KanColl: The Kansas
Historical Quarterlies




S. C. Pomeroy and the New England Emigrant
Aid Company, 1854-1858 [Part One]

by Edgar Langsdorf

August, 1938 (Vol. 7, No. 2), pages 227 to 245
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

     OF the men who appear prominently in the history of Kansas territory, few have received less attention by writers on the subject than Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, agent of the Massachusetts and the New England Emigrant Aid Company, mayor of Atchison, United States senator from Kansas. Whatever the reason for this neglect, no story of those early years can be complete without a rather full account of Pomeroy's work, for no individual of that time was more active in territorial affairs. Particularly in his connection with the Emigrant Aid Company are Pomeroy's activities important, since no single organization exercised a greater influence during the territorial period.

     The first indication of Pomeroy's interest in Kansas is contained in a letter he wrote on July 27, 1854, probably to Edward Everett Hale. It is typically Pomeroy in its display of ardent Antislavery sentiment and keen interest in business opportunities, a combination which was to appear throughout his career. He said that he had thought of making an extended tour through the territory- with an eye directed particularly to its agricultural and commercial resources. And of acertaining the natural facilities for Water Power. . . . I have been anxious to be early upon the ground to occupy some of the best points upon the "Pacific R. Road"-which is destined to cross the Territory Somewhere. But above all, I am anxious to have the right impetus given to its early Settlement, that the best principles of our resting fathers may be transplanted there! And that thus our untold domain may be saved from the blighting-withering-deadning-damning-influence of American Slavery!!

     Pomeroy declared he would be glad to go out in the service of the Emigrant Aid Company, as his friends had been urging him to do, if he could be of use. He knew nothing of the aims of the company except its more general ones, which he found highly commendable, but he had written to Eli Thayer, and he would like to have a personal conversation with some or all of the officers. [1]

     This letter was written three months after Thayer had received a charter for the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company. An inter-

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view was arranged by Hale, negotiations were carried on between Pomeroy and the company, and at the fourth weekly meeting of the trustees, on August 19, a letter from him was read in which he signified his willingness to become an agent. He was present at the fifth meeting, a week later, and was formally employed as financial agent at a salary of $1,000 a year and "ten percent of the net profits of the Company's sales, and rents collected," the arrangement to continue for three years unless modified or annulled by mutual agreement.

     He was also to be allowed "all necessary travelling expenses." The other principal agents, Dr. Charles Robinson and Charles Branscomb, received the same salary, but provision for commissions was arranged in a different manner. Robinson was to be paid "two & one half percent commissions on all sales and receipts"; Branscomb was to be paid the same percentage "on all rents & proceeds of sales collected."

     It is evident from these contracts that each of the agents was placed on an individual footing, but the records of the company do not indicate specifically the rating of the agents as to authority. However, it would seem probable that the intention of the company was to place the major burden of responsibility on Pomeroy, inasmuch as his commission would depend on his ability to turn in a net profit. "Proceeds of sales" might be taken to include not only sales of real property, but perhaps even of company stock. The general term "receipts" could well mean the gross income of the company. Rents and sales might be one thing; "collected" sales and rents would undoubtedly be another. Furthermore, it is not known on what basis the net profits were to be computed. Robinson had been employed on August 7 as the general or resident agent in Kansas, having previously led the pioneer party to the territory for the company; Branscomb's duties were chiefly to act as conductor of subsequent parties. From the beginning of the company's operations Pomeroy was chiefly responsible for business dealings in the territory, both Robinson and Branscomb acting in advisory or attestant capacities. The letter of instructions to Pomeroy, drawn up at the trustees' meeting on August 26, 1854, clearly expresses this. Pomeroy, with the advice and consent of either Robinson or Branscomb, was authorized to purchase property in Kansas City and Kansas territory to an amount not exceeding $40,000. With either of the other agents he was empowered to draw on A. A. Lawrence for not more than $10,000, at five days' sight or longer.

     With the consent of at least one of the other agents he was

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to purchase not more than six sawmills, a grist mill if necessary, and he was to see that "Receiving Houses" were erected. He was to keep himself advised in reference to Indian titles to lands, particularly near the mouth of the Kansas river; "and in general to attend to the affairs and interests of the Company." Furthermore, Pomeroy was to be the treasurer of the agents in the territory, and as such was to keep a set of books. Deeds to real estate were to be in Pomeroy's name and that of at least one other agent, to hold in trust for the company. [2] In fact, his duties were more nearly those of a general business manager than a financial agent. The responsibilities confided to the agents and the trust reposed in them by the company are further attested by a letter written by Amos A. Lawrence of Boston, the treasurer.

     The whole business in Kansas has been confided to the agents sent from here. Dr. Robinson, Mr. Pomeroy, who acts as Treasurer, and Mr. Branscomb. Before making purchases . . . we expect to be advised by them here. But we shall rely on their opinion. . . . Their task is a very arduous one, since they will be forced to disoblige many, and they must necessarily make many enemies: but we think they are honorable men, and will do what they consider their duty. Mr. Pomeroy and Dr. Robinson have great experience, and they are well known here, as being capable of achieving more than most men in the same circumstances. Mr. Branscomb is younger; but he is highly spoken of as a gentleman, and as a well read lawyer.

     How "honorable" these agents actually were is a question which has not yet been definitely answered. That they disappointed their employers is certain; that they used their connection with the company to advance their personal fortunes is the belief of virtually every student of the subject. Pomeroy and Robinson were the most important agents in the territory and their close cooperation and mutual respect might be called almost a sine qua non for the success of the Aid Company. Yet rancor and jealousy soon arose between them. Robinson, who has usually been considered-perhaps erroneously-as the chief agent, became jealous of Pomeroy's preeminent position in financial and business matters, and eventually, in 1856, resigned. Pomeroy continued in the company's service until 1860, by which time he was a wealthy man. [4]

     Certainly Pomeroy's early record was one that might well win the approval of the trustees. According to his own statement he first

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became imbued with Antislavery zeal in 1840 when he was twenty-four years old. He was then in business as a merchant in South Butler, Wayne county, N. Y., having recently moved from Onondaga county where he had been a school teacher and merchant. His conversion from a mild interest to an active participation in the slavery controversy occurred when he heard a speech by Alvan Stewart, a well known Antislavery politician. Pomeroy says that soon afterward he called a meeting to organize a county Liberty party for Wayne county. Those present, in addition to himself, were one Mr. Snow and a livery-stable keeper. They waited an hour but no one else appeared. Snow thereupon took the chair, the livery-stable man acted as secretary, and Pomeroy made a speech. Resolutions were adopted and a county ticket was prepared which received eleven votes in a population of twenty thousand. But first successes are rare, and he boasted that six years later the Wayne county Liberty party carried the election. [5]

     Soon after the death of his first wife, Miss Annie Pomeroy of Onondaga, and her infant child, probably in 1842, Pomeroy returned to Southampton, Mass., where he had been born and where his early life had been spent, to make a fresh start. He continued his political activities, lecturing in schoolhouses, preaching from house to house, and making converts to the cause of freedom everywhere. From the evidence available his opposition to any increase in slave territory was probably the most positive force in his life at that time. He helped organize the Free-Soil party in Massachusetts and in the campaign of 1843 he worked for Henry Clay, the Whig candidate, in opposition to the Democrat, Martin Van Buren, until the publication of Clay's second letter on the question of the annexation of Texas. Clay's declaration that he was not opposed to annexation, but should be glad to see it if it could be done by common consent and upon just and fair terms was too much for Pomeroy. That "painful and killing letter," he said, ". . . cured me. We were making a campaign upon the plank of no more such territory; and when our leader surrendered, we bolted and marched to the ranks of

LANGSDORF: POMEROY AND AID COMPANY 231

Hon. James G. Birney, and polled votes enough to defeat the man we would not elect." [6]

     In 1844 Pomeroy was nominated for the Massachusetts legislature by the new Free-Soil party at Southampton and received eleven votes. He was a candidate for eight successive years, and finally, in 1852, was elected to the house of representatives over both the Whig and Democratic candidates. [7] In the legislature he continued his fight against slavery. Being in Washington one day shortly after President Pierce had signed the Kansas-Nebraska act, he called upon the President and is reported to have exclaimed: Sir! this measure which has passed is not the triumph you suppose. It does not end, but only commences hostilities. Slavery is victorious in Congress, but it has not yet triumphed among the people. Your victory is but an adjournment of the question from the halls of legislation at Washington to the open prairies of the freedom-loving West; and there, sir, we shall beat you, depend upon it! [8]

     Pomeroy's brief career in Massachusetts politics was perhaps in some degree responsible for his subsequent connection with the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Eli Thayer, of Worcester, founder of the company, was also a politician, serving in the house of representatives in 1853 and 1854, and it seems likely that he and Pomeroy were acquainted before Pomeroy became an agent. No time was wasted after his employment by the company.

     The second party of emigrants sent out by the Aid Company, traveling from Boston under the leadership of Pomeroy and Robinson, arrived in Kansas City on September 6, 1854. They remained there for several days while horses and supplies were purchased; then they made a three-day trek across the territory to the Wakarusa where they found the camp of the first party, which had left Boston in July. The two agents decided next day to build their city there. A settler named Clark Stearns had already preempted the location and to avoid the possibility of trouble later Pomeroy bought his claim for $500 in gold. This was an enormous sum when all the land around might have been had for nothing, but there is no record of any objection to the purchase. [9]

     A town association was formed and the first meeting was held on

232 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

October 1.

     It was decided to name the town Lawrence in honor of Amos A. Lawrence of Boston, the treasurer of the Aid Company. The main street had already been laid out by A. D. Searle, who, Pomeroy says, had been his "school-boy" in Massachusetts, along a line surveyed due north and south. This became Massachusetts street; fifty-foot lots were marked off and each man in the party was given one. [10]

     Pomeroy's first task was the erection of a sawmill to cut lumber for houses. [11] Also, in his capacity as financial agent he purchased the Union hotel in Kansas City for $10,000, giving a draft on Treasurer Lawrence for the money. This hotel, which was to be used to receive emigrants en route to Kansas, was placed under the management of a Mr. Morgan of Massachusetts. [12]

     In October Gov. Andrew H. Reeder and other territorial officials visited Lawrence and were formally received by the settlers. Pomeroy was designated to make the speech of welcome, which he did in his customary pious, pompous style, and Reeder replied pleasantly. [13] A public dinner was held at one o'clock at which Pomeroy presided "with the most perfect ease and dignity." Numerous toasts and lengthy responses after the fluent manner of the 1850's concluded the banquet, and the governor was escorted to the top of Mount Oread to look over the new domain. He was impressed, his hosts were pleased, and conditions augured well for the Free-State cause. [14] During October and the early part of November several parties pushed on up the Kaw valley. Pomeroy's statement that he accompanied the parties founding Topeka and Manhattan is not borne out by other accounts. Early in December Doctor Robinson, acting for the Aid Company, assisted in forming a town corporation and in laying out a town which became Topeka. It is possible that Pomeroy, as he claims, [15] had previously traveled up the Kansas river to select this site, but his name does not appear in accounts of Topeka's early history.16 And although he did travel through the central part

