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Government, it will not be necessary for you to act on this subject:
the Rochester and Olean canal; a Ship canal from the Hudson river to Lake Ontario; and another around the Niagara Falls. The line of the proposed rail-road passes through an interesting and rapidly improving section of the State, and in addition to the common advantages of such a work, one of a more general character and affecting more immediately the commercial interests of the , State, is urged in its favor. It is anticipated that by this improvement an intercourse, for commercial purposes, with the extensive and flourishing regions of the West, would be opened earlier in the spring, and continued later in the autumn, than it now is or can be by the Erie canal.
A law passed at the last session of the Legislature, directed the Executive to appoint a competent and experienced engineer to survey a route for this rail-road. Such an appointment was made, and the survey has been executed. I am informed by Mr: Benjamin Wright, the engineer selected for this purpose, that the map and profile required to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, will be completed about the fifteenth instant. These, when executed in the manner required by law, will assist you in coming to a correct conclusion on the subject of this improvement.
In relation to two of the projects I have mentioned—the Black River canal and the Rochester and Olean canal-I will only observe, that they are improvements in which a large and enterprising portion of our constituents feel a deep interest, and which they believe to be of great public importance. The Legislature at the last session directed surveys of the routes for them to be made, and reports to be laid before you. When they are received, you
possess authentic information to guide your action in relation The Government of the Canadas is making vigorous efforts to render safe and easy the navigation of the St. Lawrence, with a view to direct the business on Lake Ontario and the region above and around it, to Montreal and Quebec. One of the principal objects of the proposed ship canal, is to countervail these efforts, and draw this business to the city of New-York. The enlargement of the Erie canal, will, to some extent, contribute to this object. It will be for you to determine, whether the additional advantages of a ship navigation are of sufficient importance to call for the construction of such a work.
The attention of the last Legislature was directed to the importance of removing the obstructions to the navigation of the Hudson river; but as this work has been since undertaken by the General
Other projects of internal improvement than those I have mentioned, have occupied the attention of the people in different sections of the State. Should any of them be presented to the Legislature , I trust they
will receive the consideration which they As contributing in some measure to the same ends for which Works of public improvement are undertaken, I would bring to
your notice the subject of common highways: I refer you to the suggestions in my message of last year on this subject, and desire that it may receive your favorable consideration.
Our penitentiaries have been properly regarded as objects of great public concern, and have occupied for several years anxious attention of the Legislature. Its views have been directed to them as the means of diminishing crimes, reforming offenders, and relieving the State from the burden of supporting convicts. Our first efforts on this subject were experiments, made without the light of much experience; and the results were quite as favorable as could have been reasonably anticipated. Though our system has been progressively improved, it has not yet been brought to that degree of perfection of which it is susceptible. The facts disclosed by the officers who have had the immediate supervision of our prisons, and by the reports of the several committees appointed by the Legislature to examine them, will direct your attention to existing defects, and aid you in applying proper remedies, and adopting such further improvements as have been suggested by our own experience or by that of other States.
One of the desirable objects, which we have aimed at, has been to make the avails of the labor of convicts defray all the expenses of these establishments. In order to produce such a result, various kinds of mechanical business have been introduced into them. The earnings of the convicts during the two last years have been more than sufficient to pay the ordinary expenses of the prisons, and to furnish the means of enlarging the n and adding to their accommodations; and if a regard to the interests of a numerous portion of our fellow citizens should not require a different direction to be given to this labor, the prisons would cease to be a charge upon the treasury, and probably become a source of revenue to the State: but it never can comport with just and fair legislation to produce such a result by directing this labor in such a manner as to cause it to operate oppressively upon any particular branches of industry. It is an essential principle of our government, that burdens and benefits are to be shared equally by all; and I do not doubt that you will consider it your solemn duty as legislators, to give practical effect to this principle. The mechanics in almost every section of the State have considered their interests injuriously affected by the manner in which the labor performed in the prisons is brought into competition with theirs, and they appealed to the last Legislature for relief. The complaint of so large and respectable a portion of our citizens commanded its prompt attention, and it directed commisioners to be appointed to examine into the government, economy and discipline of the prisons, and particularly into all the matters which constituted the grounds of this complaint. The report of these commissioners, which, I presume, will be made at an early day in this session, will bring the whole subject in all its relations and bearings before you, accompanied with such suggestions and authentic information as will enable you to appreciate the extent of the evils complained of, and to apply to them an effectual remedy,
of P tS, is.
Dus em. een ons,
dollars and ninety-four cents. e
Our fellow citizens engaged in mechanical pursuits confidently rese
ly upon the Legislature to remove any partial burden resulting incidentally from the present mode of cmploying convicts, and I trust you will readily grant them such protection in this respect as they may properly claim from a government founded on the principle of equal rights and common privileges. No considerations connected merely with the income of the prisons should be permitted to interpose any obstacle to removing all just grounds of complaint. This object, I am persuaded, may be attained without abandoning the present system of discipline, or defeating
the main ends for which our penitentiaries were established. ht
Another effect resulting from the introduction of numerous mccts
chanical branches of business into our State prisons is also a subject 500
of grievance to the mechanics, and is worthy of your considerate attention. The necessary consequence of instructing convicts in mechanical trades is to bring them, when discharged, into more frequent association with mechanics than with any other class of citizens. Those employed in such pursuits are, in this manner, more exposed than others to the demoralizing effects of this vicious companionship. While those who have been subjected to the discipline of our penitentiaries should be strengthened in their resolutions to reform their conduct, and all the avenues should be opened to facilitate their return to a correct course of life, and to encourage them to become useful members of society, great care should be taken to do this in such a manner as not lo impair the moral condition of any description of citizens, or even to expose them, either in their own or the public estimation, to any diminution of the respect and consideration due alike to all.
The number of prisoners in the Auburn prison on the twentyfourth day of December was six hundred and fifty, and in the Mount-Pleasant prison, on the first day of that month, eight hun
The number received into the two prisons during the last year, is about the same as that of the preceding year: being in the Au
burn prison five less, and in that at Mount Pleasant, nine more. as
The number remaining in the Mount-Pleasant prison on the first ha.
of December last was one less than it was at that time in the year in
1833, and in the Auburn prison thirty-seven less than in 1833. ber
The earnings and profits of the Auburn prison from all sources during the year ending thirtieth of September last were forty-seven thousand seven hundred and twenty-three dollars and twentyseven cents; and the expenses for general support and ordinary repairs were forty-two thousand two hundred and twenty-eight
The income of the Mount Pleasant ti
prison for the same period was seventy-six thousand nine hundred mo
and ninety dollars and eighty-four cents. The expenditure for is
the general support during that time was fifty-five thousand five hundred and ninety-three dollars and eighty-five cents; nine thou
sand three hundred and ninety dollars and four cents of the balance c
Was paid to the corporation of the city of New-York, to satisfy a
demand due to it for supporting the female convicts. There has B
e a ve
dred and twenty-eight.
h a lar rn
of led EP ne
been expended at the Auburn prison eight thousand three hundred and cighteen dollars and seventy-two cents, for additions and improvements, and at the Mount Pleasant prison for improvements, iwo thousand four hundred and sixty-six dollars and thirty-four
The income of the two prisons over their ordinary expenses, exclusive of the support of the female convicts, was twenty-six thousand eight hundred and ninety-one dollars and fifty-two cents, for the last fiscal year; and over all expenses, ordinary and ex. traordinary, six thousand seven hundred and sixtcen dollars and forty-one cents.
In my annual message of last year several subjects, in my judg. ment, worthy of the attention of the Legislature were then presented for consideration, accompanied with such remarks as were deemed appropriate. I shall merely allude to them again, without however, detaining you by repeating what was then said, or enlarging upon the reasons which induced me to commend them to the favor of the Legislature. These subjects were;
The erection of a separate prison for female convicts;
The exceptionable condition of most of the county jails, as places of punishment for persons convicted of minor offences;
The improvements required in the police of most of the county poor-houses;
The claims of the blind for assistance in obtaining the means of instruction; and,
The establishment of an asylum for the insane poor. The founding of such an asylum was then, and still is regarded by me as an object deeply interesting to humanity; and it was urged upon the last Legislature, not merely for the purpose of furnishing this class of forlorn fellow-beings with a comfortable subsistence, (for this is now done in an imperfect manner by the general provision for the support of paupers,) but as the necessary, and to many of them, the only means of restoring them to mental soundness. Their claim to legislative aid is certainly not impaired by delay; and I sincerely hope it will receive your favorable consideration.
Recent events, and particularly the discussions relative to the renewal of the charter of the Bank of the United States, have turned the thoughts of the people towards the character of our circulating medium, and the tendency of banking institutions and other corporations. Public opinion has every where accorded a full measure of approbation to the general views of the national executive on the subject of a metallic currency; and the people of this State now call in no equivocal voice upon their Legislature to aid in accomplishing this object, by withdrawing from circulation a portion of the notes of our banks, with a view to facilitate the introduction and circulation of gold and silver coin. For this purpose it is recommended that provision should be made for prohibiting the issuc and circulation of all bank notes under the denomination of five dollars. The benefits of such a measure would be manifold; it would give the public a better currency, composed
The me ted shsis
in part of the precious metals; it would relieve, partially at least,
Though I do not anticipate any serious objection to the measure of suppressing the circulation of small bills, ihere may be some diversity of opinion as to the time and manner of effecting it. In determining upon these
, particular regard should be paid to the state of things as it now is, and is likely to be for some time to come. Within a short period, the concerns of an enormous monied institution, to which the people of this State owe several millions of dollars, will probably be closed, and it would not be prudent to assume that this will be done with any special regard to public convenience. A considerable portion of ihis debt, and of the business which has been done by this institution, will be necessarily and gradually transferred to the local banks. Such a transfer, under the most favorable
circumstances, would cause some inconvenience, and it might become very serious, if the ability
of these banks should
be greatly impaired, or our present extended system of credit rudely shaken by any ill-timed measures in regard to
By a resolution passed at the last session of the Legislature, each bank in this State is required to report to you this day, the amount of the several denominations of bills under that of five dollars, which it had put in circulation, as money, and which were outstanding on the first day of December last. These are the bills
proposed to be withdrawn; and the amount of them now in circulation is estimated at about four millions of dollars. The object in withdrawing them, is not to diminish the amount of the circulating medium, for that would operate injuriously, by reducing the wages of labor and the price of property, but to introduce inStead of this paper money, a like amount of gold and silver coin
2 Id ed