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of the select committee on the petition of sundry citizens of Rochester relative to retail auctions.
Mr. Andrews, from the select committee to whom was referred the petitions of sundry citizens of Rochester, on the subject of retail auctions, -:
That the petitioners—inechanics, manufacturers and merchants of the village of Rochester—ask relief from the great embarrassments and losses, to every regular trade and occupation, consequent upon the abuse of the auction law.
The complaint, so often preferred to the Legislature on this subject, from every part of the state, appears only to have encouraged greater impunity in the abuse, as the prospect of remedy became less probable, from the diminished energies of unsuccessful application; and many persons holding commissions under the auction law have more boldly perverted it from its legitimate purposes, by appropriating to themselves its revenues and the advantages of its provisions, becoming sellers on their own account under all the facilities afforded by a privileged commission. So considerably have they increased its privileges by the perversion, as to find it profitable to maintain resident partners and agents in the metropolis, to purchase whatever might come to hand sufficiently cheap, prepared at the manufactories in Europe, or originated by the more fertile in
genuity of our own countrymen, expressly for the excited cupidity of this deceptive trade.
The office of auctioneer is not, then, what the law contemplated it should be, namely: an agency of the state to dispose of property forced to a sale by individual misfortune, or the more general revolutions of trade, at the same time it was made to contribute to the revenue of the state ; so far from fulfilling this wise and benevolent intention of the law, it has become the agent of individual cupidity, contributing to the state nothing in proportion to the injury it inflicts.
The petitioners complain of the evils to which we have alluded, so far only as they affect the business and prosperity of their own village; and where, as by the Comptroller's Report, (to which they refer the Legislature,) the whole amount of duties paid the state during the whole of the last year was less than eighty dollars.
These evils, in their general or local operation, cannot, in the opinion of your committee, be reached by any inherent power in the law itself; and your committee can suggest no remedy but by increasing the duties on articles retailed—making a tribute to the government some indemnity for the evils inflicted upon its citizens.
The committee have, therefore, directed their chairman to intro. duce a bill in conformity with the prayer of the petitioners.
Of the committee on the Militia and the public defence, on a resolution for increasing the salary of the Adjutant-General.
The committee on the militia and the public defence, to whom was referred the resolution to inquire into the propriety of increasing the salary of the Adjutant-General of this state and of repealing so much of the existing laws as allows compensation to division inspectors,
that the Adjutant-General is allowed for his salary $800, for clerk hire $200, and such blank books, blanks and stationary as are required for the use of his office.
The sum allowed for clerk hire cannot be received unless a clerk is employed, and only when actually required and paid as a compensation for his services.
No office is allowed for the Adjutant-General: he is therefore, obliged to provide one at an expense of about $100 per annum. Neither is he allowed furniture or fuel for an office; and these items may be estimated at about $40, or $50, per aunum. Deducting these necessary expenditures from his salary, the actual compensation for his services does not much exceed $650.
Of the services of the Adjutant-General the principal are:
1. Making out, countersigning, sealing and sending to their destination, between 5 and 6 thousand conmissions annually. Of each [A. No. 152.] !
of these a separate entry is to be made in a book, provided for the purpose and kept in his office. o
2. Regulating the numerous changes in the organization of a military force of about 200,000 men, receiving all applications in relation thereto, and making a statement of each case for the decision of the Commander in Chief.
3. Examining all appeals from elections and courts martial to the Commander in Chief, and reporting upon the law and facts of each for his decision. The proceedings in these cases are often exceedingly volumnious and complicated, involving questions, which require minute and laborious examination.
4. Giving opinions upon questions of military law. Under this head, the correspondence of the office is very extensive. Whenever a doubt arises upon a point of law, detail, or discipline, the constant resort is to the Adjutant-General; and it is necessary that he should examine all these applications and answer them.
Until the year 1827, military commissions were made out and issued by the Secretary of State; and one clerk was employed a large portion of his time with this service. But upon its transfer to the Adjutant-General’s office, only $200 was added as an allowance for clerk hire. This is altogether inadequate to the additional labor. There are seasons of the year, in which the whole time of the Adjutant-General and his clerk is occupied for months together, in making out commissions and recording returns of elections, to the neglect, for the time, of the other duties of the office. The labor in this branch of service is constantly increasing with the augment. ing population and military force of the state.
By this transfer of duty the Adjutant-General is compelled to reside in Albany. While it was performed in the State Department, he might reside at his usual place of abode, and attend to his professional business. He must now be permanently fixed at the seat of government, and is, of course, subjected to an additional burden of expense. His office, too, is one of constant employment. His intervals of leisure are neither of sufficient duration nor frequency to allow him to devote himself to any other steady occupation of business. It would, therefore, seem just that his compensation should be adequate to his support.
Under these impressions, your committee are of opinion that $200 per annum, in addition to his present salary, would be no more than a fair compensation for his services.
They are of opinion also that an office should be provided and furnished by the State. The military records are annually accumulating; and, independently of the expense, to which the AdjutantGeneral is subjected, in providing for their safe keeping, it seems to your committee wrong in principle, that public records should be deposited in a private office, subject to removal with every change of custody. They do not perceive that this case is to be distinguished from the other offices connected with the executive functions of the government, and are therefore, of opinion that it should be put upon the same footing by providing a room in one of the public buildings, with necessary surniture and fuel.
Your committee have accordingly instructed their chairman to introduce a bill providing for these objects.