Stanley's Administration.Gov. Stanley was inaugurated on Jan. 9, 1899, and the next day witnessed the commencement of the eleventh biennial session of the state legislature. Lieut.-Gov. H. E. Richter, by virtue of his office, became president of the senate, and S. J. Osborn was elected speaker of the house. The administration of Gov. Stanley may be said to mark the beginning of a reaction in both industrial and political affairs. The country was just recovering from the effects of the panic of 1893, and especially were the people of Kansas beginning to enjoy the blessings and benefits of the new-born era of prosperity.
"No state," said Gov. Stanley in his message, "ever realized in its experience the sentiment contained in its motto more fully than our own. We are reaching the highlands of prosperity, but we have come up out of lowlands of adversity. The period of speculation from 1883 largely swallowed up or forced to leave the state by the reaction and to 1888 caused the inflow of large sums of foreign capital, which were depression which followed; and as a consequence we were, for the first time in our history, compelled to rely upon our own resources. During the speculative period Eastern capital sought investment in the statelargely in the way of loans on real estateand when the reaction came nearly all our farms and much of our city property were mortgaged for more than the actual value, and most of the money obtained was invested and lost in speculation. It seems strange that so intelligent a people as our own would incur such a large indebtedness as they did for a few years prior to 1890, and largely for speculative purposes.
"The condition which confronted the people of Kansas in 1890 was discouraging, and would have deterred a people less courageous, industrious and frugal than our own; but with the readiness and willingness which have always characterized them, they proceeded to the work of discharging their indebtedness and building up waste places without the aid of outside capital. . . . Public indebtedness has been, and is being largely reduced, and it can be safely said that the end of the long night of our own folly is at hand, and, when the morning comes, we will greet it all the more cordially, because even in the dark night of our misfortune we did not yield to the clamor to compromise our individual honesty or the honor of the state."
Concerning the revival of business about this time, Prentis says: "A singular feature of the recovery in the 'boom towns,' which, in their speculative days, had scattered their houses over a large area, was their practical consolidation. Houses which had stood in empty desolation in the midst of boundless 'additions' were removed nearer to the actual center of population, renovated and repaired, and became again places of business and the homes of men."
In his message the governor, quoting from the report of the secretary of the state board of agriculture, announced that the value of the crops of Kansas for the year 1898 amounted to $151,923,823; value of live stock, $113,227,923, a total of $265,151,756, or nearly $200 for each man, woman and child in the state. With regard to the values of mineral products for the year 1898, coal led with a value of $4,000,000, others ranking in the following order: Lead and zinc, over $2,000,000; salt, $420,000; clay products, $275,000; gypsum, $250,000; oil and gas, $250,000; building stone, $175,000. The governor also gave an exhaustive review of the state institutions and banking interests, all of which he reported to be in a healthy and prosperous condition.
After the collapse of the "boom" in 1887, and during the period of depression which followed, the people became discouraged and discontented, and sought relief in political action. Numerous labor organizations sprang into existence; the Farmers' Alliance (q. v.) spread over the country; corporations, particularly the railroad companies, were charged with being contributory to the cause of the industrial depression, and all this discontent resulted in the organization of the People's or Populist party, which gave Kansas two governors in the decade ending in 1900, one of them, Gov. John W. Leedy, having been Gov. Stanley's immediate predecessor in office. A special session of the legislature, called by Gov. Leedy, adjourned on the day that Gov. Stanley was inaugurated. It enacted the law creating the "Court of Visitation," instead of the old board of railroad commissioners, and vesting it with inquisitorial and almost imperial powers.
Gov. Stanley advised a more conservative policy. "For years," said he, "there have been unfriendly relations existing between the railroads and the people of this state, during which the railroad question has been the source of animated discussion, sometimes resulting in bitter antagonism."
Then, after showing how the railroads had aided in building up the state by advertising its resources, thus encouraging immigration; that they had borne their full share of the burden of taxation, paying more than all the personal property of the state and one-third as much as all the taxable lands of the state; that they employed about 30,000 people and paid out about $15,000,000 annually in wages, he continued:
"It seems strange that agencies which have done so much for the state, are now bearing such a large part of its burdens and furnishing employment to so many of its laborers should be met by the people in a spirit of unfriendliness, if not of hostility; yet it is apparent that such a spirit exists. The causes for this condition are numerous. On the one hand, the political demagogue has been constant, in season and out of season, in inciting the people against the railroads, that he might gain personal or political advantage. On the other, the railroad management has afforded ample ground for the discontent which exists. It can hardly be hoped that there will be a reëstablishment of the old-time relations of cordiality and good will while those reasons remain. The railway companies have large sums invested in Kansas, and should be allowed to realize a reasonable profit on the amount invested. The people of the state are too fair-minded to limit the rate of transportation over the railroad lines so as to cripple the companies, prevent them from realizing a reasonable income on their capital, or from paying to the great army of laboring men whom they employ good wages. They believe, however, that the railroad companies have discriminated against Kansas communities, and out of this belief has grown much of the feeling of dissatisfaction which now prevails."
Gov. Stanley was not blind to the fact that the "feeling of dissatisfaction" was of several years standing, as shown by the following quotation from Gov. Martin's message of 1889: "Appeals to the justice and fairness of many railroad managers have been tried again and again for many years, and have failed to accomplish any important results. It is time to try what stringent laws, backed by determined public sentiment, will do."
Gov. Leedy came in for some severe criticism for calling the special session so near the close of his term of office. "The convocation of the legislature," said Gov. Stanley in his message, "such a short time before the regular session, and such a short time after the people had rendered their verdict, in violation of the spirit if not the letter of the constitution, to perform legislative acts, every one of which would be of doubtful validity, was establishing a dangerous precedent, and was a menace to the cause of popular government."
Notwithstanding these views, Gov. Stanley showed a disposition to uphold and enforce the laws passed by that session. With regard to the act creating the court of visitation, he said: "The new law just passed at the special session is entitled to a fair trial. If called into use for the purpose of enforcing rights or redressing wrongs, it is hoped that its provisions may be ample; but I would expect better results if an honest attempt had been made to adjust matters along friendly lines, legal methods being resorted to only when friendly methods fail. I am satisfied that the people are fair, and will meet the railroad companies halfway. If the managers of the railroad companies are willing to have an equitable adjustment of the difficulties which exist, I have no doubt that the representatives of the people will he equally willing to meet them on a basis of fairness, and I think we could accomplish in two years of effort in this direction more than we have accomplished in a decade of strife and contention."
On the subject of state finances he showed that on Dec. 28, 1896, there was a balance in the general fund of $190,000, which had dwindled to about $26,000 on Dec. 28, 1898. A large number of the officers and employees of the state under the previous administration complained to Gov. Stanley that the legislature had failed to make the necessary appropriations for the payment of their salaries. Neither had the preceding legislature made sufficient appropriations for the settlement of the Quantrill raid claims, and the expenses of the special session amounted to about $15O,000. "This condition," said he, "renders it almost certain that before funds can be derived from a new tax levy the money received under the old one will be paid out and the obligations of the state will again be dishonored. The credit of the state is of too much importance to be impaired, and the neglect to meet the legitimate demands made upon it, even for a day, affects its credit."
To meet this condition of affairs the legislature passed a bill authorizing the auditor of state to draw warrants in various amounts, aggregating $38,109.58, for the payment of salaries that were in arrears, and another deficiency bill provided for a shortage of $55,000 in the state printing department. An appropriation of $21,073.90 was made to repay certain persons, firms and corporations, who, at the request of Gov. Leedy, had advanced that amount to provide for an exhibit of Kansas products at the Trans-Mississippi exposition at Omaha, Neb., in 1898. (See Expositions.)
The governor also called attention to the fact that the growth of the state's institutions demanded a larger expenditure of money. Previous legislatures had been reluctant to raise the tax levy, but he suggested there were but two ways by which the larger revenues necessary could be obtained, and those were either to make a higher levy or assess all property at a higher rate. As a measure of economy, he advised the abolition of a number of useless offices, especially those of labor commissioner, forestry commissioner, state accountant and the board of pardons, and the discontinuance of the forestry stations in the western part of the state. None of his recommendations in these matters was accepted by the legislature.
Acts were passed during the session appropriating $190,000 for a twine plant at the penitentiary; creating a traveling libraries commission and appropriating $2,000 therefor; removing by a general law the political disabilities imposed by the constitutional amendment of Nov. 5, 1867; levying a tax of one-fourth of a mill on the dollar for the years 1899 and 1900 for the completion of the state-house at Topeka; and appropriating $20,000, or so much thereof as might be necessary, to defray the expenses of raising, equipping, subsisting and transporting troops for the Spanish-American war, and a constitutional amendment providing for four additional supreme court justices was submitted to the people at the general election in 1900.
By the provisions of the act creating the court of visitation the governor was authorized to appoint three judges constituting the court on the first Monday in April, 1899. When that time arrived Gov. Stanley appointed William A. Johnson of Garnett, John C. Postlethwaite of Jewell City, and A. J. Myatt of Wichita. Soon afterward the Western Union Telegraph company brought an action in the United States circuit court to test the validity of the court, which resulted in its being declared unconstitutional.
While the political campaign of 1900 was not as bitter as some of those that preceded it, there was no lack of interest. Conventions for the purpose of selecting delegates to the presidential conventions were held by the Populists at Clay Center on April 24; by the Republicans at Topeka on May 16; and by the Democrats at Wichita on May 23. The Republican convention also nominated for reëlection all the state officers elected in 1898 and completed the ticket by the choice of William A. Johnston for associate justice, Charles F. Scott for Congressman at large, and W. V. Church for insurance commissioner. This was the first time that the insurance commissioner was elected by vote of the people. The platform adopted by the Republican convention indorsed President McKinley's administration; congratulated the country on the adoption and maintenance of the gold standard; declared against trusts, and denounced the disfranchisement of negro voters in some of the Southern states.
On July 4 delegates from the Populists, Democrats, and free silver Republicans, met at Fort Scott to nominate a fusion ticket. John W. Breidenthal was nominated for governor; A. M. Harvey, lieutenant-governor; Abram Franks, secretary of state; E. J. Westgate, auditor; Conway Marshall, treasurer; Hugh P. Farrelly, attorney-general; Levi G. Humbarger, superintendent of public instruction; David Martin, associate justice; J. D. Botkin, Congressman at large; Webb McNall, commissioner of insurance. Of these candidates Franks, Marshall and Farrelly were Democrats; Martin and McNall were free silver Republicans, and the others were Populists. The platform indorsed the candidacy of Bryan and Stevenson for president and vice-president, and the resolutions adopted by the Kansas City convention.
The Prohibition state ticket was as follows: Governor, Frank Holsinger; lieutenant-governor, W. L. Coryell; secretary of state, B. H. Moore; auditor, W. M. Howie; treasurer, H. C. Zink; attorney-general M. V. B. Bennett; superintendent of public instruction, G. I. Winans; Congressman at large, B. C. Hoyt; associate justice, no nomination; superintendent of insurance, A. H. Griesa.
Although the Social Labor candidate for governor in 1898 received but 635 votes in the entire state, the party was apparently not discouraged, as it again presented a full state ticket in 1900, to wit: For governor, G. C. Clemens; lieutenant-governor, C. R. Mitchell; secretary of state, J. W. Forest; auditor, W. L. Nixon; treasurer, Charles A. Gordon; attorney-general, Charles W. Gorsuch; superintendent of public instruction, Frankie S. Mayberry; associate justice, A. A. Carnahan; Congressman at large, F. E. Miller; superintendent of insurance, T. J. Maxwell.
During the campaign Theodore Roosevelt, the Republican candidate for vice-president, visited Kansas and made several speeches in the principal cities, being cordially received wherever he went.
At the election on Nov. 6 the highest vote received by any of the candidates for presidential elector was 185,953, which number was received by A. W. Smith on the Republican ticket. The next highest was 162,601 for Joseph B. Fugate on the Fusion ticket. C. H. Strong on the Prohibition ticket received 3,605; and B. C. Sanders on the Social Labor ticket received 1,605. For governor, Stanley received 181,893 votes; Breidenthal, 164,793; Holsinger, 2,651; and Clemens, 1,258. The constitutional amendment providing for an increase in the number of supreme court justices was carried by a vote of 123,721 to 35,474. Pursuant to the provisions of the law submitting the amendment, Gov. Stanley appointed as the four additional justices A. H. Ellis of Beloit, J. C. Pollock of Winfield, A. L. Greene of Newton, and E. W. Cunningham of Emporia. The new justices entered upon their duties on Jan. 13, 1901.
Gov. Stanley's second administration began with his inauguration on the second Monday in Jan., 1901, and the general assembly began its twelfth biennial session on the second Tuesday. Lieut.-Gov. Richter again presided over the senate, and George J. Barker was elected speaker of the house. In his message the governor congratulated the people of the state on the prosperity they had enjoyed during the two years of his first administration, but without claiming any special credit either for himself or his party as the cause of that prosperity. He presented statistics to show that the number of school children had increased from 495,949 to 508,854; the value of farm products and live stock from $265,151,756 to $331,254,159; the bank deposits from $44,847,255 to $61,368,637; the public debt has been decreased over $3,000,000, and estimated that the people had paid off mortgages to the amount of $8,000,000. Over 10,000 students were, enrolled in the universities and colleges of the state, and in the two years 340 new public school buildings had been erected. On the other hand there had been little or no increase in crime, as the number of inmates in the penitentiary was very few more than in 1899.
On the subject of railroad legislation, the governor said: "The laws creating the 'court of visitation' having been declared unconstitutional, and the act relating to the board of railroad commissioners having been repealed, it remains for the present legislature to enact a law creating a board with all the powers possible within the limits of the constitution, enabling it to adjust rates of transportation within the state and to settle and adjust all differences arising between the railroads and shippers, and such other questions as may from time to time arise in the operation of the railroads as common carriers and their relation as such to the people."
In response to this portion of the message, the legislature passed a comprehensive law of 41 sections, creating a new board of railroad commissioners and defining its duties. This law was approved by Gov. Stanley on Feb. 26, 1901. (See Railroad Commission.)
When it was learned that the Twentieth Kansas was on the way home from the Philippines, a movement was started to have the members of that regiment transported from San Francisco to their homes without expense to themselves. Gov. Stanley therefore made arrangements with the railroad companies to bring the men from San Francisco to Kansas, and in his message of 1901 made the following report of the transaction: "The expense of returning the soldiers from San Francisco to their several homes in the state will be presented by itemized bills, and will amount, in round numbers, to $47,000. An appropriation ought to be made to reimburse the railroad companies for this expenditure."
In accordance with this recommendation, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad received an appropriation of $41,335.62; other railroad companies, $813.59, and for the transportation of 115 individual members who were unable to accompany the regiment, $4,312.50, making a total of $46,561.61. (See Spanish-American War.)
About the beginning of the present century an agitation was begun in various parts of the country in favor of good roads. This matter was brought before the legislature by the governor in the following suggestion: "Little has been done to improve the condition of the public highways of the state. In many localities the condition of our natural roads is good; in others, bad. Therefore, the need for good roads may be very much more pressing in one locality than another. If the county and township boards were given additional power in the collection and expenditure of public money for the purpose of improving the highways in their respective counties and townships, it would enable such boards to improve the condition of the roads where such improvements were most needed, and largely reduce the cost of transporting our farm products to market. I ask your consideration of this question, and trust the initial steps may be taken to secure these much needed improvements."
The legislature was in full sympathy with the executive on this question, and on Feb. 14 the governor approved an act providing that in counties having a population of 8,000 or more the county commissioners should submit to the people the question of levying a tax of not more than two mills on the dollar, for a period of not less than five years, to create a fund for the improvement of roads, the commissioners to have exclusive control of the construction and improvement of the roads, subject to the provisions of the act. (See Roads.)
The governor also recommended an amendment to the election laws, so that no candidate's name should appear on the ballot in more than one place. "If a candidate's name appears once upon the ballot," said he, "it gives every elector an opportunity of voting for him for the office which he seeks, and it should appear only once. Fusion is a fraud and should not be tolerated. Fusion of principles is impossible."
On Jan. 23 Joseph R. Burton was elected United States senator to succeed Lucien Baker, his term beginning on March 4, 1901. By the act of Feb. 9, the Fort Hays military reservation was accepted as a donation from Congress; an act was passed providing for the organization, government and compensation of the state militia; a "Louisiana Purchase Centennial Commission" was created and $75,000 appropriated for its use during the fiscal years 1901-02 in collecting materials for a Kansas exhibit at St. Louis; a liquor law, known as the "Hurrell law," was enacted, giving the authorities the right to search premises for intoxicating liquors and to confiscate such liquors, but in a test case, brought before Judge Z. T. Hazen of the Third district court in Topeka, the court held the law unconstitutional; and provisions were made for the purchase of a governor's residence at a cost not exceeding $30,000. Liberal appropriations were made for the support of the state's educational institutions, especially in the appropriation of $75,000 for a museum building for the state university, and $60,000 for a library for the state normal school.
This legislature also accepted from Elizabeth A. and George Johnson the title to 11 acres of ground in Republic county, where Lieut. Pike first raised the United States flag in Kansas, and appropriated $3,000 "to fence and suitably mark the premises by a monument to commemorate the event." The corner-stone of the monument was laid on July 4, 1901, when addresses were delivered by J. C. Price, president of the Pawnee Republic Historical Society; Henry T. Mason, of Garden City; and Margaret Hill McCarter, of Topeka. On Sept. 30 the monument was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. It is a graceful shaft of Barry granite, 27 feet high, and bears the inscription: "Erected by the State of Kansas, 1901, to mark the site of the Pawnee Republic, where Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike caused the Spanish flag to be lowered and the flag of the United States to be raised, September 29, 1806." Six acres of the eleven were inclosed by an iron fence, inside of which the rings of the tepees can still be traced.
A few instances of disorder disturbed the peace of Kansas during the year 1901. On Jan. 15 a negro named Fred Alexander was arrested at Leavenworth for assaulting a woman on the street, and was taken to the penitentiary for safe-keeping. On the 15th he was brought back to Leavenworth, when a mob took him from the custody of the sheriff and burned him at a stake. The site of this tragedy was in a ravine near the city, where the dead body of a Miss Forbes had been found the preceding autumn, the negro being charged with her murder. The military companies at Topeka and Lawrence were held in readiness to assist the sheriff in preserving order, but no call came.
On March 18 there was a mutiny among the convicts employed in the coal mines at the penitentiary. About noon the 284 convicts down in the mines overpowered the 15 guards and fastened the cage at the bottom of the shaft, 720 feet below the surface. A negro convict climbed up the shaft and gave the warden information of what had taken place. The warden dropped a note down the shaft asking the mutineers to send up some of their leaders for conference. The cage was released and four of the ringleaders ascended, while the other cage went down bearing an armed force which fired on the convicts and killed two of them. The ringleaders were punished and the negro was pardoned.
There was also a revolt in the United States prison at Fort Leavenworth in November. In some way a number of the convicts obtained weapons, killed three of the guards and made a break for liberty. Twenty-seven succeeded in getting away, but of these 18 were either killed or captured during the next few days.
The adoption of the constitutional amendment increasing the number of justices of the supreme court, made it necessary to elect five associate justices in 1902three for six years, one for four, and one for two years. The change in the election laws, along the lines suggested by the governor in his message, rendered it impossible to nominate a fusion ticket in the same manner as in former campaigns, hence in 1902 the Democrats and Populists made a joint ticket by an indirect method. On May 22 the Democratic state convention met at Wichita and selected the following candidates: Governor, W. H. Craddock; secretary of state, Claude Duval; auditor, J. M. Lewis; attorney-general, F. M. Pearl; superintendent of public instruction, William Sense; associate justice, for the six-year term, J. D. McCleverty; for the two-year term, John C. Cannon. The vacancies left on the ticket were filled by a Populist state convention at Topeka on June 24, when Fred J. Close was nominated for lieutenant-governor; D. H. Hefflebower for treasurer; Frank Doster for associate justice (four-year term); E. S. Waterbury and B. F. Milton for the six-year term; Daniel Hart for superintendent of insurance, and J. D. Botkin for Congressman at large. Subsequently William Sense was withdrawn from the ticket and William Stryker (Populist) substituted.
On May 28 the Republican state convention met at Wichita and nominated the following ticket: Governor, Willis J. Bailey; lieutenant-governor, D. J. Hanna; secretary of state, J. R. Burrow; auditor, Seth G. Wells; treasurer, T. T. Kelly; attorney-general, C. C. Coleman; superintendent of public instruction, I. L. Dayhoff; associate justices for the six-year term, A. L. Greene, J. C. Pollock and H. F. Mason; for the four-year term, A. H. Ellis; for the two-year term, E. W. Cunningham; superintendent of insurance, C. H. Luling; Congressman at large, Charles F. Scott. A. H. Ellis died on Sept. 25 and the vacancy on the ticket was filled by the nomination of R. A. Burch.
The platform adopted by the Republican convention expressed sorrow for the death of President McKinley; approved the administration of Roosevelt and pledged him the support of the Kansas Republicans in 1904, and commended the administration of Gov. Stanley.
No nominations for justice of the supreme court were made by the Prohibition party. The ticket presented to the voters by that party was as follows: Governor, F. W. Emerson; lieutenantgovernor, W. Buffington; secretary of state, George Holsinger; auditor, S. P. Gould; treasurer, E. A. Kennedy; attorney-general, F. M. McHale; superintendent of public instruction, S. H. Wallace; superintendent of insurance, W. L. Coryell; Congressman at large, W. H. Ransom.
Encouraged by their showing in 1900, the Social Labor party placed a full ticket in the field with A. S. McAllister as the candidate for governor; John M. Parr, for lieutenant-governor; J. T. Barnes, for secretary of state; W. J. McMillan, for auditor; J. E. Taylor, for treasurer; G. C. Clemens, for attorney-general; L. R. Kraybill, for superintendent of public instruction; F. L. McDermott, C. R. Mitchell and F. J. Arnold, for associate justices for the six-year term; H. H. Benson, for the four-year term; Charles W. Gorsuch, for the two-year term; C. G. Warrington, for superintendent of insurance, and Louis Matignon, for Congressman at large.
An element in the People's party, calling themselves the "Middle of the Road Populists," refused to join in the fusion with the Democrats and nominated a ticket of their own, to wit: Governor, J. H. Lathrop; lieutenant-governor, T. B. Wolfe; secretary of state, E. F. Green; auditor, R. C. Bradshaw; treasurer, P. B. Maxson; attorney-general, Maxwell Thorp; superintendent of public instruction, W. G. Riste; associate justices for the six-year term, J. C. Tillotson (only one nominated); for the four-year term, no nomination; for the two-year term, J. Y. Robbins; superintendent of insurance, A. E. Munch; Congressman at large, S. B. Bloomfield.
At the election on Nov. 4 the entire Republican ticket was elected, the vote for governor being as follows: Bailey, 159,242; Craddock, 117,148; Emerson, 6,065; McAllister, 4,078; Lathrop, 635. Two constitutional amendments were voted on at this election. One providing for an increase in the pay of members of the legislature from $3 a day for a term of 50 days to $500 for the session was defeated by a vote of 140,768 to 92,090, and the other, providing for the election of all county officers at the same time state officers and Congressmen were elected, was carried by a vote of 144,776 to 78,190. With the inauguration of Gov. Bailey at the opening of the legislative session in Jan., 1903, Gov. Stanley retired from the office after four years of an administration which had included nothing of a startling or unusual nature, but in which the chief executive had honestly endeavored to promote the general welfare of the people.Pages 740-749 from volume II 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 July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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