Kansas Affairs

    Source citation
    “KANSAS AFFAIRS,” New York Times, 16 September 1857, p. 8.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Times
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    Kansas Affairs
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    Patrick Sheahan
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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.


    Political Movements – The Approaching ----tions - Murders, Lynching, & c.


    Kansas is now over head and ---- in the excitement of a political campaign carried on with extraordinary vim and vigor. Meetings are being held by both parties all over the Territory. PARROTT and RANSOM, the respective candidates for Congressional delegates of the Republicans and the National Democrats, have speaking appointments that make lists nearly half a yard long, for the interval before the election in October. Large Democratic meetings have recently been held at Leavenworth, Wyandotte and Osawkee. That at Leavenworth had nearly ended in bloodshed. Gen. CALHOUN, (the Surveyor-General of Kansas and Nebraska, and one of the most influential leaders of the conservative Democracy,) got into an altercation with Mr. PARROTT, the Republican candidate, who was on the platform with him, and wound up by running at him with his uplifted cane, but the bystanders rushed in and quelled the difficulty before any personal violence was done. The meeting at Wyandotte was held last Monday night, and such a scene of confusion, turnout and disturbance, has, it is said, been rarely seen. RANSOM made one of his best speeches, DELAHAY, of the Wyandotte Register, replied, and WEER, the United States District Attorney, answered DELAHAY. The meeting at Osawkee was held yesterday is compliance with one of RANSOM’S appointments, and was, it is said, a very respectable gathering. Of the Free-State meetings it would be impossible to keep any account. They follow one another so rapidly, that the party may be said to be holding a sort of protracted session.

    A meeting of the settlers on the magnificent strip of timber-land that borders the northeastern bank of the Kansas River at Lecomptom, was held on Monday last for the purpose of devising measures whereby Government may be induced to extend to them the right of preemption. The title in these lands has long been a matter in dispute. They comprise about 90 quarter sections, each of which has long been occupied by a squatter. They have been a tantalizing morsel to many a speculator, and involved Gov. Reeder in a difficulty with the Pierce Administration. The Government originally set them apart as a life-estate for certain 90 Kaw half-breeds named in the instrument of cession, but as most if not all of those half-breeds have since died, the questions now remains to be settled whether the title rests with the tribe collectively, or reverts to the Government. The squatters are very desirous to convince themselves the title is in the Government, because they know perfectly well that if the decisions be otherwise, they must pull up stakes instanter. Acting on some very judicious advice from Col. YOUNG the meeting appointed a Committee to take a census of all the settlers and communicate with Gen. DENVER, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, on the propriety of bringing the tract within the operation of the preemption laws. A Committee was also appointed to wait on Congress and urge the same course of action. The meeting adjourned to meet again to-morrow.

    In the interval Gen. DENVER has visited Lecompton, on his way to Nebraska to make a treaty with the Pawnee Indians, and attend to other official business of importance. After a brief interview with GOVERNOR WALKER, and a short night’s rest, he starts off on his journey, without even seeing Mr. STANTON, the new Superintendent of Indian affairs.

    The land office is now open, and busily engaged in registering claims. The litigation as to the Lawrence property is nearly if not actually concluded. So far as the taking of testimony is concerned, and the papers are ready for transmission to the department for judgment.

    Governor WALKER has exchanged a Company of the Dragoons under his orders at Lawrence with Gen. Harney, for Major SHERMAN’S battery and artillery Company, which arrived at Camp Cooke to-day. A grand review of the troops before the Governor, is to occur on Sunday morning.

    The rumor so extensively circulated in the early part of the current week in Lecompton, and so unhesitatingly believed, to the effect that a soldier had been shot by a citizen at Lawrence on Saturday night last, was a falsehood. A difficulty took place between a soldier and a citizen at the time designated, but no harm was done to or by either.

    A very serious accident did occur to one of the soldiers yesterday. Being late for parade and greatly hurried and agitated, his revolver exploded whilst he was placing it in his belt, and the ball passed through his left side, making a dangerous wound.

    Young EDWARDS, who was arrested in Lawrence on Sunday last for stabbing his cousin in Tecumseh, in a brawl arising out of a card-playing, during the previous week, was brought before Judge CATO on Thursday, and a preliminary examination into the circumstances of the affray was held, in order to warrant the Judge in deciding whether or not the accused could be admitted to bail. The evidence showed pretty conclusively that he had acted in self-defense, and he was admitted to bail in $2,000 for his appearance to stand his trail when called on. The wounded man was not dead on the day of the investigation, and some hopes were entertained of his recovery.

    Another serious deplorable stabbing affray happened here in Lecompton on Wednesday night. Whilst a very pleasant party of ladies and gentlemen, the elite of Lecompton and its neighborhood, were enjoying themselves at a ball in the American Hotel, a crowd of drunken fellows got into a dispute in the bar-room, and one of them stabbed a young man, named BAILEY, twice in the back, inflicting two dangerous, and, probably mortal wounds. Poor BAILEY was a young man of excellent habits, mild temper, and unoffending manners. His only offense seems to have been an endeavor to entice away from the crowd a friend, who had previously got into a difficulty, and remove him from further risk of violence or danger. BAILEY was an uncompromising Free-State Democrat, but the fray is said to have originated in no political feeling.

    In passing up the main street of Lecompton the other day I was surprised to see everybody out of doors, shading his eyes with his hand and gazing intently into the sky. I looked up, and right in the face of the sun saw passing over it with great rapidity, at an elevation of perhaps 200 feet from the ground, what, but for the heat of the day I would have instantly declared to be a thick snow shower driven laterally by the wind. The whole sky overhead seemed to be alive with white particles of glittering dust, as thick as the m---- in a -------. It was a flight of grasshoppers on their mission of d---------- southwards. Rising late in the morning when the heat of the sun has accumulated, they fly during the hottest hours of the day and at evening alight, spend the night in devouring every green thing on the spot when they descend, and resume their flight next morning. For several hours of two days in succession they swept over Lecompton in countless ------------. Heaven help the unfortunate settlers -- -------- crops they alighted.

    Preparations are being made to provide accommodation for the members of the Constitutional Convention which meets here on Monday next. Great interest is felt in their proceedings, and speculation is rite as to the probably result. I am perfectly satisfied that their action will be greatly influenced by the October election, which will be decided before the Convention terminates its labors. The submission of the Constitution to the popular vote is regarded as an absolute certainty.

    P. S. – 10 o’clock P. M. – I have just received a special dispatch from Leavenworth City, informing me of another murder being committed there, the organization of another mob, and probably another ease of lunching. The body of a murdered man was found dead on Wednesday morning last near the old mill. The deceased was not recognized. Search was made for the murderer or murderers, but in vain. Last night a young man left his friends at the Planter’s House to return to his home. He was obliged to pass the spot where the murder had been committed, and, as he approached it, a sensation of indetinable dread seized him and he returned to the hotel. Having prevailed on several of his acquaintances to accompany him back, he again set out. When the party reached the spot they heard a suspicious noise in a shed that was near them. They entered it in a body, and found a man who was asleep, or pretended to be asleep, rolled up in straw in a corner of the floor. On awaking him they discovered his face and clothes to be besprinkled with blood. They immediately seized him as the murderer of the man whose corpse had been found on the day before, hurried him up to the calaboose, put a rope round his neck and threatened to hang him on the spot if he did not confess to the crime and name his associates. He admitted that he had committed the murder, stated certain details, and implicated a couple of well-known gamblers and blackguards as his accomplices. They were immediately arrested. A Committee of Vigilance was appointed, consisting of fifty of the most respectable citizens, to investigate the murder. The mob surrounded the calaboose, struggling to rescue the prisoner, and hang him, but General EASTIN, the Chairman of the counsel, endeavored to appease them for the moment and succeeded. Next morning (this morning) the first prisoner, whose name is Gordon, was brought before a magistrate and interrogated as to his knowledge of the murder. He denied having any knowledge of it whatever, and asseverated that the declaration to the contrary which he had made on the pervious night had been extorted from him by fear of being hung, and was made on the express stipulation that no injury should befall him until the matter had been legally investigated. He was recommitted to jail, and another attempt was made by an infuriated crowd to rescue him and hang him. Thy were again prevailed and peacefully withdrew. It was states to my correspondent, on the authority of a member to he nation before the magistrate, Gordon had made a written acknowledgment that he was the murderer, and it was said that he would certainly be hung before night. That, I am disposed to think, was a canard. Public opinion is divided on the question of his guilt.
    P. H. C.

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