Articles in database from Freemen's Champion: 22
Volume 1, Number 1. Published every Thursday at Prairie City, Kanzas, by S. S. Prouty. Terms of subscription, one copy one year $2.00, 15 copies one year $20.00.
After such vexations and disappointments as none but Kanzas publishers have ever experienced, the Champion now appears before the public - an humble and unpretending sheet. At the dawning of a new paper, it is generally the custom for its editor to define his position and arrange his programme accordingly. In this particular we shall deviate from the usual course. What we intend to do, or will do, we don't know. On one point only can we speak with a firm reliance: we shall be uncompromising, unflinching, bold and fearless in aiding to secure the triumph of Freedom over tyranny in our Territory and shall labor assiduously for the Free State party. To work in the best manner to promote the interest of our sacred cause will be the point the Champion will aim at. If in our opinion the admission of Kanzas into the Union as a Free State will be the more speedily attained by cooperating with the Democratic party, then we are with them; or if we deem it best to stand aloof from all parties and go it independently on our own hook, then we shall pursue that course. In the strict sense of the word, the Champion will be independent - holding onto one position or changing and re-changing it just so long or so often as it is deemed expedient. For the present we see fit to be guided by the dictations of the Topeka conventions. We consider their position the true one - a wide and laudable one. That the salvation of our cause depe4nds upon its friends uniting heart and hand in carrying out their policy we firmly believe. These are our convictions now - they have been for the last three months. Until some modus operandi can be hit upon which will the more speedily effect the accomplishment of our purpose, we shall use our efforts to unite the Free State people on the Topeka platform. Justifying our name - Freemen's Champion - we design to be a warrior in vindicating the rights of freemen. We hope to be always found on the side of freedom and an ardent friend of the oppressed and the downtrodden - a relentless foe of the tyrant, the demagogue and the doughface traitor. With these few remarks for our "preface," we launch our little sheet out into the world to meet with the successes or reverses of fortune.
Acknowledgement - We are under obligations to the ladies of Prairie City for our office building! On our return from the States with the printing materials, it was found that the building we had purchased for our office could not be vacated by its present occupants for several weeks; so the ladies, ever ready to render assistance in a good cause, assembled together and constructed for us a large and commodious tent, which we now occupy, and which we find to serve every purpose. During the war times, the services of the ladies were invaluable in running bullets, making cartridges, nursing the maimed and sick, giving words of cheer &c; and now that they are unable to exhibit the characteristics of their nature in that line, they are still disposed to make the rougher sex indebted to them by their favors and courtesies. Ladies, we thank you.
The Kansas Leader is the title of a new paper published by Austin & Beardsly, hailing from Centropolis, the second number of which is before us. The Leader is a handsome sheet....
The Lawrence Republican. No paper comes to this office which we value more highly than this. It is the largest paper published in the Territory, and in our opinion is the most ably edited. It takes a firm and decided stand in the cause of freedom, and is none of your wish-a-washy, milk-and-water conservatives....Published by Norman Allen at $2 per annum.
We have to beg the indulgence of our patrons this week for our tardy appearance and the imperfect print of the first side of our paper. Our ink roller was too delicate to endure the extremely hot weather of late, and so it "caved." Through a series of misfortunes we have at last been enabled to cast a new one and we shall use every exertion to bring our paper up to time next week.
The second number of the Kansas News, published at Emporia by our friend P. B. Plumb, is before us. Plumb gets up a handsome paper as well as a very readable one. He is assisted in the editorial department by R. J. Hinton, correspondent of the Boston Traveller, who is a ready and able writer. The News is a Free State paper of the right stripe and will do good service in our cause.
A. W. King, editor of the Key City Commercial, published at Weston, Mo., and formerly publisher of the Border Ruffian at Westport, Mo., has lately published a card in his paper showing up the gallant leader of the "chivalric sons of the sunny South" in the conflict at Blackjack, in rather an unenviable light. Mr. King knows Mr. Pate. We publish a portion of his card:... "Pate, the pitiful, spittle-licking tool of a band of robbers, thought that he could trample upon me with impunity - steal my money and call it financeering - abuse me and call it smart, funny and witty. For which I pronounce him a thief, a liar and a coward, and will now give a sketch of his brilliant career and place him for burial by his dear friends (Ossawatomie Brown and others) in a coffin surrounded by sweet-smelling skunkweed and assafoedata and decorated with dogfunnel and mullen stalks, as a reward for his great achievements. Two or three years ago, one H. Clay Pate went to Westport, a briefless, pennyless, five-cent lawyer, and after trying to practice law, and failing, he hired himself to the St. Louis Republican as its Blood and Thunder Kanzas correspondent, in which capacity he assisted materially in making Kanzas an Abolition Free State. The reports that Pate had edited an Abolition paper in Chillicothe, Ohio, and made Free-soil speeches in Ohio and Indiana followed him - they have never been disproven....Finding his fortunes waning, he raised a large sum of money from the South to canvass Virginia for Kansas. He went to Virginia, canvassed the state, received large sums of money and brought TWO men to Kansas. None of the money has every been accounted for....When the Kansas war broke out, Pate raised a company in Westport to invade Kanzas. He rode out of town with all the pomp and circumstance of war, and returned looking like a chicken after a hard rain, and should immediately have been covered with glory, tar and feathers. But no, he had money and was safe. He led his men to Black Jack Point, selected a suitable position to have them all murdered, and after many of them had been wounded, some crippled for life, him and old Brown had a private talk and he ingloriously surrendered his brave men to the old murderer, knowing at the time that he was dooming a portion of them to certain death, but the brave fellows, scorning the treachery of their leaders and bidding defiance to their foes, broke through the ranks and escaped....His men all say that there was but one coward at Black Jack and that was Hull C. Pate. Long many he wear his bloodless laurels. When he returned to Westport, I done everything in my power to shield him from disgrace, not dreaming that I was warming into life a viper that would sting me....."
We have received a copy of the Freemen's Champion, a weekly paper published in Prairie City, Kanzas, by S. S. Prouty, formerly of this village. The sheet before us presents a very fair typographical appearance....We were acquainted with Mr. Prouty in the days of his apprenticeship.... - Baldwinsville (N.Y.) Gazette.
"Freemen's Champion. We have called our readers' attention to this paper several times because we are acquainted with the publisher and know him to be just such a man as is worthy of support....Aurora has sent many settlers to Prairie City...and there are many ties between that place and this. So let us see a goodly number of Champions coming to this post office. Frank Reynolds is the Aurora agent for the Freemen's Champion, $2 per annum." - Republican Union.
"The Prairie City Champion is the title of a spirited Free State paper just started at Prairie City, one of the towns sacked by the army of the valiant (?) Gen. Reid of Missouri last summer...."
"Freemen's Champion....Our old friend, S. S. Prouty, after devious wanderings up and down the world, has 'located' in Kanzas and issues a spirited and interesting little paper with the above title." - Lacon (Ill.) Gazette.
**Dr. Gihon, the private secretary of ex-Governor Geary, gives the following truthful and graphic picture of the world-renowned Border Ruffian. Every citizen of Kanzas will attest to its accuracy.
"...Active preparations for war were discernible at all the river towns. At Lexington, a large crowd was assembled on the levee, many of the persons comprising it loaded with arms. But at Kanzas City the war-like demonstrations were still greater. This town is on the southern side of the mouth of the Kanzas river, which, at this point, separates Missouri from the Territory of Kansas. It is situated about five miles from Westport, near the eastern boundary of Kanzas, where the Missouri army was concentrating preparatory to the invasion of the Territory. Both of these towns have become notorious as places of refuge for the most desperate characters, whose almost nameless crimes have blackened the annals of Kanzas, and as being the resorts of numerous combinations which have there congregated to plot against its peace - in a word, they are the strongholds of the worst of the 'Border Ruffians'."...
**The Border Ruffians are at their old games again. A short time since, Gen. Lane was prevented from speaking in Atchison and the Ruffians of that town have declared that neither "Lane nor any other d------d abolitionist" should speak there. A report is current here that the Squatter Sovereign office has been destroyed and thrown into the Missouri, and also that the Kanzas Free State office at Delaware City has been threatened with destruction. Are the Free State men of Kanzas, numbering, as we profess, nine-tenths of the population of the Territory, going to submit to such outrages any longer? Are the rights of free speech, free thought and free action to be still ruthlessly trampled upon by ignorant and besotted brutes? Is the administration going to continue looking upon such proceedings and give them sanctioning winks? (S. S. Prouty)
There are five newspapers published in Douglas County, Kansas - the Herald of Freedom and Lawrence Republican at Lawrence; Freemen's Champion at Prairie City; and the National Democrat and Lecompton Union at Lecompton.
Well, here we are before you again, kind and indulgent patrons. When we last appeared before you, we stated that, owing to the destruction of our printing tent by the wind, you would be deprived of our company for a short season - and the time we had allotted for the next visit, one month, has extended to three months. It is not an unfrequent occurrence that Kanzas businessmen, and more especially Kanzas publishers, fall a trifle short in some of their calculations....Hereafter, so long as we are welcomed in your society, you can safely rely upon our being a constant weekly visitor. We are now printed in a good, new, comfortable stone building; have plenty of paper and ink on hand; have a fat list of subscribers; flattering amount of advertising patronage, and are in a good trim and "right smart" flow of spirits generally.... (S. S. Prouty)
No. 9 of the Southern Kansas Herald, published at Osawatomie by Chas. E. Griffith, is on our table. It is printed on a sheet one size larger than the Champion, and bears evidence of being a well conducted Free State journal....
R. J. Hinton, one of the editors of the Kanzas News, was assaulted at Lawrence one day last week by J. K. Goodin, state auditor-elect under the bastard. It was occasioned by an editorial appearing in the News reflecting on the conduct of some of the bastard's officers. Mr. Hinton has instituted legal proceedings against his assailant in Justice Ladd's court....
We have received the prospectus of The Central Courier, a paper to be published at Emporia by W. G. Holden.
**"The Flight of a Traitor. The notorious scoundrel, Robert S. Kelly, who it will be remembered acquired an unenviable reputation by his participation in the lynching of the Rev. Pardee Butler, and as the 'Fighting Editor' of the Squatter Sovereign made his exit from this place on last Sunday evening, fearing the wrath of a people excited by repeated outrageous wrongs. Kelly once expressed a wish that someday he might 'wade thro d-----d abolitionists' blood up to his stirrups.' His wish has ended in his having to wade through the Missouri river to escape the vengeance of these same d------d abolitionists." - Crusader of Freedom.
T. Dwight Thacher, editor of the Lawrence Republican; J. M. Walden, editor of the Quindaro Chindowan; P. B. Plumb, editor of the Kanzas News; and W. W. Ross, editor of the Kanzas Tribune, have been elected delegates to the Constitutional Convention. They are all radical, solid, true and able Free State men - opposed to the Minneola swindle - and will wield a powerful influence in the right direction.
Oh, hum! No paper! Well, we have tried most deucedly hard to obtain some in the Territory, but our efforts have been unavailing. You see, for the past three or four weeks we have been working an edition of nearly double our usual one, which has drawn on our stock of paper more seriously than we had anticipated, and now we are left "high and dry." So the Champion has got to stop until a supply can reach us from St. Louis. Good bye! A short absence of two or three weeks will make us the more warmly welcomed when we meet you again! Rump de dump te doddy. O!
The last number of the Champion prior to this one was dated April 8th. Owing to the non-arrival of our stock of paper this brief suspension was caused. We have a good supply on hand now and expect to sail uninterruptedly hereafter. Our subscribers lose nothing by these little stoppages. Fifty numbers constitute a volume....
It affords us pleasure to state to the friends of the Champion that the pecuniary embarrassments which we have been contending against for some time past are now removed and the Champion now stands for the first time since its appearance on a firm and permanent footing and may now be regarded as a fixed "institution."
We were aware, before we ever consented to hazard the experiment of publishing a newspaper in a town of four houses and less than 30 inhabitants, that we were incurring such risk as no other person, acquainted with the business of newspaper publishing, would dare venture into, and nothing but our love of adventure, proffers of ample pecuniary assistance, and an ardent desire to see Prairie City rank among the first towns of Kanzas ever impelled us to engage in the foolhardy enterprise.
We knew that ten times the amount of capital necessary to liberally sustain a local press invested in any other improvement or enterprise in the town would not be so beneficial to its interests as a newspaper; and being one of the stockholders of Prairie City and consequently pecuniarily interested in its growth, it behooved us to direct our energies and talents and, if necessary, make temporary sacrifices towards enhancing her prospects. That we have labored ardently, earnestly, enthusiastically and hopefully, and that our efforts have been crowned with unlooked for success, we leave to our Prairie City friends to determine.
As we have intimated, when we first commenced the Champion, there were but four little insignificant log houses in town; lots were valueless, as they were donated away by the half dozens and dozens to secure improvements; adjacent to us were rival towns with better natural and pecuniary advantages; two-thirds of our stockholders and nearly all of the farming community surrounding despaired of ever making a town here, and hooted and scoffed at the efforts of its sanguine friends to do anything towards improving and regarded them as a set of crazy fanatics.
The dawning of the Champion was the inauguration of a new era. The ready word of encouragement it always had for those engaging in business and hazarding in town improvements inspired its friends with confidence and since that time the town has increased in size, population, wealth, business and influence to a degree astonishing to everybody acquainted with its history. Lots that were a burden to the association and which were donated to afford relief, are now valued at from $50 to $150, and are steadily increasing, and everybody interested in town, with the solitary exception of ourself, is getting rich. This flattering and agreeable state of things has been produced largely at our expense, we claim - hear what the Herald of Freedom says about the value of a newspaper: "There is not a man in the country who does not know that a newspaper is the making of a town. Places which would never have been known five miles away, but for a newspaper, under its influence acquires a reputation and increases in prosperity until it takes its place among the first towns in the country. Property is advanced ten-fold in value by such newspaper, while if it was stricken from existence real state would immediately depreciate in value...."
...Now the publishing of the Champion has thus far been decidedly a losing business. For several months past, the expenses of the office have been paid from sources outside of it. This state of things is easily accounted for. The prices of labor, stock and everything connected with the business in Kanzas is at least one-third higher than in the States, and the receipts of an office owing to the comparatively sparsely settled condition of the county is two-thirds less. In all settled countries, it is estimated and generally calculated that the newspapers will just barely clear expenses, the hopes of remuneration expected from advertising and job work. Here the receipts from job work are comparatively nothing.
But our expectations have been more than realized. Our little sheet has increased in circulation until now we print a weekly edition of six hundred, and still on the increase. The tightness of the money market has affected us seriously; many people dealing with us failing to remunerate. There are the names of upwards of two hundred persons on our books who owe us little bills from $2 to $15. Were all, even a part, of those bills paid, our cause would be bettered materially.
One serious obstacle we have had to contend against is the want of confidence that many people who have subscribed for the paper have manifested in the enterprise and therefore refused to pay their subscriptions in advance, considering it a risky business to invest two dollars in. Now this is wrong. We are the one who are making the risk. Remember that when you refuse to risk two dollars we are risking as many hundreds. Were you all to pay us in advance, we would have the means to pursue our business, and no risks would be incurred on either side. We do hope those persons who owe us for subscription will pay us promptly and relieve us from all future embarrassments.....(S. S. Prouty)
...We were highly gratified to again meet at Topeka our old friends and staunch co-laborers in the good cause. Thacher of the Lawrence Republican, Walden of the Quindaro Chindowan, Plumb of the Emporia News, Elliott of the Delaware Free State, and our plucky contemporary of the Prairie City Champion, S. S. Prouty. Also our recently acquired and highly esteemed ally, J. C. Vaughn, late of the Chicago Tribune and now of Leavenworth (may his shadow never grow less). The genial phiz of Ed Russell of the Elwood Advertiser was also conspicuous among the brethren. Mr. Martin of the Atchison Champion, Mr. Thompson of the Geary City Era, and the editor of the new German paper at Sumner were also not unwelcome visitors on the occasion. May we and they live to enjoy many more such gatherings of the 'faithful'.
Newspaper Changes. "Hard times" are telling severely on the Kansas press. We are sorry to see the name of our able contemporary, T. D. Thacher, removed from the head of the editorial columns of the Lawrence Republican. The press loses much by this withdrawal and the cause of freedom the pen of a man whose warmest impulses throbbed in her behalf....We believe that business pressure was the cause of the change. The paper is now conducted by Norman Allen. The Crusader of Freedom, James Redpath's paper, has fallen under the terrible disease known as "want of funds." In its place, however, we have the first number of the Free Press, published by Lenhart & Welch, and edited by R. St. Clair Graham. Charlie Lenhart, the bravest and boldest boy who ever trod on the prairies, is, we believe, the senior of the above firm....
War Again! We have no time nor space to enter into details at present. War has commenced again in real earnest. The Missouri Ruffians, chagrined and maddened at the grand failures which attended their efforts of old, are now wreaking characteristic and cowardly satisfaction from innocent and defenseless Free State people on the border. Murder and rapine is the order of the day in Lykins, Lynn and Bourbon counties. A company of 150 Missourians under command of Brockett scoured Lykins county last week, and on Tuesday last 200 more left Westport to join them. The Free State squatters from every direction are rushing to arms and soon, if the invaders can be met, a conflict may be expected. All we have to say to our Free State friends, who are acting purely on the defensive, is this: spare no quarter to the ruffians from Missouri! Every prisoner you take, string them up on the first available limb! It is about getting to be a crime to forbear any longer from Missouri outrages. (S. S. Prouty)
Newspaporial. The Crusader of Freedom started out a seven-column sheet, made a terrible ado about what it was going to do, and in less than five weeks from the appearance of the first number it jumped down to one-half that size (four columns smaller than the Champion), which size it retained until its defunction about a month later. The Kanzas Free State at Delaware City was an eight-column paper. It lived only three months. During the past year no less than three seven-column newspapers - Register, Citizen, and Democratic Argus - have been ushered into existence, breathed a little while and died at Wyandott City, a town claiming fifteen hundred inhabitants. Two papers of a size larger than the Champion have lived and died at Atchison during the last six months. The Kansas Leader, a seven-column paper published at Centropolis, has, after experiencing a sickly existence of about one year, at last "kicked the bucket," it is said. We would not be surprised to learn that its proprietors had "bled" to the amount of five hundred dollars. All of these papers were ably conducted journals, and most of them were worthy of a better fate. Had not their publishers been possessed of the same spirit that pervaded the heart of the ambitious frog, they undoubtedly would be living now. Their failings consisted in their efforts to compete with older papers published in leading Kanzas towns. They seemingly could not comprehend the difference between a comparatively uninhabited prairie and a city in their respective bearings towards the support of a newspaper. They did not seem to consider that in towns like Lawrence, Leavenworth and Topeka the receipts for advertising and job work, which is emphatically the life and soul of the publishing business in Kanzas, would reach twenty-five dollars where they would one in such towns as Centropolis, Prairie City, Delaware, &c....There is not a newspaper published in Kansas that is, of itself, a paying institution. Every one (Lawrence Republican and Topeka Tribune perhaps excepted) that has not been substantially bolstered up by pecuniary assistance from outside sources, has been compelled to "go under," and the occasion of this state of things may be attributed more than to any other cause to the efforts of their publishers in overdoing the thing. We hope hereafter to hear no more complaints about the size of the Champion. It is larger now than the community can well support. Towns in the States at least six times as large as Prairie City have papers published in them smaller than the Champion, and even in Doniphan, a town boasting of one thousand inhabitants, their paper, the Free Press, is one-third smaller than the Champion. Osawatomie, with a population tripling ours, has a paper of the Champion size....We have no disposition to reduce the size of the Champion. On the contrary, we are looking the other way. As soon as the times and business will warrant it, we intend to enlarge our sheet....(S. S. Prouty)
We are ashamed of it. Of what? Why, of the typographical appearance of this number of the Champion. The print is imperfect, occasioned by the muddy condition of our ink, which is some we scraped up in the basement of the Herald of Freedom office. It was the best we could do, and our thanks are due to G.W. Brown even for that. We shall have some better in a week or two.
Our namesake of Atchison, Freedom's Champion, comes to us this week in a new dress, heading and greatly enlarged form. It is now one of the neatest sheets in Kansas, as well as one of the best edited. Its new engraved heading is very fine. We are glad to see such a sterling Free State paper flourishing. The editor, John A. Martin, is, we believe, the youngest of the profession in Kanzas, but no one would imagine it to read his terse and vigorous articles....
The Minneola Statesman. This is the title of a new paper just started at Minneola, which supersedes the Kanzas Leader. It is of the same size of the late Leader, and starts off very well for the first number. O. A. Bassett, member of the Territorial Legislature and a talented and able man, is its editor, and we doubt not he will get up a good, live, readable Free State paper.
O. A. Bassett of the Minneola Statesman has placed us under obligations to him for the loan of some printers ink. Were it not for his courtesy, this number of the Champion would not have been issued until the latter part of the week.
Personal. It has been reported to me that a rumor is going the rounds that Perry Fuller of Minneola informed some of the citizens of Prairie City that I applied to him last winter for stock in Minneola and that I promised to remain quiet about the "Minneola Swindle" would he acquiesce with my request, but that he refused, and therefore incurred my hatred of the Minneola Association and the subsequent warfare of the Champion against the body. I was inclined to laugh at this silly affair at first...but as the report has of late been used and circulated by some designing persons greatly to my detriment, justice to myself compels me to nail the lie. I therefore most respectfully call upon Mr. Fuller, as an act of justice to himself and me, to clear up this matter. I will cheerfully make room for a communication from him in the columns of the Champion. S. S. Prouty.
J. M. Walden has retired from the Quindaro Chindowan. We regret this. Mr. Walden is one of the ablest and best writers in Kanzas, and under his management the Chindowan has held a prominent and popular position among the Kanzas press.
Kansas City Daily Western Journal of Commerce. We are pleased to acknowledge the receipt of this excellent daily, which is the largest, handsomest and best conducted daily paper published west of St. Louis.
The Grasshopper....This is a handsome sheet, of a size smaller than ours, published at Grasshopper Falls by J. L. Codey, and edited with a good deal of spirit and ability. It will take the Republican wing of the division about to occur in the Free State party, and will be an able advocate.
Our estimable friend P. B. Plumb of the Emporia News honored us with a call this morning. From him we learned that he has recently taken a partner in the publishing business - Mr. Stotler of Emporia.
No paper will be issued next week, and possibly none during the week following. The publisher is compelled to be absent on business connected with the office.
Paper Mills. There are in the United States 750 paper mills in actual operation, having 3,000 engines, and producing in the year 259,000,000 pounds of paper, which is worth say ten per pound, or $27,000,000. To produce this quantity of paper over 400,000,000 pounds of rags are necessary. The value of these rags, estimating them at four cents per pound, is over $16,000,000.