History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 14
GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL DEVELOPMENT.
In August 1854 Governor Davis resigned. There was no fault to be found with him, except that he was imported from the east. In resigning, he gave as a reason his domestic affairs. He was tendered a parting dinner at Salem, which was declined; and after a residence of eight months in the territory he returned to the states with a half-declared intention of making Oregon his home, but he died soon after reaching the east. Although a good man, and a democrat, he was advised to resign, that Curry might be appointed governor, which was done in November following.
Curry was the favorite of that portion of the democratic party known as the Salem clique, and whose organ was the Statesman. He followed the Statesman's lead, and it defended him and his measures, which were really its own. He was a partisan more through necessity than choice, and in his intercourse with the people he was a liberal and courteous gentleman. Considering his long acquaintance with Oregon affairs, and his probity of character, he was perhaps as suitable a person for the position as could have been found in the party to which he belonged. He possessed the advantage of being already, through his secretaryship, well acquainted with the duties of his office, in which he was both faithful and industrious. Such was the man who was chosen to be governor of Oregon during the remaining years of its minority, and the most trying period of its existence.
The legislature met as usual the first Monday in December, with James K. Kelly president of the council, and L. F. Cartee, speaker of the lower house. The session was begun and held in two rooms of the state house, which was so far finished as to be used for the meetings of the assembly. The principal business, after disposing of the Indian question, was concerning the public buildings and their location. The money for the state house was all expended, and the commissioners were in debt, while the building was still unfinished. The penitentiary fund was also nearly exhausted, while scarcely six cells of the prison were finished, and the contractors were bringing the government in their debt. The university commissioners had accepted for a site five acres of land tendered by Joseph P. Friedley at Corvallis, and had let the contracts for building materials, but had so far only expended about three thousand dollars; while the commissioners appointed to select, protect, sell, and control the university lands had made selections amounting to 18,000 acres, or less than one township. Of this amount between 3,000 and 4,000 acres had been sold, for which over $9,000 had been realized. In this case there was no indebtedness. No action had yet been taken concerning the Oregon City claim, which was a part of the university land, but proceedings would soon be begun to test the validity of titles. To meet the expense of litigation, an act was passed authorizing the employment of counsel, but with a proviso that in the event of congress releasing this claim to McLoughlin, the money obtained from the sale of lots should be refunded out of the sale of the second township granted by congress for university purposes in the last amendment to the land law of Oregon. Such was the condition of the several appropriations for the benefit of the territory, at the beginning of the session.
And now began bargaining. Further appropriations must be obtained for the public buildings. Corvallis desired the capital, and the future appropriations. At the same time the members from southern Oregon felt that their portion of the state was entitled to a share in the distribution of the public money. An act was passed relocating the seat of government at Corvallis, and removing the university to Jacksonville. It was not even pretended that the money to be spent at Jacksonville would benefit those it was intended to educate, but only that it would benefit Jackson county.
The act which gave Corvallis the capital ordained that "every session of the legislative assembly, either general or special," should be convened at that place, and appointed a new board of commissioners to erect suitable public buildings at the new seat of government. Congress made a further appropriation of $27,000 for the state house, and $40,000 for the penitentiary, to be expended in such a manner as to insure completion without further aid from the United States. Then it began to be understood that the relocation act, not having been submitted to congress as required by the organic act, was not operative, and that the seat of government was not removed from Salem to Corvallis by that act, nor would it be until such times as congress should take action. Nor could the governor pay out any part of the appropriation under instructions from the legislature, except under contracts already existing. The executive office, moreover, should not be removed from Salem before congress should have approved the relocation act. So said the comptroller; but the governor's office was already removed to Corvallis when the comptroller reached this decision. The Statesman, too, which did the public printing, had obeyed the legislative enactment, and moved its office to the new seat of government.
When the legislature met in the following December, Grover introduced a bill to relocate the capital at Salem, which became a law on the 12th of December, 1855. But this action was modified by the passage of an act to submit the question to the people at the next election. Before this was done, and perhaps in order that it might be done, the almost completed state house, with the library and furniture, was destroyed by fire, on the night of the 30th of December, which was the work of an incendiary. The whigs charged it upon the democrats, and the democrats charged it upon "some one interested in having the capital at Corvallis." However that may have been, it fixed the fate of Corvallis in this regard. Further than this, it settled definitely the location question by exhausting the patience of the people. The legislature was reduced to the necessity of meeting in hired apartments for nearly twenty years before the state was able to erect a suitable structure.
The $40,000 appropriated to complete the penitentiary was expended on a building which should not have cost one third of the two appropriations, the state a dozen years later erecting another and better one at Salem.
To return to the legislative proceedings of 1854–5. Another partisan act of this body was the passage of a bill in which voting viva voce was substituted for voting by ballot—a blow aimed at anticipated success of the new party; and this while the Statesman made war on the anti-foreign and anti-catholic principles of the know-nothings, forgetting how zealously opposed to foreigners and catholics the first great democratic leader of Oregon, S. R. Thurston, had been. Specious reasons were presented in debate, for the adoption of the new rule, while the Statesman openly threatened to deprive of public patronage all who by the viva voce system were discovered to be opposed to democratic principles. In view of the coming election, the viva voce bill possessed much significance. It compelled every man to announce by voice, or by a ticket handed to the judge, his choice, which in either case was cried aloud. This surveillance was a severe ordeal for some who were not ready openly to part company with the democracy, and doubtless had the effect to deter many. As a coercive measure, it was cunningly conceived. Every whig in the house voted against it, and one third of the democrats, and in the council the majority was but two. This bill also possessed peculiar significance in view of the passage of another requiring the people to vote at the next election on the question of a state constitutional convention, for which the ruling party, foreseeing that appropriations for the territory were about exhausted, was now ripe. The three measures here mentioned comprise all of the important work of the session.
An effort was made in the election of 1854 to get some temperance men elected to the legislature, in order to secure a prohibitory liquor law; and for this purpose a third party, called the Maine-law party, had its candidates in the field. None were elected on this issue, but much opposition was aroused.
The report of the territorial auditor showed that whereas at the beginning of the present fiscal year he had found $4.28 in the treasury, at its close, after balancing accounts, there were $68.94 on hand. The territory was in debt between $7,000 and $8,000; but the estimated revenue for the next year would be over $11,000, which would not only discharge the debt, but lessen the present rate of taxation. Encouraged by this report, the legislature made appropriations which amounted to nearly as much as the anticipated revenue, leaving the debt of the territory but little diminished, and the rate of taxation the same—a course for which, when another legislature had been elected, they received the reproaches of their own organs.
There began in April 1855, with the meeting of the democratic territorial convention at Salem, a determined struggle to put down the rising influence of whig principles. At the first ballot for delegate to congress, Lane received fifty-three out of fifty-nine votes, the six remaining being cast by Clackamas county for Pratt. A movement had been made in Linn county to put forward Delazon Smith, but it was prudently withdrawn on the temper of the majority becoming manifest. Lane county had also instructed its delegates to vote for Judge George H. Williams as its second choice. But the great personal popularity of Lane threw all others into the background.
On the 18th of April the whigs held a convention at Corvallis, for the purpose of nominating a delegate, and made choice of Ex-governor Gaines, against four other aspirants. The majority being for Gaines on the first ballot, T. J. Dryer and A. G. Henry withdrew, leaving M. A. Chinn and A. Holbrook. Gaines then received sixty-three votes and Chinn three. The convention adopted as its platform, "General Gaines against the world," and the campaign opened. A movement was put on foot by the religious portion of the community to form a temperance party, and to elect members to the legislature on that issue; and a meeting was held for that purpose April 16th, which was addressed by George L. Atkinson, H. K. Hines, and W. L. Adams, the last named a rising politician, who in the spring of 1855 established the Oregon Argus, and advocated among other reforms a prohibitory liquor law. As the paper was independent, it tended greatly to keep in check the overweening assumption of the Statesman, and was warmly welcomed by the new party.
The Argus, however, placed the name of Gaines at the head of the editorial columns as its candidate for delegate to congress. The Portland Times was strongly democratic, and sustained the nomination of Lane. The Portland Democratic Standard labored earnestly for the election of Judge O. C. Pratt, but Lane was destined to secure the prize and received the nomination from the Salem convention, which was a great disappointment to Pratt's friends.
Lane arrived in Oregon early in April, and soon after the convention the campaign began, the whigs and know-nothings, or native Americans, uniting on Gaines and against the democracy.
The native Americans, it may be here said, were largely drawn from the missionary and anti-Hudson's Bay Company voters, who took the opportunity furnished by the rise of the new party to give utterance to their long-cherished antipathies toward the foreign element in the settlement of Oregon. Some of them were men who had made themselves odious to right-thinking people of all parties by their intemperate zeal against foreign-born colonists and the catholic religion, basing their arguments for know-nothing principles upon the alleged participation in the Whitman massacre of the catholic priesthood.
Anything like cant entering into American politics has always proven a failure; and the democratic party were not too refined to give utterance to an honest disgust of the bigotry which attempted it in Oregon. The election resulted in the complete triumph of democracy, Lane's majority being twenty-one hundred and forty-nine. There were but four whigs elected to the assembly, two in each house. A democratic prosecuting attorney was elected in each judicial district. The party had indeed secured everything it aimed at, excepting the vote for a state constitution, and that measure promised to be soon secured, as the majority against it had lessened more than half since the last election.
In spite of and perhaps on account of the dominance of democratic influence in Oregon, there was a conviction growing in the minds of thinking people not governed by partisan feeling, which was in time to revolutionize politics, and bring confusion upon the men who lorded it so valiantly in these times. This was, that the struggle for the extension of slave territory which the southern states were making, aided and abetted by the national democratic party, would be renewed when the state constitution came to be formed, and that they must be ready to meet the emergency.
In view of the danger that by some political jugglery the door would be left open for the admission of slavery, a convention of free-soilers was called to meet at Albany on the 27th of June, 1855. Little more was done at this time than to pass resolutions expressing the sentiments and purposes of the members, and to appoint a committee to draft a platform for the anti-slavery party, to be reported to an adjourned meeting to be held at Corvallis on the 31st of October. This was the beginning of a movement in which the Argus played an important part, and which resulted in the formation of the republican party of Oregon. It was the voice crying in the wilderness which prepared the way for the victory of free principles on the Northwest Coast, and secured to the original founders of the Oregon colony the entire absence of the shadow and blight of an institution which when they left their homes in the States the earliest immigrations determined to leave behind them forever. With regard, however, to the progress of the new party, before it had time to complete a formal organization, events had occurred in Oregon of so absorbing a nature as to divert the public mind from its contemplation.
I have already spoken of the round of visits which Indian Superintendent Palmer made in 1854, about which time he concluded some treaties—none of those made by Gaines ever having been ratified—with the Indians of the Willamette Valley. It was not until October that he was able to go to the Indians of southern Oregon with the assurance that congress had ratified the treaties made at the close of the war of 1853, with some amendments to which they consented somewhat unwillingly, but were pacified on receiving their first instalment of goods. S. H. Culver was removed, and George H. Ambrose made agent on the Rogue River reservation. By the 1st of February, 1855, all the lands between the Columbia River and the summit of the Calapooya Mountains, and between the Coast and Cascade ranges, had been purchased for the United States, the Indians agreeing to remove to such localities as should be selected for them, it being the intention to place them east of the Cascades. But the opposition made by all natives, to being forced upon the territory of other tribes, or to having other tribes brought into contact with them, on their own lands, influenced Palmer to select a reservation on the coast, extending from Cape Lookout on the north to a point half-way between the Siuslaw and Umpqua rivers, taking in the whole country west of the Coast Range, with all the rivers and bays, for a distance of ninety miles, upon which the Willamette and coast tribes were to be placed as soon as the means should be at hand to remove them.
No attempt to treat with the Oregon tribes east of the Cascade Mountains for their lands had ever been made, and except the efforts of the missionaries, and the provisional government, for which White may be considered as acting, nothing had been done to bring them into friendly relations with the citizens of the United States. The Cayuse war had left that tribe imbittered toward the American people. Governor Stevens of Washington Territoy, when exploring for the Pacific railroad, in 1853, had visited and conferred with the tribes north and east of the Columbia concerning the sale of their lands, all of whom professed a willingness to dispose of them, and to enter into treaty relations with the government. Stevens had reported accordingly to congress, which appropriated money to defray the expense of these negotiations, and appointed Stevens and Palmer commissioners to make the treaties. But in the mean time a year and a half had elapsed, and the Indians had been given time to reconsider their hasty expressions of friendship, and to indulge in many melancholy forebodings of the consequences of parting with the sovereignty of the country. These regrets and apprehensions were heightened by a knowledge of the Indian war of 1853 in Rogue River Valley, the expedition against the Modocs and Piutes, and the expedition of Major Haller then in progress for the punishment of the murderers of the Ward company. They had also been informed by rumor that the Oregon superintendent designed to take a part of the country which they had agreed to surrender for a reservation for the diseased and degraded tribes of western Oregon, whose presence or neighborhood they as little desired as the white inhabitants. At least, that is what the Indians said of themselves.
Aware to some extent of this feeling, Stevens sent in January 1855 one of his most trusted aids, James Doty, among the Indians east of the mountains, to ascertain their views before opening negotiations for the purchase of their lands. To Doty the Indians made the same professions of friendship and willingness to sell their country which they had made to Stevens in 1853: and it was agreed to hold a general council of the Yakimas, Nez Percés, Cayuses, Walla Wallas, and their allies, to be convened in the Walla Walla Valley in May. The place of meeting was chosen by Kamiakin, head chief of the Yakimas, because it was an ancient council-ground of his people, and everything seemed to promise a friendly conference.
A large amount of money was expended in Indian goods and agricultural implements, the customary presents to the head men on the conclusion of treaties. These were transported above The Dalles in keel boats, and stored at Fort Walla Walla, then in charge of James Sinclair of the Hudson's Bay Company. A military escort for the commissioners was obtained at Fort Dalles, consisting of forty dragoons under Lieutenant Archibald Gracie, the company being augmented to forty-seven by the addition of a detachment under a corporal in pursuit of some Indian murderers whom they had sought for a week without finding.
On the 20th of May the commissioners, who had hastened forward, arrived at Walla Walla, and proceeded to the council-grounds about five miles from Waiilatpu, where the encampment was made before the escort arrived. The Indians, with their accustomed dilatoriness, did not begin to come in until the 24th, when Lawyer and Looking Glass of the Nez Percés arrived with their delegation, and encamped at no great distance from the commissioners, after having passed through the fantastic evolutions, in full war costume, sometimes practised on such occasions. The Cayuses appeared in like manner two days later, and on the 28th the Yakimas, who, with others, made up an assemblage of between four and five thousand Indians of both sexes. An attempt was made on the day following to organize the council, but it was not until the 30th that business was begun.
