I replied: "I do not like the spirit of violence that characterizes it."
He said: "I consider all Free-soilers rogues, and they are to be treated as such."
I looked him for a moment steadily in the face, and then said to him: "Well, sir, I am a Free-soiler; and I intend to vote for Kansas to be a free State."
He fiercely replied: "You will not be allowed to vote."
When Bro. Elliott and myself had left the house, and were in the open air, he clutched me nervously by the arm and said: "Bro. Butler! Bro. Butler! You must not do such things; they will kill you!"
I replied: "If they do I can not help it."
Bro. E. was now to go home. But before going he besought me with earnest entreaty not to bring down on my own head the vengeance of these men. I thanked him for his regard for me, and we bade each other good-by.
Bro. E. had come to feel that my life was precious to the Christian brethren in Atchison county. Except myself they had no preacher, and they needed a preacher.
The steamboat bound for St. Louis that day had been detained, and would not arrive until the next day. I must, therefore, stay over night in Atchison. I conversed freely with the people that afternoon, and said to them: "Under the Kansas-Nebraska bill, we that are free State men have as good a right to come to Kansas as you have; and we have as good a right to speak our sentiments as you have."
A public meeting was called that night to consider my case, but I did not know it. The steamboat was expected about noon the next day. I had been sitting writing letters at the head of the stairs, in the chamber of the boarding-house where I had slept, and heard some one call my name, and rose up to go down stairs; but was met by six men, bristling with revolvers and bowie-knives, who came up stairs and into my room. The leader was Robert S. Kelley. They presented me a string of resolutions, denouncing free State men in unmeasured terms, and demanded that I should sign them. I felt my heart flutter, and knew if I should undertake to speak my voice would tremble, and determined to gain time. Sitting down I pretended to read the resolutions—they were familiar to me, having been already printed in the Squatter Sovereign—and finally I began to read them aloud. But these men were impatient, and said: "We just want to know will you sign these resolutions?" I had taken my seat by a window, and looking out and down into the street, had seen a great crowd assembled, and determined to get among them. Whatever should be done-would better be done in the presence of witnesses. I said not a word, but going to the head of the stairs, where was my writing-stand and pen and ink, I laid the paper down and quickly walked down stairs and into the street. Here they caught me by the wrists, from behind, and demanded, "Will you sign?" I answered, "No," with emphasis. I had got my voice by that time. They dragged me down to the Missouri River, cursing me, and telling me they were going to drown me. But when we had got to the river they seemed to have got to the end of their programme, and there we stood. Then some little boys, anxious to see the fun go on, told me to get on a large cotton-wood stump close by and defend myself. I told the little fellows I did not know what I was accused of yet. This broke the silence, and the men that had me in charge asked:
"Did the Emigrant Aid Society send you here?"
"No; I have no connection with the Emigrant Aid Society."
"Well, what did you come for?"
"I came because I had a mind to come. What did you come for?"
"Did you come to make Kansas a free State?"
"No, not primarily; but I shall vote to make Kansas a free State."
"Are you a correspondent of the New York Tribune?"
"No; I have not written a line to the Tribune since I came to Kansas."
By this time a great crowd had gathered around, and each man took his turn in cross-questioning me, while I replied, as best I could, to this storm of questions, accusations and invectives. We went over the whole ground. We debated every issue that had been debated in Congress. They alleged the joint ownership the South had with the North in the common Territories of the nation; that slaves are property, and that they had a natural and inalienable right to take their property into any part of the national Territory, and there to protect it by the strong right arm of power, while I urged the terms of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and that under it free State men have a right to come into the Territory, and by their votes to make it a free State, if their votes will make it so.
At length an old man came near to me, and dropping his voice to a half-whisper, said in a confidential tone: "N-e-ow, Mr. Butler, I want to advise you as a friend, and for your own good, when you get away, just keep away."
I knew this man was a Yankee, for I am a Yankee myself. His name was Ira Norris. He had been given an office in Platte county, Mo., and must needs be a partisan for the peculiar institution. I gave my friend Norris to understand that I would try to attend to my own business.
Others sought to persuade me to promise to leave the country and not come back. Then when no good result seemed to come from our talk, I said to them: "Gentlemen, there is no use in keeping up this debate any longer; if I live anywhere, I shall live in Kansas. Now do your duty as you understand it, and I will do mine as I understand it. I ask no favors of you."
Then the leaders of this business went away by themselves and held a consultation. Of course I did not know what passed among them, but Dr. Stringfellow afterwards made the following statement to a gentleman who was getting up a history of Kansas:
A vote was taken upon the mode of punishment which ought to be accorded to him, and to this day it is probably known but to few persons that a decided verdict of death by hanging was rendered; and furthermore, that Mr. Kelley, the teller, by making false returns to the excited mob, saved Mr. Butler's life. Mr. Kelley is now a resident of Montana, and volunteered this information several years ago, while stopping at St. Joe with the former senior editor of the Squatter Sovereign, Dr. J. H. Stringfellow. At the time the pro-slavery party decided to send Mr. Butler down the Missouri River on a raft, Dr. Stringfellow was absent as a member of the Territorial Legislature.
The crowd had now to be pacified and won over to an arrangement that should give me a chance for my life. A Mr. Peebles, a dentist from Lexington, Mo., who was working at the business of dentistry in Atchison, and himself a slave-holder, was put forward to do this work. He said: "My friends, we must not hang this man; he is not an Abolitionist, he is what they call a Free-soiler. The Abolitionists steal our niggers, but the Free-soilers do not do this. They intend to make Kansas a free State by legal methods. But in the outcome of the business, there is not the value of a picayune of difference between a Free-soiler and an Abolitionist; for if the Free-soilers succeed in making Kansas a free State, and thus surround Missouri with a cordon of free States, our slaves in Missouri will not be worth a dime apiece. Still we must not hang this man; and I propose that we make a raft and send him down the river as an example."
And so to him they all agreed. Then the question came up, What kind of a raft shall it be?  Some said, "One log"; but the crowd decided it should be two logs fastened together. When the raft was completed I was ordered to take my place on it, after they had painted the letter R. on my forehead with black paint. This letter stood for Rogue. I had in my pocket a purse of gold, which I proffered to a merchant of the place, an upright business man, with the request that he would send it to my wife; but he declined to take it. He afterwards explained to me that he himself was afraid of the mob. They took a skiff and towed the raft out into the middle of the Missouri River. As we swung away from the bank, I rose up and said: "Gentlemen, if I am drowned I forgive you; but I have this to say to you: If you are not ashamed of your part in this transaction, I am not ashamed of mine. Good-by."
Floating down the river, alone and helpless, I had opportunity to look about me. I had noticed that they had put up a flag on my raft, but had paid no attention to it; now I looked at it and it charged me with stealing negroes; and it was thought by many to be no sin to shoot a "nigger thief." Down that flag must come; and then I remembered that they had said they would follow me down the river and shoot me if I did pull it down. The picture on the flag was that of a white man riding at full gallop, on horseback, with a negro behind him. The flag bore this inscription: "GREELEY TO THE RESCUE: I HAVE A NIGGER. THE REV. MR. BUTLER, AGENT FOR THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD."
This flag I pulled down, cut off the flag with my pen-knife, and made a paddle of the flag staff, which was a small sapling which they had cut out of the brush, and was forked at the upper end. Between these forks they had carefully sewed this flag with twine, and this part of the canvas I left and made it serve as the blade of my paddle; and so in due time I paddled to the Kansas shore. The river was rapid, and there were in the river heaps of drift-wood, called "rack-heaps," dangerous places into which the water rushed with great violence; but from these I was mercifully saved, and though I could not swim, I landed a few miles below Atchison without harm or accident, and made my way to Port William, a small town about twelve miles down the river.
At Port William I had already become acquainted with a Bro. Hartman. He had leased a saw-mill, and was running it, and I had bought lumber of him. Having reached Port William, I went to Bro. H. and said, "I want to obtain lodging of you to-night; but as I do not want to betray any man into trouble, I must first tell you what has befallen me." I then told him my mishap at Atchison, and said: "Now if you do not want to lodge such a man, please say so, and I will go somewhere else." He replied: "You shall lodge with me if it cost me every cent I am worth." He then went on to say that he had leased that mill of men who were very bitter, and very ultra in their views, and that they might be angry with him, and turn him out of the mill. But at last he said: "There is Bro. Oliphant living in the bluffs; he is under no such embarrassment," and Bro. Hartman took me there. The next day was the Lord's day, and Oliver Steele was to preach the first sermon in that little village on that day. Oliver Steele was a notable citizen of Platte county, Missouri. His name appears in the early days of the Millennial Harbinger as a citizen of Madison county, Kentucky. Bro. Steele complains of the Reformers of Kentucky, that they are too much wedded to Old Baptist usages to be true to the primitive and apostolic order of things. Then Bro. Steele came to Platte county, Missouri, and had become one of its most wealthy and influential citizens. He was an eminent example of a courtly and courteous "Old Virginia gentleman," and was loved by the rich and loved by the poor, he was loved by white folks and black; loved by the mothers and their babies; and the people patronized his preaching, not because he was a great preacher, for he certainly was not, but because they loved the man. He was an old Henry Clay Whig, and like that great Kentucky statesman was an Emancipationist. Bro. S. was to come over the river and preach the first sermon in this new town, and it was a great event to the people. On returning to Port William in the morning Bro. Hartman said that I must take dinner with him, and he would introduce me to Bro. Steele. It was not until twenty-five years afterwards, and only after Sister Hartman had died, that Bro. Hartman told me what so much altered his feelings. She was a sweet Christian woman, and when Bro. H. went to her she said to him: "Husband, don't you know that in the last great day the Lord will say, 'I was a stranger and ye took me in'; and don't you remember how the good Samaritan showed mercy to the man that fell among thieves? Now we believe that this man is an innocent man; and what will the Lord say to us if we turn him out of doors?"
At dinner, at the house of Bro. Hartman, was also Dr. Oliphant, father of the Bro. Oliphant with whom I had lodged. He was a brusque, blunt-spoken, honest, anti-slavery Northern Methodist preacher. He said bluntly at the table: "Well, Mr. Butler, they treated you rather roughly at At-Atchison, did they not?" I said, "Yes—" attempted to say more, broke down and left the table, and went out of the house. My heart was not as hard here, among sympathizing friends, as it had been the day before, when I had to face a raging mob. When I returned no mother could be more tender seeking out the hurt of her boy bruised in a rough encounter with his fellows, than was Oliver Steele. He would hear the whole story, sighed over these "evil days," and listened with approval to the vindication I made of the purposes of the free State men. How many men that, through a sense of bitter wrong, are in danger to become desperate, could be won to a better temper the world has never fully tried.
The news of what had been done at Atchison flew like wild-fire through the country. This proved the last feather that broke the camel's back. It became apparent that the country was full of men that were ready to fight. As for my friend Caleb May, he went into Atchison and said: "I am a free State man: now raft me!" As no one seemed inclined to undertake that job, he faithfully promised them that if there was any more of that business done he would go over into Missouri and raise a company of men and clean out the town.
Meantime my friends at Port William provided means to send me down to Weston, there to take the steamboat Polar Star, bound for St. Louis. "Boycotting" was a word unknown to the English language at that time; and yet I was "boycotted" on board the steamboat. I heard nothing—not a word; and yet I could feel it. I had hoped to be a total stranger, but it was evident I was not, and the most comfort I could find was to keep my state-room, and employ my time writ ing out the appeal I intended to make to the people, through the Missouri Democrat, published in St. Louis. At length my work was done, and yet we were only half way to St. Louis. The reader will believe that my reflections were not cheerful. What would become of myself? What would become of my wife and children? What would become of Kansas, or of the United States?
At Jefferson City a man had come aboard of the boat who seemed almost as much alone as myself. Still the captain and officers of the boat paid him marked attention. One thing I noticed, he abounded in newspapers, and I wanted something to read that should save me from my own reflections. I ventured to ask him for the loan of some of his papers; then when I returned them he went to his trunk and took out a book of travels and gave it to me, saying: "Take that, please. It will amuse you." At length we could see the smoke of the city of St. Louis, and I gave back to this stranger the book he had loaned me. He said: "No, thank you." I was startled, and said with some surprise: "I do not know why you should do this to a stranger." He laughed and said: "You are not so much a stranger as you think. Your name is Butler, is it not?"
"And they mobbed you at Atchison?"
"Well, please call on me at the office of the Missouri Democrat."
"And what is your name?"
"They call me B. Gratz Brown".
And so Providence had prepared the way for making my appeal to the people. B. Gratz Brown had the preceding winter, at Jefferson City, either given or accepted a challenge to fight a duel; but the public authorities had interfered, and some business connected with this matter had called him to Jefferson City. But whence had he his knowledge of the mobbing at Atchison? The Squatter Sovereign had been issued immediately after they had put me on the raft, and had contained the following editorial:
On Thursday last [it was Friday], one Pardee Butler arrived in town with a view of starting for the East, probably with the purpose of getting a fresh supply of Free-soilers from the penitentiaries and pestholes in the Northern States. Finding it inconvenient to depart before the morning, he took lodgings at the hotel and proceeded to visit numerous portions of our town, everywhere avowing himself a Free-soiler, and preaching Abolition heresies. He declared the recent action of our citizens in regard to J. W. B. Kelley the infamous proceedings of a mob, at the same time stating that many persons in Atchison who were Free-soilers at heart had been intimidated thereby, and prevented from avowing their true sentiments; but that he (Butler) would express his views in defiance of the whole community.
On the ensuing morning our townsmen assembled en masse, and, deeming the presence of such a person highly prejudicial to the safety of our slave population, appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Butler and request his signature to the resolutions passed at the late pro-slavery meeting. After perusing the resolutions, Mr. B. positively declined signing them, and was instantly arrested by the committee.
After various plans for his disposal had been considered, it was finally decided to place him on a raft composed of two logs firmly lashed together, that his baggage and a loaf of bread be given him, and having attached a flag to his primitive bark, Mr. Butler was set adrift in the great Missouri, with the letter "R" legibly painted on his forehead.
He was escorted some distance down the river by several of our citizens, who, seeing him pass several rock-heaps in quite a skillful manner, bade him adieu and returned to Atchison.
Such treatment may be expected by all scoundrels visiting our town for the purpose of interfering with our time-honored institutions, and the same punishment we will be happy to award to all Free-soilers and Abolitionists.
The Missouri Democrat was what was known as the "Tom Ben ton" paper of Missouri, and was not ostensibly a Free-soil paper, yet it vehemently inveighed against the ruffianism with which free State men had been treated. Of course there was sympathy in the office of the Missouri Democrat, that made some amends for the rough treatment I had got at the hands of citizens of Missouri.
Having completed my business in St. Louis I turned my face toward my old field of labor in the "Military Tract," via the Illinois River. The reader will believe that my reflections were full of anxieties. What would the brethren say of me? Were my prospects blighted from this time forward?
The brethren in Illinois were at the first amazed at what they heard, and did not know what to think or say. Before they could make up their minds, the following editorial appeared in the Schuyler County Democrat, published at Rushville:
ELDER PARDEE BUTLER,
The gentleman who was placed on a raft in the Missouri River, with a proper uniform for a Northern fanatic, is in Rushville. We saw handbills posted around town stating that he would hold a meeting in the Christian Church. We are informed he will deliver a series of lectures, in which, of course, he will give vent to his indignation toward the people of Kansas, Judge Douglas and the Administration. We thought Schuyler county was the last place which a Northern fanatic would visit for sympathy. We hope that those that go to hear his lectures, which differ with him in their sentiments, will not interrupt him or give him any pretext by which he could denounce our citizens.
To the above notice of myself I made the following reply:
[For the Prairie Telegraph.]
MESSRS. EDITORS: Sirs—I find the above notice of myself in the last issue of the Schuyler Democrat.
While in Kansas I diligently worked six days of the week, and on Lord's day spoke to my neighbors, not in reference to affairs in Kansas, but in reference to our common interest in a better and heavenly country. I do not know that I indicated my political proclivities, in any word or allusion, on any such occasion, But I did, in private conversations with my neighbors, avow my intention to vote for Kansas to be a free State, and gave my reasons for so doing. This was my only offence.
What must you think of yourself, sir, in this notice you take of this transaction? And you pretend to be a conservator of public morals! If there is in town a clergyman that will consent to teach you a few lessons upon the items of justice and gentlemanly behavior, I suggest it may be to your advantage to put yourself under his tuition. You may perhaps learn that it is neither just nor gentlemanly gratuitously to insult a man, because you have surmised that he will show some resentment at the ruffianism of a Kansas mob, with which you seem to sympathize.
