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BUREN R. SHERMAN,
GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF IOWA,
TWENTIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF LAW.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
I congratulate you that you are privileged to assemble with such auspicious surroundings. Prosperity has continued with us during the biennial period, and, notwithstanding the loss of a portion of the harvest through an unusual and unfavorable season, the past year, which affected as well the States contiguous, the fact remains that the people have made advancement and we are in better general con. dition than was true at the commencement of the term. Health and plenty have obtained within our borders, gaunt poverty has been unknown to our citizens, and now at the threshhold of the new year, it is meet that we render grateful homage to the Most High for the manifold blessings which have been showered upon the people. In the thirty-seven years of our separate existence we have made marvelous progress, until we have become the first of the States in educational advancement, the third in railway mileage, the fifth in educational facilities, and the tenth in population—a proud position which we are abundantly able to maintain and improve upon. With a wealth of resource that is being developed and increased with every revolving sun, a population distinguished for intelligence and vigor, and a physical location that is unsurpassed, Iowa occupies a most honorable position which entitles us to congratulate ourselves upon our progress and condition.
The State is practically free from indebtedness of every character, and really so, if the small amount belonging to the State school fund, and which is understood to be but a permanent principal upon which interest is paid to the use of the public schools of the State, is considered in its proper light. Since the last session of your honorable body, the entire amount of our war obligations, which comprised our total of debt, save as before mentioned, has been fully paid and the . State discharged every monetary obligation.
You are the immediate personal representatives of the two million souls who occupy this “beautiful land,” and having accepted from your fellow citizens the grave trust now resting upon you, I doubt not you will be found able to these responsibilities and that at the end of your labors it may be said of each that he was faithful to the people whose confidence was his. Let it not be said of the Twentieth General Assembly that it failed its opportunities.
Since the last session, grave questions, affecting the interests of the State, the preliminaries to which were adopted by your predecessors, have been submitted to the direct vote of the people, and by them determined in the manner authorized by the constitution and the laws; and it remains for you to give effect to this expression of the popular judgment. This applies with special force to the temperance question which has agitated the State for many years. The proposition to amend the fundamental law by a prohibition of the sale of intoxicants as a beverage, having passed the several stages of legislation prerequisite, was at last submitted to the citizens of the State, and by them adopted by a decisive vote. Notwithstanding the people had 80 expressed their pleasure therein, and under our theories of government the court of the sovereign people is that of last and highest resort, and their decision had been evidenced through the proper constitutional department of the government, the amendment so adopted was attempted to be nullified by a co-ordinate branch. Various opinions prevail as to such attempt and its binding force and effect; but one only can obtain as to the moral obligation resting upon the representatives of the people in the General Assembly in such an emergency. The duty remains to the law making power, that the principle thus adopted by the people must be voiced in proper statutory enactments; and I confidently trust that ere your session shall end, the legal remedies will be provided whereby the people may protect themselves from further devastations caused by this unlawful traffic, destructive alike to present and future generations. Ours is a government by the people; of the people, and for the people, and their will being ascertained, no representative of the people can justify himself in opposition thereto, the ultimate effect of which would be certain destruction to the principle of free government, to establish which the life of the nation has been twice imperiled and thousands of lives sacrificed. Partisan