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Manitouwoc rivers, where towns have been commenced, and are increasing in commercial importance, and the country settling rapidly in the interior with enterprising inhabitants, who merit all the aid that can be derived from the most secure navigation of the lake. From the extent of the lake coast, between Milwaukee and Green Bay, and the great advantage to be derived from the construction of harbors at the mouths of the rivers referred to, in a commercial point of view, I recommend to the Legislative Assembly the propriety of memorializing Congress, asking for appropriations sufficient for the commencement of harbors at the points designated.
Wisconsin has a coast on the western shores of Lake Michigan of four hundred miles in extent; in that distance there are but few rivers that discharge themselves into the lake, which afford suitable situations for harbors. The construction of harbors on this extensive coast, I consider are works of a national character, in which the United States are directly interested in a military point of view. In the event of a war, the government is bound to afford protection to its citizens; and to afford that protection, it is necessary there should be safe harbors constructed, where troops and the necessary munitions of war could be safely landed, for the security and safety of the lake towns, as well as the lake border settlements, as the whole extent of the northern frontier of Wisconsin. The United States are now in a state of peace
with England; should they, however, change their present peaceful relations with that power, it would seem that the necessary preparations should be made at an early period, to guard against a state of things that must take place sooner or later.
I recommend the memorializing of Congress on the subject of the removal of the obstructions in the navigation of the Mississippi, at the Upper and Lower Rapids. It is a subject of vital interest to the people residing in the western counties of this Territory.
The commerce of the Upper Mississippi has increased much in importance within the last few years. The delay of lighting steamboats to enable them to cross the rapids at a low stage of the river, is calculated to produce much inconvenience and additional expense in the price of freight and transportation, as well as the loss of property, and frequently at the risk of the lives of those engaged in this perilous navigation. The people of the state of Illinois and the territory of Iowa are the proprietors of the country embracing the rapids on both sides of the Mississippi, and no doubt they feel a deep interest in the improvement of their navigation. The citizens of Wisconsin feel a common interest in this improvement. This interest pervades the whole country on the Mississippi, from St. Peter's to the Gulf of Mexico.
This Territory is advantageously situated for an extended system of internal improvement. The General Government has, however, heretofore limited its appropriations for that important object. The improvement of the navigation of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, and uniting them by a canal at the Portage, would be the means of opening a direct communication between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi. This improvement is of national importance, by affording the United States great facilities for the transportation of troops, supplies and munitions of war, from the Lakes to the Mississippi, for the protection of our northern frontier. The country bordering on the Wisconsin and Fox rivers is settling rapidly with an industrious, enterprising population. The current of emmigration is taking that direction, which greatly enhances the importance of this improvement in an agricultural and com. mercial point of view. Memorials have been forwarded to Congress, annually, from the Legislative Assembly, since the organization of the territorial government, asking appropriations for this object. This subject has been before both Houses of Congress. A bill passed the Senate, giving a grant of land for this improvement. The final action of the House of Representatives was not had on the bill pending before that body on the same subject. I respectfully recommend that a memorial be forwarded to Congress, asking for a suitable appropriation for this improvement.
The construction of a rail or M'Adamized road from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, on the most practicable route from and to those points which will afford the greatest facilities to our trade and commerce, is a subject of vital importance to the future growth and prosperity of Wisconsin.
Without the aid of the General Government, this work could not be commenced at this time. It appears to be the settled policy of the government to reduce the appropriations as low as possible for the territorial government; believing, as it would seem they do, that the time has arrived when Wisconsin should take the proper steps for the formation of a State Government. Should the Representatives of the people, however, deem it proper to take any steps on this important subject, compatible with the public interests, they will have my co-operation.
The improvement of the navigation of the Rock river, above the line of the State of Illinois, to the town of Jefferson, is a subject of much interest to that desirable section of country. The Rock river waters a large extent of fertile country, running near the center of the settled part of the Territory. On the borders of this river, there has sprung up, within the last few years, several important commercial towns and villages. This important improvement would have a tendency to promote the agricultural and commercial interests of the people in that part of the Territory, and would be preparatory to the improvement of the river of the Four Lakes. Since the organization of the Territorial Government, no appropriations have been made by Congress for the improvement of our rivers although memorials have been annually forwarded by the Legislative Assembly for that object. One cause of the failure, no doubt, in obtaining appropriations, has been, that we have asked for the improvement of too many small rivers. I think the best way to obtain the favorable action of Congress on our memorials, will be to ask appropriations for the improvement of our principal rivers in the first instance. I recommend the memorializing of Congress, asking a suitable appropriation for the improvement of the Rock River, above the line of the State of Illinois, to the point on that river designated.
At the last session of the Legislative Assembly, an act passed as a measure of relief to the settlers on the Canal Lands
granted to the Territory, (odd sections.) It appears by the provisions of the act referred to, that all the unsold portions of the Canal Grant are to be sold on the second Monday of April next.
I would respectfully submit to the Legislative Assembly, the propriety of extending the ime for the sale of the Canal Lands, to give time for the action of Congress on this subject. It is a fact well known, that Congress has never acted upon the laws of this Territory, except in a few cases of bank charters. No injury can result either to the Territory or the Government by a delay of the sale of the lands in question. I have no hesitation in expressing it as my opinion that Congress will extend to the settlers on the Canal Lands, the right of pre-emption, and to purchase their homes at the minimum price of the government lands. They are certainly entitled upon the principles of justice, as well as the usage of the government, to the favorable action of Congress by placing them on an equal footing with other settlers on the public lands.
I respectfully invite your attention to the present state of the militia of the Territory. On the 30th of November, 1840, the returns of the militia were made by the Adjutant General of the Territory, to the Adjutant General of the United States Army. The aggregate number was 5,223, at that period, ---Under the act of Congress of 1808, regulating the quota of arms to be furnished to the several States and Territories, according to the returns of their militia, the quota for Wisconsin was forty-nine muskets. No returns of the militia have been made to the Adjutant General of the Army, since the date referred to. The number of muskets to which the Territory was entitled to the 30th of November, 1845, would be 249. On my requisition, sixty stands of muskets and equipments were received from the commanding officer at Fort Winnebago, and delivered to the officers commanding a volunteer company of light infantry, taking from the officers a bond, approved by the Attorney General of the Territory for the safe keeping and return of the muskets and equipments when required by the Executive of the Territory. The captain commanding the Iowa County Dragoons, in 1843, received on the requisition of the then Executive, fifty pairs of juistols and fisty swords, with
suitable cavalry equipments, which are now in the possession of that officer. Fifiy pairs of pistols and fifty swords with suitable cavalry equipments, were ordered to Green Bay by my immediate successor in office. These cavalry arms and equipments are in the possession of a citizen of that place, subject to the order of the Executive.
I recommend the passage of a resolution of the Legislative Assembly, authorising the superintendent of the public buildings, to procure a suitable room at the expense of the Territory, for the safe keeping of the public arms and equipments.As soon as I am advised that that arrangement has been made I will address the War Department on the subject of the remaining arms and equipments for the Territory. From the greatly increased immigration to the Territory, had the returns of the militia been made annually since the 30th of November, 1840, the Territory would now be in the receipt of at least 600 stand of muskets and equipments. The law of the 12th of April, 1843, repealing the law for mustering the militia, I recommend njay be repealed. I am not disposed to recommend a measure that would put those who may be liable to perform militia duty to any serious inconvenience or loss of time. I deem it, however, indispensable to the efficiency of the militia, that there should be a reorganization of the system, from the great accession to the population of the Territory; and that the militia should be properly organized, officered, mustered, and an annual inspection of their arms.
We have to depend upon the militia for the defence of our extended frontier. Should they be called to perform the active duties of the field, they should be well armed and equipped, and properly disciplined, and made acquainted with the nature of the service required of them. Volunteer corps taken from the militia, have always been distinguished for their gallantry and efficiency in all our Indian wars since the revolution. The cause of their efficiency is apparent. They have the selection of their own officers to command them; they are well armed and equipped, and properly disciplined, which always gives them confidence in the face of an enemy; and withal, they possess in a high degree, that patriotism and love of country common to those who are defending their homes