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Kansas Historical Quarterly - The Second Book on Kansas

An Account of C. B. Boynton
and T. B. Mason's "A Journey
Through Kansas; With Sketches of Nebraska

by Cora Dolbee

May 1935 (Vol. 4, No. 2), pages 164 to 187
Transcribed by lhn; additional HTML by Susan Stafford;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

THE second book on Kansas came out of Ohio. Its title was A Journey Through Kansas; With Sketches of Nebraska. The names of two men appeared jointly as authors, C. B. Boynton and T. B. Mason, but the composition was evidently the work of Mr. Boynton alone. The two men had belonged to a commission sent to Kansas in September, 1854, by "The American Reform Tract and Book Society" and "The Kansas League" in Cincinnati to explore the territory and report upon the conditions and the resources. [1] The title page characterized them as "a committee from the `Kansas League' of Cincinnati." [2] The "Commissioners' Preface," giving official sanction to the statements of the book, bore both their signatures as commissioners. [3] The unsigned "Preface of the Writer" explained that these statements were of "all facts . . . concerning the aspect, resources, and productions of the country." [4] For the grouping of those facts and the manner of presentation the author alone was responsible.

Available records do not reveal with which group the idea of the exploring party originated. Interest in Ohio in the territorial question had been concurrent with the congressional debate. Her sympathies were Northern, and many of her citizens desired to migrate to Kansas. The Kansas League of Cincinnati, like the county Kansas leagues of Massachusetts, made capital of this spirit and tried to serve the needs of the western settlers as they set out on their momentous mission. To the league, therefore, information about the territory, drawn from observation, would be most helpful.



The American Reform Tract and Book Society, organized in Cincinnati in November, 1852, had had as its underlying idea "the application through literature of Christianity to the betterment of personal and national life in practical affairs, especially to the promotion of the antislavery cause, while temperance and other reforms were not to be neglected." [5] Two of the articles of the constitution, said to have been especially noteworthy, explained in part both the interest of the society in furthering a free emigration westward and also the religious interest of the commissioners in their report of their journey thither.

Art. II. Its object shall be to promote the diffusion of divine truth, point out its application to every known sin, and to promote the interests of practical religion by the circulation of a sound evangelical literature.

Art. III. It will receive into its treasury none of the known fruits of iniquity nor the gains of the oppressor. [6]

From the first both Mr. Boynton and Mr. Mason were officers in this society, the one being corresponding secretary and the other being treasurer, and both being directors besides.

On August 9, 1854, in behalf of the directors, Mr. Boynton sent forth a letter explaining the society's plan of operation in the cause and soliciting funds for their work.

Rooms of the
American Reform Tract and
Book Society
Cincinnati, August 9, 1854.

DEAR SIR:-The directors of the American Reform Tract and Book Society, address you as a friend of human rights, and as opposed to the Nebraska fraud. We are at this time earnestly engaged in efforts by which we hope to assist in securing Kanzas and Nebraska for free institutions. An opportunity is now offered, whereby with the aid of our fellow citizens, a timely and effectual blow may be struck.

We wish by special agents and colporteurs to scatter broadcast over these territories such publications, and to diffuse such influences, as shall, by the help of God, create and sustain a public sentiment of the right character, against the time when States shall then be organized. Unfortunately, all who are removing to these Territories, from the Free States, even, are not fully instructed, nor so firm in their decision as to be in no danger of indifference or change. Already voices of warning come to us from true men on the ground who ask us to be prompt in the diffusion of light. Our own publications and such as we can command are fitted to this work. We wish to send at once the corresponding secretary of our Society to visit and examine these new Territories, and it is desirable he should take with him one or more who shall remain and act as agents and colporteurs, distributing our publications, and collecting useful information in regard to the country, its resources, and pros


pects, by which our future efforts may be guided. We need funds for the publication of our tracts and books, and for sending them and these agents and laborers at once into this important field. Emigrants are pouring in, and what is done must be done quickly. May we not ask from you a special donation to meet this exigency, and for the common cause of freedom? If we can be promptly supplied with means, we will fill these territories with men, and publications that will speak for God and humanity.

Should you think proper to aid us, please enclose your donation to T. B. Mason, Treasurer, 180 Walnut St., Cincinnati. By order of the Directors. CHARLES B. BOYNTON,
Corresponding Secretary

The general nature of the meager salutation, "Dear Sir," did not indicate at all the persons to be circularized.

The letter was used not only as a circular but also as a communication in at least two publications. One was The National Era in Washington, which carried it in the issue of August 24, 1854. Apparently the letter was used there as an advertisement, for it appeared at the top of a column of advertisements, without editorial comment. The form of the letter and the prominent position given it on the page, however, make it seem like a personal communication to the editor. Gamaliel Bailey, the editor, was a former Cincinnatian, who was, perforce, interested in the Ohio-Kansas plan.

The second publication known to have printed the letter was The Christian Press, a monthly edited by Mr. Boynton himself and issued by the American Reform Tract and Book Society, Cincinnati. The Christian Press had just changed from a weekly publication to a monthly. As a weekly, circulating mostly among Congregational subscribers, it had served both as a religious and as an anti-slavery organ. As a monthly it was to be "devoted entirely to the antislavery cause." [8] Its first issue, September, 1854, carried the Boynton circular letter in one place and in another an editorial upon it, entitled "A Personal Appeal."

We ask every reader of this paper to consider the circular of the A. R. Tract and Book Society, which we publish, as addressed to himself individually.

The decision of the question of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska, if rightly settled by Northern freemen, in spite of the fraud of slaveholders and politicians, and against their efforts, will also decide the question of the extension of slavery.

By its publications and agents this Society can now, if rightly assisted, do an important work in these battlefields of freedom. Already, it is said, there are ten thousand settlers in Kansas, and this number increases with a rapidity that calls for immediate effort. The times and the signs of the times are


auspicious. Large numbers from Slaveholding States are moving in their opinions, and are open to conviction. They may be brought to aid in making these territories free.

Brethren and friends! shall this Society be aided, or must the opportunity be lost. [9]

No record has been available of the financial results of the appeal of the circular letter by Mr. Boynton, or of the editorial in his monthly.

The same September issue of The Christian Press gave in still another article another motive for this exploration of the territories. This was the advantage first hand knowledge of Kansas and Nebraska would be to the editor of the Press. [10] Personal inspection of the region, its soil, its climate, and its resources would enable him to make the paper "the medium for original and authentic information to the friends of freedom and those who are considering the question of Emigration." An additional statement to the effect that the journey was undertaken in behalf of the society so that its efforts might be intelligently directed in extending religion and freedom into the new territories, suggests that the Tract and Book Society was primarily responsible for financing this exploration of Kansas.

Possibly the commission received some support from another source. On September 5, 1854, the Worcester Daily Transcript, in reporting a meeting of the American Missionary Association held in Central church in Worcester, September 3, told of the work of the association in Kansas through a representative sent from Ohio. Although his name was not given, the characterization and the time of his going indicate that the representative was Mr. Boynton.

In Kansas, the Association has already made a beginning. A clergyman from Ohio has gone thither to explore the country and to establish depots for religious and other publications. On his return he will be prepared to advise young missionaries and others going there as to the most eligible sites for location. Tracts of anti-slavery character have been sent there. Three missionaries have been commissioned to go into this territory, and the Association is corresponding with others for the same purpose. It is the aim of the Association to do its part in making Kansas, if possible, another New England. [11]

The object of the American Missionary Association was "to propagate `an antislavery gospel."' Its purpose, therefore, was so similar to that of the American Reform Tract and Book Society that


the one representative could serve both organizations in Kansas at once. The American Missionary Association was an orthodox Congregational society; and Mr. Boynton was in 1854 pastor of a Congregational church in Cincinnati. [12] The missionary society, moreover, of which The Christian Press, when a weekly, had been the organ, had recently been united with the American Missionary Association. [13] Therefore it would seem plausible to suppose the association now shared the responsibility undertaken by the monthly Press. Although the emigrants from Ohio did not explain their aim as that of "making Kansas, if possible, another New England," they did expect by transplanting Northern institutions there to make and keep the territory Northern. These particular Ohioans were themselves New Englanders largely, but a generation removed, and the life they had established in Ohio was modeled on the life of the New England they had left behind; but now as they considered migrating still farther westward, they characterized this same culture they would take along as "Northern."

Whether the commission consisted of more than two members is not a matter of positive record in Kansas to-day. The title page of the published report, A Journey Through Kansas, designated the two, C. B. Boynton and T. B. Mason, as the "Committee from the `Kansas League,' of Cincinnati." To the "Commissioners' Preface" their names only were attached in signature as though they alone had constituted the commission. In 1893, W. L. Mason of Milwaukee, son of T. B. Mason, wrote Franklin G. Adams, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, that his father and Mr. Boynton had been appointed a committee of two by the Kansas league to visit the territory of Kansas in the interests of the anti-slavery movement. [14]

In the same letter, however, Mr. Mason told that H. V. Boynton, son of C. B. Boynton, had accompanied the two older men. The Christian Press, December, 1854, also stated that he "accompanied the party." The presence of the younger Boynton may not have been official. The report referred to him but once; then it honored him by quoting a three-page extract from his journal to show the effect of a cloudless night at the Big Blue in Kansas upon "the youngest member of the party." [15] The sketch, entitled "The Heavens at Big Blue" was the most imaginative and most finished description in the book. Prefatory comments of the father, also in


praise of the unusually beautiful night scene, attested the genuineness of the impression it recorded. The description accompanying the map used as frontispiece indicated that the son had made the original drawing of the map too. The December Press referred to the map as a "new" one, "drawn by H. V. Boynton."

The background of the commissioners accounted in part at least for their interest in the American Reform Tract and Book Society and its anti-slavery activities. Both were Massachusetts men by birth. Charles Brandon Boynton was born in Stockbridge, June 12, 1806. [16] He attended the Stockbridge academy and entered Williams college in the class of 1827. Ill health, which seems to have handicapped him frequently through his life, necessitated his leaving college in his senior year. For a time he engaged in business, becoming president of the first railroad company in Berkshire county. [17] He studied and practiced law, and served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Later he prepared himself for the ministry by studying theology privately with the Reverend Mr. Woodbridge of Spencertown, N. Y., and was ordained by the Columbia Presbytery in October, 1840. His first charge was at Housatonic, Mass., 1840-1845. [18] The second charge was at Lansingburg, N. Y., 1845-1846. His third call, coming in 1846, was to the Vine Street church in Cincinnati, at that time the Sixth Presbyterian, where he remained until March, 1856. Before 1849, this church became Congregational and was known thereafter as "the Vine Street Congregational Church." [19]

Mr. Boynton had grown up and lived in the East where the antislavery movement had had its chief support, but not until he came west was he himself actively interested in the question. In Cincinnati, however, where the controversy was waged fiercely during the fifties, he bore an important part. In the circular letter of August 9, he indicated that his proposed journey to Kansas in behalf of the American Reform Tract and Book Society was the wish of the directors. [20] In his own preface to A Journey Through Kansas he suggested that his trip was of his own election, undertaken in part to recuperate his health. "With this party [the commission] the writer united himself, partly for the purpose of aiding in executing the com-


mission, and partly in the hope of recruiting his exhausted strength by a ramble over the `prairie land' of Kansas." [21] The suggestion here of Mr. Boynton's relationship to the "party," more than any other extant statement, leads one to suppose that the commission may well have had more than two or three members.

The second known member, Timothy B. Mason, was born in Medfield, Mass., November 17, 1801. [22] Information about him is meager. A relative of Lowell Mason, the musician and song writer, he seems to have had music as his own primary interest, and he must have been something of a musician himself. The exact time of his coming to Cincinnati is not certain, for he was not listed in the directories there until 1836; but he must have been there as early as 1834, for in that year he helped to found the Eclectic Academy of Music, of which he continued as director until 1840. [23] The Cincinnati directories carried the name of Mr. Mason as a resident of the city from 1836 to 1857 [24]; in the earlier years his occupation was "professor of music"; later it was "piano dealer." In 1844 he was the conductor of the newly founded Handel & Hayden Society, which was in existence up to 1849. From 1853 through 1855, he was also entered as "treasurer of the American Reform Tract and Book Society," and in 1856 just as "agent." In 1839, Mr. Mason had compiled and published a book, entitled Mason's Young Minstrel, a new collection of juvenile songs with appropriate music, arranged by himself. [25] Mr. Boynton's son, Henry, married a daughter of Mr. Mason.26

Mr. Mason's responsibility was apparently to explore and observe, and possibly to contribute, from notes or from memory, facts upon the geographical features of the territory, and officially to sanction the written report. If he helped in the writing of the composition, Mr. Boynton gave him no credit. Once in the course of the record, Mr. Boynton did refer to him. At Council Grove, where the explorers had opportunity to see an encampment of Kaw Indians, Mr. Mason transcribed one of their songs.

On Sunday evening there was loud riot and revelry in their camps and all seemed to join in yelling out a song, which was so softened and modulated by


floating half a mile, as to enable Mr. Mason to write down its principal notes, and after his return he performed or imitated it on the organ, much to the astonishment and amusement of those who heard. [27]

The text did not indicate the occasion to which the author here alluded. Shortly after the return of the commissioners to Ohio, late in October, however, Mr. Boynton gave an address at his church on Vine street, descriptive of the tour. Afterward, according to the newspaper story, "while the collection was being taken, Mr. Mason gave on the organ an imitation of an Indian war-song." [23] This press notice and the reference in the book, quoted above, are the only records found, for this review, of Mr. Mason's part in the report.

Mr. Boynton's first accounts of the journey seem to have been oral. The Daily Columbian of October 17, in announcing a regular meeting of the Kansas League for Thursday night, added, "it is expected the Rev. C. Boynton will make a report of his explorations." [29] The Vine Street Congregational Church address upon the subject occurred a week or ten days later. The two extant records of this occasion, on file in Kansas to-day, summarized his remarks. [30] He divided Kansas territory into three sections geographically -- northern, middle, and southern, and two divisions agriculturally--the east and the west. The varied beauty of the country he found indescribable. The prairie stirred in him a feeling of sublimity as did the sea. He spoke at length upon the laws of squatter life, the conditions of the settlers now in the territory, and the inducement to other emigrants to follow.

The Ohio commission, the reader should know, did not travel much farther west in the territory than Fort Riley and Council Grove. Mr. Boynton's comments, therefore, did not refer to the prairies in the western part at all; nor in the address did he even mention the far western region toward the Rocky Mountains. What he talked of was for the most part what he had seen, or the conclusions to which he and his fellow travelers had come from what they had seen and heard. Although today some of his generalizations may seem ill-founded, the report appealed at the time as convincing, for it was based upon actual observation.

Following the formal address, the president of the Kansas League of Cincinnati, one Mr. Jolliffe, spoke to the audience. "In a few


pertinent remarks he set forth the purpose for which the commissioners were sent, the expense of sending them, about $500, the design of publishing their report, and appealed to the audience for aid." [31] The newspaper story did not record the success of the appeal. Nor has any other statement come to light in regard to the financing of the trip or the publication of the written report.

The first notice of publication found by the writer of this article appeared under the caption of "Kansas," in The Daily Columbian, October 27, 1854.32 It was virtually contemporary with the report of the Vine Street Congregational Church address.

Moore, Anderson & Co., have in press, and will issue in a few days, the very able report of the Rev. C. Boynton, relative to his recent exploration of Kansas Territory, on behalf of the Kansas League of this city. In addition to its merits as the fullest and most reliable account yet published, of this land of promise, and its being accompanied by an original map, this report will contain one feature, which will especially commend it to the attention of our mercantile community. This will be its remarks upon the prospective magnitude of Kansas trade, and the only means by which it can be permanently secured to this city.

To have completed the manuscript of the two hundred and sixteen page report and have got the book in press by October 27 would have called for as concentrated and rapid work as Edward Everett Hale found himself performing in Kanzas and Nebraska the preceding August. Presumably October was well begun before the Ohio commission came back to Cincinnati. Not until after their return was the form of the report determined upon; therefore, the author could not have begun the composition of it enroute. Twice, moreover, in the text, he referred to the date on which he was writing particular parts of the book. In chapter XXII, the date was November 16; in chapter XXVII, it was November 28. [33] The announcement of The Daily Columbian to the effect that the book was in press on October 27 was, therefore, somewhat premature.

The point, however, to which this advance review of the book called the attention of "the mercantile community" was a point the finished publication made conspicuous in both chapters II and XIX. [34] If the publishers had already contracted for the book in October, part of the manuscript may have already been in their hands, and its emphasis upon the commercial advantage to southern Ohio of a westward migration may have been made known to the


reviewer. All the subsequent notices of A Journey Through Kansas, name as publishers, not "Moors, Anderson & Co.," but "Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co." While the book was preparing, the firm was evidently reorganizing.

The second announcement of the book was an advertisement in the New York Tribune October 30, 1854. It listed the book for November publication and noted the wide appeal of its contents. The book was not issued, however, in November. The third notice, appearing as an advertisement in The National Era, on December 14, repeated the description of the Tribune. Varied itself in form and composition, it was designed to make a varied appeal.

Our Orders
Now Count by Thousands

The universal interest now felt in the subject is shown by the large orders we are receiving for the new book, to be published, in December, entitled

A Journey Through Kansas

With Sketches of Nebraska,

Describing the country, climate, soil, mineral, manufacturing, and other resources; the results of a Tour of Observation made in the autumn of 1854, by Rev. C. B. Boynton and T. B. Mason, committee from the "Kansas League of Cincinnati." With a new and authentic map from official sources, with emendations by H. V. Boynton. One volume, 12 mo. paper, price 50 cents.

Interwoven with the facts and statistics, presented in this volume, there will be found many exciting and amusing incidents of travel, narrated in a style of great beauty and vigor, which can not but attract many minds not directly looking to this land of promise for a future home for themselves or their friends.

==> Dealers will find this work one that will meet a ready sale among railroad travellers, and, through the agency of canvassers, in all sections of the country. Liberal discounts given.

==>Orders should be forwarded promptly, or it will be quite impossible for them to receive as prompt a response as may be desirable.

-Moors, Wilstach, Keys, & Co., Publishers 25 West Fourth St., Cincinnati [35]

This advertisement added two bits of information to our knowledge of the book; one was the date of publication-December; the other was the work upon the map by H. V. Boynton. The names of both Mr. Mason and Mr. Boynton appeared as authors; and, as on the title page of the published book, they constituted a "Committee from the `Kansas League of Cincinnati,' " nothing being said about the American Reform Tract and Book Society.


The fourth notice of A Journey Through Kansas was a brief paragraph in the Cincinnati Gazette, December 23.

We understand that a book entitled "A Journey Through Kansas," by Rev. Mr. Boynton, of this city, will be published in a few days, by Moors, Wilstach, Keys & Co. We have seen some of the proof sheets of this book, and predict for it a rapid and extensive sale. We shall notice it more at length in a few days. [36]

On December 27 the same paper carried an advertisement., beginning "Published This Day," and followed by virtually the same account of the book as that appearing in The National Era except the first paragraph was omitted entirely. [37] The Gazette advertisement also dropped the statement offering liberal discounts to dealers. To the paragraph urging prompt orders, it added, "They [the orders] are pouring in promptly." Four months, then, after the exploration of Kansas by the Ohio commissioners, their report upon the journey was published in book form. A review of the nature and the substance of that report follows.

A Journey Through Kansas With Sketches of Nebraska, as the author explained in the preface, [38] was a description of many of the scenes and incidents of "that far and almost unexplored territory" which had so deeply interested him and his companions on their autumn visit there. Facts and statements concerning the aspect, the resources, and the productions of the country he presented "with the sanction of the commissioners," but he conveyed them primarily through the medium of narrative for which he alone was responsible. The purpose of the story form was to "make a more vivid impression, . . . obtain a wider circulation, . . . and awaken an interest" in readers in Kansas and Nebraska and the cause they represented. The underlying motive was, of course, to encourage free emigration there.

As the emphasis in the title would suggest, Kansas received the fuller treatment. Of the twenty-eight chapters, only one discussed Nebraska separately. Most of them were short, varying from three to twelve or thirteen pages; the longest chapter numbering fifteen pages in all, was rightly, perhaps, or at least fairly, the chapter on Nebraska.

The discourse was for the most part narrative. It followed, with some divergence, the chronological order of the actual journey of the commissioners, with reflections upon their various experiences or


the experiences of other adventurers before them about whom they heard along the way. Now and then the narrative paused for whole chapters of descriptions of scenery or expository discussions of purely informational nature.

Chapter I told of the general ignorance of the needs of territorial exploring parties and included some amusing speculations as to desirable outfits for the journey. Although most men now talked "as if Kansas were a familiar subject, studied and comprehended," few had formed "any well-defined ideas of the position, aspect, and resources of this great Territory." [39] The commissioners from Ohio had, therefore, found making plans for the trip far more difficult than fitting themselves out for a voyage to Europe.

In chapter II the journey itself began, but not until chapter V did it touch upon Kansas. Meantime, however, the writer told of ways and conditions of travel emigrants would desire to know. Two chapters told of the journey up the Missouri by boat from St. Louis to Kansas City. Interspersed with the narrative of the author's own experience were accounts of the river, its availability for navigation, the operation of the steamboats then upon it, the surprisingly extensive business they carried on, and the prospects of development for Kansas City, still known as Kansas and still but a village.

Kansas City, which appeared "like a village of from six hundred to one thousand inhabitants," was contending with Weston, a place of some four thousand inhabitants, for the territorial emigrant trade as well as that for Santa Fe and California. Kansas City was largely under the influence of Eastern capital; yet its location in a slave state made its future hard to predict. [40] In Weston, too, were both slave and free elements.

In chapter VI the Cincinnati party boarded the Weston ferry to enter Kansas. Twice before they had touched upon the territory. On leaving Kansas City, Mo., they had noted at the mouth of the Kansas, on the Wyandot reservation, the beautiful sloping site for a town that might well become a "rival free-soil City." [41] Thirty miles beyond, on the west bank of the Missouri, they saw their first "squatter city," Leavenworth, three and one-half miles below the fort. In this strange city "squatted" upon the lands of the Delawares, where government officials had declared squatter sovereignty had no jurisdiction, they found twelve hundred and more "sovereigns" had already set up their thrones.


A squatter city has little resemblance to any other city; it belongs to a distinct genus of cities. This is a large and important one, the capital, as many hope, of Kansas, and is therefore worthy of description. There was one steam engine, "naked as when it was born," but at work, sawing out its clothes. There were four tents, all on one street, a barrel of water or whiskey under a tree, and a pot, on a pole over a fire. Under a tree, a type-sticker had his case before him, and was at work on the first number of the new paper, and within a frame, without a board on side or roof, was the editor's desk and sanctum. When we returned from the territory to Weston, we saw the "notice," stating that the editor had removed his office from under the elm tree, to the corner of "Broadway and the levee." This Broadway was, at that time, much broader than the streets of old Babylon; for, with the exception of the "fort," there was, probably, not a house on either side, for thirty miles [42]

Leavenworth City had commercial aspirations, but it could never rival Kansas City in trade. Fort Leavenworth, beautifully situated on a rolling bluff where scattering forest trees gave it the appearance of a cultivated park, made only a meager show as a fort, but it was an important military depot. It had become "the principal point of departure for troops and government supplies of all kinds, for Santa Fe, Fort Riley, Fort Laramie, and Fort Kearney, and other western stations, and the number of horses, mules, oxen, wagons, and the large amount of stores of all kinds, required in these operations" was an important item for future Kansas agriculturists to consider. [43]

The first impression Kansas made upon her visitors was of the fertility of her soil. Along the Missouri river bottom between the Weston ferry and Fort Leavenworth, "every description of vegetation" appeared on magnified scale. The most common timber was cottonwood, oak, and elm, many of the trees being conspicuously tall and thick in diameter. [44] Though these river bottom lands were fertile, they were unhealthful and on that account not extensively cultivated.

The following twenty-one chapters did not trace the succeeding impressions of the journey in chronological order. Instead, they grouped facts and features according to subject and interspersed information with entertaining narrative. Chapter VII told of the geographical and commercial divisions; chapter IX, of climate and productions; chapter X, of temperature and quantity of rain; chapter XI, of streams, springs, wells, and timber; chapter XXI, of the Indian lands and reservations; chapter XX, of the homestead and


preemption law; chapter XIV, of town sites and settlements, and chapter XVII, of the inhabitants now in the territory.

In reviewing the geographical divisions the reader must remember the Rocky Mountains still marked the western boundary line of Kansas territory. Mr. Boynton, in his book survey, divided the territory into three districts: the eastern, lying along the river and state of Missouri; the western, stretching along the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains; and the central, extending between and having but general boundaries. Depending upon personal observation and all other available known sources of information, he characterized the eastern district as an agricultural region, the western boundary of which was an average distance of two hundred and fifty miles from the Missouri but bent farther westward along the head waters of the Kansas to some three hundred miles. The western district he called "the western New England or American Switzerland, abounding in beautiful streams, timber, and fertile and sheltered valleys." [45] The central district was a belt of land deprived of moisture by the mountain ranges on the west and lying west of the line reached by the northward winds from the Gulf of Mexico; the plains in this district were destitute of timber, but the buffalo grass that covered the sandy soil with a scanty verdure was exceedingly nutritious and would afford pasturage for the flocks and herds of civilized life as it had already long done for buffalo, elk, antelopes, and deer. In confirmation of his pictures the author quoted several June and July entries from Colonel Frémont's journal.

Natural features of the country, Mr. Boynton felt, would largely determine the commercial divisions of the territory. Although he admitted only time would fix the exact place and number of trade centers, he prophesied the development of four: The northeastern portion of Kansas, near the Missouri valley, would demand a commercial depot of its own on the Missouri near St. Joseph where the railroad from Hannibal was planned to terminate. The central district along the valley of the Kansas, including the valleys of the Smoky Hill and Republican forks, promised to be the central route of the Pacific railroad which, with the river boats, should the river prove navigable, would draw commerce to the towns along the river and the railroad. The southeastern portion, drained by the head waters of the Osage and Neosho rivers, must depend upon a railway to Kansas [Kansas City] or upon the southwestern branch railway


from St. Louis. The southern portion, along the Arkansas river valley, the commissioners did not visit but learned about from "an intelligent gentleman" who had passed down the valley and who pictured it as a fertile, well-timbered place that should "offer great advantages to a large colony possessed of considerable capital." [46]

Mr. Boynton characterized Kansas as the land of streams and springs. By borrowing the Nebraska part of the Greater Nemaha and incorporating it within the northeastern limits of Kansas territory, he gave Kansas three "large river" valleys. The one of the borrowed stream to the north was the shortest. That of the Kansas and its tributaries in the center had its head waters far toward the Rocky Mountains. The Arkansas to the south, with its origin far within those mountains, ran for five hundred miles across Kansas territory. With the Osage, the Marais des Cygnes, and the Neosho rivers in the southeast part, they covered all the eastern part of Kansas with a network of streams, and their tributaries watered the central part and portions of the western part reasonably well.

In their three hundred miles travel the Ohioans always found water, at suitable intervals, for themselves and their horses, without leaving the main roads. In the autumn season, too, when they made their trip, many of the small streams and springs were dry. The deepest well they found was thirty-five feet, and the temperature of the several wells tested was 54° Fahrenheit. Water of some of the wells and springs was suitable for washing, but most of it was "hard."

The timber supply interested the Ohioans especially. Within the territory they had found the erroneous opinion prevailing among settlers that timber and fuel were scarce and dear; and every squatter had consequently made it his first object to secure a claim with a tract of timber both for his own use and for an investment.

This subject is one of prime importance, and deserves a careful consideration; for if prairie farms, destitute of timber, can not be cultivated successfully, then, except for stock-raising, Kansas will prove of but little value. If the prairie farmer is to be at the mercy of the owner of timber, and tree tops, for fuel, are to be sold at five dollars a cord, as in some locations now, it will be long before the territory is changed into a populous State. [47]

Apprehending little difficulty if the settlers would exercise judicious management of all the resources at hand, the author devoted seven


pages of chapter XI to a discussion of the timber growth of Kansas. Enumerating the kinds of trees growing in the different sections, he showed Kansas had more timber than people had commonly supposed.

Added to this chapter on the water and timber supply were brief discussions on the cost of a farm and farming, and on minerals, mines, and manufactures. Average crop yields were listed. California and Oregon emigration and the Santa Fe trade would insure a steady cash market at home for all productions. Development of manufacturing resources would extend this market further.

Mr. Boynton had no full or accurate knowledge of minerals and mines; but he named numerous minerals which he had seen or other persons claimed to have seen: bituminous coal, carboniferous limestone, iron, lead, tin, zinc, gypsum on the Smoky Hill fork, copper on Turkey creek, clay for bricks, and potter's clay. If Kansas should become a free state, her free settlers of mechanical skill and experience in the East would "at once furnish manufactures of wood, iron, leather, hemp, and a countless variety of articles" and make Kansas soon "present a copy of manufacturing New England." [43]

Chapter XXI, which located the Indian lands and reservations, showed that they formed only an inconsiderable portion of the territory in area but that they embraced some of the most desirable parts of the country, especially of the timber lands on the Kansas and its tributaries. Necessity, the author felt, would soon compel a change; either the treaties would be modified or the government would purchase the lands entire.

So far as the great ends of civilization and Christianity are concerned, the most of these Indian lands are so occupied by the tribes as to be useless to the world, or rather they are obstacles in the progress of the country. How their territory is, without injustice to them, to pass into the possession of the whites, is a question we can not answer, and yet we can not doubt that the transfer will ere long be made. [49]

On the mouth of the Kansas, between that river and the Missouri, the Wyandots had six square miles. On the north side of the Kansas the Delawares held a tract ten miles wide, extending west from the Wyandots, forty miles along the river. Thirteen miles west of the Delaware reservation began the Pottawatomie tract, fourteen miles wide on the north side of the Kansas and four miles wide on the south side, and stretching westward for thirty miles. The Shawnee reservation, ten miles wide and forty miles long, lay on the south


side of the Kansas, beginning about four miles from the Missouri and extending westward. The Kansas, or Kaws, had a small tract in the neighborhood of Council Grove; with the Osages, Ottawas, and Sacs, this tribe held some of the best timber and bottom lands on the Osage and Neosho rivers. The Iowas had small reservations in the north of Kansas. Unofficial reports indicated some of these lands were soon to be ceded or sold. Over some lands lately ceded by the Delawares, the government and "squatters" were now in dispute; the treaty had been designed to exclude the right of preemption but already there were twelve hundred settlers on the lands.

Chapter XX, entitled "Homestead and Pre-emption Law," consisted wholly of directions to prospective settlers. Since no homestead law existed to apply to Kansas, the law of preemption must be their guide.

By the law of pre-emption, any person being the "head of a family, or widow, or single man, over the age of twenty-one years, and being a citizen of the United States, or having filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen, as required by the naturalization laws," is entitled to enter upon any unoccupied public lands, and "claim" any number of acres not exceeding one hundred and sixty, (a quarter section). He must make a "settlement" upon the land thus claimed, and erect thereon a dwelling. This claim and settlement must be made in person, and the claimant must "inhabit and improve" the same-in order to have a legal protection against others who might claim the same ground.

Inasmuch as the lands of Kansas were unsurveyed, the settler would be expected to file a description of his "claim" with the surveyor-general within three months after the survey should have been made, and would then supposedly be allowed twelve months to make payment to the government; but as the government survey Would not be complete until the following spring, settlers would enjoy use of their claims for two years, virtually, before the government would require payment. [50]

In further explanation the chapter included a two and one-half page abstract of the preemption laws, and a one-page letter from the commissioner of the land office. Mr. Boynton explained that the purpose of the preemption law was to protect the settler in his claim to one hundred and sixty acres, allowing him to pay for it as indicated above; but he also stated that the government would permit a man to purchase, on the day of public sale, as much as ten thousand acres, if no other person should object or overbid


him. To only the quarter section, however, would he have legal security.

The chapter on town sites and settlements was a mixture of facts and speculation. When the commissioners visited Kansas in September, the New England settlement at Lawrence was the most advanced and most promising. Twenty miles west of it, at Tecumseh, was Stinson's settlement. Atchison was already laid out on the Missouri with an eye to the trade of northeastern Kansas. Below it was Leavenworth. Choosing as sites places where the principal streams and valleys struck the Kansas or where the main lines of roads, like the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe trails crossed the river, emigrants had already formed settlements at Salt creek, Hickory Point., Stranger creek, Grasshopper river, Soldier creek, Catholic mission, Lost creek, Vermilion, Rock creek, Big Blue, Wild Cat creek, and Fort Riley, all on the north side of the Kansas. Similar settlements the Ohioans found from Council Grove toward the Missouri along the Santa Fe trail in the northern part of the territory; the chief of these settlements was on the Big Blue where the government road to Forts Kearney and Laramie crossed the river. At Council Grove [51] and at Fort Riley natural conditions led the travelers to believe important towns must develop. Between Fort Riley and the mouth of the Kansas they foresaw another trade center, but were not sure whether it would be at Lawrence. At the mouth of the Kansas, on Kansas soil now reserved to the Wyandots, they placed the commercial capital of Kansas.

The New England settlement at Lawrence received the fullest treatment, being given two full pages. [52] Part of the account was a description of the place as it appeared on the day of the commissioners' visit. On that day there had been "an auction sale of the choice of claims," fifty-six choices being sold at a premium of five thousand dollars. The plan for the city had been made, and "for the present . . . a town lot will be donated to any one who will occupy and improve" it. [53] At Lawrence alone there were then supposedly four hundred persons. [54] The sketch also told of the two


steam saw mills, the steam-driven printing press, the plan for a public building for school and worship, the proposal of the Emigrant Aid Company to supply food and other necessaries at lower rates than the settlers could procure for themselves, and the hotel purchased in Kansas City to be used as a receiving house for emigrants. In a brief paragraph that followed, the author expressed the hope that at other points other companies would emulate the noble work of the Massachusetts company at Lawrence. [55]

The discussion of the inhabitants of the territory said little about the inhabitants, but it did say much about local conditions and sentiments they must face. Since no census had been taken, no one had any real knowledge of the population of the territory. General opinion, in September, 1854, placed the estimate at some four to five thousand in all. Major Ogden, at Fort Leavenworth, thought there were twelve hundred on the Delaware lands alone. These figures, however, were all merely estimates. On all sides the commissioners found the practice of staking fictitious claims, sometimes by little associations of slave sympathizers to keep out "the abolitionists," and sometimes by the free-soilers to exclude slaveholders. Usually these associations had consisted of a few speculators and politicians who had passed "terrible resolutions saving the Union, and protecting and extending `our peculiar institutions.'" [56] Mr. Boynton predicted early cessation of such hostilities. The different parties would have to mingle, from proximity and from the strong necessity of companionship and of social and business relations. Already a "free-soiler," in western phrase, was not necessarily an anti-slavery man; rather, he was a person willing all should come and decide the question of slavery when there, fairly, by the popular vote. Even in Missouri this "free-soil" principle prevailed, the Ohioans believed; and most slaveholders to whom they talked had considered the question settled against them. If Eastern and Northern emigration should continue, the commissioners were sure of a triumph for the free-state cause. The two facts that contributed most to this assurance were, first, the character of the productions suitable for the soil and the nature of the resources which would appeal to men with large families and small means who would not desire the presence of aristocratic slaveholders


in their neighborhoods; and second, the expectation that a large portion of the lands of Kansas would be "claimed" or "squatted," previous to the survey, in one hundred and sixty acre plots, too small for plantations. [57] The discussion ended with an exhortation, however, to every free man of the East and North whose circumstances would allow, to go and aid in making the cause of freedom sure.

The thirteen remaining chapters that were primarily narrative contained much additional information. The unexpected beauty of the Kansas prairies, so different from the prairies of Indiana, Illinois, or Iowa, called for both descriptive and expository treatment. [58] The view from the bluffs above Fort Riley, at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill forks, appealed as one of the most beautiful. [59] Only a small part of the territory had as yet been explored; the field either for individual enterprise or for the establishment of colonies was wide and inviting. [60]

Pictures of the Indians and Indian life appeared frequently in the book. Stories of the travelers' own encounters with them enlivened some of the pages. Tales of their superstitions and beliefs, current among the settlers, were repeated. [61] Their skill in horsemanship had vivid portrayal. [62] Their ability in warfare received unwilling praise. [63] Incredulously the Ohio travelers listened to the young American officers at Fort Riley explain the superiority of the mounted Indian in close combat. With a trained horse, with a bow and arrow, and with a spear he excelled over the dragoon, untrained in horsemanship and riding a horse that was but a raw recruit. The Indians of the plain might be called the American Cossack before whom the artillery was almost useless. Stories of massacres of both emigrants and soldiers on the western plains supported the officers' point of view. The Indians' love of tobacco-"chebok," as they called it-seemed their most obvious weakness; only for it would they make voluntary advances to the white man. [64] In different places in the book Mr. Boynton asserted his belief that the Indian race had nearly finished its course.

As surely as races, like individuals, have characteristics peculiar to themselves, capacities which indicate fitness or unfitness for certain modes of


thought or action, so certain does it appear that the Indian race will never assume the forms of the Anglo-Saxon civilization . . . . As a race, and nationally, they are lost already, and will disappear. They have played their part through, in the world's development, and they are nearly ready to leave the stage. [65]

From the Kaws, observed in encampment near the Methodist mission at Council Grove, he drew most of his conclusions about the apparent destiny of the race.

Fort Riley, seen at this time, made a better impression as a fort upon the Ohio commissioners than did Fort Leavenworth. Established in November, 1853, and built largely in 1854, it still had a freshness of look. White lime-stone from the neighboring bluffs had been the chief material used. Cheaply obtained and cheaply hewn, it gave the appearance of durability." The architect was from Cincinnati.67 The setting added to its charm.

Standing on a broad, low eminence, swelling gently up from the Kansas valley on the east, and from that of the Republican on the south, and southwest its cluster of white buildings presented a neat and attractive appearance, and doubtless the beauty of that picture was enhanced, in our eyes, because we had lately looked only on unsightly cabins. It was a sweet-looking "oasis," not indeed a green spot merely, amid sands, but a little isle of beauty, rising out of the prairie ocean, bright with a civilized smile, and wearing the decorations of taste and skill. [68]

Purity of the air, the Ohioans felt, would keep the fresh color long undimmed. A lengthy description of the natural background made by the Republican, the Smoky Hill, and the Kansas rivers and the surrounding hills and woods gave a full view of the place. [69] To us now, who have always thought of Fort Riley as one of the permanent military posts in the United States, one statement of Mr. Boynton's regarding its intended fate seems strange. Officers stationed there in the early fall of 1854 told him that as soon as the settlements in Kansas reached to the fort, the government designed giving up the position, selling out the grounds and buildings, and establishing a more western station. [70] More western stations came, of course, but Fort Riley also remained.

Throughout their journey the Ohioans felt the importance of the position of Kansas and of the nature of the population that should settle there. Situated in the heart of the continent, the territory was bound to be the center of extensive commerce-"an exchange


point between the Eastern states and the farthest West." [71] The question of her settlement, moreover, had become the preeminent political interest of the day.

Kansas may be regarded as a political upheaval. Like islands that have been formed in the night by volcanic action, or mountains suddenly lifted out of the plains of South America, Kansas has been upheaved from the political ocean, by the internal fires of party, and has become at once one of the most prominent objects on our continent. With thousands, who a few months ago had never even heard of Kansas, it is now the chief subject of thought and inquiry. [72]

In the different proposals for occupation of this crucial territory Northerners, at least, also saw a grave moral issue.

Upon the question of the settlement of Kansas, the fate of the slavepower now hangs, more especially than upon the movements of political parties. The contest for the possession of this Territory will end in giving an effectual if not decisive blow to the defeated party. From a defeat there, slavery can never recover itself, and if the slave-power is victorious, it will have at its disposal almost every conceivable earthly advantage. [73]

Ohioans, of course, were bent upon securing the new territory from the dominion of slave power and establishing out of it "a genuine Puritan state, . . . both as a model and center of influence, and a point of departure for other enterprises in favor of freedom." [74] A free state there would be to all the vast regions of the West and the Southwest, "even to the Rocky Mountains and Mexico, the dawn of a new era, decisive of their destiny." [75] With boundary lines invisible to the eye between the territory and Missouri on the east and the Indian lands on the south, a free state would wield there an unobtrusive but irresistible influence over even the slave holders and the slave state itself. The free institutions of school and church and society would make of her a model state that would direct to all the other unsettled territories of the Southwest a free emigration, "which would prevent forever the formation of another slave state in all that region." [76] In the middle ground of Kansas herself, emigrants from all states, both Northern and Southern, must concentrate and mingle. The moral power of their intermingled life and interests would be felt upon Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia in inestimable ways, the author believed, even to the point of rendering disunion impossible. [77]


In all the four separate chapters (XIX, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII) devoted to the momentous nature of the Kansas question, Mr. Boynton emphasized the value of colonization.78 He pointed out the great significance of the coming of the first New England party the summer before.

Rightly considered, one of the most suggestive scenes that has been looked on for a hundred years in this country, was when the first large emigrant party from New England stepped upon the slave soil of Missouri, at St. Louis, on its way to Kansas. In that silent, unheeded act, was the inauguration of a new era, unknown though it might be to the actors themselves. It was the advance-guard of freedom's hosts which was taking possession of the lands and dominion of slavery in the name of God and humanity. It was the first ripple of that new stream of emigration which, for years to come, is to swell on that southern shore with a broader and stronger tide. [79]

Believing that the opening up of the territories to Southern settlement had been the first and only motive of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, he thought of this Northern movement as a triumphant way to oppose it.

We regard this idea of the colonization of the West and Southwest-this conquest of slavery by the showing of the more excellent way-as one of the grandest conceptions of modern times. It is a peaceful march of freedom's armies in a holy crusade, for the securing of human rights, and the extending of a true Christian civilization to our remotest borders.

It will plant Northern energy, skill, capital, and industry, upon a new and nobler theater. It will move men in masses, so that their character, sentiments, and institutions, will all be preserved entire. It is not merely emigration-it is colonization,-and these colonies, if properly formed, and wisely conducted, will settle, under God, the question of American slavery. [80]

Nor was it settlement of the question in territories only that was to be thus achieved. The Missouri Compromise had hitherto been a wall of defense for slavery in the South as it had for freedom in the North. Now, by its repeal, the North had been thrown open to slavery, but so was the South opened to freedom. If the North could only be true to herself, no one could doubt the result. [81]

Upon the people of his own state he laid a special charge.

Especially do we, of Ohio, hope that southern Ohio will not hesitate to take interest and part in this great enterprise, but that she will cause herself to be represented by one of the largest and noblest colonies in Kansas. The stake which Cincinnati has in this enterprise, is a very deep one, and her business men should give it a prompt and serious consideration. Nothing has lately been presented to Cincinnati, of more importance than to bind Kansas, and all that surrounding region, to her by all the affinities


which free institutions on both sides can create, and by sending there, in large numbers the sons and daughters of Ohio to bind Kansas to her by the ties of kindred and old association. [82]

So had Ohio been bound to the states farther east whence her people came; from northern Ohio, as a result, trade had been secured to New York and Boston, and from southern Ohio, to Philadelphia.

Not only the commercial advantage to Ohio as a whole did Mr. Boynton note thus frankly, but he also pointed out the special opportunity to emigrant aid companies. Like the New Englanders who formed the first Emigrant Aid Company in Massachusetts, the Ohio commissioners encouraged other companies to hope to secure a rich return for capital employed; judicious management was the only suggested prerequisite. [83] The remuneration would come in the form of increased value of the lands which the companies would themselves retain. [84]

The fifteen-page chapter on Nebraska compared the two territories of Kansas and Nebraska in size and nature. [85] Not knowing any part of the northern territory himself, the author drew upon the accounts of others and upon supposition. He divided the country into six general districts, each characterized by common geographic features. These sections he described at length, picturing the prevailing contour of each and pointing out the adaptability of it to habitation. Elements of reputed grandeur or peculiar beauty he emphasized. He supplemented his own discussion with lengthy quotations from Edward Everett Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska, [88] from an unnamed missionary's account of the climate near the Canadian border line, and from the description of the valley of the Yellow Stone by an unknown writer in the New York Tribune. He also praised Frémont's journal for its accuracy as observed by himself in traveling over parts of the same routes.

Frequently through the book the author alluded to the obligation of the church in settling the fate of the territories. In the chapter on "Nebraska" he said the determining of the question belonged "of right to the churches of this land." 37 The question was a question of morals and religion. The colonization he would


make "a Christian colonization." [88] Emigrant churches should become the nuclei around which society would then form itself and make of Kansas not only a free state but a model state. Were such churches organized in the different parts of the country, the different missionary societies might aid in sustaining their pastors. Where Christians of different sects might settle in the same locality they should unite in an organization liberal enough to embrace all. [89] The religion, however, should not be so liberal as to be unorthodox in its practices. Chapter III began with severe censure of the second Emigrant Aid party sent out from Massachusetts, for not resting in St. Louis over the Sabbath.

This party, numbering about one hundred and thirty, reached St. Louis on Saturday, and instead of resting in St. Louis over the Sabbath, as we have since understood it was the intention of the officers of the society that they should do, proceeded immediately up the river-thus trampling down one law of God, in a mission professedly undertaken to vindicate another.

This desecration of the Sabbath by a band of emigrants from Massachusetts. as most of them were, and connected as they were with a society organized for the very purpose of opposing an immorality, was a cause of grief to the best friends of the movement in the West. It served to divest the whole enterprise of a moral character; and to this extent diminished its power. [90]

Forbidding travel on the Sabbath was only one of several orthodox ideas appearing in A Journey Through Kansas.

Different manifestations of nature were the handiwork of God. The Kansas prairie was "a magnificent picture of God"; its wonderful beauty was "the workmanship of God." [91] The three substitutes for timber and wood-stone, coal, and Osage orange-were the provision of God. [92] The mounds of the prairies had "been upheaved there by the hand of God." [93] The expanse of plain was particularly impressive.

Over the vast plateau the heavens seem spread out on purpose to curtain it in; a dome, "whose maker and builder is God," and which, glowing, as it is, with excess of light, seems to send down to us the glory of some "upper sky," the shining through of a heavenly splendor [94]

Customs and behavior of the pioneers already in the territory were weighed by orthodox standards. The head of the house who had given up saying grace at table had lost his Christian graces and


became a dead or frozen disciple. [95] Satan followed the weak or wavering Christian into the wilderness. In Lawrence the Ohioans admired the cheer and hope and energy of the settlers, the scene reminding them of Plymouth Rock. Their wish for it was like a prayer: "Would that there might be found there the same depth of piety, the same sublimity of faith and loftiness of aim!" [96]

In spite of his exhortation to the new communities and to the settlers to be religious, Mr. Boynton unhesitatingly criticised the work of the missions. The mission at Council Grove, supported by the Methodists, provoked his chief rebuke; but its failure was only representative of the disappointing effects of most of the Indian missions.

The "Mission" is merely a school, the Kaws not consenting to have the Gospel preached among them. They send a few of their children irregularly to a school, in which little or nothing is, or can be done. The name of "Mission" does not very well describe the thing; and this, we think, is not the only "Mission," in Kansas, to which the same remark would apply. It would do no harm, if this whole subject of Indian missions were somewhat more closely investigated by the churches. Some unexpected disclosures might be made, perhaps, by such a scrutiny, and the matter would be stripped of much of the heroic, and the romantic with which it has been so largely invested. Many dreams of Christian Indian nations just budding into life on the frontier, would, probably, be put to flight, by a journey even through Kansas. [97]

Individual Indians, Mr. Boynton believed, might yet "be snatched as brands from the burning, and as trophies of the surprising grace of God," but of national vitality among the American tribes there was now none. Their probation as communities was over; their judgment day was passed; nationally, they were among the lost. [98]

Ignorance of the history of the open, uninhabited prairies was due to God's not f yet having seen fit to disclose one of the most interesting secrets of the past. [99] Mr. Boynton's own conjecture was that the plains were once the cultivated fields of a race that had since passed away. The mounds were the remains of fortifications, of ruined temples and of walled cities. [100]

That was the substance of the report of the exploration of Kansas in the autumn of 1854 by the Ohio commissioners. In putting their findings into the semi- narrative, semi-informational form of A Journey Through Kansas, Mr. Boynton made interesting reading


of what could easily have been barren fact, and he lent importance to personal incidents that without factual setting would have seemed insignificant. The information was for the most part of general nature, derived primarily from observation. With the exceptions of the quotations above from Edward Everett Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska, the New York Tribune, and Fr6\émont's journal, and the weather reports supplied by the officers at Fort Leavenworth, the author cited no authorities for his subject matter. His information was, on the whole, nevertheless, authentic. The book recorded more mistaken opinions than it did errors of fact. Opinion was clearly opinion, however; and speculation was speculation; the author offered neither as fact.

Lack of exact information led both him and the maker of the map to place all of the Nemaha river in northern Kansas. [101]From frequent evidences of coal along the course of exploration, Mr. Boynton concluded erroneously that a coal supply was general and abundant throughout the territory. [102]Having no difficulty in a dry season in finding water readily all along the way for both man and beast, he supposed water would be found in every section of land. [103] The statement that the Ohioans "saw no streams in the country, except the Kansas, whose waters are turbid," [104] may have been wholly truthful, but. any Kansan reading the remark feels they could not have looked upon many Kansas streams. To appreciate the frequent comment upon the good Kansas roads, the reader needs information about the general condition of roads elsewhere in 1854; so few of the natural thoroughfares in Kansas, however, could ever have been rightly described as "the finest roads in the world" [105] that he feels the author was little-traveled or frankly extravagant in remark. The "mucilaginous elm," which the Ohioans noted among the chief trees of the territory, [106] Kansans have long since characterized as "slippery elm." The idea that "fall planted potatoes might, perhaps, succeed best," must, to people who understand potato growing, be the most smile-provoking statement in the book. [107]

Failure to understand fully the extent of the issue at stake in Kansas and the strong feeling in both North and South upon it, explain the sincere but false prophecy that the border warfare by Missourians


was over "to return no more." [108] Rightly the Ohioans sensed that much of the trouble was bluster, "empty gasconade," [109] with provocation from both sides, but they jumped too hastily to the conclusion that serious ruffianism was over. These are the most obvious incorrect or inaccurate ideas about Kansas and Kansas matters appearing in A Journey Through Kansas.

The frontispiece of the book was "a map of Kansas with portions of Nebraska, etc., redrawn from official sources with emendations by H. V. Boynton." [116] Middleton, Wallace & Co., Cincinnati, were the engravers; Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., were the publishers. The map itself measured 6 7/8 by 5 3/8 inches; it was printed on a page 7 1/2 inches square; and it had a single fold. Besides Kansas, it included those portions of other territories and states lying between meridians 94° and 106° and between latitudes 35° and 43°. It embraced portions of Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Indian territory, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. The geography of Kansas and Nebraska, as represented in the map, is of especial interest in this study.

The territory of Kansas occupied the central portion of the map. Only that part of Nebraska territory south of latitude 43° appeared. The map, like that used as a frontispiece of Edward Everett Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska, was but an outline map. Boundary lines, river courses, forts, and towns were its chief inclusions; the Santa Fe route from Kansas (Kansas City) to Santa Fe, N. M., was marked with two lines of travel as far west as Council Grove; the northern was by way of Forts Leavenworth and Riley; the southern lay south of the Wakarusa river. Forts and towns had almost the same locations as in modern maps. The New England settlement was designated as such, though it had already chosen the name of Lawrence for itself; [111] none of the other settlements mentioned in the text were marked on the map at all. The plains south of the great bend in the Arkansas river were called Salt Plains. Pike's Peak was the only Kansas marking in the Rocky Mountain range. Shaded sections along the Kansas river and one small place on the Kansas side of the Missouri river opposite St. Joseph evidently indicated Indian reservations; why, however, these Indian lands were so marked and others in the territory were not designated at all is not clear. Most of


the rivers followed almost the same courses as in modern maps, with two exceptions. The greater Nemaha in the map, as in the text, was placed entirely within Kansas. [112] The Cimarron river, which is now known to unite directly with the Arkansas in latitude 36°, longitude 96° 15', united in the Boynton map with the Salt Fork in latitude 37° 30', longitude 101°. In the portion of Nebraska shown in the map only rivers and forts appeared. The Rocky Mountains followed a general northeasterly line. Longs Peak was the only mountain noted separately.

In so far as neither the map nor the text indicated the "official sources" used by H. V. Boynton in making his emended drawing, no one can tell at all what his sources were and whether they or he were responsible for the right or the wrong features of the work.

The map was an interesting supplement, nevertheless, to the text. Although it did not indicate the course of the route the Ohioans followed in their own explorations, it noted the chief places Mr. Boynton talked of in his report-places in both Kansas and Missouri, including the Missouri river as far east as Lexington. It therefore made locations relatively clear and so added to the reader's graphic knowledge of the western territories.

In December, 1854, after the written report had gone to press, Mr. Boynton's monthly magazine devoted a column to the prospective publication. It discussed the purpose and noted the contents of the work. The reviewer described it as the result of personal observations of Mr. Boynton and Mr. Mason, who had traveled between three and four hundred miles in the territory and visited the principal points of interest. Their intention, he said, had been to collect information for prospective emigrants, and he believed that in every essential particular the information might be relied upon. The article ended with an account of the arrangements for sale of the book.

By an arrangement with the publishers, the editor of this paper is able to supply this work at their prices. Any order, therefore, addressed to Rev. C. B. Boynton, editor of the Christian, Press, Cincinnati, will receive attention. The publishers' prices are as follows:

Single copies, paper, 50 cents.
25 copies and less than 100, 33 1/3 per cent discount.
100 copies and less than 500, 40 per cent discount.
400 copies and less than 1,000, 45 per cent discount.
1,000 copies and over, 50 per cent discount.


This book will also be for sale as soon as published, at the American Reform Tract and Book Society's Rooms, 180 Walnut street. [113]

Published on December 27, 1854, A Journey Through Kansas received its first lengthy review in the Cincinnati Gazette, January 15, 1855; it was the notice, evidently, that had been announced December 23.114 The review was printed in the morning edition of the Gazette, January 16.115 It was unsigned, the nameless writer referring to himself by the editorial "we." A half-column in length, the review alternated approval and disapproval of the subject matter and treatment. It characterized the work first. as a "pleasant, unpretending little volume of 216 pages, . . . a good book, well-prepared." It commended the authors for tact and judgment in the selection of material, but it would have preferred to have them relate the narrative of their experiences "in one continuous and unbroken chain" and reserve the statistical matters for consecutive chapters at the close. It found pleasant the descriptions of backwoodsmen and squatter life. It accepted the Boynton picture of Indian life in Kansas as "correct, though painful," and supported the judgment with the knowledge that "practical Indian life is not pleasant, and is far from being romantic, whatever reciters of legends and writers of novels may say to the contrary." It regarded the decided antislavery attitude of the book as its most distinctive feature. It found the views given with such "Christian candor and sincerity," however, as not to offend "intelligent and candid men." A southern Ohio paper, the Cincinnati Gazette had proslavery as well as antislavery readers whom it must satisfy; but it had more concern for the welfare of the western emigrants and the enviable opportunities for an independent life awaiting them on the spacious prairies of Kansas. Persons weary of living "hived up in big cities" should find in the "far-off and beautiful country . . . an inexhaustible charm." The Gazette review was for the most part. a recommendation that should have advanced the sale of the book, and its enthusiasm for the open spaces should of itself have furthered emigration thither directly. The review made no quotations, for want of space, but saw little use for them since the sale price of the volume was fifty cents at the bookstore of the publisher in Cincinnati.

The second review found in Kansas to-day, appeared in The Puritan Recorder, January 18, 1855. [116] Prefaced by a biblio-


graphical description of the book and statement of the place of sale, the article made general comment upon the purpose of the Ohio commission and its findings in the territory and praised the author for the nature of his report. It repeated Mr. Boynton's impressive warning to the North that from undue confidence, want of vigilance, or lack of well-directed effort, there was still great danger of the territory's being subjected to slave tyranny.

The issue of the Herald of Freedom for January 20, 1855, under the heading "A Tour Through Kansas," printed one and one-half columns from the account of the journey, but described the source of it as a "pamphlet," recently published by Messrs. Boynton and Mason; passages quoted were taken verbatim from scattered places in the book. Apparently they had been selected and arranged in a folder or pamphlet for advance notice. Further indication that the "pamphlet" must have arrived earlier than the book appeared in the following remark. "His book describing the country, soil, climate, mineral, manufacturing, and other resources, will be read with interest. Will the publishers be so kind as to favor us with a Copy?" [117] Had the Kansas editor already had a copy of the book at his disposal, he would not have printed this bold request.

Comparison of the Herald of Freedom quotations with the text of the published book reveals that the passages used embraced parts of chapter VIII on scenery and incidents; and from chapter XI on streams, springs, wells, and timber, and on materials for fences and dwellings. Not quoted in the order in which they appear in the book, the passages had different groupings and bore different captions. [118] Some of them were of whole paragraphs, reproduced consecutively; others were of parts of paragraphs; and some were of single sentences.

The editor of the Herald of Freedom evidently believed the book on Kansas based on the observation of the Ohio explorers would interest people already in Kansas as well as the people in Ohio who contemplated emigration there. The Kansas paper, of course, had as wide a circulation, too, outside the state as in it; and notice of the new book printed in its columns would reach readers in many communities in the North. In the prefatory remarks the editor reminded the reader of his review of Mr. Boynton's Vine Street


Congregational Church report of his Kansas journey in October. 1854. [119]

In March, 1855, Harper's Magazine published an appreciative account of the contents of A Journey Through Kansas and the author's treatment of the material. [120] It characterized the book as "`a graphic record" of the tour of the exploring party. It found the detailed description a contribution to the knowledge of the region. The fresh and lively sketches of Indian life it valued as the testimony of credible eye-witnesses. It commended the author's wise hopefulness of the capabilities of the new territories and their development.

The fact that the information came almost entirely from the author's own observation constituted its chief worth in the estimates of all the reviewers. It was only the second book, to be sure, upon the territory of Kansas, but it was the first book for which the author made exploration himself of what he wrote. To the public, therefore, its information would be fresh and attractive; and it would appeal, the reviewers believed, as being authoritative. So, at least, they all announced it. So, as far as records reveal, the public seems to have received it.

The book probably failed to challenge interest long. Such was the opinion of the writer in the Dictionary of American Biography, who characterized the book as "an interesting account of a country before the trouble over slavery had grown acute." [121] When the question of slavery became intense, the territory and its settlement were but incidental to the principle at stake. Books of narrative nature written by residents of the territory who were participants in the affairs, or at least witness to them, soon began to flourish. Beside their dramatic appeal, books of information, even though narrative-coated in part like A Journey Through Kanzas could win little favor.

The size of the edition of the book is not known. Mr. W. L. Mason wrote Mr. Adams in 1893 that "a limited number" of the books were published. [122] Kansas has no record of the places of sale or the proportion sold. In March, 1857, Mr. Boynton wrote Amos A. Lawrence, treasurer of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, that "the people are not yet very familiar with the


aspects, attractions and resources of Kansas, as all have been fully occupied with the events there transpiring." [123] The remark implied his book had not had the sale he once expected it would have. A postscript to the letter referred to a lost package of the books, amounting to thirty or forty dollars worth, that had been sent by express to Dr. Thomas H. Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company in Boston, but that had not been delivered. After much delay, the publishers had ordered them not to be delivered; they believed the express company, which had been responsible for the tardiness, would be obliged to pay. The company had refused payment, however; then the publishers had failed, and the loss had devolved upon the author. Supposing the books were still in some express office in Boston, he now offered half the lot to Mr. Lawrence for gratuitous distribution, and the rest he would claim himself.

Thirty or forty dollars worth of A Journey Through Kansas, if of the paperbound issue advertised in 1854-1855, would have meant from sixty to eighty copies. The writer of this article has seen but three copies of the book; each is firmly bound in board covers with leather back and corners, and must have sold for more than fifty cents. [124] These copies are, nevertheless, of the same first, and probably only, edition of the book ever issued.

Although active interest in the report of the Ohio commissioners seems to have waned early, its author for a time contemplated making a second journey to the territory and writing a second book. [125] Correspondence with Amos A. Lawrence about the proposition indicated that the New England Emigrant Aid Company was being thought of as part sponsor. [126] Rapidly changing conditions in Kansas, however, soon rendered the plan impracticable. In 1857, in inquiring how he might further serve the cause of freedom by use of pen or tongue, Mr. Boynton again referred


to the proposed second book, supposing that it would not then be of much consequence but believing the people in the territory were not yet "very familiar with the aspect, attractions, and resources of Kansas." As pastor of the South Church in Pittsfield, where he had come for his health, he was helping to "spread right principles and feelings" in his native Berkshires, but in his desire to be nearer the scene of action himself and at the same time find a still more favorable climate, he even proposed migrating to Kansas and, with his three sons, then verging upon manhood, trying "to exhibit at least the dignity of free labor, if we c'd do nothing in its defense." [127] Mr. Boynton mixed his motives frankly, but he was apparently sincere in his wish to aid the free-state cause. He did not migrate to Kansas, however, and he did not again write in defense of her cause.


1. Boynton, C. B., and T. B. Mason, A Journey Through Kansas; With Sketches of Nebraska. (Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., Cincinnati, 1855), h. V.
2. Ibid., p. I.
3. Ibid., p. III.
4. Ibid, p. VI. Although this preface does not tell who "the Writer" was and might be interpreted to imply it was a third and different person, the author of this article has inferred the writer was Mr. Boynton. The book was from the first attributed to him and so credited in all contemporary reviews and references and in subsequent catalogs. Recently H. C. Houlton, cataloger for Argosy Book Stores, Inc., 114 East 59 street, New York City, in Argosy catalog No. 78, has interpreted this preface as meaning "the Writer" was a third and unnamed person. (Letter to author of this article, May 27, 1935.) A letter of C. B. Boynton to Amos A. Lawrence, March 11 1857, referring to A Journey Through Kansas With Sketches of Nebraska as "my' little book," seems to the author of this article ample proof of the other long-accepted interpretation. (Letter in archives of Kansas Historical Society.) "The Writer's" characterization of self, moreover, is wholly in keeping with the known facts about Mr. Boynton and his life.
5. Ford, H. A., and K. B. Ford, History of Cincinnati. (1881), p. 280. Photostatic copy used.
6. d.. 280-281.
7. Circular copy of letter by Charles B. Boynton, August 9, 1854, in "Webb Scrap Books," v. I, p. 89, in library of the Kansas Historical Society, Topeka.
8. The Christian Press, Cincinnati, September, 1854, p, 6. Photostatic copy used.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. The Home Missionary, official publication of the American Home Missionary Society, October, 1854, stated that one missionary is under appointment to go to Kansas-S. Y. Lum, v. XXVII, pp. 152-153. The issue of November, 1854, v. XXVII, p, 171, added, We have one brother already on the ground, and others will be sent as soon as reliable information cornea that they can employ themselves with advantage to the cause of Christ."
12. Vide post, footnote 19.
13. The Christian Press, September, 1854, p. 6. Photostatic copy used.
14. Mason, W. L., letter to Franklin G. Adams, September 6, 1893 in "Biographical Circulars," v. II-M, in library of Kansas Historical Society, Topeka.
15. Boynton, C. B., and T. B. Mason, A Journey Through Kansas, pp. 82-85. 16. Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography, v. I, p, 342.
17. Dictionary of American Biography (Scribner), v. II, pp. 536-537.m 18. Appleton's Cyclopaedia gives the place as Housatonic, Conn., and the period as three years instead of five.
19. After 1849 the Cincinnati directories carried the name of "Vine Street Congregational Church" as Mr. Boynton's church.-.Statement of Davis L. Tames, Sr., in letter to author of this article, January 5, 1933. Mr. James is a retired book dealer of Cincinnati.
20. Vide ante, pp, 116-117.
27. Boynton, C. B., and T. B. Mason, A Journey Through Kansas, p. V.
22. "Biographical Circulars," v. II-M.
23. Wilby, Eleanor S., librarian of Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, in letter to author of this article, February 16, 1933.
24. Although Mr. Mason's name does not appear in the city directories of Cincinnati after 1857 he may have continued to dwell there afterward. Miss Wilby thinks he may have gone into the country to live. He died in Cincinnati, February 10, 1861. Cf. "Biographical Circulars," v. II-M.
25. The copy of this book in the library of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, in the University of Cincinnati Library building, is of the "revised, enlarged, 4th edition," copyrighted by Truman & Smith of Cincinnati, and published in Boston. It is called v. I.-Statement of Eleanor S. Wilby, librarian.
26. Statement of Miss Wilby, drawn from Cincinnati records.
27. Boynton, C. B., and T. B. Mason, A Journey Through Kansas, pp, 123-124.
28. "Webb Scrap Books," v. I, p. 178. The news clipping citing this information has neither source nor date attached. It evidently comes from a Cincinnati paper, probably the Gazette; inserted in the Scrap Book" between other articles bearing the dates of October 4 and October 26, it would seem to be of about the same date itself.
29. Ibid., p, 166.
30. Ibid., p. 178; Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, January 6, 1855.
31. "Webb Scap Books," v. I, p. 178.
32. Ibid., p. 182.
33. Boynton, C. B., and T. B. Mason, A Journey Through Kansas, pp. 160, 208.
34. Ibid., pp. 4-9, 139-141.
35. New York Tribune, October 30, 1854. The National Era, Washington D.C., December 14, 1854. Adv.
38. Cincinnati Gazette, December 23, 1854. Photostatic copy used.
37. Ibid., December 27, 1854. Photostatic copy used.
38. A Journey Through Kansas, pp. V-VI.
39. Ibid., pp. 1-2.
40. d.. 20-31.
41. d. 22.
42. Ibid., pp. 23-24.
43. Ibid., p. 32.
44. Ibid., pp. 31-32. The author's phrase, "five and six feet in diameter," seems somewhat exaggerated.
45. Ibid., p. 37.
46. Ibid., p. 44. The "intelligent gentleman" making this prophecy may have been Max Greene or some other member of the exploring party of the American Settlement Company of New York that chose Council City (now Burlingame) as the site of its first colony in Kansas,-Cf. Max Greene's The Kanzas Region, p, 109. 47. A Journey Through Kansas, p. 67. 48. Ibid., pp. 73-76.
49. Ibid., pp. 152-155.
50. Ibid., p. 142.
51. Council Grove was also called Big Spring.-Ibid., p. 43.
52. Ibid., pp. 98-99.
53. Correspondence from residents of Lawrence, printed in Northern and Eastern papers at this time indicated that one-fourth of the 9,000 city lots would be given to persons that would build upon them within a year.-S. F. Tappan, in The Atlas, Boston , November 1, 1854; E. D. Ladd in the Milwaukee Sentinel, November 4, 1854. Mrs. C. I. H. Nichols wrote November 2 to the Springfield Republican, November 18, 185-1 that "no person can have a city lot without binding himself not to deal in intoxicating drinks."
54. A Journey Through Kansas, pp 160-161. In the narrative of the commissioners' actual September journey, inserted in chapter XXII on November 16, the date of writing.
Mr. Boynton gave a fuller picture of Lawrence and used other figures, referred to before op. 98. At the time of the November writing there were 000 heads of families in Lawrence and nearly a thousand people all told. Here, as elsewhere, Mr. Boynton cited no sources.
55. [Ibid] ., p. 93. The opening paragraph of the chapter on "Town Sites and Settlements," written only a few days after the chapter itself, stated that "The New England settlement on the Waukereusa has since received some large accessions. . . A large colony, as is said, has selected Council Grove as its center, and some claims have been made in the vicinity of Fort Riley."
56. Ibid., p. 126.
57. Ibid., pp. 130-132.
58. Ibid., pp, 45-49, 86-90.
59. Ibid., pp, 46-49, 106, 114-117.
60. Ibid., p. 104.
61. Ibid., pp, 165-173.
62. Ibid., pp. 51, 108-109.
63. Ibid., pp. 108-112.
64. Ibid., pp, 51-53. 65. Ibid., pp. 91-92.
66. Ibid., p. 106.
67. Ibid., p. 105.
68. Ibid.
69. Ibid., pp. 106-107, 114-115.
70. Ibid., p. 112.
71. Ibid., pp. 133-134.
72. Ibid., p. 134.
73. Ibid., pp. 135-136.
74. Ibid., pp. 135-134.
75. Ibid., p. 136.
76. Ibid., p. 138.
77. Ibid., p. 139.
78. Ibid., pp. 138-141, 201-216.
79. Ibid., pp. 134-135.
80. Ibid., pp. 139-140.
81. Ibid., pp. 137-138, 200-201, 210-211.
82. Ibid., p. 140.
83. Ibid.
84. Ibid., p. 214.
85. Ibid., pp. 183-197.
86. Ibid., 192-194. Cf. Kanzas and Nebraska, by Edward Everett Hale (Phillips, Sampson & Company, 1854), pp, 70-71.
87. A Journey Through Kansas, p. 196.
88. Ibid., p. 214.
89. Ibid., p. 215.
90. Ibid., pp. 10-11.
91. Ibid., pp. 46, 78.
92. Ibid., p. 87.
93. Ibid., p. 165.
94. Ibid., p. 86.
95. Ibid., pp, 78-82.
96. Ibid., p. 181.
97. Ibid., p. 117.
98. Ibid., p. 119. C f. 91-96.
99. Ibid., pp, 89-91.
100. Ibid., p. 90. Cf. PP. 164-165
101. Ibid., pp. 40, 94. Frontispiece. Vide post., pp, 142-143. 102. Ibid., pp. 66-87, 158.
103. Ibid., p. 65.
104. Ibid., p. 3.
105. Ibid., p, 66.
106. Ibid., p, 59.
108. Ibid., p. 126.
109. Ibid., p. 128.
110. Legend accompanying map.
111. The New England settlement chose "Lawrence" as its name after Amos A. Lawrence, treasurer of the Emigrant Aid Company, October, 1854.
112. Vide ante, p. 141.
113. The Christian Press, December, 1854, p. 28. Photostatic copy used.
114. Vide ante, footnote 36.
115. Cincinnati Gazette, January 16, 1855. Photostatic copy used.
116. "Webb Scrap Books," v. II., p. 196.
117. Herald of Freedom, January 20, 1855.
118. Parts entitled "Scenery and Incidents" came from chapters VII and XI of the book, pp. 45-49 65-68; "Building Material," from chapter XI, pp 69-70; "Markets," from chapter XI, p. 74; and "Mines and Manufactures," from chapter XI, p. 75.
119. Vide ante, pp. 122-123.
120. Harper's Magazine, March, 1855, v. 1, p. 569.
121. Scribner's Dictionary of American Biography v. II, pp. 536-.537. This was published in 1929. George H. Genzmer was the writer of the Boynton sketch.
122. Mason, W. L., letter to Franklin G. Adams, September 6, 1893.
123. Boynton, Charles B., letter, from Pittsfield, Mass., to Amos A. Lawrence, March 14, 1857, in official correspondence of New England Emigrant Aid Company, archives of Kansas Historical Society.
124. Two of these copies are in the Kansas State Historical Library at Topeka. The third is in the Watson Library at the University of Kansas. Joseph Sabin, in in his Dictionary of Books Relating to America (N. Y., 1867), v. II, p. 384, does say, "A third edition has been published."
125. As editor of The Christian Press Mr. Boynton had kept up his anti-slavery interests. In the issue of December, 1854, he published an unsigned letter from a correspondent in Leavenworth urging non-residents of the territory to circularise the residents, the actual residents that is, with a tract upon the freedom of Kansas. The title suggested for the tract was "Shall Kansas be a Free or Slave State?" Protesting against the interference of Missourians along the border in territorial elections, the correspondent wished to make the 3,000 qualified residents and voters alive to the question themselves. His estimate of a population of 3 000 voters caries from the estimate of 10,000 settlers, in the September issue of the Press. Vide ante, p. 117.
126. In official correspondence of New England Emigrant Aid Company.
127. The letter of March 14, 1857, to Amos A. Lawrence also sought information about the colonization of Virginia as proposed by the New England Aid Company.