History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 17
OREGON BECOMES A STATE.
During these days Oregon was somewhat soured over the Indian question, and toward the United States generally. The savages should have been more quickly and cheaply killed; the regulars could not fight Indians; the postal service was a swindle and a disgrace; land matters they could manage more to their satisfaction themselves; better become a state and be independent. There was even some feeling between northern and southern Oregon; the former had labored and the latter had suffered, and both were a little sore over it.
About all the legislature of 1855–6 did was to move the capital from Corvallis to Salem, ask congress to discharge General Wool and Superintendent Palmer, and send up a growl against Surveyor-general Gardiner and Postal-agent Avery.
To prevent any benefit to southern Oregon from the appropriations, as well as to silence the question of the relocation acts, it was proposed to ask congress to allow what remained of the university fund to be diverted to common-school purposes; but the matter was finally adjusted by repealing all the former acts concerning the university, and making a temporary disposition of the fund.
With regard to the volunteer service in the Indian wars, Grover introduced a bill providing for the employment if necessary of the full military force of the territory, not exceeding three full regiments, to serve for six months or until the end of the war, unless sooner discharged; the volunteers to furnish as far as practicable their own arms and equipments, and to be entitled to two dollars a day for their services, and two dollars a day for the use and risk of their horses; all commissioned officers to receive the same pay as officers of the same rank in the regular service, besides pay for the use and risk of their horses; the act to apply to all who had been in the service from the beginning, including the 9th regiment of Oregon militia. The bill became a law, and the legislature memoralized congress to assume the expense, which after much investigation and delay was done, as we have seen. The last of the political divisions of western Oregon were made at this session, when Curry and Josephine counties were established. The question of a state constitution was not discussed at length, an act being passed to take the vote of the people upon it again at a subsequent election. On the 21st of January the legislature adjourned.
The democratic party, which had so long dominated Oregon, and to which whigs and know-nothings offered but a feeble opposition, had so conducted affairs during the Indian war of 1855–6 as to alienate some of its original supporters. It had, however, a strong hold on the people in the war debt, which it was believed Lane, through his influence with the administration, would be able to have discharged. So long as this appeared probable, or could be reasonably hoped for, much that was disagreeable or oppressive at home could be tolerated, and no steps were taken, at first, to follow the movement in the Atlantic States which was dividing the nation into two great parties, for and against slavery. Southern Oregon, which was never much in sympathy with the Willamette Valley, the seat of democratic rule, was the first to move toward the formation of a republican party. A meeting was held at the Lindley school-house, Eden precinct, in Jackson county, in May 1856, for the purpose of choosing candidates to be voted for at the June election.
The meeting declared against slavery in the new states. The democrats might have said the same, but at this juncture they did not; it remained for the first republican meeting first to promulgate the sentiment in the territory. It was a spontaneous expression of incipient republicanism in the far north-west, not even the Philadelphia convention having yet pronounced. The election came; none of the candidates of Eden district were chosen to the legislature, though one know-nothing from the county was elected, and the latter party did not differ, except in its native Americanism, from the republicans. As time passed, however, the republican sentiment grew, and on the 11th of October a meeting was held at Silverton in Marion county, when all opposed to slavery in free territory were invited to forget past differences and make common cause against that influence, to escape which many through toil and suffering had crossed a continent to make a home on the shores of the Pacific. Other assemblages soon followed in almost every county.
When the legislature met in December, it was as it had always been a democratic body, but there were enough opposition members to indicate life in the new movement. Few bills of a general nature were passed, but the drift of the discussions on bills introduced to allow half-breeds to vote, to exclude free negroes from the territory, to repeal the viva voce bill, and kindred subjects plainly indicated a contest before the state constitution could be formed. An act was once more passed at this session to take the sense of the people on the holding of a constitutional convention, and to elect delegates to frame a constitution in case a majority of the people should vote in favor of it.
In order to met the coming crisis, republican clubs continued to be formed; and on the 11th of February, 1857, a convention was held at Albany to perfect a more complete organization, when the name Free State Republican Party of Oregon was adopted and its principles announced. These were the perpetuity of the American Union; resistance to the extension of slavery in free territory; the prohibition of polygamy; the admission of Oregon into the Union only as a free state; the immediate construction of a Pacific railway; the improvement of rivers and harbors; the application of the bounty land law to the volunteers in the Indian war of 1855–6; and the necessity for all honest men, irrespective of party, to unite to secure the adoption of a free state constitution in Oregon. At Grand Prairie, a free state club was formed January 17th, whose single object was to elect delegates to the constitutional convention pledged to exclude from the state negroes, slaves or freemen.
The Oregon delegate to congress, Joseph Lane, had no objection to slavery, though he dared not openly advocate it. In conformity to instructions of the legislature, he had brought a bill for admission, which was before congress in the session of 1856. The only objection offered was the lack of population to entitle the state to the representation asked for in the bill. Its failure, together with the failure of the Indian war debt bill, was injurious to the popularity of the delegate with his party. But during the following session a bill authorizing the people of Oregon to form a constitution and state government passed the lower house, and was taken up and amended in the senate, but not passed. It remained where it offered a substantial motive for the reelection of the same delegate to complete his work.
Such was the position of affairs in the spring of 1857. The territory was half admitted as a state, a constitutional convention was to be held, a delegate to be elected, and a new political party was organizing which would contend for a share in the management of the public interests. It was not expected by the most enthusiastic republicans that they could elect a delegate to congress, their aim being different. The democrats for the first time were divided on nominations; but after a little agitation the convention settled down to a solid vote for Lane, who thus became for the fourth time the congressional nominee of his party. This done, the convention proceeded to pass a resolution binding their county delegates to execute the will of the party "according to democratic usages," repudiating the idea that a delegate could, in pursuance of the interests or wishes of his district, refuse to support the nominations of his party, and still maintain a standing in that party. Then came the announcement, "That we deny the right of any state to interfere with such domestic institutions of other states as are recognized by the constitution;" that in choosing delegates to the constitutional convention no discrimination should be made between democrats in favor of or opposed to slavery, because that question should be left to be settled by a direct vote of the people.
To this parade of the ruling party the infant republican organization could offer no opposition that had in it any promise of success. A few of the older counties chose delegates to the constitutional convention; others had no republican representation. But there was a visible defection in the democratic ranks from the bold position taken by the leaders, that it was treachery to question their mandates, even when they conflicted with the interests and wishes of the sections of country represented a doctrine directly opposed in sentiment to that of state rights, which the party was commanded to indorse. This was a species of subordination against which many intelligent democrats protested as strongly as the republicans protested against negro slavery. One newspaper, the Portland Democratic Standard, revolted, and was declared to be out of the party.
The June election came on. The republican party had no candidate for delegate, but was prepared to vote for G. W. Lawson, a free soil democrat, who announced himself as an independent candidate for congress. Lane arrived toward the last of April, and the canvass began. Hitherto in an election the questions considered had been chiefly personal and local; or at the most, they involved nothing more important than a desired appropriation or a change in the land law. But now the people were called upon to lay the foundation of a state; to decide upon matters affecting the interests of the commonwealth for all time. The returns showed that while the principles of democracy still retained their hold on the people, a far greater number than ever before voted an opposition ticket, and that of the delegates chosen to the constitutional convention more than one third were either republicans or were elected on the opposition ticket; that the legislature, instead of being almost wholly democratic as for several preceding years, would at the next session have a democratic majority of but one in the council; and that there would be ten republicans among the thirty members of the house.
During this important epoch the course of the Statesman was cautious and prudent, while seeming to be frank and fearless. It published with equal and impartial tolerance the opinions of all who chose to expound the principles of freedom or the evils or blessings of slavery. The other leading party journals were not, and could not afford to be, so calm and apparently indifferent to the issue; for while they were striving to mould public sentiment, the Statesman had one settled policy, which was to go whichsoever way the destinies of the democratic party led it. More than one new campaign journal was established, and influences were brought to bear, hitherto unknown, to awaken in the minds of the people, the chief part of whom were descendants of slave-holders, a desire for unpaid servitude. To meet this apparently well organized effort of the southern democrats of the United States senate and of California, the republicans and free-state democrats of Oregon nerved themselves afresh. All the newspapers of whatever politics or religion were filled with discussions of the topic now more than any other absorbing the public mind. George H. Williams made a strong appeal in an article in the Statesman of July 28th, showing that Oregon was not adaped to slave labor. On the other hand, F. B. Martin urged the advantage and even the necessity of slave labor, both sides presenting lengthy arguments convincing to themselves. With more ardor than discretion, Martin said that slavery would be a benefit to the negro himself; for if proved unprofitable, it would die out, and the blacks become free in a fine country. Now there was no such hater of the free negro as the advocate of slave labor; and unless the black man could be sure always to remain a chattel, they would oppose his entrance into Oregon to their utmost. That it was a dread of the free negro, quite as much as a sentiment against slavery, which governed the makers of the constitution and voters upon it, is made apparent by the first form of that instrument and the votes which decided its final form.
