Deputy U.S. Marshal Wm. J. Preston, "The party retained their side arms, some rifles, (common and Sharpe's patent,) and guns. . . . P.S.--No private arms were taken; or, if so, by the personal application of the owners they were returned--I mean rifles, shot-guns . . . U.S. Army Captain and Brevet Major H.H. Sibley, "Agreeably to your excellency's instructions, I have restored such of the arms as have been claimed as individual property. . . .Gov. Jno. W. Geary, "the immigrants were provided with shot-guns, rifles, pistols, knives, & c., sufficient for the ordinary uses of persons travelling in Kansas, or any other of the western Territories."
KANSAS AFFAIRS.--OFFICIAL REPORT OF GOV. GEARY TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
The following official report of Governor Geary to the Secretary of State furnishes a crushing answer to the many falsehoods propagated by the abolition press in regard to the recent arrest of two hundred and fifty pretended immigrants into Kansas. We venture to assert that no right-minded man can read these authentic facts without admiring and applauding the impartiality, vigilance, promptness, and leniency which marked Governor Geary's whole conduct. It is really amazing that even abolition leaders can resort to such disgraceful perversions and fabrications as are now industriously circulated through their journals in regard to an occurrence which reflects the highest credit upon Governor Geary. But his official report has come in time to expose the base falsehoods and to add another proof that black republicanism has lived for the lst year upon a succession of similar frauds and fabrications.
Reported Invasion of the Northern Frontier.
In consequence of numerous well-authenticated reports having been brought to the executive department that large bodies of organized men, armed and provided with munitions of war, were about to enter the Territory from Nebraska with no peaceful intentions, a requisition was made upon the commander of the United States forces stationed here for a sufficient number of troops to repel or disperse the intruders. Accordingly, a large force, under command of Col. Cook, and accompanied by a United States district marshal, left Lecompton for the North on the 28th ult. The following is the marshal's report:
Lecompton, Kansas Territory,
October 12, 1856.
His Excellency J.W. Geary, Governor of Kansas Territory:
Sir: In accordance with your orders "to accompany the United States troops to the northern frontier, and to see that your proclamation was carried into effect," I have the honor to state that I have been located for the past two weeks at or in the vicinity of a place called Fort Plymouth, some five or six miles south of the line dividing Kansas from Nebraska.
On the evening of the 9th inst. I was informed by some United States officers that there was a body of 250 men, with wagons, &c., at a little place in Nebraska called Archie, some five miles north of the territorial line, and that they proposed entering Kansas. On the morning of the 10th instant Colonel Cook, commanding the United States troops, sent for me. I obeyed his summons, and found him engaged in conversation with General Pomeroy and Colonels Eldridge and Perry, who were in command of this party of 240, more or less, represented as emigrants. I introduced myself to the parties in command, and asked if they had seen your proclamation, &c. They replied in the affirmative, and showed me a letter from your excellency, in which you advise your officials of the coming of this party, and in which you command your officers to allow them to pass unmolested if they come as bona fide settlers, and for lawful and peaceful purposes, and not in violation of your proclamation.
There was nothing in the appearance of this party indicating that they were peaceable immigrants. They had no stock of any kind, except those of draught. There were only some seven families among them, and no visible furniture, agricultural implements, or mechanical tools; but, on the contrary, they were amply supplied with all the requisite articles for camping and campaigning purposes. These were seen protruding from their vehicles. Considering their appearance antagonistic to the spirit of your proclamation, fifth paragraph: "And I command all bodies of men, combined, armed, and equipped with munitions of war, without authority of the government, instantly to disband or quit the Territory, as they will answer the contrary at their peril," I requested Colonel Eldridge, who appeared to be in command, to satisfy me as to the peaceful mission of the party by showing me the contents of the wagons, &c. He declined in such a manner as to induce me to suppose that the wagons (some twenty in number) were loaded with munitions of war. Everything went to show that they were organized, and they acknowledged this fact themselves.
I then requested Col. Cook, commander of the United States forces, to examine and to give me a written report of how the party was furnished. The following is his reply and accompanying report:
Headquarters Camp on Pony Creek,
Kansas Territory, Oct 10, 1856.
