Open main menu

Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/10

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Joseph Schafer

tation of the objects of the mission being the brief statement contained in Father DeSmet's Oregon Missions," published in 1847.[1]

Fortunately, the whole matter can now be cleared up; for, among the manuscript records of the British Government relating to the Oregon question, there was recently found a complete documentary history of the Warre- Vavasour mission. Many of the papers relating to it were duplicated, one copy in the records of the War Office and one in those of the Foreign Office; a complete file is contained in the Foreign Office records relating to America, volume 457. This volume in the Public Record Office is labeled on the back, "Warre and Vavasour," and all the papers, charts, etc., contained in it have reference to their expedition. The copies presented herewith were executed by the writer, in part from the War Office copies and in part from those in F. O. America 457, as the one copy or the other was found to be the more legible. A very little supplemental matter is taken from other places, as indicated in the citations. The sketch maps and charts were traced for the writer from the originals contained in F. O. America 457, by Lily Abbott Schafer.

The expedition has its origin at that point in the history of the American-British controversy over Oregon, which, in a dramatic aspect, appears to have been the most critical. The negotiations between Secretary Calhoun and Mr. Pakenham in 1844, though bringing forward conspicuously the new American interest based upon the colonization of Oregon by American pioneers, had yielded no tangible results, while the presidential campaign of the same year issued in the election of Mr. Polk, on a platform pledging his party to the "reannexation of Texas and the re-occupation of Oregon." The expiring session of the 28th Congress, sharing the eagerness of----

  1. See Thwaites (ed.) Early Western Travels, XXIX, 193-4. The editor in his foot note (No. 90) gives some information obtained from the later writings of Henry J. Warre, but he discounts DeSmet's statement and helps to perpetuate an incorrect view first advanced by Bancroft respecting Warre and Vavasour's secret commission from the Hudson's Bay Company to report on Dr. McLoughlin.