Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/263

This page needs to be proofread.


POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 255 enough to claim that we of right ought to have the same pow- ers here that we exercised there." In 1858 when the Oregon Democrats supported Buchanan and his Lecompton policy in Kansas, their attitude toward the Douglas doctrine was passive, at best. This made it easy for Dryer to declare his sentiments upon the subject. He stated that he was and always had been in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska doctrine of popular sover- eignty and had opposed the Kansas-Nebraska bill merely be- cause it disturbed a long-established and accepted settlement of a difficult problem. He went so far as to declare that he would cheerfully support either Douglas or Crittenden for the presi- dency upon that issue. 1 Now in 1859, with Lane and the radi- cal, slavery-extension Democrats in control of the party or- ganization, Bush renewed his allegience to Douglas and his doctrines with increased zeal, as if to atone for his apostasy of the previous year. In developing to its last conclusion his favorite doctrine, he declared that the only power which Con- gress possessed over the Territories by virtue of the Constitu- tion was based upon the "power to dispose of and make all useful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States" ; that it conferred no power to legislate for the people of the Territories, to appoint officers over them nor to govern them in any way whatsoever ; Congress therefore had no warrant whatever for the existing system of territorial government, yet the people had long sub- mitted in silence to many of the same grievances for which their forefathers threw off the British yoke. "Officers have been imposed upon us without our consent and in direct viola- tion of our will. Our judges have been made dependent upon the will of the President and Senate alone for the tenure of their offices and for the amount and payment of their salaries. The administration of justice has been obstructed by the pass- age of unjust and unwholesome laws. We have been repeatedly annoyed by the insolence of officials not of our own choosing. And all this without even the semblance of constitutional au- thority !" 2 What a familiar ring this has to those who have fol- lOregonian, May 8, 1858. sStatesman, March i, 1859.