ANN MAJOR produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.



KANSAS, the child of the cumulated national sin of two centuries and two governments, came into the world, inoculated with its virus, a bantling, set apart for the vile uses of slavery, by its unnatural mother. The heroic struggles during its infant life to eradicate the taint, and its final triumphant entry, unpolluted, into the family of States, constitutes the brightest page of American history.

The hidden but potent forces which molded the future destinies of Kansas, which gave it inceptive life, and preserved it through its darkest days of peril, were vital long before its time. To a clear conception and understanding of the later historical narrative, the reader will not deem it irrelevant to review such points of prior history as have a direct, though remote, genealogical relation to the then unborn commonwealth.


Slavery Hereditary. - Under the laws of France and the Republic of Texas, from which the United States acquired the domain of which Kansas came to form a part, chattel slavery was a legalized institution. Except prohibited under constitutional enactment of the United States Government, the old laws inhered, and the rights of residents of the Territory remained unimpaired and protected under them, as though the change of ownership had never been consummated. Thus, when, in 1803, France ceded Louisiana to the United States, slavery being already legalized, the whole domain came to us already cursed with the vile institution. As it was not only legalized, but actually established, many of the residents holding slaves, France saw fit to assure them in the continued possession of all rights enjoyed under her laws by inserting, in the treaty of cession, an express stipulation that the inhabitants of Louisiana should be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and admitted, as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States. And, in the meantime, they should by maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they professed. Thus the slaves of Louisiana, under Spanish and French rule, came, still fettered and unemancipated, to a life of continued bondage, under the starry banner of the American Republic. The little corner of Kansas, lying west of the twenty-second meridian and south of the Arkansas River, together with the residue of the Texas purchase of 1850, also came into the possession of the United States, subject to the laws of Texas, which legalized slavery. California and the remaining territory acquired from Mexico, under whose laws slavery was prohibited, came under the dominion of the United States, uncontaminated - free territory; unless, as came to be stoutly maintained by Southern statesmen, the Federal laws protected and fostered slavery wherever it was not prohibited by special enactment.

It will be remembered that, so early as the session of the Constitutional Convention in 1789, the restriction and ultimate abolition of slavery, and the suppression of the African slave trade, were subjects of earnest controversy. At that time, it was the prevailing sentiment, in the Southern as well as Northern colonies, that slavery of itself was an unmitigated evil, forced upon the colonies by England, often against earnest protests on their part; that the acknowledged inhumanity, guilt and sin of slavery were justly chargeable to her alone, the misfortune of the situation only inhering to them, guiltless as they were of its first establishment in America. Nevertheless, it had become so woven into the industrial life of several of the Southern States that its speedy extinction demanded sacrifices and involved losses in their view beyond what patriotism or conscience required.

There were in the thirteen colonies at that time 500,000 slaves, of which number all but 40,000 were owned in the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland. Immediate, or even speedy, emancipation to them was temporal ruin, and they contended for the right of protection with united strength and an earnestness that won success. Thus the first constitution, in order to render a more perfect Federal Union possible, was framed and its establishment consummated under compromises which rendered slavery secure where it existed, and only provided for the abolition of the African slave trade after twenty years, Congress being forbidden to interdict it until the expiration of that time. To preserve an equilibrium of representation between the slave and free States, three-fifths of the slaves, though disfranchised, were, in the apportionment, added to the number of white population. At the expiration of twenty years, the slave trade was interdicted, but the unequal apportionment continued until slavery ceased to exist.


In 1784, Virginia ceded to the Confederation all its territory lying north-west of the Ohio River and outside the limits of its then organized State jurisdiction.* In 1787, one of the last acts of the last Confederate Congress was the passage of the ordinance, ever after known as the Ordinance of 87, for the government of the territory ceded, one article of which read as follows:

"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the parties shall be duly convicted."
It also contained a provision for the rendition of fugitive slaves.

The above ordinance secured to freedom all the territory now embraced in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota lying east of the Mississippi River. It was re-enacted by the first Federal Congress in March, 1779, and stood as a safeguard against the encroachments of slavery until the whole territory had, as free States, become a part of the Federal Union.


The extension of slavery, however, met with no serious hindrance thereby. North Carolina, December 22, 1789, one month after the ratification of the Federal constitution, ceded to the United States her Western territory, (now Tennessee), with the restriction that no regulation made or to be made by Congress shall tend to emancipate slaves. Georgia likewise, ceded her outlying territory, embracing what comprises the States of Alabama and Mississippi, under the following condition:

"Fifthly. That the territory thus ceded shall become a State, and be admitted into the Union as soon as it shall contain 60,000 inhabitants, or at an earlier period if Congress shall think it expedient, on the same conditions and restrictions, with the same privileges and in the same manner as is provided in the ordinance of Congress of the 13th day of July, 1787, for the government of the western territory of the United States, which ordinance shall, in all its parts, extend to the territory contained in the present act of cession, the article only excepted which forbids Slavery."


The United States Government, under the Federal constitution, began life April 30, 1789, at which time George Washington, being the unanimous choice of the thirteen original States, was inaugurated as President. The distribution of the slaves, the free blacks and the white population at this time is shown in the following tabular statements, compiled from the Federal census report of 1790:


STATES     |      |      |      |Aggre- |
AND        | Free | Free |Slaves|gate   |
TERRI-     |Whites|Blacks|      |Popu-  |
TORIES     |      |      |      |lation |
NORTH      |      |      |      |       |
+Maine         96002   538  ....   96540
New Hamp'hire 141111   630   158  141899
Massachusetts 373254  5463  ....  378717
Rhode Island   64689  3469   952   69110
Connecticut   232581  2801  2759  238141
++Vermont      85144   255    17   85416
New York      314142  4654 21324  340120
New Jersey    169954  2762 11423  184139
Pennsylvania  424099  6537  3737  434373
Totals.....  1900976 27109 40370 1968455

Delaware       46310  3899   8887   59096
Maryland      208649  8043 103036  319728
Virginia      442115 12766 293427  748308
N.Carolina    288204  4975 100572  393751
S.Carolina    140178  1801 107094  249073
Georgia        52886   398  29264   82548
%Kentucky      61133   114  11830   73077
%%Tennessee    32013   361   3417   35791
Totals.....  1271488 32357 657527 1961372
* The State of Virginia then embraced the whole of the State of Kentucky, that territory having been erected into a county under her jurisdiction in 1779. It so continued till 1790, when it became a separate slave State.
+ Maine, a part of Massachusetts.
++ Vermont, a part of New York.
% Kentucky, a part of Virginia.
%% Tennessee, a part of North Carolina.


The slaves enumerated (40,370) in the Northern States were held, subject to the varied provisions under which the several States had abolished slavery, or provided for its ultimate extinction. The time and mode of abolition adopted by the several States was as follows:

Massachusetts, 1780; absolute prohibition.

New Hampshire, 1783; absolute prohibition.

Rhode Island, 1784; all born in the State after March, 1784, to be free.

Connecticut, 1784; gradual abolition.

New York, 1799; gradual emancipation; in 1817, a further act decreed that there should be no slavery in the State after July 4, 1827.

New Jersey, 1804; gradual emancipation.

Pennsylvania, 1780; all persons born in the State after March 1 to be free at the age of twenty-eight.

Vermont, 1777; framed constitution fourteen years before she became a member of the Federal Union, whereof the first article abolished slavery.

The gradual increase of the free and slave population from 1790 to the time of its extinction is given in the table below:


1790   3,172,464     59,446    697.897   .........        3,929,827
1800   4,304,489    108,395    893,041   .........        5,305,925
1810   5,862,004    186,446  1,191,364   .........        7,239,814
1820   7,861,937    233,524  1,538,038   .........        9,638,131
1830  10,537,338    319,599  2,009,043   44,020 Indians  12,866,020
1840  14,195,695    386,303  2,487,455   .........       17,069,453
1850  19,553,068    434,495  3,204,213   .........       23,191,876
1860  26,957,471    488,070  3,953,760  383,712 Indians  31,443,321
1870  35,592,245  4,886,387  *........   63,254 Chinese  38,925,598
* Slavery was abolished in all States and parts of States then in rebellion by proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, January 1, 1863, and throughout the United States, by the passage of a constitutional amendment, February 1, 1865.

From the inauguration of the Federal Government in 1789 to the purchase of Louisiana in 1803, a period of fourteen years, four new States were admitted into the Union, as follows: Vermont, with slavery inhibited, March 4, 1791; Kentucky, as a slave State, June 1, 1792; Tennessee, as a slave State, June 1, 1796; and Ohio, the first free State from the territory ceded by Virginia, November 29, 1802.

The territory from which to form new slave States was at that time restricted to the Georgia cession (afterward Alabama and Mississippi), while the vast territory free under the ordinance of 87, capable of forming six States as large, gave assurance to the advocates of, and believers in, the doctrine of the gradual extinction of slavery that its limits were defined, beyond which it could not pass, and that, thus hedged in, with the coming addition of free States, it would gradually be inhibited, and finally become extinct by local enactments in the States where it had a legal existence.

