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We have already told how Sheriff Jones failed to wipe out Lawrence; how Gov. Shannon patched up a peace, and how that, in no good temper, the "Law and Order" party returned to the border. But immediately the Free State party gave evidence that its spirit had not been broken. A convention had been called to meet at Topeka, in November, 1855, to frame a free State Constitution, and this was ratified at an election called December 15 following, 1,731 votes being cast in its favor, the election having been held only one week after the treaty of peace had been made. Then in less than two weeks a second convention was called to meet at Lawrence, at which a full board of State officers was nominated, the election having been set to be held on the 15th of January.

 

At Leavenworth, the attempt to hold the election resulted in such mobs and tumult that it was forbidden to be held by a faint-hearted Free State mayor, and was consequently adjourned to Easton. The Free State printing press of Mark Delahay was, during these troubles, destroyed. At Easton, a mob undertook to break up the election, but was driven off, and in the affray one of the attacking party named Cook was mortally wounded. Then the _Kansas Pioneer_, published at Kickapoo, made an inflammatory appeal to the "Law and Order" party to rally and avenge Cook's death, and in an answer to this appeal the "Kickapoo Rangers" and Captain Dunn's company, from Leavenworth, in all about fifty men, turned out to go to Easton on this errand. A number of gentlemen had gone from Leavenworth to Easton to attend the election, and had stayed over night, among whom were Captain R. P. Brown, a resident of Salt Creek Valley, near Leavenworth. Captain B. was a man well esteemed in his neighborhood, and was a member-elect of the Legislature. Captain Dunn and his company met these men returning to Leavenworth, and took them prisoners, carrying them back to Easton. Here they got up a sort of Lynch-law trial for Captain Brown, but the rabble composing Dunn's company, having maddened themselves with drink, broke into the room where the trial was going on, seized Captain Brown, who was unarmed and helpless, and tortured him with barbarity that has been supposed to be only possible among savages, and then threw the wounded and dying man into an open lumber wagon, in which they hauled him home to his wife, over the rough, frozen roads, in one of the coldest nights of that bitter cold January; stopping meantime at the drinking-houses by the way, they consumed seven hours in making the journey. His wife became insane at the sight of her butchered and dying husband, thrown into the door by these brutal wretches, and was, in that condition, taken to her brother in Michigan. All this was testified to, with every _minutia_ of detail, before the Investigating Committee.

The border papers were aflame with appeals to the "Law and Order" party to go over into Kansas and wipe out the pestiferous Free State men, who set at naught the Territorial Legislature. The following sample of these appeals we extract from a speech made by David R. Atchison, at Platte City:

They held an election on the 15th of last month, and they intend to put the machinery of a State in motion on the 4th of March, "_I say, prepare yourselves; go over there_. And if they attempt to drive you out, then drive them out. Fifty of you with your shot-guns are worth two hundred and fifty of them with their Sharpe's rifles."

Meanwhile a great cry of wrongs and outrages against the Free State men had filled the whole North, and Congress could not choose, but had to pay attention to it. Ex-Governor Reeder came forward and contested the seat of Mr. Whitfield as Territorial delegate to Congress, alleging that Mr. W. owed his election to the votes of men not residents of the Territory. As a result, a Committee of Investigation was appointed to go to Kansas to take testimony, this committee being composed of Sherman of Ohio, Howard, of Michigan, and Oliver, of Missouri. These took an immense number of depositions, which were published in a volume of more than 1,200 octavo pages, and of which 20,000 were ordered to be printed. This investigating committee made a majority report signed by Howard and Sherman, in which they summed up their conclusions under eight heads. Of these we shall copy four:

MAJORITY REPORT.

1. That each election held in the Territory under the organic or Territorial law has been carried by organized invasion from the State of Missouri, by which the people of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the rights secured to them by the organic law.

2. That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an illegally constituted body, and had no power to pass valid laws, and their enactments are therefore null and void.

3. That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of votes of resident citizens than John W. Whitfield for delegate.

4. That in the present condition of the Territory a fair election can not be held without a new census, a stringent and well-guarded election law, the selection of impartial judges, and the presence of United States troops at every election.

_(Signed)_ WM. A. HOWARD, JOHN SHERMAN.

 

Mr. Oliver made a minority report, summing up his conclusions under seven heads. From this we shall copy three:

MINORITY REPORT.

1. That the Territorial Legislature was a legally constituted body, and had power to pass valid laws, and their enactments were therefore valid.

2. That the election under which the sitting delegate, John W. Whitfield, holds his seat was held in pursuance of valid law, and should be regarded as a valid election.

3. That the election under which the contesting delegate, Andrew H. Reeder, claims his seat, was not held under any law, and should be wholly disregarded by the House. _(Signed)_ M. OLIVER.

 

As a result, Congress permanently unseated Mr. Whitfield, and ordered a new election, thus affirming the conclusions of Howard and Sherman. This committee began its work in April and ended in June.

The "Law and Order" party did not, however, wait for the conclusion of these proceedings at Washington. Col. Buford, as we have told in a former chapter, arrived early in the spring with his company of South Carolinians, and Gen. David R. Atchison had gathered, along the borders, several hundred men to make a second raid on Lawrence. These all marched to Lecompton, where they held themselves in readiness to act, as soon as a pretext could be found invoking their help.

And now the inevitable Samuel J. Jones, Sheriff of Douglas County, again put in an appearance. This time it was to arrest Sam Wood for the rescue of Branson. Jones arrested Wood on the streets of Lawrence. A crowd gathered around, and in the jostling and pushing Jones and Wood were separated, and Wood walked away. No threats were made, and no violence used. The next day was Sunday, and Jones again appeared, but Sam Wood was missing. He had stayed that night at the house of the writer, in Atchison County, being then on his way to the free States. Jones, however, had writs for the arrest of those who had been the occasion of Wood's escape, and the Sheriff called on some of the church-going people to act as his _posse_ in making his arrests. But these were of "the most straitest sect" of the Puritans, and it was contrary to their consciences to do any manner of carnal work on the Sabbath day, and in their estimation this was exceedingly carnal work, and they kept their faces set as if they would go to the synagogue. Samuel F. Tappan was one of the Branson rescuers, and Jones seized Tappan by the collar, and Tappan struck Jones in the face. This was enough; Jones had been resisted, and he went to the Governor and demanded a _posse_ of United States soldiers to aid him in making his arrest. Thus reinforced with a detachment of United States troops, our valorous Sheriff Jones went a third time and arrested without resistance six respectable citizens of Lawrence, on a charge of contempt of court, because they had declined to break the Sabbath in aiding him to make arrests on the Lord's day. In due course of law, it should have been his duty to take his prisoners before a magistrate, and allowed them to give bail to appear at a given time to answer for this alleged contempt. But Jones elected to keep his prisoners without bail, and to act as his own jailer, and so he encamped in a tent on the prairie, using these United States soldiers as his guard. This was a manifest bait to the people of Lawrence to attempt a rescue, but they did not walk into the trap, and so these prisoners slept on the prairie, and their wives slept at home bereaved of their husbands. Somebody shot Jones. It is presumed that somebody thought he ought to be shot, but it was as great a calamity to Lawrence as was the rescue of Branson. The people of Lawrence removed Jones to the Free State hotel, showed every sympathy they could show, and offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension of the assassin. Notwithstanding, all Western Missouri was immediately aflame with appeals to the people to come to the rescue, and avenge the death of the murdered Jones. But the papers making these appeals did not publish the proceedings of the indignation meeting held at Lawrence, nor did they tell that a reward had been offered for the apprehension of the assassin, nor did they tell that Jones' wound was so slight that he was able to be removed the next day to Franklin.

Meanwhile a conspiracy was hatched at Lecompton, in which Chief Justice Lecompte was the chief conspirator, to arrest the leading Free State men on a charge of treason, and keep them prisoners without bail, and thus smother out the Free State movement. James F. Legati was one of the United States grand jurors, and violated his oath of secrecy and made a night journey to give warning to the men that were to be made victims to this conspiracy. Gov. Charles Robinson fled down the Missouri River, but was detained at Lexington, was brought back under charge of treason, and placed in confinement at Lecompton; others fled the Territory, and Lawrence was left to fight its battles with its old leaders gone. According to the purpose of this conspiracy a large number of Free State men were indicted for high treason; and the Free State hotel and the two printing presses were returned by the Grand Jury as _nuisances_, and as such were by Judge Lecompte ordered to be destroyed. Immediately following Legati's nocturnal visit, Ex-Governor Reeder received a summons at the hands of Deputy Marshal Fain to appear at Lecompton _as a witness_. Mr. Reeder declined to obey the summons. The next day a writ was served on him to appear on a charge of "contempt of court" for not having appeared as a witness. Mr. Reeder refused to submit to the arrest for two reasons--first, that his life would be in danger; second, he plead his privilege of exemption from arrest because he was a member-elect of Congress. Then United States Marshal Donaldson issued the following

PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS, Certain judicial arrests have been directed to me by the First District Court of the United States, etc., to be executed within the county of Douglas, and

WHEREAS, The attempt to execute them by the United States Deputy Marshal was evidently resisted by a large number of people of Lawrence, and as there is every reason to believe that any attempt to execute these writs will be resisted by a large body of armed men; now, therefore, the law-abiding citizens of the Territory are commanded to be and appear at Lecompton as soon as practicable, and in numbers sufficient to execute the law.

Given under my hand this 11th day of May, 1856.

J. B. DONALDSON, U. S. Marshal of the Territory of Kansas.

 

On receipt of this proclamation the citizens of Lawrence called a public meeting and adopted the following preamble and resolution:

WHEREAS, By a proclamation to the people of Kansas Territory, by T B. Donaldson, it is alleged that certain judicial writs of arrest have been directed to him by the First District Court of the United States, etc. to be executed within the county of Douglas, and that an attempt to execute them was evidently resisted by a large number of the citizens of Lawrence, and that there is every reason to believe that an attempt to execute said writs will be resisted by a large body of armed men; therefore,

_Resolved_, By this public meeting of the citizens of Lawrence, that the allegations and charges against us, contained in the aforesaid proclamation, are wholly untrue in fact and in the conclusion which is drawn from them. The aforesaid Marshal was resisted in no manner whatever, nor by any person whatever, in the execution of said writs, except by him whose arrest the Deputy Marshal was seeking to make. And that we now, as we have done heretofore, declare our willingness and determination, without resistance, to acquiesce in the service upon us of any judicial writs against us by the United States Deputy Marshal, _and will furnish him with a posse for that purpose_, if so requested; but that we are ready to resist, if need be, unto death, the ravages and desolation of an invading mob.