Open main menu

Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/285

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
261
DeSmet in the Oregon Country.

16, he left the mission of St. Ignatius, among the Pend d'Oreilles to return to Fort Vancouver. He was accompanied, at his own request, by the chiefs of the different mountain tribes, with the view of renewing the treaty of peace with the General, and with the Superintendent of Indian affairs. The successful issue of Father DeSmet's mission is seen from a letter of General Harney, dated Fort Vancouver, June i, 1859. He writes: "I have the honor to report, for the information of the General-in-chief, the arrival at this place of a deputation of Indian chiefs, on a visit suggested by myself through the kind offices of the Reverend Father DeSmet, who has been with these tribes the past winter. These chiefs have all declared to me the friendly desires which now animate them towards our people. Two of these chiefs—one of the upper Pend d'Oreilles, and the other of the Flatheads—report that the proudest boast of their respective tribes, is the fact that no white man's blood has ever been shed by any one of either nation. This statement is substantiated by Father DeSmet. It gives me pleasure to commend to the Generalin-Chief, the able and efficient services the Reverend Father DeSmet has rendered." Having fulfilled his mission, DeSmet secured his release from the post of chaplain and returned to St. Louis, visiting a score of Indian tribes on the way. It is typical of him that he should have planned, despite his three score years, to cover the entire distance from Vancouver to St. Louis on horseback—a project which he was regretfully compelled to abandon because of the unfitness of his horses for so long a journey.

Once more, in 1863, DeSmet traversed the "Oregon Country," renewing his acquaintances with the various missions and enjoying the hospitality of the three pioneer bishops of the province, at Portland, Vancouver, and Victoria.

DeSmet's missionary labors in Oregon had come to a close before the arrival of Bishop A. M. A. Blanchet in the Pacific Northwest. But Archbishop Blanchet and Bishop Demers were co-apostles with him in this new corner of the Lord's