Изображения страниц

reprove the governor the very man after his own heart in guilty weakness for his unparalleled course of oppression? O, no! He told the peaceable settlers in Kansas, who had asked his protection, that he would "enforce the laws" of the Legislature, elected by Missourians, "with the army and navy of the United States." He, moreover, intimated very strongly that treason had been or would be committed.

Again and again irruptions were made into the territory. The ballot-boxes were taken by force; and on the seventeenth of January another murder, so terrible in all its barbarities that the mind shudders at the thought, was committed in the territory. The people, oppressed by cold unprecedented, and many of them suffering for the actual wants of life, were harassed hourly by fears of the assassin. Yet the President was dumb. Spring came, and earth and sky rejoiced with mutual gladness in the balmy airs and up-springing verdure. Business revived, and the people hoped in some measure to retrieve their losses of the last fall's invasion; but the demon Slavery was yet insatiate. Armed bands from Missouri, South Carolina, and Alabama, poured into the territory. They openly proclaimed they came to "fight and to vote, and would return to their homes." These things were known to the country. Was the President one of those who, "having eyes, see not, and ears, hear not"? They came, and were enrolled as the militia of the territory - men so degraded, so debauched, that one of their officers in camp said "they never had had so good a home as that before." They were the proper instruments to do the work desired by the administration sacking towns, robbing and murdering innocent people; and this they did under the orders of the United States Marshal. The way, they thought, was open for a general extermination of free-state people, because, by the orders of Judge Lecompte, a few of the leaders had been thrown into prison, and others driven off.

Lawrence was destroyed. Osawattomie was sacked. Guerilla bands blockaded the highways, and murdered peaceable citizens. Did the President do anything? When by a word he could have given Kansas the long-sought-for peace, he said it not.

The White House rose between him and the suffering dwellers, in Kansas. He had been struck with official blindness, and saw not how, when he had been their willing agent, their pliant tool, the southern party would cast him off as a worthless thing. He had gone too low; he had crouched too humbly; he could not be trusted. So they gave him a complimentary vote when he came before that Cincinnati Convention, in the words of a Massachusetts senator, "with the lurid light of the sacked and burning dwellings of Kansas flashing on his brazen brow, and with the blood of the people of Kansas dripping from his hands." When our people attempted to right their wrongs by assembling to memorialize Congress, an armed body of United States troops rushed in upon them, and commanded their dispersion. This act, on the Fourth of July, 1856, makes the third act of this kind chronicled in history. While such things are being sanctioned in Kansas, the Missouri river is infested by pirates, and closed to peaceable citizens. The President still looks on unmoved, and permits outrages which long ago would have been made the pretext for a bloody war, had one tenth part of the wrongs been committed by a foreign power.

We have fallen upon the evil times, in our country's history, when it is treason to think, to speak a word against the evil of slavery, or in favor of free labor. In Kansas, prisous or instant death by barbarians are the reward; and in the Senate, wielders of bludgeons are honored by the state which has sent ruffians to desolate Kansas. But in this reign of misrule the President and his advisers have failed to note the true effect of such oppression. The fires of liberty have been rekindled in the hearts of our people, and burn in yet brighter flame under midnight skies illumined by their own burning dwellings. The sight of lawless, ruthless invaders, acting under the United States government, has filled them with that " deep, dark, sullen, teeth-clenched silence, bespeaking their hatred of tyranny, which armed a William Tell and Charlotte Corday." The best, the boldest utterance of man's spirit for freedom will not be withheld. The administration, with the most insane malignity, has prepared the way for avil war, and the extermination of freemen in Kansas. With

