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[NOTE -- H. S. Kaley was an early legislator and lawyer, Red Cloud, Nebraska]



umns of the democratic press. A sample Mortonism from the News will suffice: "As Mr. Goodrich [democratic candidate for treasurer] has had no government contracts, owns no untaxable United States bonds, is not a distant relative of the man who killed Christ, and does not run a bank, we presume he is not as rich, though he may be quite as honest, as Mr. Kountze or any other moneylender of the Jewish persuasion in Nebraska." But in the reckless game of politics it did not matter that Mr. Kountze was, by profession, a Lutheran and a prominent member of the Lutheran church.
   Of the twenty-three counties voting at this election only six -- Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Otoe, Platte, and Sarpy -- were democratic, all of them but Platte of the older and border counties. Otoe remains the banner democratic, and Nemaha the banner republican county. The remarkable and persistent political differences between these two adjoining and border counties is explained by the fact that the dominating early settlers of Otoe were of the south and so of southern sympathy, which then involved democratic politics, while Nemaha was earlier dominated by northern men. This difference is further explained by a retort of the Advertiser to an assertion, attributed to Morton, in the News of June 8th, that "radicalism in Nemaha county has by its intolerance and bigotry, by fierce fanaticism and zealous hatred of democracy, driven one million dollars of Missouri capital out of the boundaries of Nemaha and into Otoe county." The reply quotes from the News of July 1, 1865, as follows: "The disfranchised citizens of Missouri will unquestionably seek new homes. The over-riding of honor and equity, and the entire lack of charity exhibited by the abolition rulers of the state having deprived them of all privileges of citizenship, they will take up their bed and go to some more hospitable region. We invite them to Nebraska." And then the Advertiser adds: "This invitation was not, and never will be endorsed by the union men of Nemaha county, and we have never heard a sound union man regret that the above invited class went to Otoe instead of this county." Five counties -- Cuming, Hall, Merrick, Pawnee, and Seward -- cast no democratic vote, while Lancaster with one hundred republican against eight democratic votes gave good earnest of her future political propensities.

    ELEVENTH LEGISLATURE. The eleventh legislative assembly convened January 4, 1866. The councilmen of the previous session held over with the exception of Bayne of Richardson county, who had removed from the territory, and George Faulkner was chosen in his place at a special election. There was a stout partisan contest over the choice of a president of the council. Porter of Douglas receiving 6 votes and Chapman of Cass 6. On the fourth day of the struggle and on the thirty-eighth ballot, the democrats and two republicans voted for Oliver P. Mason, who was already temporary president, and elected him permanent president. The democrats "accorded the presidency to Mason, and elected the remainder of the officers from their party." William E. Harvey, former auditor of the territory, was chosen chief clerk, receiving 11 votes against 1 for John S. Bowen. The house was composed of thirty-eight members.
   Gen. Harry H. Heath presented credentials from Kearney, Lincoln, and Saline counties, but a majority of a select committee appointed to examine them reported that he was ineligible, inasmuch as he held the office of brigadier-general of volunteers in the United States army, and the report was sustained by the house by a vote of 19 to 18. So the counties named were without representation at this session. James G. Megeath of Douglas county was elected speaker, receiving 25 votes against 9 cast for George B. Lake, also of Douglas county.
   George May of Cass county was elected chief clerk. The members of each house were nearly evenly divided politically, but the republican organ at the capital scolded at conditions which should have resulted in a democratic majority of one in each house while the "Union Republican party" was in a majority of at least 1,000 in the territory. The demo-



Franklin Sweet

[NOTE -- Charles H. Brown was a member of the constitutional convention, 1875, and prominent in early Nebraska politics.]



cratic organ said that the democrats had a majority of two in the house, and that they elected all the officers but one.
   The governor's message set forth the status of the Indian war as follows:

    It was hoped that with the close of the rebellion these troubles would cease; but this hope has proved groundless. Emboldened by success, the savage tribes who have committed these outrages upon the lives and property of emigrants, and upon the Overland Stage Line and Pacific Telegraph, have become exceedingly reckless and daring in their murderous forays; and outrages the most atrocious and wanton in their character are of frequent occurrence. Nothing will in my judgment give us peace upon the plains but the employment of the most vigorous measures to hunt out and severely punish the authors of these outrages. And I trust and believe, from the information in my possession, that it is the purpose of the general government, early in the coming spring, to send a force against them sufficient to compel them to sue for peace, or drive them from all the great lines of travel between the Missouri river and the Rocky mountains.

   It appears from the message that, exclusive of the militia bonds to the amount of $36,000, the indebtedness of the territory was now $53,967.80 -- less by $3,891.56 than that reported the year before. The governor congratulates the taxpayers on the fact that the resources to meet this indebtedness amount to $91,945.70, disregarding with naïve optimism the troublesome fact that a very large part of this handsome sum represents unavailable delinquent taxes. The governor reports that, under an arrangement made during the year with the trustees of the Iowa hospital for the insane, nine patients had been sent there from the territory; that, with the assistance of Benjamin E. B. Kennedy and George B. Lake, he had examined the work of Experience Estabrook in revising the laws by authority of the act of the last session of the legislature and that the revision faithfully complied with the requirements of the act. The message reported that fifty-five miles of the Union Pacific railway had been completed, that grading and bridging were finished as far as Columbus -- ninety-five miles:

    Upon the north, congress has provided for a branch from Sioux City, and to the south of us the same just and liberal policy has endowed two other branches with liberal donations, thus insuring their construction at an early day. One of these branches is the extension of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, now permanently located to run west from Plattsmouth to the 100th meridian; the other is the extension of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad from St. Joseph, in a northwesterly direction uniting with the main line (in the language of the bill,) at the 100th meridian "in the territory of Nebraska."
   The message urges the familiar arguments for state government. With the passion of the public men of that period for peroration, the governor closes his message with a highly colored congratulatory passage on the return of peace.
   Near the beginning of the session General Estabrook made a report on the manner in which he had done the work of revision, and afterward a joint committee, consisting of Kennedy, Allen, and Griffey, of the council, and Lake, Brown, Thorne, Crounse, and Cadman of the house, was appointed to further consider the revision. The careful work of General Estabrook brought the statutes for the first time into practical form. The legislature of 1866 made such amendments and additions to the revision of General Estabrook as were needed, and the result was embodied in the revised statutes of 1866. George Francis Train's Credit Foncier of America, an echo or counterpart of the famous Credit Mobilier, was incorporated at this session. John M. S. Williams, James H. Bowen, Augustus Kountze, George Francis Train, and George T. M. Davis, Train's father-in-law, were by the act appointed commissioners to organize the company, which was almost universal in its scope of business, but designed especially "to make advance of money and credit to railroad and other improvement companies." Under the provision for erecting cottages considerable building of that kind was done by the company at Omaha and Columbus.
   Statehood was the most important question considered at this session. Though party lines were not strictly drawn, the republicans generally favored, and the democrats opposed



Franklin Sweet

Franklin Sweet


[NOTE -- William Remington was the first sheriff of Saline county, Nebraska]



the proposed change to state government. The opposition was led on the outside by the two most prominent democratic leaders, J. Sterling Morton, then editor of the News, and Dr. George L. Miller, who had recently started the Omaha Herald, and in the legislature by Benjamin R. B. Kennedy of the council and the aggressive Charles H. Brown of the house. Mr. Brown formulated the democratic opposition in resolutions which he introduced in the house, and into the belly of which, Douglas -- like, he injected a stump speech:

    Whereas, certain official politicians have assiduously sought, through specious arguments, to create a sentiment in favor of, and induce the people to change their simple and economical form of government, which heretofore has been and now is a blessing, for one which will have many new, useless and burdensome offices, to be filled by persons ambitious to occupy places of profit and trust, even at the expense of the tax payers, and which will in its organization and operation necessarily be burdensome and ruinous to an extent which none can foresee, and consequently involving a taxation which will eat out the substance of the people; . . .
    And whereas, the people of this territory but a short time ago, with almost entire unanimity, expressed their unqualified disapproval and condemnation of any attempt to force on them the grinding taxation incident to, and schemes of politicians for, state government, and have not since then, by ballot or otherwise, expressed a wish for increased and increasing burdens and taxation;
    And whereas, personal interest and selfish considerations are strong inducements and powerful incentives for individual or combined action, and certain politicians have industriously sought again to force state government upon the people, and compel them again, at great expense and trouble, whether they wish or not, to consider that question, and through fraud and chicanery fasten this incubus upon them;
    And whereas, his excellency, Alvin Saunders, the chief executive federal officer of this territory, has with great consideration, after the rebuke given but a brief period ago by the people to political schemers for state organization, again, by plausible arguments, thrust in his annual message at this session, this repudiated question upon the legislative assembly for its action, and has sought in an unusual manner, to force a constitution no matter "by whatever body or by whomsoever made," upon the people of this territory, without giving them even the small privilege, to say nothing of their absolute and most unqualified right to select whomsoever they might see fit to comprise that body, through whose actions they might entrust so grave and vital a question as making a constitution;
    Therefore, be it resolved, as the sense of this House, that it is unwise to take any steps which will throw this question upon the people without their first having asked for its submission to them.

   The resolutions were indefinitely postponed by a vote of 20 to 14. A joint resolution submitting a constitution to the people passed the council by a vote of 7 to 6, Mason, the president, giving the casting vote. The vote did not follow party lines, though only two democrats, Griffey of Dakota and Porter of Douglas, voted aye. The resolution passed the house, 22 to 16, the four democrats from Douglas county and four of the five members from Otoe county voting nay. It is curious that a motion in the house to strike out of the proposed constitution the restriction of the suffrage to whites received only two affirmative votes, while 36 were cast against it.

   The constitution was not prepared by a committee of the legislature or other legally authorized persons, but was the voluntary work of the politicians who were bent on statehood. Chief Justice William Kellogg was styled "our amiable constitution maker"; and Isaac S. Hascall, in a speech in the senate, February 20, 1867, said that the constitution was framed by nine members of the legislature, five of them democrats, and Judge William A. Little, Judge William Kellogg, Hadley D. Johnson, Governor Alvin Saunders, General Experience Estabrook, and others of Omaha. The Herald says that "the constitution was founded by three or four men who locked themselves up in their rooms to do their work." The Press of Nebraska City called it Kellogg and Mason's constitution and stoutly protested against the white restriction. While this

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