History of Oregon (Bancroft)/Volume 2/Chapter 3

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3277109History of Oregon, Volume 2 — Chapter 3Frances Fuller Victor




Indian Affairs—Troubles in Cowlitz Valley—Fort Nisqually Attacked—Arrival of the United States Ship 'Massachusetts'—A Military Post Established near Nisqually—Thornton as Sub-Indian Agent—Meeting of the Legislative Assembly—Measures Adopted—Judicial Districts—A Travelling Court of Justice—The Mounted Rifle Regiment—Establishment of Military Posts at Fort Hall, Vancouver, Steilacoom, and The Dalles—The Vancouver Claim—General Persifer F. Smith—His Drunken Soldiers—The Dalles Claim—Trial and Execution of the Whitman Murderers.

Governor Lane lost no time in starting the political wheels of the territory. First a census must be taken in order to make the proper apportionment before ordering an election; and this duty the marshal and his deputies quickly performed.[1] Meanwhile the governor applied himself to that branch of his office which made him superintendent of Indian affairs, the Indians themselves—those that were left of them—being prompt to remind him of the many years they had been living on promises, and the crumbs which were dropped from the tables of their white brothers. The result was more promises, more fair words, and further assurances of the intentions of the great chief of the Americans toward his naked and hungry red children. Nevertheless the superintendent did decide a case against some white men of Linn City who had possessed themselves of the site of a native fishing village on the west bank of the Willamette near the falls, after maliciously setting fire to the wretched habitations and consuming the poor stock of supplies contained therein. The Indians were restored to their original freehold, and quieted with a promise of indemnification, which, on the arrival of the first ten thousand dollar appropriation for the Indian service in April, was redeemed by a few presents of small value, the money being required for other purposes, none having been forwarded for the use of the territory.[2]

In order to allay a growing feeling of uneasiness among the remoter settlements, occasioned by the insolent demeanor of the Kliketats, who frequently visited the Willamette and perpetrated minor offences, from demanding a prepared meal to stealing an ox or a horse, as the Molallas had done on previous occasions, Lane visited the tribes near The Dalles and along the north side of the Columbia, including the Kliketats, all of whom at the sight of the new white chief professed unalterable friendship, thinking that now surely something besides words would be forthcoming. A few trifling gifts were bestowed.[3] Presently a messenger arrived from Puget Sound with information of the killing of an American, Leander C. Wallace, of Cowlitz Valley, and the wounding of two others, by the Snoqualimichs. It was said that they had concocted a plan for capturing Fort Nisqually by fomenting a quarrel with a small and inoffensive tribe living near the fort, and whom they employed sometimes as herdsmen. They reckoned upon the company's interference, which was to furnish the opportunity. As they had expected, when they began the affray, the Indians attacked ran to the fort, and Tolmie, who was in charge, ordered the gates opened to give them refuge. At this moment, when the Snoqualimichs were making a dash to crowd into the fort on the pretence of following their enemies, Wallace, Charles Wren, and a Mr Lewis were riding toward it, having come from the Cowlitz to trade. On seeing their danger, they also made all haste to get inside, but were a moment too late, when, the gates being closed, the disappointed savages fired upon them, as I have said, besides killing one of the friendly Indians who did not gain the shelter of the fort.[4] Thibault, a Canadian, then began firing on the assailants from one of the bastions. The Indians finding they had failed retreated before the company could attack them in full force. There was no doubt that had the Snoqualimichs succeeded in capturing the fort, they would have massacred every white person on the Sound. Finding that they had committed themselves, they sent word to the American settlers, numbering about a dozen families, that they were at liberty to go out of the country, leaving their property behind. But to this offer the settlers returned answer that they intended to stay, and if their property was threatened should fight. Instead of fleeing, they built block houses at Tumwater and Cowlitz prairie, to which they could retire in case of alarm, and sent a messenger to the governor to inform him of their situation.

There were then at Oregon City neither armies nor organized courts. Lieutenant Hawkins and five men who had not deserted constituted the military force at Lane's command. Acting with characteristic promptness, he set out at once for Puget Sound, accompanied by these, taking with him a supply of arms and ammunition, and leaving George L. Curry acting secretary by his appointment, Pritchett not yet having arrived. At Tumwater he was overtaken by an express from Vancouver, notifying him of the arrival of the propeller Massachusetts, Captain Wood, from Boston, by way of Valparaiso and the Hawaiian Islands, having on board two companies of artillery under Brevet-Major Hathaway, who sent Lane word that if he so desired, a part of his force should be moved at once to the Sound.[5]

Lane returned to the Columbia, at the same time despatching a letter to Tolmie at Fort Nisqually, requesting him to inform the hostile Indians that should they commit any further outrages they would be visited with chastisement, for now he had fighting men enough to destroy them ; also making a request that no ammunition should be furnished to the Indians.[6] His plan, he informed the secretary of war afterward, was, in the event of a military post being established on the Sound, to secure the coöperation of Major Hathaway in arresting and punishing the Indians according to law for the murder of American citizens.

On reaching Vancouver, about the middle of June, he found the Massachusetts ready to depart,[7] and Hathaway encamped in the rear of the Hudson's Bay Company's fort with one company of artillery, the other, under Captain B. H. Hill, having been left at Astoria, quartered in the buildings erected by the Shark's crew in 1846.[8] It was soon arranged between Hathaway and Lane that Hill's company should establish a post near Nisqually, when the Indians would be called upon to surrender the murderer of Wallace. The troops were removed from Astoria about the middle of July, proceeding by the English vessel Harpooner to Nisqually.

On the 13th of May the governor's proclamation was issued dividing the territory into judicial districts; the first district, to which Bryant, who arrived on the 9th of April, was assigned, consisting of Vancouver and several counties immediately south of the Columbia; the second, consisting of the remaining counties in the Willamette Valley, to which Pratt was assigned; and the third the county of Lewis, or all the country north of the Columbia and west of Vancouver county, including the Puget Sound territory, for which there was no judge then appointed.[9] The June election gave Oregon a bona fide delegate to congress, chosen by the people, of whom we shall know more presently.

When the governor reached his capital he found that several commissions, which had been intended to overtake him at St Louis or Leavenworth, but which failed, had been forwarded by Lieutenant Beale to California, and thence to Oregon City. These related to the Indian department, appointing as sub-Indian agents J. Q. Thornton, George C. Preston, and Robert Newell,[10] the Abernethy delegate being rewarded at last with this unjudicial office by a relenting president. As Preston did not arrive with his commission, the territory was divided into two districts, and Thornton assigned by the governor to the north of the Columbia, while Newell was given the country south of the river as his district. This arrangement sent Thornton to the disaffected region of Puget Sound. On the 30th of July he proceeded to Nisqually, where he was absent for several weeks, obtaining the information which was embodied in the report of the superintendent, concerning the numbers and dispositions of the different tribes, furnished to him by Tolmie.[11] While on this mission, during which he visited some of the Indians and made them small presents, he conceived it his duty to offer a reward for the apprehension of the principal actors in the affair at Nisqually, nearly equal to the amount paid by Ogden for the ransom of all the captives after the Waiilatpu massacre, amounting to nearly five hundred dollars. This assumption of authority roused the ire of the governor, who probably expressed himself somewhat strongly, for Thornton resigned, and as Newell shortly after went to the gold mines the business of conciliating and punishing the Indians again devolved upon the governor.

On the 16th of July the first territorial legislative assembly met at Oregon City. According to the act establishing the government, the legislature was organized with nine councilmen, of three classes, whose terms should expire with the first, second, and third years respectively; and eighteen members of the house of representatives, who should serve for one year; the law, however, providing for an increase in the number of representatives from time to time, in proportion to the number of qualified voters, until the maximum of thirty should be reached.[12] After the usual congratulations Lane, in his message to the legislature, alluded briefly to the Cayuses, who, he promised, should be brought to justice as soon as the rifle regiment then on its way should arrive. Congress would probably appropriate money to pay the debt, amounting to about one hundred and ninety thousand dollars. He also spoke of the Wallace affair, and said the murderers should be punished.

His suggestions as to the wants of the territory were practical, and related to the advantages of good roads; to a judicious system of revenues; to the revision of the loose and defective condition of the statute laws, declared by the organic act to be operative in the territory;[13] to education and common schools; to the organization of the militia; to election matters and providing for apportioning the representation of counties and districts to the council and house of representatives, and defining the qualification of voters, with other matters appertaining to government. He left the question of the seat of government to their choice, to decide whether it should be fixed by them or at some future session. He referred with pleasure to the return of many absentees from the mines, and hoped they would resume the cultivation of their farms, which from lying idle would give the country only a short crop, though there was still enough for home consumption.[14] He predicted that the great migration to California would benefit Oregon, as many of the gold-seekers would remain on the Pacific coast, and look for homes in the fertile and lovely valleys of the new territory. And last, but by no means least in importance, was the reference to the expected donation of land for which the people were waiting, and all the more anxiously that there was much doubt entertained of the tenure by which their claims were now held, since the only part of the old organic law repealed was that which granted a title to lands.[15] He advised them to call the attention of congress to this subject without delay. In short, if Lane had been a pioneer of 1843 he could not have touched upon all the topics nearest the public heart more successfully. Hence his immediate popularity was assured, and whatever he might propose was likely to receive respectful consideration.

The territorial act allowed the first legislative assembly one hundred days, at three dollars a day, in which to perform its work. A memorial to congress occupied it two weeks; still, the assembly closed its labors in seventy-six days,[16] having enacted what the Spectator described as a "fair and respectable code of laws," and adopted one hundred acts of the Iowa statutes. The memorial set forth the loyalty of the people, and the natural advantages of the country, not forgetting the oft-repeated request that congress would grant six hundred and forty acres of land to each actual settler, including widows and orphans; and that the donations should be made to conform to the claims and improvements of the settlers; but if congress decided to have the lands surveyed, and to make grants by subdivisions, that the settler might be permitted to take his land in subdivisions as low as twenty acres, so as to include his improvements, without regard to section or township lines. The government was reminded that such a grant had been long expected; that, indeed, congress was responsible for the expectation, which had caused the removal to Oregon of so large a number of people at a great cost to themselves; that they were happy to have effected by such emigration the objects which the government had in view, and to have been prospectively the promoters of the happiness of millions yet unborn, and that a section of land to each would no more than pay them for their trouble. The memorial asked payment for the cost of the Cayuse war, and also for an appropriation of ten thousand dollars to pay the debt of the late government, which, adopted as a necessity, and weak and inefficient as it had been, still sufficed to regulate society and promote the growth of wholesome institutions.[17] A further appropriation of twenty thousand dollars was asked for the erection of public buildings at the seat of government suitable for the transaction of the public business, which was no more than had been appropriated to the other territories for the same purpose. A sum sufficient for the erection of a penitentiary was also wanted, and declared to be as much in the interest of the United States as of the territory of Oregon.

With regard to the school lands, sections sixteen and thirty-six, which would fall upon the claims of some settlers, it was earnestly recommended that congress should pass a law authorizing the township authorities, if the settlers so disturbed should desire, to select other lands in their places. At the same time congress was reminded that under the distribution act, five hundred thousand acres of land were given to each new state on coming into the union; and the people of Oregon asked that the territory be allowed to select such lands immediately on the public surveys being made, and also that a law be passed authorizing the appropriation of said lands to the support of the common schools.

A military road from some point on the Columbia below the cascades to Puget Sound was asked for; also one from the sound to a point on the Columbia, near Walla Walla;[18] also one from The Dalles to the Willamette Valley; also that explorations be made for a road from Bear River to the Humboldt, crossing the Blue Mountains north of Klamath Lake, and entering the Willamette Valley near Mount Jefferson and the Santiam River. Other territorial and post roads were asked for, and an appropriation to make improvements at the falls of the Willamette. The usual official robbery under form of the extinguishment of the Indian title, and their removal from the neighborhood of the white settlements, was unblushingly urged. The propriety of making letters to Oregon subject to the same postage as letters within the States was suggested. Attention was called to the difficulties between American citizens and the Puget Sound Agricultural Company with regard to the extent of the company's claim, which was a large tract of country enclosed within undefined and imaginary lines. They denied the right of citizens of the United States to locate on said lands, while the people contended that the company had no right to any lands except such as they actually occupied at the time of the Oregon treaty of 1846. The government was requested to purchase the lands rightfully held by treaty in order to put an end to disputes. The memorial closed by coolly asking for a railroad and telegraph to the Pacific, though there were not people enough in all Oregon to make a good-sized country town.[19]

This document framed, the business of laying out the judicial districts was attended to. Having first changed the names of several counties,[20] it was decreed that the first judicial district should consist of Clackamas, Marion, and Linn; the second district of Benton, Polk, Yamhill, and Washington; and the third of Clarke, Clatsop, and Lewis. The time for holding court was also fixed.[21]

While awating a donation law an act was passed declaring the late land law in force, and that any person who had complied or should thereafter comply with its provisions should be deemed in possession to every part of the land within his recorded boundary, not exceeding six hundred and forty acres. But the same act provided that no foreigner should be entitled to the benefits of the law, who should not have, within six months thereafter, filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States.[22]

The new land law amended the old to make it conform to the territorial act, declaring that none but white male citizens of the United States, over eighteen years of age, should be entitled to take claims under the act revived. The privilege of holding claims during absence from the territory by paying five dollars annually was repealed; but it was declared not necessary to reside upon the land, if the claimant continued to improve it, provided the claimant should not be absent more than six months. It was also declared that land claims should descend to heirs at law as personal property.

An act was passed at this session which made it unlawful for any negro or mulatto to come into or reside in the territory; that masters of vessels bringing them should be held responsible for their conduct, and they should not be permitted to leave the port where the vessel was lying except with the consent of the master of the vessel, who should cause them to depart with the vessel that brought them, or some other, within forty days after the time of their arrival. Masters or owners of vessels failing to observe this law were made subject to fine not less than five hundred dollars, and imprisonment. If a negro or mulatto should be found in the territory, it became the duty of any judge to issue a warrant for his arrest, and cause his removal; and if the same negro or mulatto were twice found in the territory, he should be fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court. This law, however, did not apply to the negroes already in the territory. The act was ordered published in the newspapers of California.[23]

The next most interesting action of the legislative assembly was the enactment of a school law, which provided for the establishment of a permanent irreducible fund, the interest on which should be divided annually among the districts; but as the school lands could not be made immediately available, a tax of two mills was levied for the support of common schools in the interim. The act in its several chapters created the offices of school commissioner and directors for each county and defined their duties; also the duties of teachers. The eighth chapter relating to the powers of district meetings provided that until the counties were districted the people in any neighborhood, on ten days' notice, given by any two legal voters, might call a meeting and organize a district; and the district meeting might impose an ad valorem tax on all taxable property in the district for the erection of school houses, and to defray the incidental expenses of the districts, and for the support of teachers. All children between the ages of four and twenty-one years were entitled to the benefits of public education.[24]

It is unnecessary to the purposes of this history to follow the legislature of the first territorial assembly further. No money having been received[25] for the payment of the legislators or the printing of the laws, the legislators magnanimously waived their right to take the remaining thirty days allowed them, and thus left some work for the next assembly to do.[26]

On the 21st of September the assembly was notified, by a special message from the governor, of the death of ex-President James K. Polk, the friend of Oregon, and the revered of the western democracy. As a personal friend of Lane, also, his death created a profound sensation. The legislature after draping both houses in mourning adjourned for a week. Public obsequies were celebrated, and Lane delivered a highly eulogistic address. Perhaps the admirers of Polk's administration and political principles were all the more earnest to do him honor that his successor in office was a whig, with whose appointments they were predetermined not to be pleased. The officers elected by the legislature were: A. A. Skinner, commissioner to settle the Cayuse war debt; Bernard Genoise, territorial auditor; James Taylor, treasurer; Wm. T. Matlock, librarian; James McBride, superintendent of schools; C. M. Walker, prosecuting attorney, first judicial district; David Stone, prosecuting attorney, second judicial district; Wilson Blain, public printer; A. L. Lovejoy and W. W. Buck, commissioners to let the printing of the laws and journals. Other offices being still vacant, an act was passed providing for a special election to be held in each of the several counties on the third Monday in October for the election of probate judges, clerks, sheriffs, assessors, treasurers, school commissioners, and justices of the peace.

As by the territorial act the governor had no veto power, congress having reserved this right, there was nothing for him to do at Oregon City; and being accustomed of late to the stir and incident of military camps he longed for activity, and employed his time visiting the Indians on the coast, and sending couriers to the Cayuses, to endeavor to prevail upon them to give up the Waiilatpu murderers.[27] The legislative assembly having in the mean time passed a special act to enable him to bring to trial the Snoqualimichs, and Thornton's munificent offer of reward having prompted the avaricious savages to give up to Captain Hill at Steilacoom certain of their number to be dealt with according to the white man's law, Lane had the satisfaction of seeing, about the last of September, the first district court, marshal and jurymen, grand and petit, on the way to Puget Sound,[28] where the American population was still so small that travelling courts were obliged to bring their own juries.

Judge Bryant provided for the decent administration of justice by the appointment of A. A. Skinner, district attorney, for the prosecution, and David Stone for the defence. The whole company proceeded by canoes and horses to Steilacoom carrying with them their provisions and camping utensils. Several Indians had been arrested, but two only, Quallawort, brother of Patkanim, head chief of the Snoqualimichs, and Kassas, another Snoqualimich chief, were found guilty. On the day following their conviction they were hanged in the presence of the troops and many of their own and other tribes, Bryant expressing himself satisfied with the finding of the jury, and also with the opinion that the attacking party of Snoqualimichs had designed to take Fort Nisqually, in which attempt, had they succeeded, many lives would have been lost.[29] The cost of this trial was $1,899.54, besides eighty blankets, the promised reward for the arrest and delivery of the guilty parties, which amounted to $480 more. Many of the jurymen were obliged to travel two hundred miles, and the attorneys also, each of whom received two hundred and fifty dollars for his services. Notwithstanding this expensive lesson the same savages made away in some mysterious manner with one of the artillerymen from Fort Steilacoom the following winter.[30]

The arrest of the Cayuse murderers could not proceed until the arrival of the mounted rifle regiment then en route, under the command of Brevet-Colonel W. W. Loring.[31] This regiment which was provided expressly for service in Oregon and to garrison posts upon the emigrant road, by authority of a congressional act passed May 19, 1846, was not raised till the spring of 1847, and was then ordered to Mexico, although the secretary of war in his instructions to the governor of Missouri, in which state the regiment was formed, had said that a part if not the whole of it would be employed in establishing posts on the route to Oregon.[32] Its numbers being greatly reduced during the Mexican campaign, it was recruited at Fort Leavenworth, and at length set out upon its march to the Columbia in the spring of 1849. On the 10th of May the regiment left Fort Leavenworth with about 600 men, thirty-one commissioned officers, several women and children, the usual train agents, guides, and teamsters, 160 wagons, 1,200 mules, 700 horses, and subsistence for the march to the Pacific.[33]

Two posts were established on the way, one at Fort Laramie, with two companies, under Colonel Benjamin Roberts; and another at Cantonment Loring, three miles above Fort Hall,[34] on Snake River, with an equal number of men under Major Simonson, the command being transferred soon after to Colonel Porter.[35] The report made by the quartermaster is an account of discomforts from rains which lasted to the Rocky Mountains; of a great migration to the California gold mines[36] where large numbers died of cholera, which dread disease invaded the military camps also to some extent; of the almost entire worthlessness of the teamsters and men engaged at Fort Leavenworth, who had no knowledge of their duties, and were anxious only to reach California; of the loss by death and desertion of seventy of the late recruits to the regiment;[37] and of the loss of property and life in no way different from the usual experience of the annual emigrations.[38]

It was designed to meet the rifle regiment at Fort Hall, with a supply train, under Lieutenant G. W. Hawkins who was ordered to that post,[39] but Hawkins missed Loring's command, he having already left Fort Hall when Hawkins arrived. As the supplies were needed by the companies at the new post they were left there, in consequence of which those destined to Oregon were in want of certain articles, and many of the men were barefoot and unable to walk, as their horses were too weak to carry them when they arrived at The Dalles.

On reaching their destination, and finding no accommodations at Fort Vancouver, the regiment was quartered in Oregon City, at a great expense, and to the disturbance of the peace and order of that moral and temperate community; the material from which companies had been recruited being below the usual standard of enlisted men.[40]

The history of the establishment of the Oregon military posts is not without interest. Under orders to take command of the Pacific division, General Persifer F. Smith left Baltimore the 24th of November, and New Orleans on the 18th of December 1848, proceeding by the isthmus of Panamá, and arriving on the 23d of February following at Monterey, where was Colonel Mason's head-quarters. Smith remained in California arranging the distribution of posts, and the affairs of the division generally.

In May Captain Rufus Ingalls, assistant quartermaster, was directed by Major H. D. Vinton, chief of the quartermaster's department of the Pacific division, to proceed to Oregon and make preparations for the establishment of posts in that territory. Taking passage on the United States transport Anita, Captain Ingalls arrived at Vancouver soon after Hathaway landed the art ill ey men and stores at that place. The Anita was followed by the Walpole with two years' supplies; but the vessel having been chartered for Astoria only, and the stores landed at that place, a difficulty arose as to the means of removing them to Vancouver, the transfer being accomplished at great labor and expense in small river craft. When the quatermaster began to look about for material and men to construct barracks for the troops already in the territory and those expected overland in the autumn, he found himself at a loss. Mechanics and laboring men were not to be found in Oregon, and Captain Ingalls employed soldiers, paying them a dollar a day extra to prepare timber from the woods and raft lumber from the fur-company's mill to build quarters. But even with the assistance of Chief Factor Ogden in procuring for him Indian labor, and placing at his disposal horses, bateaux, and sloops, at moderate charges, he was able to make but slow progress.[41] Of the buildings occupied by the artillery two belonged to the fur company, having received alterations to adapt them to the purposes of barracks and mess-rooms, while a few small tenements also owned by the company[42] were hired for offices and for servants of the quarter-master's department.

It was undoubtedly believed at this time by both the Hudson's Bay Compay and the officers of the United States in Oregon, that the government would soon purchase the possessory right of the company, which was a reason, in addition to the eligibility of the situation, for beginning an establishment at Vancouver. This view was entertained by both Vinton[43] and Ogden. There being at that time no title to land in any part of the country except the possessory title of the fur company under the treaty of 1846, and the mission lands under the territorial act, Vancouver was in a safer condition, it might be thought, with regard to rights, than any other point; rights which Hathaway respected by leasing the company's lands for a military establishment, while the subject of purchase by the United States government was in abeyance. And Ogden, by inviting him to take possession of the lands claimed by the company, not inclosed, may have believed this the better manner of preventing the encroachments of squatters. At all events, matters proceeded amicably between Hathaway and Ogden during the residence of the former at Vancouver.

The same state of tenancy existed at Fort Steilacoom where Captain Hill established himself August 27th, on the claim of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, at a place formerly occupied by a farmer or herdsman of the company named Heath.[44] Tolmie pointed out this location, perhaps with the same views entertained by Ogden, being more willing to deal with the officers of the government than with squatters.

On the 28th of September General Smith arrived in Oregon, accompanied by Vinton, with the purpose of examining the country with reference to the location of military posts; Theodore Talbot being ordered to examine the coast south of the Columbia, looking for harbors and suitable places for light-houses and defences.[45] The result of these examinations was the approval of the selections of Vancouver and Steilacoom. Of the "acquisition of the rights and property reserved, and guaranteed by the terms of the treaty," Smith spoke with the utmost respect for the claims of the companies, saying they were specially confirmed by the treaty, and that the public interest demanded that the government should purchase them;[46] a sentiment which the reader is aware was not in accord with the ideas of a large class in Oregon.

It had been contemplated establishing a post on the upper Willamette for the protection of companies travelling to California, but the danger that every soldier would desert, if placed directly on the road to the gold mines, caused Smith to abandon that idea. He made arrangements, instead, for Hathaway's command to remove to Astoria as early in the spring as the men could work in the forest, cutting timber for the erection of the required buildings, and for stationing the riflemen at Vancouver and The Dalles, as well as recommending the abandonment of Fort Hall, or Cantonment Loring, owing to the climate and unproductive nature of the soil, and the fact that immigrants were taking a more southerly route than formerly. Smith seemed to have the welfare of the territory at heart, and recommended to the government many things which the people desired, among others fortifications at the mouth of the Columbia, in preparation for which he marked off reservations at Cape Disappointment and Point Adams. He also suggested the survey of the Rogue, Umpqua, Alseya, Yaquina, and Siletz rivers, and Shoalwater Bay; and the erection of light-houses at Cape Disappointment, Cape Flattery, and Protection Island, representing that it was a military as well as commercial necessity, the safety of troops and stores which must usually be transported by sea requiring these guides to navigation. He recommended the survey of a railroad to the Pacific, or at least of a wagon-road, and that it should cross the Rocky Mountains about latitude 38°, deflect to the Humboldt Valley, and follow that direction until it should send off a branch to Oregon by way of the Willamette Valley, and another by way of the Sacramento Valley to the bay of San Francisco.[47]

Before the plans of General Smith for the distribution of troops could be carried out, one hundred and twenty of the riflemen deserted in a body, with the intention of going to the mines in California. Governor Lane immediately issued a proclamation forbidding the citizens to harbor or in any way assist the runaways, which caused much uneasiness, as it was said the people along their route were placed in a serious dilemma, for if they did not sell them provisions they would be robbed, and if they did, they would be punished. The deserters, however, having organized with a full complement of officers, travelled faster than the proclamation, and conducted themselves in so discreet a manner as to escape suspicion, imposing themselves upon the farmers as a company sent out on an expedition by the government, getting beef cattle on credit, and receiving willing aid instead of having to resort to force.[48]

But their success, like their organization, was of brief duration. Colonel Loring and the governor went in pursuit and overtook one division in the Umpqua Valley, whence Lane returned to Oregon City about the middle of April with seventy of them in charge. Loring pursued the remainder as far as the Klamath River, where thirty-five escaped by making a canoe and crossing that stream before they were overtaken. He returned two weeks after Lane, with only seventeen of the deserters, having suffered much hardship in the pursuit. He found the fugitives in a miserable plight, the snow on the Cascade Mountains being still deep, and their supplies entirely inadequate to such an expedition, for which reason some had already started on their return. Indeed, it was rumored that several of those not accounted for had already died of starvation.[49] How many lived to reach the mines was never known.

Great discontent prevailed among all the troops, many of whom had probably enlisted with no other intention than of deserting when they reached the Pacific coast. Several civil suits were brought by them in the district court attempting to prove that they had been enlisted under false promises, which were decided against them by Judge Pratt, vice Bryant, who was absent from the territory when the suits came on.[50]

Later in the spring Hathaway removed his artillery company to Astoria, and went into encampment at Fort George, the place being no longer occupied by the fur company. A reserve was declared of certain lands covered by the improvements of settlers, among whom were Shively, McClure, Hensill, Ingalls, and Marlin, for which a price was agreed upon or allowed.[51] Here the troops had a free and easy life, seeing much of the gold hunters as they went and came in the numerous vessels trading between San Francisco and the Columbia River, and much too of the most degraded population in Oregon, both Indian and white. A more ill-selected point for troops, even for artillery, could not have been hit upon, except in the event of an invasion by a foreign power, in which case they were still too far inside the capes to prevent the enemy's vessels from entering the river. They were so far from the real enemy dreaded by the people it was intended they should defend—the interior tribes of Indians—that much time and money would be required to bring them where they could be of service in case of an outbreak, and after two years the place was abandoned.

The mounted riflemen, being transferred to Vancouver, whither the citizens of the Willamette saw them depart with a deep sense of satisfaction,[52] celebrated their removal by burning their old quarters.[53] At their new station they were employed in building barracks on the ground afterward adopted as a military reservation by the government.

The first reservation declared was that of Miller Island, lying in the Columbia[54] about five miles above Vancouver. It contained about four square miles, and was used for haymaking and grazing purposes, in connection with the post at that place. This reserve was made in February 1850. No reservation was declared at Vancouver till October 31st of that year, or until it was ascertained that the government was not prepared to purchase without examining the claims of the Hudson's Bay Company. On the date mentioned Colonel Loring, in command of the department, published a notice that a military reservation had been made for the government of four miles square, "commencing where a meridian line two miles west from the flag-staff at the military post near Vancouver, O. T., strikes the north bank of the Columbia River, thence due north on said meridian four miles, thence due east four miles, thence south to the bank of the Columbia River, thence down said bank to the place of beginning."[55] The notice declared that the reserve was made subject alone to the lawful claims of the Hudson's Bay Company, as guaranteed under the treaty of 1846, but promised payments for improvements made by resident settlers within the described limits, a board of officers to appraise the property.

This large reserve was, as I have before indicated, favorable to the British company's claims, as the only American squatter on the land was Amos M. Short, the history of whose settlement at Vancouver is given in the first volume of my History of Oregon. Short took no notice of the declaration of reserve,[56] thinking perhaps, and with a show of justice, that in this case he was trespassed upon, inasmuch as there was plenty of land for government reservations, which did not include improvements, or deprive a citizen of his choice of a home. He remained upon the land, continuing to improve it, until in 1853 the government restricted the military reservations to one mile square, which left him outside the limits of this one.

The probate court of Clarke county made an application for an injunction against Loring and Ingalls at the first term of the United States district court held at Vancouver, beginning the 29th of October 1850, to stop the further erection of buildings for military purposes on land that was claimed as the county seat. The attorney for the United States denied that the legislative assembly had the power to give lands for county seats, did the territorial act permit it, or that the land could be taken before it was surveyed; and declared that the premises were reserved by order of the war department, which none might gainsay.[57] The court sustained the opinion. At a later period a legal contest arose between the heirs of A. M. Short and the Catholic missionaries. The military reservation, however, of one mile square, remains to-day the same as in 1853.

On the 13th of May Major Tucker left Vancouver with two companies of riflemen to establish a supply post at The Dalles.[58] The officers detached for that station were Captain Claiborne, Lieutenants Lindsay, May, and Ervine, and Surgeon C. H. Smith. A reservation of ten miles square was made at this place, and the troops employed in erecting suitable store-houses and garrison accommodations to make this the head-quarters for the Indian country in the event of hostilities. Both the Protestant and Catholic missions were found to be abandoned,[59] though the claims of both were subsequently revived, which together with the claim of the county seat of Wasco county occasioned lengthy litigation. The military reservation became a fourth factor in an imbroglio out of which the Methodist missionary society, through its agents in Oregon and in Washington, continued to extort money from the government and individuals for many years. Of The Dalles claim, as a case in chancery, I shall speak further on in my work.

As if Astoria, Vancouver, and The Dalles were not enough of Oregon's eligible town sites to condemn for military purposes, Loring declared another reservation in the spring of 1850 upon the land claims of Meek and Luelling at Milwaukie, for the site of an arsenal. This land was devoted to the raising of fruit trees, a most important industry in a new country, and one which was progressing well. The appropriation of property which the claimants felt the government was pledged to confirm to them if they desired, was an encroachment upon the rights of the founders of American Oregon which they were quick to resent, and for which the Oregon delegate in congress was instructed to find a remedy. And he did find a remedy. The complainants held that they preferred fighting their own Indian wars to submitting to military usurption, and the government might withdraw the rifle regiment at its earliest convenience. All of which was a sad ending of the long prayer for the military protection of the parent government.

And all the while the Cayuse murderers went unpunished. Lane was enough of a military man to understand the delays incident to the circumstances under which Loring found himself in a new country with undisciplined and deserting troops, but he was also possessed of the fire and energy of half a dozen regular army colonels. But before he had received any assistance in procuring the arrest of the Indians, he had unofficial information of his removal by the whig administration, which succeeded the one by which he was appointed.

This change, though eagerly seized upon by some as a means of gaining places for themselves and securing the control of public affairs, was not by any means agreeable to the majority of the Oregon people. No sooner had the news been received than a meeting was held in Yamhill precinct for the purpose of expressing regret at the removal of General Lane from the office of governor.[60] The manner in which Lane had discharged his duties as Indian agent, as well as executive, had won for him the confidence of the people, with whom the dash, energy, and democratic frankness of his character were a power and a charm. There was nothing that was of importance to any individual of the community too insignificant for his attention; and whether the interest he exhibited was genuine, whether it was the suavity of the politician, or the irrepressible activity of a true nature, it was equally effective to make him popular with all but the conservative element to be found in any community, and which was represented principally in Oregon by the Protestant religious societies. Lane being a Catholic could not be expected to represent them.[61]

As no official notice of his removal had been received, Governor Lane proceeded actively to carry into execution his plans concerning the suppression of Indian hostilities, which were interrupted temporarily by the pursuit of the deserting riflemen. During his absence on this self-imposed duty a difficulty occurred with the Chinooks at the mouth of the Columbia, in which, in the absence of established courts in that district, the military authorities were called upon to act. It grew out of the murder of William Stevens, one of four passengers lost from the brig Forrest while crossing the bar of the Columbia. Three of the men were drowned. Stevens escaped alive but exhausted to the shore, where the Chinooks murdered him. Jones, of the rifles, who was at Astoria with a small company, hearing of it wrote to the governor and his colonel, saying that if he had men enough he would take the matter in hand at once; but that the Indians were excited over the arrest of one of the murderers, and he feared to make matters worse by attempting without a sufficient force to apprehend all the guilty Indians. On receiving the information, Secretary Pritchett called for aid on Hathaway, who sent a company to Astoria to make the arrest of all persons suspected of being concerned in the murder;[62] but by this time the criminals had escaped.

Negotiations had been in progress ever since the arrival of Lane for the voluntary delivery of the guilty Cayuses by their tribe, it being shown them that the only means by which peace and friendship could ever be restored to their people, or they be permitted to occupy their lands and treat with the United States government, was the delivery of the Whitman murderers to the authorities of Oregon for trial.[63] At length word was received that the guilty members of the tribe, who were not already dead, would be surrendered at The Dalles. Lane went in person to receive them, escorted by Lieutenant Addison with a guard of ten men. Five of the murderers, Tiloukaikt, Tamahas, Klokamas, Isaiachalakis, and Kiamasumpkin, were found to be there with others of their people. They consented to go to Oregon City to be tried, offering fifty horses for their successful defence.[64]

The journey of the prisoners, who took leave of their friends with marked emotion, was not without interest to their escort, who, anxious to understand the motives which had actuated the Indians in surrendering themselves, plied them with questions at every opportunity. Tiloukaikt answered with a singular mingling of savage pride and Christian humility. When offered food by the guard from their own mess he regarded it with scorn. "What hearts have you," he demanded, "to offer to eat with me, whose hands are red with your brother's blood?" When asked why he gave himself up, he replied: "Did not your missionaries teach us that Christ died to save his people? So die we to save our people."

This apparent magnanimity produced a deep impression on some minds, who, not well versed in Indian or in any human character, could not divest themselves of awe in the presence of such evidences of moral greatness as these mocking answers evinced.

The facts are these: The Cayuses, weary of wandering, with the prospect before them of another war with white men, had prevailed upon those who among themselves had done most to bring so much wretchedness upon them, to risk their lives in restoring them to their former peace and prosperity. Doubtless the representations which had been made, that they would be defended by white counsel, had had its influence in inducing them to take the risk. At all events it was a case requiring a desperate remedy. They were not ignorant that between twenty and thirty thousand Americans, chiefly men, and several government expeditions had traversed the road to the Pacific the year previous; nor that their attempt to expel the few white people from the Walla Walla valley had been an ignominious failure. There was scarcely a chance that white men's laws would acquit them; but on the other hand there was the apparent certainty that unless the few gave up their lives, all must perish. Could a chief face his people whom he had ruined without an effort to save them? All that was courageous or manly in the savage breast was roused by the emergency; and who shall say that this pride, which doggedly accepted a terrible alternative, did not make a moral hero, or present an example equivalent to the average christian self-sacrifice?

The trial was set for the 22d of May. The prisoners in the meantime were confined on Abernethy island, in the midst of the falls, the bridge connecting it with the mainland being guarded by Lieutenant Lane, of the rifles, who was assigned to that duty.[65] The prosecution was conducted by Amory Holbrook, district attorney, who had arrived in the territory in March previous, and the defense by Secretary Pritchett, R. B. Reynolds, of Tennessee, paymaster of the rifle regiment, and Captain Claiborne, also of the rifle, whom Judge Pratt assigned to this duty.

On arraignment, the defendants, through Knitzing Pritchett, secretary of the territory, one of their counsel, entered a special plea to the jurisdiction of the court, alleging that at the date of the massacre the laws of the United States had not been extended over Oregon. The ruling of the court was that the act of congress, June 30, 1834, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontiers, having declared all the territory of the United States west of the Mississippi and not within any state, to be within the Indian country; and the treaty of June 15, 1846, with Great Britain having settled that, all of Oregon south of the 49th parallel belonged exclusively to the United States, it followed that offenses committed therein, after such treaty, against the laws of the United States, were triable and punishable in the proper United States courts irrespective of the date of their establishment. The indictment stated facts sufficient to show that a crime had been committed under the laws in force at the place of its commission, and therefore the subsequent creation of a court in which a determination of the question of the defendant's guilt or innocence could he had was immaterial, and could not affect its jurisdiction. Exception to the ruling was taken.

The trial proceeded and the defendants were convicted, sentenced, and ordered by a warrant, signed by the judge, to be hung; the day set for the execution being June the 3d. A new trial was asked for and denied. Between the time of conviction and the day fixed for execution, the governor being absent from the capital, it was rumored that he was at the mines near Yreka, in California, and acting upon this rumor, Pritchett, counsel for the Indians and secretary of the territory, announced that he should, as governor, reprieve the Indians from execution until an appeal could be taken and heard by the supreme court at Washington. The people generally expressed great indignation at even the suggestion of such a course. While the excitement was at its height, Meek, United States marshal, called upon the judge for instructions how to act in the event that Pritchett should interfere to prevent the execution. Judge Pratt promptly answered that as there was no actual or official evidence that Governor Lane was outside of the territorial limits, all assumptions of Pritchett to that effect and acts based upon them could be disregarded, The secretary having learned of these views of the judge did not interfere, the execution took place, and general rejoicing followed.[66]

The solemnity and quiet of religious services characterized the entire trial, at which between four and five hundred persons were present, who watched the proceedings with intense anxiety. Counsel appointed by the judge made vigorous effort to clear their clients. No one unfamiliar with the condition of affairs in the territory of Oregon at the time of which I am writing, can realize the interest displayed by the people of the entire country in this important and never-to-be-forgotten trial. The bare thought that the five wretches that had assassinated Doctor Whitman, Mrs Whitman, Mr Saunders, and a large number of emigrants, might, by any technicality of the law, be allowed to go unpunished, was sufficient to disturb every man, woman, and child throughout the length and breadth of the territorial limits.[67]

The judge appreciated, in all its seriousness, the responsibility of his position. He seemed to realize that upon his decision hung the lives of thousands of the whites inhabiting the Willamette valley. He proved, however, equal to the emergency. His knowledge of the law was not only thorough, but during his early life, and before having been called to the bench in Oregon he had become familiar with all the questions involving territorial boundaries and treaty stipulations. His position was dignified, firm, and fearless. His charge was full, logical, and concise.

His judicial action in this and many other trials of a criminal and civil nature in the territory during his judgeship, made it manifest to the great body of the early settlers that he was not only thoroughly versed in all the needed learning required in his position, but, in addition, his unswerving determination that the law should be upheld and enforced created general confidence and reliance that he would be equal to his position in all emergencies.

The result of the conviction of the Indians was felt throughout the territory, and gave satisfaction to all classes. It was said by many that the Catholics[68] were privy to this dastardly and dreadful massacre; this, I do not believe, nor have I found in my researches evidence upon which to base such an assertion.[69] It was even feared that a rescue might be attempted by the Indians on the day of execution, and men coming in from the country round brought their rifles, hiding them in the outskirts of the town, not to create alarm.[70] Nothing occurred, however, to cause excitement. The Catholic priests took charge of the spiritual affairs of the condemned savages, administering the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, Father Veyret attending them to the scaffold, where prayers for the dying were offered. "Touching words of encouragement," says Blanchet, "were addressed to them on the moment of being swung into the air: 'Onward, onward to heaven, children; into thy hands, Lord Jesus, I commend my spirit.'"[71] Oh loving and consistent Christians! While the world of Protestantism regarded the victims slain at Waiilatpu as martyrs, the priests of Catholicism made martyrs of the murderers, and wafted their spirits straight to heaven. So far as the sectarian quarrel is concerned it matters nothing, in my opinion, and I care not whose converts these heathen may have been, if of either; but sure I am that these Cayuses were martyrs to a destiny too strong for them, to the Juggernaut of an incompressible civilization, before whose wheels they were compelled to prostrate themselves, to that relentless law, the survival of the fittest, before which, in spite of religion or science, we all in turn go down.

With the consummation of the last act of the Cayuse tragedy Lane's administration may be said to have closed, though he was for several weeks occupied with his duties as Indian agent in the south, a full account of which I shall give later. Having made a treaty with the Rogue River people, he went to California and busied himself with gold mining until the spring of 1851, when his friends and admirers recalled him to Oregon to run for delegate to congress. About the time of his return the rifle regiment departed to return by sea to Jefferson barracks, near St Louis, having been reduced to a mere remnant by desertions,[72] and never having rendered any service of importance to the territory.

