(Correspondence of the Hawk-Eye.)
DES MOINES, March 17, 1862.
MR. EDITOR:– As the days begin to warm and lengthen, and the footsteps of Spring advances over the disappearing snows, the impatience with a Legislative session, that has already grown to an unprofitable length, becomes more and more manifest among the farmer members. It is manifestly not only their interest but pleasure to do up what business remains on the table with the utmost possible dispatch, and be away to their homes and the congenial pursuits of the farm. As the agricultural interest is largely in the majority in the Assembly, it must be considered that a long session is a matter of necessity rather than a matter of choice, so far as farmers can control it. The time has come when they will not look with any degree of allowance upon a long speech, and hence, calls for the “previous question” and motions to “lie on the table” are becoming quite frequent.
Yet there are some questions to be acted upon which demand earnest attention, fair argument and much deliberation, and it will be a happy thing for the State if gentleman legislators shall possess sufficient moral courage “to face a frowning” constituency for having remained a few days longer to look after the true interests of the people. No man who is not a thief at heart will, for the sake of his per diem, be willing to protract the session a day longer than the public welfare and a just regard to the business demands. Still there are those who, have, for the sake of being regarded great economists of time and money, wasted much of both, in arguing, many weeks ago, the necessity of fixing an early day for adjournment. The people should mark them and they should be held to a strict account. Many of them have been dying to appear to wish an early adjournment, when, in reality, they had but little idea of the amount of labor which it was absolutely necessary of the assembly to accomplish, and were, of all men, at heart, not anxious for a long session. The matters connected with the “Des Moines Improvement,” “Railroads,” “Congressional Apportionment,” the “County Court Bill” and “Military Bill” are to be disposed of, and, yet, had the apparent wishes and judgment of certain gentlemen in the House been consulted, an adjournment would have taken place before this time.
On Saturday quite a flutter was created in the House, in Democratic ranks, by the introduction of a bill which provides more perfect safe guard around the ballot-box. The bill contains a simple provision that, in case of challenge at election, an affidavit shall be substituted for the mere verbal oath now prescribed. It simply contemplates the perpetuation of evidence against any one who may be disposed to swear falsely. Of course, it operates upon all classes, the foreign and native-born alike, and yet Democracy cried “Know-Nothingism,” “Proscription,” &c. Unless Republicans allow themselves to be driven from their propriety by this silly cry from the advocates of an effete, broken down and disorganized party, I think the measure will become law. It is very clear that there are many illegal voters who have been acting with the said Democratic party, and from whom it derives a large share of its strength, who would pause and hesitate before subscribing their names to a deliberate falsehood.
The file leaders see this, and hence the opposition with which the measure is assailed. After due consultation they were found a unit against it.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 1