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About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1876)
TUP. WEST SIIOIIE- Jaawar7.
rit nil West Shobb.
BY WISH UMTOV.
Wfl wade kueo-dcep in mira and dirt ;
We itand u dwarli amid the light,
When to the mountains dizzy height .
Our souls should leap with feet alert.
Through sweat and blood we reach the stairs
That lead to Ood, whose Hamiug ban
Hark out a road of golden tan
'Neath bluer ikies-through purer airs.
From lowest deaths of earthly woe,
We grow from men to gods instead ;
We breathe new life who once were dead
We soar above Ute herd iuluw.
From out the soul of datkust night
The fairest morning cnwp full-blown,.
As Pallns sprung full-unned, full-grown,
From hwi.t of Jove with torch of light.
I hold this trutli through nil my life,
To ho a cure for human sorrow:
That each to-day forbories a morrow
That peaco is ever born of strife.
That deepest grief bring surest calm,
And saddest hearts a healthy bloom
Of ruror fruit from out the tomb,
For every wound Clod gives a holm.
The crowii"tfe-wear aw wait by fa
The purest lives grow white and etill
Through good, despair and sternest ill,
Since niau's Urat curse to till the soil.
Uod holds the two extremes of time,
With His own hand He mirJwthe wuy
Our feet shall treji44rom day to day,
Throuih-dcarth and death to purer clime.
THE LITERATURE OF OREGON.
HV- Juts, ft- it -vrcTOR.-
I lave we a literature ? Wli
historians, sustarmTrnoTistsTpoeta ? Let
lis sce-ifwe can fintl them.
W. 1 1. Cray, in his " History o Oregon,"
rclalca that more tlian thirty years ago there
eiistcd at Oregon City then the business.
at it was afterwards the political capital of
the country a literary society. He says
the object of it was to tiring together the
American and British occtianls of the
country, ami furnish an opiortuiiity for the
discussion of certain ticklish points con
cerning a provisional government without
em-king opioiiion or -alarm. He and
others may have used the opportunity for
such a purpose, but 1 have never heard
that motive ascribed to the society by any
other of the members. Undoubtedly it was
koicd it would promote concord of feeling
tid unison of social sentiment,.. -Hon.
Cm. Aliernethv says that one of the
customs of the society was to deKsit anon
ymous contributions in a receptacle called
ths "Omnibus Dox," from which they were
drawn and read, and tliat among them
.tc many of considerable merit, both
cnous and witty.
In due course the provisional govern
ment was formed, whether by the aid of
the society or not. It wm an event to
bring out the talent in the country, literary
nj executive. A committee was annnini-
ed lo lorm a code or draft the organic laws
oi the county. 1 he labor, however, finally
devolved upon Jesse Applegate, Ksq., leader
of the immigration of 1843, a man whose
mtural gifts eminently lilted him for a litcr
ry life, but who, with so many others,
miik his abilities in the wilds of Oregon,
here no suiiable arena could lie found (or
tin exercise of his powers. The public
diKumejji-tWjarly ,imcJi Wnic,
-fTTihc author, arc iTtsw-rrartim
yle that lias seldom been attained to and
;er excelled by any writer in the State.
Sjch public offices as the country afforded
K.e oen lo him, but unless he saw tliat
lis services were really required, he de
dined to accept the small honor and smaller
punt, retiring itjun his farm 10 earn his
head by the sweat of his brow, and writing
In 1846 a newsvtper called the Sfniatjr
wu nUrtcd at Oregon City by company
of gentlemen called the Oregon Printing
Aviation. In looking over this journal
one is struck with the evidence of literary
Uleni in the community, and led to con
jecture that the editors must have had
iveM to the Omnibus Box " of the liter
it society. Scissors could m have
played a very important part in getting up
a paper, when the mail arrived not oftener
than Once in six months, and then by private
hand. I have made some inquiry with
regard to the authorship of contributed
articles with partial success. A poem,
entitled " Adventures of a Columbia River
Salmon," of a good deal more than average
merit, was written by Henry N. Peers, an
officer of the British ship Modestc, lying at
Fort Vancouver from 1844 to 1847. " Lines
to Mount Hood " were the production of
Hon. Geo. L. Curry, who was at one time
editor of the Spectator, and who was then
and is now favorably known as a writer.
