Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/333

This page needs to be proofread.

Chapter XI TREASON, STRATEGEMS AND SPOILS (1860-1861) Governor Whiteaker, in his message to the legislature in September, 1860, referred to the "mental war" being waged all over the Union, "probably with as much virulence in Oregon as in any other of the States." Deprecating the charges and counter charges of disunion and treasonable sentiments, he doubted there being two men in the state who would not prefer the integrity of the Union with the certainty that their peculiar political views would never be adopted, to disunion with cer- tain success in the division within which they might chance to fall. He therefore held it unnecessary and inadvisable for con- servative men to enter into this war of words. This was the view of the situation, at least professed, as held by an irrec- oncilable, pro-slavery Democrat of the Southern school. 1 In reply, Bush said: "We don't see how Governor Whiteaker can arrive at such conclusions with his eyes and ears open. We believe that two-fifths of all the men in Oregon who are supporting Breckinridge would prefer disunion, on such con- ditionsĀ ; and that full one fifth would look with complacency on disunion in any event." 2 Judging merely from the expression of the Democratic press immediately after the election of Lincoln, in regard to the current threats of secession, Whiteaker was nearer right than Bush. The Oregon Weekly Union, the staunch Breckin- ridge and Lane organ, while lamenting sorely the result of the election, and denouncing both Republicans and Douglas Dem- ocrats as blameworthy for the troublous times which were threatened, came out strongly against secession at once. In a two-column editorial on "Nullification," November 24, it stated emphatically that there was no way whereby a state might 1 "Old Whit" is a good specimen of a sturdy, frontier farmer man, formed of a cross between Illinois and Missouri, with a remote dash of something farther Down East. Although wrong in the head in politics, he is honest and right in the heart. Deady, Oct. 13, 1862, to San Francisco Bulletin. 2 Statesman, Oct. i, 1860,