Election of a free-state mayor at Leavenworth.--Arrest of the murderer of Hoppe.--Resignation of Judge Cunningham.--Appointment of Judge Williams.--Removal of Judge Lecompte.--Taking of the census.--Hon. Robert J. Walker.
WM. E. MURPHY, mayor of Leavenworth, having been appointed agent for the Potawattomie Indians, an election was held in that city, and Mr. Adams, a free-state candidate, was elected by a large majority of the inhabitants. This was about the first election held in that place upon which no unfair influences were brought to bear, and with which invaders from the opposite side of the river did not attempt to interfere. Mr. Adams entered upon the duties of his office with considerable energy, and by his prompt, decisive, and just action, soon gained the confidence and respect of all classes of the peaceably disposed citizens. One of his first important acts was the arrest of the murderer of Mr. Hoppe, the following account of which was furnished by a resident of Leavenworth City to the Missouri Democrat, under date of 27th of May:--
"Early yesterday morning, the mayor of this city received information that Fugitt was on board of a steamer lying at the levee. An officer was called, a writ placed in his hands, and with a posse he went to the steamer and found Fugitt locked in his state-room. The door was forced open, and Fugitt was asked his name. He replied that it was 'Jones.' He tried to make his escape but was not successful. The officer arrested him, and the prisoner was conveyed to the court-room, where an effort was made to have him released on bail, by his counsel; but Judge Lecompte refused, and gave the marshal orders to ascertain whether he could place him in confinement at the fort; if not, to put him in chains and imprison him in the town jail, to which he was conveyed, and a guard placed over him, a large chain fastened to his feet, and to a ring in the floor of his cell the wretched man was fastened.
"This Fugitt is a young man, about twenty-five years of age, well dressed, a bad look about his face. I have just returned from a visit to the cell where he is confined. The iron door and grating was swung back by the keeper, and in company with a member of the press, I entered a damp, dark room, with a few small holes in each side to admit the air and light. The inmate was upon the bed; he arose as we entered, and commenced smoking. Yesterday he was very talkative with those who called upon him; this morning he would say but little. He protests that he is innocent of the crime alleged against him in the indictment. He is confined in the same room in which the Rev. E. Nute, of Lawrence, was imprisoned by Emery's gang, last summer, during the difficulties, and which he has so accurately described in several of the eastern journals.
"Fugitt is the same person who made a bet in this city last August, that before night he would have a Yankee scalp. He got a horse and rode out into the country a few miles, and met a German, a brother-in-law of the Rev. E. Nute, named Hoppe. He asked if he was from Lawrence. Hoppe replied that he was. Fugitt immediately levelled his revolver and fired, the shot taking effect in the temples, and Hoppe fell a corpse. The assassin dismounted from his horse, cut the scalp from the back of his head, tied it to the end of a pole, and returned to town, exhibiting it to the people, and boasting of his exploit. The body of the victim was found shortly after, and buried on 'Pilot Knob,' about two miles distant from this city. This same Fugitt was one of the party who, when the widow came from Lawrence to look for her husband's corpse, forced her on board of a steamer, and sent her down the river. Now, the assassin is in safe keeping, there is hope of justice being meted out to him, and that he will soon suffer for his crime on the gallows. He is to be arraigned for trial before Judge Lecompte, on Monday next. A packed jury may bring in a verdict of not guilty; but even then he is in danger of punishment. His murderous deeds were too public, and there are too many who saw him at the time and heard his boasting, to have him escape for the want of evidence. A gentleman now living in this city saw him exhibiting four scalps at one time, during the troubles of last summer. His trial will be watched with a great deal of interest by the people.
"The city marshal last night arrested, and locked up in jail, Deputy-Sheriff David Brown, of this county, for drunkenness. Leavenworth is fast becoming an orderly and well-governed city."
As Fugitt has no personal friends of influence in the territory; as the evidences of his guilt are clear and positive; and as it can no longer be a matter of policy for his former associates to screen or protect him, his conviction and punishment are considered as certain. If this be so, he will be the first of the hundreds of murderers who will suffer the just penalty of the violated law.
Thomas Cunningham, Esq., who had been appointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of the associate justice of the territory, reached Kansas in January, and remained there during the session of the Legislative Assembly, acquainting himself thoroughly with the true condition of the country and of his prospects for usefulness in that field of judicial labor. Judge Cunningham was from Beaver county, Pennsylvania; has been during his whole life an active member of the democratic party, and was one of the electors for Mr. Buchanan, in the late presidential canvass. He is a gentleman of superior legal attainments and unquestioned integrity; frank and fearless in the expression of his opinions, and manly and courteous in his whole deportment. He was not slow to discover the cause of the past and existing difficulties, and the course of conduct that exigencies demanded him to pursue. The inefficiency of his associates was apparent, as well from their want of proper legal knowledge as their partisan affiliations and complication with the disturbances that had distracted the territory. Determined to avoid the rock upon which they had split, he marked out for himself a just and honorable line of conduct, and, in the prosecution of his duties, resolved to recognise no local party, but to hold the scales of justice with an even hand; in conforming to which resolution, he refused to identify himself with the pro-slavery faction that assumed the name of the "National Democracy," or be present at any of its meetings. He, therefore, failed to meet the approbation of the Legislature, who, in apportioning him a district, took care to assign him a position which they felt assured he would not accept, as he could not occupy it with satisfaction to himself or benefit to the people. After duly considering all the circumstances connected with his situation, Judge Cunningham tendered his resignation to President Buchanan, and returned, doubtless somewhat disgusted with what he had learned, to his former home. Judge Joseph Williams, formerly of Pennsylvania, but more recently of Iowa, has been appointed his successor. This gentleman also sustains an honorable reputation, and the people of Kansas may reasonably expect from him, in his official capacity, the exercise of even-handed justice.
The removal of Chief Justice Lecompte has at length been determined upon by the president. This fact will give satisfaction to the citizens of all parties who sincerely desire the continued peace and prosperity of the territory.
A writer for the Missouri Democrat, under date of Leavenworth, May 28th, gives the following description of the manner in which the census has been taken, and the names of the delegates chosen from the Leavenworth district for the constitutional convention:--
"The 'National Democrats,' so called, i. e. rabid pro-slavery faction of this district, have met in convention, and made a selection of the following persons to be their nominees for delegates to the constitutional convention which is to meet at Lecompton in September next:
"John D. Henderson, editor of The Journal; Gen. Eastin, editor of The Herald; Hugh M. Moore, Jared Todd, Capt. Bill Martin, Gov. Robinson's jailor last May in this city; Joseph Hall, county commissioner; James Doniphan of Leavenworth; Gov. Wm. Walker, Wyandott; S. J. Cookagey, Easton; William Christianson, Delaware City; G. B. Redman, Delaware City, and one vacancy. The census-taker returned the names of 1837 as qualified voters in Leavenworth county and upon those returns the governor made his apportionment, giving them twelve or one-fifth the members of the convention. About one delegate to a hundred and fifty voters. The officials at Lecompton are free to acknowledge that several of the counties remain to be taken, as no returns have been received from them. But upon the returns already made to the governor, he makes the apportionment, and those districts where the census has not been taken, can have no representation in said convention, even if desired. These districts which have been overlooked by the bogus officials are free-state. Can there be a clearer evidence of fraud than this? Lawrence is supposed to be considerable of a town, and that it contains a goodly number of inhabitants. But the census-taker could only find about a dozen names in that city to put upon his list There is a firm in that city, two brothers; they are always attending to their business, and together. One of them is a free-state man, while the other voted for Whitfield last fall, and he has his name upon the census lists, while the other has not; then the lists were not posted in accordance with the provisions of their own laws made for that purpose, and the people could not know whether their names were down or not."
Hon. Robert J. Walker, whose name is familiar to all American citizens, was appointed by the president as successor to Governor Geary. The Washington correspondent of the New York Daily Times, speaks of this eminent statesman in the following highly commendatory manner:--
"It seems to be the common supposition that Mr. Walker is entirely identified with the extreme southern interest, and that his sympathies are with the school of Davis, Toombs and others of the secessionist stripe. This is not the case, and scarcely ought to be charged against the man who was chosen to the United States Senate, from Mississippi, as the opponent of Mr. Poindexter, in the very campaign in which the latter gentleman stumped the state under the palmetto flag, as the advocate of South Carolina nullification! Mr. Walker's course, at that time, met with the approbation of every Union man throughout the land. His standard was the flag of the Union, which he wore around his waist, in which costume he denounced dis-union as treason, in every principal town and village of his adopted southern state.
"Robert J. Walker, the Son of Judge Walker--one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States--was born in Pennsylvania, and, I believe, not far from the home of Mr. Buchanan. He studied law under his own father, and practiced his profession at Pittsburgh, where he married a daughter of Franklin Bache, of Philadelphia, and a grand-daughter of Benjamin Franklin. The first nomination of Andrew Jackson for the presidency, was made by young Walker, shortly after he was admitted to the bar, at a convention of the Pennsylvania democracy. After his emigration to Mississippi, he became identified with Texan independence, but took no leading part in national matters until the declaration of South Carolina in favor of nullification had excited his zeal in behalf of the Union. Then succeeded the famous struggle between himself and Poindexter--the latter the right hand of Calhoun in Mississippi, through whom he hoped to gain over that state to the cause of secession, or an unconstitutional states rights extreme. No Mississippian will ever forget that famous canvass, nor ought it to go out of the memory of patriots in the north. Whatever may have been the real causes of complaint against Mr. Walker since, he did his duty then manfully, triumphantly, and in a way which caused him to take his seat as an equal among the giants who composed the senatorial body of that period.
"Walker, in the Senate, soon became a confidential friend of Jackson, and took a leading part in the annexation of Texas; but be it remembered by those who distrust him on account of his supposed pro-slavery proclivities, the he strenuously opposed Mr. Calhoun's project of making all of Texas slave territory, and was the main instrument of making the freedom of the soil of the northern portion of our newly acquired possessions a condition of annexation.
"Walker was first requested by Mr. Polk to enter his Cabinet as Attorney-General, that post being deemed most in accordance with his tastes; but subsequent events transferred him to the Treasury Department. He then inaugurated the "Revenue," as distinguished from the "Protection" tariff system, and drew up and reported the tariff of 1846. It was a bold measure, reducing duties more than one-half, on an average, and that at a time when the country was involved in a war, and in opposition to the views of the commercial, moneyed and manufacturing classes. On the passage of the bill, Mr. Evans, Senator from Maine, and considered the financial leader of the Whigs, declared, in his place, that the revenue of the next year would not be $12,000,000. Daniel Webster left a memorandum with the clerk of the Senate, that it would not produce $14,000,000. Abbott Lawrence, and the banking interests of this city and New-England, considered the policy as destructive. Walker's recorded estimate was that it would give, in the first year, $30,000,000. It gave $29,000,000 and some hundreds of thousands, and has gone on increasing until it has reached its present prodigious amount.
"Walker is the only cabinet officer who has had his reports reprinted abroad. Sir Robert Peel had them printed for the benefit of the House of Commons, and his is the honor of being the only financial minister whom the world has produced, who has advanced government stocks, and maintained them above par, during a foreign war, and while it was borrowing money daily.
"If this sketch sounds like a panegyric, it is because I have cared to present only one side, and a true one, of the character of a very remarkable man, who is about to be intrusted with the practical care of settling the most important question which has agitated the country for many years, and who, it is believed here, will do it in the interest of the Union, in accordance with the principles of the Kansas-Nebraska law, and if the majority (as is doubtless the case) of the people of Kansas are free-state men, in a way to secure the triumph of freedom over slavery."