DES MOINES, March 18, 1862.
March is advancing much faster than the legislation at the Capital. The close of the session is drawing near, and yet there is much important business just introduced into the Legislature. The railroad bills are not yet acted upon, and the revenue bill is not finished by any means.
There will be little time for any irrelevant matter if the business of the session is to be satisfactorily completed within two or three weeks.
The Senate has to-day been considering the township collector bill. After a long discussion and many amendments, it was killed as effectually as the House had before killed it. This will probably decide the fate of that measure. Probably no one will know think it prudent to try such a bill again under a different form. No important bills have been passed by the senate since last I wrote.
The Brown and Allender bill, a synopsis of which I have before given you, passed the House yesterday with some amendments. It occupied most of the day, and called forth several set speeches.
The claim of $30,000 was allowed, but this amount is not all to be paid out of the Treasury at present. One half is to be paid now, and the remainder in one and two years. The State will eventually recover this from the Des Moines lands, if the grant is decided to extend the northern boundary of the State. The Senate concurred in the amendments to the bill, and it is probably a law by this time. The State is now released from all liabilities to these parties.
A bill has passed both Houses, authorizing counties to re-locate their County Seats as often as once in three years, if they desire it. A majority of the citizens must petition for a change, and the Board of Supervisors are then to put the subject to a vote of the County.
To-day the House has been engaged most of the time on the Revenue Bill. At this juncture the bill is of very great interest. I think a notice of its provisions was given in a previous letter. It is now amended in some respects so as to later its material features considerably. The railroad section created the most discussion. It was amended, on motion of Mr. Lane, so that the gross receipts of the roads shall be taxed by the State; one-half of the tax to be divided equally among the counties through which a railroad passes. The general property of the roads is to be taxed in the counties where it is located, the same as the property of a private individual.
The penalties for non-payment of taxes are increased and since the Township Collector bill is killed, a section is added to this bill providing for the appointment by each County Treasurer of one or more Deputy Collectors who shall receive for their compensation five per cent. on the amount of delinquent taxes collected. The Treasurers are bound to appoint these deputies and enforce collections under a penalty of $500. The bill is made very strict, and it must be or the State will never collect the heavy taxes now levied upon its citizens. But it must be remembered that the delinquent tax-payers are not generally the small property holders. They are in most cases those who held a large amount of property. They have not paid their taxes in many cases because they couldn’t afford to. Their money was worth more than they should lose through the non-payment of their taxes. The penalty for such neglect is now increased so that all who can pay will find it to their interest to pay promptly. The bill may not pass both Houses in its present stringent form. Still as all seem to feel the necessity of enforcing the payment of taxes, no very lenient provision will find its way into the bill.
Among the physicians in the House whom I have not mentioned, are Dr. Frisbie, of Mitchell, a graduate of Geneva College, and an honest, straight forward and faithful member; Dr. Chase, of Clayton, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, a liberal minded man, and prompt in the discharge of his duties; Dr. Holyoke, of Grinnell, chairman of the committee on charitable institutions, who fills with credit the post assigned him; and Drs. Walker of Jefferson, Cleaver of Louisa, Wilson, of Chickasaw, and last, but not least, Fuller, of Fayette, a sketch of whom by another pen would render any extended notice by me superfluous. Thus you see we are not likely to be without medical attendance if any are taken sick.
J. R. C.
– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, March 22, 1862, p. 1