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lately has been, is, in my opinion, very pernicious to the well-being of the State. Dealing in stocks, so far as it assumes the character of stockjobbing, is a species of gambling, and produces most of the evils, public and private, which usually result from the indulgence of that unfortunate propensity. If this kind of speculation has not been recently conducted in a manner altogether new, it certainly has been carried to an extent altogether unprecedented. Immense quantities of stock have been sold by those who had it not, under a contract to be fulfilled at some future period, and purchased by those who did not expect a delivery of it. The results of these transactions are adjusted without the delivery of the stock, and the loss and gain ascertained by its market value on the day stipulated for performing the contract. This is no more nor less than a wager upon the price of particular stocks on a specified future day. It is worse than wagers upon ordinary contingencies, because the event may be controlled by artifice and management, and the persons concerned are too strongly tempted to resort to them to subserve their interest. It is true, our present laws regard these transactions with disfavor. Such contracts are not only declared void, but the persons who have gained by them may be compelled to refund to the losing party or his representatives; yet they are constantly made, and in most instances faithfully cxecuted. The extent to which this species of gambling has been lately carried, and its injurious effects upon many individuals who have embarked in it, have given it the character and consequences of a public evil; and your official situation imposes on you, in my opinion, the duty to suppress it. I recommend to you to lay this practice under a strong legal interdiction- an interdiction that shall be rendered effective by pains and penalties.
I am informed, that in some instances, companies incorporated by the authority of other States, have established offices in the city of New York, at which deposites are received, and notes or bills discounted. This, in my opinion, is in contravention of the laws of this State. I invite your attention to the subject, and if there can be any reasonable doubt as to the adequacy of the existing laws to suppress this proceeding, I recommend that you should make such further provisions in relation to it as the case may require.
The law passed at the last session of the Legislature, relative to unclaimed dividends and deposites, operates unfavorably, it is believed, on the savings banks. The inconveniences and hazards to (A sscm. No. 2.)
which the publications required by that law will expose these institutions, have induced some of them to defer a compliance with it until the subject could be again brought before the Legislature, with a view to procure some modification of that part of it which relates to them. I have received a communication from the trustees of the Bank for Savings in the city of New York, (which I herewith transmit to you,) showing what they apprehend would be the consequences to that institution, of making the publication required of them. The views therein presented, appear to be well worthy of your consideration; and I recommend a revision of this law, and such modification of it in relation to savings banks as will remove the injurious effects resulting from its present provisions.
I regret that the constant violatioa of the law to suppress the sale of lottery tickets in this State, requires me again to remind the Legislature that it is a duty imposed on them by the Constitution to suppress this traffic. The evils resulting from it, as well as the constitutional injunction, urge this subject upon your attention, and I hope some additional means will be devised to give complete efficiency to the existing law against this species of gambling.
The result of the enumeration of the people of this State, taken during the last year, will be soon presented to you by the Secretary of State. Although this result is not now accurately known, enough however is known to assure us that our population has greatly increased. The Constitution enjoins upon you, as a duty to be performed at this session, the reorganization of the senate districts, making them, in regard to the number of inhabitants contained in each, as nearly equal as may be. You are also required, by the same authority, to apportion, at this session, the members of assembly among the several counties of the State, according to their population.
The last Legislature directed the Secretary of State to prepare and submit to you, a plan for the geological survey of this State. His report will be laid before you at an early day. I am persuaded that a careful geological examination of this State will not only open new sources of wealth, and accelerate the development of those alrcady known to exist, but, by these means, will greatly augment the productive industry of our citizens. In several of the States, surveys of this description have been already made, and in
others they are in progress. From the partial examinations which have been made of this State, there is reason to believe that it is at least equal to any other in the Union in the richness and variety of its resources.
The development of these resources would be more or less beneficial to the various interests of the State, but it would be more directly advantageous to that interest which I doubt not you will feel a peculiar desire to advance—the interest of agriculture—by ascertaining the mineralogical composition of soils in different sections of our territory, and thereby causing such an improvement in the mode of cultivating them, as will bestyreward the labours of husbandry. In addition to further discoveries in relation to salt springs, beds of gypsum, and quarries of marble and stone fitted for architectural purposes, it may be ascertained by a critical and scientific examination, that the coal formations discovered in the neighbouring districts of Pennsylvania, which have contributed so much to the wealth of that enterprizing State, cxtend within our own boundaries. In the progress of these researches in a field greatly diversified in its geological character, and heretofore but imperfectly explored, science will doubtless receive acquisitions of no ordinary value. Under whatever aspect the subject is viewed, it deserves your attention; and I feel confident that such an undertaking would amply repay all the expense incurred in its execution.
The events of the past year, here and elsewhere, have contipued to exhibit the importance of a well organized militia, both for the defence of public liberty and for the protection of private rights. During the recent disastrous fire in the city of New-York, its patriotic militia voluntarily placed themselves under the civil authorities, and rendered, as on many former occasions, the most essential services to their fellow-citizens.
A new edition of the act relating to the militia and public defence, including the amendments of the last session, has been published during the past year, and the principal part distributed, pursuant to the directions of the Legislature.
The provisions of the law passed at the last session, to secure a more faithful performance of duty, on the part of general officers and their staffs, have resulted, generally, in the beneficial consequences, which were anticipated. In several brigades,
owing to this and other causes, an increased degree of discipline and military knowledge has been exhibited, and the most commendable exertions have been made, not without success, to maintain the respectability and efficiency of the present system. Experience, however, constantly admonishes us of the inutility, is not of the impracticability, of attempting to sustain, in a proper manner, an organization suited to the exigencies of the country nearly half a century ago. The great change that has since taken place in its external relations and internal condition, has rendered the system then adopted unnecessarily burdensome. Satisfied of this fact, I have constantly indulged the hope that Congress would take measures to adapt the system to the present circumstances of the country. I have now the pleasure to state, that the President of the United States and the Secretary of War have recently presented such views to Congress on this subject, as warrant the belief that the desired modification will be effected at the present session of that body.
The annual report of the Adjutant-General, which will shortly be laid before the Legislature, exhibits the present numerical force of the militia of this State, at one hundred and ninety-three thousand five hundred and seventy-two.
At the request of the President of the United States, I submit to you the proposition to cede to the General Government the possessory right to so much of the land belonging to the State of New-York upon Staten Island, and heretofore used for military purposes, as may be necessary to construct and maintain proper defences for the protection of the harbour of New York. I recommend that you should authorize the sale to the United States of so much as they may desire to possess for the proposed object, and cede to them such a concurrent jurisdiction over it, as is usually granted in like cases.
Near the close of the last session of the Legislature, Heman J. Redfield was appointed a Canal Commissioner. After receiving the office, he resigned it, and I appointed John Bowman to fill the vacancy. This temporary appointment ccases at your present meeting. The important business before the Canal Commissioners and the Canal Board, requires that the vacancy should be immediately filled by you.
Having concluded my remarks on the subjects in which our constituents have an immediate and exclusive interest, my sense of duty will not permit me to abstain from presenting to you, at this time, some considerations arising from our federal relations.
This State is a member of a community of Republics, subject in many things to one general government, and bound together by political lies that must not be sundered. This relation gives us rights essential to our well-being, and imposes on us duties equally essential to the well-being of our sister States. As we value the immense advantages that spring from this Union, so we should cultivate the feelings and interests that give it strength, and abstain from all practices that tend to its dissolution. A few individuals in the middle and eastern States, acting on mistaken motives of moral and religious duty, or some less justifiable principle, and disregarding the obligations which they owe to their respective governments, have embarked in an enterprise for abolishing domestic slavery in the southern and southwestern States. Their proceedings have caused much mischief in those States, and have not been entirely harmless in their own. They have acquired too much importance, by the evils which have already resulted from them, and by the magnitude and number of those which are likely to follow if they are further persisted in, to justify me in passing them without notice. These proceedings have not only found no favor with a vast majority of our constituents, but they have been generally reprobated. The public indignation which they have awakened, has broken over the restraints of law, and led to dangerous tumults and commotions, which, I regret to say, were not in all instances suppressed without the interposition of the military power. If we consider the excitement which already exists among our fellowcitizens on this subject, and their increasing repugnance to the abolition cause, we have great reason to fear that further efforts to sustain it will be attended, even in our own State, with still more dangerous disturbances of the public peace.
In our commercial metropolis, the abolitionists have established one of their principal magazines, from which they have sent their missiles of annoyance into the slaveholding States. The impression produced in those States, that this proceeding was encouraged by a portion of the business men of the city of New-York, or at least was not sufficiently discountenanced by them, threatened injurious consequences to our commerce. A proposition was made