from Governor Figueroa the next year a statement that he was innocent, after which he and McLoughlin were good friends.
Kelley was sadly broken in health when he reached Oregon, and though undoubtedly honest, on account of Governor Figueroa's warning against him McLoughlin did not welcome him nor his party as he had done other parties of Americans, but he (McLoughlin} says that when Kelley arrived at Fort Vancouver he was "very ill, and out of humanity I placed him in a house, put a man to nurse him, the surgeon of the establishment attended on him, and had his victuals sent him every meal until he left in 1835, when I gave him a passage to Oahu. On his return to the States he published a narrative of his voyage in which, instead of being grateful for the kindness shown him, he abused me and falsely stated I had been so alarmed with the dread that he would destroy the Hudson's Bay Co. trade that I kept a constant watch over him."
Kelley himself in his "Narrative" (p. 59) says: "When about to leave Oregon the Chief Factor of the company presented me with a draft of seven pounds sterling, payable at the Sandwich Islands. A part, however, was paid at Vancouver in articles of comfort. This was kind, and I felt grateful for it." (Cf. on Kelley (a) H. H. Bancroft's "History of the North West Coast," Vol. II., pp. 548-54; (b) "A History of the Settlement of Oregon and the Interior of Upper California and of Persecutions and Afflictions of Forty Years' Continuance Endured by the Author, Hall J. Kelley, A. M.," Springfield, Mass., 1868, and for Ewing Young, Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1880, pp. 56-8).
Kelley's book (as its title page plainly indicates) gives abundant evidence that his mind was very much disordered when it was written. Of the great value of his services to Oregon there can be no doubt. As early as 1817 he began an agitation for the colonization of Oregon and was the first to assert in his numerous lectures and
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pamphlets and newspaper articles the feasibility of an overland migration. As early as 1829 he procured the incorporation by the Massachusetts Legislature of "The American Society for encouraging the settlement of the Oregon Territory," and in 1830 published a "Geographical Memoir of Oregon," accompanied by a map, and in 1831 a "General Circular" for those intending to migrate to Oregon, in which he printed the Rocky Mountain Fur Co.'s account of the first wagons to the Rocky Mountains in 1830 and their declaration that they could easily have gone over the mountains through the Southern Pass, and Pilcher's declaration in the same Sen. Ex. Doc. 39, 21st Cong., 2d Sess., that "wagons and carriages may cross them in a state of nature without difficulty and with little delay in the day's journey."
In 1832 he published in Zion's Herald, in Boston, several articles calling for missionaries to accompany his migration to Oregon. Wyeth's first party resulted from Kelley's publications.
His personal reception and treatment, and that of his party by the Hudson's Bay Co., were certainly quite as kind as could have been expected with the charge of being horse thieves hanging over the whole party.
Bwing Young died in February, 1841, and left nothing in writing concerning his reception in Oregon by the Hudson's Bay Co., and the only trustworthy account is that of his intimate friend, Mr. Courteney M. Walker (Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1880, pp. 56-8).
As Mr. Walker was the manager of Wyeth's fur trading and salmon fishing post at Wappatoo Island, at the mouth of the Willamette, he certainly was not likely to be prejudiced in favor of the Hudson's Bay Co. He says that by the spring of 1836, after Governor Figueroa had withdrawn his charges as far as Ewing Young was concerned, Young, being very active and desirous of accumulating property, began to erect a distillery, and continues: "By this time a thorough reconciliation had taken place between Young and Dr. McLoughlin and the latter told Mr. Young that if he persisted in his distillery it would prove a ruin to the farming settlement, and assured him that if he wished to enter into any kind of enterprise that would be useful and beneficial to the young settlement that he would advance any required aid. Upon this appeal and offer he abandoned the distillery and then was planning for a saw a,nd grist mill.
"About this time (winter of 1836-37) Lieut. Slocum (Slacum) arrived, calling at Vancouver, where he made his quarters. In a few days he called upon Young and, everything being explained satisfactorily, Young and Slocum put in motion the introduction of
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Spanish cattle into Oregon and -within a few days a company was formed, Slocum supplying the money and giving a free passage to the persons engaged in his chartered brig to California. In this company Young acted as the purchasing agent and manager."
As Dr. McLoughlin furnished one-half of the money for this company, the fact that Young was made "purchasing agent" shows how complete was the reconciliation between him and McLoughlin.
Except the journal of Rev. E. E. Parrish, hereinbefore noted (Cf. p. 371 ante), and which says nothing of their treatment by the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers, I have found no contemporaneous account of the 1844 migration, which started after Congress (at the first session of the 28th Congress) had indulged in a great amount of very bellicose discussion on Oregon--the Democratic leaders clamoring for "all of Oregon" (i. e., to 54 deg. 40 min.) as a preparation for the "fifty-four forty or fight" campaign of the summer and autumn of 1844, and denouncing the great Whig leader, Henry Clay, as a "traitor" for proposing in 1826 as our "ultimatum" the identical line of 49 deg. which that staunch Democrat, President James Monroe, had proposed in 1818 and 1823, and which that equally staunch Democrat, Polk, in 1846, accepted despite the "fifty-four forty or fight" campaign on which he was elected.
Two of the prominent members of this 1844 migration were Hon. John Minto, who was President of the Oregon Pioneer Association in 1877, and Joseph Watt, a prominent Oregonian for many years. In "Transactions Oregon Pioneer Association" for 1876, pp. 35 to 50, is the "Occasional Address" for that year, by Mr. Minto, and on pp. 36-7 it reads as follows:
"This difference between the two classes of colonists is shown in the different circumstances and the results of the attempt of each to colonize on Puget Sound. Tinder the guidance and fostering care of the Hudson's Bay Co. the hardy Scotch and Canadians failed. As they were slowly abandoning the enterprise, a few citizens of the United States, against the almost hostile opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co., against the earnest advice and with the express statement of Dr. McLoughlin, the Chief Factor, that they (the company he represented) could give them no aid, not even employment, went there and maintained themselves, and in a few years were holding public meetings and passing resolutions calling on their Government to remove the (to them) foreign elements out of their way. I may here remark that it is one of the notable features of the immigration of 1844 that it furnished the nucleus of this successful settlement on Puget Sound."
On pp. 47-8, as follows: "The families and wagons were brought down the Columbia by boats loaned by the Hudson's Bay Co. by
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their then Chief Factor, Dr. John McLoughlin. Daniel Clark, g. B. Crockett and myself had left our trains at Fort Howard and made our way down the valley of the Columbia, and while working for a little means to return with applied to Dr. McLoughlin for the use of a batteau of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s with which to go up and assist our friends down the river. This we received from the good man. He also caused our orders we had on the company for the little supplies our earnings in the settlement would command to be respected, more for the sake of the object of our enterprise than from any obligation to fill them. Indeed, he set aside their rules of trade to do so, and I noticed a difference between his manner and that of Mr. James Douglas in their intercourse with us. Mr. Douglas was an urbane, civil and gentlemanly man in his dealings with us; but, honest to himself and his sovereign, he could not disguise his chagrin at each addition to the number of American settlers, and if ever man, by loyalty to his sovereign's interests, earned honors, James Douglas deserved his knighthood. But John McLoughlin 'held the patent for his honors immediately from Almighty God.' He filled our orders, wished us success in our enterprise and said of his own volition that a messenger would leave that evening with the last dispatches to a vessel about to sail out of the Columbia River, which afforded us, if we would like to take it, an opportunity to write to our friends in the east we might not get again for six months. We thanked him, but said we could not, for we had no writing material with us. He immediately ordered us furnished with everything necessary."
In the "Transactions of Oregon Pioneer Assn. for 1886," pp. 24-27, Joseph Watt publishes "Recollections of Dr. John McLoughlin," from which the following are extracts:
"On the 13th of November, 1844, a company of immigrants, landed at Fort Vancouver, brought there on a batteau commanded by Joseph Hess, an immigrant of '43. The boat belonged to the Hudson's Bay Co. Mr. Hess was intrusted with the boat for the purpose of bringing immigrants down the river. We had eaten the last of our provisions at our last camp and were told by Hess that we could get plenty at the fort, with or without money; that the old doctor never turned people away hungry. This made us feel quite comfortable, for there was not a dollar among us. As near as I can remember the company consisted of sixteen men, five women and four children. As soon as we landed at the fort the men all started to find Dr. McLoughlin, the women and children walking about the shore for exercise. We soon found the doctor in a small room he called his office. He was a tall, broad-shouldered, portly and dignified old gentleman; his hair long and white as snow; face-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 385
cleanly shaven, ruddy and full, and of a rather nervous temperament He met us pleasantly, made us welcome, inquired as to our journey down the river, and particularly of those we left behind. We were the first to arrive, with the exception of a few packers. He inquired who commanded the boat and how much, we had to pay. He told us that he had furnished the boats free of charge to certain parties to bring immigrants down the river, limiting their charges to keep them from taking advantage of necessity. He spoke of our being so late, and feared there would be considerable suffering before they could all be taken down the river, but would do all in his power until they reached their destination.
"We then made known to him our wants. We were all out of provisions. There was a small table in one corner of the room, at which he took a seat and directed us to stand in a line (there being so many of us the line reached nearly around the room), and then told us the year before and in previous years he had furnished the people with all the provisions and clothing they wanted, but lately had established a trading house at Oregon City, where we could get supplies; but for immediate necessity he would supply provisions at the fort. Several of our party broke in, saying, 'Doctor, I have no money to pay you, and I don't know when or how I can pay you.'
" 'Tut, Tut! never mind that; you cannot suffer,' said the doctor. He then commenced at the head man, saying: 'Your name, if you please; how many in the family and what do you desire?' Upon receiving an answer the doctor wrote an order, directing him where to go to have it filled, then called up the next man, and so on until we were all supplied. He told us the account of each man would be sent to Oregon City, and when we took a claim and raised wheat we could settle the account by delivering wheat at that place. Some few who came after us got clothing. Such was the case with every boat load and all those who came by land down the trail. If he had said, 'We have these supplies to sell for cash down,' I think we would have suffered. After we had our orders filled we went on board the boat which was to take us to Linnton (a place Governor McCarver started, expecting to build up a large city in the near future).
"We found the doctor in a towering rage; he was giving it to Hess right and left. It appeared that the doctor had come to the river to see the boat. He found it, as he supposed, full of wagons, and as he had given strict orders that only bedding, clothing, camp equipment, etc., should be brought with the immigrants, and that none should be left, he believed that Hess was making an extra price by bringing wagons. We commenced getting into the boat and
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climbing on top of the wagons. When all were in there was not an inch of spare room left. The doctor stook looking on until we were out on the river; he evidently expected to see the boat sink. Soon we heard him call out: 'Mr. Hess! All right, sir.'
"When we started for Oregon we were prejudiced against the Hudson's Bay Co., and Dr. McLoughlin, being Chief Factor of the company, came in for a double share of that feeling. I think a great deal of this was caused by reports of missionaries and adverse traders, imbuing us with a feeling that it was our mission to bring this country under the jurisdiction of the stars and stripes. But when we found him anxious to assist us, nervous at our situation in being so late, and doing so much without charge, letting us have of his store and waiting without interest until we could make a farm and pay him from the surplus products of such farm, the prejudice heretofore existing began to be rapidly allayed. We did not know that every dollar's worth of provisions, etc., he gave us, all advice and assistance in every shape, were against the positive orders of the Hudson's Bay Co., and in the end he had to pay the Hudson's Bay Co. every dollar that he had trusted to the settlers of this country. In this connection I am sorry to say that thousands of dollars virtually loaned by him to settlers at different times imthese early days was never paid, as an examination of his books and papers will amply testify." . . . "In the first few years after the permanent settlement commenced all classes asked the advice of the doctor as to the best course to pursue with reference to the many constantly arising questions. It appeared by common consent that he was practically the first Governor of the great North Pacific Coast. No man ever fulfilled that trust better than Dr. John McLoughlin. He was always anxious over the Indian problem. No one understood the Indian character better than he did. All the Indians knew him as the great 'White Chief,' and believed Avhatever he said could be depended on; that he was not their enemy, but was strictly just with them in everything; could punish or reward, as he thought best, and no trouble grew out of it. But with the settlers the case was different. Their intercourse with the Indians led to more or less complications. Unprincipled whites would take advantage; they made and sold them a vile compound called 'Blue Ruin,' the use of which not only led to intoxication, but seemed to arouse all that was bad in both white and red man. Dr. McLoughlin frequently had to use all his power to keep peace and harmony between the two races. Many believed if the doctor's warnings and advice had been followed much of our trouble with the Indians would not have occurred. His advice to Dr. Whitman, when he understood how the Indians were acting, was to 'leave the
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place immediately; not to trust them, delay was dangerous; leave, and don't go back until the Indians feel better toward you.' If this advice had been acted upon that terrible massacre would not have taken place and there would have been no Cayuse war. Yet after these events occurred no man did more to bring the Indians to justice and avenge the murder of Dr. Whitman and others than Dr. McLoughlin."
Concerning what Minto says of the settlement of the Puget Sound region (which was begun by this 1844 migration in 1845), it is to be observed that it was fully expected by the Hudson's Bay Co. and by Englishmen generally that the Columbia River would be the boundary, and nothing was more natural and proper, therefore, than that this English corporation should seek to dissuade Americans from settling north of the Columbia; and that there was no improper action in this regard is shown by Minto's statement that it was "against the almost hostile opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co., against the earnest advice and with the express statement of Dr. McLoughlin, the Chief Factor, that they (the company he represented) could give them no aid, not even employment."
Now, as McLoughlin was then and had been for twenty years the only representative of the Hudson's Bay Co. residing in the Oregon Territory, "whose word was the end of the law" as to the policy and aims of the Hudson's Bay Co., it is plain that there was nothing more of this "almost hostile opposition of the Hudson's Bay Co." to these American settlers in what the Hudson's Bay Co. regarded as certain to soon become English territory than is contained in the declaration that "McLoughlin earnestly advised them against making the settlement, and declared that the Hudson's Bay Co. could give them no aid, not even employment."
As to the actual experience of this first American colony in the Puget's Sound region (of which Joseph Watt was not a member), while I find no contemporaneous evidence, we have the sworn testimony of Michael T. Simmons, who was the leader of the first company of American settlers there, given September 1, 1865, in the "Case of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. vs. the United States," Vol. II., p. 40, as follows:
"Int. 3. 'What do you know of assistance rendered to the early settlers in the country; if so, to what extent was it rendered?'
"Ans. 'I know that they were very kind to all the settlers; every assistance that we asked for we got. I was sent by my party to ask for things, and what we asked for we generally got. We got seed wheat, peas, oats, potatoes, pigs and chickens, and in some instances cows were loaned, which were afterward purchased by the
388 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
settlers; without the assistance of the company I hardly know what we who came north of the Columbia would have done.'"
Mr. Simmons also testified in the "Case of the Hudson's Bay Co. vs. the United States" (Vol. I., pp. 129-139), as follows:
"Int. 17. 'State in what manner the Indians from Fort Hall to the end of your journey treated you, and to what influence you ascribe that treatment?' (This relates to his experience as a member of the overland migration of 1844.--W. I. M.)
"Ans. 'The Indians were very friendly and treated us very well all the way from Port Hall to Vancouver, and I attribute that treatment to the influence of the Hudson's Bay Co.'
"Int. 14. 'What, if any, assistance was afforded to you personally, and to other emigrants in the way of boats, to come down the Columbia River with goods, provisions, grain for sowing, employment, etc., in 1844?'
"Ans. 'I was loaned a batteau to bring my family down the river free of charge, and the company treated other emigrants in the same manner; they let us have provisions, seed grain and breeding pigs; they also gave us .employment getting saw logs, making shingles and staves to pay for what we got.' "
This, please bear in mind, was in 1844, in all the fury of the "54 deg. 40 min. or fight" canvass for the Presidency which resulted in the election of James K. Polk to the Presidency, and Simmous, who was a native of Kentucky and a prominent citizen of Washington Territory, farmer, merchant, ship owner, owner of a grist and saw mill, seven years United States Indian Agent and member of the Oregon Legislature in 1849, gives this testimony when twenty years' time certainly had given him ample opportunity for reflection, and at a time, just at the close of the civil war, when the prejudice against the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies, as against everything British, was at its highest all over the country, and especially in the Old Oregon Territory. Of Simmons' personal character Hon. Elwood Evans, the historian of Oregon and Washington, says in a sketch of his career: "To no fellow-being did he ever intentionally commit a wrong. All the early comers to Puget Sound will ever treasure the remembrance of his unstinted hospitality and his ever-ready and active zeal in contributing to the comfort of every settler. To the extent of his means none more than he contributed to the establishment of schools, churches and roads and other public benefits" (Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1886, pp. 87-98).
As to Watt's statement that "we did not know that every dollar's worth of provisions, etc., he gave us, all advice and assistance in every shape, was against the positive orders of the Hudson's Bay
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 38!)
Co., and in the end he had to pay the Hudson's Bay Co. every dollar that he had trusted to the settlers of the country," it is only necessary to say, as in the case of the criticism which Capt. Spaulding of the ship Lausanne made of the policy of the company, as hereinbefore quoted and commented upon by me (see pp. 379-380 ante) that in what he testified of the kindness of Dr. McLoughlin to the emigrants and the assistance which he rendered them, not out of his private means, but out of the stores under his control as the superintendent of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s whole business in the Oregon Territory, Mr. Watt speaks of what he knew from his own personal experience and observation, while as to the question of what the positive orders of the Hudson's Bay Co. were, and whether or not Dr. McLoughlin acted contrary to them and was made to pay the company every dollar that he had trusted to the settlers of this country, Mr. Watt, never having been in the position of a director or other official of the Hudson's Bay Co., and not pretending to have any information from any inspection of their official records, is merely repeating hearsay on this matter, and that as Dr. McLoughlin visited England in 1838, six years after Wyeth's first party reached Oregon and four years after his second party, with the Methodist missionaries and Townsend and Nuttall, the naturalists, reached Oregon, and also Hall J. Kelley's party of American settlers reached Oregon, and three years after Rev. Samuel Parker reached Oregon and was so hospitably entertained by Dr. McLoughlin and all the other Hudson's Bay Co.'s officials, and two years after Whitman, Spalding and Gray reached Oregon, and as Dr. McLoughlin returned in 1839 with his powers undiminished, and as in 1841 Sir George Simpson, the absolute Governor of all the Hudson's Bay Co.'s affairs in America from 1822 to 1857 (Cf. his testimony before select committee of Parliament in 1857, quoted by Cushing in his argument in Vol. IX., Hudson's Bay Co. and Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. vs. United States, supplement, p. 9), reached Oregon on a tour of inspection of all the Hudson's Bay Co.'s posts and officers there and returned to London in the autumn of 1842, and left McLoughlin's powers undiminished, and as those powers remained undisturbed till he resigned in the autumn of 1845, it is simply incredible, with the rigid discipline always maintained by that company over all its agents and employes, that this hearsay part of Mr. Watt's statement can be correct, the more especially as the sworn testimony of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers in Oregon, Messrs. James Douglas and Archibald McKinlay, men of the highest character and men who were in position to know the exact truth about the matter, squarely contradicts this hearsay statement of Watt. (Cf. "The Case of the Hudson's Bay Co. and Puget's Sound
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Agricultural Co. vs. the United States," Vol. I., pp. 60-61, for Douglas, and 103-104 for McKinlay'g testimony, quoted on p. 397 infra.) The migration of 1845 consisted of about 2,500 souls, with between 500 and 600 wagons, and among them was Joel Palmer, captain of a company that started from Independence, Mo., and had about forty wagons (see "Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1877, pp. 54 and 55). Palmer returned to the States in 1846 with five companions, and in 1847 returned to Oregon with his family and remained there the rest of his long and honored life. His "Journal of Travels Over the Rocky Mountains to the Mouth of the Columbia River, made during the years 1845 and 1846, by Joel Palmer, also a letter from the Rev. H. H. Spalding, Cincinnati, J. A. and U. P. James, 1847," is the only contemporaneous account of that journey so far as I have been able to ascertain. On p. 42, under date of August 8,1845, he says: "We traveled but five miles, which brought us to Fort Hall. . . . Oapt. Grant is now the officer in command ; he has the bearing of a gentleman."
(P. 112) Palmer says: "After breakfast we visited the fort" (i. e., Vancouver), where we had an introduction to Dr. McLoughlin, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co. He appears to be much of a gentleman and invited us to remain during the day, but as we were upon an excursion down the river we only remained to make a few purchases."
(Idem, pp. 62-G4) Palmer gives an account of the unfortunate outcome and hard experiences of an expedition led by one S. L. Meek, who induced about 200 families to turn off from the regular route at Malheur River, about half-way from Fort Hall to Fort Walla Walla, and try a new route to The Dalles. After telling how they narrowly escaped death from starvation and that about twenty of them died from disease previous to their arrival at The Dalles, and as many more after their arrival there, Palmer goes on as follows:
"It has been stated that some members of the Hudson's Bay Co. were instrumental in this expedition, but such is not the fact. Whilst I was at Fort Hall I conversed with Captain Grant respecting the practicability of this same route, and was advised of the fact that the teams would be unable to get through. The individual in charge at Fort Boise also advised me to the same purport. The censure rests, in the origin of this expedition, upon (S. L.) Meek" (who was a thoroughly patriotic American, like his brother, the noted Col. Jos. L. Meek.--W. I. M.), "but I have not the least doubt but he supposed they could get through in safety. I have understood that a few of the members controlled Meek, and caused him to depart from his original plan."
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 3<)1
(Idem, pp. 116-118) Palmer describes the Oregon Territory, and stating the population he goes on: "The settlers are laboring under great disadvantages on account of not being able to obtain a sufficient amount of fanning implements. The early settlers were supplied at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s stores, and at prices much less than these now charged for the same articles. At that time the supply was equal to the demand; but since the tide of emigration has turned so strongly to this region the demand is much greater than the supply. This may be said of almost every kind of goods or merchandise. The supply of goods in the hands of the American merchants has been very limited, being the remnant of cargoes shipped round upon that coast more for the purpose of trading with the Indians than with the cultivators of the soil.
"Great complaints have been made by the merchants trading in that quarter that they were not able to compete with the Hudson's Bay Co., and this is the cry even at home, but the fact is the prices were much lower before these American merchants went into the country than they are now.
"Their mode of dealing is to ask whatever their avarice demands and the necessities of the purchaser will bear. And not being satisfied with an open field, they have petitioned the Hudson's Bay Co. to put a higher price upon their goods, as they were selling lower than the American merchants wished to sell. In accordance with their request the Hudson's Bay Co. raised the price of goods when sold to an American, but sold them at the old prices to British subjects. This arrangement was continued for two years, but an American can now purchase at the fort as cheap as any one. These facts I obtained from various sources, and when apprised of the prices *>f goods in that country they were not hard to be believed.
"I paid for a pair of stoga shoes, made in one of the eastern States, and a very common article, four dollars and fifty cents. The price for a common coarse cotton flag handkerchief, which can be had in Cincinnati for five or ten cents, fifty cents. The price of calico ranges from thirty-one to eighty-seven and a half cents a yard; common red flannel, $1.50 a yard; a box of percussion caps (containing two hundred and fifty), two dollars and fifty cents; coarse boots, eastern made, six to eight dollars; calfskin, ten to twelve dollars; coarse half hose, one dollar; dry goods generally ranging with the above prices. Iron was selling at twelve and a half cents a pound. Tools of all kinds are very high; so that whatever may be said against the company for putting down the prices to destroy competition by breaking up other merchants cannot be 'sustained by the facts of the case.' That they prevent them from raising the prices there can be no doubt, and if the American mer-
392 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
chants had the field clear of competition the prices would be double what they now are. They have not capital to enable them to keep a supply nor to purchase the surplus of the country.
"The Hudson's Bay Co. are the only purchasers to any extent, for there are no others who have the necessary machinery to manufacture wheat, which is the staple of the country at present. The American merchants buy a few fish, hides and lumber, but in such limited quantities as to be of very little advantage to the country. A few American merchants with a little capital would give an impulse to trade, encourage the settlers, make it a profitable business to themselves and add much to the character of the country."
In Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assn., 1877, pp. 46-59, is an address by Hon. Stephen Staats, one of the 1845 migration, and on p. 52 he says: "We reached Oregon City in thirteen days from The Dalles (two of which we were without food), and on our arrival those of us in advance were kindly and hospitably received by old Dr. McLoughlin. He immediately furnished us with provisions without money and without price, and extended to us favors which we were ever ready to reciprocate. I am not one of those who wish to cast reflections on the character of Dr. McLoughlin or wish to impute to him anything wanting in the kindest feelings toward the emigrants of 1845, For well do I know that but for him many would have been more embarrassed in making provision for the coming winter's necessities than they were, and I have yet to see the emigrant of 1845 who, when speaking of the "old man doctor," does not speak in high commendation of his action toward the emigrants of that year."
This, it should be remembered, was in 1845, not only after all the fury of the "fifty-four forty or fight" campaign of 1844 had resulted in the election of James K. Polk to the Presidency, but after the news of his inauguration and the disturbing paragraph about Oregon in his inaugural address had readied these Hudson's Bay Co.'s officers in Oregon, and when, if ever, they might naturally have been expected to oppose Americans settling in Oregon.
As the report of the trial of the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Puget's Sound Agriculaural Co. vs. the United States is such an exceedingly rare document that few historical students can easily get access to it, it seems best to copy here all the testimony given in that case by all the Americans who went to Oregon before 1846 that bears upon the treatment Americans received from the Hudson's Bay Co. and that company's treatment of the Indians, together with so much of the testimony of Sir James Douglas and Archibald McKinlay of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s witnesses as covers these points.
My references to the volumes will be as they are numbered in
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 393
the State Department Library at Washington (for they were published as pamphlets, part of them in Montreal and part in Washington, and with no volume numbers).
I have been able to learn of the existence of but four sets besides my own, viz.: In the libraries of (1) the State Department at Washington; (2) the Law Library, Albany, N. Y.; (3) H. H. Bancroft's Library, San Francisco; (4) Yale College Library, New Haven, Conn.
The claims of these two companies originated in the third and fourth articles of the treaty of 1846.
As we have seen from the testimony of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes (Cf. pp. 356-364 ante) he, about 1846, estimated the value of all these "possessory rights, farms, lands, etc.," at a half a million dollars, and advised the representatives of the Hudson's Bay Co. in Washington to have that amount inserted in the treaty, which they declined to do, hoping to get more.
At various times between 1846 and 1860 the United States Government sought to buy out the claims of the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. In 1852 Secretary of State Daniel Webster was willing to pay fl,000,000 in full settlement, and probably but for his untimely death in November, 1852, a settlement would have been made on that basis (Cf. Vol. III., Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, pp. 222-3).
The Indian wars in Eastern Oregon in the years 1848 to 1859, and the occupation of various posts of the Hudson's Bay Co. by the United States troops, diminished their business and profits in the Old Oregon Territory, and finally, in I860, being notified by Gen. Harney, then in command of the United States troops there, that under the instructions of Secretary of War Floyd it became his duty to inform them that their rights on American soil had been terminated, they deemed it wise (in June, 1860), to retire altogether from the territory of the United States, but under protest to preserve their rights (Cf. Vol. I., Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, pp. 189-91,417).
Peeling that the United States Government was depreciating the value of their claims by acts of hostility to which they were powerless to offer resistance, and President Buchanan having in conversation with Lord Lyons, British Minister at Washington, on "July 11, 1860, suggested that the best and most expeditious mode of settling the question would be for the companies to state at once the lowest sum for which they would sell their rights to the United States," Lord John Russeli called on the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co. to fix the amount which they would ask for the extinction of their claims; whereupon the Governor named $650,000 as their
394 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
minimum price, but Lord Russell advised him in view of all the circumstances to reduce their claims to $500,000, which they agreed to do, and Lord Lyons communicated this offer to Gen. Lewis Cass, our Secretary of State, on December 10, 1860 (Cf. Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, Vol. VII., pp. 2824), and there can be no doubt but what this offer would have then been accepted but for the excitement following the election of Lincoln and the secession movement during the winter of 1860-61. The claims still remaining a source of great irritation between the two nations, on July 1, 1863, a treaty was made between the United States and Great Britain, which provided for the appointment of a commissioner by each nation, with power for the choice by them of an umpire, which commission was to proceed to hear the evidence and award the amount due from the United States to the Hudson's Bay Co. and Puget's Sound Agricultural Co., which award was to be final and conclusive, and in full payment of all claims of every kind that the two companies had under and by virtue of the treaty of 1846. The commission was constituted as follows:
Commissioner on the part of the United States, Alexander S. Johnson; on the part of Great Britain, John Rose; umpire, Benj. R. Curtis; counsel, on the part of the United States, Caleb Cushing; on the part of Great Britain, Charles Dewey Day and Edward Lander.
The taking of evidence began at Victoria, Vancouver Island, August 5, 1865, and ended August 24, 1867. Witnesses were examined in British Columbia, at several places in Oregon, and also in Washington Territory, in Montreal, New York City, Detroit, Mich., Washington, D. C., Cincinnati, Ohio, New Orleans, La., Goldsboro, N. C., the Tortugas, and London, England. The United States called more than 100 witnesses, including almost every prominent army officer that had ever been stationed in Oregon, among them Generals U. S. Grant, Phil Sheridan, Gordon Granger, Alfred Pleasanton, Rufus Ingalls, James A. Hardie, C. C. Augur, David H. Vinton and Benj. Alvord, also Admiral Charles Wilkes and Commander Gibson of the United States Navy.
Caleb Cushing was beyond question the best qualified man in the United States for the post of counsel in this case, not merely from his acknowledged standing as one of the ablest lawyers in the land, but from his intimate connection with the discussion of the Oregon boundary question, in Congress and out of it, in the years 1828 to 1846.
In Chapter VI. we have mentioned his four articles in the North American Review, and quoted from his famous report and supplemental report (Cf. pp. 202-203 ante}.
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 395
At about this time also Mr. Cushing was interested with some other Massachusetts men in a cargo of merchandise shipped to Oregon for trading purposes, and so came directly into competition with the Hudson's Bay Co.
In November, 1845, in a lecture. before the Boston Lyceum (which was promptly published in this country and republished by William Clowes & Sons, London, England), he reiterated very forcibly the statements of his report to the House of Representatives about the ease of the occupation of Oregon by the people of the United States and the practical impossibility of its colonization, as the world then looked, by Great Britain. (A copy of the London edition of this lecture is in the Boston Public Library, No. 2 of shelf No. 4478, 31.) With all this special preparation and study of the whole question of the Oregon Territory, and the relation of the Hudson's Bay Co. to its settlement by Americans, nothing is plainer than that if Mr. Cushing could have found any trustworthy evidence of any wrongful acts by that company toward American missionaries, explorers or settlers, he would have brought forward the evidence thereof, since if they had, prior to 1846, violated the rights of American citizens under the treaties of 1818 and 1827, and more especially if any proof could have been adduced that they were responsible for the Whitman massacre (which took place on November 29, 1847, more than a year after knowledge of the treaty of 1846 had been received there), he would have been able to entirely defeat their claims to any compensation from our Government. (The news of the treaty of 1846 settling the boundary reached Oregon City and was printed in an extra of the Oregon Spectator, a semi-monthly, and then the only paper published west of the Missouri, for Thursday, November 12, 1846. A file of the Spectator is in the San Francisco Public Library, where I examined it.)
The claims presented by the Hudson's Bay Co. aggregated at first $3,822,036.67, and by a motion to amend there was added to this the sum of $459,900, making $4,281,936.67 (Cf. Yol. III., Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, pp. 14 and 15), and the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. claimed a further sum of $1,168,000 (Cf. Memorial of Puget's Sound Agricultural Co., Vol. IV.)) making a total of $5,449,936.67. There was room for much honest difference of opinion as to the value of many of the items of these claims, and also as to whether or not the claimants had a right to claim anything for such items as the rights to trade and the right to navigate the Columbia, since they continued to trade and navigate the Columbia long after the treaty was made, but finally the commissioners, after one of the most thorough judicial investigations ever
396 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
given to any matter of dispute, on September 10, 1869, awarded to the Hudson's Bay Co. $450,000 and the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. $200,000, or in all $650,000, which, it will be noticed, is the precise amount that the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Co. had first informed Lord John Russell was the minimum amount they would be willing to accept in the autumn of 1860.
Of the more than 2,000 pages of testimony in this case by far the greatest part possesses no general interest, being merely estimates of the value of the land and the improvements thereon at the several posts of the company south of 49 degrees, and the condition of the buildings and the relations between the company and the more unscrupulous settlers (some of them Americans and some of them discharged employes of the companies), who had "squatted" on the land claimed by the companies, and torn down their fences, and stolen their cattle; and of the futile efforts of the companies to secure redress from the frontier courts, which they soon found to be "places where justice was dispensed with" whenever a "free American citizen" or any other "squatter" was defendant and the "blasted British monopoly" was plaintiff.
The Hudson's Bay Co. were at great disadvantage from the death of most of those who were thoroughly conversant with all the facts which they desired to establish--Dr. McLoughlin, Peter Skeen Ogden, James Birnie, P. 0. Pambrun, F. Ermatinger, Paul Frazer, John D. B. Ogilvy, Adolphus Lee Lewes, John McLeod, Thomas McKay, X. Payette and Archibald McDonald all had died before the trial began.
Whether or not their evidence would have increased the amount of the award no one can tell, but certainly if they or even McLoughlin, Ogden, Birnie, Parnbrun, Ermatinger, McLeod and McKay had been living a flood of light would have been thrown upon many points of great interest to all students of Oregon history.
Let us examine such points in the testimony of the witnesses as bear upon the subject of this chapter.
Sir James Douglas, who, with P. S. Ogden, was in charge of the business of the company in Oregon after the resignation of Dr. McLoughlin in the autumn of 1845, and who subsequently was the Governor of Vancouver Island, and who had no connection with the Hudson's Bay Co. after 1850, testified at Victoria, Vancouver Island, August 10, 1865, as follows (Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, Vol. I., pp. 49-61) :
"Int. 13. 'State if you can what was done by the Hudson's Bay Co. in exploring the country, opening roads, improving the Indians, and assisting the early settlers in Oregon.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 397-
"Ans. 'The Hudson's Bay Co. were certainly put to a very great expense in exploring the country, in making roads, in establishing an effective control over the Indian tribes and bringing them into friendly relations with the whites, and thus rendering the country habitable for settlers; substantial benefits, which, judging from the precedents afforded by the settlement of the territory of the United States of America, and of Her Majesty's Colonies, are never attained without great sacrifice of life and a large outlay of money. A reference to the Hudson's Bay Co.'s books will prove that besides the general kindness extended to the first American settlers who traveled by the overland route to Oregon, material aid was largely dispensed to them in clothing, agricultural implements and seed grain, without which they could hardly have succeeded in establishing the country. If my memory serves me right the value of the supplies furnished to these early settlers amounted to a very large sum, and I am informed that a large portion of it has never been repaid.'
"Int. 25. 'Do you not know that the officers and servants of the Hudson's Bay Co. were careful to impress the minds of the natives with the difference between Englishmen, called "King George's Men," and Americans, known as "Boston Men," and that in the wars or difficulties with the Indians this operated to the prejudice of the American settlers and authorities?'
"Ans. 'On the contrary, the very reverse of that is the case. I can attest that the Hudson's Bay Co. invariably exerted all their influence to protect white men of every nationality, and would have given the shelter of their establishments to an American citizen equally with their own countrymen. The distinctions known among the Indians as to the nationality of the English and Americans was not derived from the Hudson's Bay Co., but, I believe, from American citizens themselves.'
"Int. 26. 'Is it true that it was with great difficulty the Governor and Directors of the Hudson's Bay Co. in London were impressed with the change in affairs on this coast in the settlement of the country; and did not Dr. McLoughlin have much trouble and annoyance in settling his accounts because he had encouraged such settlements, instead of devoting himself to the fur trade exclusively?'
"Ans. 'I am not aware that the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Co., whatever may have been their private opinions, ever opposed the settlement of the country or issued orders to that effect to their agents here; neither have I ever heard before the present time that Dr. McLoughlin had been held responsible in any manner for supplies furnished or encouragement given to settlers from the United
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States'" (Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, Vol. I., pp. 54-55, 60-61).
Archibald McKinlay, the staunch Scotch Presbyterian, who was in charge of Fort Walla Walla from July, 1841, to February, 1846, testified August 24, 1865 (Idem, pp. 72-104):
(P. 78) "Int. 20. 'What was the conduct of the Indians toward the whites passing through the Snake country?'
"Ans. 'Very inoffensive and kind to the whites. I should not have been afraid to travel myself or allow any of my men to travel alone through that country from Fort Hall to Vancouver, or in any direction as far northwest of the Rocky Mountains as Babine Lake in British Columbia.'
(P. 79) "Int. 23. 'Where did you go after leaving Fort Nez Perces in 1846, and where did you reside the greater portion of the time before you left the employ of the company; in what business were you engaged for a portion of the time after leaving the company, and where did you reside?'
"Ans. 'I left Nez Perces (i. e., Fort Walla Walla) early in February, 1846, and I think I arrived at Vancouver on the 25th of the same month, and remained at Vancouver until I went to Oregon City between the 13th and 20th of March, and took charge of the company's business there, and remained there until the 20th of April, 1849. My furlough began and I was absent from the country until June, and returned to Vancouver, and remained there until I went into business in Oregon City as commission and general merchant, in partnership with George T. Allan and Thomas Lowe, under the firm name of Allan, McKinlay & Co., and continued in partnership until the fall of 1861. The latter part of this time the business was carried on at the mill at Ghampoeg. The partnership in real property continued until the spring of 1863. During the greater part of this time I was at Vancouver as often as once or twice a month, and when in commission business went there often.'
(P. 90) "Int. 16. 'Do you not know that a white man was killed by the Indians in the Snake country in 1841; and did not the company always have an armed escort with their brigades going up and coming back between Fort Vancouver and Fort Hall? Would you have us believe that all the stories of perilous adventure by trappers and travelers of which we have read are made out of whole cloth?'
"Ans. 'The man was killed, not in the Snake country, but at Kamloops, in British Columbia. This was not the result of general hostility among the Indians, but a personal difficulty with one man growing out of a superstition of the Indian with reference to medicine. After this I traveled all through that country in a company
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 399
of three and could have traveled alone equally well, The servants of the company accompanying the brigades were not generally required to carry arms; many did so for the purpose of shooting game and defending themselves if necessary. I have heard of armed escorts being used at times, but never saw one.'
(P. 93) "Int. 39. 'Do you not believe from the statements of emigrants and the agents of the company that the boats in 1844 were not furnished to the emigrants, but were furnished to unprincipled Americans, who proceeded to charge the emigrants for their passage and freight down the river, which was in many cases collected?'
"Ans. 'In 1844 some men who had crossed the plains came to Vancouver and represented that the emigrants were suffering for means to get down the river. Dr. McLoughlin, who was then in charge, gave them the company's boats, they saying they would volunteer to take them up and assist the emigrants. The boats made a number of trips, Dr. McLoughlin understanding that all was gratuitous. I afterward understood, however, that those who received the boats did charge some of the emigrants for their passage.'
(Pp. 103-4) "Int. 11. 'Have you not heard Dr. John McLoughlin state that he had difficulty with the officials of the company in London in (p. 104) settling his accounts, because of the credits given to settlers, and that he was charged with some part of this indebtedness because he had suffered it to be barred by the statute of limitations?'
"Ans. 'I have not; he knew better.'
"Int. 12. 'Was not much of the indebtedness which remained unpaid due from the Canadian French settlers who came before the general migration to Oregon; and was not some due from discharged servants of the company?'
"Ans. 'To the best of my recollection a part of the unpaid debts were due from such, persons, but I think their proportion was small.'"
Mr. McKinlay retired from the service of the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1851 and became a naturalized American citizen.
We have already examined the testimony of Admiral "Wilkes and M. T. Simmons' (Cf. pp. 1. 356-358, 1. 386-387 ante).
Let us now examine that of the various witnesses summoned for the United States who went to Oregon before 1846, taking them in the order of their arrival there.
The first was the noted Joseph L. Meek (whose ride to the States from Oregon, starting on January 4, 1848, was a vastly more daring deed than Whitman's ride). His testimony is found in Vol. V., Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, pp. 62-97.
400 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
As an American trapper, employed from 1829 to 1SS5 by Smith, Sublette and Jackson and the Rocky Mountain Fur Co., and for five years thereafter as a free trapper in the eastern part of the Old Oregon Territory, he naturally had a very strong prejudice against the Hudson's Bay Co., which appeared throughout his direct examination, but being an honest man, on cross-examination, when questions were put that compelled him to think carefully, he put aside his prejudices. He was the first United States Marshal for the Oregon Territory, holding that office nearly five years, officiating as such at the trial and execution of the Indians who were found guilty of the Whitman massacre. Knowing all the evidence adduced at that trial, his own daughter having been one of the captives then made by the Indians and rescued a month later by the Hudson's Bay Co., if any one knew anything about the causes of that sad tragedy it was Col. Meek, and had there existed any evidence showing that the Hudson's Bay Co. or the Catholics instigated it or were in any way responsible for it, Meek would have known it and surely would have used it in his testimony to defeat the claim of that company for compensation by the United States, but not a word of any such stuff appears in the following, which is all of his testimony bearing on the relation of the Hudson's Bay Co. to the American exploration, occupation and settlement of Oregon:
"Int. 3. 'When did you first come on to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, and in what capacity?'
"Ans. 'In the month of August, 1829; in the capacity of hunter and trapper.'
"Int. 4. 'How long did you follow that business, and in what sections of the country?'
"Ans. 'I followed it nearly eleven years; we was bounded, generally, on the west by the Blue Mountains; on the east, by the forks of the Platte; south, by the river Gila, and north, by the north branches of the Missouri, and into the Okanagan country.'
"Int. 7. 'What influence did the Hudson's Bay Co. exercise over the Indians in the section where you operated, with reference to American trappers and traders; state such facts as occur to you in this connection?'
"Ans. 'The Hudson's Bay Co. exercised a great influence over the western Indians--that is, the Cayuses, Nez Perces, Flatheads and Spokanes, and through there; they had no influence over the Indians east of the Rocky Mountains at all and way south. They could do almost anything with the Indians. I know of one party that was robbed by the orders of one of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s men, the commander of Port Walla Walla; the party was robbed and the furs brought back to the post and sold. I was not with that party;
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 401
that was my understanding about the matter; that was what the Indians said, and what the whites said that was robbed.'
"Int. 14. 'In the early settlement of the agricultural lands of the Willamette Valley, and what was then Oregon generally, what encouragement or discouragement was experienced by Americans from the Hudson's Bay Co.?'
"Ans. 'When I first came down, in 1840, they discouraged settlements by the Americans, that is especially north of the Columbia River; they expected the Columbia River to be the boundary line; they would not let us go north of the Columbia River, but always advised us to go south into the Willamette Valley. There were some men that got cattle; Mr. Walker and Mr. Doty got cattle; there were but five or six of us here then; they got oxen and cows.'
"Int. 15. 'Were cattle sold or loaned to the settlers; if loaned, upon what terms?'
"Ans. 'They were loaned, not sold; the Hudson's Bay Co. had no cattle to sell; they were to return the cattle with the increase.'
"Int. 16. 'Up to what date did the company continue to discourage the settlement of Americans in Oregon?'
"Ans. 'Up to about 1843 or 1844.'
"Int. 17. 'What condition, if any, did the company impose upon you, and those settlers with you in the Tualitin plains, before they gave their consent?'
"Ans. 'The condition was that we were to let the Indians alone; not to raise no fuss with them, and not to trade with them--that is, for furs.'
"Int. 19. 'What, in your judgment, caused the change in the tactics of the company in 1843-44, with reference to American settlers?'
"Ans. 'I thought it was on account of the emigration, so many coming in here, and the American squadron having just been here.'
"Int. 1. 'State whether the influence of the Hudson's Bay Co. over the Indians was not salutary and beneficial.'
"Ans. 'Certainly it was in all this lower country.'
"Int. 2. 'Was not that influence exerted uniformly and promptly for the protection of the early immigrants and settlers?'
"Ans. 'It certainly was.'
"Int. 3. 'Can you give the names of the party who said they were robbed by the orders of one of the Hudson's Bay Co. men?'
"Ans. 'I can, some of their names--Wilkins, Robinson and McDofy, three of them I remember well.'
"Int. 4. 'In whose employ were these men at the time?'
402 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Ans. 'Captain Wyeth's.'
"Int. 5. 'State the time, place and circumstances of this alleged robbery.'
"Ans. 'I don't think I can exactly; it must have been in 1834 or 1835; I think they told me it was on the head waters of Day's River; I don't know what the circumstances were.'
"Int. 6. 'Who was at that time the commander of Fort Walla Walla?'
"Ans. 'Mr. Pambrun.'
"Int. 7. 'Did you ever hear him say anything about the matter?'
"Ans. 'Never a word.'
"Int. 8. 'Did you see him frequently after it occurred?'
"Ans. 'I seen him, not very frequently, though several times.'
"Int. 9. 'Did you ever ask him anything in regard to it?'
"Ans. 'Never; I don't think I ever did.'
"Int. 10. 'Did the men who said they had been robbed state any reason for such an order of Mr. Pambrun?'
"Ans. 'They stated various reasons about it; the main reason that they said was because they wouldn't trade their beaver with Mr. Pambrun at Walla Walla. Another reason was that one of the men had stolen a woman from Walla Walla and run off with her. What we call stealing a woman is taking a wife when you can get her; that's what we call petit larceny in the mountains.'
"Int. 11. 'Was not the capture or stealing of a woman regarded by the Indians as an act of hostility, provoking their revenge?'
"Ans. 'If she had been stolen from the Indians it would have been considered so by them; but as she was stolen from the whites, the Indians, generally, had nothing to do with it.'
"Int. 12. 'Prom whom was this woman stolen?'
"Ans. 'I think she was stolen from some of the Hudson's Bay men.'
"Int. 13. 'Was she recaptured by the Indian party?'
"Ans. 'I think not.'
"Int. 14. 'Was not the attack upon these men under the circumstances generally regarded among mountain men as an act of justice?'
"Ans. 'I think not, sir; no, sir.'
"Int. 15. 'Do you know whether any of the principal officers of the company approved of that act?'
"Ans. 'All that I ever heard speak of.it condemned it--that is, the principal officers, the bourgeois.'
"Int. 16. 'Did you ever hear that Mr. Pambrun ordered it, except from the men who were robbed?'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 403
"Ans. 'I heard it from the Indians, the nation that done it, and the men, that is all I ever heard say so.'
"Int. 17. 'What tribe did it?'
"Ans. 'The Gayuses and Walla Wallas, I think.'
"Int. 18. 'Do you not know that Indians are very artful in making up stories of that sort to shield themselves?'
"Ans. 'Yes, Indians are very artful in making up stories, but there are not many of those Indians that dare make up a story against a Hudson's Bay bourgeois at those times.'
"Int. 22. 'Do you believe that this alleged robbery would have taken place if it had not been for the stealing of the Indian woman?'
"Ans. 'I do not know whether it would or not.'
"Int. 23. 'Were not most of the troubles between the mountain men and the Indians caused by quarrels about Indian women?'
"Ans. 'No, sir.'
"Int. 24. 'Was not that a cause of difficulty in many instances?'
"Ans. 'I think not, sir; no, sir.'
"Int. 25. 'Did you ever hear of any other robbery, such as this mentioned, in which any blame was imputed by rumor or otherwise to any officer of the company?'
"Ans. 'I think not; no, sir.'
"Int. 28. 'Do you not believe that the great reason why the Indians respected and feared the company and its men was because of their knowledge that the company had power to punish any wrong; and also because the company had always instructed its agents to act fairly and justly toward the Indians?'
"Ans. 'The upper Indians had no knowledge of the kind, except by the company cutting off their supplies when they did wrong. Some time after Fort Hall fell into the company's hands they had complete dominion over that country, Indians and all. I think they always instructed their agents to act fairly toward the Indians. The name of the company passed me through to Fort Bridger in 1848; when the Indians came to me I told them that Tom McKay was behind with a large party, going to Fort Hall to trade; I wore the Hudson's Bay dress out and out.'
"Int. 29. 'Was this trip, in 1848, the one you made as messenger to the United States Government to ask aid in suppressing hostilities?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir.'
"Int. 30. 'Did not the officers of the company, at all its posts, do everything in their power for your protection, convenience and comfort on that trip?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir; I had an order from Dr. McLoughlin to that amount.'
404 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 33. 'Did not the Cayuse war follow as the consequence of the massacre of Dr. "Whitman and his family?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir; that was the cause of the Cayuse war.' "Int. 34. 'State who rescued the survivors of that massacre.'
"Ans. 'Peter Skeen Ogden, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Co.'
"Int. 35. 'Did he not go up, personally, with a company before the Provisional Government had time to act in the matter?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir; when the news arrived at Vancouver he equipped a party and went direct up in person and bought the survivors and brought them down; he gave presents to the Indians; I think there were about sixty caine down in the boats.'
"Int. 36. 'When you say that the company discouraged settlements north of the Columbia River, state whether it was not on the ground that if the land north of the Columbia should be assigned to Great Britain, American settlers might lose their nationality.'
"Ans. 'I don't know about that; I know they would not let us settle on the north side; so far as nationality was concerned, I don't think they cared anything about it.'
"Int. 37. 'Did they hinder settlers going north of the Columbia, except upon lands which they claimed to occupy?'
"Ans. 'I think not, sir; they claimed the whole country, though, north of the Columbia?'
"Int. 41. 'Did not the company advise settlers to go to the Willamette Valley, so that being together they might be better enabled to protect themselves from Indian hostilities?'
"Ans. 'They always advised them to go to the Willamette, but I always thought it was to keep them out of their way at Vancouver and from settling that country.'
"Int. 42. 'Was not the land in the Willamette as good as that north of the Columbia?"
"Ans. 'I think the land in the Willamette as good as that north of the Columbia for raising wheat.'
"Int. 43. 'Was not one reason stated by Dr. McLoughlin for his advice that if they scattered about they would be in greater danger ?'
"Ans. 'That was one of his reasons.'
"Int. 44. 'Do you not now believe that the advice given by Dr. McLoughlin to the settlers was the best for their interests that he could give?'
"Ans. 'I think his advice was pretty good then, but it has proved very bad since.'
"Int. 45. 'How has it proved bad?'
"Ans. 'The first settlers were deprived of the most valuable part of the country.'
"Int. 46. 'Which was that?'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 405
"Ans. 'That was all the lower country, places near to the river along the Willamette, below the falls; but I believe the doctor meant his advice for the good of the settlers at the time.'
"Int. 47. 'Why were the lands along the Willamette River below the falls the most valuable lands in Oregon?'
"Ans. 'It is so near to market and conveniences of getting to them; but I must add that they didn't look so convenient in those days as they do now with big farms and towns on them.'
"Int. 48. 'Have not the markets all grown up since that time?'
"Ans. 'No, sir; the wheat market was better that day than it is now/
"Int. 49. 'Were not prairie lands which produced wheat more valuable to the settlers than heavily timbered lands on the river banks?'
"Ans. 'They were, at that time, to raise wheat on.'
"Int. 50. 'Were they not for everything which it was profitable to raise?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir.'
"Int. 51. 'Did you not, in 1850-1851, write a letter to Dr. John McLoughlin, in reply to some questions sent to you by him, stating that his conduct while at the head of the company had greatly promoted the welfare and prosperity of the early settlers, and that but for him you did not believe the settlers could have got through with their difficulties, or words to that effect?'
"Ans. 'I think I did, sir.'
"Int. 52. 'Did not Lucier and others take lands along the river, below the Willamette falls, and afterward abandon them and move to the upper prairies?'
"Ans. 'I think they did; I have heard so.'
"Int. 53. 'Do you know of any instance in which the company refused to furnish stock to a respectable settler worthy of credit?'
"Ans. 'I don't think I do, sir.'
"Int. 54. 'Do you know of its refusing to furnish supplies to emigrants or settlers who were worthy of credit?'
"Ans. 'Some they furnished with supplies, some they did not; that is, certain kinds of supplies. If a man would take a claim, he could get seed wheat, plows, hoes, harrows, teeth, and so on, if he would show a disposition to go to work to raise wheat, which they was the only market for.'
"Int. 55. 'Was not that market, if the only one, better than none?'
"Ans. 'Yes, it was better than it is today, as far as supplies are concerned.'
406 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 58. 'Did you know anything of Jedediah Smith, who was trading and trapping in Southern Oregon? State what you know of his rescue, if anything; by whom, and when it was made.'
"Ans. 'I know Jedediah Smith very well, having served under him in the Kocky Mountains; I think the rescue was made in 1828, by Mr. McCloud of the Hudson's Bay Co. In 1829 I was detailed by the company, in whose service I was, to hunt for him; we crossed the Kocky Mountains, and found him in Pierre's Hole, on the head of Snake River, with a party. He came and joined the company then--the company of Smith, Jackson and Sublette--he was one of the partners; he told me that he had been defeated at the crossing of Rogue River, all his men killed but three, I think; he made his way to Vancouver, and the company equipped and sent out a party to get his property and rescue any of the party that might be left; I think he remained the winter of 1828 with the Hudson's Bay Co.; in the summer of 1829 we met him on Snake River.'
"Int. 59. 'How much of his property was rescued, if you know?'
"Ans. 'That I do not know, how much; there were various statements made about it; I don't remember exactly what Smith said; I think he said very little was recovered; some beaver and horses, mostly beaver.'
"Int. 60. 'How large a party was sent out for this purpose, and how long were they absent?'
"Ans. 'I don't know exactly how many there were in the party; Smith said, I think, there were forty or fifty men; I think they were tinder the command of Thomas McKay; and he said he was going to kill all the Indians out there; and the order was countermanded and Mr. McGloud was sent in his place; I don't remember how long; I think they were out several months; Smith and Black told me often, but I don't remember.'
"Int. 61. 'Did not Smith express great gratitude to the company because it had done so much for him, especially as he was a rival fur trader?'
"Ans. 'Smith always expressed great gratitude to the company for the act they had done.'
"Int. 62. 'Did he say whether it was done without any charge ?'
"Ans. 'Smith always said it was done without any charge, but it was always disputed by the other partners, so much so that they dissolved and sold out the next summer to the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. and formed a new firm.'
"Int. 75. 'How long did you remain at Port Hall at that time?'
"Ans. 'I think I was there three days; it generally took one to get drunk and two to get sober.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 407
"Int. 98. 'Was not Fort Hall a place of general resort for emigrants when they began to come to Oregon and California?'
"Ans. 'I think it -was, sir; they generally passed Fort Hall.'
"Int. 99. 'Did not the position of that fort in the Indian country have the effect of protecting the emigrant route?'
"Ans. 'I think it had, sir; I suppose it was a great protection to the emigrant route.'
"Int. 100. 'Was not the same true of Forts Boise and Walla Walla?'
"Ans. 'I don't think Fort Boise was of any consequence at all, except the name of the Hudson's Bay Co.; that was a protection along there. The emigrants hardly ever came by Walla Walla, but I presume it was a protection.'
"Int. 107. 'In your judgment would not the emigrants, in all probability, have had trouble with the Snake Indians at Boise but for the fact that the company had a fort there?'
"Ans. 'They might have had trouble there; it was a troublesome country along there for emigrants.'
"Int. 159. 'While Marshal of the United States for Oregon, from 1849 to 1853, where did you find rooms for the courts at Vancouver ?'
"Ans. 'I found rooms in Fort Vancouver; I got them from the Chief Factor in charge.'
"Int. 160. 'Was their use furnished gratuitously?'
"Ans. 'I have no vouchers for money paid by me for the use of those rooms, no charge having been made for their use.'
"Int. 161. 'Did not Mr. Ogden, Chief Factor, tell you that you were welcome to use them whenever you wanted them?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir; Mr. Ogden was very clever in that respect.'
"Int. 162. 'In your official life state whether you found any residents of Oregon more prompt and willing to assist you when necessary than the officers of the company?'
"Ans. 'No, sir; I never found any that was more prompt than the officers of the Hudson's Bay Co.'
"Direct examination resumed:
"Int. 4. 'How many settlers, in 1840 and 1841, were able to get seed wheat of the company?'
"Ans. 'I do not know; most any man could get seed wheat that showed a disposition to make a farm and raise wheat.'
"Int. 5. 'What condition, if any; did the company seek to impose upon those receiving seed wheat?'
"Ans. 'They imposed the condition that they would pay it back again.'
"Int. 6. 'Do you know of any farmer who was refused seed grain by them? If so, state who it was.'
408 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Ans. 'I know some that were refused seed grain; Mr. George Davis, Joseph. L. Meek; I think, though, there were several others.'
"Int. 7. 'State whether you and these other men took claims and wanted to make a start at farming or not.'
"Ans. 'Those other men--some of them--took claims and I took a claim; it is hard to tell what my object was when I took a claim.'
"Int. 8. 'Of the company of men first settling on the Tualitin plains who were furnished with seed grain, so far as yon know?'
"Ans. 'Mr. Doty, Mr. Walker and Mr. Newell.'
"Int. 9. 'Were they more respectable or more worthy of credit than those who were refused?'
"Ans. 'I presume the company thought so.'
"Int. 10. 'State what you think about it.'
"Ans. 'So far as I myself was concerned, I thought I was as worthy as any man that lived; the other men were very worthy men, as I thought.'
"Int. 11. 'Who were furnished with cattle by the company, and as far as you know?'
"Ans. 'Mr. Walker, Mr. Doty, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Williams and Mr. Kelsey.'
"Int. 12. 'Were the cattle sold or simply loaned?'
"Ans. 'I think they were loaned.'
"Int. 13. 'Was it not generally understood among the American trappers that the Hudson's Bay Co. got a very large quantity of Jedediah Smith's furs, for which he and they failed to account to the company to which they belonged ?'
"Ans. 'It used to be said so amongst the trappers in the mountains.'
"Int. 14. 'If you remember, state the quantity which was thus reported.'
"Ans. 'It was always reported as about forty packs.'
"Int. 15. 'Give an estimate of the value of forty packs of beaver at that time.'
"Ans. 'Forty packs of beaver at that time in the mountains was worth about $20,000; I don't know what they would be worth at Vancouver.'
"Int. 16. 'State whether the dispute about this matter was the cause of the dissolution of the firm of Smith, Jackson & Sublette, to which you refer in your cross-examination.'
"Ans. 'I do not know; that was the report among mountain men.'
"Int. 1. 'What character did Jedediah Smith bear?'
"Ans. 'He bore a very high reputation for truth and veracity and a gentleman.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 409
"Int. 2. 'Prom what you know of his reputation do you believe he was capable of conspiring with Dr. McLoughlin to defraud his partners ?'
"Ans. 'I think he was a man of too great a reputation to be guilty of any act of the kind.'
"Int. 3. 'How long did you know Dr. John McLoughlin, and what was his reputation for truth and honesty during that time?'
"Ans. 'I got acquainted with John McLoughlin in the winter of 1840; I knew him from that time until he died; he was a high-toned gentleman; for truth and veracity he could not be beat.'
"Int. 4. 'Prom what you know of the character and honesty of Dr, McLoughlin, do you believe he was capable of conspiring with Jedediah Smith for the purpose of defrauding his (Smith's) partners, or to make money for the Hudson's Bay Co. ?'
"Ans. 'I have no idea that the doctor was ever capable of any such business.'
"Int. 9. 'When you and others were refused wheat by Dr. McLoughlin, did he not say that he was willing to furnish it to any who were farmers, but unwilling to sell it for other purposes?'
"Ans. 'I think he did; I think he said he was willing to furnish it for seed to farmers.'
"Int. 10. 'At that time had you done any farming in Oregon?'
"Int. 11. 'Did you not afterward obtain at Vancouver such things as you wanted to carry on your farm ?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir.'
"Int. 12. 'Do you not know that many of the settlers who borrowed cattle from the company never returned them or paid the company for them?'
"Ans. 'I know some men borrowed cattle there and never returned them.'
"Int. 13. 'Were not some of these the persons mentioned by you in your previous testimony?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir; Mr. Williams was one that I know of; Mr. Griffin never returned his, I think.' "
It should be said with regard to all the testimony in these cases that a very great amount of latitude was allowed and much hearsay and other testimony admitted that would have been excluded under the strict application of the rules of evidence, presumably because it was not to go before an ordinary jury, but before commissioners who were all able lawyers, and who were to have, ample time to sit down and read, and study, and sift the evidence thoroughly.
Meek, it will be remembered, was one of the party who, in 1840, outfitted at Port Hall and drove through to Walla Walla the first
410 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
three wagons that ever went through to the Columbia (Cf. pp. 84-88, ante).
The next witness in order of time of arrival in Oregon was W. H. Gray, and in Chapter III. of Book II., infra, so much of his testimony is quoted as bears directly on the question of Whitman's ride and Mr. Gray's qualifications for writing history and his utter indifference to accuracy, even on so easily ascertained a point as whether Millard Fillmore or John Tyler was President of the United States in the spring of 1843.
Such other part of his testimony as concerns the relation of the Hudson's Bay Co. to the occupation of Oregon by American missionaries and settlers was as follows:
"Int. 3. 'In what capacity and for what purpose did you first cross the Rocky Mountains?'
"Ans. 'I came in the capacity of secular agent, mechanic and teacher to the mission of the A. B. C. F. M., then about being established in the country, in connection with Rev. H. H. Spalding and Dr. Marcus Whitman and their wives.' "
In Chapter IV. of Book II., infra,., the total falsity of this claim of Gray to having been "Secular Agent" of the A. B. C. F. M. Mission is demonstrated by quoting from the Missionary Herald during the existence of the mission its statements of his real position:
"Int. 5. When you first came to the country, and in the immediately following years, what was the policy of the Hudson's Bay Co. with reference to the general settlement of Oregon by Americans? State any facts in your knowledge pertinent to this object.'
"Ans. 'The policy of the company, as made known to me by John McLeod, Thomas McKay, P. C. Pambrun, John McLoughlin, James Douglas, Francis Ermatinger, and, I think, Mr. Simpson, was to discourage and dissuade all American settlement in the country; this policy was made known to me first at the rendezvous on Green River by McLeod and McKay; afterward by Mr. Pambrun, Ermatinger, Dr. McLoughlin and Mr. Douglas; first, in refusing to allow our mission to engage men such as was deemed necessary to assist in erecting the mission establishments; afterward, by Dr. McLoughlin and Mr. Douglas, in declining to allow the mission to bring men or laborers from the Sandwich Islands in their ships, which was a prominent reason for my being sent back to the States to bring a reinforcement to the mission across the mountains. In the mountains I obtained the consent of Mr. Ermatinger to bring a carpenter and blacksmith, under a contract drawn by him, for the services of the mission, upon conditions that those men were to receive only the wages given to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Co. and not to trade any goods they might receive
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 411
for their pay for services to the Indians for furs or interfere with the company's trade in any manner.'"
As to the total falsity of all this about the Hudson's Bay Co. opposing Americans settling in Oregon the evidence in this chapter is conclusive.
It will be noticed that of all the officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. with whom he claims to have had these conversations James Douglas was the only one then living, and that he testified that the policy of the company was directly opposite to what Mr. Gray stated it to have been on his alleged recollections, wholly unsupported by a word of contemporaneous letters or diaries, about conversations from seventeen to thirty years before.
"Int. 41. 'Have you ever had any conversation with the late Dr. John McLoughlin about supplies and assistance furnished the early settlers of the country and his consequent treatment by his superiors? If so, state when and what it was.'
"Ans. 'I have, both as regards the missionaries and settlers. In the winter of 1836 and 1837 Dr. McLoughlin explained to me fully the position in which he stood to the company and the difficulty he would necessarily get into by furnishing supplies to missionaries or settlers, and advised me, as I was about returning to the States, to advise our board in reference to sending on supplies to the missions--to our mission particularly referred to. He also said that he was fearful that there would be complaints and difficulties growing out of the supplies he had already furnished to the Methodist missions; that whatever supplies we received from the company we must consider them as an especial favor. Afterward, in 1845 and 1846, perhaps, when I was building a house for the doctor in Oregon City, he told me that he had a falling out with the company in consequence of furnishing those supplies, and that he had left their service; he said that they held him personally responsible for the amount of the advances made to the Protestant missionaries and settlers.'
"Int. 1. 'When did you have the last conversation with Dr. McLoughlin?'
"Ans. 'In the fall of 1847; I spent some two weeks of that year in Oregon City.'
''Int. 2. 'Did he say that the company had charged him for the supplies advanced to settlers or that he feared they would charge him?'
"Ans. 'My impression is that he said they had charged him, and that he had to pay it.'
412 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 8. 'In his conversation in the winter of 1836 and 1837 did not Dr. McLoughlin tell you that he was instructed by the company to do no credit business?'
"Ans. 'Not at all; the supplies furnished to the mission were not upon credit, but drafts drawn upon the board, payable in London.'
"Int. 4. 'Did he ever refuse supplies to Dr. Whitman's mission?'
"Ans. 'I do not think he did, to a limited extent.'
"Int. 5. 'Did he ever refuse anything desired by Dr. Whitman?'
"Ans. 'To a certain extent he did refuse; that is, the supplies were limited to what the company or he thought was sufficient for our immediate wants.'
"Int. 6. 'Do you mean to swear that Dr. McLoughlin ever refused Dr. Whitman any favor for which he asked?'
"Ans. 'I mean to say that there was scarcely a single invoice or bill calling for supplies for the mission that was sent to Vancouver and filled; I know the first invoice made out was not filled.'
"Int. 7. 'In what respect?'
"Ans. 'In respect to goods and tools.'
"Int. 8. 'Did the company have the tools and goods that were sent for to spare and dispose of?'
"Ans. 'The company had the most of the goods that we wanted; they stated that they could not spare them from the Indian trade. Tools they only had a limited supply, and advised me to make out my bills and forward them to London and they would be filled.'
"Int. 9. 'Who of the company refused to allow you to engage such men as you wanted to erect buildings ?'
"Ans. 'Mr. McLeod in the Rocky Mountains and Dr. McLoughlin objected to it in Vancouver.'
"Int. 10. 'What reason did they give?'
"Ans. 'The reason assigned was that those men would be trading and interfering with Indians about the stations.'
"Int. 11. 'Was not the reason given that they had not the men to spare?'
"Ans. 'The reason assigned in the Rocky Mountains by McLeod was that they preferred to supply the men necessary rather than to allow the Americans to be brought from the mountains. Dr. McLoughlin had not the men to spare.'
"Int. 12. 'How many men did you bring with you the first trip ?'
"Ans. 'We brought but two men to Fort Hall; one left at Fort Hall.'
"Int. 14. 'Did not Dr. McLoughlin, when he declined to allow the mission to bring men from the islands, say that his vessels could not bring the men the company needed?'
"Ans. 'I think not.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 413
"Int. 15. 'What reason did he give?'
"Ans. 'The principal reason was the liabilities of those men to interfere with the mission labors and cause difficulty with the Indians.'
"Int. 16. 'Do you not know that the company was required to give bonds to the Hawaiian Government for the safe return of the islanders brought from Honolulu, and were therefore compelled to keep them under their supervision?'
"Ans. 'I think they were not in 1836 and 1837 and perhaps 1838, but after that I think they were.'
"Int. 24. 'What did the improvements made by you that year cost?'
"Ans. 'They cost the American Board about $500; the mill machinery was sent out by the board, and was extra.'
"Int. 25. 'Do you know the amount of damages claimed by the American Board of the Government for the destruction of that property ?'
"Ans. 'I do not know; I have understood that it was either three or nine thousand dollars, including cattle and everything.'
"Int. 47. 'Have you not been conscious of an unfriendly feeling toward the company and its agents ever since their refusal to employ you and your wife?' (i. e., in 1839).
"Ans. 'Not on account of that transaction or refusal to employ us.'
"Int. 48. 'Do you mean to say that you and your wife and Dr. and Mrs. Whitman did not make frequent and prolonged visits to Walla Walla and Fort Vancouver?'
"Ans. 'I mean to say that me and my wife never visited Vancouver but once; we were compelled, in consequence of a misunderstanding between Mr. Spalding and ourselves, to remain at Walla Walla (or rather my wife was) during the winter of 1839 and 1840 some two or three weeks, awaiting my return from Vancouver. On my return we went directly to Dr. Whitman's station; we seldom visited the fort afterward; Dr. and Mrs. Whitman made frequent calls upon Mr. Pambrun's family and occasionally visited Fort Vancouver. Between some of the gentlemen of the company, Dr. Whitman and family, myself and family, there was always a cordial and agreeable association and acquaintance, and we always felt that it was private and had nothing to do with the affairs of the company.'
"Int. 49. 'Was the company on this coast known or represented except by its agents at its posts?'
"Ans. 'There was always in our intercourse with the gentlemen of the company a distinction kept up by themselves as to the manner in which we should regard them in our private business or social
414 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
relations and in their actions and business relations as connected with the company.'
"Int. 50. 'Did you know the Hudson's Bay Co., except by its representatives at its posts?'
"Ans. 'We always understood there was a double action, so far as related to the gentlemen of the company and the company itself; the question might be answered--we did.'
"Int. 51. 'Do you mean to say that the agents of the company acted differently as private individuals and as agents?'
"Ans. 'I mean to say they acted in a double capacity.'
"Int. 52. 'In what capacity did you act?'
"Ans. 'I acted as secular agent to the mission of the A. B. C. F. M.'
"Int. 58. 'Was it not of great advantage to the mission to have the post at Walla Walla in their neighborhood and to find the Indians there partially reclaimed from the habits of their savage life ?'
"Ans. 'When that post was under the supervision and direction of Mr. Pambrun and Mr. McKinlay it was a great advantage to both the mission and fort; as soon as it passed into the hands of Mr. McBean it became the immediate cause, with other influences in that section, of the destruction of the mission.'
"Int. 59. 'When did Mr. McBean take charge?'
"Ans. 'I am unable to say; it was after 1842.'
"Int. 60. 'When did you leave Dr. Whitman's?'
"Ans. 'In the fall of 1842.'
"Int. 61. 'Do you not know that Mr. McKinlay continued there until 1846?'
"Ans. 'I do not; I saw him in Oregon City before 1846; I am almost positive it was in 1845, residing there.'
"Int. 62. 'Were you at Whitman's or at Walla Walla between 1842 and 1848?'
"Ans. 'I think not.'
"Int. 63. 'In saying that McBean's occupation of the fort resulted in part as just stated by you, do you pretend to know anything about it or is your opinion based upon rumors?'
"Ans. 'My knowledge and opinions are based upon the testimony which, has been given and published in relation to the destruction of that mission and the particular accounts which I have received from the Indians in that section of the country since 1861, which I believe to be substantially correct.'
"Int. 64. 'Are you as certain in regard to that statement as you were that Fillmore was President in the winter of 1842 and 1843?'
"Ans. 'I am considerably more certain than of that, as I have more thoroughly studied the subject.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 415
"Int. 65. 'Do you not know that Indians often fabricate stories to suit their own purposes?'
"Ans. 'That depends altogether upon the object to be accomplished.'
"Int. 70. 'How much did it cost to bring Dr. Whitman's party from the States, to send you home and bring you out again with men and to purchase supplies at Vancouver before your mission was built?'
"Ans. 'I am not able to say.'
"Int. 71. 'Could you have built the mission, supplied and protected yourselves, but for the aid furnished by the company and the fact that the company had establishments in the vicinity convenient for your assistance?'
"Ans. 'We came to the country without any particular knowledge of and entirely independent of the company and expected to establish our mission without any assistance from them. At the American rendezvous we learned from Captain Wyeth, McLeod and Mr. McKay that we could get supplies of the Methodist Mission and also of the Hudson's Bay Co., and in consequence of this information we sold and threw away a large amount of supplies that we were not able to get replaced at Vancouver; so far as the protection of the company afforded, my impression is and always has been that the mission of the Board and of the Methodists would have been far more successful had there been no Hudson's Bay Co. in the country.'
"Int. 72. 'Have you not made on several occasions statements different from this contained in your last answer?'
"Ans. 'I have repeatedly said that the company's establishments being in the country was a great convenience both to the missions and the settler, but never admitted, to my knowledge, their being necessary.'
"Int. 165. 'Have you not during the last year been very busy in making charges against the Hudson's Bay Co. and some of its officers on account of matters occurring within the last twenty-five years?'
"Ans. 'For something over a year I have been collecting up facts, incidents and statements and all the histories I could get hold of, for the purpose of giving an accurate and truthful history of the early settlement of the country. In those facts, incidents and statements I have given to the Hudson's Bay Co., all the missions and all the individual persons that I have spoken or written about as near the truth as I have been able to collect, and have also requested of all persons knowing any fact stated that was not strictly true to forward the correction and it should have its weight in the historical sketches being given.'
