Letter/IconHE CALL for the session of the legislature for providing the legal machinery necessary for operating the state organization covered thirty-one subjects of legislation, though the last was a catch-all of doubtful validity. The first fourteen specifications proposed revision or amendment of existing statutes. The eighth proposed "to abolish the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity" by supplying the omission of the last territorial revision. The eighteenth specification called for provision for the "location and disposition of such lands as are, or may be hereafter donated to the state by the general government for any purpose." The school lands had all been located except the proper sections in the half-breed Indian tract, which, it was contended, was subject to such reservation. The principal enactments of the session were as follows: The state auditor was constituted state land commissioner and he was authorized to offer for sale all school lands at an appraised value which should not be less than seven dollars an acre. The state was divided into three judicial districts, the first district comprising the counties of Richardson, Nemaha, Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Fillmore, Nuckolls, and the territory west of them; the second district comprised the counties of Cass, Sarpy, Douglas, Saunders, Lancaster, Seward, Butler, and the territory west of them; the third district, the counties of Washington, Dodge, Platte, Cuming, Burt, Dakota, Dixon, Cedar, L'eau qui court, Kearney, Lincoln, Merrick, Hall, Buffalo, and the counties west and north of the Platte river. The chief justice, Oliver P. Mason, was assigned to the first district, Associate Justice George B. Lake to the second, and Associate Justice Lorenzo Crounse to the third. The office of district attorney for each district was established with an annual salary of $1,500. The bill locating the seat of government and the public buildings there at was passed; a state seal was adopted; provision was made for the transfer of suits from the territorial to the state courts; also for the appointment of four commissioners who should select and enter the public lands donated to the state; an apportionment act created eleven senatorial districts with thirteen members and nineteen representative districts with thirty-nine members. Four members each were allotted to Cass, Nemaha, and Richardson counties; five to Otoe; six to Douglas; two each to Sarpy and Washington; one each to Dakota, Dodge, Johnson, Lancaster, Platte, and Pawnee; one to Gage and Jefferson jointly; one to Butler, Saunders, and Seward; one to Kearney, Lincoln, and Saline; one to Buffalo, Hall, and Merrick; one to Burt and Cuming; and one to Cedar, Dixon, and L'eau qui court. Fifteen thousand dollars of the fund granted by the federal Congress to pay the expense of the militia raised for defense against Indians was appropriated to pay current and contingent expenses of the state for the year 1867. It was provided that one term of the supreme court should be held at Omaha and one at Nebraska City each year; but unless the commissioners of Otoe county should offer the use of the court house for the term, free of charge, it should be held instead at Brownville or such other place south of the Platte "as may offer the use of court room free of charge."



   Distinction between actions at law and suits in equity were abolished; the revenue act was amended; a bill was passed to locate, establish, and endow a state normal school at Peru, provided that the tract of not less than sixty acres adjacent to the town, known as the grounds of Peru Seminary and College, with all buildings, should be donated to the state; the new school to be under the direction of a board of seven members, five to be appointed by the governor, the other two to consist of the state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction. Twenty sections of state lands were appropriated to the school as an endowment, and $3,000 was appropriated for completing the school building, procuring apparatus, and putting the school in operation. It was provided that the secretary of state should be state librarian. A drastic general registration law, under which the registrar of a precinct might exclude names from the voting list for "disloyalty" and other reasons, was passed; the general school law was revised; seventy-five sections of the public lands were granted to the Northern Nebraska Air Line railroad company to aid in the construction of a road from De Soto to Fremont. The act provided that the company should receive twenty sections on completion of each ten miles of the road, but definition of what "completion" meant was singularly neglected. The boundary of the new county of Cheyenne was defined, and the fourteenth amendment to the federal constitution was ratified.
   Memorials to the federal Congress prayed that a land office might be established at Lone Tree for the convenience of the many settlers along the line of the Union Pacific railroad, and vigorously protested against the continuance of the Indian policy: "We represent to you the unvarnished and unpalatable truth that at no point from the northern boundary of Texas to the British Possessions can either trade or travel be prosecuted from the western settlements to the Rocky mountains without imminent danger to life and property." This danger was much greater than it had been twenty-five years before. It was insisted that the policy of treating with the Indians as independent nations was impracticable; for "the Indians will not and the government cannot respect them [the treaties] and fulfil their stipulations. The Indians of the plains are proverbially faithless." The only order to the military commander sent against the Indians ought to be to chastise them until they should sue for peace. With due allowance for the selfishness of the settlers who knew by actual experience the conditions of which they complained in urging this drastic policy, yet the fact that the proposed policy was soon adopted and permanently adhered to illustrates the superiority of popular judgment to that of the few wise men in whom authority is vested by virtue of their theoretical wisdom, as also the advantage of local over absentee government. Since by the cruel but inexorable rule of social progress the superior race was predestined to encroach upon the domain of the inferior, and forcibly dispossess it, the ultimate forcible subjugation of the latter was inevitable, and its inevitability should have been sooner recognized in our Indian policy.
   In the year 1867, the capital contest had distracted and all but demoralized the commonwealth which, still wrestling with the doubts and discouragements of occupying and subduing the unpromising interior plains that constituted most of its domain and its main productive dependence, needed its utmost resources for the difficult industrial conquest. But the year 1868, with the capital experiment still held doubtful, with a special session of the legislature, with state elections, involving the choice of a United States senator, and the presidential election as well, gave no relief from the continuous curse of politics but rather an increase of its distractions. The first important political incident of the year was the appointment of a federal district judge. Dundy had the advantage of holding the corresponding office under the territorial organization, but his application for appointment for the district covering the whole state was sharply disputed, and it took a year to settle the controversy. In the early part of January it was publicly reported that Judge Lake had been appointed, and after the party organs had dutifully commended the choice, it was announced that Colonel Henry G.



Worthington had been nominated. Notwithstanding that he was a carpet-bagger, having come to Nebraska but a year before, and by political stages from far off California, via Nevada, where he had achieved the office of delegate to Congress, the Omaha Republican accepted the appointment, carpet-bag and all, as a solution of a difficult problem. But the wily Dundy had won the territorial judgeship after he had apparently lost it, and he soon repeated that rather remarkable feat. The warring executive and senate agreed to a truce in Dundy's favor, and his appointment was confirmed in the early part of April.
   A democratic state convention was held at Nebraska City, January 8, 1868, for the purpose of choosing delegates to the national convention. The national party was divided upon the question whether the 5-20 bonds should be paid in greenbacks or in gold, as it was divided in 1896 on the silver question, though not as sharply. Not only did the Nebraska delegates to the convention support George H. Pendleton, apostle of greenbacks, for the nomination for president, but the two most prominent leaders of the party in the state -- Dr. Geo. L. Miller and J. Sterling Morton -- who left the party in 1896, on account of their opposition to silver, stoutly advocated the greenback theory, so far as it involved redemption of the bonds in that currency. Though the fact that it was expressly provided by law that the 10-40 bonds should be paid in gold while there was no such provision as to the 5-20s, afforded a strong argument that it was the original intention that the latter should be redeemed in the same kind of money that the capitalist holders had paid for them, namely, greenbacks, and that such payment would not involve bad faith, yet, at bottom, the question was the same in kind as the silver question of 1896.
   The republican state convention for 1868 was held at Nebraska City on the 29th of April. The state administration had been the object of constant merciless attack by the democratic press, and its defense was left mainly to the republican organ at the capital. It was necessary. therefore, either to repudiate the old crowd or to put on a bold front and unanimously endorse them. The drastic alternative was postponed, and the state officers were nominated by acclamation for a second term.
   Turner M. Marquett's home paper had urged that the nomination for member of Congress was due him because, though he had been elected twice, he had held the office only two days, and because "he met upon the stump the great war horse of democracy -- the power and eloquence of the democratic party -- the acknowledged best democratic stump orator the west, J. Sterling Morton -- and he completely whipped him, a thing which democrats say was never before done." But considerable virile ability did not find favor in competition with smooth and comparatively colorless vote-getting qualities, and John Taffe was nominated on the first ballot by a vote of 34 to 18. At this time the civil war capital of the republican party was drawn on without stint, and it found characteristic expression in the resolutions through the medium of General Robert R. Livingston's appropriately florid phrase. Though an anti-prohibition plank was introduced with studied apology, it was afterward summarily ejected. This incident shows that though the party had become a great business machine, politically and commercially, it showed a lingering trace of the sentimental philanthrophy on which it was founded.
   The second democratic convention for the year 1868 was held at Omaha on the 5th of August. Democratic and republican newspapers alike expatiated on the harmony of the respective party conventions this year. It has been heretofore pointed out that, owing to the extreme factional discord in the republican party, which had grown, mainly, out of the removal of the capital and the questionable methods of the pro-removal administration, a show of harmony was the alternative of repudiation of the administration; and since possession of power and of spoils was at stake, harmony was necessary. For the democrats, harmony was easier. They had nothing materialistic to quarrel over but unpromising prospects of power. At the January convention, S. H. Calhoun, a leader of the anti-Morton



"young democracy" of Otoe county, was chosen temporary chairman, permanent president, and a member of the committee on resolutions, and Morton was unanimously chosen as a delagate to the national convention.
   In the convention of August 5th, Andrew J. Poppleton, a favorite of Morton and of the Omaha Herald, was nominated by acclamation as the candidate for Congress and thus made leader of the party for the campaign, and he sympathized with the general Pendleton-greenback sentiment of the party in the state. The specific declaration, in his speech to the convention, in favor of a policy which should encourage the building of railroads in the state, while in accord with a prevailing and natural public sentiment, yet, between the lines, foreshadowed a subsequent division of the party which tended to keep it in an almost inconsequential minority until it united with the professedly anti-monopoly populist party in 1894. The candidates for the state offices were also nominated by acclamation, a mode of choice with which democratic conventions became familiar through the common practice of some twenty-five years. The office seeks the man only when there is little or no chance that it will find him.
   The political campaign of 1868 was a tornado of vehement offense and defense -- virulent epithets and violent personalities; though the climax of this viciousness was not reached until the eve of the impeachment of the governor and auditor. It excites the wonder of their successors of the very next generation that these men of considerable parts could have played the game of politics on a plane so mean. Morton in the News and Miller in the Herald led in this unbridled offensive partisanship, partly because it was the business of the outs to attack the ins, partly because the reckless conduct of the administration offered so many vulnerable points of attack, but more largely because Morton and Miller were greater masters of epithet than their still willing and resourceful antagonists of the Republican and the Commonwealth.
   The republicans won the elections by majorities ranging above 2,000, though it is questionable whether they fairly won at all two years before. While local conditions favored the democrats, the result of this contest plainly indicated that thenceforth, owing to the prevailing republicanism of the large immigration and the great prestige and influence of the national republican party; the organization in Nebraska was destined to be invincible for very many years. But the democratic party was not wanting in faults which strengthened and lengthened republican power in the state.
   At this time the "old soldier" shibboleth began to be an open sesame to public office at whose door it continued to knock for some twenty-five years with a persistency and success unfavorable to fair politics and good government. The indebtedness and general preference which were naturally conceded to this peculiar class, were naturally overworked and overdrawn, sometimes by themselves and constantly by selfish partisan demagogues at the frequent expense of due discrimination.

   The interval between the elections of 1868 and the meeting of the legislature in regular session January 7, 1869, was busily employed by the democratic press in continuing the bombardment of the state administration -- and Governor Butler in particular -- for corruption and by the administration organs in denying, rather than refuting the damaging charges. The Journal, the organ at the capital, was the thick-and-thin defender, and the Omaha Republican, for the time, substituted a policy of apology for its former hostility. In the latter part of this year the capital coterie of politicians began agitation for a new state constitution. The first constitution was condemned as inadequate and otherwise faulty because it limited the number of judicial districts to three for the next six years, and they were "entirely inadequate, even now"; because under its provisions the supreme court was composed of the three judges of the inferior judicial districts, whereas a distinct and independent supreme tribunal was necessary; because the salaries of state officers were to low -- so paltry that they degraded the state; because the period of forty days to which sessions of the legislature were limited was too short for the proper transaction of business;



and because improved provisions for the creation and regulation of corporations were needed.
   After the third session of the legislature had adjourned it was discovered that no provision had been made for the election of presidential electors, and on account of this oversight it became necessary to call the fourth special session which began at Omaha, October 27, 1868, and lasted two days. The members of this legislature were elected in October, 1866.
   The beginning of the period of almost safe supremacy of the republican party in the state was indicated by the composition of the third state legislature -- but the first to have a regular session and the first, also, to hold a session at Lincoln. The observation that the half dozen democratic members looked very lonesome does not impute partisan bias in the observing party organ; for this was a familiar phenomenon of many succeeding sessions. This legislature convened in the new capitol January 7, 1869. The officers of both houses were elected unanimously. Edward B. Taylor of Douglas county was president of the senate, and William McLennan of Otoe, speaker of the house. The prospectively rich resources of the salt springs had lured the capital to its site and largely carried the hazardous enterprise of establishing it. The result of actual experiment in their development had already become disappointing and embarrassing to the sponsors of the capital removal scheme. The governor complained in his message that the Nebraska Salt Company, of Chicago, which had acquired a half interest in Tichenor's lease of the principal springs, had failed to fulfil its obligations; even the local demand for salt had not been supplied, and the company "has been unable at times to supply even a single bushel for home consumption, and has refused to pay its debts among our citizens." The governor urged the legislature to take such action as would promote the manufacture of salt to the greatest extent. He urged the legislature to provide compensation for the company of volunteers which had been organized under his advice in the fall of 1867, consisting of those settlers who had been plundered of everything and compelled to abandon their homes. He also urged the passage of a militia organization law.

   The most exciting procedure of this session was the choosing of a United States senator to succeed Mr. Tipton. In the first caucus, Senator Tipton commanded less than a third of the total number of votes. He was supported by the eleven members from Nemaha and Richardson counties, the representative from Gage, and from one to three from the North Platte. Turner M. Marquett of Cass and Dwight J. McCann of Otoe, each controlled the seven members from his own county and those attached to make up the districts, and in addition two to three scattering votes. Governor David Butler controlled the votes of ten to twelve members, four from back counties south of the Platte, two from Douglas, and the remainder scattering from the North Platte. Four scattering ballots from Douglas county were probably held in reserve for Phineas W. Hitchcock. At the second caucus, held Saturday evening, January 16th, Tipton's highest vote was 15, Butler's 12, Marquett's 11, McCann's 10. Butler and Marquett tried to tie up their forces in the hope of winning enough to elect one of them, but at the third caucus, held January 18th, the votes needed for the success of the plan began to go to Tipton, the first vote standing, Tipton 22, Marquett 15, McCann S. The third ballot stood Tipton 27, Marquett 15, McCann 2, and the independent and recalcitrant senator succeeded to a long term, while his carefully conforming colleague, Thayer, was put off with a single fractional term of four years. Charles H. Brown of Douglas county, as aggressive and independent as Tipton, but without his graces of oratory and too harsh in his methods for a successful politician, received the complimentary vote of the seven democratic members.
   The most important question of the session was that of applying the public improvement lands to encourage the building of railroads. There was a general public sentiment in favor of the general policy of subsidizing railroad companies with these lands, and the only im-



portant dispute was as to the extent of the grants and the manner in which they should be awarded. While the wisdom of the policy of subsidizing railroads or other private enterprises with public property is open to question, and certainly it has been very often, if not generally misapplied or abused, yet there were strong arguments in its favor in this case. For without railroads there could be no appreciable market for land or its products and so no general settlement. Locally, then, the question was one-sided; for the settlers who had cast their fortunes with the Plains country could not afford to await the voluntary coming of the railroads. But whether, considering the ample room and the undeveloped condition of states farther to the east which railroads had already reached, it was good economic policy to force the development of the trans-Missouri plains by expensive subsidies, is another question. So the present question is one of local speculation -- whether in a particular case it will pay a local community to invest a part of its property with the purpose of increasing the value of the remainder. In this case the state at large came within the purview of a local community. In the circumstances, therefore, the allegation that, "by common consent these lands, or the greater part of them, seem destined to be used for railroad purposes" is explicable, and it was also a correct forecast.
   A resolution declaratory of the policy of the legislature, offered in the house, provided that all of the internal improvement grant, "or as much thereof as the legislature may deem proper," should be reserved for actual settlement, all the net proceeds of the sale of such lands to be used for aiding in the construction of railroads and for such other improvements as the legislature should deem best for the interests of the state. This policy was impracticable because it involved the immediate sale of the land and therefore at a very low price, so that the proceeds would have amounted to but a small gratuity; while under the policy which was adopted, of granting the lands themselves, the corporations would reckon on their prospective values which a rise largely from the building of the roads in their propinquity.
   The measure adopted was the product of a compromise between the differing views. It provided that two thousand acres should be granted for each mile of road that any company should construct ready for rolling stock, within the state; but ten consecutive miles of road must be built within one year from the passage of the act and before any land could be awarded. To prevent injurious competition with the lands retained by the state, the railroad companies were prohibited from selling their subsidy lands at less than $1.25 an acre, and to prevent "large tracts of land from being held for any considerable length of time, thereby retarding settlement and cultivation," the companies were required to offer annually at public sale all lands which they should still hold after five years from the time they were acquired. The act contained the conservative provision that it should not remain in force more than five years. The Union Pacific and the Burlington & Missouri companies were let into limited participation by the provision that companies which had received grants from the United States would be entitled to two thousand acres for each mile of road thereafter constructed, but only to the extent of twenty-five miles.
   Lingering resentment against the notorious grant of seventy-five sections of the public lands to the Northern Nebraska Air Line R. R. Co. at the session of June, 1867, was manifested in the vote -- 12 affirmative, 23 negative -- on a bill offered by Brush to repeal that measure and to appropriate the lands for the construction of bridges across the Platte river.
   Another important act of the session was that providing for the establishment of "The University of Nebraska." An act requiring the state treasurer "to keep constantly on hand the identical funds received by him from any source whatever," until they were paid out according to law, was so inconvenient in practice that it was repealed at the special session in March of the following year. Doubtless the sense of the inconvenience was manifested quite as much by those who hoped to profit by an open-door policy as by the treasurer



himself. Disastrous experience in later years has shown that the makers of the inconvenient law did not act without prevision or reason.
   A law was passed prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors on election day. Similar laws are now generally in force throughout the Union. Five thousand dollars was appropriated for the compensation of Capt. John R. Brown's militia -- company A, First Nebraska cavalry -- "called into service against the Indians by the governor from August 13 to November 15, 1867, and to satisfy claims of citizens who furnished to said company transportation and quartermaster's stores." The report of the capital commissioners was accepted, and Lincoln was formally declared the capital of the state. The original capitol grounds at Omaha were re-transferred to that city, "for the purpose of a high school, college or other institution of learning, and for no other purpose whatever." Alvin Saunders, George W. Frost, Thomas Davis, John H. Kellom, Augustus Kountze, James M. Woolworth, and their successors were constituted a board of regents to manage and control the contemplated school. A joint resolution authorizing and recommending the people to vote upon the question whether there should be a constitutional convention aroused more attention and caused more contention than any other enactment of the session.
   A bill "to regulate the passenger fare and tariff of freight on all railroads in the state" was prematurely perhaps introduced into the house by Stout. Tender nursing and indulgence of this class of corporations, rather than correction or restraint, was a natural public policy when expansion and development of the area of settlement was a serious, and perhaps the chief public care. But a self-seeking and powerful standpat element seized upon the opportunity afforded by this peculiar condition to project its influence far beyond a legitimate period.
   As a condition of admission to the union, Nebraska was required by the national Congress to grant the right of suffrage to negroes. just three years later the state was called on to give the assent needed for the adoption of the fifteenth amendment to the federal constitution which guaranteed universal right of suffrage to the black men. The motive for the first requirement was mainly philanthropic and was animated by a small number of political idealists led by Charles Sumner. The motive for the second was also partly philanthropic but very largely selfish partisan advantage. This partisan exigency or ambition demanded expedition, and of the objects of a special session of the legislature, the governor's call, issued February 7, 1870, first specified the ratification of the amendment. The second object of the session was to provide for the erection of a penitentiary. Among the other proposed subjects of legislation were the ratification of the remarkable contract made by the governor with Isaac Cahn and John M. Evans for the development of salt manufacturing, and division of the state into congressional districts.

   The republican state convention for 1870 was held at Lincoln on the 10th of August. John Taffe was nominated for member of the national House of Representatives for a third and last term, on the first ballot, his principal competitor being Joseph E. Lamaster. After a fierce contest, David Butler was nominated for governor for the third time on the ninth ballot. His principal competitors were Robert W. Furnas and Samuel Maxwell. Furnas received sixty-five votes on the seventh ballot -- within three votes of a choice. Maxwell received his highest vote -- 32 -- on the informal ballot.
   The omission from the resolutions adopted by the convention of any reference to the state administration or state affairs was significant and in harmony with the adage that the least said about some things the better, and it was tacit approval of Mr. Chase's warning as to the impropriety of nominating Butler. The glittering-generality character of the platform was illustrative of the fact that the republican party was still resting on the prejudices and laurels of the Civil war, and had not yet grappled with economic principles or accepted the economic policy of Pennsylvania and other almost exclusively manufacturing states of the northeast.
   This year a third party organization was



formed, composed in the main of republican dissenters and in effect chiefly an ally of the democrats. This dissenting and fusion movement progressed, though intermittently, until, twenty-four years later, it came into power in the state and held it for six years. At this time the mainspring of the movement was opposition to the maladministration of the republicans, or the Lincoln machine; and though at the period of its greatest strength the third party espoused drastic and radical principles, maladministration of its opponents still lent it a large part of its strength. The new party adopted the same name -- the people's party -- by which it was known in later years until the more distinctive and technical adaptation, "populist," displaced it. The state conventions of the democratic party and the new people's party were held simultaneously at Plattsmouth on the 7th of September, and their proceedings were in substantial harmony.
   The political canvass was violent even for an unsettled frontier society. The democrats, led by an able and unrestrained press, let slip its dogs of war more particularly at Governor Butler, and they were ably assisted by antiButler republican insurgents, including Senator Tipton, now in open rebellion and probably the cleverest campaigner in the state. Andrew J. Cropsey bearded the lion in his den and was elected state senator over his straight republican competitor, Dr. Stewart of Pawnee county, carrying his home county of Lancaster by a vote of 742 against 393. The republicans made virulent charges of crooked business transactions against Croxton, the democratic candidate for governor, but they naturally had little effect as an offset to the charges of official corruption urged against Butler. The chief and most specific of the accusations was that the governor had appropriated to his own use a large sum of the public school fund. In the face of unsatisfactory and often evasive denials, Mr. Croxton, accompanied by General Experience Estabrook, demanded permission to examine the books of the treasurer's office, which was refused.
   While Butler received a majority of only 2,478 votes over Croxton, Taffe, the republican candidate for member of the federal house of representatives, received a majority of 4,408 votes over his opponent, Judge Lake, a much stronger candidate than Croxton. This discrepancy does not fully reflect the effectiveness of the bold and relentless attacks on Butler in, and previous to, the campaign, and since he was peculiarly apt in turning obloquy into reactionary sympathy, belief in his guilt as charged must have been widespread. Audacity is a very effective force in a political, as well as a military campaign; but unless it is backed by rectitude and other substantial qualities it soon deteriorates into mere hardihood, and a fall follows.
   Though older northern states were beginning to drop out of the republican ranks, a premonition of the long period of democratic control of the national House of Representatives which began four years later, yet, in the dependent new community, the perquisites of power were so strong a stimulus and stay of popular support that to cry the republican shibboleth loudly, as the organs, and especially as the organ at the capital cried it, in alarming tone, insured victory in the most adverse circumstances. And so the republicans were able to carry off a crippled state victory and also to win a large majority of the members of the legislature. The sensitive and solicitous machine at the capital was rudely jarred by the election of Cropsey as a senator, but its interests were otherwise sustained at the polls by a vote of 798 for Butler and only 318 for Croxton, and 523 in favor of a constitutional convention and only 2 against it.
   In the temper and condition of the majority party at this time negative qualities in a candidate for office were most successful, and so in this rather perilous campaign John Taffe easily, if not triumphantly, achieved his third, though last election as member of the national House of Representatives, against a man of decided ability and individuality.
   The eighth session -- second regular session of the state legislature convened January 5, 1871. Ebenezer E. Cunningham of Richardson county, was president of the senate; John C. Myers of Douglas county,



was temporary speaker of the house; and George W. Collins of Pawnee, was elected permanent speaker, over Elam Clark of Washington county, by a vote of 21 to 16. Upon the organization of the house, Mr. Doom of Otoe county, anticipated in a virtuous resolution, though less sweepingly, what Governor Folk actually did at the session of the Missouri legislature in 1905, as follows:

   Resolved, That all lobby members of this legislature, who have any business to attend to at home, and all federal office-holders within the state, who are drawing salaries from the government, be granted leave of absence until the 25th day of June, 1871.
   That federal officers, holding office in any other state or territory, be excused from further attendance upon this legislature.

   This was a Hitchcock broadside against Thayer's platoon of placeholders.
   The showing of the state's finances in the governor's message was still unfavorable. There was a balance in the treasury, December 1, 1868, of $48,526.92. The receipts from all sources, up to November 30, 1870, had been $937,414.97, and the disbursements, including $315,188.60 expended for public buildings, were $908,055.33, leaving a balance of $77,886.56; but current funds were wanting, and the message complained that a large amount of warrants on the treasury remained unpaid, and they had been at a discount of ten cents to fifteen cents on the dollar much of the time during the last two years. This was owing, it was said, to the difficulty in collecting taxes. The assessed valuation of property in the state had increased from thirty-two million dollars in 1868, to fifty-three million in 1870. The total amount of public lands received by the state was 727,960 acres. This was exclusive of the 2,643,080 acres of common school lands, of which 72,578 acres had been sold at an average price of $8.93 an acre. Of the 500,000 acres of public improvement lands, 257,312.71 acres had been awarded to railroad companies as bonuses.
   During the past two years 2,382,157 acres of land had been entered -- 918,081 acres as homesteads and the remainder as preëmptions. The entries at the Lincoln land office were 877,129, and at the Beatrice office, 381,931; at the Dakota City office, 737,176 acres; and at the West Point office, 385,921. Thus the growth of the North Platte and that of the South Platte sections were nearly equal. The Union Pacific railroad company had sold 289,644.42 acres of their land grant in the state -- since July 28, 1869 -- and the Burlington & Missouri company, 61,303.25 acres. Lincoln lots and saline lands which had been sold at auction but not taken by the bidders, to the amount of $74,200, remained in the hands of the commissioners. This indicates either a remarkable unreliability of buyers or a very loose way of conducting the sales.
   The movement for encouraging immigration had been organized under the law passed at the last special session of the legislature by the appointment of C. C. Smith of Falls City, William Bischoff of Nebraska City, and Fred Krug of Omaha, as members of the board of immigration; and C. N. Karstein of Nebraska City, was chosen as the commissioner to reside in New York city.
   The election of a United States senator is usually the star play of a legislative session, but in that of 1871 this special feature was outshone by its more dramatic impeachment rival. The three principal candidates for senator were John M. Thayer, who sought reëlection, Phineas W. Hitchcock, and Alvin Saunders, -- all residents of Omaha. The twelve democratic members decided in caucus to vote for Hitchcock, and he owed his election to their questionable policy. Since they were too weak to conquer their greatly outnumbering enemy, they would inflict as much damage as possible by assisting one of the factions to the defeat of the "regular" candidate.
   Regularity was Thayer's standing and standard virtue, and he was more objectionable to the democrats than either of the other candidates because he particularly represented, and was the willing sponsor of the national administration.
   It was charged with truth, that Thayer's only occupation since he came to Nebraska had been office-seeking and officeholding, and



this objection yielded some advantage to those candidates who had been less persistent or less prosperous in this regard. He was "always a candidate for office, never a lawyer, save in name, nor a plain or ornamental farmer; he has joined his senatorial fortunes with Stout and Kennard." After his defeat he was comfortably cared for in the office of governor of the territory of Wyoming during nearly four years.
   General Thayer's military merit lay chiefly in the careful execution of superior orders, supplemented by the more superficial and yet important qualities of good personal appearance and deportment. This disposition not to reason why, which was a virtue of the soldier, was a fault of the statesman, though it was not then rated and resented by the public as it is at the present day. This defeat ended General Thayer's important officeholding in Nebraska during his virile years. Edward Rosewater opposed the election of Hitchcock, but his political temper was antithetical to Thayer's. Instead of bending to the success of the object of his opposition, he forecast his future career as the leader in Nebraska journalism by regarding the assault as the mere beginning of a war to the finish. He took counsel of the future instead of the past, and at the end of six years the now triumphant Hitchcock met his quietus -- the first important victim of this nemesis of numberless Nebraska politicians.

   Impeachment of Governor Butler. As soon as the senatorial question was out of the way, the legislature took up the question of impeachment of Governor Butler. The anti-Butler press, both democratic and republican, had crystallized the sentiment for such act before the legislature convened. On the 25th of January Edward Rosewater offered a resolution, requesting the governor to communicate to the house, "at the earliest moment," the name of the agent appointed, by act of the legislature, to collect from the United States five per cent of the proceeds of the sale of public lands made before the admission of the state into the Union, the amount collected, and the amount paid the agent for his services.
   The governor reported that the $16,881.26 had been collected and deposited in the state treasury, and that there were no fees for the collection. It developed that the governor had used the funds for private purposes and had given the state real estate mortgages as security. The governor made a plain admission of the act. The governor was suspended during the trial, and after the impeachment abdicated the office.
   By act of the legislature, March 3, 1873, a commission composed of the governor, secretary of state, and the state treasurer, was authorized to liquidate and settle all claims of the state against David Butler by taking from him a warranty deed for lands in lieu and release of all mortgages against him, but neither his residence nor his lands in Lancaster county should be included in the deed which ineluded 3,400 acres lying in Gage, Jefferson, and Pawnee counties.
   Impeachment of Auditor Gillespie. Auditor Gillespie bad joined the anti-Butler faction and had assisted in exposing Butler's derelictions. The sobriquet "Honest John" was bestowed upon him by the reform faction as a sort of objective contrast. This was a dangerous distinction, and the Butler partisans used it as a derisive epithet. As soon as the Butler proceedings were out of the way, Galey of Lancaster county offered a resolution providing for a committee to investigate the letting of printing contracts in 1869. A summons was issued for Gillespie and he appeared before the senate with his counsel; he was allowed six days in which to prepare an answer. The anti-Butler faction prevented action by breaking the quorum, and finally by adjournment until the second Tuesday in January, 1872.

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