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Charles Robinson to Henry Wilson

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Lawrence May 12 1858
My Dear Sir
Your favor of the 4th inst is received – You need have no fear of the adoption of Lecompton by the people of Kansas. The vote against it will probably be larger than on the 4th of Jany last. All the free State men will vote against it, & one half the Democrats – From letters I am receiving from the East, as well as from the newspapers, I see that our Republican friends are unnecessarily alarmed. They evidently do not understand the program of the Democratic part – Either I am very much mistaken or that party are desirous of seeing Lecompton voted down as the Republicans, although, of course, they will not say so authoritatively – Why is this, you will ask? In the first place, they knew that if Lecompton should go into the union, then radical Republicans would go into the Senate – This could not be prevented unless the free state party made a fatal blunder. Also the state government & members of Congress would be Republican, & the Constitution would be changed in the “twinkling of an eye” - Of this state of facts the administration became aware, & this, in my judgement, is the real reason why the senate bill did not pass the House. Who believes now that English & co. could not have been induced to vote for the Senate bill had the proper arguments been used with them? Who believes that the South would have allowed us a vote on Lecompton

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had they believed slavery would have gained anything by a refusal. Remember the English bill passed by Southern votes, chiefly. Did they suppose we would do anything else than vote the ordinance down? No! They might possibly hope to induce a few to change their votes, had they desired to do so, but no man could be so infatuated as to suppose that a majority of ten thousand could be changed right about face in the short space of six months; for the English ordinance is really no more & no less than Lecompton, except that it has less cause than when we defeated it in Jany.
What then is the play? As I have obtained it from no man or men but simply from observation I betray no confidence in revealing it. We are to remain a territory till the new Congress meets in December 1859, if no longer. In the mean time the administration of the Government in Kansas will be eminently just & fair. All disturbances will be quelled at once & free state men will be as promptly protected in their persons, property & rights as the proslavery men. The Democratic party will take the lead in aiding in developing the resources of Kansas, & will claim to be the special friends of our infant State. All the old Democrats will be induced to return to the fold, & as many new converts made as possible. In this way it is hoped that Kansas will come into the Union with a Democratic State government, Senators etc. What are their chances of success, & upon what do they build their hopes?
It is believed that a majority of the people of Kansas would

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have been Democrat today had it not been for the war of the administration upon free state men, & a very large number of the free State party who have been Democrats would now act with that party were it what it was when they came to Kansas or when the Kansas Nebraska bill was past. Many of these men would remain in the free State party or join the Republican party were they fellowshipped fully by the organs & letter writers of that party, but they are given the cold shoulder or are positively assailed in the leading Republican journals of the Country without cause & they will naturally become alienated as soon as they can find their old party conducting its affairs honorably in Kansas. Another class of our people who were whigs or Republicans in 56 make antislavery everywhere except in the Territories a secondary consideration & are disposed to look after the material interests of the State of their adoption. They also are suspected & given the cold shoulder by the more zealous antislavery members of the party assailed through Republican journals. Still another class who are strong antislavery men & who feel that it is important to develop the resources of Kansas, build her roads & plant her literary & other institutions as well as make her free State, & who favor a conciliatory cause towards members of the party are suspected by the censors of the party & all sorts of falsehoods, suspicions & insinuations are sent to the four winds by means of these journals. The Democratic party here are evidently hoping that the above elements will be driven from the Republican party & either join the Democratic direct or a middle party with which the Democrats will unite & carry the elections. The Democrats see that the free State

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party has an element that will destroy it a soon as permanent peace is established. It is an element that would destroy any party in any state if allowed full scope. It is well known that a large number of our leading republican journals of the country support correspondents in Kansas who as a general thing have but little if any interest in the material welfare of Kansas but who are zealous reformers & many of them excellent men. From Correspondents the tendency is for them to become mere partisans & if partisans aspirants, & if aspirants apt to imagine everybody wrong who does not think with or support them. These imaginations are apt to get into their correspondence as truths, & when they come back to Kansas in some leading journal all who may differ from these aspiring correspondents consider themselves wronged. Their position wrongly stated or not stated at all, their reasons perverted or omitted entirely, & the result is apt to be heartburning, & jealousies & a coldness towards a party whose organs are used to misrepresent, pervert, & perhaps belie the history of the State. On this element I have reason to believe the democrats place great reliance. If these Correspondents acted the part of impartial & disinterested historians, or confined their onesided strictures to the opponents of the free state party, they might be of service & not destructive to the party, but when the Republican party of the country support a class of partisans, office seekers, etc, who traduce or praise by the column whatever or whoever they may deem for their interest, it will naturally alienate from that party all office seekers, & nearly all are aspiring in new countries, who have to support themselves by the labor of their own hands & contend against the journals of the country & this [the document ends here]

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