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abandonment of it. Aside from the public benefits anticipated from so trilling an expenditure, it would seem to be but just to those portions of the State thus far neglected, that the survey should, at some time, be resumed. The time of recommencement is not very important, and should of course be determined by the condition of the Treasury.
On the subject of the Militia, I do not propose to make any suggestions in addition to those contained in my message of January last. My views, then fully expressed, remain unchanged. Permit me, however, to refer you to some valuable suggestions upon this subject in the accompanying Report of the Adjutant General.
In regard also to the important interests of agriculture and education, I would respectfully refer you to my communication to the Legislature of last year, having nothing new to add upon these subjects.
I feel constrained to repeat a former recommendation in regard to an additional Judge to the Supreme Judicial Court. The experience of another year has only tended to fortify and confirm the reasons then advanced.
The Commissioners appointed to revise the laws of the State, have, with the termination of the year, brought their arduous and important labors to a close. Their Report, which is before
will undoubtedly receive that careful and laborious attention which its magnitude and deep interest to the State require.
The duty of practising a rigid economy at all times, is obvious; but especially is it incumbent on üs in the present exhausted condition of the Treasury—and when the necessary supplies, for the present at least, must probably be obtained by a resort to taxation.
The Act of March 21, 1835, restraining the emission and circulation of bank bills of a small denomination was suspended for the period of two years by an Act passed March 8, 1838. The term of suspension being soon to expire, the subject will require your further consideration at the present session.
The subject of the currency is one of general and absorbing interest, and indeed may be said to affect, more or less, the business and interests of
every man in the community. And however we may differ as to the best means of securing a sound currency, all will agree, that an unsound or unstable one, is a curse to any country in which it exists. How it has been in our own country we all know from bitter experience. The wonderfully rapid transitions from abundant plenty to extreme scarcity, that we have so frequently witnessed, producing a corresponding change in the value and prices of property, while they astound those who are uninitiated in the mysteries of banking, are ruinous to the regular business and pursuits of all. And what else can rationally be expected? When bank bills constitute the currency of a country, and it rests in the decision of a few individuals, who are not directly amenable to the public, and who are actuated by like motives and passions, and governed by like interests with other men, whether money shall be plenty or scarce, it would be unreasonable to expect to be exempt from constant if not ruinous fluctuations. I would not be unjust to banks any more than I would to individuals. If they have rights, let them be scrapulously respected. If they are under obligations let their performance be rigidly exacted. Without therefore seeking to destroy, I would contend for such a regulation and control of them as to prevent, if possible, a recurrence of the evils alluded to. They should not have the power, as they now have, incidentally, by the natural operation and effect of banking, to exclude all specie from circulation and to force an entire, and often a depreciated, paper currency upon the community. A portion, at least, of the currency should be beyond their control and emphatically in the hands of the people. Then notwithstanding a sudden contraction of loans and a reduction of their circulation by the banks, the community will not be left destitute of a circulating medium, nor the streams of business nearly dried up. One mode of effecting this, to some extent at least, is to prohibit the issue and circulation of bank bills of a small denomination, When these are withdrawn, the channels of circulation immediately become filled with silver and gold; and the circulation once established, continues and becomes permanent from the very nature of the case and the necessities of busi
So far as my knowledge extends, this was the operation of the restraining law of 1835, and was only interrupted by the suspension of specie payments by the banks. Prior to that event there was no want of silver. The small bills disappeared and their place was supplied with specie, by a process so gentle that the change was scarcely perceptible while going on, and affected no interests in the community, not even those of the banks themselves, but for good. That such would be the effect again, under similar circumstances, I have no doubt. With these views, therefore, I cannot hesitate to recommend a renewed attempt, now or hereafter, as may be deemed best, to effect the design of the law alluded to. No laws, however, can be effectually executed unless sustained by public opinion, especially one of this character. Whether therefore the present, is, or is not, the best time to attempt its revival—whether it should, at first, embrace so many bills of a small denomination or whether all its provisions are judiciously adapted to the end proposed, are questions which your own experience, and the knowledge you bring with you from all parts of the State, of the views and wishes of the people, will enable you to decide satisfactorily.
In general I have not deemed it expedient in my communications to the Legislature, to discuss political questions, however important they might be, when they had no direct connexion with the business legitimately coming before you—and it is without an intended departure from this rule, that I allude, by way of fortifying the views just expressed, to the prospect that an important change is about to be effected in the financial operations of the General Government, and consequently, though indirectly, in the currency of the country. “ The Independent Treasury system,” judging from the elections and other strong indications, after an opposition, able, long continued and fierce, seems, happily, to have received the approbation of the people, and is probably about to be adopted as the established policy of the country. This contemplates, by a gradual change from the present system, a payment of all dues to the National Government in silver and gold. The disbursements of the government being also to be made in the same currency, will infuse a larger