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Mr. Jackson moved to amend the resolution, by striking out the name of the “Rev. E. Miner," and inserting the name of “Rufus Harvey." Mr, Burnett called for a division of the question.
The Speaker decided that the question was divisible, and would be first put on striking out;
And the question having been put,
Mr. Hoard moved that the said resolution be laid on the
The several officers elect appeared at the Speaker's table, and were sworn to the faithful discharge of their duties.
Mr. Sheldon offered the following resolution:
“ Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives be authorized and required to employ some suitable person to do the necessary writing for this House during the present session ;"
Which was adopted.
Mr. Hoard moved that the Sergeant-at-Arms be directed to
On motion of Mr, Phelps,
The House having been again called to order;
On motion of Mr. Mooers, Ordered, That the Chief Clerk be directed to inform the Hon. Council that seats had been prepared in the Representatives' Hall for their accommodation, preparatory to the delivery of the message of His Excellency, the Governor.
The Hon. the Council appeared and took seats.
On motion of Mr. Frank, Ordered, That a committee of one from each House be appointed to wait upon His Excellency, the Governor, and inform him that the two Houses have assembled in Convention in the Representatives' Hall, and are ready to receive his message.
Messrs. Frank and Billings were appointed the committee.
His Excellency, the Governor appeared in the Representatives' Hall, and communicated to the two Houses the following message :
Fellow Citizens of the Council
and House of Representatives: You are assembled in conformity to a law of this Territory to perform the responsible duties that devolve on you as the Representatives of the people.
We have abundant cause to be thankful to the Almighty Disposer of all good, for the very abundant harvests with which he has been pleased to reward the husbandman during the past year,' Our citizens, who cultivate the soil, are rapidly developing the agricultural resources of the Territory. Our prairies are being converted into luxuriant fields. We have inexhaustible stores of mineral wealth. Our climate is of the most salubrious character, and our soil suited to the production of every thing necessary for the comfort of man. We have the great lakes, Michigan and Superior, (our inland seas) on the east and north, and the Father of Rivers on the west; with several large rivers passing through our Territory in different directions. With a population intelligent, industrious and enterprising, the growth and prosperity of Wisconsin must be onward ; and the time is not far distant when she will form one of the most populous States of the Union.
I respectfully recommend the passage of a law, submitting to the people of the Territory the expediency of determining by a majority of their votes, whether they are for or against a State Government. If they are in favor of that measure, the preparatory steps to carry into effect their wishes on that subject should be taken without loss of time. If they determine by their votes against that measure, their will will be ascertained and the public mind put to rest on that important subject.
The people are the source of all power, under our republican form of government, and are competent at all times to determine for themselves what will best promote their political interests. Their will, when known and expressed, should always be obeyed.
I respectfully invite your attention to the existing laws of the Territory regulating Common Schools. It is believed that a revision of them would have a salutary effect. The present has been denominated an age of improvement. The human mind is seizing and carrying out to practical results the momentous truths which respect the relations of men to each other, and the appropriate means of accomplishing the purposes of human society and government. At the foundation of this vast movement lies the work of educating the great mass of the people. The elective franchise is the foundation of our liberties; and the permanency and perpetuity of our republican institutions must depend on the intelligence of the people, who, knowing their rights, will maintain them.
The Territorial Debt is a subject of great interest to the the people. I have not had the means of ascertaining the precise amount of the indebtedness of the Territory, nor the amount of the tax created by the Legislature for its payment. It is certainly not a large debt. As an act of justice to the creditors of the Territory, their demands should be paid as early as possible; as well as to sustain the standing of the Territory abroad, in meeting properly the public engagements.
The situation of the Territory for want of a Penitentiary, is a subject worthy of the consideration of the Legislative Assembly. By the laws of the Territory, criminals convicted of crimes of a high grade are sentenced to confinement in the state prison for a term of years, and are committed to the county jails for safe keeping, for want of a Penitentiary where they are confined at the expense of the Territory. I have no means by which to make an estimate of the amount paid by the people of the Territory for the maintainance and safe keeping of convicts in jails, since the organization of the Territorial Government. I have no doubt, however, that the amount paid would have been sufficient to have erected a suitable Penitentiary for their safe keeping, and giving profitable employment to them. With our increased population, it would seem to require that some steps should be taken to raise funds for the erection of a Penitentiary. It would be proper to memorialize Congress, asking for an appropriation for that object; that body appears disposed, however, to make our Territorial appropriations as small as possible...
The representatives of the people, coming immediately from their constituents, know their wants and wishes upon all subjects of legislation; they know the state of the Territorial debt, and the means of discharging it, and the resources of those whose interests they represent.
The spirit of the age we live in, as well as the humanity of our laws, are opposed to capital punishment, except for the highest grade of crime. The great purpose of criminal law is reformation. This purpose is the foundation of the Penitentiary system, which combines with imprisonment, hard labor, and a course of moral discipline suited to reclaim offenders to the paths of rectitude and virtue. This effect cannot be produced in county jails where the convict has no employment. But the continuance of his confinement is calculated to prepare his mind for the commission of higher offences.
I recommend the memorializing of Congress on the subject of the sale of the United States lead mines and reserved mineral lands. The occupation of the United States lead mines under the present leasing system, has heretofore been and continues io be a source of much litigation in the courts of justice, unprofitable to the government, and expensive and harrassing to the citizens of the Territory. From a statement made by the Register of the Land Office for the Wisconsin land district, there appears to be reserved from sale, as lead mines, or timbered lands for smelting purposes in that land district, one hundred and one thousand acres. This reservation was made by the Superintendent of the lead mines more than ten years since, and embraces a desirable portion of the mineral region of country. The larger proportion of the reserve
is land well adapted to agricultural purposes. These lands · have been entirely unproductive to the government, and are
lessened in value from the fact that much valuable timber has been taken from them.
The relation of landlord and tenant should not exist in this government as between the government and its citizens ; it is certainly contrary to the spirit of our free institutions. The present leasing system of the United States lead mines, makes the lessee a tenant at the will of the agents of the government, unless he pays the stipulated rent, agreeable to the conditions of the lease. The rent is a direct tax, or tribute, paid the government, on the labor of the miner, which has proved unproductive to the government, and unjust in its effects on the mining interests. There can be no doubt but that the true policy of the government is to sell the lead mines, extending the right of pre-emption to resident miners and settlers; they will then be opened to individual enterprise; there will be an increased quantity of lead manufactured, affording the people of the United States a cheap and abundant supply of that article, and a surplus for exportation.
The commerce of Lake Michigan has increased within a few years in a ratio far exceeding any other inland waters in the United States. . Congress has made appropriations for the construction of harbors at the towns of Milwaukee, Racine and Southport, on the western shore of the lake, which have been expended under the direction of the War Department, in the prosecution of these works. According to the established usage of the government, additional appropriations may be expected until their completion.
Estimates have been made, under the direction of the War Department, for harbors at the mouths of the Sheboyagan and