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Class /w^ y^Sl. 
Book 7?^ ^^ 
Copyright N" 






Charles Robinson 





Professor of Sociology and Economics in the University of Kansas. Author of ^^Span- 

ish Institutions in the Southwest;'''' ''''The Story of Human Progress; ^^ 

"JEconomics;" "27ie History of Higher Education in Kansas^^^ etc. 

Crane & Company, Publishers 

ToPEKA, Kansas 


Library of Coacfre!3-3 

Iwo Copies Receivfo 

JAN 28 1901 

CN Copyright ontry 

^^(Z 3/^33 

1. . , , 


Copyrighted by 
Frank AV. Blackmar 


Fallen at length, the Nestor of our time, 

Founder and savior of our infant State, 

The lofty life to Freedom dedicate,— 
The champion ever mailed to challenge crime, 
And make the people's rustic cause sublime. 

Peer of the commonwealth he did create, 

His strength hath known no weakness, no abate, 
From this strange stillness back to youth's rich prime. 
And is he fallen? Nay ; a wiser thought 

Follows the spirit as it slow withdrew. 
Leaving the fields on which lie grandly fought. 

The writhing wrongs his prowess overthrew, 
And lo! amidst the zenith stars inwrought, 

We speed the newest orbed. Hail and Adieu. 

Henry M. Greene. 

** There was Charles Robinson, whom you chose your leader and 
Governor. He was to you in that day what Moses was to the Is- 
raelites. When the action of the Government was adverse to your 
interests ; when Reeder and Geary were removed ; when Atchison, 
the acting Vice-President, left his seat in the Senate to lead the 
border ruffians and to drive you out with fire and sword, — it was 
Robinson more than any other mar) who held the people firm in 
their allegiance to the United States. He had to fight not only his 
enemy, but his friends. He was the representative of law and 
order, and so under Providence the public sentiment of the coun- 
try was kept in your favor." 

[Amos A. Lawbencb, in letter to Old Settlers' Association, August 16th, 1877.] 


Biography is, after all, quite essential to a true knowl- 
edge of the history of a people, and, moreover, one of the 
best of teachers, for by it we come close to the lives of 
those who make history. It gives an insight and a livina 
touch quite unknown, to the details of plain historical 
records. The historian who tells the story of national 
progress, even though he describes causes and results, is 
forced to treat men as things tossed upon the waves of 
public opinion or borne on by the current of events. The 
biographer deals with an individual life and character 
from which spring the motives that rule the community 
or make the destiny of nations. He sets the object of his 
description in the midst of the phenomena of history, and 
describes him in his relations to the environments. In the 
warm heart of the great man beats the hope of the nation ; 
in his fertile brain dw^ells the thought that rules, and from 
his lips fall the W'Ords of wisdom that command. So biog- 
raphy teaches history by example. It gives, not a pano- 
rama of moving society, but the intensified thought, 
feeling and action of a single individual, as the center 
of events. Though it is not general history, it touches 
it at many points; and the greater the man, at more 
points will he touch human society. The biography of 
a great man will need a strong historical background as 
its setting, and if properly written will vitalize every part 
of history with which it comes in contact. 




While events and opportunities to a considerable ex- 
tent make the man, a great nature will be a reflection 
of his times. How our national life is revealed in the 
lives of such men as Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jef- 
ferson, and Hamilton, or Marshall, Clay, Webster, and 
Calhoun, or in Lincoln, Sumner, Grant, and Seward. 
Yet again how the world of national thought and feeling 
in such men as Channing, Emerson, Longfellow, and 
Lowell. How many men who have lived in the past 
century would it be necessary to enumerate, whose com- 
bined thoughts represent or come in contact with all that 
was worth thinking or remembering in our national life ? 
And while biography is not history, nor can it take the 
place of history, it brings us essentially and indispensably 
near the life of a state or nation. Stirring times and great 
epochs sometimes can best be understood from one or more 
great minds as centers of observation. 

Kansas history seems at present to be in the biographical 
period. There appears to be a determination on the part 
of many to sum up the lives and characters of the promi- 
nent actors in the great struggle to make Kansas free, and 
of those who were influential in building the conmion- 
wealth. And it is well to pause and find out truly what 
manner of men engaged in the great struggle, and what 
they stand for in the process of state-building, before pro- 
ceeding to unravel the tangled web of Kansas history. 
If each actor in the great drama could be carefully 
weighed and measured, and all of his achievements accu- 
rately recorded, the historian would have an excellent 
foundation for his future work as he attempts to write 
the true history of Kansas. The strong individuality 


displayed in the early struggle, the fierce controversies 
that have raged since, as men have appeared in the light 
of struggling for position, render it highly necessary that 
the achievements of each one, prominent in the struggle, 
shall be carefully defined before the historical horizon is 
cleared of clouds of error. The chief dangers of writing 
the biographies of men of Kansas are, of the personal 
bias of the writer, of ambition, and of hero-worship. Bring 
into line all that has been written of Kansas men, and 
very few if any writings will escape the imprecation of 
at least one of the above defects. Many have innocently 
fallen victims to current errors, others to their own sympa- 
thies which fell as a curtain over the intelligence and 
obscured the discriminating power of the narrator. Others 
have been blinded by worshipping at the shrine of their 
heroes. Too long gazing at their idols dimmed their vision 
and rendered inaccurate their delineation. Others, pos- 
sessed of vaulting ambition to be greatest among their 
peers, have unconsciously enlarged upon the events with 
which their lives were inseparably connected. Yet under 
it all flows a current of truth whose unmistakable voice is 
heard more clearly as time renders us more familiar with 
events and men. 

In preparing this brief biographical sketch, — for it is 
little more, — the writer has endeavored to toll a plain un- 
varnished story of the life and character of a man whose 
career in Massachusetts, California and Kansas is worth 
recording, not only because of its questions of personal 
interest, its lessons of individual life, and on account of 
its relation to society, but especially because of its relation 
to the foundation of the State. How difficult the task, to 


extract from the great mass of information at hand tliat 
which gives the real life-picture of the man ; how delicate 
the task, to give a truthful picture of all that he did, of 
what he was, and to give a well-proportioned representa- 
tion of his public services. And in the presentation the 
writer has endeavored to abide faithfully by the rigid and 
unyielding truth as it appears to him after a careful 
weighing of all historical evidence at his command. Care 
has been taken not to write into the life that which did 
not exist, a common failing of all biography and a diffi- 
culty not easily overcome. Although, perhaps, there is 
less danger here than elsewhere, because there was no ether 
of romance enveloping Robinson's austere life, and no 
strange mystery about his going and coming among his 
fellows. ]^or was there any transcendental genius bor- 
dering on insanity that rendered his life and nature diffi- 
cult to understand. He was a plain man of the people, 
with a lofty bearing of character which revealed itself to 
those who came in contact with his daily life. He followed 
closely the line of conscientious duty, without fear and 
regardless of consequences. His life is not a fit subject 
for the romancer or the hero-worshipper, except as the 
man who does his duty fearlessly with great consequences 
to the community and the state is worthy the admiration 
of his fellow-citizens and the affection of those whom he 
personally befriended. He who writes best and most 
truthfully about Robinson will tell the plain story of 
his life Avithout embellishment, for the life will then speak 
for itself, its real nature and its lessons of wisdom. 

If it appears that undue importance is given to Robin- 
son when mentioned in connection with other men, it 


must be remembered that Robinson is the subject of this 
sketch, and that the services of others are not ignored if 
not eulogized. Perhaps Robinson, Lane, and Brown, were 
the most prominent historical characters in the early strug- 
gle for freedom in Kansas, but what numbers of other 
faithful ones whose unswerving faithfulness to duty, un- 
flinching courage, and acute sufferings made freedom 
possible! Call the roll of real heroes of Kansas, and the 
angel of justice will respond for hundreds who sleep in 
their graves and for those living who are too modest to 
sing their own praises ! How absurd it is, then, in the 
consideration of the great numbers in the different types, 
classes, parties, who in different ways rendered efficient 
service to Kansas, to hold up to the youth of the land that 
one man saved Kansas. Yet each should be zealous in 
telling the truth of the valiant deeds of friends and foes, 
that the uncompromising truth of history may be revealed. 
In reference to this matter, the saying of Governor Rob- 
inson in an address to the students of the University of 
Kansas is worthy of consideration. He said: ^'Who 
saved Kansas? 'Not one man, nor any group of men 
claiming to be leaders. It was the rank and file of the 
common citizens who saved the State to freedom. It was 
the union of the people in a common cause that saved 
the State." 

How true is this, for, notwithstanding all of the struggle 
and confusion, it was the majority at the ballot-box that 
saved the State. I^ot that there were not other potent 
influences in bringing this about, for there were many. 
There were times, too, when leaders were necessary, — and 
they were not wanting. But here as elsewhere there were 


wise and unwise leaders; there were those who by their 
folly led on toward destruction and defeat, as well as 
those who led toward safety and victory. In writing this 
biography the author has no desire or object to make Rob- 
inson a greater man than he was, for had he not the 
elements of greatness manifest in his life, no effort of 
pen could bolster up the fragments of a broken character. 
The only thing to be done is to draw a truthful picture 
of all that he was and all that he did, and to emphasize 
his public services. The writer has endeavored to do 
faithfully, with the sole object of recording history truth- 
fully. If he fails in the attempt to do this, it would be 
better that the book were not written. It is not expected 
to escape the criticism of that small group of hero- 
worshippers who have other idols than Robinson, some of 
whom seem determined to write history after their own 
manner of thinking, instead of recording how it all came 
about. I refer to those who have sought to detract from 
the life of some in order to build up others. 

Men differ so much in motive, in character, and in life 
in general; the nature of their services varies and the 
conditions under which they struggle are so dissimilar, 
that comparisons are dangerous. It is quite impossible to 
determine whether one deed is greater than another, until 
the services rendered by each can be measured. Who then 
can weigh and measure greatness, or how can motive or 
duty or character be estimated? Or who can measure 
services and strike a balance between two important deeds ? 
There is no divisible essence of duty, nor any ultimate 
analysis of greatness. From an individual standpoint he 
who does his duty has served his generation well; he is 



good and brave even though the consequences of his service 
are small. Would that society might learn to recognize 
faithful service as the true element of greatness and as real 
heroism. Looking over the history of Kansas and consid- 
ering the long list of names enrolled as founders and 
builders of the State, some it is true have had more potent 
influences than others, not only because of individual power 
and genius, but also on account of opportunity. But not 
all of the glory of the founding and building of the com- 
monwealth may be absorbed by the leaders, whether self- 
constituted, or whether so made by the law of gravity of 
character or the force of circumstances. There have been 
many builders of the commonwealth, — great, all of them, 
in the results of their work, for it took the cooperative 
w^ork of them all to achieve the success in building a state 
and making it habitable and desirable for free men. Let 
us therefore banish invidious comparisons from our minds 
and from the printed page, and endeavor to make the life 
of each stand alone upon what he actually did. 

There has been a tendency for each one \vho passed 
through the early struggle to record his personal views of 
affairs, and to relate the story of events as he saw them. 
This is of exceedingly great value to those who would 
understand Kansas history. Every one, so far as possible, 
should do this for the sake of the final truth. There are 
those still among us who have not told all they know of the 
early history of Kansas, but it is hoped that they will do 
so as a duty to the present and to future generations. 
The great historical movements are tolerably well defined, 
but local events and the details of movements which are 
only determined by the corroborate testimony of eye-wit- 


nesses should be carefully reoorded. Those who are writing 
monographs and fragments of history should be careful 
to go back of the returns of hearsay to the sources of 
history, and by a careful comparison of statements sift 
the false from the true and rest their argument on the 
impregnable foundations of truth, the only basis of his- 
tory. Perhaps then some historian will appear, unbiased in 
judgment, and keen in discrimination, who will eliminate 
the personal element from history, consider faithfully and 
impartially all of the fragments, each taken at its true 
value, and weave the whole mass into one presentable 
continuous narrative. This cannot be well done in one 

Let us emphasize the fact that this is but a brief bio- 
graphical sketch, written to bring to the minds of all who 
read it the important phases of the life and character of 
Governor Eobinson, the first and only "Free-State" Gov- 
ernor, and the first chief executive of the State of Kansas. 
It disclaims to be, from any standpoint, the history of 
the times of Governor Eobinson. Yet from the life of 
Robinson history radiates in every direction, and therefore 
his biography cannot be written without touching history 
at many points. But great care has been taken to make 
all historical statements exact so far as used, and as com- 
plete as the subject and circumstances would admit. The 
events with which the subject of the biography was con- 
nected have been made prominent, while others have been 
omitted or passed over lightly as a necessity. While many 
facts of history are recited, historical narrative is not 
undertaken. Even the biography is abridged, and only 
a larger volume would present the life of Robinson in its 


fullness. It ought to contain the details of his work in 
connection with the Emigrant Aid Companj; a careful 
review of his life as Governor and as legislator of the 
State; a careful account of his California adventure; a 
more extended account of his services to the Free-State 
cause; a review of his political beliefs and opinions; his 
political relations to other prominent men of the State; 
his interest in social affairs; his writings; and last, but 
not least, his services to the cause of education. 

University of Kansas, November, 1900. 




To BE well born is a fortunate circumstance in the 
foundation of a great character. It is a vantage-ground 
in a life-struggle where the fittest, w^ho are the best, survive. 
To be well educated to meet the conditions of one's ow^n 
generation is an essential means for the completion of 

Charles Robinson was blessed with both of these condi- 
tions. He was of old Xew England blood of pure stream, 
that lost none of its vigor in its onward flowing. His 
father, Jonathan Robinson, was a farmer and zealous anti- 
slavery man of decided religious views, w^hose ancestry 
traced back to the John Robinson of Plymouth Rock fame. 
The social atmosphere of IsTew England in early days was 
a character-builder. The frugal home life, with its disci- 
pline, its religious fervor, and sweet companionship, ever 
appealing to self-sacrifice, furnished an excellent training. 
Perhaps the home life in ^ew England, with its frugality, 
discipline, earnestness, and close sympathy, w^as the best 
quality of the education of the times. It has been the 
saving quality of the New England life, and as well of 
that larger life which has moved w^estward and filled the 
valleys and plains and enveloped the mountains of the 
continent. Perennial and sw^eet, the hallowed influence 

-2 (17) 


of the homes of the olden time comes to us in retrospective 
fancy, ever prominent in the philosophy of nation-build- 

His mother's name was Huldah Woodward. Of these 
parents were born ten children, six boys and four girls, bo 
whom they desired to give as good an education as the 
country afforded. The mother of the family looked care- 
fully after the Sunday-school lesson, and every Saturday 
night the flock of children gathered around the table to 
learn all the lesson could teach of morals and religion. 
There the mother, with the great old Bible in her lap, was 
filled with the blessed spirit of the Christ, as she pointed 
out the beauties of its vivid style and the moral and relig- 
ious teachings fitted for daily life. 

Charles Robinson was a strong character in the old E'ew 
England home; he was a pleasant companion, a lover of 
music and books, and a lover of man and nature. His 
philosophy began early, as he roamed alone over the fields, 
through the forests, or by the brook-side, or followed the 
instruction of the country schools of his time. Born at 
the quiet town of Hardwick, Mass., on July 21, 1818, 
when school privileges and books were more rare than 
at present, he had ample opportunity for thought, which, 
to the observing, thinking man, is education. At the age 
of seventeen it was necessary for him to strike out for 
himself, and from that time he bore at least a large part 
of the expenses of his education. Academies and semina- 
ries were the greatest blessings of New England youth in 
those days. They made Amherst, Yale, Harvard, Will- 
iams and Dartmouth possible to thousands of young men. 
He entered Hadley Academy, where he remained a year, 


after which he entered Amherst Academy, and there he 
again exercised the privilege of self-support. The authori- 
ties gave him the privilege of making new desks and seats 
for the academy; therefore in the basement of the build- 
ing he established a workshop, where he wrought at car- 
pentry to pay for his tuition, and where at intervals he 
pondered over the principles of philosophy. 

It was but a step from Amherst Academy to Amherst 
College, although he remained but a year at the academy. 
After remaining a year and a half at the college his eye- 
sight gave out, and he found it necessary to walk forty 
miles to Keene, 'N. H., to apply to Dr. Amos Twitchell 
for aid. Always on the lookout for opportunities, as 
every active youth must be, he decided to accept an offer 
to study medicine under Dr. Twitchell. Possibly it 
would have been better for him to remain at the academy, 
and subsequently at the college to complete his academic 
course, before entering upon his medical studies. How- 
ever, he did what many another person has done, who, 
lacking the proper direction of others, sought his own 
course in his own way. 

After remaining with Dr. Twitchell six months, he 
attended medical lectures at Pittsfield, Mass. Doctor 
Childs, who afterwards became Lieutenant-Governor of 
Massachusetts, was then president of the institute. After 
the course of lectures was completed at Pittsfield he stud- 
ied for a time with Dr. Isaac Gridley, at Amherst, and 
subsequently attended lectures at Woodstock, Vt. Dr. 
Rush Palmer, much celebrated in his day as an eminent 
physician and lecturer, was at the head of the Woodstock 
institution. Bobinson finally returned to Doctor Gridley, 


and remained with him until his medical education was 
completed. His educational career would be considered 
rather an erratic course for a medical student of the present 
day, but it served to give a full medical education of his 
time. His peripatetic education, as far as possible, fur- 
nished what the youth of to-day finds concentrated in the 
modern medical college with hospital attached. It appears, 
at least^ that his education was considered thorough and 
sufficient for practice in his time. 

In 1843 Dr. Robinson commenced the practice of medi- 
cine at Belchertown, Mass., a town of the old l^ew England 
type, covering a large area, being fourteen miles long and 
ten miles wide. Dr. Robinson's practice was very large, 
and, as the town was situated in the hill district of Hamp- 
shire county, his numerous visits required excessive labor. 
Once settled in Belchertown, Dr. Robinson took his place 
as an active citizen of the town. He was enthusiastic, not 
only in considering the ailments of the people, but also in 
advocating the practice of observing proper rules of health. 
He would not join the medical society, because he did not 
wish to be bound by its cast-iron rules, and because he 
thought he could learn something from the practitioner of 
any school. 

On Thanksgiving Day, 1843, he was married to Miss 
Sarah Adams, of West Brookfield, and after a brief trip 
to Boston he returned to his duties in Belchertown. 
Doctor Robinson was interested in schools, and served 
on school committees. He frequently attended the Sunday- 
school teachers' meeting; he was a constant worker for 
temperance. When the Perfectionists, under John W. 
Noyes, were preaching a new salvation from sin, they met 


with severe opposition; law-and-order meetings were 
called, and an antagonistic spirit aroused. While Robinson 
did not adhere to the teachings of ISToyes, his sympathies 
were with him and his followers, and he was glad when 
they were relieved from persecution. 

Doctor Robinson threw his whole zeal and energy into 
his work, which proved to be a great strain upon his not 
over-rugged constitution. Consequently, in the spring of 
1845 he went to Springfield, Mass., and there opened 
a hospital for practice. In conducting this hospital he 
was associated with Dr. J. G. Holland, a well-read physi- 
cian, and subsequently widely known on account of his 
literary career. He was a native of Belchertown, and was 
a former room-mate of Robinson at Pittsfield, where the 
two became well acquainted. 

Doctor Robinson found it impossible to confine his work 
to hospital practice, and so his visits soon extended far 
and wide in Springfield and surrounding towns within 
a radius of twenty miles. While at Springfield there came 
upon him a great disaster which was lasting in its eifects, 
and which seems to have changed the entire course of his 
life. On the 17th of January, 184G, his wife passed from 
this earth. Failing in health on account of his severe 
practice, and broken in spirit by his severe loss, he was 
induced to leave Springfield and go to Fitchburg, where his 
brother Cyrus was located. This he did in the spring of 
1846. But he did not escape work by the change, for he 
was again soon worn out by the excessive duties of his 
profession. While he was casting about what to do for his 
health, thoughts of a trip to California were prominent in 
his mind. 


In this peculiar way Charles Robinson became inter- 
ested in the emigration to California. The whole country 
was aroused in 1848 by the discovery in California of this 
new El Dorado. Men everywhere caught the fever, and 
were hurrying westward in the vain endeavor to be first 
in locating their mining claims. 'Not only- the venturesome 
West but the staid East was stirred with unbounded en- 
thusiasm, and thousands from every part of the Union 
took up the long journey overland to the Pacific slope, or, 
by boat, passed by way of the isthmus on to San Francisco. 

In the winter of 1849 a party composed of men of 
all classes and professions was formed in and around Bos- 
ton, for the purpose of making the journey overland. This 
company was organized on a military basis, and selected 
Charles Robinson as the physician of the company, upon 
whom devolved the responsibility of the care of the sick. 
This small party left Boston on the 19th of March, 1849, 
and, passing by railroad and canal to Pittsburg, thence by 
steamer to Cincinnati and St. Louis, finally reached Kansas 
City, or what was then known as Westport Landing. 
The whole journey w^as without striking event, except the 
usual experiences of a company traveling through a new 
country, which brings a new interest from day to day — 
the sights and scenes of the winding route through forests, 
hills, valleys, and plains. Soon after the party left St. 
Louis the cholera broke out among the ship's company, 




and the physician found an arduous task before him to 
stay the disease, not so well known in those days as at 
present. This he did quite effectually, there and also at 
Westport Landing. 

The company finally arrived at Sacramento. Here were 
exciting conditions, which were made to test Doctor Rob- 
inson's character. The great contest between the squat- 
ters and the large landholders was in progress at Sacra- 
mento, and Doctor Robinson took" a vigorous interest in 
the matter. As Doctor Cordley says, in the ''History of 
Lawrence" : 

"In 1849 he went to California with the gold-seekers, 
and was a prominent actor in the stirring scenes which 
characterized the early history of that State. In those 
turbulent times he had been severely wounded, and had 
been put under arrest and kept in prison for several 
months; but he and his associates finally won the day, 
and California was finally saved from the rule of the 
thieves. He was just the man wanted for the emergency. 
He was cool of counsel and brave of heart, and knew the 
conditions he had to meet." 

The difficulty in California existed in the fact that^ the 
old Spanish grants of land, which were to be guaranteed, 
according to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, of February 
2, 1848, had secured all land titles and property of every 
kind to the citizens within the Territory. The grants 
made by the government of Mexico prior to the accession 
of land by the United States were, to be secured by the 
latter government. Two difficulties arose: (1) just be- 
fore the cession, and immediately after, a large number of 
land-grabbers sought to obtain titles to land in various 


parts of California; (2) many titles granted prior to the 
cession were imperfect on account of indefinite location 
of boundaries. 

The trouble at Sacramento was precipitated, first, bj 
the fact that the people who came in from the East were 
accustomed to free land, and did not understand why they 
did not have squatters' rights on these large land grants as 
well as on other territories of the United States ; and then, 
in addition, the disposition of the land agents to grab 
everything in sight, and to exclude persons from the terri- 
tory, enraged the squatters, rurthermore, the particular 
land title of Sutter, which was claimed to cover the terri- 
tory in and around Sacramento, virtually did not extend 
that far. 

Sutter was a man from Switzerland, who had settled 
in 1837 on the Sacramento river at the junction of the 
American. Here he built a fort and established a colony, 
his possessions reaching many miles far and wide, up 
and down the Sacramento, American and Feather rivers. 
He lived like a feudal lord of the olden times on his do- 
mains, served by his many helpers, and with an army 
drilled for defense. In 1841 he received from the Mexican 
Government a grant of eleven square leagues of land. In 
1847 sixty houses clustered around the fort, and six mills 
and one tannery were located in the immediate vicinity. 
Thousands of bushels of wheat were raised annually in 
the fertile valleys, and thousands of cattle, mules, horses 
and sheep grazed in the valleys and on the surrounding 
hills. The white population at this time numbered 289 
souls, while a large number of Indians, half-breeds and 
Hawaiians were located near. 


In 1846 Sutter laid out the town of Sutterville, three 
miles below the fort, on the Sacramento river. Subse- 
quently the town of Sacramento was laid out between 
Sutterville and the fort. So far as rights accruing from 
possession were concerned, Sutter was owner of this vast 
tract of land. So far as the intent of the grants from 
the Mexican Government in 1841 was concerned, he had 
a clear title to the land. Unfortunately, when the bound- 
ary was fixed for this territory, the grant was made to 
cover twenty-six square leagues of land, and the southern 
boundary was placed some twenty miles north, at the 
junction of the Feather and Sacramento rivers, which, if 
strictly construed, would exclude the fort, Sutterville 
and the surrounding territory from the terms of the grant. 
Without doubt it was the intention of the grant that Sutter 
should locate, by proper surveys, land to the amount of 
eleven square leagues within the immense boundary de- 
scribed, and the remainder revert to the government as 
national property. It could not be considered otherwise 
from a reasonable position than that it was the intention of 
the Governor of California to give Sutter a title to the 
fort and this surrounding territory, while they were in 
fact excluded entirely by the statements included in the 
articles of the grant. To make matters worse, Sutter, 
not knowing the boundaries of his own land, or the ex- 
tent of his own wealth, granted to land agents, right and 
left, parcels of land, giving them the only title that could 
be obtained at that time, and the squatters who came upon 
this land were forcibly ejected. In the winter of 1849 
many settlers flocked into the Territory, and occupied va- 
cant lands with tents and shanties and cabins in and around 


Sacramento. The attempt to eject these from the lands 
of the supposed owners precipitated a riot between the 
squatters and the land agents. 

Doctor Robinson, true to his characteristics, took up 
with the man who had the worst side of the battle. Right 
or wrong, legal or illegal, he saw what was justice in the 
matter, and stood up for the weak and oppressed. At a 
public meeting called by the squatters, and which was 
taken possession of bj land speculators. Doctor Robinson 
offered the following resolution in opposition to the claims 
of the land agents : 

^^Whereas, The land in California is presumed to be 
public land, therefore, 

'^Resolved, That we will protect any settlers in the pos- 
session of land, to the extent of one lot in the city and 
160 acres in the country, until a valid title shall be shown 
to it." 

It is not possible here to follow the details of his ad- 
venturesome life in Sacramento during the next few 
months. In the struggle which ensued. Doctor Robinson 
was the leader of the squatter forces. As such he was 
shot, captured, and thrown into the prison-ship on the 
Sacramento river. Subsequently, he was released on bail. 
He was elected to the first Legislature that convened in 
the Territory at San Jose, while still in the prison-ship, 
and afterwards was acquitted of the charges against him 
and went forth a free man. Later, he sailed from San 
Francisco south on his way home, was wrecked on the 
Mexican coast, and finally returned to Massachusetts by 
the way of Panama. 

The character of Doctor Robinson comes out clearly 


through this whole struggle. He was convinced that he 
was right, had justice on his side, and was ready, even 
with his life, to defend the oppressed and those deprived 
of their rights. In the whole history of his life and career 
he never appeared to better advantage than when attempt- 
ing to defend the helpless, or when fighting single-handed 
against open forms of injustice and oppression. In this 
movement he was clear-headed, conscientious, alert, and 
skillful, as evinced by the manner in which he routed the 
forces of adventurers and landholders, who had all the 
advantages in their favor. His subsequent history in 
California is little less than marvelous, for one can hardly 
realize the critical condition which he occupied before the 
law. While he escaped without severe penalty, on account 
of the state of social affairs in California at that time, 
it might easily have turned out entirely otherwise. 

With four true bills of indictment against him by the 
grand jury, — one for murder, one for conspiracy, and two 
for assault with intent to kill, — Doctor Robinson was 
elected to the Legislature. Soon after election he was ad- 
mitted to bail, and spent the time prior to the convening 
of the Legislature in editing a new paper, called The 
Settlers' and Miners* Tribune. But a change of venue 
referred the squatter cases of Sacramento to Benicia, and 
after the close of the session of the Legislature the prison- 
ers were discharged on account of non-prosecution. By 
a unanimous vote of the Legislature, he was declared re- 
leased from the custody of the courts. 

During his term in the Legislature Doctor Robinson 
showed that he was a strong anti-slavery man. While he 
was in the prison-ship one of the attorneys, a Mr. Tweed, 


appointed to defend the squatters, came to him in the 
interest of politics. Mr. Tweed advocated the division of 
California into two States, one portion to he slave and the 
other free. Doctor Robinson strongly opposed the scheme. 
On knowing the opinion of his client, Tweed advised him 
not to run for the Legislature, believing, or assuming 
to believe, it would prejudice his case in the courts. Doc- 
tor Robinson replied that if the people chose to vote for 
him he would not interfere, and if the courts decided to 
hang him because the people, voted for him they could 
do so. 

When the slavery question came up in the Legislature, 
Doctor Robinson favored Fremont, who was opposed to 
the extension of slavery. He did this to the detriment 
of his popularity with the squatters, as Fremont held the 
title to a large tract of land. But this had no influence 
in determining his action in respect to slavery, as it was 
a matter of inbred principle. It was, so far as is known, 
his first opportunity to publicly record his opposition to 
slavery. This he did, regardless of what effect it might 
have on his subsequent career. The opposition to Fremont 
favored the division of California, with the idea of extend- 
ing slavery over the southern half. The Democrats fa- 
vored Judge Hayden, of Alabama, and the Whigs T. Butler 
King, of Georgia, nominated in place of Fremont. Rob- 
inson with a few followers held the balance of power and 
defeated the election. At the next session the anti-slavery 
element had become sufficiently strong to elect Mr. Weller, 
of Ohio, which resulted in the final settlement of the ques- 
tion against the division of the State. 


On September 0th, 1851, Doctor Kobinson returned 
from California much improved in health. The variety 
of positions which he had held while away— physician, 
editor, restaurant-keeper, leader of the squatter rebellion, 
and member of the California Legislature— seemed t^ 
indicate that in the future he would have a wider sphere 
of activity than that of practicing medicine in a country 


After his return from California, his friends, among 
whom was Mr. Benjamin Snow, father of Chancellor Snow, 
so well known in Kansas as a lecturer, scientist, and head 
of the Kansas University, urged him to edit a paper. 
At Snow's urgent request, Kobinson took charge of the 
Fitchburg News, which he conducted with great vigor for 
a period of two years. On the other hand, his success as 
a practicing physician led other friends to urge him not 
to abandon his practice. The result was, that in an attempt 
to carry on both businesses he soon had an extended prac- 
tice and was editing a paper at the same time,— an inju- 
dicious thing for a man who had felt it necessary to go to 
California for his health. 

One of the chief results of Doctor Kobinson's life while 
at Fitchburg was his marriage to the educated daughter— 
the later gifted writer— of Myron Lawrence, Miss Sara 
T. D. Lawrence, on October 30, 1851. She proved a 
worthy companion for him, especially in the Kansas strug- 




gle, for her excellent judgment and ready pen did valiant 
service for the cause of freedom. Chief among her writ- 
ings is '^Kansas: its Interior and Exterior Life," a vivid 
and exact pen-picture of the early times, from 1854 to 
1856. No other work has been written which gives such 
a true representation of the beginnings of the struggle. By 
it one is reminded of the hardships that women as well as 
men were forced to endure in the new country, and how 
nobly they bore their part in the making of the State. 
Through all the troublous times of the early period of 
Kansas, although history says comparatively little about 
the heroines of the struggle, glimpses here and there are 
given of their real service, and a consideration of the real 
conditions of life makes the imagination picture more of 
what they must have endured of hardships and suffering 
in common with their husbands, fathers and brothers. 

It was at this juncture that the slavery agitation at- 
tracted considerable attention throughout the l^orth, and 
especially in 'New England. The Kansas-iSTebraska bill 
threw the Territory of Kansas open to settlement. The 
North and the South vied with each other in sending men 
into the new Territory, for occupation under the Kansas- 
Nebraska law. The Emigrant Aid Company was formed, 
and meetings were held at different places to agitate the 
question, collect money, and to enlist recruits for settle- 
ment in Kansas. 

One day, at one of the Chapman Hall meetings in Bos- 
ton, addressed by Eli Thayer, the speaker at the close of 
the meeting asked if anyone present would be willing to go 
to Kansas, whereupon Charles Bobinson walked up and 
signed his name to the paper. After the meeting, Mr, 


Thayer, who had noticed his quiet though self-reliant 
bearing, asked him if he was the Charles Eobinson who 
went to California. His reply being in the affirmative, Mr. 
Thayer asked him if he would be willing to go to Kansas 
to live. ''Yes," was the reply. ''Would your wife be 
willing to go ?" "I have no doubt of it," replied Kobinson. 
''Well, then," continued Thayer, "will you come down to 
Boston to-morrow and meet the directors of the Emigrant 
Aid Company?" The early morning train brought Doc- 
tor Robinson to Boston. The result of the conference was, 
that Doctor Robinson agreed to leave Boston on the 28th 
of June, to make his future home in Kansas. Hurried 
preparations were made to close out his practice and ar- 
range his business, that he might enter upon the new life. 
In connection with Charles H. Branscombe, of Holyoke, 
Massachusetts, and Samuel C. Pomeroy, of Southampton, 
he became agent for the Emigrant Aid Company. Dr. 
Robinson was the local agent of the company at Lawrence 
for two years, 1854-'56, while Branscombe's service ex- 
tended to 1858 and Pomeroy's to 1862. 

As agent of the Emigrant Aid Company, Doctor Robin- 
son now became identified with one of the greatest move- 
ments of his time. His work consisted of managing the 
interests of the company for the purpose of securing and 
perpetuating human freedom. Doctor Robinson was sent 
out June 28, 1854, with Mr. Charles Branscombe, to 
explore the Territory of Kansas and secure a site for 
a to^^m. While this exploration was going on, the first 
party of emigrants under the direction of the Emigrant 
Aid Company started from Massachusetts, arriving at their 
destination July 31, and proceeded to settle near the pres- 


ent site of Lawrence. In the meantime, Doctor Eobin- 
son had gone to St. Louis to meet and conduct the second 
party of emigrants, which left Boston the last of August. 
These two parties joined, and, uniting their plans, laid 
out the town of Lawrence. 

The Emigrant Aid Company was organized in l^ew 
England, first under the name of ^'The Massachusetts 
Emigrant Aid Company," a charter of which was ob- 
tained by Eli Thayer on April 26, 1854, before the 
passage of the Kansas-^N'ebraska bill. As the purpose of 
the latter was to allow the question of slavery to be settled 
by a vote of the people who resided in the Territory, Eli 
Thayer, among others, conceived the idea of peopling 
Kansas with emigrants who were in favor of making it 
a free State. On account of certain legal defects in the 
charter of the company, a new charter was obtained, in 
1855, under the title of ''The New England Aid Com- 
pany." While many other societies w^ere formed to aid 
emigration to Kansas, the New England company under 
the management and inspiration of Eli Thayer performed 
by far the greatest service of all. Thayer, by lecturing 
and agitating, aroused the people of the North to forward 
emigrants into the new Territory. The services of the 
company could not be estimated by the number it actually 
helped to Kansas, for there were many w^ho were aroused 
to go on their own account. But its practical service is 
recounted in the agency at Boston which collected and 
directed emigrants forward, and gave them cheap trans- 
portation to Kansas. It encouraged schools and churches, 
built hotels and saw-mills, and sought in many other ways 


to make it possible and easier for emigrants to enter and 
settle in Kansas. 

While tlie company was instrumental in sending many 
Free-State men to Kansas, they found other Free-State 
men there before them, and met a variety of interests with 
which they must contend. The company incurred the jeal- 
ousy of many disgruntled persons, and the especial hatred 
and enmity of the Pro-Slavery elements in Kansas and 
Missouri. As Lawrence was the base of operations of the 
Aid Company, it became not only the rallying-point of the 
Free-State men, but the storm-center of the opposing Pro- 
Slavery advocates. This brought Doctor Robinson, the 
local agent, at once into a prominent place in the affairs 
of the Territory, and made him an important character 
in the deliberations of the Free-State men. He occupied 
many trying positions that were sufficient to test his 
courage and character. In the spring of 1854, before the 
final passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Eli Thayer 
began to advocate his plan, and on the 26th of April of 
the same year the Aid Company was chartered. Before 
the close of the year five hundred emigrants were sent out 
by this company from I^ew England, and many more 
joined the several groups on their way West. It will never 
be known to what extent the company influenced emigra- 
tion to Kansas, although sufficient is known to show that 
the work was great. The organized effort to send settlers 
into the Territory was of vital importance in directing and 
aiding people specifically, but the agitation of Eli Thayer, 
its founder, had great influence in keeping a constant 
stream of emigrants flowing in from other States. Its real 

service will be told in another number of the Classics. 



Dr. Robinson had the entire confidence of Eli Thayer 
and Amos A. Lawrence, who were the most influential 
i^ersons in the management of the company. In the man- 
agement of the affairs of the company, he showed a wise 
conservatism. Mr. Eli Thayer pays Doctor Robinson this 
glowing tribute : 

"A wiser and more sagacious man for this work could 
not have been found within the borders of the nation. By 
nature and by training he was perfectly equipped for the 
arduous work before him. A true democrat and a lover of 
the rights of man, he had risked his life in California 
while defending the poor and weak against the oppression 
of the rich and powerful. He was willing at any time, if 
there were need, to die for his principles. In addition to 
such brave devotion to his duty, he had the clearest fore- 
sight and the coolest, calmest judgment in determining 
a course of action best adapted to secure the rights of the 
Free-State settlers. No one in Kansas was so much as he 
the man for the place and time. He was a deeper thinker 
than Atchison, and triumphed over the border ruffians and 
the mgre annoying and more dangerous of the self-seekers 
of his own party. The man who ^paints the lily and gilds 
refined gold' is just the one to tell us how Charles Robin- 
son might have been better qualified for his Kansas work ; 
but his character, so clearly defined in freedom's greatest 
struggle, superior to the help or harm of criticism, reveals 
these salient points of excellence: majesty of mind and 
humility of heart, stern justice and tender sympathy, 
heroic will and sensitive conscience, masculine strength 
and maidenly modesty, leonine courage and womanly gen- 
tleness, with power to govern based on self-restraint, and 
love of freedom deeper than love of life." 

No doubt it would have been wise from a financial stand- 



point had Dr. Kobinson's advice been taken, to purchase 
a large tract of land at the mouth of the Kaw, where Kan- 
sas City now stands, as it would have given a great in- 
come to the investments of the Emigrant Aid Company. 
It would have been a far better investment than the pur- 
chase of the stock in the Quindaro Town Company, a town 
which was organized as a matter of business investment 
and as a political scheme of evading the opposition of 
the Missourians. The final financial outcome of the Emi- 
grant Aid Company was disastrous, to those who invested 
in it with a hope of income. The organization had 
a far higher purpose. But notwithstanding all of 
its losses, the company might have been put on a paying 
basis had it been wise in selecting its investments at the 
mouth of the Kaw. 

It appears that, whether in the management of the Emi- 
grant Aid Company work, in the local political affairs of 
Lawrence, or in directing the affairs of the Territory, 
Dr. Robinson showed a rare genius. He knew when to be 
firm, cool, and calculating; he knew when to be bold, 
independent and vigorous in opposing his enemies. An- 
other high tribute to him, by Amos A. Lawrence, a strong 
supporter of the cause of freedom in Kansas, must not be 
passed by : 

*'He was cool, judicious, and entirely devoid of fear, 
and in every respect worthy of the confidence imposed in 
him by the settlers and the society. He was obliged to 
submit to great hardships and injustice, chiefly through 
the imbecility of the United States Government's agent. 
He was imprisoned, his house was burned, and his life 
was often threatened. Yet he never bore arms, or omitted 


to do whatever lie thought to be his duty. He sternly held 
the people to loyalty to the government, against the argu- 
ments and examples of the ^higher-law' men, who were 
always armed and were not real settlers, and who were 
combined in bringing about the border war, which they 
hoped would extend to the other States. The policy of the 
Xew England society, carried out by Robinson and those 
who acted with him in Kansas, was finally successful 
and triumphant." 

Such is the testimony of one of the men who, as 
president of the Emigrant Aid Company, and by private 
service, did much to advance the cause of freedom in Kan- 
sas. If this was the character of one of the foremost lead- 
ers of the Free-State cause, what shall be said of those who 
followed and supported him? The great majority of the 
members of the Free-State party were men of purpose and 
courage, who would hesitate to do an atrocious act but 
would not hesitate to engage in war for the defense of their 
homes and their political riglits. It is true, some were 
reckless and even lawless marauders, whose influence was 
not best for the cause of freedom and justice; but they 
were in a small minority. The majority Avere frugal, 
earnest people, thinking of subduing the soil, building and 
defending homes, and voting for freedom. They were 
pioneers in a new country, who were to lay the foundation 
of a new commonwealth and build their structure upon it. 
The character of these people was of the JSTew England 
quality. While they were anxious to plant the institutions 
of ISTew England in the new soil of the West, they were 
not wanting in that thrift which ever characterizes the 
New-Englander. Truly, they sought to establish civil and 



relio'ious liberty in Kansas, and at the same time to gam 
possession of the promised hand. The process was to es- 
tablish homes and develop resources of the country, that 
free institutions might flourish. While united for their 
own welfare, they sought the freedom of others. 

Col. S. N. Wood, in an address before the quarter-cen- 
tennial celebration of the settlement of the State, at To- 
peka, said: ^'The pioneers who became intrusted leaders 
amono- the Free-State hosts were men who could not rest 
in their old homes when the demon of slavery was clutch- 
ing at freedom's rightful heritage. Many of them were 
the sons of the old freemen who had learned to love free- 
dom and claim it as the right of all nations." In this 
struggle strong leaders were needed, who could counsel 
the people through the difficulties of the settlement of the 
soil and the rearrangement of social and political affairs. 
Strong leaders were needed to battle for the right; to carry 
the people through the great constitutional struggle— the 
greatest since the creation and establishment of the Fed- 
eral Constitution of the United States. 

The Kansas-Nebraska bill left the Territory of Kansas 
open to settlement, with the exception of certain Indian^ 
reservations. Immediately people came from all parts ot 
the United States to take up the free lands by simply 
settling on tracts staked out, and expecting to prove up 
claims thereafter and receive a title to the land. In some 
instances a stake with a sign on it stating that '"A— B— 
has taken 160 acres of land from the center of this stake, 
was used. In others a house was begun, which frequently 
was nothing more than several logs crossed or part of a 
foundation made. In some instances the land claimed 


was staked out and substantial cabins begun. In the 
scramble for lands mucli confusion arose as to rights, and 
many fierce contentions ensued. The whole trouble was 
greatly increased by the large number of Missourians who 
very early rushed across the border and staked claims on 
much of the best land, returning again to their homes. 
The contentions existed between Free-State as well as Pro- 
Slavery men, but more frequently they occurred between 
the Pro-Slavery and Free-State men. 

The first incident of the kind on record at Lawrence 
brought Dr. Robinson into prominence as a defender of 
rights. It appears that the Emigrant Aid Company had 
selected the town-site of Lawrence, on which was located 
a claim of one Stevens. The company gave him $500 for 
his claim, which the company supposed gave them a clear 
title to the whole site. Subsequently other claimants put 
in an appearance ; of particular note among them was one 
John Baldwin, who settled a few yards from the Stevens 
cabin on the Lawrence town-site. Dr. Robinson did not 
wish to have trouble, and desired to have the question re- 
ferred to the land office or the courts for settlement. This, 
Baldwin refused to do, but proceeded to associate with him 
men of influence and power, who placed their interests in 
the hands of one Starr, the latter proceeding to lay out 
a town-site, called Excelsior, part of which covered the 
town-site of Lawrence. The tent of the Lawrence associa- 
tion and that of .Baldwin were not far apart on the same 
claim, the one which the company had paid $500 for. 
Soon afterward, on the 5th of October, so says the chron- 
icler, suddenly appeared a wagon with armed men who 
proceeded to take up the tent and place it in the wagon. 


But the Lawrence people, headed bj the city marshal, 
forced them to desist and to replace the tent. Soon after 
dinner on the following day, armed Missourians, friends 
of Baldwin, began to assemble, the number finally being 
swelled to eighteen. Likewise the friends of Robinson 
began to assemble, in numbers amounting to thirty, to 
defend their rights and their property. Finally, a mes- 
senger was sent to the Lawrence forces, bearing the follow- 
ing ultimatum: 

"Kansas Territory, October 6th. 
"Dr. Eobinson : — Yourself and friends are hereby noti- 
fied that you will have one-half hour to move the tent 
which you have on my undisputed claim, and from this 
date desist from surveying on said claim. If the tent is 
not moved in one-half hour, we shall take the trouble to 
move the same. 

(Signed) John Baldwin and Friends." 

To this the following reply was immediately made; 

"To John Baldwin and Friends : — If you molest our 
property you do it at your peril. 

C. Robinson and Friends.'' 

After this notice had been sent, a consultation was held 
between Doctor Robinson and a delegate from the enemy's 
post, at which a compromise was attempted by Doctor Rob- 
inson. He proposed to leave the case to the settlement of 
disinterested, unbiased men, or to the settlement • of the 
squatter courts then existing, or even to the United States 
courts; but the delegate from the Baldwin party insisted 
that at the end of the half-hour they would attempt to 
remove the tent, and if they failed, 3,000 Missourians, or 
if necessary 30,000, would be raised in Missouri to sweep 



the settlers from the earth. But the half-hour passed and 
no demonstration Avas made. While the suspension of 
hostilities lasted, John Hutchinson asked Doctor Robinson 
what he would do : ^'Would he fire to hit them, or would 
he fire over them?" Doctor Robinson promptly replied 
that he would be ashamed to fire at a man and not hit him. 

This little incident showed clearly the temper of the 
Free-State men and the courage, coolness and conviction of 
their leader. The struggle over the land question contin- 
ued, chiefly between the Lawrence association on the one 
side and the other settlers on the other. Finally a meet- 
ing was called to discuss the question, and Doctor Robin- 
son, after hearing both sides, made a short speech, review- 
ing the charges made against him. He counseled the peo- 
ple to beware of quarrels among themselves, and impressed 
upon them the necessity of union, that they, with voice 
and hand, might defend the country from the curse of 
human bondage and the chains of slavery. 

When the first election was held, and dominated by 
Missourians who came across the border and cast a major- 
ity vote for slavery. Doctor Robinson was among the first 
to counsel the people to entirely ignore the election as 
illegal and one which they were not bound to follow. 
Doctor Robinson was prominent at the various conventions 
that were held at Lawrence and elsewhere for the crystal- 
lization of sentiment in favor of the foundation of a re- 
public. He was ever prominent in the councils of the 
people, holding now to a wise conservatism, and again 
bold in the denunciation of the course of the people of 
Missouri or the national government which was not in 
sympathy with the Free-State settlers of Kansas. 



One of the most important events of the early history 
of Kansas was the election of the first Territorial Legisla- 
ture, for it determined the 'course of events in the Terri- 
torv. Soon after Governor Eeeder came to Kansas he 
ordered a census of the Territory, divided it into districts, 
and called an election for March 30, 1855. It was quit? 
important that the Pro-Slavery party should elect this 
Legislature if it ever expected to control the affairs of the 
Territory, for by so doing laws could be made and a con- 
stitution adopted favoring the institution of slavery. In 
order to be sure of winning the election, the people of the 
border counties of Missouri prepared to go to Kansas in 
armed bands, enter a sufficient number of election pre- 
cincts and vote frequently enough to outnumber the Free- 
State voters. Inflammatory speeches were made by lead- 
ers in Missouri, until the people were worked up to a high 
pitch of excitement. On they came, — on foot, in wagons, 
and on horseback, thronging the highways, armed with 
guns, pistols and whisky, ready and anxious to carry out 
their plans. 

According to the census there were 2,905 legal voters 
in the Territory, but there were polled 0,307 at this elec- 
tion ; the Missourians electing every member of the upper 
house but one, Martin F. Conway."^" If the Free-Stat? 
men who had come from the Eastern States had hitherto 
failed to understand the nature of the foe with which they 
must contend during the next few years, there could be 
no mistake about it now. Possibly they formerly thought 

♦Conway did not receive a majority of the votes oast, but one fraudulent precinct 
was thrown out : this gave Conway the majority. The only election to the House of 
Bepresentattves conceded was that of S. D. Houston, who reslpiied his seat. John 
Hutchinson was elected at the new election called by the Governor to correct frauds, 
but he was not allowed to take his seat. 


to contend fairly on the soil of Kansas according to the 
terms of the Kansas-Nebraska bill for the sovereignty of 
the State. ISTow at least they were aware that their worst 
enemies were to dwell across the border in another State, 
to direct the campaign for slavery and against freedom. 

Indignation was universal among the Free-State men, 
and consternation at the audacity of their enemies in their 
entire disregard of law was quite general. There ap- 
peared to be about one way to meet such fraud, and that 
by repudiation of the fraudulent election. It is rightly 
claimed that Dr. Robinson first suggested the plan of re- 
pudiation, but it was a thought so common in many 
minds that it became almost a unanimous expression of the 
popular mind of the Free-State men. By the suggestion 
of Dr. Robinson, George W. Deitzler and Kersey Coates, 
Martin F. Conway, the sole Free-State member of the 
upper house, sent a letter to Governor Reeder, resigning 
his seat in the Legislature. Referring to the Legislature, 
he said: "I utterly repudiate it as derogatory to the re- 
spectability of popular government and insulting to the 
virtue and intelligence of the age." 

ITow began a series of conventions for discussions, and 
resolutions against the "bogus" Legislature and in favor 
of independent action. Between June 8th and August 
15th, 1855, there were no less than seven conventions in 
the city of Lawrence, this being the center of the Free- 
State movement. The first, held June 8th, passed strong 
resolutions against the election frauds and declared in 
favor of freedom. Dr. Robinson was present at this meet- 
ing, and, along with others, made a strong address in 
favor of repudiation of the government about to be thrust 


upon them by the fraudulent elections. At the Free-State 
meeting in Lawrence held July 11th, Dr. Robinson recom- 
mended the choosing of delegates to form a State constitu- 
tion. From the very beginning he took the ground that 
the people of Kansas were not obliged to submit to a gov- 
ernment originating in fraud, but held strictly to the wise 
course of not coming in open conflict with the United 
States authorities. 

More potent than all of the Lawrence conventions in 
crystallizing public opinion on the subject of repudiation, 
was the first Fourth of July celebration in Lawrence, held 
in 1855. The ^^bogus" Legislature had not yet begun its 
nefarious work of creating a body of laws inimical to free- 
dom and insulting to the opinions of a body of freemen. 
But the opportunity was about to be given, and there 
was a feeling that a legislature chosen by open fraud and 
boasted usurpation would not fail to enact laws obnoxious 
to the Free-State people and in opposition to their cause. 
Mrs. Eobinson says in regard to this celebration: 

"Preparations are being made by our people to celebrate 
the coming Fourth of July. At this time, when freedom 
is but a name; when three millions of human beings, 
created in the divine image, are sold as chattels, m a coun- 
try boasting of liberty ; when the two hundred thousand 
slaveholders are using every endeavor to enslave the 
twenty-five millions of our countrymen, and we m llansas 
already feel the iron heel of the oppressor, making us truly 
white slaves,— we will celebrate it by a new Declaration 
of Independence, and in the God of our fathers trust that 
He will lead us safely through the Red Sea of evil until 
we plant our feet securely on Freedom's bulwarks, having 
passed from this worse than Egyptian bondage." 


It was estimated tliat from fifteen hundred to two thou- 
sand people assembled to celebrate, pledging themselves 
anew to freedom. What a striking spectacle was the long 
procession to the grove, of these people with conveyances 
of all kinds or on foot escorted by the militia! People 
in Eastern and Western dress, Delaware and Shawnee In- 
dians in picturesque garb, a heterogeneous people of many 
political views, hear the reading of the I)eclaration and 
the oration, and witness the unfurling of the stars and 
stripes and the presentation of the flag to the militia com- 

The oration delivered by Dr. Robinson was important 
in arousing to patriotism and declaring the position of the 
Free-State men. It was up to this time the most impor- 
tant document setting forth the Free-State cause, and none 
came after with greater influence in crystallizing public 
opinion or shaping the course of events. It prepared the 
people for the reception of the ''bogus'' laws, soon to follow. 
In this he carefully reviews the condition of slavery and 
the condition of the country in general, and at the close 
gives an impassioned plea to the people to throw off the 
shackles of the Pro-Slavery party and stand forth for 
freedom. Says he: 

''What are we? Subjects, slaves of Missouri. We 
come to the celebration of this anniversary with our chains 
clanking upon our limbs. We lift to heaven our mana- 
cled arms in supplication. Proscribed, denounced, wo 
cannot so much as speak the name of liberty, except with 
prison-walls and halters looking us in the face. We must 
not only see black slavery, a blight and curse to any people, 
planted in our midst, and against our wishes, but we must 
become slaves ourselves." 


In closing he said : 

^Tellow-citizens, in conclusion, it is for us to choose 
for ourselves and for those who shall come after us, what 
institutions shall bless or curse our beautiful Kansas. 
Shall we have freedom for all our people, and consequently 
prosperity, or slavery for a part, and the mildew insepa- 
rable from it? Choose ye this day which ye will serve, 
slavery or freedom, and then be true to your choice. If 
slavery is best for Kansas, then choose it; but if liheriy, 
then choose that. 

^^Let every man stand in his place, and acquit himself 
like a man who knows his rights, and knowing, dares main- 
tain them. Let us repudiate all laws enacted by foreign 
legislative bodies, or dictated by Judge Lynch over the 
w^ay. Tyrants are tyrants and tyranny is tyranny, whether 
under the garb of law or in opposition to it. So thought 
and so acted our ancestors, and so let us think and act. 
AVe are not alone in this contest. The entire nation is 
agitated upon the question of our rights ; the spirit of '76 
is breathing upon some, the handwriting upon the wall is 
being deciphered by others, while the remainder the gods 
are evidently preparing to destroy. 

^^Everv pulsation in Kansas vibrates to the remotest 
artery of a body politic; and I seem to hear the millions 
of freemen and the millions of bondmen in our land, the 
millions of oppressed in bther lands, the patriots and phi- 
lanthropists of all countries, the spirits of the Revolution- 
ary heroes and the voice of God, all saying to the people 
of Kansas, ^Do your duty !' '' 


Lawrence was the center of the Free-State movement, 
and as such its inhabitants had incurred the special en- 
mity of the Pro-Slavery party and of the Missourians in 
general. An incident occurred which came very near to 
bringing disaster to the little town. On the 21st of Octo- 
ber, Charles Dow, a young Free-State man, was killed 
by a Pro-Slavery man named Coleman, as the result of 
a dispute over a claim. The death was without doubt 
a premeditated murder. Mr. Branson, a friend of Dow, 
had said some very pointed things in regard to the matter, 
which Coleman and his friends had construed into a threat, 
and had invoked the authority of Sheriff Jones, a Pro- 
Slavery Missourian who had been appointed sheriff of 
Douglas county. Jones with a posse went one night with 
a warrant to arrest Branson. Free-State men, finding 
out what was going on, collected under the leadership of 
S. N. Wood and Major Abbott to go to the rescue of 
Branson. They met Sheriff Jones and his posse with 
Branson, and demanded the prisoner. He was given up, 
and the rescuing party started for Lawrence. 'Not know- 
ing what to do, they went to the house of Dr. Eobinson 
early in the morning, for advice. Dr. Robinson coun- 
seled that the deed should not be credited to Lawrence, as 
the Missourians were only waiting for an opportunity to 
destroy the town. Meetings were held, at which a com- 
mittee of safety was appointed, of which Dr. Robinson 



was chairman; and resolutions were passed stating that 
Lawrence was not responsible for the rescue, and that the 
citizens of Kansas should pledge themselves ^'to the resist- 
ance of lawlessness and outrage at all times, when required 
bj the officers who may from time to time be chosen to 
superintend the movements of the organization." ^ 

Sheriff Jones after the rescue went to Franklin, and 
sent a dispatch to Colonel Boone, of Westport, Missouri, 
calling upon the Missourians to assist in enforcing the 
law. Subsequently he sent word to Governor Shannon, 
who issued a proclamation, stating that the people of Law- 
rence were in a state of rebellion, and ordering Major- 
General William P. Eichardson, to whom the communi- 
cation was addressed, to collect as large a force as he could 
and come to Lecompton, to report to Sheriff Jones. Great 
excitement prevailed over the border in Missouri, and the 
forces began to gather to swell the Kansas militia. Soon 
a large force appeared on the Wakarusa, threatening Law- 
rence. Meanwhile, the citizens of Lawrence began to for- 
tify the town and to drill companies for defense. Other 
Free-State men were gathering from distant towns for 
the defense of Lawrence. The Sharps' rifles that had 
been sent from ITew England, not by the Emigrant Aid 
Company but by the private acts of some of its members, 
were ready to do valiant service. Governor Shannbn had 
apparently misunderstood the whole question, and was 
getting constantly farther from the truth by listening 
to the instruction of Sheriff Jones and other Pro-Slavery 
sympathizers. It is one of the mysteries of this whole 
affair that Governor Shannon did not take some sensible 
way of finding out the truth before he called on the militia, 


the regular army, and the President of the United States 
for the support of a sheriff in serving writs on a few people 
in a small town. He certainly showed a weakness as Gover- 
nor which amounted to incompetency. His generous call- 
ing and urging finally hrought what he little expected, — a 
band of Missourians who were anxious to get a chance to 
destroy the town. Finally, a committee was sent to Le- 
compton to inform the Governor, who was induced to go 
to Lawrence to inquire into the real state of affairs. When 
once on the field he realized, apparently for the first time, 
the real status of the case, and went to work with a will 
to try to straighten up matters. This he succeeded in 
doing, the real battle never being fought. 

In the Wakarusa War Dr. Robinson was placed in 
charge of affairs as commander-in-chief, and by adroit 
management he succeeded in obtaining a bloodless victory 
for the Free-State people. In this successful management 
he was aided by the intrepid Lane. Dr. Robinson took 
the 2:)osition that the people of Lawrence had a right to 
defend themselves and their property against the illegal 
Territorial Government, which was in collusion with the 
Missourians, but he held strictly to the principle that it 
was not only improper but bad policy to defy the United 
States authorities. He knew that as soon as this was done 
the cause of the Free-State men was lost. He was ever 
ready to recognize a legally constituted government like 
that of the United States, but would not recognize a gov- 
ernment established by usurpation of the rights of Ameri- 
can citizens. In the preparation to defend themselves 
against the armed Missourians, who threatened the de- 
struotion of Lawrence, he was wise in counsel, bold in de- 


fense, and just to all his fellow-laborers. When the Free- 
State men were finally recognized by the Governor of 
Kansas as having some rights, Governor Shannon placed 
Charles Eobinson and J. H. Lane in authority, by the fol- 
lowing note, delivered after the close of the Wakarusa 

^'To Charles Eobinson and J. H. Lane: You are 
hereby authorized and directed to take such measures and 
use the enrolled force under your command in such a 
manner for the preservation of peace and protection of the 
persons and property of the people of Lawrence and vicin- 
ity as in your judgment shall best secure that end. 

"Lawrence, Dec. 9, 1855. Wilson Shannon." 

Charles Eobinson knew how to be just to his fellow- 
workers and co-laborers. At the close of the Wakarusa 
War he addressed the volunteer companies, reviewing the 
cause of the war and its consequences. He said in part: 

''Selected as your commander, it becomes my cheerful 
duty to tender to you, fellow-soldiers, the meed of praise 
so justly your due. Never did true men unite in a holier 
cause, and never did true bravery appear more conspicuous 
than in the ranks of our little army. Death before dis- 
honor was visible in every countenance and felt by every 
heart. Bloodless though the contest has been, there are 
not wanting instances of heroism worthy of a more chival- 
ric age. 

''To the experience, skill and perseverance of gallant 
General Lane all credit is due for the thorough discipline 
of our forces and the complete and extensive preparations 
for defense. His services cannot be overrated, and long 
may he live to w^ear the laurels so bravely won. Others 
are worthy of special praise for distinguished services, and 


all, both officers and privates, are entitled to the deepest 
gratitude of the people/' 

General Lane made an address, and in it paid a high 
tribute to his superior officer. Among other things he 
said: 'Trom Major-General Robinson I received that 
counsel and advice which characterized him as a clear- 
headed, cool and trustworthy commander, who is entitled 
to your confidence and esteem." Doubtless it was to this 
"advice" and "clear-headedness" that we may attribute 
the almost bloodless victory of the Wakarusa War. The 
communication of the citizens to Governor Shannon, the 
brave men who carried the message to him; the women 
who went through the lines after powder; the sacrifices 
of the business men, and the general help in the prepara- 
tion for the defense, made it possible to achieve victory. 
Without compromise and settlement, the people of Law- 
rence would have put up a strong defense of the town, but 
the outcome would have been doubtful on account of 
the strong force opposing them. It is a pity that men like 
Lane and Robinson, who could work together and pay each 
other such warm compliments at the close of the war^ 
should have become estranged in the Kansas struggle for 
freedom. With a union of the cool counsel of Dr. Robin- 
son and the impetuosity of Lane, the struggle would have 
been made easier and the history of it more rational and 
just to the rank and file of those who supported it. Unfor- 
tunately, these two men became rivals and enemies in the 
latter days of the Free-State movement and during the 
Civil War. To those who were not in the strife it is diffi- 
cult to harmonize the personal element that prevailed, so 


incompatible with the cause the pioneers represented — 
a personal element that has grown stronger through the 
controversy of passing years. Time alone can soften it, 
but the effects of a selfish personality are written deep 
into the annals of the past. 

The warlike spirit of Lane was extremely useful in 
the inspiration it gave the people to defense, and without 
doubt it would have been highly serviceable in urging 
them on to war, but his turbulent spirit was not calculated 
to take and hold the advantages of peace. John Brown 
came upon the scene of defense and wanted to wage imme- 
diate war, and was disappointed because he could not. 
His attitude here, of trying to involve the nation in war 
against slavery, was substantiated by his subsequent career. 
He wished to have a shot at slavery, and said that "With- 
out the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." 
While he was of no service to the people of Lawrence at 
this time, — nor in fact at any other, — and was disap- 
pointed that the peace was established without a fight, he 
and his sons would have proved of immense benefit to 
Lawrence had there been a bloody struggle. Certainly he 
would have fought to the last. 

The compromise of Eobinson and Lane with the officers 
of the Pro-Slavery Missourians, which was brought about 
by the efforts of Governor Shannon, forms a most inter- 
esting document. When Governor Shannon, Col. Boone, 
Dr. Eobinson and J. H. Lane went into the hall to con- 
sider the terms of compromise, the Governor asked that 
the arms be delivered up, referring to the Sharps' rifles 
that had been in use by the Lawrence and other companies. 
This was promptly refused. Finally, when the generals, 


Robinson and Lane, went to meet the invaders at the re- 
quest of Governor Shannon, thej met the thirteen officers 
of the enemy in a small room at Franklin. Governor 
Shannon made a plain statement of the real conditions at 
Lawrence, saying that a misunderstanding had arisen; 
that the people of Lawrence were law-abiding citizens, 
and that they had not violated the laws and would not re- 
sist any legally appointed officer in the performance of liis 
duty. General Lane made an address in his impulsive, 
impetuous style, which very nearly broke up the meeting. 
When they were about to abandon the conference, Gover- 
nor Shannon asked them to wait and hear Gen. Robinson, 
whereupon the latter arose, and in a calm and clear way 
stated the facts of the case in such a fair and just manner 
that the compromise was finally effected. 

While the people of Lawrence disclaimed any part in 
th,e rescue of Branson, and while they promised to keep 
order, aid officers in serving warrants, and help the Gov- 
ernor in securing a posse for the same, they insisted on 
every person so arrested while a foreign force was in the 
Territory, being "duly examined before a LTnited States 
district judge of said Territory in said town, and admitted 
to bail.'' Also, the terms of agreement insist that Gov- 
ernor Shannon shall use his influence to secure to the 
citizens of the Territory remuneration "for any damages 
sustained, or unlawful depredations, if any had been com- 
mitted in Douglas county." On the other hand, Governor 
Shannon stated that he had not called in "residents of 
other States to aid in the execution of the laws," nor wotild 
he call such citizens, when in the Territory of their choice, 
to aid in the exercise of any legal power. At the close 


is this significant sentence: ^^That we wish it understood 
that we do not herein express any opinion as to the validity 
of the enactments of the Territorial Legislature." This 
was signed by Wilson Shannon, C. Robinson, and J. H. 
Lane. What a peculiar situation is it when the Governor 
of the Territory enters into an agreement with the repre- 
sentatives of a town that he w^ll not break the laws of 
the land, and the representatives of the people also agree 
to abide by the laws, excepting the "enactments of the 
Territorial Legislature." This agreement, together with 
the one above signed by GoA^ernor Shannon, gave much 
power to the people of Lawrence. But the disappointed 
Missourians and Sheriff Jones withdrew to await other 
opportunities to destroy the town. 

The saddest event of the Wakarusa War was the death 
of Barber, who had left his home to come to aid in the 
defense of Lawrence. He started, wholly unarmed, to re- 
turn home one night, saying that he would return to Law- 
rence in the morning. Soon after he left the main road, 
he and his two companions were met by two horsemen, 
who rode from the ranks of twelve who were traveling on 


the California road. Barber was ordered to go with the 
men ; he replied that he was unarmed, that he had been 
to Lawrence, and was returning home. Whereupon he put 
spurs to his horse and rode on. But George W. Clarke 
of the attacking party sent the bullet that killed poor 
Barber. This wanton murder aroused the Free-State men, 
and created much sentiment in favor of the Free-State 
party. It was made the subject of a poem by Whittier, 
which was read far and wide. The funeral was a solemn 
occasion. The whole community assembled out of grief 


or patriotism or sympathy. One who was present said: 
^'The love we had always borne to freedom is tenfold in- 
creased, while the hatred of oppression is intensified and 
strengthened. A new consecration of our energies, in this 
nnequal fight for freedom, is made over the new-made 
grave." After the minister had finished the more than 
ordinary ceremonies, short speeches were made by Lane 
and Robinson. The address of the latter, though brief, 
was full of pathos and stirring in its appeals to manhood 
and patriotism. Perhaps of the great variety of addresses 
and writings of Robinson, the oration at the funeral of 
Barber is the gem of all. 

While the troubles of Lawrence had to a large extent 
been occupying the attention of the Free-State men, an- 
other very important movement never lost any of its 
momentum. This was the work of organizing a Free- 
State party, framing a constitution and electing officers. 
The conventions and assemblies held in and about Law- 
rence had a tendency to crystallize public opinion in oppo- 
sition to the Legislature and the so-called ^'bogus" laws. 
The Legislature elected by a majority of Missourians who 
had invaded the Territory, believing it to be their oppor- 
tunity to settle forever the slavery question in Kansas, 
went to work, in violation of the spirit of the Kansas- 
N'ebraska Bill and the Organic Act, and framed a set of 
odious laws, which if executed would not only establish 
slavery, but drive every Free-State man from the Terri- 
tory. The laws were arbitrary in the appointment of 
county officials for the control of elections; for the en-. 
ticing of slaves away from the Territory and the creation 
of disaffection among slaves in the Territory, they attached 



the penalty of death or imprisonment for from two to five 
years, according to the offense specified in the said hiws. 
These laws they attempted to enforce, and each successive 
Governor appointed by the Federal Government pledged 
' himself to their support. 

Following an appointment made on June 8th, a meeting 
was held June 25th, 1855, at Lawrence, and passed reso- 
lutions for self-government, urging good citizens "to throw 
away all minor issues and make the freedom of Kansas 
the only issue." On the 27th of June, J. S. Emery and 
James H. Lane and others held a meeting for the purpose 
of organizing a national Democratic party in Kansas. 
This meeting received but little support from the citizens 
of Kansas, and the scheme had to be abandoned. On Au- 
gust 14th, 1855, another convention was held at Lawrence. 
It is called "the first convention in Lawrence of Free-State 
men made up from the various political parties." Philip 
C. Schuyler presided at this meeting, at which Charles 
Robinson was chairman of the committee on resolutions. 
It is supposed that Dr. Robinson wrote the resolutions, 
which are as follows: 

^^ Whereas, The people of Kansas have been since its 
development, and now are without any law-making power, 

"5e it resolved, That we, the people of Kansas Terri- 
tory, in mass meeting assembled, irrespective of party 
distinctions, influenced by common necessity, greatly desir- 
ous of promoting the common good, do hereby call upon 
and request all hona fide citizens of Kansas Territory, 
of whatever political views and predilections, to consult to- 
gether in their respective election districts, in mass con: 
ventions or otherwise, elect three delegates for each Rep.- 


resentative to which such election district is entitled in 
the House of Representatives of the Legislative Assembly, 
by proclamation of Governor Reeder of date of 19th of 
March, 1855. Said delegates to assemble in convention at 
the town of Topeka on the 19th day of September, 1855, 
and then and there to consider and determine upon subjects 
of public interest, and particularly upon that having ref- 
erence to a speedy formation of a State constitution, with 
an intention of immediate application to be admitted as 
a State into the Union of the United States of America.'' 

Other resolutions were adopted, and a Free- State con- 
vention was called to meet at Big Springs, in Douglas 
county, September 5th. The convention also appointed 
a Free-State executive committee, with Charles Robinson 
as chairman and J. K. Goodin secretary, for the purpose 
of looking after the general interests of the Free-State 
party in the Territory. This convention marks the formal 
beginning of the Free-State party, which led to the Topeka 
Constitution and the Topeka Government. It appears 
that the Big Springs convention, which was to intervene 
between the Lawrence convention and the constitutional 
convention at Topeka, was called for the purpose of organ- 
izing the Free-State party. Many resolutions were made ; 
one introduced by James H. Lane and known as the Big 
Springs Platform, and another introduced by James S. 
Emery, which had been written by ex-Governor Reeder, 
arraigned the Territorial government in severe terms. The 
platform appealed to all people of all parties in the Terri- 
tory to organize against the Pro-Slavery government which 
was about to be forced upon them through the assistance 
of the citizens of Missouri. The platform was very broad 
in many ways, but the fact that it excluded "all negroes, 


bond or free, from the Territory," repudiated the charge 
of abolitionism as applied to the Free-State party. It was 
a vigorous document, but not without its inconsistencies; 
for while it proclaimed freedom and opposed slave labor, 
it was unwilling that any free negroes should find a home 
in the Territory. But notwithstanding this inconsistency, 
the platform represented a working basis for the Free- 
State men, and probably by its loose construction brought 
a larger number of people together in support of the Free- 
State organization. 

The vigorous repudiation of the bogus laws and Leg- 
islature, written by ex-Governor Reeder, represented the 
grounds of action for the organization of a Free-State 
party, and the creation of a constitution under which the 
Territory could be admitted into the Union as a State. 
The people's convention, held at Lawrence on the 14th 
of August, calling for a delegate convention to meet at 
Topeka on the 19th of September for the purpose of con- 
sidering the propriety of the formation of a State consti- 
tution, was indorsed. Another important feature of this 
convention was the nomination of A. H. Iteeder to repre- 
sent the Territory in Congress, and the fixing of the elec- 
tion day on the second Tuesday in October. 

It will be observed that Dr. Robinson was not present at 
this convention, nor was he a member of the convention 
that met at Topeka on the 19th of September. This was 
essentially the same body that met at Big Springs, and 
the same principles of organization were advocated. On 
October 9th, 1855, delegates to the Topeka Constitutional 
Convention were elected, and among the candidates from 
the first district was Dr. Robinson. 


The convention met on October 23d, and proceeded to 
make a constitution. A long discussion on the question 
of excluding negroes from full rights of citizenship re- 
sulted in a vote of twenty-five in favor of it and seventeen 
against, among the latter group being Robinson, true to 
his principles. Here again we find the inconsistency in 
the Free-State party in declaring that "all men are by 
nature free and independent," and then proceeding to 
state that "every white male citizen and every civilized 
male Indian,'' etc., shall be entitled to vote. This state- 
ment not only found its way into the Topeka Constitution, 
but subsequently into the Wyandotte Constitution, which 
became the law of the land, and remains so to this day. A 
proposition was introduced, to be voted upon at the same 
time the Topeka Constitution was submitted to the people, 
excluding negroes from the Territory. When the consti- 
tution was adopted, this was carried. It seems, then, that 
the people were only partially committed to the question 
of freedom of all people, white and black. 

On January 12th, 1856, a Free-State meeting at Law- 
rence was addressed by Governor Robinson and others. 
James H. Lane, as chairman of the committee on resolu- 
tions, reported in favor of "a Free-State government in 
Kansas without delay, emanating from the people and 
responsible to them." Three days later the election of 
officers under the Topeka Free-State Constitution took 
place, which resulted in giving Charles Robinson a vote 
of 1,296 for Governor as against 410 votes for W. Y. 

On March 4th, 1856, the first meeting of the Topeka 
Legislature occurred, and the Governor, Charles Robinson, 


presented an able message to the Legislature, which is now 
considered an important historical document. After ap- 
pointing commissioners to prepare a code of laws, elect- 
ing James H. Lane and Andrew H. Eeeder United States 
Senators, and preparing a memorial to Congress asking 
admission into the Union, the Legislature adjourned on 
March 8th, to reassemble July 4th. Thus was inaugurated 
the Free-State movement, with Governor Eobinson at its 

An important event occurred when on the 18th of April 
the Congressional committee, composed of Mr. W. A. 
Howard, John Sherman, and M. Oliver, appointed for 
the purpose of investigating the troubles in Kansas,— 
and especially the elections,— arrived in the Territory. 
The majority of the committee reported that the elec- 
tions in the Territory were fraudulent. About this time, 
Sheriff Jones of Wakarusa fame appeared in Lawrence to 
arrest S. 'N. Wood as the leader of the Branson rescuing 
party. It appears that through Dr. Kobinson's advice, 
Wood, Abbott and Tappan left Lawrence for the time. 
Jones failed to arrest anybody this time, but returned 
again later, when someone shot him while he was in his 
tent. This aroused the frontier again, and a letter from 
Col. E. V. Sumner to Charles Kobinson, pointing out the 
necessity of obedience to the laws, met a ready response 
from the latter, who declared that it was the "policy of the 
people of Lawrence to yield prompt obedience to the officers 
of the Federal Government," and averring that the peo- 
ple of Lawrence would not defend any such act as the 
attempt upon Sheriff Jones's life. 

In the second week of May, when the district court was 


assembled, Chief-Justice Lecompte made his charge to 
the grand jury so plain that the jury carried out the plan 
of indicting the chief leaders of the Free-State party. A 
member of the grand jury, James F. Legate, met Robin- 
son, Reeder, Sherman and Howard, at Tecumseh, and in- 
formed them of the plan of indictment for treason. The 
night following this information a council of war was held 
at the Garvey House, Topeka, at which Messrs. Howard, 
Sherman, Reeder, Roberts arid Robinson, and Mrs. Sher- 
man and Mrs. Robinson, were present. The whole situa- 
tion was fully discussed, and it was decided, among 
other things, that the Free-State men should act in defense 
of the State organization rather than in attacking the Terri- 
torial Government. It was also decided that some agent 
should be sent East to arouse the Governors of the North- 
ern States and the various Kansas sympathizers of the 
North. Dr. Robinson was chosen for this important ser- 
vice. Therefore, on the 9th day of May he started with 
Mrs. Robinson on his way East. He made the journey 
safely as far as Lexington, Mo., where Pro-Slavery men, 
who had been informed of his intended visit, came aboard 
the boat and arrested him under the pretense that he was 
fleeing from justice. No indictment could be found 
against Robinson, but he was detained a week until an 
indictment could be had for the '^isurpation" of office on 
account of having been elected Governor under the ^^con- 
stitution.'' The requisition of Governor Shannon on the 
Governor of Missouri having been obtained, Robinson 
started back to Kansas under guard. He was taken to 
Westport Landing and then to Leavenworth, where an 
attempt to take his life was thwarted. He, with others 


who were indicted at the same time, — G. W. Smith, George 
W. Deitzler, George W. Brown and Gains Jenkins, — were 
confined in the prison-camp near Lecompton for about 
four months. Kobinson bore his confinement with uncom- 
plaining fortitude, believing that justice would finally 
prevail and that all would be acquitted and released. 
What would have happened had not the Free-State cause 
advanced, no one can tell; but the facts record acquittal, 
and a grand triumph over the spurious counts that in- 
dicted the great leaders of this conflict. 

When Kobinson was arrested at Lexington, Mrs. Kob- 
inson was allowed to pursue her journey East, and she vis- 
ited many of the important people who were sympathizers 
of Kansas, inspiring every one she met with enthusiasm 
for the Kansas cause. Thus, while the object of the Gov- 
ernor was thwarted, Mrs. Kobinson took up the cause and 
succeeded in carrying out the plan successfully. 

It was while the leaders were imprisoned at Lecompton 
that General Lane, appearing near there with a small 
army, sent word to Governor Kobinson that he had come 
to rescue him. This was on August 10th, 1S56. Lane 
asked him to answer promptly, and that if he could not 
escape that he. Lane, would attack the guard. Kobinson 
knew that this would be disastrous to the cause of free- 
dom, for it would place the Free-State men in direct op- 
position to the Federal Government, which condition would 
soon end their affairs; hence he refused to be rescued. 
John Brown also proposed a similar rescue, but this was 
also promptly refused. 

What would have been the result of this imprisonment 
of the leading men of the Territory no one can tell, had it 



not been for the arrival of Governor Geary. For not 
only were many of the important leaders thus confined, 
but others, still at large, were under indictment, and 
might be apprehended and their usefulness greatly im- 
paired. When the Free-State Legislature met on July 4th 
the Governor was in prison, and Governor Shannon or- 
dered the guard dispersed by the militia under Colonel 
Sumner, the order of Shannon having been given to 
Sumner on July 3d. Governor Geary arrived at Lecomp- 
ton on September 10th, and Governor Eobinson was re- 
leased on bail of $5,000, and the militia and assembled 
troops were ordered to disband and repair to their homes. 
On the 15th of September he appeared on the hill above 
Lawrence with his United States troops, and looked down 
into the valley upon 2,700 men, mostly from Missouri, 
summoned at the instance of Sheriff Jones for the purpose 
of destroying Lawrence. The sheriff's '^posse'^ was dis- 

'Not long after his release Governor Eobinson took a 
journey East, and we find him delivering a Eepublican 
speech in E'ew York on October 22d. After a tour of the 
Eastern cities he returned to Kansas, and on December 
1st founded the town of Quindaro, on the Missouri river. 
The object of this town was to furnish a landing-place 
for boats, on account of the hostility shown by the Mis- 
sourians at Kansas City, and also to build up a city 
for speculative purposes. It was a common occurrence in 
those days to start towns and invest in town lots with the 
expectation that they would eventually become cities, but 
Quindaro failed, and much to the detriment of all who 
had invested in it. So far as can be learned, no one was 



particularly responsible for the failure, yet those who 
suffered most were inclined to abuse the person who 
founded the town. Statements of those who were well 
acquainted with the affair vindicate Governor Robinson 
from any duplicity in the matter. 

In March, 1857, a Free-State convention was called 
at Topeka, and Governor Robinson was, among others, 
called to prepare an address to the American people con- 
cerning the affairs of Kansas. A long list of resolutions 
setting forth the conditions and laying a plan of action 
was adopted. 

While Governor Robinson was East he had left his res- 
ignation as Governor, believing this to be the best thing 
to be done for the Free-State cause. He was censured 
severely for this, but he gave an able defense of his action. 
On March 12th, after his return to Kansas, he withdrew 
his resignation as Governor, and declared anew his ad- 
hesion to the Topeka movement. 

After the failure and resignation of Governor Geary, 
affairs were again assuming their old condition. The trial 
of Robinson for usurpation of office came up on August 
18th, and he was acquitted by a jury on the 20th. 

One of the most important phases of the Free-State 
movement was the refusal of the Free-State men to vote 
with the Pro-Slavery people under the Territorial Govern- 
ment. This the Free-State leaders, and* all who had 
followed them, had stoutly asserted as their only safeguard 
in repudiating the Legislature and its laws. The Free- 
State men, however, had gained in numbers, so that with 
a reasonably fair election they could outvote their oppo- 
nents and elect a Legislature. Governor Walker assured 


them that they should have the protection of an honest 
election, and there was a great deal of contention among 
Free-State men as to whether his advice should be taken or 
not. To settle this question a Free-State mass convention 
was held at Grasshopper Falls on August 26th, 1857. 
A delegate convention was held at the same time. Rob- 
inson and others favored voting. The argument was, 
that while they had strenuously opposed voting because 
they desired to repudiate the action of the Territorial 
Legislature, the time had now arrived when they could 
control the Legislature, and as the Lecompton Constitution 
which had been created was then before Congress and 
probably would be adopted, it would be better that the 
Free-State men should be in a position to prevent the mak- 
ing of laws under that constitution rather than to leave 
such an important office in the hands of the Pro-Slavery 
Legislature. After a spirited discussion, a majority of 
the Free-State men decided finally to vote for the Legisla- 
ture. The result was as desired, and the Territorial 
Legislature under the Federal Democratic administration 
was now placed in the hands of the Free-State men, who 
legislated as they pleased for Kansas. 

It is not possible here to follow the various events that 
occurred throughout the Territory from this time on to 
the adoption of the Wyandotte Constitution and the ad- 
mission of tlte State into the Union. It may be important 
to state, however, that subsequently the Free-State Legis- 
lature and the Territorial Legislature met at the same time 
in Lawrence, and at this time the Topeka Legislature sur- 
rendered its claims to power as a Territorial Legislature, 
and though some attempts were made to revive the Free- 
State party afterward, they were failures. It had out- 


lived its usefulness, and therefore ceased to exist. And 
were it asked what service it had performed, it might be 
stated that it kept the Free-State movement alive and the 
Free-State men together during the entire struggle, and 
formed a rallying-point for all parties in opposition to 
the Pro-Slavery people and their bogus laws. The whole 
Topeka movement was of inestimable value to the Free- 
State cause; but it had outlived its usefulness, and there 
was no further need of its existence. The organization 
of the Republican party at Osawatomie on May 18, 1859, 
gave an opportunity for the Free-State men to organize as 
a branch of the national Republican party. 

Many stirring events occurred throughout the Terri- 
tory, of which it will be impossible to speak here for lack 
of space, and because they are not essentially germane 
to the subject at hand. Many troubles in the southeast 
occurred, and at one time Governor Robinson accompanied 
Governor Denver into that section of the Territory to 
assist in establishing peace between the contending parties. 
The Pro-Slavery massacre on the Pottawatomie by John 
Brown, the similar Free-State one on the Marais des 
Cygnes by Hamilton, and the marauding bands of both 
parties, left the country in a state of terror. James Mont- 
gomery organized the Free-State men for defense and 
for aggressive warfare. The warfare was foolishly con- 
tinued on the part of Free-State men after the latter had 
obtained control of the Territorial Legislature and were 
masters of the situation. It was to help settle these diffi- 
culties — outrages would be a better term — that Governor 
Robinson was asked to accompany the Territorial Gov- 


The Toprka Constitution having outlived its usefulness ; 
the force of the Free-State party having been transferred 
to the Eepublican party ; the work of the Topeka Legisla- 
ture having been transferred" to the Territorial Legisla- 
ture on account of the capture of the latter at the polls 
by the Free-State men; the failure of the Leavenworth 
Constitution almost before its creation^ and the death of 
the Lecompton Constitution at the hands of the people 
after an honest vote had been obtained, rendered it neces- 
sary to make a new constitution for the purpose of ad- 
mission of Kansas into the Union. Almost an entirely 
new body of men was selected for this purpose, who met 
at Wyandotte in convention on July 5th, 1859. While 
only seven of the whole number of delegates had been 
members of previous constitutional conventions, they had 
many precedents. They knew of the merits and the de- 
fects of the Topeka, Lecompton and Leavenworth consti- 
tutions, and had before them the constitutions of many of 
the older States of the LTnion. "While the Wyandotte 
Constitution combined the features of several, it was 
largely taken from Ohio, Indiana, and low^a — the first 
predominating in its influence. After the adoption of 
the constitution a State organization was completed and 
officers elected, although Kansas was not admitted into 
the Union until January, ISGl. 




Perhaps the most important testimony of the value of 
Governor Robinson in Kansas and the esteem in which he 
was held by the people is recorded in these facts: that 
while he was not at the Big Springs Convention, where 
the platform of the Free-State party was made, nor at the 
delegate convention held at Topeka, September 19th, 1855, 
for the purpose of considering the plans for a constitu- 
tional convention, and moreover that he represented a small 
minority in the constitutional convention of October 23d, 
1855, on certain important questions relating to slavery, 
yet he was chosen the first Free-State Governor of Kansas 
under the Topeka Constitution. Also, not being a member 
of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention and being 
practically free from the political side of affairs, he was 
chosen the first Governor of the State of Kansas. It was 
a just tribute and ready acknowledgment of his faithful 
leadership, and a victory which his enemies tried to turn 
into defeat; an honor which they in vain tried to turn 
into dishonor. 

There were many trying duties to perform in the estab- 
lishment of the State Government, and the difficulties were 
greatly multiplied by the Civil War, which came as a great 
disturber to the infant State. The State Government ma- 
chinery must be put in motion ; money raised by taxation 
and by bonds, for the Territory was poor in comparison 
to the demands upon it; laws must be made; and troops 
raised for the defense of the National Government. All 
of this must be done with the dangers of faulty ofiicials, 
the intrigues of politicians, and the dangers of war. 
Everything was in a new and untried condition, and de- 
fects as well as difficulties must be encountered. Governor 


Robinson was a strong supporter of the war, for he believed 
in sacrifice for freedom. In his first message to the Legis- 
lature he said: "While it is the duty of each loyal State 
to see that equal and exact justice is done to every other 
State, it is equally its duty to sustain the chief executive 
of the nation in defending the government of foes whether 
from within or from without; and Kansas, though last 
and least of the States of the Union, will ever be ready to 
answer the call of her country." These were prophetic 
words, for Kansas furnished more soldiers in proportion 
to the inhabitants in putting down the rebellion and free- 
ing the slaves, than any other State in the Union. 

It is to be deplored that one of the most unfortunate 
circumstances prevailed, which caused Governor Robinson 
more trouble and came most nearly to throwing a cloud 
over his political life of any other affair ever occurring. 
This was chiefly on account of General Lane, who had been 
elected United States Senator from Kansas. He had 
President Lincoln's ear, and his confidence. Apparently 
the President liked the bold, vigorous ways of Lane, while 
others seemed so slow to move. Lane also did him a 
service in standing guard over his person at the White 
House when he was supposed to be in danger. In all 
probability this was a useless proceeding, but it had its 
effect on the President. This gave Lane his opportunity 
to give exercise to his vaulting ambition to run affairs in 
Kansas. He had an unbounded ambition to become a mili- 
tary leader and dictator in Kansas, and therefore worked 
against the Governor of the State in every way possible 
in tryiiig to usurp his right to raise troops and commission 
officers. He was so persistent with the authorities at 


Washington that he nearly won his point. It is impossible 
to enter the details of this affair, however interesting it 
might prove to the reader ; for want of space compels the 
writer to confine himself to categorical statements of iactii. 
There is nothing on record to show that Governor Robin- 
son was derelict in his duty in the support of the Federal 
Government in the war. Yet it appears that the Federal 
authorities at the seat of government thought him so, and 
therefore gave Lane authority to raise troops and to become 
Brigadier-General while he was still United States Sena- 
tor. Everything points to the supposition that Lane had 
prejudiced the authorities in his favor and against Rob- 
inson. It is evident that President Lincoln and others at 
the capital were misinformed, and that Lincoln made a 
mistake in treating Robinson unfairly and in a way differ- 
ent from other Governors in trying to take from him the 
right of commissioning officers. While no one would in- 
dulge in an attack upon President Lincoln, it is well to 
admit occasionally to ourselves, as he often did to himself 
and to others, that he was only human, and made mistakes 
as well as other people. In short, everybody who knows the 
course of the Civil War, especially in its first years, real- 
izes that there were not only many mistakes made, but 
many jealousies and political intrigues which cast a 
shadow upon its conduct because of some who were pos- 
sessed of selfish ambition to rule. ^Notwithstanding the 
fact that Governor Robinson had doubled the quota of 
troops for Kansas, Lane was authorized to raise and 
officer two regiments and command a brigade. Robinson 
met this by sending on the appointment of Frederick P. 
Stanton as Senator in Lane's place. Lane started for 


Washington to hold his seat. When Secretary Stanton 
sent a threatening letter to Kobinson commanding him to 
commission the regiments, Eobinson promptly replied 
that he could not force the Governor of Kansas to dis- 
honor his office. While Governor Eobinson stood up man- 
fully for his rights, the unjust treatment he received at 
the hands of the Federal authorities embittered him against 
the government; and this and other events caused him to 
lose his ardor for the Eepublican party, while nothing 
made him forget what he thought to be his duty. 

One other grievous circumstance arose in his adminis- 
tration of the affairs of Kansas, that of the ^'unlawful" 
sale of bonds. The enormous expenses of the young State 
in establishing the government, in fighting Indians and 
border ruffians, and in the support of the war, made it 
necessary to sell bonds. The Legislature fixed the mini- 
mum price of the bonds at seventy cents, except that 
$20,000 of war bonds might be sold at any price obtain- 
able by the Secretary of State. The war bonds sold for 
$12,000. Governor Eobinson tried to sell the other bonds, 
amounting to $150,000, but could get no offers, as he re- 
fused to take less than seventy per cent, for them. At this 
time, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota bonds were being 
sold as low as forty per cent. Finally, the Secretary and 
the Auditor went to Washington and succeeded in selling 
the bonds to the Secretary of the Interior as an investment 
of Indian money. 

While these parties violated a law of the Legislature, 
they acted in good faith. The State was in great need of 
money; they could get sixty cents or else go without a 
sale. They adopted the former course as the best for 


the State. As the trial showed, they were not guilty of 
dishonesty or dishonor or corruption, as they made no 
money out of the sale. However, the bonds were sold at 
eighty-five cents to the Indian agent, and it was thought 
that the fifteen per cent, margin should have gone to the 
State of Kansas. A reasonable fee went to the agent ; 
$500 to Lane's private secretary, and the rest was ab- 
sorbed somewhere in Washington, the Secretary and Audi- 
tor getting nothing. So far as the charge of corruption 
was concerned, the officers of the State were blameless; 
they did the best they knew for the State, but in so doing 
they violated law, and hence were held responsible. 
Through the instigation of Lane, Governor Robinson, the 
Secretary of State and the Auditor were impeached. Gov- 
ernor Robinson was acquitted on every indictment, but 
the other two were convicted. 

Much has been said about the famous ^^bond swindle" 
by the political enemies of Governor Robinson, and many 
attempts were made to stigmatize the administration by 
opposing politicians, but they did not succeed, except 
among those ignorant of the circumstances. It was an ad- 
vantage readily seized by political opponents, to make capi- 
tal out of an unintentional wrong, for if the Auditor and 
Secretary violated the letter of the law they undoubtedly 
obeyed it in the spirit. Could they have presented the 
case to the Legislature before acting, without doubt that 
body would have passed a resolution immediately, accept- 
ing sixty cents from the bonds. As it was, Governor Rob- 
inson had not sanctioned the sale at sixty cents, and 
therefore was not found guilty. Yet it was done under 


his administration, and many to this day ignorantly and 
unjustly attach more or less blame to him. 

Upon the whole, Governor Kobinson as the chief execu- 
tive of Kansas administered the affairs of the State with 
wisdom and integrity. He bore himself with courage and 
fortitude under the most trying scenes of his administra- 
tion. He withstood the taunts of his enemies, the intrigues 
of politicians, and the difficulties naturally arising from 
his position, with calmness and faith. He lived, however, 
to vindicate his position, and to make many of his oppo- 
nents feel the power of his keen and uncompromising pen. 

subseque:^t events. 

The life of Governor Kobinson, after his term of office 
had expired, was a quiet one. After his home in Lawrence 
was burned, he made no attempt to rebuild, but lived in a 
home standing where now is the beautiful residence of the 
late B. W. Woodward. Subsequently he retired to his 
farm at ^^Oakridge," nearly five miles from the town, where 
he spent the remainder of his days in agricultural pursuits, 
ever taking a deep interest in the affairs of the people of 
the State and iNTation, and lending his aid to the cause of 
humanity in general. He was always interested in the 
affairs of the community in which he lived, and especially 
in the young people of the neighborhood. He took part 
in the frequent evening entertainments at the school-house 
near his home, and superintended the Sunday-school in 
the afternoon of each Sabbath. As an instance of his 
kindly interest in the young, he was known to come from 
Topeka, during his term as State Senator, to attend a gath- 
ering at the school-house, returning to Topeka the same 
night to be on hand the next day for Senatorial duty. 
He was interested in the Grange and the Good Templars, 
both of which held frequent meetings at the school-house. 
Thus did he fulfill the simple duty of an American citi- 
zen by taking part in local affairs. 

Governor Robinson was intensely interested in the social, 
economic and political topics of the times, and wielded a 
virile pen with power and skill in newspaper, magazine and 



book, in behalf of historical truth and wise public policy. 
He was a pungent writer, with a direct and convincing 
style in the presentation of his subject, adroit and skillful 
in argumentation. He never took up his pen unless he 
had something important to say to the public. He could 
make a strong case for his side of the question, and, al- 
though seemingly fair, gave little quarter to his literary 
opponents. While he was vigorous in declaring the truth, 
he was willing to acknowledge that he was frequently 
wrong in judgment, and he pursued the other side with 
equal vigor. When once he learned the real facts of the 
conduct of John Brown on the Pottawatomie, he could not 
defend Brown's course there, while he might acknowledge 
his services in a general way to the cause of freedom. His 
most extended work, "The Kansas Conflict," is loaded with 
facts, and is full of pungent writing respecting the early 
scenes of Kansas, in which he was an important actor. 
The book adds much to the historical literature of Kansas, 
and will be of great service to the coming historians of 
Kansas who shall write a history of the great struggle from 
a universal rather than a personal standpoint. 

Governor Hobinson's pen was ever active in the service 
of historical truth and justice to humanity. It fell heaviest 
on certain pseudo-historians who attempt to gloss over 
Kansas history, which they attempt to write from the 
standpoint of inner consciousness rather than from the real 
facts, which they are too indolent to ascertain or too un- 
compromising to acknowledge. The real history of Kansas, 
while it will recognize the true merit of all who were 
engaged in the early struggle, will break many a cherished 



Governor Eobinson's agricultural life caused him to 
identify himself with the Grange movement, which, start- 
ing as a non-partisan organization, finally became a great 
political engine. He believed in equalizing government for 
the benefit of the great rural populations, as against the 
wealth of the trading, manufacturing and transporting 
classes. He believed in a popular money for the people, 
which could not be cornered by speculators nor would be 
subject to the rise and fall in value determined by economic 
laws of supply and demand. With these and other ex- 
treme Democratic tendencies, he found himself not a close 
adherent to the Republican party after the war. Hence, 
his political career was not prominent nor regular. In 
1874 he was elected to the State Senate, and in 1876 to a 
second term. In 1888 he was a candidate for Congress 
in the Second District, but fell short of election. In 1890 
he ran for Governor, supported by the Democrats and 
Greenbackers. In 1888 he was appointed Superintendent 
of Haskell Institute, which he managed with vigor, despite 
his failing health, until his successor was appointed. 

These are the principal items respecting his later politi- 
cal career, w^hich, w4th his regency of the University, were 
sufficient to identify him with public affairs. At the 
time of his death he was working with the Demo-Populist 
party, though not in full sympathy with it. It suited him 
better than did the Republican party as organized in the 


Doctor Robiw-soit was identified with the early educa- 
tional interests of the Territory of Kansas. He was chiefly 
instrumental in organizing the first school in Lawrence, 
which was the first school for white children in the Terri- 
tory, mission schools having been established earlier. It 
was taught in the back part of the building occupied by 
the Emigrant Aid Company, in January, 1855, by E. P. 
Eitch. Miss Kate Kellogg, who accompanied Doctor Rob- 
inson to Kansas as one of his family in the spring of 1855, 
came to teach the summer-autumn school, which she did 
quite successfully, the expenses of the school being borne 
by Doctor Robinson. Misses Mary and Caroline Chapin 
came to Lawrence in September, after the raid, which ocr 
curred in August, 1863, and opened a school early in the 
following winter. Governor Robinson and George W. 
Deitzler paid the tuition of a number of the pupils. C. L. 
Edwards, now in business at Lawrence, for several years 
conducted with success the Quincy high school. These 
schools were at first supported by subscription. 

In 1856 Mr. Amos A. Lawrence requested Doctor Rob- 
inson to spend money for him to lay the foundation of 
a school building on the north part of Mount Oread, which 
is now the site of IsTorth College. In explaining his plans 
to Rev. E. ISTute, of Lawrence, in a letter dated December 
16th, 1856, Mr. Lawrence stated: "You shall have a 
college which shall be a school of learning, and at the 



same time a monument to perpetuate the memory of those 
martyrs who fell during the recent struggle. Beneath it 
their dust shall rest; in it shall burn the light of liberty, 
which shall never be extinguished until it illumines the 
whole continent." As a foundation of this Free-State col- 
lege Mr. Lawrence gave the sum of $10^000, in the form 
of two notes. Work was soon begun on the building, but 
was soon suspended on account of the title of the land 
being imperfect. 

Later, on February 14, 1857, Mr. Lawrence constituted 
Charles Robinson and S. C. Pomeroy trustees of funds 
amounting to $12,696.14, for the purpose of advancing 
education and religion in the Territory. The plans for 
the Free-State college were not carried into execution at 
once, but the people, ever active for the foundation of a 
university, planned, imder the auspices of the Presbyterian 
Church of America, a college. Among the directors of 
this college were Charles Robinson and many other and 
well-known and honorable settlers of Lawrence. Appro- 
priate committees were appointed, and plans were made 
for the erection of a building which was to cost $50,000. 
This university was regularly sanctioned by the Legisla- 
ture of 1859. Subsequently the trustees proceeded to 
organize a university. Under the plan of that institution, 
an attempt was made to carry it on by the Congregational- 
ists. During all this time Doctor Robinson was active 
in his support of the various phases of this early education^ 
but it was not until the State came to the rescue that the 
enterprise finally succeeded. 

The constitution adopted by the State provided for the 
foundation of a university, which was finally located at 



Lawrence. A bill in 1861 favored the location of this in- 
stitution at Manhattan, but the bill was vetoed by Gov- 
ernor Robinson, who thought the movement premature. 
It having finally been determined to locate the university 
at Lawrence, commissioners were appointed to fix the site. 
Doctor Robinson came forward with a proposition to fur- 
nish forty acres of land above the city,- on condition that 
the Council would deed him a half-block of land lying 
south of the school foundation on Moiint Oread. Twenty- 
one acres of this land belonged to Mrs. Robinson, which 
was bought from J. F. Morgan, lying south of the claim 
Doctor Robinson preempted. 

In the organization of the State University, Charles 
Robinson was among the first regents. In the early details 
of the institution he gave the institution of learning his 
earnest support. He served on the building committee 
when the main building, Eraser Hall, was erected, and for 
many years was a representative member of the board of 
regents. In 1889, in recognition of his eminent services 
and on account of his scholarly ability, the board of regents 
conferred on him the degree of doctor of laws. 

In 1895 the Legislature passed a law appropriating 
$1,000 for a marble bust of ex-Governor Robinson, to be 
placed in University chapel. The committee for the selec- 
tion of an artist and the approval of his work consisted of 
Sara T. D. Robinson, B. W. Woodward, and Charles Chad- 
wick. In the unveiling of this bust appropriate ceremonies 
were had at the University. Addresses were made by Gov- 
ernor Leedy, B. W. Woodward, and Hon. Charles F. Scott. 
On this occasion Mr. Scott paid a glowing tribute to the 



life and character of ex-Governor Kobinson, from whicli the 
following quotation is given: 

"As nearly as any man I ever knew, Charles Robinson 
deserved the tribute which the laureate paid to the Iron 
Duke when he said of him that he ^stood four-square to all 
the winds that blew/ He came as near standing by him- 
self, balanced by his own judgment, requiring no strength- 
ening support from other men, either as individuals or as 
aggregated into parties or churches or societies of any kind. 
At various times of his life he worked with various politi- 
cal parties, but when the particular object of the work was 
accomplished he put the party aside apparently with as 
little concern as he would lay down a tool that he was 
done with. The fear of being called inconsistent never 
troubled him. In fact, no fear of any kind, either moral 
or physical, ever troubled him. He said what he thought 
ought to be said, with as small regard to consequences as he 
did what he thought ought to be done. As, if the words 
of to-day contradicted those of yesterday, that did not 
concern him, for the words of both yesterday and to-day 
were honest w^ords. He did not know what the word 
^policy' meant, so far as the word might be applied to his 
own fortunes. He knew, doubtless, as well as everybody 
else knew, that he sacrificed all the political honors whicli 
a grateful and admiring people would have been proud to 
bestow, when he severed his connection with the dominant 
party. But the thought, if it occurred to him, never bade 
him a moment's pause." 

In the latter years of the life of Governor Robinson he 
was again appointed regent of the University, and held 
that position until the time of his death. As a crowning 
act of his long support of educational life, he left the 
larger part of his estate as a gift to the university which 
he had nourished in infancy, supported with vigor in its 
early youth, and cherished in his declining years. 

LIFE a:n^d chaeactek. 

In concluding this brief biography, it is perhaps fitting 
to add a few words representing the life and character of 
Governor Robinson, gathered from his actual service to 
humanity and gleaned from the opinions of those who 
knew him best. As one belonging to another generation 
from those who endured the hardships of the early struggle 
for freedom in Kansas, I approach the life of one who was 
an actor in these stirring scenes with becoming reverence. 
It is at best but a small tribute that this generation can 
pay to the preceding, but it is best shown in reverence 
and honor to those who fought the early battles, who en- 
dured the early struggles, that we of this day may enjoy 
the blessings of the results of such sturdy warfare, and 
may thus have weapons with which to fight successfully 
the battles of truth in our own day and generation. 

In a general estimate of his life, there must first be 
recorded the evidence of a strong individual character, a 
bold, hardy spirit, able to give and take blows for what 
he deemed the right. In consequence of this, he frequently 
has been misunderstood by both his friends and enemies. 
This quality made it difficult for him to follow with zeal 
any party or creed. It was sufficient for him to ask his 
own consciousness what was right in the matter, and to 
act accordingly. Parties might change or hold to old 
doctrines ; Robinson followed the iron course of conviction. 
If he hurt the party or made enemies, it was small matter 



to him. What was right, what was just in the case, were 
his criterions for action. Possibly he could have made 
his life easier, possibly there were times when he could 
have accomplished more by being more flexible and more 
politic, but he would not have been true to his conviction, 
and that was law to him. 

Yet Robinson had a kindly heart and nature. He was 
ever ready and willing to help the needy, and very many 
owe their preservation or advancement to the helping 
hand of Governor Robinson. There came from him a 
heartfelt sympathy for all who were oppressed, and there 
was aroused a fighting capacity at once against the op- 
pressor. He had a religion all his own, which was of pure 
nature, of a practical sort. He believed little in creeds, 
ceremonies, churches or ministers as saving functions, but 
he believed in a Creator and Father, who answered the call 
from the depths of his nature, as a soul crying out for 
strength in its loneliness. If he supported not vigorously 
the outward forms of Christianity, he practiced his best 
life in standing for truth, justice and right living. There 
is hardly a church in Lawrence for which he did not con- 
tribute money or material. He believed that there was 
good in all, and that each was especially good for some 

It is interesting to note the various opinions of people 
of all classes respecting the life and service of Robinson. 
Of course there are his political and personal enemies 
who lose no opportunity to revile him. He had his faults, 
and they seized upon these and enlarged or willfully pre- 
varicated. But those who knew him best and who love 


justice are always ready to give him well-deserved praise 
and credit for all that he did. 

There was a writer for the 'New York Herald named 
Brewerton, a non-partisan who visited Kansas in Decem- 
ber, 1855, and January, 1856, and subsequently published 
a book on the affairs of the Territory. The following 
extract gives in part a characteristic picture of the place 
Robinson filled in the Territory at that time : 

^^In Kansas politics. General Robinson was a member of 
the State Constitutional Convention, is chairman of the 
Free-State Executive Committee, and in addition to this 
holds the military rank of Major-General and Commander- 
in-Chief of the Kansas volunteers — as the Free-State army 
of Kansas style themselves. He may be regarded as the 
real head — the thinking one, I mean — and mainspring 
of the Free-State party; or, to speak more correctly, 
of all that party who are worth anything. We believe him 
to be a keen, shrewd, far-seeing man, who would permit 
nothing to stand in the way of the end which he desired to 
gain. He is moreover cool and determined, and appears 
to be endowed with immense firmness ; Ave should call him 
a conservative man now; but conservative rather from 
policy than principle. He seems to have strong common- 
sense, and a good ordinary brain, but no brilliancy of 
talent. In fact, to sum up, we consider him the most 
dangerous enemy which the Pro- Slavery party have to 
encounter in Kansas." 

Elsewhere are given the testimonials of Eli Thayer 
and Amos A. Lawrence, which pay a substantial tribute 
to his managing ability in connection with the Emigrant 
Aid Company. Two or three later testimonials are 
worthy of consideration to those who value the opinions 


of otters. A remarkable tribute of his old enemy General 
Jo. 0. Shelby, given soon after the death of Governor 
Kobinson, is worthy of repetition. After giving an inci- 
dent of the Wakarusa War, Shelby said: 

"I saw Governor Robinson occasionally after that. We 
fought him, but he was as lovable a man as there ever was 
in this section of the country. He tried to prevent the war, 
but he always stood for the Union when it came to a show- 
down. He opposed radical men like Lane almost as Bauch 
as he did the hot-headed fellows on our side. We knew 
what he was doing, and he never mistreated a Southern 
man who came into his hands. He was a man whom I 
shall always remember with admiration." 

From an entirely different standpoint, Rev. Richard 
Cordley in an address delivered at the University said 
among other words of praise: 

"When History comes to measure events by their iia- 
portance, she will put the name of Charles Robinson high 
in the scales of diplomatic generalship. . . . The 
qualities which were so conspicuous in those turbulent 
times always characterized him in practical affairs. Men 
will differ as to his political career and as to the sound- 
ness of his speculative opinions. But as to the soundness 
of his judgment in practical emergencies there will be no 
difference of opinion to those who knew him. If any 
difficult thing were to be done, you could safely trust 
Robinson to do it.'' 

But Governor Robinson was not perfect, nor did he ever 
pretend to be without faults and defects. He had his 
faults, which he knew and deplored and which his best 
friends knew and deplored. He was a strong individual- 



ist, of somewhat turbulent nature, largely under control 
of a strong will. He was willing to assume responsibility 
and submit to the consequences. A favorite motto was, 
^'Suffer and grow strong." ISTor did he fear to stand 
alone in the pursuit of a course which his best judgment 
directed him to follow. In the general acceptance of the 
word he was not a partisan. He never submitted his pri- 
vate convictions of right or wrong to what is usually 
termed party success. While in a larger sense he was an 
excessively social man, in working for the good of human- 
ity and seeking the highest social well-being he found it 
difficult to bind himself to any clique or party, or to strike 
hands with his fellows to stand by any proposition or 
party. He preferred to await the coming issue and depend 
on his own best judgment to do the right thing. He was 
especially interested in the so-called ^^common people.'^ 
He early formed the habit of taking the part of the op- 
pressed, and so strong was this motive that he always 
assumed that if a man was down his cause was just. His 
best friends frequently felt that his individualism was too 
strong for comfort. One of his admiring friends said to 
him one day, "Why don't you behave yourself and let us 
love you, for we want to ?" Governor Robinson responded 
with a quiet laugh, and that was all. This was in the 
latter days, when he had become estranged from the Eepub- 
lican party. Perhaps in leaving the Republican party 
after it had given him offices of trust was the worst griev- 
ance the friends of Governor Robinson had against him. 
Yet when we consider his nature, it was the normal out- 
come of his life. He believed in "money for the people" 
and in Government measures for the relief of the people. 


He felt that the Government had been legislating too 
much in favor of the rich and too little in favor of the 
poor. While we cannot agree with all of his social, eco- 
nomic and political theories, he was right in his funda- 
mental principles. He had a wide sympathy with the 
laboring classes, and a strong fellow-feeling for the farm- 
ing classes when they suffered so much from over-borrowing 
and short crops and falling prices. He left the Republi- 
can party and became a Democrat; he never admitted 
that he was a Populist, but the time came when the two 
parties were peculiarly mixed in Kansas and the terms 
were almost synonymous. His theory was, that if a party 
would not do what the individual thought was right, he 
should drop it and take up with one which came more 
nearly doing this. 

As a writer he was a strong controversialist, and could 
present all the salient points of his side of the case to the 
confusion and detriment of his opponents. In following 
the John Brown and the James H. Lane controversies, one 
will be convinced of the power of his logic and the incisive 
thrusts of his pen. There can be no doubt that he had 
cause to wield the pen with vigor in each of these contro- 
versies. He never trusted Brown, and thought he could 
not be of much service to Kansas. Yet he was willing 
to give him credit for what he attempted to do in the de- 
fense of the settlers. But when the nature of the revoltins 
crimes on the Pottawatomie became known, Robinson 
could no longer submit to the indiscriminate praise of 
the hero-worshippers and the myth-makers, and so he 
opened the vials of indignation and poured out a stream 
of logic and invective against the perverters of historical 


truth. Brown's policy in Kansas was diametricallj op- 
posed to that of Kobinson in the early struggle, and when 
transcendentalism attempted to write history after the 
manner of its inner consciousness it was too mueh for a 
man with a practical turn of mind, and so he proceeded to 
puncture a few inflated historical theories. How well he 
did it there is not room to discuss here, but it is on 
record. Perhaps in his vigorous way he was carried on 
by the momentum of righteous indignation until he passed 
beyond the limit of historical proportion. 

'No man ever lived who had greater cause for indignation 
against the treatment of a fellow-man than had Governor 
Robinson against James H. Lane, and it is not to be 
wondered at that when the friends of Lane pushed his 
deeds vigorously to the front, Robinson should take up the 
scalpel and wield it unmercifully. While here as else- 
where there is danger of personal bias warping history 
as it engages in argument and controversy, yet Governor 
Robinson has rendered great service to history in boldly 
and clearly presenting his side of the questions involved 
by the careers of Brown and Lane. The "Kansas Con- 
flict'' will always prove a thorn in the flesh of those who 
attempt to gloss over history or give undue homage to 
idols. It is certainly iconoclastic, and no one yet has 
succeeded in breaking down the argument therein pre- 
sented. There is a harsh note of controversy in this book, 
which, although it was necessary to the task of the writer, 
would be softened and harmonized in the light of perfect 

In his last term as regent of the University, especially 
in the last two years of his life, he was decidedly against 



the policy pursued in the institution. He seemed to be 
thinking of the old style of college as a type rather than 
of the new university, which is a growth of the past fifty 
years, and practically within the last fifteen years. He 
disagreed with his old-time friend Chancellor Snow, and 
felt that he was out of harmony with the methods of the 
University. Whether this was caused by listening to poor 
advisers, or whether he had reached the age when ^'fear 
cometh" and confidence or faith in institutions and men 
fails, it is difficult to determine. After a careful consid- 
eration of the case, it appears that his judgment was 
warped in reference to the condition and needs of the Uni- 
versity. But while our criticism falls lightly upon one 
who had done so much for the University, even it is over- 
whelmed with the magnanimity of the man in leaving 
the greater part of his fortune to the institution, the cher- 
ished idol of his life and a monument to his greatness. 
Some day no doubt there will rise on the top of ]\It. Oread 
a magnificent structure of stone and iron bearing the name 
of Robinson, and a worthy monument commemorating 
his life and service to the State of Kansas, reminding 
the generations to come of the great part he bore in the 
building of the commonwealth. 

From his earliest life he was a strong temperance man, 
and temperance advocate, but in his later years he bitterly 
opposed the prohibitory law in Kansas, because he believed 
it to be non-effective. Once settled in his own mind that 
it was a sham, he could not tolerate it, for he hated all 
shams. It seemed, too, to oppose freedom, or liberty of 
action, — and he loved freedom, for he was able to stand up- 
right and alone on the right. While the writer may not 



agree with his judgment in the question, his motives were 
pure. He held, quite properly, that, as an ideal, temper- 
ance is a greater virtue than total abstinence. Many men 
of excellent judgment and sterling character, while they 
deplored the conclusion, likewise considered the prohib- 
itory law a sham and demoralizer to society. It is still 
an unsettled question, for men will continue to differ as 
to the best methods that may be employed in waging a 
perpetual warfare against the evils of intemperance. 

Governor Robinson was generous in helping any good 
cause. 'No deserving man ever went to him in distress 
without receiving aid. Believing that every man should 
have a chance for his life and prosperity in the industrial 
struggle, many were given quiet personal aid, and after- 
ward lived to call him blessed. As hero after hero of 
those who stood shoulder to shoulder in the great struggle 
to build a commonwealth in Kansas passes away, leaving 
the burdens of civilization to be borne by others, leaving 
others to enjoy the advantages of previous struggles and 
to accept with them the responsibilities that accompany 
them, we who are left behind look into the places whence 
they departed, marveling at their lives, or stand gazing 
to heaven, crying, ''My Father, my Father, the chariot of 
Israel and the horsemen thereof !'' — wondering at the 
mystery of the providence of God. 

At the age of seventy-six years, on Friday, August I7th, 
1894, at 3 :15 a. m., just as the shadow of the night her- 
alded the approach of day. Governor Robinson passed into 
the unknown. On Sunday, August 19th, four ex-Govern- 


ors of the State, and many prominent men and officials, 
came to pay their last tribute with old-time friends and 
neighbors to him who, so powerful in life, now lay helpless 
in death. The funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. 
C. G. Howland, a venerable and lovable man, since gone 
to his rest, who closed with these fitting words: 

"Much of Governor Eobinson's life was tempestuous, 
but the close was as gentle as the fading light of day. 
With a tender but speechless touch of a dear hand, and 
without the slightest concern, he went out to meet what 
the future hath of marvel or surprise." 

Governor Robinson had a full life, and the attempt to 
give it in a short space is not without its dangers, for 
only the most salient parts can be presented. The minor 
details would reveal much of merit and power which can- 
not be portrayed in this brief sketch, where only the most 
important features are set forth. The course of his life 
v^as strong and the record of it is substantial. Some men 
move about quickening everybody with their ready sym- 
pathy, influencing with the subtile power of their genius, 
carrying the sunshine of their natures to the heart or 
impressing with their bold dashes at life. While those 
who know Robinson best have felt the kindly touches of 
his warm nature hidden frequently beneath a stern exte- 
rior, yet he appears best as a builder of institutions and 
as a defender of men. If in his later years he stood much 
alone, it was as if some tall peak were reared against the 
vaulted sky that needed no support of the range beneath. 
And if in those days he had not the sympathy and love 
of all, he commanded universal admiration. 



It is deemed advisable to publisli a few extracts of 
the public documents, speeches, and writings of Governor 
Robinson, believing that his life services and character 
are well represented in this way. They will serve to 
enforce and substantiate what has already been said in 
the text. 




Delivered at the Close op the "Wakarusa War." 

[From the Herald of Freedom, December 15, 1855.] 

Fellow-Soldiers: In consequence of a ^^misunder- 
standing" on the part of the Executive of this Territory, 
the people of this vicinity have been menaced by a foreign 
foe, and our lives and property threatened with destruc- 
tion. The citizens, guilty of no crime, rallied for the de- 
fense of their families, their property, and their lives, 
and from all parts of the Territory the true patriots came 
up, resolved to perish in the defense of their most sacred 
rights, rather than submit to foreign dictation. Lawrence 
and her citizens were the first to be sacrificed, and most 
nobly have her neighbors come to her rescue. The moral 
strength of our position was such that even the "gates of 
hell" could not prevail against us, much less a foreign mob, 
and we gained a bloodless victory. Literally may it be said 
of our citizens, "Th^y came, they saw, they conquered." 

Selected as your commander, it becomes my cheerful 
duty to tender to you, fellow-soldiers, the meed of praise 
so justly your due. Xever did true men unite in a holier 
cause, and never did true bravery appear more conspicuous, 
than in the ranks of our little army. Death before dis- 
honor was visible in every countenance, and felt by every 
heart. Bloodless thought the contest has been, there are not 
wanting instances of heroism worthy of a more chivalric 



age. To the experience, skill and perseverance of the 
gallant General Lane all credit is due, for the thorough 
discipline of our forces, and the complete and extensive 
preparations for defense. His services cannot be over- 
rated \ and long may he live to wear the laurels so bravely 
won. Others are worthy of special praise for distinguished 
services, and all, both officers and privates, are entitled 
to the deepest gratitude of the people. 

In behalf of the citizens of Lawrence, in behalf of the 
ladies of Lawrence, in behalf of the children of Lawrence, 
in behalf of your fellow-soldiers of Lawrence, and in my 
own behalf, I thank you of the neighboring settlements 
for your prompt and manly response to our call for aid, 
and pledge you a like response to your signals of distress. 
The citizens who have left their homes to come to our 
assistance have suffered great privations and many dis- 
comforts and expenses, while the citizens of Lawrence 
have incurred heavy expenses; but all has been submitted 
to without a murmur, and in a spirit worthy of a people 
engaged in a high and holy cause. 

The war is ended, our duties are discharged, and it 
only remains for me, with the warmest affection for every 
soldier in this conflict, to bid you adieu, and dismiss you, 
to go again to the bosoms of your families. 


Delivered at Lawrence, Kansas Territory, July 4, 1855. 

This day, the seventy-ninth anniversary of the Declara- 
tion of American Independence, finds us in a new and 
strange country and surrounded by circumstances inter- 


esting and peculiar. While the echoes of the booming 
cannon are reverberating among our native hills, and the 
merry peals of the church-going bells are announcing to the 
world the rejoicings of a great and prosperous people, 
that their days of weakness, suffering and thraldom are 
past, we are here in a remote wilderness, to found a new 
State, and to plant anew the institutions of our patriotic 
ancestors. It is a day to us of peculiar significance. 
While we would pay a tribute of respect to that period 
which in the annals of this nation will ever be regarded 
as most sacred; while with one accord and one voice we 
worship in the Temple of Liberty, uncontaminated by 
party distinctions or sectional animosities, and unite in 
the endeavor to raise some fitting memento of a Nation's 
gratitude for the declarations of that day, the most glorious 
in the history of a mighty People, we should also gather 
lessons of instruction from the past by which to be 
guided in the erection of a new State in the heart of this 
great Republic. 

i . . . . . 

One lesson the history of our Government should teach 
us who have chosen Kansas for our home^ and that is es- 
pecially applicable to the instructions of this day, viz. : 
the more closely the principles of the Declaration of In- 
dependence are followed as the basis of Government, and 
the more universal they are made in their application, 
the more prosperous the Government and people. 

As the people of Kansas Territory are to-day the sub- 
jects of a foreign State, as laws are now being imposed 
upon us by the citizens of Missouri, for the sole purpose 
of forcing upon this Territory the institution of Slavery, 


I surely need make no apology for devoting the few mo- 
ments allotted to me on this occasion, to an examination 
of the effects of this institution upon a State and people, 
whether politically, morally, or socially. I ask you not 
to-day to listen to arguments of Abolitionists, or for 
Abolitionism. I wish not to wage war upon Slavery or 
slaveholders in any State of this Union, or to interfere 
in any respect with our neighbors' affairs; but it is for 
ourselves, our families, our own institutions and our 
prosperity, — it is for Kansas, I ask your attention. Is 
it politic, is it for our moral, intellectual or pecuniary 
advancement to submit to the dictation of a foreign power 
in regard to our laws and institutions ? This is the ques- 
tion that deeply interests us all, and for the consideration 
of which this day is most appropriate. 

Liberty, the goddess to whom this day is dedicated, 
showers upon her votaries peace and prosperity, intelli- 
gence and enterprise, morality and religion. The in- 
spirer and guide of Washington and the patriot fathers, 
may she become the presiding genius of our own beautiful 
Kansas! Slavery — the opposite and antagonist of Lib- 
erty, the ruin of nations, the impoverisher of States, the 
demoralizer of communities, the curse of the world, and 
child of hell — may she go to her own place. On this day 
and this occasion we may speak freely, assured that no 
offense can be given by the strongest expressions in favor 
of Freedom, or in opposition to Slavery, as no one who 
is in favor of the latter can join in the celebration of this 
day. No person who does not "hold these truths to be self- 
evident: that all men are created equal j that they are 


endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ; 
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of hap- 
piness," can consistently participate in the festivities of 
this day. ^ay, should we fail to speak in utter detesta- 
tion of Slavery, and hurl defiance at the monster on this 
anniversary of Freedom's natal day, especially when the 
tyrant has already placed his foot upon our necks, why, 
the very stones would cry out. 

Fellow-citizens, let us for a moment inquire who and 
where and what are w^e ? 

Who are we ? Are we not free-born ? Were not our 
mothers as well as our fathers of Anglo-Saxon blood? 
Was not the right to govern ourselves, to choose our ow^n 
rulers, to make our own laws, guaranteed to us by the 
united voice of the United States ? 

Where are we? Are we not in the most beautiful 
country that human eye ever beheld ? Is it not, for sur- 
face, soil and productions, worthy to be styled the garden 
of the world ? A wilderness, yet already budding and 
blossoming like the rose ? A new country, yet having the 
appearance, in its diversity of meadow and woodland, of 
hill and dale, of a land long inhabited, and most beauti- 
fully and tastefully laid out into parks and groves ? With 
a mild and salubrious climate, a dry, pure atmosphere, 
must it not soon become the resort of the invalid from the 
consumptive East and the ends of the earth ? 

Our situation, geographically, is in the center of this 
republic, at the half-way station between the Atlantic and 
Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the British Possessions. 
The ^Tather of Waters" extends to us his great right 
arm and proffers the commerce of the world and a market 


for all our productions; and the line of steam and tele- 
graphic communication that is soon to encircle the globe 
will of course pass directly through our Territory, thus 
bringing to our very doors the commerce of China and 
the Indies. 

What are we ? Subjects, slaves of Missouri ! We come 
to the celebration of this anniversary with our chains 
clanking about our limbs ; we lift to heaven our manacled 
arms in supplication; proscribed, outlawed, denounced, 
we cannot so much as speak the name of Liberty except 
with prison-walls and halters looking us in the face. We 
must not only see black Slavery, the blight and curse of 
any people, planted in our midst, and against our wishes, 
but we must become slaves ourselves. 

Persons may teach that the Declaration of Independence 
was a lie; that tyranny and oppression, a thousand-fold 
more severe than that which our ancestors rose in rebellion 
against, are right; that marriage is a mockery; that the 
parent shall not have possession of his own child, nor the 
husband his wife; that education is a crime; that traffic 
in human beings, the bodies and souls of men, is a virtue ; 
— all this may be taught with impunity in this boasted 
land of ours, and those who teach such things must be 
recognized as gentlemen and Christians. But to teach 
that all men are created equal, that they have an inalienable 
right to life and liberty; that oppression is a crime, and 
that education, religion and good morals are virtues, — 
this is not to be tolerated for a moment. Tar and feathers, 
the gallows and stake, await all persons who dare express 
a belief in such dangerous doctrines, if we can believe our 



masters. Masters, did I say ? Heaven forbid ! Subjects ? 
slaves ? Oh, no ! It is all a mistake. What ! the whisky- 
drinking, profane, blasphemous, degrading, foul-mouthed 
and contemptible rabble that invaded our Territory at the 
h;te elections, our masters? Xever! never! I can say to 
Death, Be thou my master, — and to the grave. Be thou my 
prison-house ; but acknowledge such creatures my masters, 
never ! No, thank God, we are yet free, and hurl defiance 
at those who would make us slaves. 

"Look on who will in apathy, and stifle, they who can, 
The sympathies, the hopes, the words, that make man truly man ; 
Let those whose hearts are dungeoned up with interest or with 

Consent to hear with quiet pulse of loathsome deeds like these ! 
We first drew in New England's air, and from her hardy breast 
Sucked in the tyrant-hating milk that will not let us rest ; 
And if our words seem treason to the dullard and the tame, 
'Tis but our native dialect, — our fathers spake the same." 

With truth and justice on our side, we have nothing to 

fear, for — 

"Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just, 
And he but naked, though locked up in steel, 
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted." 

Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted, if not his 
who withholds from the laborer his due, who makes mer- 
chandise of men, women and children, who sunders family 
ties, sending the husband perhaps to the cane-fields of 
]\[ississippi, the wife to a 'New Orleans brothel, and the 
children to the rice-swamps of Alabama, never to see 
each other again, and all to spend their lives amid whips 
and chains ? Is it not '^confirmation strong as Holy Writ'' 
that their conscience is corrupted, when such men "repel 
the doctrine" that such proceedings are wrong, either mor- 




ally or politically ? when they ^^hurl back with scorn" the 
charge that conduct like this can be inhuman ? Perhaps it 
is not inhuman, if they are fair samples of humanity, 
but it is certainly un-beastlike. 

And who are the cowards in this contest, if not those 
who shun investigation, tremble at free discussion or even 
the expression of an opinion, who cry out, ^^Down with 
the press, down with the church, and down with every 
man who disapproves of oppression" ? And what acts are 
cowardly, if it is brave and manly for scores of men, mad- 
dened with whisky, to prowl about in the dark and destroy 
the defenseless, to seize peaceable and unarmed citizens, 
to tar and feather them, to throw printing-presses into the 
river, and threaten to shoot governors and hang editors, 
and especially to march upon a weak and defenseless peo- 
ple by thousands, armed with deadly weapons of all kinds, 
the most deadly of which is whisky, and trample under 
their feet the dearest rights of freemen, imposing upon 
a neighboring Territory a foreign government and laws 
not of their choice, at the point of the bayonet ? If such 
acts are brave and heroic, what are cowardly and villain- 

What reason is given for the cowardly invasion of our 
rights by our neighbors ? 'No good reason is or can be 
given. They and their apologists say that if Kansas is 
allowed to be free, the institution of slavery in their 
own State will be in danger; that the contrast between 
a free and a slave State will be so great that their own 
citizens will become abolitionists, or the underground rail- 
road will relieve them of their slaves. But for the first 
cause there is no danger of alarm, if their doctrine is 


correct that slavery is a blessing, and not a moral or politi- 
cal evil. If it is the humane institution they represent, who 
will want to see it abolished ? As to the second cause, there 
is no ground to fear, provided the people of Missouri 
mind their own affairs and let ours alone, for it is not 
true that the settlers in Kansas have enticed away a single 
negro, or attempted to do so. On this point we speak by 
authority, for do not the Westport and other Missouri 
papers say that the general agency of this line of travel 
is under our charge, and did those papers ever tell an un- 
truth? We say, then, officially, that up to the present 
time not the first rail has been laid of this road in Kansas ; 
but the workmen are in readiness, and will commence op- 
erations with a will if our affairs are again interfered with 
by foreign intruders. If the people of Missouri make it 
necessary, by their unlawful course, for us to establish 
freedom in that State in order to enjoy the liberty of gov- 
erning ourselves in Kansas, then let that be the issue. If 
Kansas and the whole Xorth must be enslaved or Missouri 
become free, then let her be made free. Aye, and if to be 
free ourselves slavery must be abolished in the whole coun- 
try, then let us accept that issue. If black slavery in a part 
of the States is incompatible with white freedom in any 
State, then let black slavery be banished from all. As men 
espousing the principles of the Declaration of the fathers, 
we can do nothing less than accept these issues, ^ot that 
we are unfriendly to the South — far from it. If there 
be any true friend of the South in this assembly, to him 
we say that our love to the South is no less than his. If, 
then, such friend demand why we are ready to accept this 
issue, this is our answer: Xot that we love the South less^ 


but we love our country more. ^^Had you rather Caesar 
were living, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were 
dead, to live all freemen?" ^^Who is here so base that 
would be a bondman? If any, speak, for him have I 

Fellow-citizens, in conclusion, it is for us to choose for 
ourselves, and for those who shall come after us, what in- 
stitutions shall bless or curse our beautiful Kansas. Shall 
we have freedom for all her people, and consequent pros- 
perity, or slavery for a part, with the blight and mildew 
inseparable from it? Choose ye this day which you will 
serve, Slavery or Freedom, and then be true to your choice. 
If Slavery is best for Kansas, then choose it, but if Liberty, 
then choose that. 

Let every man stand in his place, and acquit himself 
like a man who knows his rights, and knowing, dares 
maintain them. Let us repudiate all laws enacted by for- 
eign legislative bodies, or dictated by Judge Lynch over 
the way. Tyrants are tyrants and tyranny is tyranny, 
whether under the garb of law or in opposition to it. So 
thought and so acted our ancestors, and so let us think and 
act. We are not alone in this contest. The entire nation 
is agitated upon the question of our rights. The spirit of 
'76 is breathing upon some, the handwriting upon the wall 
is being discerned by others, while the remainder the gods 
are evidently preparing for destruction. 

Every pulsation in Kansas vibrates to the remotest ar- 
tery of the body politic, and I seem to hear the millions 
of freemen and the millions of bondmen in our land, the 
millions of the oppressed in other lands, the patriots and 
philanthropists of all countries, the spirits of the Revolu- 


tionarj heroes, and the voice of God — all saying to the 
people of Kansas, "Do your duty !" 


The occasion which calls us together is one of deep in- 
terest and peculiar significance to every patriot and re- 

Our Territory has been repeatedly invaded, and our 
dearest rights trampled upon, by the citizens of a foreign 
State. They have taken possession of our ballot-boxes^ 
and by force of arms have wrested from us the right to 
make our own laws and choose our o^^i rulers, and im- 
posed upon us a system of laws uncongenial to our natures 
and wants. Having accomplished all this by invasion 
and outrage, it was but natural to suppose that invasion 
and outrage would be necessary to enforce their enactments. 
"Misunderstanding'^ the facts and the temper of the peo- 
ple as well as their tactics, the Executive recently gave 
the signal for another invasion, and the armed hordes 
responded. Our citizens have been besieged, robbed, in- 
sulted, and murdered; and our town threatened with de- 
struction for two whole wrecks, by the authority of the 
Executive, and, as he now says, in consequence of a 

A misunderstanding on the part of our Executive is a 
most unfortunate affair. 

Our Governor having been told that the people of Kan- 
sas did not recognize the laws of Missouri, and were deter- 
mined these laws should be a dead letter in the Territory, 


unwittingly fell into the error of supposing tlie people 
would array themselves against the Government of the 
United States, evidently not understanding how a code of 
enactments can be effectually resisted and no law violated. 
Had he carefully read the early history of his country, he 
might have understood the ^'Sons of Liberty" better than 
to suppose any United States law would be violated by the 
people, or, if violated, that the community would be guilty 
of violating it. 

By whose act do the remains of the lamented Thomas 
Barber now await interment at our hands ? By whose 
hand is his wife made a widow? By whose instrumen- 
tality are we made to mourn the untimely fall of a brave 
comrade and worthy citizen ? 

Eeport says Thomas Barber was murdered in cold blood 
by an officer or officers of the Government, who was 
a member of the sheriff's posse, which was commanded 
by the Governor, who is backed by the President of the 
United States. 

Was Thomas Barber murdered? 

Then are the men who killed him, and the officials by 
whose authority they acted, his murderers. And if the 
laws are to be enforced, then will the Indian Agent, the 
Governor, and the President be convicted of, and punished 
for, murder? There is work enough for the "law-and- 
order" men to do, and let us hear no more about resistance 
to the laws till this work is done. If all Missouri must be 
aroused and the whole nation convulsed to serve a peace 
warrant on an unoffending citizen, may we not expect 
some slight effort will be made to bring these capital offend- 



ers to justice? Or are our laws made for the low, and 
not the high, — for the poor, and not the rich ? 

For the dead we need not mourn. He fell a martyr to 
principle; and his blood will nourish the tree of liberty. 
An honorable death is preferable to a dishonorable and in- 
glorious life. Such was the death of our brother, and as 
such he will ever be cherished by his companions and 
fellow-citizens. It is glory enough for any man that a 
body of men like the Barber Guards should adopt his name 
to designate and distinguish their company. 

To his beloved and bereaved wife, to his brothers and 
relatives, to the members of his company, to all who have 
pledged property, honor, and life to the cause of freedom 
and humanity, I seem to hear the spirit of our departed 
brother say: ^'Be of good cheer; weep not for me; you 
are engaged in a good work, and your reward will be 
glorious. Death is no misfortune to the true; indeed, 
it is sweet to die in defense of liberty." 

But the shock produced by the murder of our friend ' 
is felt beyond the circle of his immediate relations and 
friends. It has shaken the entire fabric of our Govern- 
ment to its very base, and nothing but the unseen hand 
of the All-Wise Governor of the Universe could have 
saved this nation from civil war and political death. 

It is due to the bold stand taken by the freemen of 
Kansas during the late invasion that the sun of Liberty is 
still above the horizon ; and cold indeed must be his heart, 
wherever found, that does not beat in unison with oura 
as we pay our last tribute of respect to the remains of 
our brother! 


Can tlie people of this nation approve the 

*' Costly mockery of piling stone on stone ? 
To those who won our liberty, the heroes dead and gone, 
While we look coldly on, and see law-shielded ruffians slay 
The men who fain would win their own, the heroes of to-day ?'' 

** Be callous as they will, 
From soul to soul, o'er all the world, 
Leaps one electric thrill." 



MARCH 4th, 1856. 

The organization of a new government is always at- 
tended with more or less difficulty, and should, under the 
most favorable circumstance's, enlist the learning, judg- 
ment and prudence of the wisest men in all its depart- 
ments. The most skillful workmanship is requisite, that 
each part of the complicated machinery may be adapted 
to its fellow, and that a harmonious whole, without jar 
or blemish, may be the result. In Kansas especially, 
is this a most delicate and difficult task. Our citizens 
are from every State in the Union, and from nearly every 
country on the globe, and their institutions, religion, ed- 
ucation, habits and tastes are as various as their origin. 
Also in our midst are several independent nations, and 
on our borders, both west and east, are outside invaders. 

The reasons why the Territorial Government should be 
suspended and Kansas admitted into the Union as a State, 
are various. 



In the first place, it is not a government of the people. 
The executive and judicial officers are imposed upon the 
people by a distant power, and the officers thus imposed 
are foreign to our soil, and are accountable, not to the 
people, but to an executive two thousand miles distant. 
American citizens have for a long time been accustomed 
to govern themselves, and to have a voice in the choice of 
their officers; but, in the Territorial Government, they 
not only have no voice in choosing some of their officers, 
but are deprived of a vote for the officers who appoint 

Again: governments are instituted for the good and 
protection of the governed; but the Territorial Govern- 
ment of Kansas has been and still is an instrument of 
oppression and tyranny unequalled in the history of our 
republic. The only officers that attempted to administer 
the laws impartially have been removed, and persons sub- 
stituted who have aided in our subjugation. Such has 
been the conduct of the officers and the people of a neigh- 
boring State, either intentionally or otherwise, that Kan- 
sas to-day is without a single law enacted by the people 
of the Territory. 'Not a man in the country will attempt 
to deny that every election had under the Territorial Gov- 
ernment was carried by armed invaders from an adjoin- 
ing State, and for the purpose of enacting laws in 
opposition to the known wishes of the people. 

The Territorial Government should be withdrawn, be- 
cause it is inoperative. The officers of the law permit all 
manner of outrages and crimes to be perpetrated by the 
i-nvaders and their friends with impunity, while the citi- 
zens proper are naturally law-abiding and order-loving, 


disposed rather to suffer than do wrong. Several of the 
most aggravated murders on record have heen committed, 
but as long as the murderers are on the side of the oppress- 
ors, no notice is taken of them. Not one of the whole 
number has been brought to justice, and not one will be, 
by the Territorial officers. While the marauders are thus 
in open violation of all law, nine-tenths of the people 
scorn to recognize as law the enactments of a foreign body 
of men, and would sooner lose their right arm than bring 
action in one of their misnamed courts. Americans can 
suffer death, but not dishonor; and sooner than the peo- 
ple will consent to recognize the edicts of lawless invaders 
as laws, their blood will mingle with the waters of the 
Kansas, and this Union will be rolled together in civil 

]^ot only is this Territorial Government the instrument 
of oppression and subjugation of the people, but under it 
there is no hope of relief. The organic act permits the 
Legislature to prescribe the qualification of voters, and 
the so-called Legislature has provided that no man shall 
vote in any election who will not bow the knee to the dark 
image of slavery, and appointed officers for the term of 
four years to see that this provision is carried out. Thus 
nine-tenths of the citizens are disfranchised and debarred 
from acting under the Territorial Government if they 

Even if allowed to vote, the chief executive of the 
country says that he has no power to protect the ballot-box 
from invaders, and if the people organize to protect them- 
selves, his appointees intimate that they must be dis- 
armed and put down; hence, whether allowed to vote or 



not, there is no opportunity for the people of the Territory 
to rule under the present Territorial Government. In- 
deed, the laws are so made and construed that the citizens 
of a neighboring State are legal voters in Kansas, and of 
course no United States force can be brought against them. 
They are by law entitled to invade us and control our 

Whereas, the Territorial Government, as now consti- 
tuted for Kansas, has proved a failure — squatter sover- 
eignty under its workings a miserable delusion — in proof 
of which it is only necessary to refer to our past history, 
and our present deplorable condition; — our ballot-boxes 
have been taken possession of by bands of armed men from 
foreign States, and our people forcibly driven therefrom ; 
persons attempted to be foisted upon us as members of a 
so-called Legislature, unacquainted with our wants, and 
hostile to our best interests, some of them never residents 
of our Territory; misnamed laws passed, and now at- 
tempted to be enforced by the aid of citizens of foreign 
States, of the most oppressive, tyrannical, and insulting 
character ; the right of suffrage taken from us ; debarred 
from the privilege of a voice in the election of even the 
most insignificant officers ; the right of free speech stifled ; 
the muzzling of the press attempted ; — and whereas, 
longer forbearance with such oppression has ceased to 
be a virtue; and whereas, the people of this country have 
heretofore exercised the right of changing their form of 
government when it became oppressive, and have at all 
times conceded this right to the people in this and all 
other governments; and whereas, a Territorial form of 


government is unknown to tlie constitution, and is the 
mere creature of necessity, awaiting the action of the peo- 
ple; and whereas, the debasing character of the slavery 
which now involves us impels us to action, and leaves us 
the only legal and peaceful alternati^ — the immediate 
establishment of a State government; and whereas, the 
organic act fails in pointing out the course to be adopted 
in an emergency like ours : therefore, you are requested to 
meet at your several precincts in said Territory herein- 
after mentioned, on the second Tuesday of October next, 
it being the ninth day of said month, and then and there 
cast your ballots for members of a convention to meet at 
Topeka on the fourth Tuesday of October next, to form a 
constitution, adopt a bill of rights for the people of Kan- 
sas, and take all needful measures for organizing a State 
government preparatory to the admission of Kansas into 
the Union as a State. 

It is understood that the deputy marshal has private 
instructions to arrest the members of the Legislature and 
the State officers for treason, as soon as this address is 
received by you. 

In such an event, of course, no resistance will be offered 
to the officer. Men who are ready to defend their own 
and their country's honor with their lives, can never 
object to a legal investigation into their actions, nor to 
suffer any punishment their conduct may merit. We 
should be unworthy the constituency we represent, did 
we shrink even from martyrdom on the scaffold, or at 
the stake, should duty require it. Should the blood of 
Collins and Dow, of Barber and Brown, be insufficient to 


quencli the thirst of the President and his accomplices, in 
the hollow mockery of ''squatter sovereignty" they are 
practicing upon the people of Kansas, then more victims 
must be furnished. Let what will come, not a finger 
should be raised against the Federal authority, until there 
shall be no hope of relief but in revolution. 

The task imposed upon us is a difficult one; but with 
mutual cooperation, and a firm reliance on His wisdom 
who makes "the wrath of man praise him," we may hope 
to inaugurate a government that shall not be unworthy of 
the country and the age in which we live. 

LATURE m 1861. 

The position of the Federal Executive is a trying one. 
The Government when assumed by him was rent in twain ; 
the cry against coercion was heard in every quarter ; his 
hands were tied, and he had neither men nor money, nor 
the authority to use either. While it is the duty of each 
loyal State to see that equal and exact justice is done to 
the citizens of every other State, it is equally its duty to 
sustain the Chief Executive of the Nation in defending 
the government from foes whether from within or from 
without, and Kansas, though last and least of the States 
in the Union, will ever be ready to answer the call of her 


Several lessons may be learned from the conflict in 
Kansas, and the conduct of the War of the Rebellion in 



the West, that may he of service to the oppressed, to 
philanthropists and statesmen. 

It will be seen that the remedy for oppression in a repub- 
lican government is not the overthrow of that government, 
but resistance of oppression within it. If a people with 
votes in their hands, with power to replace every official, 
from President to constable, cannot exercise that power for 
their relief from oppression, a forcible overthrow of the 
Government would leave them at the mercy of designing 
men, who would as readily control the new government 
as the one destroyed. A republican government is what 
the people make it, and if not what it should be, they only 
are to blame. The safety of such a government depends 
upon the education of the voters ; and the remedy for in- 
justice in any direction is exposure of the wrong and agi- 
tation for the right. Defensive opposition to wrong and 
oppression with prudence will succeed, while offensive op- 
position to the Government itself will fail. Amos A. 
Lawrence once said: "The Government may have many 
faults, but let it be assailed from any quarter and the 
whole people will rally for its defense." In resisting 
oppression no wrong or outrage must be committed by 
the oppressed. They depend for relief upon the sympathy 
or sense of justice of the people not directly interested; 
and so long' as oppression only is resisted, this sympathy 
will be with the oppressed, but so soon as the oppressed 
or wronged turn oppressors and wrong innocent parties, 
all sympathy ceases. 

The Free-State party of Kansas retained the sympathy 
of the l^orth because it did nothing that could be called 
wrong in itself to any man, but acted strictly on the de- 



fensive.— (Chapter XVIII, pp. 4G1, 4G2, ^^Tlie Kansas 

Here is the position taken by the Free-State men, des- 
ignated by F. B. Sanborn as ^'dastards,'' and the position 
tried to be taken by the two "indispensable" heroes of that 
gentleman, and the reader can take his choice. It is not 
easy to conjecture what greater victory the Free-State men 
could gain, or what greater defeat the Pro-Slavery men 
could suffer, than to have 1,900 men march from forty 
to one hundred and fifty miles to serve a warrant issued 
by a justice of the peace, and then return, after cursing, 
swearing, shivering and freezing for two weeks, as they 
came, minus the w^hisky, without serving any process what- 
ever, legal or otherwise. If a more brilliant victory has 
ever been gained, it has not been recorded. How many 
such defeats could the Administration afford in enforcing 
"popular sovereignty" where the people were to be left per- 
fectly free to settle their institutions in their own way, 
subject only to the Constitution of the United States ? 

And what of the Free-State men called "dastards," who 
obeyed orders and suffered wrong without doing wrong? 
It is safe to say an equal number of men, with a more 
unflinching courage, both moral and physical, has not 
been seen since the days of the Revolution. 

A coward can give blow for blow, eye for eye, and 
tooth for tooth, but it requires true courage to suffer 
wrong without retaliation that a great cause may be ad- 
vanced. The Free-State men believed that every out- 
rage inflicted strengthened their cause and correspondingly 



weakened that of their opponents ; that in their sufferings 
lay their strength. In this respect, the Wakarusa War, 
while causing great annoyance and suffering, had enlisted 
the sympathies and support of the civilized world. — 
(Chapter VIII, p. 209, ^The Kansas Conflict.") 

Something of the nature of the conflict in Kansas may 
be learned from the characteristics of the contestants. 
Settlers from the IN'orth and East came from communities 
where person and property were protected by law, and 
the carrying of weapons for self-defense was unknown. 
Many had come to look even upon war among nations 
as a relic of barbarism. JSTot a few of the Kansas emi- 
grants had imbibed something of the views and spirit of 
the non-resistant agitators, and were disposed to interpret 
the teachings of the IN'azarene literally, to return good 
for evil, Avhen one cheek should be smitten to turn the 
other to the smiter, and if compelled to part with their 
coats, to give their cloaks also. As a rule, the Free-State 
settlers w^ere averse to a resort to physical force in the 
settlement of any conflict, much less a conflict purely 
moral and political. 

These were some of the characteristics of the Northern 
settlers while at home, but they were found unsuited to 
a Southern and Western climate. It was found that the 
precepts of Christianity, including non-resistance, might 
work admirably where all were Christians and non-resist- 
ants, but it was also discovered that the devil would flee 
only when resisted, and that pearls were not suitable diet 
for all animals and on all occasions. 

The South and Southwest were in many respects most 



unlike the East and Xorth. Where a large class was to 
be kept in servitude, nothing but physical force would 
avail. Hence deadly weapons and personal prowess were 
indispensable, and the man who w^ould pass current as a 
gentleman must be prepared at all times to protect his 
person and his honor by force. Also in the new West, 
in the absence of the civil code, every man was a law unto 
himself and constituted in his own person judge, jury, and 
executioner. In such a community human life^ instead 
of being sacred as in the ^N'orth and East, was cheap, and 
could be sacrificed at any time to resent personal insult 
and to protect peculiar institutions, if not for sordid gain. 
At the same time the better class of the citizens of the South 
had a high sense of honor, and could not be excelled in 
any part of the country for civility, courtesy, hospitality, 
and business integrity. — (Chapter III, pp. 26, 27, ^'The 
Kansas Conflict'^ ) 

*nn tvfj 9U\Jl 




Professor of Sociology and Economics in the University of Kansas. 

526 Pages. Cloth. $1.00, Postpaid. 

A new text-book for use in schools and colleges. Concise, schol- 
arly, well arranged, and containing the latest conclusions of the 
most advanced students in this important field. 



426 Pages. Cloth, $1.00. 

This is the latest and most complete and valuable life of John 
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wenM Century 
* Classics * 

No. IS. November, 1900. 





£bdrle$ (Robinson 

Cbe first Tree-State 
Governor of Kansas 






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TWENTIETH Century classics. 

Issued monthly, under the editorial supervision of W. M. Davidson, Superintendent of 
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The series is intended for the use of teachers, schools, libraries, and the general public. 
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5. Kansas in Literature — Poetry. Prof. William H. Carruth. 

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7. The Geological Story of Kansas. Prof. L. C. Wooster. 

8. Kansas Territorial Governors. William Elsey Connelley. 

9. Plants and Flowers of Kansas. Prof. B. B. Smyth. 

10. Richard Realf's Free-State Poems. Col. Richard J. Hlnton. 

11. John Brown, Part I. William Elsey Connelley. 

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13. Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." Margaret Hill McCarter. 

14. Shakespeare's "Macbeth." Margaret Hill McCarter. 


Lamb's "Tales from Shakespeare." By William M. Davidson. 
Shakespeare's " Merchant of Venice." By Margaret Hill McCarter. 
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By Prof. Frank H. Hodder. 
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