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Samuel J. (Samuel Jones) Tilden.

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was settled in full last year by the payment of five hundred
dollars, fixed by the Comptroller, who was authorized to audit
the claim, to the amount of two hundred and fifty dollars, in
addition to the sum at which it was so audited. There is no
ground for reviving any portion of the claim which was thus
disposed of by final settlement.

(2) " For the Onondaga Salt Springs, for a new water-wheel at
Syracuse pump-house, $4,000 ; for two new large piston-pumps
at Salina pump-house, $2,500 ; for two old large piston-pumps at
Salina pump-house, $500 ; for six new deep well-pumps for new
wells, $3,000 ; for six new well-houses, $2,300 ; for shafting, gear-
ing, and trestle for new wells, $2,500 ; for new engine-house for
Syracuse group of wells, $1,000 ; for new conduits, $2,200 ; for new
lathe for boring logs, $1,100 ; for boring-tools for new lathe, $300 ;
for shafting and gearing for driving new lathe, $500 ; for twenty-
two salt covers, appropriated to make room for new wells, $1,100 ;
for laud required for operating new wells and laying down con-
duits, $2,000."

The appropriation for the next fiscal year provides sixty
thousand dollars " for superintendence, collection, and neces-
sary expenses." The sum is probably larger than the entire
income to the State from the salt works will be during the
same period.



158 THE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1875.

The appropriation last year was fifty thousand dollars. The
net income was about ten thousand dollars. This additional
appropriation would be applicable to the current year, and
would make the expenditures at least thirteen thousand dollars
in excess of the whole income.

The receipts from the salt works for the last five years have
been 8-399,542, and the outlay, 8421,722. The balance against
the State is over twenty-two thousand dollars. During the last
year over 37^ per cent of the expenses was for salaries. At
the present time the prospects of the salt business arc very
unfavorable. It is said that of three hundred salt blocks not
more than twenty-five are now in operation, and that no new
salt has been inspected this season. Extraordinary outlays,
even under the specious guise of improvements, are very un-
suitable to the present condition of the interests of the State in
these works and to the general condition of the salt business at
the present time.

All requisite repairs and everything necessary to protect
the State property ought to be paid from the regular annual
appropriation. For every such purpose that fund ought to be
ample. Economy ought to be practised in all expenditures, and
retrenchment should be rigorously enforced in current expenses.
No new investments for improvements ought to be made at
the expense of the taxpayers of the State without a better
assurance of the future. So far from venturing into new
operations^ a thorough investigation ought to be made of the
past administration of these works.

(3) " For refunding to the County of Wyoming moneys alleged
to have been erroneously paid into the State treasury, $2,276.01,
if upon investigation the Comptroller shall determine that said
county is equitably entitled thereto."

It is at least questionable whether this claim rests on any
basis of equity. The facts, as near as they can now be
ascertained, are adverse to its allowance. It is quite certain,
however, that the allowance of this item would give rise to



I87S-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 159

similar claims to the extent of a hundred and fifteen thou-
sand dollars from other counties which could be claimed
with equal justice.

There is no reason why this county should be preferred
over any other, or this item sanctioned, unless the whole
matter is investigated and all the counties placed upon an
equal footing.

(4) " For walling and covering with stone the State raceway,
leading from the Erie Canal to the pump-house in the third ward
of the city of Syracuse, for the purpose of propelling the public
pumps, the sum of twenty thousand dollars, or so much thereof
as may be necessary, one half thereof to be expended in the year
1875, and the other half thereof in the year 1876, the work to be
done first from Genesee Street north to the pump-house ; and
for the construction of a two-foot sewer in Clark Street and
Leavenworth Avenue, in the city of Syracuse, opposite lots be-
longing to the State, in accordance with plans of sewer commis-
sion and common council of said city, the sum of five thousand
three hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary.
Each of said works to be done under the direction and control
of the State engineer and surveyor, the canal commissioner in
charge of the middle division of the canals, and the superintendent
of the Ononclaga Salt Springs, who are hereby authorized and
required to advertise and let the same to the lowest lona fide
responsible bidder, whose bids shall be balanced, giving adequate
security for the faithful performance of the works. Cast-iron
conduits may be substituted in said raceway in place of the
walling and covering with stone, in case the said commission
shall find the same can be clone as cheaply, and that it will be
for the interest of the State so to do. No part of the work shall
be contracted for, nor money expended thereon, until the State
engineer shall certify that the same is necessary, and in his
opinion can be completed for the amount hereby appropriated."

This raceway was rebuilt under the supervision of George
Geddes, and he alleges that it was an excellent piece of work,
and is in good condition at the present time, having a plank
bottom 9 to 10 feet in width, and side walls 2 feet in thickness.
The water runs through it at 2^ miles per hour, with no
place where it can stagnate or render the locality unhealthy.



160 THE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1875.

A part of the contiguous lands has been sold by the State.
The raceway now serves all the purposes for which it was
constructed, and no benefit can accrue to the State from the
projected expenditure. Nor has the State any interest in the
construction of the sewer. If one is needed in that locality,
it should be built, as sewers are in other parts of the State,
by the interests benefited.

(5) "For refunding to the city of Auburn the amount of the
assessment for paving in front of the State Armory, $1,336.07,
and for building a sewer in front of the State Prison at Auburn
and walks in front of the State Armory in said city, $1,109.66,
to be paid on the draft of the mayor of said city."

I assume that a municipality has no jurisdiction to levy an
assessment upon property belonging to the State. The city
corporation derives all its power from the sovereignty of the
State, and I cannot admit that the creature can impose any
liability upon the property of its creator. The benefits de-
rived by the locality from the establishment of a State institu-
tion are more than sufficient to counterbalance the burdens
imposed by the withdrawal of the property occupied by it
from local assessments.

(6) "For the Willard Asylum for the Insane, to finish a new
group of buildings sufficient to accommodate two hundred addi-
tional patients, a hundred thousand dollars, or so much thereof
as may be necessary, to be certified by the building superintendent
of the asylum."

The Willard Asylum is one of the most meritorious of the
State institutions ; but the policy which it seems right and wise
to adopt in regard to outlays for new construction requires that
the appropriation of a hundred thousand dollars to erect a
new group of buildings should be postponed at least until next
year, and perhaps until the year after, when the bounty debt
will have been extinguished.

The recent session of the Legislature found the State in the
progress of constructing four great State institutions, three



I87S-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 161

asylums for the insane and a reformatory. It might have been
supposed that such an extensive provision for the insane as
is contemplated in these three institutions could not become
necessary on the instant, and that common prudence would
have dictated that one institution should be completed before
another was begun. But unfortunately not even the sacred
influences of charity could save these works from the spirit of
legislative log-rolling or the rapacity of local expenditure.

Two and three quarter millions of money raised by taxes has
been actually expended on these four institutions, and about
four hundred and fifty thousand dollars raised by taxes and
appropriated remains unexpended, and yet no considerable part
of these works are made available. The policy of beginning
everything and finishing nothing has prevailed. Construction
has been on a scale of costly extravagance.

The annexed table shows the situation of these institutions
as they now stand. The column which contains the estimated
cost of completing the whole building, in each case was fur-
nished by an intelligent and judicious person, and is the only
part of the statement that is a matter, not of certainty, but of
opinion.



VOL. II. 11



162



TEE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN.



[1875-



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i8;5-l VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 163

The policy adopted by the chairman of the Committee of
Finance of the Senate and the chairman of the Committee of
Ways and Means of the Assembly, with my concurrence, was
to confine the appropriations of the present year to such sums
as would make available and bring into use the portions of
those structures most nearly approaching completion. In the
main, the appropriations made by the present Bill conform to
that plan. Provision is likewise made in this Act, and in an-
other applying to the three asylums, for a revision of the plans
for the future construction authorized, and to secure as much
economy as possible in the work. It is advisable that the
appropriations for the completion of the other parts of these
institutions - - if on careful examination and consideration they
are to be completed on their present plans should be de-
ferred until vear after next, when the bounty debt will have

/ y

been paid and a further remission of taxes will become
possible.

It has been stated by the Comptroller that the cost of former
institutions of this nature was but six hundred dollars per in-
mate, and it was estimated by him that in the recent more

/

expensive times twelve hundred dollars per inmate, even " with
enlarged capacities and better conveniences," ought to be ade-
quate. It is quite clear that an outlay of five thousand dollars
per inmate for the purpose of providing shelter for the unfor-
tunate objects of public charity is unreasonable and extrava-
gant. That would be equal to twenty-five thousand dollars
for five persons, which compose the average family in this
State. How many families of laborious and thrifty pro-
ducers can afford to live in a house costing twenty-five thousand
dollars ?

In 1865 less than one sixtieth of the houses of this State
were of stone, and their value was about ten thousand dollars
each, or two thousand dollars for each inmate. Those of brick,
which are about one eighth of the whole number, were valued
at six thousand dollars, or twelve hundred dollars for each
inmate. Those of wood, which are three fourths of the whole



164 THE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1875.

number, were valued at eleven hundred dollars, or two hundred
and twentv dollars for each inmate.

/

I deny that there is any sound public policy in erecting pal-
aces for criminals, for paupers, or for the insane. A style of
architecture simple, and fitted to the nature of its object,
would reconcile artistic taste with justice toward the indus-
trious producers, on whom falls the burden of providing for the

unfortunate. Waste in such edifices is not onlv a wrong to

/ ~

the taxpayers, but by just so much it consumes the fund which
the State is able to provide for the objects of its charity.

Xor does the mischief stop with the completion of costly
dwellings. The State still has to provide annually for the sup-
port of their inmates. By an inevitable association of ideas
in men's minds, magnificent homes lead to magnificent current
expenditure. The pride of officers and managers and of local
admirers, and the zeal of benevolence, are freely indulged
where they are gratified without expense to those who are
swayed by them.

It is to be remembered that, after all, the incidence of taxa-

/ j

tion is chiefly not upon accumulated wealth, but upon the
current earnings of tho million who carry on their productive
industries in frugal homes. They ought not to be the only
class disfavored by the policy of the State ; they ought not to
be unnecessarily burdened. A governmental selection adverse
to those from whom its strength and wealth proceed would
reverse the laws, process, and results of natural selection.

It is proper to add in this connection that communications
have been received from gentlemen eminent in literature and
science, in social life and public consideration, complaining of
the legislative provision attached to the appropriation for the
Homoeopathic Asylum at Middletown, by which the manage-
ment of that institution is revolutionized.

The answer to their suggestions is, that the Governor is not
able to see that he has any power under the provision of the
Constitution to strike out that clause or to give to them the
redress they seek.



I875-] VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 165

(7) "For the Adjutant-General to replace certain property de-
stroyed by fire in the Armory at Syracuse on the 24th of June, 1873,
according to schedule in the hands of the Adjutant-General, the
items of which are to be audited by him, the sum of $1,178.78, or
so much thereof as may be necessary."

This item, as the Adjutant-General states, was inserted with-
out his knowledge or agency. The claims, if they exist at all,
rest on a very slender basis. The appropriation is also subject
to the objection that it appropriates the public money before
the claims have been audited.

(8) "For the establishment of a female department of the West-
ern House of Refuge for juvenile delinquents, as provided by
Chapter 228 of the Laws of 1875, the sum of seventy-five thousand
dollars."

This sum is already sufficiently appropriated by Chapter 228
of the Laws of 1875, and ought not to be here repeated.

(9) " The Comptroller is hereby authorized to pay to Wheeler H.
Bristol the amount that shall have been audited by the Lieutenant-
Governor and Attorney-General, pursuant to Chapter 299 of the
Laws of 1875 ; and the sum of $9,159.75, or so much thereof as
may be necessary, is hereby appropriated for that purpose."

Section 19 of Article III. of the Constitution, as amended,
declares that " The Legislature shall neither audit nor allow
any private claim or account against the State, but may appro-
priate money to pay such claims as shall have been audited and
allowed according to law."

It is the better opinion that the audit of a private claim must
precede the appropriation for its payment. In the present case
a law has been passed providing for an audit of this claim ; but
no audit seems yet to have been made.

(10) "For expenses incurred by the County of Cayuga on the in-
dictment and trial of Michael Donohue, John Coughlin, Thomas E.
Hardy, Patrick Eagan, and Patrick Clifford for offences committed
by them during their confinement in the State Prison in Auburn,
the sum of $2,808.98, or so much thereof as may be certified to by
the Attorney-General."



1G6 THE WORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1875.

It is the rule that the expenses of a criminal trial shall be
borne by the county in which the offence was committed, irre-
spective of the residence of the offender or the occasion which
brought him within the county. On principle, there seems to
be no reason why the State should refund to the County of
Cayuga the expenses of this trial.

(11) " For removing the bar and dredging the channel of Cayuga
inlet, to be done under the direction of the canal commissioner in
charge of the middle division of the State canals, the sum of five
thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, which
work shall be let by contract to the lowest bidder, as now required
by law for the advertising and letting of public works."

There has been already expended, from year to year, several
hundred thousand dollars, under the pretence of doing this work,
and no perceptible lowering of the water has resulted. No fur-
ther expenditure ought to be made for this purpose without a
thorough investigation to establish the utility of the work pro-
posed, and the fact that the appropriation will accomplish the
object. It is provided that this expenditure be made by the
canal commissioner in the manner of canal contracts ; in which
view the item would more properly be found in the general
provisions for canal work. The State has no motive for intro-
ducing either the forms or results of canal work into any other
parts of the public service.

(12) " For the Auditor to make his compensation equal to that of
last year, the sum of seven hundred and fifty dollars."

Section 18 of Article III. of the Constitution provides that
" The Legislature shall not pass a private or local bill creating,
increasing, or decreasing fees, percentage, or allowances of public
officers during the term for which said officers are elected or
appointed."



1875-1 VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875. 167



GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS IN EESPECT TO THE

SUPPLY BILL.

1. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NEW CAPITOL.

Of the million provided for this purpose, more than two hun-
dred thousand dollars will be consumed in the payment of ar-
rears now existing in the nature of a floating debt, and less
than eight hundred thousand dollars will be applicable to new
construction.

It is with reluctance that I assent to this appropriation.
Nearly six millions of dollars have already been expended upon
this edifice. Although the general plan has been determined,
the details have not been worked out with such thoroughness
and such certainty as to afford any guide as to the amount
which will probably be required for the completion of the
building. If it were an original question, I should have no
hesitation in condemning and discarding a work of such un-
necessary cost ; but it cannot be now abandoned without losing
all that has been thus far expended. In deciding on the wisdom
of completing it, we are to consider only whether it will be
worth the future outlay for its completion. What that cost
will be, ought to be ascertained with all the precision attainable.
I doubted whether the work ought not to be suspended until the
plans of future construction should be settled, and full assurance
had that the annual expenditure should be made usefully in fur-
therance of those plans. In the mean time I favored a reduc-
tion of this appropriation below the amount adopted by the
Legislature. But provisions for this general object were in-
serted in the Supply Bill. They perhaps justify the allowance
of this item, especially as the law imposing a tax for raising
the money for this purpose will necessarily go into effect,
whatever might be done with this appropriation.



168 THEIWORKS OF SAMUEL J. TILDEN. [1875.

2. REDUCTION IN TAXATION THIS YEAR.

The Act to provide ways and means for the support of
government, which imposes upon the people what is called
the State tax, provides for the raising of 6 mills for the
year beginning on the 1st of October, 1875, against 1\ mills
imposed by a similar law for the year 1874. The sum to
be collected will be $13,015,874.23 imposed by the present
Legislature, against 815,727,482.08 imposed by the Legisla-
ture of 1874. The reduction in State tax will therefore be
$2,711,634.85. The annexed statement shows the general na-
ture of the objects for which the taxation of the two years
was imposed.



1875.]



VETO-MESSAGES IN 1875.



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Online LibrarySamuel J. (Samuel Jones) TildenThe writings and speeches (Volume 1) → online text (page 13 of 52)