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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/136

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128 'W. C. WOODWARD country, is indeed striking and a continual source of surprise and admiration. Every man was a politician. The issues were vital and were studied until all were posted on them. 1 The attempt of the leaders of the Democratic party in Ore- gon to create sentiment in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska doc- trine was met with sturdy opposition. For example, the Yamhill County Whig convention held in April, 1855, did "utterly and unequivocally repudiate and condemn the Ne- braska-Kansas bill as a wanton and unnecessary renewal of the slavery agitation." It denounced the principle of popular sovereignty and declared the right and duty of Congress to exercise the power of sovereignty in the Territories. 2 The Oregon Whigs belonged to the northern wing of the party and could be counted upon to resist pro-slavery aggression. Many, however, who felt most deeply upon the subject, did not consider the old and rapidly disintegrating party as the proper and adequate avenue of attack against slaveocracy. Ac- cordingly, on June 27, 1855, an anti-slavery convention was held at Albany, the first to take place in Oregon Territory. Thirty-nine men were present and signed their names to the records of the historic meeting, thus becoming in a way the charter members of the organized movement against slavery aggression in the Far Northwest. 3 The intense feeling which had been aroused in the distant northern territory within one year after the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, is well sug- gested by the resolutions passed by these thirty-nine pioneers in the cause of freedom. They resolved that the whole sys- tem of legislation by Congress since and including 1850 was a flagrant outrage on the civilization of the age and disgraceful to the patriotism and religion of the whole country; that the artfulness and treachery displayed in the aggressiveness of the slave power "should awaken a most jealous watchfulness in regard to its movements in this direction, as we know not at i Conversation with Judge Williams. zOregonian, April 21, 1855. 3 See Oregonian, July 7, for names of those attending. So far as is known, but one of the 39, W. C. Johnson, of Portland, is still living in 1910.