Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Oregon. Our right and title, containing an account of the condition of the Oregon territory, its soil,… Oregon. Our right and title, containing an account of the condition of the Oregon territory, its soil, climate, and geographical position; together with a statement of the claims of Russia, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States; accompanied with a map, prepared by the author 1846

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0308171.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0308171-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0308171-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0308171-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0308171-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0308171-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0308171-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

     OREGON.  J
united states;    If
or tiruinu.
How. R. J. WALKER,
Stertlmnj of Vu Trtmvry.
The " Oregon Question," within the lost few years, has engrossed
much of the public attention; feuds and parties have been blended, and
it has been regarded as a question altogether disconnected from politics;
as having nothing to do in its results with the constitutional policy and
philosophy of our system of Government, but as a matter touching the'
national good; and, as such, it has been regarded and discussed by all
classes and conditions of men.
This work has been published with a view to create no unnecessary
or undue excitement respecting the maintenance of our rights as a people to this territory, but because of a sincere desire to see it properly
appreciated and adjusted, and its history, as far back as it can be traced,
read and known everywhere. In the preparation of this work, the
author has carefully avoided using any but the plainest language in the
expression of his views; he has availed himself freely of the records of
Congress in the collection of important facts and statistical data, shunning all ambiguities and technicalities, and addressing himself to the
understandings of the learned as well as the unlearned. The subject
has been discussed with moderation as well as firmness, doing no act to
provoke, and sedulously abstaining from even the appearance of disregarding the obligation of treaties. We have endeavored to condense,
into as small a space as possible, the grounds, both of fact and of public
law, upon which we rest our rights; but, in doing so, we have striven
to omit nothing material to the investigation.
It may be observed, by those who are conversant with this question,
that no attention whatever has been paid to what is commonly called
the "French Title" merely because it has been esteemed by the author
as unworthy of consideration, in comparison with the claims of other
nations who have been for years warmly contending for their rights; in
the appendix, however, as proposed by a committee of Congress, in
1843, which we subjoin, there is a careful deduction Of it, which may
be read with some pleasure by the more curious.  I
Chapter. P»f*-
I...Our right and title, together with a statement of British
» claims ......        §
II...What has been done to maintain our title • •       25
Interesting letter from Mr. Hugh Bumet, Multnomah
city, Oregon Territory, October 29,1814      -        •-       30
III...What is the progress of British pretensions to Oregon     •       34
IV...What has the United States done to protect her settlers       63
V...The value and importance of Oregon to the United
States - - - - -       75
Cost of necessaries in Oregon compared with the charges
in the States ......       78
Resolutions of the Oregon Emigrating Society  • .83
Letter from Wallamette, Oregon, dated Nov. 4,1844   -       86
System of religious teaching in Oregon—its success       -       99
VI...Capacities for trade and commerce        ...      101
Difficulties in removing slaves to Oregon * *     111
Contiguity of important markets to Oregon       - 114
Letter from Gen. McCarver, Speaker of the Lower
House of Oregon      • • • - -     115
Rivers of Oregon - - • • -.   124
• Indian" west of the Rocky Mountains—their number    •   • 129
Oregon question in the House of Lords—Mitchell's map     131
VII...Shall Oregon be surrendeied to Great Britain   • •     134
Review of Captain Fremont's report     • - •     142
Great Salt Lake and Boiling Spring     ...     146
Discovery of Nootka Sound attributed to Captain Cook     154
Sketch from the "log-book of the Columbia," determining the discovery of the Columbia
Mr. Jefferson's instructions to Lewis and Clark, during
the negotiation of 1803—their disregard of the instructions »..--• -^
The convention ot 1790 not annulled by the war of 1804
Haceta's account while cruising on the coast of the Pa*
cific ...--••
Mr. Benton's speech in the Senate, January 12,1843  « ii
Til...Table of distance* from Independence, Missouri, to the
intermediate points between that town aad Astoria, at
the mouth of the Columbia river       • •
Tnblo of distances travelled by Captain Fremont in L843
and 1844       - "•"
The source from whence Oregon derived its nrune    „   r
VIII...Review of tlie Late correspondence between die American
. and British negotiators . . . .
Appendix, containing diplomnua correspondence, treaties, and ncgotiaLions between Ru*iia, Spain, Great
Britain, and the United States, m contained in the
work of Lieutenant Wilkes    -
;   IT'J
From the haute with which the foregoing work has been hurried through the press, to
meet the demand of the public, a number of errors have been overlooked, which, in the
present edition, can be corrected in no other way than by this final notice. The erroneous
dates resulted chiefly from want of sufficient time to refer to the manuscipt in reading the
proof-sheets, and the occasional mistakes of expression are chargeable entirely to the haste
of composition.
For the words, "while she dared not openly deny to Spain the rights of her Pacific discoveries," commencing on the 13th line of the 8th page, read, in flagrant violation of tit.
jaws of humanity, and of the rights of Spain to her Pacific discoveries.
Page 9,3d line, for " his vessel," read the rietr.
For the date " 1581," occurring twice on the 20th line of the 10th page, read 1593.
For the words, "returned to Mexico," on the 37th line of the 10th page, read, sailed
again into the Pacific, at its northern outlet, in 1518, and then returned to Mexico.
For "1780," on the 7th line of the 13th page, read 1789.
For "1775," occurring twice on the line 34th of page 17, read 1795.
For "61°" on the 14th line of page 18, read 51°.
For the word, "Canada," on the 28th line of :he 2£d page, read British America."
For the "whole territory," on the 7 th line of page 23, read, the greater portion of the territory. •
For the word, "all," on the 5th line of the 24th poge, read, met of them.
In the first page of Appendix, in the bead, for " Lieutenant George Wilkes," rend Lit*
Itnml Christ WVku.  OREGON.
Our Right and Title.
The " Oregon Question," in importance, is second to
none before the American people. Its bearing upon our
agricultural and commercial relations, in view of our vast
and growing population, which is extending itself with a
rapidity unequalled by that of any nation on earth, renders
it necessary that every part of our continent should be
peopled, so that the march of improvement may be accelerated, and an impetus given to those engines of power to
which a nation looks for its advancement in prosperity.
The sovereignty of Oregon has been contested by no less
than five of the principal nations of the earth, each of them
presenting their claims at different epochs and under different circumstances; it should be considered, therefore,
with all that calmness and prudence which is necessary to
a subject so interesting and momentous, and which may
yet possibly disturb the harmony of at least two large and
powerful Governments. In proportion as a country increases in its manufacturing interests, and in agricultural
and commercial strength, scope should be given to the
laboring classes in their industrial pursuits, so that every
requisite and ingredient may be furnished to a consummation of these ends. All political economists concur in
opinion, that labor should be confined as little as possible;
it should be extended every where, so that all may share
in its fruits and blessings, and reap a portion of its many * ORROOX.
reward-; hence the propriety of establishing owr own people in those sections of country, where they are furnished
with the means and advantages of carrying on their operations successfully, and of introducing new designs where
they can be exerted most profitably and beneficially.
The course recently pursued by the British Parliament,
respecting the claims of Great Britain to the territory of
Oregon, has excited the surprise of the American people.
It was supposed, in this country, that the subject would
never again be introduced in Great Britain, under circumstances so aggravating; that there was a general understanding there, as well as here, under the treaty of 1827,
and that the controversy which has so long existed would,
in a great measure, yield to compromise and negotiation.
But it appears that the leading men of that country have
determined to make it a "mooted point," and to settle it
by their cunning diplomacy and strong appeals as they see
fit; inducing us to believe, (as though we had not all the
facts and statistics connected with the subject, from the
day of the discovery of Oregon to the present time,) that
they have a right to claim it by cession, and that the laws
and usages of nations justify and sustain them in the demand.
The unjust and illiberal assaults of England upon the
rights and property of smaller and weaker powers, prove
her character at once—her boundless ambition, and her inordinate desire to extend her territorial dominions throughout the habitable globe. She is sleepless in her vigilance,
artful and designing in her legislation, and courageous in
her threats and declarations. View her history, from its
earliest dawn to the present time; see the long catalogue
of abuses that have characterized it throughout all its varied
stages, and the conclusion is inevitable, that she has often
wantonly and knowingly violated the laws of nations, spurn- OREO 0 M.
ing an adherence to principles of rectitude and of mercy,and
following the dictates of a cruel, vindictive, and relentless
spirit. She is now, without the least pretence or authority
whatever, attempting to alarm the American people with
fierce threats and empty boasts, stimulating her Premier
with flattery and applause, and urging him, as her actor
and agent, to affirm in her councils that Oregon is hers by
right, and that the title thereof is "clear and unquestionable."
We beg leave to discuss this subject in a becoming manner; proving, as we mean to do, by an introduction of irrefutable facts, and substantial and reliable evidence, that
Great Britain, in view of the cession by Spain, and other
cessions, has no right or title whatever to this territory;
as far as the parallel of 49°; that her claims, in comparison
with those of the United States, are nugatory and trifling,
" founded upon the sand;" and that her demand is a gross
assumption of power, unauthorized by the law of nations,
and inconsistent with plain facts which have been published
to the world. Four great powers have set forth their claims
to this territory—Spain, Russia, Great Britain, and the
United States, and at one time France, have each, under
different and conflicting circumstances, claimed, if not all,
a considerable portion of the Oregon. The claims of Spain
have been finally surrendered to this country; those of
Russia have been adjusted by ceding to her the exclusive
right of settlement within ten leagues of the sea, in north
latitude 54° 40, and the controversy for what remains is
between Great Britain and the United States.
It is necessary, in the outset, to define the issue between
-Great Britain and ourselves. It is not a question of positive, but of relative, right; not whether either party have
exclusive control, for the course that has been already
pursued clearly proves by each that the other is entitled 8
to certain rights, but it is the limit mti <xtent of these
rights that is in dispute, and which has given rise to so
much investigation in this country and in England.
The territory in question is the whole country west of
the Rocky Mountains, lying between the latitudes of 42°
and 54° 40 north, consequently bounded by the Rocky
Mountains on the east, the Pacific ocean on the west, and
the northern limits of California, in latitude 42°, on the
south, and the southern limits of the Russian possessions
in America, in latitude 54° 40», on the north—thus extending 750 miles from north to south, and averaging about 500
miles from east to west, including somo 300,000 square
miles. The mouth of the Columbia river lies a few miles
north of this parallel of latitude; in its course it receives
many tributary streams, both from the north and south,
and about 300 miles from its mouth is divided into two
large branches, one tending towards the northeast, and the
other southeast; the former extending nearly to the base
of the Rocky Mountains, and the other quite to its southern boundary; thus draining all the interior of the country.
and a considerable portion of that lying nearer the sea.
The entrance to the strait of Juan de Fuca is in latitude
49° 30, on the southwestern side of Quadra and Vancouver's Island. If these facts are kept in mind, frequent repetition may be omitted.
We shall discuss this subject, in order that it may be
more perfectly and clearly understood, under five separate
divisions or heads, vis: 1st Our Title. Mly. What has
been done to maintain this title? 3dly. What is the progress of British pretensions to Oregon? 4thly. What has
the United States done to protect her settlers ? 5thly. The
value and importance of Oregon.
1st. Our Title.—The claims of the United States are
briefly these: Robert G
ray, esq., of Boston, Massachusetts, OREGON. 9
in 1792, in the ship Columbia, first discovered the mouth
of the great river of Oregon; he arrived on the morning of
the 17th of May, and named his vessel the "Columbia."
In 1804 Lewis and Clark, in an expedition approved and recommended by Mr. Jefferson, explored this river, giving its
coast and tributaries a careful examination, from its source
to the Pacific ocean, and took possession, which no one pretended at that time to deny, claiming and calling it a part of
the United States. Some time afterwards, in 1810, we
think, John Jacob Astor, of the city of New York, sent a
colony over by the ship Tonquin, the unfortunate history
of which is familiar to all, which arrived at the mouth of
the Columbia in March, 1811, and founded several large
establishments in the territory. These were the first set'
tlements that were made, the first step taken to civilize the
country, which is a strong ground of our present claim
under the law of nations. Previous to this, all subsequent
history proves that no civilized man ever inhabited the coast
of the country, or that which is contiguous, except a few
scattered Indians. In the last war it so happened that
these posts, those established by the colony, were taken
possession of by the British, but were afterwards fully surrendered by the treaty of Ghent to the United States, unconditionally, and the validity of the title was duly acknowledged by Great Britain in 1814, in the following terms:
"That all territory, places, and possessions, whatever,
taken by either party from the other during or after the
war, except certain islands in the Atlantic, claimed by both,
should be restored without delay." Astoria, under this
agreement, was in due form delivered by the British authorities to Mr. Prevost, appointed by the United States as
agent to receive it.   The act of delivery is as follows:
" In obedience to the commands of his royal highness,
the Prince Regent, signified in a despatch from the right 10
0 R K 0 0 N .
honorable the Earl of Bathurst, addressed to the partners
or agents of the Northwest Company, bearing date the 27th
of January, 1818, and in obedience to a subsequent order,
dated the 26th of July, from W. H. Sheriff, esq., captain
of his Majesty's ship Andromache, we, the undersigned,
do, in conformity to the 1st article of the treaty of Ghent,
restore to the Government of the United States, through
its agent I. B. Prevost, esq., the settlement of Fort George,
on the Columbia river. Given under our hands, in triplicate, at Fort George, Columbia river, this 0th day of October, 1818.
Captain of H. M. §hip Blossom.
Of the Northwest Company.™
Acceptance from Mr. Prevost:
"I do hereby acknowledge to have this day received, in
behalf of the Government of the United States, the pos.
session of the settlement designated above, in conformity
to the first article of the treaty of Ghent. Given under my
hand, in triplicate, at Fort George, Columbia river, this 6th
day of October, 1818.
Agent for ike United States.71
It appears from this transfer that Astoria is designated
as Fort George, from the fact that it was so called from
the time of striking the American and hoisting the British
flag, by Captain Black, of the ship Raccoon.   This resto
ration of Astoria, or Fort George, is another powerful rea
son in the support of our tide, which is founded on prior-
tty and contiguity; the former of which rights is established as a plain broad principle by all of the first diplomatists
of the world. In Vattel, p. 99, sec. 207, we find the following language touching this point: O It E G O N . 11
" All mankind have an equal right to things that have
not yet fallen into the possession of any one; and these
things belong to the person who first takes possession of
them. When, therefore, a nation finds a country uninhabited, and without an owner, it may lawfully take possession
of it; and after it has sufficiently made known its will in
this respect, it cannot be deprived of it by another nation.
Thus, navigators going on voyages of discovery, furnished
with a commission from their sovereign, and meeting with
islands or other lands in a desert state, have taken possession of them in the name of their nation; and this title has
been usually respected, provided it was soon after followed by a real possession."
Again, chap, xviii, book 1, Vattcl says: "When a nation
takes possession of a country to which no prior owner can
lay claim, it is considered as acquiring the empire, or sovereignty of it, at the same time with the domain. For since
the nation is free and independent, it can have no intention
in settling in a country, to leave to others the right of commerce, or any of those rights that constitute sovereignty.
The whole space over which a nation extends its government becomes the seat of its jurisdiction, and is called its
Here we find the language used by Vattel plain and emphatic, and applying directly to the point in issue. This
territory, all admit, had " not fallen into the power of any
one." No nation had extended its jurisdiction over it; it
was uninhabited, save by savage tribes of Indians; and the
navigators, Lewis and Clark, who made the voyage,
were fully empowered by this Government, and were commissioned as its lawful agents; therefore, according to the
principle laid down by Vattel, the American people, being
free and independent, they may be considered as having
first acquired the empire of this territory, and at the same «n OREGON
time the domain. There was anattempt made at London,in
1818 by Messrs. Rush and Gallatin, commissioners on the
part 'of the United States, and Messrs. Golburn and Robinson, on the part of England to close the negotiation.
The parallel of 490 was agreed upon by said commissioners as the boundary line from the Lake of the Woods to
the Rocky Mountains. A proposition was afterwards
made by Messrs. Rush and Gallatin, to extend the same to
the Pacific ocean; this was positively declined by the British commissioners, and the negotiation snpon this point
ended in the following stipulation, which is the 3d article
of the convention of 1818:
" It is agreed, that any country that may be claimed by
either party on the northwest coast of America, westward
of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its harbors,
bays, and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within
the same, be free and open for the term often years, from
the date of the signature of the present convention, to the
vessels, citizens, and subjects of the two powers; it being
well understood that this agreement is not to be construed
to the prejudice of any claim which either of the two high
contracting parties may have to any part of the said country ; the only object of the high contracting parties, in that
respect, being to prevent disputes and differences among
The Florida treaty, between Spain and the United
States, was concluded in 1819. The 3d article cedes to
the United States all claims and pretensions to any territory upon the western coast of America, north of latitude
42°. By a convention between Russia and the United
States, signed at St Petersburg in 1824, the latitude of
54 40 was settled as the boundary, controlling the right
of making settlements, between the territory claimed by
the contracting parties upon the northwest coast of the
American continent.   The understanding respecting the OREO OK. 13
rights of Spain was positive. The country west of the
Rocky Mountains, between the parallels of 42° and 54°
40, were reduced to two, viz: the United States and Great
Britain. It seems, however, that prior to the convention
with Russia in 1824, there was an attempt made by a
number of. individuals to settle the claims of the three
powers—Great Britain, Russia, and the United States.
A negotiation, after a long dispute and great difficulty,
was attempted; but such was the diversity of opinion, and
the opposition coming from all quarters, respecting the
mode of adjustment, and the means to be employed to
effect it, so as to meet with the sanction and approval of
said parties, that the undertaking was abandoned, though
very reluctantly, by its friends. Each country knowing
best its own interests, concluded to negotiate in their own
way. This could not be objected to, for there were jealousies then existing that could not be removed, save by
the arbitration of the friends of the parties themselves.
Another attempt was made, however, in London, in 1824,
by Mr. Rush, representing the United States, and Messrs.
Huskisson and Canning, in behalf of Great Britain; many
opportunities were sought to settle the controversy amicably, if possible, each setting forth statements and arguments according to their own views; this failed also, and
may be attributed to the great excitement prevailing throughout Europe, at the declaration made by Mr. Monroe, in his
message to Congress in 1823—"that henceforth the American continents are not to be considered as subjects for
colonization by any European powers." A negotiation was
again attempted at London, in 1826, between Mr. Gallatin,
of the United States, and Messrs. Huskisson and Adding
ton, of Great Britain. Strong fears were entertained that
it would result as did those which preceded it. Many
months was the matter pending, when in August, 1827, to j4 OR BOON.
the surprise of the people of both countries, Pearly
our own, an agreement was made to continue the third
article of the Convention of ^^indefinitely, either party
being at liberty to abrogate or annul it," by giving twelve
months notice to the other party at any time after the 26th
of October, 1828, when the Convention would expire by
its own limitation.   During the different negotiations that
were proposed, we have at all times agreed upon the parallel of 49° to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, as the
boundary between the territories of Great Britain and the
United States, west of the Rocky Mountains; this they
would never consent to, though perfectly just and fair, but
expressed their willingness to take this boundary across the
mountains, until it intersected the upper branch of the Columbia; thence to continue the boundary line along the
middle of this branch to the main stream, and down that
to the Pacific Ocean; the United States to possess all
south and east, and Great Britain all north and west of it.
The river was to be open of course to the vessels of both
countries which might pass at any time without the fear of
molestation.   After the American Commissioners received
this proposal, and not knowing whether it would bo
approved in America, they waited before making their reply, until they could learn the opinions of the first men of
our country, and the voice of the people generally.    As
soonasitjwas ascertained in England, that America would
not consent to the terms proposed, that they were considered selfish, unjust, and unfair, Mr. Gallatin offered the following: "that if the said line, the parallel of 49°, should
cross any of the branches of the Columbia, at points from
winch they are navigable for boats to the main stream the
navigationofsuch branches and of the main stream, should
tions^T? y ^ ^ C°mm0Q to thc Pe°P,c of both nations.     This proposition, though reasonable in all its fea- OREGON.
tures, was rejected peremptorily by the British Commissioners, who, after great reluctance, consented to yield to
the United States the whole territory lying north of the
Columbia, as far as the straits of Juan de Fuca, and east
from the Pacific to Admiralty Inlet. The British have always contended for the free navigation of the Columbia,
from its mouth to 49° of latitude, and upon this point the
negotiation has hitherto failed. The United States have ever been unyielding, claiming the exclusive possession south
of 49°, and offering to Great Britain, conditionally, a. right
to navigate a part of the Columbia within that limit. She
has never contended for the absolute and exclusive right
of Oregon, for such a demand would be utterly absurd, but
only for that part of it which is not already occupied, only
for that which is ceded to her by the third article of the
Convention of 1818. She has been perfectly willing to relinquish a part of these claims, and we have insisted upon
her relinquishing the whole. The grounds upon which we
base our claims are thus briefly summed up in our able
treaties on this question for Congress in 1840. " The first
discovery and entrance into the Columbia by Captain Gray,
in 1792—the first exploration from its source to its mouth
by Lewis and Clark, in 1805—the first settlement upon any
portion of its borders made by Mr. Astor's party at Astoria,
in 1811—the unconditional restoration of this part, which
was captured by Great Britain during the war, and restored
under the first article of the treaty of Ghent, thereby vir.
tually recognising the territorial right of the United States
under the Florida treaty in 1819 of all the titles of Spain,
which titles were derived from the discovery and exploration of the regions in question by Spanish navigators, before they had been seen by the people of any other civilized nation; and lastly, upon the ground of contiguity, we
already possessing the territory up to the eastern boun-* 16
dary " Having, we think, clearly shown from facts taken
from public records that our right and title to this territory
is beyond question, inasmuch as we claim it from cessions
and negotiations made between different countries, particularly from cessions made by Spain and Great Britain during
times of peace, we shall proceed to examine the claims of
Great Britain after the introduction of additional facts
touching the title of the United States. It is acknowledged by all, we believe, that the Spaniards ceded to us
all their territorial rights between the northern boundary of
new Mexico, and the southern boundary of the Russian
possessions; at the time that the surrender was made, strong
fears were entertained by the Spanish government, that
possibly necessity would compel them in some future day
to yield to Great Britain, when they were bitterly opposed
to their laws and political institutions, and to the general
character and spirit of the people; but they surrendered
their claims to the United States, and France did likewise.
If this be true, and if either of these countries possessed
territorial rights, and had the power to make what disposition of them they pleased under the law of nations, these
rights are now possessed by the United States, and can be
claimed by no other power. What was the state of affairs
about the time of the settlement of the English North
American Colonies ? The royal patents to these colonies
extended westward, even to the Pacific Ocean, and if the
British government ever had any right over the region west
of the Mississippi, that right was fully transferred to the
United States by the treaty of 1783, and therefore precluded, or in a legal phrase, estopped their making any claim
to the country at this late day. After the peace of Aix La
Chapelle, in 1748, the French government extended their
sk^rT! ^ the,VaUey °f *• MississWi> on the east
side of that nver, and along tiie Illinois, and alone the Ohio OREGON. 17
up" to Pittsburg, where they built Fort du Quesne.   The
British government became greatly incensed, and complained of these settlements as encroachments, declaring
that the whole French territory was on the west of the
Mississippi, and that they were assuming rights which they
had no right to claim.   The whole country was thrown
into disturbance, an angry dispute arose as to the means
which had best be adopted to put an end to these aggressions, which resulted in the war of 1756, called in Europe
"the seven years war" and ii the United States," the old
Frenchwar,n signalized by Braddock's defeat by the French
and Indians, and the capture of Fort du Quesne by the
British, which they afterwards called Fort Pitt; and also
by the British conquest of Canada. By the treaty of Paris
of 1763, (the termination of this war,) the French surrendered to the British the Canadas, and all the territory east
of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio; and by the same
treaty the British relinquished to the French all right to
. the country west of the Mississippi.   This unquestionably
confirmed the right of the French to Louisiana, extending
to latitude 58° 30 north, and indefinitely west; and every
inch of this was ceded by France to the United States, by
the treaty of 1813.   No one pretended to deny the right
of France to make this cession, and the transfer was considered clear and indisputable.   The British patents certainly did extend to the North American colonies; if so,
the treaty of Paris, of 1783, gave Oregon to the United
States beyond the possibility of doubt.  Grant, for the sake
of argument, that these patents did not. extend beyond the
Mississippi—that they were strictly confined within these
limits—what became of the territory west of that river ?
Great Britain surrendered it clearly to France, by the treaty of Paris of 1763, and it became ours by the treaty of
1803; so the matter stands thus—whether this territory, .g OREGON.
nrior to 1763, was British or French, it must be American
Lw and not British.   If it belonged to England prior to
1763, subsequently it was ceded to us solemnly and formally.   If H belonged to France before that date, 1763,
and held until 1803, it then became ours.   We contend, in
whatever light the subject is viewed, that Oregon is ours.
Suppose we leave out the French title, which was considered valid up to the time of the cession, we still find a
bar to any English claim in the right of the Spaniards.
In 1790 the British admitted, over and over again, their
right; for, by the convention between Spain and Britain,
dated October 28 of that year, the British obtained merely
the right to fish along the coast, and to " land, trade with
the natives, and settle," and thus admitted the territorial
jurisdiction of Spain.    In  1819   this   country   (Spain)
made an absolute surrender to the United States of all
its territory on the northwest coast, north of latitude
42°.   IT this be true, and Great Britain admitted it by
the convention of 1789, and these rights being ceded to
us by the treaty of Oregon, of course Oregon belongs
to the United States, and not to England.   But let us
glance at the treaty between France and Spain, that
establishes our right beyond controversy.   By the treaty
of Utrecht, of 1714, the boundary line between the British
Hudson Bay possessions on the north, and the French
possessions on the south, including Canada and Louisiana,
begins on the Atlantic ocean, in latitude 58° 30 north,
runs thence south to Lake Mistasin, and thence southwest to north latitude 59°, and thence west indefinitely; and by the treaty of Paris, of 1763, the Mississippi is
recognised as the western British and eastern French
boundary.   By this very treaty France yields all her pos-
essmnsm Canada, south of a line beginning at the Atlanta ocean, m north latitude 58° 30, running thence south- OREGON, 19
west to latitude 49°, und thence duo west to the northeast
corner of Louisiana. More we find both of these treaties
excluding the British from every thing west of the Mississippi, and south of north latitude 49°. And as Britain is
excluded by the Spanish conver/loii of 1790, from all territorial rights north of this French boundary, (latitude 49°,)
she is excluded from the whole northwest coast, north of
the Mexican boundary of north latitude 42°. Then, as
England never had a right to this territory, except an exploded discovery of the pirate Drake, and acknowledged a
French right in 1714 and 1763, and an American right to
any pretence of British claim in 1783, and a Spanish right
in 1790; and as France acknowledged an American right
in 1803, and Spain an American right in 1819, Oregon is
now American and not British. We have presented these
facts, many of which have been stated before, but they go
lucidly to prove the validity of the American title, and the
utter absurdity of British claims.
British Claims.
1st. Great Britain founds her right on the commercial
treaty of Spain in 1790, which we admit was solemnly
made and entered into. It was, however, afterwards fully
and completely abrogated by war between the two nations,
before Spain transferred her claim to the United States.
This was admitted by all nations, and by Great Britain
herself, which of course gave to Spain the right and power
to dispose of this territory, which was bona fide and virtually her own, in any manner she saw fit.
2dly.  She rests her claim on pretended priority to the
Columbia river, denying its discovery by Captain Gray in
1792, and giving the credit of it to one of her own navigators, (Mr. Mears,) in 1788, four years sfcerits discovery by '
Captain Gray.   She also affirms that some of her own 20
subjects, while on an exploring expedition, sailed a considerable distance up the Columbia river, exploring its
coasts for many miles, and bringing away with them, as
an evidence of the truth of their story, man? remarkable
productions of the earth, which their own soil had never
produced. This, however, was proven to be futile throughout, and was not at all regarded as an evidence of the validity of their title. Moreover, it was afterwards proven
that, instead of Mears coasting along the shore from latitude 49°, he was sailing in the longitude of 488 to longitude
458, and was, in truth, hundreds of miles distant from the
mouth of the Columbia. As another evidence of the entire
failure of his purpose, soon after his return to London,
fully satisfied that the idea of a northwestern coast was
false and visionary, he gave to the capo and bay of Columbia the name of Cape Disappointment and Deception Hay,
and published in the daily journals of the city, some of
which reached this country, a history of his voyage, never
mentioning the discovery which was afterwards attributed
to him with so much plausibility.
3dly. Great Britain admits that the 3d article of the Florida treaty fully vests in the United States all the rights
which belong to Spain, but maintains a right to joint-occupancy, and to a participation in all the resources and advantages of Oregon, under the treaty of 1827. She eon-
tends that all the rights and privileges granted to her by
the 3d article of the convention of 1790, commonlv called
the Nootka Convention, have never been invalidated, and
that the same rights she then exercised, having never been
annulled, hold good now as then. Though there was at
one time a tacit acknowledgment, on the part of Great Brit-
am, that they had no claims upon this part of the territory,
by not interfering or objecting to, in any way, the establishment of American settlements, many of which stretched OREGON. 21
along the coast for many miles, when their own vessels,
laden with their own goods, were passing up and down the
river every day; they now insist that the treaty of peace
between Spain and Great Britain revived, or renewed,
these stipulations, rendering them as good as ever, and
placing them in full operation. She has, surely, no claims
by cession, except what she may have obtained by the
Nootka treaty, all the rights of France and Spain having
been ceded to the United States by formal cession—the
first by the Louisiana treaty, the second by the Florida
treaty of 1819. The rights of Great Britain are defined in
the convention of 1790, which we quote as follows: "They
embrace the right to navigate the waters of that country,
and to trade with the inhabitants and occupiers of the
The reason why England is so very tenacious of her
claims to this territory is, that ever since 1813 there has
been a steady and constantly increasing intercourse between
Oregon and that nation; they have established their fisheries
wherever they could, together with their posts and trading
houses, which may be found in the interior of the country,
and on the tributary streams that can only be reached
through the channel of the Columbia. This Government
is anxious, as we admit all other Governments are, to extend its vast trade throughout the world, gradually to extend its dominion, and, above all, to place the Hudson
Bay Company (which has been often spoken of by Huskisson and Addington) on a foundation that cannot be interfered with. After the free undisturbed use of these
waters, which for the last fifty years have been the means
of their carrying on so extensively and successfully the fur
trade, the benefits of which have been felt and appreciated
throughout her borders, they are very reluctant, naturally
so, to surrender that which for a long time they have
3 %}■
claimed as their own, without, as they think, the assign
ment on our part of any good or just reason. With respect to the occupancy of Oregon, the British are not so tenacious as formerly. Some few years ago a large number
of fur traders made considerable fortunes from their establishments planted on the different streams; they were systematic in all their operations, which is the great secret of success in every thing; and there was a congeniality of feeling
and of sentiment, which brought about the liveliest interest.
The fur was carried to London at a very trifling' expense,
prepared for market, and sold at tremendous profits) they
had vessels of their own, and all that was required was the
necessary time of conveyance. The fur-bearing animals
of late are not SO abundant; the number has greatly and
perceptibly diminished, and those which are most sought,
because of their value, are hid in the mountain caverns and
recesses, away from the rifle of the huntsman. The proceeds of the sales, indeed the quantity of fur procured, has
decreased to almost one-half of what it waa in 1629 and
1830; as the population increases so will the number of
these animals diminish, until at last all interest will be lust
from their scarcity.
It is said by Mr. Wyth, a gentleman distinguished for
his practical knowledge, and admired for his virtues and
noble bearing, "that the profits are hardly worth the labor."
He has conducted two parties, at different times, across
the Rocky Mountains, and resided west of them for several
years,and has never been able to realize even a moderate
profit; he says, "that the profits of the Hudson Bay Company, from their collection of furs, within the before named
"nuts, did not, in 1836, exceed the sum of $10,000" This
»» a very .mall profn^ooking to the number interested in
the enterprise.
It appears that, in 1826, Mr. Clay consented to vield to OREGON
Great Britain one-third of this territory. The question had
been before the consideration of the American people for
some time, and was ably discussed throughout the land
by men whose Opinions were entitled to weight, and
who had carefully examined it in all its bearings, with
regard to our country as well as Great Britain. This
distinguished man acted, as he thought, with the consent
and approbation of a majority of the people. Soon afterwards, it was hoped and believed, that Lord Ashburton
had been sent from England with full power and authority
to adjust all disputes and difficulties, and to bring, if possible, all contested points to an amicable settlement; but
after his arrival it was ascertained that he was only empowered to settle one question of dispute. He remained
in America some time at the seat of Government; and it
was at first thought that, though he was apparently indifferent, not having any thing to say or do with those authorized to settle the question, that he was, in truth, ex-
l pressly sent to negotiate the matter, and would in a short
time enter upon his duties; this, however, proved to be a
mistake, and the Lord returned to England without taking
any action whatever. It is possible that he was the bearer
of secret despatches to the British minister, and it was surmised by some that he was, though there was nothing positive ascertained, or that could be relied on. We cannot
help thinking that we have clearly proven, from a deduction of plain facts and statistics, the validity of our title,
under the law of nations, to the territory of Oregon; that,
in demanding that portion of it extending to 49°, we are
violating no cession or treaty, nor infringing upon the
rights of England, or any other power; that we have a
perfect right to send our people there, with our constitution and laws, plant our dock-yards, arsenals, and fortifications, and through all time to come, unless our country, 24
in her giant strides in all that appertains to national honor
and glory, meets with some unlocked for and revolutionizing catastrophe, to exercise all the rights and immunities
of a republican Government, and the privileges of a free
people. CHAP. II.
What has been done to maintain this title 1
We answer, that the Government has done absolutely
nothing. Though for many years continual aggressions
have been made by the British, who have been taking gra.
dual possession of this territory, sending over every year
their own population, under the protection of their flag,
and furnishing them with vessels of war in case of an attack, the Congress of the United States has remained perfectly indifferent, though these facts were presented for
their consideration every day in the public prints of the
land. This course has been pursued and tolerated for so
long a time, that really, to remove them, surrounded as
they are by fortifications, and every means of defence,
would require a formidable army. There they are, and
there they have been for years undisturbed in their pursuits, and unmolested by foreign interference. They fearlessly, as they should have done if determined at all hazards to execute their design, took up, with the eyes of the
world resting upon them, the implements of husbandry—
the spade, hammer, and axe—and went forth, with a courage that braved all difficulties, into the very interior of this
wilderness, to open a new field for generations to come.
Many attempts were made, by the timid and doubting, to
deter them in their brave and philanthropic enterprise; the
dangers incident to the voyage and settlement were eloquently pourtrayed and vividly painted by the strong opposition who held up the idea to scorn; the press teemed
with melancholy forebodings and revolting prophesies;
but nothing would swerve them; they resolved to brook
all difficulties, and prove to the world that "perseverance ,,g OREGON
and labor conquers all things." Their object has been in
a great measure accomplished; where the foot of the red
man trod, they have erected their huts and cabins, and the
hum of the loom and spinning jenny tell their purpose to
carry on the work of civilization. They have become permanent settlers, perfectly acclimated and well satisfied;
and they are anticipating what they will soon realize, unless we take some firm and decisive step—en increase, and
a vast one, of the British population. Had it not been for
Mr. Jefferson's message to Congress in 1803, recommending, and almost insisting upon, the exploration of the northwestern coast by our own men, Lewis and Clark, and urging, in language almost irresistible, the propriety and absolute necessity of making an appropriation for carrying
on this work, the undertaking, in all probability, would
never have been made; or, if made, relinquished before its
consummation. Congress, at first, was opposed to the
scheme, to the surprise and indignation of all parties, for
party had nothing to do with a matter purely national in
its character and results; and had it not learned in a very
short time the wishes of the people, and that the rejection
of a proposition, coming from a statesman so capable of
advising, which was so admirable and politic, bein«» universally approved, the presumption is that no action would
have bee|| taken whatever, while the British were perfecting plans and making inroads which foretold their ultimate
success, unless a change took place. After the subject had
been considered by the members, the appropriation was
made, and here the matter rested, most unfortunately, for
a long period of time. Nothing was done until 1815 an
interim of twelve years. At this most important and critical juncture the whole nation, the Legislatures of the different States, Congress, the Senate, the ex-Presidents, and
all in authority, seemed to labor under a false impression - *"'I|S II
that England had no idea of sending her forces to Oregon •
that she was so deeply engrossed with her internal affairs,
then somewhat disturbed, that no attention would be paid
to minor considerations. The opinion was, that she regarded it as a wild sterile region, for which she would not
give one farthing, and that no fear need be apprehended of
her taking possession. At this very time the greatest minds
were projecting ways and means by which they could
claim, not a part, but the whole of the territory. The subject was not introduced into the House of Commons, for
fear of its being made public; an attempt was made to do
so, which failed. The whole country was on tiptoe, including Scotland and Ireland, and all the distant dominions of Great Britain, to send over their colonies and occupy the whole territory, until the United States, perceiving this intention, positively and emphatically demanded
the restoration of Astoria, under the first article of the
treaty of Ghent. This caused a panic throughout England;
it came upon them at a time when they thought their
scheme was in the very act of being carried out. They
little suspected what was going on, when it was believed
that the United States was indifferent about the possession
of Oregon, considering it incapable of cultivation. This
application they seemed unwilling to grant; she considered
it unreasonable, in view of the long time that had elapsed
since she sent over her first settlers, and a trespass upon
her own rights. The American Government was prompt
and decisive, reminding her of the lessons taught her in
1775 and 1776, and insisting that she had no right to claim
that which all nations had acknowledged not her own.
The surrender was made, though with great reluctance;
and the British, though yielding to the application, felt convinced that, in the course of time, the United States would
underrate the value of this vast territory, and consequently no OR SO ON.
abandon all claim to it She found that the trie. If not
false, was founded on the merest pretences, which would
not justify her in taking hostile steps; and, though her
leading men in Parliament and out of it, were strong in
their abuse and denunciation of the prevailing opinion in
America, that the cession of Spain gave to the United
States the clear and undeniable right of occupancy, and
was valid in all time to come. It happened, soon after,
that England founded her claims on an absurd title of discovery before alluded to—an annulled treaty with Spain—
and upon a miserable fancy of a fanatical priest, whose
imaginary travels and discoveries are ridiculed and dis
credited by their own historians, and by all contemporary
and subsequent authors. These pretensions, as all other
British pretensions have been, and must be, are now sanctioned by the principal men of Europe. The negotiation
of 1827, which gave to Great Britain the right of joint-occupancy, and the privilege of erecting settlements, and the
free use of the Columbia river and its tributaries, greatly
added to her assumptions, confirmed her purpose to advance in the enterprise, and the intelligence was enthusiastically hailed from one part of the country to the other.
There were meetings of rejoicing and congratulation in
several of the largest towns and cities; in Manchester, for
instance, there was a regular organized party, who insisted
upon having Oregon, if not by compromise and negotiation, at the cost of blood and treasure. Those meetings
were riotous and noisy, the speeches were characterized
by violence and fanaticism; appeals were made to the passions and prejudices of the populace; no argument, no
sober second thought;" nothing done that was calculated
to mamtain peace and good order. This treaty of 1827
was regarded as a passport to aggression; a tacit acknowledgment of the willingness of the United States to submit OREGON. 29
to her superior claims. An impetus was thus given to her
movements; ships were manned and fitted up, and there
was a spirit abroad which plainly foretold their determination to be gradual, but certain, in the occupation of the
whole territory. The people of America, notwithstanding
this general excitement, remained perfectly inactive, and
rather consented, by their silence, to the proposed assumption, making no effort to put an end to this maniac spirit,
sending out no forces to defend her own soil, causing no
excitement to bring about a determined will, but only
threatening, not intending, to execute, unless from dire
What has been done to maintain our title, to uphold
our rights, which those who have gone before us pronounced to be clear ? Where is that chivalrous spirit, so
nobly displayed at Bunker Hill, Georgetown, and Princeton? We have a perfect and undeniable right to maintain
our jurisdiction; all must admit it who view this question
impartially. If so, why this apparent indifference? Why
this putting off, from one year's end to another, a matter
that touches so vitally the national good? Delay will avail
nothing; on the contrary, it will soon bring with it dangers
and difficulties. Have not foreign nations, wholly disinterested, concurred with us in opinion that our title is as
good as it can be, being sustained by the law of nations ?
What more is needed ? Do we want additional evidence
to confirm it? If treaties and cessions, solemnly made at
times of peace in convention, are not sacred, we should
like to know what is binding between nation and nation.
If they are not annulled by agreement, are they not
obligatory? The people of the United States, though
having permitted years to pass without vindicating their
rights; should act at once, resolutely, firmly, and fearlessly.
Emigration should take place instanter; we should people
this tend, precisely as the farmer peoples his plantations
and any foreign attack should meet with our prompt and
united resistance; our fortifications and harbors should be
built forthwith, and an appropriation made by Congress,
recommended by the Executive, to defray the necessary
expenses. That which belongs to us, which all admit to
be our own, save those who are prejudiced, England has
never had any respect for whatever. She has looked upon
our laws and commercial regulations with indifference and
contempt, and ridiculed the theory of our system of Government We should allow no nation to invade our rights;
and, if needs be, they should be valiantly defended at the
cannon's mouth. We never interfere with the rights and
property of other countries; we have nothing to do with
them, directly or indirectly; they are separate and distinct
powers, with their own authorities and legislative functions,
and have a right to exercise them in their own way. This
principle has been carefully observed by the American people, who love their honor as they do their lives, and are
ready at any time to strike a blow for their country.
In a letter from Mr. Hugh Burns, dated Multnomah
city, Oregon territory, October 29,1844, we find the following very interesting statement: "There is one very important thing that emigrants to this country should bear in
mind, and it is starting early in the spring. They should
be one hundred miles at least above the settlements by
the first day of May. By so doing they will accomplish
two things that will be of the utmost importance to them.
By starting in April they will bo enabled to cross all the
mere, east of the mountains, before the melting snows
swell the streams. Secondly. If they manage well, and
don t get too lazy, they can get here by the first of Sep-
can b6u7ld r^ ** rch here m «" ""*•• "*
can bmld their houses and sow their wheat before the bud OREGON. 31
weather sets in. If they do not start before the usual time,
(May 20,) they are sure to meet the summer freshet, and
this will detain them some three or four weeks. Besides,
it delays them so much that they cannot get here until late
in the fall; and in crossing the Cascade Mountain, which
is far the worst mountain they have to cross, they will
meet with rain or snow, and the mountain torrent from
those snow-capped mounds which overhang the way. The
emigrants should not come by water from the Dalles, for
it is a dangerous stream. If any of your friends are coming across, tell them as soon as they can get ten wagons
and thirty men together, to put plenty of provisions and
ammunition in their wagons, and start. Ten wagons are
enough. All this bugbear about the Indians is got up by
the mountain men who are in the States, and want to get
back to Oregon and the mountains, and get paid for it.
I say again, that ten wagons and thirty men is better than
five times the number; for the small number can always
move along with more rapidity, equal safety, and harmony;
and, what is particularly desirable, always obtain plenty of
good broad and meat. Let them give their soap tubs to
their friends, for we don't want any of their soft soap here.
Some of the last year's emigration actually brought their
old wash and soap tubs all the way from Clinton county.
In my last I informed you that I had laid off a town, and
named it Multnomah city. On the opposite side of the
river, east of this, is Oregon city, which is improving rapidly. It already boasts three saw mills and two flour
mills, one with four run of stone, with the best machinery.
I ever saw in a mill; one hundred and forty houses; a tan
yard, brick yard, and mechanics' shops of all necessary
trades. We have also a brig of two hundred tons under
way; and house building is only retarded by the want of
nails.   In every other respect, too, our country improves 32
beyond description. I never saw such harvests; it would
gratify you to see the loads of wheat that pour into Uns
section, to be inanufectured into flour for exportation.
emigrants of last fall did not secure their claims until
Christmas, and many built their cabins, made fences, broke
up the new ground, and raised as much as a thousand
bushels of wheat I wish I could send you a sample
of this. We can plough all the winter. The working cattle get nothing but grass through the winter, and
keep in fine order; some of our farmers own as many
as five hundred cattle, and but few less than fifty. The
times are very good here; produce and labor both high.
Flour ten dollars per barrel; beef six dollars per 100 lbs.;
pork ten do.; wheat one dollar per bushel; potatoes fifty
cents do.; peas one do.; coffee 25 cents per pound; molasses 63 cents per gallon; salt one dollar per bushel; iron
12$ cents per pound; cast steel 38 cents do.; board four
dollars per week; common laborers two dollars per day •
mechanics four dollars per day. By this list you can judge
yourself. Besides, I should say that we are a debt-paying
people, and ought to be a happy people. But one thing is-
wanting, and this our Government should long since have
extended to us—I mean its raoTXCTiON.n
It appears that the writer of this letter is deeply surprised at the want of interest which is manifested by the
people of the United States respecting the American settlers in Oregon. It is a direct and urgent appeal to Congress,
and one that should be heeded without the least hesitation;
a vast majority of the American people are in favor of it,
and they are in favor of it because of the progress that is
being made every day in population, in the arts and sciences, and in all that appertains to national wealth and
greatness.   There cannot b
>e an extension of our people
„_ j i„„ , — wwuoiun ui  our poop e
and laws, unless protection is afforded; it would be truly T
surprising if there was. Mankind will never surrender the
inestimable privileges of social life, and the advantages of
civilization and refinement, without a guaranty of as good or
a better state. Here his person and property are protected
by the laws of the land; and in changing his condition,
and removing to a distant and hardly civilized country, he
knows not what his condition may be, "whether safe or
unsafe, happy or unhappy." CHAP. HI.
What is the progress of British pretensions to Oregon ?
We propose out of her own mouth to condemn her.
This country, on the 6th of October, 1818, virtually surrendered her claiins, fully recognising the American title,
and giving up her entire and absolute allegiance; but
strange to say, in the same month, before said surrender
was hardly known in the United States, it is a positive
truth that it had not reached the extreme southwest, when
England commenced a most dishonorable and unjustifiablo
policy of keeping the question of settlement in abeyance,
that she might first assume, and then assert her title.
Though this course was deprecated, not only in the United
States but likewise in England—we mean by the yeomanry,
. as well as by men of good talents and high standing—
those who were groaning under the iron sceptre of monarchical bondage expressed their opinion in open opposition
to a course at once unjustifiable and dishonorable, and at
variance with the common usages of all nations. The excitement for a long time was tremendous—the whole country seemed to be in a ferment; Scotland and Ireland, and
all the distant provinces of Great Britain, did not hesitate
to avow openly their uncompromising opposition. The
storm at last subsided, and the question, from that day to
this, has remained unsettled; which may be attributed to
want of firmness and decision on the part of our men in
authority. They should have insisted, resolutely, on a
final and honorable adjustment, uninfluenced by any other
consideration. The question ought not to have remained
unsettled a day longer than necessity required; prompt
and energetic action should have been taken, bringing OREGON. 35
together all conflicting elements, compromising all difficulties, or causing an open rupture. The representatives of
the American people have been eye-witnesses to the policy
of England; they have had before them, for years, her
entire history, with its long catalogue of abuses, from
which they might glean valuable and instructive lessons;
but they have been waiting, we suppose, for an opportunity—for a proper time—to assert and maintain our rights.
Can any future time be more suitable for the settlement
of the. question than the approaching session of -Congress ? Will the present state of affairs admit of procrastination ? Does not the experience of the past—"the
most faithful and trusty of all monitors"—tell us that
- delay may be attended with the most unfortunate and serious results ? In proportion as the delay is great, so are
difficulties increased and obstacles made stronger. The
British emigration will increase, and their trading houses
multiply, until the whole territory will be covered with
their posts and settlements. Great Britain will ask again,
why she has been permitted so long to enjoy the advantages and benefits of this country without American interference ? Why she has not been before driven to her own
coasts, if the title under which she founds her claim were
false and illegal ? Why she has not been denied, years
ago, the navigation of the Columbia river,'if it belonged
exclusively to the United States, and was open to no other
country ? These questions must arise, and they can be
answered neither plausibly nor honorably.
The question of boundary should have been settled long
ago, but better " late than never," and the rights and limits of each party clearly defined and firmly established, so
that there will be no possible chance of collision hereafter.
This can be done in a very short time by a committee of
Congress, and the people of this country will then know 36
0 R E G O N
to act, and what to expect It was hoped, m the year
1844, that the difficulty, being submitted to Messm. Calhoun and Packepham, would be settled forever; that their
diplomatic knowledge and profound skill would enable them
to put at rest so vexed and troublesome a question. Deep
anxiety was felt every where,but unfortunately there was no
understanding,and nothing done that was definite; obstacles
were in the way that could not be removed ; justice to both
Governments, it appears, could not be done, and there was
an indefinite postponement. Since that period there has been
a change in the affaire of the Government; a new administration has taken charge of affairs, and we find, in its very outset, the President, to the dolightofall parties, declaring post-
tively, from the portico of the Capitol, surrounded by thousands of his fellow-citizens, that our title to this territory is
" clear and indisputable.''* Here we find a fixed settled
conviction, expressed in the very outset of his administration, that we are claiming what belongs to us, on the authority of the law of nations. It has been contended by
England, that the Columbia river is the only inlet, and of
consequence outlet, to their establishments on the different
tributaries; and, as such, they would not consent, under
any circumstances, or on any terms, to a surrender of it.
But subsequent developments have exploded this excuso,
and put an end to any future difficulty. The Columbia river, several years ago, was, in truth, the only na
vigable channel of communication between the ocean and
most of the trading houses of the Hudson Bay Company
west of the Rocky Mountains. Since then there have been
several rivers discoverea of considerable size, viz: Frazer's
mer,cajled by Harmon the "Nocholttatum » » latitude
ber Iff        TT> m ** 5° « t0Sethw ^th a number of other small streams, to which as yet no nar
have been assigned.   It is very certain that'crcat Bri
ain OREGON. 37
will never consent to relinquish her right to the free use of
the straits of Juan de Fuca; if she continues to hold the
region north of 49°, it is almost impossible for her to do
without them; they are essential in her trading operations, inasmuch as they afford convenient and safe access
to a large and valuable portion of the territory. These
straits are of considerable size, being at the entrance three
leagues wide, from which the width greatly increases. It
is surrounded by a number of fertile and beautiful islands,
many of them the finest and most accessible harbors in the
world, and the fishing for miles around is said to be excellent A distinguished writer thus speaks of "Admiralty Inlet: it branches off to the south, and runs towards the main
stream of the Columbia, to the latitude of 47°; and all
these islands, harbors, and inlets, will be within our limits
should we claim the region up to 49°. This strait, with
all its branches, being easy of access, safe, and navigable
at all seasons, and in any weather, while the mouth of the
Columbia is at all times dangerous to enter, and for a considerable part of the year almost inaccessible. I cannot
but think that the strait will ultimately be the great channel through which will pass most of the products of the
whole region drained- by the Columbia and its branches."
This division of the subject has greatly excited the public
attention, merely because it has been generally thought
that Great Britain would never agree to surrender it; upon
this point, however, she has been exceedingly tenacious,
and in all the negotiations that have been made the fact
has been observed and remarked. This is not surprising, for the acquisition of this region would be extremely
valuable to her, particularly in her commercial operations,
and also as a resort for her ships of war and commerce. It
is true, the general aspect of the whole country—its adaptation to agriculture—has been greatly exaggerated, being I
renresented by some writers as a paradise, where riches
could be accumulated almost by magic; while others have
spoken of it as a country unfit for any purpose whatever.
It has been conjectured, by several reasoning men, that it
is so entirely covered with immense beds of rock and flint,
which extend over whole acres down to the very coasts of
the river, that it would be impossible to attempt, with success, any thing like husbandry.
According to my observations and researches, both of
these accounts have been greatly exaggerated. Those
who have painted its beauty, looked at it doubtless in contrast with the dreary regions they had passed through in
reaching it; for the whole country, sometimes for hundreds
of miles, presents a dreary and uninviting aspect, while
others may not have made sufficient allowance for the
gloomy appearance which a large portion of un uncultivated
country, in a very high latitude, usually presents. A memoir, prepared by Mr. Wyth a few years sinco at the request
of Congress, contains the clearest, most important, and faithful representation of the territory, its soil, climate, Sec.,
which we have met with.   The following is an extract:
" South of the parallel of 49°, near the borders of Admiralty Inlet and Puget's Sound, and in the valley of the
Wallamette or Multnomah river, which empties into the
Columbia, and upon the banks of which the principal settlements of emigrants from the United States have been
made, and in some other places, the appearance of the
country is attractive, the soil good, and well adapted to
agricultural purposes; and so likewise is the eastern side
of Queen Charlotte's islands, and some other places north
V * L. l * have lleither Bee« n«r heard of lands in any
part of this territory, that are superior to the millions upon
mdhons of uncultivated acres within the limits of the United
Mates, on this side of the Rocky Mountains; and I doubt OREGON. 39
if those who are dissatisfied with the state of things eastward of those mountains, will find their condition much
improved by emigration to Oregon. They will find, as
emigrants to a new and unsettled country have too often
found, that—
" 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."
One thing is very certain, that our right and title to this,
territory is beyond cavil or dispute* and it matters not
whether it is the most fertile portion of the world, or the
most barren and unproductive, it is ours, and we have a
right to it; surrender it or not, as our Executive and Congress see fit, we consider the title as clear as that which
gave to the United States Florida or Louisiana, and no
country has a right to claim it, any more than they have a
right to claim either of these States.
By the 3d article of the treaty of London, we repeat, it
was agreed that the country on the northwest coast of
America, claimed by either party, should be open for ten
years, without prejudice to the claims of either. About
this time Great Britain seemed to be coming to her senses
—to value properly the claims of the United States, and
to view the question in a tolerably fair light—a majority
of those who had been most excited ceased, in a great
measure, their denunciations, and affairs began to wear a
quiet aspect; but in the memorable treaty of 1827, Mr.
Adams and Mr. Clay, the former acting as President and
the latter as Secretary of State, consented, most unfortunately, to give to Great Britain all north of 49°. This unpopular move was hailed with joy and gladness in the British Parliament and in England, and one buret of congratulation rang throughout her borders; politicians of all
classes and grades, as well as religious sects—protestants,
catholics, and calvinists—joined in the jubilee. It is not
surprising that this intelligence was highly gratifying, for .A OREGON.
the opportunely was at once afforded her to claim by decrees the exclusive territory. Since this tone forward
England began to set up her pretensions in a stronger and
more forcible light than ever, and they have been progressing rapidly ever since. But the claim was not bona fide ;
hardly twelve months had elapsed since the Bntish negotiation of 1826 declared in the face of the world, w that
Great Britain claimed no exclusive authority over any
portion of that territory.'" Here the question was put at
rest; this people had declared solemnly, in view of their
naked pretensions and their obviously false claims, that
they were willing to let the subject rest—to decline any
further disputation or debate. But in one short year the
fires were rekindled. Unlucky era for America! "Great
Britain claimed no exclusive authority,'* while the treaty
of 1827 gave her the right of joint-occupancy. From this
negotiation, it has been aptly said, has been hatched the
chicken "that now flaps its wings,and crows over the empire corporation which England is cherishing to emulate
in Oregon." Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay, acting as the agents
of the United States, were placed in truly a responsible
situation; all eyes were turned to them in eager expectation, while performing so high and important a public trust;
and the most intense solicitude pervaded the whole Union,
from its northern to its southern borders. Hopes were entertained every where that the question would be finaliy
and amicably settled, and that Great Britain, as she had consented to do, would exercise no longer any jurisdiction;
that the United States would take a firm and undeviating
position, proving to the world that knowing her rights she
means to maintain them. But the issue was had, and unyoked for it came upon the American people when they
were unprepared for the blow, and they felt it severely
<*reat Britain became a joint-tenant! a co laborer in the OREGON. 41
vineyard; exercising the right and privilege of coasting in
all directions, and planting her forces wherever she saw
fit. The Columbia river, and all its tributaries, was open to
her; and she had a right to locate her men where she pleased, and no one could interfere with them. Six and twenty
years have been permitted to pass unimproved; the question stands now as then, with this exception, that the claims
of England are doubly stronger to-day than when this negotiation was entered into. She has increased in population, sent over additional vessels to guard her possessions,
as she calls them, built fortifications, and increased her
naval stores, until she regards the whole territory as virtually surrendered by the United States. For some time
past strong fears have been entertained by the agents and
superintendents of the Hudson Bay Company, that they
would be disturbed in their operations; and in that view
they have stationed vessels on the coast, and also a steamer
of large size, to conduct the intercourse. Notwithstanding
these facts, which are no less true than startling, Congress
a few years ago, when urged to do so by a number of Representatives, refused to take any action whatever. A distinguished member of the Senate (Hon. Rufus Choate, of
Massachusetts) asks the question, " If we have waited so
quietly for twenty-six years for the adjustment of this question, he does not see why we should not wait longer." To
prove at once the danger and fallacy of this argument we
will suppose a case. Suppose the gentleman's own house
was in flames, and a few buckets of water and a little exertion would save it, would he think of delaying until the
devouring element had well nigh destroyed his house, and
defied all human power to save it? This is a case in point.
Great Britain is every year more zealous in establishing
her rights, and making known to the world her intention
to take possession as soon as she can; of course, the longer M OREGON.
delay the extension of our jurisdiction, to proportion
wM difficulties increase. Congress should take prompt and
immediate action, demanding and enforcing the rights that
belong to us, mid upholding that American spirit which
was so fully exemplified in the fathers of the revolution.
The question may be very properly asked, what remedy
can be applied to arrest British encroachments ? What
plan adopted that will meet with the universal consent and
approbation of the American people? Are we to permit
their flag to be planted, and their institutions established,
on our own soil, without an attempt to redress such wrongs?
Is no step to be taken to arrest them in their march of assumption and illegality? Let Congress answer these questions. One thing is very certain,that she will never recede
until necessity compels her. That we know from experience. They are ambitious to claim the world as their
own; that we also admit. Yet it is proposed, notwithstanding the unnecessary delay, to permit the question to remain
in its present state, without any definite decision. We
greatly mistake the character of the American people, who
have been always just and honorable in their intercourse
with foreign nations, if they yield to any surrender, save
that which is in accordance with established usages, and
which all pronounce to be just and ri"ht.
Developments have been made, which demand of the
United States immediate and decisivelnction. If no cognizance is taken of the threats coming from across the
waters, aggressions will be continually attempted, and tho
British title will be established at last by common consent.
It was remarked, by those in Congress who were opposed
to the bill, that "the contingency was not urgent" If not
urgent then, do we not now see the necessity of enforcing
cur rights? At that time there was comparatively no excitement prevailingin England, and the subject had not been OREGON. 43
fully investigated by the House of Commons. There was
nothing said in the United States respecting the validity of
the British title, and our affairs wore an entirely different
aspect Difficulties are occurring every day, calculated
to weaken our rights and strengthen those of England;
and we believe the day will soon arrive, unless a decided
change for the better takes place, when the British title
will be considered better and stronger than that of our
own, unless we declare our rights upon a final adjustment
This is purely a question of right—of national safety—of
honor: Whether, having it in our power, we shall permit
Great Britain to take unauthorized control of that which
is ours; or whether, having rights, we mean at all hazards,
and under all circumstances, to maintain and defend them.
This is a question of illimitable importance to the United
States, and resolves itself into this: "Whether the name
of an American citizen is not a guarantee of American
rights." Our agriculturists, hunters, and tradesmen, who
have gone thither—the brave and indomitable champions
of their country's cause—look to us, a powerful and growing people, for protection, and it is our duty willingly to
extend it The broad eegis of our laws should be spread
over them as over us; they are a part of us—our fathers
and brothers, connected in fortune, in interest, in blood,
and in destiny; and when a blow is struck there, the vibration should be felt and resisted here. We want nothing
that is not strictly our own, nor do we wish to claim an acre
which belongs rightly to Great Britain; by no means. What
is here we respect, having no right to it; but that which belongs to us we mean to protect and defend. This question,
by some, has been viewed through a false medium, unjustly
and improperly. Great Britain claims a right to a large
portion of this territory, as though it had been ceded to
her; we claim to 49°, and that is all which we have any
J 44
right to. If we question is to remain in abeyance, it may
be necessary for Congress to pass lawn for the government of American citizens residing within the territory;
but how such laws, even were they passed and approved,
are to be executed, under existing circumstances, cannot
be readily perceived; by some objection would be made,
and by others they would be violently opposed ; so that it
would be utterly impossible to enact such statutes as would
be universally approved, though the existing state of affairs
make it imperatively necessary that our citizens should be
protected in their lives and property, and in the enjoyment
of all that pertains to citizenship. No stronger proof need
be adduced of the ignorance, or something worse, that has
prevailed on this subject in our national councils, than the
fact that, since 1818, repeated attempts have been made in
Congress, both reported and debated, for the purpose of
establishing a territorial government, and extending the
laws and jurisdiction of the United States over that part
of the territory which we claim, or rather over the whole
of it. Such a measure would have been a palpable and
gross violation of existing treaty stipulations, and fraught
with all the consequences of a hostile act against a friendly
and powerful nation. What would be the consequence of
extending our jurisdiction over the whole of this territory, under the existing treaty of 1827? Were this treaty
annulled, or had it expired, the case would bo differ
ent; then we might act in accordance with the wishes of
the people, expressed through their representatives, but
now we are under a solemn obligation of honor, which is
as bmding as any obligation ever entered into. We are
therefore, compelled, until this treaty is done away with,'
to hold our peace-to keep within the bounds
and law; and a departure from them in the least will render us worthy of the contempt of all the powers of the OREGON. 45
earth. Notwithstanding these facts, which facts appeal
loudly and powerfully to the people, Doctor Duncan,
during the last session of Congress, introduced a bill
for taking " entire possession of the whole Oregon territory.'" The bill was finally submitted to the Committee
on Territories; which, after being revised and amended,
was reported to the House and ordered to be printed.
The bill provides " for taking possession of the whole region west of the Rocky Mountains, from latitude 42° to
54° 40, and extending over it our laws and jurisdiction."
This was a remarkable move, and only proves the necessity of an investigation of the question. Is there any man
living, in his sober senses, who is acquainted with the different treaties, and unprejudiced in his opinions, who can
for a moment think that England is so dead to her own
interests, as tamely to submit to a course at variance with
established customs, and in non-conformity with the principles of international law? She has maintained and
claimed her rights before the civilized world, in undisturbed
authority, for nearly half a century. Has she ever acknowledged the invalidity of her title to any nation, directly or
indirectly ? On the contrary, has she not proven, by sending thousands of her settlers over, that she regards it
beyond the interference of any nation ? There they have
remained British subjects, enjoying and exercising all the
rights and immunities of such for more than fifty years;
and is it supposed, for a moment, tha,t she would quietly
stand by and see her own people, living under her own
flag, driven from their homes, and finally expelled ? Such
an attempt would be resisted at the cannon's mouth; a
rupture, long and bloody, would be caused, as surely as if
we were to take possession of the island of Jamaica or the
city of Montreal. For some time past nothing has been
heard but an ex parte statement of the case; the claims of 46
Great Britain and Russia have been but part.ajy investigated, and the subject has been discussed by Mr. Green-
how and others, on the American side. We have been
told by individuals, who have thoroughly analysed the titles
of the different countries claiming a portion of this territory, that all the right is in one; and that, though the question is disputed, and has been under debate here and in
England for many years, that it is "indisputable,** and
should be settled by an immediate possession on the part
of the United States, without any reference to the claims
of Other countries. Arguments have been adduced, and
published to the world, by others who have investigated
the whole question, who say that their views are fair, impartial, and disinterested; that they have looked upon the
controversy as a debatable ground; and, as such, have discussed it This is the only way to come to a correct conclusion. Historical facts should be set forth, without reference to sectional jealousies, and unbiassed by any other
considerations than those which arc based on self-evident
and unquestionable truths. This is the only way to force
conviction on the mind—to prove to the people that you
are uninfluenced by favoritism, and untrammelled by narrow and selfish ends. It is very easy to assert a thing, but
sometimes very hard to prove itjln the courts of our
country the sagacity of our counsellors is sometimes irresistible, until some development is made on the other side
which counteracts and upsets ^eir artful and ingenious
The inflammatory appeals that have been made on tins
question, to the rights of the people, would induce some
knot^    \UhltnSi°n k U8C,eM' and *« *> negotiate
hat 11 taT ^'lHat We d° n0thin*that is w«4 -d
earnedXh" ^ ^"^ th&t""° national "«p will be assumed which ,s not recognised by the law of nations. The OREGON. 47
public are naturally very anxious to gain their information
historically, and from authentic sources, and to form their
conclusions and opinions, not on the heated and prejudiced
declarations of those who are influenced by their predilections, but on correct premises, taken from matters of fact.
In this way a knowledge of the claims of the contending
parties is to be gained, and new light thrown on a question
of great national importance. No correct or reliable information can be derived from the stump orators and letter-writers, who profess to descant so eloquently and truthfully on the subject; their knowledge is often superficial, and
they speak from hearsay. While we maintain our right to the
49th parallel of latitude, we contend also for the rights of
Great Britain; insisting that what is hers legally we have no
right to and can exercise no authority over, without a direct
violation of treaty stipulations. We are in favor of negotiation, and think it not at all remarkable that England should
not wish to negotiate any further. She is perfectly satisfied.
The terms agreed upon do not conflict in the least with her
operations or interests. She has all that can be desired, as
far as possession is concerned, and is willing to let matters stand as they are, provided she is not worsted. Her
laws, both civil and criminal, extend over the whole of
Oregon, and she is exercising exclusive and undisturbed
ownership, as much so as if the United States had abandoned all right. She is granting loans, and appropriating
them as she pleases; she controls nearly all the towns and
villages of any size, and passes laws favorable to her interests. What more does she want? She can gain nothing
by negotiation, and has every thing to lose. The American settlers, few and scattered, (only about two thousand
jn number,) are entirely subservient Compelled necessarily to be so, as the serfs of Europe, what can they do ?
They wish to be free, and they know that their fathers and 48
kinsmen here are all free; but they have not the power to
gain this precious boon. The Hudson Bay Company a
party of heartless, cormorant spirits, are the lords of the
Territory Look to their cruel treatment of our emigrants
who settled near the Mill Sites of the Wallamette. Every
principle of charity and humanity was violated every day.
They were told, unless they moved oh; every one of them
would be shot. And the order would have been executed,
had not the command been obeyed. They have passed a
law even for the preservation of game, which Pa Icy, in his
Moral Philosophy, tells us is the property of all. This
law is strictly enforced as regards the American settlers, from which the British population is almost entirely exempt That portion of the Territory which they are
confident will fall to us is hunted by them continually, in
order to remove all the game from it if they can. But
this is not all. The poor Indians suffer, too, most severely
and unjustly. Depredations are being made constantly
upon what little property they have; and their persons are
often cruelly treated. This company claim all the eligible spots for farms, mills, or towns south of the Oregon,
and they have forts from which they realize something like
$500,000 per annum South of the Columbia they have
nineteen forts; and are fast removing from this section of the country, and for miles around, all of the most
valuable timber, so that, if England gets all north of the
river, we will be compelled to buy shipping timber from
her. They monopolize and control exclusively the principal markets, fix a standard of value upon every thing,
pay what they please for products, and, of consequence,
buy every thing they want at a very low price. We hear
that the company lay aside a certain per centage of their
::Xta to bV-ed f°r the «*«• ■£ -owed
purpose of keeping Americans out of trade, particularly —■■■ ■        1^
those who wished to deal in furs." It is a fact hardly
credible, but the truth of which can be established, that
they once sentenced a respectable emigrant to wear skins
for a number of years for the violation of one of then arbitrary, unholy, and oppressive regulations concerning trade.
The company are industriously engaged, one and all of
them, in ascertaining the means by which they can successfully stem the tide of American emigration, and what
rules they can establish for the protection of their trade.
How much further are the British subjects and Indians
to continue. their depredations upon American property,
and the lives of the emigrants, without an indignant response from the American Congress ? Are the dwelling-
houses and missionary stations of our people to remain
unprotected ? Who knows what outrages are daily committed there upon American property, under the sanction
of laws ? What laws ? Laws established by the Congress of the United States ? They have never been granted them. There is no government there. The only laws
that exist are such as are passed to suit certain acts and occasions, which may be repealed at any day. The truth is
our emigrants, powerless and subservient, are at the mercy and clemency of the Hudson Bay Company. They
are a little better than the Africans of the South who are
menial and irresponsible. In vain does the poor settler,
who violates ignorantly one of these arbitrary laws, ask for
a judge or jury; in vain does he ask that the shadow of
the American flag may rest upon him; in vain does he ask
for those national privileges with which his connexions and
friends 84*e surrounded. There is a gulf fixed between
him and the luxurious free trader of Great Britain—an impassable barrier, which cannot be overcome, save by a determination on the part of the American people to relieve
and emancipate them.   A few laws, it is true, have been •w
enacted by the Hudson Bay Company, which empower
them to give judgment against any American citixenm
Oregon, and issue an execution, under cover of which he
may be confined in their forts or sent to the jails or Canada, at their pleasure. So when they do not wish to try
an American citizen, without law, (or mob-law,) on the
spot, they will kidnap him, and take him to British courts,
to be tried by British judges and British laws. This is a
shameful state of things, and appeals loudly to the people.
They should have a Territorial Government, having their
their own laws and Judges; and if these cannot be given
them, let them be protected by the American flag
And what less can be asked by these fearless and intrepid adventurers, who, duett amore patria, have with
drawn from the endearments of their first homes, and all
the gay and fashionable delights of fashionable Ufe, considered their lives as nothing in their desire to advance the
cause of freedom, and plant on the shores of the Pacific
the Cross of Christ ?
The old Scotch Jedbury fashion is followed there, as
has been said by Mr. Went worth, of Illinois—"hang first,
•and try afterwards." This company have taken possession of almost every desirable situation on the coast of the
Pacific. The Cape and Tongue Points are almost impregnable places of defence on the Columbia. The latter
has been already taken by this company, and they are
going on to exert every effort and devise schemes by
which they can claim every harbor and port of importance.
How is it possible that when a course like this is in daily
progress that we can expect to compete with the whole
world, as we wish to do, in bread stuffs ?   How is China
i^mimr r KWf t0baCC0'CThat Vm country, with
its millions of inhabitants, all consume thousands of pounds
cf this staple.   What is to become of our expectation™ OREGON. 51
pecting our trade with the East Indies; and, indeed, the
Pacific country ?
We shall forbear to discuss our claim to that part of the
northwest coast lying between the Bay of St Francisco,
near 37° 30* north, from the fact of its being based on very
uncertain and imperfect discoveries. We purpose, however, in order that as much information may be obtained as
possible, to present the lucid and able argument contained
in the National Intelligencer of the 26th of July, which is
as follows:
"Beginning soon after the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards, from
about 1840 to 1543, carried explorations up the coast of the Pacific, in
the interior, as high perhaps ns 40c north, and by sea, about the same
time, as far as 40°, and perhaps 43° north.* Here they for some time
stopped their efforts. 'The next navigator in these high seas was Sir
Francis Drake, who, in 1679, sailed along the coast from Guatulo,
fourteen hundred leagues north, to a point beyond latitude 43° north,
not stated in one of the narratives of his voyage, and given as 48° hi
the other .f The English, as is natural, prefer the account most favor*
able to themselves. Mr. Greenhow gives the reasons which, in his
view, invalidate that account. Burney, however, one of the highest and exactest authorities in history, sustains the second narrative ;
and, indeed, in one point, he has the advantage. By all the rules of
proof, the definite and specific statement is that which docs not mention
the latitude which was the northern limit of his, Drake's, course.
Turning back thence, he ran down to a good port in latitude 38°,
probably the Great Bay of S t. Francisco, where he remained five weeks,
and upon a formal tender to him by the natives of the sovereignty, took
Tegular possession of the region in the name of his mistress Queen
Elizabeth. Here, again, for a considerable interval, ceased the English
'discoveries, as the Spanish had done.
In 1688, upon the narrative of one Maldonadi, arose and obtained
some belief the story of a Strait of Amon, from the Atlantic, through
which he and another nautic romancer, Admiral Fonti, pretended to
have passed.   These are now, in all their particulars, mere recognised 59
fictions. (See Greenhow, p. 79to 96.) Mow,**no think very Ik-
tie more, reality attaches to the supposed discovery, in 1892, by Juan
De Fuca, of the long strait to which his name is now gntn-that
between Vancouver', land and the continent. Mr. Greenhow and
some others credit it. Cook, who examined, rejected H,and so did
Spanish writers, finding no traces in their archives of any such expedition as that of De Fuca. So that it seems obvious that the pilots whole
tale is only a revival of the story of the Malilonadi and his Strait of
Amon. It fa true that a strait opens about a degree north of the mouth
of his strait,and as it winds about in all directione, it fa easy for an ingenious person to discern therein its identity with the meondcringB of the
Pilot's strait. Mr. Greenhow seems, however, to have overlooked a
fact that stamps the whole awry as a fable. The Hispano Greek plainly
says, that after sailing out of the South Sea, he means the Pacific,
through this strait, in twenty days, he come into the North Sea, by
which he as plainly means the Atlantic.
"In 1506, under an order from Philip II, the Spanish efforts to explore this coast were renewed in an expedition under Vincaino, but
which proceeded no further north than the Gulf of California. The
attempt, under a French royal order, was retiewed in 1602, under die
same commander, with Aquila as his lieutenant. They surveyed with
some accuracy the coast as for as latitude 42°. From that point Vincaino turned back ; but Aquila's smaller vessel passed Cape Mendocino, and reached in latitude 43° the supposed mouth of a great river,
which they took once again (though there is none there) for the Straits
of Amen. This voyage ended in 1603, and with it, until after the expulsion of the Jesuiu from California in 1607, ended the Spanish progress of exploration beyond that province, which the missionaries of tlmt
order had begun to civiliae and survey in 1697. It will thus be perceived that down to the voyage of Juan Perezin, 1774, and of Bruno
Haceta, in 1778, the Spanish discoveries can scarcely be said to have
any sura existence beyond the latitude of 43° north. From that point
to 48°, intervene the English claims of Dvake's voyage ; and meantime the Russian expedition, beginning from Behring's Straits, in 1728,
^it^ *£•? 8°UthWard- lD 1741 • ** had *» down to "*
nude 49° ; and Cook, in 1778, met these establishments at Onnalash-
Sh* "IT™ Md P0,tl0Ck aDd DiX0n *H1 further •«*. As to their
rights adverse |the Spanish, their Minister, Mr. Politics makes Z
fcllowmg ctauon : -Moreover, when Don Jose MartineT^tZX OREGON. 53
1789, by the Court of Madrid, to form an establishment on Vancouver's island, and to remove foreigners from thence, under the pretext
tliat all that coast belonged to Spain, he gave not the least disturbance
to the Russian colonies and negotiators; yet the Spanish Government
was not ignorant of their existence, for Use very reason that Martinez
had visited them the year before. The report which Captain Males-
pina made of the results of his voyage proves that the Spaniards very
well knew of the Russian colonies; and in this very report it is seen,
that the court of Madrid acknowledged that its possessions upon the
coast of the Pacific Ocean ought not to extend to the north of Cape
Blanc, taken from the point of Trinity, situated under 42° 60' north
latitude.' (American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol. iv,p. 861.)
This, it will be perceived, coincides with the view which has just been
taken of the Spanish rights of discovery ; and, indeed Mr. Greenhow,
in effect, admits nearly the same thing, when, in his fourth chapter,
returning to the history of the Spanish progress of settlement and discovery, he says, speaking of the year 1769, 'at that time little was
known with any certainty of any part of the west coast of America north
of the 43d ]>arallel ; to which latitude it had been explored by Sebastian
Vizcaino in 1608.' (P. 108.) Disentangling thus from the maze of
confused statements in the English books and our own, the essential,
the positive, and chronological, we arrive at a few plain results :
"I. That the Spanish title by discovery is positive up to about the
point which it reached in 1843, viz, the latitude of 43 degrees north.
"II. That beyond it is met by positive English discovery, Drake's,
of an extent not certain, giving perhaps as high as 48°.
"III. That die northern limit is again nearly met by the Russian
discoveries, which came in 1741 to 49° ; and
"IV. We may here add,that thus far there is not a trace, not a pretence of any manner in which a French right can have arisen that afterwards passed to us. We have said that the next discoveries of the
Spaniards are in 1774; of the English in 1778; and this brings us
with another survey—that of general dates—to another great fact, the
lapse of time over which this series of discoveries along a single coast
run. They occupy near two hundred and thirty years. Up to that
period the shore from Behring's Straits had been in the three several regions that we have mentioned, at least as continuously discovered as
was the Atlantic coast of America before Spain and England and
France were considered the legitimate owners: the first of the West -. 0 R E O O !».
Indies Mexico, and Florida j the second of Virginia and New Eng-
End the Aird of Canada. I. all these die propneuuy nght
"confessed to have flowed from their having first seen.the hne of coo*
and taken formal possession of some one part of k. It V^sven held
that all its bays and rivers must be entered. To have waited tot tins
would have bred eternal counter titles, and incapable of ever being set-
tied. The principle of discovery, in a word, has ever been that just
stated, end upon H the national claims to almost every greater eastern
portion of this continent were conceded by Use civilized world to each
nation of which a navigator first ascertained the general existence there
of continuous land. /All of this may have been said to have been get.
tied, down to Cape Horn, within the first hundred years ; why must the
period be prolonged to two hundred and thirty years, upon a coast only
about half as long ? If, as is apparent, the three general discoveries of
that coast had been already made, why should the lime be prolonged
thirty years; especially when the prolongation can only serve to oug-
ment the difficulties of adjustment, and involve the claimants fal disputes inextricable ? Let us resume our historical narrative, and see
whether just the effect mentioned does not follow from our consenting
to look upon the coast thus generally discovered as still open to discovery at particular points—to discovery such as could confer a general
territorial right that could extinguish much older ones along a coast
already frequendy discovered. This is manifestly the great question
as to our obtaining, through Captain Cray's discovery of the mouth of
the Columbia, a title within shores already appropriated—a title giving
die entire space, north and south,from the mountains to the sea, watered by die branches of the river. The river on the north is a very
broad one, if to be thus applied ; of the first discovery of wliich by the
Spaniards there fa not a shadow of doubt, near one hundred and fifty
years before the French, who granted it to us, ever saw one rill of its
waters any where.   But let us proceed.
"In 1763, the English acquired by treaty from France all her Cans-
dian possessions and their dependencies, the Spanish all her territory
and claims in the valley of the Mississippi. By this cession England
came mto undisputed prorxietorship of Oregon,extending west, along
die 49lh parallel,* least as fax a. the chains of the Rocky Mountains
■oall our own subsequent treaties have admitted , thus bringing her"
TZlX7 T,^ ■M"e0migU^'—" » P™ f°und our claim
«n,WHh the disputed shores of the Pacific.    Thus,*contiguity be any OREGON. 55
basis ot a right, which we deny, hers dates from 1763, ours, at most,
from 1803. From about 1770 to 1798, the Spanish formed, at different
points along the shores of California, settlements extending as far as
San Francisco, in 38°, the most northern point they ever settled or
ever occupied, except Nootka, for the short time during which they
held it, after expelling Meares, Colneti, and others from them, and until they restored it to England by the Nootka Sound Convention. We
nave already mentioned the Spanish expeditions of Juan Perez and of
Haceta, in 1774 and 1778. In the former, Queen Charlotte island,
Nootka Sound, and a few other points, from 84° north to 49°, are supposed to have been discovered. (See Greenhow, p. 116.) But Mr.
Greenhow, though evidently partial to the Spanish discoveries, as now
conferring, he thinks, title on us, thus sums up the results of the voyage: 'In this voyage,the first made by the Spaniards along the northwest coast of America since 1603, very little was learned, except that
there was land on the eastern side of the Pacific, as far north as the latitude of 64°. The Government of Spain perhaps acted wisely in concealing the accounts of the expedition, which reflected little on the
courage or the science of its negotiators ; but U has thereby deprived itself of the means of establishing beyond question the claim of Perez to
the discovery of the important harbor called Nootka Sound, which is
now, by general consent, assigned to Captain Cbok.' Here, we fear,
is the recognition of a new though rational principle, which it would
have been, at least, more politic to have left to our adversaries to discover ; for the consequences are extensive, invalidating, of necessity,
for the like reason, all other discoveries of Spain not by her made
known; and within this category fall the voyage of Juan de Fuca, and it
-may even seem that of Haceta, Bodego, and Maurelle ; of which, important as they are considered, the publication was never made by the
Spanish Government,nor, indeed,made at all, except that of Maurelle's
Journal, obtained in manuscript by Daines Barrington, and by him,in
1781, embodied in a translation in his miscellanies. (See Greenhow,
p. 117.) Thus Cook's Journal having been published in 1784, his
discoveries take precedence of Haceta and of Bodega, at least, if not of
Maurelle. Such, at least, fa the effect of Mr. Greenhow's doctrine.
And, moreover, he himself afterwards affirms that Cook saw the west
■coast of America south of Mount San Jacinto, or Edgecombe, which
Jtad not been previously seen by Perez, Bodega, or Haceta; and after
passing that point, he was, as he frequently admits, aided and in 56 OHIQOH.
a measure guided by the accounts of the Russian voyagers. The ob-
servations of the English were, however, infinite* more tnmute and
more important in their results than those of any or all ttu, other nav-
urators who had preceded them in the exploration of the North Poetic- for, by determining accurately the positions of the princ.pal pointe
on'tho coast of Asia and America bounding that sea, they first afforded
the means of ascertaining the extent of those continents and the degree
of their proximity to each other, respecting which they executed this
task ,and serves to dispel the apprehensions previously entertained with regard to expeditions through dint quarter of the ocean.' (Pp. l68-'69.)
There remains to be spoken of but two Spanish voyages, that of Artea-
ga and Bodega in 1779, and that of (iallain and Veidez in 1792. Of
the first of these, we need only repeat what Mr. Greenhow says at page
12, 5, that it visited nodiing which had not before been examined by
Cook. And his account of the several or succeeding voyages (at pages
239 and 240) makes it clear thai it did hide or nothing, except to attend
Vancouver in a part of his course. We have thus brought down this
compend and chronology of discovery and occupnuon on the northwest
coast of America to the immediate facts, (nearly of die same dote,) beyond which it seems to us almost needless to descend—we mean the
Nootka Sound Convention of 1790, and Gray's discovery of the mouth
of the Columbia of 1792. The subsequent history Iwlongs to the living generation of men still fit for action, and, it needs not, therefore, any
elucidation such as we have given of remote events. It will be
perceived that we have chosen,in the sketch just traced, to follow
mainly the authority of Mr. Greenhow, who has generally given widi
faithfulness matters of fact, although he oftsn reasons ill from them.
On the whole, his book does him credit for the research he has bestowed upon it. Yet he is obviously quite too much the advocate at every
ground of our claims to Oregon ; for as we set up some former adverse
tides, there can surely be but one of them which is good. OV these
tides we may perhaps offer our judgment after we shall have presented,
as afurther fund of information, the arguments of Mr. Rush and Mr
Canning. Meantime, what we have already drawn from Greenhow
to present to our readers must, it strikes us, suggest to every dunking
man the idea that the question at large is a much more thorny one than
g«de,nen on e,ther side thought,** had only,like die knights quax-
AeT ^i    I      [ °f * 8hidd'0r 1Ute lhe ««"«■ d"P^"g about
the hue of the chameleon, fixed it on a particular state of cole
lor. OREGON. 57
We have always thought that a nation mistakes its glory
that is so alive to the slightest insult, and musters up in
hot haste its army and navy, and fights upon the shadow of
a provocation. It is very right that ail countries should
be alive to their honor and-interests, at all times maintaining that dignified position and exalted stand which it should
be the policy of all' republican Governments to uphold;
but there is a difference between an undue proportion of
sensitiveness, an over degree of niceness, and a careless
spirit as to what happens to the prosperity of the country,
and its character abroad. A nation should protect its honor as a parent protects his child. It should be determined,
■firm, and unyielding; not hasty, but always ready. Let
us lay down the good and safe maxim, "not to meddle
.until we are meddled with." By avoiding war, we drive
off the most distressing evils, the direst of all calamities that
can befall freemen. We admit that sometimes it is unavoidable. Foreign aggression must be met at all times
with violence; and we should be the last people on earth
to falter with our laws and institutions and peculiar system
of government, but the first to act in case the national honor is insulted. If the dispute now pending cannot be set.
tied by arbitration or negotiation, let war be the next expedient ; for it will be the only means left to put an end to
all strife and difficulty. It acts as a great purifier and regulator ; blending conflicting and discordant elements, putting at
rest the quarrels and unprofitable disputes of petty cliques
and clubs, who are influenced by sinister motives and corrupt designs, connecting with "-hooks of steel" and blending State with State that are almost estranged because of
some unimportant and meaningless point of controversy,
and stems the angry and swelling tide that threatens the
disunion of great Governments.
In discussing this question, it should be viewed with ref- Kg OKBOOl*
erence solely to its own merits and to its bearing upon our
hondr and interests, regardless of the clamors of ignorance
or the suggestions of selfishness. Let the subject bo debated and ended in a manner that will result to the entire
satisfaction of the intelligent people of this natio* It is
now regarded by them as if should be, as the great and
leading topic of the day, as the great dividing principle between this country and Great Britain. There is another
class of men who, to a part if not the whole of this territory, have an undeniable right. They have been there in
a state of barbarous wildness,whh minds uncultivated, like
then* own forests, and sensibilities unsubdued by the refinements of civilized life, and the still gentler influences of social happiness and equality. The chase has been their delight
and the delight of their forefathers from the remotest antiquity. The shrill note of the fox and wild panther have
broken in tones of grateful and sweet melody upon their
ears, and for centuries past they have lived the sole occupants of this territory, in the uninterrupted enjoyment of
all its lands and resources. The Oregon, not a part,
but the whole of it, is theirs by right, theirs by inheritance,
by discovery, and by justice. Pursued and hunted, like
beasts of the forest, through a succession of years, until
they have at last reached the very extreme limits of their I
own native land, and naught is to be seen of the vast domain save a wild and barren wilderness. In the retrospect
the scene opens before them in all its melancholy grandeur. The wigwam and the prairie fire no longer delight
with spells of enchantment There stand as before the
rich blue hills in the distance, smiling in the exuberance of
fertility, and decorated with thriving towns and villages.
The same streams, upon whose banks they delighted to
to^ff"1? ^ Rnd j°in in th« wi,d reve,rie* of
Bacchus, still smile with their native verdure, and bright- OREGON. 59
en with their accustomed beauty. Amazing change! Those
early visions have fled, while the' cold realities of real life
bear heavily upon them with blighting and chilling influences. Their houses lie scattered and torn down, a moral
desolation upon earth! Every year has darkened their
history and added to the catalogue of their ills. Their
chiefs are all gone, and their bones lie whitening beneath
the summer's sun; while their unfortunate offspring, in the
terror of despair, have reached as it were the world's end,
and stand upon the shore of the broad and fathomless Pa*
cific. The destruction of Babylon and Ninevah, long foretold, carry to the mind painful and bitter reflections; but
when we follow the Indian race, from the earliest period of
their history, through their primeval prosperity and happiness, when they were linked together by "hooks of steel,'*
enjoying the rights which nature's God gave them, how
feeble is the comparison with their present state. But a
few left to tell the story of their wrongs and sufferings,
could they be permitted to remain even where they are,
standing almost upon an acre of their once vast and boundless domain, their situation would be less deplorable, less
wretched; but like a fatal disease working its insidious way
into the very seat of life, the progress of civilization is destined to sweep away the last dear relic, the inheritance
of past days, and finally to rob them of their only homes,
and their all. Melancholy reflection! Once so formidable in number, so indomitable in courage, so strong in
war. The mighty people of this western world, with
its vast wealth and rich products, like a wreck, the
fell destroyer has gone on subduing and conquering,
until the war-whoop is nowhere heard, save among the
frowning cliffs and rattling crags of the northwest boundary.
But with respect to the occupation of the Oregon, what 60
other course can we safely pursue, other than taking possession. We regard it as a case of urgent necessity, inasmuch as Great Britain is only waiting for a favorable opportunity to take exclusive control; and if such k to be
the case, it is surely admissible in us to establish a boundary which will afford a strong protection, a barrier against
foreign aggression. We are not anxious nor are wo willing
to claim or have anything that is not ours, and recognised
as such by the laws and usages of nations. Should England disavow any intention of occupying this territory, and
we felt convinced that such was her fixed determination,
we might then be justified in yielding it to its present occupants; but under the circumstances, we believe
that our national safety, and the safety of those of our
oountrymcn inhabiting the northwest const and tho surrounding country, demands of uh an acknowledgment of
our rights under the different cessions made to the United
States. That we have an undisputed claim to the parallel of 49 degrees, and no further, must be readily admitted.
Those who are in favor of taking possession of the
whole of that territory contend that they have never seen
an argument at all plausible that assigned the reasons
why Great Britain should own north of that parallel. It
has been said that the parallel of 49° was agreed upon as
a sort of compromise, in order that tho question might be
settled without delay. Is there a sensible man who believes that this parallel would have been included if our
right to it was not as clear as to that south of that line'
It cannot be so. And all the negotiators on the subject
on behalf of the United States, who have investigated the
subject in its minutest details, insist that the line of
49 degrees should be the boundary-mil north of it belonging to Great Britain, and all south 'tofte United States
We regard these facts as th
e strongest argument that can OREGON. 61
bo employed, and one that deserves the consideration of
the unprejudiced and the unbiassed. All the ethical writers,
Grotius, Puffendorff, Baron Wolfius, and Vattel, who have
founded their opinions, in the main, on accurate bases, which
have been for many years accredited by diplomatists as
ready elucidations of the principles that should govern
the general course and policy of nations, concur with the
President, as expressed in his inaugural, that our right is
ttclear and indisputable." But we have, independent of
the principles contained in the works of these distinguished writers, another consideration which is of binding force,
and of primary importance to all others, rendering the
point wished to be established beyond doubt—we mean
the ^prevailing sentiment of national honor,,w All nations admit that there is a certain code of laws touching
the rights of countries, and adapted to cases as they may
occur, which never, under any circumstances, lose their
moral force or effect. These opinions, expressed through
the press in a republic numbering twenty millions of
freemen, must be in the ascendant, and exert a powerful moral influence that cannot be swayed; and if a
rule of action is taken inconsistent with the views of
this class, it will be at once denounced and put down,
never availing any thing or having any weight. This is
the best preservative of the rights of nations; for, by it
redress is demanded. It takes cognizance of the wrongs
or injuries committed, and repudiates and abuses every unjust policy with unqualified disdain. Rules of justice, always the same, eternal and unalterable, must be observed as
fully by monarchies as by republics. They are the same
yesterday and to-day throughout the world; and though
a desire may be evinced at times, and even expressed, to
disregard them for the advancement of certain ends, the
6 61
fear and abuse of other countries will almost invariably
deter. No written codes can alter these natural tendencies, or affect their results. They are as common to countries' as passions and appetites are to the human frame.
They are immutable and fixed; as much so as the laws of
gravitation, or those which control the planetary system.
Independent of the laws of nations, which are invariably
consulted in all legislative assemblies in times of necessity, the principles of which are the only governing rules of
action, admitted to be so by proper authorities, there are
frequently acts of aggression committed under circumstances which are unnoticed, or not included in the works
of writers on international law, that render it necessary
to a preservation and maintenance of that dignity which
all States boast of, which it is their duty, as States,
having their honor to preserve, whether they be strong or
weak, whether they hove a handful or a legion of men, it
matters not, an invasion of their rights, and an assumption
of undue power not recognised by the laws of nations, or by
that code of laws tacitly acknowledged to be good by common consent of all the powers of the earth, compel them to
throw the "scabbard from the sword, and to go forth to
victory or death* Their national character is insulted,
injuries are added to insults, and they are left but two
alternatives, to submit tamely to injuries and wrongs, or to
avenge their cause at all hazards. We shall now proceed to discuss the question under the fourth bead CHAP. IV.
What has the United States done to protect her settlers ?
Since the treaty of 1827, which gave to Great Britain
the right of joint occupancy, nothing, We may say, has been
done to protect our settlers. Many years ago a number of
individuals residing in the interior and southwest of the
United States, emigrated to Oregon under peculiar cir
cumstances. The plan was long meditated by them, and
the promise of protection under our laws, and the flattering prospect that was held out respecting the climate
and soil, induced them to carry out their undertaking.
Poor, and without friends, and stimulated by a laudable
desire to seek their fortunes in a "fair and fertile"
region of the continent, where they would be enabled to
pursue their various occupations, in the peaceful enjoyment of their own rights, uninterrupted by competition, and
with countless natural resources around them, they went
forth from an exhausted region of country to unite their
destinies with those of the inhabitants of Oregon. Encouraged by the flattering accounts which had reached
their ears of this distant but splendid territory, "with willing minds and honest hearts" they shouldered their knapsacks in the midst of the blessings of civilization and the
refinements of social life, and united hand in hand with the
brave pioneers of the northwest coast "They were anxious," says Washington Irving,, "to extend the area of freedom," to reclaim the wilds of this inexhaustible land, to
introduce the manners and customs and creeds of civilized
and refined life, "to make the desert blossom like the
rose," and to work out, as had done the earliest settlers of
America, their own destiny. What design could be more
praiseworthy and more to be admired, considering the 64
many disadvantages connected with the enterprise. A
handful of men, hardly a corporal's guard, with but few
weapons of defence, without money, and almost without
encouragement! But'they were equal to the task| possessing, in an eminent degree, one important requisite, and
that was an inflexible will, an unwavering belief that all in
the end would be well. But their expectations, which had
been fed with various accounts through their long and tedious journey, were far from being realized.
After travelling forweeks and months without shoes, and
sometimes without provisions, the idea frequently occurring to them that the life of one of their party would have
to be taken to preserve the lives of the rest, they reached
their place of destination, care worn and enfeebled. The
American Government faithfully promised to throw around
her settlers the broad segis of her laws, to extend to
them freely the inalienable rights of free-born American citizens, and to defend them from any attack from
without or within. This promise, solemnly made, has
been either knowingly falsified or wilfully neglected. No
step has been taken from that day to this to redeem this
solemn obligation; and the American settlers remain in
Oregon now, as then, unprotected, uncared for, and, we
may say in truth, unthought of Perfect indifference has
been manifested, be it said with shame. Congress after
Congress has convened, no appropriation has been made
unsustasned by the mighty voice of the American people,
and nothing done to aUeviate the sufferings of these unfortunate adventurers.
N^TTf" * 1839there w«" two or three thousand
New England emigrants ready and willing, and anxious,
to settle in Oregon if ^tection under our laws would
be pronnsed them.   They watted for a long tsme in aru
^ expectation that their request woufd Z gran "' OREGON. 65
Proposition after proposition was made, not one of which
was regarded; and though their sufferings and misfortunes increased every day, there was no action taken what*
ever. Fuel was now thrown upon the fire; and that portion of the American people who were most solicitous and
desirous to establish our citizens in the territory, believing, as they said, "that our title was perfectly good," became at last greatly incensed that Congress was unwilling
as expressed by their vote, to meet the wishes of this brave
and valiant band. Repeated attempts( have since been
made to extend our laws over this country, all of which
have invariably failed. In 1843, a bill to that, effect passed
the Sonate, after much difficulty, by the votes of democratic Senators. It was considered by many a law; but,
strange to say, from the day of its passage it has never
gone into operation, and is of course regarded as nugatory.
As late as 1824 a resolution passed, by a large majority,
the same body, "to give notice to Great Britain of our intention to annul the treaty of joint occupancy, allowing an
interval of twelve months, as was stipulated in said treaty.
After much labor and discussion it was lost by Whig votes.
Here we again find the Whig party defeating the object of
the democratic portion of the Senate, and in truth violating
the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the American
people. A severe rebuke went forth from Maine to Louisiana.
Dissatisfaction prevailed in every quarter of the Union; but
such was the Whig opposition that a reconsideration of
the question was considered useless. Meetings were held
in various parts of the land, in which the bitterest denunciations were publicly made, and the course pursued condemned in the strongest and most positive terms. What
the design was we do not pretend to say. It has been surmised that they were anxious to feel the British pulse be- 66
•ore asserting their rights, and sf U»ew Ofno.on. cou d be
ascertained, then to act acccrdingly. But we willnotm-
pute to the Senate such motives. We cannot think, in
riew of our national position, and the popularity of our system of Government, that we have had, or ever wiD nave,
a Senator who is prepared, with the eyes of his constituents and of the whole world resting upon him, to acknowledge, directly or indirectly, bis preference for British
laws nnd institutions. This, indeed, would be a phenomenon the most remarkable that has occurred in the history
of politics, and calculated to excite the alarm and surprise of every patriot and philanthropist. That there are
men in our Government, high public functionaries, having
in their hands the dispensation of political patronage, whose
predilections are on the side of foreign nations, admiring
their customs and applauding their usages, there can be
but little doubt; but we believe in the abstract that there
is no American, native born, who is not truly an Amerv
can; he may differ, and widely too, as regards the operation of certain fundamental principles, their tendency and
bearing upon certain communities and classes, and their
effect upon society in general, but we cannot for a moment suppose that there breathes a man in this vast community of States who would exchange our political system
for that of any country on the Globe, unless it were done
from interested motives. The history of our confederacy
for the last half century, and long before, fully attests the
soundness of our theory, and the honesty of our national
system, as it has been termed. We want no better government It answers all the ends for which it was intend
ed i ,t is notinthe least monarchical, nor is it aristocratic.
K is not in the hands of a few ambitious men. Each State
is sovereign, having its representatives and laws, while at
the same tune they acknowledge their allegiance with one OREGON, 67
another, their constitutional connexion.   The Government
is controlled by wise, prudent, and skilful men, and not
by selfish parties or cliques.    The   poor man, in his
native simplicity, has an equal voice in legislative matters, because he is a part, a constituent part, of the
confederacy.   This is not an undue power that he is
exercising, it is not a special privilege that is denied
to others, but a right, an inherent right, which belongs
to all, because they are moral beings.   The poor man is
under no more'restrictions, constitutionally, than the rich
man; he is empowered with the same capacity to act
in legislative matters as the most noted and distinguished; he partakes in the election of his governors and lawmakers, " because he is a part of the State and a member
of society."   That distinctions will sometimes exist, must
be admitted under the present organization of affairs. Men
of similar tastes, similar desires, feelings, propensities, and
sentiments, will class themselves under one head, but these
classes are not given birth to by the laws of the land. They
do not encourage them,-far from it; but they exist by the
conventional consent of the people, by a tacit willingness to
form themselves into separate parties for special purposes.
For instance, it is not to be expected that literary men,
who are intimately acquainted with all the refinements of
dignified life, and who have spent half of their lives in their
closets in the attainment of scientific knowledge, will consent to associate and mingle with the plebeian orders of
society.   This has never been the case, and never can be
in the nature of things.   In the days of the Caesars there
were fewer grades in society, but that very easily
accounted for, looking to the difference between their
creeds and customs .and ours.   It would be very remarkable if a Republican Government fostered.a feeling like
this, for surely its legitimate object is to protect the peo- 08
pie in the enjoyment of their rights; and whenever it re
lapses into a
atate of listlessness or favors the few at the
use of the many, the very life and essence of republicanism is lost, its spirit is perverted, its character misunderstood, and dissolution is the inevitable consequence.
It is utterly impossible, and the history of fullen nations
prove it, for a Republican Government to exist which does
not recognise the equality of rights in man. The very first
prmcipleof republicanism is equal rights and equal privileges.
Upon it its principles are based. It is the very ground-work
of our policy, and without it there is no republicanism, not
even the semblance of it By fostering these leading principles the public morals are protected. But we have a strong
guarantee for the public morals which Greece and Rome had
not We mean the Christian religion. Its code of morals is
perfect, and its sanctions as pure as it is possible for the
imagination to conceive. It embraces the-whole human
family, and even had our own people a downward tendency, its power would arrest its progress. It is the greatest incentive in the world to improvement. It tends directly to the institution of democracy. If men are just
they must be democratic. And, in the language of a distinguished writer, "what will become of usurpation and
force, corruption and fraud, as Christianity takes its march
over the earth. It sanctions nothing but what is wise and
what is good, and abhors the corruption, extravagance, and
vanity of courts." There will always be a struggle be
tween the many and the few. This is expected, and cannot be avoided. It is synonymous with the existence of
Government, and has prevailed and will prevail in all time
to come.   Look to the palmy days of the Roman RepUb-
t^-TT*, ^^ ** P,6beianS'the Prolans, and
thenobdity-looktothewarthat was waged by them-^hoir
contests were so fierce that they shook the founZ^usZ OREGON. 69
the Government; and had it not been for the exercise and
interference of great minds that were equal to the emergency, men of energy and moral force, that nothing could
daunt—who directed the martial spirit to conquest and
glory, in the subjugation of other nations to their imperial
sway—the contests of these orders would have destroyed the Republic forever. It is very true that the people
were never secured in the rights of property to the same
extent, and in the same degree, that the enlightened nations of the earth now are. Yet compare the state of the
arts and sciences, of morals and governments, as existing,
(in the republics of antiquity,) with the same or a similar
state of things in monarchies, and the fact is prominent,
that the republics excelled all the monarchies of ancient
times. Look to the system that is observed in the operation of the machinery of our Government—its principles are
established, and all that our magistrates or rulers have to
do, is to see that this system is kept up, to put an end to
all abuses, and to inform the people, from time to time,
whose representatives they are, of the state or condition of
the body politic. We profess to be a just and law-loving
people, living under a Government that dispenses equal
benefits and blessings to all, protecting the interests of the
high and low, and fostering those institutions which will
benefit society most. Equality of rights is the most valuable conservative feature of our Constitution; it unites
in harmonious union the unfortunate and oppressed with
the more affluent and elevated; it is one among the surest
safe-guards to republicanism, inasmuch as all republics are
based upon it, and without it they would exist in name,
but not in truth. Equal rights was the first great law conceived in the convention that met to frame our Constitution. While other principles of Government were engrossing the consideration of this august body, and calling 70
O R K 0 0 N
forth heated and protracted debates, there was but one
prevailing opinion respecting equality of nghta, but one
opinion as to its necessity and importance. It was regarded by aB, as it really is, the connecting link between
man and man; a safeguard in times of danger and excitement, which acts as a check in the prevention of lawless
deeds; hence its existence in our Constitution, and the
fact that its value has never been disputed, even by the
most degenerateand corrupt, who have scattered firebrands
at the altar of our country's hopes, is tho strongest and most
conclusive argument that can be employed in its defence.
It proves at once that it is at the very foundation of our
principles, one of the principal ingredients of our system.
In a country like ours, that is improving every day in the
arts and sciences, and in agriculture and commerce as well
as in the sciences, and in all the various pursuits to which
man is adapted, the means of subsistence should be made ad
infinitum.   Who can doubt the real benefit and satisfaction
of living independently when all around is rapidly improving?
The gain of every season manifests itself to the eye, and
every person makes a part of the improvement that he witnesses.   The impulse of progress communicates itself to
alL   Every additional piece of ground that is reclaimed
and broken up for tilling, every new barn, every handsome
building that is erected, is a theme of conversation and interest, not unfrequently of emulation, to a whole neighborhood.   So eery utrong is the impulse from this source,
that these improvements seem to be made in concert—all
appear to be equally interested in the grand march of improvement, and lend a willing hand to extend this charitable
work.  It cannot be expected that the sod of our country i.
as productive as it former* was. It i. a principle laid down
by all farmers, that as the land is worked so is the product
less, and every year it continues to produce less, until at last, OREGON. 71
unless it is improved by certain' applications, the product
is hardly worth the labor that is expended in the cultivation. This is a very strong reason for emigration, and there
is nothing to deter the poor man from making Oregon his
home. Thore he has spread out before him a wide field
with all its advantages, lands in all their native richness,
and it is indeed gratifying to feel ourselves as " good as
the best," and to stand on a level with the highest. In an
old settled country like ours, which has been under a regular
system of improvement for centuries, and which, of consequence, must be somewhat exhausted, so far as its soil is
concerned, labor is chiefly in demand for continuing cultivation. In the comparative wilderness it is required, on
the other hand, for subduing the earth, as well as for cultivating tracts already brought under the plough. This
forms a great additional source of employment for the
laborer. In a new country the surplus that is created by
labor is from year to year invested in improvements, while
necessity creates an additional demand for labor. In this
way every new improvement furnishes the means for new
outlay, by which the laborer is the first to profit Labor
can never have so great comparative value as when the
country is in its transition state from wild to cultivated.
Then there is a constantly increasing demand for the physical energies of the laborer. Every day presents new inducements. Undertakings are made and contracts entered
into, the success of which wholly depends upon the industry of the parties; hence it is that strong inducements are
held out for emigration which before could not exist There
is no country in Christendom more inviting to the industrious poor man than a large portion of the Oregon Territory. There he is not disturbed in the exercise of his
faculties by the tremendous competition which is witnessed
in the United States every day.  There he is not burdened 72
by excessive and unequal taxation, which takes away a
great portion of his satisfaction. He finds no laws
to take away with one hand what it gives with the other,
by levying enormous and unreasonable duties on tho necessaries of life. But to touch upon this would lead us to
the vexed question of the Tariff, "in which wise heads
labor as in a treadmill."   There
" The air of Heaven
Visits no freshlier tho rich man's brow ;
He has hit portion of each silver star
Sent to his eye so freely; and the light
Of the blest sun pours on his book as clear
As on the golden missal of a king.'
In the settlement of Oregon, should it be our fortune to
have it, the same wise statutes and excellent laws under
which we have so long and so happily lived would be surely
introduced. A republican constitution, characterized as
ours is by simplicity and impartiality, accommodated to the
wants of men of all classes and conditions, and bearing
upon its every feature conciliation and compromise, cannot
fail to produce a salutary effect in society. Under this
constitution, mild and equal in its exactions, and forbidding
expressly an exercise of undue powers not delegated, let
us move on proudly and successfully, as we ha«e done before, and as becomes a great, growing, and christian nation. The " Father of the universe," in whose hands are
all things, has truly favored us, and we are, in deed and in
truth, «a peculiar people." He has watched over our
country from infancy to manhood, making it the asylum of
peace, virtue, and Christianity, and, thanks be to Him, we
have preserved unimpaired the only safe-guards of liberty
and republicanism. It becomes us, therefore, as responsible to ourselves, and to late and still later generations, to
defend and protect the rights and privileges which hive OREGON. 73
been bought at the cost of blood and treasure. Let us,
like the beautiful young mother, Maria Theresa, "unsheath
the sword of steel, striking it north and south, east and
west, challenging the four corners of the world to dispute
our rights." It is true that war is an evil, and should, if
possible, be avoided at all times. But are we to surrender
valuable rights, touching our honor and standing as a nation, for fear of it, thereby proving to the world that we
are either incapable or without the courage " to maintain
our position?" We concur most heartily with the ex-
British minister, Mr. Huskisson," that it would be lamentable in this age for two such countries as the United States
and Great Britain to draw to a rupture on such a subject
as the uncultivated wilds of the northwest coast;" but we
equally concur with the American Senator, who has said
" that it is the duty of the Government to protect our citizens, wherever they may lawfully be, to the fullest extent,
in the rights of property and the privileges which appertain
to citizens of the United States. Should any American in
Oregon be disturbed in the exercise of the rights, granted
him by the laws of the United States, by any power of the
Old World or out of it, it is the duty of the President to
send troops to their defence, and there to keep them as
long as the exigency may require. So far no direct attack
has been made upon our citizens, and consequently there has
been no actual need of defence. They have gone there of
their own accord to better their conditions, to introduce
the light of civilization, and to soften, if possible, the savage
in his untutored wildness. As this step has been taken
without any very strong inducement on their part as far as
the acquisition of wealth was concerned, and for no other
reason than to extend wise and salutary laws, that aid and
assistance should be extended which they may require.
So far but little has been done, notwithstanding repeated 74 OREGON.
applications have been made by the settlers. They have
asked for protection, but no answer has been given. They
have expressed their wants, and drawn a faithful and true
picture of their condition, hoping that their countrymen
would be aroused, their sympathies excited, and assistance
rendered, but no answer has been given. Exposed to depredations that are frequently committed, they hove no
means of defence, no expectation of defence, no promise
of defence. How is it, therefore, that the American population of this territory can be expected to increase when
no interest is felt in their situation? We should be truly
thankful to them, encouraging them in their bold and manly
efforts, and make known our gratitude for the spirit with
which they have advanced the cause of civilization; and if
it so happens that a "standing" army is necessary to protect their lives and property from invasion, it should be
raised without delay, for we can never be too tenacious of
our rights and national character. CHAP. V.
The value and importance of Oregon to the United States.
We are very sure that we speak the opinion, the almost
unanimous opinion, of the people of this country, when we
say that the value and importance of this splendid territory, as large again as France, is incalculable. Its value
cannot be properly estimated. Its extent and resources,
the character of the soil, and its admirable locality for
commerce and trade of every sort, make it superior to any
country on the globe. Look to its vast circumference,
about one thousand miles in length, and covering a surface
of four hundred thousand square miles, its vast and almost
numberless resources, its rivers, harbors, coasts, and climate—every convenience and every facility of making it
adapted to any purpose. It seems very remarkable that
we should hesitate in asserting our claims, not by mere
declaration, that will not do, it avails nothing, but by an
absolute possession. Send out our people, with all their
advantages of wealth, industry, and intelligence, plant
fearlessly the American standard, defying foreign invasion,
and the benefits accruing would be the means of diffusing
comforts not only there, but the effect would be felt and
appreciated throughout the continent. England sees very
well the advantages resulting from the acquisition of this
i territory; hence it is she is so unwilling to make any surrender whatever. She is always prompt in finding out
\ first where the jewel lies, and has fixed upon this rich pos-
| session as an important addition to her dominions, and is
plying all her intrigues and devices to wrest it from us.
I Wherever there is an unclaimed or deserted spot upon the
earth's surface, whether it be 'productive or sterile, it matters not how small or how large it is, or what its advan- 76
O R EOOff,
tages may be, she is the first to pounce upon it, like a
greedy vulture, and to retain it forever, unless compelled
necessarily to relinquish it    Her encroachments become
more extended with the time of her possesion.    Her appetite for territorial aggrandizement is sharpened.    She
wishes to add to her treasury, and as her desire is gratified so it is increased.   In making known her claims, her
voice at fir stk weak and doubting.    She procrastinates, refusing to legislate, working all the while clandestinely, and
refusing to let the world know her intentions, until at last,
when she sees a rightful title made by a rightful people,
she flatly but falsely asserts that we are trampling upon
what is hers, and that our desire for gain is only equalled
by the injustice of our claims.    Should the value of Oregon be but small, and its physical advantages comparatively few, she would long since have yielded to the unquestionable title of the United States; the controversy,
if any, would have been  soon  ended; and  seeing  the
injustice of her cause, she would have tamely given way
to the superiority of claims.   But it is now reduced to a
certainty that the longer the delay the more obstinate will
she become.   But to the subject.   The climate, soil,hunting, and fishing, together with the locality of this territory,
render it one of the most desirable portions of the new
world.    All the explorers, Cook, Clark, PenUock, and
Vancouver, represent the climate as being mild and salubrious,   Kotzebue says:
"On the 30th of July, a long tract of lowland was
covered with luxuriant verdure, the climate being, from
March to April, in latitude 49° 30, infinitely milder than
the coast of America under the same latitude. There was
no frost in the low grounds, and vegetation proceeded
briskly; grass, at this time, was upwards of a foot long,
The crops are frequently watered by the meet refreshing OREGON. 77
showers; tho sonsoim nro regular, and shore is nothing
wanting but villagos and hnmlots to render it one of the
most beautiful countries in creation. Nature has dono her
part. The ocean teems with otter, whale, and seal, while
the mainland abounds in every variety of game, and the
water with sturgeon, salmon, and other species of fish.
The multitudes of salmon in tho Oregon are innumerable,
and they ascend to its remotest streams. The water is so
clear, that they may bo seen at the depth of fifteen or
twenty feet, and so abundant are they at certain seasons,
that, in the scarcity of wood, dried fish are often used as
fuel. In a word, that great and beautiful peninsula, between the mouth of the Columbia and the entrance of De
Fuca's strait, enclosing more than two-thirds of the country in the ocean between the river and the strait, possesses
advantages for occupation by a civilized nation not surpassed by those of any other country in the world."
The occupation of this country by Great Britain would
certainly be very desirable to her. With Oregon and
Canada, on the north, in what would our defence consist?
Of course we should be completely blockaded. We should
be rivalled in many of our staple products, in tobacco and
cotton, and in other of our principal productions; and the
competition which would necessarily exist, would cause at
once a depreciation in the value of every thing. Our
home markets would be seriously disturbed, and we should
bo ever surrounded by a watchful and jealous people, ambitious to excel, and stooping to the lowest means to accomplish the lowest ends. This would be the inevitable
consequence: in all the rival products, we should be undersold ; and those articles from which we expected a handsome revenue, would command comparatively nothing.
Another important question connected with emigration is,
that the necessaries (those which are bought in the United
7 78
o r r. a o n.
States at almost double their value), can be purchas
ed in Oregon for about half of what is paid here. The
price of groceries are, upon a general average, with the
States. Loaf sugar, doubhvrefined, (the very finest that
can be roadej is worth 13 cents per pound; and brown
sugar, 12* cents per pound. Tea, which is really superior
to that sold in the United States,' can be bought for 80
cents per pound. China is but a short distance oflT, and
Wilkes says, "that it is lying, as it were, opposite the door
of the Columbia river." Clothing of all kinds is also very
cheap. There is no duty paid, and consequently woollens
and flannels can be sold at a lower rate than what is paid
here. Very good strong blue cloth, six-quarters wide, can
be had for $1 25 per yard. A very neat cloth roundabout
comes at $4 37§j pantaloons at $5. Neat cotton shirts
are worth 83 cents; Mackinaw blankets of superior quality, $3 50 each. All articles of cutlery are cheap, for the
same reason that other articles are so. Calicoes and
cottons are rather higher, and sell for about the same as
in the States. Iron is worth 10 cents per pound; gunpowder, 25 cents; lead, 12} cents, and shot the same.
Boots and shoes are yet very high; and crockery of all
descriptions command a large price. Tools and farming
utensils are very reasonable. The best Cary ploughs can
be bought, to order, from an excellent blacksmith, at 31J
cents per pound. Wheat sells easily for $1 per bushel;
potatoes,40 cents; fresh pork, 10 cents, and fresh beef,
6 cents per pound. American cows, from the scarcity of
them, bring from $50 to $75; and Spanish, from $30 to
I! ;Z?' fIT $™ t0 #12*P"y°l<e; American horses,
from $50to $75 each.   There is an abundance of poultry
of dolT*^ ^ & Plentiful 8*W]y of *« '«<> Masses
and do   ^ I™™** hMWni b* *• faraai" ■■»«« of "cats
anddogs;" but fl HiRRdvi8able for e OREGON. 79
bring dogs with him that are of a good breed. In a country where so much game abounds, and where there are
herds to watch, they are very useful.
The goods sold at Vancouver are of a superior quality,
and the purchaser, in this region of honesty and enterprise,
receives them on a credit of twelve months; so that the
greatest obstacle to the poor, worn-down emigrant, after his
arrival, vanishes at once. " This is a country of peace
and good-will; every new comer is received as a brother;
the poor man's wealth lies in his arms; and the spirit and
industry that brought him here to claim, by his labor,
Heaven's just gifts in the richness of the soil, is accepted
as the substantial guaranty of his good faith. The utmost
honesty and liberality characterizes the dealings of the natives with strangers, and even with residents. If your circumstances are adverse, and you are not able to pay for
last year's dealing, you are required to give your note,
drawing interest at five per cent." The course of the Columbia river, and nearly all its tributaries, lead to the most
valuable and fertile portions of the territory. The course
of tho Columbia is nearly due west and east. In the farther
valley of the Oregon, between the Blue and Rocky mountains, a barren waste presents itself to the eye of the wearied traveller—rocks heaped upon rocks in the wildest
confusion, and fearful precipices every hundred yards, for
miles. In this section of the country, the soil is seldom
refreshed with showers. Sometimes weeks, and even
months, pass, without a drop of rain; consequently vegetation suffers extremely; every thing is parched and dried
up, and often dies for the want of moisture. At this place,
and in the vicinity, the cold is so intense as often to freeze
the earth, the products of which are entirely destroyed.
Agriculture and industry are necessarily palsied, and but
little is done by the inhabitants to till the soil.   This region. 80
O R E o o y.
as ma, oe supposed, is but little sought by civilized man,
its climate, location, and alt its advantages, have been for
many years the abode of the lawless and unofihzed. An
opportunity is allowed to the settlers in this region to com-
nut all kinds of depredations; yet there are many scenes
connected with this extended landscape, which renders
the scene at times truly beautiful. Nature has done much
to adorn the earth, and her bounties are spread around (or
miles in the richest profusion. Washington Irving, with
his accustomed beauty of style and diction, thus describes
it: "The monotony of these immense landscapes would
be as wearisome as that of the ocean, were it not relieved,
in some degree, by the purity and elasticity of the atmosphere, and the splendor of the heavens. The sky has
that delicious blue, for which the sky of Italy is renowned.
The sun shines with a pure splendor, unobscured by any
cloud or vapor; and star-light in the prairie is glorious."
The extreme valley in the west is by far the richest agricultural region in that whole section of country. It extends far from the straits of De Fuca, to the placid and
beautiful waters of the Umpagna river; but about one hundred miles south of the Columbia, the most luxuriant and
beautiful pastures may be found, upon which herds of
cattle are continually feeding. In this splendid valley of
about forty-five thousand square miles, the land, in many
places, is as productive as the river grounds, as they are
termed, which is very well adapted to the growth of wheats!
and immediately below
there is a magnificent valley, pel
fectiy level, looo feet in width, and fifteen or twenty miles
in length, presenting a field to the industrious and enterprising not to be met with in our country. Here, if any
where, nmst be the seatof empire, population, and wealth,
while the neighboring region remains in a state of irreclaimable wilderness.   Tl
ne climate is healthy, mild.
and OREGON. 81
salubrious; and the thermometer in the summer seldom
ranges higher than 80°; while the most refreshing air is constantly stirring. The winters, it is true, are quite severe-
some more so than others; and the rain commences in
October,-and prevails till April. They are-often very vio
lent; but seldom prevent the inhabitants from carrying on
their daily business. Storms sometimes occur which baffles
all description. Hear what Washington Irving says of
them: " The sun is obscured sometimes for weeks, the
brooks swell with roaming torrents, and the country is
threatened with a deluge. But these things soon pass
away, and the sun again smiles upon the earth with increased brilliancy." The inhabitants of this region are
hardy and industrious, and capable of enduring the severest
fatigue. They amuse themselves in various ways, such as
hunting, fishing, boxing, and very often large parties assemble, who remain together for days, enjoying themselves
as they can.
North and northwest of the Columbia, to the 56° of latitude, is the New Caledonia of British traders. This section is exceedingly sterile and unproductive; so much so,
that not even the most common natural growth has yet appeared. Tho chief water course is Frascr's river, a stream
of considerable length and breadth, emptying into the
straits of Fuca. Strange to say, not even the banks of this
river are at all fertile, or even fit for grazing; however,
they very well compare with the surrounding country, not
an acre of which, in a circumference of fifteen miles, is
worthy of tillage. In truth, these lands have been very
often tested, for the purpose of seeing to what growth
they were best adapted; but no one has, as yet, ever pretended to cultivate them. It would be supposed that the
various individuals who have endeavored, by various means,
to reclaim them, and introduce a system of cultivation 82
O R E G O H.
and improvement similar to that which is practised on
the banks of the Columbia, would give rise to disputes and
difficulties with those who claim a right to this particular
section; but it appears that all live on.terms of peace
and friendship, and disputes but seldom occur with the
settlers. After the resolutions of the Emigrating Society
passed, on which occasion Dumbarton acted so distinguished a part, insisting, with all the powers of his sound
logic and eloquence, on the adoption cf the commercial
laws of Missouri and Tennessee, for the future government, there has nothing occurred calculated, in the slightest degree, to disturb the harmony and mutual good feeling
which all aid in cherishing and preserving. The resolutions adopted by that noted meeting, presenting a free and
intrepid body of resolute men, determined to establish
their own rules of action peculiar to themselves, and
adapted to their own views and wants, are well calculated
to prove man's capacity for self-government; having the
means within his reach, should he bo willing to adopt
those means, of placing himself on an equality, both moral
and civil, with the most favored nations of the world,
they came to this determination, and though many objections were urged, and arguments employed,' to dissuade
those who designed carrying out the plan, some contending that the laws of the United States would be soon introduced, others that no government was best, yet they
would not be stifled; and met together in convention, like
the great framers of our constitution, to introduco their
own views of government, and pass their own laws. They
mean, if possible, to establish a representative form of government. It is very certain that the rights of the individual do not grow out of any conventional agreement, by
Treat.    ^ "^ T W"*"iMd »»d C'Cal<^ '-the
great leading principles of human conduct, on which those OREGON. 33
rights chiefly depend, came into existence with man. Destroy man, and of course rights cease to exist; bui as long
as he exists, or as long as government exists, rights must
prevail and be acted upon. This point was duly considered
by the law-makers of Oregon. They had sagacity enough
to know the ends for which governments were instituted,
the effect that would be produced from the maintenance of
these rights, and they wisely concluded that it would be
better to organize and establish for themselves a civil code.
They plainly saw that society can exercise no privileges
which do not proceed from the individuals forming that society. Modifications, forms, phazes may exist; but all at last
grow out of the inherent, inalienable rights of man—"life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and whatever interposes or thwarts these, interposes a barrier—fixes a gulf
between individuals, and establishes classes which conflict
idirectly with the right of self-government.
The resolutions which were adopted by this convention
are so excellent in their character, and so well calculated
to advance the prosperity of the country and the happiness
of the people, that we beg leave to present them to our
readers, as taken from the admirable work of Lieut Wilkes:
Resolutions of the Oregon Emigrating Society.
Ilesolved, whereas, we deem it necessary, for the government of all societies, either civil or military, to adopt
certain rules and regulations for their government, for the
purpose of keeping good order and promoting civil and
military discipline, therefore, in order to increase or insure
safety, we adopt the following rules and regulations for the
government of said company:
Rule 1st Every male person of the age of sixteen or
upwards shall be considered a legal voter in all the affairs
regulating the company. 84
Rule 2d. There shall be nine men elected by a majority
of the company, who shall form a council, whose duty it
shall be to settle all disputes arising between individuals,
and to try, and pass sentence on all persons for any act of
which they may be guilty, winch is subversive of good order and military discipline. They shall take special cognisance of sentinels and members of the guard who may
be guilty of neglect of duty, or of sleeping on their posts.
Such persons shall be tried, and sentence passed on them
at tho discretion of council. A majority of two-thirds of
the council shall decide all questions, subject to the approval or disapproval of the captain. If the captain disapprove of the decision of the council, he shall state to
them his reasons; when they shall again pass upon the
question, and if the decision is made again by the same
body, it shall be final.
Rule 3d. There shall be a captain elected, who shall have
supreme military command of the company. It shall be
the duty of the captain to maintain good order and strict
discipline, and, as far as practicable, to enforce all rules
and regulations adopted by the company. Any man who
shall he guilty of disobeying orders, shall be tried, and sentenced at the discretion of the council, which may extend
to expulsion from the company. The captain shall appoint the requisite number of duty-sergeants, one of whom
shall take charge of every guard, and who shall hold their
offices at the pleasure of the captain.
Rule 4th. There shall be an orderiv sergeant elected by
the company, whose duty it shall be to keep a regular rolL
arranged in alphabetical order?On every subject, to guard
duly the company, and shall make out his guard details bv
commencing at the top of the roll and proceeding to the
duty.   He shall also parade every guard, call the roH, and OREGON. 85
inspect the time of mounting. He shall also visit the guard
at least once every night, and see that they are doing strict
military duty, and may, at any time, give them the necessary instructions respecting their duty, and shall regularly
make report to the captain every morning, and be considered second in command.
Rule 5th. The captain, orderly sergeant, and members
of the council shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the
company. And it shall be the duty of the council, upon
the application of one-third or more of the company, to order a new election for either captain, orderly sergeant, or
new member or members of the council, or for all or any
of them, as the case may be.
Rule 6th. The election for officers shall not take place
until the company meet at Kansas river.
Rule 7th. No family shall be allowed to take more than
three loose cattle to every male member of the age of sixteen or upwards.
It is needless to state that many of these remarkable
resolutions were considered a "dead letter," as laws frequently are, from the time of their adoption. However,
they answered all the ends for which they were intended;
and those who had been most prominent in effecting their
passage assumed an air of dignified satisfaction which ap-.
peared as though they had taken part in a proceeding little short in importance to the declaration of American independence. From that time forward perfect order and
good will prevailed in the colony, each man contributed
to the good order of the body, and serious difficulties but
rarely occurred. The government that was established
suited the wants and conditions of all, and a spirit now
prevails calculated, in the course of time, to render the territory one of the most desirable portions of the new world.
Already the people have been considering the propriety of gg OREGON.
forming themselves into societies for the purpose of advancing their social relations, as will be seen from a letter
dated Wallamette, November 1st, 1844; which, from its
astonishing character and true republicanism, cannot fail
to interest all who read it
Wallamette, November 4,1844.
Sir: The Hudson Bay ship Columbia, sailing in a few
days, via the Sandwich Islands, for England, by the politeness of her owners, I have the honor of again addressing
you, and certainly under circumstances the most favorable
and gratifying. Since my last, forwarded in March, aside
from two or three incidents of an unpleasant nature, the
colony and country has been in a state of unusual quietness, and the season has been one of great prosperity.
The legislative body, composed of nine members, met
on the 24th of May at the falls of the Wallamette, and
closed their short, but effective, session in nine days, having passed, in due form, twenty-five bills, most of which
were of importance to us in the regulation of our intercourse. A few of these laws I transmit to you; and
would here remark, that the taxes were in general cheerfully paid. The liquor bill is popular, and the laws of Oregon arc honored. The liquor act not coming in force
under sixty days from its passage, a few individuals having
clandestinely prepared before its passage, improved this
favored moment to dispose of all they could with any
hopes of safety. Of this I was immediately notified, and
hastened in from the Falatine Plains. All the mischief,as
heretofore, being done in and about the town at the falls
of the Wallamette. I resolved, at whatever danger or cost
to nip this in the bud. I procured the call of a public mcct-
mg at once, and had the happiness to receive thcfollowinc
expression from all concerned, but one: OREGON. 87
Resolved, That it be the sense of this meeting that Dr.
White, in his official relations, take such assistance as he
may require, and forthwith search out and destroy all intoxicating liquor that may be found in this vicinity or district of country. P. G. Steward, executive chairman, and
John P. Long, M. D., secretary, started, with ten volunteers, early the ensuing morning, and found the distillery
in a deep, dense thicket, eleven miles from town, at three
o'clock, P. M. The boiler was a large-sized potash kettle, and all the apparatus well accorded. Two hogsheads
and eight barrels of slush, or beer, were standing ready for
distillation, with part of one barrel of molasses. No liquor
was to be found, nor as yet had much been distilled. Having resolved on my course, I left no time for reflection, but
at once upset the nearest cask, when my noble volunteers
immediately seconded my measures, making a river of beer
in. a moment. Nor did we stop until the kettle was raised
and elevated in triumph at the prow of our boat; and
every cask, with all the distillery apparatus, was broken to
pieces, and utterly destroyed. We then returned, in high
chew, to the. town, where our presence and report gave
general joy. Two hours after my arrival, I received from
James Conner, one of the owners, a written challenge for
a bloody combat, which ended last week in his being indicted before the grand jury, fined five hundred dollars, and
disfranchised for life. Six weeks since, an unhappy affray occurring between one Joel Turnham, late from Missouri, and Webley Haixhaust, of Wallamette, and serious
threats passing from the former, a warrant was issued, and
Turnham resisting with a deadly weapon, was shot down
by the officer, for which he comes before the grand jury
to-morrow. Turnham expired at once, being shot with
three mortal wounds through the neck and head, but, with
singular desperation, fought.and resisted to the last.   So gg ORlOOKi
far as I understand the public expression, all unite in acquitting the officer, who has ever been a harmless, quiet,
good citizen; while Turnham was regarded a most desperate and dangerous character abroad, having left Mis
souri under circumstances the most unfavorable to his reputation and quiet here, where he has been particularly sour,
irritable, and quarrelsome; and was the more obnoxious
as he was reported brave, and generally tod stout for his
antagonist embraced in the circuit of five counties.   I have
" not seen in any county such uniform decorum and quietness as has prevailed throughout at these courts.   Much
of this mildness, sobriety, and good order is doubtless attributed to the absence of all intoxicating drinks.    The
laws of this country,framed to meet present circumstances,
are taking deeper and stronger root continually; and some
are already suggesting, notwithstanding our infancy, whether, if long left without a mother protection, it will not be
well to undertake to' run alone.   The resources of the
country are rapidly developing,and the expectations of the
people are generally high. The mildness of the climate and
the strength of the soil greatly encouraged the large emigration of last year.   For the last twelve months the mercury has ranged from 96 to 30; four-fifths of the time from
80 to 55, making an agreeable summer and mild winter.
Grazing has been good throughout, so much so, that the
jaded and worn-down animals of the poor emigrants fattened up, greatif to their surprise, before spring, without
feeding or the least attention. Crops of all kinds were unusually good, and even Indian corn.    Cheerfulness pre-j
vails since harvesting.   As statements have been made to
the south derogatorlio our soil, allow me to say, it is behoved, with the same cultivation, no country produces better wheat, oats, peas, potatoes, or any other crop, save Indian corn, for which the nights are too cool for a hcavv OREGON. 89
growth. The wheat crops, being never impaired by the
frosts of winter or rains of summer, as in the States, are
remarkably sure; nor, as yet, have our crops been disturbed by flies or insects. Wheat crops are heavy, as you will
judge, when I assure you, from simply turning over the
prairie, scattering the seed in October, and then, with no
further trouble, passing the harrow over it, ten acres upon
my plantation grew five hundred and forty-one bushels
and a half. The river flats, containing much alluvial de-
posite, are very rich, the plains beautiful and verdant, being
admirably watered, but generally sparsely timbered; the
highlands well timbered and watered in many parts, and
producing herbage, fir, an abundance of deer, elk, mountain sheep, &c. The entire Wallamette and Umpqua villages, capable of containing a population of several mil-.
lions, it is generally believed, cannot be excelled as a
whole for richness of soil, variety, grandeur, and beauty of
scenery. Nor, considering the latitude, can it be equalled
in mildness and agreeableness of climate. Our exports
are wheat, beans, and salmon, for which, in return, we obtain from the Sandwich Islands sugar, molasses, tea, coffee, and other commodities, brought there from China,
England, and America.
We are much in want of a currency and market; American merchants being as yet a slender reliance, and in view
of the largo emigrating parties of each year, we should be
greatly distressed for necessary articles of wearing apparel, but for tho most commondablo spirit of accommodation on the part of the Hudson Bay Company. Could
some arrangement be entered into for us to supply the
navy of the Pacific with bread, beef, pork, and fish, we
would be thereby much improved in our condition. This
might, and perhaps ought, to be done, in view of the encouragements held out for our people to emigrate to this gQ OREGON.
country. Should H not be convenient for our ships of war
to come to the Columbia for such supplies, they could be
supplied or shipped to the Sandwich Islands if required.
But more of this another time.
Having just taken the tour of the colony, for the purpose of attending the courts and visiting the schools, it affords me pleasure to say, I felt amply rewarded through
out I found health, cheerfulness, and prosperity, and certainly most surprising improvements for the short time
since they commenced. The decorum of the courts I have
spoken of, and now have only to speak of the schools and
Indians, and I am done; fearing I have already wearied
your patience. For the want of means, the Methodist
Manual Labor Indian School has been recently broken
up, and is now occupied as a boarding-school for white
children of both sexes. The school is yet small, but very
well conducted, and promises usefulness to the colony.
The schools at the falls of the Wallamette and Falatine
Plains are likewise under the direction of Mr. Blanchette,
Catholic clergyman, and are all small, numbering from fifteen to thirty only, but are well kept and doing good. I
feel solicitous on this subject, and am saying and doing
what I can to encourage education; but, like all other new
countries, the people need their children much at horncH
It will be perceived, from the annexed letter, that strenuous but successful efforts have been used to remove the
distilleries in Oregon, and that many of the citizens were
actually compelled, et et armis, to destroy the principal
distillery in a certain section of the country which was
spreading mischief and distress for miles around The
people, or a majority of |hem, were fast becoming brutalized with the use of this destroyer. It was introduced at
all times and on all occasions. Men, women, and children;
the young maiden, in all the freshness of her early days; OREGON. 91
and the young man, in all the strength and vigor of manhood, became a prey to its several ills. At midnight, in
the morning, and at noon, might be seen whole families in
groups almost insensible from the quantity of spirit drank.
A few were left, however, as spectators to the scene.
They saw the progressive power of this fell monster, and
nfleclioiuitoly rothonM rated. Biit intompornnco hoods not
remonstrances. Tt continued to exist, to tho alarm of the
more sober and reflecting. Persuasion would not do. It
exerted no check, had no beneficial influence. Appeals,
solemn and powerful, to the sober sense of the people, did
not arrest or evon impede tho progress of this resistless
tide. The hard drinker was taken from his besotted companions and implored, for his own sake, to "taste nor
touch not." Letters were written, speeches made, all to
no effect, until this admirable plan, a sovereign panacea,
was fallen upon by Steward and Long. The idea had been
long under serious consideration, and, in the event of any
opposition, to adopt these means which would put an end
to the use of ardent spirits. The subject had been thoroughly discussed by many of the most influential men in
the territory. They had observed with mortification the
progress that intemperance was making in the thickly settled neighborhoods, and saw to their horror the effect
that it was producing, and was calculated to produce, on
the laboring and business portions of the inhabitants.
Their stern will to check this inordinate and unnatural desire could not be swayed, and they at once destroyed this
distillery, which brought about a happy state of affairs.
At first, while the scheme was in embryo, the excitement
and indignation was very great with the hard drinkers, and
particularly with those who had derived immediate profit
from the sale of liquor. They spoke of mobs, tarring and
feathering the offenders, and other harsh means of redress go 0 RROOIV.
were suggested; but their senses soon returned to them,
"reason took her seat," and a drunken man is now rarely seen,
where hundreds were in the habit of assembling. These
very men are now probably as useful as any members of
society, and are engaged in writing letters to their friends,
and exerting their warmest endeavors to induce the poor
man to emigrate. They speak of Oregon as a country of
immense value to the United States; and it is very certain
that it is not appreciated as such by tho American people.
Look at its admirable locality. Its extreme northwest
is bounded by the Pacific, extending some thousand miles
along its coast, admitting the largest and finest vessels of
the first class and vessels of merchandise. Storms off this
coast are very frequent, sweeping every thing before them,
but when these harbors are seen, they always offer a safe
protection, easy of access. They are so situated as to be
approached from any point, save from a northeasterly direction from the mouth, where there are a number of sand
banks; it so happens, however, that no vessel in distress is
ever excluded. The principal harbors on the coast are
Canovered Bay, Clark's Point, Whitby's Bay, Point Greenville, Port Discovery, and Breaker Point The Columbia
river is also considered a safe harbor, and is much resorted to in bad weather; its course runs south, nearly to the
46th degree, and then takes a northerly direction as far as
461 degrees; as it advances into the interior of the country the stream is of course less wide, dividing itself into
small tributaries, which water nearly the whole interior of
the country west of the Rocky Mountains. Clark's river
is quite an important branch. It runs from a small lake,
called Pondery, in the neighborhood near which live the
Flat Bon Indians. To this river belongs several small
streams, which, after passing through a fine section of
country, empty into the Columbia, not very far from its OREGON. 93
sound. There are several forts in this part of the territory,
Fort Vancouver, Fort Wallawalla, and another small fort,
to which as yet no name has been given. East of the
Rocky Mountains there is a fertile and valuable region of
country, which has been for several years in active cultivation, and the product uncommonly good. This immediate section is less rocky, and better adapted to the growth
of corn and peas than that which is adjacent; hence the
population is larger and the people more industrious.
They are provided with all the necessary implements of
husbandry, and have succeeded, for several years past, admirably well with their crops; commanding at all times a
good price for their grain, and meeting with a ready market.
This portion of the country is of immense value to the
United States—it is valuable for its location and natural
advantages—for the richness of the soil—so easy of access,
and for its contiguity to the principal villages. Considered
as a boundary, the portion from the Mississippi to the
Rocky Mountains is indispensable; we should insist upon
having it, and any opposition ought to be resisted. It
is worse than folly for England to contend for the portion lying between Red Lake in the north and Fort
Dominee in the south; it is a very short distance from. the
boundary of Arkansas, separated only by the Mississippi river, which proves at once that the same divine hand
that made land and sea, and saw " that they were good,"
intended that this portion of the Oregon should be a part
and parcel of the United States; to surrender it would acknowledge at once that our title was spurious, and was not
sufficient to sustain us in asserting our right What would
be the situation of our towns and villages bordering on
the Mississippi, should they be separated by British possessions, only by a narrow stream, about half of a mile in
> width? What would be the existing relations between
1 94
the British and our countrymen?   Would they be safe .
any time from insult, depredation, and murder?   Has that
deep-rooted feeling of jealousy snd mahec, that hue existed on the part of England towards the United States, from
the earliest days of her despotism to the present time
given way to the control of a more kind snd friendly spirit?
Do we find manifested in her Parliament that respect for
our republican institutions, that esteem for our rulers and
magistrate,and that desire to cherish good will as a foreign
power, that would justify us in permitting them to settle at
our very doors, with all their wild schemes of abolition and
destructive notions of national policy?   Never.   There is
not an American who would consent to see them located in
a region of country but a stone's throw from their own.
Again: Their opinions respecting the abolition of slavery
are known throughout the world.   The next question that
naturally arises in connexion with this subject is, whether
or not slavery is a southern  institution.    This  all  admit;
and it is contended by many, the Hon. John C. Calhoun
among the number, that slavery is a necessary institution,
the prosperity of the South depending upon it    Here we
find them determined to abolish it whenever and wherever
they can, conflicting directly with a long-existing, and, we
think, important institution.   Of course this determination
at all times will remain as fixed as it is at tins time. No change
of circumstances, no event, would alter this settled pur
pose, which has every year become more resolute.    Between the British settlers and our slaves there would be
constant intercourse.   How could it be prevented?   They
would be subject to the most lawless, insidious, and revolutionary designs; plots and schemes would be continually
at work, by which their freedom could be effected, and no
vigilance on our part could prevent fPMFbelieved by
many that in the course of time such would be the Indus OREGON. 95
try with which this abolition party would prosecute their
purposes, and such their unalterable determination to effect
this object at any cost or sacrifice, that the South sooner
or later would present a theatre of one of the most heartrending and bloody tragedies that ever marked the sanguinary eras of Europe. There would be no stumbling block in
the way; on the contrary, every inducement to carry out
their plan. This is, therefore, one of the principal reasons
for ridiculing and denouncing the idea of a surrender of
this portion of the territory. The valley between the Blue
and Rocky Mountains presents a barren wilderness for
hundreds of miles. The land is wholly incapable of producing the most common weeds, and is consequently never
tilled; the climate is likewise very bad. The nights are
intensely cold, destroying every description of vegetation,
rendering the climate dangerous to live in. It is inhabited
almost entirely by a lawless class of men, who live by the
depredations and robberies that they commit; they cooperate with all the savages, whom they can possibly prevail on to join them, and frequently take what they call
" pillaging expeditions," destroying every thing that comes
within their reach, and often taking the fives of useful and
industrious citizens. Hear what Washington Irving says
on the subject: "The monotony of these immense landscapes would be as wearisome as that of the Ocean, were
they not relieved in some degree by the sweet atmosphere."
Not far off there is a beautiful valley, watered by the Walla-
walla, situated between the Blue and Far West Mountains.
Here nature has scattered her bounties most profusely;
fruit, flowers, and grapes may be found in great abundance.
This immediate section is also celebrated as a pasture
country; the cattle are remarkably fat and well grown,
and, if " there be no deception, the cattle of the herdsman
may range over a thousand hills."   The valley, not very 96
distant from this, commonly called the Western Valley,
is the great agricultural region} it extends from the straits
ofFucatothe Cmpqua river, and contams about 80,000
square miles.   This is literally the Eden spot of the torn-
tory, and is susceptible of profitable cultivation, provided
the proper implements can be obtained; for in many places
the soil is hard and unyielding, and requires great labor to
till it   This region is capable of supporting a very large
population, almost as large as that of many of the States.
The hills and forests around are magnificent; the foliage
of the trees, many of them in perpetual verdore, and the rich
shrubbery, running in wild profusion over hill and dale, together with the salubrity of the climate and the fertility of
the soil, render it, to the enterprising settler, one of the
most favored and lovely spots of creation.    The thermometer in summer is seldom higher than 80°, and the temperature is considered at all times, with the exception of a few
weeks, genial and delightful.    The winter is represented
as being mild and delightful, and not too cold for the performance of agricultural labors.    It is  mostly peopled  by
American emigrants, who are hardy, industrious, and enterprising, and capable of enduring great fatigue.    Within
a few years past the most astonishing improvements have
been made; towns and villages are  springing up every
where; commerce, agriculture, and a well ordered system
of government, is taking the place ef national and physical wildness, and the recent letters that have been re-
ceived bespeak the satisfaction and good feeling that is existing among the inhabitants. Here, says De Bow, •» if any
where, must the seat of empire, population, and wealth be',
beyond the Rocky Mountains.-    The Columbia river, for
thirty or forty miles from its mouth, forms a race or estuary, varying in width from three to seven miles; its mouth
is surrounded with numerous shoals, as  far upwards as OREGON. 97
the » cascades," not far from the Wallamette river, no vessels venture beyond, and the loss of several packets, heavily laden with costly and valuable merchandise, has caused
the greatest caution to be observed. The reefs of rock
that extend out for miles are not visible to the eye; hence
the necessity of employing the most skilful and experienced
pilots. Whenever an accident occurs, there is no evidence
;Of approaching dangers, and the vessel appears perfectly
safe, and apparently in deep water, until she is stranded
and dashed to pieces. Near the coast there are large
groups of islands scattered around, between the 48° and
58° of latitude, which has been classed under one name,
viz, the Northwest Archipelago. These islands are exceedingly sterile and unproductive, being of a porous,
sandy soil; they abound in wood, however, which is carried
off in large quantities and sold. Four years ago there
were hardly five hundred of our citizens in all this region
of Oregon, and these were simply farmers and graziers,
located about the Wallamette or Wallawalla. Since, the
tide of emigration has greatly increased. In 1833 about
one hundred persons of all ages and sexes emigrated from
the valley of the Mississippi. They carried with them
wagons, carts, and farming utensils, and the belief was that
this spirit of emigration would continue to exist from the
encouraging accounts given by the settlers. The favorite
point of rendezvous, for all persons emigrating to this
country, is Independence, Missouri. From Independence
the route is along the banks of the Kanzas and Platte
rivers, to Fort Laramie, 750 miles. From Laramie, directly westward to Fort Hall, near the head waters of the
Lewis river, the distance is four hundred and fifty miles.
Here the most difficult part of the journey is reached, and
a kind of natural pass admits the party through the Rocky
Mountains.   Frem Fort Hall to the valley of the Walla- Og OREGON.
walla, four hundred and fifty miles further, the road "ins
along the banks of the Lewis river* four hundred and fifty
miles more of travel, and the worn down and spiritless
traveller, after an almost endless journey cf two thousand
miles, comes in view of the green and shady banks of the
Willamet river. Here the scene is grand beyond description; a splendid landscape, as far as the eye can reach,
decorated with the fruit tree and the myrtle, is spread out
to his admiring gaze! He finds himself in a strange land,
surrounded by strange faces, and the novelties of a new
country. At first he feels the deepest sorrow at having
left the home of his birth, around which cluster all the
joyous reminiscences of his life. The familiar scenes of
the past start at once into being, while he is carried in his
day-dreams to the land of his childhood. In memory he
finds himself with his connexions and friends, with his associates in life, and at the family altar of his own dear
homestead. All things are new to him, and he quietly
awaits the vicissitudes of time and change upon which to
build new hopes. But the spell is soon broken. He forms
acquaintances and business connexions, which relieve his
mind and give rise to perfect satisfaction.
Among the settlers here and in the neighborhood there
is a feeling of sensibility not surpassed in the most favored
and civilized countries. The most friendly relations are
cultivated in all their various occupations; and whenever
disputes occur, which is rarely the case, they are soon ad
justed, and the most amicable feelings exist For some
time past, there has been a system of religious teaching
going on which has greatly improved the morals of the
people. At first, our ministers were received with ureal
contempt and their lives even threatened.   Large com-
sctl    r   dT WOU,d meet t0«ether> «* "oncoct
schemes for the expulsion of them.    Alter  a  while, OREGON. 99
however, thoy became perfectly reconciled, and attended
divine service regularly, both men and women. Previous
to this religious instruction, and for some time after, the
Indians were greatly addicted to ball-playing, gambling,
dancing, and drinking, and manifested perfect indifference
about attending church; but the untiring and successful
efforts of Mr. Tolsom, whose anxiety was only equalled
by his zeal in advancing their spiritual good, tended, in a
very great measure, to reform the bad habits of the more
corrupt and degenerate. In the neighborhood of Wheelock
religious excitement has been prevailing for a long time.
Indeed, ever since 1840, when a radical change took place
in the characters and habits of the people. Prior to this
time, many of the inhabitants here had no idea of a God,
and, of consequence, of their responsibility. They ridiculed the idea of religious ceremony—calling it a false
mockery—converting the Sabbath into a day of riotous
and luxurious living, and taking the greatest delight in denouncing the precepts of the Bible, which had been explained to them by their teachers. However, a great
change has taken place. Large school-houses have been
recently built by the moral and industrious, and they even
supply their own teachers. Mr. Wright is also an active
laborer in the vineyard. He has extended Sabbath school
teaching to several dark and unenlightened neighborhoods,
and introduced a system of religious and practical education, the benefits of which are very apparent. At first,
there were only about fifteen scholars, who appeared very
indifferent being irregular in their attendance, and frequently permitting days and weeks to pass without making
their appearance, recently about one hundred and twenty
have been added to the number of learners, and seven flourishing sabbath schools connected with Wheelock. All of
these schools, with the exception of one at Wheelock, are 100
open on Saturday as well as Sunday. In the seven schools
mentioned, there are from three to four hundred learners;
and the number whp can read and write their own language
is constantly and rapidly increasing. If no untoward event,
says a writer from that country, shall happen to retard the
progress of improvement, the Choctaws, as a nation, will,
at no distant day, become a reading people. CHAP. VI.
Capacities for trade and commerce.
An estimate can scarcely be made of the capacities of
this territory for trade and commerce. It has never been
fairly or fully tested. Indeed, the settlements that have
been made by the American settlers have been comparatively so recent, that they have had no fair opportunity to
test the character of the soil. It is true that farming operations have been very successful, and the amount of
grain raised greater than was expected; but there are
many things yet wanting that are almost indispensable.
The system of agriculture is not perfected, and they have
not the force on their farms which is essential to success.
Many farming implements have been carried to Oregon by
emigrants during the last three years; but the number has
been so limited, that the land has been only partially cultivated. Developments, however, are being made every
year, and the increase is perceptible to all. We have the
most indisputable evidence of the strength and fertility of
the soil from gentlemen who have been engaged in agricultural pursuits for the last fifty years. Their accounts
are most flattering, and the reports made by them respecting the number of bushels of wheat and peas raised to the
acre have even astonished the most learned and skilled of
our farmers. The attention that they pay to the crops is
not half so great as that bestowed in this country. They
seed their grain as we do, and attend to it afterwards, before it reaches maturity. The product is almost as much
again, and the grain fuller and heavier. No one who has
ever gone to Oregon has ever been in the least disappointed after remaining there for some months.   Their expec- JO<J OREGON.
tations have been invariably more than realized; and the
accounts we hear, though apparently much exaggerated
are not equal to what they see.   AU express the most entire satisfaction, write the most inviting and glowing accounts to their friends, and hold out, by the bright pictures
they paint, the strongest inducements to emigration.   Tho
facilities of intercourse which are offered with foreign na.
tions are exceedingly desirable, inasmuch as the people of
Oregon can at any time, within a few days, exchange their
productions, and bring over to their own country those articles which are not adapted to the soil of the territory.
The western part of it is not very distant from a number
of beautiful islands bordering on the coast   Three or
four days1 sail will bring them to portions of the world
where there is natural and artificial growth in abundance
that will not grow where they are.   If commerce, manufactures, and trade of all kinds increase with the impulse
they necessarily give to the character of the people, are
what the American people desire and need, Oregon presents the most inviting field in the known'world,and holds
out advantages which any other nation would be delighted
to possess.   This is a great and inexhaustible and almost
boundless territory, ready for an exercise of the industry
and ingenious spirit of the American people, and especially of its Atlantic manufacturing and commercial sections, which have an incalculably greater interest in the
question of American rights in Oregon than .the southern
and western States.    If any advantages are to be derived,
these States will feel them more sensibly than any others'
It is necessary, in order to reach the more distant portions
of the Union to pass directly through them, or on their
banks for many miles.    Mr. Baylies, of Massachusetts,
chairman of a comnuttee of Congress, in 1826, in a report
to the House, which feU unhecde*tupon the dull ear of OREGON. 103
the public, thus happily describes the capacities of this
mighty region: "A vast river, with its tributaries and
branches, waters its whole extent, through seven degrees
of latitude, and flows beyond into the territories of other
nations. It abounds in excellent timber and in spars, unsurpassed by any in the world. Its waters are navigable
for vessels through half its extent, even for boats through
half the remainder. The water power for moving manufacturing machinery is unequalled, and ceases where the
navigation terminates. It is bounded on the south by a
country abounding in cattle and wheat, which can be
reached by sea in less than two days, and the vicinity too
of other countries, whose interior is filled with the purer
metals and the richest articles of commerce, and whose
shores abound in the pearl-producing oyster. It is within
twenty days' sail of the coasts of Peru and Chili, which
are identified with fine bays and harbors, but destitute of
the material for ship building, which they would receive
from this source, that could supply the materials at the
cheapest rate. It is within seventy or eighty days' sail of
China and the East India seas, and within thirty of the
Sandwich Islands, abounding in sandal wood, sugar cane,
and tropical fruits, and perfectly adapted to the cultivation of coffee and cotton. In a word, if it were given to a
civilized, commercial, and manufacturing people to choose
their place of rest, the world affords no position equal to
this; and it requires no prophetic spirit to foresee tho
wealth and grandeur of that fortunate race, whose happy
destiny shall have placed them in this beautiful region."
If this statement is to be relied on, and in it we put the
most perfect confidence, we have within our reach the occupancy of a country infinitely superior to our own in its
soil and in its capacities for trade. The settlers are becoming every day more dissatisfied.   Their complaints are 104 or soon.
continually being made through the press, and it is very
cerS that unless the United States take possession within a few years, they will, without hesitation.declare^themselves free and independent Rumors to that effect have
already reached the scat of our Government, and should
arouse the people. Forbearance with them "will soon
cease to be a virtue." Can it be expected that our
own people, born Americans, will live under the control of British laws and rules? This country must
soon be Oregon or the United States. There is no half
way ground—no compromise here. Should England obtain it, Americans will be driven away forever. "There
is already an organized government, subject to the approval of the United States. It consists of an executive, legislative committee, Sec. They have adopted the laws of
the nearest Territory as their code; and also made some
local regulations. A rich square is allowed each settler.
The settled parts have been divided into five counties, all
on the south side of the Columbia. They have not extended jurisdiction to the north side yet. And this makes
some of the hot-headed fret, as they considered the matter
a tacit acknowledgment that the north side belongs to the
English. But this is a mistake. The reason why jurisdiction was not extended across the Colombia, was because no American had settled there; and, consequently,
there seems to be no cause for passing the river with a
government when there are none to govern but Indians or
British subjects. Should any of the recent emigrants set
tie on that side, there is no doubt that the next sitting of
the legislature will extend their laws to them." It is very
obvious, from the recent proceedings of the inhabitants of
this territory, that they are becoming deeply incensed at
the neglect which has been shown them, and are doing
every thing ,n their power, in view of this indifference to OREGON. 105
establish their own government and laws. It is not to be
surprised at They have every thing they want within
thirty days' sail of the Sandwich Islands, where they are
supplied with an abundance of sugar and coffee, together
with sandal wood and cotton. The necessaries of life,
which are used by all classes and conditions, can be purchased for a mere pittance, or gotten in exchange for timber that grows in the territory. This advantage, independent of others equally important, would be greatly appreciated in our southern and southwestern Statos. Instead of paying 12$ cents por pound for sugar, it could be
bought for about four cents. And in our manufacturing
establishments, particularly on the Mississippi river, cotton cloths could be made and sold for about one half of
what is now paid. The raw material can be purchased
for less, and of course sold for less. And those very goods
for which wo are now paying twenty cents por yard could
be bought for sixteen cents. These are some of the few
advantages which England would derive had she possession.
The valley of Wallamette, for beauty and fertility may
be regarded as one of the finest countries on the globe,
and is described by Walker, p. 105, in the following manner:
«The soft rich soil of the prairie is easily broken up
from its original imbeddedness with a single yoke of oxen,
or a team of horses, and the moderation of the climate allows you to sow spring wheat as early as February, and
from that until the 15th of May, as the season happens to
run. You commence ploughing in October, and plough
and sow wheat from that time until the 15th of May, to
suit the spring or fall crops. There is not much difference in the yield of the fall and spring crops; but you
must put about twice as much for seed in the ground for
the latter as for the former.   The land yields from 25 to
40 bushels to the acre.   I saw a field of 50 acres, sown
about the 15th of May last in new ground, which produced
about 110 bushels of the most excellent grain. This country produces oats, tomatoes, and garden vegetables, generally in great abundance.   Irish potatoes and turnips grow
better here than in the States.   Sweet potatoes have not
yet been tried, with the exception of an inferior species
from the Sandwich Islands, and they did not succeed well.
And it is not so profitable a crop as grain.   Yet it can be
raised here in sufficient quantities for all useful purposes;
for you need but little, in consequence of not being obliged
to feed your stock.   Fruit, such as apples, peaches, cherries, plumbs, pears, melons, Sec, thrive here exceedingly
well; while wild fruit and berries abound in the greatest
profusion.   Cranberries are found in great abundance near
the mouth of the Columbia, and are brought up here and
to Vancouver by the Indians, and sold for almost nothing.
Blue-berries, raspberries, salberries, thornberries, crab-apples, a kind of whortleberry, and strawberries, are found
in large quantities in every direction in this section of
Oregon.   The strawberries of this country are peculiarly
fine; they are larger in size than those of the States,
and possess a more delicious flavor.    As regards the
country for grazing, it is certainly all that any one could
wish it   Cattle require no shelter, nor feeding.   And upon
the Yan Hill plains, near the salt springs, fodder in abundance is supplied.   Cows calve here when fifteen or twen
ty months old.   This is also a good country for raising
hogs.   Upon the Wallamette, below the falls, they live aN
most entirely upon the wappato root, and upon the plains
they fed a bountiful subsistence in the ears and fruit of
the white oak.   The grass of this county, as I have had
occasion to say before, is peculiarly nutritious; and cattle OREGON. 107
that have been put here to recruit, recover their physical
energies with wonderful rapidity while feeding on it. In
the last of November, the period of my first visit to this
place, I saw a fine sorrel horse, which had been brought to
this country by Mr. John Hobman, of Clinton county, Missouri, that was turned upon the grass on Fallatine plains,
in the middle of the previous month. He was then so reduced and feeble with the fatigue he had undergone during
the trip from the State that he could barely raise a trot;
but when I. saw him, he was in fine condition, and running
about the place as gaily as any of the other horses, with
whom he was enjoying primitive independence. Cattle
that were worked from the States to the Dalles, and from
there brought down to the Wallamette valley last year,
have borne the winter well, and are now thriving rapidly.
The climate of this section of Oregon is, indeed, most
mild. Having passed a winter here, permanently and
most comfortably established at Linton, I am enabled to
speak of it from practical experience. The winter may be
said to commence about the middle of December, and to
end about the 10th of February. And a notion of the
general nature of its visitation may be gained from the
fact, that I saw strawberries in bloom about the first of
last December, and to eat about the 10th of February.
I saw strawberries also in bloom about the 1st of December on the Fallatine plains. And as early as the 20th of
February, the wild flowers were blooming on the sides.
The grass has even been growing since the 10th February;
and towar Ji the end of that month the trees were budding,
and the shrubbery in bloom. About the 26th of November, we had a spell of cold weather, and a slight fall of
snow, which, however, was gone in a day or two. In
December we had a very little snow, all of it melting as it
:fell.   In January we had snow, but all of it, like the pre- j qq o r e o o a.
vious falls, melted as it came down, with * •«**&« *
one visitation, that managed to last upon the ground for
three days. The soil has not been froxen more than once
during the whole winter. And ploughing has been carried
on without interruption throughout the winter and fall.
As regards rains in the fall, I have found them much less
troublesome than I anticipated. I supposed from what I
had heard of the excessive storms in this region, that outdoor work could not be done at all here during the rainy
season; but I have found that a great deal more labor of
this description can be performed here than during the
same period in the western States. The rains fall in gentle showers, and are generally what are termed drizzling
rains, from the effect of which a blanket-coat is an effectual protection. They are not the chilly rains that sting
you in the fall and spring seasons of the eastern States,
but are warm as well as light. They are never hard
enough in the worst of times to wash the roads or fields,
and consequently you can find no gullies, worn or cut, in
your fields, by this means. And as for wind, I have witnessed less, if such a term can be used, than at any other
place I have ever been in. And I have but to say, that if
the timber we have here spread their lofty branches in the
States, they would be riven by the lightning, and blown
down to an extent that would spare many of them the blow i
of the settlers'axe. Here I have heard no thunder, and
have seen but one tree that had been struck by lightning."
By the acquisition of this territory, an extensive and
profitable command of the fur trade of the north would be
obtained from latitude 38° to the pole. The whole of this
section of the country, which abounds probably more in
the/ur^oducng- animal than any other, would be under
our command, and consequently an impetus and strength
would be given not only to the trade of that immediate OREGON. 109
section, but the effect would be sensibly felt in the interior
of the United States, and particularly by the cities bordering on the Mississippi The demand for fur in Liberty
and Lexington, Missouri, and also in many of the principal towns of Illinois, would be very great Their establishments would be enlarged necessarily; new houses
would be opened; and even in this particular there can be
no adequate estimate made of the benefits, when supported by the operations of that credit which Great Britain so
eminently possesses. Should this part of the territory be
ceded to England by negotiation, or in any other Way that
is legal or in conformity with the usages of nations, there
would be scarcely any intercourse between the two powers : we mean no more than there is at present The two
countries, by mutual consent, would be separate and distinct; each would confine itself to its own dominions, and
to the control of its own laws and institutions; and though
bordering on each other, and connected by nature's God,
when we crossed the boundary, we should feel that we
were strangers; as much so as if we were in Manchester
or Birmingham. The value of this possession to a nation
like ours, agricultural as it is, is great beyond conception.
See the facilities of improvement with which we are surrounded, the character and habits of our people, their enterprising and liberal spirit, the good will and unanimity
that exists between State and State—all these considera
tions, in forming a territorial connexion, are highly important. Indeed, without them, it would be worse than folly
to attempt the settlement of a country so vast in its natural
resources. Oregon might be made by the American people an important source of revenue in the course of time-
almost equal to that which is now paid into our coffers.
What would prevent the establishment of large mills and
cotton factories on the Columbia, Lewis and Clark rivers,
and on a hundred other streams, which flow almost tfcrougfi
the entire territory? They are navigable, a number of them,
for many miles, and the land is exceedingly fertile. All
the necessary ingredients for putting up houses are close
by. Large and inexhaustible quarries of stone may be
found almost anywhere. The timber is infinitely superior
to our own, and nothing would be needed but the labor
necessary to a work, arduous it is true, but incalculable hi
its advantages. There are many healthy and beautiful
situations for building towns and villages on the banks of
navigable streams passing through a fine portion of country. The influence that would be exerted on our slave
population would necessarily be very great Slavery would
not bo confined, as it now is, to a few States. The population would be scattered at once, and their conditions
much improved. One of the principal objections to tho
institution urged by the fanatical abolitionists of the north
is, that there are too many occupying a small tract of
country. This objection would be removed; for an extension would take place forthwith, and the liability to rebellion and insurrection decidedly less. Wo can very
easily dispose of a large number of slaves living in the
south. There is no need for the labor of all of them there.
However, the number has greatly diminished within the
last twenty years, and by enlarging their place of residence, their labor would be much more valuable, and put
an end, in a great measure, to the disturbances at the
The question may now be very properly asked, in view of
tiie position assumed by us, whether we shall surrender
his territory submissively, and with an entire willingness
to accede to British demands, or maintain ourrights as be-
comrov^        rd reSP°nSib,e I"*1**    Whether, alter a
controversy of many years'duration, which has involved OREGON. HI
the disputed claims of several large and important powers
of the earth, we shall finally yield, after the arguments that
have been adduced in favor of our title, or plant ourselves
upon the broad platform of constitutional law, and say to
Hthe world,"thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.11 By
taking this course, we should meet with the approbation of
all nations not interested; and there would be but one
opinion throughout the civilized world, which would justify
us legally and honorably upon the ground that we had violated none of the established usages of nations, nor any
treaty stipulations. With respect to the slave population,
we admit many difficulties have arisen. It is necessary
to scatter them over as great an extent of country
as can be done consistently with propriety: as far as
they are concerned, they have no objection. Their happiness would not be disturbed in the least. They would
as soon exert their labor in one portion of the world as in
another. They ask for kind and humane treatment—they
ask for protection. They well know the relations that
subsist between the white population and themselves; and
are taught instinctively that they are slaves, born to
be slaves, and as such must live and die. We are well
aware that strong fears have been entertained by a number of large slave-holders that in some future day, possibly
at the still and. solemn hour of midnight, there would be
an attempt made by them, a bold and united attempt, long
conceived and finally matured, to effect their emancipation.
Tho cry in the north has been that the slave of the south
is treated cruelly and inhumanly, brutalized by a system
of rigid discipline, and deprived, in a great measure, of tho
rational and innocent enjoyments of fife. False, indeed,
is the opinion, and unworthy of a moment's consideration.
Speeches have been madoin the presence of large popular
assemblies to awaken, as they say, «* a proper spirit on this ] |2 OREGON
subject" Awaken a proper spirit! Would they have
the master to place himself on an equality with his slave?
Are the results of a course so unwise and dangerous
considered? Does the aboKtioiiist reflect upon the number of slaves in the south, their intelligence, and tlieirj
capacity for mischief? In their wild fanaticism and unreasonable suggestions, and in their heated denuncia-
ations and extravagant surmises, their judgments become
warped, their minds poisoned with false impressions, and
the doors of their hearts are closed to the power of conviction and the force of argument They do not take a
cool and dispassionate view of this subject; nor do they
reflect upon the important fact that slavery does exist and
has existed for centuries; that our fathers quietly endured
its abuses, if abuses they are, without the necessity of abolition. Their desire is to see the slave elevated in his social, political, and civil relations, to the grade of the white
man; to see him under no restriction, amenable to no
law, save that which controls the great bulk of mankind*
This, in the nature of things, is next to impossible. There
is not a free negro in the north who does not afford direct
and positive truth of an important part of the Bible.
Whether called servants, freemen, or gentlemen, if the ne
gro, north or south, east or west, is serving the white man,
and satisfying bis wants by an exercise of labor, he is a
slave among us: such as barbers, shoe-blacks, waiters, and
cooks. They may be called freemen, and.may, to a certain extent, exercise the privileges of^freemen, but unless
the doom of their inferiority is changed, they are in a state
of servitude. The scriptures tell us "they shall live in
servitude!* and their condition can never be reversed.
Place them m any business that is not servile, elevate them
above thijmeoial occupations and employments of life,
and they are the most unhappy and discontented creatures OREGON. 113
on earth, disturbing the peace and harmony of society,
filling the prisons, taxing the country, and a nuisance to
the neighborhood around them. We contend that the
masters in the south, for more than a hundred years, have
lived more securely among their slave peasantry than the
masters of Great Britain among the- nominal freemen.
►The relation between master and slave is not maintained
here, like the relation of master and slave of the old
world. Far from it There the bayonet exercises its irresistible and subduing control. They are compelled to
obey strictly cruel and arbitrary laws, made expressly for
their observance. Here the relation is maintained quietly
and peaceably, by an instinctive and inborn principle which
draws the line between master and slave. Notwithstanding the powerful and abortive efforts to enkindle in
this religious land the fires of revolution and discord, the
American master has for centuries lived infinitely more
happy than the English masters, with all their guard-soldiers, work-houses, prison-ships, and Botany Bay besides.
We insist that the slaves of the United States, and we
speak on the authority of British journals and newspapers,
are subject to fewer evils, and five in better security, than
the laboring classes of Great Britain. Ask the physician
of our country, who has been in Europe for years at the
medical institutions, what is the social condition of the
lower classes of people generally ? Sunday morning is the
time, we are told," when the European hospitals are most
crowded with broken heads; the poor laborer, late on
Saturday night, returning home, having been knocked
down by the half-clad wretches out of employment and
robbed of his wages." So far from living in peace, the
laborers seem to wage perpetual war with one another.
A spirit of jealousy and dissatisfaction is never at rest.
On the contrary, it is perpetually at work; snd hence it is U4 0R200N.
that their calendars are always filled with tho most heartrending and distressing accounts.
The people of the north should be highly pleased with
the extension of our territory. Their hope to see the
slave States free States will much sooner be realized ; for
in proportion as the slaves are carried south, in the same
ratio will the like number be diminished in Virginia, Worth
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. There is no better theatre for the exercise of their labors than the Oregon
territory. The climate is as healthy as that of Virginia,
and there is less sickness by one-half than in the other
States. The commercial advantages are generally superior to those we now enjoy. For a long time the trade with
the Sandwich Islands has been daily increasing; and the
manufacturing power must, looking to the spirit with which
everything is carried, have a home market for itself. Moreover, from what place are California, South America, and
the Sandwich Islands to procure their timber, unless
they get it from Oregon? They have no where else to
go for it—they have none of their own, and must get
it from Oregon. To one of these markets, already large
quantities of plank and shingles are sent; their vessels
come for them, and at the same time there is a great demand for all kinds of provisions and surplus productions;
for it is rarely the case that vessels visiting the North
Pacific do not touch at these islands. The Russian possessions are also wholly dependent upon the people of
Oregon for their ship timber, and many other articles; and
the China markets are all within a stone's throw. What
renders this territory valuable in itself is, that the neighboring countries and islands produce scarcely nothing that
is produced there; and necessarily there must be a constant intercourse. In one respect, Oregon is superior to
California.   In tho latter country thelimate is so warm, ■\
that pork is never put up, or fresh meat of any kind;
which, of course, depreciates the value and affects the salo
of them almost one-half. As soon as the beef is killed it
must be sold, or it is good for nothing; for it is tainted in a very little while by the heated and enervating atmosphere, which never varies. The climate is sufficiently
cool for all purposes. Pork, beef, and all fresh meats can
be preserved for days at a time. The water is better, tho
water-power is greater, and the droughts are by no means
as long and destructive as those of California. The country within the last five years has greatly improved in business of all kinds; while the people live in a state of primitive simplicity and independence. They are given to no
very bad habits, and labor meets with such ample inducements and ready rewards, that lazy men are made industrious by the mere force of the influences around them."
There is no business in the country, not even that of the
Hudson Bay Company, that is half so profitable as that of
farming. All engage in it who have the means ; and often
a very small capital, a few horses and wagons, and a little
ready money, opens the way to wealth and prosperity.
Putting up butter has become a very popular pursuit
When fresh and good, it often brings one dollar per pound.
Provisions of all kinds are very abundant and can bo
bought at very low prices. The cattle are all fat, and afford throughout the winter the finest milk. There can be
•no country on the globe more productive than this territory in many places, as will be seen from the following interesting letter:
tt•Harvest is just at hand, and such crops of wheat,
barley, oats, and peas are seldom, if ever, to bo seen in the
•The above U an extract of ■ letter from Oen. McCemr, who ia, ni pre*ent, 8pe«k«r
of ihe Lower Houae of Oregon. 116
0 R E 00 N,
States—that of wheat in particular—the shocks being in
many instances as high as my head, the grains generally
much larger. I would not much exaggerate to say that
they are as large again as those grown east of the mountains. The soil is good and the climate most superior,
being mild the year round, and very healthy—more so
than any country I have lived in the same length of time.
Produce bears an excellent price. Pork 10 cents, beef
6 cents, potatoes 50 cents, wheat $1 per bushel. These
articles are purchased at the above prices with great
aridity by the merchants for shipment, generally to the
Sandwich Islands and Russian possessions on this continent, and are paid mostly in sugar and coffee, of which
abundant supplies are furnished. Wages for laborers are
high. Common hands are getting from one to two dollars
per day, and mechanics from two to four dollars per day.
It is with difficulty that men can be procured at these
prices, so easily can they do better on their farms. The
plains are a perpetual meadow, furnishing two complete
new crops in a year, spring and fall. The latter remaining green through the winter. Beef is killed from the
grass at any season of the year. If you have any enterprise left, or if your neighbors have any, here is the place
for them."
It appears that the Oregon territory has been divided
by nature into three separate parts, in divisions, called
mountain ranges. After leaving the coast of the Pacific, the
first range that appear are the. cascade mountains, which
extend but a short distance, and are about 200 feet above
the level of the sea. They take their rise about the 42°
parallel, and run on a line with the coast at a distance vary
ing from 100 to 125 miles, ifoughout the whole length of
13,000 feet above the level of the s<
*ea, in separate cones. OREGON. 117
Their succession is so very continuous as to affect somewhat the interval between the sections. There is a passage forced through, however, by the Columbia and Fra-
ser's rivers, presenting a very sublime scene. This chain
of mountains has been called by various names; but we
believe that the proper name is the "President's range,"
as the most elevated peaks were named many years ago
by an American traveller who was passing through the
country. There is another division commencing near the
centre of Oregon, in parallel of longitude 43° west from
Washington, and in 46° latitude. Their course is westerly
and southwesterly from this point to 180 miles in an irregular manner, occasionally interrupted and shooting off in
spires to the south and west. This ridge has been called
the "third region of Oregon." A considerable distance
beyond the Blue Mountnins, and between them and the
Rocky mountains, is what is termed uthe high country."
Tho rocky mountains run south and southeast. This j
range runs south from 54° 46v parallel to the coast at a
distance of 300 miles, and gradually extend their distance
from the sea, by a continuous southeasterly course, to over
seven hundred, at the 40°. In these mountnins and their
offsets riso the principal rivers, which find their way into
the Pacific to the west, and the Gulf of Mexico on the east.
Near the 42° parallel is a remarkable depression in the
chain,called "the southern pass" which experience has
proved affords a short and easy route for carriages, from
our States, into the territory. Above the 4S° parallel
again other passes are formed by the courses of the rivers
from either side, which find their way in some places between the mountains. There are other ridges intersecting
the face oC this vast country, but they are principally offsets or spurs of the chains spoken of. The principal of
these is the Wind River cluster, in the east of the Rocky ta-
Mountains, frem which flow many of the head-wntors of
the Missouri and the Yellow Stone rivers. There is another long line of mountains which we have omitted to mention in their place, which take their course from Mount
Jackson to Mou**l>ler. They are thus graphically described by Lieut Wilkes, page 36. " Perpetual mementoes
in the archives of our nation, they form no perishable
notes of heraldry for the contempt of succeeding ages, but
basing their stupendous data upon the eternal earth, pierco
with their awful grandeur the region of the clouds, to transcribe their records on the face of heaven." The first of
them, Mount Jackson, commences tho list in 41° 10 ; Jefferson, in 40° 30 ; Mount St Helen's, in 46°; Van Buren,
northwest of FugittV Sound, in 48°; Harrison, east of the
same, in 47}°; and Tyler, in 49°. Of these mountains,
Mount Jackson is considered the highest; rising above the
level of the sea at a distance of 20,000 feet The next in size
is Washington, estimated at 17,000 or 18,000. This mountain presents a beautiful appearance to the eye. It rises
gradually from its base, forming a perfect cone, while a
greater portion of it is covered with perpetual snow.*
The third region, or high country, as described by
Wilkes, is a rocky, barren, broken country, traversed in
all directions by stupendous mountains, on the peaks of
which snow lies nearly all the year. It is from 2,000 to
3,000 feet above tho level of the sea, and, in consequence,
the rivers flowing through it westward to the Columbia
are broken at frequent intervals by the rugged descent
and rendered navigable almost throughout the whole of
their course. There are but few arable spots in this whole
section of country; its level plains, except narrow strips
Jt"f:frr„r*?* *- •~u.^KMe^Uv toUNaM, w^
6,500 feet from the level of tin
e sea. OREGON. 110
in the immediate vicinity of the rivers, being covered with
sand or gravel, and being also generally volcanic in their
character. The distinguishing fcaturos of the territory are
its external dryness, and the difference of its temperature
between the day and the night. It seldoms rains, except
during a few days in the spring, and no moisture is deposited in dews. In addition to these discouraging features,
the climate, from its enclosure between the snowy barriers,
is extremely variable; a difference of fifty and sixty degrees taking place between sunrise and mid-day. The
uoil is morcovor much impregnated with salt springs, which
abound in many places. Some of these springs possess
medicinal qualities, and from the beauty of- their situation,
will doubtless become, before time is done, tho resort of
the fashionable population of western America.
Notwithstanding all these unfavorable qualities, there
are many small prairies within its mountains which, from
their production of a particularly nutritious bunch grass,
are well adapted for grazing purposes, and in despite of
its changeable climate, stock is found to thrive well, and to
endure the severity of the winter without protection.
The second, or middle region, of Oregon, between the
Blue and President's ridges, is less elevated than the third,
and consequently all the stern extremities of the latter climate and soil are proportionably modified. Its main
height is about a thousand feet abovo the level of tho sea,
and much of its surface is a rolling prairio country, with
the exception of the portion above latitude 48°, which is
very much broken by rivers and transverse mountain chains.
It is consequently adapted only in sections to farming purposes. Plenty of game, however, is found in tho forests
of tho country to compensate for its unfitness for agriculture. Below this parallel, and in the middle of the section,
are extensive plains, admirably adapted to stock-raising, 120
0 RE O O N.
from the perpetual verdure winch always overspreads them,
and from the salubrious climate that prevails throughout
the neighborhood. Cattle thrive even better here than in
the low country; and there is no necessity for housing
them at any time; neither need provisions be laid in, the j
natural hay, found always in abundance on the prairies,
being preferred by them to the fresh grass upon the bottoms. It is in this region, thelndians raise their immense
herds of horses; and here, whenever the territory shall be
numerously settled, maybe bred crowds of horsemen who
would not be excelled by sny light cavalry in the world.
The southern portion of this region, as it advnnces to the
boundary line, becomes less favorable to the purposes of
man, and loses its fertility by rolling into swelling sand-hills,
producing nothing but the wild worm wood, mixed with prickly pear, and a sparse sprinkling of short bunch grass.
The first region is that which lies along the coast, and
extends westward to the line of the President's range of
mountains. The portion of this lying north of the Columbia, and between it and the Straits of De Fuca, is a heavily timbered country, covered with trees of extraordinary
size. It has, however, its spaces of prairie, in which good
pasturage is found; and it has also some fine arable land, j
This section is watered by four rivers, of which the Chick-
elis, disemboguing into the Columbia, and the Cowelitz,
emptying into the sea at Gray's Harbor, are the most im
portant The forests of this portion of the lower region are its
great feature. They consist of pine, fir, spruce, red and white
oak, ash, arbutus, arbor vitie, cedar, poplar, maple, willow,
cherry,and yewJfch so close and matted an undergrowth
ofhazeland other brambles, as to render them almost impenetrable to the foot of man. Most of the tref are of an enor-
ousbulk; and they are studded so thickly that they rise be-
m OREGON. 121
fore the beholder like a stupendous and impregnable solidit),
.which declares futile all ordinary attempts to penetrate it.
*This astonishing exuberance is not confined alone to
the timber of the section north of the Columbia; for we
have an account of a fir growing at Astoria, eight miles
from the ocean, on the southern bank of the Columbia,
which measured forty:six feet in circumference, at ten feet
from the ground, ascended one hundred and fifty-three feet
before giving off a branch, and was three hundred feet in
its whole height. Another tree of the same species is said
to be standing on the Umpqua, the trunk of which is fifty-
seven feet in circumference, and two hundred and sixteen
feet in height. Prime sound pines, from two hundred to two
hundred and eighty feet, and from twenty to fifty in circumference, are by no means uncommon. The value of
this spontaneous wealth has already been appreciated by
the acute company who reign commercially predominant
in this region; for already their untiring sawmills, plied by
gangs of Sandwich Islanders and servile Iroquois, cut
daily, at Fort Vancouver alone, thousands of feet of plank,
which are transported regularly to the markets of the Pacific islands. But to return to that section of the lower
region lying between the Columbia and the Straits of
The banks of the Cowelitz are generally bare of timber,
and the soil in their immediate vicinity is, for the most part,
poor. The Hudson Bay Company have, however, a fine
farm of 600 acres in its western valley, which, in 1841,
produced 1,000 bushels of wheat. The average produce
is twenty bushels to the acre. They have also a saw and
grist-mill now in operation there, both of which find a market for their products in the Sandwich and other islands
of Polynesia.   Live stock does not succeed well on these 122
farms; and this is owing to the absence of lev,
grounds near the river, and also to the extens,ve*epreda-
tions of the wolves. The hilly portion of the country sn>
mediately around, though its soil is very good,is too heavily timbered to be available for agricultural purposes; and
this is also the case with many portions of the leeel land.
There are, however, large tracts of fine prairie at intervals
between, suitable for cultivation, and ready for the plough.
Proceeding northward, we come to Fort IVasqually, a fine
harbor at the southern point of Fugitt's Sound. Here the
Hudson Bay Company have another fine settlement, and
raise wheat, (15 bushels to the acre,) oats, peas, potatoes,
and make butter, for the Russian settlements. On tho
islands of the sound, and on the upper sections of Admiralty
Inlet, the Indians cultivate potatoes in great abundance.
These vegetables are extremely fine, and constitute a large
portion of their food.
We come now to a lower region lying south of the Columbia, between the President's range and the coast This,
by universal agreement, is admitted to be the finest portion
of all Oregon. It is entered by the Wallamette river,
about five miles below Vancouver, which stream extends
into its bosom over two hundred miles. Tliis river is navigable for steamboats and vessels of light draught for
nearly forty miles, when you come to a falls. The invariable feature of the rivers of this territory above the falls
are the principal settlements of Oregon. Here the American adventurers have principally established themselves;
and by the contributions of the emigrants from the States'
their number is rapidly increasing. The fertile portion of
the valley of the Wallamette is about two hundred and
Wly miles long, and averages about seventy in width, making in all a surface of more than 17,000 square miles of
rich arable land.   The soil is an unctuous, heavy, black OREGON. 123
loam, which yields to the producer a ready and profuse return for the slightest outlay of his labor. The climate is mild
throughout the year, but the summer is warm, and very
dry. From April to October, while the sea-breezes prevail, rain seldom falls in any part of Oregon. During the
other months, and while the south winds blow, the rains
are frequent, and at times abundant. In the valleys of the
low country snow is seldom seen, and the ground is so
rarely frozen^ that ploughing may be generally carried
on the whole winter. In 1834, the Columbia was frozen
over for thirteen days; but this was principally attributable
to the accumulation of ice from above."
Lieutenant Wilkes says of the neighboring country:
"The wheat yields thirty-five or forty bushels for one bushel sown,' or from twenty to thirty to the acre. Its quality
is superior to that grown in the United States, and its
weight is nearly four pounds to the bushel heavier. The
above is the yield of the new land, but it is believed it will
greatly exceed this after the third crop, when the land has
been broken up and well tilled. In comparison to our
country, we would say, that the labor necessary to acquire
wealth or subsistence, is in proportion of one to three; or,
in other words, a man must work through the year three
"times as much in the United States to gain the same competency. The care of stock, which occupies so much
time with us, requires no attention here, and on the increase alone a man might find support"
South of the valley of the Wallamette we come to that
of the Umpqua,in which is found large prairies of unsurpassable arable land, though the vicinage of the river is
chiefly remarkable for its gigantic pine timber. Some idea
of the extraordinary size of the forest trees may be obtained from the fact, that their seed cones are sometimes more
than a foot in length.   Below the Umpqua,we next ar- rive
I«j4 on no on.
at the country watered by the Tootootua,or Rogue's
, and beyond that to the voluptuous valley of the Kla
et   These lower portions of the first region are thought
by many to be the paradise of the whole territory, excel-
ling in richness of soil and voluptuousness of climate even
the celebrated valley of the Wallamette.    Of this opinion
is Lieutenant Wilkes, to whose exertions and researches
we are indebted for most of our accurate geographical
knowledge of the western portion  of «  regon.    Indeed,
probability seems to be in favor of regarding the valleys of
the Klamet and Tootootua and the Umpqua as the gardens of the west, and the cause of the preference of the
northern portion is to be attributed mostly to the readier
access afforded to them by the avenue of the Columbia.
Population is already gradually approaching further and
further south, and but few years will elapse before coasters
will be running down to the mouths of those three rivers
for their agricultural products.    We had prepared quite an
accurate description of the rivers of the territory from the
different maps that have appeared, but the description con.
tained in the volume of Mr. George Wilkes, being, we
think, superior, as far as  accuracy is concerned, we shall
insert a portion of it:
The northern branch of the Columbia river rises in latitude 50° north and 116° west from Greenwich ; thence it
pursues a northern route to McGillerary* pass in the Rock v
Mountains j there it meets the Canoe river, and by that tributary ascends northwesterly for eight miles more. At
the Boat Encampment at the Pass, another stream also
^Zir^ U?m°UntainS; "* bere the Columbia is
3 600 feet above the level of the eea. It now turns south,
having some obstructions to its safe navigation, in the wav OREGON. 125
of rapids, receiving many tributaries in its course to Col-
ville, and two smaller tributaries higher up from the west,
are the chief. This great river is bounded thus far in its
course by a range of high, well-wooded mountains, and
in places extends with a line of lakes before it reaches
Colville, where it is 2,049 feet above the level of the sea,
having a fall of 550 feet in 220 miles. Fort Colville stands
on a plain of 2,000 or 3,000 acres. There the Hudson
Bay Company have' a considerable settlement, and a farm
under cultivation, producing from 3,000 to 4,000 bushels of
different grains, with which many of their other forts are
supplied. On Clark's river the company have another
fort, called Flat Head House, situated in a rich and beautiful country spreading westward to the basis of the Rocky
Mountains. On the Flatbow, also, the Company have a
fort named Fort Koolamie.
From Fort Colville the Columbia tends westward for
about sixty miles, and then receives the Spokan from the
south. This river rises in the lake of the Pointed Heart,
which lies in the bosom of extended plains of the same
name. It pursues a northwesterly course for about 200
miles, and empties into the Columbia. Its valleys, according to Mr. Spalding, an American missionary, who surveyed it, may be extensively used as a grazing district, but its
agricultural capabilities are limited. The chief features
of this region, are like those of the upper country, through
which we have already traced the Columbia and its tributaries, extensive forests of timber and wide sandy plains,
intersected by bold and high mountains.
From the Spokan, the Columbia continues its westerly
course for sixty miles, receiving several smaller streams,
until it comes to the Okanagan, a river finding its source
in a line of lakes to the north, and affording boat and canoe navigation to a considerable extent up its course. On
10 120 OREGON.
the east side of this river, and near its J*"^"** H
Columbia, the company have another station called Fort
Okanagan.   Though the country bordering on the Uka-
nagan is generally worthless, this settlement is situated
among a number of small, but rich and arable plains.
After passing the Okanagan, the Columbia takes a southern turn, and runs in that direction, for 160 miles, to Wal-
lawalla, receiving in its course the Piscons, the Okaroa, and j
Entgatecoom, from the west and, lastly, the Saptin, or
Lewis river, from the south.   From this point the part of
the Columbia which we have traced, though obstructed
by rapids, is navigable for canoes to the Boat Encampment, a distance of 500 miles to the north.    The Saptin j
takes its rise in the Rocky Mountains, passes through the]
Blue, and reaches the Columbia, after having pursued a
northwesterly direction for 520 miles.   It brings a large
volume of water to the latter stream, but in consequence
of its extensive and numerous rapids, it is not navigable
even, for canoes, except in reaches.   This circumstance is
to be deplored, as its course is the line of route for the emigration from the States.   It receives a large number of]
tributaries, of which the Kooskooski and Salmon are tho]
chief.   Our previous account of the arid and  volcanic
character of this region obviates the necessity of a further
description here.   There is a trading station near the Saptin, not far from the southern boundary line, called Fort
Hale, and one also near its junction with the Columbia,
called Fort Wallawalla.   The Columbia at" Wnllawalla
is 1,284 feet above the level of the sea, and about 3,500
feet wide.   It now takes its last turn to the westward, pursuing a rapid course of 80 miles to the Cascades, and receiving the Umatilla, Qnesnels, John Day's, and Chute
rivers from the south, and Cathlatates from the north.   At
the Cascades the navigation of the river is again obstruct-
ed hy rapids; after passing these, it is navigable for 120
-miles to the ocean.   The only other great independent
river in the territory is the Tacoutche, or Fraser's river.
It takes its rise in the Rocky mountains, near the source
of Canoe river; thence it takes a northwesterly course for
80 miles, when it makes a turn southward, receiving Stewart's river.    The Tacoutche pursues a southerly course,
until it reaches latitude 49°, where it breaks through the
Cascade range in a succession of falls and rapids, then
turns to the west, and after a course of 70 miles more,
empties into the Gulf of Georgia, on the Straits of Fuca,
in latitude 47° 07.   Its whole length is 350 miles, but it is
only navigable for 70 miles from its mouth by vessels drawing 12 feet water. It has three trading-posts upon it belonging to the company—Fort Langley, at its mouth, Fort
Alexandria at the junction of a small stream a few miles
south of Quesnel's river, and another at the junction of
Stewart's river.   The country drained by this river is poor,
and generally unfit for cultivation.  The climate is extreme
in its variation of heat and cold; and in the fall months
dense fogs prevail, which bar every object from the eye
beyond the distance of a hundred yards.
The chief features of the section are extensive forests,
transverse ranges of low countries, and vast tracts of
marshes and lakes, formed by the streams descending from
the surrounding heights. The character of the great rivers
is peculiar—rapid and sunken much below tho country,
with perpendicular banks. They run, as it were, in
trenches, which makes it extremely difficult to get at the
water in many places, owing to their steep, basaltic walls.
They are at many points contracted by dalles in narrows,
which, during the rise, back the water some distance,
submerging islands and tracts of low prairie, and giving
them the appearance of extensive lakes.   The soil along I
128 o a s o o 9.
the river bottoms is generally alluvial, and would yield
good crops were k not for the overflowings of the river,
which check and kill the grain. Some of the finest portions of the land are thus unfitted for cultivation. They
are generally covered with water before the banks are
overflown, in consequence of the quicksands that exist m
them, and through which the water percolates. "The
rise of the streams flowing from the Cascade Mountains
takes place twice in the year, in February and November,
and are produced by heavy and abundant rains. The rise
of the Columbia takes place in May and Juno, and is attributable to the melting of the snows. Sometimes the
swell of the latter is very sudden, if heavy rains should also
fall at that period; but it is generally gradual, and reaches
its greatest heighth from the 6th to the 15th of June. Its
perpendicular rise is from 16 to 20 feet at Vancouver,
where a line of embankment has been thrown up to protect the lower prairie; but it has been generally flooded
during these visitations, and the crops. often destroyed.
The greatest rise of the Wallamette takes place in February, and sometimes ascending to the heighth of 20 feet,
does considerable damage. Both of these rivers and the
Cowelitz are much swollen by the backing of their waters
during the height of the Columbia; all the lower grounds
being at times submerged. This puts au effectual bar to
the border prairies being used for any thing but pasturage.
This, happily, is fine throughout the year, except in the
season of floods, when the cattle have to be driven to the
high grounds. It is almost impossible at the present time
to form a correct estimate of the population of the Oregon territory; the number has beenlften reckoned, but
vyith no degree of certainty. Lieutenant Wilkes supposes
that there are about 20,000, of whom 19,000 are aborigi-
nees and the remainder whites.   This calculation w~
made, however, several years ago, while, during the interval, the tide of emigration has been constantly increasing:
We can now safely set down the whole population as
numbering from twenty-two to twenty-five thousand. We
do not include in this number the serfs and Sandwich Islanders, who are scattered about in different parts of the territory.
The number of aboriginal inhabitants can hardly be ascertained with any accuracy; for in fishing seasons they move
about from place to place, and sometimes remain permanently wherever they can find the best land and location. The number, of Indians in this territory, as is already
known, are very great. We shall here introduce a tabular statement, prepared by Mr. Crawford, for the use of
Indians west of tine Rocky mountains, in the Oregon district, and
their numbers.
Nes Perces
Cou/D'Alene    •
.   •    1,800
Callapooahs        •
*.               *
Kiguel    -
Spokens -
. -
Snakes    •
-    1,000
Skillutts jj
-   2,500
Whole number
Lekulks -
Saddals   -
Pohahs   •
Chillo Kittequaws
1 £
The Indians generally on the main land are kind and
friendly. The most warlike are those which hve in the
islands of the north. They are, however, rapidly passing
away before the advancing destiny of a superior race; and
soon but few will be left of the many thousands who once
happily lived. In the Wallamette valley, their favorite
country, where they hunted and fished, and had their
dances, there are but a few remnants leA, and they are dial
pirited and broken-hearted. On tho Columbia river, near j
its mouth, a small number of them live, and also about the
Cascades and the Dalles large parties of them may be j
found. Their situations, as we have before said, are much
to be deplored. Their inexhaustible resources have been
taken from them, their bows are unstrung, and from M lords
of the soil," they have sunk to the degradation of its slaves.
A portion of the independence of the Kinses and Nes Per-
ces is still maintained. Many of them have advanced rapidly in civilization; and,no doubt, would adapt themselves
to a methodical system of life, were not the first lessons
of the science an exaction of their labors for the benefit
of others. At the present, they can only be regarded in the
light of a servile population, which, in the existing dearth
of labor, is rendered of vast service to the active settler.
The missionaries exert a very strong influence over the
Indians, particularly within the last few years, since the
Territory has begun to be christianized. Not a great
deal, we are told, has been done towards christianizing
the natives being principally engaged in cultivating the
mission farms, and in the increase of their own flocks and
herds. «As far as my personal observation went, says a
writer, there are very few Indians to engage their attention,
and they seemed more occupied with the settlement of the
country and agricultural pursuits than in missionary la-
bors.     We need not despair, however, of reclaim.,* this OREGON. 131
whole torrilory, lookiug to the rapid progression of good
morals and habits. The settlers in the neighborhood of
the Wallamette are becoming prudent and correct, and
many of them regular in the discharge of their religious
and worldly duties.
It appears that on a certain occasion, when the Oregon
question was being discussed in the House of Lords, before a large and intelligent audience, Lord Ashburton had
in his pocket "MilcheWs map" of 1783, which was taken
from tho library of George the Third, without his knowledge or consent. This map, strange to say, though prepared by a British subject, and accurately too, as was afterwards affirmed throughout England by men of sound
sense and clear judgment, gives to the United States undisputed possession, and establishes beyond doubt its
right and title, and denying to Great Britain the possession
of one "foot of the territory." The following is an extract
of a speech delivered by Sir Robert Peel, in the House of
Commons, on the 28th of March, 1843:
"But there is still another map. Here, in this country, in the library
of die laic King, was deposited a map, by Mitchell, of the date of 1763.
That map was in the possession of tho late King, and was also in possession of the noble lord; but he did not communicate its contents to
Mr. Webster. [Ilcur, hear.] It is marked by a brood red line; and
on that line is written 'boundary as described by our negotiator, Mr.
Oswald;' and that line follows the claim of the United States. [Hear,
hear.] That map was on an extended scale. It was in possession of
the late King, who was particularly curious in relation u> geographical
inquiries. On that map, I repeat, is placed the boundary Line—that
claimed by die United States—and on four different places of that line,
' boundary, as described by our negotiator, Mr. Oswald.' M
About this time the question was eliciting profound interest, and Lord Brougham, who delivered some time after
a great and elaborate speech, characterized by close study
and careful examination, held tho idea up to scorn and 132 ORKGO.N.
ridicule, contending that Lord Ashburton was bound to
show this map to Mr. Webster. His lordship was of opm -
ion that the handwriting on the face of the map, descnb-
ing the American and not the British claim, " is thej
handwriting of George IH himself," Mr. Oswald knowing
nothing of it at all After stating that the library of George
III, by the munificence of George IV, was given to the
British Museum, he says: "This map must have been
there; but it is a curious circumstance that it is not there
now. [Laughter.] I suppose it must have been taken out 1
of the British Museum, for the purpose of being sent over
to my noble friend in America, [hear, hear, and laughter;]
and which, according to the new doctrines of diplomacy,
he was bound to have taken over with him, to show that he j
had no case—that he had not a leg to stand upon. And j
again. But, somehow or other, that map, which entirely
destroys our contentions, and gives all to the Ameri-
cans, has been removed from the British Museum, and
is now to be found at the Foreign Office." Sir Robert
Peel evidently, with his accustomed acuteness, avoids the
truth of the story, attributing the fact of the King's having
the map to the interest felt by him respecting the geographical condition of the country. It would be a little
strange, the King desiring an accurate boundary, and ex-i
erting every effort to obtain one, should Mr. Oswald have
furnished him with a false view, suited to his own notions,
and in non-confortnity with glaring facts. Justly has Lord
Brougham declared, "that if this map had been produced,
the British Government would not have had one lea to
stand upon " There would have been an open and avowed acknowledgment made of the strength of our claims,
by a great and prominent man of the Opposition, which
H    d7dULorda Ashh11 r88t ^ °nCe a" ^-^mculty! Cat
did Lord Ashburton say, m reference to the British title. OREGON. 133
during the negotiation ? Did he suppress the fact that
Mitchell's map had actually appeared, which had rendered
null the right of his own country ? He expressed his decided friendship for the United States; that he had exerted every effort in his power to avert the late war, which
no one can deny, and which attaches very great credit to
him; but, after all, he declares, with Mitchell's map in
this pocket, in a letter written to Mr. Webster on the 21st
of June, 1812, as follows:
" I will only horo add the most solemn assuranco, which
I would not lightly muko, that, after a long and careful examination of all the arguments and inferences, direct and
circumstantial, bearing on the whole of this truly difficult
question, it is my settled conviction, that it was the intention of the parties to the treaty of peace of 1783, however
imperfoctly thoso intentions may have been executed, to
leave to Great Britain, by their description of boundaries,
the whole of the waters of the river St John." (Page 40.)
It cannot be denied for a moment, after the facts that have
been adduced, which are recorded in the public archives,
and credited by all impartial men, that this " boundary
line" was clearly established in the mind of the King. And
surely it would never have been introduced into Parliament had no importance been attached to it I
Shall Oregon be surrendered to Great Britain ?
We take it for granted that this question need not be
asked, as it implies a doubt in the minds «f the American
people of the justice and propriety of extending our jurisdiction and laws over the territory of Oregon. Of the va
lidity of our title, as far as its legality is concerned, the
fairness of the demand, and of the honorable motives that
promt our demand, we have never had a doubt.
For all the purposes of settlement and commercial enterprise this territory opens an invaluable field. Hence it
is that so many powers at one time set forth their claims.
Many arguments have been brought forward by each party, some of them spirited and ingenious, in the support of
their rights, but we regard them as too flimsy to deserve
notice. Should they be obscure and inconclusive, the aspect of the case would not be changed in the least. We
have been careful in introducing plain legal principles,
strictly authorized by the law of nations; and if they are
ineffectual in bringing about correct conclusions, it is very
certain that collateral views and arguments can avail
nothing. The proposition made on the American side for
the settlement and final adjustment of this question was,
that the line of the 49th parallel, the boundary on this side
of the mountains, should be continued to the Pacific; and
on the British side, that the line should be continued only
to the head-waters of the Oregon river, and thence down
that river to the sea, the stream being the boundary, and
to continue forever common to the two nations.
From what we can learn, these were the terms proposed
m the late negotiation. If other plans were suggested, we
have not as yet been apprised of them.   Our opinion on OREGON. 135
the subject is fixed and unalterable; that our claims
are just and founded on law, as contained in Vattel,
Puffendorff, and other writers on international law, and
should be so regarded by every nation on the globe, we
can never doubt. And we cannot help believing, after
taking no little interest in the subject, through all its
stages to the present time, that we speak the opinion
of a large majority of the intelligent portion of the American people when we say, that the 49th parallel is a
reasonable, fair, and proper compromise, and the southernmost limit which should be agreed upon by the United
States. Great caution and prudence should be Observed
on committing this question for settlement to any individual or set of individuals. Look to what it involves, the
interest which it has very naturally and properly excited,
not only in America and the neighboring countries, but, in
truth, in the most remote regions. It should be entrusted
to the arbitrament of no European sovereign; indeed, to
no one whose patriotism and ability have not been fairly
and fully tested. We have spoken boldly and openly, affirming our unquestionable right to a certain portion of
this territory, adduced arguments, facts, and data in maintenance of the position assumed; and it is now our duty to
submit to no compromise—to no half-way and indefinite
agreement—to listen to no threats, however violent or authoritative they may be, or from whatever source they may
come; and under no circumstances to recede one-hundredth part of an inch from the 49th parallel. By this line
the territory would be divided into two separate divisions:
one boundary would be carried in almost a straight line
from the Lake of the Woods to the South Sea, and we
would be thus possessed of what we most want, the safe
and excellent harbors in the neighborhood of Fuca Straits,
and the almost entire control of the Columbia river.   As
. 136 oaaooi*.
far as the coast is concerned, what more do we want than
this?   We have all its advantages—all that can be had.
This is probably one of the most valuable portions of the
whole country west of the Rocky Mountains—inexhaustible in its soil, admirably adapted to fishing and hunting,
and valuable in location.    But suppose that this arrangement would not satisfy us—that the body of the American
people positively and sternly objected, demanding  the
whole territory, from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.
A demand like this, in view of the different cessions and
treaties, and after the avowed and tacit acknowledgments!
made by our ministers and Secretaries, giving to Great
Britain at one time the right of joint occupancy, and at j
another extending the privilege of navigation into the interior of the country, would be a gross violation of the national honor, a slur upon our honesty, which would bo visited upon the latest of our posterity, and worthy of the
prompt resistance of Great Britain.    The good old maxim, that u what is right can never be made wrong," holds
good with nations as well as with individuals.    The concessions that have been made by our Government have been I
all entered of record; they face the world; and no change
of circumstances, no step, can destroy their fence or ef- I
feet   We should not close the door to negotiation) this
would be an anomaly in the history of nations; but we 1
should endeavor, by peaceable means, to persuade Eng- i
land, introducing plain and fixed facts, that, our claims are
true; and that we are determined, at all hazards and at all
costs, to mamtain our ground.   If the Government owes i
any duty to its subjects, it is to afford them protection in
their rights, on the same principle that it is the duty of a
father to protect and take care of his son.   The only wav
to accomplish this laudablojjd is to establish courts, anil
the same legal procedure adopted that is practised here.] OREGON. 137
We trust that there is a probability of a peaceable settlement of this question between the two nations. And we
recommend, not hastily and without due consideration, the
propriety of doing away with the treaty provided by the
conventions of 1818 and 1827, as they might break off and
put an end to negotiation. But we are clearly of opinion
that, after a reasonable time, if nothing is done to establish
a territorial government, or suitable means taken for the
protection of our settlers, that we should send out our
men, build our cities, establish our trading-houses, and, if
necessary, meet the British on the tented field. Should it
ever be the misfortune of the American people to witness
that day, (which may God in his providence avert,) the
gloom, treasure, and bloodshed which it would cost are beyond the calculation of the human imagination. Twenty
millions of freemen engaged in war with a foreign potter,
greater in population, greater in naval advantages, superior
in a knowledge of military tactics, and better skilled in niari -
time warfare, would present a scene of confusion never before witnessed in the annals of unfortunate Europe. No one
has any adequate conception of a conflict with so powerful
a Government At first, all admit, that the loss suffered by
our country would be immense—the loss of life and the
loss of property—wives would be made widows and sons
orphans, by a catastrophe so much to be dreaded. Excitement and consternation would reign in every part of
this wide land. All would rush forward to the battlefield none would stay at home when their country's honor was at staKe, fired by an ambition to see her rise, phce-
•nix-like, from the ashes, with her stars and stripes victorious. No consideration, no sacrifice of self-interest, would
stay the brave American when he heard the cannon's roar
on the Atlantic coast, and knew that America's independence was at stake. It appears, indeed, a weakness of re- 138 ORKOOW.
publican Governments not to prepare for coming exigencies    We know that each State is, and has its
organized bodies, which can be rallied at a very short notice    They have their volunteer and militia companies,
that can be gathered together at one point in a very fowl
hours We know that oar towns and cities are well block-l
aded and fortified; but what is the comparative conditionl
of our navy ?   How does it compare with the ships of war
whitening every sea that belongs to Great Britain?   Look
to her present situation, her military advantages.   Look
to her vast disposable force in readiness at any tune.
Look to the men of war surrounding every little island and
peninsula that belongs to her.    For the  first eighteen
months or two years her blows would fall upon us fast and I
thick, and the injuries sustained by our Government probably greater than could  be repaired in half a century.
But who knows how this even would end i   There would j
be an emancipation of the American mind from British influence.    The creeds, policy, sentiments, and manners of
that people would be confined to those dominions upon
which, they say, the sun  never sets.   That day would 1
be gladly hailed when the American citizen would be no
longer insulted with the base charge of favoring the interests of the British Government, and applauding their laws
and institutions.   We should have the proud consolation
of knowing, which would be dwelt upon with feelings of
pride and honor centuries hence, that there was an era
which blended in harmonious union party schisms and
jealousies, cutting asunder the secret tie that bound Amer- '
ica with Britain, and dispelling all fear of national treach-.
ery and national abuse.    With our circle of free States,
with theirrepubfican constitutions and wholesome laws,and
the inestimable and valuable principle of self-government.
one of the constituent parts of our compact, would be held OREGON. 139
out to the returning patriot, under which he might take shelter with safety. That excessive admiration of British history,
and the remnants of colonial ideas, which half a century of
independence and two bloody wars, one of them long and
event ful, have not been sufficient to eradicate, would be done
away with. Our history is a very remarkable one for its noble
bearing and patriotic scenes; but it has run far ahead of our
opinions, and is not sufficiently appreciated. With a Government of our own, framed by our fathers, republican in its
spirit and tone, we should be satisfied to preserve all the
privileges handed down to us, so as to transmit them to
those who are to succeed us. Another beneficial result
would be, the purification of our political atmosphere.
•The cankers of a calm world and long peace" are no fiction. Politics become a trade; and our first-rate men are
betrayed into the ways of cunning and dishonest), losing
respect for themselves and their country, and stooping to
the lowest means to accomplish the lowest ends. A collision would bring the ablest and best men uppermost
The native and moral strength of the people would be
fairly and fully tested; and perhaps those very ones whom
we now suppose would defend the country to the last mo.
ment of their lives, would be found wanting when the time
came to "try their souls;" while another Washington,with
an intrepid spirit and an undaunted brow, might step forth
from the shades of obscurity, and win for himself the
praise of his countrymen, and the gratitude of the latest
If we are involved in war, now is the time to make suitable preparation. We find in the early messages of Gen.
Washington to Congress he dwelt particularly upon the
importance of nuuntaining the country in an attitude of
defence as the most effectual method of averting the calamities of war.   He says, "that the citizens constitute i?
140 o a a o o n
the depository of the force of the republic and may be
trained to a degree of efficiency equal to any military exigency"   Again: we are told,by Mr. Poinsett,chairman
of the Committee on Military Affairs, 20th Congress, 2d
session, Senate document No. 118, "but, in order to provide the means of a proper training, and to secure tins degree of efficiency in newly formed forces, it is a material I
feature in the plan of organization to afford an opportM
nity to acquire, in time of peace, a knowledge of the more
difficult and scientific branches of the military. Whatever
argument may be drawn from particular examples, super-]
ficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject will
evince, that the art of war is at once comprehensive and
complicated, but it demands much previous study, and
that the possession of it, in its improved state, is always of!
great moment to the security of the nation."   It cannot]
be denied that it is the duty of all Governments that wish
to preserve friendly relations with foreign powers to preserve a military body, cost what it may, who, from their
attainments and knowledge, are ready at any time to respond to the call of their country. . We do not advocate
the propriety of a standing army; far from it.   The expense and evils incident to a standing army should be]
avoided, while a strict military force, well disciplined and
organized, should be preserved at the expense of the General Government   In other words, we must cultivate in
time of peace a knowledge of military science, and an acquaintance with the more scientific branches of the military art, forming, when occasion shall require, the main
body of the army, from persons ordinarily engaged in civil
occupations.   We have, it is true, what may be called, in
one sense, a standing army.   Each State has its militia J
and those officers who are appointed to command are required by law, under a penalty, to see that they appear on
certain occasions to pass through military exercises. We
have an •organization" purely of a civil character, including four distinct arms—infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineers, each having distinct duties, but all combining to
form one and the same military body. It is very necessary that our legislative bodies should bestow on this subject
that attention which its importance demands. It is not
always when in possession of a thing that we are most likely
to appreciate its utility; the evils and inconveniencies resulting from a want of it, not unfrequently act most powerfully with its importance, and the advantages to be derived from its possession.
We beg leave to cite a few remarks drawn from military
history. There is no occasion for going back to the disastrous passage of the Vistula by Charles XII, the failure of
Marlborough to pass the Dyle and Eugene, and to cross
the Adda in 1705, nor of the three unsuccessful attempts
of Charles of Lorraine to cross the Rhine in 1713. Take
the French revolution, from its commencement to its
close, and we find strict military discipline indispensably necessary in time of peace. It is true that the policy
of our rulers is to economise the public money in time of
peace, and to preserve the lives of our citizens and the na-
f tional flag in time of war; but let this matter be passed
over in silence, and the future historian will say of us, as
Napier has said of the English: " The best officers and
finest soldiers were obliged to sacrifice themselves in a
lamentable manner to compensate for the negligence and
incapacity of a Government always ready to plunge the
nation into a war without the slighest care of what was
necessary to obtain success. Their sieges were but a succession of butcheries, because the commonest materials,
and the means necessary to their art, were denied the engineers." u
142 o as go if.
But we wish it distinctly understood that we are opposed
to war when it can be possibly avoided. Its evils and calamities are familiar to all; and the history of countries,
that are known only in « poetry and song," teaches the instructive lesson "that slight causes often lead to disas-
trous results." We deprecate it as one of the most fearful and distressing curses, (for such it has been regarded
by the ablest historians,) that ever befel any country at any
time or in any age.
We cannot permit the celebrated and excellent report
of Captain Fremont to pass unnoticed. The circumstances
attending the expedition, its progress, and final consumma-j
tion,together with the indomitable and unflinching spirit and
zeal that was evinced by him and his companions during
their long and eventful expedition, justly entitle them to the
admiration and respect of the American people. It was a
noble enterprise, one to try the firmness and courage of
man, and much to be wondered at in its results. Few,
very few, would have undertaken a military examination \
of the country from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean—
a work so fearful and hazardous. His account is now
published to the world, which is so accurate in its details,
that a statesman may judge correctly of the value of thai
country, and a farmer tell where he can settle to most advantage. An unexplored land lie stretched out before
them, its history unknown, and its soil untrodden, save by
the foot of the red man. What firmness and confidence
was necessary to strengthen them in their slow and uncertain march! The prospect, how drea§! Their lives how
uncertain! Yet all this vanished,^ a mist, before their
resolute determination to brave all perils, endure every
hardship and secure the hard-earned bequest Day after
day, for hundreds of miles, they beheld mountain piled upon
mounta,n,«Ossa upon Pelion," with thoircold and icy sum- <H!
mits, uninhabited and uncheered even by the fires of the set-
tier. They travelled with "unweary footstep" sixteen hundred miles to the South Pass; from the mouth of the Platte
to the same Pass, about one thousand moretand another
sixteen hundred miles from that Pass to the tide water of
the river Oregon; in all about four thousand miles. Their
fears at night would be often greatly excited by the shrill
war-hoop of the savage, and the fierce roar of wild beasts.
But throughout they quietly trusted to Divine Providence,
and would sleep as sweetly, after a rough journey of twenty miles over mountains and rocks, as the daily laborer in
a christianised and enlightened land. While the guard
surrounded the camp, all was stillness within, but they
took care never to go to rest unless they were prepared at
a moment's warning for an attack, placing their rifles and
ammunition at their heads. This was very important; for
had they been attacked at all by the Indians, it would have
been at night, when every thing was still. The idea of a
military expedition from the Mississippi river to Oregon,
prior to its consummation, was believed by many to be
impossible, and even ridiculed by intelligent men. The
scheme was considered visionary and absurd, and the privations and troubles incident to so long a trip were regarded as more than human nature could bear. It was thought
that the cold would be so intense, and the dews so heavy,
that persons acclimated here could not five; but these impressions have been entirely removed by the facts published
by Capt Fremont in his narrative. The distance from the
frontier of the Missouri to the tidewater in Oregon is about
two thousand miles. The mountains are easily passed; the
whole way being practicable, even in a state of nature, for
horses, carriages, and artillery; and as for the Indians,
twenty-four men with rifles may move in safety in spite of
the hostility of any tribe.   Their instruments of warfare, 144
as all know, are the bow and arrow, scalping-knives and
spears, which, in open combat, can do but little damage
in comparison with the rifle. They lay in ambush generally, and make a secret attack when it is least suspectedJ
This is characteristic of the whole Indian race; and by j
this mode of warfare the lives of many have been lost, and!
serious damage committed. In the progress of their journey, however, they had but little use for their muskets, except for shooting game and exercising at a mark. We are
told by Captain Fremont that this territory is tt the most
impregnable country in the world." With reference to
defence, the British Government would have been very!
careful in considering this important fact, and to have
prevailed on the Hudson Bay Company to do for them
in Oregon what the East India Company have done
for them in Asia. We find that Captain Fremont introduces the comparatively insignificant article of grass. It
will surprise those not acquainted with the character of
the soil to learn, that there is a species of grass that grows
in all directions in great profusion, which is equal in luxuriance and nutrition to our best hay. During his entire
journey he had no occasion to use for his cattle any other
food. They were extremely fond of it; and though travelling twenty or thirty miles per day, it was equal in its
green state to our best hay when cured and dried. It is
found in the mountains and low lands, and even grows on
the mountain ridges at an elevation of ten.thousand feet
All the wild animals feed upon it—the elk^ deer, and buffalo—and use it in preference to any other provender.
There is another grass that is very abundant; possessing
the very remarkable property of a second growth; appear-
ingin the fall of the year as luxuriant as in the spring, after the entire destruction of the first crop.   It is very plan- OREGON. ]45
tiful on the western slopes, and is fit, in all respects, to
feed horses and cattle in the depth of winter.
In the months of December and January, when the
grass is entirely destroyed by the snow and frosts, this
grass may be found growing in the Sierra Nevada, Snowy
Mountains of California, where the snow has disappeared
from the heat of the sun. It may be found also in great
abundance in the Desert of the Lower California. Where-
ever there is water to be found i^appears in large clusters,
and may be very easily cut or pulled from the roots. Permitting it to dry, it has, if any thing, an injurious tendency.
It loses its sweetness and flavor in a great measure, and is
not eaten by cattle with half the readiness as when in its
green state. In all expeditions subsistence is one of the
principal clogs. There is always a difficulty in procuring
necessaries; hence it is that we hear so often of starvation and other calamities. It is very hard at all times to
provide the necessary food, and if provided, to keep it
in a proper state while travelling. Horses very generally
suffer; but the grass spoken of before was found by
Captain Fremont to answer all purposes. He seems
to have paid particular attention to the study of the
sciences. His mind and instruments were never at rest
from the time he commenced his travels until they were
ended. Geography, geology, botany, meteorology, each
seem to have claimed an equal portion of his time. Tho
geographical discoveries made by him are entirely new,
and afford the most valuable and interesting information to
those taking ah interest in the subject From the frontiers of Missouri to the Rocky Mountains, the line of
the Kansas and Great Platte is represented, by the most
impartial and minute examination, to be arable and inhabitable. This particular portion of the territory has been
often spoken of, and frequently misrepresented.   It has ;■'«
146 o a k o o a.
been said by the ignorant and unknowing, that the land is j
barren and worthless, not worth the labor necessary for
its cultivation, being fit not even for grazing; when, in truth,
it is extremely fertile, and covered with a fine, rich, luxurious growth.
The Rocky Mountains are represented as being desolate
and impassable. It appears that Captain Fremont passed
it at five different places, not selected either as the most
accessible. And we are told that there are many excel-!
lent passes, of which the South pass is the best; and that
it embosoms beautiful vallies and parks, with lakes and
springs, rivalling and surpassing the most enchanting points
of the Alpine region in Switzerland. One of the most remarkable curiosities in the territory, that has attracted
great attention, is the "Great Salt Lake." It is probably
without a rival in the world, being a solution of salt, of one
hundred miles in diameter. It is most graphically described
by Captain Fremont, and also the Bear River Valley, with
its rich bottoms, fine grass, walled-up mountains, hot and
mineral springs, soda fountains, volcanic rocks, and volcanic
springs. There is another very great curiosity, which is
worthy of attention. "The Boiling Spring," the water of
which has a very peculiar and disagreeable taste, is hot
enough to boil an egg, and finds its way from three different
openings, all within a short distance of each other. It takes
its source at the head of a small valley, near a very high
range of rocks, covered with basaltic rock, and the neighboring plains are covered with round rock. ' This spring
forms quite a large branch, which broadens and deepens as it advances. The water is quite clear, and
rolls off smoking and foaming. The country around
presents a beautiful appearance; and in consequence of
the warmth of the spring, the trees and grass wear a
green appearance   from one   year's end to the other, OREGON. 147
there being neither frosts, nor snows, nor chilling winds.
It is at page 196 of Captain Fremont's report that he states
his determination to pass through a new region of country
on his return to the United States. It is very interesting;
so much so, that wo givo it in his own words:
•The camp was now oonupiod in making the nocossary
preparations for our homeward journey, which, though
homeward, contemplated a new route and a great circuit to
the south and southeast, and the exploration of the Great
Basin between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Thrco principal objects were indicated, by report
or by maps, as being on this route, the character or existence of which I wished to ascertain, and which I assumed as landmarks, or leading points, on the projected line
of return. The first of these points was the Tlamath lake,
on the table land between the head of Fall river, which
comes to the Columbia, and the Sacramento, which goes
to the bay of San Francisco; and from which lake a river
of the same name makes its way westwardly direct to the
ocean. This lake and river are often called Klamet, but
I have chosen to write its name according to the Indian
pronunciation. The position of this lake, on the line of
inland communication between Oregon and California, its
proximity to the demarcation boundary of latitude 42°, its
imputed double character of lake or meadow, according to
the season of the year, and the hostile or warlike character attributed to the Indians about it, all made it a desirable
object to visit and examine. From this lake our course
was intended to be about southeast, to a reported lake, called Mary, at some days'journey in the Great Basin; and
thence, still on southeast, to the reputed Buenaventura
river, which has had a place in so many maps, and countenanced the belief of the existence of a great nyer flowing from the Rocky Mountains to the bay of San Francis- ii-1
cb. From the Buenaventura the next point was intended
to be in that section of the Rocky Mountains which includes the heads of Arkansas river and of the opposite
waters of the CJalifornian gulf, and thence down the Arkansas to Bent's fort, and home. This was our projected
line of return—a great part of it absolutely new to geographical, botanical, and geological science—and the subject of reports in relation to lakes, rivers, deserts and savages hardly above the condition of mere wild animals,
which inflamed desire to know what this terra incognita
really contained. It was a serious enterprise, at the commencement of winter, to undertake the traverse of such a
region, and with a party consisting only of twenty-five persons, and they of many nations—American, French, German, Canadian, Indian, and colored—and most of them
young, several being under twenty-one years of age. AU
knew that a strange country was to be explored, and dangers and hardships to be encountered, but no one blenched
at the prospect On the contrary, courage and confidence
animated the whole party. Cheerfulness, readiness, subordination, prompt obedience, characterized all; nor did
any extremity of peril and privation, to which we were afterwards exposed, ever belie, or derogate from, the fine
spirit of this brave and generous commencement The
course of the narrative will show at what point, and for
what reasons, we were prevented from the complete execution of this plan, after having made considerable progress upon it, and how we were forced by desert plains
and mountain ranges, and deep snows, far to the south,
and near to the Pacific Ocean, and along the western base
of the Sierra Nevada, where, indeed, a new and ample
field of exploration opened itself before us. For the present, we must follow the narrative, which will first lead us
south, along the valley of Fall river, and the eastern base of OREGON. |49
the Cascade range, to the TUunath lake, from which, or
its margin, three rivers go in three directions—one west,
to the Ocean; another north, to the Columbia; the third
south, to California." ^*!
Captain Fremont makes particular mention of tho Sierra
Nevada and San Joaquin rivers, which belong to the Bay
of St Francisco. The Great Desert comes in very justly
for a portion of his attention; and the inhabitants east of
the Rocky Mountains are a most remarkable people.
Their manners and customs are entirely peculiar to themselves, and they live together in great peace and fellowship. Whenever there is a difficulty, the whole tribe, or
family, is disturbed, and never rest satisfied until peace and
good feeling is restored. This is a most fortunate characteristic, inasmuch as they carry on their respective pursuits without conflicting in the least with each other, and
the property claimed by one is shared by all. Their intercourse is friendly in the extreme, and nothing like jealousy or
malice exists, which so often disturbs in civilized countries
the social and business relations of man and man. When a
death occurs, tho sorrow that pervades tho wholo race is
manifest, and, for days and weeks, that respect is paid to
the memory of the departed rarely witnessed in the most
refined and enlightened countries. Their burials are conducted with great solemnity—hundreds follow the corpse
to tho grave—and when the body is deposited, there is one
burst of deep and true sorrow. This grief lasts for a long
time, and largo parties frequently meet to pay homage to
the memory of the dead. There is ono statement made
by Captain Fremont, respecting which aU contemporary
writers have erred. On all tho maps of Oregon tho colo-
brated Buenaventura river is mentioned as running from
the Rocky Mountains to tho sea. It has boon spoken of
by many as a river of some importance, abounding in the
12 jkq OREGON.
finest fish and beautiful shells; the banks of which are
covered with rich and luxuriant verdure, the offspring of
•   fertile soiL   Captain Fremont says,«there is no such riv-
or in existence.   How could there be?   Here the mountains of Sierra Nevada afford an insuperable barrier.   It
would be impossible for a river to pass them in either direction."   Captain Fremont became deeply interested in
the study of botany.   A wide and unexplored field was
presented for his investigation. Plants of every color, size,
and description appeared every day.    InJhe highlands and
lowlands, in the marshes and flats, as well as on the steepest summits, he saw rare objects for  his examination.!
Not an hoor passed that ho did not make some new and
interesting discovery.   This branch of study being very
familiar to him, he pursued it with great zeal and pleasure,
and has had the good fortune to accumulate a rare and
beautiful collection, not surpassed, or probably equalled,!
in this country.   He was somewhat discouraged, however, in the undertaking, from the loss of a "mule load,'''' in I
the Sierra Nevada.   The poor mule was lost, and all his
load, to the regret of the whole party.   He had been a
faithful traveller, and performed his daily task as well as
any of his associates.   However, Captain Fremont has
succeeded in bringing home from this splendid and vast
botanical field a number of rich and valuable specimens, J
which we hear are left to the professional science of Dr.]
Torrey, of Princeton, whose reputation as a man of erudi-1
tion and scientific attainments, are well known to the world.!
He has consented to classify them in their order.   This
hasi since been done, and his pamphlet on the subject, so
emblematical of the proficiency of the man, is sought and
read with great pleasure and interest by the friends and
lovers of botany.   Many of the rarest specimens- have been
presented to the General Government, which arc deposit- OREGON. 151
ed at the Patent Office in Washington, probably the most
valuable museum in this country.
Geology, also, claimed no little of Captain Fremont's
time. He sought every occasion to examine the surface
of the earth, its composition and ingredients; and by his
great diligence and industry, he ascertained the sizes and
shapes of many bluffs, in different latitudes, examined
closely the rivers and river banks, and the sides and gorges
of mountains. He has been subjected to great trouble and
labor in classifying and arranging the different rocks and
fossils, and in finding out their properties. He brought in
with him a very rare specimen of "fossiliferous rock"
having an oolitic structure, a part of the Great Basin, and
found in the Great Salt Lake, that will attract the attention of learned men, both here and in Europe, for a long
time. This specimen, together with a number of others, no
less rare than beautiful, are referred to Dr. Hale, of New
York, and Professor Bailey of West Point, both of whom
arc well krtown by reputation in all parts of the country.
During the whole of Captain Fremont's expedition, his
mind was actively and profitably employed in acquiring
important knowledge. And what is the result? There
can be but one opinion respecting the importance of his .
travels to the American nation. He has explored and examined closely a vast region of country before unknown,
save in the records of conjecture and fiction, and opened
the way to emigration by pointing out correctly the
characteristics of its soil, climate, and geographical
and relative position. He has pointed the poor classes of
our country, the industrious and worthy, to this garden
spot of our continent, and drawn a truthful picture of its
capacity for trade, commerce, and agriculture. This
<rreat country, stretching out to the Rocky Mountains,
and still further to the Pacific Ocean, with its naviga- 152 OREGON.
ble waters, smiling valleys, and countless resources, together with its fine rivers and inexhaustible mines, has
been presented in characters "of living light" to the needy
and distressed in America. A party of a few, say thirty,
men, with their horses and carts, and a few farming utensils, and with good rifles and gunpowder, could, at a very
trifling expense, locate themselves in the.most favored
parts of this territory. What is it that prevents those from
emigrating whose prospects for acquiring wealth, or even
a subsistence, are gloomy here? And what is it that prevents the hardy backwoodsmen, trained to perils and hardships, and who are capable of enduring the severest fatigue, who have frequently to find their daily food before
they eat it, the earth for their bed, and a few bushes and a
blanket their shelter from "the peltings of the pitiless
storm?" We say, what is it that keeps them here? Is it
the hope of future success? They cannot reasonably hope
for that; their past history tells them so. Is it the hope 1
that the sympathies of their fellow-man will he excited, and
that they will protect and take care of them in their extremity ? • They cannot expect that; the past has a voice there
also. They have, therefore, to content t hemsel ves, if there
be contentment, with what they possess, and that is neither
"this world's goods" nor the hope of better times. We
have crowded upon us, asking for daily employment, men
of all nations, Scotch, French, English, German, and Irish,
all hardy laborers, who would enjoy health and happiness in
Oregon. That place is the field for their labors. There
they would get employment. And soon, with ordinary
economy, they would accumulate enough to take care of
them the balance of their lives. What inducements are
held out! What a stimulant to the young and adventurous just setting out onfie journey of life! A country
which, for aught we know, is destined to bo the seat of OREGON. |53
empire, population, and wealth, upon whose hills may rise
populous marts, and along whose valleys may roll the hum
of commercial enterprise. During the long and perilous
expedition of Captain Fremont, the thermometer was in
constant use, to ascertain the degrees of heat and cold.
"At the different places of encampment we found it," says
' he, "a most valuable and important instrument, giving the
degrees of temperature at all the different stopping places."
The barometer was also in constant use, being applied to
tell the elevation above the sea of all the different places
and villages. " The nights were often exceedingly cold,
so as to prevent the use of the telescope; however, whenever an opportunity was offered, we always availed ourselves of it." Every day the weather is noted; and we
are told by a distinguished writer "that an almanac for the
Rocky Mountains, Oregon, and California might be constructed from a perusal of this report—wind, rain, storm,
sunshine, ice, hale, and snow, are all carefully noted." The
expedition at last terminated from the Mississippi to the
Pacific. The expedition of 1842 carried it to the South Pass
of the Rocky Mountains; that of 1843 carried it to the Lower
Columbia. The great work was now finished, three or
four thousand miles of country travelled over, and the explorers returned to the land of/their home and birth, after
one of the most remarkable performances—remarkable in
all that relates to it—which has ever been undertaken in this
or in any other country. The whole history is replete with
interesting incidents and valuable information. The journey, most of it, was tedious and dangerous, through rivers
and mountain brakes, rugged steeps and broken vallies,
and deserts and mountains and savage tribes of Indians.
If the territory in dispute were worthless, it would not
be surprising if the United States felt no interest on the
bject; but it is far from being wortftless.   It commands
sut y
the Pacific Ocean, and is intimately connected with the
commerce of that sea. Upon its shores the light of civilization is fast dawning, and we have every reason to believe that it is sure to become the seat of commercial
strength. Half a century must, in the nature of things,
make many changes. There our enlightened population
will be, with their intelligence, honesty, and industry,
carrying on an extensive and valuable trade with Australia, India, and China, and, we cannot help thinking,
Japan. The power that would be concentrated near the
mouth of the Columbia, so very contiguous to countries of
vast wealth and trade, would be felt and appreciated every j
where. There would be an extension in all that concerns
the march of greatness; and our onward strides would be
greatly accelerated. Let us have it in our power to say
that this subject was honorably and prudently negotiated.
And, should war come, it will be gratifying to know, that
every thing reasonable was done to avert it, while we would \
meet the issue with a firm reliance on the justice of our I
past course, and a full assurance of a liberal reward for
our strict adherence to treaty stipulations and the common
usages of nations.
Having omitted to make a statement of several important facts in another chapter, we take occasion to intro- |
duce them here, as it may be interesting to know them.
The discovery of Nootka Sound has been attributed to f
Captain Cook by several distinguished writers on this j
question, who insist that in 1778 he made the first voyage
along the western coast   This is obviously a mistake; for j
his course was northward, and he passed the mouth of j
the Columbia, without notice, in a gloomy night   On the
15th of August, 1775, Haceta observed an opening in the I
coast, in latitude 46° 17 from which issued a current so
strong as to prevent him from entering.   He was hoi
>wev- OREGON
er, thoroughly convinced of the existence of a river, to
which he gave the name of Rio St. Roc, the first intimation
that there was such a river as the Columbia, It is very
certain that there was no Spanish settlement ever made
north of Cape Mendocino, from the fact that the whole
coast, for many degrees, was wild and uninhabitable; but
had it been capable of improvement and fit for the habitations of settlers, the case would not have been altered.
Discover) amounts to nothing, unless there is an alleged
intention of occupation: for instance, the continent of
.America was discovered by the English, but who question,
ed the right of the French to settle? One part of this
continent was occupied by the Spanish, but the French
established themselves in Louisiana. When it is ascertained that there is an abandonment on the part of the
discoverer, that they have no design to introduce their
people and laws, any other country, "after a reasonable
time," may take possession. The opportunity was given.
them, but as they did not avail themselves of it, there is a
surrender of their claims, and any other power may step
in. A "settlement" must be understood to mean "the establishment of the laws or government of the persons
making the settlement, with the assent and authority of the
nation to which they belong." Unless this authority is vested in them, their discoveries and occupations amount to
nothing, and is so regarded by the laws of nations. His
own government may afterwards recognise the settlement,
"but unless it is so recognised it does not become a dependency of the nation of the settler."
After the discovery of the northwest coast by the Spanish, there was no Spanish settlement on it. There was
an abandonment at the very time the English were at
Nootka, and, consequently, they have a perfect right to
establish their own settlements.   Upon the intelligence of j56 OREGON.
the seizure of the vessels by Martinez, the British at once
declared their determination to make settlements, and on
the 5th of May, 1790, the Crown delivered a message to
Parliament, complaining " that no satisfaction was made
or offered for the acts of seizure, and that a direct claim
was asserted by the Courts of Spain to the exclusive
rights of sovereignty, navigation, and commerce, in the
territories, coasts, and seas in that part of the world."
Spain, without a moment's hesitation, affirmed in her reply,
dated Aranjuez, June 4, 1790, signed by the Conde de
Florida Blanca, that " although Spain may not have established tracts or colonies planted upon the coast or in
the ports in dispute, it does not follow that such ports or
coasts do not belong to her." At all events England so
regarded it, and insisted that " English subjects had an
indisputable right to the enjoyment of a free and uninterrupted navigation, commerce, and fishery, and to the possession of such establishments as they should form with
the consent of the natives of the country, not previously
occupied by any European nation." Spain now yielded,
and took no farther step to secure the territory by occupation, and " there was no assertion of a right to occupy, in case occupation was taken by an European power."]
Afterwards, there was a convention between Great Britain
and Spain, signed at the Escurial, October 28,1790, which]
gave to both countries the privilege of navigation, and carrying on their fisheries on the coasts of the Pacific; and it
was moreover agreed, " in ail other parts of the northwest
ern coast of North America, or of the islands adjacent,
situated to the north of the parts of the said coasts already
occupied by Spain, wherever the subjects of either of the
two powers shall have made settlements, since the month
of April, 1789, or shall hereafter make any, tho subjects of
the other shall have free access."   Heffthcn was a clear OREGON.
admission of the right of Great Britain to make settle-
inents, and, of consequence, to introduce her customs and
laws which could not be revoked by war, not being the
result of favor or concession.  It is very certain that Cap-
lain Gray is entitled to great credit for his zeal and perseverance in attempting to discover the Columbia, as he was
the first person, after Haceta, who placed it on his chart,
" within one mile of its true position."   It has been said
that Vancouver's feelings towards Captain Gray were unfriendly, and that he did not attach proper credit to his
discoveries.   This cannot be so; for he makes the fullest
acknowledgment of his superior services.   As a proof of
it, he retained the name of " Adam's Point" on his chart,
and adopted that of Gray's ship, the " Columbia," as the
name of the river.   The account given by Broughton removes all doubt as to any intended misrepresentation on the
part of Vancouver, and we hope all will read it who questions his intentions.   The following is a sketch from the
log-book of the Columbia, which determines the point of
controversy as to the discovery of the Columbia:
"It appears by the log-book of the'Columbia,* that Gray crossed
the bar of the river on the 11th of May, 1792. At one o'clock be anchored. At noon of the 14th he weighed anchor—at four o'clock he
had eaited upwards of 12 or 15 miles, and at half past four o'clock the
ship took ground, when she was backed off, and again anchored. On
the 15th Gray dropped down the river, and the subsequent movements
were to get the vessel out. On the 20th he got clear of the bar. The
river he named die Columbia, and called one point of the entrance
Adams's point, and the other Hancock's point.
"Captain Vancouver states (vol. ii, p. 53) that Broughton had with
him a chart made by Gray-that he got to an inlet which he supposed
the chart to represent, and passed Adams's point. After a minute des-
criplion of it, he says, 'this bay terminated the researches of Mr. Gray,
and to commemorate his discovery,it was named 'Gray « bay. i nw
certainly proves that there was no wish to avoid acknowledging Gray s
merits. The blet from the *ea to the river runs about eaot and west,
13 |58 OREGON.
and in the cbart of Vancouver 'Gray's bay' is placed east of Adaroa'.
point, and far inland.   On the 24th of October (1792) Broughton left
the 'Chatham' in lat. 46° IT, having brought it as far within the bay
as he thought safe, and as far as he had reason to suppose ths'Colum-1
bia' had been brought—(Vancouver, vol. ii, p. 66.)   He then pro-l
ceeded to survey in a boat, taking with him a week's proviriowi.   He
proceeded up the river until die 30th, and calculated the distance he
went, and which he particularly describes,' from what he consideredI
to be the entrance of the river, to be 84, and from die 'Chatham* 100
miles."   That is, that the entrance of the river was 16 miles (upwards
I of five leagues) above where he left the' Chatham,' and consequcnly above
where Gray anchored.  He therefore came to the conclusion that Gray did
not see what he called and explained to be 'the entrance,' and tiiis conclu-1
aion is sustained by the distance mentioned in Gray's own log-book.'
It is very certain that before Gray entered the river the
coast had been fully traced and examined. The possession of a river may be followed with important inland
rights; but Gray neither discovered it, nor had authority
to do so, had such discovery been made. He was in
a private ship, having for his object the attainment of
private ends, and was not empowered by this Government to settle. The sending out of an explorer by tho]
President of the United States, without the concurrence j
of Congress, is illegal, and can avail nothing. The Constitution does not vest in him that power. It expressly
says, in its first article, "that all legislative power is
vested in Congress;" and when the President acts in j
opposition to this provision, it is assuming authority
which is not delegated. By an act like this there can be
no territory annexed, no legal acquisition by our Government The executive and national legislature must cc--
operate, and without their co-operation there is a palpable
violation of the Constitution. Not so with Great Britain;
her laws and government widely differ from ours, and all
power is vested in the " Crown."  The sanction of Parlia- H
ment is not needed to make or confirm a law. The declarations of the crown are valid, and cannot be reversed.
The crown possesses absolute authority to extend its sovereignty ; it can send its diplomatists to treat for, its soldiers to conquer, and its people to settle new countries. The
taking possession, therefore, of unoccupied lands by persons
officially authorized—and no private person can assume
the authority—is the exercise of a sovereign power, a distinct act of legislation, by which the new territory becomes
annexed to the dominion of tho crown.
In 1805, there was an exploration, made by Lewis and
Clark, of the country west of the Rocky Mountains, who
returned to the United States in the following year. But
this act did not rest on any original right, nor was it sustained by any act of the American Congress. The scheme
was projected by Mr. Jefferson, it is true^ and that is all;
there was no legislative approval; and therefore, under an
express provision of the Constitution, the undertaking falls
to the ground. In 1810, a house was built by Captain
Smith, of Boston, on the south bank of the Columbia,
which he deserted before tho close of the year. This,
however, was a private act, to which no weight is attached.
Soon after, it is known, John Jacob Astor established the
K Pacific Fur Company." To the British Northwest Company his intentions were communicated, and to them a
large interest in the scheme was offered. This co-partnership was soon dissolved, and all the furs and stock sold
to the Northwest Company for about $58,000. From the
facts mentioned, it may be concluded, in short, " that
Spain never occupied, but abandoned the west coast of
North America; that the British Government announced
its intention to occupy, and formally declared the annexation of parts of the coast to its own territory, acting, in
this respect, as the Government of Russia has done, and .(*.
1 1
100 OB EG ON.
that the British settlements on the Columbia were the first
of a national and legal character, recognised as such by
foreign nations.
With respect to the rights of the French to the Valley 1
of the Mississippi, Mr. Greenhow and others seem to think
that they extended, indefinitely, west and north.   It can
be most distinctly demonstrated, says Falconer, ** that I
there is not the slightest foundations for this statement."
Before the settlers who accompanied La Salle sailed to
establish the colony of Louisiana, Beaujeau promised to act
under the orders of the Governor and Intendant of Can-1
ada.   In the grant made by Louis XIV, Crozat, it is dis-1
tinctly mentioned that Louisiana was to be subordinate to
the General Government of New France (Canada.)   The
extent of the province north was to be to tho Illinois, but
the Illinois was • subsequently added to it.   The Govern-1
ment of Canada had the control of the whole, and the jurisdiction of the subordinate could only be over the terri- i
tory defined as the province of Louisiana.   This province
did not extend in 1712 farther to the north than the Illinois ; all the north remained part of Canada.   The highest 1
point of Louisiana, at the time of the surrender of Canada,
was the head waters of the Illinois.   First, then, as a subordinate province, partly formed out of Canada, Louisiana
extended no farther than the distinct boundaries of it could
be shown.   Secondly, it never extended further north than
the Illinois river.    Thirdly, the extent of the question of
Louisiana was argued at the peace of 1762.   Fourthly,
Canada, in its fullest extent, was ceded to Great Britain.
And lastly, the official map used by France in its negotiations with Great Britain, incontestably proves, thai the
country north   and  northwest  of the  Mississippi was
ceded as the province of Canada.   By a treaty signed
between the negotiators of Great Britain and the United OR SOON. 161
States, in April, 1807, it was agreed that the parallel of
49° should be the boundary between British and American
settlers. From some cause or other, however, the treaty
was not ratified, and the subject was not discussed again
until 1814. Various reasons have been assigned why this
parallel was not established, but it is very certain that Mr.
Jefferson was perfectly satisfied with it, but feared that
the allusion to any claim extending to the coast, would be
offensive to Spain. This was in 1807, after the purchase
of Louisiana. It has been argued, that the rights granted
to the United States under the treaty of Utrecht, were superior to any maintained by foreign powers. The treaty
of Utrecht is one of a cycle, or cluster of treaties, then and
there concluded, between 1711 and 1714. They were
chiefly separate conventions of nation with nation, among
those engaged in the "war of the succession." England's part
of them alone extended to some 13; and among them was
this with France, in which, among other things, was deter*
mined the boundary of the Hudson Bay possessions of the
one, and the Canadian and Louisianian of the other. By
it they settled that, from the Lake of the Woods on the
49th degree, the limiting tine between them should run
" indefinitely west." Col. Benton has considered this as
carrying it from ocean to ocean; but, of course, it meant
only'"so far as either nation had coterminous claims."
Neither had yet carried its possessions or discovery to the
Rocky Mountains, their natural, inevitable boundary, as
running west from the Atlantic or its waters. But they
stopped there, from the fact that counter discoveries had
been made on the Pacific, in which France had no share,
and which ascended in an opposite direction, to the
sources of whatever waters emptied themselves along the
coast visited.   It is thus plainly seen, that— J6<2 OREGON.
1st This convention settled nothing beyond the valley
of the Mississippi west
2d. That for anything beyond there could nothing arise
out of an agreement between these parties, because one
of them (France) had no right there.
3d. That, to have made the convention of any effect,
Spain should have been the counter-party, not France,
with England.
Accordingly, it is perfectly clear that France herself
never, for an instant, set up any title for any thing west
of the Rocky Mountains. Her entire territorial rights in
North America ascended from the St Lawrence, on one
part, and from the Mississippi, on the other, and ended
with their waters. So clear was this, that it was never
till 1814, in the contest between Spain and the United
States for Florida, that any pretension of right to Oregon,
derived from France, was set up ; and even then no attempt was made to explain how that right came about.
Our own public acts, just before and just after our acquisition, estop us in the most decided manner. In fitting
out the expedition of Lewis and Clark, while the negotiation for the purchase of Louisiana was pending, (February, 1803,) Mr. Jefferson prepared instructions for these
commanders, in which he expressly tells them that the object of the exploration was not to make discovery of any
territorial claim; that it was purely commercial, and
with a view to open a trade west of our possessions; that,
therefore, to guard against any misapprehension or interruption, he had applied to the Governments claiming the
soU—to Spain, England, and Russia—and obtained from
them passports for the party France, it is believed, is not
mentioned, or, if included, could only have been so as then
the proprietor of Louisiana. This application was a clear
pledge of our faith to all the Governments included that OREGON. 163
we meant to make no territorial claim. If our title had *
been considered by Mr. Jefferson "clear and unquestionable," can it be supposed that this application would have
been made to said powers? It obviously implies doubt;
for there would have been ho passports asked unless their
claims were superior. Now this was eleven years after
the alleged discovery of Captain Gray, (1792,) of whom,
therefore, nothing more need be said. So much for what
preceded the purchase of Louisiana, concluded on the
30th of April, 1803, and known to our Government in
Juno, or early in July following, which was several months
before the departure of Captain Lewis, (October, we think,)
and yet no change was made in his instructions. Nor is
it until the expedition reached the mouth of the Columbia,
in 1804, that we hear any thing of our claim. Those officers then, in entire disregard of their instructions, took
possession in the name of the United States. A very singular act every way; utterly illegal and unjust, being an
individual act; for if they went upon a title created by discovery, they knew of that of Gray's only by vague report;
and it had been waived by their Government. And as for
their own discoveries, not only were they deprived by the
orders and pledges of their Government of all power to
make any such as conferred any title to the soil, but they
knew that the very ground on which they went through the
ceremony of taking possession was far below the point to
which Lieutenant Broughton had surveyed the Oregon in
1792, he having examined it with his boats 90 miles upwards, and they themselves using his journal, and calling
capes and mountains by the names which Lieutenant B. has
given them. In the negotiations at Madrid, in 1805, as to
the western boundary of Louisiana, no claim was set up
beyond a line from the sources of the Rio Grande, or else
tho Colorado, around the western heads of the waters of ]04 OREGON.
the Missouri, and so "to the northern boundary of Louisiana " AU this, then, flings our entire claim upon the
right derived from Spain by the treaty of 1819, and so
substitutes us for her in the Nootka Sound convention
of 1790.
It is argued by several writers,whose views are manifestly
partial, that'this convention was entirely annulled by the
war of 1804, while Joseph Bonaparte was on the throne,
thereby vesting all right in the United States. It is utterly
impossible to infer from this that the claims of Britain
were invalidated; for it has never been denied that the
territorial boundaries of countries are disturbed by war,
unless there is a concession on the part of the party conquered. Treaties may be dissolved, but territorial limits
cannot be destroyed Again: If this convention had been
annulled, "and stricken from existence," would it have
been afterwards referred to, and the proceedings of it consulted in all the subsequent negotiations touching treaty
stipulations? It is very certain that in the convention of
1818, when a review of the past was taken, with a desire
of ending disputes and difficulties, the proceedings of this
Nootka Sound convention, every suggestion that was
made, and every circumstance that occurred, was carefully weighed; and, indeed, their whole action was entirely
based upon what had been said and done.
In the controversies that have existed between the
United States and Great Britain, it is contended by the
latter that Haceta, a Spaniard, was the first "discoverer of
the Columbia river. It is conceded on all hands that he first
saw the coast of the Columbia, but the existence of this
river was believed by many long before his time. And its
coasts must have been seen by all the navigators who sailed m sight of it. The mere fact of seeing the coast first
is not sufficient.   This has been done hundreds of times OREGON. 1^5
and not the least importance attached to it. In making a
discovery it is necessary to ascertain the river, to see it,
and know it to be a river. This Spaniard sailed for many
miles along the coast of the Pacific, but never entered into
any examination; he cannot, therefore, be considered a
discoverer. It is very true that the discovery of one part
of a river points out the way to further discoveries. A
clue is given, and investigations continue to be made, until
the party or parties are perfectly satisfied. If, however
we have any title to the discovery of the Columbia river,
it is very certain it has not been disturbed by the settlements of other countries; for there have been no settle.
ments made prior to our own. The following is Haceta's
account, while cruising along the coasts of the Pacific,
which is no evidence that he ever saw the opening of the
land through which the river issues:
"In the evening of this day I discovered a large bay, to which I
gave the name of Assumption bay, and of which a plan will be found
in this journal.. Its latitude and longitude are determined according to
the most exact means afforded by theory and practice.
'** The latitudes of die two most prominent capes of this bay, especially of the northern one, are calculated from the observations of this
"Having arrived opposite this bay at six in the evening, and placed
the ship nearly midway between the two capes, I sounded, and found
bottom in twenty-four brazas; the currents and eddies were so strong
that, notwithstanding a press of sail, it was difficult to get out clear of
the northern cape, towards which the current ran, though its direction
was eastward, in consequence of the tide being at flood.
"These currents and eddies of the water caused me to believe that the
place is the mouth of some gieat river, or of some passage to another
"Had I been certain of the kuitude ot this bay, from my observations
of the same day, I might easily bava believed it to be the parage discovered by Juan de Fuca, in 1592, which is pW « *» ch8rtB *»
the 47th and the 48th degrees, where I am certain that no sock,
14 I
166 oiio.on.
strait exists; because ^anchored, on the ,14th of July, midway between
"Notwithstanding the great difference between the position of this
bay and the passage menUoned by De Fuca, I have little difficulty in
conceiving that they may be the same,having observed equal or greater
differences in the latitudes of other capes and porta on this coast, as I
shall show at its proper time; and in all caseathe latitudes thus assigned
are higher than the real ones. ■
"I did not enter and anchor in this port, which in my plan I suppose to be formed by an island, notwithstanding my strong desire to do
so; because, having consulted the second captain, Don Juan Perez,
and the pilot, Don Ohristoval Revilla, they insisted that I ought not to
attempt it, as, if we let go the anchor, we should not have men enough
to get it up, and to attend to the other operations which would be thereby rendered necessary. Considering this, and also that, in order to
reach the anchorage, I should be obliged to lower my long boat, (did
only boat 1 had,) and to man it with at least fourteen of the crew, as I
could not manage with fewer, and also that it was then late in the day,
I resolved to put out; and at the distance of three or four leagues I lay
to. In the course of that night I experienced heavy currents to the
southeast, which made it impossible for me to enter the bay on the following morning, as I was far to leeward.
"These currents, however, convinced me that a great quantity of
water rushed from this bay on the ebb of the tide.
"The two capes which I name in my plan Cape San Roque and
Cape Frondosa, lie in the angle of ten degrees of die third quadrant.
They are both faced with red earth, and are of little elevation."
But so soon as the river above mentioned was discovered,
and the intelligence reached England, McKenzie was sent
out to make what developments he could. In order to accomplish this, the British navigator took the Canadas in his
route, missing all the waters of the Columbia, and falling
upon the Tacoutche Terse, McKenzie was soon privy to all
the circumstances connected with the discovery by Lewis
and .Clark, and finding himself in a dilemma, determined
to seize the river, and preserve the Jrade and dominion of
his own country, and to drive away, if possible, all "Amer- OR EG OPT. 167
icon adventurers." From that day to this tho labors of
the British negotiators, and all concerned in' the success
of British claims, have been zealously engaged in advancing
arguments and suggesting ways and means by which they
would have free access to the Columbia. Their main object was, to annul the established boundary of the 49th
degree of latitude; for as long as this boundary existed, they could not advance within three degrees of the
mouth of the Columbia, which was in 46 degrees. Louisiana was acquired in 1803. At the very time that this
treaty was signed at London, (without a knowledge of
what was done at Paris,) "fixing, among other things,
the tine'from the Lake of the Woods to the Mississippi." Mr. Jefferson refused to sign it, fearing that it
might disturb the boundary of Louisiana and the parallel of forty-nine degrees. There was another treaty in
1807, between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinckney, on one
side, and Lords Holland and Auckland on the other. The
British were aware of all that had passed; that we had
acquired Louisiana, and established the 49th parallel, and
they set systematically to work to destroy that line. An
article was at last agreed upon, in which the British succeeded in stopping at the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Jefferson rejected this also, and there the matter rested. A
■ third attempt was made at Ghent, where the British included in their proposition the privilege of navigating the
Mississippi. Here they were again foiled; but such was
their perseverance, that their object was accomplished to
their satisfaction in the convention signed at London in
1818. That convention opened the Columbia to the joint
occupation and free use of the British, which was confirmed by the United States, and became valid and obligatory.
".But it is a point," says the distinguished Senator from Missouri, Mr. Benton, "not to be overlooked or undervalued in ]£$ OREGON.
this case, that it was in the year 1818 that this arrcstatHm
of the line took place. That up to that period it was in full
force in all its extent, and consequently in full force to the
Pacific Ocean, and a complete bar, leaving out all other
barriers, to any British acquisition by discovery, south of
49 degrees, in North America," Let us look, for a moment,
at the Spanish treaty. The United States, by that treaty,
succeeded to all the rights of Spain on the northwest
coast of America north of 42 degrees. Don Onis says,
"that these rights extended to the Russian possessions,
the British having nothing on that coast." That point
was decided by the Nootka treaty of 1790. It was decided "that Nootka, four degrees north of the Columbia," belonged to the United States. The privilege of hunting
and fishing and erecting huts was granted to them. Colonization was positively denied—the 3d and 6th articles of
the treaty will prove this. The British should have nothing
to do with the Colombia river. Up to the year 1818 it
was never contended for. After that time, a field was open
to them, and they have taken possession of it to the fullest
It is denied by many that the 49th degree of latitude
was ever established as the boundary between the British
and American possessions in Oregon; and that this line
has been adopted by those of our countrymen who wish
to favor the British side of the question. The very able
speech delivered by Mr. Benton in the Senate on the 12th
of January, 1843* goes dearly to prove that this is the
only boundary that can be established without involving
our country in serious difficulties, and probably in war.
The following is an extract:
"Mr. Benton said he would not restate the American
♦ *» CM*re»i»n,j Globe, 37th Concrtw, 9d action, paje 7t. o a e g o w. 169
title to this country; it had been well done by others who
had preceded him in the debate. He would only give a
little more development to two points—the treaties of 1803
and 1819; the former with France, by which we acquired
Louisiana; the latter with Spain, by which we acquired all
her rights on the northwest coast of America north of 42°.
By the first of these treaties we became a party to the 10th
article of the treaty of Utrecht, between France and England ; the treaty of peace of 1714, which terminated the
wars of Queen Anne and Louis XIV, and settled all their
differences of every kind in Europe and America, and undertook to prevent the recurrence of future differences between them. The 10th article of this treaty applied to
their settlements and territories in North America, and directed commissioners to be appointed to mark and define
their possessions. These commissaries did their work.
They drew a line from ocean to ocean, to separate the
French and British Dominions, and to prevent future encroachments and collisions. This line began on the coast
of Labrador, and followed a course slightly south of west,
to the centre of North America, leaving the British settlements of Hudson's Bay to the north, and the French Canadian possessions to the south. This line took for a landmark the Lake of the Woods, which was then believed to
be due east from the head of the Mississippi; and from
that point took the 49th parallel of north latitude indefinitely to the west. The language of the line is "indefinitely" and this established the northern boundary of
Louisiana, and erected a wall beyond which future French
settlements could not cross to the north nor British to the
"The rights of Great Britain are recorded and defined
in the convention of 1790; they embrace the right to navigate the waters of those countries—to settle in and over ] 70 OREGON.
any part of them, and to trade with the inhabitants and oc-'
cupiers of the same. These rights have been peaceably exercised ever since the date of that convention; that is, for
a period of nearly forty years.   Under that convention, j
valuable British interests have grown up in that quarter."
When Louisiana was purchased, we were made by the
treaty of 1803, a party to the lOth article of the treaty,]
Utrecht, making the 49th parallel the same to us and the
British which it had been to the French and British. As
far as that line was considered, there was an impassable barrier presented that could not be overleaped, and was
equally binding upon one country as upon the other. We
admit that the American, Captain Gray, discovered the
Columbia, at its mouth, in 1790, and that Lewis and Clark,
Americans also, discovered it from its source to its mouth,
in 1804-'5, thereby making the title of discovery good and
undeniable, giving the control of the whole river.
We have thus briefly presented this subject to the American people, in what we consider a fair and candid light.
The claims of the different disputants, in addition to
treaties, cessions and negotiations, with all statistical data,
have been carefully, and, we trust, impartially considered.
Our opinions, it is true, have been freely expressed in the
analysis made; we have not scrupled to do so, but it has
been our aim throughout to form correct premises, and
from them to take accurate conclusions; and we are very
sure, should any error or mistake have been made by us,
placing the right and title of any nation in an unjust or il
liberal light, it has not resulted from a desire to take undue
advantages by assuming false positions, but from an ardent
wish to see this vexed and knotty question adjusted on
honorable grounds, finally and definitely, and that too,
speedily. Is it to be wondered that England, under the
circumstances, should be anxious to take possession^ a OREGON. ]7|
large part of this territory, when her interests in every particular, commercial and agricultural, would be advanced,
and her dominions extended? Where is the nation on
earth that is not anxious to add to her possessions by territorial acquisition? As the miser gathers his hoarded
treasures together, m the same ratio and in the same degree is every nation inclined to extend her power by adding
to what she already has. It is natural that all countries
will adopt those means and use those efforts that will add
to their wealth, and increase thereby their influence with
other countries. Mark the conduct of Great Britain towards different foreign powers since the year 1730. How
different from that of other countries! What a constantly
increasing, an unappeasable appetite for territorial aggrandizement! How long and hard the struggle for power and
dominion! Her philosophers, poets, and orators, her lords
and nobles, like the Caesars of old, have, been going on steadily "conquering and to conquer," whitening every sea with
their ships, and carrying suffering and distress to the once
peaceful firesides of unoffending peasantry. For eight hundred years the sword has been busily at work! The kingdom of Ireland, distracted and oppressed with intestine
commotions, has cried loud and long for protection and
mercy. Her voice, though feeble, has been heard in the
remotest parts of the civilized world, and bursts of indignation have gone forth upon the heads of hard-hearted Britons. The eloquence of her Burke, her Sheridan, her Grat-
tan, her Emmett, and her O'Connell, pleading the cause of
the injured and oppressed in language of true eloquence,
has been unheard amidst the long and bloody warfare for
dominion. Wales, too, has raised her imploring voice, that
was no sooner heard than forgotten; while Scotland, unsuspecting Scotland, has maintained her ground, and resisted successfully the fell sweep.   She is plying all her guilty 172
devices to be the autocrat of commerce, planting her flag
on every sea, and including htlier territorial bounds all the
small islands within her reach. Look to the course of
France towards this country—the good will and friendship
that was cherished on her part; yet she has taken from
her the Canadian possessions, which justly belonged to her, J
securing thereby two important sources of revenue, the fur
and lumber trade, and it* invaluable fisheries.
How has she treated the Dutch, and Spaniards, and
other nations having possessions in the West India islands ?
She has snatched from them their islands one by one, and
indignantly spurned any application for redress. Gibraltar,
the property of the Spaniards, and Malta, owned by the
Knights of St. John, have fallen a victim to her merciless
ambition, together with the Ionian Islands, until she claims
the countries on the Mediterranean sea from its eastern to
its western extremity. The French in India have lost
what they had; province after province has been swallowed up in the great vortex of English ambition, and now one
hundred millions of Hindoos bow to her imperial sceptre.
She is now casting a longing, wistful eye to the Oregon
territory, the richest jewel yet. To this long-neglected
western frontier we maintain a clear and unquestionable
right Her object is to exclude, if possible, the United
States from the India trade. This is admitted by all. She
wishes to carry on a monopoly, shutting us out from any
commercial advantages; but this we protest against. We
have on our side the law of nations, and arguments that
can never be refuted. This has been a long and excited
question on the other side of the Atlantic, as well as on
this, and we sincerely trust that some step will be taken to
acquire the territory that will be fair and equal, but, at the
same time, final and irrevocable. I
From Independence, Missouri, to tit* intermediate points between that
town and Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia river.
From Independence to the Rendezvous   . . . .20
Rendezvous to Elm Grove            •          •          . -15
Wolpalusio to Kansas river            •           •          ■ -31
Kansas river to Big Sandy creek   •          -          - •   31
Big Sandy to Hurricane branch     •           -          • -12
Hurricane branch to east fork of Blue river           • -   20
East fork to west fork of Blue river          -          - -15
West fork, where we came in sight of the Republican fork
of the Blue river            •          >          •           • -   41
Up Republican fork of the Blue river to where we left it to
cross over to the Big Platte river            -          • •   65
Up the Platte to where we saw the first herd of Buffalo     -   55
Up the same to the crossing on north fork of same  - -117
South fork to crossing on north fork of same          • -31
■ Crossing of north fork to Cedar Grove       -          - -13
Cedar Grove to Solitary Tower     -          -          - -   18
Solitary Tower to Chimney Rock -          - -   18
Chimney Rock to Scott's Bluffs     •           -           - -20
Scott's Bluffs to Fort Laramie        -           -           - -   38
- Fort Laramie to Big Spring at die foot of Block Hills -     8
Big Spring to Kergan on north fork of Platte       . - -30
Kergan to crossing of north fork     -           -           - -   84
Crossing of north fork to Sweetwater river -          - -65
Up Sweetwater river to where we first saw the eternal snows
of die Rocky Mountains            •          •          • -60
The above point to main dividing ridge of Rocky Mountains . 40
Dividing ridge to Little Sandy river
Litde Sandy to Big Sandy             -
Big Sandy to Green river  -
Down same - - *       I   * *
To Block fork of Green river
Block fork to Fort bridge   •
30 1,1
water of
the Co-
From Fort bridge to Big Muddy river
Big Muddy to Bear river   •
Down Bear river to range of hills mentioned as running up
to its bonk
Down Bear river to Greet Soda spring
Soda spring to the Portneuf river, the first
lumbia   - - -
To Fort Hall in the Snake or Saptin river
Fort Hall to the Portneuf again
Portneuf to Rock creek
Rock creek to Salmon falls on the Saptin
Salmon falls to crossing on the Saptin
Crossing of Saptin to Boiling spring
Boiling spring to Boise river
Down same to Fort Boise on Saptin
Fort Boise to Burnt river   •
East point to Powder river at the Lone point
The Lone point to Grand river
Grand river to the Umatilla river on the west of the Blue
■' Mountains
Umatilla to Dr. Whitman's mission
Mission to fort Wallawalla -
Wallawalla to Mr. Dalles' mission
Dalles to Vancouver
Vancouver to Astoria
Astoria to the ocean
Making in all from Independence to the Pacific ocean
2,036 OREGON.
Along the road travelled by Lieut. Fremont in 1843 and 1844.
ward journey from Kansas Landing to Fort Vancouver.
day. j
C in
a i
1 »C
Distance from I
Kansas landing.
:: Localities.
i   Date.
«> J3
S "
May 89
Aug.  7
Sweet Water.
June   1
South Pass.
Green river, or Rio
Junction of Smoky
Hill and Repub
lican forks.
Beer Springs.
,•   93
i        30
Crowing of the Re
Sept.  1
Mouth of Bear river.
South fork.
July   1
7   3
Shore of Salt lake.
Island w Salt lake.
St. V rain's fort.
* '■:.}'/
Aug.   1
Fort Hall.
Medicine Bow river.
American  foils  oa
North Fork.
Lewis4* fork.
1,958 176"
Table of distances— Continued,
Sept. 97
Fort Boise.
Oct. 16
Nov. 1
i   6<fc7
.3 5
Fort Ne* Perce, at
the mouth of Wal-
ahwalah river.
Fort Vancouver.
Homeward journey—from the Dalles to the Missouri river.
8 .
? <i
1   Date.
3 «
.a -3
M <C
1   1843.
Nov. 95
Dec 14
1         15
Summer lake.
1        17
Dec.   1
Lake Abort.
Christmas lake.
1        27
1         28
Tlamath lake.
i         *
Table of distances—Continued.
*            1
S a
E                                       i
«B jg
2 »
on ^3
Jan.    1
Mar. 28
April  1
Great Boiling spring.
Pyramid lake.
Pan in the Sierra
34 1
Spanish trail atMo-
hahve river.
35 .
Feb.   3
May   1
Rio Virgen.
Summit of the Si
erra Nevada.
Vegas de Santa Cla
Mar.   1
7 .
Nueva Helvetia.
Sevier river.
1 1,158
| 1,239
Utah lake. 178
Table of distances—Continued.
5 *
Distance travelled each day.
May 38
June 99
Pueblo, on the Arkansas.
July   1
Bent's fort.
June   1
Uintah fort.
Head water of Smo
ky Hill fork of
the K ansa a.
Green river,Brown's
New Park.
Old Park.
Bayou 8alade,South
Aug.   1
Kansas landing.
Missouri river. f
Various disputes have arisen as to the source from
whence the Oregon river derived its name. Some say it
is taken from a Spanish word signifying pennyroyal, or
hysop, which grows abundantly on the banks of the river;
but this is a mistake. The country was named by an
Irishman, whose ancestors took up their abode in the territory about the time the Danes invaded Ireland. For a
long time the country was without a name, and this man,
finding that it would be never named unless he took the
matter in hand, he called the country CRegan. Within
a hundred and fifty years, however, the Milesian has been
corrupted by the English, Yankees, Spaniards, and Indians,
and it is now called Oregon.
Of the late Correspondence between the American and
British Negotiators.
In order to place before the public, as far as can be obtained from creditable sources, the means that have been
taken by the American Secretaries_oU3tate and British
Plenipotentiaries to bring the Oregon question to a tt final
and equitable settlement," and believing that a review
of the correspondence between the late Secretaries of
State, Mr. Webster and Mr. Upsher, and Mr. Fox and
Lord Aberdeen, will be interesting and instructive, and
calculated to throw new light on a much entangled and
deeply-absorbing question, we shall introduce the most
important clauses in the statements, with a view of bringing down our investigations to the latest period. This
correspondence, we are happy to say, has been conducted
in a spirit of fairness, and with a degree of courtesy that reflects credit and honor upon the distinguished gentlemen
to whom the two Governments referred the question.
The letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster, the first that wus
written, bearing date Washington, Nov. 15, 1842, is characterized by a spirit of fairness and candor, prudence and
moderation, so necessary to the settlement of a controversy
involving in its issue the territorial possession of a highly valuable and extensive domain. He invites the earnest and serious attention of Mr. Webster, which is .endorsed the
month after by a respectful appeal to the same gentleman, then Secretary of State, from Lord Aberdeen, dated
"Foreign Office," October 18, 1842. In this communication his language is frank and open, clearly indicating the |
desire of Her Majesty's Government to settle, by prudent
negotiation, all difficulties and disputes, and fix upon a
boundary fair and satisfactory to both parties, and calcu- OREGON. 181
lated to preserve the pacific relations of the two Governments. His Lordship requested that the President of the
United States (John Tyler) would send to England a special minister, fully authorized to settle the question, who
would be met at the British court with Her Majesty's
agent, also clothed with the same power and authority.
He says, in behalf of Great Britain, "that she is prepared
to proceed to the consideration of the subject in a perfect
spirit of fairness, and to adjust it on a basis of equitable
compromise." In the letter of Mr. Pakenham to Mr. Upsher, he also earnestly recommends a speedy adjustment,
and says " there is no matter under the consideration of
the two Governments respecting which the British Government is more anxious to come to an early and satisfactory
arrangement with the Government of the United States
than that relating to the boundary of the Columbian or Oregon Territory. In Mr. Upsher's reply, dated Department
of State, February 26,1844, he informs Mr. Pakenham that
he will receive him at the State Department on the following day, at 11 o'clock, A. M. It appears, however, that
the proposed interview never took place, and there was a
" pause" in the correspondence until July 11, 1844, after
the death of the lamented Upsher, which was renewed by
Mr. Pakenham in a letter addressed to Mr. Calhoun, then
Secretary of State. In this letter he proposes, Congress
having advised a re-consideration of the subject, " the earnest desire of Her Majesty's Government that the question
should be disposed of at the earliest moment consistent
with the convenience of the Government of the United
States." In Mr. Calhoun's reply, dated August 11, of the
same year, he evinces an equally strong desire to settle the
question in dispute, and fixes upon the next day as a suitable time for their deliberations, which is accepted by Mr.
Pakenham. The following is the result of the interview:
16 lg3 ORBGO*.
• Protocols.
On the 23d of August, 1844, a conference was held by appoimment
at the office of the Secretary of State, in the city of Washington, between the Honorable John C. Calhoun, Secretary of State of the United
States, and the Right Honorable Richard Pakenham, her Bntannic
Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, both duly
authorized by their respective Governments to treat of the respective
claims of the two countries to the Oregon Territory, with the view to
establish a permanent boundary between the two countries westward of
the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
The conference was opened by assurances on both sides of the desire
of their respective Governments to approach the question with an earnest
desire, and in the spirit of compromise, to effect an adjustment consistent
with the honor and just interests of either party. The plenipotentiaries
then proceeded to oxamine tho actual Btate of the question as it stood at
the last unsuccessful attempt to adjust it.
This done, the American Plenipotentiary desired to receive from the
British Plenipotentiary any fresh proposal he might be instructed to offer
on the part of his Government towards effecting an adjustment.
The British Plenipotentiary said he would be ready to offer such a
proposal at their next conference, hoping that the American Plenipotentiary would be ready to present a proposal on the part of his Govern-
.1 ment.   The conference adjourned to meet on Monday, the 26th inst.
* J. C. CALHOUN, j
On the 26th of August, 1844, there was another conference held by the representatives of the two Governments
at the office of the Secretary of State. On this occasion
Mr. Pakenham offered a paper proposing to adjust the
claims of the two countries, which was declined by Mr.
Calhoun. The following is the proposal of the second conference :
Whereas the proposals made on both sides in the course of the last
negouation had been mutually declined, her Majesty's Government were
prepared, in addition to what had already been offered on the part of
Great Britain, and in proof of their earnest desire to arrive at an arrangement suitable to the interests and wishes of both parties, to undertake to OREGON. 183
make free to the United States any port or ports which the United States
Government might desire, either on the main land or on Vancouver's
island south of latitude 49°.
Protocol of the twenty-third conference, July 13,1824.—Extract from
the British paper.
"The boundary line between the territories claimed by his Britannic
Majesty, and those claimed by the United States, to the west in both
cases of the Rocky Mountains, shall be drawn due west along the forty-
ninth parallel of north latitude, to the point where that parallel strikes
the great northeasternmost branch of the Oregon or Columbia river	
marked in the maps as McGillivray 's river—thence down along the middle of the Oregon or Columbia, to its junction with the Pacific Ocean;
the navigation of the whole channel being perpetually free to the subjects and citizens of both parties; the said subjects and citizens being
also reciprocally at liberty, during the term of ten years from the date
hereof, to pass and repass by land and by water; and to navigate, with
their vessels and merchandise, all the rivers, bays, harbors, and creeks,
as heretofore, on either side of the above mentioned line; and to trade
with all and any of the nations free of duty or impost of any kind, subject only to such local regulations as, in other respects, either of the two
contracting parties may find k necessary to enforce within its own limits,
and prohibited from furnishing the natives with firearms and other exceptionable articles, to be hereafter enumerated; and it is further especially agreed that neither of the high contracting parties, their respecdve
subjects or citizens, shall henceforward form any settlements within the
limits assigned hereby to the other, west of the Rocky Mountains; it
being at the same time understood that any settlements already formed
by the British to the south and east of the boundary line above described,
or by citizens of the United States to the north and west of the same
line, shall continue to be occupied and enjoyed, at the pleasure of the
present proprietors or occupants, without let or hindrance of any land,
until the expiration of the above mentioned tenn of years from the date
It was now agreed that written statements should be
presented at the next conference. They appeared at the
appointed time, but not being considered satisfactory, there
was another interview held at the State Department on the 184 OREGON.
2d of September, 1844, when Mr. Calhoun presented an
able statement of his views of the claims of the United
States, and the reasons why he declined the terms proposed by the British Minister. Mr. Pakenham's statement
is as follows: " That the boundary of the United States be
limited by a line drawn from the Rocky Mountains, along
* the 49° parallel of latitude, to the northeasternmost branch^
of the Columbia river, and thence down the middle of that
river to the sea, giving to Great Britain all the country
north, and to the United States all south of that line, ex-:
cept a detached territory extending in the Pacific, and the
Straits of Fuca, from Bulfinch Harbor to Hood's Canal.
To which it is proposed in addition, to make free to the
United States any port which the United States Government might desire, either on the mainland, or on Vancouver's island, south of latitude 49°." The elaborate
statement of Mr. Calhoun is admirably prepared, and presents most clearly the claims of the United States to the
Oregon Territory. He goes much into detail, thoroughly
analysing the claims set up by the contracting parties, and
enumerates the rights of his own country with those of
Great Britain. On the 12th of September, 1844, the British minister held a fourth conference with Mr. Calhoun
at the Department of State, when he took occasion to present the grounds on which he declined the proposal offered
by the American Secretary, and what he considered a fair
and just compromise. With respect to the claim of the
United States as derived from France, he observes, that
" he has not been able to discover any evidence tending to
establish the belief that Louisiana, as originally possessed
by France, afterwards transferred to Spain,then retroccded
by Spain to France, and ultimately ceded by the latter
power to the United States, extended in a westerly direction beyond the Rocky Mountains."   He contends that, O R E o O N . 185
at the tiriie of the cession of Louisiana, its acknowledged
western boundary was the Rocky Mountains, as was the
opinion of Mr. Jefferson at the time of the purchase. The
following is quoted by Mr. Pakenham from a letter written
by Mr. Jefferson in August, 1803:
"The boundaries (of Louisiana) which I deem not admitting question, are the high lands on the western side of the Mississippi, enclosing
all its waters—the Missouri, of course—and terminating in the line
drawn from the northwest point of the Lake of the Woods to the nearest
source of the Mississippi, as lately settled between Great Britain and the
United States."
Mr. Pakenham makes mention also of another document
containing the opinions of Mr. Jefferson, subsequent to
the expedition of Lewis and Clark, in which he took offence at the intimations made respecting the object of the
expedition, "that the claims of the United States extended
to the Pacific Ocean." It seems clear, says he, " that the
United States can deduce no claim to the territory west of
the Rocky Mountains; but even were it otherwise, and if
France had even asserted a claim to territory west of the
Rocky Mountains, as appertaining to the territory of Louisiana, that claim, whatever it might be, was necessarily
transferred to Spain when Louisiana was ceded to that
power in 1762, and, of course, became subject to the provisions of the treaty between Spain and Great Britain of
1790, which effectually abrogated the Spanish claims to
exclusive dominion over the unoccupied parts of the American continent."
Mr. Pakenham enters into a long argument respecting
the cession made by Spain in 1819, when she disposed of
all the territory in her possession north of the 42d parallel
of latitude to the United States; but, as he very truly observes, "she could not, by that transaction, annul or invalidate the rights which had, by a previous transaction, been 186 OREGON.
acknowledged to belong to another power." The treaty of
October, 1790, was solemnly and formally made.   All the
powers interested regarded it as valid, and the rights of
Great Britain to the unoccupied parts of the northwest
coast were clearly and fully recognised.   No one doubted
the right of Spain to cede to the United States all of this J
territory which actually belonged to her, but that which
was unoccupied was surely surrendered to Great Britain.
Spain, at that very time, could not clearly perfect her title.
She met with many difficulties that could not be overcome.
And as her right could not be made good, "still less could
she confer such a right to another power."   How is it,
therefore., that the United States can assert exclusive dominion over the Oregon territory?"
Mr. Pakenham presents the arguments and facts that
have been employed by the American agents respecting the
discovery of the Columbia river made by the Spanish navigator Haceta, who, it is admitted by the American Secretary, first saw the mouth of that river. This admission is
surely inconsistent with any discovery made by Gray; for
if Mr. Calhoun had supposed that he was the first who
entered the channel of the said river, he would have never
admitted to the contrary. On the ground of discovery,
Mr. Pakenham appears well fortified. He passes over as
not worthy of attention the French title, and, of consequence, its little weight, and comes down to the indepen-f
dence of the United States, when "possession to the Columbian territory was claimed." At that time the treaty
of 1783 was in full force, when the attention of the British
Government had been directed to the northwest coast, as
is shown by the voyage and discovery of Captain Cook,
who, in 1788, visited and explored a great distance of it.1
from latitude 44° northward. Already a regular commercial intercourse had been established, the territory was OREGON. 187
peopled by her own subjects, who had explored many of
the neighboring islands, and, as a proof that an extensive
commerce was existing, there was a strong disposition
manifested by Spain to disturb and, if possible, to destroy
it Mr. Pakenham briefly alludes to the discovery of
Meares in 1788. But this is regarded by us as too visionary to be worthy of notice. Meares was thought by many
to be a fanatic. And the discovery supposed by some to
have been made by him is discredited and long since exploded in his own country. Reference is made to the memorable discovery of Lewis and Clark, which the British
think does not compare in importance with McKenzie's
discovery, acting as a counterpoise to the exploration of
that part of the Columbia which was first visited by Lewis
and Clark. Mr. Pakenham concludes his statement, which
is quite a long one, by saying " that a line of demarcation
should be devised which shall leave to each party that
precise portion best suited to its interest and commerce."
He also says:
In addition, Great Britain offers a separate territory on the Pacific,
possessing an excellent harbor, with a further understanding that any
port or ports, whether on Vancouver's island, or on the continent south
of the 40th parallel, to which tho United States might desire to have
access, shall be made free ports.
It is believed that by this arrangement ample justice would bo done
to the claims of the United States, on whatever ground advanced, with
relation to the Oregon territory. As regards extent of territory, they
would obtain acre for acre, nearly half of the entire territory to bo divided. As relates to the navigation of the principal river, they would
enjoy a perfect equality of right with Great Britain; and, with respect
to harbors, it will be seen that Great Britain shows every disposition to
consult their convenience in that particular. On the other hand, were
Great Britain to abandon the line of the Columbia as a frontier, and to
surrender her right to the navigation of that river, the prejudice occasioned* to her by such an arrangement would, beyond all proportion,
exceed the advantages accruing to the United States from the possession —
of a few more squaw milei of territory. It nun* be obvious to every
impartial investigator of the subject, that, in adhering to the line of the
Columbia, Great Britain is not influenced by motives of ambition with
reference to extent of territory, but by considerations of utility, not to
say necessity, which cannot be lost sight of, and for which allowance
ought to be made, in an arrangement professing to be based on considerations of mutual convenience and advantage.
The undersigned believes that he has now noticed all the arguments
advanced by the American plenipotentiary, in order to show that the
United States are fairly entitled to the entire region drained by the Columbia river. He sincerely regrets that their views on this subject
should differ in so many essential respects.
It remains for him to request that, as the American plenipotentiary
declines the proposal offered on the part of Great Britain, he will have
the goodness to state what arrangement he is, on the part of the United
States, prepared to propose for an equitable adjustment of the question;
and more especially that he will have the goodness to define the nature
and extent of the claims which the United States may have to other
portions of the territory to which allusion is made in the concluding
part of his statement; as it is obvious that no arrangement can be made
with respect to a portion of the territory in dispute while a claim is retained to any portion of the remainder.
American statement.
Tho reply of Mr. Buchanan to the communication
of Mr. Pakenham is characterized with the usual ability of
this distinguished statesman. He differs essentially in almost every branch of the subject discussed by the British
minister, not only with respect to the discovery of the head
waters of the Columbia, but also on priority of settlement
and the force and effect of the cession made by Spain of
Louisiana to the United States. He speaks of the convention of 1818, signed a few days after the restoration of
Astoria, and that of 1827, which he contends are still in
farce. He goes on to say that the said treaty attempts to
weaken the effect of implied admission, "by designating oaxeosri toy
positive treaty stipulations! aa»ju*>«^t?K;t«n4i^8;lw;tS5«ea
the twot Govcrnmeuts, bu*^or?OT^OQ^pbtw9o^gyrc,»!jJot
standing between the twa iGovornisscntS^Uhe^CiitS fcbo,
that, the- counter-statement respecting/ Lord Castlsrcagh
is-entitled to but little consideration, and *h ~ti tha/Amorr
ican>vtitle,i<derivcd> from. Spain wsdu^vlLc^sic^t^l to? the
United jEStates,U is '^perfectly good,ie3tablfclin?.g>th;st\1.2a53i3^
sippi siyct».ii» 4bet»^Hrrev6cablo>H^Knidary?J between; Che
French and British territories. ^ On this cession, connected
with those of France, he rests the clajm of contiguity, extending to the Pacific Ocean, with nothing to oppose ex*
cepfcthe ,claim of Sprin; wbichjias; been sroc&tjc^re^iby
the.Florida treaty*.-Theso claims, bo contes^isre ^ijj^aV
ti by .the. counter-statement on the,authority, of^^Sw-lnx-JSf
but without, good reasons,',. JS(Iit'Jefferson's.Ctj.ect«T*r4 CPty
says M?> Bachajmn^ to state the extent,cf <thQ,-ch:^9<iacc:
quired with Louisiana, but, simply. to-state-;hc.v t^i&itin?
questioned boundary; extended, with.a vie\7iof< tk etaieRont.
of relations-with Spain*. He passes o^yer the statcraertofth^
British minister respecting the, dependency, i «?f rLoui2?ipE&
on. Spain, subject to the .Nootka- Sound convention,'an)*
proposes to attend to it at another time. vKe incistii tfeafe
Great..-Britain; .cannot, rest -;,her, claims . to\< the nortftwesfc
coast. o&America; upon ek>C3eCT^,, As, btt»3 jvill ibsa/ji^.'.^
claim,'.pf</3otth?ment)ftvail her»rt-.Qv^eniB»lflhamy-^c»..owr*
historian, forty years ago declared it to be certain, fr?!Tk
the ,4»cat, authentic information, <uhat tfcQ,>8raaisi?. fog,
flying n.^Nootka»jnas never struck, *nd tbctthe territory,
has been virtually surrenderedMbjh,EnglancL?Nv>Thecs'5t»
oi4he/porth\rest company, penetrating theqontinenifjrft?*
the; Bvpcky: jaountajftSf at ,Fro£er*a |ako, in «Jb**5<»h 4opm
of latitude; aa&4-W< with toetradin^posU.istal^iahedrhy-
17 I
190 OUtOOH.
Thompson to'whioh-.the.undersigned-has just .adverted,
and possibly some others afterwards previous to October,
1818, constitutes the claim of Great Britain." The statement of Mr. Buchanan, we repeat, is masterly, and on
some points irresistible; his arguments are close, convincing, and logical, and the subjectjsviewed and discussed by him with that system which cannot fail to add to
his already distinguished reputation, for all that constitutes
a devotion to the interests and honor of his country.
British statement
Mr. Pakenham's reply to Mr. Calhoun is contained in
a brief communication bearing date January 13, 1845, in
which he states, that all that passed in the correspondence
had been laid before her Majesty's Government op to the
3d of last September, which still remained under the consideration of her Majesty's Government: he says, moreover, that no more fair or honorable mode of settling the
question could be adopted than that of arbitration, and
that he is authorized to offer for the consideration of the
Government of die United States, and under the supposition that it may be found acceptable, further to suggest
the choice of an arbiter, and the mode in which their respective cases shall be presented, may henceforth be made
the subject of final agreement between the two Governments.
In Mr. Calhoun's reply of the 21st of January, 1845, he
observes, that the offer made by Mr. Pakenham had been
presented for the consideration of the President of the
United States, who refused to accede to the terms proposed, while, at the same time, he hopes that the question
may be speedily settled by negotiation, without resorting
to any other mode as long as there is hope of arriving at- OREUON. 191
a satisfactory settlement Here the correspondence ends,
without having accomplished the important and desirable
object of coining to some understanding at all events.
Proposals of settlement, it appears, were presented by
the representatives of both nations, accompanied on both
sides with strong and clear arguments setting forth the
claims of. each nation; but nothing was done, and the question remained at rest until July 12,1845, an interval of six
months, when there was a renewal of the correspondence
by Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State, on the 12th of July
following. The question is considered by him with all
that frankness and fairness which characterized the correspondence between Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Pakenham..
He argues at great length the American title to this territory, presenting an accurate and highly interesting review
of the different cessions, treaties, &.C., and the proceedings
of the Nootka Sound convention, signed at Escurial on the
28th of October, 1790. He devotes much attention to the
discussion of the title of the United States to that portion
of Oregon lying between the valley of the Columbia and'
the Russian line, in 54° 40 north latitude, which is ceded
" in the Florida treaty." Under this treaty, it is known,
Spain made over to the United States " all her rights,
claims, and pretensions," to any territory west of the
Rocky Mountains, and north of tho 42d parallel of latitude.
It is contended by Mr. Buchanan with strong, and we
think sufficient, proof to sustain his position, that the Spanish title against Great Britain to the whole territory was
rood, when in truth, Mears, in 1788, established himself
at Nootka, when the Spaniards took possession under the'
command of the "Viceroy of Mexico. That very convention expressly provides, as is admitted by Mr. Buchanan,
for the restoration of lands, &*, which had been taken by I    I  H.l|l. ■■!■■..   ■»
19) ORE GO It.
the Spaniards from British subjects, and a payment o/tn*
demnity for injuries sustained.
This indemnity, actually paid by Spain, was equivalent
to an admission of the rights of Great Britain to certain
portions* of the territory. What does the 3d article of that
convention signify, but an acknowledgment on the part of
Spain that England possessed territorial right? If this
right could not be sustained by facts, and was based alone
on the declarations of interested persons, why was this
provision made in the proceedings of said convention admitting uthat British subjects should not be disturbed or
molested, either in navigating or carrying on the fisheries
in the Pacific Ocean?" It is true, had this convention
published no provision impairing the sovereignty or territorial jurisdiction asserted by Spain, the case would have
been different; but she openly permits and consents for
British subjects to hold a joint occupation with her. Notwithstanding these facts, some of which are exposed by
Mr. Buchanan, and the evidence adduced,u which, to his
mind, plainly proves the validity of the American title,"
Ii! there is a proposition made by the President to settle the
question upon the principle of compromise; and he accordingly offered the 49th degree of latitude as a permanent
boundary.   The following is the conclusion of Mr. Bu-
I chanan's interesting letter:
ft "In this determination he trusts that the British Government will re
cognise his sincere and anxious desire to cultivate the most friendly relations between the two countries, and to manifest to the world that he it
actuated by a spirit of moderation. He has therefore instructed the
undersigned again to propose to the Government of Great Britain, that
the Oregon territory shall be divided between the two countries by the
49th parallel of north latitude from tho Rocky Mountains to the Pacific
Ocean; offering, at the same time, to make free to Great Britain any
port or ports on Vancouver's island, south of this parallel, which the
British Government may desire.   He trusts that Great Britain may re-
* OREGON. 193
em this rxoprj«Ukm in the friendly spirit by which it was dictated, and
that .t may prove the stable foundation of lasdng peace and harmony
between the two countries. The line proposed will carry out the principle of conUnuftyjBgually for both parties, by extending the limito
both of ancient Louisiana and Canada to the Pacific along the same
parallel of latitude which divides them east of the Rocky Mountains;
and it will secure to each a sufficient number of commodious harbors
on the northwest coast of America."
Mr. Pakenham to Mr. Buchanan, July 29,1845.
Mr. Pakenham very briefly, but with much spirit, answers the argument of Mr. Buchanan respecting the title
of the United States to that poition of the Oregon territory lying "betweenthe valley of the Columbia and the
Russian line, in 54° 40 north latitude." It appears, as has
been before stated, that the Florida treaty of 1819 cedod to
the United States11 all the rights, claims, and pretensions
of Spain to any territory' west of the Rocky Mountains,
and north of the 42d parallel of latitude." The Secretary
of State insists that at the date of the convention, (Feb. 22,
1819,) Spain had a good title against Great Britain ** to the
whole Oregon territory," in the face of the convention of
October 28,1790. When the treaty of 1819 was.concluded, the convention of 1790 was then considered binding,
and in full force. Mr. Pakenham contends that the
treaty of 1790 is not the "main reliance" of the British
Government for the establishment of her rights; it is appealed to forIke purp6se of showing that the United States
does not possess exclusive dominion. The treaty of 1790
was not confined to one matter solely, "it embraced a variety of objects: it had a commercial bearing, while at the
same time, it is an acknowledgment of existing rights"—
an admission of certain principles of international law not
tobeievoked at the pleasure of a single party, or to be
*et aside bv a cessation of friendly relations between them. •Ii;
V f**
194 ORKGOf. .
It might have been considered as an abrogation of certain
stipulations, but expressly confirmed and ratified all commercial relations between Great Britain and Spain.   She
evidently never considered the stipulations of the Nootka
Sound convention annulled by the war of 1796.   Had she
supposed that by it exclusive dominion was given her,
would she have consented to permit Great Britain to make
her settlements and people the territory with her own subjects ?   Spain was perfectly quiet after the convention of
1814," when, as yet, there had been no transfer of her
rights to the United States."   Mr. Pakenham states, in
reply to the argument of Mr. Buchanan, "that the British
Government had no idea in 1818 that, the Nootka Sound
convention was in force."   That in "the year 1818 no
claim, as derived from Spain, was or could be put forth
by the United States, seeing that it was not until the following year (1819) that the treaty was concluded."' "The
exploration of Lewis and Clark," says Mr. Pakenham,
" and the establishment founded at the mouth of the Columbia, must be considered as encroachments on the territorial rights of Spain."   Look to the claim that was array-*
ed for the restoration of Fort George, and the proposal
actually made for joint occupancy; all of which took place
antecedent to the Spanish cession; in truth, long before
the transfer was made.    Surely, then, the Nootka Sound
convention stamps with illegality and gross injustice any
title founded before to the conclusion of the Florida
treaty.   It is impossible for the United States to found
claims on discovery, exploration, and settlement before the
Florida treaty was entered into, without admitting the
principles of the Nootka Sound convention, and the consequent validity of the parallel claims of Great Britain,
founded on like acts. It is perfectly clear, from documentary  proof, that there has been as yet no array of facts OREGON. 195
introduced that annuls or even affects the force or validity
of the convention of 1790. It holds good as fully now as
ever; and it is as binding to this day as it was in 1791. We
cannot, however, acquiesce in opinion with Mr. Pakenham,
who affirms u that even if the Nootka Sound convention had
never existed, the position of Great Britain, as regards her
rights, is at least as good as that of the United States.11
The rights of Great Britain, as must appear to every rav
partial mind, mainly, and, we may say, wholly depend
upon the convention of 1790. Had she not been included
in the proceedings of this convention, upon what ground
could she have based her claims ? Had she been denied
the right of " navigation and settlement," the Spanish title
being sustained alone by it, she would not be entitled to a
single privilege she now enjoys. But the case is entirely
different. The British right was openly avowed in convention, and no subsequent act of Spain could affect it in
the least. If, as is admitted, the title of the United States
is older than the Florida treaty of 1819, under which she
acquired the rights of Spain to the northwest coast of
America, so must the claims of Great Britain, resting on
the same basis, in point of principle, and in strict conformity with the law of nations, be as good as those of the
United States. Great importance is attached, by those
writers who have investigated only the claims of the United
States, to the discovery of Captain Gray; but it cannot be
denied, as has been before observed, in the face of conflicting statements, that he was not empowered by the American Government to make settlements—he was sustained
by no legal authority—the Executive and Congress had
taken no action in the matter whatever, and he was nothing more than a private navigator, unlike Cook and Vancouver, who were duly authorized by their respective Governments, and sailed for the express purpose of exploration 196 OR SO ON.
and discovery.   It must be. recollected* in the next place,
when the Oregon question was pending at the Court of
St. James, and the claims of each nation were sustained
by their representatives, there was an admission contained
in a report of one of the American agents, " that respecting the mouth of the Columbia river, we knew nothing of
Gray's discovery but through British accounts."  It must,
therefore, be taken for granted, that the American repre-
' sentatives, who had left their country expressly to adjust
equitably this question, had examined and studied the subject with all that zeal and minuteness which made them
thoroughly acquainted with it in all its details.   They could
not, under the circumstances, have been ignorant of the
facts involved, and their predilections, naturally, must have
favored the American side.   Thompson, a British navigator, was the first civilized person who traversed the coun- j
try drained by the Columbia.   Lewis and Clark, it is true,
made their way to the main stream after a while, but it
was by a tributary, nearly two hundred miles from the part j
discovered by Broughton.   But, admitting this, which is a j
strong ground in defence of British claims, we confidently
believe, that "on discovery, exploration, and settlement,
the United States has as clear a title, and is as firmly sustained in her claims, as any nation can be."   The territory, under a joint occupancy, with the treaty of 1827 in I
full force, is now claimed by both powers, which leaves
the question to be settled by cool and prudent negotiation. !
After an elaborate statement of Mr. Pakenham, he begs
leave to decline the proposal made by the Secretary of
State for the adjustment of the question, on the grounds
of "its want of fairness, equity, and with the reasonable
expectations of the British Government.11 OREGON. 197
Mr. Buchanan to M. Pakenham.
The correspondence between Mr. Buchanan and Mr.
Pakenham is concluded by a long and very able letter addressed by the former to the British minister. His views
throughout are truly American, and breathe a spirit of honesty and patriotism which so eminently distinguish the
writings of this valuable and learned statesman. He takes
the arguments of Mr. Pakenham, one by one, and replies to
them, in many instances, with success adducing all the
statistical facts and documentary evidence to sustain his
position and give currency to his opinions. The statement made by Mr. Pakenham, "that the treaty of 1790 is
not appealed to by the British Government as their main
reliance in the present discussion," is met on the other
side by Mr. Buchanan, "that ever since 1826 the Nootka
Convention has been regarded by the British Government
as their strongest ground, if not their main reliance." Mr.
B. quotes the declarations of Messrs. Huskisson and Ad-
dington, as follows j
. "Great Britain claims no exclusive sovereignty over any portion of
that territory. Her present claim, not in respect to any part,but to the
whole, is limited to a right of joint occupancy in common with other
States, leaving the right of exclusive dominion in abeyance."
And again:
"By that convention (of Nootka) it was agreed that all parts of the
northwestern coast of America, not already occupied at that time by
either of the contracting parties, should thenceforward be equally open
to the subjects of both for all purposes of commerce and settlement—
the sovereignty remaining in abeyance."
But on this subject we are not left to mere inferences, however clear.
The British commissioners, in their statement from which the undersigned has just quoted, have virtually abandoned any other title which
Great Britain may have previously asserted to the territory in dispute,
and expressly declare that—
"Whatevw that title may have been heretofore, either on the part of
18 mMi
Great Britain or on the part of Spain, prior to the convention of 1790,
it was thenceforward no longer to be traced in vague narratives of
discoveries, several of them admitted to be apocryphal, but in the text
and stipulations of that convention itself."
And again, in summing up their whole case, they say:
"Admitting that the United States have acquired all the rights which
Spain possessed up to the treaty of Florida, either in virtue of discovery, or, as is pretended, in right of Louisiana, Great Britain maintains
that the nature and extent of these rights, as well as the rights of Great
Britain, are fixed and defined by the convention of Nootka," &c.
To Mr. PakenhanTs argument " that the United States
Can found no claim on discovery, exploration, and settlement effected previously to the Florida treaty, without admitting the principles of the Nootka convention," Mr. B.
says, " this is a most ingenious method of making the distinct and independent titles held by the same nations worse
than one of arraying them against each other, and thus
destroying the validity of both. Does he forget that the
United States own both of these titles, and can wield them
either separately or conjointly at their pleasure ? From
the course of his remarks it might be supposed that Great
Britain, and not the United States, had acquired the Spanish title under the Florida treaty. But Great Britain is a
third party, an entire stranger to both of these titles, and
has no right whatever to marshal the one against the
other.11 Admitting, says Mr. Buchanan in another place,
" that the discovery by Captain Gray of the mouth of the
Columbia, its exploration by Lewis and Clark, and the settlement upon its banks at Astoria, were encroachments on
Spain, she, and she alone, had a right to complain. The
British minister attempts to prove, even if the Nootka
Sound convention had never existed, the position of
Great Britain, with regard to her claim, whether to the
whole or any particular portion of the territory, «is at
least as good as that of the United States."   To Wnich I OREGON. 199
Mr. Buchanan says, "in order to establish his position, he
must show that the British claim is equal in validity to the
titles of both Spain and the United States—these can
never be separated, they are one and the same." He expresses his surprise that the British minister should again
have invoked, in support of the British title, the inconsistencies between the Spanish and American branches of
the title of the United States. Mr. Buchanan first confirms and illustrates the American title, 1st, by commending the frankness and candor of Mr. Pakenham in departing from the course of his predecessors, and speaks at
considerable length of the discovery made by Juan de
Fuca, a Grecian, in the service of Spain, in 1592. These
voyages were published in London, in 1625, by Samuel
Purchos, in a work called the " Pilgrims." A brief detail
is here entered into of the discoveries of-the Spaniards in
1774, enumerating the different places on the coast examined by these navigators, in company or separately. "Suffice it to say, that they landed at many places on the coast
from the 41st to the 57th degree of latitude; on all of
which occasions they took possession of the country in
the name of their sovereigns, according to a prescribed
regulation." After entering into a prolix and interesting argument touching the discoveries made by Haceta, Vancouver, and Captain Cook, he proposes to show that " the
title of the United States to the portion of territory lying
at the mouth of the Columbia, has been acknowledged by
the most solemn and unequivocal acts of tho British Government." Mr. Buchanan shows, after the purchase of
Louisiana from France, an expedition was fitted out by
this Government under Messrs. Lewis and Clark, who
first explored the Columbia river. In 1811, the settlement
by John Jacob Aster was made at Astoria. The war of
1812, botween Great Britain and the United States, found 200 * oaaooN.
the latter in peaceable possession of that region. Astoria
was captured during the war, but afterwards surrendered.
With respect to the discovery of Thompson, Mr. Buchanan contends it has no bearing whatever. His journey was
undertaken in behalf of the Northwest Company, for the
mere purpose of anticipating theiJmted States in the occupation of the mouth of the Columbia, " a territory to
which no nation, unless it be Spain, could, with any show
of justice, dispute their right." They had acquired it by
discovery and exploration, and were now in the act of testifying possession. It was in an enterprise undertaken for
such a purpose, that Thompson, in hastening from Canada to the mouth of the Columbia, discovered Nootka, arbitrarily assumed by Great Britain to be the main branch
of the river. At this period it was too late to impair the
title of either Spain or the United States by any such proceeding. In 1812, there was another trading post established by a party from Astoria, on the Spoken, about six
hundred and fifty miles from the ocean. To sum up the
whole, says Mr. Buchanan, Great Britain cannot rest her
claims to the northwest coast of America upon discovery.
As little will her single claim by settlement at Nootka
Sound avail her. Even Belsham, her own historian, forty
years ago declared it to be certain, from the most authentic information, " that the Spanish flag, flying at Nootka,
was never struck, and that the territory has been virtually
relinquished by Great Britain." Upon the whole, says
Mr. Buchanan:
"Prom the most careful and ample examination which the undersigned has been able to bestow upon the subject, he is satisfied that the
Spanish-American title, now held by the United States, embracing the
whole territory between the parallel of 42 deg. and 64 deg. 40 min., is
the best title in existence to this enUre region} and that the clairn of
Great Britain to any portion of it has no sufficient foundation. Even
British geographers have not doubted our tide to the territory in dispute. OREGON. 201
There is a large and splendid globe now in the Department of State,
recendy arrived from London, and published by Malby and Company,
"manufacturers and publishers to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," which assigns this territory to the United States.
Notwithstanding such was and still is the opinion of the President,
yet; in the spirit of compromise and concession, and in deference to the
action of his predecessors, the undersigned, in obedience to his instructions, proposed to tho British Plenipotentiary to eottlo tho controversy
by dividing tho territory In dispute by tho 49th parallel of latitude, offering, at die some time, to mako free to Great Britain any port or ports
on Vancouver's island, south of this latitude, which the British Government might desire. The British Plenipotentiary has correctly suggested
that the free navigation of the Columbia river was not embraced in this
proposal to Great Britain; but, on the other hand, tho use of free ports
on the southern extremity of this island had not boon included in former offers.
Such a proposition as that which has been made never would have
been authorized by the President had this been a new question..
Upon his accession to office he found the present negotiation pending.
It had been instituted in the spirit and upon the principle of compromise; its object, as avowed by the negotiators, was not to demand the
whole territory in dispute lor either country, but, in the language of the
first protocol, "to treat of the respective claims of the two countries to
the Oregon territory, with the view to establish a permanent boundary
between them westward of the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean."
Placed in this position, and considering that Presidents Monroe and
Adams had, on former occasions, offered to divide the territory in dis.
pute by the forty-ninth parallel of latitude, he felt it to be his duty not
abruptly to arrest the negotiation, but so far to yield his own opinion as
once more to make a similar offer.
Not only respect for the conduct of his predecessors, but a sincere and
anxious desire to promote peace and harmony between the two countries, influenced him to pursue this course. The Oregon question presents the only intervening cloud which intercepts the prospect of a long
career of mutual friendship and beneficial commerce between the two
nations, and this cloud he desired to remove.
These are the reasons which actuated the President to offer a proposition so liberal to Great Britain.
And how has this proposition been received by the British Plenipo-
tentiary? It has been rejected, without even a reference to hfa own
Government. Nay, more, the British Plenipotentiary, to use his own
language, "trusts that the American Plenipotentiary will be prepared
to offer some further proposal for the settlement of the Oregon question
more consistent with fairness and equity, and with the reasonably expectations of the British Government."
Under such circumstances, the undersigned is instructed by the President to say that he owes it to his own country, and a just appreciation
|, of her- title to the Oregon territory, to withdraw the proposition to the
British Government which had been made under his direction; and it
is hereby accordingly withdrawn.
In taking this necessary step, the President still cherishes the hope
that this long-pending controversy may yet be finally adjusted in such a
manner as not to disturb the peace or interrupt the harmony now so
happily subsisting between the two nations.
Here this long and interesting correspondence ends, and
as far as the settlement of the question is concerned, nothing
has been done to bring about " an equitable compromise."
The representatives of both nations have each presented
with dignity and respect their arguments and views, obviously with the hope of ending the controversy in a creditable
and honorable mariner; but they have failed; and the
question is presented, without having advanced at all towards a close, for the discussion and consideration of the
representatives of the people. We humbly trust that a
war will be the last resort It is very certain that, if our
title to the whole of Oregon is urged, after the admissions
that have been made, the most disastrous war known to
our history must ensue, because it waged with,
means so destructive, and under circumstances so aggravating, as to give rise to the most distressing and painful
consequences. Our policy is peace—we are unprepared
for war—our national spirit is against it. Valor we lack
not; but our men are unorganized and undisciplined.
We have means in abundance.   The war cry would open I
the pockets of all men; they would be fired at once with
a spirit of patriotism, and the nation would be thoroughly
aroused from one end to the other. But let us take heed
lest a step is taken that will plunge the country in bloodshed and distress, destroying all business relations, and
literally upsetting our commerce, and all that pertains to
national greatness and prosperity. We have no right to
disturb the peace of the world without good cause. During the late war we were provoked to hostility, and sustained by the unanimous voice of the family of nations.
It was no thoughtless step, taken in the heat of clashing
interests and intestine commotion; the flag of our country
was grossly insulted, our ships seized, confiscated, and
burned, our coast blockaded and men killed, and we were
absolutely compelled to declare war, or suffer injuries and
insults. Not so now. We cannot think that the national
honor is involved, and that redress should be sought.
This is a question of relative right of ownership to a very
few degrees of territory, that should be settled by peaceable negotiation and compromise on the principles of international law. If England declares war, let us collect our
strength, muster our armaments, and put forth our naval
power, as we have done on former occasions, and exert
our skill to the utmost.
We trust, in conclusion, that a kind Providence may
watch over our people, and direct us in the right way; and
that prudent and wise councils may prevail, bringing the
subject, so long in dispute, to a happy termination, to the
honor of both Governments, and to the satisfaction of
both nations.
I ^tMMM*.
«III.HilnlH"'l"     '    I"1"      !*■
|  |      .   li:i.,r--n ,■!■■•■•■«*-■• mmnir      if%. APPENDIX,
Containing the Diplomatic Correspondence, Treaties and
^gouattons between Russia, Spain, Great Britain
and the Umted States, as contained in the excellent
work oj Lieutenant George Wilkes.
(No. 1.)
Convention between the United States and Russia, signed at St
Petersburg, on the 17th of April, 1824.
Art. 1. It is agreed that, in any part of the great ocean commonly
called the Pacific ocean, or South sea, the respective citizens or subjects of the high contracting powers shall be neither disturbed nor restrained, either in navigation or in fishing, or in the power of resorting
to the coasts, upon points which may not already have been occupied
for the purpose of trading with the natives, saving always the restrictions and conditions determined by the following articles.
Art. 2. With the view of preventing the rights of navigation and of
fishing, exercised upon the great ocean by the citizens and subjects of
the high contracting powers, from becoming the pretext for an illicit
trade, it is agreed that the citizens of the United States shall not resort
to any point where there is a Russian establishment, without the permission of the governor or commander; and that, reciprocally, the subjects of Russia shall not resort, without permission, to any establishment of the United States upon the northwest coast.
Art. 3. It is moreover agreed that, hereafter, there shall not be
formed by the citizens of the United States, or under the authority of
the said States, any establishment upon the northwest coast of America, nor in any of the islands adjacent,to the north of 64 degrees and
40 minutes of north latitude; and that, in the same manner, there shall
be none formed by Russian subjects, or under the authority of Russia,
south of the same parallel.
Art. 4. It is nevertheless understood that, during a term of ten years,
counting from the signature of the present convention, the ships of both
powers, or which belong to their citizens or subjects respectively, may
reciprocally frequent, without any hindrance whatever, the intenor
seas, gulfs, harbors, and creeks, upon the coast mentioned in the pre-
19 /
ceding article, for the purpose of fishing and trading with the natives of
the country.
Art. 5. All spirituous liquors, fire arms, powder, and munitions of
war of every kind, are always excepted from this same commerce permitted by the preceding article ; and the two powers engage, reciprocally, neither to sell, nor suffer them to be sold,'to the natives, by their
respective citizens or subjects, nor by any person who may be under
' their authority. It is likewise stipulated, that this restriction shall never afford a pretext, nor be advanced in any case, to authorize either
I      , search or detention of the vessels, seizure of the merchandise, or, in
fine, any measures of constraint whatever, towards the merchants or
the crews who may carry on this commerce; the high contracting powers reciprocally reserving to themselves to determine upon the penalties
to be incurred, and to inflict the punishment, in case of the contravention of this article by their respective citizens or subjects.
(No. 2.) w
Extract from the Report of the Committee on Military Affairs, made
in Congress, in 1843.
"The treaty of Utrecht was concluded in 1713. By the tenth article,
it was agreed, between Great Britain and France, to determine, within
one year, by commissioners, the limits between the Hudson's Bay and
the places appertaining to the French. The same commissioners were
also authorized to seUle, in like manner, the boundaries between the
other British and French colonies in those parts. Commissioners were
accordingly appointed by the two powers, and there is strong reason to
believe they actually established the boundaries according to the terms
of the treaty, although no formal record of the fact now exists. The
evidence that the boundaries were thus established is, first, the fact of
the appointment of the commissioners for that express purpose, and that
two distinct lines may be found traced on different maps, published in
the last century, each purporting to be the limits between the Hudson's
Bay territories, on the north, and the French possessions, on the south,
fixed by commissioners according to the treaty of Utrecht. One of
these lines is drawn irregularly from the Atlantic to a point in the 49th appendix. iii
parallel of latitude, south of the southernmost part of the Hudson's
bay, and thence westward along that parallel to Red river, and in some
maps still further west. This line is generally considered in the United
States, and has been assumed by their Government, as the true boundary, settled by the commissioners agreeably to tho treaty abovemen-
tioned. Thus, we find Messrs. Monroe and Pinckney, at Madrid, in
1805, writing to the Spanish minister as follows: ' In conformity
with the tenth article of the first mentioned treaty, (treaty of Utrecht,)
die boundary between Canada and Louisiana, on die one side, and the
Hudson's Boy and Northwestern Companies, on the other, was established by commissioners, by a line to commence at a cape or promontory on the ocean, in 68 degrees and 31 minutes north latitude; to run
thence south westward ly to latitude 49 degrees north from the equator,
and along that line indefinitely westward.' These extracts are token
from the memoir of Mr. Greenhow, who, it is proper to odd, considers
the opinion, that these boundary lines were actually established by the
commissioners, 'at variance with the most accredited authorities.' In
this opinion the committee do not concur; so far from doing so, it is
thought the presumption, that die 49th parallel was adopted by die
commissioners under the treaty of Utrecht, is strengthened by tho line
of demarcation subsequently agreed on by the treaty of Versailles, in
1763, between France and Great Britain, and also by the treaty of
peace, of 1783, between the United States and Great Britain. By the
former, the confines between the British and French possessions were
irrevocably fixed 'by a line drawn along the middle of the Mississippi,
from its source, to die Iberville,' etc. By the latter, that part of die
northern boundary of the United States, which is applicable to the subject, is described to be through the Lake of die Woods, 'to the most
northwestern point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to
the Mississippi river.' The most northwestern point of the Lake of the
Woods is perhaps a few minutes north of the 49th parallel of latitude.
By the convention of 1818, between the United States and Great Britain, in the second article, it is agreed, that a line drawn from the most
northwestern point of die Lake of the Woods, along the 49lh parallel
of north latitude, or, if the said point shall not lie in the 49th parallel of
north latitude, then that a line drawn from the said point, due north or
south, as the case may be, until die said line shall intersect the said parallel of north latitude, and from the point of such intersection due
west, along and with said parallel, shall be the line of demarcation be- i»   - APPENDIX.
tween the territories of the United States and those of his Britannic
Majesty; and that the said line shall form the northern boundary of the
said territories of the United States, and the southern boundary of the
territory of his Britannic Majesty, from the Lake of the Woods to the
Stony mountains.
This line, it will be observed, is a deviation from the boundary established by the treaty of 1783; for that was to extend due west from
the northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods, without any reference to its latitude. By this we are, in the contingency named, to run,
by the shortest line, from the specified point on the Lake of the Woods
to the forty-ninth parallel of latitude. Whence, it may be asked, the
solicitude to adopt this particular parallel, except as it corresponded with
pre-existing arrangements, which could have been made under the provisions of the treaty of Utrecht alone; for under no other had any reference, at that time, been made to the said forty-ninth degree.
This coincidence between the boundaries established by Great Britain
and France, in 1763, and between Great Britain and the United States,
1783 and 1818, can scarcely be accounted for on any other supposition,
than that the said line had been previously established by the commissioners under the treaty of Utrecht. This conclusion is strengthened
by a further coincidence in the boundaries fixed in the said treaties of
1763 and 1783v In both the Mississippi is adopted as the boundary.
One of the lines, then, (the Mississippi,) previously established between
Great Britain and France, being thus, beyond all cavil, adopted between the United States and Great Britain, may it not be fairly inferred,
in the absence of all proof to the contrary, and with strong corroborating proof in favor of the inference drawn from the stipulation of treaties, lines of demarcation on old maps, &c, that the other line, (forty-
ninth parallel,) equally beyond cavil established by the United States
and Great Britain, was also the same one previously existing between
Great Britain and France? But such line bad no existence, unless under the stipulations of the treaty of Utrecht. For these reasons, the
committee have adopted the opinion, that the forty-ninth parallel of
latitude was actually established by the commissioners under that treaty. It may not be unimportant here to observe, that this forty-ninth
parallel is not a random line arbitrarily selected, but the oue to which
France was entitled upon the well-settled principle, diat the first discoverer of a river is entitled, by virtue of that discovery, to all the unoccupied-territory watered by that river and its tributaries. APPENDIX.
We have seen that, by the treaty of 1763, the Mississippi, from its
source, was adopted as a line of demarcatiou between the British and
French possessions. Louisiana then extended north as far as that river reached. In other words, it stretched along the whole course of the
Mississippi, from its source,in about latitude forty-nine, to its mouth, in
the Gulf of Mexico, in latitude twenty-nine. By the stipulations, then,
of this treaty alone, without calling in the aid of the previous treaty of
Utrecht, the northern boundary of Louisiana is clearly recognised as a
line drawn due west from the source of the Mississippi. We say due
west, because the cast line alone of the boundaries of Louisiana being
specifically and in express terms established by die treaty, ber surface
can only be ascertained by the extension of that whole line in the direction in which her territory is admitted to lie. This simple and only
practicable process of giving to Louisiana any territory under the treaty
fixes, as the whole of her northern boundary, a line running due west
from the source of the Mississippi, which may, for the purpose of this
argument, be fairly assumed as the forty-ninth parallel, without injustice to any party.
Having thus ascertained the northern boundary of Louisiana, it becomes important to inquire, what were its western limits, as between
Great Britain and France? We say between Great Britain and France,
because here another competitor appeared, (we speak of 1763,) in the
person of the King of Spain, upon whose tide we shall insist, if we fail
to establish that of France.
The treaty of 1763, professing to establish, and actually establishing,
lines of demarcation between the contiguous territories of the contract-
ing^parties, it cannot be denied, except upon sclng proof, that all the
boundaries about which any disputes then existed, or subsequent disputes could be anticipated, (that is, where these respective territories
touched each other,) were then definitely adjusted and setded. These
territories ore known to have touched on the north or on the east, and,
accordingly, in those quarters, we find the lines clearly described. Is
it not evident that, had they touched on other points, had there been
other quarters where questions of conflicting claims might have arisen,
the lines in those quarters also would have been fixed with equal precision? But to the south and west there is no allusion in the treaty;
an omission, conclusive of the fact that, in those directions, Great Britain had no territory contiguous to Louisiana. But Louisiana extended, by the stipulations of the treaty, west from the Mississippi; and vi APP8ND1X.
Great Britain, having no territory, or claim to territory, which could
arrest her attention in that direction, is precluded from denying that the
French tide covered the whole country from that river to the shores of
the Pacific Ocean.
The parties to the treaty of 1763 made partition ot almost the whole
continent of North America, assigning to England the territory east of
the Mississippi, and north of the 49th parallel of latitude. No claim
was at that time advanced by Great Britain to territory in any other
quarter of this vast continent—a very pregnant conclusion against the
existence of any such claim. Efer government, ever vigilant for the
increase of her territory, with a view of the extension of her commerce, manifested upon the occasion of this treaty an avidity of acquisition which the continent was scarcely large enough to satisfy. Never
very nice in scrutinizing the foundation of her pretensions, nor over
scrupulous in the selection of means to enforce them, she was, at this
junction, in a position peculiarly auspicious to the gratification of her
absorbing passion of territorial aggrandizement. Conqueror at every
point, she dictated the terms of peace, and asserted successfully every
claim founded in the slightest pretext of right. Still, no title is either
advanced, or even intimated, to possessions west of the Mississippi.
Mr. Cushing, of Massachusetts, in a report from the Committee on Foreign Relations, to the House of Representatives, made January 4,
1838, has the following sentences: "As, between France and Great
Britain, the question (of boundary) would seem to be concluded by
the treaty of Versailles, already cited, which in Great Britain relinquishes,
irrevocably, all pretensions west of the Mississippi, on the footing of the
treaty of Utrecht, rt__jed by our convention of 1818, England may
possibly, by extension of contiguity, carry her possessions from Hudson's Bay across to the Pacific, north of latitude 49 degrees; but by the
treaty of Versailles we possess the came right, and an exclusive one, to
carry our territory across the continent, south of that line, in the right of
It may, perhaps, be urged that the limits of Louisiana, on the west,
are confined to the territory drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries; the extent of her claim founded on the discovery of that river being restricted to the country so drained. The principle upon which
this limitation is attempted may be safely admitted, without in any degree affecting the right for which we contend ; because, first, Great
Britain is precluded from asserting it by her admission, in 1763, that APPENDIX. Vii
Louisiana extended indefinitely west from the Mississippi; and second,
because the principle being of universal, application, if the discovery of
the Mississippi by the French confine Louisiana to its waters east of the
Rocky mountains; the discovery of the Columbia by the Americans
will extend their claim to the whole country watered by that great
river west of those mountains, and our true claim has this extent.
Yet, to avoid unprofitable disputes, and for the sake of peace, we have
expressed a willingness (met in no corresponding spirit, the committee
is sorry to say) to confine ourselves to much narrower limits.
(No. 3.)
Copy of the Oonvetttion between his Britannic Majesty and the King
of Spain, commonly called the Nootka Treaty, Of October, 1790.
Art. 1st. The buildings and tracts of land situated on die northwest
coast of the continent of North America, or on the islands adjacent to
that continent, of which the subjects of his Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about the month of April, 1789, by a Spanish officer, shall
be restored to the said British subjects.
Art. 2d. A just reparation shall be made, according to the nature of
the case, for all acts of violence and hostility which may have been
committed subsequent to the month of April, 1789, by the subjects of
either of the contracting parties against the subjects of another; and, in
case said respective subjects shall, since the same period, have been
forcibly dispossessed of their lands, buildings, vessels, merchandise, and
other property whatever on said continent, or on the seas and islands
adjacent, they shall be re-established in the possession thereof, or a just
compensation shall be made to them for the losses which they have
Art. 3d. In order to strengthen the bonds of friendship, and to preserve in future a perfect harmony and good understanding between the
two contracting parties, it is agreed that their respective subjects shall
not be disturbed or molested, eitherin negotiating or carry ing on their fisheries in the Pacific ocean or in the South seas, or in landing on the coast
of these seas, in places not already occupied, for the purpose of carrying on their commerce with the natives of the country, or of making
settlements there; the whole subject, nevertheless, to the instructions
specified in these following articles. M I...I—fclifMIIMllil.
iiiniiintfiii<iwii«iii.w. ' ■ >«"'».»¥»r»» w»»"" iniiwwmii n<*>
Art. 4th. His Britannic Majesty engages to take the most effectual
measures to prevent the navigation and the fishing of his subjects in the
Pacific ocean, or in the South seas, from being made a pretext fot illicit trade with die Spanish settlements; and, with this view, it is moreover expressly stipulated, that British subjects shall not navigate or carry on their fishing in the said seas, within the space of ten sea leagues
from any part of the coasts already occupied by Spain.
Art. 6th. As well in the places which are to be restored to the British subjects by virtue of the first article, as in all other parts of the
northwestern coast of America, or of the islands adjacent, situate to the
north of the parts of the said coast already occupied by Spain, wherever
the subjects of the two powers shall have made settlements, since the
month of April, 1789, or shall hereafter make any disturbance or molestation.
Art. 6th. With respect to the eastern and western coasts of South
America, and to the islands adjacent, which are already occupied by
Spain, provided, that the said respective subjects shall retain the liberty
of landing on the coasts and islands so situated, for the purposes of
their fishery, and of erecting thereon huts and other temporary build-
i ings, serving only for those purposes.
Art. 7th. In all cases of complaint, or infraction of the articles of
the present convention, the officers of either party, without permitting
themselves previously to commit any violence or acts of force, shall be
bound to make an exact report of the affair, and of its circumstances,
to their respective courts, who will terminate such differences in an amicable manner.
Art. 8. The present convention shall be ratified and confirmed in
the space of six weeks, to be computed from the* day of its signature,
or sooner, if it can be done.
In witness whereof, we, the undersigned, plenipotentiaries of their
Britannic and Catholic Majesties, have, in their names, and by virtue
of respective full powers, signed the present convention,and set thereto
the seals of our arms. Done at the palace of St. Lawrence, the 28th
of October, 1790.
[Nos. 4 and 6 of the appendix, consisting of a correspondence between Captains Gray and Ingraham and the Spanish commissioner at Al-PENDIX. • ix
Nootka, in 1792,and an extinct from Captain Gray's log book respect,
mg the occurrences in tho Columbia river on his first visit, though referred to in the preceding pages, were deemed to be of not enough importance to warrant any further increaso of this portion of the work.]
(NO. 6.)
British Statement, of 1826.*
The Government of Great Britain, in proposing to renew for a further term of years the third article of the convention of 1818, respecting tho territory on tho northwest coast of America, west of tho Rocky
Mountains, regrets dial it has been found impossible, in tho present negotiation, to agree upon a line of boundary which should separate those
parts of that territory, which might henceforward be occupied or settled by the subjects of Great Britain, from the parts which would remain open to occupancy or settlement by the United States.
To establish such a boundary must bo the ultimate object of both
countries. With this object in contemplation, and from a persuasion
that a part of the difficulties which have hitherto prevented its attain,
ment is to be attributed to a misconception, on the part of the United
States, of the claims and views of Great Britain in regard to the territory in question, the British plenipotentiaries deem it advisable to bring
under the notice of the American plenipotentiary a full and explicit exposition of those claims and views.
As preliminary to this discussion, it is highly desirable to mark distinctly the broad difference between the nature of the rights claimed by
Great Britain, and those asserted by the United States, in respect to the
territory in question.
Over a large portion of that territory, namely, from the 42d degree
to the 49th degree of north latitude, the United States claim full and
exclusive sovereignty .f Great Britain claims no exclusive sovereignty
over any portion of that territory .J
•This statement is hew inserted in full, because it is a complete synopsis of all Uio pretensions of Great Britain, and, being the groundwork of her claims, is particularly wto-
resline as showing the other aide of the rtory. .    ..
f At the periodof due convention, the United States plenipotentiary was instructed to
a?ree to the extension of our northern boundary line westward, from Uie Lake or the
Woods alone parallel 49° to the Pacific; with the further inetrucuon that, aeue such a
compromise shWd not be accepted, we should feel twelves entitled, thereafter, to uiawt
upon the full measure of our rights.
tShe has exercised it, nevertheless.
20 -j»' i"^f»Trf»i>fan<mi*'
Her present claim, not m respect to any part, but to the whole, is
limited to a right of joint occupancy, in common with other States,
leaving the right of exclusive dominion in abeyance. In other words,
the pretensious of the United States tend to the ejection of all other nations, and, among the rest, of Great Britain, from all right of settlement
in the district claimed by the United States.*
The pretensions of Great Britain, on the contrary, tend to the mere
maintenance of her own rights, in resistance to the exclusive character
of the pretensions of the United States.
Having thus suited the nature of the respective claims of the two
parties, the British plenipotentiaries will now examine the grounds on
which (hose claims are founded.
'   The claims of the United States are urged upon these grounds:
1st. As resulting from their own proper right.
2d. As resulting from a right derived to them from Spain—that
power having, by the treaty of Florida, concluded with the United
States in 1819, ceded to the latter all their rights and claims on the
western coast of America north of the 42d degree.
3d. As resulting from a right derived to them from France, to whom
the United States succeeded, by treaty, in possession of the province of
The first right, or right proper, of the United States, is founded on
the alleged discovery of the Columbia river, by Mr. Gray, of Boston,
who, in 1792, entered that river, and explored it to some distance from
its mouth.
To this is added the first exploration, by Lewis and Clarke, of a
main branch of the same river, from its source downwards, and also the
alleged priority of settlement, by citizens of the United States, of the
country in the vicinity of die same river.
The second right, or right derived from Spain, is founded on the
alleged prior discovery of the region in dispute by Spanish navigators,
of whom the chief were, first, Cabrillo, who, in 1543, visited that
coast as far as 44 degrees north latitude; second, De Fuca, who, aa it
is affirmed, *x 1£98 entered the straits known by his name, in latitude
49 degree^, third, Guelli, who, in 1682, is said to have pushed his researches as high as 57 degrees north latitude; fourth, Perez, and others,
'Truly bo; and this must always be the case between rightful owners and mere pretenders. APPENDIX. Xi
who, between the years 1774 and 1792, visited Nootka sound and the
adjacent coasts. The third right, derived from the cession of Louisiana
to the United States, is founded on the assumption that that province,
its boundaries never having been exacdy defined longitudinally, may
fairly be asserted to extend westward across the Rocky Mountains to
the shore of the Pacific.
Before the merits of these respective claims are considered, it is necessary to observe, that one only out of three can be valid. They are,
in fact, claims obviously incompatible the one with the other. If,
for example, the tide of Spain by first discovery, or the-title of France
as the original possessor of Louisiana, be valid, then must one or the
other of those kingdoms have been the lawful possessor of that territory
at the moment when the United, States claim to have discovered it.
If, on the other hand, the Americans were the first discoverers, there is
necessarily an end of the Spanish claim; and, if priority of discovery
constitutes the title, that of France falls equally to the ground.
Upon the question, how far prior discovery constitutes a legal claim
to sovereignty, the law of nations is somewhat vogue and undefined.
It is, however, admitted by the most approved writers' that mere accidental discovery, unattended by exploration, by formally taking possession in the name of the discoverer's sovereign—by occupation and set-
dement, more or less permanent—by purchase of the territory, or receiving the sovereignty from the natives—consilulcs the lowest degree
of title; and that it is only in proportion as first discovery is followed by
any or all of these acts, that such title is strengthened and confirmed.
The rights conferred by discovery, therefore, must be discussed on
their own merits.
But, before the British plenipotentiaries proceed to compare the relative claims of Great Britain and the United States in this respect, it
will be advisable to dispose of the two other grounds of right put forward by the United States.
The second ground of claim advanced by the United States is the
cession made by Spain 'to the United States by the treaty of Florida, in
If the conflicting claims of Great Britain and Spain, in respect to all
that part of the coast of North America, had not been finally adjusted
by the convention of Nootka, in the year 1790, and if all the arguments
and pretensions, whether resting on the priority of discovery, or derived
from any other consideration, had not been definitely set at rest by the iiiiii.ii»»ii»»i Ill ' ""  ' "" ;»«■—**»*»»
signature of that convention, nothing would be more easy than to demonstrate that the claims of Great Britain to that country, as opposed
to those of Spain, were so far from being visionary or arbitrarily assumed, that they established more thar a parity of title to the possession of
the country in question, either as against Spain or any other nation.
By no means. An equitable settlement might at one time have divided the territory between the two first parties claimant; and their joint
release in favor of the United States, while it makes absolutely against
Great Britain, strengthens the title of the United States in the same
degree. Whatever that title may have been, however, either on the
part of Great Britain or on the part of Spain, prior to the convention of
1790, it was from thenceforward no longer to be traced in vague narratives of discoveries,(several of them admitted to be apocryphal,) but in the
text and stipulations of that convention itself. By that convention it was
agreed that all parts of the northwestern coast of America, not already occupied at that time by either of the contracting parties, should thenceforward be equally open to the subjects of both for all purposes of commerce and settlement, the sovereignty remaining in abeyance.
In this stipulation, as it has been already stated, all tracts of country
claimed by Spain and Great Britain, or accruing to either, in whatever
manner, were included.
The rights of Spain on that coast were, by the treaty of Florida, in
1819, conveyed by Spain to the United States. With those rights the
United States necessarily succeeded to the limitations by which they
wered efined, and the obligations under which they were to be exercised.
From those obligations and limitations, as contracted towards Great
Britain, Great Britain cannot be expected gratuitously to release those
countries, merely because the rights of the party originally bound have
oeen transferred to a third power.
The third ground of claim of the United States rests on the right supposed to be derived from the cession to them of Louisiana by France.
In arguing this branch of the question, it will not be necessary to examine in detail the very dubious point of the assumed extent of that
province, since, by the treaty between France and Spain of 1763, the
whole of that territory, defined or undefined, real or ideal, was ceded
by France to Spain, and, consequently, belonged to Spain, not only in
1790, when the convention of Nootka was signed between Great Britain and Spain, but also, consequently, in 1792, the period of Gray's
discovery of the mouth of the Columbia.   If, then, Louisiana embrac- appendix. xiii
ed the country west of the Rocky Mountains, to the south of the 49th
parallel of latitude, it must have embraced the Columbia itself, which
that parallel intersects; and, consequently, Gray's discovery must have
been made in a country avowedly already appropriated, ncc«nnarily in
eluded, with all other Spanish possessions and claims in that quarter,in
the stipulations of the Nootka convention.
Even if it could be showt, therefore, that the district west of the
Rocky Mountains was within the boundaries of Louisiana, that circumstance would in no way assist the claim of the United States.
It may nevertheless be worth while to expose, in a few words, the
futility of the attempt to include that district within those boundaries.
For this purpose, it is only necessary to refer to the original grant of
Louisiana, made to De Crozat, by Louis XIV, shortly after its discovery by La Salle. That province is therein expressly described as "the
cruntry drained by the waters entering directly or indirectly into the
Mississippi. Now, unless it can be shown that any of the tributaries of
the Mississippi cross the Rocky Mountains from die weit to the cast, it
- is difficult to conceive how any part of Louisiana can be found to the
west of that ridge.
There remains to be considered the first ground of claim advanced by
the United States to the territory in question, namely, that founded on
their own proper right as first discoverers and occupiers of the territo-
If the discovery of the country in question, or rather the mere entrance into the mouth of the Columbia by a private American citizen,
be, as the United States assert, (although Great Britain is far from admitting the correctness of the assertion,) a valid ground of national and
exclusive claim to all the country situated between the 42d and 49th
parallels of latitude, must any preceding discovery of the some country,
by an individual of any other nation, invest such nation with a more
valid, because a prior, claim to that country.
Now, to set aside, for tho present, Drake, Cook, and Vancouver,
who,all of them,either took possession of,or touched at, various points
of the coast in question, Great Britain can show that, in 1788—that is,
four years before Gray entered the mouth of the Columbia river—Mr.
Meares, a lieutenant of the royal navy,• who bad been sent by the
• Meares was a Portuguese hireling, and not in any branch of English service; and
though a speculating half-pay lieutenant, was, to all intents and purposes, as much a private citizen as Captain Gray.   See Appendix No. 10. c
East India Company on, a trading expedition to the northwest coast of
America, had already minutely explored that coast, from the 49th degree to the 64th degree north latitude; had taken formal possession of
the Straits of De Fuca, in the name of his sovereign; had purchased
land, trafficked, and formed treaties* with the natives; and had actually
entered the bay of the Columbia, to the northern head land of which he
gave the name of Cape Disappointraentt—a name which it bears to
this day.
Dixon, Scott, Duncan, Strange, and other private British traders,
had also visited these shores and countries several years before Gray;
but the single example of Meares suffices to quash Gray's claim to prior
discovery. To the other navigators above mentioned, therefore, it is
unnecessary to refer more particularly.
It may be worth while, however, to observe, with regard to Meares,
that his account of his voyages was published in London in August,
1790; that is, two years before Gray is even pretended to have entered
the Columbia.}
To that account are appended, first, extracts from his log-book; secondly, maps of the coasts and harbors which he visited, in which every
part of the coast in question, including the bay of the Columbia, (into
which the log expressly states that Meares entered,) is minutely laid
down, its delineation tallying, in almost every particular, with Vancouver's subsequent survey, and with the description found in all the best
maps of that part of the world adopted at this moment; thirdly, the account in question actually contains an engraving, dated in August,
1790, of the entrance of De Fuca's straits, executed after a design
taken in June, 1788, by Meares himself.§ With these physical evi-.
deuces of authenticity, it is needless to contend for, as it is impossible
to controvert, the truth of Meares's statement.
It was only on the 17th of September, 1792, that the Washington,
commanded by Mr. Gray, first made her appearance at Nootka.
If, therefore, any claim to these countries, as between Great Britain
and the United States, is to be deduced from priority of the discovery,
•The only treaty he formed was an agreement with Maquinna, the kine of the surrounding country, panting htm leave to make a temporary settlement
'^ap? "wwourtnent," because he failed to discover the river he eoueht.
tThat is to say he iwas "disappointed1' two years before Capj. Gray wL satisfied.
•JiL a?!?,'*?**& *?? "Meares himself* who despatched wor.< to England of
the wonderful discoveries of CapL Gray, in the strait of Fuca ">guw« «
the above exposition of the dates and facts suffices to establish that
claim in favor of Great Britain on a basis too firm to be shaken.
It must, indeed, be admitted that Mr. Gray, finding himself in the
bay formed by the discharge of the waters of the Columbia into the
Pacific, was the first to ascertain that this bay formed the outlet of a
great river—a discovery which had escaped Lieut. Meares, when, in
1788, four years before, he entered the same bay.
But, can it be seriously urged that this single step in the progress of
discovery not only wholly supersedes the prior discoveries, both of the
bay and the coast, by Lieut. Meares, but equally absorbs the subsequent exploration of the river by Capt. Vancouver, for near a hundred
miles above the point to which Mr. Gray's ship had proceeded, the
formal taking possession of it by that British navigator, in the name of
his sovereign, and also all the other discoveries, exploration, and temporary possession and occupation, of the ports and harbors on the coast,
as well of the Pacific as within the straits of De Fuca, up to the 49th
parallel of latitude?*
This pretension, however extraordinary it is, does not embrace the
whole of the claim which the United States build upon the limited
discovery of Mr.- Gray, namely, that the bay of which Cape Disappointment is the northernmost headland is, in fact, the embroschure of
a river. That mere ascertainment, it is asserted, confers on the United
States a title, in exclusive sovereignty, to the whole extent of country
drained by such river, and by all its tributary streams.
In support of this very extraordinary pretension, the United States
allege the precedent of grants and charters accorded in former times to
companies and individuals, by various European sovereigns, ov«r several parts of the American continent Among other instances, are adduced die charters granted by Elizabeth, James I., Charles II., and
George II., to sundry British subjects and associations,! as also the
grant made by Louis XIV. to De Crozat, building, on the express
condition that, when he finally left the coast, "the house and all the
goods thereunto belonging" should fall into that chief'a possession—a
•No; w» claim these, latter on the ground of other discoveries, snd also on the score of
S,tThis is a wilful perversion, to say the least of it. The United Stoles, in proving the
nrtaciple, merely alluded to these latter charters, as instances of Britain's recognition of
the X with her own subjects, or, in other words, when i nii favor of herself.
VThU« thrcorrectness and usage of the principle was otherwise indubitaby proved, the
™nmM^™™*$K™eto1^» » «•>*•*• rebuke toBnuun'sopposi-
toon to its application to us. XVi APPENDIX.
condition, by the way, which Meares dishonestly failed to fulfil, for the
boards were struck off and toien on board one of his vessels, and the
roof was given to Captain Kendrick.
It was on the ground of these charters, together with the application
of their rule to the pretended discovery of the Columbia river by Vancouver and Meares, that we felt warranted in asserting, on the 31st
page, that Great Britain advances the principle herself, over the tract of
country watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries.
But, can such charters be considered an acknowledged part of the
law of nations ? Were they any thing more, in fact, than a cession, of
grantee or grantees, of whatever rights the grantor might suppose himself to possess, to the exclusion of other subjects of the same, sovereign-
charters binding and restraining those only who were with in the jurisdiction of the grantor, and of no force or validity against the subjects of
other states, until recognised by treaty, and thereby becoming a part of
international law.
Had the United Suites thought proper to issue, in 1790, by virtue of
their national authority, a charter granting to Mr. Gray the whole extent of country watered, directly or indirectly, by the*river Columbia,*
such a charter would no doubt have been valiu in Mr. Gray's favor, as
against all other citizens of the United States.
But, can it be supposed that it would have been acquiesced in by either of the powers, Great Britain and Spain, which, in that same year,
were preparing to contest by arms the possession of the very country
which would have been the subject of such a grant?
If the right of sovereignty over the territory in question accrues to
the United States by Mr. Gray's discovery, how happens it that they
never protested against the violence done to that right by the two powers, who, by the convention of 1790, regulated their respective rights
in and over a district so belonging, as it is now asserted, to the United
This claim of the United States to the territory drained by the Co.
lumbia and its tributary streams, on the ground of one of their citizens
having been the first to discover the entrance of that river, has been
here so far entered into, not because it is considered to be necessarily
entitled to notice, since the whole country watered by the Columbia
Tn**", Englishmen are crazy $ the Columbia was not discovered by Cant Gray till
1792. If the above is intended as an illustration only, the instance is as weak as the previous arguments are inconclusive. APPENDIX. XVii
falls within the provisions of the convention of 1790, but because the
doctrine above alluded to has been put forward so broadly, and with
such confidence, by the United Slates, that Great Britain considered it
equally due to herself and to the powers to enter her protest against it.
The United States further pretend that their claim to the country in
question is strengthened and confirmed by the discovery of the sources
of the Columbia, and by the exploration of its course to the sea, by
Lewis and Clarke, in 1805-'6.
In reply to this allegation, Great Britain affirms, and can distinctly
prove, that, if not before, at leastinthe same and subsequent years, her
Northwestern Trading Company hod, by means of their agent, Mr.
Thompson, already established their posts among the Flathead and
Kootanie tribes, on the head waters of the northern or main branch of
the Columbia, and were already extending them down the principal
stream of that river; thus giving to Great Britain, in this particular again,
ai in the discovery of the mouth of the river, a tide to parity at least, if
not priority of discovery, as opposed to the United States. It was from
those posts that, having heard of the American establishment forming,
in 1811, at the mouth of the river, Mr. Thompson hastened thither, descending the river, to ascertain the nature of that 'establishment.
Some stress having been laid by the United States on the restitution
to them of Fort George by the British, after the termination of the last
war, which restitution they represent as conveying a virtual acknowledgment by Great Britain of the title of the United States to the country in which that post was situated, it is desirable to state, somewhat in
detail, the circumstances attending that restitution.
In the year 1815, a demand for the restoration of Fort George was
first made to Great Britain by the American Government, on the plea
that the first article of the treaty of Ghent stipulated the restitution to
the United States of all posts and places whatsoever taken from them
by the British during the war, in which description Fort George (Astoria) was included.
For some time the British Government demurred to comply with the
demand of the United States, because they entertained doubts bow far
it could be sustained by the construction of the treaty.
In the first place, the trading post, called Fort Astoria, (or Fort
George,) was not a national possession; in the second place, it was not
• We have seen that Mr. Thompson came too late.
21 I
a military post; and thirdly, it was never captured from the Americans
by die British. It was, in fact, conveyed in regular commercial transfer, and accompanied by a bill of sale, for a sum of money, to the British
company, who purchased it, by the American company, who sold it of
their own free wul. It is true that a British sloop of war had, about
that time, been sent to take possession of that, but she arrived subse-
quently to the transaction above mentioned between the two companies, and found the British company already in legal occupation of their
self-acquired property.
In consequence, however, of that ship having been sent out with
hostile views, although those views were not carried into effect, and in
order that not even a shadow of reflection might be casMjpon the good
faith of the British Government, the latter determined to give the most
liberal .extension to the-terms of the treaty of Ghent, and in 1818 the
purchase which the British company had made in 1813 was restored to
the United States.
Particular care, however, was taken,on this occasion, to prevent any
misapprehension as to the extent of the concession made by Great Britain. Viscount Casdereagh, in directing the British minister at Wash-
ington, to intimate the intention of the British Government to Mr.
Adams, then Secretary of State, uses these expreasions, in a despatch
dated 7th February, 1818:
"You will observe, that, whilst this Government is not disposed to
contest with the American Government the point of possession as it
stood in the Columbia river at the moment of the rupture, they are not
prepared to admit the validity of the tide of the Government of the
United States to this settlement.
''In signifying, therefore, to Mr. Adams the full acquiescence of
ll your Government in the re-occupation of the limited position which the
United States held in that river at the breaking out of the war, you I
will, at the same time assert, in suitable terms, the claim of Great Bri«
tain to that territory,upon which the American settlement must be considered as an encroachment."
This instruction was executed verbally by the person to whom it was
addressed. The following is a transcript of the act by which the fort
was delivered up by the British into die hands of Mr. Prevost, the
American agent:
"In obedience to the command of H. R. H., the prince regent, sig-
nified in a despatch from the right honorable the Earl Bathurst, address- MMWS"
ed to the partners or agents of the Northwest Company, bearing date
the 27th of January, 1818, and in obedience to a subsequent order,
dated the 26th of July, from W. H. Sheriff, esq..Captain H. M. ship
Andromache, we, die undersigned, do, in conformity to the first article
of the treaty of Ghent, restore to the Government of the United States,
through its agent, J. P. Prevost, esq., the settlement of Fort George,
on the Columbia river.
"Given under our hands, in triplicate, at Fort George, (Columbia
river,) this 6th day of October, 1818.
"F. HICKEY, Captain H. M. »hip Blossom.
"J. KEITH, of the N. W. Go."
The following is the despatch from Earl Bathurst to the partners of
the Northwest Company, referred to iu the above act of cession:
"Downing street, 27th January, 1818.
"Intelligence having been received that the United States' sloop of
war Ontario has been sent by the American Government to establish a
settlement on the Columbia river, which was held by that State on the
breaking out of die last war, I am to acquaint you that it is the Prince
Regent's pleasure, (without, however, admitting the article of the treaty
of Ghent,) due facfiity should be given to the re-occupation of the said
setdement by the officers of the United States. And I am to desire
that you would contribute as much as lies in your power to the execution of his royal highness's commands.
"Ihave,&c.,&c. BATHURST."
" To the partners or agents of the
"Northwest Company residing on the Columbia river."
The above documents put the case of the restoration of Fort Astoria
in too clear a light to require further' observation. The case, then, of
Great Britain, in respect to the country west of the Rocky Mountains,
is shortly this:
Admitting that the United States had acquired all the rights which
Spain possessed up to the treaty of Florida, either in virtue of discovery '
or. as is protended, in right of Louisiana, Great Britain maintains that
the nature and extent of those rights, as well as of the rights of Great
Britain, are fixed and defined by the convention of Nootka; that these
rights are equal for bodi parties; and that, in succeeding to. the rights LiKi-riwTrwUa iii<*»ss»ssrtsiin|ti'"iii|toi
of Spain, under that convention, the United States must also have succeeded to the obligations which it imposed.
Admitting, further, the discovery of Mr. Gray to the extent already
stated, Great Britain, taking the whole line of the coast in question,
with its straits, harbors, and bays, has stronger claims, on the ground
of prior discovery, attended with acts of occupancy and settlement, dian
the United States.
Whether, therefore, the United States rest their claims upon the title
of Spain, or -upon that of prior discovery, or upon both, Great Britain
is en': Jed to place her claims at least upon a parity with those of the
United States.
It is a fact, admitted by the United States, that, with the exception
of the Columbia river, there is no river that open? into the interior on
the whole western coast of the Pacific Ocean.
In the interior of the territory in question the subjects of Great Britain have had, for many years, numerous settlements and trading-posts;
several of those posts are on the tributary streams of the Columbia, several on the Columbia itself, some to the northward, and others to the
southwrad of that river; and they navigate the Columbia as the sole
channel for the conveyance of their produce to the British stations nearest the sea, and for the shipment of it from thence to Great Britain. It
is also the channel for their annual supplies from Great Britain.*
In the whole of the territory in question the citizens of the United
States have not a single settlement or trading-post. They do not use
that river either for the purpose of transmitting or receiving any produce
of their own to or from other parts of the world.
In this state of the relative rights of the two countries, and of the rel- -
ative exercise of those rights, the United States claim the exclusive possession of both banks of the Columbia, and subsequenUy that of the
river itself; offering, it is true, to concede to British subjects a conditional participation in that navigation; but subject, in any case, to the
exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United States.
Great Britain, on her part, offers to make the river the boundary;
each country retaining the bank of the river contiguous to its own territories, and the navigation of it remaining forever free, and upon a footing of perfect equality to both nations.
• Those views were earned into effect. The place was regularly taken possession of in
the King's name on the 1st December, 1819, ana the British flag was run up, with all the
formalities of conquest, in i.lsce of the American standard. APPENDIX. XXi
To carry into effect this proposal on our part, Great Britain would
have to give up posts and settlements south of the Columbia. On the
part of the United States there could be no reciprocal withdrawing from
actual occupation, as there is not, and never has been, a single American citizen settled north of the Columbia.
The United States declined to accede to this proposal, even when
Great Britain had added to it the further offer of a most excellent harbor, and an extensive tract of country of the Straits of De Fuca—a sacrifice, tendered in the spirit of accommodation, and for the sake of a
final adjustment of all differences, but which, having been made in this .
spirit, is not to be considered as in any degree recognising a claim on
the part of the United States, or as at all impairing the existing right of
Great Britain over the post and territory in question.
Such being the result of the recent negotiation, it only remains for
Great Britain fo maintain and uphold the qualified rights which she
now possesses over the whole of the territory in question. These rights
are recorded and defined in the convention of Nootka. They embrace
the right to navigate the waters of those countries, the right to settle in
and over any part of them, and the right freely to trade with the inhabitants and occupiers of the same. These rights have been peaceably
exercised ever since the date of that convention; that is, for a period of
nearly forty years. Under that convention, valuable British interests
have grown up in those countries. It is fully admitted that the United
States possess the some rights, although they have been exercised by
them only in a single instance; and have not,since the year 1813, been
exercised at all.   But, beyond these rights they possess none.
To the interests and establishments which British industry and enterprise have created Great Britain owes protection. That protection will .
be given, both as regards settlement and freedom of trade and navigation, with every intention not to infringe the co-ordinate rights of the
United Suites; 't being the earnest desire of the British Government, so
long as the joint occupancy continues, to regulate its own obligations by
the same rule which governs the obligations of any other occupying ■
Fully sensible, at the same time, of the desirableness of a more definite settlement, as between Great Britain and the United States, the
British Government will be ready, at any time, to terminate the present
state of joint, occupancy by any agreement of limitation; but such an
arrangement only can be admitted as shall not derogate from the rights STE
of Great Britain, as acknowledged by treaty, nor prejudice the advantages which British subjects, under the same sanction, now enjoy in
that part of the world.
(No. 5.)
Convention between the United States and Great Britain, signed at
London October 20th, 1818.
Art. 2. It is agreed that a line drawn from the most northwestern
point of the Lake of the Woods, along the 49th parallel of north latitude, or if the said point shall not be in the 49th parallel of north latitude, then that a line drawn from the said point due north or south,
as the case may be, until the said line shall intersect the said parallel of
north latitude, and from the point of such intersection due west, along
with said parallel, shall be the line of demarkation between the territories of the United States and those of his Britannic Majesty; and that
the said line shall form the northern boundary of the said territories of
the United States and the southern boundary of the territories of his
Britannic Majesty, from the Lake of the Woods to the Stony Mnun-
Art. 3. It is agreed that any country that may be claimed by either
party on the northwest coast of America, westward of the Stony Mountains, shall, together with its harbors,bays,and creeks, and the navigation of all rivers within the same, be free, and for the term of ten years
from the date of the signature of the present convention, to the vessels,
citizens, and subjects of the two powers; it being well understood that
this agreement is net to be construed to the prejudice of any claim
which either of the two high contracting parties may have to any part
of the said country; nor shall it be taken to affect the claims of any
other power or State to any part of the said country; the only object of
the high contracting parties, in that respect, being to prevent disputes
and differences among themselves.
(No. 6.)
The Florida treaty, signed at Washington, Fkbruaiy 22,1819.
Art. 3. The boundary line between the two countries west of the
Mississippi shall begin on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the river appendix. xxiii
Sabine, in the sea, continuing north along the western bank.of that
river to the 32d degree of latitude; thence, by a line due north, to the
degree of latitude where it strikes the Rio Roxo of Natchitoches, or Red
liver; then following the course of the Rio Roxo westward, to the degree of longitude 100 west from London, and 23 from Washington;
then crossing the said Red river, and running thence, by a line due
north, to the river Arkansas; thence following the course of the southern bank of the Arkansas, to its source, in latitude 42° north; and
thence, by that parallel of latitude, to die South Sea; the whole being
laid down in Melish's map of the United States, published at Philadelphia, improved to the 1st of January, 1818., But if the source of the
Arkansas river shall be found to fall north or south of latitude 42°, then
the line shall run from the said source due south or north, as the case
may be, till it meets the said parallel of latitude 42°, and thence, along
the said parallel, to the South Sea; all the islands in the Sabine, and
the said Red and Arkansas rivers, throughout the course thus described,
to bekng to the United States; but the use of the waters, and the navigation of the Sabine to the sea, and of the said rivers Roxo and Arkansas, throughout the extent of (he said boundary, on their respective
batiks, shall be common to tho respective inhnbitAiita of both nations.
Tho two high contracting parties agrco to cede and renounce all their
rights, claims, and pretensions to tho territories described by die said line;
that is to say, the United States hereby cede to his Catholic Majesty,
and renounce forever, all their rights, claims, and pretensions to the
territories lying west and south of the above described line; and, in
like manner, his Catholic Majesty cedes to the said United States all
his rights, claims, and pretensions to any territories east and north of
the said line; and for himself, his heirs, and successors renounces all
claim to the said territories forever.
(No. 7.)
Convention between the United States and Great Britain, signed at
London, August 6th, 1827.
Art. 1. AU the provisions of the third article of the convention concluded between the United States of America and his Majesty die
King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on the 20th
of October, 1818, shall be, and they are hereby, further indefinitely ex- XXiV APPENDIX.
tended and continued in force, in the same manner as if all the provisions
of the said article were herein specifically recited.
Art. 2. It shall be competent, however, to either of the contracting
parties, in case either should think fit, at any time after the 20th of Ootober, 1828, on giving due notice of twelve months to the other cor*>
trading party, to annul and abrogate this convention; and it shall, in
such case, be accordingly entirely annulled and abrogated, after the expiration of the said term of notice.
Art. 3. Nothing contained in this convention, or in the third article
of the convention of the 20th October, 1818, hereby continued in force,
shall be construed to impair, or in any manner affect, the claims which
either of the contracting parties may have to any part of the country
westward of the Stony or Rocky Mountains.
(No. 8.)
The instructions of the merchant proprietors to John Meares.
• • • Should you, in the course of your voyage, meet with
any Russian, English, or Spaaish vessels, you will treat them with civility and friendship, and allow them, if authorized, to examine your
papers, which will show the object °' y°ur voyage. Bnt you must, at
the same time, guard against surprise. Should they attempt to seize
you, or even carry you out of your Way, you will prevent it'by every
means in your power, and repel force by force. You will, on your arrival in the first port, protest, before a proper officer, against such illegal
procedure, and ascertain, as nearly as you can, the value of your vessel
and cargo, sending such protest, with a full account of the transaction,
to us, at China. Should you, in such conflict, have the superiority,
you will then take possession of the vessel that attacked you, as also her
cargo, and bring both, with the officers and crew, to China, that they
I }    t may be condemned as legal prizes, and their crews punished as pirates.
I 1      " • Wishing you a prosperous voyage, <fcc.
1 I ' 1  3¥& ^*H5?ff>*w


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items