The Sacramento Union/Volume 29/May 3, 1865/Letter from Oregon

The Sacramento Union, Volume 29  (1865) 
Letter from Oregon by Samuel Asahel Clarke


[correspondence of the union.

Portland, April 22d, 1865.

The Assassination.

In common with all the world, we have felt the pleasure of rejoicing and the sorrow of mourning. "When the army of Lee surrendered and all the paraphernalia of Southern war seemed to melt away, then our State rejoiced and Portland redeemed itself lrom all charge of want of enthusiasm, by kindling an illumination that lighted the heavens above and astonished the dark river as it glided by, with myriads of unusual rays. The sounds of rejoicing would have waked it, had it been a thing of life, to become responsive to the clash of cymbals and the roar of guns. Strange, was it not, that such rich and glowing tints should have faded in so black a sky ! Tlie sudden flashing of the lightning told us one morning that the great and good man whom the people delighted to honor was dead ; that assassination had lent the chiefe^t horror to the dreadful epoch of rebellion ; tuat Lincoln, great in the simplicity and truth that was shown through his fate, brought by momentous events from the log-cabin that sheltered, in the Western wilds, his uneventful youth, to occupy the home of Presidents. Who, through these stirring scenes, had ruled so wisely, so kindh- and so well, was martyr-like offered the last great victim upon the shrine of slaver y. Onr mourning was kin to our rejoicing. The closed houses of trade were draped in sadness. Manhood wept, and woman gave to the memory of the dead the tribute ot her tears. What better could he have chosen ? Having lived to witness from the mountain top the promised land — having guided his people within sight of peace— then to be translated from earth, leaving to all time the memory of his life shrined in the affections of a nation; aye, of a world. The name of Washington, for the first time in earth's history, has gained a peer. Lincoln will be twin to it forever.

The Celebration on the 27th.

It seems as if I could not turn to the dull cares of life ; could not teach my pen the tame words that will picture living things. There is some consolation in this hour to see rnanv who opposed the late President do justice to him now. Not the demagogues who would now fain doit: not the parasite who would climb into popular favor by a tardy tribute to his name, for we will not hear them patiently, but among the people, not the politicians, there seems to be an appropriate reverence for the worth of the great departed. ,Next Thursday, the 27th iustant, is decided upon as a dav'of fasting and prayer. On that day the State of Oregon, at the city of Portland, will do honor to his memory, and I am assured by many that the occasion will be observed with all the^effect that can be given to it with the means at 'our command. Invitations have been extended throughout the State to prominent men of all parties, and it is expected that many will be present from abroad.

Our Lady Historian.

Oregon is having its history compiled for publication, by a lady writer of considerable note, and whose well known talents, it is hoped, will secure to the reading world a graphic picture of our past and future. Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor is one of two talented sisters, known, each of them, for a graceful tendency to verse, each is a contributor to the literature of America, and they have few superiors among the lady writers of our nation. What wind blew Mrs. Victor hither I cannot say, but not an ill one I trust for either her or us. I quite admire the enterprise that induces her to visit these distant shores and undertake the work of searching out our legendray lore, and penetrating facts of aboriginal and pioneer history. The field is ample,and the varied incidents of Oregon life, since the time when the trapper first gazed upon our streams and cataracts down to the bustling present; when the steam whistle wakes the wilderness of nature, aud no longer astonishes the remnant of savage life, will suffice in the hands of a poetess ; who, as a consequence, will cast a tinge of romance over the whole, to make a book most readable. Then she ventures on a path where Irving trod, but his was the history of long ago, and the world will readily receive from some graceful pen the continuation of the story he so well commenced.

The Politics of Washington Territory.

Our neighbors of Washington have fairly entered upon the canvass for Delegate to the coming Congress. The Union nominee is a man of the people, of good ordinary acquirements, lair business talents and popular with the masses, where he is best known. Nominated on the first ballot, the fact presents a favorable augury as to the success that will result from a unanimity of sentiment in a party that at the last election for Delegate was troubled with A disaffection that resulted in defeat. Arthur A. Denny will be the next Delegate from Washington. General James Tilton, the Democratic nominee, is from Indiana, was Captain in an Indiana regiment during the Mexican war, where he served with credit. Buchanan appointed him Surveyor General of Washington Territory, and since his incumbency of that office he has followed the practice of the law, I think at Olympia. There are certain things that militate strongly against his election. His tendency to be an aristocrat, and his hauteur of manner does not commend him to the commonalty, while his strong secession sympathies will as surely effect his defeat. He stands no show at the best— could not have been elected against his competitor one month since, much less can he command the popular vote with the light of recent victories to help the Un on cause and the darkness of recent tragedy to damn hid own. General Tilton, the aristocrat and Secessionist, is pitted agaiust Arthu* D v nsy, the man of the people and the republican. The private character of each, so far as I am aware, is above suspicion, und ihe choice of the people will be made upon great issues and great facts that compel! the minds of men to deliberate well and act with reference to principles, not men.

Recent Wholesale Tragedy at Walla Walla.

The people of the upper country have long suffered by the acts of a band of thieves, robbers and desperadoes, who seem to have condensed in a body in the vicinity of Walla Walla and spent the Winter thereabouts, much to the detriment of the settlers. Some time since we learned that a Vigilance Committee was organized and that sundry persons of suspicious character and antecedents had bt^n granted tickets of leave. Later we learn that forbearance become a worn out commodity and that sundry individuals were executed by Judge Lynch, in a summary way, as a result of the popular indignation. The number executed is already fixed at fifteen, with more probably to hear from as the scattered band, said to cousist of one hundred and fifty scoundrels, ucre being pursued in different directions. The newspapers can give you the names of the wretched crew, and it will no doubt be a satisfaction to many through the wboie.Paciiic coast to learn that their career is effectually wound up. Statutory enactments answer well enough in old countries, but I am decidedly of the opinion tha f . Lynch law is a most wholesome institution executed in certain localities and under certain circumstances. Bands of outlaws infest the mining regions in the muuutains They are in collusion with iuC savages to rob and murder, find wherever they are known and found the common safety renders it a common duty that they be spontaneously executed. It is a remarkable tact that innocent men are seldom executed under these circumstances; the character and associations of ruffians brand and identity them.

Shall We Have Our Daily Mail?

"We have become so used to the luxury of a daily mail during the last five years, that we scarce realize the terrible disaster with which we are threatened in its discontinuance. The California Stage Company have won quite a placa in our affections by the admirable manner in which, through flood and fair weather, they have, except in impossible cases, furnished us with mails according to contract. I remember, when the monthly steamer came from California, bringing a straggling mail bag now and then, 'twas an increase ot happiness when we had a mail furnished to us once a week, and we were part and parcel of the American people once more, feeling that we were safe under the shadow ot the Eagle's wing. Then the daily coacb came in all its old rattling splendor of equipage, with panting team f wnip handed Jehu aud dusty travelers, scattering news broadcast through the land. There is no use in talk, ing — as a people we take no step backward, and the dark ages would indeed be come again, were the Government to turn us over to the weekly tender mercies of Ben. Holladay and leave us only the remembrance of our daily mail.

General Mining News.

The placers are already beginning to yield ; digging off the snow, the miner finds the ground beneath it thawed, with an underflow of water sufficient to call into use the long ncg, lected sluices and make the pick and shovel lend their noisy tribute to the Spring. Boise and Owyhee are at work, and if the crowd that wends its devious way to Kootenai has found anything to do, we shall soon bo receiving tribute from the hidden treasures of the north. The yields of gold during the present year, from the placers on the waters of the Columbia, will be enormous. Quartz mining, especially in Idaho, will be the main feature to attract capital thither, for judging by the discoveries of last season, which are only in part recorded, there will be a richer body of paying quartz ledges laid open for investment than was ever brought within reach of capital before. Owyhee, during the Winter, has developed enough to show that its main ledges are fully equal to all anticipation, while different regions of the Boise country have furnished discoveries that threatedn to overstock the market of the world. Dr. Farnham who, last Fall, brought on a large quartz mill for South Boise, has succeeded in getting the same over the snows of the Blue mountains, by means of sleds, before the melting of the snows rendered the roads impassible, and his machinery is now wending its way through the valleys beyond towards its destination. A. C. Swift has lately arrived here on his way to New York, where he intends opening shop for the sale of Owyhee feet, of which he tells me he has 50,000 subject to his disposal. I am inclined to think if petroleum should flag a bit, speculation can fall back upon Swift and his commodities, and Wall street still manege to make a live of it.

The Santiam Mines Again.

Not to be invidious I must mention that the Santiam mines, in the Cascade Mountains, near the Willamette Valley, are prospecting very well thus early in the Spring. The "White Bull" is the favorite lode there, and is traced for several miles. A tunnel has been run into the mountain by one company some sixty feet this Winter, developing a ledge fully six feet wide, with good average pay, occasionally striking the native metal in its wierd-like shape, broken filagree works, made of double and twisted wire of finest gold. Lately the discoverer, McDonald, a cunning Scot, who remembered your correspondent when he struck the lode, brought down some quartz rich in sulphurets of iron and lead taken from a new spot on the ledge further down the mountain. This ore when tested shows $125 38 in silver and $50 23 in gold, demonstrating what has been suspected, that silver would predominate eventually in the ledge. As the piece tested came from near the surface the existence of base metal is no unfavorable sign. It remains now for "Webfoot" enterprise to develope a regioin whose only fault consists in not being one thousand miles from home.

The Delaney Murderers.

As you have probably stated, Beale and Baker have confessed the murder of old man Delaney, for which they were lately convicted and sentenced, and are evidently trying to work for a commutation of the sentence. According to their last account, which is evidently untrue, the killing was a mistake on the part of Baker, who was drunk at the time, and mistook Beale's orders and fired. Baker was an accomplice -- a sort of "journeyman villain" -- hired for $500 to do his share of the job, $100 of it being the release of a whisky bill due by him to Beale. They were so shocked at the killing that they did not search the house, securing only $2,900, and hurried home shocked at what they had done. They told their counsel before the trial a different tale -- that they had frequently attempted the deed before, but could never get the old man out of the house. Beale says he secured all he could manage -- not less than $20,000, judging by the marks on the packages -- and buried it in a hole prepared by him a month before in an extensive thicket near by, the surplus dirt having been carried off on a piece of bark and thrown in the creek, and the place he pronounced so securely chosen and carefully concealed that it would not be found. Many circumstances corroborate this story, and no doubt they will make a further confession before they meet their just desserts. At all events, their attempt to secure Executive clemency in any shape will utterly fail of accomplishment.