Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual State Council,
Held at Lincoln, May 23-24,1921
MONDAY, MAY 23
7:30 P. M.--Meeting of Resolutions Committee. First session of Financial Secretaries Association.
TUESDAY, MAY 24
10:00 A. M.--Solemn High Mass.
1:00 P. M.--Luncheon, Chamber of Commerce.
2:00 P. M.--First Session of Convention.
2:00 P. M.--Second Session of Financial Secretaries.
4:00 P. M.--Drive through city for delegates and ladies.
8:00 P. M.--Informal carnival ball for delegates and ladies.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25
9:00 A. M.--Solemn Requiem Mass for deceased members.
10:30 A. M.--Second Session of Convention.
12:00 M.--Recess for luncheon.
1:30 P. M.--Closing Session of Convention.
6:30 P. M.--Banquet, Hon. James A. Flaherty, Supreme Knight, guest of honor.
Wm. J. McNichols, Lexington
Mons. L. A. Dunphy, Sutton
Mark Burke, Columbus
James F. Burke, Sutton
John H. Barry, Wahoo
W. H. Laughlin, Grand Island
Delegates to Supreme Council
Wm. J. McNichols, Lexington
Dr. Frank H. Morrow, Columbus
|Past State Deputy||
George F. Corcoran, York
R. B. Dougherty, Kearney
J. H. O'Malley, Greeley
J. T. Webster, St. Paul
P. A. Tomek, David City
E. L. Kudrua, Wahoo
Dr. E. G. Zimmerer, Lincoln
Parnell Golden, O'Neill
Hugh Boyle, Norfolk
W. F. Kloke, Norfolk
J. J. Helms, Hastings
W. J. Bagann, McCook
J. H. Pieper, Albion
O. E. Dugan, Chadron
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|District No. 1||
Francis P. Matthews, Omaha
|District No. 2||
J. P. Golden, O'Neill
|District No. 3||
John J. Bogan, Lincoln
|District No. 4||
Dr. Frank H. Morrow, Columbus
|District No. 5||
James L. McIntosh, Sidney
|District No. 6||
Wm. M. Whelan, Hastings
|District No. 7||
|District No. 8||
John H. O'Malley, Greeley
|District No. 9||
J. Howard Heine, Fremont
District No. 1 Francis P. Matthews, Omaha
District No. 2 J. P. Golden, O'Neill
District No. 3 John J. Bogan, Lincoln
District No. 4 Dr. Frank H. Morrow, Columbus
District No. 5 James L. McIntosh, Sidney
District No. 6 Wm. M. Whelan, Hastings
District No. 7
District No. 8 John H. O'Malley, Greeley
District No. 9 J. Howard Heine, Fremont
Proceedings of the Convention
State Convention called to order by Past State Deputy George F. Corcoran, who then read the following telegram:
"San Diego, Cal., May 23.
"Mark Burke, State Secretary, K. of C.
"Knights of Columbus Club Rooms, Lincoln, Neb.
"Sorry accident to boy prevented me leaving in time for convention. Mailed report, should be there now. Past State Deputy or yourself open convention and proceed as if nothing happened. Cordial greetings to all and very best wishes for success of convention. See my report and letter.
"Edward H. Whalen."
The Worthy Past State Deputy then instructed the Warden, W. H. Laughlin, to proceed with the taking of the pass-word, his report being favorable.
Opening prayer was offered by State Chaplain Mons. L. A. Dunphy.
The State Secretary then read the following letter from Worthy State Deputy Edward H. Whelan:
"2813 Imperial Ave., San Diego, Cal., May 20, 1921.
"Presiding Officer, State Council, Knights of Columbus, "In Convention, Lincoln, Neb.
"Dear Sir and Brother:--Just as I was ready to leave for Lincoln, my thirteen-year-old boy, Francis, met with a painful accident yesterday morning, and I cannot tell until tomorrow, at least, whether it would be right for me to leave at all. The accident may not amount to anything, but the doctor says there is some slight danger of blood poisoning. As we are among entire strangers here, I do not like to leave the family under the circumstances. But if the signs are right, I will leave tomorrow night and arrive in Lincoln Tuesday. That would be the best I could do.