Some verses addressed to " Mary " appear
to have been written by an officer of the
Moduli on the dearture of that ship, and
make us wonder which one of Oregon's
earliest daughters captured this British
heart. Another contributor' of merit was
"J. II. P." his name was Passenger ; and
still another, Mrs. Dr. Bally. These were
all writers of verse, as well as several others
who wrote anonymously, as "Lothario,"
'UVjindciing Bjml"Theta,'' "Ulysses,"
"Posiwat" and "M. J. B." A talented
writer injliose-trffies was H. A. 0. Lee,
le second editor of the Spectator ; and also
G. J. Campbell. Others there were who
lived under the provisional government
who may at different times have contribut
ed to the Spectator, but who are best known
for their connection with other matters:
Hoik. Peter H. Burnett, J. Quinn Thorn
ton, Guslavus'j HTrrcsr-S.A Thurston,
Tiite, all of whom, excepting
Thurston, have published books about the
country. Hon. Geo. Abernethy, who wrote
only in his capacity of Governor of the
colony, furnished able and finished docu
ments of much use to the future historian ;
and there were doubtless others connected
with the mission who could and did wield
a graceful quill whenever circumstances
called them out. There were several gen
tlemen connected with the Hudson's Bay
Company who were elegant writers as well
as cultivated gentlemen. J;-''
Here we have presented the jiiclurc of
a little colony of one orttfb thousand
people, of mixed nationality, sequestered
from all the yorld by thousands of miles ;
poor as to'money and goods, toilsome, ill
dressed, weather-beaten, yet full of spirit,
patriotism and courage, with time to culti
vate literature. They had, at least, this
advantage they brought their culture with
them. But how about their immediate
descendants? Do they come up to the
standard of their progenitors? Talent
seldom descends in a direct line from
father to son ; yet there is a natural feeling
of expectancy regarding certain trails, the
impression being that, even in the absence
of marked heredity of gifts, there must at
all events be a conspicuous inheritance of
habits of mind and culture. Unhappily
in all new countries the first generation is
for the most part sacrificed to fill up the
gap between an old and a new civilization.
Vet Oregon is not without her men and
women of gifts bred on her soil poets
and romancista, and possibly philosophers.
K. I., and 0. C. Applegate are men with
the hereditary strain of literary talent in
their composition neglected, as in the
caseofjhrjmcle, the sage ofoncalla."
The genius oTm.ndyivesterC.
Simon is undoubted, both in prose and
poetical composition. Mrs. Belle W.
Cooke is a paid contributor to the New
York Independent. A Salem lady, over the
sir plum of " Mem Linton," has also
written very acceptably for different jour
nals of this State. Rev. The. Condon has
contributed valuable and interesting articles
to the Overland Monitor on his favorite
study, " The Geology of Oregon." Hon.
M. P. Deady has, from time to time, when
hi could intermit for little his judicial
labors, furnished the OvrW MonlUv and
journals of California and Oregon with
important articles upon the history of Ore
gon and its founders. Hon. W. Lair Hill
occasionally indulges in truly literary work
for which he i eminently fitted between
the labors of law and journalism. John
Minto, Esq., has written a good deal in the
interest of Oregon and agriculture. SJA,
Clarke, Esq., of Salem, is a facile writer of
prose, an excellent newspaper correspond
ent, a journalist, and a versifier also.
HarveyScott, Esq., is another good news
paper wrtter. His sisters, Mrs. A. J. Duni
way and Mrs. C. A. Coburn, have made
places for themselves in the newsp-per
world under great difficulties, showing that,
in this instance, as in several others in
Oregon, talent pervades the whole family
The question naturally suggests itself:
If all these writers, and many more prob
ably that have been overlooked, are in
possession of the " divine afflatus " to any
extent, why we have not a literature purely
Oregonian? The answer is not far to
find. Men of real ability have generally a
corresponding ambition, and in Oregon
they find their audience too small to e.xcite
enthusiasm. Besides, literature, to be of
any worth, should be made a profession,
and in Oregon the profession of literature
will not give so good a living as almost
anything else hardly furnish a living at
all. Even journalism the only branch of
literature that pays is not considered of
sufficient importance to be performed
really well. The "leaders" of our news
papers may have been written with some
care, but the local columns with none at
all. The grammar, the diction, the paucity
of language exhibit small regard for liter
ary merit by the publishers of these jour
nals. It might be discreet, while thinking
they wilt do well enough at home a false
proposition to think how they look to the
world beyond home, who take our public
journals as standards of our intellectual
advancement and our social status.
But we have yet to notice our most and
only famous literary man, who, with his
gifted wife, determined to win distinction
by seeking a wider field, and succeeded
Miller, fantastically dubbed "Joaquin."
It is' not necessary to advertise his merits
he has done that himself; nor his demerits
they, too, have been rendered sufficiently
conspicuous. But as a purely Oregon pro
duction, he is worthy of particular mention.
He has written as one imbued with the
very spirit of the wildnesa and beauty of
the scenes among which he grew up ; and
whatever faults of style he has, he is in
that respect admirable. The very noblest
utterances in all the range of his produc
tions are when he speaks of Oreiron
though likely enough he calls it California
through the promptings of a mean unity
iSJS-telght 10 fclong lo a Slain more
1 Ofcweat endeavor.
Brave and true
i As stern crusader clad in steel,
f They died afield as it was fit.
J Made strong with hope, they dared to do
Achievement that a nose 10-aay
Would stagger at, stand back and reel, '
Defeated at the thought of it.
favored than his own in nuhnrAip
pass over some bits of mountain pictures
in words that I would like to quote, to
give place to his tribute to the pioneers of
Oregon, made, as I have said, to seem a
tribute to the pioneers of California by
putting "the Pacific" for "Oregon," and
"Sierras" for "Cascades;" but we all
rccognue the picture, and feel to thank
him for this evidence of recognition, how
ever surreptitiously yielded :
PI0KIKRS OP THE PACIFIC.
Wn.t Htm they Iliad (. j,,th, a ...
Blow Siflrm' ilop 0I pridt. WJ
Hciy. UMm now. V'l
Their ghosts are many,
Th.tr Tutpoicu. U,U"k"1'
Tn. Uwwj nrrkir, will dUpIu Pi1'
No ibouniWy witk Uhm. ani
Who mm Ihni Ut who Ml thra dlt
ttay, l Uu onplowW Mhos ilcp.
Th. bMidad, onbrewn.d mm who bom
Th. hurt., of Ih.t fnghthl ,r. "
Thar iluU tot b. loijottn.
And white, th. pUlu of JhornoM.
8b.ll point m to th. hrth.r uon,
AnJ k whit, rtuio, tin, ol boo
Uk. mum u(n or white mil. Mum.
Th. wild miS. u, th. I
' iw mono 1
Th. Ana IW.i 1
Lik.miok.olikttaMb.ul. I Load.
ir-TTV -p uot, ud tM
7teihi tew a. u , krtti. olmrfc
Atoj, 0tlon,urf knmom. nr.
Thoj. bran mu tnlbtin. the Wart
and Ilk. drifting Urn
op Uk. a cloud.
What brava andearor to anduro I
What patient hope when hope was paat I
What atill aurrender at the hut,
A thousand leasnea from hope I How pure
The; lived, how proud they died I
How generous with life I
And gloried age of chivalry
Hath not one page like thia to me.
Let all then golden day" go by
I breathe beneath another sky.
Let beauty glide in gilded car,
And liad uiv .uuiIuh'u aeoa afar,
Forgetful that 'tis but one grave
From east unto the weatmoat wave.
Yea, I remember I The still tears
That o'er uncomned faces fell 1
The final, silent, and farewell I
Uod I these are with me ell the yean I
They shall he with me ever.
Shall not forget. I hold a trust.
They are a part of my existence.
Adown the shining iron track
We sweep, and fields of corn flash hack,
And herds of lowing steers move by,
I turn to other days, to men
Who made a pathway with their dust
Mrs. Miller, after trying her literary for
tunes abroad, has returned to Oregon to
reside. Her short poems show the true
poetic inspiration, and have a finish re
markable in consideration of the little aid
she could have had from her associations-
proof that the true poet has not to be
We now come to a notice of books
written and published in Oregon; books
written in Oregon and published elsewhere,
and books written about Oregon that have
been published at home and abroad.
Probably the list is incomplete, but it has
been with some labor that it has been
made as full as it is.
The first book printing done on the Pacific !
coast unless the Spanish authorities in i
Mexico and California owned printing
presses was done on a small hand press ,
that was sent from the tnteionat the I
Sandwich Islands to thefPJgEyTeriaj mis- j
sion at Lapwai, about 1840. Mr. H. if""-1!
Spalding, missionary at that station, printed
a portion of the New Testament and a
collection of hymns in the Ne Perc?y'
tongue for the use of Indians. Idaho wall
then a part of the Oregon territory. There-j
fore it is proper to say that the first Oregon l
book was printed in the Indian language. '
The first book printed in English was an
edition of "Webster's Spelling Book" at
the office of the Spectator at Oregon City
in 1846. If a copy of this Oregon edidon
of Webster could be found, it should be
presented to the State library as a relic.
The next publication in book form, issued
from the same office, was " The Oregon
Almanac, in 1848, a copy of which is
preserved in Judge Deady's library. The
columns of the Spectator were used for the
publication of the organic laws of the Ter
ritory and reports of legislative proceed
ings, the book form being dispensed with. '
In March, 1848, a paper was started by,
Geo. L. Curry, Esq., called MitjPrtu in
allusion, perhaps, to the censorship to
which as editor of the Spectator he had
been subjected' Siaterial was not to be
had either for "love or money" in those
days in Oregon, and "starting the paper"
as a much more difficult enterprise than
it is to-day. But there are few thiugs that
wit and will cannot accomplish. A wooden
press of home manufacture and wooden
type, with an "m" turned upside down
for a "w," and a v" in the place of a
"u," proved indeed that it was possible to
have a free press in Oregon.
About the same time J. S. Griffin, Esq.,
of Hillsboro, started paper called the
Oregon American (ta purpose of which
as to expose iffe machinations of the
Jesuits, and to prove that the Hudson's
Bay Company were concerned in the
massacre of she Protestant missionaries '
nd immigrate at Waiilatpu, Mr. Griffin's
Pper was Minted on the little press be
longing to jhe mission in the upper country,
which had been abandoned on account of
the Indian war, and was about the sixe of
an ordinary magazine page. Both these