The Kansas Troubles - Sherrard's death

    Source citation
    “The Kansas Troubles,” New York Daily Times, 13 March 1857, p. 4.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Times
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    The Kansas Troubles
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    Date Certainty
    Leah Suhrstedt
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    The Kansas Troubles.

    We have, at last, authentic reports from Kansas of the cause and incidents of the difficulty which led to the death of SHERRARD, which has already been announced. It seems that by the laws of Kansas any vacancy which may happen in the office of Sheriff is to be “filled by appointment by the tribunal transacting county business, for the unexpired term;”- and it is further provided that “the Governor shall commission all officers appointed under the laws of the Territory.” On the 16th of December S. J. JONES resigned his office as Sheriff of Douglas County, and WM. T. SHERRARD was appointed “by the tribunal transacting county business” to fill the vacancy. He called on the Governor for his commission, and according to his own statement the Governor promised to send it to him, although he is said to have inquired whether he would act against him, or not. Not receiving the commission Mr. SHERRARD wrote to him threatening to sue out a mandamus to compel him to issue it. In reply to a resolution from the house and Governor stated that he had refused the commission on account of the personal habits and turbulent character of Mr. SHERRARD,- and that he was instructed by the General Government not to commission any one who might be unfit for the proper discharge of official duties. In another column we give the official account of these differences and also a sworn statement of the incidents of the affray which resulted in SHERRARD’S death.

    So far as we can judge from the evidence thus far received, GOV. GEARY’S refusal to issue the Commission was in violation of the technical terms of the law, which leave him no discretion, and make his act purely ministerial. But in the critical condition of affairs in the Territory, if he had reason to believe that such an appointment would lead to renewed disturbances, and thwart his efforts for the restoration of peace, the Governor did right in exercising whatever authority a liberal construction of the law would give him, to defeat it. He is responsible for the peace of the Territory. The laws are in the hands of the violent faction, and are made far more to suit their purposes than to promote the peace and prosperity of the country. And it is plan enough, from the statements given, that political and party motives controlled their action, and prompted the appointment, which the Governor refused to sanction.

    JONES, who shot SHERRARD, in the subsequent affray, has been committed for trial, and there can be little doubt that representations of the Governor’s action will be sent to Washington, designed to induce his removal. Before such a step is taken, however, we presume the President will require proof of more serious derelictions than are yet alleged to have been committed.

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