|1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS||Chapter 40||Part 1|
GOV. CHARLES ROBINSON
[Copy by Willard of Steel Engraving in Library of Kansas State Historical Society]
MRS. SARA T. L. ROBINSON, WIFE OF GOV. CHARLES ROBINSON
[Copy by Willard of Portrait in Library of Kansas State Historical Society]
Governor Charles Robinson was sworn into office on the 9th day of February, 1861. As the first Governor, he was confronted by the immense task of inaugurating a State Government for Kansas. The old Territorial Government had been continued until the new government could be instituted. A Territorial Government is always a very limited one, - directed by the Federal Government. It is necessary for a State to work out its own course. While there was much usage for Governor Robinson to be guided by, the new State presented many problems for which there was no precedent. The Constitution had to be construed. Its provisions were general, and it was necessary for the administration to devise legislation to carry them into effect. It is always possible, under even the best constitutions, to hinder the development of a State by the enactment of short-sighted statutes. Frequently it is very difficult to determine what statutory regulations will best carry out the designs of a constitution. With Kansas there was the added difficulty of the Civil War. With the election of President Lincoln, conditions on the border were exactly reversed. Under Pierce and Buchanan the Pro-Slavery element had the support of the Federal Government, and Kansas had its active opposition. After the beginning of the Civil War, Kansas being enthusiastically loyal, had the support of the Federal Government. The Pro-Slavery population of Missouri favored secession, and cast its future with the Southern Confederacy. In all these changes and shiftings of ground, there were problems for the new State. It is gratifying to know that Governor Robinson met with wisdom the many perplexities and formidable issues constantly arising. As has already been said, he was one of the best business men who ever lived in Kansas, and many of the difficulties he was forced to grapple with were purely business affairs. He handled them with skill and in the spirit of patriotism.
One of his first official acts was to call a session of the Legislature to meet on the 26th of March. It is doubtful if there has ever been a more able and comprehensive message by any Kansas Governor than that sent to the Legislature by Governor Robinson. There were at that time no State buildings, and the City of Topeka furnished few conveniences for a State Government. It was necessary to rent the best rooms available for the various State offices. The first act of the Legislature was one making appropriations for current expenses for the different departments of the State. The Governor's salary was $2,000 per annum. He was allowed $240 for rent, $100 for furniture for his office, $100 for stationery, $75 for postage, $40 for fuel and lights, $1,000 for secret service, and $600 for a private secretary. For the Legislative Department, the following enactment was made:
For Legislative Department - For rent of Representatives' Hall, one hundred dollars; for rent of Congregational Church, seventy-five dollars; for rent of Senate Chamber, one hundred and seventy-five dollars; for rent of Committee Rooms, one hundred and four dollars; for stationery for the Legislature, one thousand dollars; for State printing, fifteen thousand dollars; for seals of State and counties, three hundred dollars; for per diem allowance for one hundred members of the Legislature, twenty-two thousand dollars; for allowance for President of the Senate, five hundred and four dollars; for extra allowance for Speaker, two hundred and forty dollars; for mileage of the members of the Legislature twenty-four hundred dollars; for transcribing the journals five hundred dollars; for the officers and messengers of the House, thirty-five hundred dollars; for the officers, and messengers of the Senate, eighteen hundred dollars; for E.G. Ross, for four hundred and forty copies of the "State Record," eight hundred and eighty dollars: Provided, That no money be paid to any member of the Legislature for time when absent from the Capitol, either with or without leave.
Some idea of the work of the Legislature may be obtained by mention of the titles of the various enactments found in the laws of the session. Some of them are stated.
AN ACT providing for the election of District Attorneys, and defining their Duties.
AN ACT to authorize the business of Banking.
AN ACT to provide for the permanent location of the State Capital.
AN ACT providing for Joint Conventions of the two Houses of the State Legislature.
AN ACT relating to the organization of new Counties.
AN ACT to organize and define the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
AN ACT relating to the organization of Courts of Justice and their powers and duties.
AN ACT to establish and define the jurisdiction of the Probate Courts.
AN ACT to regulate Elections and to prescribe the qualifications of Voters.
AN ACT to provide for the election of State, District, and County Officers, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court, and Judges of the District Courts, and Representatives in Congress.
AN ACT to prescribe the manner of Contesting the Election of State and County Officers, and Members of the Legislature.
AN ACT to create a State Board of Equalization.
AN ACT to provide for the Management and Investment of the State School Fund and the University Fund.
AN ACT providing for the Location of the Lands granted by Congress to the State.
AN ACT to organize and discipline the Militia.
AN ACT to provide for the appointment of Commissioners to locate a State Penitentiary.
AN ACT to provide for the State Printing.
AN ACT to provide for the Removal of the Records and Papers of the Courts of the late Territory of Kansas to the Courts established by the Constitution.
AN ACT for the Regulation and Support of Common Schools.
AN ACT to authorize the formation of County and Town Agricultural and Horticultural Societies.
AN ACT authorizing the State to call into service two regiments of infantry, three companies of cavalry and two companies of artillery, to be mustered into the service of the United States.
All these Acts seem to have been carefully drawn and to have no other design than the best interest of the people. They are fundamental, and they served as the bases of the statutory laws of Kansas. That is, they gave a point from which to work, and the principles of these laws proven by time. They are a remarkable series of enactments. By them Courts were established, county organization effected, a school system formed, and all public demands provided for. Historians will never fail to recognize the sound statesmanship displayed by Governor Robinson in the inauguration of the State Government of Kansas. It is doubtful if there was another man in the young State so well qualified for this difficult position as was Governor Robinson.
On the 4th of April the Legislature proceeded to the election of United States Senators. It was an exciting election. General Lane had come to Kansas with the ambition to be its first United States Senator. He had been elected by the Topeka Legislature, but the failure of the Topeka movement to secure federal recognition, made that election an empty honor. It, however, was very favorable to Lane. He became associated in the minds of the people with that high office. With the beginning of the session of the Legislature, the candidates pushed their claims. The account of the campaign of General Lane has been very humorously described by Nicholas Verres Smith. While his article was intended as a caricature, it contains much that is exactly true to life. There was but one ballot, and the vote continued two hours. The candidates were James H. Lane, S.C. Pomeroy, Marcus J. Parrott, F.P. Stan ton, M.W. Delahay, S.B. Houston, S.A. Kingman, A.J. Isacks, and M.F. Conway. There was much changing of votes. During the ballotting, Lane always had from forty-five to sixty-four votes. Pomeroy, between forty-five and fifty-seven , Parrott between forty-seven and sixty, Stanton between ten and thirty-two, Delahay between two and eleven, and Kingman between three and eighteen. The final vote stood: Lane, fifty-five; Pomeroy, fifty-two, - and they were declared elected.
Lane set out for Washington immediately after his election. There were then few troops in Washington. The Sixth Massachusetts was attacked by a mob in Baltimore on the 19th of April. A number of volunteer organizations were mustered to defend the Capital City. Senator Lane organized the Kansas men, then in Washington, into the "Frontier Guard." Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, organized the "Clay Guards." These two companies guarded the White House. The Frontier Guard occupied the East room and slept there. It is related that the Guards were under very strict orders. No one could be admitted to the White House without the countersign. President Lincoln was detained until a late hour one evening, and the sentinel refused to admit him. The prompt organization of the Frontier Guard for the protection of the person of the President and his official residence, was one of the causes of the strong friendship which existed between President Lincoln and General Lane. So far as it has been possible to secure the names, the following is the Roll of the Frontier Guard:
|Captain||James H. Lane||Lawrence|
|First Lieutenant||Mark W. Delahay||Leavenworth|
|Second Lieutenant||J.B. Stockton||Leavenworth|
|First Sergeant||D.S. Gordon||United States Army|
|Second Sergeant||John T. Burris||Olathe|
|Third Sergeant||L. Holtslander|
|First Corporal||John P. Hatterscheidt||Leavenworth|
|Second Corporal||J.W. Jenkins||Lawrence|
Henry J. Adams, Leavenworth
Daniel R. Anthony, Leavenworth
D.H. Bailey, Leavenworth
T.D. Bancroft, New York
John K. Bartlett, Leavenworth
George Bassett, Lawrence
Gen. John S. Clark
Sidney Clarke, Lawrence
D.A. Clayton, Leavenworth
J.A. Cody, Doniphan county
A. Danford, Paola
Charles F. De Vivaldi, Manhattan
Jeff. L. Dugger
Thos. Ewing, Jr., Leavenworth
Henry C. Fields, Leavenworth
David Gardner, Fort Myer
S.W. Greer, Topeka
Clark J. Hanks, Leavenworth
James H. Holmes, Lawrence
Charles Howells, New York
William Hutchinson, Lawrence
M.H. Insley, Leavenworth
J.B. Irvin, Doniphan county
George H. Keller, Leavenworth
Robert McBratney, Junction City
Marcus J. Parrott, Leavenworth
Jared Phillips, Paola
Samuel C. Pomeroy, Atchison
W.W. Hogs, Topeka
Turner Sampson, Lawrence
Phillip C. Schuyler, Burlingame
J.S. Smith, Philadelphia
T.A. Syphers, Virginia
Samuel F. Tappan, Lawrence
Chester Thomas, Topeka
John C. Vaughan, Leavenworth
G.F. Warren, Leavenworth
A.A. Wheelock, New York
A. Carter Wilder, Leavenworth
The first call of President Lincoln for troops to suppress the rebellion was made April 15, 1861, and was for 75,000 men. In this call no allotment was made to Kansas. However, Governor Robinson furnished 650 men. He took vigorous measures to organize the State militia, desiring that every able bodied man in Kansas be enlisted. The State was separated into two divisions, the Northern and Southern. J.C. Stone of Leavenworth, was made Major-General of the Northern Division, and James Blood for the Southern Division. Before the close of 1861, two hundred companies of militia had been formed. As soon as calls were made by the President for volunteers for three years, allotments were made to Kansas for her quota. Twice as many men offered their services as these quotas specified. During Governor Robinson's administration, calls were made on Kansas for 5,006 men, and 10,639 were furnished. The organization of Kansas regiments and a brief statement of their service will be found under the Military History of Kansas.
It was unfortunate for Kansas that the feud between General Lane and Governor Robinson should break out anew during the enlistment of troops. The President never trusted Governor Robinson, and General Lane was thus enabled to exercise much influence in Kansas, rightfully the prerogative of the Governor. Lane was authorized to raise and officer the Fourth and Fifth Kansas and to take command of a brigade. He led this brigade into Missouri w here he conducted an active campaign in the fall of 1861. He arrived at Kansas City on the 30th of September. On the 11th of October he and General Sturgis left Kansas City for Springfield, Missouri, arriving there on the 2nd of November. On the 15th of November he arrived at Fort Scott. On the 17th of December, Lane was appointed Major-General. The West-Pointers in the army always opposed the volunteer officers of high command, and General Lane was not supported in his efforts to organize an expedition which he desired to lead South. On the 26th of February, 1862, he made a statement to the Legislature in which he said that he had failed to make satisfactory arrangements with General Hunter; that he could not lead his military expedition to the Gulf; and that he would resign his commission and would return to the Senate.
Governor Robinson believing himself slighted by President Lincoln, gradually lost his interest in the conduct of the war; at least, there was much dissatisfaction with his position and attitude. It was believed by many that his term as Governor expired in January, 1862. A petition was extensively signed urging the nomination of officers to be voted for in the fall of 1861. This petition was as follows:
|We, the undersigned citizens, suffering in common with others from the impotency or malice of the present State Executive, and earnestly desiring a State Government that will, in a patriotic and energetic manner, defend our people from invasion - knowing that by the plain and emphatic provisions of the State Constitution the term of our State officers expires on the first day of January, and that the legislative enactment continuing the State officers beyond that time is null and void, and that there is not sufficient time, before the election, to hold a Nominating Convention, do respectfully pray your honorable body to nominate a full State ticket of efficient Union men, without reference to their political antecedents - men who will conduct the State Government with reference to the good of the whole country, and not upon mere personal grounds.|
The Republican State Committee met at Topeka in October and nominated a ticket and adopted a platform as follows:
For Governor, George A. Crawford, of Bourbon county; for Lieutenant Governor, Joseph L. Speer, of Jefferson county; for Secretary of State, J.W. Robinson, of Riley county; for Attorney General, Samuel A. Stinson, of Leavenworth county; for Treasurer, H.R. Dutton, of Brown county; for Auditor, James R. McClure, of Davis county; for Superintendent of Public Instruction, H.D. Preston, of Osage county.
Resolved, That the vigorous prosecution of the present war, the earnest and hearty support of the Administration in its efforts to crush out the Rebellion, the maintenance of the Constitution, the enforcement of the laws, and the preservation of the Union, are the issues upon which these nominations are made.
The election was held on the 5th of November. This election permanently fixed the Capital at Topeka by a vote of 7,996 to 5,291 for Lawrence, and 1,184 for all other locations. A Legislature, an Attorney General, and a State Treasurer were elected. George A. Crawford was elected Governor, but the question of the time of expiration of the term of Governor Robinson was taken to the Supreme Court; it was decided that the term did not expire for another year.
The evil genius of the administration of Governor Robinson was one R.S. Stevens. The Legislature which met on the 26th of March, 1861, passed an Act authorizing the issue of bonds to the amount of $150,000, which was approved May 1, 1861. It also passed another act, which was approved May 7, 1861, authorizing the State of Kansas to borrow the sum of $20,000 to "repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and to defend the State in time of War." Austin M. Clark and James C. Stone were authorized to negotiate the bonds authorized by the first act. On the 10th of May, Stone and Clark made the following report to the Governor:
His Excellency, Charles Robinson, Governor of Kansas:
Sir: Since you informed us that we have been appointed by the Legislature, Commissioners to negotiate the Bonds of the State, we have taken every means in our power to ascertain whether the Bonds could be sold, and if so, at what price, and we are satisfied that at this time it would be useless to attempt it. The moneyed men of the East are using all the means which they are willing to invest in stocks of any description, in sustaining the Government of the country in its contest with the Seceding States, and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to give it a different direction.
The Legislature passed another act, supplementary to the act authorizing the negotiation of $150,000 bonds of the State. This act was approved on the 3rd of June, 1861. It was passed after the report of Stone and Clark had been received.
The Legislature which met January 14, 1862, appointed a committee to investigate the manner in which the bonds had been disposed of. The committee submitted the following report:
On Thursday, the 30th day of January, 1862, the House of Representatives adopted the following preamble and resolution, from which your committee derive their authority, to wit:
WHEREAS, It appears from the reports of the auditor and treasurer of state, that a certain amount of the bonds of the state have been disposed of; and whereas, said reports do not fully set forth a detailed statement of the facts in relation thereto; therefore,
Resolved, That a special committee of five be appointed by the chair to examine and investigate the accounts of the auditor and treasurer of state, and to ascertain all the facts connected with the sale of bonds of the State of Kansas, the disposition of the proceeds thereof, what amount of scrip there has been issued, what amount redeemed, and what amount has been bonded, what amount of bonds are remaining on hand and unsold, and whether or not state officers have been speculating in the indebtedness of the state of Kansas, with full authority to send for persons and papers, with instructions to report at an early day.
Before proceeding to call testimony touching the subject matter of Investigation, it was deemed best to make a careful examination of the different statutes of the state in relation thereto. They find that an act was passed by the last Legislature and approved May 3d, 1861, authorizing certain persons, to wit: Austin M. Clark and James C. Stone to negotiate the sale of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars of the bonds of the state, and report to the Legislature, within seventy days, their acts in the premises. By reference to the journals of the last session, and on page 382, it will be seen that they did report that any attempt at that time to negotiate the sale of Kansas bonds would be utterly useless and unavailing. After receiving the report of said commissioners, an act was passed by the Legislature, and approved June 7th, 1861, supplementary to the first named act, authorizing the sale of one hundred thousand dollars of the bonds of the state for not less than seventy cents on the dollar. This act gives authority to the Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor to negotiate the sale of these bonds, a majority of whom can act. This law provides that the treasurer shall prepare bonds to the amount of one hundred thousand dollars, with coupons attached, bearing interest at the rate of seven per cent. per annum, and to be made payable in fifteen years. The interest to be paid semiannually.
Another act wag passed by said Legislature, which was approved June 7th, 1861, providing for the issuance of twenty thousand dollars of the bonds of the state, bearing ten per cent. interest, and made payable in two years.
With regard to bonds issued by the state during the year 1861, under the acts referred to, your committee would state that the total issue of bonds, of every description, amounted to $189,400. Of these $40,000 were ten per cent. bonds, issued under the act of May 7th, and known as war bonds. Thirty-one thousand dollars of these ten per cent. bonds have been sold by the treasurer to R.S. Stevens, for forty cents on the dollar; the balance are in the treasurer's hands. It appears, on evidence before us, that a large portion of these bonds ($26,000) were sold by Mr. Stevens to the Interior Department at Washington for ninety-five cents on the dollar. Of the seven per cent. bonds, $62,200 were used in taking up state scrip, and $87,200 were delivered to R.S. Stevens, for which sixty cents on the dollar was to be accounted for by him to the state. It appears, from evidence before us, that these bonds were sold to the Interior Department at Washington for eighty-five cents on the dollar. The evidence before your committee regarding the sale of the bonds is quite lengthy and will be placed before your body in printed form.
The conclusions arrived at by your committee are such as to warrant them in the belief that this House will take decisive measures, and deeming a fair and full examination of all the evidence proper in the premises, would commend it to the attention of the House.
Your committee also are clearly of the opinion that the treasurer had no authority to sell any of the ten per cent. bonds at less than par, and is liable to the state for the face of all ten per cent. bonds sold, and of which $12,400 have been paid into the treasury, leaving a deficiency on bonds sold, to be accounted for, of $18,600.
Of the seven per cent. bonds sold, your committee would call attention to the fact that they are sold by Mr. Stevens, as state agent, he deriving his authority from the state officers authorized by law to sell these bonds. It appears, on evidence, that he was authorized by them to have all he could realize over sixty cents on the dollar. Your committee are of the opinion that the state officers are not authorized by law to make any such agreement, and believe Mr. Stevens liable to the state for all bonds sold by him, for the full amount of which he negotiated the bonds, viz., eighty-five cents on the dollar. An unlawful act cannot be rendered lawful by any sanction given it by state officers, in the opinion of your committee. We would further state that, from the evidence before us, it appears that the $87,200 of seven per cent. bonds were not negotiated with the Interior Department, until after the semi-annual interest had matured, the bonds having been issued on July 1st, 1861, and negotiated on or about January 1st, 1862. This interest, amounting to $3,052, it appears upon evidence, has been paid to R.S. Stevens, and thus the state has realized on bonds sold but fifty-six and a half cents on the dollar. Your committee are of the opinion that this interest properly belongs to the state.
We would further state that, of the $87,200 of bonds placed in the hands of R.S. Stevens, it appears, upon evidence, that he has accounted to the state for $56,200, at sixty cents on the dollar, by the payment into the treasury of $33,720 - the balance of the bonds ($31,000) being negotiated with but not paid for by the Interior Department at Washington. Your committee would recommend that an act be at once created appointing an agent to go to Washington to take charge of this property, with full power to transact all further business necessary in the matter, on behalf of the state.
From the evidence which your committee submit with this report, they are of the opinion that there has been a collusion of Charles Robinson, George S. Hillyer and John W. Robinson with R.S. Stevens, to defraud the state of Kansas of a large sum of money.
Resolved, That Charles Robinson, Governor, John W. Robinson, Secretary of State, and George S. Hillyer, Auditor of the State of Kansas, be and they are hereby impeached of high misdemeanors in office.
William Tholen, of Leavenworth, had been elected State Treasurer on the ticket with Governor Robinson. Governor Robinson refused to accept the official bond made by Treasurer Tholen, which had the effect of vacating his office. The Governor then appointed H.R. Dutton, of Brown County, Treasurer, to fill the vacancy. Dutton had signed the report, with S.N. Wood, which practically approved the fraudulent bonds issued on Kansas claims. The removal of Tholen, an honest man, and the appointment of Dutton, were the bad features in the case against Governor Robinson.
The resolution of the committee was unanimously adopted. Being authorized and directed by the House to appoint a committee to conduct the impeachment cases in the trial before the Senate, the Speaker named Preston B. Plumb, Azel Spaulding, F.W. Potter, W.R. Wagstaff and Davies Wilson. On the 20th of February, Plumb reported, on behalf of his committee, which was called the Committee of Managers of Impeachment Cases, eight articles of impeachment of John W. Robinson, Secretary of State. On the 26th he reported seven articles of impeachment of George S. Hillyer, Auditor of State. On the same day he reported five articles of impeachment of Charles Robinson, Governor of Kansas. These reports were all adopted, - the articles against Governor Robinson by a vote of fifty-three to seven, and those against the others, unanimously. The trial of the impeachment cases began on the second day of June, 1862.
The testimony of George S. Hillyer showed that R.S. Stevens was appointed State Agent to sell Kansas State bonds by the Governor, Secretary of State, and himself. The agreement was that he should take the bonds, and, when sold, account to the State for sixty cents on the dollar. The Secretary of State wrote from Washington to D.H. Weir, his clerk, "Keep mum about the bonds. Do not say a word to any person alive - not even to your wife - for we want it as secret as it can be until it is fixed." On another occasion he wrote, "I had an interview with Mr. Lincoln night before last . . . we may possibly put in the loan at sixty cents, but it will never hurt the State a dime or will even be heard of . . . keep still."
Treasurer Dutton testified: "Sold $31,000 of war bonds to Mr. Stevens for forty cents on the dollar and took his receipt. . . . I also gave him $27,000 7 per cent bonds and took his receipt for them, to be returned or sold at seventy cents on the dollar. The bonds were not returned. He came back and I was informed by the Auditor and Secretary of State that they had made an arrangement for the sale of the bonds, and I took an additional receipt of $53,400, $5,000 being retained by the Auditor to redeem scrip."
Mr. Morrow testified, "I reside in Lawrence. Am interested in the Lawrence Bank. I am at this time nominally president of the bank, but I disposed of my interest sometime in the fall to R.S. Stevens. The directors of the Lawrence Bank are James Blood, T.B. Eldridge, Mr. Stevens and Gov. Robinson and myself. The directors are principally the stockholders. . . . Mr. Dutton has an account at the Lawrence Bank. He gives drafts on our bank which we pay in such funds as he draws for."
Stevens seemed to have managed the whole matter of disposing of the bonds. The result of the trial of the State Officers on the impeachment charges were that the Secretary of State and State Auditor were found guilty and removed from office. Governor Robinson was acquitted, it having been shown that he was not present in Washington when the bonds were sold and that his name was signed by the Auditor or Secretary, and that he refused to sign such a paper when Stevens requested him to do so.
This was a very unfortunate transaction. Kansas was immediately spoken of in the newspapers as "The rotten Commonwealth." That was unjust. There was no party rancor in these impeachment cases. They were the result of a desire of the people to secure an honest and capable administration of their affairs. In fact, very little damage was caused to the financial reputation of the State. At the close of the Civil War, Kansas made ample provision for the payment of all her obligations. The credit of the State has been what financiers call "gilt edge" from that day.
This bond transaction destroyed Governor Robinson politically. The Republican State Convention met at Topeka September 17th. On the 18th Thomas Carney was nominated for Governor. Governor Robinson was not a candidate, and afterwards he did not act with the Republican party.
The Eleventh Kansas Infantry was organized in September, 1862. Thomas Ewing, Jr., was mustered as Colonel on the 14th of September. On the 24th of September, P.B. Plumb, Captain of Company C, was elected Major. The Eleventh Regiment was one of the best regiments organized in Kansas in the Civil War. It was immediately equipped and sent to Northwest Arkansas, where it became a part of the Army of the Frontier under command of General James G. Blunt. Its first battle was that of Old Fort Wayne, in the Cherokee Nation, on the 22nd of October. General D.H. Cooper of the Confederacy, in command of the rebel forces, was defeated. On the 28th of November, General Blunt attacked Marmaduke at Cane Hill, Arkansas. The Confederate forces were defeated and driven ten miles over the Boston Mountains. The retreat was continued to Van Buren. At that point General Hindman made a hasty reorganization of his forces and determined to drive the Army of the Frontier from Arkansas. In his effort to do this occurred the Battle of Prairie Grove, one of the most important in which the Kansas troops were engaged.
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