This address is an excellent example of Scott Duniway’s praise of the land, people, and opportunities of the Pacific Northwest. The Congress of Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago1 was a fitting occasion for such a unifying address: Scott Duniway uses the quatercentennial of Columbus’ pioneering voyage to relate the pioneer story of the Oregon Territory. She creates a seamless historical narrative of discovery, from Columbus to Balboa, to Robert Gray, to Lewis and Clark, to the pioneer settlers of the “forties and fifties,” to the present.

The voyage of discovery that she recounts is, at first face, primarily spatial (geographical) and temporal (historical) in nature. However, this particular speech, and the epideictic form that it illustrates, are especially noteworthy because multiple dimensions of “discovery” are invoked simultaneously in order to convey Scott Duniway’s argument.

A third dimension of this voyage is moral. Consistent with the spirit of manifest destiny in nineteenth-century America, the unfolding discovery of the Pacific Northwest incarnates the march of human progress. The role of “destiny which directs the progress of civilization in every age” is evident, for example, in Scott Duniway’s treatment of indigenous peoples, from the Aztecs to the Indian tribes of the Columbia River Valley. The extent of her treatment is unusual for a paean to westward expansion, but its theme is typical. That “Anglo Saxons” would conquer the continent was inevitable; that the natives would be vanquished was fated. In this way, Scott Duniway echoes the theme of the “vanishing red man” that was dominant in her day.2

A fourth dimension of this voyage is gendered and sociocultural. Scott Duniway takes pains to acknowledge the contributions of women, from Queen Isabella of Spain to Bertha Honoré Palmer of the Board of Lady Managers of the Exposition. Expanding roles for women, and increasing public recognition of their contributions, become another sort of discovery, another aspect of human progress; they reflect, in her words, the “discovery of womanhood.”3

Scott Duniway’s praise of the Pacific Northwest also implicitly advances two deliberative aims. First, although she shuns the label “real estate boomer,” this address encourages her Eastern audience to resettle in the abundant West. The panic of 1893 was just underway and an “army of floating labor” would congregate at the Exposition, looking for new opportunities.4 In this context, a paean to the opportunities that await in her region echoes her well-known critique of the financial arrangements of the day5 and urges her audience to act against them by relocating.

Second, this address argues for woman’s rights by indirection. Only a single brief comment, that she does not believe in a “one-sexed country” any more than in a one-sexed government or home, raises the issue explicitly. However, the speech begins with a reversal, in which Abigail considers what might have been had Columbus landed in the west. This reversal, which constructs a new historical narrative different from that “known” by her audience, invites the audience to imagine different possibilities, to entertain a different story of America and a different order of things. The remainder of the speech then treats the sexes equally: Opportunities, as well as corresponding obligations to work and contribute to the “up-building” of the region, await both men and women without distinction. This appeal invites her audience to imagine that the order of the sexes might have been different; if only Columbus had sailed the Pacific, the nation would have been founded on principles of equality, spreading slowly eastward as the nation grew, and our long history of struggle for woman’s rights would have been avoided.6 Crucially, then, the “known” order of the sexes becomes an accident of history, no longer inherent in the nature of things. Finally, the argument that things can be different presages an argument to make things different. In this manner, her praise of a land of equal opportunities indirectly argues for equality of opportunity.

In sum, this address invites other women and their families to become “pioneers” in all these many senses: geographically, economically, morally, socially, and intellectually. Moreover, Scott Duniway herself–as a pioneer settler of Oregon, a woman, and an equal rights advocate–has lived this multidimensional voyage of discovery. Hence, in a final significant rhetorical appeal, she enacts this invitation; that is, she becomes living proof of the truth of her message.

The text below principally follows a manuscript in the Abigail Scott Duniway Papers. A (apparently subsequent) typescript of the address, hand-edited by Abigail but of uncertain origin, also appears in Scrapbook #2 of these papers. A highly abridged version appears in the official proceedings of the Congress.7 There are many cosmetic, and some substantive, differences among the three, marked as follows:

[ ]: in manuscript and typescript, not in Congress
< >: in typescript and Congress, not in manuscript
{ }: in typescript (whether typed or subsequently hand-edited) only
/ /: in Congress only
\ \: in manuscript only

Alternate renderings appear in the notes.

Gentlemen and Ladies: If the illustrious navigator in whose honor we are now holding this wonderful World’s Columbian Exposition had so shaped his adventurous voyage as to have first sighted land on the western slope of the two Americas, the history of this continent’s discovery and development would have been strangely metamorphosed. Then, the star of Empire, lured by balmy skies, would have made its way eastward, loitering leisurely in its course, often halting for generations to enjoy the equable temperature of the Pacific Coast, and never pressing onward to encounter the more rigorous climate of the Atlantic border until compelled to advance by the civilization surging behind it. But the destiny which directs the progress of civilization in every age never for a moment forgot the golden West, and, with a wise design of which we, today, are reaping the benefits, the preserves of the Pacific Northwest were held in reserve in the nation’s youth, that they might become the heritage of the fortunate descendants of the hardy stock of Anglo-Saxons who long ago conquered the adverse climatic elements of the Atlantic seaboard, in blissful ignorance, through all their years of toil, that the balmy zephyrs of the Pacific were playing at hide-and-seek among Sierran vales, or singing summer-laden paeans through the mighty trees where rolls the Oregon.8

And yet, this favored land had not been left for long without a witness. Destiny, as if mindful that some day the children of men might wonder at her apparent partiality to later generations, began as early as the year 1513 to make preliminary preparations for carrying out her plans. [In that year Vasco Núñez de Balboa9, a Spanish adventurer who must have been born for the purposes of discovery, since he proved to be good at nothing else, secreted himself in a trading vessel, and after narrowly escaping death by order of Captain Enciso10, who for some unexplained reason failed at the last moment to execute his command, was set ashore upon the edges of the Caribbean Sea.

Of the strange land into which he was thus thrown Balboa knew little except the rumors that had reached him in regard to the expeditions of Cortez11 who had previously penetrated that country, carrying devastation into the lands belonging to the Aztec worshippers of the sun. The excitement into which Balboa was thus thrown12 proved exactly to his taste. He became at once a daring and unscrupulous leader, whose name is destined to go down through history as the discoverer of the Pacific Ocean. The history of this discovery requires no repetition here. Let us only pause a moment in regretful memory of the Montezumas, the last of the rulers of the Aztec race13 whose domain bordered “the sleeping waters beyond America.”

Balboa, after many expeditions, in which he was so successful as to excite the jealously of his rivals, was ignominiously beheaded by order of Pedrarius Dávila14, for the alleged crime of disloyalty to the Spanish crown. He died protesting his innocence, and his headless body was subjected before burial to the usual brutal indignities of a barbaric populace.

In the year 1519 the ill-fated commander, Magellan15, started on his famous voyage which resulted in the discovery of the long sought route to the Indies. It was he who gave the name Pacific to the mighty discovery of Balboa, the wondrous ocean of the Occident from whose singing shores I have come to greet you.

California was discovered in 1534, by Orton Jimenes, a mutineer who had previously incited an outbreak on board the ship of which he was pilot, which resulted in the tragic death of Commander Magellan.16 But to Sir Francis Drake17 unquestionably18 belongs the honor of having been the first of the European race to land upon the coast of the present state of California, which he did in June of the year 1579.

It was not till after the lapse of nearly two centuries, in August of the year 1775, that the great headlands of the Columbia River were first discovered or outlined upon any chart. In this year Commander Heceta19 discovered a promontory which he called Cape San Roque; and immediately south of it, in latitude 46º, an opening in the land between headlands of the true nature of which he was in doubt. This opening is represented on old Spanish charts by the names Entrada de Ascension, and Rio de San Roque, and is without doubt the mouth of the Columbia River.

Of this discovery Captain Robert Greenhow, a painstaking Pacific Coast historian20, tells us that this discovery of Heceta was undoubtedly the mouth of the greatest river on the western side of the American continent, the which, in 1792, was first entered by the ship Columbia from Boston, under the command of Robert Gray21, and has ever since been known as the Columbia River.

Captain Vancouver22, who was employed by the British government to conduct scientific surveys on the coast shortly after the war of the revolution, beheld the headlands of the Columbia a short time before their discovery by Captain Gray. But, although the weather was clear, he decided that “no river was there; only a sort of bay.”

Captain Robert Gray, who happened to be cruising in contiguous waters, in the employ of a firm of Boston traders, upon finding that Captain Vancouver was not disposed to credit his theory of an open river, made extended observations on his own account, and after noting particularly that the color of the water of the bay was different from that of the open sea, this Yankee commander sailed inside on the 11th day of May, 1792. Concerning this important discovery Captain Gray said in his log book: “At four o’clock on the morning of the 11th we beheld our desired port, bearing east-southeast, distant six leagues. At 8 A.M., being a little to the windward of the entrance to the harbor, we bore away and ran in east-northeast, between the breakers, having from five to seven fathoms of water. When we came over the bar we found this to be a large river of fresh water, up which we steered. Many canoes came alongside. . . The entrance between the bars bore west-southwest, distant ten miles; the north side of the river, distant a half mile from the ship; the south side of the same two and a half miles distant; a village on the north side of the river, west by south, distant three quarters of a mile. Vast numbers of the natives came alongside. People {were} employed pumping the salt water out of our casks while the ship floated in. So ends.”

To this Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor23, Oregon’s eminent historian, author of “The Risen Atlantis,”24 adds “No, not so ends, O, modest Captain Gray, of the ship Columbia. The end is not yet, nor will be until all the vast territory, rich with every possible production, which is drained by the waters of the new-found river, shall have yielded up its illimitable wealth to distant generations.”]

Let us [now] turn the searchlight of history upon the Inland Empire of the Pacific Northwest and study its discovery from a landsman’s standpoint.

[The time is the year 1804. Not a person within the range of my voice–not one of the hundreds of thousands gathered today within these gates–was then upon the earth in conscious form.

The seasons came and went as now. Birds sang in the air, fishes swam in the water, beasts prowled in the forests, flowers rejoiced in the sunshine. The wigwam of the wild Indian occupied the site of the Columbian Exposition and the forest maiden beheld her dusky charms in the placid waters that now reflect the artistic proportions of this Woman’s Building. But Womanhood, as an entity, distinct and immortal, had not then been discovered. It was scarcely even dreamed of as a personality, existing within and of itself, like other animate things. It remained for the Board of Lady Managers of this Exposition, with Mrs. Potter Palmer25 at their head, to conceive and carry out the dreams of utility and beauty which we perceive around us. Just here let us pay a passing tribute to the illustrious prototype of these women, Queen Isabella of Spain26, who, in spite of the narrow bigotry of her environment, pierced the gloom of superstition and ignorance with the eye of prophecy, and by laying her jewels at the feet of Columbus, made the present discovery of Womanhood possible.

The search light of history shows us that] in the year 1804 an expedition led by Captains Lewis27 and Clark28 started westward from a point east of the Mississippi river, into the unexplored and almost unknown wilds stretching across the North American continent.29 [It was a reckless and daring expedition, quite equal in perilous endeavor to any ever undertaken in earlier times by Cortez or Balboa, or Magellan or Heceta or Vancouver or Gray. It numbered 9 young Kentuckians, 14 soldiers, 2 French watermen, 1 hunter, 1 interpreter, 1 negro servant, and no woman.30]

After a summer of wild, enjoyable adventure in the wilderness, the party went into winter quarters in the fall of the same year on the banks of the upper Missouri river, in what is now the State of Montana. The following year, after having grown accustomed to their adventurous life, they pitched camp for winter quarters at the mouth of the Lou Lou fork of the Bitterroot river, a branch of the Upper Missouri, near what is now the thriving modern city of Missoula. From this point they made frequent excursions, and by ascending Lou Lou fork discovered the now famous Lolo trail through the otherwise formidable Bitterroot mountains. After having suffered severely from cold and hunger the party reached a Nez Perce village in the early spring, situated on an open plain contiguous to the south fork of the Clearwater, an important tributary to the Snake River.

