[KANSAS]. [Caption title:] ''Appeal of Kansas to the Voters of the Free States.'' Topeka, Kansas: Kansas Tribune, 4 July 1856.
[KANSAS]. [Caption title:] "Appeal of Kansas to the Voters of the Free States." Topeka, Kansas: Kansas Tribune, 4 July 1856.
Printed circular with integral blank (247 x 196 mm). Text in double-column. Laid-in blue quarter morocco slipcase.
AN APPARENTLY UNRECORDED PRINTED CIRCULAR ON THE CONTESTED ELECTION OF 1856. This broadside attempts to represent the condition of Kansas for the country at large, and to state the desire to "organize a territorial government in accordance with the provision of the Kansas act," but which they have been prevented from doing. "For weeks we were subjected to a reign of terror. Men were barbarously murdered as well in cold blood as in the heat of passion...What shall be the end of these things? It seems to us not very difficult to predict. If another Pro-Slavery President is elected, our enemies will either accomplish their purpose of expelling or exterminating us, or convulse the Nation with Civil War in an attempt to do it. If the North does her duty Kansas will be saved and the Nation saved with her." The appeal denounces Buchanan, who they feel will continue to oppress them, and endorses Frémont and the Republicans...we have learned this truth, that THE SLAVE POWER SCRUPLES AT NOTHING." The RLG Union Catalog lists only the copy at Yale.
[Written on integral blank:] DAVIS, James. Autograph letter signed ("James Davis") to Richard Thompson, Leavenworth City, Kansas, 8 August 1856. 1½ pages. Davis, a resident of Leavenworth City, asks if Thompson would be willing to take a contingent of settlers in "what is known as the Delaware lands...wherein the settlers will claim preemptions upon said lands. My reason for inquiring is this, General Whitfield [Kansas's delegate to Congress] informed me some months ago that you were of opinion that the settlers on the Delaware lands could get preemptions if taken to the Supreme Court of the U.S. Now Sir if that is your opinion & you are willing to take a contingent fee, I can make you up a very large fee among the squatters on the Delaware lands. The lands have been valued by the Commissioners sent here by the President at a most exorbitant price and nine tenths of the squatters are dissatisfied and think they have been greatly outraged. Governor Reed is of the opinion that we can all get preemptions." Davis asks Thompson's opinion about what it is best for the settlers to do: take the land at the high price or make an appeal to the courts to get preemptions.
Thompson was perhaps an ideal candidate for Davis's support: he had first won election as a Whig to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1834. Later, fearing that attempts to establish slavery in the territory acquired in the Mexican-American War would exacerbate sectional hostility, Thompson spoke out in Congress against the war. Perhaps due to the hostility this stance elicited from his constituents, Thompson again declined renomination (as he had in the 1830s). By the late 1840s and early 1850s, "Thompson's connections in Washington had made him a much-sought-after attorney for those with cases pending before the government. He argued many times before the Supreme Court and in his most celebrated trial won an award of $242,000 for the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin" (ANB). Thompson had also become one of the most influential Whigs in the Northwest, and party leaders considered his support vital to winning over conservative Whig voters in the lower portion of that region. Buchanan, who defeated Frémont, eventually signed the Kansas admission bill in January 1861.