» 0a$$ic$ *
Vol. I. No. 2.
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The object is to furnish special reading of a high order for the use of
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The first year's work will be divided into three groups, and be given
entirely to the following local series :
History . . i. John Brown of Kansas.
2. Jim Lane of Kansas.
3. Eli Thayer and the Emigrant Aid Society.
4. Territorial Governors of Kansas.
Literature, i. Kansas in Poetry and Song.
2. Selections from Ironquill.
3. Kansas in Literature.
4. Kansas in History.
Nature . . i. Plants and Flowers of Kansas.
Study 2. Birds of Kansas.
Group. 3. Geography of Kansas.
4. Minerals of Kansas.
Subscription price will be $1.00 per year in advance, postage paid. Sin-
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CRANE & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS,
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
AND SCHOOL READINGS
UNDER THE EDITORIAL SUPERVISION OK
W. M. DAVIDSON
SUPERINTENDENT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF TOPEKA, KANSAS
JAMES HENRY LANE
TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS AND SCHOOL READINGS
JAMES HENRY LANE
THE "GRIM CHIEFTAIN" OF KANSAS
WILLIAM ELSEY CONNELLEY
Author of " The Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory '
" Before Ood, I believe I shall see the day ivhen this black and brutal party shall
be broken in pieces, and from the waters of the Yellowstone to the warm reaves of the
Chilf one long line of free States shall rear themselves, an impenetrable barrier, against
which the Western waves of slavery sliall dash themselves in vain. UNTIL THEN J
AM A CRUSADER FOR FREEDOM !^^— J a^es Henkt Lane.
Crane & Company, Publishers
Crane & Company, Topeka, Kansas
TWO COPIES RI-CEIVED,
.<^^ cr ron,
( Nui/ L 6 im
Master of human destinies am I.
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk ; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace — soon or late
I knock unhidden once at every gate!
If sleeping, wake — if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate.
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save Death; but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe.
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore.
I answer not, and I return no more!
— John James Inqalls.
^^ Kansas will stamp upon the civilization of the age a hundred years
of history before another parallel is produced to that iveird, mysterious
and partially insane, partially inspired, and poetic character, James
H. Lane. It is not strange that his birthplace should be questioned.
It is in keeping with his wayward, fitful life of passion and strife, of
storm and sunshine — a mysterious existence that now dwelt on the
mountain-tops of expectation and the very summit of highest realiza-
tion, and anon in the valley of despondency and deepest gloom. Seven
cities claim the honor of Horner^ s birth. . . . I do not think a great
man ever lived who was not born of a strong, naturally intellectual,
poetic and emotional mother." — Milton W. Reynolds.
** States are not great
Except as men may make them ;
Men are not great except they do and dare.
But States, like men,
Have destinies that take them —
That bear them on, not knowing why or where."
The high order of Kansas society is the result of the
great intelligence and the exalted genius of the founders of
the State. Men of education, high moral worth and refined
taste, came to Kansas at the very first— even with immi-
grating Indian trihes when it was still a part of the " In-
dian country," and " Missouri Territory/' It would seem
that the land always had a fascination for men of talent,
learning, genius. To herself Kansas has always tied her
children with an attachment which amounts to devotion.
One of the causes for this is, that the history of Kansas is
an inspiration. This State was born of a struggle for
liberty and freedom. So fierce were the fires kindled here
in these causes that they purified the nation. It is only
necessary for us to be well informed in the history of our
State to make us love her, to make us devoted to her, to
make us patriotic. The history of Kansas is full of men
who will grow in stature as long as man loves liberty.
Tlie jDrocesses of the evolution of so glorious a common-
wealtli from chaos and disorder are worth our closest atten-
tion. Thej deserve from us devoted study and contempla-
tion. By the deeds and achievements of our fathers should
we be inspired to a faithful performance of every duty
demanded for the preservation of our liberties, secured to
us by their sacrifices, their tears, and their blood; and
sacredh" intrusted to us to be guarded for the coming gen-
The enlightened citizen is a good citizen. When every
citizen is a sovereign, liberty can only be preserved and
transmitted to posterity by an intelligent and educated
jDCople knowing well how it was secured and what it cost.
In this principle lies the foundation of our system of
popular and universal education. The genius of our insti-
tutions makes it a crime against the national life to permit
a child to grow up in ignorance. Men are patriotic as they
are enlightened, devoted to the institutions of their country
as they understand and appreciate them. Old systems and
ancient nations perished because the great masses of their
people were kept in ignorance, servitude, and penury.
Great men leave the impress of their genius upon the
institutions they help to found. To rightly understand the
institutions of our State, it is necessary that we should have
some knowledge of the men who builded it. In this view
the study of the life of the late Senator James Henry Lane
becomes to us a duty.
That Senator Lane did service so valiant, so vital in the
noble cause of freedom that he should be accorded the grati-
tude and love not only of this but of all the coming genera-
tions in Kansas and the nation, has long been the almost
unanimous opinion of the people of this State. The con-
sciousness that this is true, grows.
There were giants in those days ; and in the " imminent,
deadly breach " towered the form of James Henry Lane
above them all. His life is interwoven with that of our
State. As she grows in power and place, so must grow his
In the preparation of this paper I have had the kindly
assistance of Judge F. G. Adams, x^o work on Kansas
subjects can be written, if it requires any research what-
ever, without diligent search in the mines of material
accumulated in the archives of the State Historical Society
by the long and toilsome labor of Secretary Adams.
W. E. C.
ToPEKA, Kansas, October 7, 1899.
THE FORMATION OF KANSAS
" Than in our State
No illustration apter
Is seen or found of faith and hope and will.
Take up her story :
Every leaf and chapter
Contains a record that conveys a thrill."
The genius and indomitable will of Lane liberated a
Let ns follow the development of the Territory from the
purchase of Louisiana from France. This was April 30th,
1803. Possession of Louisiana was delivered to the United
States December 20th, 1803, at 'New Orleans. The United
States did nothing toward exercising authority in Louisiana
until March 10th, 1804, when Amos Stoddard assumed the
duties of Governor of " Upper Louisiana." On March
26th, 1804, Congress divided the territory acquired by the
purchase of Louisiana into two parts. One of these was
named the Territory of Orleans, and comprised that part
of the country south of the north line of the present State
of Louisiana. The remainder of this vast expanse was
erected into the District of Louisiana and attached to
Indiana Territory for the purposes of government. On
12 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
March 3d, 1805, Congress changed the name of the " ])is-
trict of Louisiana " to that of the " Territory of Louis-
iana/' and detached it from Indiana Territory. Presi-
dent Jefferson appointed James Wilkinson its Governor.
It retained this status until June 4th, 1812, when Con-
gress changed its name to Missouri Territory, and formu-
lated for it a system of government. The common law
of England was declared by the Legislature to be the law
of the land. In 1819 the Territory of Arkansas was
formed with the present boundaries of that State. In
1820-21 Missouri was admitted as a State with its present
boundaries, except that it did not include the ^^ Platte
Purchase," which was added in 1836, in violation of the
terms of the Missouri Compromise. The residue of the
vast area remained de facto as well as de jure Missouri
Territory. It extended from Texas to British ]^orth Amer-
ica, and was bounded west by the watershed of the Valley
of the Mississippi, It had no capital — no seat of govern-
ment, and very few white inhabitants.
This old Missouri Territory was divided by act of
Congress June 30th, 1834. It was declared " Indian coun-
try," — ^what it had in fact always been, — and came to be
spoken of as the '^ Indian Territory." The south division
was that portion south of the north line of the lands as-
signed to the Osages produced east to the west line of the
State of Missouri; and was attached to Arkansas. The
remainder of the Territory of Missouri was placed under
the jurisdiction of the United States District Court of
Missouri. In 1834 a joart of Missouri Territory, on the
north, was set off to the Territory of Michigan. What re-
mained was still the Territory of Missouri, and so remained
JAMES HENRY LANE 13
until the passage of the Kansas-N^ebraska bill, May 30,
1S54. Then its existence Avas terminated. All tliese j'cars
it had a government, although an extremely limited one,
with all its functions condensed into the dicta of tlie
United States District Court of Missouri.
The want of a more effective government was recog-
nized. In 1844 the Secretary of War recommended the
organization of a Territory. A bill for this purpose was
introduced in the Senate, but not passed. Another effort
in this direction was made in 1848, and failed. Up to
this time there had been no absolute need for a Territorial
government. But in the years 1849 and 1850 it is esti-
mated that one hundred thousand persons passed over the
plains to California. Such a knowledge was obtained of
the beauty and fertility of the land, that popular clamor
arose for its opening to settlement. Even the emigrant
tribes of Indians began an agitation in this direction, in
which the Wyandots at the mouth of the Kansas river took
the lead. During the first session of the Thirty-second
Congress, in the winter of 1851-52 and in the spring of
1852, these people petitioned Congress for a Territorial
organization. IS^o attention being paid to their petitions,
they decided to elect a delegate to the second session of this
Congress, and did so elect Abelard Guthrie, October 12th,
1852. Toward this action was first shown the opposition
of the slave pow-er to the erection of a Territory west of
Guthrie secured the passage through the House of a bill
to organize ISTebraska Territory, with bounds which include
Kansas and ^Nebraska as now constituted, and also portions
of Colorado and Wyoming. This bill failed in the Senate,
14 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
but by a comparatively close vote. It forced the attention
of the country and Congress to the demand of the people
for a Territorial government.
Senator Benton, of Missouri, introduced in the Senate,
in 1850, a bill for the location and construction of a " great
national highway '' to the Pacific ocean. The discovery of
gold in California made the building of this road impera-
tive. Two routes were proposed for this road. Senator
Benton favored the one leading up the Kansas river. Illi-
nois, Iowa and the free States generally favored Council
Bluffs as the starting-point. Fort Smith had been proposed
as an initial point, also, but it was soon seen that the road
must be built either up the Platte or the Kansas valleys.
Mr. Guthrie acted for Senator Benton in his movement
for a government for " I^ebraska," as the country was be-
ginning to be called. He was a Wyandot by marriage and
adoption. Upon his return from Washington his tribe de-
termined to organize a Provisional government for Ne-
braska Territory at the anniversary of their Grreen Corn
Peast, August 9th, 1853. Afterwards it was resolved to
form the Provisional government at an earlier date, which
was done; the date being July 26th, 1853. The conven-
tion was held in the Wyandot council house, in what is now
Kansas City, Kansas. William Walker was selected as
Provisional Governor. A preamble and resolutions were
adopted which served the Provisional government as a Con-
stitution. An election for Delegate to Congress was held.
Three men claimed the election, but no Delegate was ad-
mitted to a seat. However, all appeared there, and urged
the establishment of Nebraska (Kansas) Territory.
[The foregoing account is condensed from Connelley's ** Provi-
sional Government of Nebraska Territory."]
JAMES IIENKY LANE 15
At the assembling of Congress in 1853 it was realized
that something mnst bo done with ISTebraska (Kansas).
Some action by Congress was demanded from every quar-
ter. What that action should be was the question with the
extremists of the slave power. The action by the people
themselves had. been opposed by the partisans of the radi-
cal Democracy in Missouri. True, they had not broken
over the border in savage and brutal bands ; that was re-
served for a later day. But they had threatened Guthrie
Avith arrest at Fort Leavenworth ; and also to use the
military if necessary to prevent or suppress the movement
for a Provisional government.
The South was not averse to the opening of the country
to settlement, nor to the erection of Territorial govern-
ments, if slavery could in some way be made a fundamental
institution of some of them.
The pledged faith of the nation in the form of the
Missouri Compromise confronted them. Their objections
to opening the country to settlement could be overcome
onl}^ by the repeal of this sacred compact. As no other
way appeared, to this unwelcome and dangerous step did
Senator Douglas now set himself. The two things which
nerved him were the extreme and radical element now con-
trolling the South, and on his part a desire to attain to the
Presidency. Pie hoped the one would become the means
of securing the other, lie was in trepidation as to the
effect in the ISTorth, but without the support of the South
his ambition were better flung away altogether.
Time for decisive action was at hand. The matter
16 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
pressed. As to who first entertained tlie idea of proposing
the measure of repeal, we are not concerned. In 1852
Senator Atchison, of Missouri, expressed the belief that
the slaves then in ^Nebraska (Kansas) were free by the
operation of the Missouri Compromise, and asked its repeal
before he would consent to have anything done by Congress
for the country. Some believed that it had been in effect
repealed by the Compromise of 1850, when the doctrine
of popular sovereignty was first enacted into law. Senator
Douglas finally embodied this idea in a bill.
This bill he introduced in January, 1854. It provided
for the erection of but one Territory, to be called l^ebraska,
embracing Kansas and ]^ebraska and the country west of
them to the Rocky Mountains. This bill was recalled by
Senator Douglas, who then brought i:i another, the now
famous ^^ Kansas Nebraska Bill," providing for two Terri-
tories, Kansas and ISTebraska. It became a law May 30th,
Kansas here took definite form. Its eastern, northern
and southern boundaries were as they remain to-day; its
western limit was the summit of the Kocky Mountains.
"Now Nature hangs her mantle green
On every blooming tree,
And spreads her sheets o' daisies white
Out o'er the grassy lea."
It may be well for its to inquire what this country is
like, which was so unexpectedly made an entity and prom-
ised a place in the sisterhood of the Rej^nblic.
At the time of which we write the wild man possessed it.
To him its undulating fertility was of no value except to
that degree in which it produced wild animals for him to
pursue. In its solitude it was a land of plenty. The Osage
and Kansas Indians were required to make so little effort
to obtain food that they became too lazy to maintain the
set forms of their language. Words were shortened and
sentences abbreviated. Rolling herds of buffalo grazed
on the swelling prairies, rising and falling like the billows
of the sea. When stampeded their hoof -beats rumbled like
low and distant thunder. The wild flowers flamed on the
meadow-grass. The leaves of the cottonwood quaked and
shimmered on the borders of the serpentine streams. The
broad-headed, sliort-boled bur-oak made the prairies along
the streams and the rich bottom lands look like orchards.
The autumnal sumac set every hill aflame. Where the
swarthy squaw tilled the soil Avith a bone ho<", a harvest
18 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
bloomed and the yellow maize liung the Indian lodges with
a golden tapestry.
" The cheeriness and charm
Of forest and of farm
Are merging into colors sad and sober ;
The hectic frondage drapes
The nut trees and the grapes —
September yields to opulent October.
"The cotton woods that fringe
The streamlets take the tinge ;
Through opal haze the sumac bush is burning ;
The lazy zephyrs lisp,
Through cornfields dry and crisp,
Their fond regrets for days no more returning."
The Valley of the Kaw is more fertile than that of the
Nile, and its bursting- granaries furnish loaves for all peo-
ples. Great as has been our progress, the possibilities of
this State are not realized to-day. The land is sim-kissed,
and no disease is indigenous to its plains.
Man is destined to reach the highest intellectual plane
on the prairies of Kansas, and in our progress how much
do we owe to the heroic deeds of our fathers ! Well might
" We have made the State of Kansas,
And to-day she stands complete —
First in freedom, first in wheat;
And her future years will meet
Ripened hopes and richer stanzas."
The boys and girls of the Kansas homes are most fortu-
nate. The generous and fertile farms pour golden streams
into bursting barns. The school-house and the' church
JAMES HENRY LANE 19
crown every hill. Xo saloon desecrates the dale. The
rich landscape inspires the poet to son^\
" O ]\[arniaton ! O ^Marmaton !
From out the rich autumnal west
There creeps a misty, pearly rest,
As through an atmosphere of dreams.
Along thy course, O Marmaton,
A rich September sunset streams.
Thy purple sheen,
Through prairies green,
From out the burning west is seen.
I watch thy fine.
That seems to flow like blood-red wine
Fresh from the vintage of the sun."
The Kansas-Xebraska hill dedicated this land to human
slavery. Another people, than our fathers thought to find
a home here, and foist slavery ui^on the State forever.
Senator Ingalls pictures the land as they would have made
"■ It is appalling to reflect what the condition of Kansas
would have been to-day had its destiny been left in the
hands of Shang^ and those of his associates who first did
its voting and attenqjted to frame its institutions. A few
hundred mush-eating chawbacons, her only population,
would still have been chasing their razor-backed hogs
through the thickets of black-jack, and jugging for cattish
in the chutes of the Missouri and the Kaw."
*A name by which the Missourian is contemptuously described by the Senator.
' Who meeting Caesar's self, would slap his back,
Call him 'Old Horse' and challenge to drink.' "
The white population of tlie South in the days of slav-
ery was antithetical. The aristocratic planter was edu-
cated, refined, high-minded, gallant, gracious. This class
constituted an aristocracy based upon slavery and the
wealth produced by the cultivation of large plantations.
The wealth of the entire South, outside of the Appalachian
Mountain districts, belonged to this class. Educated, bred
in the belief in the slavery of human beings, they saw
naught but right in this monstrous institution. This aris-
tocracy taught that labor was degrading; any white man
who labored was regarded by them with contempt, hatred.
Where slaves were numerous there resided a class of
poor whites contemptuously called by the master and slave
alike ^^ poor white trash." Slavery, while leaving them
free, had reduced them to a social degradation even below
that of the slaves themselves. Low as was their social
plane, their moral plane was beneath it. Their opposition
to education and refinement extended to a detestation of
persons aspiring to or possessing them. So irresponsible
were they that the laws of the land or those intrusted with
their execution permitted this class to be a law unto them-
selves, and took no more note of their petty crimes than of
JAMES HENRY LANE 21
the habits of the starved and scrawny swine they herded.
The origin of this people has been the enigma of the times,
but it is now believed they are the descendants of the
mongrel folk dumped on the eastern shores of North Caro-
lina from the slums and prison-houses of all Europe in the
founding of that colony. They possessed none of the quali-
fications necessary for hardy pioneers, and drifted aim-
lessly, a menace to every community in their path.^*
While this people possessed no slave, it was the most
persistent believer in the righteousness of slavery. Held
in the deepest contempt by the aristocracy, these dregs of
humanity were ready to do their every command. Murder
and arson ^vere for them a pastime, and these were commit-
ted with impunity at the bidding of their masters, who con-
trolled them as absolutely and with more ease than they
did their actual slaves. By the year 1850 these poor
whites were drifted against the western State line of Mis-
souri in great numbers. With them were demoralized and
degraded men from every walk of life. Senator Ingalls
says they hated an ^^ abolitionist," and feared him next to
a free negro.
Upon the passage of the Kansas-lSTebraska bill this
human driftwood floated in over the eastern portions of
Kansas. They broke over the State line by thousands, and
selected " claims.'^ They selected the choice lands, and
often pretended to select " claims " for others, who could
not come. That the Indian tribes still owned mucli of the
land mattered not at all to them. Having " located,'' many
of them returned to Missouri, leaving some of their number
to murder any who dared to molest their illegally made se-
lections, or " claims." A part of the history of Douglas
*See notes — 1 to 7 — at end of this chapter.
TWENTIETH CENTUItY CLASSICS
county is an account of the ruffianly actions of these same
men in relation to ^^ claims/' and their efforts to prevent
Free-State men from settling tliere, and to drive away such
as did scuttle. ^
This class acted under orders from such men as Price,
Atchison, and Stringfellow.
The indignation aroused in the ^N'orth hy the passage of
the Kansas- T^Tebraska bill and the manifest intention of the
South to make Kansas a slave State at all hazards, caused
the organization of societies in many of the Northern
States having as their object the assistance of emigrants
into Kansas who were opposed to slavery. The l^ew Eng-
land Emigrant Aid Society was the only one of these which
came to be a factor of any potency in the winning of Kan-
sas. Its organization and its public and published declara-
tion that it proposed to make Kansas a free State, were
notice to the South and to the advocates of slavery that the
free States of the ^North and their people would contest for
the soil of Kansas.
^N^orthern emigrants to Kansas preceded the arrival of
Governor Keeder by the time from July to October. Indi-
viduals had arrived before the first company came in July.
They usually avoided the Missouri border in the selection
of homes, and sought the interior of the Territory; they
settled in greatest number south of the Kansas river. They
carried with them little property, but tliey brought some-
thing of infinitely greater value — simple and blameless
lives and high moral purposes. Two things they came for :
one to find homes for themselves and their children, the
other to make a free State of the land in which these homes
were cast. And to sustain these they possessed the spirit
.TAMKR HENRY T.ANE 23
which inspiml tlic iiiartvrs. 'Vhvy sncce('(hMl. In llic stern
and forbidding- face of an opposition such as lias raivlv
l)oen encountered hy a migrating people^ and Ix'ing, too,
always in tlie minority/^- they stamped the institutions of
their chosen land with the. aggressive spirit and ideas of the
Puritans. They set their faces against the evil of the cen-
tury. The two extreme, antagonistic principles of our gov-
ernment met and battled for the mastery of the Republic
here on the Plains. The Puritan idea with its unconquer-
able vitality triumphed."^
In the coming of Governor Reeder did the pro-slavery
people see the arrival of their champion— their salvation.
He was awaited with hot and feverish impatience. ]\ris-
sourians and their partisans expected him to become at
onco the mouthpiece of their creed, the promulgator of
their views, the sheet-anchor of their hopes in the fixing
of slavery permanently in Kansas, now so happily estab-
lished there in theory and in law. They assumed that as a
matter of course all the machinery and power of the Ad-
ministration would be exerted to this end through Governor
Reeder's administration of the Territorial government.
That he would for a moment dare to run counter to their
wishes had not entered their minds. It was supposed and
believed that he would consult their leaders, Price, Atclii-
son, Stringfellow, and others, to see what they desired, then
The first intimation that they might be disappointed, to
an extent at least, came when Governor Reeder made a tour
of the Territory to fjrocure information. Information, m-
*That is, the New England people were never a majority.
24 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
deed ! What he desired of information which could not be
supplied by the slave leaders of the border, w^as beyond the
comprehension of the turbulent Missourian.
The Governor tells us that the citizens of Missouri were
vehemently urging the immediate election of a legislature,
but that for good reasons (which he gives) he determined
to first call an election for Delegate to Congress. It was
called for JSTovember 29th, 1854.
General Atchison gave expression to the policy to be pur-
sued by the Missourians in this election. He said :
^^ The organic law of the Territory vests in the people
who reside in it the power to form all its municipal regula-
tions. They can either admit or exclude slavery ; and this
is the only Question that materially affects our interests.
" Upon this subject it would be unnecessary for me to
say one word, if things had been left to their ordinary and
natural course. Men heretofore migrated and settled new
Territories upon this continent, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific ocean, following the parallels of latitude, and carry-
ing with them their habits, customs and institutions. But
now new laws are to govern ; new lines, new habits, customs
and institutions are to be substituted, and that, too, by
force of money and organization.
^^ The ^N'orth is to be turned to the South, and all the
Territories of the United States to be abolitionized ; colo-
nies are to be j^lanted in all places where slavery and slave
institutions can best be assailed ; and Kansas is now a favor-
ite position, from whence they can now assail Missouri,
Arkansas, and Texas. Men are being sent from Massa-
chusetts and elsewhere for the avowed purpose of excluding
JAMES HENRY LANE 25
slaveholders from Kansas, and, as a matter of course, to
steal and protect fugitive slaves. The first thing, however,
they have come to do is to throw into Kansas a majority of
votes to control the ballot-boxes.
"' This is the policy of the abolitionists. These means
are used by them. Their money and all other influences
they can bring to bear are to be exerted for this purpose."
Gen. Atchison said further : " My mission here to-day is
if possible to awaken the people of this county to the danger
ahead, and to suggest the means to avoid it. The people of
Kansas, in their first elections, will decide the question
whether or not the slaveholder is to be excluded, and it
depends upon a- majority of the votes cast at the polls.
'Now, if a set of fanatics and demagogues, a thousand miles
off, can afford to advance their money and exert every nerve
to abolitionize the Territory and exclude the slaveholder,
when they have not the least personal interest in the matter,
what is your duty? ^Vlien you reside within one day's
journey of the Territory, and when your peace, your quiet
and your property depend upon your action, you can, with-
out an exertion, send 500 of your young men who will vote
in favor of your institutions.
" Should each county in the State of Missouri only do
its duty, the question will be decided quietly and peaceably
at the ballot-box. If we are defeated, then IMissouri and the
other Southern States will have shown themselves recreant
to their interests, and will have deserved their fate. The
abolitionists will have nothing to gain or lose. It is an ab-
straction with them. We have much to gain and much to
" If you burn my barn, I sustain a great loss, but you
TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
gain nothing. So it is with the colonization societies and
the dupes they send to abolitionize Kansas.
" If these abolitionists steal your negroes, they gain noth-
ing. The negroes are injured; you are ruined. So much
greater is the motive for activity on your part.
" Fellow-citizens, we should not be apathetic when so
much is involved. We should be up and doing. We must
meet organization with organization. We must meet those
philanthropic knaves peaceably at the ballot-box and out-
"^ If we cannot do this, it is an omen that the institution
of slavery must fall in this and the other Southern States,
but it will fall after much strife, civil war and bloodshed.
"■ If abolitionism, under its present auspices, is estab-
lished in Kansas, tliere will be constant strife and bloodshed
between Kansas and Missouri. Xegro-stealing will be a
princi]de and a vocation. It will be the policy of philan-
thropic knaves, until they force the slaveholder to abandon
Missouri ; nor will it be long until it is done. You cannot
watch your stables to prevent thieves from stealing your
horses and mules ; neither can you watch your negro quar-
ters to prevent your neighbors from seducing away and
stealing your negroes.
" If Kansas is abolitionized, all men who love peace and
quiet will leave us, and all emigration to Missouri from the
slave States will cease. We will go either to the i^orth or
to tlie South. Kor myself, I can gather together my goods
and depart as soon as the most active among you. I have
neither wife nor child to impede my flight. In a hybrid
State we cannot live ; we cannot be in a constant quarrel —
in a constant state of suspicion of our neighbors. This
JAMES ITENRY LANE 27
feeling is ciitoi-taiiicd ])\ a lar<;(' ])()rti()ii of iiiankind ('V<'ry-
^' To Ruoceed in iiiakini>' Tvaiisas a slave Territory, it is
not sufficient for the South to talk, Init to act; to go peact;-
ably and inh.ahit tlie Territory", and peaceably to vote and
settle the question according to the principles of the Doug-
Such speeches were made everywhere in western Mis-
souri. Many of them were more radical and inflammatory.
The organization resorted to was the secret society which
met in "" Blue Lodges." Money was contributed with wdiich
to buy whisky and hire men to come from long distances to
vote and de1)auch Kansas. At this election the border-
ruffians first voted in Kansas, as it was their first opportu-
nity to do so. Fifty miles inland they seized the polls and
voted for Whitfield, the pro-slavery candidate, who was
elected by practical unanimity. The madness and folly of
the action of the ruffians are best realized when we see that
Whitfield would have been elected by a large majority had
they remained at home.
In January following, Governor Keeder caused an enu-
meration of the inhabitants of the Territory to be made for
the basis for an apportionment for members of the legisla-
ture shortly to be elected. In the meantime the leaders in
Missouri were perniciously active. They sought by every
means to iniiame the j^assions of their motley and brutal
following. Exaggerated accounts of the army of " aboli-
tionists " coming into the Territory at the instance and by
the aid of Northern organizations were industriously circu-
lated. All the border counties of Missouri were organized
Jio TWENTIETH CENTtTRY CLASSICS
for resistance to what was termed the " ragged, miserly,
nigger-stealing crew, who skulk behind the name Free-
State.'^ The '* Blue Lodges " were found as far east as
Boonville. The degree to which they had aroused their
following may be judged from the tone of their news-
" We hate a deceiver. And a party like this . . .
we hold in meaner contempt than we do the immediate and
avowed pupils of Lloyd Garrison. Their Janus-faced,
double-dealing conduct must make them abhorred of God
as they are despised by honorable men, and their last end
will be down, like the dog, bereft of a soul to rise, but
secure in earthly preservation, for no ^ creeping thing ' of
God's make will work in their accursed carcasses.
" It cannot be that such wretches will triumph over all
right and justice. We know the spirit of the West too well
to admit of it. We will to the rescue, with lead and steel if
necessary, for triumph our enemies shall not, imless God
forsakes us, and this country is too new to deserve the judg-
ments of Sodom and Gomorrah. Missourians, remember
the 30th day of March, A. D. 1855, as Texans once re-
membered the Alamo.'' ^
The election was held March 30th. The agitation of the
previous weeks along the border had been effective. It bore
fruit on this day. To such a pitch had the passions of the
Missourians been wrought that they came over by hundreds
and thousands to vote in Kansas. Their conduct all along
the line can be described best by telling what occurred at
the house of Harrison Burson, in the second district, now
in Douglas county;
JAMES HENRY LANE 29
" Claiborne Y. Jackson addressed the crowd, sayin«2,' that
lie had come there to vote; and that he had a riglit to vote,
if he liad been tlierc but five minutes, and tliat he ^vas uu-
williuff to c:o liome witliout voliui;-; wliich Avas received with
cheers. Jackson then called upon them to form into little
bands of fifteen or twenty, vhich they did, and went to an
ox-wagon filled with guns, which, were distributed among
them, and they proceeded to load some of them on the
" In pursuance wdth Jackson's request, they tied white
tape or ribbons in their button-holes, to distinguish them
from the " abolitionists." They again demanded that the
judges should resign; and upon their refusing to do so,
smashed in the window, sash and all, and presented their
pistols and guns to them, threatening to shoot them. Some
one on the outside cried out to them not to shoot, as there
were Pro- Slavery men in the house with the judges. They
then put a pry under the corner of the house, which was a
log house, lifted it up a few inches and let it fall, but de-
sisted on being told there were Pro-Slavery men in the
house. During this time the crowd repeatedly demanded
to be allowed to vote without being s^vorn, and Mr. Ellison,
one of the judges^ expressed himself willing, but the other
tw© judges refused ; thereupon a body of men headed by
[Sheriff] Jones rushed into the judges' room with cocked
pistols and drawn bowde-knives in their hands, and ap-
proached Burson and Eamsay. Jones pulled out his watch
and said he would give them five minutes to resign in or
die. When the five minutes had expired and the judges
did not resign, Jones said he would give them another min-
ute and no more. Ellison told his associates that if they did
30 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
not resign, there wonld be 100 shots fired in the room in less
than fifteen niinntes, and then, snatching np the ballot-box
ran out into the crowd, holding up the ballot-box and hur-
rahing for ]\[issouri. About that time, Burson and Ram-
say were called out by their friends, and not suffered
to return. As Mr. Burson went out, he put the ballot
poll-books in his pocket and took them with him, and as
he was going out, Jones snatched some papers from him,
and shortly afterward came out, holding them up, and cry-
ing, ^ Hurrah for Missouri ! ' After he discovered that
they were not the poll-books, he took a party of men with
him and started off to take the poll-books from Burson.
When Mr. Burson saw them coming, he gave the books to
Mr. Umbarger and told him to start off in another direc-
tion so as to mislead Jones and his party. Jones and his
party caught Mr. Umbarger, took the poll-books away from
him, and Jones took him up behind him on a horse and
carried him back a prisoner. Afterwards they went to the
house of Ramsay and took Judge John A. Wakefield [the
Free-State candidate for Representative] prisoner, and car-
ried him to the place of election, and made him get up on a
Avagon and there make a speech; after which, they put a
white ribbon in his button-hole and let him go. Then they
chose two new judges and proceeded with the election." ^'
It was the same everywhere. The legal, resident voters
of the Territory had no rights which the Missourians con-
sidered it their duty to respect, and the Free-State men had
little representation in the Legislature. Governor Reeder
was aware of the frauds, but was powerless to prevent or
correct them. He refused certificates to some of the per-
JAMES HEXRY LANE 31
sons elected. The Missouri opinion of this act is expressed
in the following' newspa]:>er coninicnt :
" We just learn as we go to press, that Reeder lias re-
fused to give certificates to four Coiincilnien and tliirteen
members of the House. Tie has ordered an election to fill
their places on the 22d of May. This infernal scoundrel
will have to be heniped yet." "
Governor Reeder's refusal to issue certificates to the
fraudulently elected members of the Legislature marks the
beginning of complete anarchy in Kansas Territory.
1. " This Carolinian section was originally settled by a far
more diversified population than that which formed the colonies
to the northward. This was especially the case in North Carolina.
This colony was originally possessed by a land company, which
proposed to find its profit in a peculiar fashion. This company
paid contractors so much a head for human beings put ashore in
the colony. One distinguished trader in population, a certain
Baron de Graffenried, settled several thousand folk at and about
New Berne, on the swampy shores of the eastern sounds. They
were from a great variety of places: a part from England, others
from the banks of the llhine, otliers again from Switzerland.
There was a great mass of human driftwood in Europe at the
close of the seventeenth century, the wreck of long -continued
wars; so it was easy to bring immigrants by the shipload if they
were paid for. But the material was unfit to be the foundation of
a State. From this settlement of eastern North Carolina is de-
scended the most unsatisfactory population in this country. The
central and western parts of North Carolina had an admirable
population, that principally came to the State through Virginia;
but this population about Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, tliough
its descendants are numerous, perhaps not numerically much in-
32 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
ferior to that which came from the Virginia settlements, is vastly
inferior to it in all the essential qualities of the citizen. From
the Virginia people have come a great number of men of national
and some of world-wide reputation. It is not likely that any other
population, averaging in numbers about five hundred thousand
souls, has in a century furnished as many able men. On the other
hand, this eastern North Carolina people has given no men of
great fame to the history of the country, while a large part of the
so-called ' poor white ' population of the South appears to be de-
scended from the mongrel folk who were turned ashore on the
eastern border of North ^Carolina."— [Narrative and Critical His-
tory of America, Vol. IV, p. xxviii, — Introduction.]
2. "Those unacquainted with the inhabitants of the Border at
that time cannot well comprehend how that public sentiment
could so easily be swayed and shaped by drunken, vulgar and in-
flammatory speeches. First, there were the native Missourians,
who were a singular class of people, and have not, perhaps, their
prototypes in the world — certainly not in the United States.
Their fathers were chiefly renegades from the Eastern States, who
had fled to escape the just desert for crimes committed. They in-
herited all the vices of their ancestors, and had learned many new
ones. They were incredulous and suspicious of strangers and
easily excited against them. When enraged they were as furious
as a mad dog and as cowardly and unmanly as a jackal. They had
no conclusions, but only beliefs. They never knew anything but by
rumor. They had few ideas and opinions of their own, but gath-
ered them from their leading men. No matter how clearly a
stranger might demonstrate a truth to them, they would not be-
lieve it. No matter how absurd a proposition advanced by one of
their favorite leaders might be, they would embrace it as coming
from the Oracle of Truth. Utter strangers to principle, they were
never happier than when in meanness. Loud in their professions
for law and order, there was not a week passed during which
robberies, murders and disturbances were not committed. When-
ever an individual became unpopular in community, he was ac-
cused of all kinds of misdoings and evil designs, warned to leave
— which failing to observe, he was attacked by a mob, his prop-
erty destroyed, and lucky he was if he escaped with his life. . . .
Whisky was held in high esteem by all classes. ... Of native
JAMES HENRY LANE 33
Missourians there were two classes — the wealthy and the poor —
holding about the same relation to each other as did the planters
and the poor whites of the South. The poor were much more nu-
merous ; but being ignorant and pecuniarily dependent upon tlieir
wealthy neighbors, they were the pliant tools of the latter. . . .
''Both classes of native Missourians along the Border were
at that time alike unscrupulous, ungenerous and ignoble. The
wealthy, highly aristocratic, possessed all the cravings to rule of
Southern slave-masters. Though full of blarney and suavity, with
the exterior polish of gentlemen, they would not shrink from any
measure to attain their ends. . . .
"There were also a peculiar, though pow^erful, class along the
Border, composed chiefly of native Missourians, who might justly
be termed the loungers and loafers. They accompanied trains
across the Plains, went on hunting expeditions, and had generally
been through the Mexican War. They were a powerful class —
the military of the Border. They formed the mobs, did the steal-
ing and a good share of the drinking. They were ever ready for
any adventure, anything wild and daring." — [History of Kansas
Territory ; p. 98. By John N. Holloway.]
3. "The Puritan idea is aggressive. It has an unconquerable
vitality. Assailed, it grows stronger ; wounded, it revives ; buried,
it becomes the angel of its own resurrection." — [ Senator Ingalls,]
4. Andreas' History of Kansas, p. 93.
5. Andreas' History of Kansas, p. 95.
6. Andreas' History of Kansas, p. 95.
7. Andreas' History of Kansas, p.
''There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distill it out."
What was this institution against which Kansas rose and
In the early stages of man's existence his normal condi-
tion was a state of warfare. In this age of his development
he slew his captives. It came to be seen when man began to
till the soil, that a captive might be made to be of use and
service in the performance of labor for his master. His
life was spared upon this discovery, and instead of receiv-
ing death for his misfortune he Avas enslaved. Thus human
slavery was a reform when first established, and an indica-
tion of advancement in society. It was practiced by al-
most all ancient peoples. For their times, the Jewish
system was humane. A period beyond which a slave could
not be held was fixed. A jubilee was established.
Human slavery began in America at Jamestown, Vir-
ginia, in 1619, the Dutch selling negroes to the planters
there in that year. It spread over the whole country ; but
as it was unprofitable on the sterile hills of the North, it
finally came to exist only in the South. Jefferson wrote
it down that the slaves were certain to be free at some time
in the future. The fathers of the Kepublic could not deal
wiih the question, for no arrangement could have been de-
JAMES 3IENKX LANE
vised for its settlement at that time. As the sentiment
against slavery grew in the ISTorth, slave labor grew mor(^
remnnerative in the Sonth, and consequently the sentiment
in its favor increased there. After the Missouri Com-
promise, the ideas, slavery and anti-slavery, came to 1)0
recognized as the two antagonistic principles of our govern-
ment. More than once did the efforts to advance the one
or the other endanger the life of the Union. All its prac-
tices were abhorrent to the enlightened mind. Infants
^vcrc torn from their mothers and sold away. Husbands
Avere sold away from Avives, children from parents and
from one another, and carried away amid Avails, groans, and
tears. Slave-drivers carried heaA^y Avhips Avitli Avhich to
flay the backs of their hapless victims ; into these Avounds
salt Avas forced, or Avater Avithlicld from stiffening, black-
euing, festering gashes.
While it Avas the torment of the danmed to tlie slaves,
it Avas even a greater ca^I to their oAvners. The conscience
died. The nature of man became brutalized. Political
decay and barbarism, perhaps savagery, are the sure states
of those countries Avhich do not rise above human slavery.
But hoAV inscrutable are the Avays of Providence ! An
eminent Trench Avriter avers that ultimate good must arise
from every evil custom of a people. Virtue and chastity
of Avomen, he affirms, are the result of long ages of the
brutal selfishness of man, and his inhuman treatment of
her. And from these actions of primitiA^e man, too horri-
ble to record, Ave haA^e to-day, and have had for thousands
of years, the chaste and continent home, the family, Avhich
is the unit and foundation of our CA^ery social and political
36 TWENTIETH OE'NTURT CLASSICS
So it was with human slavery in N^orth America. It
was born of the selfish g-reed, nurtured and protected by
the violation of every laAv of mercy, justice, and humanity ;
planted here by the uprooting and destruction of whole
peoples ; murder foul ; horrors too black to write. But in
its abolition here, men discussed freedom. A higher liberty
than man had enjoyed came to be our ideal. We cast off
this evil with groans, at the expense of blood and treasure,
but from the struggle we emerged with broader views. We
come now to be the champions of this high ideal of liberty.
We insist that it is the birthright of all men everywhere.
It is our boast that we enjoy the highest degree of liberty
of any people in the world.
In the destruction of slavery in Kansas we made it im-
possible of existence anywhere in America. And it should
be the pride of Kansans that their fathers began this con-
flict for universal freedom. To blot out and burn away
this plague-spot and foul leprosy of the nation did the peo-
ple of Kansas set themselves. And the result was anarchy
on the border and in Kansas Territory. Their blazing
homes lighted up the prairies.
Within a month after the election of the Legislature
there came into Kansas a strange man. That man was
James Henry Lane, knoAvn in Kansas history as the " Grim
Chieftain of Kansas,'' and familiarly among his friends
as " Jim Lane " — long afterwards a Senator froni Kansas,
a General in the Civil War, and an intimate, friend of the
martyred Lincoln. He bore a heroic part in that pre-
liminary struggle. We shall see more of him in the pages
"Yea, tliis man's brow, like a title-loal",
Foretells the nature of a tragie volume."
The precise date of the arrival of James Henry Lane in
Kansas is not known. It was sometime in the month of
Let us look at this man who came in honorahle poverty
into Kansas Territory on the eve of the great events here,
and of greater in the nation than had before been wit-
nessed since its founding. He was tall, and like Cassius,
bore " a lean and hungry look.''
" Meager were his looks,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones."
He was poorly clad ; he cared little for his personal ap-
pearance. His cowskin overcoat and calfskin vest (both
with the hair of the animals still on them) came to be
proverbs in Kansas.
His eyes were dark and restless, and when he was aroused
they burned with the depth and intensity of charcoal fires.
His features were good, — forehead high, nose finely cut,
mouth firm but with some lines of weakness, chin and jaw
square and heavy. His arms were long, and every old-time
Kansan will tell of his long and bony forefinger and its
potency in all Kansas affairs in which he engaged. His
presence was commanding. We are assured by all who
* See notes — 1 to 5 — at end of this chapter.
38 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
kneAV him personally that no mere word-description of
him can ever be made to convey any adeqnate idea of the
man. Plis energy was boundless, limitless ; his personality
was strong, potent, overpowering; his tenacity of purpose
was persistent, indomitable; his whole organism one of
vigor, cogenc}'-, magnetism.
It is uncertain whether he was born in Kentucky or In-
diana. The probability is that he was born in Lawrence-
burg, Indiana, June 22, 1814. It is possible that it may
be yet determined by research that he was born in Boone
county, Kentucky, It is well established that he often
claimed Kentucky as his native State. In the sketch of his
life written by himself, he says he was born on the bank of
the Ohio river, but does not say upon which bank.^
His father was Amos Lane, and came of that stock called
by Prentis ^^ the from everlasting to everlasting Scotch-
Irish.'' It is claimed that lie was a native of l^ew York.
It is almost certain that he was born in Guilford county,
^orth Carolina. From the best accounts it seems that the
Lane family were originally Pennsylvanians. From this
State some of tliem went to Virginia, some to North Car-
olina, and some to 'New York. Amos Lane went to New
York when a young man, and was there a clerk in a store
for some time. At Ogdensburg he met and married Miss
Mary Foote, at that time a teacher. She was born in Con-
necticut, and was of a distinguished New England family.
She was a woman of piety. She was for forty years a
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She was pos-
sessed of more than an ordinary share of good common-
sense, and a desire to accomplish sometliing in the world.
She was the inspiration of her husband's efforts to enter
JAMES HENRY LANE
the practice of law. For many years they were very poor,
but they labored diligently, — she at teaching, he at any-
thing he could find for his hands to do. He was a Demo-
crat, and is said to liave been a friend if not an acquaint-
ance of Thomas Jefferson. This was made a reason for
not admitting him to the bar when he first came to Indiana.
He came from ISTew York to Cincinnati as early as 1804.
In the spring of 1808 he moved to Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
It was here he was refused admittance to the bar. He then
crossed the river into Kentucky, and after further moving
about, returned to Lawrenceburg in 1814.^
Amos Lane was elected to the first Legislature of In-
diana, in 181G; was the Speaker of the House. He was
elected to other terms in the Legislature, and in 1833 was
elected to Congress, where he served several years. He
was an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson, with whom
he was upon terms of close friendship. Until his death in
1850 he was the ruling power in politics in southern In-
diana, in the Democratic party. He was a famous orator,
shrewd, and not always governed by the highest motives,
especially in his political transactions.
But it was to his mother that James Henry Laije owed
most of his genius. She was in every sense a superior wo-
man, and she has been spoken of as having " a coal of fire
in her heart," so ambitious, so restless, and full of energy
was she. What education her son obtained she imparted.
She designed him for the ministry in the church of her
faith. Her life was one of constant effort in his younger
days. While her husband traveled over the country to at-
tend the migratory ^^ Circuit Court," she kept boarders and
taught school '^ in her own cabin." A very eminent man
iO TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
has said that it is a prerequisite to success to be bom right,
and James H. Lane was richly endowed by heredity.
In the days of his boyhood, Indiana was the frontier.
He was born during the War of 1812, and only a year
before the battle of the Raisin. Men are not educated
wholly in school-rooms. If they have not the faculty of
gaining knowledge in the broader school of life, " book-
learning " is wasted iipon them. The noisy, turbulent,
often dangerous frontier is a school better equipped to
develop strength of character, self-reliance, resource in
emergency, than any other. Here society is rude and un-
settled — in the process of taking definite form. Theory
counts for little — action for everything. In such, a fron-
tier schooling did Lane become familiar with the motives
and forces that move men — especially frontiers-men.
The exaggerated style of speech, the boisterous and ag-
gressive manner, the personal courage, the iron constitu-
tion, the remarkable and tireless persistency in the prose-
cution of an enterprise once engaged in, — these were the
inheritance from his environment on the frontier, where
a strong and independent people were laying broad and
well the foundation of a great State. In this school was
Lane well learned. His faults (and he had many) were
also those of the frontier, where they were not considered
of so great consequence as in older and better ordered so-
ciety. In this same school was Lincoln learned, and one
of the reasons for the strong attachment between these two
most remarkable men was their graduation from the fron-
tier life of southern Indiana.
While he was well learned in the rude school of the fron-
tiers-men, it must not be supposed that he was unlettered.
JAMES HENRY LANE 41
He possessed a fair knowledge of the elementary branches
of learning. This was meager enough, and as has been
said, he owed most of it to the personal attention given
by his mother. After all, the mother is a great teacher.
It is not so much the amount of knowledge imparted, as
the degree of enthusiasm inspired, that tells in the later
life of the pupil. Her noble aspirations and the tender
solicitude for her family, her devotion to every duty and
the constancy of her life purposes, touched his heart; of
this he gave evidence all through his life. In no institu-
tion of learning could he have been so well fitted for the
leadership of men and movements as in the schools of his
mother and the frontier of the Republic.
For some years he was engaged in trade in Lawrence-
burg,^ in company with a brother-in-law. It seems to have
been a pork-packing establishment, combined with the for-
w^arding of the produce of the country to market. In
those days ISTew Orleans was the only market of conse-
quence for the products of the Ohio valley. He, like Lin-
coln, pushed his o^vn flatboat back and forth, to and from
that mart. But in this vocation he was handicapped by
his peculiar bent of mind. Such occupations are ever irk-
some to natures contented only to lead. The nearest mart
is too far away and the road to it too quiet and common-
place for them. In their view, the result is not worth the
effort. They long for excitement, for opportunity for
leadership. Lane was a born leader of men. His environ-
ment and training had vastly developed his natural abili-
ties. He saw in politics a field exactly to his liking; per-
haps his tendency in this direction was inherited. He
says he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and prac-
ticed in partnership with his father.
TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
His entrance into politics was in a small way — an elec-
tion to the common council of his native village. He was
repeatedly re-elected. He made his first public speech in
3 832, in favor of General Jackson. He was but eighteen,
and it is said that his effort was a very creditable one.
He was elected to the Legislature in 1845, and in the win-
ter following was a candidate before the convention of his
party for the nomination for the office of Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor ) he was defeated by one vote.
In the fall of 1842 he was married to Miss Mary E.
Baldridge, a granddaughter of General Arthur St. Clair.
In July, 184G, Lane raised a company of volunteers
in Lawrenceburg for the Mexican war. He informs us
that this was before the requisition of the President had
reached the State of Indiana. He marched his conjpany
(of which he had been elected captain) to ITew Albany.
There it was made a j^art of the Third Ttcgimcnt, Indiana
Volunteers, and Lane was elected Colonel of the regiment.
The regiment hurried to Mexico, and was a part of Gen-
eral Taylor's command. Colonel Lane served under Tay-
lor until the spring of 1847. At the battle of Buena Vista
he distinguished himself as a brave soldier and an able offi-
cer. In this battle the command of a large part of the
army devolved upon him.
Colonel Lane returned to Indiana in Julj^, 1847, and
raised the Fifth Indiana Regiment, of which he was elected
the Colonel, and which he took to Mexico. This regiment
was placed under General Butler, and did not reach the
City of Mexico until after its capture by General Scott.
When peace was concluded his regiment was discharged.
He arrived in Indiana in July, 1848. His record as a
JAMES HENRY LANE
soldier in the Mexican War was both creditable and honora-
ble. He did his duty faithfully and well, and won the
confidence and praise of his superiors in command.
In 1849 the Democratic party of Indiana nominated him
for the office of Lieutenant-Governor, and he was elected by
a large majority. His party made him an Elector-at-large
in the Presidential campaign of 1852. lie was elected,
and cast the vote of the State of Indiana for Franklin
Pierce for President. He w^as elected by the Democratic
party to the Thirty-second Congress, and voted for the
Ivansas-lSTebraska bill. He afterwards reported that he
voted for the bill because he had been instructed to do so.
There was for many years in Kansas a persistent repetition
of the terms of an agreement said to have been made be-
tween him and Douglas. It A\'1as said to have been on this
wise: Lane was at first opposed to the Kansas-Xebraska
bill. Douglas succeeded in convincing Lane that the pas-
sage of the bill would make him (Douglas) President.
Lane was to go to Kansas, organize the Democratic party
there, and when the Territory should be admitted as a
State he was to be elected L^nited States Senator, and con-
trol the patronage of the State under the Administration
of Douglas. In the meantime he was to control the Pcd-
eral patronage of the Administration then in power, so far
as the influence of Douglas could make it possible. The
facts concerning the truth or falsity of this agreement
cannot now be learned. Many of the old-time Kansans yet
living insist that such an agreement existed. The proba-
bility is that Lane did not think of coming to Kansas until
his attention was attracted to it by the debates in Congress
on the Douglas bill. It is not improbable that some ar-
44: TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
rangement was discussed between Lane and Douglas;
whether it reached to the dignity of an agreement or not
is very doubtful.
Whether he came to Kansas alone or was accompanied
by his family seems to be a question, also. On his arrival
he immediately built a cabin on his claim adjoining Law-
rence. Here Mrs. Lane soon joined him.*
The latest biographer of Lane leaves it in doubt as to
where he intended to fix his residence in the Territory,
and intimates that it was purely accidental that he stopped
1. Speer says, "One bright morning in April, 1855."— [Life of
James H. Lane, p. 12, by John Speer.]
Andreas' History of Kansas says, "As early as April  a
most remarkable man had, unheralded and comparatively un-
known to his neighbors, come to Kansas and settled near Law-
rence."— [See page 106.]
2. This sketch was published in the Crusader of Freedom, Feb-
ruary 3, 1858. The paper was published at Doniphan, by James
Redpath, Only one chapter was published, as the paper was dis-
The majority of authorities say that he was born in Boone
county, Kentucky. As Kentucky was a slave State, he could have
had no object to serve in stating that he was born there if it was
true that he was born in Indiana. Almost all his friends believed
he was born in Kentucky. The theory that he was born in Indiana
is of later date. Until 1860 we find it rarely stated that he was
born in Indiana, and almost always that he was born in Kentucky.
His earliest friends say Kentucky.
3. The authorities for the statements in this paragraph are
many, from the newspaper files and clippings in the library of the
JAMES HENEY LANE 45
Historical Society to the statements of the associates and friends
of General Lane. V. J. Lane, Esq., of Kansas City, Kansas, is of
the same family ; he is a Pennsylvanian, and came to Kansas from
4. In the History of Kansas by Andreas, p. 106, it is stated that
" he left behind him a family which he did not love." He says in
his sketch in the Crusader of Freedom that Mrs. Lane and the chil-
dren accompanied him from AVashington City, but that she be-
came dissatisfied with frontier life and its hardships and returned
to Indiana, but that no harsh feelings were entertained by either.
They were divorced and remarried.
5. See Speer's Life of Gen. James H. Lane, p. 12.
*' Kansas is richer in historic lore than any other region of the
Great AVest. Its traditions go back to the time of the ]Montezumas
and the Spanish conquest of Mexico."
James II. Lane came to Kansas a Democrat ; lie had
never been anything else. His party in Indiana had hon-
ored him with high positions. He had no intention of
transferring his allegiance to another political party when
he arrived in Kansas. In his Chicago siDcech he says he
came to Kansas to organize the Democratic party. It is
said that he made a sj)eech at Westport, llo., where he had
stopped while on his way to Kansas, in which he said that
he wonld as soon bny a negro as a mnle, and that the ques-
tion of the success of slavery in Kansas depended upon the
suitability of the country to produce hemp. This reference
to the ^^ negro and the mule'' was a favorite form of express-
ing assent to slavery ; it has been attributed to other men,
at other times and places, among them, Governor Keeder.
Lane afterwards admitted that when he came to Kansas he
cared nothing about the great question of slavery. Paul
was the greatest Apostle of Christianity, 3^et in the begin-
ning he persecuted the Church. People generally sup-
posed that the question of freedom or slavery in Kansas
was almost settled when the Kansas-^Rebraska bill was
passed. But far-seeing men like Seward, Sumner, Thayer,
JAMES HENRY LANE 47
and Ivobinson saw in this bill the beginning of the end of
slavery. Lane saw the same thing, and gave expression to
it in the address in which he announced that '^ Until then
I am a crusader for Freedom." But when he arrived in
the Territory there was comparative quiet. Only men well
informed upon local and national conditions could foresee
the whole conflict at that time ; even these did not compre-
hend its magnitude and its consequences. Of the intentions
of the Missourians he had probably heard, and, too, of their
actions in the beginning; but no man could fully realize the
conditions existing here until he came and saw for himself.
Many a man came to Kansas in favor of slavery, and, like
Lane, was made a crusader for freedom by the course of
On July 27th, 1S55, a number of Democrats met in
Lawrence for the purpose of organizing the Democratic
party in Kansas Territory. Lane was president of the
meeting. An address was formulated ; it urged the neces-
sity of the organization of the Democratic party upon
national grounds, disclaimed the intention or right of the
party to interfere with any domestic institution, aflirmed
the right of the people to manage their own affairs, de-
nounced ballot-box stufiing, and invited people from all
sections of the country to come and live in Kansas and help
to manage its aifairs. It was supposed that a strong party
on the lines suggested could restore order and harmony.
But these men misread the Missourians ; only the exclusion
of settlers from the free States could restore order satisfac-
torily to them.
One of the causes of the failure of this movement was
tlie fact that at the time there were no national parties.
48 TWENTIETH CENTURY CIiASSICS
The passage of the Kansas-!N'ebraska bill reduced the Dem-
ocratic party to the rank of a sectional party; from the
same cause the Whig party was in the process of dissolution.
Butler says that Buchanan was elected by means of frauds
committed by his party in Pennsylvania. Conditions of
national strength or decay manifest themselves on the
frontiers of a country before they can be observed else-
where. In Kansas at this time there was the party of
slavery and ruffianism, and the party of resistance to its
campaigns of rapine and murder. In the latter were
many Democrats — some from the extreme South.
The effort to organize the national Democratic party in
Kansas was a flat failure ; it met with no response from the
people. They saw no hope for relief from its existence.
The so-called Democratic newspapers of the border ridi-
culed the movement. Its advocates saw the futility of tem-
Lane was a politician by nature and education. His
efforts to establish the national Democracy in Kansas,
while consistent and legitimate, gave color to the rumor
that he had come to the Territory as the vice-regent of
Douglas, and to retrieve his political fortunes ruined in
his old home by his support of the Kansas-Nebraska bill.
Upon the failure of this movement he abandoned the Dem-
ocratic party. And this left him open to the charge of
changing his party for the purpose of obtaining office.
However, his abandonment of the Democratic party and
his subsequent association with the Free-State movement
should no more be considered a change of party for political
preferment by Lane than it should of the men in the effort
with him. Most of them became afterwards prominent
JAMES HENRY LANE 4:9
members of the Free-State party, and did valiant service
in the battle for freedom.
The first Free-State convention in the Territory having
a tendency to the formation of a distinct party was licld
in Lawrence, Angnst 14th, 1855. Many meetings had
been previously held under the auspices of calls from
'^ Many citizens,'' and other similar names. One of con-
siderable importance was held on Jime 25th, but it was
more for the purpose of defying and denouncing the acts
of the bogus Legislature and to announce that the true
residents of Kansas would resist, and to declare for a free
Territory and a free State, than to formulate a policy for
Lane met with the convention of August 14th, and ad-
dressed it. His address was not well received. He was a
stranger. Two weeks previously he had issued the national
Democracy manifesto. And in his remarks he affirmed
that he w^ould again vote for the Kansas-IN'ebraska bill.
He said, however, that he was as anxit)us as any member
for a free constitution for Kansas and for Kansas to be-
come a free State. He counseled moderation. He seemed
the only man present who saAv into the future and clearly
comprehended the conditions of the whole country and
the relations the conflict beginning in Kansas bore to it.
Events of the preceding sixty days had revealed to him
what others here did not see. " There is the existence
of a Union hanging upon the action of the citizens of
Kansas," he said.
Dr. Eobinson reported a preamble and resolutions which
w^ere strong and conservative. They repudiated the bogus
50 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
Legislature then in session at Shawnee Mission, and coun-
seled resistance to its acts. Lane opposed the resolutions
as reported, and advised opposition to the Legislative acts
in a legal way. Complete harmony, however, came of the
wrangling, and the resolutions were adopted as Dr. Rob-
inson had reported them. A delegate convention of Free-
State men was recommended to be held at Big Springs on
the 5th of September.
Lane was not a man to enter any cause with half a heart.
Once enlisted, he worked with an energy such as no other
man of his time possessed. His resolutions were suddenly
formed ; he was quick to decide ; and to resolve was to act.
He was not satisfied with his reception by the convention.
With intuition he saw the true way to the hearts of the
people. As the convention was adjourning he had it an-
nounced that he would speak that night in the hall in which
it had met. He would, he said, denounce a noted leader of
the ruffians who came to Kansas to despoil her settlers of
their rights and liberties — often their lives.
Speer relates an incident in this connection, '^ which
showed Lane's j)i'esence of mind. The meeting was in
Robinson Hall, second floor. As he spoke to an audience
charmed with his invective frontier eloquence, the building
gave way. Instantly bringing his arms do^ai with empha-
sis, he exclaimed, ^ Stand still ! ' ISTot a soul moved. ^ ^NTow,'
he continued, 'let two of our best mechanics go quietly
out, examine the building, and report.' They did so, and
reported that it had sunk three or four inches, but the
foundation was solid and the building safe. The meeting
JAMES HENRY LANE 61
This address was the first he delivered in Kansas in the
style which was all his own. It created a sensation. It
revealed to the people a man of wonderful powers. From
the delivery of this address may be dated the beginning of
his ascendency in Kansas. It is fittingly described by one
of his old acquaintances :
" He electrified a Free- State audience in Lawrence by
announcing that he would speak the next evening on the
political issues of the day, championing the Free-State
cause. The crowd was immense. They came from their
cabins on the prairies, from the valleys and the hills.
They wanted to know from his own mouth the ^Grim Chief-
tain's ' position on political questions. The hour came.
Lane was in his best mood. He was prepared for a
vituperative, sarcastic, ironical and intensely personal
speech. Such the crowd usually likes, or used to in the
early frontier days, when men were ^ walking arsenals '
and crept over ^ volcanoes.' Such an analysis of character
was never heard before or since in Kansas. It was equal
to John Kandolph's best effort in that line. His late Demo-
cratic associates were dcnoimced, burlesqued, ridiculed and
pilloried in a hysteria of laughter by an excited, cyclonic
crowd. 'No one ever afterwards doubted where Lane stood.
He crossed with a leap the Kubicon of radical politics and
burned all bridges behind him. He was not baptized, — he
was immersed in the foaming floods of radicalism. As the
whitccaps rose higher and higher on the stormy and tu-
multuous political sea, Lane contended the stronger, and
THE BIG SPRINGS CONVENTION,
" Strike — for your altars and your fires ;
Strike — for the green graves of your sires,
God — and your native land."
The extent of this paper will not allow us to consider all
the events by which Kansas was made free. "Nov will it
suffer us to give even a short acount of all the eminent ser-
vices of General Lane-
The convention held bj the Free-State men at Big
Springs, September 5th, has become historic. It was here
that the men of Kansas, making party subservient to prin-
ciple, rose above partisanship and became patriots.
Lane desired to be appointed delegate to this convention
from Lawrence. He was opposed, but the opposition was
not successful in defeating him. Many citizens of the
Territory were not only against slavery, but were hostile
to the negro, whether bond or free, and were in favor of
laws which would forever exclude him from the State,
whatever his condition. Lane held to this view. A great
majority of the citizens of the Territory were of the same
opinion, and were called " black-law " men. But the most
radical opposition to the prevailing sentiment was in Law-
rence, and this ^^ black-law " tenet was the one thing urged
against Lane^s selection as a delegate.
Big Springs was a celebrated camping-ground on the
trail to California. It is in Douglas county, eleven miles
JAMES HENRY LANE 53
east of Topeka. But two persons with their families lived
in its vicinity in September, 1855. They were W. Y. Rob-
erts and W. R. Frost. The delegates, knowing that they
would find no accommodations in the neighborhood, came
prepared to camp on the ground. Their place of meeting
was the open plain, and no fitter place to formulate a plan
to battle for liberty than the broad prairie upon which tlie
convention met could have been found.
Here were men from the refinements of New England
homes, and with college diplomas in their pockets. New
York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, — almost all the States north
of Mason and Dixon's line were represented. Men from
Missouri and from the foot-hills of the Cumberland Moun-
tains were there. To some the name " abolitionist " was a
reproach too vile to be borne; others gloried in it. Some
were not opposed to the institution of slavery ; others were
for excluding all negroes. Some would have indorsed the
bogus Legislature then in session ; others would have taken
up arms to drive its members out of the Territory into
Missouri, where many of them lived. Some would have
been content with the assurance of no further molestation
from the rufiians; others would have exalted the flag to
the stars, nor held back the crusade for freedom as long
as a shackle bound a slave in America.
These diverse elements met for a definite purpose — to
form a party to act in concert in the making of a free State.
To harmonize these men with opinions so different and
political principles so divergent and to enlist them in a
common cause was no light task. For a long time it seemed
impossible that it could be accomplished. Freedom trem-
bled in the balance.
54 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
Miicli of the work to be done was assigned to committees.
To a most delicate and difficult position was James Henry
Lane assigned — that of chairman of the committee on
resolutions. It was his duty to evolve a declaration of
principles to which all would adhere in the coming struggle,
liere inaugurated, and to which all would subscribe now
and be bound by in the dark and terrible days to come.
In its preparation he consulted with every member of the
convention, now reasoning with one, now pleading with an-
other, and labored the whole night through.
The platform was reported by Lane on the morning of
the second day of the convention. Beyond a few remarks,
general in their nature, and explanatory of the work sub-
mitted, Lane did not indulge himself on reporting it. The
resolutions were bitterly attacked and warmly discussed.
Failure seemed imminent. "At this critical crisis Judge
Smith arose and began a speech of great earnestness and
feeling. With his white locks trembling in the wind, and
tears streaming down his furrowed cheeks, he besought
them in the spirit of a patriarch and a patriot, to cast
aside all minor differences, and to unite in one common
struggle toward rescuing Kansas from the vile dominion
of slavery." Then Lane arose, the last man to speak, and
delivered a thrilling, telling speech which swayed the men
of the convention as the wind sways the grass of the prai-
rie. And the historian records that the platform was
adopted unanimously and with enthusiastic cheers. Every
boy and girl in Kansas should study it carefully, for on its
declaration of principles did the fathers of Kansas stand
before the world, confident of the ultimate triumph of their
cause. It stated the wrongs they had suffered and the end
JAMES HENRY LANE 55
they hoped to accomplish. And time justified their hopes
and vindicated their action.
Another committee reported resolutions. Its chairman
Avas the late Judge James S. Emery, of Lawrence. It had
been appointed to consider the attitude to be assumed by
the people of the Territory toward the bogus Legislature.
The report eloquently recited the usurpations and out-
rages perpetrated by that illegal and bogus body, and de-
clared " we will endure and submit to these laws no longer
than the best interests of the Territory require, as the
least of two evils, and will resist them to a bloody issue
as soon as we ascertain that peaceable remedies shall fail,
and forcible resistance shall furnish any reasonable pros-
pect of success."
A candidate for Delegate to Congress w^as nominated.
This honor was bestowed upon Governor Reeder, who
made a brilliant address in accepting it, in which he quoted
effectively the lines at the head of this chapter.
The convention to be held in Topeka on the 19 th of
September to consider the propriety of forming a State con-
stitution w^as indorsed.
A committee consisting of James H. Lane, Samuel C.
Pomeroy (afterwards Lane's colleague in the United States
Senate), and G. W. BroA\m, was appointed to wait on Gov-
ernor Shannon and deliver to him a coj^y of the proceed-
ings of the convention.
The Hon. II. Miles Moore was one of the delegates to
the Big Springs convention, and sums up the results of its
work in the following eloquent statement :
" It had in truth and in fact accomplished a great and
glorious work for the Free-State cause in Kansas: it had
56 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
fully organized the party in the Territory, put forth its
platform, nominated a Delegate to Congress, appointed a
day for his election, and indorsed the constitutional conven-
tion called to he held at Topeka on the approaching 19th
of Septemher. It had flung its banner to the breeze in-
scribed in letters of living light : Kansas must and shall
BE FEEE, PEACEABLY IF WE CAN, BUT FOECIBLY IF WE
MUST. 'No SLAVE SHALL LONGEE CLANK HIS CHAINS ON
HER viEGiN SOIL. The days of secret Free-State meetings
called by ' Many Citizens,' ^ Sundry Citizens,' etc., held
in Lawrence or elsewhere, with the names of the partici-
pants suppressed or not announced, was past, thank God!
From this time henceforth their names were to be pub-
lished broadcast and knoT\ai and read of all men ; no skulk-
ing now, but a fight in the open and to the death if need be.
The Big Springs convention had given new life and inspira-
tion to the Free-State settlers throughout the Territory,
where before a spirit of despondency and apathy had pre-
vailed. Hope and courage took on new life. Free-State
meetings were held in many towns and settlements in the
From this date Lane was the recognized leader of the
Free-State movement in Kansas. He threw his soul into
the work of the liberation of his adopted Territory from
the usurpers who had sworn to enslave her. He was here,
there, everywhere. Sometimes he could not hire a horse
to ride; then he would walk miles and miles to attend a
Free-State meeting- He went about speaking as one hav-
ing authority. A stranger in the Territory in April, he
was known to the whole people in October. They came to
JAMES HENRY LANE
depend upon him and upon his superhuman efforts in
their behalf. They hurrahed for Jim Lane. They seemed
to have known him all their lives. It was only necessary
to have it known that Lane was to be in a certain to^vn or
at a certain cross-roads at a certain time ; all the people in
reach were sure to be there to hear him. He never failed
with a Kansas audience. And woe to the man who had
maligned him or the cause he represented !
'No other man who ever lived in Kansas had the power
over an audience possessed by Lane. His oratory affected
men differently, as they were differently constituted.
Some wept; some whooped and yelled; some cursed and
swore; some must needs leave the room and walk about
in the fresh air, to such a pitch were they wrought ; some
sat transfixed and mute, so absorbed that they were obliv-
ious to every external thing, even to their own existence,
hanging upon his every word and action. Upon one point
all were agreed : they believed whatever he said — they did
whatever he commanded.
It was said that he should never speak in Wyandotte.
One day he appeared there, without having sent previous
notice. In the afternoon it was noised abroad that Lane
was in to^Mi. It was with the utmost difficulty that a hall
could be secured for him. Trouble began as soon as he
left his hotel to repair to the place of meeting. He was
surrounded by a mob, some armed with ropes, others with
pistols and knives. On a street corner it became neces-
sary for him to appeal to the mob to postpone its vengeance
until it had heard what he had to say. He had not a
dozen friends in the audience which assembled. He began
his speech amid jeers and howls of execration, and was
58 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
urged " to make it brief," as they wanted to escort him to
a neighboring cottonwood tree for a further and final
interview. Eut gradually a calm settled upon his audi-
ence. At the end of ten minutes he had won but a single
applause; then came another; and still another; then a
full round of applause ; and in a quarter of an hour he was
master of the situation. In half an hour every man was
whooping and hurrahing for Jim Lane, and would have
turned their ropes, their pistols and their knives upon
anyone he might have suggested, had occasion arisen. In
this meeting was the famous Grey-Eyes incident ; it is too
well known to require repetition here. It is well told in
Speer's Life of Lane.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF
" Nations are the same as children —
Always living in the future,
Living in their aspirations and their hopes ;
Picturing some future greatness,
Keaching forth for future prizes.
With a wish for higher aims and grander scopes."
The delegate convention at Topeka, September 19 th,
1855, did an important work for Kansas. It fixed the
date for the election of delegates to form a constitution
upon which admission as a State was to be sought. It
fij^ed, also, the date of the meeting of the Constitutional
Lane did not arrive in time to attend the session of the
first day. His imexplained absence was construed by some
to indicate a weak adherence to the Free-State cause.
But all day he was liastening toward the convention; he
arrived at dark, having ridden sixty miles since daylight.
While tying his horse a crowd began to assemble around
him; in ^ve minutes he was addressing a street audience
of large size where but a few moments before there was
only an occasional passer-by.
In addition to its other duties this convention provided
for the appointment of a committee of seven men " to have
a general superintendence of the affairs of the Territory
TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
SO far as regards the organization of a State Government,
which committee shall be styled The Executive Committee
of Kansas Territory.''
Those appointed upon this most important committee
were James H. Lane, Joel K. Goodin, Cyrus K. Holliday,
Marcus J. Parrott. Philip C. Schuyler, George W. Smith,
and George W. Brown. The committee organized by the
election of James H. Lane as president and Joel K.
Goodin as secretary. By its powers this committee was
virtually a Provisional Government of Kansas Territory.
Upon it devolved the power to call elections, and to declare
the results thereof. It was to find the ways and means to
make Kansas a free State, should the movement now en-
tered upon result in her admission to the Union. In the
meantime it was to lead in the battle with the cohorts from
Missouri who were planning their subjugation.
Kansas was now entering upon the most critical and
crucial period of her history. On the 3d of October the
pro-slavery people met in Leavenworth and took the pre-
liminary steps in the formation of the " Law and Order
party.'' The bold stand made by the Pree-State people
for their rights and their announced intention to not obey
the laws of the bogus Legislature indicated that the subju-
gation of Kansas was to be more of a task than at first sup-
posed. It was realized by the advocates of slavery that the
" Blue Lodges " of Missouri must be supplemented in their
work by a strong organization upon the soil of Kansas ; it
was hoped that the full and free cooperation of the two
bodies might result in the accomplishment of the object
they so devoutly prayed for.
On the 14th of !N"ovember the Law and Order party was
JAMES HENRY LANE 61
organized in Leavenworth, pursuant to a call issued by a
committee appointed at the preliminary meeting. Gover-
nor Shannon was made president of the meeting which
formed this party. The resolutions adopted denounced
the work of the Constitutional Convention which had met
at Topeka October 23d, as treasonable. The true intent
of the party thus organized was set forth by one of the
speakers when he said : " We must enforce the laws, though
we resort to the force of arms ; trust to our rifles and make
the blood flow as freely as do the turbid Avaters of the
Missouri." And the sentiment expressed in this explicit
statement bore fruit at a later day, as the ruined homes
and murdered Free-State men did testify.
The Executive Committee conducted the affairs of the
Territory in a conservative w^ay in the interest of the Free-
State people, a majority of the actual settlers in Kansas.
But the legal government, the one having the recogni-
tion of the Federal Government, was vested in Governor
Shannon and the oflicers appointed by the President. This
made the government of the Executive Committee and that
under the Topeka Constitution which succeeded it revolu-
tionary or semi-revolutionary governments. It required
great tact, ability and address to avoid a conflict with the
Federal authorities. The safety of those representing the
governments called into being by the " Topeka movement "
lay in the common knowledge that they were only trying
to establish a State Government in accordance with all the
rights of American citizens, and working to secure the rec-
ognition of the Federal Government by lawful and peaceful
means. "No attempt to exercise any administrative func-
tions of the governments established was ever made, l^one
62 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
was ever contemplated until the assent of the Federal Gov-
ernment liad been obtained.
Lane was elected president of the Topeka Constitutional
Convention, which met October 23d. It continued in ses-
sion until the 11th of ISTovember. The constitution framed
bj it was a good one, and was ratified December 15th,
1855. On January 15th, 1856, State ofiicers and a Legis-
lature were elected. The Legislature convened on the 4th
of March, and established all the forms of a State Govern-
ment. Governor Charles Robinson sent in an able message.
The Legislature elected as United States Senators James
H. Lane and Andrew H. Reeder.
The meeting of the Legislature terminated the existence
of the Executive Committee of Kansas Territory. It
made a report of its doings, and closed up its affairs.
It incurred expenses amounting to $15,265.90, and issued
^' scrip " in payment. It had led the Free-State cause
through the ordeal of establishing a State Government^
and through the Wakarusa War. This committee was
composed of the ablest men of the Territory, and Lane
was the moving spirit in it. It " did in a most wonder-
fully efficient manner the work of a provisional and semi-
revolutionary government, through the darkest and most
disordered and dangerous period of the Territorial his-
tory. ... It seemed to have within itself the com-
bination of qualities required to plan and execute what-
ever the exigencies of the times demanded in the interest
of the Free-State party."
The records of the Committee are in the archives of the
State Historical Society.
THE WAKARUSA WAR.
" One more look at that dead face,
Of his murder's ghastly trace !
One more kiss, oh, widowed one !
Lay your left hands on his brow,
Lift your ri^ht hands up, and vow
That his work shall yet be done ! "
— Whitticr's "The Burial of Barber."
The darkest hours of Kansas history were those from
^N'ovember 20th, 1855, to January 1st, 1857,— a little more
than one year. What the noble and devoted people of the
Territory suffered in this short time can never be written.
Some enumeration of deeds can be made, but the murder,
pillage, and rapine were not the only evils, great as they
were. The terror of the lone wife as she waited in intense
agony for the return of the husband gone to the assistance
of the neighbor being despoiled of his rights — perhaps his
life; the dread that brutal bands might break in and
murder herself and her children in his absence ; the despair
of the widow, and her grief and her tears when her hus-
band was borne to his desolate cabin stark and cold in
death; — these things cannot be recorded in the books of
The period indicated includes the Wakarusa War, and
the war of the summer of 1856, in which Lawrence was
destroyed by Sheriff Jones and TJ. S. Senator David R.
Atchison, with their hordes of border-ruffians. By the
64 TWEITTIETH CEITTtrRT CLASSICS
summer of 1857 the Free-State settlers were so increased
in numbers that life and property were more safe. From
that time .the Missourians became less fierce in their at-
tacks, if even a little more expert in their stealing, and
gradually abandoned the contest, leaving Kansas to get to
the stars without their assistance.
It has been said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed
of the church. The trials of the Free-State settlers, their
sufferings, their blood crying from the ground, were some
of the causes which enabled them to finally triumph over
all obstacles. The outrage and injustice heaped upon
them gave them the sympathy of all the I^orthern States.
The triumph of the people over such barriers is an achieve-
ment without a parallel in history. These were the diffi-
culties which Kansas surmounted to reach the stars.
The border-ruffians supposed that each invasion had con-
quered Kansas and the ^^ abolitionists." But no sooner
were they across the border than resolutions were passed
condemning their actions. These were sent East and pub-
lished in newspapers in sympathy with the Free-State
movement. This was a strange kind of warfare and de-
fense to people who regarded a knowledge of the alphabet
a crime next in heinousness to that of being an " aboli-
tionist." At first they ridiculed it, but finally it became
a grievance hard to be borne. One of the reasons which
they gave for sacking Lawrence was, that " they passed
resolutions there and published them in Yankee news-
papers." The brave and manly actions of the Free-State
men in those troublous times is a heritage richer than
gold and pearls, and more valuable to coming generations
than rubies and fine sco^ 1. Seward said that when men
TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS 65
forgot the lessons of liberty they should come to Lawrence
to re-learn them.
*' Kansas with her woes and glory "
is destined to live in song- and story.
The postmaster of Westport, Mo., was a certain Jones.
It was his one cherished ambition to be instrumental in
" wiping out " the Free-State town of Lawrence. To this
desire is directly due the Wakarusa War. The murder cf
Charles W. Dow and the events growing out of that hor-
rible deed are well known to all.* He was a good citizen,
an inoffensive and peaceable man who had committed no
crime greater than coming to the prairies of Kansas a Free-
State man to make himself a home. His murderer, a
Missouri ruffian, fled to Westport. He surrendered him-
self to the said Jones, who had recently been appointed
by the bogus Legislature as sheriff of Douglas county,
where Dow was murdered. The ideas of justice enter-
tained by the " Law and Order party " may be compre-
hended when it is known that instead of taking measures
to punish the murderer, Jones caused a warrant to be
issued for the arrest of the next friend of the murdered
Jones had a purpose in this. He undoubtedly instigated
the murder. His purpose was to so exasperate the Free-
State men that they would rescue his prisoner, which
would give him a pretext to call for the military and with
it work his will on Lawrence, where he designed that the
rescue should occur. The rescue, however, was not made
in that town, but on a road some miles away. This, while a
disappointment, did not stop Jones. Even if the rescue
* Read Spring's "Kansas," p, 86, and following.
66 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
liaci not occurred in Lawrence, he was sure the rescuers
would go there, and this was sufficient for his purpose.
He could still have some color of excuse for his revenge.
Jones immediately sent a runner to Westport to cry for
aid. Later he made a requisition upon Governor Shannon
for three thousand men ^^ to carry out the laws." The Gov-
ernor ordered General Richardson to collect as large a
force as possible and with it report to Jones. Inflammatory
and false statements were spread along the border. A
forged letter purporting to have been written by Secretary
(afterward acting Governor) Woodson was sent into
Platte coimty to further arouse the Missouri ans. In re-
sponse, General Atchison hastened to the field. It was
said in Missouri that pro-slavery settlers in Kansas were
being murdered by the Free-State men. The fury of the
Free-State men was said to be terrible. Governor Shannon
issued a proclamation. Men and money were raised all
along the border ^^ to help Jones." Missourians from every
walk of life hastened to arms. One bloodthirsty editor
left his paper, taking only time to pen a hasty notice that
he was off to the war and expected to wade waist-deep in
the blood of " abolitionists."
The Free-State people at Lawrence appointed a Com-
mittee of Safety, and took what precautions they could to
protect their homes from the fury of the lawless ruffians
gathering to overwhelm them with complete destruction.
Dr. Ivobinson was appointed commander-in-chief of the
forces mustered for defense. Lane was appointed second
in command, and given charge of the field. He fortified
the town, and constantly drilled the Free-State settlers who
JAMES IIENKY LANE
caiiio in to assist in repcllini;" the invaders should tlicy
attack the town, as it was expected they would.
The determined stand of the Lawrence people and their
resolution not to stand meekly and be butchered was nnex-
pected by the border-ruffians, who had been taught that tho
'' abolitionists '' could not fight, and Avould not if they
could. They hesitated to attack, and most of them re-
mained in their camp at Fraidvlin, four miles away.
Another cause for their hesitation was their dread of the
Sharps' rifles with which the Fi'cc-State men were armed.
These rifles had been sui^plied to them by the Emigrant
Aid Society and other similar associations. The terror in-
spired by these guns Avas really frightful. It Avas believed
they could be fired sixty times a minute, and that they
w^ould kill a man a mile away.
The Eree-State men sent a deputation to wait upon Gov-
ernor Shannon, who was by it first informed of the merits
of the pretensions of Jones. To his credit be it said, that
Governor Shannon did what he could to amend the errors
into wdiich he had fallen. He went to Franklin, and finally
to Lawrence, in the role of a peace-maker.
On December Gtli Thomas W. Barber Avas wantonly
murdered in a most outrageous manner as he was returning
to his home from LaAvrence, Avhere he had been laboring i]i
the trenches and drilling in the ranks of her defenders.
He Avas shot by George W. Clark, Indian Agent, probably
for the sole purpose of exasperating the Free-State men to
attack the camp of ruffians at Franklin. If they became
the aggressors, Jones's course Avould be justified. A most
concise account of this murder can be found in Wilder's
Annals of Kansas. Suitable tablets in the ISTational Hall
68 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
of Kepresentatives at Washington and in the Hall of Repre-
sentatives in the Capitol huilding at Topeka commemorate
the martyrdom of Barher. His innocent blood crying from
the ground moved men to seek a deep revenge in after years.
The efforts of Governor Shannon, and the Sharps' rifles
in the hands of Free-State men, bore fruit. A treaty of
peace was concluded at Lawrence on the 8th of December,
1855, signed by Shannon, and, on behalf of the Free-State
men, by Robinson and Lane. The Missourians returned
to their lairs, and the defenders of Lawrence were dis-
charged. They were addressed by Robinson and Lane.
Lane said in part:
" Fellow-Soldiers : You assembled to vindicate the
right — to defend this city and inhabitants of the Terri-
tory against threatened destruction. Well and gallantly
have you discharged that duty. The tocsin of war is no
longer heard from the besieging army ; they have returned
across the border from whence they came ; our fortifications
are not demolished ; those beautiful buildings still remain
to ornament our city and to accommodate our citizens. You
still retain the rifles you know so well how to use. The
ladies — God bless them ! — are still among us, to encourage
manly and chivalric deeds.
" You have won a glorious victory by your industry,
skill, courage and forbearance. In these fortifications,
wrought as if by magic, you took your position, there de-
termined never to surrender while a man was left alive to
pull a trigger; with a desperate and wily foe almost in
your midst, you restrained your fire — determined to con-
tinue them in the wrong, and compel them to commence
hostilities — to take all the responsibility of a battle which
JAMES HENRY LANE
you believed would shake the Union to its very basis. The
besieging army had time to ascertain our true position — ■
found that position just and honorable ; that there was no
good cause of complaint against us ; and having marched
into Kansas, marched out again, leaving us occupying the
identical position we did when the invasion was made.
" While congratulating ourselves upon our success, let
us not forget the gallant Barber, who fell in the discharge
of his duty. lie was a noble spirit, worthy of the cause
for which he bled. Had he fallen upon the battle-field in
manly combat, we could not have complained. While we
forgive, we cannot forget his cowardly and brutal murder.
Long may liis manly bearing be remembered by all true
" For days and weeks we were impressed with the belief
that our hands were to be imbrued with the blood of
our brethren, while we were determined manfully and to
the death to defend our hearthstones. Our hearts bled in
contemplating the dreadful alternative. The fearful crisis
is past, and, we hope, never to return. Our Missouri
friends understand us and our cause better than when they
came, and will not again permit themselves to be stirred
up in anger against us.
" That beloved Union, for the safety of which we trem-
bled, will not again, we trust, be imperiled by a foreign
force from a sister State invading our Territory. . . ."
LANE IN THE EAST.
" I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
AVould harrow up thy soul."
Sometime in ^^rarcli, 1S5G, Lane left Kansas to make a
tour of the principal cities of the Free States in the inter-
est of the Free-State settlers. Other Free-State men went
on a similar mission — some of them with Lane. One noble
woman engaged in this work — Mrs. Sara T. L. Tlobinson,
wife of Dr. Charles Eobinson.
But one meeting can be noticed here — that held in
Chicago, Saturday evening, May 31st. Tliis chapter is
composed of extracts from the speech delivered by Lane
upon this occasion, and comments thereon, and is quoted
from Andreas' excellent history of Kansas — a work long
since out of print. This account will be found on pages
One of the earliest and most enthusiastic Kansas meet-
ings held was at Chicago, Saturday evening. May 31st, in
Court-House Square. The Kansas speakers were Colonel
James H. Lane and Mr. Ilinman, " fresh from the smoking
ruins of Lawrence. '^ The Chicago Daily Tribune, June 2,
gave a two-column report of the meeting imder such head-
lines as these: "Illinois Alive and Awake!'' "10,000
Freemen in Council ! " " 2,000 Old Hunkers on Hand ! "
" $15,000 Subscribed for Kansas ! "
JAMES HENRY LANE
Hon. ^N'orman Jiidcl presided, and made the opening
speech. ITe was followed by Francis A. Hoffman. J. C.
Vanghan, in an oloqnent speech, presented the claims of
Kansas for inimodinto relief, and offered the following
''Resolved, Tliat the people of Illinois will aid tiie Frefnlom oj
"Resolved, That they will send a colony of 500 actual settlers to
that Territory, and provision them for one year.
"Resolved, That these settlers will invade no man's rights, but
will maintain their own.
"Resolved, That we recommend the adoption of a similar policy
to the people of all the States of the Union, ready and willing to
aid; and also a thorough concert and cooperation among them,
through committees of correspondence, on this subject.
"Resolved, That an Executive Committee of seven, viz., J. C.
Vaughan, Mark Skinner, George AV. Dale, I. N. Arnold, N. B. Judd,
and E. I. Tinkham, be appointed, with full ])owers to carry into
execution these resolutions.
"Resolved, That Tuthill King, R. M. TTough, O. B. Waite, J. 11.
Dunham, Dr. Gil)bs, J. T. Ryerson and W. B. Egan be a finance
committee to raise and distribute material aid."
Following the reading of the resolntions, they were sec-
onded by Peter Page, Esq., and passed amidst the most
enthusiastic and prolonged cheering.
^ext, Hon. W. B. Egan, one of the most eloquent Irish
orators of the city, spoke to his Irish fellow-citizens, rous-
ing them to tlie highest pitch of excitement.
The President then introduced Col. James II. Lane, of
Kansas. As he rose up and came forward, he was greeted
Avith an outburst of applause from the crowd that contin-
ued for some minutes, during which time he stood statue-
like, with mouth firm set, gazing witli those Avondrous eyes
down into the very heart of the excited throng. Before the
72 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
applause had subsided sufficiently for liis voice to be beard,
tbe fascinating spell of his presence had already seized upon
the whole vast audience, and for the next hour he controlled
its every motion — moving to tears, to anger, to laughter,
to scorn, to the wildest enthusiasm, at his will. ISTo man
of his time possessed such magnetic power over a vast mis-
cellaneous assembly of men as he. With two possible
exceptions (Patrick Henry and S. S. Prentiss), no Ameri-
can orator ever equaled him in effective stump-speaking,
or by the irresistible power by which he held his audience
in absolute control. On that night he was at his best.
It was doubtless the ablest and most effective oratorical
effort of his life, l^o full report of it was given at the time.
One of the hundreds of young men made ^^ Kansas crazy "
by the speech, and who forthwith left all and followed him
to Kansas, thus wrote of it twenty years after : *
" He was fresh from the scenes of dispute in the belliger-
ent Territory. He made a characteristic speech, teeming
with invective extravagance, impetuosity, denunciation and
eloquence. The grass on the prairies is SAvayed no mort
easily by the winds than was this vast assemblage by the
utterances of this speaker. They saw the contending fac-
tions in the Territory through his glasses. The Pro-
Slavery party appeared like demons and assassins; the
Free-State party like heroes and martyrs. He infused
them with his warlike spirit and enthusiastic ardor for
the practical champions of freedom. Their response for
his appeals for succor for the struggling freemen was im-
mediate and decisive."
* Col. S. S. Prouty.
JAMES HENRY LANE
It is doubtful if the writer of the ahove, or any other of
the ten thousand hearers of that night, can recall a single
sentence of his speech. The emotions aroused were so
overwhelming as to entirely obliterate from meinory the
spoken words. A few broken extracts are preserved below.
He began :
"I have been sent by the people of Kansas to plead
their cause before the people of the ISTorth. Most people
have a very erroneous idea of the people of Kansas. They
think they are mostly from Massachusetts. They are
really more than nine-tenths from the ISTorthwestern States.
There are more men from Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, than
from all New England and ISTew York combined."
Speaking of the President, he said:
" Of Franklin Pierce I have a right to talk as I please,
having made more than one hundred speeches advocating
his election, and having also as one of the Electors of Indi-
ana, cast the electoral vote of tliat State for him. Frank
was, in part, the creature of my own hands ; and a pretty
job they made of it. The one pre-eminent wish of mine
now is that Frank may be hurled from the \Vhite House ;
and that the nine memorials sent him from the outraged
citizens of Kansas detailing their wrongs, may be dragged
out of his iron box."
Of the climate of Kansas, he said :
" Kansas is the Italy of America. The corn and the
vine grow there so gloriously that they seem to be glad and
to thank the farmers for planting them. It is a climate
74: TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
like that of Illinois, but milder. Invalids, instead of going
to Italy, when the country became known would go to Kan-
sas, to gather new life beneath its fair sky and from its
balmy airs. The wild grapes of Kansas are as large and
luscious as those that grow in the vineyards of southern
He alluded to Col. W. IT. Bissell, then the Kepublican
candidate for Governor of Illinois, as follows :
" It is true, I was side by side with your gallant and
noble Bissell at Buena Vista and in Congress. I wish I
could describe to jo\i the scene on the morning preceding
that glorious battle. On a ridge stood Clay, Bissell, Mc-
Kee, Hardin, and myself. Before us were twenty thou-
sand armed enemies. It was a beautiful morning, and the
sun shone bright upon the polished lances and muskets
of the enemy, and their banners waved proudly in the
breeze. In our rear the lofty mountains reached sky-
ward, and their bases swarmed with enemies ready to rob
tlie dead and murder the wounded when the battle was over.
Around us stood five ragged regiments of volunteers, — two
from Illinois, two from Indiana, and one from Kentucky;
they were bone of your bone, blood of your blood, and it
was only when you were near enough to look into their
eyes that j^ou could see the d — — 1 was in them. It did
not occur to me then that I should be indicted for treason
because I loved liberty better than slavery."
He then gave a warm and glowing tribute to Col. Bis-
sell, his brother-in-arms.
Then followed a most vivid and awful narrative of the
JAMES HENRY LANE
outrages perpetrated upon the Free States' men by the
Missouri ruffians; so vivid that the Osawatomie murders
seemed but merited retaliation, and most sweet revenge
to liis excited hearers.
" The Missourians [said he] poured over the border
in thousands, with bowie-knives in their boots, their belts
bristling with revolvers, their gims upon their shoulders,
and three gallons of whisky per vote in their wagons.
When asked where they came from, their reply was, ' From
Missouri;' when asked, ^ What are you here for?' their
reply was, ' Come to vote.' If anyone should go there
and attempt to denj^ these things, or apologize for them,
the Missourians would spit upon him. They claim to
own Kansas, to have a right to vote there and to make its
laws, and to say wliat its institutions shall be."
Col. Lane held up the volume of the Statutes of Kansas,
then proceeded to read from it, commenting as he read :
" The Legislature first passed acts virtually repealing
the larger portion of the Constitution of the United States,
and then repealed, as coolly as one would take a chew of to-
bacco, provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Of this
bill I have a riglit to speak — God forgive me for so enor-
mous and dreadful a political sin — I voted for the bill. I
thought the people were to have the right to form their
own institutions, and went to Kansas to organize the Demo-
cratic party there, and make the State Democratic, but
tho IMissouri invaders poured in — the ballot-boxes were
desecrated — tho bogus Legislature was elected by armed
mobs : you know the rest.
" The Pro-Slavery fragment of the Democratic party
76 TWENTIETH CEKTURY CLASSICS
talk much about Knownothingism. It is their song day
and night. Well, these Kansas law-makers have gone to
work and repealed at once the clause in the ^Nebraska
Bill that gave the right to vote to foreigners in Kansas on
declaring their intention to become citizens, and made
it requisite for them to have lived in the Territory five
years and to take the final oath ; and at the same time, they
made all Indians who adopted the habits of the white men,
voters at once. And what was the distinguishing habit
of white men? Why, it was understood to be drinking
whisky. All that was necessary to naturalize a Kansas
Indian was to get him drunk. What Kno^vnothing lodge
ever went so far in their nativism as this ? — ^made foreign-
ers in the Territory wait five years to become citizens, and
enfranchising the drunken, thieving Indians at once, one
and all !
" The Pro-Slavery fragment of the Democratic party
also delights in the term ^negro-worshipper,' to desig-
nate Free-State men. I will show you that these Pro-
Slavery men are of all negro-worshippers the most abject.
According to the Kansas code [Col. Lane read from the
book, giving page and section], if a person kidnaps a
white child, the utmost penalty is six months in jail — if
a negro baby, the penalty is death. Who worships negroes,
and slave negro babies at that ? To kidnap a ^hite child
into slavery — six months in jail; to kidnap a negro into
freedom — death ! "
He concluded his scathing review of the infamous co'de
as follows :
" Is there an lUinoisan who says enforce these mon-
strous iniquities called laws? Show me the manl The
JAMES HENRY LANE
people of Kansas never will obey them. They are being
butchered, and one and all will die first ! As for myself,
I am going back to Kansas, where there is an indictment
pending against me for high treason. Were the rope
about my neck, I would say that as to the Kansas code, it
shall not be enforced — never — nevee ! "
Following, he argued, elaborately and conclusively, the
right of Kansas to come into the Union as a Free State
" now." He closed his speech with a detailed account of
the murders and outrages perpetrated upon the Free-
State settlers, giving, with a masterly power of tragic
delineation which brought each particular horror, blood-
red and distinct, before the eyes of the excited throng.
He knew of fourteen cases of tar and feathering — " the
most awful and humiliating outrage ever inflicted on
man." He told of Dow, shot dead while holding up his
hands as a sign of his defenselessness ; lying, like a dead
dog, in the road all the long day, until in the evening his
friends found his body, dabbled in his life-blood, and bore
it away. Barber, unarmed, shot on the highway, brought
dead to Lawrence, where his frantic wife, a childless
Avidow, 'mid shrieks of anguish, kissed the pallid lips that
to her were silent evermore. Brown, stabbed, pounded,
hacked with a hatchet, bleeding and dying, kicked into
the presence of his wdfe, where in agony he breathed out
his life — she, now a maniac. A voice from the crowd
called, " Who was Bro\vn ? " Lane continued :
" Brown was as gallant a spirit as ever went to his God !
And a Democrat at that — not one of the Pro-Slavery frag-
ment, though. For the blood of free men shed on the soil
78 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
of Kansas — for the blood now flowing in tlic streets of
Lawrence — for every drop wliicli has been shed since the
people asked to be admitted as a State, the Administration
is responsible. Before God and this people I arraign
Frank Pierce as a murderer!
" In conclnsion, I have only this to say : The people of
Kansas have undying faith in the justice of their cause — in
the eternal life of the truths maintained — and they ask
the people of Illinois to do for them that which seems to
The Chicago Tribune, in its report of the meeting,
June 2, says :
" We regret we can only give a meager outline of the elo-
quent and telling effort of Col. Lane. He was listened to
with the deepest interest and attention by the vast throng,
and as he detailed the series of infamous outrages inflicted
uj^on the free men of Kansas, the people Avere breathless
with mortification and anger, or wild with enthusiasm to
avenge those wrongs. During Col. Lane's address, he waj>
often interrupted by the wildest applause, or by deep
groans for Pierce. Douglas, Atchison, and the doughfaces
and ruffians who had oi^pressed Kansas, and by cheers for
Sumner, Kobinson, and other noble men who have dared
and suffered for liberty. . . .
^^ Language is inadequate to give the reader a conception
of the effect of the recital of that tale of woe Avhicli men
from Kansas had to tell ; the flashing eyes, the rigid mus-
cles, and the frowning brows told a story to the looker-on
that types cannot repeat. Prom the fact that an immense
crowd kept their feet from 8 till 12 o'clock, that even then
JAMES 3IENKY LANE 79
they were unwilling the sjoeakers shoiikl cease, or thtit the
contributions should stop ; from the fact that workingmen,
who have only the wages of the clay's bread, eniptic.'d the
contents of their pockets into the general fund ; that sailors
threw in their earnings ; that widows sent up their savings ;
that boys contributed their pence; that those who had no
money gave what they had to spare; that those who had
nothing to give offered to go as settlers and do their duty to
Freedom on that now consecrated soil; that every bold
declaration for liberty, every allusion to the Revolution of
'76, and to the possibility that the battles of that period
were to be fought over again in Kansas, were received as
those things most to be desired — something of the tone and
temper of the meeting may be imagined. . .
" The effect of the meeting will be felt in deeds. Be the
consequences what they may, the men of Illinois are re-
solved to act. . . .
" Take it with its attending circmnstances — the short-
ness of the notice, the character of the assembled multi-
tude, and the work which was accomplished — it was the
most remarkable meeting ever held in the State. We
believe it will inaugurate a new era in Illinois. We believe
it is the precursor of the liberation of Kansas from the
hand of the oppressor, and of an all-pervading political
revolution at home.
"About half-past 12, Sunday having come, the meeting
unwillingly adjourned, and the crowd reluctantly Avent
home. At a later hour, the Star-Spangled Banner and the
Marseillaise, sung by bands of men whose hearts were full
of the spirit of these magnificent hymns, were the only
evidences of the event that we have endeavored to de-
scribe." ' j ' «
LANE'S ARMY OF THE NORTH.
'' Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead !
In peace there 's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility ;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger :
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage ;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect ;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon ; let the brow o'er whelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean."
The effect of the campaign in the N^orth began to mani-
fest itself on the border, where the ruffians were ever on
guard. Upon the resumption of navigation on the Mis-
souri river in the spring of 1856, emigrants to Kansas
began to arrive at the border towns. They were from the
free States, and at first were in parties so small that the
pro-slavery people did not molest them. A small quantity
of ammunition and some guns may have reached the Free-
State settlers by this route.
Humor had borne into the dark recesses of ruffianism
some intimation of the magnitude of Lane's work in the
l^orth. The emigrants passing up the river to Kansas
were taken as a sort of advance guard of what came to be
known as " Lane's Army of the E'orth." It was decided
JAMES HENRY LANE
that they must be stopped. Boats were searched; emi-
grants for Kansas were turned back or made prisoners.
The arms consigned t ) the Free-State men were confiscated.
The tide thus early setting toward Kansas was temporarily
checked. But it found a new route, througli Iowa and
N'ebraska, and came into Kansas from the northward.
The arms intended for the Free-State settlers were con-
signed by way of this route; some of them reached their
In Kansas affairs were approaching a white heat. Jones
was furious wdien his prey was snatched from his paws by
Shannon's conclusion of the Wakarusa war, though it is
doubtful whether he would have attacked Lawrence when
he found the Free- State men so determined to protect
themselves, armed as they were with Sharps' rifles. But
he pretended that he would. He raged in the ^^ Blue
Lodges " of Missouri, and fumed against Shannon's action.
He sought another occasion to try the ^' bowie-knife and
revolver cure " for ^' abolitionism " upon the hated Law-
rence. In this he had recourse to his unserved writs. Two
of the party which rescued Branson w^ere Samuel N".
Wood and Samuel J. Tappan. He went to Lawrence to
arrest them, and was resisted by a half- jovial, half-in-ear-
nest crowd of Free-State men who jostled him and per-
mitted his prisoners to escape. At night he was shot,
though not dangerously hurt. The assassin acted upon
his own responsibility, and was unknown to the people of
the town. They disavowed his action, condemned it, and
offered a rcAvard for his arrest.
The attempted assassination of Jones was the opportu-
nity of the Missourians. Jones was reported dead. The
border was aflame.
82 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS '
At this time, too, it was determined to devote some at-
tention to the officers elected under the Topeka Constitu-
tion. These officers had attempted to perform none of the
functions of the offices which thej held, and it was well
known that thej had no intention of doing so until so
authorized bj an enabling act of Congress. In May the
grand jury of Douglas county was instructed to indict
them for treason, and did so. It was thought that Dr. Kob-
inson could be of great service to Kansas by making a
tour of ISTew England. On his way there he was arrested
at Lexington, Mo., but Mrs. Kobinson was allowed to pro-
ceed. She did a noble work for the Free-State cause,
accomplishing fully that which had been assigned to her
husband. Dr. Robinson Avas returned to Kansas, and,
with others, held a prisoner for four months at Lecompton.
Governor Reeder fled in disguise. It was a matter of con-
cern along the border that Reeder escaped, that Lane could
not be arrested, and that there existed no sufficient excuse
for the immediate murder of Dr. Robinson.
The United States Marshal issued a proclamation May
11th, 1856, calling for "law-abiding" citizens to appear
at Lecompton " in sufficient numbers for the execution of
the law." Kansas was invaded again by Missourians.
The hordes poured again over the border. Free-State
settlers were everywhere arrested and distressed. J^one of
their leaders were in position to organize resistance, being
absent from the Territory or under arrest. The long-
desired opportunity to destroy Lawrence was at hand.
On May 21, Jones led in a body of armed men and de-
stroyed the Free-State hotel. He also burned the dwell-
ing of Dr. Robinson, and destroyed the offices of the Free-
State newspapers. Tlie town was pillaged.
JAMES HENRY LANE 83
The Topeka Legislature was dispersed July 4, and the
Congressional Committee of Investigation was threatened
with hanging by " Captain Hemp." It was virtually
driven from the Territory. Anarchy reigned.
By August 1st armed bands of Missourians and their
allies from other slave States were in almost undisputed
possession of Kansas Territory. They were encamped
and fortified at various points. Osawatomie was at the
mercy of a company of Georgians a short distance away,
who lived by pillaging the Free-State men. Twelve miles
southwest of Lawrence, on Washington creek, on the claim
of J. P. Saunders, the Missourians had fortified them-
selves in what they called " Fort Saunders." At Frank-
lin they had a blockhouse, defended with a cannon. This
Avas a sort of headquarters from which bands went forth
to raid the settlers, and to which they carried their plun-
der. Two miles south of Lecompton Col. H. T. Titus
turned his house into a fort and garrisoned it with Mis-
sourians. These posts had been maintained by the Mis-
sourians all summer. Each was a center from which
armed bands harried the surrounding Free-State settlers,
and to which the fruits of robbery were carried.
The policy of inaction, and the role of non-combatants
and martyrs, could no longer be borne by the Free-State
men. It seemed that their extermination had been de-
cided upon by the relentless Missourians. John Brown
took the field. As long as Free-State settlers could be mur-
dered with impimity in Kansas, murder was lightly re-
garded by the pro-slavery invaders. When John BroAvn
with his Bible and his gun stood in the breach, it became a
different matter. When he met the Missourians at Black
84 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
Jack and administered Cromwellian knocks to ruffian
pates, pro-slavery people everywhere were shocked at his
impiety. Whitfield, the dull and heavy pro-slavery Dele-
gate to Congress, took the field with a large band of cut-
throats at his heels, and pretended to be searching for
Brown ; he was very careful not to find him.
The Free-State men made a demonstration against the
fort of the Georgians near Osawatomie, August 5th. They
outnumbered their assailants, but fled in haste to Fort
Saunders, leaving a portion of their supplies. Thus re-
inforced. Fort Saunders became a formidable point. Free-
State settlements in its vicinity Avere uprooted.
This was the condition of Kansas when the Missourians
were again troubled by rumors. Lane abandoned his cam-
paign for Fremont and Kansas in the I^orth, and hastened
home to take the field against the border-ruffians. He came
at the head of some six hundred emigrants, three hundred
of whom were armed, some of them very poorly. He led
them over the route afterwards called " Lane's Trail,"
and sometimes known as the " Iowa route." He arrived
August Yth. He was disguised after reaching the Kansas
line, and was known as " Joe Cook."
Major D. S. Hoyt was an estimable citizen of Lawrence
who deplored the existing conditions, and who supposed
that some arrangement might be concluded with Col.
Treadwell, commander of Fort Saunders, whereby order
would be restored in Douglas county. Against the pro-
tests of his friends he proceeded unarmed to the fort
upon this mission. He was received with apparent cor-
diality and good feeling. Upon his return, two men were
sent a short distance with him. Arriving at a wood near
JAMES HENRY LANE
the fort, they murdered him, mutihated his body with a
corrosive substance, and partly Imried it. This brutal and
treacherous murder occurred only a day or two after Lane
arrived in Lawrence, and before his presence was known
to any except his most trusted friends. The Free-State
men were exasperated. Their leaders determined to at-
tack Franklin; this intention was kept secret from the
citizens of Lawrence. On the evening of the 12th of
August, eighty-one men commanded by Captain Joseph
Cracklin left Law^rence to attack and if possible destroy
the blockhouse at Franklin, and to gain possession of the
cannon with which it was defended. This was under-
taken by Lane's advice. He accomj)anied the attacking
party, and as the column was nearing Franklin made
himself know^n to his men, who, it is said, " seemed now
to think everything would go right.''
The attack was successful. The Free-State men drew
a wagon loaded with hay to the blockhouse, and fired it.
The Missourians fled, and the panic they were in can be
inferred when it is kno\\ai that they left their whisky,
several barrels of which were found and destroyed by the
attacking party. The cannon was secured and carried to
Lawrence; as no ammunition for it was captured, the
Free-State men took the type of the Herald of Freedom
and cast it into balls for this piece of artillery.
On the 13th of August the Chicago company arrived in
Topeka ; it consisted of thirty men. Lane ordered it to
report to the Free-State camp some three miles from
Fort Saunders. They arrived at 2 o'clock the morning of
the 14th. This increased the Free-State force to some
four hundred men. During the day the body of Major
Hoyt was found, and, gathered around it, the Free-State
86 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
men swore revenge. On tlie morning of the IStli Lane
sent out scouts, and tlie men demanded to be led at once
to the attack, which had been fixed for the following
morning. The demand of the men was complied with,
and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon they were led against
the fort, which they found deserted. The ruffians had
fled, leaving much plunder, and forty muskets. The fort
The Free-State men began the return march to Law-
rence, but on their way were informed that the Missou-
rians under Titus were raiding the Free-State settlers.
Upon the receipt of this intelligence the force turned
towards Lecompton. On the 16th the fortified house of
Titus was bombarded with the cannon taken at Franklin.
At every fire the Free-State men would call out, " There
is a new edition of the Herald of Freedom for you ! ''
The fort and its garrison were surrendered. The fort
was burned, and the prisoners taken to Lawrence. The
roar of the cannon was heard in Lecompton, and the Ter-
ritorial officers hid themselves. Governor Shannon was
found embarking on a scow to flee across the river.
The following day Governor Shannon appeared in Law-
rence, and concluded a peace with the Free-State men.
Prisoners were exchanged. This step angered the Mis-
sourians, who had lost their prey once before by a treaty
of peace. They were resolved not to be foiled in like
manner again. They took the matter into their own
hands. The presence of Lane in the Territory became
known to the Missourians at this time. August 16th
their leaders issued a call which ran thus:
" To THE Public : It has been our duty to keep correctly
JAMES HENRY LANE
and fully advised of the movements of the Abolitionists.
We know that since Lane commenced his march the Al)o-
litionists in the Territory have been engaged in stealing
horses to mount his men, and in organizing and prepar-
ing immediately on their arrival to carry out their avowed
purpose of expelling or exterminating every pro-slavery
settler. We have seen them daily become more daring as
Lane's party advanced. We have endeavored to prepare
our friends to the end, which was foreseen, and which we
now have to announce — Lane's men have arrived! —
CIVIL AVAR HAS BEGUN ! "
Lane's name was in the mouth of every Missourian,
and a terror to their hearts. Missourians were appealed
to and asked to reinforce their brethren in Kansas, as
''Lane was in the -field!'' Clark, the murderer of Bar-
ber, fled, and reported that —
"An army of Lane's men have demolished Franklin;
six to eight hundred strong, attacked Col. Titus near Le-
compton. . . .
" They attacked the guard of the United States troops
who had in charge Robinson and the other prisoners, who
surrendered without firing a gun, and are now in the hands
of Lane's men. It is impossible to state in a letter all the
outrages committed by these marauders. We have had
^YQ expresses from different parts of the Territory since
this morning, from Iowa Point to Lecompton. They are
driving all the pro-slavery men out of Douglas county.
. . . The fugitive's are arriving every hour.
" We call upon our friends in Missouri, in the name of
humanity, to come to the rescue, witli men and provisions
88 TWEl^TIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
to support tliem. Ws have determined to clean the Terri-
tory or fall in the attempt ... To arms! at once,
and come to the rescue."
The Kansas Herald Extra had these headlines. They
show the panic and consternation caused by the presence
of Lane and his army :
^^ War and Desolation ! — Lecompton taken by Lane's
Men ! — Col. Titus's Company Held as Prisoners ! — Sheriff
Jones's House Threatened- by the Outlaws ! — Murder and
Butchery ! "
An account of the storming and taking of Titus's house,
and the general devastation by Lane's men, closed as
^^ Is there a heart in the breast of any Law-and-Order
man in Kansas that will not respond to the following ear-
nest and touching ajipeal. Let the cry be — To arms !
To arms ! !
" ]^EAR Lecompton, August 16^ 1856.
^^ To Col. Payne and Others, Friends of Law and
Order: The Abolitionists have come on us this morning
about daylight, whipped and taken prisoners our men.
Lecompton is taken, and deserted by the women and chil-
dren. These are Lane's men, about eight hundred strong.
The United States troops are also whipped and beaten.
Will you come to our rescue before we are all murdered ?
We are out of powder and lead and every kind of ammuni-
tion. Our friends are now stationed in Sheriff Jones's
house, as many as can, and will fight to the last. Will you
JAMES HENRY LANE S9
help US ? If so, come at once. Unless we get help we will
all be murdered. Yours,
L. J. Hamilton.
<' p. S. — Col. Titus and his men arc all taken prisoners."
Governor Shannon resigned and Secretary Woodson 1)c-
came Acting Governor August 21st. As it was known that
he would aid in every way the Missourians in their work
of exterminating the Free-State men, the ruffians deter-
mined to make the most of their opportunity. It was not
known when Governor Shannon's successor would arrive,
and it was hoped that the Free-State settlers could be
destroyed or conquered before his presence could prevent
so desirable a consummation. Their leaders issued a
manifesto August 26th, setting forth reasons why this
should be accomplished. The ruffians were urged to '' Let
the watchword be ' extermination, total and complete.' "
United States Senator Atchison and B. F. Stringfellow
were at this time at Little Santa Fe, Mo., with a force
of about one thousand men. These they organized under
the name of " The Army of Law and Order in Kansas,"
and Atchison was made commander of it. This army
moved into the Territory on the 29th, and camped some
fifteen miles from Osawatomie, to which towm they sent a
detachment of about three hundred and fifty men. The
detachment arrived at the town on the morning of the
30th. The village was defended by John Erown with
about thirty-five men ; they were forced to retreat after a
heroic defense. Brown's son and another man were killed,
as were also some of the attacking party. The town was
pillaged and burned.
90 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
A force of Free-State men of about three hundred, under
the advice of Lane, marched against the camp of the in-
vaders. Upon their approach the ruffians fled to Missouri,
when their pickets had exchanged shots with the advance-
guard of the Free-State men.
Having dispersed the army of Atchison and String-
fellow, the Free- State men marched against Lecompton in
two columns, one on each bank of the Kansas river, com-
manded by Harvey on the north and Lane on the south
bank. Lane was delayed, and did not arrive until Harvey
had retired. But the demonstration was a success; it se-
cured the release of the Free- State prisoners, and the dis-
bandment of one division of the Missourians.
The ruffians met with more success in Atchison, Jeffer-
son and Leavenworth counties. The Free-State men were
in a minority, and they were unorganized. They could
oifer no effective resistance to the robbery and murder
daily perpetrated against them. Governor Shannon re-
ported that dead bodies could be seen along all the high-
ways. Murder was so common that it ceased to cause
comment — it was taken as a matter of course. Many
refugees from these counties came to Lawrence for safety,
and to seek for assistance to expel the Missourians and
to regain their homes.
A meeting of the principal Free-State men was held in
Lawrence, and it was determined to cross the river and
drive out the border-ruffians prowling and murdering in
Leavenworth and Jefferson counties. It was determined
to march on the city of Leavenworth when the coimtry
was cleared. Lane, Harvey and John Brown attended the
meeting, and the command of the column to march on
JAMES HENEY LANE
Leavenworth was tendered Brown. He declined it, as it
would have been necessary for Colonel Harvey to take a
subordinate place, which he did not believe would be sat-
isfactory to Harvey's men. A successful campaign was
begim. The chief command devolved upon Lane. At
Slough creek Major Harvey surprised a number of the
ruffians and captured almost all of them, with their arms
and baggage. He was then ordered by Lane to march to
Hickory Point and attack a band encamped in a black-
smith shop. The shop was fired with a load of burning
hay, when a truce was declared, flags exchanged, and hos-
tilities between them ceased. Lane heard of the arrival of
Governor Geary, and ordered Colonel Harvey to return to
Lawrence; but not receiving this order, he went to Oska-
loosa, where he and his force were arrested on a charge of
murder. Lane escaped from the Territory.
Lane had been in the Territory little more than a month ;
victory after victory rested with the Free-State men after
his arrival. One of his friends afterwards wrote of this
" This short, brilliant, decisive and successful campaign
^vas glorious in its inception ; glorious in its execution, and
most glorious in its results. On it the freedom of Kansas
and the stability of our free institutions and the Kepublic
itself was staked, and most nobly were they defended.
. . . This was the last attempt on the part of the people
of Missouri to make Kansas a slave State by force of arms.
The only reliance now of the conspirators was on the
administration at Washington and ^ ballot-box stuffing '
and other frauds in elections; and failing in that they
attempted secession, which ended in the destruction of
92 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
slavery. . . . This campaign was the crowning glory
of the Grim Chieftain's career, and placed him on the top
of the temple of fame in Kansas."
It is onr belief that his friend correctly weighed his
deeds, and that the campaign begnn in Chicago in May
and ended in Kansas in September, 1856, liberated Kansas
from the dominion of slavery and saved her to a nation
made wholly free by the fires kindled against the foul
institution on her ot\ti soil, made sacred by the blood of
her noble sons.
DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BORDER-RUFFIANS.
At the close of the civil war that class of Missourians
known as " border-ruffians " began to seek their favorite
haunts — the extreme frontier of the Great West. Sheriff
Jones w^ent to ^NTew Mexico, and many of them followed
him there. Yery few of them remained in Missouri. With
peace came the development of the farms and mines, the
shops and railroads, the towns and cities of both States.
Many Missourians settled in Kansas, and are staunch and
patriotic Kansans. Many Kansas people live in Mis-
souri, and where strife and bloodshed once were, streets
and business blocks now are, and fraternity and prosperity
prevail. The development of the two States is in the same
direction, and Kansas City, Mo., is a Kansas town, built
by Kansas enterprise, Kansas industries, and Kansas pro-
ducts. Harmony exists, and we are here, as everywhere
in the Republic, a happy, united and patriotic people.
The Missourian of the " border-ruffian days '' is now known
JAMES HENRY LANE 93
only to history. These pages have had much to say of him.
Kansas history cannot he recounted without relating his
deeds of ruffianism. But in his stead has arisen a citizen-
ship), patriotic, industrious, progressive. The Missouri
of to-day is an Empire State of the Union.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S SECOND
"I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts;
I am no orator, as Brutus is ;
But as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
That loves my friend ; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him :
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth.
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood t I only speak right on :
I tell you that which you yourselves do know."
The Union League Avas a secret political organization.
It was composed of Republicans, and was organized in the
interests of the Republican party during the war of the
Rebellion. Many of the most prominent members of the
party belonged to it. It took secret action, and worked out
its plans through the influence of its members in the party.
For a year before the meeting of the convention to nom-
inate candidates for President and Vice-President, many
of the influential members of this Leag-ue had been work-
ing secretly against the renomination of Mr. Lincoln.
General Lane was a member of the League, and a delegate
to the Grand Council of the order, which met on the niglit
before the meeting of the iN'ational Convention. A very
great number of the delegates to the convention were mem-
bers of the League, and if that body had decided to oppose
the nomination of Mr. Lincoln, he could not have been
JAMES HENRY LANE 95
made the candidate of the Republican party in 1864. The
following account of the meeting of the Grand Council is
taken from Speer^s Life of Lane, page 279, and following.
^h\ Speer was a delegate to the Grand Council ;
" It was a terrible body in its malignity toward the
President. Fortunately, I am saved the attempt to de-
scribe it. That eminent statesman and author, ITon.
W. O. Stoddard, who was Lincoln's private secretary,
and who wrote a ^ Life of Lincoln,' ' Lives of the Presi-
dents,' and many other works both in prose and poetry,
has given its history most graphically, (see ^ Story of a
l^omination,' 'North American Review, 1884, Vol. 13G,
p. 263,) from which I quote:
^' ' The Grand Council assembled at an early hour, and
its doors were sternly closed to all but those with absolute
right to enter. The Grand Council was a dignifiedly sim-
ple gathering. There were no press reporters present.
No brass bands made music. No time was lost in prelim-
inary or other organization, and no committees were re-
quired. The ample platform contained only three men^ — -
the Grand President and the Grand Recording and Corre-
sponding Secretaries. There was all the more time for the
transaction of business, and this began the moment the
meeting Avas called to order. There had been both prepara-
tion and consultation among the intending assailants of
the Administration. These arose to speak in rapid, but not
conflicting succession, in different parts of the hall. Per-
haps the severest attack upon the President and the con-
duct of the. war was made by one of the United States
Senators from Missouri; but there were others whom he
96 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
little surpassed in vehemence. The charges made were ap-
palling, and it was well that their eloquent utterance was
to form no part of the published proceedings of the Balti-
more Convention. Had they been openly uttered in the
convention, to go forth to the country, whether they were
true or false, that body could afterward have reached no
peaceful agreement by ballot, nor could it have adopted
any platform of resolutions upon which it could have placed
Abraham Lincoln before the people as a candidate for the
Presidency. There vvere not many faults possible to the
ruler of a free people whereof Mr. Lincoln was not accused,
before the excited patriots made an end of their '^ speeches
for the prosecution " of the public criminal whose course
in office they were denouncing.
" ^ Once more it seemed as if a rising tide were sweeping
all before it. iNot a voice had been raised in defense of
Mr. Lincoln. This may have been, in part, from lack of
oj)portunity. The Grand President, Judge Edmunds, was
a devoted friend of Mr. Lincoln, and yet, as if with malice
aforethought, he sat there behind his desk on the raised
platform, calmly ^^ recognizing,'' as presiding officer of the
Grand Council, only the known enemies of his friend, until
it seemed as if most of them must have been heard.
^^ ^ There came a liJl in the storm, and " Jim '' Lane of
Kansas arose, near the front, in the middle aisle of the
hall. He was instantly recognized by the chairman ; but he
stood in silence for a moment, until he had deliberately
turned around and locked all over the room. The substance
of his remarks was nearly as follows :
" ^Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Grand Council: For a man to
produce pain in another man by pressing upon a wounded spot
requires no great degree of strength, and he who presses is not
JAMES HENRY LANE 97
entitled to any emotion of triumph at the agony expressed by the
sufferer. Neither skill nor wisdom has been exercised in the bar-
baric process. For a man, an orator, to produce an effect upon
sore and weary hearts, gangrened with many hurts, worn out with
many sacrifices, sick with long delays, broken with bitter disap-
pointments; so stirring them up, even to passion and to folly,
demands no high degree of oratorical ability. It is an easy thing
to do, as we have seen this evening. Almost anybody could do it.
'' 'For a man to take such a crowd as this now is, so sore and
sick at heart, and now so stung and aroused to passionate folly ;
now so infused with a delusive hope for the future, as well as
with false and unjust thoughts concerning the past; for a man to
address himself to such an assembly, and turn the tide of its pas-
sion and excitement in the opposite direction, — that were a task
w^orthy of the highest, greatest effort of human oratory. I am no
orator at all; but to precisely that task have I now set myself,
with absolute certainty of success. All that is needful is that the
truth should be set forth plainly, now that the false has done its
" ^ He had gained in a minute all that could be won in
an audacity bordering upon arrogance. Rapid and vivid
sketches followec', presenting in detail the leading features
of the history of Mr. Lincoln's Administration. Each was
made complete in itself, and at the end of each chapter
came some variation of this formula :
" 'I am speaking individually to each man here. Do you, sir,
know in this broad land, and can you name to me, one man whom
you could or would trust, before God, that he would have done
better in this matter than Abraham Lincoln has done, and to
whom you would be more willing to trust the unforeseen emer-
gency or peril which is to come ? That unforeseen peril, that
perxilexing emergency, that step in the dark, is right before us,
and we are here to decide by whom it should be made for the
Nation. Name your other man.
" ^ Very little time was wasted upon the general list of
charges; for they had spent themselves in making; but a
masterly picture of Mr. Lincoln's long-suffering, patience,
98 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
faithful toil, utter imselfisliiiess, and of the great advances
already gained under his leadership, was followed by a
sudden transfer of the thoughts of all to the scene in the
great wigwam on the morrow :
*' * We shall come together to be watched, in breathless listen-
ing, by all this country, — by all the civilized world; and if we
shall seem to waver as to our set purpose, we destroy hope ; and
if we permit private feeling, as to-night, to break forth into dis-
cussion, we discuss defeat; and if w^e nominate any other man
than Abraham Lincoln, we nominate ruin.
'"Gentlemen of the Grand Council of the Union League, I am
" ^ The Senator sat down, but no man rose to reply. His
speech had not been a very long one, but it had been enough
to accomplish all he proposed for it. The resolution ap-
proving the Administration was adopted with but few dis-
senting voices, many not voting. Another vote declared
the voice of the Union League to be in favor of President
Lincoln's reelection, and the greatest political peril then
threatening the United States had disappeared. Thirty
days later,- it would have been a hard task to find a man
who would confess to having ever entertained a doubt as to
that result; but then the delegates to the Grand Council
were not in a position to make remarks or answer ques-
A WORD AT THE CLOSE.
**A great man owes as much to his defects as to his good (juali-
ties. The hardness and brutal abruptness which so iritelligil)ly
shock our friend M. Taine in Napoleon were part and parcel of his
force. Had he been as well-bred, as polite and unassuming as we
are, he would not have got on ; he would have been as powerless
as we are." — Re nan.
It was never the intention to make this paper a biograpliy
of General Lane. Many of his eminent services to Kansas
and humanity must be passed over without so much as a
mention. Some of these are the most prominent of his
imperishable labors. He performed services sufficient to
make his name immortal. Many of these we have not had
space to notice at all. But writers have been unjust to him.
It has been our desire to call attention to his part in tlic
struggle in Kansas for liberty and freedom. His life miglit
be divided into three periods:
First. Til at ending with his arrival in Kansas.
Second. That in Kansas, ending Avith his election to tlic
Senate of the United States.
Third. Tliat embracing his lal)ors in the United States
Senate, and the renomination of Abraham Lincoln.
His achievements in either period are sufficient to make
him famous. Those of the second period make his name
It is not our purpose to convey the impression that Gen-
eral Lane had no faults. He had many. A great man
100 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
cannot be imitated in his genius ; the faults of all are to
be avoided. Cromwell ran his thumb along the edge of
his sword while he prayed ; he broke Irish heads and tram-
pled on Irish rights ; he was accused of many evils in his
day. The faults of David are not concealed by the divine
General Lane was a politician before he was a statesman.
It may perhaps be said that he was always a politician;
tliat he became a statesman. He desired a seat in the
United States Senate. This was his object; his ambition
in life. A man without a purpose accomplishes nothing.
He was a man with a purpose — and a definite one. A seat
in the United States Senate was always before his mind's
eye. It was his pole-star. To reach this mark, this goal,
in Kansas, was his every energy bent ; and each and every
resource of a mind, the equal of which in resource has not
been seen since his day, was marshaled with an intensity
we could but say was impossible had it not been witnessed
and well attested. Circumstances which would have ruined
another man turned to his advantage and were stepping-
stones to his success. His perseverance and tenacity are
illustrated by his trip to Leavenworth to raise the neces-
sary five hundred dollars by Avhich means he saved his
newspaper at Lawrence from falling into the hands of his
political enemies. Alone, poverty-stricken, afoot on the
wind-swept prairies, struggling among snow-drifts, bent
on a mission hopeless to any other mortal and well-nigh so
to himself, this set purpose, this ambition, this high mark
was his guiding star.
But it is of faults that we are speaking. His political
methods were not always honorable or just. He was often
JAMES HENRY LANE 101
1111 scrupulous, but he did not resort to bribery. His word
was often broken ,vithout cause. He neglected his friends
upon many occasions. Some of tlie political metliods ho
inaugurated still exist in the Kansas of to-day. lie had no
desire to accumulate money; he was never trustworthy in
the matter of paying debts, and left many debts unsettled.
In liis early days in Kansas he could not pay. He was
sometimes extremely bitter and ifnjust towards his political
enemies ; he carried his enmity to Dr. Robinson to excess,
and deeply wronged him.
But his services to Kansas and to luimanity far outweigli
lus faults were they multiplied a hundred fold. In the
warfare of the border he was to Kansas what Francis
Marion was to South Carolina in the war of the Revolution.
Their methods of fighting w^ere similar. He did much by
the mystery of his movements, and his name carried terror
and panic to his enemies as did that of the Revolutionary
It may be set down as a truth almost beyond dispute,
that most movements for reformation and advancement in
human progress are first led by men, or women, supposed
by their associates to be erratic and eccentric if not
insane. The sunlight first lights" up the craggy mountain-
top. At some point in every age there stands a man who
discerns the coming light while those in the valleys below
are wrapped in darkness. He recognizes what they cannot
see: that systems and institutions are worn out, have be-
come fossilized and inflexible, insuflicient and intolerable.
It has been said that Christ's answer to the woman at the
well was the most revolutionary utterance ever made in the
history of the world ; that it contains the principles of com-
102 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
plete liberty of both soul and body for all mankind for all
time. Yet how slow is the growth of an idea ! Almost two
thousand years later it was necessary to kindle fires on the
prairies of Kansas to burn away human slavery in America.
In a reformatory revolution such as the fathers of Kan-
sas inaugurated; the prudent man, the conservative man, —
I had almost said the just man, — cannot lead. He is
hedged about with a scrupulous regard for conventionalities
and obsolete ritualisms imposed upon his age by some
advance in the upward growtli of man in a long-gone
preceding age. He does not discern that society is about
to exercise its highest right, and readjust itself to the
higher plane made necessary by the changed environment.
He fortifies himself with Shakespeare's " modern instan-
ces." And the glcrv of the Anglo-Saxon people is that
this is so. It has given them a genius for the establishment
of stable governments possessed by no other people. It is,
too, their higher glory that they have never failed at the
proper hour to produce the man who discerned the coming
change and rose to the occasion of its execution. Such men
were Cromwell, and Washington, and Franklin, and Abra-
ham Lincoln, and James Henry Lane.
" There vvns a Brutus once, that would have brookM
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome."
THE TERROR OF HIS NAME IN MISSOURI.
The terror of his name in Missouri was really frightful
and inconceivable. The writer had some business about
that time over in Missouri, and stayed all night with a
farmer, though not a slaveholder, not far north of Platts-
burg. After supper he began conversation by asking the
writer where he came from and where he was going. Very
pointed questions under the circumstances, the) writer
thought, but after answering in a manner that he flattered
himself the great Talleyrand would have envied, could he
have heard it, the Missourian seemed satisfied, and contin-
ued the conversation in a very frank and friendly manner.
Soon he remarked : " They are having great trouble over in
Kansas." This news appeared to be very astonishing, and
the writer inquired where Kansas was, if it was in Mis-
souri. ^^ ]^o," said he, looking as though he pitied the
writer's knowledge of geography, " Kansas is the Territory
west of Missouri. Congress gave it to the South for a
slave State, but the abolitionists have gone there in great
numbers to make it an a])olition or free State. And as it
could not be made a slave State while tliey were there, our
104 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
people went over to drive them out. I never went over,
but I was afraid they would make me go. The abolitionists
fought our men and drove them back. They have a General
who was a Colonel in the Mexican war for a leader or com-
mander. He is over eight feet high and well built in pro-
portion, and when he was commanding in Mexico his voice
could be heard all over the battle-field above the roaring of
the cannon. Stranger, this is God's truth I'm telling you.
He has his men armed with Yankee guns, called Sharps'
rifles, that will shoot sixty times a minute and kill a man a
mile away. Our people thought they could drive them out
with cannons, but they have now got cannons over there,
some Yankee invention, I suppose, that they load by putting
the balls in a hopper, the same as a miller puts grain in a
hopper, to grind — I can't describe it to you or tell you how
it works. I do not think the abolitionists can be got out,
and the South must lose Kansas."
Another night the writer was told that when the Chief-
tain took any of the Missourians as prisoners he made them
dig their own graves, and then had them shot and buried
them in the graves which they themselves had dug. — [The
Grim Chieftain, p, 85.]
HOW HE ARMED HIS MEN.
On one occasion he made a call for men to drive out a
company of Missourians, who were building a blockhouse
and molesting and running off Free-State settlers from that
neighborhood. Many men came without arms, expecting
that he could in some way furnish them. Apparently
taking no notice of the fact, he gave the command to fall
JAMES HENEY LANE
in and follow him. When they had marched some distance,
Capt. Asaph Allen and some one else, supposing that it
was an oversight that the men were not provided with arms,
souglit the Chieftain at tlie head of the colnmn and asked :
" "\Yliat are the men going to do for arms ? '' Suddenly
stopping and looking them sternly in the face as though
he was perfectly surprised at their stupidity, replied:
" Why, take them from the enemy,'' and marched on.
When he came near to the camp of the enemy, he sent a
Free-State man ahead, and instructed him to run into
their camp and tell them he was coming with his whole
army, and also to offer his service to them, and tell them
he had served during the Mexican war as a gunner, and
request to be put in charge of a cannon which the Chief-
tain knew they had. The Free- State man did as instructed,
and took charge of the cannon without waiting to be for-
mally installed as gunner, saying he was going to blow the
abolitionists to pieces while they were coming up the road,
and began giving orders to the men what they should do.
Just then the Free-State men came in sight " on the
double-quick." Everything in that camp w^as confusion
worse than confounded. The cannon by some means went
off prematurely, tearing the top of the blockhouse off,
while the Missourians started " pell-mell, helter-skelter "
for their lives, leaving most of their arms and all their
camp equipments and baggage. When the arms were dis-
tributed to the Free-State men, the Chieftain walked up
to Captain Allen, as cool and unconcerned as though noth-
ing unexpected had occurred, and said : " E'ow, you see
how it is done." — [The Grim Chieftain, p. 79.]
EXCERPTS FROM SMITH'S SKETCH
OF "JIM LANE."
[ Verres Nicholas Smith was a newspaper man in Kansas in the
sixties. He was a Democrat. He was an elegant and accom-
plished writer, and was for a time associated with Hon. John Speer
in a newspaper enterprise. He was a large and fine-looking man,
and dressed like a dandy. He possessed a finished education, and
his ideas were impracticable. He could never comprehend or
understand Western life and manners. He was the butt of ribald
jests of the crowds of ''unwashed" in the frontier towns. He was
a fine speaker, but his language was Greek to some of his audi-
ences. Hon. George W. Martin, of Kansas City, Kansas, tells of
an instance which illustrates this. Smith married Ida, the daugh-
ter of Horace Greeley.
Mr. Smith was politically opposed to General Lane, and did him
injustice in telling only half the truth. He shows us but one side
of his character — the side of the politician. But his sketch is
one of the best to be found in the style in which it is written. It
was published in Lippincott's Magazine, March, 1870, and signed
"Jacob Stringfellow." A few extracts from his paper are given.
Those in quotation-marks are quotations from General Lane's
speeches . 1
The late Senator Lane was the most finished actor I
ever saw. He was a sporadic Frenchman of the eighteenth
century, strangely out of time.
" They say Jim Lane is illiterate " (looking an exclama-
tion-point with every sentence) — " that he is ignorant,
and not fit for the United States Senate! Why, men of
Kansas, his mother was a Connecticut schoolmarm and a
JAMES HENRY LANE
most devout ]\rethodist, and from his youth up he was most
carefully educated for the Christian ministry; but his
modesty, his insuperable " (long drawn out) " modesty,
kept him out of the pulpit ! ''
^^ They say Jim Lane is profane." (The biographical
was his chosen style.) " Great God ! What! Jim Lane
an irreligious man ? Why, I never swore in my life ! Yes,
though" (in tragic bass), ^^once! once! It was at the
head of my Indiana regiment in Mexico, at the battle
of Bueny Visty." (He knew better than this.) " I looked
to my front, and there were acres and acres of Mexicans "
(taking off his coat) ; " to my rear, and there their cavalry
were drawn up, their richly caparisoned steeds and their
murderous spears glistening in the morning sun " (jerking
off his cravat) ; "and to my right and left, and there were
more acres and acres of Mexicans." (Tragic bass again.)
" Then, in the excitement of the moment, and forgetful "
(accent on /o/-) — " and forgetful of my religious princi-
ples, I exclaimed to my brave Indiana boys " (a shrill
tenor), " ^ Charge on 'em,' (with a strong oath) ^ charge on
'em!'" (Tragic bass.) ^^ The only time I ever swore
in my life I "
Wliat this magnetism was may be guessed when men
of calm blood like the late George L. Stearns, on leaving
him would say, " What a captivating man Senator Lane
is ! His tones are as sweet as a woman's." Flushed with
triumph or confident of success, he was irresistible, his
voice soft and musical and his manner confiding. His
presence could be as distinctly felt as a register, and there
108 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
was companionship even in his silence. It will astonish
some to whom his nam© was once an imprecation and a
terror, to know that scholarly men and men of travel would
pronounce him the most pleasing person they ever met,
though there was not a common thought between them.
If in the plenitude of his power he was surrounded by
knaves and vagabonds, it was not only because power is
warming and grateful, but the animal spirits of a suc-
cessful man are themselves a charm.
Like that versatile Chelonian, the mud-turtle, . . .
he contained within his shell the flavor of every creature
dear to the palate of man — fish, flesh, or fowl. In the
midst of Christians, he had been carefully educated for
the Church; among scoffers, religion was but a cloak for
hypocrisy. In Kansas he wore the fells of wild beasts;
in Boston he appeared in black broadcloth and white cravat,
and whined through his nose as religiously as the melodeon
of a country parsonage. Among ^ew-Englanders, his
mother was a " Connecticut schoolmarm " ; with South-
erners he was a Kentuckian; among Western men, a
Hoosier : and thus his real origin was as great a mystery
as the source of the 'Nile.
" What ! " said he, meeting on the roadside a member
of a Bourbon county convention packed against him —
" what ! vote against Jim Lane, and come from Indiana ! ''
in his most wheedling notes and a smile that fairly lifted
the subject out of his boots. Enough. The fellow went
into the convention next day and logrolled for Lane.
JAMES HENRY LANE
What Henry (Slay was to the early Kentuckians was
Lane to the pioneers of Kansas.
Still, neither friends nor enemies dreamed how formi-
dable Lane was. That unconquerable embodied will walked
one bitter day in the winter of 18 GO from Lawrence to
Leavenworth, thirty-five miles, with the snow full knee-
deep, to look after the snares laid for the next Senatorial
election. A printing-press was to be sold in Lawrence.
Eive hundred dollars must be had to snatch it from his foes.
The errand was well-nigh hopeless. In Leavenworth the
hospitality of the taverns, that opens to but golden keys,
shut him out. Mine host of the Renick, who had been
coaxed into forgiveness of more than one reckoning, was
hardened to flint. Lane's friends had lost faith in his star.
He reached Leavenworth at bedtime, and looking down,
like a famished Russian wolf, upon the unconscious town,
with its long rows of wooden houses, uniform as a marmot
village, he saw but one that he felt would give him a de-
cent w^elcome — the home of an old Republican from Mary-
land. There he slept, if his busy brain could know sleep.
Li the morning a last appeal was made to his adher-
ents, the money raised, a buggy ruinous as his own for-
tunes procured, and he came down like Encke's comet upon
the enemy at Lawrence.
Such was the personnel of the foremost candidate from
south of the Kaw at Topeka in 1861. Frederick Stanton
and a dozen others were his competitors. For days preced-
ing the election. Lane worked with the perseverance of
the saints and the energy of despair. He waylaid the
110 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
vacillating Solons in the dark, decoyed them into the out-
skirts and bound them with appalling oaths. The hazel-
bnish that girded the town was rife with whispered cau-
cuses. On the eve of the balloting, all night long, from
room to room of the Capitol House he went, restless as the
Wandering Jew, exhorting, cajoling, encouraging his wa-
vering followers with the promises of future benefit, and
teaching some other candidate his helpless dependence
upon Jim Lane by a lesson in the objective method. Sit-
ting over the fire, and taking the charred cottonwood poker
meditatively in his hand, he would sketch a map of Kan-
sas on the floor ; then tearing bits of paper, designated by
the names of the several candidates, would lay them upon
it : " Here's Jim Lane, and Charley Robinson, and Fred
Stanton, south of the Kaw (WinchelFs out of the ring) ;
and there's Parrott, and Ewing, and Pomeroy, north."
Then, maneuvering his paper men to suit the particular
case, he would demonstrate to a geographical certainty
that the only hope of his eager listener lay in a steady ad-
herence to Jim Lane and his fortunes.
He neither slept nor allowed the unhappy Legislature
to sleep. Into the arms of one sturdy henchman, six feet
high and hairy as a buffalo, he threw himself, declaring in
his most mellifluous notes that when he ceased to remem-
ber him the mother would forget her babe. Exhausted by
such emotional outbursts, he would rush into his own room
and throw himself on the bed, from which feverish anxi-
ety soon roused him. Toward midnight a fresh idea
seized him. He convened in the parlor the bar-tenders,
the waiters, scullions, cooks — the whole tavern's crew — •
and any stragglers who would listen to a final persuasive
JAMES HENRY LANE 111
effort. There, ranged against the wall, in the baleful
light of a tallow candle, on their haunches they sat, like
the Peruvian mummies in the Temple of tlie Sun, listen-
ing to the eloquence of desperation. He painted the future
glory of Kansas under his fostering care, and poured his
heaping cornucopia of promises at their feet, until the
very shoeblack rolled the whites of his eyes in an ecstatic
vision of empire.
One drowsy member from south of the Kaw had slunk
into his room from the persecutions of Lane, Just before
day, when poets say it is darkest, and the prosaic, who are
never awake at that hour, sleep soundest, he felt the grim
chieftain creep into his bed. Resistance was useless, and
in that time and place, sacred to the counsels of Giant
Despair and his amiable spouse, and the entertaining
course of lectures by Mrs. Caudle, the half -conscious mem-
ber pledged himself for the ten-thousandth time to stand
Martin F. Conway, the member of Congress and can-
didate for re-election, was there. Conway was a timid
man of genius, and had drunk aesthetic tea in Beacon
street. Sorely pressed was he by the importunities of
Lane. The ultimatum scared him. For Lane or against,
he soliloquized, until, half-distracted, and mindful of
Boscobel oak and Alfred's neatherd, he sought an evasive
peace in the solitude of a neighboring hayloft. Lane's
all-searching eyes found him out, and gathering half a
score of Conway's retainers, he mounted the cockloft and
burst upon his affrighted gaze as he lay dreaming in a bed
of fodder. Without a moment's delay for the recovery of
his sleeping faculties, Lane besought him to obey the wish
112 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
of his own friends and declare for Jim Lane. (These
same friends had never taken a thought of that collateral
issue.) The man of books struggled for a moment, but
dragged up, so to speak, by the hair of his head, he gave,
with one spasm of inward pain, an unequivocal pledge of
Lane's fortunes had crouched low for a mighty spring.
His election was announced to him by a breathless clans-
man as he sat on a sofa in the Capitol House. He ran his
fingers nervously through his hair, and the tears flowed
How he redeemed his lavish promises to pay, let him
" Of the fifty-six men in the Legislature who voted for
Jim Lane, five-and-forty now wear shoulder-straps.
Doesn't Jim Lane look out for his friends ? "
Without the loss of time he hurried to the capital, with
a rabble at his heels, simultaneously w^ith the incoming
President and a threatened attack by the enemy. The
place was without defenders, except his own jayhaAvkers
and a regiment of ofiice-seekers commanded by Cassius
M. Clay. These slept at night in the East Room of the
White House, on arms borrowed from the arsenal. The
prestige of first defending the President's sacred person
was one secret of his boundless influence with Mr. Lin-
In the fall of '61, just before the snufiing out of Fre-
mont's great expedition into southwest Missouri, Lane
*Read Speer's Life of Lane, page 341.
JAMES HENRY LANE
made a blustering campaign into the same devoted region.
. . . " Everytliing disloyal/' said lie, " from a Dur-
ham cow to a Shanghai chicken, must be cleaned out."
Faithfully was this obeyed. Even the chaplain was seized
with a pious zeal to complete his unfinished church from
the spoils of ungodly altars. One day on the homeward
march, the army, borne down with fatigue and plunder,
was suddenly commanded to deflect. Upon inquiry be-
ing made as to the cause^ Lane, pointing in solemn mirth
to a spire that rose in the distance, said, '^ See that steeple
yonder ? If we go the chaplain Avill try to steal it, and
we will never get home in the world."
The renomination of Mr. Lincoln at Baltimore was his
work. . . . Lane was lord over the hearts of men,
. . . and he quickly demolished those coalitions against
the President built in the eclipse of that disastrous year.
SKETCH OF JAMES H. LANE BY
MILTON W. REYNOLDS.
[I find this in one of my old scrap-books. It was written for
the Kansas City Times, by "Kicking Bird." It seems to have
been one of a series of papers on "Kansas Statesmen," by that
writer, published in that newspaper. The precise date is un-
known; but it was written sometime in 1885.]
Kansas will stamp upon the civilization of tlie age a
hundred years of history before another parallel is pro-
duced to that weird, mysterious, and partially insane,
partially inspired, and poetic character, James H. Lane.
iN^one other than himself can equal him. It is not strange
that his birthplace should be questioned. It is in keeping
with his wayward, fitful life of passion and strife, of
storm and sunshine, of tempest and calm — a mysterious
existence that now dwelt on the mountain-tops of expecta-
tion and the very summit of highest realization, and
anon in the valley of despondency and gloom. Seven
cities claimed the honor of Homer's birth.
Two States claim parentage for the child of genius and
an unbalanced brain, Jim Lane. And Avhat adds to the
strangeness of this mythical character and fabulous birth-
right is the fact that Lane was born of quite illustrious par-
entage. His father, Amos Lane, was a lawyer of considera-
bly more than local celebrity, a cousin of the distinguished
Joe Lane of Oregon, a man long in politics. Speaker of the
JAMES HENRY LANE
House of the first Indiana Legislature, and a member of
Congress in Jackson's time. Brewerton, in his book, "The
War in Kansas," published in 1856, says James IT. T.ane
Avas born in Boone county, Kentucky, on June 22, 1822.
Brewerton claims that he got the information from Lane
himself. Lane was a smart lad, and was present on the in-
teresting occasion of his birth, and wouldn't equivocate
about a matter of this kind. Wilder's Annals corroborate
this statement of Brewerton, though admitting that Lane
often conveyed the impression, or allowed it to be conveyed,
that he was born in Indiana. Hon. John Speer, who long
edited Lane's home organ, and was one of his nearest
friends, in a biographical sketch written in 1878, says
Lane was born at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, June 22, 1814.
HoUoway's History of Kansas says : " General James H.
Lane was born June 22, 1814, on the banks of the Ohio,
in Boone county, Kentucky."
Lane came of good stock ; if not from the blue blood of
the bluegrass region where statesmen and fine horses are
grown, he must at least have been born not far from such
surroundings and inspirations. His father, as already
stated, was a lawyer and politician of note. Speaker of the
Indiana House of Representatives, and member of Con-
gress in Jackson^s time ; and his mother was a woman of
rare acomplishments and very strong intellectual attain-
ments, with the highest moral and emotional sensibilities.
There have been a considerable number of public men, even
great men, born of fool fathers. I don't think a great man
ever lived who was not born of a strong, naturally intel-
lectual, poetic, and emotional mother. A woman does not
have to be educated or bookish to be intellectual. The in-
116 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
spired Joan d'Arc was a poor peasant girl. Yet so inspired
was she that she could control dynasties, lead armies and
mould masses of men by the power of her enthusiastic and
magnetic will. What a grand crop of statesmen, Caesars,
Alexanders and iN'apoleons Joan d'Arc could have raised !
Some such woman was the mother of Lane.
Jim Lane, up to and for some months subsequent to his
arrival in Kansas, had been a Democrat of the straitest
sect — an Indiana Democrat. He was learned in the school
of Jackson, and had been taught the teachings of
Jefferson and the fathers and founders of Democracy.
He supported Douglas's Kansas-and-!N"ebraska bill in Con-
gress with all the vigor^ ability and enthusiasm of his
ardent and impassioned nature. Mythical stories are told
of Douglas sending him out to Kansas to organize the Dem-
ocratic party upon a national platform with Douglas as
the central figure, and the occupancy of the White House
by the great Illinoisan as both the primary and ultimate
object, and Lane his spokesman and the leader in the
Senate from the young State of Kansas of the recon-
structed, materialized, victorious and invincible Democ-
racy. These stories can for the most part be classed as
myths, fictions, and vain imaginings of those who would
further mystify the character and thus elevate in some
quarters an estimation of this strange being. There is
this to be said in this connection: had this been Lane's
mission and his destiny had been rounded and filled in
this manner, the position of Kansas in the van of civiliza-
tion would not have been essentially different from what
it now is, and the condition of the country itself would
not have been radically different from what it now is, as
JAMES HENRY LANE HT
most philanthropists and philosophers would suppose. It
was the destiny of this country to be either all slave or all
free. The tAvo forces were irreconcilable, the conflict irre-
pressible. Slavery would have been extinguished under the
Douglas plan of popular sovereignty, but not so rapidly as
under the radical war plan. Shut out from the Territories,
the new States hostile and ineradicably opposed to the insti-
tution, it would have been segregated, cribbed and confined
to the sterile lands of the Southeast and the few rich
remaining lands soon to be wasted and worn out in the
Southwest, and would have died a slow, lingering, but
certain death. The teachings of the fathers, the civilization
of the age, modern Christianity, were against it, and
against such forces hell, earth and sky cannot contend
But Lane could not wait for such slow processes.
Fruit grown only in hothouses could satisfy his quick-
ened tastes. He came to Kansas in April, 1855. He
remained quiet but three short months. He kept his dexter
finger carefully, cautiously but continuously upon the
public pulse. He studied at least the surface of politics
most diligently. He presided at a Democratic Territorial
convention in July, 1855, called to nationalize the party,
thus giving coloring to the imaginations of those who had
pictured Lane as the vice-regent of Douglas, initiating a
plan for the capture of Kansas and the whole country under
Democratic methods and auspices. The movement met
with an early and flat failure. It was ridiculed by the
Democratic organs in the country, and Lane saw at once
the futility of fighting for fame and the rewards of destiny
on that line. The criticisms of old party associates irri-
118 TWENTIETH CENTUEY CLASSICS
tated him. He sought new alliances. He electrified a
Free-State audience in Lawrence bj announcing that he
would speak the next evening on the political issues of the
day, championing the Free-State cause. The crowd was
immense. They came from their cabins on the prairies
(now palaces), from the valleys and the hills. They
wanted to know from his own mouth the '' Grim Chief-
tain's" position on political questions. The hour came and
the people to hear. Lane was in his best mood. He
was prepared for a vituperative, sarcastic, ironical and
intensely personal speech. Such the crowd usually likes,
or used to in the early days, when men were walking
arsenals and crept over volcanoes. Such an analysis of
character was never heard before or since in Kansas.
It was equal to John Randolph's best effort in that line.
His late Democratic associates were denounced, bur-
lesqued, ridiculed and pilloried in a hysteria of laughter
by an excited, cyclonic crowd. 'No one ever afterward
doubted where Lane stood. He crossed with a leap the
Rubicon of radical politics and burned all his bridges
behind him. He was not baptized, — he was immersed in
the foaming floods of radicalism. As the whitecaps rose
liigher on the stormy and tumultuous political sea, Lane
contended the stronger and baffled them. Robinson, the
safe and conservative leader, slowly but gradually faded
from public view, and finally was distanced and downed
by this erratic son of destiny, — ^but not until the victories
were won and all had been achieved that was meant by
the Kansas idea, at least so far as Kansas was concerned ;
and in the great future it matters little whether Caesar has
his party, and Anthony has his party, and Pomeroy has his
JAMES HENRY LANE lli>
party, if so he the Commonwealth has a party. Lane's
services for the Free-State cause are imperishable. They
cannot be overestimated by his nearest partisans and
friends. Prof. Spring, in his book on ^^ Kansas," in tlic
Commonwealth Series, belittles Lane and does him rank
injustice. He canie to Kansas fifteen years or more after
Lane was the great leader, after he and Robinson had
done so much for the Free-State cause. lie does well to
exalt Robinson, but the attempt to belittle Lane, to dis-
parage his services and underestimate his talents, is rank
injustice and manifestly absurd. The mere statement of
Prof. Spring's attempt to prove Lane a coward by quoting
Quantrell as authority, is a sufficient refutation of all
that the Professor says and wants to say of Lane's work
in Kansas. He was erratic, eccentric, at times extravagant
and unreliable in statement, but his personal courage is
as well established as any other fact in Kansas history.
Kansas being admitted a free State, Lane at once went
for what he came for — a United States Senatorship. He
was poor. Lie had nothing but promises to offer. He
could not pay his board bill at Topeka during his Sen-
atorial canvass. He was owing his butcher at Lawrence.
Just at that time he had no visible means of meeting
current family expenses on the smallest scale. But his
magnetism rarely failed him. He never failed with a
crowd. He was as personally magnetic and successful
with a budding statesman in the Legislature as Douglas
or Blaine or Henry Clay. He was elected. The con-
summation of liis life's work and ambition was realized.
Lie was United States Senator. He drew the short term,
ending in 1865. In the Senate he soon noquired a ])rom-
120 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
inence and distinction. General Lane, United States
Senator-elect from Kansas, was not an inconspicuous fig-
ure in the country in those exciting days of 1861. He
got such a mastery over Mr. Lincoln, and such influence
with Stanton in spite of his cold-blooded and tyrannical
disposition, that he fairly usurped the rightful power of
the State's Executive in military matters. He organized
regiments, among them Governor Crawford's First Kan-
sas Colored, and had almost unlimited political influence
with Kansas soldiers. It was an easy matter to throw the
soldier vote for Governor to the gallant Colonel of the
First Kansas Colored, Samuel A. Crawford. Lane was
as radical as Zach. Chandler, but more practical in pro-
posing definite plans and purposes to secure direct and
desired ends. The utilization of the colored brother to
stop the bullets of the enemy was a Lane idea. The emanci-
pation plan generated in the fecund and fertile brain of
Lane long before Mr. Lincoln formulated his proclamation
of combined threat and promise in this direction to the
end that the Union might be preserved and peace restored.
A year before Mr, Lincoln by steady and gradual pro-
cesses came to the proclamation of freedom as a war
necessity, Jim Lane had thundered from Missouri's prin-
cipal southwestern cit}^, Springfield, these words:
^^ Let us all be bold ; inscribe ^ Freedom to all ' upon our
banners, and appear just what we are — the opponents to
slavery. It is certain as if written in the book of fate, that
this point must be reached before the war is over. Take the
stand and enthusiasm will be' inspired in the ranks. In
steadiness of purpose and courage each soldier will be a
JAMES HENRY LANE 121
Spartan hero. The spirit of the Crusader will be united
with the iron will of the Roman, and an army of snch
soldiers is invincible."
Lane's efforts in the Senate were not confined to a dis-
cussion of war themes. He turned frequently to indus-
trial affairs that should build up his State and add to his
own depleted finances. He had eaten of the bitter bread
of poverty. When upbraided for a declared purpose to
appoint a man to office who was denouncing him, he re-
plied: "Well, he has a right to. He favored me when I
was in adversity and was so poor that I couldn't buy a
loaf of bread, and I have neglected him in his poverty."
He made many similar appointments, — proofs of the high-
est eccentricity, most politicians would say. He paid his
debts when he could remember them, but was almost as
forgetful of money matters as Daniel Webster. Walking
the streets of St. Louis arm-in-arm with General Haider-
man, shortly after his election — he never hugged men, but
frequently " clutched " them and brought them near to his
heart — he said : " Were I General Halderman and you
Senator Lane of Kansas, I would not see my Senator walk
the streets in those slovenly shoes." The first boot-and-shoe
store reached, the Senator wore a $20 pair of boots.
When I came to Lawrence Lane* was owing my brother,
among other things, some choice lots. He could never
think to make out the deeds. Upon my arrival my brother
said to him : " Lane, my brother has come out here, a young
newspaper man, from Detroit. I think it would be good
policy for you to make out a deed to at least 100 feet
front of your best lots to him before the sun goes dov^Ti,
122 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
and ni credit the same to our lot trade." " Certainly,"
replied Lane; ^' it will afford me the supremest pleasure."
He came around in his carriage, the lots were selected, and
the house I then built I now live in. The ground was a part
of the famous quarter-section that Lane pre-empted, but a
short distance from the well where he killed Gains Jenkins,
the land being a claim contest between Lane and Jenkins.
Public sentiment at the time was divided. Lane was
acquitted before a local court, and obtained the land. Both
were occupying the quarter-section peaceably. Jenkins
was warned not to come to Lane's well. He should have
stayed away. It was a piece of foolhardy recklessness,
and he suffered the consequence.
The railroad question Lane devoted much attention to.
It is doubtful whether Kansas would have gotten the
Pacific Kailroad at all but for him ; and it is certain that
he was the chief instrumentality in booming the Leaven-
worth, Lawrence & Galveston road, now the Kansas South-
ern. Lawrence, it is very certain, but for Lane, would
not have gotten the Kansas Pacific road. He forced Hallet
under threats and coercion to bring the road, and spurned
and defied their attempts to blackmail the county out of
$300,000 to come there.
On this subject Mr. Blaine in his second volume uses
the following language :
" The defection of Senator Lane of Kansas from the
ranks of the most radical Republicanism caused great
surprise to the country. He had been so closely identified
with all the tragic events in the prolonged trouble to keep
JAMES HENRY LANE 123
slavery out of Kansas, that he was considered to be an
irreconcilable foe to the party that tolerated or in any way
apologized for its existence. The position he had taken in
voting against the Civil Rights bill worried and fretted
him. He keenly felt his separation from the sympathy of
such men as Sumner, Chandler, Wade, and the whole host
who had nobly fought the battle of Kansas in the halls of
Congress. He felt still more keenly the general and some-
what indignant disapproval of his action freely expressed
by the great mass of his constituents. One of his intimate
friends said that on the very day of his vote he received a
telegram warning him that if he voted against the bill it
would be the mistake of his life. The telegram reached
him after the roll had been called. He said excitedly:
" The mistake has been made. I would give all I possess
if it were undone." He was still further disturbed by
imputations upon his integrity in connection with some
transactions with the Indian Bureau; imputations which
were pronounced baseless by the two Senators from In-
diana — Thomas A. Hendricks and Henry S. Lane, one a
political opponent and the other a political friend, who
had impartially examined all the facts. But under the
mortification caused by parting with old political asso-
ciates and the humiliation to which he was subjected by
groundless imputations upon his character, his mind gave
way, and on July 11, 18G6, he committed suicide."
The above is a fair but friendly presentation of the
facts. It was on July 1, 1866, that General Lane shot
himself, at the Government farm at Fort Leavenworth.
He was stopping with his brother-in-law, Captain McCall.
On that morning, in company with Captain McCall and
124 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
Colonel Adams, lie rode out, and coming to one of the gates
of the farm, he jumped out, apparently to open the gate,
and putting a pistol to his mouth, fired, saying, " Good-
bye, gentlemen/' He had for several days shown unmis-
takable signs of mental aberration. The immediate cause
of this was undoubtedly the intense political excitement
of the time, and overwork. It was not remorse at voting
to sustain Johnson. Trumbull and Fessenden and Grimes
were doing the same thing. It was an open question
whether Mr. Lincoln's policy would not have been identi-
cal with that of Mr. Johnson, but his methods of securing
its adoption would of course have been different. Lane
was bitterly piqued by the reception given him when he
came home. Hon. Sidney Clarke, a political child of
Lane, had quarreled with his master. He was a rising
young statesman of great promise. It was natural, living
in the same town, to see in the downfall of Lane the up-
rising of another political star. Clarke, upon his return
from Washington, was received with banners and the band.
Music welcomed him, and the plaudits of the people indi-
cated that he had struck a strong popular chord. Lane,
^^ the Grim Chieftain," came back to the scene of his
former triumphs and victories and was received with
cold and clammy indifference. 'No music welcomed him.
Fawning sycophancy uttered not a word of praise. No
crowds escorted him to his home. Old friends rather
avoided him. They spoke hurriedly, and hastened on to
their business. A sensitive soul would naturally shrink
from such treatment. It consumed the very vitals of Lane,
and chilled his heart's blood. It set his brain on fire.
A naturally unequally poised intellect trembled in the
JAMES HENRY LANE 125
balance. It was unfortiinate ; it was foolish for a man
who knew so well the varying moods of the fickle populace
to be thus moved. But the eccentricities of great men it is
as difficult to account for as the loves of woman. Thus
Lane fell, and it was as if Lucifer, child of the morning,
" If thou beest he ; but O how fall'ii ! how changed
From him, who, in the happy realms of light
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
Myriads, though bright ! "
So much of personal history and characteristics of the
Sunflower statesman have been woven in this sketch, that
little remains to be said on this score. He has been now
twenty years dead next July, and his memory is as fresh
in the minds of Kansans as ever. Indeed, there was so
much of mystery about him; he was so individualized,
unique, and peculiar, that curiosity will rather increase
than diminish as the years come and go, to know more of
the character of Lane. Born of good parentage, he might
have been educated, but men he always preferred to study
rather than books ; so that his education was limited, and
his reading miscellaneous, general and superficial. He
had an ideal and poetic nature, and his imagination did
for him splendid service. He was a gallant soldier in the
Mexican War, and in the late war if he had seriously en-
tered upon military duty as a fact of science, he might
have achieved the highest distinction. He had a stronger
personal party than any man in Kansas ever had. Indeed,
politics were divided on the issue of Lane and anti-Lane.
Lane had two sons, James H. jr. and Thomas, and two
daughters, Ella and Anna, the former the wife of Col.
126 TWENTIETH CENTURY CLASSICS
Adams and the latter Mrs. A. D. Johnson, of Kansas City.
Mrs. Adams is dead. The girls were highly accomplished
and refined. The boys will never equal their distinguished
father. Mrs. Lane died about three years ago. She was a
very remarkable woman as well as a very accomplished
lady. She was a born politician. They were divorced and
remarried. Poverty the most abject, the highest summit
of personal distinction; misery complete, happiness su-
preme, this noble woman saw and witnessed; and shared
in the varied fortunes of her waysvard, eccentric, but in
many respects truly great husband — the ideal Kansan —
James H. Lane. -r^ -d
It is our design to prepare a complete biography of
General James H. Lane. All persons possessing it are
requested to write out at length any and all information
about him, his family, his life, his military operations,
his political campaigns, his addresses and speeches. His
old associates In politics and military service are particu-
larly requested to write out their recollections of him —
all kinds of incidents and reminiscences. Due credit will
be given for all information received. We ask this for
the purpose of preserving many facts which can be thus
saved to history. Send all information to the author, at
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