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The result of this election was announced by a proclamation by the Executive Committee.
In accordance with the Constitution thus adopted, the members of the State Legislature and most of the State officers met on the day and at the place designated by the State Constitution, and took the oath therein prescribed.
After electing United States Senators, passing some preliminary laws, and appointing a Codifying Committee and preparing a Memorial to Congress, the General Assembly adjourned to meet on the 4th day of July, 1856.
The laws passed were all conditional upon the admission of Kansas as a State into the Union. These proceedings were regular, and, in the opinion of your Committee, the constitution thus adopted fairly expresses the will of the majority of the settlers. They now await the action of Congress upon their memorial.
These elections, whether they were conducted in pursuance of law or not, were not illegal.
Whether the result of them is sanctioned by the action of Congress, or they are regarded as the mere expression of a popular will, and Congress should refuse to grant the prayer of the memorial, that cannot affect their legality. The right of the people to assemble and express their political opinion in any form, whether by means of an election or a convention, is secured to them by the Constitution of the United States. Even if the elections are to be regarded as the act of a party, whether political or otherwise, they were proper, in accordance with examples, both in States and Territories.
The elections, however, were preceded and followed by acts of violence on the part of those who opposed them, and those persons who approved and sustained the invasion from Missouri were peculiarly hostile to these peaceful movements preliminary to the organization of a State government. Instances of this violence will be referred to hereafter.
To provide for the election of delegates to Congress, and at the same time do it in such a manner as to obtain the judgment of the House of Representatives upon the validity of the alleged legislative assembly sitting at Shawnee Mission, a convention was held at Big Springs on the 5th and 6th days of September, 1855. This was a party convention, and a party calling itself the Free-State party was then organized. It was in no way connected with the State movement, except that the election of a delegate to Congress was fixed by it on the same day as the election of members of a constitutional convention, instead of the day prescribed by the alleged legislative assembly. Andrew H. Reeder was put in nomination as territorial delegate to Congress, and an election was provided for under the regulations prescribed for the election of March 30, 1855, excepting as to the appointment of officers, and the persons to whom the returns of the elections should be made. The election was held in accordance with these regulations, an abstract of the returns of which is contained in the following table:
The resolutions passed by this convention indicate the state of feeling which existed in the Territory in consequence of the invasion from Missouri, and the enactments of the alleged legislative assembly. The language of some of the resolutions is violent, and can only be justified either in consequence of the attempt to enforce the grossest acts of tyranny, or for the purpose of guarding against a similar invasion in future.
In the fall of 1855, there sprang out of the existing discords and excitement in the Territory, two secret Free-State societies (265). They were defensive in their character, and were designed to form a protection to their members against unlawful acts of violence and assault. One of the societies was purely of a local character, and was confined to the town of Lawrence. Very shortly after its organization it produced its desired effect, and then went out of use and ceased to exist (266). Both societies were cumbersome, and of no utility except to give confidence to the Free-State men, and enable them to know and aid each other in contemplated danger. So far as the evidence shows, they led to no act of violence in resistance to either real or alleged laws (267).
On the 21st day of November, 1855, F. M. Coleman, a Pro-Slavery man, and Charles W. Dow, a Free-State man, had a dispute about the division line between their respective claims. Several hours afterward, as Dow was passing from a blacksmith's shop toward his claim, and by the cabin of Coleman, the latter shot Dow with a double-barreled gun loaded with slugs. Dow was unarmed. He fell across the road and died immediately. This was about 1 o'clock P. M. His dead body was allowed to lie where it fell until after sundown, when it was conveyed by Jacob Branson to his house, at which Dow
(265) Pat. Laughlin, Francis. (266) G. P. Lowry, A. H. Reeder. (267) Lowry, Reeder and M. F. Conway.
boarded. The testimony in regard to this homi-
On the morning of the rescue of Branson, Jones was at the village of Franklin, near Law rence. The rescue was spoken of in the presence of Jones, and more conversation passed between two others in his presence, as to whether it was most proper to send for assistance to Col. Boone in Missouri, or to Gov. Shannon. Jones wrote a dispatch and handed it to a messenger. As soon as he started, Jones said: "That man is taking my dispatch to Missouri, and by G-d I'll have
(268) Wm. and Nicholas McKinney, D. T. Jones and wife, Thomas Brown, F. M. Coleman and others. (269) Jacob Braneon. (270) Jacob Branson.
revenge before I see Missouri." A person present, who was examined as a witness (271), complained publicly that the dispatch was not sent to the governor; and within half an hour one was sent to the governor by Jones, through Hargous. Within a few days, large numbers of men from the State of Missouri gathered and encamped on the Wakerusa. They brought with them all the equipments of war. To obtain them, a party of men under the direction of Judge T. V. Thompson broke into the United States arsenal and armory at Liberty, Missouri, and after a forcible detention of Captain Leonard (then in charge) (272), they took the cannon, muskets, rifles, powder, harness, and indeed all the materials and munitions of war they desired, some of which have never been returned or accounted for.
The chief hostility of this military foray was against the town of Lawrence, and this was especially the case with the officers of the law.
Your Committee can see in the testimony no reason, excuse, or palliation for this feeling. Up to this time no warrant or proclamation of any kind had been in the hands of any officer against any citizen of Lawrence (273). No arrest had been attempted, and no writ resisted in that town. The rescue of Branson sprang out of a murder committed thirteen miles from Lawrence, in a detached settlement, and neither the town nor its citizens extended any protection to Branson's rescuers (274). On the contrary, two or three days after the rescue, S. N. Wood, who claimed publicly to be one of the rescuing party, wished to be arrested for the purpose of testing the territorial laws, and walked up to Sheriff Jones and shook hands with him, and exchanged other courtesies. He could have been arrested without any difficulty, and it was his design, when he went to Mr. Jones, to be arrested, but no attempt was made to do so (275).
It is obvious that the only cause of this hostility is the known desire of the citizens of Lawrence to make Kansas a Free State, and their repugnance to laws imposed upon them by nonresidents.
Your Committee do not propose to detail the incidents connected with this foray. Fortunately for the peace of the country, a direct conflict between the opposing forces was avoided by an amicable arrangement. The losses sustained by the settlers in property taken and time and money expended in their own defense, added much to the trials incident to a new settlement. Many persons were unlawfully taken and detained-in some cases, under circumstances of gross cruelty. This was especially so in the arrest and treatment of Dr G. A. Cutter and G. F. Warren. They were taken, without cause or warrant, 60 miles from Lawrence, and when Dr. Cutter was quite sick. They were compelled to go to the camp at Lawrence, were put into the custody of "Sheriff Jones," who had no process to arrest them-they were taken into a small room kept as a liquor shop, which was open and very cold. That night Jones came in with others, and went to "playing poker at twenty-five cents ante." The prisoners were obliged to sit up all night, as there was no room to lie down, when the men were playing. Jones insulted them frequently, and told one of them he must either" tell or swing." The guard then objected to this treatment of prisoners, and Jones desisted. G. F. Warren thus describes their subsequent conduct:
They then carried us down to their camp; Kelly of The Squatter Sovereign, who lives in Atchison, came round and said he thirsted for
(271) L. A. Prattier. (272) Luther Leonard. (273) William Shannon, Chas. Robinson. (274) G. P. Lowry and Charles Robinson. (275) Chas, Robinson.
blood, and said he should like to hang us on the first tree. Cutter was very weak, and that excited him so that he became delirious. They sent for three doctors, who came. Dr. String fellow was one of them. They remained there with Cutter until after midnight, and then took him up to the office, as it was very cold in camp. During the foray, either George W. Clark, or Mr. Burns, murdered Thomas Barber, while the latter was on the highway on his road from Law rence to his claim. Both fired at him, and it is impossible from the proof to tell whose shot was fatal. The details of this homicide are stated by eye-witnesses (276).
Among the many acts of lawless violence which it has been the duty of your Committee to investigate, this invasion of Lawrence is the most defenseless. A comparison of the facts proven, with the official statements of the officers of the Government, will show how groundless were the pretexts which gave rise to it. A community in which no crime had been committed by any of its members, against none of whom had a warrant been issued or a complaint made, who had resisted no process in the hands of a real or pretended officer, was threatened with destruction in the name of "law and order," and that, too, by men who marched from a neighboring State with arms obtained by force, and who, in every stage of their progress, violated many laws, and among others the Constitution of the United States (277).
The chief guilt of it must rest on Samuel J. Jones. His character is illustrated by his language at Lecompton, where peace was made: The said Maj. Clark and Burns both claimed the credit of killing that d-d Abolitionist, and he didn't know which ought to have it. If Shannon hadn't been a d-d old fool, that peace would never have been declared. He would have wiped Lawrence out. He had men and means enough to do it" (278).
election and threatened to destroy the ballot-box and were guilty of other insolent and abusive conduct (283). After the polls were closed, many of the settlers being apprehensive of an attack, were armed in the house where the election had been held until the next morning. Late that night Stephen Spark, with his son and nephew, started for home, his route running by the store of a Mr. Dawson, where a large party of armed men had collected. As he approached, these men demanded that he should surrender, and gathered about him to enforce the demand (284). Information was carried by a man in the company of Mr. Sparks to the house where the election had been held. R. P. Brown and a company of men immediately went down to relieve Mr. Sparks, and did relieve him when he was in imminent danger (285). Mr. Sparks then started back with Mr. Brown and his party, and while on their way were fired upon by the other party. They returned the fire, and an irregular fight then ensued, in which a man by the name of Cook, of the Pro-Slavery party, received a mortal wound, and two of the Free-State party were slightly wounded.
Mr. Brown, with seven others who had accompanied him from Leavenworth, started on their return home. When they had proceeded a part of the way, they were stopped and taken prisoners by a party of men called the Kickapoo Rangers, under the command of Capt. John W. Martin. They were disarmed and taken back to Easton, and put in Dawson's store (286). Brown was separated from the rest of his party, and taken into the office of E. S. Trotter (287). By this time several of Martin's party and some of the citizens of the place had become intoxicated, and expressed a determination to kill Brown (288). Capt. Martin was desirous, and did all in his power to save him. Several hours were spent in discovering what should be done with Brown and his party. In the mean time, without Shortly after the retreat of the forces from the knowledge of his party, Capt. Martin liberatbefore Lawrence, the election upon the adoption ed all of Brown's party but himself, and aided of the State Constitution was held at Leaven- them in their escape (289). The crowd repeatedworth City, on the 15th of December, 1855. ly tried to get in the room where Brown was, While it was proceeding quietly, about noon, and at one time succeeded, but were put out by Charles Dunn, with a party of others, smashed Martin and others. Martin, finding that further in the window of the building in which the elec-effort on his part to save Brown was useless, left tion was being held, and then jumped into the room where the Judges of election were sitting, and drove them off (279). One of the clerks of election snatched up the ballot-box and followed the Judges, throwing the box behind the counter of an adjoining room through which he passed on his way out. As he got to the street door, Dunn caught him by the throat, and pushed him up against the outside of the building, and demanded the ballot-box (280).
Then Dunn and another person struck him in the face, and he fell into the mud, the crowd rushed on him and kicked him on the head and in his sides (281). In this manner the election was broken up, Dunn and his party obtaining the ballot-box and carrying it off.
To avoid a similar outrage at the election for State officers, etc., to be held on the 15th of January, 1856, the election for Leavenworth District was appointed to be held at Easton, and the time postponed until the 17th day of January, 1856 (282). On the way to the election, persons were stopped by a party of men at a grocery, and their guns taken from them (283). During the afternoon, parties came up to the place of
(276) Robert T. Barber, Thomas W. Pierson, Jane W. Colborn and others. (277) Article 4 of the Amendments. (278) Harrison Nichols. (279) Geo. Wetherell. George H. Keller. (280) George Wetherell. (281) George Wetherell, George W Hallis. (282) J. C. Green, Henry J. Adams, Joseph H. Bird. (283) Stephen Sparks.
and went home. The crowd then got possession of Brown, and finally butchered him in cold blood. The wound of which he died was inflicted with a hatchet by a man of the name of Gibson. After he had been mortally wounded, Brown was sent home with Charles Dunn, and died that night. No attempt was made to arrest or punish the murderers of Brown. Many of them were wellknown citizens, and some of them were officers of the law. On the next Grand Jury which sat in Leavenworth County, the Sheriff summoned several of the persons inplicated in this murder (290). One of them was M. P. Rively, at that time Treasurer of the County. He has been examined as a witness before us. The reason he gives why no indictments were found is, "they killed one of the Pro-Slavery men, and the ProSlavery men killed one of the others, and I thought it was about mutual." The same Grand Jury, however, found bills of indictment against those who acted as Judges of the Free-State election. Rively says, "I know our utmost endeavors were made to find out who acted as Judges and Clerks on the 17th of January last, and at all the bogus elections held by the Abolitionists
(284) Stephen Sparks. (285) George A. Taylor, Stephen Sparks, J. H. Bird. (286) Henry J. Adams, George A. Taylor, W. P. Kirby, John H. Martin, Wiley Williams. (287) Henry J. Adams. J. W. Martin. (288) Wiley Williams, J. W Martin, H. J. Adams. (289) H. J. Adams, G. A. Taylor, J. H. Bird, Wiley Williams. (290) M. P. Rively.
here. We were very anxious to find them out, as we thought them acting illegally."
Your Committee, in their examination, have found that in no case of crime or homicide, mentioned in the report or in the testimony, has any indictment been found against the guilty party, except in the homicide of Clark by McCrea, Mc Crea being a Free-State man.
ished for any of these crimes. While such offenses were committed with impunity the laws were used as a means of indicting men for holding elections, preliminary to framing a constitution and applying for admission into the Union as the State of Kansas. Charges of high treason were made against prominent citizens upon grounds which scem to your Committee absurd and ridiculous, and under these charges they are now held in custody and are refused the privi ap-lege of bail. In several cases men were arrested in the State of Missouri while passing on their lawful business through that State, and detained until indictments could be found in the Territory.
These proceedings were followed by an offense of still greater magnitude. Under color of legal process, a company of about 700 armed men, the great body of whom your Committee are satisfied were not citizens of the Territory, marched into the town of Lawrence under Maring to act under the law, and bombarded and then burned to the ground a valuable hotel and one private house; destroyed two printingpresses and material; and then, being released by the officers, whose posse they claim to be, proceeded to sack, pillage, and rob houses, stores, trunks, etc., even to the clothing of women and children. Some of the letters thus unlawfully taken were private ones, written by the contesting Delegate, and they were offered in evidence. Your Committee did not deem that the persons holding them had any right thus to use them, and refused to be made the instruments to report private letters thus obtained.
Your Committee did not deem it within their power or duty to take testimony as to events which have transpired since the date of their pointment; but as some of the events tended seriously to embarrass, hinder and delay their investigations, they deem it proper here to refer to them. On their arrival in the Territory, the people were arrayed in two hostile parties. The hostility of them was continually increased during our stay in the Territory, by the arrival of armed bodies of men who, from their equipments, came not to follow the peaceful pursuits of life, but armed and organized into companies, appa rently for war-by the unlawful detention of per-shal Donaldson and S. J. Jones, officers claimsons and property while passing through the State of Missouri, and by frequent forcible seizures of persons and property in the Territory without legal warrant. Your Committee regret that they were compelled to witness instances of each of these classes of outrages. While holding their session at Westport, Mo., at the request of the sitting Delegate, they saw several bodies of armed men, confessedly citizens of Missouri, march into the Territory on forays against its citizens, but under the pretense of enforcing the enactments before referred to. The wagons of emigrants were stopped in the highways, and searched without claim or legal powers, and in some instances all their property taken from them. In Leavenworth City, leading citizens were arrested at noonday in our presence, by an armed force, without any claim of authority, except that derived from a self-constituted Committee of Vigilance, many of whom were Legislative and Executive officers. Some were released on promising to leave the Territory, and others, after being detained for a time, were formally notified to leave, under the severest penalties. The only offense charged against them was their political opinions, and no one was thus arrested for alleged crime of any grade. There was no resistance to these lawless acts by the settlers, because, in their opinion, the persons engaged in them would be sustained and reinforced by the citizens of the populous border counties of Missouri, from whence they were only separated by the river. In one case witnessed by your Committee, an application for the writ of habeas corpus was prevented by the urgent solicitation of Pro-Slavery men, who insisted that it would endanger the life of the prisoner to be discharged under legal process.
This force was not resisted, because it was collected and marshaled under the forms of law. But this act of barbarity, unexampled in the history of our Government, was followed by its natural consequences. All the restraints which American citizens are accustomed to pay even to the appearance of law, were thrown off; one act of violence led to another; homicides became frequent. A party under H. C. Pate, composed chiefly of citizens of Missouri, were taken prisoners by a party of settlers; and while your Committee were at Westport, a company chiefly of Missourians, accompanied by the acting Delegate, went to relieve Pate and his party, and a collision was prevented by the United States troops. Civil war has seemed impending in the Territory. Nothing can prevent so great a calamity but the presence of a large force of United States troops, under a commander who will with prudence and discretion quiet the excited passions of both parties, and expel with force the armed bands of lawless men coming from Missouri and elsewhere, who with criminal pertinacity infest that Territory.
While we remained in the Territory, repeat- In some cases, and as to one entire election-dised acts of outrage were committed upon the trict, the condition of the country prevented the quiet, unoffending citizens, of which we received attendance of witnesses, who were either arrested authentic intelligence. Men were attacked on or detained while obeying our process, or deterthe highway, robbed, and subsequently im- red from so doing. The Sergeant-at-Arms who prisoned. Men were seized and searched, and served the processes upon them was himself artheir weapons of defense taken from them with- rested and detained for a short time by an armed out compensation. Horses were frequently taken force, claiming to be a part of the posse of the and appropriated. Oxen were taken from the Marshal, but was allowed to proceed upon an yoke while plowing, and butchered in the pres-examination of his papers, and was furnished ence of their owners. One young man was seized in the streets of the town of Atchison, and under circumstances of gross barbarity was tarred and cottened, and in that condition was sent to his family. All the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, securing persons and property, are utterly disregarded. The officers of the law, instead of protecting the people, were in some instances engaged in these outrages, and in no instance did we learn that any man was arrested, indicted or pun
with a pass, signed by Warren D. Wilkes of South Carolina." John Upton, another officer of the Committee, was subsequently stopped by a lawless force on the borders of the Territory, and after being detained and treated with great indignity was released. He also was furnished with a pass signed by two citizens of Missouri, and addressed to "Pro-Slavery men." By reason of these disturbances we were delayed in Westport, so that while in session there, our time was but partially occupied.
But the obstruction which created the most | serious embarrassment to your Committee was the attempted arrest of Gov. Reeder, the contesting Delegate, upon a writ of attachment issued against him by Judge Lecompte to compel his attendance as a witness bofore the Grand Jury of Douglas County. William Fane, recently from the State of Georgia, and claiming to be the Deputy Marshal, came into the room of the Committee while Gov. Reeder was examining a witness before us, and producing the writ required GovReeder to attend him. Subsequent events have only strengthened the conviction of your Committee that this was a wanton and unlawful interference by the Judge who issued the writ, tending greatly to obstruct a full and fair investiga tion. Gov. Reeder and Gen. Whitfield alone were fully possessed of that local information which would enable us to elicit the whole truth, and it was obvious to every one that any event which would separate either of them from the Committee would necessarily hinder, delay, and embarrass it. Gov. Reeder claimed that, under the circumstances in which he was placed, he was privileged from arrest except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace. As this was a question of privilege, proper for the Courts, or for the privileged person alone to determine on his peril, we declined to give him any protection or take any action in the matter. He refused to obey the writ, believing it to be a mere pretense to get the custody of his person, and fearing, as he alleged, that he would be assassinated by lawless bands of men then gathering in and near Lecompton. He then left the Territory.
