Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XXII.

"LAW-AND-ORDER" MEN-FREE-STATE MEN AROUSED.

July 7th.We experienced a heavy rain yesterday. It poured through the tents, wetting everything. This tent-life in the burning sun and pouring rains will be a good recipe for ague or cholera. So, besides the discomfort of the present, we have these in anticipation. Capt. W. left on Saturday, and Capt. Sackett, a noble-looking man, has the prisoners now in charge.

To-day a gentleman has been in camp from Illinois. He with a party of seventeen were robbed at Leavenworth of their arms and farming utensils. Several of them were hunted for their lives. (Aid was afterwards asked of Gen. Smith in recovering these goods, a letter being sent to him from Woodson counselling such interference; but he declined giving it.) Also, eight families from Illinois, when near Platte city, were turned back by one hundred and fifty men, armed with United States muskets and bayonets. The stereotyped questions of "Where are you from?" and "Where going?" were put to the emigrants. The leader of the ruffians said, “I suppose you've hearn that we don't allow any movers to go through into the territory." When the ruffians proclaimed their intention of searching the wagons, an Iowa man objected, but a revolver was quickly drawn upon him. After searching their wagons twice, and taking all the arms, they took them back under guard to Liberty, Missouri, telling them "they could go where they pleased, so they did not go into the territory."

What new scheme of villany, for the subjugation of Kansas, shall we hear? Step by step the work has gone on. Missourians

have invaded the territory, and, by force, taken possession of the polls. They have trampled upon the right of the people to make their own laws. They have framed a code of laws which would have disgraced the dark ages. They have denied the citizens of the territory the right of free speech. They have, for weeks, besieged a town under the leadership of the governor. They have burned and sacked towns under the United States Marshal, the aforesaid governor offering no word of disapproval; they have murdered, with all the cruelties of the Fejee islands, peaceable settlers. Without restraint they have robbed and pillaged. They have blockaded the Missouri river. No more bloody or meaner pirates, sailing under black flags, ever infested the high seas, years ago. Now the debauched and desperate robbers search and send back peaceable emigrants, their wagons laden with the emblems of their occupation, ploughs, and farming implements.

We have moved camp again to-day, two miles further from Lecompton. It was my first experience in the inside of these huge covered wagons. I protested that I would rather walk than attempt to mount into such a vehicle; but they all said ride. By extra effort E. and I got in, attempting to find a place to sit among the mattresses. At first move, one of the mules, by rapidly throwing up his feet, was soon out of harness. The jolting of the wagon was intolerable when the mules travelled faster than a walk.

29th.-July days are passing with little variety. We have a great deal of company; many days four or five carriage loads. They are people from Lawrence, and other settlements, while many strangers travelling in the territory call to "look in upon the traitors." A number of ladies living on claims some miles from Lawrence, whom we had never met, have visited us in camp. They are very intelligent and refined.

Gen. Smith has arrived in Leavenworth. As he was passing Delaware, a little settlement among the hills, the boat was hailed, and obliged to stop. A band of ruffians, gathered from the “four corners of Satan's dominions,” demanded, “Are there any abolitionists on board?" Gov. Shannon and his wife also came up the river in the same boat. They came through in the stage from

Kansas city to Lecompton. When passing places of more than usual loveliness, she would say, "she should like a plantation there, with about two dozen negroes." To the question how she liked "border ruffians," she said, "she liked them infinitely better than Massachusetts paupers." Every time any attempt was made by others in the stage to vindicate the free-state cause, she remarked, "she did not wish to hear anything about it." She remained scarcely a week in Kansas, and, in reply to the question, "Will you return to Kansas?" she said, "I should like to live in Kansas if it is a slave state, I suffer so much where I am in associating with abolitionists." It would be kind in the gov ernor to have regard for her sufferings, and go into some obscurity, where she could be relieved from the enlightened intelligence of Ohio.

Col. Titus, a few days ago, told a man who came to him for money to buy a claim, with oaths, "Wait, and we will get it any how. Now is the time to drive out the d-d Yankees."

Acting upon this impression, probably, two days since, he attacked a young man, living on a claim two miles from Lecompton. After beating him severely, and jumping upon him, he ordered an accomplice, standing by, to fire his house. A free-state man immediately talked plainly to Gov. S. in relation to it, and concluded by telling him, "if he did not prevent such outrages, the people would."

