Like many others of the
world's great men, Dr. John McLoughlin had many characteristics, apparently
conflicting, but making in the aggregate a wonderful and harmonious whole.
He was the autocrat of the early Oregon Country, yet all his feelings and
political sympathies were for a republican form of government, and for rule
by the people, and for personal liberty; he was a trader, with the training
of a trader and of a business man, yet he gave credit, without security, to
the early pioneers, because he was a humanitarian; he was quick tempered and
impulsive, yet he was courteous and kind, for he was a gentleman; he was
stern and severe and a strict disciplinarian, yet he had a sympathy like
that of a woman, and a heart as tender and susceptible as that of a little
Whatever Dr. John McLoughlin
did to or for the Oregon settlers, missionaries and immigrants, he did to
every citizen of Oregon, man, woman, and child, for all time, then, now, and
to come. In honoring him, we honor ourselves. To fail to honor him and his
memory, we would dishonor ourselves. To every true, honest Oregon pioneer,
and to the descendants of every Oregon pioneer, has come the pleasing and
loving duty of letting the whole world know of Dr. McLoughlin's actions and
character, so that memory of him and his humanity shall never perish. The
time will come -and it should come soon-when a magnificent and stately
monument will be erected in Oregon in honor of Dr. John McLoughlin. But it
must be a monument of such size and beauty as, in that manner, to show the
appreciation of the people of Oregon for him, and of the good and noble
deeds of this grand old man.
His name should be enrolled in the Temple of Fame of
distinguished Americans. A county in each of the states of Oregon and
Washington should be named for him. For prior to March 2, 1853, what is now
the State of Washington, was a part of the Territory of Oregon, and Fort
Vancouver, where his noblest deeds were performed, is in the State of
Washington. That State would do itself great honor if it should change the
name of Thurston County to that of McLoughlin. I am glad that the last
Legislative Assembly of Oregon restored the name of Mt. McLoughlin to that
sublime, snow-covered mountain in Southern Oregon, sometimes called Mt.
Pitt, but, prior to 1838, named for Dr. John McLoughlin by the early
residents of Oregon, and for years called and shown on the
maps as Mt. McLoughlin. It will forever be known by his name. It would have
been appropriate if the Legislative Assembly of Oregon had changed the name
of Mount Hood to that of Mount McLoughlin, for, in the days when Dr. John
McLoughlin was in charge at Fort Vancouver, it was the custom of the
Indians, in what is now called Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington, to
point to Mt. Hood as showing near where was his residence.
Dr. McLoughlin died more than forty-nine years ago. Under
the canons of the Roman Catholic Church no one can be canonized until he or
she has been dead at least fifty years. If I may do so with propriety, I
suggest that, when the fifty years have passed, those in proper authority in
that Church cause Dr. John McLoughlin to be canonized, if it is possible to
do so. But the people of Oregon, as a people, are not bound by this canon.
Already the memory of this grand old man is enshrined in their hearts. To
them he is now the patron saint of Oregon, without regard to canon or rules,
religion or sect.
Of all the names and titles given to, or bestowed upon
Dr. John McLoughlin, the one I like best is "Father of Oregon;" for he was,
and is truly, the Father of Oregon. And it enables every old, true Oregon
pioneer, and every son and daughter of every Oregon pioneer, and his and her
descendants, to the remotest generations, to speak of Dr. John McLoughlin
with affection and love, with respect and veneration as "Our Father." In the
past the fervent prayers of these grateful pioneers were made in his praise
and that his tribulations might end and persecutions of him might cease.
Their tears consecrated his martyrdom and his memory. Today the hearts of
the survivors and of the descendants of these pioneers quicken at thoughts
of what he was and what he did; and their eyes moisten in recalling what he
suffered and what he endured in the making of Oregon.
Of all the men whose lives and deeds are essential parts
of the history of the Oregon Country, Dr. John McLoughlin stands supremely
first-there is no second. In contemplating him all others sink into
comparative insignificance. You may search the whole world, and all its
histories from the beginning of civilization to today, and you will find no
nobler, no grander man than Dr. John McLoughlin. His life and character
illustrate the kinship of man to God. He was God-like in his great
fatherhood, in his great strength, in his great power, and in the exercise
of his strength and of his power; he was Christ-like in his gentleness, in
his tenderness, in his loving-kindness, and in his humanity.