Изображения страниц

the time such convicts shall be engaged in hard labor without the walls of any jail or prison.” The next section of this law provides that the convict may be “ employed upon private hiring at labor," for fifty cents a day. This would place the Anti-Slavery man, with his ball and chain, at work in the field by the side of the slave.

Of this code and this Legislature, Mr. Gladstone says:

“ Being in haste to give a code of laws to Kansas, they transferred into a volume of more than a thousand pages, the greater part of the laws of their own State, substituting the words 'Territory of Kansas' for 'State of Missouri.'. In protection of slavery, they enacted far more rigorous laws than obtain in Missouri, or than were ever before conceired of, making it a felony to utter a word against the institution, or even to have in possession a book or paper which denies the right to hold slaves in Kansas. Some of these laws have already been quoted in this volume. It will have been seen that for every copy of a Free-State newspaper which a person might innocently purchase, the law would justify that person's condemnation to penal servitude for two or five years, dragging a heavy ball and chain at his ankle, and hired out for labor on the public roads, or for the service of private individuals, at the fixed price of fifty cents per diem. So comprehensive did these legislators make their slave code, that by the authority they thus gave themselves, they could, in a very short time, have made every Free-State man in the Territory a chained convict, standing side by side, if they so pleased, with their slaves, and giving years of forced labor for the behoof of their Pro-Slavery fellowcitizens,

"The Legislature proceeded also to appoint officers for the Territory. Even the executive and judiciary were made to hold office from itself; and a Board of Commissioners chosen by the Legislature, instead of the inhabitants themselves, was empowered to appoint the sheriffs, justices of the peace, constables, and all other officers in the various counties into which the Territory was divided.

“Every member of succeeding Legislatures, every judge of election, every voter, must swear to his faithfulness on the test-questions of slavery. Every officer in the Territory, judicial, executive, or legislative, every attorney admitted to practise in the courts, every juryman weighing evidence on the rights of slaveholders, must attest his soundness in the interest of slavery, and his readiness to endorse its most repugnant measures.

* For further security, the members of the Assembly submitted their enactments to the Chief Justice for confirmation. This judicial confirmation was gratefully given; all they had done was declared legal. And the sheriffs and other local officers appointed by the Legislature were equally ready with their aid in the execution of these unjust laws."

The following is copied from the Report of the Special Committee appointed in 1856, to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas:

** The material differences in the Missouri and Kansas statutes are upon the following subjects:

“The qualifications of voters and of members of the Legislative Assembly; the official oath of all officers, attorneys, and voters; the mode of selecting officers, and their qualifications ; the slave code, and the qualifications of jurors.

“Upon these subjects the provisions of the Missouri code are such as are usual in many of the States. But, by the ‘Kansas Statutes' every officer in the Territory, executive and judicial, was to be appointed by the Legislature, or by some officer appointed by it. These appointments were not merely to meet a temporary exigency, but were to hold over two regular elections, and until after the general election in October, 1857. Thus, by the terms of these laws' the people have no control whatever over either the legislative, the executive, or the judicial departments of the Territorial government, until a time, before which, by the natural progress of population, the Territorial government will be superseded by a State government.

* No session of the Legislature is to be held during 1856, but the members of the House are to be elected in October of that year. A candidate, to be eligible at this election, must swear to support the Fugitive Slave Law, and each judge of election, and each voter, if challenged, must take the same oath. The same oath is required of every officer elected or appointed in the Territory, and of every attorney admitted to practise in the courts."

[ocr errors]

SEPTEMBER 1.-Andrew B. Moore, of Alabama, declines the appointment of Associate Justice, vice Elmore, removed.

SEPTEMBER 1.-Gov. Shannon arrives at Westport, Mo.

SEPTEMBER 5.--Big Springs Convention. Organization of the Free-State party. President, Geo. W. Smith; Vice Presidents, John Fee, J. A. Wakefield, James Salsbury, and Amory Hunting; Secretaries, R. G. Elliott, D. Dodge, and A. G. Adams.

The following resolutions, reported by James H. Lane, were afterwards known as the “Big Springs Platform." It was the first platform of the Free-State party of the Territory:

"Whereas, The Free State party of the Territory of Kansas is about to originate an organization for concert of political action in electing our own officers and moulding our institutions; and,

"Whereas, It is expedient and necessary that a platform of principles be adopted and proclaimed to make known the character of our organization, and to test the qualifications of candidates and the fidelity of our members; and,

"Whereas, We find ourselves in an unparalleled and critical condition - deprived by superior force of the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, the Cone stitution of the United States, and the Kansas Bill; and, "Whereas,


great and overshadowing question, whether Kansas shall become a Free or Slave State, must inevitably absorb all other issues, except those inseparably connected with it; and,

"Whereas, The crisis demands the concert and harmonious action of all those who from principle or interest prefer free to slave labor, as well as of those who value the preservation of the Union and the guarantees of Republican institutions by the Constitution: therefore,

Resolved, That, setting aside all the minor issues of partisan politics, it is incumbent upon us to proffer an organization calculated to recover our dearest rights, and into which Democrats and Whigs, native and naturalized citizens, may freely enter without any sacrifice of their respective political creeds, but without forcing them as a test upon others. And that when we shall have achieved our political freedom, vindicated our right of self-government, and become an independent State of the Union, when these issues may become vital as they are now dormant, it will be time enough to divide our organization by these tests, the importance of which we fully recognize in their appropriate sphere.

"Resolved, That we will oppose and resist all non-resident voters at our polls, whether from Missouri or elsewhere, as a gross violation of our rights, and a virtual disfranchisement of our citizens.

* Resolved, That our true interests, socially, morally and pecuniarily, require that Kansas should be a free State; that free labor will best promote the happiness, the rapid population, the prosperity and the wealth of our people; that slave labor is a curse to the master and the community, if not to the slave; that our country is unsuited to it, and that we will devote our energies as a party to exclude the institution, and to secure for Kansas the constitution of a free State.

"Resolved, that the best interests of Kansas require a population of free white men, and that in the organization we are in favor of stringent laws excluding all negroes, bond or free, from the Territory; that nevertheless such measures shall not be regarded as a test of party orthodoxy.

"Resolved, That the stale and ridiculous charge of Abolitionism, so industriously imputed to the Free State party, and so persistently adhered to in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, is without a shadow of a truth to support it, and that it is not more appropriate to ourselves than it is to our opponents, who use it as a term of reproach, to bring odium upon us, pretending to believe in its truth, and hoping to frighten from our ranks the weak and the timid, who are more willing to desert their principles than they are to stand up under persecution and abuse, with a consciousness of right.

"Resolved, That we will discountenance and denounce any attempt to encroach upon the constitutional rights of the people of any State, or to interfere with their slaves ;


conceding to their citizens the right to regulate their own institutions, and to hold and recover their slaves, without any molestation or obstruction from the people of Kansas."

The following resolutions, offered by James S. Emery, and written by ex-Gov. Reeder, were also adopted:

"Resolred, That the body of men who, for the past two months, have been making laws for the people of our Territory, moved, counselled and dictated to by the demagogues of Missouri, are to us a foreign body, representing only the lawless invaders who elected them, and not the people of the Territory; that we repudiate their action as the monstrous consummation of an act of violence, usurpation and fraud, unparalleled in the history of the Union, and worthy only of men unfitted for the duties and regardless of the responsibilities of republicans.

" Resolred, That having, by reason of numerical inferiority and want of preparation, been compelled to succumb to the outrageous oppression of armed and organized bands of the citizens of a neighboring State — having been robbed by force of the right of suffrage and self-government, and subjected to a foreign despotism, the more odious and infamous that it involves a violation of compacts with sister States, more sacred and solemn than treaties — we disown and disavow with scorn and indignation the contemptible and hypocritical mockery of a republican government into which this infamous despotism has been converted.

"Resolved, That this miscalled Legislature, by their reckless disregard of the Organic Territorial Act, and other Congressional legislation, in expelling members whose title to seats was beyond their power to annul, in admitting members who were not elected, and in legislating at an unauthorized place -- by their refusal to allow the people to select any of their own officers, by leaving us no elections save those prescribed by Congress, and therefore beyond their power to abrogate, and even at these selling the right of suffrage at our ballot-boxes to any non-resident who chooses to buy and pay for itby compelling us to take an oath to support a law of the United States, invidiously pointed out -- by stilling the freedom of speech and of the press, thus usurping the power forbidden to Congress, has libelled the Declaration of Independence – violated the Constitutional Bill of Rights, and brought contempt and disgrace upon our republican institutions at home and abroad.

" Resolved, That we owe no allegiance or obedience to the tyrannical enactments of this spurious Legislature— that their laws have no validity or binding force upon the people of Kansas, and that every free man among us is at full liberty, consistent with all his obligations as a citizen and a man, to resist them if he chooses so to do.

" Resolved, that we will resist them primarily by every peaceable and legal means in our power, until we can elect our own Representatives and sweep them from the statute book; and that as the majority of our Supreme Court have so far forgotten their official duty - have so far cast off the honor of a lawyer and the dignity of a judge as to enter, clothed with the judicial ermine, into a partisan contest, and by extra-judicial decisions giving opinions in violation of all propriety, having prejudged our case before we could be heard, and have pledged themselves to the outlaws in advance, to decide in their favor, we will therefore take measures to carry the question of the validity of these laws to a higher tribunal, where judges are uppledged and dis passionate — where the law will be administered in its purity, and where we can at least have a hearing before the decision.

" Resolred, That we will endure and submit to these laws no longer than the best interests of the Territory require, as the least of two evils, and will resist them to a bloody issue as soon as we ascertain that peaceable remedies shall fail, and forcible resistance shall furnish any reasonable prospect of success; and that in the meantime we recommend to our friends throughout the Territory the organization and discipline of volunteer companies and the procurement and preparation of arms.

Resolred, That we cannot and will not quietly submit to surrender our great American birthright - the elective franchise — which, first by violence, and then by chicanery, artifice, weak and wicked legislation, they have so effectually attempted to deprive us or, and that we with scorn repudiate the election law, so called, and will not meet with them on the day they have appointed for the election, but will ourselves fix upon a day for the purpose of electing a Delegate to Congress.”

The Convention adopted a resolution offered by John Hutchinson, fully

endorsing “the People's Convention of the 14th ult., for a delegate convention of the people of Kansas Territory, to be held at Topeka on the 19th inst., to consider the propriety of forming a State Constitution."

On motion of M. F. Conway, A. H. Reeder was nominated for Congress, by acclamation. It was decided to vote for a Delegate to the Thirty-fourth Congress on the second Tuesday in October.

SEPTEMBER 6.-John Donaldson commissioned as Auditor of Public Accounts.

SEPTEMBER 7.-Surveyor General's office removed to Wyandotte.

- Governor Shannon, the second Governor appointed for the term of four years, takes the oath of office before Secretary Woodson. Commissions issued to the officers of Arapahoe county.

SEPTEMBER 13.- Sterling G. Cato, of Alabama, appointed Judge in place of Elmore, and J. M. Burrill, of Pennsylvania, in place of Johnston.

SEPTEMBER 19–20.- Convention at Topeka to take measures to form a Free-State Constitution. Called to order by Geo. W. Smith, of Lawrence. Officers: President, W. Y. Roberts ; Vice Presidents, J. A. Wakefield, P. C. Schuyler, L. P. Lincoln, J. K. Goodin, S. N. Latta, R. H. Phelan ; Secretaries, E. D. Ladd, J. H. Nesbitt, M. W. Delahay. Among the delegates were Geo. W. Deitzler, Geo. W. Brown, John Speer, Jas. H. Lane, C. K. Holliday, and M. J. Parrott. Committee on an Address to the People: J. H. Lane, W. Y. Roberts, Hamilton Smith, P. C. Schuyler, H. Miles Moore, Jas. S. Emery, A. M. Jordan, M. W. Delahay, E. D. Ladd, G. W. Deitzler, J. A. Wakefield, Samuel C. Smith, Thos. J. Addis, J. H. Nesbitt, L. P. Lincoln, John Speer, G. W. Brown, S. N. Latta, James Pierce. An election was called for delegates to a Constitutional Convention at Topeka. Territorial Erecutive Committee: J. H. Lane, Chairman; C. K. Holliday, M. J. Parrott, P. C. Schuyler, G. W. Smith, G. W. Brown, and J. K. Goodin, Secretary.

SEPTEMBER 21.—A book issued with this title: “History of the Shawnee Indians, from the Year 1681 to 1854, inclusive. By Henry Harvey, a Member of the Religious Society of Friends. Cincinnati: Ephraim Morgan & Sons. 1855.” pp. 316.

Mr. Harvey quotes from a report made to Yearly Meeting of Friends, in London, the statement that the basin of the Cumberland was the early home of the Shawnees. He says the Shawnees were a party to the treaty made by William Penn, in 1682. The address to Congress, made at the Huron village, near the mouth of the Detroit river, December 18, 1786, was signed: The Five Nations, Hurons, Ottawas, Twitchtwees, Shawnees, Chippewas, Cherokees, Delawares, and Pottawatomies. The first treaty with the Shawnees was made at the mouth of the Great Miami, January 31, 1786.

In 1830, Mr. Harvey took charge of the Friends' School among the Shawnees in Ohio. In 1833, the Ohio Shawnees came to Kansas. Schools were established by the Friends, the Baptists, and the Methodists. Mr. Harvey took charge of the Friends' School in 1840. He left them in 1842. “In the year 1844,” he says, “they were visited by a great flood, which swept off their houses, and a large amount of grain; many of their farms were laid waste.” This flood extended through the whole Kansas river valley. In the year 1854, the Shawnees numbered 900 souls, and owned 1,600,000 acres of land. Mr. Harvey's History contains much valuable information.


[blocks in formation]

The Free State men took no part in this election.

OCTOBER 3.— Meeting of Pro-Slavery men at Leavenworth. A. J. Isacks, J. A. Halderman, D. J. Johnson, W. G. Mathias, R. R. Rees, L. F. Hollingsworth and D. A. N. Grover issued an address, asking the “lovers of law and order” to obey the bogus laws, and declaring it treason to oppose them. It also called for a convention at Leavenworth, Nov. 14.

OCTOBER 9.- Election of delegates to the Topeka Constitutional Convention. ELECTION OF DELEGATES TO THE TOPEKA CONSTITUTIONAL CONVEN

TION, OCTOBER 9, 1855.

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »