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Kansas has a history which is common with no other State in the Union. The history of Slavery in our country is the history of successive triumphs and continued advances over the will of a majority of our people, until it entered into a hand to hand grapple with Free Labor in Kansas. Here was the battle-field of the combined forces of the “Irrepressible Conflict," and here the question of supremacy between its opposing elements was finally settled. Slavery triumphed in every Territory where she sought to establish her dominion until she provoked, by tearing down the bulwarks of Plighted Faith, a single-handed contest with Free Labor in the settlement of Kansas, upon the principles of Popular Sovereignty.
To the people of this Territory, aided by friends in the Free States, therefore, belongs the honor of first repelling the advances of Slavery, and of forever destroying its power. Slave propagandists felt this, and hence, when the question was decided in Kansas, they turned in their wrath upon the General Government, which had been to Slavery an indulgent and fostering guardian, to take its life, whereby to rid themselves of its control.
Few have fully comprehended the awful character and extent of the desperate conflict in Kansas. Both
parties upheld by the pecuniary means and moral support of their respective States, engaged in it with the most intense and inflamed spirit of parti
Plans, deep, dark and far-reaching, were laid by the great minds of the nation, and found their execution in Kansas. Worse than civil war reigned, worse than its concomitant evils prevailed.
To fully understand the character of the Kansas conflict requires a proper acquaintance with the aggressions of Slavery in the United States upon Freedom, of which the Kansas trouble was but the outgrowth or culmination. I have, therefore, inserted a short sketch of that Institution.
The history of Kansas is a difficult one to write. Though there is an incalculable amount of material which can be gathered together, still facts were so perverted and differently represented by contemporary writers, that the searcher for truth is often lost and puzzled in his investigations. Much, too, of the history of Kansas has never been written. The designs and motives of each party, and many of their plans, can not be found on paper, all of which so essential to a complete history of Territorial struggle, must be gathered from men who are still living, and to whom they are familiar.
There is no complete and consecutive history of Kansas Territory. The books which have been written upon Kansas matters cover but a short space of time, and contain but a partial and disjointed sketches of those times. They were written in great haste for campaign documents, and hence were in many instances highly colored and inaccurate.
Most of the important documents bearing upon Kansas history are scarce and difficult to find. There is no public library or historical society in the State which has made the collection. The writer has been at the trouble and pains to make this collection himself, which he has found more difficult than the labor
of writing the book. In a few years this work could not have been done. Documents would have been lost, families moved away, and thus some of the most essential items in the history of Kansas become oblivious.
The UNWRITTEN history of Kansas could never be WRITTEN So well as at the present time, while most of the actors in the early troubles of the Territory are still living. The author has visited those, made their acquaintance, whom he has ever found open and communicative on all subjects, and from whom he has gathered much valuable assistance.
To supply what seemed to be a great public demand has been my design in undertaking the preparation of this volume. I have had but one idea to guide me in its compilation, and that is Truth. By this I have sought to test every word and sentence. I have sought not only to avoid misrepresentation, but also another very common fault into which writers are prone to fall-exaggeration of facts; but I have labored to describe events exactly as they transpired, without underrating or over coloring them. How far I have succeeded in accomplishing this purpose is left to the impartial judgment of the public to decide.
In the prosecution of this work, I have enjoyed many advantages. Totally unconnected with the Territorial difficulties, without any political or personal preferments, my judgment has been wholly free from prejudice and partiality. I have freely consulted with men of all parties and opinions, from all of whom I have gathered much information. Books, files of papers, letters and documents of various kinds have come to me from every quarter. In this way my labors have been greatly facilitated, and I take this opportunity to make a public acknowledgement of these favors, which are the more appreciated as I am a stranger in the State. It would be tedious to mention all who have rendered me much invaluable assistance, but I cannot forbear to name the State Auditor, Mr. Swallow, and State Librarian, Dr. Hounton, who has permitted me the use of the library, as though it were my own; Mr. Barker, Secretary of State and Mr. Clarkson, Clerk in that office, who have allowed me free access to official records; Hon John W. Forman of Atchison, who has furnished me, among other valuable documents, a complete file of the “Squatter Sovereign;" Dr. A. Huntting of Manhattan, who sent me several valuable scrap-books; Hon. G. W. Smith of Lawrence, who furnished me a complete file of the“ Herald of Freedom'; Hon. Joel Grover, of Lawrence, who supplied me with some rare documents; Col. C. K. Holliday of Topeka, who has given me many important items; Hon. J. A. Halderman of Leavenworth, through whose influence I obtained access to the Mercantile Library of that city, and the use of its excellent files of old papers; Hon. S. A. Kingman of Atchison, who has assisted me in various ways; Gov. Robinson, to whom I am much indebted, as also to Col. Montgomery, whose assistance and hospitality I have enjoyed; Hon, J. A. Wakefield who wrote out some early reminescences for me; Hon. George Hillyer who furnished me a file of the “Kansas Freeman"; Hon. John Ritchie from whom I obtained valuable official documents; S. M. McDonald and Baker of the “State Record” who have greatly assisted me; Hon, James Christian who has the most valuable library in the Territory.