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Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/290

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F. G. Young

The easy conditions but narrow outlook of a territorial status were exchanged for some immediately expected substantial perquisites of statehood — the heavier taxes to follow were yet below the horizon.

The Oregon community that thus resolved for a consti- tutional convention lived comfortably, if frugally, on the returns from agriculture and grazing. Their few outlying mining camps and the great mining center in the neighboring state of California, with which they had extensive and profitable trade relations, supplied them with a fair market and an abundant medium of exchange. Still the conditions among a handful of people so isolated from the rest of the world were necessarily primitive. Development through immigration would be slow. Profitable commerce would be restricted to a few staples. Under these circumstances wisdom would suggest utmost simplicity in political organization, the closest restriction of the scope of governmental activities and the limitation of expenditure in any direction to very modest sums.

Furthermore, the exodus to Oregon from the then young states of the Mississippi valley had followed close on the disastrous venture of those states in public canal and railway building. That set-back for these states had in a measure been the cause impelling the more restless spirits to move on across the plains. Many before leaving for the Pacific slope had no doubt at one time or another been touched by the evils attending the use of state and private banks of issue when those evils were most unchecked. In their new home even they had experienced a cycle of prosperity and stagnation. They were thus fully sobered. There was little in prospect to stimulate them to discount the future. The future was secure enough but it would be slow. We must expect them in framing and adopting a constitution to exhibit the full force of the reaction against the assumption by the state of the work of providing internal improvements and conducting state banking institutions. Even the power accorded the legislature over their purse strings would be carefully guarded.