Abbildungen der Seite

B. Thompson, Esq., Adjutant General, in cash towards these expenses, from February 15th to March 12, inclusive, the sum of $42,500, and February 21, $25,625 87 advanced in Boston to James L. Child, Esq., being for supplies purchased, which passed into the custody of the Adjutant General; for these two sums, and $10,000 besides, he has warrants. And from March 26 to May 4, inclusive, the further sum of $131,353 65, in cash, was advanced him, besides some subsequent advances for these expenses, independent of various sums, before and since, advanced on warrants for Arsenals, Gun Houses, military stores, &c. In addition to all these various sums, many thousand dollars have probably come to his custody for sales of provisions, clothing, military stores and other public property. The expenditure of these various and large sums will, it is presumed, pass under the scrutinizing examination of the Legislature. The supervision thereof, in no way, pertains to the Treasurer, who was refused the knowledge of the objects and amounts actually wanted, when sought by him to govern his course in supplying the funds. The Adjutant General denied the right of the Treasurer to make such inquiries, and contended it was the Treasurer's single duty to pay over the money to him upon the warrants of the Governor and Council ; which warrants had and have been drawn by the Governor and Council, prob

the sole estimate and requisition of the Adjutant General, to an amount vastly beyond the means of the Treasury, and very far beyond the expenses then or since incurred, or to be incurred for the objects of the appropriation. The amount of these warrants is $298,125 87, of which the Treasurer has $78,125 87, and is rightfully entitled to $124,500 more, which the Adjutant General refuses to deliver ; and if delivered up, then he would

ably upon

have an excess of $90,000 to $100,000 in warrants now in his possession. In ordinary cases the Treasurer would feel bounden to pay warrants, if he had the means; but in this extraordinary case, he believed he was authorized to exercise a degree of discretion. Possibly he has committed a gross error in adopting this course with the Adjutant General.

During the same period, from February 15 to the 27th April, inclusive, advances were made to Rufus McIntire, Esq., Land Agent, for the expenses of what is called the civil posse, which was armed, and other uses of his department, the sum of $82,487 50, including $3,000 advanced Major Strickland on the 15th February, and subsequently some further sums for roads and other objects—for all which, warrants have been received. The expenditures of these sums, it is presumed, will also undergo an examination by the Legislature.

Also, paid to the Commisssoners for running the boundary line in 1838, and their aids, the sum of $2095 87; and also $605 88, to Messrs Rogers, McCrate, Dumont, Vose and Child, for their agencies in winter of 1839.

Costs in Criminal Prosecutions, and the

Salaries of County Attorneys. It will be perceived, that the costs in criminal prosecutions already paid to the County Treasurers in 1839, are small in amount. The fact is, that the warrants for these costs, drawn since the April session of the Governor and Council, remain unpaid. The suspension of payment, for want of funds, was ordered by the Treasurer from Philadelphia, in June. He regretted the necessity for such a course.

The duty on commissions and tin pedlers' licences, the fines, forfeitures, &c., accruing to the State, which are collected by the County Treasurers, are by law required to be paid into the State Treasury. This is not done; but the amount so collected by them, is deducted from their respective claims for costs, and they receive warrants for the balance only. Thus the State actually pays the Counties for these costs, from $20,000 to $25,000 annually. The Treasury is not in a condition to meet these annual drains; and it is high time to relieve it from such a burden. Then, let the law, providing for the payment of these costs, be so changed as to require each County to pay its own charges. This will be the most equal and equitable mode of adjusting them. And these charges will then pass under the scrutinizing inspection of the County Attorney and County Commissioners of the respective Counties, and, it is presumed, they will be somewhat diminished. And, in connection with this branch of proposed relief to the State Treasury, will it not be expedient to revive the fees of County Attorneys in these prosecutions, and require them to keep and render an account thereof, and semi-annually to pay the amount received, to their respective County Treasuries, and then receive therefrom their present established salaries? These thirteen salaried officers were thrown upon the State Treasury at an inauspicious time; and its present condition demands immediate relief. Retrenchment of our State expenses, in all practicable branches, should be immedi. ately and effectually adopted; and these two are suggested for your deliberate consideration.

State Tax. It has already been proposed, that the Bank tax of 1839, which has been expended in the current expenses of the year, should not be distributed to the towns for schools; and that hereafter this source of revenue should come into the Treasury, and no longer be diverted from it, until the State is relieved from its indebtedness. The probable revenue from this source, in 1910, will not exceed $35,000, arising from the supposed causes before stated.

In January, 1833, when the State was in debt about $50,000, the Legislature ordered the distribution of the Bank tax of that year; the consequence was, at the close of the year, the debt had increased to about $120,000, although the revenue received from the Land Office, that year, was $23,643 11, and for four years preceding, (excluding 1831) had averaged $32,807 35, annually. These facts prove that the Treasury then could not sustain such a diminution of its revenue ; and it may be asked, can it at this time?

In the year 1835, the Treasury received from the Land Office $133,567 55, and from the State tax $49,692 84; and yet these two important items of revenue, did not extinguish its debt. The Legislature of January, 1836, abolished the State tax, and none has been imposed since 1835. It was then supposed that the revenue from the Land Office would be amply sufficient to meet the current expenses of the State ; but this resource has, since 1836, totally failed as revenue. In 1836, it yielded $44,591 66, and for the three years since, (1837, '38 and '39,) the annual average has been only $7,390 70; insufficient to defray the ORDINARY expenses of the department.

Since 1835, the State has been constantly involving itself deeper and deeper in debt, exclusive of the great


expenses of the quasi border war of 1839. No longer pursue this downward, sinking course : curtail all expenses, not imperiously necessary; withhold grants and gratuities, which were liberally bestowed by the last Legisla

and above all, let a fixed, certain revenue be established, to meet the current, necessary expenses of the government. Nothing short of this will revive and sustain the credit of the State at home or abroad.

Therefore, impose a State tax for 1840, of sufficient magnitude to pay all expenses, including interest on the State debt. This tax will not be available to the Treasury till the commencement of 1841. To meet the claims upon the Treasury in 1840, beyond the Bank tax and other sources of revenue, further loans must be negotiated, at home if practicable.

If the United States Government, as in good faith bounden to do, shall forthwith refund to this State, the main portion of our expenditures in the border difficulty of last winter; and will also pay our third part of the Massachusetts Militia Claim, of the war of 1812,-our Treasury would be effectually relieved, and no further loans required. These two claims, with interest included, will exceed $500,000; and their speedy payment should be pressed upon the National Government.

It is high time to pause, retrench ; revive former sources of revenue, devise new ways and means, to relieve the Treasury of its sinking load. At no distant time, we may calculate to derive large and permanent revenue from our vast, valuable territory of Public Lands, and from the large sums now due the State on former sales : when these are realized, let them constitute a sinking fund for the gradual extinguishment of our debt.

Other means to raise funds for immediate wants of the

« ZurückWeiter »