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MADE TO THE
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF ILLINOIS,
JANUARY 3, 1859.
BAILHACHE & BAKER, PRINTERS.
To the General Assembly of the State of Illinois:
GENTLEMEN-As the chosen representatives of the people, you are again assembled to deliberate upon matters affecting the welfare of our state.
Each recurring session of our legislature brings with it increasing cause of gladness at the rapid and marvelous advances which we, as the people of a sovereign state, are making in all the elements of national greatness. Our physical, intellectual and moral condition is advancing with a rapidity probably never equalled in any age nor among any people on the globe. Our almost limitless prairies are being converted, as by magic, into fertile and teeming fields, the produce of which, finding cheap and speedy transit over our magnificent rivers and railroads, to the best markets in the world, is enriching our farmers, and creating and sustaining a healthful business in all the useful departments of life; while the steady and rapid multiplication of school houses, for the common as well as higher schools, throughout our state, give evidence, alike conclusive and gratifying, that the important matter of educating the rising generation is beginning to receive from our citizens that degree of attention which its real importance demands.
The harvest for the last season has been less bountiful than for several preceding years; while our citizens in some portions of the state have been more than usually afflicted with sickness. These evils, however, have been but partial and temporary-hardly sufficient to interpose even a momentary barrier to the onward and upward progress of our state. A single season of our wonted plenty and usual good health will obliterate every trace of these discouragements.
Our financial condition is most cheering. Our taxes have been paid voluntarily and with promptness; and our citizens are looking forward with pride to the day—now not distant—when, without oppression or embarrassment to them, our state indebtedness will have been entirely removed and we left in possession of a secure and certain income sufticient, by that time, to defray all our ordinary expenses, without resort. to taxation of any kind. I allow six years as the period within which this proud consummation may be effected.
The total amount of taxable property, as shown, for 1857, is $407,477,367—an increase over the preceding year of $57,526,095; and the total receipts into the treasury for taxes levied in 1857 are $1,821,012 72.
The present condition of our state debt is shown by the following table:
During the years 1857 and 1858, the principal of the public debt has been reduced one million and fifty thousand three hundred and twentyfour dollars and thirteen cents; and the arrears of interest reduced one hundred sixteen thousaid:tive:htoured fifty-two dollars and sixty-one cents, as follows: By amount of the state cela fund paid on the principal, pro rata, Jannary,:£858;&C.
$623,449 01 By certificates new internal improvement stock and interest bonds of 1847 clared with the Central railroad fund.....
89,604 60 By certificates new internal improvement stock purchased with the state land fund..
42,875 24 By certificates new internal improvement stock purchased with the three per cent. school fund..
7,038 24 By amount paid by the trustees Illinois and Michigan canal on the principal of the registered debt...
$1,050,324 13 By arrears of interest on certificates new internal improvement stock purchased with the land fund.....
$13,552 61 By arrears of interest on certificates purchased with the central railroad fund.... 103,000 00
$116,552 61 And as the accruing interest due January, 1857, and subsequent installments, have been promptly paid, so far as presented, the present condition or amount of the public debt may be stated as follows, to wit: Eighty-one old state bonds, bank, and inter
nal improvement stock, outstanding.. $81,000 00 Internal improvement scrip.
$133,000 00 Liquidation bonds....
271,819 00 Certificates new internal improvement stock.
2,583,368 15 Interest bonds of 1817, drawing interest from July, 1857, 1,838,433 03
Registered canal debt.
$1,826,650 18 2,713,113 19 1,468,505 61
$9,008,268 98 Deduct state debt fund in the treasury, December 1, 1858, to be applied to the payment of principal....
766,629 48 Amount of principal..
Certificates interest stock not to draw inter
est until January 1, 1860, issued on account of arrears of interest surrendered, &c....
2,756,814 43 Less amount purchased with the Central railroad fund.....
$2,653,814 43 Estimated amount of arrears of interest not yet funded, about...
Amount of certificates, interest stock and balance arrears
of interest not yet funded...
Amount of the state debt, principal and arrears of interest, $11,138,453 93
TOO MUCH LEGISLATION.
Too much legislation, a tendency to which is greatly increasing with us, is a serious evil-one which every well-wisher of the state must desire to see arrested. I feel confident that I need no apology for alluding to this growing misfortune, and urging upon you, with whom alone the power of correction resides, to set an example of moderation on this subject which may serve as a nseful guide to future legislatures. A few general laws, such as our constitution has clearly contemplated, are all that the people usually need or desire; and the whole effect of a biennial multitude of trivial laws, strictly local in their character, and, in the main, worse than useless, is lavishly to expend the money of the people for printing and binding volunes frightful alike for their bulk and general appearance. I earnestly, but respectfully, call your attention to this crying evil.
AGRICULTURE. The location of Illinois as the great central state of the Mississippi valley, stretching through three and a half degrees of latitude, and embracing probably the largest area of exuberantly fertile soil found in one continuous tract in any part of the world, indicates with unerring certainty that her leading interest must be agricultural.
Hence to develope the agricultural wealth of our state should be a paramount object with our people. The State Agricultural Society has . done and is doing much to this end. The fairs of that society, held within the last two years at Peoria and Centralia, where were exhibited specimens of the agricultural wealth and mechanical genius of Illinois, and which drew together for their examination, large numbers of our people, have had a powerful influence in giving an impetus to agricultural industry, which will be felt in all time to come. There are now in this state ninety-two legally organized county agricultural societies, which are doing good service in this work of agricultural improvement.
Recently a meeting of the State Horticultural Society was held at Bloomington, composed of individuals devoted to the prosecution of that department of agriculture, whose labors, it is believed, will be of great value to Illinois. In many respects our seasons are peculiar