Since I came into Illinois I have steadily declined to make any statement of this affair in any public address. Still it is perhaps due to the world to know some additional facts. How the mob deliberated among themselves . . .
I have never yet made war on Judge Douglas. It is true that the Missouri Compromise, being a time-honored covenant of peace between North and South, I would much rather it had been suffered to remain; but now I am rather indignant at the clear and palpable violation of the principles of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in the attempt made by border ruffians to drive out peaceable citizens from the free States. I am still more indignant that a Northern editor can be found to wink at such flagrant and unquestionable wrong. Judge Douglas may well exclaim, "Save me from my friends!"
Perhaps, upon reflection, you may be convinced of three things: First, that I am not a fanatic, and have not deserved the treatment I have received; second, that your friends may be trusted not to create any disturbance at my meetings; and, third, that instead of seeking to stir up against me the prejudices of ignorant partisans, you may safely devote yourselves to the more honorable employment of seeking to restore in our unhappy country the supremacy of law. Very faithfully,
PARDEE BUTLER. RUSHVILLE, Sept. 11, 1855.
The final result was much more favorable than could have been expected, and the brethren gave me an invitation to remain with them through the winter.
I tarried six weeks in Illinois, and then returned to Kansas with Mrs. Butler and our two children, of whom the eldest is now Mrs. Rosetta B. Hastings. Milo Carleton had already reached the Territory, direct from the Western Reserve, Ohio. He was Mrs. Butler's brother, and it was determined that the two families should spend the winter together, while I should return to Illinois.
We will now pause in our personal narrative and tell what had been going on the preceding summer in other parts of the Territory. A delegate convention had been called by the free State men to meet during the preceding September at a place called Big Springs, on the Santa Fe trail, midway between Lawrence and Topeka. Here the free State men agreed on a plan, to which they steadily adhered through all the sickening horrors that gave to "bleeding" Kansas a world-wide and thankless notoriety. They resolved that they would not in any way, shape or manner, recognize the legality of this so-called Territorial Legislature, nor the machinery it should call into being for the government of the Territory. They would bring no suits in its courts; they would attend no elections called by its authority; they would pay no attention to its county organizations; and yet, as far as in them lay, they would do no act that might make them liable to the penalty of its laws. In short, they would be like the Quaker, who, when drafted into the army, replies: "Thee-must not expect me to fight with carnal weapons;" and when amerced in a fine for non-compliance with the laws, makes the reply, "Thee must not expect me to pay money for such carnal uses, but thee can take my property." Nevertheless, there was superadded to these peaceful resolutions an un-Quaker-like intimation that under certain contingencies they would fight.
Beyond the Wakarusa, and about eight miles from Lawrence, was a placed called Hickory point. Here were some timber claims, and here resided Jacob Branson, a peaceful and harmless free State man. Beside him lay a vacant timber claim, and he invited a young man named Dow to take it, Dow boarded with Branson. When the Missourians came into Kansas the preceding March, many of them staked out a claim which they pretended to hold. One William White, of Westport, Mo., pretended, in his way, to hold this claim. There was not a particle of legality in his proceeding. Notwithstanding, certain pro-slavery men, among whom were Coleman, Hargis and Buckley, determined to drive off Branson and Dow. They sent threatening letters to Branson, and cut timber on Dow's claim; and this made bad blood. One day an altercation took place between Dow and the above-named pro-slavery men at a blacksmith shop, and Coleman followed Dow and shot him. Dow was unarmed, and held up his hands and cried, "Don't shoot," but Coleman lodged a load of buckshot in his breast, and he fell dead, and his body lay in the road till sundown. Then Branson came and took up the body and buried it. This murder created a prodigious sensation; and a public meeting was called, at which there was violent and threatening talk by the free State men. The three above-named pro-slavery men were all present when the murder was committed. They fled, and their dwellings were burned. Coleman went to Westport and gave himself up to "Sheriff Jones." This introduces us to the man that was able to achieve an infamous pre-eminence among that band of conspirators that put in motion a train of causes that issued in the death of half a million of American citizens, and which covered the land with mourning from Maine to Florida, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. This Jones is described by the free State men as a bully and a braggart, as only brave when he was not in danger, and as one of the most noisy and obstreperous of the pro-slavery leaders. Though living in Westport, Mo., he was made sheriff of Douglas county, fifty miles from his place of residence. Buckley swore out a peace warrant against Branson—he swore that his life was in danger. Sheriff Jones took with him these three men, who were parties in the murder of Dow, and arrested Branson, dragging him out of his bed at night. He had also associated with himself eleven other men. The news spread like wild-fire among the free State men. This Jones was supposed to be capable of any atrocity, however horrible, and a company of sixteen men was gathered up for the rescue of Branson. Of this company Sam Wood, of Lawrence, was the leader. They met Jones and his company at Blanton's Bridge, on the Wakarusa River, where Jones was crossing to go to Lecompte, and called a halt. Jones demanded: "What's up?"
Sam Wood replied: "That's what we want to know."
Wood asked: "Is Jacob Branson in this crowd?"
Branson replied: "Yes, I am here and a prisoner."
Wood replied: "Well, come out here among your friends."
Jones threatened with oaths and imprecations to shoot. The rescuing party leveled their guns and said: "Well, we can shoot, too." Nobody was hurt, no gun was fired, and Jacob Branson, coming out from among his captors, walked away.
It will be seen that this was a clear and palpable violation of the plan of procedure which the free State men had agreed upon among themselves, and this act made Kansas for three years a dark and bloody ground, and concentrated on this Territory the eyes of the whole nation. Of the rescuing party only three were citizens of Lawrence. Sam Wood was in his element. He was a man overflowing with patriotism, yet succeeded in doing more harm to his friends than to his enemies. He possessed unmistakable talent; he was a clown and a born actor, and as a public speaker was sure to bring down the house; he was a pronounced free State man; yet in this act he made himself the marplot of his party.
Sheriff Jones went away, vowing that he would have revenge, and sent the following dispatch to Gov. Shannon:
DOUGLAS CO., K. T., NOV. 27, 1855.
SIR:—Last night I, with a posse of ten men, arrested one Jacob Branson, by virtue of a peace warrant regularly issued, who, on our return, was rescued by a party of forty men who rushed upon us suddenly from behind a house by the roadside, all armed to the teeth with Sharpe's rifles.
You may consider an open rebellion as already having commenced, and I call upon you for THREE THOUSAND MEN to carry out the laws. Mr. Hargis, the bearer of this letter, will give you more particularly the circumstances. Most respectfully,
SAMUEL J. JONES, Sheriff Douglas County.
To His EXCELLENCY, WILSON SHANNON, GOVERNOR KANSAS TERRITORY.
On receipt of the above dispatch, Gov. Shannon wrote to Major-General William P. Richardson, reciting the story told him by Sheriff Jones, together with additional stories (equally false), told him by Hargis, and closed his letter with the following order:
You are therefore hereby commanded to collect together as large a force as you can in your division, and repair, without delay, to Lecompton, and report to S. J. Jones, Sheriff of Douglas County, together with the number of your forces, and render him all the aid and assistance in your power in the execution of any legal process in his hands. The forces under your command are to be used for the sole purpose of aiding the Sheriff in executing the law, and for no other purpose.
I have the honor to be Your obedient servant,
Gov. Shannon knew, as well as he knew his name was Wilson Shannon, that this meant another invasion of Kansas Territory. There was no organized militia in Kansas. Gen. Richardson did not live in Kansas; he lived in Missouri, and it meant Missouri militia and not Kansas militia. Moreover, the Governor knew, or at least ought to have known, what an unreliable man this Sheriff Jones was. Jones was Postmaster at Westport, and Shannon was living at Shawnee Mission, in the neighborhood of Westport. And yet, without one moment's inquiry, he placed the issues of life and death of this infant Territory in the hands of this lying scoundrel.
There was a rallying of the clans of the blue lodges of Missouri. The following appeal, sent by Brig. Gen. Eastin, editor of the Leavenworth Herald, and commander of the second brigade, Kansas militia, must serve as a sample of the dispatches that were scattered broadcast through the border Missouri counties:
"TO ARMS! TO ARMS!"
It is expected that every lover of law and order will rally at Leavenworth on Saturday, December 1, 1855, prepared to march at once to the scene of rebellion to put down the outlaws of Douglas county, who are committing depredations upon persons and property, burning down houses and declaring open hostility to the laws, and have forcibly rescued a prisoner from the Sheriff. Come one, come all! The outlaws are armed to the teeth, and number 1,000 men. Everyman should bring his rifle and ammunition, and it would be well to bring two or three days' provisions. Every man to his post and do his duty. MANY CITIZENS.
In answer to the above appeal 1,500 men, mostly from Missouri, encamped around Lawrence, under such notabilities as Maj. Gens. Strickler and Richardson, Brig. Gen. Eastin, Col. Atchison, Col. Peter T. Abell, Robert S. Kelley, Stringfellow and Sheriff Jones. They had broken into the United States Arsenal at Liberty, Clay County, Mo., and stolen guns, cutlasses and such munitions of war as they required.
But when this was known the free State men turned out from all the settlements of Kansas with equal alacrity, to defend Lawrence. They came singly, and in squads and in companies. They came by night and by day. Sam Wood, Tappin and Smith, the rescuers of Branson, and who were residents of Lawrence, left the city, and there were none there against whom Sheriff Jones had any writs to execute. Dr. Robinson was appointed Commander-in-Chief for the defense of the city, and James H. Lane was appointed second in command. But Lane was the principal figure in the enterprise. He alone had military experience, and he alone had the daring, the genius and the personal magnetism of a real leader.
The free State men, for the last year, had been passing through the furnace-fires of a vigorous discipline, and they would have fought as the Tennessee and Kentucky backwoodsmen of Andrew Jackson fought behind their cotton bales at the battle of New Orleans. They had seen their rights wrested out of their hands by a mob of ruffians, and now they were proposing to settle the matter in that court of last resort that is the final and ultimate appeal of the nations. Except Gen. Lane, they had small knowledge of military tactics, but they knew how to look along the barrel of a rifle; moreover, they would fight behind breastworks, and this to raw troops would have been an immense advantage.
It is probable that the first intimation that Gov. Shannon got of the real state of affairs at Lawrence was conveyed to him in the following letter, written by Brig. Gen. Eastin:
GOVERNOR SHANNON:—Information has been received direct from Lawrence, which I consider reliable, that the outlaws are well fortified with cannon and Sharpe' rifles, and number at least 1,000 men. It will, therefore, be difficult to dispossess them.
The militia in this portion of the State are entirely unorganized, and mostly without arms. I suggest the propriety of calling upon the military of Fort Leavenworth. If you have the power to call out the government troops, I think it would be best to do so at once. It might overawe these outlaws and prevent bloodshed.
S. J. EASTIN, Brig. Gen. Northern Brigade, K. M.
Gen. Eastin is mistaken in putting their number at 1,000, but whether many or few they certainly would have fought a hard battle. They were picked men from all the Kansas settlements. Our old friend, Caleb May, was there, as grim and as self-possessed as Andrew Jackson. So also Old John Brown was there with his four sons, though they did not arrive until Gov. Shannon had made overtures for peace.
The Governor telegraphed to Washington to obtain authority to call out Col. Sumner with the United States troops at Fort Leavenworth. He also wrote to Col. Sumner to hold himself ready to march at a moment's notice. And now this simple-minded Gov. Shannon, Ex-Governor of Ohio, who had come to Kansas to waste in a few short months the ripe honors he had been so carefully hoarding up for a life-time, bethought himself that it was time for him to go and look with his own eyes after this rebellion he had so foolishly and recklessly stirred up.
We have already remarked that Gen. James H. Lane was the most conspicuous figure in the defense of Lawrence. It is proper to pause and consider the character of this man, who shone for a time like a brilliant meteor, and then had his light quenched in the blackness of darkness.
He had now been eight months in Kansas. He came out of the Mexican war with a good reputation as a brilliant and dashing officer, and a man of approved courage. As a politician he had been highly favored by the people of Indiana. He was in the convention that nominated President Pierce. He was in Congress at the time of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and aided in its enactment. He was the friend of Stephen A. Douglas. Yet he came to Kansas a man of broken fortunes. He was bankrupt in reputation, bankrupt in property, and bankrupt in morals, and he came away from unhappy family relations. Notwithstanding, he brought with him boundless ambition, and a consciousness in his own heart that he possessed genius that might lift him up to the highest pinnacle of honor. His first effort was to reorganize that political party that was in control of the Government at Washington, and that he had so faithfully served in Indiana. As respects slavery, he probably would have said with Mr. Douglas that he did not care whether it was voted up or voted down. But his effort fell stillborn and dead. Dr. John H. Stringfellow was an old Whig, and so also were many of the Pro-slavery leaders, and they would not hear to it that there should be any parties known save the Pro-slavery and Free State parties. The Free State men were equally averse to making any division in their own ranks. Mr. Lane was to choose, and he did choose with a vengeance.
Bad men usually pay this compliment to a righteous life, that they seek to conceal their wicked deeds and wear the outside seeming of virtue. But this strange man never pretended to be anything else than just what he was. He displayed such audacious boldness as gave an air of respectability even to his wickedness.
His public speaking did not belong to any school of oratory known among men; yet, if to sway the people as a tempest bends to its will a field of waving grain, be oratory, then was Mr. Lane, in the highest sense of the word, an orator. He spoke once in Chicago when the people were most excited over the Kansas troubles. A great crowd came to hear, and he swayed them to his will, as only such men as Henry Ward Beecher and Patrick Henry have been able to do. But this gospel was the gospel of hate. Implacable, unforgiving hate was his only gospel.
At last this man, at once both great and wicked, having attained the highest honors the people had to bestow, died by his own hand. The people believed that he had gone wrong and betrayed them, and they withdrew from him their favor. Mr. Lane loved popularity more than he loved heaven, and he shot himself through the brain.
The writer, unwilling alone to take the responsibility of expressing such a judgment as the above, appealed to a gentlemen whose high position in public life and kindly and conservative temper eminently qualify him to speak, and this is what he says:
No one can question the fact that Mr. Lane's career in Kansas exerted a great influence in shaping the affairs and controlling the destiny of the young State. During his life I was alternately swayed by feelings of admiration and distrust. I recognized fully the marvelous energy and equally marvelous influence of the man, but I distrusted his sincerity and lacked confidence in his integrity. When I met him, or listened to one of his impassioned speeches, ne swept me away with the contagion of his seeming enthusiasm, but when I went out from the influence of his personal magnetism I felt that something was lacking in the man to justify a well-grounded confidence.
This man that had in him such a commingling of good and evil was now the leading spirit in the defense of Lawrence. 
When Sheriff Jones saw that the control of this business was being taken out of the hands of himself and his fellow-conspirators he wrote the following letter to Gov. Shannon:
CAMP AT WAKARUSA, Dec. 6, 1855. To His EXCELLENCY, GOV. SHANNON:
Sir: In reply to yours of yesterday I have to inform you that the volunteer forces now at this place and Lecompton are getting weary of inaction. They will not, I presume, remain but a short time longer, unless a demand for the prisoner is made. I think I shall have sufficient force to protect me by to-morrow morning. The force at Lawrence is not half so strong as reported. If I am to wait for Government troops, more than two-thirds of the men that are here will go away very much dissatisfied. They are leaving hourly as it is.
It is reported that the people of Lawrence have run off those offenders from town, and, indeed, it is said they are now all out of the way. I have writs for sixteen persons who were with the party that rescued my prisoner. S. N. Wood, P. R. Brooks and Samuel Tappan are of Lawrence, the balance from the country around. Warrants will be put into my hands to-day for the arrest of G. W. Brown, and probably others in Lecompton. They say that they are willing to obey the laws, but no confidence can be placed in any statements they may make. Most respectfully yours,
SAMUEL J. JONES, Sheriff of Douglas County.
From the above, three facts are apparent:
1. Sheriff Jones is not willing that the militia shall go home, and Col. Sumner and the United States troops take their places.
2. He has writs against the sixteen rescuers of Branson. But of these he has ascertained that thirteen live in the country, and he does not need to go to Lawrence to find them. The three that belong in Lawrence are gone to parts unknown, and he does not need to go to Lawrence to find them. At this writing Sheriff Jones has not a single writ against any person in Lawrence.
3. If he has such a warrant the Lawrence people profess themselves willing that he should serve it, but he does not believe them. "No confidence can be placed in any statements that they may make."
So far as Sheriff Jones is concerned, it is now manifest that this was a devilish conspiracy against the people of Lawrence, to cut their throats and burn up the town. How far the men that were with him were conscious partners in his guilt, or how far they were ignorant dupes of a man that had murder in his heart, does not appear.
The people of Lawrence now thought it was time for them to open communication with Gov. Shannon, and Messrs. G. P. Lowery and C. W. Babcock, after running the gauntlet of the patrols, robbers and guerillas that infested the road to Shawnee Mission, succeeded in putting in the hands of the Governor the following letter:
To His EXCELLENCY, WILSON SHANNON, GOVERNOR KANSAS TERRITORY:
Sir: As citizens of Kansas Territory, we desire to call your attention to the fact that a large force of armed men from a foreign State have assembled in the vicinity of Lawrence, are now committing depredations upon our citizens, stopping them, opening and appropriating their loadings, arresting, detaining and threatening travelers upon the public road, and that they claim to do this by your authority. We desire to know if they do appear by your authority, and if you will secure the peace and quiet of the community by ordering their instant removal, or compel us to resort to some other means or a higher authority.
SIGNED BY COMMITTEE.
The Governor began to think it was time for him to go to the camp of Sheriff Jones' army on the Wakarusa; and when he came he was frightened at his own work, and became just as eager to get out of the scrape as he had been forward to get into it. He wrote to Col. Sumner, frantically begging him to come to the rescue; but he had got no orders, and would not move without orders. Sheriff Jones and the rank and file of his camp were furious that they were held back from pitching into the Lawrence people; but the officers had become cognizant of the bloody job they would have on hands, and were willing to be let off. And so the Governor patched up a peace, and sent his militia home again, with their curses diverted from the Lawrence Abolitionists to Gov. Shannon. Cowardly, weak-minded and infirm in purpose as this unhappy man was, he was not wholly a fool; and we may justly believe that he had in his heart a foreboding of that awful day of reckoning that would surely come, when inquisition would be made for the blood of these citizens, and the Governor himself would be called to answer, "Why were these men slain?"
And now that peace—angelic peace—sat brooding over Lawrence with her dove-like pinions, they made a love-feast and invited the Governor to partake of it; and what with the ravishing music, and the blandishment of flattering tongues, and the intoxication of fair women's eyes and sweet voices, the Governor was made to forget, for the time being, that he was the property, body, soul, and spirit, of the "Law and Order" party; and his soft and plastic nature was beguiled into signing a document constituting the army of defense of Lawrence a part of the Territorial Militia, and giving them authority, under his own hand and seal, to fight with teeth and toe-nails against the outside barbarians that he himself had invoked to cut their throats. When, however, he had come to himself, and had to front the frowns and ungrammatical curses of the "Border Ruffians," he was fain to lay the blame on the sparkling wine of the feast, and the more sparkling eyes and sparkling wit of beautiful women.
These felicitations of the people of Lawrence with Governor Shannon did, however, have a somber and awful background. While this had been going on a boy had been murdered in the vicinity of Lawrence. Some young men rode out to see about it, and one of them was shot and killed. But a still more ghastly crime threw its baleful shadow over the people. It was perpetrated two days before the Governor concluded his treaty of peace.
Thomas W. Barber and Robert F. Barber were farmers, living about seven miles from Lawrence; and on December 6th started with a Mr. Pierson to go home to their families. These were two brothers and a brother-in-law. They were intercepted on their way by J. N. Burns, of Weston, Mo., and Major George W. Clarke, United States Agent for the Pottawatomie Indians. These two men shot Thomas W. Barber. It is hard to find an explanation of their act, unless it were that they came to Lawrence to shoot down Abolitionists as they would have shot wolves on the prairie. They had no provocation. They rode apart from their companions to intercept the Barbers, and called on them to halt. Thomas W. Barber was unarmed, and gave mild and truthful answers to their questions. After the shooting the brothers started to ride away, when the murdered man said, "That fellow hit me;" began to sway in his saddle, was supported for a little time by his brother, then fell to the ground dead. His horse also had been shot, and died the same night. Familiar as Kansas had become with cruel and devilish deeds, there were circumstances connected with this act that made it exceptionally a blood-curdling horror. Thomas W. Barber was a somewhat notable farmer, and had married a young wife, that loved her husband with a love so passionate that she was sometimes rallied about it by her sister-in-law. It had been with misgivings and forebodings she had consented for Barber to go to Lawrence. The news of her husband's death had been kept from her; they dared not tell her. A young man was sent to bring her into the city, whither her husband's body had been already carried, and he blurted out, "Thomas Barber is killed!" and she shrieked, "O, my husband! my husband! Have they killed my husband?" It has been said that so frantic were her struggles, that it was with main force they had to hold her in the carriage which conveyed her into the city. Much has been written of the pathetic and voiceless woe of this wretched and sorrow-stricken woman, but we will spare the reader the recital.
This question, however, we did often ask ourselves: "What had we done that we should be made to suffer thus?"
But now there was peace, and Sheriff Jones, breathing out curses against the Governor who had balked him of his anticipated revenge, disbanded his army and went back to his post-office at Westport. It was past the middle of December, but some lingered on their way, robbing and stealing. The cold grew intense. A driving snow came down from the North. It was one of the coldest winters Kansas had ever known, and there fell one of the deepest snows. And now, winding through the deep snow, benumbed with cold, and all unprovided with clothing suitable for such inclement weather, the rear guard of the ring-streaked, speckled and spotted regiment of Kansas and Missouri Militia passed out of the Territory.
Thirteen leaders of the "Law and Order" party had met with Lane and Robinson, acting on behalf of the people of Lawrence, and had agreed to the terms of the treaty. But Sheriff Jones is reported to have said: "Had not Shannon been a fool I would have wiped out Lawrence." It is reported that Stringfellow said that "Shannon had sold himself and disgraced himself and the whole Pro-slavery party." Atchison accepted the terms, saying to his followers: "Boys, we can not fight now. The position that Lawrence has taken is such that it would not do to make an attack on them. But boys, we will fight some time!"
The peace was to be broken at the earliest opportunity.
The winter of 1855-6 that I spent in Illinois was uneventful. My success was not such as to discourage an evangelist that desires to be useful, neither was it such as to fill him with vanity. The weather was intensely cold, and the snow was deep.
It is said that before the coming of an earthquake, the sea gives forth deep moanings, as if it felt the approaching convulsion; so at that time there seemed premonitions in the hearts of the people that the whole nation, North, South, East and West, would be swept by a political cyclone that should leave behind it the desolation that is sometimes, in the West India Islands, left in the track of a tropical hurricane. We had heard of the murder of Dow, the rescue of Branson, and the invasion of Lawrence, and these certainly did not give promise that Kansas would be a favorable field for evangelical work, at least for a time. The writer had not hitherto spent much of his time in Adams county; he now spent a considerable part of the winter there, and visited the churches of Quincy, Chambersburg, Camp Point, and many others. The brethren at Quincy were making that experiment of monthly preaching that has been found so hazardous, especially to city churches. They have since changed the plan with wonderfully good results. It was at the church at Chambersburg that Bro. Cottingham who has now won a national reputation, achieved some of his earliest successes.
The majority of the leading members of these churches had been men and women of full age when they left Kentucky. Some had tarried a little time in Indiana. The memory of some went back to the time when the Mississippi Valley was almost an unbroken wilderness, with here and there a scattered settlement, made up of a frontier and uneducated people. What are now its great cities were then insignificant hamlets, and its means of commerce were rude flat boats on its rivers, and pack-horses, or clumsy, heavy lumber wagons on its rough and often impassable roads. There were few schools, fewer churches and still fewer educated men. The country was perambulated by itinerant preachers. These were guided by visions and revelations. Signs, omens and impressions directed them to their field of labor and controlled their lives. Ecstatic joy, vivid impressions, voices in the air, or seeing the Lord in the tree-tops, were their evidences of pardon.
Once every year the people came together to a great camp-meeting. There was intense excitement and enthusiasm, and many got religion; and this was followed by spiritual lethargy, coldness and apostasy. It was a short, hot summer, followed by a long, cold winter of moral and spiritual death.
Among the Old Baptists there was preaching once a month. This was all. There were no prayer-meetings, no meeting together every first day of the week to break break and read the Holy Scriptures. Christian morality was at a low ebb, and Christian liberality down to zero.
At length there came a change. The fountains of the great deep were broken up, and men broke loose from the dominion of these old and man-made systems. John Smith took the lead, and was followed by old Jacob Creath, Samuel Rogers, John Rogers, John Allen Gano, P. S. Fall, and many others. Alex. Campbell once said:
If any man can read the Acts of Apostles through three times, chapter by chapter, pondering each chapter as he reads, and then can remain an advocate of these old systems of conversion, may the Lord have mercy on him!
But the old Baptists fiercely resisted the Reformers, and cast them out as heathen men and publicans. And now the Bible was a new revelation to the men that came into this movement. The veil was taken off their eyes, and they could read the Scriptures as they had never read them before. They could now see that the Bible was a simple and intelligible volume, written to be understood by the common people, and they were only amazed at their former blindness. But they were made to know what persecution means. All the denominations combined against them, and they were compelled to read the Scriptures to defend themselves; and thus pressed by their enemies on every hand, they were made to feel how near they were to each other, and how much they loved each other, and it became an easy thing to meet together every first day of the week to sing, to pray, to exhort, and to commemorate the death of their risen Lord. But many of them were poor, and had growing families, and they had heard that there was a large and good land in the Military Tract in Illinois, and with many a tearful adieu, and bidding farewell to the they loved so well, like Abraham going out into the land that God had given him, into this land flowing with milk and honey they came—and prospered.
And here the writer of these "Personal Recollections" found them, growing strong, and rich, and influential, and more prosperous than any other religious body in Adams county. It is now after the lapse of thirty years, to be mentioned to their honor—and to the honor of the churches of the State—that they have made commendable progress in the direction of a Christian liberality, and of moral, intellectual, and religious growth; still they are not yet up to the mark.
For the purpose of the moral, intellectual and religious education of his people, the Lord has given us one day in seven, and in one year he has given us fifty such days. This in seven years is one whole year, and in seventy-five years it is ten years, leaving out five years as the period of babyhood; and this as fitting men for the highest style of religious life, and of American citizenship is, if well employed, the best school on the face of the earth. Needs it to be said, that to do this work well, the teachers in this school of the prophets have need to be well qualified? There are certain Scriptures bearing on this point we will do well to ponder:
Meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profitting may appear unto all.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath called him to be a soldier. The Lord give thee understanding in all things.
We have no churches in this nation to whom these admonitions apply with greater weight of impressive authority than to the churches of Illinois. Where much is given, there much is required, and to no State in the Union has more been given in the way of worldly wealth than to the Disciples of that commonwealth. There is not such another body of rich land in this great nation, perhaps not in the world. Water is an element essential to the highest productiveness, even of fertile soil, and the vapors rising on the Gulf of Mexico have not a hillock three hundred feet high to obstruct their flow up the Mississippi eastward and northward, until they reach the State of Illinois. And the men that do business in the cities of this prosperous State, or till its fertile and alluvial soil, that was lifted up, not many geologic ages ago, from beneath the bottom of the sea, are so rich they do not know how rich they are. But it is a peril to be rich. Jesus, Paul and Solomon unite in saying so, and it is especially a peril when wealth comes suddenly. When a man starts poor, and has felt the sting of contempt because of his poverty, and then finds himself rich and prosperous and flattered, and tempted to indulge in every luxury, then this man is in great peril; and there is no security against this danger like using the wealth that God has given him for the glory of God and the good of men.
But there were brethren thirty years ago that needed no admonition as touching the disposition they should make of their world goods. I could give a goodly number of examples, but the reader will pardon me if, because of the narrow limits of these "Recollections," I confine myself to one.
Peter B. Garrett, of Camp Point, Adams county, had set himself, with honest purpose, to bring his Kentucky brethren up to the level of the demands of primitive and apostolic Christianity. Every man has his hobby, and Bro. G. had his hobby. When the writer first visited Camp Point, he was demanded of to know if it was not a fixed part of the apostolic order that each disciple should, on the first day of the week, lay by him in store, of money or goods, as the Lord had prospered him, putting it into the Lord's treasury? I could not quite affirm this, but Bro. G. stuck to his hobby.
Bro. Garrett knew the value of a full treasury, and was ready to do his part towards settling a preacher in the church, and paying him. But he could not bring his brethren up to the level of his own aspirations.
Bro. G. came from Kentucky a poor man, but he got hold of a considerable body of good land, when it was cheap, and cultivated it skillfully. Then the Quincy, Galesburg and Chicago Railroad was build in front of his farm, and the town of Camp Point grew up adjoining his premises. He also built a flouring mill, and this added to his gains; and thus he grew rich and influential, but he never thought of himself only as plain Peter Garrett. The writer in fifty years has known many excellent Christian families, but he has never known one family that, with saint and sinner, among persons outside and inside of the church, have had a more honorable fame than this Christian family. His wife was a motherly woman. She did not assume to know much, but what she did know she knew well, and translated her little store of knowledge into an abundance of good deeds. She knew how to guide the house, take good care of her children, live in peace with her neighbors, love the church and attend its meetings, fear God and entertain strangers; and so this house, like the house of the Vicar of Wakefield, became a resort for
"All the vagrant train,"
whether of tramps or preachers. His children, from the time they were able to toddle, were taught to do something useful. His little boys were made to bring in wood, and run on errands, and his girls to wash the dishes; and thus this house became a hive of industry, and it came to pass that in process of time, when our beloved Bro. Garrison, of the Christian-Evangelist, went out to seek a woman to take care of his house, he very properly sought this favor at the hands of Peter Garrett's daughter. It is a good thing to follow a good example, and our devoted Bro. Smart, hitherto of the Witness, now co-editor of the Evangelist, went and did likewise. 
Bro. Garret loaned the writer a light spring wagon for the purpose of bringing his family back from Kansas, and thus equipped, he started a second time on the journey he had made one year before.
One thought filled his heart: Will this tumult pass away, and will the American people go forward and fulfill that glorious destiny to which God in his providence has called them?
The news of the coming of the South Carolinians had not reached Illinois when I started for Kansas, but when I had reached Western Missouri the country was alive with excitement. Maj. Jefferson Buford had arrived with 350 soldiers, and a part of them were quartered in Atchison. Some persons whose acquaintance I had made, and who were my friends, besought me not to go on.
The last night I stayed in Missouri was at De Kalb. A gentleman who had come from St. Joseph stayed over night at the hotel where I put up. He was tall of stature, with a flowing beard sprinkled with gray, and was of a remarkably dignified and impressive presence. We conversed during the evening on general topics, but no allusion was made to the one exciting topic, on which almost all seemed ready to talk instanter.
The next morning he overtook me. He was on horseback, and mentioned that he was going to Atchison, and for some distance rode beside my buggy, continuing the conversation. Then, as he could travel faster than myself, he rode on.
The reader will recognize this gentleman again in Atchison. An account of my adventures  on the other side of the river will be found in a letter addressed by myself to the Herald of Freedom:
[For the Herald of Freedom.]
STRANGER CREEK, Ocena P. O., May 6, 1856.
MR. EDITOR—Dear Sir: The bar of public opinion seems to be the only tribunal to which the free State men of Kansas can appeal for redress. I must, therefore, ask your indulgence while I make a statement of facts.
One year ago I came to Kansas and bought a claim on Stranger Creek, Atchison county. On the 17th of August, the Border Ruffians of the town of Atchison sent me down the Missouri River on a raft. We parted under a mutual pledge: I pledged myself that if my life was spared I would come back to Atchison, and they pledged themselves that if I did come back they would hang me. Faithful to my promise, in November last I returned to Kansas, and visited Atchison in open day, announced myself on hand, and returned without molestation. Kansas being sparsely settled, without churches or meeting-houses, it was determined that Mrs. Butler should live on our claim with her brother and her brother's wife, while I should return to Illinois, and resume my labors as a preacher.
April 30th I returned to Kansas, crossing the Missouri River into Atchison. I spoke with no one in the town, save with two merchants of the place, with whom I have had business transactions since my first arrival in the Territory. Having remained only a few moments, I went to my buggy to resume my journey, when I was assaulted by Robert S. Kelley, co-editor of the Squatter Sovereign, and others, was dragged into a saloon, and there surrounded by a company of South Carolinians, who are reported to have been sent out by a Southern Emigrant Aid Society. In this last mob I recognized only two that were citizens of Atchison or engaged in the former mob. It is not reported that these emigrants from the Palmetto State seek out a claim, and make for themselves a home, neither do they enter into any legitimate business. They very expressively describe themselves as having come out to see Kansas through. They yelled, "Kill him! Kill him! Hang the Abolitionist." One of their number bristled up to me and said, "Have you got a revolver?" I answered, "No." He handed me a pistol and said, "There, take that, and stand off ten steps; and I will blow you through in an instant." I replied, "I have no use for your weapon." I afterwards heard them congratulating themselves in reference to this, that they had acted in an honorable manner with me. The fellow was furious; but his companions dissuaded him from shooting me, saying they were going to hang me.
They pinioned my arms behind my back, obtained a rope, but were interrupted by the entrance of a stranger—a gentleman from Missouri, since ascertained to be Judge Tutt, a lawyer from St. Joseph. He said: "My friends, hear me. I am an old man, and it is right you should hear me. I was born in Virginia, and have lived many years in Missouri. I am a slaveholder, and desire Kansas to be made a slave State, if it can be done by honorable means. But you will destroy the cause you are seeking to build up. You have taken this man, who was peaceably passing through your streets and along the public highway, and doing no person any harm. We profess to be 'Law and Order' men, and ought to be the last to commit violence. If this man has broken the law, let him be judged according to law; but for the sake of Missouri, for the sake of Kansas, for the sake of the pro-slavery cause, do not act in this way." They dragged me into another building, and appointed a moderator, and got up a kind of lynch law trial. Kelley told his story. I rose to my feet, and calmly and in respectful language began to tell mine; but I was jerked to my seat and so roughly handled that I was compelled to desist. My friend from Missouri again earnestly besought them to set me at liberty. Kelley turned short on him and said: "Do you belong to Kansas?" Judge Tutt replied: "No; but I expect to live here in Atchison next fall, and in this matter the interests of Kansas and Missouri are identical." Chester Lamb, a lawyer in Atchison, and Samuel Dickson, a merchant of the place, both pro slavery men, also united with Judge Tutt in pleading that I might be set at liberty. While these gentlemen were speaking, I heard my keepers mutter, "If you don't hush up, we will tar and feather you." But when Kelley saw how matters stood, he came forward and said he "did not take Butler to have him hung, but only tarred and feathered," Yet in the saloon he had sad to the mob: "You shall do as you please." He dared not take the responsibility of taking my life, but when these unfortunate men, whose one-idea-ism on the subject of slavery and Southern rights has become insanity—when these irresponsible South Carolinians, sent out to be bull dogs and blood hounds for Atchison and Stringfellow—when they could be used as tools to take my life, he was ready to do it.
Our gunpowder moderator cut the matter short by saying, "It is moved that Butler be tarred and feathered and receive thirty-nine lashes." A majority said "Aye," though a number of voices said "No." The moderator said, "The affirmative has it; Butler has to be tarred and feathered and whipped." I began to speculate how that sort of thing would work as far north as the latitude of Kansas. There was a good deal of whispering about the house. I saw dark, threatening and ominous looks in the crowd. The moderator again came forward, and, in an altered voice, said: "It is moved that the last part of the sentence be rescinded." It was rescinded, and I was given into the hands of my South Carolina overseers to be tarred and feathered. They muttered and growled at this issue of the matter. They said, "If we had known it would come out in this way, we would have let shoot Butler at the first. He would have done it quicker than a flash." One little, sharp-visaged, dark-featured South Carolinian, who seemed to be the leader of the gang, was particularly displeased. With bitter curses he said, "I am not come all the way from South Carolina, spending so much money to do things up in such milk-and-water style as this."
They stripped me naked to my waist, covered my body with tar, and for the want of feathers applied cotton. Having appointed a committee of seven to certainly hang me the next time I should come into Atchison, they tossed my clothes into my buggy, put me therein, accompanied me to the outskirts of the town, and sent me naked out upon the prairie. It was a cold, bleak day. I adjusted my attire about me as best I could, and hastened to rejoin my wife and little ones on the banks of the Stranger Creek. It was a sorrowful meeting after so long a parting, still we were very thankful that, under the favor of a good Providence, it had fared no worse with us all.
Many will ask now, as they have asked already, what is the true and proper cause of all these troubles I have had in Atchison? I have told the world already; I can only repeat my own words. I have said, The head and front of my offending hath this extent, no more: I had spoken among my neighbors favorably to making Kansas a free State, and said in the office of the Squatter Sovereign, "I am a Free-soiler, and intend to vote for Kansas to be a free State."
Still it will be regarded as incredible that a man should receive such treatment for uttering such words as I report myself to have uttered. The matter is plain enough when the facts are understood.
Prior to August 17, 1855, there was no Free-soil party organized in Atchison county—perhaps not in the whole Territory of Kansas. Free-soilers did not know their own strength, and were disposed to be prudent; some were timid. Here in Atchison county we determined that if the Border Ruffians were resolved to drive matters to a bloody issue, the responsibility of doing so should rest wholly with themselves. There are many Free-soilers in this county—brave men—who have no conscientious scruples to hinder them from arming themselves, and preparing to repel force with force. The Border Ruffians sought by a system of terrorism so to intimidate the Free-soilers as to prevent them from organizing a Free-soil party, or even discussing the subject of freedom and slavery in Kansas. They carried this to such an extent of outrageous violence that it came to be currently reported that it was as much as a man's life was worth to say in the town of Atchison, "I am a Free-soiler." We deprecated violence, and wished a peaceful discussion of the subject. It was therefore most fitting that a man whose profession forbade him to go armed should put to the test of actual experiment whether an American citizen of blameless life could be permitted to enjoy the right of free speech—the privilege of expressing views favorable to making Kansas a free State—such views being uttered without anything of angry, abusive or insulting language. It was for this purpose the above words were spoken, and which have been the cause of all my troubles in Atchison.
If there is any class of men who stand behind the curtain and pull the wires, we would respectfully represent to them that it will do no good to urge these understrappers on to these deeds of violence and ruffianism. We are not a class of men to utter childish complaints at any wrongs we may suffer, but we know our rights and intend to have them.
Subscribing myself the friend of all good and civil men, whether North or South, I am very truly, PARDEE BUTLER.
We have already told how Sheriff Jones failed to wipe out Lawrence; how Gov. Shannon patched up a peace, and how that, in no good temper, the "Law and Order" party returned to the border. But immediately the Free State party gave evidence that its spirit had not been broken. A convention had been called to meet at Topeka, in November, 1855, to frame a free State Constitution, and this was ratified at an election called December 15 following, 1,731 votes being cast in its favor, the election having been held only one week after the treaty of peace had been made. Then in less than two weeks a second convention was called to meet at Lawrence, at which a full board of State officers was nominated, the election having been set to be held on the 15th of January.
At Leavenworth, the attempt to hold the election resulted in such mobs and tumult that it was forbidden to be held by a faint-hearted Free State mayor, and was consequently adjourned to Easton. The Free State printing press of Mark Delahay was, during these troubles, destroyed. At Easton, a mob undertook to break up the election, but was driven off, and in the affray one of the attacking party named Cook was mortally wounded. Then the Kansas Pioneer, published at Kickapoo, made an inflammatory appeal to the "Law and Order" party to rally and avenge Cook's death, and in an answer to this appeal the "Kickapoo Rangers" and Captain Dunn's company, from Leavenworth, in all about fifty men, turned out to go to Easton on this errand. A number of gentlemen had gone from Leavenworth to Easton to attend the election, and had stayed over night, among whom were Captain R. P. Brown, a resident of Salt Creek Valley, near Leavenworth. Captain B. was a man well esteemed in his neighborhood, and was a member-elect of the Legislature. Captain Dunn and his company met these men returning to Leavenworth, and took them prisoners, carrying them back to Easton. Here they got up a sort of Lynch-law trial for Captain Brown, but the rabble composing Dunn's company, having maddened themselves with drink, broke into the room where the trial was going on, seized Captain Brown, who was unarmed and helpless, and tortured him with barbarity that has been supposed to be only possible among savages, and then threw the wounded and dying man into an open lumber wagon, in which they hauled him home to his wife, over the rough, frozen roads, in one of the coldest nights of that bitter cold January; stopping meantime at the drinking-houses by the way, they consumed seven hours in making the journey. His wife became insane at the sight of her butchered and dying husband, thrown into the door by these brutal wretches, and was, in that condition, taken to her brother in Michigan. All this was testified to, with every minutia of detail, before the Investigating Committee.
The border papers were aflame with appeals to the "Law and Order" party to go over into Kansas and wipe out the pestiferous Free State men, who set at naught the Territorial Legislature. The following sample of these appeals we extract from a speech made by David R. Atchison, at Platte City:
They held an election on the 15th of last month, and they intend to put the machinery of a State in motion on the 4th of March, "I say, prepare yourselves; go over there. And if they attempt to drive you out, then drive them out. Fifty of you with your shot-guns are worth two hundred and fifty of them with their Sharpe's rifles."
Meanwhile a great cry of wrongs and outrages against the Free State men had filled the whole North, and Congress could not choose, but had to pay attention to it. Ex-Governor Reeder came forward and contested the seat of Mr. Whitfield as Territorial delegate to Congress, alleging that Mr. W. owed his election to the votes of men not residents of the Territory. As a result, a Committee of Investigation was appointed to go to Kansas to take testimony, this committee being composed of Sherman of Ohio, Howard, of Michigan, and Oliver, of Missouri. These took an immense number of depositions, which were published in a volume of more than 1,200 octavo pages, and of which 20,000 were ordered to be printed. This investigating committee made a majority report signed by Howard and Sherman, in which they summed up their conclusions under eight heads. Of these we shall copy four:
1. That each election held in the Territory under the organic or Territorial law has been carried by organized invasion from the State of Missouri, by which the people of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the rights secured to them by the organic law.
2. That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an illegally constituted body, and had no power to pass valid laws, and their enactments are therefore null and void.
3. That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of votes of resident citizens than John W. Whitfield for delegate.
4. That in the present condition of the Territory a fair election can not be held without a new census, a stringent and well-guarded election law, the selection of impartial judges, and the presence of United States troops at every election.
(Signed) WM. A. HOWARD, JOHN SHERMAN.
Mr. Oliver made a minority report, summing up his conclusions under seven heads. From this we shall copy three:
1. That the Territorial Legislature was a legally constituted body, and had power to pass valid laws, and their enactments were therefore valid.
2. That the election under which the sitting delegate, John W. Whitfield, holds his seat was held in pursuance of valid law, and should be regarded as a valid election.
3. That the election under which the contesting delegate, Andrew H. Reeder, claims his seat, was not held under any law, and should be wholly disregarded by the House. (Signed) M. OLIVER.
As a result, Congress permanently unseated Mr. Whitfield, and ordered a new election, thus affirming the conclusions of Howard and Sherman. This committee began its work in April and ended in June.
The "Law and Order" party did not, however, wait for the conclusion of these proceedings at Washington. Col. Buford, as we have told in a former chapter, arrived early in the spring with his company of South Carolinians, and Gen. David R. Atchison had gathered, along the borders, several hundred men to make a second raid on Lawrence. These all marched to Lecompton, where they held themselves in readiness to act, as soon as a pretext could be found invoking their help.
And now the inevitable Samuel J. Jones, Sheriff of Douglas County, again put in an appearance. This time it was to arrest Sam Wood for the rescue of Branson. Jones arrested Wood on the streets of Lawrence. A crowd gathered around, and in the jostling and pushing Jones and Wood were separated, and Wood walked away. No threats were made, and no violence used. The next day was Sunday, and Jones again appeared, but Sam Wood was missing. He had stayed that night at the house of the writer, in Atchison County, being then on his way to the free States. Jones, however, had writs for the arrest of those who had been the occasion of Wood's escape, and the Sheriff called on some of the church-going people to act as his posse in making his arrests. But these were of "the most straitest sect" of the Puritans, and it was contrary to their consciences to do any manner of carnal work on the Sabbath day, and in their estimation this was exceedingly carnal work, and they kept their faces set as if they would go to the synagogue. Samuel F. Tappan was one of the Branson rescuers, and Jones seized Tappan by the collar, and Tappan struck Jones in the face. This was enough; Jones had been resisted, and he went to the Governor and demanded a posse of United States soldiers to aid him in making his arrest. Thus reinforced with a detachment of United States troops, our valorous Sheriff Jones went a third time and arrested without resistance six respectable citizens of Lawrence, on a charge of contempt of court, because they had declined to break the Sabbath in aiding him to make arrests on the Lord's day. In due course of law, it should have been his duty to take his prisoners before a magistrate, and allowed them to give bail to appear at a given time to answer for this alleged contempt. But Jones elected to keep his prisoners without bail, and to act as his own jailer, and so he encamped in a tent on the prairie, using these United States soldiers as his guard. This was a manifest bait to the people of Lawrence to attempt a rescue, but they did not walk into the trap, and so these prisoners slept on the prairie, and their wives slept at home bereaved of their husbands. Somebody shot Jones. It is presumed that somebody thought he ought to be shot, but it was as great a calamity to Lawrence as was the rescue of Branson. The people of Lawrence removed Jones to the Free State hotel, showed every sympathy they could show, and offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension of the assassin. Notwithstanding, all Western Missouri was immediately aflame with appeals to the people to come to the rescue, and avenge the death of the murdered Jones. But the papers making these appeals did not publish the proceedings of the indignation meeting held at Lawrence, nor did they tell that a reward had been offered for the apprehension of the assassin, nor did they tell that Jones' wound was so slight that he was able to be removed the next day to Franklin.
Meanwhile a conspiracy was hatched at Lecompton, in which Chief Justice Lecompte was the chief conspirator, to arrest the leading Free State men on a charge of treason, and keep them prisoners without bail, and thus smother out the Free State movement. James F. Legati was one of the United States grand jurors, and violated his oath of secrecy and made a night journey to give warning to the men that were to be made victims to this conspiracy. Gov. Charles Robinson fled down the Missouri River, but was detained at Lexington, was brought back under charge of treason, and placed in confinement at Lecompton; others fled the Territory, and Lawrence was left to fight its battles with its old leaders gone. According to the purpose of this conspiracy a large number of Free State men were indicted for high treason; and the Free State hotel and the two printing presses were returned by the Grand Jury as nuisances, and as such were by Judge Lecompte ordered to be destroyed. Immediately following Legati's nocturnal visit, Ex-Governor Reeder received a summons at the hands of Deputy Marshal Fain to appear at Lecompton as a witness. Mr. Reeder declined to obey the summons. The next day a writ was served on him to appear on a charge of "contempt of court" for not having appeared as a witness. Mr. Reeder refused to submit to the arrest for two reasons—first, that his life would be in danger; second, he plead his privilege of exemption from arrest because he was a member-elect of Congress. Then United States Marshal Donaldson issued the following
WHEREAS, Certain judicial arrests have been directed to me by the First District Court of the United States, etc., to be executed within the county of Douglas, and
WHEREAS, The attempt to execute them by the United States Deputy Marshal was evidently resisted by a large number of people of Lawrence, and as there is every reason to believe that any attempt to execute these writs will be resisted by a large body of armed men; now, therefore, the law-abiding citizens of the Territory are commanded to be and appear at Lecompton as soon as practicable, and in numbers sufficient to execute the law.
Given under my hand this 11th day of May, 1856.
J. B. DONALDSON, U. S. Marshal of the Territory of Kansas.
On receipt of this proclamation the citizens of Lawrence called a public meeting and adopted the following preamble and resolution:
WHEREAS, By a proclamation to the people of Kansas Territory, by T B. Donaldson, it is alleged that certain judicial writs of arrest have been directed to him by the First District Court of the United States, etc. to be executed within the county of Douglas, and that an attempt to execute them was evidently resisted by a large number of the citizens of Lawrence, and that there is every reason to believe that an attempt to execute said writs will be resisted by a large body of armed men; therefore,
Resolved, By this public meeting of the citizens of Lawrence, that the allegations and charges against us, contained in the aforesaid proclamation, are wholly untrue in fact and in the conclusion which is drawn from them. The aforesaid Marshal was resisted in no manner whatever, nor by any person whatever, in the execution of said writs, except by him whose arrest the Deputy Marshal was seeking to make. And that we now, as we have done heretofore, declare our willingness and determination, without resistance, to acquiesce in the service upon us of any judicial writs against us by the United States Deputy Marshal, and will furnish him with a posse for that purpose, if so requested; but that we are ready to resist, if need be, unto death, the ravages and desolation of an invading mob.