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agement of the Indians over to the war department. He
But this success did not exceed his estimate of the value to be attached to the acquisition of 600,000 acres of land added to Nebraska, by straightening the boundary line adjoining Dakota.
On the 21st day of February, 1881, Mr. Saunders called up his resolution to instruct the committee of commerce in the interest of a large appropriation for improving the Missouri River between its mouth and Yankton, Dakota. He argued the neces sity of the case from the importance of the stream, "which furnishes the largest and richest valley of agricultural lands of any valley in the United States"; and from the necessity of hav ing cheap down river transportation brought in competition with the lines of railroads; opening up a direct line of transportation between the great West and European markets, by way of the mouth of the Mississippi.
The whole question of interstate commerce in connection with railroad subsidies and their extortionate charges and favoritism through draw-backs were drawn into the discussion, illustrated by copious statistics. His imagination covered the Missouri and Mississippi with barges of grain and cattle, and swelled trans-atlantic commerce with countless American transports. In his summing up we have:
The fact is there is no transportation known to the busy world that will compare in cheapness with down-stream navigation. The Almighty made these great thoroughfares for the use of the people. No monopolies can take posses
sion of them and occupy them to the exclusion of others
During his term as senator he was struggling with a great financial loss, the result of the failure of New York partners. Refusing to wipe out his indebtedness by an act of bankruptcy he devoted his private means and future accumulations for several years, and when every claim was finally met at par, exclaimed: "This affords me more pleasure than anything else has ever done, and is the proudest feature of my life."
SENATOR C. H. VAN WYCK.
March 4th, 1881-March 4th, 1887.
Senator Charles H. Van Wyck was born at Poughkeepsie, New York, in November, 1824; graduated at Rutgers College, New Jersey; studied law and practiced; was district attorney of Sullivan County from 1850 to 1856; was elected a Representative from New York to the 36th congress, serving as a member of the committee on mileage; was also elected to the 37th congress, and was appointed chairman of the committee on government contracts; while in congress served in the volunteer service as colonel of a regiment; in 1865 was appointed a brigadier-general by brevet; was a delegate to the "Pittsburg Soldiers'" Convention of 1865; was elected to the 40th congress, serving as chairman of the committee on retrenchment; was a delegate to the state republican convention, 1867; was reelected to the 41st congress, removed to Nebraska in 1874; was a delegate to the state republican convention, 1867; was resenator from 1876 to 1880; was elected United States Senator from Nebraska for six years from March 4th, 1881.
As a part of his personal history, before becoming a citizen of Nebraska, he is entitled to the following brief summary of a career as member of congress from the state of New York:
VAN WYCK AND SLAVERY.
No member of the 36th congress of 1858-60 met the pro-slavery tempest and stemmed the tide more boldly, adroitly and eloquently than C. H. Van Wyck, of the state of New York. For two months the house had been unable to elect a presiding officer, and the clerk of a previous congress had to preside while slavery made its last stand for political supremacy. Republicans, made up of whigs and democrats of the free states, lacked a few votes of enough to elect John Sherman, and finally succeeded with a number of "native Americans" in electing Pennington of New Jersey. The pro-slavery leaders were mostly
of the democratic party and hence were hearty prosecutors of democratic republicans.
On this point of debate the following is collated from the speech of the New York member, March 7th, 1860.
As a democrat I believe slavery to be a crime against the laws of God and nature. From the deluge of democratic speeches I learn that the Alpha and Omega of your religion and democracy are the divinity and benefits of human servitude. In 1854 the invader commenced sapping and mining, seized the outworks, toppled the embattlements to the ground, stormed the strong fortress and obtained possession. Could it be expected that we should sit quietly by and see the acts of every democratic administration rebuked; could we hold political fellowship with those who were willing to crucify the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe? Am I to be reproached as an apostle from democracy? Sir, I would rather desert a political organization than to turn traitor to my own conscience and be guilty of moral treason to my own judgment. The patent of my democracy is in the records of democratic administration, and by it I stand or fall. In 1849 the democratic party in the State of New York became a unit on substantially the basis of Mr. Bronson's letter. The slave power soon forced them from it and from the resolutions of the united democracy in that state the republicans have compiled their political catechism. I only desire the democracy to see to what indignities they must be subjected if they manifest unwillingness to bow down and worship this black Juggernaut of slavery.
Mr. Davidson, of Louisiana, desired to present to the consideration of this house one of John Brown's pikes. Let me urge him to extend his cabinet of curiosities and add one of the chains and branding irons of his coffee gang, tied with the lash with which the backs of women and children are scourged, and then, to watch them, a sleek, wellfed bloodhound with quick scent trained to snuff in the air the track of the fleeing fugitive,-let him present these as the symbols, one of Brown's folly, and the other of his own high type of civilization.
You taunt us with cowardice. Go home and ask the remnant of the gallant Palmetto regiment, who received the shock of battle on the plains of Mexico, where stood the
New York volunteers, who, with them side by side, were
While Mr. Van Wyck met every argument, parried every thrust, unmasked every deception and moved upon every breastwork, his bold aggressiveness became so unbearable to the masters of the lash that Davis, of Mississippi (not Jefferson), exclaimed, "I pronounce the gentlemen a liar and scoundrel."
MR. DAVIS: Will you go outside the District of Columbia and test the question of personal courage with any southern man?
MR. VAN WYCK: I travel anywhere and without fear of anyone. For the first eight weeks of this session you stood upon this floor continually libeling the North and the people of the free states, charging them with treason and all manner of crime and now you are thrown into great rage when I tell you a few facts.
This speech, so very elaborate and exhaustive, established the fact that the New Yorker could neither be worsted in the argument nor bullied into silence, and gave him a strong hold upon a constituency who echoed his utterance, "You cannot, you dare not resist. We threaten not with bayonet, revolver or bowie knife, but with the silent ballot, which executes a freeman's will as lightning does the will of God.'”
Congress closed this session June 28th, 1860, and commenced again December 3d, 1860. During the interval the republicans had elected Mr. Lincoln president, and the disunionists were preparing for secession. Again Mr. Van Wyck appears upon the stage, and, clad in the armor of the fathers, challenges the con