OCR Interpretation

The Perrysburg journal. (Perrysburg, Ohio) 1853-1861, January 16, 1854, Image 4

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85026192/1854-01-16/ed-1/seq-4/

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(Concluded from page 347.)
Value of real
Value of per
sonal prop'ty.
Total on grand
The amount for 1854 is partly estimated,
but will not vary much from the actual re
The valuation last had, brings much prop
eity which had hitherto escaped, upon the
tax list, it also approaches, as near as is
possible under any system, to the real value
ot the property. With very few exceptions,
therefore, the rule of equality of burdens may
be deemed as permanently established in
The Banks acting under charters from the
General Assembly, form the only formidable
exception to the acquiescence in this just
and equitable rule. They have appealed
from the State authorities to the Courts of
the United States, in consequence of which
I have been under the necessity of engaging
counsel to represent the interests of the State
uclore that tribunal.
An arraignment of State sovereignty, un
der our peculiar form of Government, before
the Federal Judiciary, is always a matter of
doubtful expediency. It should certainly
never be resorted to bv institutions or our
own creation, upon which the State has
conferred large and valuable privileges, and
from which she now exacts nothing but
their fair and equal proportion of the bur
dens of government.
A similar course was formerly pursued by
an institution established in our midst by
Federal authority, and which, therefore, in
stinctively looked to Federal protection and
support. The Bank of the United States, it
is true, was partially successful at Washing
tin, but where is it now? The people have
advanced with unprecedented rapidity in
all the elements of prosperity and greatness,
while not one trace or vestige of that proud
institution is to be found within our bor
ders. On the part of the State Banks this
course is the. more reprehensible, as the ap
peal is made-by foreign stockholders, upon
whom the Stale has bestowed rights of an
exclusive and highly lucrative character.
They, too, complain of high taxes. I have
already remarked with some freedom on this
subject, and it is gratifying to find that these
institutions, impelled probably by their own
interest, are beginning to unite with the
great body of the tax-payers of the State, in
laboring to promote a greater degree of econ
omy in all public' expenditures.
It is incorrect to suppose that the original
policy of taxing Banks on their profits only,
was adopted with any view of taxing them
less than individuals. On the contrary, it
was claimed to be a higher grade of State
taxation ; and the Banks often boasted that
prior to 1846 they paid more than individu
als. ...
The growing magnitude pf State especi
ally of local taxation, however, led the
people to demand that these institutions,
should, equally with themselves, be brought
within its range. Hence arises the present
The higher grade of State taxation placed
in the charters became in the course of time
;i lower one, even for State purposes, to say
nothing about the local and many other
burdens which are necessarily borne by in
dividuals. An effort was made in 1846, at
a time when the whole basis of the revenue
laws was chanced, and when the inequality
referred to became clearly apparent, to sub-!
jpci me .nanus, not as formerly to a higher
arid special rate of taxation, but to the same
fiat was prescribed for and imposed on in
dividuals. This effort, so fair and equitable
Ht the time, was successfully resisted. It
continued however to be insisted upon, and
ti;e provision upon that subject in the new
Constitution, has been the result. This pro
vision relieves the Banks from the payment
(if the rates contained in their charters, and
which they alleged were so much greater
ihan.thoe paid under the general revenue
laws of the State, and only requires that "all
property employed in banking, shall always
!ear a burden of taxation equal to that im
po.Wlon the property of individuals." This
burden is no heavy, but a - constantly in-'
creasing duplicate wilL in a very few years,
greatly reduced it. The amount required to
meet the interest on the public debt is an
nually diminishing, and the temporary causes
that now tend to keep up the taxes, will
soon disappear. The Banks can therefore
sain but little by a perseverence in their
present course, while injury and final ruin
may be the consequence.
. The duty of the General Assembly is plain
and unquestionable. The requirements of
the Constitution must be carried out. In
this determination the people and every
branch of the State Government are united,
and will sustain each other by the most
cheerful co-operation. The Banks should
look beyond the legal issue. No one should
desire to live among an industrious and
heavily taxed people, without bearing a fair
and equal proportion of the necessary bur
dens of the state.
The new Constitution made three impor
tant changes in the Judicial department, re
ferring to the manner of electing the Judges,
the organisation of the Courts, and the mode
of proceeding in the administration of jus
tice. The fourteenth article requires that the
General Assembly shall provide for the ap
pointment of three Commissioners to revise,
reform, simplify and abridge the practice,
pleadings, forms and proceedings, of the
Courts of Record of this State, and as far as
practicable and expedient, provide for the
abolition of the distinct forms of actions at
law, then in use, and for the administration
of justice by a uniform mode of proceeding,
without any distinction between law and
lhese Commissioners were appointed, and
on the 15th of January, 1853, made their
report to the General Assembly, then in ses
sion. Ihey reported a code oi Civil rro-
cedure, which has gone into operation as a
statute of the State.
The changes made by this Code are radi
cal and thorough, and seem to fully meet
the requirement if the Constitution.
The actions at la v heretofore in use are
abolished and justice Is to b administered
by a mode of proceeding without reference
to any distinction between law and equity.
Technicalities and fictions in pleading are
no longer required. The parties, in stating
their claim and defence, must tell the truth,
and in ordinary and concise language.
lo discourage unjust claims and false de
fences, to dispense with unnecessary proof,
and to preven t a recurrence to formality and
liction, every pleading of fact must be verifi
To get at the whole tnith in every case,
the parties to the action, and all other per
sons, with few exceptions, are allowed to'
lhese changes put an end to the old sys
tem of practice, and aim to substitute for it
what the people have long demanded, a sim-
pie, lnieuigiDie ana economical moue ot
procedure for the administration of justice.
The new Code went into operation on the
second day of July last, and sufficient time
has not yet elapsed to test the wisdom and
practicability of all its provisions. That
most if not all of them are real and impor
tant reforms, I have no doubt. It is to be
expected that in the beginning they will
give rise to some embarrassment, but it may
be chiefly the embarrassment of changp.
In vi'Bw of the importance of this subject,
and of the untried condition of this law, I
consider it proper to recommend great cau
tion in any further immediate legislation
upon it. It seems to me it will be wiser to
wait for the modifications suggested by ex
perience, than hastily to adopt those of mere
It will be observed that the requirement
of the Constitution referred to, applies as
well to the Criminal as to the Civil Code.
The Code reported and enacted relates only
to civil procedure ; and the term of office
of the Commissioners heretofore appointed,
ended by limitation on the first Monday of
March last. You will, therefore, consider
tlie 'propriety of creating a further Commis
sion to prepare a Criminal Code.
The Reports of the Directors and "War
den of the Penitentiary, will place before
you a very full account 'of' the management
aim cunutiiuu ui inai insmuuoi,!.
'Hie laws have been executed with mild
ness and humanity, . and all proper efforts
made to reform the unfortunate convicts
who are confined within its walls.
Many of those whose offences resulted
from intemperance, unrestrained passion or
evil associations, it is confidently believed
will abandon the error of their past course,
and on leaving the institution, become use
ful members of society.
The exercise of the pardoning power, is
one of the most delicate and perplexing
duties imposed on the executive. Applica
tions for pardons, during the past year, have
been almost as numerous as the convictions,
and there are very few who are so frendless!
or abandoned, that they cannot excite some
interest, and procure, if necessary, a very
respectable list of names to their petitions.
Formerly, the power was unaccompanied'
by any restraint or qualification whatever ; j
and, it is not improbable, was sometimes)
exercised. The appeals of inno-!
cent and afflicted families are not easily!
Under the new Constitution, the Governor
is required to communicate to the General
Assembly "every case of reprieve, commu
tation or pardon granted, stating the name
and crime of the convict, the sentence, its
date, and the date of the commutation, i
pardon, or reprieve, with the reasons there-1
This provision must necessarily operate as
a very severe restriction upon the exercise
of the power referred to. The appeal must!
hereafter be made to the judgment rather j
than the sympathies of our nature. Reasons
once assigned, will be regarded as precedents!
in favor of other applications, and the pen-!
alties of the law would thus gradually be'
of all moral and practical force. I
Certainty, rather than severity of punish
ment, is believed to afford the best security
against the commission of crime. Our laws
are administered with great humanity. Two
juries grand and traverse have each to as
certain the guilt ot the accused, while the
judge, who has heard the testimony and ar
guments on both sides, is generally required
to concur.
Still, all human tribunals are liable to!
err, and it is not impossible that, by the
universality ot the law and the strict appli
cation of general rules, the innocent may
sometimes be improperly involved. It was
in view ot these circumstances that the
pardoning power was conferred upon the
Governor, and I have not hesitated to inter
fere in every case, where, by the disclosure of
facts, unknown at the time of the trial, a -lore,
reasonable doubt has been created in rela-
tion to the justice of the sentence. I
The courts are restrained in many cases,!
from fixing tne term ot conhnement in the I
Penitentiary, under three years: and this is
not unfrequently made the ground of an ap
plication to the Executive, at the end of one
or two years. I would suggest a modifica
tion of the laws in this particular, so as to J
authorize the judges to sentence for a shorter
Permit me in connection with this sub
ject, to call your attention to the very large
number of juveniles now crifined in this in-1
Considerations of sound policy,
as well as of humanity, create strong doubts;
in my mind as to the propriety of thepres-ias
ent system of punishing this class of delin-j
Offences committed by boys are:
usually the result of idleness, improper as-
sociations, and the absence of proper paren-!
tal care. j
They are very different, in degree and mor-
al turpitude, from those of the deliberate and i
confirmed criminal.
Punishment, besides securing the peace ;
and safety of society, is designed to repress
crime ana relorm the oilender. Ihe last of
these objects is particularly applicable to j
the inexperienced and unfortunate vouth
While many of the old are entirely beyond
the reach of hope, there is scarcely a youth
that may not be reclaimed.
To bring about this result, however, a clas
sification of offences, founded upon the age
of those by whom they are committed,
should be recognized by law, and an institu
tion organized with facilities for teaching
the juvenile offender the various pursuits and
duties of life,' together with 'the' elementary
nrancnes oj a common education, lnstitu
t'iotis of this character have been'estabTislied
in several of our sister States, and in every
instance have produced the most salutury
The reports of the Trustees and of the
several Superintendents, furnish full infor
mation of the condition and wants of the
benevolent institutions.
The repairs and improvements at the Lu
natic Asylum which were authorized by ap
propriations, . at the last session of the
General Assembly, are nearly completed, and
promise to add greatly to the comfort of the
The grout increase of pupils in the lnsti-
tution lor the Deaf and Dumb, requires that
additional room should be provided for
A personal examination of that Institu-
tiun has satisfied ine, that the time has ur-
rived for the erection of a new building,
with adequate room and suitable accommo
improperly dations.
The site of anew edifice has been a sub
resisted. ject of frequent discussion. It has been sun-
igested by many, that the Institution should
be removed into the country, and the ires-
ent buildings and grounds, which are now
almost in the heart of the city, eventually
sold. To this proposition, the present and
late superintendents have been stronglv op-
posed. Iheir experience in the education
of the Deaf and Dumb, gives great weight
to tnoir opinions, especially, as some ol
them rest on educational grounds.
I would submit to your consideration, the
propriety and justice of giving to the Board
jof Trustees a suitable compensation for
their services. The labor which they are
required to perform, and the respousibilitv
imposed upon them, are too great to be per
divested formed gratuitously.
There is a class of persons, with equally
strong claims upon our sympathies, who do
not seem to be embraced within the range of
the beneficial operations of these Institu
tions. 1 allude to the inbecile and idiotic,
of whom there is said to be a large number
in the State.
Idiocy and insanity, until lately, were
confounded, so far at least as efforts were
made for their amelioration and relief. Ths
proper distinctions are now observed, and
each class is found amenable to different
modes of treatment.
Idiocy is understood to consist in an im
paired condition of the powers of the mind,
and an entire want of the reasoning facul
ties. Persons thus afflicted are not respon-
ble for their acts, and must necessarily, there-
become a public or private charge.
Possessing muscular force, some traces of
memory, and the powers of imitation, they
ae capable of being trained to perform
many oi xue necessary uuues oi nie.
Our common schools, from their universal
diffusion, located as they are in every neigh
borhood, distributing their healthful influ
ence to every family, should always be ic-
garded as among the very first objects of
legislative care, ihey have not inaptly, at
times, beon styled " the people's colleges,"
and are certainly the palladium and most
effectual defence of our free institutions.
The iSew Constitution makes it irnperi
stitution. (tive on the General Assembly, "to mako
such pro visions by taxation, or otherwise,
with the income arising from the School
Trust Fund, will secure a thorough and effi
quents. cient system of common schools throughout
the State.''
In accordance with this requirement of the
Constitution, the last General Assembly,
with almost entire unanimity, passed a law
re-constructing our educational system,
elevating its standard, extending its useful-
iss, and imparting to it a greater degree of
It is claimed by the friends of the system
thus created, that the new features engraft-
ed upon it, are decided improvements : in
perfect accordance with the educational
progress of the age, and the educational de
mands of our rapidly increasing population.
In a republic, like ours, founded as it is
on the virtue and intelligence of the people,
at large, the thorough and efficient educa
tion of those who are soon to assume the
duties and responsibilities of government in
all its departments, is essential to the health
ful existence of the government itself," and
cannot ue negiectea' wiiuoui aanger io ,U;e
ViVal interests of our free institutions.

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