Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/268

This page needs to be proofread.

260 ' W. C. WOODWARD ing faction. At any rate, the Democrats were not disposed to force the issue at this time by opening up the struggle and chose to allow the seat in the Senate to remain vacant until the regu- lar session of the next legislature in 1860. At the State Democratic Convention in April, when the Lane faction by its secret caucus captured the organization, it se- cured control of the state central committee. The committee met at Eugene, September 24, and issued a call for a state con- vention to be held at Eugene, November 16, to elect delegates to the National Democratic Convention to be held at Charles- ton the coming year. A split occurred in the committee over the choice of a basis of representation on which delegates to the Convention should be chosen. The Lane forces were in the majority and voted that the representation be based upon the Democratic vote for Stout in the late election. This was in accordance with past procedure. It would now prove favorable to Lane as it would very materially diminish the number of delegates from the Willamette Valley counties, where opposi- tion to him was pronounced, and increase the number from the southern counties which remained loyal to him. The Bush or Salem faction maintained that this basis disfranchised two thousand Democrats who had constantly battled for Democra- tic principles "both before and since the late Democratic candi- date proved recreant to those principles by a desertion to the secret conclave of an oath-bound enemy." Accordingly the mi- nority, demanding representation upon the basis of the vote cast for Whiteaker for governor in 1858, withdrew and issued a separate call to the Democracy of Oregon in which they asked the counties to send delegates to the Eugene convention on this basis. In this action they were upheld and supported by the Statesman. The reasons for Lane's special anxiety to secure control of the Eugene convention lay in his ambition to be named on the national ticket to be nominated at Charleston. As early as 1852 he was an active candidate for the nomination of presi- dent of the United States and received no little encourage- ment. 1 From that time on he had been at least a willing, re- iln the collection of Lane letters in the possession of the Oregon Historical Society are to be found scores of private letters addressed to Lane in reference to his candidacy in 1852 and chances of success. Most of these are from politicians of his home state, Indiana, but several other states are also represented.