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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/390

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382
Leslie M. Scott

eric Ermatinger, British chief trader at Fort Hall. This party was outfitted at the British post and one of its wagons was owned by Ermatinger.

This, remarks Marshall, "reduces to senseless drivel all the scores of pages in Barrows, Nixon, Craighead, Mowry, and the other advocates of the 'Whitman-Saved-Oregon' story, which accuses the Hudson's Bay Company of opposing the passage of wagons beyond Fort Hall."

After leaving Fort Boise, Whitman, together with a number of the younger men put off ahead and were of no service whatever to the wagon party in crossing the Blue Mountains.

All this and much more is substantiated, by testimony that is conclusive. Scores of American explorers and pioneers are quoted to show that Hudson's Bay Company did not oppose their going to Oregon, nor their hauling wagons thither. The evidence of Whitman's own writings and those of his wife and his associates shows plainly that his "ride" had no political purpose bearing on Oregon. This and similar evidence from original sources, never before published, is contained throughout the book.

Marshall shows the first animus of the legend to have been a desire to obtain from the Government $30,000 or $40,000 indemnity for Indian destruction of the mission, through representations that the missionary work, especially Whitman's, had won Oregon from the British and that the Government had failed to protect Whitman's station. When these representations were made in the '60s, there was keen hostility towards Britain in the United States on account of Civil War matters.

Much new information is presented by Marshall of diplomacy on Oregon between the restoration of Astoria after the war of 1812 and the final boundary treaty of 1846. This information shows that the United States from the very first held out for the forty-ninth parallel, never wavered from that line, never would accept south of that parallel, and finally secured it through President Polk and Secretary of State Buchanan.