|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
NOMINATION OF A CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATE.
The nomination of a Free-State Delegate to Congress being in order, M. F. Conway, with a short but forcible speech, nominated Hon. Andrew H. Reeder. There was no opposing candidate. His name was received with an outburst of applause, which meant more than an ordinary nomination by acclamation. It meant a condemnation of the Territorial Legislature and the National Administration. It meant a vindication of Gov. Reeder, and an unconquerable determination to fight to the bitter end the powers that had usurped the government of the Territory and removed him without cause. It meant the extreme challenge of an outraged people against every power, high or low, that stood opposed to their guaranteed constitutional rights.
In response to calls for Reeder, Reeder! Reeder!! The ex-Governor appeared on the stand, and made the speech which irrevocably severed him from the Administration and the Democratic party, and placed him where he ever after stood, among the foremost champions of free speech, free labor and free men. He spoke substantially as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN:
At the close of the speech, a moment of dead silence ensued, broken with a simultaneous burst of applause, shouts, and defiant ejaculations - "Yes, we will strike!" "Freemen can never be slaves!" "Three cheers for Reeder, Reeder! Reeder!!" "Nine cheers for Reeder and Right!" Thus the work of the convention closed in an enthusiastic furor of cheers, hand-shaking, swearing and tears.
S. C. Pomeroy, James H. Lane and G. W. Brown were appointed a committee to wait upon Gov. Shannon, lately arrived in the Territory, and communicate to him the proceedings of the convention.
The work of this convention organized the free-state party of Kansas, put forth its platform, nominated a Delegate to Congress, appointed a day for his election, and indorsed the constitutional convention called to be held at Topeka on the coming 19th.
Prior to the convention held at Big Springs, the Free-state movement had been conducted somewhat cautiously. Meetings had been called by "many citizens," "sundry citizens," etc., and were clandestinely feeling their way, doubtful of what strength might really be developed. Executive committees had been appointed at the Lawrence mass meetings, and had done their work faithfully and well. The persons composing them were not publicly announced for obvious reasons.
The first Kansas Free-state Executive Committee, deriving its power from a delegate convention, was appointed by the Big Springs Convention. The members constituting it were Charles Robinson, Chairman; Joel K. Goodin, Secretary; George W. Smith, John A. Wakefield, L. Macy, Fry W. Giles, William Phillips, Charles A. Foster, J. P. Fox, J. D. Stockton, W. K. Vaill, John Brown, Jr., W. A. Ely, George F. Warren, John Hamilton, Hamilton Smith, Lotan Smith, Martin F. Conway, Samuel D. Houston, L. R. Adams, Luther R. Palmer, John E. Gould, Abelard Guthrie.
The Big Springs Convention inspired the Free-state people throughout the Territory with hope and courage, where before had been despondency and apathy. Free-State meetings were held at nearly every settlement in the Territory, where resolutions indorsing the "Big Springs platform" were passed, and delegates chosen for the Constitutional Convention.
THE DELEGATE CONVENTION.
The delegate convention called for the purpose of considering the expediency of the formation of a State government with a view to application to Congress during the next session for admission as a State, met agreeably to call, at Topeka, on the 19th of September. It continued in session two days. The work accomplished appears in the following minutes of proceedings:
Wednesday, met at 11 A. M. Convention called to order by G. W. Smith, Esq., of the First District. Temporary officers chosen were: Chairman, Erastus D. Ladd, of Lawrence; Secretary, Cyrus K. Holliday, of Topeka.
Chose as Committee on Permanent Organization, G. W. Smith, A. Curtiss, W. Y. Roberts, J. F. Brannan, Joseph Hayes.
Chose as Committee on Credentials, Joel K. Goodin, J. A. Wakefield, A. M. Jordan, S. Mewhinney, Hamilton Smith, Thomas J. Addis, P. C. Schuyler, J. H. Nesbitt, L. P. Lincoln.
James Redpath was given a scat as reporter for the Missouri Democrat; William A. Phillips, for New York Tribune; Joseph L. Speer, for Chicago Tribune. James Redpath was elected reporter of the convention.
Adjourned to half-past 1 o'clock P. M.
Re-assembled at 2 o'clock P. M.
Committee on Delegates reported the following members of the convention:
First District - G. W. Smith, E. D. Ladd, G. W. Deitzler, S. C. Smith, J. K. Goodin, John Speer, M. Hunt, J. H. Lane.
Second District - Robert Buffam, J. A. Wakefield, David Buffam, D. Vancil, A. Curtiss, N. Alguyor.
Third District - W. Y. Roberts, C. K. Holliday, A. M. Jordan.
Fourth District - Samuel Workman, Amos Hanna, Samuel Mewhinney.
Fifth and Sixth Districts - Hamilton Smith, James F. Brannan, Thomas J> Addis.
Seventh District - P. C. Schuyler, J. D. Wood.
Eighth District - J. H. Nesbitt, S. R. Junkens.
Tenth District - L. P. Lincoln, Joseph Hayes.
Thirteenth District - J. B. Chapman, T. Jenner, Richard Murphy.
Sixteenth District - Marcus J. Parrott, H. Miles Moore, R. H. Phelan, M. W. Delahay, S. N. Latta.
The Committee on Permanent Organization reported the following list of permanent officers:
President - W. Y. Roberts.
Vice Presidents - J. A. Wakefield, P. C. Schuyler, L. P. Lincoln, J. K. Goodin, S. N. Latta, R. H. Phelan.
Secretaries - E. D. Ladd, J. H. Nesbitt, M. W. Delahay.
Report adopted, and officers took their seats.
Parliamentary rules adopted.
A Business Committee of fifteen members appointed as follows: G. W. Smith, Samuel Mewhinney, J. A. Wakefield, C. K. Holliday, L. P. Lincoln, Hamilton Smith, J. H. Nesbitt, T. J. Addis, Thomas Jenner, J. B. Chapman, H. Miles Moore, Marcus J. Parrott, G. W. Deitzler, P. C. Schuyler, J. D. Wood.
Committee reported, and convention adjourned to Thursday morning, 9 A. M.
The report of the Business Committee, on motion of Col. Lane, was recommitted, with instructions to report blanks instead of specified time for election of delegates and holding a constitutional convention, and blank as to the number of delegates. The committee subsequently reported with blanks to be filled by the convention, in accordance with instructions.
On motion of Col. Lane, a committee of eighteen was appointed, one from each district, "with full powers to write, print and circulate an address to the people of this Territory and to the civilized world, setting forth our grievances and the policy we have been compelled to adopt, and which we have determined at all hazards to carry out."
The Committee on Address appointed was J. H. Lane, W. Y. Roberts, Hamilton Smith, P. C. Schuyler, H. Miles Moore, J. S. Emery, A. M. Jordan, M. W. Delahay, Erastus D. Ladd, G. W. Deitzler, J. A. Wakefield, Samuel C. Smith, Thomas J. Addis, J. H. Nesbitt, L. P. Lincoln, John Speer, G. W. Brown, S. N. Latta, James Pierce.
Convention adjourned for dinner, and at 2 o'clock P. M. reconvened.
The Committee on Business reported, and their report was adopted. It was voluminous. It repeated in its preamble the grievances which had force the citizens to the course they had adopted, and offered the following resolutions:
(1) Resolved, By the people of Kansas Territory, in Delegate Convention assembled, that an election shall be held in the several election precincts of this Territory on the second Tuesday of October next, under the regulations and restrictions hereinafter imposed, for members of a convention to form a constitution, adopt a Bill of Rights for the people of Kansas, and take all needful measures for organizing a State Government preparatory to the admission of Kansas into the Union as a State.
Territorial Committee appointed was: James H. Lane, Cyrus K. Holliday, Marcus J. Parrott, Philip C. Schuyler, George W. Smith, Joel K. Goodin.
With a vote of thanks to the President and other officers and three enthusiastic cheers for the new Government, and the convention adjourned.
The work of the Executive Committee and the Free-state residents of the Territory was most vigorously prosecuted in accordance with the plan laid out by the Topeka convention. The Executive Committee issued a proclamation "to the legal voters" with a most stirring preamble, calling for the election of delegates to the constitutional convention to be holden in Topeka on the fourth Tuesday in November, designating the polling places, instructing the judges of election and otherwise providing for an election.
The election of a Free-state Delegate to Congress, in accordance with the action of the Big Springs convention, was, by proclamation, ordered to be holden on the same day. The date of this most important election was October 9, 1855.
ELECTIONS OF OCTOBER, 1855.
As the reader already knows, the elections were no index of the voting strength of the Territory. The Big Springs convention, for reasons set forth in its published resolutions, had appointed a different day from that designated by the Territorial Legislature for the election of a Delegate to Congress. The latter had appointed October 1, on which day it was quite sure that the Pro-slavery voters of the Territory, re-enforced by their Missouri allies, would possess and control every ballot-box in the Territory. The Free-state voters had appointed October 9, at which time it was equally certain that the Free-state voters would rally to a man, and that, except in a few precincts bordering on Missouri, there would be no attempt made to interfere with the elections. The semi-revolutionary condition of affairs was present of two elections for the same office, both claiming the suffrages of the voters of Kansas.
First Election - The Free-state men took no part in this election, as theirs had been appointed at a later date. Nevertheless the Missourians came over as before, in large numbers, some paying the $1 poll-tax required by the Territorial statute, others voting without being required so to do. The precincts in which illegal voting occurred, as shown by the Investigation Committee, were reported as follows: "They (the Missourians) were present and voted at the voting places of Atchison and Doniphan, in Atchison County; at Green Springs, Johnson County; at Willow Springs, Franklin County; Lecompton, Douglas County; Fort Scott, Bourbon County; Baptiste Paola's, Lykins County, where some Indians voted, whites paying the dollar tax for them; Leavenworth City and Kickapoo City, Leavenworth County. At the latter place, under the lead of Gen. B. F. Stringfellow and Col. Louis Burns, of Missouri." The abstract of the poll-book showed that 2,738 votes were case in the Territory, of which number J. W. Whitfield, the Pro-slavery candidate, received 2,721. Of this number the committee reported 857 as illegal, and several precincts where illegal voting was alleged not counted, as no witnesses were examined. The returns being made according to law, the Territorial Governor granted the certificate of election to Whitfield.