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414 ABEAHAM LINCOLN

ch. xxin. convened at Pawnee, they would adjourn and come back the day after. If the Governor harbored any remaining doubt that this bogus Legislature in­tended to assume and maintain the mastery, it speedily vanished. Their hostility grew open and defiant; they classed him as a free-State man, an " abolitionist," and it became only too evident that he would gradually be shorn of power and degraded from the position of Territorial Executive to that of a mere puppet. Having nothing to gain by further concession, he adhered to his original plan, issued . ' his proclamation convening the Legislature at Paw­nee on the first Monday in July, and immediately started for Washington to make a direct appeal to President Pierce.

How Governor Eeeder failed in this last hope of redress and support, how he found the Kansas conspiracy as strong at Washington as on the Mis­souri border, will appear further along. On the 2d of July the Governor and the Legislature met at the town of Pawnee, where he had con­voked them — a magnificent prairie site, but con­taining as yet only three buildings, one to hold sessions in, and two to furnish food and lodging. The Governor's friends declared the accommoda­tions ample; the Missourians on the contrary made affidavit that they were compelled to camp out and cook their own rations. The actual facts had little to do with the predetermination of the members. Stringfellow had written in his paper, the " Squat­ter Sovereign," three weeks before: " We hope no one will be silly enough to suppose the Governor has power to compel us to stay at Pawnee during the entire session. We will, of course, have to

THE BOGUS LAWS

415


' trot' out at the "bidding of his Excellency,— but we will trot him back next day at our bidding."

The prediction was literally fulfilled. Both branches organized without delay, the House choosing John H. Stringfellow for Speaker. Before the Governor's message was delivered on the fol­lowing day, the House had already passed, under suspended rules, "An act to remove the seat of government temporarily to the Shawnee Manual Labor School," which act the Council as promptly concurred in. The Governor vetoed the bill, but it was at once passed over his veto. By the end of the week the Legislature had departed from the budding capital to return no more.

The Governor was perforce obliged to follow his migratory Solons, who adhered to their purpose despite his public or private protests, and who re­assembled at Shawnee Mission, or more correctly the Shawnee Manual Labor School, on the 16th of July. Shawnee Mission was one of our many national experiments in civilizing Indian tribes. This philanthropic institution, nourished by the Federal treasury, was presided over by the Rev. Thomas Johnson. The town of "Westport, which could boast of a post-office, lay only four miles to the eastward, on the Missouri side of the State line, and was a noted pro-slavery stronghold. There were several large brick buildings at the Mission capable of accommodating the Legislature with halls and lodging-rooms; its nearness to an established post-office, and its contiguity to Missouri pro-slavery sentiment were elements probably not lost sight of. Mr. Johnson, who had formerly been a Missouri slaveholder, was at the March election

ch. XXIII.

" Squatter

Sovereign," June 5,1855.

"House Journal Kansas

Territory,"

1855,p. 12.

"Journal of Council, Kansas

Territory,"

p. 12. " House Journal Kansas

Territory,"

1855,p. 29.

Ibid, p. 30.

416

ABEAHAM LINCOLN


ch. XXIII.

"Squatter Sovereign," July 17,1855.

Ibid, June

19,1855.

"House

Journal

Kansas

Territory,"

1856, p. 12.

chosen a member of the Territorial Council, which indue time made him its presiding officer; and the bogus Legislature at Shawnee Mission was there­fore in a certain sense under its own " vine and fig-tree."

The two branches of the Legislature, the Council with the Eev. Thomas Johnson as President, and the House with Stringfellow of the " Squatter Sovereign " as Speaker, now turned their attention seriously to the pro-slavery work before them. The conspirators were shrewd enough to realize their victory. " To have intimated one year ago," said the Speaker in his address of thanks, " that such a result would be wrought out, one would have been thought a visionary; to have predicted that to-day a legislature would assemble, almost unani­mously pro-slavery, and with myself for Speaker, I would have been thought mad." The programme had already been announced in the " Squatter Sovereign " some weeks before. " The South must and will prevail. If the Southern people but half do their duty, in less than nine months from this day Kansas will have formed a constitution and be knocking at the door for admission. . . In the session of the United States Senate in 1856, two Senators from the slave-holding State of Kansas will take their seats, and abolitionism will be for­ever driven from our halls of legislation." Against this triumphant attitude Governor Eeeder was despondent and powerless. The language of his message plainly betrayed the political dilemma in which he found himself. He strove as best he might to couple together the prevailing cant of office-holders against "the destructive spirit of



ANDREW H. REEDER.

-J&.

I

THE BOGUS LAWS 417

abolitionism" and a comparatively mild rebuke of ch.xxiii. the Missouri usurpation.1

Nevertheless, the Governor stood reasonably firm. He persisted in declaring that the Legisla­ture could pass no valid laws at any other place than Pawnee, and returned the first bill sent him with a veto message to that effect. To this the Legislature replied by passing the bill over his veto, and in addition formally raising a joint committee ,,Houge "to draw up a memorial to the President of the United States respectfully demanding the removal of A. H. Eeeder from the office of governor"; and, ppnfjf' as if this indignity were not enough, holding a joint session for publicly signing it. The memorial was promptly dispatched to "Washington by special messenger; but on the way this envoy read the news of the Governor's dismissal by the President.

This event appeared definitely to sweep away the last obstacle in the path of the conspirators. The office of acting governor now devolved upon the secretary of the Territory, Daniel Woodson, a man who shared their views and was allied to their schemes. With him to approve their enactments, the parliamentary machinery of the " bogus " Legis­lature was complete and .effective. They had at the very beginning summarily ousted the free-State members chosen at the supplementary

i Its phraseology was adroit lie was trustworthy I would be

enough to call forth a sneering disposed to compliment the most

compliment from Speaker String- of it, but knowing how corrupt

fellow, who wrote to the " Squat- the author is, and that it is only

ter Sovereign": " On Tuesday designed for political effect in

the Governor sent in his message, Pennsylvania, he not expecting

which you will find is very well to remain long with us, I will

calculated to have its effect with pass it by."{l Squatter Sover-

the Pennsylvania Democracy. If eign," July 17, 1855.

vol. L—27

418

ABRAHAM LINCOLN


ch. XXIII.

Report Judiciary Com., "House Journal Kansas Territory," 1855. Ap­pendix, p. 14.

election on May 22, and seated the pro-slavery claimants of March 30; and the only two remain­ing free-State members resigned in utter disgust to avoid giving countenance to the flagrant usurpa­tion by their presence. No one was left even to enter a protest.

This, then, was the perfect flower of Douglas's vaunted experiment of " popular sovereignty "— a result they professed fully to appreciate. " Hither­to," said the Judiciary Committee of the House in a long and grandiloquent report, " Congress have retained to themselves the power to mold and shape all the territorial governments according to their own peculiar notions, and to restrict within very limited and contracted bounds both the natural as well as the political rights of the bold and daring pioneer and the noble, hard-fisted squatter." But by this course, the argument of the committee continued, " the pillars which uphold this glorious union of States were shaken until the whole world was threatened with a political earthquake," and, " the principle that the people are capable of self-government would have been forever swallowed up by anarchy and confusion," had not the Kansas-Nebraska bill " delegated to the people of these territories the right to frame and establish their own form of government."

What might not be expected of law-makers who begin with so ambitious an exordium, and who lay the corner-stone of their edifice upon the solid rock of political principle! The anti-climax of perform­ance which followed would be laughably absurd, were it not marked by the cunning of a well-matured political plot. Their first step was to

THE BOGUS LAWS

419


recommend the repeal of "all laws whatsoever, which may have been considered to have been in force " in the Territory on the 1st day of July, 1855, thus forever quieting any doubt " as to what is and what is not law in this Territory"; secondly, to substitute a code about which there should be no question, by the equally ingenious expedient of copying and adopting the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

These enactments were made in due form; but the bogus Legislature did not seem content to let its fame rest on this single monument of self-gov­ernment. Casting their eyes once more upon the broad expanse of American politics, the Judiciary Committee reported : " The question of slavery is one that convulses the whole country, from the boisterous Atlantic to the shores of the mild Pacific. This state of things has been brought about by the fanaticism of the North and East, while up to this time the people of the South, and those of the North who desire the perpetuation of this Union and are devoted to the laws, have been entirely conservative. But the time is coming — yea, it has already arrived — for the latter to take a bold and decided stand that the Union and law may not be trampled in the dust," etc., etc.

The "Revised Statutes of Missouri," recom­mended in bulk, and adopted with hasty clerical 'modifications,1 already contained the usual slave-

gil XXIII.

Report Judiciary Com., "House Journal Kansas Territory," 1855. Ap­pendix, p. 18.

Ibid., p. 18.

Ibid., p. U.


i To guard more effectually against clerical errors, the Legis­lature enacted : " Sec. 1. Wherever the word 'State' oc­curs in any act of the present legislative assembly,, or any law of this Territory, in such construc-

tion as to indicate the locality of the operation of such act or laws, the same shall in every instance be taken and understood to mean ' Territory/ and shall apply to the Territory of Kansas."—" Stat­utes of Kansas/' 1855, p. 718.

4:20

ABRAHAM LINCOLN


ch. XXIII.

" Statutes

Territory

of Kansas,"

1855, p. 715.

code peculiar to Southern States. But in the plans and hopes of the conspirators, this of itself was in­sufficient. In order to " take a bold stand that the Union and law might not be trampled in the dust," they with great painstaking devised and passed " an act to punish offenses against slave property."

It prescribed the penalty of death, not merely for the grave crime of inciting or aiding an insur­rection of slaves, free negroes, or mulattoes, or circulating printed matter for such an object, but also the same extreme punishment for the com­paratively mild offense of enticing or decoying away a slave or assisting him to escape; for har­boring or concealing a fugitive slave, ten years' imprisonment; for resisting an officer arresting a fugitive slave, two years' imprisonment.

If such inflictions as the foregoing might per­haps be tolerated upon the plea that a barbarous institution required barbarous safeguards, what ought to be said of the last three sections of the act which, in contempt of the Declaration of Inde­pendence and the Constitution of the United States, annulled the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, and invaded even the right of individual conscience f

To write, print, or circulate " any statements, arguments, opinions, sentiment, doctrine, advice, or innuendo, calculated to produce a disorderly, dangerous, or rebellious disaffection among the slaves of the Territory, or to induce such slaves to escape from the service of their masters, or to resist their authority," was pronounced a felony punishable by five years' imprisonment. To deny the right of holding slaves in the Territory, by

THE BOGUS LAWS

421


speaking, writing, printing, .or circulating books, or papers, was likewise made a felony, punishable by two years' imprisonment. Finally it was enacted that " no person who is conscientiously opposed to holding slaves, or who does not admit the right to hold slaves in this Territory, shall sit as a juror on the trial of any prosecution for any violation of any of the sections of this act." Also, all officers were, in addition to their usual path, required to swear to support and sustain the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Fugitive-Slave Law.

The spirit which produced these despotic laws also governed the methods devised to enforce them. The Legislature proceeded to elect the principal officers of each county, who in turn were empow­ered by the laws to appoint the subordinate officials. All administration, therefore, emanated from that body, reflected its will, and followed its behest. Finally, the usual skeleton organization of a terri­torial militia was devised, whose general officers were in due time appointed by the acting Governor from prominent and serviceable pro-slavery mem­bers of the Legislature.

Having secured their present domination, they sought to perpetuate their political ascendency in the Territory. They ingeniously prolonged the tenure of their various appointees, and to render their success at future elections easy and certain they provided that candidates to be eligible, and judges of election, and voters when challenged, must swear to support the Fugitive-Slave Law. This they knew would virtually disfranchise many conscientious antislavery men; while, on the other hand, they enacted that each inhabitant who had

ch. xxiii.

" Statutes

Territory

of Kansas,"

1855, p. 516.

" Journal

of Council

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