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the 1st of January, 1873. The Comptroller is of the opinion, in which I concur, that there will be no difficulty in obtaining the means of meeting these payments, on the credit of the sinking funds, as authorized by the Constitution.
The entire State debt was, on the 30th of September last, ($29,482,702.52) twenty-nine millions four hundred and eighty-two thousand seven hundred and two dollars and fifty two cents, the amount of principal paid in the last year being ($2,926,441.74) two millions nine hundred and twenty-six thousand four hundred and forty-one dollars and seventy-four cents.
The State tax levied the past year is five mills and seventy-nine one hundred and twentieths of a mill. Of this tax, two mills were required for the annual payment on the war bounty debt, one mill and a quarter for the support of the public schools, three-eighths of a mill to meet payments for work on the new Capitol, seventy-nine-one hundred and twentieths of a mill for canals, and one mill and three-eighths of a mill for general purposes. The total yield of the State tax is eleven millions six hundred and thirteen thousand nine hundred and forty three dollars and sixty-one cents.
The new capitol commissioners report to me that of the six hundred and fifty thousand dollars appropriated by the Legislature at its last session, they have expended three hundred and forty-three thousand six hundred and thirty-one dollars and thirty-one cents up to the twentysecond day of November last; making, with what has been previously reported, about two millions thus far expended on the construction of the building, independent of about six hundred and fifty thousand dollars paid for land.
The quantity of salt from the Onondaga salt springs, inspected during the last fiscal year, was eight millions five hundred and seventy-nine thousand one hundred and ninety-three bushels. This shows a decrease of production, compared with the previous year, of two hundred and seventy-two thousand and fifty-four bushels. The net revenue to the State has been twenty-six thousand six hundred and fifty-six dollars and seventy-nine cents, which is seven thousand two hundred and fifty-four dollars and twenty-eight cents less than that of the previous year.
On the 1st of October last, sixty-nine banks were doing business under the banking law of this State. During the fiscal year circulating notes to the amount of forty-seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven dollars have been destroyed by the department. Twelve banks have been credited with lost circulation to the amount, in all, of sixty-four thousand seven hundred and twenty-five dollars; the time for redeeming the same, after the usual legal notice, having expired.
The amount of circulation outstanding, including that of incorporated banks, banking associations, and individual bankers, was, on the 1st of October last, two millions one hundred and forty-one thousand four hundred and thirty-five dollars and fifty cents. Of this amount, the sum of one million three hundred and eighty-three thousand five hundred and
twenty-five dollars is secured by deposits of stocks, mortgages, and cash. The residue, being circulation issued by incorporated banks in existence prior to the passage of the general banking law, is, of course, not secured by any deposit in the bank department.
There were, on the 1st of July last, one hundred and forty-three savings banks doing business in the State, with assets to the amount, in the aggregate, of two hundred and sixty-six millions two hundred and fiftythree thousand five hundred and ninety-four dollars. These assets may now be estimated, upon the ratio of increase of the year before, at two hundred and eighty millions of dollars. The number of persons having deposits in these institutious was, on the 1st of January, 1871, seven hundred and twelve thousand one hundred and nine.
I ask your especial attention to the necessity of being very cautious in the enactment of charters for savings banks. Some failures have occured among this class of institutions during the past year. Being intended to induce saving habits among those of small means, by enabling them to obtain interest on the sums which they can, from time to time, lay aside from their daily earnings, it is the duty of the Legislature to provide in their charters every possible safeguard for the protection of the depositors. The object kept in view should be security more than high interest.
At my instance (Senator Palmer, then chairman of the Senate committee on banks, cordially co-operating with me), a law was passed at the legislative session of 1869 (chapter 213 of the Laws of that year), requiring that all persons desiring to organize a savings bank should execute a certificate, setting forth the name of their projected institution, its intended place of business, the name, residence, occupation and postoffice address of each member of the association, and containing a declaration from each one of them that he is willing to accept the duties of a trustee in such institution; and requiring that such certificate, with a copy of the proposed charter, be filed with the Superintendent of the Banking Department, at least sixty days before the annual session of the Legislature. The law provides also that notice of intention to organize such an institution, giving the particulars contained in the certificate, shall be published in a newspaper of the neighborhood where it is proposed to be established, for six weeks. It then makes it the duty of the Superintendent of the Banking Department to transmit to the Legislature at its next meeting, a report concerning the expediency of incorporating each one of such proposed institutions. Every legislative committee to to whom a bill for incorporating a savings bank shall be referred, which has been introduced otherwise than in the manner and with the preliminaries above described, is, by the terms of this law, required to report against the passage thereof. Of course, this law may be disregarded by a subsequent Legislature; but I recommend a strict compliance, on your part, with its provisions, as calculated to avoid a needless increase of these institutions and to guard against carelessly framed charters. I recommend to your consideration the propriety of restricting, by a general law, applicable to all savings banks, the amount which may be held on deposit for any one depositor, to a moderate sum. Those who deal in large amounts are usually capable of providing investments for themselves. It is not right that the funds of this latter class of persons should be mingled with those of less means, whose circumstances require
a peculiar class of institutions, and for whom, specially, savings banks were created.
The tendency of late years to careless legislation in respect to savings banks and other moneyed incorporations, is shown by the fact that during the three years of my administration, I have found myself obliged to refase my signature to sixty-eight bills for the incorporation of or increasing the powers of savings banks and other moneyed institutions under various names.
In connection with this topic, I call your attention to article 8, section 1, of the Constitution, providing that "corporations shall not be created by special act, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where, in the judgment of the legislature, the objects of the corporation cannot be obtained under general laws" Of late years there has been a tendency to overlook the intent of this limitation upon legislative power. It is true, the judgment of the Legislature is to decide whether, in any special case, they are justified in disregarding the general prohibition. This discretion, however, should be exercised not arbitrarily, but in harmony with the purpose and intent of the whole section; which was, obviously, to take away from the Legislature the right of creating corporations by special act, except where it was very clear that the object could not be obtained under general laws.
The number of insurance companies subject to the supervision of the Insurance Department was, on the first day of December, 1871, 238, as follows:
New York joint stock fire insurance companies
New York life insurance companies
Fire insurance companies of other States..
The total amount of stocks and mortgages held by the department for the protection of policy holders of life and casualty insurance companies of this State and of foreign insurance companies doing business within it, was eight millions fifty-one thousand one hundred and eighty-five dollars, as follows:
For protection of policy holders generally in life insur-
For protection of registered policy holders exclusively..
For protection of life policy holders in foreign insurance
2,342,650 00 4,000 00
The Superintendent of the Insurance Department estimates that, toward reimbursing the loss by the fire at Chicago, companies organized under the laws of this State (not including those of other States and countries doing business in this State) will contribute over twenty millions of dollars.
The Comptroller's report will show, in detail, the earnings and expenses of the State prisons during the past year. The condition of our prisons is not satisfactory. Improvement can be secured, in my judgment, only by an amendment to the Constitution, which shall concentrate responsibility for their management.
I visited, as usual, all the prisons during the past year, for the purpose of hearing applications from the convicts for pardon or commutation of punishment. More than eight hundred applications for pardon or commutation have been made to me during the year. Eighty-four (84) pardons, twenty-nine commutations, and five reprieves have been granted. I shall, in a few days, submit to you, as has been my practice every year, a statement of the particulars of these cases, including the reasons which, in each instance, have influenced my action.
CHARITIES AND ASYLUMS.
The annual report of the Commissioners of Charities will give detailed information of the condition of the several State charities. I trust you will continue to provide for the early completion of the State lunatic asylums now being constructed, so as to afford additional room for the insane poor; to the end that, within a short period, all of this class may be removed from the county poor-houses. I again recommend, as I did last year, an inquiry into the condition of pauper children in the several counties, with a view to providing for their removal, if found expedient, to proper asylums.
The following statistics have been furnished me by the Department of Public Instruction for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1871: Number of children attending public schools
Total receipts, including balance on hand, September 30, 1870 ...
Amount paid for teachers' wages.
Estimated value of school-houses and sites..
Amount paid for school-houses, repairs, and furniture,
Number of persons attending normal schools..
Number of teachers employed for the full legal term,
For particulars and for suggestions relating to the administration of our common school system, you are respectfully referred to the annual report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, under whose care the educational affairs of the State have been so ably administered. I ask for the schools the most liberal legislative encouragement.
The State militia, known, now, as the "National Guard of the State of New York," numbers about twenty-four thousand officers, non-commissioned officers and privates. The details will be made known in the report of the Adjutant-General. This valuable force, essential to the security of public order, ought to be generously sustained by the Legislature. A contract has been made, in accordance with authority vested in the Governor by the law of last session, for supplying the force with breech-loading rifles.
The Adjutant-General has made very satisfactory progress in obtaining the adjustment and allowance of claims of the State against the general government for expenditures in the late war. At the time he came into office, the balance of the claims which had then been presented to the accounting officers of the treasury of the United States and were on file with them, unsettled, was $932,132.82, of which it had been estimated not more than fifty per cent could be recovered, owing to informalities of vouchers, and irregularities occurring in the hurry of the times when the expenditures were made; and it was suggested that the Comptroller should employ a special agent for the adjustment of these claims, to be compensated by a per centage upon the amount which should be recovered. The Adjutant General, with my approval, placed the matter in the special charge of Colonel Stonehouse, the Assistant Adjutant-General, who was familiar with the origin of the claims, and detailed Captain Butler, of the Inspector-General's Department, to assist him. There has been recovered already the sum of $622,279.10, with the well assured prospect of an early adjustment of the whole balance. left unsettled on the 1st January, 1869 (except certain items of interest on temporary bonds issued by the State which will require congressional action), and the prospect also of establishing the validity of further claims upon the government. Additional claims to the amount of $364,107.07, have already been presented to the treasury department, and others to about the same amount will very soon be ready for presentation. The Legislature, at its last session, passed a concurrent resolution, anthorizing me to appoint a special agent to prepare and collect these claims, and to award to him such a per centage of the amount collected as I might deem just and proper. I have done nothing under this resolution, being satisfied that the claims can be adjusted and collected quite as rapidly through the clerical force of the Adjutant-General's office, and, of course, at much less cost to the State.
During the past year, 227 vessels arriving at the port of New York have been quarantined on account of sickness which had occurred on board of them. Upon these vessels, at their port of departure, on the passage, and after their arrival at quarantine, there were 729 cases of contagious and infectious diseases, and 109 deaths.
During the quarantine season, to wit, from the first day of April to the first day of November, 466 vessels, which arrived from ports infected with yellow fever, were detained in the lower bay for observation. During the same period, 542 vessels from suspected ports were examined at lower quarantine, and placed under observation for a period of from two to five days.
These constitute the total number of vessels detained during the year beyond the time actually necessary for examination. Out of this number