« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Of these claims, $56,754, were for claims arising under the Treaty of Washington, comprehending a variety of items, not allowable under the first appropriations; the sum of $85,928 for military expenditures, which were adjusted at the War Department; and $19,716, being the distributive share of the land money belonging to this State. The Treaty claims due the State, have been allowed and paid in full : of the military claims, a balance is still unpaid.
Full and particular accounts of the final adjudication upon these claims, at the several departments to which they were referred, with a statement of the specified differences in the settlement of our military accounts, have been furnished me.
These papers, with a particular statement of the items allowed, as also a detailed statement of the “ Disputed Territory Fund,” which I have also received, will be shortly laid before you.
Of the operations in the Land Office, a detailed statement will be found in the report of the Agent.
That they have been uncommonly active and successful, will sufficiently appear by the large sums they have contributed to the resources of the Treasury, the receipts for the year having exceeded the estimate of the Agent, nearly one hundred thousand dollars.
It is not believed, that any new legislation in regard to our public lands is now called for; in a faithful administration of the laws already provided, the State is receiving a constantly increasing revenue, and it may reasonably be hoped, that with an adherence to the same prudent policy, the time is not distant when it will afford an income sufficiently large to defray the expense of our State government.
The appropriations which have been made for the construction and repair of roads in the vicinity of the State lands, have increased the facilities of travel and transportation, and rendered to those whose enterprise and labor have been so profitable to the State, as well as to the public generally, a very essential service. The expenditure of the sums which have heretofore been granted for those purposes, has been generally contingent upon the expenditure of like sums by the State of Massachusetts, whose pecuniary interest is greatly promoted by the opening of these important avenues of communication. It is to be regretted, that the expenditure of these grants has been frequently limited for want of the required co-operation.
Several of these roads are in want of immediate repair, and considerable sums will be needed to render those now opened, tolerably passable. I trust an appropriation sufficiently large to make the necessary improvements will be made, and that the proper steps to induce the co-operation of Massachusetts will also be adopted.
The Report of the Bank Commissioners, which was made in December last, has been printed, and copies will be herewith laid before you.
The highly important functions which are performed by our Banking Institutions, in all that pertains to the business affairs of the community, will always render an accurate knowledge of their condition and management, a matter of peculiar interest, both to the Legislature and the people.
Intrusted with almost unlimited control over our local currency, and extending their agency into every department of trade, it is the imperative duty of the State government, not only to see that they are subjected to wise and wholesome legislation, but to maintain over them such a supervision, as will insure a strict compliance with the legal enactments by which they should be governed.
The attention of former Legislatures has been anxiously directed to the accomplishment of these objects, and such guards and restrictions have been imposed, as without impairing their usefulness or efficiency, have been considered sufficient to protect the community from the irregularities and abuses, to which experience has shown they are liable.
The charters of all the Banks in the State will expire by limitation, in October of next year; and although the subject will not necessarily require your action at the present session, it may be proper in the meantime, to inquire, how far the operation of existing laws may have shown the necessity of further legislation.
In anticipation of such an inquiry, several suggestions are offered by the Commissioners, which from the experience and observation upon which they are founded, are
entitled to respectful consideration. They do not however contemplate any considerable innovation
present system; nor, with the exception of a narrower limit in the extent of their loans, do they recommend that any material restrictions should be added to those now provided. And they express their conviction, that the several acts for regulating banks and banking now in force,
though not entirely faultless, are as perfect as those of any State in the Union.'
It will be perceived, that the Commissioners again invoke the attention of the Legislature to the continued infraction, by some of the banks, of that provision of the law, which limits the amount of their circulation. Neither this, nor any other habitual violation of the law, should be countenanced or permitted ; if the restriction be unwise or impracticable, the law which imposes it should be repealed or amended ; if it be salutary and proper, it should be rigidly enforced.
If one institution is allowed to transcend its legal limits, on the ground either of local necessity or of the undoubted ability of the Bank, it is difficult to conceive how another, no more culpable, but in which the violation may be attended with real danger, can be rebuked or punished. The same privileges should be extended to all, or all required scrupulously to conform to the prescribed limit.
The adoption of some provision, better calculated than any now in force, to remedy this continued irregularity, and which shall be also applicable to a similar excess in the amount of loans, and the liability of directors; is strongly recommended by the Commissioners, and should receive your careful attention.
It has been frequently urged, that in the annual exhibits of the condition of our Banks, there uniformly appears a much greater disproportion between their paper circulation, and the aniount of specie it is intended to represent, than was either contemplated by the law, or is consistent with a sound and prudent policy; and that while this disproportion is suffered to continue, there will be a greater liability to those sudden expansions and contractions in the currency, which have heretofore produced such injurious effects upon the operations of business, and created such frequent changes in the value of property.
However this may be, an inspection of the returns for some years past, has impressed me with the apprehension, that our paper circulation is becoming less and less deperdent upon a metallic basis; and that the increasing disparity which these returns exhibit, may well call for legislative consideration.
It will be seen by referring to these returns, that while our banking capital was little more than half its present amount, and the paper circulation in the same proportion, the specie means in possession of the banks, exceeded by more than two to one, the sum now in their vaults; and even since 1843, while the paper circulation has increased more than six hundred thousand dollars, the returns show an actual diminution of the coin it represents; and in the report of the present year, there will be found a circula