Carney's Administration.Gov. Carney was inaugurated on Jan. 12, 1863. He came into office at a time when the affairs of the state were in a discouraging condition. The Civil war was at its height; the counties along the eastern border were constantly menaced by guerrillas; those on the west suffered from frequent Indian forays, and to protect the people from these incursions the state had neither arms, ammunition nor means of subsisting troops. The credit of the statenot yet fully establishedhad been impaired the preceding year by the sale of bonds in such a way as to lead to the impeachment and removal from office of the secretary of state and auditor, and the increasing population made necessary certain expenditures for educational and benevolent purposes.
In his inaugural message the governor said: "We stand by the administration, because the administration is the organized authority of the nation. It has labored to avoid our present troubles. It has sought Union in the spirit of Union. It has done nothing, proposed nothing, asserted nothing in opinion or principle, which invaded, or which threatened to invade, the rights of the states, or violate the letter or spirit of the constitution.
"I do not wish to indulge in poetic speech or empty declamation. Neither will feed the hungry or relieve the sufferer. We must render both substantial aid. And this the state should do. Loyal commonwealths of the Republic have cared for the soldier, by appointing sanitary committees; by appropriating funds for their families, while the heads thereof were in the field, and by relieving, on the battlefields or at home, the wounded and the sick.
"Kansas should be the rival of the noblest of these commonwealths. We stand first, because in proportion to population and wealth, we have mustered more men to combat rebellion than any loyal state in the Union. This has been done, too, at immense sacrifice. Many of our families have been left almost in destitution. I have been an eye witness to the fact, that in many instances the faithful mother, and in some instances only children have been left to attend to the household and the farm."
This portion of the messagewritten by one who was on the ground, and who was familiar with the situationhas been quoted at length to show that the people of Kansas, loyal to the core, were willing to make sacrifices and endure hardships, in order to preserve the Union of which the state had so recently become a member. The governor urged the acceptance of the grant of land for a state university; the erection of a penitentiary at the earliest possible day; that a tax be levied upon foreign insurance companies doing business within the state; an amendment to the constitution to permit the citizen soldiery to vote; and such legislation as might be found necessary for the advancement of the educational interests and benevolent institutions of the state. Referring to the bonds that had caused so much trouble the preceding session, he said:
"In November, 1861, this state made a contract, through the agent created by its authorized agents, with the secretary of the interior, at Washington, for the sale of $150,000 of its fifteen-year seven per cent. bonds at 85 cents on the dollar. Only a portion of this contract has been fulfilled. Ninety-five thousand six hundred dollars of these bonds is all that has been delivered, and only $64,600 paid for. This leaves a difference of $54,400 of these bonds that will have to be delivered to the secretary of the interior, before the contract can be consummated. The legislature of 1862, for reasons of its own, took the completion of this contract out of the hands of its agents, and their attorney, and placed it wholly in yours.
"To complete this contract you will have to authorize the issue of $54,400 of seven per cent. fifteen-year bonds, which, added to the $31,000 now held by the secretary of the interior, and not paid for, will make the required amount . . . . Now I call upon you to do your duty. You must meet this responsibility or forfeit the credit of the state. Its wants are imperative and its character is at stake. I will not, if I can help it, and you will not, I know, permit a stain to rest upon that credit, or blur upon that character."
In accordance with the governor's recommendations, the legislature, by the act of March 2, 1863, authorized the issue of $54,400 fifteen-year seven per cent. bonds. Immediately after the adjournment of the legislature, Gov. Carney went to Washington, where he met the secretary of the interior and found him ready to carry out his part of the original agreement. Thinking, however, that the state ought to realize more than 60 cents on the dollar, the governor went on to New York and found that he could negotiate the bonds to better advantage. He then asked the secretary of the interior to release the state from the contract. The secretary readily consented, the governor returned to New York, where he sold $54,000 of the new issue and $1,000 of the old at 93 cents; $26,000 of the old issue at par, and $4,000 at 95 cents. In his message of Jan. 13, 1864, he thus explains his reasons for the course he adopted:
"I was led to regard the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law, because, on the first sale of bonds made, I realized $3,850 more than otherwise could have been realized; because, in the arrangement made with the secretary of the interior, I secured $3,900, and $234.71 interest, accruing between April 25th and July 1st, 1863, more than otherwise could have been secured; and because in the last sale of $4,000 of the old issue of bonds, there were made $400 more than otherwise would have been made, thus saving to the state $8,384.71 by the course I pursued. Another potent reason influenced me. The credit of the state was established by it, at the very point where, above all others it was most important it should be established, both for it and its citizens, namely, in the city of New York."
The message does not stateprobably owing to the governor's modestythat one of the potent influences in establishing the state's credit in New York was his personal indorsement of the bonds, yet such was the case. The Topeka Commonwealth of July 29, 1888, in commenting on the transaction, said: "At this very critical moment Kansas was indeed in a pitiable condition. She was the seat of a terrible conflict and her finances were bankrupt. Governor Carney himself started east and negotiated a loan for a sum of money considerably over $100,000. It was made negotiable by the fact that he endorsed the paper individually. At this time he was very rich and thus an individual endorsing the paper of the State of Kansas for a fortune secured money with which to conduct the state government."
The legislature of 1863 adjourned on March 3, after enacting laws providing for the promotion of the state university, the agricultural college and the state normal school; the employment of teachers for the deaf and dumb; the location of an insane asylum at Osawatomie; the erection of a penitentiary at Lansing, and for funding the old territorial debt. On April 30 the commissioners appointed by the governor to select a site for the state university reported that they had decided on a tract of 40 acres near the city of Lawrence, and on Nov. 2 the governor issued a proclamation declaring the university permanently located there. Manhattan was selected as the site of the agricultural college; the state normal school was established at Emporia, and on the last day of the year the directors of the penitentiary reported that they had made a contract for the erection of a building. (For a more complete account of these institutions see each under its appropriate title.)
The summer of 1863 was a trying time for Kansas. All along the eastern border the people lived in constant fear of guerrilla invasions from Missouri. Appeals to the general government for aid were futile, as the Confederate armies at this time were particularly aggressive, and the life of the nation was the first consideration of the Federal administration. In this emergency the governor organized the patrol guarda force of 150 mounted menand some of this force were on duty day and night, watching the border. Each man of this force received from the private funds of the governor a dollar a day for his services and the use of his horse, though the United States furnished rations and forage. After the battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the Federal government found it possible to send troops to Kansas and the patrol was discontinued. A few days later the guerrilla leader, Quantrill, who it appears was waiting for just such an opportunity, made his famous raid to Lawrence. (See Quantrill's Raid.) By the act of Feb. 26, 1864, the legislature authorized the state to refund to the governor "the sum of $10,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary," to reimburse him for his expenditures in protecting the state.
In troublous times, when the constituted legal authorities of a community are engrossed in repelling invasion or suppressing rebellion, lawless characters frequently take advantage of conditions to commit lawless acts, and often mob rule is the result. This was true of Kansas in 1863. In his History of Kansas, p. 374, Cutler says: "During the year 1863, so annoying became the depredations of lawless bands of jayhawkers that means were devised for self-protection, and the most effective seemed to be a vigilance committee under the control of brave, discreet loyalists."
On the night of May 16, a desperado named Sterling, with three of his gang, went to the home of a Mr. Kelsey, near the head of the Big Stranger, and upon being admitted knocked down the proprietor, took $40 in money and four horses and departed. A posse was hurriedly organized and the ruffians were captured at Atchison the following morning. One of the gang, a man named Parker, turned state's evidence and on Monday morning all four were taken to the woods a short distance from town, where Sterling was hanged. The intention was to hang all four, but the others begged so piteously that their lives were spared.
A few nights later two men named Mooney and Brewer, with others of the Sterling gang, attempted to rob a man about 15 miles northeast of Atchison. They were pursued, captured and taken to Atchison, where they were confined in jail. About nine o'clock on the morning of Saturday, May 23, some 400 or 500 men, on horseback or in wagons, came in from the surrounding country. Two hours later 100 of these men, selected for the purpose, went to the court-house, where the two men were on trial by jury, everybody being excluded except the witnesses, lawyers and jurors. The trial lasted for four or five hours, at the end of which time the jury returned a verdict of guilty. Then the 100 men quietly took Mooney and Brewer away from the officers and, with the crowd following, conducted them to a spot about half a mile from the town, where they were hanged. No excitement prevailed, and as soon as the two men were dead the people quietly returned to their homes.
Another lynching occurred on June 3, when James Melvine and William Cannon were hanged at Highland. These two men had robbed Mr. Devine, Mr. Beeler and Mr. Martin of a pair of mules, a wagon and some other property. Martin, Beeler and Devine immediately started in pursuit, and when about a mile from the village of Kennekuk fired on the bandits, leaving them for dead. They recovered, however, and another pursuit followed. Near Mt. Pleasant, Atchison county, they were overtaken, captured and taken to Highland, where they were tried by a jury of twelve men. A verdict of guilty was rendered, and the execution quickly followed the verdict.
The records do not show that the governor, in any of these cases, made any effort to apprehend or punish the men who did the lynching. He knew the conditions that prevailed all through the eastern part of the state, and no doubt realized that the people were exercising the "higher law" of self-protection. Nor is there any doubt that the prompt and efficient manner in which summary justice was meted out to offenders had a great influence in restoring order in the districts where the lynchings occurred.
On Nov. 3, 1863, there was an election for chief justice of the supreme court, district attorneys and members of the legislature. Robert Crozier was elected chief justice, receiving 12,731 votes, only 14 scattering votes being cast against him.
Gov. Carney's message to the legislature at the opening of the session on Jan. 12, 1864, is one of the longest ever presented to a Kansas general assembly. In it he reviews in detail the negotiations of the state bonds; urged that provisions be made for a complete geological survey of the state; that measures be adopted to encourage immigration; devoted considerable attention to the guerrilla warfare along the border, and the work of the Kansas soldiers in the field. In locating the state university at Lawrence, the preceding legislature had made a requirement that a fund of $15,000 should be raised before the law became effective. On this subject the governor said: "Amos Lawrence, of Boston, Mass., gave $10,000 to it; the citizens of Lawrence advanced $5,000, making the amount required, which sum has been deposited with the treasurer of state. I am loth to recommend the expenditure of money, devoted by law to specific objects; but I think this case so clearly exceptional, that I do not hesitate to urge the legislature to return to the citizens of Lawrence the amount contributed by them. Their gift, as we know, was a generous one; it was noble as well as generous. In a fell hour they lost, as it were, their all. Rebel assassins did this fatal work. Where, then, the patriotic heart in the state, that would not say promptly 'Return to these public-spirited men the generous gift, which, when wealthy, they promised, and which promise, when poor, they fulfilled?"
In this part of the message the governor referred to the Quantrill raid of the previous August. The legislature accepted the governor's recommendation, and by the act of Feb. 15, 1864, directed the state treasurer to "refund and pay over to the mayor of the city of Lawrence, or the person acting as mayor, to be refunded to the contributors to the university fund, the sum of $5,167, to be deducted from the endowment fund," etc.
The legislature adjourned on March 1. The most important laws of the session were those regulating the granting of pardons; providing for the appointment of commissioners to locate a blind asylum in Wyandotte county; authorizing the governor to appoint a state geologist; establishing a bureau of immigration; abolishing grand juries; proposing an amendment to the state constitution to enable soldiers to vote, and several acts to encourage the construction of railroads. One action of the legislature which caused widespread comment and much adverse criticism, was that of voting for a United States senator for the term beginning on March 4, 1865. Another assembly would meet in Jan., 1865, and many contended that it was the proper body to elect a senator; that such an election by the session of 1864 would be "premature and unwarranted, if not actually illegal." However, a resolution to elect a senator was adopted by the house early in the session. On Feb. 6 it was taken up in the senate and the question of calling a joint convention was decided in the affirmative by a vote of 17 to 8. The joint convention accordingly met on the 8th and, after some acrimonious debate, voted to cast a ballot for senator. The vote stood: Thomas Carney, 68; against a fraud, 1; blank,; excused from voting, 27. As Gov. Carney was the only one voted for, he was charged by some of having instigated the whole proceedings, through "his inordinate desire to go to the senate." But his subsequent action would indicate that the charges were unfounded. A certificate of election was made out to him, but when the Republican convention met at Topeka on April 21 he announced that he never intended to claim the office. And he never did.
The Republican convention above referred to selected as delegates to the national convention at Baltimore Gen. James H. Lane, A. C. Wilder, Thomas N. Bowen, W. W. H. Lawrence, Martin H. Insley and F. W. Potter. On June 1 the Democrats held a convention at Topeka and selected as delegates to their national convention at Chicago W. C. McDowell, Wilson Shannon, Orlin Thurston, L. B. Wheat, H. J. Strickler and J. P. Taylor.
A Republican convention for the nomination of a state ticket assembled in Topeka on Sept. 8, 1864. Samuel J. Crawford was nominated for governor; James McGrew for lieutenant-governor; R. A. Barker for secretary of state; John R. Swallow for auditor; William Spriggs for treasurer; J. D. Brumbaugh for attorney-general; Isaac T. Goodnow for superintendent of public instruction; Jacob Safford for justice of the supreme court, and Sidney Clarke for representative in Congress. Ellsworth Cheeseborough, Nelson McCracken and Robert McBratney were named as presidential electors, but before the election Cheeseborough and McCracken both died and their places on the ticket were filled by Thomas Moonlight and W. F. Cloud.
Two political conventionsthe Republican Union and the Democraticmet in Topeka on Sept. 13. The former nominated the following state ticket, which was indorsed by the Democrats: For governor, Solon O. Thacher; lieutenant-governor, John J. Ingalls; secretary of state, William R. Saunders; auditor, Asa Hairgrove; treasurer, J. R. McClure; attorney-general, Hiram Griswold, superintendent of public instruction, Peter McVicar; associate justice of the supreme court, Samuel A. Kingman; representative in Congress, Albert L. Lee; presidential electors, Nelson Cobb, Andrew G. Ege and Thomas Bridgens. Mr. McVicar declined the nomination for superintendent of public instruction and John S. Brown was selected to fill the vacancy on the ticket.
Early in October the news spread rapidly through the state that the Confederate Gen. Price was marching toward Kansas with a large force of troops, and that his movements were being accelerated by the close pursuit of the Federal army. Invasion seemed imminent, and for the time interest in the political campaign was almost entirely lost. On the 8th Gov. Carney issued a proclamation calling out the militia of the state, under command of Gen. George W. Deitzler. (See War of 1861-65.)
The entire Republican ticket was elected on Nov. 8, and the administration of Gov. Carney came to an end with the inauguration of Gov. Samuel J. Crawford on Jan. 11, 1865.Pages 290-296 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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