Gentlemen of the Council and of the House of Representatives:
The All-Wise and beneficent Being, who controls alike the destinies of individuals and of nations, has permitted you to convene, this day, charged with grave responsibilities.
The eyes, not only of the people of Kansas, but of the entire Union, are upon you, watching with anxiety the result of your deliberations, and of our joint action in the execution of the delicate and important duties devolving upon us.
Selected at a critical period in the history of the country, to discharge the executive functions of this territory, the obligations I was required to assume were of the most weighty importance. And when I came seriously to contemplate their magnitude, I would have shrunk from the responsibility, were it not for an implicit reliance upon Divine aid, and a full confidence in the virtue, zeal and patriotism of the citizens, without which the wisest executive suggestions must be futile and inoperative.
To you, legislators, invested with sovereign authority, I look for that hearty co-operation which will enable us successfully to guide the ship of state through the troubled waters, into the haven of safety.
It is with feelings of profound gratitude to Almighty God, the bounteous Giver of all good, I have the pleasure of announcing, that after the bitter contest of opinion through which we have recently passed, and which has unfortunately led to fratricidal strife, that peace, which I have every reason to believe to be permanent, now reigns throughout the territory, and gladdens, with its genial influences, homes and hearts which but lately were sad and desolate; that the robber and the murderer have been driven from our soil; that burned cabins have been replaced by substantial dwellings; that a feeling of confidence and kindness has taken the place of distrust and hate; that all good citizens are disposed to deplore the errors and excesses of the past, and unite with fraternal zeal in repairing its injuries; and that this territory, unsurpassed by any portion of the continent for the salubrity of its climate and the fertility of its soil; its mineral and agricultural wealth; its timber-fringed streams and fine quarries of building stone; has entered upon a career of unparalleled prosperity.
To maintain the advance we have made, and realize the bright anticipations of the future; to build up a model commonwealth, enriched with all the treasures of learning, of virtue and religion, and make it a choice heritage for our children and generations yet unborn, let me, not only as your executive, but as a Kansan, devoted to the interests of Kansas and animated solely by patriotic purposes, with all earnestness invoke you, with one heart and soul, to pursue so high and lofty a course in your deliberations, as, by its moderation and justice, will commend itself to the approbation of the country, and command the respect of the people.
This being the first occasion offered me to speak to the Legislative Assembly, it is but proper, and in accordance with general usage, that I should declare the principles which shall give shape and tone to my administration. These principles, without elaboration, I will condense into the narrowest compass.
"Equal and exact justice" to all men, of whatever political or religious persuasion; peace, comity and friendship with neighboring states and territories, with a sacred regard for state rights, and reverential respect for the integrity and perpetuity of the Union; a reverence for the federal constitution as the concentrated wisdom of the fathers of the republic, and the very ark of our political safety; the cultivation of a pure and energetic nationality, and the development of an excellent and intensely vital patriotism; a jealous regard for the elective franchise, and the entire security and sanctity of the ballot-box; a firm determination to adhere to the doctrines of self-government and popular sovereignty as guaranteed by the Organic Law; unqualified submission to the will of the majority; the election of all officers by the people themselves; the supremacy of the civil over the military power; strict economy in public expenditures, with a rigid accountability of all public officers; the preservation of the public faith, and a currency based upon, and equal to, gold and silver; free and safe immigration from every quarter of the country; the cultivation of the proper territorial pride, with a firm determination to submit to no invasion of our sovereignty; the fostering care of agriculture, manufactures, mechanic arts, and all works of internal improvement; the liberal and free education of all the children of the territory; entire religious freedom; a free press, free speech, and the peaceable right to assemble and discuss all questions of public interest; trial by jurors impartially selected; the sanctity of the habeas corpus; the repeal of all laws inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and the Organic Act, and the steady administration of the government so as best to secure the general welfare.
These sterling maxims, sanctioned by the wisdom and experience of the past, and the observance of which has brought our country to so exalted a position among the nations of the earth, will be steady lights by which my administration shall be guided.
A summary view of the state of the territory upon my advent, with an allusion to some of my official acts, may not be inappropriate to this occasion, and may serve to inspire your counsels with that wisdom and prudence, by a contemplation of the frightful excesses of the past, so essential to the adoption of measures to prevent their recurrence, and enable you to lay the broad and solid foundations of a future commonwealth which may give protection and happiness to millions of freemen.
It accords not with my policy or intentions to do the least injustice to any citizen or party of men in this territory or elsewhere. Pledged to do "equal and exact justice" in my executive capacity, I am inclined to throw the veil of oblivion over the errors and outrages of the period antecedent to my arrival, except so far as reference to them may be necessary for substantial justice, and to explain and develope the policy which has shed the benign influences of peace upon Kansas, and which, if responded to by the legislature in a spirit of kindness and conciliation, will contribute much to soothe those feelings of bitterness and contention, which in the past brought upon us such untold evils.
I arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the ninth day of September last; and immediately assumed the executive functions. On the eleventh I issued my inaugural address, declaring the general principles upon which I intended to administer the government. In this address I solemnly pledged myself to support the Constitution of the United States, and to discharge my duties as Governor of Kansas with fidelity; to sustain all the provisions of the Organic Act, which I pronounced to be "eminently just and beneficial;" to stand by the doctrine of popular Sovereignty, or the will of the majority of the actual bona fide inhabitants, when legitimately expressed, which I characterized "the imperative rule of civil action for every law-abiding citizen". The gigantic evils under which this territory was groaning were attributed to outside influences, and the people of Kansas were earnestly invoked to suspend unnatural strife; to banish all extraneous and improper influences from their deliberations; and in the spirit of reason and mutual conciliation to adjust their own differences. Such suggestions in relation to modifications of the present statutes as I deemed for the public interests were promised at the proper time. It was declared that this territory was the common property of the people of the several states, and that no obstacle should be interposed to its free settlement, while in a territorial condition, by the citizens of every state of the Union. A just territorial pride was sought to be infused; a pledge was solemnly given to know no party, no section, nothing but Kansas and the Union; and the people were earnestly invoked to bury the past in oblivion, to suspend hostilities and refrain from the indulgence of bitter feeling; to begin anew; to devote themselves to the true and substantial interests of Kansas; develope her rich agricultural resources; build up manufactures; make public roads and other works of internal improvement; prepare amply for the education of their children; devote themselves to all the arts of peace, and make this territory the sanctuary of those cherished principles which protect the inalienable rights of the individual, and elevate states in their sovereign capacities.
The foregoing is a brief summary of the principles upon which my administration was commenced. I have steadily adhered to them, and time and trial have but served to strengthen my convictions of their justice.
Coincident with my inaugural were issued two proclamations, the one, disbanding the territorial militia, composed of a mixed force of citizens and others, and commanding "all bodies of men, combined, armed and equipped with munitions of war, without authority of the government, instantly to disband or quit the territory, as they would answer the contrary at their peril." The other, ordering "all free male citizens qualified to bear arms, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, to enrol themselves, that they might be completely organized by companies, regiments, brigades and divisions, and hold themselves in readiness to be mustered, by my order, into the service of the United States, upon a requisition of the commander of the military department in which Kansas is embraced, for the suppression of all unlawful combinations, and for the maintenance of public order and civil government."
The policy of these proclamations is so evident, and their beneficial effects have been so apparent, as to require no vindication.
The territory was declared by the acting governor to be in a state of insurrection; the civil authority was powerless,--entirely without capacity to vindicate the majesty of the law and restore the broken peace; the existing difficulties were of a far more complicated character than I had anticipated; predatory bands, whose sole aim, unrelieved by the mitigation of political causes, was assassination, arson, plunder and rapine, had undisturbed possession of some portions of the territory, while every part of it was kept in constant alarm and terror by the advocates of political sentiments, uniting according to their respective sympathies, in formidable bodies of armed men, completely equipped with munitions of war, and resolved upon mutual extermination as the only hope of peace; unoffending and peaceable citizens were driven from their homes; others murdered in their own dwellings, which were given to the flames; that sacred respect for woman, which has characterized all civilized nations, seemed in the hour of mad excitement to be forgotten; partisan feeling, on all sides, intensely excited by a question which inflamed the entire nation, almost closed the minds of the people against me; idle and mendacious rumors, well calculated to produce exasperation and destroy confidence, were everywhere rife; the most unfortunate suspicions prevailed; in isolated country places no man's life was safe; robberies and murders were of daily occurrence; nearly every farm-house was deserted; and no traveller could safely venture on the highway without an escort. This state of affairs was greatly aggravated by the interference of prominent politicians outside of the territory.
The foregoing is but a faint outline of the fearful condition of things which ruled Kansas and convulsed the nation. The full picture will be drawn by the iron pen of impartial history, and the actors in the various scenes will be assigned their true positions.
I came here a stranger to your difficulties, without prejudice, with a solemn sense of my official obligations, and with a lofty resolution to put a speedy termination to events so fraught with evil, and which, if unchecked, would have floated the country into the most bloody civil war.
Hesitation, or partisan affiliations, would have resulted in certain failure, and only served further to complicate affairs. To restore peace and order, and relieve the people from the evils under which they were laboring, it was necessary that an impartial, independent and just policy should be adopted, which would embrace in its protection all good citizens, without distinction of party, and sternly punish all bad men who continued to disturb the public tranquillity. Accordingly my inaugural address and proclamations were immediately circulated among the people, in order that they might have early notice of my intentions.
On the fourteenth day of September, reliable information was received that a large body of armed men were marching to attack Hickory Point, on the north side of the Kansas River. I immediately dispatched a squadron of United States dragoons, with instruction to capture and bring to this place any persons whom they might find acting in violation of my proclamation. In pursuance of these instructions one hundred and one prisoners were taken, brought here, and committed for trial.
While a portion of the army was performing this duty, I was advised that a large body of men was approaching the town of Lawrence, determined upon its destruction. I at once ordered three hundred United States troops to that place, and repaired there in person. Within four miles of Lawrence, I found a force of twenty-seven hundred men, consisting of citizens of this territory and other places, organized as territorial militia, under a proclamation of the late acting governor. I disbanded this force, ordering the various companies composing it, to repair to their respective places of rendezvous, there to be mustered out of service. My orders were obeyed; the militia retired to their homes; the effusion of blood was prevented; the preservation of Lawrence effected; and a great step made towards the restoration of peace and confidence.
To recount my various official acts, following each other in quick succession under your immediate observation, would be a work of supererogation, and would occupy more space than the limits of an executive message would justify. My executive minutes, containing a truthful history of my official transactions, with the policy which dictated them, have been forwarded to the general government, and are open to the inspection of the country.
In relation to any alterations or modifications of the territorial statutes which I might deem advisable, I promised in my inaugural address to direct public attention at the proper time. In the progress of events, that time has arrived, and you are the tribunal to which my suggestions must be submitted. On this subject I bespeak your candid attention, as it has an inseparable connection with the prosperity and happiness of the people.
It has already been remarked that the territories of the United States are the common property of the citizens of the several states. It may be likened to a joint ownership in an estate, and no condition should be imposed or restrictions placed upon the equal enjoyment of the benefits arising there-from, which will do the least injustice to any of the owners, or which is not contemplated in the tenure by which it is held, which is no less than the Constitution of the United States, the sole bond of the American Union. This being the true position, no obstacle should be interposed to the free, speedy and general settlement of this territory.
The durability and imperative authority of a state constitution, when the interests of the people require a state government, and a direct popular vote is necessary to give it sanction and effect, will be the proper occasion once for all, to decide the grave political questions which underlie a well regulated commonwealth.
Let this, then, be the touch-stone of your deliberations. Enact no law which will not clearly bear the constitutional test; and if any laws have been passed which do not come up to this standard, it is your solemn duty to sweep them from the statute-book.
The territorial government should abstain from the exercise of authority not clearly delegated to it, and should permit all doubtful questions to remain in abeyance until the formation of a state constitution.
On the delicate and exciting question of slavery, a subject which so peculiarly engaged the attention of Congress at the passage of our Organic Act, I cannot too earnestly invoke you to permit it to remain where the Constitution of the United States and that act place it, subject to the decision of the courts upon all points arising during our present infant condition.
The repeal of the Missouri line, which was a restriction on popular sovereignty, anew consecrated the great doctrine of self-government, and restored to the people their full control over every question of interest to themselves, both north and south of that line.
Justice to the country and the dictates of sound policy require that the legislature should confine itself to such subjects as will preserve the basis of entire equality; and when a sufficient population is here, and they choose to adopt a state government, that they shall be "perfectly free," without let or hindrance, to form all their domestic institutions "in their own way," and to dictate that form of government which in their deliberate judgment may be deemed proper.
Any attempt to incite servile insurrection and to interfere with the domestic institutions of sovereign states, is extremely reprehensible, and shall receive no countenance from me. Such intervention can result in no good, but is pregnant with untold disasters. Murder, arson, rapine and death follow in its wake, while not one link in the fetters of the slave is weakened or broken, or any amelioration in his condition secured. Such interference is a direct invasion of state rights, only calculated to produce irritation and estrangement.
Every dictate of self-respect--every consideration of state equality--the glories of the past and the hopes of the future--all, with soul-stirring eloquence, constrain us to cultivate a reverential awe for the constitution as the sheet-anchor of our safety, and bid us, in good faith, to carry out all its provisions.
Many of the statutes are excellent, and suited to our wants and condition, but in order that they may receive that respect and sanction which is the vital principle of all law, let such be abolished as are not eminently just and will not receive the fullest approbation of the people. I trust you will test them all by the light of the general and fundamental principles of our government, and that all that will not bear this ordeal, be revised, amended or repealed. To some of them which strike my mind as objectionable, your candid and special attention is respectfully invited.
By carefully comparing the Organic Act, as printed in the statutes, with a certified copy of the same from the department of state, important discrepancies, omissions and additions will be discovered. I therefore, recommend the appointment of a committee, to compare the printed statutes with the original rolls, on file in the secretary's office, to ascertain whether the same liberty has been taken with the act under which they were made.
Of the numerous errors discovered by me in the copy of the Organic Act as printed in the statutes, I will refer to one in illustration of my meaning. In the 29th section, defining the executive authority, will be found the following striking omission--"against the laws of said territory, and reprieves for offences." This omission impairs the executive authority, and deprives the governor of the pardoning power for offences committed "against the laws of the territory," which Congress, for the wisest and most humane reasons, has conferred upon him.
The Organic Act requires every bill to be presented to the governor, and demands his signature, as the evidence of his approval, before it can become a law. The statutes are defective in this respect, as they do not contain the date of approval, nor the proper evidence of that fact, by having the governor's signature.
Your attention is invited to chapter 30, in relation to county boundaries. The boundary of Douglas county is imperfect, and in connection with Shawnee county, is an absurdity for both counties. The boundary lines of all the counties should be absolutely established.
Chapter 44, establishing the probate court, also requires attention. The act is good generally, so far as it relates to the organization and duties of the court. But all provisions in this and other acts vesting the appointment of probate judges, county commissioners, and other public officers, in the Legislative Assembly, should at once be repealed, and the unqualified right of election conferred upon the people, whose interests are immediately affected by the acts of those officials. The free and unrestricted right of the people to select all their own agents, is a maxim so well settled in political ethics, and springs so legitimately from the doctrines of self-government, that I need only allude to the question to satisfy every one of its justice. The "people must be perfectly free" to regulate their own business in their own way; and when the voice of the majority is fairly expressed, all will bow to it as the voice of God. Let the people, then, rule in everything. I have every confidence in the virtue, intelligence, and "sober thought" of the toiling millions. The deliberate popular judgment is never wrong. When, in times of excitement, the popular mind may be temporarily obscured from the dearth of correct information or the mists of passion, the day of retribution and justice speedily follows, and a summary reversal is the certain result. Just and patriotic sentiment is a sure reliance for every honest public servant. The sovereignty of the people must be maintained.
Section 15th of this act allows writs of habeas corpus to be issued by the probate judge, but leaves him no authority to hear the case and grant justice; but refers the matter to the "next term of the district court." The several terms of the district court are at stated periods, and the provision alluded to amounts to a denial of justice and a virtual suspension of "the great writ of liberty," contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the United States.
Many provisions of chapter 66, entitled "elections," are objectionable. Section 11th, requiring certain "test oaths" as pre-requisites to the right of suffrage, is wrong, unfair, and unequal upon citizens of different sections of the Union. It is exceedingly invidious to require obedience to any special enactment. The peculiar features of these test oaths should be abolished, and all citizens presumed to be law-abiding and patriotic until the contrary clearly appears. Sworn obedience to particular statutes has seldom secured that object. Justice will ever commend itself to the support of all honest men, and the surest means of insuring the ready execution of law, is to make it so pre-eminently just, equal and impartial as to command the respect of those whom it is intended to affect.
Section 36th deprives electors of the great safeguard of the purity and independence of the elective franchise: I mean the right to vote by ballot; and after the first day of November, 1856, requires all voting to be viva voce. This provision, taken in connection with section 9th, which provides that "if all the votes offered cannot be taken before the hour appointed for closing the polls, the judges shall, by public proclamation, adjourn such election until the following day, when the polls shall again be opened, and the election continued as before," &c., offers great room for fraud and corruption. Voting viva voce, the condition of the poll can be ascertained at any moment. If the parties having the election officers are likely to be defeated, they have the option of adjourning for the purpose of drumming up votes; or in the insane desire for victory, may be tempted to resort to other means even more reprehensible. The right of voting by ballot is now incorporated into the constitutions of nearly all the states, and is classed with the privileges deemed sacred. The arguments in its favor are so numerous and overwhelming that I have no hesitation in recommending its adoption. The election law should be carefully examined, and such guards thrown around it as will most effectually secure the sanctity of the ballot-box and preserve it from the taint of a single illegal vote. The man who will deliberately tamper with the elective franchise and dare to offer an illegal vote, strikes at the foundation of justice, undermines the pillars of society, applies the torch to the temple of our liberties, and should receive severe punishment. As a qualification for voting, a definite period of actual inhabitancy in the territory, to the exclusion of a home elsewhere, should be rigidly prescribed. No man should be permitted to vote upon a floating residence. He should have resided within the territory for a period of not less than ninety days, and in the district where he offers to vote, at least ten days immediately preceding such election. All the voters should be registered and published for a certain time previous to the election. False voting should be severely punished, and false swearing to receive a vote visited with the pains and penalties of perjury.
In this connection your attention is also invited to chapter 92, entitled "jurors." This chapter leaves the selection of jurors to the absolute discretion of the marshal, sheriff, or constable, as the case may be, and affords great room for partiality and corruption. The names of all properly qualified citizens, without party distinction, should be thrown into a wheel or box, and at stated periods, under the order of the courts, jurors should be publicly drawn by responsible persons. Too many safeguards cannot be thrown around the right of trial by jury, in order that it may still continue to occupy that cherished place in the affections of the people so essential to its preservation and sanctity.
Some portions of chapter 110, "militia," infringes the executive prerogative, impairs the governor's usefulness, and clearly conflicts with the organic act. This act requires the executive to reside in the territory, and makes him "commander-in-chief of the militia." This power must be vested some place, and is always conferred upon the chief magistrate. Section 26 virtually confers this almost sovereign prerogative "upon any commissioned officer," and permits him, "whenever and as often as any invasion or danger may come to his knowledge, to order out the militia or volunteer corps, or any part thereof, under his command, for the defence of the territory," &c.; thus almost giving "any commissioned officer" whatever, at his option, the power to involve the territory in war.
Section 12th provides for a general militia training on the first Monday of October, the day fixed for the general election. This is wrong, and is well calculated to incite to terrorism. The silent ballots of the people, unawed by military display, should quietly and definitely determine all questions of public interest.
The other sections of the law, requiring the appointment of field and commissioned officers, should be repealed. All officers should derive their authority directly from their respective commands, by election. To make the military system complete and effective, there must be entire subordination and unity running from the commander-in-chief to the humblest soldier, and one spirit must animate the entire system.
The 122d chapter, in relation to "patrols," is unnecessary. It renders all other property liable to heavy taxation for the protection of slave property; thus operating unequally upon citizens, and is liable to the odious charge of being a system of espionage, as it authorizes the patrols, an indefinite number of whom may be appointed, to visit not only negro quarters, but "any other places" suspected of unlawful assemblages of slaves.
Chapter 131, "pre-emption," squanders the school fund, by appropriating the school sections contrary to the organic act, which provides "that sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six, in each township in Kansas Territory, shall be, and the same are hereby reserved for the purpose of being applied to schools in said territory, and in the states and territories to be erected out of the same;" contravenes the United States pre-emption laws, which forbid trafficking in claims, and holding more than one claim; and directs the governor to grant patents for lands belonging to the United States, and only conditionally granted to the territory. This act is directly calculated to destroy the effect of a munificent grant of land by Congress for educational purposes. The territory is the trustee of this valuable gift, and posterity has a right to demand of us that this sacred trust shall remain unimpaired, in order that the blessings of free education may be shed upon our children.
Every state should have the best educational system which an intelligent government can provide. The physical, moral and mental faculties should be cultivated in harmonious unison, and that system of education is the best which will effect these objects. Congress has already provided for the support of common schools. In addition to this, I would recommend the Legislature to ask Congress to donate land lying in this territory for the establishment of a university, embracing a normal, agricultural and mechanical school. A university, thus endowed, would be a blessing to our people; disseminate useful and scientific intelligence; provide competent teachers for our primary schools; and furnish a complete system of education adequate to our wants in all the departments of life.
The subject of roads, bridges and highways, merits your especial attention. Nothing adds more to comfort, convenience, prosperity and happiness, and more greatly promotes social intercourse and kind feeling, than easy and convenient inter-communication. Roads should be wide and straight, and the various rivers and ravines substantially bridged.
Railroads should be encouraged; and in granting charters, the Legislature should have in view the interests of the whole people.--The prosperity of the territory is intimately connected with the early and general construction of the rapid and satisfactory means of transit.
While on the subject of internal improvement, I would call to your notice and solicit for it your serious consideration, the opening, at the earliest period, of a more easy means of communication with the sea-board than any we at present enjoy. One great obstacle to our prosperity is the immense distance we occupy from all the great maritime depots of the country by any of the routes now travelled. This can be removed by the construction of a railway, commencing at an appropriate place in this territory, and running southwardly through the Indian Territory and Texas, to the most eligible point on the Gulf of Mexico. The entire length of such a road would not exceed six hundred miles, much less than half the distance to the Atlantic, and at an ordinary speed of railroad travel could be traversed in less than twenty-four hours. It would pass through a country remarkable for beauty of scenery, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate, and which has properly been styled "the Eden of the world;" and would open up new sources of wealth superior to any that have yet been discovered on the eastern division of the continent. It would place Kansas, isolated as she now is, in as favorable a position for commercial enterprises as very many of the most populous states in the Union, and furnish her a sure, easy, and profitable market for her products, as well as a safe, expeditious and economical means of obtaining all her needed supplies at every season of the year. You will not fail at once to perceive the importance of this suggestion. Not only Kansas and Nebraska, but the entire country west of the Mississippi, will be vastly benefited by its adoption. The advantages to Texas would be incalculable. And should you be favorably impressed with the feasibility of the plan, I would advise that you communicate, in your legislative capacity, with the legislature of that state, and that also of the territory of Nebraska, in regard to the most effectual measures for its speedy accomplishment.
Chapter 149, permitting settlers to hold three hundred and twenty acres of land, is in violation of the pre-emption laws, and leads to contention and litigation.
Chapter 151, relating to "slaves," attacks the equality which underlies the theory of our territorial government; and destroys the freedom of speech, and the privileges of public discussion, so essential to uncloak error, and enable the people properly to mould their institutions in their own way. The freedom of speech and the press, and the right of public discussion upon all matters affecting the interests of the people, are the great constitutional safeguards of popular rights, liberty and happiness.
The act in relation to a territorial library, makes the auditor ex-officio librarian, and gives him authority to audit his own accounts. These offices should be distinct, as their duties conflict.
The congressional appropriation for a territorial library has been expended in the purchase of a very valuable collection of books.
Time and space will not permit me to point out all the inconsistencies and incongruities found in the Kansas statutes. Passed, as they were, under the influence of excitement, and in too brief a period to secure mature deliberation, many of them are open to criticism and censure, and should pass under your careful revision, with a view to modification or repeal. Some which have been most loudly complained of have never been enforced. It is a bad principle to suffer dead-letter laws to deface the statute-book. It impairs salutary reverence for law, and excites in the popular mind a questioning of all law, which leads to anarchy and confusion. The best way is to leave no law on the statute-book which is not uniformly and promptly to be administered with the authority and power of the government.
In travelling through the territory, I have discovered great anxiety in relation to the damages sustained during the past civil disturbances, and everywhere the question has been asked as to whom they should look for indemnity. These injuries, --burning houses, plundering fields, and stealing horses and other property, have been a fruitful source of irritation and trouble, and have impoverished many good citizens. They cannot be considered as springing from purely local causes, and as such, the subjects of territorial redress. Their exciting cause has been outside of this territory, and the agents in their perpetration have been the citizens of nearly every state in the Union. It has been a species of national warfare waged upon the soil of Kansas: and it should not be forgotten that both parties were composed of men rushing here from various sections of the Union; that both committed acts which no law can justify; and the peaceable citizens of Kansas have been the victims. In adjusting the question of damages, it appears proper that a broad and comprehensive view of the subject should be taken; and I have accordingly suggested to the general government the propriety of recommending to Congress the passage of an act providing for the appointment of a commissioner, to take testimony and report to Congress for final action, at as early a day as possible.
There is not a single officer in the territory amenable to the people or to the governor; all having been appointed by the Legislature, and holding their offices until 1857. This system of depriving the people of the just exercise of their rights, cannot be too strongly condemned.
A faithful performance of duty should be exacted from all public officers.
As the executive, I desire that the most cordial relations may exist between myself and all other departments of the government.
Homesteads should be held sacred. Nothing so much strengthens a government as giving its citizens a solid stake in the country. I am in favor of assuring to every industrious citizen one hundred and sixty acres of land.
The money appropriated by Congress for the erection of our capitol has been nearly expended. I have asked for an additional appropriation of fifty thousand dollars, which will scarcely be sufficient to complete the building upon the plan adopted by the architect.
Where crime has been so abundant, the necessity for a territorial penitentiary is too evident to require elaboration, and I have therefore suggested a congressional appropriation for this purpose.
The Kansas River, the natural channel to the west; which runs through a valley of unparalleled fertility, can be made navigable as far as Fort Riley, a distance of over one hundred miles, and Congress should be petitioned for aid to accomplish this laudable purpose. Fort Riley has been built, at an expense exceeding five hundred thousand dollars, with the expectation that the river was navigable to that place, and doubtless the general government will readily unite with this territory to secure this object.
A geological survey, developing the great mineral resources of this territory, is so necessary as merely to require notice. Provision for this useful work should immediately be made.
The early disposal of the public lands and their settlement, will materially advance our substantial prosperity. Great anxiety prevails among the settlers to secure titles to their lands. The facilities for this purpose, by but one land-office in the territory, are inadequate to the public wants, and I have consequently recommended the establishment of two or more additional land-offices, in such positions as will best accommodate the people.
After mature consideration, and from a thorough conviction of its propriety, I have suggested large congressional appropriations. The coming immigration, attracted by our unrivalled soil and climate, will speedily furnish the requisite population to make a sovereign state. Other territories have been for years the recipients of congressional bounty, and a similar amount of money and land bestowed upon them during a long period, should at once be given to Kansas, as, like the Eureka state, she will spring into full life, and the prosperity of the territory, and the welfare and protection of the people coming here from every state of the Union, to test anew the experiment of republican government, require ample and munificent appropriations.
As citizens of a territory, we are peculiarly and immediately under the protecting influence of the Union, and, like the inhabitants of the states comprising it, feel a lively interest in all that concerns its welfare and prosperity. Within the last few years sundry conflicting questions have been agitated throughout the country, and discussed in a spirit calculated to impair confidence in its strength and perpetuity, and furnish abundant cause for apprehension and alarm. These questions have mostly been of a local or sectional character, and as such should never have acquired general significance or importance. All American citizens should divest themselves of selfish considerations in relation to public affairs, and in the spirit of patriotism make dispassionate inquisition into the causes which have produced much alienation and bitterness among men whom the highest considerations require should be united in the bonds of fraternal fellowship. All Union-loving men should unite upon a platform of reason, equality and patriotism. All sectionalism should be annihilated. All sections of the Union should be harmonized under a national, conservative government, as during the early days of the republic. The value of the Union is beyond computation, and no respect is due to those who will even dare to calculate its value. One of our ablest statesmen has wisely and eloquently said, "Who shall assign limits to the achievements of free minds and free hands under the protection of this glorious Union? No treason to mankind since the organization of society would be equal in atrocity to that of him who would lift his hand to destroy it. He would overthrow the noblest structure of human wisdom, which protects himself and his fellow man. He would stop the progress of free government, and involve his country either in anarchy or despotism. He would extinguish the fire of liberty which warms and animates the hearts of happy millions, and invites all the nations of the earth to imitate our example."
That soldier-president, whose exploits in the field were only equalled by his wisdom in the cabinet, with that singular sagacity which has stamped with the seal of prophecy all his foreshadowings, has repudiated, as morbid and unwise, that philanthropy which looks to the amalgamation of the American with any inferior race. The white man, with his intellectual energy, far-reaching science, and indomitable perseverance, is the pecular object of my sympathy, and should receive the especial protection and support of government. In this territory there are numerous "Indian reserves," of magnificent extent and choice fertility, capable of sustaining a dense civilized population, now held unimproved by numerous Indian tribes. These tribes are governed by Indian agents, entirely independent of the executive of this territory, and are, indeed, governments within a government. Frequent aggression upon these reserves are occurring, which have produced collisions between the Indian agents and the settlers, who appeal to me for protection. Seeing so much land unoccupied and unimproved, these enterprising pioneers naturally question the policy which excludes them from soil devoted to no useful or legitimate purpose. Impressed with the conviction that the large Indian reserves, if permitted to remain in their present condition, cannot fail to exercise a blighting influence on the prosperity of Kansas, and result in great injury to the Indians themselves, I shall be pleased to unite with the legislature in any measures deemed advisable, looking to the speedy extinguishment of the Indian title to all surplus land lying in this territory, so as to throw it open for settlement and improvement.
For official action, I know no better rule than a conscientious conviction of duty--none more variable than the vain attempt to conciliate temporary prejudice. Principles and justice are eternal, and if tampered with, sooner or later the sure and indignant verdict of popular condemnation against those who are untrue to their leadings, will be rendered. Let us not be false to our country, our duty, and our constituents. The triumph of truth and principle, not of partisan and selfish objects, should be our steady purpose--the general welfare, and not the interests of the few, our sole aim. Let the past which few men can review with satisfaction, be forgotten. Let us not deal in criminations and recriminations; but, as far as possible, let us make restitution and offer regrets for past excesses. The dead, whom the madness of partisan fury has consigned to premature graves, cannot be recalled to life; the insults, the outrages, the robberies and murders, "enough to stir a fever in the blood of age," in this world of imperfection and guilt, can never be fully atoned for or justly punished. The innocent blood, however, shall not cry in vain for redress, as we are promised by the great Executive of the Universe, whose power is almighty and whose knowledge is perfect, that he "will repay."
"To fight in a just cause and for our country's glory, is the best office of the best of men." Let "justice be the laurel" which crowns your deliberations; let your aims be purely patriotic, and your sole purpose the general welfare and the substantial interests of the whole people. If we fix our steady gaze upon the Constitution and the Organic Act as "the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night," our footsteps will never wander into any unknown or forbidden paths. Then will this Legislative Assembly be as a beacon light, placed high in the pages of our history, shedding its luminous and benign influence to the most remote generations; its members will be remembered with veneration and respect as among the early fathers of the magnificent commonwealth, which, in the not distant future, will overshadow with its protection, a population of freemen unsurpassed by any state in this beloved Union for intelligence, wealth, religion, and all the elements which make and insure the true greatness of a nation; the present citizens of Kansas will rejoice in the benefits conferred; the mourning and gloom, which too long, like a pall, have covered the people, will be dispersed by the sunshine of joy with which they will hail the advent of peace founded upon justice; we will enter upon a career of unprecedented prosperity; good feeling and confidence will prevail; the just rule of action which you are about to establish, will be recognised; the entire country, now watching your deliberations with momentous interest, will award you their enthusiastic applause; and above and over all, you will have the sanction of your own consciences, enjoy self-respect, and meet with divine approbation, without which all human praise is worthless and unavailing.