William Elsey Connelley.

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Ci^lNt^Al-OGY COL-L-EL^Tlv-^N


A Standard History


Kansas and Kansans



Secretary- of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka






Copyright 1918


The Lewis Publishing Company





^' The testimony of Eli Thayer and others before the Congressional

Investigating Committee put the Emigrant Aid Company in its proper

light. The people of Kansas had known from the first that the Com-

^ pany has assumed a position of duplicity, but it took the published

. ' words of Thayer under oath to undeceive the whole people of the North.
By the month of June, 1856, the people generally had come to know
that the New England Emigrant Aid Company was accomplishing noth-
ing in the crises of Kansas affairs. They saw plainly that the depend-
ence first placed on that company had been entirely misplaced. It was
doing nothing to forward the Free-State cause, but was engaged in
securing lots in the towns being laid out in the Territory. It was appar-
ent that help would have to be sought in another quarter. It was also
seen that the Free-State men were insufficiently armed, and that the
aid to be rendered must include guns and ammunition. There was no
lack of men and none whatever of spirit and determination.

Early in the year of 1856, the Missourians considered a blockade on
the Missouri River. Cannon were placed at various points to command
steamboats bringing emigrants to Kansas. Many boats were stopped
and searched. By July the Border-Ruffians were turning back com-
panies of Free-State men. An Illinois company was forced aboard the
boat at Leavenworth and compelled to return, as we shall see.

By direction of the Free-State Legislature and Constitutional Con-
vention, James H. Lane had gone to Washington in March to present the
Topeka Constitution to Congress, and endeavor to have Kansas admit-
ted as a State. He was also instructed to make a tour of the North in the
interest of Kansas. We have seen that his presentation of the Consti-
tution led to no definite results. His appeal to the North had a far dif-
ferent effect. He addressed monster meetings in many Northern states.
He kindled in all of them an enthusiasm for a free Kansas. The out-
rages of the Border-Ruffians furnished him new incidents every day.
The sacking of Lawrence was told as only Lane could tell it. Wherever
he spoke, the people organized to send substantial aid to Kansas. Other
Kansans were touring the North, and they rendered the country val-
uable service, but Lane was supreme, unapproachable in this campaign.
His oratory reached its greatest height when Bleeding Kansas was his


theme. His hearers were led up and up to frenzy. They threw their
money into the coffers of committees which were organized to battle for
freedom on the Kansas plains. The movement which followed Lane's
efforts became a resistless tide, sweeping men and arms into the Terri-
tory to rescue Liberty and hurl back the hordes of slavery.

The meeting at Chicago was perhaps the greatest ever held in the
interest of Kansas. It was on Saturday evening, May 31, 1856. Law-
rence had been sacked ten days before. There was an immense crowd
in the square about the Court House. Hon. Norman Judd was Chair-
man of the meeting. His speech on taking the chair was able and elo-
quent. He was followed by Francis A. Hoffman. Then J. C. Vaughan
reviewed the conditions in Kansas and offered these resolutions:

Resolved, That the people of Illinois will aid the Freedom of Kansas.

Resolved, That they will send a colony of 500 actual settlers to that
Territory, and provision them for one year.

Resolved, That these settlers will invade no man's riglits, but will
maintain their own.

Resolved, That we recommend the adoption of a similar policy to the
people of all the States of the Union, ready and willing to aid ; and also,
a thorough concert and co-operation among them, through committees of
correspondence, on this subject.

Resolved, That an Executive Committee of seven, viz., J. C. Vaughan,
Mark Skinner, George W. Dole, I. N. Arnold, N. B. Judd and E. I.
Tinkham, be appointed with full powers to carry into execution these

Resolved, That Tuthill King, R. M. Hough, C. B. Waite, J. H. Dun-
ham, Dr. Gibbs, J. T. Ryei-son and W. B. Egan, be a finance committee
to raise and distribute material aid.

They were adopted with great enthusiasm and long continued
applause. Hon. W. B. Eagan addressed the meeting. He appealed to
his Irish fellow-citizens to stand for Kansas. At the conclusion of his
remarks the audience was in a state of excitement. The Chairman then
introduced Gen. James H. Lane, of Kansas. It is to be regretted that his
speech has not been preserved entire. It was one of his greatest efforts,
equaled only by that which made sure the second nomination of Abra-
ham Lincoln. The account compiled for the Andreas History of Kan-
sas is the best wliich has been prepared of this meeting, and is here
given :

The President then introduced Col. James H. Lane, of Kansas. As he
rose up and came forward, he was greeted with an outburst of applause
from the crowd that continiied for some minutes, during wliich time he
stood statue-like, with mouth firm set, gazing with those wondrous eyes
down into the very heart of the excited throng. Before the applause had
subsided sufficiently for his voice to l)e heard, the fascinating spell of his
presence had already seized upon the whole vast audience, and for the
next hour, he controlled its every emotion — moving to tears, to anger,
to laughter, to scorn, to the wildest enthusiasm, at his will. No man of
his time possessed such magnetic power over a vast miscellaneous assem-
bly of men as he. With two possible exceptions (Patrick Henrj- and
S. S. Prentiss), no American orator ever equaled him in effective stump-
speaking, or in the irresistible power by which he held his audiences in
absolute control. On that night he was at his best. It was doubtless the
ablest and most effective oratorical effort of his life. No full report of it


was given at the time. One of the hundreds of young men made Kansas-
crazy by the speech, and wlio forthwitli left all and followed him to
Kansas, thus wrote of it twentj^ years after:

"He was fresh from the scenes of dispute in the belligerent Territory.
He made a characteristic speech, teeming with invective, extravagance,
impetuosit}', denunciation and eloquence. The gi-ass on the prairie is
swayed no more easily by the winds than was this vast assemblage by the
utterances of this speaker. They, saw the contending factions in the
Territory through his glasses. The Pro-slavery party appeared like
demons and assassins; the Free-state party like heroes and martyrs. He
infused them with his warlike spirit and enthusiastic ardor for the prac-
tical champions of freedom. Their response to his appeals for succor for
the struggling freemen was immediate and decisive."

It is doi;btful if the writer of the above, or any other of the ten thou-
sand hearei-s of that night, can recall a single sentence of his speech.
The emotions aroused were so overwhelming as to entirely obliterate
from memory the spoken words. A few broken extracts are preserved
below. He began :

"I have been sent by the people of Kansas to plead their cause before
the people of the North. Most persons have a very erroneous idea of the
people of Kansas. They think they are mostly from Massachusetts. They
are really more than nine-tenths from the Northwestern States. There
are more men from Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, than from all New
England and New York combined."

Speaking of the President, he said :

' ' Of Franklin Pierce I have a right to talk as I please, having made
more than one hundred speeches advocating his election, and having also,
as one of the electors of Indiana, cast the electoral vote of that State for
him. Frank was, in part, the creature of my own hands; and a pretty
job they made of it. The one pre-eminent wish of mine now is that
Frank may be hurled from the White House ; and that the nine memorials
sent him from the outraged citizens of Kansas detailing their wrongs,
may be dragged out of his iron box."

Of the climate of Kansas, he said :

■'Kansas is the Italy of America. The corn and the vine grow there
so gloriously that they seem to be glad and to thank the farmei's for
planting them. It is a climate like that of Illinois, but milder. Invalids
instead of going to Italy, when the country became known, would go to
Kansas, to gather new life beneath its fair sky and from its balmy airs.
The wild grapes of Kansas are as large and luscious as those that grow
in the vineyards of Southern France."

He alluded to Col. W. H. Bissell, then the Republican candidate for
Governor of Illinois, as follows:

"It is true I was side by side with your gallant and noble Bissell at
Buena Vista and in Congress. I wish I could describe to you the scene
on the morning preceding that glorious battle. On a ridge stood Clay,
Bissell, McKee, Hardin and myself. Before us were twenty thousand
armed enemies. It was a beautiful morning, and the sun shone bright
upon the polished lances and muskets of the enemy, and their banners
waved proudly in the bi'eeze. In our rear the lofty mountains reached
skyward, and their ba.ses swarmed with enemies ready to rob the dead
and murder the wounded when the battle was over. Around us stood
five ragged regiments of volunteers, two from Illinois, two from Indiana,
and one from Kentucky; they were bone of your" bone, blood of your
blood, and it was only when you were near enough to look into their eyes

that you could see the d 1 was in them. It did not then occur to me

that I should be indicted for treason because I loved liberty better than


He then frave a warm and glowiiio; tribute to Col. Bissell, his brother-

Tiien followed a most vivid and awful narrative of the outrages
perpetrated upon the Free States' men by the ^lissouri rutifians; so vivid
that the Osawatomie murders seemed but unmerited retaliation, and
most sweet revenge to his exeited hearers.

"The Missouriaus, [said he], poured over the border in thousands,
with bowie knives in their boots, their belts bristling with revolvers, their
guns upon their shoulders, and three gallons of whisky per vote in their
wagons. When asked where they came from, their reply w^as, 'From
^lissouri:' when a.sked, 'What are you hei'e for?' their reply was, 'Come
to vote.' If any one should go there and attempt to deny these things,
or apologize for them, the Missouriaus would spit upon him. They claim
to own Kansas, to have a right to vote there and to make its laws, and
to say what its institutions shall be."

Colonel Lane held up the volume of the Statutes of Kansas, then pro-
ceeded to read from it, commenting as he read :

' ' The Legislature first passed acts virtually repealing the larger por-
tion of the Constitution of the United States, and then repealed, as
coolly as one would take a chew of tobaeco, provisions of the Kansas-
Nebraska Bill. Of this bill I have a right to speak — God forgive me for
so enormous and dreadful a political sin — I voted for the bill. I thought
the people were to have the right to form their own institutions, and
went to Kansas to organize the Democratic party there, and make the
State Demoeratic, but the Missouri invaders poured in — the ballot boxes
were desecrated — the bogus Legislature was elected by armed mobs —
you know the rest. .

' ' The Pro-.slavery fragment of the Democratic party talk much about
Know-nothingism. It is their song day and night. Well, these Kansas
law^-makei's have gone to work and repealed at once the clause in the
Nebraska Bill, that gave the right to vote to foreigners in Kansas on
declaring their intention to become citizens, and made it requisite for
them to have lived in the Territory five years, and to take the final oath ;
and at the same time, they made all Indians who adopted the habits of
white men. voters at once. And what was the distinguishing habit of
whitf men ? AVhy, it was understood to be drinking whisky. All that
was necessary to naturalize a Kansas Indian was to get him drunk.
What Know-nothing lodge ever went so far in their nativisin as this? —
made foreigners in the Territorv wait five years to become citizens,
and enfranchising the drunken, thieving Indians at once, one and all !

"The Pro-slavery fragment of the Democrati(r party also delights in
the term 'nigger woi'shiper,' to designate Free-state men. I will .show
you that these Pro-slavery men are of all nigger worshipei-s the most
abject. According to the Kansas code (Col. Lane read from the book,
giving page and section), if a person kidnaped a white child, the utmost
penalty is six months in jail — if a nigger baby, the penalty is death.
Who worships niggers, and slave nigger babies at that? To kidnap a
white child into slavery — six moiitlis in jail — to kidnap a nigger into
freedom — Death !"

lie concluded his scathing review of the infamous code as follows:

"Is there an lllinoisan who says enforce these monstrous iniquities
called laws? — show me the man. The people of Kansas never will obey
them. They are being l)utehered, and one ami all will die first! As for
myself, I am going back to Kansas, where there is an" indictment pending
against me for high treason. Were the rope about my neck, I would say
that as to the Kansas code it shall not be enforced — never! — Nevkr!"

Following, he argued, elaborately and conclusively, the right of Kan-
sas to come into the I'nion as a Free State "now." lie closed his speech


with a detailed account of the murders and outi-ages perpetrated upon
the Free-state settlers, given with a masterly power of tragic delineation
which brought each particular horroi", blood-red and distinct, before the
eyes of the excited throng. He knew of fourteen cases of tar and feather-
ing — "the most awful and humiliating outrage ever inflicted on man."
He told of Dow, shot dead while holding up his hands as a sign of his
defenselessness ; lying, like a dead dog, in the road all the long day, until
in the evening his friends found his body, dabbled in liis life blood, and
bore it away; Barbei-, unarmed, shot on the highway, brought dead to
LawTence, where his frantic wife, a childless widow, 'mid shrieks of
anguish, kissed the pallid lips that to her were silent evermore — Brown,
stabbed, pounded, hacked with a hatchet, bleeding and dying, kicked
into the presence of his wife, where in agony he breathed out his life —
she, now a maniac, — a voice from the crowd called : "Who was Bi-ownV"
Lane continued:

"Brown was as gallant a spirit as ever went to his God! And a
Democrat at that — not one of the Pro-slavery fragment, though. For
the blood of free men shed on the soil of Kansas — for the blood now
flowing in the streets of Lawrence — for everj- drop which has been shed
since the people asked to be admitted as a State, the Administration is
responsible. Before God and this people I arraign Frank Pierce as a

' ' In conclusion I have only this to say : The people of Kansas have
undying faith in the justice of their cause — in the eternal life of the
truths maintained — and they ask the people of Illinois to do for them
that which seems to them just."

The Chicago Tribune, in its report of the meeting, June 2, says:

"We regret we can only give a meager outline of the eloquent and
telling effort of Col. Lane. He was listened to with the deepest interest
and attention by the vast throng, and as he detailed the series of infamous
outrages inflicted upon the freemen of Kansas, the people were breath-
less with mortification and anger, or wild with enthusiasm to avenge
those wrongs. During Col. Lane's address, he was often interrupted by
the wildest applause, or by deep groans for Pierce, Douglas, Atchison,
and the dough-faces and ruffians who had oppressed Kansas, and by
cheers for Sumner, Robinson, and otlier noble men who have dared and
suffered for liberty.

"Language is inadequate to give the reader a conception of the
effect of the recital of that tale of woe which men from Kansas had to tell ;
the flashing eyes, the rigid muscles, and the frowning brows told a storj-
to the looker on that types cannot repeat. Prom the fact that the
immense crowd kept their feet from 8 till 12 o'clock, that even then they
were unwilling the speakei-s should cease, or that the contributions should
stop: from the fact that working men, who have only the wages of the
day for the purchase of the day's bread, emptied the contents of their
pockets into the general fund ; that sailors threw in their earnings ; that
widows sent up their savings; that boys contributed their pence; that
those who had no money gave what they had to spare ; that those who had
nothing to give offered to go as settlers and do their duty to Freedom
on that now consecrated soil ; that eveiy bold declaration for liberty,
every allusion to the revolution of '76, and to the possibility that the
battles of that period were to be fought over again in Kansas were
received as those things most to be desired — something of the tone and
temper of the meeting may be imagined.

"The effect of the nieotincr will be felt in deeds. Be the conseiiuenees
what thov mav. the men of Illinois are resolved to act.


"Take it with its attending circumstances — the shortness of the
notice, the character of the assembled aiiiltitude, and the work which was
accomplislied — it was the most remarkable meeting ever held in the State.
We believe it will inaugurate a new era in Illinois. We believe it is the
precursor of the liberation of Kansas from the hand of the oppressor,
and of an all-pervading political revolution at home.

"About half past 12, Sunday having come, the meeting unwillingly
adjourned, and the crowd reluctantly went home. At a later hour, the
Star Spangled Banner and the Marseillaise, sung by bands of men whose
hearts were full of the spirit of these magnificent hymns, were the only
evidences of the event that we have endeavored to describe."

The subscriptions in money, given by upward of two hundred differ-
ent persons and firms, in sums ranging in amount from .$500 down to
10 cents — the latter sum being given by a boy, all he had — amounted to
over $15,000. In addition were given the following utensils and supplies,
for the use and comfort of the emigrants. The names of the donors and
explanatory notes are given as reported :

F. R. Gardiner, six rifles, three with double barrels, sure at each pop.
Major Van Horn, one sixteen-shooter.

C. W. Davenport, one six-shooter, and ten pounds of balls.
An editor and a lawyer, four Sharpe's rifles and themselves.

D. G. Park, one can of dry powder.
C. H. 'NATiitney, one revolver.

J. M. Isaacks, one Sharpe's rifle.

G. M. Jerome, Iowa City, one rifle.
A. S. Clarke, one Sharpe 's rifle.

J. A. Barnej', one rifle.

H. A. Blakesley, one rifle.

W. H. Clark, one double-barreled rifle and $10.

J. A. Graves, one Sharpe's rifle.

Frank Hanson, one double-barreled gun and $25.

A. German, one pair of pistols.

J. H. Hughes, one Colt's revolver.

F. M. Chapman, one horse.

Urhlaub & Sattler, three revolvei's.

This meeting, although not the first of a like character held in the
Northwest during that spring, \vas remarkable as being the first great
outburst of enthusiasm, which, breaking local bounds, spread to every
town and hamlet from the Mississippi to the Atlantic coast. It was the
"little cloud no larger than a man's hand" which forthwith spread over
the whole heavens, and out of it came mouey, and arms, and ammunition,
and a ceaseless tide of emigrants and troops of armed men — all setting
Kansasward. Out of it came "Lane's Army of the North," in the
imagination of tbe friglitened Pro-slavery Kansans and Missourians, "a
mighty host terrible with banners," coming, in uncertain but irresistible
force, by a route indefinitely defined as from the north, to .sweep as with
the besom of destruction, the Territory cleaii of the Territorial laws
and every man who had advocated their enforcement. The army proved
neither so numerous in numbers nor so terrible in its vengeful visita-
tions on the Pro-Slaverj' settlers, as to justify their fearful appre-
hensions : nevertheless, its heralded approach inspired the Free-State
settlers with renewed courage, opened a new path of immigi-ation into
the Territory, and proved one of the many great moral forces which
brought victory and peace at last.

The tide of emigration, moving by the inspiration of the spirit born
at the Chicago meeting from all parts of the North, was met and tem-
porarily stayed on the j\Tissouri River. A part, turning to the route of


the "Army of the North,'" entered the Territory through Iowa and
Nebraska, while many, the numbers increasing from month to month,
waited at different points near the eastern border until the obstructions
had disappeared, and then poured into the Territory in such over-
whelming numbers as to assure the State to freedom evermore.

A committee was appointed by this meeting to arm and outfit a
company to go at once to Kansas. Some time before a party from
McLeau County, Illinois, had been turned back by the Missourians.
W. F. JM. Arny was the leader of this company. He sought the co-op-
eration of the Chicago Committee. What work he had done was utilized
b.v the larger committee, and the two organizations became one. The
work wa.s extended over the State of Illinois, and adjoining states, but
the Executive Committee had its oiBce in Chicago. Organizations were
formed all over the North to help Kansas in the struggle with the slave
power. On the 10th of Jul}-, there was a meeting at Buffalo, New York,
to consolidate all these local bodies into a National organization, to be
directed by one head. Governor Reeder presided at this meeting. It
was determined to open a road through Iowa and Nebraska to enable
emigrants to come to Kansas without being obliged to pass through
ilissouri. This step was most necessary, as the blockade of the ilis-
souri River was at that time complete. Some of the committees had
urged the forcing of the river, and in that manner raise the blockade.
It was believed, however, that .such a course would prove impracticable.
Lane had advocated the route through Iowa even before it M-as known
that the Missouri River would be blockaded by the Missourians, say-
ing that Free-State emigrants to Kansas ought not to be compelled to
pass through hostile territory where they were insulted, maltreated
and sometimes mobbed. The route through Iowa was recommended
liy this meeting. The National Kansas Committee was organized, com-
posed of the following members: George R. Russell, Boston; W. H.
Russell, New Haven ; Thaddeus Hyatt, New York ; N. B. Craige, Pitts-
})urgh; John W. Wright, Logansport; Abraham Lincoln. Springfield;
E. B. Ward, Detroit; J. H. Tweedy, IMilwaukee; W. H. Hoppin, Provi-
dence; W. H. Stanley, Cleveland; F. A. Hunt, St. Louis; S. W. Eld-
ridge, Lawrence ; G. W. Dole, J. D. Webster, H. B. Hurd, J. Y. Seammon,
and I. N. Arnold, Chicago.

An Executive Committee was selected consisting of J. D. Webster,
Chairman; George W. Dole, Treasurer; and H. B. Hurd, Secretary.
The object of the committee was explained in this sentence. — "To re-
ceive, forward, and distribute the contributions of the people, whether
provisions, arms or clothing, to the needy in Kansas." This committee
did a great work. In fact it was one of the principal factors in the
immediate triumph of the Free-State men in Kansas. It was in exist-
ence six months. During that time it distributed about $120,000 ill
money. In addition to this it forwarded to Kansas large quantities of
arms and ammunition. It also sent food and clothing. It took clinrge


of the contributions of other societies in the North and forwarded
them to the particular localities in Kansas for which they were designed.
Of the $120,000 disbursed by the Executive Committee, $10,000 went
for the purchase of arms and ammunition. It is estimated that the
value of the total shipments of the Executive Committee into Kansas

Online LibraryWilliam Elsey ConnelleyA standard history of Kansas and Kansans (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 68)