Page images

Lo poll was opened. The result of this election | to which they owe allegiance, and have been all the time was, the Free-State party carried the legislature and the delegate to Congress.


in a state of resistance against its authority. They have all the time been endeavoring to subvert it and to establish a revolutionary Government, under the so-called The Convention reassembled in October, ac- Topeka Constitution, in its stead. Even at this very cording to adjournment, and formed the Consti- moment, the Topeka Legislature are in session. ever has read the correspondence of Gov. Walker with tution now so famous as the Lecompton Consti- the State Department, recently communicated to the tution. When it became known that the Con- Senate, will be convinced that this picture is not overvention had refused to submit the entire con- drawn. He always protested against the withdrawal of any portion of the military force of the United States stitution to a vote of the people for ratification from the Territory, deeming its presence absolutely or rejection, and had submitted only a proposi- necessary for the preservation of the regular Governtion in regard to Slavery, and that in a form and ment and the execution of the laws. In his very first under a test oath which would prevent the Free-dispatch to the Secretary of State, dated June 2, 1857, he State people from voting, there was great excite- "The most alarming movement, however, proceeds from ment in the Territory, threatening bloodshed. the assembling, on the 9th of June, of the so-called Topeka Legislature, with a view to the enactment of an entire code of Under these circumstances, Acting Gov. Stanton laws. Of course, it will be my endeavor to prevent such a called (Gov. Walker had resigned) an extra ses-result, as it would lead to inevitable and disastrous collision, sion of the Territorial Legislature. The legislature assembled Dec. 17th, and passed an act to submit the Lecompton Constitution fairly to a vote of the people on the 4th of January next, following, the time fixed by the Lecompton convention for the election of State officers under that constitution.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


and in fact renew the civil war in Kansas."

This was with difficulty prevented by the efforts of Governor Walker; but soon thereafter, on the 14th of July, we find him requesting General Harney to furnish Lawrence, and this for the reason that he had received him a regiment of dragoons to proceed to the city of authentic intelligence, verified by his own actual observation, that a dangerous rebellion had occurred, involving an open defiance of the laws, and the establishment of an insurgent government in that city. In the Goverthe nor's dispatch of July 15, he informs the Secretary of re-State that


6,793 Jan. 4th, 1858, in accordance with the act of the Territorial Legislature, the people voted as follows:

For the Lecompton Constitution with Slavery without "

[ocr errors]



Against the Lecompton Constitution

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

138 24 10,226

"This movement at Lawrence was the beginning of a plan, originating in that city, to organize insurrection throughout the Territory, and especially in all towns, cities and counties where the Republican party have a majority. Lawrence is the hotbed of all the Abolition movements in this Territory. It is the town established by the Abolition Societies of the East, and, while there are respectable people there, it is filled by a considerable number of mercenaries, who are paid by Abolition Societies to perpetuate and diffuse agitation throughout Kansas, and prevent a peaceful settlement of this question. Having failed in inducing their own so-called Topeka State Legislature to organize this insurrection, Lawrence has commenced it herself, and, if not arrested, the rebellion will extend throughout the Territory." And again:

"In order to send this communication immediately by mail,

Being over ten thousand majority against the I must close, assuring you that the spirit of rebellion pervades Lecompton Constitution.


the great mass of the Republican party of this Territory, instigated, as I entertain no doubt they are, by Eastern Societies, having in view results most disastrous to the Government and the Union; and that the continued presence of Gen. with a large body of dragoons and several batteries."

The following is the President's special Mes- Harney is indispensable, as was originally stipulated by me, sage, of Feb. 2nd, 1858.

I have received from J. Calhoun, Esq., President of the late Constitutional Convention of Kansas, a copy duly certified by himself, of the Constitution framed by that body, with the expression of the hope that I would submit the same to the consideration of Congress "with the view of the admission of Kansas into the Union as an independent State." In compliance with this request, I herewith transmit to Congress for their action the Constitution of Kansas, with the ordinance respecting the public lands, as well as the letter of Mr. Calhoun, dated at Lecompton, on the 14th ult., by which they were accompanied. Having received but a single copy of the Constitution and ordinance, I send this to the Senate.


A great delusion seems to pervade the public mind in relation to the condition of parties in Kansas. This arises from the difficulty of inducing the American people to realize the fact that any portion of them should be in a state of rebellion against the Government under which they live. When we speak of the affairs of Kansas, we are apt to refer merely to the existence of two violent political parties in that Territory, divided on the question of Slavery, just as we speak of such parties in the States. This presents no adequate idea of the true state of the The dividing line there is not between two political parties, both acknowledging the lawful existence of the Government, but between those who are loyal to this Government and those who have endeavored to destroy its existence by force and by usurpation-between those who sustain, and those who have done all in their power to overthrow, the Territorial Government established by Congress. This Government they would long since have subverted had it not been protected from their assaults by the troops of the United States. Such has been the condition of affairs since my inauguration. Ever since that period, a large portion of the people of Kansas have been in a state of rebellion against the Government, with a military leader at their head, of most turbulent and dangerous character. They have never acknowledged, but have constantly renounced and defied, the Government

On the 20th of July, 1857, Gen. Lane, under the authority of the Topeka Convention, undertook, as Gen. Walker informs us,

"To organize the whole Free-State party into volunteers, and to take the names of all who refuse enrolment. The professed object was to protect the polls at the elections, in August, of a new insurgent Topeka State Legislature. The object in taking the names of all who refuse enrollment is to terrify the Free-State Conservatives into submission. This is Topekaites. The speedy location of large bodies of regular proved by the recent atrocities committed on such men by the troops here with two batteries is necessary. The Lawrence insurgents await the developments of this new military organization."

In the Governor's dispatch of July 27, he says that "Gen. Lane and his staff everywhere deny the authority of the Territorial laws, and counsel a total disregard of these


Without making further quotations of a similar character from other dispatches of Governor Walker, it appears, by reference to Secretary Stanton's communication to Gen. Cass on the 9th of December last, that

"The important step of calling the legislature together was taken after I (he) had become satisfied that the election ordered by the Convention on the 21st of December could not be conducted without collision and bloodshed."

So intense was the disloyal feeling among the enemies of the Government established by Congress, that an election which afforded them opportunities, if in the majority, of making Kansas a Free State according to their own expressed desire, could not be conducted without collision and bloodshed. The truth is that, up to the present moment, the enemies of the existing government still adhere to their Topeka revolutionary constitution and government. The very first paragraph of the message of Gov. Robinson, dated the 7th of December, to the Topeka Legislature, now assembled at Lawrence, contains an open defiance of the laws and Constitution of the United States. The Governor says:

"The Convention which framed the Topeka Constitution originated with the people of Kansas Territory. They

have adopted and ratified the same twice by a direct vots, also themselves. That Convention is now about to be elected by indirectly through two elections for State officers and mem-you, under the call of the Territorial Legislature created, and bers of the State Legislature; yet it has pleased the Adminis- still recognized, by the authority of Congress and clothed by tration to regard the whole proceeding as revolutionary." it, in the comprehensive language of the organic law, with full This Topeka Government, adhered to with such trea- power to make such an enactment. The Territorial Legisla ture, then, in assembling this Convention, were fully sustained sonable pertinacity, is a government in direct opposition by the act of Congress, and the authority of the Convention is to the existing government prescribed and recognized by distinctly recognized in my instructions from the President of Congress.

the United States."

It is usurpation of the same character as it would be The Governor also clearly and distinctly warns them for a portion of the people of any State to undertake to establish a separate government within its limits for what would be the consequences if they did not particiThe people of Kansas, then, he the purpose of redressing any grievance, real or imag-pate in the election. inary, of which they might complain against the legiti- says, "Are invited by the highest authority known to the Constimate State Government. Such a principle, if carried into execution, would destroy all lawful authority and pro-gates to frame a Constitution and State Government. The law tution to participate freely and fairly in the election of deleduce universal anarchy. From this statement of facts, has performed its entire appropriate function, when it extends the reason becomes palpable why the enemies of the gov-to the people the right of suffrage; but it cannot compel the ernment authorized by Congress have refused to vote for performance of that duty. Throughout the whole Union, the delegates to the Kansas Constitutional Convention, however, and wherever free government prevails, those who and also, afterward, on the question of Slavery submitted abstain from the exercise of the right of suffrage authorize by it to the people. It is because they have ever refused those who do vote to act for them in that contingency, and absentees are as much bound, under the law and Constitution, to sanction or recognize any other Constitution than that where there is no fraud or violence, by the act of the majority framed at Topeka. Had the whole Lecompton Constitu- of those who do vote, as if all had participated in the election. tion been submitted to the people, the adherents of this Otherwise, as voting must be voluntary, self-government organization would doubtless have voted against it, be- would be impracticable, and monarchy or despotism would cause, if successful, they would thus have removed the remain as the only alternative." obstacles out of the way of their own revolutionary ConIt may also be observed that at this period any hope, stitution; they would have done this, not upon the con- if such had existed, that the Topeka Constitution would sideration of the merits of the whole or part of the ever be recognized by Congress must have been abanLecompton Constitution, but simply because they have doned. Congress had adjourned on the third of March ever resisted the authority of the government authorized previous, having recognized the legal existence of the by Congress from which it emanated. Such being the Territorial Legislature in a variety of forms, which I need unfortunate condition of affairs in the Territory, what was not enumerate. Indeed, the Delegate elected to the the right as well as the duty of the law-abiding people? House of Representatives under a Territorial law had Were they silently and patiently to submit to the Topeka been admitted to a seat and had just completed his te m usurpation, or to adopt the necessary measure to estab- of service the day previous to my inauguration. This lish a Constitution under the authority of the organic law was the propitious moment for settling all the difficulties of Congress? That this law recognized the right of the of Kansas. This was the time for abandoning the revopeople of the Territory, without an enabling act of Conlutionary Topeka organization, and for the enemies of gress, to form a State Constitution, is too clear for argu- the existing government to conform to the laws and unite For Congress "to leave the people of the Terri- with its friends in framing a State Constitution. But this tory perfectly free" in framing their Constitution" to they refused to do, and the consequences of their refusal form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own to submit to the lawful authority, and vote at the election way, subject only to the Constitution of the United of delegates, may yet prove to be of the most deplorable States," and then to say that they shall not be permitted character. Would that the respect for the laws of the to proceed and frame the Constitution in their own way, land, which so eminently distinguished the men of the without express authority from Congress, appears to be past generation, could be revived! It is a disregard and almost a contradiction in terms. It would be much violation of law which has for years kept the Territory more plausible to contend that Congress had no power to of Kansas in a state of almost open rebellion against its pass such an enabling act, than to argue that the people Government-it is the same spirit which has produced of a Territory might be kept out of the Union for an indefi- actual rebellion in Utah. Our only safety consists in nite period, and until it might please Congress to permit obedience and conformity to the law. Should a general them to exercise the right of self-government. spirit against its enforcement prevail, this will prove would be to adopt, not their own way, but the way which to us as a nation. Congress might prescribe. It is impossible that any people could have proceeded with more regularity in the formation of a Constitution than the people of Kansas have done. It was necessary, first, to ascertain whether it was the desire of the people to be relieved from their Territorial dependence and establish a State Government. For this purpose, the Territorial Legislature, in 1855, passed a law for taking the sense of the people of the Territory upon the expediency of calling a Convention to form a State Constitution at the general election to be held in October, 1856. The "sense of the people" was accordingly taken, and they decided in favor of a Con




It is true that at this election the enemies of the Territorial Government did not vote, because they were then engaged at Topeka, without the slightest pretext of lawful authority, in framing a Constitution of their own for subverting the Territorial Government. In pursuance of this decision of the people in favor of a Convention, the Territorial Legislature, on the 27th of February, 1857, passed an act for the election of delegates on the third Monday of June, 1857, to frame a State Constitution. This law is as fair in its provisions as any that ever passed a legislative body for a similar purpose. The right of suffrage at this election is clearly and justly defined. Every bona fide citizen of the United States, above the age of twenty-one, and who had resided therein for three months previous to that date, was entitled to a vote. In order to avoid all interference from neighboring States and Territories with the freedom and fairness of the election, a provision was made for the registry of qualified voters, and in pursuance thereof, nine thousand two hundred and fifty-one voters were registered. Gov. Walker did his whole duty in urging all qualified citizens of Kansas to vote at this election. In his Inaugural Address on the 27th of May, he informed them that

"Under our practice, the preliminary act of framing a State Constitution is uniformly performed through the instruentality of a Convention of delegates chosen by the people