Sir: I give you my opinion that this party of two hundred and forty men, more or less, under Col. Eldridge, Gen. Pomeroy, & c., is a combined party or body, furnished completely with arms and munitions of war.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. ST. GEO. COOK,
Lieut. Col. 2d Dragoons.
Col. W. J. Preston, Deputy Marshal, Present.
Report of Arms Discovered.
3 boxes or navy revolver pistols, all new, viz:
6 six and 5 five-shooters.
12 Colt's, navy size.
24 " "
4 boxes fixed ball cartridges.
1 bag caps.
A small lot of rifle cartridges.
1 box, 10 Sharpe's rifles.
145 breech-loading muskets.
85 percussion muskets.
61 common sabres.
2 officer's sabres.
1 1-2 kegs of powder.
61 dragoon saddles.
The recent troubled state of the Territory, and your proclamation, and Colonel Cooke's reply, authorized me to consider the party as one entering our midst for no peaceful purposes. Hence, in accordance with your orders regarding your letter as giving me some margin for discretion, I took the arms into my possession. and delivered them to Colonel Cook, subject to your order. The party retained their side arms, some rifles, (common and Sharpe's patent,) and guns.
The party then complained, and expressed some fear in travelling with what arms they retained. I consequently requested Col. Cook to give them an escort to their place of destination. He acquiesced; but the immigrants (as they styled themselves,) after consultation, declined accepting the escort, but persisted in going as an organized body. Whereupon, after promising to suit their convenience in travelling, and as regards route, I arrested them as a body allowing individuals to go where they pleased and when they pleased.
In arresting them I had nothing to do with tbe families, offering them the liberty which you guaranty to all--of travelling through or settling in any part of the Territory which they might think proper. This privilege they refused to accept, replying that "the party to which they were attached was an organized one, and they would not leave their comrades, as some of their property was in every wagon." I also took into consideration their personal convenience, doing everything in consonance with my position for their comfort, and promising them that I would use every endeavor with your excellency to have you meet them on the route, that you might satisfy yourself as to the character and objects of their mission; and if you should regard it as warlike, I would be subject to your further order; and if a peaceful and colonization tendency, my interruption would be light as possible. They were detained three-quarters of a day when first stopped and by my request Col. Cook issued a day's rations to them. They have met with no further delay. It was raining on the day of tbe arrest, which subjected us all to a drenching. It was to be regretted, but could not be prevented.
Very respectfully, your excellency's obedient servant,
WM. J. PRESTON,
Deputy United States Marshal.
P.S.--No private arms were taken; or, if so, by the personal application of the owners they were returned--I mean rifles, shot-guns, some few sabres, &c. No one claimed the muskets. I would also call your attention to the following note handed me by Colonel Cook.
Truly yours, &c.,
WM. J. PRESTON.
Deputy United States Marshal.
"No trunks or ordinary packages were opened. A large quantity of new saddles were found in boxes, supposed to match the sabres. Sixty or seventy-five others of the party are several days behind with ox-teams.
"P. ST. GEO. COOK."
Report of Col. P. St. G. Cook.
Headquarters, Camp near Nemaha River, K.T.,
October 10, 1856.
Sir: Colonel Preston, deputy marshal, has arrested, with my assistance, and disarmed a large party of professed immigrants, being entirely provided with arms and munitions of war; amongst which two officers and sixty-one privates' sabres, and many boxes of new saddles. Agreeably to your requisition of September 28, 1856, I send an escort to conduct them, men, and arms, and munitions of war, to appear before you at the capital.
Col. Preston will give you the details.
I have the honor to be, with high respect, your obedient servant,
P. ST. GEORGE COOK,
Lieut. Col. 2d Dragoons, Commanding in the Field.
To his Excellency Jno. W. Geary,
Governor of Kansas Territory.
The following was forwarded by mail to St Louis, and thence despatched by telegraph to Washington city:
To the Secretary of State.
Lecompton, (K.T.,) October 13, 1856.
Sir: An official report has just reached me that the troops sent to guard the northern frontier have arrested a party of two hundred and forty men, organised in military order, and liberally supplied with munitions of war. They entered Kansas by way of Nebraska. They brought with them no household furniture, agricultural implements, nor anything to indicate that their intentions were otherwise than hostile. I am now about to proceed to Indianola, where I expect to meet them, and make of them such disposition as circumstances may seem to require. By the next mail I will forward you a full account of the affair. Your obedient servant,
JOHN W. GEARY,
Governor of Kansas Territory.
Wm. L. Marcy, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Report of Immigrants.
Kansas Territory, Topeka, Oct. 14, 1856.
Dear Sir : We, the undersigned, conductors of an immigrant train, who entered the Territory on the 10th instant, beg leave to make the following statement of facts, which, if required, we will attest upon our oaths:
1st. Our party numbered from 200 to 300 persons, in two separate companies, the rear company (which has not yet arrived) being principally composed of families with children, who left Mount Pleasant, Iowa, three days after this train which has arrived to-day.
2d. We are all actual bona fide settlers, intending, so far as we know, to become permanent inhabitants.
3d. The blockading of the Missouri river to free-State emigrants, and the reports which reached us in the early part of September to the effect that armed men were infesting and marauding the northern portion of Kansas, were the sole reasons why we came in a company and were armed.
4th. We were stopped near the northern line of the Territory by the United States troops, acting, as we understood, under the orders of one Preston, deputy United States marshal; and, after stating to the officers who we were, and what we had, they commenced searching our wagons, (in some instances breaking open trunks and throwing bedding and wearing apparel upon the ground in the rain,) taking arms from the wagons, wresting some private arms from the hands of men, carrying away a lot of sabres belonging to a gentleman in the Territory, as also one and a half kegs of powder, percussion caps, and some cartridges; in consequence of which, we were detained about two-thirds of a day, taken prisoners, and are now presented to you.
All that we have to say is, that our mission to this Territory is entirely peaceful. We have no organization, save a police organization for our own regulation and defence on the way. And coming in that spirit to this Territory, we claim the rights of American citizens to bear arms, and to be exempt from unlawful search or seizure.
Trusting to your integrity aud impartiality, we have confidence to believe that our property will be restored to us, and that all that has been wrong will be righted.
We here subscribe ourselves, cordially and truly, your friends and fellow-citizens,
S.W. ELDRIDGE, Conductor,
SAMUEL C. POMEROY,
JOHN A. PERRY,
His Excellency J. W. Geary,
Governor Kansas Territory.
Report of Major Sibley.
In camp near Topeka, K.T.,
October 4, 1856.
Sir: I have the honor to report that, agreeably to the written order of Lieutenant Colonel Cook, commanding the troops on the northern frontier of this Territory, of which the following is a copy, viz:
HEADQUARTERS, CAMP NEAR THE NEBRASKA FRONTIER,
October 10, 1856.
Brevet Major H.H. Sibley will march to-morrow in command of the squadron 2d dragoons for Lecompton, K.T., and will conduct there and deliver to the governor of the Territory the prisoners this day arrested as invaders of the Territory, together with the arms and munitions of war found in their possession and seized.
Major S. will await further orders at camp near Lecompton.
Bv order of Lieutenant Colonel Cook:
Lieutenant and adjutant 2d dragoons.
I took charge of the prisoners (223) referred to in order, together with the arms, munitions of war, &c, and marched the morning of the 11th.
Being accompanied by Deputy Marshal Preston, I discovered very soon that the relative position of the prisoners, the marshal, and myself, was not distinctly understood--the former being under the impression that they were not bona fide prisoners, but merely under military surveillance. This impression I took the earliest occasion to correct by reading to the conductors of the party Lieutenant Colonel Cook's order.
It was then demanded of me that the government should subsist the whole party and forage their animals. I acknowledged the Justice of their demand, but informed them that, as an equivalent for one day's detention in Colonel Cook's camp, and at their own suggestion, he had furnished me with one day's provision for them, which I would deliver in camp at night; that I had no more, and not a grain of forage; but that I would pay both for provision and forage, if either could be procured along the route. I gave them to understand distinctly that I would not suffer myself to be embarrassed on my march by their assertions of scarcity of provisions. I knew they had abundance in their wagons, that they must use them, and make their claims upon the government afterwards. My orders were imperative to take them before the governor, and they should be obeyed. With the general understanding and a better acquaintance with the conductors, every disposition to cavil ceased. I imposed no restraint upon them whatever along the route. Their sick and foot-sore (many of them driven from their own wagons) were permitted to ride in mine. They were assisted in crossing streams, and were permitted to select their own camp grounds within reasonable distance of mine. Upon one occasion I consented to their continuing their route three miles further than the point I had selected. The proposition, however, seemed to have been voted down; for they took the ground I had indicated as the best; and I paid for forage for their animals for two nights out of my own pocket, having no public funds at my disposal.
These trifling circumstances are merely adverted to in order that your excellency may fully understand the position of my command with respect to the immigrant party; and that you may understand that they were never for one moment made to feel the restraint of military discipline; but were, on the contrary, relieved from the onerous duty and necessity of nightly guards, and assisted rather than retarded in their journey.
My first impression upon a cursory view of the party, their outfit, arms, munitions, &c., &c., and the absence of a proper proportion of families--there being only seven women to two hundred and forty men--(less than half the number allowed to the same number of soldiers,) the total absence of farming implements, household furniture, &c., naturally and necessarily pertaining to bona fide immigrants, was that it could be regarded in no other light than as an organised armed party, entering the Territory for any other than peaceful purposes; and, in view of the excitement which prevailed in the Territory at the probable moment of its organization, invasion and war was its original intent. Learning, however, as they approached the line, the true state of affairs, (the happy results of a few weeks of vigorous administration of justice,) and that, instead of war, peace and quiet and protection reigned throughout the land, their character changed; the arms provided for rebellion and opposition to the laws were never unpacked, and, but for their discovery in the wagons, the party would have entered the Territory unmolested.
Agreeably to your excellency's instructions, I have restored such of the arms as have been claimed as individual property. The balance I have turned over to the officer in command of the troops stationed at this point.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain and Brevet Major 2d Dragoons.
His Excellency J.W. Geary,
Governor Kansas Territory.
Report of Col St. G. Cook.
HEADQUARTERS, CAMP NEAR LeCOMPTON,
October 15, 1856.
The morning after my last communication on the 8th instant, I marched back with the dragoons, and encamped close to the fortified house and '"fort". I caused the vicinity to be again searched. Some dry goods which I heard were found the day before, and marked "Grasshopper Falls," had been removed. They were still working on the house within the redoubt. This they hare commenced to pull down.
Ascertaining the night of the 9th instant that a large body had come by the north within twelve miles, I concentrated the troops early the 10th, and soon after a large force, with twenty wagons, approached.
Their leaders, well mounted, approached me, and announced themselves as "Colonel Eldridge," "General Pomeroy," &c., said they were immigrants, &c. Soon Colonel Preston, deputy marshal, approached, produced the governor's proclamation of September 11th, and said it was necessary to search the wagons for arms and munitions of war. They refusing consent, I immediately caused it to be done, my display of force being such that no resistance was offered.
It was found that there was, with the horses in the wagons, a complete armament for the whole number of men, one-fourth as cavalry, the rest as infantry. A good deal of threat and irritating language was used on their part, unanswered and unnoticed.
I gave the deputy marshal my written opinion that they were a "combined party or body furnished completely with arms and munitions of war."
With some hesitation, I consented to an arrangement being made by the marshal by which escort would be given to them to conduct them to the governor. He found they would not consent, and arrested them. I, therefore, put them under guard, and sent them next morning in charge of Brevet Major Sibley, commanding a squadron of of dragoons, to be brought before you.
"Col. Eldridge," in his explanations to me, said there was a part of them, from "fifty to seventy-five," coming several days behind, with ox-teams; but he did not claim that they were bringing property belonging to those in advance; not to me, certainly. This party had no stock, furniture, &c.,invariably curried by emigrants.
Nothing new had occurred for two days, when, on the morning of the 12th, I left Col. Johnston with 1st cavalry and light artillery company, to remain, until further orders, on that frontier.
I have just arrived, and hasten to give you this information of the affairs of the north.
With high respect, your obedient servant,
P. ST. GEO. COOK,
Lieut Col. 2d Dragoons, Com'g Forces in the Field.
To his Excellency Jno. W. Geary,
Governor Kansas Territory.
To the Secretary of State.
Lecompton, (K.T.,) October 15, 1856.
Dear Sir: Col. Wm. J. Preston, a deputy United States marshal, who had accompanied Col. P. St. Geo. Cook and his command to the northern frontier to look after a large party of professed immigrants, who were reported to be about invading the Territory in that quarter in warlike array and for hostile purposes, returned to Lecompton on the 12th instant.
He informed me that he had caused to be arrested an organized band, consisting of about two hundred and forty persons, among whom were a very few women and children, comprising some seven families.
This party was regularly formed in military order, and were under the command of General Pomeroy, Colonels' Eldridge and Perry, and others. They had with them twenty wagons, in which were a supply of new arms, mostly muskets (with bayonets) and sabres, and a lot of saddles, &c., sufficient to equip a battalion, consisting one fourth of cavalry and the remainder of infantry.
Besides these arms, which were evidently intended for military purposes, and none other, and which were in the wagons, a search of which was strongly objected to, the immigrants were provided with shot-guns, rifles, pistols, knives, &c., sufficient for the ordinary uses of persons travelling in Kansas, or any other of the western Territories.
From the reports of the officers, I learn that they had with them neither oxen, household furniture, mechanics' tools, agricultural implements, nor any of the necessary appurtenances of peaceful settlers.
These persons entered the Territory on the morning of the 10th instant, and met Col. Cook's command a few miles south of the territorial line. Here the deputy marshal questioned them as to their intentions, the contents of their wagons, and such other matters us he considered necessary in the exercise of his official duties. Not satisfied with their answers, and being refused the privilege of searching their effects, he felt justified in considering them a party organized and armed in opposition to my proclamation of the 11th September. After consultation with Colonel Cook and other officers of the army, who agreed with him in regard to the character of the immigrants, he directed the search to be made, which resulted in the discovery of the arms already mentioned.
An escort was then offered them to Lecompton, in order that I might examine them in person, and decide as to their intentions, which they refused to accept Their superfluous arms were then taken in charge of the troops, and the entire party put under arrest, the families and all others, individually,being permitted to retire from the organization, if so disposed. Few, however, availed themselves of this privilege.
But little delay and less annoyance were occasioned them by these proceedings. Every thing that circumstances required or permitted was done for the comfort and convenience of the prisoners. Their journey was facilitated rather than retarded. They were accompanied by a squadron of United States dragoons in command of Major H.H. Sibley. A day's rations were dealt out to them, and they were allowed to pursue the route themselves had chosen.
Being apprized of the time at which they would probably arrive at Topeka, I forwarded orders for their detention on the northern side of the river, near that place, where, as I promised, I met them on the morning of the 14th Instant.
I found them precisely as they had been represented to me in official reports; and whilst I felt disposed and anxious to extend to them all the leniency I could consistent with propriety, duty, and justice. I determined, at the same time, to enforce in their case, as well as that of every similar organization, the spirit and intent of my proclamation of the 11th ultimo, which commands "all bodies of men combined, armed, and equipped with munitions of war, without authority of the government, instantly to disband or quit the Territory, as they will answer the contrary at their peril." This I had done but a short time previous with a smaller body, who entered Kansas as this had done, from an entirely different quarter, and who, upon learning my purposes, not only submitted willingly to be searched, but by my order, without a murmur, and even with cheerfulness, disbanded and dispersed.
I addressed these people in their encampment, in regard to the present condition of the Territory, the suspicious position they occupied, and the reprehensible attitude they had assumed. I reminded them that there was no possible necessity or excuse for the existence of large armed organizations at present in the Territory. Everything was quiet and peaceful. And the very appearance of such an unauthorized and injudicious an array as they presented, while it could do no possible good, was calculated, if it was not intended, to spread anew distrust and consternation through the Territory, and rekindle the fires of discord and strife that had swept over the land, ravaging and desolating everything that lay in their destructive path.
Their apology for their evident and undeniable disregard to my proclamation, though somewhat plausible, was far from being satisfactory. They had made their arrangements, they said, to emigrate to Kansas, at a time when the Territory was not only disturbed by antagonistic political parties, armed for each other's destruction, but when numerous bands of marauders, whose business was plunder and assassination, infested all the highways, rendering travel extremely hazardous, even though every possible means for self-protection were employed.
This excuse loses all its pertinency when it is understood that before the party crossed the territorial line they were apprised, through a deputation that had visited me, that the condition of things above described had ceased to exist, and that such was the true state of affairs that any persons could travel the route they proposed taking without molestation or the slightest cause for apprehension. I informed them, through their messengers, that I heartily welcomed all immigrants from every section of the Union, who came with peaceful attitude and apparently good intentions; and that to all such I would afford ample protection; while, on the other hand, I assured them that I would positively enforce my proclamation, and suffer no party of men, no matter whence they came, or what their political bias, to enter and travel through the Territory with hostile or warlike appearance, to the terror of peaceable citizens. and the danger of renewing the disgraceful and alarming scenes through which we had so recently passed. It was quite evident that this party did thus enter the Territory, in defiance not only of my proclamation, but my own verbal cautions; and I therefore fully approve of the action taken by Col. Cook, Major Sibley, and Deputy Marshal Preston, as well as all the officers of the army who assisted in their detention, search, and guard.
After showing the necessity of so doing, I insisted upon the immediate disbandment of this combination, which was agreed to with great alacrity. The majority of the men were evidently gratified to learn that they had been deceived in relation to Kansas affairs, and that peace and quiet, instead of strife and contention, were reigning here. My remarks were received with frequent demonstrations of approbation, and at their close the organization was broken up, its members dispersing in various directions. After they bad been dismissed from custody, and the fact was announced to them by Major Sibley, their thankfulness for his kind treatment toward them during the time he held them under arrest was expressed by giving him three hearty and enthusiastic cheers.
In concluding this hastily-written letter, I must express my sincere regrets that societies exist in some of the States whose object is to fit out such parties as the one herein described, and send them to this Territory, to their own injury and the destruction of the general welfare of the country. Very many persons are induced to come out here under flattering promises which are never fulfilled; and having neither money to purchase food and clothing, nor trades or occupations at which to earn an honest livelihood, are driven to the necessity of becoming either paupers or thieves; and such are the unfortunate men who have sided materially in filling up the measure of crimes that have so seriously affected the prosperity of Kansas. It is high time that this fact should he clearly and generally understood. This Territory, at the present season of the year, and especially under existing circumstances, offers no inducements for the immigration of the poor tradesman or laborer. The country is overrun with hundreds who are unable to obtain employment, who live upon charity, and who are exposed to all the evils of privation, destitution, and want.
By the next mail I will forward you the reports of Col. Cook, Major Sibley, and the deputy marshal, in relation to the arrest of the party to which reference I herein made, together with such other matters of interest as may in the mean time transpire.
With assurances of the highest respect, I am, truly, your obedient servant, JNO. W. GEARY,
Governor of Kansas Territory.
Hon. Wm. L. Marcy,
Secretary of State, Washington, D.C.
[The Daily Union, "Liberty, The Union, And The Constitution.", City Of Washington, [D.C.], Tuesday Morning, October 28, 1856. Volume VI. Number 167 Pg. 2]
Let's now examine another crucial event concerning our individual right to keep and bear arms that occured in 1856, shall we?
"It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union . . .the full liberty . . .to keep and carry arms wherever they went."
"More especially, it cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded them as included in the word citizens, or would have consented to a Constitution which might compel them to receive them in that character from another State. For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."--Chief Justice Taney delivering the opinion of the court, U.S. Supreme Court, [Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856). The Supreme Court ruling was handed down on March 6, 1857.]