Subsequently H. Miles Moore, an attorney in Leavenworth City, but for several years a citizen of Weston, Mo., kindly furnished the Committee information as to the residence of persons voting at the elections, and in some cases examined witnesses before us. He was arrested on the streets of that town by an armed band of about thirty men, headed by W. D. Wilkes, without any color of authority, confined, with other citizens, under a military guard for twentyfour hours, and then notified to leave the Terri tory. His testimony was regarded as important, and upon his sworn statement that it would endanger his person to give it openly, the majority of your Committee deem it proper to examine him ex parte and did so.
By reason of these occurrences, the contestant, and the party with and for whom he acted, were unrepresented before us during a greater portion of the time, and your Committee were required to ascertain the truth in the best manner they could.
Your Committee report the following facts and conclusions as established by the testimony: First That each election in the Territory, held under the organic or alleged Territorial law, has been carried by organized invasions from the State of Missouri, by which the people of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the rights secured to them by the organic law.
Second: That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an illegally-constituted body, and had no powerto pass valid laws, and their enactments are, therefore, null and void.
Third: That these alleged laws have not, as a general thing, been used to protect persons and property and to punish wrong, but for unlawful purposes.
Fourth: That the election under which the sitting Delegate, John W. Whitefield, holds his seat, was not held in pursuance of any valid law, and that it should be regarded only as the expression of the choice of those resident citizens who voted for him.
Fifth. That the election under which the contesting Delegate, Andrew H. Reeder, claims his
seat, was not held in pursuance of law, and that it should be regarded only as the expression of the choice of the resident citizens who voted for him.
Sixth: That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of votes of resident citizens than John W. Whitfield, for Delegate.
Seventh That in the present condition of the Territory a fair election cannot be held without a new census, a stringent and well-guarded election law, the selection of impartial Judges, and the presence of United States troops at every place of election.
Eighth That the various elections held by the people of the Territory preliminary to the formation of the State Government have been as regular as the disturbed condition of the Territory would allow; and that the Constitution passed by the Convention, held in pursuance of said elections, embodies the will of a majority of the people.
As it is not the province of your Committee to suggest remedies for the existing troubles in the Territory of Kansas, they content themselves with the foregoing statement of facts. All of which is respectfully submitted.
WM. A. HOWARD, JOHN SHERMAN.
The Free-State Constitution framed at Topeka for Kansas, by the Convention called by the Free-State party, (as set forth in the foregoing documents,) was in due season submitted to Congress-Messrs. Andrew H. Reeder (the Free-State Territorial delegate)* and James H. Lane having been chosen by the first Free-State Legislature Senators of the United States, and Mr. M. W. Delahay elected Representative in the House, by the Free-State men of Kansas. Of course, these were not entitled to their seats until the aforesaid instrument (known as "the Topeka Constitution") should be accepted by Congress, and the State thereupon admitted into the Union. This Constitution, being formand referred to their respective Committees ally presented in either House, was received on Territories; but the accompanying Memorial from the Free-State Legislature, setting forth the grounds of the application, and praying for admission as a State, was, after having been received by the Senate, reconsidered, rejected, and returned to Col. Lane, on the allegation that material changes had been made in it since it left Kansas. The Senate, in like manner, rejected repeated motions to accept the Constitution, and thereupon admit Kansas as a Free Statethere never being more than Messrs. Hamlin and Fessenden of Maine, Hale and Bell of New-Hampshire, Collamer and Foot of Vermont, Sumner and Wilson of Mass., Foster of Connecticut, Seward and Fish of New York, Wade of Ohio, Durkee and Dodge of Wisconsin, Trumbull of Illinois, and Harlan of Iowa, (16) Senators in favor of such admission, and these never all present at the same time.
In the House-the aforesaid Constitution and Memorial having been submitted to the