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compete with the others named for public favor and patronage, but "results" not being visible from our "point of view,"we are compelled to abandon the search.
Before closing this hastily written paper we should notice another act of the "Pioneers” in the educational line, which we are persuaded has furnished its "results” and borne abundant fruit. The title of that act was, "An act to establish a common school system.” The bill contained seventy-three sections, was evidently prepared with care, and provided for territorial, county, and school district officers, specifying their several duties with considerable minuteness. From it has probably grown up our now complete common school system. The librarian of the territory was made the superintendent of public instruction, with a yearly salary of $200. In some respects the bill was crude when surveyed from a “legal point of view," but in no sense to be despised. That act alone should give the "Pioneer Session" a lasting hold upon the affections of the Nebraskan of to-day and of the future.
View of Judge J. H. Broady. Delivered before the Society January 13, 1897.
Ladies and Gentlemen: There are two kinds of titles, the original kind and the artificial kind. The artificial are always in a large majority, but the longer they are in our country the smaller that majority. They are brought suddenly into contact with nature. They deal with natural things rather than artificial things, with substance rather than form. They are put upon their individuality, and their individuality crops out continually in a new country more on the average than in an
As to the work of the first legislature of the territory of Nebraska, I can only say that I became a citizen of this state about a dozen years after that took place, and I have not given it any careful attention for the purposes of this talk here tonight. Yesterday I did run through it some, and I had some knowledge of it before. Its great characteristics, it strikes me, are these: The clearness and penetration of the minds of the
men who were in that legislature, indicating superior metal over the average legislature in the older states; and the less amount of illogical verbosity that is so usually found among professional men in law courts and the procedure of legislatures in general. Looking over those acts calls to mind what I heard some one say not long ago. It was the old and general proposition that the less a man knows the longer it takes him to say it. How much more apt those law-makers were to sift out the words that were not necessary, and how well they covered the subject for the purpose they had in view, with a few words, even more effectively than longer acts passed by other legislatures? I am not here eulogizing that legislature. I will leave that to you men who were members of it, as we all like to talk about how much nicer things used to be than they are now. But I will give you a sample of it. And we know, too, that they were not careful about repealing these acts, and did repeal most of what they did at the next legislature. This happened at a time when the democratic party was in power in Washington, and that crops out here the very first thing. That good governor whose image we see here was a good Jacksonian. In those days I believe they were all straight party men. Being a good Jacksonian, and looking for a time when this body should meet, he put it just the right time, the best time in the year: “The said legislature will convene on the Sth day of January, 1855.”
And they were clear and penetrating, as you see when you read the words they put in their acts, though you must concede that the main questions lay deeper down in a great matter than it appears many times. Secretary Morton has indicated in his let. ter something about this prohibition being a recent thing. This legislature made the best prohibition law anybody ever made. Let me just read it, and notice the wording, and notice how they shut up the loopholes through which lawyers might evade the law. (Laws of 1855, p. 158.)
“Section 1. Be it enacted by the council and house of representatives of the Territory of Nebraska, that from and after the first day of April, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five,
it shall not be lawful for any person to manufacture, or give away, sell, or in any way, or by any manner of subterfuge, traffic, trade, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any intoxicating liquors within this territory, to be used as a beverage.
"Sec. 2. The places commonly known as 'dram shops' are hereby prohibited and declared public nuisances, and their establishment shall be presumptive evidence of a sale of intoxicating liquor within the provisions of the foregoing section."
Just look at those words! You can't restrain it; it is a public nuisance and they understood it, and left no escape through the door of a jury trial. And it goes on with the presumption, and they acknowledge it, then and there, that the sale of liquor is a nuisance and can be prevented. The proclamation continues:
"Sec. 3. The establishment or keeping of a place of any description whatever, and whether within or without a building, coming within the spirit and intent of this act, and the establishment, or the keeping a place of any description where other persons are accustomed to resort, providing their own liquors, of the prohibitory character purchased elsewhere and drinking the same there, shall be taken to be within the meaning of this act.
"Sec. 4. Every person engaged in any of the acts above prohibited, or in any way aiding or assisting in such illegal acts, whether as principal or clerk, bar keeper, or otherwise, shall be subject to the penalties herein provided.
"Sec. 5. Courts and juries are required to construe this act so as to prevent evasion and subterfuge and so as to cover the act of giving, as well as of selling in the places above prohibited.
"Sec. 6. Whoever is guilty of violating any of the provisions of this act, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than ten dollars, nor more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than ninety days, or both, in the discretion of the court, and may be prosecuted therefor, either by indictment or by information before a justice of the peace, the punishment shall be fire only.
"Sec. 7. Any person being convicted for a second, or any subsequent violation of this act, shall be fined in a sum not less than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned not more than one year.”
It provides a less penalty the first time. That is a feature that is very meritorious in it. This act provides for an information. Read this act and see the clearness and penetration of the minds of these men who enacted it.
This was a great legislature for granting agencies. A great variety is found in its acts, and here is another feature, which is very brief, viz., to authorize the governor to appoint emigrant agents. “That the governor shall be authorized to appoint and commission for one year, one or more traveling or local emigrant agent or agents, to reside at any point, or to travel upon any of the thoroughfares in the United States.
"It shall be the duty of each agent or agents to disseminate correct intelligence among emigrants coming to the Territory of Nebraska, to give necessary directions as to the proper routes and modes of travel, and to use all proper exertions to induce emigration to said territory."
Those are sections one and two. Section three is a very wise provision as to the compensation of such emigrant agents: "The services of such emigrant agent or agents shall constitute no charge against the territory of Nebraska or the government of the United States." (Laws of 1855, p. 179.)
These legislators struck away out as far as we have gone, in most things in which we have been thinking we had shown so much sense. I have just alluded to the prohibition law. That is in advance of anything I have ever seen anywhere else. And here is a herd law. We have one now, and a week or two ago I was down on the Missouri river, where a man was complaining of the herd law. There was an old fellow down there on the bottoms with a lot of old horses. The way horses are now, they were not worth anything, and he took them down on the bottoms and turned them loose, and let them go around in the cornfields. One man in whose corn the horses had been feeding, talked with me, and he said: “What am I to do? The horses are there feeding and I can't take them up under the herd law, because they are not worth keeping. What am I going to do about it?” I advised him to kill them. And he said he was not au
thorized to kill them, and he might get into trouble, and then I didn't know what to tell him to do. There is no law against malicious mischief, and I didn't know what to tell him to do. But here is their act, and they say it covered it like a top. Here it is:
"Section 3. If any such animal be found running at large, and it be found impossible or dangerous to take up and secure the same, it shall be lawful for any person to kill said animal, and the owner thereof shall sustain no action against such person for so doing." (Laws of 1855, p. 206.)
Another is the impeachment law. We have had some of that in this state, and some in congress. The question is to know whether you can impeach a man not in office, and another question that has been discussed here and at Washington is whether after a man is impeached, he shall exercise the functions of the office until he is convicted. Lawyers and judges have worried their brains about it, but these men had penetration enough to settle it. And another thing we used to discuss among the lawyers is, what is meant by "removal from office and disqualification to hold any other office of honor, trust, and profit,”—whether they could make such a law or whether our constitution and the federal constitution did not settle that, and which should be first or which second, and all that. That is what has caused such a myriad of words, and books and books and myriad words, until it would make a man dizzy to hear them, and then not know as much when he got through as he did when he commenced. Here is what they say upon these points: "Any civil officer of this territory, except county or township officers, may be impeached for corruption or other malconduct in office, as well as for high crimes and misdemeanors. Upon conviction the judgment shall be removal from office. It may also attach a disqualification to hold any office of trust, honor, or profit under the laws of this territory. Every officer impeached shall be suspended from the exercise of his official duties until his acquittal. Conviction on an impeachment does not exempt the offender from a private action or public prosecution for the same act or offense.” (Ibid, 302.)