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1870. and outrages, and, having thus long waited on the local authorities in vain, active measures are now in progress for the arrest of the criminals.
Owing to the existing prejudices, and the difficulties of obtaining im. partial decisions in litigated cases, the Executive has, unfortunately, been thrown almost exclusively upon the members of one political party for his choice of Trial Justices, and, in many cases, persons without the requisite qualifications have been recommended. It is very important that this evil be corrected, and we may reasonably hope that in future a wider field may be opened to select from, among such of our citizens as are distinguished for their intelligence, impartiality, and love of justice. In a prompt, equitable and economical administration of the laws, depend much of the peace and harmony of the community, by the obliteration of causes of discord and the establishment of friendly relations between individuals. But essential modifications are necessary in the existing administration of justice. Complaints are prevalent that in many cases a spirit of litigation is promoted and stimulated with a view solely to personal acquisition; and it is asserted that not only individuals appearing before these Magistrates are charged extravagant fees, but there is too much reason to believe that in many cases the costs have been not only charged to the parties, but, in addition, have been charged and collected from the State. A correction of these abuses is loudly demanded. There should be, also, an essential modification of the amount of costs permitted to be charged, and the State thoroughly protected against the abuses of unprincipled men holding these positions. The extravagance of the costs at present, in cases before a Trial Justice, are, in many instances, a denial of justice, as, in most of the cases taken before these minor Courts, they are greater in amount than the sum in litigation. The powers and the duty of the Magistrate should be well defined, and the severest penalties imposed for their violation. None should be held more rigidly amenable to the law than those who are chosen to administer it. I would here remark that I must necessarily depend very much upon the members of the Legislature for the character and fitness of Trial Justices, and I am disposed to consider education as an essential element among them. This would not only be proper in itself, but would afford an additional stimulus to its acquisition. By making a knowledge of the elementary branches an indispensable requisite to appointment for office a higher grade of service would be secured, as well as a more efficient performance of it.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. I would direct your attention to the laws defining the powers and
duties of County Commissioners, and their perversions and abuses. From the frequent complaints against some of the Boards, it would be imagined that they were devoted more to private acquisition than the faithful discharge of a public trust. In neighboring States, the office of County Commissioner is looked upon more as an honorary station, bestowed as a mark of confidence and trust in the judgment and business capacity of the individual, rather than as a position of pecuniary emolument, and, except in the neighborhood of large cities, the compensation is but trivial, seldom amounting to more than from fifty to a hundred dollars per annum. Stringent laws are required for the prevention and punishment of abuses, which will restrict expenditures within legitimate bounds, forbid all participation, direct or indirect, in contracts, for which proposals should be invariably advertised, restricting the amount of County orders issued, constituting the County Auditor the permanent Clerk of the Board, by whom all orders should be signed and issued.
Since the Bank of the State ceased operations there has been no suitable means of securely depositing funds held by the Courts. It is of great importance that provision should be made by law for the security of such funds, both for the preservation of a pure administration of that important branch of Judicial jurisdiction, and for the protection of suitors. Places of security should be indicated, and provision made for the deposit of adequate pledges from parties authorized, by law, to become custodians of such funds, and means should be provided for increasing such securities, from time to time, so as to afford sufficient protection to all amounts so deposited, and the control over such deposits, while in the hands of such depositories, should be further secured by allowing to the Courts summary remedies against them, to the same extent as if they were the regular appointed receivers of the Courts.
The attention of the last General Assembly was called to the necessity of a change in the system of selecting juries. As at present conducted it is liable to be and is perverted to great abuse, on account of the character of the persons placed upon them. It is highly important that the jury-box should be placed beyond the reach of political influence or prostituted to the purposes of men who are themselves guilty of crime. It should be filled with our best and most reliable citizens. The appointment of a Commissioner of Juries has been tried in some of our sister States, and has been found to work admirably.
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS.
In view of the frequent expenditures for furnishing the public buildings, and the irresponsibility of the mode in which public money is disbursed therefor, I would recommend the designation of some officer who should have a supervision of the public buildings and grounds, and of all expenditures for their furniture and improvement..
THE BLUE BIDGE RAILROAD.
I regret to inform you that but little progress has been recently made upon the Blue Ridge Railroad. The liberal policy pursued by the Legislature was obstructed by parties, prompted by personal aggrandizement and political prejudices, entering into combination to throw obstacles in the way of negotiating the bonds, which prevented their sale at the time, and before these difficulties were overcome, the war in Europe intervened and rendered their sale impracticable. I have no recommendations to make on the subject, as all the laws necessary are in existence, and will, therefore, refer you to the annual report of the President of the Road for all the necessary information to an understanding of the details. It is extremely unfortunate that personal ambition or political rancor should be permitted to delay or interfere with the progress and completion of a work of such vital and transcendent importance to the prosperity of the State and its chief commercial city.
EMIGRATION AND LABOR.
While I am willing and anxious, by all legitimate means, to encourage and promote emigration to this State of all peoples, who are homogeneous in customs and usages with our own, that are willing to labor, as well as those who will bring into it skill and capital, I cannot forego the expression of my opinion that the passage and enforcement of stringent laws for the protection of life and property, and the free and unrestricted expression of political opinions, is all that is necessary to accomplish that purpose in a state that presents so many attractions and advantages to the emigrant and capitalist as ours.
LABOR AND CAPITAL.
There has been much discussion upon the alleged scarcity of labor, and a variety of schemes has been suggested for its alleviation ; but thus far without practical result. The importation of foreigners, either Christian or Pagan, can work but an inconsiderable influence, as these are as keenly alive to the facilities of improving their condition as the native whom they attempt to supplant, and will dispose of their services to those who will pay the highest prices for them. My own impression is, that the present labor of the country, “native and to the manner born,” furnishes the most economical, the most skillful, and the most efficient system of labor for the South, and cannot advantageously be substituted by any other. A true appreciation of the mutual dependence of capital and labor, and a disposition to arrange, amicably and equitably, terms of agreement between :!em, would go far to reconcile existing difficulties, and remove a fruitful cause of dissension and irritation among our own people. Inducements might also be held out by which the ranks of the productive class may be largely recruited from those who are nonproducers, and whose complaint is, that they can“ get nothing to do,” and also by grants of land to tenants in fee, the payments, properly secured, running over a long series of years, to those who may settle in families. tion of game, by the prohibition of killing of them during the breeding season. As the wanton and indiscriminate shooting of birds and game animals during the breeding season, must result gradually in their extinction, and to the encouragement and multiplication of myriads of destructive insects, to the great injury and destruction of vegetation and the crops, I would call your attention to the matter as worthy of your consideration. In this connection, I would also recommend the protection and encouragement of artificial fish breeding, by protecting the owners of fish-ponds from trespasses and depredations. A law was passed by the last General Assembly, authorizing the appointment of eight Fish Commissioners, one for each Judicial Circuit, and defining the duties thereof. These appointments were not made, for the following reasons: It was found that competent men could not be procured for the salary authorized to be paid, and no greater results would have been attained by the selection of incompetent men than without any. It was thought best to leave the whole subject for additional legislation, in the hope that it would conform to the practice prevailing in those States which have had most experience and success in fish culture, by appointing one person experienced in the business, and known as Fish Comniissioner. Mr. Seth Greene, who has been so prominently connected with the artificial propagation of migratory fish, has been, during the past summer, employed by the State of New York, in re-stocking the Hudson River with shad, and has been hatching from one hundred thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand daily. He states, in a published communication, that he can satisfy any person with common sense that all the rivers on the coast can be stocked with shad, so as to make them equally plentiful with the olden time.
LANDLORD AND TENANT. Attention is called to the necessity of a cheap and speedy remedy by which the owners of property may repossess themselves of it by a summary magisterial process. While honest poverty is deserving of our sympathy and entitled to all legitimate protection, yet there is too much reason to believe that there are cases in which the law is perverted, which, by their vexatious results, compel landlords to enhance their rents, and militate against the interests of the public at large.
The attention of the last General Assembly was called to the necessity and importance of a law to regulate and define the relations and obligations of employer and apprentice. An intelligent and industrious workinan has within himself the elements of independence and respectability. His art is his capital, of which he cannot be divested; his labor is always and everywhere in demand. As illustrating the effect of idleness as the source of crime, it is stated in the Report of the Prison Association, lately issued, that of fourteen thousand five hundred and ninety-six prisoners confined in the Penitentiaries of thirty States, in 1870, more than ten thousand of that number, or over seventy per cent., had never learned a trade. This pregnant fact conveys a lesson of profound interest to those who have in charge the training of boys and girls for the active duties of life. Framing such a law as is suggested, the amplest security should be provided that the apprentice be protected from cruelty and injustice, and that he should receive an adequate amount of education. .
PRESERVATION OF GAME, AND PROPAGATION OF FISH.
Many of the States of the Union have enacted laws for the preserva
NATIONAL CEMETERIES, &C A letter has been received from the Hon. M. W. Belknap, Secretary of War of the United States, in relation to the National Cemeteries at Beaufort, Florence and Charleston, requesting that the Legislature of this State may pass an Act in conformity with a law of the United States, entitled “An Act to amend an Act entitled “An Act to establish and protect National Cemeteries.'"
Information has been received at this office, from Hon. W. B. Shubrick, of the Navy Department, that an appropriation was made, July 20, 1868, of $15,000 for Range Lights, on Sullivan's Island, Charleston Harbor, and that it is necessary that an Act should be passed ceding the jurisdiction of their sites to the United States, to which your attention is respectfully invited.
There are a number of provisions in the Constitution which require appropriate legislative action to carry them into effect; such as the provision for divorce, the appointment of officers and employees of the Lu