Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/301

This page needs to be proofread.


REPORT ON OREGON TERRITORY 293 be too strongly insisted upon by legal enactment, both to pre- serve order and avoid expense. As far as the Indians have come under my notice, they are an inoffensive race, except perhaps those in the northern part ; but the depredations committed on the whites may be traced to injuries received or from superstitious motives. MISSIONARIES. Little has yet been effected by them in Christianizing the natives. They are principally engaged in the cultivation of the mission farms and in the care of their own stock, in order to obtain flocks and herds for themselves, most of them having selected lands. As far as my personal observation went, in the part of the country where the missionaries reside there are very few Indians, and they seem more occupied with the settlement of the country and in agricultural pursuits than missionary labors. When there, I made particular inquiries whether laws were necessary for their protection, and I feel fully satisfied that they require none at present. Besides the moral code it is their duty to inculcate, the Catholic portion of the settlement, who form a large majority of the inhabitants, are kept under con- trol by their priest, who is supposed to act in unison with the others in the proper punishment of all bad conduct. The boundary will next claim my attention. In a former report to the honorable Secretary of the Navy I stated that the boundary formerly proposed, viz, that of the 49 latitude, ought not to be adopted, and the following are my reasons for it, viz: First. That it affects the value of all that portion of the middle and eastern sections south of that parallel. Second. That it places the whole territory south of that parallel completely under the control and at the mercy of the nation who may possess the northern by giving the command of all the water and a free access into the heart of the terri- tory at any moment.