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Full text of "Charles Robinson and the Kansas epoch"

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Charles Robinson 

and the Kansas Epoch 



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CHARLES ROBINSON 

AND THE 

KANSAS EPOCH 









1907 



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Charles Robinson and the Kansas Epoch 



There arc no greater heroes in the history of our country than 
EH Thayer of Massachusetts and Charles Robinson of Kansas. 

William H. Taft. 



lei 



EXT to the Revolutionary Period, the Kansas 
Epoch furnishes the chapter of importance 
and absorbing interest in the history of our 
country. 
The creation of Kansas Territory was a political ex- 
pedient, undertaken and exploited at the instance of 
Southern statesmen for the purpose of restoring, be- 
tween the Free States and the Slave States, the "equi- 
librium," or balance, of power, that had been disturbed 
by the admission of California into the Union as a 
Free State. 

The maintenance of this equilibrium between the 
sections had been the special concern of the South 
from the time of its establishment by the admission 
into the Union of Louisiana. The loss of it was, to 
the South, a political catastrophe; and the reinstate- 
ment of it was in the highest degree necessary to safe- 
guard the institution of s^av^^ry against legislation in- 
imical thereto, then becoming i eminent as a result of 
the growth of anti-slavery sentiment. The heroic 
measures adopted by the South in its attempt to fur- 
ther this end precipitated a crisis in public affairs that 
shook the foundations of the Government and in- 
volved the existence of the Nation. 

3 



The importance of the public services rendered by 
Charles Robinson in this contention is not exceeded 
by those of any citizen in the history of our country, 
and entitles him to a broader fame than has yet been 
accorded to him. It is true the events which he pro- 
moted and controlled were localized within the bound- 
aries of Kansas Territory, but the struggle for su- 
premacy here was the affair of the Nation. It was 
between the two great factions of the country, the 
North and the South, then practically divided in sym- 
pathy and interest upon the subject of the further ex- 
tension of slavery. No American was ever charged 
with greater responsibility; the future of a race and 
the destiny of this Nation were in his hands. 

The slavery question was not new. It was a dis- 
turbing factor in the first councils of the Republic, 
and had evoked the intense solicitude of every sub- 
sequent generation. The differences that patriotism 
and statesmanship had failed to adjust during more 
than sixty years of debate and diplomatic effort had, 
at that time, been transferred from the forum to the 
people, from Congress to the field of actual physical 
conflict. 

Slavery was originally a merciful institution, sug- 
gested by the earlier promptings of humanity. In- 
stead of giving up prisoners of war to indiscriminate 
slaughter, it gradually became the practice of victors 
to make slaves of them, and there were no exceptions 
to the rule because of race, color or social conditions. 
Our Pilgrim Fathers made slaves of Indians. They 
made a slave of the son of the Indian King Philip, and 
sold him in the Barbadoes, where he died under the 
lash of the slave-driver. White men were sold into 



slavery in this country for debt. They were called 
"redemptioners." Lord Altham, of Ireland, was thus 
sold at Philadelphia in 1728, and during twelve years 
he was bought and sold by different masters in Lan- 
caster County of that State. It is only a little more 
than a hundred years since the corsairs of the Bar- 
bary States raided the seas, and captured hundreds 
of American sailors, whom they sold into slavery. 

Negro slavery existed at one time or another in all 
of the Thirteen Colonies ; but by the year 1804 it had 
been abolished in the seven Northern States. That 
portion of our population then, having no further pe- 
cuniary interest in the matter, moved up onto higher 
ground and became critical. It began to take cogni- 
zance of the objectionable features of slavery, and to 
contemplate with horror that which it had thereto- 
fore observed with complacency. The inhumanity of 
the system, the heartless cruelties inflicted upon the 
helpless slaves, the notorious immorality inseparably 
connected therewith, the enervating and demoralizing 
influence it wrought upon society — all these were taken 
up and enlarged upon until public sentiment revolted 
at the spectacle, and organizations along political lines 
were formed to oppose the further extension of this 
crime against humanity. 

In the South the trend of public sentiment was in 
the opposite direction. Broadening markets for South- 
ern products awakened that section into new life and 
activity. With the invention and use of improved 
machinery for the culture and care of their great 
staple, cotton, came a season of unparalleled pros- 
perity which disclosed before the Southern vision a 
vista of illimitable possibilities. The demand for 

5 



slaves increased beyond precedent; the slave markets 
presented scenes of wild excitement and speculation, 
and the breeding of slaves and the traffic in them be- 
came an established and profitable industry. It was 
only natural that the South should resent, as both an 
infringement upon its rights under the Constitution 
and a menace to its prosperity, any attempt on the 
part of the North to abridge its sphere of operations 
or "meddle with its domestic affairs." Thus were the 
two sections of the Union arrayed against each other 
upon this question. 

The claims of the two factions to the public domain 
lying west of the "States" had been satisfactorily ad- 
justed in 1787, both sections accepting the Ohio River 
as the line of division between them. But with the 
acquisition of Louisiana the problem of "dividing the 
public domain" was revived. Beyond the Mississippi 
lay the great plains, devoid of any topographical sug- 
gestion of a line that might demark the sections. The 
question of partitioning this territory between the 
free and the slave-holding sections thereof was pre- 
cipitated upon Congress in 1817 by the presence of 
Missouri at the portals of the Union, asking for ad- 
mission into the family of States. The northern 
boundary of the new State was drawn at nearly forty- 
one degrees north latitude, suggesting the Platte River 
as the dividing line from the Missouri River to the 
Mountains. Slavery had existed in Missouri Territory 
under the Territorial Government, and the Constitu- 
tion of the new State provided for its continuance. 
To receive Missouri thus into the Union was to fix the 
new line dividing the Trans-Mississippi country much 
farther north than the anti-slavery sentiment of the 

6 



country was willing to concede. It was accepted, how- 
ever, after exhaustive debate and bitter controversy, 
with a stipulation forever prohibiting slavery in all of 
the remaining territory acquired by the Louisiana pur- 
chase north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north 
latitude. 

In this contention, the aggressive attitude of the 
North against slavery was clearly developed; and the 
South, learning the lesson that only by force of num- 
bers and representation could the institution of slavery 
be preserved, gave itself diligently to the work of ex- 
tending its territory and strengthening its resources. 
The scheme adopted to accomplish these results was 
the most comprehensive ever attempted in American 
politics. It involved upon a grand scale the reforma- 
tion of the boundaries of our country; providing for 
territorial expansion on the south and an abridgement 
of territory on the north. All of which was, in due 
process of time, successfully executed. 

The United States claimed the "Oregon Country" at 
that time, up to fifty-four degrees and forty minutes 
north latitude. We held the Spanish title thereto, and 
had rights of our own by virtue of discoveries and oc- 
cupation to offset the claims of England. These pre- 
tensions were supported by public sentiment in the 
South, although especially accented in the Northern 
States. So popular had this sentiment become that 
the Democratic party, in the presidential campaign 
of 1844, took advantage of the fact, and appealed 
with great success to the patriotic spirit and war spirit 
of the voters with a campaign cry in the catchy alliter- 
ation "Fifty-four Forty or Fight." It transpired after 
the election that Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of State, had 

7 



already proposed to Her Majesty's Minister, Paken- 
ham, to settle the boundary dispute by adopting the 
forty-ninth parallel as the line of division between 
the two countries, with Vancouver and its strategic 
advantages thrown in for good measure. The territory 
thus voluntarily given up to Great Britain would have 
made three Northern States each as large as Oregon. 
In the meantime, the Republic of Texas had been an- 
nexed, and admitted into the Union as a Slave State, 
with a provision that it might subsequently be di- 
vided into four States. The Conquest of Mexico, and 
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo completed the list 
of these undertakings. 

By this treaty a million square miles — an area from 
which twenty States of the size of Pennsylvania could 
be made — were added to "southern" territory, and the 
problem of maintaining the "parity" for all time was 
apparently solved. 

Such, however, was not the fact. The immediate 
results of the war, and of the annexation of Mexican 
territory, were exactly the reverse of what had been 
expected. Instead of strengthening the position of the 
South in the Union, they laid the foundation for the 
destruction of the Southern oligarchy. The South 
sowed the seeds ; but the North gathered in the sheaves. 
The first disaster was the defeat of the Administration 
in the election of 1848, which made possible the ad- 
mission of California as a Free State. 

While the war was strictly a Democratic conception 
and was being promoted expressly to exploit the for- 
tunes of the Democratic party, there were no generals 
of that political faith to lead, and win the laurels of 
victory. Scott and Taylor, both Whigs, by virtue of 

8 



their military rank commanded the armies of invasion. 
These Generals would inevitably win the splendid vic- 
tories of the war and become popular candidates for 
the presidency. The danger was anticipated, and the 
"situation" corrected as far as possible. The increased 
military establishment, requiring the appointment of 
three Major-Generals and seven Brigadier-Generals, 
Democrats without military education or experience 
were promptly selected for these places, and a bill 
was introduced in Congress, and passed the House, 
to create the grade of Lieutenant-General, in order that 
Thomas H. Benton might be appointed to supersede 
General Scott. Taylor's army was depleted immedi- 
ately after Buena Vista, and Scott was relieved of 
command by General William 0. Butler immediately 
after the capture of the City of Mexico; but it was 
too late. The war was over. "Old Rough and Ready" 
and Scott were the heroes, and Taylor was elected 
President in a whirl of military enthusiasm. 

The maximum of disaster was to follow. Immedi- 
ately after the conclusion of the Peace Treaty with 
Mexico, gold was discovered on the Pacific Coast, and 
the allurements of fortune invited thereto ambitious 
and adventurous spirits from every land. The sturdy, 
rugged men who went there to dig for the precious 
metal were opposed to slavery on general principles, 
and had neither time nor inclination to study the phi- 
losophy of Southern Rights. In 1849 the people of 
California adopted a constitution, by the terms of 
which slavery was forever prohibited, and sought to 
be admitted into the Union. After a memorable strug- 
gle in Congress, second only to the contention over 
the admission of Missouri and over the adoption of the 

9 



"Wilmot proviso," California was admitted as a Free 
State. There were compromises and concessions in 
the premises, one being the passage of the "Fugitive 
Slave Law," but none that could in any degree com- 
pensate the South. It had lost a State from the very 
territory it had secured for its exclusive benefit and 
use; the "equilibrium" between the sections had been 
destroyed; the North held the balance of power; and 
there was no territory south of the "dead line" avail- 
able for the creation of a compensating Slave State.* 

From a political point of view, the plight of the 
South was absolutely deplorable. One sole resource 
remained, namely, to create a Territory and from it 
make such a State. The only portion of the public do- 
main that could by any possibility be made available 
for the purpose was that lying immediately west of 
Missouri ; but from this, slavery had been expressly 
excluded by the terms of the Missouri Compromise. 
And, besides, the lands were occupied under treaties 
by various tribes of Indians. These were serious 
complications and might have deterred more conserva- 
tive statesmen; but, spurred by the direst necessity, 
the South faced the problem, and, in 1853, with the 
change of the Administration, undertook the creation 
of a Slave State upon this territory. 

The political situation at the time was favorable 
for the accomplishment of the task; the Administra- 

*During the pendency of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mr. 
Trist, the American Commissioner, said to the Mexican Commis- 
sioners, who desired to have slavery excluded from the territory to 
be ceded: "Were this territory increased tenfold in value, and, in 
addition to that, covered a foot thick with pure gold, on the single 
condition that slavery should be forever excluded therefrom, I 
would not entertain the offer for a moment, nor even think of 
sending it to Washington. No American President would dare to 
submit such a treaty to the Senate." 

10 



tion was Democratic; its ablest leaders were Southern 
men; and upon a question affecting so vitally the wel- 
fare of the whole South, the Administration could be 
depended upon to render such aid and assistance as 
might be necessary. The danger attending the at- 
tempt to execute the undertaking lay in the shock to 
the public conscience that would result from the re- 
peal of the Missouri Compromise, and the effect that 
might have upon public affairs. The gravity of the 
situation was not overlooked nor lightly considered. 
The crisis had long been anticipated. The ultimate 
repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the opening 
of the territory west of Missouri to slavery had been 
incorporated into the program with the annexation of 
Texas and the conquest of Mexico. The loss of Cali- 
fornia forced the issue. It then became an imme- 
diate political necessity; the redemption from failure 
of the whole Southern scheme depended upon the suc- 
cessful execution of this movement. It was to be the 
last act of that great political drama. With Kansas 
admitted as a Slave State, the commanding position 
of the South in the Union would be restored. It could 
then prevent for all time the admission of other Free 
States, unless balanced by compensating Slave States; 
and when the existing territorial limits should become 
exhausted, another conquest could secure for it the re- 
mainder of Mexico. The necessary legislation was 
therefore decided upon, and, without reserve or apol- 
ogy, Mr. Dixon, who had succeeded to the seat of Henry 
Clay in the Senate, arose in his place and announced 
that when the bill to create the Territory of Nebraska 
should come before that body he would move "that the 
Missouri Compromise be repealed, and that the citizens 

11 



of the several States shall be at liberty to take and 
hold their slaves in any of the Territories." This per- 
emptory challenge by the Southern Democracy was 
ominous of the coming storm. The demand for this 
concession was in the nature of an ultimatum to the 
North, or an alternative proposition; namely, if the 
North would consent to the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise and the restoration of the equilibrium between 
the sections by the admission of Kansas as a Slave 
State, the Southern States preferred to, and would, 
remain in the Union ; otherwise, they would disrupt it 
and set up a Government for themselves. There was 
no middle ground for agreement or compromise upon 
the questions at issue, and none was attempted. 

May 30th, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska bill became a 
law, and by its terms the Missouri Compromise was 
repealed. The result was greeted with wild demonstra- 
tions of joy throughout the South. In Washington a 
salute of one hundred guns greeted the passage of the 
act; in the North bells were tolled, announcing "the 
death of Freedom." 

Because of the geographical situation, the Southern 
statesmen expected an easy victory. According to 
their estimates, they could colonize the Territory from 
Missouri and the South, elect a Territorial Legisla- 
ture, frame a State Constitution, and, with the Con- 
gress and National Administration favorable to their 
course, be admitted into the Union before any consid- 
erable immigration could arrive from the North. 

These propositions were all reasonable, and would 
have been successfully executed but for the prompt 
and systematic organization of colonization societies 
in the North, in aid of emigration to Kansas. The 

12 



plan originated with Hon, Eli Thayer, a member of the 
Massachusetts Legislature, who, while the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill was pending in Congress, obtained a 
charter for the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society, 
which, within sixty days after the passage of the act, 
placed the first band of colonists in the Territory. The 
affairs of the Company were placed under the direction 
of Charles Robinson, who located the colony in what 
is now Douglas County, and founded the town of 
Lawrence, named by him in honor of Amos A. Law- 
rence, of Massachusetts. This was the advance guard 
of the Army of Freedom that was moving up to resist 
the designs of the Slave Power and prevent the further 
extension of its dominions. Only the prompt arrival 
of these colonists upon the scene, and the timely and 
intelligent intervention in affairs by their wise and 
courageous leader, secured the success of the move- 
ment. Delay, which often impedes such efforts, would 
in this case have proved fatal. If these colonists had 
not been present in force, there would have been no 
invasions of the polls by citizens of Missouri, nor any 
necessity for them, nor any of the disgraceful scenes 
incident thereto, that aroused the righteous indigna- 
tion of all Christendom. The Border Ruffians and the 
Red Legs would have found no place in history, and 
civilization would have been spared the spectacle of 
crimes and atrocities being perpetrated upon citizens 
of the United States by officers of the Federal Govern- 
ment. Kansas would have quietly and peacefully en- 
tered the Union as a Slave State; the supremacy of 
the South would have been reestablished and slavery 
intrenched for all time. These prospective conditions 
were all reversed by the Northern invasion. 

13 



Robinson was especially equipped by heredity, edu- 
cation and experience for the difficult role he was to 
assume in the Kansas struggle. The blood of the 
French and English kings coursed through his veins* 
and gave him the commanding poise and mein that 
make leaders of men and masters of destiny. 

Attracted to California by the public interest the 
discovery of gold there had awakened, he crossed the 
plains in 1849, and settled at Sacramento, where public 
affairs, rather than prospecting for gold, absorbed his 
attention. A class of settlers called "Squatters" were 
involved in controversy about the titles to their lands, 
with speculators who claimed title by virtue of deeds 
from one Captain Sutter, who held under a grant of 
land from a former Mexican governor. Recognition 
of such titles had been provided by the Treaty of 
Guadalupe Hidalgo. The boundaries of these grants 
were very indefinitely described, and this one was in- 
terpreted to cover almost any property that was de- 
sirable. In the attempt of the speculators to eject the 
Squatters from their claims, before the validity of their 
titles had been determined, Robinson espoused the 
cause of the Squatters and became their counsellor and 
leader. His position in relation to the controversy was 
defined in a resolution adopted by the Squatters, to wit : 

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

"Resolved, That we will protect any settler in pos- 
session of land to the extent of one lot in the city and 

*NoTE: — The ancestry of Charles Eobinson runs back through 
twenty-two generations to Queen Isabelle, mother of Henry IH. and 
wife of King John of England. Through Isabelle his line of descent 
runs through the long line of Carlovingian Kings and Emperors 
back to Charles Martel and Pepin Heristal. 

14 



one hundred and sixty acres in the country, until a 
valid title shall be shown for it." 

A crisis was reached August 13th, 1850, when the 
Sheriff of Sacramento County ejected a Squatter and 
seized his property. An armed band of Squatters, led 
by Robinson and "Captain" Maloney, retook the prop- 
erty and reinstated the settler. In the fighting several 
persons were killed, including "Captain" Maloney, on 
on side, and the Sheriff and the City Auditor of Sac- 
ramento on the other. Robinson was among those se- 
verely wounded; a rifle ball had passed through his 
body two inches below his heart. He was held a pris- 
oner and placed aboard a prison ship on the Sacra- 
mento River. The speculators won the victory in the 
battle, but the Squatters won their contention. In the 
District Court of Sacramento, the Grand Jury found 
four true bills against Robinson : one for murder, two 
for assault with intent to kill, and one for conspiracy. 
While still a prisoner and resting under these indict- 
ments, he was elected to the Legislature for the Sac- 
ramento District. After the election, the cases against 
him were dismissed for want of prosecution. While a 
member of the Legislature, he voted for John C. Fre- 
mont for United States Senator, and against a bill to 
extend slavery over that portion of the State south of 
thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude. In 
1851 he returned to Massachusetts. 

Early in July, 1854, a little more than thirty days 
after the passage of the Enabling Act, Charles Robin- 
son arrived in Kansas Territory.* 

*A year after this, attracted by the spectacular struggle then in 
progress, General Lane arrived in Kansas, and a few months later 
John Brown came and took up his residence at the home of his 
son, John Brown, Jr. 

15 



The South had not been idle. It, too, had organized 
colonization societies; and in addition to all such 
proper methods to promote immigration, it attempted 
to discourage and obstruct the immigration of Northern 
men by methods of annoyance, intimidation and vio- 
lence. In pursuance of this policy, residents of Mis- 
souri came into the Territory in great numbers and 
"marked for preemption" the most desirable tracts of 
land. These Proslavery men, like the "speculators" 
at Sacramento, claimed everything; and whenever a 
Free State man attempted to locate a preemption, a 
Proslavery man could always be found to assert a prior 
claim. As Robinson expressed it, "It was the Sacra- 
mento game over again, with Squatters' titles instead 
of Sutter's deeds." Immediately the Lawrence Town 
Company had purchased the site for the city of Law- 
rence, numerous claimants appeared, demanding pos- 
session, among them John Baldwin. Robinson sug- 
gested the plan of settlement adopted in California — 
"That each settler be protected in his occupancy until 
a legal decision could be had." This was rejected. 
October 5th eighteen men, armed and mounted, col- 
lected at Baldwin's tent, and the next day war was de- 
clared in the following terms : 

"Kansas Territory, October 6th. 

"Dr. Robinson: Yourself and friends are hereby 
notified 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." 



16 



The challenge was promptly accepted, as follows: 

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

(Signed) C. Robinson and Friends." 

After this exchange of courtesies, some thirty Free 
State men, well armed, joined the Doctor's party and 
took a position about ten rods from the tent in dis- 
pute. The demonstration was sufficient. The incident 
closed with an indignation meeting, called by the Pro- 
slavery element, to "adopt measures that will protect 
us from all moneyed associations and influences; also 
the tyrannical encroachments made by the Lawrence 
Association. On which occasion there will be speeches 
made to vindicate the Squatter's right of preemption 
and the protection of his claim until entered." Later 
an attempt was made to cut down Robinson's house 
on Mount Oread, but it was abandoned upon his ar- 
rival with a few friends. 

As the time approached for the selection of a Terri- 
torial Delegate to Congress, it transpired that prepa- 
rations were being made by the Proslavery men to 
carry the elections ; and in pursuance of these arrange- 
ments, large numbers of citizens of Missouri appeared 
at the polls on election day, November 29th, 1854, 
and voted. The total vote cast was 2,833, of which 
1,729 were illegal. The importation of voters was un- 
necessary, for at that time the Territory was Pro- 
slavery by a large majority. Robinson, however, pro- 
tested to the Governor (Reeder) and asked that the 
entire vote of the districts receiving the votes of citi- 
zens of Missouri,be not counted. 

The crisis in the whole contention was reached 
March 30th, 1855, when the election for members of the 

17 



Territorial Legislature was carried by the Proslavery 
party. The Legislature would determine the question 
of slavery in the Territory and provide the machinery 
for its admission into the Union as a Slave State. The 
control of this Legislature was the acme of Southern 
hope; it was the goal that had been set up a third of 
a century before by the Southern Propaganda. The 
scenes enacted in connection with this election were 
without a parallel in the history of political atrocities. 
Organized bands of citizens of Missouri invaded the 
Territory, and in the most brutal and offensive man- 
ner took possession of the polls and elected a Pro- 
slavery Legislature. They claimed, in justification of 
their conduct, that the North had sent citizens of the 
Northern States into the Territory to vote at the elec- 
tions, and the South had an equal right to do the same 
thing. When a judge of the election at one of the polls 
resigned rather than receive the votes of the non- 
residents, the leader of them said: "We will appoint 
a judge to represent Missouri. You have two judges 
on the board, and it is only fair that we should have 
one to look after our interests." 

The victory for the South seemed complete and de- 
cisive. Overwhelmed and brushed aside by the force 
of numbers, the handful of Free State men stood 
aghast, mute witnesses of the ruthless invasion of their 
sacred rights. Never was a cause, apparently, more 
hopelessly and irretrievably lost. The great contention 
seemed to have been determined. It was the hour of 
fate. There was one man there, however, whose 
dauntless spirit no force nor circumstance could in- 
timidate. Amid the bluster and the brawling, the 
shouting and the swearing, and the tumult of the 

18 



drunken, swaggering vandals that had invaded the 
polls, he stood self-contained and undismayed — the 
man of destiny, whom the fates had ordained for this 
emergency and thrown into the breach in the hour of 
victory to wrest from the victors its priceless trophies. 
That man was Charles Robinson. In silence he con- 
templated the carnival of political spoliation, but the 
next day he despatched George W. Deitzler to Boston 
with an order for one hundred Sharp's rifles, which 
were received within thirty days and distributed 
among his followers at Lawrence. And an intelligent 
policy of resistance was thereupon formulated and put 
into practical operation. June 25th, 1855, after pub- 
licly resolving to repudiate the fraudulently elected 
Legislature, and to disregard the laws by it enacted, 
the people of Lawrence further "Resolved, That, in 
reply to the threats of war so frequently made in our 
neighboring State, our answer is, 'We are ready'." His 
clear comprehension of the magnitude of his responsi- 
bility is shown by the closing words of a request writ- 
ten July 26th, 1855, to Eli Thaj^er, for more rifles with 
which to arm the company organized by Captain Henry 
Saunders, of which J. B. Abbott was First Lieutenant : 
"In haste, Yotirs for Freedom for the World." Thus, 
under his sole leadership, was inaugurated the revolt 
against the Southern program that won the great vic- 
tory for the North, that made Kansas a Free State, 
and involved in its ultimate results the War of the 
Rebellion and the extinction of slavery. 

The outrages committed at the election March 30th 
were formally reported to the Territorial Governor, 
and another election was ordered for some of the pre- 
cincts, to be held the following May. Of these elections 

19 



the Southerners took no notice; but when the Legis- 
lature convened at Pawnee, they declared vacant the 
seats of the members chosen at the May election and 
seated the Proslavery members elected in March. 
Then, after changing the capital of the Territory to 
Shawnee Mission, which was voted over the veto of 
the Governor, they proceeded to enact a code of laws 
for the Territory. The sections relating to slavery 
were unique; in a collection of legislative curios they 
would have distinctive merit. They were intended to 
encourage the ownership of slaves, and in every pos- 
sible way promote sentiment favorable thereto, and to 
stamp out and repress even a semblance of opposition 
to it by either word or action. The bare expression of 
dissenting opinion to it constituted a misdemeanor. 
The theft of a slave was made a capital crime, pun- 
ishable by death. 

The Free State men gained substantially by the 
passage of these harsh proscriptive measures, which 
were at once a justification of the rebellion and a con- 
firmation and publication of their grievances to be 
read of all men; and this, in a contest where the ulti- 
mate appeal lay to public sentiment, was invaluable. 
They strengthened their position further by the move- 
ment to form a constitution, and under it seek admis- 
sion into the Union. The organization of a State 
Government, with Charles Robinson as Governor, was 
effected. It brought into their lines ambitious men 
from the "quts" of the Democratic party, whose power 
and influence were valuable. The experiment was 
dangerous, but the substantial gains to be secured 
thereby warranted the risk. Their situation, under 
any circumstances, was extremely critical, and the 

20 



most serious complications confronted them. To create 
a standard of loyalty that would justify avowed re- 
bellion against the Territorial Government, created 
and recognized by the Federal Government, required 
fine discrimination. To oppose the former and nullify 
its acts without giving offense to the latter was a 
delicate problem. 

Except in one essential element, the situation and 
outlook were altogether favorable for the Southerners. 
"Missouri was nearer than Boston." They were the 
majority party in the Territory, had the Territorial 
organization and Legislature, and supporting these 
were the Federal Administration and its forces. The 
Northerners had the advantage in leadership. Their 
colonization bureau could be depended upon, in time, to 
reverse the relations of the parties as to numbers, 
while the local organization, directed by its wise leader 
and supported by able, conservative and courageous 
men, inspired by a single purpose, the creation of a 
Free State, was incomparable and invincible. From 
every assault upon it, the South recoiled in defeat and 
humiliation. They murdered Dow, and Barber, and 
Brown, and Stewart, and Jones; they attempted to 
prosecute and punish the Free State men for treason, 
and, in pursuance thereof, arrested Charles Robinson, 
who had been elected Governor under the Free State 
Constitution, and other prominent citizens, and held 
them for months as prisoners without bail, guarded by 
United States troops. July 4th, 1856, with a battalion 
of United States Cavalry and a section of Artillery, 
under the command of Colonel E. V. Sumner, United 
States Army, they dispersed the Free State Legislature. 
They sought by force to prevent Free State men from 

21 



entering the Territory, and closed the Missouri River 
against such travel; and, with United States troops 
and a Deputy United States Marshal, arrested immi- 
grants who attempted to come into the Territory 
through Iowa and Nebraska. 

Notwithstanding these extreme measures, they made 
no substantial progress; they won no victories. Pas- 
sion and prejudice prevailed where calm judgment 
should have been enthroned, and reason forsook their 
councils. Outgeneraled and outwitted in their military 
invasion, the "Wakarusa War," they became the de- 
rision and jeer of all parties. By prostituting the op- 
portunities of victory to exploit their vengeance. May 
21st, 1856, they discredited their cause and largely 
alienated the support of their Northern allies. In the 
sack of Lawrence they set the seal of their defeat; the 
country refused to uphold such vandalism. That tri- 
umph was their Waterloo. 

One blot upon the Free State men's escutcheon, one 
awful crime, the most reprehensible and brutal of all 
the shocking events of that sanguinary struggle, sullies 
their otherwise irreproachable record. During the 
night of May 24th, 1856, three Proslavery men, Allen 
Wilkinson, William Sherman and John P. Doyle, and 
two boys, sons of the latter, all living on Pottawatomie 
Creek, were aroused from their beds, taken a few 
yards from their homes, and hacked to death with 
swords, their skulls being split open and their bodies 
otherwise horribly mutilated. The identity of the per- 
petrators of this tragedy remained concealed for a long 
time; later it was proved to be the work of John 
Brown, assisted by three of the younger members of 
his family and two Free State men. The motive for 

22 



committing the crime was to get the horses owned by 
the victims. With the possession of these horses, 
Brown began his spectacular career. 

Whittier's famous lines on the affair on the Marais 
des Cygnes apply with equal force to Brown's work on 
the Pottawatomie. 

These murders stirred the South into a frenzy, and 
preparations for reprisals were made upon a scale that 
augured ill for the Free State men. Colonel Sumner, 
appearing on the scene with his Cavalry, turned back 
some of the raiders, and for a time prevented the in- 
vasion. In September they mobilized their forces and 
entered the Territory in formidable numbers. What 
the result of this invasion would have been had their 
operations been allowed to proceed unchecked to ulti- 
mate conclusion, none can say. Fortune again smiled 
upon the Free State cause. This time, the exigencies 
of the general political situation intervened. ''Bleed- 
ing Kansas" had become the paramount issue. The 
country. North and South, was aflame with excitement. 
The success of the Democratic party in the Presidential 
campaign then pending was imperilled by the implica- 
tion of the Administration with the Proslavery atroc- 
ities, and a halt in the proceedings had been ordered 
from Washington. The Territorial Governor, Wilson 
Shannon, was removed, and Colonel John W. Geary, a 
Pennsylvanian, appointed to succeed him. The ap- 
pointment of Geary was highly gratifying to Charles 
Robinson. Each had known the other by reputation 
during the trying times in California, and when they 
met in Kansas they became frank and confidential 
friends. 

The arrival of Geary at Lecompton September 10th, 

23 



1856, was opportune. The most distracting conditions 
imaginable existed throughout the Territory. In addi- 
tion to the armed bands of both parties that were raid- 
ing the country, fighting battles and despoiling and 
terrorizing the inhabitants, war upon a grander scale 
was imminent. A hostile army, twenty-seven hundred 
strong, led by David R. Atchison, a United States Sen- 
ator from Missouri, was marching upon Lawrence. 
The Governor, upon being apprised of the movement, 
ordered Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, of the United 
States Army, with five hundred men, then stationed at 
Lecompton, to move at once to the protection of Law- 
rence. He arrived on Mount Oread at midnight, Sep- 
tember 14th, and placed his command in position to 
defend the town. Governor Geary arrived the next 
morning, proceeded to the camp of what now had sud- 
denly become the insurgents, at the mouth of the 
Wakarusa, and commanded them to retire and disperse. 
The order was imperative, and, supplemented by the 
military demonstration, was reluctantly obeyed. 

From this blow the Proslavery men never rallied. It 
was their last invasion in force from Missouri. The 
Democratic party was victorious at the National elec- 
tion in November; Governor Geary was forced to re- 
sign, and Hon. Robert J. Walker was appointed to 
succeed him. But by the time the new Administration 
was fairly inaugurated, it was plainly evident that the 
Free State men had occupied the Territory in such 
overwhelming numbers that they could never be dis- 
lodged. The South stood beaten. The end was at hand. 
At the election in 1857, the Free State party secured 
a majority of both branches of the Territorial Legis- 
lature. A futile effort to bring the State into the 

24 



Union with slavery, under a constitution framed at 
Lecompton, failed to secure the support of the Demo- 
cratic majority in the Senate. Even Douglas, the erst- 
while champion of the Proslavery party, repudiated it. 
Thus terminated the heroic struggle on the part of the 
South to regain its supremacy within the Union; and 
immediately upon the adverse decision of that struggle 
it proceeded to devise and formulate ways and means 
to establish an empire outside of the Union, which led 
to secession and its consequences. 

The record of the work accomplished by Charles 
Robinson in connection with this political crisis cannot 
be produced in the space allotted to this article. It is 
in itself one of the most thrilling chapters in the his- 
tory of our country. He was Commander-in-Chief as 
Major-General of the Free State forces in the Waka- 
rusa War, in which the Proslavery leaders were out- 
witted and outgeneraled and compelled to disband 
their "Army of Invasion" and retire in ignominy and 
derision from the State. By his personal courage and 
heroic bearing he inspired the Free State men to deeds 
of noble sacrifice and daring. With artistic skill he in- 
terested the ambitious in a scheme for Statehood, rich 
in promise of emoluments and rewards. He was 
elected Governor, January, 1856, under the "Topeka 
Constitution," and set up the State Government at 
Topeka in opposition to the Territorial Legislature, 
which was dispersed at the point of the sword. With 
unerring judgment he avoided the pitfalls and snares 
set for the Free State men to bring them in direct con- 
flict with the authority of the United States, which 
would have been fatal to the cause. His life was in 
constant danger. His home was pillaged and burned 

25 



to the ground by the Sheriff of Douglas County. The 
delicate and dangerous role he assumed led into the 
shadow of treason. He organized the Free State men 
as a military force and armed them with the most 
modern implements of war, which gave them courage 
to resolve at the Big Springs Convention, September 
5th, 1855, referring to the laws enacted by the Terri- 
torial Legislature, "That we will endure and submit 
to these laws no longer than the best interests of the 
Territory require, as the less of two evils, and will re- 
sist them to a bloody issue as soon as we ascertain that 
peaceable remedies shall fail and forcible resistance 
shall furnish any reasonable prospect of success." This 
was treason, pure and simple, but it was justified by 
the higher tests of exalted citizenship. He was ar- 
rested and held a prisoner upon the charge; but the 
General Government dared not bring him to trial be- 
fore the Nation. He would have been murdered at 
Leavenworth, while in arrest there, had his captors 
dared to give him up to death. Throughout the whole 
of that heroic struggle, his was the master spirit that 
inspired and the guiding hand that pointed out the 
';path to victory. . His .speech delivered at Lawrence 
July 4th, 1855, is a classic in patriotism and loyalty; 
it is the utterance of a great man impressed by the 
responsibility of a great cause. 

The student of history is invited to an investigation 
of the results of the work accomplished by Charles 
Robinson in their influence upon the course of National 
events. He broke the autocratic power of the South 
that had theretofore dominated the Government, and 
smashed the slate that would have perpetuated that 
power forever. To the Nation he gave the dawn of its 

26 



new birth of freedom, and to its Declaration of Inde- 
pendence consistency and dignity. Had he faltered 
March 30th, 1855, or failed in any subsequent emer- 
gency in the Kansas Rebellion, the Emancipation 
Proclamation would not have been written. He cre- 
ated the conditions from which sprang the immortal 
paper, and deserves to stand in history upon equal 
terms with the man who wrote it. Upon the admission 
of Kansas into the Union, he was elected Governor; 
but the strength and efficiency of his administration 
was weakened by the intrigues and machinations of 
his political enemies, especially those of Senator Lane, 
who, in the furtherance of his own political fortunes, 
sought to discredit the Governor at Washington, and 
appropriate to himself a portion of the Executive's pre- 
rogative. The action of Mr. Lincoln in the premises is 
not creditable. He placed reliance in the representa- 
tions of Senator Lane and grossly wronged and insulted 
the dignity of the man whom, above all others in this 
Nation, he should have honored. By a cruel blow* 
dealt him by the Administration, to the existence of 
which he had so largely contributed, his political for- 
tunes were shattered , aiH fibeVexn^nder o^ Msl lf|e 
emtHt^ftd. After the close of his term of office, he 
gradually severed his relations with the Republican 

*In September, 18C2, Senator Lane was appointed Brigadier- 
General, United States Volunteers, and authorized by Secretary of 
War Staunton to organize three regiments of Volunteers in Kansas, 
and to appoint the necessary commissioned officers. Governor Rob- 
inson refused to issue commissions to the persons selected by Lane, 
whereupon the Secretary of War ordered Robinson to issue them, 
saying if he refused, the necessary commissions would be issued 
from Washington; to which Robinson sent the following character- 
istic reply: "You have the power to override the Constitution and 
the laws, but you cannot compel the Governor of Kansas to dis- 
honor his State." 

27 



party and ceased to wield a controlling interest in State 
affairs. The University of Kansas thereafter became 
the object of his special interest. He promoted its es- 
tablishment and endowed it with his fortune. In honor 
of his memory, the Legislature caused a marble bust 
of the Governor to be placed in the Chapel of that in- 
stitution. This was unveiled with appropriate cere- 
mony February 22d, 1898. He died at his home, "Oak- 
ridge," near Lawrence, August 17th, 1894.* 

*His wife, who was his constant and devoted companion through 
all these perils in Kansas, still survives him. She was Miss Sara 
T. D. Lawrence. They were married October 30th, 1851. She is 
a woman of strong character and great literary ability, and en- 
joyed to the fullest extent her husband's confidence and love. 



28 



GENEALOGY OF CHARLES ROBINSON 



The Carlovlngrlan Ilonse. 

(Fisher's Outlines of History, p. 233.) 

Pepin of Hcristal, d. 714. 

I 
Charles Martel, d. 741. 

Pepin the Short. (King 752-768.) 

Charlemagne, 768-814. (Emperor 800. ) 

I,ouis the Pious, 814-840. 

l,ouis the German, 843-876. 

Carloman, d. 880. 

Arnulf, King of Germany, 887-899. (Em- 
I peror896.) 

daughter m. . 

Henry I of Germany, 918-936. 



Robert "the Strong;, " d. 866, a. d. (In- 
vested with the County of 
Paris, in 861, by "Charles the 
Bold," grandson of Charle- 
magne.) 

Robert, Duke of Normandy. (King 
I 92-'-92:5.) 

Hugn the Great, d. 956, m. 3. . married Hedwiga. 

Hugh Capet, 987-996. 

Robert I, 996-1031. 

I 
Henry I, 1031-1060. 

Philip I, 1060-1108, m. Bertha, dau. of Florence I, Count of Holland. 

I/)uis VI, 1108-1187 (styled "Louis le Gros"). 

Peter, Lord of Courtenay (fifth son of Louis VI). 

Alice, m. Agnew Taillefer, Count of Angouleme. 

John, King of England, m. Isabelle 



OF Angouleme, 

1. Henry IIL 

2. Edward I. 

3. Edward II. 

4. Edward III. 
6. Duke of York. 

6. Earl of Cambridge. 

7. Duke of York. 

8. Edward IV. 

I 



married Count de la Marche. 
Isabelle, Baroness. 
Isabel. 

Thomas, Lord Berkeley. 
Margaret, Lady Bassett. 

Bassett. 

I 
Bassett. 

I 
— — Bassett. 

Sir Symond Bassett. 

29 



9. Elizabeth, m. Henry VII. Robert Bassett. 

I I 

10. Margaret, m. James IV, King of Gyles Bassett. 
I Scots. 



11. James V, King of Scots. 

12. Mary, Queen of Scots. 

I 

13. James 1. 



Robert Bassett. 

William Bassett. 

I 
Edward Bassett. 



"I Jane Dighton. 

14. Elizabeth, ra. Frederick, Elector | 

I of Palatine. Frances Dighton, m. Richard Williams. 



16. Sophia, m. Ernest Augustus, Elec- | | 

I tor of Hanover. Samuel. Thomas. 

I I I 

16. George I. Seth. Jonathan. 

I I I 

17. George II. David, m^ Elizabeth . 

18. Frederick, Prince of Wales. Jonathan Robinson, m. Phebe Williams. 

19. George III. Jonathan Robi nson, m. Hulda Woodward. 

20. Duke of Dent. Charles Robinson. 

I 

21. Victoria. 

1 

22. Edward VII. 



(' (1) King John of England. Son, Henry III. 

I (2) Count de hi Marche of France. Four sons 
Isabelle of Aligotllcnie, m. -j (one of whom was Wm. de la Valence, 

Earl of Pembroke), and a daughter, 
Isabelle, "uterine sister" of Henry III. 

Isabelle, m. Maurice de Creoun, a baron of note. 

i 
Isabelle, m. Maurice de Berkeley, d. April, 1281. 

Thomas, I,ord Berkele3', m. Jane, dau. of Wm. de Ferress, Earl of Derby. 

Margaret Berkeley, m. Sir Anselm Bassett. 

Bassett. 

Sir Henry Furnealx. Walter Rawley [Raleigh] ni. Jane, the 
I I Ivord Boteler's dau. I 

Bassett. Sir Matthew Furnealx, . . . . m. . . Maud Rawley. 

I I 
Bassett. Sir John Bytton, m. Avis Furnealx. 

. I I 

Sir Symond Bassett, . . . m. . . Maud Byttou. 

Robert Bassett, in. Margaret Harwell. 

Gyles Bassett, m. Jane Davis. 

Robert Bassett, m. Anne Spj'cer. 

William Bassett, ra. Jane, dau. of John of Ashe, of Yewley. 

Edward Bassett, m. Elizabeth, dau. of Henry Sygon, of Yewley. 

Jane Bassett, m Dr. John Dighton, of Gloucester, England, eminent surgeon, of 
I St. Nicholas parish. 

Frances Dighton, m. Richard Williams, both of Gloucester, England. 



30 



Alden de Cromwell, 1066. 

Hugli. 
Ralph. 
Ralph. 

Ralph. , 

I 
Ralph. 

Ralph. 

Ralph. 

Ralph. 

Ulker. 

Richard. 

John. 

I 
Robert. Dau. Margaret, m. William Smyth, bro. of Margaret. 

William, m. Margaret Smyth. 

John, m. Joan Smyth, dau. of William Smj'th, above. 

Walter, son Thomas, Vicar General, 153.). 

I 
Katherine Cromwell, m. Morgan Williams. 

I 



1 . I 

Thomas. Sir Richard Williams.* 

John Williams. Sir Henry Williams, alias Cromwell. 

Richard Williams. Robert Cromwell. 

1 . I • 

JohnWilliams. Oliver Cromwell. 

William Williams, m. Jane Woodward. 

Richard Williams, of Taunton, m. Frances Dightou. 

I 

I I 

Samuel. Thomas. 

1 I 

Seth. Jonathan. 

I I 

David, m. Elizabeth. 



Phebe Williams, m. Jonathan Robinson . 

Jonathan Robinson, m. Hulda Woodward. 

\ 
Ch.\rles Robinson. 

* Sir Richard Williams changed his name to Cromwell in honor of his uncle, 
Thomas Cromwell, vicar general under Henrj' VIII, and wrote his name "Wil- 
liam, alias Cromwell," as did his son Hetirj', grandson Robert, and great-grand- 
son, Oliver Cromwell, in his youth. (1620.) 



31 



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