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Amos A. Lawrence to Charles Robinson

Amos A. Lawrence to Charles Robinson
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: January 31, 1856
Amos Lawrence writes from Boston, Massachusetts, to advise his friend, Charles Robinson, to submit to the authority of recognized officers of the U.S. government, no matter how unjust their actions appeared. Lawrence suggests that Robinson follow the "Fabian policy" of non-violent, peaceful resistance, and do what he could to discourage "all aggression" on the part of free-state men.


Andrew H. Reeder to Charles Robinson

Andrew H. Reeder to Charles Robinson
Creator: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: February 16, 1856
From "Washington City" on February 16, 1856, former Kansas Territory governor Andrew H. Reeder wrote Charles Robinson regarding Reeder's efforts to influence Kansas Territory policy in the nation's capital. Reeder was working through friends, since he no longer had personal influence with President Pierce, and he was not pleased with the president's February 11 proclamation, which he called "the low contemptible trickstering affair which might expected from Pierce, and is like the Special Message [of January 24] a slander on the Free State Party." Nevertheless, Reeder thought it could have been worse and insisted that Robinson and the other free-state leaders "should not organize the State Govt" as Pierce would just use that action to justify aggressive moves to suppress the free state movement.


Barstow Darrach to Samuel L. Adair

Barstow Darrach to Samuel L. Adair
Creator: Darrach, Barstow
Date: January 8, 1857
Dr. Barstow Darrach wrote to comment upon recent events at the national level and the prospect of little support for the free state cause from either Congress or President Buchanan. He reported that John Brown was in New York speaking about Kansas, and that Brown was trying to raise some funds and other support for the free state cause.


Charles Robinson to J. C. Fremont

Charles Robinson to J. C. Fremont
Creator: Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894
Date: July 28, 1856
While a prisoner at Camp Sackett near Lecompton, Kansas Territory, Charles Robinson informs Fremont that James Emery was traveling east and should be used in Fremont's presidential campaign as a stump speaker as he "can do good service to the cause." Robinson also indicates that he did not know if the Pierce administration had decided whether or not to hang Robinson and his fellow prisoners.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: February 26, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday reported an uncertain peace from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. President Franklin Pierce's January 24th announcement had commanded assemblies organized against the constitutional territorial government to disperse, and whether Missourians would carry out a threatened attack at the March 4th meeting in Topeka was unknown. Cyrus hoped to visit Meadville and sent a message to Professor Hammett. He also told Mary of his commission as Brigadier General of the Free State military.


Dorothea Dix correspondence

Dorothea Dix correspondence
Creator: Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887
Date: undated, circa 1826-1963 (bulk 1853-1860s)
Dorothea Dix's papers consist of correspondence from Miss Dix to various people, as well as some correspondence in which Miss Dix was concerned, but not directly involved. Dix was an advocate for social welfare, particularly supporting the establishment and maintenance of mental hospitals for the mentally ill, disabled, or poor. She was instrumental in the proposed legislation of the "Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane." During the Civil War, Dix was appointed Superintendent of Army Nurses. Much of the correspondence concerns Dix's efforts to bring lifeboats and other help to Sable Island in Nova Scotia, an area known for shipwrecks and where many with mental illnesses were sent, sometimes against their will. These papers are part of the historic psychiatry material in the Menninger Archives.


Draft letter, written by Amos Lawrence, for Sara Robinson

Draft letter, written by Amos Lawrence, for Sara Robinson
Creator: Lawrence, Amos Adams
Date: 1856
According to Frank W. Blackmar, who reprinted this document in the appendix of his book, "The Life of Charles Robinson" (1901), this is "a draft of a letter sent by Amos A. Lawrence to be re-written and signed by Mrs. Sara Robinson and addressed to Mrs. Lawrence, a relative of President Pierce and the mother of Amos A. Lawrence. Blackmar indicates that the letter, which concerns Charles Robinson's imprisonment (from May 10 to September 10, 1856) in Kansas Territory, was subsequently sent by Mrs. Lawrence to Mrs. Pierce, wife of the President, who gave it to President Pierce to read.


Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce
Date: c. 1857
Portrait of Franklin Pierce, President of the United States from 1853-1857.


Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce
Date: Between 1853 and 1857
Engraving of Franklin Pierce, 1804-1869, who served as United States President from 1853 to 1857.


George W. Smith, et al, to the Friends of Law and Order convened at Topeka

George W. Smith, et al, to the Friends of Law and Order convened at Topeka
Creator: Smith, G.W. (George W.) 1806-1878
Date: July 1, 1856
From a "camp near Lecompton," George W. Smith and the other Free State captives, including Charles Robinson and John Brown, Jr., write to state their views on issues facing the Topeka legislature as it convened. Smith and company argue that the freestaters had a "right to meet as a Legislature, complete the State organization and pass all laws necessary to the successful administration of Justice," but the assembly should not resist "Federal officer in the service of the legal process" unless they threaten the state organization. Smith, et al, believe success of the cause depends upon "a right position and, second upon calm, and unflinching firmness."