416 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 166. 'Have you not during the last year made many and grievous charges in print against the company?'
"Ans. 'I do not think I have made a single charge but what is strictly true from the best knowledge and information I could get.'
"Int. 167. 'Will you not answer the last question, already asked twice, without further evasion or equivocation?'
"Ans. 'I do not think I have evaded or equivocated in the least, but have given what I conceive to be a plain, distinct and positive answer to the question put.'
"Int. 168. 'Do you consider yourself capable of writing an impartial and unprejudiced history of the Hudson's Bay Co. in Oregon?'
"Ans. 'That is for those who read the history to judge.'
"Int. 169. 'The question is with reference to your own judgment; will you answer it?'
"Ans. 'I cannot say; I have not undertaken to write a history of the Hudson's Bay Co., but of all events and general transactions that have occurred within the country during the time I have been in it, and particularly of events occurring up to the formation of the country into a Territory of the United States.'
"Int. 170. 'Is your feeling such toward the company that you believe yourself capable of acting toward it and its officers impartially and without prejudice?'
"Ans. 'I don't think feelings or prejudices have anything to do with it, but facts are all I seek to know.'"
Gray's History of Oregon (p. 183) says: "The difficulty about land had no existence in the minds or thoughts of the Indians till the fall of 1839 and after the renewal of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s license for twenty-one years. From that time forward a marked change was manifest in the feelings of most of the gentlemen of the company."
It is a very curious coincidence that that was the precise time when Gray first prepared to desert the A. B. C. F. M. Mission and applied to the Hudson's Bay Co. for a position for his wife as teacher at Vancouver and for himself in some capacity (presumably as carpenter) and was refused employment, and of this Rev. C. Eells, in a letter dated October 3, 1842 (the day Whitman started to the States without waiting for it as he had agreed to do), wrote as follows: "Mr. Cornelius Rogers has said James Douglas, Esq., told him they would not give Mr. Gray a hearing because of the want of evidence that the mission approved of such an arrangement being made."
While Mr. Gray thus discovered a change in 1839 "in the feelings of most of the gentlemen of the company" the letters herein-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 417
before quoted from all those who remained faithful to the mission --Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, Rev. H. H. Spalding, Rev. C. Eells and Rev. Elkanah Walker, show that no one of them discovered any such change, but they all remained on the friendliest terms with the company during the whole existence of the mission, i. e., eight years after this time when Gray saw this change and more tlian five years after he deserted his associates in September, 1842, in a manner which Eells and Walker bitterly denounced as dishonorable, in the before-mentioned letter of C. Eells, dated October 3, 1842 (which letter Walker indorsed as correct, especially in its severe censure of Gray's course in deserting the mission). The reader will do well to turn to p. 54, ante, and read Gray's letter of January 10, 1838, to the Secretary of the American Board and compare what he then wrote about the Hudson's Bay Co. with this "testimony" twenty-eight years later.
Surely it is evident to every one who reads this testimony and compares it with the contemporaneous letters and diaries herein quoted that Gray's testimony on any matter connected with the Hudson's Bay Co. is totally unworthy of any credence.
Caleb Cushing evidently thought so, for when the counsel for the Hudson's Bay Co. and the Puget's Sound Agricultural Co. in their arguments had denounced Gray in the bitterest possible language, Cushing in his argument, though defending with great vigor the other witnesses whom they had attacked as being untrustworthy, did not offer one word in support of Gray's attacks upon the Hudson's Bay Co. nor defend his veracity in any way.
The next witness is Hon. A. L. Lovejoy who, with Hastings, came with White's migration in 1842 and was Whitman's companion on his ride to the States as far as Bent's Fort (near where La Junta, Colo., now is), where he remained through the winter and early spring and joined the 1843 migration near Fort Laramie in July. He was a prominent citizen of Oregon all the rest of his life, several times member of the Territorial Legislature, Speaker of the House, President of the Council, member of the convention which formed the State Constitution, Receiver of the Land Office, etc.
His testimony is found in Mem, pp. 17-20, and the following are extracts from the same:
"Int. 4. 'Please state whether you were acquainted with Dr. John McLoughlin, Peter S. Ogden, James Douglas and other factors and managing agents of the Hudson's Bay Co. during your early residence in Oregon.'
"Ans. 'I was well acquainted with Dr. McLoughlin, Mr. Ogden and Mr. Douglas, more particularly with Dr. McLoughlin. I was acquainted with some others.'
418 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 5. 'What connection, if any, did these men and their employes and servants, and those under their influence, have with the formation of the provisional government of Oregon?'
"Ans. 'I always understood that they participated in common with other citizens of the valley. Dr. Tolmie was a member of the Legislature in 1846; H. M. Pierce was a member; A. McDonald was a member in 1846. They generally voted at the elections.'
"Int. 6. 'State what, if anything, you have heard Dr. John McLoughlin say with reference to his supplying emigrants at an early day with food and clothing and seed for their farms, and the action of his superiors with reference thereto?'
"Ans. 'At an early day, Dr. McLoughlin furnished the emigrants coming, a great many of them very destitute, with fuel and clothing, seed grain and cattle, and they were to pay him when they could; it was a large amount, some seventy-five or eighty thousand dollars, at least I so understood from him. I understood him to say that he had acted against orders, that he had done it on his own responsibility; that they complained that he had done it against orders, and that he sold goods on credit without authority, and that they did not do a credit business. He said further that they proposed to charge him with this amount; he then said that he claimed that if they charged him with this amount that he claimed the profits that grew out of it; that is the way he expected to get even on it. I never knew what the company did in the premises.'
"Int. 7. 'State whether Dr. McLoughlin was pleased or displeased with this conduct of his superiors in the Hudson's Bay Co.?'
"Ans. 'I should infer from his conversation that he was displeased.'
"Int. 1. 'In the conversation with Dr. McLoughlin, referred to by you in answer to the sixth direct interrogatory, did he not say that he feared or supposed the company might charge him for giving credit, rather than that its officers had proposed to do so ?'
"Ans. 'I don't know that they had done it. The impression I had is that they had threatened to do it, and he expected that they would; I don't know that they did it.'
"Int. 5. 'In what year was the provisional government of Oregon organized?'
"Ans. 'The first steps were taken in 1843; in 1845 there was a kind of a constitution adopted.'
"Int. 6. 'Was not the object of that government the maintenance of law and order and the adoption of measures to promote the settlement and prosperity of Oregon?'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 419
"Ans. 'It was.'
"Int. 7. 'Did not the gentlemen you have named in your direct examination as officers of the Hudson's Bay Co. co-operate as heartily in the organization and support of that government as other citizens of Oregon?'
"Ans. 'They did, and helped equally to bear the burdens.'"
This deposition was signed July 27, 1866, eight months after Spalding had launched the Saving Oregon Theory of Whitman's ride in the Pacific, but there is not a hint in all his testimony that Lovejoy knew anything about any patriotic purpose in that ride, though certainly if he did here was a most excellent opportunity for putting that matter on permanent record in an official document of great weight, and where it would have much helped the United States to have shown that the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1842 were striving to wrest Oregon from the United States, and that Whitman prevented it and saved Oregon.
Similarly, if it were true that at Fort Hall the Hudson's Bay Co. put impediments in the way of migration to Oregon, as asserted by all the advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Legend, Lovejoy, as one of the leaders of the first large migration overland (that of 1842, which started under Dr. Elijah White, but a little later deposed White and chose Hastings and Lovejoy as leaders), was the best possible witness to show it, but not a word of anything of that sort is in his testimony.
Two of the leaders of the 1843 migration testified, viz.: Hon. J. W. Nesmith, its orderly sergeant, and Hon. Jesse Applegate, the captain elected for one of the two companies into which that migration divided, when, on June 9, 1843, Peter H. Burnett was obliged from sickness to resign the captaincy of the whole party. Besides these J. G. Campbell, S. M. Gilmore, M. M. McCarver and George Summers of the 1843 migration testified, but the testimony of Gilmore and Summers did not in any way touch on anything pertinent to this discussion and need not be noticed.
Nesmith's testimony was taken in Washington, D. C., May 15, 1866, and is found in Vol. VI., pp. 23-50, and I invite attention to such parts thereof as are pertinent to this chapter.
"Int. 1. 'What is your name, age, place of residence and present occupation?'
"Ans. 'James W. Nesmith; aged forty-five years; residence, Polk county, Oregon; occupation farmer, and at present United States Senator.'
"Int. 15. 'When did you see Fort Hall, and what was its condition when you saw it? Please describe the same as particularly as you can, the character and condition of the fort and the buildings, and their value, if you feel competent to state it.'
420 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Ans. 'I never saw Fort Hall but once. I stopped there four or five days in the autumn of 1843. It was then rather a rude structure, built of adobe, walled in with adobe, and within were some rude buildings of the same, covered with poles and dirt, the whole very rude and cheaply built. There was no lumber there of any kind, sawed or hewn. They could have been built by the rudest kind of labor; no skill was required in their construction. It was a mere mixing of mud to make adobes and piling them up. At reasonable prices of labor, such as existed in the country at the time, I should think Fort Hall, as I saw it in 1843, could have been built for one thousand dollars.'
"Int. 28. 'How long have you been in Oregon and how long have you been a member of the United States Senate?'
"Ans. 'I went to Oregon in 1843, and that has been my residence ever since. I took my seat in the United States Senate the 4th of March, 1861.'
"Int. 32. 'Have you held any public offices or positions prior to your election as United States Senator ? If so, please to describe them.'
"Ans. 'Yes, I have held several. In 1845 I was a judge under the provisional government. In 1846 and 1847 I was a member of the Legislature. In 1847 I commanded a company in the Indian war. In 1853 I was appointed United States Marshal for the Territory of Oregon. In same year I commanded a company in Rogue River war. In 1854 I was brigadier general of the Oregon militia. In 1855 I commanded a regiment of volunteers in the Indian war. In 1857 I was Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon and Washington, and held that office until 1859. That was the last office I held until I came to the United States Senate.'
"Int. 33. 'You have stated that you were a superintendent of the Indian affairs. Do you know the effect of the trade and intercourse with the Hudson's Bay Co. on their physical and social condition? If yea, please to describe it as fully as you can.'
"Ans. 'So far as the intercourse of the Hudson's Bay Co. with the Indians is concerned, I think their policy is the best that was ever adopted, that is with reference to the wants and interest of the Indian. They operated upon his interests and his fears. So far as I know they administered very strict justice. They had a tariff of prices, and they paid one Indian the same as they paid another for whatever he had to dispose of. They encouraged sobriety and good conduct among the Indians, and when the Indians committed outrages they punished them. Their punishment was not that of a great military expedition, but they cut off their trade and made the Indian feel his dependence upon them. They were an immense monopoly and kept out individual enterprise and trade from the
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 421
Indians. While they held that power they compelled the Indians to submit to their own terms. In the absence of any competition it was within their power to do this. They punished their own employes for infractions against the rights of the Indians, and so far as I know their contact with the Indians did not tend to demoralize or degrade them. The inculcation of sobriety and temperance by the company resulted in its own benefit, that is, to the benefit of the company, because while the Indian practiced those virtues he had more to sell, and therefore increased the trade of the company. The power of the company to keep out private or foreign competition gave them the exclusive control of the Indians. The Indians looked to the company as a government and a power. During their occupancy of the country there was little or no intrusion upon the Indian lands. The Indians retained the sites of their villages, fisheries and hunting grounds; consequently they did not diminish in numbers as they did after the country was thrown open to general and promiscuous occupation.'
" 'After the power of the company to control the intercourse between the Indians and the whites had ceased, I should say about 1846 or 1847, the Indians began gradually to diminish by reason of their promiscuous contact with the whites. While the company enforced a rigid control over them, I do not know of their having done the Indians any injustice. The presence of this powerful monopoly in the country exercised a deleterious influence against the United States in controlling the Indians. In those remote regions the Indians were more in the habit of recognizing the power of the company than they were the Government of the United States. So far as my knowledge extends to their social condition, I don't think their efforts extended so much in the direction of civilizing the Indian as it did in keeping him in a position where the greatest benefits would be derived in a trade with him as a hunter and trapper. A great many of the employes, and some of the officers of the company, intermarried with the Indian women. The children, the result of this connection, were in many instances educated in the schools tinder the patronage of the company.'
"Int. 34. 'What was the effect of the policy of the Hudson's Bay Co. on the development and settlement of the country, favorable or otherwise?'
"Ans. 'I think the policy of the company was adverse to the settlement of the country. I infer this from remarks made by the officers of the company to myself and other early emigrants, as they invariably underestimated the quality of the soil and the inducements for settlement and advised the early settlers generally to go to California. This probably resulted from the fact that the settling of the country must invariably destroy their trade with and
422 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
their control over the Indian tribes. Upon the whole I think that the company were very much averse to the occupation of the country by American citizens.'
"Int. 32. 'Had your party been delayed a month on the road could they have reached Fort Vancouver that winter?'
"Ans. 'I think they could. It was a mild, open winter.'
"Int. 39. 'What was the labor you speak of at Fort Hall in 1843; was it not that of the emigrants who had crossed with you?'
"Ans. 'Some of the emigrants who went with me hired out at Fort Hall to go out with trapping parties.'
"Int. 40. 'How many of them, and for how long a time; and did they remain there during the winter?'
"Ans. 'There were two or three of them who hired out; I don't know how long they remained. I tried to hire out myself.'
"Int. 85. 'Did you in 1845, at Oregon City, sign a paper containing this language, viz.:
" That this mixed population exists in the midst of numerous and warlike tribes of Indians, to whom the smallest dissensions among the white inhabitants would be the signal to let loose upon their defenseless families all the horrors of savage warfare?'
"Ans. 'In 1845 the Legislature was in session in Oregon City. They drew up a memorial to the Congress of the United States which I, among others, signed. I have no positive recollection of the language, but I think it did contain something of the character contained in the question. We were exceedingly anxious for the United States to extend its laws and jurisdiction over us.'
"Int. 86. 'Did this paper which you signed contain this passage, now read to you, viz.:
" 'Although such has been the result thus far of our temporary union of interests; though we, the citizens of the United States, have had no cause to complain either of exactions or oppression at the hands of the subjects of Great Britain, but on the contrary, it is but just to say that their conduct toward us has been most friendly, liberal and philanthropic, yet we fear a long continuance of the present state of things is not to be expected, our temporary government being limited in its efficiency and crippled in its powers by the paramount duty we owe to our respective Governments, our revenues being inadequate to its support, and the almost total absence, apart from the Hudson's Bay Co., of the means of defense against the Indians, who, recent occurrences lead us to fear, entertain hostile feelings toward the people of the United States?'
"Ans. 'I have not seen that memorial since I signed it. I think it is more than probable that it contained the statements in question. My impression is that it did.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 423
"Int. 87. 'Did this paper which you signed contain this passage, now read to you, viz.:
" 'Your memorialists would further inform your honorable body that, while the subjects of Great Britain, through the agency of the Hudson's Bay Co., are amply provided with all the munitions of war, and can afford, by means of their numerous fortifications, ample protection for themselves and their property, the citizens of the United States are scattered over a wide extent of territory, without a single place of refuge, and within themselves almost entirely destitute of every means of defense?'
"Ans. 'As I said before, I have not seen that memorial for twenty-one years. I think it contained language similar to that which you quote. We were endeavoring to make a strong case and get protection. I recollect the memorial and the person who drew it, and I have no doubt but what it contained substantially what has been read.'"
The testimony of Hon. Jesse Applegate is in Vol. V., pp. 265-312, and as will be seen he was strongly opposed to the payment of any considerable sum to the Hudson's Bay Co. and Puget's Sound Agricultural Co., and had worked industriously against the payment of any larger sum than $50,000 (Cf. Vol. III., Memorial and Argument, Hudson's Bay Co. vs. United States, Closing Argument for Plaintiff, p. 37).
Remembering his strong bias against the claim, nothing is more evident than that if he had witnessed anything in 1843 in the conduct of Capt. Richard Grant, in charge of Fort Hall, or Payette in charge of Fort Boise, or McKinlay in charge of Fort "Walla Walla, that was antagonistic to American interests, or that tended to deceive and retard the progress of the great migration of which he was one of the acknowledged leaders, or if he had known anything of Whitman's having done anything to save Oregon, and still more if he had believed that the Hudson's Bay Co. had instigated the Whitman massacre, he certainly would have introduced it in his forty-eight pages of testimony.
Nearly all his testimony is a series of estimates of the value of the property of the Hudson's Bay Co. at its various stations, which of course does not concern us now, but I invite attention to the following:
"Int. 1. 'State your age, residence and occupation.'
"Ans. 'Age fifty-five years; Yoncalla, Douglass County, Oregon; farmer; formerly surveyor and civil engineer.'
"Int. 2. 'How long have you resided in Oregon, and at what places ?"
"Ans. 'I have resided twenty-three years; six years in the Willamette Valley, the remainder of the time in Umpqua Valley.'
424 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 9. 'Was not the post at Umpqua a convenience to the early settlers, and do you not believe that the influence exerted upon the Indians had been favorable to the security of the settlers?'
"Ans. 'I think the influence exerted over the Indians was everywhere favorable to the early settlement of the country, and some supplies were obtained at Fort Umpqua.'
"Int. 31. 'At that time was not Fort Walla Walla a station of great importance to the emigrants, both for convenience and protection?'
"Ans. 'Mr. McKinlay had but few supplies in the fall of 1843 to spare to emigrants. Doubtless the fort, as a general place for maintaining peace with the Indians, afforded protection to the emigrants passing through.'
"Int. 177. 'From 1843 to 1849 state what, in your judgment, was the influence of the company upon the settlement of the country and the pacification of savages, and the protection of emigrants and settlers.'
"Ans. 'The influence of the company was in all respects inquired after most beneficial and salutary.'
"Int. 178. 'Was that influence in any respect subsequently changed up to the time of the company's leaving in 1860 ?'
"Ans. 'Not to my knowledge.'
"Int. 179. 'Are you the Jesse Applegate whose name appears subscribed to a memorial of the legislative committee of Oregon, dated June 28, 1845, and addressed to the Congress of the United States?'
"Ans. 'I am.'
"Int. 180. 'Were you not the author of that memorial?'
"Ans. 'I was a member of the committee that reported the memorial.' This is the memorial on which Gray (Part II., Chapter III., infra) and Nesmith (pp. 419-422, ante) were questioned.
