Sunday, January 05, 2014

"except by standing on their rights of armed self defense..."

   We have more than once bad occasion to call attention to the deceptive and treacherous course of The Commercial Advertiser of this city. That paper may justly be described as the snake in the grass of the New-York press. With great professions of respect for law and decency and right, it devotes all its efforts to perpetuate the Border Ruffians in their present unfortunate possession of our National Government, by seeking to foment jealousies and suspicions among their opponents. Lately, indeed, it did seem to exhibit something of proper sensibility and spirit by admitting into its columns a number of articles on the Kansas outrage evidently emanating from a source which very seldom finds expression in that quarter, and written in a tone quite opposite to its habitual style. Upon reading these articles we began to have some hopes of a remarkable conversion: but The Commercial has already relapsed into its old favorite and easily besetting sin of backbiting the Republicans--an excellent means, no doubt, whether so intended or not, of affording underhand aid and comfort to its Border Ruffian allies.

   Having sought to make a little capital for itself, and to acquire some credit for manly sentiments and proper self-respect, by falling in with a current of popular indignation on the Sumner outrage too strong to be resisted, The Commercial, as if seeking to indemnify itself and its Border Ruffian allies for the words of censure it was constrained to reecho through its columns by repeating after Douglas, The Journal of Commerce, The Union, and The Richmond Enquirer the base, malignant calumny against the Republicans that they have stirred up ans are desirous of keeping up a civil war in Kansas. Are we to understand, then, that The Commercial Advertiser, in spite of all the accumulated evidence lately taken under oath before the Congressional Committee, is prepared to indorse the bogus Kansas Legislature as a duly elected, or as rightfully exercising authority?  Are we to understand that journal to accept as binding the atrocious acts passed by that bogus Legislature, and their appointment of Missouri Postmasters to the office of Kansas Sheriffs? Are we to understand The Commercial Advertiser as accepting for good law the ridiculous charge of Lecompte to the Grand Jury of Douglas county, and the absurd bills for high treason found against Messrs. Robinson, Reeder and others as bona fide judicial proceedings? Does The Commercial indorse. in like manner, the act of that same Grand Jury in assuming to denounce as nuisances the hotel and the printing offices at Lawrence, and does it accept that presentation as in itself alone, and without any notice, even to the parties interested, to appear to show cause against this absurd procedure as lawful warrant for attacking Lawrence with an armed force, battering down and burning the hotel, plundering and destroying the printing offices, and robbing every private house in the city?

   The Bolder Ruffians of Missouri repeatedly invade the Territory of Kansas, drive the legal voters from the polls, and decide the elections to suit themselves. They choose a Legislature, and that Legislature assumes to enact laws and to appoint officers for Kansas. One attempt is made, without success, by a force of Border Ruffians, to destroy Lawrence. A regiment of some four or five hundred armed ruffians is subsequently enlisted in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, brought to Kansas and armed with United States rifles. They waylay travelers, many of whom they put in danger of their lives, some of whom they kill, and all of whom they rob of their arms and their horses; they steal oxen from the plow, rob farm-houses of their stock and provisions; sack Lawrence, as already described, and make a general plunder of all the houses in the town. All this is done, and The Commercial has not one word to utter against it; but when it is proposed to enable the Free-State men to defend themselves and their families against such robberies, then it raises the cry of treason and civil war! There is evidently a conspiracy, into which even the United States officials of the Territory have entered, to drive the Free-State settlers out of Kansas by means of all kinds of outrages, or to compel them to unconditional silence and submission, and to leave the whole control of the politics of the Territory in the hands of the Slavery party: and when it is proposed to assist these noble-hearted Free-State men who still resolve to stand by and battle for their rights, with arms, money and reinforcements to enable them to maintain themselves against these marauding ruffians, The Commercial rolls up its eyes in affected horror and repeats the cry of treason and civil war! Lawrence may be burned ten times over, and the while Free-State population may be kept in terror of their lives: persons and property in the Territory may be at the mercy of bands of armed and roving desperadoes; the principal Free-State men may be arrested and imprisoned without bail on the most absurd charges, and while they are thus held their houses and furniture may be burned; Gov. Shannon, instead of employing the United States dragoons at his disposal to preserve peace and protect property, may order them away for the very purpose of depriving Lawrence of their protecting presence--and in all that The Commercial sees nothing but the execution of the laws. But the moment the Free-State men propose to protect themselves against being thus robbed and murdered, then it becomes treason and civil war.

   What an insolent and cruel mockery in The Commercial! What a blow on its part at the common heart and common sense of the American people; what a proof of "defective or perverted vision," or both combined; what an evidence of a weak head, prompted by a wicked heart, to speak of the Free-State men of Kansas and their friends in the Northern States as "bent on civil war--on a protracted defiance of "the Territorial laws and authorities!" The Free-State men of Kansas have sacrificed every thing to peace. They have done all that men could to bring the question of the validity of the bogus Legislature to a regular and rightful decision. They have applied to Congress for that purpose, and Congress has a Committee of Investigation in the Territory at this moment. The Border Ruffians have refused to refer the matter to any such arbitration, and have chosen to settle the question in their own favor by force. For the sake of peace, the men of Lawrence consent to give up their arms: and no sooner have they done so than the town is plundered and some of its principal edifices destroyed. Kansas has been repeatedly invaded by armed bands from Missouri and other Southern States, marching in battle array and living at free quarters, and is so at this moment, and The Commercial deems the matter worthy of hardly a passing notice--all these violent and illegal proceedings fail to arouse its indignation or hardly its attention: but the moment it hears that the citizens of Worcester are subscribing money to send bona fide settlers into Kansas, armed and organized in such a way as to enable them to set mobs and ruffianism at defiance, it begins to whine and whimper about civil war, and breaks out into a charge against the Republican party "of subscribing their thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to send armed men into a Territory of the United States to resist the Federal Government in the execution of the laws of the Territory."

   This is a rather serious charge, and, as a humble advocate of the Republican party, we call upon The Commercial Advertiser either to produce proof of it, to retract it, or to stand convicted of deliberate and willful calumny. When and where has the Republican party or any individual member of that party proposed to resist the Federal Government in the execution of the laws of the Territory? When and where has the Republican party or any member of it subscribed a dollar for any such purpose? Because the Republican presses do not quietly submit to the sacking of Lawrence and the domination over the Territory of a Pro-Slavery mob, because they do not imitate the quietistic example of The Commercial in resigning Kansas without a struggle, and suffering all the Free-State men to be driven out of the Territory; because they are not fools enough to believe or knaves enough to pretend to believe that after this is done Kansas will stand just as good a chance as before of becoming a Free-State, The Commercial Advertiser accuses them of unreasonably keeping up the Kansas excitement!

   After The Commercial has relieved itself, if it can, of the charge of a deliberate and malignant calumny against the Republican party, we hope it will employ its profound political wisdom in replying to these two questions--How is Kansas to become a Free State if the friends of the Free-State system in are excluded from settling in it? How can Free-State settlers maintain themselves in Kansas at present, except by standing on their rights of armed self defense against Pro-Slavery ruffians who seek to drive them away?

[New-York Daily Tribune, New-York, Tuesday, June 10, 1856. Vol. XVI......No. 4,725. Pg. 4]

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