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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/259

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 251 round" gradually. A little later in a leader, "The Republi- cansĀ !" he speaks of the aggressive work of the Republicans in the several counties, which he gives guarded commendation, and tacitly joins his fortunes with the new party. 1 Thus, after holding aloof for three years, the old Whig veteran now brought the Oregonian to the aid of the Republican cause. The Republican state convention met at Salem on the day following the meeting of the Democrats. The Republicans pro- ceeded with a seriousness of purpose, with a practical determi- nation to achieve results as well as to declare high sounding principles, which had not before characterized them. They now acted as members of a political organization rather than as a mere assembly of reform enthusiasts and political doc trinaires. The resolutions adopted, written by such men as J. R. McBride, T. W. Davenport and Jesse Applegate, were sane, conservative and even conciliating. 2 The strongest devo- tion to the Union was avowed and anything approaching hatred of any part of it was as strongly disavowed. While announc- ing unalterable opposition to slavery extension, the right to interfere with institutions existing in the states, was disclaimed. A guarded declaration was made in favor of popular sov- ereignty, which, though not in accordance with orthodox Re- publicanism, would tend to mollify aggressive Westerners and would clearly strengthen the party in Oregon. Intervention of Congress for the protection of slavery in the Territories, demanded by leading Democrats, was severely denounced. While declaring for the purity of the ballot box, a wel- come was extended to those foreigners who preferred free institutions to despotism. The belief was expressed that the enforcement of the existing naturalization laws was all that was necessary as a barrier against foreign immigration. This set the Republicans clear on the subject of Know Nothingism. The annexation of adjacent territory was favored, by fair and honorable means, with the consent of the governed. The reso- lutions further declared for a homestead bill, the construction i Ibid., Feb. 26. aProceedings in Statesman, April 26 and in Argus, April 30.