"Int. 181. 'Did you not write in Octoher, 1851, a letter to Dr. John McLoughlin containing the following paragraph?:
" 'As one of the early emigrants to Oregon, I am pleased to bear evidence to your kindness and Christian philanthropy; of those requiring assistance you have never exacted either a civil or religious test; Catholics and Protestants, Americans and British, have been equal sharers of your bounty, and are equally indebted to you for protection and assistance; but the evidence of a private citizen is unnecessary to establish the fact of the active and beneficial assistance you have ever rendered to American settlers in Oregon; the acknowledgment of this fact contained in a memorial transmitted to the Congress of the United States in 1845 is superior to all private testimonials; that document, signed by every officer of the
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 425
provisional government, legislative and executive and judicial, pays a just tribute to the conduct of the Hudson's Bay Co. in Oregon, which up to that time was under your superintendence.'
"Ans. 'I wrote such a letter, or a letter to that purport; I do not remember the date.'
"Int. 182. 'Do you not believe that in the absence of protection to the people of Oregon on the part of the American Government up to the 4th of March, 1849, the assistance and support of the infant settlement furnished by the Hudson's Bay Co. was, if not essential, of great importance to the very life of those settlements?'
"Ans. 'Their concurrence in the provisional government for the purpose of keeping peace was, in my opinion, indispensable.'
"Int. 220. 'Since the Hudson's Bay Co. made its claim against the Government, in regard to which you have been testifying, have you not written, published and expressed your earnest opposition thereto?'
"Ans. 'I have.'
"Int. 221. 'Have you not felt from that time to the present a strong and earnest bias against the claim and have done all in your power to weaken and defeat it?'
"Ans. 'I have.'
"Direct examination resumed:
"Int. 3. 'Would the bias you feel against the company's claim in any way affect your judgment of the value of any particular piece of property estimated by you, whether it belonged to the company or not?'
"Ans. 'I do not think it would; I do not think it has.'
"Int. 4. 'Does your opposition to the payment of the company's claim go to the entire extent or only so much as you believe to be unjust under the treaties upon which it is based?'
"Ans. 'So much only as I deem to be unjust.'
"Int. 1. 'Do you suppose that your judgment is more free from the influence of strong and earnest bias than is that of other men of intelligence?'
"Ans. 'I do not feel myself more competent to decide upon the question of my own prejudice than a lunatic tipon his own sanity.'"
Mr. M. M. McCarver's testimony is in Idem, pp. 3340, and the following is all that concerns this discussion:
"Int. 1. 'State your age, residence and occupation.'
"Ans. 'Am fifty-eight years of age; residence, Portland, Oregon; occupation, that of farmer, trader and miner.'
"Int. 2. 'When did you come to Oregon, and where have you resided since?'
4:26 • ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Ans. 'I came to Oregon in 1843; have resided near Oregon City and Portland most of the time since.'
"Int. 3. 'What offices did you hold under the provisional government?'
"Ans. 'I was a member of the Legislature and Speaker of the House at the time of the passage of the organic law of Oregon in 1844, which was submitted to the people and adopted by them.'
"Int. 4. 'State what connection the officers of the Hudson's Bay and Pnget's Sound Agricultural Cos. had with the formation of the provisional government, and whether they voted generally and wielded an influence for or against the organic act you refer to.'
"Ans. 'Dr. McLoughlin, Douglas and others of the principal officers of the company advised and assisted in the formation of the government, and they and those under their influence, I believe, generally voted for the organic act.'
"Int. 5. '"Who of their officers and agents served as memhers of the Legislature or held other public positions under that Government?'
"Ans. 'Dr. W. F. Tolmie was a member of the Legislature from the Puget's Sound district; A. L. Lewis, and perhaps others, were members; Mr. Prank Ermatinger was Treasurer of the Territory.'
"Int. 9. 'Do you not know that during the years of early emigration to Oregon that post (i. e., Fort Boise--W. I. M.) was of great value as a means of protection and convenience to emigrants?'
"Ans. 'Yes, I have reason to believe it.'
"Int. 10. 'In your judgment would not the sufferings, loss of life and loss of property have been much greater than they were if the Hudson's Bay Co. had had no posts at Fort Boise and Fort Hall?'
"Ans. 'Yes, I believe it; they furnished supplies and furnished horses when teams gave out.'
"Int. 11. 'Was there not an influence exerted upon the Indians through the company at these establishments tending to save emigrants from Indian hostilities?'
"Ans. 'I have every reason to believe it.'
"Int. 21. 'Was not the provisional government to which you have referred organized without regard to national allegiance, for the purposes of maintaining law and order, for mutual protection and for promoting the settlement and prosperity of Oregon?'
"Ans. 'Yes, that was the understanding.'
"Int. 22. 'Did not the officers of the company co-operate actively and harmoniously with the other residents of Oregon for these ends?'
"Ans. 'Yes, sir.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 427
"Int. 23. 'Did not the furnishing of provisions, clothing, seed, cattle and other articles by the company to the settlers greatly assist in the early settlement of Oregon ?'
"Ans. 'Most unquestionably.'
"Int. 24. 'At the time of the Whitman massacre and of the Indian disturbance were not the agents of the company prompt and active in their efforts to rescue sufferers and to punish the guilty?'
"Ans. 'They furnished provisions and ammunition to assist in carrying on the war against the Cayuses, which followed the Whitman massacre; they assisted in rescuing the sufferers, but I do not know that they took any part in punishing the guilty, except in selling supplies to the provisional government as required; they were trading in the country and desired the good will of both whites and Indians.'"
Mr. J. G. Campbell's testimony is on pp. 228-233 of Vol. V., and only the following concerns this discussion:
"Int. 1. 'State your age, residence and occupation.'
"Ans. 'Age forty-nine years; residence, Oregon City; accountant.'
"Int. 2. 'When did you first come to Oregon?'
"Ans. 'In the fall of 1843.'
"Int. 3. 'Were you ever in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Co. ? If so, state where, and during what years ?'
"Ans. 'In Oregon City in the year 1846, probably in 1845 and in the beginning of 1847.'
"Int. 5. 'Did not the company allow as high prices for wheat and produce and sell goods as low as any trading-house in Oregon, qualities being the same?'
"Ans. 'Taking the pro rata, they did so, decidedly.'
"Int. 6. 'In your judgment was not the existence of the company and its business in Oregon of great advantage in promoting the prosperity of the people and developing the resources of the country?'
"Ans. 'I have always considered it a great advantage to both parties.'
"Int. 7. 'If the company had not been here do you not believe that the safety of the settlers would have been greatly endangered or their prosperity retarded?'
"Ans. 'I do, very much so.'
"Int. 8. 'Do you not know that the company gave liberal credits to settlers on their arrival when they were without means to support themselves and their families?'
"Ans. 'They did.'
428 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
"Int. 9. 'Did not the company extend those credits from year to year, subsequently, if settlers were in needy circumstances?' "Ans. 'I do not know that they extended any after 1846.'
"Int. 10. 'Do you not know that up to ithe time that you left the company many of the settlers were indebted to the company for supplies furnished to them?'
"Ans. 'I know they were.'
"Int. 11. 'Can you state about the amount of that indebtedness as appeared upon what was called the settlers' balance?'
"Ans, 'I never saw a balance sheet after 1845; at the closing of 1845 was due forty-odd thousand dollars, including a large amount due from the missions.'
"Int. 14. 'Have you any means of knowing whether the debts of which you speak in 1845 were ever paid in whole or in part?'
"Ans. 'They were paid in part; how big a part I don't know.'
"Int. 16. 'Do you know whether the company ever .charged the indebtedness of settlers to Dr. McLoughlin ?'
"Ans. 'I never heard of their having done so.'
"Int. 17. 'Were you on intimate terms with Dr. McLoughlin from 1845 until his death and residing in the same town with him?'
"Ans. 'I was.'
"Int. 18. 'Did you ever hear him speak of his relations with the company after retiring from it, with reference to credits with settlers ?'
"Ans. 'Yes, I have.'
"Int. 19. 'Did he ever say that he had been obliged to pay any part of the debts due from settlers?'
"Ans. 'I never heard him say so.'
"Int. 20. 'While in the company's service were notes given by settlers for what was due; if so, to whom were they made payable, and why?'
"Ans. 'Notes were given, made payable to John McLoughlin, C. F. (Chief Factor), and John McLoughlin, agent of the Hudson's Bay Co.; and the why was, I told the doctor they ought not to be drawn in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s name, but in an individual's name.'
"Direct examination resumed:
"Int. 1. 'Do you not know that Dr. McLoughlin had great difficulty with the company on account of credits extended to the settlers, of which you have spoken?'
"Ans. 'The doctor considered that he had been very much abused by the company in regard to its action on this matter of credits.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 429
"Int. 2. 'What offer, if you know, did the doctor make the company with reference to these accounts; and state upon whose advice this offer was made?'
"Ans. 'I do not know that he ever made any.'
"Int. 3. 'What, if anything, did Dr. McLoughlin tell you upon the subject?'
"Ans. 'I decline to answer the question, as I do not desire to make public confidential communications; I was clerk for the doctor and the company at the same time, keeping both sets of books.'
"Int. 1. 'How long did you continue to act as clerk or agent for Dr. McLoughlin?'
"Ans. 'Until May, 1847.'"
Of the migration of 1844 only M. T. Simmons testified, and his testimony so far as it bore at all on this discussion has already been quoted (Cf. pp. 387-388, ante).
Of the migration of 1845 Messrs. William Barlow, W. W. Buck, J. S. Rinearson, James Taylor and James Welch were called, but only Mr. Buck's testimony (which is on pp. 209-218 of this same Vol. V.) contains anything pertinent to this discussion, as follows: (The testimony of the others being merely their estimates of the value of the land and buildings, etc.)
"Int. 1. 'What is your age, residence and occupation?'
"Ans. 'Sixty-two years; Oregon City; president and superintendent of the Oregon City Paper Manufacturing Co.; also in connection with my son carrying on a saw mill. I have been to some extent a contractor of wooden buildings.'
"Int. 2. 'When did you come to Oregon and where did you first locate?'
"Ans. 'I arrived in Oregon in November, 1845; for a few months stopped on what is called Scapoose Plains, six miles above the place now known as St. Helen's; after that in Portland until 1848; from that time to the present in Oregon City.'
"Int. 19. 'Were you acquainted with Dr. John McLoughlin during his lifetime? If so, state during what years.'
"Ans. 'I was acquainted with Dr. J. McLoughlin from November, 1845, until he died in 1857.' •
"Int. 20. 'Did you ever have any conversation with Dr. McLoughlin about difficulties he had with the company's managers (his superiors) growing out of advances made to the early settlers in the country? If so, state what he said.'
"Ans. 'I had frequent conversations with the doctor, in which he complained of being badly used by the settlers in consequence of having advanced goods to them, and could not get his pay; that
430 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
the company complained of him for making those advances; I think he said he had to assume a considerable amount himself.'
"Int. 21. 'What official positions have you held in Oregon?'
"Ans. 'I have been a member of the Legislature; President of the Council under (the) Territorial Government; I was also for some time one of the County Commissioners of this county and afterward Territorial Treasurer.'
"Int. 47. 'At what time were the conversations with Dr. McLoughlin to which you have referred?'
"Ans. 'After the year 1848.'
"Int. 48. 'Are you certain that what the doctor said was not that he feared the company might compel him to assume settlers' debts because he had given credit contrary to orders?'
"Ans. 'That was the impression that I got from the doctor and what I intended to have said in my direct answer; I am not positive whether he said he feared the company would charge him or had charged him.'"
At the 1880 meeting of the Oregon Pioneer Association Hon. J. W. Nesmith delivered the annual address, in which (Transactions 18SO, p. 26) is the following paragraph:
"I have in my possession a copy of a paper found among the manuscripts left by Dr. McLoughlin. It was kindly furnished and presented to me by his descendants. I had intended reading it to you as a part of my address, but having already trespassed too long upon your patience I shall hand the document to the secretary of the society, with my indorsement of the truth of all its statements that came within my own knowledge. I believe it to be the most valuable contribution to our archives that we have ever received from any quarter; and I desire to say, what I believe all old pioneers will agree to, that the statements of this paper furnish a. thorough and complete vindication of Dr. McLoughlin's acts and conduct, and that the integrity of his narrative cannot be impeached by any honest testimony."
As comparatively few people can easily get access to the "Transactions Oregon Pioneer Association," and as no one can really understand the settlement of Oregon without carefully reading this document, it is herein inserted in full:
"Copy of a document found among the private papers of the late Dr. John McLoughlin.
" 'In 1824 I came to this country to superintend the management of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s trade on the coast, and we came to the determination to abandon Astoria and go to Port Vancouver, as it was a place where we could cultivate the soil and raise our own provisions.'
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 431
" 'In March, 1825, we moved there and that spring planted potatoes and sowed two bushels of peas, the only grain -we had, and all we had. In the fall I received from New York (query, "York Factory?") Factory a bushel spring wheat, a bushel oats, a bushel barley, a bushel Indian corn and a quart of timothy, and all of which was sown in proper time, and which produced well except the Indian corn, for which the ground was too poor and the nights rather cool, and continued extending our improvements.'
" 'In 1828 the crop was sufficient to enable us to dispense with the importation of flour, etc.'
" 'In 1825, from what I had seen of the country, I formed the conclusion from the mildness and salubrity of the climate that this was the finest portion of North America that I had seen for the residence of civilized man, and as the farmers could not cultivate the ground without cattle, and as the Hudson's Bay Co. had only twenty-seven (27) head, big and small, and as I saw at the time no possibility of getting cattle by sea, and that was too expensive, I determined that no cattle should be killed at Vancouver except one bull calf every year for rennet to make cheese till we had an ample stock to meet all our demands and to assist settlers, a resolution to which I strictly adhered, and the first animal killed for beef was in 1838; till that time we had lived on fresh and salt venison and wild fowl. 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 that the Hudson's Bay Co. sold no liquor to whites or Indians he immediately adopted the same rule.'
" 'One night in August, 1828, I was surprised by the Indians making a great noise at the gate of the fort, saying they had brought an American. The gate was opened, the man came in, hut was so affected he could not speak. After sitting down some minutes to recover himself he told that he was, he thought, the only survivor of eighteen (18) men, conducted by the late Jedediah Smith. All the rest he thought were murdered. The party left San Francisco bound to their rendezvous at the Salt Lake. They ascended the Sacramento Valley, but finding no opening to cross the mountains to go east, they bent their course to the coast, which they reached at the mouth of Rogue River, then came along the beach to the Umpqua, where the Indians stole their ax, and as it was the only ax they had, and which they absolutely required to make rafts to cross rivers, they took the chief prisoner and their ax was returned. Early the following morning Smith started in a canoe with two (2) men and an Indian and left orders as usual to allow no Indians to come into camp. But to gratify their passion for
432 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
women the men neglected to follow the order, allowed the Indians to come into camp, and at an Indian yell five or six Indians fell upon each white man. At the time the narrator, Black, was out of the crowd and had just finished cleaning and loading his rifle. Three (3) Indians jumped on him, but he shook them off, and seeing all his comrades struggling on the ground and the Indians stabbing them, he fired on the crowd and rushed to the woods, pursued by the Indians, but fortunately escaped; swam across the Umpqua and northward in the hopes of reaching the Columbia, where he knew we were. But broken down by hunger and misery, as he had no food but a few wild berries which he found on the beach, he determined to give himself up to the Killimoux, a tribe on the coast at Cape Lookout, who treated him with great humanity, relieved his wants and brought him to the fort, for which, in case whites might again fall in their power, and to induce them to act kindly to them, I rewarded them most liberally. But as Smith and his two men might have escaped and" (query, might perish) "if we made no search for them, at break of day the next morning I sent Indian runners with tobacco to the Willamette chiefs to tell them to send their people in search of Smith and his two men, and if they found them to bring them to the fort and I would pay them, and telling them if any Indians hurt these men we would punish them, and immediately equipped a strong party of forty (40) well-armed men. But as the men were embarking, to our great joy Smith and his two men arrived.'
" 'I then arranged as strong a party as I could make to recover all we could of Smith's property. I divulged my plan to none, but gave written instructions to the officer, to be opened early' (query only?) 'when he got to the Umpqua, because if known before they got there the officers would talk of it among themselves, the men would hear it, and from them it would go to their Indian wives, who were spies on us, and my plan would be defeated. The plan was that the officer was, as usual, to invite the Indians to bring their furs to trade, just as if nothing had happened. Count the furs, but as the American trappers mark all their skins, keep these all separate, give them to Mr. Smith and not pay the Indians for them, telling them that they belonged to him; that they got them by murdering Smith's people.'
" 'They denied having murdered Smith's people, but admitted they bought them of the murderers. The officers told them they must look to the murderers for the payment, which they did; and as the murderers would not restore the property they had received a war was kindled among them and the murderers were punished more severely than we could have done, and which Mr. Smith himself admitted, and to be much preferable to going to war on them,
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 433
as we could not distinguish, the innocent from the guilty, who, if they chose, might fly to the mountains, where we could not find them. In this way we recovered property for Mr. Smith to the amount of three thousand two hundred dollars without any expense to him, and which was done from a principle of Christian duty and as a lesson to the Indians to show them they could not wrong the whites with impunity.'
" 'In 1828 Etienne Lucier, a Willamette trapper, asked me if I thought this would become a settled country. I told him wherever wheat grew he might depend it would become a farming country. He asked me what assistance I would afford him to settle down as a farmer. I told him I would loan him seed to sow and wheat to feed himself and family, to be returned from the products of his farm, and sell him such implements as were in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s store at fifty per cent, on prime cost. But a few days after he came back and told me he thought there was too remote a prospect of this becoming a civilized country, and as there were no clergymen in the country he asked me a passage for his family in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s boats, to which I acceded. He started in September to meet the boats at the mountains; the express came in too late and he had to return, and went to hunt for the winter.'
