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Full text of "History of the Pacific Northwest: Oregon and Washington; embracing an account of the original discoveries on the Pacific coast of North America, and a description of the conquest, settlement and subjugation of the original territory of Oregon; also interesting biographies of the earliest settlers and more prominent men and women of the Pacific Northwest, including a descripiton of the climate, soil, productions of Oregon and Washington"

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3 1833 01151 3063 




Oregon and Washington 




Original Territory of Oregon 


Pacific xNortiiwest 




Oregon and Washington 

6:c • 

W ^4 VOLUME I-18S9 



North Pacific History Company 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year iS8g, by the 


being a private corporation nnder the laws of the .State of Oregon), 
in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Wasliington. 


H. 6. CROCKER & CO. 
San Francisco. 




PRIOR to 1776 (if the piratical cruises of Drake and Cavendish in the sixteenth 
century be disregarded), the exploration of the Paciiic coast of North America had 
been confined to Spanish and Russian voyages. From Mexico to Prince William's 
Sound, sixty-one degrees north latitude, the coast was explored by Spanish navigators. 
Russians operating from Kamtchatkan ports discovered and made settlements between 
sixty-six degrees and fifty-four degrees forty minutes north latitude. 

In 1776, Captain James Cook arrived upon the northwest coast. The order to 
examine the coast of New Albion (the name conferred by Sir Francis Drake) was 
embraced in his instructions by the British Admiralty. After Cook's voyage, English 
explorations followed in the latitude of what is now Washington. Upon the United States 
of America entering upon its career as a nation, it became an important factor in North 
Pacific discovery, commerce and .settlement. The territorial claims asserted by the United 
States and Great Britain were based upon voyages to, or examinations of, the coast north of 
latitude fortj'-tvvo degrees north, and the south line of Russian claim, fifty-four degrees 
forty minutes north latitude. A vast extent of coast bounded south by the north line 
of the Spanish department of California, and north by the south line of Russian 
America, or to speak more accurately, by the south line of Russian discoveries and 
establishments, was hedged in between forty-two degrees and fifty-four degrees forty 
minutes by Spain on the south and Russian America on the northwest. 

Early in the present century, the territory fronted by such coast, eastward to the 
Rocky Mountains, became known as Oregon. 

The sovereignty of this region long continued in dispute between three of the great 
powers of the earth, — the claim of each nation respectively resting upon the value, 
in a political point of view, to be ascribed to those voyages, expeditions and acts of 

The region was frequently called " the territory westward of the Stony Mountains." 
Within it were included the present States of Oregon, Washington and Montana, west 
of the Rocky Mountains, and the territory of Idaho, together with the province of British 
Columbia. The claim to the sovereignty of the territory so long and so notably waged 
occasioned what is historically and politically termed the OREGON Controversy. 

It must be apparent that an intelligible history of this region must chronicle the 
various stages of transition from Indian territory, from a fur-bearing region, into states 
of the American Union. 

In such recital, sufficient details are requisite to illustrate how the coast became 
dedicated to settlement, and how it became impressed with national characteristics. Thus 
will be traced the antecedents of Oregon, what that historic name comprehends, how 


the territory acquired tlie area and boundaries as indicated on the map of the world, 
and the steps towards recognition as a part of the United States. Naturally following 
is the recounting of those struggles incident to the attainment of present importance, — 
in short, the presentation of the Oregon of history, the exhibition of its process 
of molding, keeping pace with the region as it has advanced to Americanization and 

Oregon, north and east of the Columbia river, for several years all embraced in 
Washington, that particular historic area which for a long period included the territory 
which was the real contention between the United States and Great Britain, will receive 
its due share of notice. 

Nor could Washington, Idaho or Montana history be written, ignoring their Oregon 
antecedents and their true significance. Such a work would be analogous to tracing the 
biography of an illustrious personage without knowledge of his parentage, his youth, 
his manhood, of those circumstances which constituted his very being, his individuality, 
and gave to his life its characteristics. 

To chronicle those agencies, to appreciate the factors which rendered this interesting 
region notable in the world's annals, — in fine, to secure a comprehensive historic view of 
that part of Northwest America included within what was formerly and first called 
Oregon, — actuate this work. 

It is, however, just to the North Pacific History Company, under whose auspices this 
book is published, that further explanation should be made as to how they became the 
sponsors of its publication. 

In the spring of iSSS, Multnomah Camp, No. 2, Indian War Veterans of Oregon and 
Washington, pursuant to a resolution passed, appointed a committee for the purpose of 
collecting and publishing reliable articles upon the several Indian wars, as also the history 
of the early settlements of Oregon. The first plan was to secure, from parties resident 
in the several divisions of the territory, historic contributions as to their respective 
localities. Speciall}^ it was rather limited to chronicling the struggles of the white 
settlers with the aborigines, and the incidents of pioneer life. After thorough 
consideration, it became apparent that b}- such scheme, however full of interest, the 
result desired could not be obtained ; that anything short of a sufficiently presented 
historic notice of the early explorations and settlement of the region, of the different 
and necessai-ily adverse elements of its pioneer population, would not carr}' out the 
intention of the proposed enterprise. 

The intercourse of immigrants or American settlers with and influence over the 
native population would serve to illustrate the situation of Oregon's pioneers. A history 
of the region was regarded essential to exhibit the relation of the native population to the 
white races who migrated to Oregon to occupy and settle the territory. 

The motive of the Indian War X'eterans was not only self-justification. They were 
also animated with the patriotic desire to vindicate the territorial authorities of Oregon 
and Washington, and the volunteers who gallantly' took up arms and successfully 
defended that people who had been abandoned by the government, which had invited 
their presence here to Americanize and hold the region. It soon became manifest that 
the condition of affairs in Oregon, at the time it was organized as an United States 
territory, could not be appreciated without a preliminary history of. its exploration and 
occupancy, showing the advent of the white races within its borders, and their respective 
modes of dealing or intercourse with the native population. That detail will demonstrate 


that the struggles with a perfidious race cannot justly be attributed to the Oregon 
pioneers. The conflict was but the logical sequence of those acts and of his presence 
here. The belief is fully warranted that it would have been avoided had the national 
government performed a duty it obligated itself to perform by encouraging American 
settlement in the territory. 

History will also demonstrate that so much of Oregon as was not surrendered to 
Great Britain by the Treaty of June 15. 1846, was saved through the presence and 
instrumentality of the American settlers of Oregon. It will equally establish that the 
people who settled in Oregon, and who Americanized it, were patriotic, patient and 
eminently considerate and kind to the aborigines; and that the conflicts between the 
natives and settlers were not occasioned by any provocation given by the latter, beyond 
the isolated fact that their presence was an offense in the eye of the Indian, who, quick to 
observe, took advantage of the neglect of the government to protect the settler, and 
attempted to exterminate the American race in that region. 

History was required to supply the picture of the surroundings of the Oregon pioneer. 
And now, after a full generation, in which these country-savers, these state-builders, have 
been under a cloud, denounced as barbarians and robbers of the national treasury, their 
single offense being that, in the hour of desolation and doubt, they prevented the American 
settlements of Oregon from being wiped out forever, the great fact still remains that that 
government, which ignored their presence in the territory, which profited by their services 
in the field, still repudiates the full pa3'meut of the debt so justly their due. These men, 
these veterans, now deem it a simple act of justice, to themselves and to their children, 
to publish a history which maj^ serve also to illustrate the value and importance of the 
region they fought to save to the country, humanity and the American occupants. And 
they have also deemed it eminently proper to present a picture of the region now, which 
in the past was the scene of those historic details and their sacrifices. 

A history of the territory embraced within the classic name of Oregon will constitute 
the first volume. It will aim to illustrate those struggles and vicissitudes by which 
American states and commonwealths are created. A second volume will afford the 
illustration of a progress which is the complete justification of every effort put forward 
by the Oregon pioneers : I. To wrest by American settlement the Oregon of history from 
its British occupancy ; II. To subdue and dedicate it to American civilization. 

How those resolves have been performed by the Oregon pioneer will, as we believe, 
truthfully appear in the following pages. 

Elwood Evans. 


Oregon and Washington. 


Part I. 

Voyages of Discovery to the Pacific Coast —Voyages to Northwest America — Trading Enterprises 

and Settlements upon which Acts, Claim to the Coasts and Territory' Originated, or was Asserted by 

Spain, Russia, Great Britain and the United States — The Limits of the Territory Called Oregon 

Ascertained. By Hon. Elwood Evans ; Chapter's i to i6. 

Part II. 
The Oregon Controversy, or the International Conflict as to the Sovereignty of the Territory 
Westward of the Rocky or Stony Mountains. By Hon. El wood Evans: Chapters 17 to 20. 

Part III. 
The Settlement and Americanization of Oregon down to its Organization as a Territory- of the 
United States. By Hon. Elwood Evans: Chapters 21 to 35. 

Part IV. 
Oregon Hi.story, together with the Current Contemporaneous History of Washington, down to the 
Admission of Oregon as a State, including the Local Hi.story of Southern Oregon by Colonel L. F. 
Mosher. By Hon. Elwood Evans: Chapters 36, 37, 38, 39, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 and 56. 
By Colonel L. F. Mosher: Chapters 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 and 57. 


Part V. 

Historic Summary of the Several States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains and North 

of Forty-two Degrees North Latitude, from the Admission of Oregon as a State to the year 1889, the 

date of the Admis.sion of the States of Washington and Montana. B\- Hon. Elwood Evans : Chapters 

S8 and 59. 

^ , Part VI. 

A Graphic Account of the Religions or Mythology of the Indians of the Pacific Northwest, including 
a History of their Superstitions, Marriage Customs, Moral Ideas and Domestic Relations, and their 
Conception of a Future State, and the Re-habilinient of the Dead. By Dr. G. P. Kuykendall : Chapter 


Part VII. 

The Pacific Northwest as it is To-day — Its Physical Aspects, Industries, Vast Natural Resources 
and Paramount Advantages. By Prof W. H. Lyman : Chapters 61 and 62. 

Part VIII. 
Interesting Biographies and- Personal Remini.scences of Pioneer Settlers and More Prominent Men 
and Women of the Pacific Northwest. By Learned and Entertaining Writers. 

Contents of Volume I. 


To Discover a Sea-path from Europe to India, the lucentive of Pacific Coast Exploration — Voyages, whether 
Eastward or Westward from Europe, alike and necessarily Precursors of the Discovery of Northwest America — 
Reputed Discoveries by the Cabots and Cortereal — The Strait of Anian Myth — Fictitious Narratives of 
Pretended Voyages of Maldonado, de Fuca and de Fonte Stinuilated North Pacific Exploration i 


Balboa Crosses the Continent and Discovers the Pacific Ocean — Pioneer Explorations on the West Coast of North 
America, Adjacent to the Isthmus and Working Northward — Magellan Passes Through the Strait which Bears 
his Name, Enters and Nominates the Pacific Ocean — Cortez Discovers and Subjugates Mexico — Voyages of 
Mendoza, Grijalva, Becarra, UUoa, Alarcon, Cabrillo and Ferrelo on the West Coast of America — The Pacific 
Coast Examined from Panama Northward to Cape Mendocino ji 



Spain Conquers the Philippine Islands — Urdaneta's Returu Voyages Eastward from Manilla to .\capulco — Commercial 

Voyages Between Manilla and Mexico — Voyages of Francisco de CVali — Cruise of Sir Francis Drake — Takes 

Possession, Calling the Coast New Albion — Voyages of Thomas Cavendish — Voyages of Vizcaino — Cruise 

of Martin de Agiiilar — Change of Maritime Policy of Spain 16 

Cape Horn Discovered by the Dutch — Theories for Effecting Direct Communication Between the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans, or Between Western Europe and the East Indies — Russiau and Siberian Voyages in the North Pacific, 
and Discoveries on the Northwest Coast of America 20 


(1683- 1 770.) 
Spanish Settlements on the Coast of California — Jesuit Missionary Conquest of Lower California — E.xpulsiou of the 
Jesuits by Charles III. — The Franciscans Establish Missions in Upper California — Inland Discovery and 
Settlement of San Diego, San Francisco and Monterey — California a Department of Spain, its Northern 
Boundary Undefined " 27 


Renewal of Spanish Exploration on the North Pacific — Voyages of Perez, Heceta, Bodega and Arteaga ^r 


(1 776-1 779.) 
Great Britain Turns .Attention to Discoveries on the Northwest Coast of .\nierica — Voyages of Captain James Cook — 
British .Assertion of Claim to Discovery by Sir Francis Drake of New Albion — Captain Cook Denies Existence 
of Strait of Fuca — Murder of Captain Cook, Succeeded in Command by Captain Clerke — Death of Captain 
Clerke — Lieutenant Gore, a Native of Virginia, in Command — Sails to China with Collection of Furs — 
Growing Importance of Fur and East India Trade 31 


The Nootka Treaty Between Spain and Great Britain, and the Events Culminating Therein — Nootka Sound the 
Resort for Vessels Engaging in the Fur Trade — The King George's Sound Company — Voyages of Portlock 
and Dixon — The Latter Discovers the Channel Separating Queen Charlotte's Island from' the Continent — 
Meares and Tipping on Northwest Coast Under of East India Company — Voyages of Meares Under 
Portuguese Flag — Makes Settlement at Nootka, and Builds Schooner Xorthieesi America — Arrival at Nootka 
of American Vessels IVashingloii and Columbia — Martinez Seizes Iphigenia and Noitlru'cst America — .Arrival 
of Piiiicess Royal and Argonaut — Martinez Seizes Them — Difficulties Between Spain and Great Britain — 
The Nootka Treaty, or Convention of the Escurial — .Arrival at Nootka Sound of Captain Vancouver, British 
Commissioner, to Receive Restitution of Property of British Subjects — Unsuccessful Negotiations Between 
Senor Quadra and Vancouver — Final Restitution to British Subjects of Seized Property — Spain and Great 
Britain .■\bandon Nootka Sound 30 


Strait of Juan de Fuca Discovered — Examinatious of Strait by Meares, Gray, Keudrick and Spanish Navigators — 
Vancouver's Survey of Strait, Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound and Gulf of Georgia — Discovery of Columbia 
River — Trade of North Pacific Coast Exclusively Enjoyed by American Vessels — Tragic Fate of Crew of Ship 
Boston — National Character Ascribed to Several Portions of North Pacific Coast — Termination of Coastwise 
Voyages of Discovery — Coast Between Forty-three and Fifty-five Degrees Latitude Claimed by Spain, Great 
Britain and United States 49 


(1 766-1 793.) 
First Rumors as to Existence of Rocky Mountains and Great River Beyond Flowing Westward to South Sea — 
Fabulous Stories of Flennepiu, La Hontau and Others Stimulate Interior Exploration — The Verendryes, First 
White Men to Explore Rocky Mountains — Story of a Vazoo Indian, the First to Traverse Continent Between 
the Two Oceans, as Detailed to Le Page — Origin of the Name Oregon — Journal of Captain Jonathan Carver — 
Indian Idea of Interior of North .America — Indian Knowledge of Great Rivers Rising in Interior of North 
America — Their Stories .\bout the Great River of the West — That the Word Oregon is of Spanish Origin, 
Inconsistent with Carver's Use of It, nor is It an Indian Name — Overland Exploration Inaugurated in 
Prosecution of Inland Fur Trade — North West Company — Two Expeditions of Alexander Mackenzie — First 
Party of White Men Cross Rocky Mountains and Reach the Pacific Ocean 57 


(1792-1810. ) 
Western Linuts of the United States of America — Purchase of Louisiana — Abortive Projects for Northwestern 
Exploration — Expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Slouth of the Columbia River — The North West 
Company Establishes a Trading Post West of the Rocky Mountains — The Missouri Fur Company — 
Commercial Enterprises of Citizens of the United States in Northwest America — Captain Winship, in the 
Albatross, Attempts an Establishment at Oak Point, on the Columbia River 67 

John Jacob .■Vstor Organizes the Pacific Fur Compau}- — Intriguing Policy of the North West Company — Treacherous 
Conduct of Mr. Astor's Partners — Parties Sent by Sea and Overland to the Mouth of the Columbia River — 
Founding of Astoria — Loss of the Ship Tonqtiin — Launch of the Schooner J)olly, the First United States 
Vessel Built on the Pacific Coast — Pacific Fur Company Dissolved by British Partners — Transfer of Astor's 
Stock and Establishment to North West Company — The British Sloop-of-War Raccoon Captures Astoria — 
Name Changed to Fort George — End of Pacific Fur Company — .\merican Employes Leave the Country — 
British Enter North West Company's Service — Restoration of Astoria Under Treaty of Ghent 76 

The North West Company Exclusive Occupants of the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains — .\ntecedent History 

and Policy of Said Company — Rivalry and Open Hostility Between the North West and Hudson's Bay ■ 
Companies — .\djuslment of the Differences by a Partnership in Fur Trade Prosecuted Under Charter of 
Hudson's Bay Company — License of Exclusive Trade Extending to the Pacific Ocean Granted by the British 
Government — The Hudson's Bay Company Succeed to All Rights Under Said License — Tlie North West 
Company Merged Into the Hudson's Bay Company 89 

The Hudson's Bay Company the Exclusive Occupants of Oregon — Charter of the Company — License of Trade — 

Internal Organization — Employes and Their Distribution 95 

The Hudson's Bay Company Secures a New License of Trade, May 31, 1S38 — Its System of Trade 99 

Political Mission of Hudson's Bay Comjiany in Oregon, to Strengthen British Claim — Their Establishments — 
Gradual .Vbandonment of Posts, and Contraction of Operations — The Puget Sound Agricultural Company — 
Its Objects and Plan of Operations ' . . 103 

American Trading FCnterprises in the Territory West of the Rocky Mountains — Expedition of William H. Ashlev — 
Jackson, Sublette and Smith l-"orm the Rocky Mountain Fur Company — American Trading Vessels in the 
Columbia River — Wagons Brought to the Rocky Mountains — South Pass — Pilcher's Expeditions — First 
Overland Expedition, Captain Wyeth, to Columbia River — First School West of the Rocky Jlountains — 
Captain Bonneville's E.xpedition — Captain Wycth's Second Enterprise — He Establishes Forts Hall and 
Williams - iii 


Conflicting Claims to Northwestern Coast of America — Abortive Efforts to Settle the Boundary of Respective 
Possessions — Capture and Surrender of Astoria — Convention of iSiS — United States Acquires the Spanish 
Claim by Florida Treaty — Russia Limited to Making Settlements Northward of Fifty-four Degrees, Forty 
Minutes, b\- Conventions with Great Britain and United States — That Parallel Becomes the Northern Boundary 
of the Oregon Territory — Great Britain and the United States the Onl}- Claimants of Oregon — Treaty of 1S27 . 120 

Proceedings in Congress Relative to Sole Occupancy of Oregon, and Extension Over It of Federal Jurisdiction — 

Efforts to Establish a Territorial Government 134 


Negotiations Resumed Between Great Britain and the United States — Resume of Status of Claimants — Presidential 

Election. 1S44 140 

Congressional and Executive Action — The Oregon Question an Element of American Politics — Presidential Election, 

1S44 — The Treaty of Limits, June 15, 1846 149 


Settlement of Oregon — Internal Condition of the Territory — Its Elements of Colonization- — Native Population, 

Number, Distribution, Characteristics, Disposition, or Relation to the Several White Races Present 170 


Hudson's Bay Compauj- Officers, Employes and Retired Servants — Biographic Sketches of Dr. John McLoughlin, 
Peter Skeen Ogdeu, James Douglas and William Eraser Tolmie, Chief Factors of Hudson's Bay Company — 
Notices of Alex. C. Anderson, George B. Roberts and Archibald McKinlay — Early Settlers of French Prairie — 
First Settlement at Oregon Citj- 174 

(Ante 1836.) 

American Settlements — Personnel of Independent Residents of Oregon — First Expedition of Captain N. J. Wveth — 
First School West of Rocky Mountains — Second Expedition of Captain Wyeth — Ewing Voung and Hall J. 
Kelly — Immigrants of 1S35 ' 182 

The Oregon Methodist Mission — Visit of Flathead Indians to St. Louis, Asking Mis.sionaries — Formation of Oregon 
Methodist-Episcopal Mission — Rev. Jason Lee and Associates Journey- to Oregon, 1834 — Establishment of 
Mission in Willamette Valley — Schools Established at Willamette and Fort Vancouver — Missionarv Efforts to 
Christianize Indians — Arrival of Dr. Elijah White, Rev. David Leslie and Others — Status of the Mission — It 
Abandons the Indian Work — The Oregon Institute Founded — Prominent in Every Popular Enterprise — Rev. 
Jason Lee Succeeded by Rev. George Gary — Character of the Mission Changed — Effects of Presence of 
Methodist Mission in Oregon 186 


Establishment of the Oregon Mission, Under the Auspices of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign 

Missions 193 


The Roman Catholic Mission 208 


(1836-1840. ) 
Young and Carmichael Abandon Erection of Distillery — Formation of the California Cattle Company — Visit to 
Willamette by Purser Slacum, U. S. Navy, Special Agent — First Petition to Congress of J. L. Whitcom and 
Others — Farnham, Holman and Others Leave Peoria, Illinois, for Oregon — Sir Edward Belcher's vSurveying 
Expedition in Columbia River — Arrival of Rev. J. S. Griffiu — Missionary Party of Clark, Smith and Littlejohn 
— Dr. Robert Newell Brings Wagons to Fort Walla Walla — Population of Territory at Close of 1840 214 


Abortive Effort to Form a Provisional Government — The United States Exploring Expedition — Captain Wilkes, 

United States Navy — First Fourth of July on Puget Sound — The Red River Colony to Puget Sound 223 



Appointment of Dr. White as Sub Indian Agent — Fremont's First Expedition to the South Pass — Immigration of 
1S42 — Efforts Renewed to Form a Provisional Government — White's Importance as a Public Functionary- 
Citizens of Tualitan Plains Combine to Protect Themselves Against Evil-doers — White's Administration of 
Indian Affairs in the Interior — His Reports to the War Department 231 


Acdtation of the Question of Formation of Government — The "Wolf Meeting" —Committee of Twelve to Report a 
' ° Plan for Protection of the Settlement — The Formation of a Government and Election of Officers — First 
Legislative Committee — Us Report of an Organic Law— Division of the Territory into Districts — The People 
Approve the Organic Law — Boundaries of Territory 236 


Sad Accident Near Willamette I'alls- Departure of Immigrants of '42 for California —The "Petition of 1S43," Its 
Authorship and Contents — Dr. John McLoughlin's Answer to Its Charges — Cattle Policy of the Hudson's Bay 
Company— Dr. John McLoughlin's Statement as to Formation of California Cattle Company — Rev. Daniel 
Lee's Statement as to Said Company — Oregon City Claim — Rev. George Gary, Superintendent of Oregon 
Methodist Mission, Sells Its Propertv to Dr. McLoughlin — Section Eleven of Donation Law of September 27, 
1S50 — The Immigration of 1S43 — the Cattle Contract — Fremont's Second Expedition 242 



Oregon Under the Provisional Goverunient — Indian Depredations at Willamette Falls — Death of George W. Le 

Breton — Arming of Citizens for Defense — Amendment to Organic Law, 1S44 — Prohibitory Liquor Law — 

First American Settlement North of the Columbia River — Oregon City Incorporated, the First Municipality 

West of the Rockv :MouiUains — Incorporation of Oregon Institute — George Abernetby Elected Governor, 

,y^5 Petition of Provisional Government to Congress — Visit and Report of Lieutenant Neil M. Howisou, 

U. S. Navy — Wreck of the U. S. Schooner Shark — Lieutenant How^ison Presents Her Colors to the Provisional 
Government — Reception of Ihe News of the Trtaly of June 15, 1846 262 

Governer Aberiielhy's Mesvage — Resolutions to Raise a Company of Mounted Riflemen for Immediate Service at 
Dalles — Citizens' Meeting — First Companv Enrolled — Legislature Authorizes Raising a Regiment — Gilliam 
Elected Colonel : Other Officers — Efforts to Procure a Loan — Joel Palmer Appointed Superintendent of Indian 

Affairs Peace Commission Appointed — Arrival of the Rescued Captives — Whitman Massacre — Skirmish 

with Hostiles Near Dalles — Advance of Colonel Gilliam with Troops — Fight at the Steve Meek Cut-off— 
Gilliam Marches for Waiilatpu— His Campaign on the Touchet— Victory Over the Palouses — Death of Colonel 
Gilliam — Maxon in Command — Appeal for Provisions and Reinforcements — Lee Appointed Colonel by the 
Governor, and Also Superintendent of Indian Affairs — Lee Generously Gives Place to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Waters, Who is Promoted to Colonelcy — Lee Accepts Commission as Lieutenant-Colonel — March Into Nez 
Perce Country — Close of Campaign — Battle of the .\biqua 277 


(1 846-1 848.) 
Oregon's Struggle in Congress to Become a Territorial Government 289 


The Last Days of the Provisional Government — The Discovery of Gold in California — Exodus to the New Gold 
pields— Coinage of Beaver Money — Last Session of the Legislature of the Provisional Government — Progress 
of American Settlements on Png'et Sound — Return of Delegates Thornton and Meek — Appointees to the 
Territorial Offices — The Provisional Crovernmeut Superseded by Governor Lane's Proclamation .Announcing 
Organization of Territory 300 



Census Superintendent Lane Visits Columbia River Tribes — Attack by Siioqualmies on Fort Nisqually — JIurder 

of Leander C. Wallace — Hostile .\tlitude of Snoqnalmies — White Settlers Build Blockhouses — Governor 
Lane Arrives at Tumwater — Judicial Districts Declared, and Judges .-Assigned — Sub Indian Agents Thornton 
and Newell — Election of Samuel IV. Thurston, Delegate to Congress — fleeting of Legislature — Names of 
Counties Changed — Towns in Oregon — Sub-Agent Thornton Visits Pnget Sound — Reward for Wallace's 
Murderers — .\ction Disapproved bv Governor Lane — Thornton Resigns — Trial and FCxecution of the Murderers 
— Arrival of Mounted Rille Regiment — Deserters to California Gold Fields — Surrender, Trial and Execution 
of Murderers of the Wliitinans — Major John P. Gaines Appointed Governor — Governor Lane Resigns, to Take 
Effect June iSth, and Leaves for California Mines — .\rrival of the United States Steamer MassarliuscKx — 
General Adair, Collector of Customs, Astoria — Seizure of the British Ship Albion at New Dungeness — Survey 
of Columbia River — Lieutenant Mc.Arthnr — The Ship Albion Condemned as a Forfeiture — Seizure and 
Release of the Schooner Cadboio — Progress of Settlements on Puget Sound — Oysters Discovered at Shoalwater 
Bav — United States Census, 1850 3"5 



Pre-sidenl Tavlor's .Appointments of Territorial Officers — Their Arrival in the Territorj- — Mail Service and Steamers 
Between San Francisco and Portland — Passage of Donation Law — Titles to Private Land Claims — Publication 
of li'esteni Star, Oregonian and Oregon Statesman — 'i&i^\o\\ of Legislature, [850-51 — Building of Steamer 
Lot W'hitcomb — New Counties Organized — Remodeling Judicial Districts — Location of Public Buildings — 
Death of Samuel R. Thurston — Arrival of Chief Justice Nelson — The Oregon Party — Election of General 
Lane as Delegate to Congress — Seat of Government Controversy — Quorum Supreme Court Jleets at Oregon 
City, and Decides It to be the Seat of Government — Judge Pratt Holds Supreme Court at Salem — In a Letter 
Dissents from Justices Nelson and Strong — Quorum of Legislative Assembly Meets at Salem — Session of 
1851-52 — Minority at Oregon City — Thurston County Organized — President Fillmore's Official Message on 
Capital Controversy — Congress Intervenes, Declares Salem the Seat of Government, and Ratifies Laws Passed 
Thereat, Session 1851-52 — Extra Session of Legislature — Renewed Personal Rancor Growing Out of Decision 
as to Iowa Laws in P'orce by Legislation of Provisional Government — Judge Deady's Historic Notice of 
" Steamboat Code " and the "Blue Books" — Progress of Settlements North of Columbia River — Legislation 
of 1852-53 — Creation of New Counties — Judicial Districts Reconstructed — Division of the Territory .... 314 


Exclusive Reference to Historic .\cts North of the Columbia River Explained — Legislative Representation — United 
States Census, 1850 — Status of Settlement North of the Columbia at That Date — Historic View of Progress of 
Settlements Upon the Banks of the Columbia — Incubus to Settlement of Vancouver — Conflicting Claims to 
Site — Settlements North of River, and North of Olympia — Edmund K. Starling, Indian Agent, Puget Sound 
District — The Collection District of Puget Sound Established — Arrival of Revenue Officers — Disastrous 
Expedition of Gold Hunters to Queen Charlotte's Island in Sloop Georgiauna — Wreck of Sloop — Passengers 
Taken Captive by Hydah Indians — Ransom of Captives — Seizure of Steamer Beaver and Brig Mary Dare at 
Olympia — First Term of District Court at Olympia — First Commemoration of Independence Day at Olympia — 
Division of Territor}- — JNIonticello Convention — Congress Establishes the Territory of Wa.shington 333 


•Appointments of Territorial Officers by President Pierce — Reconstruction of Judicial Districts — The Election of 
General Lane to Congress — Arrival of Governor John \V. Davis — Session of Legislature, 1S53-54 — First 
Attempt to Call a Constitutional Convention — George L. Curry Succeeds Governor Davis — Session of 
Legislature, 1S54 — Multnomah County Established — Legislative and Congressional Proceedings as to the 
Admission of Oregon as a State — Ex-Governor Gaines Nominated b}' Whigs for Delegateship — Election of 
June, 1855 — General Lane Re-elected — The Constitutional Convention Defeated — Re-agitation of Location of 
Capital — Session of Legislature, 1S55-56 — Counties of Curr}- and Josephine Organized — Organization of the 
Republican Party in Oregon — General Lane Renominated by Democrats — The Opposition Supports George 
W. Lawson, Independent Free-Soil Democrat — Election of June, 1857 — General Lane Re-elected — Large 
Majority for Constitutional Convention — Session of Legislature, 1857 — Election of 1858 — L. F. Grover Elected 
to Congress — State Organization — General Lane and Delazon Smith Elected United States Senators — Session 
of Legislature, 1858 — Oregon Admitted as a State, February 14, 1859 350 


Southern Oregon — Natural Divisions — Topographical Features — Early Immigration — First Settlement — Introduction 
of Cattle — Emigrant Wagon Road — Heroic Corporation — Pioneer Road Builders — Fremont's Old Camp — 
Exploring Southeastern Oregon — First Immigrant Train Through Southern Oregon 36S 

Early .Argonauts — First American Settlements South of the Calapooias — A Friend of the Whites — United States 
Regulars in Southern Oregon — Haifa Regiment Deserts — Fighting Their Way to the Gold Fields — Relief 
for the Deserters — A Soldier for Dinner — Dogs for Supper — First Cattle in Oregon — Forcing a Treaty of 
Peace — First Civilized Vessel to Enter the Umpqua River — Trying to Boom the Country — Founding of 
Umpqua City, Gardiner, Scottsburg and Winchester — Organization of Umpqua County 375 

Gold in Southern Oregon — Ambushed by Savages — General Phil Kearney — The Settlers' Appeal — Gallantly 
Answered — The Military Worsted — Heroic Conduct — Death of Captain Stewart — Reinforcements by 
Volunteers — General Jo Lane at the Front — The Indians Beaten — A Bad Appointment 381 

CHAPTER X L 1 1 1 . 

Settlement and Organization of Umpqua County — First County Election — First Postoffices and Postmasters — Pioneer 
Merchants — United States Collector of Customs — Shipping — Discover}- and Settlement of Port Orford — 
Desperate Fight with Savages — Indians Become Acquainted with Cannon — Disastrous Ending of First 
Settlement — Second Attempt to Settle Port Orford — Disastrous Explorations — Humane Indian Boy — 
Inhuman Massacre — Savage Butchery and Cremation — The First Indian Mission — A Disgraceful Failure — 
Military' Expedition — Settlement of Rogue River Valley — Discovery of Gold — Saw-mills and Grist-mills . . 389 


Douglas and Jackson Counties Created — First Election — First Court in the Southern District— Early Merchants- 
Pioneer Lawyers and Doctors — Pouv Expresses and Territorial Roads — U. S. Mail Route — Gold Discovered 
at Rogue River— Gaines' Futile Treaty — Marauding Indians- Volunteers Called Out — War with the Savages 
— Settlers Favor a Treaty — Captain Lamerick Banqueted — Heroism of the Pioneers — The Government's 
Neglect of Settlers and Volunteers — Protecting and Relieving Immigrants — Indian Ambuscades and Savage 
Murders — White Women and Children Butchered — The Settlers to the Rescue — Captain Ben Wright Wreaks 
Revenge — Disaster at Port Orford — Prosperity on the Umpqua — A Hard Winter 397 


Judge Deady's First Term — The Trial of Joseph Knott — Murderous Savages — Settlers and Miners Assassinated 
and Robbed — Securing Arms— Direful Fate of White Victims — Volunteers Called For to Protect the 
Settlements — Heroic Response — The First Skirmish — Jackson County Appeals to the Governor of the 
Territory — General Lane Besought to Help His Fellow Citizens — His Prompt Response — Nesmith and 
Grover Volunteer— Indians Captured — Perfidy of Surrendered Savages — Combination of Indian Tribes to 
Exterminate the Whites — Fortified at Table Rock — Pursuing the Savage Warriors— Fatal Conflicts— Genera! 
Lane in the Field Ahead of His Commission —Energetic and Successful Prosecution of the War — A Pitched 
Battle — Colonel Alden and General Lane Wounded — Surrender of the Indians — Flags of Honor — General 
Smith's Heroic March — Treating for Peace — General Lane and Ten Unarmed Negotiators Threatened with 
Base Murder — Conclusion and Terms of the Treaty — Retaliatory Depredations— Protecting the Immigrant 
Trains — Fighting on the Overland Trail — Conduct of the Treaty Indians — 111 Treatment of the Volunteers 
by the National Government — Pony Expresses — Mines and Mining — Other Industries — First Courts in 
Jackson and Douglas Counties — Murderers Hanged — More Indians Punished — Many Settlers Assassinated by 
the Savages — Discovery of Gold — The Coos Bay Company and Settlement 408 


Mild Weather and Prosperous Times — A New Territory Projected— Conventions Held — The Oregon Legislature — 
How Roseburg Became the County vSeat — Milling Industries — Gold on the Seashore — The First Coal from 
Coos Bay — Disastrous Navigation — First Newspaper in Southern Oregon — First Term of Court at Empire 
City — Protection of Immigrants — Captain Walker's Volunteer Company — Serious Engagement with the 
Indians — Repulsed by the Savages — Patriotism of the Volunteers 427 


Promised Prosperity Brings Indian Wars to Southern Oregon — New Land District — Hon L. F. Mosher Appointed 
Register; George W. Lawson, Receiver — Indian Depredations — The Savages Pursued: They Retreat to the 
Reservation — Other Savage Murders — Volunteers Organize and Take the Field — Successful Operations — 
Conduct of the Whites — A Dark and Memorable Day — The Savages Inaugurate a General War to Exterminate 
the Pioneers of the Pacific Northwest — Numerous Murders — Volunteers to the Rescue — United States Troops 
Take the Field — Organizations of Settlers for Defense and Protection — Inhuman and Savage Butchery of 
Men, Women and Children, Murdered by the Indians — Governor Curry Calls for Volunteers — Desperate 
Conflicts — The Savages Victorious — Reorganization for the War — Plan of Campaign — The Closing Events of 
the Year 43' 

The Indian War in Southern Oregon Continued — New Year's Day Finds the Savages Committing Depredations — 
Conduct of the Military and Volunteers — Major Bruce in the Field— Another Fight with the Savages — 
Pursuing the Indians — The Volunteers Ambushed — Reorganization of the Militia — John Kelsay, Colonel, 
and W. W. Chapman, Lieutenant-Colonel, of the New Regiment — A Flag of Truce Protects the Murderous 
Savages — Renewal of the Campaign Against the Indians — Captain Poland's Company of Volunteers Surprised 
and Butchered— Depredations by the Indians, and Efforts at Self-Protection by the Settlers — Treachery of 
Enos — The Big Bend of Rogue River — A Great Battle at That Point — Valor of the Volunteers Saves the 
Regulars from Annihilation — Surrender of the Indians — Close of the War 445 

Political and Local History of Washington as a Separate Territorial Government Until Admission of Oregon as a 
State, Excluding Detailed Narrative of Indian Wars — Area of the Territory — General Features of Organic 
Act — President Pierce's Appointments of Federal Officials — Census Taken by Marshal Anderson — Northern 
Pacific Railroad F^xploration — Governor Stevens' Arrival — His First Proclamation — Organization of the 
Territorial Government — Judicial Districts Defined by Governor — Apportionment of Territory for Legislative 
Representation — First Election — Columbia Lancaster Elected Delegate to Congress — Session of F'irst 
Legislative Assembly — New Counties Organized — Secretary Mason Becomes Acting Governor — Indian 
Disturbances on Puget Sound — Collectors of Customs of Fort Victoria and Puget Sound Both Claim Revenue 
Jurisdiction Over ,San Juan Island — Congressional Legislation for Territory — Session of Legislature, 1854-55 
— Treaties with Indian Tribes — Indian Council at Walla Walla — Discovery of Gold at Fort Colvile — Murder of 
Miners and Indian Agent Holon — Governor Stevens at Council with Hlackfoot Nation — Session of Legislature, 
1855-56 — The People in Blockhouses — General Stagnation of Business — The Campaigns Against Indians 
Ended — Session of Legislature, 1S56-57 — Organization of Republican Party in Territory — Election of 1857 — 
Governor Isaac I. Stevens Elected Delegate to Congress — I'ayette McMullin Appointed Governor — The 
Fraser River Excitement — Session of Legislature, 1S5S-59 — Oregon Admitted Into the Union — Enlargement 
of Territorial Area by Annexation of Residue of Oregon 459 


The Oregou-Washiugton Indian Wars — Causes, Immediate and Remote — Race Conflict for Supremacy — Agency 
of the Treaties — Condition of the Territories as to Defense — Neglect of the Government to Station Sufficient 
Troops — The "Ward Massacre," 1854 — Indian Outrages Precipitate the War — Murder of Bolon, Indian 
Agent — Haller's Expedition to the Yakima Country — Oflicial Knowledge of the Hostile Intentions of the 
Indians — Requisition of Major Rains on the Governors of Oregon and Washington for Volunteers — Response 
Thereto — Governor Curry's Proclamation Calling for Ei.ght Companies — Officers and Men, First Regiment 
Oregon Mounted Volunteers — Refusal of Major Rains, U. S. Army, to Furnish to Them Arms, Ammunition 
and Equipments — James W. Nesmith Elected Colonel — Governor Mason Appoints Major Rains Brigadier- 
General of Washington Territory 525 

Condition of Washington Territory at the Time of the Outbreak — Company A, Washington Territory Volunteers, 
Reports to Captain INIalouey, U. S. Army, Fort Steilacoom — Captain Maloney's Expedition Towards the 
Yakima Country — Killing of Moses and Miles — Company B, Captain William Strong, Reports to Major 
Rains — Uprising of Indians on the Sound — Captain Eaton's Company of Rangers — Killing of Eieutenaut 
McAllister — Captain Eaton's Command Besieged — Massacre of Families on White River — War Policy 
Established — Hostile Ground Defined — Battle with Hostiles on White River, Novenil)er 3d — Killing of John 
Edgar — Disposition of Forces by Captain Maloney, U. S. Army — Night Attack by Hostiles — Killing of 
Lieutenant William A. Slaughter, U. S. Army, and Two Corporals, by Kanaskut — The Steamer At live Cruises 
near Steilacoom — Return of Governor Stevens from Blackfoot Council — Hostility of General Wool to the 
People and Authorities of Oregon and Washington 540 

Operations on the Columbia River, and in the Yakima and Walla Walla Country — Force of Troops and Volunteers 
at P'orts Vancouver and Steilacoom — Estimate of Number of Hostiles — Major Rains and Colonel Nesmith 
Move into the Yakima Country — Battle of the "Two Buttes " — Colonel Nesmith's Requisition on General 
Wool for Arms, etc., to Reinforce Major Chinn — Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly's March to Walla Walla — Battle 
With the Walla Wallas — Death of Peu-peu-mox-mox — Colonel Nesmith Resigns — Thomas R. Cornelius 
Elected his Successor — The Oregon Volunteers go into Winter Quarters at Walla Walla — Campaign in the 
Yakima Country — Disbanding of the Regiment of Oregon Mounted Volunteers 550 

C H A P T E R I. 1 1 1 . 
Oregon and Washington Indian War — Governor Stevens' Operations — His Return from the Blackfoot Council — He 
Addresses the Legislative Assemblj-' — Call for Volunteers — Indian Attack Upon the Town of Seattle — Arrival 
of the Ninth Infantry — Governor Mason Goes to Washington City — Governor James Douglas — Patkauim 
Has a Battle with Leschi's Baud — Murder of Northcraft and White — Battle of Conuell's Prairie — Indians 
Becoming Demoralized — Major Hays Resigns His Command — Raid of Maxon's and Achilles' Companies Up 
the Nisqually — Arrest of Wren, McLeod and Others — Habeas Corpus Proceedings — Martial Law in Pierce 
and Thurston Counties — Trials by Military Commission — Discharge of Wreu, McLeod and Others — Trial of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Shaw and Governor Stevens for Contempt of Court — Campaign of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Shaw East of the Cascade Mountains 572 


Campaign of the Regulars West of the Cascade Mountains — Condition of Puget Sound, December, 1855 — Pacific 
Department Reinforced by the Ninth Infantry Regiment — Two Companies Ordered to Fort vSteilacoom — 
Lieutenant-Colonel Casey in Command of Puget Sound District — Six Companies Ordered to Columbia River 
— Colonel George Wright in Command of Columbia District — Lieutenant-Colonel Casey Establishes a 
Blockhouse at Muckleshoot Prairie — Killing of Kanaskat, the Hostile Chief — Fight with Indians at the 
Crossing of White River — Requisition of Lieutenant-Colonel Casey on the Governor of Washington Territory 
for Two Companies of Volunteer Infantry — Governor Stevens Declines — Expeditions to Stuck Prairie, Boise 
Creek and D'Wamish Lake — Expedition Under Captains Dent, Pickett and Fletcher to the Green and Cedar 
River Country — Major Garnett's Command of Two Companies Ordered to Join Colonel Wright East of the 
Cascades 590 

Campaign of Regulars East of Cascade Mountains — General Wool's Instructions to Colonel Wright — Attack on the 
Cascades — Massacre of Whites — Siege of the Bradford Store at Upper Cascades — Gallant Defense of Middle 
Blockhouse by Sergeant Kelly and Eight Men — Attack on Lower Cascades — Lieutenant Phil Sheridan to the 
Rescue — Trial and Execution of Indians Engaged in Cascade Massacre — Inhuman Massacre by Whites of the 
Spencer Family — Kamiakin's Design in Stimulating the Uprising of Cascade Indians, and the Raid Upon the 
Cascade Settlements — Peaceable Excursion of Colonel Wright Into the Yakima Country — The Indians Avoid 
Him — Efforts of the Washington Territory Volunteers to Co-operate with Colonel Wright — Peace in the 
Yakima Countrj- Announced — Governor Stevens' Attempt to Hold a Council with the Hostile Tribes — Terms 
of the Treaty — Volunteers Attacked by the Hostiles — Steptoe Asks Governor Stevens and Volunteers to 
Return and Escort Him to the I'matilla — Colonel Wright Ordered by General Wool to March Into the Walla 
Walla Country — He Delivers Leschi, Ouiemuth, Kitsap, Nelson and Stehi to Governor Stevens for Trial — 
Treaty of Peace with the Hostiles — General Wool Announces the War at an End in Oregon and Washington . 596 


C H A P T E R L V I . 


Campaign of General Clarke and Colonel Wright, in the Country East of the Columbia River and North of Walla 

Walla — The Peace of 1S56 Abortive — Kaniiakin Still Inaugurating Hostile Movements — Combination of 

Hostile Eastern Tribes, and Motives of Hostility — Indian Depredations in Walla Walla Region — Expedition 

of Lieutenant-Colonel Steptoe, and His Disastrous Defeat — Colonel Wright's Views of the Campaign Necessary 

— Treatv with the Xez Perces — Colonel Wright Sets Out on Northern Expedition — Battle of Four Lakes — 
Battle of Spokane Plains — The Spokanes Submit — The Cceur d'Alenes Submit — Death of Owhi and Qualchen 

— Submission of the Palouses — The War Ended 62 t 

Southern Oregon — Counties of Josephine and Curry — Straggling Savages Murder and Rob Umpqua Lighthouse — 
Trial and F;xecution of Enos — Chief John Sent to San Francisco — Desperate and Almost Successful Attempt 
of Himself and Son to Capture the Steamship — Military Wagon Road — Discovery of Gold in the Umpqua 
Vallev — Exploration of the Klamath Lake Country — First Mail Between Sacramento and Portland — More 
Indian Depredations — Bailey's Brave Stand Against a Hundred Savages — S. D. F^vans Shot Dead with an 
Arrow — The Great Deluge in Southern Oregon — Effects of the Southern Rebellion — Oregon Volunteers 
Again in the Field — Indian Council at Klamath I,ake — Causes and Details of the Modoc Indian War — The 
Assassination of General Canby — Punishment of the Traitorous Savages 640 


To Discover a Sea-path from Europe to India, the Incentive of Pacific Coast 
Exploration — Voyages, whether Eastward or Westward from Eni-ope, alike 
and necessarily Precursors of the Discovery of Northwest America — Kepiited 
Discoveries by the Cabots and Cortereal — The Strait of Aniau Myth — 
Fictitious Narratives of Pretended Voyages of Maldonado, de Fuca and de 
Fonte Stimulated North Pacific Exploration. 

THE discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, the voyages to the South African coast 
rounding that cape and opening the sea-path from Western Europe to the East 
Indies, which had been accomplished within the fifteenth century, proved the forerunners 
of grand development of geographic science, knowledge of navigation and the expansion 
of commerce. These enterprises had been but shortly preceded by discovery of the 
polarity of the magnetic needle and its legitimate sequent, the invention of the mariners' 
compass. To China belongs the invention of those important discoveries. The period 
at which the compass became first utilized by the navigators of Western Europe is 
shrouded in uncertainty. The best authorities ascribe its introduction to Flavio Gioia, 
a citizen of Amalfi in the Kingdom of Naples, and designate the year 1307 as the date. 

" Encouraged by the possession of this sure guide, by which at all times and all 
places he could with certainty steer his course, the navigator gradually abandoned the 
method of sailing along the shore, and boldly committed his bark to the open sea. 
Navigation was then destined to make rapid progress. The growing spirit of enterprise, 
combined with the increasing light of science, prepared the states of Europe for entering 
on that great career of discovery of which the details constitute the materials for the 
history of modern geography. Portugal took the lead, and in the foremost rank of 
the worthies of the little hero-nation stands the figure of Prince Henry, the navigator. 
Until his day (i 394-1 460) the pathways of the human race had been the mountain, the 
river and the plain, the strait, the lake and the inland sea. It was he who first conceived 
the thought of opening a road through the unexplored ocean, a road replete with danger 
but abundant in promise." 

In the foregoing eloquent extract are presented, not onl}' the causes of ignorance of 
geography, cosmography, cartography, — ignorance of the world in which humanity had 
stayed at home, or simpl}' crawled over a small area of the earth's circumference, — but 
the method whereby knowledge was to be acquired; " opening a road through the unexplored 
ocean," harbinger to " abundant promise," which has been more than realized by 
executing what Prince Henry conceived in that isolation of his sea-girt, rock-bound 
home at Sagres. That pioneer of discovery of worlds and seas dedicated his life to 
remove that ignorance, to develop knowledge of the world and its wealth, to expand 
commerce, " to find a sea-path to the thesaiiris arabiim ct divitas Indie^y Through his 
enlightened foresight and perseverence, the world is indebted for the maritime discovery 
of more than half the globe. Having successfully colonized the Azores, Portugal 
extended its explorations southward along the Atlantic coast of Africa beyond Cape Bojador, 
2 ( 1 ) 


seeking a channel leading eastward by which the Indian Ocean might be entered and 
the voyage to India shortened. In 1454, Portugal obtained from Pope Nicholas V. the 
grant of " exclusive right of navigation, conquest, trade, fishery in all seas and countries 
which they might find between Cape Bojador and the Indies, not before occupied by a 
Christian nation." 

Portuguese voyages continued. Year after 3'ear new lands were being made known. 
While Columbus, under the patronage of Spain, had been pursuing his westward 
voyages of discovery in search of India, prompted by the theory which had suggested 
to Prince Henry the southward voyages, the Portuguese had persevered in their efforts 
to reach India by sea ; Vasco de Gama had accomplished this desideratum. He had 
rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, and on the 20th of May, 149S, reached Calicut. 
Thus the idea and conception of Henry, the navigator, had ripened into fact. 

Western exploration had culminated in the discovery of America. Southward and 
eastward voyages had opened the sea-path to India. Henry did not live to witness the 
realization of that hope, which had been the very soul of his being. 

To find the much-coveted, long-hoped-for sea-path to India had been — nay it continued 
to be — the key-note of voj^ages of discovery; it "was the consummation devoutly to be 
wished." When found it was immediately succeeded by the revolutionizing of the 
commerce of the East, the changing of its marts, the adoption of new routes of 
transportation. Theretofore the rich products of India had found their way into S3'ria 
and Egypt, traversing the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. The Venitians, receiving them at 
Bey root and Alexandria, had enjoyed the carrying trade. Thereafter that wealth}^ 
commerce passed into the hands of maritime nations. 

Upon the return of Columbus from his first voyage of discovery, Ferdinand and 
Isabella of Spain claimed from Pope Alexander VL that same recognition which had 
been extended to Portugal by his predecessor. On the 2d of Ma}', 1493, the papal grant 
of 1454 was remodeled ; the undiscovered world was divided between Spain and Portugal. 
From pole to pole, one hundred leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, was 
the line of partition. All lands and seas discovered east of that line were allotted to 
Portugal ; all west were awarded to Spain. Expeditions fitted out b}' Spain sailed 
westward in search of India. The Portuguese prosecuted their voyages southward and 
eastward around the Cape of Good Hope. Neither Spain, Portugal nor the Pope had 
contemplated that these vo^'ages respectively made from this common meridian of 
departure, as they approached the antipodes, would there meet or pass. Portugal became 
dissatisfied with the papal partition, because of the belief that Spain had secured a much 
greater extent of ocean. On the 7th of June, 1494, the two nations entered into the 
treaty of partition of the ocean, concluded at and sometimes called the Treaty of 
Tordesillas. The line was removed two hundred and seventy' leagues westward of the 
papal line. No provision, however, had been made for the contingent approach of the 
possessory claims of the two nations toward each other, consequent upon the sphericity 
of the globe, — of voyages starting in opposite directions from the same meridian. Of 
necessity, complications could not be avoided. Portugal, bj- wav of the Cape of Good 
Hope, established its power in the Indies, made settlement on the Moluccas or Spice 
Islands, and had acquired the Port of Macao in China. Later the Spanish expeditions 
to India, via the Strait of Magellan, came into collision with those Portuguese settlements. 

Spain claimed exclusive navigation, trade and conquest westward to the extremity 
of the peninsula of INIalacca. That contention included all the Moluccas and China. 


Portugal asserted exclusive territorial rights from the partition meridian eastward to the 
Ladrone Islands. The treaty of Saragossa, April 22, 1529, adjusted these territorial 
differences between the two nations. Spain released to Portugal all claim to the Moluccas. 

The relative situation of India to the maritime powers of Western Europe and the 
sea-paths to and from ; the prevailing belief that America was the eastern extremity of 
India ; that voyages westward would reach that goal of navigators and adventurers in 
pursuit of wealth, fully account for projecting westward voyages of discovery. As the 
extent of the new continent became appreciable, the vastness of the world's area began to 
be realized. Seas and continents were found to separate Western Europe and Western 
Asia, which must be traversed before India could be reached by westward voyages from 

It was ascertained that the South Sea bathed the western shore of a vast continent ; 
the hope had been dispelled that i\merica was a projection of India. That same South 
Sea had become recognized as the Pacific Ocean. It was realized that long voyages upon 
its surface must be made before India could be reached. Discovery had demonstrated 
that the world was infinitely more vast than hitherto believed. India, as its remoteness 
had been made manifest, had become the more tempting to the adventurer. The new 
world laid across this westward sea-path to India. The continent discovered b}- Columbus 
as the hoped-for India proved to be the great obstacle to a direct westward voyage from 
Europe to India. The discovery of the Pacific Ocean was succeeded by the exploration 
of the west coast of North America. Still clinging to the hope, a hope so strong that it 
maj' properly be termed faith, that the Pacific shore line was but the projection eastward 
of the coast line of India, the Pacific coast was followed northward, westward and then 
southward in the expectation that India would be reached. For centuries navigators 
continued to explore the Pacific coast from its southern extremit}' to Arctic latitudes, 
stimulated by the belief that a channel would be found, — a water-passage from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, affording direct route for westward voyages from Europe to 
India, avoiding the circuit of the southern extremities of the two hemispheres. Voyages 
of discovery, actuated by such motives, constitute the preliminary history of the Pacific 
coast of Northwest America. 

In the search for the northwest passage, from the Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea 
and to the Indies, venturous spirits of all nations participated, notably of Portugal and 
Great Britain. 

To understand 'the animus which prompted the voyages of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, it becomes essential to recur to the condition of geographic science, 
and the then existing theories as to the connection between the Eastern and Western 
hemispheres. Early charts demonstrate that North America was supposed to have been 
the eastern portion of Asia. After it had become known that the Pacific Ocean was 
separated by a continent from the Atlantic, and ev^en after the western coast of America 
had been examined as far north as forty degrees north latitude, the idea was still entertained 
that, at no great distance north of that parallel, the coast would sharply deflect westward, 
and, after some distance, would then trend southward to the Indies. Another favorite 
theory had its devotees, — that to the north of the American continents a channel existed, 
through which, by sailing in a northwesterly direction, Asia could be reached from the 
Atlantic Ocean. Later, these ideas resolved themselves into a more definite theor}', — that 
at a high northern latitude there was a strait penetrating the continent, and constituting 


a water passage connecting the two oceans. The search for the northwest passage was 
for centuries the desideratum of the voyages projected by geographers and navigators of 
European nations. 

To discover a short and direct route from Europe to the Indies was an element in all 
North Pacific expeditions, — indeed, it might truthfully be added, all vo3'ages westward 
from Europe. 

Early as 1497-8, thus wrote Sebastian Cabota : 

"And when my father died, in that time when news were brought that Don Christoval 
Colon, the Genoese, had discovered the coasts of India, of which there was great talke in 
all the court of King Henry VII., who then reigned, in so much that all men, with great 
admiration, affirmed it to be a thing more divine than human to saile by the West into the 
East, where spices growe, b}' a wa\- that was never known before. By his fame and report 
there increaseth in my heart a great flame of desire to attempt some notable thing; and 
understanding by reason of the sphere that, if I should saile by way of northwest, I should, 
by a shorter tract, come into India, I thereupon caused the King to be advertised of my 
devise, who immediately commanded two caravels to bee furnished, with all things 
appertayning to the vo5'age, which was, as farre as I remember, in the year 1496, in the 
beginning of summer. I began therefore to saile toward the northwest, not thinking to 
find any other land than that of Catha}', and from thence to turn toward India." 

The Portuguese, who had discovered the route to India by doubling the Cape of Good 
Hope, now engaged in the more hazardous enterprise of seeking the Spice Islands of India 
by sailing westward around the northern extremity of North America. The first of these 
voyages, reported to have been as earl}' as 1463-4, was by John Yaz Cortereal, who explored 
the northern seas b}- order of Alfonso V., and discovered the Terra de Baccalhaos (the 
land of codfish) afterward called Newfoundland. It has been asserted that Portuguese 
from that time engaged in fishing on the banks of Newfoundland ; but there is no record 
that any Portuguese navigator attempted to explore those northern seas after Vaz 

The next voyage to those northern seas after Sebastian Cabot was that of Gaspar 
Cortereal, who sailed in 1500 from the Azores, his voyage occupying nearly the whole of 
that vear. Of that vo3-age, Ramusio thus speaks : 

"In the part of the new world which runs to the northwest, opposite to our habitable 
continent of Europe, some navigators have sailed, the first of whom, as far as can be 
ascertained, was Gaspar Cortereal, a Portuguese, who arrived there in the year 1500 with two 
caravels, thinking that he might discover some strait through which he might pass, by a 
shorter voyage than around Africa, to the Spice Islands. They prosecuted their vo3'age in 
those seas until they arrived at a region of extreme cold; and in the latitude of sixt}- 
degrees north they discovered a river filled with ice, to which the}- gave the name of Rio 
Nevado, — that is. Snow river. They had not courage, however, to proceed further." 

Gaspar Cortereal, fully persuaded that a northwest passage to India existed, with two 
vessels sailed from Lisbon on May 15, 1504, on a second voyage. Reaching Greenland, 
bad weather separated the two vessels. After long waiting, without any tidings of 
Cortereal, his consort returned to Lisbon, reporting his loss. 

In the collection of voyages, the strait which Cortereal is accredited with having 
discovered is named Anian. The reason for such nomination is stated to have been in 
honor of two brothers of that name who accompanied the expedition. That circumstance 


and such naming, with the ascribed motive therefor, are denied. According to some 
authorities, the northwest extremity of America was named Ania ; and that name appears 
ixpon early charts. B}^ others it is asserted that Ania was the name of an Asiatic province, 
which, so named, appears upon early maps. Purchas, in the "Pilgrims," speaks of 
" Anian" as an island off the coast of China. Hakluyt thus refers to the origin of the 
name: "An excellent learned man of Portingale, of singular grauet}^, authorite and 
experience, told me, very lately, that one Anus Cortereal, captayne of the Yle Tercera^ 
about the yeere 1574, which is not above eight yeeres past, sent a shippe to discouer the 
northwest passage of America, and that the same shippe, arriving on the coast of the 
saide America in fiftie-eighte degrees of latitude, founde a great entrance exceeding deepe 
and broade, without all impediment of ice, into which the\' passed about twenty leagues, 
and found it alwaies to trende towarde the south, the land lying lowe and plaine on ej'ther 
side; and they persuaded themselves verel}' that there was a way open into the South Sea." 

So much for the name Anian. Its origin is as m^ysterious as was the strait itself 
to which it was applied. But to discover that strait, the bravest and most experienced 
navigators of Portugal, Spain, England and Russia contined for centuries to devote their 
lives in venturesome voj^ages and perilous navigation. Myth though it has proven 
to have been,^to the acquisition of geographic knowledge, — to the discover}- of new worlds 
and seas, how great an incentive. To that long-continued, that reluctantly-abandoned 
faith in the existence of the Strait of Anian, or the northwest passage, is to be attributed those 
voyages which mark the early exploration of the coast of Northwest America. Kindred 
with the thought which accepted as assured the existence of that mythical strait, indeed, 
intensifying the nn-stery and co-operating to render those coasts more inviting to adventure, 
were fabulous narratives of pretended voyages and discoveries, which for centuries were 
credited. To ascertain the truthfulness of the narratives of the voyages accredited to 
Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado, Juan de Fuca and Admiral Bartolome de Fonte, upon the 
northern and northwestern coasts of North America, were the prompting motives of several 
national expeditions. 

Maldonado affixed to his fraud the earliest date. "A relation of the discover}^ of the 
Strait of Anian, made by me, Captain Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado, in the year 1588, in 
which is given the course of the voyage, the situation of the strait, the manner in which 
it ought to be fortified, and, also, the advantage of this navigation, and the loss which 
will arise from not prosecuting it." 

Its purpose, its location, sufficiently appear in the following curious extracts : 

"And now that I am commanded by your Majesty and the council of state to give 
some account of the voj-age and of the method of fortif}'ing the strait, it will be proper 
also to give the course to be steered, and the situation and harbor of that strait." 

Then follows the sailing directions from Lisbon northwest to Labrador, then northwest 
and west \y\ the Strait of Labrador until the strait is cleared, thence southwest until 
reaching sixty degrees north latitude, where the Strait of Anian was discovered. 

The narrative recites : " The distance from Spain to Friesland is four hundred and 
fifty leagues, and from thence to Labrador one hundred and eight}-, and to the termination 
of that strait two hundred and ninety, which make, in the whole, nine hundred and 
twenty leagues ; and these added to seven hundred and ninety, which we found to be the 
distance from the north part of the Strait of Labrador to the Strait of Anian, make, in the 
whole, one thousand seven hundred and ten leagues for the distance between Spain and 
the Strait of Anian. 


"The strait we discovered iu sixty degrees, at the distance of 1710 leagues from Spain, 
appears, according to ancient tradition, to be the one which geographers name iu their 
maps the Strait of Anian ; and, if it be so, it must be a strait having Asia on one side and 
America on the other." 

After detailing the cruise southward to Mendocino, and the vo3'age westward 120 
leagues, they return to the entrance of the strait. The narrative concludes : 

"We found ourselves at the entrance of the same Strait of Anian, which, fifteen days 
before, we had passed through to the open sea, which we knew to be the South Sea, 
where Japan, China, the Moluccas, India, New Guinea and the land discovered by Captain 
Quiros are situated, with all the coast of New Spain and Peru. At the mouth of the 
strait, through which we passed to the South Sea, there is a harbor situated on the coast 
of America, capable of holding five hundred ships." 

In Spanish literature the name of Maldonado held prominent place. This has been 
suggested as a reason that such a name was selected as a nnni de plume to conceal the 
imposture ; — a fictitious voyage in which it is represented that a passage by the northwest 
was made from the Atlantic to the Pacific, returning in the following year. There is but 
little doubt, however, as to Maldonado having been a real personage, and as to the 
authorship of " the relation," above recited. 

Nicholas Autorico, iu Bibliotheca Hispana, title " Laurent Ferrer Maldonado," ascribes 
to that person great proficiency in geograph}^ and navigation, and refers to his published 
work on geographic science. The writer claims to have seen the original manuscript, 
"the discover)' of the Strait of Anian made by Maldonado (the author) in 1588." Other 
autliorities state that IMaldonado appeared before the " Council of the Indies " to secure 
payment for two scientific discoveries: i. "To render the magnetic needle not subject to 
variation." 2. " To take the longitude at sea." 

That he was a man of learning and abilit}' is unquestionable. There is also abundant 
evidence that his countrymen attached credit for many years to what subsequently proved a 
forger3\ An illustration of how the claim was regarded is found in the fact, that is, fitting 
out the vo3'age of discovery (in 1789) commanded by Malaspina, destined for the examination 
of the coast of Northwest America, between fifty-three degrees and sixty degrees north. 
Among the instructions to the commander, he is directed " to discover the strait b}- which 
Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado was supposed to have passed, in 158S, from the coast of 
Labrador to the great ocean." Again, in 1790, after Malaspina had sailed, Buache, the 
distinguished French geographer, before the Paris Acadeni}' of Sciences, read a memoir 
to establish that the voyage accredited to Maldonado had been made, — that the narrative 
was genuine and reliable. A translated cop}' of that memoir was forwarded b}' the 
Spanish government to Malaspina at Nootka, which reached him at Acapulco, instructing 
him to determine the truth or falsity of the narrative. Again, in 1791, when Galiano and 
Valdez sailed for Northwest America, in the Suiil and Mexicana, they were also furnished 
with the " ' Maldonado ' relation " with instructions to investigate the alleged discoveries. 
Nor was the making public of " the relation " less curious. Maldonado himself had 
waited twenty 3'ears subsequent to the alleged time of the voyage. In 1626, he published 
his geographic work, in which he omitted reference to the Strait of Anian, or his pretended 

"The relation," copied from a quarto transcript by Munon, March 24, 1781 (printed 
in 1788, as already stated), had found a champion in Buache, the French scientist. In 


iSii, Amoretti, the librarian of the Anibrosian Library at Milan, his notice being called 
to a small volume in Spanish entitled " relation, etc." (a copy of the paper before cited), 
at first looked upon it as a mere sensational paper. On attentive reading, he became 
impressed with its truthfulness of claim. He translated it, published it with comments 
defending its authenticity and the integrity of its claim. Humboldt had already denounced 
it as an imposture, as also had Malaspina, after thorough examination of the coasts of 
Northwest America, within the limits prescribed for the existence of the strait. In the 
light of present geographic science, the absurdities of the statement of Maldonado's voyage 
appear ; wonder is excited that the so-called Maldonado relation as to the northwest 
passage should ever have deceived even the most ignorant. 

Next in order of chronologic birth is the pretended voj^age of Juan de Fuca. Michael 
Lok, Senior, British Consul at Aleppo, originated the narrative, which comprises all the 
evidence that there ever existed a man named Juan de Fuca, or that in 1592 such a 
personage made a vo3'age to Northwest America. 

The voyage, the hero, the claim, are illustrated by the " Note made by me, Michael 
Lok, the elder, touching the strait of sea, commonly called Fretum Anian, in the South 
Sea, through the northwest passage of Meta Incognita." 

" When I was at Venice in April, 1596, haply arrived there an old man, about sixty 
years of age, called commonly Juan de Fuca, but named properly Apostolos Valerianus, 
of nation a Greek, born in Cephalonia, of profession a mariner, and an ancient pilot of 

" He said he was in the Spanish ship, which, in returning from the Islands 
Philippinas, towards Nova Spania, was robbed and taken at the Cape California by Captain 
Candish, Englishman, whereby he lost sixty thousand ducats of his own goods. 

" He said that he was a pilot of three small ships which the Viceroy of Mexico sent 
from Mexico, armed with one hundred men, under a captain, Spaniards, to discover the 
Strait of Anian, along the coast of the South Sea, and to fortif}' in that strait, to resist 
the passage and proceedings of the English nation, which were feared to pass through 
those straits into the South vSea ; and, that by reason of a mutiny which happened among 
the soldiers for the misconduct of their captain, that voj^age was overthrown, and the ship 
returned from California to Nova Spania, without an3'thing done in that vo3'age ; and 
that, after their return, the captain was at Mexico punished by justice. 

" Also he said that, shortly after the said vo\'age was so ill ended, the said Vicero}^ of 
Mexico sent him out again, in 1592, with a small caravel and a pinnace armed with 
mariners onl}-, to follow the said voyage for the discovery of the Strait of Anian, and the 
passage thereof into the sea ; which they called the North Sea, which is our Northwest 
Sea ; and that he followed his course in that voyage, west and northwest in the South Sea, 
all along the coast in Nova Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North 
America, until he came to the latitude 47 degrees ; and that, there finding that the land 
trended north and northeast, with a broad inlet of sea, between 47 and 48 degrees of 
latitude, he entered thereinto, sailing therein more than twenty days, and found that 
land trended still sometimes northwest, and northeast, and north, and also east 
southeastward, and very much broader sea than was at the said entrance, and that he 
passed by divers islands in that sailing ; and that, at the entrance of this said strait, 
there is, on the northwest coast thereof, a great headland or island, with an exceeding 
high pinnacle, or spired rock, like a pillar, thereupon." " Also, he said that he went 


on land in divers places, and that he saw some people on land clad in beasts' skins ; and 
that the land is very frnitfnl, and rich of gold, silver, pearls and other things, like Nova 

" And also, he said that he being entered thns far into the said strait, and being come 
into the North Sea already, and finding the sea wide enough everywhere, and to be about 
thirty or fort}^ leagues wide in the mouth of the strait where he entered, he thought he had 
now well discharged his office ; and that, not being armed to resist the force of the savage 
people that might happen, he therefore set sail, and returned homewards again towards 
Nova Spania, where he arrived at Acapulco anno 1592." 

The narrative of Lok, from which the foregoing extracts are made, contains the only 
record, the only evidence of that alleged voj-age. The claim, the service performed, the 
result, the motive for asserting the claim, are all exhibited in the language of him who 
heralds the great discover}-, one whose real object seems to have been to seek indemnity 
for a pretended loss at the hands of pirates. The English government took no notice 
whatever of Lok's narrative. It is referred to by contemporary' English writers, without 
additional particulars to corroborate it. It does not appear to have been regarded of 
sufficient importance to demand verification. The best authorities treated it as a 
fabrication. The stor}' of the vo3'age, never credited to au}' great extent, like other 
narratives of expeditions in search of the Strait of Anian, kept alive the hope that such 
channel was a reality ; it stimulated inquiry. No record is preserved in Spain or Mexico 
mentioning the vo3-age of him who is asserted to have made it, or that in an}- wa}' 
contributes color of truthfulness to the Lok narrative. Its inconsistencies are patent, are 
glaring. The land described, the natives, the alleged elements of wealth, the location of 
the strait, its extent, coast line, internal navigation, indeed ever}' peculiarity of the Strait 
of Juan de Fuca and its surroundings, repel the belief that the inventor of Eok's statement 
could ever have seen or visited the northwest coast of America. 

The so-called voj-age of Admiral Bartolome de Fonte completes this trio of fables. 
As a preface to the story, it should be remembered that a voyage for fishing or discovery 
had been undertaken from New England to Hudson's Bay. The French then in 
possession of Canada had crossed overland with intent to extend their settlements to the 
shores of Hudson's Bay. M. de Grosseliez, one of the earliest settlers of Quebec, a man 
of enterprise, conceiving that advantages would result to the French by the possession of 
the ports and harbors of Hudson's Bay, fitted out an expedition to explore its coasts. It 
was late in the season when the party landed on the western side of Nelson's river. An 
Euglish settlement had been observed which de Grosseliez proposed to attack. On 
approaching, a solitar}' hut was found, its half dozen inmates perishing from hunger and 
disease. Grosseliez ascertained that they were of the crew of a Boston ship, who had been 
sent ashore to find a proper place for their vessel to lie in safet}- during the winter ; that 
while on this service the ship had been driven by storm from her anchorage and had never 
returned. To James Petiver, a contributor to the " London IMonthl}' Miscellany or 
Memoirs for the Curious," circumstances suggested that fabrication entitled, " The 
account of a Spanish Expedition from the South Sea, through the interior of America, by 
means of rivers and lakes, into the Northern Atlantic," published in that magazine 
April, 1708. 

M. de Lisle and P. Buache, of the French Acadeni}', translated the article, embellished 
it with maps illustrating the routes of de Fonte and Bernardo, giving full faith and 


credit to the narrative and to the voyage. Burney termed it an " adventurous piece of 
geograph3^"' Alexander Dalrymple pronounced it " an idle invention ; if it had not 
made at the time some noise in the world it would be wholly undeserving of notice." 

Bartolome de Fonte was the name given the admiral assigned to the command. 
Associated with his name were Diego Penalosa as vice-admiral, Pedro de Bernardo and 
Felipe de Rinquillo as captains. The fleet, consisting of four vessels commanded by 
Admiral de Fonte, is represented to have sailed from Callao in April, 1640, under orders of 
the Vicero}' of Peru, to explore the American coasts of the north Pacific, and to intercept 
certain vessels reported to have sailed from Boston in search of a northwest passage from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific. Arrived at Cape St. Lucas, Vice-Admiral Penalosa was 
detached to explore the Gulf of California. De Fonte, with three vessels, proceeded 
northward 260 leagues, having sailed in crooked channels among the Archipelago of 
San Lazandro, be3'ond which, in latitude fifty-three degrees north, he discovered the 
month of the river Reyes. Bernardo continued his examinations further north, while de 
Fonte entered the river Reyes, which he ascended to a large lake with beautiful shores, 
which he named La Belle. It contained many islands, and was surrounded by a lovel}^ 
country, inhabited by a hospitable people. On its south shore was a large town called 
Conasset. Passing through a strait to the eastward, he reached an Indian town, where 
he learned that at a little distance from thence lay a great ship. He sailed thither, and 
found aboard only one man, advanced in years, and a youth, who told him that the ship 
was from Boston. The next day the captain and owner of the ship appeared. Although 
de Fonte had been ordered to make prize of any people or vessels seeking a northwest 
passage, he looked upon Boston merchants as trading for skins. Instead of seizing them 
he made valuable presents, and received in return their charts and journals, and then 
returned to Conasset. Bernardo had ascended another river, called by him Rio de Haro, 
into a lake he named Valasea, in latitude sixty-one degrees. There he left the ship and 
proceeded northward several hundred leagues, in three large Indian canoes. To de Fonte 
he reported that there was no " communication out of the Spanish Sea by Davis's Strait, 
for the natives had conducted one of his seanlen to the head of Davis's Strait, which 
terminated in a fresh lake of about thirty miles in circumference, in the eightieth degree 
of north latitude, and there were prodigious mountains north of it." The narrative ends 
by saying that Admiral de Fonte returned to Peru, " having found that there was no 
passage into the South Sea by that which is called the northwest passage." 

This de Fonte fraud only ceased to find believers after explorations had demonstrated 
the utter falsity of its description of the lands and seas in the region claimed to have 
been visited. 

In dismissing these narratives of those three fabulous voyages, it must be remarked 
that they contributed largely to stimulating expeditions for discovery, and as incentives 
to exploration. They serve also in a very great degree to illustrate the thought of the 
times in which they appeared as to the geography of Northwest America. 

In the last half of the sixteenth century, the track of the European vessels engaged 
in the commerce of the Pacific Ocean, /. e., between Europe and the East Indies, was 
through the Strait of Magellan, the only then known passage between the Atlantic and 
the Pacific Oceans. Such voyage was long in time and distance; it was equally hazardous. 
To avoid circuity of route, to shorten the time, to escape difficulties of navigation, to effect 
directness of course, to secure dispatch, economy and safety, the hope of that period 


became father to the thought, which almost ran mad in seeking a strait of sea through 
the North American continent connecting the two great oceans in high northern latitudes. 
It is not surprising that the credit ascribed to Caspar Cortereal of having discovered and 
nominated the Strait of xA.nian stimulated so many voj^ages of discovery ; that the 
educated wish of that age, the existence of the northwest passage, the Strait of Anian, 
prompted many to believe Maldonado's " relation ;" that for centuries there continued to 
be found those who believed Juan de Fuca to have been a real personage, and to have 
made a voyage to the waters bearing his name ; that the narrative of the voyage of 
Admiral de Fonte was entitled to have been recorded with those of veritable voyages. 

The story of the Strait of Anian has, with difficult}', been discarded ; — the theory has 
never been abandoned ; the region in which the passage exists has merel}' been transferred 
to Arctic latitudes. Polar exploration to secure shorter passage between the two oceans 
has to-da}' just as much attraction for many as had the Lok invention of de Fuca's 
voj'age in the sixteenth centur}-. 

The mystery has worked for the good of our race, — for the civilization of continents 
and worlds. To and from both sides of America, how numerous the expeditions and 
voj'ages. In solving the mystery in seeking the northern strait, the northwest passage, 
the FRETUM ANIAN of the meta incognita, most valuable have been the contributions to 
science. How vast the fields which have been opened to humanity and dedicated to 
commerce and civilization, and how important the bearing in the problem of the 
establishment of those great commonwealths on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, whose 
history it is the purpose of the following pages to chronicle. 

Chapter I. 


Balboa Crosses the Continent and Discovers the Pacific Ocean — Pioneer Explorations 
on the West Coast of North America, Adjacent to the Isthmus and Working 
Northward — Magellan Passes Through the Strait which bears his Name, Enters 
and Nominates the Pacific Ocean — Cortez Discovers and Subjng.ites Mexico — 
— Voyages of Mendoza, Grijalva, Becarra, Ulloa, Alarcon, Cabrillo and Ferrelo 
on the West Coast of America — The Pacific Coast Examined from Panama 
Northward to Cape Mendocino. 

\/"ASCO NUNEZ DE BALBOA, Spanish Governor of Antiqna, the province bordering 
the Gulf of Darien, to avert arrest npon charges of oppression and abuse of authority, 
conceived the thought of conciliating his King by bold acts of discovery. Through the 
natives he had learned of the sea extending to the south, and of the great wealth of Peru. 
Those reports stimulated his overland march westward in search of the South Sea and the 
wealthy provinces upon its coast. On the ist of September, 15 13, with 190 picked men, 
he sailed northward to Coyba. On the 6th, the party landed and commenced their march 
across the isthmus. On the 26th, from the mountain ridge, they discovered the " Great 
South Sea." On the 29th of September, 1513, Balboa took formal possession of these 
Indies, the "land and seas," for the sovereign King and Queen of Castile and Aragon, and 
named the bay Gulf of San Miguel. Having completed the ceremonial of taking the sea, 
Balboa returned to Antiqua. In his many conflicts with the natives, he had not experienced 
a single defeat, nor lost a single man. He bore with him pearls and precious metals, 
evidences of the wealth and importance of his great discovery, and received an enthusiastic 
welcome. The result of the expedition created a sensation in Spain hardly second to the 
discover}' of the New World by Christopher Columbus. 

At that early period in the development of geographic science, the belief prevailed 
that the American continents were extensions eastward of Asia, — were portions of the Indies. 
The latter were the imagined lands of pearls and precious gems, of gold and of silver, and 
of precious metals, of the spices, of the best of the earth, the repositories of untold and 
fabulous wealth. The great South Sea, that vast continuity of waters beyond the ideal 
boundary or measured limit of the Atlantic Ocean or North Sea, led directly to these 
opulent and luxurious fields. Hence Balboa's discovery was of the greatest importance, 
and became the great incentive to new and grander explorations. Under the direction of 
Balboa, small vessels were constructed at the Gulf of San Miguel, for the examination of 
adjacent coasts and islands. In 1517, Bartolome Hurtardo, in canoes, cruised along the 
coast as far north as Costa Rica. In 15 19, Caspar de Espinosa founded the city of 
Manama. He sent an expedition northward, which reached the Gulf of Nicoya, in 
Nicaragua. In January, 1522, Cil Gonzales Davilla, with a fleet of four vessels, sailed 
from Panama. Having reached the Gulf of Nicoya, Davilla headed a land party and 
discovered Lake Nicaragua, while Pilot Andres Nino, in one of the vessels, proceeded 
westward, discovered and named the Gulf of Fronseca, and, it is claimed, entered the 
Gulf of Tehuantepec. 

( 11 ) 


But the great desideratum of the Spanish government was to find a westward route to 
the ]\Ioluccas or Spice Islands of India. For this purpose, in October, 1515, Juan Diaz de 
Solis sailed from Spain. He discovered the river La Plata; ascending it, was killed by 
natives, and his vessels returned to Spain. A year after the return of the ill-fated Solis 
expedition, Magellan submitted to the Emperor, Charles V., his proposition to reach the 
Moluccas by sailing westward from Spain. 

Fernando Magellan, or, according to his true Portuguese name, Fernao de Magalhaes 
(entitled to be styled the " First Circumnavigator," though death defeated his completing 
in a single voyage the world's circumnavigation) had for man}' years been in the Portuguese 
service in the East Indies. He had been the associate with Serrano in command of the 
ships sent out under Abrue for the discover}' of the Spice Islands. Soured with his 
sovereign, and insulted by what he deemed a slight, he entered the service of Spain. 
Assigned by Charles V. the command of five ships, with the rank of Captain-General, 
Magellan set sail from Lucar, September 21, 15 19, " to find a western route from Spain to 
the Spice Islands of India." 

In October, 1520, he entered the strait now bearing his name. On the 27th of 
November, 1520, he sailed out into that vast open sea, to which he gave the name Pacific 
Ocean. Heading northwest, Magellan crossed the equator February 13, 1521, and reached 
the Ladrone Lslands March 6th, from whence he sailed from the Philippines. On the 26th 
of April, 1 52 1, on the Island of Alatau, he was killed in a conflict with the natives. 
Sebastian del Cano, in command of the Vittoria, one of Magellan's fleet, returned to Spain 
by wa}' of the Cape of Good Hope, reaching Lucar September 6, 1522. Charles Y. received 
him with great honors, granted to him a globe for his crest, and the motto " Primus 
circumdediste me." Thus Del Cano, the subordinate of Magellan, completed the first 
circumnavigation of the globe. His chief had projected the expedition to prove that it 
could be done. While in the service of Portugal, Magellan had rounded the Cape of 
Good Hope, and had sailed eastward to those islands, where he met his untimely death. 
In the two voj'ages he had traversed earth's entire circumference, — had completed the 
world's circumnavigation. 

The length of the voyage, the difficulties and dangers attending a passage through 
the Strait of Magellan, prevented au}' hast}' or spontaneous increase of commerce from 
that great discovery. It doubtless stimulated Spanish navigators to seek shorter and 
more direct communication between the two oceans. Dominion upon the American 
hemisphere, and the control of the commerce of the East Indies, were the great objects 
sought by Spanish adventurers. 

In the meantime (1517-1521), Hernando Cortez had conquered and reduced Mexico. 
Spanish supremacy securely established, he projected an exploration of the adjacent seas 
and countries. 

As early as 1522, in letters to his sovereign, Cortez alludes to three ports on the 
Pacific coast discovered by him, viz. : Tehuantepec, Tntulepec (about 100 miles west, but 
in about the same latitude) and Zacatula in eighteen degrees north, where a garrison under 
Pedro de Alvarado and a settlement had been established. At this port three vessels were 
immediately ordered to be built for northern discovery and exploration. This enterprise 
was abruptly suspended by Cortez' departure to Central America to quell an insurrection. 
Not until 1526 were the vessels completed, at which time they were joined by another 
from the Strait of Magellan under Guoerra, and ordered by the Emperor of Spain to the 
Moluccas Islands to relieve a Spanish fleet. Previous to starting in October, 1527, those 




built by Cortez had made a coast voyage under Alvero de Saavedra to Santiago, in Colima, 
a port discovered three years before by a land expedition under Francisco Cortez. The 
fleet, under command of Saavedra, safely arrived at the Moluccas Islands. Cortez' 
purposes are best portrayed in his own letter to the Emperor. They also exhibit the 
animus of his cotemporaries. He thus announced his object : " The sailing north and 
then west, and finally south until he should reach India ; this would secure the exploration 
of the South Sea, with its coast and islands, and finding of a northern passage by water 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific." 

"In one of three places where I have discovered the sea, there shall be built two 
caravels of medium size, and two brigantines, the two former for discovery and the latter for 
coasting." " In search of the said strait, because if it exists it cannot be hidden to these 
in the South Sea, or to those in the North Sea, since the former will follow the coast until 
they find the strait or join the land with that discovered by ]Magalhaes (India), and the 
others in the North Sea, as I have said, until they join it to Bacallaos. Thus on one side 
or the other the secret will not fail to be revealed." Cortez' personal interest and 
investments laid in the south. These he abandoned to gratify an ambition to discover 
"the strait," to shorten the voyage between Spain and the Indies, to open direct 
communication between Spain and the East India Islands, via Mexico. Such discoveries 
would necessarily add rich islands, coasts and seas to the Spanish Empire. 

In 152S, Cortez ordered five vessels to be built, to replace the fleet which had sailed 
to the Moluccas. These vessels were never completed. Cortez returned to Spain 
in consequence of complaints against him ; the Emperor Charles V. appointed him 
Captain-General of New Spain, with the title of Marquis of Oaxaca. New Spain embraced 
a vast area of territory, with Tehuantepec as its port on the Pacific Ocean. In 1530, Cortez, 
on his return to New Spain, found his authorit}- resisted b}^ Nuno de Guzman, Governor 
of Panuco (the present province of Tempico), whose jurisdiction had been extended to the 
Pacific Ocean by the Emperor's grant of the province of Xalisco. The contest with 
Guzman necessarily suspended Cortez' explorations. Nothstanding these disappointments, 
these failures of projected enterprises, yet prior to the year 1532, the western coast from 
Panama to Zacatula had been thoroughly explored ; the voyage had been made to Colima; 
land explorations had penetrated as far northward as San Bias ; ship-bnilding had been 
successfully pursued at several ports on the Mexican coast, and voyages had been made» 
between Mexico and the East Indies. 

In 1532, Cortez fitted out an expedition from Tehuantepec of two vessels under 
command of his kinsman, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, with instructions to sail northward 
within sight of the coast and to land at all convenient places. Mendoza reached latitude 
twenty-seven north, when a mutiny occurred, which obliged him to send back one of his 
vessels. The returning vessel in great distress reached Culiacan river, and was then 
deserted by her entire crew. Mendoza, in attempting to reach x^capulco, was wrecked 
near Cape Corrientes and killed by the natives. His vessel was seized and plundered 
by Guzman. In 1533, two vessels went in search of the missing vessel, respectively 
commanded by Hernado Grijalva and Diego Becerra. Grijalva, sailing seaward, discovered 
the Revilla Gigedo Islands. Becerra followed the coast of Xalisco northward until 
murdered by his pilot, Ximenas. The mutineers then sailed westward, reaching a coast 
in latitude twenty-three degrees north, where Ximenas and most of the crew were 
murdered by the natives. The survivors crossed to Chiametla, a little harbor on the 
coast of Xalisco, where the vessel was seized by Guzman. Guzman's repeated acts of 


hostility provoked Cortez to complain to the Spanish court. Dissatisfied with its decision, 
he determined to redress his own wrongs. Troops were marched to Chiametla, and three 
vessels ordered from Tehuantepec. Upon the arrival of the vessels, without having 
encountered Guzman, Cortez sailed westward to the land on which Ximenas had been 
murdered, the southern portion of the peninsula of Lower California. On the 3d of 
Ma}-, 1535, he took formal possession of that territory-, naming it Santa Cruz. The 
reports of the wealth of the cities of the interior prompted Cortez to dispatch new 
expeditions to the California coasts. By the arrival of Don Antonia de Mendoza as 
Viceroy of New Spain, Cortez had been superseded as Captain-General, but still continued 
Admiral of the South Sea, by virtue of which rank he claimed exclusive right to project 
voyages and make discoveries in the North Pacific Ocean or upon the coasts of the South 
Sea. In 1539, he organized an expedition consisting of three vessels, of which he 
appointed Francisco de Ulloa commander. Ulloa sailed from Acapulco July 8, 1539, 
explored the Gulf of California to its extreme head, determined that the outlet before 
supposed to exist to the north was a great inland arm of the sea penetrating the continent, 
and that Lower California was a peninsula. Thence, pursuing his voyage southward, 
he doubled the peninsula and followed the coast northward to Cape Engana, latitude 
twenty-nine degrees north. From thence Ulloa sent one of the vessels back to Acapulco, 
and the other sailing northward was never heard of. Ulloa commanded the last 
of the maritime expeditions fitted out by Hernando Cortez. He projected another, to 
consist of five vessels, to the command of which he had assigned his son, Don Luis. 
Mendoza interfered, a quarrel ensued, and in 1540 Cortez departed for Spain, to submit 
his grievances in person to the Emperor. 

In 1539, the Viceroy Mendoza sent Marcos de Niza, provincial of the Order of 
Franciscans in Mexico, and Honorata, an associate priest, on a tour of exploration into 
the interior, which had been reported to contain populous and wealthy cities. A year 
later Niza wrote a glowing letter, asserting the existence of a country north of thirty-five 
degrees north latitude, abounding in gold, silver and precious stones, inhabited by a 
more civilized race than the IMexicans. Cibola, the city from which Niza wrote, contained 
20,000 large stone houses, four stories high, adorned with jewels. Other cities farther to 
the north, which he had not seen, were represented as more populous and wealthy. The 
natives at first were hostile to his coming, but that hostility had been succeeded by a desire 
to embrace Christianit}-. 

Consequent upon Niza's report, Mendoza organized land and naval expeditions to 
penetrate to the interior and verify the story. Two ships under the command of Fernando 
de Alar9on sailed May 9, 1540, arrived at the mouth of the Colorado river in August, 
ascending it in boats to the distance of eighty-five leagues. Alargon hearing nothing of 
wealthy citizens, returned. In his exploration, Alarcon has gone four degrees further 
north than the latitude reached by Ulloa. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado commanded 
Mendoza's land expedition. After a march of three months he reached Cibola. He 
found seven small towns, but none possessing the wealth pictured by Niza. After 
learning how severely he and others had been deceived by the fabulous stories as to 
wealthy cities and tribes in the interior, he prosecuted his march, on a tour of 
exploration, advancing probably to the shores of the Great Salt Lake. 

Mendoza, emulating the efforts and fame of his predecessor in discovering new lands 
and seas, determined upon continuing the examination of the California coast. Two 
vessels were assigned to the command of Juan Roderiquez de Cabrillo, a Portuguese, 


with Bartolome Ferrelo as pilot. On June 27, 1542, the\- sailed from Natividad, 
crossed the Gulf of California, rounded Cape San Lucas, and continued coasting 
northward, discovered San Diego Bay in September (which Cabrillo named San ]\Iiguel), 
the Ba}- of IMonterej-, which he named Bay of Pines, and reaching Punta de los Reyes, 
latitude thirty-seven degrees ten minutes north, there anchored. From here he was 
driven in a storm south to the Island of San Miguel as named by him (now Bernardo), 
where he died Januar}' 5, 1543. Cabrillo appointed Pilot Ferrelo to succeed him in the 
command, and requested that the voyage should be further prosecuted. Ferrelo sailed 
northward. In forty degrees north, he saw mountains covered with snow, and a cape 
between, to which he gave the name of Mendocino (i), in honor of the ^'iceroy. Having 
reached latitude forty-four degrees north, he headed south for Natividad. The result of 
this voyage was the determination of the coast line of California to latitude forty-three 
degrees north. 

From the result of land explorations of Coronado, in search of wealthy cities, and 
the voyage of Cabrillo and Ferrelo, Mendoza had become satisfied that there were no rich 
cities in the interior, and that there was no strait or water-passage between Mexico and 
forty-two degrees north latitude from the Pacific into the Atlantic Ocean. 

The west coast of North America had been thoroughl}- examined from Panama 
northward to Cape Mendocino. No regions had been discovered, the wealth of which 
tempted the avarice of the Spaniards. With Ferrelo's voyage, explorations of the North 
Pacific coast was for the time being suspended. In Spanish nomenclature, " Coast of 
California in the South Sea" was applied to the territory north of Cape San Lucas and 
extended indefinitely northward. Mexico was known as New Spain. North of Mexico, 
where discoveries had been made, the whole coast was claimed b}' Spain under the name 
of California. 

(i) Prof. Davidsou, U. S. Coast Survey, says ; 

'"It is generally stated that Juan Roderiquez Cabrillo named this cape in honor of Don .\ntonio de Mendoza. the Viceroy of Mexico. But 
the highest latitude he reached was Punta de Los Reyes, to which he in reality applied tliat name. It is quite probable that under the lee of the 
rocks of this cape, Ferrelo, the pilot and successor of Cabrillo, anchored in the last of Februarj-, 1543, and named Cabo de Fortunas iCape of Perils), 
although he places his position in latitude forty-three degrees north- The ne.xt day he may have been off Trinidad Head experiencing heavy 
northerly weather, and his observations might have placed him in latitude forty. four degrees; but with his vessels, adverse currents, and a 
dead-beat-to-wiudward, he could not have made a degree of latitude in a day. Here he turned back, passed the Golden Gate March 5d, and 
reached the Island of Santa Cruz on the 5th." (Davidson's Coast Pilot, p. 97.) 

Chapter II. 


Siiain Coiiqiu'is tin' Philippine Islands — Urdaneta's Ketnrn Voyages Eastward from 
Manilla to Acaimh-o — Commercial Voyages Between Manilla and Mexico — 
\ oyages ol Francisco de Gali — Crnise of Sir Francis Drake — Takes Possession, 
Calling the Coast New Albion — Voyages of Thomas Cavendish — Voyages of 
Vizcaino — Crnise of 3Iartin de Agnilar — Change of Maritime Policy of Spain. 

I3HILIP II., soon after his ascension of the Spanish throne, ordered Don Lnis de 
\'elasco, \'iceroy of Mexico, to conqner the Philippine Islands and establish thereon 
Spanish settlements. Andreas Urdaneta, an Anstin friar, whose reputation as a 
cosniographer stood very high (who in 1527, then a mariner, had sailed with Saavedra on 
the vo3'age to relieve Loaisa), was urged to accompany the expedition. Disqualified by 
his priesthood for a command, he was authorized to name the commanding officer. His 
choice fell upon Miguel Gomez de Legaspi, upon whom was conferred the title of Governor, 
with the fullest powers. On the 21st of November, 1564, the expedition, consisting of five 
vessels and numbering about four hundred men, sailed from Natividad. On the 13th of 
February, 1565, Legaspi arrived at thePhilippines. The islanders resisted, but, after a 
trifling loss, submitted to the invaders. In April, 1565, he took possession in the name of 
the Crown of Spain, founded the cit}- of Manilla, on the Island Luzon, and became first 
Governor of the Philippine Islands. A return voyage eastward from the Indies to the 
American coast had never yet been made. The belief had existed that, in consequence of 
the direction of the prevailing winds, it could not be successfully accomplished. Urdaneta 
had submitted his theories as to the possibility of accomplishing such return voyage before 
he had been selected to accompany the expedition. The time had arrived to test the 
correctness of his theories, — to put them into practice. 

The San Pedro, in which Urdaneta and Father Aguirre, a brother priest, were companion 
shipmates, with a sixteen-year-old nephew of Legaspi, as nominal captain, left Zebu June 
I, 1565, for Acapulco. The vessel sailed east to the Ladrones, thence north to latitude 
forty-three degrees north, from whence the trade winds bore her safely to Acapulco, at which 
port she arrived on the 3d of October. The sailing directions and charts of the first return 
voyage from India to Mexico, prepared by Urdaneta, were followed for many years by the 
Spanish galleons. The track pursued, long the route from Manilla to Acapulco, was 
designated Urdaneta's passage. Manilla became the Spanish metropolis of the East Indies ; 
and an important commerce was established. Large vessels sailed at regular intervals 
from Acapulco for Manilla and Macao, laden with European goods and the products of 
Mexico, returning with silks and spices for Mexico and Spain. In one of those voyages 
(on July 4, 1574I, as stated in the Hakluyt collection of voyages (purporting to give 
Gali's own narrative translated from the, Francisco de Gali "made the coast of 
New Spain, under seven and thirty degrees and a half." The introduction to the Journal 
of Galiano Valdez substituted fifty-seven degrees thirty minutes for thirty-seven degrees 
thirty minutes, upon the authority of a French translation of the Gali narrative from 

( iti ) 










Hakluyt. Through that erroneous substitution, the Gali voyage became notable. The 
controversy as to the coast having been settled, the Spanish title b}^ discovery ceased to be 
a theme of international dispute, — no necessity remained to adhere to the French 
substitution. So the Hakluyt narrative fixing thirty-seven degrees thirty minutes is now 
universally accepted. 

The value and increasing importance of Spanish commerce were regarded with 
jealous eye by other European powers. Exaggerated accounts of the wealth of conquered 
cities and provinces on the Pacific coast were extensively circulated; and adventurous 
spirits of other nations determined to share in its wealth. Spain relied upon the grant 
of the sovereign Pontiff to secure to her the unmolested occupancy of her American 
possessions. England had thrown off allegiance to Rome. Queen Elizabeth "repudiated 
any title in the Spaniards by donation of the Bishop of Rome to places of which they 
were not in actual possession ; and she did not understand why either her subjects or 
those of any European prince should be debarred from traffic in the Indies." Francis 
Drake, a young man, had already distinguished himself in predatory voyages to the West 
Indies. He had crossed the Isthmus of Darien, looked upon the Pacific, and' had made the 
resolution to sail upon that mighty sea. He proposed to the Queen a voyage into the 
South Sea, through the Strait of Magellan. No Englishman had yet made such a voyage. 
Queen Elizabeth favored the project and furnished the outfit. Drake's vessel, named the 
Pelican, loo tons, the Elisabeth^ 80 tons, the Marigold^ 30 tons, with two pinnaces and 
166 men, constituted the expedition which sailed December 13, 1577, from Plymouth. 
The two pinnaces were broken up before reaching the Strait of Magellan, which was 
entered on the 20th of August, 157S. Before passing through he changed the name of 
his vessel to the Golden Hind. On the 6th of September the Marigold parted company 
and was never heard of afterwards. The Elizabeth did not pass through the strait, but 
deserted Drake and returned to England. Alone in the Golden Hind., Drake, on the 25th 
of September, sailed out of the strait into the open Pacific, and, heading northward 
pursued his voyage along the Spanish-American coasts from Chile to IMexico, seizing 
and sacking defenseless ships and towns. His vessel filled with booty, to avoid 
encountering Spanish cruisers liable to be met should he returu by the Strait of 
Magellan, Drake sought a northern passage into the Atlantic Ocean. He sailed 
northward to forty-three degrees north, where, as detailed in the narratives of the 
voyage, " the men being thus speedily come out of the extreme heat, found the air so 
cold, that, being pinched with the same, they complained of the extremity thereof." He 
then steered east, made the coast, and sailed southward in search of a harbor, until the 
7th of June, " when it pleased God to send him into a fair and good bay, within thirty 
degrees toward the line." In this bay (i) Drake remained five weeks, refitted his vessel, 
and took possession of the country in the name of Queen Elizabeth, calling it New 
Albion. He then sailed for England by way of the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived 
at Plymouth on the 27th of September, 1560. 

(I) Is this the Bay of San Francisco? Humboldt places Drakes B.av in thirtv-eight degrees, ten minntes— the Pnerto de Bodega of Spanish 
maps. Later authorities fixed his port under the lee of Point Reyes, thirty-seven degrees, fifty-nine minutes, five seconds The adiacent cliffs 
being white, resembling the coasts of England in the neighborhood of Dover, suggested the name. New Albion. The latitude of San Francisco 
Bay, thirty-seven degrees, fifty-nine minutes, Drake's continuing in the bay thirtv-six days, the white appearance of highlands warrant the 
opinion that Drake found that " fair and good bay " in.side the Golden Gate. Its entrance was first seen by Ferrello March % 154^ 'who running 
down the coast before a strong north wind, saw what he suppo.sed to be the mouth of a great river. Governor Caspar de P'ortola' in 1^60 made 
land discovery of the bay. Prof Davidson, of the U. S. Survey, the best authoritv, says : " Drake's Bay is the Port Francisco of the Spaniards of 
about 1595. It was certainly known before the time of Vizcaino, who, having separated from his tender, sought her in Port Francisco- and 
according to Venagas account, to see if anything was to be found of the San Augustine, which, in the year 1595. had by order of his Majesty and 
the Viceroy, been .sent from the Philippines by the Governor to survey the coast of California, under the direction of Sebastian Roderiquez 
Cennanon, a pilot of known abilities, but was driven ashore in this harbor by the violence of the wind ; and among others on board the San 
Augustine was the pilot Francisco Valanos, who was also chief pilot of .the squadron. This pilot recognized the bay as being that where he was 
wrecked." (Coast Pilot, p. 77.) 


Two narratives were published of this voyage, viz.: " The Famous Voyage of Sir 
Francis Drake, by Francis Pretty, one of the crew of Drake's vessel, written at the 
request of and published by Hakluyt, in 1589," and "The World Encompassed, by Sir 
Francis Drake, collected out of the notes of Mr. Francis Fletcher, preacher in his 
employment, and compared with divers others' notes that went in the same voyage." 
According to the " Famous Voyage," the northern point of the x^merican continent seen 
by Drake was the forty-three degrees north. In " The World Encompassed," forty-eight 
degrees north is claimed. On this discrepancy very much argument has been caused. 
Upon its proper settlement very much was thought to depend in the protracted 
negotiations between Great Britain and the United States as to their respective claims 
to Oregon Territory. The treaty of June 15, 1846, which recognized the title of the 
United States to the territory south of forty-nine degrees north, divested the matter of any 
significance in a political or international view. The contention is very ably maintained 
by Messrs. Greenhow and Twiss, in their treatises on the Oregon question. Were the 
expression of an opinion necessary, it would be that the weight of probability and 
authoritv establishes that Sir Francis Drake never saw the coast of Northwest America 
north of forty-three degrees north latitude. 

Drake's successful piratical cruise is noteworthy as the second circumnavigation of 
the globe, the first by an Englishman. It occupied two years and ten months. The 
Queen long hesitated to recognize the achievements of this renowned freebooter, fearing 
such recognition might lead to complications with Spain. Finally she honored Drake 
with knighthood, proclaimed her entire and heart}' approval of his every act, and directed 
the preservation of his cruiser, Goldoi Hind, " that it might remain a monument of his 
own and his countr^-'s glory." 

On the 31st of July, 1586, Thomas Cavendish, with three small vessels, sailed from 
England. He passed through the Strait of Magellan, cruising along the coasts of Chile, 
Peru and Mexico, burnt and sunk nineteen ships, the last of which was the Santa Ana, 
off Cape San Lucas. He returned to England by way of Cape of Good Hope, arri\ing 
September 9, 1588, having made the circumnavigation of the globe in two years and fifty 
days. It is chronicled that his sailors were clothed in silks, his sails were damask, and 
his topmast covered with cloth of gold. This cruise was the third circumnavigation ; its 
only contribution to geographic knowledge was the 'discovery and naming of Port Desire, 
on the east coast of Patagonia. 

The increasing commerce between Mexico and the Philippine Islands demanded a port 
of refuge on the California coast, in a higher northern latitude. Correct charts for vessels 
engaged in voyages between Mexico and the East Indies had become a necessity, and 
required accuracy of knowledge. In 1595, Philip II. ordered Count de Monterey, Viceroy 
of Mexico, to explore and seize California, and to make an extended and minute survey of 
the coast from Acapulco to Cape Mendocino. Sebastian Vizcaino was selected for the 
service. In the spring of 1596, three vessels under his command sailed from Acapulco, 
crossed the Gulf of California, and attempted to establish a settlement to which \'izcaino 
gave the name of La Paz in compliment to the natives for their peaceable reception of the 
expedition. Within the year La Paz was abandoned and Vizcaino returned to Acapulco. 
Wlien Philip III., who ascended the throne in 1598, had learned of this result, he 
issued peremptory commands on the 27th of September, 1599, for the survey of the coast on 
the ocean-side of the peninsula of California. With the greatest zeal the Viceroy entered 
upon the duty. The preparations were upon a grander scale than had been previously 


made in Mexico. All the requisites for the acccomplishment of the enterprise were 
liberally supplied. Pilots, priests, draftsmen, soldiers, were engaged, in addition to full 
crews of selected seamen. Friar Antonio, chaplain to the x^dmiral and journalist of the 
expedition, pronounced it the most enlightened corps ever raised in New Spain. To 
Vizcaino was assigned the command, and upon him was conferred the title and office of 
Captain-General of California. The fleet consisted of three large ships, the San Diego^ 
San Tomas and Tres Reyes. To Admiral Toribbeo Gomez de Corvan was intrusted the 
navigation. The fleet, which set sail from Acapulco June 2, 1602, commenced the sur\'ey 
of the coast at Cape San Lucas. On the loth of November, San Diego was surveyed. 
On the 1 6th of December was discovered and named the Bay of Montere}^, in honor of the 
Viceroy. From Monterey, one of the ships was sent back to Acapulco; eighteen days 
later the other two vessels sailed north. Twelve days after leaving Monterey, the San Diego 
passed Port Francisco; but the smaller vessel having separated, the ship returned to that 
port to await the arrival of her consort. On the 12th of January, 1603, the ships reached 
Mendocino. Scurvy had made sad havoc with the crews. There were but six able to be on 
deck. On the 19th a high headland and snowcapped mountain, in latitude forty-two 
degrees north, were discovered. It being the eve of St. Sebastian, Vizcaino gave to this 
cape the name Blanco de San Sebastian (i), the northernmost point reached by Vizcaino's 
ship. He turned southward, coasted inshore, observing the land, and arrived at Acapulco 
March 21, 1603. 

The smallest vessel, commanded by Antonio Flores, Martin de Aguilar, pilot, doubled 
Cape Mendocino, and continued north to the mouth of a river forty-three degrees north. 
Farther north than Monterey's instructions had warranted, with a crew hopelessly 
disabled b}' scurvy, Flores turned southward for Acapulco. 

After his return to Mexico, Vizcaino endeavored to induce the Viceroy to establish 
colonies. Failing in his efforts, he went to Spain and obtained from Philip III. a grant of 
thfese regions, with privilege to establish colonies. His death in 1609 defeated the 
colonization project. 

With the Vizcaino expedition, Spanish exploration of the North Pacific was for the 
time discontinued. This was a natural result of the condition of affairs rather than 
attributable to change of policy. New Spain or Mexico was in direct communication with 
the Spanish East Indies. By the isolation of Mexico, Spain was more likely to remain in 
the uninterrupted and unmolested enjoyment of her East India trade. If a northwest 
passage should be discovered, it would but open the door and encourage the entry of 
piratical cruisers, to pray upon the Spanish commerce of the Pacific. Drake and 
Cavendish had passed through the Strait of Magellan ; other pirates could follow. How 
infinitely worse for Spanish-Pacific interests and her East India commerce would be a direct 
channel from the North Atlantic to the Pacific, than the tedious, long and dangerous 
.voyage through the Strait of Magellan. To Spain, the discovery of the northwest 
passage had at this time ceased to be a desideratum as a promotive of Pacific commerce. 

(i) The Cape Orford of Vancouver. 

Chapter III. 


CaiMJ Horn Discovered hy the Dutch— Theories for EtTecting Direct Coiiiimmication 
Between the Athmtic and Pacific Oceans, or Between Western Europe and the 
East Indies — Russian and Siberian Voyages in the North racific,aud Discoveries 
on tlie Northwest Coast of America. 

UNDER the name of tlie Southern Company, in 1613, Isaac Le Maire, a wealthy citizen 
of Amsterdam, associated with himself Captain William Schouten, a native of Hoorn, 
an experienced navigator. From the States-General of Holland, they secured the privilege 
of making voyages of discovery. The proposed destination of their vessels was concealed 
from other merchants and the seamen employed. Schouten (Jacob Le Maire, a son of his 
partner, accompanying as supercargo) sailed from the Texel, June 14, 161 5, in two 
vessels, the Eendracht and Hoorn. Both ships reached Port Desire in safety; but in 
careening the Hoorn was burned. 

On the 13th of Januar}-, 1616, the Eendracht sailed southward. On the 20th she 
passed the latitude of the Strait of Magellan. On the 24th, the easternmost point of 
Terra del Fuego was made, which Schouten named Statenlaud. On the 30th he passed 
the extreme southern cape of South America, and nominated it Horn, or Hoorn, in honor 
of his birthplace. On February 3d, the greatest southern latitude (fifty-nine degrees, 
thirty minutes) was reached. Standing northwest, on the 12th, the western outlet of the 
Strait of Magellan had been passed. This expedition had doubled the continent of South 
America b}' a newl}^ discovered route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It had 
determined that vessels could reach the Pacific Ocean without the delay or risk of the 
passage through the Strait of Magellan. Spanish cities on the western coasts of Mexico, 
Spanish commerce upon the Pacific, had ceased to be exempt from armed cruisers of nations 
at war with Spain. 

Whether an}- channel existed by which the voyage from European countries to the 
East Indies could be rendered less tedious and perilous, than by doubling the Cape of 
Good Hope or the South American continent, still continued the prominent problem in 
commerce and navigation. 

The construction of a canal across the Isthmus of Suez, between the Red Sea or Gulf 
of Suez, and the Mediterranean, thence through the Red Sea and Strait of Babelmandel 
into the ocean, though several times commenced, had as often been abandoned. Equally 
fruitless has been the project of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama connecting the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Abandonment of those schemes was succeeded by other 
theories for securing directness of communication, viz. : first, from Europe to the Northwest, 
into the supposed open sea of North America and thence into the Pacific Ocean; second, 
sailing in a northeast direction into the open sea north of Europe and Asia, through which 
the North Pacific Ocean might be reached. 

In the development of the latter theory, Russian navigators performed the most 
prominent part. By their voyages was demonstrated a continuity of sea north of Europe 

( 20 ) 






and Asia into the Pacific Ocean, the separation from North America, and the distance 
between the Eastern and American continents. As early as 1647-8, voyages had been 
made from the Siberian town of Jakutzk (Yakoutsk, on the river Lena) to the 
northeastward of Siberia. The isthmus between the Arctic Sea and Gulf of Anadir (then 
called Tschukotzkoi Noss), had been circumnavigated and the peninsula of Kamtchatka 
reached. Miiller, of the Royal Academy of St. Petersburg, asserts that in 1736 he 
inspected the records of the tOAvn of Jakutzk, and they established bej^ond doubt that such 
voyages had been made. The year 1636 marks the commencement of the navigation of 
the frozen sea eastward from the mouth of the Jakutzk or Lena river. The rivers Jana 
( Yana) , Indighirka, Alasea and Kolyma were successively discovered. The first expedition 
of the two vessels, under the direction of Isai Ignatief, eastward from the Kolyma river 
(Kolimskoi) in the year 1646, found the sea full of ice, but a free navigable channel inshore, 
in which they sailed two days. In 1647, ^ larger party, in four half-decked vessels, made 
search for the month of the Anadir, but encountering too much ice returned. On the 
20th of June, 1648, another expedition, commanded by Samoen Deschnew, rounded the 
eastern extremity of the land of Tchuktchi (East Cape of modern* geography), reached 
the mouth of the Anadir, and the peninsula of Kamtchatka. As the Anadir river could 
be reached more expeditiously overland, the further prosecution of these Siberian voyages 
was abandoned. 

In the early part of the eighteenth century (1711), northern Asia (Siberia) and 
Kamtchatka had been conquered and merged in the Russian Empire. Peter the Great, 
in the latter part of his reign, devoted his attention to the lately acquired provinces of 
Eastern Siberia. Scientific men at Petersburg urged that the question should be 
determined whether Asia and America were separate continents. Peter entered into 
the solution of the problem with great zeal. He drew up instructions in his own 
handwriting, and in person delivered them to Captain Vitus Behring, an officer of Danish 
birth, serving in the Russian navy, whom he had selected to command the expedition. 
The project of the Czar embraced an examination of the navigation of the whole north 
coast of Asia, to accomplish which he ordered two vessels to sail forthwith from 
Archangel to the icy sea. That expedition was barren of profitable result. One vessel 
was hemmed in by ice and disabled ; the other was never heard of after leaving port. 
The purposes of the Czar as to northeastern discoveries fully appear in the instructions 
to Captain Behring : 

" I. To construct at Kamtchatka, or other commodious place, one or two vessels ; 
" 2. With them, to examine the coasts to the north and toward the east, — to see 
whether they were not contiguous with America, since their end was not known ; 

" 3. To see whether there was any harbor belonging to Europeans in those parts ; 

" 4. To keep an exact journal of all that should be discovered, with which the 
commander was to return to St. Petersburg." 

On the 25th of January, 1725 (but a few days after Behring had received his 
instructions), Peter the Great died. On the 5th of February, Empress Catherine, his 
widow and successor, and the Senate, confirmed Behring's appointment and approved the 
orders. Behring, accompanied by the officers and crews for two vessels and shipwrights 
and mechanics, who w^ere to build the vessels, immediately left St. Petersburg, traveling 
overland to Okhotsk, Siberia. At that place the first vessel was to be built which was to 
transport the company and their supplies to Kamtchatka, where the second vessel was 


to be constructed. From thence the expedition was to sail. In midsummer of 1728 the 
two ships were ready for sea. The vessel built at Okhotsk was called the Fortnna. 
Behring's vessel, the Gabriel, was built at Kamtchatka, and accommodated a crew of forty 
men with necessary provisions for a year. Behring, in his journal, thus states his 
instructions : " I was ordered to inform myself, among other matters, of the limits of 
Siberia, and particularly if the eastern corner of Siberia was separate from America." 
Tschirikow and Spaugberg, both of whom subsequently acquired great reputations, 
accompanied Behring. 

The results of that voyage are thus briefly summed up by its distinguished 
commander: "On the 14th of July, 1728, we sailed from the river of Kamtchatka, tracing 
the eastern coast of Kamtchatka towards the north. On the 8th of August we arrived in 
latitude sixty-four degrees, thirty minutes north, and eight men came rowing towards 
us in a leather boat. They told us that all the mainland, at no great distance from us, 
extended toward the west. They said that there was a small island before us, to which 
we afterwards came. We named it the Isle of St. Lawrence. On the 15th of August 
we arrived to latitude sixty-seven degrees, eighteen minutes, but we went no farther, 
because it appeared to me that I had fulfilled the instructions which had been given to 
me ; for beyond we could discern no land to the north, neither towards the east. And 
besides, if we had sailed farther, and had afterwards found a contrary wind, it would have 
been impossible for us to have returned in the same summer to Kamtschatka; and it 
would have been hazarding too much to pass the winter in a country where there is no 
wood, and in the middle of a people who are under no subjection or rule." 

Behring and his officers, fully persuaded that they had ascertained that Asia and 
America were separate, returned to the river Kamtchatka, where thej' arrived on the 
8th of September. Miiller observes, in regard to this voyage : " Our ofiicers frequentl}^ 
heard relations of the inhabitants of Kamtchatka, that were important enough to merit 
their observation; since, according to them, a country must be at no great distance towards 
the east, the discovery of which, and following its coasts afterwards, was their duty. They 
themselves had not observed such great and high waves, as in other places are common 
in the open sea ; they had seen fir trees swimming in the sea, tho' they do not grow in 
Kamtchatka. Some men assured them that the}- had seen this nearly situated land, in 
clear weather, from the elevated coasts of Kamtchatka." 

In honor of this voyage, the channel of sea separating the two continents through 
which Behring sailed is known as Behring's Strait. Behring renewed bis voyage on the 
5th of June, 1729, laying his course more to the east; but adverse winds prevented his 
leaving tlie coast a greater distance than about 200 versts (i). Meeting no land he sailed 
back, and steered around the south promontor}' of Kamtchatka, the proper situation and 
form of which he described in his map, and returned by sea to the mouth of the river 
Bolschaia, whence he went to Okhotsk, on the 23d of July. He then returned to St. 
Petersburg, where he arrived March i, 1730. 

A Japanese junk had been stranded July 8, 1829, ^^po" the coast of Kamtchatka. 
All of the crew except two were murdered by the Kossacks. The survivors found their 
way to St. Petersburg, and were the occasion of projecting a voyage to Japan. This wreck 
had established the fact that the sea adjacent to Kamtchatka was navigable through the 
waters of an intermediate sea (the Pacific Ocean), to the waters surrounding Japan. 

(I) The Russian vcrsi is about two-thirds of a mile, or 1,167 yards. 


While Captain Behriiig had been engaged in this exploration of the Siberian coast, 
Col. Schestakow, chief of tlie Jakutzk Kossacks, proposed to the Russian Empress: 

1. To reduce the Tchuktchi to submission to Russian authority; 

2. To discover the extent of their country ; 

3. To undertake the discovery of the land opposite of their country ; 

4. To examine the Schantarian Isles. 

With him was associated Capt. Dimitri Paulutzki of the Dragoons. He had 400 
Kossacks under his command with authority to draw reinforcements from the Siberian 
garrisons. Arrived at Okhotsk he there found the ships Fortuna and Gabriel. A 
detachment in command of Ivan Schestakow was ordered to embark on the Gabriel with 
instructions to examine the Schantarian Isles, after which to proceed, to Kamtchatka. 
Col. Schestakow, on the Fortuna, sailed for the Gulf of Penschina. She was cast away, and 
a number of her crew perished. Being reinforced, Schestakow started by land for Penschina 
with 150 men. His force was surrounded March 14, 1730, by hordes of the Tchuktchi, 
and he killed with an arrow. Those who were not slain sought safety in flight. Three 
da^'S previous to the rout of Schestakow, he had sent orders to Krupischew, a Kossack 
officer at Taviskoi, to equip a vessel, sail around the south end of Kamtchatka, and coast 
northward to the sea of Anadir. Gwosdew, the surveyor, was instructed to accompany the 
voyage. In a vessel constructed from the wreck of the Foriutia, they put to sea. The 
knowledge of the results of the Schestakow expedition is ver^- meager. 

Miiller observes : "We only know that, in the j-ear 1730, Gwosdew, the navigator, 
was actually between sixt3--five and sixt3'-six degrees of north latitude, on a strange coast 
situated opposite, at a small distance from the country of the Tchuktchi, and that he found 
people there, but could not speak with them, for want of an interpreter. De Lisle relates that 
Captain Paulutzki arrived at the Anadir Sea coast, in September, and about the same time 
the Fortuna arrived with Gwosdew and Krupischew. That Paulutzki, on learning of 
Schestakow's defeat, ordered the Fortuna to sail to the river Kamtchatka, to take on board 
the remainder of the provisions left there by Captain Behring, and with them sail to the 
Tchuktchi coast" — these orders were executed in the summer of 1731 — "at which time 
Gwosdew and Krupischew were on the Tchuktchi coast, where the}- supposed was the 
Serdze Kamer (a rock so named from its shape having some resemblance to that of a 
heart). But the}- did not meet with Paulutzki, nor did they learn any tidings of him. 
They remained on the Tchuktchi coast till a gale of wind forced them from the point which 
was the ne plus ultra of Captain Behring in his first voyage. They then steered to the 
east, where they found an island, and beyond it a land very large. As soon as they had 
sight of this land, a man came to them in a little boat like those of the Greenlanders. 
They could only understand from him that he was an inhabitant of a large country where 
were many animals and forests. The Russians followed the coast of this land two whole 
days to the southward without being able to approach it, when a storm came on and they 
returned to Kamtchatka. By this navigation was completed the discovery of Behring's 
Strait." Captain Paulutzki made a land march against the Tchuktchi, overcame them, 
avenged the death of Schestakow, and triumphantly marched across the peninsula. He 
then attempted to execute the orders of Schestakow, the ascertaining of the limits of 
Siberia. But after a four months' march, finding the coast of the Icy Sea unexpectedly 
take a northerly direction, he abandoned the further examiiration of the coast-line and 
turned inland to Fort Anadir. The voyage of Krupischew and Gwosdew created great 
interest in Europe. The proximity of America to Asia was regarded by the Russians as 
a most valuable discovery. 


On the lyth of April, 1732, the Russian government issued orders "to make voyages 
as well eastward to the continent of America, as southward to Japan, and to discover if 
possible at the same time, through the frozen sea, the north passage, which had been so 
frequently attempted by the English and Dutch." Behring, now a commander, — Spangberg 
and Tschirikow, captains, were assigned to the service. Aliiller volunteered to accompany 
as far as Siberia, to describe the civil history of that region, the manners, customs and 
traditions of that people. Professors Gmelin, Louis de Lisle de Croyere and Steller were 
of the scientific corps. While the vessels were being built for voyages to Northwest 
America, the coasts of Kamtchatka and northwest Asia were thoroughly examined. 

In 173S, Captain Martin Spangberg examined the Kurili Islands. In 1739, Spanberg, 
in the SL Michael, Walton, in a double shallop, the Gabriel and a small yacht, made the 
voyage to Japan. The building and fitting out of Spangberg's ship delayed the expedition 
to Northwest America. Two ships, the St. Paul and St. Peter, were built at Okhotsk for 
the voyage of discovery. The smaller vessel was designed for a crew of seventy men. 
The St. Paul was commanded by Behring, the St. Peter by Captain Alexer Tschirikow. 
In September they left Okhotsk to winter in Awatscha Bay. George William Steller, as 
physician and naturalist, and Louis de Lisle de la Croyere as astronomer, accompanied. 
They sailed from Awatscha Bay June 4, 1741. The vessels remained in company till the 
20th of June, when the}- separated in a storm. Attempts to find each other having failed, 
each sailed easterly to reach the American continent. Miiller writes : 

"Nothing particular happened till the i8th of Jul}', when the captain-commander 
(Behring), after having given orders for steering more and more northerly, got sight of 
the continent of America in fifty-eight degrees, twenty-eight minutes north latitude. 
Captain Tschirikow reached the same coast three days before, viz.: on the 15th of July, in 
fifty-six degrees north latitude. The coast made by the latter was steep and rocky, and 
he anchored at some distance from the shore. To examine the country, as well as to 
obtain a supply of water, Tschirikow dispatched his mate with ten well-armed men. 
They rowed into a bay behind a small cape, but not returning to the ship after a lapse 
of several days, it was surmised that the boat might have been disabled. On the 21st 
of July, the boatswain with six men, including carpenters, together with necessary 
materials, were sent to their assistance. Neither boat returned. The next day two 
canoes approached from the land. Expecting the return of their missing companions, all 
were on deck to greet them. The Indians, as they proved to be, still a great distance 
off, seeing the Russians so numerous, ceased rowing, stood up, and crying out with a 
loud voice, 'Agai, Agai!' speedily returned towards the shore. Tschirikow had no more 
small boats and was unable to approach nearer the shore with the ship. A strong west 
wind arising, he was compelled to get clear of the rocky coast. He again stood inshore 
as soon as it was safe, to the place where his men had gone. But he never saw nor heard 
anything of them. The officers held a council July 27th, and resolved to return at once 
to Kamtchatka. On the 9th of October they entered Awatscha Bay. Of the seventy 
men with whicli they sailed twenty-one had died. M. de Lisle de la Croyere, who had 
been in a lingering condition, impatient to be landed, fell dead upon the deck on the 
arrival of the ship in port. Of the fate of the two crews nothing was ever definitely 
known (i). 

(I) Chevalier dePoletica, Russian Minister al Washington in i8j2. in a dispatch to the American Secretary of State says that in 1780 the 
oPe'i'.;?.,' "^Z^CJZ'':,': Z'ST'^iY ^\ ""^r '^'-'i^ ^"""1' ;" '"! ""i""i"^ finyeight and fifty-nine degrees, " Russian establishm-ents to the number 
o( ci^^lain ■ -ihiVFlcoV wh^ twenty fam.hes and four hundred and sixty-two individuals. These were the descendants of the companions 

01 Captain tschirikow, who were supposed till then to have perished." 

I > ?•,'■' 




Behring, in the S/. Pa?t/, neared the coast with the view of examining it, as also to 
secure a supply of water. He found that the country had terrible high mountains that 
were covered with snow. He sailed towards it ; but only small, variable breezes blowing, 
he could reach it no sooner than the 20th of July, when, under a pretty large island, not 
far from the continent, he anchored in twent3^-two fathoms of water and a soft clayey 
bottom. A point of land which there projects into the sea they called St. Elias's Cape, on 
account of its being St. Elias day. Chitrow, the master of the fleet, and Miiller, went 
ashore. Empty huts formed of smooth boards were found, in one of which was a small 
box of poplar and a whetstone on which copper knives had been sharpened. In a cellar 
to one was a store of dried salmon. Ropes and household furniture were scattered around. 
Appearances indicated that the natives had suddenly decamped on the approach of the 

Behring's determination was to have followed the coast to the northward, but he found 
this impossible, as it soon commenced to extend southwest, and " they met with continual 
hinderances from the islands, which were ver}' thick, almost everywhere about the 
continent." On the 30th of July Foggy Island was discovered. On the 29th of August 
they again made the continent, in fifty-five degrees north, and before it found a multitude 
of islands, between which they anchored. They were called Schumagin's Islands, the 
name of the first of the ship's company who had died upon the voyage and was there 
buried. Andrew Hesselberg, pilot of the expedition, was sent to one of the largest of 
this group in search of water. He returned with two samples, both of which were 
brackish. The water was almost exhausted ; this brackish water might serve for cooking, 
and thus economize the small supply remaining. Adopted through necessity as better 
than none, a quantity was taken on ship, and to its use Steller attributed the diseases 
which afterward so grievously afflicted the crew. Again setting sail westward, a fearful 
storm was encountered, which continued seventeen days. Occasionally seeing land, but 
not daring to approach, tempest-tossed for many days, Behring, the gallant commander, 
hopelessly ill, many of the crew disabled with scurvj' and other distempers, the supply 
of water about exhausted, and the ship almost entirely unfit for continuing the voyage, 
on the 31st of October they made an island, and (November 5th) secured an anchorage. 

Abandoning all hope of reaching Kamtchatka so late in the season, the}' went into 
winter quarters. On the 9th of November Commander Behring was carried ashore upon 
a litter. 

He dail}' grew worse ; " the place yielded little of antiscorbutic quality. The herbage 
that grew on the island was hidden under snow ; and, if that had not been the case, the 
Russians in that part of the world were little acquainted with the value of vegetables as 
antiseptics." The commodore died on the 8th of December. Miiller says : " He was a Dane 
by birth, and had made voyages both to the East and West Indies. He was a lieutenant in 
the Russian service in 1707, and captain-lieutenant in 17 10. It is a subject of regret that 
his life terminated so miserably. It may be said that he was almost buried whilst alive, 
for the sand rolling down almost continually from the side of the cavern or pit in which 
he la}^, and covering his feet, he at last would not suffer it to be removed, saying he 
felt warmth in it when he felt none in other parts of his body ; and the sand thus gradually 
increased upon him till he was more than half covered, so that when he was dead it was 
necessary to unearth him to inter him in a proper manner." In honor of Behring, the 
island where his remains are entombed bears his name, — is his monument. 


The S/. Paid shortly afterwards went to pieces, but the material was carefully saved 
b}' the survivors aud reconstructed into a small craft, in which they found their wa}' 
back to Petropaulovski, on the bay of Awatscha. Before their departure from this island, 
so gloomy in its memories, thirt}- of the crew had been consigned to the grave. On the 
27th of August, 1743, all that remained of the crew of the Si. Paul reached Kamtchatka 
after an absence of fifteen months. During much of the time the}' had suffered the 
greatest privations. Compelled, while sojourning on Behring's Island, to subsist upon sea 
animals which there abounded, and to use the skins as a protection against the rigors of 
the climate, such skins as were preserved and brought by them to Kamtchatka were 
purchased \>y the Siberians with great avidity, at handsome prices. The misfortunes and 
necessities of Behring's crew demonstrated that the North Pacific coast was prolific in most 
valuable furs. That memorable voyage opened to commerce a new and important feature. 
It gave origin to the Russian fur trade, to the Russian establishments on the northwest 
coast, — to the Russian claim to Northwest America, which was limited on the south by 
the northern line of Spanish discoveries. 

Chapter IV. 


Spanish Settlements on the Coast of California — Jesnit Missionary Conquest of Lower 
California — Expulsion of the Jesuits by Charles III. — The Franciscans Establish 
3Iissions in Upper California — Inland Discovery and Settlement of San Diego, 
San Francisco and Monterey — California a Department of Spain, its Northern 
Boundary Undefined. 

THE Spanish government had long been anxious to occnp}- and establish settlements 
upon the coast of California. This desire increased with the growing importance of 
Manilla commerce. Ports of refuge were not only demanded for the vessels engaged in 
the Philippine trade, but these bays and inlets, so long as the}- remained unoccupied, proved 
but so many convenient places of concealment for piratical cruisers infesting the Pacific 
Ocean to prey upon Spanish galleons returning from the Philippine Islands with their rich 
East India cargoes. Colonies if established would not only securely perpetuate Spanish 
dominion over the contiguous inland territories, but would render these bays valuable as 
harbors. Buccaneers would cease to resort to them as resting places and recruiting 

In 1683, an expedition consisting of soldiers, priests and colonists was placed under 
the command of Don Isidro de Otondo, accompanied b}^ Father Kuhn, a German Jesuit 
(called by the Spaniards Kino), acting under a special warrant from the King of Spain 
authorizing the spiritual conquest of California. They sailed up the Gulf of California, 
distributing themselves at various places on the western side. Kino established his 
headquarters at La Paz. After three 3^ears of mingled success and discouragement, the 
project was abandoned. 

The Viceroy of New Spain then offered the Jesuits an annual subsidy to undertake 
the reduction of California by the conversion of its native population. This was declined, 
but the chapter agreed to furnish necessary missionary aid to accompany any expedition 
or colonization project. Father Kino, though unsuccessful in planting a permanent colony 
under Otondo's leadership, had dedicated his life to the pious resolution of conquering 
California for the church. In furtherance of his purpose, he accepted the appointment of 
Superintendent of Missions of Sonora. 

He then secured as a co-laborer Father Salva Tierra, equally zealous with himself. 
The Fathers preached and exhorted the people, and labored with those in power. In 1697, 
Salva Tierra was clothed with authority by the Jesuits to raise contributions for the spiritual 
conquest of California. He enlisted Father Ugarte, professor of philosophy in the College of 
Mexico, who consented to remain in Mexico and act as agent. Salva Tierra with a small 
party crossed the Gulf of California, and established the mission of Loreto, on the 25th 
of October, 1697, ^"^ took possession of Lower California in the name of the King of 

In a short time several missions were founded, all of uniform character, consisting of 
a church, a storehouse and a fort. The Indians were persuaded to labor for their own 

( 27 ) 


maintenance, and to accept instruction from the missionary. The Fathers discouraged any 
immigation from European countries, thus avoiding any interference with the exclusive 
management of the missions and the natives surrounding them. Within the first half of 
the eighteenth century, their establishments extended at convenient distances apart, from 
the southern extremity of the Gulf of California, along its eastern half, to the mouth of 
the Colorado. A learned author thus accounts for their success in molding the native 
population to their wills; 

" The Jesuits, superior to the rest of mankind in the art of persuasion, and laboring 
for themselves, made an incredible progress in their designs. At the end of fifty years, 
and to the disgrace of the other colonies, the country' of the missionaries was filled with 
villages, the Catholic faith was triumphant, and the savages, civilized and happy, and 
subject to the wisest of governments. No people on earth were more contented; labor and 
property were all in common. There were neither rich nor poor, nor dignities, nor great, 
nor little ; there w-as no inequality whatever, and consequently neither avarice, ambition 
nor jealously; every one contributed equally his portion of labor, and received an equal 
remuneration from it. Every village was one numerous family, of which the Jesuit was 
the father; and the societ}' itself was the mother of this happy republic." 

But this very success provoked a jealous suspicion which occasioned their downfall. 
While they received but little countenance or aid from the government, they brought no 
revenue, contributed no political strength. Their motives were questioned. It was denied 
that they were actuated by religion or philanthroph}' ; and they were charged with being 
selfish and mercenar}'. At length the order was accused of " endeavoring to establish an 
independent empire in America, and that they had actually' labored to undermine the 
authority of the European Sovereigns in Mexico, Peru and Brazil; that no fear of 
consequences was capable of limiting the extent of its plan; because the societ}^ was 
perpetually renewed, and had never been known to abandon any design which it had once 
adopted; and that the general of the order had defended moral irregularities on his own 

In 1767, the royal decree was proclaimed b}^ Charles III., King of Spain, by which 
tlie Jesuits were expelled from his dominions. During their ascendency in Lower California, 
thej' had acquired a mass of information as to the country, its geography, ethnology, 
natural history, etc. In 1700, Father Kuhn had determined that Lower California was 
a peninsula connected with the continent. True, de Ulloa had settled that geographic 
problem as early as 1540; but it had been forgotten, doubted, denied. The charts before 
Father Kuhn's di.scovery delineated the peninsula of California as an island. To it has 
been ascribed the name Islas Carolinas, in honor of Charles III., King of Spain. 

Upon the reception in Mexico of the royal edict banishing all Jesuits from Spanish 
territory, their establishments, their property, their " Pious Fund " (that grand aggregate 
of contributions from all sources, the treasury by which they supported their missions), 
were all transferred to nineteen monks of the Order of St. Francis, of the College of San 
Fernando, Mexico. Father Junipero Serra was created President of the Missions. 

European nations had remained in ignorance of the result of Russian voyages in the 
North Pacific Ocean until after the return, in 1749, from St. Petersburg to Paris, of Joseph 
Nicholas de Lisle (i), the eminent French astronomer. In 1750, in a paper read by 
de Lisle to the French Academy of Sciences, the world had become advised of the 

. '■' J- N; d"^ I-'S'e was the youngest and most illustrious of three distinguished brothers. Guillanie. the eldest ' First Geographer " to King 
Louis -W., died in 1726. Louis accompanied Behrillg in 1741, and died the same year, as stated in the preceding chanter Joseph the eminent 
astronomer, geographer and author, died in 1758. » t- j j- . 




■'1 -^ ^ •»??TS>'^-*^^ 


jg^_--^;;,i^^*'S^""'- - 




discoveries in Northwest America by Behring and other Russian navigators. To Spain, 
this intelligence caused great uneasiness. That government had just cause of fear that 
Russia would push her discoveries southward and encroach upon Spanish claims. 

Charles III. at once resolved upon vigorous measures to renew the exploration of 
the western coast of America, extending voyages to high northern latitudes ; to occup}' 
the vacant coasts and islands adjacent to New Spain ; to establish settlements for the 
effectual securing to the Crown of those territories, the coasts of which had inured to 
Spain by right of discover3\ 

With this object in view, the "Marine department of San Bias" was organized, to 
whom was committed the supen-ision and control of all maritime operations. Don Jose 
de Galvez had been appointed, in 1764, to the Council of the Indies. In 1765, as 
Visitor-General, he was bearer to Mexico of orders from the King. One of those 
instructions was to rediscover San Diego, and to occup}' it and the other harbors on the 
coast. Galvez was also special agent of the Crown to see that these orders were executed. 
In Father Junipero Serra, President of the Missions, he found a zealous auxilary in the 
labor. The Franciscan Fathers were ready to undertake the formation of the settlements. 
Without dela}- an expedition by land and sea was ordered. The ships were to transport 
supplies and heavy articles, the land party to drive flocks and herds to the new settlements. 
Two vessels, the San Carlos, Don Vicente Vila, and the Sail Antonio, Juan Perez, had 
been supplied from San Bias, and were being equipped at La Paz for the voyage. All 
were to start at different dates, but San Diego was the common destination. The San 
Carlos sailed first on January 9, 1769. She carried sixty-two persons. She arrived at 
San Diego on the ist of May, having lost all of her crew except the officers, cook and one 
sailor bj- the scurv}-, that terrible scourge in those pioneer voyages. The San Antonio 
followed on the 15th. With a loss of eight of her crew, she reached her port April nth. 
A third vessel, the San Josi\ sailed from La Paz on the i6th of June, but was never heard 
of after leaving port. 

Gahez selected Gaspar de Portola, Governor of Lower California, Captain of Dragoons, 
as leader of the land operations. With him was associated a second in command. Captain 
Fernando Rivera y Moncado, who the fall preceding had made the tour of the northern 
Jesuit missions, and collected men, provisions and two hundred head of cattle and horses 
to stock the colonies. On the 24th of March, Rivera, with the first overland party, left 
the northermost Mission, driving the stock. His party consisted of twentj^-five soldiers, 
six packers and herders, a guide who acted as journalist, and a large number of converted 
Indians. The party was accompanied by a Franciscan priest. On Ma}' 14th Rivera 
reached vSan Diego. 

Governor Portola, accompanied by Father Serra, with the first part}', left the 
northermost Mission May 15th, and arrived July i, 1769, at San Diego. Father Serra, 
with imposing religious ceremonies, took possession of the country in the name of the 
King of Spain. Thus commenced at San Diego the first white settlement in Upper 
California. On the i6th. Father Serra established the mission. On the 14th, with a party 
of sixty-five persons, Governor Portola had started for Monterey to establish that Mission. 
Passing by Alonterey without seeing it, he journeyed northward till the 25th of October, 
when he reached the bay, to which he gave the name of San Francisco, in honor of the 
patron saint of the order. Portola's party returned to San Diego, where they arrived 
January 24, 1770, after an absence of over six months. In March, 1770, Portola again 
marched northward and found Monterey. On the 3d of June, 1770, the San Antonio, with 


Father Junipero Serra, arrived; and possession of the bay and adjacent country was taken 
in the name of the Sovereign of Spain. Portola then returned to Mexico to superintend 
the formation of colonies for the new settlements. 

Upper California, from San Diego to its northern line, between the coast and the 
mountains, was almost entirely appropriated by the Missions, scattered throughout the 
country sufficiently near to secure aid in case of an outbreak, but distant enough to form a 
network embracing the whole region. Each Mission extended to and joined its neighbor. 
The plan of settlement and construction was uniform. The site for the church and 
buildings was located in the center of a large tract, generally about fifteen miles square. 
All land fit for cultivation or grazing became the farm and pasturage of the Mission. The 
church was built as massive and imposing as the funds would permit; and no pains nor 
expense were spared in ornamentation. Near to it were the residences of the Missionary 
Fathers. Close at hand were erected the buildings occupied by farmers, mechanics and 
employes. All buildings were constructed of adobe, roofed with tiles of the same material. 
There were also shops, storehouses, granaries and other necessary buildings. At a short 
distance was the "Rancheria" or quarters for the converted natives who labored for and 
lived at the Mission. Close bv those quarters was the garrison building or castillo, in 
which were accommodated the guard of six or more Spanish soldiers, but which was also 
designed as a place of retreat in the event of an outbreak. 

In addition to guards and guard-houses to each Mission, presidios were established at 
the four principal harbors: San Diego (1769), Montere}- (1770), San Francisco (1776) and 
Santa Barbara (17S0). These presidios were inclosures from two to three hundred feet 
square surrounded by an adobe wall twelve feet in height, surmounted by guns. Within 
the inclosure were the church, storehouses, oificers' quarters and barracks. The 
commanding officer was militar}- governor within his district, bound to assist the 
missionaries if called upon, but not authorized to interfere with their management. As a 
means of relief to the government of supplying these presidios with recruits and provisions, 
pueblos or towns were established in the vicinity of the presidios, in which every settler was 
entitled to a homestead, a two-hundred vara lot, with privileges of common and timber 
lands. There were also three independent towns or pueblos, — settlements by the 
discharged Spanish soldiers who intermarried with the natives. These were Los Angeles, 
San Jose and Santa Cruz. 

From the inauguration of the settlement by Galvez, in 1769, Upper and Lower 
California were under the control of a military governor; while the settlements themselves, 
except the presidios and the few independent pueblos, were purely missionary colonies, — 
independent religious communities governed by the Father in charge. The two Californias 
constituted a Department of Spain, its Governor being responsible to the Viceroy of Mexico. 
The northern boundary as yet was undefined. Spain claimed as far north as her navigators 
had sailed. Russia was pushing her voyages southward, and interposing a check to 
further Spanish advance to the north. 

Chapter V. 


Renewal of Spanish Exi)loration on the North Pacific — Voyages of Perez, Heceta, 

Bodega and Arteaga. 

IT HAD ever been the policy of the Spanish government to prevent the territories in 
America adjacent to Spanish dominions, or such as had been discovered by Spanish 
navigators, from being occupied by subjects of other European powers. In maintaining 
that polic3% difficulties had been engendered between Spain and Great Britain, growing 
out of the expulsion of British colonists from the Falkland Islands by the Spanish 
Governor of Buenos Ayres. Spain, under the " family compact," appealed to France to 
join her in resisting the encroachments of Great Britain. France declined to engage in 
the controversy, but tendered her good offices as mediator. This offer was accepted, and 
Avar averted. But Spain had learned that the necessity existed for the actual dominion of 
the vacant coasts of North America, or the occupancy at least, in such a manner or to 
such an extent as to justif}' the assertion of her right to exclusive possession. 

Following the occupancy and settlement by Spain of the Californias, Spanish voyages 
of exploration to the northern coasts were \igoroush- renewed. On the 25tli of January, 
1774, the sloop of war Santiago sailed from San Bias, under command of Lieutenant Juan 
Perez, with Estevan Jose Martinez as pilot. The orders of the Viceroy of Mexico to 
Perez were: to sail northward to sixty degrees north; from there to survey the coast 
southward to Monterey ; to land at convenient places, and take possession in the name 
of the King of Spain. Perez went to Monterey from San Bias, from which port he sailed 
for the north on the i6th of June. On the i8th of July he made the land in fifty-four 
degrees north (Queen Charlotte's Island), and named the point Cape Santa Margarita. It 
is the Cape North of modern geography. He rounded the cape and entered the channel 
now called Dixon's Channel. Scurvy having appeared among the crew, his vessel 
small and ill provided, Perez turned southward, coasting along the shore for about one 
hundred miles, landing and trading with the natives, until driven to sea by a storm. On 
the 9th of August he again made land, discovered and entered a bay forty-nine degrees, 
thirty minutes north, which Perez called Port Lorenzo. Its present name is Nootka 
Sound, the name of the native tribes inhabiting its shores. From Port Lorenzo, Perez 
sailed south, Alartinez the pilot claiming that he saw, between forty-eight degrees and 
forty-nine degrees north, a wide opening in the land, and that he gave to the point on its 
south side the name Martinez. In latitude forty-seven degrees, forty-seven minutes 
north, they beheld a snowcapped peak, to which Perez gave the name of Sierra de 
vSanta Rosalia, the Mount Ol3'nipus of our present nomenclature. He passed Cape 
Mendocino on the 21st of August, determined its true latitude, and on the 27th of August 
arrived at Monterey. On the strength of this \oyage, the Spanish claimed the discovery 
of the Strait, now called De Fuca ; and their charts named as Martinez the Cape Flatter}- 
of modern maps. Through some unaccountable oversight, the Spanish authorities for 

( 31 ) 


many years concealed the results of this and the succeeding voyages ; as a consequence, 
navigators of other nations who made voyages subsequent in date to that of Perez ha\-e 
received the honors justly earned by the expedition of Perez. 

Upon the return of Perez, Bucarelli, \'iceroy of Mexico, ordered another expedition to 
examine the coasts to sixty-five degrees north. Captain Bruno Heceta was assigned to 
the Santiago. Perez accompanied as ensign. The schooner Sonora was to accompany, 
with A}-ala as commander and Maurelle as pilot. The schooner San Carlos was to 
proceed as far as Monterey. The master of the latter having become incapacitated by 
illness, Ayala took command of the San Carlos, and Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la 
Bodega y Quadra was transferred to the Sonora. Leaving the San Carlos at San Bias, 
the Santiago and Sonora sailed north, and on the loth of June, in latitude forty-one 
degrees, ten minutes north, anchored in a roadstead, to which they gave the name Port 
Trinidad. Here they went ashore, took possession in the name of the Spanish Crown, 
and spent nine days in repairing their vessels. They planted a cross, which was respected 
by the natives, and still remained when Vancouver visited the coast in 1793. Leaving 
Trinidad thev next made the land in forty-eight degrees, twenty-six minutes north. They 
then cruised southward in search of the entrance of the straits, looking for it between 
fort3--seven degrees and fortA'-eight degrees north, as laid down on Bellin's charts. These 
examinations proved abortive. On the 14th of July, in latitude forty-seven degrees, 
twenty minutes north, seven of the crew of the Sonora, in her only boat, were sent ashore 
for fresh water. The men were well armed, but they were outnumbered by the natives 
and all murdered. The Sonora herself was in imminent danger, having been completely 
surrounded by the savages in their canoes, who made numerous unsuccessful attempts to 
board her. To this place was given the name Punta de Martires (i); to the island near, 
Isla de Dolores. This sad occurrence, the unseaworthy condition of the Sonora, and the 
breaking out of scur\y among both crews, induced Heceta to desire to return to Monterey. 
Perez, Bodega and Maurelle overruled him, and the vessels on July 20th again headed 
northward. Shortl}' afterward a storm separated the little fleet. Heceta then turned 
southward for Monterey, Bodega continuing the voyage northward. 

Heceta first made the land August loth, in latitude forty-nine degrees thirt}- minutes 
north. He passed without examination the land visited the A-ear previous by Perez. On 
the 17th, being near the coast between forty-six degrees, ten minutes and forty-six degrees, 
nine minutes north, he discovered a great ba}', the head of which he could nowhere 
recognize. From the currents and eddies setting him seaward he could not enter it. He 
believed it the " mouth of some great river, or a passage to another sea." At night the force 
of the current set him far out to sea, and defeated his further examination. To the 
northern headland he gave the name Cape San Roque; to the southern. Cape Frondosa; 
to the ba}', Ensenada de San Roque ; the supposed river he nominated Rio de San Roque. 
In compliment to Heceta, the baj' is named by Spaniards Heceta's Inlet. Heceta reached 
Monterey August 30th, with two-thirds of his crew disabled by scurv3^ 

Bodega and Maurelle, after parting from Heceta, pushed out to sea, first reaching the 
land August i6th, in latitude fifty-six degrees north. By Bellin's chart they had supposed 
themselves to be about one hundred and thirty-five leagues off the American coast. 
Heading east, they discovered a mountain in fifty-seven degrees, tw-o minutes north, which 
they named San Jacinto (the Mount Edgecombe of Cook). The projecting land which it 

(1) Captain Berkley twelve years later, in the Impetiat F.ogle, met with similar treatment of a boat's crew and bestowed upon the island 
close at hand the name of Destruction Island. The roint of Martyrs is known as Point Grenville. 


i>fr < '' 







occupied they named Cape Engano. The bay which flanked this cape on its north side 
was called Port Remedios (Captain Cook named it the Bay of Islands). The south bay 
was named Port Guadalupe. It is now known as Norfolk Sound. They anchored in Port 
Remedios, landed, and in the name of his Spanish Majesty took possession of all those 
northern seas and territories. On the 20th, the voyage was resumed; and, coasting north 
until the 2 2d, they had reached fifty-eight degrees north. They then headed southward, 
and on the 24th discovered an extensive bay on the west side of the largest island of the 
Prince of Wales Archipelago, in latitude fifty-five degrees, thirty minutes north. This 
they named Port Bucarelli, in honor of the Viceroy of Mexico. At Cape Santa Margarita, 
the}' observed the channel to the north, to which they gave the name of Perez Inlet, in 
honor of its discoverer the previous year. On the 3d of October, they discovered a bay in 
latitude thirty-eight degrees north, on which Bodega bestowed his own name. Having 
surveyed this bay, they sailed to Montere}^, and thence to San Bias, where they arrived 
November 20th, after a cruise of over eight months. 

Upon the results of this voyage becoming known in Madrid, they were regarded as of 
the greatest importance. Orders were sent to the Viceroy of New Spain to have the 
survey of the American coasts completed by the same officers. Viceroy Bucarelli at once 
ordered a large ship to be built at San Bias, named Pruicesa, and another called Favorita 
to be built at Guayaquil. The time consumed in building delaj-ed the departure of the 
expedition until the first of the 3'ear 1779. Heceta being occupied with other duties, the 
command of the Princesa was given to Captain Ignacio Arteaga. Bodega, with Maurelle 
as pilot, commanded the Favorita. On the 7th of February, the expedition sailed from 
San Bias directly for Port Bucarelli, where they arrived early in Ma^^. The surveying of 
the bay, refitting the vessels and trading with the natives occupied nearly two months, 
during which the adjacent shores were sur^-eyed with great care. On the ist of July they 
pi'oceeded northward. Approaching near the land in a few days, Mount St. Elias became 
visible. Then commenced a search westward for the northern passage into the Arctic 
Ocean. Early in July, they entered an archipelago sixty degrees north, the largest island 
of which was named Magdalena (i). The bay itself was named Ensenada de Regla (2). 
On its western side was a good harbor, in which the ships anchored on the 25th; and 
possession of the adjacent seas and lands was taken in the name of the Spanish King. 
The harbor itself was called Port Santiago. From here boats were dispatched to explore 
the surrounding islands and shores. Scurvy now made its appearance; provisions were 
becoming short, and no success attended their search for a passage to the north. Arteaga 
determined on returning to IVIexico. On the 7th of August, the expedition left Santiago, 
eniered San Francisco October 15th, and arrived at San Bias November 21st. Fleurien 
observes as to the results of this expedition: "They might have remained at San Bias 
without knowledge in geography having sustained any loss by their inaction." The 
voyage is notable as the last made for several years by the Spanish from Mexico to the 
northern coasts of America. War having been declared between Spain and Great Britain, 
in 1779, for the time suspended exploration. 

(i) This Island was named by Captain Cook Montagne's Island. 
(2) Prince William's Sound, as nominated by the English. 

Chapter VI. 

( 1776-1779.) 

Great Brituin Turns Atteiiti<ni to Discoveries on the Northwest Coast of America — 
Voyages of Captain James Cooli — Britisli Assertion of Claim to Discovery by Sir 
Francis Drake of New Albion — Captain Cook Denies Existence of Strait of Fuca 
— 3Inrder of Captain Cook, Succeeded in Command by Captain Clerke — Death 
of Captain Clerke — Lieut. Gore, a Native of Virginia, in Command — Sails to 
China with Collection of Furs — Growing Importance of Fur and East India 

SINCE the cruises of Drake and Cavendish in the latter part of the sixteenth century 
(1579-15S7), preying upon Spanish commerce upon the Pacific Ocean and pillaging 
defenseless cities on the coast of Mexico (to neither of which can be attributed meritorious 
claim as voyages of discovery or exploration), Great Britain, absorbed with the establishment 
and government of her Atlantic colonies, had not participated in the development of the 
geograph}- or resources of the western coast of North America. That nation now zealously 
entered the field, resolved to compensate for past indifference and inactivity. 

On the 6th of July, 1776, that greatest of geographers and circumnavigators. Captain 
James Cook, was placed in command of two ships, the Resolution and Discovery. His 
instructions were to make his way to the Cape of Good Hope, and thence by way of New 
Zealand and Otaheite, and, having refreshed his crews, to run directly for the Pacific coast of 
North America. " You are to fall in with the coast of New Albion in latitude forty-five 
degrees north. You are to put into the first convenient port to recruit your wood and 
water, and then to proceed northward along the coast as far as to the latitude of sixty-five 
degrees north or further, if not obstructed by land or ice, taking care not to lose any time 
in exploring rivers or inlets, or upon any other account until 3'ou get into the 
before-mentioned latitude sixty-five degrees north, where we could wish you to arrive in the 
month of June." " On his way thither (to New Albion) not to touch upon any part of the 
Spanish dominion on the Western continent of America, unless driven to it by some 
unavoidable accident, in which case he was to .stav no longer than should be absolutely 
necessary, and to be \cry careful not to give any umbrage or offence to an}' of the 
inhabitants or subjects of his Catholic Alajesty (Spain); and if in his further progress 
northward he should find any subjects of anj' European prince or state, upon au}- part of 
the coast which he might think proper to visit, he was not to disturb them or give them 
any cause of offence, but on the contrary to treat them with civility and friendship." 

In the summer in which Cook was to reach Northwest America, the British Admiralty 
dispatched Lieutenant Young in the brig Lion to the western coast of Baffin's Bay on the 
Atlantic side of the continent, with instructions to reconnoiter the west shore of that bay 
and find if there was any westward passage therefrom, with a ^•iew to co-operate with 
Captain Cook, who, it was supposed, would be seeking for such a passage at about the same 
time from the opposite side of America. If both succeeded, there would be a likelihood of 
their meeting, and the place, it was conjectured, would be in a sea to the north of the 
continent of North America. 

( 34 ) 


These instructions of the Cook expedition of 1776 are full of interest. They exhibit 
the thought of that age, the standpoiut in that eventful }'ear, of progress in geographical 
knowledge. The most enlightened scientists, the best informed as to lands and seas which 
had been theretofore visited by navigators, continued to regard as probable the existence of 
the Strait of Anian, or, to speak more accurately, a passage across the North American 
continent from ocean to ocean. To verify such theory or forever dispel it, England now- 
sent her most intrepid sailor, the foremost scientific navigator of the world, on that 
memorable voyage. In a political view, these instructions are of still more weight}' 
import. England for the first time had announced her interest in a region on the Pacific 
coast nominated New Albion. That nation had elevated a piratical cruise to a voyage of 
discover}', upon which is indicated basis of intention to maintain territorial claim. The policy 
is clearly foreshadowed, that, by a private piratical venture made two centuries before, 
national right has accrued to occupy the coast which Drake called New Albion. Nor is 
the very important concession of rights based upon discoveries inuring to Spain and to 
Russia, less worthy of notice, especially to the former power, regarding the territory south 
of forty-five degrees north. Still, whether as to Spain or any other nation, it is apparent 
that thenceforth English claim b}- right of discover}- is assumed to have attached north of 
forty-five degrees north latitude, by virtue of the piratical cruise in 157S of Sir Francis 

D^^ke. 18<2520 

Captain Cook sailed from Plymouth, England, July 12, 1776, in the ship Resolution, 
accompanied by the Discovery, Captain Clerke. George Vancouver, whose name shortly 
subsequent became identified with these regions as its first thorough explorer, was a 
midshipman on Captain Cook's ship. Having visited the group of islands to which he 
gave the name of Sandwich, in honor of his patron, the Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of 
British Admiralty, from thence, on the i8th of January, 1778, Cook sailed northeastward, 
and upon the 7th of March, in latitude fort}--four degrees, one minute, two seconds 
north, came in sight of the Pacific coast of North America. Adverse winds forced his 
ship southward to forty-three degrees north, when he again headed northward, but thick 
weather prevented tracing a continuation of the coast; so that betv/een Cape Foulweather, 
forty-four degrees, fifty-five minutes north, and Cape Flattery, forty-eight degrees, 
fifteen minutes north (both so named by Captain Cook), the expedition obtained but 
few glimpses of the coast. The latter-mentioned cape was the Point Martinez of the 
Spanish charts, named in honor of the pilot of Perez, who discovered it in 1774. Cook 
gave it the name of Flattery because the prospect of land near it had given the doubtful 
promise of a harbor. 

The distinguished geographer, afterwards Admiral Burney, who was in the 
Discovery, says : "We were near Cape Flattery on the evening of the 2 2d of March; and 
a little before seven o'clock, it growing dark, Captain Cook tacked, to wait for daylight, 
intending to make close examination; but before morning a hard gale of wind came on, 
with rainy weather, and we were obliged to keep off the land." 

Both ships at the time needing repairing in the lower rigging, and a resupplv of water, 
compelled the seeking of a port. Cook stood away in the night and failed to see the 
entrance of the Strait of Fuca. So failing to find it south of forty-eight degrees, he 
denied its existence. On the 29th of March, the vessels arrived at Friendly Cove, Nootka 
Sound (the Port San Lorenzo of Perez). Cook named it King George's Sound; but the 
native name has adhered to it. Here they remained at anchor until the 26tli of April, 
when they set sail for the northward, and during the remainder of that season made a 


thorough examination of the northwest coast of America, the northeast coast of Asia, 
passed through and determined the breadth of Behring's Strait, sailing as far north as 
seventy degrees, forty-four minutes north. 'He made an extended examination of the 
Arctic Sea, in which he sailed in both directions until his further advance was prevented 
bv ice. Then, turning southward, he carefully surveyed the Aleutian group of islands. 
On the 7th of October, whilst anchored in the harbor of Sanganoodha, John Ledyard of 
Connecticut first gave evidence of the enterprise and daring which later in life rendered 
him so famous as an intrepid traveler. He was corporal of marines in the Rcsohitiott. 
Captain James Burney, the distinguished chronologer of " Northeastern \oyages of 
discovery, and the early navigation of the Russians," thus narrates the incident : 

" A present of salmon baked in rye flour, accompanied wdth a note in the Russian 
language, was delivered to each of the captains, brought by two natives of Oonalaska 
from a distant part of the island. Ledyard volunteered to return with the messengers to gain 
information. Captain Cook accepted his offer, and sent b}- him a present of some bottles of 
rum, wine and porter, and a wheaten loaf, with an invitation to his 'unknown friends.' 
Led3-ard embarked in a small baidar, which was a light skeleton wooden frame covered with 
whale skin. It was paddled by two men, for each of whom there was a circular opening in 
the upper part of the baidar to admit of their being seated; and the lower end of their skin 
jacket or frock was then closely fastened to the rim of the opening to prevent the entrance 
of water, and they appeared, as it were, hooped in. There was no opening for their 
passenger Ledyard; and previous to their both being seated he was obliged to dispose 
himself at his length, or, as seamen might express it, to stow himself fore and aft, in the 
bottom of the baidar between the two. The space allotted to him neither in height nor 
breadth exceeded twent)' inches. The length of the vo3'age performed by Ledyard, pent 
up in this slight bark, I understood to be twelve or fourteen miles. At the end of two days 
he returned to the ship, being better accommodated in his voyage home than out, and in 
company with three Russian traders. These and other Russians who came to us afterwards 
communicated their charts, which gave information concerning manv islands in this sea. 
They also mentioned that an expedition had been made in the icv sea with sledges, 
in the year 1773, to some large islands opposite the river Kolyma." 

Shortly subsequent, as Captain Burney states. Captain Cook left Oonalaska for the 
Sandwich Islands as a place of refreshment for the ship's companies, and where the stock 
of provisions could be recruited to enable him to undertake another expedition to the 

" The ships reached Owyhee, the largest of the Sandwich group, late in November, 
remaining near it until the middle of January, 1779, — all the time under sail, having 
found no convenient anchorage. In the meantime they had discovered a number of small 
islands of the same group, adjacent to Owyhee. The natives in canoes had daily visited 
the ships, bringing provisions. On the 17th of January, a bay on the west side of Owyhee, 
named Karakokooa, was discovered, in which the ships anchored. Captain Cook, desiring 
to examine other islands of the group before sailing northward, sailed from the Bay of 
Karakokooa on the 4th. On the 8th, while yet in sight of Hawaii, the foremast of the 
Resolution was ascertained to be so defective as to require immediate repair. As the other 
islands had afforded no good harbor. Captain Cook returned to Karakokooa Bay, in which 
port he again anchored upon the nth. His return occasioned great dissatisfaction to the 
natives, which they manifested by numerous petty annoyances. On the night of the 13th 
the cutter of the Discovery was stolen b}- them. Captain Clerke being too ill to go ashore, 





Captain Cook in person visited the native King, Terecboo, and demanded the retnrn of the 
stolen boat. The programme was that the King should visit the ship, and be detained on 
board until the restoration of the property. Terecboo had accepted the invitation to return 
to the ship with Captain Cook. Directions had been given to the crews of the guard-boats 
not to interfere with the small canoes, but to prevent the departure of any large boat from 
the bay. This order was intended if necessary to make reprisal, and thus force the return 
of the ship's stolen cutter. While the King was waiting, ready to accompany Captain 
Cook to his ship, a large canoe attempted to pass out of the bay. She was ordered by the 
guard-boats to return; but, continuing on her course, the crew fired over her to bring her 
to. This .shot unfortunately killed one of the native chiefs. One of King Terecboo's wives, 
learning of the catastrophe, rushed up to the King, and with wails of lamentation clung to 
him and prevented his getting into the ship's boat. Captain Cook, who had hold of his 
hand, now left him and walked toward his boat to return to the ship, as there was too much 
excitement to accomplish any settlement. The natives surrounded him; and, in the 
struggle, Captain Cook and four of his men were killed." 

Thus ignobly perished the illustrious James Cook, of whom it was justl}- said: "No 
other navigator extended the bounds of geographical knowledge so widely as he did." His 
surveys and determinations of latitude and longitude are extremel}' accurate. He introduced 
and practiced a sj-stem of sanitarj- regulations preserving the health of the crews, and 
thereafter removed the dread which had till that time attached to long voyages. " Along 
the northwest coast of America he effected more in one season than the Spaniards had 
accomplished in two centuries. Besides rectifying many mistakes of former explorers, he 
ascertained the breadth of the strait which separates Asia from the New World, — a point 
which Behriug had left unsettled. Passing the Arctic, as he had crossed the Antarctic circle, 
he penetrated farther than any preceding navigator; and as more than half a century had 
expired without a nearer approach being made to the southern pole than he had achieved, 
a like period elapsed before our knowledge of the American coast was extended beyond the 
point which he had attained." He forever exploded the theory of the Strait of Anian or 
the existence of any northwest passage across the northern part of the continent of North 
America. His labors created a new era in geographic science. Not content with 
discovering new continents, islands and seas, he delineated the figure of their coasts, and 
determined their latitude and longitude with an accuracy which the appliances of modern 
discover}' and improvement have onl}- verified. 

On the death of Captain Cook, the command devolved upon Captain Clerke. The 
ships continued among the Sandwich Islands until the middle of March, when they sailed 
north, anchoring at Awatscha Bay, April 30th. The expedition arrived in Behring Strait, 
Jul}' 5th. They passed through the strait, and reached the latitude of sixty-nine degrees, 
twenty minutes north; when, being hemmed in by floating ice, their farther advance to the 
north was defeated. On the 27th, all further attempt was relinquished, and the ships bent 
their course southward, repassing Behring Strait on the 30th. On the 23d of August, two 
days before reaching Petropaulovski, Captain Clerke died. Lieut. Gore, a native of 
Virginia, succeeded to the command. The season being too far advanced to attempt aiiy 
farther northward exploration that year, it was deemed advisable to suspend operations. 
The expedition therefore sailed for China, teaching Canton in December. The arrival at 
Canton of the Resolution and Discovery, with a small collection of furs from the northwest 
coast of America, demonstrated the great avidity of the Chinese for their purchase. So 
anxious were that people to acquire them, that they were ready at almost any sacrifice to 


exchange the wares and commodities of the commerce of their own countr3^ As a direct 
consequence of this visit of Lieut. Gore to China, a new feature of the fur and East India 
trade was developed, vastly increasing its profits and importance. The enterprise or method 
of trade to be inaugurated was the collection of furs in Northwest America, their 
transportation to China, there to be exchanged for silks, teas and other China goods and 
products, which in turn were to be shipped to Europe. This result, flowing directly 
from that memorable voyage, which added to the accurate information of the North 
Pacific coast and fur-producing countries, revolutionized Pacific commerce, and the trade 
with China and the East Indies. A new element had been interjected. The impetus 
given to the fur trade by the market in China and the East Indies, and the necessary 
expansion of Chinese commerce, may well be regarded as among the most important of 
the many benefits which resulted from the third voyage of the world's greatest 
circumnaviga'tor. The northwest coast of America became the field to which European 
nations turned their attention. 

This voyage is notable becavise of its distinguished leader and his tragic fate. 
The programme exhibits the fii'st avowal that the value of the territory had become 
appreciated b}- the British government — that it is British policy to incorporate it into the 
British Empire. It constitutes the first act projected by British authority participating in 
its exploration, looking to its settlement or development. It clearly indicates British 
animus to acquire British foothold on the North Pacific. That a circumnavigator so 
distinguished should have visited these coasts, perpetuating the evidences of that visit and 
his examinations, by the names he conferred upon these headlands of the coast observed 
by him, render this voyage one of the most important in the prehistoric annals of the 
region. Captain Cook saw no portion of the western coast of America in these latitudes, 
which had not previously been seen by Perez, Bodega or Heceta. In high northern 
latitudes he availed himself of the reports of previous Russian voj-ages ; yet his 
examinations are so minute and reliable, correcting so many previous errors, that, as a 
contribution to the world's knowledge, the value of his labor is incalculable. 

His claim as mere discoverer may be challenged, or even denied. Yet to him must 
be awarded the honor of first making known, rendering appreciable to the world and 
reducing to actual shape, the crude, imperfect and erroneous data attempted to be laid 
down on previous charts. He determined the distance between important points on the 
Asiatic and North American coasts, and approximately ascertained the extent of the two 
continents. He forever dissipated the theory of an alleged northwestern water passage. 
X'oj'ages thereafter to the coast were to be in the pursuit of commerce, the wealth of which 
had been demonstrated by the Cook expedition. Spanish, Russian and other navigators 
had contributed to the world knowledge of lands and seas. The western coast of North 
America had found its place upon the map. Its coast line had been traced, and some of 
its harbors, bays and islands been superficially examined. At most, these lands and seas 
had been only visited. North of California, no attempt at occupancy or settlement had 
been made except the Russian establishment in 1763 on the Island of Kodiak, near the 
entrance of Cook's Ba}'. 

Chapter VII. 


The Jfootka Treaty between Spain and Great Britain, and the Events Culminating 
Therein — Xootka Sonnd tlie Kesort for Vessels Engaging in the Fur Trade — 
The King George's Sonnd Company — Voyages of Portlock and Dixon — The 
Latter Discovers the Channel Separating Queen Charlotte's Island from the 
Continent — Meares and Tipping on Northwest Coast Under License of East 
India Company — Voyages of Meares Under Portuguese Flag — Makes Settlement 
at Xootka, and Builds Schooner Northwest America — Arrival at Nootka of 
American Vessels Washington aiul Columbia — Martinez Seizes Iphigenia and 
Northwest America — Arrival of Princess Koyal and Argonaut — Martinez Seizes 
Them — Difficulties Between Spain and Great Britain — The Nootka Treaty, or 
Convention of the Escurial — Arrival at Nootka Sound of Captain Vancouver, 
British Commissioner, to Receive Kestitntion of Property of British Subjects 
— Unsuccessful Negotiations Between Senor Quadra and Vancouver — Final 
Restitution to British Subjects of Seized Property — Spain and Great Britain 
Abandon Nootka Sound. 

''T^HE principal harbors of the northwest coast of America resorted to by vessels engaged 
X in the fnr trade were Nootka, Norfolk and Prince William's Sounds. Nootka had 
become the rendezvons and usual port of departure of vessels laden with return cargo. At 
these ports collections of furs were concentrated, preparatory to shipment to China or the 
East Indies, there to be exchanged for the commodities of Eastern Asia, which, in turn, 
were shipped z'ia Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn, to European or American ports. 

The British government had granted to the South Sea Compan}^ a license of commerce 
and trade in all seas and countries westward of Cape Horn, excluding all other British 
subjects. The British East India Compan}' had secured a similar license in the regions 
east of the Cape of Good Hope. By these grants, all British subjects, except the two 
companies, had been restricted from engaging in commerce in all the seas, territories and 
islands in that vast portion of the world lying between the Cape of Good Hope eastward 
to a line drawn north and south through Cape Horn, or, vice versa^ westward from the 
meridian of Cape Horn to the meridian passing through the Cape of Good Hope. British 
subjects who desired to engage in Pacific commerce, in the fur trade on the northwest coast 
of America, or in the China or East India trade, were obliged to obtain permission of the 
one or the other of these companies. 

In 1785, a mercantile association was formed in London, styled the " King George's 
Sound Company." Its purposes were the procurement of furs on the northwest coast of 
America, exchanging them for the commodities of the East Indies or China and shipping 
the latter to Europe. Permission having been granted b}- the South Sea and East India 
companies, the " King George's Sound Compan}- " fitted out a voyage to the northwest 
coast of xA.merica, via Cape Horn. The expedition consisted of the ships King George 
and Queen Charlotte^ respectively commanded b}' Captain Nathaniel Portlock and George 
Dixon. They sailed in August, 1785, and reached Cook's river in Jul}-, 17S6. 

( 39 ) 


The East India Compau}-, by the Governor-General of India, had granted permission 
to Lieutenant John Meares, British navy (on leave), to make a venture in Northwest 
America in the Nootka, commanded by himself, accompanied by the Sea Oltcr, Captain 
Tipping. Under the East India Company's flag, IMeares and Tipping sailed from Calcutta 
in March, 1786. The Sea Otter arrived and left Prince William's Sound before Meares 
had arrived, in September. Meares never met Tipping; the Sea Otter and all on board were 
lost oflF the Kamtchatkan coast. The Nootka spent the winter at Prince William's 
Sound. Captain IMeares returned to China in the fall of 17S7. 

During the summer of 1787, Captain Dixon in the Queen Charlotte cruised along the 
coast, and demonstrated by sailing through the channel, now called Dixon's Channel, in 
honor of its discoverer, that the land between fifty-two degrees and fifty-four degrees north 
latitude, theretofore supposed to be the continent, was an island. To this island he gave 
the name of Queen Charlotte's, after his vessel. In the fall of 17S7, Portlock and Dixon 
sailed for China. Before their departure the Prhicess Royal and the Prince of Wales, of 
the King George's Sound Company, respectively commanded by Captain Colnett, of the 
British navy (on leave), and Captain Thomas Hudson, had arrived at Nootka Sound. 

The Chinese government required excessive port charges from vessels of all European 
nations, except the Portuguese (i). To evade such exaction, several British merchants 
residing in India, who desired to pursue the fur trade on the northwest coast of America 
and exchange furs in China, in the latter part of 1787 associated themselves with and 
used the name of Juan Cavalho, a Portuguese merchant. Through the intimacy of 
Cavalho with the Governor of Macao, this association of merchant-proprietors secured 
permission for the ships Felice and Iphigenia to sail under the Portuguese flag to the 
northwest coast of America. The expedition was intrusted to the command of Captain 
Meares in the Felice, Captain William Douglas, master of the Iphigenia. The papers of 
both vessels were made out in Portuguese, and in the name of Portuguese captains. Don 
Francisco Joseph de Viana accompanied the Iphigenia, and is referred to as second captain 
bj' Meares in his memorial to the British government, in the year 1788, complaining of 
the Spanish authorities at Nootka Sound. 

This enterprise in its inception was divested of all claim to British nationalit}', 
notwithstanding Meares, its intended and real commander, held a commission in the 
British nav}-. The merchant-proprietors fraudulently concealed their nationality, and 
thereby forfeited their rights as British subjects in the conspirac}^ to defraud the Chinese 
goveniment of the payment of port charges, for which as British subjects they would have 
been liable. Neither could the}- as British subjects have lawfully engaged in such 
commerce, violating as it did the Crown grant to the East India Company. But no claim 
as English subjects was then intended to have been made by the merchant-proprietors. It 
was a Portuguese voj-age, under the Portuguese flag; and b}- the letter of instructions of 
December 24, 1787, of the merchant-proprietors, all doubt is removed ?s to the national 
character which must be ascribed to this adventure. It was alike hostile to English as to 
Russian or Spanish authority. 

Those instructions will be found at length, appended to the memorial of Captain 
Meares. In them the following occurs : 

" Sliould you, in the course of your voyage, meet with any Russian, English or 
Spanish vessels, you will treat them with civility and friendship, and allow them, if 

(i) 111 1785. Captain James Haillia. an Englishman, had made a very successful voyage under the Portuguese flag to the North ] 
lission of the Governor of Macao. Exempt from Chinese port charges, the voyage had proven very profitable. 

I Pacific, bv 
permission (----- 









authorized, to examine your papers, which will show the object of your voyage. But you 
must, at the same time, guard against surprise. Shoiild they attempt to seize you, or 
even carry you out of your way, 3-ou will prevent it by every means in your power, and 
repel force b}' force. You will, on your arrival in the first port, protest before a proper 
officer against such illegal procedure, and ascertain as nearly as you can the value of your 
cargo and vessel, sending such protest, with a full account of the transaction, to us in 

" Should you, in such conflict, have the superiority, 3^ou will then take possession of 
the vessel that attacked, as also her cargo, and bring both, with the officers and crew, to 
China, that they may be condemned as legal prizes, and their crews punished as pirates." 

Meares, in his instructions to Captain Douglas, reiterates this direction : " If they are 
of superior force, and desire to see your papers, you will show them, should they be either 
Russian, English, Spanish or any other civilized nation. Force is to be used if it can be 
successfully ; and he is strictly charged to have as little communication with them as 
possible." The IpJiigenia sailed directly for Cook's river, where she continued trading 
diiring the summer. The Felice sailed directly for Nootka Sound, where she arrived May 
13, 1788. On the 25th, Mazuilla, or Maquinna, chief of the native tribe, granted to Meares 
" a spot of ground in his territory, whereon a house might be built for the accommodation 
of the people we intended to leave there, but had promised us also his assistance in 
forwarding our works, and his protection of the party who were destined to remain in 
Nootka during our absence. In return for his kindness, and to insure a continuance of it, 
the chief was presented with a pair of pistols." On the 28th, the house was completed 
and occupied, and the building of the schooner NoriJiiuest Avierica commenced. Everj-thing 
being in readiness for the voyage down the coast. Captain Meares interviewed Maquinna 
regarding the portion of crew who were to remain at Nootka. Maquinna agreed with 
Meares to " show every mark of attention and friendship to the party we (Meares) should 
leave on shore ; and, as a bribe to secure his attachment, he was promised that, when we 
finally left the coast, he should enter into full possession of the house and all the goods 
and chattels thereunto belonging." Such is the character of the first establishment upon 
the coast, as given by Captain Meares, its founder. It was a mere temporary shelter and 
stockade for the purposes of defense, reverting to the native chief who granted the privilege 
of its erection as soon as the grantees should take their departure. This was the first 
attempt at a settlement on the northwest coast of America, south of the Russian 

The statement of these transactions, with the aiiimus of their projectors and the actors 
emploj^ed, is essential to the due understanding of the events which were their natural and 
necessar}' consequence. These acts of Captain Meares and his associates were assumed 
by the British government as the legitimate enterprise of British subjects, entitled to 
national recognition and justification. Indeed, they mark the initiation of territorial claim 
by the British Crown for these coasts and the adjacent territory. 

Leaving a crew at work upon the schooner, Captain Meares occupied the summer in 
a voyage of exploration down the coast, returning to Nootka on the 27th of August. 

The Iphigenia soon after arrived. By Meares' instructions to Captain Douglas, that 
vessel was to spend the summer months on the northern coasts, and meet him at Nootka 
Sound about the ist of September. It having been determined that the Iphigenia and 
Nortlnuest America should continue upon the coast, the furs collected were transferred 
to the Felice^ which sailed September 28th for Macao. 


On the 17th of September, tlie American sloop tVasAzng^on, Ca-ptain Robert Gray, 
arrived at Xootka, followed shortly by the American ship Columbia^ Captain John 
Kendrick. October 27th, the Iphigenia and Northivest America sailed for the Sandwich 
Islands. The two American vessels remained at Nootka Sound that winter and all the 
next summer. 

These vo3'ages of the fur traders occasioned great uneasiness to Spain. The acts of 
the Russians were the most serious cause of alarm. The latter had crowded their 
settlements to the southward. The apprehension that Russian traders would attempt to 
form an establishment at Nootka Sound had occasioned the Spanish government to 
remonstrate with the Russian Emperor against the encroachment of Russians upon the 
possessions of Spain, which were claimed to extend as far north as Prince William's Sound, 
latitude sixty-one degrees north. In 17S9 the Viceroy of Mexico, with the purpose of 
anticipating and preventing occupancy of Nootka Sound b}- traders of other nations, had 
dispatched Martinez and de Haro, in the ships Princesa and San Carlos, with instructions 
to occupy that port. Martinez was to take possession of it as Spanish Territor}-, by right 
of discover}- b}' Perez in 1774. Russians and English were to be treated with proper 
courtesy; but the formation of an establishment prejudicial to the claim or interests of 
Spain was to be resisted. 

The Princesa reached Nootka on the 5th of Ma}-, 1779, and was joined b\- the San 
Carlos on the loth. When the Spanish \essels arrived, the American ship Columbia 
was in the sound, at a place called Mahwinna ; the Iphigenia was anchored in the bay. 
Martinez demanded the papers of both vessels, and their explanation for being at anchor 
in Nootka Sound, apprising them that it belonged to the King of Spain. The captain of 
the Iphigenia (Viana) replied that he had put there in distress, and was waiting the arrival 
of Captain Meares, in the Felice, who was daily expected. This answer satisfied Martinez. 
But, having learned that the Ipigenia sailed under orders to capture any Russian, Spanish 
or English vessel she was able to capture, he seized her. Martinez, however, being advised 
that the orders were intended to apply only to the defense of the vessel, released the 
Iphigenia and her cargo, and generously furnished her with necessar}- supplies from his 
own ship. On the 8th of June the Northiucst America returned from a cruise and was 
seized by Martinez the next da}-. 

While these events had been transpiring, Cavalho (whose name served as a cloak to 
confer Portuguese nationality upon these voyages, and to remove British national character 
from the ships Felice and Iphigenia, whereby China could be defrauded and the East India 
Company's exclusive grant evaded) had become bankrupt. 

The merchant-proprietors, as a matter of necessity, had combined their interests with 
the King George's Sound Company. By the new arrangement, the Felice had been sold, 
the Prince of Wales returned to England, the ship Argonaut was purchased, Colnett, 
late of the Princess Royal, was put in command, and the Princess Royal was transferred 
to Captain Hudson. To Captain Colnett was assigned the charge of the enterprise. In 
the instructions to him, the Iphigenia and Nortlnucsl Atnerica were henceforth placed 
under his orders, and were to engage in trade on account of the company. Captain 
Douglas was to return in the Argonaut, and to transfer to Colnett the Iphigenia and 
Northicest America. " We also authorize you to dismiss from your service all persons 
who shall refuse to obey your orders, when they are for our benefit ; and in this case we 
give you to understand, the Princess Royal, Northwest America, or other small craft, are 
always to continue on the coast of America. Their officers and people, when the time of 


their services are up, must be embarked upon the returning ship to China. On no account 
whatever will we suffer a deviation from these orders." Captain Colnett's instructions 
were further " to establish a factory to be called Fort Pitt, for the purpose of permanent 
settlement, and as a center of trade around which other stations may be established." 

The Princess Royal arrived first at Nootka, and was not molested by the Spanish 
commander. On the ad of July the Argonaut was about entering the bay, when Captain 
Colnett, being advised of the seizure of the Iphigenia and the NortJiivesi America^ at first 
declined to enter with his ship, but changed his resolution. A day or two afterwards 
Captain Colnett called on Martinez. He informed the Spanish governor that he intended 
to take formal possession of Nootka Sound in the name of Great Britain, and hoist the 
British flag; that, in conjunction with Captain Meares and other gentlemen at Macao, a 
colony was to be established and a fort to be erected. To this the vSpanish governor 
replied : " That possession had already been taken in the name of Spain, and that his 
orders and presence there weie to prevent such acts as he (Colnett) contemplated, and 
that they would not be allowed." Colnett then asked if the Spanish commander would 
prevent him from building a house in the port. Martinez consented to the erection of a 
tent, to wood and water, after \\'hich Colnett was at liberty to depart in his vessel when he 
pleased. The English captain replied that such was not his intention, but that he was 
there to build a blockhouse, erect a fort and settle a colony in the name of Great Britain. 
Martinez answered that Colnett's vessel was not a national vessel of Great Britain, not 
under its flag, nor was he (Colnett) authorized to transact business of that nature. Colnett 
plead his commission to the British nav}-. Martinez replied : " You are on leave, and in 
the merchant service, and the commission secures you no consequence." After which an 
altercation occurred in the cabin of the Princesa between Captain Colnett and Martinez. 
The next day the Spanish commander ordered the seizure of the Argonaut^ and the arrest 
of Colnett and his crew. The Princess Royal soon after returned, and she also was seized. 
Both vessels were sent to San Bias as prizes. The American vessels in the harbor of 
Nootka were not interfered with by Martinez. These events becoming known in Europe, 
Spain complained to the British government of the encroachment upon her rights of 
territor}^; and England haughtily demanded of Spain immediate reparation for the insult 
to her flag. The King of Great Britain, Ma}- 5, 1790, in a message to Parliament, 
communicated a detail of those acts, and asked for an augmentation of the army and 
navy, " to put it in his ^Majesty's power to act with vigor and effect in support of the 
honor of his Crown and the interests of his people." On the 4th of June, 1790, the 
King of Spain published a declaration " to all the other courts of Europe," temperately 
reciting the rights of territory of the Spanish government " to the continents and islands 
of the South Sea." It states, in conclusion : " Although Spain may not have 
establishments or colonies planted upon the coasts or in the ports in dispute, it does 
not follow that such coast or port does not belong to her. If this rule were to be followed, 
one nation might establish colonies on the coast of another nation, in America, Asia, 
Africa and Europe, by which means there would be no fixed boundaries, — a circumstance 
evidently absurd." 

■' But whatever may be the issue of the question of right, upon a mature consideration 
of the claims of both parties, the result of the question of fact is, that the capture of the 
English vessels is repaired by the restitution that has been made, and the conduct of the 
Viceroy ; for, as to the qualifications of such restitution, and whether the prize was lawful 
or not, that respects the question of right yet to be investigated ; that is to say, if it has 


been agreeably to, or in contradiction to, the treaties relative to the rights and possessions 
of Spain. Lastly, the King will readily enter into any plan by which future disputes 
on this subject may be obviated, that no reproach may be upon him as having refused 
means of reconciliation, and for the establishment of a solid and permanent peace not only 
between Spain and Great Britain, but also between all nations." 

Such being the attitude of Spain, negotiations commenced between that nation and 
Great Britain. Mr. Alleyne Fitzherbert, the British Ambassador at the Court of Madrid, 
claimed : 

" Such full and adequate satisfaction as the nature of the case evidently requires." 
Count de Blanca, the Spanish Minister of State, on the 13th of June, presented to Mr. 
Fitzherbert the memorial of the Court of Spain, in which, having recited the stipulation 
prescribed by the Treaty of Utrecht, " that Spain should never grant liberty or permission 
to any nation to trade to, or to introduce their merchandise into, the Spanish-American 
dominions, nor to sell, cede or give up to any other nation its lands, dominions or 
territories, or any part thereof," Count de Blauca boldly claims: "The vast extent 
of the Spanish territories, navigation and dominion, on the continent of America, isles 
and seas contiguous to the South Sea, are clearl}^ laid down and authenticated b}- a variety 
of documents, laws and formal acts of possession in the reign of King Charles II. It is 
also clearly ascertained, that notwithstanding the repeated attempts made b}' adventurers 
and pirates on the Spanish coasts of the South Sea and adjacent islands, Spain has still 
preserved her possessions entire, and opposed wath success those usurpations, by constantly 
sending her .ships and vessels to take possession of such settlements. By these measures, 
and reiterated acts of possession, Spain has preserved her dominion, which she has 
extended to the borders of the Russian establishments in that part of the world." The 
memorial then refers to the affairs in Nootka harbor. Mr. Fitzherbert, for the British 
government (June 16), after requiring that matters at Nootka should be put in their 
original state, adds : " As certain acts have been committed in the latitudes in question by 
vessels belonging to the Royal Marine of Spain, against several British vessels, without 
any reprisals having been made, of any sort, on the part of Great Britain, that power is 
perfectly in the right to insist, as a preliminary condition, upon a prompt and suitable 
reparation for these acts of violence ; and, in consequence of this principle, the practice of 
nations has limited such right of reparation to three articles, viz.: the restitution of the 
vessels ; a full indemnification for the losses sustained by the parties injured ; and, finall}', 
satisfaction to the sovereign for the insult offered to his flag. So that it is evident that 
the actual demands of my court has, far from containing anything to prejudice the rights 
or dignit}- of his Catholic Majesty, amounted to no more, in fact, than what is constantly 
done by Great Britain herself, as well as other maritime powers, in similar circumstances. 
Finally, as to the nature of the satisfaction which the Court of London exacts on that 
occasion, and on what your excellenc}' appears to desire some explanation, I am authorized, 
sir, to assure you, that if his Catholic Majesty consents to make a declaration in his name, 
bearing in substance that he had determined to offer to his Britannic Majesty a just 
and suitable satisfaction for the insult offered to his flag, such offer, joined to the promise 
of making restitution of the vessels captured and to indemnify the proprietors, will be 
regarded by his Britannic Majesty as constituting in itself the satisfaction demanded ; and 
his said Majesty will accept of it as such by a counter-declaration on his part." 

Under date of June i8th Blanca replies : " I cannot give my consent to the principles 
laid down in your last letter; as Spain maintains, on the most solid grounds, that the 

"fj^ \'.k 





JKT ^- 1 ■ ■ ■"■■- ■ 




detention of vessels was made in a port, upon a coast, or in a ba}- of Spanish America, the 
commerce and navigation of which belongs exclusively to Spain, b}' treaties with all 
nations, even England itself. The principles laid down cannot be adapted to the case. 
The vessels detained attempted to make an establishment at a port where they found a 
nation actiiall}^ settled; the. Spanish commander at Nootka having, previous to their 
detention, made the most amicable representations to the aggressors to desist from their 

" However, that a quarrel may not arise about words, and that two nations friendly to 
each other may not be exposed to the calamities of war, I have to inform you, sir, by order 
of the King, that his Majesty consents to make the declaration which your Excellency 
proposes in your letter, and will offer to his Britannic Majesty a just and suitable 
satisfaction for the insult offered to the honor of his flag, provided that to these are added 
either of the following explanations : 

"i. That in offering such satisfaction the insult and the satisfaction shall be fulh' 
settled, both in form and in substance, bj' a judgment to be pronounced by one of the 
Kings of Europe, whom the King, my master, leaves wholl}' to the choice of his Britannic 
Majestj^; for it is sufficient to the Spanish monarch that a crowned head, from full 
information of the facts, shall decide as he thinks just. 

"2. That, in offering a just and suitable satisfaction, care shall be taken that, in 
progress of the negotiation to be opened, no facts be admitted as true but such as can be 
fully established by Great Britain with regard to the insult offered to her flag. 

"3. That the said satisfaction shall be given on condition that no inference be drawn 
therefrom to affect the rights of Spain, nor the right of exacting from Great Britain an 
equivalent satisfaction if it shall be found, in the course of the negotiation, that the King 
has a right to demand satisfaction for the aggression and usurpation made on the Spanish 
territory, contrary to subsisting treaties." 

The proposition to refer the subject to a European Sovereign being declined by Great 
Britain, the required declaration was made July 24th, by the Spanish Minister of State, 
which Fitzherbert accepted, and filed a counter-declaration. Up to this stage, neither the 
Royal message, the speeches in Parliament, nor the correspondence or statements of the 
British negotiator, make the slightest allusion to a claim by Great Britain of any right of 
territory, nor any denial of the sovereignty so persistently avowed by Spain. On the i6th 
of June, Spain appealed to France to assist her in resisting the power of Great Britain, 
should war ensue out of these matters. On the 6th of August the National Convention of 
France passed a decree stating that " France will observe the defensive and commercial 
engagements which the French government have previously contracted with Spain." 

Hope being abandoned of assistance from France, the negotiations proceeded and 
terminated, October 28th, in the Nootka Treaty, or Convention of the Escurial. By its 
provisions, the buildings and tracts of land on the northwest coast of America, of which 
British subjects had been dispossessed in 1789, by Martinez, were to be restored. 
Reparation was to be made for all acts of hostility or violence subsequent to April, 1789. 
British subjects were to be re-established in possession of property and vessels of which 
they had been dispossessed. Just compensation was to be made to them for the losses 
which they had sustained by the acts of the Spanish officer. A right in common was 
secured to the subjects of both nations to navigate the Pacific Ocean and the South Seas 
or to land on places on the coast thereof not already occupied, to carry on commerce 
with the natives, and to make settlements with the following restrictions: The King of 


Great Britain engaged to prevent navigation or fishery in those seas being made the pretext 
for illicit trade with Spanish settlements. No British subject was to navigate or carry on 
a fishery in said oceans within ten sea leagues of any part of the coast occupied by Spain. 
When settlements were made by subjects of either power, free access to, and full privilege 
to trade, were confirmed without molestation. Such was the treaty of Nootka. Belsham, 
the British historian, thus comments upon these transactions, this negotiation and treaty: 

" By the treaty of 1763, the river Mississippi, flowing from north to south, in a direct 
course of 1,500 miles, was made the perpetual boundary of the two empires; and the 
whole countrv to the west of that vast river belonged to his Catholic Majesty by just as 
valid a tenure as the country eastward of the river to the King of England. Exclusive of 
the recent and decisive line of demarcation, by which the relative and political rights of 
both nations were clearly ascertained, the Court referred to ancient treaties b}' 
which the rights of the Crown of Spain were acknowledged in their full extent by Great 

Having referred to the British refusal to arbitrate, Belsham proceeds : 

"No assistance being had from France, Spain, yielding to necessity, complied with 
the harsh demands for restitution and indemnification ; and at length, on the 2Sth of 
October, 1790, a convention was signed at Escurial by which every point in dispute was 
conceded to Spain. The settlement of Nootka was restored, free navigation and right of 
fishing in the South Pacific were confirmed to Great Britain ; a full liberty of trade, and 
even of settlement, was granted to all the northwest coast of America, beyond the most 
northerly of the Spanish settlements, unaccompanied, however, b}' any formal renunciation 
of their rights of sovereignty." 

These transactions are of vital historic moment, as they afterwards became prominent 
features in the adjustment of the limits of coast and territory inuring to the respective 
claimants. As the United States of America afterwards succeeded to whatever rights 
Spain had acquired to Northwest America, it is interesting to learn how, if at all, Spain had 
become divested by the Nootka Treaty of territorial claim upon the North Pacific coast. 

The British government appointed Captain George Vancouver commissioner to receive 
the property recited in the first article. With that leading object, an expedition was 
intrusted to his command. 

Vancouver sailed from England January 6, 1791, in the ship Discovery^ accompanied 
by the brig Chatham^ Lieutenant Robert Broughton. On the arrival of Captain Vancouver 
at Nootka August 28, 1792, he found the Spanish commissioner, Bodega y Quadra, in 
command. Negotiations commenced on the 30th and continued till the iSth of September. 
Senor Quadra finally offered to surrender the land actually occupied by British subjects in 
1789, the settlement at Nootka to continue until the decision of the English and 
Spanish governments had been obtained. This was the extent of Quadra's powers, — of his 
concessions. Captain Vancouver demanded " Nootka in toto, and ClaA'oquot or Port Cox. 
The former is the place which had been occupied by British subjects; from thence their 
vessels were sent as prizes, and themselves as prisoners to New Spain. This is the place 
that was forcibly wrested from them and fortified and occupied by the officers of the Spanish 
Crown. This place, therefore, with Clayoquot or Port Cox, were comprehended under 
the first article of the convention, and were by that treaty to be restored without any 
reservation whatsoever ; on these terms and on these only could he receive restitution of 
them." Quadra was inexorable and would consent to nothing except to place Vancouver 
in possession. He utterly refused to make formal surrender of the territor}' or any claim 


thereto of Spain. Vancouver adds : " He would not entertain an idea of hoisting the 
British flag on the spot of land pointed out by Senor Quadra, not extending more than 
one hundred yards in any direction." And so the Quadra-Vancouver negotiations ended 
without practical result. The territory was not surrendered. Captain \'ancouver was 
never put in possession of Nootka harbor and the adjacent coast; not even the " small 
spot of ground," for the use of which, while the party should be building a schooner, 
Captain Aleares had presented to Maquilla, the native chief, a pair of pistols. 

Notwithstanding their unsuccessful negotiations, the social relations between these 
two illustrious navigators were of the most friendly character. Vancouver relates "that 
on the 5th September, after a pleasant joint excursion to Friendly Cove, Quadra earnestly 
requested him to name some port or island after both to commemorate the meeting and the 
very friendly intercourse that had taken place. Conceiving no spot so proper for this 
denomination as the place where we had first met, which was nearly in the center of the 
tract of land that had first been circumnavigated by us, forming the southwestern side of 
the Gulf of Georgia and the southern side of Johnstone's Strait and Queen Charlotte's 
Sound, I named that country the island of Quadra and A^ancouver, with which compliment 
he seemed highly pleased." 

The two commissioners, in the hope that more specific instructions might be leceived, 
arranged to meet again at Monterey, in Mexico. A^ancouver had determined on sending 
the Challiatu to England with advices as to the failure of settlement. But Seiior Quadra 
generously offered Lieutenant Broughton a passage in his ship to San Bias, and thence to 
secure him a transit across Mexico, thereby materially hastening the journey to London, 
which \'ancouver accepted. The C/ial/iaiii remained on the coast. Lieutenant Puget 
succeeding to command. On reaching England, Lieutenant Broughton was dispatched to 
Madrid, and upon his return was assigned to the sloop Providence^ with orders to proceed 
to Nootka and receive the possessions due to the British subjects under the first article of the 
Nootka Treaty. Broughton arrived at Nootka on the i/tli of March, 1796, but found the 
place deserted by the Spanish. Bv letters left, he was informed that the restoration had 
been made March 28, 1795, " agreeabl}- to the mode settled by the two courts." Lieutenant 
Broughton then departed from Nootka. Lieutenant Pierce of the marines was the English 
officer to whom the restoration had been made. General Alava representing the Spanish 
government. In the letter to the Duke of Portland, April 25, 1795, Lieutenant Pierce, 
after stating that the fort at the entrance of the harbor had been dismantled and the 
ordnance placed aboard the Spanish ships, writes : 

" Brigadier-General Alava and myself then met, agreeably to our respective 
instructions, on the place where formerly the British buildings stood, where we signed 
and exchanged the declaration, and counter-declaration, for restoring those lands to his 
Majesty, as agreed upon between the two courts, x^fter which ceremony I ordered the 
British flag to be hoisted, in token of possession ; and the General gave directions for the 
troops to embark." Such is the British version of the Spanish surrender at Nootka 
Harbor. The contents of the exchanged declaration and counter-declaration, for restoring 
those lands to his Majesty, there is no means of ascertaining. After the unsuccessful 
negotiations between Vancouver and Quadra had been communicated to their respective 
governments, it would seem that both nations agreed that neither should assert exclusiven.ess 
of title to the territories of the North Pacific ; that question as to the sovereignty of the 
territory had been reserved ; and that matters at Nootka were intended to have been placed 
in their original state. The vessels and property seized by Martinez had been restored ; 


and the sum of two hundred and ten thousand dollars had been accepted as reparation for 
damages growing out of his acts. Whatever surrender General Alava had made to Lieut. 
Pierce was merely a matter of ceremony. Certain it is, no concession was at that 
time made by Spain of her territorial claim upon the northwest coast. Belsham, who 
never apologizes for his country's wrong-doing, who believes that history should censure, 
where deser\-ed, thus forcibly characterizes this temporary yielding to might : 

" But though England, at the expense of three millions, extorted from the Spaniards 
a promise of restoration and reparation, it is well ascertained : first, that the settlement in 
question never was restored by Spain, nor the Spanish ilag at Nootka ever struck ; and, 
secondly, that no settlement had been subsequently attempted b}- England on the California 
coast. The claim of right set up by the Court of London, it is therefore plain, has been 
virtuall_v abandoned, notwithstanding the menacing tone in which the negotiation was 
conducted b}- the British Administration, who cannot escape some censure for encouraging 
these vexatious encroachments on the territorial rights of Spain." 

In 1796, Spain declared war against Great Britain, and never afterwards made an}'' 
attempt to reoccupy Nootka Sound. Whether such war abrogated the Nootka Treat}^ and 
reinstated in their original condition territorial rights claimed to have been regulated or 
acquired under such treaty, are questions which have been greatly discussed. Those 
unsettled questions of international law upon which publicists have so widely differed were 
divested of all political significance b}- the Treat}- of Limits of June 15, 1846, between 
the United States, assignee of the Spanish title, and Great Britain. As Nootka is in the 
territor}^ which was ceded to Great Britain by the United States, it is of no real moment 
whether Lieut. Pierce was invested by General Alava with the territory surrounding 
Nootka Sound, or whether he received onl}' a possessory title to the spot upon which the}' 
stood, the spot of ground jMaquilla had granted to Meares for a temporary shelter, while 
his crew built the Northivest America. With Broughton's brief visit to Nootka Sound 
terminated the \isits of the English. No more acts were ever performed by any British 
subjects, or attempted within the harbor or upon its adjacent soil, as a result of the Nootka 
Treaty, or of the ceremony in which Lieut. Pierce and General Alava participated. Great 
Britain never acquired, much less exercised, any territorial rights over Nootka Sound or 
the adjacent territory by virtue of the first article of the Nootka Treaty, which reads : 

Article I. It is agreed that the buildings and tracts of land situated on the 
northwest coast of the continent of North America, or on islands adjacent to that continent, 
of which the subjects of his Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about the month of 
April, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall be restored to the said Britannic subjects. 



Chapter VIII. 


strait of Jiiaii de Fuca Discovered — Examinations of Strait by Meares, Gray, 
Keiidrick and Spanish Navigators — Vancouver's Survey of Strait, Admiralty 
Inlet, Puget Sound and Gidf of Georgia — Discovery of Columbia River — Trade 
of North Pacific Coast Exclusively Enjoyed by American Vessels — Tragic Fate 
of Crew of Ship Boston — National Character Ascribed to Several Portions of 
North Pacific Coast ^ Termination of Coastwise Voyages of Discovery — Coast 
Between Forty-three and Fifty-five Degrees Latitude Claimed by Spain, Great 
Britain and United States. 

WHILE the events which led to and grew out of the Nootka Treaty had been 
transpiring, discoveries and explorations of especial interest were being made in 
the seas and inland waters adjacent to Nootka Sound. 

In the year 1786, La Perouse, the illustrious French navigator, was on the northwest 
coast. The expedition consisted of the frigates V Astrolabe and La Boussole. Its purpose 
was the exploration in the Pacific and examination of the coasts of America, China, Japan 
and Tartary. It sailed from Brest August i, 1785, doubled Cape Horn and journeyed 
thence to northwest America, where it arrived June 23, 17S6. La Perouse sailed southward 
August 9, 1786, and thoroughly examined the coast from Mount St. Elias to Monterey, 
where he arrived September 14, 1786. In latitude fifty-eight degrees he discovered and 
named Port des Fran9ais, in which harbor the vessels remained about six weeks. He 
forwarded his charts and notes from Petropaulovski, but they were not published until 
1798, by which time later voyages of navigators had superseded the names given by La 
Perouse. On the 7th of Februar}^, 1788, La Perouse, from Botany Bay, advised the 
French Minister of Marine of his future movements, which was the last intelligence ever 
received from the French expedition. 

In 1787, Captain Berkley, in the [mperial Eagle, an Austrian East Indiaman, had 
arrived at Nootka. During the summer he examined the coast as far south as forty-seven 
degrees north latitude. He discovered the entrance of the strait on the south shore of 
Vancouver Island. To him belongs the honor of having ascertained the existence of the 
strait afterwards named Juan de Fuca. Continuing southward, he reached the Isla de 
Dolores of the Spanish charts. Dispatching a small boat to the same shore in quest of 
fresh water, the crew were all murdered by the natives. As a memorial of their sad fate, 
he named the island opposite to the mouth of the stream Destruction Island. 

During the next winter (1787-8), Captain Berkley communicated to Captain Meares 
of Macao, that the outlet of the strait had been observed by him, but that he had not 
attempted an entrance or examination. In 178S, Captain Meares again arrived upon the 
northwest coast. Having left a small party at Nootka building the schooner Nortliwesl 
America. Captain Meares sailed southward in the Felice.^ on the nth of June, on a vo3'age 
of exploration. On the 29th, he made a limited examination of the strait south of 
Vancouver Island. He described the entrance as twelve or fourteen leagues broad. 

5 (49) 


" From the mast-head it was observed to stretch to the east by north, and a clear, unbounded 
horizon was seen in that direction as far as the eye could reach." He attempted frequent 
soundings, "but could procure no bottom with one hundred fathoms of line." Says he : 
" The strangest curiosity impelled us to enter this strait, which we will call by the name 
of its original discoverer, Juan de Fuca." Subsequently, Mr. Duffin, his first officer, with 
a party, explored the strait some fifty miles, determining the port of San Juan. IMeares 
sailed southward to examine the so-called mouth of the Rio de San Roque of Heceta. On 
the 5th of July, he discovered the entrance of the bay which he named Shoalwater. To 
the north point he gave the name Cape Shoalwater, now called Toke Point. After 
searching for the entrance of the river San Roque, his conclusion was thus stated : "' We 
can now with safety assert that there is no such river as St. Roc exists, as laid down on 
the Spanish charts." He further attested his deep-seated convictions that no river entered 
the ocean in that vicinity by naming the promontory north of the bay Cape Disappointment. 
The bay itself he nominated Deception Bay. Disappointed and deceived, he continued 
his cruise southward to latitude forty-five degrees north ; and, upon the 26th of July, he 
headed northward, arriving at Nootka on the 27th of August. 

In 17S7, Joseph Barrel, a prominent merchant of Boston, projected a voyage of 
discovery and commerce to the northwest coast of America. In this enterprise Samuel 
Brown, Charles Bulfinch, John Derby, Crowell Hatch and John M. Pintard, all citizens 
of the United States, became associated. Two vessels, the ship Columbia, Captain John 
Kendrick, and the sloop Washington, Captain Robert Gra}-, were equipped and provided 
with assorted cargoes for trade with the natives. They sailed from Boston October, 17S7 ; 
and their arrival at Nootka in September, 17SS, has akeady been incidentally mentioned. 

In 1789, in a summer voA-age from Nootka down the coast, Captain Robert Gray, 
in the Washington, entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca and " sailed through it fifty miles 
in an east-southeast direction, and found the pas.sage five leagues wide." In returning to 
Nootka, he met the ship Columbia in the strait, ready for sea, bound for China. Captain 
Gra}- transferred to the Columbia ; Captain Kendrick exchanged to the sloop, and wintered 
upon the coast. The Columbia sailed to Canton, where Gra}' exchanged his furs for a 
cargo of tea, with which he arrived at Boston August 10, 1790, via Capeof Good Hope. 
To him belongs the honor of having commanded the vessel first to circumnavigate the 
globe under the national standard of the United States of xA.merica. In the fall of 1789, 
after parting with the Columbia, Captain Kendrick, in the sloop Washington, sailed 
through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Steering northward, he passed through some eight 
degrees of latitude, and came out into the Pacific Ocean, north of latitude fiftv-five degrees 

The waters adjacent to Nootka Sound continued to be explored by Spanish navigators 
while Spain remained in occupanc}- of Nootka. An expedition, consisting of the ship 
Conception, Lieutenant Francisco Elisa, the San Carlos, Fidalgo, and the Princess Royal 
(the P/incess Royal captured from Captain Colnett), commanded bv Manuel Ouimper, 
fitted out by the \'iceroy of Mexico, sailed from San Bias February 3, 1790, arriving earl}^ 
in .April at Nootka. Fidalgo was sent north as far as Prince William's Sound, thence 
southward to examine the coast between degrees north and Nootka. The 
unfavorable weather prevented the coast examination, and Fidalgo returned to San Bias. 
To Quimper was assigned the exploration of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. His survey 
included the strait and main channel of what is now known as the Gulf of Georgia, — 
the main channel between \'ancouver Island and the continent, to which he gave the 


name of Canal de Haro, in honor of his pilot, Gonzalo Lopez de Haro. Such is the 
channel so notable in history, separating the Island of Yanconver and San Jnan, now 
the water bonndar}- line between Great Britain and the United States, as settled b}' 
William I., Emperor of United Germanj\ Elisa, with his ship, wintered at Nootka. In 
1 791, the San Carlos retnrned to Nootka accompanied by the schooner Santa Saturnina^ 
Jose Nan-aez. These vessels engaged in the examination of the strait and the Gulf of 
Georgia ; and by them those Spanish names were given which are still borne by islands, 
bays and points in the vicinity of Archipelago de Haro and Rosario Straits. 

In the fall of 1790, after the release of Captain Colnett, he sailed from San Bias to 
Nootka, in the Argonaut^ with an order to have restored to him his schooner Princess 
Royal; but she had previouslj- sailed for San Bias. He obtained a valuable cargo of 
furs, safely reached Macao, and during the next summer at Hawaii received his schooner 
from Quimper. 

The expedition of Alejandro Malaspina, which visited Nootka this 3'ear, must not 
be omitted. He was appointed to explore and ascertain the exact geographic position of 
the Spanish-Pacific possessions. The expedition consisted of the two frigates Disaibierta 
and Atravida, which sailed from Cadiz, Spain, Jul}' 30, 17S9. Upon arrival at Acapulco, 
Malaspina received from the Spanish government a cop}- of the paper b}- Buache, before the 
French Geographic Societ}^, defending the integrit}^ of the claim of the alleged vo3-age of 
]\Ialdonado, with instructions to ascertain the truthfulness of the Alaldonado narrative, 
and whether the strait claimed to have been discovered had an existence. His denunciation 
of the Maldonado fraud has alread}- been noted. 

After passing Cape St. Elias, he, with Captain Bustamenti, who commanded the 
Atravida, with all the ofl&cers and pilots of both vessels, signed and published the 
declaration that from Cape Fairweather to Prince William's Sound no strait had been 
found. The expedition reached Nootka Sound early in August, 1791, and remained there 
until the close of the month. 

Malaspina attempted but little examination of the inland seas in the vicinity. He 
discovered the mouth of what is now called Eraser river, naming it Rio Blanca, in 
honor of the Spanish Minister of State. 

Etienne Marchand, a West India navigator and merchant, in 17S8 projected a 
voyage around the world for commercial purposes. He sailed from Marseilles in the 
ship Le Solide December 14, 1790, and in August, 1791, reached Queen Charlotte's Island. 
A complete map and scientific description of the northwest part of Queen Charlotte's 
Island was published in 1798, among the charts prepared b}- this navigator, and in the 
narrative of this voyage. 

Twenty-eight vessels, under the flags of Portugal, France, England, Spain and the 
United States, visited Nootka Sound this year. Of these, five were national expeditions, 
the remainder traders. 

In 1792, two schooners, the Siitil and Mexicano^ respective!}' commanded by Galiano 
and Valdes, arrived at Nootka in May. On June 4th, that expedition anchored in Neah 
Bay, and from thence proceeded eastward with the survey of the Strait of Fuca. On the 
2ist, Galiano and Vancouver met personally, exchanged notes, charts and information, and 
agreed to work thereafter together. \^ancouver freely communicated and received 
information, but would not accept as correct the work of Galiano. This nettled the 
Spaniard, and the two navigators parted. Galiano thoroughly surveyed the Gulf of 
Georgia, and passed out north of Vancouver Island around, to Nootka, claiming that he 


had established the fact of Vancouver being an island. This last Spanish exploring 
expedition sailed from Nootka for San Bias abont the ist of September, passing the mouth 
of the Columbia river, and verif3dng it as an entrance named by Heceta. 

Captain \'ancouver, of the British navv, in addition to his duties as British 
commissioner under the Nootka Treaty, had been invested with authority to continue his 
voyage as an exploring expedition. Among his instructions are the following: "To 
survey the Pacific coast of the American continent from the 35th to the 60th parallel 
north ; to report the population, situation and extent of settlements b\' civilized nations 
within those limits, and especially to seek any water passage between the British colonies 
on the Atlantic side and British subjects on the northwest coast; to examine the supposed 
Strait of Juan de Fuca, said to be situated between the 4Sth and 49th degrees of north 
latitude, and to lead to an opening through which the sloop IVasliington is reported to 
have passed in 1789, and to have come out again northward of Nootka." 

On the 30th of April, 1792, the Vancouver expedition had entered the Strait of Juan 
de Fuca, and penetrated to a point on the south shore named by Vancouver New Dungeness. 
On May ist, thev sailed eastward, and entered a bay by him called Port Discovery. The 
island abreast of its mouth received its name of Protection Island. The channel to the 
southward of Point Wilson was called Admiralty Inlet. Its two great southern arms were 
respectively nominated Hood's Canal and Puget Sound. Each of those, with their 
numerous islands, inlets, bays and harbors, were successively explored and described. The 
names conferred b}- Vancouver still remain, and are the perpetuation of the testimou}- that 
no physical feature of interest escaped Vancouver's notice. He determined the inlets of 
the great inland sea, happilv called the Mediterranean of the Northwest. Its ever-tortuous 
channel he traced to its ^•ery head, and fully and forever set at rest anj- thought that the 
Strait of Juan de Fuca afforded a water passage through the continent. His labor 
accomplished in those inland waters, he passed out to the northward, through the Gulf of 
Georgia, which separates the island of \"ancouver from the continent. Having 
circumnavigated that island, upon which was conferred the name of Quadra and Wincouver, 
he arrived August 28th at Nootka. 

A departure from strict chronologic order has again become necessary. It has been 
observed in preceding pages that a discovery, an event or a historic result frequentlv 
depends not upon a single act, but a series of acts through agencies inaugurated 
independently of each other, sometimes dictated by adverse interests for rival purposes. 
Hence such series of acts, with the motives of the several actors, must be represented in 
continuous statement to lead up to the real result, — to intelligently make the record. It 
is eminently proper, therefore, not to say indispensable, even at the expense of repetition, 
to aggregate chief incidents which develop the search and determine the existence 
of the " great river of the West," and to whom belongs the honor of its discovery. 

Heceta, on the 1 7th of August, 1775, while coasting homeward to Monterey, discoAcred 
an extensive bay, which he placed in forty-six degrees, seventeen minutes north. Midway 
between the headlands he noticed that the currents were too strong for his vessel. Says 
he : " These currents and eddies of water caused me to believe that the place is the mouth 
of some great river, or of .some passage into another .sea." He named the entrance 
Assumption Inlet. To the river, which he believed to exist, he gave the name San Roque. 
In the summer of 17S8, Captain Meares made an examination, called the ba}- Deception 
Bay, and its north headland Cape Disappointment. He emphaticall}- denied the existence 
of a river, and that Heceta's Bav was the mouth of anv river. 











In August, 1778, the American sloop Washington^ Captain Robert Gray, made the 
northwest coast of America near forty-six degrees north. In an attempt to enter an 
apparent opening, the sloop grounded, was attacked by savages, one of the crew killed, and 
the mate se\erely wounded. Captain Gra}- believed this to have been the mouth of the 
river which he afterwards named the Columbia. 

On the aSth of September, 1790, Captain Graj', in the ship Columbia^ sailed from 
Boston for the northwest coast of America. On the 29th of April, 1792, he spoke Captain 
Vancouver off the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and communicated to him that 
" he had been off the mouth of the river in latitude forty-six degrees, ten minutes north, 
where the outset or reflux was so strong as to prevent his entering it for nine days." 

Captain Vancouver attached but little importance to that statement of Captain Gray. 
He continued upon his course, entering the Strait of Fuca, and upon April 30 he anchored 
at New Dvingeness. With the utmost self-complacency he assured himself that he " has 
proceeded further up this inlet than Mr. Gray, or (to our knowledge) any other person 
from the civilized world." He then observes : 

" Considering ourselves now on the point of commencing an examination of an 
entirely new region, I cannot take leave of the coast already known without obtruding a 
short remark on that part of the continent, comprehending a space nearly 215 leagues, on 
which our inquiries had been lately employed under the most fortunate and favorable 
circumstances of wind and weather. It must be considered as a very singular circumstance 
that, in so great an extent of sea coast, we should not until now (the Strait of Fuca) have 
seen the appearance of an}' opening in its shores, which presented any prospect of affording 
shelter, the whole coast forming one compact, solid and nearly straight barrier against the 
sea. The river Mr. Gray mentioned should, from the latitude he assigned to it, have 
existence in the ba}', south of Cape Disappointment. This we passed on the forenoon of 
the 27th; and I then observed, if any inlet or river should be found, it must be a very 
intricate one, and inaccessible to vessels of our burthen, owing to the reefs and broken water 
which then appeared in its neighborhood. Mr. Gray stated that he had been several days 
attempting to enter it, which at length he was unable to effect, in consequence of a very 
strong outset. This is a phenomenon difficult to account for, as, in most cases where there 
are outsets of such strength on a seacoast, there are corresponding tides setting in. Be 
that however as it may, I was thoroughly convinced, as were also most persons of 
observation on board, that we could not possibly have passed any safe navigable opening, 
harbor or place of security for shipping on this coast from Cape Mendocino to the 
promontory of Classet; nor had we any reasons to alter our opinions, notwithstanding that 
theoretical geographers have thought proper to assert, in that space, the existence of arms 
of the ocean communicating with a mediterranean sea, and extensive rivers with safe and 
convenient ports." 

The usually accurate Vancouver then chronicles objections to parties setting up 
claims of discovery, or asserting a belief that channels of communication into the interior 
do exist. " These ideas, not derived from anj' source of substantial information, have, it 
is much to be feared, been adopted for the sole purpose of giving unlimited credit to the 
traditionary exploits of ancient foreigners, and to undervalue the laborioiis and enterprising 
exertions of our own countr3'men, in the noble science of discovery." 

The feeling maj' be natural to the scientific British navigator, that the American sailor, 
making no pretensions to "the noble science of discovery" possessed by Vancouver's 
own countrymen, should have the audacity to believe that there was an extensive 



river near Cape Disappointment asserted by Heceta to exist, which Captain Cook had 
failed to obtain sight of, and which Captain Meares asserted did not exist. Awarding 
no faith to the statement of Captain Gray, \'ancouver prosecuted his voyage northward. 
The latter, satisfied by his own observations, more practical than scientific, returned 
southward in search of that river "whose outlet or reflux was so strong as to prevent for 
nine days his entering." On the 7th of May, " being within six miles of land, saw an 
entrance in the same, which had a very good appearance of harbor, lowered away the jolly 
boat, and went in search of an anchoring place, the ship standing to and fro, with a strong 
weather current. At one o'clock p. m. the boat returned, having found no place where the 
ship could anchor with safety; made sail on the ship; stood in for shore. We soon saw 
from our masthead a passage between the sand-bars. At half past three, bore away and 
run in northeast by east, having four to eight fathoms, sandy bottom; and, as we drew in 
nearer between the bars, had from ten to thirteen fathoms, having a very strong tide of ebb 
to stem. Many canoes came alongside. At five P. M. came to five fathoms of water, sandy 
bottom, in a safe harbor, well sheltered from the sea by a long sand-bar and spit. Our 
latitude observed this day was forty-six degrees, fift^'-eight minutes north." Captain Gray 
called this bay Bulfinch Harbor, in honor of one of the part owners of the ship Cohnnbia. 
It is now known as Gray's Harbor. Captain Gray remained there until the afternoon of 
the loth. 

On the nth. Captain Gray, "at four A. M., saw the entrance of our port, bearing east 
southeast, distance six leagues ; in-steering sails, and hauled our wind in shore. At eight 
A. M., being a little to windward of entrance into the harbor, bore away and run east 
northeast between the breakers, having from five to seven fathoms of water. When we 
came over the bar, we found this to be a very large river of fresh water, up which we 
steered." To this river, into which he sailed to Tongue Point, Captain Gra}^ gave the 
name Columbia^ after the name of his ship. 

Upon his return to Nootka Sound, Captain Gra}' furnished Sefior Quadra a sketch of 
his summer explorations and discoveries, by whom Captain Vancouver was informed of 
them. The Quadra- Vancouver negotiations having been brought to a close, Vancouver 
.sailed on the 12th of October on a southern cruise with the Discovery^ accompanied by the 
Chatham and Doedahis (i), "to re-examine the coast of New Albion, and particularly a 
river and a harbor discovered by Mr. Gra}^ in the Columbia between the forty-sixth and 
fortj'-.seventh degrees of north latitude, of which Senor Quadra favored me with a sketch." 

The Doedahis was left to explore Gray's Harbor. " At four o'clock on the afternoon 
of the 19th, when having nearly reached Cape Disappointment, which forms the north 
point of entrance into Columbia river, so named b}^ Mr. Gray, I directed the Chatham to 
lead into it, and, on her arrival at the bar, should no more than four fathoms of water be 
found, the signal for danger was to be made, but, if the channel appeared to be navigable, 
to proceed." 

The Discovery followed the Chatham till Vancouver found the water to shoal to 
three fathoms, with breakers all around, which induced him to haul ofi" to the eastward, 
and to anchor outside the bar in ten fathoms. The Chatham came to anchor in ten 
fathoms, with the surf breaking over her. Vancouver was as unwilling to believe there 
was much of a river as he before had been to attach any credit to Captain Gray's 
statement. He thus exhibited his repugnance to acknowledge Mr. Gray's claim of 

(1) The DotJalui hnd been ili.spatclicd from Uiigland August 2o, 1791,10 carry additional instructions to Captain Vancouver She was a 
storcship m couinmud of (.aptam-Lieulcuaiit lleiigist, who diid ou the voyage out. She arrived at Nootka prior to \.hS Discovery and Chatham. 


discovery. Says he : " My former opinion of this port being inaccessible to vessels of our 
burthen was now fully confirmed, with this exception, that, in ver}- fine weather, with 
moderate winds and smooth sea, vessels not exceeding 400 tons might, so far as we are 
able to judge, gain an admittance." 

Lieutenant Broughton, in the Chatham^ having rounded Cape Disappointment, was 
surprised by the firing of a gun from a small schooner at anchor in the bay. It proved to 
be the Jciinv, from Bristol, Rhode Island, commanded by Captain James Baker. This 
incident suggested Baker's Baj- as the proper name for the little harbor inside Cape 
Disappointment. The Chatham sailed up the river to Gray's Ba}-, where Broughton 
anchored. With a cutter and launch. Lieutenant Broughton pursued the further 
examination of the river. He continued the ascent for seven da3's, to a distance, as he 
reckoned, of one hundred miles from his anchorage. This point he named Point Vancouver. 
It is the site upon which is erected the cit}' of Vancouver. He then returned to his vessel. 
Having been in the river twelve days, and having, as he says, " took possession of the 
river and the country in its vicinit}^ in his Britannic Majesty's name, having every reason 
to believe that the subjects of no other civilized nation or state had ever entered this river 
before, he recrossed the bar, the schooner Jenny leading, and sailed south to join the 
Discox'ery. The only palliation for this attempt of Broughton to claim the honor of 
discover}- of the river will be found by according to him sincerity of belief in his theor}'', 
that the widening of the Columbia below Tongue Point really constituted a bay, of which 
bay Gray was the discoverer ; that the true river emptied into Gray's Bay, and that Gray 
was never above its mouth. Brough ton's ungenerous and unjust denial of Gray's claim 
has long been ignored ; and Captain Robert Gray, the American sailor, is universally 
accepted as the discoverer of the great river Columbia. 

Vancouver continued upon the coast until late in 1794. His exploration of coasts, 
bays, rivers, sounds and inlets was minutely made. To all he gave a name, and with 
notable accurac}' determined their positions. The narrative of his voyage is the record 
of the most extensive and complete nautical survey which up to that time had ever been 
made. His charts are yet held in the highest regard. His nomenclature is deferentially 
adhered to; and the thorough manner in which he performed his labor left to his successors 
the mere task of verifying its accuracy. 

The general war which waged throughout Europe in the closing A^ears of the last 
and the early years of the present century' accounts in a great measure for the suspension 
of vo3-ages to Northwest America in European ships, and the withdrawal of European 
commerce from these northern seas. The East India Company had discontinued issuing 
licenses to British subjects to trade within the limits of their grant. British vessels 
other than those of the company could not land cargoes in au}^ East India port. Neither 
under their license could the company trade in Northwest America. China had excluded 
Russian vessels from its ports. The carrying trade of the North Pacific was for the time 
necessarily restricted to vessels of the United States. 

In March, 1803, the American ship Boston^ Captain John Salter, while trading at 
Nootka, was attacked by natives under the lead of Maquinna, the chief The ship was 
destro\'ed and but two of the crew escaped massacre. Those two survivors (one of whom 
was John R. Jewett, whose name is widely known from the publication of the narrative of 
this disastrous vo\'age) made their escape, after three 3^ears' captivity. 

With this ends the chronicle of voyages, which had for their object the exploration or 
discovery of the coast, — voyages which either entirely or partiality partook of national 


character; — which were in fact expeditions projected to acquire or maintain territorial 
claim; also those voyages, the incidents of which subsequently' affected adjustment of 
respective national claims to the coast. Those already recounted will be found to have 
constituted the acts and facts by which the coast between certain parallels of latitude 
was stamped with nationality of claim. Russia's claim upon the extreme northwest was 
undisputed, except that Spain had not abandoned the imaginary right arising from 
the grant of Pope Alexander VI. Russian discovery had been followed by settlements 
which extended southward to about fifty-five degrees north. Spain had discovered coasts 
as high north as Prince William's Sound, sixty-one degrees north, but had not attempted 
.settlement north of the mission of San Francisco, latitude thirty-seven degrees, fifty 
minutes, — properly speaking, north of the north line of the Spanish departraeiit of 
California. Great Britain had asserted claim because Drake, in 1579, had called a part of 
the coast New Albion, which coast so named, according to Vancouver, was included 
between forty-three degrees and forty-eight degrees. From forty-eight degrees to fifty-five 
degrees, that navigator designated New Georgia. Great Britain also denied Spanish 
claim to the northern coast above fort^'-eight degrees north, claiming that Spain had 
abandoned such territory by the first article of the Nootka Treaty. The claim by Great 
Britain of New Albion was a denial also of Spanish claim north of forty-three degrees. 
The United States claim by right of discovery was the territory- watered by the Columbia 
river. Thus the North Pacific coast, between the north line of California and south 
boundary of Russian America, had become a matter of dispute between Spain, Great 
Britain and the United States. 












Chapter IX. 

(1 766-1 793.) 

First Kiunors as to Existence of Rocky Mountains and Great River Beyond 
Flowing Westward to Soutli Sea — Fabulous Stories of Hennepin, La Hontau 
and Others Stimulate Interior Exploration — The Verendryes, First White 
Men to Explore Rocky Mountains — Story of a Yazoo Indian, the First to 
Traverse Continent Between the Two Oceans, as Detailed to Le Page — Origin 
of the Name Oregon — Journal of Captain Jonathan Carver — Indian Idea of 
Interior of North America — Indian Knowledge of Great Rivers Rising in 
Interior of North America — Their Stories About the Great River of the 
West — That the Word Oregon Is of Spanish Origin, Inconsistent with Carver's 
Use of It, nor Is It an Indian Name — Overland Exploration Inaugurated in 
Prosecution of Inland Fur Trade — North West Company — Two Expeditions of 
Alexander Mackenzie — First Party of White Men Cross Rocky Mountains and 
Reach the Pacific Ocean. 

AS EARLY as the commencement of the eighteenth century, rumors originated with or 
. communicated by Indians roaming west and northwest of the Mississippi river averred 
the existence of a great river beyond the mountains, beyond the sources of the Missouri 
river. Indian theory, tradition or belief proclaimed a high mountain chain in which the 
Missouri found its sources ; that, in those mountains to the west of the headwaters of the 
Missouri, another great river took its rise and thence flowed toward the setting sun to a 
salt lake of vast circumference. Narratives based on these rumors had been published of 
alleged journeys by travelers, embellished with maps and charts indicating the route 
pursued, and wonderous matters as to places visited ; their inhabitants, the wealth of 
regions, all circumstantially detailed, excited a desire to behold the Shining or Rocky 
Mountains ; to see the great river beyond, and to follow it westward down to the South 
Sea. Kindred fables to the voyages of Maldonado, de Fonte and de Fuca, the narratives 
of Hennepin, La Hontan, Sageau and Carver provoked the attention of the curious, and 
invited adventurers, travelers and fur traders to the plains, the mountains, the river 
beyond, the illimitable sea into which it flowed, the people which inhabited the region. 
The problem of overland travel to and across the Rocky Mountains and to the shores of 
the great South Sea, as also the utilization of the wealth of the vast interior of continent, 
had become the study of the fur trader. To ascertain accessibility to these fields, and the 
means of development of those sources of wealth, were more the incentives to the capitalist 
and the adventurous voyageurs than either curiosity or desire to promote scientific 
knowledge. But it cannot be denied that these rumors, which had furnished the material 
for those fictitious narratives, had contributed much to exciting attention, and tended to 
hasten overland journe3'ing westward from the Mississippi river across the Rocky 
Mountains. They proved to be the forerunners of path-finding from ocean to ocean. 
The discovery of the territory west of the Rocky Mountains and its ultimate appropriation 
by our race were the inevitable results. 

( 57 ) 


In 1 73 1, Alarquis de Beauharuais, Governor-Geueral of New France, conferred 
authority upon Pierre Gauthier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, a fur trader, to equip 
an expedition to reach the headwaters of the Missouri. To avoid the dreaded Sioux, 
Verendrye had permission to ascend the Assiniboin and Saskatchewan rivers, and to 
follow any stream flowing westward into the Pacific. His real purposes were to establish 
the fur trade, and to ascertain the practicability of overland communication between New 
France (Canada and the Province of Louisiana) and the Pacific Ocean. Aline of posts 
was built, extending from Lake Superior northwestward at available points to forts of the 
Saskatchewan, and at the junction of the Assiniboin and Red rivers. From these forts, 
expeditions were dispatched northward and westward in charge of his brother and sons. 
In one of these excursions, in 1743, the brother and son ascended the Missouri river to its 
source in the Rocky Mountains. They traveled south to the Mandan country. Discovering 
no passage through this vast mountain chain, and warned of danger from the Sioux, they 
turned back and reached the Missouri in 1744. To this party belongs the credit of having 
been the first white men who had ever seen the Rocky or Shining Mountains. 

In 1758 appeared the " Histoire de la Lousiane," by Le Page du Pratz. In it will be 
found the story of a Yazoo Indian, euphoniously named Moncacht-Ape, which means, 
" he who kills trouble and fatigue." In a fascinating vein, Le Page chronicles the 
adventures and observations of this learned aboriginal traveler. He details how he 
ascended the Missouri river to its source in the Rocky Mountains, tarrying with Indian 
tribes to learn their language and inquire the way ; his crossing those Shining Mountains, 
exceeding high and beset with dangers ; his march from thence to the beautiful river which 
flowed into the great ocean. He there met a tribe called the Otters, two of whose people, 
a man and a woman, accompanied him westward. His first view of the ocean he thus 
described : " I was so delighted I could not speak. My eyes were too small for my soul's 
ease. The wind so disturbed the great water, that I thought the blows it gave would beat 
the land in pieces." 

Le Page is recognized as a reliable writer. He vouches his entire belief in the 
statements of the Yazoo explorer. That narrative, published, as it was, previous to anj^ 
other person having crossed the Rocky Mountains or who had jonrnej'ed to the Pacific 
Ocean, w^iich subsequent visits of travelers have found to be correct, would seem to carr}' 
intrinsic evidence of truthfulness ; and its statements appear to have been based on actual 

The meaning of the word Oregon — from whence and how it originated — has never 
been satisfactorily ascertained. The first use of the name, as far as is known, must be 
accorded to Captain Jonathan Carver. In the journal of "Three years' travels through 
the interior part of North America for more than five thousand miles," he describes 
himself as a native of Connecticut, and as a " Captain of the provincial troops in 

Captain Carver, who had served in the war against the French, left Boston 1766, and 
by way of Detroit and Michilmacinac visited the upper Mississippi region embraced 
in the present States of Iowa and Wisconsin. He claims to have remained among the 
Indians for two years. In the introduction he thus stated his purpose : 

" After gaining a knowledge of the manners, customs, languages, soil and natural 
productions of the different nations that inhabit the back of the Mississippi, to ascertain 
the breadth of the vast continent which extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, in 
its broadest part, between the 43d and 46th degrees of northern latitude. Had I been 


able to accomplish this, I intended to have proposed to the government to establish a post 
in some of those parts about the Strait of Anian, which, having been discovered by Sir 
Francis Drake, of course belongs to the English. This I am convinced would greatly 
facilitate the discovery of a northwest passage or a communication between Hudson's Bay 
and the Pacific Ocean." Disappointed in his intention to continue his journey " by way 
of Lakes Du Bois, Du Pluie and Quinipique to the waters of the great river of the West, 
which falls into the Strait of Anian," he claims : 

" The plan I had laid down for penetrating to the Pacific Ocean proved abortive. It 
is necessary to add, that this proceeded, not from its impracticability (for the further I went 
the more convinced I was that it could certainly be accomplished) but from unforeseen 
disappointments. However, I proceeded so far, that I was able to make such discoveries 
as will be useful in anj* future attempt, and prove a good foundation for some more 
fortunate successor to build upon. These I shall now lay before the public in the following 
pages ; and am satisfied that the greatest part of them have never been published by 
an}' person that has hitherto treated of the interior nations of the Indians ; particularly, 
the account I give of the Naudowessies, and the situation of the heads of the four great 
rivers that take their rise within a few leagues of each other, nearly about the center of 
this great continent, viz.: the river Bourbon, which empties into Hudson's Bay, the waters of 
St. Lawrence; the Mississippi, and the river Oregon^ or the river of the West, that falls 
into the Pacific Ocean at the Strait of Anian." 

Such statement is repeated in the introduction and again in the appendix. He 
ascends the St. Peter's river two hundred miles, to the country of the Naudowessies of 
the plains (the Dakotahs or Sioux), and refers to a branch of the river from the south 
nearly joining the Messorie (Missouri). From statements by Indians, he " has reason to 
believe that the river St. Pierre and the Messorie, though they enter the Mississippi twelve 
hundred miles from each other, take their rise in the same neighborhood, and this within 
a mile." After a description of the tribes he visited, he goes on : "I sa}- from these 
nations, together with my own observation, I have learned that the four most capital 
rivers of North America, viz.: the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi, the Bourbon, and the 
Oregon, or the river of the West, have their sources in the same neighborhood. The 
waters of the three former are within thirt}' miles of each other ; the latter, however, 
is rather further west." * * * * "This shows that these parts are the 

highest lands in North America; and it is an instance not to be paralleled in the other 
three quarters of the globe, that four rivers of such magnitude should take their rise 
together, and each, after running separate courses, discharge their waters into different 
oceans at the distance of two thousand miles from their sources. For in their passage 
from this spot to the Bay of St. Lawrence, east ; to the bay of Alexico, south ; to Hudson's 
Bay, north ; and to the bay of the Strait of Anian, west, each of these traverse upwards 
of two thousand miles." When he arrived at this theor}' he was " two hundred miles up 
the St. Peter's river," and that was " the utmost extent of my travels towards the west." 
Carver, correctl}-, places the source of the river of the West " on the other side of the 
summit of the lands that divide the waters which run into the Gulf of Mexico from those 
which fall into the South Sea or Pacific Ocean." 

" These parts, which are the highest lands in North America, are the Shining or 
Rock}- Mountains, which begin at Mexico and continue northward, on the back, or to the 
east of California, separate the waters of those numerous rivers that fall into the Gulf of 
Mexico or the Gulf of California. From thence continuing their course still northward, 


between the sources of the Mississippi and the rivers that run into the South Sea, the)- 
appear to end in about forty-seven or forty-eight degrees of latitude, where a number 
of rivers arise, and empty themselves either into the South Sea, into Hudson's Bay, 
or into the waters that communicate between those two seas." 

Indians whom he met in his journey doubtless were aware of the existence of the 
Rocky Mountains. They had learned that the rivers that had their sources west of those 
mountains flowed towards the setting sun; — that there were several of those rivers 
which became one mighty river, through which the water of all these smaller rivers 
or affluents found its way to the ocean. This idea, knowledge, theory or tradition may 
have originated from statements of Indians living west of the Rock)- IMountains, numbers 
of whom annually crossed those mountains to hunt buffalo. Indians may have informed 
Carver of the proximity of the respective sources of the headwaters of the Missouri and 
Columbia. So gradual is the ascent of the Rocky Mountains through several of the 
passes, the fact that the summit has been reached is indicated by the mountaiu springs of 
these great watercourses flowing in the adverse direction. Maps of North America 
published as earl}' as 1750 exhibit "the great river of the West," by which name it was 
then designated, though it had never been seen b)' white men. Travelers in the valley of 
the Alississippi had received the information from Indians of the countries through which 
they passed, who had in turn derived it from more remote Indians, the statement having 
originated with and come through members of tribes living west of the Rocky Mountains. 
According to their customs, Indians would call a verj' large main navigable river, the river 
or the big river, while to small streams or parts of streams they would assign a distinctive 
name. There is no more evidence from Carver's journal that the word Oregon referred 
to the particular river which Gray subsequently discovered, than that the river Columbia 
empties into the fabulous Strait of Anian. There is quite as much evidence of the existence 
of the Strait of Anian as of Carver's fancied river named Oregon, " that falls into the 
Pacific Ocean at the Strait of Anian." Carver's journal possesses no value whatever as a 
contribution to science. Neither its geography nor its natural historj^ has any claim to 
belief. It is extremely questionable whether the publication of 1778 contains the results 
of Carver's personal observations in 1776-9. It added nothing to the solution of the 
problem of internal water communication, or lines of travel through the interior of the 
North American continent. It may possibl}' have contributed to the belief that there was 
a vast river rising in the Rocky Mountains, not far distant from the headwaters of the 
Missouri, from which fact the hope was fostered that there might be practicable water 
communications between the interior of the continent and the Pacific Ocean. 

The Columbia river so soon thereafter having been discovered at its mouth warranted 
the assumption that the sources of that vast river were in the Rock}' Mountains. Carver's 
fabulous narrative was accepted as probable because it was based upon a theor}- which was 
most probable. Gray's discovery of a great river which did emptj- into the Pacific Ocean, 
in a latitude which almost conclusively established where it might have its sources, gave 
credence to Carver's story that the great river of the West called the Oregon did take its 
rise in the Rocky Mountains, at such a place as is described in his journal. The Columbia 
was at once accepted as the great river of the West. Its mouth discovered, its immense 
volume ascertained, it required no imagination to place its sources in the great highlands 
of the interior in that vast dividing ridge, at just such a place in the Rock}' Mountains 
where four great rivers might, where in fact the two mighty rivers of North America do, 
within the area of a few square yards, take their rise, and flow in opposite directions into the 



PIONEER 1851. 


two great oceans which are separated by the continent. The little heads which aggregate 
into the Missouri and the Columbia are contiguously found in the little valleys among 
the summit elevations of the Rocky Mountains. The one flowing east, its waters 
ultimately lose themselves in the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Gulf of Mexico, having 
in their way swelled the volume of the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers. At the 
distance of a few yards, not leagues, the waters flow towards the setting sun. Thej^ 
contribute to the formation of the great river of the West, the mighty Columbia. To 
one of Carver's four great rivers he gave the mythical name, the Oregon. How natural the 
belief that the true river Columbia was the great western river which gave origin to the 
Indian story or tradition which Carver's journal had promulgated. For a time a color 
of plausibility attached to his compilation. His mythical name for the river of the West, 
by those who sought to detract from Captain Gray the honor of being its discoverer, was 
applied to the river Columbia. But the world would not consent to such injustice. Carver's 
mythical name was however perpetuated. The region west of the Rocky Mountains 
through which the river of the West found its way to the ocean had been nominated the 

The name is a mystery, — doubtless a pure invention of the compiler of Carver's 

It has nevertheless become endeared to every American because of the long struggle 
to secure the territory to which the name Oregon was ascribed. It is embalmed in our 
affections because Columbia's greatest poet has immortalized it in the best effort of his 
lofty genius. 

Learned authorities entitled to deference have suggested that the Spaniards applied 
the name Oregon to the region, on account of the abundance of wild marjorum (Oreganum) 
found along the coast, and conferred the name upon the main river emptying within such 
coast limits. This, however, seems untenable. Carver pretended to have picked up this 
word among the Indians near Lake Superior, in 1766-8, the narrative of which was 
published in 177S. If he was first to apply the name to the river of the West which he 
had derived from the Indians in the very heart of the continent, then prior to 1766 they 
had learned such name. If he coined it, which is most probable, then for the first time 
it was made known in 1778. There is no authentic account that any Spaniard ever landed 
upon that portion of the Pacific coast, which fronts the territory drained by the river, 
either before Carver's tour, or before the publication of his journal, or Gray's discovery. 
Spanish records give the names of every point upon the coast at which they made 
anchorages. Heceta, in 1775, named the mouth of the river San Roque. The Spaniards 
called the coast California. Gray, in 1792, as soon as the river had been discovered, had 
conferred its name Columbia. 

The coast had its name among Spaniards, — the river received its name Columbia. 
The word Oregon is foreign to the coast ; with that name Spanish explorers had nothing 
whatever to do. It was after the Columbia had been discovered, and it proved to be the 
great river of the West, that its headwaters were supposed to be identical with that river, 
to which Carver had alluded under the name of Oregon. 

The late learned Archbishop of Oregon (F. N. Blanchet) relates: "That in 1S57 he 
met, at Bolivia, the eminent linguist. Dr. George Haygart, of London, who asserted that 
Oregon had its origin in the Spanish word Orejon, meaning big ear." The Archbishop 
remarks : " It is probable that the Spaniards who first discovered and visited the country, 
when they saw the ears of the natives enlarged by means of huge ornaments, were 


natural!}^ led to call them Orejon, 'big ears,' and that they applied the word also to denote 
the country inhabited." Had the word Oregon originated on the Pacific Coast ; had the 
word been used in a single journal, narrative, voyage or report by any explorer of the 
coast ; or had such peculiarity of ornamentation of the aborigines been commented upon 
by any traveler in the country itself or its coasts ; or were the Spanish word for big ears 
an appropriate descriptive word for the most striking peculiarity of the native population ; 
if a single one of these premises had been true, — such theory, through deference for its 
author, might be accepted as consistent with fact. 

Carver either coined the word and the whole stor}-, or attempted to repeat a story 
about the existence of " the river of the West " derived from Indian sources, and to add a 
name which may have been suggested by their pronunciation. The statement about 
rivers is not dissimilar from stories repeated to all travelers who met Indians from the 
west of the Mississippi river, — is not inconsistent with their crude drafts of maps exhibiting 
their ideas of physical features, rivers, mountains, distances. Indians west of the Rocky 
Mountains may have communicated with Indians whom he saw ; but what is most probable, 
he either repeated mere tribal traditions, or what other travelers had communicated as the 
belief of Indians as to countries west of the Rocky Mountains and towards the Pacific 
Ocean. Nor is the word Oregon found in any vocabular3' of Indian language spoken west 
of the Rocky Mountains. It will be looked for in vain in the languages of the tribes or 
bands among whom he traveled. The Archbishop, while acknowledging his respect for 
the opinion of Dr. Haygart, does not adopt the big-ear theory. It is improbable that the 
true origin of the word will ever be satisfactorily determined. Like the word California, 
whose meaning and origin have so long puzzled the learned, the word Oregon will ever 
remain an enigma. 

It may be asserted with safety that, before the so-called journal of Carver was 
published, the word Oregon had never been applied by Indians. Such a river as the 
Columbia the Indians would have called the river, the big river, or the big river running 
toward the setting sun, or words of such import, thereby distinguishing it from the 
ordinary streams or the affluents of the great river. The good Archbishop illustrates this 
Indian peculiarity : " One tribe only, the Chinooks, who lived near the mouth of the 
Columbia, gave the river any name, calling it 'Wikaitli Wimakl,' — the grand river." 

A name for the region whose history is being traced had become necessary. How it 
acquired the name its subsequent historj- rendered so well known was worthy of 
consideration. The region to be called Oregon had had its coasts visited and examined ; now 
is to begin the occupancy and exploration of the territory itself. Instead of circuitous 
voyages by sea, it is to be traced overland. The continent is to be traversed; mountain 
chains are to be crossed ; the might}- rivers permeating the interior are to be examined 
and utilized. The theoretic " Strait of Anian " is to give place to practical water 
communication and overland travel. 

The first white man who crossed the Rocky Mountains and reached the shores of the 
Pacific Ocean, overland, who led the first party of civilized men through the " Territory 
westward of the Stony Mountains to the South Sea," was Alexander Mackenzie, a native 
of Scotland, a partner in the North West Fur Company. 

After Canada had become a British province, Montreal became the principal point for 
the collection and shipment of furs procured from the interior and northern portion of 
North America. The Hudson's Ba}' Company enjoyed the exclusive trade within the 
Hudson's Bay Territory. Beyond the boundaries of that territory', the merchants of 


Montreal had sent trading parties who had penetrated westward to the base of the Rocky 
Mountains, and northwestward to a distance of twelve hundred miles northwest of Lake 
Superior. In 1778, Messrs. Frobisher and Pond of Montreal had built a trading-post on 
the Athabasca or Elk river, which, till the building of Fort Chipewyan, was the most 
remote trading point from the white settlements. These individual enterprises could not 
successfull}- compete with the Hudson's Bay Company. This led to the formation, in 
17.84, of the North West Company of Montreal. From a voluntary a.ssociation of 
merchants, a mere partnership for purposes of trade, a vast organized power was created, 
exercising authority and control, and demanding the service and allegiance, of its 
emplo3'es and retainers. The North West Company consisted of twenty-three shareholders 
or partners. The wealthiest, who furnished the capital, remained at Montreal. The}^ 
were called agents, and acted as a board of management of the commercial interests of the 
compau}-. The other partners, termed wintering partners, were assigned to the several 
trading-posts. In prosecution of the fur trade, the company employed about two thousand 
persons, classified as clerks or traders, guides, interpreters and voyageurs. The clerks 
or traders, usuall}- young highlanders of good family, entered the service for five or 
seven vears, and served a thorough apprenticeship. Meritorious discharge of dutj'- 
rendered a clerk eligible to partnership. The clerks traded with Indians at various posts 
and trading points upon lakes and rivers, some of which were thousands of miles remote 
from frontier establishments. The guides, interpreters and voyageurs enlisted for a term 
of years, with opportunity for increased pa}- b}- meritorious service. The}- willingl}- 
re-entered from love of the life they pursued, assured also that, when disqualified b}- age 
or bodih' infirmity, the}- would be retired with a pension. 

The trading goods imported from England were packed in bundles each weighing 
ninety pounds, and distributed among the various trading-posts. Furs were packed in 
bundles of the same weight. These packs were transported in bark canoes by the chain 
of lakes and rivers, which canoes and packs were carried o\er portages by voj-ageurs. 
The most remote trading points to which goods were sent and from which furs were 
received were distant from Montreal over three thousand miles. Four years would elapse 
between ordering goods in Montreal, and the sale in London of furs received from the 
remote trading points, in return for such goods. Much valuable knowledge of. the interior 
was derived from the employes of this company. Shortly after the formation of the North 
West Company, Fort Chipewyan was established near the southwest end of Lake 
Athabasca or Lake of the Hills, in latitude fifty-eight degrees, forty-one minutes north. 
This lake is about two hundred miles long from east to west, with an average breadth of 
thirteen miles, and is about equally distant from Hudson's Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It 
receives Athabasca or Elk river from the Rocky Mountains. It discharges itself through 
Slave river which, after running north two hundred miles, empties into Great Slave 
Lake. Alexander Mackenzie was a North West Companj- partner in charge of this 
post. For the purpose of determining whether Great Slave Lake, after receiving the water 
of Slave river, emptied into the Arctic Ocean, he projected his first voyage of discovery. 

On June 3, 1789, Mackenzie with his party left Fort Chipewyan in three bark canoes. 
Having passed through Slave river to Great Slave Lake, he discovered at its northwest 
extremity an outlet. Mackenzie followed the river northward for nine hundred miles, to its 
mouth in the Arctic Ocean in latitude 69 degrees north, longitude 136 degrees west of 
Greenwich. To this river he gave his own name. Returning, he examined the country 
on the east side of the river, reaching Fort Chipewyan September 12th. i\s there were 


two large rivers west of Hudson's Bay (Coppermine and Mackenzie) which flowed 
northward into the Arctic Ocean, any passage of sea connected with the Pacific must be 
still farther west. This voyage therefore aided greatly in establishing the extreme 
improbability that any passage of sea existed in Northwest America eastward of Behring's 
Strait. On the loth of October, 1792, Mackenzie set out on his second voyage. With 
two canoes laden with necessary articles of trade, Mackenzie ascended the Unjigah river, 
reaching the base of the Rocky Mountains, latitude 56 degrees, 9 minutes north, 
longitude 117 degrees, 35 minutes west of Greenwich on the ist of November. 

The party remained at this camp until May 9, 1793. In a bark canoe, light enough 
for two men to pack, the part}', consisting of ten men with their equipage and three 
thousand pounds of provisions and trading goods, embarked at seven o'clock in the 
evening, reaching an island in about an hour. At three o'clock next morning they 
continued the ascent of Unjigah river. On the loth of June they reached a lake at its 
extreme source, latitude 54 degrees, 24 minutes north, longitude 121 degrees west. 
Mackenzie says : " We landed and unloaded, where we found a beaten path leading over a 
low ridge of land of eight hundred and seventeen paces in length to another small lake. 
The distance between the two mountains at this place is about a quarter of a mile." ''" * 
* * " Here two streams tumble over rocks from the right, and lose themselves in the 
lake which we had left ; while two others fall from the opposite heights and glide into the 
lake which we are approaching, this being the highest point of land dividing these waters ; 
and we are now going with the stream." 

On the 17th of June they reached a navigable river called by the natives "Tacoutche 
Tessee," — the great river. Mackenzie descended this in a canoe for two hundred and fift}' 
miles, when, leaving it July 4th, he traveled westward, reaching the Pacific Ocean at what 
he calls " the cheek of Vancouver's Cascade Canal," in latitude 52 degrees, 20 minutes, 
48 seconds north, longitude 128 degrees, 2 minutes west of Greenwich. As he was about 
to set out on his return, says his interesting journal : "I now mixed up some vermilion 
and grease, and inscribed in large characters, on the southeast face of the rock on which 
we had slept last night, this brief memorial : ' Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada by 
land, the twent3'-second day of July, one thousand, seven hundred and ninety-three.' " 

The party reached their winter camp upon Unjigah river August 24. Early in 
September they arrived at Fort Chipew3'an. The geographic result of this voyage was 
the confirmation of Captain Cook's conclusion that the continent of North America 
extended in an uninterrupted line northwestward to Behring's Strait. Its great and 
immediate practical effect was to invite the great companies engaged in inland fur trade to 
a new and extensive field. 

Mackenzie marked out the proposed field, detailed its physical features, and urged 
British capitalists and enterprise to appropriate it. He suggested combination of North 
West and Hudson's Bay Companies to divide between them the interior and northern part 
of North x\merica, beyond the frontier of the United States and Canadas. Of south of 
the line of this vast domain he thus remarks : 

" The line may be traced from whence the line of American boundary runs to the 
Lake of the Woods, in latitude forty-nine degrees, thirty-eight minutes north, from whence 
it is also said to run west to the Mississippi, which it may do, by giving it a good deal of 
southing, but not otherwise, as the source of that river does not extend further north 
than latitude fort3--seven degrees, thirt3'-eight minutes north, where it is no more than a 
small brook. Consequentl}', if Great Britain retains the right of entering it along the 



^ ^ 











line of division, it must be in a lower latitude ; and, wherever that may be, the line must 
be continued west till it terminates in the Pacific Ocean to the south of the Columbia. 
This division is then bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Frozen Sea and the 
Hudson's Bay on the north and east. The Russians indeed may claim with justice the 
islands and coast from Behring's Strait to Cook's Entry." 

Referring to utilization of rivers within such region as a line of communication, he 
thus speaks of the Rocky Mountains, and the watercourses finding their sources in that 
chain : "The succession of ridges of the Stony Mountains, whose northern extremity dips 
in the North Sea in latitude sevent}? degrees north, and longitude 135 degrees west, 
running nearly southeast, and begins to be parallel with the coast of the Pacific Ocean 
from Cook's Entry, and so onward to the Columbia. From thence it appears to quit the 
coast, but still continuing, with less elevation to divide the waters of the Atlantic from 
those which run into the Pacific. In those snowclad mountains rises the Mississippi (if 
we admit the Missouri to be its source), which flows into the Gulf of Mexico; the river 
Nelson, which is lost in Hudson's Bay; Mackenzie's river, that discharges itself into the 
North Sea, and the Columbia, emptying itself into the Pacific Ocean. The great river 
St. Lawrence and Churchill, with many lesser ones, derive their sources far short of these 
mountains. It is indeed the extension of these mountains so far on the seacoast that 
prevents the Columbia river from finding a more direct course to the sea, as it runs 
obliquely with the coast upwards of eight degrees of latitude before it mingles with the 

Mackenzie established " the non-existence of any passage by sea northeast or 
northwest from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ; but internal communication by rivers 
is clearly proved." 

He was impressed with the belief that the river he descended, called by the natives 
" Tacoutche Tessee," — the great river, — was the Columbia. Such continued popular 
opinion until 1812, when the Tacoutche Tessee was traced to its mouth, and proved to be 
what is known as Eraser river. With the impression that he had discovered the headwaters 
of the Columbia, Mackenzie observes : " By these waters that discharge themselves into 
Hudson's Ba}' at Port Nelson, it is proposed to carry on the trade to their source at the 
head of the Saskatchewan river, which rises in the Rocky Mountains not eight degrees of 
longitude from the Pacific Ocean. The Tacoutche Tessee or Columbia river flows also 
from the same mountains and discharges itself likewise in the Pacific in latitude forty-six 
degrees, twenty minutes. Both of them are capable of receiving ships at their mouths, 
and are navigable throughout for boats." 

" The distance between these waters is only known from the report of the Indians. 
If, however, this communication should prove inaccessible, the route I pursued, though 
longer, in consequence of the great angle it makes to the north, will answer every 
necessary purpose. But, whatever course may be taken from the Atlantic, the Columbia 
is the line of communication from the Pacific Ocean pointed out by nature, as it is the only 
navigable river in the whole extent of Vancouver's minute survey of that coast ; its banks 
also form the first level country in all the southern extent of continental coast from 
Cook's Entry, and, consequently, the most northern situation fit for colonization, and 
suitable to the residence of a civilized people. By opening this entire course between the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and forming regular establishments through the interior, and 
at both extremes, as well as along the coasts and islands, the entire command of the fur 
trade of North America might be obtained, from latitude forty-eight degrees north to the 


pole, except the portion of it which the Russians have in the Pacific. To this may be 
added the fishing in both seas and the markets of the four quarters of the globe. Such 
would be the field for commercial enterprises ; and incalculable would be the product of 
it when supported b}^ the operations of that credit and capital which Great Britain 
pre-eminently possesses. Then would this country begin to be remunerated for the 
expenses it has sustained in discovering and surveying the coasts of the Pacific Ocean, 
which is at present left to American adv'cnturers, who, without regularity or capital, or the 
desire for conciliating future confidence, look altogether to the interest of the moment. 
They, therefore, collect all the skins they can procure and in any manner that suits them, 
and, having exchanged them at Canton for the produce of China, return to their own 
country. Such adventurers, and man}^ of them, as I have been informed, have been very 
successful, would instantly disappear from the coast." 

The name has now been found for the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. No 
passage of sea runs northeast from the Pacific through the continent ; but a magnificent 
chain of lakes and might}' rivers constitute a line of water communication throughout the 
great interior. Sources of wealth claim consideration of capitalists, of men of enterprise. 
The credit and capital of Great Britain is appealed to. American adventurers without 
capital, unable to compete successfully with these monster monopolies, are to be driven 
from this coast. The sagacious Mackenzie heralded the future policy of the Empire 
company, agent he was ; foreshadowed British policy and intent ; defined the lines 
by which Great Britain intended to bound her claim to the territory of Northwest America. 

Chapter X. 


Western Limits of the United States of America — ^ Purchase of Louisiana — 
Abortive Projects for Nortliwestern Exploration — Expedition of Lewis and 
Clarli to tlie Moutli of tlie Columbia Kiver — The North West Company Establishes 
a Trading-Post West of the Kocky Mountains — The Missouri Fur Company — 
Commercial Enterprises of Citizens of the United States in Northwest America 
— Captain Winship, in the Albatross, Attempts an Establislunent at Oak Point, 
on the Columbia Kiver. 

BY THE recognition of independence, the United States of America had succeeded 
Great Britain as sovereign proprietor of the territory bounded west by the channel 
of the Mississippi river. The Canadas were upon the north. Florida, then a Spanish 
province on the southern border, separated it from the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana or 
New France, west of the Mississippi river, bordering upon the Gulf of Mexico, extended 
indefinitely along the river to the north, and reached westward without prescribed limits, 
lu 1762, France had ceded Louisiana to Spain. While it continued a Spanish province, 
it mattered not what terms defined its western limits; for Spain asserted territorial claim 
on the Pacific coast by right of discover}^, as also by the grant of Pope Alexander VI. 
As there was no intervening claimant while Louisiana belonged to Spain, it extended 
westward to the Pacific Ocean. The northern boundary of Louisiana had been regulated 
by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), affixing the respective limits of the Hudson's Ba}' 
Territory and New France. In 1800, Spain retroceded the province of Louisiana. In 
1803, the United States acquired Louisiana by purchase from France. 

The " Louisiana Purchase " moved the boundary of the United States indefinitely 
westward. The territory thus designated extended from the Gulf of Mexico northward 
to the Hudson's Bay Territory. 

A digression becomes necessary to learn the extent of the purchase and appreciate 
its influence upon, and its direct connection with, the history of the region west of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

In 1539, Hernando Soto discovered the Mississippi river, near its mouth, and formally 
claimed the country watered by it for the King of Spain. Subjects of another nation 
settled upon its tributaries. As early as 1772, the French from Canada had thoroughly 
explored and occupied its northern affluents. La Salle (1680 to 1683) had examined the 
river to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. In the name of the King of France he took 
possession of the " Country of Louisiana from the mouth of the St. Louis, otherwise 
called the Ohio, on the eastern side, and also the river Colbert or Mississippi, and the 
rivers which discharge themselves into it, from its sources in the country of the Kious, 
as far as its mouth at the sea." Being assured by the natives that his party were the 
first whites who had visited the country, he protested against its settlement or invasion 

( 67 ) 


b}- the subjects of any other nation. In communicating his exploits to the Governor 
of Canada (Count Fronteuac), La Salle says: "From the information which I had been 
able to collect, I think I may affirm that the Mississippi draws its source somewhere in 
the vicinity of the Celestial Empire, and that France will be not only the mistress of all 
the territories between the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, but will command the trade 
of China, flowing down the new and mighty channel which I shall open to the Gulf of 
Mexico." La Salle returned to France and secured letters patent from the King, to 
establish settlements at the mouth of the river. He sailed with a colony, but, missing 
the mouth of the Mississippi, went to the westward and settled on Matagorda Bay. 

In 1689, d'Iberville, a Canadian, entered the Mississippi and founded a settlement 
three hundred miles from its mouth. Bienville about the same time made a settlement 
where New Orleans was built. Before 17 10, a number of French settlements had been 
made upon the river. In 1712, the King of France executed the famous grant to Antoine 
Crozat, which defines the province of Louisiana " as including all the territories by us 
possessed, and bounded by New Mexico, and by those of the English in Carolina, all the 
establishments, ports, harbors, rivers, and especially the port and harbor of Dauphin 
Island, formerly called Massacre Island, the river St. Louis, formerly called the 
Mississippi, from the seashore to Illinois, together with the river St. Philip, formerly 
called the Missouries river, the St. Jerome, formerly called the Wabash (Ohio), with all 
the countries, territories, lakes in the land and rivers emptying directly or indirectly into 
that part of the river St. Louis. All the said territories, countries, rivers, streams and 
islands we will to be and remain comprised under the name of the government of 
Louisiana, which will be dependent on the general government of New France and remain 
subordinate to it; and we will, moreover, that all the territories we possess on this side 
of the Illinois be united as far as need be to the general government of New France, and 
form a part thereof, — reserving to ourself, nevertheless, to increase, if we judge proper, 
the extent of tlie government of the said country of Louisiana." 

In five years, Crozat relinquished his grant. The Illinois countr}- was annexed to 
and formed part of Louisiana ; and the territories watered by the Mississippi and Mobile 
were in 1717 granted to Laws' Mississippi Compau}', who held it until 1732, when it 
reverted to the Crown and was governed as a French province until 1762. 

At this time, Spain claimed dominion of the country by grant of Pope Alexander YL 
France asserted claim to the Hudson's Bay Territory as part of Canada. Great Britain, 
under the doctrines of continuity and contiguit}', regarded the same as included within 
her colonial grants, most of which in express terms extended to the South Sea or Pacific 
Ocean. Thus it will be seen that the whole breadth of the American continent, between 
the Atlantic and South Sea or Pacific Ocean, was adversely claimed by the three great 
European nations, Spain, France and Great Britain. 

Shortly after the erection of the province of Louisiana, France and Spain entered into 
a treaty of the closest amity, which continued until 1793. Between Great Britain and 
Spain, as also between France and Great Britain, a constant struggle for colonial 
supremacy in Nortli .\merica had been waged. In the wars between the British and 
the Frencli, Spain supported France. Unsuccessful in the contest, France, on the 23d of 
November, 1762, ceded to Spain the province of Louisiana, together with New Orleans 
and tlie island upon which it is situated. On the loth of February, 1763, a treaty was 
entered into by Spain and France of the one part, and Great Britain and Portugal of the 
other part, whereby Great Britain acquired the Canadas, and Louisiana east of the 







Mississippi, the mid-channel of that river being fixed as the boundary between the British 
and Spanish possessions on the North American continent. The Mississippi was definitely 
fixed as the western boundary of the British colonial possessions in North America. Great 
Britain renounced all claim to the territor}' westward of that river. Spain had become 
assignee of France by the cession of Louisiana, and besides, by reason of the papal grant, 
claimed territorial rights on the Pacific coast by right of discovery. Thus the Mississippi 
river divided the continent east and west between Great Britain and Spain. The United 
States succeeded to Great Britain on the recognition of independence. By the treaty of 
peace in 1783, those states which had previously existed as British colonies were limited 
in their western boundary by the Mississippi, bj- virtue of the treaty of 1763. In other 
words, the established western boundary of the new nation was the mid-channel of the 
Mississippi river. 

In 1800, the Duke of Parma, a member of the royal family of Spain, received from 
Napoleon certain Italian territories. In consideration of which, Spain retroceded to 
France " the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent it now has in the 
hands of Spain, and which it had when France possessed it, and such as it should be 
according to the treaties subsequently made between Spain and other States." The 
Spanish King issued the order for delivery of the province to the French Republic on the 
15th of October, 1802. The United States purchased Louisiana b}- the treaty of April 
30, 1S03. 

The extent of the "Louisiana Purchase" at once became the immediate subject of 
negotiation between the United States, Spain and Great Britain. The measure of 
territorial claim accruing to the United States by that purchase entered largel}' into the 
negotiation between the United States and Great Britain upon their respective claims to 
the country upon the Pa'cific Ocean. 

As soon as peace had been declared between Great Britain and the L^nited States 
(1783), commercial enterprises of the new republic introduced its starr)' emblem into the 
harbors and seas of Northwest America. Most important and valuable discoveries had 
been made by citizens of the United States, conferring upon that nation territorial claim 
to the territory bordering upon the Pacific. As a consequence of the general internecine 
war in Europe, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the commerce between 
Northwest America and China and the East Indies was exclusively carried on by American 
vessels. With this increase of commerce, there was a correspondingly increased desire to 
acquire knowledge of the country, as also to foster and retain the control of the trade. 
The coast had been thoroughly examined. Its ba3/s, harbors and islands were well 
known ; but the interior had remained a vast terra incognita. 

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then United States Minister at Paris, met John Ledyard 
of Connecticut, who had accompanied Captain Cook in his last voyage. Mr. Jefferson 
suggested to Ledj^ard that he should proceed overland via the Russias to Kamtchatka ; 
from thence across in a Russian vessel to Nootka Sound; thence fall down on the latitude 
of the Missouri, and penetrate to and through that region to the United States. Ledyard 
enthusiastically embraced the plan. The consent of the Russian Empress was obtained, 
and the requisite passports furnished. He proceeded on his journey as far as Irkootsk, 
within two hundred miles of the Kamtchatkan coast, where he arrived in January, 1787. 
There he was compelled to winter. In the spring, when about to resume his journey, an 
officer of the Empress arrested him as a sp}', and forbid his return to Russia. He was 
carried night and da}' in a closed conveyance to the Polish frontier, broken in health by 


the severity of his treatment and the hardships of his journey. This frustrated the first 
project for the exploration of the interior and western part of the continent. 

In 1792, Mr. Jefferson proposed to the American Philosophical Society the engagement 
of a competent scientist to explore Northwest America from the eastward, by ascending 
the Missouri, crossing the Rocky Mountains, and descending the nearest river to the 
Pacific Ocean. Captain Meriwether Lewis, United States army, urgently solicited such 
employment ; but Andre Michaux, the French botanist, offering his services, they were 
accepted. Michaux received his instructions, left Philadelphia and reached Kentucky, 
where he was overtaken by a peremptor}- order from the French Minister to relinquish 
the expedition, and to pursue in other fields his botanical inquiries on which he had been 
employed b}^ the French government. Thus and thereby European jealous}' a second 
time defeated American inland exploration between the Mississippi river and the Pacific 

The act of Congress for the establishment of trading-houses with Indian tribes being 
about to expire. President Jefferson recommended its continuance, and that its provisions 
be made applicable to the Indians of the Missouri. Ever alive to the importance of 
acquiring knowledge of the interior and its communication with the Pacific coast, he 
embraced this opportunity (iSth January, 1S03) to send a confidential message to Congress, 
recommending an exploration to trace the Missouri to its source, to cross the highlands 
(Rocky Mountains) and follow the best water communication to the Pacific Ocean. 
Congress made an appropriation to carry it into execution. Captain Meriwether Lewis, 
the President's private secretary, was selected for the command of the expedition ; and at 
his request William Clark was associated with him, and commissioned as a captain in the 
United States army. In April, 1803, President Jefferson's instructions were submitted to 
Captain Lewis, and were signed June 20th. The governments of France, Spain and 
Great Britain were notified of the expedition and its purposes, and passports for the party 
were received from the French and English Ministers. 

Among other things the instructions provide: "The object of 3'our mission is to 
explore the Missouri river and such principal streams of it as, by its course of 
communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Oregon, 
Colorado, or any other river, ma}' offer the most direct and practicable water communication 
across the continent, for the purposes of commerce." 

" The interesting points of the portage between the heads of the Missouri, and of 
the waters offering the best communication with the Pacific Ocean, should also be fixed by 
observation, and the course of that water to the ocean, in the same manner as that of the 
Missouri." * * '■'■ * " Should you reach the Pacific Ocean, inform j'ourself of the 
circumstances which may decide whether the furs of those parts may be collected as 
advantageously at the head of the Missouri (convenient as is supposed to the waters of 
the Colorado and Oregon or Columbia) as at Nootka Sound, or any other part of that 
coast ; and that trade be constantly conducted through the Missouri and United States 
more beneficially than by the circumnavigation now practiced." * * * " On your 
arrival on that coast, endeavor to learn if there be any port within your reach frequented 
by the sea-vessels of any nation, and to send two of your trusty people back by sea, 
in such way as shall appear practicable, with a copy of your notes ; and should you be of 
the opinion that the return of your party by the way that they went will be imminently 
dangerous, then ship the whole, and return by sea, by the way either of Cape Horn, or the 
Cape of Good Hope, as j-ou shall be able." 


Although the negotiations for the purchase of Louisiana had been successfully 
concluded April 30, 1803, the news did not reach Washington until the ist of Jul}'. 
Captain Lewis left the seat of government on the 5th to prepare the expedition for the 
field. The Spanish Governor of Louisiana had not at that time been officially advised of the 
transfer of the province of France, and was still acting. The season was late. Captain Lewis 
therefore wintered at the mouth of Wood river, on the eastern side of the Mississippi, 
making necessary jjreparatious for setting out early in the spring. The party consisted 
of nine 3'oung men from Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United States army who 
volunteered, two French voyageurs as interpreter and hunter, and a negro servant of 
Captain Clark, all of whom, except the servant, were enlisted to serve as privates during 
the expedition. Three sergeants were appointed from the number by Captains Lewis and 
Clark. In addition a corporal, six soldiers and nine water-men accompanied the expedition 
as far as the Mandan nation, — forty-three in all, including Captains Lewis and Clark. 

On the 14th of May, 1804, the party crossed the Mississippi river and commenced the 
ascent of the Missouri, in keel-boats cordelled by hand. The detailed account of this 
notable journey must be sought in one of the several interesting joiirnals. On the 
1st of November, 1804, having journeyed 1609 miles, it went into winter quarters in the 
Mandan villages. On the 8th of- April, 1S05, the party, consisting of thirty-three persons, 
resumed their westward march, and upon the iSth of August had reached the extreme 
head of navigation of the Missouri river, — upwards of three thousand miles from its 
mouth. They had ascended the main river to the three forks, to which they had given the 
names respectively of Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin. Regarding the first named to be 
the main stream, they had followed it to its source in the Rocky Mountains. Captain 
Clark crossed to the headwaters of the Salmon river (the east fork of Lewis or Snake 
river), but abandoned it. The party then ascended Fish creek, a branch of the Salmon, 
crossed a mountain ridge and entered the valley of the Bitter-root, and ascended to the 
mouth of a creek now called Lou-Lou fork, by them called Traveler's Rest. From 
thence the}' passed over the headwaters of the Kooskooskie, and, having reached a point 
navigable for canoes, constructed boats and followed the river to its mouth in the Lewis fork 
of the Columbia (Snake river), which they reached October 7th. Lewis river was 
followed to its junction with Clark's fork ; and thence the party proceeded down the main 
Columbia to Cape Disappointment, on the Pacific Ocean, at which they arrived November 
14th. They stopped but a few days on the north side of the river, but established their 
winter quarters at Fort Clatsop, on the south side, near its mouth, where they remained 
until March 23, 1806. 

Before setting out on their return eastward, several written notices were left with the 
natives, and one posted up in the fort, as follows : " The object of this last is, that, through 
the medium of some civilized person who may see the same, it may be made known to the 
world, that the party consisting of the persons whose names are hereunto annexed, and 
who were sent out by the government of the United States to explore the interior of the 
continent of North America, did penetrate the same by way of the Columbia and Missouri 
rivers, to the discharge of the latter into the Pacific Ocean, where they arrived on the 14th 
day of November, 1805, and departed on their return to the United States by the same 
route by which they had come out." This note fell into the possession of Captain Hill of 
the brig Lydia^ of Boston, which carried it to Canton, and thence to the United States. On 
the back of it was sketched the connection of the respective sources of the Columbia and 
Missouri, with the routes pursued, and the track intended to be followed on the return. 


The expedition returned by substantially the same route, until reaching Traveler's 
Rest creek, when the party divided. Captain Lewis, with nine men, pursued the most 
direct route to the falls of the Missouri, exploring the Marias river. Captain Clark, with 
the remainder of the party, proceeded to the head of Jefferson river, where he left a small 
part}' to descend to the Yellowstone, himself advancing directly to the Yellowstone and 
tracing it in boats to its mouth. The several parties reunited at the mouth of the 
Yellowstone on the i2th of August, and, having traveled nearly 9,000 miles, reached St. 
Louis in safet}' on the 23d of September, 1S06, without having lost a member of the party. 

A summar}' b}- Captain Lewis indicates the labors of this memorable expedition : 
"The road by which we went out by the way of the Missouri to its head is 3,096 miles; 
thence b_v land, by wa}' of Lewis river over to Clark's river, and down that to the entrance 
of Traveler's Rest creek, where all the roads from different routes meet; then across the 
rugged part of the Rocky Mountains to the navigable waters of the Columbia, 398 miles, 
thence down the river 640 miles to the Pacific Ocean, — making a total distance of 4,134 
miles. ■ On our return in 1806, we came from Traveler's Rest directly to the falls of the 
Missouri river, which shortens the distance about 579 miles, and is a much better route, 
reducing the distance from the IMississippi to the Pacific Ocean to 3,555 miles. Of this 
distance, 2,575 "liles is up the Missouri, to the falls of that river; thence passing through 
the plains, and across the Rock}^ Mountains to the navigable waters of the Kooskooskie 
river, a branch of the Columbia, 340 miles, 200 of which is good road, 140 miles over a 
tremendous mountain, steep and broken, sixty miles of which is covered several feet deep 
with snow, on which we passed on the last of June; from the navigable part of the 
Kooskooskie we ascended that rapid river seventy-three miles to its entrance into Lewis 
river, and down that river 154 miles to the Columbia, and thence 413 miles to its entrance into 
the Pacific Ocean. About 180 miles of this distance is tide water. We passed several bad 
rapids and narrows, and one considerable fall, 26S miles above the entrance of this river, 
thirty-seven feet, eight inches; the total distance descending the Columbia waters 640 
miles, — making a total of 3,555 miles, on the most direct route from the Mississippi, at 
the mouth of the Missouri, to the Pacific Ocean." 

The successful return of Lewis and Clark created a sensation, not only in the United 
States, but in European nations. President Jefferson, in a tribute to Captain Lewis a few 
years later (1813), says : " Never did a similar event excite more joy through the United 
States. The humblest of its citizens have taken a lively interest in the issue of this 
journey, and looked with impatience for the information it would furnish. Nothing short 
of the official journals of this extraordinary and interesting journey will exhibit the 
importance of the service, — the courage, devotion, zeal and perseverance under 
circumstances calculated to discourage, which animated this little band of heroes, 
throughout the long, dangerous and tedious travel." 

Captains Lewis and Clark did not reach Washington until the middle of February, 
1807. The services of the party were duly recognized by an extensive land grant. Lewis 
was appointed Governor of Louisiana. Captain Clark was made the General of its militia, 
and soon after appointed agent of the United States for hidian affairs. Before Captain 
Lewis had prepared for publication the journals and reports of this expedition, in a fit of 
melancholy he put an end to his existence (September, 1S09). For a long time he had 
been subject to these chronic attacks. During one of these paroxysms, business compelled 
him to start for Washington. On his journey thither, his illustrious patron and friend 
Jefferson most feelingly remarks, "he did the deed which plunged his friends into 





affliction and deprived his country of one of her most valued citizens. It lost too, to the 
nation, the benefit of receiving from his own hand the narrative of his sufferings and 
snccesses, in endeavoring to extend for them the boundaries of science, and to present to 
their knowledge that vast and fertile country, which their sons are destined to fill with 
arts, with science, with freedom and happiness." 

In New Caledonia (now British Columbia), the employes of the North West Company, 
earl}' in the nineteenth century, began to explore the region in the vicinity of, and 
immediately west of, the Rocky Mountains. 

Previous to 1S05, James Finlay and James MacDougal, in the North West Companj' 
service, had traveled as far west as Trout Lake, afterwards called McLeod's Lake. In 
the spring of that 3^ear, MacDongal had pursued his examinations as far west as the river 
afterwards known as the great fork of the Fraser and beyond Carrier's Lake. In the 
autumn and winter of that year, Simon Fraser, a partner iu the North West Company, with 
a party established a trading-post on McLeod's Lake, called Fort McLeod and subsequently 
named Fort Fraser. On May 20, 1806, Simon Fraser and John Stuart with a party left 
the Rock}^ Mountain House, the North West Company station at the eastern base of the 
Rock}- Mountains, followed the Fraser river down to Stuart river, believing, as did Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie, that it was the Columbia. During that year. Fort James on Stuart 
Lake was established ; and, in 1807, Fort George was erected at the junction of the Stuart 
and Fraser rivers. From this post, Fraser and Stuart took their departure in 1808, and 
descended the river Fraser to its mouth. 

From an interesting letter, the following extract is copied : 

"Among the first of the trappers (of the western frontier of the United States) who 
visited the Columbia river was William Weir, grandfather of Allen Weir, Esq., editor of 
the Port Toivnsend Argus. 

When Captains Lewis and Clark returned from their exploration in 1S06, they were 
accompanied by one of the head chiefs of the Mandaus. The next spring, a detachment 
of soldiers were ordered to escort him back to his people. They started np the river in a 
barge; and about thirty Americans, among whom was Weir, prepared themselves with 
traps and a keel-boat, and started in company. 

Before reaching the Mandan village, they were attacked by a band of hostile Indians. 
The soldiers took to their oars and, with the current, swiftly went down the river. The 
hunters crossed to the other side of the river, and continued to give the Indians a fight. 
The savages gathered up their skin boats ; one which could seat four men could be carried 
on the head of an Indian. The hostiles descended the river some distance, crossed over 
and came down in such numbers that the party were overpowered. In a few minutes 
seven of the trappers were killed, and about as many more severely wounded. The party 
gathered np the dead, fled to their boat and followed after the soldiers. The whole party 
returned to St. Louis and waited until next spring. In the meantime the Missouri Fur 
Company had been formed. In the spring of i8o8, that company employed about three 
hundred men, principally French, who lived about St. Louis, and sent them up the river. 
A party of about forty Americans, among whom was Weir, started up the river on their 
own account. In 1809, Weir with nine others crossed the Rocky Mountains and struck 
the headwaters of the Columbia river and trapped down the river, wintering just above the 
Cascade or Coast range. 

Another small company of Missouri trappers wintered at the mouth of the river. 
They all trapped on the river and its tributaries during the spring of 1810, and returned 


that summer to the Missouri. They fouud the Indians all frieudly ; they subsisted almost 
entirely on fish, which came up the river in great quantities. 

Weir often spoke of the large fir timber, the mildness of the climate, the beautiful 
appearance of the land and soil, and gave it as his opinion that some day it would be 
one of the finest countries in the world. He quaintly added, " at that time it was a long 
ways from home." 

Among the wintering partners of the North West Company was Daniel Williams 
Harmon, a native of Vermont. In the spring of 1800, then a clerk, he set out from 
Montreal for the northwest. In 1805, after he had become a partner, he organized a party 
to explore the headwaters of the Missouri, cross the Rocky Mountains and follow the 
Columbia to its mouth. Ill health compelled his abandonment of the trip. In 1S07-S, 
he had charge of Fort Chipewyau. In the fall of 18 10, Harmon crossed the Rocky 
Mountains, and wintered upon Fraser Lake. The next spring he assumed the 
superintendency of the district of New Caledonia. In this capacity he remained on 
duty west of the Rocky Mountains until his retirement from the service in 1819, 
upon which he returned to Vermont. Shortly thereafter was published at Andover, 
Massachusetts, his "Journal of voyages and travels in the Interior of North America." 

In 1808, an association was formed at St. Louis called the Missouri Fur Company, 
headed by Mauuel Lisa, a Spaniard. Under its auspices, in 1809-10, numerous 
trading-posts were established. One of these was at the headwaters of Lewds' Fork 
of the Columbia river, in charge of Alexander Henry. It was abandoned in 1810, in 
consequence of the hostility of the Indians, and the great difficulty attending the 
provisioning and suppl}- of the post. . 

In 1809, Captain Jonathan Winship, of Brighton, Massachusetts, projected a trading 
establishment upon the Columbia river, and the taking of seals and other furs upon the 
Pacific coast. Two ships were secured, — the O'Caiu, of which he was master, and the 
Albatross, Captain Nathan Winship. The Albatross sailed from Boston July 6, 1809, 
via Cape Horn and the Sandwich Islands, and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia 
river May 25, 1810. She was provided with a complete outfit; and her company 
originally numbered twenty-five, to which had been added twenty-five Kanakas. 
Through ignorance of the channel, inaccuracies of charts, strong currents and 
occasional shoal places, the passage up the Columbia was attended with delays and 
difl&culties. After some ten dax's cruising on the river. Oak Point, on the south 
side of the river, was selected as the proposed site of the establishment. Land was 
cleared, a garden was prepared, seeds were sown, and the erection commenced of the 
trading-house and dwelling. The summer freshet of the Columbia river soon after 
occurred and effectually checked all further labors. The house, almost completed, was 
flooded to the depth of eighteen inches, and the adjacent land overflowed. Captain 
Nathan Winship having been advised of the arrival of the O'Cain at the bay of Sir 
Francis Drake (now San Francisco), determined to consult his brother, the projector of 
the expedition, before attempting another location. He sailed from the Columbia river 
July 18, 1810. The Winships, having learned of Mr. Astor's contemplated enterprise at 
the mouth of the Columbia river, deemed it unwise to compete with him, and gave up 
their project of making a settlement upon the Columbia. Both vessels continued upon the 
coast in quest of seal islands and in trading (i). 

(r) Chapter XIV, page 173, of Franchere's charming narrative, details the visit of the ship Albatross to Astoria on the 4th of August, 1813. She 
bad been chartered by Wilson P. Hunt to bring him from Canton. 


Francliere says: "Captain Smith informed us that in 1810, a year before the founding 
of our establishment, he had entered the river in the same vessel, and ascended it in boats 
as far as Oak Point ; and that he had attempted to form an establishment there ; but the 
spot which he chose for building, and on which he had even commenced fencing for 
a garden, being overflowed in the summer freshet, he had been forced to abandon his 
project and re-embark. We had seen, in fact, at Oak Point, some traces of his projected 
establishment. The bold manner in which this captain had entered the river was now 
accounted for." 

On the strength of this statement of Franchere, Greenhow accredits the making of 
the Oak Point settlement to Captain William Smith of Boston. But while it is true that 
Captain Smith was with the Albatross in May, 18 10, there is no doubt that at the time she 
was commanded by Captain Nathan Winship. In an article entitled, " Americans at Sea," 
Niles Weekly Register^ August 12, 1820, the able editor, in illustration of his text, quotes 
from the Boston Daily Advertiser notices of the exploits of Captain William Smith, of 
Boston, from which we extract : " A friend has furnished us with the following remarkable 
narrative of the very active and useful life of Mr. William Smith, who was born November 
14, 1768, at Flowery Hundred, Prince George county, Va., and came to Boston in 1780. 
Since that date he has sailed out of this port. He has since that period performed eight 
voyages around the world, besides one voyage and back." Then follows a detail of the 
voyages, among which the following occurs : 

" 8th voyage. Sailed July 6, 1809, in the ship Albatross^ Nathan Winship, master, 
and returned in the ship (9' (Ta/;/, Robert McNiel, master, October 15, 181 7. For about 
seven years of this voyage he commanded the Albatross^ etc." 

While these inland operations were being enacted, American vessels were pursuing 
an active trade in these latitudes. Nootka Sound continued the chief resort, but the 
Columbia river was frequently visited. James G. Swan, in his very readable " Northwest 
Coast," supplies a list of the northwest trading vessels from 1787 to 1809. It is of great 
historical interest, and may be accepted as a true exhibit of commercial enterprise in 
Northwest America. 

Chapter XL 


John Jacob Astor Organizes the Pacific Fur Company — Intriguing Policy of the 
Nortli West Company— Treaclierons Conduct of Mr. Astor's Partners — Parties 
Sent by Sea and Overland to the Mouth of the Columbia Kiver — Founding of 
Astoria — Loss of the Ship Tonquin — Launch of the Schooner Dolly, the First 
United States V^essel Built on the Pacific Coast — Pacific Fur Company 
Dissolved by British Partners — Transfer of Astor's Stock and Establishment 
to North West Company — The Britisli.Sloop-of- War Raccoon Captures Astoria, 
Changes Name to Fort George — End of Pacific Fur Company — American 
Employees Leave the Country — British Enter Nortli West Company Service — 
Restoration of Astoria Under Treaty of Ghent. 

IN iSio, John Jacob Astor, a native of Heidelberg and citizen of the United States, 
residing at New York, who had amassed a princely fortune in successful commercial 
operations, projected an enterprise which combined the prosecution of the fur trade in 
every portion of the unsettled territories of America claimed b}- the United States ; the 
furnishing of the Russian settlement with trading goods and supplies, receiving furs 
in exchange ; and the China trade. At the mouth of the Columbia river was to be 
established the depot and center of trade. Through the interior, along the Columbia 
and Missouri rivers and their tributaries, at convenient places to insure facilities of 
communication, posts were to be located for conducting trade across the continent. Briefl}-, 
his grand scheme involved the concentration of the fur trade, the exclusive right to supply 
the Russian establishments, and to receive in return Russian furs ; from the sale of which 
said supplies were to be paid, as also commission retained. Mr. Astor, had he not been 
baffled b}' the treachery or cowardice of his agents, would have controlled the commerce 
between China and Northwest America. 

A vessel was to be dispatched at regular intervals from New York to the Columbia 
river, laden with trading goods and supplies. Having discharged her cargo, she was to 
trade on the northwest coast and visit the establishments of the Russian Fur Company, 
then return to the river, and, with the furs collected during the year, sail to Canton and 
obtain her return cargo of China goods for New York. Mr. Astor regarded this Russian 
trade as a most important feature. Arrangements with the Russian government had 
guarded against difficulties likely to arise between the coasting vessels of the two 

The North West Compau}- had no trading-posts west of the Rocky Mountains south 
of fift3--two degrees north. That company's operations had been confined to the region 
called New Caledonia. Its managers were men of great energy and experience. Its 
business was conducted with perfect system and managed- with consummate ability. Mr. 
Astor sought to avoid competition with that company. With this in view he made known 

( 76 ) 




his plans to them, invited their co operation, generousl}' offering a one-third interest in the 
enterprise. To gain the necessary time to enable the North West Company to send a 
party to occupy the mouth of the Columbia river before Mr. Astor's party could have 
reached such point, they pretended to take Mr. Astor's proposition under advisement. 
Having started David Thompson, the surveyor and astronomer of the company, with 
instructions to occupy the mouth of the Columbia river, to explore the river from its 
headwaters, and to watch the progress of the Astor enterprise, the North West Company 
formally declined ^Ir. Astor's proposition. Mr. Astor, fully aware of this ungracious 
return for his generosity and good will, prosecuted his enterprise with renewed vigor. 

On the 23d of June, 1810, the Pacific Fur Company was formed. Mr. Astor says: 
" I preferred to have it appear as the business of a company, rather than that of an 
individual ; the several gentlemen were, in effect, to be interested as partners in the 
undertaking, so far as respected the profit which might arise ; but the means were 
furnished by me, and the property was solely mine, and I sustained the loss." 

He associated as partners Alexander Mackay, Duncan MacDougal and Donald 
Mackenzie, all late of the North West Company, men of great experience. Mackay 
had accompanied Alexander Mackenzie in his two voyages of discover}-. The partners 
subsequently admitted were David and Robert Stuart and Ramsay Crooks, Scotchmen, all 
of whom had been in the service of the North West Company, John Clarke, of Canada, 
Wilson P. Hunt and Robert Maclellan, citizens of the United States. 

The articles of organization provided : Mr. Astor as the head of the company should 
remain at New York and manage its affairs. Vessels, goods, supplies, arms, ammunition 
and every necessary were to be furnished by him at prime cost, provided they did not 
necessitate at any time an advance to exceed $400,000. The stock was divided into 
one hundred shares, of which Mr. Astor retained fifty. The remainder went to other 
partners, and such persons as might be added to the company. Mr. Astor reserved the 
right to introduce other persons as partners, at least two of whom were to be cotiversant with 
the Indian trade ; but no individual should be permitted to hold more than three shares of 
stock. Twenty years was the duration of the company ; but at the end of five years, if 
the business was found to be unprofitable, it might be dissolved. For the first five years, 
all the loss was to be borne by Mr. Astor ; after which each partner shared the loss in 
proportion to his stock. 

The chief agent on the Columbia held the position for five years. Wilson P. Hunt 
was selected for the first term. When such chief agent was absent, the vacancy was to be 
temporarily filled by a meeting of the partners who were present. To faithfully execute 
the objects of the company, and to go to such places as they might be assigned, the 
partners solemnly bound themselves. Two of the British partners, before having 
subscribed, communicated to Mr. Jackson, British Minister, then in New York, the full 
details of Mr. Astor's project. They sought of him knowledge as to their s/a//is as British 
subjects trading under the flag of the United States, in the event of a war between the 
United States and Great Britain. Mackay was assured by the minister " that he saw our 
object was purely commercial, and that all that he could promise was that, in case of a war, 
they should be respected as English subjects and merchants." All scruples of those 
British partners were dissipated. Their patron did not learn until too late of this gross 
disregard of mercantile honor, or, possibly, he might have guarded himself from the 
humiliating sacrifice which effectually transferred his enterprise to unscrupulous enemies. 
The main party, consisting of Messrs. Mackay, MacDougal, David and Robert Stuart, 


partners, twelve clerks (among whom was Gabriel Franchere, the author of the narrative 
of the voyage), five mechanics and thirteen Canadian voyageurs, was to go to the mouth 
of the Columbia river, via Cape Horn and the Sandwich Islands, until Mr. Hunt, chief 
agent, should arrive at the mouth of the river. Mr. IMacDougal was to take charge. To 
convey this party, the ship Tonquin, 290 tons, was fitted for sea, commanded by Captain 
Jonathan Thome, a lieutenant in the United States navy, on leave. A full assortment of 
Indian trading goods, a bountiful supply of provisions, and the frame timbers of a schooner, 
designed for coasting, garden seeds and other articles, in short, everything necessary to 
secure comfort, were provided for the proposed settlement. 

Before the Tonqiiin was ready for sea, Mr. Astor had been advised that a British 
vessel of war was cruising off the Atlantic coast to intercept the Tonqiiin and impress 
the Canadians as British subjects. This was at the instance of the North West Company, 
purposed to defeat the arrival of the Tonquin, or so delay it that Mr. Thompson's party 
would have ample time to arrive first at the mouth of the Columbia. To thwart such 
interruption, Mr. Astor secured from the United States convoy off the coast, till the 
Tonqiiin could proceed on her voyage without interference from British cruisers. 

On the 8th of September, the Tonquin sailed under convoy of the United States 
frio-ate Constitution, Captain Isaac Hull, United States navy. The incidents of that 
voyage will be found in that most readable of books, " Irviug's Astoria," and in the very 
fascinating narrative of Franchere. Mr. Hunt, chief agent, with whom was associated 
Donald Mackenzie, was to lead a party overland to the mouth of the Columbia river, and 
had gone to Montreal and Fort William to recruit the necessary voyageurs for the service. 

The Tonquin arrived at the mouth of the Columbia, and anchored in Baker's Bay on 
the 22d of March, iSii. The crossing of the bar and the entrance of the river were 
attended with most serious difficulties. Eight of the crew were lost in the attempt to 
examine the shores and bays, and mark out the channel. 

On the i2th of April, the launch, with sixteen persons, freighted with supplies, 
crossed the river and landed upon Point George. There and then was established a 
settlement, to which was given the name of Astoria, in honor of the projector of the 
enterprise. By the end of the month, the keel of the schooner of thirty tons had been 
laid, to be constructed of the frame timbers brought out in the Tonquin. 

The report that a party was establishing a post at the second rapids of the Columbia 
was the occasion of Mackay ascending the river to the first rapids, now called the Cascades. 
His Indian crew refused to go farther. At that point nothing could be definitely learned 
of any Whites being on the upper Columbia. The intelligence that a trading-house had 
been established by the North West Company, on the Spokane river, was shortly afterwards 
confirmed (i). 

On the first of June, the Tonquin sailed north, Alexander Mackay, one of the partners, 
accompanying as supercargo. By the middle of the month, she had reached Cl3-oquot 
Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver's Island, and was anchored opposite the Indian 
town of Newitty. They were about to commence trade with Indians of Wicanish's tribe 
for sea-otter skins. At a preconcerted signal, the Indians, who had unwisely been 
permitted to crowd the deck of the Tonquin, commenced an attack. Captain Thorne and 
Mr. Mackay were almost immediately killed. All upon deck met a like fate. When 
Captain Thorne first observed that the actions of the Indians indicated hostility, he had 

(ij This was the Spokane House, established twenty miles from the mouth of Spokane river by Macdonald. clerk in the North West 
Company's service. About the same lime, that company also established forts on Clark's Fork of the Columbia, and on the Kooteuais. 


endeavored to make sail, and had ordered some of the crew up into the rigging. Five of 
the sailors were still aloft ; one in ascending was badly wounded. The remaining four 
had continued concealed. x\fter the fight was over, the Indians went ashore. Returning 
to rob the ship, the five survivors successfully repelled the savages with firearms. In the 
night, at the urgent solicitation of Lewis, the wounded sailor, the four left the ship in one 
of her boats. Next morning the Indians in great numbers again boarded the Tonquui. 
When they had most numerously collected, the gallant Lewis, the wounded sailor, fired 
the magazine, blew up the ship, creating sad havoc among the hordes of savages who were 
stripping and robbing the Tonquin. Thus was the murder of Captain Thorne and the 
crew of the Tonqnin promptly avenged. The four sailors who had endeavored to escape 
were overtaken and put to death with atrocious torture. One Indian interpreter was the 
sole survivor of that cruel massacre. He was retained in close captivity for more than 
two years, when he escaped through the various coast tribes. The account of the loss of 
the Toiiquin was derived from the interpreter on his return to Astoria. There had been a 
misunderstanding between Captain Thorne and the Indian chief on the preceding day. 
Captain William Smith, an old and experienced trader on the North Pacific coast, then 
mate of the Albatross^ of Boston, attributed the real provocation of this tragic affair to 
the conduct of Captain Ayres, of Boston. A short time previous the latter had been 
trading at Clyoquot Sound, and had induced some ten of the tribe to accompany him to 
the islands near the Bay of San Francisco, to hunt seals. He had given a most positive 
assurance for their safe and early return. He sailed southward and violated that promise. 
In accordance with Indian custom, his inhuman perfidy was revenged by an equivalent 
sacrifice, from white men who fell into the hands of the outraged tribe. 

On the 15th of July, David Thompson, astronomer of the North West Company, in 
a canoe bearing the British flag, with a crew of eight white men, arrived at Astoria. In 
the summer of iSio, the North West Company fitted out the Thompson party; and, when 
the necessary start had beeu secured to effect their object, the}- declined Mr. Astor's 
proposition for co-operation in his project. Thompson reached the Rocky Mountains, but 
was long dela3-ed in finding a pass. Several of his party deserted, which necessitated his 
return to the nearest post to winter. In the early spring of iSii, he hurried forward, 
crossing the Rocky Mountains in fifty-two degrees north, and striking the extreme 
northern source of the Columbia, where a canoe was built to descend the river. In their 
descent they built huts at the forks of rivers, erecting flags, distributed little flags among 
the natives, and took formal possession of the country watered by the Columbia and its 
tributaries, in the name of the King of Great Britain, for the North West Company. 
But Mr. Astor's settlement had been effected. Thompson could not occupy the lower 
Columbia and its mouth ; but he made an exploration and reconnoissance of the river and 
the immediately adjacent country. Franchere observes : " Mr. Thompson kept a regular 
journal, and traveled, I thought, more like a geographer than a fur trader. He was 
provided with a sextant, chronometer and barometer, and, during a week's sojourn at our 
place, had an opportunity to make several astronomical observations." Though sent by 
the North West Company to countervail the operations of a rival enterprise, in fact upon 
a hostile expedition, yet Mr. MacDougal, the temporary chief agent representing Mr. 
Astor, received him with the utmost cordiality. Against urgent remonstrance of David 
Stuart, he furnished Mr. Thompson with supplies and the means to return. David Stuart 
was about starting for the Spokane country to establish a post, when Mr. Thompson 
arrived. Mr. Stuart consequentl}- delayed his departure until the 23d, when both parties 


Started in canoes for the upper Columbia. They continued together for more than six 
hundred miles, when Mr. Thompson and his party left the river and marched overland 
across the Rocky Mountains. At the junction of the Columbia and the Okanagon rivers, 
Mr. Stuart erected Fort Okanagon, the first interior post west of the Rocky Mountains 
south of latitude forty-nine degrees north. Of the drift wood collected on the promontory 
made by the two rivers, he built a log house in which he and his company wintered. 

On the 2d of October, the schooner Dolly was launched. She was the first United 
States vessel built on the Pacific coast. The infant settlement at Astoria was in a very 
discouraging, despondent condition. The little band, reduced in numbers, had not learned 
of the sad fate of the Tonquin, now overdue; and their anxiety for their fellows was 
intensified by Indian rumors, that a ship on the Strait of Fuca had been destroyed and 
her crew murdered. Their supplies were growing low; nothing had been heard of Mr. 
Hunt and his overland party. Winter was upon them, and there was but little to give 

On the 8th of January, 1812, a portion of Mr. Hunt's party reached Astoria in a most 
wretched plight. The remainder arrived on the 15th of February. The party had 
experienced the most severe hardships in their tedious journey. Messrs. Hunt and 
Mackenzie, at Montreal, in their efforts during the summer of 18 10 to secure men, had 
been subjected to the greatest difficulty through the jealous interference of the North 
West Company. Men who had engaged to serve were dissuaded, threatened and bought. 
Unsuccessful at Montreal, they went to Fort William, where the same annoyances were 
renewed. From thence they went to St. Louis, where they arrived September 3d. At that 
point the Missouri Fur Company baffled Mr. Hunt's effort, even more than the North West 
Company had done at Montreal and Fort William. To retain the men he had secured, 
Mr. Hunt, on the 21st of October, left St. Louis. The party in three boats ascended the 
Missouri river four hundred and fifty miles to the mouth of the Nodowa, where, on the 
i6th of November, he established winter quarters. Mr. Hunt, to reinforce his party, then 
returned to St. Louis, where he arrived January i, 181 1. After continued anno^^ance and 
vexatious disappointments, he made up his force, returned to the winter camp, and started, 
April 17th, for the Columbia river. They ascended the river in four boats, the largest of 
which mounted a swivel and two howitzers. In the party were five partners, Messrs. W. 
P. Hunt, Donald Mackenzie, Robert Maclellan, Ramsay Crooks and Joseph Miller, one 
clerk, forty voyageurs, an interpreter and several hunters. The Missouri Fur Company 
continued its persecutions during the ascent of the river, subjecting Mr. Hunt's party to 
delays, difficulties and annoyances by the Indians. Having traveled fourteen hundred 
miles, they abandoned the boats and marched overland. Following the headwaters of the 
Yellowstone, they crossed the Rocky Mountains in September. Having reached one of 
the affluents of Lewis' Fork of the Columbia, the party built canoes, intending to descend 
to the mouth of the Columbia. In consequence of the rapids and dangerous navigation, 
the river was abandoned and the journey to Astoria resumed b}- land. 

On the 5th of May the Beaver, a ship of 490 tons. Captain Sowles, which had been 
dispatched by Mr. Astor the preceding October, arrived at Astoria. She brought as 
passengers John Clarke, of Canada, a partner, six clerks, and twenty-six Kanaka laborers. 
Among the clerks was Ross Cox, author of the " Adventures on the Columbia River." 
In those " Adventures," Tvlr. Cox thus pictures Astoria, as it was upon his arrival in 
May, 181 2 : 

J\ 5, ^ r i 

1 ^ 

, t- 






— •isSi. 



" The spot selected for the fort was a handsome eminence called Point George, which 
commanded an extensive view of the majestic Columbia in front, bounded by the bold and 
thickly wooded northern shore. On the right, about three miles distant, a long, high and 
rocky peninsula, covered with timber, called Tongue Point, extended a considerable 
distance into the river from the southern side, with which it was connected by a narrow 
neck of land; while on the extreme left Cape Disappointment, with the bar and its terrific 
chain of breakers, were distinctly visible. The buildings consisted of apartments for the 
proprietors and clerks, with a capacious dining-hall for both ; extensive warehouses for 
the trading goods and furs, a provision store, a trading-shop, a smith's forge, carpenter's 
shop, etc. ; the whole surrounded by stockades forming a square, and reaching about 
fifteen feet above the ground. A gallery ran around the stockades, in which loopholes 
were pierced, sufficiently large for musketry ; each bastion had two stories, in which a 
number of chosen men slept every night ; a six-pounder was placed in the lower story of 
each, and they were both well provided with small arms. Immediately in front of the 
fort was a gentle declivity, sloping down to the river's side, which had been turned into an 
excellent kitchen garden ; and, a few hundred rods to the left, a tolerable wharf had been 
run out, by which bateaux and boats were enabled, at low water, to land their cargoes 
without sustaining any damage. An impenetrable forest of gigantic pines rose in the 
rear ; and the ground was covered with a thick underwood of briar and whortleberry, 
intermingled with ferns and honej'suckle." 

In June, the brigades, as the}' were called, left Astoria for the interior, respectively 
under the charge of John Clarke and Donald Mackenzie, who were sent to the Upper 
Columbia country to establish trading-posts. The former established a post at the junction 
of the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene rivers, and the latter on the Shahaptan river, or the 
Lewis' Fork of the Columbia, now called Snake river. A third party under David Stuart 
returned to Fort Okanagon, and during the season went north to Thompson's river. 

On the Willamette, 150 miles from its mouth, another trading-post was located. 
Robert Stuart left at the same time to cross the continent as bearer of dispatches to Mr. 
Astor. He was accompanied by Robert Maclellan, Ramsay Crooks, Joseph Miller, 
partners, Benjamin Jones, hunter, and two voyageurs. The parties traveled together to 
the Walla Walla river. Robert Stuart's party then traveled southeast, and, in the month 
of November, discovered the South Pass in the Rocky Mountains, which afterwards 
became the great gateway of the emigrant route to the Pacific. They wintered on the 
Platte river, and arrived in St. Louis in April, 1813. 

On the 4th of August, the Beaver sailed for Sitka, Mr. Hunt accomjDanying. Pursuant 
to Mr. Astor's instructions, she was to have returned to Astoria for the furs there collected 
before sailing to Canton, and hence was due at Astoria in October. While at Sitka, Mr. 
Hunt negotiated with Baranofif, Governor of Russian America, a highly advantageous 
arrangement for the Pacific Fur Company. The two companies were not to interfere 
with each other's hunting or trading grounds ; and they were to operate jointly against 
trespassers on the rights of either. The Pacific Fur Company was to enjo}' the exclusive 
privilege of suppl3nng the Russian posts, the pa}' for which was to be in peltries. The 
Pacific Fur Company was to receive all the Russian furs and convey them to Canton, and 
to receive a commission for their sale. 

Having collected large quantities of furs, the Beaver proceeded to Canton via the 
Sandwich Islands, instead of returning to Astoria. Mr. Hunt went with her to Oahu, 
there to await the vessel then expected from New York, by which he was to return to 


Astoria. Before this agreement could go into effect, war had been declared between 
Great Britain and the United States. Mr. Astor learned that the North West Company 
was fitting out the Isaac Todd, a ship mounting twenty guns, to seize Astoria. As a 
large majority of the employes of the company were British subjects, Mr. Astor anticipated 
difficulty, as soon as the existence of the war should become known. He appealed to the 
United States government for a force to defend Astoria, to maintain possession of 
the mouth of the river. 

His efforts being in vain, he fitted out the Lark, which sailed March 6, 1813. In the 
early part of 181 3, matters at Astoria were in a ver}- unsatisfactory condition. The 
Beaver, with Mr. Hunt on board, expected in October preceding, had not been heard from, 
and great anxiety was felt as to her safety. Mr. IMackeuzie had been very unsuccessful at 
his post on the Shahaptan river and, becoming disheartened, had determined on being 
assigned to another post. In this mood he visited Mr. Clarke. While Mackenzie was 
there they were visited b}- John George MacTavish, a partner of the North West 
Company, who communicated the news of the declaration of war, and boastfully stated 
that the North West Compan3-'s armed ship, the Isaac Todd, had sailed, and was to be at 
the mouth of the Columbia in March, and that he had received orders to join her at that 
time ; that full supplies had been sent by his company for the countrj- west of the Rocky 
Mountains, and, with the coming spring, the North West Compau}- w'ould be prepared for 
vigorous opposition. Mackenzie no longer doubted as to his course. He at once returned 
to Shahaptan, broke up the post, cached all the provisions, and with his party went to 
Astoria, which they reached January i6th. 

Having communicated the news of the war to MacDougal, who was agent-in-cliarge 
during Mr. Hunt's prolonged absence, the two, the only partners present, resolved to 
abandon Astoria in the coming spring and recross the Rocky Mountains. To enable 
them to execute this resolve, Mackenzie set off at once to recover the cached provisions, 
and with them purchase from the Indians necessary horses. He carried dispatches 
from MacDougal to Messrs. Clarke, and D. Stuart, apprising them of the resolution to 
abandon Astoria and to return to the United States, and advised the making of necessar}- 
preparations. On his way, Mackenzie met a party of the North West Company in 
command of MacTavish and Laroque, en route to the mouth of the Columbia to await the 
arrival of the Isaac Todd. The parties camped together, leaders and men, as the graceful 
Irving remarks, " mingled together as united by a common interest, instead of belonging 
to rival companies trading under hostile flags.'' 

When Mackenzie reached Shahaptan, he found his cache had been robbed by the 
Indians ; he was therefore without means to purchase horses. He forwarded the orders 
of MacDougal to Messrs. Clarke, and David Stuart. Walla Walla was agreed upon as 
a rendezvous for the three parties to meet, to proceed together to Astoria for conference. 
In two boats and six canoes, they together descended the Columbia river, reaching Astoria 
June 1 2th. MacDougal had determined on dissolving the company July ist, and had so 
apprised MacTavish. Both Stuart and Clarke, who had been very successful, refused to 
break up their posts ; and they utterly ignored the advice to provide horses and make 
preparations for leaving the countr}-. Mackenzie's provisions having been stolen, he 
had failed to accomplish anj-thiug, and of necessity the departure was deferred. Messrs. 
Clarke and Stuart finally yielded consent, that if aid did not come from the United States, 
and the prospect at Astoria improve, the countr}^ should be abandoned in the ensuing 


MacTavisli, who was camped at the fort, made application to purchase trading goods. 
MacDougal proposed to sell to him the post on the Spokane, for horses to be delivered the 
next spring. After much urging by MacDougal and Mackenzie, this proposition was 
accepted. Messrs. Clarke and Stuart were to winter at their posts. Mackenzie was 
transferred to the post on the Willamette for the winter; three clerks, among whom 
was Ross Cox, were transferred to the service of the North West Compan3^ An 
arrangement for the dissolution of the company, to take effect June ist of the next j'ear, 
in accordance with the articles of agreement, which provide for an abandonment of the 
enterprise should it be found unprofitable, was signed by the four partners. Clarke and 
Stuart were extremely reluctant, yielding because of the determination of MacDougal and 
Mackenzie to abandon the country. On the 20th of August, Hunt arrived at Astoria. 
He was powerless to change the result. The causes of discouragement were presented by 
MacDougal, who pretended that he desired to save Mr. Astor's interest before the place 
fell into the hands of the British vessels on their way out. Mr. Hunt at length acquiesced, 
and consented that the management of the business should be intrusted solel}- to 
MacDougal, if he (Hunt) did not return by the ist of January. Mr. Hunt then sailed to 
secure a vessel to convey the property to the Russian settlements till peace was declared, 
and also to give a return passage to the Sandwich Islands of the Kanaka laborers. Hunt 
agreed that, if the men became dissatisfied, they might be transferred to the North West 
Company, MacTavish becoming responsible for their wages, accepting goods to discharge 
indebtedness to them. 

On the 2d of October, Mackenzie, with a party of twelve men in two canoes, started 
to advise Messrs. Clarke and Stuart of the new arrangement. He met MacTavish and J. 
Stuart, partners of the North West Company, with sevent3'-five men in ten canoes, on their 
way down the river to meet the frigate Plicebc and the ship Isaac Todd. Clark had been 
advised of the alarming news, and he had come with them as a passenger. Mackenzie 
camped with the party that night and resolved to return with them to Astoria. Mackenzie 
and Clarke during the night made an attempt to slip off, with a view of getting a start, 
and reaching Astoria first with the news. But as they pushed out into the river two of 
MacTavish's canoes followed. On the 7th of October, MacTavish and Mackenzie both 
reached Astoria. The North West Company's party camped at the fort. Alacdougal 
prohibited the hoisting of the American flag by the young American employes. The next 
day MacDougal read to the assembled employes a sensational letter from his uncle Angus 
Shaw, one of the principal stockholders of the North West Company, announcing the 
sailing of the frigate Plicebe and the ship Isaac Todd^ with orders " to take and destroy 
everything American on the northwest coast." 

This dramatic scene was followed by a proposition of MacTavish to purchase the 
interests, stocks, establishments, etc., of the Pacific Fur Company. MacDougal then 
assumed sole control and agency because of the non-arrival of Hunt, and after repeated 
conference with MacTavish, in which the presence of the other partners was ignored, the 
sale was concluded at certain rates. A few da3's later, Mr. J. Stuart arrived with the 
remainder of the North West part}'. He objected to MacTavish's prices, and lowered the 
rates materially. ]\Ir. Stuart's offer was accepted by MacDougal ; and the agreement of 
transfer was signed October i6th. B3' it Duncan MacDougal, for and on behalf of himself, 
Donald Mackenzie, David Stuart and John Clarke, partners of the Pacific Fur Compan}', 
dissolved Jul}' ist, pretended to sell to his British confreres and co-conspirators of the 
North West Company " the whole of the establishments, furs and present stock on hand, 


on the Columbia and Thompson's rivers," payable in three drafts on Montreal. This 
transaction, so dishonorable and perfidious to Mr. Astor, so disgraceful to the parties who 
consummated it, is thus detailed by John Jacob Astor in a letter to John Quincy Adams, 
Secretary- of State : 

" MacDougal transferred all my property to the North West Company, who were in 
possession of it by sale, as he called it, for the sum of fifty-eight thousand dollars, of which 
he retained fourteen thousand dollars for wages said to be due to some of the men. From 
the price obtained for the goods, etc., and he having himself become interested in the 
purchase and made a partner of the North West Company, some idea may be formed as to 
this man's correctness of dealing. He sold to the North West Company eighteen 
thousand, one hundred and seventy and a quarter pounds of beaver at two dollars, which 
was at that time selling in Canton at five and six dollars per skin. I estimated the whole 
property to be worth nearer two hundred thousand dollars, than forty thousand dollars, 
about the sum I received in bills on Montreal." 

After David Thompson had returned, in iSii, from his expedition to secure for the 
North West Company the first occupancy of the mouth of the Columbia, the North West 
Company urged interference by the British government to prevent the establishment of 
American settlements in the territory drained by the Columbia river. The British 
government, while peace continued, had declined to assert acts of exclusive sovereignty 
over the region. Upon the declaration of war, the North West Company renewed its 
efforts with the government to expel its rivals, to seize and occupy the territory. Its 
appeals were based on national policy. The wealth and importance of the country were 
portrayed ; the Americans should be prevented from firmly establishing themselves and 
acquiring the territory. The company's petitions were successful. They asked for convoy 
for their ship Isaac Todd, which was a storeship to carry out supplies, provisions, goods 
and necessaries to establish settlements, to hold the country against Americans, and 
acquire its entire trade. A squadron, consisting of the frigate Pho'be, the sloops-of-war 
Raccoon and Chcnib, was ordered to the mouth of the Columbia " to take Fort Astoria 
and destro}' the settlement." Ross Cox, one of Astor's clerks who deserted him and took 
serv'ice in the North West Company, thus narrates the capture of Astoria : 

"The Isaac 7t»«'rt' sailed from London in March, 1S13, in company with the Pluvbe, 
frigate, and the Cherub and Raccoon, sloops-of-war. They arrived safe at Rio Janeiro, 
and thence proceeded around Cape Horn to the Pacific, having previousl}^ made 
arrangements to meet at Juan Fernandez. The three men-of-war reached the latter 
island, after encountering dreadful gales about the cape ; they waited there some time 
ior \.h.& Isaac Todd; but, as she did not make her appearance. Commodore Hillyer did 
not deem it prudent to remain any longer inactive. He therefore, in company with the 
Cherub, proceeded in search of Commodore Porter, who, in the American frigate Essex, 
was clearing the South Seas of English whalers, and inflicting other injuries of a serious 
nature on our commerce. He shortly after met the Essex at \'alparaiso, and after a severe 
contest captured her. 

" At the same time he ordered Captain Black, in the Raccoon, to proceed direct to the 
Columbia, for the purpose of destroying the American settlements at Astoria. The 
Raccoon arrived at the Columbia on the ist of December, 1813. The surprise and 
disappointment of Captain Black and his officers were extreme, on learning the 
arrangement that had taken place between the two companies, by which the 
establishment had become British property. They had calculated on obtaining a 

.-'*^''%, 3 






splendid prize by the capture of Astoria, the strength and importance of which had 
been much magnified ; and the contracting parties were therefore fortunate in having 
closed their bargains previous to the arrival of the Raccoon. 

" On looking at the wooden fortifications, Captain Black exclaimed : ' Is this the fort 
about which I have heard so much ? D — n me, but I'd batter it down in two hours with 
a four-pounder.' Captain Black, however, took possession of Astoria in the name of his 
British Majesty, and re-baptised it by the name of Fort George. He also insisted on 
having an inventory taken of the valuable stock of furs, and all other property purchased 
from the American company, with a view to the adoption of ulterior proceedings in England 
for the recovery of the value from the North West Company ; but he subsequently 
relinquished this idea, and we heard no more about his claims." 

The formal capture of Fort Astoria took place on the 12th of December, at which 
time the colors of the United States were hauled down and the flag of Great Britain 

In the August preceding, Mr. Astor's chief agent, Mr. Hunt, had left Astoria in the 
ship Albatross for the Sandwich Islands to procure a ship to receive the property of the 
Pacific Fur Company, and to afford passage to such of its emplo3'es as desired by sea to 
return to the United States. The ship Lark sent out by Mr. Astor, on arriving at the 
Islands, was wrecked. The Beaver was still blockaded in China. Mr. Hunt at length 
purchased the brig Ped/er., put Captain Northup, late of the Lark, in command, and 
returned to Astoria on February 28, 1814. He found the fort converted into a North 
West Company establishment. His late 'copartner MacDougal, whom he had left in 
charge to represent Mr. Astor, was still in charge, but now transformed into a North West 
Company partner. There was nothing left Mr. Hunt to do but to receive from MacDougal 
the drafts on Montreal, the purchase-money for the stock and establishments of the Pacific 
Fur Compau}'. The Pcdler then sailed for New York, by way of Canton, Mr. Hunt and 
three of the clerks of the late company being passengers. The remainder of the employes 
either engaged in the service of the North West Company, or returned overland with 
Messrs. Mackenzie, Clarke and David Stuart, who started April 4th. The arrival of 
the ship Lsaac Todd on the 17th of April, with a full cargo of trading goods and supplies, 
enabled the North West Company, now exclusive masters of the field, vigorously to 
prosecute the fur trade, and establish themselves in the territory. 

Thus disgracefully failed a magnificent enterprise, which merited success for sagacity 
displayed in its conception, its details, its objects ; for the liberality and munificence of its 
projector in furnishing means adequate for its thorough execution ; for the results it had 
aimed to produce. It was inaugurated purely for commercial purposes. Had it not been 
transferred to its enemies, it would have pioneered the colonization of the northwest coast 
by citizens of the United States ; it would have furnished the natural and peaceful solution 
of the question of the right of the territory drained by the Columbia and its tributaries. 

Perhaps, had Mr. Astor been a native of the United States, instead of one of its most 
patriotic, generous and wealthy adopted citizens, he would have appreciated that in 
1809-10, when about to develop this grand conception of mercantile genius, that the 
antipathy between natives of the British Empire and the United States, the natural result 
of the latter having conqxiered its independence, had not then been effaced. Indeed, at 
that time it was manifesting itself in a bitter renewal, which so shortly afterward developed 
into actual war. As a merchant devoid of such national prejudice because of his different 
nationality, he could not, did not, realize that a purely mercantile arrangement might not 


be successfully conducted by and between citizens and subjects of different countries. He 
entirely overlooked that inbred, ineradicable, national prejudice (for it had no place in his 
bosom) which displa3'ed itself in the contempt that Vancouver so conspicuously had 
manifested for Gray when off the Strait of Fuca, the latter having ventured to assert a 
belief that a river emptied into the ocean where was aftenvards discovered the great 
Columbia ; which the sagacious, able, but narrow-minded, though ever British, Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie had so palpably exhibited in his appeal to the capitalists of Great 
Britain to advance the fur trade, to occupy the territory and coasts of Northwest America ; 
wherein he contemptuousl}' ridiculed " American adventurers who would instantly 
disappear before a well-regulated trade." The big-souled Astor had failed or was quite 
unable to realize what might result from a national hatred and jealousy, which could not 
be concealed because the great Columbia was discovered b}' a practical American sailor, 
when scientific navigators had failed to find its mouth ; which aimed to head off Lewis and 
Clark by the effort to reach the mouth of the Columbia river in advance of those gallant 
American soldiers and explorers ; which had converted the men to whom he had 
bountifully supplied the means to acquire wealth, without possibility of risk or loss, into 
informers to his enemies of plans revealed to them in confidence ; which converted rivals 
in business into unscrupulous and unrelenting personal and national enemies. 

The scheme was grand in its aim, magnificent in its breadth of purpose and area of 
operation. Its results were naturally feasible, not over-anticipated. They were but the 
logical and necessary sequence of the pursuit of the plan. Mr. Astor made no 
miscalculation, no omission ; neither did he permit a sanguine hope to lead him into any 
wild or imaginar}' venture. He was practical, generous, broad. He executed what Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie urged should be adopted as the policy of British capital and 
enterprise. That one Americati citizen should have individually undertaken what two 
mammoth British companies had not the courage to try was but an additional cause which 
had intensified national prejudice into embittered jealousy on the part of his British rivals, 
the North West Company. 

The effect of war upon a commercial enterprise mutually engaged in by subjects of 
the hostile nations had not been considered by Mr. Astor. He believed that, for favors 
conferred, a sense of gratitude might dictate loj-alt}' of service to the patron and friend ; 
that common interest in an undertaking would hold together the parties enlisted. He 
trusted those whose every prejudice had been fostered and educated to hate the success of 
a rival trader ; who coveted for their King and country the territory which Mr. Astor had 
selected for his fields. The act of Mackay and MacDougal, which revealed to the British 
Minister Mr. Astor's purposes and offers before they had subscribed the articles, proves 
them to have been more loyally British than true to the Pacific Fur Companj^ or honest to 
Mr. Astor. The breaking up of the post of Shahaptan by Mr. Mackenzie on the first 
tidings of war between the two countries exhibits the true animus of Mackenzie to disavow 
connection with Mr. Astor the moment his exalted idea of being a British subject demanded 
its assertion. The premature resolve of MacDougal and Mackenzie in Januar}-, 1813, to 
dissolve the Pacific Fur Company, to abandon their trusts and leave the country, was 
dictated by treachery to Mr. Astor, loyalty to his enemies, or to cowardice. Their 
continued and persistent purpose to carry out this intention demoralized the other 
partners and destroj-ed the business committed to their charge. Thus far perhaps their 
conduct finds extenuation in admitting that it was but the natural response to their 
national prejudices; nor should Mr. Astor censure for doing what love of country or 
allegiance prompted. 


It might be claimed that their fear was well grounded ; that the territory and the 
establishment were to fall into the hands of the British expedition en roiife to capture Astoria; 
and that, by those acts, something could be saved to Mr. Astor. But MacDougal's conduct 
from this point was in studied and consistent obedience to the interest of the North West 
Company. Not satisfied with deserting Mr. Astor's service, he transferred to the rival 
company every vestige of the labors of Mr. Astor, banishing from the territory, and from 
existence, the Pacific Fur Company. He then was admitted as a full partner of the North 
West Company on the da}- that Captain Black of the British navy raised the British flag 
over Fort Astoria, and attempted to efface the memory of the origin of the settlement by 
giving it the new name of Fort George. This fact he concealed from his late partners, 
continuing to represent Mr. Astor, though partner of the North West Company in charge 
of Fort George, until Mr. Hunt's arrival, on the 28th of February, 1S14. The Pacific Fur 
Company's weakness was in the fact, that it was organized as a commercial operation, nay, 
more ; — it incorporated diffuse and hostile national elements. Had it been exclusively 
American, the North West Company might have supplanted it by open hostilit}' ; it could 
not have destroyed it by demoralization of its agents. Astor had not reall}' aimed to 
Americanize the North Pacific, nor the territory in which he operated. The North West 
Compan}- pursued the reverse polic}'. It sought to appropriate territory, to strengthen 
and expand the British Empire, looking to that nation to build it up, to afford it protection. 
It aimed to defeat the United States or any of its citizens in acquiring territorial rights on 
the northwest coast. As said by Alexander Mackenzie, it aimed to expel American 
adventurers from prosecuting the fur trade west of the Rocky Mountains. 

Great Britain never swerved from the polic}^ of encouraging these colonizing acts of 
her mammoth companies b}- the prestige of recognition. She espoused every difficulty 
which resulted from the acts of her subjects in appropriating territory. The United 
States hesitated, until by the blockade of her Atlantic ports she was furnished an excuse 
for allowing the project of John Jacob Astor to become abortive. National recognition 
would have offset British demoralizing influence ; the mouth of the Columbia might not 
have fallen into the hands of the eneni}'. Had the Pacific Fur Company been a genuine 
American movement, Astoria might have been captured by the British during the war of 
181 2 ; it would not have been insidiousl}^ circumvented and destro3'ed by the perfidy and 
ingratitude of trusted agents. 

Pursuant to the first article of the treaty of peace between the United States and 
Great Britain (the Treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814), providing " that all territory, 
places and possessions whatsoever taken by either party from the other, during or after 
the war, should be restored, the United States, in September, 1S17, dispatched to the 
mouth of the Columbia river the sloop-of-war 0)iiario, Captain James Biddle, U. S. navy, 
with whom was associated J. B. Prevost as commissioner, " to assert the claim of the 
United States to the sovereignty of the adjacent country, and especially to reoccup}' 
Astoria or Fort George." The British government transmitted orders to the agent of the 
North West Company to deliver said fort or post " as one of the places captured during 
the war." Captain Biddle entered the river in August, 1818, and on the 19th raised the 
flag of the United States over Astoria, restoring to it that name. U. S. Commissioner 
J. B. Prevost had been detained in Chile, arriving in the British frigate Blossom, Captain 
Hickey, R. N. James Keith, partner of the North West Company, was in charge. The 
formal surrender by Captain Hickey, on the part of the Crown, and by Mr. Keith, on 
behalf of the North W^est Company, is dated October 6, 18 18. The fort had been 


considerably enlarged. It consisted of a stockade 250 by 150 feet, within which were a 
number of dwelling-houses, stores, workshops and other buildings. The defenses were 
two eighteen-pounders, four four-pounders, two six coehorns and several swivels, — all 
mounted. Twenty-three Whites, twenty-six Kanakas, twenty Canadian half-breeds and a 
number of women and children resided and were emplo3'ed within the inclosures. 

Though Mr. Astor urged the United States government to repossess Astoria, and 
intended to resume operations in the territory, the Pacific Fur Company was never 
resuscitated. Neither did Mr. Astor ever reoccupy Astoria or engage in the fur trade 
within the territory. The North West Company continued its trade with the Indians 
under the provisions of the treaty of October 20, 1818, between Great Britain and the 
United States, usually called the Joint-Occupancy Treaty. Its third article provides: 

"That any country which may be claimed by either party on the northwest coast of 
America, westward of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its harbors, bays and 
creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and open, for the term of 
ten years from the date of the signature of the present convention, to the vessels, citizens 
and subjects of the two powers; it being well understood that this agreement is not to be 
construed to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two high contracting parties 
may have to au}' part of the said country ; nor shall it be taken to effect the claims of any 
other power or state to any part of said country ; the only object of the high contracting 
parties in that respect being to prevent disputes and differences amongst themselves." 




Chapter XII. 


The North West Company Exclusive Occupants of the Territory West of the Rocky 
Mountains — Antecedent History and Policy of Said Company — Kivalry and 
Open Hostility Between the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies — 
Adjustment of the Differences by a Partnership in Fiu* Trade Prosecuted Under 
Charter of Hudson's Bay Company — License of Exclusive Ti'ade Extending to 
the Pacific Ocean Granted by the British Government — The Hiulson's Bay 
Company Succeed to All Rights Under Said License — The North West Company 
Merged Into the Hudson's Bay Company. 

■''T^HE disastrous and disgraceful termination of Astor's enterprise in October, 1S13, left 
J. the Northwest Company in exclusive occupancy of the Columbia. Their posts 
extended through the basins of the Columbia and New Caledonia. With the exceptions of 
the establishments of the Russians upon the extreme northwest, and one or two trading 
posts of the American Fur Company in the extreme southeast, the North West Company 
enjoyed sole possession, and were without competition in the Indian and fur trade, in the 
territory west of the Rocky Mountains. This state of affairs continued without change 
for several years. The Joint-Occupancy Treaty of October 20, 1818, between the United 
States and Great Britain, conferred upon the company as British subjects full sanction to 
prosecute their trade in the territory. 

For a period the North West Company wielded a powerful influence in British 
America. Its operations reached far and wide into the unexplored, unoccupied interior of 
the continent. It respected no right of territor}? ; it sent out its parties wherever profit 
remunerated its labors. The inland vo3^ages of discovery of Sir Alexander Mackenzie 
were made in its interest. In 1804, advised of the proposed expedition of Lewis and 
Clark, it attempted to forestall that great project of Jefferson to acquire knowledge of the 
interior and great west, by sending Daniel W. Harmon in charge of a party, with 
instructions to reach the mouth of the Columbia in advance of the United States 
expedition. Owing to his health, that effort at circumvention proved abortive. Mr. 
Laroque, another partner, started the next year (1805) to establish posts and occupy the 
terrritory upon the Columbia and its tributaries. The Mandan country was the western 
terminus of his expedition. 

In 1806, Simon Fraser, another partner, successfully led a party across the Rocky 
Mountains, and established a post on Eraser's Lake, fifty-four degrees north. The country 
west of the Rocky Mountains north of fifty-two degrees north latitude was thereafter 
called New Caledonia by the North West Company ; and in it several of their trading-posts 
had soon after been established. In every instance the territory had been taken in the 
name of the British Crown, for the North West Company. Identified with the region for 
years the company controlled its native population, and absorbed the wealth of the 

( 89) 


country. The territory in fact was its domain. Its establishments and possessions 
constituting those material acts upon which Great Britain relied to support her territorial 
claim, it becomes interesting to learn the antecedents, the origin, the policy, the history 
of the North West Company, — how far it molded the history of the region. 

Although organized in 17S4, the North West Company did not attain to its imperial 
influence and prestige until early in the present century. In 1805 it had become the 
successful rival of the Hudson's Bay Compau}^ for the fur trade of the interior and the 
northern part of the continent of North America. It not only prosecuted «the trade, but 
aggressivel}' denied the vast territorial claims of the Hudson's Ba}^ Compan}' ; it insisted 
that that companj-'s grant should be strictly construed and restricted to the Hudson's Bay 
Territory as defined in its charter. For upwards of a century before the North West 
Company had an existence, the Hudson's Bay Compau}-, to a very great extent, had 
enjoj'ed the fur trade of the interior and northern part of North America. The policy and 
organization of those two model trading companies were radically dissimilar. The internal 
regulation, system of trade and establishments were widely different. The ultimate 
purpose was the same ; its accomplishment was by methods that were diametrically 

The Hudson's Bay Company had been granted by the Crown vast territories, under 
which they made settlements, occupied country and pi-osecuted trade. The North West 
Company was a joint-stock association, a partnership of enterprising traders who waited 
for no royal charter, but pursued their business in the unoccupied wilderness. To them 
possession was sufficient. They cared not for territory ; settlement was no part of their 
mission. The Hudson's Bay Company relied upon its franchise of exclusive trade to 
guarantee it against competition within the territories granted by Charles II. Its 
trading-posts were established sufficiently near to each other to render them accessible to 
the whole Indian population, thus absorbing the entire Indian trade, — sufificientl}^ near for 
assuring co-operation in the event of Indian outbreaks. Thus were the native tribes held 
in check ; and the brigades were furnished convenient halting places in the transportation 
of supplies and trading goods to the remote posts, and the returns from them of furs and 
peltries. At each fort a store well supplied with articles ministered to the v,-ants, or 
gratified the desires, of the natives. The Indians had become dependent upon those posts 
for the necessaries of life ; zealously the}- collected furs to barter for articles which to 
them had become indispensable. That company's entire dependence for furs was upon the 
native hunters. The winter months were occupied by Indians in hunting and trapping ; 
in the summer the}' visited the posts to sell their winter's work. The system of the 
Hudson's Bay Company encouraged the Indians to bring to their posts furs and peltries. 
At stationary posts, the company prosecuted the trade. It neither employed nor sent out 
hunting parties. The furs were brought to them and exchanged at their own fixed tariff 
of prices. As all competitors were excluded from their territor}-, the company enjo3'ed a 
perfect monopol}-. 

The old North West Company (a French association which had ceased to exist when 
the Canadas became British provinces) had become competitors of the Hudson's Baj' 
Company, beyond the recognized area of the Hudson's Bay Territor}-. The boundaries of 
Prince Rupert's Land or the Hudson's Bay Territory had never been definitely determined. 
There had alwa3's been contention in those regions to which the Hudson's Bay Company 
asserted claim, but which other fur traders or companies would not recognize. Upon the 
retirement of the old French company, the fur trade continued to be prosecuted by 


iudividuals, many of whom were prominent merchants of Montreal. These enterprises 
proved powerless against the competition of the Hudson's Bay Company. The North 
West Company of Montreal assimilated those individuals into a joint-stock association. 
Its theory of trade was the reverse of the stationar}' policy of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
From the center of operations, from established posts, the company dispatched at all 
seasons of the year parties in all directions to scour the whole country, to the villages and 
resorts of the natives. At the homes of the hunters, furs and peltries were bought. 
Trading-points or places of rendezvous among the various tribes were established, which 
were visited at regular intervals by traders, to which the natives brought their furs for 
barter. Combined with this was the regular trade at permanent forts. At each of these 
forts a winter-partner superintended the trade of a district, of which the post was the 
center. The Hudson's Bay Company required but few employes compared with the 
North West Company, which in its best days employed several thousands. The clerks or 
traders of the North West Company served as apprentices for a term of seven years, for a 
small salary and clothing. That term completed successfully, the salary was doubled ; 
meritorious service entitled the trader to be eligible for partner. This incentive was 
productive of the best results. Preferment was open to the shrewd and thrifty trader. 
He was stimulated to effort ; successful trading found its sure reward. 

In the Hudson's Bay Company, the compensation of every grade was fixed. 
Promotion was slow, passing through these several grades by length of service. No 
stimulus was offered to invoke extraordinary diligence. Faithful service was exacted, but 
nothing more than in the routine of allotted duty. 

The Hudson's Bay Company had been granted vast regions north of the Canadas, 
called Prince Rupert's I^and, or the Hudson's Bay Territory, so vaguely described that the 
boundary continued an interminable dispute, — first between the French and the English, 
afterwards between the company itself and other fur traders. Beyond the Hudson's Bay 
basin, the North West traders considered the interior of the country an open field. Beyond 
the conceded jurisdiction, or those districts in which the Hudson's Bay Company had 
established trading-posts, the North Westers penetrated the remote northwest, established 
their posts, and prosecuted the fur trade. The Hudson's Bay Company claimed all 
territory westward from Hudson's Bay, southward to the old line of New France, — all of 
British North America except the Canadas. Adverse claims to trading fields necessarily 
engendered constant strife between the rival fur traders. The bitterest competition had 
arisen in what was known as the North West Country, the territory lying west and north 
of Lake Superior. 

In iSii, Lord Selkirk, a wealthy Scotch nobleman, joined the Hudson's Bay Company 
and acquired a majority of its stock. On the 12th of June of that year, he secured from 
that company a grant of the territory upon the Red river of the North, for the purpose of 
establishing agricultural colonies from Scotland. His grant extended from fifty-two 
degrees, thirtj'-one minutes north latitude to the high land dividing the waters of the Red 
river from those flowing into the Missouri and Mississippi, and including a large part of 
the present State of Minnesota. It embraced not only a vast area of the Hudson's Bay 
Territory, but also a large portion of United States territorj^ The Selkirk grant was 
drained by the Red river and its tributaries on the western side, while the basin of the 
Winnipeg, from its extreme source, constituted the eastern portion. The area of those 
two basins, with the intermediate country, was over one hundred thousand square miles. 

The project of establishing agricultural colonies in the Red river country provoked 


bitter hostilities of the North West Company. The introduction of civilization would 
prove the precursor of the destruction of the fur trade. But this scheme occasioned 
greater opposition because it was an attempt to obstruct the channels of the North West 
Company's trade. 

The Selkirk country laid directly across the path between Montreal and the interior, — 
between Fort William and the northern and northwestern posts. Its occupancy was a 
blockade, — an obstruction of the North Western routes to and from Fort William to their 
trading-posts. The intended effect was to cut their communication, interposing a hostile 
territory between their posts and the center of operations. From these very plains the 
North West Company had drawn their supplies of pemmican and provisions for voyages 
from Fort William to the north. Colonization was inimical to the presence of fur-producing 
animals, — was destructive of the business in which they were engaged. The North West 
Company resolved to defeat Lord Selkirk's scheme. They protested to the government 
against the validity of the grant to Selkirk, alleging that it had been corruptly secured, 
and that he received it as a free grant. They denounced the grant of territory as an 
usurpation by the Hudson's Bay Company, who had no territorial rights that could be 
conveyed, claiming that such grant could only emanate from the Crown. They denied 
that said grant was within the Hudson's Bay Territory, and urged that suit be instituted 
to test the validity of the Selkirk deed. But the British government declined to 
interfere; it favored the Selkirk project. In 1S12 and 1813, considerable numbers of 
Highlanders arrived in the Red river country, forming a colony called Assiniboia. The 
Governor (Colonel Miles McDonell) warned off parties of the North West Compan}^ and 
prohibited the killing of any animals within the territory. To these proclamations the 
North Westers paid no respect. Difficulties between the settlers and the emploj-es of the 
company became of constant occurrence. Many settlers abandoned the colony ; some 
were taken back to Canada. In 1S14, Governor McDonell issued a proclamation in which 
he set forth the boundaries of Assiniboia. He prohibited all other persons under penalty 
of seizure and prosecution from carrying out of the defined limits during that year " any 
provisions, either of flesh, dried meat, grain or vegetables." This proclamation, aimed to 
prevent the North West Company from purchasiug supplies, was successfully ignored by 
the North West Company employes. The settlers generally disregarded it. A number 
of farmers abandoned the settlement; it became a dead letter. In 18 15, the colon}' was 
reinforced from Scotland by Lord Selkirk. Open hostilities followed ; posts and forts were 
taken and destroyed. On the 19th of June, 1816, a decisive battle was fought in which 
the forces of the North West Company routed the colonists, twent3'-two of whom were 
killed, among whom was Mr. Semple, the Governor of Assiniboia. This terminated the 
Red river colonization scheme of Thomas, Earl of Selkirk. As a civil magistrate. Lord 
Selkirk seized Mr. McGillivray, the principal partner of the North West Company, in 
charge at Fort William, and all the property. Numerous arrests were made of the North 
Westers who participated in the battle. They were tried in Canada and acquitted. The 
British Cabinet ordered the Governor-General of Canada " to require the restitution of all 
captured posts, buildings and trading stations, with the propert}' they contained, to the 
proper owners, and the removal of any blockade or any interruption to the free passage of 
all traders and British subjects, with their merchandise, furs, provisions and effects 
throughout the lakes, rivers, roads and every route of communication used for the purpose 
of the fur trade in the interior of North America, and the full and free permission for all 
persons to pursue their usual and accustomed trade without hindrance or molestation." 





The competition between the two fur companies continued. The Governor-General 
of Canada appointed a commissioner to make investigation, who recommended, as the only 
means of restoring peace, the union of the two companies in the prosecution of the fur 
trade. Nothing resulted from that investigation ; the competition was more embittered 
and ruinous than ever. Both companies were reduced to the verge of insolvency. At this 
juncture, in the winter of 1819-20, Lord Bathurst, British Secretary of State for the 
colonies, interposed to promote a union of the two companies. His mediation was finally 
successful. On the 20th of March, 182 1, an agreement was entered into by which both 
companies were to carrj' on the fur trade under the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
The leading features of that settlement were that both companies should share equally 
the profits of the trade for the term of twenty-one years, commencing with the outfit of 
182 1. Each company was to furnish an equal amoiint of the capital. The expenses were 
to be paid by and out of the trade. No expense relating to colonization, nor to au}^ 
business separate from the fur trade, could be a charge upon the partnership. Profits 
were divided into one hundred shares, fort}' of which were divided among the chief factors 
and chief traders. If a loss occurred one j'ear ou the forty shares allotted to the factors 
and traders, it was to be made up by the profits of the next year. An inventory and 
general accoiint were to be made out annuall}- on the ist of June; and, if profits were not 
paid to the shareholders in fourteen da3'S, an interest of five per cent was allowed. 

The governor and company were to appoint governors to preside at councils of chief 
factors, who carried into effect all acts authorized by the charter. In the absence of chief 
factors, senior chief traders were called upon to fill the council. Two-thirds constituted a 
majority for decision. It was necessary to have three chief factors, besides the president, 
to form a council. 

The forty shares to be divided among the chief factors and chief traders were 
subdivided into eighty-five shares. To each chief factor was allotted two of these 
subdivided shares ; to each chief trader, one ; the remaining seven were reserved for seven 
years to be divided among old servants in certain proportions. 

Auxiliary to and as a guarantee of the accomplishment of the arrangement, a bill was 
introduced into the British Parliament entitled, " An act for regulating the fur trade and 
establishing a criminal and civil jurisdiction in certain parts of North America." This 
act passed July 2d, and enabled the Crown to issue a license of exclusive trade to this 
partnership, " as well over the country to the east as bej-ond the Rock}' ^Mountains, and 
extending to the Pacific Ocean, saving the rights of the Hudson's Bay Compan3'over this 
territory." That is to say, in the territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company by 
their charter, this license did not operate. The company in the Hudson's Bay Territory 
already enjoyed exclusive privileges ; and this license recognized that territory as a 
province, excepting it as a British province from the operation of this license. 

On the 5th of December, the British government, by virtue of the provisions of the 
Statute of July 2d, granted to the Hudson's Ba}' Company and to William McGillivray, 
Simon McGillivray and Edward Ellice, representing the shareholders of the North West 
Company, a license of exclusive trade for twenty-one years, as against all other British 
subjects, " in all such parts of North America to the northward and westward of the lands 
and territories belonging to the United States or to an}' European government, state or 
power, reserving no rent." The grantees executed a penal bond in the sum of ^5,000, 
conditioned to duly execute civil process in suits where the matter in controversy exceeded 
in value _;^200, all criminal process, and to deliver for trial in Canada all persons charged 


with the commission of crime. In brief, the law required, and they covenanted, that British 
law and judicature should be enforced in the countries the}' occupied. By this operation, 
criminal jurisdiction, and civil jurisdiction in matters over _^ 200, of the courts of Upper 
Canada, were extended to the Pacific Ocean, in all places outside of organized British 
provinces, and not included in "any legally defined civil government of the United States." 
In civil actions involving less than ^200, the matter was cognizable by a Justice of the 
Peace, appointed by the Crown. Every British subject in the territory west of the Rocky 
Mountains was guaranteed the protection of British law. There was no exemption for a 
citizen of the United States from being sent to Upper Canada to be tried for an offense 
in such unorganized American territor}' as this company might enter and conduct its 
trade. Despite the obligations of the treaty of 1818, which had expressly provided that 
neither nation would assert rights of sovereignty against the other, but that all subjects 
and citizens of both nations should be permitted to occupy, yet, in 18 11, the Oregon 
territory was, by an act of the British Parliament and a license issued under it, declared to 
be west and north of the United States, and as such was conferred upon this partnership 
of the two great British fur companies. They were granted the exclusive trade upon the 
consideration that they would convert the territory into a British governed province. This 
fur-trading partnership was assigned a political mission, — to occupy the "territory 
westward of the Stony Mountains," and therein enforce British law. 

In 1824, the Hudson's Bay company acquired to themselves all the rights and 
interests of the shareholders of the late North West Company, and became the sole 
grantees under the license of exclusive trade of December 5, 1S21. The North West 
Company had been absorbed by its rival and enemy. It did not long survive the treacherous 
demoralization and supplanting of the Pacific Fur Company. The northwest coast of 
America, between California and the Russian settlements, had become to be known quite 
generally as Oregon. In 1824, the Hudson's Bay Company, by its license for a term of 
years, enjoyed exclusively the Indian trade of that region ; practically, it was the sole 
occupant of the territory. 

Chapter XIII. 


The Hudson's Bay Company the Exchisive Occupants of Oregon — Charter of the 
Company — License of Trade — Internal Organization — Employees and Their 

THE Hudson's Bay Company having acquired sole ownership of the license of trade 
issued December 5, 1821, succeeded to the Indian trade west of the Rocky Mountains. 
The numerous forts and trading stations scattered throughout the territory enabled the 
company to exercise absolute dominion. Its power was recognized from forty-two degrees 
north latitude to the south line of the Russian possessions. This state of affairs continued 
for almost a quarter of a century, during which Oregon was an Indian trading district of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, — its history merely a chronicle of the Indian and fur trade. 

The Hudson's Bay Company was present in Oregon by virtue of its license for a term 
of years to prosecute the Indian trade in those parts of North America not included in 
their chartered territory. Their charter not only conferred corporate existence ; — it was 
an immense grant of territory by the King of Great Britain. But that grant did not 
extend to territory west of the Rocky Mountains. Under the Joint-Occupancy Treaty of 
18 18, as British subjects, this corporation extended its operations into Oregon. By the 
license of trade, all other British subjects had been excluded. In 1S24, by operation of 
the act of Parliament of July 2, 1S21, and the assigned exclusive license of trade on 
December 5, 1821, the Hudson's Bay Company was the only British subject permitted to 
trade with the Indians west of the Rocky Mountains. 

The charter of May 2, 1670, by Charles II., constituted Prince Rupert and his associates 
and successors a body corporate, under the name of " The Governor and Company of 
Adventurers of England, trading into Hudson's Bay." In 1690, the charter was ratified 
by the British Parliament. It granted the sole trade and commerce of all seas, straits, 
bays, rivers, lakes, creeks and sounds, within the entrance of Hudson's Straits, together 
with all lands and territories upon its coasts not now actually possessed by any 
subject, or by subjects of any Christian prince or state, with the fishing of all sorts of 
fish, the royalty of the sea, all mines royal ; and that the said lands be henceforth known 
as one of our colonies in America, called " Rupert's Land." 

The company was constituted " The true and absolute lords and proprietors of the 
territories, limits and places, saving always the faith, allegiance and sovereign dominion 
due to us (the Crown), our heirs and successors, for the same, to hold as tenants in free 
and common soccage, and not by knight's service, reserving, as a yearly rent, two elks 
and two black beavers." 

All visits by other persons were strictly prohibited under penaltj^ of forfeiture of 
their goods and merchandise, with the ships in which they were laden, one-half of which 
forfeiture vested in the Crown, the other half in the company. The offender was also 

( 95 ) 


liable to severe punishment, and compelled to give bonds of one thousand pounds not to 
trade or again enter into the company's territory. The King covenanted that no grant nor 
license should ever be issued to any other persons ; but the company might grant licenses 
of trade within their territories to whom and as they deemed proper. 

The value of a share of stock was one hundred pounds. For every share at each 
meeting (which was called a general court), the holder was entitled to one vote. A holder 
of less than a share could, by adding to other part shares, make up the par value of a 
share or hundred pounds, and thus the aggregated fractions be entitled to a vote. At 
such general courts, by-laws, orders and regulations could be enacted. 

The executive management was intrusted to a governor, deputy-governor and 
executive committee of seven, who were elected at the annual meetings. Such officers 
subscribed an oath and were subject to removal by the general courts for misbehavior or 
malfeasance. Absolute authority was conferred " over all the lands, territories, islands, 
plantations, forts, fortifications, factories or colonies where their trade and factories were 
established, reserving only sovereignty in the Crown. The company had full power to 
appoint and establish governors and all other necessar}' officers, who were clothed with 
jurisdiction to try persons employed in the company's service, according to the laws of 
Great Britain. If the offense occurred at a post where there was no governor nor council 
competent to try the accused for the offense charged, it then became the duty of the chief 
factor to arrest the offender, and send him to an accessible fort where there were a governor 
and council, or to England for trial. 

Power was granted " to send ships of war, men or ammunition to any fort, post or 
place for the defense thereof; to raise military companies, and appoint their officers ; to 
make war or conclude peace with any prince or people (not Christian), in anj^ of their 
territories." The company was empowered " to seize the goods, estate or people of those 
countries for damage to the compan3^'s interest, or for the interruption of trade ; to erect 
and build forts, garrisons, towns, villages ; to establish colonies, and to supply such 
establishments by expeditious fitted out in Great Britain ; to seize all British subjects not 
connected with the compau}', or employed by them, or in such territorj^ by their license, 
and send them to England." 

Over their factors, agents and employes, the power of the company was absolute. 
" Should one of them contemn or disobey an order, he was liable to be punished b}^ the 
president or council, who were authorized to prescribe the manner and measure of 
punishment. The offender had the right to appeal to the company in England, or he 
might be turned over for trial by the courts. For the better discovery of abuses and 
injuries by their servants, the governor and compan\^, and their respective president, chiet 
agent or governor in any of the territories, were authorized to examine upon oath all 
factors, masters, pursers, supercargoes, commanders of castles, forts, fortifications, 
plantations or colonies, or other persons, touching or concerning any matter or thing 
sought to be investigated." 

As though this charter were not sufficiently liberal and extensive in its almost 
unlimited powers, it concludes with the royal mandate to all " admirals, vice-admirals, 
justices, mayors, sheriffs, constables, bailiffs, and all and singular other our officers, 
ministers, liegemen, subjects whatsoever, to aid, favor, help and assist the said governor 
and company to enjoy, as well on land as on the seas, all the premises in said charter 
contained, whensoever required." 





It were difficult to conceive or invent a more ample grant of powers than contained in 
this charter. Endowed with an empire over which the companj' exercised absolute 
dominion, subject only to fealty to the Crown, its membership powerful nobles and citizens 
of wealth residing near and at the court jealously guarding its every interest, and securing 
for it a representation in the government itself, is it to be wondered that this " iniperium 
in imperio " triumphantly asserted and firmly established British supremacy in every 
region in which it operated ? 

On the 6th of June, 1834, the company executed a Deed Poll, " for the purpose of 
ascertaining the rights and prescribing the duties of the chief factors and chief traders, 
and for conducting the trade." Its varied purposes rendered necessary a large number of 
emploj^es. These were classified as chief factors, chief traders, clerks and servants. 

The chief factors superintended the affairs of the company at the trading-posts. The 
chief traders, under the directions of the chief factors, managed the trade with the natives. 
The clerks served under both. Extra allowances of necessaries, free of charge, were made 
to chief factors wintering at inlai*d posts. Personal and private trade with the Indians for 
individual benefit was not tolerated. The failure to annually make strict account was 
severely punished by the council, who possessed the power to reprimand, impose penalties 
or suspend a servant. 

Three chief factors and two chief traders were annually allowed to leave the country 
for one year. Wintering three years in the country entitled a factor or trader to retire 
with full share of profits for one year, and half profits for four years. Wintering five 
years entitled the retiring factor or trader to half-pay for six 3'ears. Three chief factors, 
or two chief factors and two chief traders, were permitted annually to retire according to 
rotation. The legal representatives of a deceased chief factor, who had wintered in the 
country', were entitled to all the benefits deceased would have received had he lived. A 
proportionate allowance was made for a shorter duration of service. After the payment of 
all expenses, sixt}- per cent of all the profits went to the proprietors or shareholders, and 
forty per cent to the chief factors and chief traders in lieu of salaries. The next grade 
below traders were clerks, whose salaries varied from ^20 to ^100 per annum. 

The perfect absolutism of the company's system is found in the enlistment of the 
servants. The pay was £\'] per annum, out of which the servant clothed himself. 
The terms of service, or more properly to speak, enlistment, was (i) five years from the 
date of embarkation. He bound himself by indentures to devote the whole of his labors 
and time to the sole benefit of the company ; to obey all orders of the officers and agents ; 
to defend the company's property ; not to absent himself from service ; not to engage nor 
be concerned in any trade or employment, except for the company's benefit, and under 
their orders. He was faithfully to obey all laws, orders and regulations and at all 
times to maintain and defend the officers and agents to the utmost of his power. He 
further engaged, if required, to enroll as a soldier in offensive or defensive service ; to 
attend drills and military exercises. In consideration of his wife and children being 
furnished by the company with provisions, he obligated that they should render such 
services as hay-making, sheep-shearing, weeding or other light work upon the company's 
farms. If a servant desired to return to Europe at the end of his enlistment, he gave a 
year's notice of his intention before expiration, and entered into obligation to work a 
year longer, or until the next ship should leave for England. If called upon to enroll as 

(I) There was also a class of servants articled in Canada or the Hudson's Bay Territory for the term of three years. They entered service 
at the time of leaving the Hudson's Bay Territory, and were employed as packers, etc.. en route to their respective station west of the Rocky 
Mountains. They vi^ere entitled to be returned to the place of enlistment, and made the return trip in similar capacitj' within the term of 
enlistment. From such, the company at their Oregon posts secured about two and one-half years of service. 


a soldier, he was entitled to be furnished by the company with a uniform suit every two 
years, and be supplied, free of cost, with arms and ammunition. Should he desire to 
remain in the country after the expiration of his term, as a settler, he was allowed 
fifty acres of land, for which he rendered annually, for seven years, twentj^-eight 
days' service. The company retained the right to dismiss the servant during his 
term or at its conclusion; in which event he was carried back in one of their ships 
free of expense. Desertion or neglect of duty was followed by forfeiture and loss of 
wages, without redress. With such pittance is it to be wondered that at the end of 
his term the servant was in debt for advances ? As a consequence, he was obliged to 
continue service to discharge the obligation. Marriage with Indian women was encouraged. 
Attachments were formed ; and, at the end of the enlistment, the servant, surrounded by 
a family to whom he owed support, could not abandon them. Thus precluded from 
gratifying the desire of returning to his native land, he was left the election between 
re-enlistment or acceptance of the grant of land, continuing dependent upon the company 
for the necessaries of life. 

The ingenuity and ability with which every interest of and advantage to the company 
were guarded command admiration. In times of peace, laborers and operatives were ever 
on hand at mere nominal wages ; in times of outbreak, they were at once transformed into 
soldiers, amenable to military usage and discipline. The feudal law did not more absolutely 
bind the vassal to his baron. In a new countr}', where labor was impossible to be secured 
or necessarily high, the company had the benefit of servants upon terms and wages which 
successfully defeated competition. Should a servant leave its sen-ice and settle upon 
company lands, for years afterwards the compan}' continued its control. His payment 
was made in goods which he must accept at the company's tariff of rates. Thus this 
self-supporting and self-sustaining institution retained its vast numbers of employes, 
receiving back for the necessaries of life all the earnings. None did nor could contribute 
to the country, or its advancement. Social progress does not advance from such agency. 
The success of such an institution must of necessity impoverish the region, and retard 
and demoralize the community within its influence. 

Discouraging to industrial advancement b}^ its cheap labor; its inordinate profits 
realized from the muscles and sinews of men ; embarrassing the early American settlers 
in their trading pursuits; the company so managing its business, that no benefit whatever 
could accrue to the bona-fide settlement of Oregon by the presence of its numerous employes 
(for their earnings in the country were at once returned to the coffers of the foreign 
company, to be sent out of the country for distribution among non-resident shareholders) ; 
crushing out every trade or merchant who attempted to establish business ; and to all 
these the encouragement of marriages with Indian women, to alienate the attachment of 
their employes for native land and early kindred, and fasten them in the country. Such 
were the consequences of the presence of such an influence. By those marriages the 
employes had no choice but to remain in the country and continue subject to the 
disposition of the company. Social ties with which an emploj^e was content during a 
stay in a wild, unoccupied region could not be sundered without a breach of honor and of 
duty ; — attachments which carried with them the loss of self-respect, often so strong as to 
reconcile the party to perpetual exile from native country and kindred. 

Every agency which contributed to render a servant dependent on the company, which 
fastened him to the service, was fostered and approved. In its ever}- detail, nothing was 
lost sight of which would promote the company's success, perpetuate its control, 
subordinate its employes to its domination. 

Chapter XIV 

The Hudson's Bay Company Secures a New License of Trade, May 31, 1838 — 

Its System of Trade. 

ON THE 31st of May, 1S38, the Hudson's Bay Company surrendered the license of 
trade of 1S21, and received a renewed license for twenty-one years. The renewed 
license granted "the exclusive privilege of trading with the Indians in all such parts of North 
America, to the northward and westward of the islands and territories belonging to the 
United States of America, as shall not form part of any of our (British) provinces in 
North America, or of any lands or territories belonging to the said United States of 
America, or to any European government, state or power. Without rent for the first four 
years, and afterwards the 3'earl3' rent of five shillings, payable on the first of June." The 
company were to keep an accurate register of their employes, a duplicate of which was to 
be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. Bond was to be given in the sum 
of ^5,000, for insuring, " by their authority over the servants and persons in their 
employ, the due execution of all civil and criminal process by the officers and persons 
legally empowered to execute such process within all territories included in the grant, and 
for the producing or delivering into custody, for the purpose of trial, all persons in their 
employ or acting under their authority within the said territories, who shall be charged 
with any criminal offences." Regulations for carrying on the fur trade with the Indians, 
and the conduct of employes, were to be submitted to the government for approval, bj^ 
which was to be secured " the diminishing and preventing the sale or distribution of 
spirituous liquors to the Indians, and the promotion of their moral and religious 

The license strictly prohibited the company " from claiming or exercising any trade 
with the Indians on the northwest coast of America westward of the Rocky Mountains to 
the prejudice or exclusion of any of the subjects of anj^ foreign state, who, under or by 
force of any convention for the time being between Great Britain and such foreign states, 
may be entitled to and shall be engaged in such trade." 

Under this license, which extends over the whole territorj' west of the Rocky 
Mountains, between forty-two degrees north latitude and the Russian line, the trade 
required the emplo^'ment of a thousand men. The company possessed twenty-two 
permanent establishments, twelve of which were south of the forty-ninth parallel. It 
annually dispatched and maintained two trapping and trading expeditions, emploj^ed a 
steamer (i) (the Beaver) and five sailing vessels, from one hundred to three hundred tons 
register, all well armed and equipped, devoted to coasting and trade upon the Pacific. A 
large ship heavily laden with goods annually arrived to supply the posts. Fort Vancouver, 
the depot of the company, was the destination of those annual voyages. 

(i) The steamer Beaver arrived at Fort Vancouver from Blackwall, England, iu the spring of 1838, She was the pioneer vessel propelled by 
steam upon the Pacific Ocean. She was a side-wheel steamer of 120 tons' register, substantially built of oak at Blackwall. Strength, durability 
and hard service were attained rather than beauty or speed. Her engines were low pressure, built by Bolton and Watts, her paddle wheels small 
and set far forward. She carried a crew of thirtv men, an armament of four six-pounders, and was extensively supplied w-ilh small arras. The 
decks were protected by border netting, to prevent access bv the natives other than by the gangways. More than thirty Indians were never 
allowed on deck at one time unless they were accompanied by their wives and children, .\fter departing from Fort Vancouver that fall, .she never 
again entered the Columbia river, but coasted in norlliem seas, to collect furs, and to supply the northern posts. 

( 99 ) 


The goods were divided into three classes, and a tariff of rates established. The first 
class, consisting of knives and tobacco, were for presents and gratuities to the Indians. 
The second class, or trading goods, included blankets, guns, cloth, powder and ball, etc., 
etc. The third class, termed Indian goods, consisted of shirts, handkerchiefs, paints, 
beads and small articles, with which debts for insignificant services and Indian labor were 
compensated, and for game, fish and berries purchased of Indians. 

The company made advances to the trappers employed. To insure their return, 
parties of twent}- or thirt}' were formed, and their families were allowed to accompany. 
These parties were placed in charge of an officer of the company. The trapping parties 
left for Vancouver in the fall and returned in the following June. 

The inland posts were annually supplied from Fort Vancouver. In the month of 
June, the brigade, as it was termed, left Fort Vancouver by way of Fort Okanagon, 
Colvile and Thompson's river for Fort James, on the south end of Stuart's Lake in 
latitude fifty-four degrees north. After the summer trappers had been fitted out, the 
brigades left Fort James in the spring months, with the year's collection of furs, on its 
return to Fort Vancouver. The route of the brigade was up the Columbia river in boats 
to Okanagon. These boats were especialh' made for and adapted to the service. Thej^ 
were clinker-built, sharp at both ends, about thirt}' feet long and five and a half feet beam, 
made so light that the crews could carr\- them over the portages. Each boat was capable 
of carrying three tons. Sixty packages of ninet}' pounds each, besides the crew, constituted 
the customar}' load. 

Goods for the interior, regardless of bulk, were put up in ninety-pound packs. Ease 
of trans-shipment across the portages, and convenience of packing on horses from 
Okanagon to Thompson's river, were thus afforded. The overland route between the two 
latter posts occupied about twenty days. The crew of each boat consisted of eight oarsmen 
or voyageurs, and one helmsman. The chief the party, generally a chief factor or chief 
trader, allowed but forty packs in his boat. 

The method of accounts was extremel}^ simple. Fort Vancouver was called the 
depot. Each j-ear's supply of goods for trading purposes was called the outfit. The outfit 
year began June ist,and ended on the 31st of May. At the beginning of each outfit year, 
each post or district was charged as follows : ist. With goods remaining on hand on the 
31st of May; 2d. With additional goods forwarded for the trade of the year; 3d. With 
an uniform addition of thirty-three and a third per cent over the prime cost in London ; 
4th. With the amount of wages of servants and clerks emplo3'ed at such post during 
the year. At the close of each outfit year, each post or district was credited as follows : 
I St. With the goods remaining on hand ; 2d. With the value of furs and peltries traded 
during the year, which are called returns, and which were each year estimated enough 
below selling prices in London to pa}- for their shipment thither. Each post, at the close 
of the outfit year, was also credited with goods furnished to any other post, or charged 
with those received. These statements compared would show the profit or loss for the 
year. The details of goods issued from the depot were kept in transfer books " A ; " 
and the details of goods transmitted from post to post were kept in transfer books " B." No 
account of expenses of erecting or repairing forts or buildings was kept, as the labor was 
performed b}- the company's regular enlisted servants, or by Indians who were hired at cheap 
rates for goods or trinkets. The erection of posts was considered as an incident in the 
purchase of furs. 


?<l ;^ 


' k 





At the depot, an account headed " General Charges " exhibited a detail of all presents 
and donations, the value of articles and provisions supplied to or consumed by visitors, 
and all expenses which could not be charged in any particular post or district. The sum 
of those items was annually carried to profit and loss. 

Accuracy and method are apparent everywhere in the system of operations. The 
code of rules embraced the highest authority, as well as the humblest employe. All were 
amenable, and every one was bound to obe}' the most minute details, and subject to the 
strictest accountability. Each man had his dut}' defined, and was liable to the most rigid 
scrutiny. A fixed price was established upon every article of purchase and sale, and to it 
all must and did adhere. 

The company's Indian policy alike commands favorable consideration. How 
profitable the lesson, how worthy of adoption, that system upon which was predicated the 
successful career of the company, in acquiring absolute control and unbounded influence 
over the aborigines of the territories in which it operated. This policy had a two-fold 
object : first, to hold in moral subjection the native tribes, as a matter of self-defense and 
economical management ; and, second, to convert them into dependents and allies. Thus 
did the company draw to itself and retain all the Indian trade, as a matter of preference. 
At the same time it converted the native tribes into auxiliaries, ready to serve the company 
should such service be required. 

The sale or gift of ardent spirits to the Indians was positively prohibited. Their 
successful maintenance of this policy cannot be too highly approved. It would be 
useless to dwell on the bad effects of such traffic with the Indians ; — how much difficulty 
has resulted from its introduction into Indian territory. The company did not permit 
such trade ; their successful control of the native population for so long a period affords 
the best evidence of the wisdom of such policy. With comparatively few to defend their 
posts, oftentimes established in the midst of large bands of Indians, completely isolated and 
unprotected, yet those posts and the employes continued safe. Under Hudson's Bay rule 
there were no Indian outbreaks nor wars, and but little bloodshed. The establishment of 
schools, the effort to educate Indian children, the employment of Indians, the treatment of 
half-breeds, all embraced within their Indian polic}^, contributed to assure the confidence 
and gain the friendship of the native population. 

Their purposes did not require the banishment or seclusion of the Indian. It was 
policy to use and employ him ; to incite his zeal to bring to their posts furs, fish and 
game. The company required little or no land for settlement ; and as a consequence the 
Indian had no occasion to fear that he should be expelled from his hunting or fishing 
grounds, or that the graveyards of his people would be appropriated. By conciliating the 
Indian, the company promoted success in its pursuit of trade, secured peaceable passage 
through the countrj' for their parties, and stimulated the procurement by natives of furs 
and peltries. 

They located their posts among the tribes, employed Indians at such posts, and sent 
others on necessary expeditions. Thus they scattered the native population, and 
prevented the combination of tribes without such motive appearing. This system defeated 
concentration of numbers, and rendered impossible concerted movements by Indians, 
without the company's officers being at once apprised. The Indians had early abandoned 
their weapons after the advent of the traders. They had become dependent upon the 
posts for arms and ammunition. Having learned the comfort of blankets, their use 
became indispensable. Other articles introduced by the Whites had become quite as 


essential, such as fishing hooks, wearing apparel and cooking utensils. On the posts the 
Indians placed their entire reliance for those articles and supplies, the substitution of 
which for their primitive mode of livelihood had become a necessity of Indian life. In 
fact, the trading goods of the company had absolutely become their sole dependence. 

If an Indian displa3-ed violent or threatening conduct, he was promptl}' and severely 
punished. If any depredation was committed, the tribe or party were instantly pursued 
by an armed force, and the wrong-doers demanded. No half-way measures were used. 
Uniformly kind and conciliatory to the well-disposed, punishing with promptness and 
firmness the wrong-doer, the natives were taught that it was their true interest to live on 
terms of friendship with the compau3^ The influence which the company accjuired over 
the Indian population was eradicated with difficulty. Indian suspicion of Americans 
resulted from their educated friendship to the Hudson's Bay Company, continuing for 
many years after the actual withdrawal of the company from the territor}'. 

Missionaries, United States officials in the military, naval or civil service, persons of 
influence and wealth, were treated with marked kindness and courtesy. The hospitality ' 
of the officers in charge of their posts to the early American immigrants entitle the 
company to the lasting gratitude of the early settlers. 

But the American who made an effort to trade with the Indians, to trap, hunt, or do 
anything in which the company engaged, found in the company a rival and competitor. 
In such opposition, the result was generally that the American trader was compelled to 
retire from the field. Whenever an American established a trading-house, post or kindred 
enterprise, immediately the company formed a counter-establishment in the vicinity. 
American vessels were obstructed, nay, defeated, in obtaining cargoes upon the coast. 
Hudson's Bay Company vessels were not allowed to import, from the Sandwich Islands, 
goods and supplies ordered or purchased by American merchants. Without mere}' for a 
rival trader, yet the unfortunate who suffered by land or sea was freely offered shelter 
and food in the various establishments of the company. 

Chapter XV. 


Political Mission of Hudson's Bay Company in Oregon, to Strengthen British Claim 
— Their Establishments — Gradual Abandonment of Posts, and Contraction of 
Operations — The Puget Sound Agricultural Company — Its Objects and Plan 
of Operations. 

BY ITS admirable system of trade and Indian policy, the Hudson's Bay Company 
absorbed the wealth of the region, and acquired dominion over the country and its 
population. It constituted the great agency whereby Great Britain aimed to perpetuate 
its power in Northwest America, and to obtain supremacy in Pacific commerce. One of 
the conditions upon which the license of trade had been granted was that English laws, 
and the jurisdiction of the English courts, should be extended over all parts of North 
America not yet organized into civil or provincial governments. By the treaty of 1818, 
between the United States and Great Britain, it had been provided that neither government 
would do any act to acquire or mature claim, or that an}' act by either, or the citizens or 
subjects of either, could prejudice the claim of the other; but that the citizens of both 
nations should, for the term of ten years, freely enter and trade in the territory without 
molestation. The presence of the company with such a duty imposed by the British 
government to extend fourteen years beyond the time when such Joint-Occupancy Treaty 
should expire by its express terms, exhibits too palpably the anunns of the British 
government to acquire Oregon ; and that Great Britain relied upon her grantees to 
contribute to the defeat of the claim of the United States ; to exalt and perfect British 
right to the territory, by acts of occupancy and settlement. 

In 1837, ^s the time of expiration of the license was approaching, the Hudson's Bay 
Company petitioned for its renewal, with increased privileges. The first license had 
merely conferred the right of exclusive trade. The company now asked for a grant of 
the land for settlement. It was urged that the efficient services of the company in 
excluding American traders from the territory entitled them to favorable consideration. 
The violation of the spirit as well as the letter of the Joint-Occupancy conventions of 
1818 and 1827 was boastfully cited as worth}' of reward. Sir J. H. Pelly, chief officer of 
the company's affairs in England, thus presents the petition : 

" When your lordships come to consider the very hazardous nature of the trade, 
requiring a degree of enterprise almost unknown to any other business, together with the 
heavy losses to which the parties interested therein were subjected for a long series of 
years, from the want of protection and support which they had a right to expect from her 
Majesty's government, I feel sure that your lordships will join me in opinion that the 
profits now arising from the business are no more than a fair return for the capital 
employed, and the services of tlie Hudson's Bay Company rendered the mother country 
in securing to it a branch of commerce which they are at present wresting out of the 

( 103 ) 


hands of the foreigners, subjects of Russia and of the United States of America, but which 
the company would have been unable to prosecute had the}^ not been protected by 
the license of exclusive trade the}' now hold. 

" The company now occup}' the country between the Rocky Mountains and the 
Pacific, by six permanent establishments on the coast, sixteen in the interior country, 
besides several migrator}^ and hunting parties; and they on the coast maintain a marine of 
six armed vessels, one of them a steam vessel. Their principal establishment and depot 
for the trade of the coast and interior is situated ninety miles from the Pacific on the 
northern banks of the Columbia river, and called Vancouver, in honor of that celebrated 
navigator. In the neighborhood they have large pasture and grain farms, affording most 
abundantly every species of agricultural produce, aud maintaining large herds of stock of 
every description; these have been gradually established; and it is the intention of the 
company still further, uot only to augment and increase them, to establish an export trade 
in wool, tallow, hides and other agricultural produce, but to encourage the settlement of 
their retired servants and other emigrants under their protection. The soil, climate and 
other circumstances of the country are as much adapted to agricultural pursuits as any 
other spot in America ; and with care and protection the British dominion may not only 
be preserved in this country, which it has been so much the wish of Russia and America 
to occupy to the exclusion of British subjects, but British interest and British influence 
may be maintained as paramount iu this interesting part of the coast of the Pacific. " 

* * :i: :i: ^J * -i* 

" Your lordships will perceive that much has already been done by the Hudson's Bay 
Company, resulting from the privileges they enjoy; but that much more, involving great 
outlay of money and heavy responsibility, will soon be required to be done, in order to 
complete the operations they have in hand, and to give effect to the measures they have 
in contemplation, which may hereafter become important to Great Britain in a national 
point of view; and that, without the extension of the term of license the company now 
hold, they could not feel justified, with a due regard to the interests of the numerous 
parties connected with the business, in following up several of the extensive and expensive 
arrangements before mentioned, which are now in progress." 

Sir George Simpson, governor of the companj^'s affairs in America, adds his testimony: 

" Previous to 1S21, the business of the Columbia department was very limited; but it 
has since been greatly extended at much expense, and, I am sorry to state, at a 
considerable sacrifice of life among the company's ofiicers and servants, owing to the fierce, 
treacherous and blood-thirsty character of the population and the dangers of the 
navigation. It now comprehends twenty-two trading establishments, besides several 
migrator}^, hunting and trading expeditions, and six armed vessels on the northwest coast. 
The fur trade is the principal branch of business at present in the country situated 
between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. 

" On the banks of the Columbia river, however, where the soil and climate are 
favorable to cultivation, we are directing our attention to agriculture on a large scale; and 
there is every prospect that we shall soon be able to establish important branches of export 
trade from thence in the articles of wool; tallow, hides, tobacco, and grain of various kinds. 

" The country situated between the northern bank of the Columbia river, which 
empties into the Pacific, in latitude forty-six degrees, twent}- minutes, aud the southern 
bank of Fraser river, which empties itself into the Gulf of Georgia, in latitude forty-nine 
degrees, is remarkable for the salubrity of its climate and excellence of its soil, and 





possesses, within the Strait of Juan de Fuca, some of the iinest harbors in the world, being 
protected from the weight of the Pacific by Vancouver's and other islands. To the 
southward of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, situated in latitude forty-eight degrees, thirty-seven 
seconds, there is no good harbor nearer than the Bay of San Francisco, in latitude 
thirty-seven degrees, forty-eight seconds, as the broad, shifting bar off the mouth of the 
Columbia, and the tortuous channel through it, renders the entrance of the river very 
dangerous to navigation even to vessels of ver}^ small draught of water. 

" The possession of that country to Great Britain may become an object of very great 
importance; and we are strengthening that claim to it (independent of the claims of prior 
discover}' and occupation for the purpose of Indian trade) by forming the nucleus of a 
colony through the establishment of farms, and the settlement of some of our retired 
officers and servants as agriculturists." 

In the protracted controversy between the United States and Great Britain, the vast 
importance of the company's interests which had grown up in Oregon by their presence 
for a quarter of a century, fostered and encouraged by the British government, as the 
element whereby British claim was to be ripened into British title, occasioned the great 
delay, in fact, was the material cause of difficultly. The British government struggled to 
secure to the company indemnity from any loss which it would be compelled to sustain 
by withdrawal from Oregon, and at the same time transfer to the United States the liability 
to compensate the company for its able services in attempting to defeat the United States' 
territorial claim to Oregon. The British government's championship of the company's 
services well-nigh embroiled the two nations in war. For the sake of peace, the United 
States accepted the terms of the Treaty of Limits of June 15, 1846; — the United States 
surrendered claim to territory spanned by five degrees and forty minutes of latitude, 
between the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Ocean ; yielded all claim to Vancouver Island ; 
shared with Great Britain the navigation of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; consented to 
respecting such possessory rights as the Hudson's Bay Company might assert ; bound 
the nation to purchase the farms and lands of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, or 
confirm them to that so-called company ; and granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the 
right of free navigation of the Columbia river, from the forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific 
Ocean. True, the treaty was made to settle differences between two nations; as such it but 
partially fixed the northern boundary of the United States claim to Oregon. Beyond that 
it was a mere transfer by the British government to the United States of the duty to protect 
the interests of the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies in what was 
left of Oregon, south of the forty-ninth parallel. Justice to the Hudson's Ba}' Company 
compels the avowal, that they executed their policy so ably, that the Americanization of 
Oregon had been rendered almost impracticable, the territorial claim of the United 
States almost defeated. 

The extent of that companj^'s operations, and how far it really absorbed the territory, 
will be better understood by an exhibit of its establishments. At the date of the treaty 
(June 15, 1846), there were in Oregon, south of the boundary, nine forts and several 
establishments for trading and farming. In the location of those forts, the conipan3''s 
officers exhibited great judgment and sagacit}'. They had seized and occupied all the 
advantageous positions, embracing within their field of operations almost the entire 
countr}-, well adapted to hold the native tribes in subjection, to assure facilities for the 
concentration of trade, and ready access to every portion of the territory. 


Fort Vancouver (the site of the present city of Vancouver, and the United States 
military depot) was established in 1S24 by Dr. John McLoughlin, manager of the 
Hudson's Bay Company trade on the Pacific coast. The post was inclosed in a stockade, 
two hundred yards by one hundred and sevent3'-five \'ards, defended by bastions at the 
southeast and northwest angles, on which bastions were mounted heavy guns. In the 
inclosure were the residence of the chief executive officer, two buildings occupied by 
clerks, a row of buildings for residences of families, five large two-story houses, with a 
number of offices. The original site stood upon high ground a half a mile back from 
the river. Outside was a huge warehouse, and a salmon house on the banks of the 
Columbia river. Near the fort was a village of cabins affording dwellings to numerous 
Kanakas, Canadians and servants of the company. A grist-mill was erected in 1836, and 
the company also established a saw-mill, which was prevented from running at high 
stages of water. Several tracts of laud were occupied and cultivated b}' servants. 

Fort Vancouver was the headquarters of the Columbia district, which included all 
the territory west of the Rocky IMountains. The returns from all the posts in Oregon 
were made to this point ; and from here all accounts were transmitted for settlement. 
The chief factors were located at this post, and a very large business was transacted. 

Fort Colvile^ next in importance to Fort Vancouver, located on the east bank of the 
Columbia river, south of Clark's Fork, latitude forty-eight degrees, thirty-nine minutes 
north, was established in 1825. The stockade was about seventy yards square, within 
which were the residence of the chief factor, four storehouses, several small cabins, a 
cattle yard, hay sheds, a number of huts occupied by servants, and three buildings used 
for warehouses. There was a cattle coral nine miles distant, on the Schlowskan river, and 
a grist-mill three miles from the fort, on the same stream. An extensive farm in the 
vicinity raised a sufficienc}- of wheat to supply the northern inland posts with flour. At 
one time a chief factor was assigned to its management. Here were concentrated the furs 
and peltries previous to transmission to Canada ; and from this point the inland northern 
forts were supplied. Shortlj- after the treat}', this post ceased to be of importance. 

Fort Okanagon was established by Mr. Astor's company in iSii, and passed into the 
hands of the North West Company in the transfer by the Pacific Fur Company. It came 
into the possession of the Hudson's Bay Company by assignment of the North West 
Company. It possessed many advantages of position, and afforded a stopping-place for 
the annual brigades on their passage to and from Fort Vancouver. 

Fort Kootenais^ upon IMcGillivra3''s river, southeast of Flatbow Lake, was a small 
post, in charge of a Canadian, who acted as trader, with but two or three men under him. 
This establishment never was of much importance, except in the scheme of the occupanc}' 
of the country. To the southeast was a trading-post among the Flathead Indians, not of 
sufficient extent or importance to be classed as a fort. 

Fort Walla Walla ^ on the Columbia river, near its junction with the Walla Walla, 
was originally called Fort Nez Perce. It was established in 1S18 b}- Peter Skeen Ogden, 
then a North West trader. He was attacked b}- Indians of the Walla Walla tribe, on the 
ground where the old fort stands, and obliged to retreat to the island near the fort, where 
he made a successful defense and completely repulsed the savages. As a trading-post, it 
was entitled to but little consideration. It was important, however, as a stopping-place 
for trains, and for keeping the Indians in check. It consisted of an inclosure of pickets 
some two hundred feet square, witli a platform inside, from which the pickets could be 
overlooked. At the northeast and southwest corners were bastions. The buildings, four 


in number, were built of logs and mud, one story liigli, used as residences of employes. 
Up the Walla Walla river twenty miles were a farm and dair}', where some twenty acres 
were cultivated. A dam had been erected, but it had disappeared early after the treat3^ 
The country some little distance back was appropriated for grazing, but immediately 
adjacent to the fort was a complete desert of drifting sand, on which nothing appeared to 
vegetate except wild sage. 

Fort Hall^ established by Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth of Boston, in 1834 (who was 
forced to abandon it and sell out to the company), was located at the head of Snake river. 
It was built of clay, with a large sally-post fronting the Port Neuf, with walls extending 
towards the banks of Snake river. A block-house is at one of the angles ; and the 
buildings within the inclosure are against the side walls. A main building was occupied 
by the officers in chargfe ; and several cabins furnished residences for employes. It 
derived its great importance from being on the great emigrant trail ; and, by its proximity 
to Great Salt Lake, it was rendered valuable as a trading point. 

Fort Boise, established by the compan}^ to compete with Fort Hall, is located on the 
east bank of Snake river, near the mouth of the Owyhee. The entrance fronts on Snake 
river; and block-houses were placed at the corners for purposes of defense. The walls 
were of clay, as also the one-stor}' buildings used as residences and storerooms within 
the inclosure. After Wyeth's abandonment of the couutr}-, it possessed no importance 
except as a stopping-place. 

Fort Umpqua, on the south bank of the river of that name, was established in 1832 by 
John McLeod, a chief trader, and Michael de Framboise. It was the principal post south 
of the Columbia, and was located about forty miles from the Pacific Ocean, three miles 
below the mouth of Elk river, on a plain comprising upwards of two hundred acres of land, 
of which forty were under cultivation. Its trade was principally with the coast Indians, in 
beaver and seal furs. The buildings were log huts, four in number, inclosed within 
pickets twelve feet high, with bastions at two of the angles. The Indians in the vicinity 
were very troublesome, and on more than one occasion attacked it. In 1839, this fort was 
besieged for a number of hours ; but, after several Indians had been severely wounded, they 
retreated. It was in charge of a Frenchman, who, with some friendly Indians, successfully 
resisted the attack. The post was of little importance, being a mere trading station. 

The other possessions of the company, occupied or claimed at the time of the treaty, 
were a house and granary at Champoeg, on the Willamette river, an acre of ground below 
the falls of the Willamette, six hundred and forty acres of land on Sauvies Island, with a 
house, dairy and farm. This was the Wapato Island of Lewis and Clark, and was 
occupied by Captain Wyeth of Boston, in 1834-5, as a fishing and trading station. He 
sold to the compau}', when unable to succeed against their competition. A granary and 
five acres of land were occupied near the mouth of the Cowlitz river, a tract of land upon 
Cape Disappointment (i), and a small establishment near Chinook. 

Fort Nisqually, the only post in the Puget Sound region, was established in 1833 by 
Lieutenant Kittson, of the voltigeurs, then acting as a clerk in the company's service. 
There was a large warehouse on the banks of the Sound, near the mouth of the 

(1) Cape Disappointment, at the month of the Columbia river, was taken as a claim by an American named Wheeler. Peter S. Ogden, Esq., 
chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, under instructions from England, obtaine'd possession by buying out Wheeler, and himself in 
February, 1S48, entered the claim under the land laws of the Oregon Provisional government. The instructions were issued from England just 
subsequent to the abrupt termination (August 30, 18451 of negotiations on the Oregon boundary between Sir R Pakeuham and Mr. Buchanan, the 
United States Secretary of State. The taking of this claim was for no other purpose than military occupancy of the mouth of the Columbia river. 
It had no value as a trading point. There were but few Indians in its vicinity ; and the stations of Fort George (Astoria) and the Chinook were 
both near at hand. Nor could it ever be claimed, even if the license of trade permitted such charter of establishment, that it had any utility for 
agricultural purposes. Yet the Hudson's Bay Company, having seized this point for aggressive hostility to the United Slates, claimed the sum 
of $14,600, for the occupancy of little over lour months, without improvements, except merely enough to indicate possession. 


Sisqualicliew creek, erected in 1840. The fort stood upon the table land about three- 
quarters of a mile from the Sound, ou the south side of the creek. Outside of the inclosure, 
the creek is dammed and admirably adapted for the washing of sheep. The post consisted 
of a number of buildings within a stockade, with bastions at two of its angles. 
Outbuildings were erected near, a barn, blacksmith shop and cabins, used by the servants 
for residences. 

This post derives its importance from commanding the tracts in the viciuit}-, w'hich 
constituted the largest portion of the lands and farms of the Puget Sound Agricultural 

Before referring to the establishments in the name of the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Compan}', it is proper to notice that compau}' and its formation. A prospectus signed by 
Wm. F. Tolmie, Forbes Barclaj- and Geo. B. Roberts exhibits the intention of the proposers, 
the plan upon which it was to be formed, its objects and purposes. The preamble recites 
that the soil and climate of the country ou the Columbia river, particularly the district 
situated between the headwaters of the Cowlitz river and Puget Sound, is considered 
highly favorable for raising flocks and herds, with a view of producing wool, hides and 
tallow, and the cultivation of agricultural produce. The association was to be under the 
protection and auspices of the Hudson's Ba}' Compau}-. Its operations were to be 
confined to the country west of the Rocky Mountains. The capital stock of the company, 
_;^20o,ooo, was divided into 2,000 shares. During the pendenc\- of negotiations as to the 
title of Oregon, the management of the business was to be conducted solely b}- agents 
resident in England ; and John Henry Pelly, Andrew Colvile and George Simpson were 
named. The first general meeting of stockholders was to be held in London, December, 
1840, and within said month in every ^-ear afterwards on fourteen days' notice, published 
in two newspapers printed in London or Middlesex count}'. The Puget Sound Compan}- 
were to purchase, of the Hudson's Bay Company, their stock of sheep, cattle, horses and 
implements of husbandry. The three agents in London selected managing agents in 
the district, and fixed their salaries ; but any agent so appointed was placed under the 
superintendence of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Comjiany managing the fur trade in 
the district. The London agents were to execute a bond to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
conditioned that neither the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, nor any person in their 
employ, nor by them taken into the district, should directly or indirectly trade in furs and 
peltries wliile in the employ or under agreement with the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Company, and in making such agreement with employes, that the employe should observe 
the above conditions. The agents were to retain authority to dismiss snch employe, and 
remove him out of the district, to the point where his services were engaged ; and that all 
such employes were subject to the conditions, restrictions and regulations of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

Whenever the Crown of Great Britain became possessed of the sovereignty of any 
part of said district, application was then to be made for an act of incorporation. In 
the meantime, a deed of settlement was to be executed by the London agents, properly 
defining the duties of officers and agents, and for the successful carrying on of the business 
of the company. 

The Puget Sound Agricultural Company was a mere copartnership on the joint-stock 
principle, consisting of parties interested in the Hudson's Bay Company. Its purpose 
was to seize and occupy lands for agricultural purposes, intending to obtain a grant, in the 
event of Great Britain obtaining sovereignty of the Oregon country. As the Hudson's 


Bay Company could not lawfully acquire lands, it was an artifice to evade such disability. 
Great Britain never did acquire title to the lands recited in the preamble ; and the Puget 
Sound Agricultural Company, as a consequence, failed ever to acquire a legal existence, 
enabling it to own lands and alienate them. Their title was but a mere occupancy, 
terminating on the dissolution of the partnership by the withdrawal or death of an}' of 
the copartners or shareholders. The treat}-, by the language it uses, may recognize title. 
Surely it never conferred it. But, as the United States has since purchased the claims, 
further comment is useless. 

We pause to consider, nay, to admire, the vast influence which that remarkable 
organization wielded in international affairs, carr3-ing the two great empires of the world 
to the verge of war ; a war which must have proved destructive to the best interests of 
civilization and humanity. It had the power to force its recognition as one of the 
conditions of peace ; to exact that " the farms, lands and other property of ever}' 
description belonging to the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, on the north side of the 
Columbia river, shall be confirmed to the said company. In case, however, the situation 
of those lands and farms should be considered by the United States to be of public and 
political importance, and the United States government should signify a desire to obtain 
possession of the whole, or any part thereof, the property so required shall be transferred 
to the government, at a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between the parties." 

The language made use of recognizes the fee to be in the company, subject only 
to the reserved right by the United States to purchase the land at the price agreed upon 
between the parties, when si:ch property of the company may be deemed as useful for 
public and political objects. 

Of the two thousand shares, six hundred and forty were never sold ; and the holders 
paid but ten per centum upon the stock. While California was a Mexican province, on 
consent of the government of Mexico, the company imported five thousand sheep from 
California, three thousand of which were brought to Oregon overland, and two thousand 
by sea. The sheep stocked the Nisqually and Cowlitz farms. 

Under the treaty of 1S46, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, so called, asserted 
claim to the following tracts of land : 

" First. The tract of land at Nisqually, extending along the shores of Puget Sound 
from the Nisqually river, on the one side, to the Puyallup on the other, and back to the 
Cascade Range of mountains, containing not less than two hundred and sixty-one square 
miles, or one hundred and sixty-seven thousand and forty acres ; of which said tract of 
land a portion is improved and under cultivation for farming and agriculture ; and the 
remaining portion thereof was occupied and used by the company for grazing and pasturage 
of their cattle, horses and sheep, and for cutting wood and timber thereon, and for other 
purposes connected with their business ; together with Fort Nisquall}', bastions, houses, 
stores, barns, shops and outbuildings, with the fencing and inclosures at the main posts 
and establishments, and the houses, barns, outbuildings, fencing and inclosures at other 
points on the said land. 

" Secondly. The farm at Cowlitz river known as the Cowlitz, consisting of three 
thousand five hundred and seventy-two acres, more or less, of which upwards of fifteen 
hundred acres are improved and under cultivation for farming and agricultural purposes ; 
and the remaining portion is used for cattle and sheep ranges and pasturage, and for other 


purposes connected with the business of said company ; the establishment and buildings 
of the Cowlitz farm, consisting of dwelling-houses, saw-mills, stores, granaries, barns, 
stables, sheds and piggeries, and of a great extent of fencing and inclosures, 

" Thirdly. The company also owned and possessed livestock, consisting of three 
thousand one hundred head of neat cattle, three hundred and fifty horses, and five 
thousand three hundred sheep, of the value of twenty-five thousand pounds sterling, which 
were pastured and fed on the said lands before and at the time of the conclusion of the 
treaty of the 15th of June, 1846." 

The above claims are recited in the language of the memorial of the Puget Sound 
Agricultural Compan}^ to the Joint Commission provided by the Convention between the 
United States and Great Britain of March 3, 1S64, to award compensation for the possessory 
rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the lauds, farms and property of the Puget 
Sound Agricultural Compan3% imder the treaty of June 15, 1S46, known as the Treaty of 
Limits. It fixed a northern boundary of the United States upon the northwest coast. It 
then incorporated provisions whereby the United States obligated itself to purchase south 
of the boundary the very territory the treaty had conceded belonged to the United States. 
No territorial claims were to have been acquired under the Joint-Occupancy Treaties of 
1818 and 1827, by virtue of which the Hudson's Baj' Companj' secured a presence in 
Oregon. And 3'et five millions of dollars were asked by this company, for occupanc}' of 
this territory to the exclusion of citizens of the United States for about a quarter of a 

Chapter XVI. 


American Trading Enterprises in tlie Territory West of tlie Kocliy Mountains — 
Exi)etlition of William H. Ashley — Jackson, Sublette and Smith Form the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company — American Trading Vessels in the Columbia 
Kiver — Wagons Brought to the liocky Mountains — South Pass — Pilcher's 
Expeditions — First Overland Expedition, Captain Wyetli, to Columbia Kiver — 
First School West of the Kocky Mountains — Captain Bonneville's Expedition — 
Captain Wyeth's Second Enterprise — He Establishes Forts Hall and Williams. 

'^"^HE dissolution of the Pacific Fur Company had been followed, in 1814, by the 
X entire withdrawal of American trading vessels from the northwest coast, and also 
of American traders, trappers and hunters from the territory west of the Rocky 
Mountains. The urgent demands of western members secured the passage by Congress 
in April, 1816, of an act regulating the Indian trade. By its provisions, none but citizens 
of the United States were permitted to trade in the Indian country. This enactment 
occasioned the retirement of British traders from the United States teYritory east of 
the Rocky Mountains, and secured to the citizens of the United States the exclusive 
enjoyment of the fur and Indian trade in that immense area drained by the Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers. 

John Jacob Astor had continued at the head of the North American Fur Company, 
whose main field of operations embraced the regions watered by the Upper Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers. American traders had ventured into the northern provinces of 
Mexico, and had established a trade between Santa Fe and St. Louis. In 1822, the 
Columbia Fur Company was projected by members of the North West Company 
dissatisfied with the coalition in 182 1 of the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies. 
It was but short-lived, soon merging itself into the North American Fur Company. 

William H. Ashley, of St. Louis, who had for many years successfully prosecuted 
the fur trade in the Upper Missouri country, determined upon establishing trading-posts 
west of the Rocky Mountains. In the spring of 1823, he left the Missouri frontier with 
a party of mounted men, a large quantity of trading goods and merchandise transported 
by pack-animals. He ascended the Platte river to its source, exploring its northern branch, 
to which he gave the name Sweetwater. He crossed the Rocky Mountains in latitude 
forty-two degrees, twenty minutes north, and summered upon Green river, a branch of 
the Colorado of the West. For many years this continued the rendezvous of the 
American Fur Company. In 1824, he again crossed the Rocky Mountains by the South 
Pass and journeyed to Great Salt Lake. To a neighboring smaller lake to the southeast, 
discovered by Ashley, he gave his name. Having built a fort and established a trading-post 
upon Fort Ashley, he left one hundred men to winter, and returned to St. Louis. Hitherto, 
Ashley had transported his trading goods by pack-animals. In 1826, he fitted out 

( 111 ) 


another expedition to Fort Ashley, accompanied by a six-pounder drawn by mules. Seven 
months were occupied in accomplishing the journey and return of the party to St. Louis. 
The safe transit of the Rocky Mountains with the gun was accepted as the demonstration 
of a feasible wagon road. 

In three years, the collection of furs at Ashley's post realized, at St. Louis, one hundred 
and eight}- thousand dollars. Having amassed a large fortune, Ashley sold out, in 1829, 
to the Rocky Mountain Fur Compan}-, composed of David Jackson, William Sublette 
and Jedediah S. Smith. Captain William Sublette was the leading spirit. Each partner 
had been in charge of annual parties trapping and hunting in, and west of, the Rocky. 
Mountains, returning at the time and to the rendezvous agreed upon before setting out. 
About the time of Ashley's retirement, independent of individual enterprises, several 
small fur-trading companies had been formed. The success of Fort Ashle}- stimulated 
renewed activity ; at least six hundred trappers were employed in the Rocky Mountain 
trade. To such extent was the spirit of competition carried, that a man attached to one 
company risked his life if he disposed of furs to a rival trader or company. The free 
trapper (i) could onl}^ deal for the season with the company who had secured his services, 
and by whom he had been furnished his outfit. 

In addition to the Rocky Mountain and North American Fur Companies, there were 
the St. Louis Company and a number of " lone traders" and "free trappers." Conspicuous 
among these were Robert Campbell, J. O. Pattie, Major Pilcher, Colonel Charles Bent, 
William Bent, Captain John Grant, Milton Sublette and others. Expeditions extended 
into Mexico, Sonora and California, but seldom entered within the recognized fields of 
the Hudson's Bay Company-. St. Louis was the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain 
trade, except the North American Fur Company, whose headquarters were in New York. 
The Rocky Mountain Fur Compau}- had existed since the spring of 1S24. During that 
year Smith, with five trappers, had crossed the Rock}- Mountains and trapped until fall 
on the headwaters of Lewis' Fork or Snake river. They met a part}- of Hudson's Ba}' 
Company trappers returning to Flat Head post, whom they accompanied, and with whom 
they passed the winter, returning to rendezvous in the earl}- spring of 1S25. With a 
party numbering about forty. Smith crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains and established 
a camp on the American Fork of the Sacramento river. He distributed small trapping 
parties on the tributaries of that river, who met with great success. Smith returned with 
several bales of beaver skins. 

The Rocky Mountain Fur Company now resolved to prosecute the trade in the 
countries bordering on the Pacific. In the Snake river country, the number of 
men employed had been increased to between five and six hundred. Encouraged by 
the success of the previous year. Smith, with a larger party, set out for the country west 
of Great Salt Lake. Having gone too far west to feel sure of a safe return over the great 
desert with his reduced stock of provisions and exhausted animals. Smith pushed forward 
to the Pacific. He resolved to go to the Columbia and follow up that river and meet his 
partners in the Snake river country. To obtain horses and necessary supplies with which 
to execute his purpose, he went as far south as San Diego, thoroughly exploring the 
country as he journeyed. The native Californians regarded all strangers with jealousy, 
but those coming from the United States with especial suspicion. Smith was unable to 
purchase horses or supplies until he had procured from General Echandia, the military 

(l) A free trapper is one not indentured to .tn^- company, who hunts u]>ou certain terms of agreement concerning the prices of the furs he 
secures, and the cost of his outfit. 






commandant of the presidio, a passport allowing him to remain in the country, and to 
return to his camp. Several American shipmasters, then trading upon the coast of 
California, certified to his honesty and that his objects were perfectly harmless. That 
singular document reads : 

" We the undersigned, having been requested by Jedediah S. Smith to state our 
opinion regarding his entering the province of California, do not hesitate to say that we 
have no doubt but that he was compelled to, for want of provisions and water, having 
entered far into the beaver country that lies between the latitudes of forty-two degrees and 
forty-three degrees west ; that he found it impossible to return by the route he came, as his 
horses had most of them perished for want of food and water. He was therefore under 
the necessity of pushing forward into California, it being the nearest place where he could 
procure supplies to enable him to return. 

" We further state as our opinions that the account given by him is circumstantially 
correct, and that his sole object was the hunting and trapping of beaver and other furs. 

" We also examined the passports produced by him from the superintendent of Indian 
affairs for the government of the United States of America, and do not hesitate to say that 
we believe them perfectly correct. 

" We also state that, in our opinion, his motives for wishing to pass by a different 
route to the Columbia river, on his return, is solel}^ because he feels convinced that he and 
his companions run great risks of perishing if they return by the route the}- came. 

" In testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 20th day of 
December, 1826. (Signed) William P. Dana, Captain of schooner Waverly ; William H. 
Cunningham, Captain of the ship Courier ; William Henderson, Captain of the brig Olive 
Branch ; James Scott; Thomas Robbins, Mate of the schooner Waverly ; Thomas Shaw, 
Supercargo of ship Couriery 

Smith made several unsuccessful efforts to proceed to the Columbia river. It was 
equall}^ impracticable to return eastward through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He was 
informed by the Christian Indians from the Mission of San Jose that Father Duran, in 
charge, was very desirous of knowing who he was, and the purpose of his party being in 
the country. Smith thus satisfied the curiosity of the missionary: 

^^ Reveretid Father: I understand through the medium of one of 3'our Christian 
Indians, that you are anxious to know who we are, as some of the Indians have been to 
the mission and informed you that there were certain white people in the country. We 
are Americans, on our journey to the Columbia river. We were in the mission San 
Gabriel in January last. I went to San Diego and saw the General, and got a passport 
from him to pass on from that place. I have made several efforts to pass the mountains, 
but the snows being so deep I could not succeed in getting over. I returned to this place, 
it being the only point to kill meat, to wait a few weeks until the snows melt, so that I 
can go on. The Indians here also being friendly, I consider it the most safe point for me 
to remain until such time as I can cross the mountains, with my horses, having lost a 
great many in attempting to cross ten or fifteen days since. I am a long ways from 
home, and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature of the case will admit. Our 
situation is quite unpleasant, being destitute of clothing and most of the necessaries of 
life, wild meat being our principal subsistence. I am. Reverend Father, your strange, but 
real friend and christian brother. 

"May 19, 1827. ^^^^"^^^ J.S.Smith." 


That certificate of Jedediah S. Smith's peaceable intentions towards the province of 
California, and his letter to Father Duran of San Jose mission, are preserved in the 
archives of the State of California as mementoes of the first crossing of the Sierra Nevada 
Mountains by white men, — of the consummation of the first overland trip from the 
Atlantic States to the Bay of San Francisco. 

Smith and his party reached the coast at the mouth of Rogue river, from whence they 
followed the beach, reaching the south bank of the Umpqua, where the Indians stole the 
only axe the party possessed. It was a severe loss, for upon it the party had depended to 
construct rafts to cross the rivers, and to supply fuel. The chief having been taken 
prisoner, the axe was returned. Early next morning Smith, accompanied by two white 
men and an Indian, was ascending the river in a canoe to find a ford to cross the pack 
animals. Having reached the middle of the stream, still in sight of the camp, the Indian 
snatched Smith's gun and jumped into the river. Smith seized his companion's gun, 
shot the Indian dead, and made for the opposite shore. Without provisions, with one 
gun between them, Smith and his companion fled. Contrary to Smith's orders, a large 
number of Indians had been allowed to come into camp. At a concerted signal, each 
man was attacked by five or six savages armed with knives and clubs. Of the nineteen 
constituting the party, fifteen were killed. Of those remaining in camp. Black alone 
survived the massacre. Black had just cleaned his rifle, when three Umpquas closed in 
upon him. He succeeded in freeing himself, fired upon the crowd, and, amid the 
consternation, effected his escape. Concealed in the woods until the Indians had retired, 
he then swam the Umpqua river, and followed up the coast, aided by friendly Indians, till 
he reached Cape Lookout. He then gave himself up to a party of Tillamook Indians, 
who conveyed him in safety to Fort Vancouver, where he arrived August, 1S28. Dr. 
McLoughlin rewarded the Tillamooks for bringing Black to the fort. On hearing Black's 
story, Dr. McLoughlin sent Indian runners with presents to the Willamette chiefs, 
requesting that search be instituted for Smith and his two companions. A liberal reward 
was offered for their safe return ; and the Indians were warned that if these men were 
harmed severe punishment would follow. A party of forty armed men was immediately 
equipped, to go to the Umpqua country'. Just as the party was embarking. Smith and 
the two men arrived at Fort Vancouver. The party was then dispatched with sealed 
instructions to be opened by the officer in charge on arrival at the Umpqua. These 
instructions were : " The Indians were to be invited to bring their furs to trade, as though 
nothing had happened. The furs were then to be counted; and, as the American trappers 
mark all their skins, the stolen skins were to be kept separate, to be returned to Smith. 
The Indians were not to be paid for those, but were to be told that they got them by 
murdering Smith's party." The Indians denied the murder, but admitted that they 
bought the skins from the murderers; the}- were then told to look to the murderers for 
payment. The murderers were requested to restore the propert}- received in exchange for 
the stolen skins. A war followed among the Indians, and the murderers were severely 
punished by their own people. Property of Smith's to the value of $3,200 was restored 
to him, without any ; and himself and the other refugees were treated with the 
greatest kindness. Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Territory, present 
at Fort \'ancouver at the time, offered Smith a free passage to London in the company's 
next returning vessel. The offer was declined; and Smith sold his furs to Dr. McLoughlin. 
With the remnant of his party, he set out, in the spring of 1829, for the Rocky 
Mountains, meeting, at Pierre's Hole, Fitzpatrick, who liad been sent in search. The 


generous hospitality and liberality of Dr. RIcLoughlin to Smith and his unfortunate 
companions dispelled all spirit of competition ; and, at Smith's solicitation, the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Company retired from the hunting and trapping fields of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

In 183 1, Smith, in charge of a trading expedition en route to Santa Fe, was killed on 
the Cimmarron river in an encounter with Comanche Indians. For several years after 
Smith's death, the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, its parties led b}^ Bridger, Fitzpatrick 
and the Sublette brothers, continued the prosecution of the fur trade. Under the auspices 
of this company, the wagon train reached the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. In 
a letter to the Secretary of War, October, 1829, the company reported the successful 
accomplishment of the undertaking, boldly declaring the entire practicability of a good 
wagon road across the Rocky Mountains via South Pass to the great Falls of the 
Columbia. This letter, which accompanied the special message of President Jackson to 
Congress, January 25, 1S31, said: 

"The i8th of April last (1829), we set out from St. Louis, with eighty-one men 
mounted on mules, ten wagons, each drawn by five mules, and two dearborns (light 
carriages or carts), each drawn by one mule. Our route was nearly due west to the 
western limits of the State of Missouri, and thence along the Santa Fe trail, about forty 
miles from which the course was some degrees north of west, across the waters of the 
Kansas, and iip the great Platte river to the Rocky Mountains, and to the head of the 
Wind river, where it issues from the mountains. This took ns until July i6th, and was 
as far as we wished the wagons to go, as the furs to be bought were to be collected at 
this place, which is, or was this year, the great rendezvous of the persons engaged in that 
business. Here the wagons could easily have crossed the Rocky Mountains, it being 
what is called the Southern Pass, had it been desirable for them to do so, which it was not 
for the reason stated." 

The success of the Missouri fur traders soon provoked the competition of the North 
American Fur Company. The latter dispatched trapping and trading parties west of the 
Rocky Mountains, but formed no permanent establishments. Private parties also 
inaugurated individual enterprises without important or permanent results. 

In 1 82 7, Mr. Pilcher left Council Bluffs with forty-five men and one hundred horses, 
crossed the South Pass, and wintered upon Green river. The next spring he proceeded to 
Snake river and followed the western base of the Rocky Mountains as far north as Flat 
Head Lake, where he remained during the winter of 1828-9. The next season he 
descended Clark's Fork of the Columbia to Fort Colvile, and recrossed the Rocky 
Mountains by the northern Columbia route on the Hudson's Bay Company trail to York 

These expeditions of the American fur-trading parties west of the Rocky Mountains 
were confined to the country watered by the Snake river and its tributaries, and the region 
to the southward. Inroad was not made into Oregon; and competition with the Hudson's 
Bay Company was avoided. They were migratory parties without established posts, — 
with temporary depots adopted as rendezvous, where the results of trade were concentrated, 
from which supplies were distributed, and to which the parties at a designated time would 
return. While these American fur-trading operations were being prosecuted in and about 
the western base of the Rocky Mountains, United States vessels were again attempting to 
renew trade in the Columbia river. In February, 182 1, the brig Owyhee of Boston, Captain 
Dominis, entered the Columbia,' followed a month later by the schooner Convoy, Captain 


Thomas, belonging to the same owner. As soon as it was learned at Fort Vancouver that 
two American vessels were trading at the mouth of the river, the sloop Multnomah, laden 
with trading goods, was sent to Fort George (Astoria) to trade. Captain Dominis having 
sailed up the coast, the Convoy went up the Willamette river to Clackamas Rapids, and 
there opened trade with the natives. On the recession of the summer high waters, the 
schooner grounded. The Indians, taking advantage of Captain Thomas' misfortunes, 
became insolent and menaced both vessel and crew. On hearing of the Convofs condition. 
Dr. McLoughlin sent assistance, and compelled the Indians to make restitution of the 
stolen propert)'. After this relief, the Convoy sailed up the coast. The Oivyhee returned 
to the Columbia, where she wintered. The Convoy wintered at the Sandwich Islands. 
She returned in the spring to the Columbia river, where both vessels remained during the 

The visit of the Oicyliee and the Convoy aptly illustrates the polic}- of the Hudson's 
Bay Company to American traders, as also the humanity of Governor John McLoughlin 
to those who met with misfortune, — a broad humanity which never halted to inquire as to 
race, sect or nationalit}'. 

As chief executive officer of the Hudson's Bay Company, intrusted with the entire 
management of its affairs and business west of the Rocky IMountains, he would not 
tolerate the presence of a rival trader within the company's fields of operations without the 
most bitter competition. But, when misfortune overtook an^- fellow being, he was ever 
ready to proffer S3'mpathy, to extend assistance. With the utmost promptness, he 
punished with severity ever}- depredation by Indians upon the white race, English or 
American. The wrong-doer was demanded; if not surrendered, the tribe or band were 
treated as accessories, and received merited punishment. Where thefts were committed, 
restitution must follow. Always justly severe when necessary, the Indians knew what 
they had to expect; and they universally loved Dr. McLoughlin as a man, and respected 
his authorit}' as a chief On March lo, 1S29, the Hudson's Ba^- Company's ship William 
and Ann was wrecked on the north spit, in nearly a direct line between Cape 
Disappointment and Clatsop Point. Such of the crew as escaped by boats were murdered 
by the Indians at Clatsop. Suspicion was aroused that, after the ship had been disabled, 
the Indians had overpowered the crew, and stripped and plundered her. None had 
sur^'ived to tell the tale; and much of her cargo was in possession of the Indians. Dr. 
McLoughlin with a party, armed with a swivel, demanded restitution of the wrecked goods. 
The demand was met by the Indians firing upon the party. L^pon the discharge of the 
swivel the Indians fled, except one, who raised his gun to fire and was shot dead. The 
wrecked property was then peaceably surrendered. The Indians were admonished that they 
could not profit by disasters to vessels, nor murder white men for plunder. The next year 
(May 2, 1830), the ship Isabella, from London, struck on the northeast point of Sandy 
Island. Her officers and crew, demoralized at the fate of the William and Ann, at once 
deserted her, never landing from their boats until thev reached Fort Vancouver. The cargo 
remained undisturbed by the Indians, and was entirely saved by a part}- from Fort George. 

In I S3 1, Captain B. L. E. Bonneville, United States Arm 3-, applied for two years' 
leave of absence " to explore the country to the Rocky Mountains and beyond, with a view 
of ascertaining the nature and character of the several tribes of Indians inhabiting those 
regions ; the trade which might profitably' be carried on with them ; quality of soil, 
productions, minerals, natural historj-, climate, geography, topograph^', as well as geology, 
of the various parts of tlie countr}- within the limits of the territories of the United States 

-«=r^ ,?vW 





between our frontier and the Pacific." On the 3rd da}' of August of that year, 
Major-General Macomb, Commander-in-Chief, United States Army, granted the requested 
leave until October, 1833, instrncting Bonneville that the government would be at no 
expense, but that he must provide suitable instruments and the best maps, especially of 
the interior ; " and that he note particularl}' the number of warriors that ma}- be in each 
tribe of natives that ma}' be met with, their alliances with other tribes, and their relative 
position as to state of peace or war ; and whether friendly or warlike positions towards each 
other are recent or of long standing; their manner of making war, mode of subsisting 
themselves during a state of war and a state of peace ; the arms and the effect of them ; 
whether they act on foot or on horseback ; in short, every information useful to the 

During the ensuing winter, an association was formed in New York from which 
Captain Bonneville received the necessary financial aid. On the ist of May, 1832, the 
Bonneville party, numbering 1 10 men, with twenty wagons, started from Fort Osage, 
carrying a large quantity of trading goods destined for the regions watered by the 
Colorado and Columbia. He remained west of the Rocky Ivlountains over two years. 
The narrative of Bonneville's adventures is among the most fascinating of the works of 
Washington Irving; and upon such notable circumstance the historic claim of this 
expedition mainlv depends. In that narrative, In'ing, in his own inimitable style, has 
chronicled the vicissitudes and novelties of life in the Rocky Mountains, as experienced 
by trappers and adventurers. In language more thrilling and varied than romance, he 
has pictured the trapper's life, its dangers, its exciting pleasures, the bitter rivalry of 
competing traders, the hostility of savages ; in short, a pen picture has been produced by 
a master hand, from which latest posterity can learn what constituted the fur trade and 
how it was prosecuted in the heart of the American continent and in Oregon within the 
first half of the nineteenth century. Bonneville went as far west as Fort Walla Walla. 
His parties penetrated the valleys of the Humboldt, Sacramento" and Colorado. Competed 
with by the Hudson's Bay Company, encountering the most bitter and unceasing rivalry 
of the more experienced Missouri fur traders, Bonneville's venture was pecuniarily a 

In 1S32, Captain Nathaniel J. Wyeth, of Massachusetts, crossed overland to Oregon 
with the purpose of establishing salmon fisheries on the Columbia river, in connection 
with prosecuting the Indian and fur trade. He dispatched a vessel via Cape Horn to the 
Columbia with trading goods. Captain Wyeth and party reached Fort Vancouver October 
29th. It was calculated that such vessel would make the voyage to the Columbia in 
about the same time it occupied his party to prosecute the overland journey. But the 
vessel never reached the Columbia river. She was never heard from after sailing. John 
Ball, a member of Wyeth's party, opened a school at Fort Vancouver in January, 1S33, 
but the attempt proved a failure. On the ist of March following, Solomon H. Smith, 
another of Wyeth's company, accepted from chief factor Dr. McLoughlin an engagement 
to teach school for six months. The teacher was at first discouraged. Instead of an 
English school, he found a great confusion of tongues. Says he (i): "The scholars 
came in talking their respective languages, — Cree, Nez Perce, Chinook, Klickitat, etc., etc. 
I could not understand them, and when I called them to order there was but one who 
understood me. As I had come from a land where discipline was expected in school 
management, I could not persuade myself that I could accomplish anything without order. 

(i) lu a letter to the author. 


I therefore issued ray orders ; and, to my surprise, he who understood joined issue with 
me upon my government in the school. While endeavoring to impress upon him the 
necessity of discipline and order in the school, and through him making such necessity 
appreciated by his associates, Dr. McLoughlin, chief factor, entered. To the doctor I 
explained nn' difficulty. He investigated m^- complaint, found nu' statements correct, 
and at once made such an example of the refractory boy that I never afterwards 
experienced any trouble in governing. I continued in the school over eighteen months, 
during which the scholars learned to speak English. Several could repeat Murray's 
grammar verbatim. Some had gone thro' arithmetic, and upon review copied it entire. 
These copies were afterwards used as school books, there having been only one printed 
copy at Fort Vancouver. The school numbered twent\'-five pupils." 

Captain Wyeth returned overland to Boston in 1833, most of his part}- remaining in 
the country, several making settlements in the Willamette valley. Not disheartened with 
the failure of the first attempt, Captain Wyeth renewed his efforts to establish direct trade 
between Boston and the Columbia river. Having dispatched the brig May Dacre, Captain 
Lambert, laden with trading goods and supplies, to the Columbia via Cape Horn, he 
crossed the continent with two hundred men. In that overland train were Dr. Nuttall and 
John K. Townsend, of Philadelphia, both well known to science, the latter being the author 
of a pleasing narrative of this journey. The pioneer part}' of the Oregon Methodist 
Mission consisted of Revs. Jason and Daniel Lee, and ]\Iessrs. P. L. Edwards and Cyrus 
Shepherd, lay members. Courtney M. Walker, employed by the mission for one year, also 
accompanied. They left Independence, Missouri, April 24, 1S34, and reached the junction 
of Snake and Port Neuf rivers early in July. At this point, Wyeth built a trading-post 
called by him Fort Hall, in which he stored his trading goods. Having fitted out trapping 
parties, he proceeded to Fort Vancouver, reaching that place about the same time that the 
May Dacre arrived in the river. At the lower end of Wapato (now Sauvie's) Island, 
Wyeth established a salmon fishery and trading-house, which he named Fort William. 
The salmon fishery proved unsuccessful. His efforts to trade with the Indians and to 
purchase beaver skins were without profit. Competition of the Hudson's Bay Company, 
constant trouble with the Indians, the loss of several of his men killed by Indians or 
drowned, at length discouraged him. It is stated by competent authority (i), "that the 
island was thickly inhabited by Indians until 1S30, when they were nearly exterminated 
by the congestive chills and fever. There were at the time three villages on the island. 
So fatal were the effects of the disease, that Dr. McLoughlin sent a party to rescue and 
bring away the few that were left, and to burn the village. The Indians attributed the 
introduction of the fever and ague to an American vessel that had visited the river a 3'ear 
or two previousl}'. It is not therefore a matter of surprise to an}- who understand Indian 
character, and their views as to death resulting from such diseases, that Wyeth's attempted 
establishment on Wapato Island was subject to their continued hostility. He was of the 
race to whom they attributed the cause of the destruction of their people ; and his 
employes were but the lawful compensation according to their code for the affliction they 
had suffered." 

A half cargo of salmon having been obtained, the brig sailed in 1835, and never 
returned to Fort William. In 1835, Captain Wyeth broke up that establishment, 
disheartened, and returned to Massachusetts. The remnants of his property in Oregon 
he endeavored to sell in London to the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company. The 

(l) George B, Roberts, Esq., loug Probate Judge of Wahkiakum county, who arrived in Oregon, 1S31, in service of the Hudson's Bay Company. 



board of management referred him to the officers in charge at Fort Vancouver. In 1837, 
Dr. McLoughlin purchased Fort Hall from Captain W3'eth's agents. The emploj^es and 
laboring men generall}' remained in the territory. The acquisition by the Hudson's Bay 
Company and its occupancy of Fort Hall was the end of the x-Vmerican fur trade west of 
the Rocky Mountains. After two or three 3-ears, it was finally abandoned. 

The results of Wyeth's expedition, though disastrous to him financiall}', were in the 
greatest degree valuable to the United States and to the territory itself His memoir 
printed b^' order of Congress attracted the attention of American people to Oregon, its 
value, its claim to colonization. The statement as to its resources, its climate, soil, 
productions and accessibility stimulated immigration. Oregon hereafter is to be settled 
and Americanized. 

Chapter XVII. 


Conflicting Claims to Northwestern Coast of America — Abortive Effoi-ts to Settle 
the Boundary of Respective Possessions — Captiu*e and Surrender of Astoria 
— Convention of 1818 — United States Acquires the Spanish Claim by Florida 
Treaty — Russia Limited to Making Settlements Northward of Fifty-four 
Degrees, Forty Minutes, by Conventions with Great Britain and United States — 
That Parallel Becomes the Northern Boundary of the Oregon Territory — 
Great Britain and the United States the only Claimants of Oregon — Treaty 
of 18'47. 

I^HE exploration, settlements and acts heretofore narrated constitute tlie bases upon 
which Russia, Spain, Gi'eat Britain and the United States respectively asserted 
claim to the territory on the northwest coast of America. Russia exclusively claimed the 
coast north of fiftj^-one degrees north, with all adjacent islands. Her tenable or recognized 
claims, as defined b}^ herself, will be found in the grant (July 8, 1799), by Emperor Paul, 
to the Russian-American Fur Company : " In virtue of the discovery b}- Russian navigators 
of a part of the coast of America in the northeast, beginning from the fift^'-fifth degree of 
latitude, and of claims of islands extending from Kamtchatka, northward towards America, 
and southwards toward Japan, Russia had acquired the right of possessing those lands. 
And the said company is authorized to enjoy all the advantages of industry, and all the 
establishments upon the said coast of America, in the northeast, from the fifty-fifth degree 
of latitude to Behring's Strait and beyond it, as also upon the Aleutian and Kurile 
Islands and the others situated in the Eastern Ocean." 

Nor did Russian traders subsequent to that 3'ear establish settlements or make 
discoveries south of that parallel. Still Russia assumed the fifty-first degree to be the 
southern limits of her possessions as against the United States, upon the ground that 
such parallel was midway between Sitka and the mouth of the Columbia river. That power 
also maintained rights of sovereignty over the whole of the Pacific north of fifty-one degrees, 
inasmuch as that portion of the ocean was bordered on both sides by Russian territory, 
and was for such reason a close sea. Consonant with these views, though asserted later 
than the period which marks the commencement of this chapter, Russian pretensions to 
sovereignty on the northwest coast are all well illustrated in the Imperial Ukase of 
September 4, 182 1, immediately following the renewal of the charter of said compau}'. 
That Ukase asserts " that the whole west coast of America north of the fifty-first 
degree, the whole east coast of Asia north of forty-five degrees, fifty minutes, with all 
adjacent and intervening islands, belong exclusively to Russia ; and it also prohibits the 
citizens and subjects of all other nations, under severe penalties, approaching within one 
hundred miles of any of these coasts, except in cases of extreme necessity." 

( 120) 





i^ :% 










The Spanish claim was equally bold: " The right and dominion of the Crown of Spain 
to the northwest coast of America, as high as the Califoruias, are certain and indisputable, 
the Spaniards having explored it as far as the forty-seventh degree in the expedition 
under Juan de Fuca in 1592, and in that under Admiral Fonte to the fifty-fifth degree in 
1640. The dominion of Spain in its vast regions being thus established, and her rights 
of discovery, conquest and possession being never disputed, she could scarcel}^ possess a 
property founded on more respectable principles, whether of the law of nations, of public 
law, or of any others which serve as a basis to such acquisitions as compose all the 
independent kingdoms and states of the earth." Such was its assertion by Chevalier de 
Onis, so long the accomplished Minister of Spain to the United States. It was made while 
Spain was asserting title adversely to all other nations. It expressed the measure of 
Spanish claim, not only when uttered but as asserted for centuries. This contention 
derives additional value, indicating as it does the conviction as entertained b}' a most 
eminent Spanish stateman, tliat 110 territory nor claim thereto had been surrendered to 
Great Britain in the Nootka Treat}^ and the incidents growing oiit of it. 

Great Britain did not assert exclusive title to au}- portion of the northwest coast. 
The voyages of Drake, Cook, Meares, Vancouver and others to the coast, of Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie across the continent, followed by the formation of establishments within the 
territory, all afford evidences that portions of the coast and much of the interior had been 
claimed by British subjects in the name of their sovereign. Whatever rights could attach 
to or grow out of those acts, the British government had no idea of relinquishing. Two 
of her eminent negotiators thus defined her status. " Great Britain claims no excbtsive 
sovereignty over any portion of that territory. Her present claim, not in respect to any 
part, but to the whole, is limited to a right of joint occupancy, in common with other states, 
leaving the right of exclusive dominion in abeyance. In other words, the pretensions of 
the United States tend to the ejection of all other nations, among the rest, of Great Britain, 
from all the rights of settlement in the district claimed by the United States. The 
pretensions of Great Britain on the contrary tend to the mere maintenattce of her own 
rights, in resistance to the exclusive character of the pretensions of the United States^ 
British authorities thus commented upon the Spanish claim : " If the conflicting claims 
of Great Britain and Spain, in respect to all that part of the coast of North America, had 
not finall}' been adjusted by the convention of Nootka in the year 1790, and all the 
arguments and pretensions, whether resting on priority of discovery, or derived from any 
other consideration, had not been definitely set at rest by the signing of that convention, 
nothing could be more easy than to demonstrate that the claims of Great Britain to that 
country, as opposed to those of Spain, were so far from visionary or arbitrarily assumed 
that they established fnore than a parity of title to the possession of the country in question, 
either as against Spain or any other nation." 

Fairl}^ stated. Great Britain asserted no exclusive title, but preferred to acquire and 
rely w^ow possessio)i, strengthening her claim by settlements permitted by other nations, 
who in such permission admitted that their title was insufficient to authorize her exclusion. 
Being thus in possession, and herself the judge of the indefeasibility of adverse title, she 
could elect whether she would be ousted. The situation is thus defined: "While we have 
not the title, we want the possession. In the meantime, we do not admit your title to be 
any better than ours. In other words, just such a title as in all ages of the world might 
has made right.'''' 


The claim of the United States was at that time of a two-fold character : In its own 
right, based upon the discovery of the Columbia river by a citizen of the United States ; 
subsequent explorations of that river by Lewis and Clark, from its sources to its mouth, 
followed and strengthened by American settlements upon its banks. Upon the universally 
recognized principle of the law of nations, that the discovery of a river, followed by acts 
of occupancy, secured the right to the territory watered by it and its tributaries, the United 
States claimed the territory west of the Rocky Mountains lying between forty-two degrees 
and fifty-one degrees north latitude, subject to the claim of Spain by virtue of the voyages 
of discovery b}' Spanish navigators to portions of the coast or its adjacent islands. 

As successors to France: By purchase of Louisiana in 1S03, the United States 
acquired the claim of continuity to the territory from the Mississippi westward to the 
Pacific Ocean, of the breadth of that Province, its north line according to the Treaty of 
Utrecht (1713) being the dividing line between the Hudson's Ba}' Territory and the 
French Provinces in Canada. The doctrine had for centuries been recognized, that 
continuity was a strong element of territorial claim ; indeed its application had been 
universal to the colonization of the Atlantic seaboard. All European powers, in making 
settlements, maintained that colonial grants or charters (if not otherwise expressed) 
comprised not only the limits named therein, but included a region of country of like 
breadth extending across the continent to the South Sea or Pacific Ocean. For the 
integrity of this principle, the war between Great Britain and France had been waged, 
which terminated by the treaty of 1763. By that treaty the former power received Canada 
and Illinois, renounced to France all territory west of the Mississippi, and thereby 
surrendered any claim by continuity westward of that river. Thus was conferred upon 
France all claim to the territory on the American continent westward of the Mississippi 
river, which, \)y the principle of continuity, extended westward to the Pacific Ocean, 
subject alone to the claims which might be set up b}- Spain. To the summit of the 
Rocky Mountains, the French title to the Louisiana territory was absolute and 
indefeasible; and, it may be safel}' contended, good to the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, 
if not interfered with by actual occupancy of an adverse power. The treat}- of 1763 
transferred to France whatever benefits might accrue from the recognized doctrine of 
continuity, and forever barred Great Britain from asserting such claim ; for she was 
therein exclusively limited to the Mississippi river as the western boundar}- of her 
American possessions. The treat}^ of peace in 1783, between Great Britain and the United 
States, established our national independence, constituted the United States successor 
of Great Britain, with its western boundar}', the Mississippi river, as prescribed and 
defined by the treaty of 1763. The Louisiana Purchase, therefore, restored to the United 
States, assignee and successor to France, the great link of continuity which Great Britain 
had lost b}' the treaty of 1763. Such were the relative claims to this territory in the 
early part of the nineteenth century. 

Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase, negotiations were commenced between the 
United States and the British government for the adjustment of the boundary line 
between the respective possessions westward of the Mississippi river. This resulted in 
the signing of a convention (in 1807) by negotiators of the two governments, by the 
fifth article of which " the forty-ninth parallel, from its intersection by a line drawn 
from the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods, westward to the Rocky 
Mountains, was defined as said boundary ; but nothing in the present article shall be 
construed to extend to the northwest coast of America, or to the territory belonging to or 


claimed by either party on the continent of America to the westward of the Stony 
Mountains." President Jeiferson objected to the proviso, as " it could have little other 
effect than as an offensive intimation to Spain that the claims of the United States 
extended to the Pacific Ocean. However reasonable such claims may be compared with 
those of others, it is impolitic, especially at the present moment, to strengthen Spanish 
jealousies of the United States, ivliich it is probably an object ivitli Great Britain to excite 
by the clause in question.'''' The President rejected the treaty without submitting it to the 

In the negotiations which terminated in the Treaty of Ghent (December 20, 1814), 
the effort was renewed to establish the northern boundary of the United States, westward 
of the Mississippi river. The United States commissioners offered the boundary line 
and proviso of the convention of 1807. The British negotiators signified their willingness 
to accept the proposition, coupled with the right of navigation of the Mississippi river 
from British America to the Gulf of Mexico. That proposition was not entertained; and 
the treaty was concluded without allusion to the northern boundary of the United States 
westward of the Lake of the Woods. 

There was, how^ever, in the first article of the Treaty of Ghent, a stipulation, the 
fulfillment of which became an important feature in the Oregon controvers}^, to wit : " All 
territory, places and possessions whatsoever, taken by either part}"- from the other during 
the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this treaty, shall be restored without 

On the iSth of Jul}^ 1815, James Monroe, Secretary of State, notified the British 
Minister at Washington that the United States government would immediately take the 
necessary steps to reoccupy the post at the mouth of the Columbia river, called Astoria by 
its founder, but nominated Fort George by the British. In 1817, Captain James Biddle, 
United States Navy, in command of the sloop-of-war Ontario.^ sailed for the mouth of the 
Columbia river, bearing hence Hon. J. B. Prevost, United States Commissioner. The object 
of this voj'age was to assert United States sovereignty in the country adjacent to the 
Columbia river in a friendly and peaceable manner, and without the employment of force. 

On the sailing of the Ontario^ the British Minister at Washington remonstrated. 
Discussion ensued as to the method of restitution, character of settlement, and the effect 
that such surrender w'ould have on the respective claims of the two governments. It was 
insisted by the United States, and conceded by the British negotiators, that the status quo 
ante belluni should be restored ; that, in treating of the title, the United States should be 
in possession. The unconditional surrender of Astoria to the United States having been 
agreed upon, negotiations on the question of the northern boundary west of the 
Mississippi were resumed. 

In pressing a final disposition of the boundary to include the territory west of the 
Rocky Mountains, the United States asserted the intention " to be without reference or 
prejudice to the claims of any other power." At this time, the boundary between the 
Spanish North American possessions and the United States had been undetermined ; the 
Russian possessions on the northwest coast, which advanced southwardly, had not 
been definitely limited. The proposition submitted by the United States was the 
forty-ninth parallel, from its intersection by a line drawn through the northwest extremity 
of the Lake of the Woods westward to the Pacific Ocean. The British negotiators again 
insisted upon the right of navigating the Mississippi from its sources to the Gulf It was 
not expected that the proposition would be entertained ; and thus ended the matter. 


The relative rights of Great Britain and the United States to the territory of the 
Pacific coast were freely discussed. Messrs. Gallatin and Rush maintained that the 
discover}? of the Columbia river by Captain Robert Gray, the exploration from its 
headwaters to the ocean by Lewis and Clark, and the American settlement on its banks 
near its mouth (Astoria), rendered the claim of the United States "at least good against 
Great Britain to the countrj? through which such river flowed, though they did not assert 
that the United States had a perfect right to the countr}'." The British commissioners, 
in reply, referred to the discoveries by British navigators, especiall}- those of Captain 
Cook, and to purchases from the natives south of the river Columbia, which they alleged 
to have been made prior to the American Revolution. They made no formal propositions 
as to boundary, but intimated that the Columbia was the most convenient that could be 
adopted ; nor would they agree to any settlement that did not give to Great Britain the 
harbor at the mouth of the Columbia river in common with the United States. As the 
discussion progressed, difl&culties multiplied. Agreement being impossible, negotiations 
were brought to an end by the treaty of October 20, 181S, which determined the boundary 
of the United States luestward to the Rocky Mountains. 

The third article of that treaty refers to Oregon Territory as follows : 

" It is agreed that any country that may be claimed by either party, on the northwest 
coast of America westward of the Stony (Rocky) Mountains, shall, together with its 
harbors, bays and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and 
open for the term of ten years from the date of signature of the present convention, to the 
vessels, citizens and subjects of the two powers. It being well understood that this 
agreement is not to be construed to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two 
high contracting parties may have to any part of the said country." 

Immediately after the conclusion of the so-called Joint-Occupancy Treaty, which was 
really a mutual covenant that neither government would attempt acts in prejudice to the 
other's claims, the United States renewed negotiations with Spain for the adjustment of the 
southwestern boundary of the former natiou. This resulted (February 22, 1819) in the 
Treaty of Florida. 

In consideration of the cession of Florida b}' Spain, the Sabine river was constituted 
the western boundary of the United States. The southern boundar}' was designated by 
" a line drawn on the meridian from the source of the Arkansas river, northward to the 
forty-second parallel, thence along the parallel to the Pacific (i) ocean;" and Spain ceded 
to the United States " all rights, claims and pretensions to au}^ countr}- north of the said 
forty-second parallel." 

Thus and thereafter, the Florida Treaty had eliminated Spain from the controversy, 
and left the United States successor in interest, clothed with all the rights which has inured 
to Spain by virtue of the discoveries of Spanish navigators. 

Such being the attitude of the respective claimants, John Quincy Adams, Secretary of 
State, on the 22d of July, 1823, addressed instructions to Richard Rush, Minister to 
England, that memorable letter insisting upon the adjustment of the boundaries of the 
several claims on the northwest coast of America, which clearly exhibits the view of the 
government as to its territorial rights west of the Rocky Mountains, and the weight 
attached by it to the claims of other nations. Says he : " Among other subjects of 
negotiation with Great Britain which are pressing upon the attention of this government 

(i) By treaty, January 12, 1S28, the Republic of Mexico adopted, as her northern boundary line, said western and southern line of the United 
States as defined by the Florida Treaty. 





is the present condition of the northwest coast of this continent. By the treaty of amity, 
settlement and limits between the United States and Spain of February 22, 1819, the 
boundary line between them was fixed at forty-two degrees north latitude, from the source 
of the Arkansas river to the South Sea. By which treaty the United States acquired all 
the rights of Spain north of that parallel. 

" The rights of the United States to the Columbia river, and to the territory washed 
by its waters, rest upon its discovery from the sea, and nomination by a citizen of the 
United States ; upon its exploration to the sea by Captains Lewis and Clark ; upon the 
settlement of Astoria made under the protection of the United States and restored to them 
in 1818; and upon the subsequent acquisition of all rights of Spain, the only European 
power who, prior to the discovery of the river, had any pretensions to territorial rights on 
the northwest coast of America. The waters of the Columbia extended by the Multnomah 
to the fort^'-second degree of latitude, thence descending southward, till its sources almost 
intersect those of the Missouri. To the territory thus watered, and immediately contigous 
to the original possessions of the United States as first bounded by the Mississippi, they 
consider their rights to be now established by all the principles which have ever been 
applied to European settlements upon the American hemisphere." 

Mr. Adams then adverts to the claim of Russia. The subsequent acquisition of 
Alaska by the United States has imparted a vast interest to this letter; yet its bearing on 
the history of Oregon is so remote, that omission becomes necessary. Returning to the 
British pretensions, he continues: " Until the Nootka Sound contest, Great Britain had 
never advanced any claim to territory upon the northwest coast of America by right of 
occupation. Under the treaty of 1763, her territorial rights were bounded by the 
Mississippi. On the 22d of Jul}^, 1793, Mackenzie reached the shores of the Pacific by 
land, from Canada, in latitude fiftj^-two degrees, twenty-one minutes north, longitude 
one hundred and twenty-eight degrees, two minutes west of Greenwich. 

"It is stated in the fifty-second number of the Quarterly Revieiu, in the article on 
Kotzebue's voyage, ' that the whole country, from latitude fifty-six degrees, thirty-nine 
minutes to the United States, in latitude forty-eight degrees or thereabouts, is now, and 
has long been, in the actual possession of the British North West Company; that this 
compau}- have a post on the borders of a river in latitude fifty-four degrees, thirty minutes 
north, longitude one hundred and twenty-five degrees west, and in latitude fifty-five degrees, 
fifteen minutes north, longitude one hundred and twenty-nine degrees, forty-four minutes 
west. By this time (March, 1822), the united company of the North West and Hudson's 
Bay have in all probability founded an establishment.' 

" It is not imaginable that, in the present condition of the world, any European 
nation should entertain the project of settling a colony on the northwest coast of America. 
That the United States should form establishments there, with views of absolute territorial 
rights and inland communication, is not only to be expected, but is pointed out by the 
finger of nature, and has for years been a subject of serious deliberation in Congress. A 
plan has been for several sessions before them for establishing a territorial government on 
the borders of the Columbia river. It will undoubtedly be resumed at their next session ; 
and, even if then again postponed, there cannot be a doubt that, in the course of a very 
few years, it must be carried into effect. 

" Previous to the restoration of the settlement at the mouth of the Columbia river in 
i8i8,and again upon the first introduction in Congress of the plan for constituting a territorial 
government there, some disposition was manifested, by Sir Charles Bagot and Mr. Canning, 


to dispute the right of the United States to that establishment ; and some vague intimation 
was given of British claims on the northwest coast. The restoration of the place, and the 
convention of iSiS, was considered a final disposition of Sir Charles Bagot's objections; 
and Mr. Canning declined committing to paper that which he had intimated in convention. 

" The discussion of Russian pretensions in the negotiations now proposed necessaril}' 
involves the interests of three powers, and renders it manifestly proper that the United 
States and Great Britain should come to a mutual understanding, with respect to their 
respective possessions, as well as upon their joint views with reference to those of Russia. 

" The principles settled by the Nootka Convention of 28th October, 1790, were: 

" ist. That the rights of fishing in the South Seas or trading with the natives of the 
northwest coast of America, and of making settlements on the coast itself, for the purpose 
of that trade, north of the actual settlements of Spain, were common to all the European 
nations, and of course to the United States. 

" 2d. That as far as the actual settlements of Spain had extended, she possessed the 
exclusive rights, territorial, of navigation and fishery, extending to the distance of ten 
miles from the coast actually so occupied. 

" 3d. That on the coasts of South America and adjacent islands, south of the parts 
alreadv occupied b}' Spain, no settlement should thereafter be made either by British or 
Spanish subjects ; but on both sides should be retained the libertv of landing and erecting 
temporary buildings for the purposes of fishing. These rights were also, of course, enjoyed 
by the people of the United States. 

" The exclusive rights of Spain to any part of the American continents have ceased. 
That portion of the convention, therefore, which recognizes the colonial rights of Spain 
on the continents, though confirmed as between Great Britain and Spain, b}- the first 
additional article of the treaty of the 5th of July, 1814, has been extinguished b}'^ the 
fact of the independence of the South American nations and of Mexico. Those independent 
nations will possess the rights incident to that condition; and their territories will, of course, 
be subject to no exclusive right of navigation in their vicinity, or of access to them by any 
foreign nation." 

That great statesman then promulgates the great vital principle, the application of 
which must eventually Americanize this continent : 

" A necessary consequence of this state of things will be that the American 
continents, henceforth, will no longer be subject to colonization. Occupied by civilized, 
independent nations, they will be accessible to Europeans, and each other, on that footing 
alone ; and the Pacific Ocean, in every part of it, will remain open to the navigation of 
all nations ; in like manner will the Atlantic. Incidental to the condition of national 
independence and sovereignty, the rights of interior navigation of their rivers will belong 
to each of the American nations within its own territories. 

"The application of colonial principles of exclusion, therefore, cannot be admitted by 
the United States as lawful upon any part of the northwest coast of America, or as 
belonging to any European nation. Their own settlements there, when organized as 
territorial governments, will be adapted to the freedom of their own institutions, and, as 
constituent parts of the Union, be subject to the principles and provisions of the Constitution. 
If the British Northwest and Hudson's Ba}- Companies have any posts on the coast, as 
suggested in the article of the Quarterly Reviciu above cited, the third article of the ' 
convention of the 20th of October, 18 18, is applicable to them. Mr. Middleton (envoy 
to Russia) is authorized by his instructions to propose an article of similar import, to be 


inserted in a joint convention between the United States, Great Britain and Russia, for a 
term of ten years from its signature. You are authorized to jnake the same proposal to 
the British government, and, with a view to draw a definite line of demarkation for the 
future, to stipulate that no settlement shall hereafter be made on the northwest coast, 
or any of the islands thereto adjoining, by Russian subjects south of latitude fift3^-five 
degrees, b}- citizens of the United States north of latitude fifty-one degrees, or b}' British 
subjects either south of fiftj'-one degrees or north of fifty-five degrees. 

" I mention the latitude of fifty-one degrees as the bounds within wdiich we are willing 
to limit the future settlement of the United States, because it is not to be doubted that the 
Columbia river branches as far north as fifty-one degrees (i), although it is most probabljr 
not the Tacouche Tessee of Mackenzie (2). As, however, the line runs already in latitude 
forty-nine degrees to the Stony Afountains, sliojild it be earnestly insisted upon by Great 
Britain, we will consent to carry it in continuance on the satne parallel to the sea^ 

The copiousness of the extracts has been deemed essential to a thorough understanding 
of the attitude of the United States in the initiation of its diplomatic policy regarding the 
territory west of the Rocky Mountains. Those instructions render plain that protracted 
diplomatic war. Briefly, but forcibly, is exhibited the claims of the three great powers. 
Temperately, firmly, and without arrogance, the title of the United States is maintained. 
How unmistakably is the polic}- indicated that should govern. Indeed here is found the 
full recital of the American claim. With a proper spirit of concession, dictated only by a 
disposition to avoid disturbing friendly relations, the American Secretary consented that, 
as the line of forty-nine degrees had become historical east of the Rocky Mountains, it 
might be adopted as the continuing boundary, westward to the Pacific Ocean. 

" At the proposal of the Russian Imperial government, made through the Minister of 
the Emperor residing here, full power and instructions have been transmitted to the 
Minister of the United States residing at St. Petersburg, to arrange by amicable 
negotiations the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast 
of this continent. A similar proposal has been made by his Imperial Majesty to the 
government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The government of the 
United States has been desirous, by this friendly proceeding, of manifesting the great value 
which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the Emperor, and their solicitude to 
cultivate the best uuderstanding with his government. In the discussion to which this 
interest has given rise, and in the arrangements by which the}' may terminate, the occasion 
has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of 
the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent 
condition whicli they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as 
siibjects for future colonization by any Eiiropean power. "^ 

On the ist of April, 1824, Mr. Rush opened negotiations with the British Ministers, 
Messrs. Stratford Canning and William Huskisson. Mr. Rush persistently endeavored 
to secure what the government had instructed him to obtain. His propositions were 
rejected. The British negotiators offered the forty-ninth parallel until its intersection 
with the northeasternmost branch of the Columbia river (Clark's Fork), thence follo<ving 
said river to the ocean, guaranteeing to the citizens and subjects of both nations the 
perpetual right of free navigation of the Columbia river. Mr. Rush rejected the 
proposition, and the negotiations terminated. 

(i) Recent explorations have determined that the Columbia river, having risen in the Rocky Mountains, flows northerly as high as fifty-two 
degrees, ten minutes, when it receives the Canoe river, this latter tributary taking its rise in latitude fifty-three degrees. 
(2J The Tacouche Tessee of Sir Alexander Mackenzie has since proven to be the Fraser river. 


On the 17th of April, 1824, Mr. Middleton, Minister to Russia, concluded a treaty at 
St. Petersburg, between the United States and Russia, by which fifty-four degrees, forty 
minutes north was fixed as the line, north of which the citizens of the United States were 
prohibited from making settlements, and south of which no Russian settlement should be 
allowed. In February, 1825, Great Britain and Russia entered into a treaty- b\- which the 
line of fifty-four degrees, fort}- minutes was fixed as the dividing line between their 
respective territorial claims on the Pacific coast. Thus and then was stamped upon the 
region the far-famed line of fifty-four degrees, forty minutes. The Oregon Territorj- 
hereafter in controversy between Great Britain and the United States may be described as 
the region Iving between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and between forty- 
two degrees and fifty-four degrees, forty minutes north latitude. 

In 182S an attempt was renewed to secure from Great Britain an adjustment of the 
northern boundary of Oregon Territory. Albert Gallatin then represented the United 
States at the British Court. Henr)^ Cla}?, Secretary of State (June 19, 1826), thus 
instructed him : 

"It is not thought necessary to add much to the argument advanced on this point in 
the instructions given to Mr. Rush, and that which was employed by him in the course of 
the negotiation to support our title as derived from prior discovery and settlement at the 
mouth of the Columbia river, and from the treaty which Spain concluded on the 2 2d 
of February, 18 19. That argument is believed to have conclusively established our 
title on both grounds. Nor is it conceived that Great Britain Jias^ or can viake out^ 
even a colorless title to any portion of the northern coasts The opinion of that illustrious 
statesman as to the effect of the acquisition of the Spanish claim by the Florida Treaty is 
expressed in this language : " By the renunciation and transfer contained in the treaty 
with Spain of 1819, oicr right extended to the sixtieth degree of latitude.^'' 

In a later dispatch to Mr. Gallatin (February 24, 1827), Mr. Clay referred to the 
British claims as " new and extraordinary', " adding " that they have not yet produced any 
conviction in the mind of the President of the validity of the pretensions brought forward, 
nor raised any doubts of the strength and validity of our own title." In regard to 
the American offer of the forty-ninth parallel, he said: "It is conceived in a genuine 
spirit of concession and conciliation, and it is our ultimatnm^ and you may so announce 
it." Mr. Gallatin, having advised the State Department of its rejection by the British 
negotiators, Mr. Clay instructed him to declare " that the American government does not 
hold itself bound hereafter, in consequence of any proposal which it has heretofore made, 
to agree to the line which has been so proposed and rejected, but will consider itself at 
liberty to contend for the full extent of our just claims; which declaration you 
must have recorded in the protocol of one of your conferences ; and to give it more 
weight, have it stated that it has been done by the express direction of the President.'''' 

In this negotiation (1826-7), the British claim was represented by Messrs. Huskisson, 
Charles Grant and Henry W. Addington. Mr. Gallatin so powerfully sustained the United 
States claim, that the British negotiators ultimately admitted that Gi'eat Britain did not 
diSsert any title to the country, but urged that her claivi was good against the United 
States ; that it conferred right to occupy the territor}^ in common with other nations ; that 
Oregon was free and open territorj- to British subjects under concessions by Spain in the 
Nootka Convention. Complaint was made by the British negotiators of the recommendation 
by President Monroe in his annual message to Congress, December 7, 1824, to establish 
a military post at the mouth of the Columbia river, as also of the passage by the House 



TREATY OF 1 82 7. 129 

of Representatives, December 23, 1824, of the bill "To provide for occupying the Oregon 
river." Mr. Gallatin answered, citing the Act of the British Parliament of July 2, 182 1, 
" An Act for regulating the fur trade, and establishing a criminal and civil jurisdiction in 
certain parts of North America." Whilst by its provisions vast and unrestricted privileges 
were conferred upon the Hudson's Bay Company, the company were endowed with all the 
powers of government ; nor were American citizens within the territory exempted from 
liability to civil and criminal jurisdiction of British courts. He also urged that the 
United States possessed no such companies, nor did the power exist to charter 
them ; that its only method of protection to its own citizens was through the forms of 
a territorial government, which could not do more for American citizens than did the act of 
Parliament for those British subjects who might be present in the territory under the 
license of trade ; that the said act of Parliament actually clothed the licensed Hudson's 
Bay Company with the exclusive occupancy of the territory. He further contended that 
a territorial government, established solely with the motive of protecting citizens of the 
United States present within the territory, in nowise infringed upon the treaty of 1818; 
and that, under the provisions of that treaty, there was not the slightest impropriety in 
the United States government erecting forts within the territory for the protection of its 
citizens against the native population. These explanations were entirely satisfactory to 
the British negotiators ; and no further objections were made. 

Mr. Gallatin again offered the fort3--ninth degree, to the Pacific Ocean, with the 
further concession that " the navigation of the Columbia river shall be perpetually 
free to subjects of Great Britain in common with citizens of the United States, provided 
that the said line should strike the uortheasternmost or any other branch of that river at 
a point at which it was navigable for boats." This offer was summarily rejected by the 
British Ministers, who renewed the offer of 1824, with this addition. " To concede to the 
United States the possession of Port Discovery, on the southern coast of de Fuca's 
Inlet, and annex thereto all that tract of country comprised within a line drawn from 
Cape Flattery along the southern shores of de Fuca's Inlet to Point Wilson, at the 
northwestern extremity of Admiralty Inlet ; from thence along the western shore of that 
Inlet across Hood's Canal to the point of land forming the northeastern extremity of said 
Inlet ; from thence along the eastern shore of that inlet to the southern extremity of the 
same ; from thence direct to the southern point of Gray's Harbor ; from thence along 
the shore of the Pacific Ocean to Cape Flattery as before mentioned." The British 
Plenipotentiaries coupled this offer with a protest against " its being considered as a 
prejudice to the claims of Great Britain included in her proposals of 1824; ^i^^ declared 
that such offer was not called for by any just comparison of the grounds of those claims 
and of the coiinterclaim of the United States, but rather as a sacrifice which the 
British Government had consented to make, with a view to obviate all evils of future 
indifference in respect to the territory west of the Rocky Mountains." The proposition was 
rejected by Mr. Gallatin. Tlie negotiations terminated in the treaty of August 6, 1827. 

At the opening of the first session of the twenty-fifth Congress (December, 1S27), 
President John Quincy Adams, in his annual message, announced the negotiation of the 
treaty of August 6, 1827, which continued in force the treaty of 1818 for an indefinite 
period from and after October 25, 1828, at which date the third article of the former treaty 
defining the rights of both governments in the Oregon territory would have expired. It 
was, however, provided that either government might abrogate the latter convention, 
by giving twelve months' notice. 


The next chapter reciting the proceedings in Congress in regard to Oregon will be 
found to chronicle facts which have occurred anterior to the time to which we have traced 
those negotiations. This has been essential to presen-e the integrity and intactness of 
diplomatic history, not only because of the intimate connection of events, consequent 
upon each other, and entirely independent of such congressional acts, but really because 
the treaty of 1827 was a mere enlargement of the term of joint occupancy provided by 
the treaty of iSiS. The onl}' change in the s/a/us of parties to each other, to, in or about 
the territory, had occurred when the claims of the United States had become augmented 
by the assignment of the Spanish title. It was alike essential to an appreciation of 
congressional proceedings, thus to have traced the antecedents, extent and territorial 
rights, — in short, what constituted the Oregon Territory, about which Congress was 
inaugurating legislation. 

There can be no doubt that, during the continuance of these two treaties, British 
foothold in Oregon was immeasurably strengthened and the difficulty of the adjustment of 
boundaries materially enhanced. Nor does this reflect in the slightest degree upon those 
great publicists who managed the claim of the United States in those negotiations. 
Matchless ability and earnest patriotism, firm defense of the integrity of the United States' 
claim, and withal a disposition to compromise to avoid rupture with any other nation, 
mark those negotiations in ever}- line. The language and intention of those treaties are 
clear and unmistakable. Neither government was to commit any act in derogation of the 
other's claim, nor could any advantage inure to either; during their continuance the 
territor}- should be free and open to citizens and subjects of both nations. Such is 
their plain purport ; such the only construction which their language will warrant. 
Yet it cannot be controverted that the United States had thereby precluded itself from 
the sole enjoyment of the territory which it claimed in sovereignty ; nor that Great 
Britain acquired a peaceable, recognized and uninterrupted tenancj'-in-common in regions 
where her title was so imperfect, that she herself admitted she could not successfully 
maintain, nor did she even pretend to assert it. She could well afford to wait. Her's was 
indeed the polic}' later in the controversy styled masterly inactivity : " Leave the title 
in abeyance, the settlement of the country will ultimately settle the sovereignty." In no 
event could her colorless title lose color; while an immediate adjustment of the boundary 
would have abridged the area of territory in which, through her subjects, she already 
exercised exclusive possession, and had secured the entire enjoj-ment of its wealth and 
resources. The Hud.son's Bay Company, b}^ virtue of its license of trade excluding all 
other British subjects from the territory, was Great Britain's trustee in possession ; — an 
empire company, omnipotent to supplant enterprises projected by citizens of the United 
States, which had effectually closed the door of the territory td citizens of the United States. 
Indeed, the territory had been appropriated by a wealthy, all-powerful monopolj', with 
wliom it was ruinous to attempt to compete. Such is a true exhibit of the then 
condition of Oregon, produced by causes extrinsic to the treaty, which the United States 
government could neither counteract nor avoid. The United States had saved the right 
for its citizens to enter the territorj-, had protested likewise that no act nor omission on 
the part of the government or its citizens, or any act of commission or omission by the 
British government or her subjects during such joiut-occupanc}- treaties, should affect in 
any way the United States' claim to the territory. 

It is neither expedient nor profitable to inquire whether the Hudson's Ba}- Companj- 
had intention to strengthen British claim to Oregon, beyond the natural and laiidable 



desire of English subjects to covet perpetuation and extension of British grandeur and 
power. Certain it is that the company, by its wealth, organized efficiency and absorbing 
tendencies, did exclude for many years all other persons from that territory ; did achieve 
for the British government a sole occupancy by its subjects ; did afford the basis for the 
only lien the British government ever acquired to Oregon Territory or any part of it. 
During the continuance of that mere franchise of trade, mere privileges of presence, 
amplified into possessory rights of such importance that their divestment became a matter 
of vast concern,— a complication in that prolonged controversy. In fact, those joint 
occupancy treaties secured to Great Britain all that she desired, — time for the Hudson's 
Bay Company to ripen possessory rights into a fee simple in the soil itself. 

The treaties of 1818 and 1S27 have passed into history as conventions for joint 
occupancy. Practically, they operated as grants of possession to Great Britain, or rather 
to her representative, the Hudson's Bay Company, who, after the merger with the North 
West Company, had become sole occupant of the territory. The situation may be briefly 
summed up : The United States claimed title to the territory. Great Britain, through 
its empire-trading company, occupied it, — enjoyed all the wealth and resources derivable 
from it. 

That no injustice may be done to the memory of those three model American 
statesmen, Adams, Clay and Gallatin, under whose auspices those treaties had been 
negotiated, three as great minds and devoted patriots as our own or any nation has ever 
produced, whose sole end and aim were the grandeur and progress of their country and its 
institutions, this chapter is concluded with the explanation of the motives prompting, and 
the results accompanied by, those joint-occupancy conventions, by John Ouincy Adams, 
who, as Secretary of State, was connected with the treaty of iSiS, and, as Chief Magistrate 
of the Union, had assented to the treaty of 1827. 

In the memorable debate in the National House of Representatives (session 1845-6) 
on the Oregon question, the venerable John Quincy Adams, on the 9th of February, 1846, 
in his demonstration of the validity of the title of the United States up to fifty-four degrees, 
forty-minutes, and his masterly exposition of the fallacy and audacity of British claim to 
any portion of the territory on the Pacific coast, thus construes the third article of the 
treaty of 1818, made pursuant to instructions given by him as Secretary of State, and 
continued in force b}' the convention of 1827, while he was President: 

" There is a very great misapprehension of the real merits of this case, founded on 
the iiiisnomer vi\v\c\i declares that convention to be a convention oi joint occupation. Sir, 
it is not a convention of joint occupation. It is a convention of non-occupation, — a promise 
on the part of both parties that neither of the parties will occupy the territory, for an 
indefinite period: first, for ten years; then until the notice should be given by the one 
party or the other that the convention shall be terminated ; that is to say, that the 
restriction, the fetters upon our hands, shall be thrown off which prevents occupation." 

:;: * :;■■ -i: * =i= * 

" There is no occupation now. Occupation is the thing we want. Occupation is what I am 
putting an end to that convention for, it says that we shall not occupy that 
territory. The gentlemen from Georgia (Hon. T. Butler King), in his personal remarks 
to me, has thought proper to call on me to say why, in 1818, and again in 1827, I was 
willing to agree to this convention with Great Britain, while I now pretend to say that we 
have a right to the whole of Oregon. Why, I will tell the gentleman and this house." 


Mr. King (Mr. Adams j-ielding the floor) explained that he had asked the gentleman 
why he had not entered a protest against the claim asserted by Great Britain, if he believed 
that he had the right to the whole territor}'. 

Mr. Adams (continning), " I will endeavor to answer the gentleman according to his 
own idea, why I did not answer a protest. In the first instance, it was in a subordinate 
capacity that I acted as Secretary of State, under a most excellent man, whose memory I 
shall alwa3's retain with veneration, James Monroe, the President of the United States. 
And in the second place, when I held the ofl&ce of President of the United States, / did 
fnakc (he protest in the convention itself. If the gentleman will read the convention, he 
will see a formal protest against the claim of Great Britain. The third article of the 
convention of 1818 is as follows : 

" ' It is agreed that an}- country that may be claimed b}- either party on the northwest 
coast of America westward of the Stony Mountains shall, together with its harbors, baj's 
and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free and open for the 
term of ten years from the date of the signature of the present convention, to the vessels, 
citizens and subjects of both powers. It being well understood that this agreement is 
not to be construed to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two high contracting 
parties may have to any part of the said country; nor shall it be taken to affect the 
claim of an}- power or state to any part of said country ; the only object of the high 
contracting parties in that respect being to prevent disputes and differences.' 

" Is that joint occupation or separate occupation ? No such thing. It is nou-occupation. 
The territor}' is to be free and open to all the world, to the vessels, citizens and subjects ot 
the two powers for ten years ; and this convention is expressly declared not to affect an}^ 
claim of either of the two high contracting parties. Now please to observe this, for I 
mean to draw an argument from the wording here : ' nor shall it be taken to affect the 
claims of any other power,' * '=' 'the onl}- object.' Now, I give my answer to the 
gentleman from Georgia, being to prevent disputes and differences among the contracting 
parties. That is the object, and that being the only object, and the article itself being 
confined to ten years, is there not a decided intimation that at the end of ten years 
differences would come again ? Is there not a sufficiently clear protest against auv 
claims Great Britain may have ? And not onl^- so, but a reservation of the rights of an}- 
other party ? Who was that other party? Spain was; and that is a very clear and explicit 
admission that Spain had a right to that country, which was not to be affected. Well, 
this was in 1818. Now this convention was stipulated for ten years; and I desire this 
committee to observe this very expression, showing that both parties understood that this 
question as to their respective claims was not to be settled during the course. of that ten 
years ; but, at the expiration of that term, that they would come up again. It was 
equivalent to a full, plain claim to the whole territory, just as our Secretary is making it 
now ; but it was said that both parties, not choosing to settle their dififerenqes, agreed, for 
ten years, that the country, with its harbors, bays, creeks and rivers, shall be open to the 
navigation of both parties, without either party claiming exclusive jurisdiction during 
that time. That was all. 

"Now I come to the second convention of 1S27. The first convention was for ten 
years ; and I say it was not intended by the parties to be permanent. But there was a 
claim in arrears, which we were afterwards, as time should serve, and as circumstances 
should authorize, to assert and maintain. In the convention of 1827, please to observe the 
variation of the of the article." (Here Mr. Adams stopped that day; but on the 

»— > ^r' 
























J ^ .' 

















13th of April, 1846, having again the floor, he thus adverted to the convention of 1827): 
" What I wanted to show, when upon the floor of the House before, was the variation of 
expression between the convention of 1818, and that of 1827, i" neither of which the 
word 'settlements' was used." (Mr. Adams then referred to the Nootka Sound Convention 
and the discussion upon it in the negotiations in 1818, and thus continued): '' Well, sir, 
I make no question whatsoever, whether the treaty of Nootka Sound was abolished by 
war or not. I say that if Great Britain was entitled to make settlements by the treaty 
of Nootka Sound, in 1790, she has forfeited and aba'ndoned that right by the omission 
of the word in the conventions of 1S18 and 1827. ^^^ 1818, the convention was made 
between us and Great Britain. Great Britain claimed at that time the privileges of the 
Nootka Sound Convention ; but she did not choose to claim the right to make settlements 
for the limited term of ten years. That convention itself excluded it ; it left out that 
word ' settletnents^^ copying the Nootka Sound Convention in all other respects, leaving 
the country open to navigation, commerce and trade with the savages. Why, sir, did 
they leave out the word ' settlements '? There was no reason assigned for leaving it out ; 
but, if it had been included, we should have had the right of settlement as well as they. 
They forfeited it. They renounced it by omitting the word 'settlements' in the convention 
of 1818; and it continues to be omitted to this day. In 1827, when the convention came 
to be renewed, an indefinite time was assigned instead of ten 3'ears ; and then again the 
reservation of rights of any third poiuer was omitted^ clearly because ive had acquired all 
the rights of the third power whose rights were reserved before ; and the word ' settlements' 
continued to be omitted. Great Britain having ?io rights under that convention to make any 
settlement luhatever.''^ [Congressional Globe ^ vol. 15, twenty-ninth Congress, first session, 
pages 340, 341 and 664.) 


Chapter XVIII. 


Proceedings in Congress Relative to Sole Occupancy of Oregon, and Extension 
Over It of Federal Jurisdiction — Efforts to Establish a Territorial Government. 

IN THE winter of 1S20-1, Ramsa}' Crooks of New York and Russell Farnham of 
Massachusetts, two of the party sent by John Jacob Astor to establish Astoria, visited 
Washington city. Dr. John Floyd, a Representative in Congress, of Virginia, and 
Thomas H. Benton, a Senator-elect for the State of Missouri (then apph'ing for admission 
into the Union), occupied rooms at the same hotel. From Messrs. Crooks and Farnham, 
Messrs. Flo3'd and Benton became advised of the value of Oregon, the statistics of its fur 
trade, its features of general interest, its importance to the nation in a commercial and 
military view ; as also the thorough manner in which the great British fur companies 
had secured occupancy of the territory, and were controlling its native population, and 
enjoying the exclusive profits of the fur trade and Indian trade west of the Rocky 
Mountains. On the 19th of December, 1820, Mr. Floyd, in the House of Representatives 
of the United States, moved the appointment of a committee "to inquire into the situation 
of the settlement upon the Pacific Ocean, and the expediency of occupying the Columbia 
river;" which, having been adopted, Messrs. Floyd, Metcalf of Kentucky, and Swearingen 
of Virginia, were appointed. On the 25th of Januar}', 182 1, the committee reported a 
bill " to authorize the occupation of the Columbia river, and to regulate trade and 
intercourse with the Indian tribes therein." A lengthy report accompanied, vindicating 
the United States' title, and urging the acquisition of possession, in order to secure the 
advantages of the fur and East Indian trades. The bill was placed upon the calendar, 
but failed to be reached during that session. 

Earl}' next session (December 17, 1822), the House resolved itself into Committee of 
the Whole upon said bill. Mr. Floyd opened the discussion in a speech supported by 
statistics, showing the value of the fur trade west of the Rocky Mountains, as also the 
East Indian trade, which he maintained should be diverted to the United States. Said 
he; " This is the trade I would turn to Oregon, and from the mouth of that river make 
the shipments, and return with the rich exchange to our Atlantic cities, and save much of 
the silver and gold which is now sinking in Asia." Said he: "Now, Mr. Chairman, we 
cannot be mistaken when we apply the same calculation to the route to the mouth of the 
Oregon, as steamboat navigation we all know to be safe and sure ; wherefore, it will take 
a steamboat twenty-four days to arrive at the falls of the Missouri ; thence I allow a wagon 
fourteen days to travel two hundred miles to tlie mouth of Clark's river; thence seven 
days to the mouth of the Oregon, — making the time necessary for that trip forty-four 
days." On the next day, Mr. Wright, of Maryland, advocated the bill. Having defended 
the United States' title, he adverted to the value of the fur trade, and portrayed the 
advantages to the American whale fisheries, by the establishment of an American 

( 134 ) 


settlement at the mouth of the Columbia river. Mr. Baylies, of Massachusetts, followed, 
demonstrating the importance of a post in our Pacific possessions for the benefit of our 
commerce and whale fisheries, alluding to the valuable timber which must ultimately 
become a source of profit and wealth, and to the growing importance of the Northwest 
trade. He replied to the fears expressed, that because Oregon was so remote the tie would 
be weak that bound her to the nation. His eloquent peroration, then prophecy, now histor}', 
glowingly pictured our common country, its past development, its future expansion, 
its westward tendency. '' A population of scarcely six hundred thousand swelled into 
ten millions ; a population which in their youth extended scarcely an hundred miles from 
the Atlantic Ocean, spreading bej^ond the mountains of the west, and sweeping down those 
niightj- waters which open into regions of such matchless fertility aud beauty. Some now 
within these walls maj-, before they die, witness scenes more wonderful than these ; and 
in after times maj' cherish delightful recollections of this day, when America, shrinking 
' from the shadows of coming events,' first placed her foot upon untrodden ground, scarcely 
daring to anticipate the grandeur which awaited her. Let us march boldly on to the 
accomplishment of this important, this useful and this splendid object; and, my word for 
it, no one who gives his vote for this bill will repent. On the contrary, he may consider 
it one of the proudest acts of his life." 

Mr. Tucker, of South Carolina, opposed the bill, " because it was calculated to draw 
off the population and capital to a point where they will be less efficient and useful than 
at present, where they must be eventually lost to the States." While he considered that 
the progress of population to the west was inevitable, he had no wish to accelerate it, 
because, in the nature of things, the people of the east and west sides of the Rocky 
Mountains must have a permanent separation of interests. 

On the 27th of January, 1823, M'"- Floyd moved to take up the bill, on which Mr. 
Chambers, of Ohio, called the yeas and nays ; and, by a vote of sixty-one ayes, one 
hundred noes, the bill received its quietus for that session. In the Senate, February, 1823, 
Mr. Benton introduced a resolution " instructing the committee on military affairs to 
inquire into the expediency of making an appropriation to enable the President of the 
United States to take and retain possession of the territories of the United States on the 
northwest coast of America." On the 17th, the resolution was modified with Mr. Benton's 
consent, substituting a reference to the Committee on Foreign Relations, on which occasion 
Mr. Benton made the first speech in the Senate in advocacy of the United States 
immediately asserting its claim to Oregon. He affirmed the following propositions : 
" I. That our claim of sovereignty is disputed by England; 2. That England is now the 
party in possession ; 3. That she resists the possession of the United States ; 4. That 
the part}' in possession in 182S will have the right of possession, under the law of nations, 
until the question of sovereignty shall be settled by war or negotiation." He thus 
concluded : " That it was now apparent that the Republic, partly through its remissness, 
partly from the concessions of our Ministers in London, but chiefly from the bold 
pretensions of England, is in imminent danger of losing all its territory beyond the Rock}' 
Mountains. The evils of such a loss to us, and the advantages of such an acquisition to 
her, are too obvious to be here insisted upon. Every one can see that the mouth of the 
Columbia in the hands of England would immediately be converted into a grand naval 
station for the protection of her trade and navigation in the Pacific Ocean, and for the 
destruction of the commerce of all other powers. Not an American ship will be able to 
show herself beyond Cape Horn, but with the permission of the English. The direct 


intercourse between the valley of tlie Mississippi and Asia would be intercepted. The fur 
trade of the Rocky Mountains would fall into the hands of British subjects, and with it 
the entire command of all the Indians west and north, to be turned loose upon the frontiers 
of Missouri and Arkansas and Illinois and Michigan, upon the first renewal of hostilities 
between the United States and Great Britain." 

The resolution was adopted, but no report emanated from the committee. At the first 
session of the eighteenth Congress (December 29, 1823), a committee was appointed by the 
House of Representatives (Mr. Floyd, chairman), to inquire into the expedienc}^ of 
occupying the mouth of the Columbia river. The committee's report, April 15, 1824, 
embodied a letter of General Thomas S. Jesup, Quartermaster-General, United States 
Arm}', on the difficulties of establishing a military post at the mouth of the Columbia 
river. That experienced veteran asserted, that the possession and military command of the 
territory and Columbia river were necessary, not onl}' for the protection of trade, but to 
the security of our western frontier. He recommended " the immediate dispatch of a force 
of two hundred men across the continent, to establish a fort at the mouth of the Columbia 
river; that, at the same time, two vessels, with arms, ordnance and supplies, be sent thither 
by sea. He further proposed the establishment of a line of posts across the continent to 
afford protection to our traders ; and, on the expiration of the privilege granted to British 
subjects to trade on the waters of the Columbia, to enable us to remove them from our 
territor}-, and secure the whole to our citizens. Those posts would also assure the 
preservation of peace among the Indians in the event of a foreign war, and command their 
neutrality or assistance as we might think most advisable." 

Suggestions from such a source invoking immediate congressional action in regard to 
Oregon would seem to have merited attention. Congress was, however, unwilling to assert 
exclusive right to the territory; and it is ver}- questionable whether it was sound polic}- to 
herald views, demonstrating the importance to the United States of extending their 
possessions westward to the Pacific Ocean ; the militar}- necessity of the exclusive control 
of the mouth of the Columbia, as the key to the vast region, and the varied advantages to 
accrue from the sole occupancy of the countr}-. It was alleged that the publication of this 
able document furnished a strong incentive to Great Britain to labor more assiduousl}- to 
retain the advantages of that occupanc}^ which had accrued to her subjects b}' the treaty 
of 1818. 

Following the appearance of those views, there was a growing interest in the territory 
west of the Rock}- IMountains ; there was an increased appreciation of the value of Oregon 
to the United States; the national duty of asserting exclusive right to the territory was 
commending itself to popular favor. The letter of General Jesup exposed the motives of 
Great Britain for dela}'. It openly advocated the adoption of such an American policy as 
would serve as a to the accretion of title and benefits to Great Britain from 
her more extensive and methodic occupancy of the country. In short, its theory was that 
llie United States government should embrace the opportunity to secure advantage under 
the treaty of 1818, and "mature acts" preserving and perfecting its own title. The 
avowed .sentiment of the Monroe Administration justified the belief, that, upon the 
termination of the convention of 1S18, measures would be resorted to, tending to exclusive 
American occupancy. Hence this indication that Oregon was growing into American 
notice, coupled with the recommendation by an officer of high rank and acknowledged 
experience, that the territory should be occupied for military purposes, did stimulate 
British covetousness, did tend to magnify pretension into claim, did prove an obstacle to 
adjustment, did prolong the controvers}'. 


1 policy t 




At this late daj' it seems proper to commend such views, and their proclamation 
inviting governmental attention. It is now clear that the only practical method to have 
checked British pretensions, fast being transformed from mere denial of exclusive 
right in the United States into avowal of exclusive British title, was the action 
and voice of Congress strengthening the hands of the Executive, which, as boldlj^ 
as General Jesup and the Select Committee, had asserted its readiness to maintain 
American supremacy in Oregon. History will generously award credit to the sagacious 
Jesup for indicating, in 1823, the unerring way to preserve the American title to 
Oregon Territory. Nor will it fail to commend the earnest devotion of that little Oregon 
part}- in Congress for placing on record wh}- the government should immediately assert 
exclusive jurisdiction within its own territory. 

At the opening of the next session of Congress (December, 1824), President Monroe, 
in his annual message, thus invited the attention of Congress to Oregon : " In looking to 
the interests which the United States have on the Pacific Ocean, and on the western coast 
of this continent, the propriety of establishing a military post at the mouth of tlie 
Columbia river, or at some other point in that quarter within our acknowledged limits, is 
submitted to Congress. Our commerce and fisheries on that sea and along the coast have 
much increased, and are increasing. It is thought that a militar}- post, to which our 
ships-of-war might resort, would afford protection to ever\' interest, and have a tendenc}- to 
conciliate the tribes of the Northwest, with whom our trade is extensive. It is thought 
that, by the establishment of such a post, the intercourse between our western states and 
territories and the Pacific, and our trade with the tribes in the interior on each side of the 
Rocky Mountains, would be essentially promoted. To carry this object into effect, the 
appropriation of an adequate sum to authorize the emploj'ment of a frigate, with an 
officer of the corps of engineers, to explore the mouth of the Columbia river and the coast 
contiguous thereto, to be enabled to make such an establishment at the most suitable point, 
is recommended to Congress." 

December 20, 1824, on motion of Mr. Floyd, the House resolved itself into Committee 
of the Whole, to consider the bill " for the occupation of the Columbia river." The speech 
of Mr. Floyd was a masterly vindication of American title to Oregon, — an able exhibit of 
its political, commercial and military importance to the United States. Mr. Poinsett, of 
South Carolina, thought the point for location should be left to the President, and 
submitted an amendment to that effect. Mr. Cook, of Illinois, moved the recommitment 
of the bill to the committee to whom the above portion of the President's message had 
been referred. This motion was opposed b}' Mr. Trimble of Kentucky, and lost b;^ a 
decisive vote. Mr. Buchanan moved to strike out the section providing for the 
establishment of a port of entry, and extending the revenue laws over the territory, on the 
ground that it was an infringement of the convention of 18 18. Mr. Gazlay, of Ohio, 
contended that the location of a port of entry could onl}- involve the collection of duties 
from other foreign powers ; that the treaty of 1818 would secure the admission of goods of 
British subjects free of duty. To all objections, Mr. Flo3'd, in explanation, referred to the 
provisions of the bill, which proposed to confer such powers only upon the President, 
when he might deem that the public good should require it. Mr. Taylor, of New York, 
desired the bill so amended as to conform to the President's plan of establishing a military 
post, but opposed any act looking to the formation of a territorial government. This 
could be accomplished by striking out all that authorized the appointment of governor, 
judges and other officers ; and he made a motion to that effect. Mr. Smythe, of Virginia, 


moved a further amendment by striking out the proposed name of the territor}', and 
describe it as " the territory of the United States on the northwest coast of America." Mr. 
Taylor's amendment having been adopted, Mr. Floyd replied to his colleague (Mr. 
Sm3-the), when the latter modified his motion so as to strike out the section making 
grants of land to actual settlers. On the 23rd of December, the consideration of the bill 
was resumed ; and on that day it passed b}- a triumphant vote of one hundred and thirteen 
to fift3--seven. The title of the bill was amended to read " to provide for occup3-ing the 
Oregon river." 

On the 25th of Februar}-, 1S25, the Senate took up the bill " to provide for occupying 
the Columbia river." Mr. Benton moved an amendment, providing for an additional 
pavniaster. The bill was then laid on the table. The next da}- the Senate resumed its 
consideration ; and Mr. Barbour, of Virginia, ably urged its passage. Mr. Dickerson, of 
New Jersey, contended that it was a violation of the treat}' of joint occupancy-, which 
would not expire till 1828, until which time it would be highly improper to take 
possession of the territory b}' military force or establish therein a port of entry, or, indeed, 
to exercise any act of possession or occupation which we did not exercise in 181S, at the 
period of making the treaty. Mr. Dickerson moved to lay the bill upon the table, which 
prevailed by a vote of nineteen to seventeen. On the ist of March, Mr. Hayne, of South 
Carolina, moved to take up the bill to afford Mr. Benton the opportunity to reply to Mr. 
Dickerson, agreeing that the bill should be postponed after Mr. Benton should conclude. 
Mr. Chandler, of Maine, opposed taking time to discuss a bill that there was no intention 
to pass. Mr. Hayne's motion, however, prevailed, and Mr. Benton made an exhaustive 
speech. In his "thirty-years' view," he thus sums up that unanswerable plea in behalf of 
the American Oregon : 

" I do not argue the question of title on behalf of the United States, but onl}' state it 
as founded upon : ist. Discovery of the Columbia river bj- Captain Gra}- in 1792 ; 2nd. 
Purchase of Louisiana in 1803 ; 3rd. Discovery of the Columbia river, from its head to 
its mouth, by Lewis and Clark in 1S05 ; 4th. Settlement of Astoria ; 5th. Treaty with 
Spain in 1819; 6th. Contiguity' and continuit}' of settlement and possession. Nor do I 
argue the question of the advantage of retaining the Columbia, and refusing to divide or 
alienate our territory upon it. I merely state them and leave their value to result from 
their enumeration: ist. To keep out a foreign power; 2nd. To gain a seaport with a 
military and naval station on the coast of the Pacific ; 3rd. To save the fur trade in that 
region, and prevent our Indians from being tampered with by British traders ; 4th. To 
op'en a communication for commercial purposes between the Mississippi and the Pacific ; 
5th. To send the lights of science and religion into Eastern Asia." 

Mr. Benton having concluded, the bill went to the table by the decisive vote of 
twentjf-five ayes, fourteen noes. 

President John Quincy Adams, in his first annual message to Congress (December, 
1825), thus adverts to the northwest coast : 

" Our coasts along many degrees of latitude upon the shores of the Pacific Ocean, 
though much frequented by our spirited commercial navigators, have rarely been visited 
by our public ships. The river of the \\' est, first fully discovered and navigated by a 
countryman of our own, still bears the name of the ship in which he ascended its waters, 
and claims the protection of our national flag at its mouth. With the establishment of a 
military post there, or at some other point of that coast, recommended by my predecessor. 


and already matured in the deliberation of the last Congress, I would suggest the 
expedienc}- of a public ship for the exploration of the whole of the northwest continent." 

On the i6th of December, 1S25, the House passed a resolution introduced by Mr. 
Baylies, requesting the Secretary of the Navy to inform the House whether the 
sloop-of-war Boston might not be employed in exploring the northwest coast of America, 
its rivers and inlets, between the parallels of forty-two and forty-nine degrees north, 
without detriment to the naval service." On January 16, 1826, Mr. Baylies, chairman 
of the Select Committee, to whom had been referred the subject of establishing a military 
post at the mouth of the Columbia river, submitted an elaborate report in advocacy of 
immediate measures to secure the occupation of Oregon. On the 15th of May, he made 
a supplemental report from the same committee. No further action was taken by 
Congress during the session. 

President John Quincy Adams, in his annual message, December 4, 1827, referring 
to the treaty of 1818, which had effected a temporary compromise of the respective claims 
to the territory westward of the Rock}- Mountains, and which would expire by its own 
limitation October 20, 1828, advised Congress that, by the treaty of August, 1827, the 
joint-occupanc}' arrangement had been continued for an indefinite period, leaving each 
party the right to abrogate the same upon twelve months' notice. 

During that session, Hall J. Kelly, of Massachusetts, representing an association of 
citizens who proposed emigration to Oregon, presented a petition to the House of 
Representatives, praying for a grant of lands and other protective legislation. John M. 
Bradford, of New Orleans, was the head of a similar association, composed of citizens of 
Louisiana. Albert Town and his associates, citizens of Ohio, constituted a similar 
organization. The people of the United States were beginning to agitate the occupancy 
of Oregon ; and ably their representatives invoked the attention of Congress to those 
petitions. Those memorials and their subject-matters were referred to the Select Committee 
on Oregon Territory, of which ]Mr. Floyd was chairman. He reported a bill providing 
for military occupation of the territory, the extinguishment of the Indian title to the 
lands, the granting lands to actual settlers, and providing an appropriation for the 
exploration of the territory. 

The bill was reached December 13, 1828, and occupied the House until the 9th of 
January, 1829. ^" *^'i^t ^^^ debate, among the most zealous advocates of its passage, 
the record bears the names of Floyd of Virginia, Edward Everett of Massachusetts, 
Cambreleng of New York, Drayton of South Carolina, Richardson and Gurley of 
Louisiana. Of its equally zealous opponents, the chronicle is not less brilliant, 
embracing the names of Edward Bates of Missouri, Gorham of Massachusetts, Taylor 
of New York, Polk (afterwards President) and Mitchell of Tennessee. All concurred in 
the justice and validity of the claims of the LTnited States; but the contention of the 
opponents of the bill was that its passage would be an infringement of the recently 
renewed Joint-Occupancy Treaty, and would endanger the peaceable relations of the two 
nations. Others suggested that reports regarding the territory were conflicting, and 
definite action should not be taken until explorations had furnished necessary reliable 
information. On the 9th of January, the Committee of the Whole were discharged from 
further consideration of the bill, and the House refused to order it to a third reading by a 
vote of ninety-nine to seventy-five. For a number of years, efforts in Congress to assert 
sole jurisdiction over Oregon Territory were not resumed. 

Chapter XIX. 


Negotiations Resinned Between Great Britain and the United States — Kesnme of 
Status of Claimants — Presidential Election, 1844. 

DURING the administration of President Jackson, Edward Livingston, Secretary of 
State, in his instructions (August 31, 1S31), to IMartin Van Buren, Minister to 
London, revives the question of settlement of the Oregon boundar}-. Their tone indicates 
that the United States government was not averse to the occupancy of territor}' bj^ 
British subjects, in common with American citizens. The assertion of claim is not 
accompanied with arrogance ; but confidence in the title of the United States to the ivliole 
territory- is strongly marked. After referring to the convention of 1827, which by its 
language is, " to give time to mature measures which shall have for their object a more 
definite settlement of the claims of each party," Mr. Livingston proceeds : "This subject, 
then, is open for discussion; and, until the rights of the parties can be settled by 
negotiation, ours can suffer nothing b}' delay." Masterly inactivity thus admitted to be 
the policy of the national government, nothing was accomplished under those instructions. 

The next efforts to adjust the Oregon boundar}' were during the administration of 
President Tj'ler. The request came from Great Britain. Lord Aberdeen, on the iSth of 
October, 1842, addressed instructions to Henry S. Fox, British Minister at Washington, 
to invite the American Secretary of State " to move the President to furnish the United 
States Minister at the Court of London with such instructions as will enable him to enter 
upon the negotiation of this matter with such person as may be appointed hy her IMajest}' 
for that object ; and you will assure him that we are prepared to proceed to the consideration 
of it in a perfect spirit of fairness, and to adjust it on a basis of equitable compromise." 

Those instructions were communicated to the State Department on the 15th of 
November, 1842. Daniel Webster, Secretary, answered on the 25th, "that the President 
concurred entirely in the expediency of making the question respecting the Oregon 
Territory- a subject of immediate attention and negotiation between the two governments. 
He had already formed the purpose of expressing this opinion in his message to Congress, 
and, at no distant day, a communication will be made to the Minister of the United States 
in London." 

This suspended for the time formal negotiations. Mr. Webster resigned as Secretary 
of State July 24, 1S43, and was succeeded by Abel P. Upshur, who, October 9, 1843, 
addressed instructions to Edward Everett, American Minister at London. With the desire 
of compromise which actuated all his predecessors, Secretarj^ LTpshur said : 

" The offer of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude, although it has once been rejected, 
may be again tendered, together with the right of navigating the Columbia river upon 
equitable terms. Bej'ond this, the President is not prepared to go. Nevertheless, 3'ou 

( 140 ) 


■"■^-?^f^'--!i^?«i**^^^fe -'^-fef-l'* 





may propose or receive, subject to the approval of this government, an}^ other terms of 
compromise which, in the progress of your discussions, may appear to promise satisfactory 
adjustment of this important question." 

In February, 1844, Hon. Richard Pakenham, British Plenipotentiary, arrived in 
Washington with instructions to negotiate relative to the boundaries of the Oregon or 
Columbia Territory. On the 24th, he addressed a note to Secretary Upshur; their first 
conference took place on the 27th. On the next day, of gloomy memory, the explosion 
of the Paixhan gun on the United States steamer Princeton^ caused the instant death of 
Secretary Upshur. 

On the 6th of March, 1844, John C. Calhoirn succeeded Secretary Upshur. 
Negotiations were resumed July 2 2d. Mr. Pakenham invited Mr. Calhoun's attention to 
the condition of the Oregon negotiation, so abruptly terminated by the death of his 
predecessor. Mr. Pakenham renewed the former British offer of the Columbia river 
boundary, with the addition, " to make free to the United States any port or ports which 
the United States might desire either on the mainland or on Vancouver Island, south of 
latitude forty-nine degrees." 

This offer Mr. Calhoun declined September 3, 1844, " on the ground that it would 
have the effect of restricting the possessions of the United States to limits far more 
circumscribed than their claims clearly entitle them." x\fter demonstrating the validity 
of claim in our own proper right to the region drained by the Columbia by priority 
of discovery, priority of exploration and prioritj' of settlement, he adds: "To these we 
have added the claims of France and Spain. The former was obtained by the Treaty of 
Louisiana, ratified in 1803, and the latter by the Treaty of Florida, ratified in 18 19. 
By the former, we acquired all the rights which France had to Louisiana, ' to the extent 
it now has ( /8oj ) in the hands of Spain ^ and that it had when France possessed it, and such 
as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into by Spain and other states.'' By 
the latter, his Catholic Majesty ' ceded to the United States all his rights.^ claims and 
pretensions ' to the country lying west of the Rocky Mountains, and north of a line drawn 
on the forty-second parallel of latitude, from a point on the south bank of the Arkansas, 
in that parallel to the South Sea, that is, to the whole region claimed by Spain west of 
those mountains, and north of that line. 

"The cession of Louisiana gave us undisputed title west of the Mississippi, extending 
to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and stretching south between that river and those 
mountains to the possessions of Spain, the line between which and ours was afterwards 
determined by the Treaty of Florida. It also added much to the strength of our title to 
the region bej'ond the Rocky Mountains, by restoring to us the important link of 
continuing westward to the Pacific, which had been surrendered by the treaty of 1763, as 
will hereafter be shown. 

"That continuity furnishes a just ground for a claim of territory, in connection with 
those of discovery and occupation, would seem unquestionable. It is admitted by all that 
neither of them is limited by the precise spot discovered or occupied. It is evident that, 
in order to make either available, it must extend at least some distance beyond that 
actually discovered or occupied ; but how far, as an exact question, is a matter of 
uncertaint}-. It is subject in each case to be influenced by a variety of circumstances. In 
the case of an island, it has been usually maintained in practice to extend the claim of 
discovery or occupation to the whole ; so, likewise, in the case of a river, it has been usual 
to extend them to the entire region drained by it, more especially in cases of a discovery 


and settlement at the mouth, and eniphaticall}^ so when accompanied by exploration of the 
river and region through which it flows. Such, it is believed, may be affirmed to be the 
opinion and practice in such cases since the discovery of this continent. How far the 
claim of continuitj^ may extend in other cases is less perfectly defined, and can be settled 
only b}' reference to circumstances attending each. When this continent was first 
discovered, Spain claimed the whole b}' virtue of a grant of the Pope ; but a claim so 
extravagant and unrea.sonable was not acquiesced in b}' other countries, and could not long 
be maintained. Other nations, especially England and France, at an early period 
contested her claim. The}- fitted out voyages of discovery, and made settlements on the 
eastern coast of North America. They claimed for their settlements, usually, specific 
limits along the coasts or bays on which they were formed, and generally a region of 
corresponding width across the entire continent to the Pacific Ocean. Such icas the 
character of the limits assigned by England in the charters which she granted her former 
colonies^ now the United States^ when there was no special reason for varying from it. 

" How strong she regarded her claim conveyed b}' these charters, and extending 
westward of her settlements, the war between her and France, which was terminated by 
the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, furnishes a striking illustration. That great contest, which 
ended so gloriously for England, and effected so great and durable a change on this 
continent, commenced in a conflict between her claims and those of France, resting on her\ 
side on this z'cry right of continuity, extending wcsttcard from her settlements to the Pacific 
Ocean, and on the part of France on the same right, but extending to the region drained 
by the Mississippi and its waters, on the ground of settlement and exploration. Their 
respective claims which led to the war first clashed on the Ohio river, the waters of which 
the colonial charters in their westward extension covered, but which France had been 
unquestionably the first to settle and explore. If the relative strength of these different 
claims may be tested by the result of that remarkable contest, that of continuity westward 
must be pronounced to be the stronger of the two. England has had at least the advantage 
of the result, and luould seem to be foreclosed against cojitcsting the principle as against us, 
who contributed so much to that result, and on 'whom that contest and her example and 
pretensions, from the first settlement of our country, have contributed to impress it so 
deeply and indelibly. 

"By the treaty of 1763, which terminated that memorable and eventful struggle, 
yielded, as has been stated, the claims and all the chartered rights of the colonies bej'ond 
the Mississippi. The seventh article establishes that river as the permanent boundary 
between the possessions of Great Britain and France on this continent. So much as 
relates to the subject is in the following words: ' The confines betzveen the dominions of 
his Britannic Majesty and that part of the zuorld [the continent of America) shall be fixed 
irrevocably by a line drazvn along the middle of the river Mississippi from its source to the 
river Iberville ; and from thence by a line drazvn along the middle of this rizrr and the 
Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the sea, etc' 

"This important stipulation, which thus establishes the Mississippi as the line 'fixed 
irrevocably ' between the dominions of the two countries on this continent, in effect 
extinguishes, in favor of France, whatever claims Great Britain ma}' have had to the 
region lying west of the Mississippi. It of course could not aftect the rights of Spain, 
the only other nation which had any pretense of claim west of that river; but it prevented 
the right of continuity, previously claimed by Great Britain, from extending beyond it, and 
transferred it to France. The Treaty of Louisiana restored and vested in the United 


States all the claims acquired by France, and surrendered by Great Britain under the 
provisions of that treaty, to the country west of the Mississippi, and amo7ig others the 
one in question. Certain it is that France had the same right of continuity, in virtue of 
her possession of Louisiana, and the extinguishment of the right of England by the 
treaty of 1763, to the whole countr}- west of the Rocky IMountains, and lying west of 
Louisiana, as against Spain, which England had to the country westward of the Alleghany 
Mountains, as against France, with this difference, that Spain had nothing to oppose to 
the claim of France at the time but the right of discovery, and even that England has 
since denied ; while France had opposed to the right of England, in her case, that of 
discovery, exploration and settlement. It is, therefore, not at all surprising that France 
should claim the country west of the Rocky Mountains (as may be inferred from maps) 
on the same principle that Great Britain had claimed and dispossessed her of the region 
west of the Alleghanies ; or that the United States, as soon as they had acquired the right 
of France, should assert the same claim, and take measures immediately after to explore 
it, with a view to occupation and settlement. But since then we have strengthened our 
title by adding to our own proper claims and those of France the claims also of Spain, by 
the Treaty of Florida, as has been stated." 

Mr. Calhoun proceeds to notice Spanish discoveries and their extent, contrasting 
them with cited English voyages, adding " that they (the Spanish navigators named) 
discovered and explored not only the entire coast of what is now called the Oregon 
Territory, but still further north, are facts too well established to be controverted at this 
day. But," says Mr. Calhoun, " it has been objected that we claim under various and 
conflicting titles, which mutually destroy each other. Such might indeed be the fact 
while they are held by different parties ; but since we have rightly acquired both those of 
Spain and France, and concentrated the whole in our hands, they mutually blend with 
each other and form one strong and connected chain of title against the opposing claims 
of all others, including Great Britain." 

This able and lucid state paper then dwells at length on the restoration of Astoria in 
1818, refers to previous negotiations, and closes b}' referring to the claim of continuity, 
constantly gaining strength as time progresses, by the western states pouring their tide 
of emigration into the valle}' of the Columbia. 

Sir R. Pakenham answered, on the i2tli of September: "To the observations of the 
American Plenipotentiary respecting the effect of continuit}' to furnish a claim to territory, 
the undersigned has not failed to pay due attention ; but he submits that what is said on 
this head maj' more properly be considered as demonstrating the greater degree of interest 
which the United States possess by reason of contiguit}-, in acquiring territory in that 
direction, than as affecting in any way the question of right." 

In regard to the Spanish claim, Mr. Pakenham observes : 

" It must, indeed, be acknowledged that, bv the treaty of 18 19, Spain did convey to 
the United States all that she had the power to dispose of on the northwest coast of 
America, north of the forty-second parallel of latitude ; but she could not, \>y that 
transaction, annul or invalidate the rights which she had, b}' a previous transaction, 
acknowledged to belong to another power. By the treatv of October 28, 1790 (Nootka 
Convention), Spain acknowledged in Great Britain certain rights in respect to those parts 
of the western coast not already occupied. This acknowledgment had reference especially 
to the territory which forms the subject of the present negotiation. If Spain could not 
make good her own right to exclusive dominion over those regions, still less could she 


confer such a right on another power ; and hence Great Britain argues that, from nothing 
deduced from the treaty of 1819 (Florida Treaty), can the United States assert a valid 
claim to exclusive dominion over any part of the Oregon Territory." 

Mr. Pakenham thus labors the claim of Heceta and Captain Gray as to priority of 
discover}-; and this aptly illustrates the whole dispatch : 

" To one and to one onl}' of these commanders can be conceded the merit of discover}'. 
If Heceta's claim is acknowledged, then Captain Gray is no longer the discoverer of the 
Columbia river. If, on the other hand, preference is given to the achievement of Captain 
Gra)% then Heceta's discovery ceases to be of any value. But it is argued that the United 
States represent both titles, the title of Heceta and the title of Gray ; and, therefore, that 
under one or the other, it matters not which, enough can be shown to establish a case of 
prior discovery as against Great Britain. This maj^ be true as far as relates to the act of 
the first seeing and first entering the mouth of the Columbia river; but if the Spanish 
claim to prior discover}' is to prevail, whatever rights may thereon be founded are 
necessarily restricted b}' the stipulations of the treaty of 1790, which forbid a claim to 
exclusive possession. 

" If the act of Captain Gra}-, in passing the bar and actually entering the river, is to 
supersede the discovery of the entrance, which is all that is to be attributed to Heceta, then f 
the principle of progression or gradual discovery being admitted as conveying, in 
proportion to the extent of discovery or exploration, superior rights, tlie operations of 
J '^a II coil e'er in entering^ surveying and exploring^ to a considerable distance in/and, the river 
Columbia, would, as a necessary consequence, supersede the discovery of Captain Gray, to 
sav nothing of the act of taking possession in the name of his so7<ercig}i, which ceremony zcas 
duly pciformed and authentically recorded by Captain Vancouver.''^ J 

The British Plenipotentiary then ingeniously arrays the more thorough surveys and 
commercial enterprises of English navigators against the voj-ages of Spanish officers, 
the voyage of Mackenzie across the continent against the expedition of Lewis and Clark, 
and attempts to avoid the consequence of the restitution of Astoria in 18 iS. He then 
presents his view of the attitude of the question in the following bold and arrogant 
language : 

" In fine, the present state of the question between the two governments appears to be 
this : Great Britain possesses, and exercises in common with the United States, a right 
of joint occupancy of the Oregon Territory, of which right she can be divested with 
respect to an}- part of the territory only by an equitable partition of the whole between 
the two powers. It is for obvious reasons desirable that such a partition should take place 
as soon as possible; and the difficulty appears to be in devising a line of demarkation 
which shall leave to each party that precise part of the territory best suited to its interests 
and convenience." 

Mr. Pakenham then justifies the British proposal of the Columbia river boundary : 

" As regards extent of territory, they would obtain acre for acre nearly half of tlic 
entire territory divided. As relates to the navigation of the principal river,' they would 
enjoy a perfect equality of rights with Great Britain ; and, in respect to its harbors, it 
would be seen that Great Britain shows every disposition to consult their convenience in 
that particular. On the other hand, were Great Britain to abandon the line of the 
Columbia river as a frontier, and to surrender her rights to the navigation of that river, 
the prejudice occasioned to her by such arrangement would, beyond all proportion, exceed 
the advantage accruing to the United States from the possession of a few more square 










miles of territory. It must be obvious to every impartial investigator of the subject that, 
in adhering to the line of the Columbia, Great Britain is not influenced by motives of 
ambition with reference to extent of territory, but by considerations of utility, not to say 
necessity, which cannot be lost sight of, and for which allowance ought to be made in an 
arrangement professing to be based on considerations of mutual convenience and 

This admirable document, exhibiting so fearlessly how Great Britain progresses in 
her determined mission, " by considerations of utility, not to say necessity," to preserve 
to herself the elements of future wealth and grandeur, and at the same time an entire 
change of front in regard to British claim to Oregon, closes with the request that Mr. 
Calhoun will state the extent of the claims of the United States, and what proposal he has 
to" offer for the adjustment of the controversy. 

Mr. Calhoun answers, September 20, 1844, in that terseness of style and perspicuity 
of expression for which the great Carolinian was so pre-eminent : 

" The undersigned does not understand the counter-statement as denying that the 
Spanish navigators were the first to discover and explore the entire coasts of the Oregon 
Territory ; nor that Heceta was the first who discovered the mouth of the Columbia river ; 
nor that Captain Gray was the first to pass the bar, enter its mouth and sail up its stream ; 
nor that these, if jointly held by the United States, would give them the priority of 
discovery which they claim. On the contrary, it would seem that the counter-statement, 
from the ground it takes, admits that such would be the case on that supposition ; for it 
assumes that Spain, in the Nootka Sound Convention, in 1790, divested herself of all 
claim to the territory founded on the prior discovery and explorations of her navigators, 
and that she could, consequently, transfer none to the United States by the Treaty of 
Florida. Having put aside the claims of Spain by this assumption, the counter-statement 
next attempts to oppose the claims of the United States, by those founded on the voyages 
of Captains Cook and Meares, and to supersede the discover}^ of Captain Gray, on the 
ground that Vancouver sailed farther up the Columbia river than he did, although he 
effected it by Captain Gray's discoveries and charts. It will not be expected of the 
undersigned that he should seriously undertake to repel what he is constrained to regard 
as a mere assumption, unsustained by any reason. It is sufficient on his part to say that, 
in his opinion, there is nothing in the Nootka Sound Convention, or in the transactions 
which led to it, or in the circumstances attending it, to warrant the assumption. The 
convention relates wholly to other subjects, and contains not a word in reference to the 
claim of Spain. It is on this assumption that the counter-statement rests its objection to 
the well-founded American claim to priority of discovery. Without it there would not 
be a plausible objection left to them." 

Mr. Calhoun follows with an examination of the counter-statement in detail, and thus 
disposes of Mr. Pakenham's innuendo against the claim of continuity as urged by the 
United States : 

" The counter-statement intimates an objection to continuity as the foundation of a 
right on the ground that it may more properly be considered (to use its own words) as 
demonstrating the greater degree of interest which the United States possessed, by reason 
of contiguity, in acquiring territory in a westward direction. Contiguity may, indeed, be 
regarded as one of the elements constituting the right of continuity, which is more 
comprehensive, and necessarily associated with the right of occupancy, as has been shown 
in previous statement (September 3d). It also shows that the laws which usage has 


established in the application of the right to this continent give to the European 
settlements on its eastern coasts an indefinite extension westward. It is now too late for 
Great Britain to denj' a right on which she has acted so long, and by which she has 
profited so much, or to regard it as a mere facility, not affecting in any way the question 
of right. On what other right has she extended her claims westwardly to the Pacific 
Ocean from her settlements around Hudson's Bay, or expelled France from the east side 
of the Missisippi river, in the war which terminated in 1763 ? " 

He thus deals with the argument of Mr. Pakenham, that the Nootka Sound 
Convention aifected the s/alus of Louisiana, while that province was a Spanish possession : 

" As to assumption of the counter-statement, that Louisiana, while in the possession 
of Spain, became subject to the Nootka Sound Convention, which, it is alleged, abrogated 
all the claims of Spain to the territory, including those acquired with Louisiana, it will be 
time enough to consider it after it shall be attempted to be shown that such in reality was 
the effect. Li the meantime, the United States must continue to believe that they 
acquired from France, bj' the Treaty of Louisiana, important and substantial claims to 
the territory." ■ 

The United States' negotiator closes this document bj' joining issue with the British 
Plenipotentiar}'. With what remarkable clearness he exhibits what had now become the 
Oregon controversy ! 

"The undersigned cannot consent to the conclusion to which, on a review of the 
whole ground, the counter-statement arrives, — that the present state of the question is, 
that Great Britain possesses and exercises, in common with the United States, a right of 
joint occupancy in the Oregon Territory, of which she can be divested only by an equitable 
partition of the whole between the two powers. He claims, and he thinks he has shown, 
a clear title on the part of the United States to the whole region drained by the Columbia, 
with the right of being reinstated and considered the party in possession while treating of 
the title, in which character he must insist on their being considered in conformity with 
positive treaty .stipulations. He cannot, therefore, consent that they shall be regarded 
during tlie negotiation merely as occupants in common with Great Britain. Nor can he, 
while thus regarding their rights, present a counter-proposal based on the supposition of 
a joint occupancy merely until the question of title to the territor}- is fully discussed. It 
is, in his opinion, only after such a discussion, which shall fully present the titles of the 
parties respectively to the territory, that their claims to it can be fairly and satisfactorih' 
adjusted. The United States desire only what they may deem themselves justly entitled 
to, and are unwilling to take less." 

In response to the invitation of Mr. Pakenham, that Mr. Calhoun should define the 
United States' claims to other portions of the territorv, bevond the regions drained b}- the 
Columbia, he answers : 

" The\- are derived from Spain by the Florida Treaty, and are founded on the 
discoveries and explorations of her navigators, and which they must regard as giving them 
a right to the extent to which they can be established, unless a better can be opposed." 

This conclusive reply of Mr. Calhoun's terminated the correspondence. On the 
24th of September, the last conference was held, at which Mr. Pakenham noted tlie 
following protest : 

" That, reserving for future occasions such observations as he might wish to present 
by way of explanation, in repl}- to the statement last presented by the American 
Plenipotentiary, he was for the present obliged to declare, with reference to the concluding 


part of that statement, that he did not feci antJwrizcd to enter into discussion respecting the 
territory north of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude^ which was understood by the British 
government to form the basis of negotiation on the side of the United States, as the line of 
the Columbia formed that of Great Britain. That the proposal which he had presented 
was offered by Great Britain as an honorable compromise of the claims and pretensions of 
both parties ; and that it would of course be understood as having been made subject to 
the condition recorded in the protocol of the third conference held between the respective 
Plenipotentiaries in London, December, 1S26." 

After this illustration of British diplomacy, — to reserve the territory north of 
forty-nine degrees, and offer to negotiate for the remainder, and tliat too as the 
consideration of withdrawing from what she was willing tu concede to the United States — 
this exhibition of her " perfect spirit of fairness," her " basis of equitable compromise," 
upon which Lord Aberdeen invited Mr. Webster, while Secretary of State, to a renewal of 
negotiations, how eminently just was the remark, shortly afterwards made by him as a 
Senator of the United States: " He did not believe that Great Britain had any just right 
to any part of the country not tributary to the waters of the Hudson's Bay, and that side 
of the continent. All her pretended right was founded on the encroachments of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, and the usurpations, spoliations and diplomatic trickery of her 

The Oregon question had as materially changed in another feature. Indifference had 
heretofore marked the actions of the American government and people. It now became 
a matter of national concern. The arena of its discussion had become vastly enlarged. 
No longer confined to the negotiations between diplomatic representatives of the respective 
governments, it had become the leading topic in the United States Congress and British 
Parliament. On the stump, orators maintained our title to the whole of Oregon, and 
protested against compromise. The people of each nation held up their hands in support 
of their respective governments. The question had arrived at its crisis; settlement or 
rupture could not much longer be dela3^ed. Such was the change in the surroundings of 
the question. The gist of the controversy had been alike transformed. England, from 
a passive or negative position, had assumed the aggressive. No longer restricting herself 
to questioning or denjang the claims of the United States, and claiming herself to be in 
joint possession of the whole territory by force of a right to some portion, she stood upon 
an exclusive right to the territory north of forty-nine degrees, and was ready to negotiate 
for the region south of that parallel bounded south and east by the Columbia river. 
True, even now she pretended to no greater affirmative right than when the controversy 
originated ; but her more persistent denial of her rival's claims practical!}' amounted to 
an assertion of exclusive right in herself Her rights were of that nature that she could 
not abandon an occupancy extending throughout the territory, without the portion she 
wanted was segregated and set apart for her sole enjoyment. 

History may admire the wisdom which prompted the desire to acquire and maintain 
a foothold upon the Pacific Ocean. Future generations may learn, that boldness of 
pretensions and pertinacity in maintaining them are links of vast importance in claim 
to territorj'. But it will, nevertheless, appear that Great Britain solemnly renounced, in 
1763, all claim in America to territor}' westward of the Mississippi river; that the voyages 
of British navigators to any portion of the northwest coast of America, subsequent to 
that date, conferred no legitimate claim to any part of the coast, b}- right of discovery or 
settlement; that Spain yielded to Great Britain no territorial rights by the Nootka Sound 


Conveutioii of 1790; that, although the right was conceded to make settlements in 
unoccupied territory north of the line of actual Spanish settlements, Great Britain had 
renounced whatever rights she had thus secured by the two conventions with the 
United States of 1818 and 1827: ist. B}- that of 1818, in covenanting not to do any 
act to the prejudice of the United States, or afij o//icr //a/io/i ; 2d. B}- that of 1S27, as 
the United States had then succeeded to Spain, by renewing that stipulation; 3d. By 
the omission of the word settlements in both of said conventions, which can only be 
construed as evidencing the fact that Great Britain herself did not believe that her 
pretensions to the territor}- derived au}^ strength whatever from the Nootka Sound 
Convention ; and if she so regarded it, then it was a formal and final renunciation of 
claim. That, apart from the fact that the forty-ninth parallel had been fixed as the 
north boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, in accordance with the supposed intent and 
meaning of the Treaty of Utrecht, there is not another act or fact, connected with the 
histor}' of the Pacific coast, or of the territory abutting upon it, which attaches any 
exchisiveness of claim as connected with said forty-ninth parallel. True, that line as a 
boundary had been offered time and again ; but the wherefore, except as a compromise, 
cannot be deduced from the histor}^ of discoveries, explorations or settlements made upon 
the coast or within the territory' west of the Rocky Mountains. 


' ,a .' -^-^ 



Chapter XX. 


Congressional and Executive Action — The Oregon Question an Element of 
American Politics — Presidential Election, 1844 — The Treaty of Limits, June 
15, 1840. 

WHIIvE the American government was working np to the determination to assert 
sole occnpanc}' of whatever right of territory it possessed in Oregon, emigrants 
from the United States had been settling in the territory ; and the leaven of healthy 
Americanization was duly at work within its borders. Each of the processes of converting 
Oregon from a possession of British trading companies to a territory of the United States 
has its distinct history. Knowledge acquired from parties who had visited, traveled in, 
or were residents of, the territor}-, enabled Executive departments and members of 
Congress to act and speak more advisedly. So, also, did information embodied in 
congressional reports and speeches serve to bring the country into notice, and prove a 
stimulus to emigration. Senators and Representatives, imploring the government to do 
its duty and take immediate steps to maintain its territorial rights, must have had a 
powerful effect in creating the belief, by every American settler, that his government 
would ultimately adopt measures to guarantee protection. The Federal government was 
slow in arriving at its conclusion ; yet the validity of American claim had always been 
maintained. In the negotiations during the protracted struggle, it was a source of proud 
satisfaction that the United States negotiators had always held the advantage. The real 
cloud to be removed was ignorance of the value and importance of the country. 
Apathy existed, engendered by the feeling that the region was so remote, so inaccessible ; 
for that reason alone the opinion had been readily adopted that the country was not worth 
contending for. Ignorance of its resources, and failure to appreciate the future 
importance of the Pacific slope ; the remoteness of Oregon from the seat of government, 
and the then centers of population and American power ; the vast quantity of unoccupied 
land lying between ; the belief that the Rocky Mountains were an insurmountable obstacle 
to the land transit of the continent, constituting a line which must effectually divide 
settlements on the western slope from those on the eastern, — the poet's thought had been 
accepted as a truism: "Mountains interposed make enemies of nations, who had else, like 
kindred drops, been mingled into one. " 

All these, and more especially repugnance to a contest with Great Britain, combined 
to prolong the controversy, and afforded that nation the opportunity of securing a foothold 
within the territory, most difficult to remove. There were, however, acts of government, 
revivals of efforts in Congress to relieve this pathway to American occupancy of 
Oregon, of its seeming indifference. Here and there a champion was found to plead 
the cause of the American Oregon. Now and then some resolution was introduced 
provoking discussion, in which manly claims were asserted, and which tended to create the 

( 149 ) 


belief that the United States did intend at some time to assert sole jurisdiction over 
Oregon. These occurrences, 'tis true, were " few and far between ;" the aggregation of 
them will be presented in this chapter. 

In the latter part of 1S35 (November 11), President Jackson appointed William A. 
Slacum, United States Navy, special agent to visit Oregon Territor}- to examine into its 
political, physical and geographical condition. His duty was " to stop at different 
settlements of Whites on the coast of the United States, and on the banks of the Columbia 
river, and also at the various Indian villages on the banks, or in the immediate neighborhood 
of that river; ascertain as near as possible the population of each ; the relative number of 
Whites (distinguishing the nation to which they belong) and aborigines ; the jurisdiction 
the Whites acknowledged ; the sentiments entertained b}- all in respect to the United 
States, and to European powers having possessions in that region; and generally to 
endeavor to obtain all such information, political, physical, statistical and geographical, as 
ma}' prove useful to the government." 

The result of Air. Slacum's observations was embodied in a memorial to Congress on 
the iSth of December, 1837. 

At the second session of the twenty-fifth Congress, 1837-8, the Oregon question was 
revived. In the Senate, Lewis F. Linn, of Missouri, and, in the House, Caleb Cushing, 
of Massachusetts, abl}' and earnestly labored for the Americanization of Oregon. Mr. 
Linn introduced a bill on the 7th of February (183S), establishing a territory north of 
latitude forty-two degrees north, and west of the Rocky Mountains, to be called Oregon 
Territor}-. It provided for the erecting of a fort at the mouth of the Columbia, and the 
occupanc}' of the territor}- by United States troops. A port of entry was located; and the 
revenue laws were to be extended over the territory. Fifty thousand dollars were to be 
appropriated to carry into effect the provisions of the bill. Mr. Linn moved its reference 
to the Committee on Military Affairs. After some discussion, in which Senators Clay, 
Buchanan and Benton participated, on motion of the latter it was referred to a select 
Committee of five, with Mr. Linn as chairman. The Vice-President filled the committee 
by appointing William C. Preston of South Carolina, Robert J. Walker of Mississippi, 
Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, and Garret D. Wall of New Jersey. 

On the 13th of February, on motion of Mr. Linn, the Secretary of War was requested 
to furnish all information in possession of the department relating to Oregon Territory, 
and cause a map to be made of all the country claimed by the United States on the 
western slope of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. 

On the 25th of May, Mr. Linn reported the bill with amendments, and presented au 
elaborate report, accompanied with valuable statistics, giving a truthful picture of the 
territory, a thorough vindication of the claim of the United States, and unanswerable 
reasons why the govenimeut should not further delay in the settlement of the controversy. 

While these proceedings were being consummated in the Senate, Mr. Cushing 
introduced the subject in the House of Representatives, offering a resolution, March 17, 
1838, calling upon the President for information relative to the subjects of officers of any 
foreign government intermeddling with the Indian tribes in Michigan, Wisconsin and the 
territory bc}-ond the Rocky Mountains, or elsewhere within the limits of the United 
States, by the supply of munitions of war, the distribution of gratuities or pensions, or 
othenvise ; and likewise all correspondence, in regard to the title and occupation of the 
territory of the United States beyond the Rocky Mountains. 


On the 3rd of IMa\', President Van Buren transmitted to the House a report from the 
Secretary of State, embodying the correspondence in regard to the title and occupation of 
the territor}-. On the 17th, ]\Ir. Gushing moved the reference of the message to the 
Committee on Foreign Affairs, with instructions to inquire into the expediency of 
establishing a post on the Columbia river for the defense and occupation of the territory 
of the United States watered by said river, and of provision by law to prevent any 
intermeddling by subjects of any foreign power with Indians of the territor3\ In support 
of the motion, Mr. Cushing addressed the House that day, concluding his remarks on the 
22d. Mr. Howard, of Marj-land, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, replied 
to Mr. Cashing. Mr. Elmore, of South Carolina, moved to amend the resolution, directing 
the committee to inquire into the extent of the country claimed, the title under which it is 
claimed, and the evidence of the correctness of title, the extent of seacoast, the number 
aud description of harbors, nature of climate, soil, productions and trade, and whether it is 
expedient to establish a territorial government, or one or more military posts, with the 
expense thereof. Mr. Elmore expressing a desire to speak to his motion, the House 
adjourned. Upon the next day he yielded the floor, and the resolution, as proposed by 
Mr. Cushing, was adopted. This concluded all legislation in regard to Oregon that 

By act of Congress, approved March 14, 1836, the President had been authorized to 
send out an exploring expedition to the Pacific Ocean and the South Seas. On the 20th 
of March, 1S38, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes was assigned to command. The sloops-of-war 
Vincennes and Peacock^ the ship Reliefs brig Porpoise^ and tenders Sea Gull and Flying 
Fish^ were placed under his orders. On the nth of August, 183S, Secretary Paulding 
issued instructions to Lieutenant Wilkes, which, having designated where he should 
cruise until his arrival at the Sandwich Islands, orders : " Thence you will direct your 
course to the northwest coast of America, making such surveys and examinations, first of 
the territory of the United States on the seaboard of the Columbia river, and afterwards 
along the coast of California, with special reference to the Bay of San Francisco, as you 
can accomplish by the month of October following your arrival." On the 17th of August, 
that year, the exploring squadron sailed from Hampton Roads. At the next session of 
Congress, Mr. Linn (December 11, 1838), introduced in the Senate a bill "to authorize 
the occupation of the Columbia or Oregon Territory," which was referred to a Select 
Committee, consisting of Mr. Linn, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Robert J. Walker and 
Franklin Pierce. In the House of Representatives, Mr. Cushing, from the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs, submitted an elaborate report, in which the American title is exhaustively 
maintained, the importance of the countrj' demonstrated, and the policy of Great Britain, 
operating through the Hudson's Bay Compau}^, to acquire the sole occupancy of the 
territory and control of the Indian population, thoroughly exposed. A bill accompanied, 
directing the President to employ such portion of the army and nav}' as he deemed 
necessary for the protection of the citizens of the United States who resided in the 
territory of Oregon, or are employed in commerce on the Columbia river, or its tributaries, 
or upon the adjacent coasts. 

On the 2Sth of January, 1838, Mr. Linn presented in the Senate the first petition 
from American settlers in Oregon, signed by J. S. Whitcom and thirty-five others residing 
south of the Columbia river, praying Congress to extend protection to their settlements 
aud to embrace Oregon within Federal jurisdiction. On the 22d of Februar}-, Mr. Linn 
addressed the Senate in favor of his bill ( introduced at the previous session). Some 


Senators suggested that its passage during the pendency of negotiations with Great 
Britain on the northeast boundary might by the latter government be regarded as an 
unfriendly act tending to embarrass the negotiations ; and the bill and petition were 
referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. 

At the next session, Air. Linn introduced (December i8, 1839) joint resolutions upon 
the Oregon question, which were referred to a Select Committee, of which he was 
appointed chairman. On the 31st of March, 1840, he reported substitute resolutions, 
authorizing the President to adopt such measures as would secure protection to the 
persons and property of citizens of the United States residing in Oregon, and to erect 
a line of military posts from F'ort Leavenworth to the Rock}^ Mountains. They also 
provided that, after the adjustment of the boundaries between Great Britain and the 
United States, one thousand acres should be donated to each White inhabitant over 
eighteen 3'ears of age, and that an Indian agent should be appointed for the territory. 

On the 2Sth of April, 1840, Senator Linn introduced a bill "to extend certain portions 
of laws of the United States over the territory." But the Senate closed its session without 
coming to a vote on either of Mr. Linn's proposed measures. On the 8tli of January, 
1841 (t\vent3--sixth Congress, second session), Mr. Linn introduced a resolution authorizing 
the President to take measures to secure the occupation and settlement of Oregon Territory, 
and for extending over it certain laws of the United States. 

At the extra session (first session, twenty-seventh Congress), Mr. Linn, August 2d, 
introduced a resolution requesting the President to give the twelve months' notice to 
Great Britain (as required b}^ the treaty of 1827) of the termination of the convention 
pennitting a joint occupancy of the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. By consent 
of Mr. Linn, the resolution was so modified as to direct the Committee on Foreign 
Relations to inquire into the expedienc}' of making such a request of the President. The 
committee never reported. At the second session of this Congress, Mr. Linn introduced 
a bill (December 16, 1841), the preamble of which recited: "Whereas, the title of the 
United States to the territory of Oregon is certain and will not be abandoned." This bill, 
like its predecessors, looked to the assertion of sovereignt}' over Oregon, the establishment 
of a line of posts from the Alissouri river to the best pass for entering the valley of the 
Oregon, and also a fort at or near the mouth of the Columbia river. It provided for a 
grant of a section of land to each settler, and the appointment of two Indian agents. The 
laws of Iowa were to be in force in the territory ; with the proviso that, if an offender 
were a British subject, he was to be delivered to the British authorities. Two additional 
justices of the Supreme Court of Iowa were provided in consequence of the enlarged 
jurisdiction. The office of justice of the peace was created, and jurisdiction defined. 
The Select Committee unanimously recommended the passage of the bill. Before its 
consideration had been reached, Lord Ashburton, special ambassador, charged with 
negotiating certain matters of difference between the two countries, arrived. It was 
generally supposed that the Oregon boundary was among the questions for settlement ; 
hence further action was suspended in Congress. The Ashburton- Webster negotiations 
did not include adjustment of the Oregon boundary, and terminated with tlie treaty of 
.•\ugust, 1S42, generally remembered as the Ashburton Treaty. 

Early in the spring of 1842, the Indian Bureau appointed Dr. Elijah \Miite, of 
Oregon, sub Indian agent of the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. 

The United States exploring expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, 
spent the summer months of 1S41 in surveying the Columbia river, the bays and harbors 





of Paget Sound, and making explorations of the country. In 1842, Lieutenant J. C. 
Fremont, United States Army, by order of the Topographical Bureau, examined the 
country westward from the Missouri frontier to the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. 
In 1843, Fremont went to the Columbia river, connecting his work of 1842 with the survey 
of Lieutenant Wilkes. Those overland expeditions were of value, in their effect upon the 
popular mind, vastly beyond any information furnished to the country and the routes 
thereto. They served to verify what trappers and missionaries had years before made 
known. Their great importance, however, was a realization of the hope that the 
government was about to assert jurisdiction; that it was growing alive to its duty of 
protecting the emigrant and encouraging settlement. 

Doubt no longer remained that Oregon was to be settled by a population from the 
United States. At this period the scene was about to change. The Oregon question had 
become a theme of popular discussion. Oregon settlement had become a matter of popular 
interest. Now is heard 

" The tread of pioneers 
Of uations yet to be ; 
The first low wash of waves, where soon 
Shall roll a humau sea." 

On two occasions, the government had 3aelded to Great Britain opportunity of 
maturing and manufacturing claim by admission of a joint occupancy of the territory. 
But henceforward the actual presence of settlers from the United States within the territory 
is the assurance that the transition has commenced ; that Oregon has passed through her 
middle age. She is about to shake off the worse than feudal bonds whicli have retarded 
her career. She is to be transformed from a mere hunting park and dependency, held by 
the Hudson's Bay Company, attorney-in-fact of Great Britain. She is to become an 
American territory; to be dedicated to American settlement; to become an integral portion 
of the American Union. Within the limits of the territory, " governments are to be 
founded on the natural authority of the people." 

Still the government continued inactive; but the people responded to the distant 
voice from Oregon. Throughout the nation, emigration societies were formed to people 
that territory. Those associations agitated the public mind as to the importance of 
Oregon. Petitions to Congress invoked governmental action. State legislatures passed 
memorials, and instructed their Senators and Representatives in Congress. The 
American element in Oregon breathed out its eloquent appeal that it might be fostered 
and guaranteed protection. Interest in Oregon had become national. The voice of the 
people was giving its mandate to the government, to abandon the policy of " masterly 
inactivit}'," and reclaim its own. The first effort of the American settlers (in 1841) to 
form a provisional government had been unattended with success. The influence of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, the Roman Catholic mission, and the advice of Lieutenant 
Wilkes, delayed the effort; yet the attempt provoked the attention of the people of the 
United States. In 1842, a numerous emigration crossed the plains and arrived in Oregon. 

On the 7th of December, 1842, President Tyler's annual message, having commented 
on the relations of the government with Great Britain as satisfactorily changed by the 
ratification of the Ashburton Treaty, thus refers to Oregon: 

" It would have furnished additional cause for congratulation if the treaty could have 
embraced all subjects calculated in future to lead to a misunderstanding between the two 
governments. The territory of the United States commonly called Oregon Territory, 


lying on the Pacific Ocean, north of the forty-second degree of latitude, to a portion of 
which Great Britain lays claim, begins to attract the attention of our fellow-citizens; and 
the tide of population, which has reclaimed what was so lately an unbroken wilderness 
in more contiguous regions, is preparing to flow over those vast districts which stretch 
from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. In advance of the acquirement of( 
individual rights to these lands, sound policy dictates that every effort should be resorted 
to by the two governments to settle their respective claims. It became manifest at an 
early hour of the late negotiations that au}' attempt, for the time being, satisfactoril}' 
to determine these rights, would lead to a protracted discussion, which might embrace 
in its failure other more pressing matters; and the Executive did not regard it as proper 
to waive all the advantages of an honorable adjustment of other difficulties of great 
magnitude and importance, because this, not so immediately pressing, stood in the way. 
Although the difficult}- referred to may not, for several years to come, involve the peace 
of the two countries, yet I shall not delay to urge on Great Britain the importance of its 
early settlement." 

Some Senators thought differently. Mr. Linn urged that the action of the government 
in reclaiming Oregon was "immediately pressing." On the 2ist of December, 1S42, he 
introduced in the Senate a resolution, " that the President be requested to inform the 
Senate of the nature and extent of the informal communications " which took place 
between the American Secretary of State (Daniel Webster) and the British special 
Minister (Lord Ashburton) on the " subject of the claims of the United States and Great 
Britain to the territory west of the Rock}- Mountains " and also the reasons which 
prevented any agreement, and which made it inexpedient to include that subject among 
the subjects of formal negotiation. The resolution was adopted. On tlie 19th, he had 
introduced a bill to authorize the adoption of measures for the occupation and settlement 
of the territory, with similar provisions to bills previously introduced. It was referred 
to a Select Committee, consisting of Messrs. Linn, Walker, Sevier, Merrick and Phelps. 
On the 2 1st of December, the committee unanimousl}- recommended its passage. After 
protracted debate, the bill passed February 6, 1843, bj- a vote of twenty-four aj-es, 
twent3'-two noes. 

Reported to the House, it was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Mr. 
Reynolds of Illinois, on the 9th of Februar}-,- 1843, reported from the Select Committee on 
Oregon Territory a bill of similar provisions to the Senate bill, which was also referred to 
the Committee on Foreign Affairs. John Ouincy Adams, chairman of that committee, 
reported adversely to the passage of the bill, on the ground that the government had 
precluded itself from taking any step towards the occupancy of the territory until the 
twelve months' notice had been given to Great Britain, as provided in the convention of 
1827. That report disposed of the bill in the House for that session. 

The passage of the " Linn bill " was among the last of the persistent efforts of Dr. 
Lewis F. Linn, the devoted champion of the American Oregon. He died October 3, 1843, 
at liis residence in St. Genevieve, Missouri. Those who dwell with interest upon the 
history of the great Northwest, who linger with pride as they recall the efforts of American 
statesmen to develop the nation and extend the blessings of free institutions, constitutional 
liberty, and the rights of mankind, will read with grateful satisfaction the merited tribute 
to the memory of this father of American Oregon by his illustrious colleague, Thomas 
H. Benton. Sa3's he : 


" But how can I omit the last great act, as yet unfinished, in which his whole soul 
was engaged at the time of his death. The bill for the occupation and settlement of 
Oregon was his ; and he carried it through the Senate when his colleague, who now 
addresses you, could not have done it. There is another historical truth fit to be made 
known on this occasion, and which it is declared to this large and respectable assembly 
under all the circumstances which impart solemnity to the declaration. He carried that 
bill through the Senate ; and it was the measure of a statesman. Just to the settler, it 
was wise to the government, x^las ! that he should not have been spared to put the 
finishing hand to a measure which was to reward the emigrant, to protect his country, to 
curb England, and to connect his own name with the foundation of an empire. But it is 
done. The unfinished work will go on ; it will be completed, and the name of Linn will 
not be forgotten. That name will live and be connected with Oregon while its banks bear 
a plant, or its waters roll a wave." 

At the commencement of 1S43-4, President Tyler thus invokes the attention of 
Congress to Oregon: 

"The territorial limits of the two countries (Great Britain and the United States) in 
relation to what is commonly known as Oregon Territory, still remain in dispute. The 
United States would at all times be indisposed to aggrandize themselves at the expense of 
au}- other nation ; but, while they would be restrained by principles of honor, — which 
should govern the conduct of nations as well as individuals, — from setting up a demand for 
territory which does not belong to them, the}' would as unwillingly consent to a surrender 
of their rights. After the most rigid, and, as far as practicable, unbiased examination of 
the subject, the United States have alwaj-s contended that their rights appertain to the 
entire region of country lying on the Pacific, and embraced within forty-two degrees and 
fifty-four degrees, forty minutes of north latitude. This claim being controverted by 
Great Britain, those who have preceded the present Executive, actuated no doubt by an 
earnest desire to adjust the matter upon terms mutually satisfactory to both countries, 
have caused to be submitted to the British government proposals for settlement and final 
adjustment, which, however, have not proved heretofore acceptable to it. 

" Our Minister at London has, under instructions, again brought that subject to the 
consideration of that government ; and, while nothing will be done to compromise the 
rights or honor of the United States, every proper expedient will be resorted to in order to 
bring the negotiation now in progress of resumption to a speedy and happy termination. 
In the meantime, it is proper to remark that many of our citizens are either already 
established in that territory, or are on their way thither for the purpose of forming perfect 
settlements, while others are preparing to follow. And, in view of these facts, I must 
repeat the recommendation contained in previous messages, for the establishment of 
military posts at such jalaces on the line of travel as will furnish security and protection to 
our hardy adventurers against hostile tribes of Indians inhabiting those extensive regions. 
Our laws should also follow them, so modified as the circumstances of the case seem 
to require. Under the influence of our free system of government, new republics are 
destined to spring up at no distant day. on the shores of the Pacific, similar in policy and 
feeling to those existing on this side of the Rocky Mountains, and giving a wider and 
more extensive spread to the principles of civil and religious liberty." 

At the session of Congress 1843-4, memorials, petitions and resolutions of state 
legislatures and popular assemblages in all portions of the Union flooded in upon 
Congress. Acts providing for the immediate resumption of the claim of the United States 


to the whole of Oregon, and to give notice to Great Britain of the termination of the 
convention of 1827, were introduced and discussed. During the recess of Congress, the 
Presidential election transpired. The Democratic National Convention in its platform 
declared : " Our title to the whole of Oregon is clear and unquestionable. No portion of 
the same ought to be ceded to England or any other power ; and the reoccupation of 
Oregon at the earliest practical period is a great American measure." 

James. K. Polk, of Tennessee, was the nominee of that part}- for President of the 
United States. In accepting the nomination, the people had the assurance that he intended 
to adopt those principles as the polic}^ to govern his administration in the event of his 
election. This remark is not a reflection on his subsequent administration, hampered as the 
government must have regarded itself by previously repeated offers of compromise by 
preceding E.xecutives. It is stated to exhibit the value that the great political part}- v.-ho 
supported Mr. Polk's election attached to the American claim to Oregon. " Fiftj'-four, 
forty or fight " was the issue, as it was understood and accepted. Earnestl}- that party 
went to the ballot-box, and there asserted that " war with Great Britain was preferable to 
a surrender of an)- part of Oregon." 

The position of the Whig party, if not so arrogant in assertion of claim, was equallj- 
unequivocal upon the validity of the United States' title. Henry Clay, its most illustrious 
chief, was selected as its nominee for the Presidency. His position on the title to Oregon 
was well defined. On May 8, 1826, in his instructions to the Panama commissioners, he 
had irrevocably committed himself on the measure of relative claim by foreign powers to 
the territory on the northwest coast. Said he : 

" From the northeastern limits of the United States in North America, to Cape Horn 
in South America, on the Atlantic Ocean, with one or two inconsiderable exceptions, and 
from the same cape to the fifly-liist degree of north latitude in North America, on the Pacific 
Ocean, without any exception, the whole coast and countries belong to sovereign resident 
American powers. There is, therefore, no chasm within the prescribed limits in which a 
new European colony could now be introduced, without violating the territorial rights of 
some American state. An attempt to acquire such a colon)', and by its establishment to 
acquire any sovereign rights for an}- European power, must be regarded an inadmissible 

Shortly subsequent to the date of that instruction, in one of his dispatches to Mr. 
Gallatin, referring to the acquisition of Spanish title by the Florida Treaty, Mr. Clay 
asserted : " Our right extended to the sixtieth degree of latitude^ Voting for either of 
the candidates for President was voting that " our claim to Oregon was clear and 
unquestionable ; " while voting for Mr. Polk carried with it also the assent that war was 
to be preferred to the surrender to Great Britain of any portion of that territor}-. Such 
was the attitude of the two great political parties ; such the opinion as to the title to 
Oregon entertained by the respective Presidential nominees. From the national Capitol, 
the Oregon question was transferred to the stump. Throughout the nation, at every 
political meeting, appeals were made to the popular heart ; and the response was 
enthusiastic : " Oregon of right belongs to the United States ; and it is the duty of the 
government, at all hazards, to maintain that right unimpaired." Never in the history of 
any country was a popular verdict so unmistakably and unanimously rendered. Never 
was a government more signally advised by the voice of a united people. The popular 
pulse had been felt ; and it beat strongly in favor of prompt and decisive measures to secure 
the immediate reoccupation of Oregon. It equally proclaimed "that no portion thereof 
ought to be ceded to England." 




cap: henry H.WOODWARD, 





President Tyler, at the opening of the session of 1S44-5, i" his annual message, 
informed Congress that negotiations had been resumed. He urgently reiterated his 
previous recommendations, designed to protect and facilitate emigration, and adds : 

" Legislative enactments should also be made which should spread over him (the 
emigrant) the trgis of our laws, so as to afford protection to his personal propert}- when 
he has reached his distant home. In this latter respect, the British government has been 
much more careful of the interests of such of her people as are to be found in that 
countr}' than have the United States. She has made necessary provision for their security 
and protection against the acts of the viciousl}- disposed and lawless ; and her emigrant 
reposes in safety under the panoply of her laws." 

President Tj-ler's administration ended without satisfactory termination of the 
negotiations. On the 15th of January, 1845, ^^^ British Minister (Sir R. Pakenham) 
proposed that the matters in controversy be settled by arbitration ; which Mr. Calhoun 
declined, January 21, in a brief note, expressing "the hope that the question may be 
settled by the negotiations pending between the two countries." 

In the house of Representatives, December 16, 1844, under a suspension of rules (125 
ayes, 53 noes), Mr. Duncan introduced a bill "to organize a territorial government in 
Oregon." The bill was referred to the Committee on Territories, and reported to the 
House December 23a. It provided a government for the territory west of the Rocky 
Mountains, bounded south by latitude forty-two degrees north, and on the north by 
latitude fifty-four degrees, forty minutes north. A governor, who was also to act as Indian 
agent, a judge, secretary, marshal and attorney were to be appointed by the President. It 
provided for a legislative assembly, consisting of a council to be composed of five members, 
and a house of representatives not to exceed fifty members. The council was to be 
selected by the house of representatives, one to go out annually ; every five hundred 
inhabitants were entitled to a representative. The elective franchise was restricted to 
citizens of the states or territories, unless actual residents of the territor}'. All suspected 
of a want of fidelit}' to the United States, or who refused to take the oath of allegiance 
thereto, were excluded from voting. The veto power was conferred on the governor ; but 
laws could be passed over the veto b}- two-thirds. Congress reserved the right to 
disapprove anj' law passed by the legislative assembly. Suitable forts were to be 
established within the territory, and on the main routes leading thereto. 

The bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole ; where, on motion of Robert C. 
Winthrop, of Massachusetts, by a vote of one hundred and thirt}'-one to sixtj^-nine, it was 
amended by incorporating the proviso, "that there shall neither be slavery nor involuntary 
servitude in the said territorj-, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the 
part}' shall have been duly convicted." That glorious vote, dedicating to freedom the 
great Northwest, explains wh}- so much of Oregon so soon thereafter was so readily 
surrendered to Great Britain. Lying north of thirty-six degrees, thirty minutes (the 
compromise line on the admission of Missouri ), it would necessarily remain free territory 
and ultimately become free states. The territorial integrit}- of Oregon, though so heartily 
indorsed by the people, had been already' sacrificed. The bill was further amended to 
require the delivery to British authorities of any British subject arrested. Grants of land 
were made, subject to the settlement of the title of the territory by the two governments. 
No obstruction of harbors, bays or rivers, against vessels and subjects of Great Britain, 
was to be permitted until the twelve months' notice should have been given to Great 
Britain, as provided by the convention of 1827. The amendment requiring the President 


to give said notice, and to secure the rights of British subjects until the termination of 
the requisite twelve months, passed by a vote of one hundred and twentj^-one to eighty-two. 
The bill passed Februar}' 3, 1S45 : aj-es one hiindred and forty, noes fift3'-nine. 

In the Senate, Mr. Atchison of Missouri introduced, December 19, 1S44, a bill to 
organize a territorial government in Oregon, which was referred to a Select Committee, 
consisting of Messrs. Atchison, Walker, Rives, Crittenden and Allen. On the i6th of 
January, 1845, ^I''"- Atchison reported the bill with an amendment. On the 4th of 
February, the House bill was read and referred to the Select Committee on Oregon 
Territory. On the 7th, the bill was reported to the Senate, with an amendment. On the 
19th of February, in answer to a resolution of the Senate, President Tyler reported that 
the negotiations were progressing favorably. On the 3d of March, the friends of Oregon 
tried to press the Senate to a vote upon the bill ; but that bod}- (twenty-one ayes, 
twenty-three noes) refused. 

Up to the close of President Tyler's administration, both branches of Congress, at 
different sessions, had asserted by the passage of bills that immediate measures should be 
taken by the government to reoccupy Oregon. In the election of 1844, the people had, 
with eutire unanimity, expressed their will that the government would be sustained in 
extreme measures adopted to settle the Oregon question. It may be trul}^ claimed that 
the sole occupancy of the whole of Oregon Territor}^ by the United States had been 
advised by the American people. 

That the President-elect so construed the popular verdict is evident from his very 
able inaugural address, March 4, 1845, ^^1 which he thus in advance committed his 
administration : 

" Nor will it become in a less degree ni}- dut}- to assert and maintain, b}- all 
constitutional means, the right of the United States to that portion of our territory which 
is bej'ond the Rocky Mountains. Our title to the country of Oregon is clear and 
unquestionable ; and already are our people preparing to perfect that title b}- occup3'ing 
it with their wives and children. Within that period, within the lifetime, I might say, of 
some of my hearers, our people, increasing to many millions, have filled the eastern 
valle}' of the Mississippi ; adventurousl}- ascended the Missouri to its head springs ; and 
are already engaged in establishing the blessings of self-government in val]e3-s, of which 
the rivers flow to the Pacific. The world beholds the peaceful triumphs of the industry of 
our emigrants. To us belongs the duty of protecting them adequately, wherever they 
may be upon our soil. The jurisdiction of our laws and the benefits of our republican 
institutions should be extended over them in the distant regions which they have selected 
for their homes. The increasing facilities of intercourse will easil}' bring the states, of 
which the formation in that territory cannot be long delayed, within the sphere of our 
Federative Union. In the meantime, every obligation imposed by treat}- or conventional 
stipulations should be sacredly respected." 

On the i6th of July, 1845, a conference was held between James Buchanan, Secretary 
of State, and Sir Richard Pakenham, British Minister, when negotiations were resumed. 
Mr. Buchanan had presented a proposition dated July 12th, in which he most lucidly- 
demonstrated the title of the United States to the whole territory. He concluded : 

" We have a perfect right to claim under both these titles ; and the Spanish title 
alone, even if it were necessar}- to confine ourselves to it, would, in the opinion of the 
President, be good as against Great Britain, not merely to the valley of the Columbia, 
but the whole territorj' of Oregon. Our own American title to the extent of the valle}- of 


the Columbia, resting as it does on discover_v, exploration and possession (a possession 
acknowledged by a most solemn act of the British government itself), is a sufficient 
assurance against all mankind ; whilst our superadded title, derived from Spain, extends 
our exclusive rights over the whole territory in dispute, as against Great Britain." 

" Such being the opinion of the President in regard to the title of the United States, 
he could not have consented to yield any portion of the Oregon Territory, had he not found 
himself embarrassed, if not committed, by the acts of his predecessors. In view of these 
facts, the President has determined to pursue the present negotiation to its conclusion 
upon the principle of compromise in which it commenced, and to make one more effort 
to adjust this long-pending controversy. He has, therefore, instructed the undersigned 
again to propose to the government of Great Britain, that the Oregon Territory shall be 
divided between the two countries by the fort3'-ninth parallel of north latitude, from the 
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, offering at the same time to make free to Great 
Britain any port or ports on Vancouver Island south of this parallel, which the British 
government may desire." 

The British Minister, under date of Jul}' 29th, assumed the responsibility of rejecting 
this offer. Mr. Buchanan, in an elaborate reply (August 30th), ably reviewed Mr. 
Pakenham's position, and thus closed the negotiation : 

"And how has this proposition been received by the British Plenipotentiary ? It has 
been rejected without even a reference to his own government. Nay, more, the British 
Plenipotentiar}', to use his own language, ' trusts that the American Plenipotentiary will 
prepare to offer some further proposal for the settlement of the Oregon question, more 
consistent ivith fairness and equity^ and ivith the reasonable expectations of the British 
government.' Under such circumstances, the undersigned is instructed by the President 
to say that he owes it to his country, and a just appreciation of her title to the Oregon 
Territory', to withdraw the proposition to the British government which has been made 
under his direction ; and it is hereby accordingly withdrawn." 

Matters were in this situation at the commencement of the session of Congress, 
December 21, 1S45, when President Polk delivered his first annual message. That 
document contains a most interesting history of the negotiations. They were evidently 
cited by the President in justification of his magnanimous and liberal offer of compromise, 
in view of the committal of the administration by his letter of acceptance and inaugural 
address. That the administration, after so man}' repeated offers by predecessors, should 
have attempted to secure a peaceful adjustment, is in the highest degree commendable. 
No censure can justly attach for that effort to maintain peace between nations. By its 
manly assertion of the United States' claim, the Polk administration had brought the 
Oregon question to the happiest juncture occupied in its forty years' discussion. The 
administration had embraced the opportunity to withdraw its offer of compromise ; and 
the nation now asserted its rightful title to the whole territor}'. Its peace-oflfering had 
been spurned, and, by direction of the President, had been formally withdrawn. The 
administration was free and untrammeled. It was about to march forward to give effect 
to the great popular mandate of 1844, that no portion of Oregon should be ceded to Great 
Britain. Such appeared to have been the animus of the President in that first message 
to Congress. He urged that the twelve months' notice to Great Britain required b}' the 
convention of 1S27 should immediately be given ; that the United States desired the 
abrogation of the Joint-Occupancy Treaty. He invoked Congress to adopt measures for 


maintaining the rights of the United States to the whole of Oregon ; that Federal 
jurisdiction be extended over the territor}'. He recommended such legislation as would 
afford protection and securit}' to American settlers. 

In both houses of Congress numerous measures, responsive to the President's 
suggestions, were introduced. The House of Representatives, on the 9th of February, 
1846, by the decisive vote of one hundred and sixty-three to fifty-four, passed a joint 
resolution directing the President to give Great Britain twelve months' notice of the desire 
of the United States to abrogate the convention of 1827. The Senate modified the resolution 
so as to authorize the President, " at his discretion," to give such notice, and passed it 
April i6th, by a vote of forty to fourteen. The House of Representatives refused to 
concur in the Senate amendment, which led to a conference, resulting in the Senate 
phraseology being substantially adopted. On the 23d of April, the resolution passed both 
houses : In the Senate, forty-two ayes, ten noes ; in the House, one hundred and forty-two 
ayes, forty-six noes. 

The notice embodying the joint resolution was promptly given April 28, 1846. The 
occasion was so important, such proceeding so unusual between nations, the precedent 
of such weight)^ interest, that its insertion at length is justified : 

"Whereas, the Congress of the United States have adopted a 'Joint Resolution 
concerning the Oregon Territor}^,' of which the following is a copy : 

"'Joint Resolution concerning the Oregon Territory. 

" ' Whereas, by the convention concluded the twentieth da}' of October, eighteen 
hundred and eighteen, between the United States of America and the King of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for the period of ten j'ears, and afterwards 
indefinite!}' extended and continued in force b}' another convention of the same parties, 
concluded the sixth day of August, in the 3-ear of our Lord eighteen hundred and 
twenty-seven, it was agreed that any country that may be claimed b}- either party on the 
northwest coast of America westward of the Stony or Rocky Mountains, now commonl}' 
called the Oregon Territory, should, together with its harbors, ba3's and creeks, and the 
navigation of all rivers within the same, be " free and open " to the vessels, citizens, and 
siibjects of the two powers, biit without prejudice to any claim which either of the parties 
might have on any part of said country; and with this further provision, in the second 
article of the said convention of the sixth of August, eighteen hundred and twenty-seven, 
that either party might abrogate and annul said convention, on giving due notice of twelve 
months to the other contracting party. 

" ' And whereas, it has now become desirable that the respective claims of the United 
States and Great Britain should be definitelj' settled; and that said territory may, no 
longer than need be, remain subject to the evil consequences of the divided allegiance of 
its American and British population, and of the confusion and conflict of national 
jurisdiction, dangerous to the cherished peace and good understanding of the two 

" ' With a view, therefore, that steps be taken for the abrogation of the said convention 
of the sixth of August, eighteen hundred and twenty-seven, in the mode prescribed in its 
second article, and that the attention of the governments of both countries may be more 




A PIONEER or 1850 , 




earnestly directed to the adoption of all proper measures for a speedy and amicable 
adjustment of the differences and disputes in regard to the said territory : 

" ' Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of 
America, in Congress assembled, that the President of the United States be, and he is 
hereby authorized, at his discretion, to give to the government of Great Britain the notice 
required by the second article of the said convention of the sixth of August, eighteen 
hundred and t\vent3--seven, for the abrogation of the same. 

" 'Approved April 27, 1S46.' 

" Now, therefore, after a careful consideration of the premises, I, James K. Polk, 
President of the United States, in the exercise of the authorit}' and discretion vested in 
me by the said 'joint resolution concerning the Oregon Territory,' and in pursuance of 
the second article of the convention of the 6th August, 1827, therein mentioned, do hereby, 
in behalf of the United States, give notice to her Majesty, the Queen of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, that, at the end of twelve months from and after 
the delivery of these presents by the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 
of the United States at London, to her Britannic Majesty, or to her Alajesty's principal 
Secretar}' of State for Foreign Affairs, the said convention shall be entirely annulled and 

" In testimony thereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto 
affixed. Given under my hand, this twenty-eighth day of April, A. D. 1846, and of the 
independence of the said United States the seventieth. 

[l. s.] "James K. Polk. 

" By the President ; 

r" James Buchanan, Secretary of State." 
The acceptance of the notice was equally prompt. It was as follows : 
"Foreign Office, May 22, 1846. 
" The undersigned, her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for Foreign Aifairs, has 
had the honor to receive the note of Mr. McLane, Envoy Extraordinary and Aliuister 
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, dated the 20th, and delivered on the 24th 
instant, inclosing the document dated the 28th day of April, signed bj' the President of 
the United States of America, and countersigned b}' the Secretary of State, in which, after 
reciting a joint resolution concerning the Oregon Territorv which has been adopted bv 
the Congress of the United States, the President, in conformit}^ with the terms of that 
resolution, gives to her Britannic Majesty's government the notice required b^- the second 
article of the convention of the 6th of August, 1827, between Great Britain and the 
United States, for the abrogation of the same. The undersigned acknowledges, 
accordingly, on the part of her Majesty's government, the receipt of the said notice, and 
declares that, in conformity with its tenor, her Majesty's government will consider the 
convention of the 6th of August, 1827, abrogated accordingh' from the day of 
May, 1847. 

" The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. McLane the assurances of his high 
consideration. " Aberdeen. 

" Louis McLane, Esq., etc." 


While these events had been transpiring in Congress, negotiations had been resumed. 
On the 27th of December, 1845, ^^i" R- Pakenham, by order of his government, made the 
proposition to submit the question " of an equitable division of Oregon to arbitration." 
Mr. Buchanan promptly declined it, because, to submit to such a proposition was an 
avowal of a right of Great Britain to a portion of the territory, and equally as strong an 
admission that his government was wrong in laying claim to the whole of it ; besides, it 
would conclude the United States from making claim to the whole territory before the 
arbitrator." On the 17th of January, 1846, Sir R. Pakenham submitted a modified 
proposition to refer " the question of title in either government to the whole territory to 
be decided ; and, if neither were found to possess a complete title to the whole, it was to 
be divided between them according to a just appreciation of the claims of each." 

Mr. Buchanan replied : 

" If the governments should consent to an arbitration upon such terms, this would be 
construed into an intimation, if not a direct invitation, to the arbitrator to divide the 
territory between the two parties. Were it possible for this government, under any 
circumstances, to refer the question to arbitration, the title, and the title alone, detached 
from every other consideration, ought to be the only question submitted. The title of the 
United States, which the President regards clear and unquestionable, can never be placed 
in jeopardy by referring it to the decision of any individual, whether sovereign, citizen or 
subject. Nor does he believe the territorial rights of this nation are a proper subject of 

But the venue of contention is now to be changed. On the 6th of June, 1S46, Sir R. 
Pakenham submitted to Secretary of State Buchanan a draft of a proposed treaty, which 
had been transmitted to him by the British government. President Polk at once presented 
the same to the Senate of the United States, accompanying therewith the following 
message : 

" To THE Senate of the United States : 

" I lay before the Senate a proposal, in the form of a convention, presented to the 
Secretary of State on the 6th instant, by the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary of her Britannic Majesty, for the adjustment of the Oregon question, 
together with a protocol of this proceeding. I submit this proposal to the consideration of 
the Senate, and request their advice as to the action which, in their judgment, it may be 
proper to make in reference to it. 

" In the early periods of the government, the opinion and advice of the Senate were 
often taken in advance upon important questions of our foreign policy. General 
Washington repeatedlj' consulted the Senate and asked their previous advice upon pending 
negotiations with foreign powers; and the Senate in every instance responded to his call by 
giving their advice, to which he alwa3's conformed his action. This practice, though rarel}' 
resorted to in latter times, was, in my judgment, eminently wise, and ma}', on occasions 
of great importance, be properly' revived. Tlie Senate are a branch of the treaty-making 
power; and by consulting them in advance of his own action upon important measures 
of foreign policy which ma}' ultimately come before them for their consideration, the 
President secures harmou}- of action between that body and himself The Senate are, 
moreover, a branch of the war-making power; and it may be eminently proper for the 
Executive to take the opinion and advice of that body in advance upon any great question 


which may involve in its decision the issue of peace or war. On the present occasion, the 
magnitude of the subject would induce me, under an3^ circumstances, to desire the previous 
advice of the Senate ; and that desire is increased by the recent debates and proceedings 
in Congress, which render it, in my judgment, not only respectful to the Senate, but 
necessary and proper, if not indispensable, to insure harmonious action between that body 
and the Executive. In conferring on the Executive the authority to give the notice for 
the abrogation of the convention of 1827, the Senate acted publicly so large a part, that a 
decision on the proposal now made by the British government, without a definite 
knowledge of the views of that bodj^ in reference to it, might render the question still more 
complicated and difficult of adjustment. For these reasons I invite the consideration of 
the Senate to the proposal of the British government for the settlement of the Oregon 
question, and ask their advice on the subject. 

" My opinions and my action on the Oregon question were made fully known to 
Congress in m}' annual message of the second of December last ; and the opinions therein 
expressed remain unchanged. Should the Senate, by the constitutional majority required 
for the ratification of treaties, advise the acceptance of this proposal, or advise it with 
such modifications as they may, upon full deliberation, deem proper, I shall conform my 
action to their advice. Should the Senate, however, decline by such constitutional majority 
to give such advice, or to express an opinion on the subject, I shall consider it my duty to 
reject the offer. 

" I also communicate herewith an extract from a dispatch of the Secretary of State 
to the Minister of the United States at London, under date of the aSth of April last, 
directing him, in accordance with the joint resolution of Congress ' concerning the Oregon 
Territory,' to deliver the notice to the British government for the abrogation of the 
convention of the 6th of August, 1827 ; and also a copy of the notice transmitted to him 
for that purpose, together with extracts from a dispatch of that Minister to the Secretary 
of State, bearing date on the i8th of May last. 

"James K. Polk. 
"Washington, June 10, 1846." 

" Protocol. 

" A conference was held at the Department of State, on the 6th of June, 1846, 
between the Honorable James Buchanan, Secretary of State, the American Plenipotentiary, 
and the Right Honorable Richard Pakenham, the British Plenipotentiary, when the 
negotiation respecting the Oregon Territory was resumed. The British Plenipotentiary 
made a verbal explanation of the motives which had induced her Majesty's government 
to instruct him to make another proposition to the government of the United States for 
the solution of these long-existing difficulties. The Secretar}' of State expressed his 
satisfaction with the friendly motives which had animated the British government in this 

" Whereupon, the British Plenipotentiary submitted to the Secretary of State the 
draft of a convention (marked A), setting forth the terms he had been instructed to 
propose to the government of the United States for the settlement of the Oregon question. 

"James Buchanan. 
" R. Pakenham." 


"A." (Preamble omitted.) 

" Article I. 

" From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, where the boundary 
laid down in existing treaties and conventions between Great Britain and the United 
States terminates, the boundary line between the territories of her Britannic Majesty and 
those of the United States shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel 
of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from 
Vancouver Island ; and thence southerly through the middle of said channel and of 
Fnca's Strait to the Pacific Ocean ; provided, however, that the navigation of the whole of 
said channel and strait south of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude remain free and 
open to both parties. 

" Article II. 

" From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude shall be found to 
intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia river, the navigation of said branch 
shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading 
with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, 
and thence down the main stream to the ocean, with free access into or through the said 
river or rivers ; it being understood that all the usual portages along the line thus 
described shall in like manner be free and open. In navigating the said river or rivers, 
British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as 
citizens of the United States ; it being, however, always understood that nothing in this 
article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the government of the 
United States from making any regulation respecting the navigation of said river or rivers, 
not inconsistent with the present treaty. 

" Article III. 

" In the future appropriation of the territory south of the forty-ninth parallel of north 
latitude, as provided in the first article of this treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, and of all British subjects who may be already in the occupation of land 
or other property, lawfully acquired within the said territory, shall be respected. 

" Article IY. 

" The farms, lands and other property of every description belonging to the Puget 
Sound Agricultural Company, on the north side of the Columbia river, shall be confirmed 
to said company. In case, however, the situation of these farms and lands should be 
considered by the United States to be of public importance, and the United States 
government should signify a desire to obtain possession of the whole, or of any part 
thereof, the property so required shall be transferred to the said government at a proper 
valuation, to be agreed upon between the parties." 

" The Senate being in executive session : 

"On motion of Mr. Maugum, the Senate proceeded to consider the message of the 
President of the United States of the loth instant, communicating a proposal for the 
adjustment of the Oregon question ; and, after debate, Mr. Haywood submitted the following 
resolution : 

,^>| ^:^fs0^'' 




" ' Rcsohi'd (two-thirds of the Senators present consenting), that the President of 
the United States be, and he is hereby, advised to accept the proposal of the British 
government, accompanying his message to the Senate dated June lo, 1846, for a 
convention to settle boundaries, etc., between the United States and Great Britain, west 
of the Rocky or Stony Mountains.' 

" On June 12, 1846, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution submitted by Mr. 
Haj'wood on the nth instant. On the question to agree to the resolution, it was 
determined in the affirmative: yeas thirty-eight, nays eleven. Those who voted in the 
affirmative are: Messrs. Archer, Ashley, Bagby, Benton, Berrien, Calhoun, Chalmers, 
Thomas Clayton, John M. Clayton, Colquitt, Davis, Dayton, Dix, Evans, Green, Haywood, 
Houston, Huntington, Johnson of Maryland, Johnson of Louisiana, Lewis, McDuffie, 
Mangum, Miller, Morehead, Niles, Pearce, Pennypacker, Phelps, Rusk, Sevier, Simmons, 
Speight, Turney, Upham, Webster, Woodbridge, Yulee. Those who voted in the negative 
are: Messrs. Allen, Atherton, Breese, Cameron, Dickenson, Fairfield, Hannegan, Jarnagin, 
Jenness, Semple, Sturgeon. 

" The Senate having, by the necessary constitutional majorities, advised the President 
to accept such proposed treaty, the said action was communicated to the British 
government in the following letter: 

" Secretary Buchanan to Minister McLane. 

" Department of State, 

"Washington, June 13, 1846. 

'■'■Sir: The President communicated to the Senate, on the loth instant, a confidential 
message, of which I transmit you a copy, asking their previous advice in regard to the 
project of a convention for the adjustment of the Oregon question, delivered to me by Mr. 
Pakenham on the 6th instant. 

"On yesterday the Senate adopted the following resolution: 

'■''■Resolved (two-thirds of the Senate present concurring), that the President of the 
United States be, and he is hereby, advised to accept the proposal of the British 
government accompanying his message to the Senate dated loth June, 1846, for a 
convention to settle boundaries, etc., between the United States and Great Britain, west 
of the Rocky or Stony Mountains.' 

" The vote of the Senate stood thirty-eight to eleven. 

" I have learned from the best sources that the Senate gave this advice under the 
conviction that, by the true construction of the second article of the project, the right 
of the Hudson's Bay Company to navigate the Columbia would expire with the termination 
of their present license to trade with the Indians, etc., on the northwest coast of America, 
on the 3otli day of May, 1859. In a conversation with Mr. Pakenham to-day, I 
communicated this fact to him, and requested him to state it in his dispatch to Lord 

"The treaty will be signed and sent to the Senate on Monday next; and it is more 
than probable that they will, in some form or other, place upon their records their 
understanding of its true construction in this particular. 

" I am, etc., "James Buchanan. 

"Louis McLane, Esq., etc." 


The treaty as proposed was signed June 15, 1S46, by the representatives of the two 
nations. On the iSth of June, it was submitted to the Senate, and ratified by a vote of 
forty-one ayes, fourteen noes. The herculean Benton \vas its most zealous champion. 
From his very remarkable speech in its advocacy, the following very remarkable language 
is extracted. Said he : 

" The first article of the treaty — and it is the main one, and almost the whole treaty 
— is in the very words which I myself would have used if the two governments had left it 
to me to draw the boundary line between them. The line established by that article — the 
prolongation of the boundar}- on the east side of the Rocky Mountains — follows the 
parallel of forty-nine degrees to the sea, with a slight deflection through the Straits of Fuca 
to avoid cutting the south end of Vancouver Island. All this is right in my opinion. 
Forty-nine is the line of right, and of mutual convenience, between the two powers, 
offered b}^ us since the time of Mr. Jefferson, and wonderfully adapted to the natural 
divisions of the country and the actual possessions of the two parties. It parts the two 
streams of water (those of the Columbia and Fraser rivers) as naturall}^ and commodiously 
on the west of the mountains as it parts on the east of the same mountains the two 
systems of waters which belong on the one hand to the Gulf of Mexico, and on the other 
to Hudson's Ba\-; and on both sides of the mountains it conforms to the actual discoveries 
and settlements of both parties. There is not upon the face of the earth so long a line, 
and so straight and so adapted to the rights of the parties and the features of the country. 
From the Lake of the Woods to the Pacific Ocean is twenty degrees of longitude (fifty 
miles to the degree in that latitude); and throughout that long distance the line follows 
the highlands which divide great rivers and their basins, cutting off nothing but the heads 
of rivers of little consequence ; and these excisions most wonderfully balance. 

" It is a marvelously proper line, and does great honor to the discretion, or illustrates 
the good fortune, of the French and British commissioners under the Treat}- of Utrecht, 
by whom it was so long ago established. Mr. Jefferson offered this line in its full extent in 
1807. Mr. Monroe made the same offer in 1818, and again in 1824. ^^i"- Adams offered 
it in 1826, Mr. Tyler in 1842, and Mr. Polk in 1845. For fort}' j-ears, save one, this line 
has been offered by our government to the British government, and by all except the last, 
as a line of right, adapted to the actual possessions of the parties and to the natural 
divisions of the country. Since thirty years, I have been accustomed to stud}- the question 
of this line; and during all that time I have been in favor of forty-nine degrees. As often 
as I have had occasion to express my opinions about it — and those occasions commenced 
with the Treat}' of Ghent in 18 15 — I have declared uniformly in favor of that line, but 
always as a basis, never as an inflexible demarkation, yielding to no accidents of land or 
water. I never talked the nonsense of every inch and acre up to fort}--nine, or war. I 
knew the Straits of Fuca, and that those straits formed a natural boundary for us, and 
also divided the continent from the islands, and the fertile from the desolate regions. I 
knew that the continental coast and the inhabitable country terminated on the south shore 
of those straits, and that the northwest archipelago — the thousand desolate and volcanic 
islands, derelict of all nations — commenced on their shore ; and I wanted to go no farther 
than the good land and the continental coast went. I was always in favor of a deflection 
of a line through the Straits of Fuca ; but I said nothing about it. It was a detail, and I 
confined myself to the proposition of the line as a basis. I had expected the deflection to 
have commenced further back — on the continent — so as to have kept our line a little 
farther off from Fort Langly, at the mouth of Fraser river, almost in sight of which it 


now passes. If this had been asked, I for one would have been willing to grant it ; but 
the British did not ask it, probabl}- for the reason that I would have granted it, namely, 
the entire worthlessness of the desolate region about the mouth of Fraser river. 

" The deflection leaves out Vancouver Island, and I am glad of it. It is one of the 
most worthless of the thousand worthless islands which the northwest archipelago presents, 
and is the derelict of all nations. The Nootka Sound quarrel between Great Britain and 
Spain was not for the island, but for the insult to Great Britain in the deportation and 
incarceration of her subjects by the Viceroy of Mexico. Reparation for that insult was 
the point of the quarrel ; and, that being obtained in a treaty of restoration and indemnity, 
both parties abandoned the island, and neither has since occupied it. It is now vacant 
and desolate, and I want none of it. I would not accept it as a present, nor would the 
poorest lord of the isles that ever lived on the western coasts of Scotland. The fictitious 
importance lately attributed to this island, upon the disparagement of the mouth of the 
Columbia, has vanished upon the revelation of the true character of that river. The 
estuary of the Columbia is now shown to be a good port ; and, with the advantage of 
lights, buoys, beacons, pilots and steam tow-boats, ready to become one of the best in the 
world. This knowledge of the true character of the Columbia puts an end to all pretexts 
of necessity to go north three hundred miles to hunt a substitute port in the remote and 
desolate coasts of Vancouver Island. That island is not wanted by the United States for 
any purpose whatever. Above all, the south end of it is not wanted to command the 
Straits of Fuca. It so happens that these straits are not liable to be commanded, either in 
fact or in law. They are from fifteen to thirt}' miles wide, — rather too wide for batteries 
to cross their shot, and wide enough, like all other great straits of the world, to constitute 
a part of the high seas, and to be incapable of appropriation by any nation. We want 
nothing of that strait but as a boundary, and that the treaty gives us. With that 
boundary comes all that we want in that quarter, namely, all the waters of Puget Sound 
and the fertile Olympic district which borders upon them. 

" When the line reaches the channel which separates Vancouver Island from the 
continent (which it does within sight of the mouth of Fraser river), it proceeds to the 
middle of the channel, and thence, turning south, through the channel de Haro (wrongly 
written Arro on the maps) to the Straits of Fuca, and then west to the middle of that 
strait to the sea. This is a fair partition of those waters, and gives us everything that we 
want, namely, all the waters of Puget Sound, Hood's Canal, Admiralty Inlet, Bellingham 
Bay, Birch Ba}-, and with them the cluster of islands, probably of no value, between 
de Haro's Channel and the continent. Neither the Spanish discoveries, nor our own 
discovery and settlement of the Columbia, would have given us these waters. Their 
British names indicate their discoveries; and the line of forty-nine gives them to us." 

Thus was temporized the Oregon controvers}^ b}' that hasty and ill-digested surrender 
of a large portion of territory to which our title was "clear and unquestionable." That 
treaty settled only so much of the boundary line as lies upon the main land, carrying the 
parallel of forty-nine degrees north westward to the coast of the Gulf of Georgia. Hardly were 
the ratifications exchanged, when, early as the fall of 1846, the boundary dispute was revived 
by the claim being asserted that Rosario Strait was the main channel, and the channel 
intended by that treaty as the northwest water boundary, instead of the Canal de Haro. 
That question remained a matter of controversy between the two governments, until the 
award in 1S73, by the Emperor William of Germany, that the Canal de Haro was the 
main channel referred to in the treaty. By it also the Hudson's Bay Company was 



permitted to continue in Oregon; and the United States stipulated to respect possessory 
rights, which were to have been terminated, b}' their license, Maj^ 30, 1859; yet that 
compau}- and its offshoot, under the alias of the Puget Sound i\gricultural Company, ■ 
claimed ^^5,000,000 against the United States as a compensation to them to withdraw from 
Oregon, to abandon their rights, and for rights claimed to have been acquired during their 
occupanc}' of Oregon, under the Joint-Occupancy Treaties of 181S and 1827. 

Such was the Oregon question, and such its abortive termination. It aptly proves 
that to governments, like individuals, " nothing is denied to well-directed industry." The 
world is afforded the strongest illustration that persistent claim gives as good a title to the 
territor}- as actual right. 

The actors in the consummation which secured peace without honor (though it is not 
believed that Great Britain would have dared to go to war with the United States in 
support of her Oregon pretensions) have passed away. Robert J. Walker, Secretary of 
the Treasury- in the cabinet of President Polk, thus explains (i) the readiness to surrender 
so much of Oregon to Great Britain : 

" We own now the whole western Pacific coast from Lower California to the Arctic 
Sea, except British Columbia, which (against ni}- earnest protest in the cabinet) was ceded 
to England in 1846. I say ceded ^ for our title to the whole of Oregon from the forty-second 
parallel northward to Russian America was in truth clear and unquestionable. British 
Columbia was lost to us by the most unfortunate diplomacy extending through a long 
period of time." 

Wh}' we so willingly jdelded it, Mr. Walker explains in the following : 

" The opposition to the acquisition of Louisiana was geographical and anti-slavery. 
In 1821, Texas was relinquished partly from geographical, but mainly from anti-slaver}-, 
opposition. In 1845, the opposition to the annexation of Texas was based mainly upon 
anti-slavery grounds. In 1846, in connection with the unfortunate action of preceding 
administrations, Oregon, north of the forty-ninth parallel, was lost to the Union. While 
the history of annexation in the United States shows various obstacles by which it has 
been retarded, yet the chief among these was the discordant element of slavery. Thus it 
was that, while the free states to a great extent opposed the acquisition of slave territor}-, 
the slave states opposed the acquisition of free territory. But for these opposing principles, 
our area would be far greater than it is now. On extinguishing slavery, we have removed 
the principal cause which retarded annexation. We see already the good effects of the 
disappearance of this institution in the almost unanimous vote of the Senate b}^ which the 
Alaska treaty was ratified. Before the extinction of slavery^ that treaty would liave been 
defeated upon the same principle that Oregon north of the forty-)iinth parallel was ceded to 

On another branch of this case, apprehension of war with England, Mr. Walker 
remarks : 

" We all know how she availed herself of our war with Mexico to deprive us of our 
rightful territory of Oregon north of the forty-ninth parallel. In other words, a war with 
Mexico to secure Texas must not be endangered bv the conflict with England for our 
rights in Oregon." 

Mr. Walker thus acquits Mr. Polk and Mr. Buchanan of voluntarily and too-readily 
abandoning the policy avowed in such manly terms by the Administration and Department 
of State in regard to the United States' title to Oregon : 

( 1 1 Letter, January 24, iS6S. on the purchase of Alaska. St. Tlioinas and St. Johns. WashUigtoti Daily Morning Chronicle, January 2S, 1S6S. 





" In the letter of the 3d of March, 1S45, of the late James K. Polk, tendering me the 
office of Secretary of Treasnry, he inclosed me his proposed inaugnral address discussing 
the Oregon and Texas questions, in which letter he says : ' If 3'ou, sir, concur with me 
in these opinions and views, I shall be pleased to have your assistance in my administration 
as a member of my cabinet, and now tender to you the office of Secretary of Treasury. 
I shall be pleased to receive your answer at your earliest convenience.' In m\' replj- of 
that date to Mr. Polk accepting the tender, I said : ' The reannexation of Texas in the 
mode proposed in ui}- letter of Sth of January, 1S44, may be regarded as nearly 
consummated. The kindred measure referred to in the letter, namely, our just and 
rightful claim to the whole of Oregon, will, I trust, be successfully asserted by you ; this 
would leave no European power on our Pacific coast except Russia, whose well-known 
friendship to us would, it is hoped, induce her to cede to us her North American territory.' 

" This correspondence needs no comment. It is due, however, to my late excellent 
friend and chief, James K. Polk, to say that he was most sincerely desirous of retaining 
the whole of Oregon, and only abandoned it when he arrived at the conclusion that 
Congress would not sustain him in the measure. 

"It is due to the Secretary of State, James Buchanan, to say that he yielded with 
great reluctance to the sacrifice of an}- portion of Oregon." 

Chapter XXI. 


Settleineiit of Oregon — Internal Condition of tlie Territory — Its Elements of 
Colonization — Native Popnlation, Nnniber, Distribution, Characteristics, 
Disposition, or Kelation to the Several White Kaces Present. 

I^HE Canadian-French settlement on French Prairie, in the Willamette valley, the 
erection of a mill and farmhouses by Dr. John McLoughlin at Willamette Falls (now 
Oregon City), and the cultivation of small tracts near the Hudson's Bay Company posts 
at Vancouver and the Cowlitz, had been the only attempts at settlement hitherto made. 
Oregon occupancy had been restricted to exploration and prosecution of the fur and 
Indian trade. Henceforth the country is to become the home of American men and 
women and children. Its occupants, — settlers, — are to develop its resources, clear its vast 
forests, cultivate its valleys and prairies, and transform the region into American 
communities and states. 

Heterogeneous elements enter into its colonization, diverse in character and purpose, 
yet all operating within the same period. For years each maintained an individuality, — 
worked out its peculiar or particular mission. 

Present in Oregon at the dawn of American settlement were its native population, 
the Hudson's Bay Company with its trading-posts, establishments, trading and trapping 
parties, holding almost exclusive possession of the country, — individual or independent 
enterprises impotent to gain a foothold b_v reason of its vigilant and crushing competition. 
Here were also retired sen-ants of the company, who were taught to regard themselves as 
its tenants for land by them cultivated, whose loyalty to the company still continued. 
Here and there, one who had never been in the service of the Hudson's Ba\- Compan}^ 
who had either dropped out of and remained after the expedition to which he had been 
attached had abandoned the country, or some trapper or sailor, who had drifted in from 
the Rocky Mountains or California. Then came the missionary colonies, and finally 
immigration proper, — American settlers seeking homes. Such was Oregon at that period. 
In brief, general terms must be considered: I. The native population; II. British 
subjects, viz., officers and employes of the Hudson's Bay Company, and its discharged 
servants, chiefly Canadian French ; III. A class who may be styled the independent 
element, — trappers, traders and sailors never in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company; 
IV. The missionary stations ; V. The immigrants, or American settlers. 

The Indian bands or tribes adopted their names from a river, island, bay or other 
natural feature of the country which constituted or gave identity to their vicinage. 
Although sometimes combined under one great chief, yet legitimate recognition of 
authority or clearly defined tribal boundaries did not exist. Their crude form of 
government was patriarchal. Blood asserted its claim for chieftainship, and also for 
recognition as medicine man. These offices of rank continued in families, and descended 

( 17U ) 



from father to son. The relation of members of bands to each other, or between different 
bands, were social rather than political. Combinations resulted from accident or caprice 
rather than tribal ties or mutuality of grievance. War sometimes continued until a well- 
defined tribe became destroyed, — its identity lost, — its survivors merged into another 
nation. Their language was stilted in idea, and of complicated structure. Words had no 
stable or uniform signification ; they differed in pronunciation and meaning not only 
between bands, but were widely dissimilar in significance as used by individuals of the 
same band. The race was vagrant. If fishing, their haunts were the seas, bays and 
rivers; if berrying, they sojourned upon the plains; if hunting or trapping, the banks of 
the streams or forests were their abiding places. They pitched their camp wherever 
necessity prompted. They were homeless, landless, ungoverned except by a few traditional 
customs, or where one, by superiority of will, exacted respect or provoked fear. Hostility 
between rival bands necessitated chieftains, many of whom were born leaders, some orators 
of great power, strategists of ability. 

They sought not knowledge, required not skilled labor, were content to manufacture 
their own utensils, — weapons useful in war or in securing game and fish. Nothing 
indicated a purpose to establish homes, or to cultivate the soil, to acquire or to confer value 
upon land by its occupanc}' or use. 

The fur traders utilized them as trappers and hunters. So valuable was the Indian 
and fur trade, that it created the greatest competition between the great trading companies 
of Great Britain, Canada and the United States. 

The occupancy of the territory west of the Rock Mountains which should, in 
accordance with the spirit of the Joint-Occupancy Treaties of iSi8 and 1827, ^la-ve been 
shared by citizens of the United States and subjects of Great Britain, was really, after 
182 1, sole and exclusive by the Hudson's Bay Company. Citizens of the United States 
who endeavored to participate in this trade and to obtain a foothold in the territory were 
foiled in every effort, supplanted in every enterprise. 

In 1S32, some Oregon Indians had expressed their desire to be taught about God. 
Their condition seemed to endow them with peculiar claims to sympathy. The religious 
world became alive to their spiritual needs ; and missionary organizations vied with each 
other in efforts to establish missions west of the Rocky Mountains. Missionary colonies 
were introduced as factors in Oregon occupancy and settlement. The effect upon the 
native race of the presence of the two civilizers, trading and teaching, is an interesting 
problem. Certain castes effectuall}' conciliated the native population, permanently retained 
their good will, and secured their steady loyalty and entire subserviency. The American, 
whether trader, missionary or settler, was not so successful. Of him the Indian was 
suspicious, was hostile to his presence in the territory. 

The Hudson's Bay Company had no occasion to acquire lands, nor to abridge the 
Indian's haunts. Profitable trade depended upon the continuance of peace, — peace among 
the Indians, and peace between the Whites and Indians. The officers followed alike the 
dictates of policy and humatiity, cultivated the friendship of the Indian, and encouraged 
their employes to assimilate with and thereby gain moral control over him. Under the 
Hudson's Bay Company rule, the country throughout its vast area was safely traveled by 
its single and unarmed white employes ; at every Indian camp the compan\''s men found 
shelter and welcome. 

The American settler was not less friendl}' disposed to the native, the American 
missionary as disinterested as the French or Canadian priest ; yet, to the Indian mind, it 


was apparent that American occupancy meant settlement. It demanded the transformation 
of the wilderness into American homes. It involved the destruction of those elements 
which give to a region all its value as regarded by the Indian. To effect this purpose, the 
American needed to appropriate land, and to exclude others. The necessar}- concomitant 
of American settlement was the banishment of the Indians from their customar}- haunts. 
Game, their main subsistence, retired before its forward march. An aggressive civilization 
drove before it the Indian himself, dissipating in its onward movement his very means of 
sustenance. While really guiltless of depriving the Indian of an^-thing he owned, yet 
American occupancy, expelling the native, lessened his means of acquiring a subsistence. 

Settlement of an}' country inhabited by Indians necessitates conflicts. The savage 
insists that the wilderness shall so remain ; the settler gives heed to the first great 
command, "to subdue the earth and replenish it." The first cultivation of the earth in 
Oregon had been immediately followed by the introduction among the Indians of that 
dreadful destroyer of their race, fever and ague. It has become axiomatic that, with the 
advance of white settlement, the Indian race disappears or decreases. Tribes most 
powerful when Lewis and Clark visited the country had dwindled to mere bands, 
preserving only their tribal name. This decrease cannot be attributed to wars between 
hostile tribes ; for comparativel}- few had lost their lives at the hands of the white race, or 
the wars maintained bj' the Whites against them. Fever and ague, small-pox, measles, 
dysenterj"^, diseases of the lungs, contagious diseases, have been the scourges before which 
the native population have withered away since the advent of the white race, and the 
introduction of the customs and vices of a so-called superior civilization. 

Since 1829, five-sixths of the Indians upon the Columbia river had been destro3-ed 
b}' fever and ague. The great mortality may in a great measure be attributed to the 
absurd Indian treatment of disease. When the fever had reached its highest stage, the 
victim plunged into the cold river and remained immersed until the fever was allayed ; 
the chill which followed was usuall}- fatal. In that year the shores of the streams 
were strewn with native dead ; villages were depopulated ; and entire tribes vanished. 
Indian authority asserts that this disease had been unknown to the Indians, — 
unknown in the country, — until the 3'ear which marks the occasion of the first plowing 
in Oregon (i). The scourge which proved so fatal that year (1S29) to the Indian race 
extended along the upper coast and as far south as California. 

The Aborigines comprised about sevent}^ bands or tribes, who may be thus classified: 

South of the Columbia river and west of the Cascade INIountains . . 2,500 
North of the Columbia river and west of the Cascade Mountains . . 7,600 
East of the Cascades, who ma}- be properlj^ called Indians of the plains 16,900 


These differed in their habits of subsistence and language, and are claimed to have 
been separate communities. In geographical divisions limited b}- natural boundaries, 
such as mountain chains, rivers and bays, the tribes closel}- assimilated ; and tribal 
distinctions were but faintly defined. As a rule, the Indians east of the Cascade 
Mountains were a nation of horsemen, their wealth consisting in horses. Man, woman 
and child were mounted as they moved from place to place. Their entire use for the 
horse was for traveling and moving camp ; that great friend of man was never used by 
them in agriculture or othef labor. Hunting was the main dependence of the Indians 

(1) Missionary Journal, Rev. S. Parker, 1.S35, page 17S. 


of the plains ; fishing was an incident. West of the Cascade Mountains, the Indians 
subsisted princii^all}' by fishing, although those more remote from the bays and rivers 
made hunting a considerable pursuit. All gathered roots and berries, vyith which the 
territory abounded. As those Indians who crossed the Rocky Mountains and hunted 
buffalo were of the highest type, — the bravest warriors, — so, among the western Indians, 
those who in their canoes braved old ocean to capture the whale were the most warlike 
and formidable. The coast tribes are of moderate intelligence, dirty, insolent, deceitful 
passionate, superstitious, addicted to gambling, and grossly libidinous. These qualities 
are less marked in the interior nations. The Sahaptan family, including the Walla 
Wallas, Nez Perces, Cayuses and Shoshones, are similar to the Indians east of the 
Rocky Mountains, — cold, taciturn, high-tempered, warlike and fond of hunting (i). 
They were very superstitious. In their primitive condition, they had no well-defined 
idea of a Supreme Being. There is not in anj- dialect of an Oregon tribe a synonym 
for the word or idea of God (2). They recognize the presence of a " Great Spirit," who 
controls and regulates important events ; who would become displeased with their 
shortcomings, and would visit on them misfortune as a punishment. There was an 
" Evil Spirit," to whom was attributed all the evils to which they were subjected, which 
were not the merited punishment for having provoked the anger of the " Good Spirit." 
They were believers in a future state of existence, in which they would enjoy to an 
increased degree the peculiar pursuits which in this life had conferred pleasure. 

Gambling was the universal ruling passion, manifested by horse-racing, foot-racing, 
athletic exercises, trials of skill and in games of chance. Theft was so prevalent a habit, 
that its extent and universality alone depended upon the opportunity for gratification. 

Subjects of diffei'euce were always referred to their chief; if be3-ond his capacity, if 
any principle was involved, the question would be submitted to a white man. They 
deferred to the white race ; simple-minded, ignorant, they looked up to the white man who 
had come among them, — whom they had learned to know and fear. This characteristic 
largely accounts for the jealousy and hostility of the Indians to American settlers. Two 
white races with adverse interests were present in Oregon. From early in the present 
century, the Indians had been acquainted with the hostility of interests between the 
Americans and British, or, as they were distinguished by the natives, " Bostons " and " King 
Georges," at which time those distinctive appellations had originated. Not onl}' two white 
races were present, engaged in trade, but there were, also, two adverse and hostile systems 
of religious belief, the teacher of each struggling to gain supremacy over the Indian 
mind. How aptly the scriptural aphorism — "No servant can serve two masters: for 
either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will bold to the one and despise 
the other" — defined the attitude of the Indian population towards the British and American 
occupants of Oregon, — towards the Catholic and Protestant missionaries laboring therein. 

For many years, the Indian west of the Rocky Mountains had become accustomed to 
the Hudson's Bay Compan^^'s rule. They had learned to depend on the posts for many of 
the necessaries of life. Many of their women were wives of servants of the company ; and 
a bias for the British, by whom they had been treated with uniform justice, was strong, as 
it was natural. Constituted as is the Oregon Indian, predjudice against, and suspicion of, 
the rival white race, the American settlers, was the natural consequence of that allegiance 
he had learned so thoroughly, and now so willingly accorded to the officers of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, their servants and employes. 

(i) Indians of Northwest America, — Hale's Not Ihut:^! America. 
(2) Ibid. 

Chapter XXII. 


Hudson's Bay C<»ini)aii.y Officers, Employees and Retired Servants — BiograiJhic 
Sketches of Dr. John 3IcLonghlin, Peter Skeen Ogden, James Douglas and 
VVllliani Fraser Tolmie, Chief Factors of Hudson's Bay Company — Notices of 
Alex. C. Anderson, George B. Roberts and Archibald McKinlay — Early Settlers 
of French Prairie — First Settlement at Oregon City. 

WITH isolated exceptions, there were no white residents of Oregon Territory except 
officials and attaches of the Hudson's Bay Compan}', or its discharged servants. 
Previous to the coalition of the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies in iS2i,the 
headquarters of the fur trade west of the Rocky Mountains had been Fort George (the 
Astoria of the Pacific Fur Company). 

In 1824, Dr. John McLoughlin, chief factor in charge of affairs of the Hudson's Bay 
Company west of the Rocky Mountains, removed the compau}' headquarters to Fort 
Vancouver. From 182 1, as head of the fur trade west of the Rocky Mountains, he had 
really been governor of the entire Pacific slope, between California and Russian America. 

The ablest among his pioneer contemporaries (i) eloquently sums up the virtues and 
characteristics of this eminent friend of humanity. The eulogium is a justly merited 
tribute to the man ; nay, it is much more. While it most admirably illustrates his method 
of governing, and his wonderful administrative ability, it equall}' exhibits the influence 
of that power then supreme in the region, and the company's philosophic solution of the 
Indian problem. It vindicates also the only policy which has ever been successful with 
the native population, wherever the white race have been compelled to encounter or deal 
with them, or to live in their midst. Said his eminent friend : 

" When I first saw Dr. McLoughlin (1S43), he was about sixt}^ years of age. His 
head covered with locks white as snow, taken in connection with his large and commanding 
stature and usually black dress, made his Indian name of ' Bald Eagle ' quite appropriate. 
While his presence was dignified, his open, benevolent countenance banished awe ; and 
his cordial manner invited confidence. Those under his command seemed to obey more to 
please a revered father than through fear of a master whose power was absolute. I once 
attended, in his compau}', the Catholic Mission Church near Champoeg. A large number 
of the discharged Canadian servants of the compau}^ w^ere in attendance. Dr. McLoughlin 
took his place near the door. He had a hearty greeting for each father and son, a cordial 
kiss for each wife and daughter, as they passed into church. After mass the people 
flocked to him, some to consult him about their private affairs, others his advice about 
public measures or improvements, others to recount their losses and afflictions. For each 
of the former he had a word of advice ; for the latter he manifested a warm sympathy. 
Though this scene seemed to belong to another age, or at least another country, and 

(l) Hon. Jesse Applegate, in a letter to Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor, October 15, 1S65. 

( 174 ) 


might be regarded at variance with republican equality, yet was it pleasant to see those 
who had stood toward each other in the relation of master and servant for most of their 
lives meet as parent and child after such relation had been dissolved, — strong evidence 
that the master had been just and lenient, the servant faithful and true. But his kindness 
was not confined to his old servants. He was a philanthropist in the strongest sense of 
the term. He did not stop to inquire to what race, country or religion the sufferer 
belonged. The needy was supplied, not with ostentation or prodigality, but with such 
judgment and prudence as to make the alms not merely a temporary relief but a lasting 

" To each immigrant, British or American, Catholic or Protestant, who required 
assistance, — and few did not, — he gave a helping hand, and in such a way as to be least 
wounding to the feelings of independence and self respect. Those desiring to cultivate 
the earth were supplied with seed, — a loan to be returned, when they were able, from their 
own crops. Mechanics were furnished with tools ; and they, as well as common laborers, 
were frequently employed by him in works that made but small return for the wages given. 
Families could obtain provisions and necessaries, to be paid for at the end of the year. 
The seeds loaned, though not in all cases gifts to the borrowers, were never returned — 
nor expected to be — to the company's granaries ; but from year to year, as destitute 
immigrants arrived, they were given orders upon some neighbor for seeds that had been 
borrowed from the company. And thus the wheat, oats, potatoes, etc., which had assisted 
the first settler in a particular location, were made to do a like service to the lately arrived 
neighbor. Nor was the company much better paid for other advances. Before Dr. 
McLoughlin retired frojn the company's service, uncollected debts of this character had 
accumulated to the amount of fifty thousand dollars. As giving these credits was in 
violation of the rules of the company, this large sum was charged upon the books of the 
company to Dr. McLoughlin. Subsequently, however, the board of management at 
London made an order, ' that, in consideration of the eminent services Dr. McLoughlin 
had rendered the company, this charge against him was rescinded.' 

" For those eminent services. Dr. McLoughlin deserves .a very high place in the 
history of Oregon. They not only directly advanced the interests of the company for 
whose benefits they were rendered ; but they benefited the Indians, and contributed in an 
eminent degree to the safety and prosperity of Oregon in its first settlements. That 
service consisted in his entire success as a pioneer in an unknown region, inhabited by 
savages, a race who, though reduced to less than half of their strength while under his 
control, have, under a different policy, cost the United States government much blood and 
treasure, and still continue a great annoyance to the frontier settlements. 

" Under his judicious management and humane treatment of the natives, without war 
and almost without bloodshed, the Hudson's Bay Company, in comparatively a few years, 
spread a network of its posts, and monopolized the trade of the vast region comprehended 
between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and forty-two degrees and fifty-four 
degrees, forty minutes north latitude, then known as Oregon. In this region, inhabited 
b}' numerous tribes, equally treacherous aud rapacious, if not so warlike as those east of 
the Rocky Mountains, so hostile were they to the whites, that, upon the first arrival of 
the compau}^, it was necessar}' for a guard of from thirty to fifty men, well armed, to 
accompany each caravan. In 1843 ^"^ years earlier, a single person belonging to the 
company or enjoying its protection could travel anywhere in safety to life and property. 
In fact, the company's messengers to the different posts in the territory claimed aud 


received the hospitality of any Indians they chanced to meet. Dr. AIcLoughlin ascribed 
this success to a just appreciation of the Indian character. He considered them as the 
children of nature, whose moral seutiments had not been developed by education ; and, as 
children, the}' were to be treated kindl}-, dealt with honestly, and, when they transgressed, 
punished certainh', if not severely'. He impressed upon them that trade and intercourse 
would be as advantageous to them as to the company. If they thought otherwise, he had 
no desire to establish trade with them. 

"A strict discipline was imposed upon the officers and servants of the Hudson's Ba}- 
Compan3^ The officer in charge of a post or part}' was alone authorized to deal with the 
natives. Interference with their women (the so-frequent cause of trouble between the 
Indians and Whites) was strictly forbidden and rigorously punished. Spirituous liquof, 
that curse alike of civilized and savage, was never taken into the Indian country, save the 
one gallon of brandy and two gallons of wine annually furnished each post for medicinal 
purposes. By a judicious system of penalties and rewards, the Indians were taught to 
speak the truth and respect their promises. Theft or murder was never suffered to go 
unpunished. Tribes as well as individuals were stimulated to industry and good behavior, 
by suitable presents and distinctions. If a theft or murder was committed, the tribe to 
which the offender belonged was held responsible, and required to deliver him up for 
punishment. If the tribe hesitated or delayed, trade was withdrawn until the thief was 
surrendered. If a tribe refused to give up a murderer, war at whatever cost was waged 
until full satisfaction was obtained. 

" The provisional government of Oregon, in excluding liquor from the countrv, 
merely sanctioned and continued the rule established by Dr. McLoughlin. An American 
vessel had come into the harbor with a cargo of liquor, to trade with the Indians for fish 
and furs. To prevent the evil consequences which such a trade would produce, at a heavy 
pecuniary sacrifice. Dr. McLoughlin purchased the whole cargo and sent it out of the 

Dr. McLoughlin was associated at Fort \'ancouver, in the management of the interests 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, with two chief factors, Peter Skeen Ogden and James 

Governor Ogden was born in Quebec, Lower Canada. His father, Isaac Ogden, a 
native of England, had settled in New York before the American Revolution ; continuing 
loyal to the Crown, he removed to Canada. By profession a lawyer, for many years he 
held the exalted position of Chief-Justice of that province. He had five sons, all of 
whom became distinguished, and two daughters. Henry, one of the sons, was collector of 
the port of New York, 1841-5, under Presidents Harrison and Tyler. 

Peter Skeen commenced life as a clerk in the office of John Jacob Astor in New 
York City. He pursued for a time the study of law ; but, owing to his harsh and 
squeaking voice, he abandoned the profession, and, in iSii, joined the North West Fur 
Company. Prior to the coalition with the Hudson's Bay Company, he had served west of 
the Rocky Mountains. He continued in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company, and 
for many years conducted a trading and trapping party in the Rocky Mountains. In 
his numerous expeditions, he thoroughly explored what is now Montana, the entire 
Yellowstone country, the heads of Snake river, Salt Lake, and Colorado and California. 
In 1833, ^^^ ^^'^-^ placed in charge of a party for extending the business and establishing 
permanent josts on the northwest coast. In 1S35, he was assigned to the New 
Caledonia district, now British Columbia, then embracing eight posts, with Fort St. 





James on vStuart's Lake as headquarters. He there remained until 1S44, when he went 
East upon a furlough. On his return, he was appointed senior member of the board of 
management west of the Rocky Mountains, consisting of himself and chief factors John 
Work and James Douglas. Dr. McLoughlin having retired, Governors Ogden and 
Douglas continued at Fort Vancouver until 1849, when the latter removed to Fort Victoria, 
on Vancouver Island. In 1852, Governor Ogden visited England, Canada and the United 
States. The writer spent several days with Governor Ogden at the National Hotel 
in Washington City, in the spring and summer of 1S52. The old governor recounted, in 
his quaint and humorous manner, many adventures and experiences in the fur trade. At 
that time he was the most genial, companionable and interesting of old men, full of jokes, 
anecdotes and bonhomie. In the spring of 1854, he returned to Oregon. The steamer 
upon which he was passenger went ashore in a fog, just south of San Francisco. From 
this exposure and privation resulted a severe cold from which he never recovered. He 
reached Oregon, and died at the residence of his son-in-law, Archibald McKinlay, Esq., 
at Oregon City, on the 27th of September, 1854. Governor Ogden was of a most 
cheerful disposition, and possessed an amiable, equable temper. His subordinate 
officers and voyageurs looked up to him as a father. For him they would undergo any 
privation; with him the}- would willingly incur any danger. He was a natural leader of 
men. Simple-minded as a child, but of most determined character, nothing could daunt 
him. In the midst of greatest danger, he would have his jokes ; and seldom did he betray 
anxiet}' or excitement, or allow his temper to become ruifled. 

James Douglas (since distinguished as Sir James), the first and very efficient governor 
of British Columbia, was eminently worthy to be the confrere of McLoughlin and Ogden. 
Son of a West Indian planter, educated at Glasgow, Scotland, he entered the service of 
the North West Company in 181 7-18 as an apprentice clerk. In 1835, having passed the 
different grades of clerkship, he was made chief trader. In 1840, he had attained to the 
rank of chief factor. His earlier services had been in the Athabasca country. Five 
years had been spent in New Caledonia, after which he served at Fort Vancouver till his 
promotion to the chief tradership. While book-keeper, it was part of his duty to 
conduct alternate seasons the overland express between Fort Vancouver and York Factory, 
on Hudson's Ba3^ In the performance of this dutj?, he several times crossed the Rocky 
Mountains. From the lowest position to the exalted one in which he added luster to 
the name of Douglas, every duty intrusted to him was conscientiously and well 
discharged. From apprentice, to governor of a wealthy province, he conferred honor upon 
each grade while occupied by him. He filled every station with dignity, and never forgot 
what was due to himself and to those who had placed their confidence in his management. 
He never acted upon impulse, but was always cool, wise, dispassionate and brave. He 
leaves a name illustrious in Pacific coast history, dear to the early settlers of Oregon, 
Washington and British Columbia. The American settlers of Puget Sound can never 
forget his generous response in the winter of 185 1-2 in behalf of the Georgiana captives 
on Queen Charlotte's Island. In the Indian war that visited Washington Territor}^ 
in 1855-6, Governor Douglas furnished the needed supplies, arms and ammunition to enable 
its people to make a defense, neglected as they were hy their own government. He sent 
thither an armed vessel to co-operate with the territorial authorities in protecting the infant 
settlements of Puget Sound. The Indians were taught that in making war upon 
Americans they warred against the white race. The Indians learned, as did our people, 
that Douglas was a Christian and a white man in such a war. The savage was forever 



disabused of his previous idea, that Indian hostility to the " Bostons " was meritorious in 
the sight of a " King George." 

The most prominent of the corps of Hudson's Bay Company oflBcials to whom was 
intrusted the management of its affairs in the Puget Sound country was Dr. William 
Fraser Tolmie. For a number of years before the advent of American settlers to that 
region, he had been in charge at Fort Nisqually, near Puget Sound. During the 
establishment of all the early settlements upon and in the vicinity of that marvelous inland 
sea, he continued in charge of that post. The large tracts of many .square miles of land 
claimed by the Puget Sound Agricultural Compau}' (whose agent he was), upon the 
Nisqually plains and Cowlitz prairies, brought him in constant contact with the settlers ; 
but his firm and discreet conduct, his forbearance and even temper, disarmed open hostility 
and prevented combined opposition to his plans. He was respected for his loyalty to the 
compan}''s claims, and his apparent real desire, as far as compatible with his relations to 
the company, to promote the best interests of the settler. 

He was born at Inverness, Scotland, Februar}- 3, 1812. He received a liberal 
education in his native place, and at au earU' age commenced the study of medicine and 
surgerj- in the Medical College of Edinburgh. Having taken his degree, while yet under 
twenty-one years of age, he joined the service of the Hudson's Ba^- Companv, embarked 
in the Ganyiuede, one of the company's vessels, for Fort Vancouver, where he arrived in 
August, 1833. Dr. Tolmie there commenced his career as clerk and medical adviser. At 
the time of his arrival, Governor Peter Skeen Ogden, chief factor, was fitting out an 
expedition for the purpose of establishing trading-posts up the northern coast to the 
Russian possessions. Dr. Tolmie was assigned to duty with this party as surgeon. 
Having returned to Fort Vancouver (1836), he performed the duties of surgeon of that 
post until 1841, when he was granted leave of absence, during which he visited his 
birthplace. Within the year he had returned to the companj^'s service in North America. 
He took passage in one of the company's vessels to York Factory on Hudson's Bay, and, 
shortly after his arrival, journeyed overland to Fort Vancouver. Upon reaching that post. 
Dr. Tolmie was assigned to Fort Nisqually, having risen to the rank of chief trader. 

American settlers upon Puget Sound, United States army officers on duty or who 
visited Fort Steilacoom, government officials on dut}- in the territor}-, persons passing 
through the country or transacting business on the sound, in fact, all who were here 
in early days, will cheerfully attest the genuine hospitalit}- of Dr. Tolmie. He was 
ever the genial companion, the true-hearted gentleman. Perhaps of all persons in the 
country at that time best informed as to its resources, its facilities for travel, yet he was 
ever willing to impart information, and to give advice and assistance where necessar}-. 
During the Indian outbreaks occurring on Puget Sound previous to and leading up to the 
great conspiracy and war of 1855-6, he rendered valuable services to the territorial 
authorities and the settlers of both Oregon and Washington in pacifs'ing the Indians, or 
in bringing them to punishnient for their misdeeds. Dr. Tolmie was a thorough 
and accomplished Indian linguist. He studied Indian dialects, Indian customs and 
characteristics con aiuorr, but also as an auxiliarj- in tlie company's business. None 
more than he thoroughly understood Indian character ; and to none more than he did the 
native population award respect and obedience. That influence which he had gained over 
the Indian mind was always used for the benefit of the companv, and the white race. To 
the Indian he was like an affectionate father; when punishment became necessary, it was 


SO visited upon a malefactor, under his administration, that it rather served as a lesson 
than an act of retribution. The American settlers on Puget Sound were greatly indebted 
to him for his ever-ready willingness to investigate their grievances and, when deserved, 
to redress them. By judicious exercise of that power over the native population, he 
greatly assisted in the preservation of peace, saved the remote and weaker settlements 
from the horrors of Indian barbarity, and rendered the country safe for the American 
settler with his family to make a home upon Puget Sound. 

He was a ripe scholar, an able writer, an indefatigable and methodic collector of facts 
and statistics; in brief, he was a good citizen and an honest man, true to himself, and to 
those in whose service he was enlisted, — true to his friends, true to, and sympathetic with, 
the Indians who looked up to him for protection and counsel, and who always trusted 
him ; nor was that confidence reposed in him by the Indian ever abused nor misplaced in 
his quarter-century's intercourse with the tribes of Puget Sound. 

He was a thoroughly moral man, of irreproachable personal habits and amiability of 
disposition. He loved mankind and the lowly of earth. He hated oppression, and was an 
abolitionist. He despised any influence which dragged down humanit}' ; and the cause of 
temperance found in him a staunch and consistent advocate, without cant or hypocrisy in 
his manly nature. He practiced what he preached. In his family he not only set a good 
example to his numerous offspring in forbidding the use of intoxicants, but in his walk 
through life himself consistently abstained. It was his conviction that the use of 
liquor was hurtful to health and promotive of vice and disease. Such being his belief, he 
was the ardent and consistent advocate of temperance. Those who were honored by being 
of his circle of friends will hear with painful surprise that he was ever charged with 
professing a code of morals, as proper for other men, which he himself violated (i). 

Shortly after the Fraser river excitement had made Victoria a growing British 
emporium of Northwest America, Puget Sound lost him as a citizen. He went to 
Vancouver Island in 1859, and continued in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company 
until 1870. Dr. Tolmie served his fellow citizens of British Columbia in the colonial 
legislature, and held numerous offices of honor and trust, in all of which he acquitted 
himself with credit and to the satisfaction of the people. Much of his later life was 
devoted to literary labor, — to his favorite investigation of Indian dialects and customs. He 
found time to exhibit a spirit of enterprise. He labored to benefit his neighbors, and was 
highly esteemed b}' the community in which he lived. Full of years and beloved by all, 
this philanthropist, friend of the Indian and of the early American settler, went to his rest 
at the ripe age of three-quarters of a century. 

Other officers of the Hudson's Bay Company earned distinction by meritorious service, 
and entitled them.selves to grateful remembrance for hospitality, kindness and assistance 
to our fellow-countrymen. In our sister province of British Columbia, several of them 
subsequentl}- acquired distinction in affairs of state. Let a few be named who never lost 
tlieir interest in the territory so long their home: The veteran Archibald McKinlay, Esq., 
who held Fort Walla Walla from 1841 to 1S46, so well known and highly esteemed b}' 
ancient Oregonians, is rounding off an eventful and useful life at Lac la Hache, in 
British Columbia; Alexander C. Anderson, who half a century ago was on duty on the 
Columbia river and upper coast, a painstaking writer of distinguished learning and ability, 
long recognized as the oracle of the history of those early times ; George B. Roberts, who 

I See Hubert Howe Bancroft's Works, Vol. .XXXII, History of British Columbia, page 303. 


served the company so zealousl}- and well, long before Americans began to settle in Oregon, 
long the respected Probate Jndge of Wahkiakum count}-, who resided at Kathlamet. Of 
those venerable men, McKinlay alone survives. 

" They were men, take them for all in all, 
We shall not look upon their like again." 

Of those who rose to the rank of chief factor, chief trader or even clerk, instances 
are rare of retirement from the company's service to settle in the countr}'. But those 
who were termed servants, including the farmers, dairymen and men-of-all-work who 
constituted the enlisted emploj-es, after having served their full term of five j-ears and 
probably a re-enlistment, became settlers of Oregon. Of these, many were natives of 
Scotland and the Orkney Islands ; the remainder were Canadian trappers and voj-ageurs. 
This latter class, when retired, as alread)' stated, located upon French Prairie, in the 
Willamette valley, and upon Cowlitz Prairie ; a very few settled upon the Steilacoom 
Prairie, near Puget Sound. 

The number of British subjects in Oregon as then defined, emplo3^es of the 
Hudson's Baj' Company and its retired servants, approximated twelve hundred. 

French Prairie, about sixty miles south of the Columbia river, bounded on the west 
and north by the Willamette river, was the first permanent settlement in the Willamette 
valley, or with perfect propriety it might be said, in Oregon Territory, /. r., that vast 
region west of the Rocky Mountains, bounded south by the California bouudary, 
forty-two degrees, and north b}' the Russian line, fiftj^-four degrees, forty minutes. 
Etienne Lucier was the first settler. He had been a trapper, who had come to Oregon 
in 1811, in the overland party of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company, commanded 
by Wilson P. Hunt, one of the partners. His first settlement was on the east side of the 
Willamette, opposite to where Portland now stands. There he remained for several years, 
when, in the fall of 1S27, he took the tract on French Prairie, and became the pioneer of 
that settlement. Before the spring of 1830, the free trappers (those who were engaged in 
trapping, not enlisting in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company) had selected farms 
upon the French Prairie. Several of the old retired servants of the North West Company 
had also made .settlements. 

From the parish register of St. Paul's church, which contained the names of earl}- 
settlers of French Prairie, their birth, age, and date of death, Hon. Willard H. Rees, in his 
most valuable annual address upon " The Early Settlements and Settlers of French Prairie," 
delivered at the Pioneer's Annual Reunion of Oregon, 1S79, gives a most interesting 
extract, furnished by Rev. B. Delorme, pastor: " Francis Quesnel, died 1844, aged 65 
years. Philip Degie, born at Sorel, Canada, 1739, died February 27, 1847, aged loS years. 
This oldest inhabitant first crossed the continent with Lewis and Clark in 1S05. Francis 
Rivet, died September 15, 1852, aged 95, first came to Oregon with Lewis and Clark. 
William Cannon, born in Pennsylvania in 1755, died in 1854, aged 99 3'ears. Etienne 
Lucier, died March 6, 1853. Lewis Labonte, died in i860, aged 80 years. Joseph Gervais, 
died July 13, 1861, aged 84 years. (Cannon, Lucier, Labonte and Gervais were free 
trappers, and together came to Oregon, in 1811, in Wilson P. Hunt's overland party.) 
Francis Dupra, died 1858, aged 99 years. Andrew Longtain, born in 1782, died in 1879, 
aged 97 3'ears." Of this pioneer settlement Mr. Rees eloquently remarks : " French 
Prairie, comparatively limited in extent, is nevertheless a prolific field abounding in many 
stirring and important events in connection with the early history of Oregon. Here have 




lived and now lie buried two of that gallant band of pioneers wbo, with Lewis and Clark, 
in 1805, followed the waters of the Columbia from their sources to the uttermost limits of 
the west. Here were the homes of Gervais, Lucier and Cannon, and, on the west side of 
the river, Labonte and La Framboise, four Canadians and two Americans, all Astor men, 
who came to Oregon with Captain Hunt in iSii, some of whom were with Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie, ' the first white man who ever crossed the Rocky Mountains.' In later 
years (with the exception of La Framboise), these five free trappers were the first to 
introduce the civilizing arts of husbandry in the valley of the Willamette. Here the 
pioneer missionaries first proclaimed the salvation of the cross to the native tribes. Here, 
too, in 1841, were held the first political meetings which eventuated, in 1S45, in giving to 
the whole people of the territory a provisional form of republican government, a work of 
Oregon pioneers, the history of which must endure while the ' River of the West ' shall 
continue to roll his waters to the briny deep." 

In the fall of 1830, the first servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, retired by Dr. 
McLoughlin, had commenced settling upon French Prairie. These servants, Canadian 
French, were married to native women ; and some were about to have united themselves to 
the native tribes to which their wives belonged. Through the influence of Dr. McLoughlin, 
such scheme was abandoned ; and they were induced to take claims and cultivate farms. 

Some of these retired servants had also about this period commenced to occupy lands 
adjacent to the farms of the Hudson's Bay Company, upon the Cowlitz Prairie, north of 
the Columbia river. 

While Dr. McLoughlin was thus encouraging the retired servants to engage in 
agriculture on French Prairie, he himself, in 1829, commenced the erection of a saw-mill 
at Willamette Falls (now Oregon City). The employes engaged in getting out the 
timbers wintered there in 1829-30. Progress was made in blasting out a mill-race, four 
houses were built, and the timbers prepared for the saw-mill and a store. 

Chapter XXIII. 

(Ante 1836.) 

Aoiericaii Settlements — Personnel of Independent Residents of Oregon — First 
Expedition of Captain N. J. Wyetli — First School West of Rocky 3Iountaius 
— Second Exjiedition of Captiiin Wyeth — Ewing Yonng and Ilall J. Kelly — 
Immigrants of 1835. 

PRE\'IOUS to the establishment of the Oregon Methodist ]\Iission in the Willamette 
valley, exclusive of those whose presence might be attributed to the Hudson's Ba}- 
Compan}', there were not to exceed fifteen white inhabitants, west of the Rock}- Mountains 
and between forty-two and fift3'-four degrees, forty minutes north latitude. Those were 
persons who had remained from vessels which had entered the Columbia river, or had 
come from the Rock}' Mountains or California. They were mountain meu, trappers or 
adventurers and sailors. As a general rule, they were married to native women. 

(1832.) Of the overland party of Captain Nat. J. Wyeth, of Massachusetts, ten 
remained after Wyeth's return in 1833, to Boston, of whom Solomon H. Smith, John Ball and 
Calvin Tibbetts settled in the Willamette valley. On the ist of January, 1833, John Ball 
opened a school at Fort Vancouver, for Indian and half-breed children. He continued 
teaching until March, and was then succeeded by Solomon H. Smith. This was the first 
school taught west of the Rocky Mountains. 

(1834.) Of Wyeth's party of 1834, there settled in the Willamette, James A. O'Neill, 
Thomas J. Hubbard and Courtney M. Walker. In November, came Ewing Young and 
Hall J. Kelly, with a party of eight others, among whom was Captain Joseph Gale, 
afterwards one of the executive committee or board of three governors of Oregon, uuder 
the first Provisional government. 

Of American names connected with this period of Oregon settlement, none are more 
notable than those of Ewing Young and Hall J. Kelly. 

Ewing Young was an adventurer of great force of character. Kelly was a visionar}' 
enthusiast. The latter, en route to Oregon via Mexico and California, met Young at 
Monterey, and induced him to come to Oregon. Young brought a herd of California mares 
and horses. He erected a dwelling on the Willamette river opposite Champoeg, the first 
house built upon the west side by an American. He entered Oregon uuder a cloud, attributed 
to the circumstance that in the party were reckless characters, who, after the California 
settlements had been left, returned to ranches and drove off horses. When those 
depredations had become known to Figueroa, Governor-General of California, and that 
the destination of Young and his party was Oregon, that official denounced them as horse 

The Hudson's Bay Company's sloop Cadboro was then at Monterey, bound for Fort 
Vancouver. By this vessel. Governor Figueroa notified Governor McLoughlin of the 
coming to Oregon of this party, accusing them of having stolen horses. The sloop 

( 182 ) 


had arrived at Fort Vancouver before Young and his party. The charge of horse stealing 
had preceded Young's arrival. Dr. McLoughlin says : " I refused to have communication 
with any of the party. Young maintained he had stolen no horses, but admitted that 
others had. I told him that might be the case; but, as the charge had been made, I could 
have no dealings with him till he cleared it up. But he maintained to his countrymen, 
and they believed that, as he was a leader among them, I acted as I did from a desire to 
oppose American interests." 

Courtney M. Walker, in a paper of the proceedings, 1881, of the Oregon Pioneers, 
characterizes Ewing Young as "a very candid and scrupulously honest man, thoroughgoing, 
brave and daring." He writes: "Mr. Young being in want of some supplies, and having 
a few beaver skins, sent them to Fort Vancouver to exchange for his supplies. But Dr. 
McLoughlin having been apprised, b}^ no less authority than the Governor-General of 
California, that Young was at the head of banditti, refused to purchase the beaver, but 
sent Mr. Young the articles which he had wished to purchase, besides sending him 
several articles of refreshments for his table. But when the articles came, Young 
indignantl}- refused to receive the goods or refreshments, but went in person to 
Vancouver. The Doctor satisfied Mr. Young that he could not, beiug at the head of 
a company trading directly with California, have acted otherwise than to have given 
credence to the charge by the Governor of California. On the return of the Cadboro to 
California, Dr. McLoughlin wrote to the Governor of California, as also did Mr. Young. 
The ensuing fall the Governor wrote to Dr. McLoughlin and Mr. Young, withdrawing 
the charges against Young, and regretting the occurrence." 

Mr. Walker refers to Hall J. Kelly and the hospitable attentions to him at Fort 
Vancouver, and the free passage to the Sandwich Islands. He then obsei-\'es: "On Mr. 
Kelly's arrival at Boston, he published an account of his travels, and dwelt with a good deal 
of severity upon the of&cers of the Hudson's Bay Company, and how he and Young had been 
treated. This pamphlet was sent to the United States' Consul at the Sandwich Islands, who 
was instructed to make the necessary inquiries about Young and other citizens on the 
Columbia. About this time Lieutenant W. A. Slacum, United States Navy, arrived at 
Oahu ; and the United States' Consul chartered a little brig and got Lieutenant Slacum 
to come and see, etc." (This was in the winter of 1S36.) 

This article of Walker possesses value, as it doubtless gives Young's version of his 
interview with Dr. McLoughlin. It also exhibits the view entertained by early settlers, 
of the purposes of the mission of Purser William A. Slacum, United States Navy, special 
agent appointed by President Jackson. 

Hon. M. P. Deady, foremost among reliable and painstaking collectors of the 
historic data of early Oregon, thus wrote in 1867 of Ewing Young: "He was a man of 
mark, fond of adventure, and endowed with force of character. He was a native of 
Tennessee. At an early age we learn of him in New Mexico, where he married a native 
woman, by whom he had a son, Joaquin Young. For some reason, he left his Mexican 
partner and progeny sa)is ceremoiiic. In the summer of 1834, at Monterey, he was 
induced by Hall J. Kelly, of Boston, to accompany him to Oregon. The party arrived 
at Vancouver in October, 1834. Mr. Kell3''s health failed him, and he soon returned 
home by the way of the Sandwich Islands. Young settled in Yamhill county, where he 
died in the winter of 1840-1. He left no relations in the country, nor in the world, so 
far as was then known. He died intestate, and left what was considered a large estate. 
This circumstance, and the necessity of providing for the disposition of this propert}-, led 


to the first attempt to form a Provisional government in Oregon. A committee, chosen 
at Young's funeral, called a mass meeting of the inhabitants of Oregon south of the 
Columbia river to be held at the Methodist Mission in the Willamette valley, on the 17th 
and i8th of February, 1841, to take steps for the government of the communit}-, and to 
provide for the disposition of the estate of Ewing Young. 

"The meeting was held pursuant to call, and comprised nearly all of the male 
adults south of the Columbia. It was fitl}- called ' The Primarj- IMeeting of the People 
of Oregon.' The Rev. David Leslie acted as chairman. The meeting, after electing 
officers, adjourned to meet on Thursday, June 11, 1841. 

" The Provisional authorities took possession of the Young estate. In the message 
of the Executive Committee to the Legislative Committee, dated Willamette Falls, 
December 15, 1844, and signed Osborne Russel and P. G. Stewart, it is stated that the 
estate had been settled; and the net proceeds amounted to the sum of $3,734.26, which sum 
had been loaned to various individuals. 

" December 24, 1S44, the Legislative Committee passed an act directing the funds 
of the estate to be collected and paid into the treasury of the Provisional government, 
pledging the faith of the government that the same should be refunded whenever claimed 
bv the heirs or creditors of Young. By the same act, $1,500 of the funds of the estate 
were appropriated for the building of a jail at Oregon City. The jail was dulv erected, 
but after some ^-ears was destro3-ed by fire. This was probably the first jail west of the 
Missouri. So it may be said that the early Provisional government in Oregon grew out 
of the death of Ewing Young, and that its treasur}- was first filled from the funds of his 

For Hall J. Kelly, merit has been claimed for inviting attention to the American 
colonization of Oregon. He was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, in 1789. In 1827, 
then teacher of a public school in Boston, he had become zealously interested in the 
territory west of the Rocky Mountains. He addressed a memorial to Congress, urging 
"the founding of a new republic of civil and religious freedom on the shores of the Pacific 
Ocean, and extending the blessings of Christianit}' to the Indian tribes." 

Lentil 1828-9, his colonizing efforts were restricted to lecturing, memorializing State 
Legislatures and Congress, and through the public journals. He made several abortive 
efforts to organize a colon}- to proceed overland to the territor}-. From 1820 to 183 1, he 
devoted his time to procuring a charter from the Massachusetts Legislature. At the 
session of 1830-31, he secured the incorporation of "The Society for Encouraging the 
Settlement of Oregon Territory." A large number enrolled to go to Oregon; two only, 
John. Ball and Calvin Tibbetts, who accompanied Captain Wyeth on his first expedition, 
ever reached Oregon. 

Kelly then made an ineffectual effort to send a part}- by sea to Puget Sound. With 
a small party, he went to the City of Mexico via Vera Cruz, and thence to California. His 
party having abandoned him in Mexico, with a single companion he overtook a part of the 
trapping party of the Hudson's Bay Company, about 200 miles from San Francisco, 
returning to Fort \'ancouver. Joining them, in a few days the remainder of the party 
were overtaken, with whom was Ewing Young. 

The treatment which Ewing Young received at Fort Vancouver has been related. 
Dr. McLoughlin says : " I treated all of the party in the same manner as Young, except 
Kelly, who was very sick. Out of humanity I placed him in a house, and attended on him 
till he left iu 1836, when I gave him a passage to Oahu in one of the company's vessels. 





IMMIGRANTS OF 1835. 185 

On his return to the States, he published a narrative of his voyages, in which, instead of 
being grateful for the kindness shown him, he abused me and falsely stated that I was so 
alarmed with the dread that he would destroy the company's trade that I had kept a 
constant watch over him. This was published in a report made by him to the United 
States Congress." 

Kelly, having returned to Massachusetts, devoted much time to publishing matter 
relating to the climate, soil and advantages of Oregon. Session after session, he labored to 
secure a congressional grant of land in Oregon in remuneration for his services in behalf 
of the colony, but failed. Some charitable friend, noticing his death, which occurred on 
the 20th of December, 1S73, thus refers to his latter life: "Doomed and disappointed, 
poor and needy, unable to stem the adverse tide, he became so irritable as to drive his wife 
and family from him. Having a small house and a little land, heavily mortgaged, he has 
lived for more than twenty years a hermit's life, brooding over his troubles. His mind 
partially gave way ; and for j^ears, in every little trial even down to his last hours, he 
traced, through every unfriendly act or annoyance, the persecutions of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, through their emissaries, who, he believed, still followed him with relentless 
hostility, because of his early efforts in colonizing Oregon. No efforts of friends or 
relatives could induce him to leave his hermitage on the side of the hill facing the common 
at Three Rivers, though they offered him a good home and the comforts of life." 

For 1835, a single expressive quotation from the memoranda of Dr. McLonghlin 
exhibits the character and progress of settlement : " Five English and American deserted 
sailors, having lost two of their number murdered by Indians, made their way from 
California to Willamette." 

Chapter XXIV. 


The Oregon Methodist Mission — Visit of Flathead Indians to St. Louis, Aslcing 
Missionaries — Formation of Oregon Metliodist-Ejjiscopal Mission — Kev. Jason 
Lee and Associates Journey to Oregon, 1834 — Establishment of Mission in 
Willamette Valley — Schools Established at Willamette and Fort Vaiiconver — 
Missionary Elforts to Clu-istianize Indians — Arrival of Dr. Elijah White, Kev. 
David Leslie and Others — Status of the Mission — It Abandons the Indian 
Work — The Oregon Institute Founded — Prominent in Every Popular Enterprise 
— Kev. Jason Lee Succeeded by Kev. George Gary — Character of the Mission 
Changed — Eflects of Presence of Methodist Mission in Oregon. 

IN THE fall of 1832, four Flathead Indians accompanied a returning party of Rocky 
Mouutain trappers to St. Louis. Two of the number had died in that city; and the two 
survivors started upon their return, but never reached their people. These Indians had 
communicated to General William Clark, then residing at St. Louis, that they had been sent 
East by the chief men of their tribe to solicit that the " word of God '' might be taught to 
their people. The publication that such an appeal had been made, the wearisome journey 
to carr}^ the petition, the tragic fate of the messengers from the knowledge-craving tribe, 
invoked the zealous interest of religious denominations ; it created at once a sensation in 
missionar}' circles. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., President of Wesle3"an University, eloquently 
urged immediate response. The Board of Missions of the Methodist-Episcopal Church 
invited laborers. Rev. Jason Lee and his nephew, Daniel Lee, of Stanstead, Lower 
Canada, members of the New England Conference, volunteered ; and the former was 
appointed Superintendent of the Oregon Mission. 

(1833.) The Board, October i6th, appropriated three thousand dollars for an outfit, 
and authorized the emploj-ment of two la}' members. The Messrs. Lee repaired to Boston 
to consult Captain W3'eth, who had but latel}- returned from Oregon. That gentleman was 
about dispatching the brig A/aj' Dacrc to the Columbia river ; the next season he proposed 
to lead a party across the continent. Thus was afforded the opportunit\' to ship their 
outfit and to travel overland with a safe escort. Cyrus Shepherd, of Lynn, Mass., and 
P. L. Edwards, of Richmond, Mo., were selected as lay members; and Courtney M. Walker, 
of the latter place, had been hired for one year. 

(1834.) On the 2Sth of April, the missionaries left Independence, Mo., with Captain 
N. J. Wyeth's second Oregon expedition, and on the 13th of September reached Fort 
Vancouver. The May Dacre had alread}- arrived and was lying in the Columbia, near 
the mouth of the Willamette. The purpose had been to establish this mission among 
the Flatheads ; but Superintendent Lee counseled wdth Dr. McLoughlin, who urged that, 
to accomplish anything with the Indians, their establishments must be where they could 
collect the Indians around them. They could teach them to cultivate the ground and live 

( 186 ) 


more comfortably tlian by hunting. Wbile doing this, they should teach them religion. He 
suggested that the Willamette valle}' was the proper field ; and his recommendations were 

Having received their supplies, leaving Mr. Shepherd at Fort Vancouver on account 
of sickness, the Lees, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Walker ascended the Willamette river sixty 
miles. On the 6th of October, upon the east side of the river, they established the first 
mission station in Oregon. Their building, thirtj'-two by eighteen feet, was readj^, 
November 3d, for occupancy. A manual-labor school was immediatel}- opened for 
Indian children. 

(1835.) A similar school had been established by Mr. Shepherd at Fort Vancouver, 
and continued till spring, when he joined the mission. In October, Rev. Daniel Lee, 
impaired in health, visited the Sandwich Islands ; and Mr. Edwards took charge, during 
the winter, of the mission school at Champoeg. 

(1836.) The increased number of scholars required additional buildings. At this 
time missionar}' efforts were largel}^ devoted to preventing the introduction of ardent 
spirits into the Willamette valley and among the Indians. 

The Oregon missionary undertook to teach the gospel to a savage race who had 
neither knowledge nor conception of Christianity. The Oregon Indian had accustomed 
himself to the presence of the trader, the trapper and the sailor; but such inteixourse 
was transient ; nor was its purpose moral or mental improvement. The missionary was 
the first to teach, to christianize, to civilize. His was the herculean task of transforming 
Indian character, of mollifying savage nature, of preparing the Indian mind for the 
presence of a superior name with entirely variant purposes of life. To an unappreciative 
people, the missionaries urged the adoption of an aggressive civilization content onl}- with 
supplanting every custom, tradition and characteristic of that people. To accomplish any 
result in such a field, the missionary must tangibly demonstrate to the savage the 
advantages which attend Christian conduct. The Indian must be convinced that the 
daily life of the white men under Christian influences exhibited evidence of a higher 
scale of happiness than he enjoyed. Missionary duty also found fruition in adapting the 
country for the homes of civilization. To successfully accomplish such results, how 
plausible the theory that the mission required to be self-sustaining and independent. 
Within itself should exist the ability to subsist its members. People to whom it ministered 
should be dependent upon it, — should look up to it and should co-operate with it. The 
Methodist Board, recognizing this policy, as promptly reinforced its Oregon Mission as 
the means of communication afforded. 

In May, Dr. Elijah White and wife, William H. Wilson, Alanson Beers and wife, 
Misses Downing and Johnson, arrived at the mission (i). They had sailed from Boston 
in June, 1836, in a whaling vessel, and reached the Sandwich Islands, where they were 
delayed several months waiting for a passage by a Hudson's Bay Company's vessel to the 
Columbia river. 

In September, the mission was further strengthened by the arrival of Rev. David 
Le-slie and family. Rev. H. K. W. Perkins and Miss M. J. Smith. On Christmas, a general 
meeting was convened; and the Oregon Missionary Society was formed. A new station at 
The Dalles, among the Wasco Indians, to be called Wascopam, was ordered, to which was 
assigned Revs. David Leslie and H. K. W. Perkins. Superintendent Lee was selected to 
go East and solicit aid and additional missionary force. 

(I) On the i6tli of July, Rev. Jason Lee married Miss Ann Maria Pitman ; and Cyrus Shepherd married Miss Susan Downing. The ceremony 
was performed by Rev. Daniel Lee in a grove in front of the Mission House. 


(1838.) Ou the 26th of March, leaving the mission in charge of Rev. David Leslie, 
Rev. Jason Lee started East accompanied by P. L. Edwards, a Mr. Ewing of Missouri, and 
two Chinook Indians (i). 

With the two Indians he reached New York in the fall. The Methodist Board 
resolved (November 6th) to send five additional missionaries, one ph3-sician, six mechanics, 
four farmers, a steward and four female teachers. 

During the winter of 183S-9, missionary meetings were held bv Lee and his Indian 
companions through the Northern States. Including appropriations made by the Board, 
over fort}' thousand dollars were contributed. Agricultural implements, a saw and grist 
mill, trading goods, a complete outfit for a colony, were purchased. On the 9th of October, 
1S39, the reinforcement, consisting of fifty-two persons, sailed from New York in the ship 
Lausanne^ Captain Spalding : Revs. Jason Lee and J. H. Frost, A. F. Waller, W. W. 
Kone, L. H. Judson, Josiah L. Parrish, J. P. Richmond, M. D., and Gustavus Hines (2), 
preachers; Dr. I. L. Babcock, physician; George Abernethy (3), steward and accountant; 
Messrs. W. W. Ra3nnond, H. B. Brewer, James Olley, H. Campbell, and their families; 
Misses Ware, Clark, Phelps and Lankton, teachers. In the colony were sixteen children. 
During this 3'ear, Rev. David Leslie and William H. Wilson established a station near 
Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound. The Lausanne arrived at Fort Vancouver on the ist of 
June, 1S40. On the 13th, a general meeting of the mission was held. Dr. Richmond 
was assigned to Nisqually, Mr. Frost to Clatsop, Messrs. Hines and Kone to the Umpqua 
countr}'. Dr. Babcock was located at Wascopam. The mission colony now numbered 
sevent3--five, twenty of whom w^ere children. That the founders of the Oregon Methodist 
Mission were actuated by the philanthropic motive of civilizing and christianizing the 
native population, is apparent. That the IMissionary Board duly appreciated the 
remoteness of the territor}-, the difficult}- of obtaining supplies, and necessar}' dependence 
on the Hudson's Bay Compau}', are manifest in the liberality in reinforcing this mission. 
That the missionaries selected were prompted by similar laudable motives ma}' be 
charitably believed. The Oregon Mission entered upon its career, embracing men of 
ambition, men of force, men who could and did see a great future for Oregon, if erected 
into an American State. 

A foreign corporation was their neighbor, exercising control over the Indian 
population, as also over the majority of the white population then present in the territory. 
The one was British and worldly, the other American, claiming to be actuated by higher, 
holier, purer motives. So long as the mission confined itself to religious and educational 
pursuits, — so long as it continued missionary in its labors, — it enjoyed the sympathy and 
received the direct aid and support of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Indian civilizing soon ceased to be an occupation of the mission. The work changed 
to ministering to the white settlers who were gathering in the Willamette valley. As the 
mission strengthened in influence with those settlers, its power became a political lever as 
much as moral agency. The missionaries had commenced their labor in the education 
and care of Indian children. Time and money had been liberally expended, at first with 
seeming assurance of success. The building of the enlarged mission schoolhouse in 
1842, at an expense often thousand dollars, had been succeeded by a remarkable mortality 
of Indian children. A number of them died, which occasioned a number to run away, and 

(i) On the 26th of June, 1S38. Mrs. Jason Lee gave birth to a son,— Oregon's first-born American white male. On the 27th, mother and child 
became occupants of one tomb, — brief but sad chronicle of the birth and death of an Oregon first born ,— the first death of a woman of our race west 
of the Rocky Mountains. 

(2) The historian of the Oregon Mission, — author of a most entertaining narrative of the niissionarj' voyages. 

(3) Governor George Abernethy, of the Oregon Provisional Government, 1845-6. 


the parents of others to withdraw their children. The attempt to educate the Indian youth 
had received its quietus. As the only rational hope of transforming an Indian is in 
alienating him while a youth from Indian customs and traditions, so, by the refusal of 
Indian youths to submit to missionar}- teaching, Indian civilization ceased to be a part of 
missionary labor. The missionaries continued to receive and instruct those Indians who 
would receive instruction; but their efforts being unappreciated by the native, they turned 
their active attention to the American settlers, — the white population who had commenced 
the transformation of Willamette valley into an American community. Here were their 
own race engaged in mechanical branches, in cultivating the extensive mission farms, in 
caring for their rapidl}- increasing stock of cattle and horses The mission had developed 
into a wealth-producing community. Its power was to continue by its acquiring and 
retaining influence with the increasing population. It had become a candidate for popular 
favor. From its farms, stores and granaries, it could furnish sustenance, siipply necessary 
implements for the pursuit of husbandr}^ or mechanical vocations. It could not only 
furnish employment, but could supply its employes with all the necessaries of life. 
The community was as dependent upon it for temporal wants as for spiritual food. The 
reinforcement of 1840 no longer meant Indian mission ; it was colonization, power, — 
moral, social, political. 

The world will harshl}' criticise those who, having dedicated themselves to a service 
which required self-denial and sacrifice, abandoned such for more tasteful or more profitable 
employment, even though the latter proved more practicable of good results. The erection 
of mills, the successful pursuit of trade, the cultivation of lands, the holding of office, are 
all benefits to our race, and are also sources of wealth. But such pursuits will not be 
accepted as missionary labor. Large tracts of land had been taken by the mission for 
itself; and each member had located his section of land. The mission supported a large 
force of employes. The country was without established government or laws ; there was 
no agency to restrain lawlessness but the presence of the missionaries. It was a 
recognized associate governing power; and the settler early learned to look up to the 
mission, to respect its authority, to defer to its leading members. Nor was it slow to 
assume authority thus voluntarily acknowledged, to exercise that control to which the 
settler had voluntarily submitted. Thus its members acquired influence in the community. 
If greed for gain or personal ambition may have prompted some to use that power 
inconsistently with the precepts of the Gospel which they were sent to Oregon to impart 
to the Indians, the individual should be condemned ; the mission should only be censured 
where it participated in the wrong, shared in the profit, or suffered such wrong to pass 

Located in the Willamette valley, the mission became the nucleus of American settlers. 
It sympathized with them. Its leading members mingled with the people. The mission 
molded public opinion. As the country increased in population, its purposes materially 
changed. Education became a subject of vital popular interest. The little community 
looked to the mission for educational opportunities. Jason Lee called a meeting at his 
residence on the 17th of January, 1842, of the members of the mission and all friendly to 
education. Dr. Babcock and Revs. Leslie and Hines were appointed to report a plan 
for an institution of learning. On the ist of February, 1842, an adjourned meeting 
was held at the Oregon Mission House. Friends of education, irrespective of sect, 
participated, prominent among whom was Rev. Harvey Clark, Congregationalist. Thus 
and then was inaugurated the OREGON Institute. 


It was to commence as an academical boarding school, to be converted as early as 
practicable into an university. Although designed for white children, a person of color 
who produced a certificate of good moral character, and could read, write and speak the 
English language, could gain admission. It was to be placed under the supervision of 
some evangelical branch of the Protestant Church. Until such denominational character 
should be ascertained, subscribers of fifty dollars and upward were authorized to transact 
the business. A fifty-dollar subscription conferred the right to participate in meetings of 
business. Five hundred dollars entitled its subscriber to a perpetual scholarship. When 
subscriptions should amount to four thousand dollars, buildings were to be erected. 
Subscriptions were payable, one-third cash, and the remainder in cattle, lumber, wheat, 
or property delivered at the institute at market prices. Money was then unknown in 
Oregon. Cash meant accepted orders either upon the mission at Oregon Cit}-, or upon 
the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver. Four thousand dollars were promptly 
subscribed. On the 26th of October, 1S42, the Methodist-Episcopal Church of Oregon 
pledged itself to sustain the Oregon Institute ; and thus it became a ^Methodist institution. 

On the 29th of May, 1S43, the subscribers to the institute met at Wallace Prairie, 
the selected site. Previous proceedings were ratified, and the Oregon Institute was 
formally transferred to the Methodist-Episcopal Church of Oregon. B}- November i6th, 
1843, the buildings had been erected at a cost of three thousand dollars, under the 
supervision of William H. Gray, General Superintendent and Secular Agent. 

At the first annual meeting of the Trustees, Rev. Jason Lee was elected President, and 
selected as agent to visit the Atlantic States to solicit funds and donations for a librar}-, 
apparatus and other educational appliances. 

The mission and its prominent members zealously entered into all popular 
By establishing the institute, it had commended itself to popular sympathy and support. 
Any secular work which promised benefit to the masses, or wealth or influence to the 
mission, was sure to secure its hearty co-operation, the direct assistance of its leading 
spirits. In its earliest days, it had been the prime agency in stocking Oregon with cattle. 
If a mill was needed, it supplied the capital and skilled operatives for its erection. If a 
store was to be established, it furnished the goods. Its prestige was invoked against the 
competition of the Hudson's Ba}- Compau}-. In the spring of 1841, Ewing Young, an 
independent settler, died without any relative in the territor}-. He had amassed 
considerable property-. How was it to reach his legal heirs or representatives ? 
Unconnected with either Hudson's Ba}^ Compau}^ or the mission, in the absence of laws 
providing for the settlement of estates, who was to take the custod}- of his effects ? The 
mission and its members were willing to adopt a code of regulations to establish law and 
order, to submit to lawful aiithority, to empower the will of a majority to be exercised in 
a system of government. 

Then, as at every succeeding attempt of the American settlers of Oregon to adopt some 
form of government, the Methodist missionaries, clergy and laity, took a prominent part. 
They molded the political issues of those daj^s, and were the popular leaders. There 
were, however, a series of tolerated acts which reflect no credit upon the mission. The 
investigation ordered b}- the Methodist-Episcopal Missionar}- Board, the result of that 
investigation, and the action of the new superintendent, are tacit condemnations of the 
worldly and financial policy of the Oregon Mission. 

Dr. Elijah White had been dismissed in 1840, and returned to the States. Oral and 
written complaints against the superintendent had followed. It was charged that the 


Board had been misled as to the number of Indians in the territory, in consequence of 
which misrepresentations, a much greater number of missionaries had been sent and 
maintained than was necessary. There was delay in making report of the manner in 
which the large appropriation to the reinforcement of 1840 had been di.sbursed. As a 
consequence, the Board, on the 19th of July, 1843, recommended to the bishop in charge 
of foreign missions an investigation of the financial concerns of the Oregon Methodist 
Mission. Bishop Hedding appointed Rev. George Gary, of Black River, New York, 
superintendent of the Oregon Mission. Unaware of this hostile action, without notice to 
the accused of pending charges. Rev. Jason Lee had, during the fall of 1843, started for 
the east via the Sandwich Islands to solicit funds for the Oregon Institute. Rev. 
Gustavus Hines was to have accompanied him. They had arrived at Honolulu, where, 
awaiting a vessel bound for the United States, they learned that Mr. Lee's successor was 
en route to Oregon. A passage for only one offering, to Mazatlan, was embraced by Lee, 
who from thence proceeded via Vera Cruz to New York. 

Rev. Gustavus Hines returned to Oregon, where he arrived April 23, 1844. The 
annual meeting of the mission was held, Rev. D. Leslie acting as superintendent. Leslie 
was assigned to the Willamette settlement, Hines to Tualitan Plains, Parrish to Clatsop, 
and Perkins to The Dalles. Rev. Dr. Richmond and Revs. Kone, Frost and Daniel Lee 
had previously abandoned the mission and had already returned to the East. 

The only Indian mission was at The Dalles. The four appointments, the mission 
school and the several secular departments now constituted the Oregon Methodist 
Mission. Superintendent Gary shortly arrived. He was vested with unlimited discretion 
and full powers to continue the mission as conducted, or abolish its secular character. 

Superintendent Gary called a meeting of all the missionaries, ministers and laymen. 
The result was a decision to sell the Clatsop mission farm and stock. The lay members 
were discharged, except H. B. Brewer, at The Dalles. They were allowed a sum sufficient 
to enable them to reach the eastern States, or, if they elected to settle in the country, an 
amount in propertv equal to such traveling expenses. Dr. Babcock returned to the 
States ; all the rest became settlers. 

The Oregon Mission Manual-Labor School still remained undisposed of It had been 
erected at an expense of ten thousand dollars. Superintendent Gary called a meeting of 
the Oregon Methodist-Episcopal Church June 26th, at the mission schoolhouse, to 
determine what disposition should be made. It was resolved to abandon it. Superintendent 
Gary sold the property to the trustees of the Oregon Institute for four thousand dollars. 
The Oregon Institute farm found a purchaser; and the Oregon Mission Manual-Labor 
School became the Oregon Institute. Thus terminated the colonial character of the 
Oregon Methodist Mission. 

Rev. Mr. Perkins left for the East in the fall. The Oregon mission after ten years 
of existence numbered four preachers, viz. : Superintendent Gar}^ David Leslie, A. F. 
Waller and Gustavus Hines. The latter remarks: "The finances of the Oregon Mission 
were thus summarily brought to a close ; and the mission was not onl}^ relieved of a 
ponderous load, but assumed a decidedh' spiritual character." 

Tlie presence in Oregon of the Oregon Methodist Mission had not material!}- 
contributed to the temporal or spiritual advancement of the native population of Oregon. 
As a civilizer or christianizer of the Indians, it was a failure. But to the future of Oregon, 
its presence was salutary. Reports to missionary boards gave valuable information of the 


country, its soil, climate and resources. The support of the Provisional government fused 
the American element and hastened the extension of Federal jurisdiction over the 

As an Americanizer, as an impresser of Oregon social life by the establishment of 
churches and schools, its agency in colonization was lasting and incalculable. The Oregon 
Mission became the Oregon Conference, a wholesome adjunct, but not a factor in settlement.' 
From a little mission party of four, it had become the Methodist-Episcopal Church of 



Chapter XXV. 


Establishment of the Oregon Mission, Under the Auspices of tlie American Board 

of Commissioners of Foreign Missions. 

THE x\merican Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, chiefly sustained by 
Congregationalists, furnished support to missionaries connected with Presbyterian, 
Congregational and Dutch Reformed Churches. Its Oregon Mission embraced the Indian 
tribes east of the Columbia river. Its several stations or branches were established among 
the Cayuse, Nez Perce and Flathead nations. In the spring of 1834, the Board appointed 
Rev. Samuel Parker, Rev. John Dunbar and Samuel AUis, Jr., to make an exploring tour 
" among the Indian tribes near or beyond the Rock}- Mountains." If impracticable to 
proceed so far that year, they were to visit the Pawnee nation, on Platte river. They 
left Ithaca, New York, May 5, 1S34, and arrived at St. Louis on the 23d, too late to 
accompany the annual caravan of the American Fur Company. Messrs. Dunbar and 
Allis continued their journey to the Pawnee country. Mr. Parker returned to the East. 

(1835.) Marcus Whitman, M. D., having been associated with Rev. Samuel Parker, 
the latter left Ithaca on the 14th of March, 1S35, reaching St. Louis April 4th, where Dr. 
Whitman awaited him. The missionary explorers crossed the plains and Rocky 
Mountains with the annual caravan of the American Fur Company; and on the 12th 
of August they reached Green river. The missionaries remained together several days, 
meeting a large number of Indians. Nez Perce and Flathead chiefs, to whom were 
explained the designs of the American Board, enthusiastically welcomed the coming of 
missionaries and teachers, and desired that religious instructors might be sent to their 
country to establish missions among them. Both missionaries concurred in the opinion, 
that there was a promising field beyond the Rocky Mountains ; both assured the Indians 
present that their wishes should be gratified. 

On the 2 2d of August, Dr. Whitman returned with the caravan to report to the Board. 
Mr. Parker, escorted by Indians, arrived at Fort Walla Walla on the 6th of October. On 
the 1 6th, he was most hospitably received by Chief Factor McLoughlin, at Fort 
Vancouver. Stopping over one night at the fort, he continued his exploration to the 
mouth of the Columbia. On the 30th, he had returned to Fort Vancouver, where he 
remained during the winter. In the spring, he traversed much of Oregon. 

Oa the 2Sth of June, 1836, he embarked on the Hudson's Bay Company's bark 
Columbia for Honolulu, en route to the United States. At the Sandwich Islands, he 
sojourned from July 14th until the 17th of December, then sailed for New London 
in the whaling ship P/iavii.v, where he arrived May 15, 1837. On the 23d, he 
reached his home at Ithaca. The journal of this missionary tour imparted most valuable 
information. The route to Oregon, and importance of that territory, and many interesting 
features as to native population, climate, geology and natural history, became known, 
u ( 193 ) 


It exhibited how Oregon was then reached by land and sea ; its isolation ; its mail 
communications, afforded only by whaling vessels which resorted to the Sandwich Islands, 
connecting with the Hudson's Bay Company's vessels which remained on the coast, 
making occasional vo3'ages to those islands and from thence to the United States ; or 
by the annual expresses accompan^nng the caravan of the American Fur Company ; or a 
brigade of the Hudson's Bay Company en route between Fort \'ancouver and York 

On receiving Dr. Whitman's report in the fall of 1835, the Board determined to 
establish the Oregon Mission, and selected him to perform the labor. Betrothed to 
Narcissa Prentice, she consented to accompany him. Rev. Henry H. Spalding and 
wife, and William H. Gray, mechanic, were associated in the proposed mission. The 
party accompanied a caravan of the American Fur Company to Green river. There they 
met a trading party of the Hudson's Bay Company, with whom the}^ traveled to Fort 
Vancouver, where they arrived September 12, 1836. This journey demonstrated that the 
continent could be safely crossed by women ; that Oregon could be peopled overland from 
the western frontier; that the great American desert and Rocky Mountains were not 
insurmountable barriers to transcontinental travel. 

By the middle of November, a station among the Cayuse Indians at Waiilatpu, 
twenty-five miles east of Fort Walla Walla, in charge of Dr. Whitman, and another among 
the Nez Perces, at Lapwai, on the Koos Kooskie or Clearwater river, no miles eastward 
from Waiilatpu (Rev. H. H. Spalding), had been established. 

(1837.) (^) Necessary- buildings having been erected at the two stations, Mr. Gray 
returned to the East for missionaries. His little party reached the headwaters of the Platte 
in safety, where they were attacked by the Sioux. The Nez Perces who accompanied him 
were killed. Mr. Gray, with his white companions, succeeded in making their escape. 

(1838.) Revs. Cushing Fells, Elkanah Walker and A. B. Smith, with their wives, 
Cornelius Rodgers, mechanic and teacher, William H. Gray, mechanic and teacher, and 
wife, reached Waiilatpu on the ist of September. Rev. A. B. Smith was assigned to 
Waiilatpu, Messrs. Gray and Rodgers to Lapwai. Messrs. Fells and Walker having 
selected Tshimikan, near Fort Colvile, among the Spokane Indians, as the site for their 
station, returned to Waiilatpu, where they wintered. 

(1839.) Edwin O. Hall, printer of the Honolulu Mission, accompanied by his wife, 
arrived at Lapwai earl}' in Ma)^ This was the introduction of printing west of the Rocky 
IVIountains. During the subsequent fall and winter, elementary books were printed in 
the Nez Perce and Flathead languages. In the fall, another station was established among 
the Nez Perces, at Kamiah, on the Clearwater river, about sixty miles east of Lapwai, Rev. 
Asa B. Smith, missionarj'. 

(1840.) On the nth of January, the mission building at Tshimikan was destroyed 
by fire. Through the efficient service of A. McDonald, a chief factor of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, in charge of Fort Colvile, and the zealous co-operation of the Indians, buildings 
to protect the missionary families from the inclemencies of the winter were proniptl_v 
afforded. At the outset the Indians had welcomed the missionaries, and assisted in the 
selection of land for the several stations. For a time thej- had continued friendly and 
well disposed, and eagerly received religious as well as other instruction. The officials of 
the Hudson's Bay Compan}-, uniformly courteous, had always proffered their good offices 
and active sympathy. 

(I) Ou the Mth of March, 1S37, Alice C. Whitman, daughter of Marcus Whitman, M. D., was bom at Waiilatpu. She was the first white 
female child born in Oregon. She was drowned iu the Walla Walla river June 22. 1S39. 


The American Board exercised no ecclesiastical control. The missionaries were 
allowed to adopt their form of church government. " Six members favored Congregational 
church polit}', four were Presbyterians, two Dutch Reformed. The Mission church was 
Presb3-terian in name, but practically Congregational. The Oregon Mission was first 
formed, afterwards the number of stations determined. The mission was the body, the 
stations the branches. According to men and means, operations were enlarged or 
contracted, the number of stations increased or diminished. It began with two stations, 
which were increased to four. The missions of the American Board of Foreign Missions 
were little republics. All important arrangements in regard to each station were made in 
annual meetings of all members of the mission, and determined bv a vote of the majority 
of those present " ( i ) . 

(1S41.) To this constitution of the mission, its irresponsibilit}- to a superior 
ecclesiastical tribunal, without a chief officer or superintendent, must be attributed that 
non-congeniality of its several constituents which so soon detracted from its success. In 
that " little republic," jealousies had already- arisen. Complaints and harsh criticisms, as 
to motives, competenc}- and Christian character of the most prominent missionaries, and 
inveigling against the utility of certain stations, had been forwarded to the Missionarj'' 
Board. Criminations and recriminations, personal rancor and suspicion of each other, 
were too certain indications to the Board, that the mission was not in a healthv or hopeful 

In April, Rev. A. B. Smith and wife sailed for the Sandwich Islands, leaving Kamiah 
station vacant. Sectarian differences among the native population had also made their 
appearance. In 1S39, the Catholic missionaries had commenced labors among the Indians 
of the interior. The priests had not located permanent stations ; but missions were 
designated to which, at fixed times, the Indians repaired to receive instruction. Already 
there were Catholic as well as Protestant believing Indians. The Caj-uses — though 
called Dr. Whitman's Indians — numbered partisans of each faith. In the same camp, 
the two religions had their respective votaries. About Waiilatpu the Indians had begun 
to display insolence. There were no settlements, no settlers, no white population in the 
valley of the Upper Columbia, except the missionary stations of the American Board with 
their thirteen members, six of whom were women, and the trading-posts of the Hudson's 
Baj- Company at Walla Walla and Colvile. Those missionaries, the entire American 
population, were at the mercy of the Indians, who were only restrained b}' a knowledge 
that the missionaries had the active sympathy of the officials of that company in charge at 
Forts Walla Walla and Colvile. 

In September, indignities to Dr. Whitman and family by Cayuses were of frequent 
occurrence. This condition of affairs, known at Fort Walla Walla, had been communicated 
to Dr. McLoughliu, who thereupon invited Dr. Whitman to Fort Vancouver. He 
recommended his absence from Waiilatpu for a year or two, predicting that the Indians 
would beg his return. Between Dr. Whitman and Chief Trader Archbald McKinlay, 
in charge of Fort Walla Walla, there was great intimacy. The latter was extremely 
anxious about the condition of things, and frequently warned Dr. Whitman of the restless 
and perfidious character of the Cavuses. The missionary acted with Christian forbearance, 
endeavoring to conciliate and gain the Indian's confidence and respect by kind treatment. 
The Indian mistook this kindness for fear of him, and only increased his insolence. A 

(I) Extract from letter of Rev. Cushing Hells to author. 


difficult}' occurred, occasioned by an employe ordering an Indian out of the kitchen. Mr. 
Gra}', the mechanic, resented the indignit}', while Whitman literally obeyed the injunction 
to " turn the other cheek." Such Christian example was entirely lost on the perfidious 
race among whom Dr. Whitman labored. INIcKinlay, on learning of that outbreak, warmly 
espoused the cause of the outraged missionaries. He sent for the Indians engaged in 
it, severely lectured them, and informed them if such a thing again occurred, that 
Governor McLoughlin would send a force to teach them better manners. These good 
offices were reported to the Board by Dr. Whitman, and Chief Trader McKinlay received 
the thanks of its Executive Committee. 

Sir George Simpson, Governor-in-Chief of the Hudson's Bay Company's territories, 
visited Fort Walla Walla in August, 1S41. He met the missionaries. Adept as he was 
in discipline and knowledge of Indian character, he thus noted his conclusions : 

"But the ministers of the gospel moreover had a grievance peculiar to themselves; 
for, instead of finding the savages eager to embrace Christianity, as they had been led to 
expect, they saw a superstitious, jealous and bigoted people. They soon ascertained that 
they could gain converts only bv bu3'ing them ; and the}' were even reproached by the 
savages on the ground that, if they were really good men, they would procure guns and 
blankets for them from the Great Spirit, merely by their prayers. In short, the Indians, 
discovering that the new religion did not render them independent of the traders any- 
more than their old one, regarded missionaries as mere failures, or nothing better than 

The Executive or Prudential Committee of the Board had been fully advised of the 
condition of affairs. So discouraging had become the outlook, that an order had been 
issued discontinuing Waiilatpu, Lapwai and Karaiah stations, recalling Rev. H. H. 
Spalding and Mr. Gray, and directing Dr. Whitman to settle the business of the 
southern branch (which included those stations), and to join Revs. Eells and Walker 
at Tshimikan. This order was the special matter of consideration of a meeting of the 
mission at Waiilatpu in September, 1842. Dr. Whitman was opposed to abandoning 
Waiilatpu. To maintain it as a station, he had resolved on going East to secure a 
rescinding of the order. The Spaldings at Lapwai had secured a large attendance of 
Nez Perce youths of both sexes, and had a keen solicitude to continue their labors. 
Whitman and vSpalding opposed immediate compliance with the order of the Board. 
Instead of breaking up the southern branch. Dr. Whitman insisted that such stations 
should be strengthened by reinforcement. An immigration of Christian families to the 
vicinity of the several stations would relieve the missionary of secular responsibilit}-, 
and afford more time to labor for the social and moral improvement of the Indian. A 
minister for Waiilatpu, qualified to come in contact with frontiermen, was also required. 
Waiilatpu was on the line to be traveled by those who crossed the Rock}' IMountains 
en route to the lower Columbia and the Willamette valley. Dr. Whitman thoroughly 
appreciated the value of the country and the importance of the station, and was not willing 
to surrender it, nor abandon the field. Actuated by such motives, Dr. Whitman determined 
to make the winter journey of 1842-3. 

There was a decided opposition on the part of Revs. Eells and Walker to Dr. 
Whitman's proposed journey; but when it became evident that he would go, even if such 
going should cause his severance from the mission, those gentlemen finally united in 
approval. Mrs. Whitman having made preparation to remain at The Dalles during her 
husband's absence. Dr. Whitman, accompanied by General A. L. Lovejoy, started October 
3, 1842. 



' il 4r 




DR. whitman's journey TO THE EAST. 197 

He crossed the continent by way of Salt Lake, Taos and Santa Fe, and reached 
Boston on the 30th of the ensning March (1843). He labored earnestly with the 
Prudential Committee of the Board. They censured his leaving his post, but revoked the 
obnoxions order. The stations of Waiilatpu and Lapwai were continned ; but the Board, 
however, refused to engage in Dr. Whitman's missionary colonization scheme for the 
Oregon missions. 

When he had abandoned hope that the Board would encourage a missionary colony of 
Christian families to accompany him to Oregon, Dr. Whitman left Boston and overtook 
the great migration of 1S43 upon the Platte river. He reached Waiilatpu on the 25th of 

To this journey, actuated solely b^^ the condition of affairs of the mission, great 
political consequences have been attributed : 

1. It has been alleged that Dr. Whitman projected the journey to defeat the British 
claim to that part of Oregon lying north of the Columbia river; 

2. That he arrived at the city of Washing'ton about the time a treaty exchanging 
Oregon, north of the Columbia river, for enlarged fishing privileges on the coast of 
Newfoundland, was being negotiated between Great Britain and the United States ; that 
his opportune presence frustrated such surrender of territory ; 

3. That he went East to organize, and that to his efforts was due, the great migration 
of 1S43. 

As to the first claim, it is sufficient to reply that Dr. Whitman's zealous interest in 
the mission prompted the journey to secure assistance for it. Tlie statement of the 
second refutes itself. There were no negotiations pending at the time as to the Oregon 
boundary. There never was, either by Great Britain or the United States, an offer of 
exchange of the character referred to; nor could Dr. Whitman under any circumstances 
have interfered with or influenced pending negotiations. 

The third claim is based upon an impossibility. Dr. Whitman left Waiilatpu October, 
1842, and reached Boston March 30, 1843. No opportunity, by mail or otherwise, afforded 
communication with parties proposing to start for Oregon in the spring of 1843. Such 
persons had made all preparations during the previous fall or winter. 

Dr. Whitman had but taken his departure, in October, 1S42, when the Walla Walla 
aud Ca3'use Indians became turbulent. Dr. Elijah White, United States Sub-Agent for 
the Indian tribes west of the Rocky Mountains, had crossed the plains in the summer of 
1842. In the Willamette settlements, rumors were current that a hostile combiuation of 
Walla Wallas, Cayuses and Nez Perces had been formed, whose purpose was to destroy 
the Protestant missions in the interior, and American settlements in the Willamette 
Valley. The Walla Wallas occupied the country surrounding Fort Walla Walla, 
numbering abmit two thousand, with six hundred warriors. The Cayuses, speaking a 
similar dialect with the Nez Perces, numbered six hundred, of whom two hundred were 
waiTiors. The Nez Perce country extended from the mouth of the Salmon to the mouth 
of the Palouse, and of that breadth eastward to the Bitterroot Mountains. The nation 
numbered two thousand, with six hundred warriors. 

Appreciating the isolation and defenseless condition of the mission stations, the 
Indians at Lapwai and Waiilatpu had grown insolent. The missionaries had yielded to 
their demands in the hope that conciliatory conduct would retain their good will. 
Proportionate, however, to Christian forbearance, Indian insolence increased. At Lapwai, 
Rev. H. H. Spalding was grossly assaulted by members of the Nez Perce tribe. He and 


his wife were the only Whites in a circuit of fifty miles. At Waiilatpii, similar indignities 
had been committed. United State Sub-Agent White, accompanied b}- Thomas McKay 
and Cornelius Rodgers, as interpreter, reached Fort Walla Walla on the 30th, where they 
were joined by Chief Trader McKinla}-. When they arrived at Waiilatpu, the Indians 
were scattered. A time was fixed for their return, and the Walla Wallas and Caj'uses 
notified to come in. The agent and party then proceeded to Lapwai, reaching that station 
December 3d. On the 5th, a council was held, which was addressed by Agent White, 
Chief Trader McKinlay, Cornelius Rodgers and Thomas McKay, who were followed by 
Ache-kiah, or Five Crows, Bloody Chief (over ninety years of age, and a chief when 
Lewis and Clark visited the country) and six others. At this meeting. Dr. White caused 
Ellis to be elected head chief, together with twelve sub-chiefs. A code of laws was 
adopted, prescribing penalties for homicide, arson, larcen\' and trespass. If any Indian 
violated this code, he was to be tried b}- the chief If a white man transgressed against an 
Indian, he was to be reported to the agent. Murder and arson were punishable by death, 
other offenses by fines and lashes. On the return of Sub-Agent White and party to 
Waiilatpu, so many of the Indian principal head men were absent, that the council 
was postponed until the loth of May, 1843. 

For many years the system of chieftainship among the Indians had been ignored by 
the Hudson's Bay Company ; and prominent or influential members of bands had been 
distributed, thereby effectually defeating mischievous combination. That wise policy, 
attended with most salutary results, was now reversed by Sub-Agent White. Ellis, newly 
elected head chief of the Nez Perces, had been educated at Red river, and with that 
education had acquired great self-importance. As chief, he was haughty and overbearing, 
and administered White's code with extreme harshness. Indians were humiliated by 
punishment for acts which in their eye had no turpitude ; and the belief prevailed that 
White designed their ultimate subjugation. The arrival of the immigrants of 1842, 
accompanying the sub-agent, the rumor that Dr. Whitman would return with increased 
numbers, unsettled the Indians. Reports were prevalent of a general combination against 
the Wliite settlements, and that hostile parties had been sent to the Rocky Mountains to 
cut off the expected immigrant train of 1S43. O" the 20th of April, exciting rumors reached 
the Willamette. The great complaint of natives was that Americans designed to appropriate 
their lands. Father Demers, Catholic missionar}^, had returned to Fort Vancouver from the 
interior with intelligence that hostile feeling existed only against Americans. Upon the 
strength of that statement. Dr. McLoughlin had counseled against Agent White going, 
and advised that all should remain quiet ; that in all probabilit}' the excitement among 
the Indians would soon subside. But Dr. White was agent; and it Avas all-important that, 
from and by him, the Indians should learn that fact. Accompanied by Rev. Gustavus 
Hines, an interpreter and servant, he started on the 28th of April, and reached W^aiilatpu 
on the 8th of May. Mrs. Whitman and William Geiger had been anxiously waiting. 
The story had been assiduously circulated among the Indians that the Americans would 
deprive them of their lands. On hearing such statements, the 3-oung men of the 
disaffected tribes were for going to the Willamette to attack the settlements. The old 
men, who advised cautious measures, had sent Peu-peu-mox-mox (Yellow Serpent), chief 
of the Walla Wallas, to consult Dr. McLoughlin. Yellow Serpent had returned and 
informed the Cayuses that the Americans had no intention to attack them. The Indians 
at once peaceably returned to the cultivation of their little garden-patches, which before 
they had refused to do. The Walla Wallas and CaA-uses refused to treat with Sub-Agent 
White without Ellis and the Nez Perces were present. 



On the 23d of May, the chiefs and principal men had assembled at Waiilatpu. 
Tau-i-taii, chief of the Cayuses, called the conncil to order. The object having been 
explained by Sub-Agent White, Ellis said that it was not proper for the Nez Perces to 
speak until the Cayuse nation should receive the laws, to which the Cayuse chiefs replied: 
" If you want us to receive the laws, bring them forward and let us see them. We cannot 
take them unless we know what the}^ are." 

The reading of the code followed, and then general discussion by the Indians. The 
first day's talk ended without result. The next da}', after long debate, in which most of the 
chiefs expressed themselves, the code of laws was adopted. Tau-i-tau received a majority 
for head chief of the Cayuse nation, after a bitter opposition, but on the following daj^ 
declined serving, because a majorit}' of his tribe were of a different religion. Ache-kiah 
(Five Crows), the brother of Tau-i-tau, was then elected. The council closed with a 
barbecue ; and Sub-Agent White returned to the Willamette. 

The proceedings had demonstrated that the Indians of the interior were soured at 
the presence of the Americans ; that their promises, which had been made as to 
compensation for lands occupied by the missionary stations, were to be complied with, 
and that further delay was a grievance ; that sectarian opinions had been introduced, which 
had already engendered feeling between the Protestant and Catholic believing Indians. 

Dr. Whitman had returned to Waiilatpu in the fall of 1843. He was keenly 
solicitous that the country should be occupied by Americans. Upon the arrival of each 
immigrant train, he endeavored to secure reinforcements to his little missionary colony. 
The Indians, both atLapwai and Waiilatpu, for the next few years, had conducted themselves 
to the entire satisfaction of the missionaries. They had given evidence of improvement 
in industrial pursuits ; a number had attached themselves to the Church and professed 
religion. The number of Catholic-professing Indians had also increased. In 1847, it had 
become manifest that the Indians were disaffected towards the Protestant missionaries. 
Archibald McKinlay, the firm friend of Dr. Whitman, had left Fort Walla Walla. Dr. 
Whitman was loth to abandon Waiilatpu ; and, at times discouraged, he resolved to submit 
the question to a vote of the Indians. 

The real obstacle was his objection to relinquishing the missionary field to Catholics. 
He had been fully advised of, and thoroughly understood, the animus of the Indians, 
which, though seemingly friendly, was liable at any time to manifest itself in hostility. 
Despite those discouragements, the Doctor and his wife remained at their posts, and 
continued to treat the Indians as brothers ; zealously they labored for their advancement. 

The station of Waiilatpu, on the line of travel from the Rocky Mountains to the 
Willamette settlements, had become an asylum and resting-place for the immigrant, worn 
out and broken down by the severe journey across the plains; a hospital for the 
disease-stricken, regardless of caste or condition ; a church and altar for spiritual culture 
and consolation ; a school to disseminate knowledge ; a farm to supply the necessaries of 
life ; an industrial school to impart to Indians lessons of labor, and to teach them how to 
earn a subsistence. Saw and grist mills, shops and granaries, had been erected. The 
superintendent's residence had been furnished with a good library ; and a valuable cabinet 
of specimens had been collected, illustrating the natural history and mineral wealth of 
the country. The Indian room, including kitchen, school and lecture room, over which, 
upon the second floor, were lodging apartments, were attached to the superintendency. 
Another large building afforded accommodations for travelers. At a distance of eight 
miles up Mill Creek, was the saw-mill and a dwelling-house. 


The Catholic bishop of Walla Walla (Very Rev. A. M. A. Blanchet), Rev. J. B. A. 
Broiiillet, V. G., and six other priests from Canada, arrived at Fort Walla Walla 
September 5, 1S47, ^^<^ were sojourning at the camp of Tau-i-tau, on the Umatilla river, 
twent3'^-five miles from Waiilatpu station. Seventy-two persons resided at Dr. Whitman's 
station. Dr. Whitman's household illustrates the character of that missionary and his 
wife. It consisted of Dr. Whitman and wife ; Mr. Rodgers, teacher ; ten adopted children, 
seven of whom were the Sagar orphans, whose parents had died crossing the plains in 
1844, and three half-breed girls ; two half-breed boys whom he had raised ; Joseph Stanfield, 
a Canadian, and Joe Lewis, the latter of whom had come with the immigrants of 1847 from 
Fort Hall. Dr. Whitman, scant of accommodations, had objected to Lewis stopping, but 
gave him employment. Lewis detailed to the Indians a conversation which he represented 
that he overheard between the doctor and members of the family. To his diabolical 13'ing 
ma}^ in great measure be attributed that excitement of feeling which made the events 
transpiring so soon thereafter a possibility. 

At Waiilatpu were Miss Bewle}- and her brother, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Sales, Eliza 
Spalding, ten years of age, daughter of Rev. H. H. Spalding. Of those, Messrs. Bewley 
and Sales were sick patients, confined to their beds. The remaining fift}' were Americans, 
principally of the overland immigration, 01 route to the Willamette valle}^, who had 
remained to winter. Eighteen were adults, eight of whom were women. Of the number, 
ten were under Dr. Whitman's medical treatment. 

Early in the afternoon of the 29th of November, 1S47, school having just been called, 
an ox, which had been shot and was being dressed, engaged the attention of several of the 
mission emploj^es at a distance from the house. The Indians came, as was their wont 
when a carcass was being cut up. When all the conspirators had assembled, their 
weapons concealed under their blankets, one went to the kitchen, called the doctor, 
complained of sickness and asked for medicine. The kind physician was bestowing his 
attention. Tamahos stepped behind him, and felled him b}' two desperate blows of a 
tomahawk. Then followed a carnival of butchery, which scarcel}' finds a parallel in the 
narratives of Indian perfidy aud murder. The victims were Dr. and Mrs. Whitman, the 
teacher, Rodgers, Mr. Saunders, John and Francis Sagar, Messrs. Marsh, Kimball, Gill, 
Gittern, Young, and the two sick men, Bewley and Sales. Excepting Mrs. Whitman, the 
lives of the women and children were spared. ]\Ir. Hall, Mr. Canfield, Mr. Osborn and 
family, a child of Mrs. Hayes, and two of the doctor's adopted children, succeeded in 
concealing themselves during the confusion, and reached Fort Walla Walla in safety. 
Two families (Messrs. Smith and Young), were at the saw-mill up Vi\\\ Creek, from 
whence they were brought to the station next da3\ Of these there were four men, Mr. 
Smith, Mr. Young, and two grown-up sous. By the interposition of a Nez Perce chief, 
the lives of these men were spared ; and they swelled the number of captives to fift3--one. 

Upon Mr. Hall's communicating the sad tidings to Chief Trader McBean, that officer 
dispatched an interpreter and men to Waiilatpu, to rescue survivors. The part\- met 
Finlay and the half-breed boys coming to the fort, and returned with them. On the 30th 
of November, McBean forwarded letters to the Board of Management of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, at Fort Vancouver, in which he states: "Fever and ague have been raging 
here and in this vicinit}', in consequence of which a great number of Indians have been 
swept awaj', but more especiallj^ at the Doctor's (Whitman's) place, where he attended 
upon the Indians. About thirty of the Cayuse tribe died, one after another. The 
survivors eventually believed the Doctor had poisoned them, in which opinion they were 
















unfortunately confirmed b^' one of the Doctor's party (Joe Lewis). As far as I have been 
able to learn, this has been the sole cause of the dreadful butchery. In order to satisfy- 
any doubt as to their suspicion that the Doctor was poisoning them, it is reported that they 
requested the Doctor to administer medicine to three of their friends, two of whom were 
really sick, but the third only feigning illness. All of these were dead the next morning." 

The ringleaders in this horrible butchery were Telo-ka-ikt and his son Tamsuky, 
Esticus and Tamahos. The murderers were the Doctor's Indians, the Cayuses. 
Governor James Douglas, communicating the disastrous news to Governor George 
Aberneth}', of the Provisional government of Oregon, and to the American Board of 
Commissioners of foreign missions, thus commented : 

" The Cay-uses are the most treacherous and intractable of all the Indian tribes in 
this country, and had on many former occasions alarmed the inmates of the mission by 
their tumultuous proceedings and ferocious threats ; but unfortunately these evidences of 
a brutal disposition were disregarded by their admirable pastor, and served to arm him with 
a firmer resolution to do them good. He hoped that time and instruction would produce 
a change of mind, a better state of feeling towards the mission; and he might have lived 
to see his hopes realized had not the measles and dysentery, following in the train of 
immigrants from the United States, made frightful I'avages this year in the upper country, 
many Indians having been carried off through the violence of the disease, and others 
through their own imprudence. The Cayuse Indians of Waiilatpu, being sufferers in 
this general calamity, were incensed against Dr. Whitman for not exerting his supposed 
supernatural powers in saving their lives. They carried this absurdity bey'ond that point 
of folly. Their superstitious minds became possessed w-ith the horrible suspicion that 
he was giving poison to the sick instead of wholesome medicine, with the view of working 
the destruction of the tribe, their former cruelty probably adding strength to this suspicion. 
Still some of the more reflecting had confidence in Dr. Whitman's integrity; and it was 
agreed to test the effects of the medicine he had furnished on three of their people, one 
of whom was said to be in perfect health. They all unfortunately died. From that 
moment, it was resolved to destroy the mission. It w-as immediately after burying the 
remains of these three persons that they repaired to the mission and murdered every man 
found there." 

Upon the receipt of the intelligence at Fort Vancouver, Governor Peter Skeen 
Ogden, associate chief factor, on the 7th of December left for Fort Walla Walla with 
sixteen men, servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, to prevent further bloodshed and to 
rescue the American captives. On arriving at Fort Walla Walla on the 19th of December, 
couriers were dispatched to the chiefs and head men of the Cayuse nation. 

On iiie 23d, a council was held which continued until late at night, the Indians 
agreeing to deliver up the captives within six days upon the pay^ment of the ransom agreed 
upon. At that council Governor Ogden thus addressed the Cay-uses : 

" I regret to observe that all the chiefs whom I asked for are not present. Two being 
absent, I expect the words I am about to address to you to be repeated to them and your 
young men on your return to your camps. It is now thirty years since w-e have been 
among you. During this long period, we have never had any instance of blood being 
spilt until that inhuman massacre which has so recently taken place. We are traders, 
and a different nation from the Americans. But recollect we supply you with ammunition 
not to kill the Americans. They are the same color as ourselves, speak the same 
language, are children of the same God ; and humanity makes our hearts bleed when we 


behold you using tliem so cruelly. Besides this revolting butcher}^, have not the Indians 
pillaged, ill-treated the Americans, and insulted their women when peaceably making 
their wa}- to the Willamette ? As chiefs, ought you to have connived at such conduct on 
the part of your 3-oung men ? You tell me the young men committed the deeds without 
your knowledge. Why do we make you chiefs if 3'ou have no control over your 
3'oung men ? You are a set of hermaphrodites, and unworthy- of the appellation of 
men as chiefs. You 3'oung, hot-headed men, I know that 3-ou pride 3'ourselves upon 3-our 
braver3', and think no one can match 3-ou. Do not deceive yourselves. If you get the 
Americans to commence once, 3'ou will repent it ; and war will not end until ever3' one of 
3'ou is cut off from the face of the earth. I am aware that a good man3' of your friends 
and relatives have died through sickness. The Indians of other places have shared 
the same fate. It is not Dr. Whitman who poisoned them ; but God has commanded that 
the3' should die. We are weak mortals, and must submit ; and I trust 3'ou will avail 
3'Ourselves of the opportunit3\ B3' so doing, it ma3- be advantageous to you ; but at the 
same time remember that you alone will be responsible for the consequences. It is merel3' 
advice that I give you. We have nothing to do with it. I have not come here to make 
promises or hold out assistance. We have nothing to do with your quarrels ; we remain 
neutral. On m3f return, if you wish it, I shall do all I can for 3'ou ; but I do not promise 
3'OU to prevent war. 

" If 3'OU deliver me up all the prisoners, I shall pa3- 3'ou for them on their being 
delivered ; but let it not be said among 3'ou afterwards that I deceived 3'ou. I and Mr. 
Douglas represent the company (H. B. Co.); but I tell you once more we promise you 
nothing. We S3'mpathize with these poor people, and wish to return them to their friends 
and relatives b3' paying 3'ou for them. My request in behalf of the families concerns 
3'OU, so decide for the best." 

The young chief Tau-i-tau replied as follows : 

" I arise to thank 3'ou for 3'our words. You white chiefs command obedience with 
those that have to do with you. It is not so with us. Our 3'oung men are strong-headed 
and foolish. Formerl3' we had experienced good chiefs. These are laid in the dust. The 
descendants of my father were the onl3' good chiefs. Though we made war with the other 
tribes, 3'et we alwa3's looked and ever will look upon the Whites as our brothers. Our 
blood is mixed with 3'ours. M3' heart bleeds for the death of man3' good chiefs I had 
known. For the demand made by 3'ou, the old chief Telau-ka-ikt is here. Speak to him. 
As regards m3'self, I am willing to give up the families." 

Telau-ka-ikt said : "I have listened to 3'our words. Young men, do not forget them. 
As for war, we have seen little of it. We know the Whites to be our best friends, who 
have all along prevented us from killing each other. That is the reason wh3' we avoid 
getting into war with them, and wh3' we do not wish to be separated from them. Besides 
the tie of blood, the Whites have shown us a convincing proof of their attachment to us, 
b3' burying their dead alongside with ours. Chief, your words are weight3'. Your hairs 
are gra3'. We have known you a long time. You have had an unpleasant trip to this 
place. I cannot therefore keep these families back. I make them over to 3-ou, which I 
would not do to another 3'ouuger than 3-ourself " 

Pue-pue-mox-mox continued : " I have nothing to sa3^ I know the Americans to be 
changeable; still I am of the opinion as the 3'oung chief The Whites are our best friends, 
and we follow your advice. I consent to 3'our taking the families." 


Mr. Ogden then addressed two Nez Perce chiefs in behalf of Rev. Mr. Spalding and 
party, requesting that the}- should be delivered to him on receiving the ransom, and 
spoke to them at length. Both chiefs, James and Fiminilpilp, promised to bring them, 
and immediatel}' started with a letter from Chief Factor Ogden to Mr. Spalding. 

On the evening of the 29th of December, a few principal Cayuses arrived at Fort 
Walla Walla, bringing in captives and returning stolen property. The next day the 
ransom was paid. A da}^ later the Spaldings were brought in, and on New Year's day, 
1S4S, Governor Ogden, with the American captives, left Fort Walla Walla for Fort 

In recounting his successful mission, Governor Ogden wrote, December 31st: ''I 
have endured man}- an anxious hour, and for the last two nights have not closed my e\-es. 
But, thanks to the Almighty, I have succeeded. During the captivity of the prisoners, 
they have suffered ever}- indignity, but fortunately were well provided with food. I have 
been enabled to effect m}- object without compromising myself or others ; and it now 
remains with the American government to take what measures it deems most beneficial to 
restore tranquility ; and this, I apprehend, cannot be finallj^ effected without blood flowing 
freely. So as not to compromise either party, I have made a heavy sacrifice of goods ; 
but these indeed are of trifling value compared to the unfortunate beings I have rescued 
from the hands of these murderous wretches; and I feel truly happy." 

The following comprises a list of the captives ransomed b}' Governor Ogden : 

Missionar}' children adopted by Dr. Whitman, viz.: Mar}- T. Bridger; Catherine 
Sagar, aged 13 years; Elizabeth Sagar, 10; Matilda J. Sagar, 8; Henrietta N. Sagar, 4; 
Hannah L. Sagar; Helen M. Meek. (The two last named died soon after the massacre.) 
From Du Page county, Illinois : Joseph Smith ; Mrs. Hannah Smith ; Mary Smith, aged 
15 years; Edwin Smith, 13; Charles Smith, 11; Nelson Smith, 6 ; Mortimer Smith, 4. 
From Fulton county, Illinois : Mrs. Eliza Hall ; Jane Hall, aged 10 years ; Mary Hall, 8 ; 
Ann E. Hall, 6 ; Rebecca Hall, 3 ; Rachael M. Hall, i. From Osage count}^ Mississippi: 
Elam Young; Mrs. Iren Young; Daniel Young, aged 21 j'ears ; John Y^oung, 19. From 
La Porte count}', Indiana : Mrs. Harriet Kimball ; Susan Kimball, aged 16 j-ears ; Nathan 
Kimball, 13 ; Byron M. Kimball, 8; Sarah S. Kimball, 6; ^lince A. Kimball, i. From 
Iowa: Airs. Mary Sanders; Helen M. Sanders, aged 14; Phoebe L. Sanders, 10; Alfred 
W. Sanders, 6 ; Nancy I. Sanders, 4 ; Mary A. Sanders, z ; Mrs. Sally A. Canfield ; Ellen 
Caufield, 16; Oscar Canfield, 9; Clarissa Canfield, 7; Sylvia A. Canfield, 5; Albert 
Canfield, 3. From Illinois : Airs. Rebecca Hays ; Henry C. Haj's, aged 4 years ; also 
Eliza Spalding, Nancy E. Alarsh, Lorinda Bewley. 

The ransom was effected with the following property, expended out of the Nez Perce 
outfit, viz.. Sixty-two blankets, three points ; sixtj'-three cotton shirts; twelve company 
guns ; 600 loads ammunition ; thirtj'-seven pounds tobacco ; twelve flints. 

Received from Telau-ka-ikt, appertaining to the mission, for the use of the captives: 
Seven oxen, small and large ; sixteen bags coarse flour. 

Governor George Abemethy, in acknowledging the philanthropic services of Governor 
Ogden, says : 

" Their (the captives) condition was a deplorable one, subject to the caprice of the 
savages, exposed to their insults, compelled to labor for them, and remaining constantly in 
dread lest the}- should be butchered as their husbands and fathers had been. From this 
state, I am fully satisfied, we could not have relieved them. A small party of Americans 
would have been looked upon with contempt ; the approach of a large part}- would have 


beeu the signal for a general massacre. Your immediate departure from Vancouver, on 
receipt of the intelligence from Waiilatpu, enabling you to arrive at Walla Walla before 
the news reached them of tbe American party having started from this place (Oregon 
City), together with your influence over the Indians, accomplished the desirable object of 
relieving the distressed." 

The Cayuse murderers, before Governor Ogden arrived at Fort Walla Walla, had, 
on the 2oth of December, assembled in council at Umatilla, Tau-i-tau, or Young Chief, 
Telau-ka-ikt, Ache-kiah, or Five Crows, and Camaspelo, the head chief of the Cayuses, with 
all the principal men of the nation. Bishop Blanchet told them that they were assembled 
to deliberate on a most important subject, that of avoiding war, which is alwa^-s a great 
evil. It was wise to consult each other, to hold a council. Had they deliberated together 
but a few days before, probably they would not now have to deplore the horrible massacre 
at Waiilatpu, nor to fear its consequences. Two Nez Perces had asked him to write to the 
Governor of Oregon to obtain peace ; but this he could not do without consent of the 
Cayuse chiefs. That the Nez Perces proposed: ist, that the Americans should not come to 
make war; 2d, that they should send up two or three great men to make a treaty of 
peace; 3d, that when these great men should arrive, all the captives should be released; 
4th, that the}^ would offer no offense to Americans before knowing the news from below. 

Camaspelo spoke first, approving the proposition. Telau-ka-ikt followed, speaking 
two hours. He recounted the killing of the Nez Perces who had, in 1837, accompanied 
Air. Gra}' east; the killing of Elijah, son of Pue-pue-raox-mox, by Americans, in 
California. He concluded by saying that, as the Indians had forgotten all this, he hoped 
the Americans would also forget what had been recentl}^ done; that now they were even. 

Neither Ache-kiah nor Tau-i-tau had much to say. Edward, son of Telau-ka-ikt, 
made the closing speech, justifying the Cayuses and arraigning Dr. Whitman for poisoning 
the Indians, pretending to credit the statement of Joe Lewis, alleging that the d3'ing 
declaration of Mr. Rodgers corroborated Joe Lewis. After deliberation, the Cayuses 
requested Bishop Blanchet, in their names, to send to Governor Aberneth}' the following 
manifesto : 

" The principal chiefs of the Cayuses, in council assembled, state : That a 3'oung 
Indian (Joe Lewis), who understands English and who slept in Dr. Whitman's room, heard 
the Doctor, his wife and Air. Spalding express their desire of possessing the land and 
animals of the Indians ; that he stated also that Air. Spalding said to the Doctor : ' Hurry 
giving medicines to the Indians that they may soon die ;' that the same Indian told the 
Cayuses: 'If you do not kill the Doctor soon, you will all be dead before spring;' that 
they buried six Cayuses on Sunday, November 24th, and three the next day ; that the 
schoolmaster, Air. Rodgers, stated to them, before he died, that the Doctor, his wife and Air. 
Spalding poisoned the Indians ; that, for several 3'ears past, they had to deplore the death 
of their children, and that, according to these reports, the}' were led to believe that the 
Whites had undertaken to kill them all, and that these were the motives which led them 
to kill the Americans. The same chiefs asked at present : 

" I St. That the Americans ma}- not go to war with the Ca3'uses ; 

" 2d. That they (the Americans) may forget the lately committed murders, as the 
Cayuses will forget the murder of the son of the great chief of the Walla Wallas, 
committed in California (i); 

(I) This refers to the killing, in 1S44, of Elijah (son of Pue-pne-inox-mox), by Californiaus. In the spring nf 1847,3 band of Cayuses and 
a'alla Wallas went to California to avenge his death, but. finding the Americans too strong, they retvirned without striking a blow, leaving, 
according to the Indian view, the matter unsettled. They returned early ni the fall, and severa'l of the party died from sickness; such an 
unlortuuate termination of their expedition added fuel to the flame, and only intensified their hostility to the Americans. 


'-.' '"'/J^sHl^wk^-'^^i 




" 3d. That two or three great men may come up and conclude peace ; 

" 4th. That as soon as these great men have arrived and concluded peace, they may 
take with them all the women and children ; 

" 5th. That they give assurance that they will not harm the captives before the arrival 
of these two or three great men ; 

"6th. That they ask that Americans may not travel any more through their country, 
as their young men might do them harm." 

This document was signed by Telau-ka-ikt, who led the murderous gang at Waiilatpu, 
Camaspelo, Tau-i-tau and Ache-kiah (Five Crows), the wretch who appropriated Miss 
Bewley as his share of the triumph. 

In the letter accompanying, Bishop Blanchet states : 

" After an interview with the chiefs separately, I succeeded in assembling them in 
council, which was held 3'esterday, and lasted four hours and a half Each of the chiefs 
delivered a speech before giving his opinion. The document which accompanied the 
present will show you the result. It is sufficient to state that all these speeches went 
to show that hostilities had been instituted by the Whites ; that they abhorred war ; and 
that the tragedy of the 29th of November had occurred from an anxious desire of 
self-preservation ; and that it was the reports made against the Doctor and others which 
led them to commit this act. They desired to have the past forgotten, and to live in 
peace as before. Your Excellency has to judge of the document which I have been 
requested to forward to you. Nevertheless, without having the least intention to influence 
one way or the other, I feel myself obliged to tell you that by going to war with the 
Cayuses you will undoubtedly have all the Indians of the country against you. Would 
it be to the interest of a young colony to expose herself? But that you will decide with 
your council." 

The status of the several elements of population within the hostile region has now- 
been fully exhibited. The Americans expelled from the country ; the Protestant Missions 
at an end ; whilst officers and servants of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Catholic 
priest with safety remain. 

Many causes for this enormity have been alleged ; its immediate precursor was the 
death of several Indians caused by dysentery and measles. Several families of the 
overland migration (1847) had reached the Waiilatpu station, members of whom were 
sick with those diseases. As a consequence, the former disease broke out with considerable 
fatality among the Indians. Those savages who adopted the Indian remedy of the 
sweating-oven, followed by plunging into the river, invariably died. Of those who applied 
to Dr. Whitman for treatment, several cases proved fatal. 

By Indian custom, the medicine-man forfeits his life to the kindred of the patient if 
death ensues. It has never been claimed that the Indians exacted this penalty as to Dr. 
Whitman; still, by their superstitious tenets, he was regarded as instrumental in compassing 
those deaths which occurred. They pretended to believe that Dr. Whitman could sicken 
or kill by aid of his " bad niedichies.'' This being their state of mind, how easy the task 
of the infamous fiend, Joe Lewis, who had inflamed them by representing that he had 
overheard Dr. Whitman, his amiable wife and Rev. H. H. Spalding, plotting to poison 
the Indians, and secure their lands and horses. 

Had Dr. Whitman alone been killed, his murderer laboring under a delusion that he 
was a " bad nicduiiic-nian,'' a poisoner of Indians, such might be accepted as prompting 


the act. But the Cayuse murderers slaughtered those who were unsuspected of any 
meditated wrong; sick men, and those who had but recentlj' come from the East, who were 
on their journey to the Willamette. Instead of their murderous acts being restricted to 
those who had been accused of meditating or practicing wrong, all the concomitants of 
savage warfare were displayed against those of certain nationality, against whom war 
was thereafter to be waged. The fuel had been accumulating for years. The pile of 
inflammable material embraced jealousy of a superior race; opposition to the permanent 
settlement in the country of Americans ; a bias in favor of the " King George," as the 
Hudson's Bay Company's employes were called, the natural result of a quarter-century's 
intercourse with the company's posts, and, in a corresponding degree, a prejudice against 
the American or "Boston;" the presence of diverse religious systems, and Dr. ^\'hitman's 
encouragement of American settlement. As a doctor of medicine, he was an object of 
awe to the Indians, and, by their ritual, amenable for the life of his patients. The more 
superstitious pretended to believe that he was instrumental in causing a contagious 
disorder to have been spread among them. This mass of combustibles was readily fired 
by a ruthless incendiary, who acquired prestige with the Indian, because he was by them 
regarded as a member of the Doctor's household. All these influences contributed to 
create that animus towards Americans, to engender the motive for breaking up the 
mission, and the expulsion of Americans from the country-. The massacre was an outburst 
of national hostility and hatred against Americans. Waiilatpu and its peaceful and 
unarmed inmates had been doomed because it was an American missionary station, 
and because it was the home of Americans. The Whitman massacre was an Indian 
raid by hostile Cay uses against the American inmates of Waiilatpu. 

The immediate sequel of the massacre was a bitter controversy between Protestant 
and Roman Catholic settlers of Oregon. There were those who claimed to believe that 
the Cayuses had been incited by the agency of servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
That company almost exclusively occupied the interior, and, by its matchless Indian 
policy, had acquired perfect control of the Indians. The horror of Waiilatpu was 
accredited by others as the result of anti-American combined with anti-Protestant 
influences. Time, alike mollifying sectarian rancor and national prejudice, has dissipated 
such opinions, which are merely chronicled as among the most unhappy concomitants of 
that terrible crime. 

The introduction of a religion in conflict with one previously taught, the presence of 
two sets of religious teachers denouncing the teachings of each other, two white races, 
Avith adverse interests, striving for mastery of the country and control of that race, 
nnist of necessit}' have aroused prejudices liable to be dangerous in their consequences. 
Except, however, the efforts of the Catholic clergy to propagate their faith, to establish 
missions in a field preoccupied, no blame can attach to the Catholic missionaries present 
in the vicinity. While the Catholic priests could and did remain in the country, there is 
no evidence that any of their number counseled those barbarities, approved the deed, or 
attempted to shield the murderers. It must also be remembered that the Catholic fathers 
had apprised Dr. Whitman of the growing hostility of the Indians to the presence of the 
mission; and it is due to the memory of the Blanchets and Brouillets and their missionary 
confreres to say that their piety and Christian virtues forbid the thought that they could 
have in the slightest degree, directly contributed to incite that perfidious massacre. 

The early consequences of the great crime was the erection of Oregon into a territory 
of the United States, and the arrival of United States troops to afford protection to 


American settlements hitherto ignored. The blood shed at Waiilatpu was the eloquent 
protest against the continuance of a policy which had rendered possible such a loss of 
valuable lives. With the Whitman massacre terminated the existence of missionary 
stations of the American Board in Oregon. In 1848, Tshimikan was abandoned; the 
Revs. Eells and Walker, with their families, left the country at the close of the Cayuse 
campaign, in the spring of that year. 

The Cayuse war was the necessary consequence of that massacre ; its history belongs 
to the histor}^ of the Oregon Provisional government, who declared and waged that war to 
punish the perfidious murderers of the Whitmans and the innocents who were sojourning 
at Waiilatpu on that dread da}?, the 29th of November, 1S47. 

Chapter XXVI. 

• (1838-1848.) 

The Roman Catholic Mission. 

1"^HE Oregon Roman Catholic Mission was intrusted to two zealous priests, to whom 
the Hudson's Bay Company gave free passage into the country. It depended for 
sustenance upon associations for the propagation of the faith in Lyons and Quebec ; the 
voluntary donations of the few Catholic inhabitants of the territory ; the contributions by 
the officers and employes of the Hudson's Ba}' Company ; the mite contributed by natives; 
and products of the mission farms on Cowlitz and French Prairies. 

On July 3, 1834, and February 23, 1S35, the Canadian-French families of the 
Willamette valley addressed the Roman Catholic Bishop of Red river (i), requesting that 
" missionaries be sent to instruct their children and themselves." On the 6th of June, 
1835, the bishop answered that there were no disposable priests at Red river, but promised 
missionaries from Europe or Canada. In that eloquent paternal letter " to all the families 
settled on the river Willamette, and other Catholic persons be3'ond the Rocky 
Mountains," he foreshadows the purpose of the Oregon Roman Catholic Mission. " My 
intention is not to procure the knowledge of God to you and your children onl3', but also 
to the numerous Indian tribes among which you live." 

The bishop applied to the Hudson's Bay Company for passage for two priests from 
Red river, and for consent to establish a mission on the Willamette river; but the governor 
and committee in London, and the council at Hudson's Bay, would not consent to any 
establishment south of the Columbia river. 

On the 13th of October, 1S37, the bishop of Red river renewed his application for the 
privilege to send two priests to Oregon. On the 17th of February, 1838, Sir George 
Simpson addressed the Archbishop of Quebec : 

" When the bishop iirst mentioned this subject, his view was to form the mission on 
the banks of the Willamette, a river falling into the Columbia from the south. To the 
establishing of a mission there, the governor and committee in London and the councils 
in Hudson's Bay had a decided objection, as the sovereignty of that country is still 
undecided ; but I last summer intimated to the bishop that if he would establish the 
mission on the banks of the Cowlitz, or the Cowlitz portage, falling into the Columbia 
from the northward, and give his assurance that the missionaries would not locate 
themselves on the south side of the Columbia river, but would form their establishment 
where the compan3''s representative might point out as the most eligible situation on the 
north side, I should recommend the governor and committee to afford a passage to the 
priests, and such facilities towards the successful accomplishment of the object in view as 
would not involve an}^ great inconvenience or expense to the company's service. By the 

(l) Very Rev. Joseph Norbert Provencher, whose title was Bishop of Juliopolis. 

( 208 ) 





letter received yesterday, — already alluded to, — the bishop enters fully into my views, and 
expresses his willingness to fall in with my suggestion. That letter I have laid before 
the governor and committee ; and I am now instructed to intimate to 3'our lordship, that if 
the priests will be ready at Lachine to embark for the interior about April 25th, a passage 
will be afforded them ; and, on their arrival at Fort Vancouver, measures will be taken by 
the compan3''s representative there to facilitate the establishing of the mission, and the 
carrying into effect the objects thereof generally." 

Rev. Francis Norbert Blanchet, of Montreal, on April 17, 1838, was appointed by the 
Archbishop of Quebec to the charge of the Oregon Roman Catholic Mission. His associate 
was Rev. Modeste Demers, selected by the bishop of Red river. The instructions to the 
" missionaries for that part of the diocese of Quebec, which is situated between the Pacific 
Ocean and the Rocky Mountains," drafted by the Archbishop of Quebec, exhibit the 
designs of the founders of the mission : 

" First. They must consider as the first object of their mission to withdraw from 
barbarity, and the disorders which it produces, the Indian nations scattered in the country. 

"Second. Their second object is, to tender their services to the wicked Christians 
who have adopted there the morals of the Indians, and live in licentiousness and 
forgetful ness of their duties. In order to make themselves sooner useful to the country 
where they were sent, they will apply themselves, as soon as they arrive, to the study of 
the Indian languages, and will endeavor to reduce them to regular principles, so as to be 
able to publish a grammar of them after some 3-ears of residence there. 

" The territory which is particularly assigned to them is that which is comprised 
between the Rocky Mountains on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Russian 
possessions on the north, and the territory of the United States on the south. It is only 
within the extent of that territory that they will establish missions ; and they are 
particularly recommended not to form any establisment on the territory, the possession 
whereof is contested by the United States. They can, however, in accordance with the 
indult of the Holy See, under date of February 23, 1836, a copy whereof accompanies 
the present, use their powers, when needed, in the Russian possessions, as well as in that 
part of the American territory which borders on their missions. As to that part of the 
territory, it is probable that it does not belong to any of the dioceses of the United States ; 
but if the missionaries were informed that it forms a part of some diocese, they will 
abstain from performing any act of jurisdiction there, in obedience to the aforesaid indult, 
unless they be aiithorized to do it by the bishop of such diocese. 

" As to the place where they will fix their principal residence, it will be on the river 
Cowlitz or Cowiltyha, which empties into the river Columbia, on the north side of the 
river. On their arrival at Fort Vancouver, they will present themselves to the person who 
represents the Honorable Hudson's Bay Company ; and they will take his advice as to the 
precise situation of the establishment. 

" They are particularly recommended to have all possible regard for the members and 
employes of that company, with whom it is very important, for the holy work with which 
they are charged, to be constantly in good intelligence." 

On the 5th of Jiily, 1838, the bishop of Red river, in a pastoral letter to the Catholics 
established on the river Willamette, having referred to his endeavors for three years, to 
send them priests, saj^s : 

" At last it has been granted this year ; and two pious and zealous priests abandoned 
all the hopes of this world, in order to go to you, and to speak to you of God, and induce 


you to practice His hoi}' religion. You will, though, be a little disappointed in seeing 
that the missionaries will not settle among you at the Willamette. Your settlement is 
situated on the territory of the United States, and consequentl}^ outside the diocese of 
Quebec. The company' cannot favor the establishment of a colon}' in a foreign country; 
and I, as a bishop, British subject, cannot allow the priests whom I send to establish 
themselves anywhere else than on British territory, because the line which divides the 
two powers also bounds my jurisdiction. It is the reason why the passage of the 
missionaries was refused last year ; and itT has been granted this year only on the special 
condition that the missionaries would fix their residence on the north side of the Columbia 
river ; thus this change does not come from any ill will on my part, which I thought 
proper to let you know. The missionaries, however, can go and visit you, but always 
temporarily, and will not be able to fix their residence among you. You might, perhaps, 
in course of time, join them in moving to their establishment. The desire of the salvation 
of your souls shall induce you to do it." 

The Very Rev. F. N. Blanchet, Y. G., left Montreal May 3, 1838, in a bark canoe, 
carrying the express of the Hudson's Bay Company. He arrived June 6th at St. 
Bonifacius, where he was joined by his associate, Rev. Modeste Deniers. On the loth 
of July, they commenced their journey for Oregon, reaching Nonvay House in seven days. 
On the 26th, the annual brigade, under command of Chief Trader Rowand, started 
westward. It consisted of ten boats laden with merchandise, a large number of hired men, 
women and children. Among the travelers accompanying were Messrs. Banks and 
Wallace, English botanists, on a tour of scientific exploration. 

The journey of those two devoted priests to the field of their future missionary 
labors was a long and toilsome one, but unaccompanied with special danger or accident 
until the arrival of the brigade at the " big bend " of the Columbia river. In the transfer of 
persons and freight from that point to the House of the Lakes, one of the boats was badly 
wrecked; and, of twenty-six on board, twelve were drowned. The travelers. Banks and 
Wallace, with the wife of the latter, were among the lost. The brigade remained eighteen 
days at the House of the Lakes, after which the journey was resumed. The two missionary 
priests ('?i fon/r, at the various forts and stopping-places of the company, baptized and 
confirmed Indians and company employes who had assembled to meet them. Fathers 
Blanchet and Demers arrived at Fort Vancouver on the 24th of No^•ember, 1838. 

On Sunday, November 25th, the two priests celebrated their first mass at Fort 
Vancouver. To obey the instruction establishing at Oowlitz the principal station. Father 
Blanchet left \''ancouver on the 12th of December, reaching Cowlitz Prairie on Sunday, 
the 1 6th. The settlement consisted of the families of four retired servants of the 
Hudson's Bay Company, who had taken claims upon the prairie on the west side of the 
river. Mass was celebrated on Sunday and Monday, at the house of Simon Plemondou. 
A section of land was taken for the mission, and preparation made to obtain timber for 
buildings, after which Father Blanchet returned to Fort \'ancouver. 

(1839.) Early in January, with the approbation of Chief Factor Douglas, Father 
Blanchet visited the Catholic families residing on French Prairie. A log church seventy 
by thirty feet had been built in 1S36. On Sunday, January 6th, the Vicar-General blessed 
the chapel under the patronage of St. Paul, and celebrated the first mass in the Willamette 
valley. This visit continued for five weeks, after which Cowlitz mission was established. 

In the spring. Father Demers visited the Indians of Puget Sound. He returned to 
Fort Vancouver by June, and met the trading expedition of the Hudson's Bay Company 


on its annual return to Vancouver from New Caledonia and the interior posts. After 
which he visited the Upper Columbia, Forts Walla Walla, Okanagon and Colvile. 

On the 9th of October, Governor James Douglas communicated to the Vicar-General 
" that the governor and committee have no further objection to the establishment of a 
Roman Catholic mission in the Willamette, and that the missionaries were at liberty to 
take any means towards the promotion of that object." Father Blanchet assumed charge 
of Willamette mission, and assigned Cowlitz mission to Rev. Modeste Demers. 

In the spring of 1840, Vicar-General Blanchet visited the Indians of Puget Sound, 
extending his mission as far as Whidby Island. There he erected a cross, taught' the 
Indians, baptized children, and reconciled two hostile tribes engaged in war. Father Demers 
accompanied the brigade of the Hudson's Bay Compan}', which started from Fort Vancouver 
for the Upper Columbia June 29th, extending his missionary visits to Forts Walla Walla, 
Colvile and Okanagon. While at Colvile, he learned of the presence of Father Peter 
]. de Smet among the Flatheads, who, with equal surprise, had become advised that Father 
Demers labored in that vicinit}-. The two missionaries succeeded in communicating with each 
other; and Father Demers carried a letter from Father de Smet to \'icar-General Blanchet. 
The Flathead Indians had sent a deputation to St. Louis asking for religious teachers. In 
response thereto, and in entire ignorance of the presence of Rev. Messrs. Blanchet and 
Demers in the territory west of the Rock}- Mountains, the Roman Catholic Bishop of St. 
Louis, Missouri, in October, 1S39, had addressed the Superior-General of the Order of 
Jesuits at Rome, invoking missionary aid for the Flathead Indians. The diocese of 
Missouri then included the territory of the United States westward to the Pacific Ocean. 
Rev. Peter John de Smet, S. J., was selected by the Bishop of St. Louis, co-operating 
with the provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus, in Missouri. In the summer of 1840, 
Father de Smet visited the Flatheads, remained two months and was so encouraged that he 
returned to St. Louis ■ for additional priests. In 1S41, he again crossed the Rocky 
Mountains, accompanied by Fathers Point and Mengarina. Having established the 
mission of St. Mary, in the valley of the Bitter Root, he returned to St. Louis, from 
whence he visited Europe to secure aid for the Oregon Catholic Mission. 

Sir George Simpson, upon his tour to Oregon, in 1841, made such a favorable report of 
the missionary labors of Ivlessrs. Blanchet and Demers, that two other priests from Canada, 
Revs. Anthon}^ Langlois and John B. Z. Bolduc, were added to the mission. Refused by 
the Hudson's Bay Company passage overland, they came by sea, v/a Cape Horn, at the 
expense of the society at Quebec for the propagation of the Faith. They arrived 
September 17th, 1842, at St. Paul, on theW^illamette. The Vicar-General assumed charge* 
at Vancouver, assigning Mr. Langlois to St. Paul, Mr. Bolduc to Cowljtz, Rev. M. Demers 
being on a mission to the Upper Columbia. 

On the 25th of November, Chief Factor John McLoughlin addressed the following to 
the Vicar-General : " I am instructed to place one hundred pounds sterling to the 
credit of your mission, as an acknowledgment of the eminent services j-ou and 3'our pious 
colleague are rendering the people of this country." 

(1843.) The missionary force was increased b}- the arrival of Jesuit Fathers de Vos 
and Hockens, from St. Louis. On the 17th of October, St. Joseph's College was opened at 
St. Paul, with thirty scholars. Rev. A. Langlois, Superintendent. With the arrival of the 
Hudson's Bay Company brigade came five men and two women, aids to the mission, to 
whom free passage had been furnished. On the ist of December (although unknown to 


him until the subsequent November), the Rev. Francis N. Blanchet had been appointed 
Bishop of Philadelphia, which titular rauk, before consecration, had been changed to Bishop 
of Drasa. 

( 1844.) Several Jesuit priests from St. Louis came to the Rockj^ Mountains this 
year. Father de Smet sailed, on the 9th of Januar}', in the ship L' Infatigablc^ from 
Anvers, Belgium, for the Columbia river, and on the 6th of August arrived at Fort 
Vancouver. He was accompanied by Revs. Accolti, Nobili, Ravalli and Vercruysse, 
several laj' brothers, and six religious ladies of Notre Dame de Namur. In November, 
the » sisters opened an academy for girls at St. Paul. On the 4th of November, the 
briefs arrived by which Oregon had been constituted a vicariate apostolic, with Francis 
Norbert Blanchet, Bishop. Upon the 8th, he announced his resolution to return to Canada 
to receive his consecration. The mission of Oregon included nine permanent stations or 
missions, four of which were conducted by the Jesuit fathers from St. I.ouis. Eleven 
churches had been built. There were two educational establishments, one for each sex, 
and fifteen priests and six sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Leaving Rev. Modeste 
Demers, vicar-general and administrator, the bishop-elect, on the 5th of December, sailed 
for London in the Hudson's Bay Company's bark Columbia ; from thence he proceeded 
to Canada. At Montreal, on the 25th of July, 1845, the pioneer head of the Oregon 
Catholic Mission was consecrated Bishop of Drasa. In August, Bishop F. N. Blanchet 
sailed for Europe, to solicit help and necessary funds. On the 24th of July, 1846, Oregon 
became an ecclesiastical province, Oregon Cit}- its metropolis, and Bishop F. N. Blanchet 
its archbishop. His brother, A. M. A. Blanchet, canon of Montreal, was appointed bishop 
of Walla Walla, and Modeste Demers bishop of Vancouver Island. Bishop A, M. A. 
Blanchet was consecrated at Montreal, September 27, 1846, and crossed the plains the next 
season, reaching Walla Walla September 5, 1S47. ^^ '^^'^^ accompanied by Very Rev. J. 
B. A. Brouillet, Vicar-General, Rev. Messrs. Roussau and Leclaire, four fathers of the 
O. M. I. of Marseilles, and two lay brothers. Bishop Modeste Demers was consecrated 
on the 30th of November, 1847, at the Church of St. Paul, by Archbishop F. N. Blanchet, 
his former companion and colleague in the Oregon Mission. 

In the fall of 1847, the ecclesiastical province of Oregon City numbered three bishops, 
fourteen Jesuit fathers, four Oblate fathers of the O. M. I., thirteen secular priests, thirteen 
sisters and two houses of education. 

The Catholic missionaries acquired and retained over the native population west of 
the Rock}- IMountains an almost perfect control. The uninterrupted continuance of 
Indian veneration to the priests, and to the impressive ceremonial of the Roman Catholic 
Church, not only attests the zeal of the teachers, but also that their plan of educating was 
peciiliarly adapted to the mental capacity of the Oregon Indian. In some instances, tribes 
have imposed upon themselves the restraints incident to a semi-civilized condition of life. 
In national caste and predilection, the Oregon Catholic Mission must be regarded British. subjects, present in the conntr}-, petitioned a bishop of a diocese in British 
territory, for its establishment. The archbishop who founded the mission expressl}' 
intended that its operations should be restricted to " north of the territory, possession 
whereof is contested by the L'^nited States." His grant was based upon British expectanc}' 
that the Columbia river would be recognized as the northern boundar}- of the United 
States' territorial claim to Oregon. Before acting iipon the petition, permission of the 
Hudson's Ba}' Compan}' to enter the territor}- had been asked and obtained. The fields 
in which the missionaries were to operate were to depend upon the approbation of officers 






of the corapaii}' on duty in Oregon. Nor was the mission reinforced until the company 
had yielded its assent. But those missionaries were not narrow men ; in their good 
offices, their charitable labors, they disregarded nationality and race. The mission had 
been originated for the amelioration of native tribes and the French Canadians then in the 
country ; nor have those features ever been lost sight of in its whole history, or that of its 
successor, the church into which it has amplified. That church, with the same success,^ 
with the same interest in the aborigines, still continues its missionary work in that vast 
region once so ably occupied by Blanchet and Demers, the zealous pioneers of the Oregon 
Catholic Mission. 


Chapter XXVII. 


Young and Carniicliael Abandon Erection of Distillery — Formation of California 
Cattle Company — V^isit to Willamette by Purser Slacum, U. S. Navy, Special 
Agent — First Petition to Congress of J. L. Wliitcom and otliers — Farnliani, 
llolman and Others Leave Peoria, 111., for Oregon — Sir Edward Belcher's 
Surveying Expedition in Columbia Kiver — Arrival of Kev. J. S, Griffin — 
Missionary Party of Clai'k, Smith and Littlejohn — Dr. Robert Newell Biings 
AVagonsto Fort Walla Walla— Population of Territory at Close of 1840. 

EWING YOUNG, whose arrival in the Willamette valley' has been chronicled, growing 
tired of merely tending his stock, had resolved on a more active money-making 
pnrsnit. He had formed a partnership with Carmichael (one of the party) to erect a 
distiller}'. At this time, the salmon fishery enterprise of Captain Wyeth was about to 
be abandoned ; and the firm had purchased the caldron which had been designed for 
pickling salmon, and had commenced the building. The officials of the Htidson's Bay 
Company, the Methodist missionaries, and a majority of the settlers, protested against the 
enterprise. It was urged that its consummation would be ruinous to a farming settlement, 
and most dangerous and hurtful in a new country with an Indian population and its class of 
inhabitants. As an inducement to abandonment, the offer was made to start the firm in a 
saw or grist mill or other business, and to reimburse them for the expenditure the}- had 
incurred. An address was presented to Messrs. Young and Carmichael, signed by 
nearly every person in the settlement. Public opinion was respected and the firm obeyed 
the popular wish. The}- abandoned their project and also refused the proffered remuneration. 

The formation of the California Cattle Company was the principal feature of the fall 
and winter of 1836. It was a joint-stock company, whose purpose was to import from 
California horses and cattle. The shares were to be proportionate to the amount contributed. 
Half the stock was taken by the Hudson's Bay Company. Rev. Jason Lee, superintendent 
of the Oregon Methodist Mission, invested six hundred dollars. The settlers contributed 
amounts as they were able. Others engaged as drivers at one dollar per day, to be paid in 
cattle at actual cost. The party was headed by Ewing Young. P. L. Edwards, a lay 
member of the Methodist IVIission, accompanied as treasurer. These ofl&cers were to 
receive compensation in cattle at prime cost. 

It becomes necessary here to introduce Purser William A. Slacum, of the United 
States Navy, who arrived in Oregon in December, 1S36, in the brig Loroit, chartered 
at Honolulu. He zealously co-operated in this cattle enterprise, rendering valuable 
aid to the American settlers. As before quoted from Mr. Courtney M. Walker's pioneer 
article, it was probably owing to the published representations of Hall J. Kelly as to 
the treatment of Young and himself at Fort Vancouver, as also his observations upon the 

( 214 ) 


country, that President Jackson had instructed William A. Slacum, United States Nav}', 
as special agent to visit Oregon and make investigations, as also to report upon the 
countr}', its soil, climate, resources, etc. 

Of Slacum's visit to Fort Vancouver, Chief Factor McLoughlin remarks : " On 
arriving, he pretended he was a private gentleman and had come to meet Messrs. Murray 
and companions, who had left the States to visit the country. But this did not deceive 
me, as I perceived who be was and his object. His report of the mission subsequently 
published in the proceedings of Congress established that my surmises were correct." 

The arrival of Purser Slacum was opportune for the settlers. He offered to the 
purchasers and employes of the cattle company free passages iia his vessel to San 
Francisco. Having arrived in California, they bought 800 head of cattle at $3 per head, 
and forty horses at $12 each. A number of the cattle were lost in swimming the rivers, 
some strayed, and some were killed by the Shasta Indians. They reached Willamette in 
October, 1837, '^i^^ about 600 head. 

The horses were put up at auction and distributed to the contributors, at the prices bid. 
The cattle were found to have cost, delivered at Willamette Falls, seven dollars and 
sixty-seven cents per head. The Methodist Mission received eighty head. Those settlers 
who had borrowed tame and broken cattle from the Hudson's Bay Company were now 
allowed by Dr. McLoughlin to return California cattle in exchange, thereby stocking 
their farms with cattle at less than eight dollars per head. As the Hudson's Bay Company 
desired to use the cattle for beef, Dr. McLoughlin accepted 3'oung stock for the share due 
the company. 

There is no record of the arrival of any independent settlers during 1837. 

(1838.) In March, J. L. Whitcom (i) and thirty-five others, describing themselves 
as settlers residing south of the Columbia river, addressed to Congress the first memorial 
from within the territory, praying that Federal jurisdiction might be extended over Oregon. 
Lewis F. Linn, of Missouri, presented it in the United States Senate, January 28, 1839. 
It represents that American settlement began in 1832. It temperately portrays the 
resources, climate and soil of the region, alludes to its advantageous commercial position, 
and foreshadows the importance of Pacific commerce. The relation of the settlers to the 
Hudson's Bay Company is discussed, and the necessities of law for the well being of the 
community indicated. 

" The territory must populate. The Congress of the United States must say by 
whom. The natural resources of the country, with a well-adjusted civil code, will invite 
a good community. But a good community will hardly emigrate to a country which 
promises no protection for life or property. Inquiries have already been submitted to 
some of us for information of the country. In return, we can only speak of a country 
highly favored of nature. We can boast of no civil code. We can promise no protection 
but the ulterior resort of self-defense. By whom, then, shall our country be protected? 
By the reckless and unprincipled adventurer, or by the hardy and enterprising pioneer 
of the west ? By the Botany Bay refugee, by the renegade of civilization from the Rocky 
Mountains, by the profligate deserted seaman from Pol3niesia, and the unprincipled 
sharpers from South America ? We are well assured it will cost the government of the 
United States more to reduce elements so discordant to social order than to promote our 
permanent peace and prosperity by timely action of Congress. Nor can we suppose that 

(i) Mr. Whitcom was mate of the vessel in which Dr. White and other Methodist missionaries came as passengers, arriving in the Columbia 
river in 1S37. He had been employed by the mission as foreman. 


SO vicious a population could be relied on in case of a rupture between the United States 
and any other power. Our intercourse with the natives among us, guided much b)' the 
same influence which has promoted harmony among ourselves, has been generall}' pacific. 
But the same causes which will interrupt harmony among ourselves will also interrupt 
our friendly relations with the natives. It is, therefore, of primary importance, both to 
them and us, that the government should take energetic measures to secure the execution 
of all laws affecting Indian trade and intercourse of the white men with Indians." 

About the ist of May, 1839, a party numbering eighteen (i) left Peoria, Illinois, for 
the purpose of establishing a settlement, fishery and commercial enterprise at the mouth 
of the Columbia river. Thomas J. Farnham, a lawyer and journalist, was captain. The 
late Joseph Holman, so long and favorably known at Salem, was of the party. He was a 
cooper by occupation; and he was to make barrels, in which salmon were to be packed and 
shipped. Amos Cook, Francis Fletcher and R. L. Kilbourn, who came through that 3-ear 
to Willamette, were of the party, as was also Sidnc}' Smith, who arrived in Oregon at a 
later period. The wife of Farnham accompanied the march westward for several days, 
during which time she prepared a neat little banner, inscribed, " Oregon, or the Grave." 
Captain Farnham left his party at Bent's fort, and, with a guide, pushed ahead^ reaching 
Fort Vancouver long in advance of any of his companions. He remained there until 
November, at which time he sailed in one of the Hudson's Ba}' Company's vessels to the 
Sandwich Islands, and thence to the States. 

Joseph Holman justly and happily says: " Our's was the first party that crossed 
the plains to Oregon to become permanent settlers and citizens. We came to make 
homes; but not even the missionaries of that day actually came to stay as we did." 

As this was the first bona-fide pioneer immigration of American citizens who 
voluntarily made the great march across the continent to settle and make permanent 
homes in Oregon, to occup}' it, to hold it, to Americanize it, — the story of its march, 
its vicissitudes, its trials, recounted in the language of its prominent member, is deemed 
of vital interest. Said Joseph Holman : 

" This company of eighteen men started with a two-horse team and some loose horses. 
Fort Independence, Missouri, was considered the frontier at that time, and there the)' 
changed their programme for travel. The}- sold the team and wagon, and outfitted anew 
with saddle horses and pack animals. Here the^^ mounted their nags from the plains, and 
drove on before them pack animals that carried all their necessary baggage and supplies. 
Their train now consisted of over twenty, probably nearly thirt}', mules and horses. They 
went south from Independence towards Santa Fe, took their route up the Arkansas river 
to Bent's fort, and thence to Bent's other fort, or trading-post, on the south fork of the 
Platte. The}' were now in exclusively Indian territor}', where the}- had good grass and an 
abundance of buifalo. Sometimes the herds of bison were so impenetrable that they had 
trouble to drive them out of their way, and couldn't hear themselves speak for the constant 
roaring of these animals. They had meat in abundance, though none of them were good 
hunters. One of them would ride up by the side of a buffalo calf and shoot it with his 
pistol. Sometimes they only took out the tongues, as they were considered a great 
delicacy. They had neither flour nor salt, but lived on ' meat straight' much of the time, 
in fact, all the way to the Columbia river. Buffalo lasted on the plains as far as Bear 
river. For a month there was no time they could not go out and find droves of American 
bison. Occasionally they would stop a day to hunt whenever there was a scarcity of meat. 

(1^ The stateintnt of Joseph Holinaii. one of the party, to s. A. Clarke; see Pioneer Days, Article IV. Sunday Orfgonian gives eighteen 
as the number. T. J. Farnham, the captain, in his published "Travels in the Great Western Prairies," commences thus : " On the first day of 
May, 1S39, the author and thirteen others were making preparations to leave Peoria." 




" On the south fork of the Platte, they met a war party of Sioux, who stole two of 
their horses in the night time. Those were the only unfriendly savages they met all the 
way to Oregon. Their own party, though small, were well armed, and stood guard every 
night. The plains Indians, in that year, had only bows and arrows, with occasionally an 
old flint-lock gun that would not go off well. So our party, though small, could protect 
themselves easily against a much larger force of Indians with native weapons. They left 
Independence the last of May, and stopped a month at Bent's fort on the South Platte to 
recruit animals and secure a guide to Brown's Hole on Green river, where they all 

" They reached Brown's Hole in September, and found it located among the sage 
brush of the river bottom. Here they found Jo Meek and Dr. Newell, and other famous 
free trappers and hunters whose histories are associated with early times in Oregon. 
There was also a large band of Snakes or Sho-sho-nes. All these men said, ' You had 
better wait until spring.' So we built our cabins to winter in and went back to Bear 
river, where we killed buffalo, to dry the meat and cure it for our winter supply. This 
we packed to our winter encampment at Brown's Hole. It was a trading place only, but 
it suited the traders to call it a 'fort.' We spent the winter as well as we could, and 
feasted on dried buffalo straight. The Indians sometimes had broken guns ; and we 
mended the stocks, or did other such things for the savages as were necessary. We made 
saddles that we took to Fort Hall and exchanged for supplies and clothing in the spring. 
There were plenty of deer and mountain sheep to kill. We wintered well, and had no 

" At Bent's fort, on the South Platte, some of our party had turned back discouraged. 
A few stayed to trap there ; some went to Santa Fe. Fletcher, who came with us, died 
recently in Yamhill county ; Amos Cook lives near Lafayette ; Kilbourn went to 
California in 1842. These made the four that came through with Dr. Newell in March 
from Brown's Hole to Oregon. All of the eighteen who started and came through were 
Fletcher, Cook, Kilbourn and myself (Holman). We encountered deep snows on the way 
to Fort Hall in the mountains. Our hardships were greater than we at any time before 
encountered. We had to spread down blankets on snow drifts for our animals to pass 
over, and also did the same on the frozen creeks. Finally our horses were nearly starv^ed, 
and ourselves almost famished. We bought Indian dogs and ate them. We were a 
month in deep snow^s. The horses throve on young cottonwood growing in the creeks. 
We gave them this and they did well on it. They ate greedily. We had started early so 
as to avoid war parties of unfriendly savages. Three days from Fort Hall we found a 
single old buffalo bull. It was very poor, but we killed it. We had been three days without 
food, and were getting over our raving hunger when we killed the buffalo. At Fort Hall, 
we found dried salmon and a little corn, and thought it was very luxurious living. 

" We remained three weeks at Fort Hall, waiting for them to get ready to bring down 
their furs to Walla Walla. Then we came down Snake river with two fur traders. We 
left Fort Hall in May, and had a very pleasant journey from there to Walla Walla. We 
came down the north side of the Columbia, crossed over at The Dalles, and then took the 
Columbia river trail on the south side. We reached Vancouver the same day that forty 
missionaries arrived there by sea, including Lee, Parrish and others. Dr. McLoughlin 
was astonished to see us, and looked on us with great surprise. He said he wondered 
that four men should cross the continent alone. He sent us to the company's dairy to 
get something to eat. We were dressed in buckskin and went bareheaded. We traded 


him beaver skins for clothes, and looked like civilized men once more. Fletcher had some 
money, but they charged twent}' per cent for exchanging it for British money or goods." 

In " Notes by Dr. McLoiighlin," reference is made to William Geiger and William 
Johnson having visited Fort Vancouver. " The}' represented themselves as having been 
sent by people in the States to examine the country and make report. Johnson sailed for 
the Sandwich Islands. Geiger went as far as California and thence returned by land." 
He became a permanent settler. I 

In the summer of 1839, the little handful of Americans in the Willamette valley 
experienced extreme solicitude, upon the appearance in the Columbia river of a British 
surveying expedition, commanded by Captain Sir Edward Belcher, Royal Navy. It 
consisted of her Majesty's ship Sulpliiir^ 380 tons, with a complement of 109 men, attended 
b}' her Majesty's schooner Starling^ of 109 tons. Lieutenant H. Kellett, Royal Navy, 

This expedition for the survey of the Pacific coast, from Valparaiso to sixty degrees, 
thirty-one minutes north, and originally under command of Captain F. N. Beachey, R. N., 
had sailed from Plymouth, England, December 24, 1835. On reaching Valparaiso, 
Captain Beache^^, in consequence of ill health, was compelled to return to England. 
Lieutenant Kellett commanded until Januar}-, 1S37, ^^ which time Captain Belcher joined 
the Sulphur at Panama. Nor were the jealous fears of these American settlers without 
occasion. Among the instructions by the British Admiralty, dated December 19, 1835, 
was the following : 

" Political circumstances have invested the Columbia river with so much importance, 
that it w'ill be well to devote some time to its bar and channels of approach, as well as to 
its anchorage and shores." 

From a narrative of the voyage by Sir Edward Belcher, we quote the following 
extracts : I 

" On the 28th of July, 1839, H. B. M. ship Sulphur reached the mouth of the 
Columbia river, when Lieutenant Kellett, having descried us, weighed and stood with the 
Starling to conduct us in." 


" On the 9th of August, after being nearly devoured by mosquitoes, we reached Fort 
Vancouver, where we were very kindl}- received by Mr. Douglas, and had apartments 
allotted to us." 

The instructions of the British government in fitting out this surveying expedition 
clearly foreshadowed the British programme of acquiring Oregon by acts of occupancy. It 
is evident that the territory north of the Columbia was deemed British soil. Captain 
Belcher numbers the American element in Oregon as " twenty American stragglers from 
California, ten clergymen, teachers, etc., American Methodist Mission and four missionary 
stations in the interior." British feeling against these whom they regarded as trespassers 
and intruders, who are denounced as " stragglers," is faithfully portrayed in Belcher's 
narrative. It is a British view of Oregon in the fall of 1839, and indicates the situation of 
the pioneers, — their duties, their dangers, their responsibilities, their outlook of the future. 

In the fall, Rev. J. S. Griffin and wife, accompanied by Asahel Munger and wife, 
having that season crossed the Rocky Mountains, arrived at Fort Vancouver. They had 
designed to establish a self-supporting Indian mission, independently of the patronage of 
any missionary board. They expected that the Indians would return labor for teachings 
bestowed, but very quickly experienced that such a theory with such a people was barren 


of results. Mr. Griffin and wife came to the Willamette valle3^ Munger attached himself 
to the Methodist Mission and became deranged. He was a blacksmith, a good mechanic. 
He fancied that Christ would work a miracle to convince people that certain doctrines he 
entertained were communicated to him by God. Going one evening into his shop, he 
fastened one hand by a nail to the side of, or above, the fireplace, and then hung himself 
into the fire. Before his situation had become discovered, he was so seriously injured 
that he died within three days. 

(1840.) Revs. Harvey Clarke, Alviu T. Smith and P. B. Littlejohn, with their 
wives (Congregationalists), came as missionaries upon the self-supporting plan. Their 
intended field of labor was in the interior. Meeting with no success among the Indians, 
they became settlers in the Willamette valle}-. In March, this little colon}- in two wagons 
left Quincv, Illinois, for Independence, Mis.souri. They started westward the last of April, 
overtaking a spring caravan of the American Fur Company at Hickory Grove. At that 
point, Henry Black joined their party and came through with them. That caravan had 
also been joined, at several points on the road, by Joel Walker, Pleasant Armstrong, 
George Davis and Robert Moore, who became settlers of the Willamette valley this year. 
Arriving at the rendezvous, they met several Rocky Mountain men, free trappers, among 
whom were Dr. Robert Newell, Caleb Wilkins, Colonel Joseph L. Meek, George W. 
Ebberts, William Doughty and William Craig, several of whom settled this year in the 
Willamette. Says Mr. Smith : " These mountain men made us an escort to Fort Hall." 
The travels of these missonaries and their wives are interestingly described by Mr. Smith 
as follows : 

" We brought wagons through to Fort Hall and left them there. One wagon and 
double harness we gave to Bob Newell to pay for piloting us from Green river to Fort 
Hall. From this place to Fort Boise, we packed our baggage and supplies, and rode on 
horseback ourselves. There had been no open road on the plains; but from Boise in there 
was a plain trail made by Indians and the fur-company men. Occasionally Indians would 
travel with us until the horses disappeared. After that, they left us. The ladies had 
side-saddles and easy-riding ponies, and made the journej^ very conlfortabl^^ They had 
two tents to sleep in, and so were protected from severe weather. Mrs. Smith and Mrs. 
Littlejohn had horses that paced easily, but usually they traveled on a walk. The 
compan}- became short of provisions at Green river, but there laid in a supply of antelope 
and dried buffalo meat. These were purchased from Indians with trinkets. At Fort Hall, 
we exchanged something with the Hudson's Bay Company agent for a supply of flour. 
We killed very little game on the plains ; but, to Green river, hunters were always out to 
kill wliat they could. 

"There was no disagreement, and, except the prolonged weariness of the journey, all 
went pleasantly. The fur-company men and hunters had not the same idea of keeping 
the Sabbath as our party had, and could not be induced to lie by and rest on that day ; but 
when we were b}' ourselves, this side of Fort Hall, we concluded to live up to our 
principles. So the Sabbath we neared Fort Boise, we determined to rest. We did so; 
and those who did not take that view of matters went on and left us. 

"Near Fort Hall, we got less anxious concerning stock, as we thought we were out of 
the wild Indian country. One morning we found two of my horses missing, with some 
others. Wilkins could talk the language somewhat, and understood Indian ways well. 
Several Indians had been traveling with us and camping close b}-, turning their stock out 
uear ours. Wilkins talked to one of these, and intimated that he could find the horses if 


lie wished to. The Indian was saucy for reply, and Wilkins knocked him down, and, 
when he got up, told him to go and find our horses. He went ofif, and ver}' soon returned 
with them." 

To Dr. Robert Newell must be ascribed the credit of bringing the first wagon from 
Fort Hall to Fort Walla Walla, establishing the practicabilit}- of wagon travel from the 
western frontier of ]\Iissouri, via the Rock}- Mountains, to the Columbia river. 

The party consisted of Dr. Newell and family. Colonel Joseph L. ]Meek and family, 
Caleb Wilkins and Frederick Ermatinger, chief trader in the Hudson's Bay Company. 
It had been regarded as sheer madness to attempt to travel with wagons from Fort Hall, 
through the Snake river country, to the Columbia. The missionaries (Clark, Smith and 
Littlejohn), as already .stated, had accompanied the annual caravan of the American Fur 
Company to the Green river rendezvous, and from thence had employed Dr. Newell as pilot 
to Fort Hall. On reaching that point, they found their animals so reduced that they 
abandoned their two wagons ; and Dr. Newell accepted them in compensation for his 

In a letter to the author. Dr. Newell wrote : "x\t the time I took the wagons, I had no 
idea of undertaking to bring them into this country. I exchanged fat horses to the 
missionaries for their animals; and, after they had been gone a month or more for 
Willamette, and the American Fur Company had abandoned the country for good, I 
concluded to hitch up and try the much-dreaded job of taking a wagon to Oregon. I 
sold one of those wagons to Mr. Ermatinger, at Fort Hall. On the 15th of August, 
1840, we put out with three wagons. Joseph L. Meek drove my wagon. In a few days, 
we began to realize the difficult task before us, and found that the continued crashing of 
the sage under our wagons, which was in many places higher than the mules' backs, was 
no joke. Seeing oiir animals begin to fail, we began to lighten up, finally threw away 
our wagon beds, and were quite sorry we had undertaken the job. All the consolation we 
had was that we broke the first sage on the road, and were too proud to eat anything but 
dried salmon skins after our provisions had become exhausted. In a rather rough and 
reduced state, we arrived at Dr. Whitman's mission station, in the Walla \\'alla valle}', 
where we were met by that hospitable man and kindly made welcome, and feasted 
accordingly-. On hearing me regret that I had undertaken to bring wagons, the Doctor 
said: 'Oh, you will never regret it; you have broken the ice, and when others see that 
wagons have passed, they, too, will pass; and in a few 3-ears the valley will be full of our 
people.' The Doctor shook me heartily by the hand. Mrs. Whitman, too, welcomed us ; 
and the Indians walked around the wagons, or what they called 'horse-canoes,' and seemed 
to give it up. We spent a day or so with the Doctor, and then went to Fort Walla Walla, 
where we were kindly received b}' Mr. P. C. Pembram, chief trader of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, and superintendent of that post. On the ist of October, we took leave of those 
kind people, leaving our wagons^ and taking the river trail ; but we proceeded slowly. 
Our party consisted of Joseph L. Meek and myself, also our families, and a Snake Indian, 
whom I brought to Oregon, where he died a j^ear after our arrival. The party did not 
arrive at the Willamette Falls (Oregon City) till December, subsisting for weeks upon 
dried salmon, and upon several occasions were compelled to swim their stock across the 
Columbia and Willamette." 

Such were the privations and hardships of reaching Oregon overland, as detailed by 
a Rocky Mountain man who had been inured to such travel during his whole life. Such 
was the heroic task to be assumed by the American pioneers. 





The brig Maiyland^ Captain John H. Conch, from Newbnryport, Mass., arrived in the 
Cohimbia river. She was owned by the father of Caleb Cushing, an able champion of the 
American right to Oregon in the Congress of the United States, and was the pioneer of a 
fleet of vessels which established commerce in the Columbia river. A few years later, the 
genial Couch abandoned the sea, and settled near Portland, and inai:gurated the first 
successful independent mercantile operation in Oregon. The visit of a British surveying 
expedition, commanded b}- Sir Edward Belcher, R. N., stimulated the urgent petition 
of 1840, to Congress, of Rev. David Leslie and others, "residents in Oregon Territory, 
and citizens of the United States, or persons desiring to become such," praying that 
measures should be early adopted to embrace Oregon within Federal jurisdiction. The 
emphatic declaration of the intention to Americanize Oregon thus premises : 

" The}' have settled themselves in said territory under the belief that it was a portion 
of the public domain of said States, and that they might rely upon the government thereof 
for the blessing of free institutions and the protection of its arms. Biit they are uninformed 
of an}' acts of said government by which its institutions and protection are extended to 
them ; in consequence whereof, themselves and families are exposed to be destroyed by 
savages around them, and others who would do them harm. They have no means of 
protecting their own and the lives of their families, other than self-constituted tribunals 
originating and sustained by the power of an illy-instructed public opinion, and a resort 
to force and arms. That their means of safety are an insufficient safeguard of life and 
property; that they are unable to arrest the progress of crime without the aid of law, and 
tribunals to administer it." 

A lofty American sentiment pervades the document. It urges the immediate 
establishment of a territorial government. The value of the territory to the nation is 
demonstrated. The government is warned of the efforts of Great Britain to secure its 
acquisition. It refers to the continued presence of a British frigate upon the coast; the 
survey, in 1839, by Belcher's expedition of the Columbia river and the adjacent bays and 
harbors as meaning future occupancy; and charges the Hudson's Bay .Company with 
seizing valuable points and portions of the territory to forestall and defeat American 
settlement. Congress is admonished that officers of the company are persistently asserting 
that the British Crown had granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the territory north of 
the Columbia river. 'Various acts of dominion over the soil exercised b}' the company 
are detailed; the memorialists earnestl}' protest against Anglicizing that region by 
networks of so-called trading-posts, — establishments designed rather to secure ultimate 
ownership of territory than for purposes of Indian trade. 

The soil, climate and general features are faithfully delineated. The capacity of the 
territory to support a large population is conclusively illustrated. The magnificent 
lumbering resources, the fisheries, the large bodies of agricultural land, are heralded. 
After having invoked Congress to do its duty to the nation by asserting jurisdiction over 
Oregon, it sa3's : 

" Your petitioners would beg leave especiall}' to call the attention of Congress to 
their own condition as an infant colony, without militar}' force or civil institutions to 
protect their lives and property and children, sanctuaries and tombs, from the band of 
uncivilized and merciless savages around them. We respectfully ask for the civil 
institutions of the American Republic. We pra}- for the high privileges of American 
citizenship; the peaceful enjo3nnent of life; the right of acquiring, possessing and using 
property, and the unrestrained pursuit of rational happiness." 


At the close of 1S40, Judge Deady says : " The population of the country, exclusive 
of the company and Indians, was about 200. Of these, one-sixth were Canadians. 
Nine-tenths of them were located west of the Cascade Mountains, and almost all of them 
in the Willamette valle3\ Biit the power and prestige resulting from wealth, organization 
and priority of settlement, were still on the side of those who represented Great Britain. 
It was a common opinion among all classes, that in the final settlement of boundaries 
between the two countries, the territory north of the Columbia might be conceded to Great 
Britain ; and the principal settlements and stations of the British and Americans were 
located with reference to this possibility. So stood the matter thirty-five years after the 
American exploration of the Columbia river by Lewis and Clark. A casual observer 
might have concluded that the country was doomed to remain a mere trapping and trading 
ground for the company, for generations to come. But a new force was now about to 
appear on the scene and settle the long-protracted controversy in favor of the United 
States. It was the Oregon argonauts, moving across the continent in dust}' columns with 
their wives and children, flocks and herds, in search of the Golden Fleece that was to be 
found in the groves and prairies of the coveted lands of the Willamette. The actual 
occupation of Oregon for the purpose of claiming and holding the country as against 
Great Britain, and forming therein an American State, did not commence until after 1S40. 
Very naturally the movement began in the west, and had its greatest strength in Missouri, 
Illinois and Iowa" (i). 

(I) Annual address of Hon. Matthew P. Deady. — Oregon Pioneers, 1S75. 


Chapter XXVIIL 


Abortive Effort to Form a Provisional Government — The United States Exploring 
Expedition — Captain Wilkes, United States Navy — First Fourtli of July on 
Pnget Sound — The Red Kiver Colony to Puget Sound. 

THE residents of Oregon, though few in number, had already become divided into 
parties, in the main influenced by nationality. British subjects were uniformly 
dependent upon the Hudson's Ba}^ Company, in fact, were generally in its employ. The 
Canadian-French south of the Columbia river, with few exceptions, were its discharged 
servants. They had come under articles which guaranteed that they should not be 
discharged in the Indian country. At the end of their service, they were to be returned 
to their former homes. To avoid the non-fulfillment of such obligation, and to retain 
such class in the country, though relieved from service, they continued to be borne upon 
the compan3^'s books, as much under their control as before discharged, and fully as loyal 
to the company and its officers. 

In the Willamette valley, the Methodist Mission constituted the nucleus around 
which rallied the American population. As yet there were no American settlers north 
and west of the Columbia river. The Protestant Missions in the interior were completely 
isolated from the Willamette settlements. 

The Hudson's Bay Company reigned supreme north of the Columbia ; south of that 
river, the Canadian-French owed it allegiance. Over the American and independent 
settlers, the mission exercised control. Each had its system of discipline; its programme 
of dealing with the natives; its mode of treatment of, and intercourse with, those 
independent of its organization. Those two recognized elements of authority, those 
two governing influences, had rendered unnecessary the establishment of any other 
governmental agency. Had all the inhabitants been connected with one or the other of 
those establishments, been amenable to the discipline of one or the other of those organized 
agencies, no necessity would have invited further restraint than that imposed in the 
relation of employer. 

The death of Ewing Young, an independent settler, in February, without kindred, 
was an event of interest to the infant settlement. Not connected with either the mission 
or the company, possessor of considerable property, how was that property to be distributed? 
By whom was his estate to be settled ? To whom was its management to be intrusted ? 
Such an event naturally siiggested the utility, not to say the absolute necessity, of laws, — 
of legislatures to make them, of courts to administer them, and of a government to enforce 
their due observance. After his burial, those who had attended the funeral improvised a 
meeting to confer upon the situation. A committee was selected, from whom emanated 
the call for the " Primary Meeting of the People of Oregon." 

( 223 ) . 


That pioneer political convention assembled on the 17th of February, 1S41, at the 
American Mission House. Rev. Jason Lee presided, Rev. Gustavus Hines acting as 
secretary. Its purpose : " Consultation concerning the steps necessary to be taken for 
the formation of laws, the election of officers to execute the same, and for the better 
preser\-ation of good order." 

No residents north of the Columbia participated. A resolution had been adopted, 
" That all settlers north of the Columbia river, not connected with the Hudson's Bay 
Company, be admitted to the protection of our laws on making application to that effect." 
The residents south of the Columbia river, of ever}' nationalit}', all north of the river, 
except those connected with the Hudson's Bay Compan3^ could, by application, become a 
part of the said government. This exclusion of those connected with the Hudson's Bay 
Company, this condition that residents north of the Columbia should make application, 
should not be attributed to a spirit of proscription by American settlers. It was rather 
the recognition of that prevailing sentiment, that faith steadily inculcated by the officers 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, — that the Columbia river would be the ultimate boundary 
line between the United States and Great Britain. 

North of the Columbia, the company's occupation was as exclusive, its jurisdiction 
as complete, as though the region were a recognized part of the Hudson's Bay Territory. 
Under the provisions of an act of Parliament of July 2, 1821, entitled, " An act of 
establishing a criminal and civil jurisdiction within certain parts of North America," 
officers of the compau}^ had been commissioned justices of the peace ; the jurisdiction of 
the courts of Canada has been extended to the Pacific; British subjects who contemned 
the company's authority, who were unruly or lawless, or who ignored the exclusive license 
of trade, could be tried by such justices, and punished or sent to Canada for trial. Hence, 
north of the Columbia, there was no necessity for additional law. The company's 
discipline was all-sufficient to regulate its officers, emplo3'es and servants. The act of 
Parliament conferred authority to prevent the intrusion of British subjects; to assure 
respect of the company's authority ; affixed punishment by forms of statute law when 
the discipline of the company proved inefficient. By that statute, Great Britain had 
extended British law over the whole of Oregon. It had reall}^ clothed the company with 
ample jurisdiction over every British subject within the territory. North of the Columbia 
river was practically a British province. 

Agricultural settlement by Americans south of the Columbia had not been opposed 
by the company's officers at Fort Vancouver; but, to the Willamette valley, such settlement 
had been restricted. Thoroughly aware of their utter inability to destroy the exclusiveness 
of the company's sway north of the river, this resolve must be only construed as an 
intended declaration of non-interference. It recognized the situation ; but, with true 
American welcome, those government-builders would receive such as applied for protection. 
B}' such resolution, the settlers only conceded that the company alread}' enjoyed, north oi 
the river, what the American settlers needed in the Willamette valley. 

On the 17th, but few attending, the meeting adjourned. On the iSth, almost the 
entire population of tlie Willamette valley were present. Protestant and Catholic, American 
and Canadian-French, missionary and layman, alike attested the popular interest. Rev. 
David Leslie presided. Rev. Gustavus Hines and Sidney Smith were secretaries. One 
committee was appointed to nominate officers of the newl}- formed cqIou}', another to draft 
a constitution and code of laws. While this project was inaugurated and mainly urged 

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by the Methodist Mission, yet an inspection of the names of the committee demonstrates 
that the effort was made to conciliate every interest, to recognize every class, every sect, 
every nationality. 

The same policy was manifested in selecting officers. There was a scrupulous regard 
for all the elements of that little community, — that no one should be ignored, that each 
should be represented. 

The meeting adopted the report of the nominating committee, thereby electing Dr. 
I. L. Babcock Supreme Judge with probate powers; George W. Le Breton, Recorder ; 
William Johnson, Sheriff; three justices of the peace and three constables. Until 
the committee should report a constitution and code of laws. Judge Babcock was 
instructed to act according to the laws of New York. The best of feeling prevailed, all 
seemed animated with the same idea, and the meeting adjourned until the first Tuesdav in 

At the adjourned meeting. Rev. David Leslie presided, with the same secretaries as at 
the primary meeting. The committee to draft a constitution and code of laws were called 
upon to report. Rev. F. N. Blanchet, chairman, responded that the committee had held no 
meeting, and that no report had been prepared. At his request, he was relieved from the 
committee. Dr. William J. Bailey was substituted. 

The committee were instructed to meet on the first Monday in August. The first 
Monday in October was designated as the time to receive and act upon the constitution 
and code of laws. They were also instructed to confer with Captain Charles Wilkes, 
United States Navy, commander of the United States exploring expedition, then in 
the Columbia river, and with Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay 
Company and executive officer of its affairs west of the Rocky Mountains. 

The meeting, by the reconsideration of the vote adopting the report of the nominating 
committee, had annulled the election of officers. A resolution was then passed, " That the 
committee to draft a constitution and laws be instructed to take into consideration the 
number and kind of officers it will be necessary to create in accordance with the constitution 
and code of laws, and report the same to the next meeting ; and that the report of the 
nominating committee be referred to said committee." 

The anxiety to form a government, which had manifested itself at the February 
meeting, had grown into indifference at the meeting in June. Rev. F. N. Blanchet's 
declination to serve upon the committee, the resolution to consult Chief Factor McLoughlin 
and Captain Wilkes, were all indicative of intended abandonment of the project. The 
settlers, by their first resolution, had conceded that the Hudson's Bay Company could 
have no real desire to aid in establishing a government ; the retirement of Blanchet was 
evidence that the Canadian-French were not ready for the imposition of laws. Captain 
Wilkes, a commissioned officer of the United States government, could not officially advise 
such a project in the face of the Joint-Occupancy Treaty ; neither could he countenance 
the formation of an independent state or community on the shores of the Pacific. The 
June meeting having undone all that had been effected in February, then completed 
necessary- arrangements by which this first attempt to establish a government in Oregon 
should be nipped in the bud. 

The American members of that committee, in obedience to instructions, called upon 
Captain Wilkes. 

Before this interview with the committee, the Rev. Mr. Blanchet, in charge of the 
Catholic mission near Champoeg, had been visited by Captain Wilkes. In that vi.sit. 


Mr. Blanchet " spoke much about the system of laws the minority of the settlers were 
desirous of establishing, but which he had objected to, and advised his people to refuse to 
co-operate in ; for he was of opinion that the number of settlers in the Willamette valley 
would not w-arrant the establishment of a constitution ; and, as far as his people w^ere 
concerned, there was certainl}- no necessit}- for one, nor had he any knowledge of crime 
having been 3'et committed." Captain Wilkes remarks : " From my own observation, 
and the information I had obtained, I was well satisfied that the laws were not needed, 
and were not desired by the Catholic portion of the settlers. I therefore could not avoid 
drawing their attention to the fact, that, after all the various offices they proposed making 
should be filled, there would be no subjects for the law to deal with. I further advised 
them to wait until the government of the United States should throw its mantle over 
them" (i). 

The adjourned citizens' meeting was never held. Thus fell, still-born, that first and 
preraatiire attempt to establish a government in Oregon. 

The reference to Captain Wilkes renders unnecessary the statement that Oregon was 
visited this year by the United States exploring expedition, commanded by that 
distinguished officer of the United States Navy. As appears by the instructions of the 
Navy Department : 

" Entirely divested of all military character, its objects were altogether scientific and 
useful, intended for the benefit equally of the United States and all the commercial 
nations of the world." In assigning officers, the President did not select from senior 
ranks of the navy, nor according to grade of service. Lieutenant Charles Wilkes was 
appointed chief; and Lieutenant William L. Hudson, though superior in rank, was 
selected second in command. The instructions of Hon. James K. Paulding, Secretary of 
the Navy, bear date August 11, 1838: 

" The Congress of the United States, having in view the important interests of our 
commerce embarked in the whale fisheries, and other adventures in the great southern 
ocean, by an act of the iStli of May, 1836, authorized an expedition to be fitted out for 
the purpose of exploring and surveying that sea, as well to determine the existence of all 
doubtful islands and shoals as to discover and accuratel}- fix the position of those which 
lie in or near the track of our vessels in that quarter, and ma}- have escaped the observation 
of scientific navigators." 

Having in general terms indicated the order in which the vo3'age should be pursued, 
and designating the lands and seas to be explored, the squadron was to rendezvous at 
the Sandwich Islands. 

"Thence you will direct your course to the northwest coast of America, making such 
surve3's and examinations, first of the territory' of the United States and seaboard, and of 
the Columbia river, and afterwards along the coast of California, with special reference to 
the Bay of San Francisco, as you can accomplish by the month of October following your 

^ ■!• 5l» 3^ ij^ t^ 5|i 

"Although the primary object of the expedition is the promotion of the great interest of 
commerce and navigation, yet you will take all occasions, not incompatible with the great 
purposes of j-our undertaking, to extend the bounds of science and promote the acquisition 
of knowledge. For the more successful attainment of these, a corps of scientific gentlemen, 
consisting of the following persons, will accompany the expedition : 

(1) Wilkes' ExploriiiR Expedition, Vol. IV, page 352. 


"Horatio Hale, philologist; Chas. Pickering, naturalist; T. R. Peale, naturalist; 
Joseph P. Couthouy, conchologist ; James P. Dana, mineralogist; William Rich, botanist; 
Joseph Drayton, draughtsman ; J. D. Breckenridge, horticulturist." Of the scientific corps, 
Professor Couthouy was detached at Honolulu in the fall of 1840. The exploring 
squadron was composed of the Vuiceimcs^ sloop-of-war, 780 tons, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, 
U. S. N., commanding ; Peacock, sloop-of-war, 650 tons. Lieutenant W. L. Hudson, U. S. N.; 
ship Relief, Lieutenant A. K. Long, U. S. N.; brig Porpoise, Lieutenant Cadwalader 
Ringgold, U. S. N.; tender Sea Gull, Lieutenant Reid, U. S. N.; tender Flying Fish, 
Lieutenant Knox, U. S. N. The ship Relief had been sent home from Callao. The 
tender Sea Gull was lost in May, 1839. 1^^^ squadron, before it had reached the 
Oregon coast, had been reduced to the ships Vincennes and Peacock, and the brig 
Porpoise and the tender Flying Fish. 

The llnccnnes and Porpoise had anchored on the 28th, in a small cove on the west 
side of an inlet, opposite the south end of Whidby Island, to which Captain Wilkes gave 
the name of Pilot's Cove. On the nth, the vessels reached their anchorage off Fort 
Nisqually, and were heartily welcomed by Alex. C. Anderson, Esq., in charge of the 
fort, and by Captain McNeil, in command of the steamer Beaver, then undergoing repairs. 

At Nisqually, Captain Wilkes initiated operations. The Porpoise, with two of 
the J'incennes'' boats, under Lieutenant Ringgold, survej-ed Admiralty Inlet. The launch, 
first cutter and two boats of the J 'iiiccnnes, under command of Lieutenant Case, surveyed 
Hood's Canal. A land party, to explore the interior, was assigned to Lieutenant Johnson, 
and was accompanied by Dr. Pickering and Mr. Breckenridge. Eighty days were allowed 
to cross the Cascade Mountains, to go as far as Colvile, and south to Lapwai Mission, 
thence to Walla Walla, and return via the Yakima river, across the Cascade Range, to 
Fort Nisqually. 

The other land party consisted of Captain Wilkes, Purser Waldron, Mr. Drayton and 
two servants, two Indians and a Canadian guide, with four pack horses. This party 
crossed to the Columbia river, thence to Astoria, thence to Fort Vancouver. The 
Willamette settlements were visited. It had been the intention to go up the Columbia to 
Fort Walla Walla. At Astoria, Captain Wilkes had expected to meet the Peacock ; and, 
b}' means of her boats, the Columbia river was to have been surveyed. Disappointed b)- 
the failure of tidings from ih^ Peacock, Captain Wilkes rejoined the Jliiccnnes at Nisqually 
on the 1 6th of June. 

Fourth of July, 1841, was the first celebration of our nation's birthday on Puget 
Sound. Captain Wilkes thus describes that interesting occasion : 

" Wishing to give the crew a holiday on the anniversary of the declaration of our 
independence, and to allow them to have a full day's frolic and pleasure, they were allowed 
to barbecue an ox, which the company's agent had obligingly sold me. The}- were 
permitted to make their own arrangements for the celebration, which they conducted in 
the following manner. The place chosen for the purpose was a corner of the Mission 
prairie. (This was the prairie iipon which Dr. Richmond and Mr. Wm. H. Wilson had 
established the Puget Sound ^Missionary Station.) Here they slaughtered their ox and 
spitted him on a sapling supported over the fire, which was made in a trench. The carcass 
could thus be readil}" turned ; and a committee of the crew was appointed to cook him. 
Others were engaged in arranging the amusements. All was bustle and activity on the 
morning of the 5th, as the 4th fell upon Sunday. Before nine o'clock, all the men were 
mustered on board in clean white frocks and trousers, and all, including the marines and 


music, were landed shortl}' after, to march to the scene of festivity, about a mile distant. 
The procession was formed at the observator}^, whence we all marched off, with flags flying 
and music playing, Vendovi and the master-at-arms bringing up the rear. \'endovi was 
dressed out after the Fiji fashion. * '■■ * Two brass howitzers were also carried on 
the prairie to fire the usual salutes. When the procession reached Fort Nisqually, they 
stopped, gave three cheers, and waited, sailor-like, until it was returned. This was done 
by only a few voices, a circumstance that did not fail to produce many jokes among the 
seamen. On reaching the ground, various games occupied the crew, while the oificers 
also amused themselves in like manner. At the usual hour, dinner was piped, when all 
repaired to partake of the barbecue. By this time the Indians had gathered from all 
quarters, and were silently looking on at the novel sight, and wistfull}' regarding the feast 
which they saw going on before them. At this time the salute was fired, when one of 
the men, by the name of Whithorn, had his arm most dreadfully lacerated from the 
sudden explosion of the gun. This accident put a momentary' stop to the hilarity of the 
occasion. The wound was dressed as well as it could be, and a litter was made on which he 
was at once sent to the ship. Men-of-war's men are somewhat familiar with such scenes ; 
and, although this accident threw a temporary gloom over the party, the impression did 
not last long ; and the amusements of the morning were now exchanged for the excitement 
of horse-racing, steeds having been hired for the purpose from the Indians. At sunset 
they all returned on board in the same good order they had landed. The rejoicings ended, 
the surveying party was again dispatched to complete the survey- of Puget Sound." 

On the 27th, while engaged in the examination of the Archipelago dc Haro, Captain 
Wilkes received letters from Fort Nisqually advising him of the loss, on the iSth, of the 
ship Peacock on the Columbia bar. 

The loss of the Peacock rendered necessary a material change of Captain Wilkes' 
operations. He transferred his pennant to the brig Porpoise^ and with that vessel, the 
Fh'i'ig Fish and the boats of the Peacock^ surveyed the Columbia river to its extreme 
navigable point. Lieutenant Ringgold was transferred to the J'ii/coiiies, which ship, with 
the late ofiicers from the Peacock, was ordered to San Francisco to survey the Sacramento 
river. FortunateU', the brig Thomas H. Perkins^ Captain Varney, from Boston, was then 
at Astoria. She had been chartered by Dr. McLoughlin, but he released the vessel, and 
Captain Wilkes purchased her. After necessary alterations, she became the Oregon, and 
was assigned to the command of Lieutenant Carr. 

In accordance with instructions of the Navy Department, all the exploring parties 
having completed their duties in Oregon, bv the aSth of October, 1S41, had reported to 
Captain Wilkes in San Francisco. 

In August, 1 84 1, Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company 
Territory, then making an overland journey round the world, visited Oregon Territory. 
On the ist of September, accompanied b}' Governor James Douglas, chief factor Hudson's 
Bay Compau}-, he took leave of Captain Charles Wilkes, and the officers of the United 
States exploring expedition, then at Fort \'ancouver, engaged in surve3-ing the Columbia 
river. Sir George was starting for Fort Nisquall}-, where the steamer Bea7rr, Captain 
William McNeil, awaited to convey him to Sitka. Forty-eight hours in the Hud.son's Bay 
Company's bateau brought the party to the Cowlitz farms of the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Company. Here is Sir George Simpson's picture of Cowlitz and Nisqually in the fall 
of 184 1 : 


(decease d) 


" Between the Cowlitz river and Puget Sound, a distance of about sixty miles, the 
country, which is watered by many streams and lakes, consists of an alternation of plains 
and belts of wood. It is well adapted both for tillage and pasturage, possessing a genial 
climate, good soil, excellent timber, water power, natural clearings and a seaport, and that, 
too, within reach of more than one advantageous market. When this tract was explored, 
a few years ago, the compau}- established two farms upon it, which were subsequently 
transferred to the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, formed under the company's 
auspices, with the view of producing wheat, wool, hides and tallow, for exportation. On 
the Cowlitz farm there were already about a thousand acres of land under the plough, 
besides a large dairy, and an extensive park for horses and stock ; and the crops this 
season amounted to eight or nine thousand bushels of wheat, four thousand of oats, with 
a due proportion of barley, potatoes, etc. The other farm was on the shores of Puget 
Sound (Nisqually Plains); and, as its soil was found to be better fitted for pasturage than 
tillage, it had been appropriated almost exclusively to the flocks and herds. So that now, 
with only two hundred acres of cultivated land, it possessed six thousand sheep, twelve 
hundred cattle, besides horses, pigs, etc. In addition to these two farms, there was a 
Catholic mission, with about one hundred and sixty acres under the plough. There were 
abso a few Canadian settlers, retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company ; and it was 
to the same neighborhood that the emigrants from Red river were wending their way." 

The purpose of that emigration was occupancy by colonization. It was an earnest 
exhibit of British policy, but more especially of the Hudson's Bay Compan}^, to establish 
British agricultural colonies in Oregon north of the Columbia river, the better to assure 
retention of that region. It had become manifest that the ultimate settlement of the 
question of boundary between the United States and Great Britain might depend upon 
occupanc}' of the soil by actual settlers. The company engaged in this scheme of 
colonization, because by its license of trade it was restricted from acquiring and holding 
lands ; its rights were merely possessory. It was a mere tenant for a term of j'ears, not a 
settler. As an inducement to settlement, each head of a family had been guaranteed, on 
arriving, the use and increase of fifteen head of cows, fifteen ewes, the necessary work 
oxen or horses, house and barn accommodations. The colonists were from " the Red 
River Territory, which had been granted in 1811 by the Hudson's Bay Company to Lord 
Selkirk. The population consisted of Canadians, Orknej-men and Scotchmen and their 
mixed descendants. The half-breeds of every stock generally derive their aboriginal blood 
from the swampy Crees, who are allowed to be the most comely of all the native tribes, 
and who have, during the lapse of two or three ages, picked up something of civilization at 
the company's oldest posts." 

On the 15th of June, 1841, twenty-three families, under the leadership of Captain 
James Sinclair, a clerk in the Hudson's Bay Company's service, left Manitoba, Red River 
Territor}', for Puget Sound. They had started twenty-eight da3^s earlier than Sir George 
Simpson ; and he and his little party overtook them on the sixteenth day out from Port 
Garr}-. Savs he : " These emigrants consisted of agriculturists and others, principally 
natives of Red River settlement. There were twenty-three families, the heads being young 
and active, though a few of them were advanced in life, more particularly one poor woman 
upwards of seventy-five years of age, who was following after her son to his new home. 
As a contrast to this superannuated daughter of the Saskatchewan, the band contained 
several very j-oung travelers, who had, in fact, made their appearance in this world since the 
commencement of the journey. Beyond the inevitable detention which seldom exceeded 


a few hours, these interesting events had never interfered with the progress of the brigade; 
and both mother and child used to jog on, as if jogging on were the condition of human 

" Each famih- had two or three carts, together with bands of horses, cattle and dogs. 
The men and lads traveled in the saddle, while the vehicles, which were covered with 
awnings against the sun and rain, carried the women and 3'oung children. As they 
marched in single file, their cavalcade extended above a mile in length ; and we increased 
the length of the column by marching in compau}'. The emigrants were all healthy and 
happy, living in the greatest abundance, and enjoying the journey with the highest 
relish. Before coming up to these people, we had seen evidence of the comfortable state of 
their commissariat in the shape of two or three still warm buffaloes, from which only the 
tongue and a few other choice bits had been taken." 

The train traveled along up the Bow river (south branch of the Saskatchewan), 
and crossed the Rock}' Mountains at the confluence of two of the sources of the 
Saskatchewan and Columbia rivers near Fort Kootenais, at an altitude of 8,000 feet. They 
left their carts on the east side at an abandoned post called the Mountain House. 
Treacherously deserted at Bow river by their guide, a half-breed of some education, 
they providentially met a Cree Indian, Bras Croche, who guided them through an excellent 
pass in the mountains, and continued with them to Nisquall}'. On the 5tli of August, 
they crossed the summit of the Rocky Mountains and reached Fort Walla Walla on the 
4th of October. That night, or on the morning of the 5th, the fort took fire and was 
entirely consumed. These emigrants assisted in moving the stock and effects ; and b}' 
their opportune presence most of the property was saved. One of the party had 
returned to Fort Edmonton, another switched off to California, and several families 
stopped at the Cowlitz farm. Thirteen families arrived on the Sth of November at Fort 
Nisqually, where they remained during the winter. 

Complaints were made by the colonists that the compau}' failed to comply with 
their contract. But one or two remained at Nisqually Plains ; two or three families only 
stopped at the Cowlitz. This was the only attempt made by the Puget Sound Agricultural 
Company to make settlements in the territory north and west of the Columbia river. The 
scheme to establish agricultural colonies upon Puget Sound from Red river proved a 

Chapter XXIX. 


Appointment of Dr. White as Sub Indian Agent — Fremont's First Expedition 
to the Soutli Pass — Immig:ration of 1842 — Efforts Renewed to Form a 
Provisional Government — Wliite's Importance as a Public Functionary — 
Citizens of Tualitan Plains Combine to Pr<>tect Themselves Against Evil-doers — 
White's Administration of Indian Alfaii's in the Interior — His Reports to the 
War Department. 

IN THE latter part of Januar}', 1842, the War Department, which at that period 
embraced the Indian Bureau, appointed Dr. Elijah White, discharged physician of the 
Oregon Methodist Mission, sub-agent for the Indian tribes west of the Rocky Mountains, 
with a compensation of seven hundred and fifty dollars per annum. He was to report 
information : as to territory, — its resources, general features, soil, climate and adaptability 
for settlement; the number and condition of the population ; statistics as to Indian tribes 
west of the Rocky Mountains ; their attitude towards the American settlers, and the 
influence exerted by the presence of the Hudson's Bay Compan}-. 

This appointment was without political significance, 3'et, in connection with the first 
Fremont expedition which immediately followed, may be considered as indicating that the 
Executive Department of the nation was awakening to an interest in the internal affairs 
of the territory. 

In the spring, the War Department instructed Lieutenant John C. Fremont, United 
States Topographical Engineers, " to explore and report upon the country between the 
frontiers of Missouri and the South Pass in the'Rock}- Mountains, and on the line of the 
Kansas and Great Platte rivers." 

Wilson P. Hunt, in command of Astor's overland expedition, had (in November, 
1S12), discovered the South Pass. That region had been annually traversed by hunters 
and trappers ; that pass had been crossed by pack animals, by carts, b}^ wagons ; na}^, more, 
the missionar}' women on horseback had successfully crossed the continent. If it were 
essential to the recognition that a practicable wagon road could cross those plains and 
mountains, that the shores of the Pacific could be reached overland by emigrants from the 
frontier States, that an United States army officer should be guided by a trapper over 
the beaten track, which year after year had been pursued by uncultured Rocky Mountain 
men, and so recently by women, such had now been supplied by the first Fremont 
reconnaisance. Fremont had gone over the route. He had seen it and had returned to 
Washiugton and made a scientific report. He left St. Louis May 22d, ascended the Missouri 
river 400 miles, traveled westward, reaching the South Pass August 8th, and by the 29th of 
October had returned to Washington. The government had become possessed of an 
official report, which could not more than verify the oft-repeated accounts of experienced 
hunters and trappers, and the published statements of Wilson P. Hunt, the Sublette 
brothers, and Ashley, Pilcher, Bonneville and Rev. Samuel Parker. 

( ^31 ) 


About the 17th of INIarch, Dr. White, accompanied by Medorem Crawford and 
Nathaniel Crocker of New York, and the two IMcKay brothers, Alexander and John, 
natives of Oregon, started from their respective homes in New York for Independence, 
Missouri, which they reached on the first of May. Several families and single men 
en ?-out(' for Oregon were encamped twenty miles to the southwest at Elm Grove. The 
number of emigrants increased until the i6th, upon which day a meeting was held to 
organize a company. It was resolved " That ever^^ male over the age of eighteen 3-ears 
shall be provided with one mule or horse or wagon conveyance ; he shall have one gun, 
three pounds of powder, twelve pounds of lead, one thousand caps or suitable flints, fiftj^ 
pounds of flour or meal, and thirty- pounds of bacon, and a suitable proportion of provisions 
for women and children; and if any present be not so provided, he shall be rejected." 

Dr. \\liite read his appointment as sub-agent and was elected captain for one month. 
Columbia Lancaster, L. W. Hastings and A. L. Lovejoy were constituted a " scientific 
corps to keep a faithful and true record of everything for the benefit of all those 
who may hereafter move to Oregon, and that the government may be well informed 
oT the road, its obstructions, means of subsistence, eminences, depressions, distances, 
bearings, etc." 

A blacksmith, wagon-maker, road and bridge builder were selected, each of whom was 
authorized to employ two assistants, and, when necessar}-, to call upon the force of the 
company. The code of laws was to be enforced by reprimand, fines and final exclusion. 
Profane swearing, obscene conversation and immoral conduct rendered the off"ender liable 
to expulsion ; a register of the names of ever}- man, woman and child was to be kept b}' 
Nathaniel Crocker, Secretary-. 

James Coats was chosen pilot. These preliminaries all settled, the first emigrant 
train for Oregon moved westward from Elm Grove. It consisted of one hundred and five 
persons, fifty of whom were males over the age of eighteen years, eighteen wagons and a 
large band of horses, mules and cattle. 

When five days out, death had stricken down a child of Judge Columbia Lancaster. 
The bereaved parents continued with the party for several days ; after traveling westward 
170 miles, the failing health of ]\Irs. Lancaster compelled the return of the Judge and his 
famil3\ Dr. White and three of the train escorted them back to the Kansas river, the 
train being delayed three days for the return of the escort. 

Medorem Crawford (i) has graphically described that march across the plains, its 
methods, its difficulties, its trjnng scenes, its vicissitudes, its annoyances, its triumphs 
over obstacles, and its termination at the Willamette valley. That narrative pictures how 
Oregon acquired its population. Here, too, is a vivid picture of Oregon pioneer life : 
" On the 5th of October, our little party, tired, ragged and hungry, arrived at the Falls, 
now Oregon Cit}-, where we found the first habitations west of the Cascade Mountains. 
Here several members of the Methodist Mission were located, and a saw-mill was being 
erected on the island. 

" Our gratification on arriving safely after so long and perilous a journe}- was shared 
by these hospitable people, each of whom gave us a hearty welcome and rendered ever}' 
assistance in their power. 

" From the Falls to Vancouver was a trackless wilderness, communication being only 
b}' the river in small boats and canoes. Towards Salem no sign of civilization existed 

(i) Occasional Address Oregon Pioneers, 1881. 




until we reached French Prairie, where a few farms near the river were cultivated b}^ 
former employes of the Hudson's Bay Compan}-. 

" Within the present limits of Yamhill count}^, the only settlers I can remember were 

Sidney Smith, Amos Cook, Francis Fletcher, James O'Neil, Joseph McLaughlin, 

\\'illiams, Louis La Bonte and George Ga3\ There may have been one or two more, but 
I think not. South of George Gay's on the west and of Salem on the east side of the 
Willamette river, there were no settlements within the territory. 

" There were in the valley some twelve or fifteen Methodist missionaries, most of 
them having families, under the general superintendence of Rev. Jason Lee. Some were 
at the Falls,, some at Salem, and some at the mission farm ten miles below Salem, opposite 
the place now known as Wheatland. At these places, especially the Falls and Salem, 
man}- improvements were being made, and employment was given at fair wages to all who 
desired work. Pajanent was made in lumber and flour from their mills at Salem, cattle 
and horses from their herds, and orders on the mission stores at the Falls kept by Hon. 
George Abernethy. There w^as no money in the country ; in fact, I do not remember of 
seeing a piece of mone}^ of any description for more than a j-ear after my arrival. A 
man's financial condition was based upon his cattle, horses, and credit with the Hudson's 
Bay Company, or on Abernethy's books. W^ith these he could procure everything that 
was purchasable in the country. 

" All kinds of tools and implements were scarce, and generally of the most primitive 
character. There were no wagons in the country. Carts of the rudest manufacture were 
in general use, which among the French were generally ironed with rawhide. Ground was 
plowed with wooden mold-boards. Grain was threshed in rail-pens by the tramping of 
horses, cleaned by winnowing in the wind, and transported in canoes and bateaux to Fort 
Vancouver to market. i\Iost of our clothing came from the Hudson's Bay Company, was 
all of one size, and was said to have been made to fit Dr. McLoughlin, who was a very 
large man. 

" Boots and shoes were more difficult to obtain than any other article of clothing. As 
for m3-self, I had no covering for my feet for two years, either summer or winter, but 
buckskin moccasins ; still I never enjoyed better health in my life." 

Sub-Agent WHiite reached Fort Vancouver about the 20th of September. Dr. John 
McLoughlin thus chronicles the arrival : " Dr. White, who had formerly been a member 
of the Methodist Mission, but disagreed with them and left them in 1840, came with these 
immigrants.. He himself gave out, at a meeting which he called for the purpose, as 
having been appointed sub Indian agent by the American government for Oregon 
Territory; but of course the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company did not acknowledge 
his authority." 

Rev. Gustavus Hines (i) says: "The subject of organizing a government was 
revived in September, 1842 ; but Dr. White, who was now in the country as sub-agent of 
Indian affairs, contended that his office was equivalent to that of governor of the colon3^ Some 
of the citizens contended that the Doctor's business was to regulate the intercourse between 
the Indians and the Whites, and not to control the Whites in their intercourse among 
themselves. Without arriving at anything definite on this point, after hearing the 
documents brought to the countr}^ from Washington, the people scattered away to their 
homes upon the plains, pleased with what they considered a preliminary step of the L^nited 
States towards extending jurisdiction over the territory of Oregon. The meeting alluded 

U) Hilies' History of Oregon. 


to was held at Champoeg September 23, 1S42, of whicli Dr. I. L. Babcock was chairmau 
and George W. Le Bretou secretary. Dr. White read his credentials as snb Indian agent, 
made a speech, and resolutions were adopted to be ofificiall}' communicated b}- Dr. White 
to the government of the United States." 

The Doctor remarks : " With the advent of so many new settlers, the people of the 
colony began seriouslj^ to entertain the project of establishing a provisional form of 
government. Meeting after meeting was held for this purpose, which, from there being 
so many aspirants to the most important offices, proved abortive." 

In his first official report to the Indian Bureau, he states how cordiality he was received 
b}- Chief Factors McLoughlin and Douglas. To them "his appointment gave pleasure 
rather than pain, a satisfactory assurance that these worth}' gentlemen intend eventually 
to settle in this country, and prefer American to English jurisdiction." That hospitality 
had been manifested to ever}' government official visiting their posts ; and there is but a 
single report by an authorized agent of the United States visiting this territory which 
does not commend the presence of the company as promotive of the well-being of Oregon 
at that period. 

The appointment of a Federal officer, and favorable legislation by Congress for the 
territory, anticipated from the report of Sub-Agent White in his speech to the Champoeg 
meeting, engendered a confidence in the American settlers that the government would not 
much longer defer assertion of territorial rights, and the extension of Federal jurisdiction 
over the territory. 

Late in the fall, the dwelling-house of Rev. A. B. Littlejohn, on the Tualitan plains, 
had been broken open and stripped of clothing, bedding, provisions and movables. His 
neighbors, Rev. J. S. Griffin and those old Rocky Mountain men, Robert Newell, George 
W. Ebberts, Caleb Wilkins, William Doughty and Joseph E. Meek, constituted themselves 
detectives, with an agreement to assemble at the call of any of their number. Within a 
few days, an Indian came to William Doughty's house. His inquiries as to who was 
suspected by the Whites, and his too familiar acquaintance, for an innocent party, with 
the details of the crime, led Doughty to suspect that his visitor was either the burglar or 
that he knew all about it. Doughty at once assembled his colleagues. The Indian was 
put upon trial, and confessed his guilt. That primitive vigilance committee adjudged tluit 
he should receive five lashes at the hands of each of his judges, to be well laid on. The 
prisoner was tied up to an oak-tree, and the sentence duly carried into execution. 

The incident was a matter of considerable comment. The maintenance of a 
permanent organization similar to the modern vigilance committee found many advocates. 
The subject gradually assumed the shape of a discussion at lyceums and elsewhere of a 
plan of political organization. All shades of opinion existed. The Canadian-French 
settlers were averse to organization. The majority of independent American settlers were 
reconciled to wait, and continue to hope that the United States government was about to 
extend to the country and its citizens the protection of its institutions and laws. 

Shortly after the arrival of Sub-Agent White, reports were current that the Walla 
Wallas, Cayuses and Nez Perces, closely allied by intermarriage, were about to form a 
hostile combination against the missionary stations in the interior, and the American 
settlements in the Willamette. 

On the 1st of November, the sub-agent left Willamette, accompanied by Cornelius 
Rodgers as interpreter, and Thomas McKay, an old Hudson's Bay Company chief trader. 
At Walla Walla, Chief Trader Archibald McKinlay, then in charge of that post, joined 


the party. With McKay and McKinla}^, White was as safe from damage among the 
Oregon Indians as in the White House at Washington. He could not have selected a 
better escort to secure himself, or to have accomplished any result with the Indians. 

Having dispatched messengers from Fort Walla Walla to notify the CajHises and 
Walla Wallas to meet his part}- upon the day named for their return, the party went to 
Lapwai, which place they reached December 3d. At the council of Nez Perces, a chief 
and twelve sub-chiefs were elected. Doctor White immortalized himself by introducing a 
code of laws, which, after the usual talk, was, of course, unanimously ratified by the 
children of the " Great Father " at Washington. Such had been and ever will be the 
custom of treating with Indians. That " White " code, consisting of eleven articles 
intended for the Indians, is worthy to be placed among the most exalted pieces of diplomacy 
with the Indian tribes, in the official documents of the Indian Bureau. It reads thus : 

" Article i. Whoever willfully takes life shall be hung. 

" Art. 2. Whoever burns a dwelling-house shall be hung. 

" Art. 3. Whoever burns an outbuilding shall be imprisoned six months, receive Mty 
lashes and pay all damages. 

" Art. 4. Whoever carelessly burns a house or anj^ property shall pay damages. 

" Art. V If any one enter a dwelling without permission of the occupant, the chiefs 
shall punish him as the}- think proper. Public rooms are excepted. 

"Art. 6. If any one steal, he shall pay back twofold; and, if it be the value of a 
beaver skin or less, he shall receive twenty-five lashes ; and, if the value is over a beaver 
skin, he shall pay back twofold and receive fifty lashes. 

" Art. 7. If any one take a horse and ride it without permission, or take an}- article 
and use it without liberty, he shall pay for the use of it and receive from twenty to fifty 
lashes, as the chief shall direct. 

" Art. 8. If any one enter a field and injure the crops, or throw down the fence so 
that cattle or horses go in and do damage, he shall pay all damages and receive 
twenty-five lashes for every offense. 

" Art. 9. Those only may keep dogs who travel, or live among the game ; if a dog 
kill a lamb, calf or any domestic animal, the owner shall pay the damage and kill the dog. 

" Art. id. If any Indian raise a gun or other weapon against a white man, it shall 
be reported to the chiefs, and they shall punish him. If a white man do the same to an 
Indian, it shall be reported to Dr. White, and he shall punisli or redress it. 

"Art. II. If an Indian break these laws, he shall be punished by his chiefs; if a 
white man break them, he shall be reported to the agent, and punished at his instance." 

In that famous report of the sub Indian agent to the Indian Bureau, chronicling the 
establishment of law and order among the Indians of the interior, occurs a description of a 
most remarkable phenomenon : 

" Mount St. Helens, one of the snowcapped volcanic mountains some 16,000 feet above 
the level of the sea, and eighty miles northwest of Vancouver, broke out upon the 20th of 
November, presenting a scene the most awful and sublime imaginable, scattering smoke 
and ashes several hundred miles distant ; and, in the meantime, immense quantities of 
melted lava were rolling down its sides, and inundating the plains below." 

In just such grandiloquence and Gulliverian hyperbole does Dr. Elijah White, Sub 
Indian Agent of the tribes west of the Rocky Mountains, amplify the distance traveled, and 
the dangers he incurred in that winter negotiation to give the benighted Nez Perces a 
code of laws. With like draft upon the imagination does he multii^ly the number of 
savages his presence and opportune arrival rendered submissive to law and his authority. 

Chapter XXX. • 


Agitation of the Question of Formation of Government — Tlie "Wolf Meeting" — 
Committee of Twelve to Report a Plan for Protection of the Settlement — 
The Formation of a Government and Election of Officers — First Legislative 
Committee — Its Report of an Organic Law — Division of the Territory into 
Districts — The People Approve the Organic Law — Boundaries of Territory. 

DESPITE the failure of the experiment of '41, American settlers had not abandoned 
governmental organization. During 1842, they had invited the Canadians to unite 
with them in organizing a trmporary government south of the Columbia river. British 
subjects, apprehensive that it might interfere with their allegiance, remained passive. 

The experiment of '41 had originated with the Methodist IMission, or rather with its 
most prominent members. The idea was still so fostered by its leading members as to 
cause it to be regarded as a missionary movement. The agitation had more or less 
continued at Willamette Falls, now Oregon Cit}'. The lyceum selected questions for 
debate bearing upon political organization of the territory. The prominent citizens 
participated in the discussions. A resolution favoring provisional government had been 
zealousl}' debated ; and, by a large majorit\-, such proposition had been pronounced 

Among the leading citizens, some favored a government independent of both Great 
Britain and the United States, — a sort of Pacific Republic. Lansford W. Hastings, of the 
emigration of 1842 (afterwards distinguished as a judge in California), offered the 
resolution: '^T\\^'i\\.\'& expedient for the settlers upon the Pacific coast to establish an 
independent government." George Aberueth}', Oregon's first governor, championed the 
opposite side. Warmly was the theme discussed, earnestly combated ; but, by a large 
niajorit}', that resolution w^as adopted. To check this incipient disregard for the Union, 
and national integrit}', Aberneth}- introduced for the next debate : 

'"Resolved, that, if the United States extends its jurisdiction over this country within 
the next four years, it will not be expedient to form an independent government." 

The discussion and decision were more patriotic, and a healthier American feeling 
appeared. This resolution, which breathed the sentiment, " Wait a little longer," passed 
by a large majorit}-, and was really the index of the feeling of the American population. 
Those pioneers wanted no Pacific republic ; and there and then was an end put to what 
has since been called by one of those earl\- patriots, " the secession movement of Oregon." 
Happily it had embraced but very few ; and the reign of disaffection was short-lived. 

With the immigrants of '42, the Americans had become the majority of the white 
population of the Willamette valle}'. It was but natural that the Canadians should not 
desire to co-operate in a movement, the object of which necessitated their submission to 
law imposed by citizens of a rival nation, at a time when their own countr}' and that rival 

( 23G ) 








were actually contending for title to the soil, the success of that contest depending 
materially upon the nationality of the actual settlers. Nor can those American settlers 
be criticised for an opinion leading them to hesitate to join in hurrying into existence a 
government designed to occupy only a portion of the territory, and in that portion to 
include only such residents or settlers who voluntarily accepted its authority. Such was 
the mixed condition of affairs, the mixed allegiance of the settlers, the mixed opinions as 
to what was needed, and how the proper plan was to be consummated. 

An avowed attempt to y^TW rt^6't'^;'«wi^«/' would have arrayed the Canadian-French 
in opposition, — would have confirmed the doubting or conservative Americans into 
opponents. Those who opposed the movement because premature would have become its 
enemies if pressed to immediate action. Hence, the expedient was resorted to of bringing 
together all classes, and uniting them in a movement in which all felt a common interest. 
It was hoped thus to pave the way for continuing mutual acts for the common benefit, 
possibly from time to time amplifying the duties of such co-operative association. 

A notice was issued for a meeting on February 2, 1843, at the Oregon Institute, to 
consider the propriety of adopting measures for the protection of herds, and for the 
destruction of animals which preyed upon cattle, stock, etc. The ulterior purpose was a 
combination of settlers, — a co-operative association to concert measures for the formation 
of some kind of civil government. Dr. I. L. Babcock presided. William H. Wilson was 
chosen secretar}'. A committee consisting of William H. Gra}-, Alanson Beers, Joseph 
Gervais, W^illiam H. Wilson, G. W. Bellamy and Etienne Lucier were appointed to make 
arrangements for a general meeting, and to report business to such meeting. This done, 
the " Wolf Meeting," as it is known in history, adjourned to meet at the house of Joseph 
Gervais, on the first Monday in March. 

On the 4th of March, the citizens of the Willamette held a general meeting at the 
house of Joseph Gervais. James A. O'Neil (of Captain Wyeth's party of 1834) was 
called to the chair. George W. Le Breton was elected secretary. The committee reported 
a series of resolutions : i. Declaring defensive and destructive war against wolves, bears 
and panthers, and such other animals as are known to be destructive to cattle, horses, 
sheep and hogs ; 2. Designating predatory animals, and fixing a scale of bounties for 
their killing; 3. Bounties to be raised by subscriptions of settlers, to be paid to a 
treasurer. A treasurer having been elected, the " Wolf Association " had been organized. 
But the meeting did not adjourn. It then and there passed a resolution for the appointment 
of a committee of twelve, " to take into consideration the propriety of taking measures for 
the civil and military protection of this colony." The organization committee of twelve 
consisted of Dr. I. L. Babcock, Dr. Elijah White, James A. O'Neil, Robert Shortess, Robert 
Newell, Etienne Lucier, Joseph Gervais, Thomas J. Hubbard, Charles IMcRoy, William 
H. Gray, Sidney Smith and George Gay. 

That the outcome of that meeting to form a " Wolf Association " would prove to be 
either the submission of a plan of government, or a proposition to initiate the preliminary 
steps to organize, had been public expectation. The Canadian-French had prepared to 
enter a solemn protest, drafted by Rev. F. N. Blanchet, subsequently Roman Catholic 
.•\rchbishop of Oregon. The Canadian remonstrance was not read at that meeting. It 
was handed to the secretary ; but as no plan of government was submitted, and the matter 
to which it referred was delayed until the committee of twelve should report, it was laid 
on the table. 


The committee of twelve designated May 2, 1843, at Champoeg, as the time and place 
" to consider the propriety of taking measures for the civil and military protection of the 
colony." On that day, at that place, in an open field, the pioneers of Oregon came 
together to perform that duty. Dr. I. L. Babcock presided. Messrs. Gray, Wilson and 
Le Breton were secretaries. The committee reported a plan of organization, which, being 
submitted to the assembly, the motion to accept was about to be declared lost. Confusion 
and excitement succeeded, amid which George W. Le Breton demanded a division. He 
was promptly seconded by William H. Gray. Colonel Joe Meek, with that dash which 
ever characterized him, realizing the situation, came forward and, assuming the lead, 
called out, " all in favor of the report follow me." The effect was magnetic. Meek's 
column marched to the right, while the opponents of organization filed to the left. The 
vote was close ; but the report had been accepted, — fifty-two to fifty. The dissenters in 
a body withdrew, leaving the government party without further opposition. 

The report was considered and adopted article by article, after which followed the 
filling of the offices which had been created. The plan necessitated a Supreme Judge with 
probate powers, a clerk of court or recorder, a sheriff, three magistrates, three constables, 
a treasurer, a major and three captains, and, finally, " a committee of nine persons to draft 
a code of laws, to be presented for approval to a public meeting to be held at Champoeg 
on the 5th day of July next." 

A. E. Wilson was elected Supreme Judge, George \N . Le Breton Clerk, and Joseph 
L. Meek Sheriff. The first legislative committee consisted of Robert Shortess, David Hill, 
Alanson Beers, William H. Gray, Thomas J. Hubbard, James A. O'Neil, Robert Moore, 
Robert Newell and William Doughty. 

Several instructions of the Legislative Committee were passed: "That the sessions of 
the said Legislative Committee should not exceed six days ; that no tax should be levied ; 
that the office of governor should not be created; that the compensation of the Legislative 
Committee should be $1.25 per day; that the revenues of the territory should be 
contributed by voluntary subscriptions." 

The meeting elected four magistrates, four constables, a major and three captains. It 
reorganized the officers elected at the primary meeting of the people of Oregon, validated 
the official acts of such officers, and continued them in office till July 5, 1843, at which 
time the officers-elect were to be installed. 

The Legislative Committee gave evidence of earnestness and zeal, each member 
contributing a sum equal to the full amount of his services. Alanson Beers and Dr. 
Babcock each subscribed an amount equal to the aggregate pay of the committee. The 
Methodist Mission fitted up the building known as " the Granary," and allowed its use 
free of charge. The first legislative hall of Oregon was a story and a half frame, sixteen 
by thirt}' feet, with a square room in front, which had been used as a school, then as a 
church, and now as a capitol. Back of this hall and above stairs, it was used as a granary 
or storeroom ; and hence the name of the building. 

The first Legi.slative Assembly of Oregon commenced its session May i6th, sitting 
four days, adjourned to June 27th, and finished its labors upon that and the succeeding 
day. Robert Moore was Chairman, and George W. Le Breton, Secretary. From this 
committee emanated an organic law and articles of compact, which were ratified July 5) 
1S43, by the people of Oregon in mass meeting assembled at Champoeg. The preamble 
was as follows : 


" We, the people of Oregon Territor}', for purposes of mutual protection, and to secure 
peace and prosperity among ourselves, agree to adopt the following laws and regulations, 
until such time as the United States of America extend their jurisdiction over us." 

The first section of the organic law is prefaced by a provision for the division of the 
territor}' into districts, viz. : " For the purposes of temporary government, the territory 
shall be divided into not less than three nor more than five districts, subject to be 
extended to a greater number when an increase of population shall require." In 
accordance with such provision, the Legislative Committee reported a law recommending 
the establishment of districts, as follows: 

" First District, to be called the Tual.atin District, comprising all the country south 
of the northern boundary line of the United States west of the Willamette or Multnomah 
river, north of the Yamhill river, and east of the Pacific Ocean. 

" Second District, to be called the Yamhill District, embracing all the country' west 
of the Willamette or Multnomah river, and a supposed line running north and south from 
said river, south of the Yamhill river, to the parallel of forty-two degrees north latitude, 
or tlie boundary line of the United States and California, and east of the Pacific Ocean. 

" Third District, to be called the Clackamas District, comprehending all territory 
not included in the other three districts. 

" Fourth District, to be called the ChampoEG District, and bounded on the north by 
a supposed line drawn from the mouth of the Haunchauke river, running due east to the 
Rocky Mountains, west by the Willamette or ]\Iultnomah river, and a supposed line 
running due south from said river to the parallel of forty-two degrees north latitude, south 
by the boundary line of the United States and California, and east by the summit of the 
Rocky Mountains. 

" The above districts to be designated by the name of ' Oregon Territory.' " 

The remainder of Section I contains a number of articles, constituting " the Articles 
of Compact among the free citizens of this territory, enunciating the principles of civil 
and religious liberty which constitute the basis of all laws and constitutions of government." 

" No person demeaning himself in a peaceable or orderly manner shall ever be 
molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments. The inhabitants 
shall always be entitled to the writ of fiabcas corpus and trial by jury, of a proportionate 
representation in the legislature, and of judicial proceedings according to the course of 
common law. All persons shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where the proof 
shall be evident, or the presumption great. 

" Fines shall be moderate. Cruel and unusual punishments shall be prohibited. No 
man shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law. Property taken through 
public exigencies shall be compensated. No law should interfere with or affect private 
contracts or engagements, bona fide and without fraud. It is the dut}- of government to 
encourage religion, morality and knowledge, by aiding in the support of schools. The 
utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians. Their lands and propert}- 
shall never be taken from them without their consent. Their property, rights and liberty 
shall never be invaded nor disturbed, unless in just and lawful war authorized by the 
representatives of the people. Laws formed in justice and humanit}' shall from time to 
time be made for preventing injustice being done to them, and for preserving peace and 
friendship with them. 

" There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in said territory, otherwise 
than for the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." 


Section II provided as follows : The officers elected were continued in office till the 
annual election in May, 1844. The qualifications of electors were thus defined: " Every 
free white male descendant of a white man, over twenty-one years of age, who was an 
inhabitant at the time of the organization of the government, and all emigi-ants of such 
description after six months' residence." 

Executive power was vested in an executive committee of three, to be elected at the 
annual election, with authority to pardon and reprieve, to call out the military force of the 
territory, to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and to recommend laws to the 
Legislative Committee. Two of their number constituted a quorum. 

Legislative power was vested in a committee of nine, apportioned to the districts in 
ratio of population, excluding Indians; the members to reside in the districts from which 
chosen, and to be elected at each annual election. 

Judicial power was vested in a Supreme Court, consisting of a Supreme Judge and 
two Justices of the Peace; a Probate Court and Justice's Court; and the jurisdiction of 
said courts, both appellate and original, was defined and limited. 

" The Legislative Committee recommend that a subscription paper be put in circulation 
to collect funds for defraying the expenses of the government, as follows : ' We, the 
subscribers, hereby pledge ourselves to pay annually to the treasurer of Oregon Territory 
the sum affixed to our res'pective names, for defraying the expenses of government: 
Provided, that in all cases each individual subscriber may, at any time, withdraw his name 
from said subscription upon paying up all arrearages and notifying the treasurer of the 
colony of such desire to withdraw.' " 

The Legislative Committee also recommended the passage of a militia law, and a law 
relating to land claims. The latter prescribed the manner of taking claims, and the 
requirements to be complied with to secure title : " No individual shall be allowed to 
hold a claim of more than one square mile, or 640 acres in a square or oblong form, 
according to the natural situation of the premises ; nor shall any individual be able to 
hold more than one claim at the same time. Any person complying with the provisions 
of these ordinances shall be entitled to the same process as in other cases provided by law. 
No person shall be entitled to hold such a claim upon city or town lots, extensive water 
privileges, or other situations necessary for the transaction of mercantile or manufacturing 
operations : Provided, that nothing in these laws shall be so construed as to affect any 
claim of any mission of a religious character made prior to this time, of extent not more 
than six miles .square." 

A unique method of securing a complete code of laws is presented in the proceedings 
of the Legislative Committee. By a single, simple resolution, naming the edition of a 
certain publication, the work was effected: ^'■Resolved, that the laws of Iowa, as laid 
down in the ' Statute Laws of the Territory of Iowa, enacted at the first session of the 
Legislative Assembly of .said territory, held at Burlington, A. D. 183S-9, published by 
authority in Dubuque, Rus.sell & Reeves, printers, 1839,' certified to be a 'correct copy ' by 
William B. Conva}-, Secretary of Iowa Territorj', be adopted as the laws of this territory." 
These laws, this Organic Law, these Articles of Compact, were submitted to a 
meeting of citizens at Champoeg, Juh' 5, 1843. The meeting was called to order by 
George W. Le Breton, Secretary or Recorder of the committee. Dr. Babcock, the former 
president, not being present at the commencement of the meeting, Rev. Gustavus Hines 
was called to the chair. The report of the Legislative Committee met with little opposition, 
except the article which provided for an executive committee. Among the instructions to 

1 - 











the Legislative Committee, none were so decisively passed as the one against creating the 
office of governor. Mr. Hines denounced the action of the committee in disregarding the 
spirit of that instruction, and characterized the proposed triple executive as a hydra-headed 
monster, a repetition of the Roman triumvirate. Dr. Babcock, who had favored tetuporary 
organization, contended that this clothing the executive with such powers tended to 
permanent establishment, which was an ignoring of their true purposes as well as 
instructions. Gray, O'Neil and Shortess defended the action of the committee, admitted 
that the instructions had not been strictly followed, but claimed that in the plan 
recommended they had avoided making the office of governor, and had supplied a council 
or senate to act, combining it with executive power. There were but few votes in the 
negative on this article. The report, substantially as made by the chairman (Hon. 
Robert Moore), was adopted with much unanimity. 

David Hill, Alanson Beers and Joseph Gale were elected members of the Executive 
Committee. The}', and the officers of the Provisional government of Oregon, that day took 
the oath of office, and entered upon the discharge of their duties as prescribed in the 

The Provisional government, republican in its form and essence, had been established. 
The American element had struggled hard to inaugurate it, and had at last triumphed. 
After its establishment, all classes contributed to the expense of carrying it on, and 
yielded a support which insured its success. Its inauguration marks the tran.sition of 
Oregon to republican rule, to the submission to the will of the majority, to final 
Americanization. It is the monument of the wisdom of the Oregon pioneers, the proof 
of their sagacity. It was the only means to neutralize an influence against which it could 
not have successfully contended, which, while it was paramount, retarded progress and 
defeated American enterprise. 

What was the territory intended to have been comprised within the jurisdiction of 
the Oregon Provisional government, as established in 1843 ^ ^^ the creation of districts 
or counties, care is manifested to adopt language and designate as a north boundary of 
the northern districts the phrase, " Northern boundary of the United States." As they 
also use the qualified language, "west of the Willamette river," it is clear that the 
government recognized the then existing idea that the Columbia river might probabl}- be 
the boundary line between the United States and Great Britain. The Oregon Territory, 
under the Provisional government of 1843, ^^'^^ bounded north bj- the Columbia river. 
Under its administration, and before the rrcoiistruction in 1845, no district was organized, 
no officer appointed, no land claim recorded in that vast portion of Oregon north of the 
Columbia river. 

Chapter XXXI. 


Sad Accident Near WHlaiiiette Falls — Departure of Immigrants of '4tJ for California 
— The "Petition of 184;}," Its Authorship and Contents — Dr. John BlcLoughlin's 
Answer to Its Charges — Cattle Policy of the Hudson's Bay Company — Dr. 
McLoughlin's Statement as to Formation of California Cattle Comjiany — Rev. 
Daniel Lee's Statement as to Said Company — Oregon City Claim — llev. George 
Gary, Superintendent of Oregon Methodist Mission, Sells Its Property to Dr. 
McLoughlin — Section Eleven of Donation Law of September 21, 1850 — The 
Immigration of 1843 — The Cattle Contract — Fremont's Second Exjiedition. 

MEDOREM CRAWFORD, in the " occasional " address at the Pioneer's Reunion of 
1 881, thus chronicled the casualties and causes of discouragement which ushered in 
Oregon's spring of 1843. Early in Februar}^ an event happened which cast a gloom over 
the Willamette settlement : " Dr. White and Nathaniel Crocker of our company, W. W. 
Raymond of the Methodist Mission, Cornelius Rodgers, a teacher, with his wife and her 
3'oung sister, daughters of Rev. David Leslie, were on their way to the falls in a large 
Chinook canoe manned by four Indians. Arriving at the rapids above the falls, where 
the breakwater and basin are now located, they attached a line to the canoe, as was the 
custoiu ; and Mr. Raymond and two Indians walked along the rocks to hold it while 
approaching a landing place just above the falls, where the saw-mill now stands, across 
the channel. As the canoe came alongside a log. Dr. White stepped out, and instant!}- a 
strong current caught the stern, and, snatching the line from those on the bank, carried 
the canoe like a flash over the falls, onl}' a few rods distant. The canoe was dashed into 
a thousand fragments, and, with its living freight, swallowed up in the whirlpool below. 
This was indeed a fearful blow to our little colony. And, as the sad tidings were 
carried through the settlement, all business was suspended and general grief and sadness 

" A number of our conipau}-, probably one-third, dissatisfied with the winter, acting 
on their migratory instincts, determined to go to California. It was said of some that they 
never remained in one place longer than to obtain the means to travel; and of one family 
in particular, that they had practicall_v lived in the wagon for more than twenty years, 
only remaining in one locality long enough to make a crop, which they had done in every 
state and territory in tlie Mi-ssissippi valle}-. Accordingly, under the lead of L. W. 
Hastings, they set out as soon as the weather would permit, and, after encountering some 
difficulty with Indians, reached the Sacramento valley. Those who remained generally 
located claims in the Willamette valley, which were recognized and respected without 
other protection than public opinion until the Provisional government was established." 

In March, a petition to Congress was circulated, and was signed by man}- influential 
members of the Oregon Methodist Mission, and American settlers. Equally prominent 

{ 242 ) 


missionaries and settlers refnsed to sign. The " Petition " was really an appeal to the 
United States government to adopt nieasnres against the continuance of the Hudson's Bay 
Company in the territory. It was a bitter manifesto against that company, its presence in 
the territory, its polic}- of trade and manner of occupancy. It inveighed against Dr. John 
McLoughlin and his associate officers for " opposition to the improvement and enterprise 
of American citizens." Its circulators and signers denounced those who refused to sio-n 
as anti-American. Those charges and counter-charges, sympathies or prejudices, 
constituted the politics of that period. The petition was dated March 25th. Robert 
Shortess' name headed the list of sixty-five signers. He was long accredited as its 
draftsman. On the ist of September, 1S67, he "I'ide the following statement (i): "The 
authorship of that famed petition being claimed by Governor Abernethy, I will state the 
part he had in getting it up, I, without consulting any one, determined on an application 
to Congress, and drew up a summary of the subjects I intended to embrace, and .showed it 
to one or two persons. It was decided to request Mr. Abernethy to write it in proper 
form, which he did, but refused to sign or allow it to be circulated in his handwriting, 
fearing it might injure the mission. I had it copied by A. E. Wilson. It was circulated 
and, through his assistance, sent to Washington. As Governor Abernethy would feel 
himself unjustly treated if the authorship of the petition were ascribed to me, I will state 
that he wrote it at m}' request and from my notes, but refused to sign or have it circulated 
in his handwriting" (2). 

The petition recites : " Laws are made to protect the weak against the mighty ; and 
we feel the necessity of them in the steps that are constantly taken by the honorable 
Hudson's Bay Company, in their opposition to the improvement and enterprise of 
American citizens. You have been apprised already of their opposition to Captain Wyeth, 
Bonneville and others ; and we find that the same spirit dwells with them at the present 
day. Some years ago, when the Hudson's Bay Company owned all the cattle in Oregon, 
they would not sell on anj- conditions ; but they would lend their cows to the settler, he 
returning to the company the cows loaned, with all the increase. And, in case of the 
death of a cow, he then had the privilege of paying for it. But after settlers, at a great 
risk and expense, went to California and purchased for themselves, and there was a fair 
prospect of the settlement being supplied, then the Hudson's Bay Company were willing 
to sell, and at lower rates than settlers could sell. 

"In 1841, feeling the necessity of having mills erected, that would suppl}- the 
settlement with flour and lumber, a number of the inhabitants formed themselves into a 
joint-stock company, for the purpose of supplying the growing wants of the conimunit3\ 
Mau}- farmers were obliged to leave their farms on the Willamette, and go six miles above 
Vancouver, on the Columbia river, making the whole distance about sixty miles, to get 
their wheat ground, and at a great loss of time and expense. The company was formed, 
and proceeded to select a site. They selected an island at the Falls of the Willamette, and 
concluded to commence their operations. After commencing, the}' were informed by Dr. 
McLoughlin, who is at the head of the Hudson's Bay Company's affairs west of the Rock}- 
Mountains, that the land was his, and that he, although a chief factor of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, claims all the land at the east of the Willamette, embracing the Falls, 
down to the Clackamas river, a distance of about two miles. 

" He had no idea, we presume, that the company would succeed. However, he 
erected a shed on the island, after stuff was on the island to build a house, and then gave 

UJ Autograph letter to author. 

(2) The " Petition " will be found in the documents of the twenty-eighth Congress, hrst session. 


them permission to build under certain restrictions. They took the paper he wrote them, 
containing his conditions, but did not obligate themselves to complj- with the conditions, 
as they did not think his claim just or reasonable. Man}' projects had been started by 
inhabitants, but, for want of means and encouragement, failed. This was predicted for 
the milling company. But, after much labor and diflSculty, thej^ succeeded in getting a 
saw-mill erected and ready to run, and entered into a contract to have a grist-mill erected 
forthwith. And now, as the}' have succeeded, where is the Hudson's Bay Company ? 
Dr. IVIcLoughlin employs hands to get out a frame, and erects it at Willamette Falls ; and 
we find, as soon as the frame is up, the gearing, which has been made at Vancouver, 
brought up in boats, that that which caused a feeble company of American citizens months 
of toil and embarrassment is accomplished by the chief factor of the Hudson's Bay 
Company in a few weeks. 

" He has men and means, and, it is said by him, that in two iveeks his mill will be 
sawing. And what will be the consequence? Why, if the milling company sell for 
fifteen dollars per thousand, he can sell for twelve ; if they reduce the price to ten, he can 
come to eight, or five, or two dollars per thousand. He says he will have a grist-mill in 
operation. All the wheat in Oregon they are anxious to get, as they ship it to Russians 
on the northwest coast. In the first place, they measure wheat in a half bushel, called by 
them ' imperial measure,' much larger than standard measure of the United States. This 
not answering, they next proceed to kick the half bushel with their foot to settle the wheat. 
Then they brought up a measure larger than the former ; and now they fill this measure, 
then strike it three times with a stout club, and then fill it up and call it fair measure. 

''Against such proceedings we need law which will be respected and obeyed. About 
twelve or fourteen years ago, the Hudson's Bay Company blasted a canal a few feet, to 
conduct water to a mill they were going to build, timber for which is now lying at the 
Falls, rotting. They, however, abandoned the thing altogether, and built their mills on 
the Columbia, about six miles above Fort Vancouver, on the north side of the river. 

"In the year 1838, agreeably to orders left by Mr. Slacum,a house was erected at the 
Falls to secure the claim for him. In 1840, the Methodist Mission erected buildings and 
stationed two families there, and made a claim to sufficient laud for their buildings, not 
interfering with any others who might wish to build. A short time previous to this. Dr. 
McLoughlin had a storehouse erected for the company, not occupied, however, further 
than to store wheat and other articles, and as a trading-house during the salmon season. 
After this, in 1841, a shanty was erected, and a man kept at the Falls, whose business it 
was to trade with the Indians for furs and salmon, and look out for the Doctor's claim, he 
said, and to forbid persons building at the Falls, as some had built, and others were about 
building. This man was, and still is, a servant of the Hud.son's Bay Companv. 

"During 1841 and 1842, several families settled at the Falls, when Dr. McLoughlin, 
who still resides at Fort Vancouver, comes on the ground, and says the land is his, and 
every person building without his permission is held as a trespasser. 

" Without reference to any person's right or claim, he employs a surveyor to run out 
the plat ; and as a bill was before the Senate of the United States to grant every white 
male inhabitant a mile .square, he has a mile run out to suit his views, and lays out a town 
plat at the Falls, and calls it ' Oregon City.' 

"Although .some, for peace sake, asked hiui for lots they already had in possession, 
and which he appeared very willing to grant, the Doctor now felt himself secure, and posted 
up the annexed paper : 





" ' Notice is hereby giveu to all whom it may concern, that those who have obtained 
grants of lots in Oregon Citj' will be expected to call on L. W. Hastings, my anthorized 
agent at Oregon City, and obtain bond for deed or deeds, as the case may be. Those who 
hold claims to any lot, and who comply with above requisite on or before the first daj^ of 
February next, will be entitled to their lot or lots ; otherwise, lots upon which they hold 
claims will thereafter be subject to any disposition which the undersigned may think 
proper to make of them. '"John McLoughlin.' 

"All who had lots were required to pay Mr. Hastings five dollars for a deed of land 
wliich the}- knew very well the grantor did not own, and which we hope he never will own, 
but that Congress will pass a special act, granting each man his lot and improvements. 
To those who applied and paid their five dollars, all was right with the Doctor ; while 
those who considered his title to the land not good, and that therefore he had no right to 
direct who should build and who should not, had their lots sold to others. In one case, 
the purchaser came to the original claimant and ordered him to stop digging the ground 
which he was preparing for a garden, and commanded him to remove his fences, as he had 
Dr. AIcLoughlin's bond in his pocket for the lots ; and if he did not move the fence, he 
would, and did, take forcible possession. Those who desired to have no difficulty, and did 
not apply for a deed, have lost their lots, the Doctor's promise and all. And Mr. Hastings, 
the Doctor's agent, is now offering for sale lots on which a part of the mission buildings 
stand ; and if he succeeds in finding a purchaser, they must either contend or lose their 
buildings, too. 

" Dr. McLoughlin has held claims in other places south of the Columbia river. At 
Tualatin Plains and at Clackamas Plains, he has huts erected to prevent others from 
building. And such is the power of Dr. McLoughlin, that many persons are actually 
afraid to make their situations known, thinking if he hears of it he will stop their supplies. 
Letters were received here from Messrs. Ladd & Co., of the Sandwich Islands, in 
answer to a letter written by the late Ewing Young, for a few supplies, that orders were 
received forbidding the company's vessels carrying any goods for the settlers of Oregon. 
Ever}' means will be made use of by them to break down everything that will draw trade 
to this countr}^, or enable persons to get goods at any other place than their store. 

" One other item and we are done. When United States government officers of 
distinction arrive. Fort Vancouver is thrown open and every facility afforded them. They 
were even more condescending to settlers during the time the exploring squadron was 
in the Columbia. Nothing was left undone to give the officers a high opinion of the 
Hudson's Bay Company." 

Dr. John McLoughlin was, and since the combination of the Hudson's Bay and 
North West Companies had been, in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's affairs west 
of the Rocky Mountains. The policy denounced in the petition had been established by 
him. It details a series of acts, dishonest, sordid and selfish upon his part, — mean, 
oppressive and ruinous to the settlers. That early friend of Oregon, that eminent 
benefactor of his race, has long since been called to his reward. Those whom Robert 
Shortess names as connected with the authorship of the petition are no more. Happy is 
the duty in giving publicity to the manly and generous views of the conceiver of that 
" Petition." In a letter to the author, quoted above, Mr. Shortess says : 

" In a short time the entire policy of the company, or at least of Dr. McLoughlin, 
underwent a change ; and he, the Doctor, afforded very great facilities to immigrants and 


settlers, for whicli, in man}'- cases, he received an ungrateful return. He was a man of 
excellent qualities of head and heart ; and few men wielding the power that he did would 
have done it with greater leniency." 

That document was an arraignment of John McLoughlin for his management of the 
Hudson's Bay Company's affairs, an accusation of oppression and wrong to the Oregon 
pioneers and their families : i. It charges that Dr. McLoughlin refused to sell cattle for 
many years, and afterwards sold at lower rates than settlers ; 2. It refers to the Oregon 
City claim. It was valuable as a townsite, and for its wonderful water power. Such 
features made it valuable to the Methodist Mission, to the American settler. The petition 
denounces the Doctor's acts of settlement as in bad faith ; that his claim is without shadow 
of right. It asks that he may be divested of interest, his claims be ignored and 
disregarded; 3. It complains that he can build mills and saw lumber cheaper, and does 
undersell the settler ; 4. It alleges that in buying wheat he insisted upon good measure ; 
5. That those who had recognized his claim to Oregon City, and had obtained grants of 
lots from him, he notified to comply with their contract; 6. That the company's vessels 
were not allowed to bring goods from the Sandwich Islands to settlers ; 7. That the 
company's officers were more hospitable to visiting officials and persons of distinction than 
to private citizens. 

Simple justice to the memory of the dead demands quoting Dr. McLoughlin's own 
comments upon those imputations upon his personal integrity and method of dealing. 
Of the cattle policy and the Oregon City claim, more extended discussion cannot be 
avoided. As soon as Dr. McLoughlin had been informed of the charges made in the 
petition, he thus referred to them (i) : 

" First, as to my opposing them in purchasing cattle, it is false. Mr. Lee knows how 
false this is. Every one knows, who was then in the country, that so anxious was I to 
replenish the country with cattle, that I killed none till 1838, and would sell none, 
because, as I told them, they would kill them, and not allow them to increase. But I leut 
cattle to every man who wanted to settle, for which, when thej^ had them, I took wild 
cattle from California, and of which fully one-half died a short time after we got them. As 
to kicking or striking the half bushel, it is the custom in that part of Canada where I have 
been. The measure is the imperial measure, and which ought to contain seventy pounds of 
good wheat. Talking some time ago with Dr. White, in case the cooper might have made 
a mistake, I had a half bushel measured by an imperial copper half-pint measure (sent 
here for the purpose), in the presence of Dr. White, and, though it was exactly the 
measure with water, yet I find, filled with wheat, it does not weigh seventy pounds ; and 
as our wheat is as good as any I know, I infer that the measure is smaller than it ought 
to be, which is caused by the copper measure having been knocked a little on the side, and 
is, therefore, smaller than size. The truth is, when I was first asked the price of wheat, 
I said two shillings and sixpence, as I calculated a bushel to weigh sixty pounds ; but 
finding, on measuring it, that it weighed sevent3'-two pounds, I told them, without their 
asking it, I would give three shillings per bushel. 

" I thought that my character as an honest man was be3-ond suspicion ; when I find 
who those are who have cast these reflections on me, I shall have no dealings with them, 
as I will not deal with people who suspect my integrity. As to reports, if the}- sold their 
boards for twenty dollars per thousand, I would sell them for fifteen dollars per thousand, 
and undersell them, it is false ; and, as to the Hudson's Ba}' Company and I opposing 

(I) Letter to I.ausford W. Hastings, Esq., April lo, 1843. 


the interests of citizens, really, the citizens are themselves the best judges if we did so or 
not. And I am certain, if they are so lost to a sense of what is due to truth as to make 
such an assertion, it is useless for me to say anything; but I feel confident that I can 
easily prove it is not so, and that a very large majority will support me in it. As to the 
petition, if the document went no further than this place, I would be silent ; but when I 
consider where it is to go, and to whom it is to be presented, respect to them and to myself 
makes it ni}- dutj' to take notice of it." 

Persistent refusal by Dr. McLoughlin to sell cattle to the Oregon Alethodist Mission 
and to settlers had caused great disaffection to the company. Dr. McLoughlin thus 
referred to the course adopted by him, and rigidly adhered to it until 1838 : 

" I lent them each two cows, as in 1825. We had only twenty-seven head, big and 
small, old and young. If I sold, they would of course be entitled to the increase, and I 
would not have the means to assist new settlers ; and the settlement would be retarded, as 
those purchasers who offered me two hundred dollars for a cow would put such a price on 
the increase as would put it out of the power of poor settlers to buy. This would prevent 
industrious men from settling. For these reasons I would not sell, but loaned two cows 
to each settler ; and, in case the increase of settlers might be greater than we could afford 
to suppl}' with cattle, I reserved the right to take any cattle (above his two cows) 
from any settler to assist new settlers. To the Methodist Mission, as it was a public 
institution, I lent seven oxen, one bull and eight cows, with their calves." 

The reason offered by Dr. McLoughlin was that there was insufficient stock in the 
country; that importation was most expensive and hazardous ; and that all that there was 
in the countr}- should be preserved to secure increase, was unavailing. To the settler it 
was not satisfactory to be told that the company's start had been a few head driven at vast 
expense and danger along the coast from the Russian establishments on Bodega Bay, in 
California; that those establishments* most begrudgingly spared them, their California 
settlements being onl\' intended to snppl}' northern trading-posts ; that the colonial law 
of California prohibited the exportation of female cattle. The scarcity of cattle, the 
dissatisfaction of settlers because of this refusal to sell, continued until the importation of 
stock by the California compan3^ Referring to that enterprise. Dr. McLoughlin said: 

" In the winter of 1836-7, we found means of forming a company to go to California 
for cattle. I took half of the stock for the Hudson's Bay Compau}', so that, by purchasing 
a larger number (as the expense of driving five hundred or a thousand was the same), it 
would make the cattle cheaper. Those of the settlers who had means put it in stock; 
those who had none engaged as drivers at one dollar per day, to be paid in cattle at their 
actual cost. Mr. Slaciim, who came here in a chartered vessel, gave them passage ^'va/'/.y 
to San Francisco. Ewing Young was selected to conduct the party. P. L. Edwards, of 
the Methodist Mission, was appointed treasurer. They brought, I think, about seven 
hundred head of cattle, which cost about eight dollars per head rendered in the Willamette. 
The settlers kept the tame and broken oxen belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, 
and gave their California wild cattle in their place ; so that they found themselves stocked 
with tame cattle, which cost about eight dollars per head. The Hudson's Ba}' Company, 
to favor settlers, took calves in place of grown-up cattle, because the Hudson's Bay 
Company wanted them for beef, and these calves would grow up before they were required." 

Rev. Daniel Lee, nephew and associate of Rev. Jason Lee, in "Ten 3^ears in Oregon," 
thus refers to the formation of the California Cattle Company : " At this period (winter 
of 1S36J, the cattle in the country nearly all belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company; 


and, as it was then policy not to sell any, it became necessary for some measures to be 
adopted to obtain elsewhere what could not be bought of the compan^•. In order to effect 
this, an expedition was in contemplation when Mr. Slacum (i) arrived. 

" On Mr. Slacum being advised of the proposed expedition to California for cattle, 
and the objects of it, he lent his aid to carry it into immediate effect, and tendered passage 
to those who might compose the part}-. Of this ver}- reasonable and unexpected means of 
reaching California, the party availed themselves. A company was formed, and stock 
invested to a considerable amount, to which were to be added the avails of labor which 
the party might perform during their detention in California till the ensuing summer, 
when they were to return to Willamette, where the business was to be closed. After 
deducting expenses of the expedition, the owner was to receive his share of cattle according 
to his investment. It being desirable to stock the mission, in view of securing permanent 
provision for its future sustenance in its anticipated enlargement and progress, Rev. Jason 
Lee, Superintendent, invested six hundred dollars, mission funds, for this purpose. The 
part}' was organized, and was headed by Ewing Young, accompanied by P. L. Edwards, 
of the mission, as punser of the company. 

" The cattle party took passage with Mr. Slacum, and, after some detentions at Baker's 
Bay, reached California in safety. Here they went to work and commanded high wages, 
till next spring, and, as soon as arrangements had been completed, commenced their march 
to the Willamette. Under an old colonial law, the transportation of female cattle had been 
prohibited. Messrs. Young and Edwards, having secured a removal of the restriction, 
bought Soo head of cattle at three dollars per head, and forty horses at twelve dollars each, 
making the whole outlay $2,SSo. 

" Their return journey was full of hardships and tlirough a rough, mountainous 
country. Numbers of cattle were drow ned in swimming rivers. Some strayed, and some 
were shot by Indians. One Indian was killed b}' the part}'. They reached Willamette in 
October, 1837, with about six hundred head. The horses having been sold at public sale, 
the cattle were found to have cost about seven dollars and sixty-seven cents apiece; of 
these, more than eighty head belonged to the mission." 

That importation not only supplied settlers with seed cattle, but it enabled them also 
to restore to the Hudson's Bay Company borrowed cattle, upon most advantageous terms 
to themselves. The company thereafter allowed their stock to roam unmolested over 
extensive pasturage ranges north of the Columbia, their object being the raising of beef 
cattle for their establishments, and the ultimate exportation of hides and tallow. 
Subsequent to 1838, the company's cattle, except a few for work and dairy use, were 
suffered to run wild, and were hunted as deer. 

In the petition of '43, opposition to the claim of Dr. John McLoughlin to the tract of 
land including Willamette Falls, the Oregon City claim, was grounded upon : " i. He 
does not make such tract his continuous residence; but his time is divided between Fort 
Vancouver and elsewhere; 2. He is a British subject; 3. He claims tracts in other 
localities ; 4. Like the ' dog in the manger,' when others would utilize the water-power at 
the Falls, by preparation to erect mills, he, also, then prepared to build; and as, with his 
superior facilities, he could undersell Americans, his threatened competition deters 
enterprise ; 5. He has disposed of lots without himself having title." 

British subjects, and citizens of the United States, then inhabited the territory. Did 
they not enjoy the same privileges to occupy lands and make homes ? Were not the 

(I) Purser W. A. Slacum, U. S. Navy. Sec aiiic. 









,',' / 







possessor}- rights of each entitled to the same recognition "and respect ? It can hardly be 
questioned that, nntil sovereignty of soil was recognized to be in the United States, until 
Federal jurisdiction and law had been extended over the territory, that the American 
citizen enjoyed no greater privileges than the subject of the Queen of Great Britain. 
Until establishment of law and courts within the territor}', all, of whatever nationalit)', 
were possessed of the same rights to occupy and utilize land, their guarantees of future ' 
ownership and confirmation of title being equal. If British subjects, in common with 
American citizens, could not, at that time, by occupying lands in Oregon, acquire 
possessory rights in such land, then Dr. McLoughlin was a mere squatter at Willamette 
Falls, whose right to such claim continued only while actual possession was maintained. 
His right was, of course, subject to whatever conditions should be prescribed by law, 
when the territor}' became an organized government. If he were an alien, and that class 
were disqualified from acquiring lands, then Dr. McLoughlin would be compelled to elect 
whether he would continue his alienage or become a citizen of the United States. Should 
actual residence for a prescribed period be imposed as a condition to acquire title, he would 
have to comply with the law or forfeit his claims. In short, whatever the law should 
impose would have to be performed by every British subject in common with ever}- 
American citizen. 

There existed the conviction, on the part of American residents, that Oregon south of 
the Columbia river would never be recognized as British territory. So believing, their 
jealousy against British subjects seizing the most valuable claims in that section may be 
extenuated. To that jealousy may be attributed the presence in the "Petition" of 
frivolous insinuations, detracting from the tone of a memorial of grievances, and lowering 
it to a mere dogmatic tirade. However natural such prejudice, it was none the less 
unjust. In iSiS, the United States and Great Britain, the national claimants of the 
territory, had entered into a treaty providing for its joint occupancy for ten years. In 
1827, ^^^^^ condition of affairs had been continued, until it should be terminated after 
twelve months' notice had been given by either nation. " The country westward of the 
Stony Mountains had continued free and open to vessels and subjects of both nations." 

The faith of the two nations for a quarter of a century had been solemnly pledged 
that British subjects, and citizens of the United States, might settle in any part of the 
^■ast region west of the Rocky Mountains, and from forty-two degrees to fifty-four 
degrees, forty minutes north latitude, and that no prejudice to the territorial claim of 
either nation should inure by such settlement. As nations, neither could occupy to the 
prejudice of the other; but to British and American citizens, in an equal degree, the 
country was free and open. Both were equal before that treaty, the supreme law of the 
land. Nay, more, acts of Congress had been suffered at different sessions to pass the 
Senate or House of Representatives (not concurrentl}^ for it was not intended that they 
should become law while the territory was in dispute), but, foreshadowing a legislation 
encouraging the settlement of Oregon, by donations of land to all who would settle, 
regardless of nationality. The boon was extended to the native born to go to Oregon. It 
was alike offered as an incentive to the Briton, there to become an American citizen. 
Congress voluntarily indicated a policy encouraging settlement. It held out inducements, 
to both the native born and alien, to settle and acquire land in Oregon. It virtually 
promised that, when sovereignty was determined to be in the United States, such land 
should be confirmed to the actual settler. 


Under the Joint-Occupancy Treaty, under the spirit of the legislation of Congress, 
intended to invoke occupancy of Oregon, and thus secure to the United States an 
advantageous termination of the boundary controvers}^. Dr. John McLoughlin, by the 
expressed action of the United States, stood in the same relation as a native-born citizen, 
entitled to the same consideration at the hands of the United States Congress as did the 
signers of the Petition of 1843. The vast territor}' was open to him as a British subject, 
free to settle anywhere ; for none had been present to oppose him when he came. As 
early as 1S2S-9, he had encouraged the formation, south of the Columbia river, of an 
agricultural settlement by retired servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1829, he 
projected the erection of a saw and grist mill, as an auxiliary to such settlement; with 
this in view, to obtain water power, he occupied the land at Willamette Falls, the present 
site of Oregon City. During the winter, his workmen had resided there in three log 
houses, preparing timber for the saw-mill. In the spring following, they cultivated a 
garden. The Canadian settlement made but little progress, as the necessities for lumber 
and of the wheat supply did not demand the immediate erection of mills. In 1832, the 
mill race was blasted. In 1838, the square timber was hauled to the site of the mill, and 
a house and store were erected, the houses built in 1829 having been destroyed b)^ 

In 1840, Rev. Jason Lee, Superintendent of the Oregon Methodist jMission, applied to 
Dr. John McLoughlin for permission to build a missionary station at Willamette Falls, 
and for the loan of sufficient square timber for the erection of mission buildings. Dr. 
IMcLoughlin freely granted sufficient ground for the buildings. As machiner}^ for his 
mill had not arrived, he loaned the mission the desired timber. Dr. William F. Tolmie, 
then on dut}' at Fort Vancouver, was sent to show Superintendent Lee what had been 
reserved for the mill j'ard, and to designate the spot upon which Dr. McLoughlin 
consented that the mission building might be erected. To avoid misunderstanding, as 
also to give publicit}' to his claim. Dr. McLoughlin addressed Rev. Jason Lee, July 21, 
1840, written notice, embod3'iug his offer. The Rev. Jason Lee, Superintendent, accepted 
that offer, recognizing Dr. McLoughlin as the party authorized to make it. 

The Methodist Mission building was at once erected, consisting of two apartments, 
one for a store, the other for the residence of the missionary, Rev. A. F. W^aller. In 1841, 
Felix Hathaway had some timber upon an island, intending to build. He was notified by 
Dr. AIcLoughlin that the claim of the latter embraced that island. In that same year was 
formed the " Willamette Milling and Trading Company," three-fourths of the stock being 
held by members of the Oregon Methodist Mission. There were a few shares held by 
independent settlers, among whom was Felix Hathaway. He and his associates now 
occupied the island regardless of the claim of Dr. IMcLoughlin. The compau}- at once 
proceeded to erect a saw and grist mill on the island, containing about two and a half 
acres, afterwards called Abernethy Island. The water flowed over it during high water ; 
at low water, it is separated from the main land by a channel fort}- feet wide. Dr. 
McLoughlin, as soon as he learned of the formation of the companv, and their purpose, 
notified them that his claim included the island, but consented to their going on, giving 
them a written document, in which he made certain reservations. Superintendent Lee, 
who attended the first or second meeting of the company, before an}- operations had been 
commenced, stated that the island upon which they contemplated building was within the 
limits claimed by Dr. McLoughlin. 


111 the fall of 1S42, Dr. McLouglilin, having heard that Rev. A. F. Waller intended 
to claim the Falls, communicated such rumor to Superintendent Lee, who, having seen 
Mr. Waller, assured him that he denied such intention. A few days later, a settler applied 
to Dr. McLoughlin for a building lot. He was directed to make his selection. Waller, 
noticing the settler so engaged, ordered him to desist, sa3'ing, " it was all well enough for 
Dr. AIcLoughlin to give awa}- lots on Mr. Waller's claim, but he preferred to give away 
his own lots." This unmistakable claim by Air. Waller called forth a correspondence 
between Dr. McLoughlin and Superintendent Lee. On the i8th of November, 1842, Dr. 
McLoughlin inquired of Superintendent Lee whether Rev. A. F. Waller claimed a mile 
square at Willamette Falls ; to which, on the aSth, Superintendent Lee replied : 

" I said to you that I had conversed with Mr. Waller on the subject of claims at the 
Falls, and that I understood him to say that he sat up no claim in opposition to yours ; 
but, if your claim failed, and the mission did not put in a claim, he considered he had a 
better right than any other man, and should secure a title to the land if he could. From 
what I have since heard, I am inclined to think I did not understand Mr. Waller 
correctl}- ; but I am certain it is so. You will here allow me to say, that a citizen of 
the United States, by becoming a missionar}^, does not renounce any civil or political 
right. I cannot control any man in these matters, tho' I had not the most distant idea, 
when I stationed Mr. Waller there, that he would set up a private claim to the land." 

No satisfactor}' settlement was reached between the Rev. Mr. Waller and Dr. 
McLoughlin, although several propositions appear to have been made. In the summer of 
1843, John Ricord, Esq., who st3'led himself "Counsel of the Supreme Court of the United 
States," stopped at Fort Vancouver, and, while there, remarked that, as Dr. McLoughlin 
was a British subject, he could not hold Willamette Falls. Dr. McLoughlin proposed to 
retain his professional services, and asked him to indicate how he (Dr. McLoughlin) 
could secure his property-rights at the Falls. Ricord declined to give an opinion ; but, 
a few days later, in company with Rev. Jason Lee, he again called at Fort Vancouver, 
upon which occasion he handed to Dr. McLoughlin a note, in which the following offer 
was made : 

" I shall be most happy to serve you on the following conditions : That your 
pre-emption line be so run as to exclude the island upon which a private company of 
citizens have erected a grist-mill, conceding to them as much water as may be necessary 
for the use of said mill ; that Rev. A. F. Waller be secured in the ultimate title to two 
cit}' lots now in his possession, and other lots, not exceeding five acres, to be chosen b}- 
him from among unsold lots of j'our present survey ; that Rev. Jason Lee, on behalf 
of the Methodist-Episcopal Mission, be also, in like manner, secured in regard to certain 
lots in Oregon City. For my services, in attempting to establish 3-our pre-emption to the 
land in question, the sum of ^300 sterling money. 

" The three first-mentioned conditions are induced by a wish to escape the 
censure of several personal friends in this countr}- ; to diminish at the same time, as 
much as possible, the opposition which I am convinced will be made to your claim ; 
and to secure on your behalf the valued testimoii}- of some important witnesses. I 
would desire not to make public the fact of my retainer, lest any person, unfriendl}- to 
your claim, should in the meantime endeavor to counteract ni}- efforts. Conciliation 
ought to be observed towards those who have heretofore pretended to hold adverse 
possession of the same tract." 


This proposal, which had the appearance of a desire for amicable settlement, bnt was 
really a suggestion that Dr. McLoughlin should 3-ield everything to those he had too 
much reason to believe were trespassing on his rights, was declined. He replied : " I am 
most anxious to do everything I can to promote a good feeling among members of our 
little community ; still the desire ought to be mutual. But, in the document you gave 
me, the concessions are all to be on my side ; and some of these are perfectly inadmissible, 
as the}' are out of my power to be complied with." 

A week later, Counselor Ricord regretted that he was precluded from ser\ang 
Dr. McLoughlin, and notified that officer that he wished to go to the Sandwich Islands, 
and inquired about securing passage. That was about the 17th of November. Rev. Mr. 
Lee, Superintendent, accompanied Ricord to the Sandwich Islands on the bark Columbia. 
Dr. McLoughlin then made an offer in regard to the mission's claim, aud also as to the 
milling compau}-, but did not recognize an}- right in Rev. A. F. Waller. Three days 
before this verbal interview. Counselor Ricord had penned a notice, dated December 8, 
1843, which he caused to be served February 22, 1844. That notice was signed by Ricord, 
as " Counsel of the Supreme Court of the United States, and attorney for A. F. Waller." 
Said counsel also issued an address to the people of Oregon in behalf of his client. Rev. 
A. F. Waller, invoking them to resist the aggressions of Dr. McLoughlin. In that 
address will be found this demagogic appeal : " These, fellow citizens, are the facts aud 
some of the points of law in my client's case. Upon the same principle contended for 
by Dr. McLoughlin, any of you ma}' incur the risk of being ousted from your farms 
in the colony by the next rich foreigner who chooses to take a fancy so to do, unless, 
in the first instance, you come unanimously forward and resist these usurpations." The 
letter to Dr. McLoughlin by the attorney of Mr. Waller is interesting, because it shows 
the animus of those who would deprive Dr. McLoughlin of his property, or his right of 
possession to property. John Ricord, "Counsel of the Supreme Court of the United 
States," thus stated the position of his client : 

" A. F. Waller has taken formal measures at Washington to substantiate his claims 
as a pre-emptor and actual settler upon the tract of land, sometimes called the Willamette 
Falls settlement, and sometimes Oregon City, comprising six hundred and forty acres ; 
and, being aware that, although a foreigner, you claim to exercise acts of ownership over 
said land, this notice is given to apprise you that all sales you may make of lots, or other 
subdivisions of said farm, after the receipt hereof, will be regarded by my client, and by 
the government, as absolutely fraudulent, and will be made at your peril. 

" The grounds upon which my client claims exclusive right, under the laws of the 
United States, of acquiring a patent for said land, are : 

" ist. As a citizen of the United States, in 1840, when he first took possession of the 
same ; 

" 2d. Prior occupancy, building, fencing aud clearing of said land, from which he has 
never removed his domicile. 

" The ground on which he denies your pretended claim to the right under the laws of 
the United States of acquiring a patent to the said tract of laud are: 

" I St. That you are an alien, owing allegiance to a foreign government; and therefore 
you are not eligible to such a claim ; 

" 2d. That you are the chief officer of a foreign corporate monopoly, aud that that 
would be sufficient of itself to debar you of any such rights; 




" 3d. That you have never resided upon the laud alluded to since the mouth of 
December, A. d. 1S40, when you first openlj' laid claim to the same ; but that, on the 
contrary, you have always resided and still reside at Vancouver, on the north bank of the 
Columbia, within the territory actually in dispute between the two governments, at least 
twenty miles from this land ; and that, upon no other principle than that of omnipresence, 
could you be supposed to settle thereon ; 

" 4th. That while 3'ou pretend to hold said land for yourself, you in fact hold the same 
for a foreign corporate body, evinced by the employment of their agents and partners, as 
your pretended agents ; and, as no corporation in the United States can acquire land b}' 
pre-emption, so most assuredl}' a foreign one cannot; and, 

" 5th. That your claim arose, if at all, more than two j-ears subsequently to your 
actual possession, building, fencing, clearing and cultivation ; and that therefore, all other 
reasons aside, it cannot be so good. 

" I regret extremely the failure of my endeavor to make an amicable compromise of 
this matter, and that my client has been driven to the vexatious proceedings of the law, 
in order to establish his rights as an American citizen." 

And thus matters had continued, without material change, until the spring of 1844. 
In April, Dr. Elijah White, while on a visit to Fort Vancouver, conversing with Dr. 
McLoughlin upon the subject of differences between the Methodist Mission and "Sir. 
Waller, on the one part, and Dr. McLoughlin on the other, as to the Oregon Cit}- claim, 
volunteered to interview Mr. Waller. x\n arbitration resulted. Dr. Elijah White, James 
Douglas and William Gilpin were selected, who awarded to Rev. A. F. Waller five acres 
and five hundred dollars, and to the Oregon Methodist Mission fourteen lots. Governor 
James Douglas had favored buying off the Doctor's contestants, and the Doctor submitted. 

In June, 1S44, Rev. George Gary succeeded Rev. Jason Lee as superintendent of 
the Oregon Methodist Mission. The sale of the property of the mission having been 
determined upon. Superintendent Gary, on the 15th of July, submitted in writing the 
following proposition to Dr. John McLoughlin : " The following is the valuation we put 
upon the property of the Missionary Board of the Methodist-Episcopal Church in this place 
I Willamette Falls). We deem it proper to present a bill of items, that you maj' more 
fully understand the grounds of our estimate: One warehouse, $1,300; one white 
dwelling-house, $2,200 ; outhouses and fencing, $200 ; old house and fencing, $100; four 
warehouse lots, $800; eight lots in connection with dwelling-house, $1,400. Total, 
$6,000. The two lots occupied by the church are not included in the above bill. If 
you should conclude to purchase the above-named property, you will do it with the 
understanding that we reserve the occupancy of the warehouse until the ist of June, 
1845; the house in which Mr. Abernethy resides until August, 1845; and all the 
fruit-trees on the premises, to be moved in the fall of 1844 or spring of 1845; ^"<i 
the garden vegetables now growing. If you .see fit to accept this proposition, please 
inform us at the earliest opportunity, as we cannot consider ourselves pledged longer than 
a day or two." 

Dr. McLoughlin felt outraged at this extortion. In vain he referred to the fact 
that he had so recently donated the lots ; that the old house was built with lumber 
borrowed of him. He suggested that the matter might be referred to the 
Methodist-Episcopal Missionary Board ; but every proposition was rejected. The 
reverend gentleman justified himself, as it was " business." The business man vainly 


urged that honor and conscience might be regarded. The terms were accepted ; the 
mission, as such, was out of the controversy, but not its late constituent elements. As 
individuals, the relentless spoliation against him continued. 

With the great migration of 1843 ^^^^ come Peter H. Burnett, a law3'erfrom Alissouri, 
with a reputation for ability and integrity. (The Oregon Provisional government made 
him Chief Justice. When Oregon became an United States territory, he was appointed 
an Associate Justice of its Supreme Court. Moving to California in 1849, he was elected 
first governor of that state, and served afterwards upon its Supreme bench.) Dr. 
McLoughlin retained him as counsel. Under his advice. Waller, though still an occupant 
of the claim, was not disturbed, as Waller could acquire no adverse right against his 
landlord, under whom, as tenant, he had entered. The milling compan}- was notified that 
Dr. McLoughlin would assert his right to the island, as soon as courts of law should be 
established with jurisdiction to adjudicate land titles. 

The election, in 1S44, of Mr. Polk as President, on the Oregon issue of "fifty-four, 
forty or fight," created excitement in Oregon. War was suppo.sed to be imminent, 
if not at that time declared. Dr. McLoughlin had estates in Canada. To change his 
alleo-iance in time of war might be attended with most serious personal consequences. 
Neither could he, in such a condition of affairs, as a British subject, hope to retain Oregon 
City. As soon as the war-bubble had been dispelled, he had resolved to sever his 
connection with the Hudson's Ba}- Company, and become a citizen of the United States. 
His former legal adviser had become Chief Justice of the Oregon Provisional government. 
Dr. McLoughlin appeared before him to declare his intention to become an American 
citizen, and to renounce all allegiance to the British Crown. But Judge Burnett was 
powerless to receive that declaration. He had neither authority of law to administer such 
an oath, nor was his court authorized by law to receive, file, or attest such declaration. 
Scrupulous and conscientious, he denied the application. The Provisional government 
might not be recognized ; clearly its courts were not among those courts upon which 
Congress had conferred jurisdiction to naturalize aliens. The Oregon controversj- had 
been settled between the two nations. Dr. McLoughlin had resigned the service of the 
Hudson's Bay Companj^, and was residing at Oregon City. Governor Joseph Lane, first 
governor of Oregon Territory, had arrived, and, on March 3, 1S49, issued a proclamation 
formally announcing the extension of Federal jurisdiction over the territor3\ Hon. 
William P. Bryant, commissioned as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, had 
entered upon the discharge of his judicial duties. A court competent to tr^- the title to 
Abernethy Island had been furnished ; but Chief Justice Bryant and Governor Lane had 
become purchasers of that island. On the 30th of May, 1849, John McLoughlin declared 
his intention to become a citizen of the United States, in what was called the United 
States District Court of the county of Clackamas, Oregon Territor}'. Those territorial 
courts have ceased to be regarded as United States courts; but their jurisdiction to 
naturalize was exercised and sanctioned b}- authorit}-. 

Samuel R. Thurston, in honor to whose memory the county of Thurston received its 
name, was elected Oregon's first delegate to the Congress of the United States. On the 
27th of September, 1850, that Congress passed the Donation Law, its eleventh section 
being as follows : 

" And be it further enacted, that what is known as the ' Oregon City claim,' excepting 
the Aberneth}' Lsland, which is hereby confirmed to the legal assigns of the Willamette 
Milling and Trading Company, shall be set apart and be at the disposal of the Legislative 


Assembly, to the establishment and endowment of a university, to be located at such place 
in the territory as the Legislative Assembly may designate : Provided, however, that all 
the lots and parts of lots iu said claim sold or granted by Dr. McLoughlin, previous to the 
fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and forty-nine, shall be confirmed to the purchaser 
or donee, or their assigns, to be certified to the Commissioner of the General Land Office 
by the Surveyor-General, and patents to issue on said certificates as in other cases." 

It will be asked, " wh}' were such wrongs perpetrated by Congress ? " The solution 
will be found in the address of Oregon's representative to his constituents, embodj'ing the 
misrepresentations and character of the arguments used. Here is an extract from his 
personal appeal to members of Congress urging the passage of the Donation Law : 

" I will next call your attention to the eleventh section of the bill, reserving the 
townsite of Oregon City, known as the ' Oregon City claim." The capital of our territory 
is located here; and here is the county seat of Clackamas county. It is unquestionably 
the finest water-power in the known world; and as it is now, so it will remain, the great 
inland business point for the territory. This claim has been wrongfully wrested 
by Dr. McLoughlin from American citizens. The Methodist Mission first took the 
claim, with a view of establishing here their mills and mission. They were forced to 
leave it, under the fear of having the savages of Oregon let loose upon them; and 
successively a number of citizens of our couutr}^ have been driven from it, while Dr. 
McLoughlin was j-et at the head of the Hudson's Bay Compau}', west of the Rock)' 
Mountains. Having at his command the Indians of the country, he has held it by 
violence and dint of threats up to this time. He had sold lots up to the 4th of March, 
1849, worth $200,000. He also has upon it a flouring mill, granaries, two double 
saw-mills, a large number of houses, stores and other buildings, to which he may be 
entitled b}- virtue of his possessory rights, under the treaty of 1S46. For only a part of 
these improvements which he may thus hold, he has been urged during the last year to 
take $250,000. He will already have made a half million out of that claim. He is still 
an Englishman, still connected in interest with the Hudson's Bay Company, and still 
refuses to file his intentions to become an American citizen, and assigns as a reason to the 
Supreme Judge of the territory that he cannot do it without prejudicing his standing in 

" Last summer he informed the writer of this, that whatever was made out of this 
claim was to go into the common fund of the Hudson's Bay Company, of which he and 
the other stockholders would share in proportion to their stock; in other words, that he was 
holding this claim for the benefit of the company. Now, the bill proposes to reserve this 
claim, subject to whatever rights he may have to it, or any part of it, by virtue of the 
treaty, and confirms the title to all lots sold or donated by him previous to March 4, 1S49. 
This is designed to prevent litigation. That daj' is fixed on because, on that day, iu 
Oregon City, Governor Lane took possession of the territor}', declaring the laws of the 
United States in force, and apprising Dr. McLoughlin and all others, that no one had a 
right to sell or meddle with the government lands. Dr. McLoughlin ought to have been 
made to pay back $200,000; but, not wishing to create any litigation, the committee 
concluded to quiet the whole matter by confirming the lots. Having in this wa}' made 
S20o,ooo, and his possessory rights, if it shall turn out that he lawfully acquired any, 
being worth §300,000 more, the people of Oregon think 3'our bount}- is sufficient to this 
man, who has worked diligently to break down the settlements ever since they commenced; 
and the}- ask to save their capital, their county-seat, and the balance of that noble 


water-power from tlie grasp of this Britisli propagandist, and bestow it on the young 
American generation in Oregon in the shape of education, upon whom you and the 
country are to rely to defend and protect the western outposts of this glorious Union. 

" When the Methodist Mission was driven from this claim, they went onto an island 
in the middle of the river, and constructed mills and made other improvements. This 
island is known as Abernethy Island, and is of no value, except for the improvements upon 
it. It consists of about two acres of barren rock. This island was subsequently sold to 
George Abernethy, and the bill ought to confirm the same to Abernethy or his assigns. 
This is a simple act of justice to American citizens, who now have their mills and property 
staked on those rocks, and on which, for a long time, stood the only mill in the valley 
where an American could get any grain ground for toll." 

It is impossible to believe that the eleventh section of the Oregon Donation Law 
could ever have received the sanction of Congress, but for the representations that John 
McLoughlin had refused to become an American citizen ; that he had refused to renounce 
allegiance to the British Crown. Congress is blameless for acting upon information before 
it, and for reaching the decision that the Oregon City claim was without a lawful claimant, 
and donating it to the territory for educational purposes. 

John McLoughlin, who had assisted the American immigrant, who had given up his 
high rank and salary in the Hudson's Bay Company rather than ignore the claims of 
humanity and refuse credit to the destitute settler, was iij his old age thus unjustly 
despoiled of his property. The island went to the assigns of the milling company. The 
good and generous old friend of the Oregon pioneer, broken hearted and soured with the 
injustice of the world, sunk into his grave in the fall of 1857. Five years later, the State 
of Oregon refused to retain the unhallowed gift, and restored the Oregon Cit}- claim to 
the heirs of John McLoughlin. 

As must have been observed, congressional proceedings, session after session, had 
foreshadowed congressional intent to make liberal grants of land to actual settlers in 
Oregon. It seemed to have been generally acquiesced in, that the favorable solution of 
the Oregon controversy depended upon peopling the territor}- overland from the western 
States. That protracted contest had attracted the attention of American people, more 
particularly citizens of the western States. The spirit of congressional legislation as to 
the territory had been clearly indicated by uniform provisions in those several measures 
which had been introduced each succeeding session. Favorable reports as to soil, climate 
and resources from residents of the territory, missionaries and others, all tended to invite 
popular attention and to promote active emigration schemes in several portions of the 

In the spring of 1S43, as soon as the condition of the country had warranted travel, 
large bodies of " Oregon emigrants," mostly from Missouri, but quite a number from 
adjacent States, commenced to journej^ westward towards Independence, Missouri. On 
the 20th of May, a formal meeting was convened at Fitzhugh Mills, twelve miles west 
of Independence. Among them were Peter H. Burnett, Jesse Applegate and his brothers, 
with their respective families, James W. Nesmith, Daniel Waldo, Jesse Looney, T. D. 
Kaiser, and others who have made their names notable in Oregon. The party numbered 
about one thousand, men, women and children, about a third of whom were capable of 
bearing arms. The train consisted of 120 wagons; the number of cattle amounted to 
5,000 head. Peter H. Burnett was elected captain, James W. Nesmith, Orderly Sergeant. 
A council of nine to arbitrate and adjust differences was appointed. Captain John Gant, 

' , ^'J^P^WWllHM.. 




a Rocky Mountain man, and an ex United States army officer, was selected as Pilot to 
Fort Hall. Later Governor Burnett was succeeded b}- William Martin as captain. The 
train was subsequently divided into two columns, the one termed the " Light Column " 
being headed by Captain Martin, and the other, the " Cow Column," under commanp 
of Jesse Applegate. The two columns moved separate!}', but were near enough to support 
each other in the event of an Indian attack. The usual vicissitudes of prairie travel, 
camping, marching and other features, characterized that journey. 

Arrived at Fort Hall, there was considerable discussion as to going further with 
wagons, or abandoning them at that point. Captain Grant, the Hudson's Ba}- Company's 
agent in charge of Fort Hall, discouraged the attempt to take wagons down Snake river. 
Dr. Marcus Whitman, who had overtaken the train at the crossing of the Platte, as 
strenuously urged the ability of getting through with them. His counsel prevailed, and 
with the aid of Sticcas, a Ca3'use chief, and other Cayuses who had come to escort Dr. 
Whitman to his station, he agreed to guide the train to the mission. When the train had 
reached Grand Ronde, Dr. Whitman was compelled to leave, being summoned to Lapwai 
Mission station to attend Mrs. Rev. Henry H. Spalding, who was severely ill. Sticcas, 
the Cayuse chief, succeeded Dr. Whitman as guide, and safely and successfully piloted the 
immigrants to Whitman's station at Waiilatpu. 

Upon reaching Fort Walla Walla, the question arose as to the feasibility of proceeding 
overland to the Dalles. It was suggested to be wiser to leave the wagons and animals at 
Fort Walla Walla till the coming spring and then to build boats and descend the 
Columbia. Neither Dr. Whitman nor Archibald McKinlay, chief trader of Hudson's Bay 
Compau}^ in charge of Fort Walla Walla, were acquainted with the character of the road, 
or of the feed back of the river, nor of the crossing of the John Day and Des Chutes rivers. 
Both advised going down the Columbia to the Dalles in boats. The main portion of the 
train proceeded overland. Seventy of the party, among whom were the Applegates, acted 
upon the advice of Whitman and McKinlay. The advice given to leave their wagons and 
stock to winter at Walla Walla occasioned bitter animadversion. By many it was 
attributed to mercenary motives, to the desire to secure pay for herding, or to occasion, as 
an alternative, an exchange in the Willamette valley for the stock left, head for head, of 
California cattle. Growing out of these circumstances, this negotiation as to stock, its 
forwarding or wintering, several immigrants entered into a contract with Chief Trader 
McKinlay, subject to the approval of Dr. John McLoughlin, chief factor at Fort Vancouver. 
This transaction was much criticised, and is known as the " Cattle Contract.'' It occurred 
at old Fort Walla Walla, between certain immigrants of '43 and Archibald McKinlay, chief 
trader in charge. It exhibits the conduct of Dr. McLoughlin towards American .settlers 
on their arrival in the country ; his liberality ; his active sympathy with them in their 
necessities ; his exalted standard of right between man and man. 

Peter H. Burnett had hurried forward to Fort Walla Walla, to secure transportation 
down the Columbia. Mr. McKinlay, chief trader in charge, had supplied a boa