« AnteriorContinuar »
A change or modification of the present form of governmentz by restoring to the people their right to elect their officers, and thus rendering the county and territorial officers responsible to them for the performance of their official duties, is a measure of great interest and importance.
If the bills lately pending before congress granting this privilege, and for the passage of which we have all been solicitous, shall not have become laws, I would again recommend the submission of the question to the inhabitants of the fifth division of the North-West Territory, who, by the ordinance of 1787, and subsequent acts of congress, are authorized to form a permanent constitution and state government,” whether they will now exera cise this right, and ask admission into the Union.
For the purpose of bringing this question to the potice of the people, that the relative merits of a territorial and state government might be investigated and discussed, and their opinion known, I deem it my duty, both to the United States and to Wisconsin, to suggest to the electors the propriety of casting a vote upon it at the annual election in this territory held in September last. In several counties few votes were given, and the returns from others were imperfect. No result can therefore be stated, except the apparent satisfaction of the people with the present government, and with its administration from the period of its institution.
But as this government was not established by the inhabitants of the territory, and as the power has been conferred on congress to admit a state with a population less than sixty thousand, it is desirable that a law should be passed authorizing a vote to be annually taken upon the question, "whether a permanent constitution and state government shall be formed?"
The DEBT which has been created to defray the expenses of the legislature, and the charges upon the territorial treasury, for the payment of which no provision was made by those by whom it was incurred, demand your immediate consideration. The holders of bonds and scrip, and indeed all of the public creditors, have a right to their money; and the people have also a right to know by whom, and for what objects, this debt has been created.
I ask also that it may be adjusted and paid that the STATE of Wisconsin may enter the Union FREE FROM DABT.
Sixty-one scanal bonds” have been returned to this office: Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 57 to 100, by the late agent, and 37 to 51 by the cashier of the Bank of Vernon, and I recommend that they be cancelled.
From every quarter of the territory, we learn from the people that a more rigid economy in the public expenditures than has heretofore prevailed, is expected by them.
The fees of officers, the expenses of the courts, and of the town and county governments, are much greater than in many of the most respectable states in the Union, and every body admits that they greatly exceed the value of services rendered. So long as the people are taxed to pay the expenses of litigation, parties will be found to institute suits, and the terms of the courts be protracted to an unreasonable length.
The present system of taxation is acknowledged to be unequal in its rates, defective in its details, and in its operation most grossly unjust.
By many it is regarded as unconstitutional, and therefore void: whilst others view it as nothing less than a system by which the estates of the property-holders are forfeited to the office-holders and tax-title speculators.
The printing for the legislature it appears has cost about fifiy thousand dollars-a sum which must appear very extravagant to those at least who are acquainted with the value of the work performed. There was paid to one establishment the enormous sum of eleven thousand dollars for the ordinary printing of the two houses for the session of 1838–39.
I would respectfully recommend the passage of a law to provide for the appointment of a territorial printer, and to fix the rate for which he shall be paid for his work.
Heretofore the printing has been performed under a resolution of one or both of the houses, at indefinite rates, and without the concurrence of the executive. That it has been done in a very loose and irresponsible manner, without supervision, is proved by the errors which have been detected in the journals and laws; and by the fact that a printer on a bill for printing for one session, was able to charge and receive $1270 00 more than he was entitled to of which he was afterwards convicted.
· The distributive share of Wisconsin, of the nett proceeds of the public lands, remains undrawn in the treasury of the United States. Its amount to the 30th of June last, was one thousand and eightytwo dollars and forty-five cents. The territorial roads leading west from Astor, Milwaukee, Racine, and Southport, would be greatly benefitted by the application of this fund to the repairs which are required upon them; and I have no doubt that the inhabitants along each route would be willing to give an equal amount of labor to the same object, that these important thoroughfares may be rendered more useful to the public.
I should be glad to see this sum appropriated to this or some other beneficial object, before it is drawn from the treasury of the United States.
The extensive and valuable trade which is prosecuted upon the Wisconsin river, and the rapidly increasing settlements upon its borders and tributaries, demand that such means should be employed as are within the control of the legislature, to improve the navigation of this stream.
An appeal to congress by a memorial, if sustained by the delegate, would undoubtedly influence that body to grant an appropriation for this object, which has ever been regarded by those acquainted with the faculties which this river and the Neenah afford for a steamboat navigation between the Mississippi and Lake Michigan, of great national importance.
A very rich agricultural and mineral country, lying on the heads of the streams between the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, has attracted the attention of emigrants during the past season, and settlements have been formed at several points. For their convenience, and to facilitate the farther settlement of that country, as also for the purpose of establishing a communication with the copper mines on the Montreal river, I respectfully recommend that a territorial road be established from Prairie du Chien, by the mills on Black and Chippewa rivers, to the shore of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Montreal.
No other expenditure will be required upon it at present than to mark the route of its location, as prairie ridges may be followed to the Chippewa, and perhaps beyond. The five per cent. fund to be paid by the counties of Crawford and St. Croix into the
treasury, it is presumed, would be sufficient to defray the expense; and I therefore recommend that it be so appropriated.
In conclusion, I beg leave to assure you that it will give me great pleasure to unite with you in the adoption of such measures as may be proposed by you, which are calculated to promote the general welfare of the territory. It is expected of us, I think, by the people, that we should hold a short term, and confine our labors chiefly to the amendment of the laws now in force, rather than the enactment of new ones; as almost every new law brings additional taxation, or produces greater evils than are remedied.
J. D. DOTY. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ?
Madison, March 6, 1843.}
On motion of Mr. Whiton, Five hundred copies of said message were ordered to be printed.
Mr. Whiton presented the petition of Lemuel Warren and others, for the construction of a dam across Rock river, at Janesville, and asked its reference to a select committee;
Which was read; and referred to a select committee, consisting of Messrs. Whiton, Baker and Barber.
The president announced the following standing committees, viz:
On internal improvements-Messrs. Barber, Newland and Marlin.
On territorial affairs—Messrs. Crocker, White and Barber. On judiciary-Messrs. Martin, Whiton and Crocker.
On agriculture and manufactures-Messrs. White, Hugunin and Barber.
On finance-Messrs. Newland, Heath and Martin.
On territorial roads—Messrs. La Chapelle, Dewey and Heath. Heretofore appointed:
On engrossed bills-Messrs. Dewey, Baker and La Chapelle. On enrollment (joint)—Messrs. Whiton and Crocker.
Mr. Baker, on leave granted, presented
The petition of Lucien Wright and others, asking a prohibition of the killing of deer at certain seasons, and for other purposes;
Which was read and referred to the committee on the judiciary. Mr. Baker also presented
The petition of certain citizens of the town of Troy, praying for the division of the said town of Troy;
Which was read and referred to the committee on the judiciary. Also, a petition from the citizens of the town of Elkhorn; Which, on being read, was referred to the same committee. Mr. Crocker, on leave granted, presented
The petition of certain citizens of the town of Genesee, praying for a division of said town;
Which, on being read, was referred to the committee on the judiciary.
Also, the petition of Adelhaid Deiser, praying for a divorce;
On motion of Mr. Whiton,
TUESDAY, March 7; 1843. The journal of the council for the previous day having been read,
The following message from the house of representatives was, delivered by the clerk thereof, viz:
“Mr. President: The house of representatives have passed a resolution of the following title, to wit: No. 3, Resolution authorizing the purchase of stationery,' in which I am directed to ask the concurrence of this house."