" 'In 1829 he again applied to begin to farm. I told him that since he had spoken to me I heard that several of the trappers would apply for assistance to begin to farm, and that it was necessary for me to come to a distinct understanding with him to serve as a rule for those who might follow. That the Hudson's Bay Co. were bound under heavy penalties to discharge none of their servants in the Indian country and bound to return them to the place where they engaged them. That this was done to prevent vagabonds being let loose among the Indians and incite them to hostility to the whites. But as I knew he was a good, honest man, and none but such need apply, and as if he went to Canada and unfortunately died before his children could provide for themselves they would become objects of pity and a burthen to others. For these reasons I would assist him to settle. But I must keep him and all the Hudson's Bay Co.'s servants whom I allowed to settle on the Hudson's Bay Co.'s books as servants, so as not to expose the Hudson's Bay Co. and me to a fine, but they would work for themselves and no service would be exacted from them.'
"'Many of the Canadians objected to go to the Willamette, because it was to become American territory, which I told them it would, as the Hudson's Bay Co. in 1825 officially informed me that in no event could the British Government claim extend south of the Columbia, and that they were afraid they would not have the same advantages as American citizens. I told them from the fer-
434 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
tility of the soil, the extent of prairie and the easy access from the sea that the Willamette (they must admit) was the best and only place adapted to form a settlement which would have a beneficial effect on the whole country north of San Francisco, where we could assist and protect them from the Indians in case of difficulty, and as to advantages I did not know what they would have, but this I knew, that the American Government and people know only two classes of persons, rogues and honest men; that they punished the first and protected the last, and it depended only upon themselves to what class they would belong.'
" 'Others wanted to go and live with the relatives of their wives, but as their children would be brought up with the sympathies and feelings of Indians, and as the half-breeds are in general leaders among Indians and they would be a thorn in the side of the whites, I insisted they should go to the Willamette, where their children could be brought up as whites and Christians, and brought to cultivate the ground and imbued with the feelings and sympathies of whites, and where they and their mothers would serve as hostages for the good behavior of their relatives in the interior. As Indians judge of whites by themselves, and think if they injure whites on their lands the whites would revenge it by murdering their Indian relatives among them, and as the settlement increased by the addition of Indian women and half-breeds the turbulence of the Indian tribes would diminish, and certainly the Cayuse war would not have been quelled so easily as it was if other half-breeds had not joined the Americans; and I have great pleasure to be able to say, what must be admitted by all who know them, that the Canadian trappers and half-breeds who have settled as farmers are as peaceable, orderly, neighborly and industrious a set of men as any in the settlement; and that so far the Canadian settlement has produced and supplied three-fourths of the grain that has been exported.'
"'In 1832 Mr. Nathaniel Wythe (Wyeth) of Cambridge, near Boston, came across land with a party of men, but as the vessel he expected to meet here with supplies was wrecked on the way he returned to the East with three (3) men. The remainder joined the Willamette Settlement and got supplies and were assisted by the Hudson's Bay Co.'s servants, and to be paid the same price for their, wheat--that is, three shillings sterling (i. e., 72 cents) per bushel--and purchase their supplies at fifty per cent, on prime cost (i. e., first cost in London, England).'
" 'In 1834 Mr. Wyeth returned with a fresh party and met the vessel with supplies here and started Avith a large outfit for Fort Hall, which he had built on his way, and in 1S36 he abandoned the business and returned to the States, and those of his men that re-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 435
mained in the country joined the settlements and were assisted as the others on the same terms as the Hudson's Bay Co.'s servants, and in justice to Mr. Wyeth I have great pleasure to be able to state that as a rival in trade I always found him open, manly, frank and fair, and, in short, in all his contracts a perfect gentleman and an honest man, doing all he could to support morality and encourage industry in the settlement.'
"'In 1834 Messrs. Jason and Daniel Lee and Messrs. Walker and P. L. Edwards came with Mr. Wyeth to establish a mission in the Flathead country. I observed to them that it was too dangerous for them to establish a mission; that to do good to the Indians they must establish themselves where they could collect them around them, teach them first to cultivate the ground and live more comfortably than they do by hunting, and as they do this teach them religion; that the Willamette afforded them a fine field, and that they ought to go there and they would get the same assistance as the settlers. They followed my advice and went to the Willamette, and it is but justice to these pioneers to say that no men, in my opinion, could exert themselves more zealously than they did till 1840, when they received a large reinforcement of forty (40) or more persons; then the newcomers began to neglect their duties, discord sprung up among them and the mission broke up.'
" 'I made it a rale that none of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s servants should be allowed to join the settlements unless he had fifty pounds sterling before him, as he required that sum to supply him with clothing and implements. He that hegins business on credit is seldom so careful and industrious as he who does business on his own means. By this I effected two objects--I made the men more saving and industrious and attached them to their farms. If I had not done so, they would have abandoned on the least difficulty. But having their means invested on their improvements they saw if they abandoned the loss would be theirs; they therefore persisted and succeeded. When the settlement was formed, though the Amercan trappers had no means, they were assisted on credit, and all in three years paid up from the product of their farms.'
" 'Every settler had as much wheat on loan as he wanted to begin with and I lent them each two cows, as in 1825 we had only twenty-seven head, big and small, old and young.'
" 'If I sold they would of course be entitled to the increase and I would not have the means to assist the new settlers and the settlement would be retarded, as those purchasers who offered me two hundred dollars for a cow would put such a price on the inci'ease as would put it out of the power of poor settlers to buy. This would prevent industrious men settling. For these reasons I would not sell, but loaned, as I say, two cows to each settler, and in case
436 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
the increase of settlers might be greater than, we could afford to supply with cattle I reserved the right to take any cattle I required (above his two cows) from any settler to assist new settlers.'
" 'To the Methodist Mission, as it was a public institution, I lent seven oxen, one bull and eight cows with their calves.'
" 'In the beginning several settlers lost cattle, poisoned by eating water hemlock. It has been said by the late Mr. Thurston, Delegate from Oregon, on the floor of Congress, that settlers paid for dead cattle. This is a wanton falsehood, as it is well known to all old settlers that no settler paid a cent for dead cattle; it was a loss to the company.'
" 'In 1836 we found means of forming a company to go to California for cattle. I took half the stock for the Hudson's Bay Co., so that by purchasing a larger number (as the expense of driving five hundred or a thousand was the same) it would make the cattle cheaper. Those of the settlers that had means put it in the stock; those that had none engaged as drivers at one dollar per day, to be paid in cattle at their actual cost. Mr. Slocum (Slacmn), who came here in a chartered vessel, gave them a passage gratis from this place to San Francisco. Mr. Ewing Young was selected to conduct the party. Mr. P. L. Edwards, who came with Messrs. Lee of the Methodist Mission, but now a lawyer in California, was appointed treasurer. They brought, I think, about seven hundred head of cattle, which cost eight dollars per head rendered. In the Willamette the settlers kept the tame and broken-in oxen they had belonging to the Hudson's Bay Co. and gave their California wild cattle in the place, so that they found themselves stocked with tame cattle which cost them only eight dollars per head, and the Hudson's Bay Co. to favor the settlers took calves in place of grown-up cattle because the Hudson's Bay Co. wanted them for beef. These calves would grow up before they were required.'
" 'In 1840, as I already stated, the Methodist Mission received a large reinforcement. I had selected for a claim Oregon City in 1829, made improvements on it and had a large quantity of timber squared. The superintendent applied to me for a loan of it to build a mission house. I lent them the timber and had a place pointed out to them upon which to build. In 1840 the Methodist Mission formed a milling association and jumped part of my claim and began to build a saw and grist mill. They assumed the right to judge of my rights and said that I could not hold it as part of my claim, though the stream that separates the islet from the main land is not more than forty feet wide in summer. This island is what is called "Abernethy Island" and is about ---------- acres in extent. In 1842 Mr. Waller, the resident missionary in the house to build which I lent timber, which they never returned, and gave the ground
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 437
upon which to build, set up a claim to Oregon City in opposition to me, but after some difficulty I paid them $500 and he gave it up. I preferred to do this and have done with it rather than hereafter trouble the Government with, it.'
"'In 1842 the first party of regular immigrants--about fifty-- came from the States. They got all the assistance they required, but in 1843 most of them, not liking the country, went with their leader--Mr. Hastings--to California.'
" 'In 1843 about 800 immigrants arrived from the States. I saw by the looks of the Indians that they were excited and I watched them. As the first stragglers were arriving at Vancouver in canoes I was standing on the bank; nearer the water there was a group of ten or twelve Indians. One of them bawled out to his companions: "It is good for us to kill these Bostons." Struck with the excitement I had seen in the countenances of the Indians since they had heard the report of the immigration coming, I felt certain they were inclined to mischief and that he spoke thus loud as a feeler to sound me and take their measure accordingly. I immediately rushed on them with my cane, calling out at the same time: "Who is the dog that says it is a good thing to kill the Bostons?" The fellow, trembling, excused himself: "I spoke without meaning harm, but The Dalles Indians say so." "Well," said I, "The Dalles Indians are dogs for saying so, and you also," and left him, as if I had remained longer it would have had a bad effect. I had done enough to convince them I would not allow them to do wrong to the immigrants with impunity. From this Indian saying, in the way he did, that The Dalles Indians said it was good to kill these Bostons, I felt it my duty to do all I could to avert so horrid a deed.'
" 'Mr. P. L. Edwards, whom I mentioned came in 1834 with Messrs. Lee and left in 1838, sent me a letter by Gen. McCarver, stating he had given a letter of introduction to me to P. H. Burnett, Esq. I immediately formed my plan and kept my knowledge of the horrid design of the Indians secret, as I felt certain that if the Americans knew it these men, acting independent of each other, would be at once for fighting, which would lead to their total destruction, and I sent two (2) boats with provisions to meet them; sent provisions to Mr. Burnett and a large quantity of provisions for sale to those who would purchase and to be given up to those who had not the means, being confident that the fright I had given (as I already stated) the Indians who said it was a good thing to kill the Bostons was known at The Dalles before our boats were there, and that with the presence of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s people, and the assistance they afforded the immigrants, would deter the Indians from doing them any wrong, and I am happy to be able to
438 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
say I entirely succeeded. At first I thought these Indians were excited by some of the Iroquois Indians in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s service and tried to find if so, but found nothing to enlighten me on the subject.'
" 'About a month after Dr. Whitman came from his mission near Walla Walla to Vancouver, and as The Dalles was on his way and as he had seen the principal men there, it occurred to me that he might have heard of it and told him what I heard the Indian say and how I had alarmed him, what I had done to deter them and my suspicion that all this sprung from some of our rascally Iroquois, and that I was anxious to find that rascal out to punish him as an example to deter others. "Oh," says the doctor, "I know all about it" "You do, doctor," said I. "Yes," said the doctor, "and I have known it for two years." "You have known it for two years and you told me nothing! Pray tell me his name." The doctor, seeing I was on the wrong scent, said: "His name is Thomas Hill." After thinking for some time I replied: "The Hudson's Bay Co. has no man of that name in the service." "Oh," says the doctor, "Tom Hill, the Shawnee." This Indian, it is said, had been educated at Dartmouth College in the States, had told the Indians that a few Americans had come to settle on their lands; that the Shawnees allowed them, but when the Americans were strong enough they drove the Shawnees off and now the Shawnees have no lands, and had urged the Indians to allow no Americans to settle on their lands, which advice the Indians about Walla Walla say the Cayuses are following to this day, and the Indians were inclined to follow by killing the immigrants who first came, and which I believe they would have done but for the decided and cautious manner that I acted. And the reason the Indian made use of the expression he did was because I punished the murderers of the Smith party and before acting they wanted to know how I would treat them, and most certainly if I had not been most anxious for the safety of the immigrants and to discharge to them the duties of a Christian my ear would not have caught so quickly the words, "It is a good thing to kill these Bostons," and acted as I did. In fact, if the immigrants had all been my brothers and sisters I could not have done more for them. I fed the hungry, caused the sick to be attended to and nursed, furnished them every assistance so long as they required it, and which some have not paid to this day, though abundantly able, and for which, if they do not pay, I am answerable to the Hudson's Bay Co. It may be said, and has been said, that I was too liberal in making these advances. It is not so, but it was done judiciously and prudently.'
" 'When the immigration of 1842 came, we had enough of breadstuffs in the country for one year, but as the immigrants reported
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 439
that next season there would be a greater immigration it was evident if there was not a proportionate increase of seed sown in 1843 and 1844 there would be a famine in the country in 1845, which would lead to trouble, as those that had families, to save them from starvation would be obliged to have recourse to violence to get food for them. To avert this I freely supplied the immigrants of 1843 and 1844 with the necessary articles to open farms and by these means avoided the evils. In short, I afforded every assistance to the immigrants so long as they required it and by management I kept peace in the country and in some cases had to put up with a great deal; for instance, when the milling company jumped part of my claim, the island upon which they built a mill and which subsequently Abernethy purchased, and when Williamson jumped part of Port Vancouver, as may be seen by my correspondence with the provisional government on the subject and which occurred in the presence of several American citizens, who I am happy to say strongly erpressed their disapproval of Williamson's conduct, and which I am inclined to believe made him desist, and it will be seen, to their credit, that the executive committee acted in a straightforward, manly and correct manner, and it was by such conduct on the part of respectable American citizens that peace and order were maintained in the country. It is true several thought I was too forbearing, but when I saw how much the good on both sides would suffer if I acted differently, and that a war between Great Britain and the United States might be caused by it, I considered it my duty to act as I did, and by which I think I may have prevented a war between the United States and Great Britain. And how have I been treated by both?'
" 'By British demagogues I have been represented as a traitor. For what? Because I acted as a Christian; saved American citizens, men, women and children from the Indian tomahawk and enabled them to make farms to support their families.'
" 'American demagogues have been base enough to assert that I had caused American citizens to be massacred by hundreds by the savages. I, who saved all I could. I have been represented by the delegate from Oregon, the late S. R. Thurston, as doing all I could to prevent the settling, while it was well known to every American settler who is acquainted with the history of the Territory if this is not a downright falsehood and most certainly will say that he most firmly believes that I did all I could to promote its settlement and that I could not have done more for the settlers if they had been my brothers and sisters, and after being the first person to take a claim in the country and assisting the immigrants as I have my claim is reserved, after having expended all the means I had to improve it, while every other settler in the country gets his.
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But as I felt convinced that any disturbance between us here might lead to a war between Great Britain and the States I felt it my bounden duty as a Christian to act as I did, and which I think averted the evil, and which was so displeasing to some English demagogues that they represented me to the British Government as a person so partial to American interests as selling the Hudson's Bay Co. goods in my charge cheaper to American than I did to British subjects. On the other hand, though, if the American immigrants had been my brothers and sisters I could not have done more for them; yet, after acting as I have, spending my means and doing my utmost to settle the country, my claim is reserved, while every other settler in the county gets his; and how much this has injured me, is daily injuring me, it is needless to say, and certainly it is a treatment I do not deserve and which I did not expect.'
" 'To be brief, I founded this settlement and prevented a war between the United States and Great Britain, and for doing this peaceably and quietly I was treated by the British in such a manner that from self-respect I resigned my situation in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s service, by which I sacrificed $12,000 per annum, and the "Oregon Land Bill" shows the treatment I received from the Americans.'"
Lest any should suppose that the 1843 petition mentioned on p. 333, ante, contains something which is really evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Co. I will now quote it and Dr. McLoughlin's reply to it.
It was presented in the United States Senate by D. R. Atchison, the successor of Senator Linn, on February 7, 1844, and on his motion ordered printed, and on account of the puerility of its accusations was never again acted upon in Congress.
It is Sen. Ex. Doc., Vol III., No. 105, 28th Cong., 1st Sess., and on its title page reads: "February 7, 1844. Laid on the table and ordered to be printed."
The reader will see on reading it why several of the best American citizens in Oregon were ashamed of it and refused to sign it.
Its evident purpose was to assist the iniquitous scheme of Rev. A. F. Waller and some of the more unscrupulous of his colleagues in the Methodist Mission (which was then in its death throes, being entirely broken up the following year) (Cf. Chapter II., Part II., infra} to rob Dr. McLoughlin of his claim to the townsite and water power at Willamette Falls, where he had located a claim in 1829, not for the Hudson's Bay Co., but for himself individually, five years before the first Methodists reached Oregon to establish a mission.
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 441
It goes without saying that under the treaty of 1827 any British subject had exactly the same right to locate in any place in the Oregon Territory that any American citizen had.
For full particulars of this scheme to jump Dr. McLoughlin's claim and other things illustrating the sad decadence of the Methodist Mission after the arrival of the great reinforcement of 183940 Cf.:
(a) Hon. J. W. Nesmith's Address, Transactions Oregon Pioneer Association, 1880, pp. 19-22.
(b) Hon. Elwood Evans' "History of the Pacific Northwest," Vol. I., pp. 250-254.
(c) H. H. Bancroft's "History of the Pacific Coast," Vol. XXIV. (being "Oregon," Vol. I.," pp. 203-225).
(d) Their action concerning The Dalles townsite, as stated by United States Supreme Court and summarized in Chapter III. of Book II., infra.
For more than twenty-four years the authorship of this petition was concealed, but on September 1, 1887, in a letter to Hon. Elwood Evans, Robert Shortess claimed that he made the rough draft of it, and that George Abernethy, the steward of the Methodist Mission, wrote it in the form in which it was sent, but would not consent that it should be circulated in his handwriting. (Cf. Evans' "History Pacific Northwest," Vol. I., p. 243.) It was dated March 25, 1843, and signed by sixty-five persons.
Shortess, who never cut any figure in Oregon affairs after the organization of a territorial government, was probably in this a mere catspaw for those who were greedy to appropriate that which by every principle of law and equity belonged to Dr. McLoughlin. It is no wonder that the authors and circulators of it were ashamed to allow Dr. White, the sub-Indian agent, to have a copy of it. "A petition started from this country today, making bitter complaints against the Hudson's Bay Co. and Gov. McLoughlin. In referring to it--as a copy was denied--I shall only say had any gentleman disconnected with the Hudson's Bay Co. been at half the pains and expense to establish a claim to the Willamette Falls very few would have raised an opposition. His half-bushel measure I know to be exact according to the English imperial standard. The gentlemen of this company have been fathers and fosterers of the colony, ever encouraging peace, industry and good order, and have sustained a character for hospitality and integrity too well established to be easily shaken." (Cf. White's report to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, quoted on pp. 172-201 of "White's Ten Years in Oregon." Date, April 1, 1843).
"The Petition of 1843:
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"To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled:
"We, the undersigned, settlers south of the Columbia River, beg leave respectfully to represent to your honorable body:
"As has been before represented to your honorable body, we consider ourselves citizens of the United States and acknowledge the right of the United States to extend its jurisdiction over us; and the object of the present memorial is to ask that the protection of the United States may be extended to us as soon as possible.
"Hitherto our numbers have been small, and the few difficulties that arose in the settlement were speedily and satisfactorily settled. But as our settlement increases in numbers so our difficulties increase in number and importance, and unless we can have laws to govern us that will be respected and obeyed our situation will be a deplorable one. Where the highest court of appeal is the rifle safety in life and property can not be depended on.
"The state of the country, its climate, resources, soil, productions, etc., have already been laid before your honorable body in Captain Wyeth's memoir and in former memorials from the inhabitants of this place.
"Laws are made to protect the weak against the mighty, and we feel the necessity of them in the steps that are constantly taken by the honorable Hudson's Bay Co. in their opposition to the improvement and enterprise of American citizens. You have been apprised already of their opposition to Captain Wyeth, Bonneville and others; and we find that the same spirit dwells with them at the present day. Some years ago when the Hudson's Bay Co. owned all the cattle in Oregon they would not sell on any conditions, but they would lend their cows to the settler--he returning to the company the cows loaned, with all the increase; and in case of the death of a COAV, he then had the privilege of paying for it. But after the settlers, at great risk and expense, went to California and purchased for themselves and there was a fair prospect of the settlement being supplied, then the Hudson's Bay Co. were willing to sell at lower prices than the settlers could sell.
"In the year 1842, feeling the necessity of having mills erected that could supply the settlement with flour and lumber, a number of the inhabitants formed themselves into a joint stock company, for the purpose of supplying the growing wants of the community. Many of the farmers were obliged to leave their farms on the Wallaraet and go six miles above Vancouver on the Columbia River, making the whole distance about sixty miles, to get their wheat ground, at a great loss of time and expense. The company was formed and proceeded to select a site. They selected an island at the falls of the Wallamet and concluded to commence their opera-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 443
tions. After commencing they were informed by Dr. McLoughlin, who is at the head of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s affairs west of the Rocky Mountains, that the land was his and that he (although a chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Co.) claimed all the land on the east side of the Wallamet, embracing the falls down to the Clackamas River, a distance of about two miles. He had no idea, we presume, that the company would succeed. However, he erected a shed on the island after the stuff was on the island to build a house, and then gave them permission to build under certain restrictions. They took the paper he wrote them containing his conditions, but did not obligate themselves to comply with the conditions, as they did not think his claim just or reasonable.
"Many projects had been started by the inhabitants, but for want of means and encouragement failed. This fate was predicted for the milling company. But after much labor and difficulty they succeeded in getting a sawmill erected and ready to run and entered into a contract to have a grist mill erected forthwith. And now, as they have succeeded, where is the Hudson's Bay Co. ? Dr. McLoughlin employs hands to get out a frame for a sawmill and erect it at Wallamet Falls; and we find as soon as the frame is up the gearing, which has been made at Vancouver, is brought up in boats; and that which cost a feeble company of American citizens months of toil and embarrassment is accomplished by the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Co. in a few weeks. He has men and means and it is said by him that in two weeks his mill will be sawing. And what will be the consequence? Why, if the milling company sells for $15 per thousand he can sell for f 12; if they reduce the price to $10 he can come to $8 or $5 or $2 per thousand. He says he will have a grist mill started as soon as he gets the sawmill in operation.
"All the wheat in Oregon they are anxious to get, as they ship it to the Russians on the northwest coast. In the first place they measured the wheat in a half-bushel, called by them imperial measure, much larger than the standard measure of the United States. This not answering they next proceeded to kick the half-bushel with the foot to settle the wheat; then they brought up a measure larger than the former one; and now they fill this measure, then strike it three times with a stout club, then fill it up and call it fair measure. Against such proceedings we need law that will be respected and obeyed.
"About twelve or fourteen years ago the Hudson's Bay Co. blasted a canal a few feet to conduct water to a mill they were going to build, the timber for which is now lying at the falls rotting. They, however, abandoned the thing altogether and built
444 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
their mills on the Columbia, about six miles above Vancouver, on the north side of the river.
"In the year 1837, agreeably to orders left by Mr. Slacum, a house was erected at the falls to secure the claim for him.
"In 1840 the Methodist Mission erected buildings at the falls and stationed two families there and made a claim to sufficient land for their buildings, not interfering with any others who might wish to build. A short time previous to this Dr. McLoughliu had a storehouse erected for the company, not occupied, however, farther than to store wheat and other articles in and as a trading house during the salmon season.
"After this, in 1841, a shanty was erected and a man kept at the falls, whose business it was to trade with the Indians for furs and salmon and look out for the doctor's claim, he said, and to forbid persons building at the falls, as some had built and others were about building. This man was, and still is, a servant of the Hudson's Bay Co.
"During the years 1841 and 1842 several families settled at the falls, when Dr. McLoughlin, who still resides at Port Vancouver, comes on the ground and says the land is his and any person building without his permission is held as a trespasser. Without reference to any person's right or claim he employs a surveyor to run out the plat; and as a bill was before the Senate of the United States to grant to every white male inhabitant a mile square he has a mile run out to suit his views and lays out a toAvn plat at the falls and calls it Oregon City. Although some, for peace sake, asked him for the lots they had already in possession, and which he appeared very willing to grant, the doctor now felt himself secure and posted up the annexed paper (marked A), which is the original; and all who had lots were required to pay Mr. Hastings five dollars for a deed of land which they knew very well the grantor did not own, and which we hope he never will, but that Congress will pass a special act granting to each man his lot and improvements. Those that applied received (if they had a house on the lot) a deed, a copy of which is annexed (marked B); if they had no house, a bond was given for five dollars, a copy of which is annexed (marked C). To those that applied and paid their five dollars all was right with the doctor, while those who considered his title to the land not good, and that therefore he had no right to direct who should build and who should not, had their lots sold to others. In one case the purchaser came to the original claimant and ordered him to stop digging the ground which he was preparing for a garden and commanded him to remove his fences, as he had Dr. McLoughlin's bond in his pocket for the lots; and if he did not move the fence he would, and take forcible possession.
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 445
Those who desired to have no difficulty and did not apply for a deed have lost their lots, the doctor's promise and all. And Mr. Hastings (the doctor's agent) is now offering for sale the lots on which part of the mission buildings stand, and if he succeeds in finding a purchaser they must either contend or lose tlieir buildings.
"Dr. McLoughlin has held claims in other places south of the Columbia River; at the Tualatin Plains and Clackamas Plains he had huts erected to prevent others from building, and such is the power of Dr. McLoughlin that many persons are actually afraid to make their situation known, thinking if he hears of it he will stop their supplies. Letters were received here from Messrs. Ladd & Co. of the Sandwich Islands in answer to a letter written by the late Mr. Ewing Young for a few supplies, that orders were received forbidding the company's vessels carrying any goods for the settlers of Oregon. Every means will be made use of by them to break down everything that will draw trade to this country or enable persons to get goods at any other place than their store.
"One other item and we are done. When the United States Government officers of distinction arrive Vancouver is thrown open and every facility afforded them. They were even more condescending to the settlers during the time the exploring squadron was in the Columbia; nothing was left undone to give the officers a high opinion of the honorable Hudson's Bay Co. Our Indian agent is entirely dependent on them for supplies and funds to carry on his operations.
"And now your memorialists pray your honorable body that immediate action of Congress be taken in regard to this country and good and wholesome laws be enacted for our Territory, as may, in your wisdom, be thought best for the good of the American citizens residing here.
"And your memorialists will ever pray.
"Robert Shortess, A. E. Wilson, W. C. Remick, Jeffrey Brown, E. N. Coombs, Rouben Lewis, George Davis, V. Bennett, J. Rekener, T. J. Hubbard, James A. O'Neil, Jor. Horregon, William McCarty, Charles Compo, John Howard, R. Williams, G. Brown, John Turner, Theodore Pancott, A. F. Waller, J. R. Robb, J. L. Morrison, M. Crawford, John Anderson, James M. Bates, L. H. Judson, Joel Turnham, Richard H. Ekin, H. Campbell, James Force, W. H. Wilson, Felix Hathaway, J. Lawson, Thomas J. Shadden, Joseph Gibbs, S. Lewis, Jr., Charles Boy, William Brown, S. Davis, Joseph Yatten, John Hopstatter, G. W. Sellomy, William Brown, A. Beers, J. L. Parish, William H. Gray, A. D. Smith, J. C. Bridgers, Aaron Cook, A. Copsland, S. W. Moss, Gustavus Hines, George W. LeBreton, Daniel Girtman, C. T. Arrendrill, A. Touner, David Carter,
446 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
J. J. Campbell, W. Johnson, John Edwards, W. Hauxhurst, W. A. Pfieffer, J. Holman, H. B. Brewer, William C. Button. Sixty-five in all."
The exhibits accompanying the petition are not of the slightest importance, being merely copies of deeds, contracts, etc., relating to lots in Oregon City.
Concerning this petition Evans' "History of the Northwest Coast" (Vol. I., pp. 24647) has the following:
"That document was an arraignment of John McLoughlin for his management of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s affairs, an accusation of oppression and wrong to the Oregon pioneers and their families.
"(1) It charges that Dr. McLoughlin refused to sell cattle for many years, and afterward sold at lower rates than settlers;
" (2) It refers to the Oregon City claim. It was valuable as a townsite and for its wonderful water power. Such features made it valuable to the Methodist Mission, to the American settler. The petition denounces the doctor's acts of settlement as in bad faith; that his claim is without a shadow of right. It asks that he may be divested of interest, his claims be ignored and disregarded;
"(3) It complains that he can build mills and saw lumber cheaper and does undersell the settler;
"(4) It alleges that in buying wheat he insisted upon good measure;
"(5) That those who had recognized his claim to Oregon City and had obtained grants of lots from him he notified to comply with their contract;
"(6) That the company's vessels were not allowed to bring goods from the Sandwich Islands to the settlers;
"(7) That the company's officers were more hospitable to visiting officials and persons of distinction than to private citizens.
"Simple justice to the memory of the dead demands quoting Dr. McLoughlin's own comments upon those imputations upon his personal integrity and method of dealing. Of the cattle policy and the Oregon City claim more extended discussion cannot be avoided. As soon as Dr. McLoughlin had been informed of the charges made in the petition he thus referred to them (Letter to Lansford W. Hastings, April 10, 1843):
" 'First, as to my opposing them in purchasing cattle, it is false. Mr. Lee' (i. e., Rev. Jason Lee, who would not sign the petition) 'knows how false this is. Every one knows who was then in the country that so anxious was I to replenish the country with cattle that I killed none till 1838 and would sell none, because, as I told them, they would kill them and not allow them to increase. But I lent cattle to every man who wanted to settle, for which, when they had them, I took wild cattle from California, and of
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 447
which fully one-third died a short time after we got them. As to kicking or striking the half-bushel, it is the custom in that part of Canada where I have been. The measure is the imperial measure and which ought to contain seventy pounds of good wheat Talking some time ago with Dr. White, in case the cooper might have made a mistake, I had a half-bushel measured by an imperial copper half-pint measure (sent here for the purpose) in the presence of Dr. White, and though it was exactly the measure with water, yet I find, filled with wheat, it does not weigh seventy pounds; and as our wheat is as good as any I know I infer that the measure is smaller than it ought to be, which is caused by the copper measure having been knocked a little on the side, and is therefore smaller than size. The truth is when I was first asked the price of wheat I said two shillings and sixpence, as I calculated a bushel to weigh sixty pounds; but finding on measuring that it weighed seventy-two pounds I told them without their asking it I would give three shillings per bushel.'
"'I thought that my character as an honest man was beyond suspicion; when I find who those are who have cast these reflections on me I shall have no dealings with them, as I will not deal with people who suspect my integrity. As to reports if they sold their boards for twenty dollars per thousand I would sell them for fifteen dollars per thousand and xmdersell them, it is false; and as to the Hudson's Bay Co. and I opposing the interests of citizens, really the citizens are themselves the best judges if we did so or not. And I am certain if they are so lost to a sense of what is due to truth as to make such an assertion it is useless for Hie to say anything; but I feel confident that I can easily prove it is not so, and that a very large majority will support me in it. As to the petition if the document went no further than this place I would be silent; but when I consider where it is to go and to whom it is to be presented, respect to them and to myself makes it my duty to take notice of it'"
"Persistent refusal by Dr. McLoughlin to sell cattle to the Oregon Methodist Mission and to settlers had caused great disaffection to the company. Dr. McLoughlin thus referred to the course adopted by him and rigidly adhered to until 1838 (Cf. for this p. 435, ante) :
"The reason offered by Dr. McLoughlin, which was that there was insufficient stock in the country; that importation was most expensive and hazardous, and that all that there was in the country should be preserved to secure increase, was unavailing. To the settler it was not satisfactory to be told that the company's start had been a few head driven at vast expense and danger along the coast from the Russian establishments on Bodega Bay in California; that those establishments most begrudgingly spared them, their Cali-
448 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
fornia settlements being only intended to supply their northern trading posts; that the colonial law of California prohibited the exportation of female cattle. The scarcity of cattle, the dissatisfaction of settlers because of this refusal to sell, continued until the importation of stock by the California company. Referring to that enterprise Dr. McLoughlin's statement is to be found on p. 436, ante.
As we have already seen from the testimony of J. W. Nesmith, Jesse Applegate (pp. 419423 and 424-5, ante), and W. H. Gray (Chapter III. of Part II., infra), on the 28th of June, 1845, they with all the other members of the provisional government of Oregon signed another petition to Congress (which is Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 8, 29th Gong., 1st Sess.) which, unlike this petition of 1843, stated the exact truth as to the relations between the two nationalities in Oregon as follows (Cf. their testimony on cross-examination) :
"We, the citizens of the United States, have no cause to complain either of exactions or oppression at the hands of the subjects of Great Britain, but on the contrary it is but just to say their conduct towards us has been most friendly, liberal and philanthropic."
The gold discoveries in California drew thither in 1849 a large part of the most energetic and brilliant men in Oregon, and so it came to pass that when in that year the first election for a Delegate to Congress was held none of the first-class men who were in the earlier migrations remained to contest for the place, and S. R. Thurston, a young lawyer from Maine, who had only reached Oregon with the migration of 1847, was put forward as the candidate of the Methodist Mission clique, and receiving 470 out of a total of 973 votes (which was probably less than one-quarter of the legal voters), was duly elected to represent as a Delegate in Congress what is now Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming.
Tlmrston was venomously antagonistic to McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Co., repeating on the floor of Congress Spalding's shameful and baseless slander that the Hudson's Bay Co. instigated the Whitman massacre (Cf. Gong. Globe, H. of R., Dec. 26, 1850) and declaring:
"In every move to promote the settlement and internal improvement of Oregon Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Co. to a man have been opposed, until they were absolutely compelled by force of circumstances to yield. The history of that company in Oregon is no less oppressive and unjust, as regards American citizens, than was that of their ancestors in 1776."
As no one was there to defend the Hudson's Bay Co. and Me-
ACQUISITION OF OREGON 449
Loughlin these outrageous falsehoods resulted in accomplishing what Thurston sought to do, and in the Donation Land Law, passed by Congress September 27, 1850, the possessory right of every claimant to a mile square of land in the Territory of Oregon was confirmed except McLoughlin's, although every one held by precisely the same tenure as his and although his antedated all the others by from five to twenty years.
McLoughlin's claim was reserved and donated to the Territory of Oregon for a university. Dr. McLoughlin died in the autumn of 1857 at Oregon City, his old age embittered by this shameful injustice, but to the honor of the Oregon people in 1862 the Legislature refused longer to be a party to such a grievous wrong and for the merely nominal consideration of $1,000 restored the Oregon City claim to the heirs of the "good old doctor," the true "Father of Oregon."
(For full discussion of this Cf. Chapter XXXI., Vol. I., Evans' "History of the Pacific Northwest.")
Are we to understand from the evidence adduced in this chapter that McLoughlin, McKinlay, Douglas, Grant, Pambrun, Payette, Ogden, McDonald, Lewes, Birnie, Ermatinger and the other chief factors and chief traders of the Hudson's Bay Co. desired American settlers and missionaries to occupy Oregon? Not at all, They were British subjects, and unquestionably, as all loyal British subjects ought to have done, they hoped and expected that the English title would be established to that part of Oregon north and west of the Columbia, But they also unquestionably knew that under the treaty of joint policy of 1818, renewed in 1827, American citizens had exactly the same rights in Oregon that British subjects had, and their interests were so vast in that territory that that "enlightened selfishness" which ever characterized the policy of the Hudson's Bay Co. would of itself have caused them to strictly observe the spirit of that treaty and treat Americans with justice. But, beyond this, several of these men, notably McLeod. McKay, McLoughlin, McKinlay, Douglas, Ogden, Grant, McDonald, Pambrun and Lewes, were men of great natural ability and high character, fit to rank among "Nature's noblemen," measured by any reasonable standard, and their broad humanity and natural nobility of character manifested itself in their whole course, as shown by the evidence herein quoted.
They also knew well what the advocates of the Whitman Saved Oregon Legend have never yet learned (witness Mowry's "Marcus Whitman," published in 1901; Rev. M. Eells' "Reply to Professor Bourne," 1902; Rev. Joseph R. Clark's "Leavening the Nation," 1903; D. 0. Shelton's "Heroes of the Cross in America," 1904), viz.:
450 ACQUISITION OF OREGON
That by tlie express terms of the treaties of 1818 and 1827, as understood by both Governments, no posts or settlements that the subjects or citizens of either nation might establish while these treaties remained in force could settle or in the least degree affect the right of either nation to any part of the Oregon Territory.
The question is not what did the Hudson's Bay Co. desire ? For undoubtedly they desired, and ought to have desired, that Americans should not be in Oregon at all, but that it should be a part of the British dominions.
The question is "What did the Hudson's Bay Co. do when that which they did not desire happened, and Americans came into the Oregon Territory as fur traders, missionaries, scientific explorers, travelers, government exploring expeditions and settlers?"
That is the question which I have sought to answer in the only way in which historical questions can be settled, by quoting the best possible evidence, to-wit: All the contemporaneous testimony that I have been able to discover of those Americans themselves, with a little later evidence from prominent Oregon pioneers, all of them of the highest character, all of them having no interest in the Hudson's Bay Co., and all men whose Americanism is undoubted, and all of them men who had exceptional facilities for knowing what were the teal facts in the case.
[END OF VOL. I.]