companies of slaveholders to the territory, and for excluding from it all persons opposed to slavery; and the plotting extended to the cotton States of the South
Public meetings were held, in which it was proclaimed that Kansas
was already slave territory, and that antislavery colonists would not be allowed in it. The free States were equally awake to the issue.
While the Kansas
bill was pending, the plan of assisted emigration to the territory had taken form in Massachusetts
; and at the instance of Eli Thayer
, of Worcester
, a charter was granted by the Legislature to a company to be organized for the purpose.
Though it was not availed of at the time on account of inconvenient provisions, a voluntary association with able managers immediately took charge of the work.
Under their auspices a few colonies arrived in the territory in 1854, the first reaching there at the beginning of August, and the second early in September, and founding Lawrence
, a town afterwards so celebrated.
During the next spring the ‘New England
Emigrant Aid Company,’ formed under a Massachusetts charter, succeeded to the conduct of the enterprise.
Its chief functions were to supply information, cheapen transportation, and set up saw-mills and flour-mills in the territory.
This legitimate enterprise, which sent to the territory in all not more than fifteen hundred emigrants (the first party arriving in March, 1855), encountered the fierce hostility of the proslavery party, which saw slipping from its hands the prize they had thought secure.
They now determined to establish slavery in Kansas
by force, and began a series of armed incursions for the purpose of carrying the elections and terrifying the Free State
settlers into submission.
The first of these was late in November, 1854, when seventeen hundred Missourians crossed into the territory, and after voting for Whitfield
as delegate to Congress returned to their homes in Missouri
The second was in March, 1855, when to the number of five thousand they came again, marshalled and equipped like a military expedition, with Atchison
among them armed like the rest.
They distributed themselves at the polling places; forced judges of election, with bowie-knife and pistol in hand, to receive their votes; cast eighty per cent of the entire vote thrown; and when the business was finished, marched back to Missouri
The result was a legislature worthy of its origin.
It assumed the existence of slavery in the territory, adopted a barbarous slave-code, which,