Essays in Historical Criticism/The Legend of Marcus Whitman

THE LEGEND OF MARCUS WHITMAN

ESSAYS IN HISTORICAL CRITICISM


THE LEGEND OF MARCUS WHITMAN

PART I

Sixty-six years ago, Marcus Whitman, a physician in Wheeler, Steuben Co., N. Y., received an appointment from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to assist the Rev. Samuel Parker in establishing a mission among the Indians of the Oregon Territory. Upon their arrival at Green River (in Wyoming) Dr. Whitman decided to return to enlist more help. Early the next year he started out again with his bride, accompanied by the Rev. and Mrs. Henry H. Spalding and Mr. W. H. Gray, whom he had induced to join him in his arduous enterprise. Eleven years later, in November 1847, the energetic and faithful missionary with his wife and twelve other persons were massacred at their Station Waiilatpu, now Walla Walla, by the Cayuse Indians. The simple chronicle of Dr. Whitman's life as recorded in the obituary notice seven months later in The Missionary Herald, the official organ of the Mission Board, reads as follows:—

"Doct. Whitman was born in Rushville, in the State of New York, September 4, 1802. He joined the Church in that place in January, 1824; though he dated his conversion from a revival in Plainfield, Massachusetts, in 1819. He gave himself to the missionary work in 1834. In February, 1835, he went to Oregon for the first time. Having returned the same year, he was married in February, 1836; and in the following month he set out a second time for his chosen field of labor. He made a visit to the Atlantic States in the spring of 1843, being called hither by the business of the mission. He was a diligent and self-denying laborer in the the work to which he consecrated his time and energies. In the last letter received from him, he described at considerable length his plans and hopes in regard to the Indians, showing his interest not only to the Kayuses, but in more distant tribes."[1]

Fifty-two years later, in the most careful appraisal of human achievement in America that has ever been made, the voting for the Hall of Fame at New York University, Marcus Whitman received nineteen out of a possible ninety-eight votes to be ranked as one of the fifty greatest Americans. In the class of missionaries and explorers he stood fourth, being surpassed by Adoniram Judson with thirty-five, Daniel Boone with thirty-four, and Elisha Kent Kane with twenty-one votes, and followed by Fremont and George Rogers Clark with seventeen, Houston with fourteen, and Meriwether Lewis with thirteen votes. Turning to the voters we find Whitman ranked first in his class by the college Presidents, receiving ten votes from twenty-five voters.

In the total vote this simple missionary whose career was described by those who presumably knew the most about it in less than twenty lines, ranked equally with Count Rumford, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and James Munroe, and surpassed Chief Justice Taney, Senator Benton, Salmon P. Chase and Winfield Scott.[2]

History will be sought in vain for a more extraordinary growth of fame after death. In Rome there is nothing more impressive than to see the magnificent column of Trajan surmounted by a statue of the Apostle Peter and to reflect on the historic changes that made suitable in the eyes of the Romans of a later day that transformation of the emperor's monument into a pedestal for the figure of a simple missionary of whom he probably never heard. But centuries passed before this took place, and even the simpler transformation of the missionary Peter into the first Bishop of Rome required several generations.

But in the case of Marcus Whitman, the frontier missionary in less than half a century is transformed into a great historic figure who shaped the destiny of the far northwest and saved the Oregon territory to the United States. Such a transformation can be accounted for only in two ways: either the historians and public men of fifty years ago were unaccountably ignorant of an epoch-making achievement of their own day, which has since become known through the discovery of authentic sources of the history of that time at once explaining previous ignorance and establishing the real facts; or, an extraordinary legend has sprung up and spread until it has entirely overgrown and concealed the true history of a great transaction in our national life. If the last is the case it throws new light on the possibility of the development of unhistorical narratives and renders nugatory so much of apologetic criticism as is based on the belief that legendary narratives cannot grow up and displace the truth in a few years in an age abounding with documents. For if such a reconstruction of history has taken place in the United States in the latter half of the nineteenth century, involving an event of such immense importance and world-wide publicity as the acquisition of Oregon, no principles can be laid down dogmatically as to the lapse of time requisite in some earlier period for the development and spread of unhistorical narratives.

In this case of the story of Marcus Whitman a critical investigation will show that it is the second alternative which is forced upon us. No new sources of value relative to the history of the Oregon question have been discovered and the extraordinary posthumous fame of Marcus Whitman is found to rest upon the unsubstantial foundation of a fictitious narrative first published many years after his alleged achievement.

When a traditional narrative is subjected to criticism two questions present themselves: "Is it true?"—and if not: "How did it come to be believed to be true?" In other words, "What is its origin and history?" The answer to the first question is of especial interest only to students of American history. The answer to the second on the other hand will be not only of general, but of scientific interest, for it will trace the steps by which the imaginative reconstruction of history strangely distorting the relative significance of men and events, has slowly but steadily pushed aside the truth, until it has invaded not only the text-books but the works of historians whose reputation gives their utterances a certain authority. It will also illustrate not only the abiding prevalence of the uncritical spirit in a supposedly skeptical age among all classes of people, but also how readily a fictitious narrative, if only vivid and realistic, and sufficiently reiterated, is taken up in the face of living witnesses who dispute its truth, and of perfectly accessible sources which demonstrate its falsity.

For these reasons and for the additional one that an examination into the origin of the Whitman story will throw light on its credibility I shall investigate the second question first. To enable the reader to follow such a study a brief outline of the accepted story must be given.

About the first of October, 1842, and during the period when the Oregon country was under the joint occupation of the United States and Great Britain, while Dr. Whitman was dining at a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Walla Walla the news comes of the arrival of a colony of Canadians from the Red River country. The assembled company is jubilant and a young priest cries out "Hurrah for Oregon! America is too late, and we have got the country." Whitman realizes that if Canadian immigration has really begun the authorities at Washington ought to know it, and a counter American immigration ought to be promoted, so that when the joint occupation of Oregon is terminated, the presence of a majority of American settlers may turn the balance in favor of the United States by right of possession. The government must be informed as to the value of Oregon and its accessibility by overland emigration. In spite of the protests of his fellow missionaries, he immediately starts for Washington where he arrives March 2, 1843, most opportunely to secure the postponement of negotiations looking to the surrender of Oregon by pledging himself to demonstrate the accessibility of the country by conducting thither a thousand immigrants, which he does during the ensuing summer.[3]

The essential points in this statement are the cause and purpose of Dr. Whitman's journey to the East in 1842, his influence on the Oregon policy of the government and his organization of the great immigration of 1843. Incidental or collateral assumptions usually accompany this statement to the effect that great ignorance and indifference in regard to Oregon prevailed in Washington and generally throughout the United States, and that Dr. Whitman was able to dispel the ignorance and to transform the indifference into a deep and widespread interest. In both the essentials and the explanatory details the story of how Marcus Whitman saved Oregon is fictitious. It is not only without trustworthy contemporary evidence, but is irreconcilable with well established facts. No traces of knowledge of it have ever been found in the contemporary discussion of the Oregon question. The story first emerges over twenty years after the events and seventeen years after Whitman's death and its conception of the Oregon policy of the government is that handed down by tradition in an isolated and remote community.[4]

The evidence advanced in support of this story is exclusively the oral testimony of a small group of people who have alleged that their accounts rested on Whitman's words or upon their own recollections. None of this testimony is of earlier date than 1864, and nearly all of it is subsequent to the publication of the story in its most complete form. As much of it repeats the gross historical errors of the story as originally published, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that if these witnesses derived these errors from the printed narrative they probably derived other features of their testimony from the same source. If this is made probable, it does not necessarily convict these witnesses of conscious dishonesty. No one who appreciates the fallibility of human memory as an instrument of precision and understands the subtle influence upon the mind of suggestion need be confronted by the painful dilemma that either they must reject the evidence of their reasoning powers or believe that venerated friends have been dishonest. Again most of the controversy in regard to this matter has involved religious and sectarian interests and has been conducted in large measure by people at once untrained in weighing evidence and profoundly interested in the final judgment.

So far then as the oral testimony or written discussion is found inconsistent with the historical facts such inconsistency may be accounted for either as a conscious effort to deceive, an unconscious perversion owing to suggestion and inaccurate recollection, or as a misinterpretation of the evidence owing either to ignorance or bias.

The original account of Whitman's journey, its causes, purpose, and results was first published in a series of articles in The Pacific, a religious paper in San Francisco, in the fall of 1865, contributed by the Rev. H. H. Spalding, a colleague of Dr. Whitman in the Oregon mission.[5]

A few months later a strikingly similar narrative was published by W. H. Gray, another former member of the Oregon Mission, in the Astoria Marine Gazette in July and August, 1866. Both narratives are here reproduced.


The Spalding Narrative.

"In 1841 no missionaries crossed, but several emigrant families, bringing wagons, which, on reaching Fort Hall, suffered the same fate with those of 1840. In 1842 considerable emigration moved forward with ox teams and wagons, but on reaching Fort Hall the same story was told them, and the teams were sacrificed, and the emigrant families reached Dr. Whitman's station late in the fall, in very destitute circumstances. About this time, as events proved, that shrewd English diplomatist, Governor Simpson, long a resident on the Northwest coast, reached Washington, after having arranged that an English colony of some 150 souls should leave the Selkirk Settlement on the Eed Kiver of the lakes in the spring of 1842, and cross the Eocky Mountains by the Saskatchewan Pass."


"DR. WHITMAN'S WINTER JOURNEY, 1843."

"The peculiar event that aroused Dr. Whitman and sent him through the mountains of New Mexico, during that terrible winter of 1843, to Washington, just in time to save this now so valuable country from being traded off by Webster to the shrewd Englishman for a 'cod fishery' down east, was as follows: In October of 1842 our mission was called together, on business, at Waiilatpu—Dr. Whitman's station—and while in session, Dr. W. was called to Fort Walla-Walla to visit a sick man. While there the 'brigade' for New Caledonia, fifteen bateaux, arrived at that point on their way up the Columbia, with Indian goods for the New Caledonia or Frazer River country. They were accompanied by some twenty chief factors, traders, and clerks of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Bishop Demois, who had crossed the mountains from Canada, in 1839—the first Catholic priest on this coast; Bishop Blanchett came at the same time.

"While this great company were at dinner, including several priests, an express arrived from Fort Colville, announcing the (to them) glad news that the colony from Red River had passed the Rocky Mountains and were near Colville. An exclamation of joy burst from the whole table, at first unaccountable to Dr. Whitman, till a young priest, perhaps not so discreet as the older, and not thinking that there was an American at the table, sprang to his feet, and swinging his hand, exclaimed: 'Hurrah for Columbia! (Oregon.) America is too late; we have got the country. In an instant, as by instinct, Dr. Whitman saw through the whole plan, clear to Washington, Fort Hall, and all. He immediately rose from the table and asked to be excused, sprang upon his horse, and in a very short time stood with his noble 'Cayuse,' white with foam, before his door; and without stopping to

dismount, he replied to our anxious inquiries with great decision and earnestness: 'I am going to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach Washington this Winter, God carrying me through, and bring out an emigration over the mountains next season, or this country is lost.' The events soon developed that if that whole-souled American missionary was not the 'son of a prophet,' he guessed right when he said a 'deep laid scheme was about culminating which would deprive the United States of this Oregon, and it must be broken at once, or the country is lost.' We united our remonstrances with those of sister Whitman, who was in deep agony at the idea of her husband perishing in the snows of the Rocky Mountains. We told him it would be a

miracle if he escaped death either from starving or freezing, or the savages, or the perishing of his horses, during the five months that would be required to make the only possible circuitous route, via Fort Hall, Taos, Santa Fe, and Bent Fort. His reply was that of my angel wife six years before: ' I am ready, not to be bound only, but to die at Jerusalem or in the snows of the Rocky Mountains for the name of the Lord Jesus or my country. I am a missionary, it is true, but my country needs me now.' And taking leave of his missionary associates, his comfortable home, and his weeping companion, with little hope of seeing them again in this world, he entered upon his fearful journey the last of Oct. 1842, and reached the City of Washington the last of March 1843,[6] with his face, nose, ears, hands, feet, and legs badly frozen. It is well that the good man did not live to see himself and his faithful associates robbed and their characters slandered by that very Government he was ready to lay down his life for. It would have been to him, as it is to me, the most mournful event of my life. . . ."


"DR. WHITMAN'S SUCCESSFUL MISSION AT WASHINGTON."

"On reaching the settlements, Dr. Whitman found that many of the now old Oregonians—Waldo, Applegate, Hamtree, Keyser,

and others—who had once made calculations to come to Oregon, had abandoned the idea because of the representations from Washington that every attempt to take wagons and ox teams through the Rocky Mountains and Blue Mountains to the Columbia had failed. Dr. Whitman saw at once what the stopping of wagons at Fort Hall every year meant. The representations purported to come from Secretary Webster, but really from Governor Simpson, who, magnifying the statements of his chief trader, Grant, at Fort Hall declared the Americans must be going mad, from their repeated fruitless attempts to take wagons and teams through the impassable regions of the Columbia, and that the women and children of those wild fanatics had been saved from a terrible death only by the repeated and philanthropic labors of Mr. Grant, at Fort Hall, in furnishing them with horses. The doctor told these men as he met them that his only object in crossing the mountains in the dead of the winter, at the risk of his life, and through untold sufferings, was. to take back an American emigration that summer through the mountains to the Columbia with their wagons and teams. The route was practicable. We had taken our cattle and our families through several years before. They had nothing to fear, but to be ready on his return. The stopping of wagons at Fort Hall was a Hudson Bay Company scheme to prevent the settling of the country by Americans, till they could settle it with their own subjects, from the Selkirk settlement. This news spread like fire through Missouri. The doctor pushed on to Washington and immediately sought an interview with Secretary Webster—both being from the same State—and stated to him the object of his crossing the

rivers with, a wagon track so deep and plain that neither national envy nor sectional fanaticism would ever blot it out. And when the 4th of September, 1843, saw the rear of the doctor's caravan of nearly two hundred wagons with which he started from Missouri last of April emerge from the western shades of the Blue Mountains upon the plains of the Columbia, the greatest work was finished ever accomplished by one man for Oregon on this coast. And through that great emigration, during the whole summer, the doctor was their everywhere-present angel of mercy, ministering to the sick, helping the weary, encouraging the wavering, cheering the mothers, mending wagons, setting broken bones, hunting stray oxen; climbing precipices, now in the rear, now in the center, now at the front; in the rivers looking out fords through the quicksands, in the deserts looking out water; in the dark mountains looking out passes; at noontide or midnight, as though those thousands were his own children, and those wagons and those flocks were his own property. Although he asked not and expected not a dollar as a reward from any source, he felt himself abundantly rewarded when he saw the desire of his heart accomplished, the great wagon route over the mountains established, and Oregon in a fair way to be occupied with American settlements and American commerce. And especially he felt himself doubly paid, when, at the end of his successful expedition, and standing alive at home again on the banks of the Walla-Walla, these thousands of his fellow summer pilgrims, wayworn and sunbrowned, took him by the hand and thanked him with tears for what he had done."[7]


The Gray Narrative.[8]

"In September, 1842, Dr. Whitman was called to visit a patient at old Fort Wallawalla. While there, a number of boats of the

Hudson's Bay Company, with several chief traders and Jesuit priests, on their way to the interior of the country, arrived. While at dinner, the overland express from Canada arrived, bringing news that the emigration from the Red River settlement was at Colville. This news excited unusual joy among the guests. One of them—a young priest—sang out: 'Hurrah for Oregon! America is too late; we have got the country.


'Now the Americans may whistle; the country is ours!' said another.

"Whitman learned that the company had arranged for these Red River English settlers to come on to settle in Oregon, and at the same time Governor Simpson was to go to Washington and secure the settlement of the question as to the boundaries, on the ground of the most numerous and permanent settlement in the country.

"The Doctor was taunted with the idea that no power could prevent this result, as no information could reach Washington in time to prevent it. 'It shall be prevented,' said the Doctor, 'if I have to go to Washington myself.' 'But you cannot go there to do it,' was the taunting reply of the Briton. 'I will see,' was the Doctor's reply. The reader is sufficiently acquainted with the history of this man's toil and labor in bringing his first wagon through to Fort Boise, to understand what he meant when he said, 'I will see.' Two hours after this conversation at the fort, he dismounted from his horse at his door at Waiilatpu. I saw in a moment that he was fixed on some important object or errand. He soon explained that a special effort must be made to save the country from becoming British territory.

"Everything was in the best of order about the station, and there seemed to be no important reason why he should not go. A. L. Lovejoy, Esq., had a few days before arrived with the immigration. It was proposed that he should accompany the Doctor, which he consented to do, and in twenty-four hours' time they were well mounted and on their way to the States. They reached Fort Hall all safe; kept south into Taos and thence to Bent's Fort, on the Arkansas River, when Mr. Lovejoy became exhausted from toil and exposure, and stopped for the winter, while the Doctor continued on and reached Washington."

"Thus far in this narrative I give Dr. Whitman's, Mr. Lovejoy's, and my own knowledge. I find an article in The Pacific of November 9, from Mr. Spalding, which gives us the result:—'On reaching the settlements,'" etc.


That this[user annotations 1] narrative is the primary source of the Whitman legend and that it was first brought before the public in 1865[9] by Mr. Spalding are abundantly proved by both external and internal evidence. In the first place, although Mr. Spalding's statements have been reaffirmed or disputed for twenty years or more by many people in the northwest professing to speak of their own knowledge, during all this time no evidence of a date earlier than 1864 has been brought forward to show that anybody east or west had ever heard of it prior to that date. Second, upon its original appearance, in part, in 1864, it was related on Mr. Spalding's authority;[10] and as late as 1894 the Rev. Myron Eells, the son of Cushing Eells, and for many years an indefatigable champion of the Whitman story, in his life of his father, wrote: "Rev. H. H. Spalding was about the first person to make known the fact of Dr. "Whitman's going East on a political errand. Dr. G. H. Atkinson learned of it, and believed that this work ought to be set to the credit of missions. He said so publicly. In his journey East in 1865 he told the secretaries of the American Board that while they had been accustomed to look upon their Oregon mission as a failure it was a grand success. They were very skeptical and thought that many extravagant assertions had been made about Whitman's achievement. Dr. Atkinson replied: 'Write to Dr. Eells, as you know him to be careful in his statements and are accustomed to rely on what he says.'"[11]

That the story was new in 1864-5 has been so positively denied that it will be necessary to present the evidence of this fact in some detail. This will be done by reviewing in a series certain critical junctures at which if the story had been known it could hardly have failed to receive mention.

As Dr. Atkinson was the man who first brought this story to the attention of the American Board and was most

persistent in giving it publicity the date at which he learned it is of vital importance in determining the date at which it first became known. Since he was apparently unremitting in his efforts to diffuse the story as soon as it came to his knowledge and since he had probably the best facilities of anybody connected with missions in Oregon for hearing the story as soon as it began to circulate, the presumption, in the absence of any contemporary dated evidence to the contrary, is very strong that the story was new in 1864-5. Dr. Atkinson arrived in Oregon in June 1848, a little over six months after the Whitman massacre, as the first missionary of the American Home Missionary Society.[12] On June 13 he had a conference with W. H. Gray as to where he had better establish his station. June 21 he arrived in Oregon City, where he had an extended conference with Mr. Spalding. In Oregon City at this time were Cushing Eells to whom Dr. Atkinson referred the secretaries of the American Board in 1865 for confirmation of Spalding's narrative, and A. Lawrence Lovejoy who accompanied Whitman across the mountains in 1842 and to whom Dr. Atkinson appealed for evidence in 1876. Yet neither from Spalding nor Eells nor Lovejoy did the young home missionary hear a word in 1848 of the saving of Oregon by Marcus Whitman.[13]

If the story had been known then or thought of by any one of these men, could they have helped telling it to Dr. Atkinson and could he, the enthusiastic young missionary, have helped recording it? During the next fifteen years Dr. Atkinson's labors as a home missionary took him at one time or another all over Oregon and Washington and brought him repeatedly into contact with the pioneers and the early missionaries, and had the story then been known to any of the people who in the last fifteen or twenty years have alleged that it was familiar to them long before 1865,[14] Dr. Atkinson could hardly have escaped knowledge of it during these years of home missionary travel.

Other examples of this universal silence prior to 1865 may be given. Joel Palmer, an Oregon pioneer of 1845, recorded in his journal under date of Sept. 17, 1845, that Dr. Whitman and his wife came to his camp with provisions. The following is his account of the visit.

"The doctor and lady remained with us during the day; he took occasion to inform us of the many incidents that marked his ten years' sojourn in this wilderness region, of a highly interesting character. Among other things he related that during his residence in this country, he had been reduced to such necessity for want of food as to be compelled to slay his horse f stating that within that period, no less than thirty-two horses had been served up at his table."[15]

This comprises all of Whitman's life that Palmer mentions in his diary, and as he had other interviews with Whitman and with Spalding, before his book was published two years later, this silence is significant. Spalding himself, the author of the legend, three years after "Whitman's Ride," was evidently unaware that Oregon had been "saved" to the United States, for he prophesied in a letter to Joel Palmer, April 7, 1846, that Oregon would become an independent republic. " Others," he writes, "following in their track [i. e., of an "industrious," "virtuous," "Sabbath-loving "people], learning of this new world and finding our ample harbors, soon this little, obscure point upon the map of the world will become a second North American Republic, her commerce whitening every sea and her crowded ports fanned by the flags of every nation."[16] The letter contained nothing about the supposed crisis in 1842-43.

In 1851 Anson Dart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, in response to instructions from Washington to investigate large claims against the government, made by the American Board of Missions, for losses sustained at their several mission stations in upper Oregon at the time of the massacre of Dr. Whitman and family and others in the fall of 1847, started on a tour of inspection from Oregon City, May 30, accompanied by Elkanah Walker as interpreter. June 17th, he arrived at the site of the Whitman mission. His special report on the mission losses seems not to have been printed, but his account of the journey says nothing as to Whitman's political services in behalf of Oregon. If he had heard of them he could hardly have failed to note what he had heard in this general report, nor, if the story existed at that time, could he have failed to hear of it, for he was attended on the journey by one of Whitman's colleagues, Elkanah Walker, and at an earlier time he had had under his direction H. H. Spalding as Indian Agent at Umpqua.[17]

In 1853, Isaac Ingalls Stevens was appointed Governor of Washington Territory. He was enthusiastic over the development and exploration of the region, and before going thither he devoured all the books about it that he could find, and learned all that he could by correspondence with citizens of Oregon and Washington.[18] In the course of one of his journeys he passed the site of the Whitman mission and makes this entry in his diary Nov. 5, 1853: "Mr. Whitman must have done a great deal of good for the Indians. His mission was situated upon a fine tract of land and he had erected a saw and grist mill."[19]

Again, in 1856, Joseph Lane, the territorial delegate, who had gone out to Oregon in 1849 as Governor of the Territory, eulogized in Congress the services to Oregon of Marcus Whitman. "Never, in my opinion, did missionary go forth to the field of his labors animated by a nobler purpose or devote himself to his task with more earnestness and sincerity than this meek and Christian man." Gen. Lane then related how Whitman devoted his time to teaching the Indians the arts of civilization, but said not a word of political services.[20]

In 1858 Dr. Atkinson in a review of his ten years of labor in Oregon dwelt at some length on the usefulness of the missionaries in that region. Among other things he says: "We gave our influence to make Oregon a free state," but not a word of the services of Whitman.[21]

Even more striking is the silence of Gushing Eells in a brief sketch of the old Oregon Mission to the Indians and a description of the Walla Walla country, published in The Home Missionary in 1860. He writes: "In the autumn of 1836 Marcus Whitman, M. D., with Mrs. Whitman, together with other missionary associates, arrived at Fort Walla Walla on Columbia river.—Dr. and Mrs. Whitman stopped among the Cayuse Indians. And commenced their labors at a place since called Waiilatpu, situated twenty-five miles east of Ft. Walla Walla.—The missionary work was prosecuted rather steadily among the Cayuse, Nez Percés, and Spokane Indians till 1847. On the 29th of November of that year. Dr. and Mrs. Whitman met a violent death at the hands of the Cayuse Indians."[22] If Cushing Eells knew at this time that Marcus Whitman saved Oregon to the United States in 1843 it would have been a fitting occasion upon which to mention it.

