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der Ruffians, with their backwoods rifles and shot-guns, were a ready resource. To these an urgent appeal for help was made; and the leaders of the conspiracy in prompt obedience placarded the frontier with inflammatory hand-bills, and collected and equipped companies, and hurried them forward to the rendezvous without a moment's delay. The United States Arsenal at Liberty, Missouri, was broken into and stripped of its contents to supply cannon, small arms, and ammunition. In two days after notice a company of fifty Missourians made the first camp on Wakarusa Creek, near Franklin, four miles from Lawrence. In three or four days more an irregular army of fifteen hundred men, claiming to be the sheriff's posse, was within striking distance of the town. Three or four hundred of these were nominal residents of the territory; all the remainder were citizens of Missouri. They were not only well armed and supplied, but wrought up to the highest pitch of partisan excitement. While the governor's proclamation spoke of serving writs, the notices of the conspirators sounded the note of the real contest. "Now is the time to show

*Shannon, dispatch, Dec. 11th, 1855, to President Pierce. Senate Docs., 3d Sess. 34th Cong. Vol. II., p. 63.

game, and if we are defeated this time, the territory is lost to the South," said the leaders.‡ There was no doubt of the earnestness of their purpose. Ex-Vice-President Atchison came in person, leading a battalion of two hundred Platte county riflemen.

News of this proceeding came to the people of Lawrence little by little, and finally, becoming alarmed, they began to improvise means of defense. Two abortive imitations of the Missouri Blue Lodges, set on foot during the summer by the free-State men, provoked by the election invasion in March, furnished them a starting-point for military organization. A committee of safety, hurriedly instituted, sent a call for help from Lawrence to other points in the territory "for the purpose of defending it from threatened invasion by armed men now quartered in its vicinity." Several hundred free-State men promptly responded to the summons. The Free-State Hotel served as barracks. Governor Robinson and Colonel Lane were appointed to command. Four or five small redoubts, connected by riflepits, were hastily thrown up; and by a clever + Shannon, proclamation, Nov. 29th, 1855. Ibid., p. 56. Phillips, p. 168.

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could be immediately enforced. The people of Lawrence without any great difficulty obtained daily information concerning the hostile camps. They, on the other hand, professing no purpose but that of defense and self-protection, were obliged to permit free and constant ingress to their beleaguered town. Sheriff Jones made several visits unmolested on their part, and without any display of writs or demand for the surrender of alleged offenders on his own. One of the rescuers even accosted him, conversed with him, and invited him to dinner. These free visits, however, had the good effect to restrain imprudence and impulsiveness on both sides. They could see with their own eyes that a conflict meant serious results. With the advantage of its defensive position, Lawrence was as strong as the sheriff's mob.

ritory and along the border. The Missouri backwoodsmen manifested an almost incredible interest in this wonderful gun. They might be deaf to the "equalities" proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence or blind to the moral sin of slavery, but they comprehended a rifle which could be fired ten times a minute and kill a man at a thousand yards.

The arrivals from Missouri finally slackened and ceased. The irregular Border-Ruffian squads were hastily incorporated into the skeleton "Kansas militia." The "posse" became some two thousand strong, and the defenders of Lawrence perhaps one thousand.

Meanwhile a sober second thought had come to Governor Shannon. To retrieve somewhat the precipitancy of his militia orders and proclamations, he wrote to Sheriff Jones, De

cember 2d, to make no arrests or movements unless by his direction. The firm defensive attitude of the people of Lawrence had produced its effect. The leaders of the conspiracy became distrustful of their power to crush the town. One of his militia generals suggested that the governor should require the "outlaws at Lawrence and elsewhere" to surrender the Sharpe's rifles;* another wrote asking him to call out the Government troops at Fort Leavenworth. The governor, on his part, becoming doubtful of the legality of employing Missouri militia to enforce Kansas laws, was also eager to secure the help of Federal troops. Sheriff Jones began to grow importunate. In the Missouri camp while the leaders became alarmed the men grew insubordinate. "I have reason to believe," wrote one of their prominent men, "that before to-morrow morning the black flag will be hoisted, when nine out of ten will rally around it, and march without orders upon Lawrence. The forces of the Lecompton camp fully understand the plot and will fight under the same banner."+

After careful deliberation Colonel Sumner, commanding the United States troops at Fort Leavenworth, declined to interfere without explicit orders from the War Department. These failing to arrive in time, the governor was obliged to face his own dilemma. He hastened to Lawrence, which now invoked his protection. He directed his militia generals to repress disorder and check any attack on the town. Interviews were held with the free-State commanders, and the situation was fully discussed. A compromise was agreed upon, and a formal treaty written out and signed. The affair was pronounced to be a "misunderstanding"; the Lawrence party disavowed the Branson rescue, denied any previous, present, or prospective organization for resistance, and under sundry provisos agreed to aid in the execution of "the laws" when called upon by "proper authority." Like all compromises, the agreement was half necessity, half trick. Neither party was willing to yield honestly or ready to fight manfully. The free-State men shrank from forcible resistance to even bogus laws. The Missouri cabal, on the other hand, having three of their best men constantly at the governor's side, were compelled to recognize their lack of justification. They did not dare to ignore upon what a ridiculously shadowy pre






text the Branson peace-warrant had grown into an army of two thousand men, and how, under manipulation of Sheriff Jones, a questionable affidavit of a pro-slavery criminal had been expanded into the casus belli of a freeState town. They consented to a compromise "to cover a retreat."

When Governor Shannon announced that the difficulties were settled, the people of Lawrence were suspicious of their leaders, and John Brown manifested his readiness to head a revolt. But his attempted speech was hushed down, and the assurance of Robinson and Lane that they had made no dishonorable concession finally quieted their followers. There were similar murmurs in the pro-slavery camps. The governor was denounced as a traitor, and Sheriff Jones declared that "he would have wiped out Lawrence." Atchison, on the contrary, sustained the bargain, explaining that to attack Lawrence under the circumstances would ruin the Democratic cause. "But," he added with a significant oath, "boys, we will fight some time!" Thirteen of the captains in the Wakarusa camp were called together, and the situation was duly explained. The treaty was accepted, though the governor confessed "there was a silent dissatisfaction "§ at the result. He ordered the forces to disband; prisoners were liberated, and with the opportune aid of a furious rain-storm the Border-Ruffian army gradually melted away. Nevertheless the

* Richardson to Shannon, December 3d, 1855; Phillips, "Conquest of Kansas," p. 185.

Anderson to Richardson; Phillips, "Conquest of Kansas," p. 210.

+ Sumner to Shannon, December 1st, 1855; Phillips, p. 184. Shannon to President Pierce, December 11th, 1855. Senate Docs., 3d Sess. 34th Cong. Vol. II., p. 63.


"Wakarusa war" left one bitter sting to rankle in the hearts of the defenders of Lawrence, a free-State man having been killed by a pro-slavery scouting party.


The truce patched up by this Lawrence treaty was of comparatively short duration. The excitement which had reigned in Kansas during the whole summer of 1855, first about the enactments of the bogus legislature, and then in regard to the formation of the Topeka Constitution, was now extended to the American Congress, where it raged for two long months over the election of Speaker Banks. In Kansas during the same period the vote of the free-State men upon the Topeka Constitution and the election for free-State officers under it kept the territory in a ferment. During and after the contest over the speakership at Washington, each State legislature became a forum of Kansas debate. The general public interest in the controversy was shown by discussions carried on by press, pulpit, and in the daily conversation and comment of the people of the Union in every town, hamlet, and neighborhood. No sooner did the spring weather of 1856 permit, than men, money, arms, and supplies were poured into the territory of Kansas from the North. In the Southern States also this propagandism was active, and a number of guerilla leaders with followers recruited in the South, and armed and sustained by Southern contributions and appropriations, found their way to Kansas in response to urgent appeals of the Border chiefs. Buford of Alabama, Titus of Florida, Wilkes of Virginia, Hampton of Kentucky, Treadwell of South Carolina, and others, brought not only enthusiastic leadership, but substantial assistance. Both the factions which had come so near to actual battle in the "Wakarusa war," though nominally disbanded, in reality preserved and continued their military organization,-the free-State men through apprehension of danger, the Border Ruffians because of their purpose to crush out opposition. Strengthened on both sides with men, money, arms, and supplies, the contest was gradually resumed with the opening spring.

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The vague and double-meaning phrases of the Lawrence agreement furnished the earliest causes of a renewal of the quarrel. "Did you not pledge yourselves to assist me as sheriff in the arrest of any person against whom I might have a writ?" asked Sheriff Jones of Robinson and Lane in a curt note. "We may have said that we would assist any proper official in the service of any legal process," they replied, standing upon their interpretation.* This was, of course, the original controversy slavery burning to enforce her usurpation, freedom determined to defend her birthright. Sheriff Jones had his pockets. always full of writs issued in the spirit of persecution, though often baffled by the sharp wits and ready resources of the freeState people, and sometimes defied outright. Little by little, however, the latter became hemmed and bound in the meshes of the various devices and proceedings which the territorial officials evolved by hook and crook out of the bogus laws. President Pierce, in his special message of January 24th, declared what had been done by the Topeka movement to be "of a revolutionary character" which would" become treasonable insurrection if it reach the length of organized resistance."

Following this came his proclamation of February 11th, leveled against "combinations formed to resist the execution of the territorial laws." Early in May Chief-Justice Lecompte held a term of his court, during which he delivered to the grand jury his famous instructions on constructive treason. Indictments were found, writs issued, and the principal free-State leaders arrested or forced to flee from the territory. Governor Robinson was


arrested without warrant on the Missouri River, and brought back to be held in military custody till Septem ber. Lane went East and recruited additional additional help. for the contest. Meanwhile

*Holloway, pp. 275, 276.

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Governor Robinson being on his way East, the steamboat on which he was traveling stopped at Lexington, Missouri. An unauthorized mob induced the governor, with that gentle persuasiveness in which the Border Ruffians had become adepts, to leave the boat, detaining him at Lexington on the accusation that he was fleeing from an indictment. In a few days an officer came with a requisition from Governor Shannon, and took the prisoner by land to Westport, and afterwards from there to Kansas City and Leavenworth. Here he was placed in the custody of Captain Martin, of the Kickapoo Rangers, who proved a kind jailer, and

materially assisted in protecting him from the dangerous intentions of the mob which at that time held Leavenworth under a reign of terror.

Mrs. Robinson, who has kindly sent us a sketch of the incident, writes: "On the night of the 28th [of May] for greater security General Richardson of the militia slept in the same bed with the prisoner, while Judge Lecompte and Marshal Donaldson slept just outside of the door of the prisoner's room. Captain Martin said, 'I shall give you a pistol to help protect yourself with if worse comes to worst!' In the early morning of the next day, May 29th, a company of

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