My Dear Sir:
Since I saw you at Columbus I have given some thought to Kansas matters, and especially to the topic of our conversation, - the duty of the Free state men concerning the proposed constitution.
The result to which I have come is that they ought to abstain from voting upon the alternative proposition submitted. If in any way, official or semi-official, or by a popular declaration, or by a remonstrance, they can make known to Congress and to the country their position, this ought not to be neglected. But I feel certain that a vote for the constitution without slavery, will be productive of great evils. If the instrument were acceptable to the free state men there might be some reason for such action; but if, as is understood, it is so odious that Free state men cannot live under it, the work of reform will be more arduous and uncertain, than when the power of the people is brought to bear against a constitution which establishes slavery. In the latter case the people can immediately take possession of the State government; then overthrow the old constitution and establish a new one; and all this the more readily from the fact that slavery exists, and that it has been incorporated by fraud and violence; if, as we assume, the people are opposed to the institution and the outrages by which it has been introduced and fastened upon Kansas. If they are not so opposed then all
expectations are groundless. But, on the other hand, if the free state men vote for the constitution without slavery, they will have demoralized themselves by that very act, and rendered the contest for constitutional reform exceedingly doubtful. In the judgement of many there would be less reason for reform, while others would rebuke the pretended reformers for having nominally assented to the evils of which they complained. In the next place what are the anti-slavery men in congress to do when a constitution comes there for which their own friends have voted, that they voted under protest does not much help the matter. Who and how many so voted can not be determined by any body. But let a pro-slavery constitution formed by fraud and sanctioned by the suffreges of a meager minority of the people, be presented, and we are impregnable in Kansas and in the country. The hope of the democratic politicians is that the constitution without slavery will be sanctioned by a general vote; and should our people gratify them we are entangled in meshes from which neither Kansas, the republican party, nor the country can be speedily extricated. The best judgement I can form under the circumstances is that the free State men should keep aloof from the entire proceeding; and having no lot nor part in it, denounce it before hand, make known to Congress and to the country the nature and extent of the popular power that they wield, and if all are ineffectual, then, when Kansas is in the Union, they may, untrammeled, attack the constitution and the institution of slavery and subject the whole to just condemnation. But when once they
are committed to the proposed constitution without slavery, their moral and political power is diminished, and the hope of many will be long deferred, before Kansas, in name or fact, will be a free state. If you concur, my dear sir, in this opinion, I hope that you will say as much to our friends in Kansas. I am not acquainted with any there who have influence in the matter.
With the highest personal esteem
I am Your obedient servant,
Geo. S. Boutwell
To His Excellency,