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About The Alliance-independent. (Lincoln, Nebraska) 1892-1894 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1892)
THE ALLI ANCE - INDEPENDENT.
KE&I AND THE PIOKLER BILL.
Happily the day has arrived in this
country when public servants are to
be held accountable for their official
acts, to be tried by the recorJs they
make. This is one of the good results
of the reform movement. To the man
who ha3 honestly and faithfully per
formed his duty, the trial by record is
most welcome. But to such as have
misrepresented and betrayed their
constituents it means political death.
The republicans of the Sixth district
are proposing to make a campaign
against Congres3ir0i Keni on his re
cord. No one should bo belter pleased
over this than Mr. Kem himself. He
has made a record that is absolutely
clean. It will bear the closest inspec
tion. He has also secured recognition
and wielded an influence far beyond
the average for a new member and a
Strange to say Mr. Kern's critics do
not find fault with his votes on the
greatest questions that affect the whole
people the questions of money and
taxation. They do not condemn his
vote for free coinage of silver, and Ihe
reductiDn of tariff taxes. Oa the con
trary his action on a measure affectiDg
the interest of a few people in his dis
trict is mado the basis .of attack. The
measure referred to is the 'Pickler bill.
On the record he made on this bill, Mr.
Kem may very properly be tried. It
was not a party measure, but one on
which his individual judgment had full
scope. In fact he led the light and is
probably more responsible for the re
sult thau any other member.
To understand the merits of the case
ocg must know something of the his
tory of legislation on the subject. For
there has been a contention between the
U. S. senate and the house of repres
entatives' concerning tht true policy to
be pursued in disposing of the public
land. The house has sought to apply
the homestead principle exclusively
and id do away with the preemption
and limber culture laws. The object
was to prevent fraud, ami furnish
homes for a greater number of actual
settlers The senate opposed the house
in this matter. Bat finally, March 3rd,
1891, a bill was passed repealing the
timber culture and preemption laws.
Oao of the important provisions of
this bill required that hereafter any one
making final proof on a timber claim or
entering land under the desert land law
should be a resident of the state or
territory in which the land lies.
Tnis was the situution at the time Mr.
.Kem entered congress. Mr. Pickler, a
member from South Dakota, introduced
the following bill:
Be it enacted, etc., . That section 1 of an
act entitled "An act to repaal timber
culturt! laws, trnd for other purposes,"
approved March 8, 1801, be and hereby
is, amended by adding the folio vying
words to the fourth proviso thereof:
"And prOiided further, That if trees,
seeds or cuttiags were iu good faith
planted as provided by law, and the
same and ihe land upon which so
planted were thereafter in good faith
cultivated as provided by Jaw for at
least eight years at the date of this act
by a person qualified to make entry
and win has a subsisting entry under
the timber-culture hws," final proof
may be made without regard to the
number of trees that may have been
then growing on the land."
Sec. 2. That the first section of said
act be, and the same is.Jfurther amended
by striking out of the tilth proviso tbere
i f the following words: "And who is
an actual bona fide resident of the state
or territory in wl ich the said land is
Sec. 3 That section 8 of said act be,
and is hereby amended by striking out
the following words at the end thereof,
pamely: "And np person phall be en
titled to make entry of desert land ex.
cept he be a resident citizen of the state
or territory in which the land sought to
be entered is located."
It will be seen th'at the f.rst section of
this bill is a measure of relief for such
persons as have faithfully complied with
the timber culture law for eight years,
but have failed to raise the required
number of trees. This is certainly a
very worthy measure, and Mr. Kem is
heartily in favor of it. But tacked on
to this worthy provision were two other
sections the meaning and purposo of
which were to remove one of tbe princi
pal safeguards contained In the bill of
March 3rd, 1891, that which required
residence in the state or territory where
the Uud lies.
The evident purpose of those who had
this bill in chargo was to" rush
it through on the merits of the
first section, saying a3 little as
possible about the other sections. When
Mr. Kem became awars of the true
situation, ho went to Mr. Tickler, pro
tested against his course and tried to
persuade him to have the last two sec
tions stricken out. This Mr. Picklcr
refused to do, and so tho light resulted.
If Mr. Pickler had consented the bill
would have gone through without ques
tion. The following remarks from members
who took part in the discussion will
throw light on the true character of the
Mr. Holman of Indiana, one of the
oldest members and a most watchful
friend of the people, said:
The third section authorizes the entry
of desert lands, so called by persons
who do not reside in the state or terri
tory in which the lands are situated,
and I have no doubt that the gentleman
from Nebraska Mr. Kem, who has
bad his attention called to tne subject,
will interpose a motion to strike out
that section. This section is ia direct
violation of the principle upon which
this house has for many years acted in
relation to the public lands; that is, that
the public lauds shall be granted only to
actual settlers. I was talking about it
the other day with the gentleman from
Illinois, Mr. Paysou, who has been
prominently identified with our land
legislation in former years, and I found
that ho, like myself, was astonished
that any such proposition should be
made to permit the entry of these lands
for speculation. The policy of the'
houso has been to bring the desert
iands as nearly as possible under the
provisions of the homestead principle,
as provided by the act of March 3,
Open up tin lauds to monopoly, as
this bill will do if it becomes a law, and
in a few j-ears the curse of monopoly
will rest upon every acre that now re
mains. The committee of this houso on Pub
lie lands in the Forty-ninth congress
made a report on this subject a report
in which ever member of that commit
tee agreed Damocrats and Republi
cans. They reported to the house that
it was better that these lands should
remain a barren wilderness for all
time than that they should be accursed
by monopoly The wealth of monopoly
u a curse, not. a blessing, to a republic.
It is betttr we should never have any
beuefit from those lands than that by
the process of their development they
bo formed into great landed estates.
Baronial possessions have cursed for
centuries the Old World. Shall we es
tablish tbem iu the New ?
The only effect of this measure would
be that the wealth of the east would
monopolize an 1 hold these so-called de
sert lauds in great private estates, lands
that if left to natural development will
become the independent homes of our
Mr. Do Armond of Missouri, said:
This is not in accord with tho policy
of the government with ro'erenco to its
public lands. It is not in accord with
the policy of tho government at the
time the timber-culture law itself was
enacted. It is not in accord with the
policy of the government as embodied
in the homestead law. it is not in har
mony with tho policy of those who
look to the rights of the whole people,
and to the building up of states by the
planting of settlers upon the public
iands; but it is well worthy the support
ana favor of those who desire to see
these largo portions of the public do
main controlled by powerful menopo-
lies, and to see principalities king
doms, almost built up within the
Mr. Outhwaite of Ohio said:
Mr. Chairman, I have listened for
some reason to convince me that this
bill should become a law other than tho
reason that it will afford an opportunity
for capital to seek an excellent invest
I have desired to hear something in
favor of the passage of this bill loosing
to the welfare of the people who are
most interested in the public domain.
Thero is one declaration of principle
which his been made by both political
parties, and repeated continually with
emphasis; that is, that the pubic domain
should be preserved for actual settleis.
That principle it is now proposed to
violato by this bill.
It is proposed that the public domain
shall be turned over to the capitalists.
Those who are familiar with the
working of the timber culture act and
the working of this desert-land act, the
evils of which led to the repeal or modi
fication of those laws, know very well
that in many instances men of straw
were set up; men were sent out to those
lands for the mere purpose of making
entries; perjury and forgery were com
mon instruments by which large tracts
of the public domain were obtained
from the United States government to
be placed in the hands of capitalists.
This bill, if passed, will afford most ex
cellent opportunities for resuming that
kind of business.
Mr. Kem said: '
Mr. Speaker, I move to stiike out the
las: section of this bill, and upon that
motion I wish to offer a few remarks.
As tho gentleman from Indiana (Mr.
Holman) has well said the spirit and in
tention of the land laws of our country
was to provide homes for the homeless
for those who were willing to exercise
their energy and courage in developing
a new country for the purpose of build
ing up and establishing new homes.
And it was the intention of congress in
passing these laws that all possible safe
guards should be thrown around them
so as to protect the homes of settlers
and to carry out the spirit and intent of
legislation in question.
Under these laws vast areas of wild
and desert lands have been reclaimed
from their wild state, and have become
settled and civilized, and good, comfort
able homes established all over them.
We have for a number of years been
struggling against the land-starks, the
land-grabbers who have been trying to
get possession of the. public domain.
The people have been earnestly protest
ing and have been endeavoring to throw
additional safeguards around these
lands to preserve the remainder of them
for the purposes for which the land
laws were originally enae'ed. I am
astonished that my frierjd from South
Dakota who must be ccgnizant with the
practical workings of our land laws,
and the dangers that have beset the
principles involved, should father this
bill with that clause in it.
set the principles involved, should fa
ther this bill with this clause in it.
Mr. Kem continued ia the same
strain for some time, when he was in
terrupted: Mil. PICKLER. I understand that
you are not opposed to tho timber cul
ture part of the bi 1, but to the desert
MR KEM. I wish to say in reply to
the gentleman from South Dakota that
I am speaking particularly now to the
last clause in the bill. I had that par
ticularly in mind, for I thought in
glancing ever the bill that I hid no par
ticular objeciion except to tba. section.
But I discover, upon investigating the
matter further, that I am opposed to
HIE PASSAGE OF THE WHOLE BILL, be
cause the principle is the same principle
is involved in one as in the
other, viz , allowing non residents to
acquire title to our public lands. Now
I recognize the fcet that the timber cul
ture law, as the gentleman from Indi
ana has well bald, is in such a condition
that we can tafely begin wind up
that portion of tho land laws and am in
FAVOR OF THAT rOKTION OE TF1K BILL
RELATING TO ACTUAL SETTLERS
Further on in his speech Mr. Kem
said ; ......
In view of that fact I am opposed
TO THE WHOLE BILL SO FAB AS IT RE
LATES TO non-residents, and I am de
cidedly opposed to tbe last section of
the bill, the one that my amendment
affects; and 1 want to say that after all
the information wo have in regard to
tho land steals in our country and the
rapidity with which the lands have been
monopolized by private corporations,
syndicates, and public corporations, at
different times, I hope the house will
not allow this bill to pass.
In the above extracts certain
words have been piiu
ted in small capitals to bring them into
especial prominence. The Chadron
Journal, which has been leading this
campaign against Kem, has attempted
to make it appear that Kem is opposed
to the "whole bill," but Mr. Kern's
meaning is made perfectly cloar further
on when he says that he Is in "favor of
that part of the bill relating to actual
settlers," and only "opposed to the bill
so far as it relates to non-residents."
Mr. Kem was in fact opposed to the
passage of the "whole bill," but not op
posed to the passage of a part of it;
hence he fought to have it amended.
After the debate was closed, a divi
sion was taken on Mr. Kern's amend
ment, and it carried by a voto of 92 to
53. But there still remained the ob
jectionable feature in the second sec
tion. A division was then taken on the
amended bill. It appeared to be de
feated. Tellers were called for. Mr.
Pickler then arose and begged for tbe
privilege of amending the bill so as to
(remove the objection. This wai re
fused. He then asked "unanimous .
consent to withdraw the bill and let it
lie over without prejudice.1.1 Here the
record reads as follows:
The Speaker pro tempore-. Is thero
objection to the request of the gentle
man from South Dakota? A pause.
The chair hears none.
Mr. Kem: I object.
Mr. Pickler: Too late.
Mr. Kem informed the writer that on
account of the confusion which pre
vailed in the hall, he did not understand
the effect of granting Pickler's request,
but on that effect being pointed out by
a fellow member he did not press his
objection and was very glad to have tbe
request granted. The bill has thus re
tained its place on the calander and can
be called up for passage wheu congress
reassembles. Mr. Kem says that Pickler
has since consented 1 3 strike out all
but th-i first section, and that he Kem
will do all ir. his power to secure the
passago of the bill thus amended.
Mr. Kem may well be proud of the
record he made on this bill.
He stood for the actual ssttler and
against the land grabbers.
He stood for the people and against
the worst form of monopoly.
He did something for which every
honest settler and home builder in his
district should thank him.
But how is it with Mr. Whitehead,
his opponent? In a vain effort to pick
ilaws in Kern's record, he has taken up
the advocacy of the Pickler bill. He
has thus put himself on the side of the
non-resident speculator against the
honest settler. Ie will have to answer
to the people of the distript for this
stand. He will either have to confess
that Kem was right, or he will haye to
defend the whole pickler bill.
Mr. yhitehead has deliberately
placed himself between the horns of a
dilemma. Whichever horn he
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