Open main menu

Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/62

This page needs to be proofread.

54 W. C. WOODWARD Democracy and which was beginning to manifest itself in de- signs on Cuba, is reflected in this first Territorial convention in the far Northwest. The fifth resolution declared that the Sandwich Islands are a natural and almost necessary append- age to the American possessions on the Pacific Coast and that Oregon Territory feels a deep interest in their acquisition by the United States. It was resolved that any transcontinental railroad must include a branch from San Francisco to Puget Sound. The National Democratic platform of 1852 adopted at Baltimore was endorsed, thus introducing national issues into Oregon politics for the first time in this campaign of 1853. The opposition to the Democracy still opposed political parties in Oregon. Hence, there was no organization or machinery for bringing out a candidate against Lane for dele- gate. However, A. A. Skinner, who had been a judge under the Provisional government, announced in a letter to the Ore- gonian of May 21st, that a portion of his fellow citizens "with- out distinction of party" had requested him to become a can- didate and that he would comply. He proceeded to give his views, to the effect that parties are unnecessary and pernicious in a Territory ; that their introduction is fraught with evil con- sequences ill blood and strife. Despite his non-partisan pre- tensions Skinner argued ably for the good Whig doctrine of federal aid for internal improvements. The Oregonian forth- with put his name at its masthead under the caption of "The People's Party." The campaign was brief but hotly con- tested. On the one hand Lane was bitterly attacked for base deception in having sought office as a non-partisan, in pledg- ing himself to support no political organization, even decry- ing political parties in a territory and then completely chang- ing front immediately after election. 1 On the other hand Skinner was characterized as a narrow, prejudiced federalist seeking to hide his partisan bias under the professions of no- lOregonian, March 12, 1853. Ibid., April 2, 1853. Ibid., May 14, 1853.