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Since your last session no matcrial change has occurred in our local affairs. The progress of improvement and selement is l'iipid, and promises to become more so. She prospect of migration to the Territory is highly encouraging; and the approaching season will probably witness a greater accession to our numbers, iban we have received in any preceding year, As a better knowledge or the climate and other advantages of the Peninsula is spread through the United States, and as the facilities of communication wiihii are increased, we may look forward to an increase of wealth anú muito be: s, 730t more desirable for those, who are already established in the Territory, ihan for those, who seek by a change of residence, it participation in the advantages, which are here illered to all.
A variety of measures, interesting to the Terriivry, have aheady been acted on, or are pending before Congress. Among these, are appropriations for roads, light-houses, &c. a proposition 10 adu diother Branch to the local Legislature, and to extend the electie franchise, aud several other matters of subordinate important, From the spirit of kindness and liberality heretofore manitesied i wards us by the general government, we may contiuently and pate a favorable result to inost of these measures. They wil terially improve our condition, and add to our means itid muiise's for exertion.
In examining the geographical features of the Peninsul, and the facilities of intercourse which it possesses, as well internally as is terually, the great extent of inland navigation around it and ili od: it presents advantages of communication, rarely equalleil. Tri the mouth of the St. Josephi, at the Southern extreme of Lake ilii. chigan, to the mouth of ihe Maumee, at the Southern extrene of Lake Erie, our whole border is washed by the great Lakes, and by the straits connecting them. But there is one obvious and sign: improvement, which could be made, and which no doubteveprually will be made. And that is, to unite the mouth of the St. Josep; il with our eastern coast, by a canal or rail-road, as experience may establish the superiority of ei:her, across the base of the Peninsuti. The country presents vo formidable obstacle to the execution of these works. It is generally level and well watered. And the summit on each side, wiil the exception of one small tract, is ditained by a gradual and imperceptible clevation. There is prettbly no similar extent of country in the Union, where less laboren expense would be required, to produce so important a result. The advantages, which such a communication would afford in their le region upon the St. Joseph, its well as to all the Southern portit: 04 the Peninsula, render the project worthy of your serious consideration. It is comected also with the military defence and permanent security of the frontier ; for, in a state of war, the near
inte course between Lake Erie and the country upon riaľ, Ples could be preserved, without incurring the dise!! ihe geons of a hostile shore for many miles.
as well as in the facilities of communication, which would be afforded to the Sta!es of Indiana and Illinois, and in the extent of naviga. tion to be avoided,-a navigation frequently hazardous, and generally more interrupted than an interior route would be—this work may be considered a national one. And it cannot be doubted, but that the general government would regard it favorably, were the advantages which it offers better known. I invite your attention to the subject. By inquiry and discussion, it will be brought before the community; and should you succeed, by an application to the President, in procuring the necessary surveys and examinations, definite information would then be furnished, by which the practicability, expense and advantages of the plan might be determined.
Alihe last session of the Legislative Council, an act was passed, requiring all Justices of the Peace to give bonds for ihe payment of ali mopey collected by them, and providing, that all Justices of the Peace then in office, should give such bond on or before the first day of the succeeding January, and in default thereof should be ipso fa to removed from office. In some of the counties, this law was unknown, until after the period limited for the execution of the bond. They were thus left without Justices of the Peace, greatly 10 the inconvenience of the people, and to the delay or neglect of justice. It appears proper, that some provision should be made for legalising the acts of ofiicers, done under these circumstances. And I submit for your consideration, whether in all future legislation, it will not be prudeni to fix such a period for the taking effect oflaws, is will ensure their previous promulgation over the extensive region, embraced within the Territory. There can be no more serious evil in a government of laws, than changes in the statutes concerning rights and remedies, crimes and punishment, which must operate upon the community, before their existence can be known. That portion of the Territory between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi, is so far removed from the seat of legislation, and the communication with it is so dilatory and uncertain, that much time should be allowed for the publication and distribution of ihe laws. The convenience of the people in that district calls for the establislument of a separate Territorial government; and a biil for that parpose has been reported at the present session of Congress. Should it pass, the local concerns of the new Territory can be managed more acceptably to its citizens, by a Legislatore chosen and deliberating among themselves, than by one holding its sessions in viis place. Should it, however, not pass, a revision of some of our Lavis, with a view to their better adaptation to that section of country; may be justly expected by its citizens. In the county of Jowa, there are no frueholders, nor can there be any, until the peblic lands ar:: surveyed and sold. Those statutory provisions therefore, which require the aid of freeholders, are wholly inapplicable to the present condition of that district. Among these, is the lan prescribing the quifications of the suretics to sheriff's bords ; ane.
the consequence is, that no sheriff can comply with the requisition. So far as may be consistent with the Ordinance and Acts of Coogress, it would appear expedient, that every power, ni cessary to the police and good government of the District, should be exercised by the people there, without the intervention of the distant Territorial authorities. And it may be safely exercised ; for the experience of the United States, during half a century of self-government, demonstrates that the people are the safest depositories of their own power.
Much may be done to relieve the condition ut that district, by accommodating the laws to its peculiar circumistances.
A judicial system, wisely organised and faithfully administered, is among the most important cares of society. Our own has been frequently changed, but there is reason to believe that its present constitution is not favorable to the attainment of the great objects of public and private justice. Speedy and impartial justice is guaranteed by the Ordinance, but the obligations connected with this duty, depend upon even higher principles than written constitutions. They are deeply engrafted in human nature, and recommend themselves with great force to the American people. The Legislature may ordain, and the Executive may endeavor to see, that the laws are faithfully executed, but the efferts of both will be vain, unless the Judiciary is enabled, by its organisation, to administer public and private justice, speedily and impartially. It is the only department of the government which can be brought directly into contact with the people... Possessing a power, which derives its efficacy, more from opinion than strength, it is due to those who are clothed with it, as well as to the community themselves, that tho system of administration should be suited to the circumstances of the people, for whom it is prescribed. The number of organised counties is every year increasing, and even now the duties are laborious. If the Circuit Courts were held by one Judge, these duties would be much lighter. And an appeal from his decision 10 the Supreme Court, would give to the parties the benefit of the opinion of two Judges, who had not heard the cause. I am satisfied, that by a judicious revision, much may be done to expedite the business of the Courts, and to diminish the labor and expense of Judges, officers, and suitors.
Great inconvenience is experienced, in consequence of the want of regular returns in the militia. The arms provided by the annual appropriation, made by the General Government for arming the militia, are divided among the several States and Territories, in proportion to the numbers returned by each. It is therefore important, that our actual strength should be exhibited. But unfortunately great negligence prevails, and the aggregate, shewn by the returns, is far less than the actual state of our numbers requires. An efficient remedy can alone be found, in the application of a rigorous penalty to every officer, failing to make prompt and regular re
turns. The duty is so easy in itsell, and its results so important, theint there should be no excuse. If persons will accept commissions, and cannot lind suflicient motives for the faithful discharge of their kuries in their own pride of characier, and in the obligations volan. wasily assumed by themselves, the public good requires that other motives for excution should be supplied. Gicat diversity of opinion exists in the United States, respecting the value and efficiency of our present militia system. But whatever may be thought upon U is subject, while ile laws exist for its organisation and disciplioc, they should be enforced. And if the experiment of breaking down our whole system of national armament is any where to be made, ii ought not to be made upon a distant and exposed frontier. There are peculiar circumstances, arising out of our local posision and the character and political connexions of a race of people within car borders, which admonish us, that we ought not to be unprepared for events, which may again happen, as they have before happened. I large standing military force is equally incompatible with the genius of our government and the spirit of our jostitutions. And we must therefore rely, in any sudden exigeney, upon the zeal aod spirit of the great body of our citizens. Nor is our history waating in lessons of experience upon this subject. Some of the most brilliant events in the war which achieved our independence, and in that which preserved it, are due to the courage and conduct of the militia, And the firsi and the last batiles in our military bistory are proud monuments of the valor and devotedness of men, who feel they are fighting for a country, in which each has a deep interest. And Bunker's Will and New Orleans will ever be associated with recollections, dear to the American people.
There is no sulject, to which your attention can be directed, more important in iis immediate and remote effects, than the establishment of a practical system for the support of Common Schools While the wealthy can at all tines command ample means for the education of their children, those in moderate circumstances should be aided, and their strengih united and rendered efficient, by LegisHitive anihority. I am apprehensiä , wat our present laws upou this sulject are entirely two complicated for practical operation. Many of the provisions are wise and just, but many others do not scem adapted to the circumstances of a new country. The efficiency of a system entering so mach into the relations of private life, must depend essentially upon its simplicity, and upon its adapi ation to the situation and opinions of the people. And if there are existing defecis, which can be remedied, or if a plan can be subst. tuted, which shall promise njere useful results, you cannot render a more important service to your constituents, than by an earbest re-examination of this subject. While the Territory is settling, is character is forming. Our citizens are brought together from va rious sections of the Union, and a common feature is yet to be impressed upon them, their laws and institutions. And to the virius
and intelligence of the rising generation we must look for the issue. Although extreme poverty is almost unknown anong us, yet there are many families unable, from their local position or other unfavorable circumstances, to procure a competent education for their children. In aid of these particularly, provision should be made by law. No wiser or jus:er tax can be levied, than (ne devoted to this object. In the general stork of public information, it ensures the community an abundant return for all the supplies required to produce it. The children of the poor should be the pupils of the country. It is among the proudest of our privileges, i hai ali offices are open to all. And in the practical application of this principle, our Executive magistrates, our Judges and Legislators, are called from every part of şociety. We have therefore a deep init rest in the preservation of morals and religion, and in the culuviation of the heart and intellect. And it becomes still deeper when we reflect, that the foundations of our country rest upon public opinion. That opinion, to be safe, must be enlightened. It is not necessary to revert to the experience of other times to be satisfied, that the forms of freedom may exist, and yet the great budy of the people be oppressed. The struggles in ihe Sou bern part of our own hems; liere are living witnesses of this fact. And if our own institutions are to outlive the term, heretofore assigned to epublican governments, the life-preserving principle must, under Providence, be found in the knowledge and virtue of the American people.
The reports of the Auditor and Treasurer will be laid before you. You will learn from them the state of the Treasury and of the demands upon it. The Act passed at your last session has already produced more regularity in the payments, required to be made to the Treasury. But the system would be still tar her improved, by rendering the mode of proceeding against delinquent officers more prompt and simple. Where public money, received as a public trust, is wilfully withheld, neither justice nor policy require, that unnecessary emb srassments should be interposed by the forms of the law, to its collections. Such huwever is the caso, and the injury has already been feit. The Government of the United States, as well as the governments of many, perhips most of the States, has provided a summary mere for ile cullection of money thus received and withibeld. The introduction of such a provision here, by which judgments could be obtained, upon motion, and an interdiction of any ofisetis, which had not been previously submitted to the Auditor, would premote the public interesi. By giving to it a prospective operation only, no individual rights would be impaired.
I submit to you the report of the Commissioners, appointed by the Acting Governor, to examine and select a proper site forte seat of justice of the county of Jackson. There is no provision in the existing laws, prescribing the mode in which the seas of justice bi the unorganised counties shall be fixed. Since the establishment