KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS

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


LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL ANNALS, Part 5

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1874.

The Fourteenth Kansas Legislature. Thomas A. Osborn, Governor, met January 13, adjourned March 10. President of the Senate, E. S. Stover; Speaker of the House, B. H. McEckron.

January 15, Albert H. Horton offers a resolution for the appointment of a committee to investigate the charges made by Daniel W. Wilder, State Auditor, against J. E. Hayes, State Treasurer. In accordance with the resolution, a committee of investigation was appointed. Their report made February 28, asked the impeachment of the Treasurer. The following managers of the impeachment were appointed March 3, by the House: A. H. Horton, C. B. Mason, F. William Potter, Thomas S. Jones, William P. Hackney, John Martin and T. P. Felon.

March 6, the majority of the committee exhibited articles of impeachment against Josiah E. Hayes, State Treasurer of Kansas. April 30, Treasurer Hayes resigned and John Francis, of Iola, Allen County was appointed State Treasurer. The Senate met as a Court of Impeachment, May 12. Treasurer Hayes having resigned, the House Committee of Impeachment declined to prosecute, and the Court of Impeachment adjourned May 13. The answer to the articles of impeachment was presented by Wilson Shannon, B. F. Simpson and A. Smith Devenney, attorneys for the Treasurer.* (*For full details of the case, see book entitled "Proceedings of the Court of Impeachment sitting for the trial of Josiah E. Hayes, Treasurer, together with the testimony taken in New York, and a detailed statement of Price Raid Scrip paid." Published July 20, 1874.)

The balloting for United States Senator, to serve the unexpired term of Caldwell, commenced January 27, and was continued on the 28th, 29th and 31st, no candidate receiving the required seventy votes necessary to a choice. On February 2, J. M. Harvey was elected on a joint vote of seventy-six votes as against fifty-eight votes thrown for all other candidates.

The most important acts passed were as follows: Apportioning the State into three Congressional Districts; providing for the appointment of State Centennial Managers; defining the boundaries of the counties of Edwards, Kiowa, Stafford and Pawnee; establishing a Fiscal Agency in New York; exempting Mennonites and Friends from military service; requiring the education of all healthy children; repealing the act exempting mortgages from taxation.

The summer of 1874 is memorable on account of the visitation of locusts in such numbers as to nearly destroy the crops of the State and impoverish to absolute destitution a large portion of the farming population in some counties. The destitution was so wide-spread that Gov. Osborn, August 28, called an extra session of the Legislature, to be holden (sic) September 15, to considered the destitution of the citizens and to pass such laws as should be required for the relief of the sufferers. *
(*For further details of the grasshopper scourge, see agricultural report in general history, and special mention in county histories.)

The Legislature met in special session September 15, and adjourned September 22. It passed a law requiring every corporation created by or existing under the laws of the State to keep a general office within the State, and a few other general acts. In the matter for which the body was specially called to meet, an act was passed authorizing counties to issue bonds for relief purposes, and an act authorizing the issuance of State bonds for the relief of destitute people living on the frontier.

Conventions - An Independent Reform Convention met at Topeka, May 27, issued a call for a full State Convention, and adjourned to August 5. On that date the Convention re-assembled at Topeka. A lengthy platform was adopted, somewhat ambiguous in its phraseology, but reformatory in every plank. It condemned the "wasteful extravagance," "innumerable frauds," and "prodigality" perpetrated by the administration; asserted that the National debt should be "paid in strict accordance with the law under which it was contracted;" favored the reduction or abolition of the tariff "on the necessities of common life," and pledged the party to vote for no man not possessing the "Jeffersonian standard of fitness, honesty, capacity and fidelity to the Constitution."

The following nominations were made: For Governor, James C. Cusey; Lieutenant Governor, E. Harrington; Secretary of State, Nelson Abbott; State Auditor, G. P. Smith; State Treasurer, Charles F. Koester;* Attorney General J. R. Hallowell; Superintendent of Public Instruction, H. B. Norton;** Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, W. P. Douthitt; Member of Congress for the First District, Marcus J. Parrott.
(*Charles F. Koester declined the nomination and James E. Watson became the candidate for State Treasurer.)
(**Professor Norton declined the nomination and W. B. Christopher was substituted.)

The Republican State Convention met at Topeka August 26. The following nominations for State officers were made: For Governor (on the second ballot), Thomas A. Osborn; Lieutenant Governor (on the third ballot), M. J. Salter; Secretary of State (on the third ballot), Thomas H. Cavanaugh; State Auditor (by acclamation), Daniel W. Wilder; State Treasurer, Samuel Lappin; Attorney General, A. M. F. Randolph; Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Fraser; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, D. M. Valentine.

The State Temperance Convention was held at Leavenworth September 10 and 11. At this convention was fairly inaugurated the movement for prohibitory legislation, which ultimately resulted in an amendment to the State constitution, prohibiting the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquors in the State. The platform adopted was as follows:

The temperance men and women in the State of Kansas, believing that the time has come when they ought to present a State ticket, composed of honest, temperate and capable men, hereby unite in the following declaration of principles: We are in favor of -
1. The civil and political equality of all men and women.
2. An economical administration of all departments of the Government.
3. Political reform, by selecting for office none but honest and capable men.
4. The legal prohibition of the manufacture, importation and sale, for beverages use, of all intoxicating liquors.
5. The fostering and improvement of our system of common schools.
6. The speedy and exemplary punishment of all public officers guilty of embezzlement, the misappropriation of the public funds, or neglect to perform sworn duties.
7. The immediate and complete protection of our exposed frontier from Indian outrages.
8. The public assistance, by all proper and legal means, of the sufferers from the grasshoppers and drought in the newly settled counties of the State.

But we are inflexibly opposed -
l. To all forms of repudiation, either State, National, or municipal.
2. To the appropriation of the public domain to the building of railroads.

The following nominations for State officers were made: For Governor, Dudley C. Haskell; Lieutenant Governor, P. B. Maxon; Secretary of State, W. H. Robinson; State Treasurer, William Fairchild; State Auditor, C. B. Lines; Attorney General, A. A. Foote; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mrs. M. J. Sharon; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, D. M. Valentine.

Many of the nominees declined the nominations and other candidates were substituted. The Temperance ticket, as voted for, was as follows: Governor, W. K. Marshall; Lieutenant governor, L. Brown; Secretary of State, W. H. Robinson; State Treasurer, William Fairchild; State Auditor, David C. Beach; Attorney General, A. M. F. Randolph; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mrs. M. J. Sharon; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, D. M. Valentine.

The annual State election occurred November 3. The Republican majority was reduced at this election to about 20,000, on a total vote of 86,000. For Governor, the vote was: Osborn, Republican, 48,594; Cusey, Independent, 35,301; Marshall, Temperance, 2,277. For Lieutenant governor, the vote was: Salter, Republican, 52,637; Harrington, Independent, 32,937; Brown, Temperance, 1,207.

Republican Congressmen were elected in the First and Third Districts, and an Independent in the Second District, by the following vote:

First District - William A. Phillips, Republican, 20, 087; Marcus J. Parrott, Independent, 11,223; Nehemiah Green, Temperance, 2,074 - Republican majority, 6,777.

Second District - John R. Goodin, Independent, 14, 965; S. A. Cobb, Republican, 14,240 - Independent majority, 725.

Third District - W. R. Brown, Republican, 14, 581; J. K. Hudson, Independent, 9,932 - Republican majority, 4,645.

The drought and locusts nearly destroyed the crops in Kansas, and much suffering and destitution resulted among the settlers who had recently come into the State. Legislation, looking to the alleviation of the sufferers, was had at the special session of the Legislature; large amounts of money, provisions and clothing were sent to Kansas from the Eastern States, and a widespread movement was inaugurated for relief. A State Relief Committee was appointed November 12, consisting of the following named gentlemen: E. S. Stover, F. S. McCabe, O. T. Welch, F. W. Giles, Henry King, William Sims, S. T. Kelsey, A. L. Vorhees, William C. Tenney, John Fraser, J. C. Cusey, C. H. Lebold, John Geisy, B. H. McEckron, J. H. Edwards, Rev. Mr. McCobas, John A. Martin, George W. Glick, M. J. Morse, G. A. Thompson, Preston B. Plumb, M. M. Murdock, J. H. Crichton, William Martindale, Horace Cooper, E. N. Morrell, M. E. Hudson, Charles W. Blair, Theodore C. Sears, D. J. Brewer, W. A. Johnson and Alfred Gray.

The committee was organized November 19, with the following officers: President, E. S. Stover; Secretary, Henry King; Treasurer, F. W. Giles; Executive Committee - E. S. Stover, Henry King, F. W. Giles, O. T. Welch, F. S. McCabe, M. M. Murdock, William C. Tenney, D. J. Brewer and Thomas Murphy. An address was issued by Rev. F. S. McCabe, John Fraser and M. M. Murdock, The address was issued November 20, and was as follows:

ROOMS OF KANSAS CENTRAL RELIEF COMMITTEE, TOPEKA, November 20, 1874.

To the Citizens of Kansas and People of the Eastern States:

The Kansas Central Relief Committee is organized chiefly to secure aid within our own State for those of our citizens who are victims of the grasshopper plague. In order to the more successful discharge of their duty, the Committee issue this address, directed specially to the residents of Eastern Kansas, and also to our friends in the Eastern State, for whom communications are daily received requesting authentic information as to our condition.

Appreciating the extent to the disaster which had befallen our people, and having full faith in the ability of the State to provide for its own destitute, the Governor convened the Legislature in extra session in September. The Legislature held that under the constitution it had not the power to make appropriations adequate to the emergency, directly from the treasury. It did, however, authorize certain frontier counties to issue their own bonds in aid to the necessities of their citizens. For various reasons not necessary here to enumerate, the legislative action has failed to relieve the wants of the people.

The destitution is not general, but limited. It is mainly confined to the frontier counties, in which the growing crops were destroyed by the grasshoppers in the months of July and August. In the older counties there is abundance to meet the wants of the people, but if there are deficiencies as to some crops, the people have means to procure needed supplies from abroad. With the exception of the frontier counties, into which the last two or three years has poured an unprecedented tide of enterprising and worthy settlers of very limited means, the proportion of people not able to provide for themselves is as small in Kansas as in any State in the Union.

The limits assigned to this address do not allow us to go into details. It is sufficient to say that many persons in the frontier counties are greatly in need of grain, provisions and clothing, and this need will continue throughout the winter and until May or June or next year, including the demand for grain, for seed and for support of work animals in putting in crops.

Even in these frontier counties, the lack of supplies exists chiefly among the immigrants who have come into the State within the last year or so, and who had no dependence for a living but the sod crops which the grasshoppers destroyed. Strictly speaking, a large number of the destitute are hardly citizens of Kansas at all. They have just arrived with very slight resources, from States east of Kansas. In our judgment, it is the duty of those who live in the older portions of the State to see to it that even the immigrant of yesterday, having pushed on to the border with the honest purpose of making a home for himself and his family, shall not lack the necessaries of life. Such a course is dictated equally by justice, by charity and by sound policy.

We are sure that the people of the older and wealthier portions of the State are both able and willing to render assistance to needy neighbors. Our main purpose to the establishment of this committee is to furnish a channel through which churches and other local organizations and societies in this State may send their contributions to those who are entitled to receive them. We earnestly appeal to our own people to take immediate and efficient measures to furnish help to their fellow-citizens who are sufferers, not from any fault of theirs, but through unavoidable calamity. The needs of the sufferers are pressing, and the early arrival of winter forbids delay in efforts for their relief.

We learn that in various parts of the East individuals are soliciting aid for suffers in this State. We have sufficient proof that in some cases these solicitors are unprincipled persons, that they are actuated by selfish motives, and that they are entirely unworthy of confidence.

But we discharge an important duty devolving upon us by our appointment when we warn our friends in the East against placing their benefactions in the hands of unauthorized, irresponsible and mercenary parties.

If there are those outside of this State who desire to aid us in supplying the wants of our hardy, industrious, but now unfortunate pioneers (and generous, voluntary proffers of such aid are being constantly sent to us), this committee affords them a medium through which their contributions may be judiciously applied to the end proposed by the donors and fully accounted for.

All persons now engaged or proposing to engage in soliciting contributions in this State or beyond it, upon satisfying this committee of their fitness for said service, will be recommended to the Executive Department of the State for indorsement. Such indorsement, made by the Governor of the State, will be a guarantee of the responsibility of the party of whom it is granted and the lack of said indorsement in any case should not be overlooked by those to whom application may be made.

Whatever contributions of money or supplies may be sent to this committee will be promptly and judiciously distributed among the needy.

Railroads, probably without exception, will forward relief, freight free of charge, if such freight is shipped to the care of this committee.

Individuals, or local committees, desiring more specific information concerning matters connected with the relief of our people, should address directly the Secretary of the committee, and remittances of funds should be made to the Treasurer, at Topeka.

With emphasis we assert that our suffering people are not wanting in enterprise nor courage, nor in any of the elements of true manhood. The uncomplaining patience with which even women and children are enduring the misfortunes that have fallen upon them, is nothing short of heroic. Our people have not lost faith in themselves, nor in the resources and prospects of the State in which they live, nor in Him without whom not a sparrow falls to the ground.

In their behalf we confidently appeal to the liberality of those who count it a privilege to minister to the wants of the suffering, especially among their own countrymen and kindred.

(Signed)   E. S. STOVER, Lieutenant Governor, Chairman
           HENRY KING, Editor of the Commonwealth, Secretary.
           F. W. GILES, President Topeka National Bank, Treasurer.
           M. E. HUDSON, Master State Grange.
           D. J. BREWER, Justice Supreme Court.
           JOHN FRASER, Superintendent Public Schools.
           WILLIAM SIMS, Overseer State Grange.
           ALFRED GRAY, Secretary State Board of Agriculture.
           F. S. McCABE, D. D., Pastor Presbyterian Church, Topeka.
           O. T. WELCH, President of Topeka Board of Trade.
           S. T. KELSEY, State Board of Agriculture.
           A. L. VORHEES, Russell County.
           Rev. W. C. TENNEY, Douglas County.
           C. H. LEBOLD, Banker, Dickinson County.
           E. M. MORRILL, Brown County.
           J. H. EDWARDS, Ellis County.
           THOMAS MURPHY, Mayor of Atchison.
           G. A. THOMPSON, Harvey County.
           M. M. MURDOCK, Sedgwick County.
           Gen. C. W. BLAIR, Bourbon County.
           P. B. PLUMB, Lyon County.
           Kansas Central Relief Committee.

During the period of its operation the committee received, disbursed and distributed $73,863.47 in money, 265 car-loads and 11,049 packages of clothing and supplies. The total value of the disbursements was estimated at $235,108.47.

The total expenditures of the State for the fiscal year ending November 30, was $482,212.34. Among the items of expenditure were: Normal School, Emporia, $12,595.56; Normal School, Leavenworth, $5,990.40; Blind Asylum, $8,880.36; Deaf and Dumb Asylum, $16,413.54; Insane Asylum, $41,527.40; State University, $29,244.81; Printing, $37,866.01; Penitentiary, $74,436.26; Agricultural College, $28,012.08; Court of Impeachment, $10,166.31.

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