Indiana. General Assembly.

Documentary journal of Indiana 1856, part 1 (Volume 1856, pt.1) online

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that, throughout our State, numerous places have been opened, or
established for the unrestrained sale of spirituous liquors, in which
the young and unwary have been decoyed to contract tastes and
habits which the resolves of a subsequent life cannot control, if
they have not already, entered upon the courses of dissipation and
vice.

It is, imperatively, the duty of the Legislature, in the exercise of
a wise discretion, to enact some constitutional law, in accordance
with public sentiment, of sufficient stringency to restrain and sup-
press this growing evil ; and 1 doubt not this subject will receive,
at your hands, such consideration as its importance requires.

On a review of the late elections, it is apparent to all, that our
laws have failed to preserve the purity of the ballot box. While
there is a difference, in regard to the proper remedy, an effort is
made to diiect public sentiment in favor of a registration of voters.
But the practical workings of registry laws, in other States, have
failed to ronvince me of the adaptation of such laws to our com-
munity. The officer making the registry is as liable to be imposed
upon as the judges of our elections ; and as wide a field for fraud
and corruption would be opened, as exists under the present sys-
tem.

A remedy for illegal voting may be found, by requiring an ac-
tual residence in the township, or election precinct, of not less
than sixty days prior to the time of voting, and by the multiply-
ing of election districts; thereby avoiding the collecting of large
bodies of voters at one place, and lessening the facilities lor fraud-
ulent voting. Where few voters are congregated at a single pre-
cinct, there will be little danger of excited and angry feeling ; the
right of suffrage will be exercised with more freedom and delibera-
tion ; and the voters will be more generally known to each other
and to the officers of the election. The penalties for illegal voting



314

and for aiding and abetting thereto, either by soliciiation, intimi-
dation, or transportation, should be largely increased.

The practice of betting upon elections is a great and growing
evil, tending, more than any other cause, to destroy the purity of
the ballot box, and the practice should be visited with the severest
penalties. The history of the past year has satisfied me that, un-
less some effectual means can be adopted to protect the elec-
tive franchise from corruption and desecration, our institutions
will soon be at the mercy of an unlicensed mob.

The Report of the Trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal will
be laid before you. It will be seen that the Trustees have caused
the standing timber on the Birch Creek Reservoir, in Clay County,
to be removed, at a very heavy expense; thus allaying all cause of
complaint on the part of the inhabitants residing in the vicinity ol
that work. Though the best medical authorities reported, under
a law of the Legislature, that this standing timber would not prove
injurious to the health of the surrounding country, yet so complete-
ly did a contrary opinion take possession of the pubiic mind in that
vicinity, that, on two several occasions, since th«^ last meeting of
the General Assembly, that necessary feeder to the canal was de-
stroyed by an armed assemblage of a portion of the inhabitants
of the country.

These outrages were promptly reported to this department, and
I lost no time in adopting such measures as were, in my opinion,
best calculated to re-establish the supremacy of the laws in that '
hitherto peaceful community. In the exercise of the power given
by the Constitution, a proclamation was immediately issued ; and
other outrages being committed, and threatened, not only upon
the Canal, but on private property, an adequate force was imme-
diately despatched to the scene of lawlessness. Determined to
sustain the law, restore order, and, if possible, punish the aggres-
sors, my duty was plain. Some arrests were made, and trials had,
which resulted in the discharge of all the persons implicated.
Peace and order, however, were restored and maintained.

As the only cause of complaint is now removed, may we not.
hope that the peoj le in the neighborhood ol this Reservoir, as well
as all other citizens, will re! rain from further hostility and violence
to the works and structures of the Canal? That the Trustees had
a perfect right to construct the Reservoir, and that they adopted
the mode of its construction from the original plans and surveys of I
the State authorities, and by the examples of other States, are
matters which admit of no doubt. That the persons engaged in
the destruction of the Reservoir, were misled by the belief that the
health of the county was endangered by the timber remaining on
the submerged land, is equally clear and undoubted; and if any
thing could justify their conduct, this mistaken conviction would
be a palliation of it.

It will be seen by reference to the report of the Trustees, that
there is a serious diminution of the receipts of tolls on the Canal,



315

as compared with the income of 1854, and the preceding year.
By the report of 1S55, made to this department, it will be observed
that the tolls for that year fall short, more than forty thousand
dollars, of the income of the previous year; and that the receipts
for the year just closed, show a still further decrease of twenty-
six thousand dollars below the revenue of 1855 — making, in two
years, an aggregate decrease of sixty-six thousand dollars

This decline in the revenues of the Canal, seems quite extraordi-
nary ; and especially, as it is believed that the navigation was
maintained with tewer interruptions than occurred in the year
when the revenues yielded the highest income. The report of the
Trustees will explain this extraordinary decrease; and to that
report your attention is respectfully directed.

It is gratifying to have the assurance, contained in the report of
the Trustees, that the completion of the Reservoir at Birch Creek,
and other precautions to secure a good supply of water, will
ensure, for the commerce of the next season, a more reliable navi-
gation than that of any previous period. The Canal is now con-
sidered in good repair; and such arrangements are being perfected
as will give certainty and promptitude to the transmission of the
productions of the soil, to northern or southern markets.

This canal is the longest artificial water communication in the
United States, and has always been a cherished work of Indiana.
As a check on high and exorbitant charges, by other and com-
peting modes of transportation, the people of Indiana have a
direct interest in the maintainance of the Wabash and Erie Canal,
and in its successful results as a measure of revenue to those lor
whom it is held in trust. The contract between the State and her
creditors, was fairly and deliberate!} made; and it is the highest
duty of the State to keep, and perform, faithfully, all of her obli-
gations, and to require the same on the part of others.

Agricultural improvements is visible in every portion of our
State. The action of the General Assembly, in making a small
appropriation to aid this cause, is exerting a most beneficial influ-
ence. A la ge majority of the counties have well organized agri-
cultural societies, whose delegates are now in session with the
State Board of Agriculture ; and, throughout our State, the in-
creasing interest that is manifested in advancing the cause of agri-
culture, and other branches of home industry and skill, is rapidly
augmenting the amount and value of our domestic products. It
is suggested, that it would be productive of good results, to amend
the present law, so as to make the Presidents of county societies,
or other delegates appointed by them, constitute the State Board.

Having, on several former occasions, urged upon the Legislature
the duty of providing for a thorough scientific survey oi the geo-
logical character of the State, I regret that my recommendations
upon a subject of such vital importance to the prosperity ot the
people, have failed to convince the proper authority of the pro-
priety of making the necessary provisions for such a survey.



316

While the resources of our sister States have been thus developed,
and immigration and wealth thereby attracted to them, we have
neglected to lay bare the hidden treasures which Nature has gar-
nered up; and, but for accident, or individual enterprise, we should
have remained in the most profound ignorance of the mineral re-
sources of our State. Enough has been ascertained to convince
us of their existence and extent; but the hand of science is needed
to show us their value, and their localities.

Within the last \ ear, discoveries have been made of extensive
beds ot iron ore, in Perry county, in the immediate vicinity of
formations of coal and limestone; and individual explorations, in
other portions of the State, have been equally productive. I there-
fore, earnestly, renew the recommendation for an appropriation
for a thorough geological and topographical survey of the State.

In consequence of the excessive drouth of the past season, ex-
tending nearly throughout the entire year, our citizens, in common
with those of other States bordering upon the Ohio river, have
suffered greatly from the obstruction to navigation on that great
national thoroughfare. In our own river towns, business has been
paralyzed, manufacturing has been suspended, commerce has
drooped, and thousands have suffered from the limited supply, and
exhorbitant prices of fuel. The frequent occurrence of this state
of things, has caused public attention to be directed to the neces-
sity and practicability of improving the river, either by dams and
slack water navigation, or by providing vast reservoirs of water
in the goiges of the Alleghenies.

However numerous our lines of Railway, even were they to
penetrate every county in our State, we could never dispense with
this great artery of commerce. It washes the borders of six sov-
ereign States, with a population of near ten millions; and bears
upon its bosom the fruits of their soil, the products of their manu-
factories, and the coal and minerals produced from their moun-
tains. From reliable sources, it is estimated that the value of
products annually transported upon this great highway of com-
merce, is not less than one hundred millions of dollars. The most
strict constructionist coul I scarcely raise a doubt ot the constitu-
tionality of appropriations by the General Government for the
improvement of the navigation of the Ohio river; and I earnestly
recommend you to call the attention of Congress, through your
representatives, to the pressing necessity of this important work.

Nothing, during my connection with the government of the
State, has occasioned so much embarrassment in the discharge of
my official duties, as the neglect of the last Legislature to make
the necessary appropriation lor the support of the State Prison,
and to appoint the directors for its management, as required by
law. This neglect imposed on me the alternative, either to ap-
point the directors myself, or to convene the Legislature for that
purpose, at great expense to the State, and under circumstances
in which I could see no grounds of assurance that the members



301

could agree upon a selection. In this emergency, I assumed the
responsibility of making the necessary appointments, and selected
as such directors, Messrs. Grafton F. Cookerly, of Vigo, George
F. Savitz, of Clark, and Samuel F. Owen, of Floyd.

The contract with the lessee of the prison, expired on the 15th
of June, 1S5G. On the next day, a portion of the prisoners, hav-
ing become excited under the inflammatory appeals of a newspaper
circulated among them, rose in resistance against the authorities
and fired the hospital. Through the promptness and efficiency of
the fire companies of JefTersonville, and those of our sister city,
Louisville, the fire was extinguished before it had occasioned much
loss, and the mutinous conduct of the prisoners was promptly
checked. The propriety of tendering to the fire companies seme
suitable testimonial of their effective and disinterested services, is
respectfully suggested.

The Report of the directors and officers of the Prison, exhibits
the workings of the system, under the control of the State, for
the first six months. During this period, ii has more than realized
our expectations, in economy of management, in the deportment
of the prisoners, and in order and cleanliness; in ail of which
there is a manifest improvement. It is proper to say, that what-
ever defects, heretofore, existed in these respects, werr ?he faults
of the iaw, and not of the contractor.

Although it is not anticipated that the Prison can be made, to
any considerable extent, a source of revenue, it is already appa-
rent that, even in this respect, with proper management, its net
income will be larger than any amount which the State could pos-
sibly realize under the contract system.

The object of all prison discipline should be, not merely to pun-
ish the offender for his misdemeanor, and restrain him from the
further commission of crime, but, by suitable reformatory means,
by virtuous example and Christian counsel, to prepare him for a
re-entrance into the society of his fellows. Should the labor of
the prisoners be productive of an income beyond the expense of
their imprisonment, a portion of such net proceeds might, with
propriety, be devoted to the support of their families; or distribu-
ted among those who, on leaving the walls of the prison, had, by
their good conduct, rendered themselves worthy of such favor.

Under no circumstances should the State again surrender her
control of this institution; nor revive a policy which meets the
condemnation of the civilized world. As far as possible, the con-
victs should be kept within the walls of the prison, and debarred
from intercourse with others. The effect of the intermingling of
hardened criminals with those not yet inducted into crime, is high-
ly pernicious, and the practice should be rigidly discountenanced.

The report of the directors and officers discloses the fact, that

more than one-third of the present inmates of the Prison would be

proper subjects for the discipline of the contemplated House of

Refuge. 1 commend to your special consideration this valuable

1 D. J.— 22.



302

Report, which exhibits, fully, the details of our system of prison
discipline. No appointment of iMoral Instructor has been made.
This service has been performed by the Rev. Leroy Wood, the for-
mer chaplain. The list of pardons, and remissions of fines and for-
feitures, is herewith communicated.

Our Benevolent Institutions most deservedly command the re-
spect and confidence of the people. Their several reports will
present you with information, in detail, as to their expenditures,
progress, and management. Tney are entitled to much of your
consideration. While our people look with pride to these monu-
ment of their liberality, they expect from you, their servants, the
utmost, economy as to their management.

Negotiations have not been concluded with the President of Li-
beria, for the purchase of land for our colored population, emigra-
ting to that Republic. A communication, from President Benson,
herewith submitted, shows his entire concurrence in the views
taken by your State Board, and, doubtless, the necessary legisla-
tion, on the part of Liberia, was consummated in December last.

I rejoice, with you, at the well-merited rebuke which the prop-
osition to renew the African Slave trade, has received at home,
and abroad. God forbid that we should so far forget what is due
to our own reputation, to say nothing of justice and humanity, as
to renew and endorse a crime, that our fathers, in the purity of
our government, called by the right name, Piracy.

The subject of African Colonization is one ot deep interest to
our people, and I earnestly recommend the usual appropriations,
to aid this great cause of humanity, which promises so much good
to the colored man, as well as permanent peace and harmony in
our own commonwealth.

The frequent communications, and the amount of business trans-
actions, which exists between citizens of the United States and the
subjects of foreign governments, have induced several of the States
to provide, by law, for the appointment of Commissioners of Deeds,
authorized to take acknowledgments of Deeds, Depositions, Mort-
gages &c The propriety of making provisions to authorize simi-
lar appointments, on the part of this State, is submitted to your
consideration.

The statute on the subject of granting divorces requires a revis-
ion which will relieve our Courts from the pressure of applications
for divorce, for all imaginable causes, on the part of citizens of
other States. You will, doubtless, promptly apply a remedy for
this state of things by requiring of the parties, in such cases, an
actual residence of two or more years.

The public records of the State, including those of the Supreme
Court, and of the departments of the Secretary, the Auditor, and
the Treasurer of State, are insecure, and liable to be injured or
destroyed, by fire. In order to place these records in a condition
of greater security, and to leleive the State from the payment of
heavy rents, sound policy requires the immediate commencement,



303

•on the ground occupied by the State Treasurer, of an edifice suf-
ficiently commodious lor the offices of State, Supreme Court, &c.;
leaving the State tlouse exclusively for the use of the Legislature,
and the State Library.

The Governor's Circle, in the very heart of the Capital of the
State, should be improved, by taking down the old dilapidated
building which stands upon it; and, for the health and beauty of
your Capital, the grounds should be set apart for a public park.

In preparing the plan of the proposed building, care should be
taken to adapt it to the present and future wants of the State, not
ov( rlooking rooms for the collection and preservation of geologi-
ca 1 specimens, agricultural publications, valuable seeds, and models
of useful farming implements, and other mechanical inventions.

A Bureau of Statistics is required for the purpose of ascertaining,
and making known, from year to year, the progress of improve-
ments in Indiana, and the condition of the various branches of
productive industry in the State. It is a matter of astonishment
that we have so long neglected the duty of providing means for
the accomplishment of this important work. By means of a Bu-
reau of Statistics — which may be organized and managed at an ex-
penditure which would be inconsiderable when compared with the
value of its operations — our citizens, and the people of other States,
might receive annually, authentic information of the progress of
improvement in the several counties of Indiana. Among other
details, this information might embrace facts having reference to
the following subjects, namely: — The quantity of land under cul-
tivation ; the kinds, amounts, and values of the annual field crops;
the various annual productions of orchards, gardens, and dairies;
the various articles of domestic manufacture, produced annually;
the annual products of mechanical industry and skill ; estimates of
the amount and value of exports and imports ; the names, locations
and population of towns and villages ; the number and value of
school houses and churches; the names, number, capital, and pur-
poses, of incorporated companies, &c, &c. An annual statistical
report, presenting, in detail, authentic information with respect to
these subjects, should be made a permanent part of our domestic
policy.

In connection with the proposed improvement at the Capitol,
your attention is invi'ed to a consideration of the expendency of
providing for an enlargement of the State House square. By va-
cating, for the distance of one square, the street north of the Cap-
itol, by the purchase of two small lots, and by effecting, with the
city authorities, an arrangement respecting the location of the
western Market House, the area of the lot for the use of the State
House, may be enlarged, so as to form appropriate public grounds
around the Capital of the State.

Having repeatedly called the attention of the Legislature to the
necessity of placing additional instructions and safeguards around
the office of Agent of State, and feeling it incumbent on me to



304

exercise a careful supervision over it, I appointed Elijah Newland,
of this State, and James F. L). Lanier, of New York, to examine,
and report upon, its condition, and proposed various questions in
reference to the subject. Owing to a pressure of business, Mr.
Lanier declined the trust; and I thereupon appointed Washington
De Pauw, who was in that city, in his stead. The report of
the examiners is herewith communicated, in which, among other
things, the propriety of appointing a Register of Stock, as a check
upon the Agent, is suggested. As, however, there might be collu-
sion between the Agent and Register, it would fail to afford the
desired security.

Under the present system, the Bonds are executed by the Au-
ditor and Treasurer, forwarded in quantities to the Agent, and
only require his signature, and filling up, to render them valid,
while upon the officer issuing them, there is no check whatever.
That frauds have not, heretofore, been committed, is owing to the
integrity of the officer, and not to any security afforded by the
law.

It would, in my judgment, be preferable, in all cases of transfer
of stock, to require the Bond, before its issue and after signature
by the Agent, to be signed by the Auditor and Treasurer of State,
and registered b> them, in their respective offices. The slight
delay would be more than^counterbalanced by the absolute and
entire safety and security which would be thereby furnished.

The annual Report of the Agent is herewith presented, to which
your attention is invited. Monthly reports of the transactions of
the Agent, have been furnished, in compliance with my requisi-
tions. But even these would fail to correct the evil ; for, whatever
the competence or integrity of the officer, he is, necessarily, com-
pelled to entrust a portion of his business to others, whose incom-
petency, or dishonesty, might involve the State in heavy losses.
The prompt and decisive action of the Legislature, on this subject,
is imperatively required.

The great and increasing prosperity of our State may be attri-
bute"d, in no small measure, to results which have been produced
by the operations of our Railroads — connecting, by a rapid transit,
our business with the commercial cities of the Atlantic States,
stimulating and rewarding the industry of our people, raising the
value of real estate, improving our country, building our cities and
towns, giving to the products of our agricultural labor a speedy
and fair market, and increasing the strength of the sources of our
revenues, by increasing, annually, the aggregate value of the tax-
able property of the State. In view of this subject, it is manifest
that our Statutes should make no unjust discriminations in pro-
viding for the security of the rights of railroad Companies. The
question of the expediency of revising our railroad laws, in order
to establish them upon a more just and liberal basis, with respect
to certain rights and remedies, is worthy of your consideration.



305

It would be well to require all foreign companies, running any
parts of their roads through Indiana, to keep offices in this State,
so that, process may be served upon them, as it is served on our
own corporations. In the assessment of damages for the rights of
way, it seems that justice requires that the whole question, includ-
ing the benefits as well as the injuries resulting to the owners of
the land, should be left to the decision of the courts and juries,
under the evidence. Much complaint is made in regard to the
principle upon which taxes are assessed upon our roads. The sub-
ject is worthy of your consideration.

The Secretary of the Treasury has located, in this city, a site
for a Post Office and Court Room, for the United States. It is
necessary that the State should cede to the General Government
the land in question, making provision, at the same time, to exempt
the lot, and improvements' thereon, from taxation. Your action
on this subject should be prompt, in order that steps may be taken,
at the opening of the season, for the commencement of the pro-



Online LibraryIndiana. General AssemblyDocumentary journal of Indiana 1856, part 1 (Volume 1856, pt.1) → online text (page 23 of 53)