"Nebraska," New York Daily Times, 1 Feb. 1856.
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Scenes in the Negbraska Legislature—The Capital Question—Banks in Nebraska—
Lively Times in the Hall of the House—General News, &c.
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1856.
It is decidedly a rich treat to visit the General Assembly of Nebraska. You see a motley group inside of a railing in a small room, crowded indeed to overflowing, some behind their little schoolboy desks, some seated on top of the desks, some with their feet perched on the top of their neighbor's chair or desk, some whittling—half a dozen walking about in what little space there is left. The Fireman, Doorkeeper, Sergeant-at-Arms, last year's members, and almost any one else become privileged characters inside the bar, selecting good seats and making themselves generally at home, no matter how much they may discommode the members. The Clerk, if he chooses, jumps up to explain the hows and whys of his journal. A lobby member stalks inside the bar, and from one to the other he goes about talking of the advantages of his bill. A row starts up in the Secretary's room or somewhere about the building, and away goes the honorable body to see the fun. If a seat is kindly extended to a reporter, 'tis either on the tobacco dedaubed floor or on top of some member's desk with some dirty-faced fireman, doorkeeper, or outsider leaning on him, and a half-dozen faces peering over his shoulder. Indeed, it reminds me more of some of our good old town meetings "away down East," or a country debating school. Hon. Mr. A. gives Mr. B., "the gentleman from—county," a severe lecturing before the House for not voting on his side of the question—says he agreed to, and if he don't behave himself he'll go and toll his constituency how badly he behaves, &c. Mr. B. comes the indignant—says Mr. A. lies if he make such and such assertions, and Mr. A. is no better than he should be, and reckons he ain't much afraid of him. Mr. C. comes to the rescue, and gives the Governor and Secretary particular "Jesse," gets up to concert pitch, speaks half an hour on nothing, and some hungry or thirsty member moves an adjournment, and a few minutes after the drinking saloons are well patronized. This is about a fair, though brief sketch of Legislative life in Nebraska. Although both bodies have but about seven days more to sit, but four bills have as yet passed both Houses. It is one continued personal and local fight—a constant attempt at bargain, sale and argument. There is business enough to do, but the brief time now before them will not allow of proper attention thereto.
A miserable policy of having shinplaster banks has got into the heads of many of the members, and now a man, or member, can scarce keep quiet unless he has got some one-horse charter of his own for a bank before and through the house. It is indeed the height of folly. Here we are now with about five bank charters passed, and, indeed, signed by our Democratic Governor, with a prospect of some half dozen more soon to pass. It was fondly hoped, for the good of the Territory, that the Governor would veto these bank charters—these apologies for banks—but he has not got any of the JACKSON nerve. A little while longer and Nebraska will be flooded with pitable shinplasters, barely worth the paper on which they are printed, and that followed by a sudden demise of these shaving institutions.
The question—or rather a bill—to relocate the Capitol, came up in the House a few days since, and last night, until the small hours, the House sat in Committee of the Whole on the subject. It was an amusing time. The history of official corruption was reviewed. How, through bribery, corruption and fraud the Capitol was located here. How that little arch-intriguer, L. B. CUHING, did many naughty and rascally things. How the people were opposed to the location of the Capital at Omaha and at that. MORTON, member elect from Nebraska City, and editor of the Nebraska City News; DECKER, from the same place, a man by the name of MORSE, who had been in the Territory long enough to be picked up, run, and elected from here, and Dr. MILLER, also from this place, took the lead in the duscussion—it was nearly all, however, for Buncombe. Further discussion had been postponed on this subject until next Monday night. A bill to locate the Capitol at Fontenelle, the thriving county seat of Dodge County, may possibly pass the House—but if not killed in the Council, it seems to be generally understood the Governor is "all right" to save it for Omaha.
There is but little news outside of our Legislature. A large Mormon emigration is expected through here in the Spring, and doubtless there will be a very large emigration to Nebraska. To those who purpose coming, a few words of advice from one who has had two years' experience might not come amiss. In the first place, don't come at all if you are doing well enough where you are. In the second place, don't think of coming here without money; thinking off of nothing to make a fortune immediately—there's plenty here of that class already to supply the market. Expect to pay high for everything you get here, and be thankful for what you do get. Expect to find a goodly array of town-sit drummers to harangue you, and convince you that their town, of all towns in Nebraska, is the town as is a town, and naturally compelled to be the town of all towns in Nebraska. Make up your mind to rough it right smartly, and be thankful if you get a bed with some fellow lodger at a hotel, or, indeed, half a dozen of them. Make up your mind to believe about half you hear of Nebraska wonders, and don't get the least frightened to see a good many revolvers and knives, for there is not a half dozen here with more than courage enough to bully, and no more. Make up your mind to become strictly temperate or drink liquor bad enough to try the Constitution of the United States. Make up your mind to wonder how so many men of such wonderful importance, before they left their native State—that is, if you prefer to believe them—thought of forsaking all and come to Nebraska. And lastly, don't be astonished to find every other man either an aspirant for Congress, the Legislature, or Penitentiary. But you had better come anyhow, and just ask for JAKE.