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along river-bank, down stream; get into de water by dem trees, and push ober to de mud bank (pointing to the great ridge of slime which festers in front of Leavenworth when the water runs low); there wait till morning, looking at the stars ob heaven and de lights in dese houses all about; and when daylight cone, creep out of de rushes and wade ober to the levee.”
“Then you were free ?” Sam answers with a smile.
“Had you any help in your escape from men on this side of the river ?"—the slaves had always good friends in Kansas.
“No sar ; me get no help to 'scape; for me neber tell no one ; 'cause me neber know afore the moment when me slip away. The Lord put it in my head. Me Methodist sar; most nigger boy in Missouri Methodist; me just come home from chapel, tinking of the wonderful ways of de Lord, when some one say, close in my ear, “rise up, Sam; run away and be a man.' It was de voice of de Lord; I know it well. At first I not see what to do; me tink it quite wrong to run away and steal myself from boss—twelve hundred dollars. tink it must be right to obey de voice ob de Lord, for me belong more to de Lord than to boss, and den I slip away into de woods."
“ Of course you were followed ?"
“Yes, sar,” says Sam, putting the last of his fine flourishes upon my face; “boss come over into Leavenworth, where he find me in de street. "Come here you d-d nigger,' he say, pulling out his revolver, and catching me by the neck. He got a boat all ready; den some people come up. “You let dat nigger alone,' say one: Put a knife into de d-d nigger,' say another. Den come a big row; dey fight for me all day, and my side win.”
The date of this little history was six short years ago. Missouri, the fertile State beyond the river, the forests of which I have before me as I write, was then a slave State, with a sparse but fiery population of slave-breeders and slave-dealers. Nine years before that time—that is to say, so late as 1851, when the world was gathering for its jubilee of progress in Hyde Park—all this wide region lying westward of the Missouri, from the river bank to the Rocky Mountains was without a name. A host of wild Indian tribes, Kansas, Cheyennes, Arappahoes, hunted over the great plains ; following the elk, the buffalo, the antelope, to their secret haunts. Two great lines of travel had been cut through the prairies; one leading southward to Santa Fé in New Mexico, the other running westward, by the Platte River, towards Salt Lake and San Francisco; but the country was still an Indian hunting-ground, in which the white man could not lawfully reside. Half a dozen forts had been thrown up by the Government in this Indian country-Fort Bent, Fort Laramie, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Calhoun, Old Fort—but rather with a view to guarding the red man's rights than to helping the white traveller and trader in their need. But while the people of all nations were assembling in Hyde Park, and wondering at the magnificent country which had even then to be represented by an empty space, a swarm of settlers crossed the Missouri on rafts and in canoes, seized upon the bluffs between Fort Calhoun and Fort Leavenworth, threw up camps of log-huts, staked out the finest patches of land, especially those on the banks of creeks and pools, and so laid the foundation of what are now the populous and flourishing towns of Omaha, Nebraska, Atchison, and Leavenworth-cities of the free territory of Nebraska, of the free State of Kansas.
Then commenced along the whole line of the Missouri River that fitful sanguinary strife, which earned for this region the mourning epithet of bleeding Kansas. It lasted six years, and was a prelude to the Civil War.
Lawrence and Leavenworth were the results of this battle, of which Sam's little story may be taken as a sample.
Every one is aware that in the great fend between the free-soilers and the slaveholders of America, a truce had been made in 1820, which is known in history as the Missouri Compromise; by which act it was arranged between the parties that Slavery should never be introduced into any western region lying beyond 36° 30' of north latitude, excepting into such portion of Missouri as happened to stand above that line. For thirty years that truce held good, and even when the war of freedom raged against Slavery on other fields, the Missouri Compromise was respected in the West. As the final conflict neared, the two parties in the struggle showed an equal discontent with that act of truce. The slaveowners in Missouri, having an exceptional advantage in their State of settling with their slaves above the prohibited line, desired to carry their domestic institution backward through the country in their rear to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, even if they should not be able to carry it thence to the Pacific Ocean. All the South went with them in their plans, though their action was in open conflict with the law. Secret societies sprang up in many States—Blue Lodges, Social Bands, Sons of the South, and many more, all pledged to aid these planters in carrying Slavery westward of the Missouri River, in the teeth of their own compromise, in violation of their own truce.
The slaveholders of Missouri won one victory without a shot, in quietly—by a local act, which attracted no attention either in Boston or in New York--extending their own frontier westward, from the line drawn north and south through Kansas City, up to that of the river bank; adding six large and now populous counties to their State, and consequently to the area of the slave empire. This act was absolutely illegal: but no one in the Eastern cities noted it until the bills effecting the change had become law, and the district had been peopled with masters and their slaves. The game appeared to be wholly in their hands. From this new slave soil, which lies on the opposite bank, in front of my window, Blue Lodges Social Bands, and Sons of the South streamed over into these Delaware reserves, into these Kansas hunting-grounds; each boss, accompanied by his sons and his negroes, proceeding to help himself to the choicest lots. From St. Louis to New Orleans, their courage was applauded, their success predicted. In Washington, the slave-dealing Senators, instead of calling these Missourian planters to account, and carrying out the law against them, suutained them in this outrage on the Free States. By a course of partizan agitations, they procured a fresh compromise, in which it was agreed that the question of Slavery should be referred back, generally, to the people of any unorganized country claiming to come within the Union either as a Territory or as a State. Such an act was supposed by the planters of Missouri and Kentucky to be an open declaration that Kansas and Nebraska were to be organized as slave territories. But now, New England came into the field. The conversion of Nebraska from free soil into slave soil would have carried the line of Slavery. in the western country, as high north as Boston ! A Northern Emigrant Aid Society was founded in Massachusetts ; sturdy farmers, fervent professors, youthful poets, yoked horses to their wagons, and pushed across the continent toward the Missouri, sworn to settle on the new Indian lands, to accept the compromise of Congress, and, in their quality of free citizens, to vote a free constitution for Kansas. The Blue Lodges were already hutted at Leavenworth and Atchison ; and when the first New Englander crossed the stream, being unable to answer these sentinels that he owned any niggers, they placed him in an open boat, without food, without oars, and sent him floating down the river amid derisive shouts and threats. А meeting of Sons of the South was called in Westport, on the Kansas border, but within the limits of Missouri, at which, after fiery eloquence, the following resolution was carried :
“That this Association will, whenever called upon by any of the citizens of Kansas Territory, hold itself in readiness together to assist and remove any and all immigrants who go there under the auspices of the Northern Emigrant Aid Society."
The Squatter Sovereign, a news sheet published in the town of Atchison (founded and named by David Atchison, Senator of Missour put forth in an early number this declaration of the planters.
“We will continue to lynch and hang, tar and feather, and drown, any white-livered abolitionist who dares to pollute our soil.”
In July, 1854, thirty New England free-soilers crossed the river in open boats; they were well armed, and brought with them tents and provisions. Pushing up the Kansas River they rested at the foot of a fine bluff in the midst of a rolling prairie, covered with flowers. Pitching their tents and beginning to fell wood for shanties, they called the place at which they camped the City of Lawrence, from the name of their popular purse-holder. In August they were joined by seventy more, men like themselves, well-armed and resolute, prepared to found that city and to free that soil. Now had arrived the time for the Missouri men to shew their spirit; a hundred Yankees, separated from their friends by six great States, had come into their midst, daring them to carry out their threat of either hanging, lynching, or drowning everyone who should cross into Kansas without a negro slave in his train. Three hundred and fifty Sons of the South took horse, dashed over the shallow stream, and, having early in the morning formed a camp and thrown out pickets, sent word into Lawrence that these new settlers must quit the territory promising never to return. Three hours were given the freesoilers in which to pack their things and get ready to march. A Yankee bugle summoned the immigrants to arms; a civil but decisive answer was returned to the Missouri camp and when the Sons of the South perceived that the Yankees were ready for the fray, and would be likely to fight it out so long as a man could hold his peice, they began to suspect each other, to doubt the goodness of their carbines, and to steal away. Dusk found ftheir camp much thinned ; dawn found it broken up and gone.
From that day Lawrence has grown and prospered. More than once it has fallen into Missourian hands, and the marks of grape and canister are seen upon some of its buildings; but its free-soil people have never been driven out, and it is now a charming little city, with the brightness of a New England town. It is the capital of a free State.
In these streets of Leavenworth many a fierce battle has been fought; the Sons of the South living close at hand, in a score of villages on yon wooded banks. Blood has been shed in almost every lane, especially at the voting times, when thousands of the Missourians used to come across in boats, take possession of the polling booths: and return an overwhelming but fictitious majority in favour of a slave constitution. One good citizen, William Phillips, an advocate, was seized by Sons of the South for having signed a protest, as a lawyer, against the frauds which had disgraced the election; was forced into a boat and pulled up the river to Weston, on the Missouri side, where he was first tarred and feathered, then ridden on a rail, afterward put up to auction as a slave, and finally knocked down, amid frantic yells and menaces to a negro buyer. On his escape from Weston, Phillips returned to Leavenworth ; resolute in his free-soil faith, and ready for the post of danger in every fray.
In another week from this date, it will be just ten years since a gang of Blue Lodges started from the opposite bank, landed on this levee, took possession of the town, which lay com. pletely at their mercy for many hours, and under pretence of searching for arms—an utterly illegal search on their part—plundered and insulted the free-soilers in every house. Phillips refused to allow these fellows to come inside his door, on which the house was attacked and its owner killed. Before he fell, Phillips had shot two of his assailants dead. His house was burned to the ground, along with many other dwellings; and every free-soiler who could be found in Leavenworth was put on board a steamer and sent down the river.
Yet the New Englanders rallied to their flag, with growing numbers and glowing passions, becoming genuine settlers on the land, which the Missouri men were not. Here, and elsewhere, it has been shown that Slavery, as a social system, lacked the solid fibre of a coloni. zing power. Slaves could not work the prairie land to profit; negroes toiling under a master's eye and whip, required the rich soils of Mississippi and Alabama. With a pistol in one hand, a hoe in the other, these stout New Hampshire and Massachusetts lads fought on, toiled on, not only until they had gained a fair majority in the ballot boxes, but won a full ascendancy in the open field.
