previous next


1. Only in this way can this extraordinary expedition be adequately explained. In the words of Moliere, once employed by John Quincy Adams in the other House, ‘Que diable allaient-ils faire dans cette galere?’ What did they go into the Territory for? If their purposes were peaceful, as has been suggested, why cannons, arms, flags, numbers, and all this violence? As simple citizens, proceeding to the honest exercise of the electoral franchise, they might go with nothing more than a pilgrim's staff. Philosophy always seeks a sufficient cause, and only in the One Idea already presented can a cause be found in any degree commensurate with the Crime; and this becomes so only when we consider the mad fanaticism of Slavery.

2. Public notoriety steps forward to confirm the suggestion of reason. In every place where Truth can freely travel it is asserted and understood that the Legislature was imposed upon Kansas by foreigners from Missouri; and this universal voice is now received as undeniable verity.

3. It is also attested by harangues of the conspirators. Here is what Stringfellow said before the invasion:—

‘To those who have qualms of conscience as to violating laws, State or National, the time has come when such impositions must be disregarded, as your rights and property are in danger; and I advise you, one and all, to enter every election district in Kansas, in defiance of Reeder and his vile myrmidons, and vote at the point of the bowie-knife and revolver. Neither give nor take quarter, as our cause demands it. It is enough that the slaveholding interest wills it, from which there is no appeal. What right has Governor Reeder to rule Missourians in Kansas? His proclamation and prescribed oath must be repudiated. It is your interest to do so. Mind that Slavery is established where it is not prohibited.’

Here is what Atchison said after the invasion:—

‘Well, what next? Why, an election for members of the Legislature to organize the Territory must be held. What did I advise you to do then? Why, meet them on their own ground, and beat them at their own game again; and cold and inclement as the weather was, I went over with a company of men. My object in going was not to vote. I had no right to vote, unless I had disfranchised myself in Missouri. I was not within two miles of a voting-place. My object in going was [283] not to vote, but to settle a difficulty between two of our candidates: and the Abolitionists of the North said, and published it abroad, that Atchison was there with bowie-knife and revolver,—and, by God, 't was true! I never did go into that Territory, I never intend to go into that Territory, without being prepared for all such kind of cattle. Well, we beat them, and Governor Reeder gave certificates to a majority of all the members of both Houses, and then, after they were organized, as everybody will admit, they were the only competent persons to say who were and who were not members of the same.’

4. It is confirmed by contemporaneous admission of The Squatter Sovereign, a paper published at Atchison, and at once the organ of the President and of these Borderers, which, under date of 1st April, thus recounts the victory:—

Independence, [Missouri,] March 31, 1855.
Several hundred emigrants from Kansas have just entered our city. They were preceded by the Westport and Independence brass bands. They came in at the west side of the public square, and proceeded entirely around it, the bands cheering us with fine music, and the emigrants with good news. Immediately following the bands were about two hundred horsemen in regular order; following these were one hundred and fifty wagons, carriages, etc. They gave repeated cheers for Kansas and Missouri. They report that not an Anti-slavery man will be in the Legislature of Kansas. We have made a clean sweep.

5. It is also confirmed by contemporaneous testimony of another paper, always faithful to Slavery, the ‘New York Herald,’ in the letter of a correspondent from Brunswick, Missouri, under date of 20th April, 1855:

‘From five to seven thousand men started from Missouri to attend the election, some to remove, but the most to return to their families, with an intention, if they liked the Territory, to make it their permanent abode at the earliest moment practicable. But they intended to vote. The Missourians were, many of them, Douglas men. There were one hundred and fifty voters from this county, one hundred and seventy-five from Howard, and one hundred from Cooper. Indeed, every county furnished its quota; and when they set out, it looked like an army. . . . . They were armed. . . . . And, as there were no houses in the Territory, they carried tents. Their mission was a peaceable one,—to vote, and to drive down stakes for their future homes. After the election some fifteen hundred of the voters sent a committee to Mr. Reeder to ascertain if it was his purpose to ratify the election. He answered that it was, and said the majority at an election must carry the day. But it is not to be denied that the fifteen hundred, apprehending that the Governor might attempt to play the tyrant,—since his conduct has already been insidious and unjust,—wore on their hats bunches of hemp. [284] They were resolved, if a tyrant attempted to trample upon the rights of the sovereign people, to hang him.’

