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and large values in personal property from execution against debtors who are the heads of families?
Have not liens been provided for mechanics and laborers by which their wages may be secured upon the property in which they have put forth their efforts?
Have not poor persons been permitted to sue in the courts, state and national, without the payment of costs or the giving of security for costs?
Have not laws been passed providing for the appointment of attorneys to defend, without compensation, poor persons in the criminal courts and, in some instances, in the civil courts?
Have not laws been so constructed that courts are directed to enter judgment in favor of the laborer who has to bring suit to recover his wages or enforce his rights against a corporation for a stated sum to recover his attorney's fees?
Have not the hours of labor to make up a day been declared by law as to the public service and on public works?
Have not the wages of labor been made preferred claims in the administration of estates, and in some cases are not wages made preferred claims generally?
Have not laws regulating passenger and freight rates on railroads and other lines of transportation, and also the charges of public warehouses and elevators been instituted during the last fifty years?
In the same time have not national and state commissions been created to supervise railway traffic by which charges are supposed to have been reduced two-thirds or more?
Have not statutes reduced the rates of interest in nearly all the states and extended the time for the redemption of prop erty after the foreclosure of mortgages or deeds of trust?
In that half century have not railroads been required to fence their lines or pay double damages resulting from failure to fence?
Have not railroads in that period been also required to furnish safe places and appliances for their workmen?
Have not manufacturers and mine owners been required to provide places and machinery for the safety and comfort of their employes?
Has not the incorporation of labor organizations been authorized in that time by law and Labor Day been made a national holiday?
Have not commissioners of labor, state and national, been appointed to gather statistics and as far as possible to ameliorate the condition of the working classes?
Have not the laws provided against poor men being blacklisted or threatened by postal cards, as to the collection of debts alleged against them?
Have not the public mails and post routes been relieved by law from the carrying of lottery schemes and other fraudulent methods of getting money from the unsophisticated?
Have not the postages been reduced so that, under the operation of the present laws, the people get the county newspapers free of any carrying cost?
Has not slavery been abolished in that time?
Have not foreign laborers been forbidden to come into the United States under contract, and Chinese emigrants shut out?
Have not boards of arbitration, state and national, for the settlement of labor disputes, been created?
In that half century have not homesteads aggregating more than three millions in number been given gratuitously to those who would enter upon them and cultivate them?
In the same time have we not given away a million or more of farms in the United States under the operation of the timber culture law?
Have not free public libraries been established by statute in nearly every state and county of the east and north and in many of the western and southern states?
Have not institutions for the blind, feeble minded, the insane, and deaf and dumb multiplied in every commonwealth of the United States?
Have not institutions for caring for the sick, the aged, and the distressed been improved and increased in numbers a thousand-fold during the last fifty years?
During what other half century has any nation shown a pension list running to $160,000,000 a year to provide for its veteran soldiers ?
In what other country have so many millions of dollars been expended for free public schools and universities in the last fifty years?
And who brought about these beneficent institutions which look after and care for those who are unable to care for themselves?
Were they not the higher class of citizens—the intelligent, the wealthy—who conceived and constructed these homes for those who otherwise might have no homes ?
Are not these evidences of a bountiful, abundant, and a generous charity visible in every state and county and city of the American Union? And, this being the case, with what truth, with what good common sense, and with what justice can any public man endeavor to array the poorer against the richer citizens of the republic? How can anyone declare, in the face of all these gigantic facts, that the gold standard has cursed and shrunken the civilization of the last half century in the great republic of the western continent?
In the records of all the centuries since man began a historic career where can fifty years be found during which the cost of production of staple foods for the human race has been so much reduced?
What other half century can vie with the last half of this in bringing to the great mass of mankind increased comforts and luxuries at constantly lessening cost?
During these fifty years have not the dynamos of most of these power agents, which before the beginning of 1850 had been concealed from human vision, been developed and made to work for the advantage and benefit of the American people?
And under the gold standard, since 1850, has not the population of the United States more than trebled and its wealth multiplied itself nine times?
If the preceding 200 years had recorded on a phonograph all of the inventions, improvements, and labor-saving machines for production and distribution, would they have equalled the showing which the last twenty-five years can make?
But leaving the United States east of the Mississippi river, how has Nebraska been shriveled and tortured under the gold standard since civil government was first established within its boundaries?
Who present of the members of the first legislative assembly of the territory of Nebraska can recall the physical conditions by which that deliberative body was environed in January, 1855?
Was it not more than three hundred miles to a railroad? Were there more than two thousand men, women, and children resident in all the seventy-six thousand square miles which make up the area of this commonwealth?
And yet in forty-two years have not the material, mental, and social conditions—under the gold standard of value-advanced from the crudities, discomforts, and discouragements of the furthermost frontiers to the environments, comforts, conveniencies, and luxuries of modern civilization in all the older settlements of Nebraska?
And will not the acre of land which would buy but a dollar and a quarter in gold in 1856 now purchase from ten to a hundred dollars of the same coin?
And cannot money, which in 1856, 57, 58, '59, and ’60, and even down to 1867, which loaned in Nebraska upon farm mortgages for 12 per cent. per annum, now be borrowed for 8, notwithstanding the alleged appreciation of the dollar?
And cannot railroad bonds, issued upon lines in Nebraska which originally bore 8 per cent., now be floated at 4?
And are not wages more now than forty-two years ago?
And with interest lower, wages higher, and the values of all real property enhanced-ten-fold during the forty-two years, how .can a truthful man, a sincere lover of big facts, declare that the gold standard has been and will continue to be a blighting curse upon the people.
J. STERLING MORTON.
THE FIRST TERRITORIAL LEGISLATURE OF NEBRASKA.
REMINISCENCES BY H. P. BENNET.
DENVER, Colo., September 15, 1896. To the Nebraska Historical Society: At the earnest solicitation of your assistant secretary and librarian, I will attempt to express what I can remember of the first territorial legislative assembly of Nebraska. Forty years is a long time to retain in one's memory anything of interest concerning the assembly not found in the journal of its proceedings, so you need not expect a very extended statement. I might, indeed, draw upon my imagination for embellishments; but such you would not want. Nor would I like to give you anything but the plain truth of the matter so far as I can, even though it be not so strange as fiction.
At the date of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in May, 1854, I resided at Glenwood, Ia. My oldest brother, Isaiah
, A. Bennet, was in the employ of the government in the Indian service, and located at Bellevue. He and I were among the very first to locate claims in Nebraska after the passage of the bill. We made our locations on the Papillion, without, however, moving our families to the ground.
Late in the fall of 1854, S. F. Nuckolls, who had located at old Ft. Kearney (Nebraska City), persuaded me to move from Glenwood, Ia., and join him at Nebraska City. This I did, taking my little family with me in a buggy, and leaving all my household and other effects behind. We boarded at the Downs house, the only public house in the city, for some few weeks before the first election in the territory. At that election I was a candidate for the territorial council from Otoe county, which was entitled to two councilmen, and I was elected, together with Captain Bradford, long since deceased. As I remember the matter, I owed my honorable position as a member of the first session of the Ne