, resulting from the efforts of her Missouri
neighbors to force Slavery upon her against her will, necessarily attracted the early attention of Mr. Buchanan
John W. Geary
— the third or fourth of her Territorial Governors — had recently resigned and left in disgust, and the selection of a successor was an obvious and urgent duty.
The President's choice fell on Hon. Robert J. Walker
, formerly Senator
, and Secretary of the Treasury
under President Polk
, who accepted the post with considerable reluctance.
Frederick P. Stanton
, for ten years a representative in Congress from Tennessee
, was associated with him as Secretary
Meantime, the double-headed action in Kansas
proceeding, an immense majority of the settlers, though prevented by Federal force from effecting such an organization as they desired, utterly refused to recognize the Legislature chosen by the Missouri
invaders, or the officers thereby appointed: consequently, each party held its own conventions and elections independent of the other.
The pro-Slavery Legislature called a Constitutional Convention in 1857, which met at Lecompton
on the first Monday of September.
That Convention proceeded, of course, to form a pro-Slavery Constitution, which they pretended to submit to the people at an election held on the 21st of December following.
But at this remarkable election, held expressly to ratify or reject a State Constitution, no one was allowed to vote against that Constitution.
The vote was to be taken “For the Constitution with
Slavery” or “For the Constitution without
Slavery” --no others to be allowed or counted.
It was accordingly so taken, and the following was the return:
|For the Constitution with Slavery||6,266.|
|For the Constitution without Slavery||567.|
So the Constitution with
Slavery was adopted.
But, meantime, an election had been held, on the first Monday in October, for a Territorial Legislature under the bogus laws; and at this election most of the Free-State
men, trusting to the assurances of Gov. Walker
, had voted.
Over 11,000 votes were polled, of which 1,600 were taken at a little precinct known as Oxford
, on the Missouri
border, where there were but 43 voters; and 1,200 were returned from McGee County
, where no poll was opened.
But, notwithstanding these enormous frauds, the Free-State
preponderance was so decided that it carried the Legislature and elected a delegate to Congress.
This Legislature, whose legality was now unquestioned, passed an act submitting the Lecompton Constitution
to a vote of the people for or against it, on the 4th of January, 1858.
This Constitution provided that “the rights of property in slaves now in the Territory
shall in no manner be interfered with,” and precluded any amendment prior to the year 1864; after which, amendments could be made with the concurrence of both houses of the legislature, and a majority of all the citizens of the State
Thus, while the people had not been allowed to vote against
, their seeming privilege of voting for
it without Slavery was a delusion.
In any case, Slavery was to have been protected and perpetuated.
But, at the election authorized by the new Legislature, which the Missourians did not choose