150 W. C. WOODWARD at Corvallis in the summer of 1857, through the instrumentality, it was thought, of J. C. Avery, a prominent Democratic poli- tician. More radical, vehement and defiant advocacy of the slavery dogma could hardly have been expected in South Carolina, than was given by this paper away out on the ex- treme Northwestern frontier, over two thousand miles from the home of the "divinely appointed institution." In the very first issues, in calling attention to the subject of domestic slavery, "now agitating the public mind of Oregon from one extent of the Territory to the other," the imported editor, L. P. Hall, declared that he not only believed it to be right in principle, but that the prosperity of the country depended upon its adoption. "We desire to awaken the people of Ore- gon fully to the importance of this subject. African slavery is the conservative feature in our system of government . . . and must be broadly maintained or the historian may now be alive who will record the dissolution" of the Union. Again, "The Hlavcry representation in the United States Sen- ate needs strengthening . . . and a fine opportunity is now presented to restore the equilibrium by the admission of Oregon with a slavery clause." 1 But more significant and ominous yet was the declaration made by the Messenger at the time of the vote upon the Constitution in November: "Whether our principles triumph in the present election or not, so strong is our faith in the omnipotence of Truth, that we Khali throw out upon our banner, to the pro-slavery men of Oregon, in whom we place our chief reliance, the conse- crated words of Paul Jones 'We have not yet begun to fight.' ' In other words, the wishes of the people of Oregon as expressed at the polls were not to be recognized as final. Here was a frank portrayal of the characteristic attitude of the slave power in politics. It was a covert threat that the doc- trine of popular sovereignty, the shibboleth of Democracy, would be prostituted in Oregon as ruthlessly as it had in Kan- sas, should the expression of that sovereignty be inimical to the interests of slavery. i Quoted in Oregonian, July 4. zQuoted in Statesman, November 17.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/158
This page needs to be proofread.