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privation and suffering he recommended the county commissioners of the stricken district to organize means of relief. By November he called upon the public to give heed to the Macedonian cry, "Come over and help us"; and in order to add to his knowledge and make it critical, sent two agents to traverse the counties. The result was his organization of a Relief Committee, with which the contiguous railroads co-operated by carrying supplies free of charge. In his message to the Legislature of 1891, he said:
It is safe to conclude from the information thus obtained that six thousand and eleven families will require fuel and provisions during the winter and spring, and nine thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight families will need grain and seed. Those people in the portions of the State in which crops have been blasted by hot winds and the drouth, have become the victims of misfortune from no fault of their own. They are worthy, honest, and industrious as any people in Nebraska or any other state in the Union. They are our own kith and kin—they are our own fellow citizens. This question of relief is of such a magnitude that it has become a state affair; Nebraska cannot afford to permit the report to go abroad that any one within its borders had died of cold and hunger. It is rich enough, it is able enough to take care of its own people. We want no help from abroad. I most earnestly recommend an appropriation with an emergency clause of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for their relief. Further appropriations will be necessary. The necessities of those people require it; in the highest sense, Christian duty sanctions it; humanity dictates it, and God Almighty commands it. The injunction, "Remember the poor and the needy" is as binding now as when uttered by the Holy One two thousand years ago.
The subjoined recommendation closed an earnest appeal to the Legislature in behalf of the Columbian Exposition.
I recommend an appropriation of $150,000 with an emergency clause, for the purpose of inaugurating and maintaining our exhibits. Citizens of Nebraska who attended the Paris Exposition were humiliated by the small and insignificant exhibition of its products made there. I trust Nebraskans who shall attend the Chicago Exposition, and all should attend it, will not be subjected to a like humilia
tion. The display from this State should be such as will
Ordinarily, Governor Thayer would have been called upon for his retiring message as soon as the Legislature of January 6, 1891, was organized and ready in joint session, to receive it; which would have been followed by the inaugural of his successor. But, inasmuch as the speaker of the house, on account of a contest pending, on the part of J. H. Powers, Independent candidate for Governor, against James E. Boyd, refused to examine and proclaim the result of the election till such contest was settled, and only did it by virtue of a mandamus issued from the Supreme Court of Nebraska, and as the contest was not abandoned till the latter part of January, his message was not called for until the following day. Thus Governor Boyd delivered his inaugural just one month after the commencement of the Legislative session.
In the meantime, on the 13th of January, John M. Thayer commenced proceedings, in the State Supreme Court, to oust Governor Boyd from office, charging that he was not a citizen of the United States when elected, having been born in Ireland, and never naturalized in the United States. The case having been argued March 12th, 1891, and the opinion of the court having been announced May 5th, reinstating Thayer and ousting Boyd, which was just one month after the adjournment of the Legislature, these officials changed places once more-Thayer to act as Governor till a successor should appear, "elected and qualified," and Boyd to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. After nine months, in the highest tribunal known to our laws, an opinion in favor of Governor Boyd was delivered by Chief Justice Fuller, reinstating him, and retiring Governor Thayer to private life.
The contest waged by Governor Thayer against James E. Boyd, was upon the basis that if naturalized, the laws of the United States, in that behalf, had been the instrument by which he had
attained to citizenship; and that he should be able to show court records establishing the fact. Admitting the correctness of this position the Supreme Court of Nebraska decided that James E. Boyd was not a citizen when elected Governor.
But the Supreme Court of the United States gave Mr. Boyd an equivalent for court naturalization, in "collective naturalization" by the admission of the State of Nebraska, and from the "legal presumption" that his father had been naturalized during the son's minority. If that mode of gaining citizenship had been previously amplified as the Supreme Court gave it prominence in this instance, it might be a question whether this action would ever have been filed, on the decision obtained from the Supreme Court of the State. Prior to this time the legal profession had never been furnished with so voluminous a digest of sporadic cases of naturalization. These are fully set forth in the statement of Governor Boyd's administration, in this volume.
GOVERNOR JAMES E. BOYD.
No man has reached the Governor's chair of Nebraska with more real pioneer experience than James E. Boyd. Nine years a citizen of Buffalo county as farmer and ranchman, at a time when warring tribes of Pawnees and Sioux claimed the same region as individual hunting ground, and only had a coerced respect for the Wood River settlement, on account of its near location to Fort Kearney, inured him thoroughly to the privations of a new and undeveloped region, a capricious climate and frequency of Indian alarms. During the same period he superintended a store for a time, at Kearney, and as a railroad contractor graded three hundred miles of Union Pacific track. Before the frontier experience, from 1856 to 1859, he had resided in Omaha as a carpenter and contractor, and when he returned in 1868 he entered at once into city improvements, and organized the Northwestern railroad to Blair, building it and acting as its president. In the meantime he was engaged in cattle grazing on the plains of western Nebraska and subsequently in Wyoming. Since 1872 he has been banker and pork packer on a large scale, employing as high as 170 men. Before his election as governor his legislative training was in the state legislature and in two different constitutional conventions. He was member of the board of aldermen for the city of Omaha, while as a presiding officer twice mayor of Omaha and president of the city board of trade, he had become familiar with the duties of an executive ruler.
Before the city of Omaha had outgrown her modest halls, he anticipated her coming wants with the beautiful and artistic Boyd opera house, and as soon as the flood tide of population demanded wider borders the "New Boyd" supplanted the old, as the beautiful edifice overshadows the cabin.
At the time of his election as governor he was fifty-six years