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Said bill was then ordered to be engrossed for the third reading.
The 16th rule was suspended with reference to said bill, which was then read the third time, passed, and title agreed to.
Ordered, that the clerk request the concurrence of the Council in said bill.
Mr. Sholes, from the select committee to which was referred the charges made by John Wilson against Alexander W. MʻGregor, made the following report:
The select committee appointed by the house, under a resolution adopted on the fourth day December last, to investigate the truth of certain charges-made by John Wilson, of Stephenson, Illinois, against A. W. MʻGregor, a member of the House of Representatives from Dubuque county, beg leave respectfully to submit the following:
It appears that on the second day of December last, a deposition was made before David Hendershot, a justice of the peace in and for the county of Des Moines, at the town of Burlington, in the words following, to wit:
“ THE DEPOSITION OF JOHN WILSON. “ I, John Wilson, being duly sworn, depose and say that previous to the election of Alexander M Gregor, as a representative from the county of Dubuque, in the legislative assembly of Wisconsin territory, I held a conversation with said M Gregor, in which I stated to him that I was desirous of obtaining from the legislature a grant of a ferry privilege from Davenport in said county of Dubuque, to Stephenson in the state of Illinois, upon which the said M Gregor proposed to me that I should use my influence to procure his election, and stated that, if elected, he would exert himself to procure for me the grant from the legislature. After the said M Gregor was elected, and the Friday previous to the commencement of the session of the legislature, I conversed with him, and repeated my request that he would use his influence for me, and promised him that I would pay him one hundred dollars if the law passed. He then gave me his promise that he would lend me his influence, and drew up for me a petition at my request. To this petition
I procured signatures, and on Thursday after the commencement of the session, I presented to him the petition and other papers, at this place, when he again promised me his influence. I then proceeded to St. Louis on business, and returned to this place on Tuesday last, the 28th instant. On the evening of Tuesday, I called upon M Gregor, and inquired concerning my petitions. He stated to me that he had not presented them: that his reason for not doing so was, that he had received another petition for the same purpose from a company; that he had not presented this petition from the company (which I ascertained the next morning to be false, and that he had presented it,) but that he felt bound to present it, as it came from his friends, and that his brother was interested. I repeated my offer to pay him the $100, if he would get my grant from the legislature; he replied that it was not enough, but that if I would pay him $300, he would present the petition of the company, (for he felt bound to do so much for them,) and permit their bill to be lost, and exert his influence for me. To this I replied, that I thought he asked too much. He then answered that I was owner of some ferry-boats, and that I had better pay him $300, than to have the company to get a charter, and then run the risk of selling or not selling my boats. I told him that I would think of it, and see him in the morning. I saw him the next morning, and informed him that I would comply with his demand. He then advised me to get some other person to present my petitions and papers, and stated that he would let his bill be lost, and support mine. He then drew up a note for $300, and annexed to it a stipulation that he wished me to sign. I signed them, and requested him to give me a copy of them. He then wrote a copy of them, and handed them to me. The following is a copy verbatim of the note and stipulation. 61 $300,00.
Burlington, November 29, 1837. “Thirty days after date I promise to pay Alexander W. MʻGregor, or order, the sum of three hundred dollars for value received. (Signed) • • JOHN WILSON.'
“ The above note is not given in consideration of any account said M Gregor may have against me up to this date for profes
sional services, neither on any settlement between him and I; but the accounts shall stand unsettled.”
(Signed) “ JOHN WILSON. Deposition signed,
“ JOHN WILSON.” “ Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, an acting justice of the peace in and for the county of Des Moines, John Wilson, known to me to be the identical person who signed the instrument, and upon his oath say that the foregoing instrument above to be substantially true. Sworn to and subscribed before me, this second day of December, 1837-Burlington, Des Moines county, territory of Wisconsin. Signed "DAVID HENDERSHOT, justice of the
peace. [L. S.”] Your committee, in the investigation of the serious charges above made, under oath, against A. W. M'Gregor, first proceeded to take the deposition of John Wilson. After a careful comparison of the deposition made and cross examination had before the committee, with the deposition containing the original charges, the committee would remark that they can see no incongruities. And farther, your committee would refer to the deposition of Dr. Reynolds, of the House of Representatives, B. W. Clark, and J. Bernard Smith, as containing circumstantial evidence, strongly calculated to sustain the truth of the original charges made. It will appear, by the papers herewith transmitted, that much testimony was taken by, and many depositions had before the committee, in regard to the general character of the accuser and accused, in the neighbourhood in which they reside. Andrew F. Russell, Jonathan W. Parker, Mr. Powers, D. C. Eldridge, John Burnside, Jackson Patton, W. C. Enos, jr., and William H. Patton, jr., have testified, under oath, that the general character of John Wilson, for veracity, in the community in which he lives, is not good; and that they would not believe him under oath, in matters where his interest was concerned. The most of these individuals, with the addition of Antoine Leclerc, have borne testimony to the general good character of A. W. MʻGregor, in the neighbourhood in which he resides, for honesty and integrity. On the other hand, it will be observed that Mr. Starr, John Lawton, B. W. Clark, Ebenezer Cook, Dr. Barrows, Thomas Bentley, senior, William T. Brasher, Zechariah Cook, Shannon Gregory, Thomas H. Pendleton, Sylvester M Master, Jonathan Buffain, William Boggiess, David Sullivan, Henry Parr, John S. Sheller, Henry W. Higgins, A. H. Davenport, James Davenport, S. S. Brown, J. M. Robertson, George B. Sargent, Jonah H. Case, Thomas Bentley, Esq., Charles Eames, John S. Miller, and L. G. Stevens, have testified that the general character of John Wilson for veracity is good, and that they would believe him on his oath. Thirteen of the above named individuals have testified that the general character of A. W. M Gregor for honesty and integrity is not good. Your committee will leave to the house to decide as to the importance of the testimony in regard to character, with the remark that two or three individuals who testified that the character of Wilson, for veracity, is bad, have had difficulties with him; and although these individuals may have been, and no doubt were, perfectly conscientious in the statements made, it is well known that such circumstances are calculated to bias the most honest minds. The same remarks will apply in the case of two or three persons who have testified as to M Gregor's bad character for honesty and integrity. Were, however, the bad character of Wilson proved beyond a doubt, (which position your committee are not at all inclined to assume,) there is still much in the evidence before referred to, which, as was before remarked, is strongly calculated to sustain the truth of the charges made in the original affidavit. The depositions, therefore, in regard to character, as far at least as the accusing party is concerned, cannot have, in the opinion of your committee, a very important bearing upon the issue; and testimony, designed to impeach the character of John Wilson, for veracity, favours the great bulk of the evidence that has as yet been produced by the party accused, in his defence. It would be proper here particularly to refer to an affidavit made before the committee, by Alexander W. M'Gregor, setting forth reasons for a delay of their report, by which, it will be seen that he expected farther testimony; the most important of which is that of a Mr. Eads. What Mr. M Gregor expects to prove by Mr. Eads will be found in the affidavit re
ferred to. Your committee, however, after a full consideration of the subject, came to the conclusion, the close of the present session being near at hand, that it would not be proper for them to wait for additional evidence, believing that due diligence had not been used by the party applying for delay; and they were farther operated upon by the reflection that the house itself could more properly decide as to the importance or materiality of the affidavit made by M Gregor; and delay or immediately pronounce, as circumstances might seem to justify, their final judgment upon the subject.
That the conduct of John Wilson was culpable in offering a bribe, no doubt can be entertained. Your committee, however, believe that ignorance, in a measure, as to its impropriety, may properly be urged in his behalf. They would respectfully ask the adoption of the following resolution :
Resolved, That the conduct of John Wilson, in offering to a member of this house a bribe, for the performance of certain legislative services, is highly reprehensible ; and that the said John Wilson be brought before the bar of this house, to be reprimanded by the speaker.
In the case of Alexander W. M.Gregor, the committee would propose for adoption the following resolution:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this house, Alexander W. M-Gregor, a member of this body, has been guilty of recovering a bribe, in the shape of a note drawn for $300, from John Wilson, of Stephenson, Illinois, for services to be performed in a legislative capacity, and that, in consequence thereof, the said Alexander W. M Gregor ought to be, and hereby is expelled from his seat in this house.
(For documents referred to in the foregoing report, see Appendix, “ No. 9.”)
The said report and resolutions were made the order of the day for Monday next, and the testimony taken by the committee, and the affidavit of J. R. Smith, in relation thereto, were ordered to be printed.
The speaker laid before the house a communication received from J. W. Grimes, Esq., attorney for John Wilson, protesting against the right of the house to reprimand the said Wilson, and