One of the comic incidents of this war was the battle of Black Jack, when Captain Clay Pate
(ominous name!), a Virginian, who gave himself airs as a professional soldier, put himself at the head of fifty-six Sons of the South, and threatened to eat up old John Brown of Osawatomie (afterward, unhappily, of Harper's Ferry), and his band of twenty-seven free-soilers. Pate had organized his force like a little army, with its horse and foot, its camp equipage, and its luggage train; and having just then been plundering Palmyra, a free-soil city, his baggage mules were heavily laden with the spoils of war. Brown made a fair fight by going ont in the open plains. After a lusty tug, Clay Pate surrendered to the tough old fellow -himself, with his sword, his luggage train, all the spoils of Palmyra, twenty-one hale men, the whole of his dead and wounded, and his gorgeous tent. - In 1861, a few months after these citizens of Leavenworth had fought the battle for my friend Sam on this levee under my windows, the wounds of bleeding Kansas were stanched and healed by her admission into the Union as a free State.
BRITISH INFLUENCE. The most potent influence that can be exerted by our country is that which is the most benign. The British fleet may bombard the ports of a foreign shore, or strike terror into the defenceless tribes along the coast, leaving behind a track of desolation and misery ; but the force to penetrate the interior—to attract rather than repel—to inspire confidence, and to introduce the blessings of civilization must be exerted by an agency of very different character. The proofs of this transforming power are not wanting in regions of the globe that for ages seemed to be in hopeless barbarism. The advantages arising from social renovation cannot be overestimated. Where changes of this kind have been permanently effected in the character and condition of the people, by the instrumentality alone fitted to secure them, furnished from various associations in our native land, the name of Great Britain has been held in the highest admiration. Millions of feeble and oppressed people have been made to feel that it was to them a talisman of protection and a star of hope. The indications are too numerous and painful to leave us to doubt that in many places this interest in our country has been altogether lost or that it is sadly on the wane. We have before us recent correspondence from the African Coast, and we read lines like the following :—“ We have lost all faith in the British Government through their bad Governors.” “King Aggery has been taken to Sierra Leone. Up to the date of his removal, he was doomed to opposition injustice and injury at the hands of the British representative authorities here. To say nothing of things like the attack made by officers and men of the 4th West India Regiment upon the natives here, British Government officials, as if under no Government, had only recently to make their way into the king's prison, release the prisoners, attempt to take copies of the records of the king's Court, and capture such natives as were regarded to have been in the way of their British Government officials. These were things which impelled the King to write to the adminis trator to the effect that if it was meant that the king and people should, from such singular treatment, be provoked to acts such as characterized the scenes in Jamaica, the administrator was mistaken, but that the king would rather refer
the matter to the (mother) government of England—and that if the administrator would drive the king and people to desperation, he, the administrator, should not be unprepared to bear the responsibility. One day after the receipt of the letter, Mr. Usher and two military officers with scarcely a dozen constables and soldiers went to the king's house to take him. The king offered no resistance himself 1 and even commanded all his subjects to refrain from rescuing him by dint of
The over-excitement (of the moment) of the people was thus cooled by! a few words the king uttered as he passed along the streets leading to the Castle. He walked with that nobility that christianity alone accords, and he inspired almost every spectator with feelings before perhaps unknown to them. At this moment it is on the lips of every native that the King of kings will protect the innocent and no more permit might to pass for right.” “ The cry of the nation is great and he that is just and right is appealed to for vindication and deliverance."* Under the British sceptre are untold millions whose colour and complexion differ from that of the people of the mother country. The men who have gained for the nation the highest honour in the remote parts of the empire lost sight of the different hue of these countless tribes in their warm and enlightened human sympathy and sense of right. Within the last few years there has been a sad deterioration in this respect. Young men who have passed their competetive examination for foreign service seem to regard the slang of contempt for the coloured races as an accomplishment and as an indication of spirit.
Negrophobia in its worst type has entered some of our mission schools. The consequences are not far to seek. Of course there is a decay of the missionary spirit; and many who venture into the field prefer to keep within the range of European society in large cities. We ought to take warning from the condition of the white population of the southern states of America. In many districts of Virginia, the black labour they despised is fast leaving them. They now dread the migration of freedmen, and with neglected estates, desolate homes, and bankrupt fortunes, they must starve or work for themselves for subsistence. We feel the deepest concern that this cancer in the heart of the nation may not spread, lest it should paralyze the arm that should be vigorous to defend—and ever ready to help and relieve. We believe there are signs or a return to a more healthy feeling. It must not be forgotten that the real friends of the freedmen are comparatively few and that this is just the time for strenuous effort that our society may live through the time of indifference and prejudice, and be prepared for the glorious work yet to be achieved. One combined and noble effort may save all we desire to preserve.
* We have the satisfaction to state that Governor Blackall has been recalled, and King Aggery liberated on parole.