Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

in any way your movements, or deliberations." From this
avowal on his part, your committee recommend that the
council continue to transact legislative business in its own
way, determining its own movements and controlling its
own deliberations.

On the 6th day of the term Governor Black served upon the legislature a veto message of "A bill prohibiting slavery in the Territory," which was promptly passed over his veto by a vote of 10 to 3 in the council and 33 to 2 in the house. Of the votes in the council 8 of the 10 were cast by republicans and 2 by Douglas democrats. Of these republicans Dundy became United States district judge, Elbert governor of Colorado, Marquette and Taffe representatives in Congress, Strickland, Douglas democrat, United States district attorney, and Thayer and Tipton United States senators, evidence sufficient that the people were not misrepresented on the slavery question. On a motion of Mr. Tipton the public printer was ordered to accompany the governor's message with the action of the Legislature in passing the bill over the veto, on which subject he delivered the following remarks:

In my humble opinion this veto message is a most remarkable production-remarkable on account of the pertinacity with which his excellency follows up this question of human freedom with ponderous documents, earnest protests, and unavailing entreaties. In its component parts it is equally remarkable, whether you consider it a system of dovetailed fallacies, special pleadings, or sublimated foolishness. If his excellency had a mint of gold with which to bribe this legislature, and we possessed all the logical acumen and captivating eloquence of our race; were we willing to receive the one and exert the other, we could neither give dignity to this document nor force to its conclusions. The honest hearts of our constituents would consign us for our efforts to everlasting political infamy.

The republicans had declared in their Chicago platform, "that the normal condition of all the territories is that of freedom, and we deny the right of Congress, or of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any

territory of the United States." National democrats held that slavery was national, and could follow the master at his pleasure. The Douglas democrats, followers of the distinguished Illinois senator, claimed that the people, as an act of "popular sovereignty," could "vote it up or vote it down," according to their preferences. Before the end of the session Gov. Black found numerous occasions to exercise his veto, and in no additional case did the legislature reverse his decision. On the last day of the session he concluded his last veto message with the following sentences:

This is the last day of your session, and this communication is about the last I shall have an opportunity to submit to the legislative assembly. When I had the honor to occupy a seat on the bench, I trust I was persevering and firm in vindicating the great right of protection to life which the law extends to every human being. The position then occupied I am unwilling to change, even by a distant and remote conviction. Wherefore this bill, which seems to excuse, if it does not justify, a felonious homicide, is not approved.

On the 11th of January, 1861, when the hands of the clock indicated final adjournment, as a passenger from the deck of the vessel waves a final adieu to friends on shore, the council, on motion of General Thayer, sent to the house greeting:—

RESOLVED, That we hereby heartily and cordially endorse the official conduct of the executive of this Territory, His Excellency, Hon. Samuel W. Black, for his gentlemanly and courteous treatment of the members of this legislature, and for the prompt, efficient and energetic manner in which he has discharged the duties devolving upon him during the session of this legislature, and during his term of office.

The 24th of the next month marked the departure of the gov ernor to his native Pennsylvania, and on the following June dates the death of Col. Black, shot from his horse at the head of a Union regiment, leading a desperate charge against a Confederate army. A statement of his tragic death was communicated to the Nebraska State Historical Society by his daughter.1

Vol. III., 1st series, 94, 95.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Hon. A. S. Paddock came to Nebraska under the most favorable circumstances possible for a young man of ambitious tendencies, being twenty-seven years of age and possessing a good education, free from all public vices, and with a "sound mind in a sound body," possessed of fundamental principles of law, and the experiences of self-support. Pioneer neighbors naturally hailed him as one qualified for counsel and aggressive action, a new man, in a new country, where a new set of political issues were beginning to monopolize public attention. Having inherited anti-slavery sentiments from a New England ancestry, his natural affiliations would be with Fremont as a presidential candidate in 1856, and for Lincoln in 1860. When, therefore, he met New Yorkers in the Chicago convention in 1860, from whom he had parted as an emigrant in 1857, and was with them in voting for William H. Seward for nominee, a mutual co-operation in the future was easy and natural. With Lincoln elected and Seward in the cabinet, and the prestige of a campaign orator associated with the name of Mr. Paddock, the appointment was made and confirmed, and he entered upon the duties of Secretary of Nebraska April 1st, 1861. In 1864 he was candidate for nomination before the republican convention of Nebraska, for delegate in congress, with T. M. Marquette, P. W. Hitchcock and T. W. Tipton as friendly competitors. Each being voted for separately, Mr. Tipton lacked four votes of the nomination while Mr. Marquette was a few short also. On the next ballot the first count gave Mr. Paddock a majority of one, but before the announcement a delegate claimed the parliamentary right of changing his vote, which left it a tie. Up to this point the friends of Mr. Hitchcock had been casting com

plimentary votes to each candidate, and now that his time of trial had come, all were "returned with interest," and he received the nomination.

In 1866, while Mr. Seward was still in the cabinet of Andrew Johnson and many conservative republicans were sustaining the administration, Mr. Paddock became a candidate for Congress, receiving a conservative republican and democratic vote, but failed of election by a majority of 848 votes, in favor of John Taffe.

In 1867 President Johnson gave him the nomination of Governor of Wyoming territory, which was finally declined. Subsequently he was elected a senator of the United States, in 1875, and re-elected in 1887, while in the interim he served on the Utah commission.

Among the many duties devolving upon him as acting governor, was his preparation for the subjugation of the hostile Indians in the year 1862.

Powerful bands of In

OMAHA, NEBR., TERRITORY, Sept. 9, 1862.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secy of War:
dians are retiring from Minnesota into the northern
counties of this Territory. Settlers by the hundreds are
I can turn out a

fleeing. Instant action is demanded.
militia force, a battery of three pieces of six pounders,
and from six to ten companies of cavalry and mounted in-
fantry. The Territory is without credit or a cent of money.
Authorize me to act for the general government in pro-
viding immediate defense and I can do all that is necessary
with our militia, if subsisted and paid by the government.
A. S. PADDOCK,

Sec'y and Acting-Governor of Nebraska.

Authority being granted, all preliminary steps were taken, the Second Nebraska cavalry organized and placed under the command of Col. Furnas, and a complete victory obtained over the savages in the battle of Whitestone Hills, with the Brules, Yankton and Blackfeet Sioux.

When the legislature convened in January, 1867, the governor being absent on official business, the duty of presenting the annual message devolved upon the territorial secretary, Hon.

A. S. Paddock. The facts and figures of the accompanying reports of state officers belonged to the administration of Governor Saunders, while the secretary was entitled to full credit for most wise and conservative views upon the national land system, results of the war, impartial suffrage, and kindred themes of vital importance to the embryo state.

The financial statement gave an available surplus of $61,810, whereas six years before, the date of the governor's first mes sage, the indebtedness was $37,226. The revision of the laws had been accomplished in an admirable manner. "The wise economy" of the homestead law "had been no more clearly illus trated than in this territory." Said he, "How much wiser then the economy which gives to productive industry the possession of the national domain free of cost, than that which disposes of it in large tracts to speculators, in whose hands it remains unoccupied and unimproved, a veritable obstacle in the way of the rapid settlement and development of the country." Among numerous recommendations made to the legislature was that for a memorial to Congress protesting against any future cash sales of public lands, or withdrawing from market for prospective railroads, or locations by script or warrants unless for new state uses, and also asking that government buy the Union Pacific railroad lands and devote them to free settlement. was also recommended that a liberal amount be appropriated to secure the active labors of immigrant agents, and to accomplish a geological survey of the Territory. In order to bring in closer relations, commercially and socially, the inhabitants north and south of the Platte, a free bridge was urged as an unavoidable necessity.

It

A very satisfactory review of the railroad situation was closed as follows:

Such brilliant railroad prospects have very rarely, if ever, presented themselves to the people of a new state or territory. Nature bas marked this spot, equi-distant from the two great oceans, as the pivotal center of the railroad system of America. God grant that the Union Pacific railroad, which is the true base of all prosperity, may be

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »