SURELY the web has been woven around the little city of eighteen months' existence. Its prosperity has excited the envy of the spoiler, and gradually now the vile men under J. B. Donaldson, United States Marshal, are drawing nearer; the circle about the beleaguered town is continually growing less. They come with United States authority. The President seeks renown in the bombarding of a poor little town on the far-western prairies; and his hordes, suggesting to all beholders the idea of a resurrection from the infernal regions, or a sudden leap into Dante's Inferno, are gathered here. Gov. Shannon lends his servility to the scheme. But let the facts be stated; let the document which passed between our people and their governor be proof in the matter.
Rumors, well authenticated, were afloat in the community that large companies were gathering into the territory at different points; that they were drilling and preparing for an attack upon Lawrence. The last rumor was that a demand would be made upon the town for Reeder and Robinson and others, both of those named already being absent; that, if these were not given up, the town should be sacked. It was stated, further, that a large posse would enter the place, and, after making arrests, the posse would be disbanded to sack the town. The marshal's proclamation was issued on the 11th. This was not sent to Lawrence, nor any means used to acquaint the people with the designs of the officers. The people, however, acting upon the continual threats of invasion, called a meeting, and appointed a committee of three to wait upon Gov. Shannon, and apprize him of the real state of affairs, and ask his interference in their behalf. The following letter was sent from Lawrence by the committee to Gov. Shannon:
"LAWRENCE CITY, KANSAS, May 11, 1856.
"DEAR SIR: The undersigned are charged with the duty of communicating to your Excellency the following preamble and resolutions, adopted by the citizens of Lawrence at a public meeting holden at this place at seven o'clock this evening, viz.:
"'Whereas we have the most reliable information, from various points of the territory and the adjoining State of Missouri, of the organization of guerilla bands, who threaten the destruction of our town and its citizens, therefore,
"'Resolved, That Messrs. Topliff, Hutchinson, and Roberts, constitute a committee to inform his Excellency Gov. Shannon of these facts, and to call upon him, in the name of the people of Lawrence, for protection against such bands by the United States troops at his disposal.'
"All of which is most respectfully submitted, by order of the people of Lawrence.
"Very truly, etc.,
"C. W. TOPLIFF,
After Gov. Shannon had held a consultation with several of the leaders at Lecompton, he returned the following missive, of doubtful import:
LECOMPTON, K. T., May 12, 1856.
"GENTLEMEN: Your note of the 11th instant is received; and, in reply, I have to state that there is no force around or approaching Lawrence, except the legally constituted posse of the United States Marshal, and Sheriff of Douglas County, each of whom, I am informed, has a number of writs for execution against persons now in Lawrence.
"I shall in no way interfere with either of these officers in the discharge of their official duties.
"If the citizens of Lawrence submit themselves to the territorial laws, and aid and assist the marshal and sheriff in the execution of processes in their hands, as all good citizens are bound to do, when called on, they or all such will entitle themselves to the protection of the law.
"But so long as they keep up a military or armed organization to resist the territorial laws, and the officers charged with their executions I shall not interfere to save them from the legitimate consequences of their illegal acts.
"I have the honor to be
"Messrs. C. W. TOPLIFF,
The citizens of Lawrence will be entitled to protection while they submit to the territorial laws. He is very careful, however, not to promise such protection; and the non-committal essay leaves room for the belief that, if the people did not yield like slaves to the insolence of an irresponsible mob, they would be regarded by him as outlaws, and be wholly given over to his reckless gang of desperadoes. "No military or armed organization to resist the territorial laws, and the officers charged with their execution," has ever been formed in Lawrence, which Gov. Shannon knew well. There have been military companies with stated drills, and these have constituted all the organizations entered into, save the one which he himself commissioned, gladly availing himself of its protection from the lawless mob he had precipitated upon us.
On Tuesday, the 13th of May, one of the marshal's proclamations was brought into town, and its charges were so entirely false and cruel in their intent, that the citizens immediately came together in public meeting, Judge W. presiding, and the following resolutions were adopted:
"Whereas, by a proclamation to the people of Kansas Territory, by J. B. Donaldson, United States Marshal for said territory, issued on the 11th day of May, 1856, it is alleged that certain 'judicial writs of arrest have been directed to him by the First District Court of the United States, etc., to be executed within the County of Douglas, and that an attempt to execute them by the United States Deputy Marshal was violently resisted by a large number of the citizens of Lawrence, and that there is every reason to believe that any attempt to execute these writs will be resisted by a large body of armed men,' therefore,
"Resolved, by this public meeting of the citizens of Lawrence, held this 13th day of May, 1856, that the allegations and charges against us, contained in the aforesaid proclamation, are wholly untrue in fact, and the conclusion entirely false which is drawn therefrom; the aforesaid deputy marshal was resisted in no manner whatsoever, nor by any person whatever, in the execution of said writs, except by him whose arrest the said deputy marshal was seeking to make; and that we now, as we have done heretofore, declare our willingness and our determination, without resistance, to acquiesce in the service upon us of any judicial writs against us by the United States Marshal for Kansas Territory, and will furnish him a posse for that purpose, if so requested; but that we are ready to resist, if need be, unto death, the ravages and desolation of an invading mob.
"J. A. WAKEFIELD, President.
The same evening (Tuesday, the 13th) Mr. Cox, a pro-slavery man, of Lawrence, was requested by one of our leading citizens to ascertain from Marshal Donaldson if any peaceable arrangement could be entered into to prevent his monster posse from entering the town. Mr. Cox remained all night with Donaldson, and, on his return to Lawrence the next morning, reported the following conversation as having passed between himself and Marshal D.:
Mr. Cox asked, "Will you be able to control these men, if they enter the town?"
The marshal replied, "I don't know that I will."
Mr. Cox then asked, "Can anything be done, on the part of Lawrence, to prevent your coming in with so large a force?" He replied, "The three following demands must be complied with, before I shall consent not to enter Lawrence with all my force. First. That every man against whom a warrant is issued, shall be surrendered. Second. All munitions of war, in Lawrence, shall be delivered up. Third. That the citizens of Lawrence shall pledge themselves implicitly to obey the present enactments of Kansas -- test-oaths, taxes, and all."
Upon the receipt of this reply, on the morning of the 14th, the citizens immediately held a public meeting. That no means should be left untried for the protection of the citizens, -- that the marshal should have no grounds for misapprehension in reference to the intentions of the people, -- the following letter was prepared and sent to the marshal, by Mr. Cox:
"LAWRENCE, May 14, 1856.
"J. B. DONALDSON, U. S. MARSHAL FOR K. T. -- Dear Sir: We have seen a proclamation issued by yourself, dated 11th May inst, and also have reliable information this morning, that large bodies of armed men, in pursuance of your proclamation, have assembled in the vicinity of Lawrence.
"That there may be no misunderstanding, we beg leave to ask respectfully, that we may be reliably informed what are the demands against us. We desire to state, most truthfully and earnestly, that no opposition whatever will now, or at any future time, be offered to the execution of any legal process by yourself, or any person acting for you. We also pledge ourselves to assist you, if called upon, in the execution of any legal process.
"We declare ourselves to be order-loving and law-abiding citizens, and only await an opportunity to test our fidelity to the laws of the country, the constitution, and the Union.
"We are informed, also, that those men collecting about Lawrence openly declare that their intention is to destroy the town, and drive off the citizens. Of course we do not believe you give any countenance to such threats; but, in view of the excited state of the public mind, we ask protection of the constituted authorities of the government, declaring ourselves in readiness to cooperate with them for the maintenance of the peace, order, and quiet of the community in which we live.
On the morning of the fifteenth, Mr. John Hutchinson was bearer of a despatch to Col. Sumner, at Fort Leavenworth, requesting him, if he had no power to assist the citizens in defending the town, to station a body of troops in the vicinity, that their presence might act as a preventative to the sanguinary measures with which the mob threaten it. The majority of the investigating committee also asked for the interference of Col. Sumner, on the sixteenth. To them both the reply was similar: he wished he could do something, but he had no power to move without orders. Early Thursday forenoon, the fifteenth, Lieut. Gov. W. Y. Roberts, C. W. Babcock, and Josiah Miller, went to Lecompton to receive Marshal Donaldson's answer. The following is the document:
"OFFICE OF THE U. S. MARSHAL,
"MESSRS. G. W. DIETZLER AND J. H. GREEN, LAWRENCE, K. T.:
On yesterday I received a communication addressed to me, signed by one of you as president, and the other as secretary, purporting to have been adopted by a meeting of the citizens of Lawrence, held on yesterday morning. After speaking of a proclamation issued by myself, you state, 'That there may be no misunderstanding, we beg leave to ask respectfully, that we may be reliably informed, what are the demands against us. We desire most truthfully and earnestly to declare that no opposition whatever will now, or at any future time, be offered to the execution of any legal process by yourself, or any person acting for you. We also pledge ourselves to assist you, if called upon, in the execution of any legal process,' etc.
"From your professed ignorance of the demands against you, I must conclude that you are STRANGERS, and not CITIZENS, of Lawrence, or of recent date, or been absent for some time; more particularly when an attempt was made by my deputy to execute the process of the First District Court of the United States for Kansas Territory, against ex-Gov. Reeder, when he made a speech in the room and in the presence of the congressional committee, and denied the power and authority of said court, and threatened the life of said deputy, if he attempted to execute said process, which speech and defiant threats were loudly applauded by some one or two hundred of the citizens of Lawrence, who had assembled at the room on learning the business of the marshal, and made such hostile demonstrations that the deputy thought he and his small posse would endanger their lives in executing said process.
"Your declaration that you 'will truthfully and earnestly offer now, or at any future time, no opposition to the execution of any legal process,' etc., is indeed difficult to understand. May I ask, gentlemen, what has produced this wonderful change in the minds of the people of Lawrence? Have their eyes been suddenly opened, so that they are now able to see that there are laws in force in Kansas Territory, which should be obeyed? Or is it that, just now, those for whom I have writs have sought refuge elsewhere? Or it may possibly be that you now, as heretofore, expect to screen yourselves behind the word 'legal,' so significantly used by you. How am I to rely on your pledges, when I am well aware that the whole population of Lawrence is armed and drilled, and the town fortified -- when, too, I recollect the meetings and resolutions adopted in Lawrence, and elsewhere in the territory, openly defying the laws and the officers thereof, and threatening to resist the same to a bloody issue, and recently verified in the attempted assassination of Sheriff Jones, while in the discharge of his official duties in Lawrence? Are you strangers to all these things? Surely you must be strangers at Lawrence. If no outrages have been committed by the citizens of Lawrence against the laws of the land, they need not fear any posse of mine. But I must take the liberty of executing all processes in my hands, as the U. S. Marshal, in my own time and manner, and shall only use such power as is authorized by law. You say you call upon the constituted authority of the government for protection. This indeed sounds strange, coming from a large body of men, armed with Sharpe's rifles and other implements of war, bound together by oaths and pledges to resist the laws of the government they call on for protection. All persons in Kansas Territory, without regard to location, who honestly submit to the constituted authorities, will ever find me ready to aid in protecting them; and all who seek to resist the laws of the land, and turn traitors to their country, will find me aiding in enforcing the laws, if not as an officer, as a citizen.
"J. B. DONALDSON,
It is unnecessary to characterize it as most heartless and insulting. Let its spirit of revengeful exultation strike terror into the heart of any, who, by word or deed, would aid the purposes of the slave power, which, like the deadly upas-tree, casts blight and mildew over all within its shadow, while its already monstrous growth threatens to strike the blow at the foot of all republican liberty.
Gov. Shannon treated the messengers from Lawrence coldly, and would say nothing to them. While Messrs. Roberts and Parrott were there, Miller was accosted by Major Clark, to whom Miller extended his hand; but, without taking it, the murderer of Barber said, "D--n you, I won't shake hands with you! I believe you published an article in your paper about me. I will settle with you to-night."
As they were returning to Lawrence, a party came out upon them, and asked if Miller was among them, and if he was from South Carolina. Upon this, Mr. Miller replying that he was, one of the banditti said, "Come with us. I am from South Carolina, and we have an account to settle with you to-night." Mr. Miller showed the pass the marshal had given him; but the leader said "he didn't care a d--n about the marshal."
They seized and dragged him away, in spite of the protestations of Messrs. Babcock and Roberts, and would not allow them to accompany their friend.
Mr. Miller was tried with a mock trial by these South Carolinians, Dr. Stringfellow presiding as judge. The charge was one of treason against South Carolina, and Dr. Miller was released, minus his money, revolvers, and horse.
The communication of the marshal being received in Lawrence, all hope of safety from any action of his was at once abandoned. The evident design of the authorities was to force the people into resistance to the United States authorities, in acts of self-preservation, or to gain possession of the town by process of law, and then give it up to unrestrained outrage. The officers showed no disposition to restrain the lawless acts daily committed by their "legally authorized militia," and there is no reason to suppose they desired to do so.
At this time, beside the breaking open of goods, robbing and plundering, thirty men had been arrested without any legal process, and treated with every indignity, while some still remained at the mercy of the robbers. The people of Lawrence, still wishing peace, made one more effort with the marshal, and on Saturday, the 17th, sent him the following letter:
"J. B. DONALDSON, U. S. MARSHAL OF K. T. -- Dear Sir: We desire to call your attention, as citizens of Kansas, to the fact that a large force of armed men have collected in the vicinity of Lawrence, and are engaged in committing depredations upon our citizens -- stopping wagons, arresting, threatening, and robbing unoffending travellers upon the highway -- breaking open boxes of merchandise, and appropriating their contents -- have slaughtered cattle, and terrified many of the women and children.
"We have also learned from Gov. Shannon, that 'there are no armed forces in the vicinity of this place, but the regularly constituted militia of the territory.' This is to ask you if you recognize them as your posse, and feel responsible for their acts. If you do not, we hope and trust you will prevent a repetition of such acts, and give peace to the settlers.
"On behalf of the citizens,
"C. W. BABCOCK,
Col. Eldridge, with his brother, being desirous, if possible, to save the new hotel, of which he was the proprietor, went to Lecompton on the 18th, Sunday. Gov. Shannon talked with them of sending for the troops, to have them stationed at Lawrence, to protect the citizens from the marshal's mob, while they made the arrests; their arms to be given into the keeping of the troops, until the search was over, and the posse gone. This proposition was to be made to the people of Lawrence, and the Messrs. Eldridge were to return on the morrow to report their decision. This they did. The proposal had been acceded to by the citizens of Lawrence.
Gov. Shannon declared, on the 19th, that their arms must be delivered to the posse; that the hotel and printing presses must be destroyed; else -- let the reason of this wise execution of the law be taken note of -- "the South Carolinians will not be satisfied." The Messrs. Eldridge immediately replied, that "This the people of Lawrence will never do; they will fight first." When this partisan governor, the weak tool of South Carolina and Missouri, leaving the room, said, "Then war it is, by God!"
On Monday also word came into Lawrence of the murder of a young man by the name of Jones, the support of his widowed mother. He had been to Lawrence for a bag of meal, and, returning, was ordered to halt, by a band of the marshal's posse, near Blanton's Bridge. He obeyed the order of the ruffianly assassins, and they disarmed him. Then they ordered him to proceed, and as he did so, two of the posse exclaimed, "Let's shoot the d--d abolitionist!" Suiting the action to the word, the balls sped on their swift errand, and the recording angel wrote against the names of some high in power another murder.
Several young men immediately left Lawrence to go to the spot where young Jones fell a victim to the bloody tools of slavery, and about a mile from Lawrence they met two men from Westport. Another ball did the bidding of the slave interest, and another witness appeared against its supporters in the high court where perjury enters not, and packed juries are unknown.
The body of young Stewart, so lately come among us, was brought into town, and laid in the hotel. So sudden was his passage from this to the unseen life, that the placid countenance wore, not the aspect of death, but the beautiful repose of a dreamy sleep.
Illinois furnished the first victim. Will she hear the startled cry of young Jones, "O God, I am shot!" and the desolate plaint of the widowed one, now mourning like Israel's singer, "My son, my son, would God I had died for thee"? Will she do her uttermost to strike down the black piratical flag, borne aloft by her traitorous son, continually hissing, "I will subdue you"?
New York, in the murder of one of her young men, is reminded of the peril of all who bow not their knee to the Moloch of slavery.
The Messrs. E. returned to Lawrence. The people still loving the United States government, and having declared that they would never resist its authority, although the tyranny of the present administration is without its parallel in history, they refused all the proffered aid of the neighboring settlements, notwithstanding they well knew that with a small force they could have wiped out all these "territorial bands of militia" as easily as the melting away of the mist before the sun-rising.
It was necessary that the peace should be preserved under all these provocations, that the whole country might realize the sincerity of their declarations to obey the general government, notwithstanding the upholders of the administration have so loudly stigmatized them as "traitors" and "rebels." It was necessary that the whole country should be convinced of the real meaning of the words, "enforcing the laws," used so often by United States officials in the territory, as well as at Washington.
The proposition was made to have men armed, and at a proper distance from Lawrence to protect the inhabitants, should any outrages be attempted after the arrests were made. This seemed plausible; but would the apathetic, money-loving North believe this was the real object for which any means of defence had been prepared? Would not the border ruffian papers in the North, even the few which taint the moral atmosphere of fair New England, howl with another cry of rebellion in Kansas? So the people of Kansas feared; and the cool, calm heads of Lawrence decided, while the pale faces of two unburied victims attested to the malignancy of the slave power, and warned them of the imminency of their own peril, that, come outrage, pillage and death, at the bidding of United States officials, they would occupy a right position before the American people, and before wondering Europe, who sees freedom lie bleeding in a boasted republic.
Do any charge them with cowardice? Let them leave their quiet homes, where just laws hold wicked men in check, and the public safety is inviolate, and dwell where continued outrage and murder stalk abroad in the light of day, -- where the United States government counsels violence, and is the real perpetrator of these wrongs, -- and then, removed from the help of friends, with hordes of these vile men threatening their destruction, their extermination, lay by all means of self-defence, and with the calm spirit of endurance wait the issue. Is there not rather the sublimest courage in the act, and a beautiful, silent expression of their faith in the eternal law of right; that in reality "our wrongs will be our strength?" Thus the people thought, and, laying by their arms in safe places, they waited the action of the United States Marshal.
Tuesday, the 20th, was a still, calm day. O how calm it was! The hurrying bands of horsemen, brutal in their aspect, and uncouth, that had been for days flying over the prairies, making a blot on creation's fair face, were nowhere to be seen. No more the vile men, in companies of two, three, or more, came spying about the dwelling on Mt. Oread, to ask for water, and saying "The head of the house is not at home?" knowing well by what acts of villany he was taken prisoner at Lexington, and was yet a prisoner. So perfect was the semblance of quiet and peace, that a little party, who sat in the evening's twilight, in front of the same dwelling, wondered if indeed the threatened evil might not again pass by, as on so many previous occasions. A smaller guard than usual were actually on the watch. But, when the morning sun arose on the 21st of May, 1856, hordes of men, armed with United States muskets, were marshalled upon Mt. Oread. While wronged innocence had slept quietly, they in the darkness had gained the height. The fair summit of Oread never before witnessed such an assemblage of creatures calling themselves men. Humanity stands aghast at the idea of brotherhood with such a ragged, filthy, besotted set. But it is only tools the slave power wants, and these could steal, plunder and kill. What more does the administration ask of its supporters in crushing Kansas? If peace had been desired, the United States troops would still have been called into service, for in no instance had resistance been offered them. Col. Sumner was not the officer whom Gov. Shannon dared ask to batter down a civilized town, and destroy presses; and his soldiers have the hearts of men in their bosoms, and, with too little alacrity to please government officials in Kansas, have they hunted down peaceable men. Hence the governor left them at Leavenworth, and relied upon his mongrel crew of Carolinians, Alabamians, and Missourians, as better instruments to do his bidding. This is why, on the last week of spring, the morning air freighted with perfume of flowers, and the carol of birds, on Mt. Oread, was mingled with oaths and ribald songs, as it ascended to heaven. Between the hours of eight and nine o'clock a part of this band moved down from Capitol Hill, above our house, nearer the town, upon the table land where the house stood. Runners were sent down to Massachusetts- street in the forenoon, and they reported, on their return to the hill, "All quiet in Lawrence; the few men there busy about their usual employments." The five hundred men on Mt. Oread had divided into two parties, one of which surrounded our house; the other planted their cannon on the brow of the hill. About eleven o'clock, W. P. Fain, United States Deputy Marshal, with eight men, went into the town. They went directly to the hotel, and were respectfully received. The marshal summoned four prominent citizens of Lawrence to assist him in arresting others of our citizens. Without resistance, Judge G. W. Smith and G. W. Dietzler were arrested. Col. Eldridge had but just removed his family to Lawrence, and this was the first public dinner given in the hotel. Marshal Fain, with his posse and prisoners, partook of the hospitality of the house. Col. Eldridge then took the prisoners and a part of the posse to our house, which had been taken possession of, by the "legally authorized militia," for their head-quarters. The United States Marshal then dismissed his monster posse of two hundred and fifty horsemen, and five hundred infantry, telling them "he had no further use for them, but Sheriff Jones has writs to execute, and they were at liberty to organize as his posse."
Sheriff Jones, who, through all the border papers, had been reported "dead," and "dying," rode forward, and was received with yells of applause. He spoke to the motley group of his attempted assassination, and informed them of certain writs in his hands, and asked their aid.
About one o'clock, at the head of a posse of twenty or twenty five mounted men, armed with United States muskets and bayonets, this immortal sheriff rode into Lawrence, to the door of the hotel, and asked for Gen. Pomeroy. This gentleman soon answering the summons, Jones said, "I have been resisted several times in this place, and attempts have been made to assassinate me. Now I am determined to execute the law, if it costs me my life. I demand of you, as the most prominent man in the place, the surrender of all the cannon and Sharpe's rifles you have;" and, taking out his watch, he added, "I give you five minutes to decide whether you will give them up." He said, moreover, "I am authorized to make this demand by the First District Court of the United States."
Gen. Pomeroy went to the committee room, and, returning in a few minutes, said, "The cannon will be delivered up, but the rifles are private property, and will be retained." The cannon was taken out of its safe retreat by Gen. Pomeroy. Cheerfully, until then, our people had looked on; but it was too humiliating to give up this brass six-pounder, which had been welcomed with shouts, during the fall invasion, strengthening their means of defence when the peril was imminent. The curses of the few free-state boys yet remaining in town (most having left when they found no defence was to be made) were muttered, but deep, and the dissatisfaction was general.
In the mean time, the forces, variously estimated from five hundred to eight hundred, had been marched down to the base of the hill and formed into a hollow square. Gen. D. R. Atchison made the following speech, which was received by the unceasing yells of the crowd:
"Boys, this day I am a Kickapoo Ranger, by G--d. This day we have entered Lawrence with Southern Rights inscribed upon our banner, and not one d--d abolitionist dared to fire a gun.
"Now, boys, this is the happiest day of my life. We have entered that d--d town, and taught the d--d abolitionists a Southern lesson that they will remember until the day they die. And now, boys, we will go in again, with our highly honorable Jones, and test the strength of that d--d Free-State Hotel, and teach the Emigrant Aid Company that Kansas shall be ours. Boys, ladies should, and I hope will, be respected by exactly gentleman. But, when a woman takes upon herself the garb of a soldier, by carrying a Sharpe's rifle, then she is no longer worthy of respect. Trample her under your feet as you would a snake!
"Come on, boys! Now do your duty to yourselves and your Southern friends.
"Your duty, I know you will do. If one man or woman dare stand before you, blow them to h--l with a chunk of cold lead."
As soon as he had concluded, the militia moved towards the town in solid column, until near the hotel, when the advance company halted. Jones told Col. Eldridge the hotel must be destroyed; he was acting under orders; he had writs issued by the First District Court of the United States to destroy the Free-State Hotel, and the offices of the Herald of Freedom and Free State. The grand jury at Lecompton had indicted them as nuisances, and the court had ordered them to be destroyed. The following is a copy of such indictment:
"The Grand Jury sitting for the adjourned term of the First District Court, in and for the County of Douglas, in the Territory of Kansas, beg leave to report to the Honorable Court that, from evidence laid before them showing that the newspaper known as The Herald of Freedom, published at the town of Lawrence, has from time to time issued publications of the most inflammatory and seditious character -- denying the legality of the territorial authorities; addressing and commanding forcible resistance to the same; demoralizing the popular mind, and rendering life and property unsafe, even to the extent of advising assassinations a last resort.
"Also, that the paper known as The Kansas Free State has been similarly engaged, and has recently reported the resolutions of a public meeting in Johnson County, in this territory, in which resistance to the territorial laws even unto blood has been agreed upon. And that we respectfully recommend their abatement as a nuisance. Also, that we are satisfied that the building known as the 'Free-State Hotel,' in Lawrence, has been constructed with the view to military occupation and defence, regularly parapeted and portholed for the use of cannon and small arms, and could only have been designed as a stronghold of resistance to law, thereby endangering the public safety and encouraging rebellion and sedition in this country, and respectfully recommend that steps be taken whereby this nuisance may be removed.
"OWEN C. STEWART, Foreman."
Jones gave Col. Eldridge from that time -- about half past three o'clock -- until five o'clock to remove his family and furniture, which it had taken weeks to put in order. Seeing the impossibility of removing the furniture, Col. Eldridge said, "he had bought the furniture to furnish the hotel, not to stand in the streets." Longer time for the removal being denied, he said, "Give me time to remove my family (a sick daughter being of the number), that is all I ask." A part of the furniture was thrown out by the rabble, mirrors and marble-top tables being thrown from the windows. The house had been furnished at an expense of ten thousand dollars, and was by far the most elegant house west of St. Louis. The cellar was stored with provisions, advantage having been taken of the high water in the Kansas to bring up several months' supply.
The posse, growing weary of removing furniture, even in the expeditious manner of dropping it from the windows, began to ransack drawers, cupboards, and cellar, carrying with them boxes of cigars, wines, oysters, sardines, cans of fruit, etc.
This "legally organized militia" came into Lawrence with banners flying. We thank them heartily, that the United States flag was not desecrated by waving over their pollution. They had chosen their banners with singular appropriateness. One was a white flag with black stripes, and one had a white star on a red surface. This banner bore the inscription "Southern Rights," and on the opposite side was "South Carolina" in black paint. Another flag had, in blue letters on a white ground,
Our motto is give Southern Rights to all."
The precise bearing of these mottoes upon Marshal Donaldson's writs has not yet been explained.
The Free State office was first destroyed, the press being thrown into the river, while exchange papers and books were thrown into the street, and destroyed. The types of the Herald of Freedom office were also put into the Kansas, and the press broken. The red flag of the South Carolinians was first hoisted upon this office, and in about fifteen minutes was removed to the hotel. The building was fired several times, but put out by the bravery of some of the young men in Lawrence, who were not deterred by the threats of the mob. Sheriff Jones placed two companies to carry the types of the offices to the river, and break the presses.
After the red flag had been hoisted upon the hotel, four cannons were stationed about one hundred and five feet distant from it, and pointing towards it. The first command was given to fire, and the balls went far above the hotel, and over into the ravine beyond the town. When the cannonading commenced, it was thought prudent for women and children to leave the town, and many went across the ravine to some houses west of Lawrence. Thirty-two balls were fired, doing little damage to the hotel, the balls easily going through the concrete. Was the number significant of the admission of Kansas into the sisterhood of states? The walls of the hotel stood firmly, almost uninjured, and the patience of the posse, at so slow a progress, was getting weary. Their anticipations had been disappointed; for, on the first fire, the cry had been raised, "Now here she goes!"
Amid the continued roar of the eighteen, twelve, and six pounder, the yells were terrific. By all who listened, it is averred they never before had heard such unearthly sounds. Some kegs of powder were carried into the cellar; for "law and order" was not blind, and the continued display of plunder gained by others of the mob excited their covetousness, and a more summary way of "removing the nuisance" was desired. The result was only a little smoke, and the shivering of a few windows. The order was then given to the military commander, Col. Titus, just arrived from Florida, to fire the building. By setting fires in each of the rooms, the large hotel was destroyed, nearly the entire wall falling in.
At the commencement of the cannonading, Jones had been asked, "Can you feel no pity for the sufferings you have caused?"
His reply was, "The laws must be executed." And, turning to two of his posse, he said, "Gentlemen, this is the happiest day of my life, I assure you. I determined to make the fanatics bow before me in the dust, and kiss the territorial laws."
Then, as another round was fired, with a bitter, scornful sneer he said, "I have done it, by G--d! I have done it!"
When the walls of the hotel had fallen in, he turned to his posse and said, coolly, "You are dismissed; the writs have been executed."
This was the signal for a general plunder of private houses, and as the drunken gang rushed from place to place, they took anything of value upon which their eyes fell. They rifled trunks, taking letters, money, drafts, apparel, both ladies and gentlemen's, and destroyed anything that would break, even to daguerreotypes and children's toys. Before the day was over, many of the citizens recognized, upon the before ragged persons of the militia, a hat, coat, vest, or pair of pantaloons, to which they had had previous title, with some of the heavy curtain-cords and tassels, taken from the hotel, worn around them in lieu of sashes; and, with expensive silk or satin dresses on their arms, they marched about, evidently elated with their transformation. In many houses, whatever they left was mutilated and defaced, and the people, on returning to their homes, found only a wreck of those things which had conduced to their comfort. Stores were broken open. Letters were pilfered from the post-office, and opened. From the same building, occupied as a store, Dr. Stringfellow carried off under each arm a box of cigars, having helped himself to them behind the counter, saying, as he did so, "Well, boys, I guess this is as good plunder as I want." He was particularly busy during the day in inciting the heroic band to such deeds of valor. Major Buford, of Alabama, was also conspicuous as a leader. Mr. Hutchinson's store was broken into by Col. Titus, saying, "I think there are Sharpe's rifles in there; stave her in, boys, if she is locked!" They obeyed him by breaking in the windows with the butts of the guns, and then crawled in through the aperture.
The cry of "There's Reeder trying to escape!" at one time caused some excitement. One of the ruffians, attempting to shoot the man, who did not prove to be Gov. Reeder, while his horse was on a fall gallop, fell from it and broke his leg. Another was killed instantly by the falling of a brick from the hotel. The South Carolina flag, waving on the roof, whipped it off one of the chimneys.
Some ladies, sitting upon College Hill west of the town, during the cannonading, were fired upon by a party of Buford's men, who came from town. When about a hundred yards distant, they levelled their guns at them deliberately, and, without one word being said, fired. The balls went whizzing through the air near the ladies. South Carolina's gallant sons then threw down their guns and shouted, while swinging their hats, "Hurrah for South Carolina! Down with the abolitionists! Slavery in Kansas, by G--d!"
Again they picked up their arms, and levelled them towards the ladies, who were standing still looking at them, when one of the four said, "Don't fire; I wouldn't." Then, singing Katy Darling and Lily Dale, they went up the hill.
Our house was nearly vacated as night approached, and a neighbor passing, stepped in to see how matters looked. Furniture, which had been thrown out of the house, he set back, and finding only one of the Missourians in the lower rooms, and he busily engaged in looking for liquors, the way into the cellar, etc., he went up stairs. In one room, a man with gloves on was rummaging bureau drawers. He had a large pile of letters in one hand, and a daguerreotype in the other. Trunks which had been locked were opened, their contents strewed everywhere, and a fire was blazing in the bed. After throwing the bed out of the window, this friend went into another chamber, and put out the fire which was kindled in a closet.
This man, so busily prying into bureau drawers and private correspondence, was one of the principal men in the "law-and-order party." O, southern honor! how her gloss has become dim, when her chief men, the self-constituted champions of southern institutions, attempt to gain their ends by stealing private correspondence, and pillaging a lady's drawers!
About seven o'clock, the semi-human creatures began to leave the town. The large covered wagons, which stood near our house to receive the spoils, moved off. Houses out of town, which had escaped molestation, were opened for the reception of the destitute and homeless.
About nine o'clock the flames burst forth from the home on Mt. Oread, and the "legally organized militia" had completed their work. Many thousand dollars' worth of property had been destroyed. People had been robbed of their all. Lawrence was destroyed; and the President bears the signal honor. Crown his brows with asphodel and wormwood, ye American people, for he has wrought for your fellow-countrymen bitterness and woe!