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"The Voice of Kansas-Let the South Respond"

De Bow's Review
August 1856

Appeal by the Law and Order Party of Kansas Territory to Their Friends in the South, and to the Law-Abiding People of the Union.

One of the Committee (Col. Buford) places the manuscript in our hands, and we commend it to the serious attention of the readers of the Review. The cause is one to which, without loss of a single day, every Southern man should contribute. Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia, have been lavish in their aid. The loss of Kansas will give to the enemies of Southern institutions a victory more signal and more important than has yet been won over us. To avert the mischief, prompt and concerted action at the South is only needed. Those familiar with the state of affairs in Kansas know that it can only be abolitionized by the supineness of the people of this section, whose all is at stake in these contests.

The undersigned, at a recent meeting of the party, were constituted a committee, charged, among other things, with the publication of this address.

That a state of insurrection and civil war exists among us is abundantly evident: the "law and order party" on the one side, opposed on the other by the abolitionists, sent out and sustained by the Emigrant Aid Societies of the North. A brief review of the points at issue, and their controlling circumstances, may be useful to justify this our appeal for aid.

In territorial politics, the question of free or slave State has swallowed up every other. The abolitionists on the one hand, in accordance with their early teaching, regard slavery as the greatest possible evil; they deem it a monstrous national crime, which their false theories of government impute equally to every portion of the confederacy, and thus believing themselves individually responsible for its existence, they fell bound each to struggle for its overthrow; to such extremes have wicked demagogues stimulated their fanaticism, that their perverted consciences justify any mode of warfare against slaveholders, however much in violation of law, however destructive of property or human life, and however atrociously wicked it may seem to others; nay, many of them already go so far as to oppose all law, religion, property, order, and subordination among men, as subversive of what they are pleased to call man's natural and inherent equality. And with them it is no mere local question of whether slavery shall exist in Kansas or not, but one of far wider significance, a question of whether it shall exist any where in the Union. Kansas they justly regard as the mere outpost in the war now being waged between the antagonistic civilizations of the North and the South; and winning this great outpost and stand-point, they rightly thing their march will be open to an easy conquest of the whole field. Hence the extraordinary means the abolition party has adopted to flood Kansas with the most fanatical and lawless portion of northern society; and hence the large sums of money they have expended to surround their brother Missourians with obnoxious and dangerous neighbors.

On the other hand, the pro-slavery element of the "law and order party" in Kansas, looking to the Bible, find slavery ordained of God; they find there, as by our law, slavery made "an inheritence [sic] to them and their children forever." Looking to our national census, and to all statistics connected with the African race, and considering, too, their physical, intellectual, and moral natures, we see that slavery is the African's normal and property state; since, in that state, that race multiplies faster, has more physical comfort, less vice, and more moral and intellectual progress than in any other.

We believe slavery the only school in which the debased son of Ham, by attrition with a higher race, can be refined and elevated; we believe it a trust and guardianship given us of God for the good of both races. Without sugar, cotton, and cheap clothing, can civilization maintain its progress? Can these be supplied without slavery? Nay, in the absence of slave institutions, must not social distinctions supervene among the free to the detriment of republican equality? This is no mere property question, but a great social and political question of races; it is not a question of whether A. or B. shall be owner, but of whether the slave, still having a master, shall still be a working bee, and not an idle drone in the hive; a question of whether the South shall still be a land flowing with milk and honey, or a land of mendicants and vagabonds; a great question of races; a question of whether we shall sink to the level of the freed African, and take him to the embrace of social and political equality, and fraternity; for such is the natural end of abolition progress. Fanaticism must defend its beneficiaries--first, by sending the federal army to protect them, and ultimately by giving them the right to bear arms, vote, testify, make and administer laws--in short, the right to eat out our substance, to pull us down to their level, to taint our blood, and bring us to a degradation from which no time can redeem us. Thus radical and marked the difference in theory between the two parties, and not less so their difference in practice; which we, in good faith, sustain and uphold the laws, the abolitionists on the other hand, in effect, repudiate and set them at defiance; with open disloyalty they assert the invalidity of the territorial laws, while they render our national insignia only the mockery of a hollow respect; indeed, more than once, they have openly resisted the marshal in the service of process, and, in some places, their organized armed resistance to the territorial laws is so overwhelming that ministers of the law there never attempt the discharge of their official duties; they have repudiated payment of taxes, and have held and published the proceedings of large public meetings in which they resolved to resist, even to blood, the territorial laws, and especially the laws for the collection of the public revenue.

According to testimony under oath lately given before the congressional Committee, they have secret military organizations for resisting the laws and for carrying out their abolition designs upon Kansas--organizations in which the members are bound by the most solemn oaths to obey their leaders, in all cases, not excepting even murder and treason. It is abundantly proved by eye-witnesses of unquestioned veracity, that at this present time, they have at different points in the territories banded together in actual encampment large numbers of armed men, subsisted and kept together by their aid societies for no other object than to make forays upon the country and drive our friends from their homes. By such banditti the murders near Ossawattamie [sic], on Pottawattamie [sic] creek, were committed; declarations by the perpetrators cotemporaneous with their foul deeds indubitably show the parentage of these crimes; six victims, whose bodies have been found, fell in that massacre, beside four others missing from the neighborhood, and not yet heard from. Of the six, one was Allen Wilkinson, Esq., a member of the territorial Legislature and postmaster at Shermanville; sick with the measles, for no other offence save that of being a law and order man, he was dragged at midnight from his bed, and from the side of a sick and imploring wife, by a band of abolition assassins, acting as they said in the name of the great northern army; within hearing of the terror stricken wife, with fiendish barbarity, he was flayed alive, his nose and ears were cut off, his scalp torn from his head, and then he was stabbed through the heart. Such is the sworn evidence of his widow lately tendered in Westport before the Congressional Investigating Committee. It revealed on the part of their friends such a picture of savage ferocity that that Committee for once blushed, and even stultified themselves, rather than receive the testimony as competent. They had already received and recorded the evidence of Pardee Butler, testifying that since their appointment as Commissioners he had been tarred and feathered for negro stealing; but this decision they unblushingly reversed, and erased the evidence rather than be forced to put against their friends this horrible tale of the Ossawattamie murder upon the record. Besides Wilkinson, Wm. Sherman and brother, and Mr. Doyle and two sons, were proved to have been murdered at their respective homes on the same night and by the same band; one of the Doyles' also had his fingers and arms cut off before he was finally dispatched. Incredible as these things may seem, they unquestionably happened in Kansas Territory in the latter part of last month; yet what is more incredible, but not less true, is the undeniable fact that these outrages are not, as some pretend, the mere extravagances of a few irresponsible individuals, but on the contrary are justly chargeable to the abolition party, as the legitimate fruit of their party measures and party discipline, and as naturally resulting from the public teachings, advice, and counsel of their chief men and most distinguished leaders.

The outrages above specified were preceded, and up to the present time, have been followed by others of a like character and dictated by a like settled policy on the part of our enemies to harrass [sic] and frighten, by their deeds of horror, our friends from their homes in the territory. Undoubtedly this policy (a well settled party system) has dictated the notices lately given in all the disturbed districts by armed marauding bands of abolitionists, to the law and order men of their respective neighborhoods, immediately to leave the country on peril of death. Under such notices our friends about Hickory Point, and on Pottawattamie and Rock creeks have all been driven out of the territory, their stores have been robbed, their cattle driven off, their houses burned, their horses stolen, and in some cases they have been assassinated for daring to return; some too of these outrages have been perpetrated under the very nose of the United States troops, who all the while assert that all is peace and quietness, and that they will afford ample protection, without the necessity of our banding together in armed bodies for mutual defence. Among many others of our friends thus driven away, we might specify the cases of Messrs. Hargous, Jones, and Owens, of Hickory Point, whom two hundred United States troops stationed within two miles of their homes have been unable to inspire with a sense of security. Morton Bourn, a most exemplary, quiet and unoffending, man of our party, living within eight miles of Lecompton, the capital of the territory, where quite a number of troops are stationed, was lately driven from his home by a band of twenty-five armed men, who robbed him of all his guns, five saddles, three horses, the blankets from his beds, and over fifty dollars in money. The thieves gave him twenty-four hours to leave with his family, and threatened to kill him if he ever returned, saying, they intended to serve all the pro-slavery men in the neighborhood in the same way. Mr. Bourn is still out of the territory, and though anxious about his property and desirous to return, yet he dares not do so; although as often as he applies, the troops and the Governor assure him that all is quiet, and that he shall have ample protection; but he knows that unless they remain constantly about his house they cannot keep marauders and murderers away. This case is specified not for its peculiar enormity or hardships, but because it is a fair type of a large class of such cases, and because the undersigned have all the details from Mr. Bourn himself, and know them to be strictly true, indeed one of us assisted his family in their flight the day after the robbery.

It is but too evident the troops cannot enable our friends to maintain their ground in any part of the territory where the abolition element is in the ascendant; notwithstanding, we assure our friends that, after the most diligent inquiry and attention to that point, we firmly believe that our party has a well established, decided, and increasing majority of actual settlers in the territory. This majority, however, we do not believe can be maintained unless something be done to give confidence to our friends, where they are few and weak in number. This can only be done by colonizing large settlements together, under one common head with absolute control; let, say from one to three hundred agriculturalists, mechanics, and laborers so settle together in some suitable point, to be indicated by the undersigned, or some other committee charged with the general interests of the party. This can be lawfully, safely, and efficiently done, and by this means law and order can be maintained in the territory; and we say this, too, notwithstanding we are in possession of very convincing evidence to the fact, that the abolitionists of the North intend during the coming month to introduce large numbers of their hired bands to put their treasonable pretended government into operation by force. These measures of mutual defence and future progress, however, require means, and demand aid from our friends abroad. The colonists should be subsisted a reasonable time, and each individual furnished with adequate agricultural or mechanical outfit, so there can be no want of settlers coming and remaining at the points where they are most needed. Funds are required, and for these we call upon our Southern friends--upon all having a common interest--nay, we call on all loving justice and wishing equal rights to each State and section of the Union--we call on the honest free State man, who, sick of the agitation and strife brewed by the abolitionists, desires the restoration of peace and quiet to the country. These can be restored only by restoring to the weaker and attacked section the means of future defence, in restoring the sectional equilibrium disturbed by the measures of 1850. Fanatical aggression cannot be quieted by giving, but it may be by taking away the power to effect its ends. All fair minds who have looked this question full in the face, know and admit that it is not merely a question of whether Kansas shall be a slave State or not, but a question of whether the entire South shall not become the victim of misguided philanthrophy [sic]. That man or State is deceived that fondly trusts these fanatics may stop at Kansas. To use that territory as the mere "key to the future"--the mere means of ulterior operations against the whole South--is unquestionably the settled policy of the ultra abolitionists, the head and soul of the aggression, and whose opinions in the end must leaven and control the whole body--the whole mass that acts with them.

The most convincing proof (if proofs were needed) of this was recently given before the Congressional Investigating Committee. Judge Mathew Walker, a Wyandott, an unimpeachable witness, and most reliable man, testified before the committee, that before the abolitionists selected Lawrence as their centre of operations, their leader, Gov. Robinson, attempted to get a foothold for them in the Wyandott reserve, near the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers; that in his negotiations for that purpose, Robinson finding it necessary to communicate their plans and objects, divulged to Walker (whom he then supposed a sympathiser) that the abolitionists were determined on winning Kansas at any cost; that then having Missouri surrounded on three sides, they would begin their assaults on her; and as fast as one State gave way, attack another, till the whole South was abolitionised. That this revelation was actually made the undersigned have not the slightest doubt; and we are equally confident that in that matter the abolition party was truly represented by Robinson, who has always been their chief man and acknowledge leader in Kansas.

It is widely reported, and generally believed, that the northern abolitionists are now raising large bodies of armed men, under military organization and discipline, to be surreptitiously introduced into the territory for the objects of driving out the peaceable inhabitants, setting the laws at defiance, and overwhelming the law and order party at the decisive election for a Territorial Legislature to come off on the first Monday in October next. It is not impossible they may partially succeed in their aims; their labors to inflame the northern mind are so incessant, their faculty of misrepresentation is so extraordinary--so fatally bent on mischief. Their papers, for instance, show up the Ossawattamie massacre as an outrage of our own; according to their account, "five pro-slavery men were hanging an abolitionist, when his five friends providentially came up and shot them in the act."

All have heard, through the papers, of the killing of Stewart by Cosgrove. The facts were these: Stewart being in Lawrence, when news reached there of an abolitionist having been just killed at Blanton's bridge, in the vicinity, started off with four others toward the California road, all swearing they would kill the first pro-slavery man they met. Lieutenant Cosgrove and Dr. Bratton, two quiet and worthy men of our party, happened to be passing just as Stewart and his men reached the road. The five halted the two at the distance of only five or six paces, and to the astonishment and horror of the weaker party, immediately after halting them began snapping and fired and killed Stewart, and then with his wounded companion escaped under a shower of bullets. The next day a Lawrence man being taken as a spy and searched, a letter was found on his person to a friends in the North, detailing Stewart's death, in which he says, Stewart was met along, unarmed, and without cause or excuse shot down by five border ruffians.

Indeed, it was proved before the Investigating Committee that the abolition party had travelling agents in the territory whose duty is was to gather up, exaggerate, and report for publication, rumors to the prejudice of the law and order party, and with the view to excite abolitionists to come to the territory; and the witness, Parrot, admitted in his examination that he, as agent, had prepared such a report, and placed it in the hands of Sherman, one of the committee, since his arrival in Kansas. Sherman was then on the committee, and did not deny it.

How can there be other than the most exasperated state of feeling between the two sections? How can civil war be avoided, when honorable committee men countenance such reckless mischief? Look the future in the face like men: if standing up to our rights, to our responsibilities, and to our trust, brings peach and securing, so much the better; no other course can effect it. Send us men and means. We must have your help. Appoint agents, responsible, trusty, reliable men for every State, district, and neighborhood, whose sole business shall be to canvass for aid. Did we know suitable persons who would act, we would not hesitate to appoint them all over the country. Let our friends send their names, with details as to character and qualification, and we will duly accredit them. One gentleman, an Alabamian, Alpheus Baker, jr., Esq., of Eufaula, Alabama, whom we all know, who has been here, and has distinguished himself by the zeal, success, and signal ability with which for a while he canvassed the border counties in Missouri for aid, we take the liberty of nominating, without assurance that he will accept. We trust that he may. Friends of the cause must contribute according to their several gifts--we must not meanly abandon our birthright, and, without a struggle, yield to grasping monopoly this fairest Eden of our common domain--this land of flowing brook and fertile plain. Kansas is indeed the garden spot of American, and in every way adapted to Southern institutions; in no other part of the Union is slave labor more productive; and, in the present imperilled state of our civilization, if we do not maintain this outpost, we cannot long defend the citadel. Then rally to the rescue.

Any communications our friends in the South may be pleased to favor the undersigned with, will reach us most safely and certainly, if directed to us, at Westport, Missouri. Funds contributed may be sent to our treasurer, A. G. Boone, Esq., directed to him at the same place.

David R. Atchison,
Wm. H. Russell,
Jos. C. Anderson,
A. G. Boone,
B. F. Stringfellow,
J. Buford.

June 21st, 1856.

Source: Copy in John Brown Pamphlets, Vol. 6, Boyd B. Stutler Collection, West Virginia State Archives

Chapter Five: Bleeding Kansas

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History