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The quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society. Volume XIII. Oregon Historical Society 1912

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of the
Oregon Historical Society
MARCH 1912
Copyright, 1912, by Oregon Historical Society
The Quarterly disavows responsibility (or the positions taken by contributors to its pages
F. G. YOUNG—An Historical Series for Kindling an Oregon Sentiment 1 -2
ELLEN CONDON McCORNAOC—A Glimpse into Historic Oregon 3-13
WALTER CARLETON WOODWARD—Rise and Early History of
Political Parties in Oregon—Vl^p^^^^^H^fe^i^^l ,5"70
T. C. ELLIOTT—The Earliest Travelers on the Oregon Trail t^St^ 71-84
GEORGE H. HIMES—Centennial of Arrival of the First White Men
in Baker County       J '"f^^*»4^i^'s^8 ^^       - - ~ *T"'^£^^ 85-86
notes    -    -^^^^^^»|p*8^a^!^»S;^    87-
Entered at the post office at Portland, Oregon, as second-class matter  THE
MARCH, 1912-DECEMBER. 1912
Edited by
Portland, Oregon
The Ivy Pres*
[I] "/So ^2-
Astorians, The Trail of the
By Rev. J. Neilson Barry 227-239
Baker County, Centennial of the Arrival of the First
White Men in
By George H. Himes     85-86
Barlow Road
By Walter Bailey 287-296
British and American Subjects, How Unite in a Common
Government for Oregon Territory in 1844
By Robert Carlton Clark 140-159
Calhoun, John C, as Secretary of War, 1817-1825
By Frances Packard Young 297-337
Fiske's, John, Change of Attitude on the Whitman Legend
By Leslie M. Scott 160-174
Oregon, A Glimpse Into Prehistoric
By Ellen Condon McCornack       3-13
Oregon Provisional Government, A Brief History of the,
What Caused Its Formation
By Frederick V. Holman ,  89-139
Oregon Sentiment, An Historical Series for Kindling an
By F. G. Young.        1-2
Oregon Trail, The Earliest Travelers on the
By T. C. Elliott     71-84
Reminiscences of Seventy Years
By William Barlow  .240-286
Transmission of Intelligence in Early Days in Oregon
By Clarence B. Bagley 347-362
Activity of Kansas in Marking the Santa Fe Trail and of
Nebraska in Marking the Oregon Trail.	
Indiana Provides for Housing State and Local Archives	
Historical Society Buildings Discussed at Conference of
Historical Societies, Buffalo	
Celebration of Sixty-Ninth Anniversary of the Organization of the First American Civil Government West
of the Rocky Mountains         86
Astoria, Memorial of Citizens of, Protesting Against Proposed Removal of Distributing Post Office and Port
of Entry to Pacific City, 1850 385-387
Canadian Settlers, Addresses by.   Facsimile of, original text
of, and translation of, by P. J. Frein, Ph. D 338-343
Nesmith, James W., Letter by to Friends in the East, 1845. .379-382
Simpson, Sir George, Letter of, to Archibald McKinlay, 1848.382-384
cm] By the Editor
stages through which this Oregon home of ours has, as a whole,
passed in coming to its present development.
Mrs. Ellen Condon McCornack, in the introductory paper
of this series, gives a delightful sketch of the conditions that
obtained here when this section of the globe was in preparation for the advent of man.
The indefatigable research of her father, Thomas Condon,
Oregon's most illustrious scientist, provided the materials for
this picture. In the early sixties, while Oregon was yet a
wilderness and isolated from the world, he began an assiduous
labor of love, that of reading the story of Oregon's past as
recorded in the exposed strata of rock found in different parts
of the state. His work of nearly half-a-century led to
discoveries that contributed most important elements to the
perfecting of the theory of evolution, the nineteenth century's
most important addition to the world's body of scientific
By Ellen Condon McCornack PREFACE
In preparing this sketch our principal source of information
has been the chapter on the Willamette Sound from "The Two
Islands," *by Professor Condon, but we are also indebted for
facts and suggestions to the following publications: Dana's
Geology, Chamberlain and Salisbury's Geology, a publication
by Professor Osborn of Columbia University, The Encyclopaedia Britannica and the writings of John Fiske, George
Kennan and others.
The children of modern Egypt, Persia, India and other
nations of antiquity, while studying the history of their country, find a rich background of centuries of historic life which
they are taught to reverence.
The children of modern Europe, too, have a priceless heritage
in their historic relations to classic Greece and Rome. But the
children of the New World find but little of this historic background as part of their nation's life. While we of the Northwest have least of all, for we even lack the unique chapter of
Colonial history of which our Eastern States are so justly
In order to supplement their usual study of history, The Oregon Historical Society wishes to offer to the schools of our state
a few sketches of Oregon's geological history, that, while the
children of the Orient are studying the growth of dynasties and
pyramids built by the power of the few and degradation and
oppression of the many; the children of the Northwest may
be studying some of the long rich chapters of its ancient life
and the upbuilding of its mountains. While the children of
Europe are learning of the rise and fall of kingdoms, so interwoven with the hatred, jealousies and crimes of ambitious
men and women; the children of the Northwest may be peering into the mysteries of God's creation and noting the rise and
*The   revised   edition   of   "The   Two   Islands"   bears   the   title,    "Oregon
Geology." A Glimpse into Prehistoric Oregon 5
fall of continents, the upbuilding of our majestic snowpeaks
and the evolution of our forest life.
This change of historic background is not offered as a substitute but as a compensation. And yet, it has its advantages.
Do you cavil as to the result on character? If the mind of
man grows by what it feeds upon, the experiment may result,
as is hoped by some, in the development of a nobler race, whose
children have minds of breadth, purity and poise caught by
breathing the atmosphere of the spirit of creation.
The thoughts of those interested in this plan have naturally
turned to the writings of Professor Condon and, in order to
carry out their wish, the wellspring or source from which the
material for this sketch has been largely drawn is the chapter
on The Willamette Sound from Professor Condon's "Two
Islands." But such additions have been made as will farther
adapt it to the study of the boys and girls of Oregon.
=*£- mm
Long ago the climate of the northern part of the earth began
to grow cold. And for a time it seemed to grow colder and
colder until almost all of its land was covered by a sheet of ice.
Of course the. grass and shrubs and trees quietly fled before this
ice sheet. Then the horse and camel and reindeer and all other
herb-eating animals had to follow their food or die from cold
and hunger. But when the flesh-eating animals, such as bears
and tigers, found their prey had gone, they, too, joined the
army of life ever moving toward the South in front of the
creeping ice sheet. Sometimes it would be warmer for a while
and the plants and animals could travel a little further north,
but the increasing cold was sure to drive them south again.
This long continued cold has been called the glacial period or
Age of Ice.
If now you have a simple map of Oregon and Washington
(your geography map will do), you can trace the rivers and
the mountains and see the country better as we talk. You see
Oregon is nestled in between the high mountains and the warm
Pacific Ocean and so was not covered by the great ice sheet.
But it was high and dry with its coast line several miles further
west than now; and with many snow-covered mountains and
long rivers of solid ice, or glaciers, winding from the mountain
tops far down to the valleys.
After thousands of years, when this age of ice was passing
away, we find our Pacific Coast was slowly sinking, while the
waters of the sea were creeping higher and higher until all of
our coast valley lay drowned beneath the ocean. The Pacific
Ocean pushed the waters of the lower Columbia further and
still further inland until after a long period of time they stood
three hundred feet or more higher at the mouth of the Willamette than they do today. From the present site of Astoria
to near that of St. Helens the old Columbia became a grand
entrance channel, from five to twenty miles in width and eighty
miles or more in length, broad and deep enough to float the
greatest fleet of battleships.
It is doubtful if the Columbia river itself ever received more A Glimpse into Prehistoric Oregon
water from the mountains than it did at this time, for its numerous tributaries were fed by many melting glaciers still lingering
from the age of ice. In some places where the river gorge
was narrow, as at the Cascades, the waters must have been
very deep. While beyond The Dalles, near the mouth of the
Des Chutes, there was a large "lake like extension of the
river" where this great volume of water could quietly write its
own history, for here it deposited layer after layer of sediment
in which it carefully buried the bones and teeth of the animals
that roamed on its shores or were washed down from the
mountains when this lake stood over two hundred and fifty
feet above the present surface of the Columbia. At this
time, too, the Walla Walla Valley and the Valley of the Yakima were flooded and were writing other chapters of the same
old history.
If the encroachment of the sea crowded back the Columbia
until it produced such high water in Eastern Oregon and
Washington, what was its effect upon the valley of the Willamette ? When the waters stood over three hundred feet above
their present level at the mouth of the Willamette they evidently
covered the whole valley from the coast mountains to the
Cascades and from the Scappoose Mountains on the north, to
the hills that surround Eugene on the south. And it was a
beautiful body of water, one hundred and twenty miles in
length and fifty miles or more in width, for not only was the
level valley covered but the waters had quietly climbed the
lower slopes of the foothills until they stood far above the
present altitude of the church spires of Portland and Salem.
In the northern part of this Willamette Sound the Chehalem
Mountains formed a fine wooded island from which could be
seen the broad bay that covered Tualatin plains, on whose
waters one might have sailed more than a hundred feet above
the present towns of Forest Grove and Hillsboro. Across a
narrow straight from Chehalem was the island of the Dundee
Hills and from both of these elevations could be seen the great
expanse of waters and the many distant snowpeaks of the
Cascade Mountains.   Perhaps the largest of these islands was 8 Ellen Condon McCornack
the present Polk County Hills reaching from near Salem northwest to Amity. Then there was the island of the Waldo Hills and
Knox's, Ward's and Peterson's Buttes of Linn County, while
far to the south there were small low lying islands, the buttes
of Lane County, and old Spencer towering above them all in
his solemn dignity.
We have seen that Oregon still had many glaciers, that were
remnants of the age of ice.1 Glaciers, as you know, are only
slowly moving and solidly frozen rivers. But the waters of a
river pass swiftly on leaving the larger stones found in their
pathway, while a glacier slowly reaches out or down and freezes
to the loose stones as it passes on, making them a part of its
own frozen mass. When in the progress of its journey it reaches
warmer waters, a great mass of ice often splits off from the
front of the glaciers and the iceberg sails away like a phantom
ship, carrying the frozen load of rocks which it has gathered in
the heart of the far distant mountains. It was so on the Willamette Sound. We have no native granite in the valley, but
throughout its entire length from near Portland and Forest
Grove to near Eugene, granite boulders, varying from hand
specimens to the weight of several tons, were dropped into the
Willamette Sound by melting icebergs. An eminent authority
assures us that very large boulders found in Yamhill County
are of British-American type of granite. And these must have
been carried through Puget Sound across the Columbia Valley
and into Willamette Sound from some point beyond our northern boundary.
For ages before the ice period many varieties of the horse
and camel had made their home in Oregon. But as the climate
became colder a part of these evidently migrated to South
America, while it is thought many may have died of some epi-
i The Eagle Creek Mountains of Wallowa County, the Elk Horn Mountains of
Baker County, the Stein Mountains of Harney County, all had their glaciers.
Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters and probably all the high peaks of the Cascade
Range had their many and diverging glaciers. A Glimpse into Prehistoric Oregon 9
demic, or have been killed by fierce wolves or other flesh-eating
animals. From whatever cause our long line American horses
and camels seem to have entirely disappeared. But in spite of
the loss of the camel and the horse, some very large animals
lived on the shores of the Willamette Sound.
There was a great ground sloth, the Mylodon, whose ancestors had recently come from South America over the newly-
made Isthmus of Panama. He was larger than the rhinoceros,
a great, clumsy creature with massive limbs armed with long,
stout claws. Professor Owen, the English scientist, thought
that instead of climbing trees, as do his smaller modern relatives, Mylodon planted himself firmly on his great heels and
broad, stout tail, then grasped the tree with his strong arms
and worked and wrestled until the tree was either broken off or
pulled up by the roots, when he was ready to dine on its juicy
twigs and leaves. He seems not to have been a very dangerous
animal and perhaps) could not defend himself against the
wolves, bears and great cats that must have been so common
in our Oregon woods.
There was also a large ancestor of the buffalo, the Broad
Faced Ox, with horns larger and head wider than the modern
buffalo, and skull so thick that it left but little room for brains.
It lived along the Columbia River and undoubtedly roamed in
herds all over the northwest.
But perhaps the most common animal around the Willamette
Sound was the elephant. There were at least two kinds, the
Mastodon and the Mammoth. The Mastodon was much like
the elephants we have seen in the circus or menagerie, except
as to its grinding teeth. It must have found abundant food in
Oregon, for it lived in part upon the tender shoots of spruce
and fir trees. But the most interesting of the elephant family
was the enormous mammoth which is said to have "weighed
more than twice as much as the largest modern elephant and
was almost one-third taller." He lived in all parts of North
America and Europe and some very fine specimens or mummies, after being kept in cold storage for thousands of years,
were taken from the ice or frozen ground of Siberia, with not gi^
10 Ellen Condon McCornack
only the skeleton but the muscles, skin and hair all in a fine
state of preservation. These northern specimens—and perhaps
all Mammoths—had a mane and a coat of long, dark hair with
short wool, reddish brown hair beneath. Their ivory tusks
were of very great length, some of them curving downward
then out and upward until they formed almost a complete circle.
It is difficult to see how this circular tusk could be used for
tearing down branches, twigs and leaves for food or as a
weapon of warfare, and perhaps this difficulty may partly account for the fact that the fantastic circular form has long since
passed away, while the straighter tusks remain until now. Africa
is supposed to have been the original home of the elephant and
our American forms traveled over a land bridge into Europe
on through Asia and over another land bridge into Alaska.
The limited verdure of the age of ice was a chapter of the
past, for the climate of the Willamette Sound was warmer and
the forests even richer and more varied than we find them now.
We would expect to find grand forests of pine, fir, spruce, redwood, cedar and hemlock trees and against this dark background of conifers to see the star-like blossoms and light green
foliage of the dogwood, the creamy tassels of the ocean spray
and the golden yellow of the Oregon grape, just as we see
them now. The islands, too, would have their many grand old
oaks, their mountain laurels, rhododendrons and flowering currants and beneath them all a bright carpet of many flowers.
Among the birds, too, we should expect to find many of our
modern friends. The bright oriole with its long pendant nest,
the many warblers and their sweet songs, the meadow lark with
notes so full of exultant joy or of tender pathos that, heard in
our land of long ago, they would almost seem to foreshadow
the coming of the human soul.
But was there no human eye to see ? Were there no shelters
of skins and boughs under the oaks and firs of those picturesque
I A Glimpse into Prehistoric Oregon
islands? Were no canoes waiting among the willows and the
maples along the shore while their owners hunted elk and bear
upon the mountain side? Were the voices of happy children
never heard across those waters? We do not know. There
might have been, for it is well known that man lived in South
America at this time, and it has long been claimed, though perhaps not quite proven, that man lived in North America and
even in California before the time of which we write. While
Europe has a rich chapter of very ancient human history, telling of the "Cave Dwellers," who lived in England, France,
Belgium and other countries, when this same Mammoth elephant still lived in Europe and America.
Let us borrow for a time some of those people who made
their homes in caves, and in imagination transfer them to
our Willamette Sound. No scientist will object, for they really
belong here and this old Oregon was far too beautiful to have
no human beings hunting in its forests, fishing in its streams
or building little villages upon its wooded islands.
But what kind of people were the Cave Dwellers ? We suppose they must have been savages, but they were certainly a
very interesting people,—perhaps the ancient ancestors of the
Eskimos of the far north. They lived in caves because they
found many caverns already fashioned in the limestone hills of
Europe. They knew nothing of metals, such as bronze or iron,
but made their weapons of chipped flint and horn or bone.
They had spearheads, scrapers and large implements of chipped
flint. They made lances and bodkins and bone needles and
used cooking hearths, so we know the women had already
learned to cook and sew. But they also carved in bone and
ivory and drew pictures of the Mammoth and the reindeer, the
horse and ox, and made drawings of fish and flowers. Their
heads, too, show well-developed brain power, and we know
their minds must have been quick and active for they were surrounded by all kinds of fierce, hungry animals, many of them
larger and stronger than man himself, and yet he held his own
and prospered while many varieties of those great animals
have long since become extinct. ■
By Walter Carleton Woodward
The Issues of War I
It has been seen that from the beginning of the war, the
Statesman had been most energetic in support of the Administration and most aggressive in demanding a vigorous war policy.
It not only supported the Administration but attempted to lead,
or rather, drive it. The first manifestation of dissatisfaction,
in fact, was occasioned by what Bush termed the one remarkable phase of the war—the leniency of federal authorities toward traitors. He complained that the most notorious and
virulent offenders, taken even in arms, were almost invariably
treated more like honored guests than felons that they were.
He maintained that there was such a thing as sinning against
humanity by overdoses of kindness and that the war would
prove a contemptible failure if a "sickly sentimentalism"
should let the "demons of secession go free, to repeat again the
dread tragedy of rebellion."1
For the first time, the Statesman distinctly questions the Government's policy in an editorial, October 6, 1862, on "The President's Proclamation." This referred to the preliminary proclamation issued September 22 by Lincoln, that unless the inhabitants of the revolting states returned to their allegiance by
January 1, the slaves should be declared free. In the first place,
such a policy at this time was held to be unnecessary and impracticable. But, more to the point, were the words: "It is
not the loss that will fall upon the slave states that we object
to. . . . but the Government will have on hand at the close
of the war a 'Negro question' which will present more difficult
phases than any shape in which the question has ever yet been
seen." Another instance was this of the accuracy with which
Bush foresaw and foretold the results which were to grow out
of the war. From this time on the Statesman became more and
more critical of Lincoln's policies. In a private letter to
Nesmith, Deady wrote, October 22:   "Bush is turning 'oppo-
i Statesman,   June   30,   1863,   editorial,    "What   Shall   be   Done   with   the
Traitors?" Political Parties in Oregon
sitionist' and as a matter of course is regaining his health. Supporting a government is not his specialty."
From the latter part of 1862 onward, from the exigencies
arising from the prosecution of a great civil war, many difficult
questions of policy arose, as regards both men and measures.
The solution of these various questions disclosed the political
differences existing in the ranks of those supporting the Government, which had thus far been scarcely noticeable. Opposition to Lincoln's administration began to organize. As representative of this general opposition, and showing the several
grounds on which it was based, the attitude of the Oregon
Statesman furnishes an excellent example, and as such will be
followed in some detail.
At the same time that Emancipation was being forecasted as
an issue, the personal element was also being injected into the
situation by the removal of General McClellan, a Democrat, as
commander-in-chief of the armies.2 Bush's loyalty to McClellan
led him to criticize Lincoln severely for trying out so many
generals.3 He accused him of weakness and vacillation in yielding his better judgment to the clamor of radicals and fanatics
of whom he said: "the nigger is their chief stock in trade."
Referring to the Union Democratic victories in the fall elections
in the East, Bush interpreted them, not as an expression against
the war but as "simply a victory against party dogmas in the
conduct of the war."* He contended that the radical Republicans or politicians who had elected Lincoln had cried, "all
parties are dead," adding sotto voce, "except the Republican
party." Where* they were not in the majority they had said,
"away with parties," but where they were independent they
had run Republican tickets. Democrats were expected not
only to cease to become Democrats but to become Republicans,
supporting the Administration in all its party measures,—a
2 "We have the news of McClellan's removal here. People and papers who
know something about the merits of the matters are expending their opinions
freely pro and con and it looks as if the matter would be taken into the next
Presidential election, provided that political carnival is not deferred until after the
war."—Deady to Nesmith, Nov. 22.
3 Statesman, Nov. 3, editorial, "The President and His Generals."
4 Statesman, Nov. 17, editorial, "The Lesson of the Hour." 18
W. C. Woodward
demand "too impudent for concession." The result had been
that the loyal Democrats had formed Union Democratic tickets
wherever Republicans had made party nominations and had
elected them so generally as to strike the country with complete
surprise. Bush thus gave evidence of growing restiveness
under his close associations with Republicanism. As a striking
sequel to Dr. McBride's prediction made in February,* is the
following extract from a letter of Deady to Nesmith, dated
November 22: "Bush is breaking ground against his Republican brethren and the time is not far distant when he and they
will quit the entente cordial—it only exists in name now."
The Argus strongly supported the policy of the Emancipation Proclamation and on December 6, 1862, for opposing it
made a venomous attack on Bush in an editorial under the suggestive caption: "The Lion's Skin Torn From a Donkey."6
This editorial, while intemperate in language and radical in its
presentation, presents so good a view, both of the attitude of
the Republican radicals toward the Statesman at this time and
of the position which Bush had assumed toward the Administration, that it is freely quoted in the following excerpts:
"Now that it has made all the money out of the Union
party it expects to, this sheet has thrown off its 'Union'
cloak far enough to show its teeth which are now gnashing in real Corvallis Union style, at the President for
proclaiming freedom to the slaves, at Congress for abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, and at the Government generally for adopting what it terms the policy of
'freedom-loving Austria' for suspending the writ of habeas
corpus. . . . This sheet lets no opportunity slip to
charge the Government with peculation and fraud, to cry
down and depreciate its currency,? to rail at anti-slavery
men as abolitionists. . . . and in short to play into the
hands of rebellion by such sly jeers and villainous false-
5 Supra, p.  342.
6 "Bush and Little Preach (Billy Adams) are throwing mud at each other in
fine style. The Statesman begins to read as of yore."—Deady to Nesmith, Dec. 18.
(Adams still wrote for the Argus though Craig was now in direct management of
the paper.)
7 The Argus vigorously urged the acceptance and use of the legal tender notes
at par. Political Parties in Oregon
hoods as Pat Malone8 has been retailing in much better
style for months past. While such men as Malone deserve
to be beaten with rods, he of the Salem concern deserves
to be thrashed with scorpions. . . . The President's
blow at the cause of the rebellion. . . . gave the secession squirt at Salem a long coveted opportunity to plunge
his carcass into the stinking pool of treason, with his
'Union' cloak drawn closely round his breech as a temptation to real Union men to follow. The same instinct and
innate love of doing something dirty that led this blackhearted villain and white-livered scoundrel, among our
Oregon volunteers in 1855, to stab Whigs has now
prompted the whining cur to pin his nose to the seat of
McClellan's breeches and raise a yell over his removal as
a persecution of a Democrat. . . . The whole object
of this sheet is to assist in breaking down the Administration. . . . It is for the Union if slavery can be preserved, to again stink and rule the government. . . .
Some men may differ with us, but we have no time to
argue with those who are green enough to wish to carry
adders in their bosoms till they are stung to death . . .
If there is any hope for the success of pure principles in
Oregon, Union men must scotch this new head of the
hydra-headed snake of secession at once."
On the other hand, the feeling manifested toward Bush by
the organized Democracy was no more cordial, as is made evident by Malone in the COrvallis Union: "The political harlot
of the Salem Vampire has had a new revelation! He has
learned a new 'lesson' from the signs of the 'hour.' But he has
reached the end of his tether. The wrigglings of the reptile in
his efforts to steal into the Democratic party only breeds a big
In defending himself and like Union Democrats, Bush showed
how zealously they had upheld the Administration and only
hesitated now at the manifestation of its growing partisan tendencies. He charged that there was a growing movement to
reorganize the government as well as a rebellion to destroy it,
referring1 to the determined efforts to free the Negroes.    He
8 Editor of the Corvallis Union at this time.
9 Quoted in Argus, Feb. 14, 1863. 20
W. C. Woodward
alluded to Gov. Andrew's threat that Massachusetts would
give no more troops unless the slaves were emancipated, and
intimated that those stood better by the Administration who
criticized and acquiesced than those who coerced, overawed and
bullied it against its convictions. He declared he should continue to stand by the Administration in all matters of right and
criticise it when he thought it was wrong.10 In allusion to the
offer of a bet which had been made that within three months
Bush would be a red hot secessionist, he replied that while he
was in favor of maintaining the Government at every hazard,
he wouldn't destroy it, either to enslave or liberate "niggers;"
that he believed it to be a government of white men, and that
if the liberties of that race could be preserved, he regarded it of
comparatively little consequence what fate might betide the
"nigger."11 He declared that the radicals' test of loyalty had
become, not, "Are you for the Union?" but "Are you for
Emancipation ?"12 As for him, he was for the Union first and
the Union only. The Emancipation Proclamation13 and the
removal of McClellan were the two rocks on which broke the
Statesman's loyalty to Lincoln.
In March, 1863, Bush laid down his scepter as editor of the
Statesman. C. P. Crandall and E. M. Waite secured the paper,
the former acting as editor. The policy continued to be that
which had been adopted by Bush—that of criticism of the Administration. In November of the same year, the Argus and
the Statesman were consolidated under the name of Statesman,
the paper being published by the Oregon Printing & Publishing Company, the directors of which were J. W. P. Huntington,
Rufus Mallory, D. W. Craig, C. P. Crandall and C. N Terry.1*
Radical Republicans and Douglas Democrats were thus associated together in the directorate. Loyalty to the Union was
reaffirmed and with the change of management the tone of the
io Statesman, Dec. i, 1862, editorial, "Standing by the Administration."
11 Ibid., Dec. 8.
12 Statesman, Dec.  15.
13 "After 12 o'clock to-night I suppose there will be no slaves in the rebellious
states—so Abraham's proclamation says. The shackles will fall at his word, I
'spect."—Bush to Deady, Dec. 31.
14 Statesman, Nov. 2. Political Parties in Oregon
paper changed. There was no more depreciation of Lincoln and
laudation of McClellan. The Statesman resumed its unwavering allegiance of 1861.
As far as actual political events were concerned, the year 1863
was an uneventful one in Oregon. There were no political
campaigns—no elections. However, it was a critical year. The
various fortunes of the conflict in the East were closely followed in distant Oregon. As the prospect for the success of the
Union arms grew darker, secession sympathizers in Oregon became more rampant. The Dalles Mountaineer, a Douglas
Democrat paper, announced near the end of the year that six
Oregon newspapers had been suppressed as treasonable,15 in the
following order: Albany Democrat, Jacksonville Gazette, Eugene Register, Albany Inquirer, Portland Advertiser and Cor-
vallis Union. Their suppression was acquiesced in by the
Mountaineer, but it expressed a doubt as to whether they had
done half as much injury to the Union cause as the blind partisan Republican papers which had steadily endeavored to instil
the belief that to be a friend of the Union it was necessary to
subscribe to the doctrines of such crazy fanatics as Wm. Lloyd
Garrison and Wendell Phillips. It charged that the aim of
"these miserable apologies for newspapers" had been to force
every man either into the abolition or secession ranks, and that
apparently it had been a matter of indifference with them which
of the traitorous factions he joined. Evidence is thus furnished from another source of the Union Democratic sentiment
against emancipation.
A series of resolutions was introduced October 2, 1862, in
the Confederate Congress and referred to the committee on
foreign affairs, recognizing the practical neutrality of the States
of California and Oregon and the Territories of Washington
and Nevada. The resolutions suggested the advantages which
would result to the people thereof upon an immediate assertion
on their part of their independence of the United States and
proposed the formation of a league, offensive and defensive,
between the said states and Territories and the Confederate
15 Quoted in Statesman, Dec. 22
W. C. Woodward
States of America.16 It was well understood in Oregon that
the plotters for a Pacific Republic were merely biding their
time, waiting to strike until the further success of the Confederate armies should render the Union cause hopelessly desperate.17 It was for this reason, together with the danger of
Indian outbreaks, that the companies of the Oregon volunteer
regiment of cavalry, which had been enlisted for service in the
war, were retained in the Northwest.
The organization of secession sentiment in Oregon was represented in the Knights of the Golden Circle. There were about
ten circles in the state—among them two at Portland, two at
Salem and one each at Scio, Albany, Jacksonville and in Yamhill County.18 Fortunately, their operations were seriously
handicapped, as two spies employed by Oregon's Adjutant-
General, C. A. Reed, kept him fully informed of the work and
plans of the Knights. A plan to assassinate Reed and capture
the arsenal and several attempts to capture government arms
are declared by him to have been apprehended and frustrated.
Complete lists of the membership of the order were secured and
on these lists appeared the names of nearly all the prominent
Democratic1^ editors and politicians. The Knights divided on
the question of the overt act in connection with the scheme of a
Pacific Republic. Some were anxious to raise the standard of
revolt in Oregon while others dissented.
But in the dark days of 1863 the secession Democrats were
not the only ones to whom the idea of an independent government on the Pacific Coast, appealed. One of the very prominent men in the state, both then and for nearly a half century
afterward, a leading participant in the Union movement, argued
openly in the state house with the state secretary and treasurer
and before the Adjutant-General, in behalf of a Pacific 'Re-
16 Reported in Statesman, Dec. 8, 1862.
17 Conversation with Judge Williams.
18 Statements relative to the Golden Circle are based on a personal interview
with C. A. Reed, of Portland, who was Adjutant-General for Oregon during the
19 In this period the term "Democratic," unmodified, refers exclusively to
the Democrats who remained in the party organization and opposed the Union
movement—the Democrats known as Copperheads and Secession Democrats. Political Parties in Oregon
public. "Now is the time to strike," he urged. "We are the
natural allies of the South and the North will be in no position
to oppose us." The Adjutant-General called him into his office
and threatened him with arrest for treason if he repeated the
expression of such sentiment. A few Union victories followed
and the man in question made a public address in Salem in
favor of upholding the Union.20
In the fall of 1863, by which time a considerable number of
Union Democrats had broken with the Administration, there
were continued references in the press to attempts being made
by the Democratic leaders to unite the various factions of their
party under one standard.21 Many were the defiant allusions
made by the Statesman during this period to the Copperheads—
the peace-at-any-price men, the real allies of the South. At
the same time, under its new management, it attacked those
who had supported the Union and who still professed to be War
Democrats, but who were now in favor of leaguing themselves
with the peace or Secession Democrats of the state, thus making
the "tail for the snake of secession." To them, represented by
such men as Bush, Harding and Thayer, it gave the name of
Coppertails. The Statesman scoffed at their belief that the
Copperheads would permit them to fix up a policy and platform suitable for loyal men to stand upon, and said, "The
Democratic party as now constituted, is, nine-tenths of it, for
peace at all events."22 In defense of its position it quoted the
platform as proposed by James O'Meara, leader of the Oregon
Copperheads, the last plank of which read: "We are for peace,
now and always, and shall regard any peace honorable that is
conformable with the independence of the Northern States."
In the closing days of the year, the Loyal Leagues made their
appearance in Oregon.   In April the Statesman had reported
20 This incident was carefully related to the writer by Mr. Reed with the
request that the name be withheld.
21 "The secessionists of this state are taking immense trouble to reorganize
the "Democratic party.' Let them reorganize till the archangel blows his trumpet
—it won't make them any more numerous. ... It is still the same old
Copperhead brigade. . . . Go ahead, old snake, you can't put on a skin that
won't be known and 'spotted.' "—Statesman, Dec.   7,   1863.
22 Statesman, Dec. 14. 24 W. C. Woodward
that the New York papers announced that on March 9 a pledge
was drawn up and signed by thousands of men in that city,
binding the signers under the name of the Loyal National
League, to an unconditional loyalty to the Government of the
United States; to an unwavering support of its efforts to suppress rebellion. The League was a secret organization, established to bear the same relation to the Union cause that the
Knights of the Golden Circle bore to that of the South. It was
also given impetus by the action of those Union Democrats who
had broken with the Administration and who were now considered obstructionists by the unconditional supporters of the war.
On account of the secret nature of the organization there were
no references to it of a local nature by the Republican papers
until February 29, 1864, when a leader appeared in the Statesman—"Union Leagues—Golden Circles." "The Copperhead
mind of this state is terribly alarmed about the introduction of
the Loyal Leagues," said the Statesman, which, after showing
that patriotism was the motive of the one and treason of the
other, declared that there ought to be a Loyal League or Union
Club in every precinct in the state.
The "Union League of America for the State of Oregon,"
was organized at Portland, December 14, 1863. The initiative
was taken by Governor Gibbs, the organization being effected
through a dispensation granted to A. R. Elder of California by
the Grand Council of that state.2^ It was provided that the
Grand Council should be composed of the twenty-five persons
named in the charter and of one delegate from each subordinate council in the state. The officers chosen were: Grand President, Gov. Gibbs; Vice-Presidents, E. D. Shattuck, A. G.
Hovey, Stephen Coffin, Thos. Frazar, S. M. Gilmore; treasurer, Addison M. Starr; secretary, H. C. Coulson; marshal,
M. F. Mulkey; sentinel, E. L. Jones; herald, E. J. Northrup.
Others of prominence among the charter members were
W. Lair Hill, Thos. H. Pearrie, John H. Mitchell, Dr. Wilson
23 In July, 1909, Mr. Himes, curator of the Oregon Historical Society Collections, secured possession of the record books of the State League and of the
Multnomah Council No. 2, containing in each case the constitution, proceedings
and list of members.    To these the writer was given access. Political Parties in Oregon
Bowlby, W. C. Johnson, Thos. Monteith and Hiram Smith.
Dispensations were recorded for the establishment of councils
throughout the state. The Drew resolution, to be noticed later,
was the only matter of political significance noted in the recorded proceedings of the State Council.
The Multnomah Council, Number 2, was organized at Portland, December 28, and attained a membership of over two
hundred. Judge Geo. H. Williams was elected president, Levi
Anderson, vice-president, Joseph N. Dolph, assistant vice-president, and J. J. Hoffman, secretary, with other minor officers.
The active political work of the League is indicated by action
taken at a meeting on March 22, 1864, when a committee was
elected to confer with a similar committee from Council No. 10
of South Portland to select suitable persons to be put in nomination for the various city officers. The two councils went
into a joint nominating convention, March 26. At the meeting
of the Multnomah Council on April 4, resolutions were introduced by J. N. Dolph and adopted, to the effect that no member of the Union League who gave his support or vote in favor
of Independent candidates of doubtful loyalty, should be considered a reliable Union man. This was the sequel to the action of Amory Holbrook and a few followers in bolting the
regular Union nominations in Multnomah County and putting
out an independent Union ticket. Division of sentiment apparently followed the passage of the above resolution. On April 12
after "animated discussion" a resolution was passed severely
deprecating the conduct of certain members who had talked
against the League and had endeavored to persuade persons
from becoming members. At the same time, a committee was
appointed to solicit the attendance of members at the next
meeting, which was indicative of growing indifference. The
last meeting of the Multnomah council of which record was
made was held May 3, 1864.
At a special meeting of the Grand Council of the State
League held April 19 a resolution proposed by Judge Williams
was adopted, protesting against the appointment of J. W. Drew
as paymaster in the army on the ground that he was a man of 26
W. C. Woodward
doubtful loyalty and opposed to the Administration, and asking
the President to remove him. Copies of the resolution were
ordered sent to the National Grand Council at Washington and
to the President. This raised the ire of Senator Nesmith,
largely responsible for Drew's appointment, and was the occasion of a private expression on his part on the Loyal League in
general and on some of the dramatis personam in particular. "I
am ignorant of your opinion of that organization in Oregon
called the Loyal League," he wrote to Deady,2* "but I know
that your sense of justice, if not your abhorrence of secret
political organizations would force you to condemn so low,
vile and dirty a trick. For my own part I regard the organization with more detestation than I did the Know Nothings. Its
origin and perpetuation in our state is only for the benefit of
such lying, dirty demagogues as Gospel Pearne and Guts Gibbs
who own, control and run it in Oregon." And Nesmith, though
elected to the United States Senate in 1860 as a Democrat
had been loyally supporting Lincoln in the prosecution of the
war. The Loyal League had a brief course in Oregon. It was
organized from patriotic motives, but judging from the records
of the councils examined, it found no direct mission to fulfill
and dissipated its energies in little political bickerings which
were its undoing.
The campaign of 1864 opened early in the year. The Union
State Central Committee met at Salem, January 6, and issued
a call for the various precinct and county conventions, leading
up to the state convention to be held at Albany, March 30.25
The Statesman urged all loyal men to enter upon the campaign
with vigor. The Union element of the state lacked organization, it contended. The Copperheads were declared to be using
all the whips and spurs of party drill—clubs, open and secret,
and lodges of the Golden Circle, through which "vile lies,
false teachings and rankling passion" were disseminated. Union
party meetings began to be held over the state. One of the
most important of the early meetings was one held at LaFayette
24 From  College Hill, Ohio, July 18,  1864.
25 Statesman, Jan.  11, 1864. Political Parties in Oregon
February 23, addressed by Judge Williams, Judge Boise and
T. H. Pearne, who were the principal speakers in the campaign,
on the Union party side. The meeting heartily endorsed Lincoln's policies, including his amnesty and reconstruction policy,
decried the "peace, peace" cry of the opposition and denounced
the Democratic party for its affiliations with secessionists.
Despite the patriotic assertions made at the time the Union
movement was launched, patriotism and politics had refused to
become divorced. As long as there were remunerative offices
to be filled, this was inevitable. Late in 1862, Bush had claimed
that the Republicans in general were insincere in their expressed
desire to ignore party lines. But through all the many political
vicissitudes the Statesman had succeeded in maintaining what
was an apparent life lease on the lucrative office of state printer.
And now the Oregonian had some very pertinent comments to
make upon the subject of non-partisan patriotism.26 It assented
to the idea that the Union party should be conducted without
reference to past political affiliations of its members. Not, it
declared, because the Republican party as such, had done anything inconsistent with the Union organization, "for the last
is the natural result, the mere continuation of the former. It
is in fact the same, with a different name, adopted to save the
political pride of those who did not feel disposed, even for the
sake of the country, to call themselves Republicans." Contending that the Republicans were greatly in the majority in the
Union party, the Oregonian asserted that it could not be denied that they had manifested a generous disposition to share
honorable positions with their former opponents. In this the
Oregonian avowed acquiescence. "We are opposed, however,"
it continued, "to the disposition which is sometimes too plainly
manifested, to demand as the price of adherence to the cause
of patriotism the entire control of the Union party, not for its
welfare, but that those who have been managers of the Democratic party may maintain their position as political leaders. It
is all very well to say, let there be no distinctions in regard to
former politics, but when this is only observed on one side, dis-
26 Oregonian, Feb. 13. mm
28 W. C. Woodward
trust is awakened. The Union party has been cheated by this
kind of management and for that and other good reasons, sincere Union men will insist that there shall be frank and decided
devotion to the cause of the country alone." This tacit appeal
to "sincere Union men" was evidently efficacious as Mr. Pit-
tock, publisher of the Oregonian, received the nomination the
next month for state printer!
There was this inevitable jealousy between the two parties
making up the Union organization. There was also the factor
of personal interest and ambition, always quick to make capital
out of an appeal to patriotism. The Douglas County Union
convention condemned the practice "prevalent in this state" of
men who held offices, actively engaging in political meetings
and influencing men by promise of patronage, as a practice calculated to corrupt conventions and legislatures.2? Furthermore, there was political jealousy between different sections of
the state. Southern Oregon demanded political recognition.
The Oregon Sentinel of Jacksonville asserted, March 12, 1863,
that when the war broke out, "whisky-soaked, taunting treason
was hopefully jubilant in Southern Oregon" and that loyal men
felt that but little was wanting to create revolution and partisan warfare in their midst. But the treasonable doctrines that
had been taught us as the tenets of the Democratic party had
been spurned and refuted, the wavering had been recalled to
their allegiance, and now the southern part of the state asked in
no uncertain tone for the nomination by the Union party of
Orange Jacobs as Congressman, or of some southern man who
would look out for the interests of his own district.28 Subjects to
which the Southern Oregonians demanded attention were their
mining interests, the opening and protection of an emigrant
road into their section and a proper disposal of the Indians
which were on their borders. The Jackson county convention
in its instructions for Jacobs, declared that the northern part
of the state having had four representatives and five Senators
in the past four years, the South should have the undisputed
27 Deady correspondence, March 23, to San Francisco Bulletin.
28 Oregon Sentinel, March 19, 1864.
£ Political Parties in Oregon
right and privilege to furnish the next Representative. At the
same time, it passed the resolution: "It is indispensable to the
unity, harmony and success of the Union organization that
we ignore all local issues and political divisions on local interests, which only inure to the advantage and success of fac-
tionists and the common enemy !"20 A good example, this, of
the difficulty, which characterized the period, of harmonizing
political theory and practice. As the war advanced the polite
ical considerations—party, personal and sectional—tended to encroach more and more upon the purely patriotic.
The Union State Convention heartily endorsed the war measures of the Administration, including especially the Emancipation Proclamation. The prospective amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery was championed. The Amnesty Proclamation was approved as a peace measure both honorable and
magnanimous. Locally, a resolution was adopted against taxing mines—"a Morgan for the election to catch miners' votes
for somebody."30 It was the one concession granted to the
Southern Oregon voters.
On the first ballot for nomination of a Congressman to succeed J. R. McBride, the leading candidates and the votes given
them were: McBride 11, W. C. Johnson 9, Dr. Wilson Bowl-
ley 4, O. Humason 15, J. H. D. Henderson 34, Joel Palmer 10,
Orange Jacobs 25.31 The fifth and deciding vote stood: Henderson 60, Palmer 31, Jacobs 21. Henderson, a Presbyterian minister and a school teacher, might be considered a charter member of the Republican party and represented the radical element in it. This was his first appearance in politics, except for his canvass for a seat in the legislature, in 1854 on the Maine Law ticket. Sectional jealousies
were largely responsible for the defeat of McBride for renom-
ination. Oregon was at this time asking for a branch United
States mint and McBride's disposition toward having it located
29 Oregon Sentinel, March 19, 1864.
30 Deady to the San Francisco Bulletin.
31 Proceedings, in Statesman, April 4. £§SP
30 W. C. Woodward
at The Dalles raised a strong feeling against him in the western and most populous part of the state.
The vote on state printer32 stood: Pittock of the Oregonian,
57; Craig, of the Statesman, 50. For the first time since it was
established in 1851, the Statesman lost the state printing office. H. N. George, Geo. L. Woods and J. F. Gazley were
nominated for Presidential electors. As delegates to the National Convention,33 T. H. Pearne, J. W. Souther, F. Charman,
M. Hirsch, Josiah Failing and Hiram Smith were selected and
instructed to vote for the renomination of Lincoln.
In commenting upon the results of the convention, the Oregon Sentinel said that considering the strength that Mr. Jacobs
carried into the convention, "we are prepared to congratulate
Congressional aspirants in Southern Oregon that there is no
show for you." However, in its next issue, April 9, it attacks, both on the grounds of principle and policy, the proposition of a few disgruntled ones to bring out an independent
Union candidate. The latter were advised that if they wanted
to get the Union party of Oregon to send a citizen of the southern counties to Congress or the Senate, they must change their
tactics; that the politicians of the Willamette had the power to
control all these little matters and that nothing was to be gained
by fighting or finding fault with them.
While factional differences were making their appearance in
the Union ranks, there was by no means entire harmony in the
Democratic party. The Southern secession element was for
peace at any price. On the other hand, many of those who
were now returning to their old party allegiance, dissatisfied
with Lincoln's administration, still professed to be War Democrats and demanded the continued prosecution of the war—but
only for the maintenance of the Union. Illustrative of this latter attitude is the following resolution passed by the Polk
County Democratic Convention:   "We are in favor of prose-
32 The election of a printer at this time was necessitated by the death of
Harvey Gordon who had been elected in 1862.
33 It is significant that according to the proceedings, the references in the
convention were merely to the National Convention, the prefix Republican being
studiously omitted. Political Parties in Oregon
cuting the war for the purpose of suppressing rebellion, maintaining the Constitution and executing the laws; but we are
opposed to any war for the abolition of slavery, or for any
other purpose but for the maintenance of the Constitution and
Union." In contrast to this was the following statement of
O'Meara, one of the leaders of the secession Democrats: "The
Democratic party is opposed to the present unnatural, unjust,
savage abolition war. Our leaders must say so in obedience to
the party command. There is no such thing as a prosecution
of this war for the restoration of the Union and the supremacy
of the Constitution."
The platform adopted by the Democratic State Convention
which met at Albany, April 13, demonstrated the truth of the
prediction which had been made by the Statesman, that the
Copperheads would erect no platform upon which loyal War
Democrats could consistently stand. The first plank renewed
faith in and devotion to the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions
of 1798-1799.3* There was an "irrepressible conflict" between
this and the third plank which condemned the actions of the
rebellious states. This is explainable by the evident, labored
attempt to satisfy two elements in the same platform. However, the same resolution went on to condemn and denounce
"that usurpation of tyrannical authority which prohibits the
return of those states to the Union, until they shall have made
their constitutions conform, not to the will of their respective
people, but to suit the anti-slavery views of President Lincoln
and his party." An amendment of substitution was offered to
this resolution declaring that the Union had not been dissolved
and that when any seceded state should be brought back to its
allegiance either voluntarily or by force, it should be restored
to all its constitutional rights and privileges, free from all Congressional or executive dictation. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 76 to 11, demonstrating the secession
strength in the convention. Usurpation, tyranny, fraud and all
violations of the Constitution and laws were condemned wholesale in the usual terms.    As a special mark of denunciation,
34 Proceedings, Statesman, April 18. 32
W. C. Woodward
the abolition of slavery was singled out and characterized as
unjustifiable, revolutionary and dangerous. Another attempt to
bait the Douglas Democrats is found in the resolution: "We
endorse the sentiment of Senator Douglas that the Government
was made on a white basis for white men," etc. The Convention declared it would hail with joy, peace on the basis of the
Crittenden Compromise or any honorable basis and condemned
all attempts to hinder such settlement as evincing unworthy
partisan hate and malice. With a fine show of patriotic zeal
the assembled Democrats capped their resolutions with a declaration against all secret political organizations as being subversive of our Republican form of government! Adequate
mental reservation is to be presumed to have been made by the
Knights of the Golden Circle in attendance.
The fact that Ex-Governor Whiteaker was chairman of the
convention is suggestive of its political animus. Col. J. K.
Kelly, who had made the race for Congress as the candidate
of the National Democrats in 1858, was now named as the
regular Democratic nominee.3* He received 71 votes and his
competitor, Benj. Hayden, 14. No nomination was made for
state printer. A. E. Wait, Benj. Hayden and S. F. Chadwick
were nominated for Presidential electors and Benj Stark, L.
P. Higbee, W. McMillan, Jefferson Howell, John Whiteaker
and N. T. Caton were elected delegates to the National Democratic Convention.
In the campaign which followed, the first plank of the Democratic platform was made the center of attack by the Union
party. The Virginia and Kentucky resolutions were shown
to be the source of nullification and secession doctrines and
Oregon Democracy was charged with at last fighting under
its true colors. Lane came out from his seclusion and made a
few "Copperhead, secession speeches."36 Governor Gibbs and
Jud^e Williams, especially the latter, were the leading Union
35 "However he may dislike abolitionism, he does not believe in the anarchical
and seditious teachings of the Resolutions of 1798. He is dragged into the
canvass by those who desire to have the benefit of bis ability and good name.
If the party could elect, he would have been the last man selected."—Deady,
April 20, 1864, to San Francisco Bulletin.
36 Statesman, May 30. Political Parties in Oregon
speakers. The Democrats made a desperate effort to carry the
state or at least to win enough seats in the legislature to give
them a voice in the election of the next United States Senator.
To this end they centered their efforts in certain counties.3? In
the June election Henderson was victorious over Kelly by a
majority of 2643, the latter carrying but the four counties—
Columbia, Jackson, Josephine and Umatilla.38 The Democrats
elected but seven members of the legislature; two in the senate, one each from Josephine and Linn; five in the house, three
from Jackson, and one each from Josephine and Umatilla.39
The member from Umatilla was La Fayette Lane, son of the
old General.
It was for the legislature of 1864 to elect a successor to
Senator Harding.40 Both Harding and Nesmith had been
giving the Lincoln administration good support in the United
States Senate. Oregon's Republican Congressman, McBride,
had written to the Argus March 13, 1863, lauding the two
Democratic Senators for devoting their energies to the support
of Lincoln in overthrowing the rebellion. The Oregonian,
March 18, 1864, cheerfully credited Harding with having "generally reflected the wishes of the majority of his constituents
in his congressional action." Nevertheless, neither Harding nor
Nesmith was in accord with the Republican policies that were
rapidly being developed by the issues of the war. They, and
particulary Harding, had taken positions that were not at all
satisfactory to those to whom they owed their election.41 They
were far from representative of the Union party in Oregon in
1864. Hence, naturally, Harding was not considered seriously
for re-election. The two recognized candidates were Judge
Williams and T. H. Pearne.
37 In Polk county, voters were colonized in large numbers from outside
districts to vote for the Democratic ticket  (see Statesman, June 6).
38 Official returns in Statesman, July 18.
39 Statesman, Sept. 5.
40 When Nesmith and Baker were elected Senators in i860, the latter was
elected for the short term, ending in 1864. On his death, Stark filled the vacancy
by appointment until the Legislature of 1862 elected Harding to serve the
remaining two years.
41 Oregonian, Dec. 19, 1863. n^p
34 W. C. Woodward
In the organization of the legislature John H. Mitchell was
elected president of the senate and now started on his long
political career which was to be inextricably woven with the
political history of the state. The senatorial campaign of 1864
was singularly free from any suggestion of "unclean practice."42
Deady wrote to the Bulletin, September 13: "The matter is
decently and quietly managed on all hands. No open rooms,
no free drinks or eleemosynary eatables. Plain, earnest men
are gathered about in little groups discussing the election, with
reference to the good of the country and some particular project
or person." The first ballot, taken September 15, stood: Williams 27, Pearne 20, W. H. Watkins 2, J. F. Miller 6. The
vote for the latter represented the Democratic strength minus
one vote, that of Curl, who voted for Williams. The third
ballot resulted in election, Williams getting 31 votes, Pearne
16, Watkins. 2 and Miller 6.
