Interesting from Kansas

    Source citation
    “Interesting From Kansas,” New York Daily Times, 8 May 1857, p. 1.
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    New York Times
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    Interesting from Kansas
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    Scott Ackerman
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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.
    Interesting From Kansas

    The Proposition of the Free-State Men in regard to the Election
    Lawrence, Kansas, Monday April 27th

    The substance of the reception of Secretary Stanton was given in my last, but on the following day the proposition from our citizens to the Secretary was reduced to writing and will be sent to him Lecompton to-day. I have copied it as follows:

    Lawrence, Saturday, April 25th, 1857

    Hon. F.P. Stanton, Acting Governor of Kansas Territory:

    Dear Sir: In your address to the people of Lawrence last evening, we understood you to say in substance, that you would enforce the laws enacted by a legislature elected by the people of the adjoining State, until they should be repealed; also, if the laws are unjust or distasteful, our remedy is the ballot-box. History has indelibly recorded the fact, which Gen. McClean admitted in our presence last evening, that the ballot-box was taken from the people of Kansas Territory on the 30th March, 1855, and has not to this day been returned. From that time until the present, the people have had no voice whatever in making laws, or selecting officers to administer them, notwithstanding the world-wide declaration by the Administration at Washington and its friends elsewhere, that the people should be perfectly free to regulate their own institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

    We are now invited to participate in an election of delegates to a convention, to meet September next, to frame a Constitution and a State Government. We are told that the election law is a good one; that the voice of the actual settlers can be heard at the polls and that justice will be meted out to all parties. We regret that the past conduct of the officers to superintend this election has not been such as to permit us to believe that they will secure a fair vote of the people, and the fact that many well known citizens in Kansas are omitted from the registry list, and that as well know citizens and residents of Missouri are registered, is conclusive proof to us that a fair election is not intended and will not be permitted by the officers who have thus far had the matter in charge. But if a fair election is intended, notwithstanding the body of men calling it was not elected by the people of Kansas, and notwithstanding the people who have already framed a Constitution of which a large majority approve, we, the undersigned, are willing to overlook the past and go into the election of Delegates to a Constitutional Convention, should a Convention of the people of Kansas convene, if the following course will be adopted by the officers of the election, to wit:

    First, Two persons shall be selected in each township or district to correct the registry list, one by the Pro-Slavery and one by the Free-State Party, who shall proceed in company to take the consensus and register all legal voters, and the probate judges shall correct the first lists, and the appointment of delegates shall be made according to the returns thus made.

    Second: Four judges of elections shall be selected for each voting precinct, two by the Pro-Slavery and two by the Free-State Party, and the names of three of said judges shall be required to a certificate of election to entitle a person to a seat in the Convention.

    We think that your Excellency will at once will perceive that some such course must be pursued to correct the list, or no correction can be made. We are informed by credible reports that in some districts, non-residents to the number of thousands have already been registered, while actual Free-State settlers have been refused, and how also can the lists be corrected than by a retaking of the consensus by some person or persons who have been required for an oath? Testimony of a negative character can avail nothing, and to obtain positive testimony with reference to the residence of these enlisted from another State, would be impossible in the short time remaining before the election.

    That you have the power to take any course you may think proper, to secure a fair election, we have no doubt. It is not material that the letter of the law calling the election should be strictly followed; indeed, no law at all is requisite, so that the will of the majority of the people can be ascertained. Congress can give legality to a Constitution formed in accordance with a previous Territorial act, or without one; and we trust your Excellency will restore the ballot-box to the people of Kansas, in all its purity, at any risk of informality on minor and non-essential provisions of the election regulations.

    Very respectfully, your obedient servants,

    C. Robinson, G.W. Smith,
    Wm. Hutchinson, Geo. F. Eable,
    Edmund Clark, Joseph Crooklin,
    Ephraim Nute Jr, G. Jennings,
    John Hutchinson, J.S. Emery,
    G.C. Braomett, John Wakefield,
    E.D. Ladd, J.A. Finley.
    C.W. Babcock
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