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When the news came of the sacking of Lawrence, the great mass of the squatters had not yet lost faith in the nation, nor had they lost hope that justice would be done, tardy though it might be; but the utmost limits of human endurance were fast being reached. There were, however, many that had already gone beyond this point, and they returned an answer that made the hearts of the people stand still with horror.

It was the answer of a wild beast that had been hunted to its lair, and that turns with savage ferocity on its pursuers. It was an answer framed not in words, but in deeds. It said, "We have come to an end. We have been robbed of the rights guaranteed to us by the Kansas-Nebraska bill. We have been robbed of the rights of American citizens. We have been given the alternative of abject and degrading submission or of extermination. And now we make our answer. We will return blow for blow, wound for wound, stripe for stripe, and burning for burning. Murder shall be paid back with murder, robbery with robbery; and every act of aggression shall be paid back with swift and terrible retaliation." It must be remembered that at that time news traveled slow, and that it was slow work to take men from their ordinary farm life and organize them into bands of soldiers, and it was some days before "Old John Brown, of Osawatomie," appeared on the scene of conflict with a company of men. Of this company his son, John Brown, Jr., was captain. But the "old man" had come too late. He was terribly excited, and denounced as a set of cowards the "Committee of the Public Safety Valve" that had dug up the hidden cannon and had surrendered it to Sheriff Jones. Captain Brown and his company determined to return. Old John Brown selected a squad of six men to go on a secret expedition. Of these, four were his own sons, and one was his son-in-law. His son, Captain Brown, was unwilling that his father should go, and when the old man would not be persuaded, he cautioned him, "Father, don't do anything rash." "Old John Brown" took old man Doyle and two sons and two other men in the dead hour of night and put them to death. The facts of this awful deed have never been made public--there has never been a judicial investigation. It is said that Doyle and his sons were desperate characters, and were in the act of driving off Free State men; but nothing is certainly known.

And now it appeared that the whole country south of the Kaw River was full of armed Free State guerrilla bands. They rose up out of the earth as if they had been specters--their blows were swift, terrible and remorseless. They visited and robbed the houses of Pro-slavery men, as the houses of the Free State men had been visited and robbed. They stole the Pro-slavery men's horses, stopped them on the public highways, and repeated in every detail and in every act of violence the cruel atrocities that had been so long perpetrated on themselves. They showed no partiality--if they stole the horses of Pro-slavery men, they also stole Gov. Shannon's horses, and the Governor posted over the country with a squad of soldiers to find them. The town of Franklin, six miles from Lawrence, that had been a rendezvous for the "Law and Order" robbers, and out of which they issued to visit Free State settlers' houses, rob Free State men on the public highway and make raids on Lawrence, was cleaned out. H. Clay Pate, leader of a "Law and Order" company of militia, went to hunt John Brown and put him to death as he would go to hunt a wild beast. An African lion hunter, when questioned, "Is it not fine sport to hunt lions?" replied, "Yes, it is fine sport to hunt lions, but if the lion hunts you it is not so fine." H. Clay Pate went to hunt the lion, and found the lion was hunting him. John Brown attacked Pate with an inferior force, dispersed his command, and took him prisoner, together with twenty-eight of his men, and kept them in an inaccessible fastness which he made his hiding place. A number of Pro-slavery men fled from the Territory, telling everywhere a blood-curdling story of hard and cruel treatment. The people of the State of Missouri were filled with rage and horror, and its presses groaned with frantic appeals to the people to rise in their might and avenge the blood of their murdered brethren. Hitherto they had witnessed with perfect composure the savage butchery of the Free State men, and the outrage of Free State families; but now the case was bravely altered. It was their ox that was being gored.

Gov. Shannon passed as usual from the extreme of insolence to the extreme of helpless imbecility, and called on Col. Sumner to come forward and put a stop to this riot of confusion, blood-shedding and violence. The Governor really wanted Col. S. to disarm only the Free State guerrillas; but Mr. S. made a more liberal interpretation of his orders, and proceeded to disarm all armed bands in the Territory. He visited Old John Brown's hiding place, told him he must consider himself under arrest, and intimated to Deputy Marshal Fain that he was at liberty to arrest these men, who were under charge of murder. But the Marshal replied _that he had no arrests to make_. Marshal Fain had no stomach for the business of lion hunting. It is said that Col. S. gave Marshal Fain a piece of his mind that was more explicit than polite.

Col. Sumner ordered John Brown to give up his prisoners, and disband his men. John Brown expostulated with him, that it was not right to require him to do this, while the country was full of armed bands of Pro-slavery militia and guerrillas. Col. S. agreed to disband and disarm all companies of persons armed, and then John Brown agreed to comply with his requests. Gen. Whitfield was in the vicinity, and at the request of Col. S. agreed to remove his men from the Territory; but while doing this they continued the business of riot, robbery and murder.

Thus wearily passed the month of June of 1856, on the south bank of the Kaw River. The coming Fourth of July was looked forward to with intense interest by both parties, and on the north side of the Kaw River, as well as on its south side. The Fourth of July was the day on which the Legislature, elected under the Free State Constitution, was to meet at Topeka; and on that day, and at that place, a mass convention of all the Free State men in Kansas had also been called to meet and agree on their future policy. Col. Sumner had at least done this good service, that the highways were clear, and traveling was safe; but not knowing what might happen, the men generally carried their muskets hidden in their wagons. The writer of these "Recollections" went to Topeka with the Free State men of Atchison county. At this convention it appeared that there was the greatest possible divergence of judgment as to the best policy for the Free State party to pursue. There was nothing of the noise and bluster that characterizes a drunken mob; they were sober and quiet men; nevertheless, they evidently labored under an intense and burning excitement. Some were for war, bloody, relentless and unforgiving war; others advised a more pacific policy. If the reader can imagine the savage determination with which the old Scotch Covenanters turned at bay when hunted into their mountain fastnesses by their bloody persecutors, then he will have some idea of the spirit that animated a great part of that assembly. Two companies of soldiers, handsomely equipped, armed and drilled, one from Topeka and one from Lawrence, were drawn up in front of the Topeka House, where the Free State Legislature was to meet. It is probable that this crowd of men assembled at this convention could have laid their hands on five hundred muskets hidden away in their wagons, in ten minutes.

Meanwhile Col. Sumner had quietly drawn up his company of dragoons just outside of the crowd. In front of the dragoons were two loaded cannon, and by them grimly stood soldiers with burning fuse. While the members of the convention were discussing among themselves their proper policy, United States Marshal Donaldson came forward, accompanied by Judge El-more, and taking possession of the stand from which the speakers were addressing the people, Judge El-more read a proclamation from the President and from acting Gov. Woodson, commanding the Legislature to disperse.

To this Col. Sumner had appended the following note: "The proclamation of the President and the orders under it require me to sustain the Executive of the Territory in executing the laws and preserving the peace. I therefore hereby announce that I shall maintain the proclamation at all hazards."

This act of Marshal Donaldson was fiercely denounced as an impertinent intermedding with other men's business. The general drift of the reasoning was as follows: "Our act in framing a constitution and in electing a legislature is not treasonable nor revolutionary. There is no law against it: consequently we are breaking no law. It is, moreover, something that has to be done at some time by the majority of the citizens of this Territory, and we hope to be able to convince Congress and the President that we are that majority. If we had undertaken to set in operation a government in contravention to the one now recognized by the President, then might there have been some apology for this interference; but we have done nothing of the kind."

The writer will say to the reader that Gov. Walker, an ex-Senator from Mississippi, and the ablest Governor Kansas ever had, admitted afterwards that this reasoning of the Kansas squatters was perfectly correct. But however this might be, here was a patent fact. Here was Col. Sumner with his United States dragoons, and he was a man to obey orders; and what were we going to do about it? Should we fight, or should we not fight? The writer submitted the following resolution:

_Resolved_, That this Convention expresses its determination not to resist the United States troops.

The resolution was carried, and a committee was sent to Col. Sumner to inform him of its adoption. His answer was one to draw the hearts of the people to himself: "I knew," said he, "that you were loyal to the old flag."

Our readers will be incredulous that such a resolution should be needed, or that there should be any division of sentiment as touching its adoption. It is for this reason we call this incident up. It is that the reader may understand how strained was the state of feeling of many of the Free State men. They had spent the past months fighting, and they, in their own minds, associated the United States troops with the oppressors of Kansas Free State men.

When Mr. Sumner went into the Legislative hall to disperse the Legislature, he spoke as tenderly as a woman. He said: "Gentlemen, this is the most painful act of my life But I must obey orders, and you must disperse." When he wheeled his dragoons to march away the boys cheered Col. Sumner. They cheered the old flag and the United States soldiers, but they gave such groans for the Lecompton Legislature as, it was said, frightened the dragoons' horses.

There was now no further cause that the writer should tarry longer, and he immediately mounted his horse and rode towards home, with a heart heavy with the thought of all the distempers that had come on unhappy Kansas.