[Captain Clark was the first white man to discover the Snake river of our modern geographies, originally known on the maps as Lewis and Clark’s river.]

In passing down the Clearwater the party noted three creeks, the most famous of these being now known as the Potlatch, which fructifies the beautiful and extensive Paradise Valley of Idaho, in the midst of which sits Moscow[, a border town of sufficient pretensions to have already furnished the State of Idaho with a United States Senator who is now the state’s governor31, and a representative {citizen} who is a member of the United States Congress32

The journey of Lewis and Clark down the Snake River [to its junction with the Columbia, and thence down the Columbia to the present site of Astoria, thence to Clatsop Plains on the western coast of Oregon, which place they reached in November of the year 1805,] was a series of exciting, laborious and often perilous adventures. But they reached the coast in safety and erected a rude fortification for winter quarters which they named Fort Clatsop. [The natives swarmed around them in great numbers, from whom they learned that white men had before visited the locality for purposes of trade. They belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company of trappers and traders, of whom Lewis and Clark said: “The Indians inform us that they speak the same language as we do; and, indeed, the few words which the Indians have learnt from the sailors, such as musket, powder, shot, knife, file, heave-the-lead, damned rascal and other phrases of that description, show that the visitors speak the English language.” Colonel Gilbert, in his “Historic Sketches”33, tells34 that the long isolation, from civilization of this little forlorn hope of American explorers is thrown into strong relief by a statement that was penned and fastened to the inside walls of their fort as they turned from it on their way back across the continent. It said: “The object of this last is that through the medium of some civilized person who may see the same, it may be made known to the world that the party consisting of the persons whose names are hereunto annexed, and who were sent out by the government to explore the interior of the continent of North America, did penetrate the same by way of the Missouri and Columbia rivers to the discharge of the latter into the Pacific Ocean, where they arrived on the 14th day of November, 1805, and departed on the 23d day of March, 1806, on their return to the United States by the same route by which they had come out.” An inventory of the merchandise upon which they depended for the purchase of provisions on the35 way home, revealed one blue and six scarlet robes, one United States artillery hat and coat, five robes made from the flag, and a few old clothes trimmed with ribbon, all of which could have been tied up in a couple of handkerchiefs.

Nothing daunted by this meager array of merchandise,] they started on their return /after a stay of some time/, and after a leisurely voyage up the Columbia they reached the Willamette river, called by the natives Multnomah, which was discovered by Captain Clark on the 2d day of April, 1806.

Continuing their journey up the Columbia they found the Dalles and Deschutes Indians very hostile and inhospitable. Doubtless the premonition of their forthcoming fate had dawned upon the tribes, and the instinct of self-preservation, powerful even when hopeless, had been awakened by rumors of a dreaded invasion of which these explorers were deemed36 forerunners.

But Yellept, the head chief of the Walla Wallas, inspired no doubt by the same premonitions, although they affected him differently, received the party with savage demonstrations of joy.37 He begged them to partake of his hospitality, and urged them to invite all nations to treat the Indians kindly. Setting an example himself, he brought them an armful of wood and a platter of roasted mullets with his own hands–a most peculiar service from the hands of an Indian chieftain, since it is a well known part of the Indian’s unwritten code to delegate every kind of domestic duties to women, including every burden of the camp and fire incident to their primitive modes of life.

Colonel Gilbert, in the “Historic Sketches” [before alluded to], tells us that Yellept had five sons who were all slain in battle or perished miserably from white men’s diseases. A number of years after Lewis and Clark had partaken of his hospitality this noble chieftain saw the last one of them die. Heartbroken, the old man called his tribe together, and lying down upon the body of his son in the grave, he sternly commanded them to cover him up with his dead.

A wail of lamentation went up from his people, but they buried him alive as he had ordered, and the glory and greatness of the Walla Wallas had departed.

The modern psychic tells us, upon evidence that to him is demonstration, that the Indians’ Heaven is located within the earth’s aura, directly above the earth and beneath the American pale faces’ “Devochan”38; that in this Heaven all genuinely “good” Indians find their happy hunting grounds restored to them in duplicate, with all the modern improvements added. In these Elysian shades the pale-face cannot enter to rob them of their homes, or possess their squaws or maidens, or spread among them the diseases and disasters of civilization and death.

[It was my purpose, when I began this lecture, to have somewhat to say in relation to the discovery, early history and settlement of Puget Sound, the mighty inland sea which indents the western edge of Oregon’s first great subdivision, the progressive state of Washington. I also meant to pay extended attention to the early history of Oregon’s two younger daughters, the ambitious states of Montana and Idaho. But time presses and I must leave this part of my theme and hasten to consider the more vital, because ever-pressing present, with which we are all concerned, as much from necessity as from choice. But before we leave it let us pause to pay a passing tribute to the memory of our risen pioneers.]

The swaying pines of the lands they39 loved, and left to us as a heritage, chant their eternal requiem. The mighty mountains wear white crowns of everlasting snow in their honor and the broad prairies adorn their lowly graves with regularly returning flowers as the seasons come and go. The iron horse wakes shrillest echoes now, where erst the bellowing of the belabored ox was heard. Steam and lightning have out-distanced time and conquered space in the years that have flown since they fell asleep. The echoes of the mountains and the rocks are answering back to new conditions {now}, and the sons and daughters of the pioneers are confronted by new problems of which they40 scarcely dreamed. These pioneers, in goodly numbers, found their way to Oregon early in the “forties” and “fifties”, making their way across the continent in the dim wake of Lewis and Clark. The four-wheeled ship of the desert was their vehicle and the rough-ribbed ox [was] their motive power.41 [I cannot linger here to tell you of the vicissitudes of their journeying; how] in peril often, in fatigue always, and sometimes in sickness, through death and deprivation42, they struggled onward toward the setting sun.

But these early settlers found at length a country that well repaid them for their toil; a country of surpassing beauty and diversity of scenery, soil and climate; a country in which the giant minds that planned their exodus from older lands might have the ample room they needed to expand43 and grow. Upon reaching the territory of Oregon, they settled, often, in widely separated fields. For several years they lived in isolation, but also in health, peace and primitive plenty. They made friends with the Indians and, forming a provisional government [of their own], protected themselves and the red man alike within its statutes.

