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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/79

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 71 sive, he was the Parson Brownlow of the West. Through the Argus he now began a career which was of vital influence in the making of Oregon's political history. In his prospectus 1 Adams had announced that the new journal would be devoted to the advocacy of great moral principles ; in particular, to the cause of temperance. In party politics it was to be entirely neutral. But in the first issue, the editor, hitherto a Whig, an- nounces that the Argus will take the American side in politics and advocate as the last and best hope of our distracted coun- try, an abandonment of old party platforms. 2 Partisan strife in Oregon is deprecated. Gaines is supported as a clever, able and patriotic American citizen. Lane is attacked for inability, hypocrisy, for his pro-slavery schemes in Congress and his demagoguery. From the first the Argus puts the temperance question to the fore and sifted the legislative candidates ac- cording to their attitude toward the passage of a prohibitive liquor law. The campaign became personal and virulent beyond descrip- tion. The Democrats attacked Gaines' Mexican War record and scorned him as a coward and lost to honor. The line of attack on Lane is suggested above. The two stumped the Ter- ritory together. In Polk county an altercation took place be- tween them at their public meeting and they came to blows. As the June election approached the Statesman went into continued hysterics in its fulminations against the Know Nothings. Bush evidently looked upon the contest as one of life and death for Oregon Democracy. The opposition was sanguine of success. 3 During these strenuous weeks the Statesman was generously adorned with such picturesque epithets as "corrupt and wicked coalition, back alley patriots, skunks, hybrid horde, impious oaths, dens of darkness, dregs of fanaticism, midnight assas- sins, heinous night monster." iPublished in Oregonian, October 21, 1854. sArgus, April 21, 1855. 3"The Whigs and Know Nothings appear confident of Old Gaines' election. God preserve us from the infliction." Bush to Deady, May 13.