The Sacramento Union/Volume 39/April 2, 1870/Letter from Oregon

2494087The Sacramento Union — Letter from OregonSamuel Asahel Clarke



Salem, March 17, 1870

The steamer Ajax sails for California to-morrow, and why should I not assail the people of that State with my regular budget of Oregon news gossip? Why not, indeed? I will and here goes for a commencement To have done any reasonable act two days ago would have been impossible; to have attempted to do anything legal or charitable two days before that, would have been chimerical in the extreme; but to do things now and do them tolerably well, is not at all impossible, for to-day we had sunshine, and this evening brings us the allurements of moonlight, while two days and four days go we were undergoing penance in the midst of snow and slush and bail, to say nothing of the rains which poured at intervals. March spent itself in those four days, and if it makes another effort it will be bankrupt, unless it borrows credit from March, 1871; We enjoyed several inches of slush and snow here, in this western glimpse of Paradise, while at Portland it is said to have been from six to ten inches deep, and the sound of sleigh bells smote the or voluminously. So much for the weather. The season has not been as pleasant as it has been mild, for with very little clear weather, there has been little if actual storm, and scarce a severe spell to be remembered. The rivers have not been actually high since the rains commenced last Fall. We have assurances from all parts that the crops look well; almost better than ever. Oats have sprung up volunteer and have not been Winter killed, while wheat grows and flourishes famously.


We are just boiling over with politics; men are scarce everywhere; Democrats say they have been hired to work on the railroad, and insinuate that the railroad has become a Republican machine, but that is too good news to be true. However, it don't cost them a cent to say so—that's a fact. What can be done cheap can be done a good deal of, and that is what ails Democratic editorials. Then these veracious Democrats (voracious would be a proper word) intimate—yes, by George, they swear it—that we have exported, and imported and transported the voting population from anywhere to everywhere else, to create a preponderating vote for Republican candidates. It don't cost them anything to say that either, but they say i*. you see. Now, the facts are that Democracy commenced the colonizing business in our State, and they seem to think we have taken lessons of them and outlearnt them in their own trade, to all of which it is plainly to be answered that Democracy has been importing voters to every doubtful county to the full extent of its ability, and all they fear is that we have got the best "of them at their own game. The lime rapidly approaches when the State Conventions meet. The Democratic County Conventions are being held, and the result seems to favor the supposition that Grover will be the next Democratic candidate for Governor; to which I must own that he is about the best man they could nominate, so I hope they won't do it.


The latest concerning railroads is quite important, and relates to the present and future status of the Oregon Central Railroad Company, or rather tends to show that while the cast-side road will rapidly progress and the iron horse co marching on through our woods and prairies, it will be under another name than that of Oregon Central. This morning the daily papers of Salem and Portland contained the following advertisement : Notice to the Stockholder- of the Oregon Central Railroad Company of Salem, Oregon. — vi a regular meeting if the Hoard of Directors of the Oregon Central Railroad Company of Salem, Oregon, held it their office in Salem, Oregon/on the lltli day of March, A. D. 1870, the following resolution was unanimously adopted, to wit Ilctolral, that a meeting of the stockholders of the Oregon Central Railroad Company of Salem, Oregon, be .n-i the same is hereby called to be ii.-M at the office of the Company, lv Salem, Oregon, on Monday, the ii-th lay of Slarch, A. D. 1870, at seven (7) o'clock p. m., for the purpose of determining the propriety of and authoring the dissolution of such cor* wration, the Fettling of its business, disposing of its property and, the virion of its capital stock. Therefore, all stockholders in the Oregon Central Railroad Company of Salem, Oregon, are hereby notified and requested to appear at the office of such company, in Salem, Oregon, on Monday, the 2.-th day of March, A. 11. l-T", at 7 o'clock i*. m., for tin* purpose of attending to the transaction of the business specified In the foregoing resolution. I have written so much in the last two years and a half of the railroad squabbles of our State 'I refer to lawsuits, and not to one in which I came near having a "head" put on mc), that I feel like being particular, and I think that the foregoing explains itself thus: That the firm of Den. Holladay <_ Co. mean business, end have read with great appreciation the words of fhe poet, " What's in a name .-" (not "what's hiname") and. having sensibly concluded that a railroad, if well built, will run as well under one name is another, it i- now determined to bury the company out of tight, organize a new company under the name of the "Oregon ami California Railroad," ami transfer to it all the rights, franchises, property and privileges of the old company. This can be done cheaply enough, at a small sacrifice of pride — and pride don't go tor much in building rail- : roads, that we have ever heard of, though our railroad king, that is to be, seems to intend to found hi - pride upon the right to that title. or my part, I am glad as to Oregonian to see the quarrel buried. The power to make trouble was about ail the ability the Gaston Company I --Mcd, and if the changing of a name and the little trouble and expense consequent thereon can quiet the litigation, we may rejoice : at it. We heard story from Washington, two months ago, thai the Central Pacific men had secured the controlling interest in this enterprise, and that Holladay was coming back to regon to reorganise the company to suit the parties to be interested. He has come back, and the company is to be reorganized it seems, butl am inclined to doubt if the Central Pacific men have the control, or any interest in fact, as there is a rumor abroad that European gold is to be: advanced on tirst mortgage bonds, and that sufficient money is thus secured to keep the thing going nigh' and day until it reaches the California line. Very likely some capital scheme ion hand to squeeze Oregon as dry as an orange, and make money out if the state; but only or such luscious fruit are considered worth squeezing, and the first thing capital has to do is to make the orange Worth squeezing, of course, and those who project our railroads will have to use them as an injecting force to till Oregon with people, and make" as worth something to ourselves and to the arid. I imagine the man a .-i interested in our growth and prosperity will be the railroad king, whoever that may be, who ill want people here to furnish passengers and manufacture fa-eight,

Other Enterprises.

The Northern Pacific Railroad seems to have secured the efficient aid of Jay Cooke and other eminent men of money caliber men who have the money bags and want to be investing somewhere. Jay Cooke is said to consider it his future mission to engineer the finances of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and secure its completion. It is suspiciously whispered around that these great financiers intend to take a ride across the continent by railroad, on the Northern route, within three or three and a half years, which we much move devoutly hope for than expect. There is a bill before Congress for the granting of 500,000 acres of land to aid the construction of a canal and locks around the falls of the Wallamet. This Act was introduced as supplemental to an Act which passed the last State Legislature, by which the State agreed to aid this enterprise by the granting ofa conditional subsidy of 1150,000, the grant being contested for by two different corporations. 'This Act is void for want of compliance with terms, but can be revived by amendments. 1 doubt much if the bill will pass without the rival claimants club their forces, and by harmonizing, acquire strength and silence opposition. The probability* is that such will be the issue. The improvement of the river and falls is much needed, and with this secured, and the works controlled by the State, there is little danger that railroads oh either side can gobble up all the rich things in the Wallamet valley.

I have had the pleasure of a perusal of the new work en Oregon, by Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor, with the above title. The time is coming when works of a historical character, concerning Oregon, will make their appearance. The volume of Mrs. Victor, above referred to, really assumes to be a sketch of the life of Jo Meek, an old mountaineer, who roved the mountains with the sublettes, Kit Carson, Bridger and the famous men of mountain history we read of so acceptably. Jo Meek quitted the mountains after a dozen or so years of wild experience and settled in the Wallamet valley, where he has been somewhat prominent, furnishing by natural characteristics and the adventitious aid of mountain and frontier circumstances, many very clever points for an itemizer to dwell upon. Mrs. Victor's book is well written, and was written to sell; therefore, she has attempted to make it saleable, and I think so successfully; that it will put money in her purse by ready sale throughout the Union. The story of Jo Meek occupies the first half of the book, and makes a series of wild adventure and hair-breadth escapes. Irving has almost monopolized the Indian business; at least it is impossible to go into a description of the mountain life and fur trade experience and not seem to borrow from, or follow his style. Mrs. Victor had no new course to mark out, but her book covers a different field from any other, in that it describes the actual mountain life, and not the mere holiday features or sketches of travel. Guided by her pen, we hunt the buffalo, elk and bear; trap the beaver; are waylaid by the incorrigible Blackfeet and Crows, and have a wide range of actual experience with mountain men, so that we seem to have known her principal characters intimately. The transition of life from the mountains to the valley bring us to Oregon history, which with me is a twice told tale—and not fully told by any means—that was not possible in the room that remained to fill; but the tale is well told, and in the main does justice to all parties concerned. It touches rather heavily upon some acts of the missionaries, while it does not appear to be intended for malicious comment, and accords Dr. McLaughlin, Governor of the Hudson Bay Company, a meed of deserved praise as having been a generous friend to the early emigrants, which led to trouble between himself and the Hudson Bay Company afterward. The book is written fairly, and closes with a somewhat full allusion to the different portions of our State and recital of its resources. The reader will recognize that the authoress is not lacking in strength of mind, and may somewhat wonder that she found it possible to use the free and sometimes profane vocabulary of the mountains as readily as she has done. However, the book is very readable and will do much to make Oregon favorably known abroad.