untiring malice, it has endeavored to effect this by the aid of a corrupt judiciary, packed juries, and reckless officials. In violation of the Constitution of the United States, no regard was paid to the sacred rights of freemen in their persons and property. Against the known sentiment and conviction of half the nation these deeds of infamy have been plotted, and have been diligently carried on. That a people are down-trodden is not evidence that they are subdued. The crushed energies are gathering strength; and, like a strong man resting from the heats and toils of the day, the people of Kansas will arise to do battle for liberty; and, when their mighty shouts for freedom shall ascend over her hills and prairies, slavery will shrink back abashed. Life, without liberty, is valueless, and there are times which demand the noble sacrifice of life. The people of Kansas are in the midst of such times; and amid discomfiture and defeat men will be found who for the right will stand with sterner purpose and bolder front. Kansas will never be surrendered to the slave power. God has willed it! Lawrence, the city where the plunderer feasted at the hospitable table, and, Judas-like, went out to betray it, will come forth from its early burial clothed with yet more exceeding beauty. Out of its charred and blood-stained ruins, where the flag of rapine floated, will spring the high walls and strong parapets of freedom. The sad tragedies in Kansas will be avenged, when freedom of speech, of the press, and of the person, are made sure by the downfall of those now in power, and when the song of the reaper is heard again over our prairies, and, instead

of the clashing of arms, we see the gleam of the ploughshare in her peaceful valleys. Men of the North, shall the brave hearts in Kansas struggle alone?



Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

HAVING been chosen by the people to occupy the executive chair of the new State of Kansas, it becomes my duty, under the constitution, to communicate to the General Assembly the condition of the affairs of the state, and recommend such measures as I shall deem expedient for their action. While gratitude to the people for the confidence their suffrages evinced, and for the honor bestowed, will induce me to enlist all my energies in their service, inexperience in public life, and a lack of ability and information, will cause me to speak with diffidence upon the various subjects to which your attention will be invited.

The organization of a new government is always attended with more or less difficulty, and should, under the most favorable circumstances, enlist the learning, judgment and prudence, of the wisest men in all its departments; the most skilful workmanship is requisite, that each part of the complicated machinery may be adapted to its fellow, and that a harmonious whole, without jar or blemish, may be the result. In Kansas, especially, is this a most delicate and difficult task. Our citizens are from every state in the Union, and from nearly every country on the globe, and their institutions, religion, education, habits and tastes, are as various as their origin. Also in our midst are several independent nations, and on our borders, both west and east, are outside invaders.

In our mutual endeavors to set in motion a state government, we have a common chart for our guide, the Constitution. The duties of the General Assembly, as designated by this instrument, are:

To provide for the Encouragement of Education and Religion;

The Registration of Electors;

To provide for the Returns of Elections;

For the Election of Officers;

For the Filling of Vacancies;

For the Number of Senators and Representatives;

For Apportionment;

Against Special Legislation;

For Publication of Laws;

For Taking the Census ;

For Salaries of Officers;

For Surveyor General, State Geologist, and Superintendent of Common Schools;

For Judicial Districts and Jurisdiction of Courts ;

For Publication of Decisions of Supreme Court;

For Duties of Clerk and Reporter of Supreme Court ;

For School Fund, University, Normal Schools, etc. ;

For State Asylums for Blind, Deaf, Dumb, Insane, Idiots, and the Poor ;

For Houses of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders;

For State General Hospital;

For Seat of Government and State House;

For Militia;

For Finance and Taxation;

For Counties, County, City and Town Officers;

For Commissioners to arrange Rules of Practice in the Courts of Record;

For Bureau of Statistics and Encouragement of Agriculture;

To secure the separate Property and Custody of Children to Wife;

For Election of two United States Senators;

For Banks and Banking;

For Redemption of Certificates of Indebtedness; and for Enforcement of the Sixth Section of the Bill of Rights.

Also, the people, by a separate and direct vote, have instructed the Assembly to provide for the exclusion of free negroes.

Education of the people, common school education, is the palladium of our liberties. Without this, free institutions cannot exist; with it, tyranny and oppression must disappear. A thorough and efficient system of education is a better and cheaper corrective and preventive of poverty, degradation and crime, than the poor-house, house of refuge, or penitentiary. This subject will not fail to receive its full share of your attention. That the common school may be put on a permanent basis, the proceeds of the school lands, or other educational income, should be carefully husbanded, til a fund shall accumulate amply sufficient to give to every child in the state a liberal common school education.

Second only to the common school in importance are the University and Normal Schools. For these, also, the constitution suggests that you provide at an early day.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »