|1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS||Chapter 38||Part 1|
Gov. SAMUEL MEDARY
[Copy by Willard of Portrait in Library of Kansas State Historical Society ]
Samuel Medary was born in Montgomery Square, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, February 25, 1801. He died in Columbus, Ohio, November 7, 1864, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. The name was originally written Madeira, and is yet pronounced as if so written.
His mother's ancestors came to America with William Penn, and he was brought up in the Quaker faith. He attended an academy at Norristown, but did not complete the course of that institution. He taught in the rural schools of his native county at an early age, and at the same time pursued the branches of higher learning. At the age of sixteen he was a contributor to the newspaper (Herald) of his native village, writing creditably both poetry and prose. In 1820 he removed with his parents to Montgomery county, Maryland, and in 1823 to Georgetown, D.C. Young Medary remained here for two years, and in 1825 removed to Batavia, Clermont county, Ohio. He was something of an agitator, and early manifested an interest in politics. He favored Andrew Jackson for President, and in 1828 established the Ohio Sun to aid in his election. In 1834 he was elected as a Jackson Democrat to a seat in the Ohio Legislature. In 1836 he was elected to the State Senate, and at the expiration of his term, in 1838, he removed to Columbus, Ohio, and purchased the Western Hemisphere, the name of which he afterwards changed to the Ohio Statesman. This paper he edited until 1857. He was a forceful and logical writer, and made his paper a power in the Ohio Valley. He was a staunch supporter of all the measures proposed by "Old Hickory," who honored him with his personal esteem and confidence. In the controversy over the Oregon boundary he originated the cry, "fifty-four forty or fight," and it became the cry of his party. Stephen A. Douglas stood for this boundary, and his position gained him the friendship of Mr. Medary. Medary became prominent in State politics, and in 1844 was chairman of the Ohio delegation to the national Democratic convention at Baltimore. He carried a letter from General Jackson instructing him to present the name of James K. Polk for the nomination for President in case of disagreement of any serious nature among the delegates as to a suitable candidate. When the convention was in an uproar and in danger of going to pieces, Mr. Medary produced his letter, and James K. Polk was at once nominated by acclamation for the Presidency. In 1853 Mr. Medary was tendered the position of United States Minister to Chili, which he declined. He was the temporary President of the Democratic convention held in Cincinnati that nominated James Buchanan for President, and labored ineffectually for the nomination of his friend and favorite, Stephen A. Douglas. He was the last Territorial Governor of Minnesota, holding that position during the years 1857 and 1858. He was appointed Governor of Kansas Territory upon the resignation of Governor Denver; his oath of office is dated December 1, 1858. He arrived at Lecompton and assumed the duties of his office December 18th.
The great battle for liberty had been fought and won in Kansas before Governor Medary's appointment. The action of Walker and Stanton which resulted in giving the Free-State men the Territorial Legislature may be considered the event which firmly established the supremacy of all the principles opposed in Kansas by the slavepower. It is true that battles were yet to be fought and much injustice borne, but these grew more insignificant in proportion to the rapid increase of the power of the Free-State party. The troubles in Southeastern Kansas were serious, but they never at any time threatened the extermination of the Free-State men as did those about Lawrence. The disorders in Linn and Bourbon counties continued throughout the term of Governor Medary's administration, and in fact the feuds did not cease until after the close of the Civil War; there were long periods of inactivity and comparative peace between the outbreaks.
But while the administration of Governor Medary was devoid of those exciting events which marked the terms of his predecessors, it witnessed much that had a lasting effect upon the future greatness of the Commonwealth. The formation of the present constitution of the State was perhaps the most important work accomplished by the people in that time. It was clear that neither the Lecompton nor Leavenworth constitutions would ever become the fundamental law of the land. The Topeka Constitution had passed away with the conditions which produced it. People poured in from all the free States, and the presence of these new citizens gave breadth to the discussions of measures proposed for the coming State. And the people were gaining experience in the practical administration of government. It was the prevailing opinion, that a new constitutional convention should be called. The Legislature which convened January 3d, 1859, enacted a law providing for "the formation of a Constitution and State Government." The act was approved by Governor Medary, February 9, 1859. It contained a proviso for ascertaining whether a constitution should be formed at that time. To determine this matter an election was to be held on the 4th Monday in March, 1859, the ballots to read, "For a Constitution," or "Against a Constitution." Should the vote favor a constitution, the act provided that fifty-two delegates to a Constitutional Convention should be elected on the first Tuesday of June, 1859. These delegates were to assemble in the city of Wyandotte on the first Tuesday in July, and there proceed to form a constitution for the State of Kansas. The constitution so formed was to be submitted to a direct vote of the people, for approval or rejection, on the first Tuesday of October, 1859. In case the constitution should be ratified, the act provided that all State officers, members of the State Legislature, and Judges, were to be elected on the first Tuesday of December, 1859. Pursuant to this act, Governor Medary called an election for the 28th of March for the purpose of finding whether the people desired a constitution. On the 16th day of April the Governor issued a proclamation declaring the result of the election held March 28. The vote stood: for a constitution, 5,306; against a constitution, 1,425; total 6,731.
On the 19th day of April, Governor Medary called an election for delegates and for the meeting of said delegates in convention, pursuant to the act of the Legislature. The election was held on the 7th of June, and resulted in the election of the following named delegates.
|Names||County||P.O. Address||Where born||Age||Avocation|
|J. M. Arthur||Linn||Centreville||Indiana||42||Farmer|
|Josiah Lamb||Linn||Mound City||Indiana||42||Mechanic|
|S. A. Kingman||Brown||Hiawatha||Mass.||38||Lawyer|
|J. J. Ingalls||Atchison||Sumner||Mass.||24||Lawyer|
|John P. Greer||Shawnee||Topeka||Ohio||38||Lawyer|
|R. L. Williams||Douglas||Franklin||Kentucky||42||Merchant|
|J. A. Middleton||Marshall||Nottingham||Pennsylv.||25||Lawyer|
|B. F. Simpson||Lykins||Paola||Ohio||23||Lawyer|
|P. H. Townsend||Douglas||Big Springs||New Hamp.||33||Lawyer|
|H. D. Preston||Shawnee||Burlingame||New Hamp.||28||Farmer|
|J. C. Burnett||Bourbon||Mapleton||Vermont||34||Farmer|
|W. R. Griffith||Bourbon||Marmaton||Indiana||39||Farmer|
|N. C. Blook||Douglas||Baldwin City||Vermont||42||Merchant|
|T. S. Wright||Nemaha||Granada||Pennsylv.||50||Lawyer|
|G. H. Lillie||Madison||Emporia||Ohio||35||Lawyer|
|S. E. Hoffman||Woodson||Neosho||Pennsylva.||25||Lawyer|
|L. R. Palmer||Pottawatomie||Louisville||New York||40||Physician|
|Jas. G. Blunt||Anderson||Walker||Maine||33||Physician|
|S. O. Thacher||Douglas||New York||28||Lawyer|
|S. D. Houston||Riley||Manhattan||Ohio||40||Farmer|
|J. P. Slough||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||Ohio||30||Lawyer|
|W. McCullough||Morris||Council Grove||Scotland||44||Farmer|
|C. B. McClelland||Jefferson||Oskaloosa||Ohio||30||Merchant|
|J. W. Forman||Doniphan||Doniphan||Kentucky||40||Merchant|
|E. M. Hubbard||Doniphan||Highland||Kentucky||30||Merchant|
|P. S. Parks||Leavenworth||Kickapoo||Indiana||26||Lawyer|
|Sam'l Hipple||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||Pennsylv.||28||Land Agent|
|S. A. Stinson||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||Maine||26||Lawyer|
|Wm. C. McDowell||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||Ohio||31||Lawyer|
|A. D. McCune||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||Ohio||31||Farmer|
|Wm. Perry||Leavenworth||Leavenworth||New York||28||Lawyer|
|R. C. Foster||Leavenworth||Delaware||Kentucky||24||Lawyer|
|J. T. Barton||Johnson||Olathe||Virginia||28||Physician|
|W. P. Dutton||Lykins||Stanton||New Hamp.||42||Farmer|
|E. G. Ross||Wabaunsee||Glenross||Ohio||32||Printer|
|J. H. Signor||Allen||Humboldt||New York||25||Surveyor|
|R. J. Porter||Doniphan||Troy||Pennsylv.||28||Merchant|
|J. M. Winchell||Osage||Superior||New York||35||Farmer|
|J. T. Burris||Johnson||Olathe||Ohio||28||Lawyer|
|Name||Office||County||P.O. Address||Where born||Age||Avocation|
|J. M. Winchell||President||Osage||Superior||New York||35||Farmer|
|John A. Martin||Secretary||Atchison||Atchison||Pennsylv.||21||Editor|
|G. F. Warren||Sergeant-at-Arms||Douglas||B'ldwin City||Maine||**||Farmer|
The membership of this convention included men who had been in Kansas a sufficient length of time to be perfectly familiar with the conditions in the Territory and the needs of the coming State. They were not, generally, however, the men who had been active in the conflicts with the Border-Ruffians, though Caleb May had been in the convention which formed the Topeka Constitution. Many of them became prominent in the Civil War and in the affairs of the State and were found in public life for nearly half a century. The convention completed its labors and adjourned on the 29th day of July. The constitution which it formed remains the fundamental law of the State of Kansas to this day. It is remarkable that so strong an instrument should have been drawn. It has been amended by conferring additional powers, but not in the manner of repealing any provision. It is a very liberal constitution. It has been said time and again, that the distribution of estates under this constitution and the statutes made in conformity thereto is the best ever devised. The boundaries of the State remained as in the Kansas-Nebraska bill except that the 25th meridian of longitude west from Washington was made the western boundary. That left the state two hundred miles wide and four hundred miles long, with an area of 80,000 square miles.
The constitution was submitted to the people at an election called for the 4th of October, 1859. The vote at the election stood as follows: for the constitution, 10,421; against the constitution, 5,530. The homestead clause of the constitution was submitted to a vote of the people at the same election. The vote on the homestead clause stood: for the homestead clause, 8,788; against the homestead clause, 4,772.
On the 8th of November occurred the Territorial election for Delegate in Congress. The Democratic candidate was Saunders W. Johnston; and Marcus J. Parrott was the Republican candidate. Parrott was elected by a majority of more than two thousand. On the same day was held the election for a Territorial Legislature.
The Republican State Convention was held at Topeka on the 12th of October. A full ticket was nominated for State officers under the Wyandotte Constitution. The election for State officers and a Representative to Congress was held on the 6th of December. Charles Robinson was elected Governor; Joseph P. Root, Lieutenant Governor; John W. Robinson, Secretary of State; William Tholen, Treasurer; George S. Hillyer, Auditor; William R. Griffith, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Thomas Ewing, Jr., Chief Justice; Samuel A. Kingman and Lawrence D. Bailey, Associate Justices; Benjamin F. Simpson, Attorney General; Martin F. Conway, Representative to Congress.
Thus was made ready a State Government for Kansas. It remained only for Congress to pass an Enabling Act to provide the State with an independent government, free from interference from any quarter.
This same Legislature repealed the bogus laws in bulk, but this was not deemed a sufficient condemnation of the infamous code: upon the adjournment of the Legislature a copy of it was publicly burned in the streets of Lawrence by the members.
The Pro-Slavery party had been known under various names, but it always stood for the same principles. It was know at this time as the National Democratic party. On May 12th the old Free-State party held a convention at Big Springs; it adopted resolutions favoring the continuance of that organization until after the, admission of Kansas as a State. Frederick P. Stanton was one of the leaders in this movement to continue the old Free-State party. The effort was a failure; the people did not sustain the action of its members. The grand old party had done a noble work for Kansas and humanity, but found that later years brought conditions and problems for which it made no provision. Its work was done and well done. It died upon the ground which gave it birth. From its ruins sprang the Republican party of Kansas, which was organized at Osawatomie, May 18th, 1859.
In 1857 H.J. Strickler was appointed under an act of the Territorial Legislature to audit the claims of the Kansas people for loss and damage sustained in the troubles and border wars which had raged in the Territory. Claims were presented to the amount of $301,225.11. He approved claims to the amount of $254,279.28. It was the intention to have Congress pay these claims, and they were accordingly certified to Congress as approved by Strickler. Congress took no action. This matter was considered by the Territorial Legislature which assembled in January, 1859. An act was passed authorizing the appointment of three commissioners to again consider these claims. This act was approved by Governor Medary on the 7th of February, 1859. There was also a supplemental act approved on the 11th of February, 1859. The commissioners appointed under these acts were Edward Hoogland, Henry J. Adams, and Samuel A. Kingman. These commissioners took up all the claims for loss and damage in the Territory, including those considered by Strickler. They considered four hundred and sixty-three applications and made awards to four hundred and seventeen claimants in the total amount of $412,978.03. It was not contemplated in either of these acts that the Territory or its successor, the State of Kansas, should be held liable, or be in any way bound, for the payment of any of these claims. All that was being done was for the purpose of putting these claims in shape for the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention to include them in a schedule to Congress. It was hoped that the Congress of the United States would assume the debt and pay the claims. It was the duty of the commissioners, under Section 10 of the act approved February 7th, to deliver to a claimant upon demand, a certificate showing the amount of award made to him. Section 13 of the Act is here set out:
|Sec. 13. Nothing in this Act shall be so construed as to authorize the payment of the warrants issued, in accordance with its provisions, before the first day of January, 1865, unless provisions shall be made for funding these warrants with the other indebtedness of the Territory, or unless Congress shall sooner make provisions for their payment; but said warrants shall bear interest at the rate of six per cent per annum.|
In the Supplemental Act certain provisions prohibiting the issuance of scrip or bonds appear as follows:
Sec. 6. That the certificates issued by the governor, in pursuance of the tenth section of the Act to which this is supplemental, shall not be Construed as binding the Territory for the payment of said claims, until the same shall be fully authorized by subsequent legislation on the part of the Territory.
When the Territorial Legislature was called into special session in January, 1860, it was reported that the Territorial officials had, in violation of the acts mentioned herein, issued to certain persons bonds for their claims, thereby attempting to pledge the faith of the Territory and its successor, the State, for the payment of these claims. A committee was appointed to investigate the matter. This committee consisted of S.N. Wood, H.R. Dutton, and William H. Fitzpatrick. Wood was always subservient to Governor Robinson. He and Dutton submitted a majority report approving, in effect, the action of the Territorial officers. Fitzpatrick was a patriotic, honest man, and submitted a minority report in which he condemned the proceedings of these officers. It appears from documents in the report submitted by the committee, that $95,700.00 in bonds had been issued to some of these claimants for loss and damage. They had been issued between the dates of May 2, and July 1, 1859. Of these bonds, $45,100 had been issued to Shaler W. Eldridge, and $24,000 had been issued to Charles Robinson. This was a total of $69,100. The remaining amount of $26,600 was divided among various persons, $10,000 of which was to Anna M. Jenkins, widow of Gains Jenkins.
Robert B. Mitchell had been appointed Treasurer of Kansas Territory by Governor Medary, February 11, 1859. When questioned by the committee as to why he had issued these bonds, he took refuge under Section 6 of a certain Act which had been also passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor on the 11th of February, as follows:
Sec. 6. From and after the passage of this act, all persons having any indebtedness of this Territory in the form of warrants upon the treasury, for indebtedness which has accrued subsequent to the first day of November, 1857, or which may accrue prior to the first day of January, 1860, shall, upon presentation of the same to the treasurer of the Territory, receive therefor a. bond or bonds of the Territory of Kansas, as provided for in the first section of this act: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the treasurer to issue bonds for the redemption of warrants, when money be in his hands sufficient to pay the same.
This Funding Act was in direct violation of all the legislation affecting these claims. Few seemed to know that any such act had passed. In the investigation the Legislature of 1861 took some testimony. This testimony shows plainly that certain parties having claims and desiring to start a Bank in Lawrence, secured the passage of this Funding Act by fraud. Mr. Norman Allen testified, as shown by the Journal of the House of that Legislature, at page 337, that the Funding Act was designed, "to be confined to the regular debt of the Territory, which I supposed would not exceed fifty or sixty thousand dollars. My object was to provide for the expenses of clerk hire for the session of 1859. It was not my intention to make any provision for funding any claim which might be audited under the claims act of that session."
C.W. Babcock testified, as shown at page 336, as follows:
I have heard the rumor that means were used to procure the issuing of bonds, but cannot give the names of any persons who told me so. I do not know the names of any persons who did communicate any facts concerning the deposits of bonds for banking purposes. I have seen notices that Mr. Morrow was President, and Mr. Smith Cashier of the Lawrence Bank. I do not know which act was first introduced, the act that passed or the one that did not. The supplemental act was intended to apply to the act that passed, and was gotten up afterwards. I heard after the passage of the supplemental act, that its phraseology was so arranged, by design, as to defeat the objects of the bill. I heard this after the adjournment of the Legislature. My impression is that it was not members of the Legislature, but outside parties who were interested, who told me so. I do not think the funding act of February 11, 1859, was gotten up for the purpose of funding claim warrants; at least I do not think such was the intention of the majority who passed it.
Hiram J. Strickler testified, as shown on page 323, Journal of the House:
In the testimony of Hugh S. Walsh, who was Territorial Secretary at the time, and whose integrity never has been questioned, Governor Medary was implicated in the issuance of these bonds.
Before the time of issuing the Bonds we were on friendly terms, and so continued for sometime afterwards. The Bonds were issued in the summer of 1859; we continued friendly up to January, 1860. I then for the first time, discovered that Gov. Medary was unfriendly to me, and I presumed his hostility arose out of a report which I made as Secretary, to 21 members of the Legislature who called upon me for information in regard to these claim Bonds. At least up to that time we were on speaking terms. When I was called upon by Mr. Mitchell to approve the Bonds, Gov. Medary was in Ohio. The report above alluded to contained the facts here stated in my testimony.
Walsh was also Acting-Governor in the absence of Medary. He refused absolutely to have anything to do with the issuance of these bonds. His testimony as to the activity of Treasurer Mitchell is very interesting.
In May or June, 1859, I was applied to by Mr. Mitchell, the Treasurer of the Territory, to approve, as Acting Governor, certain Territorial Bonds. I refused on the grounds that I did not believe any Bonds issued for Claims, under the Act to provide for or the adjustment and payment of Claims, were valid. The Treasurer informed me that the Bonds were not for claims but Territorial expenses, and belonged to David Weir. I informed him that I would not sign any Territorial Bonds whatever without tracing them back to their original indebtedness, through all the parties' hands through which they might have passed. As I was superintending the public printing at the time, I had not then leisure to do it. Gov. Medary returned again shortly after, and I was never again applied to for that purpose. The only application to approve Bonds, made to me, came from Mr. Mitchell.
Mr. Walsh pressed Treasurer Mitchell for his reason for issuing these bonds. Walsh had been informed by John W. Wright, a member of the Legislature of 1859, that certain parties, including himself, were going to establish a bank in Lawrence, based on the claim bonds, under a charter granted in 1858, authorizing the establishment of banks in Lawrence, Wyandotte and Leavenworth. Walsh informed Mr. Wright that that charter had expired. Mr. Wright replied that Mr. Walsh had better not meddle with the matter or oppose it, but let it travel along; that they were determined to do it, and that Walsh could not prevent it. Upon seeing a bill issued by one of these banks, which had been established at Lawrence, Governor Walsh addressed a letter to Robert B. Mitchell, whereupon the following correspondence was had:
LECOMPTON, MAY 28,1860.
|Mr. Hugh S. Walsh, Secretary and Acting Governor of Kansas Ter.|
|Sir: - Your note of 26th inst. is received. In reply, I have only to ask by what authority you propound certain questions to me relative to the Lawrence Bank securities, bank notes or bills, &c.|
|I have the honor to be, very respectfully,|
Your ob't servant,|
ROBT. B. MITCHELL,
Treasurer of Kansas Territory.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, KANSAS TERRITORY,|
LECOMPTON, MAY 28TH, 1860.
|Mr. Robert B. Mitchell, Territorial Treasurer, Lecompton.|
|Sir: - In reply to your inquiry, by what authority I propound certain questions to you in relation to the Lawrence Bank securities, notes and bills, I refer you to the 15th section of the Act creating the office of Territorial. Treasurer, which is as follows: "It is his duty to submit his books, accounts, vouchers and funds to the inspection of the Governor," &c. I did not anticipate a want of knowledge of my authority at the time I made inquiry, or I would have referred you to the section of the law. I am Sir, very respectfully,|
Your ob't servant,|
HUGH S. WALSH,
Secretary and Acting Governor.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, KANSAS TERRITORY,|
LECOMPTON, MAY 29, 1860.
|Mr. Robert B. Mitchell, Territorial Treasurer, Lecompton.|
Sir: - In your reply, yesterday, to my inquiry requesting information respecting your action as Territorial Treasurer, with regard to the Lawrence Bank, and the securities for its notes, &c., you say "I have only to ask by what authority you propound certain questions to me in relation to the Lawrence Bank securities, bank notes," &c. I returned by the messenger which brought your reply, an answer, quoting the 15th section of the law creating the office of Territorial Treasurer, the authority upon which I ask these questions.
Having waited sufficiently long, as I think, for the information, and not having received it, I have now to ask whether I am to understand by your note of the 28th inst., that it is the only information I may expect to receive from you upon the matter.
I am Sir, very respectfully,|
Your ob't Servant,
HUGH S. WALSH,
Secretary of Kansas Territory and Acting Governor.
LECOMPTON, MAY 29, 1860.
|Hon. Hugh S. Walsh.|
|Sir: - Yours, of this date, is duly received, and, in reply, have only to say that I have been, since the reception of your note of yesterday, wholly incapable to find the time to make a satisfactory reply to your inquiries, but will endeavor to do so at the earliest possible time convenient. Very respectfully,|
Your ob't servant,|
ROBERT B. MITCHELL,
Treasurer K. T.
Upon receiving the last note from Mr. Mitchell, I waited his action, and he left town without giving me any information in the premises.
Concerning the manner in which the Funding Act passed the House, A.F. Meade, who was a member of the Legislative Council of 1859, testified as shown at pages 335 and 336 as follows:
I met the Secretary, Mr. Devinvey, next day. I said to him - "I want to state to you what I believe to be the facts in regard to the supplemental bill last night. If it is so you need not say anything, if it is not so, deny it. You know well that you was instructed to slip that bill down to the House, knowing it had not passed." He did not say a word, but laughed.
Samuel A. Medary, son of the Governor, testified as shown in the Journal of the House of the Legislature of 1861, pages 338 and 339, that his father signed the bonds and that D.H. Weir, R.S. Stevens and himself had some of those bonds, and received them from Colonel Eldridge in the Treasurer's office, upon which they placed the seal. He testified that he was given bonds to the amount of $1,500 for putting the seal on the bonds.
William McKay testified as follows:
I called upon Gov. Medary at Lecompton, and had a private interview with him upon the subject of the Auditor issuing warrants upon the awards made by the Commissioners. I related to him my interview with Gen. Strickler, and the Governor remarked that it would never do for the Auditor to issue warrants; that the people would repudiate anything of the kind; that they never would consent to pay those claims. I agreed with the Governor, and he then promised me that he would do all in his power to prevent it, and also promised that he would see Gen. Strickler in a few days and have the matter headed off; he also promised me that before any thing was done that he would send me word to Wyandott, (where I resided,) and that I might rest assured of his co-operation with me in the matter, as we held the same opinion in relation to the legality of the supplemental Act, and of the injustice of the debt being put upon the Territory. After I had this interview with the Governor, I went to Wyandott expecting every day to hear from him, but I was disappointed, never having heard a word from him from that day upon the subject. Soon after my return home, I think some five or six days, I received the Lawrence Republican, in which it was stated that Col. Eldridge, Gov. Robinson, and perhaps some others, had their claims bonded, and that Gov. Medary had gone to Ohio.
There is a vast amount of other testimony connected with these bonds, all tending to. show that they were fraudulently issued. The Funding Act was a deception and fraud. The Legislature had no authority, and evidently had no intention, to issue bonds to the amount of $100,000 and not to secure the payment of the remainder of the claims, amounting to $312,978.03. Why should less than one-fourth of the claims indebtedness be bonded! Any contention that the Legislature contemplated such a course is preposterous. The fact is, that many members of the Legislature were made to believe that the Funding Act was only to pay the expenses of the Legislature, while, in fact, the design was to secure bonds for certain awards made by the claim commission. The evidence indicates that many members of the Legislature did not know that the Funding Act had been passed. The future student of Kansas history should investigate closely this entire matter and read carefully the testimony concerning various persons who have been spoken of as honest men.
The claims of Colonel Eldridge were for the destruction of the Free State Hotel and other losses. When this matter was under consideration by the Wyandotte Con Constitutional Convention, John J. Ingalls, knowing the facts and being familiar with the fraud practiced in the issuance of these bonds, moved that the matter be referred to the Committee on Scullduggery. (See page 381, Proceedings of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention.)
It is interesting to notice the basis of the claim of Charles Robinson, for which he was issued $24,000 bonds. Here is the schedule sworn to on the 17th day of November, 1857:
|One frame house||$ 3,500|
|Barn, hay, stable, and furniture||1,500|
|Medical library and surgical instruments||1,500|
|Clothing, jewelry, and private papers||3,000|
|Furniture in hotel and used by Congressional Committee||600|
|One Porter's rifle||40|
|Two Sharps' rifles||70|
|Two Colt's revolvers||40|
|One horse stolen||150|
|Two horses poisoned||400|
|False imprisonment four months||$10,000|
The frame house was a small building about fourteen by twenty feet with ten foot studding, made of native lumber, and those who knew, estimated the cost at about $400. It will be observed that there was $3,000 worth of furniture in that house, a $3,000 library in addition to a medical library and surgical instruments valued at $1,500; that there was $3,000 worth of clothing, jewelry and private papers in that house when it was destroyed. It will also be observed that he charged for his detention as a treason prisoner $10,000, the only man who ever made such a claim for his patriotic detention in the Free-State cause. This amount was stricken out by Mr. Strickler, but all other items were allowed. When the second commission was appointed, Governor Robinson amended his former application as shown by the new schedule.
|A manuscript history of California||$3,500|
|A manuscript work on anatomy and physiology, ready for the press||2,500|
|A series of popular lectures on the above subjects||1,000|
The commission considered this new schedule favorably and made the following award:
|Strickler's award confirmed||$15,800|
|Interest on same||2,370|
|Three manuscript works||5,029|
|Interest on same||754|
All of these matters were reviewed in the Lawrence Daily Journal of October 28, 1884, to which readers are referred for additional information. These bonds were disposed of in New York and they are still outstanding. The last session of the Territorial Legislature held in 1861, passed an act repudiating these bonds and prohibiting any person or corporation from putting into circulation any bank bill or note purporting to be a promise to pay money or currency based upon such bonds, and made it punishable to violate any portion of the act by a fine of not less than $500, and imprisonment in the county jail for not less than six months. George M. Beebe was Acting Governor at the time and vetoed the bill, but it was passed over his veto and became a law. The first session of the State Legislature, which began on the 26th of March, 1861, passed an act, which is Chapter V in the General Laws of that Session, repudiating the said bonds and prohibiting the State Treasurer from paying any interest upon said bonds or warrants; from endorsing or issuing any bonds upon the claim awards of the commission. Charles Robinson was at that time Governor of Kansas and he permitted the act to become a law without his approval, as is shown by the certificate of J.W. Robinson, Secretary of State. It is in evidence that Robert B. Mitchell, as Territorial Treasurer, paid the interest on these bonds, in New York, with money furnished him by private parties. The bonds were soon afterwards sold in New York. The purchasers thought they were good if the Territorial Treasurer was paying the interest on them. It is a curious coincidence that Governor Robinson appointed Robert B. Mitchell Colonel of the Second Kansas Regiment in the Civil War.
The only bonded claim against the State of Kansas is this fraudulent one, and it has been believed necessary that a complete account of these bonds should be given here. The issuance of these bonds was a blot upon the Territory which can never be wiped out.
The Legislature which assembled January 2, 1860, enacted a law abolishing slavery in Kansas. Governor Medary vetoed it, but it was passed over his veto. It was finally declared unconstitutional.
In 1860 Congress considered the matter of the admission of Kansas under the Wyandotte Constitution. The action of the House was favorable, but the slave majority in the Senate defeated the proposition.
The year 1860 is notable for the most persistent drouth the State has witnessed. General distress followed, and aid was sent from many States. This year the first railroad track was laid in Kansas, on the line from Elwood to Marysville. The desire for railroads was general, and a convention assembled in Topeka in October and memorialized Congress to aid in the construction of lines of railway which it designated. This was the first general movement for railroads, of which the State now has so many, and such great ones.
In the result of the Presidential election of 1860 Governor Medary saw the early admission of the State into the Union. Realizing that his term of office would soon be terminated by that event, he resigned in December, 1860, and returned to Ohio. He established a newspaper in Columbus, which he named The Crisis, and which he edited until his death.
|1918 Kansas and Kansans||Previous Section||Next Section|
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project