Page:Political Censorship in the Oregon Spectator.djvu/2

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T'Vault, a lawyer who had worked on newspapers in Arkansas, recognized in his first editorial the restriction of the association. He said, in part:

The Spectator will have to keep within the pale of that constitution. . . . It might be expected . . . that the Oregon Spectator would be a political paper; but reason and good sense argue differently. Situated as we are—remote from the civilized settlements of the United States, and at this time having no protection but that which is afforded us by the provisional government of Oregon, and having but one interest to represent, and that interest the welfare of Oregon . . . it would be bad policy to break open old wounds, and in doing so, create new ones, to discuss politics in the columns of the Spectator.[1]

But instead of ending his salutatory in a neutral tone, T'Vault added wryly: "Notwithstanding we are now, as we have always been, and ever shall be, a democrat of the Jefferson school. Believing the principles taught by that great apostle of liberty, are the true principles of a republican government."[2] Thus, his final self-assertive, half-defiant declaration violated the spirit and letter of the association's constitution. One reader asked: "Will you please inform a subscriber in what way he can obtain the privilege you have taken, as I am not certain that you intend to exclude the discussion of politics altogether?"[3]

In subsequent issues, T'Vault followed the dictate of the association, albeit reluctantly. Occasionally he would note a communication was not printed because of political overtones.

Six weeks after he became editor, T'Vault published a short editorial supporting an A. L. Lovejoy in a local election.[4] He was promptly fired. In his valedictory in the next issue, T'Vault explained that the excuse given for his discharge was faulty syntax and orthography. But the real reason, he said, was that his political sentiments "were at variance" with the persons who controlled the newspaper. He claimed that two distinct parties existed in Oregon, and he told of difficulties in editing a non-partisan newspaper under such conditions.[5]

  1. Ibid., 2:2.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid., Feb. 19, 1846, 3:2.
  4. Ibid., March 19, 1846, 2:1.
  5. Ibid., April 2, 1846, 2:1-2. George S. Turnbull, a student of Oregon newspapers for more than thirty years, suggests that T'Vault's editorial eulogy of Andrew Jackson may have irritated Governor Abernethy, a Whig. George S. Turnbull, History of Oregon Newspapers (Portland, 1939), 41. T'Vault later served in the Territorial Legislature. From 1855 to 1863 he periodically edited other Oregon newspapers. He died of smallpox in