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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/57

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 49 verdict triumphantly sustained the legislature and declared in favor of party organization. "The propriety of our recent organization, though hastily and imperfectly got up, and the necessity and expediency of keeping it up in all future contests, will scarcely hereafter be questioned by any reflecting demo- crat/' 1 It is only by a study of the newspapers of the period that one can appreciate the party rancor that by this time existed. Epithets unprintable, now, were hurled back and forth as freely as if they were the mere social amenities of the day. Judge Pratt was considered a Democratic leader, with Bush as the power behind the throne, and his followers and the party in general were known as Durhamites. 2 The extreme partisanship of the Democrats in their hatred of the Whig officials, was forcibly displayed in the following session of the legislature, in '52 and '53. The mere sending by Gov. Gaines of a message to the assembly roused a storm of opposition from the Democrats. A resolution was at once introduced to the effect that as the legislative department was independent of the executive, the further consideration of the message be indefinitely postponed. 3 The discussion which followed was long, heated and often grandiose. 4 It was made to appear that in the innocent and inoffensive message lurked a deadly enemy of civil liberty ! "Overthrowing the bulwarks of Amer- ican liberty," "the clanking chains of the despot," "insidious wiles of designing men," are examples of expression which char- acterized the onslaught. 5 At the same time the message itself was decried as inane and unworthy of consideration. The danger "lies in the encroachment of executive power, which like the stealthy crawl of the moonlit crocodile, approaches ilbid., June 15, 1852. zPratt had sold a band of Spanish cattle which he had purchased from a man named Durham, for a high price, the purchaser having been led to believe he was buying blooded Durham stock. 3Oregonian, December 18, 1852. 4ll)id., January 8, 1852. 5J. K. Hardin: "I feel it my duty, as one of the sentinels placed by the people to guard the citadel of their rights, to meet him (Gov. Gaines) at the threshhold and say, 'Stop! Thus far shalt thou go but no farther.' "