Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

CHAPTER I

JEFFERSON DAVIS ON REBELLION

WHI

HILE the town of Lawrence was undergoing burning and pillage, Governor Shannon wrote to Colonel Sumner to say that as the marshal and sheriff had finished making their arrests, and he presumed had by that time dismissed the posse, he required a company of United States troops to be stationed at Lawrence to secure "the safety of the citizens in both person and property," asking also a like company for Lecompton and Topeka. The next day the citizens of Lawrence had the opportunity to smother their indignation when they saw the embers of the FreeState Hotel and the scattered fragments of their printing-presses patrolled and "protected" by the Federal dragoons whose presence they had vainly implored a few days before. It was time the Governor should move. The guerrilla bands with their booty spread over the country, and the freeState men rose in a spirit of fierce retaliation. Assassinations, house-burnings, expulsions, and VOL. II.-1

[blocks in formation]

СНАР. І.

1856.

Shannon to
Sumner,
June 4, 1856.
Senate

3d Sess.

34th Cong. Vol. III., p. 45.

skirmishes broke out in all quarters. The sudden shower of lawlessness fell on the just and the unjust; and, forced at last to deal out equal protection, the Governor (June 4) issued his proclamation directing military organizations to disperse," without regard to party names, or distinctions,"1 and Ex. Doc., empowering Colonel Sumner to enforce the order. That careful and discreet officer, who had from the first counseled this policy, at once proceeded to execute the command with his characteristic energy. He disarmed and dispersed the free-State guerrillas,― John Brown's among the earliest,— liberated prisoners, drove the Missourians, including delegate Whitfield and General Coffee of the skeleton militia, back across their State line, and stationed five companies along the border to prevent their return. He was so fortunate as to accomplish all this without bloodshed. "I do not think," he wrote, June 23, "there is an armed body of either party now in the Territory, with the ex1856, bid., ception perhaps of a few freebooters." The colonel found very soon that he was only too efficient and faithful. "My measures have necessarily borne hard against both parties," wrote Sumner to the War Department, "for both have in many instances been more or less wrong. The Missourians were perfectly satisfied so long as the troops were employed exclusively against the free-State party; but when they found that I would be strictly impartial, that lawless mobs could no longer come from Missouri, and that their interference with the affairs of Kansas was brought 1 Shannon, proclamation, June 4, 1856. Senate Ex. Doc., 3d Sess. 34th Cong. Vol. III., p. 47.

Sumner to
Cooper,
June 23,
p. 50.

Sumner to Cooper, August 11, 1856. Ibid., p. 59.

to an end, then they immediately raised a hue and CHAP. I. cry that they were oppressed by the United States troops." The complaint had its usual prompt effect at Washington. By orders dated June 27 the colonel was superseded in his command, and Brigadier-General P. F. Smith was sent to Leavenworth. Known to be pro-slavery in his opinions, great advantage was doubtless expected by the conspiracy from this change. But General Smith was an invalid, and incapable of active service, and so far as the official records show, the army officers and troops in Kansas continued to maintain a just impartiality.

The removal of Governor Shannon a few weeks after Colonel Sumner once more made Secretary Woodson, always a willing instrument of the conspiracy, acting Governor. It was under this individual's promptings and proclamation, Shannon being absent from the Territory, that Colonel Sumner, before the arrival of the orders superseding him, forcibly dispersed the free-State Legislature on the 4th of July, as narrated. For this act the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, was not slow to send the colonel an implied censure, perhaps to justify his removal from command; but not a word of reproof went from President or Secretary of State to the acting Governor.

It has already been stated that for a considerable length of time after the organization of Kansas Territory the Missouri River was its principal highway of approach from the States. To antislavery men who were unwilling to conceal their sentiments, this had from the very first been a route of difficulty and danger. Now that political

1856.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »