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as it was designed by Congress they should be, I deem it impor tant that the law relating to procuring county standards, shonld be 80 amended as to require the State Treasurer, who, by law has the charge of the Government standards, to procure the manufacture from suitable material, for the nse of each county, of complete and uniform standards, to be by him sealed and delivered to the proper county officer—the cost of which, to be added to the amount of State tax that each county shall respectively be liable to pay, for the year the same shall be delivered. This I regard as the best means of insuring the proper uniformity in county standards, which it is so necessary to secure.
In my former mes age to the Legislature, I urged the propriety of making provision for the sale of the swamp and overflowed lands, granted to this State by act of Congress, approved September 28, 1850. The Legislature at that session failing in the attempt to provide for such sale, I now renew the subject, and re commend definite action.
There are numerous considerations which should weigh, in orging an early disposition and reclamation of these lands. To dispose of them, would tend greatly to improve the bealth of localities contiguous to them—would hasten the settlement of the country, and make productive taxable property of much of that, which in many instances, is at present useless, and no law for their protection, or against taking the timber from them, it is believed, could be rendered sufficiently efficacious to prevent their being thus despoiled, of what, in many instances, constitutes their chief value. Besides, even adoitting the possibility of enforcing such a law, it could not be done without great perplexity and expense to the State.
Since the adjournment of the last Legislature, I have endeavored to adopt measures for the purpose, not only of ascertaining the facts, relative to the quantity and value of these lands, but also to secure the fee simple title thereto to the State.
Per fedted and approved lists of such of said lands as remain unsold, within the surveyed portion of the State, and formerly
subject to sale at the several U. S. Land offices, have been procured from the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and are as follows, viz.: In the Milwaukee Land District 53,636 93-100 acres. Mineral Point "
13,515 40-100 " 66 La Crosse "
217,295 18-100 Willow River
118,015 45-100 Menasha
717,528 62-100 16 Steven's Point «
521,670 52-100 « Making a total of one million six hundred fifty-one thousand sixtytwo 10-100 acres.
Official statements from the General Land Office, of the sales made by the government of such granted lands, since the passage of the act appropriating the same, and for which the State is clearly entitled to receive either money or other lands, it is promised, and confidently believed, will be forth coming; which, it is thought, will increase the total quantity within the surveyed portion of the State, to nearly two millions of acres; so that, upon a moderate estimate, for that portion of the overflowed lands, in the surveyed districts, (not included in either of the lists referred to,) and the swamp and overflowed lands yet to be surveyed in the northern portion of the State, it is reasonable to suppose that the total quantity which will ultimately enure to the State, from this grant, will equal three millions of acres. For the lands embraced in the perfected lists referred to, such assurances have been received, from the Commissioner, as to render it morally certain that patents for the same will be executed to the State at an early
Many of these lands are valuable, and should there be a judicious provision made for their sale, a large sum of money may be speedily realized by the State, after complying with the terms of the grant.
Admitting the propriety of thus disposing of these lands, I can see no constitutional objection to appropriating the surplus pro
ceeds, after their application to the extent required by the act: granting them, to such purposes as the Legislature may deem proper; and, as a large sum has yet to be expended, in the erection of public buildings—such as the completion of the Penitentiary, the construction of the buildings for the various charitable institutions, and, at no distant day, of a new Capitol edifice, or the enlargement of the present—which, even now, owing to the insufficiency of room for offices, seems to be demanded.
From the examination I have given this subject, I am clear in the opinion that, from the sales of these lands, we may reimburse the treasury for all past outlays, on account of public buildings, of every character; and further, erect all such buildings as the State will require for many years to come. The constitutional limit for State indebtedness being small, and that limit having been reached during the years 1852 and 1853, I am strongly impressed with the belief, that in the sale of these lands is presented the only means at present within our command, by which to provide for the objects named without resorting to direct taxation, the burthens of which, for the ordinary expenses of our State, while yet in its infancy, will be found fully equal to the ability to meet.
I therefore recommend that in the event of provision being made for the sale of the lands, that the proceeds accruing to the State be set apart for the aforesaid objects.
Section three, article four, of the constitution requires the Legislature to provide by law for an enumeration of the inhabitants of the State in the year 1855. You will undoubtedly comply with this provision of that instrument at the present session. In addition to the enumeration required, I recommend that provision be made for collecting, at the same time, as full and complete information concerning the manufactures, products, and property of the State as may appear practicable. The information thus derived will unquestionably be found interesting, valuable, and creditable to our State.
It affords matter for congratulation, that the different Railroad
enterprizes of our State, have, to a certain extent, recovered from the temporary depression, brought about by well known causes. It is now a conceded fact, that these important agents in the rapid settlement of our country, and in the developement of its resources, afford in this State, secure means for the profitable investment of capital; and such is now our condition, that it is no longer indispensable for us to rely entirely upon furnished from older and more wealthy communities, for their construction. It has, until a comparatively recent date, been absolutely necessary to induce the aid of foreign capital, in order to take the first steps in these enterprizes; and no better evidence could be given, of the rapid and healthy growty of the State, than that of our greatly increas-. ed ability to forward such means of communication, and the certainty of their yielding a profitable return, for the investments which may be made in them. Aside from the generous reward obtainied by every branch of industry and enterprize, and from the increase produced by superabundant harvests, greatly beyond the demand for home consumption, though added to by the wants of an unparalleled emigration-much of that emigration has, of itself, been of a character calculated to augment materially, the available capital of the State. Those laws of trade, which gradually and steadily regulate the supply in accordance with the demand, have insensibly, but with certainty, furnished our citizens with a great proportion of such means, as their necessities required, and their situation enabled them to secure and render profitable. Those legitimate works of internal improvement, the construction of which the opward march of our State made necessary, have felt the effect of the general impulse. Such as are already in progress, are being urged forward, with all of the means of the companies having them in charge; and it is now confidently believed, that their completion, within a reasonable time, is placed beyond the possibility of a doubt. It should be the care of the Legislature to foster, by liberal enactments, these important interests, and protect them by all such laws, as are calculated to secure their rapid construction, and the permanency of all those investments, which may
be devoted to their advancement or continuance. As one of the means necessary to effect this end, I would strongly recommend the passage of such laws, as would tend to prevent the commission of any fraud, by the over issue of stock or otherwise by the officers of incorporated companies, and which could aff:ct the interests of those entrusting them with the management of their affairs, or that of the community at large. The occurrences which during the past few months have been brought to light, in several of the States, demonstrate the existing necessity of such enactments; and until there has been some action of this kind taken, the construction of our Roads must necessarily be retarded, by considerations which the Legislature can do much toward removing, by the imposition of severe penalties for offences of the character referred to, and such other checks, as they, in their wisdom, may see fit to establish. Such a course will have the tendency to increase greatly, the value of our securities abroad, by giving capitalists confidence in their permanent value. This subject I consider to be one of the highest importance, and I trust your earnest atttention may be directed to the establishment of soine law, which will bave the effect desired. The opinions expressed by me, in my former message, relative to the importance of a speedy completion of our Railroads, and the means which seemed to me proper to be used for their construction, I still adhere to, and wonld reiterate, did not a simple reference to that document obviate the necessity of so doing. In this connection, I deem it proper to recommend, that the Legislature pass such a law, as will enable Rail and Plank Road Companies to secure the right of way over all lands owned by the State, or held in trust for any fund.
In my former message, I took occasion to urge upon the Legislature the propriety of memorializing Congress upon the subject of the Improvement of our Rivers and Harbors through the assistance of the General Government. Since that time Congress has acted upon the matter and passed an act making nore liberal appropriations than had previously been set apart for these objects. From this bill, the President saw fit to withhold his sanction, and