Page:Political Censorship in the Oregon Spectator.djvu/5

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lished June 7, 1848, it was continued irregularly until May 25, 1849, when its printer also departed for the mine fields. As its name implies, the newspaper was not concerned with politics.[1]

With the discontinuance of the Oregon American and the Oregon Free Press, the Spectator, again, was the only newspaper being published in the Pacific Northwest.

The final two editors of the Spectator—while it was owned by the association—did not violate the group's constitution. Aaron E. Wait, an attorney and former newspaper man from Michigan, succeeded Curry. Wait promised to make the newspaper "a medium of communication acceptable to all of whatever political or sectarian preferences."[2] When he quit one year later, he thanked the officers of the association for "their uniform kindness and courtesy towards us."[3]

Wait was replaced in 1849 by Rev. Wilson Blain of the United Presbyterian Church. In his first issue, Blain asked, "why should it [the Spectator] tarnish its glorious lustre by pandering to party strife?" He promised not to "sow the seeds of discord and political contention."[4] After a few months under Blain's editorship, the Spectator was sold by the association, ending a four-year reign of censorship. The new owner, Robert Moore, retained Blain for a time, then appointed D. J. Schnebly, who soon became proprietor as well as editor.[5]

Political events of historic importance had occurred since 1846, yet the association steadfastly had forbidden partisan discussions. Oregon had became a United States Territory, comprising the present states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and the western part of Montana. With its new status, it was plunged into national political controversies. Party lines were drawn quickly between Whigs and Democrats. In 1850-1851, three other newspapers founded in the territory immediately declared their political affiliations.[6]

Free of the association's constitution, the Spectator gradually entered the political fray. The Oregon City Oregon Statesman notices the Spectator's trend away from neutrality in 1851 and charged that it indirectly

  1. Tualatin Plains Oregon American and Evangelical Unionist, June 7, 1848, to May 25, 1849.
  2. Oregon Spectator, Feb. 10, 1848, 2:1.
  3. Ibid., Feb. 22, 1849, 2:3. Wait served for four years as chief justice of the state of Oregon. He died in 1898 at age 85. Himes, op. cit., 353.
  4. Oregon Spectator, Oct. 4, 1849, 2:3. The newspaper was not printed until Blain was hired in October.
  5. Ibid., Sept. 5, 12, 1850.
  6. The Milwaukee Western Star and the Oregon City Oregon Statesman were Democratic; the Portland Weekly Oregonian, Whig.