We acknowledge no master but law, and should we cut loose from its restraints and every one do what seemeth good in his own eyes, our case would indeed be hopeless. The enemies of the Territorial Government determined still to resist the authority of Congress. They refused to vote for delegates to the Convention, not because, from circumstances which I need not detail, there was an omission to register the comparatively few voters who were inhabitants of certain counties in Kansas in the early spring of 1857, but because they had determined, at all hazards, to adhere to their revolutionary organization, and defeat the establishment of any other constitution than that which they had framed at Topeka. The election was therefore suffered to pass by default, but of this result the qualified electors who refused to vote can never justly complain.

From this review, it is manifest that the Lecompton Convention, according to every principle of constitu tional law, was legally constituted and invested with power to frame a Constitution. The sacred principle of Popular Sovereignty has been invoked in favor of the enemies of Law and Order in Kansas; but in what manner is Popular Sovereignty to be exercised in this country if not through the instrumentality of established law? In certain small republics of ancient times, the people did assemble in primary meeting, passed laws and directed public affairs. In our country, this is manifestly impossible. Popular Sovereignty can be exercised here only through the ballotbox; and if the people will refuse to exercise it in this manner, as they have done in Kansas at the election of Delegates, it is not for them to complain that their rights have been violated.

The Kansas Convention, thus lawfully constituted, proceeded to frame a Constitution, and, having completed their work, finally adjourned on the 7th of November last.

They did not think proper to submit the whole of this Constitution to a popular vote, but they did submit the question whether Kansas should be a Free or Slave State to the people. This was the question which had con

vulsed the Union and shaken it to the very center. This was the question which had lighted the flames of civil war in Kansas and had produced dangerous sectional parties throughout the confederacy. It was of a character so paramount in respect to the condition of Kansas, as to rivet the anxious attention of the people of the whole country upon it and it alone-no person thought of any other question. For my own part, when I instructed Governor Walker in general terms in favor of submitting the constitution to the people, I had no object in view except the all-absorbing question of Slavery. In what manner the people of Kansas might regulate their other concerns, was not the subject which attracted my attention. In fact, the general provisions of our recent State constitutions, after an experience of eighty years, are so similar and excellent that it would be difficult to go far wrong at the present day in framing a new constitution. I then believed, and still believe, that, under the organic act, the Kansas Convention were bound to submit this all-important question of Slavery to the people. It was never, however, my opinion that, independently of this act, they would have been bound to submit any portion of the constitution to a popular vote in order to give it validity. Had I enter tained such an opinion, this would have been in opposition to many precedents in our history, commencing in the very best age of our Republic. It would have been in opposition to the principle which pervades our institutions, and which is every day carried into practice, that the people have a right to delegate to the representatives chosen by themselves their sovereign power to frame constitutions, enact laws, and perform many other important acts, without requiring that these should be subjected to their subsequent approbation. It would be a most inconvenient limitation of their own power, imposed by the people upon themselves, to exclude them from exercising their sovereignty in any lawful manner which they think proper.

be banished from the halls of Congress, where it has
always exerted a baneful influence throughout the whole
It is proper that I should briefly refer to the election
held under the act of the Territorial Legislature on the
first Monday of January last on the Lecompton Consti-
tution. This election was held after the Territory had
been prepared for admission into the Union as a Sove-
reign State, and when no authority existed in the Terri-
torial Legislature which could possibly destroy its exist-
ence or change its character. The election, which was
peaceably conducted under my instructions, involved
strange inconsistencies. A large majority of the persons
who voted against the Lecompton Constitution were at
the same time and place recognizing its valid existence
in the most solid and authentic manner by voting under
its provisions. I have yet received no official informa-
tion of the result of this election.

As a question of expediency, after right has been maintained, it may be wise to reflect upon the benefits to Kansas and the whole country that will result from its immediate admission into the Union, as well as the disasters that may follow its rejection. Domestic peace will be the happy consequence of the admission, and that fine Territory, which has hitherto been torn by dissensions, will rapidly increase in population and wealth, and speedily realize the blessings and comforts which follow in the train of agricultural and mechanical industry. The people, then, will be sovereign, and can regulate their affairs in their own way. If the majority of them desire to abolish domestic Slavery within the State, there is no other possible mode by which it can be effected so speedily as by prompt admission. The will of the majority is supreme and irresistible, when expressed in an orderly and lawful manner. It can make and unmake constitutions at pleasure. It would be absurd to say that they can impose fetters upon their own power which they cannot afterward remove. If they could do this, they might tie their own hands just as well for a hundred as for ten years. These are the fundamental principles of American freedom, and are recognized, I believe, in some form or other by every State constitution; and if Congress, in the act of admission, should think proper to recognize them, I can perceive no objection.

It is true that the people of Kansas might, if they had pleased, have required the Convention to submit the constitution to a popular vote, but this they have not done. The only remedy, therefore, in this case is that which exists in all other similar cases. If the delegates who framed the Kansas Constitution have in any manner violated the will of their constituents, the people always This has been done emphatically in the constitution of possess the power to change their constitution or laws Kausas. It declares in its bill of rights that "All politiaccording to their own pleasure. The question of Slavery cal power is inherent in the people," and all free governwas submitted to an election of the people on the 21st of ments are founded on their authority and instituted for December last, in obedience to the mandate of the Con- their benefit, and therefore have at all times an inalienvention. Here, again, a fair opportunity was presented able and indefeasible right to alter, reform and abolish to the adherents of the Topeka Constitution, if they were their form of government, in such manner as they may the majority, to decide this exciting question "in their think proper. The great State of New-York is at this own way," and thus restore peace to the distracted Ter- moment governed under a constitution framed and estabritory; but they again refused to exercise the right of lished in direct opposition to a mode prescribed by the Popular Sovereignty, and again suffered the election to previous constitution. If, therefore, a provision changpass by default. I heartily rejoice that a wiser and bet-ing the constitution of Kansas after the year 1864, could ter spirit prevailed among a large majority of these by possibility be construed into a prohibition to make people on the first Monday in January, and that they such change previous to that period, this prohibition did on that day vote under the Lecompton Constitution would be wholly unavailing. The legislature already for a Governor and other State officers, a member of elected may, at its very first session, submit the question Congress, and for members of the Legislature. This to a vote of the people, whether they will or not have a election was warmly contested by the parties, and a larger convention, to amend their constitution, and adopt all vote polled than at any previous election in the Territory. necessary means for giving effect to the popular will. It We may now reasonably hope that the revolutionary has been solemnly adjudged, by the highest judicial triTopeka organization will be speedily and finally aban-bunal known to our laws, that Slavery exists in Kansas doned, and this will go far toward a final settlement of the by virtue of the Constitution of the United States. unhappy differences in Kansas. If frauds have been com- Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a Slave State mitted at this election by one or both parties, the legisla- as Georgia or South Carolina. Without this, the equality ture and people of Kansas, under their constitution, will of the Sovereign States composing the Union would be know how to redress themselves and punish these detesta- violated, and the use and enjoyment of a Territory ac ble but too common crimes without outside interference. quired by the common treasure of all the States, would The people of Kansas have, then, "in their own way,' be closed against the people and property of nearly half and in strict accordance with the organic act, framed a the members of the Confederacy. Slavery can, therefore, Constitution and State Government, have submitted the never be prohibited in Kansas, except through the means all-important question of Slavery to the people, and have of a constitutional provision; and in no other manner can elected a Governor, a member to represent them in this be obtained so promptly, if the majority of the people Congress, members of the State Legislature and other desire it, as by admitting her into the Union under her State officers; and they now ask admission into the present constitution. On the other hand, should ConUnion under this constitution, which is republican in its gress reject the constitution, under the idea of affording form. It is for Congress to decide whether they will the disaffected in Kansas a third opportunity to prohibit admit or reject the State which has thus been created. Slavery in the State, which they might have done twice before if in the majority, no man can foretell the consequences. If Congress, for the sake of those men who refused to vote for delegates to the convention, when they might have excluded Slavery from the constitution, and who afterward refused to vote on the 21st of December, when they might, as they claim, have stricken Slavery from the constitution, should now reject the State because Slavery remains in the constitution, it is manifest that the agitation upon this dangerous subject will be renewed in a more alarming form than it has ever yet assumed. Every patriot in the country had indulged the hope that the Kansas-Nebraska Act would have put a

