My dear Sanborn:
I am about to start out to Kansas again, and having a few moments leisure tonight, I have determined to appropriate them to a few lines to you. I came on this Fall with the intention of returning with my wife and child; but have found myself unable to accomplish the task. I go back by myself, and feel quite reluctant to do it. – When I shall return again God only knows. Cruel, indeed, are the circumstances which have so long made me an exile from home, and which threaten to put me under perpetual banishment therefrom. But, perhaps, it is my own fault. I ought to be able to feel myself at home anywhere and under any circumstances. I must cultivate the spirit of a cosmopolite.
I am still full of solicitude for the ultimate settlement of our Kansas affairs. In everything which now happens I see the disastrous effect of our acceptance of the Territorial Legislation authority as valid. We are now entirely in the power of an unscrupulous and audacious enemy. Our sovereignty
by our own voluntary concession, given up to the Democratic Convention, recently held at Lecompton. This Convention was nothing else than an instrument in the hands of Douglas to secure the political power of the forthcoming State of Kansas and to promote his own prospects for Presidency. –
By its action, all my worst fears as to what it would do are realized. From the latest dispatches it seems that, while the Constitution itself will not be submitted to the people, a proposition for slavery will be. As they do not wish slavery to be incorporated in terms in the instrument they make, but desire to secure with absolute certainty the establishment of theirs as the Constitution of the State, and the control over the whole work of organization, this measure makes their success inevitable. They will themselves be the foremost to vote down the slavery proposition, and insist their Constitution to be, without this clause, perfectly free-State. As to the submission of the Constitution itself to the people, they will declare this to be entirely immaterial, the only question in dispute over the subject being the question of slavery. Under the circumstances they may reply, with the most implicit assurance, upon the acceptance of their work by Congress. With their so called Free State Constitution made for State by the action of “squatters sovereignty” on the question of
slavery, the Administration Party in Congress will demand the unconditional surrender of the Republican Party. The latter will be called on to vote for “Free Kansas” to prove their sincerity in their past professions – to vote for it even with its “Democracy” annexed. And many of them will be afraid to not do it. Most likely Mr. H. Wilson will give them advice similar to that he gave the people of Kansas. Thus the Republican party will be absorbed as a national organization, and never be heard of again, except in a few States.
I see that a provisional government has been appointed by the Convention in Kansas to superintend the elections for State officers, with Calhoun as Governor. This makes Calhoun the master of everything. He has the doing of the whole work and will most assuredly do it in his own way. He is a candidate for U.S. Senator. He will not fail to get a Legislature to do the work for him. The Oxford precinct business satisfied them that Walker could not be trusted. The probability is that the election for State officers will be so managed as that the Democratic candidate will all be successful. And yet there is no retreat for us. We have accepted the Legislature and of course the Convention, its creation – as legal. That which is legal we cannot possibly get away from. Are we not most desperately
I feel thoroughly disgusted by the stupidity of the mountebanks who have brought this state of things upon us. Political tricksters are sufficiently mean when they confine themselves to their appropriate sphere, but when they assume to dictate measures to most important exigencies of State they become altogether intolerable.
I hope you will excuse the style of this letter. I have put down some ideas very hurriedly, and I hardly know whether they are fit. But send them whether or no.
I leave tomorrow for Balt. And next day for Kansas. I am here to see my brother on some private business. Things are dull in the Metropolis at present; but Congress will be along presently and make a stir.
Very truly yours,
M. F. Conway
F. B. Sanborn, Esq.