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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume XII. March, 1911 - December, 1911 Oregon Historical Society 1911

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Oregon Historical Society  s-ri-i
MARCH, 1911-DECEMBER. 1911
Edited by
Portland, Oregon
The Ivy Press
Astor, John Jacob,   Some  Important Results from  the Expeditions of, to
and from the Oregon Country.    By Frederick V. Holman 206-219
Astoria, A Hero of Old.    By Eva Emery Dye 220-223
Born on the Oregon Trail, The First.    By J. Neilson Barry 264-170
Columbia River, David Thompson, Pathfinder, and the.    By T. C. Elliott. .195-205
Financial History of Oregon.   VI.   By F. G. Young. 87-114
"Fountain" on Powder River, Qgden.    By J. Neilson Barry  .115-116
Fuca Straits, Early Navigation of the.   By Judge F. W. Howay       1-32
Indian Names, Preservation of.    By Walter H. Abbott 361-368
"Oregon System," Oregon History for the.   By F. G. Young 264-268
Political Parties in Oregon, Rise and Early History of.   By Walter Carleton
Woodward—II, HI, IV, V 33-86j 123-163; 225-263; 301-350
Sixty, an Echo of Campaign of.    By Lester Burrell Shippee 351-360
Thompson, David, Pathfinder, and the Columbia River.    By T. C. Elliott.. 195-205
Apple Tree, the Oldest Seedling, in the Pacific Northwest 120-121
Champoeg, Movement Begun for State Park at        193
Eminent Dead, a Long Roll of 190-192
Eminent Oregonians, Two, Die 121-122
Flax Culture in Early Days.   By Harriet K. McArthur 118-119
Lands, a Constructive Policy with Remaining Oregon, Proposed        117
Lone Tree on Oregon Trail 227-228
Oregon Historical Literature to be Enriched        190
Oregonian, the Great Memorial Issue of the Daily        117
Pioneer Reunion, Thirty-ninth Annual 192-293
Gun Powder Story, the.   By Archibald McKinlay.   Edited by T. C. Elliott. .369-374
Territory of Oregon, Report on the.   By Charles Wilkes, Commander of the
United States Exploring Expedition.    1838-2842 269-299
Leslie M. Scott, Acquisition of Oregon and the Long Suppressed Evidence
About Marcus Whitman.    By William I. Marshall 375-386
Abbott, Walter H., Preservation of Indian Names.......K 362*368
Barry, J. Neilson, The First-Born on the Oregon Trail 164-170
 -—Qgden "Fountain" on Powder River 225-116
Dye, Eva Emery, A Hero of Old Astoria 220-223
Elliott, T. C, David Thompson, Pathfinder, and the Columbia River 295-205
 The Gun Powder Story, by Archibald McKinlay  % 369-374
Holman,  Frederick V.,  Some Important Results from the Expeditions of
John Jacob Astor to and from the Oregon Country 206-229
Howay, Judge F. W., Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca       2-32
Scott, Leslie M., Review of William I. Marshall's Acquisition of Oregon
and the Long-Suppressed Evidence About Marcus Whitman 375*386
Woodward, Walter Carleton, Rise and Early History of Political Parties
in Oregon, II, III, IV, V 33-86; 223-263; 225-263; 301-350  THE QUARTERLY
Oregon Historical Society
Volume XII
MARCH 1911
Copyright, 1910, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility (or the positions taken by contributors to its .pages
By Judge F. W. Howay, New Westminster, B. C.
Before the third voyage of the great Captain James Cook the
northwest coast of America was regarded as almost as far
beyond the ordinary bounds of navigation as the islands of the
Hesperides appeared to the Greeks; and Swift himself, when
he composed the entertaining travels of Lemuel Gulliver,
esteeming it the proper region of fable and romance selected it
for the position of the imaginary land of Brobdingnag.
The narrow strait of Juan de Fuca gives entrance to the most
extensive and most beautiful labyrinth of waterways to be
found on the whole coast; through it passes today a constantly
growing volume of trade as the population of the neighboring
states and the western portion of Canada increases; and as it
forms a part of the international boundary line, the story of its
early navigators must be of equal interest to the citizens of both
countries, and of especial interest to the students of the history
of the coast.
In the argument upon the San Juan question George Bancroft, the United States representative, speaking of these
waters, says: "The emoluments of the fur-trade; the Spanish
"jealousy of Russian encroachments down the Pacific Coast;
iPaper   read   before   the   Annual   Meeting   of  the
Historical  Society,  December  17,   1910.
aembers   of   the   Oregon F. W. Howay
"the lingering hope of discovering a northwest passage; the
"British desire of finding water communication from the Pacific
"to the great lakes; the French passion for knowledge; the
"policy of Americans to investigate their outlying possessions;
"all conspired to cause more frequent and more thorough ex-
"aminations of these waters even before 1846, than of any
"similarly situated waters in any part of the globe."
On the Atlantic coast, as by degrees geographical knowledge
was extended, the belief in the existence of a northwest passage
gradually tottered to its fall; but myths die hard; and the
possibility of such a passage being found from the Pacific side
held firm sway until almost a hundred years ago. Indeed it is
common knowledge that in 1745 the British Parliament offered
a reward of £20,000 for its discovery, and one of the objects of
Captain Cook's third expedition was to seek it out.
On Sunday the 22nd March, 1778, Captain Cook, the first
European of whom we have any authentic record, discovered
the southern entrance of the strait of Juan de Fuca which he
named Cape Flattery, because as he states in his Voyage, there
"appeared a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of
finding an harbour".
Unfortunately he was unable to examine this opening, as
owing to a heavy gale having arisen he was obliged to stand
out to sea, and so missed the opportunity of making a discovery
which would have added lustre to a name even as great as his.
It may be objected that Juan de Fuca, the old Greek pilot
had preceded Cook by almost two hundred years, and that he
was "the first and original" discoverer of Cape Flattery and
the Strait of Fuca. I do not at this time intend to examine
his story as preserved to us in Michael Lock's note in Purchas,
His Pilgrimes. The subject is gone into very fully in Bancroft's History of the North West Coast, Vol. I., pp. 70-81,
and after a minute examination the conclusion is reached that
the alleged voyage is a fiction, pure and simple. I accept the
view of the late El wood Evans, who in his History of the
Pacific North West, says:   "No record is preserved in Spain Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca 3
"or Mexico mentioning the voyage or him who is asserted to
"have made it, or that in any way contributes color of truth-
"fulness to the Lock narrative. Its inconsistencies are patent,
"are glaring. The land described, the natives, the alleged ele-
"ments of wealth, the location of the strait, its extent, coast
"line, internal navigation, indeed every peculiarity of the Strait
"of Juan de Fuca and its surroundings repel the belief that the
"inventor of Lock's statement could ever have seen or visited
"the North-west coast of America".
I think that Professor Davidson has expressed the almost
unanimous opinion of students with regard to the Fuca story
in his curt finding:   "The whole story is a fabrication".
Perhaps I should pause here to notice a claim made by Spain
to the discovery of the Strait of Fuca. I quote from the first
chapter of the "Relation del viage hecho por las goletas Sutil y
Mexicana en el ano 1792", as follows:
"Sub-Lieutenant Don Esteban Martinez, being at Nootka,
after having taken possession of that port in the name of Her
Majesty, stated that, in 1774, in returning from his expedition
.to the north, he thought he saw a very wide entrance at 48° 20'
latitude. Believing that it might be that of Fuca, he directed a
second mate (piloto) in command of the schooner Gertrudis
to ascertain whether that entrance existed or not. The mate
returned, saying that he had found it to be twenty-one miles
wide, and its centre in 48° 30' latitude, 19° 28' west of San
Of the voyage of Juan Perez in 1774, we have more accounts
than of any other contemporary expedition, no less than four
distinct diaries being extant. Of these, two, a relation del
viage, and tabla diaria, are by Perez himself; the others are by
the missionaries Crespi and Pefia, whose duties especially included the keeping of diaries of the voyage. If Martinez thought
he saw the strait in 1774, he kept the suspicion closely concealed in his own bosom, for in not one of these four independent accounts is even the least hint of such a thing given. F. W. Howay
In his Breve discurso de los descubrimientos de America Martinez says that he saw in his voyage of 1774 with Juan Perez,
a wide entrance about 48° 30', which he considered to be, either
the strait of Juan de Fuca, or of Aguilar, which ought in his
opinion to connect with Hudson's Bay.
Campos in his Espana en California, page 4, adds that Martinez on his return from Nootka in 1789, said that the pilot
Narvaez had "encontrado de nuevo" the strait.of Juan de
In Humboldt's Essai Politique sur le Royaume de la
Nouvelle-Espagne, volume 2, page 489, after speaking of Mal-
aspina's wish to examine the coast beyond Nootka, he says:
"Le vice-roi, doue d'un esprit actif et entreprenant, ceda
"d'autant plus facilement a ce desir, que de nouveaux renseig-
"nemens donnes par des officiers stationnes a Noutka
"sembloient rendre probable l'existence d'un canal dont on
"attribuoit la decouverte au pilote grec Juan de Fuca, depuis
"la fin du seizieme siecle. En effet, Martinez, en 1774, avoit
"reconnu une entree tres-large sous les 48° 20' de latitude. Le
"pilote de la goelette Gertrudis, l'enseigne Don Manuel
"Quimper, qui commandoit la belandre la Princesse Royale, et,
"en 1791, le capitaine Elisa, avoient viste successivement cette
"entree; ils y avoient meme decouvert des ports surs et
As far as I can ascertain these are the only references to this
strait having been seen by the Spaniards prior to 1790. It
will be noticed that Humboldt's statement, which is the latest
in point of time, is the strongest. The Viage, which was an
official publication by the Spanish Government, says that in
1774 Martinez "thought he saw"; then Martinez himself says
that in 1774 "he saw"; and lastly Humboldt says that he "avoit
reconnu", the strait of Fuca. It is certainly worthy of remark
that if the pilot, as Martinez was in 1774, really saw the strait
so long looked for, and not simply "thought he saw" it—
whatever that may mean,—he did not, as his duty was, report
the fact to the commander of the expedition, Juan Perez. Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
After leaving the vicinity of Nootka in 1774, Martinez did
not return to this portion of the coast until 1789. In the meantime, as will be shown later, Captain Barkley in the Imperial
Eagle, Captain Meares in the Felice, Captain Duncan in the
Princess Royal, and Captain Gray in the Washington, had all
visited the strait of Fuca.
As Martinez in the Princessa left San Bias on the 17th
February, 1789, arriving at Nootka 5th May; and was recalled
in the fall of that year, leaving Nootka on 31st October and
reaching San Bias on 6th December; it follows that any exploration made by Narvaez under his orders must have occurred between May and October. Remembering that during
May, June, and July Martinez was busy seizing Meares's ships
and in making an establishment at Nootka, and later in dismantling it, it may well be doubted whether he had much time
to give to the question of exploration. Again, the schooner
Gertrudis referred to, is none other than Meares's North West
America, which was not seized until 9th June, 1789, and sailed
immediately afterwards with a Spanish crew and Mr. David
Coolidge of the Washington as pilot on a trading voyage,
returning in July with seventy-five skins. From all these circumstances, I think it fair to infer that if Narvaez saw the
strait of Fuca, it was not till the end of June, 1789, and was
not because he was sent to explore it but because he casually
fell in with it, as Campos says, while on this trading voyage.
It will be noted that the fragmentary information which Martinez gives as the result of Narvaez alleged voyage was nothing
more than any seaman in Meares's, Duncan's, or Gray's employ
could have readily told him.
Having disposed of this apocryphal matter let us return to
undisputed facts. It is well known that the fur-trade on this
coast, especially the trade in sea-otter skins, had its origin in
the knowledge obtained by Captain Cook, whose Vessels returned to England in 1780. F. W. Howay
Captain Barkley's Voyage in the Imperial Eagle.
The first of the fur-trading vessels of which I wish to speak
is the Imperial Eagle. Her voyage is interesting for three
reasons; first, the vessel herself was the Loudoun, her name
being changed when she was placed under the Austrian flag,
in order to avoid the monopoly of the East India Company;
second, her captain Charles William Barkley was the real discoverer of the strait of Juan de Fuca; and third, his wife
Frances Hornby Barkley was the first white woman to visit
this part of our coast and to see the strait of Fuca.
As I have already mentioned, the original name of the Imperial Eagle was the Loudoun. She was a fine merchant vessel of 400 tons, ship-rigged and mounting twenty guns. Captain George Dixon of the Queen Charlotte describes her as "a
good-sailing, coppered vessel."
At that time, indeed up till 1833, the East India Company,
which was practically an arm of the British Government, had
a monoply of trade in the South Seas, in which term this coast
was included. That monoply, originally created by Queen
Elizabeth and repeatedly confirmed by Parliament under succeeding monarchs, was of course, only effective as against British vessels and British subjects. To avoid it, the owners of the
Loudoun, who were themselves British, and in the employ of
the East India Company, hit upon the idea of changing the
vessel from the British to the Austrian flag. I may add,
parenthetically, that the vessel was not owned by the Austrian
East India Company as is often stated. Indeed, there was no
such company in existence.
The change of flag and of name was accomplished at Ostend
in Belgium, where the vessel remained some eight weeks, fitting out for the voyage. Captain Barkley, a young man of
twenty-seven years, who was in command, found time in this
interval to cultivate the acquaintance of Miss Frances Hornby
Trevor, the seventeen-year-old daughter of an English clergyman residing there.   So successful was he, that the couple were ~nr   ifi  yf
*v^ /*• ^ £ y
ry^y,      f.   Zj^f0
Early Navigation of the Straitswdf Fuca
married on 27th October, 1786, and Mrs. Barkley sailed with
her husband from Ostend in the Loudoun, alias Imperial Eagle,
on a trading voyage to the North-west coast and China, which
was to be one of a series covering about ten years.
Captain Barkley's log of the Imperial Eagle up to his arrival
at Nootka is in the possession of the Honorable Mr. Justice
Martin in Victoria; but the subsequent log, with his plans and
charts, passed into the hands of his owners and Captain John
Meares, as will be hereafter related, and has disappeared. But
fortunately for local history, Mrs. Barkley kept a diary, which
was until a few years ago in the possession of her grand-son,
the late Captain Edward Barkley, R. N., at Westholm, B. C.
It is to that diary I am indebted for the particulars of this
voyage. Students of the history of the coast must have noted
the paucity of printed information concerning the voyage of
the Imperial Eagle.
The Imperial Eagle arrived at Nootka, the Mecca of all
coast traders, in June, 1787.    Soon after anchoring there, a
canoe came alongside, and Mrs. Barkley was much surprised
when a man, in every respect like an Indian—and a very dirty
one at that—clothed in a dirty sea-otter skin stepped aboard C^^
and introduced himself as Dr. John Mackey late surgeon of    <^>     -ffl
the trading brig, Captain Cook.    During the month the Im- ^ imperial Eagle remained at Nootka, Captain Barkley, with the   }^"j)
aid of Mackey, so swept the sound of sea-otter skins, that when ( '
the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, commanded by
Captains Colnett and Duncan arrived, they found the trade
From Nootka the Imperial Eagle sailed southward, discovering Clayoquot sound and the sound we now call Barkley
sound. Mrs. Barkley's diary says: "We anchored in a snug
harbour in the sound, of which my husband made a plan as
far as his knowledge of it would permit. The anchorage was
off a large village and therefore we named the island, Village
island." This is now known as Effingham island. Some time
was spent here, a "very successful trade" carried on, and a 8
F. W. Howay
considerable number of points and islands named—amongst
others, Cape Beale, at the southern entrance to Barkley sound,
and by some regarded as the northern entrance of the Strait
of Juan de Fuca.
Leaving Barkley sound on a July day in 1787, Captain
Barkley discovered that afternoon the opening we now call
the Strait of Fuca.   I quote from Mrs. Barkley's diary:
"In the afternoon, to our great astonishment, we arrived off
'a large opening extending to the eastward, the entrance of
'which appeared to be about four leagues wide, and remained
'about that width as far as the eye could see, with a clear
'easterly horizon, which my husband immediately recognized
'as the long lost strait of Juan de Fuca, and to which he gave
'the name of the original discoverer, my husband placing it
'on his chart".
The statement in Meares's Voyage, page LV., that the whole
of Captain Barkley's voyage below Barkley sound was made
in the ship's boat is absolutely incorrect. It may hardly be
necessary to add that this is by no means the only error which
exists in Meares's published volume.
Captain Barkley did not examine the opening or explore the
strait at all, so his opinion as to its original discovery by the old
Greek pilot is merely superficial.
The Imperial Eagle proceeded along the coast and in latitude
47° 43', on a river supposed to be the Ohahlat, near Destruction island, in attempting to trade with the natives, the mate,
Mr. Miller, the purser, Mr. Beale, and four seamen were murdered. After this loss, Captain Barkley proceeded as far as
Cape Fear, and thence sailed to China. This ends his connection with our subject, for although he returned in 1792, in the
brig Halcyon, that voyage had to do only with the Alaskan
Before Captain Barkley finally passes off our little stage it
may be of interest to give verbatim from Mrs. Barkley's diary
her side of the difficulty which occurred between her husband
and the owners of the Imperial Eagle.   She says: Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
"The facts are these: My husband was appointed to the Lou-
"doun, since named Imperial Eagle, and engaged to perform
"in her three voyages from the East Indies to Japan, Kam-
"schatka, and the unknown coast of North America, for which
"he was to have the sum of £3000. His owners were supercargoes in China in the service of the East India Company,
"and several of the owners were directors at home. On my
"husband's arrival in China, the owners found they were not
"warranted in trading to China and the North West Coast even
"under the Austrian flag, the change being well known and for
"what purpose, so they found themselves through fear of losing
"their own situations obliged to sell the ship to avoid worse
"consequences. They then wanted to get off their bargain
"with my husband, who, having made provision according to
"the original contract, made in London, would have been
"actually a loser to the sum of thousands of pounds, after
"making upwards of £10,000 for the owners since he had been
"in command, besides the loss of time and great expense incurred by our journey to England from Bengal.
