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the cabinet by the moneyed interests; but neither his courage as a man of honor nor his high order of talent was ever questioned.
Under the new apportionment, based on the census of 1870, Georgia was now entitled to nine representatives in Congress and the delegation chosen in the general election of 1872 was as follows: Morgan Rawls, R. H. Whiteley, Philip Cook, Henry R. Harris, James C. Freeman, James H. Blount, P. M. B. Young, Ambrose R. Wright, and Hiram P. Bell. Only two members of the delegation were republicans-Messrs. Whiteley and Freeman. The rest were democrats, and of these all were new members, except General Young, who was returned from the Seventh District. General Wright did not live to take his seat in Congress and Mr. Stephens was chosen to succeed him several months later. He was a brave Confederate officer and a brilliant editor, for years at the head of the Augusta Chronicle. General Cook, as commander of his brigade, succeeded the gallant Doles at Cold Harbor. He was first elected to Congress in 1865, but he did not take his seat at that time, on account of political disabilities. However, he served in the constitutional convention of 1865, called to meet under President Johnson's plan of reconstruction. He redeemed his district from carpet-bag rule in 1872, and was eventually succeeded by his law-partner, Judge Charles F. Crisp, who afterwards became speaker of the National House of Representatives. On retiring from Congress, General Cook became Georgia's Secretary of State. He was also one of the commissioners entrusted with the building of the present state capitol. Col. James H. Blount began at this time a career in Congress destined to continue without interruption for twenty years. During President Cleveland's second administration, he was sent as a special commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands. Henry R. Harris was afterwards an assistant postmastergeneral under President Cleveland. It was in this election that the historic Ninth Congressional District-fated to be the battle-ground of many a fierce contest—was placed for the first time upon the political map. Hiram P. Bell, an ex-member of the Confederate House of Representatives, was its first congressman.
When the new Legislature convened on January 9, 1873, Hon. L. N. Trammell, of the Forty-third District, was re-elected president of the Senate, by a viva voce vote, having no opposition; and Hon. Augustus 0. Bacon, of Bibb, was chosen speaker of the House. Mr. Bacon was destined to succeed himself repeatedly in the speaker's chair and to attain an almost unrivalled distinction as a parliamentarian. Later he was to wear the toga of the Federal Senate and to wield on more than one historic occasion the gavel of the American House of Peers.
GOVERNOR SMITH RE-INAUGURATED—THE SENATORIAL FIGHT OF 1873–
MAINLY BETWEEN GORDON AND STEPHENS-GENERAL GORDON WINS —THE SCENE DESCRIBED BY AN EYE-WITNESS—THE HERO OF APPOMATTOX-GEN. AMBROSE R. WRIGHT'S DEATH CREATES A VACANCY IN CONGRESS-MR. STEPHENS IS RETURNED TO THE NATIONAL COUNCILS -NEW STATE HOUSE OFFICERS CHOSEN—ALL DEMOCRATS—“THE CRIME OF 1873'.—THE NORTH GEORGIA AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE FOUNDED-COL. WM. P. PRICE_COL. DAVID W. LEWIS-STATE AID REPEALED—Two New DEPARTMENTS: THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY—GEORGIA THE FIRST STATE TO ESTABLISH AN AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT—DR. THOMAS P. JANES -DR. GEORGE LITTLE—THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS OF 1874-A SOLID DEMOCRATIC DELEGATION—DR. WM. H. FELTON—His DRAMATIC CAREER—DESTINED TO BECOME A LEADER OF GEORGIA INDEPENDENTS-MRS. FELTON—CAPT. W. E. SMITH-JULIAN HARTRIDGE-MILTON A. CANDLER_CHANGES ON THE SUPREME BENCH-REVIEW OF GOVERNOR SMITH'S ADMINISTRATION—ITS CONSTRUCTIVE POLICIESEx-Gov. HERSCHEL V. JOHNSON DISAPPOINTED—IRREGULARITIES IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT—"IIONEST JACK" JONES REMOVED,
On January 10, 1873, in the hall of the House of Representatives, Governor Smith was formally re-inaugurated for a full term of four years. In addition to the state house officers, there were several distinguished guests in the inaugural party, among them, ex-Gov. Herschel V. Johnson and Hon. John Erskine, judge of the United States Court for the District of Georgia. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Warner. One of the first matters to engage the attention of the new Legislature was the election of a United States senator to succeed Hon. Joshua IIill. This race for the toga was a contest between giants, all of whom were favorite sons. Those contesting for the vacant seat were: Gen. John B. Gordon, Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, Hon. Benjamin II, Hill, Hon. Herbert Fielder, and Hon. Amos T. Akerman. Each of these distinguished Georgians enjoyed a national reputation. On the first joint ballot the vote was as follows: Gordon, 84; Stephens, 71; Hill, 35; Akerman, 14, and Fielder, 8. Thereupon ensued a deadlock. During several successive ballots Mr. Stephens made distinct gains and at one time his election seemed to be assured. But nothing is certain in politics. Mr. Stephens had been for some time at variance with the popular currents of opinion in Georgia. IIe had been on strained relations with most of his Confederate colleagues. There was no glamour of successful military achievement attaching to his name; but his prestige as vice president of the late Southern Confederacy served
to keep alive the popular enthusiasm for an old idol. Under all the circumstances, Mr. Stephens made a phenomenal race. At times the excitement rose to fever heat. Col. Isaac W. Avery who was present in the hall has preserved the following account of this contest. We quote only one paragraph. . Says he:
“On the fifth ballot Gordon ran to 101 and Stephens to 76, when men began to change amid as wild an excitement as ever existed in a deliberative body. Three of Gordon's men broke to StephensMattox, Brantley and Scott. Nine of Hill's men followed to Stephens. Two of Akerman's men added themselves to this growing tide. Two of Stephen's men rushed to Gordon to give variety to the battle. Nine of Hill's men followed suit. Three of Akerman's joined this current. Baker of Bartow changed from Stephens to Gordon and back to Stephens. Watt did the same. Dorsey, not to be outdone plumped from Hill to Stephens, and then from Stephens to Gordon. Excitement was at fever heat. The galleries were packed. At one time it was said by some investigating mathematician, who traced out the changing phases of the ballot, that Mr. Stephens was elected by one majority. The transfer of ballots was so swift and mixed that men were in perplexity but, amid the torrent of confusing changes, Gordon went up steadily until the ballot was announced, Gordon 112 and Stephens 86, and in a hurricane of shouts, the atmosphere variegated with tossing hats, Gordon was declared elected.”
Before the last ballot was taken, Mr. Hill and Mr. Fielder both withdrew. Mr. Akerman remained in the race, but registered only seven votes on this final test of strength. General Gordon's victory aroused great enthusiasm throughout the state. Though still short of forty, he had entered the race with the prestige of a brilliant military reputation. He had touched elbows with the great Lee, and at the last sad council of war beside the Rappahannock, had been selected by his chieftain to perform a most important task. This was to command the main body of Lee's army in the last fateful charge at Appomattox. General Gordon was not West Pointer. He had first appeared upon the scene of war as captain of a company, known as the “Raccoon Roughs,” a nondescript body of mountaineers, each of whom was provided with a coon skin cap. Tall and erect, he towered like a pine on the Blue Ridge heights. He possessed a superb figure—especially when mounted on horseback. His bearing was magnificent. His manner, unassuming, courteous and frank, always invited approach, always inspired confidence; while his face, open, genial, and sunny, bore the mark of a sabre, but instead of marring his countenance, this sabre-wound only intensified its nobility of expression. Whether upon the field of battle or on the hustings, his voice rang like a bugle; and when to these considerations is added the fact that our great Civil war, with its martial memories, was still a recent occurrence, it is not surprising that General Gordon outdistanced his competitors in this election. Mr. Hill was a superb orator. In the Confederate Senate, he had been the champion of President Davis; when encompassed by Federal bayonets, in the days of Reconstruction, he had denounced the usurpers in language whose
burning syllables recalled the philippics of Demosthenes. But the civilian is no match for the soldier, especially when the latter calls to his standard men who were once his comrades-in-arms; and neither Mr. Hill nor Mr. Stephens—both idols of the people—could withstand the plumed knight of Appomattox.
But there was balm in Gilead for Mr. Stephens. His return to public life led through an unexpected door-way, permitting him by a sort of special providence to resume his old seat in Congress. Gen. Ambrose R. Wright, a newly elected member of the state's delegation, having died during the interim, there was a vacancy in the national House of Representatives. On the day after his defeat for the Senate, Mr. Stephens was announced for Congress from the Eighth District. General Toombs undertook to get his consent and, in the meantime, gave directions for a vigorous plan of campaign. It was like a bolt from the blue to rival aspirants, but one by one these all retired from the race, leaving an unopposed field to Mr. Stephens. Thus the Great Commoner returned to Congress, the scene of his splendid services both to state and nation for sixteen years, under the great ante-bellum regime; and here he remained until Georgia crowned him for immortality with her gubernatorial laurels.
At this same time, Hon. Andrew Sloan, of Savannah, was chosen to succeed Hon. Morgan Rawls, of Dayton, as congressman from the First District, the latter's election having been successfully contested.
The State House officers elected by the Legislature of 1874 were Col. Nathan C. Barnett, to succeed David G. Cotting as secretary of state; Col. John Jones, treasurer, to succeed N. L. Angier; and Hon. Washington L. Goldsmith, comptroller-general to succeed Madison Bell. Colonel Barnett and Colonel Jones had both been removed from office by the military power, and there was a suggestion of poetic justice and a well-earned meed of reward in the return to office of these patriotic and faithful public servants, neither of whom entertained any thought of self when Georgia's honor was imperiled. Col. N. J. Hammond retained the office of attorney-general, throughout Governor Smith's administration. This office was not elective until after the constitution of 1877 went into effect.
During the month of January, 1873, the doors of the North Georgia Agricultural College, at Dahlonega, were opened to students. This institution was organized as a branch of the State University, and to provide a nucleus for the plant Congress permitted the trustees to use the old government mint, which had been abandoned since 1861. To Col. W. P. Price, of Dahlonega, is due in large measure the successful establishment of this school. During the Forty-second Congress, of which he was a member, Colonel Price, in supporting this measure, told his colleagues that the mountaineers of Georgia were as a class loyal to the Union, throughout the entire Civil war; that, in the main, they were of pure revolutionary stock; and that it was largely for the purpose of educating the children of these Georgia mountaineers that the use of the building was sought. Moreover, he pledged himself to devote the remainder of his life to furthering the interests of the institution. This promise he faithfully kept; and for more than a third of a century, he served as president of the board of trustees. The first executive head of the college was Hon. David W. Lewis. His grave on the campus bears an appropriate memorial, telling of his pioneer labors as an educator of the youth of Georgia, while at the same time it attests the love in which he was held by his old students. In 1878 the mint was destroyed by fire but in its place a new and handsome building was erected, more commodious than its predecessor, besides which other buildings have since been added. The first diploma, with the degree of A. B., ever received by a woman from a state institution, was conferred by the trustees of this college in 1878.*
In 1873 Congress passed an act, the effect of which was virtually to demonetize the white metal and to put the finances of the country upon a gold basis. It provided for the coinage of gold in such a way as to make the coinage of silver subsidiary thereto, and restricted the coinage of the latter to fractional amounts. This legislation was denounced in after years as "the crime of 1873;" and to it not a few of the financial evils of a later period were attributed by the champions of free silver, especially during the Bryan campaigns.
One of the first acts of the Legislature after the Christmas holidays was an act repealing the vicious policy of state aid to railroads. This act was approved February 25, 1874. It marked a red-letter day in Georgia's history, but the good work was not consummated until General Toombs, some three years later, grafted a clause to this same effect upon the constitution of 1877. Thus an effectual check was at last applied to what had become, especially during the Bullock regime, a fruitful source of pecuniary embarrassment, corruption, and scandal. But to return to the act of 1874. Except in cases where rights had become vested, this act repealed all provisions contained in charters heretofore granted, under which the state's endorsement was authorized upon the bonds of these corporations. But the North-eastern Railroad, a short line extending from Lula to Athens, was exempted by special resolution from the operations of this act—an exemption which gave rise to one of the live issues of the Colquitt administration. I
Two important departments of the state government were inaugurated during the administration of Governor Smith—the Department of Agriculture and the Geological Survey, both of which have been of priceless value in safeguarding the material interests and in developing great natural resources of the state. The Department of Agriculture was created by an act approved February 20, 1874.** It was the first department of this kind created in the United States. Dr. Thomas P. Janes, of Crawfordville, became Georgia's first commissioner of agriculture, by appointment of Governor Smith. He entered at once upon the duties of the office and to his ripe experience as a practical farmer is due in large measure the successful organization and subsequent rapid growth of the department. As specified in the original act, some of the duties of the commissioner were as follows: (1) to prepare a hand-book; (2) to distribute seeds for the United States Government,
* Miss Willie Lewis, a daughter of Col. David W. Lewis, was the recipient of this degree.
† Acts 1874, p. 98. # Acts 1874, p. 437. ** Acts 1874, pp. 5-8.