Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Amos A. Lawrence to Congressman Thomas Hart Benton, January 2, 1855

Boston, January 2, 1855.

Dear Sir, — . . . It has been asserted that the emigrants have had their expenses paid to go to Kansas and vote. In your published speech you say that the same game may have been played on both sides.

As you love to know the truth and to defend it, I will state that not one man has gone from New England who has had his expenses paid, even in part. I am the treasurer and a trustee of the only New England society which has sent out settlers, and know that all the money collected has been spent in erecting school-houses, temporary huts, steam saw and grist mill, in purchasing a tavern in the town of Kansas, Mo., and for similar purposes, and for nothing worse.

In soliciting subscriptions or receiving them, it is usual to allow the subscriber to take and pay for it as stock, say $200, and to receive a certificate of it, as in any other stock company; or to give outright, for the same, $100. Many prefer to give the money; that is, they do not value the stock at half price. None has ever been sold, nor would it sell at over one half; nor do I believe that there is a stockholder who would not have taken three fourths of the cost the moment when he paid the money. It is what those who favor it call a “patriotic” movement, to bring into active and healthy life a new State, and to keep slavery out of it; to get good institutions in, and to keep a bad institution out. Those “sent out” have not been abolitionists; so far as we know, not one known to be of that stamp has gone in our parties. They are free to vote and to do as they please. The society has no agreement with them nor pledge, nor are they asked any questions; since it is presumed that all New England men think alike about the iniquity of the measure of the last session, and as you do.

Yours truly,
A. A. L.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 86-8

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