across the Missouri, at Omaha; still another was the pro rata bill to compel the Union Pacific to deliver freight to the Burlington and Missouri road at its Kearney terminus on a pro rata basis of freight charges. Entrusted with these duties and responsibilities, to satisfy all constituents and all conflicting interests was not an easy or a wholly feasible task. Yet Congressman Crounse retired at the end of four years service strong in the regard and confidence of the people he had represented.
A United States senator was to be chosen for the term to commence in March, 1877, and, without seeking a third nomination for representative, he permitted his name, with the approval of his friends, to be submitted as a candidate for senator, but found interests arrayed against him too strong for success. Withdrawing, for a time, to his large farm adjoining Fort Calhoun, he led the life of a practical agriculturist, continuing, however, to take an active part in state and national politics.
In 1879 he was tendered and accepted the appointment of collector of internal revenue for the district of Nebraska, holding the office for four years, and performing his official duties at Omaha while maintaining his home at Fort Calhoun.
Again, in 1891, on the recommendation of United States senators Manderson and Paddock, he was appointed by President Harrison, assistant secretary of the treasury. Resigning this position in 1892, when an exigency in Nebraska politics demanded a strong and popular man to lead the republican ticket, he accepted the nomination of his party for governor. His opponents, J. Sterling Morton, as the democratic, and Charles H. Van Wyck, as the populist nominee, were men of recognized ability, of national reputation, and experienced campaigners. Accepting a challenge from ex-Sen-
ator Van Wyck, Judge Crounse met him in joint debate at many places in the state, upholding his reputation as a felicitous public speaker and successful canvasser. Soon removing the initial doubt as to the result, he was elected by a large plurality over both opponents, and was inaugurated as governor of Nebraska in January, 1893.
The office of governor of an American state is one of dignity and honor, yet its functions are not spectacular nor its duties, as a rule, of a character to greatly excite public interest. The day of the war governors, which some of us remember so well, has passed, never, as we believe, to return. Some of them, by invaluable services to the republic in the crisis of our nations's life, made for themselves historic names; but, happily, the governor of this day has no such conspicuous theater of action. "Happy," says the moralist, "is that country whose annals are tiresome."2
Under our Nebraska constitution the veto power--the supreme executive power--the duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and the appointment of public officers are vested in the governor, and under the constitution and laws he has a large supervision over the property and finances of the state and the state institutions.
At the outset of his administration, Governor Crounse made it clear that economy, retrenchment, rigid accountability for expenditures of public money, and strict adherence to law and rules of conduct by all subordinates of the executive department and all state institu-
2 "Happy the people whose annals are tiresome." An aphorism of Montesquieu's, of which there are several variations. Carlyle, French Revolution, book II, chapter I.--ED.
tions would be exacted; and, to this end, he gave his time and his efforts throughout his term.
He was, himself, one of the first against whom the rule was enforced. It was a rare departure from precedent, not likely to become frequent, that a governor should veto an item in an appropriation bill giving him two thousand dollars for house rent. This Governor Crounse did, and at all times, regardless of legal restraint, or of any barrier except individual conscience, he could be depended upon to oppose any and every device for exploiting the treasury included in that comprehensive word of modern use, "graft."
Putting the interests of the state above all personal or political considerations, he retained in office several democrats appointed by Governor Boyd, who had faithfully performed their duties. Early in his term, he had proceedings commenced and prosecuted to secure $236,000 of the state's money deposited in the insolvent Capital National Bank by the state treasurer of the preceding term. The treasurer and nearly all of the sureties on his official bond were republicans and had helped to elect him. The governor was advised that, regardless of good or bad faith, or of negligence in making the deposit, the parties to the bond were liable for the loss.
Suit was brought against them and rigidly prosecuted to the end of his term, its responsible management and conduct, as attorney, being given to a member of the opposing political party, that there might be no suspicion, even, that political favoritism or affiliation might weaken its prosecution.
Whatever may have been the cause of final failure to recover judgment for the lost money, it is enough that it was not due, in any degree, to want of interest or of energy in pursuing the remedy on the part of either Gov-
ernor Crounse or his successor.
It may be added that the case was exceptional, as being the first one in the supreme court brought for the recovery of money only and tried by a jury.
Early in his term, Governor Crounse determined not to seek or accept a second nomination, which undoubtedly would have been tendered him, and at its expiration in January, 1895, with the one exception which follows, his public career was closed.
There remained another opportunity for public usefulness, which came to him after a few years retirement. In the legislature of 1901, two United States senators were to be chosen, one for the vacancy caused by the death of Monroe L. Hayward, and one for the full term to commence in March, 1901. Governor Crounse was nominated by the Republicans and elected as state senator from the tenth district, composed of Dodge and Washington counties--an example which should be more often followed, of calling into the legislative councils of the state the tried wisdom and experience of an eminent citizen who would thus honor his constituents regardless of political favor or political expediency. Again, his attitude as the opposer of extravagance, and the multiplying of avenues for the expenditure of public moneys, his wise counsel, and his conservatism in legislation, vindicated the choice of his constituents.
Governor Crounse was a candidate for one of the senatorships. The incidents of the memorable and protracted senatorial canvass of that session need not be rehearsed. It is enough that, as the long struggle drew toward a conclusion, he was steadily gaining in strength, and his nomination by the caucus of the dominant party was imminent, when a sudden combination of rival interests, not unusual under similar circumstances, de-
feated him. That he should have keenly felt this failure of an honorable ambition would have been pardonable and may have been true. Its attainment would have fitly terminated a distinguished public life. But he accepted the result with the philosophy which befits the optimist and the courage of the true man in the disappointments of life.
His career had been a notable one. Twenty-one of the thirty-eight years which he had then lived in Nebraska had been passed in the public, service. The range of this service included the three departments of the government--legislative, judicial, and executive, under both the territorial and state organizations and in the judicial and executive departments of the federal government.
And what had this career been in its character and fruition? It had not abounded in great crucial achievements, which decide the fate of a nation or a state; and the opportunity for this falls to but few and its accomplishment to fewer still; but it had been a career of uniform excellence and faithfulness. It had been guided by sincere devotion to public duty in all places of public trust confided to him; it had been tried and approved, over and again, by the people he had served; and by that further test which an honest man applies to his public conduct, and his private life, the test of conscience, condemning himself if he finds them faulty, but if he finds them right stands by them, let the public judge them as they may.
We cannot rightly measure the credit due to a public servant without considering the period and environment in which the service has been rendered. In these years and in this land we do not judge it by the standard of an age when an unlettered people 'Were kept in ignorance of what their rulers were doing or leaving undone;
of an age when the press was muzzled or censored; of an age when criticism of public men or public measures was at the hazard of imprisonment or exile; when imagining the death of a king meant the scaffold; of an age when the public revenues were squandered in licentious orgies, without a pretense of concealment; when public courtiers and royal courtezans dictated preferment and policies; when judges took bribes and the illustrious Bacon, in his confession, could plead in extenuation only that, while he took bribes, he decided the causes rightly. We are dealing with a time and a land in which the public official moves with the calcium light of intelligence, education, and severe scrutiny ever upon him; in which a free and fearless press halts not and spares not in searching out and blazoning near and far every fault and every mistake which vigilance can detect in the conduct of public affairs; and when partisan interest is alert and stimulated to detect and expose malfeasance and misfeasance in public trust. That the whole official life of Lorenzo Crounse, judged by this severe standard, was an upright, creditable and successful one, was a result to satisfy the purpose and the reasonable ambition with which he had entered upon it.
The connection of Governor Crounse with this Society and its affairs should be further noticed. He was one of its founders and organizers; a member of the committee to draft and secure the passage of the bill recognizing the Society as a state institution. That bill was passed by the legislature in the session of 1883, and under the first constitution of the Society he was a member of its board of directors for six years. He became its first vice president in 1887, serving as such until 1891, when he was chosen its second vice president, and he was
reëlected in 1893.
That he kept the interests of the Society in mind to the last is shown by his directing a gift of five hundred dollars to be made to it out of the means he should leave; the first donation of that character it had ever received. At the annual meeting of the Society one year ago, but a few months before his death, he was nominated as president, and would have been chosen, but for generously insisting upon the reëlection of its then president, George L. Miller, that preëminent pioneer and unfaltering friend of Nebraska, who in yonder infirmary awaits the restoration of a brilliant mind in eclipse, or the deliverance which comes at the appointed time to us all.
As a pioneer, he had taken the proper part which fell to him, joining with others, of all callings and pursuits, in the sublime work of transforming a prairie wilderness into an American commonwealth.
And why had those pioneers left their old homes and come from the attractions, the elegancies, the order, the stability of old communities to take the hardships and hazards of new ones; to explore new lands and build up new institutions; to occupy new territory, new theaters for their energies and hopes? This is a problem coeval with history. May we not find its solution in the divine law, which implants in man the impulses, the instincts, the passions and the desires which compel him to fulfil the purposes of his creation?
To man was given the commission to replenish and subdue the earth, and to man was given the impulses which impel him to accomplish it, to occupy new fields, new lands, new theaters for his energies and his hopes.
Man's ambition and his aspirations for improved fortunes have been the lever and the moving power which have lifted him from the low plane and degradation of
the past towards the high plane which he is taught and hopes is to be the destiny of his race. It is this spirit and this ambition which for two hundred years has inspired and moved the great army of American pioneers to fell the forests, and build the cities, and plow the prairies between the Atlantic and Pacific to make this American republic the best and happiest land on which the sun shines.
With the expiration of his term as state senator, Governor Crounse withdrew finally from public service. In 1860 he was married to Miss Mary E. Griffiths, who died at Fort Calhoun in 1882, one son and two daughters of the marriage still surviving.
With mind and faculties unimpaired, in the maturity of a useful and successful life, with the esteem and praise of friends, and in the true dignity of private citizenship, he turned to the studies, the travels and the pure pleasures which had been the pursuit of his earlier years and of the intervals in his official career. For social display or social extravagance he had neither the taste nor the leisure. He resumed the simple, unostentatious private life which had always been his habit and his choice. As wealth is counted in the commercial tables of these times, he had never been wealthy; but the moderate income from his earnings and judicious investments sufficed for the simple life he preferred to lead and for the higher and nobler aims to which his remaining years would be devoted.
In the hard battle of life he had won what was best worth the winning. He had lived in the best period of all the ages, when the average of human comfort and man's enlightenment was higher and charity, benevolence, and philanthropy were greater than ever before; when religion was searching out the remotest lands and
peace, throughout the world, was invading the red field of war. Finally, in the serene autumn of his years, he heard the summons which must be obeyed. After a few weeks of illness, he died at his home in Omaha; and at Fort Calhoun he was buried beside the wife of his youth, leaving to his children the heritage of an honorable life and an unsullied name.
THE PRESIDENT. I am sorry to announce that we will not have the pleasure of listening to an address from General Charles F. Manderson. A telegram from him to-day states that he has met with an accident which makes it impossible for him to come.
The meeting adjourned until Tuesday morning January 18, at ten o'clock.
The meeting was called to order at ten
o'clock by Robert Harvey, vice president. The following
paper by William M. DeCoursey French was read by title and
filed for publication.
I was a pioneer in Nebraska. My first
work was in the first state legislature as one of the
assistant enrolling clerks. My writings are in the records
of the first state archives. I am the founder of the first
state institute for the deaf at Omaha, in the first year of
the state. Edward Rosewater and myself were rivals for the
hand of the same young lady, whom he afterwards married.
days. Lincoln had a glimpse of the village of Omaha far away across the Missouri River. Years afterwards Lincoln was elected president. Members of the Dodge family had become influential, and one or two had become famous in the civil war.
When congress granted a company composed of Ames, Dillon and other millionaires a concession to build a railroad across the continent, there sprung up rivals for the location of the road, such as Bellevue, Omaha, Florence, and others farther south. The Dodge family, with others, used their influence with President Lincoln to have it located at Omaha or Council Bluffs; so he issued a proclamation locating it at Omaha. The rivals submitted gracefully, but Kansas City fussed and fussed until a concession was granted her to build a branch road west to Denver, thence north to a connection with the main line, which happened to be at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Material for the road was brought up from St. Louis and other places on boats. Shops and a depot were built down on the flat near the river, a grade was cut up the hill, and the road was built down into Sarpy county nearly due west from Bellevue, and up a valley to the village of Fremont, thence west along the Platte River.
A road was made up the hill to connect with Farnam street in Omaha. Just on top of this hill was built the great International Hotel, four stories high and the largest building in the town. Omaha was in her glory, booming and hustling, business men and other sharks from the east were rushing out there to grab up property for selfish purposes and otherwise. Other companies were hurrying to build their roads westward to connect with the Union Pacific road at Omaha. The first one was from Hannibal, Missouri, to St. Joseph, and the Kansas City,
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