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of the state exploring the region of the Smoky Hill and Republican it is unlikely that he accompanied the party which located the town of Manhattan, some sixty miles up the river from Topeka. [17]

     These activities were in accordance with the expressed views of the company officials, particularly Doctor Webb, the secretary, who favored the establishment of several towns rather than a concentration of forces at one place. Webb wrote:

     My idea has always been, that it was not well to concentrate our people in one locality. It is desirable that New England principles and New England influences should pervade the whole Territory; this can only be effected by wise foresight and judicious management. Dot Kansas with New England settlements, and no matter how heterogeneous the great living mass which flows into the Territory may be, it will all eventually be moulded into a symmetrical form, and the benefits resulting therefrom will be such that generations yet to come will bless the memory of those thro' whose efforts the boon of freedom, knowledge and pure & undefiled religion were secured for them and their posterity. [18]

     The settlers at Lawrence were very slow in building permanent homes for themselves, partly because of the scarcity of lumber, since a large portion of the timber lands had been claimed by Missourians, [19] but chiefly because the Aid Company's sawmill was not operating until November. [20] In any event, as late as November many of those who first went out were still living in tents; and one emigrant arriving at Lawrence in late autumn was surprised to find that the town of which he had heard so much, whose progress was reported to be so rapid, consisted of one log cabin, one shake house and numerous objects which he first took for haystacks but which proved to be hay houses. One of the finest houses in Lawrence, as described on December 3, was an earth-floored but about fourteen feet long consisting of a framework of rough poles covered with a layer of brush upon which was a layer of sod and finished on the outside with a covering of prairie grass.21 Fortunately the winter was not severe or casualties among the settlers might have been numerous.

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     Although Webb wrote to Robinson on November 20 that "the Trustees have abundant reason to be fully satisfied with the manner 1n which both you and Mr. Pomeroy have filled your agencies; and are aware that our present enviable position is attributable in no small degree to your untiring energy, industry, and zeal . . . ," [22] in point of fact the position of the company was precarious.

     Money was coming in very slowly; no one knew the real value of the company's stock and many persons in the East gave money much in the spirit of charity toward a worthy cause. It was essential that this feeling be altered if the company's plan to proceed on a business basis was to succeed.

     On November 16 Pomeroy was again in Boston. He spoke with Secretary Webb, to whom he gave "a. highly satisfactory account of the condition and prospect of affairs at Lawrence. . . ." [23] Webb reported to Treasurer Lawrence that Pomeroy spoke very highly of the company stock, which he considered worth double its cost, and Lawrence, upon whom rested the whole task of financing, was much encouraged. Writing to Robinson, he said:

     This last will help us very much. Heretofore we have been able only to surmise; and the subscriptions to stock have been made very much as though they were donations. Now that the belief has become pretty common here that Kansas will be a free state, the subscription has dragged very heavy. [24] Pomeroy remained in the East for more than a month. He attended trustees' meetings on November 22 and again on December 23, just before he left for the territory. He addressed a meeting of the stockholders on November 28, conferred with the trustees on other occasions, and traveled through New England addressing meetings and holding conferences with interested parties at Providence, New Bedford and Salem, Concord, and Portland. [25]

     The purpose of the tour, of course, was to persuade prospective investors that the company was proceeding on a sound business basis with excellent chances of showing a profit and that the stock was therefore a good investment. Whether Pomeroy was successful is doubtful; indeed, it seems clear from events immediately following that little or no result was achieved. He was accompanied on the return trip by Shalor W. Eldridge, of Southampton, a friend since boyhood, who had leased the Kansas City hotel and was now preparing to take over its active manage-

235 LANGSDORF: POMEROY AND AID COMPANY

ment. [26] They reached Kansas City early in January, 1855; and Pomeroy went at once into the territory where he began the task of putting up a sawmill at Topeka and getting his accounts in order. During the next month building was also carried on at Lawrence, despite the inadequacy of the single mill; [27] and Pomeroy was busy besides in trying to arrange title and prepare a new townsite for settlement. [28]

     Doctor Robinson went east in February and did not return until the next month. In his absence difficulties which had arisen over claims to the townsite of Lawrence were compromised, and in Robinson's opinion the Aid Company suffered unnecessarily in the transaction. He charges Pomeroy with responsibility in the matter and implies that the financial agent had a hand in the mutilation of South Park in Lawrence. The town had originally been platted to include a park two blocks square but about this time was altered by cutting off a strip of land half a block wide on each side of the park, dividing this strip into lots, and distributing the lots to the "spoils-men." [29] Whether Pomeroy was concerned in the deal is not proven; in fact this story of Robinson's is the only mention of the matter known to the writer.

     In March the Emigrant Aid Company entered a period of financial crisis. Virtually no money was being received and expenses were heavy. It appeared, wrote Treasurer Lawrence, that "the whole fabric must come down with a crash . . . unless we have energy enough to avert it." Pomeroy, he went on, must be instructed to suspend all operations and to discharge all workmen unless the company could obtain funds to finance him. Since Lawrence was the chief financial supporter of the company he spoke with authority. By the beginning of March he had advanced $7,000, all of which was borrowed money, and could see no point in going on unless he was prepared to "carry the thing through with 30 to $50m; which is out of the question." [30]

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     Pomeroy during this period was of little assistance in reducing expenditures. On February 16 he wrote that he had secured the " `Fish Crossing,' now called the Wakarusa," on terms whereby the company would receive 320 acres of timberland and half the townsite in that vicinity; [31] and in March he took an option on 1,280 acres of exceptionally good timber land opposite Topeka, only awaiting orders from Boston to secure a long-term lease. [32] These transactions were excellent from every standpoint but one-how were they to be financed? Furthermore Pomeroy was overdrawn about $7,000 and needed still more money. [33]

     At a meeting of the executive committee on April 18, it was agreed that Pomeroy must be afforded temporary financial relief if it was at all possible and he was authorized to draw immediately for the balance of the $10,000 already appropriated to meet the outstanding indebtedness incurred by him in the company's behalf. [34] The treasurer, whose reply to this vote was read at the next meeting on April 21, refused pointblank to accept the instructions. "Passing votes," he said, "will not put money in the Treasury nor make up deficiencies." 35 Yet only three days before in what appears a most contradictory humor he had written a letter of encouragement to Pomeroy in which he said: You have had a trying time. It is worth a good deal to a man to have his "pluck" tried: he is worth more in the estimation of others, if he stands the trial, and he is worth more to the world; and besides he feels better satisfied himself to know that what is in him is good stuff.

     Do not fear to buy the Kaw lands freely for the company. The company needs something to make money with, more than the Trustees or outsiders. I will pay an overdraft on that.

     This, too, despite the fact that stock subscriptions "have almost ceased . . .," [36] and that the executive committee, when Pomeroy suggested that investments in Wyandotte claims would be highly desirable, could only reply that the company was not in a position to invest in them, no matter how desirable they might be, to any greater extent than was necessary to guarantee the rights to the Lawrence property. [37]

LANGSDORF: POMEROY AND AID COMPANY 237

     Suspecting, perhaps, that the company's precarious situation was in some degree his fault, Pomeroy wrote to Webb on April 1 to say that he was willing to resign if it was desired. The secretary replied that not a single member of the executive committee wished him to do so; that on the contrary every one recognized his ability and sincerity and fully realized "how much the success of our efforts, and the prosperity of our business operations depend upon your continuing in the agency which you have thus far so ably and faithfully managed." [38] At the same time, Webb went on, the committee did not want Pomeroy to neglect his private interests, which would be unnecessary and unwise.

     An election for members of the territorial council and house of representatives which was held on March 30, 1855-in which Pomeroy received one vote for representative-resulted in a victory for the Proslavery forces. [39] Contemporaneous accounts are filled with stories of illegal voting and of intimidation and violence at the polls. [40] Several protests were made and Governor Reeder ordered special elections held in certain districts on May 22. [41] The Missourians were outraged; the Brunswicker, of Brunswick, Mo., saying of Reeder, "This infernal scoundrel will have to be hemped yet." [42] The slavery men disregarded the supplementary elections, since they already held a majority of the seats, and refused to recognize the Antislavery representatives who were elected. [43]

     During this exciting period-in fact, throughout April and May-Pomeroy appears to have been occupied chiefly with getting the sawmill at Topeka in running order, settling more definitely the title to Lawrence, and making a tour of inspection through the Neosho country. [44] He was interested also in a riot at Parkville, Mo., where in April a mob destroyed the Parkville Luminary, an Antislavery newspaper published by George S. Parks. Pomeroy

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wrote to encourage the editor. "We are all for you," he said, "heart, soul, and purse. If you want anything just let us know it. . . . In consequences of that mob, I can raise you 1,000 new subscribers. One more sack will be worth to you $10,000. There is a good time coming this side of heaven." [45] On May 4 in a letter to the executive committee he wrote that the Missourians had threatened to hang Parks and himself and to burn the company's hotel. Parks was leaving for Illinois, supposedly to get legal advice from Stephen A. Douglas, and Pomeroy himself went east the last of the month. [46]

     He spent June and the greater part of July in Boston and the New England states, speaking at the first annual meeting of the company on June l, at several meetings of the executive committee, and at other gatherings at various points.47 This again was a money-raising tour, but although several thousand dollars in stock subscriptions were secured it resulted rather in pledges and assurances of future interest than in immediate financial assistance. [48]

     The fortunes of the company were again at dangerously low ebb. [49] Robinson, working alone in Kansas, wrote that he was badly in need of money. Work was proceeding rapidly on the company's new hotel at Lawrence, expenses had been heavy, and the workmen would soon be asking for their wages. Pomeroy knew the situation and had taken $300 in drafts with him which he was to cash in Kansas City and forward to Robinson, but the money had never been received. Nearly $5,000 was needed at once. Robinson believed that all this was Pomeroy's fault, though he added:

     However, I am not disposed to censure or find fault except good naturedly for I can make great allowances for his apparently forgetting Kansas money matters here, while he is so busily engaged in providing for the future. [50] Meantime in the territory storm clouds were gathering. The Kansas legislative assembly had met at Pawnee City on July 2, thwarted Governor Reeder by moving to Shawnee mission, and there enacted the now famous "bogus laws" and slave code. The result was to undermine the confidence of the Free-State groups and lead them to

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feel that peaceful penetration would not be successful. Treasurer Lawrence, in a letter to Webb dated July 20, remarked that the crisis was approaching in Kansas and that Robinson was the man to meet it.

     That a revolution must take place in Kansas is certain, if that can be called a revolution which is only an overthrow of usurpation. If Pomeroy were there now to wake up the energy of the people, and prepare them for resistance to Missouri rule, with Robinson to lead the advance guard, when the time for action comes, then we might expect to see the free state banner waving over the Territory before long. . . [51]

     In a letter to Robinson of the same date Lawrence expressed the wish that Pomeroy were there in the territory to help. [52] Pomeroy did reach Kansas probably in the second week of August in time to participate in the first Free-State convention which met at Lawrence on August 14 and 15 and make a "neat, well-prepared speech, interspersed with some beautiful, appropriate quotations of poetry, and which was delivered in a very agreeable manner." [53] He was opposed to the action of the convention in repudiating the territorial legislature and ordering an election of delegates to a constitutional convention, because he believed it premature and preferred to hear the wishes of the new governor before taking any revolutionary step 54 He is quoted in the Herald of Freedom as saying in the debate:

     Let us not embarrass the new powers. I believe there is yet light, though all now is dark as night. I have just come from the East, and have travelled through the free West, and I know that a determined and firm course will meet with the support of every freeman in the nation, and many of the best men of the South. There is a way to redeem our Territory, and I believe it can be done. The Grecian fable tells us that Justice can sleep, and Equity lie napping on the couch of time-but we deceive ourselves if we think, on her waking, she will be affrighted back to her native heaven. Those men now in power, by foreign votes,

     "Dressed in a little brief authority, Play fantastic tricks before high heaven." [55]

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     A second convention met at Big Springs on September 5, and before adjourning provided that another meeting should be held two weeks later at Topeka. In the interim Pomeroy took to the stump in behalf of the Free-State party and to agitate further against Missouri domination of Kansas politics. In a long letter written on September 15 he said he was leaving that day to visit all the principal settlements and speak for "Reeder & freedom," that he had written and memorized the best set of speeches he had ever made, and, he continued, ". . . if Governor Shannon wants to send any man to prison for uttering his sentiments-I am ready! !!" [56]

     He expected to make his first speech at Lawrence in the presence of Shannon, ex-Governor Reeder, and all the present and former members of the territorial judiciary.

     Pomeroy evidently was feeling strongly at this time.

     This letter is one of the most passionate in his extant correspondence, and shows that his desire to proceed moderately, expressed only a month before at the Lawrence convention, had completely vanished. He wrote:

Today . . . is the first day that it has been a crime to say "A Man has no right to hold a Slave in this territory." And I shall say so, in the most earnest & emphatic manner, in the face of Governor Shannon & the officers of the Law. And I shall say any and every thing else I chose [sic] to say. I have written my speeches and committed them, and I know what I shall say. Every sentence has been weighed & guarded. If I am molested I shall publish the whole speech-so the country may know what I did say-and decide if there are any guarantees in the Constitution, or any virtue in the people to afford me protection. General Whitfield [57] is stumping the territory. Conway & myself have agreed to meet him at a few points and see if he can defend his position.

     I have been for putting off the motion to form a State Constitution for the present. But I can see no other way out of our troubles. If this Legislation is put aside and a new Territorial Legislature chosen, we have no security but the same thing will be tried over again. And with a president who will eat his own words every three months, what can we expect! We can form and adopt a Free-State Constitution if we are not molested by Missourians! by a vote of more than 4 to one. . . . My faith has never faltered for an hour in the ultimate success of our cause. The only great matter of pressing interest now is, when is the more favorable time to strike for a State Government.

     We shall have no government until we have a State Government. Hasten up the emigration. Write me about funds. I want to know the prospect, so I can calculate accordingly. I shall never meet with embarrassment if I can know what to depend upon, for I will not spend money before we get it. [58]

     Two days later Pomeroy wrote to J. M. S. Williams, a member of the executive committee, to ask his opinion and advice about the Kansas political situation. He wrote that Governor Shannon apparently was a supporter of the Proslavery party, that he had insulted Governor Reeder in his first speech, and had "since said & done miserable foolish things, for a Governor, or anyone else!"

     Pomeroy stressed the dependence of the Free-State group in Kansas upon Northern support and particularly upon sympathy and approval in what they might undertake. They had already, he said, appointed a time for an election and for sending a memorial to congress explaining their reasons for revolting against the legal territorial legislature. They were going to elect Reeder as their delegate to congress to contest Whitfield's seat and thus bring the whole matter before congress. Next they planned to call a convention of delegates to form a state constitution and then to organize a code of laws, elect state officers, and "knock at the door of congress for admission, by the middle of March next." Several objections might, and probably would be made to admission into the union at that time: that the population was too small, that admission would be hasty and premature, and that the petitioning convention was not called by or in conformity to the legislature and the order of the governor. Also, party politicians would want Kansas to "stay out for capital in presidential Election." Against these objections Pomeroy argued that the population was as large as that of either Michigan or Florida when they were admitted and promised to outstrip both under a. Free-State constitution; that whether admission would be too hasty must be judged by the unusual circumstances of the case, since the Free-State men felt they could not respect the existing legislature and its acts and saw no better prospects under territorial government; and finally, that whether the convention was legally called would depend entirely on the view taken of the Pro-slavery legislature.

     Implying the hope that the political parties of the North would cooperate in support of the plan, he said:

The Free-Soilers & Whigs ought not to be over anxious who wins, if freedom is secured. . . . You know I've had but one sentiment-that with our efforts continued Kansas was sure for freedom. I now see it clearer than ever. I think of the true settlers we stand as 4 to 1. You think I am too sanguine. Well, may be-one thing; we will soon get the quarrel into Congress and be- fore the country. If so, we shall have a little relief. . . [59]

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     The plan was carried out at the convention which met at Topeka on September 19. An executive committee was appointed and an election to choose delegates to a constitutional convention was ordered held on October 9. On October 1 Whitfield was chosen to represent the opposition-the legal government-in the election held under the auspices of the "bogus legislature," and the Free-State election following selected Reeder, as Pomeroy had predicted.

     In a letter to Pomeroy dated September 22 A. A. Lawrence expressed his approval of the plan to press for admission and said he believed the shortest and best method of obtaining an opinion of the plan was to see that both parties in the territory elected congressional delegates who represented the feelings of the two great parties in the East-that is, Proslavery and Antislavery." This those delegates, Whitfield and Reeder, plainly did. Each party in the territory, of course, ignored the other's election.

     The constitutional convention assembled at Topeka on October 23 and framed a proposed state constitution. This was submitted to a referendum on December 15 and the constitution was ratified almost unanimously.61 Following this, on December 22, a caucus meeting in Lawrence nominated Doctor Robinson for governor. [62] During the same period the leaders of the Free-State party were attempting to rally support throughout the territory for the struggle which everyone felt was approaching. [63]

     In fact, on November 21 the spark had been touched off by the well publicized murder of the Free-State settler Dow and the subsequent arrest of his friend Branson for uttering too many threats of revenge. The swift movement of events during the next two weeks, though bloodless and inconclusive, have been glorified as the "Wakarusa War," and by at least one writer as the beginning of the Civil War. [64]

     Pomeroy at this time was making frequent trips to Kansas City, presumably on Aid Company business. On December 5 he was in Lawrence where he reported that he had been attacked at Westport but had frightened away his assailants with his pistol, and later on the same journey had escaped another band of ruffians only by<.P>

LANGSDORF: POMEROY AND AID COMPANY 243

fording the river three times. [65] The Proslavery men in Kansas City were bitterly opposed to the Emigrant Aid Company and its work. Pomeroy, probably because he was better known to them than the other agents, was the chief object of their hatred.

     The mobilization of a Proslavery "army" at Franklin, a village about three miles southeast of Lawrence, occasioned the Free Staters great concern. It was believed that the Missourians if they did not actually attack Lawrence would besiege the town and attempt to starve the residents into surrender. [66] Word must be sent to Washington and Pomeroy volunteered to carry the message. He planned his route through Iowa, by way of Kansas City, and decided to disguise himself by becoming the Rev. Moses Brown, a Baptist clergyman attempting to raise funds for the Indian mission. [67]

     However, the scheme failed. He was arrested in the Delaware reserve by a Proslavery party and taken to the camp at Franklin where he was held prisoner several days until the "war" was ended. [63] The treaty of Lawrence, signed on December 9 by Governor Shannon and the Free-State leaders, restored peace temporarily. The prisoners at Franklin were released and partisans of both sides "broke bread" at Lawrence where the women had spent an entire morning preparing food. High feeling, of course, could not so easily be dissipated and considerable antagonism was shown, particularly toward Sheriff Jones, the only Missourian present. However, the meeting passed without accident. [69]

     Both sides realized that the truce effected by the treaty could not last. Senator Atchison, one of the most influential among the Pro-slavery party, had cooperated in the adjustment, but believed that war would come within a year. He said the men of the border counties in Missouri were prepared and he appealed to the Southern states for more men and arms. [70]

     At the same time, December 9, on behalf of the Free-State party the executive committee of the Topeka government sent five delegates to the East "to urge the cause of Kansas upon the people." Seven additional representatives sent

244 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

east on January 16, 1856, were instructed not to ask for contributions of money, but to urge the creation of a fund by the citizens of the various states to be used in defending the Free-Soilers "against foreign invasion" and in protecting their "lives and property from lawless depredations." [71] Pomeroy described the War as a glorious triumph for the Free Staters, since Shannon had sent the government troops back to Missouri and had legalized all the acts of the Lawrence men. But he admitted that the War had cost the Free-State party more than $20,000 and appealed for help in behalf of the "poor soldiers Who have lost everything in defending Lawrence and themselves." [72] A few days after peace Was made Pomeroy Went to Boston. Secretary Webb had Written on December 6 in regard to conditions there and had asked him to come east as soon as possible. [73] He left on December 15, traveling under the name of Sam Clarke and claiming to be a Baptist preacher. [74] Weather conditions made traveling difficult and four days later he had only reached Boonville. In a letter to Webb he remarked that "the War excitement has subsided," and commented that he "never saw a set of men Who felt completely Sold out, as do these Missourians." He had stopped overnight at the City Hotel in Lexington and there he had met the captain of the mounted troop Which captured him two weeks before. The captain insisted that they have a supper together With thirty or forty other officers Who had come to Lexington for court Week. Pomeroy consented and they sat down at eleven o'clock and ate and drank until three in the morning. Pomeroy took occasion to make a forty-five minute speech on the right of the Free Staters to make Kansas free. The slavery men, he wrote, acknowledged that they were beaten and laid all the blame on Governor Shannon, remarking bitterly upon What they considered his pusillanimous conduct. In fact those present voted that "'as Governor Shannon had denied his ever having been presented With a petty coat' Be it `Resolved, that the president of Circle be, and hereby is requested to present him

245 LANGSDORF: POMEROY AND AID COMPANY

one as expressive of our sense of Generalship in the negotiations which terminated the late war in Kansas." [75]

     On December 25 he was in St. Louis. His thoughts had evidently been dwelling on his experiences of the preceding Weeks for he wrote:

all the labor and fatigue, sacrifices and struggles, hopes and fears, and the doubtful, awful suspense can never, never be known. During the five nights I lay only 10 miles from Lawrence, yet could not be there, I vowed in my innermost soul, and sealed it with burning teardrops, that whatever might be the fate of our budding, hopeful City-young and beautiful-I never would surrender, or cease my efforts, till shouts of victorious freemen could go up from every Prairie heighth [sic], and hear the returning echo from every valley deep,-that "Kansas is free, and Missouri is humbled." [76]


(To be concluded in the November Quarterly.)



Notes

1. Papers of the Emigrant Aid Society, Manuscript division, Kansas State Historical Society. Hereafter cited "EAP."
2. "Records of Trustees' Meetings," v. I, pp. 7, 12, 13-15. If Pomeroy ever kept adequate records of his business transactions, they are not included among the papers of the Emigrant Aid Company deposited with the Kansas State Historical Society.
3. Lawrence to Dr. John Day of Kansas City, Mo., September 11, 1854, "EAP," "Copies of Letters of Amos A. Lawrence About Kansas Affairs" (bound volume of typewritten copies in Manuscript division; hereafter cited as "Lawrence Letters").
4. These points will be discussed in greater detail in the November issue of the Quarterly.
5. The Anti-Slavery Record of Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, pp. 3-4, in "Kansas Biographical Pamphlets," v. II. Reliable material on Pomeroy's life before 1854 is almost entirely lacking. This pamphlet was published by the Equal Suffrage Association of the District of Columbia (Washington, D. C., 1866), obviously in support of Pomeroy's campaign for reelection to the United States senate. As such it is factually unreliable, although it is taken over almost verbatim for the biographical sketch of Pomeroy by L. P. Brockett in Men of Our Day (Philadelphia, 1868), pp. 425-433. See, also, National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, v. XII, p. 69; Dictionary of American Biography, v. XV, p. 54; Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1927, p. 1421; and Wm. E. Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (New York and Chicago, 1918), v. III, p. 1219.
6. "The Times of War and Reconstruction: Reminiscences of Hon. S. C. Pomeroy," in "Kansas Biographical Scrap Book," "P," v. VI, pp. 149-150. Hereafter cited "Reminiscences." These reminiscences, written in 1886-1887 when Pomeroy was living in Washington, D. C., and printed in an unidentified newspaper, are filled with inaccuracies and cannot be entirely relied upon.
7. Ibid., p. 150. Anti-Slavery Record, p. 4. The Massachusetts Register, 1852, p. 319.
8. Anti-Slavery Record, pp. 6-7.
9. "Reminiscences," p. 153.
10. Ibid., pp. 153-154. "EAP," copy from original documents kept by a member of the first Massachusetts company, and from the minutes of the meetings of the old Lawrence Association. The Aid Company was to receive one fourth of the lots.
11. "Reminiscences," pp. 106-108, 154. He assisted also in the formation of a Congregational church.
12. Ibid., pp. 152-153.
13. Ibid., pp. 106-107. Pomeroy quotes from the speech as reported by Samuel F. Tappan, a Boston Abolitionist. See following footnote.
14. Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, January 13, 1855. Letter to the editor of the Kansas City (Mo.) Enterprise by S. F. Tappan, Jr.
15. "Reminiscences," pp. 109-110.
16. Cf., F. W. Giles, Thirty Years in Topeka, pp. 21-22. Also Herald of Freedom, January 13, 1855. C. K. Holliday to John Armstrong, November 26, 1883, in "C. K. Holliday Collection," in answer to remarks made by Giles at a meeting of old settlers in celebration of the twenty-eighth anniversary of the founding of Topeka, in Topeka Daily Commonwealth, December 6, 1882.

     This chaotic condition only reflected the situation of the company. 17. Isaac T. Goodnow, "Personal Reminiscences and Kansas Emigration, 1855," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. IV, pp. 246 ff.
18. Webb to Pomeroy, October 30, 1854, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books."
19. Cf., J. C. Malin, "The Proslavery Background of the Kansas Struggle," in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, v. X, p. 294. See Herald of Freedom, January 6 and 20, 1855.
20. Letter from S. F. Tappan, Jr., November 25, in "EAP," "Records of Trustees' Meetings," v. I, p. 54. Cf., letter from Robinson, December 6, in ibid., p. 58.
21. Herald of Freedom, January 6, 1855. webb to Pomeroy, November 6, 1854, in "EAP," "webb Letter Books."
22. Ibid.
23. Webb to Robinson, November 20, 1854, in ibid.
24. Lawrence to Robinson, November 21, in "EAP," "Lawrence Letters." -Cf., same to Pomeroy, September 29: ". . . Money comes in very slowly, and there is hardly anything on hand to meet your drafts, now expected; but they shall be paid.
25. Webb to Robinson November 20 and December 21, 1854, in "EAP," "Webb Letter Books." Also "EAP," "Records of Trustees' Meetings," v. 1, pp. 45-47, 60.
26. S. W. Eldridge, "Recollections of Early Days in Kansas," Publications of the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka, 1920), v. II, p. 13. Also Herald of Freedom, January 27, 1855.
27. Pomeroy to trustees, January 30, 1855, in "EAP," "Records of Trustees' Meetings," p. 66. Pomeroy to executive committee, February 16, in "Records of the Executive Committee," v. I, p. 77. The Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company had been reorganized as the New England Emigrant Aid Company, and on March 5, 1855, five men were chosen to constitute an executive committee, replacing the three trustees. The committee's first weekly meeting was held on March 10. Records of the meetings are continued in the same volume which was used by the trustees.
28. Pomeroy to executive committee, February 16, ibid., pp. 77-78. Same to James Blood, February 3, in "Blood Papers."
29. Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (New York, 1892), p. 88. The change in the park is recorded on the plat of Lawrence.
30. Lawrence to J. M. S. Williams, March 2, in "EAP," "Lawrence Letters."
31. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. 1, pp. 77-78. Pomeroy had secured this site, about twelve miles from Lawrence, from Pascal and Charles Fish. He expected to call the town Wakarusa, and contemplated locating his office there. Apparently the town was never settled. Pomeroy to James Blood, February 3, in "Blood Papers."
32. "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. I, p. 84.
33. Ibid., p. 80.
34. Ibid., pp. 110-111.
35. Ibid., p. 113.
36. Lawrence to Pomeroy, April 18, in "EAP," "Lawrence Letters."
37. Executive committee meeting of April 28, in "Records of Exec. Comm.", v. I, pp. 119-120. It was voted that Pomeroy and Webb might make any personal investments in the claims that they desired, if they were not inconsistent with the interests of the company.
38. Webb to Pomeroy, April 23, in "Webb Letter Books."
39. "Executive Minutes of Governor Reeder," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. III, pp. 260-261.
40. Cf., John H. Gihon, Geary and Kansas. . . With a Complete History of the Territory Until July, 1857 (Philadelphia, 1857), p. 35; John N. Holloway, History of Kansas From the First Exploration of the Mississippi, Valley to Its Admission Into the Union (Lafayette, Ind., 1868), pp. 139-153; Wm. A. Phillips, The Conquest of Kansas, by Missouri and Her Allies (Boston, 1856), pp. 70-82. Cf., Webb to Pomeroy, April 23, in "Webb Letter Books," p. 134.
41. Gihon, op. cit., p. 35. "Executive Minutes," Kansas Historical Collections, v. III, pp. 262-276. Cf., Robinson to E. E. Hale, Lawrence, April 9, 1855, in correspondence.
42. Gihon, op. cit., p. 40. Phillips, op. cit., p. 86. Pomeroy wrote that Reeder defied the threats of the Missourians and "stood up like a man."-National Era, Washington, May 3, 1855.
43. Malin, loc. cit., p. 297, after an investigation of the election in Lawrence precinct, notes that accounts are contradictory. Free-State claims of violence are difficult to substantiate, while failure to provide adequate legal definitions of the qualifications for voting makes any exact measurement of the illegal votes impossible.
44. Webb to Pomeroy, May 14 and 18, 1855, "Webb Letter Books."
45. Pomeroy to Parks, April 24, in "Pomeroy Papers."
46. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. I, p. 128. See, also, Herald of Freedom, April 21, 1855.
47. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. I, pp. 143, 144, 146, 155, 158, 163. Lawrence to Robinson, July 10, in "Lawrence Letters." "Webb Scrap Books," v. IV, p. 209; clipping from Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, July 10, 1855.
48. "EAP," "Records of the Exec. Comm.," v. I (meetings of June 30 and July 21), pp. 156, 163.
49. The treasurer's report at the annual meeting showed a balance on hand of only $344.33-"EAP," "Records of Annual Meetings."
50. Robinson to Webb, Lawrence, July 24, 1855, in correspondence, "EAP."
51. "Lawrence Letters." Leaders of both sides felt that violence was inevitable. Cf., the letter written later in the same year by the Proslavery partisan, Sen. David R. Atchison of Missouri: ". . I do not see how we are to avoid civil war: come it will. Twelve months will not elapse before war-civil war of the fiercest kind will be upon us. -Quoted by Malin, loc. cit., p. 300.
52. "Lawrence Letters."
53. Isaac T. Goodnow, "Personal Reminiscences and Kansas Emigration, 1855," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. IV, p. 252.
54. Cf., Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (New York, 1892), pp, 169-170. Reeder had been removed from office and Daniel Woodson, secretary of the territory, was acting governor until the arrival of the new appointee, Wilson Shannon of Ohio.
55. Herald of Freedom, August 18. Also John Speer, Life of General James H. Lane, "The Liberator of Kansas" (Garden City, 1896), pp. 39-40. Speer says (p. 41): "General Pomeroy, a man of talent, . . . stood aghast at the temerity of that brave assembly " in defying the legislature.
56. Correspondence, "EAP."
57. Whitfield was the Proslavery candidate for territorial delegate to congress.
58. Correspondence, "EAP." Letter cited in Footnote No. 56.
59. "EAP," correspondence.
60. "EAP'," "Lawrence Letters," p. 98.
61. Pomeroy, "Reminiscences," p. 114.
62. Gihon, op. cit., p. 44.
63. This statement is an assumption based on the entry for December 8, in the diary of Mrs. Asahel G. Allen, of near Fort Riley. A circular from Lawrence had been received, she wrote, signed by "Dr. Roberson and others," and asking help in defending their rights. "A collision is expected at Lawrence." (The diary is in the possession of the Kansas State Historical Society.)
64. Speer, op. cit., pp. 60-61.
65. [Mrs. Hannah A. Ropes], Six Months in Kansas. By a Lady. (Boston, 1856), pp. 131-133. This melodramatic story is generally corroborated by Phillips, op. cit., pp, 199-202, and Sara T. D. Robinson, "The Wakarusa War," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. X, pp. 465-466.
66. Sarah Robinson, loc. cit., p. 466.
67. "Reminiscences," pp. 100-101, 113; Ropes, op. cit., p. 132; Phillips, op. cit., p. 229; Holloway, op. cit., p. 241.
68. G. Douglas Brewerton, The War in Kansas . . . (New York, 1856), pp. 81-86.
69. (Ropes], op. cit., pp. 142-146.
70. "Reminiscences," p. 114. Cf., Malin, loc. cit., pp. 299-301.
71. "The Topeka Movement," in Kansas Historical Collections, v. XIII, pp. 148, 150, 152, cited by Ralph V. Harlow, "The Rise and Fall of the Kansas Aid Movement," in American Historical Review, v. XLI, No. 1 (October, 1935), p. 8.
72. Pomeroy to - -, Kansas, Mo., December 12; in "EAP," "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. I, pp. 223-224.
73. Ibid., p. 214.
74. Brewerton, op. cit., pp. 79-81. See, also, pp. 81-86. Brewerton met Pomeroy at Lexington, Mo., on December 16, and describes him as a "burly, black-smithy looking dark-complexioned individual, the cynosure of every eye. He adds that as far as the alias was concerned Pomeroy might have spared himself the trouble, for a great many men there recognized him.

75. Pomeroy to Webb, Boonville, Mo., December 19; in correspondence, "EAP."

76. Pomeroy to - -, St. Louis, Mo., December 25; in "Records of Exec. Comm.," v. 11, pp. 11-12.


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