OCR Interpretation

The Hawk-eye and Iowa patriot. (Burlington, Iowa) 1839-1843, January 21, 1841, Image 2

Image and text provided by State Historical Society of Iowa

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016802/1841-01-21/ed-1/seq-2/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

Dec. 3d A. D., 1840.
i7b the Editor of the N. Y. Express.
Ever since I sent you that Letter, tel
filig you about the Fox Chase, I have
had just as much as I could spring to, in
helping the Gineral read over petitions and
applications for office. I thought, afore
tilings got pretty sorting that we would
carry the day, that these petitions came in
considerable strong: but ever since it has
been known that the Gineral had won
the battle, they have come in by bushel
baskets full. And the Gineral can tell'em
jest as quick as he sees the outside
on'em. "Bless me," says the Gin
eral one day—"I wish Major, that dur
fiijg the last war, when sometimes I want
ed volunteers to follow me, that applica
tions had been as numerous but, howev
er/' says he, "we must fold up and
fliark all these in regular order for there
if no telling yet how soon we may want
men to defend the country and having
all these good names at hand, we can
send to them, and tell them that although
Iicould not appoint them all as collectors,
Ond postmasters, and land receivers, and
marshals, and district attorneys yet I
hope as they are all willing to serve the
$buntry, they will answer to their names
«t "roll call." And so I am making out
a list, and if only the half on 'em toe the
mark then, we shall make quick work
against an enemy, when fighting times
$me. The most on 'em are the rale
triue blue democracy too,—for they say,
ih their petitions, they once was all Jack
son and Van Buren men, but came round
in good time and voted for the Gineral,
a»d ever since then go the entire Cider
mid Log Cabin, and no mistake. It is
raly curious to see how some folks meas
ure themselves, and get their friends to
back 'em, assuring the Gineral that in all
creation rouud he could not find a better
man than this applicant for the office he
asks, and about 500 ask for the same
office. "Bless me, "Major," says the
Gineral, "how things have altered since
I first grew up!—why," says he, "in
them days a man of any kind of spunk
and pride would no more ask for an office
than he would for cold vittles—and the
appiniing power would jest as soon se
lect a man to fill an office, who went
round getting People to sign a petition
for him, as a man would select the gal
for his wife who brought him a long pe
tition ill iiss favor. Uowsever," says
t^e Gineral, "a good deal of this I am a
fraid has been encouraged by some of my
late "illustrious predecessorswho took
a notion of keeping up their party, first
by making times hard, and distressing
honest industry, and then making folks
work sharp and look for reward by seek
ing for an office."
I said to the Gineral one day, says I,
Gineral, I was thinking I might as well
put in a petition myself for an office afore
it is too late, for according to sarvices
says 1—tho' I say it—I don't know any
man who has done more work for no
thing, than I have.
This seemed to puzzle the Gineral con
siderable. He looked at me a spell, and
then he scratched his head, and to rights
lie shook it, and says he, "Major, I don't
know any tnan of your rank who has a
(jigger debt due him from his country than
ypu have, and when folks say the public
debt is paid oft", they forget your claim
but it is a good investment as ever was,
and advise you to hold on to it—there
is no telling what it may reach if you let
it run on, and don't ask any part on't,
principal or interest, to be paid off. Now
if you take an office, it will make a con
siderable hole in it, and some folks may
say, "there is one big debt wiped out at
last." No, no, Major," says the Gine
ral, "I can't afford to settle that debt and
part with you yet, for there is no telling
what we may find to do when we get to
Washington, and where your slate and
axe may be wanted. In the first place we
have to examine the inventory of all the
property of the people, or make a new
one of all we find there, hussle up mat
ters in the Treasury, and count over all
the hard currency in the iron chests of
the Sub-Treasurers look into matters in
the Post Office, and all the other offices,
and see what is there and what is not
there, and what ought to be there,—and
especially to see if any of the folks now
there have by an accident left any of their
own money behind them,
and have it paid
to them, so that every honest man gets
his dues—and the rogues (if there are any)
may get their dues also. And after get
ting all these matters strait, then Major,"
says the General, "if you want an office,
I'll see that you have one, and the best
one I can advise you to take is, to watch
your chance and when you see a quarter
section well located going off at mini
mum prices, cut in and take it—and!if
yon haven't got the money to pay for it,
I'll lend you and then shoulder your axe,
and build your own cabin, and dig your
own diggings, and if your country calls
iMi you to fight, shoulder your musket and
go -—and there is no telling but the time
may eome when the People may drag
you out of your retirement as they have
me, and make you their President."
So that is pretty mHch all I have got to
look for, and I thought I would tell it,
jest to let a good many folks see what the
Mineral's notions are if they don't get an
#jffice,—for it is just as like as not, if he
djpn't appiiit them it is because he wants
keep them to cut a bigger figure here
Utter. Your friend,
). DOWNING, Major,
A i *~&C. &C.&C.
jk-.- tki.il is'i
From the Cincinnati Philanthropy V
We are now in possession of thirfy
eight names of the votes for Mr Birney
ip this county. Of these, seventeen are
d&nocrats, fifteen whigs, and five mem
tiers of no party. It has hitherto been a
cpminen saying that you never could per'
igpade a democrat to quit his party
^Throughout the state, we are inclined to
itdieve, that the democrats, in proportion
to the number of them, furnished a lar
"j^er amount on our ticket, than their op
jponents. One late inquiries incline us to
jthink that Mte have hitherto underrated
|be number of democratic abolitionist?.
Anti-Harrison Meeting.
The Loco Foco Van Buren meeting on
Thursday evening last was "all a farce."
We have no room for suitable comments.
Johnson, Mason, Greene and Bailey were
the orators. Their eloquence was made up
of worn out slang, and all their aim seem
ed to be to blackguard and turn into ridi
cule the principles and characters of prom
inent men in the now dominant party in
the United States. The brave old sol
dier and patriotic President elect received
a copious share of abuse—the great ma
jority of the American people who voted
for him were grossly libelled—and none
seemed deserving of any praise but Mar
tin Van Buren and his parasites. Several
resolutions were adopted, some of which
will merit our future notice. There are
two resolutions to be found in the print
ed records of the meeting, which we here
declare were never introduced or voted
for at the public meeting They purport
to be the 7th and 8th, and the first of
which appears to be perfectly nonsensical.
We were a "looker on" at the meeting,
and paid particular attention to all that
passed, and we know that those resolu
tions must have been concocted after Dr
Bailey's tirade against Henry Clay and
his false statement that Gen. Harrison
had declared himself in favor of Henry
Clay for his successor. Gen. H. never
made such a declaration. If the loco
"leaders" are in the habit of printing res
olutions that their party never sanctioned
—and we have no reason to think other
wise—then the charge brought against
them, that they do not believe the people
capable of governing themselves, is true.
This is the most palpable case of die
tation we have lately seen.
Mr Johnston introduced a resolution al
most deifying A. C. Dodge, for services
he has yet to perform, and proposed that
the resolution should be adopted by ac
clamation. Here the Chairman, Col.
Coop, was in a quandary. In taking the
vote on the resolution he said it had been
proposed to take it by ''proclamation,"
and at the Bame time put the vote. This
made the "knowing ones" look and feel
small—a great roar ensued—and whether
the resolution was passed by acclamation
or not, the reader can judge as well as
The most farcical part of the meeting
was in proposing to hold a Convention to
nominate a Delegate to Congress. It is
well understood that the party will not
give up their "illustrious Dodge why,
then, the necessity of going to the expense
of holding a Convention 1
But the queerest thing of all was in
adopting the very measures for their plan
of action that the Whigs resolved upon
at their late gathering. It was very queer,
because the Whig plan of organization
had been held up to ridicule by the loco
foco organ in this place only the week be
fore. As we shall hereafter be obliged to
allude to this famous meeting, we will
close these remarks by simply asking the
editor of the Gazette in his own language,
who "acted the monkey" on Thursday
evening last.
If we had the room we do not know
how we could better advance the Harri
son cause in this Territory than to copy
most of the editorial in the last Gazette.
Our extremely circumscribed limits this
week, however, forbid us taking farther
notice of that notoriously slanderous sheet.
Its slanders are so low, stale and vulgar,
its insinuations are so mean and contempti
ble, that to be hated "they need only to
be seen." The ebullitions of the conduc
tors of that print seem to be nothing
more than the maddened death throes of
a gang of political speculators, who feel
that their game is up, and that they have
no hope in any other course than the one
they are now pursuing. Their plan is,
if possible, to cast odium on the Whig
party by bringing false charges and utter
ing cowardly insinuations against those
they call the "leaders." Who these
"leaders" are they have not the manli
ness to declare. We have 6ome state
ments to make about the "leaders" of
the locofoco party in this Territory which
shall in due lime be laid before the pub
lic, and which will in our opinion cover
them with shame. But in doing this we
shall not copy after the Gazette and
throw out dark insinuations in relation to
the private or public character of individ
uals. Our charges are well founded and
shall be made openly and fearlessly.
|C?*The Government Sales of Town
Lots in this city will commence one week
from fiext Monday.
length of this interesting document has
compelled us to curtail our ordinary a
mount of editorial.
CONGRESS.—VV*e have receired no news
of importance from this body since our
We hope every Whig will read the
Address of "«Oite of the People."
cut the following from the last
"We hope the Hawk-eye will not com
pel us to explain—that is, that it will not
compel us to say what we mean by in
sinuations. That paper and its friends
may thank their stars that we go no fur
ther than insinuations sometimes. If we
would at all times 'the tale unfold,' they
would gladly desire us to confine ourself
to bare insinuations."
If the editor of the Gazette had any
weight of character in this community or
if he ever commanded the respect of his
fellow citizens, he has deservedly lost it
all in the estimation of every "high mind
ed and honorable gentleman," by his re­
cent editorial course. One might have
thought that after our frequent calls upon
him, instead of issuing a new edition of
insinuations, he would either have come
out openly with his charges, if he had
any, or been prudent enough to have kept
silence. The above extract shows, how
ever, that he can't give up his old trade.
We again call upon the editor, if he have
any charges against us, to make them,
and we will meet them. If he has none,
but has merely exerted his ingenuity in
fabricating insinuations, let him hereafter
keep silence. From the bottom of our
heart, we do despise the secret slanderer.
We have been informed bv a citiz6ii of
Augusta that on Sunday night, 10th inst.,
some ruffian or ruffians entered the sta
ble of Mr Levi Moflett, in which were a
span of elegant dapple gray horses be
longing to Joseph Smith, Jr., and muti
lated them in a most shocking manner.
The mane- and tail was cut from one
horse one of the ears of the other was
cut off and a deadly blow seemed aimed
at its side with a knife which was arrest
ed by the ribs of the animal, the gash
being about six inches long. Mr Smith
had arrived in Augusta, in this county,
that evening, with the intention of obtain
ing a load of flour at the mill and hauling
it to Nauvoo. The horses were valued
at $250. Such a wanton act of barbarity
would hardly be tolerated among savages.
No provocation could have been sufficient
to authorize the perpetration of such an
Every body but the editor of the Ga
zette considers that Gen. Learned has
triumphantly vindicated his character in
relation to his official misconduct. In
stead of stating the circumstances or
lepublishing Gen. L's article, the editor
makes further insinuations touching the
private character of Gen. L. Fairness
requires that Gen. L's Vindication
should be published in the Gazette.
Speech of Mr Springer,
In Committee of the whole Counr.il, January
9, 1841, the Report of the Minority of tlie
Committee appointed to£examinc the condi
tion of the Public Buildings, &.c., at Iowa
City, being under consideration
I feel a delicacy, Mr Chairman, in
commenting upon the report, for the rea
son that the minority of the committee is
not a member of this body and conse
quently has not the privilege of replying
to my remarks. And if I were the only
person implicated in his statements I am
not sure that 1 should notice it at all. I
should be content to risk the character of
the report which I had the honor to sub
mit to the Council, against any thing the
minority has seen fit to say in his. But
sir I am not at liberty to take this course,
my regard for the other member of the
committee who concurred with me in the
correctness of the majority report impels
me so far as I am able to vindicate that
report and the majority of the committee
from the aspersions which are attempted
in the minority report to be cast upon
both. Nor would I put myself to this
trouble if the report had not been publish
ed, because sir I am sure that here it would
be considered a work of supererogation.
It does not become me to speak of my
own character, I shall leave it to my ac
quaintances. Nor does the name of" Al
fred Hebard need any encomium from
me. Whoever knows that gentleman
sir, knows full well that he is incapable
of committing an unworthy or dishonora
ble act—incapable of an unfair course
while acting in an official, or any other
capacity—incapable of misrepresenting
or of giving a false color to facts.
The minority starts in his report with
ascribing to the majority of the commit
tee, the most pure and patriotic motives,
while in the same breath he charges them
with the most nefarious conduct. Why
this absurd mockery, this awkward, left
handed attempt at candor? Sir I do not
thank the gentleman for his magnanimous
stretch of charity towards the majority.
I spurn his honied phrases, when he em
ploys them as the stepping stone to the
imputation of acts which deserve the
most unsparing censure. I do not thank
him for ascribing to me "pure and patri
otic motives," when he accuses me at the
same time with a course of conduct ut
terly inconsistent with the character of an
honorable man, and which if true, would
render me unworthy of a seat in this
Council. In conducting the investigation
of the affairs of the acting commissioner,
both my colleague and myself acted un
der the solemnity of an oath.—We are
either guilty or not guilty of the accusa
tions against us—if guilty, our conduct is
without palliation, and to say that we
were actuated by "pure and patriotic mo
lives" is as absurd as it would be to say
that the highwayman is actuated by "pure
natives?" when he robs you of your purse.
Ir not guilty, then are his charges false,
and I will not suffer my courtesy to get
the better of my reason so far as to say
that the minority in falsely imputing dis
honorable conduct to the majority of the
committee was actuated by "pure and.
patriotic motives."
Mr Chairman, 1 have no disposition to
recriminate upon the minority of the com
mittee. I am willing to make all fair al
lowances on the score of his friendship,
both political and personal, for the acting
commissioner. And it is highly possible
that the honorable gentleman was actuated
by the "purest and most patriotic motives"
in seeking to screen his friend from the
legitimate consequences of his official
misconduct by aspersing the character of
those who have the misfortune not to be
numbered among his personal and politi
cal friends. I shall pass over the great
solicitude of the gentleman to be appoint
ed a member of the committee of inves
tigation, I shall say nothing of his dispo
sition to see onty the bright side of the
transactions of the acting commissioner,
and the ever ready apology for any act
of mismanagement or malpractice dis
coverable in the course of the examina
tion. I would only commend them to
his own reflection.
After representing that the majority
"report is calculated from its peculiar
phraseology, to impress the reader with
ideas which the facts before the commit
tee will not warrant, when stripped of the
high coloring and one sided conclusions
drawn"from them by the majority of the
comnfittee,'* and that the majority wished
"their views on every minor matter con
nected with the investigation, to appear
in their full and broadest light, and being
predisposed, from rumors which have
long been afloat in the country, regarding
the atlairs at Iowa City, to judge harsh
ly towards the acting commissioner," the
minority proceeds to say:
"These considerations have induced
the undersigned to submit a complete
statement of all that came to the knowl
edge of the committee during their sitting
at Iowa city, so far as the same bears
any relation to the accounts of the Acting
A complete statement of facts truly.
By a joint resolution of the Legislative
assembly the acting commissioner was
authorized to expend the sum of three
hundred dollars on the Iowa avenue.
Has the minority said any thing about
this appropriation? Has he informed the
Legislative assembly that the committee
endeavored to ascertain whether the act
ing commissioner had applied to this ob
ject less or more than the sum appropria
ted—that frequent reference was made to
••work on Avenue" in the receipts of the
acting commissioner, and that the com
mittee were told by him that he had
kept no separate account of the amount
of money he had expended on the avenue?
Here is a specific appropriation. Was
or was it not the duty of the acting com
missioner to apply it according to law,
and to know when he had expended just
the amount and no more? If it was, he
has failed to do his duty, and the minori
ty has not reported the fact. A complete
statement indeed
flas the minority said any thing about
the Frierson contract Has he informed
the Legislative assembly that "John Fri
erson & Co." entered into articles of a
greement with the acting commissioner,
to furnish stone, brick, lime and sand for
the capitol, and finding the first branch of
his contract not so favorable a bargain as
he desired, he was permitted to abandon
it, and permitted also to transfer the favor
able parts of his contract to third persons?
That as a compensation for transferring
that part of his contract in relation to the
furnishing of bricks, Mr Frierson receives
lone dollar on each thousand delivered, to
be retained for him in the hands of the
acting commissioner. Mr Frierson it
seems has no diiliculty in contracting for
bricks at seven dollars per thousand. If
seven dollars be the price of bricks, why
is the Territory made to pay eight. Is
the acting commissioner so unacquainted
with doing business as to render it ne
cessary for him to employ an agent and
to pay him one dollar in eight for mak
ing his bargains?
Is this too trivial a circumstance to
merit the notice of the minority of the
committee? Truly he has given a com
plete statement of facts!
Has he noticed the Ronalds contract?
Has he thought proper to tell the Legis
lative assembly that the acting commis
sioner advanced on -a contract for lum
ber with Mr Ronalds, twenty nine dol
lars more than by the terms of it, the con
tract amounted to That this advance
was made one year before the lumber
was likely to be needed? That the mill of
Mr Ronalds when this lumber was to be
sawed, is distant some forty miles from
the capitol That it is among the most
unlikely things in the world thalMumber
should be conveyed that distance, when
there are saw mills within a few miles of
the City? And that it looks about as
much like a pretext for the loan of money
as any thing else This is one of the
facts developed by the investigation, and
the majority of the committee thought it
of sufficient importance to report it.
Again Mr Chairman the majority of
the committee thought proper to notice
another fact which seems to have escaped
the attention of the minority in making
out his report. I allude sir to the form
of the certificates made use of by the
acting commissioner at the sale in 1839.
The terms of sale were one third cash
in hand, and the balance in three semi
annual instalments. Upon the first pay
ment being made, the acting commission
er issued certificates of purchase to the
different purchasers, stating among other
things thatW/ifi conditions of sale having
been complied with," the purchaser was
entitled to a conveyance in fee simple as
soon as a title could be obtained from the
United States. A transcript of one of
these certificates is given in the report of
the majority. In the conditions of sale
it was stated that upon failure to pay the
instalments, the payments already made
would be forfeited and the lots would re
vert to the Territory. By the express
language of the certificate this condition
of the sale, it is thought, is rendered nu
gatory, and the lots are in no danger of
being forfeited upon a failure to pay the
instalments. About $14,000 are due
the Territory on notes under those certifi
cates, antl it is believed by some that the
notes are the only security the Territory
has v for the payment thereof. Those
certificates are said to have been prepared
by the executive, and this circumstance
may have had some influence in exclu
ding the subject from the jninority re
port, believing it to be the fault or error
of the executive and not of the acting
commissioner. Be this as it may, the
majority believe that a man conversant
with business and duly watchful of the
interests confided to his charge, could
not have failed to perceive the impropri
ety of using them and would have taken
the responsibility of substituting therefor
a different form, though they might have
been sen to him under the direction of a
thousand governors.
There is another circumstance, Sir,
which is not to be found in the complete
statement of the minority report. At
these sales, instead of exacting the first
payment in cash, as the law required,
the acting commissioner is so obliging as
to receive notes of purchasers payable in
thirty and sixty days. This may be all
right. If it is, the law is certainly wrong,
and of course should not be obeyed.
Again Sir is there any tiling said in the
complete statement of the minority of the
fact that William Walt acted as foreman
only about one half of the last month that
operations were carried on upon the capi
tol, and that the account of the acting
commissioner against the Territory run
ning through the whole previous year, a
mounting to near $400, was embraced iu
Walt's receipt
To state these facts may be evidence
of "high coloring and one sided conclu
sions" in the report of the majority if it
be so. the minority report is fortunately
free from these most criminal characteris
And now for a little "coloring" in
the report of the minority. He says:
"A copy of the testimony has been
submitted by way of appendix to the re
port of the majority of the committee.
The undersigned would here remark,
that this copy is but a parlial report of
the testimony taken by the committee
and that all those parts which would ap
pear to the advantage of the Acting Com
missioner are either left out of the copy
of testimony or studiously evaded in their
report. It must also be remembered that
all the testimony taken was entirely ex
parie and that when Mr. Swan desired
to be present'at examination of witnesses,
the committee refused him that priv
Sir this is an elegant extract. Mr
Chairman if the individual who charges
me with having given a garbled, partial,
and one sided report of the testinony
taken before the committee, were a mem
ber of this House I should be plain with
him, and should pronounce this statement,
without the least hesitation, false—as it
is sir I pronounce it utterly unfounded.
Sir 1 do not like to deal in harsh lan
guage towards any gentleman—I trust I
shall never iudulge in it without suffi
cient occasion. But sir here is a decla
ration not thrown out in the order of
delate from a heated imagination, but
coolly and deliberately made, charging
the majority of the committee with the
most vile and dishonorable proceedings,
and I repel it. I repeat it sir there is
not a particle of foundation in this state
ment.—Onr mode of taking the testimo
ny of witnesses was briefly this: The
questions were written down by me (as
I was requested to take the evidence) as
they were propounded to the witness,
they were severally read over to him,
and his answer taken down as it fell
from his lips, and then read over to him
to ascertain whether it had been taken
down correctly. Every question was
put down on my minule3 that was desi
red to be put down by any member of
the committee. And it was understood
and remarked at the time that the min
utes of the testimony should be the com
mon property of the several members of
the committee. I endeavored in all in
stances to get the exact meaning of the
witness and his language. And as I took
it down so I have reported it without the
slightest coloring, alteration of meaning,
omission, or addition—except an omis
sion in one instance in a matter of no im
portance, and which formed no part of
our enquiry. It was the testimony of a
ir *ymr inmr -imr- *r at
witness I think,' that was called before
the committee, (Capt. Irish) «the follow
ing note was revived from the acting
Mr Hebard, Chairman of Committee:
Sir—Understanding that the commit
tee are receiving testimony from some
who are my personal enemies, I have
sent to enquire whether or not, I have
a right to be present or the chance to be
heard in any W3y in relation to the
I am, sir, in haste,
To which the committee, replied as
Iowa City, Dec. 23, 1840.
To C. Swan, acting Com'r. &c.
Sir, The committee have received your
note by \lr McCormick, and in answer
would state that they are not aware that
they have received testimony from per
sons who are your personal enemies."
The committee conceive that the acting
commissioner is not on trial before them,
and consequently has not a right to be
present, except by courtesy of the com
Yours, respectfully,
The minority assented to the propriety
of this answer at any rate, ha did not
dissent from it. I am satisfied, sir, that
the position taken by the committee was
a correct one. It is the ground assumed
by all similar committees. It is the
ground taken by the committee appointed
under Gen. Jackson's administration to
investigate the affairs of the United States
bank, and also the ground taken by the
committee appointed subsequently to ex
amine the Custom House at New York.
So that if the committee had excluded the
acting commissioner from being present
at the examination of witnesses, neither
he nor the minority has any reason to
complain. But we did not so exclude
him. The acting commissioner it is
true did not obtrude himself upon the
committee, but he was present just when
and as often as he saw fit to be during the
whole of the examination, and was never
told to my knowledge to leave the room,
or that the committee would not extend
to him the courtesy of being present. In
a note subsequently written to the com
mittee by Mr Swan in the following post
P. S.—I did not write you that line
out of any disrespect to you or the com
mittee. but was advised by men who saw
Capt. Irish go into your room, (a man
in whom the people have no confidence.)
witness introduced by ihe acting coinmis- writing, remarking that I believed the re
port to be correct, that I would consent
to no alterations, and that in my opinion
the proposition was ill-timed to say, the
least of it. The minority then drew from
his pocket a roll of manuscript and read
a number of pages of what he said was
his report. The next day the reports
were submitted to the Legislative Assem
sioner voluntarily to prove that he had
paid Skeen one of his foreman, $100 for
which he had neglected to take a receipt.
I observed at the time that we were sent
to examine the vouchers of the acting
commissioner, and if he had paid money
without taking a receipt, it was a matter
which he would have to make appear
when he should be called upon to set
tle with the Territory. Besides suppose
he had been able to prove by this wit
ness that he had paid the money to Skeen,
would it be testimony which would ap
pear to his advantage? Would it not
rather be another instance of the careless
manner in which the business of the
Territory has been sometimes conducted?
The minority of the committee heard
the questions and answers read over re
peatedly, had the privilege of reading
them himself if he pleased to do so, and
through the whole course of the investi
gation he never hinted in any shape or
manner that the answers were not cor
rectly taken down by me. And now
why this charge Where is the testi
mony if we have not given it Does he
give any testimony Not a particle. If
we have given but a partial report of
the testimony," if we "have studiously
evaded in our report, or carefully left
out of the copy of the testimony all those
parts which would appear to the advan
tage of the acting commissioner," why
in the name of heaven, does he not give
a correct and impartial report of it Is
he weak enough to suppose that a de
claration of this kind, unsupported by
the slightest proof, will be credited by
any sensible man especially when it is
considered that, if true, he has had every
opportunity of corroborating it.
The minority says that "when Mr
Swan desired to be present at the exami
nation of witnesses, the committee re
fused him that privilege." The idea
conveyed by this assertion is that the
committee throughout the examination
barred the door against the acting com
missioner. The statement will admit of
no other construction. And what is the
fact! During the examination of the last
Whether this postscript was designed
as an apology for writing to the commit
tee to know whether he had a right to
be present, or as a pretext for an attempt
to invalidate the testimony of Capt. Irish,
is a matter of little consequence. Why
this gratuitous attack upon Capt. Irish
Were the committee incapable of judging
for themselves, whether the statements of
Capt. Irish were entitled to credit? As
I have introduced this postscript here, Sir,
I will cheerfully state, as an act of jus
tice to Capt. Irish, that the committee
came to no such conclusions respecting
him. There are few men among us who
appear more intelligent than Capt. Irish,
and 1 have seen nothing to shake my
conviction that he is a gentleman of in
I will notice another sentence in the
report of the minority. He says
"For the purpose of obviating the nec
essity of submitting separate reports, the
undersigned requested the committee to
report the facts as toe found them, with
out coloring, shade, or comment, and al
low each member to append such other
statements as a sense ofduty might dictate
but was informed that they had their re
port prepared as it must be submitted."
Determined to submit a separate re
port, the minority seizes upon the most
trivial circumstances, and tortufes them
into pretexts for doing so. Some day
or two after he had heard the majority
report read, he called upon the majorily
aud made in writing the proposition, or
request he speaks of. As one of the
committee I refused to reply to it in
The minority says that he "feels bound,
from a sense of duty, to say, that there
was an apparent disposition to collect the
gossip found ailoal in the city, so far as
the same could in any way affect the stand
ing of the Acting commissioner, else, why
should a gentleman be called from a dis
tant town and kept in attendance for near
ly a week, ranging the city, and occasion
ally presenting a written communication
to the committee, while the undersigned
had no means of judging whether the per
son aforesaid was acting in the capacity
of an assistant prosecutor, or what was his
connection with the committee until the
common talk of the city informed him that
he had been called by order of the com
mittee as a witness. He would further
state, many of the acts of the committee
seemed to partake more of the nature of
an attack upon character, than a fair in
vestigation after truth and that when en
quiries were made of witnesses the ques
tions were better calculated to embarrass
than to elicit the true state of the tran
saction under consideration."
This paragraph deserves some notice
"There was au apparent disposition to
collect gossip found afloat in the city.*
Indeed and has any of this gossip been
reported by the majority, and if they
had been weak enough to report it, would
it have been entitled to the weight of a
feather in the scale against the acting
commissioner, or any man And, why
this extreme sensitiveness on the part of
the acting commissioner and his friends
at the thought of an investigation The
acting commissioner has either discharged
his duties properly or otherwise. If
properly, are gossip and rumor going to
injure him, even if they are traced to
that source I Sir, investigation, like the
ghost of Banquo should, disturb ma
est man. It strikes terror only inlT
breasts of the guilty. It appeij, ^Ml
Sir, that a.man conscious of havim, Jf8!
properly, mistakes his interests'
throws or seeks to throw obstacle
the way of a free and full i0VB«J
of his affairs. He should court it 5°J
and rejoice at an opportunity of sileV-"1
gossip and rumor by subjecting thl0""
the test of examination. T« .u.
this were not the feeling of the
commissioner and his friends, I will
evidence a litile stronger than this
graph from the minority report,
a communication from Stephen Whi hW
jr., Esq., who wassubpeened undent
following circumstances: The min
of the committee left Burlington for IQ"^
city, the day before the majority Th!
day the majority left, an opportunity
fered to forward a note to Mr Whi
requesting him to attend before the com'
mittee as a witness, the majority havin
understood that he was in possession]
some information touching affairs at Io
city. The committee did n^Lknow
what moment of time they mVght
Hon. F. Springer, Chairman of Com
My Dear Sir,—I had occasion io|^
frequently here last Summer and fall, and
during my visits heard much of the mm.
ner in which Mr Swan conducted business
—the purport of most I heard was a want
of business-doing ability on his pan.
About the beginning of Oct. several pet.
sons residing in and near this place, gnp.
posing that I would probably be elected
to a seal in the Council of the territory
gave me information of some official acts
of Mr S. which were thought exception.
able and requested me, in the event of
an opportunity offering, to institute such
official inquiry as the occasion seems to
demand. 1 made written memorandums
of some of these complaints in order to
facilitate any inquiries that might beor
dered. I mentioned the substance of tlie
above to you on my last visit to Louin
Court which I suppose was the occasion
of your letter to me dated the 13th insL
requesting my attendance here during the
sitting of the committee of which you are
There is yet another obstacle to a free
and full inquiry. A petition was in cir
culation here about a month ago at the in
stance of Mr Swan stating incidentally
that he was every thing a superintendant
should be and signed by about a hundred
names. Some of those who signed that
petition without a knowledge of its
purport, having been reminded that they
have committed themselves in his fe70r
are now reminded by those who oppos®
an inquiry, of' the virtue of consistency*
If you think proper 1 wish you to com
municate the contents of this letter to the
committee of which you are chairman and
make the note which I had the honor to
address to you yesterday, an appendix
hereto. If more was expected of me tha®
is here disclosed you will, I hope, set it
down, to the causes indicated in this letter
I have the honor to be,
Very Respectfully,
~Your- Obedient Servant
'-M sr WHITER J'*
What the minority say3 in relation to
the questions propounded to the witue*
ses, will ba. sufficiently refuted by I®"
ference.to the questions themselves.
ask gentlemen to do me the justice t®
examine those questions, and see if lb#
are not such questions as the natufo
our enquiry induced us to put I sdmife
however, if it will be any accomraodav
the 2
.giiops ID*
i, giving
hy their
inil conta'
are no
their owi
^oo iswwfi
,, amoun*
ad sp'
,i,e same
,j coinpan
vhe aclu
spared u
In some
In some n
This wai
sne by anj
examine Mr Whicher, or when it would
be convenient for him to attend. yg
obeyed the summons promptly and ar
rived some few days before the commit.'
tee were ready to receive his testimony.
Iowa City. Dec. 18, 1840,
iion of
this, it
them, ho
to go o
iihout son
were fe
lisch as
he wouh
He speait
sets. If
erron, aiu
ic minori
rs iio don
at the pal
ie argu me
ie law and
pd happei
w in as I
jes no
set ofl
sty. An
lember to
ived anoti
imselfas I
this I
of com
lately I
srepuie t!
and he
Leaving home in some haste I brought
none of these memorandums with me: in
deed I am not certain that I preserred
them, not knowing that they would be of
service. On my arrival here, in order lo
refresh my memory, I called on some of
those who had relied on me to assist in
the correction of alleged abuses, to ascer
tain with certainty where and from whom
requisite information could be obtained.
In this I have made no secret of my bus
iness nor of my means of obtaining infor
mation. I have mingled freely and fa
miliarly with the citizens of the city and
have with few exceptions met with a cor
responding frankness. But many are re
luctant to be called on to give testimony
before the committee because they are in
debted for lots in the city and are appre
hensive of incurring the displeasure of the
Superintendant whilst some others are
contractors for work on the public build
ing and are apprehensive (as is said) that
if their contracts are found to be corrupt
they will not enjoy the benefits of their
fulfilment. There are others who, I have
reason to believe can explain some ob
scure passages in Mr Swan's late report
to the legislature, have an idea that a sup- jortance
pressiou of facts will not be displeasing to loraraiss
the acting commissioner and endeavor to
intimidate by threats such as seek a full
investigation. I learn with regret that the
acting commissioner himself encourages
the idea that a disclosure of facts would
be equally prejudicial to contractors, him
self and the prosperity of the City. At
an accidental meeting of some of the peo
ple of this place last night, among whom
was Mr Swan it was proposed to rid the
city of my presence by appliances of sun
dry naval stores, feathers, rails and othfl
marks of popular disapprobation, while
he by his presence and conduct if not by
speeches gave countenance and encour
agement to the proposed outrage. I do
not mention this because of any apprehen
sion of any other than the most respect
ful usage from the citizens of Iowa City.
I have received too many marks of their
hospitality and confidence to give me i
moments uneasiness for ray personal safe
ty, nor do I think any thing of the kind
was seriously meditated. It was men
tioned I suppose because it was thought
to be acceptable to the commissioner, and
I name it here merely to shew you that
obstacles are in the way of a free, full and
fair investigation of the eonduct of the
present superintendent, and that there are
yet some men in the world who are will
ing lo be degraded, nay willing to degrade
themselves for a prospect of pecuniary
In concl
ie acting
sa man,
at a sligl
bt acqu?
save on
iim. W1
lis officia
iy sense
k) 3et dou
iiv report
oScial ca
nany to
iliice of
Of Whi
ments foi
tVM.II. 1
will be
of A
ace fro:
be the fj
ffrom ill
has ever
scale for
til lo be
largest k
posed of
Sta*, 31
na| nitu
for the i
parts of
the beli
legal re]
will be
tf true
alone v
one hi
jerest a
that be
the nig
to havi
*ih i

xml | txt