The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, October 01, 1903, Image 1

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    X , 1 1 II I II I II
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1 1
- Vol. XV.
No. 19.
Notes on Progress of the
Campaign Against Rail
road Domination j
4 '
There is. really but one issue in the
present state campaign.' It is The; Peo
ple vs. The Railroads the same old
fight which has been going on almost
from the very, formation of Nebraska
territory, and certainly ever since its
admission as a state in 1867.
Nebraska is essentially an agricul
tural state. Practically one-half of
all males and females over ten years
of . age, engaged in . "gainful occupa
tions," follow agricultural pursuits;
5C.7 per cent of the males engaged in
"gainful occupations" are agricultur
ists. ; Yet the state government has
never been wholly free from railroad
control, notwithstanding that only
17.2 -per cent of the male population
over ten years of age are engaged in
"trade and transportation." In 1897
the populists and democrats had con
trol of he administrative and legisla
tive branches of government; but the"
Supreme court was republican. Judge.
Sullivan's election to " the supreme
bench in -the fall of 1897 was the first
bona fide representative of the people
as distinguished from the railroads.
Buth Judge Maxwell and Judge Reese,
elected as republicans, had shown rest
iveness at wearing the railroad yoke
the inheritance of every republican
(judge and a"disposition to rebel; and
the powerful machine ruthlessly de
stroyed their usefulness to the people
as judges. '
By the time Judge Holcomb reached
the supreme bench (January, 1900),
the legislature was again republican.
Then the wave of McKinley prosperity
carried back the administrative offices
to the republicans, and since January,
1901, the people have had no. represen
tation In state government except the
two judges on the supreme bench.
Upon whatever basis it may be cal
culated, the railroad of Nebraska have
always had more than their share.
The Independent has no disposition to
fleny men engaged in railroading the
same political rights other men enjoy.
Upon the basis of taxation, the rail
roads, paying between 16 and 17 per
cent of the taxes, would be entitled to
about one-sixth of the legislature, one
of the administrative officers, and a
supreme judge although the latter
would give them one-third of the
court. . ,
; Upon the basis of "gainful occupa
tions," the railroad share would be
about the same 16 to 17 per cent. The
farmers would be entitled to 85 per
cent; professional men, 4; those in
domestic and personal service, 11; and
in manufacture and mechanical arts,
about 12 or 13. Permitting themselves
to be divided politically by all sorts
of flimsy "issues," the farmers of Ne
braska have allowed other interests to
run the state government. The census
will tell a story of what this has done
for the farmer. Let us make a com
parison between agriculture and manu
facturing in Nebraska:
; The farmers' investment in 1900 was
as follows: ,
Jand and buildings. .$577,660,020
Implements, etc. 24.940.050
Live stock................ 14i,349,D&
Total ......$747,950,057
Farm crops to' the year 1899 were
valued at $162,696,386, of which $38,
025,530 was fed to live stock, going to
make up the 145 millions above and
leaving $124,670,856 as the net farm
crops for sale as such and including
870,227,060 of "animal products."
Hence, it becomes apparent that the
returns were nearly 17 per cent on
the - investment- IT we assume . that
the 186,587 persons, male and female,
over ten years of age, engaged in agri
culture, are NOT entitled to any wages
whatever for the energy they expend
ed in producing these farm products!
There was, as a matter of fact, $7,-
S99.160 paid out for farm labor, but as
wo are counting the total product and
total engaged, no account need be
made of this. Assuming that each one
of the 186,587 was, on the average, en
titled to a dollar a day as wages, and
counting 300 davs to the year, we must
deduct $55,976,100 as a return in the
nature of wages. This leaves us:
Investment $747.9r0.037
Net return 68.694,756
Or something better than 9 per cent,
and not quite ten. But out of this
must be deducted taxes, state, county
and school district by no means an
inconsiderable sum.
Turning to the manufacturing in
dustry in NebrasKa, we find 49,105 per
sons, over ten, engaged. Capital, $71,
982,127. The total product was $143,
990,102. from which deduct $102,982,707
paid out for materials used, leaving
$39,792,395 for wages and profit. There
was actually paid out $11,570,688 in
wages but we will calculate the same
as for the farmers, $300 a year;. $14,
731,500 for wages, leaving $25,060,895
as the return on an investment of 71
millions more than 34 per cent profit,
A similar state of affairs will be
shown upon examination of railroad
business in Nebraska.
The crux of the whole matter is that
the farmers allow themselves to be
hoodwinked by such cries as: ,'We
ought not do anything . to hurt the
railroadsf they are a good thing; they
build up the state," etc. Of course they,
do. So do the farmers. And it is high
time the farmers did a little looking
after their own interests and 1st the
railroads take care , of themselves
something they have shown ample ca
pability to do. "
With the Ramsey law and the rev
enue law sure to come up for deter
mination by the courts, do the farmers
of Nebraska want these determined by
will elect Barnes supreme judge and
the republican nominees in the various
districts. If not, they will elect Sulli
van and every populist and democrat
running for district judge.
It is a fact that Rosewater never
went after the scalp of a republican
leader in the state of Nebraska and
failed to get it. Just at present he is
parading around with the scalp of
Chas; P. Mathewson, the Omaha and
Winnebago Indian agent,,. at his belt,
ftosewater has followed that trail
winter and "summerr night and day, for
The Big Fifteenth. JtSZISS
Three hundred miles from east to
west, and sixty miles from north .to
south, the Fifteenth judicial district of
Nebraska is greater in area , than any
one of eight of tl.'j sovereign states of
the Union: New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Isl
and, New Jersey, Delaware, or Mary
land. It contains ten counties having
art aggregate area of 18,596. square
miles, and the census of 1900 gave the
population at 55,327. One county
alone (Cherry) has a greater area, than
Rhode Island, Delaware or Connecti
cut, and it lacks but seven square
miles of being a large as Rhode Isl
and ConttectrfcTtrtSSltt5aTI dla
trict itself is bigger, than any, one of
the following combinations: New
Hampshire and Vermont; Vermont,
New Jersey and RuOde Island; New
Hampshire, New Jersey and Delaware;
Maryland, Rhode Island and New Jer
sey; or Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Delaware and Rhode Island.
Owing to the. sparse population, this
district is allowed but two judges of
the district court. Holding court twice
a year at each county seat gives twen
ty terms, or ten to each judge." The
necessary trave1 is something which
would be appalling to an eastern man.
Aluiost the entire district Is traversed
by the C. & N. W. railroad and the
Burlington crosses the western end.
Before the populists and democrats
captured the state government and a
majority of the judicial districts, this
Fifteenth district was completely un
der railroad dc aination (ae were most
of the districts in which the courts
were presided over by republican
judges). In the Fifteenth especially
the people, being engaged largely in
cattle raising, were aroused almost to
the point of revolt by the frequency of
cattle stealing , and , the equal fre
quency with which the thieves, escaped
punishment. Finally Judge W. H.
Westover of Sheridan county, a thor
ough populist, carried the empire dis
trict. Immediately cattle stealing fell
below par, for Judge Westover refused
to follow the republican precedent of
allowing a cattle stealing case to go
over if it resulted in a "hung jury."
He would order the sheriff to at once
call another jury and besin the trial
again. For a time ha kept the sheriffs
busy bringing tattle thieves to the
penitentiary and thus ruined a lucra
tive business, much to the delight of
those who were trying to make a liv
ing by raising cattle instead of steal
ing them.
Four years ago John J. Harrington
of Holt county a brother of Michael
FT Harrington, the well known pop
ulist leader of Nebraska was nomi
nated as running mate with Judee
Westover, and both were elected with
out difficulty. This year they have
been renominated.
Our preliminary statement as to the
size of this district will accentuate the
facts brought out in the following clip
nlng from the Holt Co. Independent.
There is no other judicial district in
the state where a railroad pass will
save a judge so much in cost of. trans
portation; hence, no other where the
temptation to acept it is so great; or
where it is more clearly a bribe. Judgo
Harrington is not the only ' populist
or democratic judge who refuses rail
road favors but The Independent has
yet to hear of a republican judge who
is not fully supplied with these power
ful bits of pasteboard. The Holt.
County Independent says:
"As the years drift along the peo
ple are getting to understand better
that a railroad pass is a bribe to a
public official. The Independent isuot
one of those thick and thin sheets
that asserts that the pass evil is con
fined entirely to any one ' political
crowd. ,-IJnfortattaiely gome fusionists
in the state administration did flue
on passes, and those who did to that
extent weakened the organization.
The Omaha Bee recently published a
most excellent editorial against the
entire pass system. The argument of
Editor Rosewater seems to us unan
swerable. It ought to be read by ev
erybody. The Lincoln News recently
commented on the sworn statements
of expenses filed by the candidates for
district judges, and, it pleased the In
dependent to notice that it commended
Judge Harrington for being one of the
few district judges In the state who
had the honesty and manhood to pay
his railroad fare and be under no obli
gations tQwttHt, corporations. Coming
from a hide bound republican newspa
per this commendation means some
thing. ...
"A judge should be absolutely above
suspicion. He ouht to receive no fav
ors from any corporation. The man
who is injured on the railroad, the
widow and the children whose hus
band is killed; the stockman whowe
cattle are. injured through shipment,
the merchant whoso goods are dam
aged in the course of transportation,
the farmer whose property is burned
by fire from the railroad ought to feel
and know that when he goes into
court the judge is under no obligation
to the railroad company. '
"But when a judge receives passes
from these railroads, which saves him
large sums of money in railroad fare,
he can hardly be expected to hold the
scales of justice evenly balanced and
even though he tries to do so, the liti
gant is bound to feel the chances are
against him.
"Through hig term as district judge,
J. J. Harrington has never accepted a
pass from-a railroad company; he has
always paid his fare; he has paid to
the railroads of this district for rail
road tickets in tt last four years
more than $1,000. By doing this he is
able to do equal and exact justice in
any case between the citizen and the
railroad company. No one has any
strings on, him; having received no
favors he need not graut any; he sim
ply does justice as he sees it. We be
lieve that every man in the district,
regardless of politics, believes that
Judge Harrington has done right, and
we feel Quite sure thtt a very large
number of republicans are going to
show by their vote that they appre
ciate the Independence of our worthy
young -judge."
three years. At last he got his man.
Mathewson is no more Indian super
intendent and political boss. It is to
bo hoped that land steals, fake sales at
$250 an acre, and other things that
has made Thurston county smell unto
high heaven wilt be things of the past.
After Mathewson's scalp is well dried,
Rosewater will hang it up alongside
that of Tom Majors and several others
which he keeps in his wigwam.
All the republicans declare that John
N. Baldwin is the most insulting, ty-'
rannical and arbitrary boss that they
ever had to serve under. Not" long ago
Baldwin sent for a somewhat promi
nent lawyer, took his pass away and '
gave him such a roast as made the
hair stand on the poor lawyer's head.
At the end of the castigation the law-.'
yer was told that he could stop his op
position to the nomination of a cer
tain . county candidate and advocate
that i of the other man, or he could
pay his way home and never expect to
get another case from the road. The
lawyer surrendered. He couldn't help
himself. His bread and butter de
pended upon it. In another case a
certain editor had been opposing the
nomination of a railroad candidate.
The editor was yanked up to the snub
bing post and given a tongue lash
ing that he will remember to his dy
ing day. The editor's advertising con
tracts were taken away from him and
he paid his own way home, where he
has since been meditating on the pow
er of kings. It Is such things as these,
and there have been a good many of
them of late, that make the republi
cans say that John N. Baldwin is a
"hard boss."
One of the cunningly planned
schemes that the railroads are work
ing in this state is to, get rid of main
taining a squad of worKera that must,
be paid by the railroads themselves
at each county seat to enable them to
hold down the state. It is that kind
of trickish work with which the farm
ers have often been deceived. . It was
planned at the headquarters of the
railroads by high-priced lawyers whose
training has enabled them to become
experts at it.. The plan is to have a
squad of men paid by the people at
each county seat who will keep the
railroad machine In good working or
der the whole year round, a squad of
officeholders not elected by the people,
but appointed by some willing tool of
the corporations. The result will be
-,600 agents of the railroads in the
state, holding offices to which the peo
ple never elected them, but whom they
will have to pay, besides a boss to
look after them and keep them at their
work located at each county seat who ,
will draw an annual salary varying
from $250, in the smallest county, to
$2,400 in the larger ones, also paid by
the republicans put through the legis
lature last year under the direction of
the keen railroad lawyers and entitled
a revenue law. ' -
That law provides that there snail
be only one assessor in each county
and he shall appoint a deputy in each
precinct. Besides the big ' boss -who
will live at the county seat, draw his
salary, there will be from 15 to 25
deputies in each county.' This body
of men, the lawyers thought, would bo
able to control the politics in nearly
every county in the state. They will
make an efficient working body su
perior to any county committee that
could be appointed in the old way by
the republican leaders, and the jolly
part of the business is that the people
will pay the bill
Heretofore the assessors have been
elected in each precinct and the as
sessing was done by a man's neigh
bor, who knew all about the value of
property in his township. This new
crowd will come from the county seat,
from the lot of fellows who hang
around the court house, serve as jur
ors and gather up any other small
crumbs that the court house gang can
throw in their way. That is the sort
of dose that the last legislature gave
the farmers of this state. The rail
roads will give them another ten times
worse If they carry this election.
This scheme is so drastic in Its
operations that hundreds of republi-