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A. G. Bradford to James Denver

A. G. Bradford to James Denver
Creator: Bradford, A. G.
Date: March 18, 1858
A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C., to Kansas Territory's governor James H. Denver, suggests that the effort to admit Kansas Territory as a state under the Lecompton Constitution likely would fail in the U.S. Congress. Bradford also seeks Denver's support for Bradford's attempt to receive an appointment as Superintendent of Indian Affairs and comments upon Denver's future political opportunities in California.


A. J. Bradford to James W. Denver

A. J. Bradford to James W. Denver
Creator: Bradford, A. G.
Date: April 1, 1858
A. G. Bradford, writing from Washington, D.C., to Governor James W. Denver, reports that the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Crittenden-Montgomery resolution, which proposed to resubmit the Lecompton Constitution to a vote in Kansas Territory. Bradford predicts, however, that a House-Senate conference committee would endorse the Senate's version of the Lecompton Constitution bill, which proposed the admission of Kansas as a state under the Lecompton Constitution. Bradford adds that he believes both houses of Congress would agree to admit Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: January 1858
Albert Morton wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts, describing at length the efforts of Quindaro's citizens to grade a large avenue through the town. Morton added that Quindaro was about to establish a city charter, which, if approved by the Legislature, would require the taxation of the citizens. He also mentioned a shooting the night before of a proslavery man who had lost his seat to free statesman Charles Chadwick in a recent election under the Lecompton Constitution.


Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill

Albert C. Morton to Hiram Hill
Creator: Morton, Albert C.
Date: August 3, 1858
Albert Morton wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts. Morton had recently returned to Quindaro in order to vote on the Lecompton Constitution as submitted by the English bill. Having arrived there, he found the place to be "dull". Morton described many empty houses and buildings, left behind from settlers selling out to return home; money had also been lost in investments and bridges were washed out in floods. However, the Town Company had invested in a flour mill, which had commenced operations. Morton also discussed matters of buying and selling land warrants with Hill.


Barstow Darrach to Samuel L. Adair

Barstow Darrach to Samuel L. Adair
Creator: Darrach, Barstow
Date: June 8, 1857
Dr. Barstow Darrach, writing from the New York Hospital, wrote Adair in great detail about his opinions of Kansas Territory's Governor Robert J. Walker and other political happenings in Kansas Territory.


Charles Chadwick to Hiram Hill

Charles Chadwick to Hiram Hill
Creator: Chadwick, Charles
Date: March 25, 1858
Charles Chadwick wrote from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, to Hiram Hill in Massachusetts, regarding various aspects of town development. Chadwick told Hill of some controversy over his ownership of some lands, both "outside" and in town, which were also being claimed by Wyandotte Indians. He described the potential for new businesses to open in Quindaro, including a machine shop and foundry. Chadwick waited for the arrival of new immigrants and hoped the "eastern capitalists" would introduce more money into their economy. He added his comments about the fraudulent ratification of the Lecompton Constitution, suggesting that the Constitution would do the most good "with the. . .box under the woodpile".


Charles Robinson to Emma Millard

Charles Robinson to Emma Millard
Creator: Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894
Date: March 30, 1860
In response to Millard's letter of March 22, Robinson writes from Quindaro, Kansas Territory, that he is "gratified" to learn of her interest in Kansas history, and that she is "disposed to examine for yourself the random thrusts of the press." Robinson makes some interesting observations regarding his interpretation of Kansas events and the importance of the various factions--free state and proslavery.


Charles Robinson to Henry Wilson

Charles Robinson to Henry Wilson
Creator: Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894
Date: May 12, 1858
This important document is reportedly a copy of a letter from Charles Robinson, Lawrence, May 12, 1858, to Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson in which the Kansas governor expresses confidence that the Lecompton Constitution will be overwhelmingly defeated in the upcoming election and makes numerous observations about the state of politics--present and future--in Kansas. Robinson believes that half the Democrats would oppose the Lecompton instrument because they knew that freestaters would dominate any state government that would be admitted under it and subsequently "the Constitution would be changed in the 'twinkling of an eye.'" Thus, he predicts no Kansas admission until at least December, 1859, and in the meantime expects Democrats to "take the lead in aiding in developing the resources of Kansas, & [the Democratic Party] will claim to be the special friends of our infant State."


Constitution Convention opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, Kansas Territory

Constitution Convention opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, Kansas Territory
Creator: Winchell, James M
Date: March 30, 1858
An address, by James M. Winchell, chairman of the Constitution Convention's Committee on Remonstrance, against passage of the Lecompton Constitution. The address is formulated as an open letter ("Remonstrance of the Constitutional Convention against the passage of the Lecompton Constitution") to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, members of President Buchanan's cabinet, and state governors. The address cites five strong reasons (among them "It is not the act of the people of Kansas.") why Congress should reject the proslavery Lecompton Constitution despite "the aid of Federal bribery and corruption."


Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas

Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas
Creator: Strickrott, John F.
Date: 1903
View of Constitution Hall in Lecompton, Kansas.


Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas

Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas
Date: 1939
A photograph of Constitution Hall in Lecompton, Kansas. In January 1857, the second territorial legislative assembly met on the upper floor of this building. The Kansas Legislature approved the state to operate Constitution Hall State Historic Site in 1986. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1974.


Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas

Constitution Hall, Lecompton, Kansas
Date: 1908
This building served as the seat of the Kansas Territorial government in 1857 and 1858. The second territorial legislature met here in 1857. The constitutional convention that drafted the Lecompton Constitution also met here. At the time this photo was taken, the building served as the meeting hall for the International Order of Odd Fellows. Lecompton Constitution Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and as a National Historic Landmark in 1974.


Daniel Boone Delaney, pamphlet "The Issue Fairly Presented"

Daniel Boone Delaney, pamphlet "The Issue Fairly Presented"
Creator: Delaney, Daniel Boone, 1877-1956
Date: ca. 1856
This pamplet, voicing the opinions of the Democratic National Committee, charged Black Republicans with inciting violence by their opposition to Kansas' admission to the Union under the Lecompton Constitution. As abolitionists, their "fanatical organization" purposely prolonged the conflict by promoting chaotic Territorial politics via their support of the Topeka movement. The document pointed out the role of emigrant aid societies in settling Kansas, blaming them as a source of conflict since Nebraska had had no aid sociey assistance and was not experiencing violence. Also included in the pamphlet was a summary of a debate in which Michigan's settlement and admission to the Union was compared to the current situation in Kansas Territory.


E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

E.B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 13, 1858
Letter from Edmund Burke Whitman to George Stearns that details the activities of the last six months and Whitman's take on the inhabitants of the state of Kansas. In his opinion, Kansas has some of the best residents and some of the worst. Whitman mentioned the suspicion that accompanied the exchanges between the two parties in the territory and the fact that if the Lecompton Constitution was adopted by Congress, the Free State men must rally under the Topeka government and resist. A searchable transcription is available by clicking "Text Version" below.


Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 13, 1858
Whitman writes a rather lengthy update on the Kansas Territory situation for Stearns, focusing on the political machinations of the few and the uncertain situation created by the Lecompton debate. Of territorial leadership, Whitman observes: "While Kansas is blessed with many of the truest men of the age, men who are fully up to the emergency, she is also cursed with some of the most unprincipled demagogues that ever afflicted any country." Whitman writes that there is much confusion and disagreement about the best course of action for free state men to take, now that many acknowledged the death of the Topeka movement. He then turns to the work of the Minneola and Leavenworth Constitutional Convention of March, 1858.


Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns

Edmund B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: February 20, 1858
This rather lengthy report from Lawrence, Kansas Territory, addresses many issues, especially those surrounding the Lecompton constitutional controversy. With "the Topeka Movement . . . abandoned," the question is what would take its place to resist the Lecompton Constitution if it were accepted by the Congress. The territorial legislature had formally "protested against the admission of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution," and "the Mass of the people are determined" to resist its imposition. Whitman makes many other interesting observations about the political situation regarding Democrats and Republicans and even abolitionists: "men who seek here and now, on this issue, to break the back bone of slavery forever." In addition to the political, Whitman describes his "labor of distributing the clothing . . . for the relief of Kansas," and discusses in some detail the financial situation regarding the Committee, his personal debt, Kansas relief, and support to John Brown.


Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn

Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: January 16, 1858
E. B. Whitman wrote Sanborn this lengthy letter from Lawrence, describing the political events that had unfolded in the territory since the October 5, 1857, election. Among many other things, he mentioned the split that took the "National democrats" out of the movement over the issue of participation in the state elections under the Lecompton Constitution, January 1857. This "Free State ticket" was, according to Whitman, "a disgrace to the cause," but it attracted a good number of votes and won "a good working majority in both houses and so our people proclaim a victory." Whitman, who had long been a faithful supporter, was seemingly losing confidence in John Brown, as were "the people."


Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn ?

Edmund Burke Whitman to Franklin B. Sanborn ?
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: February 18, 1858
As a follow up to his more lengthy report of January 16, Whitman wrote from Lawrence on February 18, 1858, about the turbulent course of Kansas politics during the last month. Again, he attacked Robinson's efforts to compromise with the forces behind the "Lecompton Swindle," and described the other factions plan of action should Congress adopt the Lecompton Constitution.


Edmund Burke Whitman to George Luther Stearns

Edmund Burke Whitman to George Luther Stearns
Creator: Whitman, E. B. (Edmund Burke), 1812-1883
Date: April 30, 1858
Whitman's April 30, 1858, letter to Stearns described the harmonious work conducted by the "State Convention" and its nomination of state officers under the Leavenworth Constitution. That movement, he told Stearns, would probably not "amount to much if the Lecompton Constitution is rejected. He also mentioned continued tension in Bourbon County and the route of U.S. troops by "the free State boys" of Fort Scott.


Ephraim Nute

Ephraim Nute
Date: 1860s
Portrait of Rev. Ephraim Nute. He was a Unitarian minister in Lawrence, Kansas Territory. Nute served as chaplain for the Territorial Legislature at Lecompton and was a chaplain for the First Regiment of the Kansas Volunteers.


Ephraim Nute to Edward Everett Hale

Ephraim Nute to Edward Everett Hale
Creator: Nute, Ephraim
Date: May 10, 1858
Rev. Ephraim Nute, minister of the Lawrence Unitarian Church, wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to Edward Everett Hale, a member of the New England Emigrant Aid Company's Executive Committee. Nute inquired about the possibility of Hale arranging a loan of $2000 at reasonable interest for the completion of the Unitarian Church in Lawrence. He reported on the high rates of interest being charged for loans in Kansas Territory and on the general effects of the panic of 1857 on the territorial economy. Nute also expressed his dissatisfaction with the Buchanan administration's handling of the Lecompton Constitution and his hope that a change in presidential administration in 1860 would result in Kansas' admission as a free state.


Fellow Citizens--In Support of the Wyandotte Constitution

Fellow Citizens--In Support of the Wyandotte Constitution
Creator: Martin, John Alexander, 1839-1889
Date: July, 1859
This eleven-page document is a speech or essay, most likely in John Alexander Martin's handwriting, delivered in support of the proposed Wyandotte Constitution that was ratified by the voters of the territory on October 4, 1859. Martin, a twenty-year-old Atchison editor, served as secretary for the convention, which finished its work at the end of July. This speech, attacking the Democrats for conspiring to defeat the latest free-state constitution and for "the Lecomptonizing of Kansas," was undoubtedly delivered several times during the months of August and September, 1859. It addressed the various issues opponents were likely to use to defeat the constitution at the polls and stressed that, in light of actions of "a servile judiciary," slavery could not be removed from Kansas until it was admitted as a "sovereign state."


First Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory, Members and Officers

First Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory, Members and Officers
Date: July 2, 1855
This catalogue lists members and officers of the council and both houses of the first legislative assembly in Kansas Territory. It includes demographic information including how long each settler was in the territory, their political affiliations (most were pro slavery), and other remarks.


Fort Scott Precinct, Bourbon County, Kansas Territory, Election Returns and Ballots

Fort Scott Precinct, Bourbon County, Kansas Territory, Election Returns and Ballots
Date: December 21, 1857
Election returns and actual elections ballots cast in Fort Scott Precinct, Bourbon County, Kansas Territory during the December 21, 1857, election on ratification of the Lecompton Constitution "with slavery" or the constitution "without slavery." Because a vote "for the constitution without slavery" meant Kansans could keep the slaves they already owned, free staters refused to participate. In this election, the "constitution with slavery" won 6,226 to 569. Results in Fort Scott were 318 to 19 in favor the the "constitution with slavery." Note that the largest ballot (No. 1) was signed by J. C. Head, whose name also is listed first on the election returns for Fort Scott.


Franklin G. Adams

Franklin G. Adams
Date: 1890s
This is a portrait of Franklin G. Adams who was the Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas. Adams was a member of the Leavenworth Constitutional Convention. He served as an election judge for the second vote on the Lecompton Constitution. Earlier he was a Clerk of the U. S. District Court of Kansas. In 1875, he became the first secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.


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