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sand dollars per mile. This, considered in connection with the fact, that these roads when completed in almost any direction, will pass through a rich agricultural country, and accommodate all the leading interests of our people, must induce their early completion, and very soon secure to us, abundant facilities of this method of carriage and communication.
It may be safely assumed, that capital employed in Railroads within this State, will yield a higher per cent. of profit upon the investment, than can be realized from similar investments at the East, where the average cost of construction, is fully three times as great; even though it be admitted, that our roads may do less business.
Upon the principle, that capital is most likely to be employed, where it will return the largest profit, we may be encouraged to hope, that the means will not long be wanting, to build our roads already projected, if they can be regarded as at all feasible, with respect to location and points of termination.
To the farmer, next in importance to receiving a full return at the harvest, for his labor and his toil, is the facility with which the products of his husbandry can reach the best and the most ready market. And it requires no argument to show, that to the farmers of this State, this facility is greatly needed.
Our lands are very productive, with but little cost or labor; and when the freight upon the transportation of our products, to an Eastern market, shall become reduced by the increasing patronage and competition of the various railroads and other means of carriage, they will be nearly, if not fully equal, at least in actual value to the producer, to the lands of New York and New England, although their price in market, may be much less.
It may therefore, well be expected, that our citizens will feel a deep interest in the railroad enterprises of the State, that promise 80 much for the common benefit.
An indication highly favorable to our future prosperity, consists, in the great and increasing interest taken by our people in agriculture. Much has already been done, yet still more remains to be
done by us, in testing the qualities of our soil, and its adaptation to the different variety of crops, and various modes of tillage. Too much information and interchange of experience, in relation to this, to us, most important brance of industry, cannot well be circulated. As a leading means of improvement, State and County Agricultural Societies have been formed, and thus far, have been followed by encouraging results.
The two State Fairs, the first held at Janesville, and the last at Milwaukee, were successful and gratifying experiments, and an earnest of the future usefulness of the parent Society.
The General Banking Law passed at your last Session, and submitted to a vote of the people, at the reeent general election, has been ratified by a very large majority, and is, therefore, now in full force and effect.
Although, not entirely free from imperfections, it is believed to be a good and safe law; and will if reasonably construed, and properly carried into effect, fully answer the purposes designed.
It cannot be disguised, however, that no law, authorizing and regulating the business of banking, with the most stringent safeguards and restrictions, can be entirely proof against those abuses, which are prompted by that inordinate love of gain, that would seek to take more than was intended to be given, construe a favorable franchise, into a licensed wrong, and abuse a generous privilege by the practice of a fraud. It was intended by this law, to have the entire circulation of the banks, that might be organized under it, secured by, and based upon actual deposited capital. And it this wise intention can be carried into effect, it will doubtless bring large amounts of foreign capital into the State, and give us the benefit of its circulation, without risk or hazard.
But if this law is to be so perverted from its legitimate object and obvious design, as to be the means, through the banks, of its creation, to throw broad-cast over the State, a doubtful or irresponsible currency, of indefinite amount, under the seeming guize of a faithful adherance to its provisions, then, indeed, will that, we fain hoped would be a benefit, surely prove our ruin.
It is not, however, by any means to be presumed, that either many, or indeed any, banking associations of this character, or doing this violence to the law, will be organized. But it is the part of wisdom to fosesee the evil and guard against it, rather than it should come upon us liy surprise. One thing is certain : We shall never lave a good and responsible curency in this State, until that which is irresponsible, and based upon 110 tangible security, is discountenanced and driven away. Actual capital cannot very well compete against unlimited credit, nor will prudent men deposit valuable and ample securities, to procure a circulation of an equal amount, while other men may reap the profits of a circulation a hundred-fold greater, without depositing or even exhibiting any securities at all.
To guard against the possibility of any such evil, a general law should be passerl, at as early a day as practicable, prohibiting under serere penalties, the receiving, paying out or passing as money, in this State, circulating paper, or any form whatever, in the similitude of bank paper, by any person or body corporate, that is not, at the time, of such receiving, paying out or passing, authorized by some express law of the United States, or of one of the United States, or of Canala ; and declaring all contracts, the consideration of which, in whole or in part, consists of such circulating paper, absolutely null and void, for any purpose whatever.
The Executive authority has been exerted to its fullest extent, during the past year, to suppress the practice of illegal banking in the State, by causing the same to be brought before the proper judicial tribunal, but so far without effect.
This shows the necessity of some more stringent Legislation upon this subject than now exists, to protect the people of this State, from an unlimited, unsecured, and wholly irresponsible currency, which if longer permitted to continue, or increase, will utterly defeat the purposes of the general Banking Law, and work a lasting injury to the finances, business, and credit of our State.
The report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, will give
full information respecting the operations of the School System,
132,491 64 In Treasurer's hands,
4,777 15 Your attention is especially invited to the recommendations of the Superintendent, relating to School Libraries, Norman Schools, and School Journal.
The labors of Gen. Smith, in collecting the materials for a documentary History of Wisconsin, have been so far highly encouraging, and leave no doubt, that the work when completed, will be of great value to the State, as of well deserved credit to the distinguished Author. A communication from him, upon the subject, will be submitted to you during the Session, and will merit your consideration.
The Reports of the Secretary of State and State Treasurer, exhibit the financial condition of the State, as sound and creditable. The General Fund in the Treasury, has been sufficient
to meet all demands upon it, during the past fiscal
$940 71 General fund received from 31st December, 1851, to 31st December, 1852,
$133,652 62 Amount disbursed in 1852,
134,593 33 Over paid out of this fund,
940 71 Of the above disbursements during the year 1852, there has been paid on liabilities incurred during the
88,393 33 On liabilities incurred previously to 1852, and which remained unpaid, December 31st, 1851,
46,200 00 The Reports show, that, had the full amount of the State tax,
due from the different counties, for the year 1852, been paid into the Treasury, there would have been a surplus, over the disbursments, and that the assessments were more than sufficient, to meet the current expenses and liabilities of the year.
. The suggestions of the Secretary of State, in relation to the unequal assessments in the different counties, will require your attention.
The Report of the Board of Public Works, has not yet been made; but when received, will be laid before you, accompanied by a special communication on the subject of the Fox and Wisconsin River Improvement.
The Reports of the State Prison Commissioner, and the Regents of the University, will command from you due consideration.
In the month of May last, a Commissioner of Emigration was appointed for this State, who soon, thereafter, entered upon his duties in the city of New York, in carrying out the objects of the law upon this subject, passed by the last Legislature. His first annual Report, which will be submitted to you, will show with what success he has so far administered his agency, as also the feasibility and present and prospective usefulness of the system. The great interest so generally and so justly felt, in this State, in the cause of foreign emigration, to which our rapid growth in population and wealth, thus far, has been so much attributable; and the results already attained, by the labors of the Commissioner, will commend this subject to your favorable regard.
As the immediate representatives of the people, in all parts of the State, you are presumed to understand their wants and interests ; which, together with the public welfare, you will no doubt wisely consult by your legislation; and in so doing, you may bo assured of having the best wishes and full concurrence of the Executive Department.
LEONARD J. FARWELL. Madison, January 1st, 1853. On motion of Mr. Prentice, The Senate adjourned.