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zation, and for a time stayed the hand that should have written her name on the lists of States composing the American Union. They attended upon her early legislation, and taxed the wisdom of all the departinents of government in adopting and putting into operation a system which should secure the best interests of the people.
It is not to be denied that the early legislation of the State partook in some degree, as did that of almost every other State in the Union, of the speculative and extravagant spirit of the times. But although in the history of the past we see errors, which with the light of experience, we may now think might have been avoided, yet it is evident that our commonwealth has been blessed with general prosperity, and that her progress has been onward and upwards. The embarrassments which have grown out of the early legislation, to which I have alluded, still, however, present many subjects of difficulty and perplexity, which will demand the careful attention of the legislative and Executive departments of the government.
The present State indebtedness is a matter deeply involving both our interests and reputation. The utmost wisdom will be required to prevent oppressive taxation for its discharge or the disgrace of repudiation. With the means now in our power, with the benefits of the general prosperity which has recently blessed individual enterprise, and the consequent increase of wealth among our citizens, Michigan will never consent that a farthing of her honest debts should remain unpaid. The profits of the publc works of the state have been much relied on a means for liquidating this indebtedness. The net proceeds as yet, however, promise little assistance for this purpose. A sale of the works to aid in this design has been proposed, and the action of the legislature on that subject will be anxiously expected. The revision of the statutes, which will be presented for definite action at the present session, opens anew the investigation of every subject of general legislation. The interests of the state involved in the charge of the public property, in the care or disposition of the works of internal improvement, in the proper and most efficient organization of the judiciary, in the management of the university and school funds, in dissemminating the benefits of universal education, in guarding, protecting, and preserving every right of every individual citizen, and throwing over the whole body politic, the protection and bles
sings of equal laws and a free government,—these are among the long catalogue of subjects that await your consideration. But upon these subjects, it will be my duty to communicate with you in anothei form.
It will be my pleasure at all times, to co-operate with you in such action as your wisdom shall dictate, by which the public interests may be secured and promoted.
Deeply sensible of the arduous duties and responsibilities which devolve at this time on the Executive, I shrink from the trust which I am here to assume. I can bring to task neither superior wisdom, nor great political experience. I can bring nothing but a firm determination to devote myself to the public service, and with such feeble powers as I may possess, to endeavor to see that the Republic receive no detriment.
Called as I have been, to this elevated station, by the votes of a large majority of my fellow citizens, without solicitation on my part, nay, even in opposition to mỹ wishes, I enter upon the performance of its duties unembarrassed by obligations to any faction or interest separate from the general good of the public. I claim no exemption from error, neither do I expect to escape the detractions of censure. Committing my motives to the just appreciation of my fellow citizens, I invoke the superintending goodness of Providence, so to direct every effort as to preserve our Republic, and to promote its dearest interests.
Annual Message of the Governor. Fellow Citizens, of the Senate and
House of Representatives : In commencing the labors which devolve upon the Legislature, at its present annual session, the number and magnitude of the subjects which will require consideration, cannot escape notice. The early legislation of the state, established a policy for the management of public affairs, intended to secure the public interests, and the rights of citizens, to unfold its resources, and to aid its progress from the feebleness of a new republic, to the full development and strength of maturity. The operation of the state government, and the laws which have been adopted to secure the various interests of the body politic, have been watched with anxious solicitude by the people. Under the kind care of a wise Providence, these interests have been constantly expanding and increasing in importance. Immigration has rapidly swelled our population--the forest has been subdued, and cultivated fields have taken its place-flourishing villages have been built-capital and enterprize have found profitable employment in the navigation of our inland seas; industry has opened the workshop of the mechanic, and abundant harvests have rewarded the toil of the husbandman. In the science of government also, under the pecu. liarities of the organization of the states of the American Union, every year has brought it lessons of experience and wisdom.
In this state of constant progression, periods will occur in which the principal subjects of public interest and state policy must be presented for legislative action; and upon the legislature now assembled, devolves the duty of passing upon many important and difficult ques. tions, to which this progression and experience have given rise. Your own sense of the importance to the public of your action, renders it unnecessary for me to invoke your careful attention to the duties which will devolve upon both branches of the legislature.
In the performance of the task imposed upon the Executive at the opening of the annual session of the Legslature, I shall respectfully
call your attention to the condition of the affairs of the state, and to some of the matters obviously requiring legislative consideration.
The third section of article four of the constitution requires that an enumeration of the inhabitants of the state should be taken in 1845, preparatory to a new apportionment of senators' and representatives. An act of the legislature passed at the last session directed the taking of the census in acccrdance with this constitutional provision, and the returns of the marshals appointed in the several counties have been made, and will be laid before you. By these returns it appears that the whole number of inhabitants in the state is three hundred and four thousand three hundred and ten, showing an increase in population since 1840, of ninety-two thousand and fortythree. It will be the duty of the legislature, taking these returns as a basis, to apportion anew the representatives and senators among the several counties and districts according to the number of white inhabitants. In forming the senatorial districts, the same article of the constitution provides that there shall not be more than eight, nor less than four districts, to be composed of contiguous territory, so that each district shall elect an equal number of senators annually, as near as may be. The best interests of the public would seem to require, in the arrangement of the senatorial districts, that such territorial divisions should be made, as will throw together in the several districts, those counties whose interests would appear to be most identical. By a due regard to this precaution, much ill feeling in the selection of senators may be avoided, and a more perfect representation of the interests and wishes of the people be secured.
An amendment to the constitutional provision in regard to the time of holding general elections, having been approved by two successive legislatures, and submitted to the people of the state, at the general election in 1844, was found to have been approved by them. provision, thus adopted, fixes the time for holding the general election, on the first Tuesday in November, instead of the first Monday of that month and the day following. Although this amendment was declared by joint convention of both branches of the legislature, on the seventh of January, 1845, to have been duly adopted, yet no corresponding amendment to the election laws of the state has been made. Many of the provisions of the present statutes on this
subject, are totally inapplicable to the provisions of the constitution as amended, and should be repealed, while other provisions will, it is believed, be found necessary in order to secure the full and convenient exercise of the elective franchise under the amendment.
The office of Reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Chancery, was created by statute soon after the adoption of our State constitution. Many circumstances have combined however, to prevent the publication of the decisions of these tribunals of justice, at as early a day as the public interest demanded.
The death of the individual who held the first appointment as Reporter, and the resignation of his successor, on his appointment to another important office, have contributed to this delay. Two volumes of the decisions of the Court of Chancery have however been published, brought down to the term of March last. The present Reporter has now in press a volume of the decisions of the Supreme Court, which it is expected will, during the present winter, be completed and submitted to the public. This volume, however, will contain but a portion of the decisions of that tribunal, and probably two more volumes may be required for the reports of cases already determined. The importance of the publication of these judicial decisions, giving as they do, a construction to many of our statutes, and declaring the law on many vexed and important questions, which have been ably discussed by counsel, and fully considered by the court, cannot be over estimated. The public interests clearly demand that these publications be continued, at the shortest convenient intervals, and it is understood to be the design of the Reporter to present to the public, within the present year, the reports of all the cases of importance which have been judicially determined in these two courts.
Agreeably to the requirements of "An act to provide for consolidating and revising the general laws of the state of Michigan," approved March second, eighteen hundred and forty-four, a commissioner was appointed for that purpose, soon after the passage of the law. His revision will be presented to you at an early day. Your action on this report will be among the most arduous duties of the present session. It involves a review of all the legislation on the numerous' and important interests of the State-the private rights and duties of