Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/287

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Acknowledgment is made of assistance received from the Carnegie Institution of Washington in preparation of this study.'




On the first Monday in June, 1857, the people of Oregon Territory by a vote of nearly five to one decided to have a constitutional convention. Congress had passed no enabling act but this Oregon community of some 45,000 people, in the far-outlying and then isolated Pacific Northwest, had at divers times been under the necessity of acting independently and without express leave granted at Washington. The people of this territory had shown considerable facility in community achievement of a political character and some disposition to have their own way[2]. Congress, on the other hand, was at

  1. For an account of the "Finances of the Provisional Government" of Oregon see Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, volume vii, pp. 360-432; volume viii, pp. 129-190, contains an article on "The Finances of the Territory of Oregon".
  2. The original nucleus of this settlement had in 1843 quite independently organized its "provisional government," the first American political organization west of the Rocky Mountains. This it reorganized and elaborated in 1845 and maintained in a good state of efficiency until superseded by a territorial government in 1849. In the fall and winter of 1847 it had been under the necessity of conducting a campaign against the tribes of Indians who were harboring the perpetrators of the "Whitman Massacre." (For an account of the financial management of this war, see Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, volume vii, pp. 418-432). In 1855-6 the territory with but slight aid from the troops of the national government had waged successful war against a powerful combination of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest.