4 HISTORY OF OREGON
BY MISS LILLI SCHMIDLI
Franklin High School, Portland
A long time ago somebody did something grand and courageous somewhere else. This is the interpretation that many of our boys and girls make of American history. The very word history suggests to them a hoary remoteness that puts the subject, once and for all, beyond the grasp of familiarity. One reason for this is that children are carried afar for their first history experience, to glean in strange, distant national fields instead of being directed from their family doorsteps to the bountiful home harvest of local history. As a result, they miss at the outset the real feeling of what history is, and the thrill of pride and responsibility that comes from belonging to a historic community.
My town and my state are the logical avenues of approach to my country. The youth who comes to know and love his local community will give to that community willingly in youthful interest and service what the community has the right to expect. At the same time he will be preparing in thought and action for intelligent national patriotism and citizenship. With the "idiom" of his home place as a point of departure the study of American history will mean a captivating, dynamic experience to him. He will see his familiar world in a newer, bigger relation. He will grasp more readily the significance of our national ideals of justice, right and social service, and will enjoy in full measure that personal gratification that always comes as a pleasing by-product of history study.
The Oregon story is a wonderful story. During the early years of our national life Indian tales of a rich western land bordering on the Pacific ocean, rumors of a mighty river of the west rolling through continuous woods to the sea, stirred the imagination of settlers east of the Mississippi. In poetry and in anecdote they called the region Oregon. Then a Yankee captain dared to steer his brig Columbia over the bar and give the United States a claim to the country drained by the mighty river. President Jefferson, a pioneer at heart, sent out Lewis and Clark to blaze the way westward by land. Trappers and traders came, and white settlers followed close -- strong, stout-hearted men and self-sacrificing women. Three thousand miles they travelled through the wilderness for the privilege of carving out new homes in the far west. Graves mark their trail. Only did they arrive in Oregon when an unfriendly fur company and hostile Indians began to contest their right to call this country "home." But they persevered in the struggle against foe and forest, and after years of discouragement and sacrifice they won. Under the "Boston man's" resolute hand the trapper's lodge and the Indian's hunting ground gave way to the home-right of the pioneer settler. A final bloodless contest with England, a terrible Indian massacre, and our Oregon became definitely a part of our United States.
The above is indeed a fragmentary sketch of the story that every boy and girl
in Oregon has a right to know in full. As our state increases in population
and prestige it becomes more and more the responsibility of teachers to make
Oregon history a part of the experience of the children of the state.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE FOR USE IN THE EIGHTH GRADE
This outline of Oregon history has been prepared on the recommendation of the History Teachers' Section of the Oregon State Teachers' Association and the Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers by a committee representing these organizations and appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. During the first six weeks of the eighth grade, Oregon history is to be taught. At present the books suitable for eighth grade pupils do not carry the story of Oregon beyond the establishment of statehood in 1859 and the committee thinks it best until better materials are available to drop the study at that point. The books mentioned in pupils' lists at the end of each chapter of the outline should be secured for the school library. With these books available for pupils' use and page assignments as indicated given them by the teacher, and with the summary of the outline to guide the teacher the subject ought to be taught without difficulty.
R. C. CLARK,
H. G. STARKWEATHER,
R. H. DOWN,
SUSANNE HOMES CARTER,
MRS. W. K. BARNUM,
Every pupil in Oregon promoted from the eighth grade should have a general knowledge of the history of the state from the discovery of the Northwest Coast to Oregon's admission as a state.
The outline which follows is for the guidance of the teacher since this department does not have such a printing fund as will permit us to provide the eighth grade pupils with copies. The Oregon Textbook Commission at the time of its next meeting for the adoption of texts will be asked to adopt a text in Oregon history to be placed in the hands of the pupils. In the eighth grade examination beginning with January, 1923, pupils must be prepared to answer questions on Oregon history when taking the examination in United States history.
Very sincerely yours,
J. A. CHURCHILL, Superintendent of Public Instruction.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 5
In the past Oregon teachers have been somewhat hindered by lack of adequate source material, properly arranged for class work. The Oregon syllabus is offered to supply this lack.
Fifth and sixth grade teachers will find that the oral history-story method of presentation lends itself nicely to the age and interest of the pupils of these grades. The following hints may help to point the way to successful results:
Prepare yourself to tell the story to the class in units; e.g. what people knew of the far west when Washington became president; how the Columbia river was discovered and named; how Lewis and Clark opened a way westward by land; how Fort Astoria was started; how Doctor McLoughlin ruled at Fort Vancouver; etc. Stop here and there in the telling of each unit to ask questions calling for thought or conjecture. Let individual pupils contribute points from their Oregon reading outside of class. Collect pictures and relics for the school exhibit. After the presentation of each unit take time for reviewing and pigeonholing the most important points, and when the whole story has become class property celebrate the occasion with an Oregon program.
In the seventh and eighth grades pupils may be assigned topics from the syllabus for independent preparation. Groups can work together on the larger divisions of subject matter, bringing the results of their investigations to the recitation. Eighth grade pupils may also be interested in preparing biographical sketches of Oregon leaders for telling in the intermediate grades. The civics class may dramatize the meeting at Champoeg. Reminiscences should be collected from the pioneers of the community. These are but a few suggestions as to what may be done to make the work varied and profitable.
In the high school United States history class Oregon history should receive several weeks' time each term. The Oregon syllabus will be found a valuable aid in furnishing direct information in lieu of a text book and in pointing out source material. In addition to the suggested reading, students should be led in a historical survey of their local community. The importance of conserving the records of pioneer life can thus be brought home to them. Interest can be focused especially on old letters, newspapers, photographs, etc. Aside from giving a chance for action and providing topics of conversation in the family and community, such work provides elementary training in method of research and often adds valuable material to present historical collections. The aim throughout is to impress young people with the richness of their own state in its historical background. Earnest, sincere study of the effort made by the men and women who set themselves the task of carving American homes in the Pacific Northwest can not fail to have an ennobling influence on the sons and daughters whose responsibility it is to carry on the Oregon story.
(See State School Library List, Part I, Nos. 1395-1620, for prices.)
Chapman. Story of Oregon.
Judson. Early Days in Old Oregon.
Schafer. Pacific Northwest.
6 HISTORY OF OREGON
(a) Spanish Discoveries. Columbus thought the new land he had found to be a large island off the Asiatic mainland. There should exist a passage or strait between the island and mainland, giving a route to India. But as further discoveries revealed the nature and extent of the new land -- now the continent of South America -- it became evident that the new land could not be an island. The discovery of the Pacific by Balboa, and the rounding of the southern extremity of South America by Magellan, thoroughly shattered any claim that America was an archipelago. Yet interest in a passage, running through America and joining the two oceans, continued. This passage, the fabled straits of Anian, was supposed to exist on the northwest coast of North America, and one Portuguese navigator claimed to have actually sailed through it. France, England, Portugal and Holland sought this passage in the Atlantic; Spain in the Pacific. Mainly to Spanish efforts in this direction are due the first explorations along the Pacific Coast.
Balboa had sent out the first expedition along the Pacific Coast, but achieved nothing. Cortez, the conqueror of Mexico, equipped ships for exploring along the Western Coast. By these voyages, the Gulf of California was explored its entire length. Lower California was found to be a peninsula, and the Western Coast traversed to Cedros Island. Another voyager in 1542 sailed north as far as Monterey, and the next year Ferrelo, perhaps, reached the southern boundary of Oregon, more than sixty years before the first English settlement in Virginia. A still more enterprising explorer, Vixcaino (1603), is thought to have reached as far north as Cape Blanco or Port Orford on the Oregon Coast. The Spaniards made no further attempt to explore the West Coast for a hundred and sixty years. During this interval, efforts were made to colonize California, stations being founded at San Diego and Los Angeles. Many missions were established, and the natives were given religious instruction.
In the latter half of the eighteenth century occurred renewed activity by the Spanish. All the old motives were conspicuous in this movement; conversion of the natives, extension of territory and anxiety to forestall Russian or English occupation of the Northwest. The latter object was, perhaps, most pressing, for foreign occupation would have endangered the exceedingly profitable trade between Mexico and the Philippines.
Commerce had been established between Mexico and Asia soon after the Spaniards subdued the Philippine Islands. Large vessels, called galleons, were constructed for freighting, and on the Pacific there had been little danger of storm and enemies. Sailing west was easy, because the trade winds blew from the northeast, and direct passage was had from Mexico to Asia. But the return was more difficult. In order to secure the aid of the prevailing winds, ships ran north to the fortieth parallel, then sailing east struck the coast of California in the neighborhood of Cape Mendicino. Thence the northwest winds took the vessels down to Acapulco, Mexico. The voyage from the Orient to America consumed four to five months, and it was necessary that a refitting and victualing station be established on the coast for the galleons, and forces stationed there to prevent encroachments by a foreign power, that might hinder or seize this rich Oriental traffic.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 7
In 1774, then, Perez was sent out with orders to proceed to 60° N. latitude, and explore the coast. He reached only as far as the southern coast of Alaska (54° 40'), returning because of scurvy. He traded with the Indians around Queen Charlotte Islands, and discovered a bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island, naming it San Lorenzo, now Nootka Sound. Although Perez had neither landed nor found ports, to him belongs the honor of having discovered the whole northwest coast. The next year another expedition was sent out under Heceta, with orders to navigate farther north even than Perez had been instructed. He sought the strait of San Juan de Fuca, but in vain. On Point Greenville, near the straits of Fuca, he landed and took possession in the name of Spain. Scurvy broke out and Heceta sailed homeward. In this return trip he saw the mouth of the Columbia river, or the "River of the West." He made attempts to enter, but on account of the strong current was unsuccessful. Had a Spaniard discovered this river, the history of Oregon might have been far different.
In 1779 Artega sailed to 61°, heard about Russian trading posts, but saw no Europeans. The Spanish policy for ten years after this was not to object to Russian occupation of the far north, but to oppose posts south of 60° as encroaching on Spanish territorial rights and threatening Spanish settlements further south. Thus, at the latter half of the 18th century, Spain could claim by right of discovery all the Pacific Coast from Lower California to the Russian territory in the north. Yet they had made no settlements nor gained any foothold above California.
In 1788 the expedition made by Martinez and Haro to the far north was the forerunner of the expedition of the following year. In 1789 Spain, alarmed by the activities of British and American fur traders along the northwestern coast, made a determined effort to maintain her supremacy over the west coast of America, and the sole right of trade. An expedition was sent out from Mexico to inquire into Russian activities and to claim Nootka for Spain.
(b) English Discoveries. Francis Drake, after plundering the city of Guatulco on the Mexican Coast, put out again to sea in April, 1579, and sailed northward, though not attempting to follow the coast. He had two good reasons for so doing: 1, To find the expected northwest passage, and thus be able to return to England without experiencing the terrible danger of a winter trip around the Horn, and interference from the now watchful Spanish war vessels; 2, to intercept the Manila galleon on its voyage to Mexico.
By June he had sailed as far as the 43° parallel when disagreeable weather induced him to turn landwards. Upon sighting the coast he looked for a satisfactory harbor, but found none until he had cruised southward to the neighborhood of 38°. The bay which Drake entered there is in dispute, as it may have been either Bodega or San Francisco. Here he stayed for five weeks, repairing the Golden Hind and making friends with the natives, at the end of which time he gave up hope of finding the northwest passage, and started for England by sailing on around the world. What Drake had done was to make a landing on a heretofore unseen coastline, but there is no evidence of his having made any formal claim to it for his sovereign. The Californian bay later reached was distinctly within the limits reached by Ferrelo.
English exploration of the northwest coast ceases for even a longer time than Spanish. In 1778 Captain Cook, on his third exploring voyage,
8 HISTORY OF OREGON
had orders to search once more for a northwest passage, either through Hudson Bay or by the seas north of Asia or America. His first landfall after leaving the Hawaiian Islands was on the coast at 44° 33'. His orders were not to begin a thorough search until after passing 65°, to avoid all possible entanglement with the Spanish. New lands he was to claim. This is a tacit surrender all intent to use Drake's voyage as a basis for territorial claims. Beating northward against contrary winds, he named Capes Foulweather, Perpetua and Gregory. He was blown away from the coast, and sighted it again only at Cape Flattery, and finally at Nootka Sound. Having here repaired his vessels he started again to the north, learning much of the Alaskan coast, but being compelled finally like Drake to seek England by way of Asia. He had missed the Columbia river and the Straits of Fuca, but he had established fairly accurately the longitude of the coast. (For connection with Fur Trade, see II.)
With the establishment of the fur trade, explorations and discoveries in detail of the coast were rapid from 1785 to the end of the century. In 1787 Dixon discovered the Queen Charlotte Isles, and in the same year Barclay discovered the Straits of Fuca. This activity in conjunction with the increasing numbers of fur traders made it appear likely that the northwest coast within indeterminate limits might fall to England. The results of Spanish efforts to prevent this are told elsewhere in the syllabus. In 1788 Meares, cruising southward along the coast of the still scantily known Oregon-Washington coast, barely missed discovering the Columbia river. The American explorers, Gray and Kendrick, and their work is discussed under "The Pacific Fur Trade." Their discoveries were secondary to their main purpose, the establishment of commercial relations with the Indian tribes. The names of American and British traders of this period are almost legion.
Vancouver, the Englishman, is the last of the explorers. Spanish, Russian and American activity aroused the English to the possibility of exclusion, and Vancouver was sent in a final search for the northwest passage, in whose existence he did not believe. He reached the Pacific Coast in 1792 and explored the northwest portion, beginning with Puget Sound, with such thoroughness that his maps may still be used. He, like Meares, barely missed discovering the Columbia river, but in the course of his three voyages he had the satisfaction of dispelling forever any lingering hopes of the existence of a strait through North America. The day of the explorer was done; that of the fur trader was in full swing.
Books for Pupils:
1. Schafer. Pacific Northwest, pp. 1-9.
2. Horner. Oregon, pp. 22-39.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft. History of the Pacific States, I, pp. 137-166. (Very extended reading, 1-166.)
2. Lyman. History of Oregon, I, pp. 198-252; 295-306.
3. Schafer. Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 3-24.
4. Laut. Vikings of the Pacific, pp. 133-171.
(The books listed under this head will be found only in large libraries, like Oregon State library. They are available for reference only.)
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 9
1. Russia Leads the Way. Peter the Great in 1725, the year of his death, ordered the formation of an expedition to set out from Kamchatka and obtain reliable information about the northern American coast. Behring, a Dane, was to command the expedition. So great were the difficulties that it was not until 1741 that the expedition as originally planned took place. Behring was constantly impeded by the wishes of imperial scientists accompanying the expedition and to whom his orders compelled him to defer. Valuable time was lost in searching for a mythical continent, and when at last they sighted the Alaskan coast at the 60° parallel, provisions were becoming scanty and many of the crew were sick with scurvy. Behring, himself ill with the disease, delayed only to take on fresh water, and turned back for Kamchatka. He was never to reach it, for, driven by fear of shipwreck and starvation, the entire ship's company determined to winter on one of the islands of the Aleutian Archipelago.
Here they constructed dugouts, for their refuge was devoid of trees. Part of their material for lining and chinking up holes was the skins of the animals they were killing for food, among them some hundreds of sea otter. Here Behring, as well as half the crew, died. The next spring the remainder succeeded in making their way home. Here their past miseries were recompensed by the sale of the sea otter skins which they had brought with them, for $200 a pelt in the Chinese market. The animal had been known and sought on Asiatic shores, but that was not its home. Now that the natural breeding grounds had been discovered, interest in the scientific achievements of Behring's voyage was lost in a popular fever to make money out of furs.
All legal restraint was removed when the imperial government renounced its monopoly, contenting itself with a demand for 10 per cent of the furs. The result was a rush to Alaskan water, comparable only to the gold rush to California a century later. The profits, in spite of danger and heavy exposure, were great. An expedition costing $30,000 might bring in two or three times that amount. The place of government explorers was taken by thousands of these fur traders, whose economic interests caused them to make a minute examination of every portion of the coast. Colonization was not an immediate result of the fur trade Nadiak, the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska, was founded by Shelikoff in 1784. As the furs of the Aleutian Archipelago and peninsula were exhausted, operations moved steadily southwest along the coast, but there was still a large gap between Russian and Spanish spheres of activity.
2. Renewed Spanish Activity. In the decade 1770-1780 Spain sent out three expeditions to learn what the Russians were doing, and also to strengthen Spanish right to the northwest coast (see Discovery of the Northwest Coast). The Spaniards took no interest in fur trading, and attached no importance to the country because of its furs. In 1788 a single attempt was made to collect furs to sell in Canton but it was not financially successful.
3. English Explorations. Captain Cook sailing northward from the Hawaiian Islands sighted the Oregon coast in 1778. Cook's orders were
10 HISTORY OF OREGON
to explore and claim all lands which were obviously not in possession of other powers. He sailed north to Nootka Sound where he traded with the Indians. The furs acquired here were disposed of in Asia and their great value was thereby verified, to the ultimate benefit of English and American merchants. Thus Cook began the fur trade which the Spaniard had passed by. This year 1778 should be a division point in the history of the Pacific fur trade; up to this time fur trading had been an incident, not the purpose of exploring expeditions. From now on, as was the case in the Russian expeditions after Behring's men came to trade, and discovery became incidental to commerce.
In 1785 the first ship after Cook visited the northwest coast. A brig under Captain Hanna put into Nootka Sound, where 500 sea otter skins were secured, and later sold for $20,600. The following year two English expeditions from India made successful cruises to the fur coasts, while a third from England was financially a failure. The same ship repeated her voyage in 1787 with much success. Other traders followed, and the decade ends with the English apparently firmly establishing themselves without opposition.
The Americans Take Part in the Fur Trade. It was the reports of Captain Cook which induced six Boston merchants, headed by Charles Bulfinch, to send Kendrick in the Columbia and Gray in the Lady Washington to the northwest coast. The cruise began in 1787. It was almost a year later (August, 1788) when Gray landed on the Oregon coast at Tillamook Bay. Here he was treacherously attacked by Indians, and suffered one casualty. They arrived at Nootka Sound in September, where he found the English traders, Douglas and Meares, their ships already loaded with furs. Acts of formal courtesy as well as of actual assistance occurred between the traders, but Meares used every means to discourage his commercial rival. Kendrick rejoined Gray here, and together they cruised along the coast during the winter, 1788-1789, collecting furs. That summer Kendrick returned home, while Gray sailed for China to dispose of his furs there. He reached Boston August 11, 1790, the first American commander to circumnavigate the world.
Gray's most important work was still to be done. He made his second trip to the northwest coast in 1791, and again put into Nootka Sound, where he built a fort and a small sloop. He then sailed southward in search of new fur dealing, and on May 7 entered Gray's Harbor. On the eleventh or twelfth he made his second and most important discovery. On his way northward he had encountered such a strong current about 46° 7' that he had suspected the discharge of a large river, and he now verified his induction by entering the mouth of the river that Meares and Vancouver had both missed. He named the river Columbia, and formed profitable trading relations with the Indians, but there remains no evidence that he formally took possession. On his way down from Nootka, Gray, on April 28, had passed the English commander, Vancouver, and had mentioned his belief in the existence of a river, but the Englishman had scouted this. In October, 1792, Vancouver's second ship, under Lieutenant Broughton, likewise entered the Columbia, verified Gray's discovery and, sailing farther, claimed the country for England, under the belief that Gray had not gone as far as fresh water. During the next twenty years thirty or forty American vessels a year visited Nootka and the Columbia, virtually monopolizing the fur trade on that portion of the coast.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 11
The Nootka Imbroglio. A decade after Artega's voyage Spain was again roused to resentful activity by the English advent to the Northwest. As a precautionary move the Mexican viceroy determined to occupy Nootka before any other foreign power should do so. Vessels of other nations were to be treated courteously, but with a clear understanding of Spain's rights. Arrived at the Sound, the Spanish commanders found there both American and English vessels. A few days later an English ship was seized by the Spaniards, who alleged hostile clauses in the ship's papers. These were in Portuguese and she was sailing under the Portuguese flag. There is a probability of American connivance. Some days later the ship was returned to her captain, and fitted out for her voyage to the Hawaiian Islands. Later, several other English ships were seized, apparently because they threatened to establish a settlement in rivalry to the Spaniards already there. When the affair became known in Europe, Great Britain assumed a menacing air, and war was imminent. Due to the strong insistence of France on peace, England was induced to offer and Spain to accept the Nootka Convention of 1790. By it reparation was made for seizure, both nations conceded the right to trade and settle the regions in question. The Spanish reoccupied Nootka, which in 1794 became a neutral port. By treaty in 1795 Spain also conceded to the Americans full trading rights in northwestern waters. The Spaniards had never objected to the presence of Americans who were there for trade only, not for settlement. In the same year the Nootka settlement was abandoned.
The Russian Progress. Depletion of the northern fur fields caused the Russians to press southward. By the end of the century about 200,000 furs had been taken from Alaska. The Russian-American Fur Company was organized by Boranoff and Sheilkoff in 1799, and secured a complete monopoly of the hunting. Sitka was founded the same year, and Boranoff was made governor for all the Russian holdings in America. Cook had proved the existence of furs farther south and, moreover, the necessity of furnishing themselves with supplies forced the Russian colonist traders to found settlements where grain and cattle could be raised. In 1813 such a post was established in California at Bodega Bay, which proved to be a rich fur region as well. In 1820 Fort Ross, a large post, was founded, continuing under Russian control until 1840, when the company withdrew, owing to extinction of the furs. The Russian period reached its highest during these twenty years, twelve vessels and thirty forts being required for a commerce extending over 2,000 miles of coast.
Tentative French Operations. La Perouse in 1783 and Marchand in 1790
visited the northwest coast to inquire into the fur trade. La Perouse advised
against a colonizing enterprise, but urged private fur trading expeditions.
French activity was interrupted by the Revolution and was not afterward resumed.
Nature of the Fur Commerce. China was the great market for the Pacific fur trade. Her ports were closed to the Russians and open only under bothersome restrictions to foreign ships. The Russians occupied the best geographical position, as they could carry their furs into their own domains close to the Chinese boundary. Irkutsk was the great fur mart where the Chinese merchants came to trade. The remaining furs were sent on to St. Petersburg or Moscow. Canton, in South China, was the port used by other nations. There was no regulation of the hunt, such as restricts the diamond supply at the present day, and violent
12 HISTORY OF OREGON
fluctuations in price occurred. Prices in the last two decades of the century fell to $30, $20 and even $15 a skin. Then, owing to decrease in number of skins, the price began to rise again. During these years 12,000 annually would be a conservative average for the number of pelts sent to China, most of them being carried in American ships. Even though the expenses were heavy, the returns of a successful voyage would be three or four times as large. Traders had to run chances of loss through spoiling of furs, trade hindrances. shipwreck, and robbery. The English in India were handicapped from becoming rivals of the Russians, since the East India Company had a monopoly of the Chinese trade. This was partially avoided by sailing from the Portuguese port of Macao under the Portuguese flag. The Colonial Revolution freed the Americans from this restriction and accounts in part for the preponderance of American traders from 1790 to 1814. With decrease in furs, other traders tended to cease operations, but the Americans made up the loss by other commercial ventures.
To all except the Russians, the Hawaiians were an indispensable factor in trading. A ship from Boston would stop there after rounding the Horn, sail on to the Columbia or Nootka, trade for some months, return to the islands and then sail for China, having there acquired sandalwood, and usually returning to Boston across the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope. The voyages would be from two to three years in length. The same was true of ships either from England or India. In the Oriental markets the furs and sandalwood would be exchanged for such wares as tea, silks, etc., which were brought home. The actual cost of such goods was represented only by the trifles given to the Indians for their peltries, added to the ordinary expenses of the expedition.
English and Americans each accused the other of mistreating the Indians in their dealings with them, but neither systematically enslaved the tribes as did the Russians in Alaska. There natives and animals suffered alike from the ruthless scramble. Nor was fur trading a life of ease; in addition to the perils mentioned above, scurvy, the dread scourge of the sea, was an ever present danger.
The Pacific fur trade may be said to cover the century beginning with 1741
and ending with the withdrawal of the Russian-American Fur Company in 1840.
In the meantime it had caused a movement by land even more far reaching in its
Books for Pupils:
1. Chapman : Story of Oregon, pp. 9-20.
2. Johnson: Short History, pp. 31-35: 56-92.
3. Early Days in Old Oregon, pp. 1-30.
4. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 9-24.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: History of Pacific States I. pp. 204-283: 343-377.
2. Coman : Economic Beginnings of the Far West I. pp. 193-221.
3. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 30-36.
4. Boit, John : Log of Columbia.
5. Old South Leaflets, No. 131, for Gray's account.
6. Laut: Vikings, Chapters 1, 2, 7 and 8.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 13
French Explorers and Their Work. The geographical path west across the North American Continent was up the St. Lawrence River valley. A century before explorers from the English settlements on the Atlantic seaboard had passed the Appalachian barrier, inquisitive Frenchmen had discovered the Great Lakes and the headwaters of the Mississippi. Marquette and Joilet (1673) and La Salle were definitely searching for the South Sea of whose existence they were assured from Indian rumors, though the large river flowing eastward into the Mississippi proved that a great expanse of land must intervene before the ocean sought for would be reached. Doubtless their explorations were induced by Radisson's report of his winter visit to the Algonquins and Mandanas of the "treeless plains" (1659-60).
Besides the piety of missionaries and the commercial hopes of traders who hoped to find a short land route to the South Sea, the opportunities of the fur trade became early an incentive to hardy adventurers. It was an event of moment to Western exploration when two Frenchmen, Radisson and Groscilliers, rediscovered Hudson Bay from a land route, and brought back to the settlements over half a million beaver furs. The immediate result was the formation of the Hudson Bay Company (q.v. Syllabus, VI), which in 1668 dispatched an expedition under Radisson's command to establish permanent trading posts on the Bay. Further exploration westward by land and sea was included among their purposes, as their later charter would indicate. Part of the historical significance of this lies in the fact that the French held or claimed the territory south and west of these English operations, and were to continue to do so until 1763. It was Radisson's belief, based on Indian reports again, that the South Sea was only a few weeks' journey from the Bay, and that a passage thence might easily be found.
The French drift westward continued; the agents of Montreal merchants pushed out into the prairies; Duluth, established in 1678, was reestablished in 1717. In 1731 a definite effort was made to reach the Pacific overland. Verendrye, an able French trader, organized an expedition which reached the Rocky Mountains, and discovered the Yellowstone River (1741-43). The work was carried on ten years later by a second expedition (1752) and did some trapping in the mountains, but failed in its main purpose, due to the dishonesty of its leaders. French effort ceased and the cessions of 1763 ended all possibility of its renewal by land.
English Explorers. It was a prevalent belief in the narrowness of the
continent which had encouraged explorers to seek a land passage. Besides this,
there was the hope that a river or rivers might be found serving to open a passage
to the Pacific from the interior, as the St. Lawrence served to the Atlantic.
As increased knowledge revealed only an expanding continent and mountain barriers
greater than those in the east, the discovery of a river route became imperative.
In 1765 Major Robert Rogers, who had served as a British officer in the French
and Indian War, and had at one time been stationed as far west as Detroit, asked
permission of his government to lead a force westward "from the Great Lakes
toward the head of the Mississippi, and from thence to the
14 HISTORY OF OREGON
river called by the Indians Ouragon, which flows into the Pacific." This. is the first known use of the name later to be applied to our state. Major, Rogers was made commandant of the trading post at Mackinac, Michigan, and took with him Captain Jonathan Carver. The latter in 1766 explored the Mississippi above the present site of Minneapolis. Later, in 1772, on his return from America, Major Rogers again petitioned his government to lead an expedition up the Missouri River to its source and thence by portage, which he thought to be only 30 miles, "into the great River Ourigan." This is the second known use of the name which in French means "hurricane." Jonathan Carver in 1778 published a book of his travels in America in which he spoke of the river of the west flowing into the Pacific as "Oregon." The Carver book was immensely popular and through it, no doubt, Jefferson learned of this river and made use of the name in instructions to Lewis and Clark, and Bryant from the same source got the word for his Thanatopsis. Carver got the name from Rogers, who, in turn, no doubt, had heard it used by Indians in the Great Lake region.
Mackenzie's Transcontinental Voyage. Alexander Mackenzie emigrated to Canada in 1779, and connected himself there with the Northwest Fur Company. His enterprising, restless nature sought activity in exploration. A route to the Pacific, that goal of so many hardy searchers, was yet unfound, but the recent discoveries of the rich Pacific fur trade again excited interest in its discovery. His first expedition set out in 1789 and discovered the river which bears his name. Hoping that it or one of its branches would lead to the Western Sea, he followed it to its mouth, finding himself, to his astonishment, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean instead. Undeterred by his want of success, Mackenzie planned a succeeding expedition which set out in October, 1792. He traveled up the Peace River, intending to make a winter camp at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and start from there in the spring. He reached the expected place, Fort "Fork, near a branch of the Peace River, coming in from the south November 1st. On the 9th of May, 1793, he recommenced his journey, following branches of the river which opened the country southward. Indians they met spoke of a westward flowing river. In June they reached the Continental Divide, crossed it, and descended a turbulent stream (Bad River) to the Fraser, which Mackenzie took for granted to be the Columbia.. The party found it impracticable to follow the river to its mouth, so struck out overland to find the sea. Difficulties seemed insurmountable, but Mackenzie persevered. He was generally able to establish friendly relations with the Indians, and toward the end their assistance was indispensable. On July 20, 1793, Mackenzie reached the Pacific at Bentinck North Arm. He was unable extensively to examine the coast line, and almost immediately turned about for the return trip. A dangerous altercation with the Indians almost brought destruction on the party. By the middle of August they found themselves at the portage of the Divide, and in hardly a month more had returned to Fort Chippewyan, the transcontinental voyage at last accomplished. The overland search for the western sea was ended.
The Natural Pathways to the West. It has been shown how Western exploration began by way of the St. Lawrence Valley. .The passes through the Western mountains are of like importance. Omitting the Peel River Pass, which belongs to Alaska and the Arctic, rather than to the Pacific Northwest, the lowest and most important is that found by Mackenzie,
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 15
the Peace River Pass in the neighborhood of 56°; its altitude is about 1,600 feet. Three other passes, Pine River, Smoky River and Tete Jaune, all lie within 3 degrees to the south. The latter has been called the "key to British Columbia," as it connects the Fraser and Columbia Rivers. At distances of about a degree other passes occur to the South; Boundary Pass is but a few miles north of 49°. Within the boundaries of the United States the important passes through the Cascades are the Skagit (48° 30'), the Columbia (46°), the most important, and the Klamath (42°). Through the Rockies occurs the Flathead Pass at 48°, the Lewis and Clark at 47°, Yellowstone at 45° 45' (long an Oregon emigrant route), and Big Hole at 45° 38'. The early Oregon migrations used Sweetwater and Bridger Passes after ascending the North Platte to Fort Laramie. In the same region (about 42°) Bonneville discovered South Pass, famous later, though explored by him in 1832. Eastern and Western Oregon were connected by the Willamette River Pass (43° 26') while Applegate Pass opened the way to California.
Thus the search for a Northwest Passage resulted in the discovery of many western passes. They have enabled lines of communication to be maintained between the two coasts. They were controlling factors in the progress of settlement and development of commerce.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman: pp. 21-23.
2. Johnson: pp. 35-55.
3. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 24-28.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: I pp. 585-703.
2. Coman : I pp. 222-230.
3. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Dec. 1920, pp. 341-368; on origin of the name "Oregon," June, 1921.
4. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 55-60.
16 HISTORY OF OREGON
(1) Jefferson's Early Interest in the Far West. It was Jefferson's philosophical interests which first attracted him to the unknown west; the existence of a great unknown at his very door was repugnant to his scientific nature. In 1783 his interest was further excited by the news that a British expedition was fitting out to explore "the country from the Mississippi to California." Later when he was in Paris from 1785-89 he came into close association with an energetic, ambitious adventurer, John Ledyard, who had been with Cook, and listened eagerly to the latter's scheme for establishing a fur trading post on the Pacific Coast. Jefferson advised Ledyard to get to Western America by way of Russia, search for the sources of the Missouri River, and open a way to the United States by that route. After a successful beginning the scheme ended in failure through a change of mind by the Russian Government, who stopped Ledyard on his way across Siberia. But Western exploration was now a fixed idea in Jefferson's mind, and in 1792 he urged the Amercan Philosophical Society to finance an expedition to the Pacific under the botanist Michaux. Political difficulties arose, and the affair was abandoned in 1794. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 at last gave Jefferson his opportunity, and before the cession had actually been completed he had induced Congress to vote $2,500 for expenses for the expedition known to history as that of Lewis and Clark.
(2) Organization of the Expedition. Jefferson selected his private secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to head the expedition. At Lewis' request William Clark was associated with him in coordinate command, which made it possible to divide the party in case of need. The rest of the party numbered twenty-six. A small military guard was to accompany them to the Mandan country. River boats were provided for as much of the journey as could be made up the Missouri, for it was Jefferson's hope that a short passage might be found between the headwaters of the Missouri and those of the newly-discovered Columbia. To secure discipline, the entire party were enrolled in the military service of the United States. The captains were also provided with letters of credit. Supplies were carefully chosen as well as articles of trade for the Indians. Lewis was instructed to abandon the expedition rather than endanger the safety of the party.
(3) Objects of the Expedition. The importance of the historical fact that Jefferson commenced this undertaking before the purchase had been made must be emphasized. It disposes of the popular notion that the expedition was for the purpose of inspecting a territorial purchase. Rather it would act as a spur to the purchase negotiations then going on in Paris by showing the serious intentions of the United States. Indeed, the president later suggested that arms be furnished the Indians who had crossed to the West side of the Mississippi. The objects of the expedition, as distinctly stated in Jefferson's instructions, were (1) to gain the friendship of the Indian tribes and establish commercial relations with them; (2) to make "the scientific exploration" that Jefferson had long contemplated; and (3) to open a usable trade route to the Pacific Coast. In order to forestall opposition at home as well as to lull suspicion abroad, the appropriation was requested "for the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States."
(4) Chronicle of the Journey, (a) To Winter Quarters. The journey up the Missouri began May 21, 1804. Exactly two months later they
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 17
reached the mouth of the Platte, which was regarded as a sort of boundary line between the known and unknown territories. The party was now entering the upper Missouri, and the captains decided to call an Indian council and treat with them for peace, which was done. Most of the party had suffered slightly from using the river water at the commencement of the trip, and in the latter part of August Sergeant Floyd was taken suddenly ill and died. This was the single casualty of the entire journey. Conferences with Indian tribes continued, and toward the end of October they reached the Mandan villages and camped for the winter.
(b) On the Pacific. The winter had been spent in fixing friendly relations with the Indians, and in promoting peace among the tribes themselves. Here, too, the party secured the services of the woman interpreter, Sacajawea, and her French husband, who remained with them throughout the journey. Upon leaving Fort Mandan the expedition plunged at once into country completely unknown. All communication with the world was cut off from April 8, 1805, until August, 1806. Three weeks later the Yellowstone River, was discovered, and briefly explored. In June the Missouri Falls were reached, caches of goods made, and the rest portaged around them. The two captains now divided the party from time to time. By midsummer they were in the heart of the continent, approaching the sources of the Missouri. Late in July they arrived at the Three Forks, their southern limit, and here the two captains rejoined each other August 17. Friendly relations were established with the Indians, who were of much assistance to the party in crossing the watershed. Here Clark, as usual, went ahead to scout and sent back word of the difficulty of using water transportation to the Columbia. September 20-23, the entire party crossed the divide. Progress was slow because of illness in the party, and it was not until October that the descent of the Pacific Slope was actually begun. They followed the Clearwater River to the Snake, hurried down this turbulent river, after having made the acquaintance of the Nez Perces, and on October 17 entered the Columbia. They proceeded down this river, assisted by the Indians along the route, noting its tributaries, the geography of the country, the condition of the Indians, and the wild game. Early in November the party reached tidewater, and on the 8th, the sea.
(c) The Return to the United States. A winter camp was built at present day Astoria, hunting and salt gathering expeditions were sent out, and relations were established with the Indians, who were now well acquainted with sea traders. The winter passed in great discomfort. The return was delayed in the hope of seeing some ship arrive, but was at last begun March 23, 1806. The natural hardships of the journey were increased by the fact that almost all their trading stock had been spent on the outward journey; at times the party seemed on the verge of starvation. After leaving the Columbia they started overland, and in July crossed the Bitter Root Mountains. Here the party divided under each of the two captains. Lewis was to descend the Missouri directly, exploring on the way, Clark was to seek for the Yellowstone, follow it to its mouth and there await his colleague. This was done, and on August 12 the two sections were reunited. They now made speed down the river, renewing Indian friendships on the way. September 23 they reentered St. Louis and the great expedition was ended.
18 HISTORY OF OREGON
(5) Results and Summary. The continent had been crossed, the possibilities of transcontinental routes made known. The main waterways had been ascertained. The expedition had crossed the continental divide at three separate passes; ten states arose from the regions through which it had traveled. Friendly relations had been formed with the tribes, and a great quantity of scientific data of all sorts had been secured. Captain Lewis was made governor of Louisiana Territory, and remained so until his tragic death in 1809. Clark became Indian agent for the department, and later governor of Missouri Territory. The men were rewarded by land grants.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Brooks: First Across the Continent (all).
2. Chapman: pp. 24-39.
3. Johnson: pp. 93-128.
4. Judson: pp. 31-57.
5. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 29-61.
6. Horner: Oregon, 10-50.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: op. cit. II, pp. 1-50.
2. Coues: History of Lewis and Clark Expedition. I, 13-106.
3. Coman: op. cit. I, pp. 231-282.
4. Lyman: op. cit. II, pp. 131-164.
5. Schafer: Hist. Pac. Slope and Alaska, pp. 39-53.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 19
(1) The Beginning of Astor's Commercial Venture. The Lewis and Clark Expedition had drawn American attention to Oregon and the trade possibilities there. In 1809 the Winship brothers, who had already visited the coast by boat, organized a large scale establishment to be located on the Columbia. Work was commenced, but failed, owing to hostility from the the Indians. It was time for the Americans to make an effort, for the Russians were then planning a like establishment, and Simon Fraser had been building forts west of the Rocky Mountains from 1805 to 1807.
John Jacob Astor was a native of Germany, who had migrated to England and from thence to New York in 1784. A profitable deal in furs convinced him that he had found the key to fortune, and with wonderful perspicacity set about to secure a monopoly of the entire fur trade. He attempted a merger with the Northwest Fur Company, but was unsuccessful. He then set about preparing the enterprise which was to rival the other company. He proposed to found a station on the Columbia which would be connected with New York City by a string of posts across the continent, as well as by ship route around the Horn. This double support to control the trade, adequately supply the station, and form connections with the Orient. He also arranged commercial relations with Boranoff of the Russian-American Fur Company. Jefferson encouraged Astor in his design.
(2) The Organization of the Venture; Establishment on the Columbia. In June, 1810, the Pacific Fur Company was formed with Astor as president. Most of the other partners and men, by what proved to be a total mistake, were Canadians who had formerly been in the employ of the Northwest Company. Two expeditions were to set out simultaneously, one by land, the other by sea. William Price Hunt, one of the American partners, was to command the first; for the sea voyage the ship Tonquin was secured, under the command of Captain Thorn, and with him sailed the other partners and the greater part of the men. Thorn, though a good navigator, was utterly unfitted to command such an expedition, and drove both passengers and crew to the verge of mutiny by his tyranny. When they arrived at the mouth of the Columiba, March 22, 1811, he needlessly sacrificed several of his crew in the attempt to find the channel. Finally entering, they began the building of a fort April 12, which was named Astoria. It was almost a year before the land party appeared. It had met with incredible hardships and mischance, and had not even been able to hold together. Those who finally reached Astoria, February 15, 1812, were hardly more than destitute fugitives.
(3) Increasing Misfortunes. The enterprise seemed dogged from the first by inefficiency, misfortune and disloyalty. In June, 1811, the "Tonquin," while cruising along the (now Washington) coast, was captured by the Indians and in the fracas was blown up. The loss was a severe blow to the young post at Astoria. Before this, news had come of the Northwest Company's building a fort on the Spokane River. As a counter move the Americans had to establish an interior post known as Fort Okanogan, under Alexander Ross, which was operated successfully. In May, 1812, the yearly ship (this time the "Beaver") reached Astoria, bringing supplies. For a moment things looked bright. Interior posts
20 HISTORY OF OREGON
would now be constructed and coast trade could be renewed. Hunt was put in charge of this, another great blunder, for a man loyal to his American employer was soon to be needed at Astoria. He cruised to Alaska, picking up furs, which he intended to dispose of in China. On his way he made the usual stop at Hawaii and learned of the outbreak of war between England and the United States.
(4) War and the End of the American Establishment. Mackenzie, one of the Canadian partners, met a member of the Northwest Company at Spokane and learned from him that war had begun. He hurried back to Astoria, where anxious consultation was held as to what should be done. They concluded that Astor would be unable to send any more supply ships; that the "Beaver" had been wrecked; and that Astoria was liable to momentary seizure by a British warship. It was decided that the post be abandoned and that they return overland, but the American partners objected so strenuously that the departure was postponed until the following spring. This was the summer of 1813. In the meantime Hunt returned from Hawaii in a chartered vessel. Chagrined though he was to learn of the contemplated abandonment, he returned to the tropics in hopes of finding a ship of sufficient size to remove the property. While at Hawaii again he learned of the unhappy fate of the third supply ship, the "Lark," which was wrecked on a coral reef, a total loss. Meanwhile, panic or disloyalty had again seized the partners at Astoria, and October 16, 1813, Mackenzie and McDougal, acting in spite of the protests of others of the party, sold the establishment to the agent of the Northwest Company for $42,000. The smallness of the sum in comparison with the actual value of the property would suggest that dishonesty existed somewhere. Many of the men and the Canadian partners took service at once with the Northwest Company. Of the others, a part returned to the East, while others took Indian wives and settled on the Willamette prairies, the original "first settlers," along with one or two from Lewis and Clark's party. November 30, 1813, the British man of war "Raccoon" did appear at Astoria, but found the British flag waving over it as a post of an English fur company. In February, 1814, Hunt also returned, but finding that it was all over, likewise sailed away. The English vessel, "Isaac Todd," appeared in the spring, 1814, bringing supplies for the post, now known as Fort George.
(5) Summary; Restoration of Astoria, but End of Commercial Enterprise. The war effectually ended Astoria as a commercial venture, but it is hard to believe that this should have happened. The interior posts of the Pacific Fur Company had operated successfully. Franchere, an honest and unbiased man, wrote that all supplies and men could have been moved up the country, should danger threaten, leaving only the loss of the fort to be burned by an enemy ship, the property to be reoccupied on its departure. By the treaty of Ghent (December 24, 1814), all possessions taken by either belligerent were returned, and Astoria again came under the United States flag. But it was a barren restoration.
Although Astor made tentative efforts to resume his project, he could not secure the government aid which he deemed necessary. What connection there was with the Northwest coast was that furnished by the whaling ships plying from Boston or other New England ports. New York's attempt, in the person of John Jacob Astor, to compete on the Pacific Coast for commercial benefits had failed. But it stands a remarkable
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 21
scheme, ably planned but poorly carried out; inspired by motives of personal profit certainly, but whose consequences, had it succeeded, would have been national.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman: pp. 40-48.
2. Irving: Astoria.
3. Johnson: pp. 135-1G3.
4. Judson: pp. 47-57.
5. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 71-78; 88-92.
6. Horner: pp. 51-50.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: op. cit. II. 136-213.
2. Coman: op. cit. I, 308-334.
3. Chittenden: History American Fur Trade I. pp. 163-238.
4. Lyman: Hist. Oregon. II, pp. 229-302 : 337-350.
5. Meany: Hist, of Washington, pp. 80-86.
6. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 60-75.
22 HISTORY OF OREGON
(1) The Northwest Fur Company in Control (1814-1821). The collapse of the Astor enterprise left the control of the Pacific Northwest entirely in the hands of the Northwest Fur Company. It immediately began an expanding movement into the Rocky Mountains (April, 1814), which proceeded largely on the lines that Astor had planned. The chief problems they had to face were (1) the competition of independent American trading vessels, (2) unsettled conditions in the Chinese market, (3) Indian hostility. Mackenzie, a former Astor partner, had charge of this interior department. The ability and energy of the Northwesters must be conceded, though their acts were often unscrupulous. The career of the Columbia River establishments is not brilliant, due principally to distracting events elsewhere.
(2) Contest With Hudson's Bay Company; Merging of the Two Companies. With its American rival crushed, the Northwest Company having in mind a complete North American fur monopoly, prepared for a war with its older competitor of Hudson Bay. The latter's territory was the immense region that swept northward and westward from Labrador to the Arctic Ocean. The younger company, organized at Montreal in 1783, controlled the Rocky Mountains region and the Pacific. Both companies were now encroaching on each other's preserves, and a struggle began which was nothing else than a small war. It was ended finally only by government action in 1821, when a merger of the two companies was formed under the name of the older, and Astor's scheme for a complete monopoly was realized, only it was not he, but his rivals, who had secured it.
(3) Dr. McLoughlin's Rule (1821-1832); the Days of Power. The situation in Oregon now assumes a new form. Sir George Simpson is the Hudson's Bay Company's Governor, and Dr. John McLoughlin, a Scotch-Canadian, is sent to the Columbia as the company's chief factor there.
The Hudson's Bay Company had been chartered by Charles II in 1670. It was now a century and a half old, having had a profitable, if generally apathetic career. Its policy was in general one to conserve the wilderness and the natives, depending on the normal condition of both for the continuance of their profits. To this end the company avoided a liquor trade and had no interest in colonization. The old company was vitalized by its union with this aggressive rival and, besides being merely a commercial concern, became an instrument of imperialism.
McLoughlin assumed personal control in 1824. He at once moved the location of the post from Fort George (Astoria) to the more strategic position at Vancouver, and ordered a survey of the Columbia River. The company continued to build other forts throughout the region northward. Communication inland between the Fraser and the Columbia had been opened in 1813, and a coast route explored in 1824. The British grip seemed to be fastening tightly on the Oregon country. McLoughlin, wiser than his predecessor, Keith, saw the possibilities of agriculture as well as the limitations of the fur trade. He at once commenced to plant fields and rear herds, and in a few years was supplying all the post's needs; not much later he was able to make shipments to the Russian settlements,
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 23
and to the Kingdom of Hawaii. This seemed to be a settled purpose of the great factor, to continue a prosperous, permanent, agricultural settlement, even after the fur trade had been abandoned.
In 1825-26 Fort Colville was established on the Columbia and Fort Langley on the Fraser in 1827. In 1829 McLoughlin took possession of Willamette Falls, and in 1832 a post was established on the Umpqua. Yearly throughout the great region thus occupied the fur brigades scattered from Fort Vancouver, and thither they returned with their peltries. In 1829 Governor Simpson journeyed through his Northwest dominions and returned to Canada convinced that settlement was possible and necessary, but, unfortunately for British interests, nothing was done at the time. In the same year, Dr. McLoughlin began his policy of settling retired servitors of the company on farms in the Willamette Valley. However, he knew that this country south of the Columbia would go at some time to the United States.
(4) Dr. McLoughlin's Rule (1832-1846); Decline of the Company. The year 1832 saw the attempted revival of American competition. Captain Bonneville began his ill-starred endeavors, and Wyeth came to Oregon, there to receive courteous treatment from McLoughlin, but nevertheless to be crowded out. The chief factor could tolerate no business rivals to his company, and in this first contest came off completely victorious. The year 1834 saw the beginning of another American advance in the person of the missionaries, while free trappers and other settlers were slowly increasing, particularly south of the Columbia. McLoughlin treated these almost without exception with kindness, and in 1836 aided them in the formation of the Willamette Cattle Company, to secure cattle from California. Though the weight of his displeasure can be seen in his affair with Ewing Young, the settlers sold their grain and other products to the post at Vancouver, and received fair prices.
As an offset to American agricultural and stock activity, McLoughlin endeavored to establish in 1837 farms and herds in the Cowlitz country of modern Washington. In 1839, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company was formed to settle that region and secure it forever for England, but in 1841 the attempt was given up as a failure. The succeeding years saw waves of American immigration into Oregon, not only south of the Columbia, but north in territory that the company had confidently expected to hold. Feeling between the Vancouver post and these settlers often became bitter though the legal right of both to be there was unquestionable. Dr. McLoughlin was accused by his company of unduly favoring the invaders, and at the same time attacked by many ungrateful Americans to whom his generosity is now unquestioned. The uncertainties of the boundary dispute added to the difficulties of the situation. This was finally settled by the treaty of 1846, fixing the 49° parallel as the line. The claims of the company for compensation of the property it would have to surrender were finally settled in 1863 by the United States government for something more than half a million dollars.
For more than thirty years Oregon had been under the domination of British fur companies, a commercial domination, it is true, but during the first two decades it was virtually absolute. Natives, employes, strangers, during that time were subject to an arbitrary authority in a region larger than France. The authority that Dr. McLoughlin wielded extended even to power of life and death. He controlled the savage tribes with
24 HISTORY OF OREGON
sovereign power; his mastery of his employes had come to be unquestioned, and his treatment of strangers and rivals was conditioned only by the dictates of his generous nature and his obligations to his company.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman: pp. 49-53.
2. Johnson: pp. 166-169.
3. Judson: pp. 96-109.
4. Schafer : Pacific Northwest, pp 79-87
5. Horner: pp. 56-60.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: op. cit. II, pp. 430-445; 460-507
2. Coman: op cit. I, 334-41; II, pp. 148-153; 160-166; 208-211; 233.
3. Laut: Conquest of the Great Northwest, II, pp. 304-413.
4. Lyman: op. cit. II, pp. 351-392.
5. Meany: op. cit. pp, 95-105.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 25
(1) First Period of Decline; the Missouri Fur Company. When the Louisiana purchase was made, Manuel Lisa was the most important of the interior fur traders. His headquarters were at St. Louis, which was then and continued to be the great fur market of the United States. Lisa welcomed the change to American authority, and in 1807 organized a trading expedition to the upper Missouri country. The next year he organized the Missouri Fur Company, Resigned monopoly for competition. In the years 1808 to 1810 it had penetrated into the Western Rockies. The company was, nevertheless, destined to a checkered existence, being dissolved in 1812, reorganized in 1821, and then succumbing for good four years later. The reasons for the unhappy conditions of organized American fur trade were several: (1) The implacable opposition of the Black-feet, which forced the withdrawal of the Missouri Company from the Upper Missouri; (2) the cutthroat competition of independent traders and free trappers; (3) the rapid destruction of fur-bearing animals, particularly of the beaver, which was the one most sought; (4) unwise government methods in dealing with the Indians and the fur trade; (5) the privilege that Canadian trappers still exercised of trading south of 49° parallel; (6) the failure of Astor's transcontinental project.
(2) Second Period; Revival of American Fur Companies (1822-1832). By 1822 the situation had changed somewhat for the better. The government had abandoned the "factory system;" the cessation of trapping had permitted the furs to increase; foreign trappers had been excluded; and capital was more plentiful. Consequently, several new companies were formed with headquarters at St. Louis. The Missouri Company, revived under Pilcher, and others again pushed into the upper Missouri country though a crushing defeat by the Blackfeet in 1823 stopped complete expansion. General Ashley organized a company in 1822 which successfully exploited the country from the Yellowstone to Utah, following the Northwest Company's method of sending parties out after furs instead of waiting for the Indians to bring them in. In the eastern ranges of the Rockies operations of American and Hudson's Bay trappers began to overlap. Then followed the purchase by Smith, Sublette and others of the Ashley interests in 1826. They reformed the organization into the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, which continued until 1839, when it was integrated in the monopoly which had gradually been forming under Chou-teau, Lisa's former rival and later partner.
In 1823 the American Fur Company was organized by the Astor interests. Astor had never given up his design to control the American fur trade. Several small companies were taken over at once. It preempted the Missouri country, for the Rocky Mountain Company had transferred its operations to the regions around South Pass and Green River. So rapidly did Astor's new enterprise expand that it became known as "The Company," while outsiders were "the Opposition." The Rocky Mountain Company, during its twelve years of life, secured furs to the value of half a million dollars; but the American Fur Company was shipping that many a year in the early thirties; its total receipts mounted into the millions.
(3) The Second Decline (1835-1845); End of the Fur Period. By 1834 Astor realized that the heyday of the fur trade was over. Not only
26 HISTORY OF OREGON
was the demand for furs decreasing, but the supply, not only of beaver but of other animals, was nearing exhaustion. Buffalo hunting took the place of beaver trapping, but unrestricted competition had done its work, and the day of the independent trader was gone. The bitter rivalry of the American company between themselves had been one of their greatest weaknesses. Astor sold out his control to Chouteau and his associates in 1839. who secured a complete monopoly by the purchase of two other companies in 1845.
(4) The Free Trappers; Characteristics of the Trade. The essential difference between the British and the American system was that the first confined the fur industry to monopoly control, while the latter permitted the free competition of any one who wished to take part. This accounts for the great number of associations whether formally incorporated or not, which entered the race for wealth in furs. Men worked for themselves, as partners, and as employees of companies. Names like Bridger, Kit Carson, Larpenteur, Farnham, Crooks, Meek, are but typical in their suggestion of adventure and achievement of the numbers who in this period combed the west in the hunt for furs. It was they who opened the unknown triangle between the Yellowstone and the Santa Fe trail, and who met the Hudson's Bay trappers in the Eastern and Central Rockies in fierce contests that recalled the wars between the latter and the Northwesters.
