Waiilatpu. Oregon Territory.
Oct. 15.th 1840.
Rev. David Greene
Yours of 6th Sept and Oct 5th 1839 and a duplicate of your letter to me + Mr Spalding are before me.
All the goods shiped for us have been delivered at Vancouver. I am not able to say in what state they are. Mr Rogers is now at Vancouver to arrange them. Most of the crockery is broken.
My propable expences for the present year will be seventy five pounds to be drawn for in this country. My report of current expences is sent with this.
It was expected I might be able to adjust the bills so that the several reports might just cover the amount of the draft, but it is impossible for me to do it, as I find I cannot tell what portion of certain expences each individual has taken upon him self. They will not greatly vary + any discrepancy you will see is owing to not being together when each took his part of the bill.
In one case I see Messrs Walker + Eells have taken more than their part. For the future I hope our Bills will be adjusted at the meeting of Mission.
Mr Hall took one hundred + twenty three dollars on my account which he will deliver to Mr Chamberlin.
Mr Castle has sent me twenty dollars + sixty three cents worth of goods from the Sandwich Islands which he will charge to me + report to you.
I feel it due, for me to say something about my situation, in order for you fully to appreciate my circumstances, + responsibilities. I am near Fort Walla Walla which causes nearly all passers of the Company to call on us. And being in the route from the United States I have to entertain most strangers on arriving in the Country. Mr Hall spent six months with us last winter. At presant Mr Gray + family are here to remain while Mrs G may be confined. Mr Munger a Mechanick + family, who came out as a self supporting missionary with Mr Griffin, but having left him by Mr G's direction. + having no place to go, I employed him during the last winter at eight dollars per month + provisions for his family. In March I renewed the bargain, + agreed to give three pounds per Month + provisions. The bargain was for six months but having lost time he is not yet through.
Mr Griffin + wife came here the first week in July + has been here ever since, his wife being unable to ride from spinal affection, + his having no place to go.
Rev. H. Clark Messrs Littlejohn + Smith + their wives came here the middle of August. They are here yet + have been except a short absence to explore. They are self supporting missionaries also. They have not located yet but expect to leave in a few days, either to locate, or to winter among the Snakes in order to acquire the language. With ourselves + company we are seven families to be housed + fed besides our domesticks. Mr Gray I am happy to have here at present + hope he may be able to stay for the winter or at least untill associates arrive.
I do not know how to get along with the Free Missionaries. I do not wish to be a supplier for them, + yet I do not see how I can refuse them some grain. I have told them to take what they need to sustain themselves, for the winter + go + do the best they can. Mr Griffen is to go with them. If I could get rid of all further interruptions, I would be willing to let them have provisions for a year or so. But situated as I am I do not know when it will cease. To sell to them I do not feel free or authorized. Mr Griffen has been here three months + rising without the attempt to aid me, although I have had most of the wheat corn peas + potatoes to secure in the same time. The wheat required all my time to cut thrash + clean, but he did not aid me.
Messrs Littlejohn + Smith of Mr Clarks party helped me in thrashing + cleaning the wheat. I much fear if they get away that it will turn out so that they will come back to winter at least, a part of them. If they should wish to work for me in order to get provisions I should not know how to do. It is evident they have no funds to buy of the Company. I dare not oppose them. I dare not sell to them. To give them I am not able, and I cannot let them suffer. We fear that another Board will grow out of what they are doing. So that to do or not to do is the question.
I have had far more to contend with here than my Brethren at any of the other Stations in the Country. As to expense of Company; difficulty of building for want of timber + difficulty of employing Indians for want of proper pay. I cannot give much powder, as I am so near the Fort. Tobacco I will not sell. + shirts were not to be had to any extent; so that my labour has had to be either white men or Hawaiians in general.
I have much house room as the old one is yet habitable + the new one far along. The new house will be in all respects good convenient + sufficiently (large.
For further particulars of the station the station report to the Gen - meeting will be sent as I brought it home with me from the meeting + have not been able to copy + send it in time for Mr Smith to use in his letter embodyed from the station reports.
My crops were good having two hundred + fifty bushels of wheat, one hundred + thirty of corn, peas not known + a good supply of potatoes.
I have had an unusual share of labour falling on me. Before the Annual Meeting of the Mission Iosapa Mahi our Hawaiian was sick, but recovering he + wife accompanyed us to the meeting After our return he appeared unusually well. We had done but little towards cutting our wheat when he was taken ill again but taking medicine soon recovered so as to be about quite well; but did not go to work. From some cause perhaps eating unripe melons he was taken again with inflamation of the bowels, which proved rapid + incurable. He died August 8th leaving us to mourn a Brother + fellow labourer.
His death was one of great peace + triumphant hope. After expressing his strong love, for missionaries + in particular to Mr Bingham Mrs Whitman + myself, he said he came here to live + die for the good of the Indians, + it was good to die here He wished to die no where else. He wanted this told to Mr Bingham, saying, "He laboured with his hands to aid me while his heart went up to God. He had become deeply interested in every thing that pertained to the instruction of the Indians + in all the concerns of the station He was greatly beloved by all who knew him + his death leaves a blank in our family not easily filled, A wise Providence has ordered it + we feel to acquiesce + say, "The Lord gave + the Lord hath taken away Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Mrs Whitman has been sick for nearly two months having first an attack of inflamation of the kidneys from which she is not perfectly recovered
You will wish to know the present state of the Indians. And first as to Catholics; Their influence has not been felt much here this season. One of the priests made a tour to Colvile + its region + spent some time at Walla Walla on his return, but it caused no excitement among the Indians. I have been pressing them with their lost ruined + condemned state in a particular manner; in order to remove the hope that worshiping will save them. It has stired up no little opposition of heart to the truth, but I trust it may result in striping them from a reliance which I think was given them, before we came into the Country; that worshiping would save them. I feel what is wanting, is time to spend in private with them, + at their lodges.
We have been looking for a reenforcement, which Mr Hall wrote us had left New York in Jan - last We need a Minister at Walla Walla + Colvile. A religious influence will go forth from these places, + it ought by all means to be by one, of our Mission.
A Catholic priest came up across the mountains from the states this year who is operating among the Flat Heads. I do not feel that any new cause is operating in this part of the field to discourage us. The natives are far better prepared now to understand the truth than at any former period. We shall now have another year without further interruptions from the Catholics
Mr Walker writes me that he has written you in favour of the Boards withdrawing this Mission on account of so many coming in among + arround us. I feel to say, No; Do not withdraw it. We have not done what we could, + ought to do. It could not be withdrawing the mission, so to speak; but abandoning the cause of the Indians. Rather let us be reenforced to enable us to act more efficiently. I feel it a great trial to be in the most responsible part of the field, to fill alone, as I have done, the station of a public teacher or minister school teacher, Physician, farmer, +c. If a Minister was stationed at Walla Walla it would be better than to have him here, if we can have but one. He would have nothing to do to support himself but could easily get it from here.
A farmer could be more useful here than at any of the other stations. The missions have voted one of the mills to this station.
If a farmer were here he could supply this station + who ever should be at Walla Walla, + by supplying the Company here or at W. W. we might exchange for provisions that have to come from Colvile, for W. W. + the Snake Expedition; + in that way save the Company bringing down such supplies, And, for which, in exchange, whoever we should have at Colvile + those at Tshimkain + in that region might obtain a supply of flour +c. with a little arrangement, this station may be made to support nearly all the others at a small expense.
Mr Gray has lately informed me that letters have been sent by him + others, setting forth difficulties that have existed in this mission It was never my intention to trouble you with them. I have thought them of such a nature that Mrs Whitman + myself must leave the mission; + so strong was this feeling that I should have left, previous to the convening of the mission in Sept 1839, had not the Providence of God arrested me in my deliberate determination to do so by taking away our dear child in so sudden a manner by drowning. Since that time many appearances have changed, + I have not seen it my duty to leave. But for your information + to settle more fully every point + policy of the mission as well as to adjust what ever may be wrong in the feelings of its members, I would advise + request that one of the members of the Sandwich Island mission, or some Agent of the Board be sent here with such power + instruction as you may see necessary.
Some of the members of the S - I - mission might come here for health + a change of climate + in the mean time do all you should direct, without at all attracting the attention of the public. There is a ship of the Company's which comes from England, + arrives here from the Islands, generally in May or June. It then returns to the Isl - + back again in the summer + the last of Oct or first of Nov leaves for England. There is another which goes out in Nov - to winter at the Isl - + comes back in March. This is nearly the order which has existed since we have been here. This year it has been the same with the exception that two trips have been made by way of return by California for cargos of sheep for this Country. An extra ship has been expected by the Com - from Eng. but as she delays her arrival they think she did not start. It was in this ship we looked for our reenforcement. If she does not come I fear we shall not see them soon.
The mission would unite if they could - but if you send an Agent you will be able to obtain all that will be necessary to enable you to act. I hope the policy of of the mission will be to concentrate so that if some of us must go home the Mission will not receive a shock.
I feel the utmost confidence in the wisdom of any measure you may adopt + be assured I shall always feel it a great pleasure to cooperate with you in all you may see fit at any time to advise.
I have to leave this letter in an unfinished state to be copyed + sent.
You will feel to excuse any want of care or fullness of expression when you know that on this morn - 18th Oct I am called to leave in great haste to go to Mr Smiths relief. I have but little doubt we shall remove him directly as an example to the Indians. Mr Gray will give you the particulars.
Last updated: March 1, 2015