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Statement of the Canal Debt paying interest on the 30th September, 1866.
Principal. Annual interest. Cnder article 7, section 1, of the Constitution ...
$4,899,600 00 $244,980 00 Cnder article 7, section 3, of the Constitution
11,567,000.00 688,350 00 Under article 7, section 12, of the Constitution
1,700,000 00 102,000 00
$18,166, 600 00 $1,035,330 00
The canal stock debt has been reduced during the year $1,257,985.49, by reimbursements of matured stocks, and by purchase and cancellation of stocks matured. The balances now in the Canal Debt Sinking Fund, amounting to $2,563,623, pledged to the payment of the principal of the debt, when applied, will reduce that principal to $15,602,976. If we may assume the canal stock liabilities beyond the means in the treasury to meet them, to stand at these figures, we shall, in six years since 1860, have reduced those liabilities $11,604,344.71.
The Auditor of the Canal Department estimates, that by the close of the fiscal year in 1868, the whole of this debt contracted prior to 1846 will have been paid or provided for, and that the entire liquidation of the General Fund Debt of 1846 may be looked for in the year 1872. The department has been purchasing these unmatured stocks, with a view to cancellation, and will continue to do so to the extent of the means available, when offered at prices advantageous to the State.
The magnitude which the freight transportation through the State has attained, attracts to the subject of our public works, as to their capacity and the cheapness of transit, the gravest consideration. While it bas been the traditionary policy of the State to provide adequate channels of trade, during the last quarter of a century the question of present and ultimate capacity of the canals for the movement of all the produce and freights which might offer, has evoked public solicitude and discussion. The grain producing sections of the west, the commerce and manufactures of the east, and the common progress and pros. perity of both sections, are alike interested. Perhaps no point has been 89 urgently pressed by the people of the Lake basin States, and the States adjacent, which send their surplus to the seaboard in this latitode, as this demand for cheap and prompt transit over the belt of land separating the lakes from tide water; and it is the duty and interest of the State to meet every need and just claim in this direction. Dispatch, and cheap rates of transportation, increase trade and promote the growth of population and wealth. I think, however, there is some misapprehension of the facts bearing upon the questions of present capacity of our public works, to which I may properly advert.
The Erie canal has now, and has had since 1860, a tonnage carrying capacity of four millions of tons in each direction, east and west, during an ordinary season of navigation of seven and one-half months. Since that time it has not been taxed at any period with business or the transit of boats carrying tonnage to exceed very little, if any, seventy-five per cent of that capacity. In arriving at these results, I have assumed that this thoroughfare was at all times during the season of navigation in proper order, the locks in good condition, constantly in a working state, and promptly and efficiently ettended by an adequate number of men.
The movement of loaded boats propelled by horse power is necessarily slow, not exceeding one and a half or two miles an hour, requiring an average of nearly fourteen days time from Buffalo to New York, including breaks in the canal and detention from other casualties. This will be generally recognized as the cause, in part, of the demand of increased capacity. The delay in the movement of freight is a matter of deep interest and importance to the consignees and shippers, when there is an active and changing market, coupled with a shipping demand. is also to be remembered that within the last few years the high prices paid for boats, the wages of labor, and the cost of towage, have conspired to raise the charges of our present canal transportation, combined with other causes, to a higher point than is thought to be just, by the people of the Western States, who are most sensitive, because most deeply interested. They ask for a cheaper and more rapid method of reaching the Atlantic markets, either by essential modification of the existing lines through our State, or the opening of new channels that must, if completed, have an important effect upon our commercial and financial prospects, and the result of which, whether for good or for evil, it is impossible now to foresee.
This leads to the enquiry, what we can do to satisfy the claims and meet the expectations of our neighbors, and at the same time avoid a diversion of the great carrying trade from our public thoroughfares which have been established at so much expense and with so much pride by the State. We can construct an enlarged tier of locks on the line of the Erie and Oswego canals, from tide-water to lakes Ontario and Erie, which will admit the passage of vessels propelled by steam of five or six hundred tons burden. It may be admitted that this is the probable extent of our ability, using the present lines of our public works. These vessels would carry threefold the tonnage of our present two-hundred-ton canal boats, and make the round trip in half the time. In these days of rapid enterprise and progress, there is scarcely a question that steam will ere long either displace or travel around other motive power, over a country so important to the commerce and comfort of the world, as the surface of land in New York, reaching from the Hudson to the lakes. With vessels of the tonnage and description I have mentioned, propelled by steam, competent engineers have estimated that the capacity of the canals will be increased to over eleven million tons, and the cost of transportation reduced fifty per cent. From an examination of their surveys and the estimates made in 1863–64, I cannot place the cost at more than ten million dollars.
After full consideration, if this be deemed the best method of meeting the demand, the question will arise, how can the means to cover this cost be obtained? Will the people of the State bear a tax of five million dollars a year to provide the necessary fund? And if they would, is it wise, or expedient to make this effort and impose this additional burden at a time when the State, county, town and municipal debt is very nearly or quite one hundred million dollars, and when the whole aggregate yearly taxation from the sources mentioned is not far below fifty million dollars? If the General Government should aid us directly, as suggested in some quarters, or indirectly, by remitting something of the tax upon our industry or capital, to the extent of our war debt, the question would be modified in its financial aspect. But I discuss the subject outside of this consideration. Shall a new debt for canal purposes be contracted, and its reimbursement charged upon the funds raised by direct tasation, when we have reason to believe that a new debt could be paid from other sources of revenue?
The surplus canal receipts from 1860 to 1866, inclusive, amounted to $20,436,868.26, which have been applied to the payment of the principal and interest of the canal stock debt. After applying the balance in the sinking fund, the stock debt chargeable upon the canals would now be less than $15,000,000. By the application of accruing revenue, the remainder of that debt, in 1869, would be within $10,000.000. Suppose the balance of the old debt, together with the new debt for the enlargement, should be, in 1870, $20,000,000, and the yearly interest thereon, $1,200,000; it will be seen that an annual additional contribution from the revenue of $1,200,000 would discharge the principal in seventeen years. Our past experience would seem to fully justify this calculation for the future. Assuming then, to act upon this basis, a gross revenue of $3,400,000 annually, and a net revenue of $2,400,000, will extinguish all the liabilities of the present and new debt within the period mentioned. The gross canal tolls from 1860 to 1865, inclusive, was $33,398,138. If the contemplated improvement will invite an increase of traffic upon the canals, the tolls may recede, and still leave our revenue and consequent ability to pay from that source, unimpaired.
I have discussed this subject, as will be seen, upon the theory that the plan of enlargement embraced in the Engineer's Report of 1863 and 1864, which included the Oswego and Erie canals, would be accepted; preferring rather to present the question as involving the largest expenditure deemed necessary by any cempetent authority. I am informed, however, by the present able State Engineer, and feel satisfied from this and other sources of information, that a suitable enlargement, with single locks of cepacity for boats of five hundred tons burden, plain but substantial work, can be effected at a cost not exceeding $6,000,000.
There is, however, no authority under the Constitution to contract a further debt for an object of this character. It is presumed that the Legislature will provide for the meeting of a convention early in the present year to revise the Constitution, and this body will have power to modify the present financial article so as to permit a debt to be created to cover the cost of this improvement, if it shall be deemed meritorious and deserving public patronage and support. It is unquestionably the policy of the State to foster and expand, to meet every need, its system of improvements, wbich has contributed so largely to our public revenues and to our agricultural and commercial prosperity. We are not called upon to refer to the principles of mere comity to determine how much we should do to meet the demands of trade, which our geographical position imposes. No portion of our country can ask of us reasonable facilities which it is not even more our interest to grant. In this spirit, and with these views of duty as well as policy, the representatives of the people in the Legislature, and in the Convention, will doubtless meet, discuss and act upon this important question.
The grandest system of internal water communication in the world, connecting the great chain of lakes with tide-water, forming a more extended and complete inland water-course than is to be found in any country on the globe, will not suffer from our indifference, nor be permitted to fall short of the great objects of their foundation. We shall Teach forward with the liberal and wise policy which the sources of our past power and progress inspire. It is not improbable that the time will come, when, through rapid and unbroken water communication by the northern lakes and the Hudson, equal to the demands of a vast and growing trade, a commercial union will be perfected between the Metropolis and the Mississippi river.
In this connection I invite your attention to the Hudson river improve
ment near Albany. There is every reason to believe that the commissioners in charge have performed their duty faithfully and with economy. Their annual statement indicates the necessity for a further appropriation.
I refer you to the report of the Canal Auditor for an able and clear statement of the business and needs of the Champlain, Chenango, Cayuga, Seneca, Black River, Genesee Valley, Chemung, Crooked Lake and Oneida Lake canals, and the Oneida river improvement.
These public works open up to portions of the State, which abound in the staples of wealth, no more than just public accommodation; and their complete condition to perform the highest amount of business contemplated, will stimulate the developinent of the vast mining and lumber resources, and the agricultural and manufacturing interests of the sections which they reach.
In compliance with the requirements of the Constitution, I have thus presented such general views and recommendations as seem to me appropriate to our present condition, and conducive to the general welfare. Mutually seeking the public good, let us accept every responsibility which our respective positions impose.
REUBEN E. FENTON. Mr. Sessions offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That there be printed of the annual message of the Governor, 500 copies for the use of the Senate, and 500 copies for the use of the Governor.
Ordered, That said resolution be referred to the committee on public printing
Mr. Folger offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the rules of the Senate, adopted at the last session, be in force until otherwise ordered ; and that a committee of three be appointed to revise the same.
The President put the question whether the Senate would agree to said resolution, and it was decided in the affirmative.
Mr. Andrews presented a petition of citizens of the town of German Flats, for the passage of a law to confirm decision of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in relation to district No. 2, in said town; which was read and'referred to the committee on literature.
Mr. H. C. Murphy presented a memorial of Charles G. Cornell, Senator from the 5th district; which was read, and on motion of Mr. Andrews referred to the committee on the judiciary.
Mr. Low presented a petition of citizens of New York, for a Patriot Orphan Home, under the care and control of the State; which was read and referred to the committee on finance.
Also, a petition of 500 citizens of Sullivan county, to exempt from taxation the town bonds issued to aid the construction of the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad; which was read and referred to the committee on finance.
Mr. Folger presented a petition of citizens of Ontario county, for an act to authorize the board of supervisors of the county to raise money by tax to pay for the support of certain children at the Ontario Orphan Asylum, and also to raise money by tax for the use of said asylum; which was read and referred to the committee on the judiciary.
Mr. Low gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to facilitate the construction of the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad.
Also, a bill to amend an act entitled "An act to supply the village of 'Tiddletown with water."
Mr. Kline gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend the Revised Statutes in relation to proceedings in criminal cases before arrest, and to authorize taking bail pending criminal examination.
Mr. La Bau gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend chapter 818 of the Laws of 1866, entitled "An act to incorporate the village of New Brighton."
Mr. Wolcott gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend the assessment laws so as to provide for a more equitable distribution of the burdens of taxation.
Also, a bill to reduce the expenses of maintaining prisoners supported by the county of Oswego. Mr. Stanford gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill repealing "An act prohibiting the issue of free passes on the railroads of this State."
Mr. Sutherland gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend the charter of the village of White Plains.
Also, a bill to authorize the extension of Central road or avenue, from Woodlawn Cemetery to the village of White Plains.
Mr. T. Murphy gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend chapter 547 of the Laws of 1866, so as to reduce the tax imposed by that act on brokers' sales of merchandise.
Mr. H. C. Murphy gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to provide for the construction of a permanent bridge over the East river, between the cities of New York and Brooklyn.
Also, a bill to amend the act in relation to the fees of the county clerk of Kings county.
Mr. White gave notice that he would, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to amend chapter 585 of the Laws of 1865, being "An act to establish the Cornell University,” &c.
Mr. Sessions gave notice that he would, at an early day, àsk leave to introduce a bill to abolish the board of excise of Chautauqua county, and confer their authority on the justices of the peace of the several towns in said county. Mr. Andrews offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Clerk of the Senate make the usual arrangements for the payment of postage on all papers received by and sent out; also on all public documents sent out by Senators and officers during the session; the postage upon any one document not to exceed twenty-five cents.
The President put the question whether the Senate would agree to said resolution, and it was decided in the affirmative.
Mr. Williams called for the consideration of the concurrent resolution heretofore offered by him, as follows:
Whereas, At a session of the Thirty-ninth Congress, it was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the said Constitution, namely:
" ARTICLE 14. "SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the