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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/249

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 241 Two minority reports were returned from the committee. One was by N. H. Cranor of Marion, who had taken an im- portant part in the discussion on the same question a year previous, at which time he had held that slavery was excluded from Oregon by the act of Congress organizing the Territory. 1 Now, he held that as the Territories were property of the Gen- eral Government, the citizens of all sections had equal rights therein; that neither Congress nor the Territories, under the Dred Scott decision, had power to legislate upon the question of slavery in the Territories. Hence, the legislation petitioned for was impossible and was also useless, as by the decision of the Supreme Court, slavery was already protected in the Terri- tories and needed no special legislation. One year before, Cranor had taken just the opposite position. He presents a good example of the rapid intellectual development of good Demo- crats whose chief object was to adjust their ideas to the con- stitutional doctrine of the Administration. The other minority report was presented by E. D. Shattuck, a Republican, representing Washington and Multnomah. He reviewed at length the Republican doctrine on the question, de- claring that that part of the Scott decision affecting the ques- tion at issue was gratuitous and had not the force of law ; that under its organic act, the Territorial legislature had power to legislate upon the subject in the negative only. In short, Cranor held that a Territorial legislature could take no action ; Chap- man and T'Vault that it could take action, but only affirmative- ly ; Shattuck that it could take action, but only negatively. Action was not taken upon the majority report until near midnight of the last day of the session, when, with a small at- tendance present, it was adopted by a vote of 13 to 9. This was the action of the house only, and of course the negro bill introduced was abortive. However, it is an interesting fact that such a bill was actually introduced and rather heartily sup- ported. And that too, after the people of Oregon, in accord- ance with the Democratic doctrine of popular sovereignty, had decided against slavery by a vote approximatey five to one. i Supra, page 161.