[ocr errors]

For my own part, I am decidedly in favor of its admission, and thus terminating the Kansas question. This will carry out the great principle of Non-Intervention recognized and sanctioned by the organic act, which declares in express language in favor of the non-intervention of Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories, leaving the people "perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." In this manner, by localizing the question of Slavery and confining it to the people who it immediately concerned, every patriot anxiously expected that this question would

final end to the Slavery agitation, at least in Congress, which had for more than twenty years convulsed the country and endangered the Union. This act involved great and fundamental principles, and, if fairly carried into effect, will settle the question. Should agitation be again revived-should the people of sister States be again estranged from each other with more than their former bitterness-this will arise from a cause, so far as the interests of Kansas are concerned, more trifling and insignificant than has ever stirred the elements of a great people into commotion. To the people of Kansas, the ouly practical difference between admission or rejection, depends simply upon the fact whether they can themselves more speedily change their present Constitution if it does not accord with the will of the majority, or frame a secoud Constitution to be submitted to Congress hereafter.

Even if this were a question of mere expediency and not of right, a small difference of time one way or the other, is not of the least importance, when contrasted with the evils which must necessarily result to the whole country from the revival of the Slavery agitation.

In considering this question, it should never be forgotten that in proportion, to its insignificance, let the decision be what it may, so far as it may affect a few thousand inhabitants of Kansas, who have from the beginning resisted the Constitution and the laws, for this very reason the rejection of the Constitution will be so much the more keenly felt by the people of fourteen States of the Union where Slavery is recognized under the Constitution of the United States.

Again the speedy admission of Kansas into the Union

will restore peace and quiet to the whole country. Already the affairs of this Territory have engrossed an undue proportion of public attention. They have sadly affected the friendly relations of the people of the States with each other and alarmed the fears of patriots for the

safety of the Union. Kansas once admitted into the Union, the excitement becomes localized and would soon die away for want of outside aliment, and then every difficulty could be settled by the ballot-box. Besides, and no trifling consideration, I shall then be enabled to withdraw the troops from Kansas, and employ them on a service where they are much needed. They have been kept there on the earnest importunity of Governor Walker, to maintain the existence of the Territorial Government, and secure the execution of the laws. He considered at least two thousand regular troops, under the command of General Harney, were necessary for this purpose. Acting upon his reliable information, I have been obliged in some degree, to interfere with the expedition to Utah in order to keep down the rebellion in Kansas. This has involved very heavy expenses to the Government. Kansas once admitted, it is believed there will no longer be occasion there for the troops.

I have thus performed my duty on this important question under a deep sense of my responsibility to God and to the country. My public life will terminate in a brief period, and I have no other object of earthly ambition than to leave my country in a peaceful and prosperous condition, and to live in the affections and respect of my countrymen. The dark and ominous clouds now impending over the Union I conscientiously believe will be dissipated with honor to every portion of it by the admission of Kansas during the present session of Congress; whereas, if she should be rejected, I greatly fear these clouds will become darker and more ominous than any which have ever yet threatened the Constitution and the Union. (Signed) JAMES BUCHANAN.

The Lecompton Constitution contains a provision on the subject of Slavery, as follows:

[blocks in formation]

perty whatever.

§ 2. The Legislature shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves without the consent of their owners, or without paying their owners, previous to emancipation, a full equivalent in money for the slaves so emancipated. They shall have no power to prevent emigrants to the State from bringing with them such persons as are deemed slaves by the laws of any one of the United States or Territories so long as any persons of the same age or description shall be continued slaves by the laws of this State; provided, that such person or slave be the bona fide property of such emigrant; and provided, also, that laws may be passed to prohibit the introduction of slaves into this State who have committed high crimes in other States or Territories,

They shall have power to permit the owners of slaves to emancipate them, saving the rights of creditors, and preventing them from becoming a public charge. They shall have power to oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity-to provide for their necessary food and clothing-to abstain from all injuries to them, | extending to life or limb-and, in case of neglect or refusal to comply with the direction of such laws, to have such slave or slaves sold for the benefit of the

owner or owners.

§ 3. In the prosecution of slaves for crimes of higher grade than petit larceny, the Legislature shall have no power to deprive them of an impartial trial by a petit jury.

§4. Any person who shall dismember or deprive a slave of life shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted in case the like offense had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrection of such slave.

This provision, and this provision alone, it was finally determined by a close vote to submit to the registered electors. For this purpose, by the terms of a schedule annexed to the Constitution, an election was to be held on the 21st of December. The ballots cast were to be indorsed either "Constitution with Slavery," or "Constitution with No Slavery." Thus to have the privilege of voting No Slavery, it was still made necessary to vote for the Constitution, beside which, all persons offering to vote must, if challenged, "take an oath to support the Constitution if adopted."

If the number of votes "for the Constitution without Slavery" should be a majority, then the schedule provides, that "The rights of property in slaves now in the Territory, shall in no manner be interfered with." Making it impossible to abolish Slavery.

This schedule, as if with a direct view of superseding the Territorial Legislature and Congressional delegate elect, further provided that the Constitution shall be in force "after its ratification by the people" (without waiting for the approval of Congress) a State election to be held on the first Monday in January, 1858, for the choice of a Governor, LieutenantTreasurer, and members of the Legislature, and Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, State also a member of Congress. It also provided (as if to deprive the Territorial Legislature of all power of acting) that all laws in force not repugnant to the Constitution shall continue until altered, amended or repealed by a Legislature assembled under the provisions of this Constitution; and that all officers, civil or military, under the authority of the Territory of Kansas, shall continue to hold and exercise their respective offices until superseded by the authority of the State: the first meeting of the State Legislature to take place upon the issue of a proclamation by the President of the Convention, upon the receipt of official information that Congress has admitted Kansas into the Union. A provision is also inserted intended to prevent any amendment previous to the year 1864, and then only upon the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of both houses, and "a majority of all the citizens of the State."


The following record of the action of Congress on the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution, will be interesting for future reference.


The original bill, as it passed the Senate | ISLAND.-Simmons. under the lead of Senator Green (March 23, Collamer, Foot. tal, 25. 1858), was as follows: ABSENT OR NOT VOTING.-Messrs. Bates (Del.), Reid (N. C.), Davis (Mi.), Cameron (Pa.) Mr. Cameron paired off with Mr. Davis.


A Bill for the Admission of the State of Kansas into the Union, presented in the Senate by Mr. Green, of Missouri, from the Committee on Territories, February 17, 1858.

Whereas, The people of the Territory of Kansas did, by a Convention of Delegates called and assembled at Lecompton, September 4, 1857, form for themselves a Constitution and State Government, which said Convention having asked the admission of the Territory into the Union as a State on an equal footing with the original


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the State of Kansas shall be, and is hereby declared to be, one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever; and the said State shall consist of all the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the State of Missouri where the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the boundary to latitude thirty-eight; thence following said boundary westward to the eastern boundary of the Territory of Utah, on the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence northward on said summit to the fortieth parallel of latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the State of Missouri; thence south with the westward boundary of said State, to the place of beginning:

eastern boundary of New Mexico; thence north on said

§2. And be it further enacted, That the State of Kansas is admitted into the Union upon the express condition that said State shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the public lands, or with any regulations which Congress may find necessary for securing the title in said lands to the bona fide purchasers and grantees thereof, or impose or levy any tax, assessment, or imposition of any description whatsoever upon them,

or other property of the United States, within the limits of

Previous to taking this vote, Mr. Crittenden moved a substitute for the bill, in substance, that the Constitution be submitted to the people at once, and, if approved, the President to admit Kansas by proclamation. If rejected, the people to call a Convention and frame a Constitution. The substitute made special provision against frauds at the election.

This substitute was lost: Yeas, 24; Nays, 34. On the first of April, the bill was taken up in the House and read once, when, its second reading having been objected to by Mr. Giddings, the question recurred under the rule, Shall the bill be rejected? A vote was taken and resulted, Yeas, 95; Nays, 137.

Mr. Montgomery, of Pa., offered as a substitute, with slight alterations, the bill which Mr. Mr. Crittenden had offered in the Senate. Quitman, of Mississippi, also offered a substitute, which was the same as the Senate bill, with the omission of the declaratory clause, " that the people shall have the right at all times to alter or amend the Constitution in such manner as they think proper," etc.

Mr. Quitman's substitute was lost-Yeas, 72; Nays, 160, the yeas being all from the Slave States, and Mr. Montgomery's was adopted, 120

to 112.

The Crittenden-Montgomery substitute, as it passed the House, was in the following words: said State; and that nothing in this act shall be construed §1. Be it enacted, etc., That the State of Kansas be, to abridge or infringe any right of the people asserted in and is hereby, admitted into the Union on an equal footthe Constitution of Kansas, at all times, to alter, reforming with the original States in all respects whatever; but or abolish their form of government in such manner as they may think proper, Congress hereby disclaiming any authority to intervene or declare the construction of the Constitution of any State, except to see that it is republican in form and not in conflict with the Constitution of the United States; and nothing in this act shall be construed as an assent by Congress to all or to any of the propositions or claims contained in the ordinance annexed to the Constitution of the people of Kansas, nor to deprive the said State of Kansas of the same grants which were contained in said act of Congress, entitled, "An act to authorize the people of the Territory of Minnesota to form a Constitution and State Government, preparatory to admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original States," approved February 26, 1853.

§3. And be it further enacted, That until the next general census shall be taken, and an apportionment of representation made, the State of Kansas shall be entitled to one Representative in the House of Representatives of the United States.

The bill passed, 33 to 25, as follows:


inasmuch as it is greatly disputed whether the Constitution framed at Lecompton on the 7th day of November last, and now pending before Congress, was fairly made, or expressed the will of the people of Kansas, this admission of her into the Union as a State is here declared to be upon this fundamental condition precedent, namely: That the said constitutional instrument shall be first submitted to a vote of the people of Kansas, and assented to by them, or a majority of the voters, at an election to be held for the purpose; and as soon as such assent shall be given, and duly made known, by a majority of the Commissioners herein appointed, to the President of the United States, he shall announce the same by proclamation, and thereafter, without any further proceedings on the part of Congress, the admission of the said State of Kansas into the Union upon an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever, shall be complete and absolute. At the said election the voting shall be by ballot, and by indorsing on his ballot as each voter may please, "for the Constitution," or "against the Constitution." Should the said Constitution be rejected at the said election by a majority of votes being cast against it, then, and in that event, the inhabitants of said Territory are hereby authorized and empowered to form for themselves a Constitution and State Government by the name of the State of Kansas, according to the Federal Constitution, and to that end may elect delegates to a convention as hereinafter provided.

ALABAMA.-Fitzpatrick, Clay. ARKANSAS.-Sebastian,
Johnson. CALIFORNIA.-Gwin. DELAWARE.-Bayard.
FLORIDA.-Mallory, Yulee. GEORGIA.-Iverson, Toombs.
INDIANA.-Fitch, Bright. IOWA.-Jones. KENTUCKY.-
-Pearce, KENNEDY. MISSISSIPPI-Brown. MISSOURI. and all other rivers and waters bordering on the said State
Green, Polk. NEW-JERSEY.-Wright, Thomson. NORTH
ISLAND.-Allen. SOUTH CAROLINA.-Evans, Hammond.
TENNESSEE.-Johnson. TEXAS.-Henderson, HOUSTON.
VIRGINIA.-Mason, Hunter. Total, 33,


§2. And be it further enacted, That the said State of Kansas shall have concurrent jurisdiction on the Missouri of Kansas, so far as the same shall form a common boundary to said State and any other State or States now or hereafter to be formed or bounded by the same; and said rivers and waters, and all the navigable waters of said State, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of said State as to all other citizens of the United States, without any tax, duty, impost, or toll therefor.

CALIFORNIA. Broderick, CONNECTICUT.-Foster, Dixon.
ILLINOIS.-Douglas, Trumbull. Iowa.-Harlan. KEN- §3. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose
TUCKY.-CRITTENDEN. MAINE.-Fessenden, Hamlin, of insuring, as far as possible, that the elections author-
MASSACHUSETTS.- Wilson, Sumner. MICHIGAN. Stuart, ized by this act may be fair and free, the Governor and
Chandler. NEW-HAMPSHIRE.-Hale, Clark. NEW the Secretary of the Territory of Kansas, and the presid-
YORK.-Seward, King. OHIO.-Pugh, Wade. RHODE ing officers of the two branches of its Legislature, namely

« PreviousContinue »