At last Judge Williams realized the ambition from the
achievement of which his pronounced free state doctrine had
heretofore been largely instrumental in preventing him* He
was at this time considered a Republican practically, though
he had never avowedly become so. It was at least well understood that he would never go back to the Democratic party.43
Considering the great place which Oregon's "Grand Old Man"
has had for over a half century in the history of the state, the
characterization which was made of him at this time by Judge
Deady, is full of interest :44 "He is clever in both the English
and American sense of that much used and much abused word;
is generous and unsuspicious and does not long cherish ill will
towards any one. Personally, he is popular with the peopte and
his election is very generally satisfactory or cheerfully acquiesced in. . . . Though earnest, he is not destructive and
will help build up rather than tear down. He is a good popular
speaker, clear and distinct in his ideas, always forcible, often
42 "The cleanest in the history of the state," said Judge Williams to the
writer. "I didn't spend a dollar and used no influence whatever with members,
and I don't believe Pearne did."
43 Personal statement of Judge Williams.
44 Correspondence,   Sept.   19,  to  San  Francisco Bulletin. Political Parties in Oregon
eloquent and sometimes rises into the region of imagination and
adorns his speech with pure poetic gems.4s . . . Judge
Williams is a man of today and draws his inspiration from the
associations and wants of the present."
At this session of the legislature the notorious Viva Voce
ballot law, by which the Democrats had made "daylight shine
through the Know Nothing Wigwams" in 1855, again put in
its periodical appearance. A bill of repeal was introduced in
the house and was supported by the five Democratic members
and opposed by all the Union members, in the realization that
circumstances alter cases or, as an onlooker put it, that "What
is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."46
Meanwhile, the Presidential campaign was in progress, and
was rapidly becoming very active in Oregon. "Old Abe" and
"Little Mac" were the watchwords of the contending parties.
Clubs were formed in every direction. The Loyal Leagues were
being disbanded by the Union men and Lincoln and Johnson
clubs substituted for them. Many prominent Democrats who
had been identified with the Union organization were now supporting McClellan, among them, Bush, Nesmith, Harding,
Thayer, Hayden, Grover, Elkins and Humason. The attitude
of Senator Nesmith was well expressed in what was known in
Oregon as the "Milwaukie letter," dated at Milwaukie, Wisconsin, September 2, 1864, and written to Harding, who had
returned from Washington to Oregon. Nesmith had just attended the National Democratic Convention at Chicago. His
letter is important as showing the position of a certain class of
loyal war Democrats who had been faithfully supporting the
Lincoln Administration in prosecuting the war. He confessed
that he took no particular interest in the canvass, yet, regarding
McClellan as an honest man and a patriot, he should prefer to
see him elected for the reason that it would remove the obstacles to terms of peace. In case the war continued, he thought
45 As an example of his apt, poetic expression—he addressed informally a
company of friends who called to congratulate him in the evening of the day of
his election. In thanking them for efforts in his behalf, he said: "I will write
these obligations upon the tablets of my memory and recite them daily as the
rosary  of my  friendship."
46 Deady,   correspondence,   Oct.   22,   to  Bulletin. wm
36 W. C. Woodward
that McClellan would be surrounded by more competent and
honest advisers than those by which Lincoln had been, and
that the war would be prosecuted with more ability and vigor.
He voiced his objection to the mixing of the slavery question
with that which was the prime object of the war—the preservation of the Union. However, as far as the Chicago platform
itself was concerned, he said it consisted of vague and glittering generalities, and that he had no unity with the "peace bait"
if it meant recognition of the Southern Confederacy. Indeed
he pledged his best efforts to Lincoln toward bringing about a
successful termination of the war.
On the other hand, Judge Deady, who at the opening of the
war was a radical, pro-slavery Democrat of the Breckinridge
school, supported Lincoln in 1864.   The following keen char-
.   acterization of the situation is found in a private letter written
by him to Nesmith, November 12:
"I took no part in the election of consequence, but
voted for Lincoln.   This change of Presidents every four
years to make a new deal of the offices, is the curse of the
country and is as much the cause of our present troubles
as all other things combined.    Besides I have no very
exalted opinion of Mac at best.   He is neither one thing or
the other.    Mr. Lincoln I think a pure man, means well
and is gifted with as much good common sense and sagacity as often falls to the lot of men, particularly Presidents.
.    .    .   The people are the authors of most of Mr. Lincoln's mistakes (if they be mistakes) and as usual now
seek to hold him alone responsible for them."
It is evident from the contents of the newspapers prior to
the November election that there was felt a vague alarm over
the country at large of a Copperhead conspiracy of some nature
that might result in revolution in the North in case of Republican success at the polls.   That this alarm was strongly felt in
Oregon, is clearly shown in the following notice which appeared in the Daily Statesman, November 10:
"The Mayor of this city has called a meeting tonight
for the purpose of conferring in relation to the apprehension which is generally diffused, of an armed outbreak. It
has been thought best by men of all political organizations Political Parties in Oregon
that such a meeting should be held and it is hoped that
everybody who attends will do so in a fair, candid and
calm spirit, so that the uneasiness now prevalent may be
effectually removed."
The meeting was held, pacifying speeches were made, and a
committee composed of both Copperheads and Union men—
J. S. Smith, N. T. Caton, R. P. Boise, C. G. Curl and J. C.
Peebles—was appointed to draft pacificatory and reassuring resolutions which were reported to another meeting held on the following evening. "There was a meeting to suppress insurrection
at Salem last night," wrote our faithful chronicler Deady to
Nesmith. "Don't know how much cause there is for it, but
suspect there is some truth in the statement that arms have been
shipped here from California and distributed through the interior of the state."
Oregon gave Lincoln a majority over McClellan of 1431
votes.4? McClellan carried nine counties—Baker, Benton, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn, Tillamook, Umatilla and Wasco—
but with small majorities ranging from 10 in Benton to 119
in Umatilla. Lincoln's majority in November was only about
one-half what Henderson's had been in June. The Union vote
in the state had not fallen off—it had increased by over 1100
votes; but the Democratic vote had increased by nearly 2500.
In the hitherto sparsely settled districts of Northeastern Oregon, the Democrats gained nearly 1000 votes in the five months.
The vanguard of "Price's Army" had arrived. The cloud the
size of a man's hand could be seen on the political horizon of
the Union party.
47 Official returns, in Statesman, Dec. 5. I
The feeling of political uncertainty which pervaded the Nation after the death of President Lincoln and the inauguration
of Andrew Johnson, was strikingly reflected in Oregon. Political chaos reigned for months. The political associations which
had resulted from the war were on the verge of dissolution over
the issues which the war had raised. Readjustments were being
sought, very cautiously and warily. But in all this political
shifting, the new President was an important factor. The fact
that he was an unknown quantity added to the confusion of the
situation which political conditions in Oregon would have rendered sufficiently confusing at best. Every faction and every
newspaper was busily trying to find itself politically, in relation to the President. Each faction was accusing all the others
of crafty designs and selfish purposes. The unmodified Democrats hated Johnson and hated the Bush-Douglas-McClellan
factionists who were evidently preparing to become Johnson
Democrats. One wing of the Union party, whose exponent
was the Statesman, was loyally supporting Johnson, but looked
askance at the Bush faction. The members of the latter were
accused of planning a flank movement for the purpose of capturing the Johnson idea for their wing of the Democratic party
and thus knocking out the foundations from under the Union
party's platform. The other wing of the Union party, led by
the Oregonian, was already reflecting the radical Republican
movement of the East by covertly attacking Johnson. The Oregonian and the Statesman were again manifesting that cordial
hatred toward each other which had characterized the days of
the old Democratic Regime, when the columns of each were
made lurid by the flaming pens of Dryer and Bush. Each was
soon applying the epithet of "Copperhead" to the other.
Harding was now regarded as an apostate by the Unionists.
On his return from Washington in March, 1865, the Statesman, in what might be termed a prose version of Whittier's
"Ichabod," grieved over him as lost to the Union cause which Political Parties in Oregon
had honored and trusted him.48 Bush and Harding were looked
upon at the close of the war as the leaders of the Douglas-
McClellan men in an effort to reorganize the Oregon Democracy on the basis of President Johnson's policy. The Statesman spoke of this as "a flank movement intended to capture our
Union platform" and said, "Democrats are welcome to a place
under the Union banners, with Andy Johnson as our leader,
but we would much rather they would come in open day."49
The Statesman labored to show professedly loyal Democrats
how impossible and unnatural was a union between them, under
the leadership of Bush and Harding, with the secession, unreconstructed Democracy of the state, under the leadership of
O'Meara and Malone. The latter was characterized as "the
real Democracy of these latter years" which "will hang on to
the old resolutions of 1798-1799 and vote with the Southern
disorganizers, nullifiers, Mexican and English exiles and the
Booths and Surratts generally. They don't like the Government, never did and don't intend to." "What then, is your duty
as citizens?" asked the Statesman in an editorial, "A Few
Words to Democratic Subscribers."s° "Plainly this: cast in
your votes and influence with the party that has the ability and
strength to conduct the affairs of the Nation successfully."
But if on the one hand the Statesman was desirous of heading off Democratic reorganization along the lines suggested, no
less anxious was the Copperhead Democracy itself. It desired
Democratic reunion but not reorganization under the auspices
of Bush and Harding, whom it characterized as "disorganizing
reorganizes." Its attitude was forcefully expressed by Malone
in the Oregon Reporter, published at Jacksonville r*1
"Let not the men who stood the brunt of battle for the
last four years, allow the Salem nest of Puritan sneaks—
who led their followers into the abolition ranks and cannot
now get them back—take the lead of them. These infamous
48 Statesman,  March  20,   1865.
49 Ibid., October 2.
50 Statesman, July 31.
51 Quoted in the Statesman, Sept. 25. 40 W. C. Woodward
renegades have no party—no strength. Having led their
followers into the camp of the enemy, Bush and Harding
are officers without privates. They have no party, but desire to get back and take the lead of ours. ... To
thwart these men next June, let the legislative tickets be
watched in the various counties..These fellows who elected
Baker in 1860 must be punished. . . . Until these
Judases are dead and buried and their memories made infamous, there can be no clean foundation on which to build
a Democratic party in Oregon."
To add to the complexity of the situation, a controversy was
raging in the ranks of the Copperhead Democracy itself, between two of its leading papers, the Albany States Rights Democrat, edited by O'Meara and the Eugene Review, edited by
Noltner. O'Meara insisted on "committing the party to an
unequivocal endorsement of the most extreme doctrines ever
taught by the politicians of the Calhoun school." He fought
Johnson and opposed the idea of the party's adopting a policy
of expediency—insisted on remaining unreconstructed, in brief.
The Review on the other hand wished to follow the expedient
policy adopted by the Northern Democracy. It inclined toward
Johnson and wished to profit by the strife between him and the
Radicals. Thus, in 1865 we find on one hand, the Union party
with its two Statesman-Oregonian, later Johnson-anti-Johnson,
wings. On the other, the organized or Copperhead Democracy
with its discords. And between the two organized parties
fluttered the following of Bush and Harding, who, in the language of the old fable, had hardly determined whether they
were to be beasts or birds. The manner in which, within the
next three or four years, these various factions were fused and
aligned in two political parties and the influences which brought
about that result, it will be the purpose of the remaining pages
to show.
The Oregonian had spoken on the subject of reconstruction
as early as the summer of 1864 and voiced clearly the congressional attitude. It held that before the seceded states should be
readmitted to the Union they must first "be divested of all
sovereign capacity and pass through a probationary territorial Political Parties in Oregon
existence."52 But after Lincoln announced his policy, the Oregonian reversed its attitude and supported it, holding that the
states had never been out of the Union and attacking Sumner's
territorial idea both as unhistorical and impolitic53 The first
serious treatment of the subject by the Statesman appeared
May 29, 1865, in a leader—"Is It Reconstruction ?" It asserted
that the very term "reconstruction" implied a previous dissolu-.
tion. This had not been admitted by Lincoln, was not admitted
by Johnson or by any sound, safe leader in the Union party
and could not be it asserted, without admitting at once the
whole secession theory. It championed Lincoln's doctrine, that
the Government was dealing with individuals, not with states.
On one hand it deprecated the attitude of the radicals, like
Chandler, Sumner and Wade who looked upon the subjugated
states as reduced to Territories, and on the other it objected to
the contention of the Democrats in congress that the southern
states had not been disorganized and that they were entitled to
resume their federal relations with their existing secession organizations and officers. The Statesman used the term "reorganization" in place of "reconstruction" and said in conclusion:
"The work of reorganization will probably be brief and will
have but one obstacle—the status of the Negro. The work of
pacification will require much time and careful management."
The Oregonian had a few good words for Johnson during
the first weeks of his term, but ere long began to oppose him,
very mildly at first, in his reconstruction policy. What might
be termed mild, question-mark editorials appeared in the Oregonian in the early fall of 1865. November 11, it asserted that,
while it would not have been safe to follow the radicals implicitly,
it was by no means wise to utterly discard their suggestions. It
admitted that as the President had chosen to consider the rebellious states as never having withdrawn from the Union, it
became necessary to follow out a line of policy which should be
consistent with itself and which should not interfere with the
rights of the states as separate political communities. Neverthe-
52 Oregonian, July 23, 1864.
53 Ibid., March 4, 1865. mmm&
42 W. C. Woodward
less, the Oregonian declined to acquiesce in such a policy which
in general terms it admitted to be logical and necessary. It
furthermore opposed Johnson for extreme clemency toward
"the rebels" when he had said on his accession that treason was
a crime and must be punished with severity.
The Oregon Sentinel, which represented the Union party in
the southern part of the state, declared the best test of a man's
Unionism to be that he was a firm, consistent supporter of the
Johnson Administration, exactly as the support of the Lincoln
Administration had been the test during the war.54 Even after
the veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill in February, 1866, which
marked the decisive break between Johnson and Congress, the
Sentinel was conservative and declared its allegiance to the
President. It made the statement that of the eight Union
papers in Oregon, six favored the veto, agreeing that it was
necessary and that the President had not and would not abandon the Union party and go to the Democracy; that only one
paper had abused President Johnson for his veto.55
On February 24, the Oregonian frankly admitted the schism
between the President and Congress. It accused Johnson of
ignoring the latter; of having pursued a plan which was obnoxious to a very large proportion of the loyal people of the
country; of recognizing with political power, the rebels. "The
Union party does not want to break with President Johnson.
It is loth to declare its dissent from his policy. . . . But it
will no longer potter with rebels nor will it consent to have the
advantages of the great and costly victory it has gained, frittered away. . . . We will not abandon the President; let us
wait and see if he will totally abandon us."
In a two column editorial, "A Decisive Hour," the Statesman,
February 26, treated, rather dramatically, the opening political
feud at Washington.   After defending the grounds on which
54 Sentinel, Oct. 21,  1865.
55 Ibid., March 17, 1866. The opposite view is given by Deady in a letter
to Nesmith, March 2: "The Statesman sustains the President, but I know of no
other Union paper or leading influence that does in this state. I know nothing
about the merits of the Freedmen's Bill, but the reasons he gives for its veto
I think radically wrong as is his whole theory about the states of the late Southern
Confederacy. I suppose you agree with the President and I fancy are a candidate
for the Senate." Political Parties in Oregon
the veto was based as being in harmony with all the precedents,
teaching and policy of Lincoln's Administration and avowing
that it would therefore sustain him to the utmost, the Statesman
made the following somewhat fervid utterance:
"The radicals in Congress have abandoned both the Union
party and the President. . . . The Copperheads are
ready to catch at anything to divide us. They are now
hurrahing for Johnson but cannot tell why. . . . We
will be fools and recreant traitors if we permit the Copperheads to champion the President. We are his proper and
rightful defenders. ... As a Union party we must
endorse Johnson unanimously. We must do it now. . . .
Your President has not deserted you. He has not gone to
the Copperheads. . . . Never fear. Seward stands
by Johnson; the people stand by Johnson," etc.
The Oregonian replied in like vein in a long editorial in
which it practically read the Statesman out of the Union party :56
"The President seems disposed to sever his connection
with the great Union party, and the Oregon Statesman
goes with him. So do the Review and the States Rights
Democrat. . . .s? The Statesman has found its long
sought opportunity. . . . The combination against the
Union party which it foreshadowed, has been effected.
. . . The 'Johnson party' is born! . . . The
Statesman is 'for Andrew Johnson against all his enemies.'
We are for the whole loyal party and will not sever our
connection with it to go with a single person, even though
that person be the one who has all the federal offices at
his disposal. The Democratic party in the coming canvass
will go for Pres. Johnson. He will be their champion.
And as the Statesman sustains him against the Union
party, it may find its proper associations with the Review
and the Democrat. But there will fee no division in the
Union party. The little circle of 'mutual admiration' men
who make the Statesman their organ may slough off if
they will. The party will be far better off without them."
These two quotations, the one from the Statesman and the
other from the Oregonian, show clearly the opposite positions
which the two leading Union papers of Oregon held and the
resulting attitude which they manifested toward each other.
56 Oregonian, March 3,  1866.
57 Statesman, April 17,  1865. 44 W. C. Woodward
From this time on, the Oregonian attacked Johnson as unreservedly as any well recognized political opponent, and as
The views of the two journals as to the proper status of the
Negroes, freed by the war, were almost as antithetical as on
the general question of reconstruction. Governor Gibbs called
a special session of the legislature to meet December 5, 1865,
to consider the Thirteenth Amendment which had been presented by Congress to the various states. The Amendment
passed the senate by a vote of 13 to 3 and the house by a vote
of 30 to 4. The seven Democrats of the assembly vigorously
opposed it. The Statesman was almost alone in opposing the call
of the special session, arguing that the settling of the question at
that time would rob the Union party of a good issue in the
approaching campaign, and that it would entail useless expense.
Emancipation suggested, almost immediately, other vital issues
anent the future of the Negro, which began at once to receive
attention. The chief of these issues was naturally that of negro
The first explicit statement on the question made by the
Statesman appeared October 2, 1865. It came out squarely
against the issue and was inclined to ridicule those Union men,
and especially the office-seekers for their delicacy in discussing
the subject or avoidance of it altogether. In a sentence, its
objection to the enfranchisement of the Negro was this: "We
do not believe that any democratic or republican form of government can successfully govern two separate and distinct races
of people in large numbers with equal political rights to both
races." The Oregonian did not yet give an explicit expression
on the issue, satisfying itself with giving space to a few innuendoes at the position of the Statesman, which called forth the
rejoinder—"The Statesman has expressed its opinion plainly
upon this, the most important question of the day, while the
Oregonian, with its usual want of manly frankness, is waiting
to see which way it will be prudent to jump."58
58 Statesman, Oct 30,  1865. Political Parties in Oregon
At the special session of the legislature above referred to
three resolutions upon the subject were passed. The first announced agreement with Pres. Johnson in his position that
suffrage is a question that constitutionally belongs to the states,
and not to Congress and that suffrage is a political and not a
natural right. The second applauded the Negroes for loyal
support of the Union and declared it the duty of Congress to
guide and assist them in attaining to the highest standard of
which they were capable. The third declared that if the Negroes
did not fare well in the South under the new conditions, Congress should take steps toward colonizing them in a new state
of their own. The Oregonian, November 18, deprecated "setting the whole state in an uproar by discussing with vehement
warmth" a question that "is not now and probably never can
become a matter of paramount importance here." It asserted it
to be a matter for each state to settle for itself and still did not
commit itself on the general issue.
Beginning in the year 1866, the Democratic papers of the state
pushed the subject to the front in the effort to force a political
issue in the approaching campaign on the subject of negro suffrage or as they presented it, negro equality. The Oregonian,
whose great anxiety was to avoid such an issue, was finally,
May 5, goaded into the expressive, effective retort:
"One cannot pick up any Democratic newspaper without
finding these terrible words (Negro equality) staring at
him from all parts of the page. . . . The world has
furnished many .remarkable instances of 'the ruling passion
strong in death,' but the Democratic party has been permitted to become about the most remarkable example on
record. Born of the slavery interest, nurtured by the
profits of human bondage, hoisted to and kept in power by
the slave trade and propagandist and now dying of an
overdose of 'nigger' and self-administered treason, the
Democratic party will have no consolation not derived
from recollections of the 'nigger' and strongly objects to
being buried in anything but a 'nigger' shroud, a 'nigger'
coffin and a 'nigger' grave. It will expire with 'negro
equality' last on its mortal tongue."
Interest in and preparations for the election of 1866 began to mm
W. C. Woodward
be manifested very early. In November of the preceding year,
in an editorial, "The Slate Made Up," the Oregonian made a
bitter attack on the Statesman and "the little knot of chronic
office-seekers who hover about the state capital," for trying to
dictate the ticket to be nominated by the Union party. It accused the Statesman, Nesmith, Harding and a few others, of
making it up from among their own ilk, asserting that there
was but one of the old Republican party among the "Clique's
elect." In another attack, December 2, under the caption, "The
Salem Program," the Oregonian charged the Statesman and its
following with arranging to organize a third party—a conservative Union party, shutting out the radical Copperhead Democrats on one side and the radical Republicans on the other.
From this time each paper labored to show that it represented
the real Union party in Oregon.
In 1865 the Democrats began to claim the next election on
the strength of the emigrant vote, a good indication of the extent and political nature of which had been given in the presidential election of the preceding year. Immediately at the
close of the war it seemed to be generally understood that there
would be a general emigration of Southern refugees to the
Northwest, and the papers took up the discussion as to the
legal and political status of such as voters. The legislature of
1864 passed an act prohibiting any one voting in Oregon who
had been directly engaged in the rebellion, saving his rights
under Lincoln's amnesty proclamation. This law was modified
at the special session of 1865 in a way which the Statesman
declared made it "just such a harmless affair as any guerilla
from Price's army would desire."59 It asserted that there were
five or six hundred rebels in Oregon who had never taken
either the amnesty oath of Pres. Lincoln or Pres. Johnson
and objected strongly to allowing such a vote. It demanded
that the Confederate rebellion be treated as something more
odious than a Democratic holiday. In the language of Andrew Johnson—"treason should be made odious."
59 Statesman, Jan. Political Parties in Oregon
The Union State Convention of 1866 met at Corvallis, March
29. A young man from Multnomah County served as secretary of this convention. Since May of the preceding year he
had been editor of the Oregonian and had already given evidence of that ability which was to give that journal the political
prestige in Oregon which had been held by Bush and the
Statesman and which has later given the editorial page of the
Oregonian a national reputation. The young man was Harvey
W. Scott.
The platform adopted was a clever piece of political strategy,
in which its framers succeeded admirably in their evident determination to be as vague as possible on the struggle between
Congress and the President and on the issues confronting the
country.60 It declared that as to the best plan of restoring the
late revolted states to the exercise of all their functions in the
Union and as to the legislation necessary to freedmen, loyal
men "may honestly differ." A remarkable echo, this, suggestive of the days of the old Democratic regime when good
Democrats were accorded the privilege of honestly differing
on the slavery question. That "obstinacy and pride of opinion"
was rebuked^ where or by whom displayed, that would give
strength to the enemies of the Union through discord and division among the friends. The third resolution expressed a
desire for a full recognition of all civil and political privileges
to the people of the revolted states, as soon as compatible with
national safety and the protection of the loyal people in those
states.61 Imprecations were heaped on the men or party who
would countenance repudiating the national debt. A further
evidence of the attempt to suit both the strict and loose constructionists in the Union party was found in the declaration—
"We will as we ever have, support the State Governments in
60 Proceedings, in Statesman, April 2.
61 Deady, April 6, to Bulletin: "This is evidently the work of those who
sympathize with Congress and at the same time are not disposed to dogmatize,
so as to leave no room for those who lean toward the President to act and vote
with the party. It assumes rather than asserts that the relation of the 'late
revolted states' with the Union is a matter within the authority and power oi
Congress. In the end, much depends upon the instincts and personal proclivities
of the candidate who stands upon it." L
48 W. C. Woodward
all their rights, as the most competent administrators of their
domestic concerns and the surest breastwork against anti-
republican tendencies; and preserve the General Government in
its whole constitutional vigor." Another vivid reminder here
of Democratic platform building in ante-bellum days. The
Satesman manifested ill-concealed signs of disgust over the
platform while the Democratic view was pungently expressed
by the Oregon Daily Herald, April 5, which caustically arraigned the resolutions for their glittering generalities, double-
dealing, misrepresentation and evasion. At the end of a long
string of questions which it claimed had been totally ignored
by "the Corvallis wire-pullers," the Herald asked—"Shall
President Johnson be supported in his praiseworthy attempts to
restore the Constitution to its pristine vigor? Or shall the
Radicals—the Jacobins of America—assume power and override the Constitution?"
In selecting the ticket, the policy which Oregon had adopted
of electing a new man for Congressman for each succeeding
term was followed and Rufus Mallory of Marion was named
to succeed Henderson. He had been a Douglas Democrat
and was one of the directors of the Oregon Printing and Publishing Company, which published the Statesman. He was
characterized by Judge Deady62 as a man of very fair natural
abilities—a practical politician with his ear to the ground to
catch the drift. Eastern Oregon was recognized in the nomination of Geo. L. Woods, of The Dalles, for governor, a man
of eloquence and prepossessing appearance. S. E. May and
E. N. Cooke were renominated for state secretary and treasurer,
respectively, and W. A. McPherson of the Albany Journal was
named for printer.
The platform adopted by the Democrats in state convention
at Portland, April 5, was a lengthy one, treating the various
issues in some detail.^ However, it was by no means free
from those "glittering generalities" with which the Herald
had charged the Union resolutions—such as an expression for
62 Deady, April 6, to Bulletin.
63 Statesman, April 23. Political Parties in Oregon
the support of the state governments in all their rights and
the Federal Government in all its vigor. The congressional
policy relative to the South was heartily condemned and President Johnson was as heartily and unequivocally endorsed. The
shade of Senator Douglas was again tacitly invoked for aid in
leading Douglas Democrats back into the fold, in a resolution
endorsing his expression that this Government was made on a
white basis for white men, hence "we are opposed to extending
the right of suffrage to any other." The platform denounced
as a base insult to the gallant living and heroic dead, the efforts
of the Radicals to convert the Nation's victory into a partisan
triumph, seeking to make the late war one of conquest, instead
of suppression of the rebellion—for subjugation instead of restoring the Union, for the Negro instead of the white man.
Centralization of power, the protective tariff and the system of
national banks were opposed and the taxation of United States
bonds demanded.
James D. Fay64 of Jackson was nominated for Congress; Jas.
K. Kelly of Wasco for governor; L. F. Lane of Multnomah,
for secretary; John C. Bell of Marion for treasurer; James
O'Meara, of the States Rights Democrat, Linn, for printer.
Editor O'Meara now found himself running for a lucrative office
on a platform which strongly endorsed President Johnson
whom he strongly opposed.65 He accordingly came forth
cheerfully with the manifesto—"We shall stand by the President.   To be with the President is to beat back fanaticism."66
An interesting and significant characterization of the personnel in general of the two state tickets is found in a private
letter from Senator Nesmith, dated at Washington, May 20,
1866, to Judge Deady. "It seems to me," he writes, "that the
Democratic ticket—with the exception of Kelly—is such a one
as Jeff Davis himself would select, while the other is such as no
one ought to select.    The first is controlled by men who de-
64 "Of Irish descent, a little fellow with a gamey manner—florid, fluent, ready
and impudent. A thorough going anti-coercion Democrat."—Deady, April 6, to
65 Supra,  p.  40.
66 Quoted in Ore
jonian,  April  28. 50 W. C. Woodward
sired to see the Government disrupted and the latter is controlled by those who desire to keep it so. I sympathize with
neither. I was in hopes that the conservative men of the state
would combine upon the President's policy and give some practical aid in restoring the country to its former prosperous condition—barring however the institution of slavery to which you
were once so devoted. I perhaps expected too much of trading
politicians who have more regard for party than for country."
The bitterness and desperate nature of the campaign which
followed is better reflected in the Oregonian than in the
Statesman, the former throwing its whole strength into the fight.
It made a specialty of showing up the records of all the Democrats connected with the campaign and quoting past treasonable
utterances by them, thus rendering the campaign bitterly personal. As a last appeal to voters it begged them to "give the
old traitor, Jo Lane, another kick," asserting that if the Democrats gained the legislature, Lane was to be sent back to the
Senate. The Democrats laid stress upon what they termed the
fanatical and disruptive measures of the Radicals in Congress,
charging that the Union party was composed of disunionists.
They were insistent in their demand for the taxation of United
States bonds, were strong against the tariff, and were hysterical
over threatened "Negro equality."6? On the whole, the Union
party nominees and campaigners took the side of Congress as
against Johnson. The Statesman, now the only Johnson paper
in the Union party, became very much subdued in its attitude—
even to the extent of endorsing the reconstruction report of
the Congressional committee.68 The Unionists denied the imputations of the Democrats on the subject of negro suffrage,
some maintaining that this was not an issue in the canvass,
others expressing their opposition to the principle.
The result of the election was very close, especially as compared with the results of elections since the forming of the
Union organization.   The whole Union ticket was elected, the
67 "Shall U. S. bonds be taxed ? Shall the toiling millions of this land pay
the taxes of the rich? Shall negroes be placed upon the same social and political
footing with white men," etc.—Oregon Daily Herald, April 5.
68 Deady to Nesmith, June 11.
I Political Parties in Oregon
majorities ranging from 27769, given to Woods for governor, to
600 for May. The majority given to Mallory for Congressman was 553. The composition of the new legislature was:
senate—Union 15, Democratic 7; houses—Union 26, Democratic 21.7° Here was plainly demonstrated the returning
Democratic strength—the drift toward political realignment.
The legislature of 1862 had contained three Democrats; that of
1864, seven; that of 1866, twenty-eight. The Union party had
gained nearly 500 votes since the presidential election of 1864,
but the Democrats had gained over 1300.
The Statesman said the result was quite as good as it had
reason to expect; that the immigrant vote was much larger
than any one expected, but that the Union ticket had either divided that vote or largely recruited from the McClellan vote of
the last election, else it had been defeated.?1 The Oregonian
asserted bluntly that much of the increased vote was due to
the immigrations from Price's disbanded forces, "all of whom
gave aid and comfort to the Democratic ticket in Oregon as
they did to the rebellion in Missouri."?2 In noting that some of
its exchanges viewed the election as a Radical triumph while
others claimed that it was an endorsement of Pres. Johnson's
course, the Oregonian asserted that men of candor would not
claim that a victory, achieved by a party which sustained the
congressional policy throughout in direct opposition to that of
Johnson, was a very brilliant victory for the President. "The
victory was fairly gained," it declared, after the severest contest ever known in the state."73
The Union party was turning strongly toward the Congressional side of the great political controversy in the early months
of 1866. The temporary espousal of Johnson by the Democrats of the state greatly accelerated this tendency and practically forced the wavering ones in the Union ranks to associate
69 This was the majority  as found by the Legislature
returns.    See Oregonian, Sept. 15.
70 Statesman, July 30.
71 Ibid., June 18.
72 Oregonian, June 9.
73 Oregonian, June 30.
which canvassed the 52 W. C. Woodward
themselves with the Radical element of the party. A Conservative Union party in Oregon, under the leadership of the President, as desired by Senator Nesmith, was made impossible.
Whatever danger there was of a division of the Unionists was
averted, and the way was paved for the future rehabilitation of
the Republican party. The situation was forcefully expressed
in a private letter from Judge Deady to Senator Nesmith, dated
August 9, 1866: "You ask me to recommend a man for the
place (U. S. Marshal) who is a Johnson man—who is neither a
Radical nor an opposer of the war. This is a narrow field in
this state. Most decent people here are either with Congress
or opposed to it. The latter class are generally Democrats and
were opposed to the prosecution of the war."
As early as March 6, 1866, a club had been formed at Washington, D. C, by leading senators and others who supported
Johnson.?4 In June the executive committee of the club called
a "National Union Convention" to meet at Philadelphia, August
14, for the purpose of effecting a national organization of the
conservative Union forces. Senator Nesmith was prominently
connected with the movement, and was a member of the executive committee. Other Oregon representatives at Philadelphia
as given by the Oregonian, September 22, were: W. H. Farrar,
or "Slippery Bill Farrar," McClellan Democrat, a member of
the committee on organization; Ex-Governor Geo. L. Curry,
Copperhead editor of Portland Advertiser, which had been
suppressed, vice-president for Oregon; E. M. Barnum, secession Democrat, member of committee on resolutions. Senator
Nesmith was the only man representing Oregon at this National Union Convention, who was a consistent Union man, and
the Oregon representation was probably fairly suggestive of
the political complexion of the convention at large.
The calling of the Philadelphia convention and the enthusiastic notice given it by the Democrats all over the country was
an added and decisive influence in uniting the Union elements
in Oregon on the side of the Radicals.   The Oregon Sentinel,
74 W. A. Dunning, "Reconstruction, Political and Economic," p.  73. Political Parties in Oregon
which only six months before was championing Johnson, now
denounced the Philadelphia Convention and those connected
with it. "We will yield Mr. Johnson to the Democracy cheerfully and feel satisfied that he rightfully belongs there. . . .
Johnson & Co. were forced to ally themselves to the Democracy in order to gratify their egotistical ambition and we have
the mortification of seeing those whom we chose as leaders,
made the silly or perhaps willing tools of men who can outwit
them in political chicancery." The Statesman, which had so
zealously espoused Johnson, likewise began to weaken as the
strife between the President and Congress developed, and after
the call had been issued for the meeting of the National Union
Convention. D. W. Craig, formerly of the Argus, had secured
the controlling interest of the Statesman?5 and in August, 1866,
sold the paper to Benjamin Simpson, a Union Democrat, who
had been one of the directors of the Oregon Printing and Publishing Company. Craig's editor, J. Gaston, said in his parting
salutation—"Let us stand, not for men, but for principles. If
we divide into 'Johnson men' or 'Radicals,' into 'Douglas Democrats' or 'Republicans,' we but abandon the field of politics to
the control of unmitigated Copperheads."76 This was a decidedly different tone from that which had characterized the
Statesman heretofore.
But the accession of the new management marked another
change in the checkered career of the paper. "A change has
come over the spirit of the Statesman," announced the new editors, the sons of the new proprietor, Sylvester C. and Samuel
L. Simpson, in their salutatory. "Already you have heard the
farewell shot of the retiring editor and now, ere its echoes
have died away, we come to renew the battle. . . . Opposed
to the Utopian ideas of fanatical reformers, yet having no sympathy with treason, we shall calmly yet earnestly discuss every
measure for the restoration of the states and the general weal
of our common country."   The Statesman accordingly renewed
75 Geo.  H. Himes,  "History of the Press of Oregon," in Oregon Historical
Quarterly for December, 1902, p. 360.
76 Statesman, Aug. 13. 54 W. C. Woodward
its allegiance to Johnson, espousing the Philadelphia Convention.
It declared for the re-election of Nesmith as senator against the
attacks directed against him by the Oregonian and savagely
attacked negro suffrage. The "middle of the road" position,
which the Statesman now assumed was a difficult and untenable
one. As Deady had keenly observed, this was a narrow field in
Oregon, or better, it was a wide field but very thinly populated.
The political exigencies were sharply dividing the people into
the Radical Unionists on the one hand and the Democrats on
the other. Few indeed were they who maintained a middle
position, and the Statesman was thus now the spokesman of a
very small constituency. As the weeks passed, it seemed to
realize the hopelessness of its position. On November 5, 1866,
in answer to critics, who prophesied for it a speedy dissolution,
the Statesman gave expression to a despairing protest which is
here quoted in part as portraying very accurately the feelings
of those who struggled against the political currents which
would take them to one extreme or the other:
"There must be a golden mean somewhere between
sympathy with rebellion and the worship of thick-lipped
deities. . . . Surely there is a love of country which
shall not combine with too great a veneration of the Negro.
. . . With Stephen A. Douglas we entertain a few
somewhat heretical notions about this being a white man's
government and do not propose to yield them. . . .
But there is one platform that is wide enough for us all—■
support of the Union, and for the flag, love and loyalty.
The Statesman was with the Government in the 'valley of
the Shadow' and shall not wander from its faith when
the night is scattering and brighter fields are opening beyond. ... A liberal policy toward the conquered
states was the one, in our judgment, most worthy of the
Nation and best calculated to harmonize the clashing antagonisms of a broken Union and soothe the virulence of a
discomfited people; and for that, no excess of radical majorities shall drive us to the confessional."
By this time, after the fall campaigns in the East in which
the President had demonstrated his personal foibles, the Statesman felt compelled to abandon him.   But yet while "blushing Political Parties in Oregon
for his imprudence in trailing the robes of office in the filth
of brutal crowds," it declared itself to despise above all things
"that party whose bosom is a shield to such infamous outlawry
and whose banner is the protection of swaggering vagabondism." Thus did the Statesman hurl final defiance at the Republican element which now wholly dominated the Union party.
In the following month, December, 1866, the paper was sold to
the owners of the Unionist with which it was merged, the name
of the Statesman being dropped. The Oregonian, in announcing the demise of its old rival, granted that it had one, time
absolutely controlled the politics of the state but observed that
its final plunge into the depths of Johnson "conservatism" had
been too much for it.77 Within a few years the old name was
re-adopted but the days of the Statesman as an important factor
in the political history of Oregon, were over.
The Oregonian was the true exponent of the Union party as
now constituted. The spirit of the party is exemplified in an
editorial, December 15, 1866, on "Radical Reconstruction,"
which hailed with satisfaction the fact that Congress "is pushing forward fearlessly." "The work of reconstruction is now
to begin from the foundation and will go back to where it
stood on the surrender of the rebel armies. . . . The action of the South has made it necessary. Traitors will take
back seats. Loyal men will govern. Reconstruction, radical,
thorough and complete, is to begin."
Democratic support of President Johnson in Oregon was
brief and fleeting. For the expediency of the hour, the Democrats championed him in the spring campaign of 1866 as a
flank movement against the Unionists. But their support was
never hearty and sincere and the June election was hardly over
before this became evident. On July 18, Deady wrote to
Nesmith, "The Democratic papers here are beginning to show
their teeth at Johnson and Seward and I am quite sure that
they will do the same towards you when it comes to the
pinch." The Oregon Herald, now edited by Beriah Brown,
formerly editor of the San Francisco Democratic Press,77* was
77 Oregonian, Jan. 5, 1867.
77-a In   which  Brown  had unsparingly  criticised  President  Lincoln,   which
act led to the gutting of the establishment on April 15, 1865. 56
made the official organ of the Johnson Administration in the
State and thus remained a staunch Johnson advocate. The
other Democratic papers refused to follow its lead and made
the Herald a target for their splenetic shafts. The Oregonian,
in commenting upon the efforts of the Herald to commit Oregon Democrats to Johnson, thus aptly characterized the Oregon
Democracy: "This Johnsonized organ has made a grand mistake. Oregon Democracy is not the sort of material the official
appointee supposed. It is radical. It is earnest. Its ideas are
precisely those which animated the late Confederacy. It will
adopt no half way measures. It cannot be warped from this
policy to that, as in other states. It never had any sympathy
with the Philadelphia Convention or regard for Johnson. It
will not tolerate anything but the most extreme doctrine In
supposing the party might be made somewhat more conservative, Johnson's organ has made a grievous mistake."78
The term of Senator Nesmith was about to expire and it
was for the legislature of 1866 to choose his successor. Serving
in such a momentous period, embracing the whole of the Civil
War, he had rendered conspicuous service to the Union 7^ As
Congressman McBride had written home,7* Nesmith deserting
his Democratic confreres, had supported nearly every Administration measure for the prosecution of the war. He exercised
a large influence in the framing of some very important
measures and some of them passed through the aid of the
one Democratic vote. During his six years in the Senate no
Oregonian had gone to Washington without feeling a sort of
proud consciousness that his senator was a man among men
and that it was something worth while to be known as one of
Old Nes' constituents,"^ Under these circumstances he might
apparently, have expected re-election at the hands of a legislature which was safely Union. But there was hardly even a
possibility of such. On the issues which had arisen out of the
wai^he had disagreed with the Republican element of the
i Jan. 12.
member of the Committee on Military Affairs.
78 Oregoni
78-a Nesmith
79 Argus, March
80 Deady, Oct
13,  1863.
27, 1866, to Bulletin. Political Parties in Oregon
Union party. In the policy of reconstruction he was now
valiantly holding to a conservative or middle position. This
did not suit Oregon politicians who "would that he were either
hot or cold." He was in the position of the Statesman—leading a cause which had few followers. Individuals might dream
of third parties, founded upon the policy of the President, the
utterances of the Philadelphia Convention or "any other narrow isthmus between these two great oceans of popular sentiment and passion."81 But it was all a dream—and especially in
Oregon. Differing with him as to the policy to be pursued
toward the South,82 Judge Deady, quondam pro-slavery Democrat, had in July written his friend Nesmith frankly of the
situation: "I believe that you have more friends in the Union
party than the other, but the Union party of this state, particularly the brains and conscience of it, is thoroughly on the side
of Congress and against Andy. And I do not think any personal considerations (and all these are in your favor) will
induce them to support anyone for the Senate that does not
agree with them on this issue and all questions included in it."
In a word, Nesmith was crushed between the upper and
nether millstone. The Republicans considered him a Democrat,
which was not unnatural, considering that he had been elected
as such, had supported McClellan and was now the supporter
of Johnson, and opposed the Republican policy anent the freed-
men. On the other hand, the rock-bound, unreconstructed
Democrats hated him with a cordial hatred. They disliked him
politically for the support of the war and they cherished against
him a personal grudge for his alliance with the Republicans in
1860, which sent him to the Senate and resulted largely in the
overthrow of the Oregon Democracy. The situation in which
Nesmith found himself was more than suggestive of the general
situation in Oregon.   Political differentiation had been effected
82 "Although I think you are altogether estray in your present political
predilections, yet you are as likely to come around right as others who might
start in so."—Deady to Nesmith, Aug.  14,   1866. 58 W. C. Woodward
along   new   lines—political   realignment   was   rapidly   being
The senatorial election of 1866 was the first of a long series
of political intrigues and imbroglios which have been associated
with the history of the Republican party in Oregon and which
have made the state noted for its senatorial vendettas and
deadlocks. And it is at least significant that in this first factional fight, appeared the man round whom the fierce political
warfare of the state was long to rage—John H. Mitchell. Governor Gibbs was the Union caucus nominee for senator, with 21
votes, Mitchell following with 15. Had all who entered the
caucus abided by its decision, Gibbs would have been elected
with one vote to spare. But three members bolted the caucus
nominee, and the highest vote which Gibbs received during the
contest was 33.85 The first ballot stood: Gibbs, 33; J. S. Smith,
Democrat, 21; Nesmith, 9; scattering, 6. The votes given
Nesmith were from Democratic members. From the first to
the eighth ballot there was little change, except that Nesmith's
support went to Smith. H. W. Corbett received one vote on
every ballot until the eighth, when he received 5. The ninth
ballot: Gibbs 20, Smith 30, Corbett 9, Jesse Applegate 4, W. C.
Johnson 5. From then on to the fourteenth ballot Corbett increased slowly, Gibbs again attaining his maximum strength on
that ballot. The Democrats changed from Smith to J. K. Kelly
and on the fifteenth ballot transferred their support to Ex-
Governor Whiteaker. W. C. Johnson then withdrew the name
of Gibbs in the interest of party harmony and nominated Corbett. The sixteenth and final ballot read: Corbett 38, Smith 14,
Prim 7, Kelly 5, Nesmith 4, Whiteaker 1. Some of the Union
members, in switching from Gibbs to Corbett, took occasion to
83 Deady, Oct. 27, to Bulletin.
Nesmith, Washington, D. C, Nov. 13, to Deady: "I knew from the first
that I had no party in the state and that there was no show. Some Republicans
commended my course in support of the war. . . but denounced me freely
because I was not in favor of its prosecution after the rebels had ceased to resist.
Besides, I was not up to their standard with respect to the superiority of the
negro over the white man. On the other hand a portion of the Democracy could
not forgive me for having supported the war and because I did not support the
85 Oregonian, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. Political Parties in Oregon
denounce bitterly the bolters who had thwarted the expressed
will of the party organization. They asserted that they had
been assured that if Corbett were not elected, Nesmith would
be, which fear they declared made it easy for them to support
Corbett. Antagonism was evident between the Union members
and Nesmith.
In commenting on the result, the Oregonian, October 6, said:
"The second great triumph of the present session of the legislature has been achieved by the Union party. The ratification of
the Constitutional amendment was the first victory;86 and this
is now fitly followed by the election of a United States senator
who is in the strictest sense identified with the Union party of
Oregon and of the Nation." Deady characterized Corbett as
"a Radical in thought and a Conservative in action, a man of
strong convictions, but temperate and moderate in speech and
conduct."87 From the permanent organization of the Oregon
Republican party in 1859 until 1862, the new senator had been
chairman of the state central committee. Though the old Republican leaders were generally averse to giving up their own
party organization for an alliance with the Union Democrats
in 1862, the determination of the question devolving largely
upon Corbett, he yielded to the entreaties of the Douglas leaders and signed the joint call for the Eugene convention which
led to the formation of the Union party.
While the break between Johnson and Congress drew the
political lines in such a way as practically to separate Republicans and conservative Democrats, both clung to the name
"Union," each denying to the other the right to use it. Not
until the spring of 1867 did the Oregonian use the name
"Republican" in designating its political party. May 25, it
declared it to be the imperative duty of the "Union-Republican" party to keep its organization compact and perfect, in
preparation for the great campaign a year hence. June 22, in
an editorial "The Republican Party," it explained and de-
86 The Fourteenth Amendment passed the Legislature by the following vote:
Senate, 13 to 9; House, 25 to 22.    See Statesman, Sept. 24.
87 Deady, Oct 3, to Bulletin. 60
W. C. Woodward
fended the use of the new name or rather, the resumption of
the old one.
The trend of political affairs at Washington during 1867,
naturally tended still further to make for political solidarity in
Oregon. Feeling became more intense as the political warfare
at Washington became more and more pronounced. It bespoke a heated campaign in the state in the approaching election of 1868. The real sentiment and animus of the people
are often more truly portrayed in resolutions adopted in
county conventions than in state, where the platform makers
proceed with more conservatism and caution. For example,
the Polk County Democrats declared in March, 1868, that they
would oppose with force if necessary, "any attempt of the
abolitionists to impose a President upon the people of the
United States, elected by the negro vote of the ten states now
under military despotism." The reconstruction act was denounced as revolutionary and treasonable and its immediate
repeal demanded.88 On the other side some of the Republican
county conventions spoke aggressively against Johnson, "the
treacherous apostate,"80 and endorsed the impeachment proceedings. The Clatsop Republicans declared that the abominable secession heresy of states rights, as expounded by the
leaders in the secession Democratic party, was too absurd to be
entertained by any unprejudiced man of sense or patriotism.00
The Democratic State Convention met March 19 at Portland.
The committee on resolutions—Col. J. E. Ross, R. B. Cochran,
Benj. Hayden, Beriah Brown and J. H. Slater, appointed in
the morning, were to report at the afternoon session.01 The
convention re-assembled at 3 o'clock but the committee was
not ready to report. Brown, editor of the Herald, "Johnson's
organ," said there seemed to be an irreconcilable difference in
the committee and suggested that it be instructed to bring in
two reports.   At 7 in the evening, Hayden presented a majority
88 Daily Herald, March 21, 1868.
89 Wapato Union Club resolution March 18.
90 Daily Oregonian, March 20.
91 Proceedings, Daily Oregonian, March 20, 21. Political Parties in Oregon
and Brown a minority report. O. Humason of Wasco moved
that both reports be referred to a new committee, without
reading. The motion carried by the close vote of 71 to 68,
the new committee comprising Humason, J. C. Hawthorne,
J. F. Miller, John Whiteaker, Chas. Hughes. Their report,
presented the next day, was accepted. The struggle in the first
committee suggests the expiring efforts of Johnson's friends in
Oregon for Democratic vindication of the President.
The platform was even longer than that of 1866, covering a
range from a declaration in favor of liberal Congressional aid
for a judicious system of railroad improvement in Oregon to a
resolution of sympathy for the Irish in their struggle for civil
liberty. It opposed the "sharing with servile races the priceless
political heritage achieved alone by white men." The reconstruction acts and the usurpation by Congress of judicial and
executive functions were denounced with a gusto which left
nothing to be desired. There were the usual resolutions declaring for the sacredness of the Constitution, limited powers
of the federal government and the sovereignty of the states
over their internal affairs. The platform called for the equalization of the burdens of taxation, the payment of the public
debt in like currency as contracted and the taxation of United
States securities.
S. F. Chadwick, John Burnett and J. H. Slater were nominated
as Presidential electors. As delegates to the National Democratic Convention, N: M. Bell, W. W. Page, O. Joynt, Beriah
Brown and P. P. Prim, were chosen. Hayden presented a resolution instructing them to vote for G. H. Pendleton as the
Democratic candidate for President. Brown opposed it vigorously, asserting that he never had and never would serve
under instructions. This was but an echo of the struggle in
the committee on resolutions. Hayden suggested to Brown
that he could easily resign, which the latter promptly did. J. C.
Avery was elected delegate in his place and the Pendleton
resolution was adopted. The apparent inconsistency between
the Pendleton instructions and that plank of their platform 62 W. C. Woodward
declaring that good faith and justice demanded that the public
debt be paid in like currency as contracted, did not seem to
disturb the equanimity of the assembled Democrats. J. S. Smith
was unanimously nominated for Congressman.
