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Gr. 97B.2 N27p v. 12, Ber. 2, v. 7
Nebraska State Historical.


f-'ubl-icatioms cdf the nebraska
State Historical Society


Horn May 13, 181^9, at Brooktield, New York.
Ou-d Aiiu-ust 17. 1891. at Lincoln, Nebraska. Settled
at Nebraska City in 1855 Member of both Houses of
the I.e<^islature. and President of the Council Provost-
Martial of the District for Nebraska, and Colonel in
I lie State Militia. First Chief Justice, Secretary of
the Hoard of Transportation. Lecturer on Medical
.lurisprudence in the State University. Constitution
maker. 18(511. iSTl.






Assembled in Lincoln, June Thirteenth, 1871

VOL. 11

From the original shorthand notes of John T. Bell, John Hall, Dan Erown
and John Gray. Prepared for printer (1871) by Guy A. Brown, Clerk o
the Supreme Court of Nebraska.

Revised, edited and indexed for publication (1907) by


Director of Field Work, Nebraska vState Historical Society

Published by the Nebraska State Historical Society pursuant to resolution
of the Twenty-ninth Session of the Nebraska Leg-i'^lature.

Volume Twelve, Nebraska Stnte Historical Society Publications
■ (HnrIum^ V5t=?fTf)



T. E. Sedgwick, York. Nebraska




President — Dr. Georg-e L. Miller Omaha

1st Vice President— Robei-t Harvey. ....... St. Paul

2nd Vice President — Hon. J. E. North Columbus

Secretary — Clarence S. Paine Lincoln

Treasurer — S. L. Geisthardt Lincoln


Governor of Nebraska Hon. Georg-e L. Sheldon

Chancellor State University E. Benjamin Andrews

Head Department American History, Nebraska State

University Prof. H. W. Caldwell

President State Press Ass'n Henry C. Richmond, Fremont


Clarence S. Paine Secretary

Addison E. Sheldon

Director of Field Work and Legislative Reference De-

Wm. E. Hannan Assistant

E. E. Blackman . Archeologist

Minnie P. Knotts . Librarian


Annual meeting of the Society, Second Tuesday in January.
Meeting of the Executive Board, First Tuesday after Second
Monday in January, April, July, October.


The first vqlunie of Nebraska Constitutional Conventions is
just from the press and laid upon the desks of the members of the
thirtieth session of the Nebraska legislature. Its reception has been
generous and funds seem assured for the completion of the series.
The prospect now is that four volumes will be required.

It has been found impracticable to send proofs to surviving
members of the convention and await their return before printing
Instead, every living member will be sent a copy of each volume, as
soon as printed, with earnest solicitation for corrections and recol-
lections suggested by its perusal. These will be gathered into notes
in the final volume.

Part of the plan for these volumes is to illustrate them with a
complete set of portraits of the members of the constitutional con-
vention. Besides these, there will be illustrations of the early
Nebraska Capitol and a few other characteristic early pictures.
These are being gathered for use in the volumes which will follow.

The band of survivors of 1871 has grown smaller while proofs
were being read. Since work began upon these volumes there have
gone from our midst James M. Woolworth, and James E. Boyd, of
Douglas county; John Wilson, of Johnson county; Alfred L. Sprague,
of feaunders county; Beach I. Hinman, of Lincoln county. The fol-
lowing is the list of the living members with their present address

Othman A. Abbott, Grand Island.

John C. Campbell, Tabor, Iowa.

John N. Cassell, Aurora.

Pelham S. Gibbs, Tekamah.

Nathan K. Griggs, Lincoln.

Edwin N. Grenell, Ft. Calhoun.

Isaac S. Hascall, Omaha.

J. A. Kenaston, East Chattanooga, Tenn.


James Kilburn, Lincoln.

George B. Lake, Omaha.

Charles F. Mauderson, Omaha.

James E. Phil pott, Lincoln.

Charles A. Speice, Columbus.

Alexander S. Stewart, Hot Springs, S. D.

George H. Thummel, Omaha.

Edwin S. Towle, Falls City.

Eleazer Wakeley, Omaha.

It is forty years ago today since, the last conditions com-
plied with, the proclamation of President Andrew Johnson made
Nebraska one of the sisterhood of states. What memories are
stirred by the fact! Even as I write comes a delegation from the
legislative halls below to these rooms for material to draft res-
olutions commemorating the event. Four decades! Who dare
forecast Nebraska four centuries hence?



March 1, 1907.



OF 187 L



The Convention met at nine o'clock
and was called to order by the presi-


Prayer was offered by the chaplain,
as follows:

God of all grace, permit us still to
look to thee for help, to look to thee
for deliverance from sin, teach us
that we may praise the name that
is most excellent. Bless America
with all the influences that make a
nation strong and great. Win us
from the evil, confirm us in the good,
make all our many millions one band
of loyal souls, we pray. Amen.

Reading of the Journal.

The journal of the previous day
read and approved.

Committee of the Whole.

Mr. SCOFIELD. Mr. President.
I move . that the convention go into
committee of the whole for the pur-
pose of considering the article re-
ported by the special committee, in

reference to public buildings.

The motion was agreed to, so the
Convention went into Committee of
the whole — Mr. Gray in the chair.

The CHAIRMAN. The secretary
will read the report.

Public Buildings.

The secretary read the report as

"The special committee to whom
was referred the report of the Stand-
ing Committee on State Institutions
and Public Buildings, together with
the several amendments proposed
thereto, respectfully report, that It
has had the subject under consider-
ation and submit the following, and
ask that it be embodied in the con-

Sec. 1. A superintendent of
public buildings and a Land Commis-
sioner shall be elected at the first
general election provided for in this
constitution and at the general elec-
tion every two years thereafter, and
these officers together with the Secre-
tary of State, the Treasurer and the
Attorney General shall have the su-
pervision and control of all the pub-




[July 26

lie buildings, institutions, grounds
and lands of the state subject to such
rules and regulations as may be
prescribed by law. And your com-
mittee further recommends that the
same be mad-^ a part of the Article
on executive.'*

Mr. SCOFIELD. Mr. Chairman.
I move the adoption of the first sec-

Mr. MAXWELL. Mr. Chairman.
It seems to me the duties ought to
be prescribed if a superintendent of
public buildings is elected, we had
better give him the entire charge of
the public buildings. I propose an
amendment to that effect.

Mr. HASCALL. Mr. Chairman.
The section as presented is objection-
able. You are to create two new of-
ficers and confer upon them no
more duties to perform than are con-
ferred upon the remainder of the
board acting jointly with them.
There should be gome provision that
would allow duties to be conferred
upon these two officers additional to
the duties to be performed by the
board itself. It says, true, that they
shall have control subject to regula-
tions to be made by law; these regu-
lations to be made by law applies to
the whole board collectively. It seems
to me the correct way would be that
we should create two officers, then
leave it to the legislature to confer up-
on these officers such duties as they
may see fit, and at the same time
make other members of the board
to act in conjunction with these
other ofTlcers that are part of the
state officials.

Mr. SPRAGUE. I do not propose
to occupy much time but I must say,

for one, that 1 am decidedly opposed
to mixing up our school matters with
the other officers of state. I think
it is sufficiently important to have a
set of officers for itself. Experience
has proven, that if you pile upon the
other officers of the state the busi-
ness of looking after the educational
interests of the state they will be

Now, sir, for one, I believe that the
educational interests of the state
should be fostered and have officers
to have the matter in charge who
are peculiarly adapted for that pur-
pose. I am opposed to mixing up
this with other interests of the state.
I much prefer the provision which
was adopted in the consideration of
the report of the committee on edu-
cation, that we leave it to the state
superintendent and state officers as
may be placed on that board. There
is another reason why I op.pose this
report. It is that this state land
commissioner is to have these duties
imposed upon him. Now, if he at-
tend to the land business alone, he
will have all he can do. Hence, I am
opposed to putting on him the bur-
den of looking after state buildings,
and I think that department should
be kept entirely separate from the
other, and for these reasons I shall
oppose the report made by the com-

Mr. WOOLWORTH. As a mem-
ber of the select committee to which
this matter was referred, I feel a de-
sire to say a few words. I think
when the report as made, comes to
be understood by the convention, the
difficulties which have been suggested
by the gentleman from Cass and the




[July 26

gentleman from Saunders, and per-
haps the gentleman from Douglas
will appear to be obviated. And I
will say at the outset, that the ob-
jection made by the gentleman from
Saunders does not exist at all; be-
c^urc It is not proposed that either
the board, that is provided for in this
report, or either one of the oflBcers
vviio are lo be created by the report
we have sent in shall have the charge
-of the educational interests of the
.state, so far as the management of
the schools are concerned. Now,
there were a great many conflicting
views in the committee when we set
out together to settle upon this plan.
But upon one matter there was no
disagreement: there was no disagree-
ment that there ought to be one
"board, or set of oflicers or officer, as
the convention should finally decide
upon, who should have charge of
schools as institutions of public in-
struction: and that there should be
another board or set of oflacers or
officer, as the convention should fi-
nally agree upon, who should have
charge of the school lands as well
as the other public lands: and that
these two boards or sets of officers or
officer should be entirely separate
and distinct. , On that subject, I say,
there was no disagreement in the
committee. Now, as I understand
the gentleman from Saunders, he
objects to the report because it
brings under the board that is pro-
posed to be created by the proposed
article, the care and management of
the schools as institutions of instruc-
tion. That is not designed at all. So
far as, — and I will say by waj' of
passing, what my view now is al-

though I have had some difficulty in
reaching a conclusion, I am in favor
of incorporating an article that shall
provide that there should be a board
of education, to be composed of tie
superintendent of public instruction,
as its presiding officer, and five, sev-
en or more gentlemen selected from
the state at large; and provide in the
constitution that those gentlemen
shall render their service without
any compensation whatever, except
simply their necessary, actual expen-
ses, and I think the convention has
agreed, measurably at any rate, to
leave this matter to the legislature.
I should prefer to have that provis-
ion incorporated in the constitution.
That is not, however, the matter be-
fore us now. I merely wished to
state my views to show that this re-
port of this committee is not open to
the objections urged by the gentle-
man from Saunders.

Now, sir, it was among other-
things that were considerably debat-
ed in this committee, pretty well
agreed and understood that there
should be one officer, whose sole and
exclusive duty it should be to take
care of the lands of the state. We
disagreed at first, with reference to
putting in his charge all the lands of
the state: that is the lands given for
i public improvement in the state,
such as penitentiary and university:
and at the same time the lands in the
IGth and 3Gth sections. But we
agreed that there ought to be one
man who should have charge of all
the lands of the state. Then the
question was whether this officer
should be left altogether free to man-
age these public lands without super-





[July 26

vision by any other oflacers, or some
other ofiicers to be associated with
him, to have some general care of
the matter along with him. And it
was finally agreed fn the committee
that it was better to select one man
and elect him by name, as a land
commissioner, or agent, or whatever
you may please to call him; one of-
ficer who should be selected and
named to have charge of all these
lands; and that there should be as-
sociated with him the state officers
who would measurably, be charged
with these landed interests. So that
one man would not have this im-
mense domain in his charge to man-
age, dispose of, or account for, with-
out having someone to look after him.
And I think that answers the objec-
tion of my colleague from Douglas.
And I think it shows that the plan
adopted by the committee in respect
to these officers is a fair, and just
and practical one. And right here
let me say that I do not think that
the objection of the gentleman from
Cass is well founded — that these du-
ties of these different officers, and
of the board, should be distinctly laid
dpwn in the constitution. I certainly
do not think it possible to do it,
with all the precautions and checks,
and care that it would be necessary
to explain. I can say to the gentle-
man from Cass that had he been in
that committee and listened to that
discussion, which was greatly pro-
tracted, he would have seen that it
was impossible, in the constitution,
to advance any plan of organization
that should go at all into detail. The
committee thought it was better, in
fact, they thought that the only way

that could be done was to trust the
details to the legislature.

Now this is all I think it is neces-
sary to say with reference to the land
commissioner and the board. There
was much debate and doubt as to the
creation of an officer who should be
called the Superintendent of Public
Buildings. At one time the commit-
tee agreed among themselves to
trust this matter to the state officers;
but upon more mature reflectipn they
thought it was better to create him
and surround him by the same
guards, and leave the prescription of
his duties and the duties of the
board created by this proposed ar-
ticle to the legislature. So I need not
go over that matter.

Now, as to the necessity for this
officer. We are to remember that,
first there are to be erected very-
considerable public buildings in the
state — a penitentiary, and the dif-
ferent benevolent asylums of the
state; the deaf and dumb asylum,
the insane asylum, and so on. This
building might be called the blind
asylum, but I refer now to the asy-
lum for the blind (laughter). Here
are these buildings to be erected in
the first place, and then they are to
be looked after. The matter of re-
:-dirs, the matter of insurance, the
matter of prevention of fires, by
proper precautions — all these mat-
ters ought to be in the charge of
some person who will be held ac-
countable for them. So the commit-
tee thought, on the whole, it was bet-
ter to create this officer, and put him,
as land commissioner, under the gen-
eral direction of this board and let
the legislature prescribe the duties.





[July 26

both of the board ^nd this oflacer. I
am glad to say that no member of the
committee came with any pre-con-
ceived ideas which he was determin-
ed to crowd through, but all seemed
willing to advise with the others,
and the committee are prepared to
accept any amendments which would
improve it; but the committee reach-
ed, at last, the conclusion that this
report, as presented, was about the
best thing they could do. They agreed
however, that it would be desirable,
if the convention saw fit to provide
that these two officers, or one, if only
one is provided for, should be incor-
porated with the state officers, should
give bonds and be subject to the
same responsibilities as the state of-
ficers. The salary should be fixed
and then the article should state this
should be the only officer having to
do with this matter.

Mr. HASCALL. Mr. Chairman. It
is not to the whole section I object.
It is because I think the section is
not enough to carry out the full idea,
I have prepared an amendment which
I would have added to the end of the

The section as drawn, as I under-
stand it, aims at the joint action of
these two officers in connection with
jothers as I understand it, the land
commissioner should have an office
and perform duties independent of
this board. Here is my amendment:

The superintendent of public
buildings, and the land commissioner
'shall each perform such duties ad-
ditional to the duties above described
as shall be provided by law.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is
upon the amendment offered by the

gentleman from Douglas (Mr, Has-


Mr. ESTABROOK. Mr. Chairman.
The provision in the section as re-
ported provides that all these officers
shall perform these duties. It seems
to me this covers the whole ground.
The CHAIRMAN. If the gentle-
man will wait, I will read a portion
of the section, together with the
amendment of the gentleman from
Douglas (Mr. Hascall.)

A superintendent of public build-
ings and a land commissioner shall
be elected at the first general elec-
tion provided for in this constitution
and at the general election every
two years thereafter, and the secretary
of state, the treasurer and the attor-
ney general, shall have the supervis-
ion and control of all the public
buildings, institutions, grounds and
lands of the state, subject to such
rul-^s and regulations as may be pre-
scribed by law.

The ammendment adds: "The su-
nerintendent of public buildings and
the land commissioner shall each
perform such duties additional to the
duties above prescribed, such duties
as shall be prescribed by law."

Mr. ESTABROOK. It seems to me
that the amendment is entirely need-
less. It is simply to provide that
each of these officers shall perform
those duties which the legislature
shall provide. It seems to me that is
sufficiently reached in the section
reported. We have here three com-
mittees whose duties require them
to consider these subjects or subjects
of like bearing, the committee on
schools, the committee on public
buildings and the committee on
lands, other than school lands.
Each of these committees has
conceived, that a board or some
part of a board was necessary to per-




I July 26

form those particular duties which
they had in charge. Now when all
of these reports come to be consider-
ed before this convention, it was
thought to be of suflBcient import-
ance for the convention to order a
reconsideration by the committees
of the subject and inquire whether
all these interests had not better be
combined on one board. Now, wheth-
er this is best or not, is not for me to
say. I think it is. Then we should
consider what kind of a board is nec-
essary? I think that the board
should consist of an added member,
so that there should always be a ma-
jority to determine question^. I think
it is best it should consist of as many
as five. I presume it would not be
necessary for a greater number. It
has been suggested with a good deal
of plausibility that there should be
a board consisting, perhaps, of five
members, possibly with the superin-
tendent of public institutions at its
head, possibly the lieut. governor at
the head; one member to be elected
from each judicial district, but if all
these interests be combined, we con-
clude that about 5 is all that is need-
ed and the necessity of electing one
from each judicial district should be
done away with. It seems to me,
speaking for myself, that this fixes the
matter about right, to elect two and
then make up a board with state
officers. The board should have one
of its members to have oversight of
the lands of the state. This is the
most important interest in the state.
I presume it is a more important in-
terest even than that which will be
under the charge of the governor be-
■cause the school lands alone, will

reach the value of many millions of
dollars. Hence there should be one
ofHcer, who, from the name given
him, should be indicated as the of-
ficer who stands at the head of that
bureau, to be responsible for the
manner in which these interests were
cared for. Then too, in looking all :
around and viewing all the interests
involved it seemed to some of the
committee and finally, I think, to all
of them, that there was sufficient
demand for one officer on public
buildings and grounds. You can look
out at that window today and see the
need of such an officer now. Why
those high weeds? Why are not
these grounds kept in decent order?
Are all the public buildings insured?
Have they all got proper out houses?
Are the ashes properly taken care
of and all these guards against fire
seen to? Besides these there are a
thousand and one little things in-j
cidental to the care of the public
buildings; hence we say there should
be two officers elected outside of
the usual number of officers already
provided for. Well, what other in-
terests are involved in the work of
this board? There is a large amount
of money to be handled and it will
be necessary to have a treasurer. It
was thought by the committee that
to give the treasurer elected by the
people these duties and make him
responsible for the care of these mon-
ies would be the best plan. Another
interest to be considered, was the law
questions that should grow out of
the performance of the duties of the
board, then you need a law officer
connected with it, and hence we in-
clude the attorney general, and





[July 26

then you will need an oflScei* to take
charge of the records of their pro-
ceedings and we thought it should
be one who has a vault for the safe
keeping of records. Then it did seem
to me as an individual that when we
had provided for all these we had
all that was necessary to comprise
this board. It may be said that the
time may come when the commis-
sioner of lands would have no par-
ticular duties to perform, but recol-
lect he is a member of the board, and
individual advice will be taken as to
the manner of making sales and giv-
ing in all the business connected with
with the board. Now then if that
board so constituted does not fill the
bill and come up to the ideas of those
■who voted for having this matter
sent back I have to acknowledge that
I am incompetent to devise anything
that will suit. Now, as for myself,
I suggested in the report of the com-
mittee on education, I have suggest-
ed the election of a superintendent of
public instruction, you may have in
this office a man fully competent
for such office, but who is entirely
unfit to have charge of the monetary
interests of the state in any particular;
and, hence, I had no hesitation when
this board was suggested to drop this
officer and leave him in his own de-
partment. Then, too, it had been
suggested that the governor should
be a member of this board. I think
It would be bringing the executive
officer of the state down from the
dignity which properly belongs to
that officer to have him engage in all

Online LibraryNebraska State Historical SocietyPublications of the Nebraska State Historical Society (Volume 12, ser.2, v.7) → online text (page 1 of 79)