Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly vol. 1.djvu/123

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Volume I.]
[Number 2.
JUNE, 1900.


THE QUARTERLY

OF THE

OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY.


THE OREGON QUESTION.

I.

Ascending the Columbia River to the junction of its two main branches, and each of these branches in turn to its source, a point is reached to the north well toward the fifty-fifth degree of latitude, and another point to the south not far from the forty-first degree. Lines drawn through these two points directly west to the Pacific Ocean would divide the Pacific Coast of North America approximately into three great historic divisions. Previous to the year 1792, the coast north of the fifty-fifth degree had been explored and in some sort settled by Russia, and the sovereignty of Russia over it recognized; the part south of the forty-first degree had been explored and settled by Spain, and the sovereignty of it had been conceded to Spain; the middle part of the coast having been explored by both Spain and Britain, but settled by neither, the sovereignty of this was yet in abeyance. If the lines supposed to be drawn from the utmost north and south sources of the Columbia to the Pacific now