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Dr. John McLoughlin
The Methodist Episcopal Church

All my ancestors and relatives for many generations have been Protestants. I was brought up under the auspices of the Old School Presbyterian Church, of which my parents were members from my early childhood until their deaths at advanced ages. I have never been a member of any church, but my feelings and sympathies have always been that of a Protestant. I respect all true sects and denominations of the great Christian Church. I respect the religion of the Jews, of Buddha, and of Confucius, for the good that is in them. I respect every man's religious faith, as long as it is truly a religious faith. I uphold the right of every man to worship God according to his liking. I respect, I admire, the man who against opposition and against his material and business interests follows the dictates of his conscience in religious and other matters of principle. While I may not agree with him, I defend his right. It is immaterial to me whether Dr. McLoughlin was a Protestant or a Roman Catholic. It is sufficient to me that he honestly acted according to his reason, his judgment, and what he considered was right. I condemn any persecution of him for being true to his conscience. I have great admiration for the Methodist missionaries who were true to their principles, who tried to lead blameless lives and to convert the Indians, and respected the rights of others. It is immaterial to me whether the missionaries were Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, or Roman Catholics, so long as they were really missionaries and true to their God, according to their lights, true to their professions, to themselves, and to their fellow men. I have no attack to make on religion, nor on the Methodist Episcopal Church, nor on its true missionaries, clerical or lay.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has been one of the great civilizing agencies in the United States, particularly in the newer parts of the country. In its earlier days, and until the great growth of the country in the past forty or fifty years, it reached a class of people, which no other denomination could reach or influence, and made better people of them. All churches and denominations are subject to conditions and to evolution. And the Methodist Episcopal Church is today one of the great and influential churches in the United States. There always have been and there always will be men who make use of religion for sinister purposes. These unworthy missionaries who were parties to the unjust treatment of Dr. McLoughlin are not entitled to escape criticism, nor to have their wrongful acts passed over because of their religious pretentions. They are subject all the more to severe condemnation. All good Methodists condemn those wrongful acts of the missionaries as all true, honest Oregon pioneers condemn the acts of the pioneers who abused or cheated Dr. McLoughlin. But these base actions were not sustained by, nor concurred in by all the Methodist missionaries. Some condemned these actions. Others of these missionaries, appreciating what Dr. McLoughlin had done for them, and his humanitarianism, spoke in his praise, but did not break with their fellows who were persecuting Dr. McLoughlin. Some of the signers of the Shortess petition afterwards regretted, or were ashamed of their actions in so doing. Some timid persons may say that it would be better, in this address, merely to speak of the kind acts and high character of Dr. McLoughlin and not of the wrongful and unjust ways in which he was treated by some of the early immigrants, by some of the Methodist missionaries, by Thurston, by Bryant, and others. But that would not show what he suffered for the upbuilding of Oregon, nor his martyrdom on account of his humanity, of his principles, and of his integrity. It would not be a true, nor an accurate account of his life and time. Some persons in writing a life of Jesus would speak of his gentleness, his kindness, and his humanity, and say no more. They would not say anything against the Pharisees, nor of their condemnation by Jesus, because the Pharisees were people of some standing in their community, and did some kindly acts, and for fear of offending the descendants of the Pharisees. Such historians would not say anything against Caiaphas, the high priest, nor his actions against Jesus, because they might offend those religiously inclined. They would not say anything against those who cried "Crucify him," in their religious zeal. They would not say anything against Pontius Pilate, for fear of being thought to have attacked the Judiciary. They would either omit the crucifixion or merely say the last days of Jesus were passed somewhat in sorrow and in pain. But such a history would be trivial, and of no value. It would fail to show what Jesus did and suffered in his endeavors to help mankind. It would be a history in name only.

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