Oregon Historical Quarterly/Volume 13/John Fiske's Change of Attitude on the Whitman Legend
JOHN FISKE'S CHANGE OF ATTITUDE ON THE WHITMAN LEGEND
By Leslie M. Scott
, the eminent historian, once accepted as authentic the story that Whitman "saved" Oregon. But later scrutiny changed his view and before his death in 1901 he repudiated the story completely.
This matter is brought up at this time by re-publication, by the Oregon Pioneer Association, of Mr. Fiske's address, delivered by him at Astoria, May 11, 1892; also by recent publication of the Marshall work (Acquisition of Oregon) which dissects and destroys the "Whitman myth." Mr. Marshall was directly instrumental in changing the view of Mr. Fiske. Letters exchanged by them after 1892, discussing the subject, are in possession of Mr. C. B. Bagley of Seattle, publisher of the Marshall book, and have been read by the present writer.
Mr. Fiske accepted the Whitman-saved-Oregon story in his address at Astoria; but the address as published in 1909 (Unpublished Orations; Boston Bibliophile Society) is wholly revised and rewritten in the part relating to Whitman; the original remarks are expunged and the substitute are expanded. The version as finally authorized by the historian eliminates the legend, dismisses as a "fiction of the imagination" the tale that Whitman "saved" Oregon by leading the migration of 1843. The revision is published by the Oregon Pioneer Association.
This change of view in the historical eye of Mr. Fiske has important bearing on accepted facts and future researches into old Oregon annals. Mr. Fiske's Astoria address gave immense weight to the "legend." Lighter authorities found themselves somewhat flattened by the steam roller from Cambridge. But Mr. Fiske heard protests; looked further; reversed his earlier conclusions. Then unwilling to bequeath the error to posterity, he expunged it and rewrote his Astoria "speech." He calls Whitman faithful missionary and "martyr;" speaks of him sympathetically as a daring pioneer, pursuing the westward movement of his time, but withholds from him the title that the disputed story has conferred during half a century that of "empire saver."
"We do well on this commemorative occasion," says the revised version, "to honor the faithful missionary who endured severe privations, braved great dangers, and fell a martyr to the missionary work to which he had devoted his life. But we should do him great injustice to ascribe to him projects of empire for which neither his words nor his acts give any warrant, which necessitate the appropriation to him of the labors of others and require an entire misreading of our diplomatic history in regard to the history of Oregon."
For the sake of true history it is fortunate that we have the corrected conclusions of Mr. Fiske, so clearly and strongly stated as they appear in the posthumous publication.
In the original address the latter part, about 1300 words, is devoted to Whitman. In the revision this part is enlarged to 4000 words and completely altered.
The revision is changed from the original but little in other respects only in literary refinements of a word or a sentence now and then. The original was published in the Morning Oregonian of May 12, 1892, inserted in that paper by the late editor, H. W. Scott, who received it from Mr. George H. Himes, Secretary of the Oregon Pioneer Association, who obtained it from Mr. Fiske. The original compared with the revision bears evidences of hasty composition, and the part relating to Whitman shows immature investigation. Mr. Fiske accepted Barrows, Gray, and others before looking into the subject for himself.
Mr. Fiske at Astoria repeated the "wagon-on-the-Columbia" story; said Hudson's Bay men discouraged immigration and barred wagon progress; told the tale of Whitman spurred by the Red River immigration in 1842 to make his "ride" to "save" Oregon in the Webster-Ashburton negotiations. Portrayed the nation as awakened by Whitman to the value of Oregon and the immigration of 1843 as actuated by him. These several myths have been disbelieved and disproved during many years by real admirers of Whitman who have regretted the false aspects that they gave the life and character of the heroic pioneer and missionary. The completest disproof is that of Professor William I. Marshall, recently published in two volumes by Lowman & Hanford Co. of Seattle.
Mr. Marshall was a very persistent prober after facts of Oregon history and equally persistent in combating authors of the "legend." In 1895 he wrote Mr. Fiske a letter of eight pages, closely typewritten, exposing details of the "legend." This Mr. Fiske acknowledged with thanks and asked for more. Mr. Marshall later supplied Mr. Fiske with further information. It seems evident that Mr. Marshall gave Mr. Fiske much of the evidence on which he based the, revision of his Astoria address.
The present writer, believing himself a faithful admirer of Whitman's character and work in the acquisition of Oregon, offers the foregoing for the sake of Whitman's place in verified history. The writer feels that the time is here when this subject can be examined free from the controversy that has been urged during many years.
John Fiske's Original Version of Whitman's Missionary Enterprise Given in Oration at Astoria, May 11, 1892.
"In that same year, 1832, four Flathead Indians made a pilgrimage to St. Louis, we are told, in search of the white man's book of salvation. What manner of patent medicine their savage head may have fancied the sacred volume to contain, whether it would give them ample hunting grounds or ward off the dreaded tomahawk and still more dreaded incantations of the next hostile tribe, it would be hard to say; but the incident attracted the attention of the American Board of Missions and led to the sending of missionaries to the Indians of Oregon. Among these the coming of the Reverend Henry Spalding and Doctor Marcus Whitman, with their wives, may be said to mark the beginning of a new era in the taking possession of the country. It was in September, 1836, that they reached Fort Walla Walla, after their arduous journey.
One of the most picturesque scenes in the early history of New England is the migration of Thomas Hooker and his church in June, 1635, from Cambridge, to the bank of the Connecticut River, there they forthwith made the beginning of the town of Hartford. The picture of that earnest party in pursuit of a lofty purpose—a party of husbands and wives with their children, taking with them their cattle and their household goods, and led by their sturdy pastor, a great founder of American democracy—is a very pleasant one, Mrs. Hooker being in poor health, was carried all of the way on a litter. That was a pilgrimage of something more than one hundred miles, through a country not hard to traverse, under June skies. Much more striking and not less sweet is the picture of our little party of devoted missionaries two centuries later, making their toilsome way across this continent and threading the intricate mountain passage between the upper Missouri and the lower Columbia, Mrs. Spalding much of the time ill and sometimes so exhausted as to make her recovery seem doubtful. That journey stands out as typical of the bringing across these rugged Sierras, the home with all its sacred and tender associations; and it will long live in history as it deserves to. An incident especially marked it; the resolute Whitman brought his wagon all the way, up hill and down dale, in spite of rocks and bushes and whatever hindrances the forest could offer until the rattle of its wheels was heard upon the banks of the Columbia.
With the obstinacy with which he clung to this wagon the Doctor had a purpose. There was a belief that the mountains which encompassed Oregon were impassable for wheeled vehicles. Doctor Whitman had now satisfied himself that this was not the case. What he had done once with a single wagon he could do again if need be with a hundred. It was well that the experiment had been tried. From 1838 to 1842 missionary parties and emigrant families kept coming to Oregon and for the most part abandoned their wagons at Fort Hall, as they were told it was impossible to take them over the Blue Mountains. In every way the agents of the Hudson's Bay Company did their best to spread such reports and to discourage immigration. They lost no chance of asseverating that Oregon was not only inaccessible, but worthless when reached, at least so far as the needs of permanent settlers were concerned. The secret, however, was one that could not long be kept. It needed but a brief experience to teach the settlers that for agricultural purposes this country about the Columbia River was unsurpassed if not unequaled in America. As the truth grew upon men's minds more families came across the Blue Mountains, and presently the Hudson's Bay Company, thoroughly alarmed, made up its mind to abandon its old-time policy and try to beat the American settlers at their own game. Colonizers were to be brought from Canada in overwhelming numbers. It was in October, 1842, that Doctor Whitman heard of the approach of such a colony of 140 persons. In a moment he grasped the fact in all its relations. The Ashburton Treaty was in progress and there was a possibility that it might terminate the joint occupation of Oregon and surrender the American claim. No time was lost. At once the stout Doctor decided to ride to Washington and lay the case before Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, and take such further measures as would bring wagons over the mountains, not singly, but by the hundred. Our thoughts again revert to New England and to Paul Revere's famous midnight ride, a gallop of twenty miles over the highway to send an alarm and forestall the British in their designs upon Concord.
Marcus Whitman's ride was likewise to send an alarm. It was a ride to forestall Great Britain in grasping an imperial domain. It was a midwinter ride of four thousand miles through forest and desert and over frightful mountain passes, amid frequent peril of cold and famine and hostile savages. It will be cited hereafter, side by^ side with the prodigious foot journey of La Salle, among the grand and stirring events in American history.
Striking far south into the Santa Fe trail, the Doctor reached St. Louis and thence made his way to bur Federal Capital, where he arrived in March, 1843. The Ashburton Treaty had been completed in the preceding August, before he had started on this long journey and fortunately it had left the Oregon question for future adjustment. That delay gave the United States an immense advantage when next the question came up. Whitman's untiring zeal made it known that on the Columbia River was an empire worth saving. When he started westward in June, 1843, to return to his wife and friends, he led a train of two hundred emigrant wagons, not to be left behind at Fort Hall, but to keep on their way over the Blue Mountains. It was the vanguard of the era of occupation. Before three years had elapsed, there was an American population of nearly twelve thousand persons in Oregon, staunch men and women come to build up homes, the sturdy stuff of which a nation's greatness is made.
Here we may fitly end the story, for the title of the American people to the possession of the Oregon Territory, which was organized in the movement of the good ship Columbia, a century ago today, was practically consummated by the rush of immigrants half way between that time and the present, and when in the Treaty of 1846, the vast territory was amicably divided between Great Britain and the United States, we had little difficulty in keeping for ourselves the land upon which to erect the three goodly states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, besides the section that fills out the contour of Montana, and when we look at this country now, with its climate unsurpassed in all America, its scenery rivaling that of Switzerland or Italy, its noble forests, its fertile and smiling valleys, its boundless economical resources, and realize how all this has been made part of our common heritage, we are made to feel that the day we celebrate was indeed an auspicious day and worthy of an eminent place in our national calendar. All honor to the sagacious mariner who entered these waters a hundred years ago! All honor to the brave pioneers whose labors and sufferings crowned the good work. Through long ages to come theirs shall be a sweet and shining memory."
REVISION IN JOHN FISKE'S ORATION REFERRING TO THE WHITMAN MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE.
"In that same year (1832) four Flathead Indians made a pilgrimage to St. Louis, we are told,, in search of the white man's Book of Salvation. What manner of patent medicine their savage heads may have fancied the sacred volume to contain, whether it would give them ample hunting grounds or ward off the dreaded tomahawk and still more dreaded incantations of the next hostile tribe, it would be hard to say. But the incident attracted the attention of some religious enthusiasts, and the vague plea of the Indians for help was put into a simple yet touching appeal for teachers to make known to them the white man's Book of Salvation. This appeal made a great impression upon two of the religious organizations of the country, the Methodists and the Presbyterians. The Methodists were the first to take action, and under the lead of Jason Lee, a type of the religious missionary and states-building pioneer, a Methodist mission was established in the Willamette Valley in 1834. In 1835 the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the great missionary organization of the Congregationalists, Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed Churches—an organization which has exerted a powerful influence in the evangelization of the "waste places" of the earth became interested in the spiritual welfare of the Oregon Indians and despatched the Rev. Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman on an overland tour of exploration and observation to the Oregon territory.
"Before they reached the territory they fell in with some returning traders and explorers, whose stories of Oregon and the Indians satisfied Parker and Whitman of the great need of a mission there; and for its more speedy establishment it was decided that Parker should go forward and locate, the region of the mission, while Whitman should return to the East for helpers, and should endeavor to bring out some families, in order to make the home the nucleus for practical missionary work. Early in 1836 we therefore find Dr. Whitman back in the East, accompanied by two Indian boys, earnestly engaged in spreading information in regard to the missionary field in Oregon, setting forth the great need of helpers, urging people to engage in the work as one of the highest forms of Christian service, and making clear the ways and means of getting there.
"It is not my purpose, nor is this the occasion, to enter upon the discussion of the value of the services rendered to the building up of civil government in these imperial commonwealths by the devoted Methodist and American Board missionaries, who in advance of the great tide of immigration which rolled into the territory from 1842 to 1846, had settled and made their homes in the beautiful valleys of the Willamette and Walla Walla. They were indeed an heroic little band in this great widerness.
"Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings.
"In 1839 the number of persons connected with the Methodist mission was seventy-seven, and the, number connected with the other missions was sixteen, with twenty more on the way. In 1842 the latter had broadened its work to three stations Waiilatpu, Lapwai and Chemakane. Few as were the missionaries in numbers, the missions themselves were radiating points from which went forth steady streams of information to the people of the East in regard to the attractive climate, the wonderful fertility of the soil and the great beauty of physical aspect. Then, too, when the great tide of immigration set in, the missions became welcoming stations, sweet havens of rest to the hardy pioneers after their perilous journeys across the plains and over the mountains. If in their religious zeal the missionaries seemed to overlook the childish imperfections of the Indian's mind and tried to give him theological doctrines that were beyond his comprehension, the, while presenting him with a system of Christian ethics which they were openly violating by taking to themselves his choicest lands, let it pass. The day of scientific ethnology had not come, and the proper way to civilize aboriginal man was not yet comprehended. With all their shortcomings, we well may honor these devoted servants of Christ who, braving every privation and danger that they might spread the gospel of salvation as they understood it, to the Indians, brought hither the Christian home and the school, and became no inconsiderable factors in wresting this fair and bounteous region from the hands of a giant monopoly.
"It is in evidence that about 1839 the Catholics made their presence felt among the, Indians and the few Canadian settlers in the territory. The mystic rites of the Catholic service specially appealed to the Indian; and the priests, by the simplicity of their lives and by evidencing no disposition to take possession of the country for the benefit of white settlers, easily ingratiated themselves with the Indians, thereby arousing the hostility of the missionaries, and thus there was injected into the early settlement of the territory somewhat of the religious strife between Catholics and Protestants which for centuries has been the disgrace of Christendom. The incidents of this strife need not detain us further than to remark that the Indians for whose spiritual good both parties were ostensibly striving, were more or less demoralized by the un-Christian conduct of their teachers; and if in some instances they showed preference for the Catholics, it must be considered that the Catholics were not appropriating their lands.
"During this period neither the people nor the government of the United States were ignorant of, or idle in regard to, their interests in the Oregon territory. The report of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the diplomatic correspondence with England, the report of Commodore Wilkes, who visited the territory in 1840, on his return from Japan; the quite elaborate report of T. J. Farnham, who made extensive explorations in the, territory in 1840 in behalf of proposed immigration from Illinois, the discussions in Congress and the letters of the missionaries, all had made known the exceeding richness of the territory and had aroused a widespread interest in it; and it was only waiting for the government to establish its authority in the territory by some understanding or treaty with England, for a great tide of immigration to get in motion for the region on the, Columbia River.
"It has been often stated, and by persons who should have known the facts in the case, that in 1842, when the Webster-Ashburton treaty took place between England and the United States with reference to our northeastern boundary, the northwestern boundary to the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast was deliberately put aside as of little consequence, and that our government then was so indifferent to the whole question that it stood ready to trade away our rights to the better portions of the Oregon Territory for some fishery considerations on the Atlantic Coast. Let us look at the facts.
"It is a matter of common knowledge that between nations possessing extensive unexplored regions of coterminous territory and enjoying much commercial intercourse, there frequently arise international issues of varying degrees of importance, which through prolonged negotiation get diplomatically grouped as a distinct and interrelated body of issues. The first treaty between England and the United States, in 1783, which had to be very general along main lines, left a number of questions of minor importance to be settled by the "logic of events" in the future intercourse between the two peoples who were henceforth to be independent of one another. Among the unsettled or undefined questions were: A definite boundary line between the Northern States and Canada; the rights of sovereignty on land and sea as between the two nations; the rendition of fugitives from justice; fishery rights along the Atlantic Coast; the right of search on board each other's ships, etc. These were prolific sources for disputes, and for over fifty years—in fact, from the very beginning of our government—some of the disagreements had existed, until the diplomatic intercourse between the two nations had become so completely befogged with the various projects and counter projects for their adjustment, that at the beginning of the administrations of Presidents Harrison and Tyler, in 1841, our foreign relations were in a very critical condition. Daniel Webster was Secretary of State. Wise, practical statesman that he was, he saw that the only way to a peaceful adjustment was by the balancing of equivalents; that is, by giving and taking on both sides. To this end he reduced the related issues to the fewest number, and these to their vital points. He found the Oregon boundary among questions at issue. He saw that this was an issue wholly unrelated to the other and more pressing ones, that it could afford to wait until its consideration could be taken up entirely independent of other issues and settled on its own merits; that its introduction alongside the older and more pressing ones would inevitably lead to some unfavorable compromise on the Oregon issue, itself, or compel an unfavorable compromise on the other issues in its behalf. He therefore rejected it entirely from consideration, and subsequent events fully justified his action in doing so. He was completely successful in adjusting the other issues in the memorable treaty of 1842; and four years later, when the Oregon Treaty came before the Senate, amicably proposing the forty-ninth parallel as the boundary line of the two governments in the territory, Mr. Webster was there as Senator from Massachusetts to give the treaty his hearty support. The history of the diplomatic negotiations between England and the United States over the Oregon boundary question shows that our government from the beginning maintained that the forty-ninth parallel was the proper boundary line, and that the keynote of Mr. Webster's policy was this line and nothing else. The people of the region of the Columbia, therefore, owe a special debt of gratitude to Mr. Webster for his wisdom in keeping the Oregon question distinct from the unrelated issues with which he had to deal in the perplexing negotiations of 1842.