Furthermore, the British trappers were employees of the company, serving for a regular salary, while the American companies, in addition to their own employees, depended largely upon the free trappers, who scattered into the wilds and then came together at well known rendezvous, such as Ogden's Hole, where they met the traders of the companies. British and American often used the same rendezvous. The Indians were constantly debauched with liquor to secure their furs, and the blame for this lies with the Americans. The trappers themselves usually gave themselves up to a yearly debauch that left them penniless. Their numbers dwindled with the trade itself, and most of those who survived settled down at last, like Joseph Meek, on frontier farms and ranches. The virtues and vices of the profession were inherent in the industry itself, but its value as a factor in the development of the west must not preclude an acknowledgment of its iniquities and atrocities. Bravery, hardiness, resourcefulness, went hand in hand with a systematic swindling of the Indians and of each other. It was neither a time nor a trade for nice ethical standards, though here and there examples of a smoother, more pleasant side to comtemplate, occurred.
(5) Attempts to Enter Oregon; Jedediah. Smith; Wyeth; Bonneville. A trader by the name of Ruddock claimed to have made a journey from the Missouri, by way of Santa Fe, to the mouth of the Columbia, but the first seriously planned scheme to challenge the Hudson's Bay Company on the Oregon coast was that of Ashley and Jedediah Smith. When Ashley retired from his company, Smith began operations in earnest. He was a man of superior training and ability, and to his work of trapping added the careful recording of his explorations. In 1828 he pushed through California into Southern Oregon. All went well until he reached the Umpqua, when the party was attacked by Indians, their supplies and furs captured, and all but three killed. These reached Vancouver in a pitiable condition, where McLoughlin received them, recovered their furs from the Indians, bought them at the current price, and equipped Smith
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 27
to return east. Such was the latter's gratitude for this generous treatment that he gave up his plans to invade the Oregon fur trade, and thereby delayed for some years the American advance.
Two later attempts were also to end in failure. In 1831-32 Nathaniel J. Wyeth organized in Boston a land and sea expedition. He led a small party across the continent to the Columbia, where they planned to await the ship. The expedition came to naught when it was learned that the ship had been wrecked. Wyeth now saw possibilities in salmon fishing as an offset to the uncertainties of the fur trade. Full of this plan, he returned to Boston, organized the Columbia River Fishing and Trading Company, and returned to Oregon in 1834. With him traveled the Jason Lee party. He was also accompanied by the naturalists, Nuttall and Townshend. This time his ship arrived, but the season for salmon was bad. For all McLoughlin's personal kindliness, he was a ruthless commercial rival, and trade with the Indians failed. Wyeth gave up in 1836 and returned to Boston. On his first expedition he had been accompanied by John Ball, a school teacher, who remained at Vancouver, and in 1833 opened the first school in the Oregon country.
In 1831 Captain Bonneville, of the United States Army, was given leave of absence to undertake an exploring and trading expedition west of the Rockies. He organized a large party (1832), entered the Oregon country through the South Pass, and passed an unproductive winter in Idaho. After an unsuccessful season of trapping, he set out for the Columbia, arriving at Walla Walla in the spring of 1834, where he hoped to purchase supplies from the Hudson's Bay Company. This was refused, the company being determined to force out all rival traders. In the summer of 1834, he led a party down the Snake and Columbia below Walla Walla, but the implacable opposition of the company forced him to withdraw. In 1835 he was obliged to confess his efforts a failure and returned to the east.
(6) Concluding Summary. The country which Lewis and Clark had traversed was explored in detail by the agents of the Northwest and Hudson's Bay Companies. On the eastern ranges, and particularly south of the 42° parallel, the work of examination was done by bands and individuals of American trappers. In the Green River country, about Bear and Salt Lakes, and in the Siskiyou Mountain regions, the two activities came in contact. Although it was the fur traders who opened the country, it was bona fide settlers who at the last won Oregon for the United States, and among these were many of the old trappers themselves.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Johnson: pp. 177-193.
2. Judson : pp. 127-130; 58-82.
3. Horner: pp. 60-66.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: II. pp. 446-459; 542-599.
2. Coman: I, 242-55; 368-75; 302-307; II, 207-220.
3. Chittendon : History American Fur Trade, Vol. II. Part IV (all), pp. 651-723, Notable Incidents and Characters in the History of the Fur Trade.
4. Irving, Washington : Captain Bonneville.
5. Schafer: Slope and Alaska, pp. 117-124.
6. Thwaites (Editor) Early Western Travels. Vol. I, Franchere ; Vol. VII, Ross's "Oregon Letters;" Vol. XXI, Wyeth, Townshend.
28 HISTORY OF OREGON
Before 1820 the government was becoming interested in Indian missions. In that year the Rev. Jedidiah Morse recommended that teachers be sent to the western tribes. The removal of the eastern and southern Indians from their ancestral homes to lands and reservations set aside for them west of the Mississippi River aroused the sympathy of all observers. It was while the country was in this frame of mind that the Nez Perces in June, 1831, sent four of their tribe to the city of St. Louis to ask for teachers and the white man's Book of God. They had heard of these from Lewis and Clark, and probably from other travelers and trappers. The Indian emissaries were kindly received and entertained. Two died in St. Louis and another on his journey homeward. One eventually reached his people with the information that teachers would come. Their request had aroused the zeal of the Christian Church.
The Methodist Mission. The Methodists were the first to respond. Jason Lee and his nephew, Daniel Lee, were appointed to work in the Oregon field. Starting westward they joined Nathaniel Wyeth's second expedition to Oregon, arriving in the Willamette Valley in the fall of 1834. They came through the Nez Perce country and saw the people that had asked for teachers. They visited Dr. McLoughlin at Fort Vancouver. He desired them to locate where they might have the protection of the Hudson's Bay Company in case of trouble with the Indians. Largely on his advice the Methodist Mission was located on the Willamette River, some ten miles north of Salem, in a country that is still called Mission Bottom. Buildings were erected and a school opened for the Calapooias. These primitive people were of an inferior stock, diseased and rapidly declining in numbers. A few members of coast tribes were taken to the mission, but without success. These died or returned to their people. Jason Lee began to realize that he had located the mission in a spot where it was bound to fail. Still the missionaries struggled on for a few years. Other missionaries came to reinforce the little group in 1837. Traders and settlers began to appear in Oregon. Lee wrote ardent letters to the East describing the Oregon country in glowing terms. Settlement and the building of a state seemed more important than saving the souls of a few miserable savages. Finally Jason Lee returned east, where he died, and the mission was closed.
Upper Columbia Missions. Other denominations than the Methodists had been affected by the Nez Perces mission. Dr. Samuel Parker and Dr. Marcus Whitman came out to Oregon in 1835 under direction of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church. When assured of the need of teachers by the Indians, Dr. Whitman returned East to report, while Dr. Parker journeyed to Vancouver, visited the Hawaiian Islands and returned to New York in 1837. Meanwhile Dr. Whitman had been appointed to the Oregon missionary field. Accompanied by Mrs. Whitman and Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Spalding, he now hurried to Oregon eager to begin his work. Mr. W. H. Gray was also a member of the party, which was welcomed at Fort Vancouver early in the autumn, where the women remained while mission buildings were being erected. The site chosen was near Walla Walla, at a place called by the Indians Waiilatpu. This was in the Cayuse Indian country, a people which were in every way preferable to the valley Indians. In 1837 crops of corn and vegetables
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 29
were being raised by the missionaries as well as the Indians themselves. Two years later the Rev. Cushing Eels and Elkanah Walker joined the mission. What seemed at first to be a promise of great success was, owing to a set of circumstances over which the missionaries had no control, destined to disastrous defeat in the Whitman massacre of 1847.
The Catholic Missionaries. Meantime the French-Canadian trappers and employes of the Hudson's Bay Company were asking for priests of their church to be sent to them. Fathers Blanchet and Demers began their missionary labors in the Oregon country in 1838. Missions were established on the Cowlitz River and at St. Paul on French Prairie. At the latter place were settled numerous families, the men of which had been in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1840 came Father DeSmet and established missions in the Bitter Root and Coeur d'Alene country of Idaho, which was then a part of the Oregon country. The brick church built by Father Blanchet at St. Paul in the forties is still used as a place of worship, the Presbyterians have left Whitman College as a memorial of their missions in Oregon, while the Methodists established Willamette University, the oldest educational institution west of the Rocky Mountains.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman : op. cit. pp. 64-87 ; 99-107.
2. Johnson: op. cit. pp. 191-212.
3. Judson: op. cit. pp. 113-126.
4. Schafer : Pacific Northwest, pp. 115-126.
5. Horner : pp. 67-80.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: op. cit. II, pp. 534-538.
2. Bancroft: Hist, of Oregon, I, pp. 78-138; 184-225; 315-348.
3. Bashford: Oregon Missions (passim; use Index).
4. Lyman: History of Oregon, III, pp. 129-162; 419-426.
5. O'Hara: Pioneer Catholic History of Oregon (passim; use index).
30 HISTORY OF OREGON
In 1818 the United States and Great Britain entered into a treaty for the joint occupation of the Oregon country for a period of ten years. This treaty was renewed in 1827 with the proviso that either party to it might terminate it upon due notice to the other party. After its renewal there followed a long period during which the whole question lay dormant. Andrew Jackson was busy with other things. Yet many were interested in far-away Oregon, where a handful of trappers and traders, remnants of the Astor company and Wyeth's two expeditions, kept interest alive. President Jackson, who intensely disliked all things Spanish or Mexican, which was almost the same thing, desired to purchase northern California, and sent Slocum to look at the Pacific country. He came to Oregon in 1836, visited the Methodist missions, described the Willamette Valley, went to Fort Vancouver, where he was entertained by Dr. McLoughlin, and came to thoroughly realize the agricultural possibilities of Oregon. His report to the government stimulated emigration to Oregon. He talked to the settlers and advised them to procure more livestock. Accordingly, the Willamette Cattle Company was organized in 1837. Ewing Young, who came overland to Oregon from California in 1834, was selected by the settlers to go to California and bring back a band of Spanish cattle for the Oregon settlers. At Slocum's invitation Ewing Young and his associates went to California on the ship Loriot, on which Slocum was returning, and in the autumn of 1837 brought back about eight hundred head of cattle, which were distributed among the settlers, the Hudson's Bay Company taking a considerable number. From that day to this Ore-gdn has been increasingly a stock raising country.
As the people of the East and Mississippi Valley slowly realized the easy prosperity of Oregon, the "Oregon fever" infected them with the increasing desire to migrate westward. Slocum's report was printed, showing the agricultural possibilities of Oregon, and Congress renewed the discussion of the boundary question. Senator Linn of Missouri wanted to have a government established. The same year Jason Lee was in the East for reinforcement of the missions and his speeches and personality did much to awaken interest in the far west. Thomas J. Farnham and a small party crossed the Plains to Oregon, in 1839, and on his return published an account of his travels and described the country. Petitions and memorials from the American settlers in Oregon began to reach Congress. These indicated an appreciation on the part of their signers in Oregon of the part they were destined to play in our history. At one place they state: "We flatter ourselves that we are the germ of a great state." They foresaw the coming settlement of Oregon. Two considerations were actuating the people of Oregon to talk in this manner. They were talking to Congress. They wanted the protection of the United States and wanted to retain the lands they had taken up and begun to cultivate. Bills were introduced for the purpose, but could not be passed without violating the Joint Occupation Treaty of 1827 with Great Britain. The Oregon Provisional Emigration Society was organized to stimulate settlement, and at Lynn, Massachusetts, published a magazine called The Oregonian. It was short lived, and with its demise in 1839 came to an end these visionary schemes for the settlement of Oregon. Jason Lee had been busily engaged in getting together the company to reinforce the
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 31
missions. In 1839 he returned to Oregon on the ship "Lausanne" with some fifty people, who were scattered among the Methodist field. The Willamette Mission, which had been removed from Mission Bottom to the present site of Salem, now became, through the efforts of Lee, an American settlement, with hope of early American ascendency. Already were heard whispers concerning government. The American people have an instinct for politics. Once they began to plan for a government, the opposition of the French and the Hudson's Bay Company was ignored or outwitted.
