|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
GOV. REEDER BEGINS WORK.
The Governor, after his arrival, set promptly to work to inaugurate his government. His own account of his early labors appears in his testimony before the special Congressional Committee, appointed by Congress to investigate the troubles in Kansas in 1856. From it the following is quoted:
I landed at Fort Leavenworth on Saturday, the 7th day of October (1854), and made it my first business to obtain information of the geography, settlements, population and general condition of the Territory, with a view of its division into districts; the defining of their boundaries; the ascertainment of suitable and central places for elections, and the full names of men in each district for election officers, persons to take the census, Justices of the Peace, and Constables. In a very few days, I discovered that the procurement of this knowledge, in consequence of the newness of the population, was utterly impossible, by any other means than by a tour through the Territory. I found that, unlike most new Territories, the settlements of which cluster along a single line, the small population of Kansas was sparsely distributed over a surface of about 20,000 square miles. With some trouble, arising from the want of traveling facilities, I made the necessary arrangements, and, on the 14th of October, I left, with two of the Territorial Judges Messrs. Elmore and Johnson, the District Attorney, Mr. Isaacs, the United States Marshal, Mr. Donaldson, and my private Secretary, Mr. Williams, for a trip into the interior, to procure the requisite information. The Secretary and Chief Justice had not then arrived in the Territory. I took in the route the payments of the Pottawatomie and Kansas Indians, where a large number of whites as well as Indians were assembled; and, having made full notes of all the information procured from Indians and whites, I completed my trip, and arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the 7th of November. I then saw that if the election for delegate to Congress (which required no previous census), should be postponed till an election could be had for legislature, with its preliminary census and apportionments the greater part of the session, which would terminate on the 4th of March, would expire before our congressional delegate could reach Washington; and I deemed it best to order an election for the delegate to Congress as early as possible, and to postpone the taking of the census till after that election. I was more convinced of the propriety of this course, by the fact that the common law and many of the United States Statutes were in force over the Territory, and could well be administered through the courts established by Congress, and the Justices whom I was authorized to appoint; and by the additional fact that whilst the citizens of Missouri were vehemently urging an immediate election of the legislature, the citizens of the Territory were generally of the opinion that no immediate necessity for it existed. I prepared, without delay, a division of the territory into election districts, defined by natural boundaries, easily understood and known, fixed a place of election in each, appointed election officers for each poll, and ordered an election for congressional delegate, to take place on the 29th of November, 1854, and by the 15th of November my proclamations were issued, containing a description of the districts, with all the necessary information and forms.
The tour of observation took in the most important and most remote settlements in the eastern part of the Territory. It extended as far west as Fort Riley and Council Grove. The reception at Lawrence was enthusiastic, and the speeches of welcome and response were not, in professions of mutual regard or enunciations of policy, unlike those at Leavenworth on the first reception of the Governor in the Territory. The proclamation for the first election in Kansas, bearing date November 10, 1854, was issued November 15, and appeared in the Kansas Weekly Herald on Friday, November 17. It was as follows:
GREETINGS: I, ANDREW H. REEDER, Governor of said Territory, by virtue of the provisions of the act of Congress approved the 30th day of May, A. D. 1854, entitled "An act to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," do, by these presents, order and direct that an Election shall be held in the said Territory on Wednesday, the 29th day of November, inst., for the election of a citizen of the United States, to serve until the fourth day of March next; and the qualified voters of said Territory are requested to assemble on said day within each Election District, at the place of holding elections in such District, according to the schedule of this proclamation annexed, within the hours therein specified, and vote by ballot for such Delegate. And the Judges who shall be appointed to open and conduct the said election will assemble in their respective Districts, at the places for holding said election, and having made the necessary preparation and taken the oaths which shall be prescribed, will open the polls for the reception of votes between the hours of eight and ten A. M., and keep the same open until six o'clock P. M., and will conduct the same and made returns of said election according to the instructions hereto annexed.
Given under my hand and seal of said Territory, this 10th day of November,
A. D. 1854.
ELECTION PROCLAMATION FOR FIRST ELECTION.
LIST OF ELECTION DISTRICTS AND PLACES OF HOLDING ELECTIONS.
First District. - Commencing at the Missouri State line, on the south bank of the Kansas River; thence along the south bank of said river to the first tributary or watered ravine running into the Kansas above the Town of Lawrence, thence up that tributary to the head thereof; thence in a direct line to the west side of _______ Rolf's house; and thence, by a due south line, to the Santa Fe road; thence by the middle of said road to the Missouri State line; and thence by said State line to the place of beginning. Place of election, the office of Dr. Charles Robinson, in the Town of Lawrence. Judges, Nathaniel T. Johnson, Oliver A. Hanscome, William Miller.
("Map of Eastern Kansas in November, 1854, Showing Boundaries of first Election Distircts, Established, Places of Voting, etc.")
INSTRUCTIONS TO JUDGES OF ELECTIONS.
The three judges will provide for each poll a ballot box, with a slit for the insertion of the ticket. Before entering upon their duties, they will make and subscribe duplicate copies of the following oath:
We............................and.....................do severally swear that we will perform our duties as judges of the election, to be held this day in the .............District, of the Territory of Kansas, to the best of our judgment and ability; that we will keep a true, correct and faithful record or list of persons who shall vote at said election; that we will poll no ticket from any person who is not an actual bona fide resident and inhabitant of said Territory on the day of election, and whom we shall not honestly believe to be a qualified voter according to the provisions of the act of Congress organizing said Territory, that we will reject the votes of all and every non-resident who we believe has come into the Territory for the mere purpose of voting, that in all cases where we are ignorant of the voter's right, we will required legal evidence thoreof (sic), by his own oath or otherwise - and that we will make a true and faithful return to the Governor of said Territory of the votes which shall be polled.
The poll will be opened for the reception of votes between 8 and 10 A. M., and will be kept open continuously until 6 P. M., and then closed, unless voters are then at the polls offering vote, and in that case, as soon as votes cease to be constantly offered. The judges will keep two corresponding lists of persons who shall vote, numbering each name.
When a dispute arises as to the qualification of the voter, the judges may examine the voter or any other person under oath upon the subject, and a decision of a majority of the board will be conclusive. When the poll is closed, the judges will proceed to open and count the votes, and will keep two corresponding tally list, on which they will simultaneously tally the votes as they are given by the judge who shall open and call out the tickets, and without interference or handling by any other person. When the votes are thus counted off, and the tally lists shall agree, the judges shall then publicly proclaim the result and shall draw up and sign duplicate certificates, in the following form:
We, the undersigned judges of an election held on the 29th day of November, A. D. 1854, at the house of ....................................in the......................District of the Territory of Kansas, for the election of a delegate to the House of Representatives of the United States, do certify upon our oaths, to the best of our knowledge and belief, that ....................... received ................. .votes, ............ received ............... votes, etc., etc. Witness our hands this 29th day of November, 1854.
They will then carefully replace the said counted tickets in the box, with one copy of the oaths, one list of voters, one tally list, and one certificate of return, and having sealed up the said box, will carefully preserve the same until called for by the Governor, in case the election shall be contested. The remaining copies of oath, list of voters, tally list and return, will be taken by one of the judges who will deliver the same in person to the Governor, on or before Monday, the 4th day of December next, at his office at the house of Thomas Johnson in the First District.
The judges of election will be sworn by a judge or Justice of the Peace, or in the absence of such officer, they may be sworn by one of their number, who shall in his turn be sworn by one of those thus qualified, noting at the foot of the oath by whom it is administered. And the several judges of election, are by these present invested with full power and authority to administer the oath to each other, and to voters, and others, touching the right of any person to vote, under all the pains and penalties of perjury attaching to oaths administered by judicial officers.
If one or more of the judges appointed should fail to attend or refuse to serve, their places may be supplied, by voters on the ground at 9 o'clock A. M., and vacancies occurring in the board thereafter, may be filled by the remaining judges.
QUALIFICATIONS OF VOTERS.
By the territorial Bill it is provided as follows:
That every free white male inhabitant above the age of twenty-one years, who shall be an actual resident of said Territory, and shall possess the qualifications hereinafter prescribed, shall be entitled to vote at the first election; Provided, that the right of suffrage and of holding office, shall be exercised only by citizens of the United States, and those who shall have declared on oath their intention to become such, and shall have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act; And Provided further; That no officer, soldier, seaman, or marine, or other person in the army or navy of the United States, or attached to troops in the service of the United States, shall be allowed to vote or hold office in said territory, by reason of being on service therein.
The requisites of age and color are easily understood. That of residence is well defined in the law, and means the actual dwelling or inhabiting in the Territory, to the exclusion of any other present domicile or home, coupled with the present bona fide intention of permanently remaining for the same purpose.
When a voter is not a native of the United States, the proof of his right to bote must be the production of his certificate of his naturalization; or of his declaration of intention under the seal of the court, and the want of it cannot be supplied by his oath.
In case he has only declared his intention to become a citizen, he must then be sworn by the judges or a Justice of the Peace to support the constitution of the United States and the provisions of the "Act of Congress, approved May 30, 1854, to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas." When this latter oath is administered, the word "oath" should be marked opposite his name on the list.
The meaning of the lst proviso, relative to the army and navy is, that the persons designated in it shall not vote if their presence in the Territory is referable only to the performance of their duties, and the obedience of orders. The officer or soldier who would vote here, must have a residence here (the meaning of which is already explained) irrespective and independent of his presence here under orders.
It is perhaps unnecessary to say that every voter can vote only in his own district.
In case any person or persons shall dispute the fairness or correctness of the return of any election district, they shall make a written statement directed to the Governor and setting forth the specific causes of complaint, or errs in the conducting or returning of the election in said district, signed by not less than ten qualified voters of the Territory, and with an affidavit of one or more qualified voters to the truth of the facts therein stated; and the said complaint and affidavit shall be presented to the Governor on or before the 4th day of December next, when the proceedings will be taken to hear and decide such complaint.
Prior to the issuing of the proclamation, and, in fact, ever since the first arrival of Eastern emigrants at Lawrence, there had been increased and continued excitement all along the Missouri border. Public meetings were held in every considerable village, at which resolutions more or less intemperate in tone were passed against the Eastern Abolitionists, as all were indiscriminately classed, who came out under the auspices of or identified with the now numerous Kansas emigrant leagues, that had sprung up in nearly every free State, and whose "Ho! for Kansas" advertisement filled the columns of the Northern papers.
The Platte County Argus reflected the general sentiment of its patrons in the following, published soon after the arrival of the first party at Lawrence. It sounded the tocsin thus:
It is now time to sound the alarm. We know we speak the sentiments of some of the most distinguished statesmen of Missouri when we advise that counter organizations be made both in Kansas and Missouri to thwart the reckless course of the Abolitionists. We must meet them at their very threshold, and scourge them back to their covers of darkness. They have made the issue, and it is for us to meet and repel them.
The same paper also advertised a reward of $200 for the detection and seizure of Eli Thayer, President of the New England Emigrant Aid Society.
The Democratic Platform hoped, when found, that "he might meet with just such a course of treatment as one of his sort deserves - hanging!" and mildly suggested that A. Guthrie, who had written letters East to induce emigration, should find his just deserts by drowning.