HOUSE - SIXTEENTH DAY
Carson City, January 27
The House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Fisher in the chair, upon the unfinished business of the general orders, and occupied the remainder of the forenoon session in the consideration of the Act providing for the appointment of Notaries Public and defining their duties. [This is a most important bill, and if passed will secure clearer and more comprehensible records hereafter. It will leave Storey county twelve Notaries in place of the fifteen hundred we have at present, and these twelve will have to be men of solid reputation, since they will have to give heavier bonds than all the fifteen hundred combined do at present; they must give bail in the sum of $5,000 each - $60,000 altogether. Mr. Fisher said three would be sufficient for Douglas county - he didn't want all the property there tied up in Notary's bonds. Mr. Clagett said there was scarcely a valid deed on the Humboldt records, because the certificates attached to them by ignorant Notaries were worthless, and he supposed property worth millions had already been jeopardized in the Territory by this kind of officers. He said one really splendid ignoramus out there who forwarded a bond in the sum of $10, had it returned with a notification that it must be increased to $500; he couldn't straddle the blind, and had to give up his commission. Besides, Mr. Clagett said, the passage of this Act would oust from office some twenty-five rabid Secessionists in Humboldt county alone! [Sensation.] If you could just see the official bonds drawn up and sent to the office of the Secretary of the Territory by some of these mentally deaf, dumb and blind Notaries, you would wonder, as I do, what they have been and gone and done, that Heaven should be down on them so. They never use revenue stamps - they don't subscribe the oath, they - well, they don't do anything that could lay them liable to an accusation of knowing it all, or even any fraction of it.
[Mr. Tennant said some few secesh had been appointed in Lander, but not so many as in Humboldt - they found one secesh in Lander last spring, and Acting-Governor Clemens captured him. I send you a copy of the bill, as they have just finished amending it in the Committee of the Whole, and suggest that you publish it. - MARK]
[reprinted in Mark Twain of the Enterprise, edited by Henry Nash Smith, (Univ. of California Press, 1957), p. 143-44.]
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