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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/163

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 155 voting against him, on the plea that his measure was "too radical/' 1 The convention determined to present the question of slavery and that of the admission of free Negroes as sep- arate issues to be decided by the people, at the time of the submission of the Constitution. With the solution of the vexed question thus diplomatically arranged, the members pro- ceeded with the further business of the convention, with which it is not the purpose to deal here. The final vote on the completed Constitution was 34 to 11; absent or not voting, 15. The vote was almost wholly along party lines, the affirmative showing the strength of the Demo- cratic ruling faction. With the affirmative voted most of the Anti-Salem Democrats, or those who were elected as such but who had been acting with the Clique. The "Opposition," including some "soft" Democrats, were found among the negative and "absent or not voting." After the close of the Convention, Dryer voiced the objec- tions of the Opposition to the Constitution. He maintained that future legislative assemblies had been "tied up" by the Convention's assuming to establish fundamental law; that there was too much of politics in the frame of government adopted that it was drawn up with the main purpose of ad- vancing- the fortunes of the Oregon Democracy. 2 In the cam- paign which followed, the Oregonian, Argus, Standard free state papers, and the Messenger, the rabid pro-slavery organ, opposed the adoption of the Constitution. Editor Adams branded it as "a huge viper, with poisonous fangs in its head, a legion of legs in its belly and a deadly sting in its tail." 3 From the adjournment of the Convention September 18 to the election on November 9, the agitation over the slavery issue was intense. It was even reflected in the advertising i ibid. aOregonian, September. 26. 3"We shall vote against the Constitution for many good reasons. . . It is now coiled up, labeled from head to tail with Democracy, trying to charm the people to take it into their bosom, when it will instill its poison into the body politic and render it as completely paralyzed as under the odious principle of caucus sovereignty." Argus, October 10.