Robert J. Walker’s Acceptance of the Governship of Kansas.
WASHINGTON, Thursday, March 26, 1857.
My DEAR SIR: I have, at your request, reconsidered my determination, as announced to you, declining your tender of the office of Governor of the Territory of Kansas. In view of the opinion now presented by you, that the safety of the Union may depend upon the selection of the individual to whom shall be assigned the task of settling the difficulties which again surround the Kansas question, I have concluded that a solemn sense of duty to my country requires me to accept this position. I am brought to this conclusion with an unaffected diffidence in my own ability, but with a fervent hope that the same overruling Providence which has carried my beloved country through so many perils will now attend and direct my humble efforts for her welfare, and that my course will not be prejudged by any portion of my fellow-citizens, in or out of Kansas.
I understand that you, and all your cabinet, cordially concur in the opinion expressed by me, that the actual bona fide residents of the Territory of Kansas, by a fair and regular vote, unaffected by fraud or violence, must be permitted, in adopting their State constitution, to decide for themselves what shall be their social institutions. This is the great fundamental principle of the act of Congress organizing that Territory, affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and is in accordance with the views uniformly expressed by me through out my public career. I contemplate a peaceful settlement of this question by an appeal to the intelligence and patriotism of the whole people of Kansas, who should all participate, freely and fully, in this decision, and by a majority of whose votes the determination must be made, as the only proper and constitutional mode of adjustment.
I contemplate no appeal to military power, in the hope that my countrymen of Kansas, from every section, will submit to a decision of this matter by a full and fair vote of a majority of the people of that Territory. If this decision cannot thus be made, I see nothing in the future for Kansas but civil war, extending its baneful influence throughout the country, and subjecting the Union itself to imminent hazard.
I will go, then, and endeavor thus to adjust these difficulties, in the full confidence so strongly expressed by you that I will be sustained by all your own high authority, with the co-operation of all your cabinet.
As it will be impossible for me to leave for Kansas before the second Monday of May next, I would desire my appointment to take effect from that date.
Very respectfully, your friend,
R. J. WALKER
JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States.