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Letter, T. J. Marsh to George L. Stearns
July 18, 1857
Thomas J. Marsh, who arrived in the Kansas Territory on July 11, 1857, made Lawrence his base of operation. He had made the journey as an agent for the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee. His objective was to observe and financially support free state efforts to capture the legislature at the polls in early October (this included conducting a census). During his first week in Kansas Territory, Marsh attended the "entirely harmonious" Free State Party convention in Topeka and reported on initial efforts to organize the campaign. He also seemed very concerned about "petty, personal feuds" among the leadership in the territory. Marsh had personally discussed this issue with the men involved and believed the "discordant elements have been harmonized." Upon his return to Lawrence, Marsh found "U. S. Dragoons parading the streets" and Governor Walker threatening to make numerous arrests because of the unauthorized election of city officials the previous Monday.

Keywords: Blood, James; Census; Conway, Martin Franklin; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Dragoons; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Factionalism; Free State Party; Free state support; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Marsh, Thomas J.; Massachusetts State Kansas Committee; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Topeka Constitution; Travel; United States. Army; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869; Weather; Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866

Authors: Marsh, Thomas J.

Letter, T.J. Marsh to George L. Stearns
August 11, 1857
On August 11, 1857, Marsh reported from Lawrence that the governor was "still here with his Troops, but nobody pays any regard to him, or them." According to D. W. Wilder, Annals of Kansas, however, all but forty troops left on August 3, the day of the election under the Topeka Constitution, which Marsh also mentioned. His primary concern remained the October election, which many feared would not be fairly conducted despite the governor's promises, and the growing talk of another Free State Party boycott of the polls.

Keywords: Cato, Sterling G.; Conway, Martin Franklin; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Election, Topeka Constitution, August 1857; Free State Party; Grasshopper Falls Convention; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Marsh, Thomas J.; Redpath, James, 1833-1891; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Topeka Constitution; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869; Whitman, E. B.

Authors: Marsh, Thomas J.

Letter, T.J. Marsh to George L. Stearns
September 7, 1857
Nearly two months into his K.T. assignment and stay in Lawrence, Marsh reported several significant observations about the Free State Party: Governor Walker's apparent commitment to a fair canvas, the rapidly approaching territorial election (October 1857), and the money so far spent and needed for the campaign. He also observed that the Constitutional Convention was opening in Lecompton, and wrote: "If you could see the town, and people of Lecompton, and had the opportunity that I have had to witness their Plantation Manners--I think you would at once be reminded of the Scriptural inquiry, 'Can any good thing, come out of Nazareth?'"

Keywords: Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Lecompton Constitution; Lecompton, Kansas Territory; Proslavery supporters; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Walker, Robert J. (Robert John), 1801-1869

Authors: Marsh, Thomas J.

Letter, E. B. Whitman to My Dear Mr. [G. L.] Stearns
October 25, 1857
In this report from Lawrence, Whitman complained about his money problem and wrote that John Brown, who, according to Sanborn, had been in Iowa for some weeks, would be in Lawrence for "a very important council" of the military organization. "Look for something decisive this winter and Satisfactory." He informed Stearns that he (Whitman) would take care of "J. B.'s wants" as soon as he could, but there was a limit to what he could borrow on his own account. "I am willing to work, wear out, die if need be in the cause, but I cannot send a brick always without straw."

Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Conway, Martin Franklin; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Election, Territorial Legislature, October 1857; Free State Party; Free state militia; Iowa; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Whitman, E. B.

Authors: Whitman, E. B.

Letter, E. B. Whitman to George L. Stearns
February 20, 1858
This rather lengthy report from Lawrence addressed many issues, especially those surrounding the Lecompton constitutional controversy. With "the Topeka Movement . . . abandoned," the question was what would take its place to resist the Lecompton Constitution if it were accepted by the Congress. The territorial legislature had formally "protested against the admission of Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution," and "the Mass of the people are determined" to resist its imposition. Whitman went on to make many other interesting observations about the political situation, regarding Democrats and Republicans and even abolitionists: "men who seek here and now, on this issue, to break the back bone of slavery forever." In addition to the political, Whitman described his "labor of distributing the clothing . . . for the relief of Kansas," and discussed in some detail the financial situation regarding the Committee, his personal debt, and Kansas relief and support to John Brown.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Buchanan administration; Constitutions; Democratic Party (U.S.); Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Free state support; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth Constitutional Convention, March-April 1858; Lecompton Constitution; Minneola, Kansas Territory; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Robinson, Charles, 1818-1894; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Topeka Movement (see also Free state movement); Whitman, E. B.

Authors: Whitman, E. B.

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