CAPTAIN. E.R. MERRIMAN'S RESIDENCE

October 2, 1880
Forest Grove, Oregon

FRIENDS: On account of repairs at the bridge which delayed us more than an hour, and because of engagements to leave for Vancouver this afternoon, our time here must be very short. I had hoped to have an opportunity of meeting all of you and becoming acquainted. My principal object in coming to your beautiful town, in fact I might say, my only object was to learn of the education given to what are known as the wards of this nation, and to see the other institutions of learning with which your town is so happily blessed. But our intercourse must be short. The party with me and myself, have been gratified at much we have seen of Oregon. Especially have we been gratified at what we have seen of the educational institutions of the state. As for this Indian School, I think it is the feeling of every good citizen, that it is wise and just to make good citizens of these Indian boys and girls. Some persons think that God has decreed that they should die off like wild animals. With that we have nothing to do. If this is so--if they are to become extinct--we ought to leave that to Providence, and we, as good, patriotic, Christian people, should do our best to improve their physical, mental and moral condition. We should prepare them to become part of the great, American family. If it turns out that their destiny is to be different, we shall at least have done our duty. This country was once theirs. They owned it as much as you own your farms. We have displaced them and are now completing that work. I am glad that Oregon has taken a step in the right direction. I am glad that she is preparing Indian boys and girls to become good, law-abiding citizens.