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Mr. McFarland of Nevada moved that the election of Chaplain be made the special order of the day for Monday next, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
Motion was carried.
Mr Hawes gave notice of an act to repeal the several charters of the City of San Francisco, to define the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco, and to consolidate the governmeni.
The following message from the Senate was read :
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate be requested to inform the Assembly that the Senate has organized by the election of permanent officers, and is ready to proceed to Legislative business.
Mr. Speaker :
I am directed to inform the Assembly, that the Senate yesterday adopted the following resolutions :
Resolved, By the Senate, (the Assembly concurring,) that the two houses will meet in Joint Convention to-morrow, at 12 M., January 9, 1856, to canvass the votes for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor.
Resolved, By the Senate, (the Assembly concurring,) that the Senate will meet the Assembly on Wednesday, 9th,1856, at 2 o'clock, to inaugurate the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor elect, and that a committee of three be appointed on the part of the Senate, and a like number on the part of the Assembly, to make necessary arrangements. Respectfully,
Mr. Shearer moved that the House concur with the resolution passed by the Senate.
Mr. Winston offered the following resolation :
Resolved, by the Assembly, (the Senate concurring,) that a committee of two from each House be appointed to wait upon his Excellency, the Governor, and
inform him that we are now organized and ready to receive any communication that he may wish to present.
The Speaker appointed on the part of the House, Taylor and Lippincott.
Mr. Holland gave notiee that on to-morrow he would introduce a bill for an Act to amend an Act eutitled an Act to reincorporate the City of San Francisco, passed the 18th day of May, A. D. 1855.
Mr. Curtis introduced the following resolution :
Resolved, That there be a committee of three appointed by the chair, to make inquiry and ascertain what disposition was made of the clock purchased last winter from Hiller and Andrews, of this city, for the use of this Assembly.
Mr. George gave notice, that he would introduce at an early day, an Act entitled An Act, securing to Mechanics and others a lien for work done and materials furnished.
Mr. Curtis introdaced the following resolution :
Resolved, That the Sergeant-at-Arms be instructed to make arrangements with the Post Master of Sacramento, and also with one or more Express Companies, on the most advantageous terms, for the carrying of all mail matter for the Assembly.
It was moved and seconded to strike out all that part of the resolution relating to Express Companies.
It was moved and seconded to lay the resolution on the table.
The Speaker appointed Mr. Hawes in place of Mr. Lippincott, on Committee to wait on his Excellency, Governor Bigler.
Mr. Coombs, of Alameda, appeared, and was qualified.
The Committee appointed to wait on his Excellency, Governor Bigler, reported that the Governor would send in his message in twenty minutes.
Report adopted, and Committee discharged.
The followiug message from the Senate was read :
I am directed to inform the Assembly that the following concurrent resolution was adopted :
Resolved, by the Senate, the Assembly concurring, That a committee of two from each House be appointed to wait on his Excellency the Governor, and inform him that both Houses are organized and ready to receive any communication he may be pleased to make.
And the President appointed as said committee on the part of the Senate, Messrs. Mandeville and Day.
The Secretary of State presented the Annual Message of Governor Bigler and accompanying documents.
SACRAMENTO, January , 1856.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and Assembly:
Having assembled as the immediate representatives of a free people to deliberate upon the varied wants and interests of a great State, the duty again devolves on me as Chief Executive of communicating with you by message, setting forth the “condition of the State” and recommending such measures as I “may deem expedient,” and promotive of the prosperity, happiness, and wealth of our com mon constituents.
The manifold interests committed to your care, and which it will be your duty to foster and protect, are of vast importance to the whole people, and as their representatives, it affords me sincere pleasure at the opening of a new year, to welcome you to the scene of your legislative labors, and to express the confident hope that all your acts will not only accord with the public will, but redound to the increased prosperity of our young State.
You have assembled under circumstances the most auspicious, and at a time, too, when wise counsels and judicious legislation will immeasurably advance the onward progress of California to that high position among the confederacy of sovereign States to which she is so eminently entitled.
For the first five years of our history, it may well be said that California was placed in a peculiar, anomalous, and even perilous condition; when. Legislatures were necessarily surrounded by circumstances well calculated to retard her growth and advancement, and to encumber her with indebtedness beyond any former precedent in the history of other States of the confederacy.
Before, however, setting forth the financial condition of the State at the present time, and suggesting such measures of economy and reform as are deemed necessary to reduce the expenditures of Government, it may not be improper briefly to call your attention to a few facts and circumstances connected with the early history of the State, that you may the better understand and appreciate the real causes of the indebtedness incurred. For notwithstanding the errors which may have been committed from a lack of correct information and experience as to the wants and requirements of a new State, emerging at one stride from the cradle to the estate of full manhood, we are entitled to the just inferences only to be drawn from a careful examination of the various causes which have, to a very great extent, laid the foundation of our indebtedness.
It will be remembered that California, unlike other new States of the confederacy, never received the fostering care of the General Government, and had no Territorial organization,—that wise provision, aptly termed the period of probation and tutelage, during which the agents of a young community are expected to develop the latent resources of the future State, become acquainted
with the wants and requirements of its people, and learn that experience so necessary to judicious and proper legislation; and that, too, without feeling the blight of onerous taxation to support a cumbersome and perhaps unnecessary State Government, But from the date of its first settlement to its admission into the Union, California had been denied the fostering and protecting care of Congress, and only felt the rigor of its laws in the collection of revenue for the support and maintenance of that Government which had failed to make provision for the wants and necessities of her people.
The failure of Congress to provide a territorial Government for California compelled her people to institute and set in motion all the machinery of an expensive State Government without a dollar in the treasury to pay the expenses attendant upon its inauguration and maintenance.
With an empty treasury, the members of the first Legislature assembled, and upon them devolved not only the onerous duty of providing for the payment of indebtedness already incurred and for the iminediate and accruing demands of the government, but at the same time to give form and vitality to the chaotic elements, which it was requisite to mould to the genius of our people and the character of our republican institutions. Thus surrounded by circumstances calculated to dampen the ardor and depress the spirits of a body of men less determined to complete the work of organizing a new State, the members of that Legislature cast about for the means of carrying on the new government. The plan finally adopted, although believed by many to be ruinous in its consequences, and at the time so regarded by myself, was the issuance of bonds known as the three per cent. bonds, bearing an interest at the rate of three per cent. per month. Although the policy of this measure has been doubted by some, and unequivocally condemned by others, it is still true that the peculiar condition of affairs at that time, the urgent necessity for funds, and pressing circumstances with which the representatives of the people were surrounded, would seem to offer an excuse, if not a justification, for its adoption.
However that may be, and it is perhaps unnecessary here further to inquire into the policy or necessity of this measure, certain it is, that it laid the foundation of our present indebtedness, and to it may justly be ascribed much of the debt at present existing. For although the amount of three per cent. bonds issued was comparatively small, they remained outstanding a long time, with interest fast accumulating, and not until 1854 hail the whole issue been entirely redeemed by cash payments from the treasury, and not until after the interest had exceeded the whole amount of the principal
The State was consequently compelled to defer cash payments for other objects until bonds bearing such a ruinous rate of interest, had been redeemed and cancelled. Thus, mainly by this act, was forced upon us the scrip system, the results of which, it need hardly be said, after our too long experience, are so fatal to the financial credit of a State, and proper economy in the administration of its affairs. ,
The State, thus commencing its operations, devoid of funds or the immediate means for assessing and collecting revenue, was compelled, to pay most extraordinary prices for service performed or material furnished. Without necessary public buildings for the Legislature, State officers, and Courts, large appropriations were requisite in payment for office rents. There was no prison for the safe keeping of convicts, and large amounts were expended in the pursuit, detection, conviction, and punishment of offenders against the laws.
The sick and destitute arriving in a strange land, far removed from friends and family, after undergoing the toils, hardships, and privations of a long, tedious, and perilous journey, were to be cared for at the public expense, and in answer to the dictates of common humanity. Large sums (in the aggregate about one million two hundred thousand dollars,) were appropriated, not only to sustain hospitals for the aflicted already within our borders, but to aid and assist the immigration of two successive years.
Destitute of money at the organization of the Government, and necessary expenditures every day increasing, with little or no revenue coming into the coffers of the State, our bonds and warrants on the treasury greatly depreciated in value, and it was not until a much later period that they commanded over sixty cents on the dollar. Thus was the State compelled for every service performed, for salaries of officers, for work done or materials furnished, to add nearly one hundred per cent. to the price for which the same could have been had if the treasury had not been entirely depleted, or rather, empty from the beginning. The Constitution, too, provided for a Government on too grand and expensive a scale to admit of an economical administration of its affairs. Many offices were thus created, unnecessary at the time, and causing a vast outlay of money in their organization and support ; annual instead of biennial sessions of the Legislature were authorized ; in a word, so cumbrous and expensive was the machinery of Government thus provided for, that many and important alterations in that instrument have already been suggested, in view of greater economy in future, and still others are demanded by the condition of the treasury and the requirements of the people,
At that day, too, there was a marked difference in the condition of the country from that presented now. The first immigration, and that of several succeeding years came hither not as settlers, but as adventurers, seeking to better their condition from the rich gold fields of California, and then speedily return to their homes on the other coast. Few, if any, brought with them their families, their farming implements, or their household gods; but equipped with those modern and novel implements of progress, the pick and rocker, wandered along the golden placers of our rivers, or delved in the rugged mountain side, in search of the glittering ore, which was to take back light, and comfort, and joy, to hearth-sides far away, where expectant fathers, mothers, wives, and children awaited the coming of the wanderer.
The consequence of this was a state of society unparalleled in the history of States, and unsettled in its character. Each one roaming at large in quest of new discoveries, taxes could neither be levied nor collected, and taxable property of course was rare.
Our fertile valleys and boundless plains. now yielding their rich products to the husbandman and contributing so largely to the support of the State, were then desolate—the sod unturned by the plowshare, unadorned by the farmhouse. The revenue collected for the first three or four years was for these reasons far inadequate to meet the repeated and necessary demands on the
Each year, hoping to abolish the scrip system and assume cash payments, the floating indebtedness of the State was funded, and bonds bearing an interest of seven per cent. per annum issued in its stead,rendering it necessary to impose additional taxation upon the people in order to meet accruing interest and provide for the gradual redemption of the bonds thus issued
The foregoing, however, are not the only facts connected with the debt of the State worthy of consideration, in estimating the many and axtraordinary causes which have rendered necessary the expenditure of large sums over and above the revenue received into the Treasury.
Of the existing State debt, about one million two hundred thousand dollars were expended in providing for the necessities of the sick, destitute and insane; one hundred and twenty thousand for Census of 1852, taken in accordance with constitutional requirement; three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the