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National Debate About Kansas

National Debate About Kansas > Issues and Ideas > Pro-slavery perspective
4 Topic Specific Items
Resolutions, Legislature of South Carolina, House and Senate [1849]
Author: South Carolina, House of Representatives
Date: February 12, 1849

This Resolution, approved by both the House and Senate of South Carolina in 1849, resolved that the principles of the Wilmot Proviso would not be applied to the recently acquired Mexican territory. The Wilmot Proviso, passed in the U. S. House of Representatives in 1846 and 1847, resolved that, upon the acquisition of the Mexican territory, "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted." The Wilmot Proviso was never passed in the U. S. Senate.

Keywords: Mexican territory; Mexico, Republic of; National politics; Proslavery; Slavery; South Carolina; Wilmot Proviso, 1846

Newspaper article, Journal of Commerce
Author: Journal of Commerce
Date: September 22, 1856

This clipping, enclosed in a letter from A.S. Harris to Thaddeus Hyatt dated September 22, 1856, argued that the emigration sponsored by New England emigrant aid societies was "indiscreet," although not illegal. The article placed the blame for the current troubles on the free-state settlers in Kansas, stating that Missouri settlers were only responding to the provocation of anti-slavery supporters.

Keywords: Bills, legislative; Border ruffians; Congress (See United States. Congress); Democratic Party (U.S.); Emigrant aid companies; Emigration and immigration; Free state activities; Free state cause; Immigrants; Kansas Nebraska Act; Massachusetts; Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company; Missouri; Missouri compromise; Pierce administration; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Sectionalism (United States); Slavery; Topeka Constitution; United States Government; United States. Congress; United States. Constitution

Letter, Jonathan Crews to Thomas N. Stinson
Author: Crews, Jonathan
Date: November 21, 1856

Jonathan Crews, writing from LaPorte, Indiana, expressed strong proslavery views on the situation in Kansas. Crews described his trip home to Indiana from Kansas and discussed several Indiana court cases involving his business interests.

Keywords: Business; Courts; Crews, Jonathan; Indiana; Proslavery; Stinson, Thomas N.

Letter, A. Pierse to Dear Sir [Eli Thayer]
Author: Pierse, A.
Date: March 31, 1857

A. Pierse wrote from Washington, D.C. to Eli Thayer in Worcester, Massachusetts. Pierse was born in North Carolina and lived most of his life in the South but had been living in Minnesota Territory for the past seven years. He told Thayer that he planned to move to Kansas in the spring of 1857. Pierse offered Thayer his opinion on what free state supporters should do in Kansas Territory. He informed Thayer that, although he had "Southern opinions on the subject of slavery" and believed the federal government had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories, he was "without prejudice for or against either side" in the debate over slavery in Kansas Territory. Pierse suggested that the best course for free staters to take would be to accept the Dred Scott decision, actively participate in the political process in Kansas Territory, and work for the admission of Kansas as a state with or without slavery. Once Kansas was admitted, he contended, free state supporters would be on firmer legal ground to advocate for the prohibition of slavery, since it was generally accepted that "the people have the power to prohibit slavery in their state." He concluded by stating that once Kansas was a state, free staters could make the case that property would be worth 3 or 4 times more if slavery was prohibited in the state.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Dred Scott decision; Free state prospects; Pierse, A.; Proslavery perspective; Slavery; Southern emigrants; Southerners; Statehood (see also Admission, Kansas); Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899

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Letter, Hiram Hill to Dear Brother
Authors: Hill, Hiram
Date:  December 7, 1855
Hiram Hill, a resident of Williamsburgh, Massachusetts en route to Kansas City and ultimately to Lawrence, Kansas Territory, wrote from Richmond, Missouri to his brother. He relayed the murder of an unnamed free state man (likely Charles W. Dow), the gathering of 1,100 free state and 800 proslavery men at Lawrence, and other Wakarusa War events. Hill, a free state supporter, felt that the information he received from Missourians was inaccurate or exaggerated. He doubted reports that 60 proslavery men had been killed at Lawrence, or of abolitionists driving proslavery settlers from their homes. Hill reported the arrests of free state men including Judge Johnson and General Pomeroy, who he heard had escaped.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Cannons; Dow, Charles W.; Free state perspective; Health; Hill, Hiram; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Missourians; Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891; Proslavery perspective; Sharps rifles; Violence; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855


Letter, [Hiram Hill] to Dear Wife
Authors: Hill, Hiram
Date:  December 8, 1855 - December 9, 1855
Hiram Hill wrote from Westport, Missouri to his wife as he received new information concerning the Wakarusa War at Lawrence. Hill was frustrated by these reports, which conflicted and were from the proslavery perspective, and which concerned the number of free state and proslavery soldiers, the status of the war, and government action taken to prevent conflict. Hill was also troubled by shameless "traveling and drinking and swearing" and gunshots on the Sabbath. The last page of the letter expresses his relief at news of peace in Lawrence, where he would learn "the other syde of the story" upon arrival. The murder of Thomas W. Barber, who rode outside Lawrence and was shot by a proslavery supporter on December 6th, was mentioned. Hill also described an eventful stagecoach journey.

Keywords: Barber, Thomas W.; Cannons; Daily life; Free state militia; Health; Hill, Hiram; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891; Proslavery perspective; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Sharps rifles; Stagecoaches; Violence; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855


Letter, H Hill to [Brother]
Authors: Hill, Hiram
Date:  December 9, 1855
Hiram Hill wrote from Weston, Massachusetts to his brother, describing his stagecoach journey from Richmond. Although 47 miles from Lawrence, he had not received a trustworthy update concerning the Wakarusa War. Hill mentioned Thomas W. Barber's murder, numbers of men and weapons involved in the war, and his plans to briefly visit Lawrence. He vowed never to travel to Kansas Territory in winter again. Hill also showed concern for Russell, who tended his cattle in Williamsburgh, Massachusetts.

Keywords: Barber, Thomas W.; Free state militia; Hill, Hiram; Proslavery perspective; Stagecoaches; Travel; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855; Weather


Letter, S. C. P. [Samuel Clarke Pomeroy] to Dr. [Thomas H.] Webb
Authors: Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891
Date:  December 19, 1855
Samuel Pomeroy, writing from Boonville, Missouri, to Dr. Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, described a dinner he attended in Lexington, Missouri with pro-slavery Missourians who had participated in the Wakarusa War. Pomeroy expressed the opinion that the Missourians drank too much alcohol but he reported that he had been allowed to express his anti-slavery views to the group. Pomeroy indicated that the Missourians were particularly upset with Governor Wilson Shannon's intervention in the Wakarusa War.

Keywords: Border ruffians; Missouri; New England Emigrant Aid Company; Pomeroy, S. C. (Samuel Clarke), 1816-1891; Proslavery perspective; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Violence; Wakarusa War, November-December 1855


Letter, H. J. Strickler to [Thomas N.] Stinson
Authors: Strickler, Hiram Jackson
Date:  September 2, 1856
Hiram Jackson Strickler, adjutant general of Kansas Territory, writing from Lecompton, Kansas Territory, briefly described for Thomas N. Stinson the Battle of Osawatomie that took place on August 30, 1856. In the battle, pro-slavery forces led by John W. Reed defeated free state forces led by John Brown. Brown's son Frederick was killed in the engagement. Strickler's comments indicated that he held a pro-slavery perspective.

Keywords: Battles; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Lykins County, Kansas Territory (see also Miami County, Kansas); Miami County, Kansas (see also Lykins County, Kansas Territory); Osawatomie, Battle of; Proslavery perspective; Reed, John W.; Stinson, Thomas N.; Strickler, Hiram Jackson; Town companies


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