usually causes and extends industrial depressions; namely, lack of public confidence. At last, it seemed, the conditions for great agricultural prosperity had come to be quite generally recognized. "The crude and erroneous idea formerly prevailing as to the adaptability of our entire state to profitable cultivation, has been exploded by actual experiment. Our population has quite doubled itself within two years past, numbering now, without doubt, at least three hundred thousand souls." Thenceforth success would fatten upon itself.

   But the financial condition of the state government was bad. Delinquent taxes amounted to $599,460.47. "The disbursements designated for the past two years were $600,000, while the revenues were but $400,000." The trouble was ascribed largely to exemptions and evasions. The total valuation for taxable purposes was eighty million dollars, while there was "not less than three hundred million dollars worth of property in the state which should be made to yield revenue." But the principal cause of the excessive taxation complained of was extravagant local expenditure and indebtedness. The aggregate local indebtedness, as shown by statements from the several counties, was nearly $4,500,000. The governor urged that "additional restraining provisions be thrown around the mode and manner of voting aid to the various and numerous enterprises so frequently presented to the people." Exclusive of the two-mill tax for school purposes the state tax levy was four and one-fourth mills, and "a judiciously adjusted system of revenue could be made to reduce this one-half to three-fourths at least."
   But notwithstanding the inequitable and generally defective system of taxation, state warrants were at par, and those registered had all been paid. There was no bonded indebtedness; but the permanent investment of the common school fund, comprising general fund warrants, $184,119.67, "and certificate of state indebtedness for a former investment under authority of law, $158,837.67, amounted to $342,957.34, drawing ten per cent annual interest." The auditor's report, December 15, 1874, showed that there were building fund warrants outstanding in the amount of $43,812.19, which, with accrued interest, $17,524.84, amounted to $61,337.03. The resources with which to meet these warrants were 314 Lincoln lots and 8,000 acres of saline lands. The governor stated that "these warrants were originally issued without authority of law, for expenditures in excess of appropriations for the erection of the capitol, insane, and university buildings," and that they were subsequently ratified by an act of the legislature and ordered paid from the building fund. The only resources of this fund remaining were Lincoln city lots, "their entire value not being sufficient to meet the interest alone." A bill (H. R. 206) providing for the payment of these warrants, was introduced at this session, and a committee to investigate the proposition reported that they were issued in payment of expenditures on the construction of the State University and that they were a valid claim against the state. The committee recommended, "that said warrants be paid out of the state general fund, and the state be reimbursed from the proceeds of the university lands which should be sold for that purpose." But the bill was defeated after the third reading by a vote of 14 to 21.
   The message showed that improved industrial conditions were reflected in the growth of the public schools. According to the report of the superintendent of public instruction for 1873 and 1874 there were 1,345 school houses in the state valued at $1,300,000, while at the close of the fiscal year 1872 there were only 538 school houses valued at $700,000. The number of school children at the close of 1872 was 51,123; at the close of 1874, 72,991. The apportionment of school money for 1871 and 1872 was about $370,000; that for 1873 and 1874 showed an increase of nearly $100,000. The school lands were sold by county authorities and though the notes given in consideration were payable to the state, they were held by the counties, which undertook the collection of the annual interest. The evidences of indebtedness for the sale of these lands amounted to $1,119,621.44, which, the message complained, "should yield, if promptly collected and accounted for, $111,962.14 annually; whereas it has returned, under the



present management, but $69,309.48, showing a loss to the state in one year of $42,652.66.
   The governor pointed out that the law permitting school districts to issue bonds almost without restraint had worked disaster. "Some districts have recklessly involved themselves beyond ability to pay . . . The extravagant disposition to issue bonds has also reduced their value in the market to such an extent as to render them almost unsalable at any price."
   The new building for the normal school, "as far as completed, and occupied but little over a year," had cost $28,500, and 210 students were enrolled. The demand of the state for indemnity school lands in lieu of sections 16 and 36 within the Sac and Fox Indian reservation had been disallowed by the secretary of the interior; but further prosecution was urged, "the claim being a just and equitable one." The policy of leasing the labor of convicts "at mere nominal and speculative rates" -- that of the state penitentiary for "the meagre sum of 42 cents a day" -- was severely condemned.
   The message gave a detailed statement of the disposition of the public lands received by the state from the public domain. Of the seventy-two sections of saline lands so donated, twenty had been given to the normal school at Peru, two for the model farm of the agricultural college, one-fourth of a section for the hospital for the insane, 17,511.38 acres had been sold, 12,744.10 acres were still on hand, and four and one-sixteenth sections had not yet been selected. The internal improvement lands had all been given to railroads. The twenty sections of public building lands had been appropriated toward the construction of the state penitentiary and all but 1,676.56 acres of the fifty sections of penitentiary lands had been sold for the same purpose. The governor stated that when he assumed his office (January, 1873) none of the university and agricultural college lands had been selected; and he had caused them to be selected and confirmed. The expense of doing this having been paid out of the university fund, the governor recommended that the state should pay it back.
   The city of Lincoln originally comprised 287 blocks, containing 3,447 lots. Eight blocks had been donated for public squares and as many for railroad depots; 155 lots had been given in exchange for the townsite of Lancaster which was included in the new city; twelve lots were given to the State Historical Society; forty to various church organizations and benevolent societies; twelve to the Lincoln Steam Mill Company; 2,913 had been sold for the aggregate price of $293,358.75. The 314 lots which had not been sold or otherwise appropriated were "principally in the Salt Creek bottom and of no considerable value at present."
   The disguised but really defensive tone of the discussion of railroad taxation and restrictive legislation in the message shows that this now dominant issue or problem had then begun to excite serious public consideration and serves as an illustration of the attitude of the place-holders and leading politicians of the state for the next thirty years. It required a far more rugged personality -- both mental and moral -- than that of Furnas to resist a lasting impression by this one-sided view, and especially since it was framed in the alluring halo of the free pass of which he, in common with his compeers, was the lifelong beneficiary. While some lapses from the standard of public virtue with which readers have already been made acquainted destroyed the governor's availability for the usual second nomination and for important elective office thereafter, yet his innate practical interest in public affairs and, more particularly, his devotion to matters affecting the agricultural development of the state -- virtually its only resource -- almost raised him out of his otherwise native commonplaceness and kept him in the public eye and also in public office, as president or secretary of the state agricultural society, to the end of a lengthy life. The fact that Governor Furnas nearly always held political, military, or other public office and in the brief intervals was a candidate for office, was owing to a mixture of weakness with strong qualities in his character. Governor Furnas states in his message significantly that he is "convinced as to the great impropriety of vesting this high power [of pardon] in any



one individual." The severe castigation he had recently received on account of his pardon of Weber doubtless had something to do with this conviction. Public disapproval of the abuse of the pardoning power by Governor John H. Mickey during his second term of office revived a demand for a distinct "pardoning board or council" which Governor Furnas recommended.
   It is learned from the message that "during the month of May, 1873, severe storms so damaged the capitol and insane hospital buildings as to render their occupancy impossible, and, in fact, their permanency seriously jeopardized." The governor, who was then the legal custodian of public buildings, expended $5,897 in repairing the capitol and $1,307.28 in repairing the hospital. "While the senate and representative halls were in a dilapidated condition, and undergoing repairs," the message recites, "it was thought advisable to take out the gallery over the speaker's stand and to put up railings in both halls to separate bystanders from members' seats."
   Since the last session of the legislature papers had been issued for the organization of eight new counties -- Furnas, Hitchcock, Holt, Keith, Phelps, Red Willow, Sherman, and Valley. Organization had been perfected in all of these counties except Holt, in whose case it appeared that the pretended application of forty-three persons claiming residence in the county, on which documents were issued April 4, 1973, and returns formally made to the secretary of state of an election said to have been held in conformity with the law, was fictitious; in short, "the whole proceedings on the part of the individuals seeking organization was a fraud." The message discussed at length the grasshopper devastation and means of aiding the sufferers. On the whole it is an unusually interesting and useful document and reflects the governor's intimate acquaintance with the affairs of the commonwealth, acquired through active citizenship during nearly all of its life. But the excellence is marred by slovenly and incorrect verbal construction.

   Two special features or episodes -- choosing a United States senator and attempted removal of the capital attracted more public attention than any other incident or measure of the session. Senator Tipton, at least one of the brightest debaters among the members of Congress yet credited to Nebraska, had by common consent forfeited the succession by his independent progressiveness which at that period of party fetichism was an unpardonable sin. Mr. Tipton lacked the plasticity and flexibility which were essential to adapt himself to the rigid mold in which the republican party of that day was confined. Allegiance to the party during his second term required him to be an apologist of the corruption which was called Grantism and to sustain the coercive policy or method of reconstructing the rebel states which was soon afterwards abandoned by the Hayes administration as impracticable and inexpedient. Mr. Tipton, like his after associates in the anti-machine revolt, Schurz and Sumner, was temperamentally a remonstrant. Though, as we have seen, many of the ablest republicans of Nebraska joined him in the support of Greeley against the regular republican candidate for the presidency in 1872, yet according to party usage this rebellious act barred him from reëlection.
   Though wiser statesmanship would have foreseen and avoided the probable effect of his insurgent protest against evil practices and policies, yet he deserves credit for unusual courage and perhaps disinterestedness. He anticipated by thirty years inevitable general revolt against conditions and tendencies which under Roosevelt revolutionized the republican party, if it has not ended the two-party system. Senator Van Wyck subsequently took a like advanced position. Samples of Tipton's parliamentary oratory which he himself selected for his political memoirs, are characterized by piquancy and aggressive alertness rather than depth. While his sallies won attention in a body which contained many able men and gained him notoriety, at least, in the country at large, yet his penchant for sarcasm and wit, not always of a high order, detracted from such strength as his speeches otherwise possessed. This is indeed the usual effect of such a course in important deliberative bodies. Yet, on the whole, Tipton must be ranked dis-



tinctly above the average senator from Nebraska. If Tipton's son-in-law, Henry M. Atkinson, could have shared with him his own excess of political astuteness, the senator would have been a more successful politician and perhaps a more useful statesman; he would have won another election and the country the benefit of his salutary insurgency.

   The senatorial situation was a counterpart of that of 1871, inasmuch as the republican members were in a large majority in the joint assembly of the two houses but could not unite a majority for either of the candidates; so that the opposition members -- democrats and independents -- dictated the choice. In 1871 Phineas W. Hitchcock, Alvin Saunders, and John M. Thayer were the three principal candidates. Thayer's chief, though strong claim, lay in his title to regularity; he knew no impulse and recognized no obligation outside the bounds of party conformity, and his first term was fractional -- only four years. But these considerations were not sacred to democrats, and they threw the balance of the ballots to Hitchcock. In 1875, Thayer, Elmer S. Dundy, Algernon S. Paddock, and Oliver P. Mason were the principal candidates. But there was more independence in the political atmosphere than there had been in 1871, and the democratic members, unappreciative of Thayer's chief claims -- poetical justice and regularity -- irreverently chose Paddock, the low man among republican candidates.
   On the first joint ballot, cast January 20th, Thayer received 18 votes, Dundy 14, Paddock 8, Mason 6. Of the fourteen opposition votes -- Alexander Bear was absent on sick leave -- five went to candidates of their own kind -- two to Henry C. Lett, and one each to Church Howe, J. Sterling Morton, and J. N. H. Patrick. The remaining eight were divided equally between Mason and Paddock. Dundy and Thayer were the regular candidates and so ineligible to democratic accretion. The second ballot stood, Thayer 17, Dundy 14, Paddock 8, Mason 6. Barnes, one of Dundy's supporters, voted this time for Turner M. Marquett. The third ballot stood, Dundy 15, Thayer 14, Paddock 9, Mason 6.
   The fourth ballot was cast the next day, Thayer receiving 21 votes, Dundy 19, Paddock 6, Mason 3. On the 22d the fifth and decisive ballot was cast as follows: Paddock 38, Thayer 11. Baker voted for Morton and Crawford for Patrick, and Bear was still absent; all the rest of the democrats and independents went to Paddock, who unexpectedly was the beneficiary of Dundy's withdrawal. Most of the democrats and independents from the first gave their support to Mason and Paddock, presumably because both of the latter had shown decided symptoms of democracy. They were progressive enough to recognize the need of reforms and independent enough to stand for the interests of their own section of the country against the increasing encroachments of their party which was dominated by eastern power and animated by eastern interests.
   Though Paddock's election, which involved the defeat of Thayer, who never broke with the Lincoln -- or any other ring, meant cleaner state politics, yet the statement that Thayer "was killed by an overdose of Stout and Kennard administered by Drs. Balcombe and Rosewater," and that the defeat was in effect "a complete slaughter of the Stout and Kennard brand," was extravagant; for the corrupt and corrupting Stout influence lasted many years more. The just complaint that the dominant senatorial aspirants were barnacles and the hopes for a new deal were rewarded in the new choice -- or rather in the defeats it involved. Dundy and Thayer were done for, and the defeat of the Hitchcock-Cunningham combination, coupled with the demand made at the time by the Republican and the Bee for an investigation of the charges that bribery had been used in Hitchcock's election, foreshadowed his defeat in the next contest. While the election of Paddock was scarcely a democratic victory it was a republican defeat; but the democrats ascribed too much importance to it. The ephemerally named mouthpiece of the party at the capital professed to regard this mere temporary check as a permanent disability. "Victory has perched on the democratic banner in Nebraska in the election of Governor A. S. Paddock as senator. The backbone of the republican party has been



