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the reconstruction of the burned buildings. No further appropriation will be required for this purpose. The institution is free from debt. It has for several years been inadequate to the wants of such of the insane as the laws commit to its care, and, I believe, it will be the enlightened purpose of the State to provide for the construction of another Insane Asylum at the earliest period the condition of the Treasury will warrant an expenditure for the purpose.
The trustees appointed by the Legislature to locate the Inebriate Asylum, have accepted from the liberal citizens of Binghamton, two hundred and fifty-two acres of land as a donation for its site. The Asylum was commenced on the 23d day of June.
Its corner stone was laid on the 24th day of September. Upwards of 300,000 bricks and 50,000 cubic feet of stone have been laid in the walls of the building. There have been $50,000 subscribed to the fund of the Asylum, 25 per cent of which has already been paid. The donations in land, by the citizens of Binghamton are valued at $25,000. The building is expected to cost about $100,000. Although the first and only institution of the kind in this country, and, as far as I know in any other, the importance of the Inebriate Asylum is felt and acknowledged by every intelligent citizen of our State.
The New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, during the past year, has educated and supported 159 boys and 141 girls, 22 of whom have received the benefit of instruction in the higher branches. Of these 232 were the beneficiaries of the State, in conformity with existing laws.
The annual appropriations furnish the means of support and education for the number of pupils authorized by law to be selected by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. When it was thought advisable to make a change of location, the property on the Fourth Avenue was sold, and an estate was purchased about nine miles from the City Hall. This property, comprising thirtyseven acres of land, lying on the margin of the Hudson River, has been transferred to the State, and is now held in fee, subject to certain incumbrances and restrictions. The buildings commenced in 1853, are still incomplete, and subject to some indebtedness. In buildings and improvements there have been expended four hundred thousand dollars, about one fourth of which has been paid by the State. No situation could be found better adapted to the objects of the Institution.
The New-York Institution for the Blind deservedly retains the confidence of the public. Within a period of seven years, the number of children entrusted to its charge from this and from adjoining states has nearly doubled. The institution now contains about two hundred inmates. The teachers are selected from the pupils and graduates, and blind persons are, as far as practicable, employed in the household. After a term of seven years, they return to their homes throughout the State, and experience shows
that blind persons can be placed above the need of public charity.
The Asylum for Idiots, located at Syracuse, under the superintendence of Doctor H. B. Wilbur, is fully vindicating the wisdom of its founders.
The militia, embodying three hundred and sixty-seven thousand six hundred and thirteen officers and men, the organized portion of which, comprising seventeen thousand six hundred and thirteen officers and men, uniformed and equipped, is divided into eight divisions, twenty-six brigades and sixty-two regiments, is in an efficient condition. Pursuant to the law of 1858, there have been erected, or are in process of erection, arsenals in the following places, namely: At Albany, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Corning and NewYork. Those at Buffalo and Corning, have been completed; the one at Brooklyn has not yet been accepted; that at Albany has been erected but not finished; the one in New York is in process of erection, and has been delayed by the falling of the roof, in November last, thereby causing a large loss in damages, but whether to the State or to individuals, will depend upon investigation into the causes, yet to take place. For the first time in many years, the militia has been engaged in actual service. In conformity to the proclamation of my predecessor, issued on the 7th of September last, two hundred and fifty officers and men, including one section of artillery, were detailed from the troops of the first division, under Major General Sanford, to the Quarantine grounds at Staten Island, near the buildings to be erected for the accommodation of the sick emigrants, to defend the property of the State and the lives of the patients, against all violence. Subsequently, viz: on the 19th of October, this force was reduced to one hundred and twenty-five officers and men, who were relieved on the 3d instant. The expenses for maintenance and support have been assumed and paid by Governor King. It will be the province of the Legislature to provide for the reimbursement of this money, either by tax upon the county of Richmond, or from the State treasury. It will also be proper, in the same manner, to provide for the payment of the troops, whose soldierly conduct and bearing have deservedly been the subject of much commendation.
During the past year the Metropolitan Police force has been fully organized, by the appointment of all its officers, and the full complement of policemen; and its efficiency has been such as promises soon to render it, with the addition of such improvements in its government as experience may suggest, a most effective means for the maintenance of order and the protection of life and property, in the great centre of population in which it is located. In this result, the people of the State cannot but be deeply interested, for the rapid growth of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, which form the chief population of the district, draws thither, more and more, every year, the residents of other sections of the State, for various purposes connected with pleasure or business.
It must, therefore, continue to be an object of solicitude, as well with those residing without, as those residing within the limits of the district, that its police government shall be effectual, not only to preserve the public peace, but at all times to promptly afford the necessary protection to the Metropolis in which its principal functions are exercised; and the Legislature having assumed to itself, in the passage of the act organizing the Police District, the power conferred by the Constitution for the general public good, it should not cease to watch with jealous care, the results of the organization, and to adopt such further measures as in its wisdom may be deemed necessary for the better and more efficient government of the force.
The Board of Police Commissioners, in their annual report, which will hereafter be presented to you, make several suggestions for this purpose, which I commend to your careful consideration. Among these is the recommendation that the force be increased in the city of New York, in order that that metropolis may be better protected than can now be done with the number of policemen at the disposal of the Commissioners.
It would seem, from statistics which they present, that most if not all of the principal cities of Great Britain, have each a police force exceeding in proportion to their population, that now possessed by New York. This power to increase has, however, in the act creating the Metropolitan Police, been given to the boards of supervisors of the several counties composing the district, and unless some imperative necessity should determine otherwise, I would respectfully recommend that the power be left where the act has, in my opinion, judiciously placed it. If, however, the supervisors of any of the counties comprising the district should, after due notice, neglect to sanction the appointment of an adequate police force, the interference of the Legislature may become proper.
Our laws forbid aliens from acquiring and holding real estate, unless they make depositions that they are residents, and intend always to reside in the United States, and to become citizens thereof, and that they have taken such incipient measures as the laws of the United States require, to obtain naturalization. In consequence of this prohibition, special applications are made to the Legislature. Instead of granting such special applications, which has usually been done, I advise the passage of a general law, or such an amendment of the existing law on the subject, as will permit all aliens, who are actual residents of this State, to acquire, hold and convey real estate at their pleasure. I do not think any danger need be apprehended from such an enactment. It would be a proper measure, and preclude the necessity of applications for special privileges.
Now that direct taxation is necessary, in order to supply the treasury with funds for the payment of interest on a considerable portion of the public debt, as also to pay the expenses of the government, I doom it a suitable occasion to remind the Legislature,
that much inequality exists in the valuations of both real and personal estate, and that measures should be adopted for the correction and equalization of such valuations.
There is an unadjusted question, in relation to the boundary line between this State and the State of Connecticut, the necessary information concerning which, I have not been able to obtain; but it is a question which ought to be settled during the present session, and I call attention to it, fully believing it will receive that consideration and action, which justice to our own, and to our sister State, demands.
It has been, for several years, the custom for certain counties to make application to the Legislature to extend the time for the collection of taxes, which applications have usually been granted. Being only partial, the operation is necessarily unequal, and ought to be discouraged and discontinued.
I call your attention to the large sums expended annually for the printing of voluminous and non-essential documents, believing that with a careful discrimination as to the matter printed, considerable sums can be saved, while all really useful and necessary information can be as largely disseminated as at present.
It ought to be the earnest object and desire of every good citizen to exercise whatever influence he possesses, in sustaining any proper law for protecting the purity of the elective franchise, by carrying into effect that part of the Constitution which provides " that laws shall be made for ascertaining, by proper proofs
, the citizens who shall be entitled to the right of suffrage." The example of some of the older States, in which laws for the registration of voters have existed for very many years, and in which they are successfully and easily carried out, with the acquiescence and approval of every one, has led several of the other States, within a few years, to enact similar laws, having for their object the registration of all persons who are legally entitled to vote.
These laws are general in their character, and are so framed that in no case can those entitled to vote be deprived of their just rights on account of temporary absence or otherwise. Such a law, properly framed, is essential in securing to all citizens, native as well as adopted, the proper exercise of the elective franchise. To do this, is one of the highest duties of a State; and complying, as it will, with a mandate of the Constitution, I recommend its enactment during the present session.
In the delegation of the pardoning power by the Organic Law, it was presumed that courts and juries, in criminal cases, would perform their duties cautiously, wisely and justly, on the humane principle, that if there be any reasonable doubt the accused must be acquitted, and that no conviction will occur without due proof of guilt. It is greatly to the credit of our judicial tribunals, that innocent persons are rarely convicted. The framers of the Constitution could not have intended that the Executive would, as a general rule, be called upon to judge of the guilt of the condemned, or of the severity or fitness of the sentence. These are questions for the Judiciary, except in extreme cases; and in the exercise of the pardoning power, it is the duty of the Executive to act upon these principles.
Nothing will so certainly deter from the commission of crime, as the certainty of punishment. The great purposes for which punishments are instituted demand it, certainly so far as their design is to operate as a warning to others, and a reformation of the offender. Neither is attained unless punishment surely follows the offence, and is of sufficient severity to warn others against the dangerous example, and if possible to improve and amend the criminal. These views lead to the conclusion that the pardoning power must be cautiously exercised; that ex-parte applications for Executive clemency now so frequently made will be viewed with disfavor, and that when a conviction for crime has legally been had, and is not shown to have been improper, the offender must expect punishment as his just reward. I have reason to believe that for some classes of offences under our criminal code, the terms of imprisonment ought to be shortened; and that greater discretion should be given to the courts for that purpose. I commendthe subject to the attention of the Legislature as one entitled to careful consideration.
The existing law for the sale of intoxicating drinks, and the prevention of intemperance, pauperism and crime, has received, within the last few months, à constitutional affirmation by the highest court in the State. Such being the case, it is but just to test the principle of the law before radical changes are adopted. Defects are, however, believed to exist in some of the details of the law. If so, proper amendments should be made at the present session.
Representing, as you do, all parts of the State, and coming directly from your constituents to the discharge of your duties here, you will be qualified to judge of the nature and extent of such defects. But since the constitutionality of the law has been established by the Court of Appeals, its practical operation should be fairly tested, for which reasonable time should be given. Any further just and constitutional enactment, for the suppression of the evils of intemperance, will have my sympathy and cooperation.
The practice of postponing the consideration of the annual Appropriation Bill till just at the close of the session, is a grave error and should be discontinued. Moments of excitement on the eve of an adjournment, when members are worn and weary in the din and bustle which attends the last few hours of a protracted session; when many have left for their respective homes, and when those remaining are preparing to do so, are not the hours best adapted to calm, deliberate judgment and action, upon a bill containing grants of money to more than one hundred various objects, amounting to more than one million of dollars; all to be collected from the people by direct taxation. However long the custom has prevailed, no necessity exists for its continuar.ce. The bill can be considered, debated and enacted much more under