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Oscar E. Learnard to his parents and sister

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Lawrence K T April 6th 1856
My Dear Parents and Sister;
Once again I sieze my pen to communicate with you from this my distant and strangely romantic retreat and that to without any allaying of my long anxiety to hear from you. It cannot be that you have neglected to write me during the long and gloomy winter months which have intervened since hearing from you, and yet night after night the same old answer is returned to my inquiry at the office “No letters” of which since coming here I have been in daily expectation. Indeed during many a tedious hour of my lonely journey hither the hope of finding letters in waiting from home on my arrival. (you remember my request in my last communication from Iowa) was to me a peculiar joy and comfort, so much more bitter the dissapointment.
I wrote you soon after reaching here, now nearly four weeks, but did not enter into a detail of “Kansas Affairs”, the all engrossing topic and subject for political capital throughout the States. You will bear in mind that we are beyond the confines of the “Glorious Union” the pride of

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fledgling orators and the chiefest care of one horse politicians. You can hardly imagine ones feelings long accustomed to civic and social restraints of life, as he first becomes alive to the real, the sadly real state of affairs that exist in unfortunate abused Kansas. Let me first however guard you against overdrawn and one sided representation concerning matters here, such there are though the reality is bad enough in all truth.
It is hard without experience, to imagine what it is to live where there are no laws – for such is the case here- no protection to life or property or restraint upon the lawless disposition of men, especially frontiersmen; except physical force, with that small sense of justice entertained by those not subject to external restraint. And yet we get along very well and sometimes almost forget but that we are in a land of civilization.
But while I sorrowfully accede that a fearful and threatening state of affairs exist, and the thousand wrongs that this people have suffered. I must tell you that much of what is circulated in reference, thanks to the States, is of a one sided and exaggerated character and more that within the Territory are men, a legion, of political aspirations

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and aim who by intrigue and insinuation, prejudice the Free State cause, which they themselves have aroused to no small extent.
Many of them, minions of this degenerate and lothesome administration, on the one hand who while they condemn its acts secretly do homage at its beastly shrine. On the other hand from New England especially from Mass there are numbers which by their actions and short sighted manners manage to disgust or alienate a respectable and large class of emigrants from the Western States. Upon the whole inextricable confusion reigns here.
The organic act is acknowledgedly a nullity.
The Territorial laws no one knows or cares for. The Free State movement is quashed by President Pierce’s late edict, and was little better than a farce anyway. So here we are waiting patiently for the arrest of the members of the state legislature G. W. Robinson etc. and the arrival of the investigating committee both of which occurrences are daily anticipated.
You may look for some rich developments from that investigation, enough to furnish political capital for the coming election in abundance. Everything is quiet and do not anticipate any change at present.

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For the present I am staying with an old friend of mine here formerly from Vermont. We are farming a little as he has a farm near town. I enjoy myself well and can hardly realize that I am so far away from my New England home, as most of the inhabitants are from Yankee land which gives a familiar air to things, unknown in most western towns.
Of my future intentions and the country I will write you hereafter. Lawrence a town of no small notoriety with you I presume, has one of the most delightful sites I have ever seen, at present numbering about one thousand souls and souls that are true and tried. The town is fortified at each entrance and with the Stars and Stripes still floating on the wind? Presents quite a formidable appearance. It is growing rapidly and will become a town of importance – more anon- I wish you would adopt the plan of writing me every week, so that despite mail delay I may hear from you occasionally at least.
My health is excellent, the weather fine and farmers busily at work. Ever mindful of you all and hopeful of your health and happiness I am
Yours O.E.L.
P.S. Mother, I am keeping house. Babcock of Richford and myself with “Bill Parsons” for cook, I should like you to come and take a few lessons. I propose to write you the advantages and disadvantages of Kansas in my next so I have concluded to open a regular correspondence with you.
[There is writing on the edge of each page, but is difficult to read and has not been transcribed.]

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