Gov. S. immediately sent for troops to protect Titus. Freestate men are driven from their claims, beaten and killed. Then the governor employs the troops to protect the assassins. Such is dragoon government in Kansas. It leaves the free-state people exposed to all outrages; and, when they would assert their rights, and take care of themselves by driving out the ruffians, the dragoons protect them by orders of the governor. Gov. Shannon has said, repeatedly, that the state "prisoners, if charged, would be tried; if tried, convicted; and, if convicted, hung." Judge Lecompte has made similar statements. Woodson has said, "they did not expect there would be a trial, but they meant to keep them imprisoned."

W. P. Fain, who acted as deputy marshal in arresting Judge

Smith and G. W. Deitzler, was in camp the other day. While talking of the Toombs bill, the prisoners stated "that they had no confidence in the President appointing men who would take the census fairly." He replied, "I would do it."

When they asked him, "if he was to be one of the commissioners," he replied in the affirmative, thus showing the whole matter to have been arranged before Stringfellow went to Washington. There was a heavy shower a few nights since. Our tent being the poorest shelter from rain of all, Capt. Sackett urged us to sleep in one of his; but we preferred staying in our own. When the storm came, the wind was terrible. The rain came through in streams, and little lakes were standing in every hollow on the bed. At this unpleasant juncture, the captain sent down an India-rubber blanket, and, by removing the wet ones, no one suffered very severely. Towards morning, a heavy wind tore. up a part of the stakes, and a drenching rain came full upon us. There was not a dry spot in the bed, and no more sleep for us. We had, however, a hearty laugh with Capt. Sackett, for the tent he had kindly assigned us was prostrate; the only one which had been so essentially affected by the storm.

31st. A man, by the name of Le Hays, active in the plundering of Lawrence, has boasted much of the spoils which fell to his share silver ware, ladies' apparel, besides guns. On the night of the 18th his house was entered by a party of men, and the guns were taken. Gov. Shannon is much excited about it. He says they were men from Lawrence and vicinity, and reports the house generally plundered. A strong guard was forthwith set around Lecompton. On the 20th, Cramer, the deputy marshal, came to camp, and ordered Capt. Sackett not to allow any person to converse with the prisoners privately. "His responsibility, since the sacking of Lawrence, in regard to the prisoners, had weighed upon him much." But Capt. Sackett at once informed him, "he need give himself no further trouble on the subject, as the responsibility of their safe-keeping rested upon him." The little fellow appeared pleased; but his wrath was only pent up. He met a man, soon after leaving camp, and poured it forth in execrations upon the captain, declaring that "Robinson was more

the governor of the territory than Shannon;" that "the prisoners should be taken from Capt. Sackett's charge, and that their lives would not be safe an hour." On the 21st the little deputy came again, with a letter from Gov. Shannon, in which he advised that "persons and letters be not allowed to go into camp; that the territory had never been in so bad a condition; that he believed the prisoners were implicated in these disturbances, and in great measure the occasion of them." Cramer, at the captain's tent, also said, "The governor don't know what to do.” He talked so

loudly, it was quite impossible not to hear what was said. It will be remembered that only two days had passed since the governor had been informed, that, if such outrages as that of Titus continued, the people would try to suppress them. Word was returned to the governor from Capt. Sackett that "he had his orders from Col. Sumner to give up the prisoners to the civil authorities, if unnecessary restrictions were placed upon them." Gov. Shannon immediately sent to Capt. Sackett, that "he did not know he had orders from Col. Sumner, but, if he had, of course he must obey them." He swore, however, "he would see if he could not make Capt. Sackett obey orders," and sent an express to Gen. Smith at the fort. Gen. Smith proposed not to interfere in matters in the territory, and, no change being made in the treatment of the prisoners, the governor was disappointed, and unable to carry out his threats. On the 19th he was heard to say, as

at many other times, that "Gov. Robinson would be hung."

A wagon of provisions for Palmyra was robbed at Westport a few days since, and, on the 22d, Mr. P., a daguerrian of Lawrence, was nearly killed about a mile from town, by three men from Franklin. He was fired upon, and so badly wounded by their jumping upon his body, that he was very ill, and it is feared will never recover. Several bowie-knives were found in the grass next day. Major Sedgwick protected Titus only one night, and removed his camp about a fourth of a mile from Capt. Sackett's camp. Then Titus gathered about him a gang of desperadoes like himself. Major Richardson is reported to have gone up north to intercept emigrants coming into the territory. Three men from Lecompton have been to see Capt. Walker, of the free

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »