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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
of the actual want of a great number of our people caused
by the drouth of last year. Nature has bountifully blessed
Nebraska. Her climate is unexcelled and her soil responds
generously to the labor of the husbandman.
For years
prior to 1890 there was an uninterrupted era of good crops.
Rapidly the domain of the rancher was encroached upon by
the farmer. From various states came an energetic class
of good citizens to make their homes in western Nebraska.
Generally they were poor and depended upon the first sea-
son's crop to supply themselves and families with all the
immediate necessities of life, and until 1890 they never relied
in vain. Then came one season when the accustomed rains
failed to fall and hot winds swept over the country, carry-
ing devastation to the fields of growing grain. Since then
there have been alternating good and poor crops culminat-
ing in the general drouth of 1894.

While this drouth extended practically over the entire
country, it was particularly disastrous in the western por-
tion of the State. Distressed by combats with previous par-
tial crop failures, many farmers with only moderate means
were wholly unprepared to meet the drouth. Many had
been unable, on account of the short time of their residence,
to store up grain sufficient to meet the exigencies of this
extraordinary occasion. Some removed from the State, but
the great majority, possessing the utmost faith in the coun-
try, remained, determined to hold on to their possessions

in the drouth-stricken district. If patience and long-suffering make people deserving, the harvest of 1895 should be bountiful.

Our great State is able to take care of its own poor and many of the county boards have, with commendable energy, provided work with compensation for the able-bodied needy in their own counties, but there is still necessity for quick relief to be extended to many portions of the State, so that all her people may be comfortable during the present winter and have an opportunity to seed and work their ground for the coming harvest. I know some claim the legislative body has no right to make the people donate to the needy and that such work should be left to individuals who are charitably inclined, but every government is in duty bound to provide at public expense the necessities to sustain life to its own needy inhabitants, and especially is this the case when the needy are without fault on their part.


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 bas 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.

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Instead of denouncing railroads per se, or urging government control, he declared:

It is an erroneously conceived idea, and quite prevalent, that the interests of the railways and the people of the State are inimical. In fact, the success of each lies principally in the prosperity of the other.

I am of the opinion that if a constitutional amendment creating a board of railroad commissioners, with ample power in the premises, could be submitted to the people it would receive their approval by an overwhelming majority, and I believe this vexed question could be nearer settled satisfactorily in that than in any other manner.


But with temporary relief, and permanent aid for irrigation, with fair and ample facilities for transportation, he urged intelligent economy and the freest exercise of the elective franchise as the great conservator of human freedom:

It is your duty to sacredly guard this right to your fellow electors and to reduce to the absolute minimum any infringement of it. Especially does it seem to me that the employees of the larger corporations should, by wise legislation, have such protecting care thrown about them that they may in the exercise of the right of suffrage act with; out any fear whatsoever from the displeasure of their employers, whose political convictions may be different from their own.

It is undenied that the Australian ballot law was a needed reform and has done much toward purifying elections in Nebraska, but I am confident it would grant a privilege without mischief if the law should be amended by you so that the elector can designate, where it is possible, his choice of candidates and at the same time express by his ballot his political convictions.

I would respectfully suggest that each political party having a fair percentage of the vote in any district should have representation on the election board, and that not more than two judges should be selected from any one political party.

There can be no more important subject for the careful consideration of lawmakers than the protection of the purity of the ballot, and I would most respectfully call your attention to our existing election laws and invite a

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