Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/234

This page needs to be proofread.


DEMOCRATIC DISCORD The process of division in the Oregon Democracy along lines drawn by the interpretations of the Dred Scott decision had begun before the close of 1857. But the local factional dif- ferences were to overshadow the growing national schism for some months yet to come. The breach between the machine and the independent Democrats had been steadily growing wider. Revolt against the iron-clad, caucus sovereignty rule of the Clique and protest against the exploitation of the party for the personal benefit of a small coterie of politicians, were the principal bases for the attack against the Organization. At the beginning of the year 1858 it was evident that a complete split in the party was imminent. In announcing to his readers that a movement was being launched whereby a new party was to come to light, Bush noted the fact that ever since the organization of the party in Oregon, there had been a faction, which, while adhering to the name, had never possessed the character of Democrats. "This mixed opposition have always blown the same vhistle and beaten the same drum always whining and whanging about the 'Salem Cli-que, the 'Salem Platform,' 'hidden cau- cus' or 'secret cabal.' This party, whatever its name, is the same old opposition, which, like the snake, sheds its skin an- nually, but at the same time adds a rattle to its tail." 1 The gauntlet was thrown down by nine anti-organization Democratic members of the legislature of 1857-'58, who met and called a convention of "National Democrats" to meet at Eugene, April 8, for the purpose of nominating candidates for state officers. The nine men signing the call were: Wm. M. King, Multnomah; J. H. Slater, Benton; Nathaniel Ford, Polk and Tillamook ; Thos. Scott, Yamhill and Clatsop ; F. A. Col- lard, Geo. Rees and S. P. Gilliland, Clackamas ; Wm. Allen and A. Shuck, Yamhill. 2 i Statesman editorial "A New Move The Old Snake in a New Skin." Feb. 2, 1858. aOregonian, Feb. 6. I ;