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any other officers duly authorised to make such investigation by the Legislature.
The company are willing to make such an arrangement on the basis of either of the foregoing propositions, as will secure the just rights of the Territory, the settlers on the canal grant and of the canal company; and they leave the option with the Legislature to determine which they will accept, if either. The company after mature deliberation and four years of experience, feel strongly the conviction that the present system cannot be made to act vigorously, and that under it the canal must languish. To obviate all difficulties therefore the company are willing to make any fair and equitable arrangement which the Legislature may think beneficial to the progress of the work and to the interest of our citizens.
Finally, we take leave of the subject by expressing the confident hope that the wisdom of the Legislature will be so directed as to preserve the faith and honor of the Territory—the welfare of the people, and the speedy completion of the Milwaukee and Rock river canal.
BYRON KILBOURN, Pres't.
AUDITOR'S REPORT, FOR A. D. 1841.
To the Honorable the Legislative Assembly
of the Territory of Wisconsin: In conformity with the law, I have prepared and submit to the Legislature, the following report:
As I do not find that a sull and complete statement of the records in the Auditor's office has ever been made, I have thought it best to extend the report back to the time of the organization of the Territory, that at one view, giving the full receipts and expenditures to and from the Treasury since that time.
The amount of the 5 per cent. tax, which should have been received by the treasurers of the several counties, for the year A. D. 1838,-is as follows: From the county of Crawford,
250,00 $308,10 From other counties,
[The same for the year A. D. 1839.]
[The same for the year A. D. 1840.]
30,30 112,92 172,76 148,76 408,12 233,99 108,96 166,63 495,46 52,50 25,98 35,41
65,13 444,30 109,31 277,36 20,39 37,55
$5068,02 To be paid from the above sum, the following warrants have been at various times, drawn on the treasurer: 3 in favor of H. S. Baird, for
$616,32 3 " 6. Geo. Beatty,
161,75 " Geo. Cubbage,
229,60 66 Abner Nichols,
84,00 1 66 “ Iowa county,
22,25 1 66 66 Grant county,
816,52 6 R. L. Ream,
161,77 3 " 6. J. A. Noonan,
92,00 " Wm. B. Sheldon,
150,00 H. N. Wells,
437,00 4 66 66 Wm. R. Smith,
375,00 1 " “ J. V. Suydam,
90,00 2 66 “ Jona. Taylor,
23,50 Stephen F. Gale,
109,22 1 "6 “ Harvey Pepper, for
150 00 1 66 “ Wm. Walters,
11 25 6 " 46 Constables, Iowa co.
153 00 1 16 “ J. T. Clark, for
15 00 1 66 “ A. A. Bird, for
$3762 18 To be added to this sum, are the following items, as appears by the records:
Amount of taxes remitted to the several counties, by law of January 6, 1640,
Paid Win. N. Seymour, witness see,
Amount from page 2,
$737 20 3762 18
$4499 38 The above statements show a balance of $567 68 in the hands, or at the control of the Treasurer, exclusive of the amount due from the several counties for the past year. What that amount is, I am unable to lay before you, from the refusal of the former Treasurer to give me a statement of the returns which have come to his hands. That statement, however, he will probably give you in his report.
The following are the sums due from the counties which forwarded their returns to the present treasurer: From the county of Sheboyagan,
(returns incomplete.) From the county of Manitouwoc,
19 59 From the county of Washington,
50 57 From the county of Grant,
276 22 From the county of Walworth,
155 33 From the county of Dodge,
13 45 It is made one of the duties of the Auditor to keep the account between the territory and the treasurer thereof-charging him with all monies which come into his hands, and crediting him with all warrants drawn on him—so that it may be known at any moment how much undrawn funds there may be in his hands.
But this object cannot be attained if the Legislature authorize him to pay monies except on the warrant of the Auditor.
The third section of the appropriation act, approved Febuary 19, A. D. 1841, might be so construed as to authorize him to pay the sums therein mentioned, without such warrant. If such is the fact, and this practice should continue, it will be impossible for the Auditor to keep that strict account with the Treasurer which should always be kept with those who hold the purse of the people.
It may be proper, in connection with the foregoing report, to make some suggestions which have presented themselves to my mind, in
relation to the extension of the duties of the Auditor.–And in the first place allow me to premise a little concerning the present method of selling and redeeming delinquent lands. It is one which seems to me peculiarly fraught with difficulty, and which must soon lead to endless confusion and litigation. There are large portions of land throughout the Territory which belong to non-residents, most of which were purchased at our first sales.-I am aware that there is, among the actual settlers a feeling rather hostile, for which there is possible in
many cases some foundation, to those whom they term foreign speculators. Yet, as their purchases were, for aught we know, fair transactions, it is but just that their rights should be preserved, and their interests guarded, as well as those of any other portion of our land owners. As most of them bought thus in the first settlement of the Territory-lands which lay in one county then, may now be embraced in two, three or more different counties, owing to the divisions which have since taken place. So that, under our present system those who are ever so desirous of paying their taxes and keeping their lands free from incumbrance, find it very difficult, and in some cases impossible to do so, not knowing with what particular county or officer to transact the necessary business.
From this will be seen one of the serious disadvantages of the present system.
Another difficulty is the acknowledged illegality, for various reasons, of many of the sales for taxes, which have taken place in some of the counties. This results mainly from the incapacity and the inattention of those who have the transaction of this business, which follows necessarily from the number of these officers in the Territory, and the almost entire change which takes place every year. Besides this, there are many other reasons which would lead to a change of law on the subject, and which will, on investigation, readily suggest themselves to your minds. It strikes me that these difficulties might be remedied by so changing the law, that the sale of lands delinquent for taxes, should devolve on the Auditor, and making his office the one where all lands sold for taxes could be redeemed.
This is the case, I believe, in most if not all of the States.
In relation to the duties which are now, by law, incumbent on the Auditor, there seems to be some difference of opinion.