Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/55

This page needs to be proofread.


POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 47 agems and Spoils." In it the Democratic leaders were cleverly caricatured and the inspiration of the organization of the Democracy was shown to be the desire of the Salem faction to secure the capital. The "Dramatis Personae" were easily recognizable and the characterizations were so apt, the plot so real and vivid, that the drama made a sensation. It ap- peared first in the Oregonian and was then published in pam- phlet form, illustrated with rude engravings. Two editions of the pamphlet were issued. It was considered of such moment by the Democratic politicians that they took pains to secure all the copies possible and retire them from circula- tion. 1 The actors are portrayed as crafty, conscienceless vil- lains, intriguing for personal gain. They make tools of the stupid people whose tenacity is such for what they term Dem- ocracy, which not one in five hundred comprehends, "That we have only to name our present Project, a pure Democratic measure And represent ourselves as its defenders, And the whole furious and headlong band Will rally round us, like Spanish cattle Ready to swear that all we say is true." 2 The production is more than a clever satire. A study of it throws great light on the political situation of the day. Some of the characters involved were ever afterwards known in Oregon politics by the names by which they were designated in "Breakspear." The Democrats, through the press and through convention resolutions, vehemently denied the charge that they were at- tempting to organize their party on the location issue. They strongly deprecated the strife and dissension existing, respon- sibility for which they laid upon their opponents. 3 Bush found i Conversation with Geo. H. Himes. 2From a copy of the pamphlet in the possession of Mr. Himes, curator of Oregon Historical Society Collection. sStatesman editorial, "Democratic Issues," March 9, 1852. Resolution passed by Yamhill County Democratic Convention: "Resolved, That by an organization of the Democratic party upon its long-established and well-known principles, we hope to forever put to rest those local and personal factions which, in times gone by, have been so fruitful a source of discord in our public councils." Statesman, May 12, 1852.