Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.
two affairs really forming part of one and the same enterprise), now seated himself on his judicial bench and committed the whole party for trial on charge of murder in the first degree; and at the October term of his court proceeded to try and condemn to penalties prescribed by the bogus laws some eighteen or twenty of these prisoners, for offenses in which in equity and good morals he was personally particeps criminis—­some of the convicts being held in confinement until the following March, when they were pardoned by the Governor.[18] Inter arma silent leges, say the publicists; but in this particular instance the license of guerrilla war, the fraudulent statutes of the Territory, and the laws of Congress were combined and perverted with satanic ingenuity in furtherance of the conspiracy.

The vigorous proceedings of Governor Geary, the forced retirement of the Missourians on the one hand, and the arrest and conviction of the free-State partisans on the other, had the effect to bring the guerrilla war to an abrupt termination.  The retribution had fallen very unequally upon the two parties to the conflict,[19] but this was due to the legal traps and pitfalls prepared with such artful design by the Atchison conspiracy, and not to the personal indifference or ill-will of the Governor.  He strove sincerely to restore impartial administration; he completed the disbandment of the territorial militia, reenlisting into the Federal service one pro-slavery and one free-State company for police duty.[20] By the end of September he was enabled to write to Washington that “peace now reigns in Kansas.”  Encouraged by this success in allaying guerrilla strife, he next endeavored to break up the existing political persecution and intrigues.

  [Sidenote] Marcy to Geary, August 26, 1856.  Gihon, p. 272.

It was not long, however, before Governor Geary became conscious, to his great surprise and mortification, that he had been nominated and sent to Kansas as a partisan manoeuvre, and not to institute administrative reforms; that his instructions, written during the presidential campaign, to tranquillize Kansas by his “energy, impartiality, and discretion,” really meant that after Mr. Buchanan was elected he should satisfy the Atchison cabal.

In less than six months after he went to the Territory, clothed with the executive authority, speaking the President’s voice, and representing the unlimited military power of the republic, he, the third Democratic Governor of Kansas, was, like his predecessors, in secret flight from the province he had so trustfully gone to rule, execrated by his party associates, and abandoned by the Administration which had appointed him.  Humiliating as was this local conspiracy to plant servitude in Kansas, a more aggressive political movement to nationalize slavery in all the Union was about to eclipse it.

[1] Shannon, proclamation, June 4, 1856.  Senate Ex.  Doc., 3d
Sess. 34th Cong.  Vol.  III., p. 47.

[2] Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, to General Smith, Sept. 3, 1856.  Senate Ex.  Doc., 3d Sess. 34th Cong.  Vol.  III., p. 29.

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