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States. The best of all investments is the purchase of the certificates of stock which they are set apart to redeem; and these certificates should be canceled as soon as they are purchased. Thus, the State, instead of having on hand for a series of years a large fund, exposed to the hazard of bank failures and to inconsiderate or unscrupulous legislation, will gradually extinguish its debts and have no money to provide for the purpose when they fall due. If at times it be necessary to purchase these certificates at a premium, the small advance is repaid by having the sinking fund free from the risk of bad management, and the people protected against the necessity of providing by taxation or by a new loan for the loss and the payment of the debts at their maturity.


The organized system of financial depredation which was discovered in 1871, and of which some of the principal municipal officers were the authors and chief participants, has not only cast upon the tax payers an enormous burden, but has brought upon the character of the city a stigma only to be effectually removed by the punishment of such of the guilty parties as have not eluded the pursuit of justice, and by the recovery, if practicable, of the moneys fraudulently appropriated by them. It may be safely said that there never has been in the history of popular government, and under the color of law, so bold and profligate a misuse of public treasure. Its most lamentable influence is in its tendency to impair confidence in the institutions under which it was perpetrated, by imputing to them a responsibility which belongs, in great part, to the faithless agents by whom they were administered. The authors of this financial pillage, as well as the equally unprincipled judicial functionaries by whom they were abetted and upheld, have been ignominously expelled from the trusts they have betrayed; and it will devolve on you to provide, by proper amendments to the charter of the city, such safeguards as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of abuses so oppressive to its inhabitants, and so injurious to its good name.

In the progress of this scheme of depredation, and, as one of its natural appendages, useless offices have been maintained and enormous salaries annexed to them, either as rewards to the partizans of its authors, or with a view to divert attention from the frauds they were perpetrating by the exhibition of kindred extravagancies in the chief departments of the municipal government, and to silence, by exorbitant stipends, those, who, from close connection with them, could scarcely fail to be cognizant of their guilt. Nor is this all. There were recently in some of the departments paid employés performing no services whatever. Some of the largest salaries are bestowed upon officers of inferior grades holding places which require, by comparison with higher official stations, but a moderate capacity. Thus the police justices, who are, for the most part, persons of inconsiderable judicial knowledge and intellectual ability, have received, and still claim salaries of $10,000 per annum, when half of that sum would be an ample compensation for the services they render.

The organization of most of the departments is according to the same scale of extravagance. There are four commissioners of police, each with a salary of $15,000, five commissioners of public charities, five commissioners of the fire department, and five commissioners of public docks, with salaries of $10,000 each. I believe that in most, if not all of these cases, the organizations would be far more effective, if there were in each department one commissioner, as a responsible head, to perform most of the labor, with the highest salary now paid, and the others with one-fourth of his compensation, as an advisory board. Indeed, no departments have been more economically or efficiently administered than those, which have been confided to commissioners without compensation. There are men of character, wealth and leisure, in New York, who are always ready to accept official positions, which are merely honorary, and in which the interests of the city are deeply concerned. Their own interests, and their pride in its good name, have always been sufficient motives with them to yield it an active and faithful service.

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When the city has such a resource, it is not only a needless expense, but a prodigal waste of its means to crowd the departments with superfluous officials, and bestow upon them exorbitant gratuities.

The sheriff, register of deeds, county clerk and coroners, are paid by fees, and their compensation amounts to an enormous sum, altogether disproportioned to their services. I recommend that the fees of their offices be paid into the city treasury, and that they be compensated by fixed salaries.

Unless provision is made by law for uprooting the existing system of municipal government, I much doubt whether the evils which have grown up with it, and some of which cling to it still, can be effectually eradicated without giving the mayor the power of removing municipal officers and appointing others in their place whenever he may think it necessary for the purpose of carrying out the reform so distinctly demanded by the public voice. In this case, the whole responsibility of seeing that the affairs of the city are honestly and efficiently administered will rest with him, and a failure in either respect will make him justly amenable to public condemnation. The well-known integrity, firmness and experience of the present incumbent of the office of mayor, give the strongest assurance that the power referred to may be safely entrusted to him, and that it will be exercised solely in the interests of the city. Should this suggestion meet your approval, all the other needed measures of reform may be provided for by a few well-considered amendments of the existing charter.

Enlightened statesmanship in the eager pursuit of remedies for political abuse and for the arbitrary control of majorities, has devised a plan for securing the representation of minorities by cumulative voting. In municipal organizations first, and since then in the more extended spheres of popular representation the plan has been adopted with satisfactory results. In Denmark

and England, in numerous cities and townships in Pennsylvania, and in the State of Illinois at large it has been successfully carried into practice. In the latter three representatives, or members of the more numerous branch of the Legislature, are elected in each Senatorial District, and each qualified voter may cast three votes for one person or distribute them, as he may think fit. At the late election the object in view, proportional representation, was secured; and the composition of the House of Representatives is said to reflect, in exact proportions, the numerical strength of parties in the State. By this plan, with the greatest preponderance a majority is likely to possess, the minority is sure of a representation to detect, resist and expose abuse.

I differ with my learned predecessor in regard to the power of the Legislature to adopt this plan; and believing that it will prove a check to the tendency of majorities in representative bodies to disregard the rights of minorities, and to forget, in the consciousness of their strength, that the interests of their constituents are paramount to their own, I respectfully recommend that it be adopted in the city of New York, for cases, in which more than one person for the same body is to be voted for.


The alarming increase in frequency of the crime of murder in the city and its environs demands your most serious consideration. Scarcely a day passes without witnessing a brutal, and in many instances a fatal, assault upon the persons of unoffending individuals, usually in drinking saloons, often in the most frequented streets, and sometimes within the very purlieus of justice. According to the reports of the Secretary of State on the statistics of crime there were less than three convictions per annum for murder in the State during the nine years from 1830 to 1838 inclusive. In one of those years there was not a single conviction for that crime. Since then the number of cases in which life is

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taken has accumulated with fearful rapidity. This deplorable increase is due to a variety of causes. Among them may be enumerated the failure to convict, from the reluctance of jurors to bring in a verdict of willful murder involving the punishment of death; the difficulty of obtaining juries of competent intelligence; the incapacity or criminal negligence of prosecuting officers; and the delays in carrying sentences into execution by the interposition of legal technicalities. It will be in vain to hope for the suppression of crime, unless the retribution is prompt and certain.

The leading objects of government are the protection of life and the security of property. No political system can retain the confidence of those who live under it, unless these objects are effectually accomplished. The lamentable manner, in which both have been frustrated in the city of New York, has forced upon the minds of many thoughtful persons the unwelcome question whether their lives and property would not be better secured under a less popular form of government. Nothing can be more deplorable than the suggestion of a doubt as to the superiority of our own institutions over others of a less liberal character. Under this view of the subject the duty of securing property from depredation and life from felonious assault becomes the more imperious and connects itself closely with the durability of our political system; for if the machinery of the law proves inadequate to effect the fundamental purposes of government, it will soon be made to give way to the arm of force.

The difficulty to which I have alluded, in obtaining juries of competent intelligence, arose from the existing rule of law, which had its origin in a period of comparative ignorance, and under which it has been almost impossible to empannel a proper jury, in a capital case. The universal distribution of the press brings to every man's door the narration of passing events, and every intelligent person rises from the perusal with a distinct impression in regard to them. If such an impression is to be treated as an opinion

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