William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


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The Thirteenth Kansas Legislature, Thomas A. Osborn, Governor, met January 14, adjourned, March 7. Presidnet of the Senate, E. S. Stover; Speaker of the House, Josiah Kellogg.

January 21, George W. Martin was elected State Printer, on the third ballot, the vote being, for Martin, 68; for S. S. Prouty, 58.

The voting for a United States Senator was begun January 28. One that day a vote was taken in each branch with the following result: Senate - S. C. Pomeroy, 10; D. M. Valentine, 1; J. M. Harvey, 6; William A. Phillips, 2; D. P. Lowe, 5; C. A. Logan, 2; John M. Price, 3; Thomas A. Osborn, 2; J. M. Morton, 1; Charles Robinson, 1. House - S. C. Pomeroy, 40; J. M. Harvey, 19; D. P. Lowe, 13; C. A. Logan, 11; John M. Price, 3; D. M. Valentine, 2; John T. Morton, 4; Charles Robinson, 3; John J. Ingalls, 1; T. H. Walker, 1.

Corruption in High Places. - The election of United States Senator occurred Wednesday, January 29. The joint ballot of the two Houses was as follows: John J. Ingalls, 115; D. P. Lowe, 6; Sidney Clarke, 2: Alexander M. York, 2: Charles Robinson, 1; S. A. Kingman, 1.

Before the balloting began, Col. Alexander M. York, Senator from Montgomery County, addressed the joint convention. He stated that on Monday night he had visited Senator Pomeroy's room, in the dark and secret recesses of the Tefft House, and there, in an interview with the Senator, bargained his vote for the said Pomeroy, in consideration of $8,000, of which sum promised, $2,000 was paid him at the time of the interview, $5,000 paid him on the following day, and $1,000 promised when he had cast his vote for Pomeroy. In corroboration of the astounding disclosure, Col. York advance to the Chief Clerk's desk, and placed upon it two parcels of money, which he desired should be counted and held thereafter for the expenses of prosecuting S. C. Pomeroy for bribery and corruption. The packages were found to contain, one $2,000 and the other $5,000 - $7,000 in all. Following this disclosure, Senator Pomeroy did not receive a single vote, and John J. Ingalls was elected by nearly the unanimous vote of the Legislature.

A suit was immediately instituted against Senator Pomeroy, in the State courts for bribery.* (*The case of the State of Kansas against S. C. Pomeroy, for the bribery of A. M. York, came before Judge John T. Morton, at Topeka, June 16, 1873, and on motion of Pomeroy's counsel, was continued to the next term. June 8, 1874, the case was again brought before Judge Morton at Topeka. It was agreed that the case should go to trial July 27. July 27, the motion on the part of Pomeroy's counsel to quash the information, being overruled by Judge Morton, a change of venue was taken and the case sent to Osage County. For the end of the case, see annals of 1875.)

February 4, the House, by a vote of 74 to 8, requested Senator Pomeroy to resign. On the same day, the Senate passed a resolution requesting the United States Senate to appoint a committee to investigate the charges of bribery against S. C. Pomeroy. February 5, the State Senate requested Pomeroy to resign by a vote of 21 to 9. On the same day, the House asked United States Senator Caldwell to resign by a vote of 51 to 39.

A joint committee, appointed by the two branches of the Legislature, to investigate the charges of bribery against S. C. Pomeroy, reported March 6, as follows:

The committee appointed to investigate charges of bribery and corruption against Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, United States Senator, during the Senatorial election in the State of Kansas, in January, A. D. 1873, to whom was referred the foregoing resolution, beg leave to submit the following report:

WHEREAS, in pursuance to said resolution, the said committee have carefully examined a large number of witnesses, and from said evidence have adduced the following facts:

(1). That S. C. Pomeroy, while a United States Senator, and during his candidacy for re-election to said position, did attempt to use money, both himself and by those professing to be his authorized agents, to corrupt members of the present Legislature in influencing and attempting to influence them to vote for said S. C. Pomeroy for United States Senator.

(2). That the said S. C. Pomeroy did, on the 28th and 29th days of January, 1873, pay to one A. M. York, a member of the Senate, of the State of Kansas, the sum of $7,000, to influence his vote for the said S. C. Pomeroy for United States Senator.

(3). That Richard Stephens, professing to be a friend to the said S. C. Pomeroy, did attempt to bribe with money, on William Bateman, a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas, to vote for S. C. Pomeroy for United States Senator.

Therefore, we, the committee, do find that the said S. C. Pomeroy is guilty of the crime of bribery, and attempting to corrupt, by offers of money, members of the Legislature of the State of Kansas.

Therefore your committee request to be discharged from further consideration of this subject.

Committee on part of the Senate.
Committee on part of the House.

February 9, Senator Pomeroy, in the United States State, denied the charges of bribery and corruption, and asked that a committee investigation be appointed. A committee was appointed, consisting of Senators Frelinghuysen, Buckingham, Alcorn, Vickers and Thurman. The Committee commenced its investigation February 17, and made its final report March 3. The arguments before the Committee were made, in behalf of A. M. York, by B. F. Simpson; in behalf of Senator Pomeroy, by Caleb Cushing and Albert H. Horton.

The witnesses examined were: Alexander M. York, William A. Johnson, James C. Horton, Frank Bacon, William H. Bond, B. O'Driscoll, William Simpson, William Matheny, Edward Searcy, William E. Guerin, David L. Payne, C. J. Hanks, D. W. Houston, Asa Low, J. P. Brown, J. S. Hoke, John A. Martin, George T. Anthony, Daniel H. Horne, R. W. Wright, J. L. Sharp, Thomas Murphy, J. Z. Sexton, W. R. Laughlin, Sidney Clarke, John J. Murphy, C. A. Rohrabacher, I. S. Kalloch, Asa Hairgrove, John M. Holmes, P. B. Maxon, John Q. Page, J. D. Liggett, Robert McBratney, F. M. Shaw, John McDonald, John A. Joyce, Chester Thomas, A. H. Horton, Samuel C. Pomeroy, Stephen A. Cobb.

The following is the statement of Senator Pomeroy, made under oath, before the committee, February 25:

GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE: I submit herewith a true statement of the facts as they relate to my action in the cases of bribery and corruption now pending before this committee.

It is a gratification to me that all the material facts are well established by competent testimony, so that very little is at issue upon my own individual statement.

And First, I deny that I gave at any time authority or permission to any man to use any money or other valuable thing to control or influence improperly the votes of any members of the Legislature in the State of Kansas, and specifically deny that I ever gave such authority to the gentlemen named or designated by the witnesses upon this trial, to wit: Mr. A. H. Horton, C. A. Rohrabacher, J. S. York, J. T. Brown, J. J. Murphy, A. Low, or to either one of them. And, secondly, that while I never delegated such authority to others, I positively never exercised it in any instance myself.

Senator Simpson, from the Neutral Lands, often spoke to me of the conditions of the settlers there, and as often I spoke of my desire to relieve them, not only by the passage of the bill pending before the Senate, but by every means in my power. When he spoke of a letter he had received from Mr. Laughlin, stating that his means of support in Washington had become reduced to "$2.50," and they had no means of continuing him here save by voluntary contribution, I told him I was a friend of those poor settlers, and would, if any event, contribute to his support. As soon after reaching Washington I met Mr. Laughlin, and although his friends did not support me, and did not promise me any support, still I did what I said I would, and gave him, as he testified, $50; and hence it is certain that my contribution had no relation to any man's vote who represented those people, for I never even had the promise of a vote, or expected a vote from that locality.

And if one well-established fact of bribery, outside of the charge of Mr. York, has been proved by witnesses testifying either here or at Topeka (where I have not pretended to have a man to defend or represent me), I do not know it, and do not believe it.

And now as to the charge of this Mr. York, and his associate conspirators, I will say the true facts have been already stated by witnesses, and the transaction already seen to be a purely business one, having no relation whatever to his vote, which, on several occasions, I had learned of his pledging to me. About the last of the week before the Tuesday set for the first ballot, Mr. T. B. Eldridge, M. W. Reynolds, Mr. De Long, and others, all from his own county, assured me with more or less positiveness of York's support.

But some days before I learned that, I had, after much deliberation, agreed to aid Mr. J. Q. Page and associates to start a National Bank at Independence, where Page had a private bank, and having satisfied myself of his ability, capacity and fitness for the management of such an institution, I agreed to furnish him with money sufficient, which when put with his $25,000, would make a sum sufficient to purchase thirty United States bonds, of the denomination of $1,000 each.

Mr. Page urged and was anxious to procure the money before he left Topeka, and I told him it was inconvenient for me to furnish over $2,000 then, but would get it soon, and he might depend upon it, and make his arrangements accordingly.

At this time I met at the Tefft House, Mr. W. P. Borland, of the Second National Bank of Leavenworth, who inquired of me if I should not need some currency before leaving Topeka, as he thought from appearances my hotel bills would be large. At first I told him no. The next day I met him, and said I should like to get $5,000, for forty or sixty days, as I had agreed to help a friend organize a National Bank, and he would refund it as soon as he got his currency from the Government.

He then brought me a package, said to contain $5,000, which I never opened or counted, or even gave a note or receipt for at the time, and I put the same in my valise.

Upon Monday night, the 27th, Mr. York came to my room, having seen me, or sent me word several times that he would, and at once began to report what had been going on at the anti-Pomeroy caucaus, and I heard him through. Before leaving, he spoke of the favor I had granted his friend Page, and said Page had requested him to get the money and forward it to him at Independence, and that he, York, should leave soon after the election, for home.

I told him I was not prepared at that time to furnish it, although I had promised it to Page before I left the city. Mr. York spoke: Said that perhaps I had no confidence in him. I assured him of my confidence, and told him I could furnish $2,000 at that time, and thought I should be able to furnish $5,000 more the next day. The amount necessary, I had calculated would be, from $5,000 to $8,000, to pay for the bonds and their premium, in addition to the $25,000 Mr. Page and his associates could furnish.

I then paid him the first installment of $2,000, and the next day I paid the package of $5,000, just as I had received the same from Mr. Borland, and neither gave Mr. Borland nor took a receipt. But during that day I had sent Mr. Knight at one time, and Mr. Lemuel Pomeroy at another time, to find Mr. Page, if he had not left the city, to inform him of the whole transaction. But these gentlemen both returned, saying that they were unable to find Mr. Page, and I rested in the belief that the transaction was all right until I head of the misrepresentation of the facts by Mr. York, upon the floor of the Joint Convention. I then denounced it as a conspiracy, a plot, and told my counsel here, Judge Horton, the whole story, and within a few days, left Kansas for Washington.

This, in brief, is the history of that charge of bribery for which I asked of the Senate a committee to investigate, and this one act (the transaction with Page and York), I now solemnly declare had no reference whatever to the vote of York, and was made and executed entirely independent of it.

I make this statement upon my honor as a Senator, and upon my oath, and I further "specifically deny," as I stated in the Senate when I demanded this investigation, that I ever entered into any contract or agreement, directly or indirectly, with any man, a member of the Kansas Legislature or not, for a vote in my favor, or that I ever, directly or indirectly, paid or promised to pay any individual one dollar, or any other sum, for his vote for me in the late Senatorial election in Kansas.

The majority report, signed by Frelinghuysen, Buckingham and Alcorn states:

The committee, bearing in mind, while examining the evidence, that the whole transaction, whatever view be taken of it, is the result of a concerted plot to defeat Mr. Pomeroy, and remembering that the burden of proof is on the party making the accusation, having come to the conclusion that Mr. York has not sustained his charge by sufficient proof, contradicted as it is by the evidence of Mr. Page and Mr. Pomeroy.

Senator Thurman reported:

I also believe that the testimony convicts Mr. Pomeroy of having attempted to bribe Senator York of that Legislature, to vote for him; that Pomeroy delivered to York $7,000 is not denied.

Senator Vickers reported:

I cannot decide that the guilt of Mr. Pomeroy is established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Senator Pomeroy's term expired on the day following the report of the Committee, March 4.

In the case of Senator Caldwell, the committee ordered by the United States Senate by the resolution of May 11, 1872, before quoted, commenced the investigation January 10, 1873. The examination of witnesses closed February 5.

The following witnesses were examined: Sidney Clarke, J. M. Luce, Johathan Hammond, William Spriggs, William H. Carson, Thomas J. Anderson, Leonard T. Smith, Ira C. Buzick, Joel Thomas, James L. McDowell, Jacob Smith, Daniel R. Anthony, William H. Peckham, John Fletcher, Fred K. Hunt, J. M. Steele, Thomas L. Bond, George W. Wood, James Phinney, Thomas Carney, William S. Burke, James H. Snead, C. H. Stilwell, Edwin C. Manning, Henry Foote, Claudius B. Brace, J. G. Reaser, George S. Smith, John L. Pendery, Thomas P. Felon, Jeremiah Clark, S. J. Langdon, G. G. Gage, Frank H. Drenning, Chester Thomas, Sol. Miller, O. J. Hopkins, G. M. Simcock, M. H. Insley, L. J. Worden, James F. Legate, Charles Columbia, David A. Comstock, Robert Crozier, Theodore C. Sears, Isaac D. Clapp, William Williams, D. W. Thomas, George B. Sherwood, and A. C. Van Duyn. Attorneys for Senator Caldwell were, Caleb Cushing and Robert Crozier.

The committee reported, through the Chairman, Senator Morton, February 17. The conclusion of the report was as follows:*

It has been a subject of discussion in the Committee whether the offenses of which they believe Mr. Caldwell to have been guilty should be punished by expulsion or go to the validity of his election, and a majority are of the opinion that they go to the validity of his election, and had the effect to make it void. Wherefore the Committee recommend to the Senate the adoption of the following resolution:

Resolved, That Alexander Caldwell was not duly and legally elected to a seat in the Senate of the United States by the Legislature of the State of Kansas.

In conclusion, the committee remark that, while Mr. Caldwell did things to procure his election which cannot be tolerated by the Senate, they believe he was as much sinned against as sinning. He was a novice in politics, and evidently in the hands of men who encouraged him in the belief that Senatorial election in Kansas were carried by the use of money.

*For full report, see Senate Report, No. 451 - Forty-second Congress, third session.

March 6, Senator Morton introduced the resolution recommended in the foregoing report.

March 24, Senator Caldwell tendered his resignation, and, through the vice President, notified the United States Senate, as follows:

WASHINGTON, D. C., March 24, 1873.

Sir - I do hereby very respectfully notify you, and through you the Senate of the United States, that I have resigned, and do resign my seat in that body as a Senator from the State of Kansas; and that I have forwarded by mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of that State, at Topeka, Kansas, a resignation in the following form to wit:


Sir - I hereby respectfully tender you my resignation as a Senator of the United States from the State of Kansas, to take effect immediately.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

His excellency, the Governor of Kansas, Topeka, Kansas.

Hon. Robert Crozier was appointed United States Senator, to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of Senator Caldwell, November 22.

During the session of the Legislature, twenty acts were passed authorizing the issuance of municipal bonds; the boundaries of the counties of Decatur, Rawlins, Cheyenne, Sheridan, Thomas, Sherman, Clark, Ford, Hodgeman, Ness, Lane, Buffalo, Foote, Meade, Scott, Sequoyah, Arapahoe, Seward, Wichita, Kearney, Grant, Stevens, Greeley, Hamilton, Stanton, Kansas, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford were defined; a State Board of Education was created; the Fifteenth Judicial District was created; an act passed providing for an amendment to the Constitution, increasing the number of members of the Legislature.

The annual State election was held November 4, at which time an amendment to the Constitution was submitted to the people. Railroad Assessors, Judges for the Tenth, Eleventh and Fifteenth Judicial Districts, Senator for Douglas County (to fill vacancy), and members of the House of Representatives were elected. The total vote thrown for Representatives was 89,443. It was an "off year," and a light vote was polled.

The expenditures of the State, for the fiscal year ending November 30, were $444,902.94. Among the items were: Normal School, Emporia, $16,976.03; Normal School, Leavenworth, $5,988.65; Blind Asylum, $11,586.01; Deaf and Dumb Asylum, $35,078.17; Insane Asylum, $25,575; State University, $24,531.53; Penitentiary, $71,200; Printing, $54,089.18; Agricultural College, $23,225.96; State House and Grounds, $9,945.80.

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