"Captain Barkley therefore brought an action for damages,
"but before the case came into court at Calcutta, the affair was
"compromised by an arbitration of merchants, and my hus-
"band was awarded £5,000. The whole transaction was the
"most arbitrary assumption of power ever known, for the
"owners and agents not only dismissed Captain Barkley from
"the ship, but appropriated all the fittings and stores laid in by
"my husband for the term agreed upon, which would have
"taken at least ten years, for on the second and third voyages
"he was to winter on the Northwest coast and, with the furs
"collected, trade to the unfrequented parts of China, wherever
"he thought furs would sell for the highest figure. Of course
"my husband had supplied himself with the best and most expensive nautical instruments and charts, also stores of every
"kind for such an adventurous voyage. A great portion of the
"latter were obliged to be expended for owners' use, who had
"not laid in sufficient stores for such a voyage, and then these 10
F. W. Howay
"people actually pretended Captain Barkley was bound to
"furnish them, and in their first claim actually brought him
"apparently in debt to the concern! However, when the contract between Captain Barkley and the owners was investigated, justice, though to a small extent, prevailed, and he
"was awarded the sum of £5,000 as I have previously stated.
"My husband left the vessel with the remaining stores on
"board, and these articles fraudulently obtained from him were
"transferred to Captain Meares, who was ,in the same employ
"though not acknowledged to be so".
Meares's Explorations in the Vicinity of Fuca Strait.
The next navigator to see the strait of Fuca was the well-
known Captain John Meares. Meares's name is written large
in the history of our coast. He was the first land owner in
British Columbia; he built the first vessel on this coast north
of Mexico, the historic North West America; he failed to find
the Columbia river, and actually recorded its non-existence;
the publication of his account of his voyages caused a most
acrimonious discussion between himself and Captain George
Dixon, late of the Queen Charlotte; and his trading adventure
brought the British nation to the verge of war with Spain.
Meares left Wicananish, i.e., Clayoquot sound, on the Felice,
during the night of the 28th June, 1788, and steering east
south east arrived on the morning of the 29th abreast of Barkley sound. Passing by, greatly to the chagrin of the natives,
he held the same course along the shore of Vancouver island
until "at noon the latitude was 48° 39' north, at which time we
"had a complete view of an inlet, whose entrance appeared very
"extensive, bearing E. S. E., distant about six leagues. We
"endeavored to keep in with the shore as much as possible, in
"order to have a perfect view of the land. This was an object
"of particular anxiety, as the part of the coast along which we
"were now sailing had not been seen by Captain Cook; and we
"knew of no other navigator said to have been this way except
"Maurelle; and his chart which we had on board, convinced us Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
"that he had either never seen this part of the coast, or that
"he had purposely misrepresented it".
I pause here to note that this statement is not ingenuous; perhaps a stronger, Anglo-Saxon expression would be more apt.
Meares then knew that Captain Barkley had been in that very
locality the preceding year. This is shown by the statement on
page LV of his introductory remarks. There in speaking of
Captain Barkley, Meares says that he "explored that part of
"the coast from Nootka to Wicananish, and so on to a sound,
"to which he gave his own name. The boat's crew, however,
"was dispatched and discovered the extraordinary straits of
"John de Fuca, and also the coast as far as Queenhythe."
Some friend of Meares or some believer in his truthfulness,
may suggest that he only learned the facts about Barkley's voyage after he had made his own examination of the coast. Not
so. Mrs. Barkley's diary shows that the Imperial Eagle reached
Macao in December, 1787, remaining there to dispose of the
furs until February, 1788. Meares was then fitting out at the
same port for this coast, for which he sailed in February, 1788,
so that he had ample opportunity to learn of Captain Barkley's
movements here; and that he did in fact know of them is plain
from his statement on page 124 in connection with the murder
of Mr. Miller and the boat's crew near Destruction island. He
says there that "we saw a seal hanging from the ear of one of
"the men in the canoe which was known to have belonged to
"the unfortunate Mr. Miller of the Imperial Eagle, whose mel-
"ancholy history was perfectly well known to every one on
"board." And again on page 158, when nearing Queenhythe,
he says: "We were approaching the place where and the peo-
"ple by whom the crew of the boat belonging to the Imperial
"Eagle were massacred." And to clinch the matter, Dixon
in his Remarks, which are in the form of a letter to Meares,
says that John Henry Cox, at whose house Meares stayed while
fitting out at Macao, "gave you a copy of Barclay's chart from
"Nootka Sound to the south ward as far or nearly so as you
"went."   This Meares in his reply did not deny. 12
F. W. How AY
Let us now resume Meares's story. By three o'clock in the
afternoon of the 29th June, the Felice arrived at the entrance
of this great inlet, "which appeared," he says, "to be twelve
or fourteen leagues abroad." It is in fact but twelve or fifteen
miles in width. Could Meares not tell the difference between
twelve miles, and twelve leagues ? Or did he stretch the width
to tally more nearly with de Fuca's story to Lock that the
strait was thirty or forty leagues wide? Or was it merely an
effort of his fertile imagination, like his statement that de Fuca
had noted the Indian habit of flattening the head ?
The Voyage goes on to say: "From the mast-head it was
"observed to stretch to the East by North and a clear and un-
"bounded horizon was seen in this direction as far as the eye
"could reach."
Meares crossed to the southern shore and stood in for Cape
Flattery. At a distance of about two miles, the Felice was
hove to, while the long boat was manned to search for an
anchorage between Tatooche island and Cape Flattery. Here
Meares made the acquaintance of Tatooche, the Chief of the
QaBam Indians, whose name stands side by side with those of
Maquilla and Callicum in the early annals of the coast. You
all remember Meares's description of Tatooche—"so surly and
forbidding- a character we had not yet seen"—"of savage and
frightful appearance",—"barbarous and subtle". Four years
later when the Sutil and Mexicana entered the strait, they met
Tatooche, whom they called Tetacus, and engaged him as pilot.
They call him "our friend Tetacus", and speak of him as
"exceedingly friendly",—as "never belying his frankness and
confidence",—and as being "very intelligent and well-behaved".
Did the character of Tatooche alter in the interval, or is
Meares wrong again?
Meares goes on to say: "The strongest curiosity impelled
"us to enter this strait, which we shall call by the name of its
"original discoverer, Juan de Fuca". Did the fact that Meares
had in his possession Barkley's chart with this name already
applied to the strait, aid him in selecting that name?   It was Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
after leaving the strait on this occasion that Meares failed to
find the Columbia river, and in token of his feelings named
Cape Disappointment.
The Felice returned to Barkley sound, and anchored t&ere
while the long boat under Mr. Duffin, the first officer of the
Felice, was sent out to explore the strait of Fuca. Leaving
the sound on the 13th July, 1788, Mr. Duffin entered the strait,
attempted to trade with the natives, was attacked by them, and
returned at the end of five days. His journal shows that he
had coasted along the Vancouver island shore, and barely
entered the strait—in fact that he had only reached a point
near Gordon river in the bay now known as Port San Juan—
when this attack occurred and his retreat commenced. Yet
Meares, on page 179, has the audacity to state that the long
boat had on this occasion, "sailed near thirty leagues up the
"strait, and at that distance from the sea it was about fifteen
"leagues broad with a clear horizon stretching to the East for
"fifteen leagues more". Nothing of that kind is stated in the
journal. Captain Dixon in his Further Remarks on Meares,
scores him heavily for this misrepresentation, "not to call it
by a harder name", and in closing his remarks on the subject,
adds: "Be so good, Mr. Meares, as to inform me how you
"reconcile this difference between the master of the boat's
"journal and your own account, for I am free to confess, I
"cannot possibly do it".
Meares claims to have taken possession of the strait of Fuca
for the King of Britain, with the usual ceremonies. As he himself was never in the strait, and never on land any nearer thereto than Barkley sound, and as Mr. Duffin's journal mentions
no such incident, this statement may be put into the already
over-burdened collection of Meares apocrypha.
Before we part from Captain Meares, as he never again
visited the strait, let me quote once more from Mrs. Barkley's
"In the same manner as he got the stores, Captain Meares
"got possession of my husband's journal and plans from the 14
F. W. Howay
"persons in China to whom he was bound under a penalty of
"£5,000 to give them up for a certain time for, as these persons stated, mercantile objects, they not wishing the knowledge of the coast to be published. Captain Meares however,
"with the greatest effrontery, published and claimed the merit
"of my husband's discoveries therein contained, besides invent-
"ing lies of the most revolting nature tending to vilify the
"persons he thus pilfered. No cause could be assigned either
"by Captain Barkley or myself, for this animosity except the
"wish of currying favor with the late agents and owners of
"the Loudoun named the Imperial Eagle, these persons having
"quarrelled with Captain Barkley in consequence of his claim-
"ing on his discharge a just demand".
In connection with this statement by Mrs. Barkley it is
quite plain that Meares himself placed great stress on keeping
secret the knowledge of the coast while he was operating here.
This is evident from the instructions given by him to Captain
Colnett and Captain Douglas, which are to be found in the
appendix to his volume.
The First Voyage of the Princess Royal.
The next navigator, visiting the strait of Fuca, was a contemporary of both Barkley and Meares, who, though the first
to sail for this coast, was the last to see the strait.
This was Captain Charles Duncan of the sloop Princess
Royal, fifty tons burden, manned by fifteen men. This vessel,
with her consort the Prince of Wales, under Captain James
Colnett, afterwards prominent in the Meares embroglio, sailed
from London in September, 1786, and after calling at Staten
island, arrived at Nootka in July, 1787. Captain Barkley in the
Imperial Eagle, with the aid of Mackey, having already gathered in all the sea-otter skins in that vicinity, the two vessels,
after making a few repairs, left Nootka. Off the entrance of
the sound, on the 8th August, 1787, they met the Queen Charlotte, owned by the same people, Messrs. Etches & Co., of
London.   On Captain Dixon's advice the remainder of the sea- Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
son of 1787 was spent at Queen Charlotte islands where a
large number of skins were obtained.
As was usual in the fur-trade, the winter of 1787 was spent
by Duncan and Colnett at the Sandwich islands. On their return in the spring the commanders separated,—Duncan returning to Queen Charlotte islands and the vicinity. He spent the
summer amongst the group of islands to the east of Queen
Charlotte islands to which he gave the name of Princess Royal
isles, after his vessel.
Sailing from Safety cove, Calvert island, on the 2nd August,
1788, Captain Duncan arrived off Nootka on 6th. Meares,
lying at anchor there, recognized the Princess Royal, and, while
in one breath saying he felt not "the most distant impulse of
any miserable consideration arising from a competition of interests", yet in the next he states that he "became very apprehensive that she might reach Wicananish before us and be
able to tempt that chief by the various articles of novelty on
board her to intrude upon the treaty (of monopoly of trade)
he had made with us. We therefore did not delay a moment to
sail" for Clayoquot sound. On the way Meares hailed the
Princess Royal and went aboard. He speaks in tones of
wonderment that a vessel so small should have rounded Cape
Horn and navigated the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for twenty
months in safety, reflecting great credit on the ability and indefatigable spirit of her commander.
The vessels  separated  in  the  fog.    The  Princess  Royal
reached Ahousat, Clayoquot sound, on the evening of 8th, and '
was busy tradirig with the Indians when Meares passed her,
bound inwards for Port Cox.
On the 13th August, Duncan left Ahousat and on the 15th
anchored before the village of Claaset on the south side of the
straits of Fuca, about two miles east of Cape Flattery. Here
he stayed trading with the natives until the 17th when he left
the coast, "which I should, not have done so soon", he says,
"but that I had an appointment to meet the Prince of Wales on
"a certain day at the Sandwich isles in order to go in company
"together to China." 16
F. W. Howay
As far as I know, the only records we have of Captain
Duncan's movements on this coast are the casual references to
him in Mrs. Barkley's diary, in Meares's, Portlock's, and
Dixon's published volumes, the letter written by him to Dixon,
contained in Dixon's Further Remarks on Meares, and his
chart of the strait of Fuca, which was published by Dalrymple,
January 14th, 1790. That chart contains the first published
information concerning this strait. The chart covers from
Barkley sound to a point near Jordan river, showing the strait
to be about fourteen miles wide, and indicating the positions of
Pachena bay, Carmanah point, Port San Juan, Neah bay, and
Clallam bay. Although it was the middle of August when he
was there, Duncan tells us that the weather was very unsettled.
He goes on: "The Indians of Claaset said that they knew not
"of any land to the Eastward; that it was A'ass too pulse, which
"signifies a great sea. They pointed that the sea ran
"a great way up to the Northward; and down to the South-
"ward; on the East side, they likewise said that at a great
"distance to the Southward, I should find men that had guns,
"as well as I had; whether they meant that to frighten me or
"not I can not tell, for all along the coast, I never found any
"that wished to part with us or indeed wished us to trade with
"another nation, telling us that they were the only people that
"had anything or were worth trading with". He adds that
they are expert whalers.
The chart also contains this note: "A small rock above
water, about the size of a canoe lyes N. 19° E. from Tatooche's
Island at the distance of 1% mile. I sounded j4 a mile to the
Northward of it and had no bottom at 90 fathoms". Captain
Vancouver, in 1792, named this rock Duncan Rock, after its
discoverer; but for that the name of Duncan is not preserved
on our coast.
Duncan did not penetrate the strait beyond Claaset, but he
was the first person to give to the world any really definite information about this strait. Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
The First Voyage of the Washington.
We now come to the consideration of the first voyage of
the Columbia and the Washington, and of the work of the
latter in the vicinity of the strait of Fuca.
These two vessels—the first representatives of the American
flag in the fur-trade on this coast—were fitted out at Boston,
and sailed thence on 1st October, 1787. The Columbia, a ship
of 212 tons, was commanded by Captain John Kendrick; the
Washington, the sloop of 90 tons, by the famous Captain
Robert Gray. The Washington reached Nootka on 16th September, 1788. Meares was in port at the time and seeing the
sail in the offing, sent out the long boat to her assistance, thinking her the Princess Royal. He was surprised when the boat
returned towing into the harbor the American sloop Washington, instead of the British sloop Princess Royal. The Columbia
arrived about a week later.
As far as our subject is concerned the Washington is the
important vessel, on this first voyage. It is claimed that she
was the first vessel to navigate the strait of Fuca and to circumnavigate Vancouver island. This claim is based on Meares's
map showing "the sketch of the track of the American sloop
Washington in the autumn 1789", and on the statements in his
Observations on the Probable Existence of a North West
Passage, page LVI.   He there says:
"The Washington entered the straits of John de Fuca, the
"knowledge of which she had obtained from us; and penetrat-
"ing up them, entered into an extensive sea, where she steered
"to the Northward and Eastward, and had communication with
"the various tribes who inhabit the shores of the numerous
"islands that are situated at the back of Nootka Sound, and
"speak with some little variation the language of the Nootkan
"people. The track of this vessel is marked on the map, and
"is of great moment, as it now completely ascertains that
"Nootka Sound and the parts adjacent, are islands, and compre-
"hended within the Great Northern Archipelago. The sea also
"which is seen to the East, is of great extent; and it is from 18
F. W. How AY
<v *3   /
^ "this stationary point, and the most westerly parts of Hudson s
[ "Bay, that we form an estimate of the distance between them.
"* "The most Easterly direction of the Washington's course is
^"to the longitude of 237° East of Greenwich. It is probable,
"however, that the master of that vessel did not make any
"astronomical observations to give a just data of that station. . ." And on page LXII, in arguing the existence of
a north west passage he says: "And, finally, we offer the
"proofs brought by the Washington, which sailed through a
"sea that extends upwards of eight degrees of latitude."
This is all Meares has to say; this is the basis of all that
has been written on the subject. No other contemporaneous
writer mentions such a voyage. No further basis, no other
evidence in support, has ever been found by~any investigator
into the question.   Its only foundation is Meares.
The story has been frequently mentioned by subsequent
writers, but their statements show plainly that they rely on
Meares. Thus Elwood Evans, in History of trie Pacific North
West, says on page 50:
"In the fall of 1789, after parting with the Columbia, Cap-
"tain Kendrick in the sloop Washington, sailed through the
"strait of Juan de Fuca. Steering Northward he passed through
"some eight degrees of latitude and came out into the Pacific
"Ocean north of latitude fifty-five degrees north".
And so, in Anderson's brochure, Did the Louisiana Purchase extend to the Pacific Ocean ? page 6: "Meanwhile Ken-
"drick in the Washington made further explorations, and preceded all Europeans in passing through the straits of Juan
"de Fuca from one end to the other".
During the heated times of the Oregon Question—"54° 40'
or Fight"—this claim came prominently forward; and it was
resurrected in the San Juan dispute. Both these questions
have long been settled; the subject is now demagnetized; and
we. can touch and examine it without fear of a shock.
Let us get clearly in mind the situation with regard to the
Washington.    Captain Gray was in command from the time Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
she left Boston, until about the end of July, 1789, when
Captain Kendrick took charge, and Gray sailed for China in
the Columbia with the furs obtained by both vessels. From
China the Columbia sailed to Boston arriving, as every one
knows, in August, 1790, and being the first vessel to bear the
Stars and Stripes around the world. Kendrick remained on
this coast in the Washington until the latter part of 1789, when
he also left for China, arriving there with a valuable cargo of
furs on the 26th January, 1790.
Hence this voyage, if made at all, must have been made, if
by Gray, prior to the end of July, 1789; and if by Kendrick,
between July and October, 1789.
Dealing first with the possibility of its having been made by
Captain Gray.   There is in the Public Library in Portland a
copy of Haswell's log, giving an account of voyage of the
Washington under his command up till about the middle of
June, 1789, and for the present it is sufficient to say that it
gives no support to any such claim.   But further we have the
conclusive testimony of Captain Gray himself, as recorded by
Vancouver, who met him near the strait of Fuca in April, 1792:
It is not possible to conceive any person to be more astonished
than was Mr. Gray on his being made acquainted that his
authority had been quoted and the track pointed out that
he had been said to have made in the sloop Washington.   In
contradiction to which he assured the officers that he had
penetrated only fifty miles into the straits in question in art
E. S. E. direction; that he found the passage five leagues
wide; and that he understood from the natives that the opening extended a considerable distance to the northward; that
this was all the information he had acquired respecting this
inland sea, and that he had returned into the ocean by the
same way he had entered".   See Vancouver's Voyage, Vol. I,
pages 42-3.
I will deal later with this statement of Captain Gray. Let
us now consider the possibility of this alleged voyage of the
Washington having been made while in command of Kendrick,
after Gray's departure. 20
F. W. Howay
Unfortunately, all of Kendrick's journals and records disappeared when, after his death, the Washington was lost at
sea; but we have negative testimony in the fact that when
Kendrick's heirs applied to Congress for relief on the ground
of his public services no suggestion of his having explored the
strait of Fuca or circumnavigated Vancouver island was made.
In considering this matter it must be remembered that 1789
was the year of the seizure of Meares's vessels, and that early
that year the Spaniards had formed a settlement at Nootka,
whence they watched with eagle eye the movements of the ships
upon the coast. If any such voyage as stated by Meares had
been made they must surely have been aware of it. Yet Vancouver tells us (Vol. I, p. 318, 4 to ed.), that Galiano and
Valdes, the Spanish commanders whom he met in the Gulf
of Georgia in June, 1792, informed him: "That notwithstanding the Spaniards had lived upon terms of great intimacy
"with Mr. Gray and other American traders at Nootka, they
"had no knowledge of any person having performed such a
"voyage but from the history of it published in England"—
referring of course to Meares's statement.
That this is correct is shown by the fact that in 1790, 1791,
and 1792, three separate expeditions were sent out by the
Spaniards from Nootka to explore the strait of Fuca and
ascertain where it terminated. He goes on to say that Senor
Valdes, who spoke the Indian language fluently, understood
from the natives that the inlet did communicate with the ocean
to the northward. A vague idea that what we call Va/icouver
island was either a large island or a chain of islands was current among the fur-traders from the earliest times; thus Captain Barkley mentions that Mackey, whom he found at Nootka,
as already stated, thought that the country around Nootka
sound was not a part of the continent of North America, but
a chain of detached islands; and see Haswell's log to the same
Vancouver claims for himself and Quadra the honor of the
first circumnavigation of Vancouver island, or as he calls it Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
"the tract of land that had first been circumnavigated by us",—
the island of Quadra and Vancouver. The first edition of Vancouver's Voyage appeared in 1798. At that time Kendrick was
dead; but Gray was alive until 1806. If Vancouver's claims
clashed with either Gray's or Kendrick's actual work, it is
reasonable to suppose that Gray would have been heard from
on the point.
The view of subsequent writers on the question of this
voyage are only valuable as the opinions of experts.
In 1840, when Greenhow published his Memoir, Historical
and Political, on the North West Coast of North America, in
speaking of this alleged voyage, after stating that it was in his
opinion an exaggeration by Meares of Gray's explorations in
the strait of Fuca, he goes on to say on page 92: "The account that such a voyage had been made was incorrect; but
"Captain Gray collected information from the natives of the
"coasts, which left no doubt on his mind that the passage com-
"municated northward of Nootka with the Pacific by an opening to which he had in the summer of 1789 given the names of
"Pintard's Sound, but which is now generally called Queen
"Charlotte Sound. This opinion was verified in 1792 by Vancouver and Galiano and Valdes". As Librarian of the Department of State Greenhow had in his possession (see the
footnote on page 89 of the Memoir) conclusive proof that this
voyage had never been actually made.
Yet despite this published opinion of 1840 and the possession of this conclusive proof to the contrary, we find Greenhow
in his History of Oregon, 1846, pages 216-219, arguing that
the voyage may have been made, and that this is the one statement of Meares which can be relied on. I place the contradiction before you.   I do not attempt to explain it.
Professor Meany simply states the uncertainty prevailing
on the point, with apparently a slight inclination to doubt that
the voyage was ever made. See Meany's Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound, pages 32-33. 22
F. W. How AY
In volume 12 of the Pacific Railroad Reports, published in
1860, by the United States Government, is a geographical
memoir upon the strait of Fuca and the vicinity by the well-
known geographer, J. G. Kohl, of the United States Coast
Survey, perhaps the best-posted man of his day on all such
matters pertaining to this coast. On page 274 of that .memoir
he says: "Greenhow believes that soon after Gray, the American, Captain Kendrick sailed through the whole strait (of
"Fuca) and came out at Queen Charlotte's sound, but this can
"not be proved by historical documents".
Bancroft in his History of the North West Coast, volume I,
page 208, speaking of Kendrick and this alleged voyage, says:
"I can not say that such was not the fact; but from the extreme
"inaccuracy of Meares's chart, from the narrowness of the real
"channel, and from the fact that Kendrick is not known to have
"made subsequently any claims to a discovery so important, I
"am strongly of opinion that the chart was made from second-
"hand reports of Kendrick's conjectures, founded on Gray's
"explorations of the north and south, supplemented by his own
"possible observations after Gray's departure, as well as by
"reports of the natives which, according to Haswell, indicated
"a channel back of Nootka". Bancroft's opinion is very close
to the fact.
Of all the public men prominently connected with the Oregon Question, there was probably none better able or more
competent to express an opinion on this voyage than Albert
Gallatin. He was one of the representatives of the United
States in the negotiation of treaty of joint policy in 1818, and
of the renewal treaty of 1827. Rush's Residence at the Court
of London shows how carefully the voyages to this coast were
scrutinized in the official discussion of the question. Of these
negotiations Gallatin could certainly say in the language of
Virgil, "Quorum pars magna fui". In his second Letter on the
Oregon Question in January, 1846, he says:
"The pretended voyage of the sloop Washington through-
Cut the straits under the command of either Gray or Kendrick
"has no other foundation than an assertion of Meares, on which
"no reliance can be placed". Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
In the reply of the United States in the San Juan dispute
George Bancroft refers to this alleged voyage of the Washington: "We know", he says, "alike from British and from
"Spanish authorities, that an American sloop, fitted out at
"Boston in New England, and commanded by Captain Ken-
"drick, passed through the straits of Fuca just at the time
"when the American Constitution went into operation—two
"years before Vancouver, and even before Quimper and de
"Haro".     sS   /ix^
The only British authority he cites in support is the passage
in Meares already quoted, and a portion of Vancouver's instructions from the Admiralty reciting Meares's statements.
The Spanish authority cited by him is weaker than the proverbial broken reed. It is an extract from Quimper's journal referring to the circumnavigation of Nootka island by Kendrick in the brig Washington in 1791, and not to the circumnavigation of Vancouver island by Kendrick in the sloop
Washington in 1789. It is not for me to attempt to explain
how this mistake occurred.   I simply state the fact.
In this connection it is a strange circumstance that George
Bancroft, who, in Ahe preparation of that case, which bears
on every page the marks of close and careful study and research, overlooked Ingraham's journal—a work in the Library
of Congress, and constantly referred to by Greenhow. This
journal contains statements which show conclusively that the
Washington never made the voyage referred to by Meares.
Before I deal with Ingraham's journal, let me point out another consideration which is opposed to the probability of such
a voyage. Meares says this alleged voyage of the Washington
occurred in the autumn of 1789. Now we know that on the
13th July, 1789, the Washington was lying at Nootka; that she
sailed thence in company with the Columbia a few days later
to Clayoquot sound; that there all the furs were put on board
the Columbia, which then departed for China, arriving there
2nd November, 1789—about three and a half months after
leaving this coast.   The Columbia and the Washington sailed' 24
F. W. Howay
at about the same speed, as shown by the original voyage from
Boston. As the Washington arrived in China on the 26th January, 1790, it seems fair to say that she must have left this cOast
about the end of September. So that she only remained
here about two months after the Columbia sailed; namely
from   the   end   of   July   to   the   end   of   September.    This
M would almost seem without more to settle the question, as it
. may well be doubted whether any navigator could pioneer the
way amid that labyrinth of channels from Cape Flattery to
Cape Scott in such a short time, and carry on sufficient trade
to obtain, as Kendrick did in that interval, a valuable cargo of
I think that, after Gray's departure, Kendrick sailed in the
Washington to Queen Charlotte Islands, and there obtamed
the cargo of five hundred sea otter skins. The chief at Barrell's
sound told Haskins that Kendrick had been there twice, once
in a one-masted ship, lately in one with two masts. See
Haskins Journal, Page 51, under date July 8th, 1791. And we
know that in 1789 the Washington was rigged as a sloop, but
on her return in 1791, she was rigged as a brig. Consequently
the chief's reference to Kendrick in a one-masted ship must
apply to some date in 1789.
All the matters I have dealt with up to this point simply raise
inferences, more or less strong, that the voyage in question
was never made. But I now come to the consideration of Ingraham's journal, which as I have already said settles the
Joseph Ingraham, the writer of this interesting journal, was
the second mate of the Columbia on her first voyage. He went
to China in her, and thence returned to Boston. There he left
the Columbia, and took charge of the brig Hope, in which he
sailed for this coast again on the 16th September, 1790, arriving
here 1st June, 1791. He was engaged in the fur-trade on this
coast in 1791 and 1792. Subsequently he joined the United
States navy, and was lost in the U. S. brig Pickering, which
was never heard of after leaving Delaware in August, 1800. Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
In volume 4, page 206, of that journal, a copy of which I
have obtained through the kindness of C. F. Newcomb, M. D.,
of Victoria, Ingraham, after stating that the charts therein are
prepared from his own observations, and those of Captains
Gray and Douglas, goes on to say that the dotted line shown
thereon connecting the strait of Fuca and Queen Charlotte
sound is marked from certain information that such a passage
exists. In order to prevent his chart being compared, as Captain Dixon compared Meares's, to an old wife's butter pat,
he mentions that the Chatham and Discovery and the Sutil
and Mexicana had passed through this channel in the season of
1792. He states that both Captain Vancouver and the Spanish
commanders had shown him their charts, but as he had not
time to copy the windings of the passage, he chose to show it
by a dotted line so as not to mislead, by laying down windings
and turning coves he never saw. He then proceeds: "The
"sloop Washington, as Mr. Meares supposed, never passed
"through that passage; though we had little doubt of their
"being such passage, from the information of the Indians".
Considering that this story is founded on Meares alone, considering all the various circumstances referred to which raise
inferences against it, remembering the absolute dearth of any
corroboration most persons would probably conclude that the
voyage had never been made; but this extract from Ingraham
ends the matter.
Now, let us return to Meares, the father of this false statement, as of many others.
When Meares's volume appeared, Captain Dixon ridiculed
the statement, and in his Remarks poked fun at the map with
the alleged track of the Washington on it, which he said
resembled nothing "so much as the mould of a good old housewife's butter pat". He then continued: "Be so good, Mr.
Meares, as to inform the public from what authority you introduce this track into your chart". Meares replied that he
had obtained it from "Mr. Neville, a gentleman of the most
respectable character, who came home in the Chesterfield, a 26
F. W. Howay
ship in the service of the East India Company", and that Mr.
Neville had "received the particulars of the track" from Captain Kendrick. To this Captain Dixon answered that, "Hav-
"ing never seen or heard of this gentleman (i.e. Mr. Neville)
"before, I have no right to doubt the verbal information he
"may have given you, neither would I have it understood that
;T ever did. All my thoughts on this subject are that before
"you suffered such a track to appear on your chart, you should
"have seen it delineated on paper either with latitudes and
"longitudes, or the vessel's run".
So that on Meares's own admission the track was put down
on second-hand information. In the heated discussion, nothing was ever heard from Mr. Neville; we have only Meares's
statement as to what was actually told him. It might almost
have been concluded that Mr. Neville was a sort of masculine
"Mrs. Harris", the friend of "Sairey Gamp". But further investigation leads to the conclusion that he was the first mate of
the East Indiaman in which Meares returned to England.
We know from various sources that the Columbia and the
Washington spent the winter of 1788-9 near Friendly Cove,
Nootka sound.   During that time it was discovered that Nootka
was an island; as shown by the following entry in Haswell's
log, under date, March 16, 1789:    "The sound is navigable
"near 20 leagues where it again meets the sea in another out-
"let near as large as Nootka (i.e. Esperanza inlet) about seven
"leagues along shore to the westward".    On Ingraham's map
Nootka island is marked, "Kendrick's island"; and in his journal we find:    "Massachusetts sound  (Esperanza inlet)  was
so named by Captain Kendrick, who, I believe, was the first
that ever passed through it with a vessel, but the Indians
often informed us there was two ways of entering Nootka
sound.   Indeed, we were convinced of it from seeing canoes
go out past Friendly Cove and come back down the sound".
These quotations show that Kendrick circumnavigated Nootka
Island. Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca 27
Under all the circumstances it seems a fair assumption to
say that this first mate had heard, perhaps from the sailors of the
Columbia, that in 1789 Kendrick had circumnavigated the
island on which the village of Nootka was situate, or had found
a channel back of Nootka, and upon this small foundation the
story was built by Meares. A mind which could magnify the
width of the strait of Fuca from twelve miles to fifteen
leagues, and could expand Dumn's trip to Port San Juan, into
a voyage thirty leagues up the strait of Fuca, would not be
likely to find much difficulty in magnifying the circumnavigation of the island of Nootka into the circumnavigation of Vancouver island. When the story is compared with the fact the
tale of our childhood about the three black crows is irresistibly
brought to mind.
I might add here parenthetically that in 1862, Kendrick's
name was most suitably bestowed upon an arm of Nootka
sound by Captain Richards of the H. M. S. Hecate.
Now, to complete the matter, let us see what the records
show in reference to Captain Gray's work while in commmand
of the Washington in 1789. To this end we shall sketch briefly, from Haswell's log, the movements of the Washington after
her arrival at Nootka in September, 1788.
This vessel wintered, as has already been said, in Nootka
sound, remaining there until 16th March, 1789, when she sailed
for Clayoquot, where she arrived the following day. Leav-:
ing Clayoquot early in the morning of the 27th March, she
moved to a position just outside the harbor. The next morning she stood along very close to the shore on an E. S. E.
course, and at ten o'clock the northern extremity of Barkley
sound, or Company bay, as Gray called it, came into view.
At mid-day Cape Flattery was seen bearing SE. by E., but
to the eastward of this no land could be see. "As we proceeded E. by S. as the coast trended," says Haswell, "I fully
concluded we were in the straits of Juan de Fuca." Nitinat
was passed at two o'clock that afternoon, and keeping along
the northern shore of the strait, the Washington proceeded in 28
F. W. Howay
an almost easterly direction; but, as about 4:30 that afternoon
it began to blow hard and the weather looked disagreeable,
Captain Gray ran into a "deep bay", called by the natives
Pachenat, and by him, Poverty cove, but which from Haswell's description and the location, must be the Port San Juan
of our maps. Haswell says: "These people have seen vessels
before, as they are acquainted with the effect of firearms, but
they all say they never saw a vessel like ours, and I believe we
are the first vessel that ever was in this port." The Felice's
long boat under Mr. Duffin had been in this port in July, 1788,
and in an altercation with the natives had shot one at least, so
that they understood by experience the effect of firearms.
At eight o'clock in the morning of 31st March, the Washington sailed across to within half a mile of the southern shore
of the strait, which she followed for about four leagues to
the eastward, but learning from the Indians that there were
no furs to be obtained in that direction, Captain Gray tacked
across to the northern shore. Wherever this four leagues
terminates marks the limit of Captain Gray's examination of
the strait. Haswell says: "To have ran further up these straits
"at this boisterous season of the year without any knowledge
"of where we were going, or what difficulties we might meet
"in this unknown sea, would have been the height of impru-
"dence, especially as the wind was situated so we could not
"return at pleasure. The straits appeared to extend their
"breadth a little way above our present situation, and form
"a large sea stretching to the east and no land as far as the
"eye could reach."
The Washington returned once more to the southern shore,
and on the following morning "the weather was moderate and
clear, and we saw the sun rise clear from the horizon up the
straits." That day, when about to enter Neah bay, a violent
wind sprang up, and not wishing to be caught on a lee shore,
Captain Gray headed for Port San Juan. On the morning of
the 3rd April, he left that port again for the southern shore,
entered Neah bay, but found his situation too dangerous, sailed Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
out of that bay, rounded Cape Flattery which, says Haswell,
is "the south cape of ye straits of Juan de Fuca," and turned
On the 4th April, the Washington was in latitude 47° 35'.
Still proceeding southward, a heavy gale was encountered, so
that the little sloop was reduced to a three-reefed mainsail and
the head of the foresail, and on the 6th April, as its violence
showed no sign of abating, Captain Gray determined to bear
away for Fuca strait and Port San Juan. But the gale still
continuing with hail and sleet, and the sea running very high,
and the tide very strong, he found himself on the morning of
the 9th April, close to Clayoquot.. He therefore entered the
harbor and anchored there.
On the 12th April, the Washington again left Clayoquot, and
after some difficulties in the navigation of Barkley sound,
steered for the strait of Fuca. At daylight of the 18th, the
strait was open to view. At noon Cape Flattery bore E. 24 S.
distant, 7 leagues. Haswell's log is at this point quite indefinite as to locality, but it seems that the vessel kept along
the Washington shore, south of Cape Flattery, during the
early hours of the 19th, and lay to off a village to the southward of Foggy rocks (now known as Umatilla reef), where a
considerable number of good sea-otter skins were purchased
at the rate of five iron chisels per skin. At noon on the 19th
the latitude was 48° 1' N. The morning of the 20th saw the
Washington once more in the vicinity of Tatooche island. The
incoming tide set so strong, says Haswell, "that though it was
calm all the succeeding night we were hurried into the straits."
He continues : "At daylight several canoes came off and upwards
"of 30 sea-otter skins were purchased, but we had the mortification to see them carry off near 70 others, all of excellent
"quality, for want of chisels to purchase them, and they repeatedly told us they had great abundance on shore." Haswell does not indicate the situation of the vessel at this time,
but at any rate it must have been near Tatooche island, perhaps as far inside the strait as Neah bay.   Having no chisels 30
F. W. Howay
left, and the Indians refusing to take other articles, the Washington bore away for Nootka, where she arrived on 22nd
April, 1789.
During the absence of the Washington, Captain Kendrick
had moved the Columbia to Mawinna or Kendrick's Cove,
now called Marvinas bay, seven miles- up the sound from
Friendly Cove; and on the following day the Washington
reached that spot. Haswell says: "We were greatly surprised to find the ship not ready for sea. She was now near-
"ly a hulk; had not been graved or scarce any preparation made
"for sea. They had indeed landed their guns, built a good
"house, built a good battery, landed most of their provisions
"and stores, and had their blacksmith's forge erected in the
"house. When we arrived in the cove they were casting their
"balls, preparatory to grave her bottom. The smiths were
"immediately employed to furnish us with another cargo of
"chisels and all our people in refitting our vessel for sea, repairing the sails, and recruiting our stock of wood and water."
On the 3rd May, 1789, the Washington sailed once more
from Nootka, but this time her prow was turned northward,
and about a month was spent in the vicinity of Queen Charlotte islands, or Washington island, as Gray called them. The
sloop being severely damaged in a gale, it was determined to
return to Nootka. As Haswell gives no dates on the return
trip after the 11th June, when the Washington was in a harbor on the west coast of Queen Charlotte islands, the exact
date of her return can not be fixed, but it was probably some
time after the middle of June, 1789. This short voyage was
most successful, a very lucrative trade being carried on, especially on the west coast of Queen Charlotte islands on the
return journey. Haswell tells us that at one place, Captain
Gray obtained two hundred sea-otter skins in trade at the rate
of one chisel per skin—about one-fifth of the ordinary price.
By a curious error this incident has been constantly misrepresented ; and it has been stated that the two hundred skins were
obtained for one iron chisel. The fact, as stated in Haswell's
log, is that the price was one chisel each. Early Navigation of the Straits of Fuca
The Washington remained at Nootka until after the 13th
July, when she left that port in company with the Columbia
for Clayoquot, where as already stated, all the furs were transferred to the Columbia, and the captains exchanged vessels,
Kendrick remaining on this coast in the Washington. Why
the transfer was made at Clayoquot, instead of Nootka, we
can not say. Perhaps it was owing to the trouble at Nootka
over the seizure of Meares's vessels. Perhaps it was one of
Captain Kendrick's sudden whims. If we believe Haswell,
Kendrick was subject to sudden changes of mind.
The suggestion of Greenhow on page 199, that on this occasion the Washington under Gray re-entered the strait of
Fuca for a distance is pure imagination. There is not one
jot or tittle of evidence to support it; on the contrary, the
evidence is all the other way. The affidavit of Mr. Funter
and the crew of the North West America, sworn at Canton,
on 5th December, 1789, says: "The Columbia and the Amer-
'ican sloop Washington did depart from King George's sound
'together, unmolested in any measure by the Spaniard. . .
'That the Columbia and Washington did steer to a harbor to
'the southward of King George's Sound, where they separated, the Columhia returning to China and the Washington
'remaining on the coast." As these persons left Nootka on
the Columbia, and were passengers on her on the voyage to
China, and had no apparent interest in misrepresenting the
facts, we may assume this statement in the absence of all evidence to the contrary to be correct.
Hence it appears that, during 1789, the only occasions on
which the Washington entered the strait of Fuca were during
the cruise in March and April, of which I have already given
the outlines as recorded by Haswell.
All that now remains is to determine the most easterly point
within the strait then reached by her. Captain John T. Wal-
bran of the Department of Marine and Fisheries at Victoria,
who is one of our best-posted and most thorough students of
the early history of the coast and to whom I am greatly in- 32
F. W. Howay
debted for much valuable assistance in the preparation of this
address, has very kindly worked out for me the daily positions of the Washington from Haswell's observations and statements. He informs me that according to Haswell's log, the
vessel was, on the 31st March, off Clallam bay, some twenty-
five miles east of Cape Flattery; this marks her most easterly
position on the southern shore of the strait. At six o'clock
that evening the Washington reached her furthest east point,
being in latitude 48° 25' N. and longitude 124° 10' W. This
position may be described as fifteen miles eastward of Port
San Juan, or midway between Port San Juan and Sooke
harbor. Thus we find by working out Haswell's log reasonable
confirmation of Captain Gray's statement to Vancouver.
It is not my intention to deal with the work of the Spanish
navigators, Quimper in 1790, Elisa in 1791, and Galiano and
Valdes in 1792. That can only be adequately done by a person
having access to the Archives General of the Indies at Seville. Nor do I intend to touch the work of Vancouver. His
own monumental volumes contain the fullest information, and
Professor Meany's commentary has added the spice of local
and personal interest.
Taking stock then of the advance of knowledge concerning
the strait of Fuca from 1778 to 1789, we find that while Captain Cook discovered Cape Flattery, the strait itself was discovered and named, but not entered, by Captain Barkley in
1787; that Meares never entered the strait at all, but that
Duffin, in charge of the long boat of the Felice reached Port
San Juan in July, 1787; that in August, 1788, Captain Duncan did the first surveying and trading within the strait, and
in January, 1790, he published the first chart of it; that the
Washington did not make the voyage Meares tells of, but
under Captain Gray traded extensively in the strait, examined
both shores to a distance of almost fifty miles, and was the
first vessel to really navigate that strait. THE RISE AND EARLY HISTORY OF
By Walter Carleton Woodward
Period of the Territorial Government
Political Organization  CHAPTER III
Not until two years after the settlement of the Oregon question between the United States and Great Britain, did Congress
take action looking toward giving Oregon a territorial organization. The delay was occasioned by Southern members who
objected to the anti-slavery clause in the proposed organic act.
Not that they entertained a serious hope of seeing slavery
established in Oregon. They fought in the first place the
recognition of the principle that slavery could be excluded
from any of the territories, and later, to force concessions
favorable to them in the organization of the territory so recently acquired from Mexico. After a long and determined
opposition on the part of the pro-slavery element in stubborn
allegiance to its sacred institution, the Oregon Territorial bill
became a law on August 14th, 1848. From that hour there
was a decided change in the political situation in Oregon. The
viewpoint was shifted; the view enlarged. The old lines of
division began to fade. It is true some of the local jealousies
remained and were for a time to continue to be factors in
politics, but the focus was different. Oregon was now linked
with the United States and with its political life. The very fact of
the passage of the territorial bill meant that a party president
would appoint party office holders to exercise national supervision over the new territory. As the old local lines of division began to disappear, in the new conditions men began
to remember their old political affiliations held "back in the
States." But though the change in the point of view was
decided and was generally felt, and its significance appreciated,
it took some time for political action to adapt itself to the new
order. There was a period of transition in which the old
had not been forgotten and put aside and in which the new
had not been fully espoused—a period in which political con- 36
W. C. Woodward
ditions were reshaping themselves in preparation for new and
national alignments. First to emerge in organization from this
political interregnum was the Oregon Democratic party.
Elected in a close campaign for which Oregon had furnished the slogan, President Polk was anxious that the new
Territory should be organized during his term of office. To
this end he urged his appointee for governor, General Joseph
Lane of Indiana, to make all haste on his long journey in
order to assume control before March 4, 1849. Arriving at
Oregon City March 2nd, on the following day he issued a
proclamation extending the laws of the United States over
the Territory of Oregon.1 Oregon was thus started on her
territorial career under the auspices of the Democratic party
and by a man whose future was to be linked inseparably with
that of the new territory. The history of the next decade
was to show how thoroughly fitting and significant was such
a beginning.
One of the first matters of importance incident to the new
relationship which Oregon had assumed was the election of a
delegate to Congress. In this election no national party lines
were drawn. The factors governing it were found in the old
local conditions, affected by the new territorial government.
What the attitude of the Government would be toward recognizing property rights of the British interests as represented
by the Hudson's Bay Company, was the vital question. The
American settlers were quick to suspect the latter of designs
on large parts of the domain north of the Columbia and were
as quick to resent them. This attitude furnished the issue
of the campaign. It resulted in the election, June 6, 1849, of
Samuel R. Thurston, the most vigorous opponent of the foreign interests, among the five candidates, and supported by
the Mission party. Though recognized as a strong Democrat,
as were some of his competitors, it was as a partisan in local
affairs that he made his campaign for election.2    The policy
ijoseph Lane, "Autobiography," Ms., pp.  4, 5.
2Mrs. W. H. Odell, "Autobiography of Thurston.," Ms, pp. 4, 5. Political Parties in Oregon
he pursued in Congress was consistent with this local platform on which he had been chosen as delegate. Serving at a
time when the sectional spirit was so dominant at Washington, he found the Pacific Coast to be "in the angle of cross
fires." As a result, in order not to impair his influence, he
"shut the book of partisan politics" and turned his attention
solely to the material needs of his constituents, securing the
passage of the much desired donation land law.1
If Oregon needed a striking reminder of the fact that henceforth she was of necessity to experience the exigencies of national political life—that her future was inevitably linked with
the party fortunes of the nation, such reminder came promptly.
Her citizens had hardly accustomed themselves to the new
situation when their new officials were replaced by newer ones
by the incoming Whig administration. And as if the very
fact of such a sudden change were not of itself sufficient, the
lesson was emphasized by contributing conditions. With
enough of the demagogue in his make-up to render him a
typical successful politician of his day, Lane had so addressed
himself to the Oregonians and so adapted himself to local
conditions as to put himself in thorough accord and harmony
with the people. He was popular from the start. The fact
that the majority of his constituents were fellow democrats contributed to this entente cordiale, but he was generally popular
regardless of party distinction. He was a man of the people.
Plis Whig successor, General John P. Gaines, was just the
opposite. Pompous and aristocratic in bearing, he was tactless in action and bverzealous in exerting his authority. At
best it was somewhat repugnant to these western Americans,
used to governing themselves, to be placed under what they
considered foreign officials; under such a man as Gaines it
was positively galling. In this situation and in what grew
out of it, is to be found the beginning of political parties in
Oregon in the national sense.    It will hereafter be developed
i Circular  address  issued  by  Thurston  to  Oregon  voters,   from  Washington,
D. C, Nov. 15, 1850. 38
W. C. Woodward
how clever politicians, working upon the popular prejudice,
used such a condition to force political organization.
At the session of the territorial legislature which met at
Oregon City December 2nd, 1850, that apple of discord in
Oregon politics—the capital location question—made its appearance. The two contestants were Oregon City and Salem.
The latter had the advantage of location and naturally, also,
the support of the Mission element which had already made
Salem its center. The location bill, giving Salem the capital,
Portland the penitentiary and Corvallis the university, passed
both houses by a total vote of 16 to ll.1 While the bill was
before the legislature, Gov. Gaines sent in a special message
criticizing it. He showed that inasmuch as it contained more
than one provision it was in violation of that section of the
act of Congress organizing the territory which provided that
a law must embrace but one object and that object expressed
in its title. Unsolicited advice was also given in regard to
the manner of expending appropriations. This gratuitous interference with the legislative part of the government was
bitterly resented by those legislators who were naturally suspicious of executive authority. Their sense of freedom in
self-government was outraged. Their dislike of the man, as
well as the dislike of his politics by the majority of the members,2 added to the dissatisfaction. In a defiant mood the bill
was passed without the changes suggested. The Whig governor was thus associated with the Oregon City side of the contention—his Democratic opponents with that of Salem. The
line of cleavage had been found.
On March 28th, following the adjournment of the legislature
in February, appeared the first number of the Oregon Statesman. Through its editor, Asahel Bush, cold, calculating, relentless, it was to dominate Oregon politics for a decade, making and breaking politicians at will. It announced that in
politics it would be Democratic and* pledged its efforts in be-
iBancroft, Vol. II., p.  146.
20regon Statesman, March 26, 2851. Political Parties in Oregon
half of the integrity and unity of the party in Oregon, bidding
defiance to the unmerited assaults of the political opposition.
Whenever the Democracy should organize the Statesman would
be the uncompromising advocate of regular nominations—
the only manner by which a party could give efficiency to its
action and success to its principles. Thus in its very salutatory it made a tacit argument for party organization, thereby
suggesting its own raison d'etre. Bush at once began the
movement for organization. He wrote letters to Democrats
asking for contributed articles in favor of such political action,1 which explains the rather spontaneous effusions in the
Statesman by "Pro Bono Publieo," "Jeffersonian," "Democracy," and their political kinsmen, from over the Territory.
But at the same time Bush did not allow the enthusiasm of
youth to overthrow the caution of the successful, practical
politician he was. Requested to urge the importance of electing democrats to the legislature in the June election, 1851,
he replied that in the absence of an organization such a course
would lose them more Whig votes than it would gain them
Democratic.2 In the very next issue following the election,
however, which had revealed encouraging Democratic strength,
the leading editorial in the Statesman was headed, "Organization of Democracy."3
The choice of a delegate to Congress was also before the
people in the Spring of 1851. Thurston, after an able and
diligent term, was on the way home to face opposition for his
unfair treatment of Dr. McLoughlin in the donation land bill.
Lane had been mentioned to succeed him and in March was
unanimously nominated at a meeting of the citizens of Yamhill County at LaFayette, at which Lane's personal friend, Gen.
Joel Palmer, presided. The prospect of a contest between
two such influential and aggressive Democrats was far from
reassuring to Bush and those who were carefully laying plans
for the organization of their party.    Harmony and unanimity
iPrivate Correspondence, Bush to M. P. Deady, April i, 1851.
ilbid, May 17, 1851.
3Statesman, June 23, 2852. 40
W. C. Woodward
of action were necessary for success, and such a contest as
this, which threatened factional strife and jealousy was much
to be deprecated. Bush felt the delicacy and embarrassment
of his position keenly and declared privately that he would
pursue an independent course in his paper and uphold party
rather than its individual members.1 The assuming of an
attitude of neutrality by Bush, in the light of his later career,
is almost unthinkable. The political situation was thus greatly relieved by the death of the returning delegate. On May
2nd, the Statesman announced the demise of Thurston and
likewise noticed the return of Lane from the California mines.
In the next issue, May 9th, Bush came out strongly for Lane,
explaining the Statesman's previous neutral attitude in the
fact of there being no organization or nomination to decide
between the Democratic candidates. But now there was but
one candidate in the field and the Statesman would support
him in behalf of the political creed of which he was the exponent. It believed thoroughly in his devotion to the principles, usages and interests of the great Democratic party. Bush
thus forced to the front the recognition of political differences
in the delegate question, there being no opposing Whig candidate^—a position which he had refused to take on the legislative ticket. At the same time the Oregonian, which in its
first issue, December 4th, 1850, had announced active allegiance
to the "present administration and all the principles of the
great Whig party" was now becoming non-partisan in tone.
It demanded only a high-minded man of ability and would not
stop to inquire to what party he belonged.2 Meanwhile another candidate entered the field in the person of W. H. Will-
son. Though primarily representing the Missionary influence which had supported Thurston, he, too, was a Democrat.
Hence, Bush, though personally favorable to Lane, and having
announced that he would support him, is evidently so solicitous
for party harmony that he has not a word more to say in his
iBush to Deady, April  27,   1851.
20regonian, March 8, 2852. Political Parties in Oregon
favor during the remainder of the campaign. The Milwaukee
Star, Democratic, was more outspoken. It could not for a
moment give countenance to Willson's candidacy against a
brother Democrat, which would stir up strife in the party.
While pleading for party unity, the Star at the same time
naively asks the Whig's to support Lane. It urges that in so
doing they will lose no political strength as the delegate has
no vote in Congress; that both Whigs and Democrats will be
equal participators in every measure he brings about for Oregon's advancement.1 Lane himself, both publicly and privately, took a non-partisan stand which was inclined to disarm
any partisan opposition.2 Both candidates were Democrats but
neither ran as such.3 The four newspapers—the Oregonian
and Spectator,4 Whig, and the Statesman and Star, Democratic—were committed more or less actively to Lane,5 who
was elected by a vote of 1,911 to 426.
In the Statesman of June 13th, immediately after the election, appeared a call for a democratic convention to be held
July 4th at Salem for the purpose of effecting a permanent
organization of the party in Marion county. Bush heartily
endorsed the movement editorially and expressed his satisfaction in the fact that it was general throughout the Territory.
By this time the question of party organization had become a
definite issue. The Democrats, clearly in the majority and
smarting under the dominance of Whig officials, took a strong
position in the affirmative. The Marion county convention
above mentioned passed strong resolutions on the subject.
Those resolutions maintained that political parties are inseparable from a free government; that the only natural division
of parties in this country is that which has existed since the
contest between Jefferson and Adams, under the names of
iStar, May 22,  1851.
2PersonaI Correspondence, Lane to J. W. Nesmi'th, May 27, 1851.
3Statesman, June 23,  1857, in retrospect.
4While   the   Spectator   did  not  become   a   distinctively  partisan   paper   until
early in 1852, it was Whig in attitude.
5Star, May 22, 1852. ^=*^
W. C. Woodward
Republican and Democrat and Federal or Whig; and that
Democratic principles are1 as applicable to Oregon as to any
other portion of the nation. These and other arguments were
voiced continually in the Statesman. The democrats were
already looking toward a state organization under which they
could elect their own officials and it was urged that party
machinery should be perfected in anticipation of statehood.2
Extracts from Eastern papers, both Whig and Democratic,
appear, in which the system of party organization and discipline is upheld.
The opposite position was as firmly taken by the Whigs.
They maintained that the people of Oregon, far from the center of political strife, should not be distracted by the fires of
partisan passion. Attention should rather be turned to the
local needs of Oregon. The citizens of the Territory should
work unitedly in behalf of those material interests which were
not political in their nature. The zeal of the Democrats in
the matter was attributed to the ambition of aspiring politicians for place and power. In reply the Statesman asked—
"Who first roused the slumbering fires of party feeling in
Oregon? Ask the party which has swarmed the Territory
with Whig officers, pledged and sworn to aid the schemes and
promote the interests of Whiggery." The Whigs asserted that
Gen. Lane was opposed to party organization, calling to mind
his declaration of non-partisanship in the preceding campaign.
In answer Bush quoted a letter from Lane, from Washington,
dated December 22, 1851, in which he said: "I am glad to
witness your efforts to get a Democratic organization. Lose
no time in urging the Democrats to organize and unite. All
local and sectional issues should be dropped. With the organization and union of the Democracy all will be well in Oregon."3 This was a rude awakening to the Whigs who had
accepted the olive branch held out to them by Lane in June.
