« ПретходнаНастави »
thirty-two cents; and the expenditures for the general support and repairs of the prison, including the expenses of erecting a stone shop, one hundred feet long and forty wide, have amounted to thirty-eight thousand, three hundred and five dollars, and thirty-one cents. The Legislature directed, at its last session, two hundred and twenty additional cells to be built in this prison, and authorised the payment of six thousand dollars from the treasury for this purpose, if it should become necessary, in addition to the unexpended balance in the hands of the agent, accruing from the earnings of the convicts. These cells have been built during the past season, from the avails of the labor of the convicts, without resorting for any aid to this appropriation. These additional cells will enable the agent to assign a separate one to each convict, thereby giving full effect to a valuable improvement in prison discipline,
It is worthy of remark, that there has been no conviction for murder or other capital offence in this State during the past year: and that the whole number of sentences to the state prisons during the same period, has been ninety-two less than those of the preçeding year,
I cannot reconcile it to my sense of duty, to pass from this subject, without calling your attention, as my immediate predecessor has repeatedly and earnestly done, to what I am persuaded would be a valuable improvement in our penitentiary system-the erection of a separate prison for female convicts.
I have received from the Mayor of the city of New York information that the subordinate authorities of a foreign government have sent on board a vessel bound to that place, a number of convicts. As soon as the fact was ascertained, an application was made by him to the General Government for the interposition of its authority to prevent this practice. The answer to this application intimates thạt the remedy must be applied by the State, or by the municipal authorities of our cities. A regard for the morals of our citizens, as well as the safety of their persons and property, requires, that the introduction of such persons within our borders should be prevented as far as practicable. I therefore respectfully suggest, that you should take this subject into your consideration, and provide a remedy for the evil,
At a late Court of Oyer and Terminer held in the city of NewYork, the lotteries were presented as unauthorised by constitutional laws, and a public nuisance. In compliance with the request of the grand jury making the presentment, the court has transmitted it to the Governor, in order to have the subject brought to the attention of the Legislature. At the last session, a resolution was passed by the Assembly, directing the Attorney-General to examine the question, as to the constitutionality of the law authorising the lotteries. and to report thereon to the present Legislature. When his report is received, you will, I trust, take the subject into consideration, and make such disposition of it as shall comport with the public interest and the rights of individuals.
The militia system has an essential connection with the preservation of our liberties. The political sagacity which, in the organization of our government, perceived the importance of laying its foundations in popular principles, saw also the necessity of arraying the whole body of our citizens in support of the public authority, and in defence of our sovereign rights. If the only advantage resulting from the periodical trainings of the militia was to suggest to those of whom it is composed a sense of the solemn responsibility which devolves upon them as a part of the public defence, and the duty of being at all times prepared for the exercise of that exalted function, this alone would be a sufficient reason for upholding the system, even with its present expense and inconvenience. But it is believed that there is no difficulty in removing, consistently with all the ends of its institution, a large portion of the public burden, which in the progress of events has become unnecessary. This object cannot, however, be accomplished by State authority. The Constitution of the United States has given to Congress the power to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and the power has been exerted by an act of Congress passed at an early period of the Government. The provisions of this act cannot be suspended or vacated by the laws of the State. They prescribe the extent of the enrolment, and define some of the most important as well as the most onerous duties connected with the instruction and discipline of the militia. The changes which have been wrought in the condition of the people of the United States since this act was passed, require modifications of some of its most essential provisions; and it is due to the people that no burden should be continued, when the exigency which called for it has ceased to exist. The alterations in the established system deemed
most material, are a diminution of the period of enrolment and some provisions by law, which shall convert the expense of arming the militia from an unequal tax upon the person performing the service, into a just and equal tax upon the property of all. The President of the United States has, in his recent message to Congress, called their attention, in general terms, to this important subject, and it is earnestly to be hoped that they will make such amendments to the militia law as shall, without impairing the efficiency of the system, diminish to every practicable extent, the burden of military service. In the mean time, every good citizen will esteem it his duty to uphold by his countenance and support the law as it exists, and to discourage, so far as may be in his power, all attempts to bring into disrepute an institution which, whatever defects it may have, is as vitally connected as any other with the durability of popular governments.