The purchase of Louisiana in 1803 brought an accession of unorganized slave territory, which at once changed the preponderance, in a greater degree, to the other side. The general sentiment, however, was that of satisfaction with the acquisition, as the free navigation of the Mississippi, and the right of eminent domain over the whole territory drained by it and its tributaries, gave such commercial advantages, and so increased the securty (sic), importance and power of the young Republic, as to render the general sentiment oblivious to possible and remote evils, and indifferent to the warnings of the conscientious and far-seeing few, who did not fail to give the alarm at that time. The abolition societies of the North entered earnest protests against the consummation of the purchase, except, like the Northwestern Territory, slavery should be inhibited therein. The Louisiana purchase was divided by act of Congress into two Territories, the dividing line being the thirty-third parallel of latitude. All south of that line was called Orleans; that part lying north, Louisiana. With a tacit belief, if not understanding, that Louisiana Territory would ultimately, like the adjoining territory north of the Ohio, become free States, little attention was given the slavery question. It was believed to be in the way of self-adjustment, and was not, till 1819, a disturbing element in the politics of the country.

From 1803 to 1819, there were admitted as States, Louisiana (Orleans Territory), as a slave State, April 30, 1811; Indiana (Northwestern Territory), December 3, 1818; Alabama (Georgia cession), December 14, 1819.

With the admission of Alabama, the States were as follows:

Original-Free, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania-seven: slave, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia-six.

Admitted-Free, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois-four; slave, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama-five.

Total free, eleven; total slave, eleven.

The admission of States up to this time had not only kept the equilibrium in number and representation fairly established, but, what was more essential to the peace of the country, the line of the Ordinance of 87 had been kept inviolate. The States north of the Ohio, which enters the Mississippi near the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude, had come in under the slavery restriction, while those lying south of that line had been admitted as slave States, under the sufferance and protection granted when the territory had been ceded to the United States. This tacit compromise, as evinced in the admission of the new States, had quieted the fearful apprehensions of Northern Abolitionists, and others who viewed slavery as a sin of itself, to be suffered only until it could be eradicated with safety. The Northern conscience at that time had come to be subservient to worldly interests and an intense love of the Union-threatened by the South whenever imagined of real encroachments were made upon what it deemed its peculiar rights.

Texas, a part of the Florida purchase, had been, in 1819, ceded to Spain in exchange for the Floridas. Thus the only territory remaining of the Louisiana purchase then capable of being offered as a slave State laid north of the latitude of the line of prohibition of the Ordinance of 87. Accordingly, the inhabitants of the region along the banks of the Missouri, on both sides, on the 16th of March, 1818, presented their first petition for admission as a State, with essentially its present boundaries.

The North at once took alarm. It knew that under the law, the South had a right to extend slavery if it chose, throughout the whole extent of the Louisiana purchase. There remained of free territory only sufficient for two more States, (afterward Michigan and Wisconsin). The real designs of the South became apparent. So long as necessary or politic, the work of strengthening and consolidating the slave power had been carried on within the limits of the territory guaranteed, lying south of the Ohio. That territory secured, Missouri was offered as an opening wedge for the further extension of slavery north and west of the Mississippi. Slavery having become profitable, it was now to become national. The two leading political parties were not at that time sectional, nor was adherence or opposition to slavery a party test. The question, therefore, came into party politics as a discordant and demoralizing element, dividing them, for the first time, by a geographical line, instead of, as heretofore, on matters of national policy.


The first petition of Missouri for admission as a State, on its presentation, March 16, 1818, was referred to a select committee, who reported a bill in accordance with the prayer of the petitioners, which was read twice and committed, no further action being taken till the session of the same Congress in the following fall. It came up for further consideration in committee of the whole, November 16, and was discussed through that day, and the next day but one. During the discussion, the awakened apprehensions of those opposed to the further extension of slavery took tangible shape in the following amendment to the proposed bill, moved by Gen. James Tallmadge, of Dutchess County, N. Y.:

And provided, That the introduction of slavery, or involuntary servitude, be prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party has been duly convicted; and that all children born within the said State, after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared free at the age of twenty-five years.

On the rising of the committee, the amendment was adopted by the House, by the following vote: All preceding and including the word convicted, by eighty-seven yeas to seventy-six nays. Thus amended, the bill was passed to a third reading by a vote of ninety-eight yeas to fifty-six nays, and the next day passed and sent to the Senate without a division. It was returned to the House, which refused to concur in the Senate amendment, by a vote of seventy-eight nays to seventy-six yeas. The Senate insisted on its adhering to its disagreement, the bill failed for that session.

A bill organizing so much of the Territory of Missouri as was not included within the boundaries of the proposed State into a Territory under the name of Arkansas was, however, passed at this session. Attempts were made to apply the slavery restriction, as in the case of Missouri, but it failed in the House by the casting vote of Speaker, Henry Clay, and in the Senate by a majority of five votes. Arkansas thus became a slave Territory, if not by positive legislation, yet through the defeat of all efforts made to the contrary.

The determined spirit of the slaver propagandists, as evinced in the discussion attending the territorial organization of Arkansas and the defeated Missouri bill, created intense interest and feeling throughout the country, and, at the convening of the new Congress (Sixteenth, December 6, 1819), it was apparent that party lines could no longer prevent the slavery question from becoming the vital issue of the time.

Early in the session, the House passed a bill admitting Maine as a State, and sent the same to the Senate for concurrence.

The memorials from Missouri, asking admission, were referred to a committee, which reported a bill for its admission without restriction. It came up as a special order January 24, 1820, and was thereafter under continuous debate till February 19, at which time the Maine bill was returned from the Senate, with a rider or amendment authorizing Missouri to form a constitution, etc.

This attempt on the part of the Senate to coerce the House into legislation opposed to its known convictions was deemed by some members favoring the Missouri bill, a direct affront to the house, and a flagrant attempt to tamper with its independent legislation, and the combined opposition to the bill with the Missouri amendments was overwhelming. The House refused to concur in the amendment by a vote of ninety-three to seventy-two, only four Northern votes being cast with the minority. In the dead lock between the House and Senate which ensued, it became apparent that the interests of slavery were in greater jeopardy than ever before. The anti-slavery sentiment in the Northern States was at length fully aroused, and the people fast becoming united on that issue. Northern members were urged in earnest and often frantic appeal to stand firm against the perpetration of this great crime against humanity and posterity. The popular feeling was thus portrayed by a historian of those times: *

* History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Henry Wilson, Vol. I, pp. 150-1. --------------------------------------------------------

Never before had the anti-slavery sentiment of the North been so quickened and aroused. Popular meetings were holden, (sic) in which Federalists and Democrats enthusiastically and cordially united. Public addresses were made, and petitions and memorials were sent to Congress. The citizens of Boston assembled and voted to memorialize Congress to restrain the increase of slavery in new States to be admitted to the Union. This memorial drawn up by Daniel Webster, set forth that: the happiness of unborn millions was at issue, that the admission of slavery into a new country encouraged "rapacity, fraud and violence," tarnished "the proud fame of the country," and rendered questionable all "professions of regard for the rights of humanity or the liberties of mankind." This calm and dignified paper, in which the issues were put with great discrimination and emphasis, closed with this manly and earnest appeal: "As inhabitants of a free country, as citizens of a great and rising republic, as members of a Christian community, as living in a liberal and enlightened age, and as feeling ourselves called upon by the dictates of religion and humanity, we have presumed to offer our sentiments to Congress on this question with a solicitude for the event far beyond what a common occasion could inspire."

These sentiments so strongly and eloquently expressed, were entertained with singular unanimity, not alone by the people of Massachusetts, but by the people of New England and the entire North. The Legislatures of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio and Indiana passed resolutions affirming the power and duty of Congress to prohibit Slavery in the States to be carved out of Western Territory. These resolutions, adopted with little opposition, were based upon the indestructible principles of humanity, justice and liberty. The Legislature of Pennsylvania, without a dissenting vote, supported the humane and enlightened policy of prohibiting Slavery in Missouri. Their resolutions proclaimed with emphasis that "they are persuaded that to open the fertile regions of the West to a new and steady market for the lawless venders of human flesh, and render all schemes for obliterating this foul blot upon the American character useless and unavailing." They denounced the attempt to bring Missouri into the Union as a slaveholding State as a measure "to spread the crimes and cruelties of Slavery from the banks of the Mississippi to the shores of the Pacific." And they invoked the several States, "by the duty they owe to the Deity, by the veneration which they entertain for the memories of the founders of the Republic, and by a tender regard for posterity, to protest against its adoption, to refuse to covenant with crime, and to limit the range of an evil that already hangs in awful boding over so large a portion of the Union."

The House, having indignantly voted down the Senate Missouri amendment to the Maine bill and returned it to the Senate, proceeded to the further consideration of the bill for the admission of Missouri alone, which, having passed, with slavery prohibited, followed the Maine-Missouri bill to the Senate. At this stage, the measure afterward known as the Missouri Compromise had its conception in the Senate.

[TOC] [part 2] [part 1] [Cutler's History]