1 Statesman, July
2 Statesman, June
Oregon Weekly Times, Nov. 22
the successor of the Western Star.
June,  1851.
3 Statesman, February 24, 1852.
1851.    The Times, published at Portland, was
which had been published at Milwaukie until Political Parties in Oregon
As a contributive force to the movement for Democratic
organization, Bush began gradually to reopen the capital location question in the Statesman. The governor maintained his
position that the location act was invalid and therefore not
binding upon him. On this ground he refused to concur in
the expenditure of the appropriations for public buldings. This
action had the force of a veto upon the bill as the attorney-
general of the United States had given his opinion that the
governor's concurrence was necessary to make such expenditure legal.1 General dissatisfaction resulted and the hostility
to Governor Gaines increased. A perusal of the personal correspondence of some of the Democratic leaders at this time
shows that.there was a hesitancy felt by some in forcing this
issue as a basis for party alignment. The aggressiveness of
Bush in the matter was questioned by his colleagues in 1851.
He maintained privately that while he did not "consider it
exactly a political matter, yet the parties concerned necessarily
make it somewhat so, especially if we look ahead a few years."2
His influence was apparently dominant in the matter as some
of the conservative ones soon became the most active in the
cause. The Statesman of September 16th contained a three-
column contributed article on the location law from the Salem
point of view, signed "Yamhill" and evidently written by M. P.
Deady of La Fayette, to whom Bush had written only the
month before, justifying himself. Deady was one of the
most prominent of the young Democratic leaders and was a
man of marked ability. Bush called attention to the article
editorially, justifying the amount of space given to it by the
importance of the subject and the ability and research with
which it was discussed. And in view of its importance to the
people of Oregon, he invited communications "from all sources
and upon all sides, written in the spirit of courtesy, candor
and honest inquiry which characterizes the one we publish
i Bancroft, Vol. II., p.  160.
^Bush to Deady, August 19, 1851. "Now Deady just place yourself in my
position with a very natural feeling of hostility to the band of government
officers . . . and tell me in what respect you would J»ave taken a different course." ■"■
W. C. Woodward
today."1 Thus was the troublesome question opened up which
was soon to stir the whole Territory in most bitter partisan
The issue was squarely joined with the meeting of the legislature the first of December, 1851. The Democratic members,
greatly in the majority,2 gathered at Salem in accordance with
the provision of the location bill. The Whig minority held the
latter to be void and four members of the house and one of
the council met at Oregon City. Party alignment was definitely made on the issue. The supreme court became involved
in the political controversy. The act of Congress organizing
the Territory required the court to hold annual sessions at the
capital. The time for the session arrived and the two Whig
judges, Wm. Strong and Thos. Nelson, constituting a quorum,
met at Oregon City; the Democratic judge, O. C. Pratt, who
had been appointed by President Polk, at Salem. This fact
greatly emphasized the partisan nature of the contest. Bush
and the Democratic leaders had played their game cleverly.
They had made an issue between the elected representatives of
the people on one hand and the disliked, appointed officials on
the other. Always quick to resent outside interference in their
affairs, the majority of the people rallied to the support of the
legislature at Salem which had organized and proceeded with
business. The controversy became violent and was by no
means allayed at the adjournment of the legislature or even
by the act of the next session of Congress which confirmed
the location bill and legalized the Salem session of the legislature.3 The capital fight became if possible increasingly bitter and more far-reaching in its influences. And the strife
seemed to be as heated in naturally neutral localities as in those
directly interested, owing to the presence and activity of zealous politicians.4
i Statesman, September  16,  1851.
2lbid., July 4,   1851.
3Statesman, June 29, 1852.
4Personal   conversation   with   Hon.   J.   C.   Nelson   on   situation
County. Political Parties in Oregon
The line of division, however, was not wholly or perfectly
made in accordance with past political associations. In some
cases the controversy caused a transference of party fealty
which had an important influence in the history of the state;
notably in the case of Dr. James McBride.1 He had been a
Democrat in Tennessee and' Missouri, but took the Oregon
City side of the fight, became a leading Whig and one of the
founders of the Republican party in Oregon. His son, J. R.
McBride, was the first Republican Congressman to represent
the state and another son, Geo. W. McBride, in more recent
years, was sent to the United States Senate by the same party.
No family has, perhaps, been more prominent in the political
annals of the state. This is but an example of the far-reaching political influence of this early capital location issue. In
other cases sides were taken regardless of party. Jesse Apple-
gate, most irreconcilable of Whigs, took the Salem side of
the question.2 Some, also, who had property interests to consider, took sides irrespective of party. Democrats of Oregon
City and Clackamas county entered a vigorous protest against
making a party issue of the controversy, which would place
them with their political opponents or array them against their
own personal interests. These Democrats and the Whigs
joined in an attempt to stem the tide which had set in towards
party organization. At a mass meeting held on April 15th,
1852, at Milwaukie, the vote was unanimous against the propriety of drawing party lines in Oregon.3 Resolutions were
adopted which deprecated the attempts "of most of our public
journals" to base party movements on personalities and local,
sectional strife. They also concurred in the call for a mass
meeting to be held at Oregon City, April 6th, to nominate candidates for the approaching election, without distinction of
party. At this Oregon City meeting Judge W. W. Buck announced that as a Democrat he was opposed to the attempt
made to organize the Democratic party upon the basis of local
2Private corespondence, Applegate to Deady, January 26, 1852.
3Oregonian, May 8,  1852. 46
W. C. Woodward
m\ i;
issues and personal quarrels. The fact of the non-partisanship
of the meeting was strongly emphasized. In its resolutions a
note of warning was sounded against the practice of disregarding established courts and the legally constituted authorities. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson and Polk were
quoted at length, giving warning against the encroachments
of legislative power upon the other two departments and upholding the authority of the courts. In the same issue1 there
also appeared a letter from "Independence," the purpose of
which was to show the non-political nature of the location
fight. The controversy was not Whig and Democrat—not
high or low tariff, not North or South, slavery or abolition,
it was asserted, but merely location and anti-location. "With
what face then can the Salemites declare this contest to be
between Whigs and Democrats? Do not be deceived, brother
Democrats. The controversy is purely local . . . and has
not the least bearing on any doctrine in dispute between the
two great political parties. This contest turns upon another
hinge altogether. There is a thirsty, office-seeking class of
demagogues who desire, for their own promotion, to organize
the party, and something inflammatory that will rouse and
excite our party to sectional antipathies must be heralded
forth." This letter is very typical of the spirit of the opposition. Week after week Editor Dryer of the Oregonian attacked the Democratic leaders with acrid and defiant pen. In
return the epithets of "nullifiers" and "Encarnacionists"2 were
freely applied to the Whigs and those who espoused the cause
of Oregon City.
A rather notable incident of those stirring times was the
appearance, shortly after the adjournment of the legislature,
of a political satire by the versatile W. L. Adams, who was
to become an important factor in Oregon politics. It was
entitled "Breakspear—A Melodrarhe entitled Treason, Strat-
20regonian,  May 8,  1852.
2G0V. Gaines was held up to contempt by the Democrats because in the
Mexican war he had surrendered at Encarnacion, and, it was asserted, without
offering adequate resistance. Political Parties in Oregon
agems and Spoils." In it the Democratic leaders were cleverly
caricatured and the inspiration of the organization of the
Democracy was shown to be the desire of the Salem faction
to secure the capital. The "Dramatis Personae" were easily
recognizable and the characterizations were so apt, the plot
so real and vivid, that the drama made a sensation. It appeared first in the Oregonian and was then published in pamphlet form, illustrated with rude engravings. Two editions
of the pamphlet were issued. It was considered of such
moment by the Democratic politicians that they took pains to
secure all the copies possible and retire them from circulation.1 The actors are portrayed as crafty, conscienceless villains, intriguing for personal gain. They make tools of the
stupid people whose tenacity is such for what they term Democracy, which not one in five hundred comprehends,
"That we have only to name our present
Project, a pure Democratic measure
And represent ourselves as its defenders,
And the whole furious and headlong band
Will rally round us, like Spanish cattle
Ready to swear that all we say is true."2
The production is more than a clever satire. A study of it
throws great light on the political situation of the day. Some
of the characters involved were ever afterwards known in
Oregon politics by the names by which they were designated
in "Breakspear."
The Democrats, through the press and through convention
resolutions, vehemently denied the charge that they were attempting to organize their party on the location issue. They
strongly deprecated the strife and dissension existing, responsibility for which they laid upon their opponents.3   Bush found
i Conversation with Geo. H. Himes.
2From a copy of the pamphlet in the possession of Mr. Himes, curator of
Oregon Historical Society Collection.
3 Statesman editorial, "Democratic Issues," March 9, 1852.
Resolution passed by Yamhill County Democratic Convention: "Resolved,
That by an organization of the Democratic party upon its long-established and
well-known principles, we hope to forever put to rest those local and personal
factions which, in times gone by, have been so fruitful a source -of discord in
our public councils."—Statesman,  May  22,   2852. 48
W. C. Woodward
such a course necessary in order to placate what he termed
privately the "tender footed; toady Democrats," who berated
the Statesman, denouncing it as too violent. He went so far
as to ask his friend Deady if he would not get a resolution
passed by his county convention sanctioning the manner in
which the Statesman had been conducted.1
In spite of all the obstructive tactics employed by the Whigs
and minority Democrats, party organization was steadily progressing. During the session of the last legislature, a Democratic caucus had been held at which it was unanimously resolved that it was "expedient to organize the Democratic party
in the Territory of Oregon."2 A central committee was chosen
for one year, of which J. W. Nesmith was chairman.3 Dates
were set for the holding of county conventions throughout the
territory. This was the first step toward a general, systematic
organization. Nearly all these conventions passed resolutions
to the effect that political parties are inseparable from a republican form of government; that they constitute the surest
means of selecting faithful and competent servants. They very
generally vindicated the Salem legislataure and denounced the
obstructive measures of the two federal judges and the Whig
officials as a whole. There was no united opposition to the
various county Democratic tickets nominated by these conventions. The non-partisan convention of Clackamas county has
already been noticed. In other counties "Law and Order"
tickets were put out.4 In Umpqua county there was a Whig
ticket. Bush urged all to vote the straight Democratic ticket,
which is the first appearance in Oregon of this old party slogan, "Vot'er straight."5 The June election, 1852, was very
favorable to the Democrats. The opposition carried but two
counties, Clackamas and Washington. The result was divided
in Yamhill.    In commenting upon the result, Bush said the
2Bush to Deady, April 8, 1852.
2Statesman, January 27, 1852.
3Nesmith to Deady, February 6, 1852.
40regonian, May 8, 1852.
5 Statesman, April 27, 1852. Political Parties in Oregon
verdict triumphantly sustained the legislature and declared in
favor of party organization. "The propriety of our recent
organization, though hastily and imperfectly got up, and the
necessity and expediency of keeping it up in all future contests,
will scarcely hereafter be questioned by any reflecting democrat."1
It is only by a study of the newspapers of the period that
one can appreciate the party rancor that by this time existed.
Epithets unprintable, now, were hurled back and forth as
freely as if they were the mere social amenities of the day.
Judge Pratt was considered a Democratic leader, with Bush
as the power behind the throne, and his followers and the
party in general were known as Durhamites.2 The extreme
partisanship of the Democrats in their hatred of the Whig
officials, was forcibly displayed in the following session of the
legislature, in '52 and '53. The mere sending by Gov. Gaines
of a message to the assembly roused a storm of opposition
from the Democrats. A resolution was at once introduced to
the effect that as the legislative department was independent
of the executive, the further consideration of the message
be indefinitely postponed.3 The discussion which followed
was long, heated and often grandiose.4 It was made to appear
that in the innocent and inoffensive message lurked a deadly
enemy of civil liberty! "Overthrowing the bulwarks of American liberty," "the clanking chains of the despot," "insidious
wiles of designing men," are examples of expression which characterized the onslaught.5 At the same time the message itself
was decried as inane and unworthy of consideration. The
danger "lies in the encroachment of executive power, which
like the stealthy crawl of the moonlit crocodile, approaches
ilbid., June 15, 1852.
2Pratt had sold a band of Spanish cattle which he had purchased from a
man named Durham, for a high price, the purchaser having been led to believe he
was buying blooded Durham stock.
30regonian, December 18, 1852.
4lbid., January 8, 1852.
5J. K. Hardin: "I feel it my duty, as one of the sentinels placed by the
people to guard the citadel of their rights, to meet him (Gov. Gaines) at the
threshhold and say, 'Stop!    Thus far shalt thou go but no farther.'" 50
W. C. Woodward
its victim." The resolution carried, but only by the close
vote of 12 to 10. The vote is significant for it is important
to note that thus early is found a dissenting minority in the
Democratic ranks which refuses to be drawn to the extreme
insisted upon by the radical leaders. In the discussion one
member1 warned his rabid colleagues that the pursuance of
the course they were adopting would ruin the Democratic party.
His Democracy was immediately challenged by a radical,2 who
insinuated that he was like others in the Territory "who picked
up their Democracy as they crossed the Rocky Mountains."
The reply is highly suggestive of the high-handed manner in
which the ring Democrats promptly read out of the party all
those who questioned their methods. The term National
Democrats was this early applied to those who desired to base
their party allegiance on broader grounds, to distinguish them
from the Durham faction or the machine.3
The action of the legislature was the inspiration of tireless
invective on the part of the Oregonian. It charged that the
warfare waged against Gaines was for the purpose of deceiving the new immigrants and winning them into the embrace
of Durhamism ;4 that the welfare of the people was neglected
and necessary legislative measures stifled for the furtherance
of political schemes; that measures of the Durham members
were passed while those of the National Democrats and Whigs
were killed with the purpose of killing their authors ;5 that deception, falsehood, villification, and assault were in Oregon
synonymous with the word "Democracy," which was but another term for "Prattocracy"; that the sole idea of the political
gamblers was that "Prattism must prevail," that they might
secure place and power.6 As has been suggested, there was a
strong conviction at the time of the organization of the territorial government that offices should be filled by Oregon men
iF. A. Chenowe'th of Clarke and Lewis counties.
2A. C. Gibbs of Umpqua county.
30regonian, January 22, 1853.
4lbid., January 15, 1853.
SOregonian, March 5, 1853.
61 bid., December 25,  1852. Political Parties in Oregon
rather than by men imported from the East. Charges were made
in 1851 that the district judges were not holding their terms
of court regularly and that as a result justice was delayed
and criminals had escaped. This increased the general dissatisfaction with imported officials, especially as they were
Whigs. The independent, if not impertinent, attitude of the
people is exemplified in a resolution adopted at a public meeting in Portland, April 1, 1851: "Resolved—That the President of the United States be respectfully informed that there are
many respectable individuals in Oregon capable of discharging
the duties devolving upon the judges, as well as filling any other
office under the territorial government, who would either discharge the duties or resign the office.1 The very first business
transacted by the legislature which met in the following December, was to draft a joint memorial asking Congress to
amend the organic act so as to permit the election by the
people of all the territorial officers. Blissful confidence was
expressed that Congress would graciously accede to the request. Nevertheless a bill was passed to the effect that if
Congress should be so inconsiderate as to adjourn without
granting the petition, a special election should be called within
sixty days to vote upon the question of calling a convention
to frame a state constitution. Democratic mass meetings and
conventions followed all over the territory, at which the memorial was vigorously upheld. A few federal or "non-partisan"
meetings are recorded which just as strenuously opposed it.
The movement for statehood and the spirit of independence
which demanded the popular election of all officers are inseparable in the history of Oregon Territory. Wherever either
is brought to the front, the other is found as an underlying
factor.   They cannot be discussed separately.
As another presidential election approached, with indications favorable to the election of Pierce, the Democratic attitude toward statehood became less violent and the constitu-
i Statesman, April 11, 1851.
2Statesman, January 27, 1852.
L 52
W. C. Woodward
tional convention was not called. Bush, in stating his opposition to the convention privately, said that if Scott's election
were certain and the petition for the election of officers certain
not to be granted it would alter the case amazingly; but that
in the prospect of the election of Pierce and of the passage of
the memorial at the next session of Congress, they had a
double prospect of relief.1 In the legislature of '52-'53, the
lower house voted 14 to 9 to submit the question of calling
a constitutional convention to the people.2 But the council,
which was more strongly Democratic, rejected the proposition.3 With the news of the election of Pierce the ardor of
the Democrats for statehood was cooled, for Whig officials
would now give way to Democratic appointees. On the other
hand, the Whigs who had so strenuously opposed the movement now began to see its merits.
The Democrats already had control of the legislative branch
of the government and the executive would now be theirs.
Judge Nelson had resigned and Lane had been instructed to prevent the confirmation of a successor by the Senate until the
hoped-for Democratic administration should come into power,
which would give the Durhamites the control of the judiciary.4
The well laid plans of the Democratic leaders were rapidly developing. Nevertheless they did not expect to take any chances,
even with their own party administration. The purpose of the
first Democratic Territorial Convention was stated in the call
to be the nomination of a candidate for delegate to Congress
and "to recommend to the executive of the United States
suitable persons to fill the various federal offices in this territory."5 The appointments when made were very satisfactory indeed, all the officials but one being Oregonians. This
gave the Democrats an appreciated opportunity for comparing
i Bush to Deady, September 3, 1852.
2 Statesman, January 22,  1853.
3lbid., March 12, 1853. In the same issue Bush recedes from the pronounced ground he had taken in the past. He says, editorially', the question
should be "well and dispassionately" considered and speaks of the heavy expense
of a state government.
4Bush to Deady, February, 1852.
5 Statesman, January 22, 1853. Political Parties in Oregon
the treatment of Oregon by the two Administrations. In an
editorial on "The Difference," Bush says the places will be
now filled by Oregonians and the salaries received and expended at home, instead of being "gobbled up by a set of
foreign mercenaries and taken out of the country." The only
consolation the Whigs had in the tide of Democratic success
was found in the rejection by the Senate of the nomination
of the Durham leader, Pratt, for chief justice.1 General Lane,
who was by this time the idol of the Oregon Democracy, returned to succeed Gaines as governor on May 16th. But this
was merely to gratify the personal desire of Lane,2 as it was
understood that he would run again for delegate, he having
in fact been already nominated. He accordingly resigned
three days after succeeding Gaines, which elevated Geo. L.
Curry, the secretary, to the position of governor.
It has been shown that organization of the Democratic
party in Oregon was first effected in 1852. It was not complete, but the several county conventions had put party tickets
in the field and forced partisanship to the front. The issue
of the movement as shown in the election results, and the
triumphs of the Democracy which followed, served to confirm
the Democrats in the determination to perfect a permanent
organization. Flushed with success, they entered upon the
campaign of 1853 with zeal and aggressiveness. The first Territorial Democratic convention met at Salem, April 11th and
12th, at the call of the Territorial central commmittee, appointed at the Democratic caucus the year previous. Lane was
nominated to succeed himself as delegate, receiving 38 votes.
M. P. Deady and Cyrus Olney, associate justices, received 11
and 5 votes respectively. The convention expressed itself as
feeling the necessity, in organizing the party in Oregon, of
making it "thorough, radical and efficient" and appealed for
hearty co-operation to this end. It is interesting to note that
the spirit of expansion which had taken hold of the National
iPratt's confirmation was defeated by Senator Douglas on personal grounds.
2Lane, Autobiography, Ms., p. 58. 54
W. C. Woodward
Democracy and which was beginning to manifest itself in designs on Cuba, is reflected in this first Territorial convention
in the far Northwest. The fifth resolution declared that the
Sandwich Islands are a natural and almost necessary appendage to the American possessions on the Pacific Coast and that
Oregon Territory feels a deep interest in their acquisition by
the United States. It was resolved that any transcontinental
railroad must include a branch from San Francisco to Puget
Sound. The National Democratic platform of 1852 adopted
at Baltimore was endorsed, thus introducing national issues
into Oregon politics for the first time in this campaign of
The opposition to the Democracy still opposed political
parties in Oregon. Hence, there was no organization or
machinery for bringing out a candidate against Lane for delegate. However, A. A. Skinner, who had been a judge under
the Provisional government, announced in a letter to the Oregonian of May 21st, that a portion of his fellow citizens "without distinction of party" had requested him to become a candidate and that he would comply. He proceeded to give his
views, to the effect that parties are unnecessary and pernicious
in a Territory; that their introduction is fraught with evil consequences—ill blood and strife. Despite his non-partisan pretensions Skinner argued ably for the good Whig doctrine of
federal aid for internal improvements. The Oregonian forthwith put his name at its masthead under the caption of "The
People's Party." The campaign was brief but hotly contested. On the one hand Lane was bitterly attacked for base
deception in having sought office as a non-partisan, in pledging himself to support no political organization, even decrying political parties in a territory—and then completely changing front immediately after election.1 On the other hand
Skinner was characterized as a narrow, prejudiced federalist
seeking to hide his partisan bias under the professions of no-
iOregonian, March 12, 1853.
Ibid., April 2,  1853.
Ibid., May 24,  1853. Political Parties in Oregon
partyism.1 The Jackson County Democratic convention declared that the cry of "people's party" and "people's candidate"
was but a new subterfuge behind which Whiggery sought to
make a successful inroad into the ranks of Democracy "to
steal the livery of heaven to serve the devil in."? The victory
for the Democrats was decisive. Lane was elected by a vote
of 4,529 to 2,959.3 All the new members of the council were
Democrats. Four Whigs or "People's Party" men were elected to the lower house—one each from Lane, Umpqua, Washington and Jackson counties. It was a victory for party organization. The Oregon Democracy was now thoroughly intrenched in the Territory—political parties had come to stay.
Through it all the fine hand of Asahel Bush was discernible
and his dictatorship in Oregon was clearly foreshadowed if
indeed it had not already come to pass.
iStatesman, May 22, 1853.
2Statesman, May 8, 2853.
3loid., June 23, 2857. CHAPTER IV
In the decisive Democratic victory of 1853 the Whigs finally
read their lesson. They realized that party organization was
inevitable. The Oregonian, with all the force of Dryer's vitriolic pen, attacked partyism right up to the end of the campaign. In the very next issue following the election, the versatile editor championed the cause of Whig organization and
outlined a radical party platform.1 He declared that the Durham Democrats had succeeded in duping the masses with the
shibboleth of "Democracy," forcing those who were honest
in their political opinions to take issue with them. "Therefore
it becomes us, however much we may doubt that the good
of the whole people demands a partisan course, under present
circumstances to throw to the breeze the Whig banner." Here
was the conception of the Oregon Whig party, "born as one
out of due season." It was a posthumous child and was never
to arrive at healthy maturity.2
The platform outlined by the Oregonian was clear-cut and
comprehensive. As regards local conditions, it announced uncompromising opposition to the consolidation of power in the
hands of a few political office hunters. It declared for legislation for the benefit of the people rather than of faction;
for strict accountability of public officers; free lands for bona
fide settlers; free speech and a free press, unawed by the threats
of party demagogues; a system of naturalization by which
every foreigner should be placed upon an equal footing with
those in the Atlantic States. Nationally, the planks of the
tentative platform were: A safe, speedy and economical sys-
iOregonian, June 18, 1853.
2"The Sewer man (Dryer) is in favor of organizing the Whig party. Greeley
of the New York Tribune says that the Whig party is dead in the states. But,
like all animals of the reptile order, it dies in the extremities last; and him of the
Sewer (the Oregonian) is the last agonizing knot of the tail."—Statesman, July
4r 1853. Political Parties in Oregon
tem of internal improvements by the general government; encouragement of home productions by a discriminating tariff
upon manufactures, adequate to the expenditures of an economic administration of the government; the construction of
a railroad by the general government, from the Mississippi
river to some point on the Pacific Coast, within the old boundaries of Oregon.
Having given up the plea of non-partisanship, an unnatural
position for a man of Dryer's pugnacious temperament, the
Oregonian becomes at once a valiant party champion. Taking
up his platform in detail, week after week, Dryer enunciates
Whig principles and justifies Whig organization. He dwells
especially upon the doctrine of internal improvements by the
federal government—a doctrine which would appeal strongly
to isolated Oregon. The vulnerable mark in the armor of the
Oregon Democracy was immediately discovered. The inconsistency was shown of Democrats resolving that the building
of a Pacific railroad by the general government was of paramount importance, while at the same time Democratic leaders
and statesmen were declaring that the government had not
the constitutional authority to make public improvements. Before the end of the year the Whigs were definitely urged by
the Oregonian to organize at once in every county.1 "The stupendous scheme of 'a grand Pacific railroad" was declared to
be purely a Whig policy, destined to be the leading doctrine
of the Whig party in Oregon. Dryer recognized in this the
trump card of Whiggery in the Territory and he was determined that it should not be stolen by the presumptuous Dur-
On March 7th of the following year the movement toward
actual organization was launched at a public meeting of the
i Oregonian, November 4, 1853: "Heretofore the Whigs have not deemed it
expedient to organize in opposition to this band of political marauders, supposing
themselves to be in a hopeless minority. But the time has now come when further
submission to the locofoco party would be highly criminal. Therefore we ask
every Whig in Oregon to come out from among the Durham wolves. Let us. take
our position—unfurl our banners—proclaim our principles and charge manfully
into the Philistine camp." 58
W. C. Woodward
Whigs of Portland.1 After attacking the abuses of Durham
rule, they sent to their "brother Whigs throughout the Territory a full, frank and unalterable notice that henceforth and
forever we stand on the platform of the Republican Whig
party." They nominated a ticket to be voted upon at the approaching city election and made recommendation to the various counties to present full Whig tickets for county and territorial officers at the next June election. As a result of this
meeting the Oregonian exultantly announced that the Whig
party for the first time in Oregon stood out in bold relief, prepared and determined to do battle with a common enemy in
a common cause; that the siren song of "Democracy" had been
chanted for the last time, to Whig ears.
General Whig organization followed. It was not yet thorough and complete and was not distinctively Whig in every
county. Washington county was a Whig stronghold and its
convention, held May 6, 1854, issued a clear statement justifying organization.2 The assembled delegates declared that
they had tried in vain to induce all parties to lay aside prejudices of national parties; had sought to sustain good men for
office regardless of politics, but that their overtures of peace
had been met with bitter hostility. They had found themselves
a proscribed class, treated like a conquered people. This convention, so far as the newspapers of the time show, made one
of the very first references in Oregon to the opening struggle
over the organization of those western territories, which struggle was big with the destinies of the nation. A rap Vas taken
at Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska bill in the declaration: "We regard the several compromises made by Congress and acquiesced
in by the people, as final, conclusive and binding." It is somewhat diverting to find these Whigs resolving that the federal
offices of the Territory should be filled by citizens of Oregon!
The present governor, Davis, was a Democrat and had been
imported from Indiana.
i Oregonian, March 22, 2854.
2lbid., May 23, 2854. Political Parties in Oregon
While Whig organization was in progress another political
movement had been making headway. It was to give rise to
the Maine Law party. From the very first settlement there
had been a strong sentiment in Oregon in favor of the prohibition of the sale of liquor. The Provisional legislature of
1844 enacted a law prohibiting the introduction of ardent
spirits into Oregon,1 the first prohibitory liquor law on the
Pacific Coast.2 The organic law as amended in the summer
of 1845 gave the legislature the power to regulate the introduction and sale of intoxicants instead of the power to prohibit, and to this fact has been attributed, partly, the smallness
of the majority of votes (203) cast for the amended law on
July 26, 1845.3 At the December session of the legislature a
stringent prohibitory law was passed.4 But it was generally
asserted that the Hudson's Bay Company continued to import
liquor for purposes of trade, while vigorous action was taken
toward enforcing the law among the Americans. This caused
dissatisfaction, and the result was that at the next annual session a license law was substituted, passed only over the emphatic veto of Governor Abernethy.
The passage of the prohibitory liquor law in the state of
Maine in 1851 was reflected across the continent in Oregon within a few months. Considering the vast distances separating the
coast from the East—the obstructive mountain ranges, the
intervening deserts or the long sea route—it is a matter of
surprise to note how quickly eastern movements or events became factors in the life and thought of Oregon in these early
days. This is a good instance in point. In May, 1852, a
temperance convention was held at Salem, attended by delegates from several counties.5 The Convention declared for a
Maine law for Oregon and a committee was appointed to confer with legislative candidates to get their attitude on the
i Oregon Archives, p. 44.
2Thornton, "History of the Provisional Government," p.
3R>id.,  p.  T2.
40regon Archives, pp. 132, 132; Spectator, February 5, 284
5Statesman, May 28, 1852. 60
W. C. Woodward
question "that the people may fully understand what they are
supporting." The general interest in the subject is reflected in
the numerous clippings from the eastern papers in the Oregon
press during the year 1853, relative to prohibition in general
and the working of the Maine law in particular. The Oregon
Territory Temperance Association met at Salem in April, 1854,
and resolved that the Maine law, modified so as not to conflict with the Territorial government, should be considered as
the platform of the Territory. It was recommended that the
friends of temperance meet at the various county seats on the
first Tuesday in May to nominate candidates for the legislative assembly. Reports of the Marion and Yamhill county
conventions show the movement to be strongly political.1 The
Yamhill resolutions declare that it is a political issue; that the
interests of temperance are paramount to all ordinary political
issues and that the participants pledge themselves to vote for
no candidate for the legislature who is not known to be in
favor of the Maine liquor law.
Thus in 1854, the first year in which the Democrats contend
with organized opposition, that opposition does not present a
united front, but is divided in two organizations. While the
Maine law partisans had no unity with either of the old parties
it was natural that the two minority parties in the Territory
should tend to make common cause against the Durhamites.
This they did in part, apparently without well concerted purpose. There was no uniformity of procedure. For example,
in Marion county there was a Maine Law, but no Whig ticket
and the vote shows that the Whigs supported the Maine Law
candidates. That one of the latter receiving the highest vote,
Orange Jacobs, was but 12 votes behind the low Democratic
nominee. In Washington county there was a Whig but no
Maine Law ticket. In Polk, where the relative strength of the
Democrats and Maine Laws proved about 4 to 1, there were no
Whig candidates, but in a few instances the candidates were denominated, "Maine Law-Whig", thus indicating coalition. Yam-
iOregonian, May 23, 2854. Political Parties in Oregon
hill county had three distinct tickets in the field.1 Bush stated
the situation clearly from the Democratic standpoint.2 He declared that Democracy was opposed by Whigs—openly, when
any hope was entertained of succeeding under "that corrupt
and often rebuked organization"; secretly, and under disguise
of Independents, and Maine Law advocates where there was
no prospect of victory under the odious flag of Federalism.
Throughout the campaign Bush waged war on the Maine Law
party; first, on principle, opposing the doctrine of prohibition;
second, and more emphatically, on political grounds, stigmatizing the movement as a mere trick to aid the Whigs in
defeating the Democrats.3 The Marion County Democratic
convention of May 6th soberly decreed that as Democrats
they did not recognize the Maine liquor law as a legitimate
political issue.
The results of the election were generally favorable to the
Democratic candidates but the latter appreciated the fact that
their success had for the first time cost them" a sharp struggle.
The efficacy of organization on the part of the minority was
demonstrated. As the Statesman averred, party lines were
now distinctly and permanently drawn and there remained no
back or neutral ground in Oregon politics.4 Bush, in reviewing the election results, commended Clackamas, Linn, Polk
and Yamhill counties as having acquitted themselves nobly
in their struggle against all the isms of the day. On the other
hand, Marion and Benton, heretofore the standard Democratic
counties, had been afflicted with serious disaffections in the
Democratic ranks, not resulting in total defeat, but giving
much regret to the friends of Democracy everywhere.    He
2 The  vote  on  the  legislative tickets indicates the  relative  strength  of the
parties in Yamhill county:
A. J.  Hembree, Democrat, 270.
Martin   Olds,   Democrat,   252.
A.  G.  Henry,  Whig,  268.
Wm. Logan, Whig, 195.
J. H. D. Henderson, M. Law, 232.
G. W. Burnett, M. Law, 106.
2Statesman, May 26, 1854.
3 Statesman, April 25 and May 2, 1854.
4lbid., June 20, 1854. 62
W. C. Woodward
exulted in the fact that no Maine Law candidate had been
elected to the legislature and only eight Whigs.1 The opposition was sufficient to impress the Durhamites with the necessity of forgetting past factions and differences among themselves and of making common cause against presumptuous
The sky had not yet cleared after the stress of the June
election when another cloud loomed big on the political horizon. It was the precursor of such a sudden, violent storm in
Oregon politics as has not been seen before nor since. It broke
with the violence of a hurricane, spent its fury and died away
almost as quickly as it had come. It was the appearance in the
Territory of the Know Nothing movement, which had appeared in the East in 1852, under the name of the American
party. It was the reappearance on a larger scale, in American politics, of the attempts which had been made in eastern
cities in 1835 and in 1843 to establish a "Native American" party. It took the form of a secret, oath-bound organization and avowed hostility to the political influence of foreigners in our government. Its design was to oppose the easy
naturalization laws and demanded the selection of none but
natives for office.3 There were no peculiar conditions in Oregon sufficient to explain the furor raised by the introduction
of the new issue. It has been suggested by Bancroft that it
was largely an expression of the old antipathies toward the
foreign element in the settlement of Oregon.4 But these were
rapidly passing away in the violence of national party strife.
A study of the contemporary press does not*suggest such potent local anti-foreign sentiment. The real explanation will
become obvious in the story of the bitter struggle.
As early as 1852 Bush had attacked Native Americanism
as but another exhibition of the spirit of the old Alien and
Sedition laws.5   But the issue was not joined until 1854 when
ilbid., June 13 and June 27, 1854.
2Statesman, June 20, 1854—editorial on "Democratic Union."
3Johnston, "American Politics," p.  169.
4Bancroft,  "History of Oregon," Vol.  IL,  pp.  357,  358.
5 Statesman, March 30, 1852. Political Parties in Oregon
the influence of the American party began to be manifest in
the eastern elections. On July 25, 1854, the Statesman speaks
of an extensive secret society flourishing in the East which
was merely a Native American political party and which had
already gotten itself into very bad odor. At this time Bush
was in the East. In a letter to his paper dated June 19, and
appearing August 8, for the first time in his regular correspondence he calls attention to the Know Nothings. He predicts for them a short career which will make plain the Alien
and Sedition sympathies of 1854 Abolition Whiggery and
publish the identity of that party with the old Hartford Convention Federalism. "So, as we can't help it, let this Native
American dog (the meanest and most despicable of all curs)
have its day." The Oregonian makes its first reference to the
new party in August. It makes light of the evident anxiety
and apprehensions of the Democrats and declares it "knows
nothing" of the existence of such an organization in Oregon.1
A little later, Dryer tacitly defends Know Nothingism as it
gave him a new avenue of attack on the Durhamites. He declares that the idea that a native born American made free by
the best blood of Revolutionary sires and educated under laws
and institutions truly American, should presume to vote in
accordance with the dictates of his own conscience, is a serious
innovation to Oregon Democracy.2 This early statement is
significant as indicating the future attitude of the Whigs. They
were inclined to look with charity upon any organization
which threatened the power of the hated Durhamites.
The operations of the new organization being secret, its
growth cannot be very satisfactorily traced. Before the end
of the year there were numerous Know Nothing wigwams
throughout the Territory and they were increasing steadily.
The Know Nothings were enthusiastic and confident that they
were going to sweep all before them.3    There was held at
iOregonian, August 26, 2854.
20regonian, October 28 and November 4, 1854.
3Personal conversation with C. A. Reed, of Portland, a surviving member
of Salem Wigwam No. 4. 64
W. C. Woodward
Portland on November 8, a district Democratic convention of
Washington and Columbia counties, to make a nomination to
fill a vacancy in the council of the legislature. The resolutions adopted are devoted almost entirely to the new heresy
which is utterly condemned. The assembled Democrats declare uncompromising war against all their enemies, whether
under the guise of "No Party party, Know Nothings, Native
Americans or live Whigs," all of which are the natural allies
of the Federal party. But the Durham leaders were clearly
panic stricken. There was something insidious and baffling
in the march of the movement. It was not only rapidly consolidating the opposition, but it was beginning to make inroads on their own forces. They stormed and denounced but
it was like firing into the air. The stealthy enemy exposed no
visible point of attack.
At this crisis in the fortunes of Oregon Democracy, there
appeared in the Statesman of November 1, 1854, a sensational
and far-reaching exposure. In the words of Bush, "A friend,
who says that through idle curiosity he was induced to become
a member of the 'Supreme Order of the Star Spangled Banner' or Know Nothings, has placed in our hands a full and
complete exposure of the whole organization, embracing their
form of initiation, oaths, obligations, signs, grips, tokens and
pass words, the particulars of what has transpired at most of
their meetings at this place and a list of the members here."1
He characterizes the whole thing as the most ridiculous piece
of bigotry, intolerance and stupidity grown persons were ever
engaged in. He is pleased to find from the list that nearly
all the members are Whigs—natural Know Nothings, who
should have been admitted without initiation. He regrets,
however, to find the names of a few Democrats. Two of the
latter are ambitious for legislative honors but they are plainly
told that their political days are numbered. In this issue Bush
reveals enough to excite a furor and promises further developments in the future, including the publication of a list of
iThe Statesman was published at Salem at this time. Political Parties in Oregon
membership. The next issue of the Statesman is almost wholly
devoted to anti-Know Nothingism. The tempest stirred up
by the exposure is evident. Bush was ordered to give the
name of his informant.1 He refused. He was told he would
be held personally responsible.2 In reply he hurled defiance
at his threateners and continued his exposures week after week.
The Salem Know Nothings changed their places of meeting,
they did everything to escape the implacable Bush. But the
disclosures continued until the whole history and secret operations of the order were exposed.3
This was a decided repulse to Americanism in Oregon. It
was not that its operations were found to be heinous. Publicity robbed it of that subtle element of mystery which had
been its principal asset. Furthermore, with the free use of
the lash, the Durham leader headed off an incipient stampede.
Bush was now cordially hated but thoroughly feared. His
power was unquestioned. He ordered Democrats to stand
clear of any connection with the "wolves in sheep's clothing"
and emphasized his admonition with a covert threat: "Mark
the prediction. There is not a man of prominence or influence
belonging to the damning conspiracy in Oregon whose connection with it will not be known in less than six months.
They are doomed, men."4 Democrats were inclined to take
the imperious editor at his word. It was a venturesome man
in Oregon politics at this period who would dare the displeasure of Bush. Many wavering ones, Democrats in particular, reconsidered the advisability of becoming associated
with the proscribed Know Nothings.
2 Bush received his information through a printer employed on the Statesman
named Beebe, who joined the Salem Wigwam as a spy.—Private letter, D. W.
Craig to Geo. H. Himes, August 9,  1909.
2Personal conversation with Hon. Geo. H. Williams. For a week or more
following the first exposure, the latter, armed, daily escorted Bush to his office
past threatening Know Nothings.
3Statesman, November 28, December 12, 1854; January 2, June 16, June 23,
4lbid., December 12, 1854. "What Democrat does not feel proud in the
consciousness that he is pure and free from niggerism, Know Nothingism and all
the other isms of the day? Who had not rather be a straight forward, consistent,
fearless Democrat, than a shame-faced Know Nothing, skulking around from
one garret to another in the darkness of the night." 66
W. C. Woodward
But Bush and the Durhamites were not yet content. With
the opening of the legislature a legislative coup was sprung
which was to complete the work begun by the sensational exposure. With but eight members of the opposition in the Assembly, the Durham leaders, accustomed to almost implicit
obedience, felt able to force through any measure which the
political exigency demanded. The famous Viva Voce ballot
law was drawn up and presented for enactment. It provided
that thereafter the votes at all general elections should be
given viva voce, or by ticket handed to the judges, in both
cases to be cried in an audible voice in the presence and hearing of the voters. The management of the bill was entrusted
to Delazon Smith, a future storm center in Oregon politics.
Smith was absolutely candid as to the purpose of the measure.1
By the exercise of such a censorship over the voters of Oregon, the Know Nothing movement, which he attacked witn
venom, was to be killed. With sublime effrontery he argued
that the passage of the bill would mean a loss of six to eight
hundred votes to the Whigs, whom the Democrats accused
of being in alliance with the Know Nothings. In commenting
upon the favorable action taken by the lower house, Bush was
equally frank: "We hope next week to be able to congratulate
the country, the friends of Daylight Deeds, upon the passage
of this bill (this Know Nothing antidote) through the upper
branch of the assembly." The hope was realized, but not before
a fierce struggle. The display of such high-handed arrogance
was too much even for a number of the Democratic members.
Both the speaker of the house and the president of the council
had the temerity to oppose the bill. The vote was 5 to 3 in
the council, one Whig being absent, and 14 to 12 in the house.2
The defense of the Viva Voce law, which the Statesman felt
it necessary to make in the weeks which followed, suggests
the storm of opposition it aroused. Volatile Dryer of the Oregonian became almost hysterical.   "Do these political Ishmael-
iStatesman,  December  29,   2854.
20regonian,  December  30.
Statesman, December 19 and December 26. Political Parties in Oregon
ites suppose that freemen are such craven cowards that they
dare not vote as they please for fear of those who ordained
Delazon Smith the high priest of the party to whom voters
are held accountable for the discharge of a blood-bought privilege?"1 "No language is too severe in which to attack the
political assassins who have assaulted the liberties of the people
for personal ends."2 And thus opened up the memorable campaign of 1855.
The situation was peculiar and complex. On the one hand
was Democracy, fearful for its supremacy, but all the more
determined and aggressive—prepared for a desperate struggle.
On the other hand, if the opposition was inchoate in 1854 it
was more so in 1855. It now comprised Whigs, Americans or
Know Nothings and prohibitionists or Maine Laws. There
were no distinct lines of cleavage between them; neither were
they in complete coalition, though the first two elements were
practically in that relation.
In December, during the legislative session, there had been a
meeting of the Whigs at Salem for the purpose of furthering'
the organization of their party. Prominently figuring in the
proceedings were David Logan, Dr. E. H. Cleaveland, Mark
A. Chinn, E. N. Cooke, C. A. Reed, T. J. Dryer and Amory
Holbrook. A Territorial central committee was appointed,
with power to call a convention and fix the proportion of representation. County committeemen were also appointed for the
several counties of the Territory. A statement, drawn up by
the president and secretary, Cleaveland and Chinn, respectively,
urged the Whigs to effect organization in view of the coming
campaign.3 Accordingly Whig county conventions were held
in the spring all over the Territory, to elect delegates to the
Territorial Convention and to nominate county tickets.
With the Americans no general political organization was
visible.   Yet through their Wigwams they seemed to act with
iOregonian, December 23.
2lbid., December 30, 2854, January 6, January
3Ibid., December 30, 2854.
1855- W. C. Woodward
comparative concert and intelligence. In but one county, that
of Washington, did they effect thorough organization and put
out a distinctly American ticket. In 1856 and again in 1857
Washington county persisted in running American tickets
though the movement was dead in Oregon after 1855.1 Yet,
strangely enough, perhaps because of the very absence of public
organization, the Democratic fire was centered on Know
Shortly after the election of 1854 the Territorial Temperance Association met at Albany, and its members resolved that
though badly defeated they were far from discouraged and
would re-enter the contest with renewed vigor.2 The question
of prohibition in Oregon continued to be agitated, efforts at
organization were made and the temperance movement was
still a factor to be reckoned with. Clatsop county held on
May 1, a Temperance League Convention and invited attention to a complete ticket, "independent of the old corrupt and
partially defunct Whig and Democratic parties." The movement was sufficiently formidable to excite Durhamite spleen.
At the opening of the legislative session of '54-'55 a resolution
was introduced inviting the ministers of the different denominations to open the deliberations each morning with prayer.
A Durhamite member, Crandall of Marion, moved to amend
by adding: "Except such ministers as are known to be in
favor of the enactment of a Maine liquor law!" And the
amendment was but narrowly defeated, by a vote of 14 to ll.3
In accordance with the call issued by the Territorial committee the Whigs met at Corvallis, April 18, to nominate a
delegate to Congress.4 Lane had been triumphantly re-nominated by the Democrats the week before at Salem. This was
the first and last Territorial Whig convention to be held in
Oregon.5    On the first ballot, Ex-Governor Gaines received
iOregonian, April 19,  1856 and April 4,  1857.
2Statesman, June 20,  1854.
30regonian,  December   16,   1854.
40regonian, April 21, 1855.
5The counties represented, with the number of delegates allowed, will give
an idea as to Whig strength over the Territory: Umpqua 3, Lane 4, Marion 8,
Benton 5, Polk 6, Yamhill 6, Washington 4, Clackamas 8, Multnomah 5, Linn 8.
The Jackson delegation arrived late. Wasco, Columbia, Clatsop and Douglas
counties were represented in the convention by proxies. Political Parties in Oregon
27 votes, Dryer 18, Chinn 11, A. G. Henry 8 and Holbrook 1;
on the second Gaines 63, Chinn 3. The only platform adopted
was the slogan, "Gen. Gaines against the world!" On the
day following, the Americans met in convention at Albany and
ratified the nomination of Gaines.1 Indeed Bush boldly charged
that Gaines was a Know Nothing; that the Know Nothings
were in control of the Corvallis Whig convention, having
previously settled the nomination in a private caucus.
Democratic courage and resolution had risen with the peril.
In January, a Territorial Jackson club was organized at Salem
as additional machinery with which to combat the contagious
heresy. County Clubs were to be organized throughout the
Territory. A central vigilance committee was appointed.2 The
constitution of the Yamhill county club provided for a vigilance committee to consist of one from each precinct to report
from time to time on the state of the Democratic cause in the
several precincts.3 The Linn county nominating convention
urged that each and every Democrat constitute a vigilance
committee to rally the Democracy and prevent unsuspecting
Democrats from being drawn into the "gull-traps of the midnight assassin."4 This spirit of bitter antagonism toward the
American party is similarly reflected in the various county
Democratic conventions. The Territorial convention of April
11th passed strong resolutions of condemnation and aversion.5
Insisting that Gaines was a Know Nothing and was asking
support as such, Bush appealed to the bona fide Whigs to
vote for Lane and rebuke "the minions of Know Nothingism"
with which they had nothing in common. He "points with
pride" to a letter which he reproduces from John T. Crooks,
an old line Whig who "washes his hands of the bastard party
iStatesman, April 28. May 12, the Statesman speaks of the marriage of the
two parties as having taken place at Corvallis, the infair being held at Albany.
2lbid., January 16.
3lbid., February 20.
4Statesman, April 10; Resolved, that that Oregon Statesman and others who
have labored to lay bare the cloven foot and deformity of this heinous midnight
monster by giving the people a true and timely exposure of its sly and treasonable machinations, are really deserving of the fullest approbation of the Democrats
of this Territory.
5Ibid., April 27. 70
W. C. Woodward
formed by a vile coalition between all the isms, the factions and
fanatics in the Territory."1 In reply Dryer addressed an editorial "To the Wrigs." He denies that the issue between
Gaines and Lane is Know Nothingism. If the American party
had been strong enough it would have run an independent ticket.
When the Americans overthrow the Democrats and stand out
as a separate party—when they declare themselves on the
various public issues such as slavery and the Maine Law, the
Whigs of Oregon will have a duty to discharge. Until then,
let the Whigs discard all affiliations with the Democratic
dynasty. The political issues of the campaign were declared
to be found in the Viva Voce law—the question of free Oregon
or slave Oregon, which was the real Nebraska question—and
internal improvements, including a Pacific Railroad and a
Pacific Telegraph.2
While the Oregonian virtually championed the American
cause, it could not speak for all Oregon Whigs. The Multnomah
county Whig convention unequivocally disavowed connection
with any other party, stoutly maintaining the integrity and
principles of Whiggery. Its special aim was declared to be
the nomination of Whig candidates to be supported by Whigs.3
The Americans apparently took the Multnomah Whigs at their
word as they put out a ticket of their own, designated as
"republican ticket."4 In Marion county the opposition put out
a "Republican Reform ticket". It declared opposition to the
"so-called Democracy, regardless of party," supported prohibition and endorsed Gaines."
A new factor was introduced into Oregon politics before the
close of the campaign in the founding at Oregon City of the
Oregon Argus, virtually successor to the Spectator which expired in March of this year. The editor was W. L. Adams or
"Parson" Adams, he being a militant Campbellite preacher.
Uncompromising, dogmatic, combative and eminently expres-
ilbid., May 12.
20regonian, June 2.
3Oregonian, May 22.
4lbid., May 26. Political Parties in Oregon
sive, he was the Parson Brownlow of the West. Through the
Argus he now began a career which was of vital influence in
the making of Oregon's political history. In his prospectus1
Adams had announced that the new journal would be devoted
to the advocacy of great moral principles; in particular, to the
cause of temperance. In party politics it was to be entirely
neutral. But in the first issue, the editor, hitherto a Whig, announces that the Argus will take the American side in politics
and advocate as the last and best hope of our distracted country, an abandonment of old party platforms.2 Partisan strife in
Oregon is deprecated. Gaines is supported as a clever, able
and patriotic American citizen. Lane is attacked for inability,
hypocrisy, for his pro-slavery schemes in Congress and his
demagoguery. From the first the Argus puts the temperance
question to the fore and sifted the legislative candidates according to their attitude toward the passage of a prohibitive
liquor law.
The campaign became personal and virulent beyond description. The Democrats attacked Gaines' Mexican War record
and scorned him as a coward and lost to honor. The line of
attack on Lane is suggested above. The two stumped the Territory together. In Polk county an altercation took place between them at their public meeting and they came to blows. As
the June election approached the Statesman went into continued
hysterics in its fulminations against the Know Nothings. Bush
evidently looked upon the contest as one of life and death for
Oregon Democracy. The opposition was sanguine of success.3
During these strenuous weeks the Statesman was generously
adorned with such picturesque epithets as "corrupt and wicked
coalition, back alley patriots, skunks, hybrid horde, impious
oaths, dens of darkness, dregs of fanaticism, midnight assassins, heinous night monster."
iPublished in Oregonian, October 22, 2854.
2Argus, April 21, 1855.
3'The Whigs and Know Nothings appear confident of Old Gaines' election.
God preserve us from the infliction."—Bush to Deady, May 23.
L if v Hill
V\m ■ !' '■■' •
W. C. Woodward
The result of the election was as memorable as the campaign
which preceded it. The Democratic victory was literally overwhelming. The Oregonian for once admitted complete defeat
without pleading any compensations: "The election has astonished everybody, the Democrats as well as the Whigs. . . .
It is now a fixed fact the people of Oregon are willing to be
gulled by that talismanic word, 'Democracy' ".t Lane's majority was 2149. Gaines carried but three counties in the Territory and those by a combined majority of only 79. The political complexion of the legislature was: house, Democrats 28;
Whig-K. N., 2; council, Democrats 7, Whig-K. N., 2, one of
whom was a hold over.2 Bush was so intoxicated with success
that immediately following the election a long editorial leader
appeared in the Statesman championing Gen. Joseph Lane for
the presidency of the United States in 1856.3
In commenting on the result Dryer found the real crux of
the situation when he said that the so-called Democratic party
was well organized and thoroughly drilled, while the Whigs
were unorganized and never permitted drilling officers to govern or control them on any occasion.4 Here is the secret of the
stability of the Democratic regime in the Territorial period.
Hundreds of Whigs rebelled at the attempt to force them into
alliance with the Know Nothings, and either remained away
from the polls or voted for Lane. The Oregonian suggested
that the Whigs did not understand the true principles of the
American party, but added that whether the object of that
organization be justifiable or not, those principles had been
prostrated, and to the advantage of Lane and the Democrats.
"The time has come and now," declared Dryer, "for the Whigs
in Oregon as a party, to plant themselves upon the great national Whig platform; to boldly, without deviating one jot or
tittle from the true path, battle for Whig principles and doctrines."   It is significant that before the election the opposition
i Oregonian, June  26.
2Statesman, June 26.
3Ibid., June 9.
40regonian, June 23. Political Parties in Oregon
county nominating conventions were with four exceptions1
denominated as Whig. In giving the returns, however, the
tickets were headed "American" with the evident desire to
shift the burden of defeat from the Whigs to the Know
As regards the action of the rank and file of Democracy the
Oregonian stated the fact to be on record that scarcely without
an exception, every member of the American party who had
formerly acted with the Democrats, voted the Democratic
ticket. Thus did the Viva Voce law accomplish its perfect work.
In the face of the abuse and vilification heaped upon the Know
Nothing movement it took more stamina and moral courage,
than can now be well imagined, for a Democrat publicly to declare himself as one of the proscribed "minions". To do so
meant political, if not social outlawry. For Bush never forgot
and never forgave. In reviewing the situation in after years,2
he said that against this secret, oath-bound association, the
Viva Voce law interposed a powerful and effective barrier; that
while the adjoining state of California, with a political sentiment as strongly Democratic as that of Oregon, was overrun
by this proscriptive order, in Oregon it totally failed, unable
to endure the broad light of day into which it was forced by
the viva voce method of voting.
Within the two years ending with the election of 1855, we
have found attempts made along three different lines to organize the opposition to Oregon Democracy. The Whigs had
made a fair showing in the election of 1854 but were now
thoroughly demoralized through their fusion with the Know
Nothings. The latter had promised to sweep the Territory but
within a few short months had been utterly routed and overthrown. The prohibitionists were cheerfully leading a forlorn
hope. The Democrats, more strongly intrenched than ever,
held the field undisputed. They were to continue to do so until
the old issues were swallowed up in a new one, vital and all inclusive.
iThe   "Republican"
Marion;   the   "Am
of Clatsop.
2Statesman, July :
ticket   of   Multnomah;   the    "Republican   Reform"    of
of   Washington  and  the   "Temperance  League"  ticket 74
W. C. Woodward
The story of the organization of Oregon Democracy has been
told—its early triumphs have been recounted. These victories
made it plain that the Democratic party held the political mastery in the new Territory. The present purpose is to make a
brief study of the manner and spirit in which this authority
was exercised.
To review briefly, the election of Pierce in 1852, followed by
the appointment of Oregon Democrats to the Territorial offices,
had delighted the Durhamites. The latter now controlled all
three departments of government. No cloud darkened their
political horizon. But they had hardly ceased their self-congratulation before the sky became o'ercast. The failure of
Judge Pratt, the Durham leader, to be confirmed by the Senate
as Chief Justice, has been mentioned as the only discomfiture of
the Democrats at this time. Geo. H. Williams was sent from
Iowa to fill the position. While he was an uncompromising
Democrat and had been appointed without his knowledge or
consent,1 the fact remained that he was an alien. He was holding an office which rightfully belonged, from the Oregon viewpoint, to an Oregonian. However, while Pratt's defeat caused
temporary dissatisfaction, little complaint was raised.
But when after a very brief service as Associate Justice, Matthew P. Deady was displaced without just cause,2 the Durhamites began to show their teeth. Aside from the mere fact of his
being an Oregon man, Deady was eminently qualified for
judicial service and was very popular. As a result, the reception given his successor, O. B. McFadden, of Pennsylvania,
was decidedly warm, though not in the usual accepted sense.
The Statesman, Nov. 22, 1853, showed in a two column editorial the injustice of Deady's removal and openly criticized
iGeo. H. Williams, in Oregon Historical Quarterly for March, 2902, p. 2.
2The only explanation given was that Deady, whose first name was Matthew,
was serving under a commission which had been made out in favor of Mordecai
P. Deady. Political Parties in Oregon
McFadden for accepting the judgeship after having arrived
and having learned the circumstances. McFadden declined to
take the broad hint to resign, whereupon Bush became abusive.
Admitting that the interloper had been a good Democrat in the
states, the vital fact remained: "In his selection no citizen of
Oregon has been heard."1 Meetings were held and letters for
publication written protesting against the incumbency of McFadden. The latter, in holding the appointment and closing
the way for Deady's re-instatement, was considered a political
heretic and a traitor to Oregon Democracy.2 So violent was
the opposition that McFadden was transferred early in 1854
to the new Territory of Washington and Deady was reinstated.3
It has been stated that Lane returned to Oregon from Washington as governor in the spring of 1853; that he immediately
resigned to run again for delegate, which left Secretary Qeo.
L. Curry in the governor's chair. This was satisfactory to
Oregon Democrats as Curry was one of themselves. But here
again President Pierce interfered. The result was the arrival
in December of John W. Davis of Indiana, with a commission
as governor. The Democracy of the new governor could
certainly not be questioned as he had represented his party in
Congress, had served as Speaker of the House, and had twice
been Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. But
the Durhamites failed to appreciate the compliment in the appointment of so distinguished a man, as Oregon's executive.
To them, he was but another imported office-holder.
These affronts, suffered by the Democrats at the hands of
their own Administration at Washington, had come in quick
succession. They were as disconcerting as they were unexpected. But Durhamite defiance rose with fancied insults—
the determination was rekindled to free the people of Oregon
from National tutelage.   In March, 1853, the Statesman had
2Statesman, December 6,  2853.
2The   animosity   toward   McFadden   is   vividly   shown   in   the   private   correspondence between Nesmith and Deady, and Nesmith and Lane.
3Bancroft, Vol. IL, p.  308. 76
W. C. Woodward
argued cautiously against statehood. By the end of the year
the question bore a very different aspect from a Democratic
viewpoint. Hence the legislature which met in December,
three days after the arrival of Governor Davis, passed
an act calling for a vote, at the forthcoming election, on the question of holding a constitutional convention.
The cause of statehood was zealously espoused by Bush in the
Statesman in the campaign of 1854. On the other hand the
Oregonian as earnestly opposed it on financial grounds, and
accused the Democrats of favoring a state government as a
means of securing more offices.1 The issue was lost by a
majority of 869 2
But before the result was known, Bush announced that if
the question had failed he would hoist the flag—"For a convention in 1855". "And we give the Whigs notice that we shall
support this issue as a party measure."3 Accordingly, a party
issue it became. The next legislature had the presumption to
pass a joint resolution calling for the appointment of a joint
committee to draw up a state constitution.4 But it receded from
this radical position and passed an act like that of the previous
year providing for a vote on the question of a constitutional
convention. The Democratic Territorial Convention held in
the following April, 1855, passed a strong resolution declaring
that Oregon should assume the position of a sovereign state.
A comparison of the vote on the question for the two years
shows that Bush was largely successful in making statehood a
Democratic issue. As a rule it was the heavily Democratic
counties that gave the strongest support to a constitutional convention. The Whigs as a whole strongly opposed it, though
one of their leaders, David Logan, supported the affirmative
side of the question. This time, the majority in the negative
was 413.
iOregonian, April 2, April 25,
2Statesman,   July   22,   2854.
3lbid., June 20,  2854.
40regonian, January 20, 1855.
1854- Political Parties in Oregon
Notwithstanding this defeat, at the next session of the legislature, that of '55-'56, the Democrats again passed an act calling for a vote on statehood—the third in three consecutive
years. Such was their over-weening zeal that instead of having
the vote taken at the regular June election, a special election
in April was called. Presumably, such haste was occasioned
by the determination to take no chances on the opportunity of
helping settle the presidential contest in November. Each year
the contest became more partisan and in 1856 it was violently
so, and especially on the part of the Statesman. Alonzo Leland,
editor of the Democratic Standard, was not en rapport witn
the powers ordained and saw fit to question the advisability of
statehood. Whereupon his apostacy was heralded in the Statesman as the "Iscariotism of the Standard on the Convention
Question."1 In the spring of 1856 the Oregonian conducted a
systematic and continuous campaign of education against the
Democratic dogma of statehood. It declared that Oregon did
not have population and wealth sufficient to maintain a state
government, and opposed the movement as the scheme of a
little coterie of politicians and would-be office holders. In 1854
the majority against a constitutional convention had been 869;
in 1855 it had been 413. In 1856 it was 249. The imperious
Durhamites were steadily nearing the goal.
In the meantime a change more apparent than real, had
taken place in the management and personnel of the Democratic
machine. While Judge Pratt had been the nominal leader of
the Durhamites, the power of Bush, as exerted through the
Statesman, was steadily increasing. Naturally, considering his
part in the capital fight, Bush got practically no patronage in
Oregon City2 and in the middle of the year 1853 moved the
Statesman plant to the new capital.3 With Bush and the States-
iStatesman,  April  22,   1856.
2'T get very little patronage in Oregon City. I will give a premium on the
best essay on prejudice. But Oregon City is not all of Oregon."—Bush to
Deady, April  17,   1851.
3"The Statesman has been removed to Salem.    It left last Sunday.    Rumor
says the clergymen at Oregon  City gave out the hymn—'
'Believing, we rejoice
To see the cUrse removed.' "—Oregonian, June 18, 2853. 78
W. C. Woodward
man as a nucleus, Salem at once became the recognized headquarters and rendezvous of a little coterie of Democratic
politicians which held Oregon in the palm of its hand. The
popular, or often unpopular, designation of this junto was the
"Salem Clique", or Cli-que, as called by an illiterate though
pugnacious rural politician.
In 1855 Judge Pratt aspired to succeed General Lane as
Oregon's delegate to Congress, and made an active campaign
for the nomination. A sharp struggle ensued, short, but very
decisive. Behind Lane were the Salem Clique and the popular
adulation; behind Pratt, a few non-machine Democrats and
the Standard. The rivalry became bitter, the Standard oppos- .
ing Lane and the Statesman attacking Pratt with malevolence,
and all to the edification of the Whigs. In the convention Lane
received 53 votes, Pratt but 6.1 The Durham leader had been
effectually dethroned. The supremacy of Lane with the people
was signally manifested. But behind it all was Bush, absolutely
master of the situation. Lane, with the bonhomie—the smoothtongued and affable—stood before the people as the successful,
idolized leader. But the real dictator of the Oregon Democracy was the man behind the Statesman—wary, inflexible,
ruthless. From this time the sobriquet, "Durhamites", as denoting the Democratic ring, gave way to that of "Salem
Clique" or merely "the Clique."
A complete story of the capricious, arrogant rule in Oregon
under the regime of the Salem Clique would form one of the
most picturesque chapters in the political history of the West.
A few instances will suffice to indicate the nature of that regime. Governor Davis was made plainly to feel by his captious
fellow Democrats, soon after his arrival in Oregon, that he
was persona non grata. There was no cordiality between them.
He was made the butt of ridicule by certain of the Clique noted
for coarse wit and sharp tongue.2   Though a life-long Demo-
2 "Pratt's   sun   of   Austerlitz   has   gone   down   amid   the   gloom   of  Waterloo
No man was ever let down so fast."—Nesmith to Deady, April, 2855.
2Conversation with Hon. Geo. H. Williams. Political Parties in Oregon
crat, the coercive, domineering attitude of his political confreres in Oregon was a revelation to him. Plainly, he did not
fit. into the scheme of Oregon Democracy. The situation became unbearable to him, and after serving nine months, he resigned in August, 1854. Thereupon the Democrats asked the
privilege of banqueting him. He declined the honor in a public
letter in which he took the occasion to suggest a few pertinent
facts and to offer a little significant advice.1 Evidently, the
Democrats had insisted that he become actively partisan in the
canvass for statehood, as he defended himself for not becoming
so, on the ground that his position would not allow it. He told/
his political compatriots plainly that they should abandon personal and sectional considerations and base their actions^ on
principles. He reminded them that "our opponents are entitled
to their opinions equally with ourselves"—mild heresy according to Salem Clique standards. The situation was aptly summed
up by Dryer in the Oregonian.2 "Gov. Davis was a
foreigner. . . . He had neither driven his team across the
plains nor been to the mines. Besides, if treated decently at
first he might become popular in Oregon. . . . We think
he has fairly revenged himself."
Every event or crisis in the Territory was viewed by the
Clique at the focus of the narrowest partisanship. This is well
illustrated by their attitude concerning the prosecution of the
Indian war in Southern Oregon in 1855-6. During the summer
of 1855 trouble had been plainly brewing in the south. Depredations and murders were committed by the Indians, followed
by a pretty general outbreak. Gov. Curry undertook prompt
and vigorous measures toward quelling the disturbance. The
Clique frowned upon such undue haste and hampered the
governor by attacks and bickerings.3 Sufficient time should' be
taken to place the operations on a thorough Democratic basis.
"Where would they lead us ?" demanded Dryer in the Oregon-
2The Oregonian, August 5, 1854.
2The Oregonian, August 5, 2854»
3"Like you, I'm disgusted with this d  Injun excitement.    Curry ought
to be held in.    D—— a man who has no judgment."—Bush to Deady.    October
22,  1855. 80 W. C. Woodward
ian. "In any other country but Oregon this war would have a
tendency to unite men in a common cause."1 In the enrollment
of volunteer companies, among the commissioned officers a few
Whigs and Know Nothings had received appointments, largely
as surgeons. This was the occasion of a storm of opposition
headed by Bush. To think that despised Know Nothings, recently so thoroughly repudiated by the people, should come
into position by appointment—and that by a Democratic governor ! It was preposterous, incredible.2 The Statesman went
into one continued paroxysm of frenzy, equal to that which had
affected it a few months previous in the anti-Know Nothing
campaign. The intractable Bush did not hesitate to threaten
the governor: "Mark these words: henceforth in Oregon it
is the doctrine of the Democratic party that public offices of no
kind shall be conferred upon members of the Know Nothing
order or its sympathizers and upholders. And no man who violates that doctrine will be sustained by the Democracy."
A petition was gotten up and copies sent to the faithful
throughout the Territory asking that as many signers as possible be secured and that it be forwarded to Gov. Curry at
once—"by first mail if can be". The petition read: "To His
Excellency: The undersigned, Democratic and anti-Know
Nothing voters of Oregon, earnestly petition your excellency
to cause to be displaced all members of the Know Nothing party
or supporters of that party holding public station, directly or
indirectly under you, and that their places be filled by competent Democrats." And all this hue and cry from the mere fact
that a half dozen insignificant offices were held by those other
than Democrats! It was nothing to the Clique that the appointees were capable and that the need was urgent. This was
apparently an issue of far greater import to them than the protection of life in Southern Oregon and the success of the troops
in restoring order. The Oregonian condemned in strongest
terms the attempt to introduce party politics into that branch of
iOregonian, November 17, 1855.
2 Statesman, November 3 and November 20. Political Parties in Oregon
the service from which it had ever been excluded by true
patriotism.1 The Argus referred to the petition as "the climax
of villainy" and quoted the Democratic Standard as saying "We
hesitate not to distinctly declare that we have no sympathy for
and partake not in the spirit that would beget such a petition."2
But the Clique were not to be denied their peremptory demands. The following session of the legislature reorganized
the military department, removing from the governor the power
of appointment of officers and substituting election by the legislature. This proved an easy solution. The offensive officers
were summarily decapitated and replaced by "competent Democrats."3 The war was placed on a partisan Democratic basis
and the members of the Clique were appeased.
To all outward appearances the utmost harmony existed at
this time between Lane and the Democratic Junto wnp ruled
Oregon. But the private correspondence of members of the
latter show that as early as 1855 Lane was under the displeasure of the Clique. Hailed as the "Marion of the Mexican
war", the "Cincinnatus of Indiana", and heralded as a hero in
the role of Indian fighter in Oregon, Lane's popularity was
unbounded.4 This popularity was political capital for the party
manipulators and viewed by them as a very valuable asset. As
for Lane himself, they were inclined to patronize him among
themselves as a "thick skulled old humbug,"5 to be cultivated
as long as he could be used, especially at Washington where his
influence was recognized. In 1855 General Joel Palmer, superintendent of Indian affairs in Oregon, was marked by the
Democratic leaders for overthrow, and his removal was demanded of Lane. In the accusations against Palmer, sent to
Washington by the Legislature, it was charged that "While
representing himself as a sound national Democrat, he had
perfidiously joined the Know Nothings, binding himself with
iOregonian, December 8,  2855.
2Argus,  November  20,   2855.
3See Oregonian, February 9, 2856.
4Lane  had  done   effective  service  against the  Southern  Oregon   Indians in
1851 and again in 1853.
5Nesmith to Deady,  September  14,   2855.
■■ 82
W. C. Woodward
oaths to that dark and hellish secret political order."1 But
General Palmer and Lane were good friends and the latter
delayed the political execution. In another instance, instead
of securing a certain appointment for a prominent Oregon
Democrat, as requested by the Clique, Lane had an Indiana
friend appointed. Such audacity was amazing and the political
oligarchs gnashed their teeth in rage, among themselves. One
member advised "a call of the Cli-que to throw him (Lane)
overboard."2 A temporary rapprochement was effected but it
was evident that serious trouble was ahead for Lane at the
hands of the restive Junto.
The rule of Bush and the Clique was absolute and imperious.
They laid the plans and issued the orders. It was for the rank
and file to obey. And obedience must be unquestioning. If
a Democrat forgot this, he must be disciplined. If he persisted in his temerity the wrath of the Statesman was turned
upon him and he was destroyed politically. Bush, absolutely
uncompromising, took offense easily and the fear of his terrible invective was potent in maintaining party discipline. Jas.
F. Gazley, Democratic member of the legislature of '54-'55
from Douglas county, had the hardihood to oppose the Viva
Voce law. Misrepresentation and vilification at the hands of
Bush followed. "Little did I suspect", complained Gazley,
"that while boldly vindicating principles which I ever have
honestly maintained, that clouds of indignation were gathering so gloomily around the political horizon, too soon, alas,
to burst upon my unlucky head."3
It became the general rule of Democratic nominating conventions to pledge the delegates to support the candidates and
to avow loyalty to them, before those candidates were nominated.4 Good Democrats never questioned such procedure.
The manner in which a man obeyed orders from headquarters
was the criterion of his Democracy.   "Pizurrinctums" was an
i Quoted by Bancroft, Vol. II., p. 399.
2Nesmith to Deady, September 24.
3ln Oregonian, January 23, 1855.
4john Minto in Oregon Historical Quarterly for June, 2908, p. 244. Political Parties in Oregon
epithet which came into frequent use by Bush in the Statesman in applying the party lash. It originated in Maine and
was used to describe those Democrats who were not "reliable."1
It must not be supposed that this autocratic, coercive authority was submitted to with universal equanimity. There
was murmuring and threatened revolt from time to time, but
until 1857-8 the authority of Bush was sufficient to overawe
opposition.2 An indication of the restiveness of Democrats
under the lash of the Salem Clique is found in the following
resolution adopted by the Lane County Democratic convention
in May, 1856: "Resolved, That we will not make any party
issues on men but will stand upon principles, and we consider they who oppose the Democratic party because they happen not to like Bush, Delazon Smith, or other members thereof, as disorganizers and enemies of Democratic principles."3
The Washington County convention pointed out as the elements of disruption in the party, first "The too dictatorial
mandates of a self-constituted leadership"; second, the too
little regard for the binding effect of party measures, principles
and nominations on political action.4 Both tendencies were
most severely condemned. The Clatsop County Democrats
were more charitable and cheerful, extending the olive branch
to their prodigal brethren with words which were unctious
with forgiving grace: "We earnestly invite every Democrat who has been lured from his party by corrupt and
designing factionists, to come up out of Babylon—shake off
the vile fetters which have bound him, wash his hands of
corruption, abjure his fanaticism, renew his allegiance to the
party, and stand forth in the bright sunshine of God, a man
and a Democrat."
iStatesman, April 22, 2855.
2"They (Oregon Democrats) fear him as the fawning hound fears his
master and they dare not disobey his orders. They curse him among the
populace, but support and sustain him out of sheer cowardice."—Oregonian,
December 29, 2885.
3Statesman, May 27, 1856.
4Statesman, June 20, 2856. 84
W. C. Woodward
From certain points of view, the absolute dominance of
Democracy in Territorial Oregon is little short of amazing.
It is true that Oregon looked upon such illustrious Democrats
as Jefferson, Benton, Linn and Polk as having been the true
friends of the great Northwest. The long hoped for territorial
organization had come at the hands of a Democratic administration. But the fact remained that National Democracy was
unalterably opposed in theory and practice to the one great
principle, to the support of which Oregon was necessarily committed. And that was the principle of internal improvements
by the Federal government. The new and distant Territory
was practically depe