Before the council opened it became evident that a majority of the Indians were not in favor of treating, if indeed they were not positively hostile to the people represented by the commissioners; the Cayuses in particular regarding the troops with scowls of anger, which they made no attempt to conceal. Day after day, until the 11th of June, the slow and reluctant conference went on. The chiefs made speeches, with that mixture of business shrewdness and savage poetry which renders the Indian's eloquence so effective. The commissioners exhausted their store of logic in convincing their savage hearers that they needed the benefits of the culture which the white race could impart to them. Over and over again, the motives of the treaties and the treaties themselves were explained in the most painstaking manner. The fact was patent that the Indians meant to resist the invasion of their lands by the people of the United States. The Cayuses were against any sale. Owhi, chief of the Umatillas, and brother-in-law of Kamiakin, was opposed to it. Peupeumoxmox, usually so crafty and non-committal, in this matter was decided; Kamiakin would have nothing to do with it; Joseph and Looking Glass were unfriendly; and only Lawyer continued firm in keeping his word already pledged to Stevens. But for him, and the numerical strength of the Nez Percés, equal, to that of all the other tribes present, no treaty could have been concluded with any of the tribes. His adherence to his determination greatly incensed the Cayuses against him, and some of his own nation almost equally, especially Joseph, who refused to sign the treaty unless it secured to him the valley which he claimed as the home of himself and his people. Looking Glass, war chief of the Nez Percés, showed his opposition by not coming to the council until the 8th, and behaving rudely when he did come. Up to almost the last day, Palmer, who had endeavored to obtain the consent of the Indians to one common reservation, finding them determined in their refusal, finally offered to reserve lands separately in their own country for those who objected to going upon the Nez Percé reservation, and on this proposition, harmony was apparently restored, all the chiefs except Kamiakin agreeing to it. The haughty Yakima would consent to nothing; but when appealed to by Stevens to make known his wishes, only aroused from his sullen silence to ejaculate, "What have I to say?" This was the mood of the Indians on Saturday, the 9th; but on Monday, the 11th, every chief signed the treaties, including Kamiakin, who said it was for the sake of his people that he consented. Having done this, they all expressed satisfaction, even joy and thankfulness, at this termination of the conference.
The Nez Percés agreed to take for their lands outside the reservation, which was ample, $200,000 in annuities, and were to be supplied besides with mills, schools, millers, teachers, mechanics, and every reasonable aid to their so-called improvement. The Cayuses, Walla Wallas, and Umatillas were united on one reservation in the beautiful Umatilla country, where claims were already beginning to be taken up.
They were to receive the same benefits as the Nez Percés, and $150,000 in annuities, running through twenty years. The Yakimas agreed to take $200,000, and were granted two schools, three teachers, a number of mechanics, a farmer, a physician, millers, and mills. By an express provision of the treaties, the country embraced in the cessions, and not included in the reservation, was open to settlement, except that the Indians were to remain in possession of their improvements until removed to the reservations, when they were to be paid for them whatever they were worth. When the treaties were published, particular attention was called to these provisions protecting the Indians in the enjoyment of their homes so long as they were not removed by authority to the reserves. And attention was also called to the fact that the Indians were not required to move upon their reserves before the expiration of one year after the ratification of the treaties by congress; the intention being to give time for them to accustom themselves to the idea of the change of location.
As soon as these apparently amicable stipulations were concluded, the goods brought as presents distributed, and agents appointed for the different reservations, the troops returned to The Dalles. That night the Indians held a great scalp-dance, in which 150 of the women took part. The following day they broke up their encampments and returned to their several habitations, the commissioners believing that the feelings of hostility with which several of the chiefs had come to the council had been assuaged. On the 16th Stevens proceeded north-eastward, toward the Blackfoot country, being directed by the government to make treaties with this warlike people and several other tribes in that quarter.
Palmer in the mean time returned toward The Dalles, treating with the John Day, Des Chutes, and Wascopan Indians, and purchasing all the lands lying between the summit of the Cascade Range and the waters of Powder River, and between the 44th parallel and the Columbia River, on terms similar to those of the treaties made at Walla Walla. A reservation was set apart for these tribes at the base of the Cascades, directly east of Mount Jefferson, in a well watered and delightful location, including the Tyghe Valley and some warm springs from which the reserve has been named.
Having accomplished these important objects, the superintendent returned home well pleased with the results of his labor, and believing that he had secured the peace of the country in that portion of Oregon. The Nez Percés afterward declared that during the council a scheme had been on foot, originating with the Cayuses, to massacre all the white persons present, including the troops, the plan only failing through the refusal of Lawyer's party to join in it, which statement may be taken for what it is worth. On the other hand, it has been asserted that the treaties were forced; that they were rashly undertaken, and the Indians not listened to; that by calling a general council an opportunity was furnished for plotting; that there were too few troops and too little parade. However this may be, war followed, the history of which belongs both to Oregon and Washington. But since the Indians involved in it were chiefly those attached to the soil and superintendency of the latter, I shall present the narrative in my volume on Washington.
- Lane's Autobiography, MS., 59; Or. Statesman, Dec. 12, 1854; Amer. Almanac, 1855–6, 1857–9.
- George Law Curry, born in Philadelphia, July 2, 1820, was the son of George Curry, who served as captain of the Washington Blues in the engagement preceding the capture of Washington city in the war of 1812; and grandson of Christopher Curry, an emigrant from England who settled in Philadelphia, and lies in the Christ Church burial-ground of that city. He visited the republic of Colombia when a child, and returned to the family homestead near Harrisburg, Penn. His father dying at the age of 11, he went to Boston, where he was apprenticed to a jeweler, finding time for study and literary pursuits, of which he was fond. In 1838 he was elected and served two terms as president of the Mechanic Apprentices' Library, upon whose records may be found many of his addresses and poems. In 1843 he removed to St Louis, and there joined with Joseph M. Field and other theatrical and literary men in publishing the Reveille, emigrating to Oregon in 1846, after which time his history is a part of the history of the territory. His private life was without reproach, and his habits those of a man of letters. He lived to see Oregon pass safely through the trials of her probationary period to be a thriving state, and died July 28, 1878. Biography of George L. Curry, MS., 1–3; Seattle Pacific Tribune, July 31, 1878; Portland Standard, July 13, 1878; S. F. Post, July 30, 1878; Ashland Tidings, Aug. 9, 1878; Salem Statesman, Aug. 2, 1878; Portland Oregonian, July 29, 1878.
- The members elect of the council were: J. C. Peebles of Marion; J. K. Kelly, Clackamas and Wasco; Dr Cleveland of Jackson; L. W. Phelps of Linn; Dr Greer, Washington and Columbia; J. M. Fulkerson, Polk and Tillamook; John Richardson, Yamhill; A. L. Humphrey, Benton and Lane; Levi Scott, Umpqua. The lower house consisted of G. W. Coffinbury, of Clatsop; E. S. Tanner, David Logan, D. H. Belknap, Washington; A. J. Hembree, A. G. Henry, Yamhill; H. N. V. Holmes, Polk and Tillamook; I. F. M. Butler, Polk; R. B. Hinton, Wayman St Clair, Benton; L. F. Cartee, W. A. Starkweather, A. L. Lovejoy, Clackamas; C. P. Crandall, R. C. Geer, N. Ford, Marion; Luther Elkins, Delazon Smith, Hugh Brown, Linn; A. W. Patterson, Jacob Gillespie, Lane; James F. Gazley, Douglas; Patrick Dunn, Alexander McIntire, Jackson; O. Humason, Wasco; Robert J. Ladd, Umpqua; J. B. Condon, Columbia; J. H. Foster, Coos, elected but not present. Two other names, Dunn and Walker, appear in the proceedings and reports, but no clew is given to their residence. Or. Jour. Council, 1854–5; Or. Statesman, Dec. 12, 1854. The clerks of the council were B. Genois, J. Costello, and M. C. Edwards. Sergeant-at-arms, J. K. Delashmutt; doorkeeper, J. L. Gwinn. The clerks of the lower house were Victor Trevitt, James Elkins, S. M. Hammond. Sergeant-at-arms, G. L. Russell; doorkeeper, Blevins.
- The territorial prisoners were placed in charge of the penitentiary commissioners about the beginning of 1854. There were at that time three convicts, six others being added during the year. It is shown by a memorial from the city of Portland that the territorial prisoners had been confined in the city prison, which they had set on fire and some escaped. The city claimed indemnity in $12,000, recovering $600. A temporary building was then erected by the commissioners for the confinement of those who could not be employed on the penitentiary building, some of whom were hired out to the highest bidder. It was difficult to obtain keepers on account of the low salary. It was raised at this session to $1,000 per annum, with $600 for each assistant. G. D. R. Boyd, the first keeper, received $716 for 7 months' service.
- A memorial had been addressed to congress by Anderson of the legislature of 1852–3, praying that the Oregon City claim might be released to McLoughlin, and a township of land granted that would not be subject to litigation. Whether it was forwarded is uncertain; but if so, it produced no effect.
- This is an allusion to a memorial similar to Anderson's passed at the previous session.
- Or. Laws, in Statesman, Feb. 6 and 13, 1855.
- In the bargain between Avery and the Jackson county member, said the Statesman, the latter remarked that he 'did not expect it [the university] to remain there, but there would be about $12,000 they could expend before it could be removed, which would put up a building that would answer for a court-house.'
- B. R. Biddle, J. S. McItuney, and Fred. Waymire constituted the new board. Or. Statesman, Feb. 6, 1855.
- Cong. Globe, 1854–5, app. 380, 33d cong. 2d sess.
- Or. Jour. Council, 1855–6, app. 12.
- Corvallis had at this time a court-house, two taverns, two doctors, and several lawyers' offices, a school-house, the Statesman office, a steam saw-mill, and two churches. The methodist church was dedicated Dec. 16, 1855, G. Mines officiating. Or. Statesman, Oct. 13 and Dec. 8, 1855; Speech of Grover, in Id., Dec. 18, 1855.
- At the election in June 1856, the votes for the capital between the principal towns stood, Portland, 1,154; Salem, 2,049; Corvallis, 1,998; Eugene, 2,316.
- At the final election between these places the people refused to vote, being, as the Statesman said, 'tired of the subject.' Avery, who was elected to the legislature in 1856, again endeavored to bring the subject before them, but the bill was defeated.
- Multnomah county was created at this session out of portions of Washington and Clackamas, making it comprise a narrow strip lying on both sides of the Willamette, including Sauvé Island, and fronting on the Columbia River, with the county-seat at Portland. The first county court was organized Jan. 17, 1855; the board consisting of G. W. Vaughn, Ainslee R. Scott, and James Bybee. The bonds of Shubrick Norris, auditor, of William McMillen, sheriff, and A. D. Fitch, treasurer, were presented and approved. Rooms were rented in the building of Coleman Barrell, on the corner of First and Salmon streets, for a court-house. R. B. Wilson was appointed coroner at the second meeting of the board. The first board elected at the polls was composed of David Powell, Ellis Walker, and Samuel Farman, which met July 2, 1855. The first term of the district court was held April 16th, Olney presiding. The first grand jury drawn consisted of J. S. Dickinson, Clark Hay, Felix Hicklin, K. A. Peterson, Edward Allbright, Thomas H. Stallard, William L. Chittenden, George Hamilton, William Cree, Robert Thompson, William H. Frush, Samuel Farman, William Hall, William Sherlock, W. P. Burke, Jacob Kline, Jackson Powell, John Powell. The first cause entered on the docket was Thomas V. Smith vs William H. Morton, David Logan, and Mark Chinn.
An act of this legislature authorized the location of county seats by a majority of votes at the annual elections. The county seat of Umpqua was thus fixed at Elkton, on the land claim of James F. Levens. An act was passed for the support of indigent insane persons. There were a number of applications made to the legislature to have doubtful marriages legalized; but the judiciary committee, to whom they were referred, refused to entertain the petitions, on the ground that it was not their duty to shelter persons committing crimes against the laws and public sentiment. Notwithstanding, a special act was passed in the case of John Carey, who had a wife and children in the States, to make legitimate the children of a woman whom he had informally taken to wife while crossing the plains. Or. Statesman, April 3, 1855.
- Notwithstanding the antagonism exhibited at the opening of the session, the Maine-law bill being withdrawn, an act was passed of the nature of a local-option law, requiring retail dealers, or those who wished to sell by any quantity less than a quart, to obtain the signatures of a majority of the legal voters in their respective precincts to petitions praying that licenses should be granted them; if in a city, the signatures of a majority of the legal voters in the ward where it was designed to sell. Before proceeding to obtain the signatures, the applicant was required to post notices for ten days of his intention to apply for a license, in order to afford an opportunity for remonstrances to be signed. There were two many ways of evading a law of this nature to make it serve the purpose of prohibition, even in a temperance community; and for this very reason it was possible to pass it in a legislature unfriendly to prohibition.
- Or. Jour. Council, 1854–5, app. 21–7. The territorial officers elected by the assembly were Nat. H. Lane, treasurer; James A. Bennett, auditor; and Milton Shannon, librarian.
- Said the Statesman of April 17th: 'Defeat and disgrace to know-nothing whiggery and canting hypocrisy was a decree which went forth from that meeting… The handwriting is upon the wall, and it reads, "Jo Lane, a democratic legislature, democratic prosecutors, democratic everything."'
- As the reader has been so long familiar with the names of the democratic leaders, it will be proper here to mention those of the territorial whig committee. They were E. N. Cooke, James D. McCurdy, Alex. McIntyre, C. A. Reed, and T. J. Dryer. Oregonian, April 14, 1855.
- The Oregon Argus was printed on the press and with the materials of the old Spectator, which closed its career in March 1855. The editor and publisher, Mr Adams, possessed the qualifications necessary to conduct an independent journal, having self-esteem united with argumentative powers; moreover, he had a conscience. In politics, he leaned to the side of the whigs, and in religion was a campbellite. This church had a respectable membership in Oregon. Adams sometimes preached to its congregations, and was known pretty generally as Parson Billy. The mistakes he made in conducting his paper were those likely to grow out of these conditions. Being independent, it was open to everybody, and therefore liable to take in occasionally persons of doubtful veracity. Being honest, it sometimes betrayed a lack of worldly wisdom. The Statesman called it the 'Airgoose;' nevertheless, 'it greatly assisted in forming into a consistent and cohesive body the scattered materials that afterward composed the republican party.' The Argus continued to be published at Oregon City till May 1863, D. W. Craig being associated with Adams in its publication. Six months after its removal, having united with the Republican of Eugene City, the two journals passed into the hands of a company who had purchased the Statesman, the political status of the latter having undergone a change. Salem Directory, 1871, p. 81. Adams had in the mean time been appointed collector of customs at Astoria by Lincoln, in 1861, and held this position until he resigned it in 1866. In 1868 he travelled in South America, and finally went to New England, where he delivered a lecture on Oregon and the Pacific Coast, at Tremont Temple, Oct. 14, 1869, which was published in pamphlet form at Boston the same year. The pamphlet contains many interesting facts, presented in the incisive and yet often humorous style which characterized the author's writings as a journalist. He studied medicine while in the east, and practised it after returning to Oregon. In the West Shore, a monthly literary paper began at Portland in 1875 by L. Samuels, are Rambling Notes of Olden Times by Adams, in which are some striking pictures of the trials and pleasures of pioneer life, besides many other articles; but his principal work in life was done as editor of the paper he originated.
- Of the two papers started in 1850, the Star was removed to Portland in 1851, where it became the Times, edited first by Waterman, and subsequently by Hibben, followed by Russell D. Austin. It ran until 1858 in the interest of the democratic party. West Shore, Jan. 1876. Austin married Miss Mary A. Collins of Holyoke, Mass. Oregon Argus, Oct. 13, 1855.
- Portland Oregonian, April 15, 1876. Another paper that came into being in 1855 was the Pacific Christian Advocate. It was first called the North Pacific Christian Herald, and had for publishers A. F. Waller, Thos H. Pearne, P. G. Buchanan, J. R. Robb, and C. S. Kingsley, with Thos H. Pearne for manager. See Or. Statesman, June 16, 1855. It soon afterward changed its name to Pacific Christian Advocate, published by A. F. Waller, J. L. Parrish, J. D. Boon, C. S. Kingsley, and H. K. Hines, with Thos H. Pearne editor. The following year the methodist general conference, in session at Indianapolis, resolved to establish a book depository and publish a weekly paper in Oregon; and that the book agents at New York be advised to purchase the Pacific Christian Advocate, already started, at $3,500, and to employ an editor with a fixed salary. Or. and its Institutions, 107–8.
- Or. Am. Evang. Unionist, Aug. 2, 1848.
- Official, in Or. Statesman, June 30, 1855. The Tribune Almanac for 1856 gives Lane's majority as 2,235. The entire vote cast was 10,121. There were believed to be about 11,100 voters in the territory.
- George K. Sheil in the 1st district; Thomas S. Brandon in the 2d; R. E. Stratton in the 3d; and W. G. T'Vault in Jackson county, which was allowed to constitute a district.
- The committee were John Conner, B. F. Whitson, Thomas S. Kendall, Origen Thomson, and J. P. Tate. Or. Argus, July 7, 1855. The members of this first anti-slavery meeting of Oregon were Origen Thomson, H. H. Hicklin, T. S. Kendall, Jno. K. McClure, Wm T. Baxter, Wilson BJain, Jno. McCoy, Samuel Hyde, W. L. Coon, Wm Marks, W. C. Hicklin, H. F. McCully, David Irwin, John Smith, Isaac Pest, J. W. Stewart, G. W. Lambert, J. B. Forsyth, J. M. McCall, John Conner, Thos Cannon, B. F. Whitson, W. C. Johnson, Hezekiah Johnson, J. T. Craig, D. C. Hackley, S. R. McClelland, Robert A. Buck, Samuel Bell, J. P. Tate, U. H. Dunning, Alfred Wheeler, Samuel Colver, D. H. Bodinn, W. C. Garwood, D. Beach, Charles Ferry, J. F. Thompson, Milton B. Starr. Or. Argus, July 7, 1855.
- A treaty was made with the Tualatin band of Calapooyas for their land lying in Washington and Yamhill counties, for which they received $3,300 in goods, money, and farm tools; also provisions for one year, and annuities of goods for twenty years, besides a tract of 40 acres to each family, two of which were to be ploughed and fenced, and a cabin erected upon it. Teachers of farming, milling, blacksmithing, etc., were to be furnished with manual-labor schools for the children. The provisions of all of Palmer's treaties were similar.
- The amendment most objected to was one which allowed other tribes to be placed on their reservation, and which consolidated all the Rogue River tribes.
- Palmer appears to have been rather arbitrary, but being liked by the authorities, in choosing between him and an agent whom he disliked, they dismissed the agent without inquiry. Sub-agent Philip F. Thompson of Umpqua having died, E. P. Drew succeeded him. Nathan Olney superseded Parrish. There remained R. R. Thompson, W. W. Raymond, and William J. Martin, who resigned in the spring of 1855, and was succeeded by Robert B. Metcalfe. These frequent changes were due, according to Palmer, to insufficient salaries.
- I. I. Stevens, in Ind. Aff. Rept, 1854, 184, 248; U. S. H. Ex. Doc. 55, 2, 33d cong. 1st sess.
- Stevens speaks of this as the opening of navigation above The Dalles. They were succeeded, he says, by sailing vessels of 60 tons freight, and soon by a steamer. Pac. R. E. Rept, xii. 196–7.
- Lieut Lawrence Kip, of the 3d artillery, who accompanied Gracie on this occasion as a guest and spectator, afterward published an account of the expedition and transactions of the commission, under title of The Indian Council at Walla Walla, San Francisco, 1855, a pleasantly told narrative, in which there is much correct information, and some unimportant errors concerning mission matters of which he had no personal knowledge. He gives pretty full reports of the speeches of the chiefs and commissioners. Lieut Kip also wrote a little book, Army Life on the Pacific Coast, A Journal of the Expedition against the Northern Indians in the Summer of 1858, New York, 1859, in which the author seeks to defend the army officers from aspersions cast upon them in the newspapers, and even in speeches on the floor of congress, as 'the drones of society, living on the government, yet a useless encumbrance and expense.'
- Kip speaks of visiting some gentlemen residing on the site of the old mission, who were 'raising stock to sell to emigrants crossing the plains, or settlers who will soon be locating themselves through these valleys.' Indian Council, 16.
- Kip also describes the council-ground as a beautiful spot, and tells us that an arbor had been erected for a dining-hall for the commissioners, with a table of split logs, with the flat side up. The troops, too, were sheltered in arbors, and but for the showery weather the comfort of the occasion would have equalled its picturesqueness.
- See Hist. Or., i. 130–1, this series.
- Kip's Indian Council, 21.
- The chief of the Cayuses thought it was wrong to sell the ground given them by the great spirit for their support. 'I wonder if the ground has anything to say? I wonder if the ground is listening to what is said… I hear what the ground says. The ground says, "It is the great spirit that placed me here. The great spirit tells me to take care of the Indians, to feed them aright. The great spirit appointed the roots to feed the Indians on." The water says the same thing. The great spirit directs me, "Feed the Indians well." The grass says the same thing, "Feed the horses and cattle." The ground, water, and grass say, "The great spirit has given us our names. We have these names and hold these names. Neither the Indians nor the whites have a right to change these names." The ground says, "The great spirit has placed me here to produce all that grows on me, trees and fruit." The same way the ground says, "It was from me man was made." The great spirit in placing men on the earth desired them to take good care of the ground, and do each other no harm. The great spirit said, "You Indians who take care of certain portions of the country should not trade it off except you get a fair price."' Kip's Indian Council, 22–6. In this argument was an attempt to enunciate a philosophy equal to the white man's. It ended, as all savage arguments do, in showing the desire of gain, and the suspicion of being cheated.
