vention which should assemble on the fourth of July, and frame a constitution. This instrument was to be presented to the people for their adoption or rejection, in October. The act did not provide for taking the sense of the people upon the fundamental question, whether or not they would become a State. But they asked it and answered it, and in this way: In the election for members of the convention, party lines were not drawn. On one side, candidates favorable to State organization were nominated; on the other, candidates who were pledged to vote for an adjournment, sine die, as soon as the convention was organized, and before it proceeded to business. The result was, two-thirds of the members elected were favorable to adjourning, and they were elected by very large majorities. For instance in Douglas, one of the most populous and wealthy counties in the Territory, but forty-five votes were cast for State organization. No record of the election was preserved, but we believe the majority was proportionately as large elsewhere as in that county. Accordingly, when the convention assembled on the fourth of July, 1864, it organized by the election of its officers, and immediately thereupon adjourned, sine die.
   Springing the question. This emphatic expression of popular will, as was generally supposed, laid State organization at rest. At the general election in October, 1865, it was not even suggested. In its platform, adopted at a territorial convention, for nominating candidates for auditor and treasurer, the Republican party did not mention the subject. The Democrats in a very emphatic resolution, declared against any movement which did not provide for taking the popular vote on that subject, divested of all other issues, and before any step was taken towards framing a constitution. Had it been supposed possible that the territorial legislature would draft a constitution, many men who succeeded in obtaining an election to it, would have failed to receive so much as a nomination. For instance, in the delegation from Otoe county were O. P. Mason and J. B. Bennett of the Council, and J. H. Maxon of the House. These gentlemen, after the legislature assembled, showed themselves to be very ardent friends of the scheme for that body making a State of Nebraska. And yet their county rejected their constitution by a majority of over four hundred votes. So, too, the Cass delegation supported the measure, and their county gave a majority of three hundred and twenty-five against it. Not one of them could have been elected if they had been known to favor State organization.
   But after the election the plan was developed. It was proposed now, for the first time, that the legislature should resolve itself into a convention, draft a constitution, and organize a State government. Conscious that such action was an exercise of powers confided to that body neither by the law nor by the people, the attempt was made to obtain petitions numerously signed, praying the two houses to perform this extra service. These petitions were in large numbers sent out of the "executive office," into all parts of the Territory, accompanied by letters urging the parties receiving them to circulate them generally in their neighborhood, obtain signatures and return them. The measure was prosecuted with great energy. Nearly every citizen in the Territory was solicited to sign one of these petitions. With all these efforts only about six hundred names were obtained. The attempt to give the scheme the appearance of a popular movement was confessedly abortive, so that the petitions were never made an apology for the action of the legislature.
   The action of the legislature. At the opening of the session, a decided majority of the members of the House were opposed to the measure. Among the Republicans, many were determined in their opposition. All the federal officials, Governor Saunders, Chief justice Kellogg, Secretary Paddock, Indian Superintendent Taylor, and others, made a party question of it. It was given out that no man who opposed it could expect or should receive recognition in the party. Meeting after meeting was held and the matter urged by all the eloquence and sophistry possible, while private conversations were converted into appeals and private bargains. One by one was won over -- promises of office and of contracts and yet more tangible influences doing the work. Chief Justice Kellogg, Secretary Paddock, Mr. Mason and two or three others, now set themselves to draft the constitution which this legislature should adopt. In the calm and undisturbed retirement of private rooms, and under the protection, from interruption, of locks and keys, these gentlemen pursued their work. They produced an instrument suited to their purposes, which the legislature was to adopt at their discretion. Its chief merit was that it provided a cheap government. According to their estimates, its annual expenses would not exceed over twelve thousand dollars. Not a single State officer, except the judges, was to receive as much as a hod carrier's earnings. The people, it was insisted, were able to support a State government, but were not willing to pay their officers respectable soldiers' pay for their services. A respectable State gov-



ernment would, they argued, frighten the people and they would reject the constitution. A cheap government of cheap men answered the purpose designed, inasmuch as the senators in Congress are paid by the United States.
    On the fourth day of February, 1866, their constitution was introduced into the Council, accompanied by a joint resolution in these words:

    Resolved, By the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Nebraska, That the foregoing constitution be submitted to the qualified electors of the Territory, for their adoption or rejection, at an election hereby authorized to be held at the time and in the manner specified in the seventh (7th) section of the schedule of said constitution, and that the returns and canvass of the votes cast at said election be made as in said section prescribed.
   The constitution was not printed for the use of either house. No amendment was permitted to one of its provisions. A strenuous effort was made to obtain an amendment separating the election upon the adoption or rejection of this instrument from that for State officers, but the decisive answer was, candidates for office under the State organization will support the constitution. The effort therefore failed. On the 8th the resolution passed the House, and on the 9th was approved by the governor.

   In the contest proceedings in Cass county it had been stipulated that the testimony taken in the case of Cooper against Hanna should be used in the other senatorial contest and in the contest over seats in the house of representatives. It is said that by accident or oversight this stipulation was not placed on file, though it appears that it was at least verbally agreed to. It will be seen on reading the reports of the several committees of the legislature that they took advantage of this technical irregularity, and five of the six contested seats were awarded to the republicans, wholly without consideration of the facts. Probably nothing more, and certainly nothing less, should be said of this procedure than that its audacity was worthy of a better, while its shameless inequity and downright dishonesty would have disgraced even a worse cause.
   The four democratic candidates for membership in the house from Cass county were clearly entitled to seats, barring the technical irregularity on the part of the Rock Bluffs election officers, but against whom no fraud or intention of fraud was shown. By principle as well as by usual practice the house was in duty bound to disregard the technicalities and award the seats to those candidates who had the majority of the fairly cast votes. If the four democrats of Cass county had been seated in the house, on joint ballot for United States senators there would have been a democratic majority of one, at least; and according to the statement of a contemporary republican newspaper that three democrats contributed to the 29 votes for the republican candidates, the democrats would have had 28 votes and the republicans 22.
   Cass county had voted overwhelmingly against the state constitution, and this fact no doubt emboldened the members from that county to attempt to palliate the heinous Rock Bluffs offense and thus appease the righteous of a large majority of their constituents by agreeing to adjourn without action, and thus defeat the election of United States senators, which was the sole object of the session. But to the surprise of the other members of the delegation, on the roll call, Chapin and Maxwell smoothly failed to carry out their pledge. When the other members of the delegation discovered the trick they changed their vote and the republican plan was consummated.
   But due consideration of prevailing political conditions at this time would preclude the conclusion which has been generally reached, that if the votes of Rock Bluffs precinct had been counted the first two United States senators from Nebraska would have been democrats. It is rather to be presumed that if democratic senators had been chosen the admission of the territory into the Union would have been postponed till a more convenient political season.

   By this time the breach between the stalwart republican majority in Congress and Andrew Johnson was complete and beyond repair, and the republicans of Nebraska, in the main, followed the eastern leadership. In October, 1865, Edward B. Taylor, editor of the Omaha Republican, but also superintendent of Indian affairs, and who had given strong



Franklin Sweet


Farmer and banker, Dunbar, Nebraska



editorial support to Johnson's policy, retired from the editorship, and he was succeeded by General Harry H. Heath, who continued the pro-Johnson policy. On the 13th of April, 1866, the Republican announces that Saint A. D. Balcombe has bought a half interest in the paper and will be business manager; and in this number the political policy is changed and thenceforward it is the aggressive, thick-and-thin organ of the stalwarts as against Johnson. The Advertiser does not find it necessary to change editors, but as soon as the party tide goes against Johnson the editor unresistingly goes with it against Johnson, too.
   The process of fusion between Johnson republicans and democrats was formally completed in the summer of 1866, though its course was by no means smooth. In the early fall a Johnson club was formed at Dakota City, with Thomas L. Griffey, the well-known democrat, as president. A meeting to form a Johnson club was held at Omaha in July, at which Judge Kellogg presided and James G. Chapman was secretary; but, as a result of a wrangle over the articles or resolutions, the democratic leaders, including Poppleton, Miller, and Woolworth, withdrew, and only eight signed the articles of the club. George Francis Train and Judge William F. Lockwood were elected delegates to the Philadelphia fusion convention which undertook to organize the national union party. The democrats of the legislature had chosen Morton and Poppleton as delegates, and the Plattsmouth convention, September 11th, chose General Harry H. Heath, James R. Porter, and Colonel John Patrick. There were three sets of delegates at this convention, one headed by Morton, another by George Francis Train, and a third by Edward B. Taylor. Morton and General Harry H. Heath were appointed members of the executive committee of the new party. General Heath had succeeded Taylor as editor of the Republican and had held that post as lately as February, 1866. For some reason Taylor's loyalty to the office-dispensing power was futile, for on the 6th of the following November his removal from the office of superintendent of Indian affairs was announced, as also that of Colonel Robert W. Furnas from his office as agent of the Omaha Indians, Captain Lewis Lowry, "a copperhead," according to the Republican, succeeding him. The Republican complained that Tuxbury and Reed, "two of J. Sterling Morton's Vallandighammers, of the most violent kind," had been appointed as register and receiver of the land office at Nebraska City, the republican incumbents having been removed. But early in the next year the Senate rejected these appointments, as also that of Thomas W.

Franklin Sweet


Prominent in politics and early Nebraska history

Bedford as register of the land office at Brownville. Charles G. Dorsey was appointed register of the land office at Brownville by President Johnson in 1865. In November, 1866, the president appointed T. W. Bedford, who was a captain in the union army, in Dorsey's place. On the 8th of February the Senate refused to confirm the appointment, but Bedford obtained a writ of replevin from the district court and gained possession of the office and its contents. Public officers are often summarily ousted, but it is seldom that one is summarily injected into office as Captain Bedford was. The Nebraska City News, J. Sterling Morton editor, relates how it was done:

    Captain Thomas W. Bedford was duly in-



Franklin Sweet


Killed in action in the Philippines, April 23, 1899



augurated as register of the United States land office on Friday, February 15th, 1867. The interesting ceremony was efficiently conducted by Deputy U. S. Marshal Dwight. Mr. Dorsey retired with ineffable grace, and his valedictory, remarks are said to be quite moving. The predictions of the News, so far as Dorsey's exit was concerned, have been verified. When Andrew Johnson concludes to appoint land officers in Nebraska he seems to pay but little regard to the personal comfort or courage of Mr. Dorsey.
   A short time before this, Bedford attempted to gain possession of the books of his of-

Franklin Sweet


Pioneer Editor of Omaha

fice from the old incumbent by means of a writ of replevin issued by Henry C. Lett, the well-known democrat, and then mayor of Brownville. But the nerve of the deputy sheriff who undertook to serve the writ deserted him, and the scheme failed. After having been thrown out of the United States senatorship -- which he had fairly won -- by the "state" legislature at the first session in July, Morton proposed in the News the following course: "The questions for the Nebraska democracy to consider in relation to this matter are of vital importance. Shall we not put upon our tickets this next October election the words: 'For an enabling act and a constitutional convention. Against Thayer and Tipton. Repudiation of the Butler oligarchy'?"
   The "union" territorial convention was held at Brownville on the 6th of September, and Oliver P Mason was chosen president and Daniel H. Wheeler of Cass county and John T. Patterson of Richardson county secretaries. The principal candidates for nomination for member of Congress were Dwight J. McCann, Alvin Saunders, John Taffe, and Isham Reavis. Oliver P. Mason received twelve votes on the informal ballot, and his name was then withdrawn. On the fifth formal ballot John Taffe of Douglas county was nominated, receiving 33 votes against 32 cast for McCann. The committee on resolutions, consisting of John M. Thayer, Amos J. Harding, George Vandeventer, Ebenezer E. Cunningham, Hiram D. Hathaway, Leander Gerrard, John Taffe, Nathan S. Porter, and William W. Washburn, reported a platform consisting of the proposed 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States with the following, addition:

   Resolved, That loyalty shall direct and control the destinies of this nation.
   Resolved, That the soldiers of the union who have saved this nation from destruction by armed traitors, shall, in the future, as in the past, have our hearty co-operation and unfaltering support, and that we are deeply sensible to the fact that the people of this republic can never fully discharge the debt of gratitude which they owe to the union soldiers and sailors whose self-sacrificing patriotism and blood have preserved constitutional liberty upon this continent.

   Mr. Taffe in accepting the nomination declared that he was unswervingly opposed to the Johnson policy. Turner M. Marquett was nominated for delegate to Congress on the first ballot, receiving 39 votes against 25 for Oliver P. Mason and 1 for John Taffe. Mr. Marquett had been chosen member of Congress at the provisional state election held in

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