The only evidence that has been advanced to show that the "saving of Oregon" was attributed to Marcus Whitman before Spalding published his articles is an extract from a book by a French traveller, de Saint-Amant, published in 1854,[23] and this evidence is secured by the use of deceptive phrases in translating the passage. This writer is said to have "published to his countrymen that Whitman, the missionary, was largely instrumental in saving Oregon to the United States."[24] These words, it will be remembered, are the language that Cushing Eells used in 1866 when he declared his belief that Whitman was "instrumental in saving a valuable portion of this Northwest to the United States."[25] The French writer's words are: "Le Révérend Whitman, missionnaire anabaptiste américain, était venu s'établir avec sa famille parmi les diverses tribus de Whalla-Whalla, on pent aussi bien dire au milieu des déserts. Il avait acquis une certaine influence sur les Cayuses, les Nez-Percés, les Spokans, etc. Ayant devancé la prise de possession du pays par ses concitoyens, il s'était fait agent très actif des intérêts américains, et n'avait pas pen contribué à pousser l'annexion; mais malgré tout son mérite, il n'avait pas compris que son crédit et son influence ne résisteraient pas toujours aux effets de la superstition de ces races sauvages. Il en tomba victime avec sa famille. Une épidémie était survenue, et comme le Révérend cumulait l'art de guérir le corps avec la prétention de sauver l'âme, et que plusieurs cas de décès foudroyants égarèrent ces esprits malades et faibles (ce que nous avons eu la honte de voir aussi dans nos pays civilisés,) des doutes s'élevèrent

sur la droiture des intentions du docteur Whitman, encore plus que sur la portée de sa science médicale. Bref, il fut massacré avec sa famille en novembre, 1847."[26] I have quoted the whole passage for the light it throws on its probable source.

It is to be noticed in the first place that this account characterizes the entire period of Whitman's labors down to 1847. It says nothing about the year 1842-3 nor does it give any intimation of knowledge of the details or the general features of the Spalding story. The account of the causes of the massacre is so similar to that given by Brouillet in his pamphlet[27] that one is led to the intrinsically probable conclusion that de Saint- Amant as a Frenchman and a Catholic derived his information either from Brouillet himself or from some of his missionary colleagues. The assertion about the tendency of Whitman's political activity is hardly more than a natural deduction from such statements as Brouillet made in his pamphlet. To use the very words of Eells or Spalding which were the product of the legendary representation of the Oregon crisis in 1842-3, in translating the words of Saint Amant to prove that he was familiar with their contentions, and that consequently they were matters of common knowledge in Oregon in 1851-2 would not be defensible in a trained historical scholar.[28]

In harmony with the universal silence which has been found to have prevailed before 1864 in regard to the contents of the Spalding narrative, is the obvious skepticism of the secretaries of the American Board in 1865 when Dr. Atkinson informed them of the political results of Whitman's journey east in 1842-3, In the twenty-two years that had elapsed since Whitman appeared in Boston, no missionary in the hundreds of pages of correspondence in their records or in personal interviews had ever told them the story of how Whitman had saved Oregon,[29] and hence when they first hear it they not only discredit the story but also its source.

Dr. Atkinson then requested them to write to Dr. Eells as to one upon whose testimony they could rely. Accepting this suggestion, Secretary Treat wrote on February 22, 1866, to Cushing Eells, who, it will be remembered, had been a colleague of Whitman's, asking for a statement of the results of the old Oregon Mission work, and received in reply a letter dated Walla Walla, W. T., May 28, 1866, in which the religious and educational labors of the missionaries are reviewed. The following are the essential passages relative to Whitman's ride, and their dependence upon Spalding's narrative published the preceding fall is sufficiently obvious.

"Dr. Whitman understood with a good degree of correctness, apparently, that it was the plan of the Hudson's Bay Company to secure this country to the English Government. Undoubtedly he felt strongly in reference to this subject. At that time his missionary associates judged that he was disturbed to an unwarrantable degree. The result has furnished accumulative evidence that there was sufficient reason for determined earnestness on his part.

"An unyielding purpose was formed by Dr. Whitman to go East. The mission was called together to consider whether or not its approval could be given to the proposed undertaking. Mr. Walker and myself were decidedly opposed, and we yielded only when it became evident that he would go, even if he had to become disconnected from the mission in order to do so. According to the understanding of the members of the mission, the single object of Dr. Whitman, in attempting to cross the nent in the winter of 1842-43, amid mighty peril and suffering, was to make a desperate effort to save this country to the United States.

"On reaching Washington, he learned that representations had been made there, corresponding to those which had been often repeated on this coast. ' Oregon,' it was said, 'would most likely be unimportant to the United States. It was difficult of access. A wagon road thither was an impossibility.' By such statements Governor Simpson (the territorial Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company) had well-nigh succeeded in accomplishing his object of purchasing this country, not for a mess of pottage, but a cod fishery! Dr. Whitman was barely able to obtain from President Tyler the promise that negotiations should be suspended.

"His next object was to expose the falsity of the statement that the Rocky and Blue Mountains could not be passed by immigrant wagons. It soon became known, to some extent, that Dr. Whitman would accompany those who would attempt to go to the Columbia that season in this manner. The fact induced numbers to decide to go who would not otherwise have done so. If I judge correctly, the testimony has been unvarying and abundant, that the success of the expedition depended upon the knowledge, skill, energy, and perseverance of Dr. Whitman. Extravagant language has been used, expressive of the confidence of the emigrants of 1843 in his ability to conduct them successfully through difficulties which, in the estimation of many, were regarded as utter impossibilities. The fording of the Platte with such a train was an untried, and in some respects a perilous undertaking; and yet it was signally successful.

"In 1839, Rev. J. S. Griffin and his missionary associates travelled from the western frontier to Fort Hall with wagons. They were there told by agents of the Hudson's Bay Company that it was impracticable, if not impossible, to take their wagons to Walla Walla. Consequently teams and wagons were exchanged for pack animals and fixtures. In 1840, Rev. H. Clarke and other missionary laborers performed the same journey in like manner. At Fort Hall they were induced to leave their wagons. In 1843, this game was tried again, and at the opportune moment when Dr. Whitman was absent from camp. On his return he found some weeping, others much disturbed. He at once comprehended the plot, and then and there is said to have addressed them as follows:—'My countrymen! You have trusted me thus far; believe me now, and I will take your wagons to Columbia River. "I may not be able to furnish evidence entirely satisfactory to others; but in view of all the past relating to this subject,—of which I have been an eye and ear witness since August, 1838,—I am prepared to say that to my mind there is not the shadow of a doubt that Dr. Whitman, by his efforts with President Tyler and Secretary Webster, in 1843, and his agency during the same year in conducting an immigrant wagon train from the western frontier to the Columbia River, was instrumental in saving a valuable portion of this Northwest to the United States. Am I extravagant in adding, that the importance of this service to our country will not be likely to be overestimated? When the iron track of the North Pacific railroad shall have the two oceans for its termini, and the commerce of the world shall move over the most direct route; and when the latent resources of this vast region shall have been fully developed, there will be a theme worthy of the best endeavors of the statesman and the orator."

Secretary Treat's comment is as follows:

"While it is apparent from the letters of Dr. Whitman at the Missionary House, that, in visiting the Eastern States in 1842-43, he had certain missionary objects in view (of which Mr. Eells may not have been cognizant), it is no less clear that he would not have come at that time, and probably he would not have come at all, had it not been for his desire to save the disputed territory to the United States. It was not simply an American question, however; it was at the same time a Protestant question. He was fully alive to the efforts which the Roman Catholics were making to gain the mastery of the Pacific coast and he was firmly persuaded that they were working in the interest of the Hudson's Bay Company with a view to this very end. The danger from this quarter had made a profound impression upon Ms mind. Under date of April 1, 1847, he said: 'In the autumn of 1842 I pointed out to our mission the arrangements of the papists to settle in our vicinity, and that it only required that those arrangements should be completed to close our operations.'"

Mr. Treat, apparently satisfied with this deceptive confirmation, from Doctor Eells' reply, which was published subsequently in the Missionary Herald[30] and from the statements Doctor Atkinson had made, prepared an address on "Early Indian Missions," which he delivered at the meeting of the American Board in Pittsfield, Sept. 27, 1866. The report of this address in the Congregationalist, Oct. 5, 1866, is the earliest printed version of the Whitman story that appeared in the East. It omitted the Fort Walla Walla incident, but narrated the fictitious interviews with Tyler and Webster and credited Whitman with organizing the emigration of 1843.

The date and form of the first appearance of the Whitman legend having been established we may inquire into the circumstances of its origin before tracing its gradual diffusion and adoption.

By articles III and IV of the Oregon Treaty of 1846 the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company and of all British subjects in lands or other property were to be respected and the lands and property belonging to the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company were to be confirmed to it or purchased by the United States at a proper valuation. Settlers encroached upon the lands claimed by these companies and the Oregon land grants were also in conflict with the claims. Much annoyance and litigation resulted and the only settlement possible was for the United States to buy out the rights of these two corporations. A treaty providing for such a purchase at a valuation to be determined by a joint commission was concluded between England and the United States in July 1863 and proclaimed March 6, 1864. The commission began its labors in January 1865. From May 30, 1865, to May 10, 1867, the counsel were employed in taking testimony. The claims of the Hudson's Bay Company aggregated over $4,000,000 and those of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company over 11,100,000. September 10th, 1869, the commission awarded the two companies 1450,000 and 8200,000 respectively.[31]

Many of the old settlers in Oregon cherished a resentment against the Hudson's Bay Company for real or fancied wrongs and the thought of such immense claims being preferred by foreign corporations was exasperating. The feeling was intensified by the belief that the Hudson's Bay Company had intrigued against the interests of the United States during the joint occupation.[32] On the other hand, for one reason or another, the most of the land claims of the Protestant missions were forfeited because they were not actually occupied at the time of the passage of the land law. The title to all the stations of the American Board lapsed in this way except that to Waiilatpu, where the occupants had been massacred. In 1862 the Board put in a claim to Lapwai, Mr. Spalding's station in the Nez Percés country, but it was disallowed, and he devoted years to the effort to secure a reversal of the decision. That the mission claims should be rejected while those of the Hudson's Bay Company were recognized by the National Government seemed an outrage to Spalding.[33] To cap the climax, just about this time it came to his attention that an attack on the work of the missionaries of the American Board had been given an extensive publicity by being included in a public document.

At the time of the Whitman massacre Spalding had undergone a terrible nervous and physical strain from which apparently he never recovered.[34]

He believed the massacre had been instigated by the Catholic missionaries, and this belief made him almost if not quite a monomaniac on the subject of Catholicism. He charged the Catholic missionaries repeatedly with having instigated the massacre. These charges were echoed by others, and in their morbid imaginations, behind the scenes, as the concealed prime movers of the tragedy, stood the Hudson's Bay Company, vindictive at the loss of Oregon through the activity of the missionaries. A fierce controversy arose whose embers are still smouldering.[35] The Vicar-General of Walla Walla, the Reverend J. B. A. Brouillet, prepared a reply to these charges which was published in New York in 1853,[36] and later in 1858 was included by J. Ross Browne, a special agent of the Treasury Department, in a report which he prepared for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs on the Indian War in Oregon and Washington Territories.[37]

Brouillet's reply was temperate in tone and in marked contrast to the tremulous passion of Spalding's articles, but he made assertions about the attitude of the Indians toward the Protestant missionaries, about the inefficacy of their work, and the worldly interests which influenced them which Spalding and his missionary colleagues regarded as slanders. But to have this Catholic disparagement of their labors distributed as a public document, of which he became aware as has been said at about the same time[38] when the claim to the Lapwai Mission station fell through, and the Hudson's Bay Company's claims were recognized, incensed Spalding beyond endurance and roused him to ceaseless efforts to overwhelm the Catholics with obloquy and to demonstrate the injustice of the forfeiture of the title to the Lapwai Mission Station. He began writing and lecturing[39] on what the missionaries had done for Oregon, upon the work of Whitman, and the massacre. He secured a large number of affidavits repelling as false Brouillet's charges and induced many religious bodies to adopt resolutions drafted by himself setting forth his version of Whitman's achievements and the radical injustice of the treatment accorded to himself in the affair of the Lapwai station. These labors occupied five years, and in 1870 he came east, where through the influence of William E. Dodge, the Vice-President of the American Board, he was enabled to get the material which he had compiled and collected in defence of Whitman and of himself published under the title: Early Labors of the Missionaries of the American Boards etc., in Oregon, etc., as Executive Document 37 (Senate), 41st Congress, 3d session. [40]

It was as an element in this extraordinary campaign of vindication that the legendary story of Whitman was developed. Nothing could more effectively catch the public ear and prepare the public mind for resentment against the Catholics than to show that Whitman saved Oregon to the United States and then lost his life a sacrifice to the malignant disappointment of the "Jesuits "and the Hudson's Bay Company.

Some of the heads to the various sections in this collection may be quoted to show its range, but no adequate idea of the hodge-podge can be gained by any description. One must believe it unique in all the vast mass which has issued from the Government Printing Office.

I. "The Oregon of 1834 "; II. "The helpless condition of the territory at that date in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company"; III. "Hostility of the Hudson's Bay Company to American citizens." IV. "The early Oregon missions. Their importance in securing the country to the Americans." This section contains the chapter, "The Martyr Whitman's services to the Emigrant Route. His terrific winter journey through the Rocky Mountains. His successful mission at Washington." (This chapter contains the articles from The Pacific, quoted above, on Whitman's ride.) V. "The Whitman massacre and the attempts to break up the American settlements." VI. "Who instigated the Indians to murder the Missionaries and the Americans? "The material relating to the Lapwai station is subordinate in amount to that vindicating the missionaries and will be found on pp. 58-59, 69, and 79-80. More than once it is directly asserted that Whitman was murdered because his journey to Washington frustrated the policy of the Hudson's Bay Company. For example:

"There is abundant proof to show that the said Whitman massacre and the long and expensive wars that followed were commenced by the abovesaid British monopoly 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 this scheme."[41]

The constant reiteration of the Whitman story in Spalding's collection of materials in Doc. 37 emphatically illustrates the reliance that was placed upon it.[42]

Having indicated, so far as has been practicable in the absence of explicit testimony, the occasion and motives which gave rise to the legend of Marcus Whitman, I will now complete the story of its diffusion and acceptance. In the summer of 1866 during the period of suspense in regard to the settlement of the Hudson's Bay Company's claims, and while the counsel were taking testimony in Oregon, Mr. W. H. Gray, the former mechanic and helper at the Whitman mission, published his version of the early history of Oregon in a series of articles in the Astoria Marine Gazette. These articles were an intensely bitter arraignment of the Hudson's Bay Company, and were later incorporated into his History of Oregon.[43] In one of them[44] he told the story of Whitman's intercession in Washington in behalf of Oregon, as he declared he had heard it from Whitman himself, but substantially as Spalding had narrated it the year before with one important exception.[45] Following these articles in chronological order comes Dr. Treat's address before the American Board at Pittsfield in September, and the publication of the story in The Congregationalist, October 5th, from which it was copied by the New York Evening Post, and in turn from the Post by the Portland Oregonian of November 16,[46] 1866.

In 1868 the Rev. H. K. Hines, a Methodist clergyman of Fort Vancouver, introduced the story to the people of that denomination in a vividly written article in the Ladies' Repository of Cincinnati.[47] More important, however, were the efforts of Dr. Atkinson during his sojourn in the East in 1868-69. He told the story of the Oregon Mission and of Whitman's saving the country to the United States with thrilling effect at the meeting of the American Board in Norwich, Ct.[48] Later he addressed the Chamber of Commerce in New York, through the influence of Mr. William E. Dodge, and the Board of Trade in Chicago.[49] The significance of Dr. Atkinson's advocacy for the spread of the story at this time will appear from the testimony of Mrs. Atkinson in regard to her husband's activities. "He there took the opportunity to try to establish the fact of Doctor Whitman going to Washington in midwinter to save Oregon to the United States. In Oregon at that time very few admitted this, but Doctor Atkinson was firm in the belief of this important fact, and urged Doctor Whitman's associate missionaries to speak out to establish it, but there was great opposition to the idea, especially by enemies and non-sympathizers with missionaries."[50] The opposition to the story in Oregon evidently prompted Gray to appeal to A. Lawrence Lovejoy, who accompanied Whitman on his journey, for confirmation, but

Lovejoy's reply failed to substantiate the essentials of the Spalding story.[51]

Among the other publications of 1869 which gave currency to the story may be mentioned Mrs. F. F. Victor's The River of the West, an article by her in the Overland magazine,[52] and Dr. Rufus Anderson's Foreign Missions, their Relations and their Claims.[53]

The first elaborate presentation in book form of the legend of Marcus Whitman will be found in Gray's History of Oregon, Portland, 1870. William H. Gray, as has been said, was originally the mechanic and helper at the Whitman mission, from which he resigned in September 1842. As a contemporary of Whitman, his testimony was naturally regarded from the first as an important corroboration of Spalding's narrative. His account, although professedly based upon his own knowledge and interviews with Whitman, was derived from Spalding, whose articles in the Pacific he quotes. Like Spalding, Gray was equally vindictive towards the Hudson's Bay Company and the Catholics, and made repeated use of the Whitman story to create public opinion against them both.[54]

In the following year, 1871, Spalding's compilation, Early Labors of Missionaries in Oregon,[55] which has already been described, appeared and seemed to supply a varied mass of first-hand confirmatory evidence. Critical study of it, however, soon reveals that nearly every statement in it bearing on Whitman's journey originated with Spalding himself. The peculiar style, the recurrence of identical phrases and of the same historical errors, and other internal evidence make it clear that this document has no value as testimony beyond that of Spalding's own word.

A decade now passes without any noteworthy addition to the literature of the Whitman legend,[56] but its next appearance gave it a decided lift in the world, for it was deemed worthy of mention, although with some critical reservation by an eminent historian. Von Hoist, in his chapter on the Oregon Question, wrote of Webster: "and it is said that he was actually ready to give up Oregon, if England would, in consideration therefor, show an inclination to make concessions in the settling of the boundary of Maine, and the question of the cod-fisheries; but that Whitman, the missionary, succeeded in preventing Tyler's concurrence in this plan by promising to lead a caravan overland to Oregon. How much truth there is in this story can probably never be authentically determined."[57]


The next three or four years were critical in the history of the legend of Marcus Whitman. In the Northwest Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor[58] and the Hon. Elwood Evans,[59] who had earlier given currency to the story, had now become convinced that it was a fabrication and attacked it with great vigor. It is to be hoped that the history of this controversy may some day be published, for the picture of the grapple of criticism with a legend in its earlier growth, and of the survival if not victory of the fiction in spite of crushing attack in an age which flatters itself on its intelligence, would be full of sobering instruction for the historical student.


The strongest champion of the story at this crisis was the Rev. Myron Eells, a son of Cushing Eells. In 1882 he published his History of Indian Missions on the Pacific Coast.[60] In the first part of this work he tells the true history of Whitman's journey as derived from the contemporary evidence in the Missionary Herald[61] and in the second part the fictitious account as derived from Spalding, Gray, Geiger, and Cushing Eells.[62] To the untrained reader the second narrative would seem equally as well authenticated as the first.

Mr. Eells' next contribution was a pamphlet entitled Marcus Whitman, M. D. Proofs of his work in saving Oregon to the United States, and in promoting the Immigration of 1843.[63] In this is reproduced all the first-hand testimony that the most strenuous exertions had been able to gather at that stage of the controversy. All that is presented in addition to the assertions of Spalding and Gray and the earlier statement of Cushing Eells is made up of the recollections in 1883 of William Geiger, Cushing Eells, Mrs. E. Walker, Perrin B. Whitman, Alanson Hinman, and S. J. Parker, M. D., of conversations with Whitman forty years earlier. There is no dated evidence that any one of these men revealed the tenor of these conversations before the publication by Spalding and Gray in 1865-66 of their recollections of substantially identical conversations. The testimony of these men will be examined in connection with that of Spalding and Gray. Nowhere in Mr. Eells' pamphlet is the contemporary first-hand testimony, printed in the Missionary Herald in 1843, reproduced.

The critical examination of the case by Elwood Evans and Mrs. Victor, if one may judge from the citations of their newspaper letters by their opponents, was searching and ought to have convinced unbiassed minds. Their conclusions are stated by Mr. Eells in his pamphlet and in two articles by Rev. Dr. Thomas Laurie in the Missionary Herald.[64] These articles make a show of candor by pointing out the errors of detail in the statements of Spalding and Gray, but there is no real criticism of the evidence, and Dr. Laurie's fundamental disingenuousness is proved by the fact that although he was in a way the official historian[65] of the Board he did not even intimate that their records and letter books of 1842-43 contained any evidence to settle the controversy, nor did he choose to bring again to light the printed testimony of the Missionary Herald. Not only that, but he replies to Mrs. Victor and Mr. Evans by quoting statements of Gushing Eells that the contemporary records show to be errors. Again, when Mr. Evans asserted that Whitman would not have gone east in 1842-43 if it had not been for the order to discontinue the mission stations at Lapwai and Waiilatpu, Dr. Laurie replies: "The writer will not say how it was, but let Dr. Whitman speak for himself," and then quotes a letter of Whitman's four years later.[66] Why Dr. Laurie refrained from saying "how it was "will appear later.

The position of Elwood Evans as summarized by Dr. Laurie was: (1) "Dr. Whitman's journey in 1842-43 had no political intent or significance whatever. (2) No desire or wish to defeat British claim to the territory or any part of it had any influence in actuating such a journey. (3) His exclusive purpose was to have the Board rescind its order to abandon Lapwai and Waiilatpu."[67]

This controversy engendered much bitterness of feeling and recrimination.' Mr. Evans and Mrs. Victor and the other critics were denounced as the enemies of missions and as the champions of the secularists and Jesuits; and Mr. Evans asserted in turn his belief the legend did not originate with Spalding and Gray, but that they were put up to it by Secretary Treat of the American Board in order that the Board might secure grants of land from the Government in recognition of the services of the missions.[68]

The publication of new evidence has shown that Mrs. Victor and Mr. Evans were over confident in their refusal to believe that Whitman went to Washington, but their main position, as summarized above, was solidly established. In view of this, the comments on the controversy of Myron Eells are of interest: "The discussion which followed (the denial of the truth of the Whitman story), often called the Whitman controversy, was long and voluminous, especially in 1884-85. Dr. Eells followed it with the greatest interest, though he let others do the most of the writing. At times he almost feared that from Dr. Whitman, from the cause of missions, from the cause of Christ would be snatched the honors which he believed belonged to them."[69] Again: "In 1885 the Whitman controversy was the fiercest, especially in the Portland Oregonian, where I published three long articles. I also published a pamphlet in his defence.[70] At times I almost felt that the public would believe I was defeated. But the controversy was fought through; we had the last words, which were not answered, and we felt that we had gained the victory."[71]

The feeling was justified by the event. The real spread of the Legend and its acceptance by scholars of reputation dates from the period of this controversy. That this should be the case is surprising and at first sight perplexing. The explanation, however, is very simple and not at all creditable to American historical scholarship or critical discernment.

During the progress of this controversy the Rev. William Barrows, a Congregational clergyman, who forty years earlier was living in St. Louis and had seen Whitman at the time of his arrival there in February 1843, published a series of articles on the history of Oregon in the New York Observer,[72] which later, in a revised form, constituted a considerable part of the text of his Oregon: The Struggle for Possession, which was published in December, 1883, by Houghton, Mifflin, and Co., in the American Commonwealth Series, edited by Horace E. Scudder.

Although Dr. Barrows lived near Boston he seems to have successfully withstood the temptation, which would perhaps have proved irresistible to the ordinary historian, to consult the records of the American Board or even their printed Reports and the files of the Missionary Herald, He chose rather to draw from such turbid sources as Spalding's Executive Document 37 and Gray's History. One of their fables, e. g., the presence of Sir George Simpson in Washington, he rejects with engaging candor, only to insert it five times within fifty pages.[73] Barrows' book is constructed without method, is bewildering and repetitious to the last degree, intermingling inextricably perversions of fact with pure fictions, and enormously distorting the history of the Oregon question by making it turn mainly on the activities of the small group of missionaries of the American Board and of Whitman in particular. It was a favorite theme with Mr. Barrows to expatiate on the ignorance of the west and of western history prevalent in the east,[74] and it was to be his singular fortune to write a book on the west the acceptance of which as history by eastern scholars was to be a far more convincing demonstration of his thesis than anything he ever said in its support.[75]

This rehash of Spalding and Gray, overladen with much irrelevant disquisition, became the accepted source of Oregon history for writers of text-books and popular articles, although H. H. Bancroft's Oregon, which was published a year later, offered a painstaking and comprehensive narrative based on contemporary sources and scrupulously authenticated by footnotes.[76] But Bancroft's Oregon, since it formed part of a series which was too vast for one man to write and which therefore must be the work of various anonymous subordinates, was ignored as "machine made" history, and therefore unworthy of consideration, and confidence was reposed in the handiwork of Mr. Barrows. Never were confiding scholars and a more confiding public so taken in. The result has been that more people in this country know the fictitious history of the Oregon question invented by the Rev. H. H. Spalding than know the real facts, and that for many others who have not accepted the whole of the Whitman legend the real history of Oregon has been distorted out of all proportion. These are strong words, but the propagation of the legend of Marcus Whitman after the publication of Barrows' Oregon is simply amazing, in view of the almost concurrent publication of Bancroft's Oregon, in which the true history of Marcus Whitman is told and the legend dismissed with a contemptuous footnote.[77]

The first indication of the new life breathed into the legend by Barrows' Oregon was its insertion in a school history by Mr. H. E. Scudder.[78] The significance of this was keenly appreciated by Cushing Eells: "When Dr. Eells was presented with a copy of the latter work (Scudder's History of the United States, for Schools and Academies) which contains also [i. e., beside the narrative] a picture of Dr. Whitman leaving his station for Washington, it was most plain that the truth learned by the school children had been fostered by God and would be scattered so far and wide and deep that no combination of learned men or human reasoning could successfully oppose it."[79]

About the same time Charles Carleton Coffin, a most successful historical story teller for boys and girls, prepared from Spalding and Gray a vivid narrative of the incident for his Building the Nation, in which will be found all the legendary details of the original fiction.[80] The influence of Barrows was now reinforced by the independent appearance of the story in several works of authority. The engagement of Dr. Atkinson to write the historical part of the article on Oregon in the Encyclopcedia Britannica secured its insertion there,[81] and, relying partly on Von Hoist and Barrows, Lyon G. Tyler gave it recognition with some criticism and correction in his Letters and Times of the Tylers.[82] Likewise following Barrows and Gray, J. P. Dunn, Jr., the author of the volume on Indiana in the Commonwealth Series, incorporated the story in his Massacres of the Mountains.[83] The year following (1887) Samuel Adams Drake adopted in his Making of the Great West the legendary account of the cause of Whitman's journey, but passed by in discreet silence his political influence. He attributed to him the organization of the emigration of 1843.[84]

In 1889 the influence of Barrows is manifest in securing Whitman nearly a column in the Dictionary of American Biography.[85] The mention in the articles on Oregon in the American supplement to the Britannica, and in the International Cyclopaedia, and the sketch in Bliss' Encyclopaedia of Missions,[86] may also be attributed to the same source. In this same period the legend appears in two church histories of accepted authority.[87]

Following Mr. Charles Carleton Coffin, another successful writer of boys' books, Hezekiah Butterworth, gave the legend prominence in his tale, The Log School-House by the Columbia,[88] and made it the subject of a poem from which a selection may be quoted as a curiosity:

"That Spring, a man with frozen feet
Came to the marble halls of state,
And told his mission but to meet
The chill of scorn, the scoff of hate.
'Is Oregon worth saving?' asked
The treaty-makers from the coast;
And him the Church with questions asked,
And said, 'Why did you leave your post?

"Was it for this that he had braved
The warring storms of mount and sky?
Yes!—yet that Empire he had saved,
And to his post went back to die—
Went back to die from Washington,—
Went back to die for Walla Walla
For Idaho and Oregon."

In this review of the literature of the Legend of Marcus Whitman we now pass to the jesiv 1895, the date of the publication of the first professed biographies. In that year the Rev. J. G. Craighead, for many years one of the editors of the New York Evangelist, who had been familiar with the story since 1870 and had in vain devoted weeks to the effort to authenticate the part of it describing Whitman's work in Washington,[89] published his Story of Marcus Whitman: Early

Protestant Missions in the Northwest.[90] As has already been said, the larger part of this volume is devoted to a defence of Spalding's Executive Document 37 from the attack of the Catholic World.[91] It was to be expected, then, that Doctor Craighead would accept Spalding and his fellow witnesses wherever their assertions were not in palpable contradiction to such other evidence as he was familiar with or chose to take into consideration. His book, consequently, is a typical specimen of specious apologetics. The apparently candid sifting and rejection of the obviously legendary narratives of Whitman's interviews with Tyler and Webster inspires the reader with confidence, and he is given no reason to suspect that other essential features of the story which Doctor Craighead saves are just as destitute of contemporary evidence, or just as contradictory to known facts.

For example, he repeats the incidents of the Walla-Walla dinner, without even hinting that they had been completely disproved.[92] Again, although he devotes one hundred pages to defending Spalding's Document against the Catholic Worlds he glides over the crushing attack of Mrs. Victor and Mr. Evans by giving a brief summary and then evading the point at issue. "Some writers," he remarks, "have endeavored to convince the public that the chief object of Doctor Whitman's winter journey to the east was not to induce immigration to Oregon nor to convey such information to our government as was needed in order to settle aright the question of boundaries between Great Britain and the United States. They claim that his main purpose was to visit Boston, in order to induce the American Board to countermand an order sent out that year, on account of the hostile disposition shown by a few Indians, discontinuing two of the stations; and thus concentrating the missionaries for greater safety; and in confirmation they adduce the fact that his missionary associates met together in order to discuss this very question the month previous to his leaving for the east." No intimation is given of the evidence in the files of the Missionary Herald advanced by Mrs. Victor and Mr. Evans, and no effort is made to reply to their attack on Spalding's evidence except to quote Cushing Eells' letter to Secretary Treat of May 28, 1866, and the confirmatory testimony of Spalding and Gray, and then to draw the comforting conclusion: "This evidence . . . must prove conclusive to every candid mind, and settle this question, which indeed has only been raised within a few years."[93] Other examples of the superficial and disingenuous method of this writer might be given, but it is unnecessary. In the final chapter, "Oregon Saved to the United States," some of the most extravagant statements ever made about Whitman are quoted with approval.[94]

The other biography of this year is much better known. Its title is: How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon; a True Romance of Patriotic Heroism, Christian Devotion, and Final Martyrdom.— By Oliver W. Nixon, M. D., LL. D.[95]

An ardent champion of the story, through thick and thin, Dr. Nixon accepts all its legendary elements such as the Walla Walla dinner, and passes over in silence all adverse evidence. By his enthusiasm and the deft interweaving of genuine materials from Mrs. Whitman's diary and letters, and Dr. Whitman's letters with the fictions of Spalding and the other sponsors of the story he has made his book as interesting as a narrative as it is utterly untrustworthy as history.

Dr. Nixon's multiform and unflagging advocacy of the legend of Marcus Whitman entitles him to rank with WilKam Barrows as a dominating influence in its later diffusion. Two weeks after the publication of his book, on July 4th, " forty of the leading ministers of that city (Chicago) and in nearby towns, took for texts the heroic life of Marcus Whitman for patriotic sermons."[96] The acceptance of the legend by some of the school text-book writers now inspired its advocates to solicit its insertion in as many as possible. Dr. Nixon may here tell the story:—


"Another Grand Feature

is, we are reaching and have reached the writers and publishers of history. Two of the best juvenile histories of the past year, which will go into the hands of millions of children, have excellent Whitman chapters. I have letters from both authors and publishers who express their delight in writing them. I am in receipt of letters from other eminent historians who express regret that the name of Whitman is not mentioned in their chapters, and one of them adds, ' Rest assured. Doctor, when I issue a new edition Whitman shall have a grand chapter.' I think we can hail such victories as being as substantial as any achieved on any field of battle. "[97]


It is not necessary here to refer to all the text-books which have now accepted the story, but a few deserve notice. An illustration of Dr. Nixon's labors is no doubt afforded by the




School nistory of the United States^ by William A. Mowry and Arthur May Mowry, ^ which was published in 1898. In the body of the work all that is said is " Dr. Marcus Whit- man had practically saved this country to us by an emigration brought over in 1843," but in an appendix, just preceding the account of the War with Spain, a page is devoted to the legend.

Reliance upon Barrows' Oregon^ on the other hand, accounts for the acceptance of the legend by such historians as Pro- fessor Burgess, Professor McMaster, and John W. Foster. Professor Burgess asserts that President Tyler upon receiving the information which Whitman brought ceased to consider giving up Northern Oregon and adds : " The Administration caused Dr. Whitman's descriptions of Oregon to be printed and distributed throughout the United States and also his offer to lead a colony to take possession of the country." ^ Professor McMaster has popularized Barrows in his excellent school history, 3 and Ex-Secretary John W. Foster has fallen into the same trap.* Probably the same explanation is to

1 Boston, 1898, 254 and 418. In the First Steps in the History of our Country ^ by the same authors, Boston, 1899, the whole history of the Oregon question cen- ters around Marcus Whitman, and the chapter concludes, p. 234 : " Thus we see how, through the sterling patriotism, intrepidity, and energy of one man, it has happened that three states, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, were added to our Union, three stars to our flag, and six members to the American Senate."

2 Burgess, The Middle Period, N. Y., 1897, 315-16. It is needless to say that these statements are without authentic evidence and are derived from Spalding through Barrows.

8 McMaster, School History, N. Y., 1897, 322-324. Barrows is followed also in presenting Spalding's Protestantized version of the mission of the Four Flathead Indians to St. Louis in 1832. In McMaster's With the Fathers (1896), in the chapter on " The Struggle for Territory," the Whitman legend is told with vivid details, 307-10.

  • See A Century of American Diplomacy, Boston, 1900, 305. Another victim

of Barrows is Professor Thomas of Haverf ord. See his History of the United States, Boston, 1893 and 1897, 242-43, and also his Elementary History, Boston, 1900, 290- 298, where, as in Mowry's book, the story of the Oregon question is the story of Whitman. Among other text-books which have incorporated the story may be mentioned Gordy's, 1898 (it is entirely omitted in the edition of 1899), and Charles Morris's two books. In his History of the United States, Philadelphia, 1897, it appears in a footnote, p. 315, but in his Primary History, 1899, 210-15, the com-



be given of the qualified acceptance of the story by Professor Sparks ^ and the unquestioning presentation of the legend in all its details by Dr. W. E. Griffis.2

Of the latest writers to be mentioned, one boldly takes her stand on the borderland between history and fiction. Eva Emery Dye's McLoughlin and Old Oregon^ A Chronicle^^ gives evidence of much conscientious study. It is a " chron- icle," in the same sense as Quentin Durward or one of Shake- speare's " histories." Where documents exist they are utilized, where they do not exist invention takes their place. This book is a literary picture of early Oregon, of exceptional interest and, in outline and coloring, rich in instruction. In regard to the Whitman story, it is not more unhistorical than Nixon's book, but at the critical points in the story it assumes, for the time being, the semblance of carefully authenticated history, when, in reality, it is a skilful com- bination of the true history, the Spalding legend and the author's own invention. The other, Dr. William A. Mo wry, essays the impossible task of combining into a consistent and trustworthy narrative the Spalding legend and the genuine materials. His Marcus Whitman and The Early Days of Oregon^ is perhaps the most plausible attempt to save the legend, stripped of its exaggerations, that has been made. He freely acknowledges that Spalding erred in "details," and surrenders the most obviously fabulous features of the story. His point of view in writing Oregon history is that of the missionary group, and his book will, no doubt, be hailed as a successful defence, but his apparent success is won at a sacrifice of his standing as an historical investigator.

plete legendary account is to be found, and Marcus Whitman receives more space than Webster and Clay combined, and only a little less than is accorded to the whole Civil War.

1 The Expansion of the American People, Chicago, 1900, 306-7.

2 The Romance of Conquest, Boston, 1899, 172-173.

3 Chicago, 1900.

  • New York, 1901. Dr. Mowry very kindly offered to send me advance sheets

of his book to enable me to include it in my review of Whitman literature. This was a courtesy all the more to be appreciated because he must have realized that I could not approve of his method of using and of ignoring evidence.

4



Two or three examples may be given of his methods. In Chapter X he discusses the missionary situation in 1842 and Whitman's resolution to come east.

In this critical juncture, instead of setting before the reader all the contemporary uncolored testimony, Dr. Mowry begins with Gushing Eells' letter of 1866, written to sup- port the Spalding story. The next citation is from Mr. Eells' affidavit of forty years after the event; then comes an extract from Elkanah Walker's contemporary letter, which is attributed to Gushing Eells ! Although this error renders more glaring the inconsistency between the contemporary testimony and Gushing Eells' later statements. Dr. Mowry says nothing of this disagreement. It is not until Ghapter XV is reached that the record of the mission meeting authorizing Whitman's journey is printed, and then with the last eight words omitted.^

In discussing Whitman's relation to the emigration of 1843, Dr. Mowry omits all reference to the absolutely con- vincing adverse testimony printed by Myron Eells, and relies on such flimsy evidence as Spalding's Zachrey letter. ^ Again, comparison of his book with the extracts quoted in this essay from Mrs. Whitman's letters will reveal how clearly Dr. Mowry is the advocate and not the historian. His book will be searched in vain for any rigorous methodical criticism of the evidence.^ Dr. Mowry, however, in spite of the shortcomings of his narrative, has laid students under great obligation, by the documents he has printed.*

The new and "grand feature " of reaching the writers of school books which has been described, was, however, early

1 Page 175. The purpose of Whitman's journey as stated in the record was " to confer with the committee of the A. B. C. F. M. in regard to the interests of this mission." See p. 56.

2 Cf. Myron Eells' Marcus Whitman, 27-29, with Mowry's Marcus Whitman^ 194-196, and m/ra, pp. 93-95.

^ Dr. Mowry's reliance on Spalding leads him to quote Dr. White's letter to the Indian Commissioner from Spalding's garbled extract which reduces forty lines into nine. Mowry, 208. White's Ten Years in Oregon, 191.

  • Especially the correspondence relating to the m assacre.



destined to confront an equally persistent and indefatigable effort to put before the authors of text-books the real facts in the case. "The Chicago Mephistopheles in this matter," as Dr. Nixon has feelingly characterized him, is Mr. Wil- liam I. Marshall, of the Gladstone school. Having convinced himself after what is probably the most painstaking exami- nation of the question that has ever been made, that the Whitman story was a fabrication, Mr. Marshall prepared to write a book on the subject. Before it was ready for publi- cation, however, his attention was arrested by the remarkable efflorescence of the legend in the newest and most attractive school text-books. Realizing as a practical teacher the tre- mendous significance of this phase of the development of the legend, and aware of the relative ineffectiveness of public controversy against such an array of writers and champions as would now rush into the fray, he began about three years ago a silent campaign by submitting portions of his manu- script and transcripts of his material to the authors of the existing text-books. In this way he convinced many that they had been taken in, and put others on their guard against a like misfortune. ^

1 Mr. Marshall writes that he first learned of the Whitman story through Dr. Mowry in 1877. In 1884, having become convinced that Whitman did not save Oregon, he criticised the story in a lecture in Baltimore (Nov. 13), and in 1885 in a lecture in Fitchburg (June 2) showed the story to be unfounded. An account of Mr. Marshall's labors was given by him at the meeting of the American His- torical Association at Detroit, Dec. 28, 1900, and will be found in the Annual Report for 1900. The results so far were indicated in an article in the School Weekly of Chicago, Eeb. 22, 1901, by which it appears that the following authors of school books acknowledge that they are convinced by the evidence presented by Mr. Marshall and announce their intentions either to omit or revise their ac- counts of Whitman : H. E. Scudder, D. H. Montgomery, J. B. McMaster, W. F. Gordy, A. F. Blaisdell, and Mrs. A. H. Burton. Edward Eggleston wrote that he did not " need to be warned against such a fake as the Whitman fable, which I am every now and then entreated to insert." John Fiske vrrote : " You have entirely demolished the Whitman delusion, and by so doing have made yourself a public benefactor. I am sorry to say that I was taken in by Barrows and Gray, and supposed what they said about Whitman to be true." The story is not to be found in any of Mr. Fiske's printed books, but he incorporated it in his centennial oration at Astoria in 1892. That he had been appealed to as early as February, 1895, to put it into his text-book would appear from his letter to President Pen




The next episode in the history of the diffusion of the legend of Marcus Whitman is the wide celebration of the semi-centennial anniversary of his death. At the meeting of the American Board in New Haven in October, 1897, Mr. G, L. Weed of Philadelphia delivered an address, and a committee was appointed to arrange for memorial services in Boston and Washington, and for the general observance of Whitman day.^ Sunday, November 28, was selected, and its observance was urged in The Congregationalist? As a result it was reported in The Outlook that " on last Sunday the Congregational Churches of the United States very gen- erally celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the massacre of Dr. Whitman," and, in explanation. The Outlook reminded its readers that "Whitman was the first to discover the

rose of Whitman College which, is published in The Advance, March 14, 1895, in which he says : " If my series of works on American History ever come down to such a recent period, I shall try to do justice to the noble Doctor. If not I shall at some time revise my oration and print it in a volume of essays."

It will not be out of the way for me to say here that when I wrote my article " The Legend of Marcus Whitman," published in the American Historical Review in January, 1901, I knew nothing of Mr. Marshall's extensive researches, to which my attention was first called in December, 1900. I was likewise igno- rant of an article in The American Catholic Historical Researches for Oct. 1899, 187-197, by H. M. Beadle, in which the same conclusions are reached as in my own paper.

1 The Congregationalist, Oct. 21, 1897.

2 Ibid., Nov. 18. In this issue William A. Mowry published a long article on Whitman, in which he succeeded in finding support for his views by leaving out from his quotations from the records anything that militated against his position. In the November number of the Ladies' Home Journal, Mr. George L. Weed brought the complete Spalding legend before hundreds of thousands of readers. Dr. Nixon's account in his Oration of the action of the Board may be quoted : " The American Board were aroused from a silence of fifty years, and began to ask, What can we do ? They appointed a committee of their ablest men to recommend special services in the churches on the fiftieth anniversary of Whit- man's death, and many eloquent discourses were heard all over the East and Middle West." Mention may be made at this point of the part played in difius- ing a knowledge of the Whitman story by those who were engaged in raising money for an enlarged endowment for Whitman College. Dr. Nixon makes special mention of the labors of Miss Virginia Dox in New England, New York, Ohio, and Michigan. " There are 10,000 interested hearers and readers of the Whitman story to-day in all New England, where there were ten, five years ago." Whitman Coll. Quart., Ill, No. 4, 14 and 16.



designs of the Hudson's Bay Company and the first to report those designs to the Government at Washington, whereby the territory which now includes the States of Oregon, Wash- ington, and a part of Idaho was saved to our country." ^

On that November 28 the labors of the obscure a^d for- gotten missionary, Henry H. Spalding, attained their cul- mination, and from hundreds of pulpits and to hundreds of thousands of readers during that month went forth his story of How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon.

The coronation of the work was the vote for the Hall of Fame, two years later.

Rising obscurely in the columns of local papers, spreading slowly in missionary channels, the stream gathers volume and headway, successfully defeats all effort to arrest its course and rolls onward, until, in its particular province in American History, it has washed away landmarks and altered the face of the country. Whether the stream can be returned to its own channel and the history of the Oregon question be restored to its original outlines as they existed before 1865 is open to question. In one of his early articles the Reverend William Barrows after a highly imaginative picture of Whitman's interview with Webster remarked: —

"In a century or so that scene will furnish one of the grandest historical paintings of North America, Webster, Whitman, and Oregon : it will take about a century to clear the foreground of a thousand other men and petty scenes."

It has really taken only about fifteen years. The fore- ground is already clear of Wyeth and Kelly, of Jason Lee and Samuel Parker, of Senators Linn and Benton, and other protagonists of Oregon. The ambition of some of the present apostles of the Legend is higher still. One of them, the Hon. J. Wilder Fairbank, who delivers an illustrated lecture on The Ride that Saved an Empire^ concludes this effort with

1 The Outlook, Dec. 4. The celebration in Washington took place Dec. 9, and the meeting was addressed by Rev. Dr. Newman, Justice Brewer, and Gen. O. O. Howard. In Philadelphia a memorial to Whitman was dedicated Nov. 29. The serai-centennial was also celebrated at Walla Walla, where a monument was erected. See Whitman College Quarterly, Dec. 1897. a program which must make some of the elder generation "stare and gasp."

"Two names I purpose linking together before the youth of our land—Abraham Lincoln and Marcus Whitman. Two patriots, two martyrs, these two men, lineal cousins, with the blood from their Whitman sire in their veins, no wonder they did such noble deeds, stood at their posts, died for their country. All honor to such heroes of the past. Let us keep in touch with them through the onward march of the twentieth century. In the interest of truth, justice, and American honor."[98]

To judge from the past, the prophecy of the Reverend William Barrows in 1883, and the modest proposal of J. Wilder Fairbank in 1901, are quite as likely to attain realization as the disquieting vox clamantis of criticism is to get a respectful hearing.[99]


PART II

The genesis and diffusion of the Legend of Marcus Whitman have been set forth in detail to demonstrate beyond a doubt that the story was new in 1864 or 1865, and that, widespread as has been its diffusion since, every single extant version is a branch from that parent stem, and depends upon testimony elicited subsequent to that first publication. It will now be my purpose to make clear the real cause and purpose of Marcus Whitman's journey east in 1842-43, to examine the evidence of his political services in Washington and of his relation to the Oregon Emigration of 1843, to compare the legend with the real history, and to offer such explanation as can be given of the origin of some of the peculiar features of the fiction.

It will not be superfluous, perhaps, to remind the reader that the evidence advanced is the contemporary spontaneous testimony of the actors themselves at the time, and not their recollections or reports of their recollections, or reports of their subsequent conversations about their recollections first put in writing twenty to forty years later.

The real cause of Dr. Whitman's journey to the east was the decision of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to discontinue the southern branch of the mission, and his purpose was to secure a reversal of that order, and reinforcements from the Board, and to bring back, if possible, a few Christian families. The rapidly increasing immigration into Oregon made an increase of Protestant missions seem essential if Oregon was to be saved from becoming Catholic.

Owing to difficulties of the work among the small and widely scattered groups of Indians and to dissensions among the missionaries[100] of the Oregon mission, the Prudential Committee of the American Board passed the following resolution, February 23, 1842: "That the Rev. Henry H. Spalding be recalled, with instructions to return by the first direct and suitable opportunity; that Mr. William H. Gray be advised to return home, and also the Rev. Asa B. Smith on account of the illness of his wife; that Dr. Marcus Whitman and Mr. Cornelius Rogers be designated to the northern branch of the mission; and that the two last named be authorized to dispose of the mission property in the southern branch of the mission."[101]

This action of the Prudential Committee was discussed at the meeting of the Oregon Mission, September 26, 1842. Mr. Gray requested that he might be released to establish a boarding-school under the auspices of the Hudson's Bay Company's officials, which was refused. On the 28th it was

"Resolved: That if arrangements can be made to continue the operations of this station, that Dr. Marcus Whitman be at liberty and advised to visit the United States as soon as practicable to confer with the committee of the A. B. C. F. M. in regard to the interests of this mission.[102]

"E. Walker, moder.
"Cushing Eells, Scribe,
"H. H. Spalding."

Mr. Walker's diary for the days of the meeting of the Oregon Mission reads:—

"Monday, 26. Rose quite early this morning, and made preparations for leaving our camp. We rode quite fast and reached the station of Dr. W.'s about ten, and found Spalding there. Did nothing of business until evening, when we had rather a session discussing Mr. Gray's case. Saw a man from Maine, and had considerable conversation with him on the state of things in the States.

"Tuesday, 27. We did not do much to-day. The Dr. preferred some charges against myself and Mr. E. which, we did not admit, and held him to the talk we had last summer. The meeting in the evening was held, and it was interesting to me.

"Wednesday, 28. Rose this morning with the determination to leave, and found Mr. S. had the same view, and was making preparations to leave, as he felt that nothing could be done. At breakfast the Dr. let out what was his plan in view of the state of things. We persuaded them to get together and talk matters over. I think they felt some better afterwards. Then the question was submitted to us of the Dr.'s going home, which we felt that it was one of too much importance to be decided in a moment, but finally came to the conclusion if he could put things at that station in such a state that it would be safe we could consent to his going, and with that left them and made a start for home."[103]

On October 3, 1842, Mr. Walker wrote to the Board a long letter regarding the work in Oregon, urging them to keep up the missions for the benefit of the incoming white settlers as well as for the Indians for whom they had been established. "With this view of the case," he writes:—

"You will see why we were unwilling to abandon the South branch, for, as it seemed to us, by giving that up we were giving up the whole mission. Notwithstanding we thought that the object of your letter had been accomplished by the reconciliation which had taken place, still we felt ourselves placed in a trying situation, we hardly knew what course to pursue, but concluded to wait until we could receive an answer to the [letter of the] committee of the mission stating that the difficulties of the mission were settled. We found too that there was a difficulty in sustaining the mission, as so many had withdrawn and as the reinforcements had stopped at the Islands [Hawaiian Islands]. After considerable consultation without coming to any definite conclusion, and as we were about starting for our place, a proposition was made by Dr. Whitman for him to return to the States this winter to confer with the Prudential Committee and conduct a reinforcement out next summer if it was thought best to continue the mission. At least something definite could be decided upon. The proposition being presented just as we were on the eve of leaving we felt at first that we could not then give a decided answer to it. We wanted him to think and pray over it and proposed we return and send in writing our conclusion. But we were told that there was no time to be lost, that we must decide it now, or it would be too late. After some more consultation, we stated that if the station could be put in a situation which would render it safe to be left and after proper arrangements could be made, we would consent to Dr. Whitman's going to the States. We do not approve of the hasty manner in which this question was decided. Nothing it seemed to us but stern necessity induced us to decide in the manner we did. It seemed death to put the proposition in force, and worse than death to remain as we were. I have no doubt if his plan succeeds it will be of great good to the mission and the country."[104]

This letter was endorsed by Gushing Eells: "I am happy to say that the subjects of this letter have been frequently discussed of late by Mr. Walker and myself. I do not now recollect that there has been any important difference in the conclusions arrived at." Mr. Spalding wrote from Clearwater, October 15, a letter of twenty quarto pages in answer to the letter of the Board of February 26, 1842.[105] It is a reply to the charges preferred against him and contains not a word about Whitman's journey. Mr. W. H. Gray wrote from Waiilatpu, October 3, 1842, to the Board to announce his appointment as "Secular Agent and General Superintendent of the Oregon Institute" and his release by the mission. He adds: "Dr. Whitman will be able to give you the particulars respecting the affairs of the mission, and the results of the last meeting," etc., etc.[106]

Mrs. Whitman wrote her brother and sister, September 29, 1842: "I sit down to write you, but in great haste. My beloved husband has about concluded to start next Monday to go to the United States. … If you are still in Quincy you may not see him until his return, as his business requires great haste. He wishes to reach Boston as early as possible so as to make arrangements to return next summer, if prospered. The interests of the missionary cause in this country calls him home."[107] The next day Mrs. Whitman wrote to her parents, brothers, and sisters. "You will be surprised if this letter reaches you to learn that the bearer is my dear husband, and that you will, after a few days, have the pleasure of seeing him. May you have a joyful meeting. He goes upon important business as connected with the missionary cause, the cause of Christ in this land, which I leave for him to explain when you see him, because I have not time to enlarge. He has but yesterday fully made up his mind to go, and he wishes to start Monday, and this is Friday. … He wishes to cross the mountains during this month, I mean October, and reach St. Louis about the first of Dec., if he is not detained by the cold, or hostile Indians. O may the Lord preserve him through the dangers of the way. He has for a companion Mr. Lovejoy, a respectable, intelligent man and a lawyer, but not a Christian, who expects to accompany him all the way to Boston, as his friends are in that region, and perhaps to Washington."[108]

Mrs. Whitman wrote to her absent husband from Waskopum, March 4, 1843: "I have never felt to regret in the least that you have gone—for I fully believe the hand of the Lord was in it—and that he has yet blessings in store for Oregon. Yes, for these poor degraded Indians." Again, from Waiilatpu, May 18, 1843, " wishing you my dear husband … as speedy a return to the bosom of your family as the business of the Lord upon which you have gone will admit of."[109] Still again, in a letter to her sister, March 11, in remarking upon the sacrifice of so long separation from her husband, Mrs. Whitman said: "I can see no earthly inducement sufficiently paramount to cause me voluntarily to take upon myself such a painful trial. … But there is one object, our blessed Saviour, for whose sake, I trust, both you as well as we are willing if called to it, to suffer all things. It was for Him, for the advancement of His cause, that I could say to my beloved husband, 'Go; take all the time necessary to accomplish His work; and the Lord go with and bless you.'"[110]

If we compare the situation and purpose revealed by these contemporary private letters from all the parties concerned with the accounts published by Spalding[111] and Gray[112] from which the Legend of Marcus Whitman has been derived it is clear that Spalding's account of the transaction is purely fictitious. There is not a hint of the Walla Walla dinner nor any place for it in the chain of events, and on the other hand Spalding's narrative suppresses the real facts. More than that, "the colony from the Red River" over the "glad news" of whose approach there was such rejoicing, arrived the year before,[113] and its arrival was reported by Whitman without comment or concern.[114]

In an ordinary case the irreconcilable divergences between the unimpeachable contemporary testimony and the narratives of Spalding and Gray would be enough to prove their utter untrustworthiness as witnesses. In this case, however, there is so much disposition to save every feature of the Spalding story that is not specifically disproved that It seems to be necessary by additional examples to show the absolute unreliability of these sponsors of the legend. The most conclusive proof of Spalding's untrustworthiness if not dishonesty in matters relating to this missionary history can be found in his Executive Document 37, where he constantly garbles and interpolates his quotations. An example may be given by means of parallel columns. While Dr. Whitman was absent from his mission on his journey east in 1842–1843 his mill was burned by the Indians. Elijah White, the United States sub-Indian Agent, made a special investigation of the circumstances and reported them in his letter of April 1, 1843, to Commissioner Crawford at Washington.

In Elijah White's Letter:

The chief Feathercap "acknowledged his opinion that the mill was burnt purposely by some disaffected persons toward Dr. Whitman. I spoke kindly," etc.[115]

In Spalding's quotation:

The chief Feathercap "acknowledged it as his opinion that the mill was burnt purposely by some disaffected persons toward Dr. Whitman. The mill, lumber, and a great quantity of grain was burnt by Catholic Indians, instigated by Romanists, to break up the Protestant mission, and prevent supplies to the oncoming emigration by Dr. Whitman."[116]

Here is a deliberate interpolation in an official document of the year 1843 to manufacture evidence of a knowledge of Dr. Whitman's plans as represented by Spalding, and of such malignant hostility on the part of the Catholics as would render plausible his accusations in regard to the Whitman massacre. Again, where Dr. White quotes an old chief as saying in regard to the conference he was holding: "Clark pointed to this day, to you, and this occasion; we have long waited in expectation; sent three of our sons to Red River School to prepare for it," Spalding changed the last clause to "sent three of our sons to the rising sun to obtain the book from Heaven," thus manufacturing first-hand confirmation of the story of the Indians who came to St. Louis for the Bible.[117]

These examples might be multiplied, but it is unnecessary; such instances as these show beyond question that not an affidavit or resolution or interview or narrative in Executive Document 37 can be accepted as evidence unless otherwise authenticated and confirmed.

Inasmuch as W. H. Gray is commonly considered an independent contemporary witness for the Whitman story, it is necessary to examine his trustworthiness. Gray was at Waiilatpu when the missionaries discussed the recall of Spalding and the discontinuance of the Southern mission. Yet in letters in the Daily and Weekly Astorian, reprinted in Circular No. 8 of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Oregon, he said: "The order to abandon the mission, I confess, is new to me;" and in reply to Mrs. F. F. Victor's assertion that Dr. Whitman went east to secure a reversal of the order he denied that a meeting of the mission was held in September, 1842, which authorized Whitman's journey.[118] He thus deliberately denied something that he must have known perfectly well if he remembered anything at all about the transaction, and professed ignorance of another fact of which he could not have been ignorant.

Again he solemnly vouched for his account of the Walla Walla dinner as based on his own knowledge, and for the story of Governor Simpson's negotiations in Washington and Whitman's success in frustrating them as derived from Whitman himself.[119] Gray shared Spalding's intense prejudices and vindictiveness toward the Hudson's Bay Company and the Catholic missionaries, and consequently his History of Oregon is very untrustworthy as a source of Oregon history.[120]

When it was brought out during the Whitman controversy in 1881–5 that the Hudson's Bay Company's Colony from the Red River arrived in 1841, and therefore could not have afforded the occasion for the dramatic scene at Walla Walla and for Whitman's resolution to go east in September, 1842, Spalding's "inaccuracy in his recollection of details" was acknowledged, but the rejection of the great facts of the history on account of "the infirmity of memory of Mr. Spalding"[121] was deprecated, and two new explanations of Whitman's journey were immediately forthcoming, which have been accepted by writers who could not, like Barrows and Nixon, repeat the Walla Walla dinner story after it had been exploded.

One of these is a deft combination of a gross exaggeration of Dr. Whitman's plan to secure additional missionaries and some lay helpers, with a readjustment of the Walla Walla dinner story. Its author was Perrin B. Whitman, who as a lad of thirteen returned with Dr. Whitman in 1843. Thirty-nine years later he wrote Myron Eells: "I came across to Oregon with my uncle, Dr. Marcus Whitman, in 1843. I heard him say repeatedly, on the journey and after we reached his mission, Waiilatpu, that he went to the States in the winter of 1842 and 1843 for the sole purpose of bringing an immigration with wagons across the plains to Oregon. He was called down to old Fort Walla Walla (now Wallula), then a Hudson's Bay Company's trading post, on a sick call, about the last days of September, 1842. While there, and dining with the trader in charge of the fort, Archibald McKinley, Esq., the Hudson's Bay Company's express from the north, came in and reported that sixty families from British possessions would be at Walla Walla as early the next summer as they possibly could arrrive, to settle probably in the Yakima valley. There was a general outburst of rejoicing over the news by the Jesuit priests, oblates, fort employees, etc., who were at that time there all shouting, 'the country is ours; the Ashburton treaty has, of course, been signed.' The doctor, pushing his chair back from the table, and excusing himself, said he would go home (to Waiilatpu) that afternoon (twenty-five miles), and start immediately to the States overland. He then and there told trader McKinley and his guests, that during the next summer he would bring overland ten American immigrants for every one that would come from Canada. He returned that afternoon, as he said he would, and with but little preparation, except to have good horses, started on the perilous journey the third day of October, 1842, with Hon. A. L. Lovejoy as travelling companion."[122]

In this statement it may be noted that the Hudson's Bay Company colony is one which was to arrive in 1843,[123] and Whitman defiantly announces his intention to bring into the country "ten American immigrants for every one that would come from Canada." If the reader will compare this story with the contemporary letters and reports above quoted, and then with Gray's account, he will not easily avoid the conclusion that before writing this letter Perrin B. Whitman refreshed his memory by consulting Gray's History.

The other explanation was offered by Dr. William Geiger, who came out to Oregon in 1839, from Angelica, N. Y., the home at that time of Mrs. Whitman's father. In response to an inquiry from Myron Eells as to what happened at the Walla Walla dinner, Dr. Geiger wrote under date of October 17, 1881: "I think there is a misconception in the matter; Dr. Whitman had got information of Mr. Lovejoy and others of the immigration of 1842, that the United States was about to exchange this country for the Newfoundland banks fisheries, or a share in them, through the representations of the Hudson's Bay Company that the whole country was a barren waste. But the doctor, knowing the value of this country (Pacific Coast) went to Fort Walla Walla to find out about it (the proposed trade), and was informed that that was the expectation. (As witness the Red River emigration.) He, Dr. Whitman, determined to check the transaction if possible."[124] June 5, 1883, Dr. Geiger under oath repeated this explanation in substance, but omitted to mention the expected equivalent for Oregon.[125]

That this explanation is a mere afterthought, to supply a political crisis to account for Whitman's journey when the Walla Walla dinner story collapsed is as nearly certain as anything of the kind can be.

In the first place, the immigration of 1842 was organized by Dr. Elijah White with the approval and encouragement of the Administration in Washington, from which he received the commission of sub-Indian Agent, with the assurance that if Dr. Linn's Oregon bill passed Congress he would receive an appointment as Agent.[126] Lovejoy joined the immigration from western Missouri, and would derive his notions of the policy of the government in regard to Oregon from Dr. White. The first American that White saw after he crossed the Blue Mountains was Dr. Whitman. "The visit was very agreeable to both, as he had much to tell Dr. White of Oregon affairs, and the Dr. him of his two years' residence in the States."[127] Dr. White then went on to the Willamette Valley, where he called a meeting "for the purpose of communicating certain information from the government of the United States, relative to this country."[128] The drift of this communication can be gathered from the resolutions drawn up by the meeting. The most significant for our purpose is the first one: "That we, the citizens of Willamette valley, are exceedingly happy in the consideration that the government of the United States have manifested their intentions through their agent, Dr. E. White, of extending their jurisdiction and protection over this country."[129]

It is then from Mr. Lovejoy and others of Dr. White's party, as Dr. Geiger solemnly informs us after forty years, that Dr. Whitman learned "that the United States was about to exchange this country for the Newfoundland banks fisheries, or a share in them."[130]

If the reader will compare Dr. Geiger's conception of the political crisis with Spalding's (pp. 14, 101), he will see that they are the same. If he searches further he will find that Mr. Spalding was the first man who ever put it on record that the United States were going to exchange Oregon for the cod fisheries. As Perrin B. Whitman readjusted the Spalding and Gray story by making Dr. Whitman hear of a prospective immigration rather than of one just arriving, so Dr. Geiger readjusts the same story by having Whitman informed by Lovejoy of what Spalding said he learned after he reached Washington. The original story and the two readjustments are equally at variance with authenticated history.

There was in 1842 no political crisis in the fate of Oregon for Whitman to discover in Oregon, nor was there one in Washington for him to be informed of that could suggest the necessity of a journey. Under critical examination all urgent political reasons for Whitman's journey to the United States disappear. On the other hand, the unexpected arrival of the large immigration of 1842 of one hundred and twenty-five persons, the news of the policy of the Government as brought by Dr. White, and the probability of a greatly increased immigration in the immediate future emphasized the mission crisis and demonstrated to Whitman's mind the fatal shortsightedness of the American Board in discontinuing the Waiilatpu mission at a time when its services would be more than ever needed to promote the spiritual and temporal welfare of the whites and Indians in Oregon.[131]

We have now reached a point where we can determine the character of Cushing Eells' testimony, upon which great reliance is placed by the defenders of the Spalding narrative. The support of the story by Gushing Eells was really a determining factor in its preservation, for it secured its acceptance by Secretary Treat of the American Board in 1866, and later brought to its defence a most efficient champion in the person of his son, Myron Eells. Cushing Eells' evidence consists of the letter of May 28, 1866, printed above, on pp. 23–25, and of an affidavit made in the midst of the Whitman controversy in 1883.

The affidavit reads:—

"September, 1842, a letter written by Dr. Whitman, addressed to Rev. Messrs. E. Walker and Cushing Eells at Tshimakain, reached its destination and was received by the persons to whom it was written. By the contents of said letter a meeting of the Oregon mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was invited to be held at Waiilatpu. The object of said meeting, as stated in the letter named, was to approve of a purpose formed by Dr. Whitman, that he go East on behalf of Oregon as related to the United States. In the judgment of Mr. Walker and myself that object was foreign to our assigned work.

"With troubled thoughts we anticipated the proposed meeting. On the following day, Wednesday, we started, and on Saturday afternoon camped on the Touchet at the ford near the Mullan bridge. We were pleased with the prospect of enjoying a period of rest, reflection, and prayer—needful preparation for the antagonism of opposing ideas. We never moved camp on the Lord's Day. On Monday morning we arrived at Waiilatpu and met the two resident families of Messrs. Whitman and Gray. Rev. H. Spaulding was there. All the male members of the mission were thus together. In the discussion the opinion of Mr. Walker and myself remained unchanged. The purpose of Dr. Whitman was fixed. In his estimation the saving of Oregon to the United States was of paramount importance, and he would make the attempt to do so, even if he had to withdraw from the mission in order to accomplish his purpose. In reply to considerations intended to hold Dr. Whitman to his assigned work, he said: 'I am not expatriated by becoming a missionary.'

"The idea of his withdrawal could not be entertained, therefore to retain him in the mission, a vote to approve of his making his perilous endeavor prevailed. He had a cherished object for the accomplishment of which he desired consultation with Rev. David Greene, secretary of correspondence with the mission at Boston, Mass., but I have no recollection that it was named at the meeting. A part of two days was spent in consultation. Record of the date and acts of the meeting was made. The book containing the same was in the keeping of the Whitman family. At the time of the massacre, November 29, 1847, it disappeared. The fifth day of October following was designated as the day on which Dr. Whitman would expect to start from Waiilatpu. Accordingly, letters, of which he was to be the bearer, were required to be furnished him at his station therewith. Mr. Walker and myself returned to Tshimakain, prepared letters and forwarded them seasonably to Waiilatpu. By the return of the courier information was received that Dr. Whitman started on the 3rd of October. It is possible that transpirings at old Fort Walla Walla hastened his departure two days. Soon after his return to this coast Dr. Whitman said to me he wished he could return East immediately, as he believed he could accomplish more than he had done, as I understood him to mean, to save this country to the United States. I asked him why he could not go. He said 'I cannot go without seeing Mrs. Whitman. She was then in the Williamette valley.'

"I solemnly affirm that the foregoing statements are true and correct, according to the best of my knowledge and belief. So help me God.

(Signed) "Cushing Eells.

"Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 23d day of August, 1883.

(Signed) "L. E. Kellogg,

"Notary Public, Spokane county, Washington Territory."[132]

In the first case we have Dr. Eells' personal recollections after twenty-three years, and in the second case after forty years, of an event about which we want precise knowledge. The defenders of the Whitman story generally take the ground: Here is the personal testimony of Gushing Eells, who was on the ground at the time, and who, as every one knows, was an honest man. You cannot have better evidence than this. It is decisive.[133]

This contention requires us to accept Cushing Eells' memory as an instrument of equal precision with a contemporary written record, and such, at bottom, has been the demand made by the defence in the Whitman question for twenty years. It is this that has prolonged the discussion. The two sides cannot get on common ground,—the common ground of the accepted principles of modern historical criticism.[134] Before Cushing Eells' statements can be accepted as history the comparative accuracy of his memory as a record must be ascertained. The gauge or criterion in this case must be Elkanah Walker's letter of Oct. 3, 1842, which Cushing Eells endorsed as a correct record (pp. 57–58), Elkanah Walker's diary, and Mrs. Whitman's letters (pp. 56–59). These contemporary records agree, and Cushing Eells agreed with them at the time. The degree of his divergence from those contemporary records is the measure of the divergence of his affidavit from the true history of the occurrence, whether through fallibility of memory, human enough in any case, through the subtle influence of suggestion, or for less pardonable reasons.

If we compare his two statements we find that the affidavit deals with the occasion of Whitman's journey which was most at issue in 1883, and the letter of 1866, with the results of the journey.

According to the affidavit, the letter from Dr. Whitman calling a meeting of the mission "was to approve of a purpose formed by Dr. Whitman, that he go East on behalf of Oregon as related to the United States," but according to Walker's diary[135] and letter this purpose was not revealed until the meeting was over[136] (see pp. 56–57). Again Cushing Eells says of Whitman, "He had a cherished object, for the accomplishment of which he desired consultation with Rev. David Greene, secretary of correspondence with the mission at Boston, Mass., but I have no recollection that it was named at the meeting." But the record of the meeting approving of the project was signed by Cushing Eells (p. 56).

In his letter of 1866 Mr. Eells wrote: "According to the understanding of the members of the mission, the single object of Dr. Whitman, in attempting to cross the continent in the winter of 1842–43, amid mighty peril and suffering was to make a desperate effort to save this country to the United States" (p. 23). That this was not "the single object" is proved by the contemporary letters beyond the shadow of a doubt, nor do the contemporary sources reveal any consciousness that the future of Oregon was at stake, except in so far as it would be affected by the discontinuance of the southern stations of the American Board Missions.

It will be noticed that neither in his earlier letter or later affidavit did Cushing Eells lend any support to the Spalding and Gray story of the Walla Walla dinner or to the readjustments of that story devised by Dr. Geiger and Perrin B. Whitman. The only conclusion is that he knew nothing of any one of them, and that they could not have been true without his having heard of it.

That Whitman's journey was of service to Oregon Mr. Eells sincerely believed, that Whitman made it because he believed the preservation and reinforcement of the Southern Mission indispensable to the welfare of Oregon he knew, that Whitman may have used the words "Save Oregon" is altogether probable, that Whitman later believed his services to the immigration of 1843 played no small part in promoting the occupation of Oregon he clearly recollected. In the lapse of years these constituent elements become merged, and in 1866 his memory reproduces a composite which is not an accurate record. This puts a reasonable and favorable construction on the discrepancies between Mr. Eells' statements and the contemporary records. Unfortunately, however, for Mr. Eells' credit as an independent witness it is only too clear that while he did not and, no doubt, could not bear witness to Spalding's Walla Walla dinner story, he did reinforce his memory in regard to things about which he had no personal knowledge by consulting the Spalding narrative. The comparison of extracts in parallel columns will prove this.

Spalding's article in Pacific, Nov. 9, 1865:—

"On reaching the settlements Dr. Whitman found that many now old Oregonians … had abandoned the idea because of representations from Washington that every attempt to take wagons and ox teams through the Rocky Mountains and Blue Mountains to the Columbia had failed. The representations purported to come from Secre-

The Eells' letter of May 28, 1866:—

"On reaching Washington, he learned that representations had been made there correspending to those which had been often repeated on this coast. Oregon, it was said, … was difficult of access. A wagon road thither was an impossibility. By such statements Governor Simpson (the territorial Governor of the tary Webster, but really from Governor Simpson. … [Whitman goes to Washington and presses upon Webster the value of Oregon.] Mr. Webster … awarded sincerity to the missionary, but could not admit for a moment that the short residence of six years could give the Doctor the knowledge of the country possessed by Governor Simpson, who had almost grown up in the country, and had travelled every part of it, and represents it as an unbroken waste of sand deserts and impassable mountains, fit only for the beaver, the gray bear and the savage. Besides he had about traded it off with Governor Simpson, to go into the Ashburton treaty for a cod-fishery on Newfoundland. [Whitman then goes to President Tyler.] … The great desire of the doctor's American soul. Christian withal, that is, the pledge of the President that the swapping of Oregon with England for a cod-fishery should stop for the present, was attained."[137]

Hudson's Bay Company) had well-nigh succeeded in accomplishing his object of purchasing this country, not for a mess of pottage, but a cod-fishery. Dr. Whitman was barely able to obtain from President Tyler the promise that negotiations should be suspended."[137]

As these negotiations of Governor Simpson in Washington and Whitman's success in frustrating them are the very heart and life of the legend of Marcus Whitman,[138] without which it would never have come to anything, and as they are a pure invention, one of three conclusions is forced upon us. Either this story was invented by Marcus Whitman himself and reported years afterward by Spalding and Eells, or it was invented in common by Spalding and Eells, or Spalding invented it and Eells copied it from him. The last is, I believe, the true solution. But if this is accepted Cushing Eells can no longer be brought forward as an independent witness in confirmation of Spalding's story, for he draws from that story the material with which he supports it!

Having reviewed the evidence upon which the legendary account of the causes of Dr. Whitman's journey is based, I will now proceed to examine the tradition of what he achieved in Washington and to offer an explanation of the origin of its unhistorical features. That Dr. Whitman contemplated going to Washington during his absence in the east is clear from the statements in the letters of Mrs. Whitman[139] and Dr. White,[140] and it is not improbable that his intention was strengthened, if not suggested, by his conference with Dr. White.[141]

What purpose Dr. Whitman had in going to Washington is to be learned from the letters of his companion, A. Lawrence Lovejoy, supplemented by his own letter to the Secretary of War and the draft of a bill which he submitted. It is true that Lovejoy's letter was not written until 1876, but the fact that, although it was drawn from him in the hope of confirming the Spalding story, it is an entirely independent narrative, allows us to use it as a genuine recollection for what it is worth. Mr. Lovejoy wrote to Dr. Atkinson under date of Feb. 14, 1876; "I crossed the plains in company with Dr. White and others, and arrived at Waiilatpu the last of September, 1842. My party camped some two miles below Dr. Whitman's place.

