Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

precincts of Otoe and Wyoming in Otoe County, and that the clerks of Dodge, Cass, Nemaha, Lancaster, Johnson and Washington made no abstract of votes, as the law required, and the minority report claimed they should be thrown out. He argued in conclusion, that to enforce the law as it had been construed against himself, would reduce Mr. Daily's vote two hundred and ninety-four. Mr. Morton concluded: "Thanking the House for its courteous attention, I submit the case for its determination."

As L'Eau-qui-Court county was the objective point of attack, Mr. Daily approached it promptly:

Knowing the means that they would resort to, while going through the canvass with the contestant, I said to him that I did not expect to get the certificate; I said to him that these officials will manage affairs so that when it is ascertained how many, they will bring from some place nobody has heard of before, votes enough to elect you. Sure enough it turned out as I predicted. Neither the contestant nor I had ever heard of this northern precinct of L'Eau-qui-Court county; but it was from that precinct that a vote of one hundred twenty-two came in, all for the contestant, and sufficient to elect him. But, how, let me ask, were those one hundred twenty-two votes counted? They were counted contrary to law; they were counted contrary to the evidence before the territorial canvassers. Now how did the territorial canvassing board know that there was any vote of that kind? Because the county clerk had stated. to them that such a return had been presented to and rejected by him; and because he rejected it they counted it. [Laughter.] There is a return included here, called Cottonwood Springs, some ninety miles beyond Fort Kearney, of some seventy votes for Mr. Morton, which I did not go to the trouble of proving fraudulent, because I had enough to do to make out my case without. I now dare him to go back upon that issue (of fraud) to the Territory and I will show, beyond a doubt, that his certificate was obtained, counted, and this return, which was no return, counted, without which the certificate could not have been given, by means of bribery, that the certificate was caused to be made out by the appliances of bribery.


I understand the sitting delegate to say that he is willing

upon these certificates to go again before the people of Ne-
braska and try the contest there. I am willing to accept
that proposition.


No, Sir; at the next election in that Territory I will consent to that trial again. I am speaking simply of these certificates, which, I repeat, have nothing whatever to do with the merits of the case.

Mr. Daily stated that the witnesses, who received $150 for coming to Omaha to testify, traveled two hundred fifty miles and were over sixty days making the trip. He claimed that Morton had votes counted for him in Platte County, from the Indian Reservation, by men who took the oath on the condition that the Reservation was found to be in Monroe precinct. As the chairman of the committee was to close the debate in behalf of Mr. Daily, it allowed the sitting delegate to disport himself at will among the multitudinous questions raised during the discussion.

My friends are very impatient, and I must hurry to a conclusion. There are a great many things with regard to this case which I would take delight in talking about, because I tell you that it reeks with the greatest fraud, and chicanery, and trickery that ever was concocted in the darkest hours of the night amid the infernal regions below, or that ever could be concocted by Democratic officials under James Buchanan to carry the day in the territory, right or wrong. [Much laughter.]


Inasmuch as this line of remark is indulged in, I shall say to gentlemen upon the opposite side of the house, that with this country filled and reeking from side to side with frauds committed by high officials of the present administration, it comes with a bad grace from them to say one word about frauds that have been committed in times past. MR. DAILY:


Oh, I hope these frauds are not to be brought into this God knows there was enough fraud in the Nebraska case on the part of the contestant without bringing in all the frauds about horse contracts.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I am constrained out of mercy for the house, so long bored by this case, to close this argument.

Following the closing speech of Mr. Daus, on motion of Mr. Washburn, a friend of Mr. Daily, the whole subject was laid upon the table by a vote of sixty-nine to forty-eight. So the contest was never decided, but Mr. Daily held the seat under the second certificate. The privileges of Mr. Morton ceased May 7, 1862.


Into the political campaign of 1864, as republican candidate for delegate in Congress, Mr. Hitchcock entered unconditionally and hopefully. No man went beyond him in an endorsement of Mr. Lincoln's sublime prophecy that, "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our natures." Having been a delegate to the convention and voted for Mr. Lincoln's first nomination, and having heartily approved his official acts, and under his appointment acted as United States marshal for four years, it became more than a mere pleasure, a positive duty, to advocate his re-election.

The Democratic candidate was General George B. McClellan, a splendid officer and pure patriot, who had been deemed too slow by the radical Republicans and too conspicuous for the scheming politicians. After the asperity of the war was subsiding Ben: Perley Poor, a Republican author, said of him: "General McClellan, who was then eulogized as a second Napoleon, soon found himself 'embarrassed' by men who feared that he might become president if he conquered peace." He was also impressed with this presidential idea by pretended friends who had fastened themselves upon him, and "between two stools he fell to the ground."

All state or territorial politics were overshadowed in the canvass and national issues predominated. Mr. Hitchcock was elected delegate to Congress by a majority of one thousand, while Lincoln's majority in the United States, of the popular vote, was 407,342, and of the electoral college over McClellan, was 191. Ten states were in revolt and not represented.

1 For more personal details of the life of Mr. Hitchcock, see pub. Nebr. State Hist. Soc., first series, vol. I., pp. 100-103.

The circumstances attending the advent of Mr. Hitchcock in public life, as a delegate in Congress, were monumental as to eras, marking the returning shadows of slavery, and the dawning glories of universal freedom. The hour in which he responded to the roll-call of "Nebraska," the newly elected Speaker of the House emphasized the living contrast:

The Thirty-eighth Congress closed its constitutional existence with the storm-cloud of war still lowering over us; and, after a nine month's absence, Congress resumes its legislative authority in these council halls, rejoicing, that from shore to shore, in our land, there is peace.

But the fires of civil war have melted every fetter in the land and proved the funeral pyre of slavery, and the stars on our banner, that paled when the states they represented arranged themselves in arms against the nation, will shine with a more brilliant light of loyalty than ever before.

In the membership of the House was an infusion of the best young blood of the nation. The "Plumed Knight" of Maine, James G. Blaine; Roscoe Conklin, the gorgeous, of New York; the sauve and well-poised Samuel J. Randall, of Pennsylvania; the scholarly James A. Garfield, of Ohio; the chivalrous N. P. Banks, of Massachusetts; with a long list of compeers, challenging their pre-eminence, and holding the scales of decision in equal balance. Under the wig and upon the crutch came Thaddeus Stephens, the invincible old commoner of Pennsylvania, wielding the war club of leadership in the style of a Cromwell; while bearing the motto, "The pen is mightier than the sword," came Brooks of New York, editor, orator, and statesman. It matters not that a delegate in Congress may be of finished education, devoted to principles, profound in the science of government and used to intellectual sparring in stormy debate, yet he is barred from national themes and confined to narrow and material lines of territorial wants. But if of studious habits and sound morals, and making each opportunity a steppingstone to future elevation, the confined position of delegate will not prevent the acquisition of valuable material for use in the Senate or House of Representatives.

The legislature of 1865-6 charged Mr. Hitchcock with the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »