« ПретходнаНастави »
behalf of the State, in the direction of acquiring these important lands.
And the fact must not be overlooked that the trees cut from those lands, thus far, have usually, if not always, comprised only those of a particular kind, which really make-up but a small part of the forest which is necessary to the preservation of our water sources.
The occurrence of fires in this wilderness is an agency of destruction which should be guarded against. By this means not only the trees are destroyed, but what there is of a thin soil or mould surrounding their roots is so nearly consumed that, for a generation at least, trees and vegetation are not likely to reappear. These fires are, in most cases, the result of heedlessness on the part of lumbermen, or excursionists and the guides accompanying them.
While we should not neglect to provide against any danger which threatens the supply of water in our important streams and rivers, it seems to me we are in the presence of another peril, against which we must vigilantly guard. I refer to the schemes which are likely, in the present state of the public mind, to be proposed, having for their object the purchase by the State of immense tracts of these lands, upon the representation that this is the only means of protecting the interests involved.
These lands owned by the State should be plainly located and declared, with what it may hereafter acquire, to be park lands; strict laws should be passed to prevent fires by carelessness, and to severely punish trespassers who shall cut down the trees; the guides should be under some kind of regulation and control, and it might not be amiss to establish some supervising authority to enforce the observance of the laws; and it would undoubtedly be well if the time permitted to elapse between the levying of taxes and a sale for nonpayment, as well as the period allowed after sale for redemption, should be shortened. By the adoption of some such measures I believe the danger which seems imminent may be averted; and until it has been demonstrated that any other plan must fail, it is, in my opinion, our duty to oppose any scheme having for its object the purchase of these lands, and involving, as it would, the expenditure of millions of money.
The last Senate appointed a committee to investigate this whole question, and it is expected that their report will contain valuable suggestions and recommendations.
In any effort instituted to protect the northern wilderness, we ought reasonably to anticipate much aid, in the location of the lands, from this survey.
I find in the year 1876 an appropriation was made of $4,250 "to complete the topographical survey and exploration of the Adirondack wilderness." So far from its being completed for that appropriation, more money has been given for this purpose every year. since. In 1878, the time to finish this "exploration and survey [SENATE JOURNAL.]
was, by a statute passed on the 28th day of May, in that year, limited to six years from that date, the sum of $10,000 was appropriated for its purposes, and the act explicitly declares that, at the end of the time limited, "the topographical character of the work shall be complete in all respects throughout the area under survey."
Since that time and ineluding the appropriation of that year, $65,000 has been drawn from the treasury of the State for the work which in 1876 it seems to have been supposed would be completed for $4,250, while the entire cost to the present date approximates $70,000, exclusive of a very large sum for the printing of costly reports.
To the ordinary understanding it cannot but appear that the time and money thus spent should insure a perfect and complete survey of this wilderness region.
It will be observed that the time limited by the law of 1878 for the completion of this exploration and survey, expires on the 28th day of May, 1884. It is earnestly hoped that the final day may develop some practical and useful results. However this may be, the day thus fixed should be the end. If we have not yet secured what we need, it is useless to depend longer on this instrumentality. I recommend that the Superintendent of the Adirondack survey be required, on or before the 28th day of May next, to deposit in the office of the State Engineer and Surveyor, all maps, surveys, and other results of his work, as well as all tools and instruments in his charge belonging to the State.
THE STATE SURVEY.
Probably the duration and cost of this establishment were no more understood at the time it was inaugurated, and its results are now but little more apparent or appreciated, than those of the Adirondack Survey.
The State Survey made its first appearance in the legislation of the State in the appropriation bill for the year 1876, when $20,000 was appropriated "for making an accurate trigonometric and topographical survey of the State, for the determination of State and county lines." Commissioners were appointed who should, it was declared, hold office for one year. No provision is made for the appointment of any successors to these Commissioners. In the appropriation bill of 1877 no money is appropriated for the survey, but it is declared that the term of office of the Commissioners should be extended to the 1st day of May, 1878. On the 6th day of May, 1878, a law was passed, the first section of which declares that, "in order to define the objects of the State Survey, to limit the expense thereof and to provide for its speedy completion," the Commissioners theretofore appointed, naming them, "are hereby appointed to conduct the same in accordance with their last annual report to the Legislature, namely: The work is to be confined to fixing such meridian and other lines and points as are necessary to give correct bases for county, town and other surveys, so that they may be of permanent value at any time in the future.'
No limit was fixed to the term of the Commissioners, and the sum of $14,300 was appropriated " for the purposes of this act."
Since that time it has had its place regularly in the appropriation bill year after year until the sum of $118,300 has been applied to this object. The language of the first two acts in which the survey is mentioned indicates, by the appointment of the Commissioners for one year, and extending their term an additional year, that it was supposed their duties would be of a temporary nature; and the lauguage of the law of 1878 indicates that the object sought by that act was to define the objects of such survey, limit its expense and circumscribe its work. Nearly six years have passed, the large sum of money above mentioned has been spent, but little has apparently been accomplished, and we have no hint from the Commissioners or the Director of the time or money which will be necessary to complete the work. Its continuation is urged on the ground that it will be valuable to the cause of science. This consideration should be regarded; and it may be conceded, too, that meridian and other lines should be fixed, and such "points as are necessary to give correct bases for county, town and other surveys;" but none of these things justify us in blindly spending the public money for a purpose the cost of which promises to be enormous, and the benefit of which may be realized only by posterity.
In my judgment this survey, and any others of a like character that are to be made for public benefit, should be prosecuted under the direction of the State Engineer and Surveyor, and the results constitute public records in his office. This officer is not at present overburdened with work, and no one who has not the engineering skill to direct such operations is likely to hold the position. The expense of creating establishments to do such work, and the ease with which they grow into departments of the State, has often been demonstrated.
NIAGARA FALLS RESERVATION.
The Commissioners appointed under the law passed by the last Legislature, for the purpose of selecting and locating such lands in the village of Niagara Falls as may be necessary to be reserved for the purpose of preserving the scenery of the falls of Niagara, have deterinined upon the lands which, in their opinion, should be reserved, and a map has been duly certified by them and filed as directed by the statute. Proceedings will be taken as soon as prac ticable for the appraisal of the land so selected, with a view of determining the cost attending the proposed reservation.
The project of releasing this far-famed natural wonder from the obstacles to its enjoyment which now surround it, and securing its scenery from destruction, appeals strongly to our State pride. It has beside certain features of practical benefit to our people which renders its success desirable if the expense attending it is not too great. The State is in no way committed to the consummation of the proposed reservation, and the whole matter will be submitted
to the Legislature for its determination, upon the report of the Commissioners, when the same shall be presented.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.☛
This department has further demonstrated during the past year the wisdom of its establishment. The details of its work and operations will be presented in its forthcoming report.
The powers vested in the Board relating to the investigation of nuisances and other causes of disease, the adulteration of food and drugs, and the sale of substances dangerous to the life and health of the people, has been efficiently and beneficially exercised. The advantages of its work to the State will be more marked as its methods become more completely systematized and the scope of its operation increased.
By an act of the last Legislature the laws providing means for eradicating the disease of pleuro-pneumonia among cattle was repealed, and a considerable sum of money which was being gradually expended to maintain a State agency in New York, of but little practical value so long as adjoining States failed to co-operate with us, was turned into the general fund.
I have no knowledge of any loss resulting from the discontinuance of the State agency. It is a fact, however, that the germs of the disease exist in this country and within our own borders. necessity for some general and effective action is apparent. Other States are moving to memorialize the Federal Government to take proper action to stamp out the disease and protect the country from its dissemination. To this movement the State of New York should give its influence. I, therefore, suggest that a resolution be adopted by the Legislature at an early day, requesting the Senators and Representatives in Congress from this State to urge upon that body the need of Federal legislation on this subject.
The people of the State are to be congratulated upon the progress made during the last year in the direction of wholesome legislation. The most practical and thorough Civil Service Reform has gained a place in the policy of the State.
Political assessments upon employees in the public departments have been prohibited.
The rights of all citizens at primary elections have been protected. by law.
A bureau has been established to collect information and statistics touching the relations between labor and capital.
The sale of forest land at the source of our important streams has been prohibited, thereby checking threatened disaster to the commerce on our water-ways
Debts and obligations for the payment of money owned though not actually held within the State have been made subject to taxation, thus preventing an unfair evasion of liability for the support of the government.
Business principles have been introduced in the construction and care of the New Capitol and other public buildings, and waste and extravagance thereby prevented.
A law has been passed for the better administration of the Emigration Bureau and the prevention of its abuses.
The people have been protected by placing co-operative insurance companies under the control and supervision of the Insurance Department.
The fees of receivers have been reduced and regulated in the interests of the creditors of insolvent companies.
A Court of Claims has been established where the demands of citizens against the State may be properly determined.
These legislative accomplishments, and others of less importance and prominence, may well be cited in proof of the fact that the substantial interests of the people of the State have not been neglected.
The State of New York largely represents within her borders the development of every interest which makes a nation great. Proud of her place as leader in the community of States, she fully appreciates her intimate relations to the prosperity of the country; and justly realizing the responsibility of her position, she recognizes, in her policy and her laws, as of first importance, the freedom of commerce from all unnecessary restrictions. Her citizens have assumed the burden of maintaining, at their own cost and free to commerce, the water-way which they have built and through which the products of the great West are transported to the seaboard. At the suggestion of danger she hastens to save her northern forests, and thus preserve to commerce her canals and vessel laden rivers. The State has become responsible for a bureau of immigration, which cares for those who seek our shores from other lands, adding to the nation's population and hastening to the development of its vast domain; while at the country's gateway a quarantine, established by the State, protects the nation's health.
Surely this great Commonwealth, committed fully to the interests of commerce and all that adds to the country's prosperity, may well inquire how her efforts and sacrifices have been answered; and she, of all the States, may urge that the interests thus by her protected should, by the greater government administered for all, be costered for the benefit of the American people.
Fifty years ago a most distinguished foreigner, who visited this fountry and studied its condition and prospects, wrote:
"When I contemplate the ardor with which the Americans prosecute commerce, the advantage which aid them and the success of their undertakings, I cannot help believing that they will one day become the first maritime power of the globe. They are bound to rule the seas as the Romans were to conquer the world. The Americans themselves now transport to their own shores ninetenths of the European produce which they consume, and they also