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PREFERRED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AGAINST HIM, FOR
CORRUPT CONDUCT IN OFFICE, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS.
TRIAL OF CHARLES A. EDMONDS.
PRELIMINARY PROCEEDINGS IN THE HOUSE OF
On the 22d day of March, 1872, during the Extra Session, Hon. Ira R. Grosvenor, a Representative from Monroe county, presented the petition of I. H. Bartholomew, R. C. Dart, and 24 others, citizens of the city of Lansing, making complaint and preferring charges of misdemeanors against Charles A Edmonds, Commissioner of the State Land Office.
On motion of Mr. Fenton,
The following is the petition :
Whereas, It is susceptible of proof that Chas. A. Edmonds, Commissioner of the State Land Office, has violated act No. 19 of the Session Laws of 1871, which provides that "the drunkenness of any person holding office under the Constitution or laws of this State, shall be good cause for removal from office, by the authority and in the manner provided by law;"
And whereas, The Constitution makes the Legislature the only body having control of this law as regards a State officer, or who can execute the same when it is in session;
And whereas, We believe that said law was enacted to the end that the people of the State might not be made to endure the disgrace of the continuance in public office of men addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors to excess ;
And whereas, The too free use of liquor leads to other debaucheries and excesses in violation of good order, and disreputable to the participant, bringing disgrace upon himself, and thus upon those who have confided the public trust to him, of which debaucheries and excesses it can be proven by undoubted testimony, Mr. Elmonds is guilty;
And whereas, Mr. Edmonds has in his employ as clerks in the State Land office, men who publicly violate the laws of good order and decency, and who use intoxicating liquors to excess;
Therefore, To the end that the law passed in 1871 may not be a dead letter on our statute books, and the people forced to endure the disgrace of having such men in public places where they are compelled to come in contact with them, and be subjected, whenever hate or envy dictate, to the damning words gathered from the haunts of vice and iniquity which such men store up from the debaucheries in which they indulge and low characters with whom they associate, we ask that the Legislature take proper steps to enter into a full investigation of this subject, and, if the charges of drunkenness or other misdemeanors can be proven against said Charles A. Edmonds, that he be at once removed from the position of Commissioner of the State Land Office; and your petitioners will ever pray. Lansing, March 19, 1872.
I. H. BARTHOLOMEW, E, BEMENT,
B. F. SIMONS,
T. R. CUSHING,
0. S. CASE,
A. T. DAVIS,
H. H. LARNED,
H. P. HITCHCOCK,
J. T. CONN.
Mr. Grosvenor, by unanimous consent, offered the following:
Resolved, That the petition and complaint of I. H. Bartholomew, R. C. Dart, and twenty-four others, citizens of the city of Lansing, against Chas. A. Edmonds, the Commissioner of the State Land Office, be and the same is hereby referred to a select committee of three, with instructions to inquire into the probable truth or falsity of the complaint, and report thereon to this House with all convenient speed the result of their deliberations, and whether the said Charles A. Edmonds ought to be impeached by this House, to the end that he may be removed from the office of Commissioner of the State Land Office; and if in their opinion the complaint is well founded, that they report to this House, in form, charges and specifications thereon, with the view of a trial before the Senate, as contemplated by Article 12, sections 1, 2, and 3 of the constitution of this State; and for the purpose of such inquiry and information, such committee is hereby authorized and empowered to send for persons and papers, and examine witnesses touching the matter of such complaint.
Mr. Fenton moved to amend the resolution by making the committee five instead of three ;
Which was accepted.
Mr. Huston offered the following as a substitute to the resolution:
Whereas, It is claimed and reported that the Hon. Charles A. Edinonds, Commissioner of the State Land Office, has been guilty of corrupt conduct in his officc as such Commissioner, and has also been guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors;
And whereas, The dignity and honor of the State imperatively demand and require honesty, faithfulness, and good moral character in all of its public servants;
And whereas, The power to impeach any civil officer of this State is vested by the Constitution of said State in the House of Representatives; therefore
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to investi