6. It is again confirmed by testimony of a lady for five years resident in Western Missouri, who thus writes in a letter published in the ‘New Haven Register:’—

Miami, Saline County, November 26, 1855.
You ask me to tell you something about the Kansas and Missouri troubles. Of course you know in what they have originated. There is no denying that the Missourians have determined to control the elections, if possible; and I do not know that their measures would be justifiable, except upon the principle of self-preservation; and that, you know, is the first law of Nature.

7. And it is confirmed still further by the Circular of the Emigration Society of Lafayette County, in Missouri, dated as late as 25th March, 1856, where the efforts of Missourians are openly confessed.

‘The western counties of Missouri have for the last two years been heavily taxed, both in money and time, in fighting the battles of the South. Lafayette County alone has expended more than one hundred thousand dollars in money, and as much or more in time. Up to this time the border counties of Missouri have upheld and maintained the rights and interests of the South in this struggle, unassisted, and not unsuccessfully. But the Abolitionists, staking their all upon the Kansas issue, and hesitating at no means, fair or foul, are moving heaven and earth to render that beautiful Territory a Free State.’

8. Here, also, is amplest testimony to the Usurpation, by the ‘Intelligencer,’ a leading paper of St. Louis, Missouri, made in the ensuing summer.

Atchison and Stringfellow, with their Missouri followers, overwhelmed the settlers in Kansas, browbeat and bullied them, and took the Government from their hands. Missouri votes elected the present body of men, who insult public intelligence and popular rights by styling themselves “the Legislature of Kansas.” This body of men are helping themselves to fat speculations by locating the “seat of Government” and getting town lots for their votes. They are passing laws disfranchising all the citizens of Kansas who do not believe Negro Slavery to be a Christian institution and a national blessing. They are proposing to punish with imprisonment the utterance of views inconsistent with their own. And they are trying to perpetuate their preposterous and infernal tyranny by appointing for a term of years creatures of their own, as commissioners in every county, to lay and collect taxes, and see that the laws they are passing are faithfully executed. Has this age anything to compare with these acts in audacity?’

9. In harmony with all these is the authoritative declaration of Governor [285] Reeder, in a speech to his neighbors at Easton, Pennsylvania, at the end of April, 1855, and immediately afterwards published in the Washington ‘Union.’ Here it is.

‘It was, indeed, too true that Kansas had been invaded, conquered, subjugated, by an armed force from beyond her borders, led on by a fanatical spirit, trampling under foot the principles of the Kansas Bill and the right of suffrage.’

10. In similar harmony is the complaint of the people of Kansas, in public meeting at Big Springs, on the 5th of September, 1855, embodied in these words:—

Resolved, That the body of men who for the last two months have been passing laws for the people of our Territory, moved, counselled, and dictated to by the demagogues of Missouri, are to us a foreign body, representing only the lawless invaders who elected them, and not the people of the Territory,—that we repudiate their action, as the monstrous consummation of an act of violence. usurpation, and fraud, unparalleled in the history of the Union, and worthy only of men unfitted for the duties and regardless of the responsibilities of Republicans.’

11. Finally, the invasion which ended in the Usurpation is clearly established from official Minutes laid on our table by the President. But the effect of this testimony has been so amply exposed by the Senator from Vermont [Mr. Collamer], in his able and indefatigable argument, that I content myself with simply referring to it. ...

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Reeder (10)
David R. Atchison (6)
Stringfellow (4)
Moliere (2)
Howard (2)
Frederick Douglas (2)
Cooper (2)
Collamer (2)
John Quincy Adams (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: