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ance with a suggestion in my message at the opening of the last session of the legislature, authorizing the sale
of the contingent stock of the State Bank for the benefit of the State, has been carried into effect, and that the Bank has assumed the payment of the loan of $100,000, obtained from Samuel Wiggins in 1830. This considerable sum is thus saved to the people, and a debt extinguished, which has done much, by reason of its unpopularity, to prejudice the minds of many of our citizens against borrowing money upon the faith of the State, and consequently delaying some of the most important objects of Internal Improvement.
By an act passed at the last session of Congress, the surplus revenue of the United States is directed to be deposited with the different States. Your early attention, I have no doubt, will be directed to the necessary steps required by the provisions of said act, preparatory to its reception.
If provision should be made appropriating this entire sum, and all that may from time to time be received hereafter from the same source, into a fund for internal improvements to be used as circumstances may require, we may anticipate the most beneficial results, and whilst the steps preparatory to its expenditure in such improvements are taken, it may be loaned temporarily to the Banks by which an interest may be secured, and the money passed into general circulation, and, in some measure, relieve that pressure usually felt in new and flourishing communities.
My views, as expressed in a former message, relative to the establishment of a general and uniform system of internal improvement in the State, have underwent no change, and I again beg leave to urge the importance upon your consideration of passing a general law providing that the State take a certain amount of the capital stock in all canals and rail-roads, which may be authorized by law, wherever private individuals shall take the remainder of the stock necessary to the construction of such work. Under such policy I have no doubt that many works of great value to the community would be immediately commenced, and carried into effect, which, if left to individual enterprize, unaided, would remain untouched for years to come.
Should the State be true to her own interest, and take one half, or one third, of the stock in all works of internal improvements, she will hasten the completion of the most important first, and secure to herself a lasting and abundant revenue to
be applied upon the principles of the plan proposed, until the whole country shall be intersected by canals and rail-roads, and our beautiful prairies enlivened by thousands of steam engines, drawing after them lengthened trains freighted with the abundant productions of our fertile soil.
The Judge of the 3d Circuit, the lion. Jephtha Hardin resigned his office last fall, too late for the appointment to be made in time for a successor to hold the courts, consequently I made no appointment, and the vacancy remains to be filled by the Legislature.
The late Treasurer, the Hon. John Dement, resigned on the 3d instant, and the office of State Treasurer has been temporarily filled by the appointment of Charles Gregory, Esq. of Green county.
A well organized, and disciplined militia is of the utmost importance as a part of our general system of Government, and I hope this subject may rcccive a due share of your deliberations. While a people govern themselves, and think it a privilege, and the highest honor to fight their own battles, they cannot fail to be free, and on the contrary when they are governed and protected by other arms, they will soon become slaves. In our country, the love of liberty and spirit of patriotism is manifested in nothing more than in the spirit and condition of the militia.
The public revenue of the State is believed to be ample for all the ordinary expenses of the government, but owing to the land tax being paid into the Treasury after the adjournment of the legislature, some embarrassment has been felt at the time when the funds are required, and leaves a great surplus unemployed in the Treasury for the balance of the year. I would therefore respectfully suggest the propriety of altering the revenue law, so as to have the funds paid into the Treasury as early as the first of January in each year.
In consequence of the dilapidated and falling condition of the old State House, the public officers, mechanics, and citizens of this place, believing that the legislature would have no place to convene
or hold their session, have built the House you now occupy. This work has been done in a time, and under circumstances which cvinces an industry, zeal and public spirit that does honor to the place, and commands our gratefúl acknowledgements, and I hope their services and expenses will be promptly remunerated.
In all ages, and under every circumstance, education has
decided the relative greatness of men and nations. Placed boyond its genial intiuence, man becomes a savage, and a nation, a wandering band of lawless depredators. Education under all forms of government, constitutes the first principle of human happiness; and especially, is it iinportant in a country, where the sovereignty is vested in the people. Entertaining such views in 1825, while a member of the senate, I submitted (in a preamble, to a bill, for the establishment of free schools,) a sentiment, and still considering it sound and just, I beg leave to quote the following extract.
“To enjoy our rights and liberties, we mnst understand "them; their security and protection, ought to be the first “ object of a free people, and it is a well established fact, that 6 no nation has ever continued long in the enjoyment of civil 6 and political freedom, which was not both virtuous and en. “ lightened, and believeing that the advancement of literature “always has been, and ever will be, the means of developing “more fully, the rights of man—that the mind of every 6 citizen in a republic, is the common property of society, 6 and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness, it is 6 therefore, considered the peculiar duty of a free govern" ment, like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement, 56 of the intellectual energies
of the whole.” Since then, I have reflected much on the subject, and am more fully convinced, that such policy, is perfectly consistent with the rights and interest of every citizen, and that it is the only one calculated to sustain our democratic republican institutions; in fact, general education is the only means by which the rich and the poor, can be placed upon the same level, and by which, intelligence and virtue, can be made to assume its proper elevation over ignorance and vice.
Contracts have been made for the construction of several sections of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, by which it appears that the expense of completing that work is likely to exceed very far the highest estimate ever made by any of the engineers who surveyed it. The increased price of labor and supplies account in some measure for the great difference between the estimates and the contracts. The work is of the highest importance both to this State and the U.States, and no ordinary difficulty, or expense, should, for a moment, deter us from its vigorous prosecution. The means arising from the canal lands and lots will be very large, and it is hoped may be nearly sufficient to meet the whole cost of the work. Should it
turn out otherwise, additional funds will doubtless be furnished by the general government, as the national character of the work is fully established and acknowledged by several acts of Congress, the conditions of the cession of the North Western Territory by Virginia, and the universal judgment of the country; and as the work has been commenced under the auspices of the general government, it will doubtless in this, as in all other cases, furnish means to carry it through.
The State Bank, as far as I am informed, has manifested a disposition to forward the views and interests of the State, and has undoubtedly furnished the community with the means of doing much good in carrying on the commerce and improvements of the State. Entertaining the fullest confidence in the just and prudent management of the institution, and of its being a profitable investment, I have thought it advisable, and therefore recommend that the Slate subscribe for the stock reserved for it in the charter.
Banks are to some extent monopolies, and, therefore, inconsistent with the true spirit of our free institutions. They have, however, grown up with our system and are so rapidly spreading their influence over the whole country, that it is extremely doubtful whether they can ever be entirely eradicated. Such is our attachment to a sound paper currency, that it is certain that Banks can only be superseded, if at all, by establishing a circulating medium of the same description, based upon capital invested in loans secured by bond and mortgage. If such a system could be introduced with proper guards, it would certainly be more republican and might be made the means of introducing an ample capital into our country.
While cngaged in promoting the prosperity and improvement of our country, and providing for the moral and intellectyal advancement of the people, we should not fail to guard with jealous watchfulness the great charter of our liberties, the Constitution of the United States: its violation should wake up every patriotic heart to the spirit of the revolution. With the history of my country before me I ask, has this sacred instrument bcen properly regarded by all the functionarics of our government, and all its principles adhered to. I firmly believe it has not; and now when the country is quiet, and the angry billows of party strife, which have lately rolled so high, are sinking to their proper surface, allow me to call your attention and that of our countrymen to this subject--the settlement of which, in my opinion, decides the future destiny of our country; for if any department of our government is sustained in a violation of the Constitution, or the exercise of illegal powers, we shall have changed a government of constitutional law for one of self-will, proscription, and oppression.
The fundamental principles of our government are plain and easily understood. It is cmphatically a government of the people; and for the sake of convenience alone, they appoint officers and representatives who make and administer the laws for their benefit and according to their will, each acting under a solemn oath to support the constitution and laws.
In Monarchies, the King who can do no wrong,” is the Government, the fountain of honor and disposer of all offices and favors, which he bestows on his family and friends, for the purpose of establishing his power, and extending his authority over the people. Under our liberal, free and happy form of Government the people possess all power, clect and cause all officers to be elected or appointed, and as matter of convenience alone it is made the duty of the President of the United States, who is not the Government, nor thc “ fountain of honor, and who may do wrong” to nominate, and by and with advice of the Senate (which is made a check upon his appointing power) to appoint all public officers. It is a principle of our declaration of rights, that all Governments should be instituted for the good of the governed, and not for public officers, or the party who happens to be called by the people, to administer its affairs. If these axioms be true, then the claim set up of late by a political party in this country, that the appointment of public officers and patronage of the Government is given to the President of the United States for the purpose of sustaining his authority and extending his power and influence, is unjust and fallacious, to sanction the power of the President to remove men from office for an independent expression of opinivn, or an honorable opposition to his measures is a species of opposition and proscription wholly incompatible with the spirit of our Government. When the public officer is appointed for his support of the party in power, he knows that his retention in office does not depend so much upon his qualifications and fidelity as on the zeal and ability he displays at elections in supporting his party. If the President may thus fortify himself, who does not see the influcnce he can exercise over the people, cither to extend his own power, or to build up and establish that of his favorite. Should