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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/59

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 51 rather than by men imported from the East. Charges were made in 1851 that the district judges were not holding their terms of court regularly and that as a result justice was delayed and criminals had escaped. This increased the general dis- satisfaction with imported officials, especially as they were Whigs. The independent, if not impertinent, attitude of the people is exemplified in a resolution adopted at a public meet- ing in Portland, April 1, 1851 : Resolved That the Presi- dent of the United States be respectfully informed that there are many respectable individuals in Oregon capable of discharging the duties devolving upon the judges, as well as filling any other office under the territorial government, who would either dis- charge the duties or resign the office. 1 The very first business transacted by the legislature which met in the following De- cember, was to draft a joint memorial asking Congress to amend the organic act so as to permit the election by the people of all the territorial officers. Blissful confidence was expressed that Congress would graciously accede to the re- quest. Nevertheless a bill was passed to the effect that if Congress should be so inconsiderate as to adjourn without granting the petition, a special election should be called within sixty days to vote upon the question of calling a convention to frame a state constitution. Democratic mass meetings and conventions followed all over the territory, at which the memo- rial was vigorously upheld. A few federal or "non-partisan" meetings are recorded which just as strenuously opposed it. The movement for statehood and the spirit of independence which demanded the popular election of all officers are insep- arable in the history of Oregon Territory. Wherever either is brought to the front, the other is found as an underlying factor. They cannot be discussed separately. As another presidential election approached, with indica- tions favorable to the election of Pierce, the Democratic atti- tude toward statehood became less violent and the constitu- i Statesman, April 11, 1851. 2Statesman, January 27, 1852.