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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/261

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 253 even represent the anti-slavery opinions of the majority of the convention from which they were sent forth. 1 The Argus, in commenting upon the convention and its re- sults, declared that for the first time in the history of Oregon the issue was now fairly made between the Republicans as the friends of free laborers and the Jo Lane Democracy as the advocates of negro-breeding, negro-extension fanaticism. The first time, because "the blacks", under the management of Lane, had run up their true colors. The 2600 fanatics who had voted for slavery in Oregon had now succeeded in crushing out the free soil element from the Democratic party by throwing Grover, Williams and other free state men overboard; 2 by striking out from their creed "everything that savored of a license for Democrats to favor freedom and take an occasional squint at the North Star." This was the issue which Adams had been impatiently trying to force ever since the establish- ment of the Argus. "Parson" Adams was no "waiter on Providence." Believing the world to be full of time-crusted error and that he had a special mission to set it to rights, he preferred to lead the forlorn hope and let the slow and con- servative masses come limping after him in their own good time, never doubting but that they would come sooner or later.3 He now entered upon the campaign with aggressiveness and enthusiasm. The great question of the power of the federal government over slavery in the Territories occupied so important a place in the campaign of 1859 that it is necessary to dwell upon the state of opinion in Oregon upon the national issue. When the doctrine of squatter sovereignty was given official and legal sanction in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854, the free state men in Oregon were quick to repudiate it. But i Statesman, May 3. 2"We heard one of the most prominent and most active of Lane's supporters from Southern Oregon denounce Williams for writing his free-state letter, and the Salem organ for publishing such 'rotten abolitionism*. The publication of that letter did the work for Williams and the endorsement of it has done the work for many more, and these headless Democrats are now as effectually killed off in the party as though they had joined the Rpublicans." Argus, April 30. 3 Characterization by M. P. Deady in correspondence to the San Francisco Bulletin, dated May 20, 1863.