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which spans a continent, is destined to become the great
thoroughfare not only for manufactured articles of our own
New England, the agricultural staples of the valley of the
Mississippi, and the gold and silver of the Rocky Mountains
and the Sierra Nevadas, but also the silk of the Indies,
the manufactures of England and France, and the teas of
China. It may indeed be appropriately termed the "Nation's
Great Highway."

This, my fellow citizens, is no mere work of fancy, or fic-
tion, but a substantial reality. The people, the great masses,
have taken hold of it, and the work this day so auspiciously
inaugurated, is destined to go steadily forward to com-
pletion. Whether viewed in the light of a prudential war
measure or regarded in the light of a commercial enterprise,
the Nation is so deeply interested in its speedy completion
that it cannot fail.

The parties who participated here today in this initial step, represent the diversity of interests which are combined to push it forward to a complete consummation. You behold here the engineer, the mechanic, the laborer, the physician, the lawyer, the capitalist, the editor, the telegraph operator, all taking part in the exercises of this hour-and for such, throughout the whole country, is composed of backers of this great enterprise. I cannot close these brief remarks without expressing the gratitude which I feel to the President and the Congress of the United States for the good judgment which they have displayed in giving life to this magic work, and congratulating the people of the whole Union on its commencement and the cheering prospects of its early completion.

In advance of Congress, the Governor said in his message of 1861: "You should, in my opinion, urge Congress to enact a Homestead law at its next session." And in that of 1864, we have the following:

Among the many beneficent acts of legislation, passed by the Congress of the United States, since your last session, may be mentioned the "Homestead Bill." In fact, its success, so just to the settler, and so wise as a measure of national policy, seemed hopeless, while the reins of government were held by such men as controlled the administration preceding that of our present chief magistrate. The honor of the prompt passage of this great measure, is due to President Lincoln and his political friends in Congress.

This question received special attention in all his messages, and after various efforts, congressional action was secured, and the transition made from the territory to a state, during the term of his incumbency. Without any exaggeration, his term of office included the most eventful period of our history, and no state or territory had a more faithful officer or devoted war governor than Nebraska. In the message of 1861, we read:

We are surrounded by tribes of Indians who are more or less tampered with by wicked men, and traitors of the Union; we are in the immediate vicinity of the battle fields of the rebellious states; the regular troops, who have been recently garrisoning our forts, are being rapidly withdrawn; large numbers of our best and bravest young men have been summoned from their homes to aid in fighting the battles of the Union; we have a long range of frontier settlements exposed to the tomahawks and scalping knives of savages. You should, therefore, urge upon Congress, in the strongest terms, the necessity of furnishing our people with the means of defending their homes and families.

The subject received attention in his official communication January 8, 1864:

True, Nebraska has no particular calls made for the services of her militia lately; nothing, however, but the liberality of the general government in supplying our wants with government troops has prevented it.

In 1865 his reference to the theme was as follows:

In the late call for troops to assist in protecting our frontier settlers from the savages, I found myself obliged to rely entirely upon the patriotism and liberality of the people in order to raise and equip a sufficient force to give proper relief to the suffering people.

It was recorded in the message of January 9, 1866, that:

The Indian War upon our Western border to which I adverted in my last annual message, still continues. It was hoped that with the close of the rebellion these troubles would cease; but this hope has proved groundless. Emboldened by success, the savage tribes who have committed these outrages upon the lives and property of emigrants, and upon the Overland Stage line, and Pacific Telegraph,

have become exceedingly reckless and daring in their
murderous forages; and outrages the most atrocious and
wanton in their character are of frequent occurrence. Noth-
ing will, in my judgment, give us peace upon the plains, but
the employment of the most vigorous measures to hunt out
and severely punish the authors of these outrages.