broken, the rotten rings of corruption have received their death blow. . . The fight was a. hard one but right has triumphed." As a consequence, Nebraska was soon to be numbered among democratic states.
   The influence or training of the Civil war had given the republican party a military aggressiveness and discipline and an audacious opportunism, and had so strongly fortified it, withal, by popular passion and prejudice and the reactionary condition of bounding industrial prosperity that, however glaring its faults, it was not seriously vulnerable. It seemed to possess the unnatural quality of Milton's angel (Satan) which

"Vital in every part
Cannot but by annihilating die."

   Even though overwhelmed by popular condemnation at the national election of the following year, it yet held the field and the spoils of partisan victory. In Nebraska this condition was emphasized. The state had but one resource -- agriculture. Its growth was absolutely dependent upon, could only follow the extension of railroads. It followed, therefore, that the politicians of the dominant party and the railroads pooled their interests. This close partnership had an economic basis and, however pernicious on the one hand, was for a time not without material advantage to the state. At any rate, the dependent people were either too worldly-wise or too morally timid to entertain any moral scruples against this arrangement which might have knocked at the closed doors of their consciences. This natural, if not defensible, acquiescence developed into a persistent habit which brought on injustice, oppression, and great public corruption. Not until 1908 was there a convulsive and noisy reaction against these long encouraged evils which wise management on the part of the people might have largely avoided. So the hopes of the democrats were destined to be dashed. Their own leaders, moreover, led in a like direction.
   Mr. Paddock continued his long-time liberal inclination in the senate -- manifested in his opposition to the coercive republican policy in the reconstruction of the rebellious states, and to the radical protectionist policy. But his attempt to serve two masters, though with some vigor in behalf of his democratic allies or makers, was necessarily unsatisfactory to the latter, who criticised (sic) him with overdue severity. The personally ambitious democratic leaders were averse to helping republicans into place and power because they had democracy -- a policy which rank and file were inclined to, partly because it gave them pleasure to displace a wholehearted with a half-hearted republican and partially from the public-spirited motive of advancing in some degree western interests and progressive principles. The Herald, accordingly, discouraged democratic support of Paddock, alleging that "he turns too many corners in politics"; that he ought to have stayed with Johnson but instead "now reposes in the bosom of Grant"; and though when the election had taken place that journal assumed credit for it as "a triumph of the democrats and conservatives" which had been won by their votes, yet after a few months of trial it disowned and denounced him for recreancy. "Elected by democratic votes as a conservative and declaring himself 'in accord with the democratic party on the main issues of the day and time,' he secured their votes, without which he knows, and we know, his election would have been impossible." His last words to Dr. Miller (editor of the Herald) before he left for Washington were, "I am a republican; you understand that: but no caucus will control my action. You know my views."
   Notwithstanding his obligations and promises Senator Paddock became a caucus republican. But many stronger politicians and statesmen than Paddock have thus sacrificed obligation and profession on the altar of our tyrannous two-party system. Under the freedom of the modern logical group system there would have been an effective alliance of all those who stood for the imminent and vital questions of western and southern interests. As it was, the member of Congress who could not get under one or the other of the blanket mortgages which covered respectively the republican and the democratic party was a



pariah. Paddock, therefore, naturally elected slavery to his old party and therefore cut himself off from effective service of his section and the constituents which had created him their representative.
   Immediately after the senatorial election Thayer was appointed governor of Wyoming, chiefly for the purpose of removing him as far away as possible from further interference with the senatorial succession; but in part, also, in recognition of his fixed aversion to doing anything else but hold public office. Henry M. Atkinson was propitiated with the important office of commissioner of pensions. Judge Dundy continued until his death to covet the senatorship. The routine and drudgery of his judicial place became irksome to his temperament; but, though desiring an active political career, he was too shrewd to risk the comfortable life tenure of the judgeship by a resignation in advance. In this campaign democratic leaders resumed their attack upon his character, and Atkinson shared with Dundy this marked but not pleasurable distinction.
   This second defeat of Thayer ended his importance as a political figure. He was taken up for the governorship ten years later when his over-ripeness, physical and mental, which increased his normal habit of conformity, made him useful to the dominating political influences. While Tipton, his colleague in the senate, was so independent that he was all but erratic and could not be confined to the party rut, it was Thayer's natural habitat, and he never got out of it. He was mentally rather dull and his abilities in general were not of a high order, and though an imposing physical appearance of the military style and some supplemental martial gifts made him successful as a subordinate military commander; he lacked the alertness, breadth of view, plasticity, and independence essential to statesmanship. Very luckily for himself he lived just at that time when military deportment and ambition passed for the most and, joined with the soldier's disposition not to reason why as a part of the rigid political machine, was an open sesame, also, to high civil office. Still, his military stiffness in time made him unpopular with politicians who called him "peacocky." Popular sympathy for General Thayer on account of his rather forlorn old age, shrewdly manipulated by the selfish "system," resurrected him for the governorship in 1885. After serving the customary two terms in that office, he was awarded a pension of $100 a month which kept him comfortable in his extreme old age. This closing incident of his career illustrates his utter dependence upon the bounty of public place. While no one opposed or begrudged this gratuity, and it was bestowed under President Cleveland's administration, characteristically hostile to special pensions of this sort, yet it was a favor due largely to political conditions. The career of General Amasa Cobb, for example, was in the main a counterpart of General Thayer's, except that at the close of the war and his long service in Congress he went to work in private business and continued at it to the end of his long life, saving only his term as justice of the supreme court. Thus, through wholesome activity, he achieved and deserved independence and competence -- the chief comfort if not the main merit of a life.

   There was a culmination of the long gathering capital removal sentiment in this legislature, and a clear majority of its members came to Lincoln with the intention and expectation of carrying out that project. Even the southeastern counties were fiercely and explicitly hostile to Lincoln. Otoe county, which had led in the struggle for removing the capital to Lincoln, now led in the attempt to get it away again. This hostility was due in part, no doubt, to displeasure or disgust with the Lincoln political junta, but chiefly to the ripened realization of the original economic mistake of erecting a barrier to the growth of Nebraska City which it was now apparent Lincoln was destined to be.
   Before the session began it was asserted that it was very well settled that the present legislature would remove it to some point in the western part of the state. Removal would cause no loss in public buildings because "the university will fall down next year anyhow; the capital should be donated to Lincoln -- the lower part for a livery stable, the upper as a



block-house -- the upper windows would be good port-holes. The penitentiary, after Boss Stout takes out the windows, will make a first class ruin." The new lunatic asylum, it was conceded, was a good building. The Tecumseh Chieftain favored removal for the ostensible reason that a location nearer the center of the state was desirable and that the building would have to be remodeled. The Nemaha Journal and the Kearney Times asserted that when the last ballot for the election of a United States senator was taken, Mr. Griggs, president of the senate, requested occupants of the chamber, the hall of the house of representatives, to refrain from stamping for fear the building would collapse.

   The history of 1873, when the Kearney ring and the Columbus ring killed each other, was repeated in 1875. The divided rival aspirants blocked one another while the alert Lincoln partisans, Napoleon like, whipped them in detail -- with argument and other influences less legitimate but perhaps more effective. The removalist cause was roughly, though not unjustly, summed up thus: "For no good to the state is the removal advocated. The reasons for removal are that a lot of land-sharks, dead-beats and carpet-baggers, having the example of the former Lincoln before their eyes, want a new deal."
   Though some members required and received direct payment in lawful money as the consideration of waiving their patriotic and dutiful intention to remove the capital to a more nearly central site, many were satisfied with reciprocal sops in the shape of enactments favorably affecting their pockets but in a less direct way. Moudy was at least partially appeased by the grant of a state road from Kearney junction on the Union Pacific railroad southward to the Kansas line, to be laid out without expense to his own county of Kearney which it would centrally intersect. A gift of the unappropriated saline lands -- about twelve thousand acres -- to the Midland Pacific railway company, "for the purpose of building and extending its lines of railway from Nebraska City to Omaha, and from Brownsville to a connection at St. Joseph, Missouri, with other railroads so as to form a continuous line of railway from Omaha to the south line of the state and thence to St. Joseph," contributed powerfully toward smothering the cry for removal, loudest in the populous eastern border counties which were the expectant beneficiaries of the grant. An appropriation of $10,000 for establishing an asylum for the blind at Nebraska City tended directly to soften the harsh aggressiveness of members from that particularly disappointed quarter. The partisans of Lincoln naturally held a good hand of palliative cards, and they were played off with skilful (sic) finesse so as to take the most advantage of the internal rivalry of the disunited removalist forces. This was the last direct attempt at removal until 1911. The law providing for a constitutional convention and the provisions for relief for sufferers from the depredations of grasshoppers were most important enactments of the session. The convention was to be composed of sixty-nine members and to be held at the capitol on the second Tuesday -- the 11th -- of May, 1875. The western counties fared better in the apportionment for the convention than in the membership of the legislature. The legislature authorized the issue of state bonds to the amount of $50,000, to run ten years and bear ten per cent interest payable semi-annually, for the purpose of buying "seed grain for distribution among the citizens of this state made destitute by the ravages of grasshoppers in the year 1874." The act authorized a tax of one-tenth of a mill on the grand assessment roll annually for the payment of the principal and interest of the bonds.
   The homestead exemption was amended so as to restrict it to the value of $2,000. This provision has continual (sic) to the present time. The property rights of women were enlarged by adding to the continual separate holding of all that they owned at the time of marriage or might afterwards acquire by descent or gift, all "which she shall acquire by purchase or otherwise." But the school suffrage of women was restricted by an amendment which confined it to unmarried women who had reached the age of twenty- one years and owned property subject to taxation; whereas,



before the change, "every inhabitant" of a district -- which included all women of the age of twenty-one could vote at the district meetings.
   By an amendment to the act of 1869 which provided for organizing the university, the chancellor was left off the board of regents which thereafter was composed of three members from each of the three judicial districts with the governor and state superintendent of public instruction as ex officio members. The office of treasurer was abolished and the state treasurer was constituted the custodian of the university funds. This act comprised a Draconian provision that the regents might, "by discharging professors and otherwise reducing the expenses of the university, apply the amount so saved or reduced from the expenses of 1874, in building a dormitory." An act granting block 29 of Lincoln to that city for "market purposes" some time afterward aroused severe though unjust criticism. The block was originally devoted to the use of a state historical society but because no society competent to receive the grant had been organized, it would have been included in the remainder of unsold lots which another act of this legislature authorized the governor, auditor, and secretary of state to appraise and sell at public auction, the proceeds of the sale to be turned into the public treasury, which, owing to the pinching poverty of that grasshopper period, particularly needed replenishment. The city had given up its original "market square" to the public use as a site for the postoffice, and since the commissioners named in the bill to sell all unappropriated lots were determined to include this historical block, the members from Lancaster county properly thought that it would be wise and just to retain this block for public use as a market place in lieu of the block they had relinquished for another public purpose. This action was additionally justified by the consideration that at forced sale in that period of depression the block would yield very little to the public treasury. The supreme court of the state decided that the intended grant to a historical society had lapsed by nonuser and that the state might dispose of the property at its will.
   A joint resolution prayed for the passage of a bill which had been introduced by Senator Hitchcock, authorizing the sale of the Fort Kearney military reservation, the proceeds to be used for the erection of an asylum for the blind; but the act of Congress of July 24, 1876, provided for the offer of "said land to actual settlers only at a minimum price, under and in accordance with the provisions of the homestead laws."
   Another memorial to Congress was the John the Baptist of the present general demand for the election of United States senators directly by the people. "Your memorialists, the legislature of Nebraska, would respectfully represent that they express the will of the people of this state in asking for an amendment to the constitution of the United States which shall provide for the election of United States senators by the whole people, and not by delegated authority." During the last decade the federal house of representatives many times expressed by formal resolution the demand of the people of the whole country for an amendment of the constitution providing for the reform, but the senate itself persistently ignored this positive popular demand until the special session of Congress in the year 1911. This remarkable lack of political efficiency is owing largely to a lethargic constitutional habit. Our political confinement for more than a century within a rigid constitution which it is very difficult, indeed virtually impracticable, to amend, is in turn responsible for this unfortunate condition which has inculcated a pernicious popular habit of relying upon a forced construction of the constitution by our politically as well as judicially habited supreme court for the little progression in polity we have been able to achieve. The people of the several states are now quite generally recognizing and avoiding this denial of direct, concerted action, though without authority of the constitution and in violation of its spirit, by dictating to the state legislature their choice for senators.
   The only important effect of a joint resolution which informed the president and the Congress that the legislature heartily endorsed the president and General Sheridan for assuming responsibility for the action of General



De Trobriand in driving out of the capitol certain democrats who claimed seats in the Louisiana legislature, but had been denied certificates by the returning board, was to disclose the identity of the fifteen anti-republican members whom it drew together in opposition to the resolution. The passage by both houses of the bill which placed railroad property in a class by itself and specified a maximum rate of taxation for it, indicates the nearly complete control of the state government by railroad corporations which had now been established and which continued almost uncontested until the republican revolt of 1907. An amendment by the house of the senate revenue bill providing "that no railroad shall be assessed at a greater amount than $10,000 per mile," was referred to a conference committee which comprised Barton, Hoyt, and Chapman of the senate, and Thurston, Crawford, and Howe of the house. The committee recommended "that the senate concur in said amendment," Chapman alone dissenting. But, remarkably and inexplicably, Governor Garber proved to be a missing link of the otherwise complete chain of procedure. He vetoed the bill, not only on account of some technical irregularity but because in his opinion it was class legislation "and repugnant alike to the letter and spirit of our laws . . . Laying aside the legal and technical objections that may be urged against this measure, it does not appear to me to be expedient. It would reduce the grand assessment roll of the state a million and a half to three million dollars. It would relieve the railroad companies of at least $75,000 in taxes and place the burden upon the people." The governor very pertinently reminded the subservient legislative body that the people had been persuaded to vote large subsidies to the railroads largely by the argument or promise that they would be repaid by the resulting great increase of taxable property.
   The relentless determination or policy of the white masters of the commonwealth to dispossess the Indians even of the small remnant of their original domain which they held as reservations was manifested in two memorials to the federal Congress. The first urged the passage of the bill, already introduced, providing for the sale of the Otoe and the Pawnee reservations. The second memorial was a very insistent- almost truculent -- protest against the action of the federal government in assuming the authority in the treaty of 1868 to grant the Sioux the privilege of hunting in that part of the state lying north of the North Platte river and recognizing it as unceded territory. The same memorial protested also against the removal of the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies from Dakota to a location within the northwestern borders of Nebraska.
   Investigation of official malfeasance still continued to be an important duty or diversion of the legislature. Because it was "reported that divers sundry abuses are practiced in the penitentiary" and "barbarous and unknown punishments inflicted upon convicts confined in said penitentiary and that the management of the same is inefficient," and also because "a serious revolt has recently occurred in said prison," a committe of the house, consisting of Enyart, Folda, Baumer, Fisher, and Lucas, made an extended investigation of the affairs of the prison. The majority report of the investigating committee found that cruel and unusual punishment had been inflicted upon prisoners and barbarous and Inhuman practices had been resorted to in the management. The report recommended "a thorough and complete reformation in the treatment of the convicts"; that the stocks and the bull-ring should be abolished; that "the prisoners should not be confined on seats in one position during the Sabbath day"; and that Noboes, deputy warden, and three of the guards "be discharged for cruel, inhuman, and barbarous conduct." Folda and Lucas made separate reports, the former recommending the removal of the warden, Woodhurst, who had held the office since December 6, 1873. Lucas minimized the abuses which the other members of the committee acknowledged and condemned. Senator Perky testified that the attempt of the senate committee to investigate the prison was stifled and that Senator Burr -- of Lancaster county -- was an obstructionist.



   A joint committee of the two houses for investigating the charge that the plans and specifications had been changed after their adoption and that they were not filed with the proper state officer applied a rather dull coat of whitewash. The committee found that the plans were changed in 1873 but to the public advantage. The reputation of the alleged offender, W. H. B. Stout, suggests a presumption of the truth of the charges which the diluted whitewash of the committee scarcely overshadows.

Previous Page
Table of Contents
General Index
Next Page

© 1999, 2000, 2001 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller.