From The National Era, Washington, D. C., June 29, 1854


To the Editor of the National Era:

Then Nebraska bill has become a law, the Missouri Compromise repealed, and the door is open for the ingress of Slavery into these Territories, once consecrated to Freedom by a solemn act of our National Legislature. The war is now removed form the halls of Congress to the Territories; and already has the struggle commenced. The enemies of human freedom are making threats of what they will do in the contest, and this contest cannot be regarded with indifference by any true friends of human rights. How much more then to us, who live on the contested ground, is this a question of the most absorbing interest. There are a few tried friends of freedom here, who will stand up to the contest to the last.

We have chosen this as our future home, and the home of our children after us, and greatly do we desire to repose under the shadow of the tree of liberty, rather than the blighting curse of Slavery. We desire to maintain the dignity of labor, which we cannot do in a land of slaves. Believing that it is respectable for men to labor; where we can labor without being looked upon as fit only to associate with slaves; where the arts, manufactures, and education, can flourish; where the people are sober, virtuous, and respect the duties of religion.

Above all, we regard Slavery as a great evil, and contrary to the law of God, and every principle of right and justice. These are the considerations for which we would contend; and shall we struggle along? Shall our little band alone raise our feeble voices against the dark waves of Slavery, and be engulphed in its sweeping flood? No; a voice like the roar of thunder, mounding faintly in the distance, answers, no. Oh! then let the watchword be sounded from one end of the land to the other, "To the rescue." God grant the freedom be victorious in the last struggle, and the great of human freedom, the slave power, be completely foiled in this foul attempt to subvert the liberties of our once glorious Union, but now becoming a hissing and a by-word to the ends of the earth.

The course to be pursued by the friends of Freedom, in preventing these Territories from becoming slave States, is a very plain one; and if rightly pursued, the victory will surely be ours, though it may be gained by much arduous toil and faithful watching. Eternal vigilance in the price of liberty; and let none of the friends of liberty sleep now, unless they be content to sleep forever.

Let men, warmly and unflinchingly devoted to the cause of liberty, emigrate by hundreds and thousands to these Territories, at the earliest practicable period-men who will work boldly and fearlessly for the spread of the free principles. Let a press be established at some suitable point, at no early day, to advocate the cause of Freedom; and by these combined influences, we will kindle a fire for liberty that cannot be quenched.

The slave power, having effected the passage of this its favorite measure, may attempt, by other schemes equally monstrous for the extension of Slavery, to draw your attention away from this contest. But we beseech you, be not deceived. The slave power has surely ruled the destinies of this nation long enough. Will the people of the free States ever awake to a true sense of their interests, or will they slumber on, and tamely suffer themselves to become a willing and easy prey to the enemy? We have been shamelessly and cruelly betrayed by our Representatives in Congress. Let them be speedily hurled from their responsible but much-abused stations, and let men of undoubted integrity on this great question of human liberty be elected to fill their places. The people must take the work into their own hands, and teach their Legislators that their will must be obeyed, or our liberties will ever be in danger.

Since writing the above, I have heard the particulars of a meeting held in our post town, Westport, Missouri, a few days ago, to consider what measures would be taken to prevent emigration from the free States into this Territory. Some fiery speeches were made, urging upon the people to keep back such emigration, peaceably if they could, but by the use of muskets and bowie-knives if they must. The speakers admitted that there was no hope of securing Nebraska to Slavery, but that they were determined to establish it in Kansas at all hazards. Resolutions were passed, embodying the sentiments of the speeches, and a wish was expressed to have them published all over the Union. I hope they may be published in every paper in the free States. But little enthusiasm was manifested by the audience, and it is believed that no very considerable number of the people of Missouri would sanction such a movement. Many of them are opposed to Slavery, and some are bold in denunciation of the evil.

And now I hear of another meeting at Independence, at which it was resolved to set stakes and shoot every man from the free States who should pass them!

Richard Mendenhall.

Kansas Territory, 6th month 7, 1854.  |  |  Site Map