Chapter XII THE UNION MOVEMENT IN 1862 Writing in the summer of 1861 upon the general political effects of the death of Stephen A. Douglas, Bush advised the followers of the fallen leader in Oregon as to the proper course of action to be pursued by them. 1 He referred to the fact that many Republicans and Democrats had pledged themselves in good faith to ignore party aspirations in the presence of the rebellion, but gave it as his opinion that as long as there were offices to be filled, party affiliations would not become extinct. Considering the fact that Bush had been in office steadily for a decade, he spoke as one having authority. Therefore, while acknowledging the general manifestation of a disposition to ignore, the past and organize upon the basis of Union against disunion, he advised the Douglas men of Oregon to maintain their identity, holding it to be safer for them to hold them- selves aloof as a reserve force in case disunion should be about to carry the day. He admitted that the plan of three adverse parties was a somewhat novel feature in politics and a rather difficult one to maintain, but he held it to be an eminently safe one against conspiracy and sudden revolution such as seceders meditated for Oregon and California. Bush then made this striking prediction a further illustration of his political pre- science : "When this contest, be it long or short, is closed, the men who have trained under the great political captain (Doug- las) will find themselves the nucleus of a radical party, op- posed to the federal element grown strong in the centralizing work of crushing out rebellion." Awaiting that time, he ad- vised his fellow Democrats that they could serve the country better by independent action. But within a few short months, the editor of the Statesman saw things very differently. As has been indicated, the radical Democrats were fervently appealing for party reorganization in the hope of gaining control of the state. Bush evidently became somewhat uneasy at the effect their overtures might j Statesman, June 24, 1861.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/346
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