Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/289

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
265
Finances in Oregon.

ume of funds — one of ever growing proportions — must then originate from their own pockets. They alone would be responsible; for the pay of their state officials and the maintenances of their state institutions.

The desires and activities of the few who aspired to official position were clearly back of the sustained movement for statehood, while the evident reluctance of the people tO! assume the financial burdens involved in the support of the machinery of a state government is as evident in their repeated rejec- tions of the proposal to hold a constitutional convention. However, after eight years of virtually continuous agitation and three refusals to take the initial step towards statehood, the people yielded to the importunities of the politicians.[1]

There, too, were compensations to be hoped for under statehood. With administrative and judicial officers of their own choosing their common purposes might be more readily realized. But a more substantial interest in statehood had just been created through the accumulation of claims to the extent of some two millions they had against the national government because of services and supplies furnished in carrying on the Indian war of 1855-6. A full state delegation of three members at Washington in place of one territorial delegate could naturally be more effective in securing the recognition of this claim as well as avail for securing the benefit of the regular internal improvement land grants as also additional grants to stimulate railway building, such as the states of the Mississippi valley were at this time receiving.

It can hardly be said that the Oregon people in pushing towards statehood evinced a clearly defined purpose which they proposed to realize through this more independent organization. The natural desire for the larger degree of autonomy it would secure was reason enough of course. Aside from that the proposed transition had suggestions of a trade in it:


  1. "Really the people were worn out by the incessant importunities of the self- seeking politicians and obtained an easement by giving 5593 majority in favor of a constitutional state government." — T. W. Davenport in Ore. Hist. Quart., vol. ix., p. 243.