Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/235

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POLITICAL PARTIES IN OREGON 227 "Where 'Nationalism' Tends Are You Prepared to Go Into the Black Republican Camp?" was the caption of an editorial in which Bush urged all Democrats to think well before they made up their mind to "leave the old Democratic flag" to join "this National-wool party this Eugene Negro equality move- ment." 1 As a matter of fact, some of the most pronounced pro-slavery advocates were numbered among the Nationals and this editorial is an excellent example of Bush's habit of begging the question and befogging the issue, to meet his own purposes. The bitter factional feeling existing among the Democrats is illustrated by the resolutions adopted by the reg- ular Linn county convention and introduced by Delazon Smith, the "Lion of Linn." The Nationals were referred to as "cer- tain malcontents" and "traitors" without honest devotion to principle or sympathy with the Democratic party, who were determined to ruin where they could not rule. Therefore "we utterly repudiate and denounce the miserable, soft faction, self-styled 'National Democrats' * * * We will never again admit them into our confidence as Democrats, until they shall have adopted the ancient mode of purification washed seven times." 2 On the other hand, an honest effort was made in some cases to meet the charges of Clique or boss rule, by a more adequate and practical method than that of vilification. In this connection it is exceedingly interesting to note that Clackamas county Democrats inaugurated and carried through a complete system of direct primary nominations in the spring of 1858. It was ap- parently as thorough an embodiment of the Direct Primary ideal as that so vigorously acclaimed in Oregon a half century later.3 Naturally, this reaction against close political organ- i Statesman, March 16. 2 Ibid. 3The plan is outlined in the following resolution: "In order to ascertain the wish of the Democratic voters of Clackamas county, fully, fairly and justly ex- pressed, in relation to all county officers, it is recommended that every Democrat, in a meeting to be held in his precinct, proceed to vote for such nominees as he may prefer to be supported by the Democratic party of this county." Pro- vision is made for transmitting the votes to the chairman of the county commit- tee and for the canvassing of the vote so returned. Those persons obtaining the highest number of votes were to be declared "as the unanimous nominees of the party." Gov. Geo. L. Curry was chairman of the Convention, March 13, which inaugurated the plan. The report of the Clackamas county nominations, given in the Statesman, May 18, shows that the scheme was carried through as planned.