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At last, in the latter days of November, 1855, a storm, long gathering, burst upon the heads of the devoted people. The ballot-boxes, had been violated, and a Legislature installed, which proceeded to carry out the conspiracy of the invaders; but the good people of the Territory, born to Freedom, and educated as American citizens, showed no signs of submission. Slavery, though recognized by pretended law, was in many places practically an outlaw. To the lawless borderers this was hard to bear; and, like the heathen of old, they raged, particularly against the town of Lawrence, already known, by the firmness of its [277] principles and the character of its citizens, as citadel of the good cause. On this account they threatened, in their peculiar language, to ‘wipe it out.’ Soon the hostile power was gathered for this purpose. The wickedness of this invasion was enhanced by the way in which it began. A citizen of Kansas, by the name of Dow, was murdered by a partisan of Slavery, in the name of ‘law and order.’ Such an outrage naturally aroused indignation and provoked threats. The professors of ‘law and order’ allowed the murderer to escape, and, still further to illustrate the irony of the name they assumed, seized the friend of the murdered man, whose few neighbors soon rallied for his rescue. This transaction, though totally disregarded in its chief front of wickedness, became the excuse for unprecedented excitement. The weak Governor, with no faculty higher than servility to Slavery,—whom the President, in official delinquency, had appointed to a trust worthy only of a well-balanced character,—was frightened from his propriety. By proclamation he invoked the Territory. By telegraph he invoked the President. The Territory would not respond to his senseless appeal. The President was false. But the proclamation was circulated throughout the border counties of Missouri; and Platte, Clay, Carroll, Saline, Howard, and Jackson, each of them, contributed a volunteer company, recruited from the roadsides, and armed with weapons which chance afforded, known as ‘the shot-gun militia,’—with a Missouri officer as commissary-general, dispensing rations, and another Missouri officer as general-in-chief,—with two wagon-loads of rifles, belonging to Missouri, drawn by six mules, from its arsenal at Jefferson City,—with seven pieces of cannon, belonging to the United States, from its arsenal at Liberty; and this formidable force, amounting to at least 1,800 men, terrible with threats, oaths, and whiskey, crossed the borders, and encamped in larger part on the Wakarusa, over against the doomed town of Lawrence, now threatened with destruction. With these invaders was the Governor, who by this act levied war upon the people he was sent to protect. In camp with him was the original Catiline of the conspiracy, while by his side were the docile Chief-Justice and the docile Judges. But this is not the first instance in which an unjust governor has found tools where he ought to have found justice. In the great impeachment of Warren Hastings, the British orator by whom it was conducted exclaims, in words strictly applicable to the misdeed I here denounce: ‘Had he not the Chief-Justice, the tamed and domesticated Chief-Justice, who waited on him like a familiar spirit?’ Thus was this invasion countenanced by those who should have stood in the [278] breach against it. For more than a week it continued, while deadly conflict was imminent. I do not dwell on the heroism by which it was encountered, or the mean retreat to which it was compelled; for that is not necessary in exhibiting the Crime which you are to judge. But I cannot forbear to add other features, furnished in a letter written at the time by a clergyman, who saw and was part of what he describes.

Our citizens have been shot at, and in two instances murdered, our houses invaded, hay-ricks burnt, corn and other provisions plundered, cattle driven off, all communication cut off between us and the States, wagons on the way to us with provisions stopped and plundered, and the drivers taken prisoners, and we in hourly expectation of an attack. Nearly every man has been in arms in the village. Fortifications have been thrown up, by incessant labor night and day. The sound of the drum and the tramp of armed men resounded through our streets, families fleeing with their household goods for safety. Day before yesterday the report of cannon was heard at our house, from the direction of Lecompton. Last Thursday one of our neighbors,—one of the most peaceable and excellent of men, from Ohio,—on his way home, was set upon by a gang of twelve men on horseback, and shot down. Over eight hundred men are gathered under arms at Lawrence. As yet no act of violence has been perpetrated by those on our side. No blood of retaliation stains our hands. We stand, and are ready to act, purely in the defence of our homes and lives.

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