But the discovery of gold, first in California, and a little later in Oregon, was the lever that worked a44 change in the provincial habits of these Spartan-souled heroes[, the end of which is not yet foreseen; and I sometimes wonder if we have hardly seen its beginning.] The whole world caught the gold fever.45 Men left their homes and families and flocked together to the new Eldorado like cormorants scenting the means of subsistence from afar. They settled California with a heterogeneous multitude from all the nations of the earth and gradually, as the contagion spread, extended their peregrinations /in/to Oregon, where nature had, in many places, been equally successful in storing up and hiding away her precious ores.

[I cannot stop to tell you now about the many multi millionaires of the Pacific Coast who have risen from poverty to their present status during their sojourn beside the sunset seas. Nor can I stop to more than drop a word in recognition of the many more who became victims of hopes deferred and who, failing to acquire the Midas’ touch, grew weary of the struggle and retired to the seclusion and security of the country or returned to their childhood’s haunts, sadder, but not wiser nor richer than when they wandered away. Rather be it my province to point the way at this time for the many thousands of ambitious ones who were born too late to get a footing of their own upon the virgin soil of the older states, and are looking now for ideal homes in the Pacific Northwest–where there yet is room. Very many of our early settlers are tax-burdened with large tracts of the best and most fruitful lands, acquired when the settlements were sparse, which they are now ready to subdivide and sell, in small holdings and on easy terms, to actual settlers. These lands comprise every imaginable variety of soil, scenery and climate.] The entire region lying west of the Cascade mountains, within the “rain belt,” rejoices in two seasons, the wet and the dry. And yet, there is no drought in summer, nor is there any long-continued spell of rain at [any] one time in winter. The climate is mild throughout the year. Here is the home alike of the fruit and the grain, the forest and the mineral. If you fancy that you prefer to settle upon government lands there are yet many openings for such homes, where, by going from 20 to 100 miles away from present railroad facilities, thus following in a much modified form the heroic example of \the\ early pioneers, you may, by overcoming comparatively few of the obstacles they encountered, achieve a like or a greater success.

Do you wish a climate with more marked extremes of heat and cold? The extensive table lands of the eastern portion of this great domain invite you to possess them. Here also, in many places, are the homes of the fruit and the grain. Here are mountain fortresses with intersecting valleys and limpid streams. Here, too, is the home of irrigation, the home of the stock grower and the stronghold of the baser metals, as well as of gold and silver and precious stones.

While I do not believe in a one-sexed country, any more than a one-sexed home or government, I do believe that women should have equal chance with men to acquire the homes that both the sexes equally need, and must jointly occupy. The one great obstacle in the way of women getting homes in the country is their too frequent desire to possess lands of area so great that to live upon them means isolation. But, if women, as well as men, when in quest of homes, would be content with farms containing 5, 10, or at most 40 acres, bringing with them, to a new country, sufficient means to carry them through the first year or so of settlement–say, anywhere from $500 up–there are comparatively few of you who are often rack-rented in the great cities and over-strained in every way–/in/ trying to keep up appearances–who would not find yourselves and those dependent upon you very soon in independent circumstances. When you live in the country, on land of your own, you are free from the burdens of house rent, water tax, wood bills46, and milk, butter, eggs, fruit and vegetable bills.47 In your city garrets are old clothes enough to keep your families {comfortably} clad in the country till an income grows; and through the care-free lives you /may/ lead under such conditions your health grows firm.48

[When I look into the pale faces of the many care-weary women who wrestle daily with the ever increasing perplexities of the present complex system of city life–women whose boys and girls are growing toward maturity with no remunerative occupation in sight–my mind leaps out beyond the Rocky Mountains to the many favored localities that would gladly afford them homes, under conditions they could meet with reasonable effort if enough of families with only a few hundred dollars each, as a basis for getting a foothold, would so cooperate that they might be of mutual assistance to each other in the formation of new settlements. Such a change would necessitate frugality, industry and some self-denial. Their homes at first would be rude and simple, but cheap and comfortable. Their church, school-house and public hall would at first be held under the same roof and their stores, workshops and manufactories would be primitive, but amply sufficient to supply all their needs till the railroads could reach them.]

Bear in mind that it is difficult at this late day to find room for large settlements, even in small holdings, directly along the established railroad lines. If you would grow up with a49 country you must <first> establish yourselves on its frontier.

I have at this moment in mind, many places where deeded lands, held at reasonable prices, {offered} on easy terms, can be bought in the Pacific Northwest for just such homes. I also know of whole townships on the still farther frontier, where irrigation lends the magic of its power to such marvels of production as are never seen elsewhere. These lands are from 20 to 80 and even 100 miles away, at present, from railroads. But many thousands of acres are there awaiting possession, where many hundreds of ideal homes50 could be secured, contiguous to inexhaustible summer range for stock; where alfalfa yields prodigious returns from irrigation for winter’s feed for stock; where a farm of 40 acres or less would make an independent home. In these places chickens thrive like magic on sunflowers bigger than dinner plates. Hogs grow fat on barley, harvested by themselves, after having thriven to maturity on alfalfa, also of their own harvesting/s/. Small fruits, cereals and vegetables yield enormously. The air is as pure as ether and the scenery is as grand as Heaven. Here can be grown in inexhaustible quantities the sugar beet, the mangel wurzel, and all the other staples on which man and beast do thrive, except, perhaps, your Indian corn, for which the delicious air of night is too cool to permit its superabundant growth.51 Adjacent mines abound in all directions, awaiting the toil and money of man for their development.

Again I think of evergreen forests, humid skies and fruit bearing vales, hard by the sunset seas. But many of these are also away from present lines of railroad, though not more than 20, 30, or at most 100 miles away. Think of it! Only 100 miles! Why, we of the Pacific Coast went 2,000 and 3,000 miles away from railroads to get our start!

Oh, those primitive times! How, amid all these scenes of wonder, do I love to pause and live over again the far-off days when everybody in my great bailiwick knew everybody else; when there were no extremes of wealth or want, but everybody had enough and to spare. Families living hundreds of miles apart made annual visits to each other’s homes at convenient seasons, their vehicles the same battered, creaking ships of the desert, their teams the same old oxen, grown fat and festive, that, half-starved and footsore, had brought them across the continent in the bygone years.52

Anon the railroad era dawned upon the land. The shout of its coming was heard in the air, and songs like this floated out upon the breeze:

From the land[s] of the distant East I come,
A railway abroad, and I love to roam,
In my lengthening, winding way,
On my ballast of rock and my ribs of pine
And my sinews of steel that glitter and shine,
While my workmen sap and saw53 and mine,
As steadily day by day,
They tunnel the mountains and climb the ridges,
And span the culverts and rivet the bridges,
And waken the echoes afar and anear
With the shout of triumph and song of cheer!

The state of Oregon, or what is left of it since it married off its three territorial daughters, Washington, Montana and Idaho, to state governments, contains in round numbers, an area <of> 95,275 square miles. Washington, the eldest of Oregon’s “three stately Graces”, possesses an about54 equal area. Montana comes next, with skirts nearly as ample, and Idaho sits proudly at the eastward gates, holding aloft/, as shown on the maps,/ the rough similitude of a huge arm-chair on her mountains’ summits, inviting you to come and be seated.

There is much mountainous country throughout the Pacific Northwest; so much that the pure air of Heaven, playing at random among the heights, frightens away the cyclones of the flats55 and sends them howling over the Kansas prairies and the great plains of Texas, leaving our rock-ribbed vales in smiling security. Tornadoes, drought, and pestilence, from the same cause, escape us.

The trend of the main mountain ranges is north and south, with innumerable spurs reaching out in all directions, breaking the country into diversified valleys, well watered and fertile. Every cereal known to agriculture, every fruit and flower of the temperate zones and many products of semi-torrid climes find congenial homes in different portions of this broad domain. Every mineral known to man abounds within our borders. Our forests are gigantic and inexhaustible, our rivers are big and deep and rapid and our creeks and rills and lakes [and rivulets] no man can number.

[I am not here as a real estate boomer, nor do I come to speculate. But I do come to say to the many earnest inquirers who are seeking homes, and who really desire to do their part toward making them, that in my country Nature has done her part to perfection.]

But, don’t come to a new country wholly empty-handed, expecting the few who are on the ground ahead of you to furnish you with /remunerative/ employment. Come prepared to take care of yourselves till you can have time to raise a crop. Come prepared to help each other, just as did the early pioneers–just as all must do who leave the mark of success upon the age in which they struggle.

“The world belongs to those who take it;
Not to those who sit and wait.”56

Once, when I was 20 years younger than now, though not a whit less enthusiastic, as I was journeying westward across the continent by rail, I perpetrated some stanzas with which to please my friends at home57, and also58 [by special request of several members of the World’s Fair Board of Lady Managers,] I will conclude59:

Ho! for the bracing and breezy Pacific,
As surging and heaving he rolleth for aye;
Ho for the land where bold rocks bid us welcome,
And grandeur and beauty hold rivaling sway!
Yes, ho for the West, for the blest land of promise,
Where mountains all white bathe their brows in the sky,
While down their steep sides the wild60 torrents come61 dashing,
And eagles scream out from their eyries on high!

I have seen the bright East where the restless Atlantic
Forever and ever wails out his deep moan,
And I’ve stood in the shade of the dark Alleghenies,
Or listened, all rapt, to Niagara’s groan.
Again, I have sailed through grand scenes on the Hudson,
Steamed down the Fall River, through Long Island Sound;
The Ohio I’ve viewed, and the weird Susquehanna,
Or skirted the Lake Shores62 when West I was bound.

I’ve sniffed the bland breeze of the broad Mississippi,
And dreamed in the midst of his valley so great;
Have crossed and recrossed the bold turbid Missouri,
As he bears toward the Gulf Stream his steam-guided freight;
And I’ve bathed my hot forehead in soft limpid moonbeams,
That shimmered me o’er with their glow and their gold,
In the haunts where the loved of my youth gave glad welcome,
And memory recalled each dear voice, as of old.

But though scenes such as these oft allured, pleased and charmed me,
Euterpe63 came not64 with her harp or my lyre;
Yet when I again reached thy prairies, Nebraska,
To sing she began me at once to inspire.
And, as westward we sped, o’er the broad rolling pampas,
Or slowly ascended the mountains all wild,
Or dashed through the gorges and under the snowsheds,
The Nine with crude numbers my senses65 beguiled.

Colorado’s wild steeps and the rocks of Wyoming,
Their lone stunted pine trees and steep palisades,
And afar to the West the cold bleak Rocky Mountains,
At whose feet the wild buffalo feeds in the glades,
Have each in their turn burst sublime on my vision,
While deserts all desolate gazed at the sky,
And away to the south rose the snow-crested Wasatch,
Bald, bleak and majestic, broad rolling and high.

I have stood where dead cities of sandstone columnar,
Loom[ed] up in their grandeur, all solemn and still,
And mused o’er the elements’ wars of the Ages
That shaped them in symmetry wild at their will.
I have rolled down the boulders and waked the weird echoes,
Where serpents affrighted, have writhed in their rage,
And watched the fleet antelope bound o’er the desert
Through vast beds of cacti66 and greasewood and sage.

I have sailed on the breast of the deseret Dead Sea,
And bathed in its waters all tranquil and clear,
Have gazed on the mountains and valleys of Humboldt,
Strange, primitive, awful, sad, silent and sere.
I have climbed and reclimbed the steep, wind-worn Sierras,
Peered in their deep gulches67 all dark and obscure,
Dreamed under the shadows of giant sequoias,
Or talked with wild Indians, reserved and demure.

I have trusted my bark on the billows of ocean,
And watched them roll up and recede from the shore,
And have anchored within the68 fine bay San Francisco,
Where the Golden Gate husheth the Ocean’s deep roar.
But not till I reached thy broad bosom, Columbia,
Where ever, forever, thou roll’st to the sea,
Did I feel that I’d found the full acme of grandeur,
Where song could run riot, or fancy go free.

Then my Pegasus changed his quick pen to a gallop,
Euterpe’s wind harp waked Aeolian strains,
And the Nine in their rapture sang odes to the mountains
That preside over Oregon’s forests and plains.
Hoary Hood called aloud to the three virgin sisters
Who blushed with the roseate glow of the morn;
St. Helen and Rainier from over the border
Scowled and clouded their brows in pretension of scorn.

The Dalles of Columbia set up on their edges,
Swirled through the deep gorges as onward they rolled,
Or over huge boulders of basalt went dashing,
Dispersed into spray ere their story was told.
To the North and the South and the West rose the fir trees,
With proportions colossal and graceful and tall,
Dark green in their hue with a tinge of deep purple,
Casting shadows sometimes o’er the earth like a pall.

Bold headlands keep guard o’er the Oregon river
Whose dashings are heard far away o’er the main,
While69 roaring and foaming and rushing forever,
He struggles with Ocean some ‘vantage to gain,
White cities sit smiling beside the Columbia,
Where, though land-walled the breeze of the sea she inhales,
While wind-worn Umatilla and gale-torn Wallula
Keep sentinel watch o’er her broad eastern vales.

Then ho for the bracing and breezy Pacific,
Whose waves lave the Occident ever and aye!
I care naught for the grandeur of Asia and Europe
For my far western home greets me gladly today.
Yes, ho for the West! for the blest land of promise,
Where mountains all green bathe their brows in the sky;
While down the tall snow peaks wild torrents come dashing
And eagles scream out from their eyries on high!


    1. A world’s fair, opening January 22, 1893, held in celebration of the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage, attended by more than 21.4 million visitors. A series of congresses were convened under the auspices of the woman’s branch of the World’s Congress Auxiliary, including a Women’s Congress and a Suffrage Congress, over a six-month period (History of Woman Suffrage 4: 217). The best documented of these was the first, the World’s Congress of Representative Women of All Lands, held May 15-21, in which 528 delegates representing 27 countries and 126 organizations participated. Described as “the greatest assemblage of women which ever had been held, ” its published proceedings ran to nearly one thousand pages (Sewall), and it was remarked in History of Woman Suffrage (4: 609-10).

      Some women spoke at more than one congress; for example, Sarah Brown Ingersoll Cooper gave thirty-six addresses during the course of the exposition (Eagle 296). Also, the label “Congress of Women” seems to have been adopted generically to refer to all. Thus, pinpointing the congress at which Scott Duniway delivered this address is difficult. Her dating of her speech rules out the Congress of Representative Women, and she appears nowhere in its proceedings. Her speech is excerpted in a second publication (Eagle). Only sixteen women (out of hundreds) are reported in both publications, and in fewer than half of these cases are similar speeches reproduced, so the latter appears to be a wider-ranging compendium of selected speeches from the different congresses. []

    2. For one discussion of this theme in discourses about Native Americans, see Lake, “Between” 125-29. Scott Duniway’s views on Indian affairs were typical for her day. In 1877, the New Northwest, reporting Nez Perce attacks on settlers at Mount Idaho, commented that the natives had reverted to their “savage instincts” despite the government’s “peace policy,” and opined that General Howard’s only failure was to have sufficient troops (29 June). The next year  recounting more native atrocities, it preached: “Shame upon a government that treats with creatures beside whom coyotes are fairies and hyenas angels. Let us think of something else, or we’ll be tempted to shoulder a hatchet and embark for the border, to prove that armed women can fight, whether they’re allowed to be voters or not” (8 Aug. 1878). In 1881, a front-page column editorialized that Indians should fend for themselves rather than be given everything for free by the government (9 June). []
    3. Indeed, the exposition itself heralded this discovery, and intentionally so. Anthony was determined that the experience of the 1876 Centennial, at which women were excluded, not be repeated and that woman’s rights be a highly visible subject of the fair. Her personal lobbying in Washington, particularly among the wives of Senators, Congressmen, and cabinet members, was largely responsible for the provision of a Board of Lady Managers. Socialite Bertha Honoré Palmer and the other managers then placed women’s achievements before the public eye, not only in a magnificent Woman’s Building, with a five-thousand-seat auditorium and marble busts of Lucretia Coffin Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Anthony eying the proceedings, but in virtually every state building at the fair. Anthony and Lucy Stone spoke often and drew large crowds. Anthony and Frances Willard announced the formation of something called the Anti-Saloon League. All this activity caused one young (male) observer to lament that “this World’s Fair has positively set afire the suffragists” (Holbrook 212-13; History of Woman Suffrage 4: 232-33).

      What worried the men cheered the women. In an open letter announcing the reinvigoration of O.S.W.S.A. (which had been moribund following the demise of the New Northwest and Abigail’s Idaho diversions), published in the Oregonian (July 5, 1894), Scott Duniway (a vice-president of N.A.W.S.A.* at the time) and two others wrote: “The world’s Columbian exposition gave a wonderful impetus to the equal suffrage movement, by bringing together the leading women of every state and nation, holding a continuous woman’s congress for a period of six months. The congress was of itself the first sign of official recognition, by our government and by the world, of the great feminine but hitherto forgotten equation in governmental quantities. Through it the women of all nations and all regions came for the first time into personal contact. They came together, not through the accident of birth, nor because of any lucky alliance with prominent or fortunate men, but because of their own inherent ability and self-hood. The congress discussed all sorts of subjects, including religion and politics, agnosticism and orthodoxy; social purity, education and morality; temperance and sanitation, culinary lore and occult phenomena. Science and invention, literature, philanthropy, poesy, progress and prosperity–everything in which humanity holds common interest, received attention in its turn. Corporations, copartnerships, monetary science, co-operative housekeeping, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, and, above all, baby culture, received due consideration.

      In every phase of these deliberations the necessity for woman’s enfranchisement was self evident. Every address made, every thought invoked involving any philanthropic or financial consideration whatsoever; every enlightened impulse and every awakening aspiration cast an unerring search light into woman’s past history, and aroused new protest against her present status as a political, financial, conjugal and domestic nonentity. The discussions increased in spirit as the congress proceeded, and soon the demand for woman’s enfranchisement became fashionable” (Mss 432B 16: 162, OR Hist. Soc.).

      [*National American Woman Suffrage Association, which resulted from the merger in 1890 of the National and American Woman Suffrage Associations.] []

    4. Morison 3: 112. []
    5. Woman Suffrage and the Republican Party.” []
    6. Recall Scott Duniway’s frequent appeal to western exceptionalism, the notion that principles of liberty and equality uniquely flourish in the “chivalrous” west (About Scott Duniway). []
    7. Eagle 90-96. []
    8. “Where Rolls the Oregon,” a phrase she uses often, is the title of a poem by Joaquin (Cincinnatus Hiner) Miller (164-65). []
    9. (1475-1519): Spanish conquistador and explorer; head of first stable European settlement in South America, 1511; first European to view Pacific Ocean, September, 1513. []
    10. Martín Fernández de Enciso. For the story to which Scott Duniway alludes, see “Vasco Núñez de Balboa.” []
    11. Hernán Cortés, Marqués Del Valle de Oaxaca (1485-1547): conquistador who overthrew the Aztecs, 1519-21, and won Mexico for Spanish crown. []
    12. Both manuscript and typescript originally read as presented here; the typescript subsequently was hand-edited to read “The excitement in which Balboa became a leading factor”. []
    13. There were 11 Aztec emperors, most of whom were not named Montezuma, including two who succeeded Montezuma II, the emperor who confronted Cortés. []
    14. Pedro Arias de Avila (a.k.a. Pedrarias Davila) (1440?-1530): from Segovia, Spain; soldier, knight and colonial administrator; married intimate friend of Queen Isabella; commanded largest Spanish expedition to New World, and first to found permanent colonies, including Panama, 1514, and Nicaragua, 1522; responsible for judicial murder of Balboa; founded Panama City, 1519; original party to agreement leading to discovery of Peru, but withdrew, 1526; superseded as Governor of Panama and retired to Leon, Nicaragua, 1526; remembered as cruel, unscrupulous man of bad character (“Pedro Arias de Avila“). []
    15. Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480-1521): Portugese navigator and explorer who sailed under both Portugese and Spanish flags, sailed around South America–discovering Straits of Magellan–and across the Pacific, killed in the Philippines, his expedition continued to Spain, completing the first circumnavigation of the globe. []
    16. Scott Duniway’s history appears faulty. Fortún Jiménez led a mutiny against a ship, commanded by Diego Becerra, which had been sent for westward exploration by Cortés in 1553; Jiménez sailed to a bay, which he named La Paz, which he thought was an island but which was the peninsula of Baja California; Jimenéz was killed in a skirmish with Indians on the mainland (Caughey 45). []
    17. (c. 1540-1596): English admiral who circumnavigated the globe, 1577-80; helped defeat Spanish Armada, 1588; most renowned seaman of Elizabethan Age. []
    18. The typescript corrected the grammar of the manuscript, which reads “unquestioningly”. []
    19. Bruno Heceta: Spanish explorer (Corning 111). []
    20. (1800-1854). The work referred to probably is: The history of Oregon and California: and the other territories of the North-West coast of North America, accompanied by a geographical view and map of those countries, and a number of documents as proofs and illustrations of the history. Boston: Little, 1844. []
    21. (1755-1806): born Rhode Island; first to circumnavigate globe under U.S. flag, in sloop Lady Washington, 1787-90; on second voyage, in Columbia, 1791-93, discovered Columbia River, May 11, 1792, giving foundation to U.S. claims of title to region (Corning 103; Scott, History of the Oregon Country 1: 127). []
    22. George Vancouver (1757-1798): English navigator; served under Captain James Cook; meticulously surveyed Pacific Coast from present-day San Francisco to British Columbia, 1791-95, but overlooked mouth of Columbia River and Grays Harbor (Corning 254; Scott, History of the Oregon Country 1: 127). []
    23. Frances Auretta Fuller Barritt Victor (1826-1902): born Rome, New York; came to Oregon with husband H. C. Victor, 1863; author of poems and short stories who became accomplished regional historian; authored The River of the West, 1870, All Over Oregon and Washington, 1872, The New Penelope, 1877, Atlantis Arisen; or, Talks of a Tourist about Oregon and Washington, 1891, Early Indian Wars of Oregon, 1893; at least four volumes of Hubert Howe Bancroft’s History of the Pacific States, including History of Oregon, are largely her work (Walker; Scott, History of the Oregon Country 3: 350-51; Powers 305-16). []
    24. Atlantis Arisen; or, Talks of a Tourist About Oregon and Washington. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1891. []
    25. Bertha Honoré Palmer (1849-1918): queen of Chicago society; musician, linguist, writer, philanthropist, art collector; born and raised Louisville, Kentucky; married financial giant Potter Palmer (owner of celebrated Palmer House hotel), 1871; president, Board of Lady Managers, World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893; regular at Jane Addam’s Hull House; supporter of Women’s Trade Union League; mildly supportive of woman suffrage but strongly opposed to militancy; retired to Sarasota, Florida, where her property “The Oaks” became bay-front community for rich and famous, and her farm “Meadowcrest Pastures” became Myakka River State Park (I. Ross, “Palmer”; Patricia Chadwick, “Historical Biography: Bertha Honore Palmer”). Says Ishbel Ross: “The World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 gave Bertha Honoré Palmer her most spectacular opportunity for civic and social leadership and brought to a triumphant culmination her career as ‘the Mrs. Astor of the Middle West.’ As chairman of the exposition’s Board of Lady Managers she made the Woman’s Building one of the exposition’s most memorable achievements by seeing to it that the exhibits from forty-seven nations–many secured through her personal approaches to government leaders and European royalty–illuminated women’s emergence as a social and economic force and created sympathy for the handicaps under which they still labored” (I. Ross, “Palmer” 9). []
    26. Isabella I (1451-1504): queen of Castile (1474-1504) and of Aragon (1479-1504), ruling the two kingdoms jointly from 1479 with her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon (Ferdinand V of Castile), and effecting the permanent union of Spain. []
    27. Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809): soldier; President Jefferson’s private secretary, 1801; appointed by Jefferson to lead first overland journey of exploration to Pacific, 1803, the journey taking more than two years, 1804-06; governor, Louisiana, 1806-09 (Corning 146). []
    28. William Clark (1770-1838): soldier and friend of Meriwether Lewis’ in army; co-leader of overland “Expedition of Discovery” to Pacific, 1804-06; governor, Missouri Territory, 1813-21; Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 1822-38 (Corning 55). []
    29. For a recent popular account of the Expedition of Discovery, see Ambrose. []
    30. Although no woman departed St. Louis, of course, one woman later would play a role as translator: Sacagawea, wife of the French trader Charbonneau, who joined the expedition at Fort Mandan in November, 1804. In light of subsequent events, Sacagawea’s absence from Scott Duniway’s narrative is noteworthy. It could be understood as reflecting the institutionalized racism of her day. It also reflects the fact that Sacagawea was not embraced as a historically significant American heroine until 1902, with the publication of Eva Emery Dye’s popular historical novel, The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark. Certainly, Abigail’s tune would change dramatically about a decade later (see “The Pioneer Mother“). []
    31. William J. McConnell (1839-1925): born Commerce, Michigan; went to California, 1860, Oregon, 1862 (where taught school), and walked to Boise City, Idaho, 1863; while a vegetable farmer in October, 1864, the victim of a gang of horse thieves, which he and others apprehended, killing three, wounding a fourth, and later capturing, extracting a confession, and shooting the leader; afterward offered his services and the Payette Vigilance Committee, or Committee of Safety, was born; married Louisa Brown, 1866; deputy U.S. Marshal, 1865-67; businessman, Humboldt County, California, 1867-72, when returned to Oregon; president, state senate, 1882; moved to Idaho as merchant, banker; member, Idaho Constitutional Convention, 1890; one of three Senators elected by Idaho legislature, 1890, the result of “political chicanery” between factions within the Republican Party (he received a shortened term by virtue of drawing the short straw among the three); Governor, 1893-96; U.S. Indian Inspector, 1897-1901; immigrant inspector, 1909–? (Beal and Wells 2: 72-75, 82-84, 343; Bancroft, History of Washington 457; F. Peterson 160; Who was Who 803). []
    32. Willis Sweet (1856-1925): attorney; born Alburg Springs, Vermont; attended common schools and University of Nebraska, Lincoln; printer by trade; moved to Moscow, Idaho, 1881; appointed U.S. Attorney, 1988; admitted to bar, 1889; associate justice, Idaho Supreme Court, 1889; first president, Board of Regents, University of Idaho, 1889-93; three terms in U.S. House, 1890-95; also embroiled in political chicanery of the time, on opposite sides from McConnell within Republican Party; unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate, 1896; resumed law practice, Coeur d’Alene; attorney general, Puerto Rico, 1903-05; edited newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 1913 until death (Bancroft, History of Washington 583; Beal and Wells 2: 73; “Sweet, Willis”). []
    33. Gilbert, Frank T. Historic Sketches of Walla Walla, Whitman, Columbia and Garfield Counties, Washington Territory. Portland: Walling, 1882. []
    34. Typescript: “says” []
    35. Typescript: “their” []
    36. Congress: “indeed” []
    37. Cf. Gilbert: “Could this chief have looked forward fifty years, with the eye of divination, and beheld his successor Peo-peo-mux-mux, when a prisoner, murdered on the banks of that same stream by members of the race to which his guests belonged, it would have been a grave that he would have shown them, instead of an open hand of friendship and charity” (40). Further details concerning Yellept and his relationship with the expedition can be found in Ambrose (303-04, 358-59). []
    38. Devachan. In theosophical systems, usually incorporating aspects of Buddhism and Brahamanism, the state of consciousness into which the Ego goes upon the death of the body. []
    39. Congress: “the pioneers” []
    40. Congress: “their parents” []
    41. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to read: “Clark, with the four-wheeled ship of the desert as their vehicle and the rough-ribbed ox as their motive power.” []
    42. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to read: “always, sometimes in sickness, and again through death and deprivation”. The Congress version reads: “always, and sometimes through sickness, death and deprivation”. []
    43. Congress: “extend” []
    44. Typescript and Congress: “the” []
    45. Congress: “By the beginning of the year 1850 the whole world had caught the gold fever.” []
    46. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently, substituting “fuel tax” []
    47. The Congress version of this sentence ends: “you are free from the exactions of house rent, water tax, and the constantly accruing wood, milk, butter, eggs, fruit and vegetable bills that make your lives a burden.” []
    48. Congress substitutes “your broken health returns.” []
    49. Typescript and Congress: “the” []
    50. Congress: “home sites” []
    51. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to substitute “the superabundant yield of the Middle West” []
    52. Congress divides this sentence in two; the second begins “Their vehicles were” []
    53. Congress: “sow” []
    54. Congress: “about an” []
    55. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to read “of flats areas” []
    56. An inspirational motto employed by Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932), fierce Quaker abolitionist and reformer who came to be known as “America’s Joan of Arc,” when signing her name (Gallman 55; J. Young; Campbell, “Anna E. Dickinson”). This was not an unusual practice; Scott Duniway often closed her letters with “Yours for Liberty.” []
    57. The following poem was written in the summer of 1872. It was published as “Oregon: Land of Promise” in 1876, and was included, as “West and West,” in David and Anna Matson that same year (172-79). The latter indicates that it was composed in Portland on July 25. []
    58. The typescript and Congress substitute “now” []
    59. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to add “this address by their repetition within these walls”. Congress adds “the address by their recital here” []
    60. Typescript and Congress: “cold” []
    61. Congress: “torrent comes” []
    62. Congress: “Shore” []
    63. In Greek mythology, the Muse of music and lyric poetry []
    64. Typescript and Congress: “out” []
    65. Typescript: “scenes” []
    66. The typescript was hand-edited subsequently to substitute “cactus” []
    67. Congress: “gorges” []
    68. Congress: “thy” []
    69. The typescript and Congress substitute “As” []

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