Hiram Hill to Samuel Newell Simpson

Hiram Hill to Samuel Newell Simpson
Creator: Hill, Hiram, 1804-
Date: December 6, 1856
Hiram Hill wrote from Williamsburgh, Massachusetts, to Samuel Simpson in Kansas Territory, complaining to him that he had not received the map and information on the newly purchased Wyandotte lands Simpson was to send him. Hill expressed a desire to purchase two or three town shares if they were not too expensive, bringing the value of his investments in Kansas to almost half of his total worth. His aim, as he expressed it, was "first to make money, secondly help the Caus [sic] of freedom". Hill also communicated his dislike for President Pierce's recent statements, and that the free state supporters lobbying in Washington were having "pretty warm work."


J. Henry Muzzy to Eli Thayer

J. Henry Muzzy to Eli Thayer
Creator: Muzzy, J. Henry
Date: March 3, 1857
J. Henry Muzzy wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to Eli Thayer in Worcester, Massachusetts. Muzzy informed Thayer that free state supporters in Kansas were not, as Thayer had predicted, discouraged by James Buchanan's election as president in November 1856. He observed that the territory had been quiet during the winter of 1856-1857, but warned that the "ruffians" likely would engage in efforts during the spring of 1857 to discourage eastern emigration to Kansas. Muzzy also commented on the dilemma that free staters faced in deciding whether to pay the taxes levied by the proslavery "bogus legislature." He and his fellow free state supporters were not inclined to pay taxes imposed by a "foreign power," but they also realized that if Governor Geary called in U.S. troops to enforce the law they would have no choice but to pay. Muzzy concluded by stating that he was thankful for the end of the "reign of Frank Pierce," contending that "any change at Washington can hardly be for the worse."


John C. Fremont to Charles Robinson

John C. Fremont to Charles Robinson
Creator: Fremont, John Charles, 1813-1890
Date: March 17, 1856
Writing from New York, on March 17, 1856, three months before accepting the Republican Party nomination for president, John C. Fremont sent this letter of support and encouragement to Charles Robinson in Lawrence, Kansas Territory. The two men had participated together in the political affairs of California a few years earlier, and Fremont compares the current controversy over the "Kansas question" with their previous experiences. Fremont briefly addresses Robinson's questions about a possible presidential bid. Fremont addresses Robinson as governor but Robinson was governor of the "extra-legal" territorial government. He was not one of the territorial governors appointed by the President.


John W. Whitfield to John A. Halderman

John W. Whitfield to John A. Halderman
Creator: Whitfield, John W. (John Wilkins), ca. 1826-1879
Date: February 1, 1857
John W. Whitfield, the Kansas Territory's delegate to Congress until March 3, 1857, writes John Halderman from "Washington City" regarding the "H__l of a fight" they had had "over Lecompte." Whitfield thinks it likely that it will be left to "Old Buck" (President-elect James Buchanan) to settle things. He also writes concerning his own political prospects and what he was accomplishing for Kansas (e.g., railroad legislation). Samuel D. Lecompte was chief justice of the Kansas Territory from December 1854 to March 1859. President Pierce had appointed James O. Harrison to replace Lecompte in December 1856 but Congress refused to confirm Harrison.


Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas, in the Hands of the Border Ruffians

Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas, in the Hands of the Border Ruffians
Date: Between 1854 and 1861
This cartoon depicts William L. Marcy, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Lewis Cass, and Stephen Douglas harassing Liberty, the representation of Kansas Territory. A former U.S. senator from New York, Marcy was a leader of the conservative Democrats, with pro-Southern leanings much like those of presidents Pierce and Buchanan; Marcy served as secretary of war (1845-1849) under James K. Polk and secretary of state (1853-1857) under President Pierce, during the worst of the Kansas troubles.


M. W. Delahay to Charles Robinson, James H. Lane and others

M. W. Delahay to Charles Robinson, James H. Lane and others
Creator: Delahay, Mark W. (Mark William), 1818?-1879
Date: February 16, 1856
From Washington, D.C., on February 16, 1856, Mark Delahay, the Free State Party's representative to the 34th Congress, wrote to his free state colleagues regarding President Franklin Pierce's directive to Governor Wilson Shannon. The latter was "to arrest and punish all who may take part in the making and putting inforce any law in oposition to the Territorial laws now upon the Statute Book." Delahay warned against "the organization of an independent State Government" and wrote "we are upon the brink of a crisis of serious import." (See D.W. Wilder, Annals of Kansas, 109-110.)


Orville C. Brown to Samuel L. Adair

Orville C. Brown to Samuel L. Adair
Creator: Brown, Orville Chester, 1811-1904
Date: January 21, 1857
Orville Chester Brown wrote from Utica, New York, to Samuel Adair in Osawatomie, Kansas Territory. Brown wrote about speaking engagements on behalf of Kansas, and mentioned Governor Geary and President Pierce.


Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard

Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: July 23, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote his father, S.T. Learnard, that he was disappointed in the attitude of people in Vermont and throughout the North who continued to support the Pierce administration. If they did so because they were Democrats, they should learn from Andrew H. Reeder, J. H. Lane, William Y. Roberts, and others who had seen the light. Learnard admitted "a few cases" of free state retaliation "upon their oppressors," and then gave some "facts" about the "Patawotamie" incident, while not mentioning John Brown by name. Learnard believed that the reports about mangled bodies were untrue.


P. P. Wilcox scrapbooks

P. P. Wilcox scrapbooks
Creator: Wilcox, P. P.
Date: 1850s
These two scrapbooks were kept by P. P. Wilcox, who settled in Atchison, Kansas Territory. The volumes are, primarily, newspaper clippings from Kansas Territory in 1855 and 1856. Some pre-1854 clippings relate to Dardanelle, Arkansas. Many of the clippings have a pro-slavery bent but there are also a number that contain local news items. Several contain information about actions of abolitionists. Many are from the Squatter Sovereign published in Atchison. The right hand page of the inside cover of volume 1 has a business card that lists Wilcox as a Justice of the Peace in Atchison, Kansas Territory. His office was on C Street, one door west of Dickson's Store. The card indicated he handled collection of claims, procurement of bounty land warrants, and all kinds of legal writings. It indicated he was familiar with the Pre-emption Law. It also listed four references including General J. W. Whitfield, Kansas Territory. Additional Wilcox business cards appear throughout both volumes. There are a number of clippings about J. W. Whitfield running for Congress on the proslavery ticket. Early in volume one is a printed copy of a document by Franklin Pierce titled "Kansas Affairs, Message of the President of the United States to Both Houses of Congress, January 24, 1856 (8 pages). Volume 2 has a pamphlet of the speech by M. Oliver of Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives "On the resolution from the Committee on Elections in the Contested Election case from the Territory of Kansas."


Territory of Kansas, Executive Minutes

Territory of Kansas, Executive Minutes
Date: March 24, 1856
President Franklin Pierce, along with his Secretary of State, complied with a resolution brought forth by the House of Representatives, which requested the "transmission of documents touching the affairs of the Territory of Kansas." The contents of these span from January 1, 1855- June 1855, and include the description of judicial districts and voting precincts as constructed by Territorial Governor Andrew Reeder. Also transmitted are Records of Oath for various Territorial justices and constables, voter census tables, and Territorial Legislature election returns of March 1855. Claims of election fraud in each district are also addressed by Governor Reeder. This is found in House Executive Documents, 34th Congress, 1st Session, v.9, Executive Document No.66, Executive Minutes of the Territory of Kansas


Thomas Ewing, Jr., to George W. Brown

Thomas Ewing, Jr., to George W. Brown
Creator: Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896
Date: April 13, 1859
With regard to the formation of the Republican Party at the forthcoming Osawatomie convention, Ewing told George W. Brown, editor of Lawrence's Herald of Freedom, why he believed this was the right course for the "opposition" to take at this time. The Free State Party had, in his opinion, accomplished its objectives, and the Democratic Party contained a proslave faction and was affiliated with the administration. Ewing's objective was "to secure an organization of the Republican or opposition party at Osawattomie [sic], on a just and rational platform, and led by honest & conservative men."


Veto Message of Andrew Horatio Reeder, Governor of Kansas Territory together with A Memorial from the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas to His Excellency, Franklin Pierce, President of the United States

Veto Message of Andrew Horatio Reeder, Governor of Kansas Territory together with A Memorial from the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Kansas to His Excellency, Franklin Pierce, President of the United States
Creator: Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864
Date: July 26, 1855
This printed pamphlet contained Andrew Reeder's veto messge for two bills passed by the territorial legislature. He based his veto not on the content of the bills but on the argument that the legislation was not passed at the official "seat of government." He explained his position in detail citing federal legislation and acts of the territorial legislature. The "Memorial" from the territorial legislature included a request that Reeder be removed as territorial governor with explanations of their grievances against Reeder. The item included the names of the members of the Council and members of the House.


William Morris Davis to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday

William Morris Davis to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday
Creator: Davis, William Morris
Date: September 13, 1856
William Morris Davis, a Quaker and abolitionist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote to Cyrus K. Holliday, who was speaking in PA. In response to a report Holliday sent of their work on behalf of Republican presidential candidate John C. Fremont, Davis sent $500.00 reimbursement to Holliday and William Y. Roberts, also of Topeka, Kansas Territory. Davis mentioned Jefferson Davis, secretary of war in President Franklin Pierce's administration and a Missouri slave owner. (March 4th, 1857 was the day James Buchanan took presidential office.)


William Y. Roberts and Samuel Clarke Pomeroy to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday

William Y. Roberts and Samuel Clarke Pomeroy to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday
Creator: Roberts, William Y
Date: June 24, 1856
William Y. Roberts and Samuel C. Pomeroy reported their activities from Willard's, a hotel popular with wealthy congressmen in Washington, D. C., to Cyrus K. Holliday in Topeka, Kansas Territory. They described the legislators' and President Franklin Pierce's eagerness to resolve K. T. troubles. While approving the July 4th meeting of the free state legislature, they cautioned Holliday to promote peace.


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