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that he proceed and fill the vacancies by the appointment of suitable and proper persons, until their successors shall be elected and qualified.
Though well aware that such action of the Legislature, could confer no additional powers, I, nevertheless, accepted it as their opinion of what powers belonged to the Executive in the premises. As such, and in the absence of judicial decisions, I regarded it entitled to great weight, and have acted upon it. Most of the officers have been elected, except the Judges of the Supreme and Chancery Courts, and most of the Judges of the Circuit Courts, the Attorney-General and Reporter, and most of the Circuit Attorneys-General.
These have been appointed and commissioned for their respective official terms. This action was brought prominently in view before the people, by the press and upon the stump, and they have passed upon it. Sustained by their approval, I shall continue the same course; and as vacancies occur from time to time, shall order elections, when, in my opinion, it is advisable-otherwise, fill them by appointment.
LITERATURE AND SCIENCE,
By section 10 of 11th Article of the Constitution of the State, it is declared to “be the duty of the General Assembly, in all future periods of this Government, to cherish literature and science." The last Legislature nobly responded to this imperative duty, so far as common schools are concerned. Great benefits may justly be anticipated from this enlightened legislation. But I respectfully suggest whether the Legislature has performed its full duty under the Constitution, and whether the wants of our people and the character of our State, demand that our two State Universities shall be placed on a higher and firmer ground of usefulness. They have long insisted that the State is equitably indebted to them a considerable sum of money; and in view of the noble purpose for which this money is demanded, I recommend that this claim of the two State Universities, be investigated by your honorable body. But, independent of this claim, I hold that it is the duty of the Legislature, if the means of the State will justify it, to provide for the higher branches of learning as well as the lower. Common Schools and Universities of the highest grade, go hand in hand. One cannot flourish in a State without the other. The Universities ought to furnish teachers for the common schools, and common schools prepare our young men for entrance to the higher walks of learning in the Universities. Such is the relation between the two in those States where education has become universal. Our party justly claims to be a party of progress, and to be based on knowledge and education.
Let us show the world that in this State we are alive to the spirit of the new era, and that we are equal to our pretensions.
If you should deem it your duty to aid our two State Universities, you might require a given number or worthy poor young men to be educated, from time to time, free of expense, or for a nominal sum, on condition that they would teach a given number of years in our common schools. In this way, many young men might each year be turned out of our Universities, and sent over the State, to diffuse, through our common schools, the knowledge they had acquired. Our Common School System would thus become efficient to accomplish the noble purpose designed for it. Without some plan be devised for the education of teachers, that system must, for several years at least, be imperfect and a partial failure.
ACCOUNTS BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE RAILROADS. The entire account of the State with the Railroad Companies, and especially that portion relating to the Sinking Fund, has been so badly kept, during the war, and before, that the books are . very unsatisfactory. I advise the appointment of Commissioners by your body, to sit during your session, and make new settlements with all the roads, that the books may be made to show all settlements satisfactory, both to the State and Companies. The expense of such settlement will be more than compensated for by rescuing the accounts from ruinous oblivion.
I further advise, that said Commissioners be instructed to look into the disposition made of the Bonds granted to the various Commissioners in the State, and that they be clothed with power to send for persons and papers. I have reason to believe that, in some instances, the Bonds of the State have not been disposed of according to law, while in others, the confidence of the State has been abused, and her credit sought to be injured, even by the recipients of her favors. And in all future appropriations to railroad companies, let us know the characters of the men into whose hands State Bonds go, both as to integrity and loyalty. Meanwhile, let us guard against any future increase of the State debt by the issuance of Bonds to railroads, unless it be in cases where the interests of the State would suffer for the want of further aid.
In the discharge of my duty, I have appointed Receivers on as many as seven roads; and if the interest on their indebedness to the State is not promptly met, I shall provide guardians for others. It is an outrage that nearly a million of dollars is due the State from these defaulting Companies.
But while I deem it of the first importance to preserve the
credit of the State, and believe our present railroads, when completed, will be ample for the wants of our people, I suggest, for your consideration, the necessity and justice of the adoption of a system of MacAdamized or Turnpike roads for such sections of the State as are without them, and especially for such counties as are remote from railroads and navigable streams. The people of all the counties are entitled to equal facilities in reaching a market, and yet they do not possess such facilities. For example, the Counties of Sevier, Union and Hancock, have no railroads, either completed or contemplated, while they bear their equal share of the taxation necessary to aid in building or sustaining roads in other more favored counties. It is but an act of simple justice to aid such counties, in some form, in finding a cheap means of reaching a market.
On general principles, the policy of improving our county or local roads by the judicious use of the credit of the State, can easily be maintained. We need now not main lines, but good local roads, leading from county to county, and reaching the remoter parts of the country, not penetrated by railroads. These would act as feeders and supporters of the railroads, add to the prosperity of the people, greatly enhance the value of real estate, increase the revenue of the State, and largely increase the flow of immigration. Labor being the great source of wealth, we must do all we can to attract population. This we can do alone by affording labor the same facilities for reaping its just rewards, that is afforded by other States. We cannot expect the people of other States, when they have good MacAdamized roads leading from every county town, to settle among us, with our local roads impassible nearly one half the year. For these reasons, I earnestly invite your attention to the consideration of this subject.
LIQUOR SELLING NEAR COLLEGES.
Frequent applications are being made to the Legislature, by petitions and otherwise, for special acts prohibiting the sale of ardent spirits within certain distances in the vicinity of certain institutions of learning. I advise that a general law be enacted, affording this character of protection to every College and Academy in the State. We owe it to the cause of Christian morality, to the cause of popular education, and to the young and rising generation, to separate liquor shops from our institutions of learning. Should we neglect this work, not only will the terrible evils of intemperance increase and multiply, till they sweep away every vestige of propriety, peace, good order, and liberty from the State, but bring down upon us, as a State, Sodom's guilt and Sodom's doom.
In all parts of the country, the friends of law and order are realizing the giant strides king Alcohol has made within the five years covering this rebellion, and the consequent demoralization directly attributable to the alarming increase of intemperance, is now attracting the attention of the best members of society, and of the most profound statesmen of the country. Good men and patriots can but hail every movement against this monster vice of the age, as a pleasing augury of the times; and they must heartily approve every enterprise, and every act of legislation, designed to break the back of this monster, whose victims multiply with such frightful rapidity, and whose power increases daily and nightly. Intemperance did its work in the army, and now that peace has been declared, it is transferring its baneful influence to the walks of civil life, demoralizing the young and rising generation, and sending to premature graves, many of our best and most useful citizens. Throughout the length and breadth of Tennessee, distilleries and wholesale and retail liquor dealers, are multiplying with frightful rapidity, and the increasing evils arising therefrom, call upon the friends of humanity and of religion to educate the public mind in opposition to this vice, and, if possible, to stay the tide that now bids fair to overwhelm and degrade society.
Intemperance is blowing up steamboats, upsetting stage-coaches, and, through the carelessness of drunken engineers or switchtenders, it is bringing trains in collision or running them off the track. All this appalling loss of life and limb, resulting from wickedness, carelessness, and contempt for human life, of the owners, directors, superintendents, agents, and employes on the various lines of travel, is attributable, in a great degree, to the vice of intemperance.
The least that can be done by the Legislature, (and this ought to be satisfactory to the friends of morality and religion,) is to authorize the prohibition of the traffic through the ballot-box, once in two years, either by counties or civil districts. This would enable those who desire to rid themselves of the numerous and alarmimg evils of intemperance, to do so legitimately, while it would enable those counties or civil districts who are joined to their idols,” to cling to them, and suffer the consequences.
THE SCHOOL FUND.
When the assets of the Bank of Tennessee and the archives of the State, were captured and brought to Nashville, the Legislature then in session, by joint resolution, adopted May 29, 1865, directed the Governor, Secretary of State, and Comptroller, tó take charge of the assets of the Bank, etc., and receipt for the same. This was promptly done, and a constant military guard, kept over them, until, by Act of Assembly, passed June the 9th,
1865, the Governor, Secretary of State, and Comptroller, were ordered to invest the funds (then in coin) "in United States or Tennessee Bonds;" and also to investigate into, and schedule the assets, and ascertain the value thereof. This order of the Legislature was also promptly obeyed. The amount of coin, upon actual count, was ascertained to be $446,719.70, which was sold to Jay Cooke & Co., for 7-30 U. S. Bonds, at a premium of nearly 40 per cent. On the 9th of October of the same year, the Governor, and his two associates, had the pleasure of reporting to the Legislature, that they had realized the sum of $518,250, in 7-30 U. S. Bonds, which, they announced, was then "in the Comptroller's safe." This sum remained unpacked and undisturbed until the General Assembly saw proper to pass a law, requiring the fund "to be placed in the hands of the Treasurer of the State of Tennessee.”.
By turning to the 5th section of "the Act to wind up and settle the business of the Bank of Tennessee," it will be ascertained how this fund got into the hands of the Treasurer. Until this time, that officer had nothing to do with the fund; but this Act of Assembly made him the lawful custodian of it. On the 5th day of June, 1866, he demanded possession of these packages of 7-30 Bonds, then “in the Comptroller's safe.” As every other order of the Legislature had been obeyed, this was also obeyed. The fund was counted by the Comptroller, placed in the hands of the Treasurer, and his receipt taken therefor, and the Governor and associates, at once ceased to be responsible for it; and no one was more startled than they were, to discover, six months after, that the fund was on deposit in the Tennessee National Bank of Memphis, upon a simple certificate of deposit. When this discovery was made, the Governor promptly called attention to it, and the Legislature as promptly took action in the matter. A committee of vigilant and experienced men were sent by the Governor to Memphis, who succeeded in recovering about one-half. I have appointed Thos. B. McElwee, Special Agent, to look after the remainder; and being a sensible, prudent, business man, he may be able to secure a portion of the funds in the custody of that faithless institution.
Criminal prosecutions have so multiplied in our Circuit Courts, since the war, that parties having important civil suits, have been prevented from a hearing, to their great injury, and, in many instances, to their ruin. I propose to remedy this evil by providing a Criminal Judge for every Chancery District where there is not now a Criminal Judge. But if the Legislature, in its wisdom, should not agree with me in this recommendation, I respectfully