September 8, 1863, The
"The Border War Question"
There is serious trouble threatening upon the border, or, rather, the complication grows hourly more alarming. General Schofield has taken a position likely to involve the gravest consequences, unless the President promptly interferes by putting another and competent man in his place. It is our candid belief that a new commander, who would enjoy the respect and confidence of the people of Kansas and of his own troops, could reconcile all difficulty without a collision; but at the same time it is our equally settled belief that General Schofield, who enjoys the confidence of neither Kansians nor loyal Missourians, can do nothing to stay the conflict. So far as he has moved in the matter, his course has been calculated only to complicate and aggravate existing difficulties. He has proven himself to be a mere automaton in the hands of a set of pro-slavery and semi-disloyal Missouri politicians, who are moving him in opposition to the loyal sentiment of his department, and seeking to use him as a breakwater between rebels and the wrath of the loyalists of Kansas and Western Missouri, which, aroused by a thousand out rages, has at last been goaded to madness by the massacre at Lawrence. Such is the position occupied by General Schofield to-day. By his last order, and his telegram to Governor Hall, hereafter quoted, he has assumed the task of protecting Quantrill, his associates and sympathizers, from the punishment threatening them from Kansas That although his action is predicated upon another pretext (shielding the State of Missouri from invasion), is the effect. In the name of the State of Missouri he has become the bushwhackers' champion. The influences which have brought about this state of things are well understood. For several days before General Schofield took any public action in reference to these matters, the conservative or, more properly speaking, Copperhead press of this city was loud in denunciation of General Ewing's order for the cleaning out of the disloyal population of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon Counties, and demanded that the people of that district should be protected from the Kansians. This was indicative of the policy about to be pursued, for it has been quite noticeable that all of Schofield's leading orders have been preceded by a demand for them by the Copperhead press. In addition to this, it is known that Governor Hall has strongly urged the revocation of Ewing's order, having come to this city to confer with Schofield upon the subject. The ground taken by Hall and politicians of his school in reference to rebels is well known. Without, perhaps, fully sympathizing with their views, they seek to protect rebels and invite them into the State. The secret of the whole matter is, they want their votes. We have no doubt that Hall is largely responsible for the course Schofield has pursued, if not the author of his plan. Schofield's telegram shows that the two are acting in concert. The plan is for Schofield to supersede Ewing, as his superior officer, and thus silently ignore the latter's order, while the rebels of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon Counties are protected from the Kansians by Federal bayonets. Thus are the followers and sympathizers of Quantrill to be protected in consideration of the political support they are expected to give the Copperhead provisional government of Gamble, Hall & Co. The Federal authority in the hands of General Schofield is to be the shield thrown over them.
With regard to this thing of "invasion," we have a word to say. It is the favorite word with the Copperheads. General Schofield, in his dispatch to Governor Hall, lays particular stress upon it. That dispatch is as follows:
KANSAS CITY, Mo., September 4.
There will be no invasion of Missouri by the people of Kansas. The Governor and the people of Missouri may be perfectly at ease on that subject.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Whatever relief the assurance of General Schofield may afford Governor Hall and the rebels, the loyal people of Missouri were not particularly alarmed at the prospect of an invasion before. They knew well enough that, however the contemplated act of the people of Kansas in following the destroyers of Lawrence upon Missouri's soil might technically be regarded, no invasion, in the true sense of the term, was designed. No war upon the State, no attack upon its sovereignty, no act of hostility to the great body of its people was meant. War, they knew, was intended against a class of men who are Missourians, it is true- not because they are Missourians, nor because they are to be found upon Missouri's soil, but because they are criminals, and dangerous to the public peace, and who would be pursued just as eagerly if they were to be found in any other State. These men, too, they knew, although nominally Missourians, are just as much enemies of the State of Missouri as of Kansas. They are rebels--men who have forfeited the protection of their rightful government by making war upon it. If a man were to pursue a wolf which had destroyed his flocks upon his neighbor's premises, he would be a trespasser, unquestionably; but who would think of holding him responsible for a trespasser's crime? In this sense, precisely, have the people of Kansas contemplated becoming invaders of Missouri.
We do not justify the threats of Lane and his associates. They should ask the Government to punish the murderers of Lawrence, instead of taking vengeance into their own hands. If the Government refused, the case might be different. The circumstance which comes the nearest to their justification is the Government placing over this department a man like Schofield, to whose policy of friendship to the rebels the Lawrence affair is legitimately attributable, and permitting him to remain in office one hour after it happened. This latter act looks as if the Government were determined to justify Schofield's policy, and not allow Quantrill and his men to be punished, as we have no idea they will be if Schofield is left in command. But whether Lane and his associates have contemplated a justifiable act or not is not now the question. It is how to preserve order upon the border without letting guilty men go unpunished. This question is, to our minds, of easy solution. Let a man be placed in command in whose disposition and capacity to punish rebels in Missouri the men of Kansas will have confidence, for this is all the Kansians want, and we need have no further trouble about invasion. That man, however, is not General Schofield. Him the people of Kansas do not respect nor the rebels of Missouri fear. For him to go to the border now, looked upon as he is as the party really responsible for the blood of Lawrence, and to talk and threaten, as he has been doing, is, of all things, the most likely to inflame passion and provoke collision. If the President or any other official is responsible for sending him there at this time, we can scarcely regard him otherwise than as guilty of a crime. Nothing shows how utterly he misunderstands the position of things about him, and his duty with reference to them, than his bombastic, egotistical, and absurd telegram to Governor Hall, above quoted. "There will be no invasion of Missouri by the people of Kansas," says he, thus labeling the whole people of Kansas, as contemplating an act of the invasion, "the levying of war against Missouri, and intimating that he," J. M. Schofield, major-general, "is able to thrash the entire population of Kansas." The Governor and the people of Missouri may be perfectly at ease on that subject, he continues, just as if there existed a cause of war between "the people" of Kansas and "the people" of Missouri--just as if it needed some great man like himself to stand between them, and keep them from engaging in deadly conflict. No, General Schofield, there is no cause of quarrel between the people of Kansas and the people of Missouri. The loyal men of both States are living upon the best of terms, and there would not be the least danger of war between them if you and all other major-generals were in Guinea. The only conflict is between loyal men and traitors. The idea of a war between the people of the two States is only the dream of certain semi-rebel demagogues, who would seem to be your counselors. It is what they wish to bring about. Yet, notwithstanding the loyal men of Kansas and Missouri are upon the best terms, we look with most serious apprehensions to the border. As matters stand, we scarcely see how a collision is to be avoided. Lane and his men are evidently determined to assemble, and Schofield has declared they shall not cross the line. If there is anything which will induce them to attempt it, it is because General Schofield is the man who says they shall not do so, and because of his manner of saying it. Bloodshed will be solely attributable to his blundering. A prudent and sensible man in his place, we have no doubt, could allay all difficulty. If blood is shed, it will lie at the President's door. He has had sufficient warning before this time of the absolute necessity for a change of commander in this department. He was warned, before he appointed Schofield to the position he holds the second time, of the probable consequences, in words and from sources which ought to have commanded respect. He then refused to listen to language which has proved all but prophetic, because it "tormented" him. Whether he has learned anything about the condition of Missouri and Kansas from recent events remains to be seen. There is this one thing we would impress upon the loyal men of Missouri, if a conflict of arms should grow out of the border complications as it now stands, viz, that not being in any way responsible for its origin, they are under no obligation in any way to become participants. If our State authorities think they can engage the masses of the loyal men of Missouri in a struggle with their brethren of Kansas, for the sake of shielding bushwhackers and building up a conservative pro-slavery political party in Missouri, they are vastly deceived. We merely state a fact when we say that almost every Union man from the threatened district with whom we have conversed expresses the determination, if the fight comes, to be found on the side of Lane.
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