- 'I think it is doubtful,' says Kip, 'if Lawyer could have held out but for his pride in his small sum of book lore, which inclined him to cling to his friendship with the whites. In making a speech, he was able to refer to the discovery of the continent by the Spaniards, and the story of Columbus making the egg stand on end. He related how the red men had receded before the white men in a manner that was hardly calculated to pour oil upon the troubled waters; yet as his father had agreed with Lewis and Clarke to live in peace with the whites, he was in favor of making a treaty!'
- Concerning the exact locality claimed by Joseph at this time as his home, there has been much argument and investigation. At the beginning of this history, Joseph was living near Lapwai, but it is said he was only there for the purpose of attending Spalding's school; that his father was a Cayuse, who had two wives, one a Nez Percé, the mother of Joseph, and the other a Cayuse, the mother of Five Crows; that Joseph was born on Snake River, near the mouth of the Grand Rond where his father lived, and that after the Lapwai mission was abandoned he went back to the mouth of the Grand Rond, where he died in 1871. These facts are gathered from a letter of Indian Agent Jno. B. Monteith to H. Clay Wood, and is contained in a pamphlet published by the latter, called The Status of Young Joseph and his Band of Nez Percé Indians under the Treaties, etc., written to settle the question of Joseph's right to the Wallowa Valley in Oregon, his claim to which brought on the war of 1877 with that band of Nez Percés. Wood's pamphlet, which was written by the order of department commander Gen. O. O. Howard, furnishes much valuable information upon this rather obscure subject. Wood concludes from all the evidence that Joseph was chief of the upper or Salmon River branch of the Nez Percés, and that his claim to the Wallowa Valley as his especial home was not founded in facts as they existed at the time of the treaty of 1855, but that it was 'possessed in common by the Nez Percés as a summer resort to fish.' As the reservation took in both sides of the Snake River as far up as fifteen miles below the mouth of Powder River, and all the Salmon River country to the Bitter Root Mountains, and beyond the Clearwater as far as the southern branch of the Palouse, the western line beginning a little below the mouth of Alpowa Creek, it included all the lands ever claimed by the Nez Percés since the ratification of the treaty, much of which was little known to white men in 1855, and just which portion of it was reserved by Joseph is a matter of doubt, though Superintendent Palmer spoke of Joseph's band as 'the Salmon River band of the Nez Percés.' Wood's Young Joseph and the Treaties, 35.
Joseph had perhaps other reasons for objecting to Lawyer's advice. He claimed to be descended from a long line of chiefs, and to be superior in rank to Lawyer. The missionaries, because Joseph was a war chief, and because Lawyer exhibited greater aptitude in learning the arts of peace, endeavored to build up Lawyer's influence. When White tried his hand at managing Indians, he appointed over the Nez Percés a head chief, a practice which had been discontinued by the advice of the Hudson's Bay Company. On the death of Ellis, the head chief, whose superior acquirements had greatly strengthened his influence with the Nez Percés, it was Lawyer who aspired to the high chieftainship, on the ground of these same acquirements, and who had gained so much influence as to be named head chief when the commissioners interrogated the Nez Percés as to whom they should treat with for the nation. This was good ground for jealousy and discord, and a weighty reason why Joseph should not readily consent to the advice of Lawyer, even if there were no other.
- Cram says that Lawyer and Looking Glass had arranged it between them to cajole the commissioners; that the sudden appearance and opposition of the latter were planned to give effect to Lawyer's apparent fidelity; and at the same time by throwing obstacles in the way, to 'prevent a clutch upon their lands from being realized. In these respects events have shown that Lawyer was the ablest diplomatist at the council; for the friendship of his tribes has remained, and no hold upon their lands has yet inured to the whites.' Top. Mem., 84.
- Kip's Army Life, 92; Stevens, in U. S. Sen. Ex. Doc. 66, 24, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- One Whitney was living about a mile from the crossing of the Umatilla River with William McKay, on a claim he was cultivating, belonging to the latter. Kip's Indian Council, 29. This William McKay was grandson of Alexander McKay of Astor's company. He resided in eastern Oregon almost continually since taking this claim on the Umatilla.
- Palmer's Wagon Trains, MS., 51; Or. Statesman, June 30 and July 21, 1855; Puget Sound Herald, May 6, 1859; Wood's Young Joseph and the Treaties, 10–12; Pendlelon Tribune, March 11, 1874; S. F. Alta, July 16, 1855; Sac. Union, July 10, 1855.
- R. R. Thompson was appointed to the Umatilla reservation, and W. H. Tappan for the Nez Percés.
- Ind. Aff. Rept, 1857, 370; Letter of Palmer, in Or. Statesman, July 21, 1855; Puget Sound Herald, May 6, 1859.
- Wood's Young Joseph and the Treaties.
- Tolmie's Hist. Puget Sound, MS., 37; Roberts' Recollections, MS., 95.