indicated in the letter.
I now come to that part of the letter which charges me, upon the information
"of many respectable citizens of Lecompton and of Douglas county," with hav-
ing been engaged in several fights, shooting affairs, &c. The only shooting affair
in which I have ever been engaged in my life occurred on the 5th of December,
11 days before my appointment by the commissioners' court, when the facts were
as notorious as they ever have been since, and therefore could not have been al-
leged by "many good citizens," or by "inembers of the tribunal from which I
received my appointment," as a reason why I should not be commissioned by the
governor. For, if it was a justification of the governor, to whom the laws gave
no discretion in the matter, in refusing the commission, was it not a proper ground
for the tribunal, with whom of course it was entirely discretionary, to have re-
fused to make the appointment? The only other affair to which the governor
could possibly have alluded occurred on the 26th of December, after my first de-
mand for my commission, and after such a delay as amounted to a refusal, and
cannot, therefore, be assigned as the cause of that refusal.
Although I do not now design to go into a defense of what I did upon those
Governor Geary's Administration. 285
occasions, yet I will merely say, that I have never at any time shrunk from a
legal investigation, and am now willing to submit my conduct to the decision of
a jury of my countrymen, conscious that I have only exercised the right of every
freeman to defend his reputation and person, and that I can substantiate this
To the other grossly injurious personal reflection of the governor I have at
this time no reply to make, not regarding myself as accountable to him for my
official or personal conduct: I shall enter into neither explanation or defense. I
shall, however, not have much fear of the judgment of that portion of the public
to which either his excellency John W. Geary or myself are known.
I am, gentlemen, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERRARD.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 22d January, 1857.
S. G. CATO, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, K. T.
Lecompton, K. T., January 24, 1857.
Mr. William T. Sherrard: Sir â€” While I seriously regret that there is any trou-
ble growing out of the appointment by the county court in regard to yourself, I
feel it due both to the parties interested and myself to say, that I have not at any
time associated with any gentleman to request Governor Geary not to commission
you. I have not had an opportunity to examine the message referred to ; there-
fore, I will state in substance what I did say to Governor Geary in a private con-
versation, in presence of Mr. Bennett, of the "Union," as I believe. It was this :
that I seriously regi-etted that you had become involved in those difficulties, as I
believed you qualified for the office, and I hope that the matter could be got
along with amicably yet.
Governor Geary did not intimate to me his intention to re f vise you a commis-
sion. Yours truly, JOHN P. WOOD.
[Council J., 1857, appendix, p. 302.]
Lecompton, January 25, 1857.
J. M. Tuton, Esq.: Sir â€” In a communication of John W. Geary, governor of
this territory, on Wednesday last, to the house of representatives, in reply to a
resolution of that body calling on him to assign his reasons for refusing to com-
mission me as sheriff of this county, he makes, upon the authority of "many
respectable citizens," including the members of the tribunal from which I re-
ceived my appointment, charges grossly reflecting upon my personal character.
The governor further says â€” and in this also appears my implication to in-
clude the members of the county tribunal â€” that, after my appointment, " many
good citizens of this place and Douglas county " had joined in a remonstrance
against his commissioning me.
As you are, and were at the time of my appointment, one of the members of
the tribunal from which I received it, I respectfully request that you will state
whether you have ever made such representations or joined in such remon-
strance. I have addressed a similar note to each of the other members of the
court. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM T. SHERRARD.
[Council Journal, 1857, Apx., p. 301.]
286 Kansas State Historical Society.
Lecompton, K. T., January 25, 1857.
Mr. Sherrard: Sir â€” I received your note of this date. In reply, I have to
say to you, and others, that I have taken no part in the matter. I found, when
the governor first spoke of it, he had made up his mind. I spoke of matters
generally, but officially or otherwise I intended to take no step further, or no
more than gentility required. You mvist excuse this bad writing, for I am sick,
and my hand cramps badly, so that I can do no better.
I remain, yours, etc., J. M. TUTON.
Lecompton, K. T., January .30, 1857.
