Letter/IconHE democratic convention was held at Nebraska City, April 19th. T. W. Bedford was its presiding officer, and J. Sterling Morton was nominated for governor; Charles W. Sturges of Sarpy county, for secretary of state; Guy C. Barnum of Platte county, for auditor; St. John Goodrich of Douglas county, for treasurer; William A. Little of Douglas county, for chief justice; Edward W. Thomas of Nemaha county and Benjamin E. B. Kennedy of Douglas county, for associate justices of the supreme court; and Dr. John R. Brooke of Richardson county, for representative in Congress.
   The convention adopted the following platform:

    Whereas, We regard the support of the state governments in all their rights as the most competent administration of our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-democratical tendencies; the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad. Therefore,
Resolved, That a jealous care of the right of election by the people; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our just debts; the sacred preservation of the public faith; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of the person under protection of the habeas corpus; and trials by juries impartially selected are the fundamental doctrines and tenets of the democracy.
   Resolved, That the official action of Andrew Johnson, president of the United States, in his legitimate endeavors to restore, under the Constitution, the several states to their legal status in the American union, elicits and receives the full, free and honest commendation of the democracy of Nebraska, and that we promise him our faithful and active support in all his efforts to sustain the constitution and laws.
   Resolved, That we regard the platform adopted by the radical official convention held at Plattsmouth on the 12th inst., as a direct and explicit condemnation of the wise and just policies of President Johnson; a clear declaration in favor of the destructive policies of the Stevens, Sumner and Fred Douglas directory; and that we hereby do invite the people of Nebraska to unite with the democracy and aid in verifying the historic saying of Andrew Johnson that "This is and shall be a government of white men and for white men."
   Morton was credited, or charged, with the construction of the platform; and after the republican press had heaped the matter-of-course partisan strictures and ridicule upon it, he took malicious pleasure in retorting that the preamble and first resolution were copied verbatim from the immortal Jefferson's first inaugural address. The absence of allusion to the statehood issue shows that Morton had been willing to compromise as to that question with the pro-state element of the party; and in the campaign his opposition to statehood was not aggressive.
   George Francis Train, who had a long career of remarkable vicissitude, was a picturesque figure in this campaign. Though his speeches were not characterized by coherency, they were wonderfully bright, droll, witty, sarcastic, and humorous, and the contrast between his performance and that of the weighty and ponderous Oliver P. Mason, who followed him in a discussion at Brownville, is concededly indescribable. Train -- and the audi-



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Pioneer of Otoe County



ences also -- had immeasurable fun at the expense of Butler and Kennard, whom he engaged in joint discussion at Cuming City and Tekamah. Train strongly advocated statehood, but supported the democratic ticket. The joint discussion was the regular order in those earlier campaigns, and Morton and Butler engaged in them all over the territory. Morton entered into a fray of this sort with all the bright alertness which characterized his public speeches to the last, but with a rough-shod vehemence that had been greatly modified in his later days. His part of the discussion is described from the opposition point of view: "Morton out-spoke himself -- for vehemence, argument, wit and sarcasm, outstripped everything I have ever heard in Nebraska." Butler was no mean popular debater, and in reaching the sensibilities of the plain people had the advantage over Morton. His favorite exclamation, "I thank God from my heart of hearts," etc., was at least a partial foil to the merciless cut-and-thrust of his greatly superior antagonist -- in ability and wit. But again Morton, by cruel fate and more cruel manipulation of the returns, just missed his prize, as the official count of the vote shows: "For the constitution 3,938; against the constitution, 3,838. For congress Turner M. Marquett, 4,110, Dr. John R. Brooke, 3,974; for governor, David Butler, 4,093, J. Sterling Morton, 3,984; for secretary of state, Thomas P. Kennard, 4,075, Charles W. Sturges, 3,945; for auditor of state, John Gillespie, 4,071, Guy C. Barnum, 3,968; for State treasurer, Augustus Kountze, 4,099, Saint John Goodrich, 3,955; for chief justice, Oliver P. Mason, 3,936, William A. Little, 4,040; for associate justices, George B. Lake, 4,108, Lorenzo Crounse, 4,027, Benjamin I,. B. Kennedy, 3,962, Edward W. Thomas, 4,017. It will be seen that one democrat, Little, was elected by a majority of 104. The vote of the First regiment, Nebraska volunteer cavalry, was 134 for and 32 against constitution.
   There was a wholesale emigration of the soldiers of the First Nebraska regiment to their homes in Iowa, Missouri, and other states after having voted in Cass and other counties. They voted for Stone in Iowa the year before, and "never pretended to be citizens here."
   Mason was the only candidate on the "union" ticket who was defeated, though Crounse escaped only by the narrow margin of ten votes. While the apology for Mason's misfortune may have been colored by the propitiatory exigency of his party organ, it yet throws an interesting light on two prominent politicians of that day:

    Mason is a tried and true union man; he has encountered the enemy in many instances during the recent rebellion where it was considered dangerous to openly denounce treason; where traitors stood thick around him, threatening him with violence for his plainness of speech. And it was on this account more than any other that the terrible effort was made to defeat him for chief justice, and also that Mr. Little, the most popular democrat in the territory became his competitor.