"I am enclosing my report, which please read or have read to the convention, and kindly explain to the delegates why I am detaained (sic).
"I am sure Judge Corcoran will be present to open the convention and proceed with the order of business, so that my absence will not delay matters in any way. I am taking it for granted that he will preside, as, without taking the time to look it up, I am pretty sure that is the intent of the law.
"Furthermore, if I cannot return to the state immediately, I will promptly turn over to the new State Deputy all the functions of the
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Office as soon as I am advised of his election, so that the work may he taken up progressively without further delay. With best wishes,
"E. H. WHELAN."
"P. S.--We have received messages of greetings from New York. Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and California State Councils. The New York State Council is in session at Rochester the 24th and 25th."
On motion of Brother F. P. Matthews of Omaha that a committee of three be appointed to send a suitable message of sympathy to Brother Edward H. Whelan, the following committee was appointed: F. P. Matthews, Omaha; H. E. Coyne, O'Neill, and Mark Burke, Columbus.
Report of State Deputy
The report of the State Deputy being the next in regular order of business, the State Secretary was instructed to and did read the following report of the Worthy State Deputy, Edward H. Whelan: Brothers of the State Council:
I regret that uncontrolled circumstances occasioned my absence from the state during the greater part of the year, and I wish to thank the membership, especially the officers--Grand Knights and District Deputies--for the activity, progress and loyalty which they have displayed during this absence. In extenuation of my own negligence I can only say that at the time of my reelection I had no idea that the best part of my term would be spent in sunny California, and that if I had so known I should certainly not have accepted the re-election. However, It is well ordained that no one man is necessary to the success of any society, least of all to such a progressive, active, intelligent and loyal body as the Nebraska Knights of Columbus.
In spite of the depressing industrial situation, the order as a whole has achieved splendid numerical progress. On April 1, 1921, it had a membership of 730,202, showing a gain of nearly 100,000 since the corresponding date in 1920.
Nebraska is one of the states that suffered most by the economic reversal, yet here, in spite of numerous transfers and lapses, the membership shows a net gain of some 600, our total membership on April 1, 1921, having been 11,124; and the gaining process is still going on with the institution of new councils and the initiation of new classes in the established councils. From my observation of other states I can say that no jurisdiction presents a healthier condition of Knighthood than our own state of Nebraska.
You will remember that a year ago at Norfolk, Father Flannagan came before you with a request for your support for his home for boys, and you responded suitably and properly. But the rseponse (sic) that you made when he, with his representative boys, came personally into your parishes, was generous beyond all expectation. It is much to your credit and to the credit of all Catholics of Nebraska that the performance far excelled the promise. A repetition of the request this year will undoubtedly evoke a similarly generous response.
Regarding the sum of $4,160 war funds which you donated outright to Father Flannagan's Home, I suppose I ought to tell you that we were casually criticized by one of the Supreme Officers for making this transfer, as it was contended that the sum should have been paid
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into the National War Fund. Anyhow, they let it pass, and if they are satisfied, manifestly we are also. The money could not have been applied to a beter (sic) cause, and my only regret is that the sum was not ten times greater.
Among the meritorious activities of Nebraska Knighthood must be included the courageous effort of Grand Knight Frank J. Kain of Creighton, unanimously supported by the entire membership of Count Creighton Council, to enlist the Supreme Officers in behalf of suffering Ireland. The correspondence on this question has been printed and circulated by the Creighton Council, and it shows upon its face that this council, in the interchange of letters and arguments with the Supreme Advocate, had decidedly the best of the controversy. And it bore fruit, for no sooner had the last letter of Brother Kain been received at headquarters, than telegrams from the Supreme Knight were despatched all over the country calling upon the state officers to enter vigorously into the campaign for Irish relief, In my opinion, the thanks of this State Council should be expressed and recorded toward Brother Kain and his council for their determined and successful efforts on behalf of the heroic victims of the most heartless and damnable militarism that has ever yet cursed the earth.
The eloquent resolution adopted by the last Supreme Council in New York City has often been referred to with pride. This resolution was written and its passage advocated in a masterful speech by the brilliant Joseph Scott of Los Angeles, lately Knighted by the Holy Father. But Nebraska Knights, at least, ought to he informed that your Nebraska delegation drove the opening wedge for the passage of a resolution of this advanced character, after the matter had been considered closed with the brief and colorless paragraph read by Brother Gallagher of Massachussetts (sic). We were afterwards informed that a more positive stand might hurt the feelings of the numerous Canadian delegates, and of some of our own who were bound in various ways to the Washington administration of that time. Among these was Mr. Gallagher, himself, Chairman of the Committee on Good of the Order, to which the Irish question had been referred. We, however, objected to the weakness of the paragraph offered and, indeed, already passed, and the Irish matter supposedly disposed of. We offered a hastily prepared and strongly worded amendment in which, I remember, was a clause requesting the President of the United States to express, diplomatically, to the British Ambassador, this nation's disapproval of the massacre which, from my knowledge of the Irish situation, I could see was just about to begin. And we know now that it did begin and has been continued with increasing brutality to the present moment. On the preceding Saturday I had the privilege of talking with President De Valera, it being the occasion of the sailing of Archbishop Mannix, and he informed me of the holocaust of destruction that England was just then preparing.
However, the Nebraska amendment, being offered from the floor, could not be considered without unanimous consent, and this was denied. But in the discussion it came out that a letter on the subject had just been received from De Valera, and the final result was, that by leaving the Canadian delegates out of the voting, and through the brilliant logic of Joseph Scott, on the following morning a more manly resolution was adopted.
You will remember that our last State Council instructed its dele-
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gates to the Supreme Council to present the name of our Honorable Past State Deputy as a candidate for the Board of Directors. We carried out your instructions faithfully and vigorously, in the face of rather discouraging odds, for upon our arrival in New York (and the writer was there five days before the convention opened) we were informed that the slate was already full. Our candidate was unfortunate in not having received the O. K. of those whom the majority in such conventions are accustomed to support. To save space in this report I will explain to you orally what was done. Nevertheless, in obedience to your instructions, we presented his name, and although in a touching speech Judge Corcoran pleaded to have his name withdrawn from the balloting, a step to which the balance of the delegation objected, he received a most flattering vote, and paved the way for more favorable action in the future.
On the general activities of the order, I have a very good printed circular from the Supreme Officers, parts of which could well have been copied into this report. As the circular is rather lengthy, however, I will place it on file here so that every delegate may have access to it. Parts of it I will quote and discuss.
It informs us that the total receipts to date from the war fund amount to over 42 millions, of which over 33 millions have been spent, leaving a balance of over 9 millions of dollars in the war fund. This sum, we are told, has been "dedicated and set aside for the extension of our educational facilities and hospital work for ex-service men." The Knights of Columbus schools are undoubtedly doing a splendid work. It was my privilege to teach for a month In the San Diego school during the past winter. The schools are being conducted upon a broad and American basis, without any mention being made or preference given on account of religion, or the lack of it. Sometimes, and I believe quite frequently, the principals and male teachers are not either Knights of Columbus or Catholics. The principal of the San Diego school, Mr. W. J. Stanton, is a fourteenth degree Mason. So no complaint that this order is using its surplus war fund for proselyting (sic) purposes can be sustained, at any rate.
Regarding the nine million dollars still remaining in the fund, I presume, from the premises, that some of you are quite as well pleased as if the five millions offered to another organization to erect a war memorial at Washington had been accepted. You understand, of course, that this offer was not made by the Supreme Council, nor did the convention have any idea that it was about to be made. The offer was made by the Board of Directors. This board, as you know, has been made the real governing body and executive of the order. The Supreme Council is the legislative body, although many of the laws proposed in the Supreme Council are referred to this Board. The Supreme Council, or national convention, as we call it, is, therefore, an assembly of somewhat limited powers.
The circular of the Supreme Secretary explains at some length the campaign which this order is financing against Bolshevism under all its names. The order, has a very able staff of lecturers, Peter W. Collins, David Goldstein, Dr. James J. Walsh and D. Conde B. Pallen, some of whom have been heard in this state. I have never had the privilege of hearing any of these gentlemen, but there can be no question about the scholarship of Drs. Walsh and Pallen. One of the statements of the Supreme Secretary in this connection is 'noteworthy.
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Speaking of the questions asked the speakers, he says: "The bulk of them were based on a prejudice that organized religion was the foil and support of predatory wealth." Personally, I can testify to the existence of this prejudice among the workers. I have encountered it upon various occasions. It can be felt in labor meetings, and in the public parks and squares of the larger cities, and wherever a group of workingmen get together. The sentiment is spread in various ways, even by radical songs, of which the following refrain is typical:
"Work and pray, live on hay;
You'll get pie in the sky
When you die."
The Catholic Church is and always has been the church of the poor. As Catholics we cannot consistently be opposed to the rights of labor. The committee of American bishops, whose report was adopted by the Supreme Council at Buffalo in 1919, favors the giving to every mechanic an interest in the business he works in, and ownership of the tools he works with. This ownership was the rule in the old days of the Guilds, before the Reformation. Labor never had a more sincere friend than the late Pope Leo XIII, nor has it a stouter defender than Dr. John A. Ryan of the Catholic University of Washington.
The Catholic Church in Ireland, which is without doubt the most unadulterated and vigorous body of Catholics In the world, has for fifty years been aligned on the side of labor and small property. The best friends of Ireland in the British Isles are the labor parties of Great Britain. If labor were in power in England today, Ireland would be free, as it should be. For the Irish struggle is not only a fight for political freedom, but even more a fight against land monopoly and economic oppression. It began as a land league, and as a land and industrial league it goes on to victory. De Valera, Griffith, Plunket and their colleagues are not a mere band of poetic patriots; quite the contrary, they are a group of economic philosophers; and they have the sympathy of every progressive thinker in the world. Why --if you will pardon me for mentioning it here --even The Appeal to Reason is an enthusiastic supporter of the cause of the Irish Republic.
Now the Catholics of England do not take these views of economic or industrial questions at all. In so far as they are English, they are generally Tories and on the opposite side to the Irish upon almost every question that arises. And wealthy Catholics in all European countries are generally aligned upon the conservative side. Being a good Catholic is by no means a criterion of a man's politics. It determines only his morals.
These things are mentioned because the Supreme Secretary says that we have constituted ourselves Defenders of Property; but he does not say whether he means small property or big property. Our enemies might easily persuade a workingman or small property owner that the Knights of Columbus had gone into the ring to champion the cause of Big Property and Big Business. This, I am sure, would in no case be true; yet it is an understanding that might easily spread, considering the exasperated attitude of labor towards religion in general, as shown by the Supreme Secretary.
Of course, in an agricultural state, like our own, it is not matter of grave importance what the workingman may think about us.
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Our chief interest in the labor question is somehow to reduce the prices of the things we have to buy. But the United States as a whole is fast becoming more of a manufacturing than an agricultural nation. Fifty-two per centum of our population already live in cities, and the drift from the farm to the city is increasing daily. Therefore, we ought to go slow about bringing down upon the Church, at least, the odium of the city worker. If I were to make a guess as to the economic ideal of the Universal Church, it would not be Big Property; owned or controlled by the comparatively few, but small property, owned by the teeming millions of those who work it and work with it, whether it be land or town lots, or dray wagons, or tools in the hands of the artisan. The millions of small property owners are the real defense of this country against Bolshevism, which is really only a bogy in this country. There is an appalling volume of crime in the land, by far the worst in history. It is the result of the war, and of the fact that four millions of unemployed walked the streets of our cities during the past winter; and of the further fact that our millions of police officers who ought to have been enforcing the law against real crime, have been too busy smelling breaths and nosing out private stocks of liquor. But there is no more danger from Bolshevism in America today than there was in the days of the anarchist riots in Chicago, some forty years ago.
Yet there is surely rising in this country a wave of constitutional reform, not a revolution but an evolution, which without robbery or confiscation, is going to force the monopolist to let go of his surplus, give the worker a material interest in his work, and (as has already been done in New Zealand) compel a resale of the surplus and speculatively-owned lands of the country to small farmers upon long time payments. This, and not Russian Bolshevism, will be the net result of the present widespread agitation, and it will be a beneficial one, and thoroughly Catholic in principle. The more agitation we have the sooner it will be brought about, and the sooner the better. It would be as useless for us to stop this rising wave as the proverbial old woman who tried to stop the tide with a pitchfork. We should be the guides, not the opponents, of this reform. Hence, to use the words of Brother McGinley's circular, our campaign should in truth be a constructive one. And to show more clearly what our purpose is, we should not talk altogether about the rights of property, when even at this very moment, to my own knowledge, there are bread-lines in our large cities, charity lodging-houses for the unemployed and thousands of women and children actually hungry in this land of plenty In the closing days of this beautiful month of May. If we talk at all, we should talk occasionally about the rights of men; and lay this walking ghost of Bolshevism by killing the germs of brutal competition and arbitrary monopoly of industry that produce it. For, after all, it is men, men with immortal souls, and not property or wealth, that constitute the visible body of the Church; and also of the Knights of Columbus.
Another notable feature of this circular is the appeal of our illustrious Supreme Knight, which I take pleasure in reading to you. (Read beginning on page 4, at the word "Note.")
Note--Please state that the Supreme Knight has especially requested that the following be read:
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"Through your State Deputy may your Supreme Knight say a word!
"First of all. Greeting! Then, most cordial wishes for the coming year!
"The increase of the past year. while most gratifying, is not without its dangers. I have sometimes wondered when seeing the very large classes going in, whether our law regarding investigation was being strictly observed. This is no foolish law. The young man admitted may cause infinite trouble in the future. We are not a reformatory. We want only ideal Catholic gentlemen. In taking in these numbers of new men let us be ever careful that our carelessness may not torture us in the future. Again, why are the three degrees so often given within a few days? What need of this great rush? The Board of Directors has forbidden conferring the third degree to classes of over seventy-five except by special permission; fifty is large enough, really. If men will not wait are they particularly desirable? Will they stick when it is all over? Under the law, only one degree at a meeting can be given unless by written consent of the District Deputy, and no Sunday degrees, except by application to the District Deputy and approval by the State Deputy (Section 244). What good reason can be advanced for hastening these degrees? Why not a month or two between the first and second degree, and twice that time between the second and third degree? It will try our men's loyalty--it will test their worthiness, and by reducing the numbers at any one degree the lessons can be brought home in a more effective way. 'Haste makes waste,' or as the old Latin puts it, 'Let us hurry up slowly.' We want only good Catholic men. We want them to have the full benefit of our unexcelled ceremonial. We want it to have a personal application to every man, not men in numbers and in classes, but to men as individuals.
"The initiation fee ought to be saved for a rainy day and not to be used by the council in ordinary activities. The council should be supported from monthly dues. With these frequent classes, councils will have a fine opportunity to create a fund for the future. I am informed that one of the largest societies in this country has a minimum initiation fee of $25.00. Its members are from all walks of life just as ours. In these days when men are clamoring to get in, prices of everything so high, is it not wise to set an initiation fee of at least $25.00? Men working beside ours in the shop and in the office are paying this amount for the society I have referred to. It may take a little longer to gather this amount but it means more in the end. It also means more for those who are already members. Then again with the increased cost of everything with the enlarged membership of most councils, and with the absolute necessity of activity by the councils giving members something more than one hour of parliamentary meeting twice a month, would it not be wise to raise the Council dues to $12.00 a year, $1.00 a month? If your council is alive and purposes to do things, the ordinary initiation fee and council dues must be raised.
"Please, Brothers, do not misunderstand these words of warning. They arise chiefly from the fact that I am more than ever impressed with our tremendous responsibility, and if any word of mine can serve as a caution against dangers or as a help towards further success it becomes my duty to speak. With our nearly 800,000 members
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let us march on, worthy, resolute, fearless and always in an orderly way."
I heartily endorse what Brother Flaherty says regarding the necessity of careful selection of candidates, and the unwisdom of trying to handle large classes which is forbidden by order of the Board of Directors. As to long delays between degrees, I am afraid that in a state of such magnificent distances as ours, that is hardly practicable except in the large cities.
As to the suggestion that the monthly dues be increased to the amount he mentions, I am afraid that this would be inadvisable under present conditions. It would be inadvisable and even unfair at any time to increase the council dues of insurance members; for they entered the order and took out insurance for the protection of their families under a certain contract; and we should do nothing to impair the obligations of this contract. To a man of large income a few dollars a year, more or less, are a matter of indifference, but our order is fortunately composed of men from all walks of life, and some of the older members may not be even as prosperous now as when they joined the order. We should take no step that would or might result in squeezing out a single worthy member, and depriving his family of needed protection. That would be unknightly, unbrotherly, uncharitable, and, of course, un-Catholic; and I am reasonably sure it will not be done in Nebraska.
Of the great and varied activities of the order as a whole only words of praise and highest commendation can be spoken, and we are unequivocally proud of our membership in this great patriotic American organization. We have confidence in the ability and loyalty of our Supreme officers, and unreservedly approve their thoroughly competent administration of the affairs of the order throughout the great crises of the war and reconstruction.
The councils of the order are everywhere up and doing, and we have a wonderful future before us, as we have a great past behind, If we keep clear of entangling alliances, avoid pernicious tendencies, and steer that golden middle course which both the Attic Philosopher and Holy Mother Church declare to be the path of Virtue, as it surely is the path of wisdom.
During my eighteen years of knighthood in Nebraska, I have seen the order here grow from a single council to its present commanding proportions; and I know that the true purpose and spirit of knighthood is nowhere better grasped nor understood than in Nebraska. It is because of this faith that I have been frank in discussing certain matters.
I thank you again, and your constituents, for most hearty support and co-operation during the two years of my administration of this office; and it is with a heart full of gratitude that I now bid you farewell.
E. H. WHELAN,
Voted that the report of the Worthy State Deputy be accepted as read and made a part of the printed proceedings of this convention.
The Worthy Past State Deputy then announced the appointment of the following convention committees:
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Credentials--Chairman, J. Howard Heine, Fremont; M. P. Rooney, Chadron; E. A. Harshman, Sidney; C. J. Thielen, Humphrey, and P. H. Mullen of Friend.
Audit--Chairman, P. A. Tomek of David City; Joseph P. Ryan, Creighton; J. C. Tighe, Madison.
Mileage and Per Capita--Chairman, J. T. Webster, St. Paul; W. J. Donoghue of Albion; C. J. Reilly, Beatrice.
Resolutions--The committee on resolutions had been appointed previous to the meeting of the State Council, as follows: Chairman, John H. O'Malley, Greeley; John H. Hopkins, Omaha; H. E. Coyne, O'Neill; B. G. Zimmerer, Lincoln; F. H. Morrow, Columbus.
At this time the Acting State Deputy announced that Mrs. E. W. Nash of Omaha wished to address the meeting.
Voted that an invitation be extended to Mrs. Nash to address the convention on Wednesday morning, May 25, at 10 a. m.
Adjourned at 4:10 p. m.
Second Day of Convention
Reconvened at 10 a. m.
Brother W. H. Laughlin, State Warden, announced Mrs. B. W. Nash was in the waiting room.
Brother Laughlin was requested to advise Mrs. Nash that the convention would be glad to hear her right away.
Mrs. Nash was ushered in accompanied by W. J. Coad and Past State Deputy Thomas P. Redmond. Brother Redmond introduced Mrs. Nash to the convention.
Mrs. Nash then made a grand appeal to the convention in behalf of the Father Flanagan Boys' Home, stating that it is not only for the purpose of taking care of our own, but for the purpose of giving opportunity to the boys of any creed or color to secure an education and a home.
Brothers Coad and Redmond also addressed the convention in behalf of the Home.
State Warden W. H. Laughlin performed his duty by taking the pass-word.
Opening prayer was offered by the Worthy State Chaplain, Mons. L. A. Dunphy of Sutton.
Report of State Officers
The next item in the regular order of business being the report of the State Secretary.
Brother Boyle made a motion that reading of the report of the State Secretary be dispensed with.
Brother Zimmerer moved to amend the motion, and that the reading of the reports of the State Secretary, State Treasurer, State Chaplain, and District Deputies be dispensed with and that they be accepted and made a part of the published proceedings of the convention. So ordered.
Voted that the proceedings of the convention be published within thirty days.
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