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are more secure than if John C. Fremont had been the
fortunate candidate, neither do we think that it will be for
the interests of the South that her peculiar institution
should be secured to her. Seeing that with them, and all
her superior natural advantages, a blight hangs over and
eventually cripples and enervates all her energies.

His last veto1 arrested a bill entitled, "An act to repeal all criminal laws passed at the first session of the legislative assembly," which was finally passed over the veto, and before the convening of the legislature, December 9th, 1857, Thomas B. Cuming was again acting-governor, due notice of which has already been taken in the section concerning him.2

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Jan. 10 to Dec. 5, 1858.

In the Directory of Congress the following appears:

William A. Richardson was born in Fayette County, Kentucky; graduated at the Translyvania University; studied law and came to the bar before attaining his twentieth year. He soon settled in Illinois, and in 1835, he was elected state attorney; in 1836 he was elected a member of the legislature; in 1838 he was elected to the state senate, and again in 1844 he was elected to the legislature and made speaker of the House. He was chosen a presidential elector in 1844. In 1846 he served as captain in the Mexican war, and on the battlefield of Buena Vista was promoted by the unanimous vote of his regiment; in 1847 was elected a representative to Congress from Illinois where he continued to serve by re-election until 1856, when he resigned. In 1857 he was appointed by President Buchanan, governor of Nebraska, which position he resigned in 1858; in 1860, he was, against his consent, re-elected to the house of representatives, but before the expiration of his term in 1861, was chosen a senator in Congress from Illinois, for the unexpired term of his friend, S. A. Douglas, serving on the committee on territories and the committee on District of Columbia.

From the legislative records it appears that Gov. W. A. Richardson assumed the duties of his office on or about the 12th day of January, 1858, at which time he was called upon to recognize the action of the majority of the legislature then in session at Florence, to which place they had seceded from Omaha. On the ground that Omaha was the seat of government for the territory, their request was promptly refused,' while the minority adjourned the legislature, on January 16, 1858, four days after his accession to power. Inasmuch as all criminal laws had been repealed, and a great legal confusion existed, an extra session. convened on the 23d of September, 1858, and a regular one or

'Council Journal, 4th session, 146-148.


dered by law to follow it beginning October 4th, 1858.
brief message1 sufficed for both sessions and also announced
the fact of the governor's resignation of his office. As a justi-
fication for a special session he said:

The only law under which crime can be punished in this
Territory is the common law of England. All other criminal
laws have been abolished by a previous legislature. The
common law of England is so uncertain and doubtful in
reference to every proceeding and offense and its punish-
ment, that every point will have to be adjudicated before
the courts can tell what the law is.

As reported the territorial indebtedness was $15,774, and it was said that only five counties had paid a part of their taxes, also that banks had failed to redeem their notes and should be dealt with accordingly, and that Congress should be memorialized in aid of roads and bridges and general improvements. In a burst of enthusiasm never yet justified, he fancied a new Eldorado of gold at Cherry Creek and Laramie Peak, that "should give an impetus to every branch of industry, and eventually make the great valley of the Missouri not only the garden but the central money power of the Union." In imagination his ears caught the thundering Union Pacific trains, and his eyes were gladdened by the world's commerce gliding from ocean to But he is entitled to utter in glowing rhetoric impressions of the future:


Nebraska occupies a position in the very heart of this great republic, and as she is now the geographical center of the Union, so shall she soon become the commercial. Standing as we do midway between the Atlantic and Pacific, where the wealth and commerce of both oceans shall pay tribute to our people, their wealth, their advancement, and their power is inevitable. With a soil unsurpassed in fertility, and a climate whose healthful influences are admitted by all, settled by a class of people whose industry, enterprise, and intelligence is fast converting the wilderness into a garden, who shall dare portray the fullness and prosperity of that splendid destiny which is reserved for the future State of Nebraska.

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'Council Journal, 5th session (containing also journal of special session), 12-15.

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Having resigned the place I now occupy, my official connection with you will soon cease; I can therefore have no interest, no wish and no inclination to enter into any local agitation. But upon the other hand, I wish in some degree to contribute to the advancement and improvement of the Territory. I shall recur with pleasure to the many kindnesses of the people of the Territory towards me, and carry with me the recollection that I have endeavored faithfully to promote the public welfare. In conclusion permit me, to urge you, gentlemen, to discard all local feelings, all jealousies, and unite where interests are the same and where opinions cannot be divided, in passing laws so necessary for the interests of those you represent. I hope peace, concord, and harmony may characterize your deliberations; and that you may so discharge your duties as to merit and receive the approval of your constituents after your labors shall have been completed.

The following report1 is a flattering testimonial of appreciation and esteem:

Your committee to whom was referred so much of the governor's message as relates to the resignation of his office, beg leave to respectfully report: Governor Richardson arrived in Nebraska on the 10th day of January last, in the midst of the most violent contest this Territory ever witnessed. He came here under an appointment of the general government, most fit to be made. He had stood up in the Congress of the United States, one of the foremost champions of that principle which asserts and vindicates the ability of the American citizen, whether a resident of the older or newer settlement of the country, to govern himself. The champion, the eloquent, powerful champion of natural rights of the people of Nebraska, most fit was it that he should be set over them as their governor. He came welcomed by the warmest enthusiasm of the people of the Territory. They felt, as they had abundant reason to feel, most grateful that a man of his reputation, which was national; of his abilities, which, in the then present exigencies of public affairs, were needed for the public good; of his connection, so intimate and so honorable, with their first history, should be sent among them. Open arms, warm hearts, welcomed him to this Territory. He has served us for nearly a year; all his wisdom, all his best efforts, have been ours; no personal feeling, ambition or pride, have ever swayed him. Patriotism, a Council Journal, 5th session, 214: made by W. E. Moore, Nov. 1, 1858.

generous regard for the highest public good, have
characterized his administration. The Territory of Ne-
braska stands today on a moral and legal position far
higher, more honorable, than ever before. We have now
a complete, wise, and well regulated system of laws; indi-
vidual and public rights can, and henceforth will be vindi-
cated and wrongs punished. For all this, how largely are
we indebted to Governor Richardson, to his wholesome
and timely advice and direction. He goes from our midst
carrying the sincere regrets of every class of our citizens,
that the pleasant and useful public and private relations
which he has in so short a time so firmly established, are
to be severed amid all the shifting scenes of life. He will
carry with him the gratitude of this whole people for the
great good he has done us and our posterity, and our
hearty wishes for his prosperity and welfare, will attend
him in all time to come.

The governor's exposé of the territorial banks was amply sustained by a minority report of a committee, recommending the repeal of four of their charters, while the majority suggested the repeal of all, unless their cases were to receive the attention of the courts.

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