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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.


Copy of David R. Atchison speech to proslavery forces

Copy of David R. Atchison speech to proslavery forces
Creator: Atchison, David Rice, 1807-1886
Date: May 21, 1856
This hand written copy of a speech by David Atchison, according to a note on the top of page one, made by R. J. Hinton, "was made for me [Hinton] by or under the direction of Lt. Gov. (Dr.) Root. Joseph Pomeroy Root, who was subsequently elected the state's first lieutenant governor under the Wyandotte Constitution, was a prisoner, heard & reported the speech" made by David Atchison to the assembled proslave "Soldiers" camped two miles west of Lawrence, Kansas Territory, before they marched on and sacked Lawrence on May 21, 1856. The transcript is labeled "Hon. David R. Atchison's speech . . ." and begins, "This is the most glorious day of my life! This day I am a border-ruffian!"


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.


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.


Forcing slavery down the throat of a freesoiler

Forcing slavery down the throat of a freesoiler
Date: 1856
An 1856 cartoon depicting President James Buchanan and Senator Lewis Cass standing on a Democratic platform marked "Kansas", "Cuba" and "Central America". They are pulling the hair of a giant Free Soiler as President Franklin Pierce holds down his beard and Senator Stephen Douglas shoves an African American man down the Free Soiler's throat.


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.


Joshua R. Giddings to John Brown

Joshua R. Giddings to John Brown
Creator: Giddings, Joshua R. (Joshua Reed) , 1795-1864
Date: March 17, 1856
Congressman Joshua R. Giddings an abolitionist Republican from Ohio and good friend of the Brown family there, wrote from the U.S. "Hall of Reps" regarding his desire to provide support for Brown and his cause in Kansas and of his belief that the federal troops there would not be used "to shoot the Citizens of Kansas." Although he indicated a need for more "men and arms" in the territory to insure victory, Giddings was "confident there will be no war in Kansas."


Journal of Commerce, newspaper article

Journal of Commerce, newspaper article
Creator: Journal of Commerce (New York, N.Y.)
Date: September 22, 1856
This clipping, enclosed in a letter from A.S. Harris to Thaddeus Hyatt dated September 22, 1856, argued that the emigration sponsored by New England emigrant aid societies was "indiscreet," although not illegal. The article placed the blame for the current troubles on the free-state settlers in Kansas, stating that Missouri settlers were only responding to the provocation of anti-slavery supporters.


L.C.P. Freer to James B. Abbott

L.C.P. Freer to James B. Abbott
Creator: Freer, L.C.P.
Date: August 7, 1855
L.C.P. Freer of Chicago wrote a scathing commentary of the Kansas Territory free state movement and its supporters to James Abbott, who had solicited subscriptions from him to fund the cause. Freer suggested that the founders of the Emigrant Aid Societies were hypocritical and the free state men were nothing but "cattle" forming only a "little whiff of opposition to the introduction of Slavery into Kanzas." Freer did not appear to be a proslavery supporter, but rather a tough critic who responded cynically to the idealism of the free state cause.


Lands of the Delaware Indians (Trust Lands) in the Territory of Kansas

Lands of the Delaware Indians (Trust Lands) in the Territory of Kansas
Date: November 17, 1856
This map depicts the lands belonging to the Delaware Indians that were put up for sale in 1856. Attached to the map are three supporting documents. The first is an excerpt from the U.S. treaty with the Delaware Indians, dated 1854, which explains that the Delaware lands, once surveyed, would be sold at public auction. Indian Territory became Kansas Territory after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, and white settlers flooded into the area. The next document is a proclamation by President Franklin Pierce that outlines the terms of sale, dated 1856. The third and final document describes the geography and resources of the Delaware land and gives more details regarding the price.


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.


Lyman H. Whitney to  Isaac T. Goodnow

Lyman H. Whitney to Isaac T. Goodnow
Date: June 15, 1855
Lyman Hubbard Whitney wrote from New England to Isaac Goodnow in Kansas Territory, reporting on the proceedings of the Philadelphia National Kansas Nebraska Convention, an organization that he described as "Pro Slavery to the Back Bone!". He implored that New Englanders of Kansas have "Back Bone", and fight against slavery. The author further narrated "the north is uniting. The plot thickens, and the struggle comes", and disparaged President Pierce's administration, hoping for an anti-slavery one in the future. The letter includes a short note from Mrs. Whitney, which exclaimed at Ellen Goodnow's traveling to Kansas alone.


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.


Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father

Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: August 10, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote from Lawrence of his continued commitment to the "Sacked City," insisting that he would not be "bullied or frightened" by those committing outrages in Kansas Territory. He commented on the political composition of the territory and Lawrence, where he found many Douglas Democrats. Although there were some "fanatics" and "abolitionists," most residents of Lawrence were "western men" who had been driven to oppose the administration by the outrages. He insisted that the significance of the New England Emigrant Company had been exaggerated and that although more violent confrontations were likely, Kansas would eventually be free.


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