Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

written His decrees for her prosperity deep in the earth,
and developed His designs in the rejoicing harvests which
return in smiling abundance to them who, betimes, have
sown in tears.

With his eye upon the storm cloud in the sky of the Union, and his ear sensitive to the strains of discord, he came to his final appeal:

The suggestions of self interest and the loftiest patriot-
ism should combine to make the people of the Territories
faithful to the constitution and firm to their attachment
to the Union. When one is the subject of open and frequent
violation, and the other trembles on a sea of trouble,
every good and conscientious citizen will ask himself the
question, what can I do that my country may be saved?
You cannot shut your eyes, nor can I close mine, to the
fearful fact that this confederacy is shaken to the center
and vibrates with intense feeling to its farthest borders.
If it is not in our power to do something to bring back the
days of other years when peace prevailed, let us at least
do nothing towards making the present more gloomy and
the future, at best, but hopeless. Rather with one accord
let us invoke the God of all peace, for "even the wind and
the sea obey Him," that He will subdue the storm and quiet
every angry element of alienation and discord.

Up to the assembling of the legislature in 1860, the govern ment officials had been members of the Democratic party, and those of them from slave states uniformly brought with them one or more slaves, claiming that slavery was national. During the first four or five years of territorial existence the antislavery sentiment of the people had been in restraint by the theory that it was better for the material interests of the new community that they should not antagonize the policy of the party in power. And as the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the struggle to force slavery upon Kansas had threatened the life of the Union, it seemed nothing short of the Republican cyclone of 1860, which brought Mr. Lincoln into the White House, could consolidate the emigrants and check the domineering assumption of official dictators. But the make-up of this legislature proclaimed the emancipation of sentiment and the

dawn of a new political era. Of course there were at all times a few bold spirits, illustrating the fact that a true reformer must be in advance of his times.

On the 23d day of the session, in reply to the governor's message of censure, a committee of whom T. W. Tipton of Nemaha county was chairman, made the following report:

The select committee to which was referred the special
message from the governor, dated December the 16th, 1860,
calling the attention of this body to the fact that only seven-
teen working days of the session remained, and up to that
date he had received no bills for his official signature, have
had the same under consideration and beg leave to report:
First, that from a careful and thorough examination of a
standard almanac, his point in regard to the time is well
taken; and second, that the journal of the council appears
to sustain the second count in the indictment.
We are
happy to learn from his excellency that "“I make this sug-
gestion in no spirit of complaint," for we are certain that
he has no cause of complaint, and had he complained we
would have handed his complaint over to a people who
have been cursed with too hasty, illadvised, and inconsider-
ate legation. But when he says as a reason for prompting
us to action, "Not on my own account alone, but for the
sake of the people, I request that you will endeavor to
hasten the public business," we desire to remind his excel-
lency that the same people whose will has been stricken
down at a previous session, by his veto, has sent us here
to own allegiance to no earthly power but themselves, and
our oaths of office, and further that we represent thousands
of freemen and hold our commissions from them, while he
holds his from the President of the United States. The
people are well aware that no legislature, a large portion
of whom hold for the first time, can in the short space of
twenty days, bring legislative order out of choas, and estab-
lish a judicious revenue system, construct an election law
that will guard the ballot box, equalize the fees of all public
officers, reduce the burdens of taxation by thousands of
dollars, and place a future state on a broad and glorious
platform of constitutional liberty. But if it is a fact that
we have been by day and night laboring in this chamber
and committee rooms, in this behalf for 23 days, may we
not, when successful, return to our constituents in conscious
pride and triumph? In taking leave of this peculiar mes-
sage we concur in the propriety of the following language
of his excellency: "Nor do I assume any right to influence


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 accom pany 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 pleas ure. 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.


1862, 1867.


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

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »