Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/229

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
221
A Hero of Old Astoria

dian mountains and down into Oregon to Astor's old fort, where, in process of trade, exactly as McDougal had done before him, McDonald met and married a daughter of King Cumcumly. On a Sunday morning the wedding took place, and the bride was christened the Princess Sunday. Shortly before his father left on the upbound brigade of 1824 for Canada, Ranald was born, and was already a good-sized baby when his fur-trading father returned in the autumn with Dr. McLoughlin. "How far back can I remember McLoughlin? As far back as I can remember anything," said McDonald in later years.

When McLoughlin moved his headquarters to the new Fort Vancouver little Ranald went also, and was a child of eight when in 1832 three Japanese from a castaway junk were brought to Fort Vancouver. On that incident hinged McDonald's future story. He became acquainted with the castaways, learned a few words of their language and was fired with a zeal to visit their wonderful country. Sent to Canada to be educated, and later apprenticed as a clerk in the bank of an old friend of his father, Ranald McDonald planned to run away to Japan, and did so, finding his way on a whaler to those forbidden shores. Pretending to be a castaway, in June, 1848, he was picked up by fishermen on the northern shore of Japan, and was sent to the Governor of province after province for investigation and examination. For Japan was then closed to the world, no ships were permitted in her harbors, and staring thousands followed this "ijin," this foreigner, from the "Black Ships," as passing whale ships were called. Fortunately, McDonald's Indian tint caused him to be classed as a "Nippon-jin," a Nippon-man, or Japanese. Through the entire length of the land he was carried to Nagasaki, and here, again, before the governor, he was questioned and his answers carefully written down. "Some day," says Griffis, "these records will be found in the archives of Japan." But I have McDonald's own journal and story.

When others fell face to the ground before august governors, Ranald sat bolt upright, he and the governor alone facing