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TALLAHASSEE, Curember 28, 1865.
TALLAHASSEE, November 26, 1855. Fellow Citizens of the Senate and
House of Representatives : It gives me pleasure again to welcome you to the seat of Government, and to be able, most sincerely, to congratu. late you upon the favorable circumstances under which you re-assemble. Our people have been blessed with a good degree of health-the earth has yielded an abundant harvest, and our commonwealth has probably never been in a more comfortable and prosperous condition.
I am charged by the Constitution with the duty of giving to the General Assembly information, from time to time, of the state of the Government, and to recommend to their consideration such measures as I may deem expedient. The present being an adjourned session, and having at its commencement submitted my views very fully upon most of the measures deemed important, I shall add but little, and in discharge of the duty assigned me, beg leave to call your attention to the communication then submitted, for such additional information as you may desire.
The absence of the Comptroller of Public Accounts at the beginning of the session, and his unfortunate detention prevented me then from presenting his reports for the fiscal years 1853 and 1854. These are now supplied, and together with his report for the fiscal year1855, are herewith submitted. A reference to the report for the last fiscal year will show that the receipts of the Treasury, exclusive of the sum of three hundred dollars loaned by the School Fund to the Contingent Fund, amount to sixty-eight thousand three hundred and sixty-four 50-100 (68,364 50-100) dollars, and that the warrants issued during the same period, amount to eighty-five thousand three hundred and sixty-five 19-000 (85,365 19-100) dollars. Thus showing a deficiency in the revenue of seventeen thousand and 68-100 (17,000 69-100) dollars.
You are respectfully referred to the report of the Treasurer for a full statement of the transactions of his office embracing the School Fund, Seminary Fund, and the Internal Improvement Fund, so far as they have passed into his hands as State Treasurer. This account, so far as these funds are concerned, should be taken in connection with that of the State Register. Such is the law under which sales of our public lands are effected, collections made and the money invested, that no single account exhibits a full and perfect statement of the condition of the fund, and I respectfully renew the recommendation made in my last message, that the law be modified.
I invite your attention to the report of the Register of Public Lands herewith submitted, for all necessary information on the subject of the Seminary and Common School interests of the State, and ask for his suggestions your careful consideration.
The report of the Secretary of State on the Census returns, will show a gratifying increase in our population and.wealth, since the last enumeration of inhabitants was made. It is herewith submitted.
The accompanying report from the State Engineer and Geologist, will place you in possession of the transactions
of that officer for the past year, and your attention is called to its suggestions.
The people will never complain of taxation as long as their public servants can show that the amounts collected are necessary to defray the legitimate expenses of their State Government; but these expenses they desire to pay annually. They want to know by the demand made upon them, whether their Government has been economically, or extravagantly administered, and will complain whenassessed to pay a heavy annual interest upon a State debt, for money raised by loans, which should have been raised by taxation. The tendency under our State Government has been, I think, to touch too cautiously the taxing power, and to rely too much upon loans to supply our deficiencies. This may be seen by reference to the following ta
Revenue collected. Warrants issued.
For the fiscal year, ending 31st Oct., 1846,....$27,597 28......$56,009 57
1847, 45,357 60. 52,787 46 1848,.... 56,832 72...... 64,913 81 1849,..
58,638 11., 55,807 79 1850,.... 46,079 84.. 38,559 33 1851,.... 57,141 10., 67,187 73 1852,. 55,619 63. 55,234 49 1853,.. 57,278 36. ...108,607 88 1854,. ... 62,801 51.. 53,417 13 1855,.... 68,365 19. 85,365 19
This shows a deficiency of Revenue for the ten years, of ninety-two thousand one hundred and seventy-nine 04-100 (92,179 04-100) dollars, or equal to an average deficiency of over nine thousand dollars per annum. To supply this, loans have been resorted to by special Acts and under the law authorizing the Comptroller to invest the School, Sem
inary, and Internal Improvement funds in the stocks of this and other States. These loans have been as follows: January 24, 1851, Borrowed of School Fund $25,000 00 Interest due $9,534 83 July 8, 1852,
1,066 20 Nov. 17, 1842,
846 87 Feb’y. 17, 1853,
1,706 01 17, 1853,
1,706 01 Deo. 22, 1853,
$16,578 77 The loans amount to sixty-nine thousand five hundred ($69,500) dollars, and the interest due upon them, on the first day of the present month,amounted to sixteen thousand five hundred and seventy-eight 77-100 (16,578 77-100) dollars. Add to these amounts, twenty-two thousand, six hundred and seventy-nine 04-100 (22,679 04-100) dollars, being the difference between the aggregate deficiency and the amount of loans made, and which is necessarily outstanding in the shape of Treasury certificates and Comptroller's warrants, and it makes the aggregate indebtedness one hundred and eight thousand seven hundred and fifty seven 81-100 (108,757 81-100) dollars.
Nor is this the only debt due by the State. There was an Act approved January 7, 1853, entitled " An Act to provide for the payment of Captain Sparkman's, Parker's and other Volunteer Companies for services in the year 1849.” Under the requirements of this Act, there was State Scrip signed by the Comptroller and Governor, payable in two, three and five years, with interest at the rate of six per cent. per annum, and issued, amounting to sixtyfour thousand three hundred and sixty-one 90-100 (64,361 90-100) dollars...
$64,361 90 Interest upon this sum to November
1, 1855, being an average of 2 years,
This amount added to the deficiences as shown by the Comptroller's reports, makes up a State debt of one hundred and eighty-one thousaud eight hundred and seventytwo 92-100 (181,872 62-100) dollars. About one hundred and sixty thousand dollars of this amount is bearing interest and adds annually to the debt nearly ten thousand dollars. It is true that a majority of this debt was contracted for the protection of our frontier inhabitants against Indian depredations; a protection which the General Government was bound to give them, and which consideration should have induced the return of the money. Of such return, however, there is no immediate prospect, and the State, having assumed the obligations, paid one class of them and required her Governor and Comptroller, by law, to sign and issue State Scrip, bearing interest in payment of the other class, cannot, consistently with honor and good faith, refuse to provide for the payment of principal and interest of the scrip now due, and for the redemption of the balance as it becomes due. The interest upon the amount of scrip now due, was, on the first of the present month, a little less than three thousand dollars, and for this and the interest to fall due in July next, amounting to nearly four thousand dollars more, I respectfully recommend an appropriation. For the principal now due and to become due in July next, amounting to forty-two thousand nine hundred and seven 92-100 dollars, I respectfully recommend that the Governor and Comptroller be required to issue State Bonds, with interest at the rate of six per cent. payable semi-annually at the Treasury, and having two, four and six years to run. And with a view to the extinguishment of the whole debt, I respectfully recommend the establishment of a sinking fund, sufficient to meet the semiannual interest, and at least ten thousand dollars per adnum of the principal.