« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Territory. On the day previous to that election, I settled up my board at my boarding-house, in St. Joseph's, Missouri, and went over to the Territory, and took boarding with Mr. Bryant, near whose house the polls were held the next day, for one month, so that I might have it in my power, by merely deter mining to do so, to become a resident of the Territory
on the day of election.
"When my name was proposed as a Judge of Election, objections were made by two persons only. **** I then publicly informed those present. that I had a claim in the Territory; that I had taken board in the Territory for a month, and that I could, at any moment, become an actual resident and legal voter in the Territory, and that I would do so, if I concluded at any time during the day that my vote wou'd be necessary to carry that precinct in favor of the Pro-Slavery candidate for delegate to Congress. ***** I did not during the day consider it necessary to become a resident of the Territory for the purpose mentioned,
and did not vote or offer to vote at that election.
"I held the office of City-Attorney for St. Joseph's at that time, and had held it for two or three years previously, and continued to hold it until this spring. *** I voted at an election in St. Joseph's, in the spring of 1855, and was re-appointed City-Attorney. The question of Slavery was put in issue at the election of November, 1854, to the same extent as in every election in this Territory. Gen. Whitfield was regarded as the Pro-Slavery candidate for the Pro-Slavery party. I regarded the question of Slavery as the primarily prominent issue at that election, and, so far as I know, all parties agreed in making that question the issue of that election.
"It is my intention, and the intention of a great many other Missourians now resident in Missouri, whenever the Slavery issue is to be determined upon by the people of this Territory in the adoption of the State Constitution, to remove to this Territory in time to acquire the right to become legal voters upon that question. The leading purpose of our intended removal to the Territory is to determine the domestic institutions of this Territory, when it comes to be a State, and we would not come but for that purpose, and would never think of coming here but for that purpose. I believe there are a great many in Missouri who are so situated." The invasion of March 30th left both parties in a state of excitement, tending directly to produce violence. The successful party was lawless and reckless, while assuming the name of the "Law and Order" party. The other party, at first surprised and confounded, was greatly irritated, and some resolved to prevent the success of the invasion. In some Districts, as before stated, protests were sent to the Governor; in others, this was prevented by threats; in others, by the want of time, only four days being allowed by the proclamation for this purpose; and in others, by the belief that a new election would bring a new invasion. About the same time, all classes of men commenced bearing deadly weapons about the person, a practice which has continued to this time. Under these circumstances, a slight or accidental quarrel produced unusual violence, and lawless acts became frequent. This evil condition of the public mind was further increased by acts of violence in Western Missouri, where, in April, a newspaper press called The Parkville Luminary was destroyed by a mob.
About the same time, Malcolin Clark assaulted Cole McCrea, at a squatter meeting in Leavenworth, and was shot by McCrea, in alleged selfdefense.
On the 17th day of May, William Phillips, a lawyer of Leavenworth, was first notified to leave, and upon his refusal, was forcibly seized, taken across the river, and carried several miles into Missouri, and then tarred and feathered, and one side of his head shaved, and other gross indignities put upon his person.
Previous to the outrage a public meeting was held (239), at which resolutions were unanimously passed, looking to unlawful violence, and grossly intolerant in their character. The right of free speech upon the subject of Slavery was charac
(239) A. Payne.
terized as a disturbance of the peace and quiet of the community, and as diary sentiments." circulating incenfriends of northern fanatics," "Go home and do They say "to the peculiar your treason where you may find sympathy. Among other resolves, is the following:
"Resolved, That the institution of Slavery is known and recognized in this Territory; that we repel the doctrine that it is a moral and political evil, and we hurl back with scorn upon its slanderous authors the charge of inhumanity; and we warn all persons not to come to our paceful firesides to slander us, and sow the seeds of discord between the master and the servant; for, as much as we deprecate the necessity to which we may be driven, we cannot be responsible for the consequences."
A Committee of Vigilance of 30 men was appointed, "to observe and report all such persons as shall, **** by the expression of Abolition sentiments, produce disturbance to the quiet of the citizens, or danger to their domestic relations; and all such persons so offending, shall be notified, and made to leave the Territory."
The meeting was "ably and eloquently addressed by Judge Lecompte, Col. J. N. Burns of Western Missouri, and others." Thus the head of the Judiciary in the Territory, not only assisted at a public and bitterly partisan meeting, whose direct tendency was to produce violence and disorder, but before any law is passed in the mestic institutions, which the people of the TerTerritory, he prejudges the character of the doritory were, by their organic law," left perfectly free to form and regulate in their own way."
On this Committee were several of those who held certificates of election as members of the Legislature; some of the others were then and still are residents of Missouri; and many of the Committee have since been appointed to the leading offices in the Territory, one of which is the Sheriffalty of the County. Their first act was that of mobbing Phillips.
Subsequently, on the 25th of May, A. D. 1855, a public meeting was held, at which R. R. Rees, a member elect of the Council, presided (240). The following resolutions, offered by Judge Payne, a member elect of the House, were unanimously adopted:
the committee of citizens that shaved, tarred, and "Resolved, That we heartily indorse the action of feathered, rode on a rail, and had sold by a negro, Wm. Phillips, the moral perjurer.
"Resolved, That we return our thanks to the committee for faithfully performing the trust enjoined upon them by the Pro-Slavery party.
Resolved, That the committee be now discharged.
Slavery men who, from mercenary motives, are calling upon the Pro-Slavery party to submit without further action.
"Resolved, That in order to secure peace and harmony to the community, we now solemnly declare that the Pro-Slavery party will stand firmly by and carry out the resolutions reported by the committee appointed for that purpose on the memorable 30th."
The act of moral perjury here referred to, is the swearing by Phillips to a truthful protest in regard to the election of March 30, in the XVIth District.
The members receiving their certificates of the Governor as members of the General Assembly of the Territory, met at Pawnee, the place appointed by the Governor, on the 2d of July, A. D. 1855. Their proceedings are stated in three printed books, herewith submitted, entitled respectively, "The Statutes of the Territory of Kansas;""The Journal of the Council of the Territory of Kansas;" and "The Journal of the House of Representatives of the Territory of Kansas."
Your Committee do not regard their enactments as valid laws. A Legislature thus im
(240) R. R. Rees.
posed upon a people, cannot affect their political rights. Such an attempt to do so, if successful, is virtually an overthrow of the organic law, and reduces the people of the Territory to the condition of vassals to a neighboring State. To avoid the evils of anarchy, no armed or organized resistance to them should be made, but the citi zens should appeal to the ballot-box at public elections, to the Federal Judiciary, and to Congress, for relief. Such, from the proof, would have been the course of the people, but for the nature of these enactments and the manner in which they are enforced. Their character and their execution have been so intimately connected with one branch of this investigationthat relating to "violent and tumultuous proceedings in the Territory"-that we were compelled to examine them."
The "laws" in the statute-books are general and special; the latter are strictly of a local character, relating to bridges, roads, and the like. The great body of the general laws are exact transcripts from the Missouri Code. To make them in some cases conform to the organic act, separate acts were passed, defining the meaning of words. Thus the word "State" is to be understood as meaning Territory" (241); the word 66 County Court" shall be construed to mean the Board of Commissioners transacting county business, or the Probate Court, according to the intent thereof. The words "Circuit Court" to mean "District Court" (242).
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.
al tax, shall be a qualified elector for all elect-
The Slave Code, and every provision relating to slaves, are of a character intolerant and unusual even for that class of legislation. The character and conduct of the men appointed to hold office in the Territory contributed very much to produce the events which followed. Thus Samuel 1. Jones was appointed Sheriff of the County of Douglas, which included within it the Ist and IId Election-Districts. He had made himself peculiarly obnoxious to the settlers by his conduct on the 30th of March in the IId District, and by his burning the cabins of Joseph Oakley and Samuel Smith (254).