Charles Wilkes, an American naval officer, visited Oregon in 1841, and rode through the settled portions of the country, conferring with the settlers and observing their activities, shipbuilding, the catching and packing of salmon at the falls of the Willamette River by the Hudson's Bay Company, farming on the French Prairie by the Canadians settled there, and the slowly forming nucleus of an American state around the mission of Jason Lee. Wilkes discouraged the plan for a government in Oregon because of the small number of Americans. He was probably too cautious. Before he had gone from Oregon, Fremont was in the region of the Rocky Mountains "pathfinding," and Dr. Elijah White was planning, with government support, the first immigration to Oregon.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman : op. cit. pp. 54-63.
2. Johnson: op. cit. pp. 213-220 (also 177-193).
3. Judson: op. cit. pp. 143-152.
4. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 105-141.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: Northwest Coast, II, 685-712.
2. Bancroft: Hist. of Oregon, I, pp. 1-26: 66-77: 154-183.
3. Lyman: op. cit. pp. 194-220; 229-231.
4. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 135-155.
5. Hough, Emerson: The Covered Wagon (a novel that gives vivid description of emigrant train along the Oregon Trail).
32 HISTORY OF OREGON
The arrival of Dr. Elijah White's company, constituting the first emigration overland to Oregon, more than doubled the American population in Oregon and gave that element a slight majority in the colony.
For a long time, several years, there had been a desire on the part of some for a government. The matter had run along without anything being done.
In the year 1841, Ewing Young, who came to Oregon with Hall Jackson Kelly, died, leaving property, but no heirs in Oregon. As there was no government, no disposition could be made of his estate in the manner in which all were familiar, namely, the probating of his estate, which required a judicial procedure. The few settlers who came together at the funeral were doubtless disturbed at this state of affairs. They, it is said, issued an invitation for a meeting to determine what should be done with the numerous cattle constituting Young's estate. On the 17th of February, 1841, the meeting was held. A committee was appointed to draw up an organic law and rules for their guidance on the following day. Dr. Babcock, of the Methodist Mission, was elected probate judge. Provision was also made for the appointment of a probate clerk, a recorder or keeper of the records, a sheriff and three constables. On the 15th of April, 1841, Dr. Babcock appointed an adminstrator or custodian for the estate of Ewing Young. This was probably the first official act of any American government west of the Rocky Mountains.
The committee appointed to draw up the organic act and laws did nothing. Father Blanchet, the chairman, declined to take any action, and when the second meeting was called in June, 1841, he resigned. The next meeting was set for October, 1841, when it was hoped that the committee would be ready with its report. Before the time of the meeting Lieutenant Wilkes visited Oregon, as we have seen, advised the American settlers and missionaries against the formation of any government and the October meeting was not held. A year elapsed. In the fall came into the valley the first immigration under the leadership of Dr. White, the newly appointed Indian subagent for Oregon. Was there need of further organization of government? This was the question. It was discussed during the winter. The politically minded began to search for opportunity to bring up the matter again.
In that day the prairies of Oregon were covered with wild grass, dense and several feet in height. These prairies covered a large portion of Marion county, where the settlements were located. There were no fences. Stock wandered away to feed and was soon lost to sight. Moreover, in this dense cover lurked the wild beasts of prey, the coyote, the timber wolf, the cougar or mountain lion, lynx and bear. Much stock was lost, especially to the wolves. Even to this day these fierce wild dogs yearly take a large toll of the farmers' sheep and cattle around the edges of the Willamette Valley. To make some provision for checking these depredations, the famous "wolf meeting" was called February 2, 1843, to meet at the Oregon Institute (Salem), on the second Monday in March, 1843. Here it was resolved to offer bounties for the extermination of wild animals of prey. After the ostensible purpose of the meeting had been carried out, a further resolution was offered to appoint a committee "to take into consideration the propriety of taking steps for the civil and military protection of the colony," which was duly carried.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 33
Was there need of further organization? Dr. McLoughlin and the Hudson's Bay Company were opposed. Father Blanchet, as the adviser of the French, now settled in considerable numbers on the Prairie, had withdrawn from active and open participation in the organization for the reason that he also was opposed to the plan. Lieutenant Wilkes of the United States Navy had been opposed. The Methodists, too, seem at first to have been opposed. When it came time for the meeting they generally favored the proposed plan.
Champoeg was a trading post on the Willamette some twenty miles above Oregon City and somewhat farther from the Methodist Mission at Chemeketa (Salem). It was near the center of the settlements in the valley. Thither on May 2, 1843, gathered a notable company of about one hundred men. Americans and French were in about equal numbers. What motives brought them together? How can we explain their votes? Is it not probable that many motives were appealed to for support? The French were almost unanimously opposed to any plan of organization. The same can not be said of the Americans. Many prominent and influential Americans were not present. How can we best explain their absence? Of those who came to the meeting we know but little concerning their views. Were they following the leaders? Did they vote to end the long domination of the Hudson's Bay Company? Were they voting as American patriots for an American plan of government? Did the religious element enter into their voting? These are some of the questions which need more light.
After some delay in counting the votes, it was ascertained that a little more than one-half of those present were in favor of the establishment of a provisional government. In order to understand clearly how these frontiersmen went about the task of organization the student should read again the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence for the theory of government therein contained. Like all others in American history, the Oregon provisional government was based upon "consent of the governed". It is this sanction, this compact, that makes it binding upon those who frame and ratify it.
Officers having been selected, the meeting adjourned to meet again on July 5. 1843, for the purpose of ratification.
On that date the people again assembled at Champoeg where the organization was "approved by the people." Oregon was divided into four districts called Twality, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Champoeg. The jurisdiction of the provisional government extended from forty-two degrees north latitude to the southern boundary of the Russian claims in latitude fifty-four degrees forty minutes north, and from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the summit of the Rocky Mountains on the east.
The formation of the provisional government probably greatly stimulated American
immigration to Oregon when the people realized that here was the kind of government
to whih they had been used. We know, too, that the ascendency of American ideals
and opinion growing rapidly from the day the provisional government was organized
had a deciding influence in settling the boundary dispute with Great Britain.
When the fall immigration arrived in 1843 some able men were added to the
little group of leaders in Oregon. Among these were Peter Hardman Burnett, who
afterwards went to California where he became
34 HISTORY OF OREGON
the first governor of that state; Jesse Applegate, who played a prominent part in putting the provisional government on a sound basis; J. W. Nesmith, afterwards Senator; Daniel Waldo and others.
There was great rejoicing and some dissatisfaction when the boundary was fixed in 1846. Affairs in Oregon went on smoothly until the Whitman massacre in the fall of 1847. A year later the United States government recognized Oregon by organizing it into a territory.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman: op. cit. pp. 88-98; 108-112; 121-125.
2. Johnson: op. cit. pp. 213-231.
3. Judson: op. cit. pp. 158; 250.
4. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 157-172.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: Hist. of Oregon, I, pp. 292-314; 425-445; 470-507.
2. Lyman: op. cit. Ill, pp. 233-314; 371-394.
3. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 155-172.
4. Clark: The Oregon Provisional Government (Univ. of Oregon Bulletin).
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 35
In preceding parts of this outline we have already discussed the events which formed the basis of the respective claims of Great Britain and the United States to the Oregon country. As we have seen, these were based upon discovery, exploration and settlement. There remains for our consideration the matter of the settlement of the over-lapping claims of these two countries to the territory involved.
Great Britain and the United States entered into a treaty on October 20, 1818, for the joint occupation of the Oregon country. This document also fixed forty-nine degrees north latitude as the boundary between the two countries from the Lake of the Woods to the Stony (Rocky) Mountains. This first joint occupation treaty was to remain in effect for a period of ten years, during which period the citizens of both nations might traffic in Oregon on equal terms.
By a treaty between the United States and Spain dated February 22, 1819, latitude forty-two degrees north was fixed as the boundary between American and Spanish claims on the Pacific. By this treaty the United States acquired the accrued claims of Spain to any territory north of forty-two. These Spanish claims were considerable, and were based upon discovery and exploration as we have seen in preceding parts of this outline.
Russia and the United States entered into a treaty, signed at St. Petersburg, April 17, 1824, fixing the southern boundary of the Russian claims on the Pacific at fifty-four degrees forty minutes north latitude, which henceforth became the northern boundary of Oregon. The next year Great Britain and Russia made a similar treaty, fixing the boundary at the same place.
Before the time for the Joint Occupation Treaty to expire, the signatories thereto on August 6, 1827, renewed the same, this time for an indefinite period, with the proviso, that either nation, that is to say, the United States or Great Britain, might terminate it upon giving certain notice to the other party.
On July 2, 1821, the English parliament passed an act for the regulation of the "fur trade and establishing a criminal jurisdiction within certain parts of North America." The statute 43 Geo. III, establishing civil and criminal jurisdiction in parts of Canada, was by this act "extended over the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company in Oregon." It would thus appear that England, more than twenty years before the organization of the Provisional Government at Champoeg, attempted to provide law for the civil and criminal jurisdiction of Oregon. Such law, however, was intended only for her own subjects. George Canning, British minister of foreign affairs, wanted the Columbia river from its mouth up to latitude forty-nine degrees north as the boundary between the two countries. Negotiations were carried on for the settlement of the dispute in 1824, and 1826-27, but Great Britain would not give way to American demands for 49 degrees, and so no boundary could be arranged.
The visit of Lieutenant Wilkes has already been mentioned. On his return east, he made a report to the government in which he described the Oregon country, emphasized the importance of harbors on Puget
36 HISTORY OF OREGON
Sound, and contended that the United States should have the whole territory. This report came at an opportune time and greatly strengthened the determination of the country to hold fast.
In the meantime, after Wilkes' departure in 1841, Americans began to pour into Oregon. Each year, as we have seen, the number of immigrants increased. In 1843 came the vote of the settlers, expressing American preference. The Oregon question which had lain more or loss dormant in Congress, despite the efforts of Senators Linn and Benton and others to secure legislation on it, was suddenly revived in the presidential campaign of 1844, when the platform of the Democratic party contained planks on Oregon; during the campaign "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" became the rallying cry. That is to say, the Democratic leaders proposed to establish fifty-four degrees and forty minutes north latitude as the boundary between the United States and Canada, or go to war about it. We have long since learned, however, that political platforms and campaign slogans do not always mean what they say, and it is doubtful if the two countries would have gone to war over the Oregon boundary. There is no evidence that Great Britain receded from Canning's position on account of Polk's election. Doubtless the determining factor was the unprecedented rapidity with which American settlers were arriving in the Far West. Great Britain pursued a pacific policy and sent some of her ablest statesmen to attempt a settlement. Sir George Simpson, head or governor of the Hudson's Bay Company during his visit to Oregon, had seen but few Americans. They began to arrive the same year that Sir George returned to England. British statesmen did not believe that Oregon would be settled for a long time. The country lay three thousand miles away from the American frontier. The Rocky Mountains were thought to be an impassable barrier. Meanwhile, in Oregon, had occurred a significant event, one which did as much to enhance American as it did to diminish British prestige. On the 15th of August, 1844, the British monopoly, the Hudson's Bay Company, by agreement came under the protection of and recognized the Provisional Government. Learning something of all these events, Britain sent a warship to Puget Sound for the purpose of ascertaining the true state of affairs in Oregon. Lieutenant Peel visited Fort Vancouver and the American settlements in the Willamette Valley, He returned to England and reported "the dominance of the Americans in political matters, the extent of their settlements southward, the fact that they had penetrated to Puget Sound in the north, the feeling of helplessness on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company," and other matters. Great Britain receded from Canning's position and proposed the present boundary. This was formulated in the treaty which was ratified by the United States senate, June 15, 1846. Three years later Oregon became a territory.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Johnson: pp. 155-163; 170-193; 263-277.
2. Judson: pp. 143-l66.
3. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 173-185 (also 88.)
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: Hist. Oregon, I, pp. 573-599.
2. Lyman: III, pp. 343-370; 427-442.
3. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 167-172.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 37
As we have already noted, the Presbyterian Mission at Waiilatpu, near Walla Walla, was established by Dr. Marcus Whitman in 1836. A little later other missions were established further north. All of these stations were out of the route of travel to Oregon, settlers coming down the Columbia river passing to the south of them. Hence, while Oregon continued to grow these missions of the interior remained mere outposts of civilization, surrounded by a savage country and a savage people. Finally the board of missions in Boston ordered them closed. It was late in the year 1842 when the news of this great discouragement reached Dr. Whitman, and despite the nearness of winter, with one companion he set out for the east to persuade the board to continue the mission work. Hurrying on through deep snows of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains, it was spring before he reached civilization. The Presbyterian board relented and Dr. Whitman retained his missions. Reinforcements were to be sent out and the doctor hurried on to Washington to induce the government to aid the emigrants to Oregon by sending troops to guard their travel and building forts along the Oregon Trail. He returned to Oregon with the immigration of 1843.
Meanwhile the Indians in the Walla Walla country, a strong and vigorous tribe, called the Cayuses, were growing restive. The beginning of their discontent is somewhat difficult to ascertain. From the time of Dr. Whitman's return with the large immigration of 1843, he was gradually losing control over them. The Indians did not want the country settled by the whites. Somehow they associated the trains of immigrants, which grew larger year by year, with the doctor's visit to the east. Each year as autumn came on the Cayuse country was filled with an unending train of white men, occupying the Indian land. Too, the Cayuses were quick to discern the bitter rivalry which existed between the Presbyterian missionaries and the Catholics who had followed them into that field. The immigrants of 1847 were infected with measles, not a serious disease to the white man, but a deadly one to the Indian, owing to his manner of living and the kind of treatment used. All primitive peoples use the same treatment for many ailments. This was so with the Cayuses. They had recourse to their sweat houses. These were low structures, usually consisting of a few sticks over which the Indian could spread his blankets. Inside were placed several heated stones, which raised the temperature within to a high degree. Into this house the sick Indian entered. Water was sprinkled on the heated stones, so that great quantities of steam were produced. When the patient was in profuse perspiration he emerged quickly and running to the bank of the stream, on which the sweat houses were invariably located, he plunged into the icy water. This process was kill or cure, and was repeated until the patient was convalescent or dead. With a malady like the measles the mortality was very high. Scores of the Cayuses died while the whites recovered. Doctor Whitman ministered alike unto both races. The Indians could not but observe that whereas the whites, mostly children, recovered and went on west to occupy more and more of the Indian land, but few Indians regained their normal health. Soon, they must have reasoned, there would be no Indians at all, and the land would be filled with the white men.
38 HISTORY OF OREGON
There is a great deal about the Whitman Massacre that we do not understand yet, but somewhere in this maze of intricacies the Cayuse determined upon the death of Doctor Whitman and the members of his mission. On November 29, 1847, without warning the mission at Waiilatpu was attacked, and nine people, including Mrs. Whitman, were murdered. Josiah Osborn escaped with his wife and infant child by taking up the boards of the floor and hiding under the house, making their escape from the mission at night. Many, including several women, were carried away by the savages and treated with indescribable cruelty. Through the efforts of Peter Skeen Ogden; of the Hudson's Bay Company, the survivors were rescued from the Indians and brought down to the valley.
There was great excitement in the Willamette when the news of the massacre was received. Immediately there was a call to arms. Every man who could leave his family hastened to Oregon City where the First Oregon Volunteer Infantry was quickly recruited, supplies were secured from the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver, and a punitive expedition sent against the Cayuses with orders from the provisional government to arrest the murderers and bring them down to the valley for trial. The culprits, with their friends, fled hither and thither. Battles were fought. It was difficult to follow the flight of the murderers, who were shielded by their friends. At last it was agreed that certain Indians were to be given up on receiving assurances of a fair trial. These were brought down to Oregon City where the District Court of the United States for the Territory of Oregon had its seat. A grand jury was duly impanelled, which returned indictments against the Whitman murderers, counsel was appointed for them, they were tried before a jury, found guilty and hanged.
There is some evidence that the Cayuses, in order to draw off the expedition sent against them, attempted to stir up the Indians in the Willamette Valley to attack the settlements when most of the able bodied men were east of the mountains. Early in March, 1848, two Cayuse scouts appeared at the encampment of the Klamath and Molallas on the Abiqua river in Marion county and sought to stir them up to attack the settlements. In this they were unsuccessful. The settlers were alarmed, however, and demanded that the Klamaths return to their own country. This they refused to do until properly chastised. This closed the Indian troubles until the breaking out of the Yakima Indian War in 1855.
Pupil's List of Books:
1. Chapman: pp. 131-136.
2. Johnson: pp. 299-306.
3. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 191-196.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: Hist. of Oregon, I, pp. 700-754.
2. Lyman: IV, pp. 41-64.
3. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 177-180.
4. Victor: Early Indian Wars of Oregon, pp. 1-266.
A TEACHERS' OUTLINE 39
The administration of President James K. Polk was a period of great national expansion. Texas was admitted to the Union on issues made in the campaign in which he was elected. California and other parts of the southwest became American during his term of office, and lastly the Oregon boundary was settled in conformity with American desires. In 1848, Congress by legislation organized the territory of Oregon and President Polk appointed Joseph Lane of Indiana as governor. Early in 1849 he arrived in Oregon, and the territorial government was put into operation.
In that same year gold sent many settlers of Oregon to California, where the precious metal had been found the year before near the present site of Sacramento. So many people arrived in California from all over the world that the next year, 1850, that state was admitted to the Union,
Oregon, too, during this period was rapidly filling with population. With the growth of numbers the institutions of civilization appeared. The missionaries gave way to the efforts of organized churches. Today in many parts of western Oregon are to be seen the deserted edifices which were in pioneer days the homes of prosperous and influential rural churches. With the movement of population toward the cities grew up academies and colleges of pioneer times. Willamette and Pacific Universities were early in the field of higher education. Eastern and southern Oregon began settlements. The common schools generally were organized in Oregon about 1854. The even tenor of the times was broken a few times by Indian outbreaks. After the chastisement of the Cayuses, the savages were quiet until the outbreak of the Yakima and Rogue River Indian wars in 1855-56. The former war was fought in what is now the state of Washington. The troops engaged were drawn very largely from the settlers in Oregon. The Rogue River trouble had been a persistent one from the earliest days of Oregon history. Even the Hudson's Bay Company, with all its consideration for the Indians, had serious altercations with these tribes. All white men who had traveled through their country had considered them well named. After these wars the most serious of Indian troubles occurred in the seventies, in the Modoc war, during which many troops were killed and victory and leadership often lay with the savages.
During the period from 1849-1859, material well-being and progress were the leading characteristics of the times. Agriculture and stock-raising became the principal pursuits in the Willamette Valley. Many stockmen drove large herds of cattle to the grass ranges of eastern Oregon. Sheep raising, which called for much range, also thrived there. Wheat raising became the farmers' chief reliance. Land was rapidly cleared and more substantial houses were erected. Already there was talk of railroads, and the Oregon legislature granted charters to railroad companies.
Slavery, while it did not come to be a leading issue in Oregon politics, nevertheless was the cause of party alignment. Before the organization of the Republican party in Oregon in 1856, the anti-slavery elements were found among the Whigs, a few Democrats and perhaps here and there a Free Soiler, but chiefly among the Know-Nothing, or American Party. This was largely an anti-slavery party, although its earlier
40 HISTORY OF OREGON
platforms had made no mention of slavery and it had drawn its adherents from the South as well as from the North. After the organization and declaration of principles of the Republican party at Philadelphia, in 1856, all the anti-slavery elements in politics in Oregon were drawn into the new party. The people of Oregon from the organization of the provisional government, the charter of which had contained an expression against slavery drawn from the Ordinance of 1787, were opposed to slavery, although a large part of the population of the territory came originally from southern states, especially Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. When finally the question of slavery was submitted to the people of Oregon, under the doctrine of "squatter sovereignty" of Stephen A. Douglas, the vote was decisively negative.
The first bill in Congress to admit Oregon to the Union was presented by Joseph Lane, formerly governor, who resigned to become Oregon's delegate in the national legislature. But the slavery question was the main topic of discussion in Congress and for a time Oregon received little consideration. Finally the Oregon territorial legislature passed a bill authorizing the calling of a constitutional convention to frame a constitution for Oregon without waiting for the sanction of Congress. This body met at Salem and drafted the organic law, which was submitted to and approved by the people at the November election, 1857. Next year the constitution went into effect, but it was not until February 14, 1859, that Congress finally admitted Oregon as one of the states of the Union.
Pupils' List of Books:
1. Chapman: op. cit. pp. 137-153.
2. Johnson: op. cit. pp. 278-287; (287-291) 292-294.
3. Schafer: Pacific Northwest, pp. 207-218.
Teachers' Supplementary List:
1. Bancroft: Hist. of Oregon, I, pp. 755-783.
2. Lyman: op. cit. IV, pp. 92-108; 248-251.
3. Schafer: Pacific Slope and Alaska, pp. 333-335.