   The vigor with which the "loyal" shibboleth was sounded in the campaign of 1866 is illustrated by the charge that Dr. Brooke, of Salem, democratic candidate for member of Congress, lamented that his son enlisted in the union instead of the rebel army. The substantial ground of opposition to statehood was the dread of the still impecunious people of foregoing the paternal appropriations of the federal Congress for the support of the territorial government and undertaking the formidable responsibility of self-support under the increased expense of state government. This principal objection that a population of only 40,000, and in straitened circumstances, could not bear the burdens of state government was both strong and effective; but the objectors could not then see into the very near future when the advent of the two pioneer railway systems was to mark the real beginning of immigration, and such rapid rise of the commonwealth in population and importance as should require the advantages and deserve the dignity of statehood.
   The chief stimulus to the opposition of democratic leaders was tactical. In the beginning of the campaign the Nebraska Statesman, which supported the democratic ticket



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[NOTE -- J. W. Gilbert was one of the organizers of Saline county, Nebraska, and member of the legislature.]



but favored statehood, urged this view of the case.
   We know we have the evidence to prove what we say, (and if we have not, Hon J. S. Morton has the best of proof in his own pocket), that the reason of the opposition of leading men in our party to the state movement is wholly and solely due to the fear they have that the democratic party has not the strength to elect a majority of the state legislature at the June election. We know that far from really believing anything irregular in the plan of a legislative made and submitted constitution that these leading men did advise, and that nearly if not all of the democratic members of the last assembly would have voted for, the constitution, then and there, if the vote on the adoption of the instrument had been separated from the election for state officers, carrying the latter over to the October election, so that the party could have been put into good training for success at that time. Any democrat who is candid, who was about Omaha during the last days of the session, knows these facts and will reiterate them.

   While the republicans could urge with candor the advantages of the increased prestige and influence of statehood -- and particularly the value of having three representatives in Congress entitled to vote, touching still unsettled questions concerning the Union Pacific railway -- yet their chief object was the honors and emoluments of congressional membership. It was estimated that, "counting from Hitchcock up, and from Marquett down, any ordinary observer can count at least forty persons who aspire to senatorial and still higher honors." In the spring of 1866 the Herald listed among the aspirants to the senate, Kellogg, Saunders, Redick, Thayer, Paddock, and Tipton; and, factionally classed, "Kellogg is for Johnson, Paddock leaning that way, Saunders against, Thayer, Redick and Tipton not well placed, Butler on both sides, and Edward B. Taylor, ring-master or big Indian,"

    The same journal called the faction which was defeated in the first senatorial contest the Taylor-Saunders-Irish party, and Judge Elmer S. Dundy, so far as his innate wariness permitted him to disclose his attitude, hung on the outer edges of this faction.
   The Herald at this time also refers to John I. Redick as a renegade democrat, now so radical that "he would eat the tails of African rats and thrive on the diet."
   To men whose lives were pent up in the desert-like aloofness from the important world those ambassadorships to Washington must have seemed dazzling prizes indeed, and they awoke the covetous ambition of the unfit and unworthy as well as of the capable, strong, and worthy.

    The disgraceful record of elections and election contests in the territory finds a fitting climax in the exclusion of the vote of Rock Bluffs, a precinct of Cass county. But there was still so limited a public, and, in consequence, such paucity of public opinion, that the selfish aspirations of a comparatively few politicians were paramount and almost unrestrained; so that, when it was ascertained that manipulation of local election returns somewhere was necessary to insure a republican majority on joint ballot in the legislature, Rock Bluffs precinct was selected as the most promising field of operation. The reports of the committees of the two houses of the legislature give the history of the Rock Bluffs procedure, and the deep impression of its political and moral significance on the mind and conscience of the commonwealth is still uneffaced. Its immediate practical result was the choice of Crounse instead of Thomas as judge of the supreme court and the election of Thayer and Tipton as United States senators, instead of Morton and Poppleton, by a joint vote in the legislature of 21 to 29.
   The discerning reader will without much difficulty draw his own conclusions as to the animus and the right or the wrong of throwing out of the vote of Rock Bluffs precinct and of counting the soldier vote, from the reports of the committees of the first state legislature and the address to the public, written at the time by James M. Woolworth, and signed by twenty-one members of the legislature. The following is a verbatim copy of the address as published in pamphlet form:

   On the 19th of April, 1864, Congress passed an act authorizing the people of Nebraska to form a State government. The act provided for an election in May, of members of a con-

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