any denial of the right of persons to hold slaves in this Territory, such person shall be deemed guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at hard labor for a term of not less than two years.
Sec. 13. No person who is conscientiously opposed to holding slaves, or who does not admit the right to hold slaves in this Territory, shall sit as a juror on the trial of any prosecution for any violation of any of the sections of this act.
Another act of this remarkable Legislature, entitled “An act to punish persons decoying slaves from their masters,” has this unique provision:
Sec. 3. If any person shall entice, decoy, or carry away, out of any State or other Territory of the United States, any slave belonging to another, with intent to procure or effect the freedom of such slave, or to deprive the owner thereof of the services of such slave, and shall bring such slave into this Territory, he shall be adjudged guilty of grand larceny, in the same manner as if such slave had been enticed, decoyed, or carried away, out of this Territory; and in such case the larceny may be charged to have been committed in any county of this Territory, into or through which such slave shall have been brought by such person, and, on conviction thereof, the person offending shall suffer death.
This Legislature, whose acts were systematically vetoed by Gov. Reeder
, but passed over his head, memorialized the President
for his removal, which was, in due time, effected.
, was appointed in his stead.
On his way to Kansas
, he stopped at Westport, Mo.
, the headquarters of border ruffianism, and made a speech to those who crowded about him. In that speech, he declared that he considered the Legislature which had recently adjourned to Shawnee Mission a legal assembly, and regarded its laws as binding on the authorities and on every citizen of the Territory
To one subject, however, he would allude-Slavery.
His official life and character were not unknown to a portion, at least, of the citizens of Kansas.
He had no intention of changing his political faith.
He thought, with reference to Slavery, that, as Missouri and Kansas were adjoining States,--as much of that immense trade up the Missouri, which was already rivaling the commerce between the United States and some foreign countries, must necessarily lead to a great trade and perpetual intercourse between them,--it would be well if their institutions should harmonize; otherwise, there would be continual quarrels and border feuds.
He was for Slavery in Kansas (loud cheers).
The actual settlers of Kansas
were little disposed to submit to the impudent and hostile usurpation which had seized their ballot-boxes and imposed on them a fraudulent Legislature.
They held a mass convention at Big Springs
on the 5th of September, wherein they repudiated the laws and officers imposed on Kansas
by the Border-Ruffian election and Legislature, and refused to submit to them.
They further resolved not to vote at the election for a Delegate to Congress, which the bogus Legislature had appointed to be held on the 1st of October.
They called a Delegate Convention to be held at Topeka
on the 19th of that month, whereat an Executive Committee for Kansas Territory
was appointed, and an election for Delegate to Congress appointed for the second Tuesday in October. Gov. Reeder
was nominated for Delegate.
So, two rival elections for Delegate were held on different days, at one of which Whitfield
(pro-Slavery), and at the other Reeder
(Free-Soil), was chosen Delegate to Congress.
And, on the 23d of October, a Constitutional Convention, chosen by the settlers under the Free-State
organization aforesaid, assembled at Topeka