After Gov. Butler (of the State) had convened a Legislature on the 4th of July, 1866, for the election of United States Senator, Congress ordered the Territorial Governor (Alvin Saunders) to convene the Legislature for the purpose of adopting a "condition precedent" to the State's admission into the Union. Accordingly he issued his proclamation February 14th, 1867, and his message to the Legislature February 20th, 1867. Against the state legislature amending the provisions of the constitution, which as voted upon by the people recognized only white voters, the democrats entered their protest in a series of state resolutions in 1868; while at the same time there was not a unity of opinion among republicans on the questions of the right of the State to act, and the policy of extending the elective franchise to the people of color. Indeed, Governor Saunders, the very embodiment of national republicanism, said in his proclamation, to the Legislature:

It no doubt would have been more satisfactory to you, as I frankly confess it would have been to me, if Congress had given the settlement of this question directly to the people of the Territory, instead, of requiring of you, who were not particularly instructed on the subject, to take upon yourselves the whole responsibility of deciding this subject for them.

On the other question he affirmed:

The day, in my opinion, is not far distant when property qualifications, educational qualifications, and color qualifications, as precedent to the privilege of voting, will be known no more by the American people; but that intelligence and manhood will be the only qualifications necessary to entitle an American citizen to the privileges of an elector.

At this time the amendment to the United States Constitution had not passed, establishing impartial suffrage, but in 1870, two

years later, the democratic platform read: "Resolved, that the Democracy of Nebraska accept the adoption of all amendments of the fundamental law of the land as a formal settlement of the questions disposed of thereby."

The State's admission, and the suffrage question both settled and out of the contest, in 1870 the republicans endorsed Grant's administration, commended congress for a reduction of the burdens of taxation and extended sympathy to Germany in her struggle with France; while the democrats resolved, "That all taxation, to be just, must be for a public purpose, equal, and uniform; that the national government has no right to levy a tax upon one individual to advance or promote the interest of another."

The condition, to which the state was to give assent, was, "That within the State of Nebraska there should be no denial of the elective franchise, by reason of color or race," except to untaxed Indians. This having been complied with, the state was formally admitted by the president's proclamation of March 1, 1867, when Governor Saunders was superseded by Governor David Butler. On retiring he indulged in a few parting words to a constituency that, in full, reciprocated his confidence and




OMAHA, NEBRASKA, March 27, 1867. I have this day received official notice from the State Department at Washington, of the President's Proclamation announcing that the Legislature of Nebraska has accepted the conditions proposed by Congress, and declaring the fact that Nebraska is admitted as one of the independent states of the Union. The Governor elect under the state organization being now ready to take charge of the office, my duties as the Chief Executive of the Territory this day cease.

I take pleasure, before retiring from this office, in availing myself of this opportunity of returning my sincere thanks to the people of the Territory for their uniform kindness, and for the alacrity and promptness with which every official demand upon them has been honored, whether in war or in peace. No period of time of the same length since the

organization of our Government has been so eventful and full of interesting history as has been the six years I have been honored with an official connection with the people of Nebraska, and it gives me great pleasure to know that peace and general prosperity now prevail throughout our whole country, and especially to know that no country can truthfully boast of greater peace or more genuine prosperity than can Nebraska.

Especially do I feel proud of the financial condition of the Territory. Six years ago the debt of the Territory was fully two dollars for every man, woman and child in it, and the warrants of the treasury were selling at from twentyfive to thirty cents on the dollar. Now her paper is at par, and she is ready to pay every dollar of her indebtedness of whatever character, so that the new state can commence her career without a dollar of debt hanging over her. This condition of affairs, so far as my knowledge extends, is without a parallel in the history of new states, and gives cause for mutual and general congratulation. While our officers and people have been so attentive to the finances of our country, they have not been idle or wanting in other important particulars, for during the war Nebraska furnished as many troops as any other state or territory in proportion to its population, and no soldier from any quarter showed more valor or made a better record for bravery or true soldierly conduct than did those from Nebraska. So, viewing it from any standpoint, I feel proud that I have been permitted to occupy so conspicuous a position among a people so patriotic, prompt, and appreciative. With my best wishes for the prosperity of the whole people, of our new State, and for its great success, I am, etc., ALVIN SAUNDERS.

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