Here, then, is found in the reports of Cushing and Linn, the three motives that put the Missourians and other westerners on the Trail to Oregon: First, That Oregon was the best country in the world; second, that the British were trying to steal it from the lawful owners - The Americans; and third, a gift of a square mile of land to each settler. The Oregonians of 1912 cannot comprehend the influences that so powerfully affected their forefathers. There were yet in 1840 throughout the west, old Revolutionary soldiers, bent with age, but full of the fire that carried them through the seven years war to achieve American Indpendence. There were also the heroes, all through the west, who had fought with Jackson, at New Orleans and hurled back the British red coats in the most decisive battle ever fought on the American continent. The sons and daughters of these old soldiers had inherited their courage and their ambition to strike a blow at "Old England" whenever the excuse could be found. The gift of 640 acres of rich land - that was the wonder. Up to that time every settler in the west had bought his land from the Government and paid for it in hard cash; the only exception being the lands given to the revolutionary soldiers for military services, and the land warrants to the soldiers in the war of 1812. The homestead law giving 160 acres to actual settlers for five years settlement and cultivation was not passed by Congress until twenty years after the great rush to Oregon. The free land and the chance to drive the British out of Oregon were the moving causes that settled Oregon before the title to it was settled. It is said that Jesse Applegate declared in starting to Oregon in 1843, "That he was going to Oregon to drive out the British." It may be that "Uncle Jesse" never said that. But if he did say it, he knew he was only voicing the wishes of all the people in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. It has been suggested by some historians, that the great financial panic of 1837 which broke all the banks in the west and financially ruined many thousands of men, was the cause of many persons coming to Oregon. This supposition is not entitled to any credit. For while that financial trouble compelled thousands of good men to make a new start in life, and gave them the opportunity to go anywhere to do so, it could harly have sent many to Oregon. There were plenty of opportunities in the new territories of Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas next door to Missouri, with land just as good as any in Oregon. The Oregon field offered adventure, the gratification of a national prejudice, and free land, and set on foot one of the most unique and far-reaching in influence movements of population the world has seen since the discovery of America.



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