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That sermon was preached almost thirty-three years ago. It was an extemporaneous discourse, and no notes were preserved. Nevertheless, there were circumstances attending its delivery, that have indelibly impressed its leading points on the memory of the writer.

S. J. H. Snyder was a Lutheran from Pennsylvania, and at that time was a resident of Atchison county. He had traveled to see the world, and was a writer of books. He heard the sermon, and was greatly taken with it. He wrote out a report of it, and handed his report to me for criticism and correction. He intended to send it for publication to a paper in Pennsylvania. I said to him that his report left out the most essential and vital part of the sermon, and proposed myself to write out an abstract of it for his use. This I did, but my friend Mr. Snyder concluded: "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" He was not willing to be counted unsound in the faith by his brethren in Pennsylvania, and forwarded the original manuscript.

 

There were also in the audience two young gentlemen, recently come from the New England States to seek their fortune. They were just of that age to think that what they did not know, or at least what the people of New England did not know, was not worth knowing. Such a meeting in the open air; such an audience, in which the dress of every man and woman was got up according to their own notions, and that, too, without consulting Mrs. Grundy; _such a preacher! and such a sermon_! Certainly these all were new to them, and did not command their highest admiration. These young gentlemen kept up a sort of running commentary between themselves, on what they saw going on, until, becoming tired of their misbehavior, I turned and said to them in effect: "Young gentlemen, you profess to be men of good breeding, and it is understood that well-bred people will behave themselves in meeting." They were very angry, and one of them wrote me a saucy letter about it. But finding little sympathy in the settlement, they went to Atchison, and there they found abundant sympathy and open ears to hear. A man who was a preacher, and a pronounced free State man, had come from Illinois and had settled on the Stranger Creek; and who could tell the mischief he might do to his brethren who were squatters from Missouri? When these same New England gentlemen were in their turn stripped of all they were worth by the "Border Ruffians" it changed their feelings toward their free State brethren "mightily."

And now that feeling of dissatisfaction that had been all along festering in the hearts of the people, began to come to the surface. An inside view would have revealed a perpetual murmur of discontent. The Territorial Legislature was now in session, and doing its work, and copies of the laws they had enacted were coming into circulation. No legislature in America had ever been elected as they had been, and we have already learned what a thrill of horror and pain this caused in the hearts of the squatters. It would have been a dictate of the most obvious common sense that a body of men whose claim to be a Territorial Legislature rested on such a basis should proceed with the utmost moderation. But they were intoxicated with success. It is an old and a wise saw, that whom the gods wish to destroy they first deprive of their reason, and these men were smitten with judicial blindness. No slave State had ever enacted such savage and bloody laws--laws of such barbarous and inhuman severity, for the protection of slave property. And now the people were reading copies of these laws, and nothing could long suppress the evidences of discontent. The following editorial is also copied from the _Squatter Sovereign_:

WATCH THE ABOLITIONISTS.

Circumstances have transpired within a few weeks past, in this neighborhood, which place beyond a doubt the existence of an organized band of Abolitionists in our midst. We counsel our friends who have slave property to keep a sharp lookout, lest their valuable slaves may be induced to commit acts which might, jeopardize their lives.

Mr. Grafton Thomasson lost a valuable negro a week ago, and we have not the least doubt that she was persuaded by one of this lawless gang to destroy herself rather than remain in slavery. In fact, one of this gang was heard to remark that she did perfectly right in drowning herself, and just what he would have done, or what every negro who is held in bondage should do. We ask, Shall a man expressing such sentiments be permitted to reside in our midst? Be permitted to run at large among our slaves, sowing the seeds of discord and discontent, jeopardizing our lives and property?

In another instance we hear of a servant being tampered with, and induced to believe that she was illegally held in bondage; since which time she has been unruly, and shows evidence of discontent. Such is the effect produced by permitting the _convicts_ and _criminals_ of the Eastern cities shipped out here by the aid societies to reside in our midst.

The depredations of this fanatical sect do not stop here. Their crimes are more numerous and their acts more bold. It is well known that on Independence and Walnut Creeks, within a few miles of this place, a great number of free slaves and Abolitionists are settled whose thieving propensities are well known. We honestly believe that an organized band of these outlaws exists, whose objects are pecuniary gain and spite, to rob us of our property, drive off our cattle and horses, incite our slaves to rebellion, and, when opportunity afford them facilities for escaping, to aid them.

Within a short time about one hundred and fifty head of cattle have been stolen from this neighborhood, driven off, and sold. Eight or nine horses and several mules have been taken out of the emigrants' camp, driven to parts unknown, and the money is now jingling in the pockets of the Abolitionists. Occurrences of this kind were never before known in this neighborhood, and prior to the shipment of the _filth_ and _scum_ of the Eastern cities our property was secure and our slaves were contented and happy.

The enormity of these offenses, and the great loss of property, should open the eyes of our citizens to their true situation. We can not feel safe while the air of Kansas is polluted with the breath of a single Free-soiler. We are not safe, and self-preservation requires the total extermination of this set. Let us act immediately, and with such decision as will convince these desperadoes that it is our fixed determination to keep their feet from polluting the soil of Kansas.

 

We published in a former chapter the letter of recommendation this same Robert S. Kelley had written, certifying to the good behavior of the people of the county, and the facts of the case were not altered now; save and only this, that a black woman, the slave of Grafton Thomasson, had drowned herself. This said Thomasson was a drinking man, and when in drink was desperate and dangerous. What passed between this man, when intoxicated, and this slave woman the public have never been informed. An altercation grew out of this between Thomasson and J. W. B. Kelly, Esq., a young lawyer from Cincinnati, in which Thomasson, a great big bully, flogged Kelly, who was a small man, of slender build, and weak in body. A public meeting was called, in which resolutions were adopted praising this big bully for flogging this weak and helpless man; and then this Kelly was ordered to leave, and was not seen in Kansas afterwards. Beyond this, if there was any of this high-handed stealing and robbery we never heard anything of it afterwards.

During the month of July, an event occurred destined to have lasting influence on the Christian cause in Northeastern Kansas. A church was organized at Mt. Pleasant. It is now known as the Round Prairie Church. This church, after passing through varied fortunes, has finally issued in being one of the best and most active churches in Kansas. The last act in his public ministry was the organizing of this church by Elder Duke Young, father of Judge William Young. Duke Young was one of the pioneer preachers of Western Missouri. When in his manhood's prime he was abundant in labors, and though he was without any scholastic attainments he had a keen mother wit, good sense, and good natural gifts as a public speaker; and, working in poverty, exposure, hardship, misrepresentation, and implacable opposition, he was one of the men that laid the foundations of the cause in Western Missouri. Becoming old, he came with his son, William Young, to Kansas, and after organizing the church at Mt. Pleasant, he failed in health, and ceased his work in the ministry.

Connected with this church was Numeris Humber. Bro. Humber and his wife were among the excellent of the earth. Sister Humber was a matronly woman, comely in person, greatly beloved, and a queen of song. When D. S. Burnett afterwards held a protracted meeting at this place, it was the songs of Sister Humber and Stephen Sales, as much as the preaching of D. S. Burnett, that made the meeting a wonderful success, and one long to be remembered. Bro. Humber and Bro. Young were slave-holders. Bro. Humber was also an emancipationist in his views of slave-holding, and often said that if a position could be secured suitable for emancipated slaves he would gladly set his slaves free. When at last they were made free by the results of the war, and went to Leavenworth to live, it was always a burden on Bro. Humber's heart to watch over them, and try and save them from the temptations that were laid for their feet in that wicked city.

It will be readily seen that no scandal would be created in Atchison by organizing a church at Mt. Pleasant with such men to take the lead in it.