"The day after our arrival Dr. Whitman called at our camp and asked me to accompany him to his house, as he wished me to draw up a memorial to Congress to prohibit the sale of ardent spirits in this country.[142] The Doctor was alive to the interests of this coast, and manifested a very warm desire to have it properly represented at Washington; and after numerous conversations with the Doctor touching the future prosperity of Oregon, he asked me one day, in a very anxious manner, if I thought it would be possible for him to cross the mountains at that time of the year. I told him I thought he could. He next asked: 'Will you accompany me?' After a little reflexion, I told him I would."[143]

Lovejoy accompanied Whitman as far as Bent's Fort (Southeastern Colorado) where he stayed until spring. He joined the immigration of 1843 in July near Fort Laramie, with whom Whitman was travelling. His letter continues:—

"The Doctor often expressed himself to me about the remainder of his journey, and the manner in which he was received at Washington and by the Board of Missions at Boston. The Doctor had several interviews with President Tyler, Secretary Webster, and many members of Congress, touching the interests of Oregon. He urged the immediate termination of the treaty with Great Britain relative to this country, and the extension of the laws of the United States, and to provide liberal inducements to emigrants to come to this coast."[144]

Whether this part of Lovejoy's letter is equally free from the influence of the Spalding narrative might be questioned, but I believe it can be taken as a genuine recollection, although possibly with some exaggeration of the number of interviews with Tyler and Webster, for it shows no trace of the Spalding legend of Whitman's having arrived in the nick of time to save Oregon from being "traded off for a cod fishery." Such as it is, this is the only account of what Whitman urged upon the government that is not interwoven with fictitious elements and based on a misconception of the situation. A further light, however, on the nature of Whitman's interviews with the officials is afforded by his letter to the Secretary of War, with the accompanying draft of a bill dispatched after his return. That he was asked to present this proposition which he made to the Secretary of War in the form of a bill, appears in the opening words: "In compliance with the request you did me the honor to make last winter while in Washington, I herewith transmit to you the synopsis of a bill."[145] The specific proposals of this bill were designed to facilitate immigration to Oregon by rendering the journey safer from Indians' attack, less expensive, and more comfortable to the immigrants. The most serious difficulties in the transit were the illness often caused by lack of a variety of diet, the scarcity of fodder and water, the dangers in fording the streams, the liability of the wagon wheels to fall to pieces in the long passage of the elevated arid region and the exposure to Indian depredations. To meet these needs Whitman proposed the establishment of ferries at the important river crossings and of government farming stations every two hundred miles, with blacksmith, gunsmith, and carpenter's shops, under the charge of government agents empowered to act as notaries and justices. Such stations would be self-supporting from the sale of produce and the services rendered to the immigrants. Whatever the merits of this plan, which was in fact an alternative for the establishment of military posts as urged by the Secretary of War,[146] it was not adopted and had no influence on legislation.[147] Moreover, there was nothing novel in the general Oregon policy which Lovejoy represents Whitman as pressing upon the government. It had been urged for years by prominent senators and representatives, and the government was already moving in that direction. Four years earlier, for example, Jason Lee, one of the pioneer Methodist missionaries, presented a memorial signed by nearly all the settlers in the Willamette valley "to Congress, praying that body to extend the United States government over the territory," and his letter and the memorial were included in Caleb Cushing's report on Oregon, of which 10,000 extra copies were printed.[148] Over a month before Whitman arrived in Washington Senator Linn's Bill passed the Senate by a vote of 24 to 22, providing for the extension of the laws of the United States over the whole of the Oregon territory, the erection of courts and the granting of lands to settlers.[149] So far from there being any danger that Oregon would be lost to the United States[150] the real danger was that the government would be pushed by the Oregon advocates in the West into an aggressive policy which might result in war with England.[151] The appearance of a solitary missionary in Washington advocating what a majority of the Senate had already voted, and what State legislatures were demanding in resolutions[152] was a mere drop in the bucket. That Whitman influenced American diplomacy in any way at Washington is not only destitute of all evidence but is intrinsically improbable. The belief that he did so originated with Spalding, and the ever-present stamp of his invention in all the varying narratives is the reference to "trading off Oregon for a cod-fishery." That Whitman's visit to Washington was an event without political influence or historical significance is clear from the fact that no contemporary mention of his presence there has ever been found. There is nothing in the Globe or the National Intelligencer among Washington papers, or in Niles's Register, although its pages for 1843 contain many insignificant items of Oregon news, or in the Washington correspondence of the Tribune or the Journal of Commerce, Curtis's Webster and Webster's Private Correspondence are alike silent. Interested as John Quincy Adams was in all diplomatic matters, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, watchful and suspicious of the administration, his voluminous Diary knows nothing of Marcus Whitman. Equally devoid of light are Benton's Thirty Years' View, although Benton was a champion of Oregon, and Greenhow's History of Oregon, although Greenhow was a translator in the State Department and an indefatigable collector of information about Oregon.[153] The Life and Speeches of Senator Linn, of Missouri, who was the most advanced leader of the Oregon party, make no reference to Whitman. Tyler's Tyler lacks any contemporary reference to Whitman's presence in Washington, and if the author had found any he would have given it because he makes some conjectures as to the origin of the notion that Whitman exerted any influence on the diplomacy of that year.[154] Had Whitman exerted even a small part of the influence attributed to him this universal silence would be inexplicable. This complete absence of contemporary references in print to Whitman's presence in Washington has naturally led advocates of the story to push their investigations among the manuscript records and to make inquiries of old officials, but the results have been equally disappointing.[155]

In the legendary accounts of Whitman's visit to Washington and his interviews with Webster and Tyler the essential features are his arrival just in time to frustrate the effort of Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, to secure the cession of Oregon in exchange for the cod-fisheries,[156] and it was upon this achievement that the claim that he saved Oregon to the United States was originally based.[157] The incident is purely imaginary, and wherever it recurs it is the stamp or hall-mark, so to speak, of Spalding's invention.[158] The fisheries were not the subject of negotiation in 1842, nor were they proposed for the expected negotiation of 1843.[159] Consequently Webster could not have told Whitman what Spalding attributes to him. It is in the highest degree improbable that either Tyler or Webster told Whitman anything about their plans, for the President refused to give the Senate that information in December, 1842,[160] and it was only with the greatest difficulty that John Quincy Adams wormed it out of Webster on March 25, in the course of a three-hour interview.[161] Equally fictitious is the story of Sir George Simpson's presence in Washington to negotiate or to influence negotiations in regard to Oregon and the fisheries.[162] How Mr. Spalding came to fabricate these particular features of his account of Whitman in Washington and how they came to be accepted, destitute as they are of any foundation in fact, naturally piques one's curiosity, and the following explanation is offered not merely to gratify such curiosity but to illustrate the way in which this history as a whole was manufactured, and, in particular, its late origin. Spalding, Gray, Eells, and the others who accepted the story, it must be remembered, had little knowledge of American history and few books. Such information as they possessed was the residuum left in their memory from conversation and the reading of newspapers. As time goes on, without the aid of books, the events of different years run together and a man recollects impressions and political gossip without any definite knowledge as to their succession in time.

In 1865 they recollected that they had heard that Sir George Simpson was or had been in Washington in the interest of the Hudson's Bay Company. As a matter of fact, he was in Washington for this purpose in 1853.[163] Again, they recalled that years before they had heard of negotiations between the United States and England relative to Canada in which the United States for concessions to Canada received additional privileges in the cod-fisheries. This was true in the Canadian reciprocity treaty of 1854.[164] These vaguely recollected incidents thrown back ten years in time formed the nucleus for Spalding's fictitious accounts of the negotiations of 1843, and made them seem to Gray and Eells in conformity with their own recollections.[165]

That Whitman's visit east dispelled ignorance about Oregon or inspired enthusiasm are equally without foundation. No doubt he could contribute some facts of interest, but the widely circulated Travels of Farnham were in the field;[166] Greenhow's exhaustive history was being distributed as a public document; Fremont was under commission to explore the Rockies; the Wilkes Exploring Expedition had explored the Columbia River and Puget Sound Regions two years earlier, and Sub-Indian Agent White was writing frequent reports to his superiors at Washington. The ignorance and indifference of the government and the public are fictions of a later day.

In such investigation of the newspapers as I have been able to make I have found just one news item about Whitman's journey east, outside of the missionary intelligence of two or three religious papers which refer to his visit to Boston. Whitman called on Horace Greeley in the last part of March and gave him some account of the conditions in Oregon and of his journey. There is not a word in the interview that indicates that there was any crisis in Oregon affairs, that he had a political errand, or wished to stir up public sentiment on Oregon.[167] Here was a unique opportunity to reach the public, for Greeley was much interested in Oregon, and printed all the news relative to it that he could gather, and had published a cheap edition of Farnham's Travels, which had an immense sale.[168]

Turning now to Boston we find in the records of his conferences with the Board the real history of his journey and its purpose. His own statement is summarized in the record as follows:—

"Left the Oregon country 3rd October, 1842, and arrived at Westport, Mo., 15th February,[169] and in Boston 30 March, 1843. Left unexpectedly and brought few letters. Letters of March, 1842, had been received and acted on. The difficulties between Mr. Spalding and others were apparently healed, and Mr. S. promises to pursue a different course. The mission wish to make another trial with Mr. Smith and Mr. Gray out of the mission. Mr. Gray requests a dismission and has left the mission and gone to the Methodist settlement. Mr. Rogers also.[170] … There is, however, an influx of Papists, and many emigrants from the U. S. are expected. The religious influence needs to be strengthened. The mission therefore propose and request that:—

"1. One preacher be sent to join them to labor at Waiilatpu—and that

"2. A company of some five or ten men may be found of piety and intelligence, not to be appointed by the Board or to be immediately connected with it, who will go to the Oregon country as Christian men, and who, on some terms to be agreed upon, shall take most of the land which the mission have under cultivation, with the mills and shops at the several stations, with the most of the stock and utensils, paying the mission in produce from year to year, in seed to the Indians, and assistance rendered to them—or in some similar manner, the particulars to be decided upon in consultation with the men. The result of this would be:—

"1. Introducing a band of religious men into the country to exert a good religious influence on the. Indians and the White population which may come in especially near the mission stations.

"2. Counteracting papal efforts and influences.

"3. Releasing the missionaries from the great amount of manual labor, which is now necessary for them for their subsistence, and permitting them to devote themselves to appropriate missionary work among the Indians, whose language they now speak.

"4. Doing more for the civilization and social improvement of the Indians than the mission can do unaided.

"5. It would afford facilities for religious families to go into the country and make immediately a comfortable settlement, with the enjoyment of Christian privileges,—both those who might be introduced upon the lands now occupied by the mission and others who might be induced to go, and settle in the vicinity of the stations.

"6. It would save the mission from the necessity of trading with immigrants. Those [who] now enter the country expect to purchase or beg their supplies from the mission for a year or two, and it would be thought cruel to refuse [to] provide such supplies."[171]

Then follow a few facts about Oregon but not a word on the political question or Whitman's trip to Washington. According to Love joy's recollection[172] Whitman felt that the Board disapproved of his action in coming east. Of this there is no record. Yet the self-defensive tone of his later letters reflects the same impression. In such a conjuncture what more effective defence could he have made than to show the urgency of the political crisis in Oregon and in Washington?

Whitman's journey, in fact, was measurably successful, and the requests of the mission were granted. The minute in regard to his project for an emigration was: "A plan which he proposed for taking with him, on his return to the mission, a small company of intelligent and pious laymen, to settle at or near the mission station, but without expense to the Board or any connection with it, was so far approved that he was authorized to take such men, if those of a suitable character and with whom satisfactory arrangements could be made, can be found."[173]

Such was Whitman's plan of emigration,[174] and how different from the legendary proposal to Tyler and Webster to take out a thousand emigrants! The fact that Whitman returned in company with the emigration of 1843 has been transformed by legend into the accomplishment of a previously announced purpose to organize and conduct such a body of emigrants. The emigration which he planned he did not carry out, feeling that by going on immediately with the already organized emigration of 1843 he would be of greater service.[175] Whitman did not organize the emigration of 1843, but joined it and rendered valuable services en route. As the facts about the emigration of 1843 are perfectly accessible in Bancroft,[176] I shall merely quote from Whitman's letters such extracts as will illustrate his purposes, his relation to the emigration, and his own view of what he had accomplished by coming East.

On May 12, 1843, Whitman writes from St. Louis, "I have made up my mind that it would not be expedient to try and take any families across this year except such as can go at this time. For that reason I have found it my duty to go on with the party myself."[177] Calling attention to the Catholic missionary efforts, for which he refers the committee to De Smedt's Indian Sketches, he continues, "I think by a careful consideration of this together with these facts and movements you will realize our feelings that we must look with interest upon this the only spot on the Pacific Coast left where protestants have a present hope of a foothold. It is requisite that some good pious men and ministers go to Oregon without delay as citizens or our hope there is greatly clouded, if not destroyed."

On May 30, he writes again from Shawnee:—

"I cannot give you much of an account of the emigrants until we get on the road. It is said that there are over two hundred men besides women and children. They look like a fair representation of a country population. … We do not ask you to become the patrons of emigration to Oregon, but we desire you to use your influence that in connexion with all the influx into this country there may be a good proportion of good men from our own denomination who shall avail themselves of the advantages of the country in common with others. … We cannot feel it at all just that we are doing nothing while worldly men and papists are doing so much. De Smedt's business in Europe can be seen, I think, at the top of the 23d page of his Indian Sketches, etc. You will see by his book I think that the papal effort is designed to convey over the country to the English. … I think our greatest hope for having Oregon at least part protestant now lies in encouraging a proper attention of good men to go there while the country is open. I want to call your attention to the operation of Farnham of Salem and the Bensons of N. York in Oregon. I am told credibly that secretly government aids them with the Secret service fund.[178] Capt. Howard of Maine is also in expectation of being employed by government to take out emigrants should the Oregon bill pass."

On Nov. 1 he wrote from the Fort Walla Walla: "My journey across the mountains was very much prolonged by the necessity for me to pilot the emigrants. I tried to leave the party, at different points, and push forward alone, but I found that I could not do so without subjecting the emigrants to considerable risk." Then follows a plea for more help from the mission board:—

"We very much need good men to locate themselves two, three or four in a place and secure a good influence for the Indians, and form a nucleus for religious institutions, and keep back Romanism. This country must be occupied by Americans or foreigners : if it is by the latter, they will be mostly papists. … I regret very much that I was obliged to return so soon to this country, but nothing was more evidently my duty. … Yet I do not regret having visited the States, for I feel that either this country must be American or else foreign and mostly papal. If I never do more than to have been one of the first to take white women across the mountains and prevent the disorder and inaction which would have occurred by the breaking up of the present emigration and establishing the first wagon road across to the border of the Columbia river, I am satisfied.[179] I do not feel that we can look on and see foreign and papal influence making its greatest efforts and we hold ourselves as expatriated and neutral. I am determined to exert myself for my country and to procure such regulations and laws as will best secure both the Indians and white men in their transit and settlement intercourse."[180]

In the following summer, on July 22, Whitman wrote in regard to the emigration of 1843, "The lateness of the spring prevented them from setting out so soon by a month as in ordinary seasons. No one but myself was present to give them the assurance of getting through,[181] which was necessary to keep up their spirits, and to counteract reports which were destined to meet and dishearten them at every stage of the journey."[182]

From these contemporary letters it is clear that Whitman made no claim to have organized the emigration of 1843 or to have rendered them services, beyond encouragement and advice and guidance. These services were amply recognized by the leaders of the emigration.

In Jesse Applegate's most interesting narrative, "A Day with the Cow Column," and in Peter H. Burnett's Recollections there are warm tributes to Whitman's disinterested and untiring efforts for the welfare of the emigration; but neither of these leaders of the movement intimates that the organization of the expedition was owing in any way to Whitman.[183] In none of the strictly contemporary sources is Whitman credited with having organized the emigration and in many of them he is not even mentioned.[184]

The real force behind the emigration of 1843 was the provisions for granting lands to settlers in Linn's bill which it was expected would pass Congress in 1843.[185] That a large emigration was in preparation for 1843 Whitman knew in 1842, five months before he left Oregon. May 12, 1842, Gray wrote from Waiilatpu: "There will probably be a large party of immigrants coming to this country in the spring of 1843. Some young men are now returning with the expectation of bringing out a party next spring."[186] That Whitman may have urged individuals to join the emigration is likely enough, and is affirmed by Lovejoy, that he gave some advice to prospective emigrants while on his way East seems certain;[187] but he had no time to do more, and they would not have had time to get ready unless they had begun before his arrival.[188] The legendary account of Whitman's relation to the emigration of 1843 has been supported by a letter published by Spalding from John Zachrey, one of the emigrants of 1843, who wrote in 1868:—

"In answer to your inquiries, I would say that my father and his family emigrated to Oregon in 1843, from the State of Texas. I was then 17 years old. The occasion of my father starting that season for this country, as also several of our neighbors, was a publication by Dr. Whitman, or from his representations, concerning Oregon and the route from the States to Oregon. In the pamphlet the doctor described Oregon, the soil, climate and its desirableness for American colonies, and said that he had crossed the Rocky Mountains that winter principally to take back that season a train of wagons to Oregon. We had been told that wagons could not be taken beyond Fort Hall. But in this pamphlet the doctor assured his countrymen that wagons could be taken through to the Columbia River and to the Dalles, and from thence by boats to the Willamette; that himself and mission party had taken their families, cattle and wagons through to the Columbia, six years before. It was this assurance of the missionary that induced my father and several of his neighbors to sell out and start at once for this country."[189]

Mr. Spalding is our sole authority for the text of this letter. A reference to p. 62 will show the reader how he interpolated Dr. White's letter to the Indian Commissioner. That this letter of Zachrey's contains interpolations is practically proved by the fact that one of its statements, which is absolutely false, occurs elsewhere in a document which Spalding wrote. On pp. 71–78 of Exec. Doc. 87 is a narrative of the Oregon missionary history in the form of a series of resolutions adopted at three different times by three different churches. This narrative is identical in much of its language and in its ideas with Spalding's other narratives, of which extracts are given on pp. 9–15 and 100–101.

Resolution 6 reads: "By the arrival of the Protestant Whitman at the city of Washington, in March, 1843, through untold winter sufferings in the mountains of Utah and New Mexico, not an hour too soon to prevent the transfer of all Oregon to Great Britain to go into the Ashburton and Webster treaty for a cod-fishery on Newfoundland: by his personal representations to President Tyler of this country, of its vast importance, and his assurance of a wagon route, as he assured him we had taken cattle, a wagon, and his missionary families through six years before," etc.[190] The false statement that is common to the Zachrey letter and to the narrative embodied in this resolution is the assertion that Whitman took his wagon through to the Columbia in 1836. This was not true and could not have been truthfully asserted by Whitman either to President Tyler or in the supposititious pamphlet. Mrs. Whitman says in her diary of that journey under date of Aug. 22: "As for the wagon, it is left at the Fort"[191] [Boisé]. If the Zachrey letter is accepted in its entirety Whitman is proved to have falsified. If it was interpolated by Spalding, as I think is clear, how much of it did Zachrey write? No copy of any pamphlet, nor any newspaper article by Whitman published for the purpose indicated has ever been found. Nor would it, humanly speaking, have been possible for Whitman, who reached Westport Feb. 15, and Boston March 30, and was back again in St. Louis May 12, to write a pamphlet which could be circulated in Texas,[192] where Zachrey lived, early enough for his father and his neighbors to sell out and get ready to start from Independence, May 22, for Oregon.[193]

The genuine residuum of the Zachrey letter, less the Spalding interpolations, represents the coalescence after twenty-three years in Zachrey's memory of what Whitman did on the journey for the emigrants with the indistinct recollection of the inducements to start. It is probable that reports of some of Dr. White's speeches to promote emigration in 1842[194] reached the elder Zachrey, and the boy later attributed the efforts of White to Whitman. The other testimonies advanced to prove that Whitman was an active promoter of the emigration of 1843 likewise dissolve into thin air when subjected to criticism. In 1883 Myron Eells printed personal statements from fourteen survivors of the emigration of 1843, one of which was the Zachrey letter.[195] Not a single one of the fourteen who was a responsible head of a family in 1843 reported that he was induced to go by Dr. Whitman. The two Applegates and J. M. Shively, leaders of the movement, asserted that they never heard of Whitman till he joined the emigration on the Platte River. One reported that he believed many were influenced by Whitman, but, on the other hand, J. W. Nesmith, in later life a senator from Oregon, wrote: "I know of no person who was induced to come to Oregon in consequence of Dr. Whitman's representations." Of the three besides Zachrey who testify to Whitman's influence in their own cases one was a boy of ten in 1843, another presumably a young girl in 1843, who attributed her coming to "a pamphlet Dr. Whitman wrote," and the third a man who said that his father was on the way to Wisconsin, and was persuaded by Whitman to go to Oregon instead. In reviewing this question Dr. Mowry omits all the adverse testimony, candidly printed though uncritically and fallaciously summarized by Myron Eells, while President Penrose calmly and reassuringly writes: "Undoubtedly there were many who had not heard of Dr. Whitman and were not influenced by him to go, but on the other hand a considerable number, about two-fifths of those who have been questioned on the subject, say that they went because of representations made by Dr. Whitman, either personally or through newspapers or through a pamphlet."[196] The recollections of those who were children or youth in 1843, that their parents were influenced by Whitman's articles or pamphlet all refer to Dr. White's efforts in 1842. Such a confusion at first sight seems less likely than it really was because of the enormous factitious reputation that the legend has created for Whitman in the last thirty years. But from 1842 Dr. White was a more prominent and a better known man than Dr. Whitman. As the representative of the United States government he would be a conspicuous person in the recollections of those days. That the confusion was natural is confirmed by the fact that in the earliest reports of the Whitman massacre it is Dr. White and not Dr. Whitman whose death was announced.[197]

As the years passed Dr. Whitman attached so much importance to his services to the emigration that he came to emphasize such a service as the main purpose of his journey to the East. If it had been among his purposes it was to such a degree incidental and minor that he apparently never mentioned it to the Committee of the American Board, nor did his fellow missionary, Mr. Walker, refer to it.

In 1847, in defending his return East in 1842, Whitman declared that the American interest in Oregon hinged on the success of the immigration of 1843. Had that been disastrous it may be easily seen what would have become of American interests. The disaster last year to those "who left the track I made for them in 1843 … demonstrates what I did in making my way to the States in the winter of 1842–3, after the third of October. It was to open a practical route and safe passage and secure a favorable report of the journey from emigrants, which in connection with other objects caused me to leave my family and brave the toils and dangers of the journey." He reiterates this same idea the month before his death.[198]

It may be questioned if the emigration of 1843 would have met with disaster if Whitman had not been with them, or, if it had, whether that would have really made any difference in the history of the Oregon question. The sufferings of the emigration of 1846 did not prevent the southern road from being attempted again in 1847[199] and with success. The value of Whitman's services in 1843 was great and need not be questioned. That they were indispensable there is no reason to suppose.

Two questions may now be considered which have frequently been urged in support of the legend. First, if the fate of Oregon was not at stake but only the continuance of the mission, why did Whitman make the perilous winter journey; why did he not wait till summer? The answer is twofold. First, by starting immediately he hoped to reach the settlements before winter set in.[200] If successful he would have time to get up his party of Christian lay helpers and return the following summer. If he waited till summer he would be absent from his mission and his wife two years. The second question is, why did he go to Wash- ington first if his main business was in Boston? The answer to that is that as his business in Washington was to urge government measures to make emigration to Oregon easier and safer, he could not delay because the people he wished to see might scatter to their homes. His main purpose in going to Boston would not be affected one way or the other by a delay of a week or two, but his opportunities in Washington to urge his plan for protecting and aiding emigration might be seriously diminished by a few days' delay after the adjournment of Congress.

That the generally accepted story of Marcus Whitman is entirely unhistorical has been demonstrated. There was no political crisis in Oregon affairs in 1842–43 either in Oregon to give occasion to Whitman's ride, or in Washington to render his arrival and information important. There is no reason to suppose that the course of events in Oregon or in Washington would not have gone on just as they did if Whitman had stayed in Waiilatpu.

The real history of Marcus Whitman is briefly as follows: Sent out as a missionary to the Oregon Indians in 1836, he established a prosperous station which proved a haven of rest for the weary emigrant and traveller. In 1842 he is ordered to give up the station, but at the very time when the orders come a large emigration party arrives much reduced by the hardships of the journey from Fort Hall. Their leader, Dr. White, announces that the United States are going to occupy the country and that many are preparing to come the following year.

If the mission station is abandoned it would be giving up Protestant mission work just at the time when the Catholics had begun to come in and when the country was going to be settled, and when the mission station would be of especial service to the emigrants. If it were still kept up, more help must be secured: clergymen for religious work and Christian laymen to attend to the increasing business of the mission station, the farms, the mill, the sheltering of the sick and orphans, etc. If emigration on a grand scale was to begin, the government ought to protect it and establish supply stations. If anything was to be done to reverse the action of the Board it must be done at once, or a year would be lost.

Dr. Whitman was an energetic, impulsive man, of sanguine temperament, and he revolted at giving up the station at the time when its best opportunity to render material and tangible services to Oregon was at hand.

The missionaries gather and discuss the situation. Before they separate he is resolved. He will listen to no dissuasion. After presenting the needs of the emigrants at Washington and securing the reversal of the decision of the Board at Boston he returns. The mission increases in its usefulness to the emigrants. It is a hospital and orphan asylum and a refuge for the sick and helpless. The Indians, however, for whom it was established, foresee the inevitable. Disease and death invade their ranks; superstition and jealousy, distrust and resentment, take possession of their minds, and the dreadful tragedy of Waiilatpu follows.

That Marcus Whitman was a devoted and heroic missionary who braved every hardship and imperilled his life for the cause of Christian missions and Christian civilization in the far Northwest and finally died at his post, a sacrifice to the cause, will not be gainsaid. That he deserves grateful commemoration in Oregon and Washington is beyond dispute. But that he is a national figure in American history, or that he "saved" Oregon, must be rejected as a fiction.


NOTE A

Extract from the Memorial of H. H. Spalding to Congress, entitled American Congress v. Protestantism in Oregon, Exec. Doc. 37, 41st Cong., Third Sess., p. 42


And that said Whitman, by his sleepless vigilance, became convinced that a deep-laid plan was about culminating to secure this rich country of Oregon Territory to Great Britain, from misrepresentation on the part of Great Britain, and for want of information as to the character and value of the country on the part of the Government of the United States. And that to prevent the sale and transfer of said Territory, and the consequent loss to the United States of this great Northwest and its valuable seaboard, and the great commercial considerations therewith, said Whitman did, in the dead of winter, at his own expense, and without asking or expecting a dollar from any source, cross the continent, amid the snows of the Rocky Mountains and the bleakness of the intervening plains, inhabited by hostile savages, suffering severe hardships and perils from being compelled to swim broad, rapid, and ice-floating rivers, and to wander lost in the terrific snowstorms, subsisting on mule and dog meat, and reached the city of Washington not an hour too soon, confronting the British agents Ashburton, Fox, and Simpson, who, there is evidence to show, in a short time would have consummated their plans and secured a part, if not all, of our territory west of the mountains to Great Britain, and by his own personal knowledge disproving their allegations, and by communicating to President Tyler important information concerning the country, and the fact that he had taken his wagons and mission families through years before, and that he proposed taking back a wagon-train of emigrants that season, did thereby prevent the sale and loss of this our rich Pacific domain to the people of the United States.

And that said Whitman did then return to Oregon Territory and conduct the first wagon-train of 1,000 souls to the Columbia River, thereby greatly increasing American influence, and completely breaking the influence of the British monopoly and adding immensely to the courage and wealth of the little American settlement.


NOTE B

The Earliest Printed Version of Whitman's Political Services in Behalf of Oregon. Published in "The Sacramento Union," Nov. 16, 1864, in an Account by "C." [S. A. Clarke] of the Presentation to the State of Oregon of the Tomahawk with which it was asserted Dr. Whitman was killed

In accepting the gift the Speaker of the Oregon Assembly, Mr. J. H. Moores, "Related an incident of our early history never to my knowledge before given to the public, and that was heard by him from the lips of the Rev. Mr. Spalding, another early missionary, and the coadjutor of Dr., Whitman. When the Ashburton Treaty was in progress, news came to the little settlement in Oregon that the government was about disposing of the whole Northwest coast to the English, and it made a deep impression on the mind of Whitman, whose long residence had produced a sincere attachment for the land of his adoption. He appreciated its future value and importance, and looked upon its broad rivers and fertile valleys as fields for the development of population, wealth, and power. Time has realized the conjecture, which he did not live to see, but he was restless under the impression that his favorite region might be transferred to another power, and, midwinter as it was, he undertook the dreary and then dreaded journey across the plains for the sole purpose to remonstrate against the act. Webster was Secretary of State, and to him he went, after hastening to Washington, and asked what was the character of the negotiations. He was told that the preliminaries of the treaty were about agreed upon, and his remonstrance was met with a smile.

"'Why, Doctor, you have come too late; we have about traded off the Northwest coast for a codfishery.'

"'But, Sir, you do not know what you are doing; you do not realize that that territory you mention with a smile, almost a sneer, could make a home for millions; that its broad navigable rivers lead to an ocean whose commerce includes the Indies and the Empires of the Orient; that we have fine harbors and broad bays to invite that commerce thither and offer an anchorage to the navies of the world. Then there are beautiful and fertile valleys, whose harvests will yield eventually an increase to the nation's wealth.'

"'You are enthusiastic. Doctor,' answered the Secretary, with an easy smile. 'You certainly are an enthusiast. The reports that come to us from Oregon differ materially from yours. The central portions of the continent are a barren waste, and the waters of the western slope course through a mountain wilderness or else a desert shore. The mountaineer can hunt and trap there. The tourist may sketch its snow-capped ridges, and describe the Indian in his native haunts. The trapper finds a home there.'

"'Sir, you have no idea of the land you sneer at. Oregon has all the virtues we claim for it. A few Americans have gone thither to develop our nation's wealth. We are far off, but our hearts are with the nation of our birth. We are pioneers, and can it be possible that our claims will be ignored,—that our country can consent to trade off her territory and our allegiance to a foreign power?'

"Dr. Whitman did not rest the question with the Secretary. He visited President Tyler himself, and left no stone unturned until he had awakened an interest in his cause in the minds of the President and a portion of his Cabinet, and a due consideration of the matter induced the final preservation of the greater portion of the Northwest Territory as a portion of the National Domain."

I am indebted for this transcript to Mr. William I. Marshall of Chicago. This earliest version of Whitman's services in behalf of Oregon mainly relates to incidents of which no living person in Oregon in 1864 had any first-hand knowledge. The only men who at any time could have confirmed or denied this story of their own knowledge were Daniel Webster and Marcus Whitman. Webster had been dead twelve years and Whitman seventeen years.

As a newspaper correspondent's report of a speech which reproduced the substance of Mr. Spalding's oral narration, this version of Whitman's work for Oregon in Washington cannot, of course, be pressed for details, but it may be remarked that there is no mention of the Walla Walla dinner, and that the account assumes that the Ashburton Treaty was still unsigned in 1843, and bases Whitman's services on his influence in Washington. It also makes him start in midwinter instead of early in October. The correspondent also explicitly states that to his knowledge it had never before been made public. If this correspondent found no one in that Oregon Assembly who had heard of it before 1864, this year can safely be assumed to be the date of its first revelation by Mr. Spalding. In Myron Eells' Did Marcus Whitman Save Oregon? this article is wrongly credited to the Sacramento Daily Bulletin.

NOTE C

Mr. Elwood Evans' Summary of his Conclusions in the Whitman Controversy[201]

"First, Dr. Whitman's winter journey in 1842–43 had no political intent or significance whatever.

"Second, no feeling as to the Oregon boundary controversy, or desire or wish to defeat British to the territory or any part of it, had any influence in actuating such a journey.

"Third, his exclusive purpose was to secure the rescinding by the American Board of Foreign Missions of the order of 1841 to abandon the southern stations of Waiilatpu and Lapwai.

"Fourth, there is no evidence that he visited Washington City during the spring of 1843.

"Fifth, that he in any manner whatever or in the remotest degree stimulated the 'great immigration of 1843,' is as untenable as the political claim we have been discussing. Nor would it be referred to, but for the connection that American occupancy of the territory had in hastening the settlement of the Oregon controversy. Dr. Whitman left Oregon in October, 1842, and he only reached St. Louis in March, 1843. No opportunity had ever occurred for meeting parties who could be influenced to go to Oregon. In those early days the Oregon immigration had to arrange in the fall of the preceding year for the next year's great journey. Dr. Whitman's connection with that immigration commenced with the crossing of the North Platte River in June, where he overtook the train. He accompanied it, and rendered valuable service as a physician and as an experienced traveller. Escorted by it to Oregon, though in no respect whatever a factor in its formation or progress, perhaps his presence contributed greatly to its successful transcontinental march."

NOTE D

Dr. Mowry prints the contemporary newspaper accounts of the visit of the four Flathead Indians to St. Louis.[202] George Catlin travelled with the two survivors on their return and painted their portraits. He writes: "These two men were part of a delegation that came across the Rocky Mountains to St. Louis a few years since to enquire for the truth of a representation which they said some white men had made amongst them, 'that our religion was better than theirs, and that they would all be lost if they did not embrace it.' Two old men of this party died in St. Louis, and I travelled two thousand miles, companion with these two young fellows, towards their own country and became much pleased with their manners and dispositions."[203] This is probably as near the truth in regard to this mission as we can get, for the contemporary newspaper accounts are admittedly exaggerated. The account given by Barrows in his Oregon, 108–113, is an imaginative perversion of these newspaper accounts. Barrows gives the farewell speech of one of the Indians which has been reproduced in many places,[204] but never with any references which properly authenticate it. The nearest to an authentication of it that I have been able to make traces it to Mr. Spalding. In 1870 he reported the characteristic features of the speech to a writer in The Chicago Advance, who, in reproducing it, says: "The survivor repeated the words years afterward to Mr. Spalding."[205] Dr. Mowry confidently asserts that the speech was taken down as it was uttered by one of General Clark's clerks. There is no trace of the speech in the contemporary accounts as reproduced in Dr. Mowry's book. I feel pretty certain that the speech was invented by Mr. Spalding. Until it can be carried back of Mr. Spalding, it ought not to be continually reprinted as an authentic document.

NOTE E

Translation of the Passage from de Saint-Amant quoted on pp. 21-22

"The Reverend Mr. Whitman, an American Baptist missionary, came and established himself with his family among the different tribes of Whalla-Whalla almost in the midst of the wilderness. He gained some influence over the Cayuse, the Nez-Percés, the Spokanes, etc. Having preceded the taking possession of the country by his fellow citizens, he became a very active agent of the American interests, and contributed in no small degree to promote annexation; but in spite of all he did for them, he did not realize that his standing and influence would not always prevail against the consequences of the superstition of these savages, and he fell a victim to it with his family. An epidemic spread, and as the Reverend added the art of healing the body to his pretension to save souls, and as several shocking deaths disturbed these feeble and ailing minds (which occasionally happens among civilized people to our shame), doubts sprang up in regard to the honesty of Dr. Whitman's purposes, and still more in regard to the character of his medical knowledge. In short, he was massacred with all his family in November, 1847."


NOTE F

Report of an Interview with Mrs. A. L. Lovejoy, 1899 or 1900

"In a recent conversation with Mrs. Elizabeth Lovejoy, wife of the late General A. L. Lovejoy, she said:—

"'Mr. Lovejoy had but recently reached the neighborhood of Dr. Whitman, and was encamped within three miles of his place, in company with Dr. Elijah White and others, who had just crossed the plains, and were on their way to the Willamette Valley. Dr. Whitman sent a messenger to Mr. Lovejoy, requesting him to call at his place. Dr. Whitman informed Mr. Lovejoy that he had received a letter from "the Board," expressing dissatisfaction with his mission; that it was making so little progress that the Board had about decided to discontinue it. He said he was much worried about it, as he had been there so long, had worked so hard, and was so deeply interested in the work that it would be very hard for him to give it up; that he knew that Mr. Lovejoy had influential relatives who were connected with the Board, and that he most earnestly wished him to go to Boston with him to use his influence with the Board to have his mission continued. Mr. Lovejoy said that he was a young man, just starting in life; that he had not means to spare for such a trip, and would rather go on to his destination; but Dr. Whitman still urged him, saying that it should not cost him anything, that he had a letter of credit that would get him all the money he needed. So, finally, Mr. Lovejoy consented to go upon those conditions. They left Waiil-at-pu on the 3d of October, 1842, and made quick time to Fort Hall, when the doctor turned south and went away down into the Spanish country. They had a fearful time, came near freezing and starving to death. When they were within a few days' travel of Bent's Fort, on the head waters of the Arkansas River, they met some one, who informed them that a pack train was about ready to start to St. Louis. Dr. Whitman immediately made up his mind to take the strongest animal and proceed on, and, if possible, join the pack train, and leave Mr. Lovejoy to take care of himself and the broken-down animals. Mr. Lovejoy reminded the doctor of their agreement, and objected to being left in that manner; but the doctor said it was then so late, near the 1st of January, that it was so important for him to be in Boston by a given time, and, besides, he did not feel authorized to saddle such an expense upon the Board. When Mr. Lovejoy finally reached Fort Bent, about the 4th of January, he found that Dr. Whitman was not there, and had not been heard from. The pack train had just left the fort and was at least 10 miles away. Mr. Lovejoy explained to Captain Sevier, the manager of the fort, the importance of the doctor's business, whereupon the Captain dispatched a messenger to stop and detain the train until the doctor could reach it. Knowing Dr. Whitman must be lost, Mr. Lovejoy and others from the fort took fresh horses and set out to hunt for him. After two days' search they returned without him; but the doctor came in soon after their arrival, worn out, nearly starved, and half-crazed by the hardship and excitement of being so long lost. Dr. Whitman left Fort Bent on the 7th day of January, 1843.'"


II

Letter of D. P. Thompson

Portland, Or., Feb. 6, 1900.

Hon. P. W. Gillette.
Dear Sir,—From early in the '50s until 1864, I was much in company with General A. L. Lovejoy, of Oregon City. I have very often heard him relate the incidents of the trip made in the fall and winter of 1842. and 1843 from the Whitman Mission to Bent's Fort, on the head waters of the Arkansas River, in company with Dr. Marcus Whitman. The emigration of the fall of 1842, headed by Dr. Elijah White, and with whom Mr. Lovejoy also came, brought letters to the Oregon people, among which were letters for Dr. Whitman, informing him of the intention of the American Board of Foreign Missions of Boston to discontinue the missions in "the Oregon country." When Dr. Whitman read these letters, notwithstanding the lateness of the season, he at once decided to go East and prevent it, if possible. In an interview with Dr. White and Mr. Lovejoy, they tried to dissuade the doctor from so hazardous a trip, but to no purpose. He was determined. Mr. Lovejoy, who at that time was a strong young man, and cared little where he went, so there was a field of adventure, was not hard to persuade to accompany the doctor. Dr. Whitman was anxious to have Mr. Lovejoy go, as he was from Boston, was related to some of the leading families there in the mission work, and his influence through them might be a great help to secure the continuation of the Oregon missions. So it was decided to go at once. They had the company of some mountain men as far as Fort Hall, which place they soon reached. Captain Grant, manager of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Hall, tried to persuade them to abandon the journey, on account of the lateness of the season and the danger from the hostile Sioux and other Indians, but no purpose. They started south and went down through the Spanish country, and after much hardship and many narrow escapes reached Bent's Fort. Their horses were so worn out that Dr. Whitman thought it best to go on with a pack train just starting to St. Louis, and leave Mr. Lovejoy there. I have often heard General Lovejoy speak of Dr. Whitman as being a man of most indomitable will, and no discouragement could change him when once his mind was made for the accomplishment of a purpose. He was determined to save the Oregon mission from being discontinued, and he did it; but afterward lost his life at what he regarded as his post of duty.

D. P. Thompson.

P. S.—I have many times heard General Lovejoy say that all of those statements claiming that Dr. Whitman made that winter ride to "save Oregon" was nonsense—mere bosh, and wholly untrue. He said that during their long ride the doctor often conversed freely with him on the object of his visit, and always indicated that he was going in the interest of his mission, and to try to persuade the Board to keep up and maintain the Oregon missions. He said Dr. Whitman thought the Board did not understand and appreciate the importance of those missions.

D. P. T.

These two extracts, kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. William I. Marshall of Chicago, are from an article entitled "Oregon's Early History," published in the Morning Oregonian, Portland, Or., Feb. 26, 1900, by P. W. Gillette. Mr. Gillette himself had the conversation with Mrs. Lovejoy.

    Whitman's leadership of the Emigration of 1843, and apparently the fable about Sir George Simpson's political intrigues.

    Washington at once and stay such proceedings if possible." C. H. Farnam, Descendants of John Whitman of Weymouth, Mass., New Haven, 1889, 237.

  1. The Missionary Herald, July 1848, 237.
  2. H. M. MacCracken, The Hall of Fame, New York, 1901, 58.
  3. Cf. Barrows' Oregon, 160 ff.; McMaster, With the Fathers, 307-310; McMaster, School History of the U. S., 323-4, and the other books noted below.
  4. Its first appearance in a formal history was in W. H. Gray's History of Oregon, 1792-1849, Drawn from Personal Observation and Authentic Information, Portland, Oregon, 1870.
  5. For the date and place of the earliest publication of this story I am indebted to Mr. William I. Marshall of Chicago, who has made most painstaking and elaborate investigations into the history of the Whitman Legend (cf. his discussion of my paper before the American Historical Association at Detroit. It will be printed in the Annual Report for 1900). I had not been able to trace the story in print with a precise date earlier than the Congregationalist of Oct. 5, 1866. I am also indebted to Mr. Marshall for collating the text of this narrative as it is given by Spalding in Senate Exec. Doc. 37, 41st Congress, third session, with the original text in The Pacific. As printed above, the first section is the closing paragraph of the ninth of a series of eleven articles on the Oregon Indian Missions and appeared Sept. 28, 1865; the next two sections are from the tenth and eleventh articles, which appeared on October 19 and November 9 respectively. The last article is reprinted in Gray's History of Oregon, 289-291, but without giving the year of its original publication.
  6. In the republication of this narrative in Exec. Doc. 37, and in all other repetitions, the precise date of Whitman's arrival in Washington is given as the 2d or 3d of March, obviously for the purpose of getting him there before the adjournment of Congress.
  7. Cf. Spalding's later and more compact and explicit statement, infra, p. 100.
  8. From Gray's History, 288-289. As Gray put his History together from his newspaper articles the above citation may safely be taken as the account presented by him in the Marine Gazette.
    On August 11, 1866, Gray testified under oath that the foregoing account of the Walla-Walla dinner was derived from Whitman himself. See infra, p. 32.
  9. I. e., as a whole. The story of Whitman's interview with Webster Mr. Spalding related in conversation in 1864, and it was published in the Sacramento Union, Nov. 16, 1864, from which it was reprinted in the Dansville, N. Y., Advertiser of May 4, 1865. This version, which is sometimes found in the popular accounts, formed a part of the remarks of the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives on the occasion of the presentation to the State of the tomahawk with which "Whitman was killed. It is, although a little earlier in date, not to be treated as a part of the original source of the story, for it is second-hand from Spalding. For the text of this account see Note B. p. 101.
  10. See p. 102.
  11. Father Eells, or the Result of Fifty-Jive Years of Missionary Labors in Washington and Oregon; A Biography of Gushing Eells, D. D., Boston, 1894, 106.
  12. Before the Oregon treaty, 1846, Oregon was technically foreign territory and the missionaries there were under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
  13. See Doctor Atkinson's Journal for June 13, and June 21st, 1848, and Mrs. Atkinson's Narrative, in Biography of Rev. G. H. Atkinson, D. D., etc., compiled by Nancy Bates Atkinson, Portland, Or., 1893, 116-120-121, and 109.
    Mr. Spalding wrote an account of the massacre to the American Board, and another to Mrs. Whitman's parents. There is nothing in either about Whitman's political services, see The Missionary Herald, July 1848, 338-341; and the Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 1893, 93-103.
  14. For these testimonies, see the art. of Mr. Eells, in The Whitman College Quarterly, Mar. 1898, or the quotation from it in Prof. H. W. Parker's art. in The Homiletic Review, July, 1901.
  15. Joel Palmer: Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains to the Mouth of the Columbia River, etc., Cincinnati, 1847, 57.
  16. Ibid., 173.
  17. House Executive Documents, 32d Cong., 1st Sess., II, part 3, 472-481.
  18. Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens, by his son Hazard Stevens, Boston, 1900, I, 298.
  19. Ibid., 403. James G. Swan in his Northwest Coast, or, Three Years' Residence in Washington Territory, New York, 1857, describes the immigration of 1843, 236-7, but is silent about Whitman.
  20. Cong. Globe, 34th Cong., 1st Sess., part I, 776.
  21. The Home Missionary, Dec. 1858, 185.
  22. The Home Missionary, March, 1860, 261. The passages quoted contain all that is said of Whitman in the article. In the June number of The Home Missionary in 1860, "A Former Missionary" described the Walla Walla country, but passed over Whitman in silence, pp. 31-32.
  23. Voyages en Californie et dans l'Oregon, par M. de Saint-Amant, Envoyé du Gouvernement français en 1851-1852. Paris, 1854.
  24. J. R. Wilson in the Whitman College Quarterly, Dec. 1897, 46.
  25. See p. 25.
  26. Saint-Amant, 26-7. This passage is translated infra, p. 106.
  27. Cf. Brouillet in House Exec. Docs., 1st Sess. 35th Cong., 1, pp. 16 ff. On Brouillet, see p. 28 below.
  28. President Penrose of Whitman College did this in his widely circulated reply to my assertion that the Spalding story was never heard of before 1865, relying, I have no doubt, on Dr. "Wilson's translation, without ever having looked at the original text. See his article in the Boston Transcript of Jan. 21, 1901.
  29. See the statement of W. I. Marshall, The Whitman Legend in the Report of the Am. Hist. Association for 1900. The Home Missionary published several letters a year from the Oregon country every year between 1848 and 1865, and in not one of those letters is there a single reference to the Whitman legend.
  30. Dec. 1866, 370-373.
  31. See J. B. Moore's International Arbitrations, I, 237-270.
  32. Cf . Gray's comment on the award: "A more infamous claim could not well be trumped up, and the men who awarded it should be held responsible, and handed down to posterity as unjust rewarders of unscrupulous monopolies. Not for this alone, but for paying to the parent monopoly the sum of $450,000, for their malicious misrepresentations of the country, their murders, and their perjury respecting their claims to it." Hist. of Oregon, 213.
  33. See his frenzied statement in some resolutions drafted by him and adopted by the Christian Church at Brownsville, Or., in 1869, and the almost equally excited preamble to another set of resolutions, in his Early Labors of Missionaries in Oregon, 56-59; see also pp. 70, and 78-80, in Senate Executive Doc. 37, 41st Cong., 3d Sess., 1871. This will be cited henceforth as "Executive Doc. 37." The claim of the American Board to 640 acres at Lapwai in the Nez Perces country under the act of Congress of Aug. 14, 1848, had been advanced in June 1862 by Cushing Eells acting as their attorney. Lapwai had been Spalding's station. See Executive Docs., 3d Sess. 37th Cong., II, 570-72.
  34. "A poor broken-down wreck, caused by the frightful ending of his fellow associates, and of his own missionary labors." Gray's Oregon, 482. "His nervous system remained a wreck ever afterward." Mrs. F. F. Victor, River of the West, Hartford, 1870, 409. "There can be no doubt that Spalding's mind was injured by this shock. All his subsequent writings show a want of balance which inclines me to regard with lenity certain erroneous statements in his publications. I find in the Oregon Statesman of August 11, 1855, this line: 'H. H. Spalding a lunatic upon the subject of Catholicism and not over and above sane upon any subject.'" H. H. Bancroft, Oregon, I, 665, note. On the other hand, Mr. A. Hinman who knew Spalding before and after 1847, in a private letter dated Mar. 5th, 1901, says: "The statement made by Professor Bourne that the strain occasioned by the massacre unbalanced Mr. Spalding's mind is without the semblance of any foundation whatever. He was the same Spalding after the massacre as he was before, truthful and reliable." Of Spalding's trustworthiness the reader will have an opportunity to judge a little later.
  35. A sketch of this controversy written with a strong Protestant bias and in places with obvious lack of candor will be found in J. G. Craighead's The Story of Marcus Whitman, Philadelphia, 1895, 86-101. Gray's Oregon fairly vibrates with the passion of it. The accounts of the massacre written at the time by the missionaries, may be read in Mowry's Marcus Whitman, and the Early Days of Oregon.
  36. Protestantism in Oregon: Account of the Murder of Dr. Whitman and the Ungrateful Calumnies of H. H. Spalding, Protestant Missionary, by the Rev. J. B. A. Brouillet, N. Y., 1853. Brouillet had saved Spalding's life.
  37. Executive Doc. (House of Rep.), 35th Cong., 1st Sess., No. 38. Spalding's charges are quoted on pages 49-51.
  38. The exact date is uncertain. Spalding said it was "long after its publication." Exec. Doc. 37, 5.
  39. Bancroft says, I, 657, note: "In 1866-67 Spalding revived the memories of twenty years before, and delivered a course of lectures on the subject of the Waiilatpu mission, which were published in the Albany (Or.) States Rights Democrat, extending over a period from November 1866 to February 1867." But the lectures apparently began at least one year earlier, for in one of them printed in the Early Labors, he says it is eighteen years since the massacre, which occurred in November, 1847. Exec. Doc. 37, 26.
    The articles in The Pacific, it will be remembered, appeared in 1865. The Rev. Myron Eells informs me that Spalding's articles extended over a year. He has one, No. 37, which appeared in January, 1868.
  40. Once printed as a public document, the evidence and testimony in behalf of Spalding could be utilized effectively in renewing the effort to recover the mission claim.
  41. Exec. Doc. 37, 42. In the report of Dr. G. H. Atkinson's address before the American Board at Norwich in 1868 it is said: "He told most effectively the story of the manner in which the heroic missionary Dr. Whitman, who was subsequently murdered for the deed, made the journey from Oregon to Washington in 1842," etc. The Congregationalist, Oct. 15, 1868.
  42. Cf. for example, 20, 23, 25, 42, 75-76, and 78, Exec. Doc. 37, 41st Cong., 3d Sess.
  43. In the preface to this work the reader is promised, among other things, "The American History of the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies."
  44. The Astoria Marine Gazette, Aug. 6, 1866. Cf. History of Oregon, 315-6. Curiously enough, in the History, Gray preferred to quote Spalding's article in The Pacific.
  45. The nature of this exception and the character of Gray as a witness will appear from the following extract from his deposition under oath, Aug. 11, 1866, during the taking of testimony in the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies' case.
    "Int.[errogatory] 29. 'Are the statements made by you in that article [in the Marine Gazette, Aug. 6] true?'
    "Ans. 'I think they are, to the best of my knowledge and belief.'
    "Int. 30. 'Did Dr. Whitman tell you that he went to see Mr. Webster and Mr. Fillmore for the purpose stated in that article?'
    "Ans. 'Dr. Whitman, when he left his station to go to the States, gave me the facts as stated in that or previous articles. On his return he visited me at Oregon City; he gave me the substance, almost verbatim, as near as I can recollect, of that article.'
    "Int. 31. 'Did he say that he saw Mr. Webster as Secretary of State, and Mr. Fillmore as President on the subject?'
    "Ans. 'He said he called upon them both, and had conversations with them.'
    "On being cross-questioned closely as to Fillmore, Gray said, * I had a doubt in my own mind when I penned the article whether it was him or Tyler.'
    "Int. 38. 'Did Dr. Whitman inform you that Mr. Webster stated that he (Mr. Webster) was ready to part with what was to him an unknown and unimportant portion of our national domain, for the privileges of a small settlement in Maine, and the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland?'
    "Ans. 'The substance of that idea was communicated to me by Dr. Whitman.'
    "It is subsequently recorded: 'The witness desires to state that since testifying on cross-examination he has ascertained that Mr. Tyler was President, instead of Mr. Fillmore, at the time of Dr. Whitman's visit to Washington.'"
    Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Co.'s Claims, IV. Evidence for the United States. Washington. 1867. 172-4 and 191.
    I am indebted to Mr. W. I. Marshall of Chicago for the information that Gray was cross-examined on this Whitman matter and that a complete set of the documents relating to the claims of these companies is in the State Library at Albany where I consulted them. Again, in 1883, Gray solemnly affirmed that his statements about Whitman's interviews in Washington, in his History, 315-8, were derived from Whitman himself. Eells, Marcus Whitman, 9.
  46. Gray's Oregon, 480. "We ask in astonishment: Has the American Board at last opened its ears, and allowed a statement of that noble martyr's efforts to save Oregon to his country to be made upon its record?"
  47. See Extracts in Exec. Doc. 37, pp. 24-25, Thirty years later, in his Missionary History of the Pacific North-West, 469 (Portland, 1899), Mr. Hines gives an account of Whitman's journey in pretty exact accordance with the facts, the only fabulous incident being the alleged report, by the emigration of 1842, that the United States would probably relinquish Oregon to England.
  48. The Congregationalist, Oct. 15, 1868. The address in full was printed in the Missionary Herald, Mar. 1869, 76-82.
  49. Biography of G. H. Atkinson, pp. 147 and 500-501. The New York address is published in the Biography, 286-299. It was issued in a pamphlet at the time by John W. Amerman, New York.
  50. Biography, 147. The reader will note that three years after the publication of the story of Whitman's ride "to save Oregon" "very few" in Oregon believed it.
  51. See Lovejoy's letter to Gray of Nov. 6, 1869. Gray's Oregon, 324-327.
  52. The River of the West, Hartford, 1869, pp. 308 and 312. Gray's articles in the Astoria Marine Gazette were the source from which she drew the account. The Overland, Aug. 1869, pp. 154-55. Mrs. Victor accepted the incident of the Walla Walla dinner in the Overland article, but expressed some doubt as to whether Whitman exerted any real influence in Washington, or had much to do with starting the emigration of 1843. Five years later in the Overland, 1874, she still accepted the legend in part, pp. 45, 122, and 126. When by subsequent investigation she found that the story was fictitious, and said so, she was denounced as the enemy of missions.
  53. New York, 1869, see p. 200. The statement was derived from Doctor Atkinson's speech before the American Board.
  54. Gray's Oregon, pp. 288-291, 315-317, 322-327, and 361.
  55. Executive Doc. 37, Senate, 41st Cong., Third Session. The true character of Spalding's compilation was set forth in a review in The Catholic World for Feb. 1872, 665-682. This is the only critical examination of this document which I have seen. Internal evidence indicates that it was written by one of the Catholic priests familiar with the events of the massacre, and I am inclined to think that Vicar General Brouillet was the author. The present editor of The Catholic World was unable to give any information on the subject.
    More than half of J. G. Craighead's The Story of Marcus Whitman (Philadelphia, 1895), i. e. 86-182, is devoted to a defence of Spalding's document and a criticism of this article in The Catholic World. Doctor Craighead's defence of Spalding is futile. It rests on the assumption that Spalding was a trustworthy witness, which, as I shall show, was far from the case.
  56. Doctor Atkinson gave the story prominence in his Centennial address, The American Colonist, before the Pioneer Historical Society at Astoria, Feb. 22, 1876. See his Biography, 260-272. It was in preparation for this that he wrote to A. L. Lovejoy for an account of his recollections of Whitman's journey. Lovejoy's reply is printed on pp. 272-275 and in Nixon's How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, 305-312. J. Quinn Thornton, in his History of the Provisional Government of Oregon, accepts the legend of Whitman's having effected a change in the Oregon policy by his journey to Washington. Constitution, etc., of the Oregon Pioneer Assoc, Salem, Or. 1875, 68. Thornton was a pioneer of 1846, and a friend of the Whitmans.
  57. Von Hoist, Constitutional History of the U. S., Chicago, 1881, III,. 51-52. Von Hoist cites as his source Gray's Oregon, 290. He accepted the assertion of
  58. Mrs. Victor became an assistant to H. H. Bancroft about the year 1878. Bancroft's Literary Industries, N. Y. ed., 293. She is the author of the volumes on Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nevada, in his series. Soon after the publication of her River of the West (1870), Mrs. Victor discovered that she had been led into error in following Gray's articles in the Astoria Marine Gazette in regard to the American Board Mission history and particularly in regard to Whitman's acts and motives. For a long time she supposed that his misstatements were merely errors. Her first suspicions that the Whitman story had been manufactured arose from her discovery that the Spalding-Gray narrative was being used in a petition to Congress by Spalding and Eells in pushing the claim of the American Board for the stations at Waiilatpu and Lapwai. "This document Mr. Spalding refused to let me see, although he had it in his hands at the time I asked for it without a doubt that he would allow me to see it. This incident occurred soon after the publication of the History and of The River of the West, and before I had offered any public criticism of Gray's statements." Letter from Mrs. Victor, May 18, 1901. This "petition" was probably Exec. Doc. 37, or that part of it which begins on p. 41 of the document. An extract is printed below on p. 101. Mrs. Victor apparently did not know of Spalding's articles in The Pacific, which antedated Gray's nearly a year. I understand from what Mrs. Victor writes that she convinced Mr. Evans in regard to the Whitman matter.
  59. Elwood Evans went out to Puget Sound from Philadelphia in 1851, as Deputy Collector of Customs. Returning home in 1852 he again went to the Northwest as private secretary to Governor Stevens, 1853. From this time he was a careful observer of events and student of the history of the Northwest. He wrote a history of Oregon, the MS. of which, with a mass of other material, he put at Bancroft's disposal, who awards him high praise as lawyer, scholar, and writer. Literary Industries, 292, 350-51. Bancroft's History of Washington, etc., 54. He was the author of the general historical chapters in the History of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon, and Washington, Portland, Oregon, 1889. The true account of Whitman's journey, and a brief refutation of the fictitious account, will be found in this work, I, 197-8.
  60. Philadelphia, 1882.
  61. See pp. 43-46.
  62. See pp. 167-181. Dr. Atkinson's Introduction emphasizes Whitman's agency in defeating "Sir George Simpson's attempt at Washington to buy Oregon for Newfoundland and the cod fisheries," 4.
  63. Portland, Or., 1883, Geo. H. Hines.
  64. "Dr. Whitman's Services in Oregon," Missionary Herald, Feb. and Sept., 1885, pp. 55-63, 346-354. The arguments of Mr. Evans and of Mrs. Victor will be found in the Portland Oregonian of December 26, 1884, and February 8 and 15, 1885.
  65. He published in 1885, The Ely Volume; or the contribution of our Foreign Missions to Science and Human Well-Being, Boston, 1885. On pp. 76-82 is an account of Whitman's achievements, based on Dr. Atkinson's article in the Missionary Herald of March, 1869.
  66. Missionary Herald, 1885, 350. On this letter see infra, p. 97.
  67. The Missionary Herald, 1885, 353, from The Oregonian of Dec. 26, 1884. As these conclusions are identical with those set forth in the second part of this paper, I may say that when I wrote the article on The Legend of Marcus Whitman, which was published in the American Historical Review, Jan. 1901, I had not seen Mr. Eells' pamphlet or Dr. Laurie's articles, and did not know the details of the controversy in Oregon and Washington. Mr. Evans's own statements of his position may be found in Note C, at the end of this essay.
  68. The Weekly Ledger, Tacoma, Jan. 16, 1885, cited by Dr. Laurie, Missionary Herald, 1885, 351.
  69. Father Eells.—A Biography of Cushing Eells, D. D., By Myron Eells. Boston and Chicago, 1884, 113.
  70. This pamphlet included Mr. Eells' three articles, and papers by E. C. Ross and W. H. Gray in reply to Mr. Evans and Mrs. Victor. It was published by G. H. Hines, Portland, 1885.
  71. Art. on Marcus Whitman in The Advance, July 4, 1895.
  72. The Observer for Dec. 7, 21, 1882; Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25, and Feb. 1, 1883.
  73. Cf. pp. 233, with pp. 153, 158, 202, 203, 204.
  74. Cf. his United States of Yesterday and To-morrow, Boston, 1888, passim.
  75. The book was warmly praised by the Magazine of American History, Dec. 1883. The editor, Mrs. Lamb, contributed a leading article to the September number, 1884, entitled A Glimpse of the Valley of many Waters, which was a description of the Walla-Walla country. The legend of Whitman is narrated after Gray and Barrows.
  76. It is perhaps not superfluous to remark that the task before Mr. Bancroft and his "assistants "was essentially different from that before Mr. Winsor and his collaborators. In the one case the results of generations of historical investigation were to be sifted and summarized: in the other the critical and constructive work had to be done from the very beginnings. Whatever may be the defects of detail, the Bancroft History of the Pacific States is a great achievement. It cannot be used uncritically, nor can many histories be safely used that way, but, after such a critical examination of the sources as I have made in this study of The Legend of Marcus Whitman, it is not a common experience to find in any general history, constructed directly from the raw material, so faithful and trustworthy a presentation of the contents of those sources as in the parts of the first volume of Bancroft's Oregon that I have subjected to this test. The gulf between it and Barrows is immeasurable. To Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor as the avowed author of Bancroft's Oregon, working under his editorial supervision, every student of Oregon history is under great obligations for her scholarly and honest presentation of the facts derived from the unparalleled collection of materials gathered by Mr. Bancroft.
  77. "This is the statement made of "Whitman's object and arguments by the prudential committee to whom they were addressed: but Gray wickedly asserts that Whitman went to Washington with a political purpose, instead of going on the business of the mission." I, 343. Bancroft's Oregon was written before the Whitman controversy of 1882-84 but was not published until after it. This accounts for the slight attention paid to the Spalding-Gray story.
  78. History of the United States, for Schools and Academies, Philadelphia, 1884, 348-49; cf. also, Scudder's New History of the United States, 1897, 310-11.
  79. Biography of Cushing Eells, 116.
  80. N.Y., 1883, pp. 371-86.
  81. Vol. XVII (1884), 825.
  82. Letters and Times of the Tylers, II, 438-39, Richmond, 1885, and III, Williamsburg, 1896, 47. Mr. Tyler published a letter in the Magazine of American History, Feb. 1884, 168-170, in which he explained his father's Oregon policy. Aside from this, he apparently accepts the Whitman story, and places confidence in Gray.
  83. New York, 1886, 38-42. Executive Doc. 37 is, through Gray, Dunn's source for the account of The Whitman Massacre, 83-100.
  84. Pp. 233, 239-40. Carl Schurz, in his Henry Clay, II, 278, credited Whitman with giving the government valuable information and with leading the emigration of 1843.
  85. Edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, N. Y., 1889. For Mr. Charles H. Farnam's elaborate History of the Descendants of John Whitman of Weymouth, Mass., New Haven, 1889, 237-39, the nephew of Doctor Whitman, Perrin B. Whitman supplied his version of the legend. See infra, pp. 65-66.
  86. N. Y., 1891, art. Whitman.
  87. The History of Congregational Churches in the United States, by Williston Walker, D. D., 377-78, N. Y., 1894, and Congregationalism in America, by A. E. Dunning, D. D., N. Y., 1894, in Ch. XXI, contributed by Dr. Joseph E. Roy, 442.
  88. N. Y,, 1893. The hero is aroused by Whitman's appearance in the east, p. 28. The legend is given in brief, pp. 235-38; the poem, pp. 244 ff. On p. 103 the author remarks: "Exact history has robbed this story of some of its romance, but it is still one of the noblest wonder-tales of our own or any nation." In 1890 the story finds a place in another widely used text-book, Montgomery's Leading Facts of American History, 725-58; ed. of 1900, 263-64.
  89. See infra, p. 81, n. 1.
  90. Philadelphia, 1895. Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work.
  91. See supra, p. 34, n. 5.
  92. Story of Marcus Whitman, 60-61.
  93. Pages 66-68.
  94. For example, this from The Advance of March 14, 1895: "Is there in history the record of a man who by himself saved for his country so vast and so valuable a territory as did Whitman by his prophetic heroism of 1842-3? His ride across the continent in the winter of 1842, a winter memorable for its severity, is without a parallel in history. It stands as the sublime achievement of a prophet and a hero, who saw and suffered that his country might gain. The United States paid $10,000,000 for Alaska. It bought Louisiana for millions more. It paid a Mexican War, blood, and money, for the acquisition of Texas and New Mexico. But what did it pay for Washington and Oregon and Idaho, a territory into which New England and the middle States might be put, with Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and three Connecticuts? It paid not one cent. That vast region cost the Nation nothing. It cost only the sufferings and perils of Marcus Whitman, who risked his life and endured all hardships that the territory of his adoption might belong to the country of his birth."
  95. Star Publishing Co., Chicago, 1895. Dr. Nixon has been the literary editor of The Chicago Inter-Ocean for twenty years or more, and in the columns of this journal he has been the standing champion of the Whitman story, rushing to its defence against criticism with an impetuosity that has rendered him apparently incapable of stating his opponents' position correctly or of verifying his own assertions in rebuttal. Cf. references, p. 54, infra.
  96. From Dr. Nixon's Oration at Whitman College, Whitman College Quarterly, III, No. 4, 1900, 14. The book was published June 20, 1895.
  97. Dr. Nixon's Oration, loc. cit., 17-18.
  98. New Haven Evening Register, Feb. 19, 1901.
  99. For the benefit of any who have a curiosity to see how criticism affects the advocates of the Whitman story, I append references to some of the more important comments on and replies to my article in The American Historical Review. The Chicago Inter-Ocean, Dec. 30, 1900, Jan. 9, 10, 11, 21, 26, and Feb. 9; The Congregationalist, Jan. 19; The Advance, Jan. 17 and 24; The Interior, Jan. 17, and Feb. 14; The Christian Work, Mch. 7; The Homiletic Review, July, 1901 (Professor H. W. Parker); Journal of Education, Jan. 24 (W. A. Mowry), and President Penrose of Whitman College in the Boston Transcript of Jan. 21, and in many other prominent papers simultaneously. The last was a shot fired in the dark, as the author had not read the article to which he replied.
  100. Mrs. Whitman wrote her father in October, 1840: "The man who came with us [Spalding] is one who never ought to have come. My dear husband has suffered more from him in consequence of his wicked jealousy, and his great pique towards me, than can be known in this world. But he suffers not alone—the whole mission suffers, which is most to be deplored. It has nearly broken up the mission." See the whole letter in Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association for 1893, pp. 128–133. Mr. Spalding had been a suitor of Narcissa Prentiss (Mrs. Whitman).—Mrs. Dye's McLoughlin and Old Oregon, p. 19. On a point like this, Mrs. Dye would aim at fidelity to fact, and her statement is practically confirmed by Mrs. Whitman's letter.
  101. Records of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, at the Congregational House, Boston. Cf. The Missionary Herald, Jan. 1843, p. 14, and the Report of the A. B. C. F. M. for 1842, p. 194. The Indians at times were insolent and threatening. Cf. Whitman's letter of November, 1841. Trans. of the Or. Pioneer Assoc., 1891, 154–62.
  102. From letter-book Oregon Indians in the records of the Board. The letter is dated, "Waiilatpu, Oct. 3d, 1842," and endorsed "Rec'd, 30 Mar., 1843." For the action of the mission see Miss. Herald, Sept. 1843, p. 356, also Report of the A. B. C. F. M., 1843, 169, where these records are correctly summarized.
  103. From the MS. in the possession of the Oregon Hist. Soc.
  104. Letter-book as before. Cf. the "Remarks" in the Miss. Herald, Sept. 1843, 356.
  105. Letter-book, Oregon Indians.
  106. Ibid.
  107. Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 1893, 165.
  108. Ibid., 167–68.
  109. Letter-book, Oregon Indians.
  110. Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 1893, 155. That Whitman went east on the business of the mission was a matter of common knowledge at the time. "In 1842 Dr. Whitman visited the United States to obtain further assistance, in order to strengthen the efforts that had already been made. … In 1843 Dr. Whitman returned again to Oregon and resumed his labors." Ten Years in Oregon, by D. Lee and J. H. Frost, N. Y., 1844, 213. According to Nixon, Mrs. Whitman's diary reveals nothing as to a political object. He explains this silence on the ground that absolute secrecy was necessary. How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, Chicago, 1895, 107. Yet, according to Gray, Whitman defiantly announced his purpose at the Fort Walla Walla dinner. Gray's Oregon, 288. Spalding, in his contemporary letter to Dr. White, the sub-Indian Agent, mentions Whitman's visit to the States, but gives no reason. White's Ten Years in Oregon, 202. Gray's Oregon, 235.
  111. Supra, p. 9.
  112. History of Oregon, 288, and supra, p. 9.
  113. Sir George Simpson, An Overland Journey Round the World, Philadelphia, 1847, 1, 62 and 94. There were twenty-three families in the party. "Chaque année il vient da Canada un certain nombre de families qui ne sont point engagées. À la fin de 1841, il en est arrivé trente de la colonie de la Rivière Rouge; près de la moitié s'est établi au Ouallamet." Du Flot de Mofras, Explorations du Territoire de l'Orégon, etc., pendant les Années 184O, 1841, et 1842, Paris, 1844, II, 209. Cf. Bancroft's Oregon, I, 252; also Myron Eells, History of Indian Missions on the Pacific Coast, Philadelphia, 1882, 166, and his pamphlet Marcus Whitman, M. D., in which Spalding's own diary is quoted under date of Sept. 10, 1841. "Arrived at Colville. Mr. McDonald's brother is here from a party of twenty-three families from the Red River, crossing the mountains to settle on the Cowlitz, as half servants of the company," p. 18. It is not improbable that the missionaries in 1841–2 may have talked over the bearing of this immigration upon the future of Oregon, and that Spalding's dramatic scene at Fort Walla Walla may have been suggested to his imagination by the hazy recollection of some such discussion. The mistake in the date of the immigration was not discovered until the Whitman controversy arose. This may be accounted for by the fact that a similar mistake was made by Gustavus Hines in his Oregon: Its History, Condition, and Prospects, etc., Buffalo, 1851, 387. This book was written while Hines was in the east (cf. Bancroft, Oregon, I, 225, note) and the mistake was a not unnatural slip of the memory. Gray, who used Hines as a source, gives an account of this colony on pp. 212-213, under the date 1842.
  114. Letter to the Secretary of the Am. Board, Nov. 1841, in Trans. of the Oregon Pioneer Assoc. 1891, 158.
  115. Ten Years in Oregon: Travels and Adventures of Doctor E. White and Lady, etc., Ithaca, N. Y., 1850, 191; and Gray's Oregon, 229.
  116. Exec. Doc. 37, 13.
  117. Cf. Ten Years in Oregon, 185, and Gray's Oregon, 225, with Exec. Doc. 37, 13. On the story of this visit of the Flathead Indians, see p. 105. In his text of this letter of White's, Spalding made a great number of minor alterations. Spalding was an Indian Agent on the Umpqua River in 1851. Anson Dart, Supt. of Indian Affairs in Oregon, asked to have him superseded for neglect of duty. (House Exec. Docs., 32nd Cong., 1st Sess., vol. ii. pt. 3, p. 472.) Spalding then wrote the American Home Missionary Society that Dart had made a treaty "with the tribes of the Middle District, an article of which provides that no American (i.e., Protestant missionary) shall ever again enter their country." He describes his emotions at being prohibited from taking up his work again with the Indians. "I lifted up my lamentations amid the wild roar of the ocean's waves. I wept for the poor Nez-Percés. … I wept as I called to mind the many years of hard labor, etc. … all apparently laid a sacrifice at the bloody shrine of the Papacy, by the baptized hands of an American officer, the husband of a Presbyterian wife! The Superintendent was of course influenced to this anti-American step by the same influences which instigated the poor benighted Indians to butcher their best friends. … Henceforth my field of labor is among my countrymen in this valley. I am now about my master's business,—preaching the Gospel." (The Home Missionary, April, 1852, 276.) The next number of the Home Missionary contained a letter from Dart, who happened to be in New York, in which he said: "There is no truth in Mr. Spalding's statements in question," No treaties had been made with the Middle District tribes, and in the thirteen treaties with the tribes west of the Cascade Mountains then before the President there was "not one word … touching the subject, directly or indirectly as stated by Mr. Spalding under the head of 'Treaty of Expulsion.'" The Home Missionary, May, 1852, 20.
    On December 7, 1857, Elkanah Walker wrote to Secretary Treat of the American Board: "I am compelled to believe until I have better evidence that Mr. Spalding's publication in regard to Dr. Dart was more with the intention of effecting the removal of him from his office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Oregon than because he believed such treaty had been made. My reason for this is, in conversation with Mr. Spalding, I said I was present, and no such treaty was made excluding Protestant missionaries. He replied, 'I knew it. He could make no such treaty.'" From vol. 248 of the correspondence of the missionaries in the records of the Board. For this last extract I am indebted to Mr. W. I. Marshall.
  118. Circular 8, 5–6.
  119. History of Oregon, 288; supra, p. 32; and Eells, Marcus Whitman, 8.
  120. "It would require a book as large as Gray's to correct Gray's mistakes." Bancroft's History of the Northwest Coast, II, 536. "It has, however, three faults—lack of arrangement, acrimonious partisanship, and disregard for truth." Bancroft, History of Oregon, I, 302. "His book, in my best judgment, is a bitter, prejudiced, sectarian, controversial work in the form of a history." Peter H. Burnett, Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer, N. Y., 1880, 222. These last two judgments I regard as absolutely just.
    It will not escape notice that Gray, like Spalding, suppressed all reference to the missionary troubles in 1842 and to the action of the Board.
  121. Dr. Laurie in The Missionary Herald, Feb. 1885, 56–57.
  122. Myron Eells, Marcus Whitman, 12–13.
  123. To judge from Spalding's faux pas, it would be safer on the whole to base Whitman's action on a prospective immigration. It is hardly necessary to say that there was no such Hudson's Bay Company immigration in 1843.
  124. Myron Eells, Marcus Whitman, M. D., 18. Perrin B. Whitman, at the instance of Gray, addressed a letter "To the Public," Oct. 11, 1880, in which he said "Dr. Whitman's trip East, in the winter of 1842–43, was for the double purpose of bringing an immigration across the plains, and also to prevent, if possible, the trading off of this Northwest Coast to the British Government." Ibid., 13.
  125. Ibid., 3. Perrin B. Whitman adopted a phase of this explanation in preference to his earlier one in the account of Marcus Whitman which he sent Mr. C. H. Farnam. There he wrote: "Dr. Marcus Whitman having informed himself of a pending treaty between the United States Government and Great Britain which would deprive our government of this glorious west, decided to proceed to
  126. Letter of Ex-Secretary of War J. C. Spencer to Dr. White, under date of July 29, 1846. "You was," writes Spencer, "to raise as large a company of our citizens as possible, to proceed with you, and settle in Oregon." Ten Years in Oregon. Travels and Adventures of Dr. E. White and Lady]], etc. Ithaca, 1850, 322–325. This will be cited henceforth as White's Ten Years in Oregon.
  127. White's Ten Years in Oregon, 166.
  128. Ibid., 168. The meeting was held Sept. 23, not June 23 as printed.
  129. Ibid., 169.
  130. It is perhaps superfluous to remark that no contemporary evidence has ever been found that the rumor attributed to Lovejoy was ever current in 1842. His two letters about Whitman's ride give no clue. The account of the immigration of 1842 in White's Ten Years in Oregon, and in Medorem Crawford's Journal reveal no anxiety that the United States would give up any part of Oregon, nor do such representative newspapers as Niles's Register or the N. Y. Tribune, in discussing Lord Ashburton's mission, intimate that the Oregon boundary was likely to be taken up. See the issues of Jan. 29, 1842. Lord Ashburton arrived April 3, and the next notice in Niles's Register is Aug. 6. The Oregon immigration of 1842 left Independence, Mo., May 16.
  131. See infra, pp. 90 and 106–109.
  132. Eells, Marcus Whitman, 9–10.
  133. Cf. Craighead, Story of Marcus Whitman, 68.
  134. This will be evident to any one who is sufficiently interested in the question to read some of the criticisms on my article in the American Historical Review, Jan. 1901, in particular those by Prof. Parker, Dr. Mowry, and President Penrose (see p. 54). Inasmuch as it is not practicable to demonstrate the validity of a critical process every time it is employed, a general reference may be given to the discussion in Langlois and Seignobos, Introduction to the Study of History, pp. 62–86, and especially to the valuable paper of the late Edward L. Pierce on Recollections as a Source of History, in his Addresses and Papers, 375–397.
  135. The statement in Mr. Walker's diary, under date of September 28, 1842, is: "At breakfast the Dr. let out what was his plan in view of the state of things. We persuaded them to get together and talk matters over. I think they felt some better afterwards. Then the question was submitted to us of the Dr.'s going home which we felt that it was one of too much importance to be decided in a moment, but finally came to the conclusion if he could put things at that station in such a state we could consent to his going, and with that left them and made a start for home."
  136. It will be noticed that according to Spalding's narrative the occasion or suggestion of the journey did not arise until the meeting was in session (p. 10).
  137. 137.0 137.1 See supra, pp. 12–14 and pp. 23–24.
  138. See infra, p. 101. Spalding's second statement.
  139. See letter of Sept. 30, 1842, quoted above, p. 59, in which Mrs. Whitman says that Mr. Lovejoy "expects to accompany him (her husband) all the way to Boston, … and perhaps to Washington."
  140. Dr. White wrote the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, April 1, 1843, that the country of the Cayuse Indians "is well-watered, gently undulating, extremely healthy, and admirably adapted to grazing, as Dr. Whitman may have informed you, who resides in their midst." White's Ten Years in Oregon, 174; also in Gray, 219.
  141. See p. 67. Whatever else they talked about, we may be sure that Whitman impressed upon Dr. White, who, as a former missionary, would sympathize with him, the imperative need of more help, now that immigration had begun, for Dr. White wrote the Indian Commissioner in the letter just quoted, "that the missionaries … are too few in number at their respective stations, and in too defenseless a state for their own safety. … You will see its bearings upon this infant colony, and doubtless give such information or instructions to the American board of commissioners or myself as will cause a correction of this evil." Ibid., 193.
  142. Lovejoy was a lawyer.
  143. Nixon, How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, 306. Lovejoy's letter occupies pp. 305–312. Lovejoy's letter to Gray of Nov. 6, 1869, is similar in tenor as a whole, but does not mention all the facts quoted above. Gray, 324–327. Cf. the report of conversations with Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy in Note F, pp. 106–109.
  144. Gray's Oregon, 326. I use the earlier letter this time, the only essential difference between the two being a parenthetical statement that Congress was in session when Whitman arrived, which is a mistake and may be an explanatory afterthought. See Note F for later expressions from Lovejoy.
  145. See Letter and Bill in Trans. of the Oregon Pioneer Assoc.1891, 69 ff., and in Nixon, How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, 315 ff. In 1847 Whitman again urged the plan with some farther developments. Ibid., 332–39.
  146. In his report transmitted with the President's Message in Dec. 1841, Secretary Spencer declared it indispensable that a chain of posts should be established extending from Council Bluffs to the mouth of the Columbia, so as to … maintain a communication with the territories belonging to us on the Pacific." Exec. Docs., 27th Cong., 2nd Sess., I, 61. This was repeated in Dec. 1842 with more urgency. Exec. Docs., 27th Cong., 3rd Sess., I, 186. Pres. Tyler gave the proposal a favorable mention in his Message. Ibid., 9.
  147. Yet Dr. Craighead had the hardihood to write of Whitman in Washington: "His information was needed and was welcomed, and his plan to save Oregon was adopted." Story of Marcus Whitman, 188.
  148. House Report, No. 101, 25th Cong., 3d Sess.
  149. The bill and the debates are conveniently summarized by Greenhow, Oregon, 377–388.
  150. In his Report, transmitted to Congress in Dec. 1842, the Secretary of War urged his proposed military stations "if we intend to maintain our right to the territories on the Pacific belonging to us, which, it is supposed, does not admit of question." Exec. Docs., 27th Cong., 3d Sess., I, 186. Cf. Dr. White's Commission, 67, supra. Du Flot de Mofras commented as follows on the public documents relating to Oregon published before 1843: "Les documents officiels que nous avons cités prouvent assez l'importance que le cabinet de Washington attache à la possession de ces vastes contrées." Explorations du Territoire de l'Orégon, etc., pendant les Années 1840, 1841, et 1842, Paris, 1844, II, 242.
    How the situation impressed another foreign writer will appear from this contemporary remark: "Quoiqu'il arrive, les Etats-Unis ne laisseront pas les Anglais s'établir impunément sur le territoire de l'Orégon." Les Territoires de l'Orégon, par P. Grimblot, Revue des Deux Mondes, Mai 15, 1843, 538.
  151. Lord Palmerston said in the House of Commons, March 21, "if that bill [i. e., the Linn Bill] passed into a law, an event which he conceived to be impossible, it would amount to a declaration of war." London Times, March 22, 1843, p. 3, col. 4.
  152. "There were militant resolutions of the Legislatures of Illinois and of Missouri, relating to the Territory of Oregon!" J. Q. Adams's memorandum of a meeting of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Feb. 25, 1843. Diary, XI, 327. Feb. 9, Representative Reynolds, chairman of a select committee on Oregon, reported a bill for the immediate occupation of the territory. His report asserted the right to all the territory up to 54° 40′ and the expediency of immediate occupation. Reports of Committees, 27th Cong., 3rd Sess., Vol. II, Rep. No. 157. The report is summarized in Niles's Register, XLIII, 397; see also Adams's Diary, XI, 314.
  153. Greenhow's preface is dated February, 1844. He devotes twenty-five pages to the Oregon Question in 1843 and half a page to the Emigration of that year, p. 391. It is possible that the following note on p. 396 may refer to Whitman. "A worthy missionary, now established on the Columbia, while acknowledging, in conversation with the author, the many acts of kindness received by him from the Hudson's Bay Company's agents, at the same time declared—that he would not buy a skin to make a cap, without their consent."
  154. L. G. Tyler's Letters and Times of the Tylers, II, 439. In the appendix pp. 692–699 is a letter from Dr. Silas Reed under date of April 8, 1885, which twice makes mention of Whitman's visit to Washington, but says nothing further than that he "furnished valuable data about Oregon and the practicability of a wagon route thereto across the mountains," p. 697.
    That Whitman did press this point about the practicability of a wagon route is rendered probable by the tone of a sentence in his letter to the Secretary of War in regard to the immigration of 1843: "they have practically demonstrated that wagons drawn by horses or oxen can cross the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River, contrary to all the sinister assertions of all those who pretended it to be impossible." (Nixon, 316–17). Yet too much stress cannot be laid on Dr. Reed's testimony, as he was an old man in 1885 and made several mistakes in his letter, of which a significant one is the apparent confusion between Dr. White and Dr. Whitman. On p. 696, he says, writing of the spring of 1842: "From Dr. Whitman, a missionary to Oregon much useful information for emigrants and the Senators who had charge of the bill was also obtained at that time." This must refer to Dr. White who was in Washington at this time and who had been a missionary to Oregon. Whitman did not arrive till after the bill passed the Senate. On p. 697, however, Dr. Reed makes Whitman's information in 1843 contribute to the passage of the bill. On other points in this letter cf. Mr. Tyler's remarks, p. 699. In recent years John Tyler, Jr., President Tyler's private secretary, has said that he remembered Whitman's visit to Washington, that he was "full of his project to carry emigrants to Oregon, that he waited on the President and received from him the heartiest concurrence in his plans." Mowry's Marcus Whitman, 172-73. The latter part of the letter of L. G. Tyler to Dr. Mowry refers to President Tyler, not to Whitman. It is probable that after forty years John Tyler, Jr.'s, recollection of Whitman was more or less affected by Barrows' narrative, enough at least to change Whitman's plan to facilitate and protect emigration into a plan to "carry emigrants." It is also nearly certain that in this lapse of years the dim figures of Dr. White and Dr. Whitman had coalesced in the memory of John Tyler, Jr. Cf. pp. 96–7.
    In the Atlantic Monthly for Oct., 1880, in an art. entitled "Reminiscences of Washington" there is what appears to be an independent recollection of Whitman's visit to Washington, but it bears the familiar marks of Spalding's invention. It was written by Ben. Perley Poore. All that needs to be said is that Poore spent the years 1841–1848 in Europe and the Orient!
  155. Nothing has ever been found that has been made public except the two letters and the synopsis of the bill in the War Department records, printed in Nixon, 315–39. Mrs. Victor, writing in the San Francisco Call, July 28, 1895, declares that when Spalding came east in 1870 with the materials which make up Executive Document 37, he "presented the Whitman story, as published in this document, to the editor of the New York Evangelist, Dr. J. G. Craighead, with the request that he should do all that he could to maintain Dr. Whitman's claim to be considered the saviour of Oregon. This the gentleman promised, and afterward went to Washington, where he spent two months in looking for evidence that this claim had any foundation. Failing in this, he wrote to Hon. Elwood Evans of Olympia, now of Tacoma, telling him that there was nothing discovered to corroborate the statement of Gray and Spalding, and asking him for light. A copy of this letter is among the papers in my possession." Again in 1883, Dr. Craighead wrote Myron Eells: "What you say about negotiations between influential persons is laughed at by the State Department as not possible and absurd on the very face of it. Mr. Hunter, then in the State Department and for nearly a generation chief clerk, takes no stock whatever in the big claim for Dr. Whitman." Eells' Marcus Whitman, 22.
  156. See Spalding's narrative, supra, p. 14, and his other statement that Whitman "reached the City of Washington not an hour too soon, confronting the British agents Ashburton, Fox, and Simpson, who, there is evidence to show, in a short time would have consummated their plans, and secured a part, if not all, of our territory west of the mountains to Great Britain."
  157. See the whole passage, infra, p. 101. Lord Ashburton left the United States early in Dec, 1842.
  158. For the recurrence of this note, see Spalding, Exec. Doc. 37, 22, 75; Eells in Miss. Herald, 1866, 371; Atkinson, ibid., 1869, 79; Gray, Oregon, 316; Gray's deposition, p. 32 above; Poore in Atlantic Monthly, Oct. 1880, 534; Eells, History of Indian Missions, 174; Nixon, How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, 128–9. Barrows in his Oregon, 224–238, shows that the interviews are unhistorical by a process which completely undermines the rest of his narrative. Leaving the question of candor or honesty aside, what can be said of the trustworthiness of a writer who says, p. 233, that there is no evidence that Sir George Simpson was in Washington in 1842–43 and yet incorporates the myth in his narrative on pp. 153, 158, 202, 203, 204, going so far on p. 203 as to reconstruct a conversation with Webster out of Sir George's Overland Journey Round the World? Barrows puts into Webster's mouth a remark about Whitman which was made by an anonymous friend of Webster's to an anonymous writer! Cf. Barrows, 225, with Exec. Doc. 37, 24, or Nixon, p. 133. Spalding does the same thing in his headline. The article is cited by Spalding from the Independent, Jan., 1870, but it is not there and has not been found, although a careful search has been made for it.
  159. "The only question of magnitude about which I did not negotiate with Lord Ashburton is the question respecting the fisheries." Webster to Mrs. Paige, Aug. 23, 1842, Private Corresp., II, 146. That the fisheries were not to be considered in 1843 is shown by Webster's letter to Minister Everett, Nov. 28, 1842, ibid., 153–54.
  160. See Pres. Tyler's special message, Dec. 23, in reply to the Senate Resolution of Dec. 22, 1842. Statesman's Year Book, II, 1315, or Niles's Register, LXIII, 286.
  161. Adams's Diary, XI, 344-347. The real Oregon policy of the administration was something very different from Spalding's invention. It was to yield to England the territory north of the Columbia, excepting perhaps an approach to Puget Sound, if England would acquiesce in or promote our acquisition of California from San Francisco harbor northward and the annexation of Texas to the United States. English influence was strong in Mexico and it was believed that if England urged these concessions on Mexico she would grant them for a reasonable consideration. See Adams's Diary, XI, 340, 347, 351, and 355; Tyler's Tyler, II, 692 and 698. Webster's Private Corres., II, 154. That Webster revealed this project to Adams March 25 and about the same time or even later approached General Almonte, the Mexican minister, on the subject shows that Whitman's interviews, if he had them, had not had the slightest effect. See Adams's Diary, XI, 347 and 355, entries of March 25 and April 7. The legendary date of Whitman's arrival in Washington was March 2 or 3. He arrived later than that, but probably not so late as the 25th.
  162. No evidence of Sir George Simpson's presence in Washington in 1843 outside of the Spalding narrative and its derivatives has ever been found. That the Oregon question had not been under discussion between England and the United States in the winter of 1843 is clear from Webster's letter to Minister Everett, March 20, 1843, in which he says: "I have recommended to the President already to propose to the British government to open a negotiation here upon the Oregon subject." Private Corres., II, 171. Webster resigned May 8th and the attorney-general Legare took charge of the department ad interim. May 16, 1843, President Tyler wrote him: "We should also lose no time in opening a negotiation relative [to] the Oregon," Letters and Times of the Tylers, III, 111, In the legend, however, Tyler promises Whitman in March to stay all proceedings until he heard from Whitman's emigration. See Spalding's narrative, above, p. 14; Gray, Oregon, 316; C. Eells, above, p. 24; Perrin B. Whitman, in C. H. Famam's Descendants of John Whitman, 240.
  163. Sir George Simpson was in Washington in Oct., 1853, to promote the settlement of the Hudson's Bay Company's claims against the United States arising from their property and possessory rights. Hudson's Bay and Puget's Sound Agricultural Companies, Evidence of Hudson's Bay Co., I, 447. It will be remembered that it was the final arrangement to settle these claims that was one of the occasions that gave rise to the original publication of the Whitman story, see p. 26.
  164. See Treaties and Conventions of the United States; Rhodes' Hist, of the United States, II, 8.
  165. Possibly Gray's error, in his article in the Astoria Marine Gazette of August 6, 1866, and in his deposition, of asserting that Whitman had interviews with Webster and Fillmore may add plausibility to this explanation. If Gray's memory moved Fillmore's presidency back ten years it is not strange that Spalding's memory should not save him from moving back Sir George Simpson's visit and the fisheries negotiation ten or eleven years.
  166. Travels in the Great Western Prairies, the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains and in the Oregon Territory, by T. J. Farnham, New York, 1843. Besides Farnham's Travels there were Samuel Parker's Journal of an Exploring Tour beyond the Rocky Mountains, of which 15,000 copies were sold in a few years after its publication in 1838. Wyeth's Memoir, included in Cushing's Report, in 1839, of which 10,000 extra copies were printed, and J. K. Townsend's Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains, 1839. On the general question of the amount of public information on Oregon, see Bancroft's Oregon, 1, 349–383, and Greenhow, Oregon, 356–389.
  167. This interesting description of Whitman's appearance and travels is too long to quote in full. He impressed Greeley as a "noble pioneer, … a man fitted to be a chief in rearing a moral Empire among the wild men of the wilderness. … He brings information that the settlers in the Willamette are doing well, that the Americans are building a town at the falls of the Willamette." Then follows an item in regard to members of Farnham's party and Whitman's itinerary. "We give the hardy and self-denying pioneer a hearty welcome to his native land." N. Y. Weekly Tribune, Mar. 30, 1843. This item was copied into the Cleveland Herald of April 6. In the same issue appeared three columns of extracts from the N. Y. Tribune's cheap edition of Farnham's Travels. Any one can draw correct conclusions as to the relative strength of these two influences in arousing public interest.
  168. Weekly Tribune, May 25, 1843.
  169. If Whitman did not arrive at Westport till Feb. 15, it is clear that he could not have reached Washington, March 2 or 3, as is alleged in the legendary account. The date in Spalding's original article was "last of March" (see above, p. 12), but later he changed the date to March 3 to get Whitman to Washington before the adjournment of Congress. In the spring of 1843 it would have been almost if not quite impossible to go from Westport, about three hundred miles west of St. Louis, to Washington in fifteen days. In that year the Missouri river was frozen up from February until the end of April. (R. W. Miller's Hist. of Kansas City, 35.) Whitman, however, according to the recollections of Samuel Parker's sons, went to Ithaca, N. Y., before going to Washington. (Eells' Marcus Whitman, 15.) Mowry goes so far as to reject the date of Whitman's arrival in Westport as given by Whitman a few weeks later, in favor of an earlier date. This he obtains by accepting without question Lovejoy's recollection, after twenty-five years, of the date on which Whitman left Bent's Fort. He then asserts arbitrarily, forgetting that it was midwinter, that it could not have taken Whitman so long to reach Westport. See his Marcus Whitman, 169.
  170. The omitted passage reports the condition of the Indians and the friendliness of the traders at Fort Walla Walla.
  171. Submitted to the Prudential Committee April 4, 1843, Doct. Marcus Whitman, Abenakis and Oregon Indians, Letter-book, 248. Whitman wrote his brother-in-law from Shawnee Mission, May 28, 1843: "My plan, you know, was to get funds for founding schools and have good people come along as settlers and teachers." Trans. Oregon Pioneer Association, 1891, 178.
  172. Gray's Oregon, 326; Nixon, 311. This is confirmed by the recollections of Dr. Geiger, and Perrin B. Whitman, Eells' Marcus Whitman, 4 and 13.
  173. Records of the Prudential Committee. Cf. Report of the A. B. C. F. M. for 1843, 169-173; Missionary Herald, Sept. 1843, 356.
  174. He seems to have made it public in a measure before leaving Oregon. At any rate Hines refers to "the 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" as having alarmed the Indians. It was also rumored that the Nez-Percés had despatched one of their chiefs to incite the Indians of the buffalo country to cut off Whitman's party on his return. Hines's Oregon, Auburn and Buffalo, 1851, 143. Hines's narrative is based on his diary at the time.
  175. He wrote his wife's parents from Waiilatpu, May 16, 1844: "I did not misjudge as to my duty to return home; the importance of my accompanying the emigration on the one hand, and the consequent scarcity of provisions on the other, strongly called for my return, and forbid my bringing another party that year." Trans. of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 1893, 64.
  176. Cf. Bancroft, Oregon, I, 390 ff. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that Whitman never pretended that he organized the emigration. In his letter to the Secretary of War, received June 22, 1844, he wrote: "The Government will now doubtless for the first time be apprised through you, or by means of this communication, of the immense immigration of families to Oregon which has taken place this year. I have, since our interview, been instrumental in piloting … no less than three hundred families," etc. Nixon, 316. He would not have expressed himself in this way if his achievement had been the fulfilment of his pledge to Tyler to organize and conduct such a company.
  177. Two weeks later, May 27, he wrote from Shawnee Mission School: "I hope to start to-morrow. I shall have an easy journey as I have not much to do, having no one depending on me." Trans. Oregon Pioneer Association, 1891, 177.
  178. Cf. Parrish's statement in Bancroft, I, 177.
  179. Cf. his letter, just cited, of May 16, 1844: "As I hold the settlement of this country by Americans rather than by an English colony most important, I am happy to have been the means of landing so large an emigration on to the shores of the Columbia, with their wagons, families, and stock, all in safety." Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association, 1893, 64.
  180. As, for example, by his letter to the Secretary of War.
  181. In Hastings' Emigrant Guide to Oregon and California, etc., Cincinnati, 1845, emigrants are cautioned not to leave Independence later than May 1. 147.
  182. All these letters are in the Letter-book, Oregon Indians. I may hereby express my appreciation of the courtesy with which the officials of the Board gave me access to their records.
  183. Applegate's article was originally published in the Overland Monthly, August, 1868, 1, 127-133. It is reprinted in Nixon's How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon, 146-163, and in the Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society for December, 1900. Applegate says: "Whitman's great experience and indomitable energy were of priceless value to the emigrating column.... To no other individual are the emigrants of 1843 so much indebted for the successful conclusion of their journey as to Marcus Whitman," 131-132. Cf. Burnett's Recollections and Opinions of an Old Pioneer, N. Y., 1880, "Dr. Whitman who had performed much hard labor for us and was deserving of our warmest gratitude." 126.
  184. The emigration of 1843 attracted much attention in the newspapers, but Whitman's name is nowhere mentioned as a leader with those of the Applegates, Burnett, and the others. See Burnett's Recollections, 97-98. After Burnett decided to go, he "set to work to organize a wagon company. I visited the surrounding counties wherever I could find a sufficient audience and succeeded even beyond my own expectations." Cf. this extract from a letter from Iowa Territory dated March 4, 1843: "Just now Oregon is the pioneer's land of promise. Hundreds are already prepared to start thither with the spring, while hundreds of others are anxiously awaiting the action of Congress in reference to that country, as the signal of their departure. Some have already been to view the country and have returned with a flattering tale of the inducements it holds out. They have painted it to their neighbors in the highest colors. These have told it to others. The Oregon fever has broken out and is now raging like any other contagion." N. Y. Weekly Tribune, April 1, 1843. As this letter is dated March 4, and Whitman arrived at the present site of Kansas City, Feb. 15, and went straight to St. Louis, it is obvious he had no connection with this excitement. Several of the writers realizing this have attributed to Lovejoy the work of getting up the emigration; but he was at Bent's fort in Colorado while Whitman was in the East. After his arrival in Oregon, Burnett wrote an account of the journey which was published in the N. Y. Herald, and later in Geo. Wilkes' History of Oregon, N. Y., 1845, Part II, 63 ff. (cf. Burnett's Recollections, 177). In this narrative the only reference to Whitman in connection with the organization of the expedition is the following: "A meeting was held in the latter part of the day [May 18], which resulted in appointing a committee to return to Independence and make inquiries of Dr. Whitman, missionary, who had an establishment on the Walla Walla, respecting the practicability of the road." I am indebted to Mr. W. I. Marshall for this reference to Burnett's contemporary account.
  185. The proofs of this are numerous. Dr. Whitman himself in his letter to the Secretary of War, received June 24, 1844, says of the emigration: "The majority of them are farmers, lured by the prospect of bounty in lands, by the reported fertility of the soil," etc. Nixon, 316. "But if the Oregon bill passes, a party under Lieutenant Fremont, or some one else, will go through the Rocky Mountains to Oregon; and parties of emigrants or explorers will go also." Letter of Asa Gray to George Englemann, Feb. 13, 1843. Letters of Asa Gray, I, 297.
  186. Letter-book, Oregon Indians.
  187. "A great many cattle are going, but no sheep, from a mistake of what I said in passing." Whitman's letter to his brother-in-law, May 28, 1843. Trans. Oregon Pioneer Assoc., 1891, 178.
  188. Cf. statement of Elwood Evans, p. 104 below.
  189. Exec. Doc. 37, 26.
  190. Exec. Doc. 37, 75, 76.
  191. Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Assoc., 1891, 52. The cart, the wagon was changed to a cart two days before they arrived at Fort Hall (ibid., 47), was still at Fort Boisé in 1839. See Farnham's Travels, 77.
  192. It will be remembered that the settled part of Texas, then a foreign State, was hundreds of miles from Independence.
  193. This date is given by Burnett, Recollections, 99. Burnett kept a diary of the journey.
  194. Cf. White's Ten Years in Oregon, 142–143.
  195. Marcus Whitman, M.D., 27–31.
  196. His letter to the Boston Transcript, Jan. 21, 1901.
  197. New York Tribune, May 25, 1848. From Pittsburg Chronicle, by telegraph from Louisville, May 21: "By the arrival of Major Meek, late and exciting news has been received from Oregon." Then follows a brief account of the massacre. "Dr. White and his wife and eighteen others were killed." Meek's winter journey across the mountains to bring the news and get help was as remarkable a performance as Whitman's, although it has been eclipsed by the legend.
  198. These letters were printed in the Oregon Native Son, February, 1900, 471–472. In 1846, in urging courage and resolution upon a weaker brother, Whitman goes so far in claiming to have saved Oregon by his own energies that we get a glimpse perhaps of one of the germs of the legend. "I was in Boston when the famous time came for the end of the world, but I did not conclude that as the time was so short I would not concern myself to return to my family. … I had adopted Oregon for my field of labour, so that I must superintend the immigration of that year, which was to lay the foundation for the speedy settlement of the country if prosperously conducted and safely carried through; but if it failed and became disastrous, the reflex influence would be to discourage for a long time any further attempt to settle the country across the mountains, which would be to see it abandoned altogether. Now, mark the difference between the sentiments of you and me. Since that time you have allowed yourself to be laid aside from the ministry for an opinion only. … Within that time I have returned to my field of labour, and in my return brought a large immigration of about one thousand individuals safely through the long and the last part of it an untried route to the western shores of the continent. Now that they were once safely conducted through, three successive immigrations have followed after them, and two routes for wagons are now open to the Willamette valley. Mark, had I been of your mind I should have slept, and now the Jesuit Papists would have been in quiet possession of this the only spot in the western horizon of America not their own. They were fast fixing themselves here, and had we missionaries had no American population to come in to hold on and give stability, it would have been but a small work for them and the friends of English interests, which they had also fully avowed, to have routed us, and then the country might have slept in their hands forever," Letter to Rev. L. P. Judson, Transactions Oregon Pioneer Assoc., 1893, 200–201.
  199. Bancroft, I, 543–572.
  200. Mrs. Whitman wrote her parents, Sept. 30, 1842: "He wishes to cross the mountains during this month, I mean October, and to reach St. Louis about the first of Dec." Trans. Oregon Pioneer Assoc., 168.
  201. The Oregonian, Portland, Dec. 25, 1884. Cited from Mowry's Marcus Whitman, p. 112.
  202. Marcus Whitman, 37–44. In Lee and Frost's Ten Years in Oregon, New York, 1844, 110–111, the original account in the Christian Advocate is called "high wrought" and "incorrect statements."
  203. Catlin's Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians, New York, 1841, II, 109.
  204. Barrows, 110–111. Also in Mowry, 46.
  205. Exec. Doc. 37, 8.
  1. Spalding's (Wikisource contributor note)