Imágenes de páginas

consider these, for the present at least, subjects more legitimately belonging to the newspapers than to the historian. What might be written of the new discoveries, new towns and different routes of travel and transportation to the interior to-day might not be true to-morrow, and I have therefore tried to avoid any statement which, though justified by existing conditions, may be found inaccurate, if not wholly wrong, a year or two hence. In other words, I have not attempted that which the daily press may be confidently relied upon to perform, or which can more properly be given to the public through the medium of publications in which corrections can more readily be made than in such a volume as this.

It will be noticed that I have explained in a footnote the use of the word Creole, as applied to a particular class of native-born Alaskans. There are, in fact, no people in Alaska who can properly be called Creoles, but inasmuch as the appellation is one which has heretofore been quite generally applied to those of the Alaska people who are descended from Russian fathers and native mothers, I have not deemed it wholly improper to continue its use in preference to adopting some other term which might grate harshly upon the sensibilities of the people to whom it refers.

A. P. S.






When, early in 1867, it became publicly known that the Hon. William H. Seward, the then Secretary of State, had negotiated a treaty by the terms of which Russia had agreed to cede to the United States her North American possessions for and in consideration of the payment of seven million two hundred thousand dollars in gold coin, the proposition not only failed to elicit any considerable manifestation of popular favor, but was quite generally condemned and denounced as a reckless and wholly indefensible expenditure of the public money in the purchase of what some of the leading political journals of the day

denominated a “great national refrigerator." Many of the more influential newspapers earnestly opposed a ratification of the treaty by the Senate, but after a somewhat protracted debate, in which the Hon. Chas. Sumner took a leading part, it was finally ratified by that body May 28, the original agreement between the high contracting parties having been signed March 30, 1867. In the House of Representatives the appropriation necessary to the final consummation of the treaty was strenuously opposed by a number of the leading and most influential members of that body, chief among them the Hon. C. C. Washburn, of Wisconsin, who regarded the purchase in the light of a most unwarranted and unjustifiable waste of the public funds, in that he held the territory proposed to be purchased of little, if any, value, and one which in addition to the original cost was likely to prove a source of continual large expense to the government without adequate consideration in the way of revenues to be derived therefrom. Notwithstanding the carefully considered speech of Mr. Sumner in the Senate, in which he not only truthfully enumerated the great natural resources of the territory and dwelt at length upon the importance of the proposed acquisition from a political as well as commercial and industrial standpoint, Mr. Washburn entertained and held

[graphic][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »