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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/85

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 77 Notwithstanding this defeat, at the next session of the legis- lature, that of '55-'56, the Democrats again passed an act call- ing for a vote on statehood the third in three consecutive years. Such was their over-weening zeal that instead of having the vote taken at the regular June election, a special election in April was called. Presumably, such haste was occasioned by the determination to take no chances on the opportunity of helping settle the presidential contest in November. Each year the contest became more partisan and in 1856 it was violently so, and especially on the part of the Statesman. Alonzo Leland, editor of the Democratic Standard, was not en rapport with the powers ordained and saw fit to question the advisability of statehood. Whereupon his apostacy was heralded in the States- man as the "Iscariotism of the Standard on the Convention Question." 1 In the spring of 1856 the Oregonian conducted a systematic and continuous campaign of education against the Democratic dogma of statehood. It declared that Oregon did not have population and wealth sufficient to maintain a state government, and opposed the movement as the scheme of a little coterie of politicians and would-be office holders. In 1854 the majority against a constitutional convention had been 869 ; in 1855 it had been 413. In 1856 it was 249. The imperious Durhamites were steadily nearing the goal. In the meantime a change more apparent than real, had taken place in the management and personnel of the Democratic machine. While Judge Pratt had been the nominal leader of the Durhamites, the power of Bush, as exerted through the Statesman, was steadily increasing. Naturally, considering his part in the capital fight, Bush got practically no patronage in Oregon City 2 and in the middle of the year 1853 moved the Statesman plant to the new capital. 3 With Bush and the States- i Statesman, April 22, 1856. 2"! get very little patronage in Oregon City. I will give a premium on the best essay on prejudice. But Oregon City is not all of Oregon." Bush to Deady, April 17, 1851. 3"The Statesman has been removed to Salem. It left last Sunday. Rumor says the clergymen at Oregon City gave out the hymn 'Believing, we rejoice To see the curse removed.' " Oregonian, June 18, 1853.