Annual reports of the officers of state of the State of Indiana online

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eral Assembly to the 5th Monday in December, and requiring the
Governor to lay before that body at its present session, a certified
copy of the amended Constitution, all establish beyond a donbt the
purpose of the Legislature to limit the action of the Convention
within the period of three months.

The committee are of opinion, that a strict economy of time would
have enabled the Convention to have fully and satisfactorily fulfilled
ita trust and to have made all needful amendments to the Constitution
within that period. While thej^ would not disparage the value of
the labors of that body, nor impugn the motives of any of its
members, much less make any invidious references, they desire to
express in distinct terms their opinion, that much time has been use-
lessly consumed in the consideration of reforms- neither called for
nor desirable.

In the opinion of this committee the organic law of the State
should be simple in structure* brief and perspicuous. These qualities
are important to secure its being read and comprehended by the ipeo^
pie of all classes and conditions, now and hereafter. It should be a
vademecum in the hands of every citizen, as familiar to him as his

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Bible. The distribution of the powers of government, and the pre-
cise UmHation of each department, with a specific enumeration of
those^rights excepted out of the powers of government* and imiola^
Ue under all circumstances, are susceptible of being reduced within
a very brief compass, scarcely as long tm the charter of a moddm
ndlroad company. The best evidence of this truth is found in that
beautiful model* wortiiy of all imitation, the Constitution of the
United States, and in that excellent Constitution now in process of
amendment. Under this latter instrument* we have flourished as a
State, beyond all former precedent. From a population of 60*000
sottlsf we have increased to one of a million, and in the third part of
a century have risen to the dignity of the fifth State in this great
Confederacy. That Constitution was framed by our fathers, in the
period of twetUy-ime days. A Convention of their sons has been oc-
cupied near four months with its revision, and yet gives no indica-
tion of an early adjournment.

The Committee do not wish to disguise the fact* that the people
are rsstless and dissatisfied with this state of things. Their mur-
mon are becoming deep and loud. By the Ist of February, the ear-
liest period at which the Convention will probably adjourn, its ex-
penses will amount to very near the sum of $80,000; a sum adequate
to defray the whole ordinary expenses of the State Government for
a year. At a period when our people are staggering under the bur-
den of the State debt ; when many counties have become deeply in-
volved, in the erection of public buildings, and in subscriptions to
railroad enterprises; when our taxation has been pressed seemingly
to the furthest endurable point, it is with deep reluctance the Com-
mittee feel constrained to recommend a further appropriation of
137311* involving still further taxation. This appropriation b de-
signed to cover all the expenses of the Convention, not met by the
appropriation of last year, up to the 1st day of February next.
The Committee feel that they would outrage public opinion* were
they to recommend an appropriation that would allow the Conven-
tion to continue its session one day beyond the period above named*
at the expense of the State. Should the members of that body not
be able to complete their work by that time, it is not doubted a sense
of patriotism will induce them to cheerfully devote the remaining
time required without charge.

The Committee submit die following estimates of expenses up to
the 1st day of February dext :

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Per diem pay of the memben $54,450

Mileage of members, 3,750

Expenses of Clerks, . -..-•.. StJBSi

Ex penses of Door-keepers, Sergeant-at-arms, and Woodman, 3,239

Stationery and fuel, 1,630

Expense of Stenographer to report the debates of the Con-
vention, 5^243

Expenses of room, and rent of Masonic Hall, ■ . 520

Expenses of printing, 5,600



JAS. s. McClelland,



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Poc. No. 10.] [Parti.







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Totke Htm. J&teph A. Wright, €hvemor of Indiana:

Dbae Sir — Having made, by your appointment, and accord*
ing to law, two Tisits, one in Aprils and the other in December, to
the Indiana Penitentiary, I proceed to communicate to you such facta
and sonestions as appear to me of interest.

The Prison buildings arejn good repair, and are kept as neat and
comely as the circumstances of the place, and the purposes for which
they are used, would seem to admit. The grounds about the Prison,
the street in front and the gardens and yards of the Warden and
Leasee, are improving by the tasteful planting of shade trees and

The Prison yard greatly needs improvement. It is necessarily
nsed constantly, trampled over by men, and cut up by the wheels of
vehicles. It must, therefore, especially in winter and In rainy sea-
sons, become desperately muddy. The^whole yard should be McAd*
amized. It was supposed that the refuse of Uie brick-yard might
answer instead of rock, for rendering the surface of the Prison-yard
solid ; but experience proves that nothing less substantial than bro-
ken lime stone will answer any valuable purpose. It is decidediv
advised to have the whole, or nearly the whole yard covered witn
broken rock, sufficiently deep to afford a dry, firm surface.

A sewer, leading from the Prison to the river, is urgently demand*
ed. The means by which the excrement and filth are now removed,
are shocking to all the senses of humanity. The sewer should be
constructed, if possible, before the heat of summer returns. Health
about the prison is entirely out of the question in warm weather,
while such a state of things, as must exist, with no better means than
are now available for renK>ving the large amount of excrementitious
matter, collecting about such an establishment, remains. The inter-
nal condition of the work-shops, and cell-house, is, in geneal, good.
Several openings have been made during the last season, in^the roof
of the cell-house^ to permit the escape of vitiated air. By this means
the ventilation of the building is greatly improved.

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In paning through the workshops, and carerully noting the nooiber
and apparent character of the prisoners, one is surprised at the very
small number of convicts in proportion to the population of the
State. With a population of 988,000, we have less than 150 in the
Penitentiary. In looking over the Prison Register for the last fifteen
years, I find that the whole number of convicts entered in that time,
is less than 600.

On observing the prisimers individually, we fail to recognize indi-
cations, except in fewinstaacef,|)f old mi hardened criminals. Moat
of the convicts are of youthful appearance. Many of them would
be taken for persons of harmless character. Many (rf* them com-
mitted the crime for which they are imprisoned, in a fit of passion f
others under the influence of drunkenness. Some have neither mor-
al force to keep out of a bad scrape, nor cunning to escape detection^
There are, however, among them, some fzpart and a<?ecwpUflhetf
roffues, who never should be trusted at large, m society.

The small number of prisoners, and the abeenoer in tliem^rity of
Indication? of ynusual depravity, would lead us to ip&r that the peo*
pl9 of Indiana are very moral, or that our laws are very lenient, or
that most of the expert, accomplished, and talented rogues have e^*
Mped detection.

There appears a strange inequality in the terms of imprisomaeal
Qf different individuals for the sameofience. Some persons are sent
for t^o, some for five, some for seven, and some for fourteen yeartt
for the very same crime, differing in no material circumstance. If
this inequality be the fault of the law, the law should surely beamend-
oi. If it be the fault of Judges and Jurors, the pardoning power
should be Interposed. There is one man now serving his tentn year
for stealing a horse. Several others, for the same ofienee, under more
aggravating circumstances, are sent for only two yearei. There is
surely something wrong in this.

The discipline of the Prison, particularly under the administration
of the gentleman now acting as Warden, is efiicient, and as mild aa
the nature of the case will admit. Corporeal punishment has been
but seldom inflicted. Some kind of punishment is in some cases, in-
dispensable. The prisoners themselves all acknowledge this fact.
But it is. doubted whether flogging be the better mode or punishment.
]Por my own part^ I wholly disapprove of flogging human beings. 1
Relieve it not only unnecessary, but intrinsically and essentially in-
juripus. I would not resort to this mode of punishment, either in
families, or schools, or on ship-board, or in prisons. It b degrading
equally to him who suffers, and him who inflicts it. In the sufierer it
destroys self-respect, and begets revenge. In him who uses the rod
or the lash, it blunts the sensibilities, and brutalizes the mind. If
^e system were a good one, it is in a Penitentiary liable to gi*eat
aldose. Under the gentlemanly and amiable men, the Warden and
the li^ee, now in charge of the Indiana Penitentiary, there is little,
if any danger of abuse. Yet under other men, of less kindness of

