Skip to main content

Full text of "James Henry Lane, the "Grim chieftain" of Kansas"

See other formats




wentietb Century 
» 0a$$ic$ * 

Vol. I. No. 2. 

October, 1899. 




Issued Monthly. 

Price, $1 per year. 





Issued monthly, under the editorial supervision of W. M. Davidson, 
Superintendent of Schools of the city of Topeka. 

The object is to furnish special reading of a high order for the use of 
high schools, teachers, and for select reading. 

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- 
gle numbers, 10 cents. Clubs of six will be entitled to one subscription 

We invite subscriptions. No expense will be spared by the editorial 
management or by the publishers to make this series of the highest 












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 

ToPEKA, Kansas 






Copyrighted by 

Crane & Company, Topeka, Kansas 



.<^^ 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. 


" 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 



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 


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, 


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."] 



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 


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." 

— Burns. 

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 
-3' (17) 


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 
they say: 

" 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 


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. 
Approaching line. 

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 



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. 



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 


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 
act accordingly. 

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. 


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 


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 



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- 
vote them. 

"^ 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 


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- 
las bilk"* 

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 


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- 
papers : 

" 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; 


" 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 


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- 


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- 


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 


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." 

— Shakespeare. 

What was this institution against which Kansas rose and 
revolted ? 

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- 




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 


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 
wdiich follow. 


"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 
April, 1855.1-^ 

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. 



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 



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 


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. 


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. 



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 



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- 


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 
at Lawrence.^ 


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 [1855] 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 


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, 



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 
the Missourians. 

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. 


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- 
porizing measures. 

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 


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 
future action. 

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 
— 4 


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 
Avent on." 


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 
baffled them." 


" 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 



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. 


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 


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 



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 


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 



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 


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. 


" 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 




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 


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 


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. 


" 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 



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 


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. 
— 5 


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 



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 


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 



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 
men. ... 

" 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. . . ." 


" 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 ! " 




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 
resolntions : 

''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 


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. 



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 


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 



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 


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 



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 


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 
them just." 

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 


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 ' « 


'' 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 




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. 


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. 


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 


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 



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 


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 
was burned. 

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 



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! — 


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 


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 
follows : 

^^ 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 


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. 


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 



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 
short campaign: 

" 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 


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. 


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 


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. 


"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 



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 


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 


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, 



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- 
tions.' " 


**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 


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 


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- 


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 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 



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.] 


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 



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.] 


[ 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 




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 


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. 



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 


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 


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 


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. 



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. 


[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 




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- 


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 


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- 


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 


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- 


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 


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, 


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. 

lane's suicide. 
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 


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 


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 


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, 
had fallen. 

" 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. 


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 

Kicking Bird. 


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 
Topeka, Kansas. 


Admire's Political and Legislative Handbook for Kansas — with Maps. 

W. W. Admire. 1 vol., 820 pages. Full cloth St •<» 

A Pioneer from Kentucky. Col. Henry Inman. Full cloth 75 

American and British Authors, (a Text-book on Literature.) Frank V. Irish. 

344 pagea. Cloth i 35 

A Primer of Memory Gems. George Washington Hoes, A. M,, LL. D. Full cloth 15 

Buffalo Jones's Forty Years of Adventure. Compiled by Colonel Henry Inman. Full 

cloth a 00 

Fundamentals of the English Language, or Orthography and Orthoepy. 

Frank V. Irish. Cloth 50 

Great Salt Lake Trail. Col. Henry Inman 3 50 

Hoenshel's Language Lessons and Elementary Grammar. £. J. Hoenshel, A. M. . . 30 

Hoenshel's English Grammar. Prof. E. J. Hoenshel 50 

Key and Manual to Hoenshel's Grammar. Prof. E. J. Hoenshel 50 

History of the Birds of Kansas. Col. N. S. Goss. Large octavo, 692 pages, 100 full- 
page illustrations. Full cloth, $5. Full Morocco 6 00 

History of Kansas. Clara H. Hazelrigg. 298 pages. Full cloth 100 

Kansas Methodist Pulpit. J. W. D. Anderson. 1 vol., 297 pages. Full cloth i 00 

Nature Study — a Reader. Mrs. Lucy Langdon Wilson, Ph. D 35 

Nature Study in Elementary Schools — a Manual for Teachers. Mrs. Lucy Lang- 
don Wil3on, Ph. D 90 

Normal Institute Reader. Wasson and Ramsey. Paper, 25c. Cloth 40 

Old Santa Fe Trail. Col. Henry Inman 3 50 

Outlines of Logic. Jacob Westlund, Cloth 50 

Railroads — Their Construction, Cost, Operation, and Control. Jesse Hardesty. 

Paper 50 

Reference Manual and Outlines of United States History. Ell G. Foster. Paper, 

30c Full cloth 40 

Rhymes of Ironquill. Eugene F. Ware. 324 pages. Full cloth x 00 

School Supervision and Maintenance. H. C. Fellow. Full cloth i 00 

Stepping Stone to Singing. Containing E. M. Foote's novel method of Writing, 

Analyzing and Reading Music. E. M. Foote and J. S. SUe 40 

Student's Standard Dictionary 2 50 

Student's Standard Dictionary, with Dennison's Index 300 

Supplemental Methods. Belle Varvel Houston. Full cloth 75 

Tales of the Trail. Col. Henry Inman, 1 vol., 288 pages. Full cloth 100 

Teachers' and Students' Manual of Arithmetic. J. A. Ferrell, B. S., C. E. Cloth .. 50 

The Civil War by Campaigns. Eli G. Foster i.oo 

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Coo- 

stitation of the State of Kansas 25 

The Delahoydes, or Boy-Life on the Old Santa Fe Trail. Full cloth i 00 

The Story of Human Progress — a Brief History of Civilization. Frank W. 

Blackmar, Ph. D. 375 pages. Full cloth X 00 

Treasured Thoughts Gleaned from the Fields of Literature. Frank V. Irish. 

Cloth 50 

The Wooster Primer. Lizzie E. Wooster 25 

Topeka Pen and Camera Sketches. Mary E. Jackson. 1 vol., 200 pages. Full cloth, too 

Topical Outline of Civil Government. W. D. Kuhn. Paper, 25c. Cloth 40 

Winning Orations. A collection of the Winning Orations of the Inter-state Oratorical 

Contests, and the biographies of contestants. C. E. Prather. 242 pages. Full cloth., x 25