August 28, 1863, Saint
Rich'd C. Vaughan to U. S. Attorney-General Edward Bates
SAINT Louis, August 28, 1863.
Hon. EDWARD BATES,
Attorney-General United States:
MY DEAR SIR: I regret extremely the necessity which compels me to write you at this time, but the sad condition of the western counties of our State prompts me to do so, and I certainly know of no one to whom Missourians can appeal with a greater certainty of being favorably listened to. At the earnest request of many of our citizens, who fear that the recent outrages in Kansas would be visited upon our own section of the State, I came down to see General Schofield and to ascertain, if possible, what policy he proposed to adopt. I find, on conversing with him, that he is greatly excited, and seems entirely disposed to offer no obstruction to the contemplated invasion of our State by the people of Kansas; indeed, he expressed a wish that such might be the case.
Now, sir, at the same time that no one would strive harder or risk more to bring those lawless murderers to justice than I would, I cannot see the propriety of adopting a policy which is to involve the innocent and the guilty in common ruin, and General Schofield's duty, under the circumstances, is rather to throw himself into the breach, and to withstand the wild popular excitement of the moment, than, yielding to its influence, to add a thousand-fold to the miseries under which the country is already suffering. I can well imagine how General Schofield, situated as he is, would be reluctant to pursue any course which would bring down upon him the increased displeasure of the radical party in Missouri; but it is not the less his duty, and as the military commander of the department he ought to discharge his duty regardless of consequences. It is a fact well known to me that hundreds of the people of Jackson and Cass Counties are true and loyal men; they have already been robbed of their property, insulted, and in many instances murdered by these troops from Kansas. The policy pursued has caused hundreds of good men to leave their homes and fly to the bushes for protection, while others have actually joined the guerrillas as a measure of safety, believing that they would be less liable to danger there than at their homes. These are generally men of little intelligence, who do not take consequences into consideration, and are not prompted by a very high order of patriotism; they act from motives of present interest, and for the temporary safety of their persons have been induced to commit a great crime against their country. Others, I regret to say, who in the beginning were disloyal, have, under the various proclamations of the President and the Governor, returned to their homes, and, after doing so, have been ruthlessly shot and hung by the soldiery. The good faith of the Government has been broken in so many cases that the people have become reluctant to return, believing that it would be violated toward them. The Government is not to blame for this, but the officers in command are, for failing to punish their soldiers for such acts of faithlessness and brutality. Our population, loyal as well as disloyal, are unarmed, by order of the military authorities of the State, and in that helpless condition, I understand General Schofield to say, that it will meet his approbation for them to be invaded by the people of Kansas--not by an organized force but an irresponsible mob, already excited and enraged, and who, even before the commission of these outrages by Quantrill, were ready at all times to seize on any pretext which would justify the pillage of our State and the indiscriminate murder of our citizens. The absence of the Governor and Lieutenant. Governor is at this time a misfortune; they might successfully and with propriety appeal to General Schofield to act differently from what he proposes to do. Mr. Glover, in whose assistance and advice I have at all times relied with confidence, is also absent and sick in the northern part of the State. I have conversed with Colonel Broadhead, and find him fully coinciding with me in the policy which, in my opinion, should be adopted, and which I humbly beg to suggest. The great mistake was annexing a part of our State to the Military District of Kansas, and the next great error was in placing a Kansas politician in command of it. We want there not a politician, but a soldier, a man who has no purpose to subserve and no popularity to gain, by permitting one State to be robbed to enrich the people of another, and who would rigidly and fearlessly discharge his duties. A firm, just policy is what will give peace to the country, and nothing else will.
I have no motive other than the good of our State and people. I desire to see the country at peace once more, and peace can and will follow a judicious administration upon the border. Inclosed is a memorial addressed to the President, which I have been requested to forward to you, begging that you will present it. Mr. Henderson is in Washington, and would, I have no doubt, co-operate with you in any way you might wish.
I am, sir, most faithfully, your friend,
RICH'D C. VAUGHAN.
visits since 02/04/2004
page revised 05/25/2006