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GOVERNOR ALBINUS NANCE.

1879-1883.

In the career of Albinus Nance we have a splendid illustration of the energy and pluck of Young America. He was born in March, 1848, at Lafayette, Stark County, Illinois. At the age of sixteen years we find him a soldier in the civil war. He passed through the war with only slight wounds, and was mustered out with his regiment. Next we find him in civil life, a student at Knox College, at Galesburg, Illinois, where the foundation for his professional life was established and where he was admitted to the bar in 1870, in the twenty-second year of his age.

If his better genius should not fail him, all his past successes indicated early achievements in the future. Soon thereafter he graduated as a pre-emptor and farmer, and became a representative in the Nebraska legislature; was chairman of the state delegation in the Republican National Convention at Cincinnatti in 1876; and in the same year again elected to the legis lature and made speaker of the house of representatives, while still under thirty years of age. With the dawn of 1883, in the thirty-fifth year of his age, he had added to his other triumphs and services, four years in the gubernatorial chair of his adopted state, and was retiring to private life respected for manly virtues and official integrity.

The inaugural address of Governor Nance gave the population of the State in 1881 as over 400,000, with not more than onetenth of its area under cultivation, and only about one-third of the State populated.

The Great American Desert had receded as settlement advanced, and he predicted that soon, as an agricultural state, Nebraska would have no superior, with a large amount of land devoted to grazing in the western part. The time was most auspicious, as good crops had been secured for several years and financially the people were exceptionally prosperous. He urged

the claims of agriculture and horticulture, of equitable laws as to interest and capital, and placed the moral and intellectual culture and protection of the people on an even higher plane than exemption from Indian and monopolistic domination. He made it a source of congratulation that a high standard of instruction had been attained in the schools, with an endowment of near $20,000,000. Four years thereafter, at the expiration of his second term of two years each, his statement of progress was very cheering.

On the third of January, 1883, Governor Nance delivered his last message to the legislature, with the following introduction:

Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives: Legislative authority has been conferred upon you at an auspicious period in the history of the State. Since the last regular session of the legislature there has been a marked degree of prosperity in every department of industry, and our growth in population and wealth has been a marvelous event, even to those who had indulged the most sanguine anticipations in contemplating the possibilities of the future. A brief review of our state history may be profitably considered in this connection. At the date of admission into the Union in 1867, the population of Nebraska was estimated at 70,000, and the aggregate value of taxable property of the State was $20,115,252. The population at the present time, as estimated on the basis of a moderate increase over the census of 1880, is not less than 600,000. The total assessed value of property as shown by the grand assessment roll of 1882, on file in the office of the state auditor is $98,537,475.

The sparse settlements in 1867 were remote from centers of trade and railroad connection, and were deprived of most of the comforts of life. The people of Nebraska are now brought into close relations with the commercial and social world, and it is a gratifying fact that every organized county in the State, except eight, has railroad facilities. Two principal agencies have accomplished this transportation. The homesteaders, under the liberal policy of the general government, accepting a heritage which in itself was a valuable legacy, have toiled from year to year with untiring energy and splendid success in improving the lands thus secured. The capitalists of this and other countries having a degree of faith in our future which has been more than justified by results, pushed the work of railroad ex

thus

tension in Nebraska with unexampled zeal, and
opened the way for the large immigration which followed
from the eastern states and the old world. The policy of
the general government, in granting aid to railroads, as
in giving homesteads to settlers, was designed to promote
the general welfare, and it speedily gave us a railroad sys-
tem which has been a potent agency in developing our nat-
ural resources. The practical co-operation of the above
mentioned agencies has brought us to a period of prosper-
ity which is contemplated with feelings of pride by every
citizen of Nebraska.

Having given the treasury balance as $343,018 at the end of his first term, it was now, in 1883, $472,114. Inasmuch as $92,984 were due the State as interest and rentals, on sales and leases of school lands, he recommended that school land contracts be cancelled in cases of default, believing that persons had beeч holding these lands for speculative purposes. On schools he said:

The school attendance in 1882 was 115,546, an increase of 14,770 over the number in attendance the previous year. The total value of school property is estimated at $2,054,049. The fund derived from this endowment has increased from year to year, in about the same proportion as the increase population, consequently the increase per capita has not materially changed.

The friends of the University were congratulated that distracting questions were beng settled in indication of enlarged usefulness and prosperity. His previous message gave the Normal school 275 students while the one of 1883 reported 318. The state library numbered 21,487 volumes. The attendance upon the institute for the deaf and dumb, during his administration had increased from seventy-five to one hundred and twenty, at an expense per capita of $3.29 for maintenance per week. The patronage of the institute for the blind remained about stationary, and at a cost of $5.33 per person per week. There had been no special increase in the number of penitentiary convicts and the number of deaths annually, there being but one during his incumbency. Under the fostering care of Governor Nance's administration the Reformatory came into existence and had received thirty-seven inmates. On retiring he said in its behalf:

The tendency of the reform school to repress and prevent the commission of crime is indisputable and if supported on a liberal scale it will prevent large expenditures for the punishment of hardened criminals. If viewed only from a humane standpoint the school should have every encouragement, as it enables the State to rescue a large number of children from vicious surroundings and give them the advantage of a good education, together with well established habits of industry.

The Home for the Friendless also dates back to 1881:

The legislature of 1881 provided for the erection of a home for the friendless, and made an appropriation for that purpose, subject to the conditions specified in the act, in compliance with which the institution has been located at Lincoln.

Conceding the great advantages to the State, by virtue of the stimulus imparted to settlement and traffic by railroad construction, the governor gave prompt consideration to the comparatively new question of legislative control:

In the state of Illinois every phase of the question has been under consideration during the past twelve years, and by means of a board of Railroad Commissioners, equitable rates of transportation have been established and many of the abuses complained of corrected. I also invite your attention to the laws of Iowa providing for the organization of a board of railway commissioners and to their subsequent reports and proceedings. The general results in that State have justified the acts of the legislature creating that board. The reports of the commissioners, both of Illinois and Iowa, contain a mass of valuable information, bearing upon every feature of the question, and may be studied with profit by all who are interested in securing impartial legislation upon this subject in our own State.

After giving information relative to many items of business and enforcing many duties upon the legislators, Governor Nance came to his final conclusion:

As my official term is about to close, I recall with pleasure the kindly relations which I have sustained toward those who occupy official positions throughout the State. To the state officers and heads of state institutions with whom I have been associated during the past four years, I

tender my sincere thanks for their earnest co-operation and
uniform courtesy. I also desire to express the gratitude
I feel toward the people of Nebraska for the steadfast sup-
port which they have given me in my efforts to execute
the laws with fidelity. The steady and vigorous growth
of our young commonwealth during the period that I have
occupied the position of chief executive, has been a source
of continual satisfaction, and I ardently cherish the hope
that the future of Nebraska may be one of uninterrupted
prosperity.

During the summer and fall of 1882 an active canvass of the State was made in behalf of the "rights of suffrage," an amendment to the constitution being submitted to extend the right irrespective of sex. The discussion which followed the passage of the amendment was participated in by most of the distinguished orators of the United States, such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mrs. Sewell, Mrs. Hinman, and numerous others. As early as 1856, by invitation of members, that pioneer worker, Mrs. Amelia Bloomer of Iowa, presented the cause before the legislature of Nebraska. The rejection of the amendment by the vote of 1882 argues nothing against the willingness of the people to keep step with the onward march of progress. All preliminary acts have been passed and heartily approved by them, and although they declined a place at the head of the column, they will finally occupy it. Already they have made woman the equal of man in the marriage contract and the divorce court, in trade and transferring and holding property, in the collection of wages, and the right to bring suit at law, whether married or single, and in the professions and trades, and clerical positions, limited only by ability, inclination, and taste. On the assumption that they who are specially interested in a subject shall be allowed to discuss and control it, they have provided for women's votes in school meetings. Presently old-fogyism, prejudice, and ignorance, will cease to control, and the honestly conservative will decide that the rights of women to influence through the ballot should be conceded in county and state. The vote in behalf of the amendment was 25,756 and against it, 50,693. The manufacturers of spirituous liquors, the

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