Date of this Version
To discuss the events of 1866 and 1867 at this time has seemed to me presumptuous. Barely a dozen years have elapsed since Nebraska turned the sharp corner from territorial dependency to state sovereignty, and, as in all sharp historical turns, there was a blaze of excitement, a bitter political contest, accompanied by more than the usual amount of bumptiousness and belligerency, of heart-burnings and jealousy, over which fourteen years may have deposited a thin layer of forgetfulness, through which a foolhardy explorer might break, to the discomfiture of himself and the revival of volcanic memories. But, pressed by your esteemed President for a paper upon the admission of Nebraska to the Union, and unable, from present experience and observation, to go back farther than that period, I have consented to take up this subject, and trust that I may handle it with sufficient discretion to obtain your pardon for the presumption in choosing a topic so nearly connected with the stage and actors of to-day. In 1860 the Nebraska legislature submitted to the people a proposition for holding a convention to adopt a constitution and knock at the doors of congress for admission to the Union. But the movement was premature. The people were too poor, the country was not being rapidly settled and improved, and the taxes were high enough without taking upon the handful of settlers then scattered up and down the Missouri valley the responsibility and expense of statehood, and the proposition for a convention was defeated.