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HON. SAMUEL G. DAILY.
Samuel G. Daily of Indiana effected a settlement at Peru, Nemaha County, Nebraska, in 1857; and before the permanent organization of the Republican party in the Territory, was free to avow his utter hostility to the institution of American slavery. One year prior to this, the first National Republican Convention assembled in Philadelphia, Pa., and nominated for president John C. Fremont, and for vice-president William L. Dayton of New Jersey; while a remnant of the old Whig party nominated Ex-President Millard Fillmore of New York. Mr. Daily had thoroughly adopted the doctrines of the platform:
That we deny the authority of congress or of a territorial legislature, or of any individual or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States while the present constitution shall be maintained.
That the constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exercise of this power it is both the right and duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism-polygamy and slavery.
Ready and willing to do all in his power in aid of these principles, he was elected to the territorial legislature in 1858, and as a delegate in Congress contested the election of Mr. Estabrook in 1859. In 1860 he was a candidate for Congress, subsequent to Mr. Lincoln's nomination, and made a very thorough canvass of the Territory with Mr. Morton, his democratic opponent. In 1862 he succeeded in defeating Judge J. F. Kinney of Nebraska City, and closed a third term in Congress.
On his retirement, Mr. Lincoln gave him the appointment of deputy collector of the port of New Orleans, where he died in September, 1865.
J. STERLING MORTON.
Nov. 3, 1860 (certificate of election) to May 7, 1862 (cessation
Although his name was never entered on the rolls of the House of Representatives in Congress, the history of Nebraska and a manual published by the legislature in 1885 speak of him as elected to Congress. The contest in which he figured in the first session of the thirty-seventh Congress, was the most remarkable in the past history of the government. He was then under thirty years of age, and already stood so high in the confidence of his party leaders that such men as Pendleton of Ohio, Voorhees of Indiana, and Richardson of Illinois became his champions. The latter, who had been governor of Nebraska for one year, said of him:
I know him; I will say of him that, of all the young men in the country, and I am familiar with a great many of them, he has the greatest intellect and the most promising future. I pass this compliment upon him; I have known him for years, and I have watched him well. Beyond the Ohio River there is not a brighter intellect. Gentlemen, you will hear of him hereafter; mark my words.
And I will say of Mr. Daily-and I say it with pleasurethat he is a clever gentleman. He was a member of the legislative assembly when I was governor of Nebraska Territory. I found him ready to support me at all times in the vindication of the law, and in everything calculated to contribute to the welfare and prosperity of the country. I am not here, Mr. Speaker, to say one word offensive to him. But I do think that the American House of Representatives have committed an outrage in permitting the Governor of the Territory, in violation of his oath, in violation of his duty, and in violation of every trust reposed in him, to unseat a delegate, as has been done in this case.
Mr. Daily had also the aid of true political friends. They had, in a previous Congress, ousted a Democrat and seated him,-the political excitement was intense, and now that he came a
second time claiming the right to cast another garland upon the altar of the newly enthroned Republican divinity, the admiration was shared between the gift and the donor. They pointed to his superior skill in strategy, admired his bold aggressiveness, and held him not too rigidly to the rules of rhetoric or the amenities of debate.
On the 9th day of October, 1860, the election for delegates took place. On the 3rd of November, 1860, a certificate of election was issued to J. Sterling Morton, declaring him as having received the largest number of votes, and concluding, "this shall be the certificate of the said election as delegate to Congress, to the thirty-seventh Congress of the United States." The canvass of votes was made by the governor, chief justice, and district attorney, as required by law. Six months thereafter, unknown to the chief justice and attorney, without any re-canvass, or sending of it to the secretary of state for legal record, Governor Black issued a certificate of election to Mr. Daily, the opposing candidate, after Mr. Daily had months before been taking testi mony to contest Mr. Morton's right to the seat in Congress. The reason given for this act was, that fraudulent votes had been discovered to the amount of 122, the deduction of which from Morton's vote elected Daily. The governor enjoined secrecy upon Mr. Daily, saying that he owed Morton money, for which he was being hounded, and if made known his departure from the state might be obstructed.
The second certificate, attempting to revoke the first, was dated April 29, 1861, and as there was an extra session of Congress to commence July 4, 1861, that date would necessarily cause its publication. Mr. Daily stated to the House that, to avoid apparent undue secrecy when on his way east to Congress, he telegraphed an eastern paper of the fact of a new certificate. But Mr. Morton never saw the announcement; and arrived in Washington on the supposition that he was a member of Congress. The former private secretary of Governor Black (March 4, 1862) having made an affidavit of his copying the Daily certifi cate for the governor, "after he (Black) had been removed from
the governorship of Nebraska and Alvin Saunders had been appointed," made an explanatory affidavit in the interests of Mr. Daily April 30, 1862, in which he said he only intended by the word removed to say that it was after his removal so far as the appointment of Governor Saunders removed him, but he was the governor up to the time he left the Territory. Not to be outdone by this flank movement, Mr. Morton showed, by a letter of the Secretary of the Interior, "that Mr. Pentland was appointed a temporary clerk in the general land office March 15, 1862, on the recommendation of Hon. S. G. Daily of Nebraska Territory," implying thereby that Pentland was under obligations to Mr. Daily. This was parried by the assertion that high government officials of Pennsylvania had recommended Mr. Pentland.
When, in connection with the Daily certificate, it was asserted that Mr. Daily had purchased the horse and carriage of Governor Black, as though "one good turn deserved another," he admitted the purchase, but said he got them one hundred dollars under their true cash value. On the subject of the second certificate of election, Mr. Morton said in opening his speech in the House:
He did this because he hated and desired to injure me. It was the vengeance of an assassin and a coward wreaked upon one who had, by loaning him hundreds of dollars, saved him and his family from shame and mortification, saved even their family carriage from public auction at the hands of the sheriff. Mr. Black owed me money and became indignant because I, after he had enjoyed for three years the use of a few hundred dollars, which he had borrowed to return in three days, pressed him for payment.
How this revoked certificate got on the house roll was stated by Mr. Daily in answer to Voorhees of Indiana:
I went to Col. Forney, then clerk of the House, presented my certificate to him, and told him to read it and to consider whether it was proper or wrong; and if proper to put my name on the roll, and if wrong to put Mr. Morton's name on the roll. I told him Morton had another certificate, as he would see by the reading of mine; but when he read it, he said that a man who had been imposed upon by
fraud had a right to correct his own act, as he thought
The first vote taken in this case was upon a motion to substitute the name of J. Sterling Morton for that of Samuel G. Daily, which was lost, and Mr. Daily was sworn in on the second day of the extra session, July 5th, 1861. The second vote involved a refusal to recognize Mr. Morton as a sitting member pending the contest, which carried the case over to the next session of Congress.
As this was the fourth contest in succession from Nebraska, members were reluctant to enter upon its settlement, only that the two certificates for the same election gave it a novel character. It was the true policy of Mr. Morton to be respectful and conciliatory toward the majority, and hence he spoke of the mistake the House made in not allowing him to be sworn into the organization. But it was the policy of Mr. Daily to keep the majority in line, and hence his course of procedure to prejudice the House against his opponent. The war raging, and the very existence of the Union in peril, if the stigma of rebel could be attached to Mr. Morton's name, frauds against such an one would be hailed as blessings in disguise. But when Mr. Daily asserted that he had a letter from a Democrat, a captain in the army, who said Mr. Morton "sympathized with Southern traitors," Mr. Morton exclaimed:
I have simply to say this, that towards the close of the Thirty-sixth Congress, when the nation itself seemed in the convulsions of dissolution, when, amid the roar and din of assembling armies, I heard the voice of the venerable gentleman of Kentucky (Mr. Crittenden) sounding calmly and grandly over and above all the terrible tumult, saying unto the waves of sectional strife, "Peace, peace, be still," I caught the words and echoed them even upon the far-off prairies of Nebraska. If that may have been disloyalty, then I am disloyal; if that may have been treason, I am proud to be called a traitor,-a Crittenden traitor.
MR. DAILY: "Will the gentleman please close with prayer?" He would make no charges himself, but would send up the letter. Members declared it personal and not in order.