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I cannot proceed to the enumeration of the different subjects which will claim your attention, without first alluding to the peculiar circustances with which you are surrounded. This commodious and well appointed hall, these substantial walls, this entire beautiful edifice, this enterprising and thrifty town, sprung, within the last eighteen months, from the open prairie, and to-day contributing directly and indirectly, to the prosperity of an area of more than ten thousand square miles. This has been accomplished without cost to the State or to individuals. It has contributed to the enrichment of both. It has added to the wealth of the State, not less than five millions of dollars. Nor have the public benefits been yet fully measured. The location of the Capital at this point, is destined to aid, to a considerable extent, in determining a system of railroads, which, among its other results will tend to invite foreign capital and retain our accumulating wealth within the State. Those who once honestly and strongly doubted the wisdom of the removal of the Capital, will soon become thoroughly satisfied with the unlooked for benefits to the whole people, which shall flow from it. This town site, now made the seat of government, and
which now stands the town of Lincoln, was secured to the State without cost. From the proceeds of the sale of one-half of it, this building, the plan of which was designed and the construction superintended by Mr. John Morris, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, has been erected and partly finished. Although from circumstances beyond the possible foresight or control of either contractor or Commissioners, and from necessary changes made after the contract was let, the aggregate expense reaches about seventyfive thousand dollars, still it is less than the amount derived from the sale of lots. When the causes which led to this are shown and explained, as they will be in the report of the Commissioners, to be laid before you in the early part of the session. I doubt not that the acts of the Commissioners, in entering upon this extra expense, will be sanctioned and heartily approved by the Legislature.
I would here add that the seventy-five thousand dollars is the actual expense of the contractor, as will be shown by the report, which will be sustained by proper vouchers. The contractor, Mr. Joseph Ward, for his faithful, honest and untiring services during fourteen months, has received nothing. In the quality of his work and his unceasing devotion, he has been true to his contract and faithful to the interest of the State, but from circumstances which could not be foreseen or controled, it has been at his own loss. I trust that the Legislature will generously reward him for his services, his fidelity and his honor.
I would, in this connection, recommend that provisions be made for the sale of the remaining lots. So much of the proceeds as may be necessary for that
purpose, should be appropriated to the construction of the dome included in the original design of this building, and the fencing and ornamenting of the grounds, and the remainder to the erection of a building for State University and Agricultural College. consequence
of receiving the report of the Treasurer at a late hour last evening, I am unable to speak of the State finances with that deliberation and fullness which I could desire.
Covering a period of two years, in which has occurred the transition from dependence upon the general Government for an appropriation to meet legislative, judicial and executive expenses to a state of independence and selfsupport in our local government, the exhibit is highly satisfactory. It shows a surplus in the Treasury of $4,340 59. The estimates of the Auditor and Treasurer, made several months previous to the admission of the State into the Union, were below the actual expenses. This, however, is due in great measure to expenditures outside of the ordinary expenses of the Government. The Treasurer, with that superior ability which has characterized his administration of the State finances, in his report, which is quite full and explicit, makes several very valuable suggestions. I heartily concur with him in commending them to your consideration.
Thousands are constantly swarming from the different countries of Europe to find homes in this land of free institutions. They bring with them a limited amount of capital, but what is more important to a new State, whose fertile soil is teeming with ready wealth, they bring with them productive industry. It is desirable that we should secure as large an influx of these people as possible, and with it receive the rich freight borne by this human tide. Other States have their chartered immigration societies and their salaried agents furnished with means, whose business it is to make known the advantages of their respective States, to give the immigrant correct information as to routes and localities, to aid him in securing direct and cheap conveyance, to guard him against the frauds and extortions of unprincipled men, and to direct him to favorable localities in which he can find a home for his family and an open field for his labor. Nebraska, with millions of undeveloped wealth in her soil and minerals, and with climate and commercial facilities unsurpassed by any new and inland State, has done almost nothing. If not due to the immigrant himself, at the least it is due to our present population, that immediate and efficient measures be taken to
avail ourselves of this most effectual and desirable means for the early development of our material resources. The fame of our agricultural products, our wheat and our cattle, have gone out to the world, and our almost unlimited power of production, certainly need not be mentioned here.
Our minerals, although lying hitherto almost entirely unemployed, are receiving the attention of citizens, and their value is being surely established. The recent discovery of coal fields in the southern and middle portions of the State, which are yielding a mineral of good quality, and not difficult to be worked, has been brought to the attention of the people. These mines give good promise of an ample supply of fuel and a removal of one of the most serious difficulties encountered by the settler.
Although comparatively little has been accomplished in the actual production of salt, that little has settled beyond question, if indeed further proof was needed, that we have, within sight of this hall, a rich and apparently inexhaustible supply of pure and easily manufactured article. It will be directly and indirectly a source of wealth to the State, whose great value no one can fully estimate.
Prompted by a sense of the importance of the early development of this interest, I gave to Mr. A. C. Tichenor a lease, conditioned
approval of the Legislature, of one section of the salt lands belonging to the State. One-half of his interest in the lease was by Mr. Tichenor, assigned to the Nebraska Salt Company of Chicago. This company, from want of means or some unknown reason, has failed to fulfill the obligations undertaken in their purchase. So far has it failed that the local demand for salt has not been supplied, and that it has been unable at times to supply even a single bushel for home consumption. It is credibly represented that this company has refused to pay the debts which it has contracted among our citizens. While such is the state of things with this company, experienced men declare their readiness to invest in these works any required sums, if the opportunity is presented them.
The original lessee, in assuming and meeting the liabilities of the company, has a considerable amount invested in buildings and other works adapted to the prosecution of successful manufacture. He, as managing agent for the company, has been faithful, though he has failed to receive the support which it was the duty of the company to render. He should not by any action of the State be made to suffer. But the public interest is at too great an extent, involved in the speedy and full development of the produc
tive capacity of these salt springs to allow them to lie in the hands of those who from lack of energy or means, shall fail to work them to their full extent. Though the Government should not take possesssion of the works built by Mr. Tichenor, without making full compensation, the General Assembly should at least take such action as will soon result in securing the manufacture of salt to the greatest possible extent.
STATE MILITIA. That provision be made for the enrollment and organization of the State Militia, I would strongly urge upon you. The hostility of the Indians, and their occasional depredations upon our fellow citizens on the frontier, though there were no other considerations in its favor, would seem to require this. The hardy pioneers who form the vanguard of civilization, should be fully supported. Repeatedly on the southwestern borders, they have been attacked and their property destroyed, their kindred slain, scalped and barbarously mutilated, and no military force near to protect or to avenge them. Driven from their homes, they have traveled the long distance to the Capital of the State, and with tears rolling down their cheeks, have pleaded with the Executive for protection. But those fiends in human form had come and gone. Their being no Military organization, all that the Executive could do for these injured men was to furnish them with arms and ammunition, and advise them to organize, that they might be better prepared to repel any future attack.
Acting upon this advice, in the fall of 1867, a company of volunteers, consisting of those who had been plundered of their stock, stripped of all their goods, and compelled to abandon their homes, was organized. This company was by my order, mustered into the service of the State. It remained in the service about two months, patroling the country and guarding the settlements against attack. I feel assured that the Legislature will have no hesitation in making an appropriation to compensate them for their time and expense during that period.
Thanks to Generals Custar, Sheridan and Sherman, there is a prospect that the Indian will be taught that the white man will not abide his thieving, his treachery, his disregard for life, and his barbarous code of indiscriminate vengeance.
Notwithstanding the promptness with which General Augur, commanding the department of the Platte, rendered every assistance that was at the time in his power, and of whom, on every suitable occasion, I desire to express my high appreciation, still the experience of the past has taught that it is not the part of prudence to rely upon the general Government alone to furn
ish protection to the frontiersman. Our own arms should not be listless. I trust that nothing which the circumstances seem to require will be left undone. Those who go out upon the frontiers should be made to feel that the strong arm of the State will be swift and constant to extend to them full protection. Not the interests of those upon the border alone, but of the whole community demand this. It cannot be done in the absence of military organization.
ADJUTANT GENERAL. The care and preservation of the military records, the correspondence, upon military affairs, the care of the ordinance, arms, and ammunition, belonging to the State make it necessary that the office of Adjutant General be created and provided with a suitable salary. I have been obliged to employ an extra clerk for this work during the past eighteen months, and ask the Legislature to compensate him for his services.
STATE'S ATTORNEY. Important questions which can be settled only by litigation, and in which the State has important interests, have been suffered to lie because there was no appropriation made to defray the expenses attending their adjudication. A sufficient sum should be set apart for this purpose, that the State may retain able counsel.
Under the law authorizing the Governor to employ counsel in behalf of the State, I have in several instances availed myself of the valuable services of the Hon. C. S. Chase. In consequence of their being no appropriation to cover these expenses, his bill for the fees will come before you.
A balance of the demand against the general Government, for military services, amounting to about fifteen thousand dollars, remains unadjusted. An agent should be sent to Washington to prosecute the claim. He should also be authorized to receive the amount, nearly twelve thousand dollars, that is due to the State by virtue of the act of Congress giving to the State five per cent. of the receipts from the sale of the public lands within its boundaries, for the support of common schools. The settlement of this claim was secured by your Executive, who went to Washington at his own expense for that purpose. The amonnt still lies in the National Treasury, for the reason that no one has been authorized by law to receive it for the State.
PUBLIC INSTRUCTION Again the members of the Legislature have come un from the different portions of the State with complaints of the inefficiency and injustice of our school laws sounding in their ears. These complaints are frequently far from being just; often they are but expressive of prejudices arising from