Oct. 14th. -- A beautiful day. The air is hazy from the many fires on the prairie, which are burning day and night. They are a grand and sublime sight when spreading over a large tract, the tall grass waving with every breeze, now fiercely blazing, and now with graceful undulating motion, looking indeed like a "sea of flame," when the fiery billows surge and dash fearfully; or when the winds are still, like an unruffled, quiet burning lake. Doctor went to Wakarusa again to visit some sick friends. Word had been sent us of a new road, and we attempted to find it. After leaving the old road and riding some distance across the prairie, where there was no track, and through fields partly fenced, we came to a line of timber, where all our directions failed, and the straight way seemed wholly lost. As we were halting to decide upon our course, a woman came toward us from a little cabin not far off. She directed us to a little foot-path through the timber, and we followed it, turning this way and that to avoid crushing the wheels against the trees, and at every moment bending low to save our heads from striking the huge branches. After a quarter of a mile of such travelling, we were at the crossing. And such a crossing! If the old crossing was poor, this was so in a superlative sense, so very steep and abrupt. We went into the water with a lurch, almost tearing the body of the carriage from the wheels. A man came to the opposite bank, which was some twelve feet high, and not lacking much of being perpendicular, and by motions and a few words we could hear, made us understand that we must keep down the river a little further, in the attempt to cross. Coming to the other shore, there was a little bank about a foot high, then a level broad enough for the wagon to stand upon, before reaching the perpendicular hill. The horse was frightened, and unwilling to take us out of the water. Doctor jumped out to the shore, and I was gathering strength for a similar leap, when one foot broke through the bottom of the buggy, and I was fairly caught. However, as the doctor was holding both my hands, I did not go into the water. The horse, finding himself without a load, walked out of the river. A consultation was then held with the man on the bank, as to the probability of getting to the summit with the carriage. He said he had never seen any carriages go up, but oxen had been. By leading the horse and pushing the carriage, the height was gained, while I clambered up by a winding path, over huge logs, and whatever came in my way. We returned to L. by still another route.
On the ninth of October the election for territorial delegate to Congress, and delegates to the Constitutional Convention, was held. In Lawrence, five hundred and fifty-seven votes were polled for Gov. Reeder.
21st. -- The weather is getting frosty, and reminds us that bland airs and summer skies do not always last. Mr. W. arrived from Boston. He has had a long and tedious trip through Missouri by cars, boat and stage, and has had some conversation with the people. In fact, he has seen something of the ruffians.
23d. -- Mr. W. and Mr. P. return from Topeka nearly frozen. Mr. W. is much pleased with the country, though he sees it under most unfavorable circumstances. Business at home makes his stay here very short. He amuses us with his report of the crowded state of the boarding-houses at Topeka. Some dozen or more sleeping in an unfinished room, in berths like those on boats, while the cold was most severe. The place left for a window was wholly open, thus giving a free circulation to the frosty air.
The Constitutional Convention, held at Topeka, was called together at one o'clock, Oct. 22, by J. A. Wakefield. A quorum not being present, the convention adjourned until Wednesday morning. The convention was called to order. Prayer by Rev H. S. Burgess. Roll called by J. K. Goodin. Thirty members responded. S. C. Smith, of Lawrence, was elected secretary; J. H. Lane, president. The oath of office was administered to the president and the several members by J. A. Wakefield. Rev. Mr. Burgess chosen chaplain; McIntire, door-keeper; Lyman Farnsworth, sergeant-at-arms; S. F. Tappan, reporter for the Herald of Freedom; John Speer, reporter for the Kansas Tribune; E. C. K. Garrey, reporter for the Kansas Freeman; J. Redpath, reporter for the Missouri Democrat.
Nov. 15th. -- Rainy and very chilly. A military supper in the evening. For two or three days men have been out in the woods hunting game; and to-night a large number of our citizens have gathered to partake of the supper, and join in the general festivities of the hour. Notwithstanding the rain, the mud being over shoes in depth, at an early hour the large dining-hall of the hotel was full of people, our neighbors and friends, while many came from miles away. A piano stood at the upper end of the room, -- parlor and dining-hall being thrown into one, -- and over the arch of the folding doors waved the "star-spangled banner," presented to the military companies on the fourth of July. The tables occupying the length of the hall, in double rows, were loaded with wild game, rabbits, squirrels, prairie-chickens, turkeys, and one porker, -- whether native of the country, deponent saith not, -- while cakes of every variety, with pastry, grace the table. All this cooking was done by one lady, -- one of the earliest settlers, -- who has the Yankee adaptedness of character to the circumstances in which she is placed. It was a New England gathering, though some, by their dress, tinsel ornaments, or their peculiarity of speech, showed that their home was further west. Some of the latter were asking continually, "When will the supper be ready? If there is going to be anything to eat, let us have it now." That our people are eminently social, the frequent public gatherings here and at Topeka will bear witness. A person coming in to mingle in the scene would never realize he was in a newly settled country, or in a town scarcely a year old.
18th. -- We heard yesterday that Mr. C., who for several weeks has been very ill, but had partially recovered, is taken down again with symptoms of fever and ague. The weather is exceedingly cold, and he is in a little "shake" cabin, where the wind creeps in at every crevice, playing hide-and-seek with the papers pasted on the walls. The house has but one room, beside a little attic, which is used for kitchen, dining-room, bed-room, sick-room, and general receiving-room. Worn out with Mr. C.'s long illness, and that of her little daughter, the lady, who has watched over him with a mother's gentleness, is also ill. I send to Mr. C. to come to our house if he can be brought; and soon a carriage drives up with the shadow, pale and ethereal, which sickness has left of Mr. C., wrapped up in coats to the number of three, with comforters and other articles to keep the cold from striking his attenuated frame. He says, in his own peculiar way, "I thought, Mrs. R., I would never be here again; but it is delightful, and I feel better now."
The sun was shining pleasantly in at the windows, the fire was crackling in the stove, spreading a genial warmth throughout the room, and, seated in the nice large rocker drawn up before it, Mr. C. could look out upon the beautiful country miles east and south, and, in his enthusiastic love of nature, would forget his own ills. It was pleasant to see the effect of physical comfort. Now, with outward cheerfulness, came inner strength and courage. Naturally of very slender constitution, with too much mental power for the physical, with energy and inherent love for freedom and justice, Mr. C. has, in working for the cause here, gone beyond his strength, and pays the penalty in a wasted frame and general prostration. There has been a good deal of sickness in the country this fall, -- slow fever and chills. They prevail mostly in the low grounds near the rivers. We hear from some settlements, especially from those south on the Neosho, that sickness has laid its heavy hand on the strongest, and scarcely any have escaped the paralyzing blow. So far as we can learn, exposures, either necessary or unavoidable, have been the cause.
The colony at Hampden has suffered most deplorably. The facts, as given me by one of the residents, are these: There were one hundred members of the colony, men, women and children, when they arrived in the territory. When the town site was laid off, there were over sixty men to receive their apportionment of lots. They came in April, and in order to provide for the winter store, they thought first of all it was necessary to get the seed into the ground, they living meanwhile in tents. All their energies, forgetful of present necessities, seemed to be directed to their future good. Health and valuable lives were sacrificed thereby. There was no saw-mill, and whatever houses they made at last were of logs and "shakes." There were very few springs in the vicinity, consequently they drank of the river water, which is slow and sluggish, and, when the dry season came, was covered with a green substance found upon all stagnant water, although good water could be obtained by digging twenty-five feet, as one or two wells proved.
With sickness of body came heart-sickness, and a yearning for pleasant New England homes; and most of those who lived through such discouragements either went to other settlements or returned.
At Osawattomie, situated near the junction of the Potawattomie and Osage, in a pleasant, though rather low country, fever has burned up the blood of many, leaving wan cheeks and livid lips. Yet, every one is free to acknowledge that no country has a purer atmosphere, or more healthful climate. In cases of sickness in Lawrence, they have, so far as I know, been owing to some gross outrage of the physical laws of our being, some unwarranted overexertion of energies either mental or physical; a knowledge of such undue effort being confessed to by the individual, with the expectation that sickness would follow.
The climate, or the country, should bear no part of the blame. It is a question whether, in the necessary exposures of our new homes, the never-ceasing labors incident to such a situation, we are as guilty as those who court sickness in the states, by rash violation of the laws which govern us.
The cholera raged for a time upon the Wakarusa, for which drinking of the stagnant water in the river's bed, the result of an unprecedented drouth of ten months, and in many cases a sad want of personal cleanliness, was the prolific cause. About the same time, a gentleman near the same region walked into Lawrence in the heat of the day, with perspiration starting from every pore, and blood at fever heat. He plunged into the river for a cooling bath, remaining some time. A pleasant coolness was induced; but the blood was driven back from the extremities, to course madly about the internal organs. Soon after eating a hearty supper, he retired. The awaking, after a short, restless sleep, came with bitter pains, and life-crushing agonies. Death in a few hours closed the scene. The stricken wife, coming to gladden his home, heard of this sudden blighting of her hopes, as she reached Kansas city. On the Missouri river, too, sickness has ruled the hour; and some who bade their friends good-by in the old, dearly loved home, to seek a new one beneath the sunny skies of Kansas, found a grave on those dreary Missouri shores. They call the sickness such as the water produces; we call it the result of their ungoverned appetites. The tables upon the boats are loaded with every delicacy that man can invent. Meats with rich gravies, the richest of pastries and cakes, jellies, ices, fruit and nuts, tempt the palate. Can any stomach bear a mingling together of all these, and give no sign of ill usage, no cry for a reprieve? Yet many are the instances where such overtasking of life's energies has resulted in a brief sickness, and a burial in the waters. Others have lived to reach the territory in time to die there.
One man went on to one of the boats with a large bunch of radishes in his hand. The captain warned him, it being the cholera season, but he said he "could eat them, or anything else, without danger." But ere the morning sun arose, the death damps were heavy on his brow, and the eye recognized no longer the friends, though strangers, who administered to his fast-failing necessities. Another man, who was ill upon the boat, reached Kansas city, and there drank very freely of ice-water, not heeding the suggestions of others who thought it unsafe. The same afternoon he walked out eight miles, and back into the country. The next day he walked out again. He was taken most violently ill. The next evening, at the sunset hour, the tall trees in the leafy wood were waving over his western grave, and the moaning winds sang his requiem.
The poor, homesick youth, whose vision has been bounded by the smoke of their mother's kitchen chimney, go East again with direful stories of the dread poison in the Missouri waters, and that there is death in the springs of Kansas. Some persons do not drink the water clear, but add brandy, or drink Rochelle powders; as if the drink which God provided for his creatures was not as health-giving as the substitutes of man, making their wisdom greater than his!
It is a fact that in Kansas city, within the short space of two hours' time, ten young men died, -- victims to cholera, the papers stated. They did not state that they were most dissolute and intemperate, ready for the sickle when the reaper came.
Many statements have appeared in eastern papers, from the pens of some fresh from the counting-rooms of their employers, or the school-room, and unfitted either by nature or by habit to battle with life in its stern realities. They came to this country, dazzled by the lure of their own visionary hopes, which, with many people, makes all in the distance look bright and golden, but the intervening space passed over has the same dull hue of the last stand-point. These statements wear the color of disappointment, with a sly vein of revenge upon somebody running through all; a bitterness, and a general tone of falsehood. The little discomforts by the way, of crowded cars and overloaded boats, with perhaps a bed upon the cabin floor, instead of the private chamber with its nice appliances for comfort they have left, cause the bright vision to which distance lent enchantment to grow suddenly dim. They reach Kansas city, and find the levee a perfect crowd of men and horses, Mexican drivers from Santa Fe, with their mules half wild, and always headstrong -- each man looking out for himself, as the one thing especially uppermost in his mind, not mindful of the attractions these kid-gloved, gaiter-booted, jewelled gentry display. They look upon the brick walls of stores and warehouses along the levee, upon which the sun glares wildly, and upon the water, where the reflection gleams and glitters, and at length reach the hotel whose rooms are already full of wearied mothers and sick children. Where will our dainty selves find rest? is a question anxiously asked by them, but unanswered. Shall we wonder, then, that they turn a lingering look homeward, unimpressed as they are with the reality, that life's mission is to "battle and be strong?" When they find no softly cushioned car ready to transport them to the little town of Lawrence, to which distance still lends a charm, and if the stage and hacks are full, the emigrant wagons alone affording a passage, can we wonder at the lengthening of their wayworn faces? The hill difficulty is to be surmounted, and stands between them and the end of their journey, like a towering mountain. Little hearts, carried along, until now, upon the smooth travelled paths which their fathers have marked out, and buoyed above deep waters by encouraging words of doting mammas and flattering friends, and lulled into silken dreams by the general consenting voice of society, that life has in it nothing "real," nothing "earnest," save to float gaily on its summer tides, -- where is your courage now? Where is your hope for success in life? Where that energy which will scale mountains amid winter's battling snows? Where, with such automatons as you, would have been the world's great men -- her Howards, her Newtons, her Washingtons, or her Napoleons?
Some of these poor apologies of humanity leave directly on the next boat, on a home- bound ticket. As an excuse for the shortness of their stay, they recapitulate the thousand-and-one stories which the Missourians repeat to many emigrants; such as no water, no wood, the ground parched, and cracked open in large seams, the people dying of starvation, etc. etc. Some others, however, a little afraid of the jests which would meet them did they return with the old story, "There are giants in the land," make prodigious effort, and, upon a springless cart, it may be, reach Lawrence. As they approach the little town, with buildings of wood and stone erected and being erected, with the pioneer buildings thatched (now used as stables) intermingled, how their visions fade, and the glittering palaces of their imaginations fall! The town of six months' existence boasted nothing but bare comforts; but these foolish youths write home how they have to sleep upon the floor, with a buffalo robe only between them and the cottonwood boards, with five or six others in the same room; that the windows to the boarding-house are of cloth instead of glass; that there are large cracks in the wall, through which the wind and dust blow; that there are larger cracks in the floor overhead, and through them the straw falls upon the table below; that butter is scarce; and many other like troubles, which make them say, in vexation of spirit, "I am weary, I am weary, I am sick of this poor life!" Does any one need further evidence that they are men of sense? These temporary arrangements were the growth of the hour. They were not intended as permanent institutions, and more comfortable dwellings have taken their place. The Yankee enterprise and thrift which remained after the thorough sifting of the early spring, in spite of fear of cholera and lack of general comforts, have added things most needed. The absence of those delicate youths who needed sofas to lounge upon, and silver forks for their especial use, is the greatest blessing of all. A new country, especially, wants no drones in the hive; and in a country like this, and in this age, when the battle is for freedom, and the hue and cry of our enemies, "Death to the Yankees!" is ever ringing in our ears, we want men, and not creatures claiming to be possessed of manliness, who have not enough of that spirit to be willing, for freedom's sake, to forego some trivial comforts, and, like the fathers of '76, who bore the severest privations, bide the hour, and with willing hands and strong hearts aid to make this country, in its institutions as in soil and climate, the garden of the world. Where would have been the liberties, which, as a precious heir-loom, have come to us, had our fathers been of such sickly, such squeamish sensibility? We do not deny there have been discomforts; but what new country was ever settled without them? The people of Illinois, in times of low water on the Ohio, in the early settlement of that county have had nothing to eat but bread made of shorts with stewed pumpkin. In Pennsylvania, with no over supply of mills, fifty miles often being the shortest distance to one in running order in low water, for weeks the early settlers lived on potatoes. Did not our great grandmothers live on bean-porridge, weave all the clothing for the family, and, at the same time, gird their husbands and sons for the battle, out of their love for justice and right? We have fallen on degenerate times. The "lines have fallen to us in pleasant places;" but the love of liberty has grown weak. A sad wailing comes up over the land -- a wailing for the departed spirit of '76.
21st. -- Charles Dow, a young free-state man from Ohio, was killed to-day by Coleman, a pro-slavery man, at Hickory Point. Some dispute had arisen about a claim, and Coleman had repeatedly threatened to kill Dow. This morning Dow went to a blacksmith's shop, at some distance from Mr. Branson's, where he boarded. Mr. Branson proposed he should take his gun with him as a means of protection, but he declined doing so. Having finished his business at the shop, he left to return to Mr. Branson's; and when a few rods on his way, hearing the click of a gun, ho turned around, and received the whole charge in his breast. The gun was a double-barrelled shot-gun, and loaded with slugs. This happened about one o'clock; and the murdered body was left by the barbarians lying by the side of the road where he fell until sundown. Some of the accessories then sent word to Mr. Branson "that a dead body was lying by the roadside." He had begun to fear some ill had befallen his friend, and, at once recognizing the body, conveyed it to his house. Coleman is his murderer, while Harrison Buckley and Hargous were privy to it. There is no doubt that it was a deliberate act.
Such things are winked at by our governor, no effort being made to bring offenders to justice. Our courts are the very mockery of justice. Cole McCrea, a free-state man, having, in self-defence, killed Malcolm Clark, is confined for months. Judge Lecompte packs the jury in order to get him indicted. A meeting was held at Leavenworth, in May, at which resolutions most intolerant in their character, proposing outrage and violence upon the persons of free-state settlers, were passed. Thirty men, as a committee of vigilance, were also appointed, "to observe and report all such persons as shall, by the expression of abolition sentiments, produce disturbance to the quiet of the citizens, or danger to the domestic relations; and all such persons so offending shall be notified and made to leave the territory." "The meeting was ably and eloquently addressed by Judge Lecompte, Col. J. N. Burns, of Western Missouri, and others." Such is the judge the federal government has sent us -- a man of partisan character who throws his whole influence upon the side of violence and disorder, and is aiming to form the domestic institutions of the territory. Collins, a free-state man, was shot, not long since, by Pat Laughlin, and no notice was taken of it by the government. If Coleman should be arrested, have we not good reason to believe, though the evidence was clear as the sunlight that his hand was stained with the blood of a fellow-creature, that Judge Lecompte would so pack a jury as to clear the culprit? The design of the pro-slavery men is to drive out all who are firm and true to the principles of freedom, and in this design the officials sympathize. Justice weeps at the shameless course of her executors in this territory.
24th. -- A friend is over from Blanton. The citizens of that region and Hickory Point are much aroused by the murder of Dow. He was a mild and peaceable young man, much esteemed by those who knew him. He had recently received a letter from his friends, in which they urge him to come home, as they fear his life is in danger. Our friend S. has just answered the letter, and borne to them also the sad tidings of their son's decease by the bloody hand of slavery's minions. Another martyr has fallen on the green plains of Kansas for those rights which Heaven vouchsafes to every human creature with his breath of life. A meeting to take into consideration the bloody deed, and their murderous designs, as the lives of other free-state men are sought after with vile, fiendish threats, is called for next Monday, Nov. 26. The murderer has fled to Missouri.
27th. -- Tuesday morning. At about four o'clock, this morning, was awakened by the hurried tramp of horses' feet approaching the house. A loud knock upon the door soon followed with the instantaneous halloa, so common in this western country, used instead of the more courteous civilities of conventional life, saving the rider the trouble of dismounting. Recognizing the voice, my husband asked, "What's wanted?"
The voice outside replied, "Jones, with a party of Missourians, had taken from his house a Mr. Branson. He has been rescued by a party of free-state men, and they are now on their way here. Runners have gone to Missouri, and there will be a battle fought this morning."
The simple question asked was, "Where?"
And the brief reply, "Down here on the plain," was only a little startling.
The horseman drove away, and we heard already the sound of the drum, and the quick words of the captain of the little band of rescuers, as they came upon the brow of the hill beyond us. Scarcely had the fire been built ere the simple word, "Halt!" in a tone of command, was spoken, and a line fronting the house quickly formed. The slight form of the leader stood a little nearer the door; and, when his peculiarly dry manner of speech fell upon the ear in his brief inquiry, "Is Dr. R. in? " his identity was also known. The doctor opened the door, and invited them in.
The fact of the rescue was stated, and Mr. Branson, being in the ranks, was ordered to "step forward, and tell his story," which he did with much feeling, and with the appearance of a person who is heart-broken. I shall never forget the appearance of the men in simple citizen's dress, some armed and some unarmed, standing in unbroken line, just visible in the breaking light of a November morning. This little band, of less than twenty men, had, through the cold and upon the frozen ground, walked ten miles since nine o'clock of the previous evening. Mr. Branson, a large man, of fine proportions, stood a little forward of the line, with his head slightly bent, which an old straw hat hardly protected from the cold, looking as though, in his hurry of departure from home in charge of the ruffianly men, he took whatever came first. As he, in simple, unaffected style, told of this outrage upon humanity, we felt that, as in days when men left their ploughs in the furrows at their country's call, so now have come again "days which try men's souls," and that this may be the beginning of a contest which shall drench the whole country in blood. Now, as then, we need strong hearts to battle for the right -- to die, it may be, if the sacrifice is needed.
The drum beat again, and the rescuers and rescued passed down to Lawrence. After telling E. she had better take another nap, in order to be prepared for any emergency which might arise, I again fell asleep, leaving my husband thinking over the matter by the parlor stove, and was awakened again, as the sun was rising, by the screams of coyotes in the distance. The first impression was that the Missourians had come. The facts of the rescue are these: The people of Hickory Point yesterday held the proposed meeting in reference to the murder of Dow, and passed resolutions condemning the wanton outrage, and that Coleman should be brought to justice. He, in the mean time, had gone to Gov. Shannon, at the Shawnee Mission, for protection. He was there taken into custody by Samuel J. Jones, who, it will be remembered, was engaged in the burning of two settlers' houses at Lecompton, on the pretence that the claims were his, while he is a citizen and acting postmaster at Westport, Mo. This pretence of taking Coleman into custody was done without any warrant being issued, or examination had.
On yesterday morning a peace-warrant was made out by Hugh Cameron, of Lawrence, at the instigation of Bradley, a pro-slavery man living at Hickory Point, against Jacob Branson, the friend of the murdered Dow, and was placed in the hands of Jones. In the evening, after Mr. Branson, with his family, had retired, Jones, with a party of mounted men, rode up to his lone cabin upon the prairies, a half-mile from neighbors. He knocked at the door. To the question, "Who is there?" the reply was given, "A friend." "Come in, then," was the response, and the little cabin was full of men -- rough, savage, armed men. Jones went to the bedside, and, presenting his pistol to Branson's breast, said, "You are my prisoner."
Mr. Branson asked, "By what authority?"
Oaths, and the threat, "I will blow you through," were the decisive answer. The others, with guns cocked, gathered around, and took him prisoner. Thus, in the night, was an innocent, defenceless man taken from his home and family by a gang of twenty-five whiskey-drinking ruffians, showing no papers of arrest, and answering with oaths and threats of instant death any questions as to the cause of such summary, unlawful proceedings. They proceeded to Buckley's house, and, after stopping a while, by a long and winding way to elude pursuers, they took the route to Blanton's Bridge. They strengthened their valor by taking another "drink." Jones, running in his horse by the side of Mr. Branson, said, " I heard there were one hundred men at your house to-day," and talked a good deal "of the sport they would have had with them," and regretted "being cheated out of it."
This affair, though done in the darkness, was soon brought to light. The people felt that the life of another of their citizens was to be taken by the hands of a lawless mob, at the suggestion of two men who were the accessories to the murder of Dow, and who were connected with this new outrage. Earnestly, as honest men will act when they feel that life is at stake, and that the life of a valued friend, these settlers acted; and the tidings flew on the speed of wings from one claim to another, until a few, a lesser number than the party with Jones, were gathered together. With the intention of rescuing the prisoner from a cruel death, they took a nearer route than that taken by Jones, and reached the house of Mr. Abbott, where they made a stand. The settlers were only ten or twelve in number, partially armed, and on foot, while the party now with Jones, whose numbers had somewhat fallen off, was mounted and armed. Soon after the settlers had reached Mr. A.'s house, and had recovered their breath after their running walk, Jones and his party appeared on a full canter. As soon as they saw the little band of footmen, they endeavored to avoid them by passing the other side of the house. The settlers understood the ruse, and passed quickly crowd to meet them, forming, as they did so, in a line across the road.
Jones and his party halted, and asked, "What's up?"
The reply was, "That 's what we want to know -- 'What's up?'"
Some one from the band of settlers asked, "Is Mr. Branson with you?"
He answered for himself, "I am here, and a prisoner."
The word of command given from the little band of footmen was, "Ride out to our side," which he did without hesitation, notwithstanding Jones' threat of "I'll shoot you." A question then was raised by the free-state men as to the ownership of the horse he was riding; and, as he said it was not his, he was ordered to dismount, which order likewise he obeyed. With threats of aid from Missouri, which long ago became stereotyped, Jones and his party wheeled about, leaving the few unarmed footmen the winners of the night. Not a word was lisped of the rare "sport" they would have had if they could have found the one hundred assembled men; and now, when the party was smaller than their own, Jones shook nervously, and offered nothing but wordy violence. Jones and party rode on to Franklin, the little village below Lawrence. The whole matter, the rescue, etc., was talked over there, Jones standing by. It was suggested that a decision be made as to the propriety of sending for aid to Col. Boone, of Westport, Mo., Jones' father-in-law, or to Gov. Shannon. The question seemed to be, which would be most likely to furnish the desired assistance in demolishing the doomed town of Lawrence. Now was the time for the war. The time specified by the Blue Lodges, two months since, had arrived. The harvests in Missouri were in, and the people there could, without injury to their business, attend to the matter; and navigation on the Missouri river had closed for the season. Jones therefore wrote a despatch, and sent it by a messenger, remarking, as he started, "That man is taking my despatch to Missouri, and, by G--d! I will have revenge before I see Missouri." Some complaint was made by a bystander that this despatch was not sent to the governor, whereupon he sent one to him, Hargous being the messenger.
Early on the morning of the 27th, the drum-beat, calling the citizens together, was heard in the little town of Lawrence. The noise of the hammer was still; but in the firm tread and thoughtful countenances of the men, as they walked up the stairway to the hall where the meeting for consultation was to be held, the spirit of '76 was visible, and a determination, if they must fight against oppression as our fathers did, that a new Lexington or Concord on Kansas plains should go down to posterity with the unsullied honor of her defenders.
S. N. Wood, Esq., was appointed chairman of the meeting. He spoke briefly of the murder, of the meeting of the day before in the same neighborhood, of the arrest of Mr. Branson, with whom Mr. Dow had lived, of the rescue of the prisoner without bloodshed, and of the necessity that he and the rest of the community be defended from similar threatened attacks. Mr. Branson then made his statement. He is an elderly man, of most quiet and modest deportment. He was much moved, the emotions of his heart, broken by the death of his friend, almost forbidding utterance. Now the laceration was made yet deeper by this wanton assault upon himself, and there was the thought of the terrible suspense as to his fate, making the hours long and weary for the desolate wife in that lone cabin. All these things tended to crush the spirit of the man, unused to such barbarities; and, with tears at times stealing down his weather-beaten checks, he said he had been requested by some friends to leave Lawrence, to seek some other place of safety, so that no semblance even of an excuse could be given to the enemy for an attack upon Lawrence. He said he would go -- Lawrence should not be involved in difficulty on his account. If it was the decision of the majority, he would leave. He would rather go to his home, and die there, and be buried by the side of his friend. This statement, full of feeling, touched the hearts of the men, who felt they, too, might soon be battling in the death-struggle for their own hearth-stones, and cries of "No! no!" resounded through the still room.
G. P. Lowrey, Esq., then proposed a committee of ten should be appointed to advise for the common defence. He had not hitherto acted in these matters, but the threatening aspect of affairs now demanded action upon the part of all our citizens. The measure proposed was purely defensive. Mr. Lowrey's remarks met with a warm response in the feelings of all, and his proposition was adopted.
Mr. Conway said they were on the eve of important events, and they must have a care to take every step properly. They ignored and repudiated the Legislature which held its session at the Shawnee Mission. They would never give in their allegiance to such a monstrous iniquity. To the United States authorities, to the organic act, to the courts created under it, and to the judges and marshals appointed by the President, they would yield obedience. They might oppress them, but they would submit and seek redress for grievances at the United States Supreme Court, which would give them a fair hearing. They must move with prudence, and, having resolved upon the true course, maintain it fearlessly.
S. N. Wood did not hesitate to say he was in the rescue of the night before; he knew the importance of the step. He was unable to express his feelings when the clicking of the gunlocks sounded in the darkness, telling that the hour had come for a deadly conflict. He was equally unable to do so when, without firing one shot, these men, who had boasted so much, gave up the prisoner, declining to fight a number less than their own, and with fewer arms. When he spoke of the justice of the peace who figured in this transaction, and received his office from the bogus Legislature, and whose name was Cameron, a general hiss expressed the utter abhorrence of the audience. Others spoke of this man living in our midst, who had professed to be a free-state man, and who was now a willing instrument, in the hands of these vile men, to enforce such measures upon us. It was moved that a committee of three be appointed to wait on Cameron, and demand by what authority he acted. The meeting then adjourned until two o'clock.