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cluded twenty-five thousand dollars for deepening the present channel through the Cayuga marshes. The further sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars would deepen the Oswego canal to six feet. Both these sums can be expended before the opening of navigation in the ensuing spring.
Another mode of prosecuting the public works has been suggested, namely: to secure six feet of water on the Erie, Oswego, and Cayuga and Seneca canals, and to proceed with the permanent work across the Cayuga marshes during the ensuing winter, all of which it is estimated will cost five hundred thousand dollars;and then to provide for the final completion of the canals by the spring of 1860.
I deem it vastly important that our system of canal enlargement should be pushed to a speedy completion, especially when the amount required is so small, compared with the millions already expended. No other means of transportation through our State can compete with the Erie canal particularly when, by its adaptation to the purpose, steam shall be successfully applied in its navigation; and I cannot too strongly urge upon the Legislature the necessity of devising ways and means to accomplish so desirable and necessary a result. If at this time no other obligations of the State were claiming your immediate attention, except its funded debt, and the interest thereon, the sum required for necessary construction upon the canals could and would be raised by means of a tax upon all the real and personal property of the State; the honest and conservative method of paying for necessary objects of this kind, and which I believe the people of NewYork are sufficiently ready and willing to bear, provided they can have reasonable assurance that the proceeds of taxes thus levied and collected will be honestly and wisely applied to the object in question. In view, however, of the erroneous estimates of the cost of the canals, and of disappointed expectations in regard to the time of their completion, your position, in authorizing new expenditures even for so indispensable an object, is one of trial and responsibility. But we cannot avoid, and should not shrink from the discharge of an imperative duty.
Having thus given such information as in a brief period I have been able to obtain in relation to the amount of obligations already created for canal purposes, as well as approximate estimates for construction, both for the complete and for the partial enlargement, I leave the matter where it belongs, with an assurance that you will not fail to provide the treasury with means to meet these requirements upon it. Any proper enactment having that object in view, will receive my approval, whether it seek to attain the object by a moderate tax spread over a term of years, or by an amendment of the Constitution, or by obtaining the popular approval to a loan under the Consitution, or by such other course as you may devise for the temporary or permanent increase of the revenue.
The cost of the construction of the canal basin at Buffalo has [SENATE JOURNAL.] 2
always been kept as a separate item upon the books of the Canal Department, because it was considered just that the money so expended should be reimbursed by the United States. The Canal Board have very recently memorialized Congress for the reimbursement of this money and for the repair and improvement of the piers at Buffalo and Oswego. The facts stated in the memorial leave no doubt of the justness of these claims.
The receipts on account of the General Fund during the year
From which deduct the deficiency in the revenue, as
And it leaves an apparent balance in the treasury of $308,539 35 But as a large portion of the appropriations of 1857 remained unpaid on the 30th September last, there was an actual deficiency in the revenue to meet the demands upon it of $460,000.
The General Fund no longer receives contributions, as formerly, from the "surplus revenues" of the canals, and its permanent revenue is very inconsiderable, viz., for the year ending September 30th, 1857:
Fees of the Secretary's office,.
Fees of the Comptroller's office,..
Fees of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, -
Total, as shown by Comptroller's report,
This fund has, for several years, been supplied by means of a direct tax, and such tax will again become necessary in order to pay the deficiency which now exists, of $460,000; and also to make the usual appropriations for the next fiscal year for the expenses of government, and for other purposes, in pursuance of article 7, section 8 of the Constitution, and the existing laws. It is to be borne in mind that any law which may be passed imposing such tax, should embrace whatever other appropriations, the Legislature, in its wisdom, may make during the present session.
The expenses of the State Department, of the Legislature, of the Judiciary, and of the Prisons, must be paid; while the Houses of Refuge, the Lunatic Asylums, the Institutions for the Blind, for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, and the Asylum for Idiots, are "Children of the State," and imperatively require its support.
Applications will doubtless be made for other objects of acknowledged merit, which you will feel constrained to refuse.
Hospitals, Orphan Asylums, Dispensaries, Medical Schools, and Juvenile Asylums, heretofore recipients from the treasury, are not all in a condition to be denied the usual stipend.
These, and all like appropriations, if made, are to be paid from
the General Fund, the State tax to supply which, has, for the last
ten years, produced the following amounts:
1848, one-half mill,.
1849, one-half mill,.
1850, one-half mill.
1851, one-half mill,
1852, one-fourth mill,
1853, one mill,..
1854, three-fourths of a mill,
1855, one and one-fourth of a mill,
1856, one mill, ... ... .
1857, one and one-fourth mills,.
The deficiency in the General Fund, the large "floating debt" of the Canal Department, for the payment of which the State must provide, the necessary funds required for the completion of the canals, which you are prohibited by the Constitution from borrowing, except under circumstances that at best can be made to apply but to a portion of the aggregate amount, will indicate the necessity for economy and retrenchment, as well as for refusing appropriations to new objects and purposes, however meritorious. It is as much the duty and interest of governments, as of individuals, when burthened with obligations, to study and practice economy. With resources to justify our munificence, we.might properly respond to the various enterprises and the numerous appeals that will claim your consideration; but when the means required to promote general or individual interests can only be obtained by a resort to taxation, we shall best discharge our duties by refusing to increase the public burthens. Indeed I cannot forbear to express the opinion, that until the canals are completed, and the present floating indebtedness is paid, it is just and expedient to confine appropriations to the simplest and most economical necessities of government.
There is a deficiency in the General Fund Debt Sinking Fund to pay the interest upon that part of the State debt chargeable upon it, of $488,674.47, which it also becomes necessary to provide for.
The amount of capital of the School Fund is $2,551,260.52, which shows an increase during the year of $24,868.28.
The capital of the Literature Fund amounts to $269,952.12. The amount received for revenue is $16,411.01, which is annually to be distributed to academies, and used for the purchase of text books, maps and globes, and philosophical and chemical apparatus, for academies.
The capital of the United States Deposit Fund, being the amount received from the United States, is $4,014,520.71. The amount received for revenue is $248,767.52; which is also appropriated for the annual support of academies, common schools, the State Normal school, the instruction of teachers' classes in academies, and for teachers' institutes.
The annual report of the Comptroller will be laid before you at
an early day. It will be found to contain information essential to a proper understanding of the financial condition of his own Department, and of the several boards with which he is associated. To that report I ask the special attention of the Legislature.
The report of the Auditor of the Canal Department will also be presented to you, and will be found to contain much useful information.
As evidence that our free banking system furnishes security to those who hold its circulating notes, it may be stated that the entire loss under it, to bill holders, resulting from suspension during the severe financial embarrassments of 1857, was but $7,989.64; while the community suffered to the extent of nearly 50 per cent of the amount in circulation, upon the bills of three chartered banks, which failed during the same period of financial disaster. It is greatly to the credit of our banks, that they so readily, and so speedily, returned to the redemption in coin of all their obli gations, and have since maintained specie payments, while at the same time they have rendered to the public all needful facilities.
There may be alterations suggested, and judicious changes made, in some of the details of the present Banking system; but I take pleasure in saying, that as a whole, the system is working satisfactorily and securely-far more so than any former one that has existed in this State.
The Superintendent of the Banking Department will very soon lay before you his annual report, containing such recommendations as his experience and practical mind may have led him to observe as necessary to be adopted by the present Legislature. I refer you to it as being entitled to great consideration.
Some amendment of the General Law for creating Insurance Companies, is deemed necessary to prevent fraudulent practices in the mode of investing the Capital Stock thereof.
The omission of several Railroad Companies, to comply with that portion of the act of 1850, known as the "General Railroad Law," which provides, that "every Railroad Company formed under this act, shall make an annual report to the State Engineer and Surveyor of the operations of the year ending on the 30th Sept., which report shall be verified by the oath of the Treasurer or President and Acting Superintendent of operations, and be filed in the office of the State Engineer and Surveyor by the 1st of December in each year," has rendered it out of the power of the Engineer Department, to furnish accurate statistics in relation to the operations of that large and important public interest and property in our State, during the year 1858. I find it necessary, in referring to the subject, to rely upon the returns of 1857. From the valuable report of the State Engineer and Surveyor presented to the Legislature on the 5th of March, 1858, it appears there were eighty-eight railroad corporations in the State, having a total amount of capital stock of $74,289,488.98, of which was paid in $68,198,758.25, and having a funded debt of $63,942,125.40, and a floating debt, at that time, of $4,548,806.69, making
a total amount expended for construction of $136,689,690.34. Of these eighty-eight Railroad Corporations, costing, apparently, the sum of $136,689,690.34, as above, only fourteen declared dividends to stockholders in 1857, which were represented by capital stock $43,712,400; bonded and other debt $24,949,481.72.
An exposition by the State Engineer and Surveyor of some of the causes which have produced a result so disastrous to this description of property, will be found in the same report, to which I call the attention of the Legislature.
Those who have made investments in railroad stocks, or bonds, have a right to inquire whether it is not within the power of the Legislature to provide some remedy for this apparent annihilation of their property in the one case, and the vast depreciation of it in the other, since the directors and managers seem unable to do SO. I call attention to this subject, in the full belief that you will give to it that careful consideration and action which a property so large in amount, chiefly held by our own citizens, requires at your hands.
The number of convicts in the several State prisons on the 30th September, 1858, was as follows:-Auburn, 747; Sing Sing, 1,110; Clinton, 358. Total, 2,215. Of which were insane: Auburn, 13; Sing Sing, 21; Clinton, 3.
The expenses thereof for the year ending 30th September, 1858, were:-Auburn, $77,674.13; earnings, $59,840.67. Sing Sing, $119,900.14; earnings, $75,916.48. Clinton, $55,781.76; earnings, $21,420.88.
The Constitution provides for the election of three Inspectors, as follows: "There shall be elected annually one Inspector of State Prisons, who shall hold his office for three years; said Inspectors shall have the charge and superintendence of the State prisons, and shall appoint all the officers therein." Since its adoption in 1846, the expenditures of the three prisons have exceeded the earnings, viz:
which has been paid from the General Fund.
It is well known that our prison system is much more expensive than the system in operation in several other States; while in its