The Republican view of the convention was expressed in the
following declaration made by the Marion County Union-
Republicans: "We recognize in the names presented by the
Copperhead Convention at Portland a very decided predominance of the rebel element and the exclusion of every so-called
'War Democrat' from a place on their ticket, which reminds us
forcibly of the fact that we are again fighting the same old
adversary in another campaign and demonstrates the political
axiom that a Democrat can no more change his politics than
the Ethiopian can his skin or the leopard his spots."02
The Union-Republican platform, adopted at Salem, March
24, endorsed the work of Congress as unreservedly as thev
Democrats had condemned it;93 spoke for the preservation, at
the ballot box, of the fruits of the war; favored the admission
of the representatives of Southern states in Congress "at the
earliest practicable moment when the public safety will permit ;" condemned every scheme for the repudiation of the whole
or any part of the national debt and denounced the proposition
to pay in legal tender notes those debts contracted to be paid
in specie, as only a milder term of repudiation; encouraged
foreign immigration and met the Democratic "Irish" plank by
expressing sympathy for all people struggling for civil and religious liberty; acknowledged debt of permanent recognition to
American sailors and soldiers for saving the country; bespoke
liberal federal appropriations to aid in the construction of
David Logan was nominated for Congressman, receiving 56
votes as against 51 for P. E. Sullivan of Polk County. Orange
Jacobs, A. B. Meacham and Dr. Wilson Bowlby were named
for Presidential electors and Josiah Failing, J. L. Parrish, Maxwell Ramsby, M. Baker, C. C. Beekman and H. R. Kincaid, as
92 Daily Oregoni?n, March 24.
93 Proceedings, Daily Oregonion, March 27. Political Parties in Oregon
delegates to the National Convention. The convention was
unfortunate in the selection of its congressional nominee. While
a man of marked ability, Logan's habits made him a vulnerable
candidate. There was great dissatisfaction over his nomination and his defeat was freely predicted at once by members
of his own party.°4 The temperance and church people deserted
him, especially the Methodist Republicans, Smith, the Democratic nominee, being a Methodist.
The campaign of 1868 was marked by that vehemence of
party feeling which had always rendered Oregon politics intense and strenuous. The Oregonian made a target of the first
plank of the Democratic platform, which expressed renewed
allegiance to the time-honored principles of the Democratic
party. It insisted that these principles were embodied in the
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, with their offspring of
nullification, secession and rebellion. On the subject of reconstruction, the Democrats demanded the admission of the
Southern representatives in Congress at once and now maintained Lincoln's position that the seceding states had never
been out of the Union. The question of repudiation, or the
payment of United States bonds in gold or paper figured
prominently. But more noisily discussed than all was the
question of negro suffrage and equality. The Democrats accused the Republicans of standing for universal negro suffrage. This the latter denied, maintaining that the colored
men had been enfranchised in the Southern states as a measure
of necessity in reconstruction, but that those states, when again
in the Union, would each have power to regulate the suffrage
for itself. But the Democrats returned continually to the attack with such convincing arguments as, "Do you want your
daughter to marry a nigger?" "Would you allow a nigger to
force himself into a seat at church between you and your
94 In a letter to Nesmith, March 27, Deady said Jesse Applegate was instrumental in securing the nomination of Logan, controlling nearly all the southern
county votes and capturing J. G. Wilson by making him chairman of the convention.
"Billy Adams, Medorem Crawford and Huntington are furious and all swear they
will not support Dave. Billy says openly that he will vote for Smith. I think
that all the federal officers are opposed to Dave, while he is defiant and swears
that if he is elected their heads shall tumble." 64 W. C. Woodward
wife?" and "D n a nigger!"   On two points they kept up
an incessant clamor—they lost no opportunity to  denounce
"niggers" and "taxes."95
The June election resulted in a decisive victory for the
Democratic ticket and the first defeat which the Union party
had suffered since its organization. Smith was elected congressman over Logan by a majority of 1209 and the Democrats secured 43 of the 69 seats in the legislature, each house of
which had a Democratic majority. The Oregonian took the
defeat philosophically96 and after the first shock sought to explain how it happened. It stated that ever since the California election of the preceding fall when an 18,000 Union majority in that state had been turned in to a 9,000 Democratic
one, it had been very difficult for the Union party to maintain
its ground in Oregon. The Dalles Mountaineer, Democratic,
attributed Logan's defeat to the finance question and the
heavy taxes that the people were now compelled to pay. It
even went so far as to assert its belief that if a vote were to
be taken in Oregon upon the question of paying the national
debt, the latter would be repudiated.9? But the Union-Republican press maintained that their defeat was not attributable to
defection in the ranks of their party, but that it was entirely
owing to accessions to the Democratic party within the past
two years from the disbanded Confederate armies—to the "influx of a rebel, guerilla population" which had been emigrating
westward to escape the consequences of reconstruction.98 The
election figures at least partially supported the Union-Republicans in this contention. The latter had barely held their
strength shown by the election of 1866. The vote for Logan,
admittedly not a strong candidate, was 300 above that given
Governor Woods two years previous. But the Democratic vote
had increased by 1800  in   the   same  period,   and, what was
95 Daily Oregonian, June 5.
96 "All that we have to say at this time is soon said. We are beaten. We
(the Union party) are too big to cry and we are too badly hurt to laugh."—Daily
Oregonian, June 2.
97 Quoted in Daily Oregonian, June 8.
98 Oregon Sentinel, June 13.
Daily Oregonian, June 12.
L Political Parties in Oregon
more to the point, practically one-third of this increase was
registered in the three northeastern counties alone—Union,
Grant and Baker—which were steadily being populated by
the Southern emigrants. And it is not to be supposed that
these three counties received all this emigration.
Five months later the Democrats carried the state for Seymour against Grant, for President. But in the November election the Democratic majority, 165," was so small that the
influence of "Price's Army" as a determining factor in the political readjustment in Oregon was more than ever pronounced.
In an editorial on the result, "Oregon a Lonely Mourner for
the Lost Cause," the Oregonian announced: "Price's rebels
have once more come to the relief of the Copperhead cause.
The reinforcement was opportune." The suggestive, though
highly colored characterization of the much heralded "army"
followed:100 "It appears that Price's boys in Eastern Oregon
can be relied on to give any required majority for the restoration of the 'Lost Cause.' The nomadic rebel Democracy of
the country lying between the, waters of the Missouri and upper Columbia, combining the characteristics of the wild Indian
and the unreconstructed rebel, can change about from one
place to another to suit the exigencies of elections, voting now
in Oregon, again in Idaho, Montana or Washington and back
again in Oregon when the next occasion requires. . . . They
constitute the Democratic flying brigade, operating on the
frontier. It is anything but agreeable to have a majority of
the actual voters of the state beaten by this wandering rebel
horde who live nowhere and help to bear none of the burdens
of government."
Whatever the influences to which the returning Democratic
majorities of 1868 were attributable, the fact remained, the
ante-bellum political status in Oregon had for the time been
re-established. Upon the new issues which had arisen, two
distinct parties had aligned themselves. Upon these and ever
new occurring issues the future political battles of the state
99 Daily Oregonian, Dec. 4.
100 Daily Oregonian, Nov. 1 66 W. C. Woodward
were to be fought. Whatever its potency might continue to
be elsewhere, the rallying cry of "Save the Union!" would no
longer win political victories in Oregon.
Having first reviewed the situation in Oregon in the ante-
Territorial period, as a basis of political development, the
writer has attempted to give a faithful portrayal of the rise
of political parties in Oregon; of the manner of their organization and of the influences by which party organization was
maintained. It has been the intention to present a view of the
political life and activity of this early period. The history of
the slavery question in Oregon has been followed in an endeavor to show how extensive and how all-inclusive was the
influence of the great National issue. It effected the organization of a new party and the overthrow of the Democratic regime and the disintegration of the Oregon Democracy. The
general breaking down of old party lines on the, opening of
the war and the alignment of the people into the two classes
of Union and Disunion, has been shown. And lastly, the
process of political adjustment and realignment, growing out
of the issues raised by the war, has been followed, leading up
through the elections of 1868 which resulted in returning victory for the Democrats.
Having traced the political history of the state to this point
of post-bellum readjustment, the purpose of the writer has
been fulfilled. The Democratic party maintained in the main
its advantage for a few years, after which honors were for a
time pretty evenly divided between the two parties. The Republican party gradually assumed the ascendancy again, but
the fierce factional struggles which have taken place within
its ranks, have many times deprived it of the victories which
its numerical superiority would imply. The story of these later
political struggles is interesting—partaking often of the dramatic and sensational. However, they were not shaped and
dominated by the force of great National and vital issues to
the extent that were the earlier political activities, to the period
of which the writer has confined his efforts. NOTE ON SOURCES
Necessarily, in treating a subject of this nature, great dependence must be placed in the newspapers of the period, as
sources of material. First, in the records of what actually took
place—reports of conventions and meetings of various kinds,
resolutions and platforms adopted, legislative proceedings, etc.
Second, fully as important, but to be used more guardedly, the
expression of public opinion upon those passing events, this
public opinion being registered in editorial comment, contributed articles and in oral public expression. Obviously, to measure public sentiment at all accurately by newspaper utterances,
it is necessary to have before one, papers representing the various political points of view. In this the writer has been
fortunate. From the time political activity in Oregon really
begins, newspapers of opposite political tendencies have been
Of these, the Oregonian, the Oregon Statesman and the
Oregon Argus have been relied upon most extensively. They
were the most representative of the Oregon press and extended over the greater part of the period under consideration.
On the period of ante-political organization, access was had
to the Spectator, and, in a limited degree, to the Western
Star, Milwaukie, changed to the Oregon Weekly Times in June,
1851. Next in importance to the first three journals mentioned
should be named the Oregon Weekly Union, the exponent of
anti-Union sentiment in the Civil War era. Other papers directly consulted, were the Oregon Weekly Times, the Oregon
Sentinel and the Oregon Daily Herald. Indirectly, yet other
papers have been frequently used, by means principally of editorial utterances reproduced in the above mentioned journals.
Closely related to, but differing slightly from the Oregon
newspaper sources, is the correspondence of Judge M. P.
Deady to the San Francisco Bulletin, to be found in what is
known as the "Deady scrapbook," in possession of the Oregon
Historical Society. In Judge Deady the capacities of keen
observation and trenchant expression were combined with the
faculty of being able to write with a minimum of personal, 68 W. C. Woodward
political bias. For this reason, these letters, covering the
crucial period of the sixties and written for the perusal of outside readers, are almost invaluable. The same may be said
of his personal correspondence.
Supplementing the newspaper material in a very important
manner, is the private correspondence, in the Oregon Historical Society collections, of many men who were the most active participants in the politics of the time, notably Joseph
Lane, Asahel Bush, J. W. Nesmith, Judge Deady and Jesse
Applegate. In this connection may be mentioned also the personal interviews with such men as Judge Geo. H. Williams,
former Adjutant General C. A. Reed, W. R. Bishop and Geo.
H. Himes, who, either from actual participation or observation,
or both, threw much light on the events of a half century ago.
Other primary material used was the collection of Oregon
pioneer documents to be found in the Bancroft Library of the
University of California. These are largely memoirs and relate
principally to settlement and to the period of the Provisional
Government. As representative of these may be mentioned,
Jesse Applegate's "Views of Oregon History," Deady's "Oregon History," Peter H. Burnett's "Recollections of the Past"
and Elwood Evans' "History of Oregon."
Likewise covering the period of the Provisional Government are Grover's "Oregon Archives" and a volume, "Unpublished Documents, Oregon Archives," Ms., in the Bancroft
Of secondary material used, the "Quarterly of the Oregon
Historical Society," 1900-1909, contains much that has been
suggestive and helpful. Such contributions, for example, as
"The Genesis of Political Authority in Oregon" and "Social
Evolution in Oregon," by J. R. Robertson, and "The Slavery
Question in Oregon," by T. W. Davenport, are typical of various articles dealing with both social and political beginnings
in Oregon, together with various phases of political development.
The printed Proceedings of the annual meetings of the Ore- Political P
gon Pioneer Association have been u
sed to some extent-
material on the
period of settlement
From the nature of the subject, the
assistance to be obta
from secondary books, has necessarily
been slight
Such books
as have been used for reference have been sufficiently cited in
the footnotes.
The Vote on
the Adoption of the
Oregon Constitution
November 9, 1857.
(From the official returns
in the Oregon Statesman,
December 22.)
Free Negroes
Counties      Yes
Benton   ...  440
Clackamas.  530
Clatsop  ...    62
Columbia..    30
Coos        68
Curry   ....   117
Douglas   .. 419
Jackson   ..  465
Josephine . 445
Lane    591
Linn    1111
Marion   ... 1024
Multnomah 496
Polk   528
•   188
Tillamook .    23
Umpqua  ..  155
Wasco ....    55
Washington 265
Yamhill ... 371
Total  ...7195
Maj'ties .3980
7559 70
W. C. Woodward
The Vote in the Presidential Election of 1860.
(Official returns in the Statesman, Dec. 3.)
County Douglas    Lincoln Breckenridg
Benton       140 202 381
Clackamas       173 409 324
Clatsop         38 68                 29
Columbia        38 46                30
Coos        88 71                22
Curry          69 42                 53
Douglas      288 321 502
Jackson       406 394 675
Josephine       221 261 371
Lane      166 492 555
Linn       312 580 671
Marion      864 598 286
Multnomah      364 570 261
Polk       390 180 215
Tillamook          8 11               13
Umpqua        72 151                75
Wasco       147 168 255
Washington      134 360 140
Yamhill       213 420 216
Totals    4131 5344 5074
Plurality      270
By T. C. Elliott
This year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eleven is commemorative in the basin of the Columbia River. Eighteen
hundred and ninety-two marked our first centenary, when Prof.
John Fiske crossed the continent from Cambridge to deliver
before the Oregon Pioneer Association at Astoria an address
in honor of the discovery of the Columbia River by Capt.
Robt. Gray. In 1905 the Lewis and Clark Exposition (really
suggested by the Oregon Historical Society) at Portland most
fittingly commemorated the transcontinental explorations of
that wonderful expedition. During this^ present year of 1911
there have already been held exercises at Astoria to celebrate
the coming of the Tonquin by sea with its division of the As-
torians, and at Kettle Falls in honor of the arrival there of that
great pathfinder David Thompson from Canada; and now during these closing days of the year in this beautiful valley of
the mountains is gathered this company to recall the presence
here in December, 1811, of the land division of the Astorians
under the leadership of Wilson Price Hunt. And what a
passing was that one hundred years ago in contrast with the
luxurious train service that brought your visitors to this city today ! Traveling on foot, reduced to dog and horse flesh for food,
and even that very difficult to obtain; weary, faint and anxious,
their leader pushed on from day to day, with no other alternative to be sure but still courageously inquiring for the Columbia River which he knew must be ahead of them could they
survive to reach it. Those were the first white men yet known
to have passed through Eastern Oregon: all honor to their
It is not the purpose of this address to retell the story of
that journey in its detail; others will have done that and it is
being religiously  brought  to   your  attention  by  the  press.
NOTE.—An address delivered at the centenary exercises at Baker, Oregon,
December 28, 1911. 72 T. C. Elliott
Rather let me refer briefly to the early development of this
particular part of the transcontinental route then traversed for
the first time and to a few of the fur traders, American and
Canadian, who were prominent in the exploration and trade
of the Columbia River basin, of which this valley is a part.
We of today have personal recollection of that sudden rush
to Alaska almost within the last decade, of how men of culture and of career took part in the isolation, exposure and
dangers incident to that remarkable movement. Bearing that
in mind it is possible to better appreciate the call in earlier
years of the fur trade to the men of family name, of education and of marked commercial ability who undertook and endured the hardships and associations common to such a life. Be
it remembered that it was the fur trade that brought the Cabots
to the coast of North America; the fur trade that following
the voyage of Capt. Cook lured the Yankee trading vessels to
the Northwest coast of America and to the discovery of the
Columbia River; the fur trade that opened the first transcontinental way across the Rocky Mountains at the sources of
the Columbia; the fur trade that saved Oregon to the United
States (if such a term is ever proper) by the opening of this
track across the plains and mountains and furnishing our government with information as to the country and actually marking the way for the pioneer. And this Valley is located directly upon the Oregon Trail.
First in priority of travel and trade to be mentioned is Wilson Price Hunt, who led the way through this Valley and
passed none too comfortable a night here just one hundred
years ago. Search the pages of your biographical dictionary
and you will fail to find his name, but the building occupied by
the Central National Bank upon one of the principal business
corners of the historic city of St. Louis marks the location of
his family residence; he had been in business there before
being associated with Mr. Astor and returned to that city
after the affairs of the Pacific Fur Company were wound up.
Mr. Hunt was a gentleman and a scholar. He was born in New
Jersey in the year 1782, and doubtless endured troublesome
L Earliest Travelers on Oregon Trail
nights in that state as well as in this valley, for that was
before the control of the birth of mosquitoes by scientific devices. He was therefore less than thirty years of age when
here one hundred years ago. He later became one of the
prominent men of St. Louis when that city was the emporium
for the entire region West of the Mississippi and by Pres.
Monroe was appointed postmaster and held that office for
nearly twenty years, and that when it meant something more
than mere political skill to be appointed to such an office. He
married in later life into a leading family and died there in
April, 1842. With his neighbor, Gen. William Clark, an earlier
traveler on the Columbia, he was one of the charter members
of Christ Church, and his name plate appeared upon a pew in
the former edifice of that, the oldest Protestant Episcopal Church
of the Great Southwest. He was also prominent in Masonic
circles. Upon Mr. Hunt devolved the chief authority in the
conduct of the affairs of the Pacific Fur Company on the
Columbia, and but for his enforced absence from Astoria the
business of the Company might possibly have been brought
to a different conclusion. We read of his passing bon mots
and crossing commercial swords with Count Baranoff at Sitka,
in Alaska, and of his purchasing for ten thousand dollars upon
credit only the brig Pedlar at the Sandwich Islands in order to
return to the Columbia and protect the interests of the Company, transactions which reflect handsomely his forcefulness and
integrity. Quite appropriately might his name be honored by
tablet or monument in this city, or by a peak of the Elkhorn
Mt. range, as the man who first traveled the Oregon Trail
from Shoshone Falls to the Pacific Ocean.
Wilson Price Hunt did not see this Valley again, nor did
many of those who were in his party. The following summer
(1812) a few of the Astorians returned through here, Mr.
Robert Stuart to carry dispatches to Mr. Astor and Messrs.
Crooks and McClellan to quit an enterprise with which they
were already disgusted; their journey to St. Louis lasted until
the following spring and was full of peril and hardship. In
spite of that Ramsay Crooks became eloquent about the coun- 74 T. C. Elliott
try he passed through and Thomas H. Benton in his "Thirty-
Year's View" speaks of being entertained by Mr. Crooks at
Brown's Hotel in Washington for days with descriptions of the
region beyond the Rockies, while he, Benton, in 1821, was
waiting for Missouri to be admitted to the Union and his
credentials as its first senator to be passed upon by the Senate;
and it was this same Ramsay Crooks who helped to inspire
Dr. John Floyd of Virginia to introduce that first measure ever
introduced in Congress respecting the occupation of Oregon.
Ramsay Crooks after 1813 became prominent in the fur trade
of the Lakes and was in charge of Mr. Astor's interests there.
And by way of diversion the opportunity offers here to retell a
story of Mr. Silas B. Smith's of Clatsop Plains before the Oregon Hist. Society in 1899. Speaking of the arrival in the Columbia in 1840 of the ship Lausanne from New York with the reinforcement of Methodist missionaries Mr. Smith said: "It was
arranged that we should take passage on the ship. The bar pilot
had been engaged at Honolulu, a sailor who had entered the
river once twenty years before. No wonder there were terrors
on the bar! At Baker's Bay an Indian by the name of Ramsay
was engaged as river pilot, the same who was interpreter on
the Tonquin at the time of her destruction at Clayoquot. He
had only one eye but was a good pilot. Ramsay was his English name; it came, I think, from Ramsay Crooks, given the
same way as General Joe Lane gave half his name to the Rogue
river chief who was afterwards known as Chief Joe. * * *
Above Oak Point a special express from Dr. McLoughlin met
us with vegetables and fresh provisions; with the express was
a mulatto with the high sounding name of George Washington. He had a statement from Dr. McLoughlin that he was a
river pilot. Of course, with such a paper from the Doctor,
he was immediately installed as chief pilot, to the great humiliation of Ramsay. George, however, did not run the vessel many
miles before he placed her high on a sand bar. It was Ramsay's opportunity; stepping to the captain and pointing to
George Washington, he said, 'He know how to cook the meat,
he no pilot, you let me pilot ship and me run her aground,
L Earliest Travelers on Oregon Trail
you take a knife,' and with a pantomimic sweep of his hand
he drew it across his throat. It is needless to say the Indian
was reinstated as pilot."
In the summer of 1813 also a small party of Astorians
passed eastward through this valley under the leadership of
John Reed, who is described as a Hibernian. Among them
were the interpreter, Pierre Dorion, and his wife, and the instructions were to trade and trap for furs on the streams now
known as the Weiser, Payette and Boise during the fall and
winter. This party were killed by the Indians, all except the
faithful Madame Dorion, that mother of the first child of
white parentage to be born in Eastern Oregon, which event
took place in this Valley on Dec. 30th, 1811. She found her
way back to the Columbia in the spring of 1814 and among
those to whom she related her story was the next fur trader of
whom I would especially speak, Mr. Donald Mackenzie, who
was then bound for New York by way of the Columbia and
Saskatchewan and Montreal with the report of the final winding
up of the Pacific Fur Company's affairs at Astoria and with
drafts to the amount (according to Mr. Ross) of eighty thousand dollars in his belt. The terms of the sale to the Northwest
Company included transportation from Astoria to Montreal
for such Astorians as wished to return.
With the passing of the Astorians from the Columbia the use
of this trail appears to have been discontinued for fours years,
There may have been straggling white hunters passing over it
but we as yet have no record. It remained for this same
Donald Mackenzie to return to the Columbia before the Snake
Country trade was again undertaken; and that was in the year
1818. Quite likely Mr. Mackenzie passed through this valley
on an exploration trip during the winter of 1817-18, but of that
we are not certain.
Donald Mackenzie is a fur trader who has not yet received
merited attention for what he accomplished on the Columbia.
In family line he is said to have been related to Sir Alex.
Mackenzie who made that first journey across the continent by
land in 1792-3 and established British rights north of the 49th 76 T. C. Elliott
parallel which made the political cry of "Fifty-four Forty or
Fight" look so ridiculous to our diplomats in 1844-5-6. Donald
Mackenzie had seen service in the fur trade in the Indian Country of British North America with the "Northwesters" of
Canada and joined the Astorians under some special inducement. At Cauldron Linn (at Milner, Idaho, about twenty
miles above Shoshone Falls) in October of 1811 with a few
others he separated from the main party and found his way
to Astoria a full month in advance of Mr. Hunt, having succeeded in forcing his way through the rough mountains along
the east bank of Snake river and across Salmon river to the
Clearwater and. thence to the sea in canoes. If he had differences with Wilson Price Hunt they were only those common
to the different dispositions of men, and incident to his own
really superior experience in the field life of the fur trade to
that of Mr. Hunt himself; and his service with the Pacific Fur
Company was both intelligent and valuable. He returned to
the Columbia in the fall of 1817 as a chief factor in the
Northwest Company with instructions to assume the management of all the business of that Company in the Interior, as
distinguished from that of the Coast and lower river, and
especially to develop the trade in the Snake Country which he
knew from actual observation to be so valuable.
Donald Mackenzie was a wonderful man to deal with Indians; his influence over them was remarkable, due to his
powerful physique and activity as well as his tact, courage,
endurance and daring. (Washington Irving relates in "Astoria" his bold entrance into the lodge of one of the robber
—Klickitat—chiefs at Wishram—Celilo—in quest of a rifle that
had been taken from the whites). His hair is said to have been
of the color some people prefer to call sandy and his weight
about three hundred and twenty pounds. This would make
him a very good physical duplicate of our own President Taft,
but golf would have been slow exercise for him. He was a
great pedestrian, could outwalk any of his associates and was
continually on the move.
The first thing that Donald Mackenzie did after getting the
L Earliest Travelers on Oregon Trail
trade of the various posts of the upper river organized to best
advantage and himself making a flying trip to the Snake country, was to erect a Fort at the mouth of the Walla Walla river
as a base for the Snake country trade. Thjs was named Fort
Nez Perces, but came to be more generally known as Fort
Walla Walla (and the site is even now platted as such on the
county records of Walla Walla County although a mere sand
and gravel flat without improvement at the present day). This
was in the summer of 1818. Not at all daunted by the lateness
of the season, Mr. Mackenzie then organized his first Snake
Country expedition. Quoting from Mr. Ross we are told that
"the expedition was composed of fifty-five men of all denominations, one hundred and ninety-five horses, and three hundred
beaver traps, besides a considerable stock of merchandise; but
depending upon the chances of the chase, they set out without
provisions or stores of any kind." * * * "The party took
their departure at the end of September, in the full view and
amid the cheers of all the natives. Turning his back, therefore, upon the rest of his extensive charge, with all its ease
and fruits of comfort, Mackenzie, without any second or friend
in whom he could confide, placed himself at the head of this
medley, to suffer new hardships and face new dangers, in the
precarious adventure." This is the party which undoubtedly
passed through the Powder River Valley in October of 1818
and began to break up into small parties and occasion the
leader much trouble in this very vicinity. Mackenzie led the
main party clear to Black Bear River as he called it and leaving them there himself returned to Fort Nez Perces, arriving
after traveling six hundred miles on snow shoes in mid-winter,
accompanied by only six companions. Here was a winter
journey not yet awarded poetic recognition and illustrating
the energy, tirelessness and leadership of this man!
On his return trip to the Portneuf that spring Mr. Mackenzie (desiring to know the practicability of transporting his furs
by water route) accomplished a feat that seems to us remarkable in the light of present day navigation; he ascended the
Snake river from the mouth of the Clearwater to the mouth of 78 T. C. Elliott
Burnt river through what we know as the Box Canyon in a
Canadian batteau or barge. Four of his companions returned
to Fort Nez Perces down through the Canyon again in the
bateau with the following letter to Mr. Ross: "Piont Successful, Head of the Narrows, April 15th, 1819. The passage
by water is now proved to be safe and practicable for loaded
boats, without one single carrying place or portage; therefore,
the doubtful question is set at rest forever. Yet from the force
of the current, and the frequency of rapids it may still be
advisable, and perhaps preferable, to continue the land transport, while the business in this quarter is carried on upon a
small scale. We had often recourse to the line. There are
two places with bold cut rocks on either side of the river, where
the great body of water is compressed within a narrow compass, which may render those parts doubtful during the floods,
owing to rocks and whirlpools; but there are only two, and
neither of them are long." With but two companions he continued on across the plains of Idaho and his letter continues:
"I am now about to commence a very doubtful and dangerous
undertaking, and shall, I fear, have to adopt the habits of the
owl, roam in the night and skulk in the day, to avoid our
enemies. But if my life is spared, I will be at the river
Skam-naugh (i. e. the Boise), with my people and return, by
the 5th of June. Hasten, therefore, the outfit, with some additional hands if possible, to that place. A strong escort will be
advisable, and caution the person you may send in charge to be
at all times, both day and night, on his guard." Their route
followed the well established trail through this valley, and the
value of the beaver skins packed through here, two packs of
sixty pounds each to the animal, would surprise us, if known.
Time is lacking to follow Mr. Mackenzie during his four
years' development of the trade in the Snake country. From his
journals quite surely were taken the names that became attached on the Arrowsmith (London) maps to many of the
localities of the Upper Snake river region; Brule (or Burnt),
Owyhee, Weiser, Payette, Malade, Portneuf and others; and
if these journals could become available it is almost certain that
L Earliest Travelers on Oregon Trail
they would reveal him to have been a visitor to Great Salt
Lake, the actual discoverer of which is still in doubt.
In the fall of 1821 news was received at Fort Nez Perces
that the name Northwest Company had passed out of legal
existence and the trade been consolidated under that of the
Hudson's Bay Company; this marks the beginning of the use
of that powerful name on the waters of the middle and lower
Columbia. This news rather disturbed conditions for the time
and the command of the Snake Country expedition leaving in
the Fall of 1822 was entrusted to Finan Macdonald, a clerk,
but whose knowledge of the country of the upper Columbia
basin could hardly have been excelled by anyone, for he had
reached its waters with David Thompson in 1807-8 and had
been west of the Rockies ever since. He it was who passed
this way in the fall of 1822, but having ideas of his own as to
a more direct route to and from the hunting grounds returned
the following year across the mountains northward to the Bitter Root Valley and through the Flathead country to Spokane
House. The career of Finan Macdonald is but little known
and he is given only passing mention; his ideas of the better
route were tried out during 1823-4 by Alex. Ross and the use
of the trail from the Columbia to the Boise by way of Powder
river was again discontinued by large parties but undoubtedly
used by detached trappers and couriers.
During the organization of the Pacific Fur Company in
1809-10 an office was necessarily maintained in Montreal; Donald Mackenzie was one of those especially active there in the
selection of the voyageurs for the overland party. Employed
for a time in Mr. Astor's office was a young man whose father
dignified the position of "Justice of the Court of the King's
Bench" at Montreal, the Honourable Isaac Ogden. This young
man, the youngest of a large family of children and his father's
favorite, tired of the study of law in comparison with the
glamour of the fur trade; and there is reason to suspect from
traditional accounts that he was given to youthful activities—
not necessarily vicious—which disturbed the serenity of mind
of his mother and her activities in society.    (See Bancroft's 80 T. C. Elliott
Hist, of N. W. Coast). He entered the employ of the Northwest Company in 1811 (just one hundred years ago), and his
daring career as a clerk in that Company on the Columbia and
elsewhere was known to Donald Mackenzie, with whom probably Governor Geo. Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company
consulted as to the difficulties and importance of the Snake
Country trade. At any rate Peter Skene Ogden (a name now
familiar and honored in Oregon history), is the next fur
trader to be noticed as a traveler over this trail. He assumed
command of the Snake Country expedition in the winter of
1824 and set out from Flathead Fort about the middle of
December of that year at the head of "the most formidable
party that ever set out for the Snakes," consisting of "25
lodges, 2 gentlemen, 2 interpreters, 71 men and lads, 80 guns,
364 beaver traps 372 horses." His first year was disastrous
in that nearly half his men deserted under persuasion of a
party of Rocky Mt. Fur Company (American) trappers, but
for all that he passed through this valley en route to Fort Nez
Perces about the first of November, 1825, with a goodly number of beaver skins in his packs.
The story of the career ©f Peter Skene Ogden could well
occupy an entire address. He is the man whose name became
tradition around Great Salt Lake in Utah so that upon the
arrival there of the Mormons the present city of Ogden was
christened in his honor; the man who first explored the region
of the Humboldt river, who first recorded the name of Mount
Shasta, who first explored the central and southern Oregon
country which is now being so rapidly developed; the man who
hastened up the Columbia immediately after the massacre of
the white people at the Wai-i-lat-pu Mission in 1847 and
ransomed the fifty or more women and children held in captivity there by the Cayuse Indians. This story has been recently published by the Oregon Historical Society and is available to such as desire it at your Public Library. You are more
especially concerned in his associations with this particular Valley and the mountains which surround it and streams which
flow through it.   The Wilson Price Hunt party passed through
L Earliest Travelers on Oregon Trail 81
here under conditions of dire distress, but their situation was
not one whit less serious than that of Peter Skene Ogden's
party of trappers while crossing the Elkhorn mountains from
the waters of the John Day river to those of the Powder or
of Burnt River in the winter of 1825-6.
A few entries from his journals will tell that story in his
own words:
"Thursday, 26th (January, 1826). Ice forming on river;
course east by north 8 miles over a lofty range of hills bare of
wood N. E. Here we leave the waters of Day's River. Since
joining Mr. McDonald, allowing we had one hundred hunters,
had we not our traps we must have starved to death. Where
the Indians of this part reside in winter I cannot (tell) ; have
no doubt concealed in the mountains.    *    *    *
"Friday, 27th. My guide refuses to proceed, says road is
bad and horses require day's rest. I was obliged to comply.
Thank God, when we get across the mountains I trust I shall
soon reach Snake River or south branch of the Columbia; 9
beaver and 1 otter.
"Saturday, 28th. Our guide says there are 6 feet of snow
in mountains; impossible to pass in this direction; must try another. Many in the camp are starving. For the last ten days
only one meal every two days. Still the Company's horses
must not fall a sacrifice. We hope when we get across the
mountains to fare better; today 4 beaver.
"Sunday, 29th. Three inches of snow; raised camp for S.E.
6 miles; our guide says he intends to return. A horse this
day killed; on examining his feet, the hoof entirely worn away
and only raw stump.
"February 2. We are now on the waters of the south branch
of the Columbia.
"February 3. This surely is the Snake Country; as far as
the eye can reach, nothing but lofty mountains. A more gloomy
country I never yet saw; too (?) horses killed for food today.
"Saturday, February 4th. We have taken 85 beaver and 16
otter on Day's River; my Snake guide brought in 4 sheep
(Ibex).   He says this is Burnt River. PI
82 T. C. Elliott
"Feb. 5th. Course E. N. E. Crossed river th