  1. The census returns showed a total of 8,785 Americans of all ages and both sexes and 298 foreigners. From this enumeration may be gathered some idea of the great exodus to the gold mines of both Americans and British subjects. Indians and Hawaiians were not enumerated. Honolulu Friend, Oct. 1849, 51.
  2. Honolulu Friend, Oct. 1849, 58; Lane's Rept. in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 156.
  3. Lane says the amount expended on presents was about $200; and that he made peace between the Walla Wallas and Yakimas who were about to go to war.
  4. This is according to the account of the affair given by several authorities. See Tolmie in the Feb. 3d issue of Truth Teller, a small sheet published at Fort Steilacoom in 1858; also in Hist. Puget Sound, MS., 33–5. A writer in the Olympia Standard of April 11, 1868, says that Wren had his back against the wall and was edging in, but was shut out by Walter Ross, the clerk, who with one of the Nisquallies was on guard. This writer also says that Patkanim, a chief of the Snoqualimichs, afterward famous in the Indian wars, was inside the fort talking with Tolmie, while the chief's brother shot at and killed Wallace. These statements, while not intentionally false, were colored by rumor, and by the prejudice against the fur company, which had its origin with the first settlers of the Puget Sound region, as it had had in the region south of the Columbia. See also Roberts' Recollections, MS., 35; Rabbison's Growth of Towns, MS., 17.
  5. The transport Massachusetts entered the Columbia May 7th, by the sailing directions of Captain Gelston, without difficulty. Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1, 1849. This was the first government vessel to get safely into the river.
  6. Lane's Rept. to the Sec. War., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 157.
  7. The Massachusetts went to Portland, where she was loaded with lumber for the use of the government in California in building army quarters at Benicia; the U. S. transport Anita was likewise employed. Ingall's Rept., in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 284.
  8. The whole force consisted of 161 rank and file. They were companies L and M of the 1st regiment of U. S. artillery, and officered as follows: Major J. S. Hathaway commanding; Captain B. H. Hill, commanding company M; 1st lieut., J. B. Gibson, 1st lieut., T. Talbot, 2d lieut., G. Tallmadge, company M; 2d lieut., J. Dement, company L; 2d lieut., J. J. Woods, quartermaster and commissary; 2d lieut., J. B. Fry, adjutant. Honolulu Polynesian, April 14, 1849.
  9. Evans, in New Tacoma Ledger, July 9, 1880.
  10. American Almanac, 1850, 108–9; Or. Spectator, Oct. 4, 1849.
  11. 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 161.
  12. The names of the councilmen were: W. U. Buck, of Clackamas; Wilson Blain, of Tualatin; Samuel Parker and Wesley Shannon, of Champoeg; J. Graves, of Yamhill; W. B. Mealey, of Linn; Nathaniel Ford, of Polk; Norris Humphrey, of Benton; S. T. McKean, of Clatsop, Lewis, and Vancouver counties. The members of the house elected were: A. L. Lovejoy, W. D. Holman, and G. Walling, of Clackamas; D. Hill and W. W. Eng, of Tualatin; W. W. Chapman, W. S. Matlock, and John Grim, of Champoeg; A. J. Hembree, R. Kinney, and J. B. Walling, of Yamhill; Jacob Conser and J. S. Dunlap, of Linn; H. N. V. Holmes and S. Burch, of Polk; J. Mulkey and G. B. Smith, of Benton; and M. T. Simmons from Clatsop, Lewis, and Vancouver counties. Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1, 1849; American Almanac, 1849, 312. The president of the council was Samuel Parker; the clerk, A. A. Robinson; sergeant-at-arms, C. Davis; door-keeper, S. Kinney; chaplain, David Leslie. Speaker of the house, A. L. Lovejoy; chief clerk, William Porter; assistant clerk, E. Gendis; sergeant-at-arms, William Holmes; door-keeper, D. D. Bailey; chaplain, H. Johnson. Honolulu Friend, Nov. 1, 1849; Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849.
  13. Lane's remarks on the laws of the provisional government were more truthful than flattering, considering what a number had been simply adopted from the Iowa code. Message in Or. Spectator, Oct. 4, 1849; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 52, xiii. 7–12; Tribune Almanac, 1850–51.
  14. Patent Office Rept., 1849 ii. 511–12.
  15. Or. Gen. Laws, 1843–9, 60.
  16. The final adjournment was on the 29th of September, a recess having been taken to attend to gathering the ripened wheat in August, there being no other hands to employ in this labor. Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 3–5.
  17. Congress never paid this debt. In 1862 the state legislature passed an act constituting the secretary commissioner of the provincial government debt, and register of the claims of scrip-holders. A report made in 1864 shows that claims to the amount of $4,574.02 only had been proven. Many were never presented.
  18. Pierre C. Pambrun and Cornelius Rogers explored the Nisqually Pass as early as 1839, going from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Nisqually by that route. Or. Spectator, May 13, 1847.
  19. Oregon Archives, MS., 176–186; 31st Cong., 2d Sess., Sen. Mis. Doc. 5, 6.
  20. The first territorial legislature changed the name of Champoeg county to Marion; of Tualatin to Washington; and of Vancouver to Clarke. Or. Spectator, Oct. 18th.
  21. As there was yet no judge for the third judicial district, and the time for holding the court in Lewis county had been appointed for the second Monday in May and November, Governor Lane prevailed upon the legislature to attach the county of Lewis to the first judicial district which was to hold its first session on the first Monday in September, and to appoint the first Monday in October for holding the district court at Steilacoom in the county of Lewis. This change was made in order to bring the trial of the Snoqualimichs in a season of the year when it would be possible for the court to travel to Puget Sound.
  22. 'During the month of May several hundred foreigners were naturalized.' Honolulu Friend, Oct. 1, 1849. There was a doubt in the mind of Judge Bryant whether Hawaiians could become naturalized, the law of congress being explicit as to negroes and Indians, but not mentioning Sandwich Islanders.
  23. Or. Statutes, 1850–51, 181–2; Dix. Speeches, I. 309–45, 372, 377–8.
  24. Says Buck in his Enterprises, MS., 11–12: 'They had to make the first beginning in schools in Oregon City, and got up the present school law at the first session in 1849. It was drawn mostly after the Ohio law, and subsequently amended. F. C. Beatty taught the first (common) school at Oregon City in 1850.' Besides chartering the Tualatin Academy and Pacific University, a charter was granted to the Clackamas County Female Seminary, with G. Abernethy, A. L. Lovejoy, James Taylor, Hiram Clark, G. H. Atkinson, Hezekiah Johnson, and Wilson Blain as trustees.
  25. Lane's Rept. in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc., i.
  26. One of the members tells us something about the legislators: 'I have heard some people say that the first legislature was better than any one we have had since. I think it was as good. It was composed of more substantial men than they have had in since; men who represented the people better. The second one was probably as good. The third one met in Salem. It is my impression they had deteriorated a little; but I would not like to say so, because I was in the first one. I know there were no such men in it as go to the legislature now.' Buck's Enterprises, MS., 11. 'The only difference among members was that each one was most partial to the state from which he had emigrated, and with the operations of which he was familiar. This difficulty proved a serious one, and retarded the progress of business throughout.' Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849.
  27. Lane's Autobiography, MS., 55; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., Sen. Doc. 47, viii. pt. iii. 112.
  28. There was a good deal of feeling on the part of the Hudson's Bay Company concerning Lane's course, though according to Tolmie's account, in Truth Teller, the Indians were committing hostilities against them as well as against the Americans. Roberts says that when Lane was returning from the Sound in June, he, Roberts, being at the Cowlitz farm, rode out to meet him, and answered his inquiries concerning the best way of preserving the peace of the country, then changing from the old regime to the new. 'I was astonished,' says Roberts, 'to hear him remark "Damn them! (the Indians) it would do my soul good to be after them." This would never have escaped the lips of Dr McLoughlin or Douglas.' Recollections, MS., 15. There was always this rasping of the rude outspoken western sentiment on the feelings of the studiously trained Hudson's Bay Company. But an Indian to them was a different creature from the Indian toward whom the settlers were hostile. In the one case he was a means of making wealth; in the other of destroying property and life. Could the Hudson's Bay Company have changed places with the settlers they might have changed feelings too.
  29. Bryant's Rept. to Gov. Lane in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc., i. 166–7; Hayes' Scraps, 22; Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849.
  30. Tolmie's Puget Sound, MS., 36.
  31. The command was first given to Frémont, who resigned.
  32. See letter of W. L. Marcy, secretary of war, in Or. Spectator, Nov. 11, 1847.
  33. The officers were Bvt. Lieut. Col. A. Porter, Col. Benj. S. Roberts, Bvt. Major C. F. Ruff, Major George B. Crittenden, Bvt. Major J. S. Simonson, Bvt. Major S. S. Tucker, Bvt. Lieut. Col. J. B. Backenstos, Bvt. Major Kearney, Captains M. E. Van Buren, George McLane, Noah Newton, Llewellyn Jones, Bvt. Captain J. P. Hatch, R. Ajt., Bvt. Captains Thos. Claiborne Jr., Gordon Granger, James Stuart, and Thos. G. Rhett; 1st Lieuts Charles L. Denman, A. J. Lindsay, Julian May, F. S. K. Russell; 2d Lieuts D. M. Frost, R. Q. M., I. N. Palmer, J. McL. Addison, W. B. Lane, W. E. Jones, George W. Howland, C. E. Ervine; surgeons I. Moses, Charles H. Smith, and W. F. Edgar. The following were persons travelling with the regiment in various capacities: George Gibbs, deputy collector at Astoria; Alden H. Steele, who settled in Oregon City, where he practised medicine till 1863, when he became a surgeon in the army, finally settling at Olympia in 1868, where in 1878 I met him, and he furnished a brief but pithy account in manuscript of the march of the Oregon Mounted Rifle Regiment; W. Frost, Prew, Wilcox, Leach, Bishop, Kitchen, Dudley, and Raymond. Present also was J. D. Haines, a native of Xenia, Ohio, born in 1828. After a residence in Portland, and removal to Jacksonville, he was elected to the house of representatives from Jackson county in 1862, and from Baker county in 1876, and to the state senate in 1878. He married in 1871 and has several children. Salem Statesman, Nov. 15, 1878; U. S. Off. Reg., 1849, 160, 167.
  34. Cantonment Loring was soon abandoned, being too far from a base of supplies, and forage being scarce in the neighborhood. Brackett's Cavalry, 126–7; 31st Cong., 1st Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 5, pt. i. 182, 185–6, 188.
  35. Steele says that Simonson was arrested for some dereliction of duty, and came to Vancouver in this situation; also that Major Crittenden was arrested on the way for drunkenness. Rifle Regiment, MS., 2.
  36. Major Cross computed the overland emigration to the Pacific coast at 35,000; 20,000 of whom travelled the route by the Platte with 50,000 cattle. 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, 149.
  37. Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849; Weed's Queen Charlotte Island Exped., MS., 4.
  38. On reaching The Dalles, the means of transportation to Vancouver was found to be '3 Mackinaw boats, 1 yawl, 4 canoes, and 1 whale-boat.' A raft was constructed to carry 4 or 5 tons, and loaded with goods chiefly private, 8 men being placed on board to manage the craft. They attempted to run the cascades and six of them were drowned. Or. Spectator, Oct. 18, 1849. A part of the command with wagons, teams, and riding horses crossed the Cascade Mountains by the Mount Hood road, losing 'nearly two thirds' of the broken-down horses on the way. The loss on the journey amounted to 45 wagons, 1 ambulance, 30 horses, and 295 mules.
  39. Applegate's Views, MS., 49. There were fifteen freight wagons and a herd of beef cattle in the train. Gen. Joel Palmer acted as guide, the company taking the southern route. Palmer went to within a few days of Fort Hall, where another government train was encountered escorting the customs officer of California, Gen. Wilson and family, to Sacramento. The grass having been eaten along the Humboldt route by the cattle of the immigration, Palmer was engaged to conduct this company by the new route from Pit River, opened the previous autumn by the Oregon gold-seekers. At the crossing of a stream flowing from the Sierra, one of the party named Brown shot himself through the arm by accident, and the limb was amputated by two surgeons of an emigrant company. This incident detained Palmer in the mountains several weeks at a cabin supposed to have been built by some of Lassen's party the year before. A son of Gen. Wilson and three men remained with him until the snow and ice made it dangerous getting down to the Sacramento Valley, when Brown was left with his attendants and Palmer went home to Oregon by sea. The unlucky invalid, long familiarly known as 'one-armed Brown,' has for many years resided in Oregon, and has been connected with the Indian department and other branches of the public service. Palmer's Wagon Train, MS., 43–8.
  40. This is what Steele says, and also that one of them who deserted, named Riley, was hanged in San Francisco. Rifle Regiment, MS., 7.
  41. Vinton, in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., S. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 263. Congress passed in September 1850 an act appropriating $325,854 to meet the unexpected outlay occasioned by the rise in prices of labor and army subsistence in California and Oregon, as well as extra pay demanded by military officers. See U. S. Acts and Res., 1850, 122–3.
  42. In the testimony taken in the settlement of the Hudson's Bay Company's claims, page 186, U. S. Ev., H. B. Co. Claims, Gray deposed that the U. S. troops did not occupy the buildings of the company but remained in camp until they had erected buildings for their own use. This is a misstatement, as the reports of the quarter-masters Vinton and Ingalls show, in 31st Cong., 2d Sess., S. Doc. 1., pt. ii. 123, 285.
  43. Vinton said in his report: 'It is peculiarly desirable that we should become owners of their property at Fort Vancouver.' 31st Conn., 2d Sess., S. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 263.
  44. Sylvester's Olympia, MS., 20; Morse's Notes on Hist. and Resources, Wash. Ter., MS., i. 109; Olympia Wash. Standard, April 11, 1868.
  45. 31st Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 47, viii. 108–16; Rep. Com. Ind. Aff., 1865, 107–9.
  46. 31st Cong., 1st Sess., S. Doc. 47, viii. 104.
  47. Before leaving California Smith had ordered an exploration of the country on the southern boundary of Oregon for a practicable emigrant and military road, and also for a railroad pass about that latitude, detailing Captain W. H. Warner of the topographical engineers, with an escort of the second infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Casey. They left Sacramento in August, and examined the country for several weeks to the east of the head-waters of the Sacramento, coming upon a pass in the Sierra Nevada with an elevation of not more than 38 feet to the mile. Warner explored the country east and north of Goose Lake, but in returning through the mountains by another route was killed by the Indians before completing his work. His name was given to a mountain range from this circumstance. Francis Bercier, the guide, and George Cave were also killed. Lieut. R. S. Williamson of the expedition made a report in favor of the Pit River route. See 31st Cong., 1st Sess., Sen. Doc. 2, 17–22, 47.
  48. Steele's Rifle Regiment, MS., 7; Brackett's U. S. Cavalry, 127; Or. Spectator, May 2, 1850.
  49. Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850.
  50. See case of John Curtin vs. James S. Hathaway, Pratt, Justice, in Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850.
  51. Ingalls remarked concerning this purchase: 'I do not believe that any of them had the slightest right to a foot of the soil, consequently no right to have erected improvements there.' Whether he meant to say that no one had a right to build houses in Oregon except military officers, or that the ground belonged to the Hudson's Bay Company, I am unable to determine from the record. See 32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, i. pt. ii. 123.
  52. Says the Spectator, Nov. 1, 1849, 'the abounding drunkenness in our streets is something new under the sun,' and suggests that the officers do something to abate the evil. But the officers were seldom sober themselves, Hathaway even attempting suicide while suffering from mania a potu. Id., April 18, 1850.
  53. Strong's Hist. Or., MS., 3.
  54. Much trouble had been experienced in procuring grain for the horses of the mounted troops; only 6,000 bushels of oats being obtainable, and 100 tons of hay, owing to the neglect of farming this year. It was only by putting the soldiers to haymaking on the lowlands of the Columbia that the stock of the regiment was provided for; hence, no doubt, the reservation of Miller Island.
  55. Or. Spectator, Oct. 31, 1850; 32d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 124.
  56. Short had shot and killed Dr D. Gardner, and a Hawaiian in his service, for trespass, in the spring of 1850. He was examined and acquitted, of all of which Colonel Loring must have been aware. Or. Spectator, April 18, 1850; Id., May 2, 1850. He was himself regarded as a trespasser by the fur company. U. S. Ev. Hudson's Bay Company Claims, 90.
  57. The solicitor for the complanants in this case was W. W. Chapman; the attorney for the U. S., Amory Holbrook. The decision was rendered by Judge William Strong in favor of the defendants. Or. Spectator, Nov. 7, 1850.
  58. Steel's Rifle Regiment, MS., 5; Cardwell's Emigrant Company, MS., 2; Coke's Ride, 313; 31st Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. 1, pt. ii. 123.
  59. Deady's Hist. Or., MS., 6.
  60. The principal movers in this demonstration were: Matthew P. Deady, J. McBride, A. S. Watt, J. Walling, A. J. Hembree, S. M. Gilmore, and N. M. Creighton. Or. Spectator, March 7, 1850.
  61. It is told to me by the person in whose interest it was done, that Lane, while governor, permitted himself to be chosen arbitrator in a land-jumping case, and rode a long distance in the rain, having to cross swollen streams on horseback, to help a woman whose husband was absent in the mines to resist the attempt of an unprincipled tenant to hold the claim of her husband. His influence was sufficient with the jury to get the obnoxious tenant removed.
  62. Or. Spectator, March 21, and April 4, 1850.
  63. Lane's Autobiography, MS., 56.
  64. Blanchet asserts that the Cayuses consented only to come down and have a talk with the white authorities, and denies that they were the actual criminals, who he says were all dead, having been killed by the volunteers. Cath. Ch. in Or., 180. There appears to be nothing to justify such a statement, except that the murderers submitted to receive the consolations of the church in their last moments.
  65. Lane's Autobiography, MS., 139.
  66. General Lucius H. Allen, a graduate of the United States military academy, and early identified with Oregon, and later with California, who deceased in the latter state in 1888, and a man of high character, dictated to Col. George H. Morrison for my use the full particulars of this interesting trial. General Allen said, if by any chance the Indians had escaped execution, the people would undoubtedly have hung them, which act on the part of the people would have caused retaliation by the Indians, and the situation would have been dreadful, and beyond the power of language to describe.
  67. Oregon Spectator.
  68. Blanchet's attempt to excuse his neophytes is open to reproach.
  69. Meek seems to have had the erroneous impression that the gov. signed the death warrant, and is quoted as having said, 'I have in my pocket the death-warrant of them Indians, signed by Governor Lane. The marshal will execute them men as certain as the day arrives.' Pritchett looked surprised and remarked: 'That is not what you just said, that you would do anything for me.' 'You were talking then to Meek,' Joe returned, 'not to the marshal, who always does his duty.' Victor's River of the West, 496. The marshal's honor was less corrupt than his grammar.
  70. Bacon's Merc. Life Or., MS., 25.
  71. Cath. Ch. in Or., 182.
  72. Brackett's U. S. Cavalry, 129–30. It was recruited afterward and sent to Texas under its colonel, Brevet General P. F. Smith.