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appeal of the trustees to the favorable consideration of the legislature.

You will learn, with great satisfaction, that the law providing for the establishment of libraries in the school districts has been carried into successful operation in most parts of the state, and that measures have been adopted, in pursuance of an act passed at the last session, to secure an efficient visitation of the common schools.

Although our system of public education is well-endowed, and has been eminently successful, there is yet occasion for the benevolent and enlightened action of the legislature. The advantages of education ought to be secured to many, especially in our large cities, whom orphanage, the depravity of parents, or other forms of accident or misfortune seem to have doomed to hopeless poverty and ignorance. Their intellects are as susceptible of expansion, of improvement, of refinement, of elevation, and of direction, as those minds which, through the favor of Providence are permitted to develop themselves under the influence of better fortunes; they inherit the common lot to struggle against temptations, necessities, and vices; they are to assume the same domestic, social, and political relations; and they are born to the same ultimate destiny.

The children of foreigners, found in great numbers in our populous cities and towns, and in the vicinity of our public works, are too often deprived of the advantages of our system of public education, in consequence of prejudices arising from difference of language or religion. It ought never to be forgotten that the public welfare is as deeply concerned in their education as in that of our own children. I do not hesitate, therefore, to recommend the establishment of schools in which they may be instructed by teachers speaking the same language with themselves and professing the same faith. There would be no inequality in such a measure, since it happens from the force of circumstances, if not from choice, that the responsibilities of education are in most instances confided by us to native citizens, and occasions seldom offer for a trial of our magnanimity by committing that trust to persons differing from ourselves in language or religion. Since we have opened our country and all its fullness to the oppressed of every nation, we should evince wisdom equal to such generosity by qualifying their children for the high responsibilities of citizenship.*

The time assigned for completing the geological survey of the state is about to expire. High expectations of its usefulness have been raised by the partial reports which have from time to time been submitted to the legislature, and provision should be made for preserving the invaluable scientific treasures which have been collected. Extensive as the collection is, it will probably be continually increased by new contributions. The place assigned for its accommodation should, therefore, be both spacious and accessible. The encouragement of agriculture, by a more general dissemination of the sciences which it employs, has been the subject of frequent recommendations from this department, and of much discussion in the legislature. The geological survey may be regarded as laying the foundation of institutions for popular instructions in these sciences, and I confidently anticipate that it will not only develop the mineral resources of the state, but will secure to agriculture its rightful consideration and influence.t

It is manifest that the militia system has lost some of the popular respect with which it was once regarded, and has received little of that legislative care which is necessary to preserve the usefulness and efficiency of all our institutions. This can not be prudent, unless it is wise to forget in peace the probability of war, , and in undisturbed tranquillity the danger of civil commotion. I trust, therefore, that you will take measures to bring the subject before Congress, in order to accomplish the necessary reform.

. It is possible that some of the defects of the system may be reached by our own legislation. At present, the rich and the fortunate evade in a great degree the performance of military duty, while its expenses and sacrifices fall without abatement upon those members of society who are least able to bear them. If it be necessary to preserve the organization of so many of our citizens as are now enrolled, which is at least doubtful, it is at all events just, and consonant with the spirit of our institutions, that the taxes and burthens of the militia-service should be equalized. The laws by which judges of the county courts are authorized to interfere with the boards of supervisors, in the appointment of commissioners of deeds, county treasurers, and county superintendents of the poor, manifest an unjust and unwise distrust of the intelligence and virtue of the people, and a want of due regard to the sacredness of the judicial office. The democratic principles of the constitution demand the repeal of those laws. I also respectfully recommend that provision be made for the election of commissioners of deeds by the people.

* This portion of the governor's message was widely and severely criticised at the time, but the wisdom and justice of its suggestions are now generally acknowledged. -Ed.

+ In accordance with this recommendation, the old State-Hall in Albany has been wholly devoted to this purpose. It contains the nucleus of a museum of the natural history of the state, and is the place where the State Agricultural Society holds its lectures and meetings.-Ed.

The imprisonment of non-resident debtors, against whom no fraudulent practice or intent is alleged, operates injuriously to the interests of trade, and can be defended upon no ground which was not abandoned when the great principle was established in this state that the personal liberty of the honest but unfortunate debtor ought not to be subjected to the caprice or cupidity of an unfeeling creditor.

Foreigners entitled to be naturalized, and desirous of the privileges of citizenship, ought rather to be encouraged, than deterred, as they frequently are, by the onerous charges attending the requisite legal proceedings. Disabilities in relation to the acquisition and alienation of real estate by resident foreigners are a remnant of feudal principles, believed to be not only unnecessary for the security of the state, but inconsistent with the spirit of our constitution, and injurious to the general prosperity. It is worthy of your consideration, whether the time has not arrived for the adoption of a more liberal policy, and whether the temporary relief from these disabilities which has heretofore been granted, chiefly in favor of individuals, may not now be made general and permanent.*

I beg leave to refer you to the suggestions contained in my last message concerning the laws regulating elections. It is of vital importance to the security of our institutions, not only that our elections should be conducted with impartiality, and should thus express the will of the majority of the people, but that there should be entire and universal confidence in their purity. The acquiescence required of the minority can not be expected to be rendered with cheerfulness, if it be at all questionable whether the public will is truly expressed. I can not doubt that you

will * The reforms here suggested were mainly carried into effect by that and succeeding legislatures.-EU.

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feel it to be your duty to establish the necessary safeguards for the full and uninterrupted exercise of the elective franchise by all those, whether rich or poor, native or naturalized, whatever may be their employment or condition in life, to whom that inestimable privilege is guarantied.

The constitution provides that every male citizen of the age of twenty-one years, who shall have been an inhabitant of this state one year next preceding any election, and for the last six months a resident of the county where he may offer his vote, shall be entitled to vote in the town or ward where he actually resides. High judicial authorities differ as to the meaning of the word resident. It is within the power of the legislature to define this term, and such a measure is highly necessary, as well to relieve doubts as to secure the enjoyment of the elective franchise to those of our fellow-citizens whose occasional or temporary employment in the navigation of our canals and rivers, and upon our public works, produces doubts concerning the places where they are entitled to vote.

The reorganization of the court of chancery, with an abridgment of the jurisdiction and patronage of the chancellor, is alike indispensable to insure the personal security of the citizen, and to preserve the harmony of our judicial system. The proceedings in that court are attended with vexatious delays and intolerable expenses. Questions of equity peculiarly demand the consultations of a bench, and the mass of appeals, interlocutory motions, and original causes, is too great for any one chancellor to hear and decide, consistently with a proper discharge of the duties required of him as a member of the court for the correction of errors. The benefits anticipated from the reduction of the nnmber of justices of the supreme court, and the distribution of a portion of their powers and duties among eight circuit judges, have not been realized. I, therefore, respectfully suggest the expediency of dispensing with the offices of vice-chancellor and circuit judge, and of providing for amendments of the constitution which shall direct the appointment of three chancellors, with coordinate powers, and of additional justices of the supreme court. The collection of debts is unnecessarily delayed by forms, embarrassed by technicalities, and burdened with costs. The evils experienced might have been prevented, in a great degree, had the necessary rules of practice and pleading been established by


the courts themselves. It is worthy, however, of consideration, whether the power now exercised by the court of chancery, in reaching the equitable property of a debtor, may not be intrusted in a great degree to the common law courts, and whether the ruinous expense attending the foreclosure of mortgages in chancery may not be avoided by the more simple method of sale after advertisement, and after personal notice to parties having incumbrances on the mortgaged premises. The forms of pleadings are unnecessarily prolix, and dilatory and evasive pleading ought to be more effectually prevented. Parties should be allowed to perfect judgments in vacation as well as during the terms of the courts. The alienation of land should be facilitated by requiring all incumbrances and liens to be recorded or docketed in the county where the land is situated. The jurisdiction of justices' courts ought to be extended to litigated cases, where the amount involved does not exceed one hundred dollars. The compensation of public officers is generally derived from the equal contribution of those for whose benefit their services are rendered, but that of attorneys, solicitors, and officers of the courts of justice is unhappily often obtained from those whose condition ought rather to excite sympathy than expose them to additional burdens. The legislature which should, in a season of adversity like the present, diminish the expenses of legal proceedings, as far as can be done consistently with the full and perfect administration of justice, would advance the permanent usefulness of the profession of the law, promote the happiness of society, and deservedly obtain the gratitude of the people.*

It was represented to me, on the fifth of December last, by the sheriff of the county of Albany, that he had, on many occasions during several months previous, been resisted in performing his duty, and had been prevented from executing process of the supreme court, and that he had been unable to overcome the resistance with the unarmed force of his county. He thereupon applied to me to call out a sufficient military force to enable him to execute the process committed to him. Proofs were submitted to me, which went to show that the resistance was preconcerted and organized, and that it extended over a large portion of his county. The

* This extensive and radical plan of legal reform has since been fully carried

out. -Ed.

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