The Lost Museum Archive
"Kansas Matters—Appeals to the South," DeBow's Review, May 1856
The frequently violent struggle over slavery in the Kansas territories in the 1850s was carried out by emigrants who settled there expressly to advance their political views about slavery. Northern abolitionists formed the Kansas Emigrant Aid Society to recruit and support anti-slavery settlers to the territories. Pro-slavery Missourians, known as “border ruffians,” responded by moving north into the Kansas territory with their slaves. Concluding that Missouri “has done her duty,” this “appeal” appeared in DeBow’s Review, a journal on agricultural and political subjects for southern plantation owners. It calls on other supporters of slavery from throughout the South to do the same by contributing their bodies and their funds to support the struggle over the future of slavery, indeed over the future of the union itself.
To the People of the South: On the undersigned, managers of the "Lafayette Emigration Society," has devolved the important duty of calling the attention of the people of the slaveholding States, to the absolute necessity of immediate action on their part, in relation to the settlement of Kansas Territory. The crisis is at hand. Prompt and decisive measures must be adopted, or farewell to southern rights and independence.
The western counties of Missouri have, for the last two years, been heavily taxed, both in money and time, in fighting the battles of the South. Lafayette county alone has expended more than $100,000 in money, and as much, or more, in time. Up to this time, the border counties of Missouri have upheld and maintained the rights and interests of the South in this struggle, unassisted, and unsuccessfully. But the abolitionists, staking their all upon the Kansas issue, and hesitating at no means, fair or foul, are moving heaven and earth to render that beautiful Territory not only a " free State," so called, but a den of negro thieves and "higher law" incendiaries.
Missouri, we feel confident, has done her duty, and will still be found ready and willing to do all she can, fairly and honorably, for the maintenance of the integrity of the South. But the time has come when she can no longer stand up, single handed, the lone champion of the South, against the myrmidoms of the entire North. It requires no great foresight to perceive that if the "higher law" men succeed in this crusade, it will be but the commencement of a war upon the institutions of the South, which will continue until slavery shall cease to exist in any of the States, or the Union is dissolved.
How, then, shall these impending evils be avoided? The answer is obvious. Settle the Territory with emigrants from the south. The population of the Territory at this time is about equal-as many pro-slavery settlers as abolitionists; but the fanatics have emissaries in all the free States-in almost every village-and by misrepresentation and falsehood are engaged in collecting money and enlisting men to tyranize over the south. Is it in the nature of southern men to submit without resistance, to look to the north for their laws and institutions? We do not believe it! If, then, the south is influenced by a spirit of self-respect and independence, let societies be formed to assist emigrants. Those who cannot emigrate can contribute money to assist those who can. We have such societies in Missouri, and we can induce more people to emigrate than we are able to support. If the whole south would adopt this system, we would succeed; Kansas would be a slave State, and the slavery agitation would cease. If we permit the north to make an abolition State of Kansas, the whole south must submit to be governed by the north. Will the south help us?
The great struggle will come off at the next election, in October, 1856, and unless the south can at that time maintain her ground, all will be lost. We repeat it, the crisis has arrived. The time has come for action-bold, determined action; words will no longer do any good; we must have men in Kansas; and that too by tens of thousands. A few will not answer. If we should need ten thousand, and lack one of that number, all will count nothing. Let all then, who can come, do so at once. Those who cannot come, must give their money to help others to come. There are hundreds of thousands of broad acres of rich land, worth from $5 to $20 per acre, open to settlement and pre-emption, at $1.25 per acre. Let, then, the farmer come and bring his slaves with him. There are now one thousand slaves in Kansas, whose presence there strengthens our cause. Shall we allow these rich lands and this beautiful country to be overrun by our abolition enemies? We know of a surety that they have emissaries and spies in almost every town, village and city in the south, watching our movements, and tampering with our slaves. Let us, then, be vigilant and active in the cause; we must maintain our ground. The loss of Kansas to the south will be the death knell of our dear Union.
Missouri has done nobly, thus far, in overcoming the thousands who have been sent out by Abolition Aid Societies; we cannot hold out much longer unless the whole South will come to the rescue. We need men; we need money; send us both, and that quickly. Do not delay; come as individuals, come in companies, come by thousands.
Our hearts have been made glad by the late arrival of large companies from South Carolina and Alabama. They have responded promptly to our call for help. The noble Buford is already endeared to our hearts; we love him; we will fight for him, and die for him and his companions. Who will follow his noble example! We tell you now, and tell you frankly, that unless you come quickly, and come by thousands, we are gone. The elections once lost, we are lost forever. Then farewell to our southern cause, and farewell to our glorious Union. We repeat the cry, "come over and help us."
W. H. RUSSELL, MARTIN SLAUGHTER,
0. ANDERSON, G. W. BAKER,
EDWARD WINSOR, NATHAN CORDER,
DANIEL A. VEITCH, Secretary.
Source: Debow's Review, Volume 20, Issue 5, May 1856, 635-637; Making of America website