(Correspondence of the Hawk-Eye.)
DEAR HAWK-EYE. Another week of the allotted time of the Ninth General Assembly has passed away, and the session is evidently drawing to its close. From all I can glean, I conclude that it will adjourn on or about the 1st or 2d of April, though circumstances may arise to prolong the session another week.
The main question of interest during the past six days has been the defeat, in the House, of the bill for the relief of the securities of James D. Eads. His bill originated in the Senate, which body it passed by a fair majority; but it was doomed from the start in the House. As heartily as a majority would have been pleased to relieve the necessities of the unfortunate individuals who were “wheedled in” by that great scoundrel, they did not deem it safe to establish the precedent of relieving the securities of the defaulting public officers. Once establish the fact that such relief can be had at the hand of the General Assembly, and where, pray, will the practice end? There is in fact, hardly a county which does not contain men who have abused the confidence of their securities, and once establish the precedent that they are to be released from liability when their principal proves himself a thief or a rascal, and the Legislature would find its whole time engrossed in that field of charitable occupation. Better, in my opinion, hold every man and his securities to a strict accountability – even if in some instances the State loses the whole debt.
The bill for the protection of sleep from the ravages of dogs, passed the House to-day by three votes more than the required constitutional majority. In its general features it is almost an exact copy of the Massachusetts law on that subject. It is very stringent on the canine race. “Male dogs” are taxed $1 per head, and “female dogs” $3. Each owner of a “dog” is required to have the same “registered” and “collared.” – Juvenile “pups” under the age of three months are exempt from the provisions of the act. Dogs which are caught without their “credentials,” will be treated like heretics in the days of the Inquisition; in fact, “a price is set upon their heads,” and their luckless owners are to be mulcted in heavy damages for neglect of duty in the premises. The bill now goes to the Senate, and what its fate will be there remains to be seen, though I think it will go through.
A goodly number of bills have passed both Houses during the first week – some of them of a local character – some providing amendments in the Revision of 1860, and some for filling up little rat-holes and gaps in the Supervisor system; but none of them are of sufficient importance to justify elaborate elucidation.
The coming week promises to be one of deep interest. The ball is opening for the biggest railroad fight yet. The different questions at issue were presented in my last letter and need not be stated again. The various interests outside of the General Assembly have marshaled their clans; the last thunderbolt has been forged – the last appeal poured into ears detained by persistent “button-holing” the columbiads of the press have hurled their last paper bullets of the brain,” and the best oyster supper has been digested. Now comes the tug of war up- [here the bottom of the newspaper was cut off during microfilming] interest is “Lay on MacDuff,” &c. But for one or two reasons, Hawk-Eye, I would tell you exactly how this fight will come out; First, the thing is considerably mixed up, and it would be really a stretch of prophecy which your most veracious correspondent hesitates to indulge in least perchance, he might be mistaken; and second, if I did make such a venture at this time certain good folk would say that the Hawk-Eye or its correspondent, was “bought up” by that party to which he seemed to incline. Hence, I will only say that believing to some extent in Pope’s assertion that “whatever is, is right,” I believe that the questions at issue will be settled in a way that the people will cordially endorse.
While newspaper correspondents are praising various men with a seat among the “assembled wisdom,” I desire to bestow a few merited words upon the House delegation from your county. – Just hold your breath a moment, while I “fire at the heap.” I can most cordially congratulate the people of your county upon the admirable choice they made at the last election. It would be exceedingly difficult to find three men more thoroughly useful or attentive members. Mr. Wilcox is the chairman of the Committee on Domestic Manufactures, and a member of one or two others; Mr. Williams is one of the most useful members of the Committee on Ways and Means, and also of the committee on Public Lands; and Mr. Jackson is a member of the committee on Expenditures, Public Buildings and Property and Des Moines Improvement. – They are all practical, honest and experienced men – belong to the “wheel-horses” of Legislation – who, without ostentation or display contribute in a large degree to the prompt and proper dispatch of the business, seldom occupying the floor in debate, and never inflicting purposeless speeches upon unwilling ears, they are among the hardest workers in committee – where good legislation is hammered out and shaped – and have striven by every meads in their power to perform faithfully the work before them, and adjourn at as early a day as the interests of the State will admit. Each one has introduced important bills, which I doubt now will find their places upon the Statute book. That their published record, their arduous labors, and their sound and consistent action generally, will meet with the hearty approval of their constituency, I have not the slightest doubt.
Gov. Kirkwood, together with the gentlemen who went down to look after the wounded at Donelson, have returned; but with health so impaired that he has not yet been to the Executive office in the Capitol. A big pile of bills awaits his signature.
The remains of Weeks and Doty, the brave boys who were slain at Donelson, will arrive to-morrow. The funeral which will take place on Tuesday at Ingham Hall, will in every respect be a fitting testimonial to the high worth and noble service of the fallen brave. The oration will be delivered by D. O. Finch, Esq., who as a fervid and impassioned orator, has few equals in the State.
In my hurried resume of the business of the past week, I forgot to state that the Railroad bill of Hon. T. H. Stanton, (the young printer member from Washington county, whose spicy “specials” were lately so eagerly devoured by the readers of the Hawk-Eye,) also passed the House, and is now under consideration in the Senate. It prescribes the privileges and duties of such corporations, and will be found to be a complete code upon that subject – what the State has long needed.
Speaking of Stanton, allow me to say that he is, (as the Hawk-Eye knows) one of the most talented and promising young editors west of the Mississippi – wide-awake, always “posted,” and as energetic and untiring as a steam-engine – and possessing a mind highly cultivated and well balanced – he bids fair to occupy one of the highest places in his honored and useful profession, in which (with a single exception) is centered all his hope and pride. The great end and aim of his life is to become an excellent journalist – and no one who knows and appreciates “the boy” has a single doubt that he will attain the object of his hope. Such is the estimate, not only of appreciative “dry goods,” but every body else.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 15, 1862, p. 2