July 1st 1856
To the friends of “Law and Order” convened at Topeka:--
The undersigned desire to say a word to their friends in regard to the present aspect of affairs in Kansas.
It is highly important at this time, that the oppressed people of Kansas should occupy a tenable position, one, which the country and the world will sustain. There is, it seems to us, a position which we can occupy and be triumphant whether over come by numbers or not, while there is another position, which, if taken, would prejudice our cause and might lead to defeat, and weaken the confidence and support of our friends in the country.
The first and true position is, defense of the State Organization. You have a Constitutional right to meet as a Legislature, complete the State organization and pass all laws necessary to the successful administration of Justice, and the Federal Government has no authority to interfere with you in the exercise of this right; Should it do so, it becomes a tyranical usurpation of power and resistance on your part becomes justifiable self-defense.
The second and untenable position, is, resistance to a Federal officer in the service of a legal process, when the defense of the State organization is not
involved. Should a collision occur under such circumstances it would be most unfortunate, and should be avoided if possible. If an attempt however is made to arrest the members of the State organization, merely because they are such, with a view to disable it, then resistance, becomes defense of the State organization and is manifestly justifiable.
Accordingly all persons against whom indictments are Known to be pending, for any other charge than that of being a member of the State organization, should not be found at the Capitol as that might involve the people in his case. The feel that our hope of success in this important crisis depends, first, upon a right position: and, second upon calm, and unflinching firmness.
You have met for the purpose of doing what other new States have done, and what you have a Constitutional right to do, and no man or class of men, has a right to interfere, not excepting even the President of the United States.
Our desire to be with you in this crowning emergency, is almost irresistable, and nothing but the fear that your position might be changed from a defense of the State organization to a resistance to our re-arrest can reconcile us to this absence. As it is, you have our earnest solicitious and fervent prayers that all may go well with you, and that you may earn, as you will, if every step is judiciously
and firmly taken, the gratitude of millions of your fellow men, and the approbation
of the God of Justice and humanity.
Geo. W. Smith
Geo W. Deitzler.
Henry H Williams
John Brown Jr