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TO THE LEGISLATURE:
Having been elected to the highest office in the gift of the people of the State, I have taken the oath required by the Constitution, impressed with a due sense of my responsibilities, yet indulging the confident hope that by the blessing and favor of Almighty God, who disposes all things, I shall be able so to discharge my duties as to command the approval of my constituents and to promote the welfare of the State. I am not unaware of the embarrassments which surround me.
I am here to administer and to execute important public trusts; to reconcile and adjust conflicting interests as great as they are varied; to overcome or moderate sectional prejudices and jealousies which may exist within our own territory; to preserve public order; to protect the public works; to endeavor to reduce expenditures, taxation and debt; and to assert and maintain the rights of the State and defend the interests of its citizens.
The fact that neither branch of the Legislature is in political sympathy with the Executive may seem to be an obstacle in the way of the accomplishment of these ends. Relying, however, upon your intelligence and patriotism, trusting that you will rise, as I shall strive to do, above all party prejudices and differences, I am ready, with all the ability and energy I possess, to unite with you, as I trust you will unite with me, in every effort to secure to those whose representatives we are, the blessings of an economical, a prudent and a wise government. We cannot be unmindful of the greatness of our State, and the magnitude, variety and importance of its interests and resources.
Containing, as it does, more than four millions of people, among whom are represented every nation and every creed; extending, as it does, from the ocean to the great inland lakes, over an area of more than fifty thousand square miles; it constitutes an empire in extent and population, which can not be well governed except by the exercise of the greatest moderation, wisdom and firmness on the part of the Legislature and the Executive.
The magnificent harbor which lies at our very gates invites to the metropolis of the State and of the whole country the trade and commerce of all foreign lands; while the great lakes upon our borders, and the canals and railroads which connect them with the ocean, bear onward to the same metropolis the vast and increasing products of our own western and northwestern States. Hence the unparalleled growth and progress of our great city, which including what may be properly called its suburbs, numbers more than one-third of the population, and pays more than one-half of the taxes of the State. How such a city can be best governed, how the apparently conflicting interests between it and other portions of the State can be justly harmonized, how the differences of sentiment and thought, political and social, between it and other sections can be adjusted, are problems of serious import. These and other grave questions, growing out of conflicting ideas, will continually present themselves. You are to determine what legislation shall be had with reference to our canals and railroads, our moneyed corporations, our schools and colleges, our asylums, prisons and charities, our great debt and heavy taxes, and to our varied population, differing not only in religious faith, but in views of moral and social obligations, customs and duties. The very magnitude of our territory and of the population within its limits admonishes us that upon these and other kindred subjects it is a necessity that we entertain none but broad and comprehensive ideas. Whatever may be our individual opinions to-day, the great majority of thoughtful men will sooner or later be forced to acknowledge that this great metropolitan State cannot be governed upon any merely provincial theories, or by the enforcement of any narrow-minded, sectional or illiberal policy; and that the masses of the people, while they will demand of their representatives economy in administration, perfect preservation of law and order, and certain protection to life and property, will also insist that in everything which relates to social, domestic and religious life
and the pursuit of personal welfare and enjoyment, there shall be no undue or unnecessary legislative or official interference. We must so act as to promote contentment, reconciliation and harmony, rather than to encourage dissension, alienation and division.
We must not favor legislation which creates, in the minds of a large number of law-abiding citizens, dissatisfaction with law and law-makers. All enactments should be, as far as possible, general in their application. All legislation should be for the whole people. It should be our aim so to conduct public affairs as to avoid those. sectional jealousies from which have sprung suggestions that a division of the State might be desirable. State pride and State interests alike forbid such division. New York stands to-day the Empire State of the Union, and, if governed by wisdom, it has before it a career of ever-increasing greatness and prosperity.
There is no real conflict of interest between city and country. Agriculture and commerce together make our State great and prosperous. The merchant and the agriculturist are mutually depend
. ent upon and interested in each other's welfare.
During the past year the agricultural interests of the State have been greatly favored by Providence. Our fields have yielded large harvests, for which the farmer has found a ready market and abundantly compensating prices. He does not feel at present the full weight of the burdens of taxation, and he rejoices in his prosperity. He knows, however, that these burdens must in the end be borne by country and city alike; that he cannot escape his share of them; and that at some time a season of disappointment and trial will
He therefore unites in an admonition to all in authority that public resources must be husbanded; that no unjust or unnecessary taxes shall be imposed; and that, while in all public affairs a reasonable liberality is to be encouraged, extravagance and waste will be condemned. A large amount of invested capital has been declared by Congress exempt from the taxation which now oppresses nearly every interest in the country; those who bear no portion of the public burdens will never be active in opposing their increase. Some will be always ready to favor projects involving great outlays of public money in enterprises of real or supposed merit, but the great body of the people will not sanction any expenditures or appropriations, the necessity of which is not clearly apparent.
By the Constitution, the Executive is required “to communicate, by message to the Legislature, at every session, the condition of the State, and to recommend such matters to them as he shall judge expedient." I proceed to discharge this duty.
The following is a condensed statement in relation to the finances and indebtedness of the State.
RECEIPTS AND PAYMENTS.
General Fund. Deficiency in the revenue on the 30th of September, 1867, two mil
lion eight hundred and sixty thousand five bundred and eightysix dollars and thirty-eight cents,........
$2,860,586 38 Payments of the year, ten million two hundred
and eight thousand one hundred and ninety-eight dollars and forty-six cents,..........
$13,068,784 84 Receipts, ten million one hundred and twelve thou
sand three hundred and thirty-one dollars and thirty cents, ...
Deficiency of the revenue on the 30th of September,
1868, two million nine hundred and fifty-six thousand four hundred and fifty-three dollars and fifty-four cents, ....
NOTE—There was due at the close of the fiscal year from the City of New York, four million five hundred and thirty thousand and fourteen dollars and seventeen cents ($3,530,014 17), of which four million dollars ($4,000,000) has since been paid; making up the above deficiency, and leaving a large surplus.
GENERAL AND OTHER FUNDS. Receipts of the year on account of all the funds, except the Canal
and Free School Fund, sixteen million three thousand one hundred
and seventy-eight dollars and fifty-three cents.. $16,003,178 53 Balance due the treasury on the 30th of September,
1867, three hundred and fifty thousand and nine
dollars and fifty-eight cents,..... $350,009 58 Payments of the year, fourteen mil
lion nine hundred and four
15,254,657 12 Balance in treasury on the 30th of September,
1868, seven hundred and forty-eight thousand five hundred and twenty-one dollars and fortyone cents,
$748,521 41 TAXES. The State tax levied in 1868, was 54 mills, for the following purposes : For schools, 17 mill; for general purposes, 14 mill; for canals, 110 mill; for Bounty Debt, 27 mills, and for the Whitehall and Plattsburgh Railroad, mill — total, ten million two hundred and forty-three thousand three hundred and seventeen dollars and one cent ($10,243,317.01). The State tax levied in 1867, amounted to twelve million six hundred and forty-seven thousand two hundred and eighteen dollars and seventy-one cents ($12,647,218.71).
STATE DEBT. On the 30th September, 1867, the total funded debt was fortyeight million three hundred and sixty-seven thousand six hundred and eighty-two dollars and twenty-two cents ($48,367,682.22), classified as follows: General Fund debt, five million six hundred and forty-two thousand
six hundred and twenty-two dollars and twentytwo cents, ......
.... $5,642,622 22 Contingent, one hundred and thirty thousand dollars,
130,000 00 Canal, fifteen million seven hundred and thirtythree thousand and sixty dollars, ...
15,733,060 00 Bounty, twenty-six million eight hundred and sixty-two thousand dollars,.....
On the 30th September, 1868, the total funded debt was fortyfour million nine hundred and sixty-eight thousand seven hundred and eighty-six dollars and forty cents ($44,968,786,40), classified as follows: General Fund debt, four million seven hundred and seven thousand
eight hundred and twenty-six dollars and forty cents, ...........
$4,707,826 40 Contingent, sixty-eight thousand dollars........
68,000 00 Canal, fourteen million two hundred and forty-nine
thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars.......... 14,249,960 00 Bounty, twenty-five million nine hundred and fortythree thousand dollars, .....