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Before Marshal Donaldson had issued the proclamation copied in our last chapter, the citizens of Lawrence had forwarded to Gov. Shannon the following:

WHEREAS, We have most reliable information of the organization of guerrilla bands, who threaten the destruction of our town and its citizens; therefore

_Resolved_, That Messrs. Topliff, Hutchingson and Roberts constitute a committee to inform His Excellency of these facts, and to call upon him, in the name of the people of Lawrence, for protection against such bands by the United States troops at his disposal.

 

 

To this the Governor made the following reply:

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, May 12, 1856.

GENTLEMEN: Your note of the 11th inst. is received, and in reply I have to state that there is no force around or approaching Lawrence, except the largely constituted _posse_ of the United States Marshal and Sheriff of Douglas county, each of whom, I am informed, has a number of writs in his hands for execution against persons in Lawrence. I shall in no way interfere with these officers in the discharge of their official duties.

If the citizens of Lawrence submit themselves to the Territorial laws, and aid and assist the Marshal and the Sheriff in the execution of processes in their hands, as all good citizens are bound to do when called upon, they will entitle themselves to the protection of the law. But so long as they keep up a military or armed organization to resist the Territorial laws and the officers charged with their execution, I shall not interpose to save them from the legitimate consequences of their illegal acts.

 

The following is a list of the notabilities that were in command of the army that was to serve as the _posse_ of Marshal Donaldson, David R. Atchison in command of the Platte county riflemen of Missouri; Capt. Dunn, of the Kickapoo Rangers; Gen. B. F. String fellow, Robert S. Kelley and Peter T. Abell having charge of the recruits from Atchison; Col. Wilkes, of South Carolina; Col. Titus, of Florida; Col. Boone, of Westport, Mo., and Col. Buford, of South Carolina. More than three-fourths of this army was composed of non-residents of Kansas.

A third time the citizens of Lawrence called a public meeting, and this time they appeal to Marshal Donaldson. They say, "We beg leave to ask respectfully, what are the demands against us?" They repeat their oft-repeated assurance that they will submit to arrests, and demand protection against the gathering mob from the men representing the authority of the General Government. Marshal Donaldson only replied with jeers and insults. The people of Lawrence were indeed in evil case.

The beleagured citizens saw themselves shut in by armed bands, engaged in murder, robbery, and plunder; and this time they appealed to the Investigating Committee, now gone to Leavenworth; but that committee had no power to help them. Col. Sumner could not help them, unless the Governor should speak the word; and Shannon was dumb.

Lane had gone East; Robinson was a prisoner; Ex-Gov. Reeder had fled, disguised as a common laborer; and others were in hiding; and perforce the management of affairs had to be given into the hands of new men. A Committee of Public Safety was chosen, and this committee determined on a policy of abject submission and non-resistance. A committee of volunteers from Topeka offered their assistance, but were told: "We do not want you." Pusillanimous as Gov. Shannon was, he found he had a man to deal with more pusillanimous than himself, in the person of S. C. Pomeroy, chairman of the Committee of Public Safety. Citizens of Lawrence left in unspeakable disgust. The people of the Territory looked on in amazement. The boys jeeringly called the Committee of Public Safety "The Committee of the Public Safety Valve."

The writer had given his testimony before the Investigating Committee while they were yet in Lawrence. A number of South Carolinians had been present while this testimony was being given, and they had protested in a towering rage, "We will shoot Butler on sight." It was evident the town had to be given up to the tender mercies of this mob of ruffians. There was nothing to be gained by remaining, and the writer, sick at heart, went back to Atchison county; but he afterwards returned to see the blackened ruins of the desolated town.

On May 21st the monster _posse_, led on by Marshal Donaldson and Deputy Marshal Fain, gathered around the doomed city. The town was quiet--unusually so. Deputy Marshal Fain went into the city and arrested G. W. Deitzler, G. W. Smith and Gains Jenkins, on the charge of treason. The Marshal went to the Free State hotel, that they were soon to batter down, and got his dinner, _and went away without paying for it._ And now the opportune moment had arrived for the final _denouement_. Sheriff Jones--the mourned and lost and murdered and much-lamented Sheriff Jones--whose tragic death had fired the hearts of all the Missouri border, now put in an appearance and showed himself a mighty lively corpse, and led his _posse_ into the town. The flag of the lone star of South Carolina, blood-red, and on which was inscribed the motto, "Southern Rights," floated beside the Stars and Stripes. The monster _posse_, with loaded cannon, marched into the city and in front of the Free State hotel, and the "Committee of the Public Safety Valve" was called for. Mr. Pomeroy came forward and shook hands with Sheriff Jones--should not _gentlemen_ shake hands when they meet? Sheriff Jones demanded the arms of the people, otherwise he would bombard the town. Mr. Pomeroy went and dug up the cannon that had been buried, and surrendered it to Jones. But further than this he could not go: _the people had their arms, and intended to keep them_. Then they tried to batter down the Free State hotel with cannon. Failing in this, they tried to blow it up with powder; and, failing in that, they burned it down. They also destroyed the two printing presses, burning the buildings, and then sacked the town.

Sheriff Jones was beside himself with joy. In frantic excitement he said, "I have done it! I have done it! This is the happiest moment of my life! I determined to make the fanatics bow before me in the dust and kiss the Territorial laws, and I have done it! The writs have been executed. Boys, you are dismissed." It will be doing Senator David R. Atchison, Ex-Vice-President of the United States, a kindness to conclude simply that he was drunk, otherwise he displayed utter savagery and barbarism. He inculcated gallantry to ladies, but said: "If you find any woman with arms in her hands, tread her under foot as you would a snake." The Caucassian white woman of Lawrence had no more rights of self-protection than the slaves of a South Carolina rice plantation--they were wholly and absolutely at the mercy of their masters!

We have no comments to make on the work of this drunken rabble; but there is one man that must be held to a terrible responsibility before the judgment-seat of posterity. Gov. Wilson Shannon was not drunk: and it is to be presumed he had read that Constitution of the United States which he had so often sworn to support. He knew, therefore, that this document stipulates:

1. "That the right of the people to _keep_ and bear arms shall not be infringed;" yet he showed a fixed purpose to deprive the Lawrence people of their arms.

2. The Governor knew that the Constitution guarantees "freedom of speech and of the press" to the American people; yet the burning of these printing presses was an attack on the freedom of the press.

3. The Constitution guarantees that "in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." Property of large value was destroyed because its owners were charged with high crimes and misdemeanors; yet the owners of this property had never been given a trial.

4. Gov. Shannon alleged that it was treasonable for the people of Kansas Territory to frame a State Constitution without an enabling act from Congress; yet California had done this very thing, and under that Constitution had been admitted as a State.

5. He treated the Free State men as traitors, because they would not admit the legality of the Lecompton Territorial Legislature. But the majority of the Investigating Committee held the same view with the Lawrence people, and Congress affirmed the same judgment in permanently unseating Mr. Whitfield as Territorial delegate to Congress.

Would that men could remember that there is a _hereafter_; that _to-morrow_ forever sits in judgment on _to-day._ There are three men most conspicuous in the sacking of Lawrence. Let us look at them in the electric light of the awful _to-morrow._ Since the Kansas struggle had begun David R. Atchison had made himself the most conspicuous figure. He was the representative of the John C. Calhoun school of Southern politics, and from the hour of the destruction of Lawrence he was to disappear from public view, as absolutely as that Free State hotel which was burned by his orders; yet he did not die--he was simply _buried alive_ out of the public sight. He was done with the nation, and the nation was done with him. He went back and lived on his plantation in Western Missouri, where he was forgotten. It is said he loved his slaves so well, and petted them so much, that they became masters on the plantation, and not himself. He lived to see Kansas a free State, with almost a million of inhabitants, and fairly taking the lead of Missouri in the elements of education, enterprise, and the highest civilization.

We have seen the crawling servility with which Gov. Shannon served the "Law and Order" party; yet in less than three months he was to see his office as Governor go up in smoke, as these burning buildings had gone up in smoke. Mr. S. became frantic when he saw the carnival of bloodshed and murder, of riot and robbery, that had been brought about by his means. Dr. Gihon, the incoming Gov. Geary's private secretary, reported that Mr. Shannon fled the Territory in fear of his life. When the troubles were over he came to Kansas and sought the pity and forgiveness of that city he had turned over to the tender mercies of a mob of ruffians. It need not be said that he could have done no better, for his successor, Gov. Geary, had only to speak a word and this tumult of disorder was instantly hushed.

As the years went by the people could not believe that a man that displayed so many good and amiable qualities could have been a party to such outrages as characterized his administration. He died in Lawrence very much respected.

Sheriff Samuel J. Jones strutted his brief hour on this stage in which the play had been both a bloodcurdling tragedy and a comedy; and now he was to step down and out. In the last act he had said, "_I have done it!" And he had done it_! He and his fellow conspirators, whether of high or low degree, had set in operation a train of causes that should issue in abolishing throughout the United States that institution of slavery they had so frantically sought to establish in Kansas.

Joseph said to his brethren, "You meant it for evil, but the Lord meant it for good." _Sheriff Jones and his fellow conspirators were in the Lord's hands, but they did not know it_.