An election for delegates to Congress, to be held on the 1st day of October, 1855, was provided for with the same rules and regulations as Upon these subjects the provisions of the Mis- were applied to other elections. The Free-State souri Code are such as are usual in many of the men took no part in this election, having made States. But by the "Kansas Statutes," every arrangements for holding an election on the 9th office in the Territory, executive and judicial, of the same month. The citizens of Missouri was to be appointed by the legislature, or by attended at the election of the 1st of October, some officer appointed by it. These appoint- some paying the dollar tax, others not being rements were not merely to meet a temporary exi- quired to pay it. They were present and voted gency, but were to hold over two regular clec- at the voting places of Atchison (255) and Donitions, and until after the general election in phan (256), in Atchison County; at Green October, 1857 (243), at which the members of the Springs, Johnson County (257); at Willow new Council were to be elected (244). The new Springs (258); Franklin (259), and Lecompton Legislature is required to meet on the first Mon- (260), in Douglas County; at Fort Scott, Bourday in January, 1858 (245). Thus, by the terms bon County (261); at Baptiste Paola, Lykins Co., of these "laws," the people have no control where some Indians voted, some whites paying whatever over either the Legislature, the execu- the $1 tax for them (262); at Leavenworth tive, or the judicial departments of the territori-City (263), and at Kickapoo City, Leavenworth al 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 (246). A candidate, to be eligible at this election, must swear to support the fugitive-slave law (247), and each judge of election, and each voter, if challenged, must take the same oath (248). The same oath is required of every officer elected or appointed in the Territory, and of every attorney admitted to practice in the courts (249).
A portion of the militia is required to muster on the day of election (250). "Every free white male citizen of the United States, and every free male Indian, who is made a citizen by treaty or otherwise, and over the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be an inhabitant of the Territory and of the county and district in which he offers to vote, and shall have paid a territori
(241) Statutes, page 718. (242) Statutes, page 766. (243) Statutes, pages 168, 227, 712. (244) 330. (245) 475. (246) Statutes, page 330. (247) p. 333. (248) p. 332. (249) pp. 152, 339, 5, 6. (250) p. 469.
County; at the latter place under the lead of Gen. B. F. Stringfellow and Col. Lewis Barnes of Missouri (264). From two of the election precincts at which it was alleged there was illegal voting-viz.: Delaware and Wyandotte, your Committee failed to obtain the attendance of witnesses. Your Committee did not deem it necessary, in regard to this election, to enter into details, as it was manifest that, from there being but one candidate-Gen. Whitfield-he must have received a majority of the votes cast. This election, therefore, depends not on the number or character of the votes received, but upon the validity of the laws under which it was held. Sufficient testimony was taken to show that the voting of citizens of Missouri was practiced at this election, as at all former elections in the Territory. The following table will exhibit
(251) p. 332. (252) Statutes, p. 34. (253) p. 333. (254) John Landis. (257) Robert Morrow, E. Jenkins, B. C. Sam.. Smith and Ed. Oakley. (255) D. W. Field. (256) Westfall. (258) A. White, T. Wolverton, J. Reid. (259) L. M. Cox, L. A. Prather. (260) B. C. Westfall. (261) E. B. Cook, J. Hamilton. (262) B C. Westfall. (263) G. F. Warren, H. Niles Moore. (264) J. W. Stephens.
the result of the testimony as regards the number | jority of the votes then cast were either illegal of legal and illegal votes at this election. The or fictitious. In the counties to which our exCounty of Marshall embraces the same territory amination extended, there were as was included in the XIth District; and the cast, as near as the proof will enable us to deterillegal votes reasons before stated indicate that the great ma- mine.
ABSTRACT OF POLL-BOOKS OF OCTOBER 1 1855.
Total Votea caat-----|| ཱཿ *⌘2||||5||「ga48༑||「⌘a。 སྐྱུ°%|e#
J. W. Whitfield......
No. of Votes cast for
While these enactments of the alleged legislative assembly were being made, a movement was instituted to form a State government, and apply for admission into the Union as a State. The first step taken by the people of the Territory, in consequence of the invasion of March 30, 1855, was the circulation for signature of a graphic and truthful memorial to Congress. Your Committee find that every allegation in this memorial has been sustained by the testimony. No further step was taken, as it was hoped that some action by the general government would protect them in their rights. When the alleged legislative assembly proceeded to construct the series of enactments referred to, the settlers were of opinion that submission to them would result in depriving them of the rights secured to them by the organic law. Their political condition was freely discussed in the Territory during the summer of 1855. Several meetings were held in reference to holding a convention to form a State government, and to apply for admission into the Union as a State. Public opinion gradually settled in favor of such an application to the Congress to meet in December, 1855. The first general meeting was held in Lawrence on the 15th of August, 1855.
