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these gentlemen, and the stewards under them, in my ef-
In dealing with his immediate fellow-citizens and the outside world he was equally explicit and fair:
The fact that nearly or quite half of the lands within the State lie west of the line of humidity sufficient to insure an unbroken succession of crops, renders irrigation necessary to protect the people against disaster in unusually dry years. The partial failure from drouth in 1890-92-93, and the almost total failure of 1894, has awakened the people to the necessity of providing for watering the growing crops by artificial means. The soil of western Nebraska, where, to some extent, want now prevails, is as fertile as that of any portion of the United States, and in the years past has yielded abundant harvests in response to the efforts of in-' dustrious settlers.
RAILROADS AND BEET SUGAR.
Thoroughly impressed with the fact of the State's adaptation to the cultivation of the sugar beet and of the value of that great industry, he suggested a bounty where a specific price had been paid the cultivator of the beet, but which should stop as soon as the United States government gave the sugar industry protec tion. He declared the court decision "disappointing and unsatisfactory," in admitting the constitutional power to legislate upon freight rates, and then nullifying the law for want of adaptability and the financial ability of the railroads, and suggested an appeal to the court of last resort. During his administration he had specially received and turned into the state treasury $36,595.
With a carefully prepared and condensed message, and in a spirit of kindness he made his official bow.
In relinquishing an office which came to me in a manner highly complimentary I do so with the consciousness of having tried to be of service to the people of the State who have so frequently honored me. How well I have succeeded they must decide. I shall carry with me pleasant recollections of the kindly relations which have existed between myself and those with whom I have associated or had to deal with in an official way.
GOVERNOR SILAS A. HOLCOMB.
Hon. Silas A. Holcomb was born in the state of Indiana in the year 1858, and is, consequently, 37 years of age, in this 1895. His early education was obtained in the common and Normal school before his 17th year, when he assumed the duty of teacher. During four years of teaching he was preparing for college; but his plans were seriously deranged on account of the death of his father in 1878. One year thereafter he arrived in Hamilton County, Nebraska, with his mother and younger brothers and sisters. Thoughtful, industrious and persevering, he accepted the first honorable opening for employment, work upon a farm, for one year, and in 1880 entered the law office of Thummel & Platt, at Grand Island, and came to the bar in 1882. In 1883 he removed to Broken Bow, and in 1891 was elected Judge of the 12th Judicial District.
Though a populist and allied with the silver democrats, he was elected Governor in 1894, while the State went republican by pluralities of from twelve to twenty-five thousand.
The election of Silas A. Holcomb, of the Populist party, in 1894, took place during the 40th year of our congressional representation (the limit of these sketches). He has been preceded by Burt of South Carolina, Izard of Arkansas, Richmond of Illinois, and Black of Pennsylvania, all democratic territorial governors, and Saunders, republican, from Iowa; also by elected governors of the State, Butler, Furnas, Garber, Nance, Dawes, Thayer and Crounse, republicans, and Boyd, democrat. Governor Crounse, his immediate predecessor, had been inaug. urated by a populist legislature, while he was inducted into office by a republican one. In the great political upheaval of 1894 the populists lost the legislature and gained the Governor, while the republicans, losing the Governor, gained the legislature, and consequently the United States Senator, John M.
Thurston. The canvass had been one of exceeding bitterness. Cleveland democrats had been charged with being allies of Wall Street bankers, bondholders and brokers; republicans with being in the same boat, and pandering to capital by high protective tariffs; while populists were denounced by both of the old parties, as the destroyers of state credit, advocates of vagaries and extremists generally. Silly opponents fancied the inaugural of Governor Holcomb would give forth sulphur, be lurid in war paint and intimate scalpels and daggers. Populists, silver democrats and independent republicans, who had supported him, had no fears of the result and were delighted with the effort. Exceptional in taste, pure in style, and admirable in scope, dealing only in living issues, the production carried its own vindication. Almost the first subject treated was
I regret the necessity demanding a careful consideration
While this drouth extended practically over the entire
in the drouth-stricken district. If patience and long-suffer-
Our great State is able to take care of its own poor and
After dwelling upon the success of irrigation upon small scales, he broached the bold and comprehensive theory of Nati: nal aid:
The great water ways in the State and on its borders have heretofore in early spring run bankful of water. In the early summer they have joined with the waters of the Mississippi and Ohio, and many seasons have spread devastation over the fertile bottoms of Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, while the vegetation of a portion of Nebraska was in many places withering and drying for want of water. The government has seen fit to expend millions of dollars in the construction and maintenance of great levees to protect the property and lives of the people residing along the rivers in the south. Would it not conserve a double purpose and be productive of inestimable good to both sections if the government would direct its efforts towards turning the waters of the western tributaries of the Mississippi River into great reservoirs and thence into irrigation ditches for the development of sections of the country which now produce very little?
A proper system of irrigation would doubtless make the fertile plains of Nebraska and similar states produce an inexhaustible supply of the sweetest vegetables and best cereals, and thus by spreading the water in the springtime would reclaim the great river bottoms of our southern neighbors and make them kings of corn and cotton countries.