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Mrt, or )$m •flqiiamtano with humtn nature^ grial ■buiat mUkk
ccun Prisoaora ftre fomatimes flomd oa the oomplaiat of <Hoor
onviotflt and more often on the com^int of oveiveen in the work
bopsp who are not in all caaee exempt from the tyranny of brief
.utboritv» and the prejudice of bitted and pais i o n ate temper*

I yerily believe, and in this opinion I am confirmed by the teetimo*
ly of Superintendents and oveneers of Priioafy that other modes of
(unishmentf less objectionable, and more effectual, may be substituted
or fledging. At any rate, the man who cannot govern children, or
cholars* or sailors, or prisoners, without flowing ihem, oqght never
o assume the control of human beings.

Convicts frequently brinff with them to the prisooi small eume of
noney. Small sums are luso occasionally furnished them by their
riends, or earned by extra labor. According to the rtiles of the
Prison, whatever money the convicts may have, or may receive,
nost be deposited with the Warden. These funds serve to procure
or the convict a little sqgar, or coffee, or some other luxury in sick*
less, and to furnish him some means of support, when, on the expira^
ion of his term, he is turned again on the world. To secure the
-elunding of such money, the Warden should be required to give
)ond. By the sudden death of the late Warden, several hundred
lollars, belonging to the convicts, are, it is feared, lost They were
'equired to place their little pittance in his hands, and it is gone.
Should not the State refund to those poor creatures the small some
hus lost, by the insolvency of their agent's estate? There are some
ndividual cases of extreme hardsliip in this matter. At any raieb
provision should be made by law, that no case of the kind should
lereafter occur.

When the convict's term expires, usage or law provides for him to
receive three dollars in cash. This sum is wholly inadequate. If the
convict has been long in prison, the clothes which he wore to the
[Penitentiary will have become, through moth and other causes, whot
y unfit for service. He roust have a suit of new clothes, and some
neans of paying his expenses to some pkce of abode. But what
!an he do with three dollars 7 How far will that go towards purohaa-
ng an outfit of clothing, and paying his expenses to his home T If
le has no friends near to help him, and no money i^.the hands of the
(Varden, be has no recourse but to steal. The State should provide
or a decent suit of clothes, and money sufficient to pay the expenses
if the liberated convict to his home. Unless this be done» it might
M as well to keep him in prison, and thereby save the trouble and
xxpense of sending him back for stealing to supply the exigencies of

It might not be proper for me to make any sumgpsstiow in relation
o the exercise of the pardoning power. I will, nowever, make one.
There are cases in which the pardoning power should be exercised,
)ut which are not likely to come to the notice of the Executive— ^m
}f men without friendst strangers among us — men who, in a drunken

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tpree, committed tstalts, or' stole a horse, or pissed a five doDtr
counterfeit bill, wliich probably some greater TiUain had just f^aaiod
pa them. They are prosecated, tad sent to prison for the first of-
fence, perhaps for fourteen years. They have no influential friendi
to help them, or perhaps they become in. their sober moments so cha-
grinea at their disgrace, that they, like some now in our Penitentia-
ry, resolve to die there, rather than ever have their family or friends
know where they are. Such cases I would particularly commend to
Executive favor. Reliance on the representation of a convict miffht
lead the Executive into error. A careful obsei*ver, however, of no-
man nature, would be less likely to be deceived by a persona! inter-
View with a convict, than by the representation of other persons.
He who possesses the pardoning power must not expect to escape
blame, whether he does, or does not exercise it. He will be most
likely not to err, when he takes the responsibility of acting solely oq
his own suggestions of right. So far as I have been able to ascertain
facts, the pardoning power, under your administration, has never
been exercised injudiciously, and it is my decided conviction that it
should have been applied in other cases.

It appears from examining the Prison Register, that of all who
enter the Penitentiary, at least one in six die there. This appears
too great a mortality. I know not the cause. If the blame be in
the natnre and circumstances of prison discipline, that discipline
should be modified. If there be any thing in the local position, or
circumstances of the Indiana Penitentiary, producing disease and
death, the cause should be investigated.

' One of the most interesting facts, which even the transient visiter
will notice, b the interest the prisoners take in .the Library, ipvhich
you took' the responsibility of procuring for them. Whenever his
task for the day is done, the poor convict takes his book from his
pocket, and b^ins to read. Provision should be made to furnish a
a small lamp at the door of each cell, that the inmate may be able to
read during the long winter evenings. The lamps hanging in the
hall are wholly insufficient to furnish light to read in the cells. The
ftimishing, however, of the small lamps for each cell, and the keep-
ing of them in order, would involve additional expense, which the
Lessee should ndt sustain without compensation.

Great good would result from a small annual appropriation for
increasing the library. The State would act not only benevolently,
but wisely, in making such appropriation.

A few newspapers might be of great service. I know not why a
prisoner should be kept wholly ignorant of what is going on outside
of his dungeon walls. If we ever expect to make a good citizen of
him, we should furnish him some means of keeping up his intelligence
of the progress of society.

I concur in your views in relation to transferring the duties of Su-
perintendent of buildings to the Warden, and also in relation to ap-
pointment of Physician. It is however, to be observed that a

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dtfUBgtm Um mpdb of appointiDg the Phytidaa might naturally » and
v«nr raatttriaUy aftet the interest of the Lessee. If, therrfore, tihe
pabtic good require the chai^, it may be right to make some adjust*
ment of terms between the State and the LMsee.

The last season has been one of peculiar hardship to the Leswe.
The cholera prevailed most disastrously among the prisonen. A
brae number died, and all, with two or three exceptions, were sick,
end for a long time business in the establishment was nearly suspend-
ed. The expense of providing for the sick was great, and the loss,
in beinp anaDle,from the prevailing sickness, to carry on busuMss to
meet his contracts, was very severe on the L e ssee , It is suggested
whether the State should not modify, in some deoree, the contract
with him, so as to be able to accomplish its benevdent purposes, and
yet secure him from loss.

As the contract between the State and the Lessee has some yean
yet longer to run, it woukl not be deemed timely now to discuss the
policy of leasing the Prison. There areevils essential to such a sys-
tem as the State has adopted in this matter. These evils, however,
are not Ukdy to be developed under the administration of such men,
as nowfillthe office of Wardenand Lesese. Men bettor adapted to
te place might not be easily found. But yet it is doubtful whether
the leasmg system be wholly consistent with the dignity, and the hu-
manity, of the populous, wealthy and noble State of Indiana. 8omm
other time, however, rather than the present, would be appropriate
forassigning reasons for this opinion. At present we have only to
tike the system as it is, and make the best of it.
Yours, Respectfully :


JAmaBT 1, 18BL

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Doc. No. 11.] [ Part I.







BILL, NO. 366.




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'. ' ! .

s . II'! rt'i /. I '- ." I r "! \>'f .1 .1

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To tke House cf RepresentaiiveSt of the General Assemtiy of the
ItaUof bdidna:

Gentlemen^-^Tbe accomplmjriAg billt No. S66» Ad act to amaod
in act entitled ''an aet supplamefitary to an act to provide for tba
'Yinded Debt of the State of Indiana, and for the completion of tha
Wabash and Erie Canal to Evansville, approved January 19, 1846^
ipproved January 27| 1847,^ was paned at the laat session of the
leneral Assembly, but not having been presented to me until withia
ive days, (indeed within less than two days) of the final adjournment
*f that session, and the intermediate time not being sufficient for
uch a consideration of the bill, as some erf* its provisions seemed
learly to demand, it was held over, as authorised by the Constitution
nd it is now respectfully returned to the House in which it <nriffhiaW
d, with the objections which have Constrained me to withhokl my.
pproval of the same.

This bill purports to be an ^ An act to amend an act entitled an
ct mpplementary to an act to provide for the Funded Debt of the
»tate of Indiana, and for the completion of the Wabash and Erie
)anal to Evansville, approved January 19, 1846, approved January
ff, 1847," — in an important particular.

To carry into effect the important and vital objects of the Public
)ebt Act, a trust was created for the two fold purpose of providing
»r the payment of one half of the public indebtedness of the State,
nd securing the completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal to the
>hio river — both objects of vital importance to the prosperity and
oner of Indiana.

In order to establish and secure the confklence.of bondholders in
ie security thus provided, and induce them to accept the provisions
r the act of 1847, it is, among other things, expressly declared, in
iction 14 of said act, as follows :

** Now to demonstrate the good faith of the State of Indiana, and
for the removal of all such doubts as aforesaid, and unih a niew to
create general confidence in the arrangement made in the said recit-
ed act by the State far the liquidation of its debt:
**Btit enatedf That the tolls, revenues, and profits of the said ca-
nal, and its appurtenances present and future, and the moneys to
arise and be collected by and from the sales of the lands and prem-

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** ises contiffuous thereto, and in the laid act mora particularly men-
** tioned and describ/Bd, and the personal taxes to be levied towards
** the payment of the said debt, as in the said act also recited, and
** the receipts and application thereof for that purpose, as in the same
** act is also provided, shall remain and be inviolatb and in full force;
** and the payment of the principal moneys and interest on the
•« certificates and stock intended to be created pursuant to the said
** act, and this act, and all the certificates and evidences of the title
** thereof respectively, shall be and continue effectual and inviolats
** by the means aforesaid, until the objects and purposes of the said
** act, and this present act, shall be fully accomplished."

And for the reasons and with the view to induce such confidence
as aforesaid :

, **Beit further enacted^ That all stock, to be created, and all cer-

''tificates and other instruments of title to be issued in pursuance of

the said act, and all principal moneys and interest thereby respective-

**ly secured, shall not be moksted or impaired, arrested or attached,

• «« by the State of Indiana.''

In the 32d section of the act referred to, it is declared : — ** The
** debt which it is the object of the trust created by the said recited
^act,(as amended by this act) to liquidate, as in thesaid acts is mention-
*' ed, having been contracted under the authority of the State of In-
^diana, and for the services of the people of the State, and it be'mg
« desirable, as well for the credit of the State, as also^ in aider to ef-
** tablish confidence in the public in general, and the subscribers in
^particular, to secure the utmost punctuality, in the fulfilment of the
" objects of the said Trust, it is hereby declared, that the tolls and
** revenues of the said canal, present and future, and the lands and
** lots so conveyed, as hereinbefore mentioned, and the proceeds there-
^ of, when sold, shall be, and the same are hereby specially pigged,
^ to form a distinct and particular fund for the redemption of the
^* stock and certificates to be issued in pursuance of the said recited
*' act, and of this act ; and the said State shall rot jmuubct or pBa-
** MIT any appropriation to be made of such tolls and revenues, lands
** and proceeds, or any of them, for the general purposes of the State.
**ov otherwise howsosvxr, other than and except for the purposes of
" the said Trust, as directed by the said act."

It would be diflicult to use any language so little liable to miscon-
ception, as that employed above. Apart from the nature of the ar-
rangement with our creditors, which is in the form of a compact,
the two acts of January, 1846, and January, 1847, are their own ia-
torpreters. The Legislature reserved to itself no power or right to
alter, repeal or amend them, or any part of them. A proposiuon to
retain this right was voted down by a decided majority of the Lag*
islature, as the record of their proceedings shows; for the reason,
unquestionably, that any such reserved power would prevent the ac-
ceptance of the act by the Bondholders, and defeat the very object
the Legislature had in view.

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The mctB rafemd to were in the form and titirit of a cmiUmet» in
winch the creditors of the State divided their claim between the State
heiBolf and certain securiiies which she tendered. These secnritiee
woro taken by the Bondholders for fully one half of the State's in«
debtednessy under certain guaranties, some of which I have recited.
Perhaps no measure was ever more full v discussed before the people
of Indiana ; and the Legislature of 1846-47 embodied in the act of
that session the strongest pledges and covenants, as we have seen,
against any such interference, at any time thereafter, ** with a view**
(as expressly stated*) "to create general confidence in the arrange-
-^ ment madb in the said recited act, by the State, for the liquidation of

Online LibraryIndianaAnnual reports of the officers of state of the State of Indiana → online text (page 13 of 40)