The following preamble and resolutions were then passed:
"Whereas, The people of Kansas have been, since its settlement, and now are, without any law-making power, therefore be it
Resolved, That we, the people of Kansas Territory, in mass meeting assembled, irrespective of party distinctions, influenced by common necessity, and greatly desirous of promoting the common good, do hereby call upon and request all bona fide citizens of Kantions, to consult together in their respective Electionsas Territory, of whatever political views or predilecDistricts, and in mass convention or otherwise, elect three delegates for each representative to which said Election-District is entitled in the House of Repre sentatives of the Legislative Assembly, by proclamation of Governor Reeder, of date 19th of March, 1855; of Topeka, on the 19th day of September, 1855, then said delegates to assemble in convention, at the town and there to consider and determine upon all subjects of public interest, and particularly upon that having reference to the speedy formation of a State Constitution, with an intention of an immediate application to be admitted as a State into the Union of the United States of America.”
Other meetings were held in various parts of the Territory, which indorsed the action of the Lawrence meeting, and delegates were selected in compliance with its recommendations.
tember, 1855. By their resolutions they proThey met at Topeka, on the 19th day of Sepvided for the appointment of an Executive Committee to consist of seven persons, who were required to "keep a record of their proceedings, and shall have a general superintendence of the affairs of the Territory so far as regards the organization of the State Government." They were required to take steps for an election to be held on the second Tuesday of the October fol
lowing, under regulations imposed by that Com-ritory, and in nearly every precinct. The State mittee, "for members of a Convention to form a movement was a general topic of discussion Constitution, adopt a Bill of Rights for the peo- throughout the Territory, and there was but litple of Kansas, and take all needful measures for the opposition exhibited to it. Elections were organizing a State Government, preparatory to held at the time and places designated, and the the admission of Kansas into the Union as a returns were sent to the Executive Committee. State." The rules prescribed were such as usually govern elections in most of the States of the Union, and in most respects were similar to those contained in the proclamation of Gov. Reeder for the election of March 30, 1855.
The result of the election was proclaimed by the Executive Committee, and the members-elect were required to meet on the 23d day of October, 1855, at Topeka. In pursuance of this proclamation and direction, the Constitutional Convention met at the time and place appointed, and formed a State Constitution. A memorial to Congress was also prepared, praying for the admission of Kansas into the Union under that ConstiThe Convention also provided that the question of the adoption of the Constitution and other questions be submitted to the people, and required the Executive Committee to take the necessary steps for that purpose.
The Executive Committee, appointed by that Convention, accepted their appointment, and entered upon the discharge of their duties by issuing a proclamation addressed to the legal voters of Kansas, requesting them to meet at their seve-tution. ral precincts, at the time and places named in the proclamation, then and there to cast their ballots for members of a Constitutional Convention, to meet at Topeka on the 4th Tuesday of October then next.
The proclamation designated the places of elections, appointed judges, recited the qualifications of voters and the apportionment of mem
bers of the Convention.
After this proclamation was issued, public meetings were held in every district in the Ter
Accordingly, an election was held for that purpose on the 15th day of December, 1855, in compliance with the proclamation issued by the Executive Committee. The returns of this election were made by the Executive Committee, and an abstract of them is contained in the following table:
ABSTRACT OF THE ELECTION ON THE ADOPTION OF THE
An election was accordingly held in the several election-precincts, the returns of which were
sent to the Executive Committee. An abstract of them is contained in the following table:
ABSTRACT OF THE ELECTION OF JANUARY 15, 1856.
Att. Gen. H. Miles Moore--8
Rep. Con., M. W. Delahay-28585888==#22839332
S. B. Floyd..
S. N. Latta....