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Resolved, That a committee of two be appointed, to wait-upon the Governor of the Territory, and inform him that a quorum of the Council have assembled, and are ready to receive any communication he may think proper to make.
And Messrs. Schoolcraft and Fletcher were appointed that committee.
The Council proceeded to the choice of a Clerk, pro tem.— Whereupon,
On motion of Mr. Irwin, E. A. Brush was chosen.
The Council proceeded to the choice of a Sergeant-at-Arms, pro tem.-Whereupon,
On motion of Mr. Stockton, William Meldrum was chosen. On motion of Mr. Lawrence, the Council adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11 o'clock, A. M.
WEDNESDAY, May 12, 1830.
Mr. Schoolcraft, from the committee appointed to wait on the Governor of the Territory, and inform him that the Council are ready to receive any communication he may think proper to make, reported, that the committee had performed that service, and that the Governor answered, he would make a communication to the Council this day.
On motion of Mr. M'Donell, the Council took a recess of thirty minutes.
At 12 o'clock, M. the Governor of the Territory, LEWIS CASS, entered the Council-Chamber, and was conducted to the President's Chair.
The certificates of election of the Members of the Council, presented yesterday, (including that of Laurent Durocher, Member from the District composed of the counties of Monroe and Lenawe,) having been read; the Governor administered to the Members of the Council, the following oath of office:
"You, and each of you, do solemnly swear, that you will support the Constitution of the United States of America, and that you will, to the best of your judgment and ability, discharge the duties of Members of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Michi gan, for the term for which you have been elected. So help you
After which, the Governor addressed the Council as follows:
MESSAGE. Fellow-Citizens of the Legislative Council:
You have assembled, in the discharge of the important duties assigned to you, under circumstances favorable to the Territory, and calling for our acknowledgments to that overruling Providence. under whose blessing this heretofore remote section of the United States is becoming the abode of a civilised and religious people.
Since your last session no material change has occurred in our local affairs. The progress of improvement and settlement is rapid, and promises to become more so. The prospect of migration to the Territory is highly encouraging; and the approaching season will probably witness a greater accession to our numbers, than we have received in any preceding year. As a better knowledge of the climate and other advantages of the Peninsula is spread through the United States, and as the facilities of communication with it are increased, we may look forward to an increase of wealth and numbers, not more desirable for those, who are already established in the Territory, than for those, who seek by a change of residence, a participation in the advantages, which are here offered to all.
A variety of measures, interesting to the Territory, have already been acted on, or are pending before Congress. Among these, are appropriations for roads, light-houses, &c. a proposition to add another Branch to the local Legislature, and to extend the elective franchise, and several other matters of subordinate importance. From the spirit of kindness and liberality heretofore manifested i wards us by the general government, we may confidently antici pate a favorable result to most of these measures. They will materially improve our condition, and add to our means and motives for exertion.
In examining the geographical features of the Peninsula, and the facilities of intercourse which it possesses, as well internally as exterually, the great extent of inland navigation around it and throu i it presents advantages of communication, rarely equalled. From the mouth of the St. Joseph, at the Southern extreme of Lake Michigan, to the mouth of the Maumee, at the Southern extreme of Lake Erie, our whole border is washed by the great Lakes, and by the straits connecting them. But there is one obvious and signal improvement, which could be made, and which no doubt eventually will be made. And that is, to unite the mouth of the St. Joseph with our eastern coast, by a canal or rail-road, as experience moy establish the superiority of either, across the base of the Peninsula. The country presents no formidable obstacle to the execution of these works. It is generally level and well watered. And the summit on each side, with the exception of one small tract, is attained by a gradual and imperceptible elevation. There is probably no similar extent of country in the Union, where less laber er expense would be required, to produce so important a result. The advantages, which such a communication would afford to the fertile region upon the St. Joseph, as well as to all the Southern portion of the Peninsula, render the project worthy of your serious consideration. It is connected also with the military defence and permanent security of the frontier; for, in a state of war, the necessary inter course between Lake Erie and the country upon de Us could be preserved, without incurring the danger the guns of a hostile shore for many miles.
as well as in the facilities of communication, which would be afforded to the States of Indiana and Illinois, and in the extent of navigation to be avoided,-a navigation frequently hazardous, and generally more interrupted than an interior route would be-this work may be considered a national one. And it cannot be doubted, but that the general government would regard it favorably, were the advantages which it offers better known. I invite your attention to the subject. By inquiry and discussion, it will be brought before the community; and should you succeed, by an application to the President, in procuring the necessary surveys and examinations, definite information would then be furnished, by which the practicability, expense and advantages of the plan might be determined.
At the last session of the Legislative Council, an act was passed, requiring all Justices of the Peace to give bonds for the payment of all money collected by them, and providing, that all Justices of the Peace then in office, should give such bond on or before the first day of the succeeding January, and in default thereof should be ipso fa to removed from office. In some of the counties, this law was unknown, until after the period limited for the execution of the bond. They were thus left without Justices of the Peace, greatly to the inconvenience of the people, and to the delay or neglect of justice. It appears proper, that some provision should be made for legalising the acts of officers, done under these circumstances. And I submit for your consideration, whether in all future legislation, it will not be prudent to fix such a period for the taking effect of laws, as will ensure their previous promulgation over the extensive region, embraced within the Territory. There can be no more serious evil in a government of laws, than changes in the statutes concerning rights and remedies, crimes and punishment, which must operate upon the community, before their existence can be known. That portion of the Territory between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi, is so far removed from the seat of legislation, and the communication with it is so dilatory and uncertain, that much time should be allowed for the publication and distribution of the laws. The convenience of the people in that district calls for the establishment of a separate Territorial government; and a bill for that purpose has been reported at the present session of Congress. Should it pass, the local concerns of the new Territory can be managed more acceptably to its citizens, by a Legislature chosen and deliberating among themselves, than by one holding its sessions in this place. Should it, however, not pass, a revision of some of our laws, with a view to their better adaptation to that section of country, may be justly expected by its citizens. In the county of Iowa, there are no freeholders, nor can there be any, until the public lands are surveyed and sold. Those statutory provisions therefore, which require the aid of freeholders, are wholly inapplicable to the present condition of that district. Among these, is the law prescribing the qualifications of the suretics to sheriff's bonds; and
the consequence is, that no sheriff can comply with the requisition. So far as may be consistent with the Ordinance and Acts of Congress, it would appear expedient, that every power, necessary to the police and good government of the District, should be exercised by the people there, without the intervention of the distant Territorial authorities. And it may be safely exercised; for the experience of the United States, during half a century of self-government, demonstrates that the people are the safest depositories of their own power. Much may be done to relieve the condition of that district, by accommodating the laws to its peculiar circum
A judicial system, wisely organised and faithfully administered, is among the most important cares of society. Our own has been frequently changed, but there is reason to believe that its present constitution is not favorable to the attainment of the great objects of public and private justice. Speedy and impartial justice is guaranteed by the Ordinance, but the obligations connected with this duty, depend upon even higher principles than written constitutions. They are deeply engrafted in human nature, and recommend themselves with great force to the American people. The Legislature may ordain, and the Executive may endeavor to see, that the laws are faithfully executed, but the efforts of both will be vain, unless the Judiciary is enabled, by its organisation, to administer public and private justice, speedily and impartially. It is the only department of the government which can be brought directly into contact with the people. Possessing a power, which derives its efficacy, more from opinion than strength, it is due to those who are clothed with it, as well as to the community themselves, that the system of administration should be suited to the circumstances of the people, for whom it is prescribed. The number of organised counties is every year increasing, and even now the duties are laborious. If the Circuit Courts were held by one Judge, these duties would be much lighter. And an appeal from his decision to the Supreme Court, would give to the parties the benefit of the opinion of two Judges, who had not heard the cause. I am satisfied, that by a judicious revision, much may be done to expedite the business of the Courts, and to diminish the labor and expense of Judges, officers, and suitors.
Great inconvenience is experienced, in consequence of the want of regular returns in the militia. The arms provided by the annual appropriation, made by the General Government for arming the militia, are divided among the several States and Territories, in proportion to the numbers returned by each. It is therefore important, that our actual strength should be exhibited. But unfortunately great negligence prevails, and the aggregate, shewn by the returns, is far less than the actual state of our numbers requires. An efficient remedy can alone be found, in the application of a rigorous penalty to every officer, failing to make prompt and regular re
The duty is so easy in itself, and its results so important, that there should be no excuse. If persons will accept commissions, and cannot find sufficient motives for the faithful discharge of their duties in their own pride of character, and in the obligations voluntarily assumed by themselves, the public good requires that other motives for exertion should be supplied. Great diversity of opinion exists in the United States, respecting the value and efficiency of our present militia system. But whatever may be thought upon this subject, while the laws exist for its organisation and discipline, they should be enforced. And if the experiment of breaking down our whole system of national armament is any where to be made, it ought not to be made upon a distant and exposed frontier. There are peculiar circumstances, arising out of our local position and the character and political connexions of a race of people within our borders, which admonish us, that we ought not to be unprepared for events, which may again happen, as they have before happened. A large standing military force is equally incompatible with the genius of our government and the spirit of our institutions. And we must therefore rely, in any sudden exigency, upon the zeal and spirit of the great body of our citizens. Nor is our history wanting in lessons of experience upon this subject. Some of the most brilliant events in the war which achieved our independence, and in that which preserved it, are due to the courage and conduct of the militia, And the first and the last battles in our military histery are proud monuments of the valor and devotedness of men, who feel they are fighting for a country, in which each has a deep inteAnd Bunker's Hill and New-Orleans will ever be associated with recollections, dear to the American people.
There is no subject, to which your attention can be directed, more important in its immediate and remote effects, than the establishment of a practical system for the support of Common Schools. While the wealthy can at all times command ample means for the education of their children, those in moderate circumstances should be aided, and their strength united and rendered efficient, by Legis lative authority. I am apprehensive, that our present laws upon this subject are entirely too complicated for practical operation. Many of the provisions are wise and just, but many others do not seem adapted to the circumstances of a new country. The eff ciency of a system entering so much into the relations of private life, must depend essentially upon its simplicity, and upon its adapt ation to the situation and opinions of the people. And if there are existing defects, which can be remedied, or if a plan can be substi tuted, which shall promise more useful results, you cannot render a more important service to your constituents, than by an earnest re-examination of this subject. While the Territory is settling, its character is forming. Our citizens are brought together from various sections of the Union, and a common feature is yet to be impressed upon them, their laws and institutions. And to the virtue