"It would be pleasant on this occasion, if time permitted, to dwell upon some of the incidents and experiences of that great immigration into this territory which took place between 1841 and 1846, when the sovereign title to this fair domain passed peacefully and permanently into the hands of the United States.
"One of the most picturesque scenes in the early history of New England is the migration of Thomas Hooker and his church, in June, 1635, from Cambridge to the banks of the Connecticut River, where they forthwith made the beginnings of the town of Hartford. The picture of that earnest party in pursuit of a lofty purpose, a party of husbands and wives with their children, taking with them their cattle and their household goods and led by their sturdy pastor, the great founder of American democracy, is a very pleasant one. Mrs. Hooker being in poor health, was carried all the, way on a litter. That was a pilgrimage of something more than one hundred miles, through a country not hard to traverse, under June skies. This Massachusetts pilgrimage in behalf of civil and religious liberty has long been a theme on which historians and liberalminded people have loved to dwell. But how insignificant it appears in comparison with the great pilgrimage to Oregon, which took place in 1843, and which virtually determined the destiny of this great region for all time to come! The story of this pilgrimage is yet to be told. It comprised an organization of nearly a thousand persons gathered principally from the states bordering on the Mississippi. It was made up largely of families with their children, taking with them their household goods and large numbers of horses and cattle. The journey was one of over two thousand miles across arid plains, broad and rapid rivers and over almost impassable mountains. Viewed in its historic aspect this was not merely a movement of individuals intent upon bettering their material condition. It was all this and more. It was the carryine of social and political organization from the region of the Mississippi to the region of the Columbia, and laying the foundations for civil government in the three imperial commonwealths that were to be.
"This great movement has suffered in its historic importance by being presented, not as the legitimate outgrowth of the social and political activity of the time which was carrying the "Star of Empire" westward, but rather as the, result of the political labors of the American Board missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman that it was in fact but the culmination of his wise, far-seeing labors to save the territory from becoming exclusively a British possession through the machinations of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Catholics. So much has been written upon the "Saving of Oregon" by Dr. Whitman that a brief statement of his identification with the settlement of the, territory and the establishment of the sovereignty of the United States to it, is admissible here.
"We have seen that Dr. Whitman and Mr. Spalding, acting under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, established a mission to the Indians in the Walla Walla Valley in 1836. It is evident that early in 1842 the Board was seriously exercised over the future of their mission. The Board was apprised of some dissensions within the mission itself, and of serious dangers surrounding it, arising from the growing hostility of the Indians, which it was alleged was secretly abetted by the Catholic priests as well as by the roving trappers and adventurers in the territory. Then, too, the discussion of the Oregon question in Congress and by the press was bringing the settlement of the territory, the establishment of civil government and the treatment of the Indians therein, into the, political arena, where it was felt that the mission had no place. Accordingly, the officers wisely decided to curtail the mission, with the evident purpose of withdrawing it altogether. In the spring of 1842 instructions were sent to Dr. Whitman to give up two of his stations, to have Mr. Spalding return to the East, and to concentrate the remaining mission force at one station.
"Dr. Whitman received these instructions in the latter part of September, 1842. He was greatly exercised over them. He at once called a council of his co-workers and laid before them the instructions of the board. The majority were at first in favor of complying with the orders of the Board, but Dr. Whitman took decided ground against such action. The people in Boston did not understand the situation. Great efforts and sacrifices had been made to establish the missions, and it was never so much needed as now, with the Papists active among the Indians, trying to undo the work that had been done, and the tide of immigration that was to control the destiny of the territory just setting in. The force of the mission should be increased rather than diminished; it should have an additional preacher, with the addition of five to ten Christian laymen, the latter to look after the material or business interests of the, mission in dealing with the Indians and the immigrants. Dr. Whitman was a resolute, forceful man. He closed the discussion by announcing his purpose to start at once to Boston to present his views to the Board before any definite action was taken upon the instructions. His associates, seeing his determination, reluctantly acquiesced in his plan, which involved a perilous Winter journey over the mountains. This did not dishearten the resolute Doctor, and on the 3d of October, 1842, he set out on his journey. It was one of great privations and many hair-breadth escapes. He reached Boston the last of March, 1843. There is some, question as to the manner of his reception by the officers of the Board. It would appear that his disobedience of orders and his crossing the continent to challenge in person the wisdom of the Board was not regarded with entire favor. It is said that his reception was chilly and that the Board refused to pay the expenses of the trip. Be that as it may, he, succeeded in getting a suspension of the order recalling Mr. Spalding and curtailing the mission stations, and he was authorized to secure additional Christian laymen to assist in the practical work of the mission, providing this could be done "without expense to the Board or any connection with it." It does not appear that he succeeded in getting any addition to the missionary force.
"While in the East Dr. Whitman visited Washington. In view of the very great interest in Oregon, his evident purpose was to lay before the proper authorities his conclusions, derived from his experience, as to the practicability of a wagon route to the Columbia; and also to urge the desirability of the government establishing a mail route from the Missouri to the Columbia, with government posts or stations along the way, not only for protecting and aiding the immigrants, but also for the purpose of extending a measure of civil government over the vast region between these two rivers. In returning Dr. Whitman joined, in May, 1843, the great immigrant expedition to which I have, referred and which he found completely organized and on its way when he reached the Missouri River. That he freely rendered valuable assistance to this expedition as pilot and counsellor during its long and arduous journey is not questioned. Such service was entirely consistent with his robust Christian character. But the claim put forward, many years after his death, that this whole expedition was the direct outgrowth of his efforts to save Oregon, that he organized it and heroically led it, with all its impedimenta of horses, cattle and wagons, that he might demonstrate to a doubting government at Washington the entire feasibility of such an undertaking, is wholly a fiction of the imagination. This expedition was the outgrowth of the westward movement of the American people in the development of their social and political life, and it would have occurred just as it did had Dr. Whitman never been born.
"The trip of Dr. Whitman to the East was not without its direful effects upon Dr. Whitman himself. His return, accompanied by such an army of occupation to appropriate their lands, aroused to greater fury than ever the bitter fury of the Indians. He became a marked man for vengeance. His God could not be on the Indians' side. In spite of sullen discontent and warnings, he and his devoted wife struggled valiantly at their post for four long years, when they were brutally murdered by the very Indians they were endeavoring to uplift and to save, and the mission came to an end.
"We do well on this commemorative occasion to honor the faithful missionary who endured severe privations, braved great dangers and fell a martyr to the missionary work to which he had devoted his life. But we should do him great injustice to ascribe to him projects of empire for which neither his words nor his acts give any warrant, which necessitate the appropriation to him of the labors of others and require an entire misreading of our diplomatic history in regard to the territory of Oregon.
"To return to the immigration of 1843. After four monthsarduous journey, this vanguard of the great army of occupation that was to follow, with its convoy of horses and cattle, reached Oregon, and its numbers spread themselves over the valleys of the lower Columbia and immediately set to work in true American fashion to establish homes and schools and to organize a provisional government of their own. Among them were a number of persons of great force of character, who gave the impress of their personalities upon the religious. industrial and political development of the territory. Having shown the way, and having demonstrated the complete feasibility of an overland route to Oregon, they were followed by other hardy pioneers from the States, and before three more years had passed there was an American population in the territory of over twelve thousand persons no miscellaneous rabble of adventurers, but staunch and self-respecting men and women, come to build up homes the sturdy stuff of which a nation's greatness is made.
"Here we come to the end of the story, for the title of the American people to the possession of the Oregon territory which was originated in the movements of the good ship Columbia a century ago was practically consummated by the rush of immigrants half-way between that time and the present. Title (in full measure) by occupation was thus added to title by discovery, and when in 1846 the question of sovereignty again came up for consideration between Great Britain and the United States the great territory was amicably divided and we had little difficulty in keeping for ourselves the land upon which to erect the three goodly states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, besides the section that fills out the contour of Montana and Wyoming.
"Perhaps no one who has not visited this glorious country can adequately feel the significance of these beginnings of its history. When one has spent some little time in this climate unsurpassed in all America and looked with loving eye upon scenery rivaling that of Italy and Switzerland; when one has sufficiently admired the purple mountain ranges, the snowclad peaks, the green and smiling valleys, the giant forests; when one has marvelled at the multifarious and boundless economic resources and realizes how all this has been made a part of our common heritage as Americans, one feels that this latest chapter in the discovery and occupation of our continent is by no means the least important. All honor to the sagacious mariner who first sailed upon these waters a century ago! And all honor to the brave pioneers whose labors and sufferings crowned the, work! Through long ages to come, theirs shall be a sweet and shining memory."