The constitutional convention assembled at the Salem court-house on the 17th of August, and made A. L. Lovejoy president pro tem. On the following day M. P. Deady was chosen president of the convention, with N. C. Terry and M. C. Barkwell as secretaries. The first resolution offered was by Applegate, that the discussion of slavery would be out of place; not adopted. The convention remained in session four weeks, and frequent references to the all-important topic were made without disturbing the general harmony of the proceedings. The debates on all subjects were conducted with fairness and deliberation. In order to avoid agitation, it was agreed to leave to the vote of the people the question of negroes, free or enslaved, a special provision being made for the addition of certain sections, to be inserted or rejected according to the vote upon them.
The influence of the republican element on the work of the convention was small, except as recusants. Most of the provisions were wise; most of them were politic if not all liberal. Its bill of rights, while it gave to white foreigners who might become residents the same privileges as native-born citizens, gave the legislature the power to restrain and regulate the immigration to the state of persons not qualified to become citizens of the United States: thus reserving to the future state the power, should there not be a majority in favor of excluding free negroes altogether, of restricting their numbers. The article on suffrage declared that no negro, Chinaman, nor mulatto should have the right to vote. Another section, somewhat tinged with prejudice, declared that no Chinaman who should immigrate to the state after the adoption of the constitution should ever hold real estate or a mining claim, or work any mining claim therein, and that the legislature should enact laws for carrying out this restriction. These prescriptive clauses, however they may appear in later times, were in accordance with the popular sentiment on the Pacific coast and throughout a large portion of the United States; and it may be doubted whether the highest interests of any nation are not subserved by reserving to itself the right to reject an admixture with its population of any other people who are distasteful to it. However that may be, the founders of state government in Oregon were fully determined to indulge themselves in their prejudices against color, and the qualities which accompany the black and yellow skinned races.
Another peculiarity of the proposed constitution was the manner in which it defended the state against speculation and extravagance. The same party which felt no compunctions at wasting the money of the federal government was careful to fix low salaries for state offices, to prevent banks being established under a state charter, to forbid the state to subscribe to any stock company or corporation, or to incur a debt in any manner to exceed fifty thousand dollars, except in case of war or to repel invasion; or any county to become liable for a sum greater than five thousand dollars.
These limitations may at a later period have hindered the progress of internal improvements, but at the time when they were enacted, were in consonance with the sentiment of the people, who were not by habit of a speculative disposition, and who were at that moment suffering from the unpaid expenses of a costly war, as well as from a long neglect of the principal resources of the country, which was a natural consequence of the war.
A clause of the constitution affecting the rights of married women, though it may have had its inception in the desire to place one half of the donation claim of each land owner beyond the reach of creditors, had all the air of being progressive in sentiment, and probably aided in the growth of that independence among women which is characteristic of the country. The boundaries of the state were fixed as at present, except that they were made to include the Walla Walla Valley; providing, however, that congress might on the admission make the northern boundary conform to the act creating Washington Territory, which was done, to the disappointment of many who coveted that fair portion of the country. The question of the seat of government was disposed of by declaring that the legislature should not have power to establish it; but at the first regular session after the adoption of the constitution the legislative assembly should enact a law for submitting the matter to the choice of the people at the next general election; and no tax should be levied or money of the state expended for the erection of a state house before 1865; nor should the seat of government when established be removed for the term of twenty years, nor in any other manner than by the vote of the people; and all state institutions should be located at the capital.
It was ordered by the convention that, should the constitution be ratified by the people, an election should be held on the first Monday in June 1858 for choosing the first state assembly, a representative in congress, and state and county officers; and that the legislative assembly should convene at the capital on the first Monday of July following, and proceed to elect two senators in congress, making also such further provision as should be necessary to complete the organization of a state government. Meanwhile, the former order of things was not to be disturbed until in due course of time and opportunity the new conditions were established.
The 9th of November was fixed upon as the day when the people should decide at the polls upon the constitution and the questions accompanying it. The interval was filled with animated discussions upon slavery, on the rostrum and in the public prints; the pro-slavery papers being much more bitter against the constitution for not making Oregon a slave state than the opposition papers for neglecting to make it a free state. The latter gave the constitution little support; because, in the first place, it was well understood that the party which formed it was bent on admission, in order to retain in its own grasp the power which a change of administration might place in the hands of the free-soil party, under the territorial organization, as well as because they did not wholly approve the instrument. There was, as could only be expected, the usual partisan acrimony in the arguments on either side. Fortunately the time was short in which to carry on the contest. Short as it was, however, it developed more fully a style of political journalism which was not argument, but invective—a method not complimentary to the masses to be influenced, and really not furnishing a fair standard by which to judge the intelligence of the people.
The vote on the constitution resulted in a majority of 3,980 in favor of its adoption. There was a majority against slavery of 5,082; and against free negroes of 7,559. The counties which gave the largest vote in favor of slavery were Lane and Jackson. Douglas gave a majority of 29 for slavery, while only 23 votes were recorded in the county for free negroes. Indeed, the result of the election demonstrated the fact that the southern sentiment concerning the black race had emigated to Oregon along with her sturdy pioneers. Enslaved, the negro might be endured; free, they would have none of him. The whole number of votes polled was only about 10,400; 7,700 voted against slavery; 8,600 against free negroes; the remaining 1,000 or 1,100 were probably indifferent, but being conscientious republicans, allowed the free negro to come or go like any other free man.
The adoption of the constitution was a triumph for the regular democratic party, which expected to control the state. Whether or not congress would admit Oregon at the first session of 1857–8 was doubtful; another year might pass before the matter was determined. The affairs of the territory in the mean time must go on as usual, though they should be shaped as much as possible to meet the anticipated change.
The legislative assembly met on the 17th of December, and on notifying the governor, received a message containing a historical review from the beginning. The governor approved the constitution, and congratulated the assembly on the flourishing condition of the country.
The legislature of 1857–8 labored under this disadvantage, not altogether new, of not knowing how to conform its proceedings to the will of the general government. Although not yet admitted to the union, a portion of the members were in favor of regarding their assembly as a state body, and framing their acts accordingly. Others thought that endless discussions would arise as to the authority of the constitution before its approval by congress, and were for making only such local laws as were required. Great efforts were made to keep the subject of slavery in the background, lest by the divisions of the democratic party on that issue, the democratic majority at the first state election should be lessened or endangered. After some miscellaneous business, and the election of territorial officers, the assembly adjourned December 19th to meet again on the 5th of January. On the day of the adjournment the democratic central committee held a meeting to arrange for a state convention, at which to nominate for the June election in 1858.
At the election of 1858 there were three parties in the field, Oregon democrats, national democrats, and republicans. The national faction could not get beyond a protest against tyranny. It nominated J. K. Kelly for representative in congress, and E. M. Barnum for governor. The republicans nominated an entire ticket, with John R. McBride for congressman and John Denny for governor. Feeling that the youth and inexperience of their candidate for congress could not hope to win against the two democratic candidates, the republicans, with the consent of McBride, voted for Kelly, whom they liked, and whom they hoped not only to elect, but to bring over to their party.
Meanwhile, though Kelly ran well, the thorough organization of the democratic party secured it the usual victory; Grover was elected state representative to congress; John Whiteaker, governor; Lucien Heath, secretary; J. D. Boon, treasurer; Asahel Bush, state printer; Deady, Stratton, Boisé, and Wait, judges of the supreme court; A. C. Gibbs, H. Jackson, D. W. Douthitt, and B. Hayden, attorneys for the 1st, 3d, 4th, and 5th districts. The only republican elected for a state office was Mitchell, candidate for prosecuting attorney in the 2d district. The state legislature consisted of twenty-nine democrats and five republicans in the lower house, and twelve democrats and four republicans in the senate. According to the constitution, the first state legislature was required to meet on the first Monday in July 1858, and proceed to elect two senators to congress, and make such other provision as was necessary to complete the organization of a state government. In compliance with this requirement, the newly elected legislature met on the 5th of July, and chose Joseph Lane and Delazon Smith United States senators. On the 8th the inauguration of Governor Whiteaker took place, Judge Boisé administering the oath. Little business was transacted of a legislative nature. A tax of two mills on a dollar was levied to defray current expenses; and an act passed to regulate the practice of the courts; and an act appointing times for holding courts for the year 1858. These laws were not to take effect until the state was admitted into the Union.
Four weeks of suspense passed by, and it became certain that Oregon had not been admitted. The war debt had made no advancement toward being paid. The records of congress showed no effort on the part of Lane to urge either of these measures, neither did he offer any explanation; and it began to be said that he was purposely delaying the admission of Oregon until the next session in order to draw mileage as both delegate and senator. It was also predicted that there would be difficulty in procuring the admission at the next session, as congress would then be disposed to insist on the rule recently established requiring a population of 93,000 to give the state a representative; but it was hinted that if the senators and representative elect should be on the ground at the convening of congress, there would still be hope. Acting upon this suggestion, Grover and Smith set out for the national capital about the last of September, to hasten, if possible, the desired event. At this trying juncture of affairs, Lane gave advice, which the Statesman had the good sense to discountenance, that the state, having been organized, should go on as a state, without waiting for the authority of congress. He was afterward accused of having done this with a sinister motive, to bring Oregon into the position of a state out of the union.
It was determined not to hold the September term of the state legislature, which might bring nothing but debt. A few of the members went to Salem at the time appointed, but they adjourned after an informal meeting. It now became certain that there must be a session of the territorial assembly at the usual time in December and January, as the territorial government must go on during the suspension of the state government. Accordingly, on the 6th of December, the members of the territorial legislature, who had been elected at the same time with the state legislature to provide against the present contingency, assembled at Salem and proceeded to the usual business.
Governor Curry's message indicated the Lane influence. It contained some remarks on what the Statesman called the anomaly of a territorial government, and urged that the territorial system was unconstitutional, wrong in principle, and not in harmony with the spirit of American institutions. He declared there was no provision of the constitution which conferred the right to acquire territory, to be retained as territory and governed by congress with absolute authority; nor could the people of the United States who chose to go out and reside upon the vacant tertory of the nation, be made to yield a ready obedience to whatever laws congress might deem best for their government, or to pay implicit deference to the authority of such officers as were sent out to rule over them. No such power, according to Governor Curry's view, had ever been delegated to the government by the sovereign people of the sovereign states, who alone could confer it; and the only authority of congress over the territories was that derived from a clause in the constitution intended simply to transfer to the new government the property held in common by the original thirteen states, together with the power to apply it to objects mutually agreed upon by the states before their league was dissolved. The power of enlarging the limits of the United States was by admitting new states, and by that means only. It was contended that California, which had no territorial existence, came into the union more legitimately than Oregon would do, because Oregon had submitted itself to the authority of the general government. This and more was declared, in a clear and argumentative style, very attractive if not convincing. The Statesman recommended it to the perusal of its readers, at the same time declining to discuss the question. This was only another indication of the tendencies of the democratic party in Oregon, as elsewhere. Curry's whole argument was an attack on the validity of the ordinance of 1787, to which the founders of the provisional government had tenaciously clung, and a contradiction of the spirit of all the petitions and memorials of their legislatures from the beginning to the then present time. He lost sight of the fact that the states were not such in the old-world sense of the term, but parts of a compound state or national confederacy; and as such subject to some general regulations which they were bound to obey. The doctrine that a body of the people could go out and seize upon any portion of the territory belonging to the whole union, and establish such a government as pleased them without the consent of the nation, was not in accordance with any known system of national polity. The object of introducing this subject in an executive message under the existing peculiar political condition of Oregon, and at a time when his connection with territorial affairs was merely incidental, must ever remain open to suspicion. It was fortunate, with leading officials capable of such reasoning, that the people had already voted upon and decided for themselves the question which lay at the bottom of the matter, not upon constitutional grounds, but upon the ground of expediency.
Little was done at this session of the legislative assembly beyond amending a few previous acts, and passing a number of special laws incorporating mining improvements in the southern counties, and other companies for various purposes in all parts of Oregon. Less than the usual number of memorials were addressed to congress. An appropriation of $30,000 was asked to build a military road from some point of intersection on the Scottsburg road, to Fort Boisé; it being represented that such a highway would be of great value in moving troops between forts Umpqua and Boisé, and of great importance to the whole southern and western portion of Oregon. A tri-weekly mail, by stages between Portland and Yreka, was petitioned for; and the Oregon delegate was instructed to ask for land offices to be opened at Jacksonville and The Dalles, for the survey of a portion of eastern Oregon, and for the establishment of an Indian agency and military post in the Klamath Lake country. On the 22d of January the legislative assembly adjourned without having learned whether its acts were invalid, or the state still out of the union; but not without having elected the usual list of territorial officers.
Before the adjournment, letters began to arrive from Grover and Smith relative to the prospects of Oregon for admission. They wrote that republicans in congress opposed the measure because the constitution debarred free negroes from emigrating thither, as well as because the population was insufficient, and that an enabling act had not been passed. These objections had indeed been raised; but the real ground of republican opposition was the fact that congress had refused to admit Kansas with a population less than enough to entitle her to a representative in the lower house, unless she would consent to come in as a slave state; and now it was proposed to admit Oregon with not more than half the required population, and excluding slavery. The distinction was invidious. The democrats in congress desired the admission because it would, on the eve of a presidential election, give them two senators and one representative. For the same reason the republicans could not be expected to desire it. Why Lane did not labor for it was a question which puzzled his constituents; but it was evident that he was playing fast and loose with his party in Oregon, whom he had used for his own aggrandizement, and whom now he did not admit to his confidence. The hue and cry of politicians now began to assail him. The idol of Oregon democracy was clay!
At last, amidst the multitude of oppugnant issues and factions, of the contending claims to life and liberty of men—white, red, copper-colored, and black—of the schemings of parties, and the fierce quarrels of politicians, democrats, national and sectional, whigs, know-nothings, and republicans, Oregon is enthroned a sovereign state!
While all this agitation was going on over the non-admission of Oregon, toward the close of March news came that the house had passed the senate bill without any of the amendments with which the friends of Kansas had encumbered it, few republicans voting for it, and the majority being but eleven. Thus Oregon, which had ever been the bantling of the democratic party, was seemingly brought into the union by it, as according to fitness it should have been; although without the help of certain republicans, who did not wish to punish the waiting state for the principles of a party, it would have remained out indefinitely. The admission took place on Saturday, February 12, 1859; the bill was approved by the president on Monday, the 14th, on which day Lane and Smith presented their credentials to the senate, and were sworn in. On drawing for their terms, Lane with his usual good luck drew the term ending in 1861, while Smith's would expire the following month. On the 15th Grover took his seat in the house, to which he would be entitled only until the 3d of March.
The satisfaction which the friends of state government expected to derive from admission to the union was much dulled by delay and the circumstances attending it. Party leaders had taught the people to believe that when Oregon became a state the war debt would be paid. The same leaders now declared that after all they had gained little or nothing by it, and were forced to solace themselves with pleasant messages from the western states, from which had gone forth the annual trains of men and means by which Oregon had been erected into an independent commonwealth. She had at all events come into the union respectably, and had no enemies either north or south.
- The councilmen elect were, for Multnomah, A. P. Dennison; Clackamas and Wasco, J. K. Kelly; Yamhill and Clatsop, John Richardson; Polk and Tillamook, J. M. Fulkerson; Marion, J. C. Peebles; Linn, Charles Drain; Umpqua, Douglas, and Coos, H. D. O'Bryant, democrats; and A. A. Smith of Lane and Benton, and E. H. Cleaveland of Jackson, whigs. Assemblymen, for Clatsop, Philo Callender; Wasco, N. H. Gates; Columbia, John Harris; Multnomah, G. W. Brown; Washington, H. Jackson; Clackamas, O. Risley, H. A. Straight, James Officer; Marion, L. F. Grover, William Harpole, J. M. Harrison; Yamhill, A. R. Burbank, Andrew Shuck; Polk, Fred. Waymire, R. P. Boisé; Linn, Delazon Smith, H. L. Brown, B. P. Grant; Benton, John Robinson, H. C. Buckingham; Lane, Isaac R. Moores, A. McAlexander; Umpqua, John Cozad; Douglas, William Hutson; Coos, William Tichenor; Jackson, M. C. Barkwell, J. A. Lupton, Thos Smith, democrats; and H. V. V. Johnson of Washington and Briggs of Jackson, whigs. A vacancy was caused in the house by the death of J. A. Lupton; and subsequently in the council by the resignation of E. H. Cleaveland. The first place was filled by Hale, democrat, and the latter by John E. Ross, whig. Clerks of the council, Thomas W. Beale, A. Sulger, and L. W. Phelps; sergeant-at-arms, M. B. Burke; door-keeper, James L. Earle. Clerks of the lower house, James Elkins and D. Mansfield; sergeant-at-arms, A. J. Welch; door-keeper, Albert Boisé. Or. Statesman, June 30 and Dec. 8, 1855.
- The trouble was, with these men, they were on the wrong side in politics, that they were whigs and know-nothings, and everything vile.
- This legislature was not over-modest in its memorials. It asked for the recall of Wool from the department of the Pacific; that Empire City be made a port of entry; that land titles in Oregon be confirmed; that additional mail-routes be established; that two townships of land be granted in lieu of the Oregon City claim; that the expenses of the Indian war be paid; that the Indian superintendent be stayed from locating Indians in the Willamette Valley; that the federal government assume the expenses of the provisional government; that congress provide for the issuance of a patent to land claims; that a mail-route be established from San Francisco to Olympia; mail service east of the Cascade mountains; a military road from Oregon City to The Dalles; that the expenses of the Snake River expedition be paid; that the right of pensions be extended to disabled volunteers; that the spoliation claims of 1853 be liquidated; that congress pay for the services and expenses of the Rogue River war of 1854; that a military road be established from Olympia via the mouth of the Cowlitz to intersect the military road leading from Scottsburg to Myrtle creek; a military road from Port Orford to Jacksonville; money for a territorial library; and that congress recognize the office of commissioner to audit the war claims. Indeed, Philo Callander of Clatsop county was so appointed, but congress did not recognize him. The Statesman complained in September that Lane had obtained $300,000 for the Indian department, and nothing more for any purpose except the regular appropriation for territorial expenses, which would have been made without him. A little later it was ascertained that $500 had been obtained for the territorial library, which money was expended by Gov. Curry when he went to Washington in 1856 to defend himself from the attacks of Wool.
- It was proposed to name the former Tichenor, but that member declined, saying that his constitutents had instructed him to call the county after the governor. The second was named after Josephine Rollins, whose father first discovered gold on Josephine Creek. The county seat, Kirbysville, was named after Joel A. Kirby, who took a land claim on the site of that town. Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 77; Prim's Judicial Affairs, MS., 2–3; U. S. H. Ex. Doc., i. 348, 375, 419, 431, 34th cong. 1st sess.
- Several charters were granted to societies, towns, and schools. Astoria and Eola in Polk county were chartered. To-day Eola is a decayed hamlet and Astoria a thriving city by the sea. The Portland Insurance Company also took a start at this time. Masonic lodges, Warren No. 10, Temple No. 7, Jennings No. 9, Tuality No. 6, Harmony No. 12, received their charters at this session. There is a list of the officers of Harmony Lodge from 1856 to 1873 in By Laws, etc., Portland, 1873. Multnomah Lodge No. 1 was incorporated January 19, 1854; Willamette Lodge No. 2, February 1st; Lafayette Lodge No. 3, January 28; and Salem Lodge No. 4, in February 1854. It is said the General George B. McClellan received the first three degrees in masonry in Willamette Lodge No. 2, at Portland. O. F. Grand Lodge of Or., 1856–76. Acts incorporating the Willamette Falls Railroad Company, the Rockville Canal Company, the Tualatin River Transportation and Navigation Company, and no less than 14 road acts were passed. The assembly appointed A. Bush, printer; B. F. Bonham, auditor; J. D. Boon, treasurer; F. S. Hoyt, librarian; E. Ellsworth, university commissioner. Something should be here said of John Daniel Boon, who for many years was territorial treasurer. Deady calls him a good, plain, unlearned man, and a fervent methodist preacher. Scrap-book, 87. He was born at Athens, Ohio, Jan. 8, 1817, and came to Oregon in 1845. He died at Salem, where he kept a small store, in June 1864. Salem Mercury, June 27, 1864. On the 13th of Dec. 1877 died Martha J. Boon, his wife, aged 54 years. Their children were 4 sons and several daughters, all of whom lived in Oregon, except John, who made his home in San Francisco. San José Pioneer, Dec. 29, 1877.
- The resolutions adopted were: that freedom was national and slavery sectional; that congress had no power over slavery in the states where it already existed; but that outside of state jurisdiction the power of the federal government should be exerted to prevent its introduction, etc. Or. Argus, June 7, 1856.
- Paul Crandall, O. Jacobs, T. W. Davenport, Rice Dunbar, and E. N. Cooke were the movers in this first attempt at organization in the Willamette Valley. The last three were appointed to correspond with other republicans for the furtherance of the principles of free government.
- Members of the council: John E. Ross, of Jackson county; Hugh D. O'Bryant, Umpqua, Douglas, and Coos; A. A. Smith, Lane and Benton; Charles Drain, Linn; Nathaniel Ford, Polk and Tillamook; J. B. Bayley, Yamhill and Clatsop; J. C. Peebles, Marion; J. K. Kelly, Clackamas and Wasco; Thos R. Cornelius, Washington, Columbia, and Mnltnomah. House: John S. Miller, Thomas Smith, Jackson; A. M. Berry, W. J. Matthews, Josephine; Aaron Rose, Douglas; A. E. Rogers, Coos and Curry; D. C. Underwood, Umpqua; James Monroe, R. B. Cochran, Lane; J. C. Avery, J. A. Bennett, Benton; Delazon Smith, H. L. Brown, William Roy, Linn; Wm M. Walker, Polk and Tillamook; A. J. Welch, Polk; L. F. Grover, William Harpole, Jacob Couser, Marion; William Allen, A. J. Shuck, Yamhill; A. L. Lovejoy, W. A. Starkweather, F. A. Collard, Clackamas; G. W. Brown, Multnomah; T. J. Dryer, Multnomah and Washington; H. V. V. Johnson, Washington; Barr, Columbia; J. W. Moffit, Clatsop; N. H. Gates, Wasco. Or. Laws, 1856–7, p. 8. James K. Kelly, prest council; L. F. Grover, speaker of the house, Clerks of the council, A. S. Watt, John Costello, and T. F. McF. Patton; sergeant-at-arms, G. W. Holmes; door-keeper, J. McClain. Clerks of the lower house, D. C. Dade, E. M. Bowman, J. Looney; sergeant-at-arms, J. S. Risley; door-keeper, J. Henry Brown. Or. Statesman, Dec. 9, 1856.
- When the commissioner in 1853–4 made a list of the former laws of Oregon which were to be adopted into the code, that one which related to the exclusion of free negroes was inadvertently left out, and was thus unintenally repealed. It was not revived at this session, owing to the opposition of the republican and some other members.
- Delegates: From Multnomah, Stephen Coffin, Charles M. Carter, L. Limerick; Clackmas, W. T. Matlock, W. L. Adams, L. Holmes; Washington, H. H. Hicklin; Yamhill, John R. McBride, S. M. Gilmore, W. B. Daniels, Brooks, and Odell; Linn, T. S. Kendall, J. Connor, J. P. Tate, John Smith, James Gray, William Marks, David Lambert; Polk, John B. Bell; Benton, William Miller, J. Young; Umpqua, E. L. Applegate. Committee to prepare an address, Thos Pope, W. L. Adams, and Stephen Coffin. Executive committee, J. B. Condon, T. S. Kendall, E. L. Applegate, and Thos Pope. Or. Argus, Feb. 21, 1876. See address in Argus, April 11, 1857.
- Among the first to promulgate republican doctrines were E. D. Shattuck, Lawrence Hall, Levi Anderson, H. C. Raymond, John Harrison, J. M. Rolando, S. C. Adams, S. M. Gilmore, G. W. Burnett, G. L. Woods, W. T. Matlock, H. Johnson, L. W. Reynolds, Geo. P. Newell, J. C. Rinearson, F. Johnson, H. J. Davis, John Terwilliger, Matthew Patton, G. W. Lawson, and W. Carey Johnson.
- Other possible candidates were Deady, Nesmith, Grover, Boisé, Delazon Smith, George H. Williams, and James K. Kelly. Clackamas and Clatsop nominated Kelly, but he declined, knowing that he could not be elected because he was not a democrat of that vigorous practice which the Statesman required; that journal afterward reproaching him with losing this opportunity through too much independence of party government. See letter of Kelly, in Or. Statesman, Feb. 17, 1857.
- So well whipped in were the delegates to the convention that only the Clackamas members and J. L. Meek of Washington county voted against the resolution.
- There were few persons in Oregon not deeply interested in politics at this time. A correspondent of a California paper writes: 'The Oregonians have two occupations, agriculture and politics.' See remarks on the causes of dissension in the democratic party, in Or. Statesman, April 14 and 21, 1857.
- The official returns for delegate to congress gave Lane 5,662 votes, and Lawson 3,471. The constitutional convention vote was 7,617 for and 1,679 against. The counties that gave a republican majority were Yamhill, Washington, Multnomah, Columbia, and Clatsop. Benton came within 25 votes of making a tie. In the other counties of the Willamette there was a large democratic majority. Or. Argus, June 13, 1857; Or. Statesman, July 7, 1857; Tribune Almanac, 1858, 63.
- There was The Frontier Sentinel, published at Corvallis, whose purpose was to give 'an ardent and unwavering support in favor of the introduction of slavery into Oregon.' The publisher was L. P. Hall from California, and the material was from the office of the Expositor, another democratic journal, whose usefulness had expired, and whose type was about worn out. Or. Argus, June 20, 1857. The Occidental Messenger, published at Corvallis, advocated the doctrine that there could be no such thing as a free state democrat. Or. Statesman, Aug. 25, 1857. 'The editor of that paper came to Oregon something less than six months ago, and issued a prospectus for a weekly newspaper. No one knew where he came from, who sent him, or how much Avery paid for him. In his prospectus he avowed himself in favor of the present national administration, in favor of the principles enunciated by the Cincinnati national democratic convention, and in favor of the introduction of slavery into Oregon.' From the remarks of the Jacksonville Herald, it appears that the Sentinel and the Messenger were one paper, edited by Hall. Or. Statesman, Nov. 17, 1857. It was in this year that the Jacksonville Herald was first published, which leaned toward slavery. It was asserted by the California journals that the pro-slavery party of that state had its emissaries in Oregon, and that it was designed to send into the territory voters enough to give a majority in favor of slavery. S. F. Chronicle, Aug. 15, 1857. Ex-governor Foote of Mississippi, then in California, visited Oregon in August, which movement the republicans thought significant. Marysvllle Herald and S. F. Chronicle, in Or. Statesman, Sept. 8, 1857. Chas E. Pickett, formerly of Oregon, returned there from California, and contributed some arguments in favor of slavery to the columns of the Statesman. Or. Argus, Oct. 10, 1857; Or. Statesman, Oct. 6, 1857.
- See letter of J. W. Mack in favor of slave labor, in Or. Statesman, Aug. 18, 1857; and of Thomas Norris against, in the Statesman of Aug. 4, 1857; Or. Argus, Jan. 10, Sept. 5, Oct. 10, 1857. The Pacific Christian Advocate, methodist, edited by Thomas Pearne, shirked the responsibility of an opinion by pretending to ignore the existence of any slavery agitation, or that any prominent politicians were engaged in promoting it. Adams retorted: 'We should like to ask the Advocate whether Jo Lane, delegate to congress; Judge Deady of the supreme court; T'Vault, editor of the Oregon Sentinel; Avery, a prominent member of the legislature; Kelsay, an influential member of the constitutional convention; Judge Dickey Miller, a leading man in Marion county; Mr Soap and Mr Crisp, leading men in Yamhill; Judge Holmes and Mr Officer of Clackamas, and fifty others we might mention, who are all rabid "nigger" men are not "prominent politicians."' Or. Argus, Sept. 5, 1857.
- Members: Marion county, Geo. H. Williams, L. F. Grover, J. C. Peebles, Joseph Cox, Nicholas Shrum, Davis Shannon, Richard Miller; Linn, Delazon Smith, J. T. Brooks, Luther Elkins, J. H. Brattain, Jas Shields, Jr, R. S. Coyle; Lane, E. Hoult, W. W. Bristow, Jesse Cox, A. J. Campbell, †I. R. Moores, †Paul Brattain; Benton, John Kelsay, *H. C. Lewis, *H. B. Nichols, *William Matzger; Polk and Tillamook, A. D. Babcock; Polk, R. P. Boise, F. Waymire, Benj. F. Burch; Yamhill, *W. Olds, *R. V. Short, *R. C. Kinney, *J. R. McBride; Clackamas, J. K. Kelly, A. L. Lovejoy, ‡W. A. Starkweather, H. Campbell, Nathaniel Robbins; Washington and Multnomah, *Thos J. Dryer; Multnomah, S. J. McCormick, William H. Farrar, *David
Logan; Washington, *E. D. Shattuck, *John S. White, *Levi Anderson; Wasco, C. R. Meigs; Clatsop, †Cyrus Olney; Columbia, *John W. Watts; Josephine, S. Hendershott, *W. H. Watkins; Jackson, L. J. C. Duncan, J. H. Reed, Daniel Newcomb, §P. P. Prim; Coos, *T. G. Lockhart; Curry, William H. Packwood; Umpqua, *Jesse Applegate, *Levi Scott; Douglas, M. P. Deady, S. F. Chadwick, Solomon Fitzhugh, Thomas Whitted. Those marked (*) were opposition; †, elected on opposition ticket, but claiming to be democrats, and understood to approve of the platform of the last territorial democratic convention; ‡, elected on the democratic ticket, but said to be opposed to the democratic organization; §, position not known. Lockhart's election was contested by P. B. Marple, who obtained his seat in the convention.
The nativity of the members is as follows: Applegate, Anderson, Bristow, Coyle, Fitzhugh, Kelsay, Moores, Shields, 8, Kentucky; Brattain of Linn, Prim, Shrum, White, Whitted, 5, Tennessee; Brattain of Lane, Logan, 2, North Carolina; Babcock, Dryer, Lewis, Olney, Smith, Williams, Watkins, 7, New York; Boise, Campbell of Clackamas, Lovejoy, Olds, 4, Massachusetts; Burch, Cox of Lane, McBride, Watts, 4, Missouri; Cox of Marion, Waymire, 2, Ohio; Crooks, Holt, Marple, Newcomb, Robbins, 5, Virginia; Campbell of Lane, Shannon, 2, Indiana; Chadwick, Meigs, Starkweather, Nichols, 4, Connecticut; Deady, Miller, 2, Maryland; Duncan, 1, Georgia; Elkins, Kelly, Peebles, Reed, Short, 5, Pennsylvania; Farrar, 1, New Hampshire; Grover, 1, Maine; Hendershott, Kinney, Packwood, Scott, 4, Illinois; Matzger, 1, Germany; McCormick, 1, Ireland; Shattuck, 1, Vermont.
- John Baker, sergeant-at-arms; another John Baker, door-keeper, the latter defeating a candidate whose name was Baker.
- The sections reserved for a separate vote read as follows: 'Section —. Persons lawfully held as slaves in any state, territory, or district of the United States, under the laws thereof, may be brought into this state, and such slaves and their descendants may be held as slaves within this state, and shall not be emancipated without the consent of their owners.' 'Section —. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise than as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.' 'Section —. No free negro or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall ever come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contract, or maintain any suit therein; and the legislative assembly shall provide by penal laws for the removal by public officers of all such free negroes or mulattoes, and for their effectual exclusion from the state, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state or employ, or harbor them therein.' Or. Statesman, Sept. 29, 1857; U. S. House Misc. Doc., 38, vol. i. p. 20–1, 35th cong. 1st sess.; U. S. Sen. Misc. Doc., 226, vol. iii., 35th cong. 1st sess.; Deady's Laws Or., 124–5; Or. Laws, 1857–8, 11–40.
- Grover, Public Life in Or., MS., 76–7, says that among others Jesse Applegate, one of the most talented men in the country, was snubbed at every turn, until, when the draft of a constitution which he had prepared at home was peremptorily rejected, he deliberately took up his hat and walked out of the court-house.
- The salaries of the governor and secretary were $1,500 each; of the treasurer, $800; of the supreme judges, $2,000. The salaries of other officers of the court were left to be fixed by law. Deady's Laws Or., 120.
- The clause referred to is this: 'The property and pecuniary rights of every married woman, at the time of marriage or afterwards, acquired by gift, devise, or inheritance, shall not be subject to the debts or contracts of the husband; and laws shall be passed providing for the registration of the wife's separate property.' This feature of the constitution made the wife absolute owner of 320 acres or less, as the case might be, and saved the family of many an improvident man from ruin. The wife had, besides, under the laws, an equal share with the children in the husband's estate. The principal advocate of the property rights of married women was Fred Waymire, the 'old apostle of democracy,' who stoutly maintained that the wife had earned in Oregon an equal right to property with her husband. See Or. Statesman, Sept. 22, 1857.
- With regard to the school lands which had been or should be granted to the state, excepting the lands granted to aid in establishing a university, the proceeds, with all the money and clear proceeds of all property that might accrue to the state by escheat or forfeiture, all money paid as exemption from military duty, the proceeds of all gifts, devises, and bequests made by any person to the state for common-school purposes, the proceeds of all property granted to the state, the purposes of which grant had not been stated, all the proceeds of the 500,000 acres to which the state would be entitled by the provisions of the act of congress of September 4, 1841, and five per cent of the net proceeds of the sales of the public lands to which the state would be entitled—should congress not object to such appropriation of the two last-mentioned grants—should be set apart, with the interest accruing, as a separate and irreducible fund, for the support of common schools in each school district, and the purchase of suitable libraries and apparatus. Zabriskie's Land Law, 657–9, 659–63, 664–7. The governor for the first five years was declared superintendent of public instruction; but after five years the legislature might provide by law for the election of a state superintendent. The governor, secretary of state, and state treasurer were made to constitute a board of commissioners for the sale of school and university lands, and for the investment of the funds arising therefrom, with powers and duties to be prescribed by law. The university funds with the interest arising from their investment should remain unexpended for a period of ten years, unless congress should assent to their being diverted to common-school purposes, as had been requested. The act of congress admitting Oregon allowed the state to select lands in place of these 16th and 36th sections granted in previous acts, for school purposes, but which had in many cases been settled upon previous to the passage of the act making the grant. It also set apart 72 sections for the use and support of a state university, to be selected by the governor and approved by the commissioner of the general land office, to be appropriated and applied as the legislature of the state might prescribe, for that purpose, but for no other purpose. The act of admission by the grant of twelve salt springs, with six sections of land adjoining or contiguous to each, furnished another and important addition to the common-school fund, as under the constitution all gifts to the state whose purpose was not named were contributions to that fund. Deady's Laws Or., 116–17. Congress did not listen to the prayer of the legislative assembly to take back the gift of the Oregon City claim and give them two townships somewhere else in place of it. Neither could they find any talent willing to undertake the legal contest with McLoughlin, who held possession up to the time of his death in September 1857, and his heirs after him. Finally, to be no more troubled with the unlucky donation, the legislative assembly of 1862 reconveyed it to McLoughlin's heirs, on condition that they should pay into the university fund the sum of $1,000, and interest thereon at ten per cent per annum forever.
- Grover's Pub. Life, MS., 53–5; Or. Laws, 1857–8, p. 41; Or. Statesman, Dec. 22, 1857; Or. Argus, Dec. 5, 1857.
- Members of the council: A. M. Berry, Jackson and Josephine; Hugh D. O'Bryant, Umpqua, Coos, Curry, and Douglas; *A. A. Smith, Lane and Benton; Charles Drain, Linn; *Nathaniel Ford, Polk and Tillamook; *Thomas Scott, Yamhill and Clatsop; Edward Sheil, Marion; A. E. Wait, Clackamas and Wasco; *Thomas R. Cornelius, Washington, Multnomah, and Columbia. President of council, H. D. O'Bryant; clerk, Thomas B. Micou; assistant clerk, William White; enrolling clerk, George A. Eades; sergeant-at-arms, Robert Shortess; door-keeper, William A. Wright.
Members of the house of representatives: George Able, E. C. Cooley, J. Woodsides, Marion; Anderson Cox, N. H. Cranor, H. M. Brown, Linn; Ira F. M. Butler, Polk; Benjamin Hayden, Polk and Tillamook; *Reuben C. Hill, *James H. Slater, Benton; *A. J. Shuck, *William Allen, Yamhill; *H. V. V. Johnson, Washington; *Thomas J. Dryer, Washington and Multnomah; *William M. King, Multnomah; *Joseph Jeffries, Clatsop; *F. M. Warren, Columbia; N. H. Gates, Wasco; S. P. Gilliland, F. A. Collard, George Rees, Clackamas; J. W. Mack, John Whitaker, Lane; *James Cole, Umpqua; A. A. Matthews, Douglas; Kirkpatrick, Coos and Curry; H. H. Brown, William H. Hughes, Jackson; R. S. Belknap, Jackson and Josephine; J. G. Spear, Josephine. Speaker of the house, Ira F. M. Butler; clerk, Charles B. Hand; assistant clerk, N. T. Caton; enrolling clerk, George L. Russell; sergeant-at-arms, J. B. Sykes; door-keeper, J. Henry Brown. Or. Laws, 1857–8, p. 9–10. *Opposition.
- Most of the old officers were continued; Joseph Sloan was elected superintendent of the penitentiary. Or. Statesman, Dec. 22, 1857.
- The nationals were the few too independent to submit to leaders instead of the people. Their principal men were William M. King, Nathaniel Ford, Thomas Scott, Felix A. Collard, Andrew Shuck, George Rees, James H. Slater, William Allen, and S. P. Gilliland.
- The platform of the republican party distinctly avowed its opposition to slavery, which it regarded as a merely local institution, one which the founders of the republic deprecated, and for the abolition of which they made provisions in the constitution. It declared the Kansas troubles to be caused by a departure from the organic act of 1787, for the government of all the territory then belonging to the republic, and which had been adhered to until 1854, since which a democratic administration had endeavored to force upon the people of Kansas a constitution abhorrent to their feelings, and to sustain in power a usurping and tyrannical minority—an outrage not to be borne by a free people. It called the Dred Scott decision a disgrace, and denounced the democratic party generally. Or. Argus, April 10, 1858.
- The remainder of the ticket was E. A. Rice for secretary; J. L. Bromley, treasurer; James O'Meara, state printer.
- The remainder of the republican ticket was Leander Holmes, secretary; E. L. Applegate, treasurer; D. W. Craig, state printer; C. Barrett, judge of the 1st district, John Kelsay of the 2d, J. B. Condon of the 3d, and Amory Holbrook of the 4th; prosecuting attorneys, in the same order, beginning with the 2d district, M. W. Mitchell, George L. Woods, W. G. Langford, and Brennan. It was advocated in secret caucus to send to California for E. D. Baker to conduct the canvass, and speak against the array of democratic talent. The plan was not carried out, but home talent was put to use. In this campaign E. L. Applegate, son of Lindsey and nephew of Jesse Applegate, first made known his oratorical abilities. His uncle used to say of him that he got his education by reading the stray leaves of books torn up and thrown away on the road to Oregon. He was however provided with that general knowledge which in ordinary life passes unchallenged for education, and which, spread over the surface of a campaign speech, is often as effective as greater erudition. Another who began his public speaking with the formation of the republican party in Oregon was George L. Woods. His subsequent success in public life is the best evidence of his abilities. He was cousin to John R. McBride, the candidate for congress. Both were friends and neighbors of W. L. Adams, and the three, with their immediate circle of relatives and friends, carried considerable weight into the republican ranks. Woods was born in Boone co., Mo., July 30, 1832, and came to Oregon with his father, Caleb Woods, in 1847. The family settled in Yamhill co. In 1853 he married his cousin Louisa A. McBride; their children being two sons. Woods was self-educated; reading law between the labors of the farm and carpenter's bench. His career as a politician will appear in the course of this history.
- The office of state printer, so long held by Bush, was only gained by 400 majority—the lowest of any. It was not Craig, however, who divided the votes with him so successfully, but James O'Meara, the candidate of the national democrats, who came from California to Oregon in 1857. In the spring of 1858 O'Meara succeeded Alonzo Leland as editor of the Democratic Standard.
- Senate: Marion county, J. W. Grim, E. F. Colby; Yamhill, J. Lamson; Clackamas and Wasco, J. S. Ruckle; Polk, F. Waymire; Linn, Luther Elkins, Charles Drain; Lane, W. W. Bristow, A. B. Florence; Umpqua, Coos, and Curry, D. H. Wells; Jackson, A. M. Berry; Josephine, S. R. Scott; Washington, Columbia, Clatsop, and Tillamook, *T. R. Cornelius; Multnomah, *J. A. Williams; Benton, *John S. McIteeney; Douglas, *J. F. Gazley. House: Clatsop and Tillamook, R. W. Morrison; Columbia and Washington, Nelson Hoyt; Multnomah, A. D. Shelby, *T. J. Dryer; Clackamas, A. F. Hedges, B. Jennings, D. B. Hannah; Wasco, Victor Trevitt; Polk, B. F. Burch, J. K. Wait; Marion, B. F. Harding, B. F. Bonham, J. H. Stevens, J. H. Lassater; Linn, N. H. Cranor, E. E. McIninch, T. T. Thomas, John T. Crooks; Lane, R. B. Cochran, A. S. Patterson, A. J. Cruzan; Umpqua, J. M. Cozad; Douglas, Thomas Norris, *A. J. McGee; Coos and Curry, William Tichenor; Jackson, Daniel Newcomb, W. G. T'Vault, *J. W. Cully; Josephine, D. H. Holton; Washington, *Wilson Bowlby; Yamhill, *A. Shuck, J. C. Nelson (resigned); Benton, J. H. Slater, H. B. Nichols. Luther Elkins was chosen president of the senate and W. G. T'Vault speaker of the house. *Republicans.
- Lane wrote from Washington, May 18, 1858, soliciting the nomination, and promising to do much if elected; declaring, however, that he did not wish a seat in the senate at the expense of harmony in the democratic party. He added a postscript to clinch the nail. 'Dear Bush—The bill for the admission of Oregon has this moment passed the senate, 35 to 17. All right in the house. Your friend, Lane.' Or. Statesman, June 29, 1858. Notwithstanding the promises contained in this letter, and the bait held out by addendum, Lane made no effort to get the bill through the house at that session. He wished to secure the senatorship, but he was not anxious to have Oregon admitted until the time was ripe for the furtherance of a scheme of the democratic party, into which the democrats of Oregon were not yet admitted.
- John Whiteaker was born in Dearborn co., Ind., in 1820. He came to the Pacific coast in 1849, and to Oregon in 1852. San José Pioneer, Dec. 21, 1878. His early life was spent on a farm in his native state. At the age of 25 he married Miss N. J. Hargrove, of Ill., and on the discovery of gold in Cal. came hither, returning to Ill. in 1851 and bringing his family to Oregon. He settled in Lane county in 1852, where he was elected county judge. He was a member of the legislature of 1857. Representative Men of Oregon, 178.
- This was in reference to a law of congress passed in Aug. 1856, that the judges of the supreme court in each of the territories should fix the time and places of holding courts in their respective districts, and the duration thereof; providing, also, that the courts should not be held in more than three places in any one territory, and that they should adjourn whenever in the opinion of the judges their further continuance was unnecessary. This was repaying Oregon for her course toward the federal judges, and was held to work a hardship in several ways. Lane was censured for allowing the act to pass without a challenge. However, to adjust matters to the new rule, the legislature of 1856–7 passed an act rearranging the practice of the courts, and a plaintiff might bring an action in any court most convenient; witnesses not to be summoned to the district courts except in admiralty, divorce, and chancery, or special cases arising under laws of the U. S.; but the district courts should have cognizance of offences against the laws of the territory in bailable cases; and should constitute courts of appeal—the operation of the law being to place the principal judicial business of the territory in the county courts. Or. Laws, 1856–7, p. 17–23. Another act was passed requiring a single term of the supreme court to be held at Salem on the 6th of Aug., 1857, and on the first Monday in Aug. annually thereafter; and repealing all former acts appointing terms of the supreme court. The object of this act was to put off the meeting of the judges at the capital until after the admission of Oregon, thus rendering inoperative the law of congress—as Smith explained to the legislature at the time of its passage. But it happened that Oregon was not admitted in 1857, which failure left the U. S. courts in suspense as to how to proceed; hence the action of this legislature.
- Grover's Pub. Life, MS., 71.
- Council: Jackson and Josephine, A. M. Berry; Umpqua, Coos, Curry, and Douglas, Hugh D. O'Bryant; Lane and Benton, James W. Mack; Linn, Charles Drain; Polk and Tillamook, *N. Ford; Yamhill and Clatsop, George H. Steward; Marion, Samuel Parker; Clackamas and Wasco, A. E. Wait; Washington, Multomah, and Columbia, *Thos E. Cornelius. House: Marion, B. F. Bonham, J. H. Stevens, J. H. Lassater; Linn, N. H. Cranor, E. E. McIninch, John T. Crooks; Polk, Isaac Smith; Polk and Tillamook, H. N. V. Holmes; Benton, *James H. Slater, *H. B. Nichols; Yamhill, A. Zieber, J. H. Smith; Washington, *Wilson Bowlby; Washington and Multnomah, *E. D. Shattuck; Multnomah, *T. J. Dryer; Clatsop, *W. W. Parker; Columbia, W. R. Strong; Wasco, N. H. Gates; Clackamas, A. F. Hedges, D. B. Hannah, B. Jennings; Lane, W. W. Chapman, W. S. Jones; Umpqua, *James Cole; Douglas, *A. E. McGee; Coos and Curry, William Tichenor; Jackson, W. G. T'Vault, S. Watson; Jackson and Josephine, D. Newcomb; Josephine, D. S. Holton. Officers of council: Charles Drain, president; N. Huber, clerk; W. L. White, assistant clerk; H. H. Howard, enrolling clerk; D. S. Herren, sergeant-at-arms; James L. Steward, door-keeper. Officers of the house of representatives: N. H. Gates, speaker; James M. Pyle, clerk; H. W. Allen, assistant clerk; J. D. Porter, enrolling clerk; E. C. McClane, sergeant-at-arms; Joseph H. Brown, door-keeper. Or. Laws, 1858–9, 7–9. *Republican.
- The Pacific Mail Steamship Company procured the removal of the distributing office for Oregon from Astoria to San Francisco about 1853, as I have before mentioned, causing confusion and delay in the receipt of mails, the clerks in San Francisco being ignorant of the geography of Oregon, and the system being obnoxious for other reasons. A mail arrived after the ordinary delay at Oregon City, Dec. 21st, and lay there until Jan. 1st, with no one to attend to forwarding the mail-bags to their proper destinations up the valley. Such was the state of things in 1856. The legislature petitioned and remonstrated. In 1857, when Lane was in Oregon and was re-elected to congress, he gave as a reason for not having secured a better mail service that the republicans had a majority in congress, when this same republican congress had appropriated $500,000 for an overland mail to California, which was intended to operate as an opening wedge to the Pacific railroad; but the democrats, by way of favoring the south, succeeded in establishing the overland mail route by the way of El Paso in Mexico. A contract was concluded about the same time with the P. M. S. S. Co. for carrying mails between Panamá and Astoria, for $248,250 per annum, and the service by sea was somewhat improved, although still very imperfect. In the mean time the overland mail to California was established, the first coach leaving St Louis Feb. 16, 1858. It was some months before it was established, the second arriving at San Francisco in October, and the first from San Francisco arriving at Jefferson, Missouri, Oct. 9th, with six passengers, in 23 days 4 hours. This was quicker time than the steamers made, and being more frequently repeated was a great gain in communication with the east for California, and indirectly benefited Oregon, though Oregon could still only get letters twice a month.
Before 1857 there was no line of passenger coaches anywhere in Oregon. One Concord coach owned by Charles Rae was the only stage in the Willamette from 1853 to 1855. A stage line from Portland to Salem was put on the road in 1857, making the journey, 50 miles, in one day. In 1859, a mail and passenger coach ran once a week from Salem to Eugene, and from Eugene to Jacksonville. Weekly and semi-weekly mails had been carried to the towns on the west side of the valley, Hillsboro, Lafayette, Dallas, and Corvallis; but the post-office department in 1860 ordered this service to be reduced to a bi-monthly one, and that the mail should be carried but once a week to Jacksonville and the towns on the way. 'If Lane keeps on helping us,' said the Argus, 'we shall soon have a monthly mail carried on foot or in a canoe.' On the other hand, the people were clamoring for a daily mail from Portland to Jacksonville, with little prospect of getting it until the California Stage Company interposed with a proposition to the postal department to carry the mail daily overland to Oregon. This company, formed in 1853 by the consolidation of the various stage lines in California, had a capital stock of $1,000,000 to begin with, including 750 horses and covering 450 miles of road. James Birch, president, was the first advocate in Washington of the overland mail to the east, and by his persistence it was secured. In 1859–60 the vice-president, F. L. Stevens, urged upon the department the importance of a daily mail line overland from S. F. to Portland, and succeeded in gaining his point and the contract. In June 1860 the California company placed its stock on the road as far north as Oakland, connecting there with Chase's line to Corvallis, which again connected with the Oregon Stage Company's line to Portland, making a through line to Sacramento in October. It required a considerable outlay to put the road in repair for making regular time, and at the best, winter travel was often interrupted or delayed. Then came the great flood of 1861–2, which carried away almost all the bridges on the line, and damaged the road to such an extent that for months no mails were carried over it. But nothing long interrupted the enterprises of the company. In due course travel was resumed, and in 1865 their coaches ran 400 miles into Oregon. This year the company demanded $50,000 additional for this service, which was refused, and in 1866 they sold their line to Frank Stevens and Louis McLane, who soon re-sold it to H. W. Corbett, E. Corbett, William Hall, A. O. Thomas, and Jesse D. Carr, and it was operated until 1869 under the name of H. W. Corbett & Co. Carr then purchased the stock, and carried the mail until 1870, when the Cal. and Or. Coast Overland Mail co. obtained the contract, and bought Carr's stock. They were running in 1881, since which period the railroad to Oregon has been completed, and carries the mail.
The first daily overland mail from St Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento arrived at that place July 18, 1861, in 17 days 4 hours, having lost but 40 hours running time. One passenger, Thomas Miller, came directly through to Oregon—the longest trip by coach ever made. In consequence of the civil war, the southern route was abandoned, and the central route by Salt Lake established, the precursor of the railroad. Indians and highwaymen caused its discontinuance in 1862, and the government accepted the services of a regiment of infantry and 5 companies of cavalry to protect it between Salt Lake and California, while the 6th Ohio cavalry kept watch on the plains east of Salt Lake.
Contemporary with the daily overland mail was the Pony Express, a device for shortening the time of important mail matter. W. H. Russell of Missouri was the founder, and ran his ponies from the Missouri to Salt Lake, connecting with the ponies of the overland mail from there westward. The time made was an average of 8 days, or half the time of the coaches. In Nov. 1861, the telegraph line from the Missouri to the bay of San Francisco was completed, though the pony express continued for some time afterward. By the aid of telegraph and daily mail, Oregon obtained New York news in 4 days, until in 1864 a telegraph line from Portland to Sacramento had finally done away with space, and the long year of waiting known to the pioneers was reduced to a few hours.
- There was a clause in the constitution which prohibited the legislature from granting divorces, which prohibition on becoming known stimulated in a remarkable manner the desire for freedom from marital bondage. Thirty-one divorces were granted at this session of the territorial legislature, which would be void should it be found that congress had admitted Oregon. Fortunately for the liberated applicants, the admission was delayed long enough to legalize these enactments. It was said that as many more applications were received. The churches were shocked. The methodist conference declared that marriage could be dissolved only by a violation of the seventh commandment. The congregationalists drew the lines still closer, and included the slavery question. Or. Argus, July 28, 1860; Or. Statesman, Sept. 20, 1859.
- D. Newcomb was chosen brigadier-general; George H. Steward quartermaster-general; A. L. Lovejoy commissary-general; D. S. Holton surgeon-general; J. D. Boon treasurer; B. F. Bonham auditor and librarian. The expense of the territorial government for 1858 was $18,034.70. To pay the expenses of the constitutional convention a tax of 1¾ mills was levied on all taxable property. Or. Laws, 1858–9, 40.
- In 1856, when the subject was before congress, Lane said he believed the territory could poll 15,000 or 20,000 votes. It had been stated in the house, by the chairman of the committee on territories, on the 31st of Jan. 1857, that Oregon had a population of about 90,000. Cong. Globe, xxxiv. 520. But the Kansas affair had made members critical, and it was well known be sides that this was double the real number of white inhabitants. Gilfrey's Or., MS., 17–18; Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 39. The population of Oregon in 1858 according to the territorial census was 42,677. The U. S. census in 1860 made it 52,416.
- In the ten years since the territory had first sent a delegate to congress, and during which at every session its legislature had freely made demands which had been frequently responded to, the interest of congress in the Oregon territory had declined. Then came the allegations made by the highest military authority on the Pacific coast that the people of Oregon were an organized army of Indian-murderers and government robbers, in support of which assertion was the enormous account against the nation, of nearly six million dollars, the payment of which was opposed by almost the entire press of the union. It is doubtful if any man could have successfully contended against the suspicion thus created, that the demands of Oregon were in other instances unnecessary and unjust. But Lane thought that Oregon's necessity was his opportunity, and that by promising the accomplishment of a doubtful matter he should secure at least his personal ends. Nor was he alone in this determination. Stephens of Georgia, a personal friend of Lane, who was chairman of the committee on territories, was generally believed to be withholding the report on the bill for the admission of Oregon, in obedience to instructions from Lane. Smith and Grover also appeared to be won over, and were found defending the course of the delegate. These dissensions in the party were premonitory of the disruption which was to follow.
- Cong. Globe, 1858–9, pt i. 1011, 35th cong. 2d sess.; Id., pt ii. ap. 330; S. F. Bulletin, March 10, 1859; Deady's Laws Or., 101–4; Poore's Charters and Constitutions of U. S., pt ii., 1485–91, 1507–8; Or. Laws, 1860, 28–30; U. S. Pub. Laws, 333–4, 35th cong. 2d sess.
- Schuyler Colfax, in a letter to W. C. Johnson of Oregon City, made this explanation: 'The president in his message demanded that the offensive restriction against Kansas should be maintained, prohibiting her admission till she had 93,000 inhabitants, because she rejected a slave constitution, while Oregon, with her Lecompton delegation, should be admitted forthwith. And the chief of your delegation, Gen. Lane, was one of the men who had used all his personal influence in favor of that political iniquity, the Lecompton constitution, and its equally worthy successor, the English bill. He, of course, refused now to say whether he would vote in the U. S. senate, if admitted there, to repeal the English prohibition which he had so earnestly labored to impose on Kansas; and its political friends in the house refused also to assent to its repeal in any manner or form whatever. This, of course, impelled many republicans to insist that Oregon, with her Lecompton delegation, should wait for admission till Kansas, with her republican delegation, was ready to come in with her. With a less obnoxious delegation from Oregon, the votes of many republicans would have been different. As it turned out, however, the very men for whose interests Gen. Lane had labored so earnestly—I mean the ultra-southern leaders—refused to vote for the admission bill, although they had the whole delegation elect of their own kidney. And it would have been defeated but for the votes of fifteen of us republicans who thought it better to disinthrall Oregon from presidential sovereignty, and from the sphere of Dred Scott decisions; and even in spite of your obnoxious delegation, to admit the new state into the union, rather than remand it to the condition of a slave-holding territory, as our supreme court declares all our territories to be. Hence, if there is any question raised about which party admitted Oregon, you can truthfully say that she would not have been admitted but for republican aid and support; republicans, too, who voted for it not through the influence of Gen. Lane and Co., but in spite of the disfavor with which they regarded them.' Or. Argus, May 28, 1859; See U. S. H. Rept, 123, vol. i., 35th cong. 2d sess.
- See comments of Boston Journal, in Or. Argus, Sept. 24, 1859.
- Kansas City, Missouri, on the 4th of July, 1859, attached the new star representing Oregon to its flag amidst a display of enthusiasm and self-aggrandizement.