Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/150

This page needs to be proofread.

142 W. C. WOODWARD Democratic party." The artless, serious manner in which Ore- gon Democrats were thus formally granted the exceptional boon of holding individual convictions on a political issue, is in it- self a striking and sufficient commentary on the absolutism of the Democratic Regime. For the fourth time the Democrats nominated Lane for dele- gate. The Clique would have preferred another man, but his hold upon the people was still strong, and in the face of threat- ened rebellion in the ranks, the leaders feared to put up a less popular man. 1 The reception in certain counties of the conven- tion's proceedings was ominous of coming schism in the Demo- cratic party. For example, the National Democrats in Yamhill county withdrew from the regular county convention, which en- dorsed the Salem platform and reassembled in a convention of their own. They put out a separate ticket and refused to sup- port Lane unless he should unconditionally repudiate the fifth, sixth and seventh resolutions of the late Territorial convention. 2 Similar action was taken in Clatsop, Multnomah, Clackamas and Benton counties and Democratic disaffection existed in some measure throughout the Territory. It found expression in the action of G. W. Lawson, an independent, free state Democrat, who announced his candidacy for delegate in opposition to Lane. The Republicans did not yet consider their organization strong enough to warrant their nominating a candidate. The Democrats were largely successful in their efforts to avoid raising the slavery issue in the June election and there was no opposition sufficiently strong to force that issue. In a few counties "Free State Conventions" were held for "the single purpose of electing delegates to form a state constitutionĀ ;" 3 but comparatively little was accomplished. The Oregonian realized that the opposition had little to gain and much to lose in draw- i Private letter Nesmith to Deady, May 3, 1857, concerning the convention: "The 'institution' was decidedly hard. A great amount of enthusiasm was ex- hausted upon the platform but not a d bit upon the candidate. I accom- panied the 'amiable' Doctor [Drew] and Bush to Portland and saw the 'true prin- ciples of the Government' [Lane] placed squarely upon the platform. He mounted it with the same alertness that he would any other hobby to be ridden in the direction of his own success." ^Proceedings, Oregonian, May 9. 3Lane County Convention, May 14.