Mr. R. R. Rees, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary :
Sir â€” I would beg leave to state the following facts in relation to the board of
county commissioners of the county of Douglas : The county was organized by
John P. Wood, judge of probate, and J. W. Banks ; Commissioner G. W. Johnson
not ijresent. Johnson left the territory some time in the summer of 1856, and at
the meeting of the board, either in August or September last. Wood and Banks
declared a vacancy in the board and appointed a Mr. Spicer to fill the vacancy
occasioned by Johnson's leaving the county. At the regular meeting of the
board, on the 3d Monday of October, S. J. Jones, sheriff of Douglas county, ten-
dered his resignation to the board. Wood and Spicer, being present, accepted
his resignation, and ordered the clerk to make the same a matter of record, and
on the same day Wood and Spicer appointed Sherrard to fill the vacancy of sheriff.
At the meeting of the board in December, 1856, Wood and Spicer being present,
and Banks having moved out of the territory, they declared a vacancy in the
board, and appointed Mr. Tuton commissioner to fill the vacancy.
Respectfully yours, &c., JOHN P. WOOD.
[Council Journal, 1857, Apx., p. 302].
[The letter below, from John W. Forman, Esq., of Kansas, will contribute much to the
interest, with which the letter from General Richardson will be read ] :
Lecompton, February 14, 1857.
My Dear Sir : The following is a correct copy of a letter written by General
Richardson, immediately prior to his death, for publication, evidently. The
general died to-day, and, as his colleague and friend, the original letter came into
my possession, which I think it advisable to retain for the use of the general's
family, as it was the last letter ever penned by him.
This voice from the dead should not go unheeded by all thinking men.
By the publication of General Richardson's letter in your paper, with this
â€¢note, if you please, you will but execute the dying wishes of an honorable man,
whose patriotism has never been questioned.
Very truly, your friend,
JOHN W. FORMAN, Member of the Council.
Lecompton, February 10, 1857.
Dear Sir: Lest an unfortunate affair which occurred here on yesterday may
be improperly represented to you, I will undertake to give as correct an account
as I have been able to obtain. I allude to the insult, offered Governor Geary
by W. T. Sherrard.
The governor had visited the council; went from thence to the house of repre-
Governor Gcari/'s Ad in in ist ration. 287
sentatives ; spent some time there, and, when he opened the door leading to the
antechamber. Sherrard was there, awaiting his return, no doubt.
Sherrard cursed him. The governor paid no attention to him, but walked on,
when Sherrard spit on his back as often as twice ; so say the two gentlemen
who were with him at the time. I have no idea that Governor Geary knew the
extent of the insult until the persons who were with him informed him that
Sherrard spit upon him as he passed out.
I feel exceedingly mortified with the house of representatives for not passing
other and different resolutions than those sent you by General Eastin.
The council took a different view of the subject. I introduced a resolution, a
copy of which I herewith inclose you, the first part of which passed unanimously.
The part which directed the sergeant-at-arms to forbid Sherrard to come into
the council chamber we could have passed, but not unanimously. There were
four others besides myself who voted for the entire resolutions.
I am satisfied in my mind, from what I have learned and know, that Sher-
rard would have killed the governor if he had resented the indignity. The
governor was unarmed.
How long is our cause to be placed in jeopardy by irresponsible young men,
who have no interest in this or any other country ? I am satisfied that we have
more to fear from our pretended friends than from ovir open enemies.
" Whereas, John W. Geary, governor of Kansas Territory, has been grossly
insulted, when in the act of leaving the hall of the house of representatives, by
W. T. Sherrard, of Douglas countj' ; therefore,
"Resolved, That the council utterly condemns and discountenances the act
of said Sherrard, and that the sergeant-at-arms be directed not to admit said
Sherrard within the hall of this council during the present session."
I trust such disgraceful scenes may not occur again in this territory. I do
not agree with the governor in everything which he has done, and freely say
that I believe him honest and desirous of doing all the good he can.
Your obedient servant, WM. P. RICHARDSON.
Nathaniel Paschall, Esq., St. Louis, Mo.
[Leavenworth Herald, March 7, 1857.]
THE HAYS CASE.
The concurrent resolutions of Mr. Anderson were taken up :
Resolved, by the House of Representatives of the Territory of Kansas, the
Council concurring therein. That the independence of the judiciary is one of the
main pillars in the temple of American freedom, and any interference in its
functions by a coordinate branch of the government is inconsistent with and
subversive of the fundamental principles of our government, and imminently
perilous to the liberties of the people.
2. That the interference of the executive of the territory of Kansas with the
proceedings of the United States judge, Samuel D. Lecompte, whilst engaged in
the discharge of his judicial functions in the case of Charles Hays, can only be
regarded by right-minded and sober-thinking men as an anti-republican and des-
potic assumption of power, without a parallel in the history of our government,
and must be viewed with the most unqualified censure.
3. That a new era has been installed in the history of our country, when any
judicial officer, to say nothing of so honest, high-minded and capable a functionary
as Hon. Samuel D. Lecompte, late chief justice of the United States court for
288 Kansas State Historical Society.
the territory of Kansas, is removed merely because his judicial decisions are at
variance with the private opinions of the executive of Kansas ; and that it is to
be sincerely regretted that President Pierce, most of whose public acts have been
characterized by wisdom and fairness, should have been led into so serious an
indiscretion as the arbitrary removal of so trustworthy and faithful a judge,
whose only fault was that he dared to preserve the judiciary unsullied from the
encroachments of an usurping executive.
4. That we memorialize the President, as an act demanded by justice and
right, to reinstate Judge Lecompte.
5. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the President of the United
States, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of the United
[House Journal, 1857, 13 Feb.]
Report of the Committee on the Judiciary in relation to objections of Governor
to bill concerning bail, etc.:
The committee on the judiciary, to whom was referred the objections of the
governor to bill entitled "An act to authorize courts and judges to admit to bail
in certain cases," as communicated to the council in his message of the 22d inst.,
beg leave respectfully to report, that we heartily respond to the position of the
message, that the more certain the punishment of crime, the greater will be the
restraint upon the evil passions of wicked men. We freely admit that the im-
punity v/ith which crime has been committed in our unfortunate country has
been the primary cause of most of the offenses that have been committed here,
and we entertain no doubt that, had the early agitators been brought to a prompt
punishment for their defiance of the law, the fearful cloud of civil war would
have never obscured the land of our adoption.
It is certainly true that the most stringent measures should be adopted for the
sure execution of the law; and none are more ready to admit, than your commit-
tee, that the criminal, when once in the hands of the proper authorities, should
be secured until the ends of justice can be attained; whence we are led to inquire
what are the surest means of security ?
But two years since our territory, now settled thickly by the enterprising
farmer, mechanic, and tradesman, was trodden only by the hunter of the forest
and plain. But for the last 12 months the tocsin of alarm has sounded, our
towns have been converted into military posts, and strolling bandits wandered
through the land; and, as a consequence, our county treasuries are empty. No
tribunal has yet been able to erect a jail, and safe confinement is impossible.
Then, shall we turn the criminal at liberty, to go without restraint upon him, or
seek the surest means of holding him to answer for his crimes? A well-secured
recognizance would certainly be better than no restraint. But we are answered
that a guard could hold the culprit. It is yet a grave and mooted question
whether departments of the general government will pay the costs of prosecution
for a violation of our territorial laws; and if they should refuse, with what assur-
ance could we promise payment of expenses, with an empty treasury.
But the message assumes a promise which your committee cannot here admit,
that the bill confers a power which did not hitherto exist; for we assert that it is
but a declaration of what the law has long been known to be. It has been set-
tled by the highest judicial authority of the union, that treason, the crime which
heads the catalogue of crimes, is bailable, and every other crime must as a con-
sequence be bailable, and every lawyer knows that, on indictment for the crime
of murder, it has long been held that, in the sound discretion of a judge, it is
Governor Gearifs Administration. 289
competent to bail. Then it may well be asked, why the necessity of passing
such an act? It is that none may doubt the true construction; that its provi-
sions may be so explicit that all may understand it. It is objected that the bill
does not establish the amount of bail; this would be exceeding hard to do, as
the judge must always, from the peculiarity of the case, determine the charac-
ter of bail, confined within the wholesome provisions of the constitution of the
United States that excessive bail shall never be required; and in the sound dis-
cretion of the judge, it may be well presumed that correct discrimination will be
made between the cases in which the party should be bailed and should not.
We have too much confidence in the independence of the judiciary to suppose
that they will shrink from duty, or yield to corrupting influences. The charge
of laxity and dishonesty of purpose in the courts may have often been the plea
for violation of enacted laws, but this has failed to prove in any instance that the
plea was true.
It is still objected to the bill that the murderer will execute straw bail, or, if
his bail is good, he willingly will forfeit it to save his life. It is presumed that
every judge will take sufficient bail, and if the culprit forfeits it there is some-
thing gained, at least beyond what could be gained by his escape. Your commit-
tee are therefore unable to find in the objections of the governor sufficient reasons
to change the action of the council, and would respectfully recommend the pas-
sage of t?ie bill, the objections of the governor to the contrary notwithstanding.
But while such are the conclusions to which we have been forced, we are grat-
ified to find so firm a determination exhibited in the message to maintain unsul-
lied the sanctity of the laws, in which we pledge to the executive the entire
cooperation of the council.
The suggestions in the message in relation to making bail a lien upon the
estate of the accused, and his securities, we heartily approve, and respectfully rec-
ommend the passage of the accomiaanying bill, entitled "An act regulating bail
in criminal cases."
And your committee would also recommend that the committee of ways and
means be instructed to report on the most sure and early means of procuring
prisons in this territory for the security of criminals, and the propriety of taking
steps at this session for the location and erection of a penitentiary.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
[C. J. 1857, Apx., p. 304.] R. R. REES, Chairman.
290 Kansas State Historical Society.
GOVERNOR WALKER'S ADMINISTRATION.
[The papers which here follow are of dates subsequent to the end of Governor Geary's term
of service, mainly within the administrations of Governor Walker, Acting Governor Stanton
and Acting Governor Woodson. A part are gathered from various sources, and are here given
in the order of date. But the principal portion are obtained from the manuscript archives in
the office of the secretary of state, at Washington. These last-named papers are published in
the order of dates in which they were there found. ]
GOVERNOR WALKER'S ACCEPTANCE.
LETTER OF HON. ROBT. J. WALKER.
Washington, March 26, 1857.
Dear Sir : I have at your request, reconsidered my determination as announced
to you, declining your tender of the office of governor of the territory of Kansas.
In view of the opinion novp presented by you, that the safety of the union may
depend upon the selection of the individual to whom shall be assigned the task
of settling the difficulties which again surround the Kansas question, I have
concluded that a solemn sense of duty to my country requires me to accept this
position. I am brought to this conclusion by an unaffected diffidence in my own
ability, but with a fervent hope that the same overruling providence which has
carried my beloved country through so many perils will now attend and direct
my humble efforts for her welfare, and that my course will not be prejudged by
any portion of my fellow citizens, in or out of Kansas.
I understand that you and all your cabinet cordially concur in the opinion
expressed by me, that the actual bona fide residents of the territory of Kansas,
by a fair and regular vote, unaffected by fraud or violence, must be permitted, in
adopting their state constitution, to decide for themselves what shall be their
social institutions. This is the great fundamental principle of the act of Congress
organizing that territory, affirmed by the supreme court of the United States,
and is in accordance with the views uniformly expressed by me throughout my
public career. I contemplate a peaceful settlement of this question by an appeal
to the intelligence and patriotism of the whole people of Kansas, who should all
participate, freely and fully, in this decision, and by a majority of whose votes
the determination must be made, as the only proper and constitutional mode of
I contemplate no appeal to military power, in the hope that my countrymen
of Kansas from every section will submit to a decision of this matter by a full
and fair vote of the majority of the people of that territory. If this decision
cannot thv^s be made, I see nothing in the future for Kansas but civil war, ex-
tending its baleful influence throughout the country, and subjecting the union
itself to imminent hazard.
