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debt, greater than the annual appropriations of Congress.
The object of the act last referred to was to relieve the Ter. ritory from its pecuniary embarrassments, not to crush it, by de. priving it of the invaluable privileges of Legislation.
It cannot be supposed by any honest and rational mind, that it was the intention of Congress to deprive the people of Wis. consin of all the rights of Legislation, or that having failed to include, as it is possible the Governor may suppose, an appropris ation to defray the expenses of the present Legislature, in the usual law, they would afterwards on the last day of the session, pass another law prohibiting a session of the Legislature be. cause they had failed, or neglected to make such appropriation. In looking at the usual course of Congress in defraying the ex. penses of our Legislature, no doubt exists in the minds of your committee, that in passing the act of 29th August it was their belief that the appropriation of $20,000 previously made, was to cover the expenses of the present Legislature.
By the 11th section of the Organic Act, there is “to be ap. propriated annually, a sufficient sum to defary the expenses of the Legislative Assembly," & by the act of the Territory already quo. ted,“ The regular sessions of the Legislative Assembly shall com. mence on the first Monday of December in each and every year.”
These acts are plain, explicit and unrepealed, and if it be true that Congress bave not "appropriated annually, a sufficient sum to defray the expenses of the Legislative Assembıy,” and if true, that for that reason, "the regular session of the Legisla. tive Assembly,” cannot "convene on the 1st Monday of De. cember," then are both those laws to that extent repealed. But can it be believed that Congress ever intended, by, to say the most of it, so strained and remote an inference, to repeal laws which lay at the very foundation of our political existence? Such a construction would be an insult to the understanding and But it is said, that whatever may have been the intention of Congress in making the appropriation, it has in point of fact, been received by the Secretary of the Territory and paid out by him in defraying the expenses of the last session of the Legis. lative Assembly. A conclusive answer to this is—of this we know nothing officially," and if the Governor posseses any in. formation upon this subject he has not deigned to communi. cate it to the Legislature. But assuming such to be the fact, does it affect in any degree our right to sit as a Legislative As. sembly? It must be borne in mind that the restriction upon our legislative powers, arise only from the want of an appropriation, not from the want of money in the Treasury of the United States, nor from the misapplication of that money to any other pupose, nor even the refusal of the officers of the Treasury Department to pay it out when made, nor from any circumstances whatever except the want of an appropriation. Your committee admit that, if no appropriation has been made, there can be no session of the Legislative Assembly at the present time; but if made, the mere fact that the Secretary has not yet received the same, can furnish no valid objection to the Legislative Assembly hol. ding its session at the present time. Your committee are at a loss to know upon what ground the Governor refuses to meet the Legislature; whether it is because no appropriation has been made, or whether, if made, it has been misapplyed by the Treasury Department, or the Secretary of the Territory. If the appropriation has been made, we have clearly the right to hold a sesion of the Legislature. If made, what evidence have we that it has been misapplied, or if so, that the full amount will not be forthcoming before the expiration of the time limit. ed by law for the close of the session ? If, as we contend, the appropriation has been made, there was on the 29th August last in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of Wisconsin at least $40,000, being the amount of that appropriation and a
sum sufficient to defray arrearages of expenses of former ses. sions; and if the sum of $20,000 has been misapplied in the pay. ment of arrearages, it leaves an equal amount in the Treasury to be applied as originally intended, to defray the expenses of the present session. While your committee are fully of the opinion, that the matter will be satisfactorily adjusted at the Treasury Department and that the Secretary will return with the appropriation; yet we can have no assurance that the God. ernor will then recogoize our right to sit, because he might not consider it as the identical and specific sum appropriated by COD gress.
In examining this part of the subject referred to us in every light in which it has presented itself to our minds, we cannot hesitate to give it as our decided opinion, that there is no valid objection to the Legislative Assembly holding its annual session at the pesent time, by reason of no appropriation haviná been made by Congress.
In considering the second question referred to us, your com. mittee feel that it is one of great delicacy and importance, and its descision may seriously affect the prosperity of Wisconsin.-Your committee are aware that there are many important sub. jects deeply affecting the interests of the people, upon which they are now anxiously desiring Legislative action.
A few of the more important of these subjects your committee will briefly refer to, that the Legislature and the public may form some idea of the necessity of holding a session at the present time: Some immediate Legislative action is required id relation to the acts and condition of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Company. With this subject, the Legislature is sufficiently familiar, without requiring at this time an extended potice. Your committee would merely suggest that some Legislative action is re. quired to ascertain the condition of the bonds to the amount of $100,000, issued to aid in the construction of the canal, and
whether the same have been recalled by the Governor--the a. mount for which the territory is actually liable on account of said canal—and to lease the water power at Milwaukee, if the proper. ty of the Territory—and to save from forfeiture for taxes about seven thousand acres of canal lands under mortgage to the Terri. tory. On the 20th of this month your committee are informed that these lands will be forfeited for taxes, to redeem which about the sum of three hundred dollars is required. A suit is now pending against the Territory on one of the canal bonds, amount. ing to one thousand dollars, involving some important questions, and possibly heavy pecuniary liability on the part of the Terri. tory. To defend this there is no officer authorized by law, in whom bour committee have any confidence. During the pres. ent winter the offices of Canal Commissioners will expire by their own limitation, and should there be no session of the Legislature, the Governor may appoint these officers, as he has heretofore done, in violation of all law. Under the present laws he may force into market all of the unsold canal lands, amount. ing to about 100,000 acres, and thereby involve the Territory with the General Government; and without responsibility assume the control of a large amount of public money.
Suits are now pending in favor of the Territory against James D. Doty, Governor of said Territory, as a public defaulter, which, on account of the term of the Court to which the suits have been removed at the instance of the defendant being limited to one weck, can never be brought to an issue ; and thus if His Excel. leney can succeed in preventing all legislation, he may riot with impunity upon the property of the Territory, and bid defiance to all her courts and judicial proceedings.
It will be recollocted also, that the term of office of the Cem. missioner of public buildings expires with the close of the pres. ent session of the Legislative Assembly, and cannot be suppli. ed, except by joint ballot of both Houses of this Assembly. In.
asmuch as this officer is the agent of the Territory in conduct. ing these suits, and the only person who has any authority in law to procure the attendance of witnesses, and generally su. perintend their management, hence a failure to elect such officer by the Legislature, would be to place the management of those suits, in which a large amount of the money appropriated by Congress for the erection of our public buildings is pending, in the hands of His Excellency, who is the principal defendant. How far this could have been an influencing motive to induce His Excellency to the extraordinary course he has taken, your committee will not express an opinion.
The Capitol is in an unfinished and exposed condition, and unless the means be furnished by the territory, it will be seri. ously injured, if not totally ruined.
At the session of 1840, the Legislature passed a law authori. zing the issuing of territorial Bonds to the amount of $7,000, bearing an interest of ten per cent. for the purpose of finishing the Capitol At the last session a bill passed both Houses re. quiring the Treasurer to pay to the contractor for finishing the Capitol the sum of $1,700, part of the money appropriated by Congress to aid in the erection of our Capitol which is now in the hands of said Treasurer. This bill the Governor refused to return to the Legislature in consequence of which it did not be. come a law. Whithout a further act of the Legislature, the money must remain in the hands of the Treasurer, thereby sub. jecting the Territory to loss by the payment of a high rate of in. terest.
Add to these the many other subjects constantly occurring in a newly settled and rapidly growing country, and the Legislature can form some definite opinion of the necessity for holding its sesssion at this time.
Yet notwithstanding this pressing necessity, and the important subjects ready to be brought before the Legislature, your