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that 6143 ballots had been cast "for the constitu- CHAP. VI. tion with slavery," and 589 "for the constitution with no slavery." But the subsequent legislative investigation disclosed a gross repetition of the Oxford fraud, and proved the actual majority, in a onesided vote, to have been only 3423. The second. election occurred on January 4, 1858, under authority of the legislative act. At this election the pro-slavery party voted for the State officers, but in its turn abstained from voting on the constitution, the result being against the Lecompton Constitution, 10,226; for the Lecompton Constitution with slavery, 138; for the Lecompton Constitution without slavery, 24.1

This emphatic rejection of the Lecompton Constitution by a direct vote of the people of Kansas sealed its fate. We shall see further on what persistent but abortive efforts were made in Congress once more to galvanize it into life. The free-State party were jubilant; but the pro-slavery cabal, foiled and checked, was not yet dismayed or conquered. For now there was developed, for the first time in its full proportions, the giant pro-slavery intrigue which proved that the local conspiracy of the Atchison-Missouri cabal was but the image and fraction of a national combination, finding its headquarters in the Administration, first of President Pierce, and now of President Buchanan; working patiently and insidiously through successive efforts to bring about a practical subversion

1 Under an Act of Congress popularly known as the "English Bill," this same Lecompton Constitution was once more voted upon by the people of Kansas on

August 2, 1858, with the follow-
ing result: for the proposition,
1788; against it, 11,300.-
Wilder, "Annals of Kansas," pp.

CHAP. VI. of the whole theory and policy of the American Government. It linked the action of Border Ruffians, presidential aspirants, senates, courts, and cabinets into efficient coöperation; leading up, step by step, from the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, through the Nebraska bill, border conquest, the Dred Scott decision, the suppression of the submission clause in the Toombs bill, and the extraordinary manipulation and machinery of the Lecompton Constitution, towards the final overthrow of the doctrine that "all men are created equal," and the substitution of the dogma of property in man; towards the judicial construction that property rights in human beings are before and above constitutional sanction, and that slavery must find protection and perpetuity in States as well as in Territories.

Cass to Stanton,


2, 1857. Senate Ex.

Doc. No. 8,

1st Sess.

35th Cong.

Vol. I.,

pp. 112-13.

Cass to Stanton, December

The first weather-sign came from Washington. On the day after Acting Governor Stanton convened the October Legislature in special session, and before news of the event reached him, Secretary Cass transmitted to him advance copies of the President's annual message, in which the Lecompton Constitution was indorsed in unqualified terms. A week later he was admonished to conform to the views of the President in his official conduct. At Ibid., p. 113. this point the State Department became informed of what had taken place, and the acting Governor had short shrift. On December 11 Cass wrote to J. W. Denver, Esq.: "You have already been informed that Mr. Stanton has been removed from the office of Secretary of the Territory of Kansas and that you have been appointed in his place." Cass further explained that the President "was

8, 1857.

surprised to learn that the secretary and acting CHAP. VI. Governor had, on the 1st of December, issued his proclamation for a special session of the Territorial Legislature on the 7th instant, only a few weeks in advance of its regular time of meeting, and only fourteen days before the decision was to be made on the question submitted by the convention. This course of Mr. Stanton, the President seriously believes, has thrown a new element of discord among the excited people of Kansas, and is directly at war, therefore, with the peaceful policy of the Administration. For this reason he has felt it his duty to remove him."

Walker, already in Washington on leave of absence, could no longer remain silent. He was as pointedly abandoned and disgraced by the Administration as was his subordinate. In a dignified letter justifying his own course, which, he reminded them, had never been criticized or disavowed, he resigned the governorship. "From the events occurring in Kansas as well as here," he wrote, "it is evident that the question is passing from theories into practice; and that as governor of Kansas I should be compelled to carry out new instructions, differing on a vital question from those received at the date of my appointment. Such instructions I could not execute consistently with my views of the Federal Constitution, of the Kansas and Nebraska bill, or with my pledges to the people of Kansas." "The idea entertained by some that I should see the Federal Constitution and the Kansas-Nebraska bill overthrown and disregarded, and that, playing the part of a mute in a pantomime of ruin, I should acquiesce by my

Cass to Denver, December

11th, 1857. Doc. No. 8. 35th Cong.

Senate Ex.

1st Sess.

Vol. I., p. 120.

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CHAP. VI. silence in such a result, especially where such acquiescence involved, as an immediate consequence, a disastrous and sanguinary civil war, seems to me most preposterous.”1

The conduct and the language of Walker and Stanton bear a remarkable significance when we remember that they had been citizens of slave States and zealous Democratic partisans, and that only hard practical experience and the testimony of their own eyes had forced them to join their predecessors in the political "graveyard." "The ghosts on the banks of the Styx," said Seward, "constitute a cloud scarcely more dense than the spirits of the departed Governors of Kansas, wandering in exile and sorrow for having certified the truth against falsehood in regard to the elections between Freedom and Slavery in Kansas."

1 Walker to Cass, Dec. 15, 1857. Senate Ex. Doc. No. 8, 1st Sess., 35th Cong. Vol. I., pp. 131, 130.




HE language of President Buchanan's annual CHAP. VII. message, the summary dismissal of Acting Governor Stanton, and the resignation of Governor Walker abruptly transferred the whole Lecompton question from Kansas to Washington; and even before the people of the Territory had practically decided it by the respective popular votes of December 21, 1857, and January 4, 1858, it had become the dominant political issue in the Thirty-fifth Congress, which convened on December 7, 1857. The attitude of Senator Douglas on the new question claimed universal attention. The Dred Scott decision, affirming constitutional sanction and inviolability for slave property in Territories, had rudely damaged his theory. But we have seen how in his Springfield speech he ingeniously sought to repair and rehabilitate "popular sovereignty" by the sophism that a master's abstract constitutional right to slave property in a Territory was a "barren and a worthless right unless sustained, protected, and enforced by appropriate police regulations," which could only be supplied by the local Territorial Legislatures; and that the people of Kansas thus still possessed the power of indirect prohibition.

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