Waiilatpu. Oct 29th 1840.
Rev David Greene
Last evening I arrived home from my trip to Mr Smith's aid.
I left my hired man with him to make a canoe for them to come down by water in case he still finds it necessary to leave this fall. If he does not leave this fall, he thinks he shall in the spring. Mrs Smith is indeed very lonely I think they both suffer much from this cause. I regret much that Mr Smith should have been so anxious to go where he is, as he so easily falls into loneliness + despondency.
The Indians it is true are very anxious to obtain property, but I do not think we shall be in danger of violence from them.
You will see by Mr Smith's letter a proposition to relinquish this Mission + sell out in favour of the Methodist - together with such reasons as occured to his mind. Some of those reasons are apparent to every one + I shall not repeat them. To some of them he gave my name + assent, as also my opinion in favour of selling to the Methodist.
The reasons which affect my mind most forcibly in favour of such a measure were not named by him.
One was what Mr Walker wrote me concerning his advise to the Board, to withdraw the Mission Another is the want of harmony + the apparent difficulty in producing a reconciliation.
And a third, that which Mr Smith has himself wrote you, as contained in his request to be removed to another field or go home. I had learned before I went to see him that he intended to go to the Islands in the coming spring + wait for the decission of the Board concerning him.
In such event Mr Gray would leave + also Mr Rogers and only Mr Spalding + myself would be left in the Nez Perces language. While all this would be going on, a bad influence would be exerted, + it would not be well for Mr S + myself to be left alone under such circumstances. I think enough will be before you on this point so that I need say nothing more.
We shall be led into close contact with the Methodist as they claim the Walla Walla language. When this station was taken, it was thought that taking the people in that language who understood the Nez Perces it would give as many to this station as to the other taken by Mr Spalding.
The attendance on this station has been greatly increased in this way, + we fondly hoped to take the children of that language + teach them the Nez Perces book, indeed many have already been taught, for a large share of them are speaking more or less Nez Perces.
The Methodist think it an encroachment for us to take a station in that language as we voted to do at our last meeting. If we give up this point. this station will be surround on two sides by their circuits.
I do not think Indians can be collected together so as to make a settlement in any one place on account of difficulties that will arise among themselves. They will not fence well enough to avoid difficulty, as one reason + another the pretended owners of the soil will drive them off. + again At the several locations of the Indians they have many substantial advantages which must be relinquished in order to come together in a settlement.
One other + the greatest reason for abandoning the Mission is to try to get the Board out of the embarrassment into which it must be brought by what will be laid before them by some members of the Mission.
Thus far in favour of relinquishing to the Methodist.
I wrote you in my last that I did not approve of Mr Walkers advise to withdraw the Mission my reasons are the following.
First, The eye + hope of the church is on this mission.
Second, Nothing in the Indians themselves forbids the hope of speedy conversion, were we in a proper state of feeling among ourselves It has come to a point with them to discriminate between mere form of worship, and an entire change of heart which will not make it seem strange that opposition is felt. An unusual interest + attention has been given to instruction at this station this fall. + we have been looking for a revival. Some it is true tried to frightened me to prevent me from being so plain in talking to them about the consequences of sin, but I did not feel it a discouragement.
More people are brought to hear instructions in this Mission than most of the Missions of the Board - I do not feel that we should measure the importance of the work by the number of the people alone, it should be taken into consideration what effect will its abandonment have upon the Churches at home.
Will it not cause the Churches + free missionaries to form another Board, to send missions to the Indians? Will not the enemy triumph? Will it not be abandoning the Indians + in that way Western America to the Catholics? Will not the Catholics unite all the coast from California to the North? should it not be held as a work which unites with it all the importance of missions to the Indians? Is it best to flee before an onset is fairly made? In future we might hope to live on less expense + labour with more facility.
The language is acquired; we are on the ground, and have lost much time + spent much money to prepare for our work. It will cost much to take us home or to another field + prepare us for the work. All these things + more you will readily see.
And finaly; the state of suspense which will intervene, between our leaving and the Methodist coming in + the time it will take for them to learn the language + meet the wants of the people.
It will require an Agent in case you sell, in order to make the arrangements
Messrs Walker + Eells are notified + will give their views. In case all agree to sell, some one may go to see the Methodist + make proposition, in time to write by the Company's Express, by way of Montreal in March next.
I see no way but for the Methodist to send some of their number among us, to be acquiring the language while we remain.
My feelings are to live + labour for this people - There is work enough for us all to do + for more if they were here.
I would that the true causes were given for relinquishing the mission, as they exist in us + not altogether in the people + things more remote. It does not become me to speak by way of complaint of any one; but I may safely say we are greatly wanting in spirituality faith prayer + expectation of success. We cannot keep the mission together at our general meetings long enough to settle upon any principle of action. It has always been the case that we must break up our meetings before any of the work necessary for harmonizing the Mission was entered upon. To me it has seemed we should never seperate untill there was no more to be done to facilitate our work. But it has invariable been the case that some of the members, would set a time to leave, + then every thing must come to that time let what would be the state of the Mission. I would much rather we had had but one station in this language than the three as they now exist, or as we voted a fourth at Samnap. I have ever opposed the increase of stations + of having all our Ministers farmers as at present. I have felt ready, if I could have had a minister with me to be farmer not only to supply this station but any that could depend upon it for supplies. But why all must grow grain for themselves is more than I can say. But I do know that no minister would receive his support from any one else in the Mission. No fair trial has yet been made by us. For every one to be his own farmer, house builder +c, is too much to look for great or good results in our missionary work. For one to be alone is to limit his time so much to the care of his family that little can be done for the Indians
It may not be known to you that Mr Gray came home in direct opposition to his + my arrangement when he left me to go to the Flat Heads, as you may see by my letter written at that time I did not wish to send home so soon
Some of the reenforcement have never seemed to feel satisfied with being here. Mr Smith has always felt he brought it on himself as a judgement for being in so much haste to be sent out. (or in other words to get married) Mr Walker would come under the same class of circumstances. Mr Eells would have been no where else but here - for he saw the hand of the Lord in sending him into this field.
If you sell out the Mission you will be at liberty to send me to any field where I may be needed as Physician, but not as here to fill the place of Minister a thing I have [Blurred spot] in vain to avoid. By this I do not mean [Blurred spot] say I wish to shrink from any responsibility Providence may lay upon me, but that I find it to much for one man to fill so many trusts as I am called to here.
But if no such place is needed to be filled I will take care of myself by going to the U - States or else by going to the lower settlements of the Columbia
Last updated: March 1, 2015