I will go, then, and endeavor to adjust these difficulties, in the full con-
fidence, so strongly expressed by you, that I will be sustained by all your own
high authority, with the cordial cooperation of all your cabinet.
\s it will be impossible for me to leave for Kansas before the second Monday
of May next, I would desire my appointment to take effect from that date.
Very respectfully, your friend, R. J. WALKER.
James Buchanan, President of the United States.
[ Herald of Freedom, April 18, 1857.]
Governor Walker- s Administration. 291
ADDRESS OF GOVERNOR WALKER AT TOPEKA.
Delivered at a mass meeting, Saturday, June 6, 1857, at which Col. C. K. Holliday
Fellow Citizens: Upon the invitation of the citizens of Topeka and vicmity,
I rise to commune with you in regard to those most important interests which
are connected with the administration of affairs in the territory of Kansas.
At the earnest request of the President of the United States, I consented
to come here and occupy the position of governor. I do not come among you
as a volunteer. I have not sought this position. On the contrary, I have ac-
cepted it, 1 am free to say, with great diffidence, growing out of the convic-
tion, impressed upon the minds of the chief magistrate of the union and all
his cabinet, that the peace, not only of this beautiful territory of yours, but
thai of the whole union, depended upon the settlement of these difficult and
exciting questions, which have heretofore introduced civil war and discord
throughout your borders.
When, therefore, the matter was presented to me in that light by the
President of the United States and his cabinet, I felt called on, notwithstand-
ing my deep sense of the responsibility I was required to assume, to with-
draw my declination of this office, and accept the proffered trust. I am now
here this day, then, fellow citizens, to address you upon those grave and mo-
mpntous questions which concern so much, not only your own peace and pros-
perity, but that of the whole union.
And here permit me to say, that it has been my lot to have traveled through
every state in this union except California, and I must say that I have never
seen, anywhere, any region for which God has done so much as the territory
of Kansas. [Cheers.] All that you want is peace, and the recognition of the
principle that the people of Kansas alone can rule here, and its exercise in
connection with all the great questions which have disturbed the quiet and
harmony of this territory, in order to make, not only the town of Topeka one
of the most prosperous of the territory and the union, but to make Kansas, at
the proper period, a sovereign state, and one of the most important and
flouriahing of the whole confederacy.
Now, gentlemen, this is a practical question, and I take it that you are
praetirai men; that you do not look to theories, but to facts and results; and
that you dfcsire to ascertain what is the best mode in which a peaceful adjust-
ment of these most deplorable difficulties can be effected.
On this subject, gentlemen, I desire to read you a few extracts from my
inaugural address, just published in this territory, together with my instruc-
tions Irom the President of the United States, pointing out the mode in which
tlie cliief magistrate of the union, just elected to that high position by the
whole Ajnerican people, as well as his cabinet, and the humble individual
who now addressee- you, believe these questions can be peacefully settled; and
settled, not by a party, whether it be for or against slavery, but by the whole
people of the territory of Kansas, who, as is their sovereign right, by that great
principle which lies at the foundation of all our institutions, shall determine,
by an actual majority of the votes of all her people what shall be their own
constitution and their own social institutions.
i speak not now in regard to the past, or any registry of votes, but I speak
as^ riigardt, the future. My doctrine is this: That in the future, when the con-
stitution f hall be submitted to the vote of the citizens of Kansas, that it shall
be submitted to the vote of the whole people. I do not mean those who are
nov,' legisiered under the territorial law; I do not mean those who were resid-
292 Kansas State Historical Society.
ins here on the 15th of March last: but I mean the whole people of Kansas,
not only those who are here now, but those who will be here next fall as ac-
tual residents â€” that they, the people over whom these institutions are to oper-