It will appear by the annual returns of the Adjutant-General, that the numerical force of the militia of the State exceeds 188,000
Of all our institutions, there is none that presents such strong claims to the patronage of the government, as our system of common schools; and it is gratifying to know, that these claims have been recognized, and to a very considerable extent satisfied. The wisdom and providence of our legislation appears perhaps no where so conspicuously, as in the measures which have been adopted, and the means which have been provided, for the general diffu. sion of primary education among the children of all classes of our citizens. The communication on this subject, which you will receive from the Superintendent of Common Schools, will exhibit very satisfactory results. Reports have been received by him, from eight hundred and eleven towns and wards, (the whole number in the State,) containing abstracts of returns from eight thousand, nine hundred and forty-one districts, in which there are five hundred and eight thousand, eight hạndred and seventy-eight children, between five and sixteen years of age, of whom, four hundred and ninetyfour thousand, nine hundred and fifty-nine have been taught in the common schools during the past year. The public money distributed last year to the several districts, amounts to three hundred and five thousand, five hundred and eighty-two dollars, including the annual appropriation of one hundred thousand dollars derived from the common school fund, and the sum of seventeen thousand, one hun
dred and ninety-eight dollars produced by the local funds belonging to certain towns. Besides these sums of public money, the inhabitants of the districts have paid three hundred and fifty-eight thousand, three hundred and twenty dollars; all these several sums, amounting, in the aggregate, to six hundred and sixty-three thousand, nine hundred and two dollars, have been expended during the last year in payment of the wages of teachers.
The Superintendent estimates, from the data furnished by the reports of the last year, that the expenditure under this system has been one million, one hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars, of which the public fund provided by the State, contributed less than an eleventh part. An active and adventurous spirit of improvement, characterises the present age: Its best direction would seem to be, towards multiplying the facilities, and consequently abridging the time and labor, of acquiring knowledge. I indulge the hope that much may yet be done in this respect for primary education. One of the most obvious improvements in relation to common schools, would be a plan for supplying them with competent teachers. Under present circumstances, the remedy to the evils resulting from the employment of persons not properly qualified can only be applied by the trustees and inspectors, and I am not apprised that any further direction for regulating their duties in this respect could be usefully presented to the Legislature.
The two medical institutions established by the authority of the State, and cherished by its patronage, are in a highly flourishing condition. The number of pupils attending the course of lectures at the college in the city of New York, has for several years past, been annually increasing, and is now one hundred and eighty-eight; the number in the college of Fairfield, is one hundred and ninety.
I commend, also to your care and protection the colleges, and other seminaries of learning in this State. They shed a healthful influence upon our free institutions, and contribute in an efficient manner, and in various ways, to improve our social condition.
Nothing, I am convinced, need be said by me, to turn your favorable regard toward institutions having for their object the dispensation of benefits to those from whom have been withheld some of the best faculties that belong to the common condition of us all. The asylum for the instruction of the deaf and dumb at NewYork, is provided with capable teachers, and merits the public confidence, and a continuance of the fostering care and patronage of the Legislature. There is a diminution in the income provided for the support of this institution to such an amount, that it has become necessary, in order to continue its present usefulness, that aid should be given to it. An application will be made to you for assistance, and will no doubt receive your kind consideration. I regret to learn that the Central Asylum for the deaf and dumb is in a less prosperous condition, and still more deficient in its pecuniary means, than the institution in the city of New York. It has also claims to your favorable consideration, and to the bounty of the government.
The method of giving relief and support to indigent persons, by the adoption of the county poor-house system, in most of the counties, has essentially improved the condition of this class of persons, and greatly diminished the charge upon the public for their maintenance. In forty-five counties farms have been purchased, and poor-houses erected, at an aggregate expense of two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty dollars; being an average expense to each county of five thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five dollars. In this estimate are not included the almshouse and penitentiary in the city of New-York, which cost five hundred and thirty thousand dollars. The number of persons in the poor-houses on the first of December, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one, including the city of New York, was five thousand, five hundred and fifty-four; and the average annual expense of supporting each pauper in these establishments, as ascertained from the reports of the superintendents of the poor, is thirty-three dollars and twenty-eight cents.
The abstract of the reports of county superintendents, which the Secretary of State is required to lay before you, will furnish the results of the system for the past year.
The several funds of the State, except that ordinarily resorted to for the means of defraying the expenses of the government, are in a prosperous condition. The income from the Erie and Champlain canals, and the canal fund, during the last year, is about one million, five hundred and ninety-four thousand dollars. The Commissioners of this fund now have under their control, applicable to the payment of the canal debt when it shall become due, or sooner if the stock can be purchased on favorable terms, about three millions and fifty-five thousand dollars. If no important changes take place, in the business upon these canals, and none of the revenues