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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/167

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 159 words "infamous decision" occurred in allusion to the Scott case. The following week Pearne, whose sole purpose seemed to be to maintain his seat on the fence as regards the great issue of the day, apologized for the appearance of the article, emphasizing the fact that it was an extract and not the ex- pression of a personal opinion. This roused Adams to reply : "We do not believe there is a Christian in the world who could say less of a decision (we view it as an opinion) that reduces a part of those for whom Christ died to the level of brutes, destroys state and territorial sovereignty and renders man- stealing national a crime which by the Jewish law is punish- able with death." As far as noted, this was about the extent of notice given the Dred Scott decision in the leading press of the Territory up to the meeting of the legislature. To return to the latter, the Allen resolution was indefinitely postponed by a vote of 17 to 9. The debate, however, took up a large part of the day on which the resolution was introduced. In support of the latter Allen made the statement "There are some slaves here" but no law to protect this kind of prop- erty. He argued "If our Constitution is rejected by Congress, we shall remain a long time as we are, under our Territorial government, and by passing laws protecting property in slaves, we shall encourage immigration." The statement has been made 1 that there was not one negro slave within the far-reaching boundaries of the Territory after Judge Williams' decision in the Ford case in 1853. 2 And such is the general understanding. From a purely legal standpoint this is true, as slavery was not recognized under the organic law of the Territory. It was at least true up to the time of the Dred Scott decision after that, it was a debatable ques- tion. But in the course of the debate on the Allen resolution, at least three men made the statement, apparently as a matter of course and without thought of contradiction, that there were negro slaves in Oregon. J. W. Mack said "My neighbor in Lane county owns slaves and is now in California endeavoring iT. W. Davenport, in Oregon Historical Quarterly for September, 1908, p 196. 2Supra, page 125.