Bailey's Administration.In accordance with the provisions of the state constitution, Gov. Bailey was inaugurated on the second Monday in Jan., 1903, which was the 12th day of the month. The next day the legislature met in regular session, with Lieut.-Gov. David J. Hanna as president of the senate and J. T. Pringle as speaker of the house. As soon as the two branches of the general assembly were organized the governor submitted his message, which did not differ materially from the messages of his predecessors. In his introduction he congratulated the people of the state on their progress and present condition by saying:
"The business and commercial interests of Kansas have never been upon a stronger or more substantial basis than now. No state in the Union has absorbed more of the general prosperity that has come to the whole country during the past six years than has Kansas. New life, new hope and new energy have come to our people as the result of these conditions, and the increase in value of nearly all real and personal property has largely enhanced the wealth and commercial importance of the state. . . . The official statistics indicate that, in the decade just closed, the increase in value of farm products has been nearly 24 per cent., and of live stock more than 5 per cent., or, for all combined, 31.6 per cent."
Then, referring to the bank commissioners' report, he gave the number of state banks as 477, a gain of 89 in the last two years. The capital of these banks amounted to $7,751,000, a gain of $1,138,000; their surplus of $1,769,701 showed a gain of $419,491; the deposits amounted to $40,135,176, a gain of $8,508,841; and their loans had increased during the two years from $21,812,835 to $32,885,046.
Notwithstanding the general prosperity of the state, he counseled economy in the matter of appropriations. "I call your attention," said he, "to the lavish waste of the public money in the printing of useless and unnecessary public documents. The law, in many instances, provides for the publishing of reports and documents far beyond any demand or necessity, and, as a result, the store rooms of the capitol building are rapidly filling up with this matter that is worse than useless. I am sure a careful inspection of this accumulated material will convince any legislator of the necessity of reform along this line."
On the subject of Congressional apportionment he said: "Kansas has eight members in the national Congress and the state is divided into seven Congressional districts, necessitating the election of one member at large. I recommend the redistricting of the state and the formation of eight Congressional districts, as contemplated by law. The Congressman at large, while he has the same rights upon the floor and in the committee room as the member who has a district, is practically denied other prerogatives of a member. Each Congressional district is entitled to certain recognition, certain patronage. Kansas practically loses one-eighth of what she is entitled to under the present apportionment. The fact that a district has 60,000 or 70,000 more population that it is entitled to does not entitle the people of the district to any more recognition than they would have if they had the number contemplated by law. I earnestly hope that this legislature will reapportion the state and follow the example set by other states."
The governor then reviewed the condition of the state institutions and the work of the railroad and tax commissioners. He recommended the passage of a law authorizing the appointment of a state architect; an appropriation to maintain the office of state accountant as contemplated by the law of 1895; the establishment of a state fish hatchery "with the view of propagating such fish as are adapted to the streams of Kansas," and called attention to the fact that other states, where conditions were no more favorable than in Kansas, had made fish hatcheries profitable undertakings. He also recommended a revision of the insurance laws, because in the enactment of new laws on this subject there had been a lack of positive corrections and repealing acts, hence, "as a result, the insurance department is in possession of a compilation of laws in which there are contraditions and inconsistencies."
He announced the completion of the capitol building, so that "no further expenditure is now needed, save for its proper maintenance;" expressed the hope that the State of Kansas would "coöperate with the national government in all efforts toward improvement, and liberally aid all movements tending to the developing of the National Guard;" and called attention to the report of the commissioner of labor, especially the recommendation that a law be enacted prohibiting the employment of children under the age of fourteen years in shops and factories. In his conclusion he again called attention to the necessity of using judgment and discrimination in the expenditure of the public funds, as follows:
"The natural pride every citizen has in his state suggests at once that the institutions of the state should be maintained upon a plane commensurate with the dignity and growth of the state. This is commendable but there is another interest that should he sacred to every one charged with responsibility, and that is the duty we owe to the burden-bearers, the people who pay the taxes. The people will justify a generous support of all the great interests of our state, but they will condemn any profligate waste of the public money."
Most of the governor's recommendations were observed by the legislature, though three bills in which he was especially interested failed to become laws. They were the acts redistricting the state for representatives in Congress, establishing state depositories, and the child labor law. The principal acts passed at this session were those establishing the indeterminate sentence system increasing the salary of the superintendent of public instruction; providing for tuition fees at the state educational institutions; continuing the bounty on sugar beets placing suburban electric railways under the control of the board of railroad commissioners; appropriating $100,000 for the Louisiana Purchase exposition; curtailing the number of state reports to be issued by the state printer; reëstablishing the office of state accountant; reorganizing the National Guard to conform to the provisions of the act of Congress known as the "Dick bill;" requiring the State of Oklahoma to relieve Kansas of caring for her prisoners after two years; making the state free employment bureau a permanent institution, and providing for the establishment of a state fish hatchery.
Two constitutional amendments were submitted to the people, to be voted upon at the general election of 1904. One related to the veto power of the governor, as defined by section 14, article 2, and the other made the state printer an elective office.
On Jan. 20 the legislature adopted a resolution requesting the senators and representatives from Kansas in the national Congress "to use their best endeavors and influence toward securing for our state the honor of having named for her one of the new first-class battle ships either already provided for or to be provided for in the near future." (See Battle-ship Kansas.)
A joint session of the two houses was held on Jan. 28 for the election of a United States senator. Chester I. Long was elected over William A. Harris by a vote of 123 to 35. Mr. Long was present and made a short address, after which he was presented with his certificate of election for the term beginning on March 4, 1903.
Heavy floods in the spring of 1903 did great damage in various parts of the state, the greatest losses being at Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. To relieve the flood situation in the Kaw valley Gov. Bailey issued a proclamation on June 17, calling the legislature to meet in special session on the 24th. In his message at the opening of the special session, Gov. Bailey said:
"The floods which have recently swept over a portion of our fair state have created conditions unusual and extraordinary. The valley of the Kaw and its tributaries, which but a short time ago gave promise of rich harvests, have been devastated by the angry waters, villages and cities have been inundated, homes have been obliterated, and the property loss to the citizens of our state is so vast that at this time its amount is but a conjecture. Bridges that spanned our rivers that are absolutely necessary for the every-day transaction of business have, in many cases, been swept away and others made impassable, making necessary the expenditure of large amounts of money before the avenues of commerce can again be opened. Especially is this true of Wyandotte county, where the immense business between Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., is suspended until the river can again be bridged. While the conditions are the most acute in Wyandotte county, yet the same situation obtains in several of the other counties. In some of the counties, those charged with the responsibility of repairing the great losses find themselves helpless under the law to meet these unusual and extraordinary conditions, and it is for the purpose of giving such enabling legislation as is necessary to meet these exigencies, caused by the recent floods, that I have exercised the power vested in me by the constitution of our state to convene the legislature in extra session."
Immediately after the reading of the governor's message a concurrent resolution was adopted, to the effect that the introduction of bills should cease at 10 o'clock a. m. on the 25th; that all messages between the house and senate should be discontinued at noon of the same day, and that the final adjournment should he made at 3 o'clock p. m. The time was found to be too short, however, for the consideration of the various measures proposed, and the final adjournment was not taken until 2 o'clock p. m. on the 26th. Even then the legislature broke all previous records for the amount of business transacted. In the senate 30 bills were introduced, and in the house 59. Of these 89 bills 5 became laws. The most important acts were those authorizing counties to issue bonds to repair the damages done by the flood; permitting county commissioners to issue warrants for similar purposes; repealing the act of March 2, 1903, limiting the bonded indebtedness of cities of the first class having a population of 50,000 or more, and allowing cities to issue bonds and warrants to replace bridges, etc.
Attempts to make direct appropriations for the relief of the flood sufferers were defeated, but Gov. Bailey called for contributions and in this way raised a fund of some $33,000, over half of which, or $17,500, went to Wyandotte county, where there were 5,000 needy families. Douglas county reported 225 destitute families and received nearly $4,000; Leavenworth county received a little over $2,000 for the relief of 115 families, and the balance of the fund was distributed in the counties along the Kansas river from Marshall to Wyandotte.
The second year of Gov. Bailey's administration witnessed the beginning of an incident that for a time agitated the state from center to circumference. On Jan. 23, 1904, Joseph R. Burton, United States senator from Kansas, was indicted by a Federal grand jury at St. Louis, Mo., on the charge of having accepted $2,500 from the Rialto Grain and Securities company (a "get-rich-quick" concern), of that city, to use his influence with the postoffice department to prevent the issuance of a fraud order against the company, denying it the use of the mails. Burton was tried before Judge Adams of the United States district court at St. Louis in March, found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of $2,500 and serve six months in the jail at Ironton, Mo. Burton's defense was that he was acting within his rights, and that the money received from the company was nothing more than he was entitled to as attorneys fees. He appealed the case to the United States supreme court, which in Jan., 1905, reversed the decision of the district court, on the grounds that the money was paid to Burton in Washington, and remanded the case for a new trial. The second trial was before Judge Van Devanter of the United States circuit court at St. Louis in Nov., 1905, and resulted in the same sentence as that imposed by Judge Adams' court. A second appeal to the supreme court followed, and this time the decision of the lower court was sustained, On June 4, 1906, Mr. Burton resigned his seat in the Senate.
In the spring of 1904 the cities of Wichita, Hutchinson, Emporia, Coffeyville, Winfield, Ottawa, and all the towns in the Kansas river valley, again suffered losses by floods, though the damages were not as heavy as those of the previous year.
On June 4, 1900, a charter was granted to the Kansas Exposition Association of Topeka, with a capital stock of $50,000, which was organized for the purpose of holding a semi-centennial celebration of the organization of Kansas as a territory in 1904. The records do not show what became of the association, but a three days' celebration was held, beginning on Monday, May 30, 1904, which was also Memorial day. On the first day of the celebration there was a great civic and military parade, in which Gov. Bailey and his staff participated, and an address by William H. Taft, secretary of war in President Roosevelt's cabinet. The second day was "Pioneer Day," and was devoted to the relation of experiences by old residents who had lived in Kansas in "the days that tried men's souls." Wednesday was "Women's day," the principal feature of which was a beautiful flower parade.
Sept. 30, 1904, was "Kansas Day" at the Louisiana Purchase exposition at St. Louis. On the 12th Gov. Bailey issued a proclamation announcing that "The management has set apart the week beginning on Sept. 26 as 'Kansas Week' at the World's Fair, and Sept. 30 has been designated as 'Kansas Day,' and it is the most earnest desire of the chief executive and the Kansas commission that as many loyal citizens of our state as possible arrange to attend the fair at that time, and by their presence and influence honor the day and the occasion."
It was estimated that 15,000 Kansans were in attendance on the 30th and nearly every one wore a sunflower, which had but a short time before been declared the state flower by the legislature. Gov. Bailey delivered an address, descriptive of the resources and progress of Kansas, and the Kansas building was thronged from morning till night with interested sight-seers. (See Louisiana Purchase Exposition.)
The political campaign of 1904 was opened by the Republican party, which held a state convention at Wichita on March 9. Edward Hoch was nominated for governor by acclamation; all the state officers elected in 1902 were renominated; E. W. Cunningham, W. R. Smith and Clark A. Smith were nominated for associate justices of the supreme court; George W. Wheatley, J. W. Robison and A. D. Walker for railroad commissioners, and Charles F. Scott for Congressman at large. The platform paid a tribute to the late Marcus A. Hanna, United States senator from Ohio and chairman of the Republican national committee; declared in favor of a primary election law; urged the reapportionment of the state into eight Congressional districts; favored a public depository system for the state funds, the "good roads movement," and civil service reform in the state institutions. Delegates to the national convention were also selected.
A Democratic state convention met at Wichita on April 7, selected delegates to the national convention, adopted resolutions reaffirming the national platforms of 1896 and 1900, expressed an appreciation of W. J. Bryan, the presidential candidate in those two campaigns, and indorsed the work of William R. Hearst "in the interests of his party," and commended his example "to good Democrats everywhere." No nominations for state officers were made at this convention.
On April 12 a Populist convention assembled at Topeka, and after a stormy session named 89 delegates to the national convention. William H. Hearst was recommended to the Democratic party as the choice of the Populists for president, but the fusionists controlled the convention and prevented any nominations from being made.
The Prohibition state convention was held at Emporia on May 11. James Kerr was nominated for governor; S. F. Gould, for lieutenant-governor; T. D. Talmage, for secretary of state; C. A. Smith, for auditor; C. A. Fogle, for treasurer; J. M. Martin, for attorney-general; J. J. Harnley, for superintendent of public instruction; M. V. B. Bennett, for associate justice (only one nominated); L. B. Dubbs, J. N. Woods and A. C. Kennedy, for railroad commissioners; Jesse Evans, for superintendent of insurance; and Duncan McFarland, for Congressman at large.
The Populist convention in April adjourned to Aug. 3. when a joint convention of Democrats and the Populists who favored fusion met at Topeka and nominated a state ticket, which was as follows: Governor, David M. Dale; lieutenant-governor, M. A. Householder; secretary of state, John H. Curran; auditor, W. H. McDonald; treasurer, Thomas M. Dolan; attorney-general, W. W. Wells; superintendent of public instruction, Martin R. Howard; associate justice, John T. Little; superintendent of insurance, John Stowell; railroad commissioners. F. H. Chase and William M. Ferguson; Congressman at large, Frank Brady. Of these candidates, Dale, Curran, Dolan, Howard and Ferguson were Democrats, the others Populists. Some time after the convention M. B. Nicholson and S. H. Allen were added to the ticket as candidates for the office of associate justice, but the third place for railroad commissioner was never filled. The platform adopted indorsed Parker and Davis as the candidates of the Democratic party for president and vice-president and the platform adopted by the national convention held at St. Louis on July 8; favored state legislation protecting labor as well as capital; the redistricting of the state so as to provide for eight Congressional districts; home rule in counties and cities; revision of the tax laws; and pledged the candidates nominated to secure the passage of a law that would make it impossible for the state treasurer to use the public funds for speculation.
The Socialists again presented a ticket, to-wit: Governor, Granville Lowther; lieutenant-governor, A. Roessler; secretary of state, A. S. McAllister; auditor, George D. Brewer; treasurer, J. F. Taylor; attorney-general, F. L. McDermott; superintendent of public instruction, C. W. Baker; superintendent of insurance, W. J. McMillan; associate justices, G. C. Clemens, S. A. Smith and R. A. Ross; railroad commissioners, W. D. Street, J. D. Haskell and Frank Baldwin; Congressman at large, Christopher Bishir.
At the election on Nov. 8 the Republican presidential electors carried the state by a plurality of 126,781, and the entire Republican state ticket was elected, the vote for governor being as follows: Hoch, 186,731; Dale, 116,991; Kerr, 6,584; Lowther, 12,101. The two constitutional amendments were ratified by substantial majorities.
Toward the close of Gov. Bailey's administration the governor filed bills with the auditor for groceries, to be paid out of the $2,000 appropriated for the maintenance of the governor's residence. The state treasurer declined to pay the bills, claiming that such payment out of the maintenance fund was equivalent to an increase in compensation, which was prohibited by the constitution. Gov. Bailey, in order to have the question properly settled, instituted mandamus proceedings in the supreme court of the state to compel the treasurer to pay the bills. The case was still pending when the governor retired from office. Subsequently the court sustained the treasurer. That there was no evidence of wrong intent on the part of Gov. Bailey, he sent the attorney-general a draft for $1,200, without the formality of a suit, to replace the money he had expended for groceries. In the letter accompanying the draft the governor said:
"I am prompted to pay this amount into the state treasury on account of the position taken by yourself and certain newspapers that the state has a just claim against me under the decision of the supreme court. I have lived in Kansas twenty-six years, which period covers my active business life, and no just claim against me has ever been presented and stamped 'not paid for want of funds.' . . . There is always a very wide difference of opinion among my friends as to whether I should pay this pretended claim; but I feel that in paying this money into the state treasury I can wrong no one but myself, and that I can better afford to suffer this wrong that I can to rest under the imputation that I have misappropriated one dollar of the funds entrusted to my care as governor of Kansas."Pages 122-128 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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