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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/71

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 63 the influence of the American party began to be manifest in the eastern elections. On July 25, 1854, the Statesman speaks of an extensive secret society flourishing in the East which was merely a Native American political party and which had already gotten itself into very bad odor. At this time Bush was in the East. In a letter to his paper dated June 19, and appearing August 8, for the first time in his regular corre- spondence he calls attention to the Know Nothings. He pre- dicts for them a short career which will make plain the Alien and Sedition sympathies of 1854 Abolition Whiggery and publish the identity of that party with the old Hartford Con- vention Federalism. "So, as we can't help it, let this Native American dog (the meanest and most despicable of all curs) have its day." The Oregonian makes its first reference to the new party in August. It makes light of the evident anxiety and apprehensions of the Democrats and declares it "knows nothing" of the existence of such an organization in Oregon. 1 A little later, Dryer tacitly defends Know Nothingism as it gave him a new avenue of attack on the Durhamites. He de- clares that the idea that a native born American made free by the best blood of Revolutionary sires and educated under laws and institutions truly American, should presume to vote in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience, is a serious innovation to Oregon Democracy. 2 This early statement is significant as indicating the future attitude of the Whigs. They were inclined to look with charity upon any organization which threatened the power of the hated Durhamites. The operations of the new organization being secret, its growth cannot be very satisfactorily traced. Before the end of the year there were numerous Know Nothing wigwams throughout the Territory and they were increasing steadily. The Know Nothings were enthusiastic and confident that they were going to sweep all before them. 3 There was held at i Oregonian, August 26, 1854. zOregonian, October 28 and November 4, 1854. 3Personal conversation with C. A. Reed, of Portland, a surviving member of Salem Wigwam No. 4.