Acting-Governor Station and the Free-State Party of Kansas-An Important Statement

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    “Acting-Governor Station and the Free-State Party of Kansas-An Important Statement,” New York Daily Times, 12 May 1857, p. 1.
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    Acting-Governor Station and the Free-State Party of Kansas-An Important Statement
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    Scott Ackerman
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    Acting-Governor Station and the Free-State Party of Kansas-An Important Statement

    To the Editor of the New York Daily Times:

    As the proposition of Governor Robinson and other Free State men to Mr. Secretary Stanton, seems the cause of different judgments on the part of our Eastern friends, an explanation of the causes which produced that proposition may aid in the formation of correct opinions concerning it.

    The writer hereof was present at Lawrence during Mr. Stanton’s speech, and heard it all; and participated in the conversations which ensued between him and the citizens during the same evening and the following morning. Hence, what I shall here state will be given of my own knowledge, and will also be substantiated by various others cognizant of the same facts.

    The most important of these facts is this: that Gov. Robinson’s proposition was the result of Mr. Stanton’s own suggestion. During the supper which followed the out-door suspense, Gen. McLean admitted that the law providing for the election of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention, had been framed with great care to ruin the Free-State Party; knowing, to use his own words, that by it “we have you dead!” Afterwards he attempted to account for this ruinous anticipated defeat, by the great numerical superiority of the Pro-Slavery Party in Kansas. So absurd a statement drew out a bust of good humored ridicule; and amidst the excitement, Acting Governor Stanton inquired of Gov. Robinson and others whether they were willing to make a fair trial of strength, if a chance were offered. The reply unhesitatingly was “yes” “What,” said Mr. Stanton, would satisfy you?” “An honest version of the census list, and half the judges of election,” was the reply. The plan proposed in Gov. Robinson’s letter was then timenoned; he approved that part relating to the census, and he thought the other might be satisfactorily arranged. He was told that he had not the power to secure these changes; but expressed himself confidant that his influence would suffice. At his own request, the proposition was reduced to writing; and as he had left Lawrence before its completion, it was sent to him at Lecompton.

    During the next morning, in conversation, he reiterated his confidence in being able to secure the cooperation of the Sheriff’s and Pronate Judges in this plan, and left town with the apparent expectation of receiving and acting on the proposal..

    Knowing all this, you may imagine my astonishment at the tone and character of Mr. Stanton’s answer. I had no faith in the success of the plan, but I did not look to see him so unhesitatingly and disingenuously ignore the whole offspring of his own wish, and coolly assume him to instruct his memorialists in the very principles of law and matters of fact which they had taught him a short time before. He was told that he would not be allowed to execute any such plan, at the same time that its proposal was yielded to his earnest entreaties; yet here we have him imparting to his correspondents the very ideas he would not receive from them!

    But the cause is clear; having found, on returning to Lecompton, that his friends the “Free-State Democrats,” (Sheriff Jones, Judge Wood, Gen. Calhoun, &c.,) would allow no such tinkering of their just and fair Convention Law-which it is the confessedly special policy of Mr. Buchanan to see “executed”-Mr. Stanton was obliged to retrace his steps in the earliest way, and chose this path.
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