George Perkins

14th Governor, Republican
1880–1883

Inaugural Address

Delivered: January 8, 1880

MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND FELLOW CITIZENS:

Grateful to Almighty God, and deeply impressed with the responsibilities I assume, I am here to comply with a custom which has properly prescribed that an incoming Chief Executive should briefly outline the policy by which his official conduct shall be controlled.

While adhering to those political principles held by the party that nominated me for the office, the duties of which I assume to-day, yet I should be remiss did I not make public recognition of the very cordial support I received from many who differed from me in mere political creeds. The representatives of those creeds, with others, hold membership in both branches of the Legislature, and their combined intelligence and wisdom I invoke in aid of judicious and wholesome legislation.

Steady prosperity and material advancement have attended the short life of this Commonwealth. To the ordinary sources of wealth, which give so much stability to business enterprises, have been added fabulous fortunes from the mines, ever inciting to industry and enterprise, and offering fields of operations adapted to the desires of the most moderate, as well as provocative of undertakings broad enough to tax the resources of the most skilled engineers and the boldest financial operators. The gain to the wealth of the world exceeds two hundred and fifty millions, and as a factor in the financial life of the nation it has served as a great balance-wheel in the monetary system. The natural results flowing from productions largely in excess of consumption are manifested in thriving cities and towns, in comfortable homes, in a large individual independence, in transportation facilities in pace, if not in advance, of the age, in complete educational facilities, and in all the accompaniments of an advanced and advancing civilization. These reflections should inspire us with gratitude to the Great Architect of the Universe, as well as impel us to exert ourselves to bring to perfection what has been so well begun. The organic law, which for thirty years served as our sheet anchor, has been set aside by the people and a new one substituted. It shall receive from me a faithful interpretation and enforcement in spirit and letter. Whatever it possesses promotive of the public weal will become apparent by actual test, and if it contains concealed destructives they will soon be uncovered by the people. A conservative purpose should characterize legislation in pursuance of the new fundamental law, and the required alterations should be so wisely adjusted as to cause the least possible friction in the social and business systems. Sharing in the earnest desire of my able predecessor to put into immediate effect certain provisions of the new Constitution, and thereto prompted by the solicitation of eminent citizens, united with Governor Irwin in the selection of three gentlemen to act as Commissioners in the preparation of such amendments to our present Codes and Statutes as would make them harmonize with the provisions of the new Constitution. The established reputation for learning and ability of the gentlemen thus selected, justifies me in commending to your consideration the results of their labors, which, it is confidently expected, will facilitate yours; and, if it is found that they have rendered a real public service, I feel confident that you will provide such compensation as shall be just.

However wise may be constitutions and laws, prosperity must spring from individual and associated effort, industry, intelligence and economy; from strong hands and cultured brains working in harmony. Manual labor can accomplish little without intelligent direction, and mere intelligence is ineffective without the strong arm of labor to execute its designs. Capital can do absolutely nothing while depending upon itself alone. But capital, intelligence, and labor uniting, produce results beneficial to each of the trio, and add to the wealth and happiness of the community. One of the offices of government is to give encouragement and protection to labor and capital. The more thoroughly and entirely that government protects and encourages the use of labor and capital, the nearer does it approach to a state of perfection. I regard the relations of the working classes to their employers as among the most pregnant problems of the day. Also, that it is one of the highest duties of the State to so frame her laws as to tend to the intellectual and moral advancement of her laboring classes. One of the auxiliaries to their elevation is an avoidance of wealth centralization, with the attendant power. The smaller taxpayers complain that they are made to bear an undue proportion of the State burdens; that the wealthier classes are ingenious in inventing methods whereby their properties escape paying the just charges for its governmental protection, and that the laws favor the rich at the expense of the poor. I do not concede that all the complainings in these directions are well founded; but the fact that such sentiments find pregnant expression is sufficient to put us on diligent inquiry as to their foundation, and to impel us to seek and apply adequate remedies. But a wise distinction must be drawn between statutory protection of the laborer and utopian plans of dreamers that teach men that they can live without industry at the charge of the more wealthy and provident classes. He is an enemy to society who attempts to inculcate the doctrine that any one class owes any other class a living.

STATE PRISON

By a wise provision of the new Constitution, the State penal institutions are to be placed under the sole control of a Board of Prison Commissioners, appointed by the Executive. After January eighteen hundred and eighty-two, the Constitution prohibits the contracting of prison labor, and then an additional responsibility will devolve upon the Prison Commission. We cannot too early turn our earnest attention to a consideration of the uses that can be advantageously made of convict labor, so as not to conflict with and degrade the free labor of the State. For the handling of our cereals alone, upwards of twenty-five million sacks are required annually, besides large quantities for other purposes. Millions of dollars go abroad yearly for the purchase of these necessary articles. It must be that the diversified soil and climate of this State are able to produce the jute from which the burlap is made. Its manufacture is not difficult, nor is the requisite machinery complicated, though somewhat expensive. If the raw material can be grown in California, of which I have no doubt, its manufacture by convict labor would open a new industry to the husbandman, and its full development would cheapen the cost of the manufactured article to the agriculturist. Employment would be given to convict labor without coming into competition with free labor to any appreciable extent. If experiments should establish the impracticability of growing the raw material, then we should ask Congress to abolish the duty on raw jute to be manufactured at the State Prison. We have in the State but one factory for working up the crude material, and that is operated mainly by Chinese labor.

The near completion of the Branch Prison at Folsom will, in a measure, relieve the one at San Quentin, and with increase of room and facilities for working the convicts, progress may be made in making the prisons self-supporting, while it is hoped a system more reformatory in its character may be inaugurated.

AGRICULTURAL AND MINING INTERESTS

Of the largely diversified interests of California, agriculture and mining are the principal sources of our prosperity and wealth. All cereals and fruits here yield most abundant harvests. The soil responds to man's industry and rewards his labors. Yet, ancient and honored as is agriculture, constant improvements are being made in its departments, and new discoveries augment the net gains. It is the duty of the State to foster the agricultural interest by providing for the dissemination of trustworthy information respecting her resources, the character and adaptations of her soils, so that the new-comer may enter upon his labors with an intelligent confidence in the result.

A progressive step has been taken during the past year at the University in the establishment of a garden of economic plants, in which a large number of growths proposed for culture in this State are being tested.

Still the science of agriculture in our State is yet in its infancy. The peculiarity of our soils, seasons, and climate makes the ripe experience of other countries unavailable to us in our methods of agriculture. An unskillful and unscientific agriculture will impoverish our soil, and eventually convert our fertile valleys into desolate wastes. The carefully collected experience of the older States, which constitute the literature of the science of agriculture, being unavailable to us, we are dependent upon self-instruction for what we now know, or have yet to learn, of the most scientific methods of field and orchard cultivation. The Bureau of Agriculture at the National Capital is a most valuable aid in the dissemination of intelligence on the subject of scientific agriculture, as that science may relate to the laws of production under the conditions existing in the great body of States in this Union. But the peculiarities of condition existing in this State call for the evolution of a special science of agriculture, and as a means to that end I most respectfully recommend that, through our Congressional delegation at Washington, the Congress of the United States be memorialized to establish a branch of the National Bureau of Agriculture on the Pacific Coast.

Further, and appropriately in this connection, your attention is respectfully directed to the wise encouragement heretofore given by this State in the way of promoting a higher agriculture by stimulating annual exhibitions of the highest results of industry. This encouragement should be continued under the guarded restrictions of the Constitution of our State.

Mining, for a long time the principal pursuit of our people, is still one of the most active and profitable industries. Its importance to the State and to the nation cannot be overestimated or gainsaid; and it is not without pride that we point to the fact that, since the discovery of gold here, California alone has produced over one thousand two hundred and fifty million dollars, a sum that exceeds the aggregate productions of all the rest of the United States. As results are the measure of success, these many millions prove the importance, State and national, of the mining industry, and ought to relieve it of its supposed speculative character. There is a broad and well defined distinction between the legitimate California miner—the producer of these vast sums—and the stock speculator who deals in paper evidences of titles to supposed mining properties. While legitimate mining has accomplished so much for the State, it must be admitted that the State has not done all it ought to have done for mining. We provided for a State Geological Survey, which was barren of any useful results; and before its completion a School of Mines was founded at the University, the outfit of which has never been furnished, and its chair is vacant.

Is it not due to the mining interest that the results of the geological survey already paid for, compiled, and collected—such as are practical in their nature—be made public property, when no expense is entailed except that of their publication? What has been done we should have the benefit of.

DEBRIS

In several sections of the State a conflict has arisen between the mining and agricultural interests in relation to the debris washed down by the rivers. The best interests of the State require that this most important and most delicate question should be settled upon some broad and comprehensive basis. The report of the Board of Engineers provided for by the last Legislature will doubtless furnish you with information in this connection.

IRRIGATION

The important subject of irrigation, with special reference to the San Joaquin Valley, has been the topic of investigation by the State Engineer and his able corps, and it is expected that his report to the Legislature this session will present some data upon which may be based wise legislation.

FREIGHTS AND FARES

The progress made in the construction of railroads during the past half century, the convenient facilities they furnish for travel and for the rapid interchange of commodities, have brought their relations to the State into a prominence that cannot be ignored by those occupying, or who would occupy, official stations.

Transportation companies move the agricultural and manufactured productions of the world. Their growth has been so overshadowing that the earnest attention of the wisest statesmen of both hemispheres has been directed to the subject of governmental supervision. In some of the older States such supervision has been tried and abandoned. In others the experiment has met with approval, and has resulted in a better understanding between the public and the railway companies. In this State we have had two Commissions created by statutory enactments, and clothed with limited supervisory authority.

The railroad companies disputed the right of the State to interfere in their affairs, and this attitude undoubtedly tended to the adoption of the far-reaching provisions in the new Constitution intended to regulate and control transportation companies.

A Commission authorized by that instrument has been chosen by the people. Its powers are almost unlimited, and partake of the legislative, executive, and judicial. The wisdom of delegating such extraordinary powers to such limited numbers, is not open to discussion or challenge in this place. The people, with whom the power rested, have so decreed, and it remains for their servants to obey. Yet I trust that the Transportation Commissioners will not consider me as exceeding official courtesy, if I give expression to the hope that they will be able to effect a more harmonious relation between the transportation companies and the people whom they serve. Some of the constitutional provisions governing this subject are probably not self-executing, and will need legislation to give them the effect designed by their framers. I respectfully invite the attention of the Legislature to this subject, and recommend the passage of such laws as shall meet the requirements of the case.

REVENUE AND TAXATION

The highest prerogative of government, and one of the most difficult to deal with, is that of taxation. In his inaugural address in 1871, Governor Booth aptly said: "No scheme of taxation has ever been devised which was absolutely just; perhaps none can be." This condition must be accepted, but the nearest approach to equality of taxation that experience can suggest must be our aim.

The revenue laws of the State have been in great part abrogated, and much legislation on this subject is rendered necessary by the new Constitution. The taxation of mortgages, which is one of the new features to be dealt with, will not produce any additional revenue, and will only operate—for good or evil—between borrower and lender. It is required that the amount of the mortgage be deducted from the realty on which it is a lien, and the proceeding renders cumbersome and complicated the duties of both Assessor and Collector.

It is, also, required that all real and personal property, including credits, franchises, bonds, and stocks, shall be taxed, and laws must be passed for the carrying out of this requirement. Not, however, in such manner as to result in double taxation, to which I am most emphatically and unalterably opposed. Debts due to A should be made an offset to a like amount of debts A might be owing to B, and the assessments made on the balance only. The stock of corporations is required to be taxed. If an attempt is made to tax the real and personal property, franchises, etc., of private persons and corporations, and another taxation of the stock and individual bonds, it would be double taxation, and, as such, oppressive and unjust. To prevent this, and, at the same time, to insure that all the property of any firm or corporation having a capital stock shall be properly taxed, would it not be the plan of wisdom to secure the assessment of all stock at its market value to the company issuing it, after deducting the value of all assessments on the real and personal property of such company as may have been otherwise made?

By this means many millions of dollars may be added to the taxable wealth of the State. The tax being paid by the company, the distribution of the assessment among the stockholders would be equitable, while to attempt to assess the stock to individual holders would prove to be practically impossible, and result in much of it escaping taxation.

Under the present laws improvements constructed on real estate, which is itself exempt from taxation, are not assessable. It seems only just that the Code should be so amended that the improvements alone may be made liable for the amount of the tax.

The new Constitution makes provision for the assessment and, collection of income taxes in such cases and amounts, and in such manner as shall be prescribed by law; and while I am not prepared to recommend immediate legislation upon the subject, I am persuaded that a tax upon personal incomes, exceeding say five thousand dollars, properly and impartially executed, would be of most essential service in imposing the burden of taxation upon those most able to bear it, and compel them to aid in supporting the government which makes possible the acquisition of wealth, and protects its possession, thus relieving the limited means of the less fortunate and the small property of widows and orphans from unnecessary impositions. But for the constitutional inhibition against exemption of any property from taxation, I should have been happy to recommend a moderate exemption from taxation of the property of these certain classes of persons; but since that is impracticable, their burdens may be lightened by a just and searching income tax.

NATIONAL GUARD

Domestic tranquillity and the obligations of the State to the Federal Government alike require that the National Guard should be encouraged and maintained in a state of efficiency, by such proper appropriations as will enable the citizen-soldier to feel that his service and preparation for possible exigencies, which sooner or later may arise in State or national affairs, are appreciated and rewarded. While standing armies have been well designated as a perpetual menace to free institutions, the people should be so sufficiently trained to the use of arms as to make possible the defense of the government in any condition of affairs. The Congress of the United States has this subject now under consideration, and it is not unlikely that liberal appropriations may be made for distribution to the States of funds for the creation and support of the National Guard. In the meantime, I hope the State of California will do its whole duty, so far as may be consistent with principles of economy, by the National Guard of California.

CHINESE IMMIGRATION

At the last election, in accordance with the Statute providing therefor, a vote of the people of this State was taken upon the question of Chinese immigration —“for” and “against” the policy of permitting it to continue unrestricted, as at present. Out of a total vote of one hundred and sixty-one thousand four hundred and five only eight hundred and eighty-three votes were “for” such immigration. The ballot was secret—there was no extraordinary excitement on the subject; the result should be accepted as a fair indication of the real opinion of our people on this important question. It ought to be accepted everywhere as conclusive evidence that there is practically no difference of opinion among the people of this State relative to the policy of prohibiting the further increase of the Chinese element of our population. The question has ceased to be a political issue with us. Men of all parties are in perfect accord that immigrants from China are a curse to this country, and that some adequate restriction upon their coming ought to be imposed without delay.

It is seldom that the voters or citizens of an American community so generally agree upon a question of such importance as in this instance. The result cannot be fairly attributed to ignorance or prejudice; fully two thirds of the electors of this State are natives of the United States, and a majority of them are from the Northern and Western States of the Union. They are not affected by race prejudice. By education and association they have been well grounded in the principles of our free institutions, and fully appreciate the sacredness of individual liberty. In proposing to restrict immigration from China, they are not disregarding American precedents, nor running counter to the spirit of our republican government. They remember that this country was discovered, and has been developed, by people accustomed to the beneficent principles of the civil and the common law; that our civilization founded by such people is entirely different from, as it is much younger than, that which prevails in China, and which seems to hold those born under its influence with a power that cannot be broken.

An experience of thirty years has convinced them that immigrants from China do not and cannot assimilate with our people. They come hither without families, with no accurate ideas of free government or of Christian civilization; they retain their native dialects, their national prejudices, and even their race costumes. They take no interest in our political affairs, and manifest no desire to be identified permanently with the country, as do immigrants from other parts of the world. They are handicapped by labor contracts which reduce them to a condition worse than slavery, for the servitude cannot be abolished. Their contracts cannot be annulled by our laws, because they are founded upon the laws, customs, and religious prejudices of China. The result is to renew in another form the "irrepressible" conflict between free and servile labor, which has already cost us one civil war. Hence the people of California say: Here is a new problem in American politics.

Our republican government has extended its jurisdiction across the continent, and stands face to face with the oldest civilization known to history. It confronts the most populous nation in the world—a country so populous that numbers equal to the entire population of the Union could be spared and their absence scarcely noticed. In all the Pacific States and Territories the population is less than one million five hundred thousand—utterly insignificant when compared to the four hundred millions in China. It costs much less for the immigrant from that country to reach this State than it does for the immigrant from Europe, or even from the older States of the Union. Already nearly one third of the men among us who make their living by their daily toil are Chinamen—Chinamen without families to support, while most of the white laborers have wives and children to provide for. In this country the family is the unit of society. It is the family that makes the home, and the homes of our people are the citadels of our liberty. It is there that respect for law and the love of freedom are fostered until they become so much a part of the nature of the child, that when he reaches manhood he is a useful portion of the political fabric. The Chinese know nothing of this American home culture, and we believe they are incapable of comprehending it. Hence they never can become American citizens in the true sense of the word. Bound in servitude, they differ radically from the class of immigrants for whom our ancestors entertained so friendly a feeling, and whom we have always received with hearty welcome. A new evil arises, for which we must provide a new remedy: that remedy, we believe, is to restrict the immigration of this class of people; and it is for the Federal Government to apply it. The expression of opinion, through the vote lately taken, was intended for the purpose of influencing such action, and it is to be hoped that it may have that effect.

While we must look to the General Government for the complete redress of this evil, the people have attempted, in the new Constitution, to find some relief through the action of the State Government, by directing certain measures to be applied. The attention of the Legislature is therefore respectfully invited to this subject, with the assurance that whatever can be properly and legally done in this behalf by the State shall have my hearty co-operation. Nothing should be done in anger, nor in a spirit of race prejudice, but everything with the fairness and dignity becoming a sovereign State of the American Union. Undoubtedly the time is rapidly approaching when the importance of this question will be recognized by the people of the United States, and then the public opinion of the nation will find expression in wise remedial measures. Surely the National Republican Party, which has always been the champion of free labor, which had its origin in the struggle against slavery, and has heretofore so jealously guarded all the interests of the people, cannot long remain indifferent to this question, nor fail to recognize the necessity of speedily erecting a barrier against this new danger, which threatens the very existence of our civilization.

LAND MONOPOLY

One great source of our success and prosperity as a nation is that, under a wise system, the public lands have been disposed of in small tracts to actual settlers. Attaching men to the soil by ownership creates an independent and intelligent population. While there are large areas of dry and desert lands that cannot be cultivated without large expenditures for costly works of irrigation, and large areas of swamp lands unavailable for agriculture until vast sums are expended in their reclamation, yet, wherever by legislation men have been enabled to monopolize and reduce to private ownership large tracts of farming land for purposes of speculation, it has been in opposition to the wise policy of the founders of the Republic, who sought to give every man wishing to cultivate the soil as much land as would support him and his family, and no more.

In the acquisition of California from Mexico we inherited the evils of a different system. Vast tracts, measured not by acres but by leagues, of the best land, had been granted to private individuals and secured to them by treaty. However much the public prosperity would be promoted by division and sale of these large tracts to actual settlers, I know of no mode by which they can be divided and sold without the consent of the owners.

The State could not exercise her right of eminent domain, and condemn them, for it would be an appropriation of private lands for private purposes; something unknown under our system of government. This evil must be left to time for its eradication. We can have no law of primogeniture and entail; therefore, the evil will not be perpetual. The fluctuation of business enterprises, the certainties of taxation, and the laws of inheritance, will in a few years divide and subdivide these great possessions.

The new Constitution requires that cultivated and uncultivated land of the same quality and similarly situated shall be assessed at the same value. This, with equal taxation prevailing to such an extent that the owner of his leagues of land shall be assessed the same value per acre as the owner of one hundred acres, providing the land is of equal quality, and the few will soon realize the fact that it is not profitable to monopolize the lands of the country. As to the large bodies of public lands within our State still remaining the property of the United States and of the State, that can be cultivated without large expenditures for irrigation and reclamation, I am in favor of such disposition of them only as will provide for their conversion into homes of not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres for actual residents thereon.

But while I consider the policy of taxing uncultivated lands equally with cultivated lands of the same quality to be not only a step in the right direction, but one of the most important reforms in the new Constitution, yet the carrying out of this important trust will devolve upon the Assessors of the different counties and the State Board of Equalization; and if they faithfully perform the duties assigned them, there is no doubt in my mind that the immense tracts of uncultivated lands, now held for speculative purposes, will soon be a matter of history.

It is estimated by the United States Surveyor-General that there is yet in this State about forty million acres of public lands unsurveyed. Our Senators and members of Congress should be requested to urge Congress to make the necessary appropriation to have these lands surveyed, and conveyed to actual settlers only, as it can but conduce to the encouragement of immigration to this State of intelligent, thrifty, and sturdy farmers from other States and countries, to come and settle in a State which possesses such unbounded resources. I shall be pleased to give my hearty co-operation and concurrence to any legislation which favors a policy of conveying our public lands to actual settlers only, and the discouraging of holding large landed estates.

HARBOR COMMISSIONERS

The Board of State Harbor Commissioners reported to the late Legislature a bill which provided for a new water-front for the City of San Francisco, and recommended that the lands reclaimed by their proposed plan, if adopted, should be sold.

The Legislature confirmed their suggestions, but wisely declined to authorize the sale of the reclaimed lands. The question now arises, what shall be done with them; shall they be sold, or held as the, property of the State.

The Port of San Francisco belongs to, and is of most vital importance to, the State of California; and her citizens are her agents in the domestic and foreign commerce of the State. The State has reserved ownership of the lands on the city front, and controls and directs their use for commercial purposes. Every facility that can be afforded to cheapen the cost of carrying on the exchange of products of the State for those of other countries needed to supply her wants, is of direct pecuniary advantage to every one of her citizens, however remote he may reside from this, her commercial seaport. A wise statesmanship will foresee and provide for her future commercial requirements, and make such provisions in advance as will create new sources of prosperity, or hasten and secure them to herself. Necessarily the surplus products of our State find their money value measured by prices fixed in foreign ports and under foreign competition; hence every dollar that can be saved in the cost of production and transportation (in facilities for handling, storage, wharf, and other port charges) inures to the benefit of the State and its producers, and will go far to help them meet the competition in foreign markets. Every convenience that can be afforded to get our products into the ships, and also to the ships themselves (which are to carry them away or bring back their returns) is a profit which goes directly into the pockets of the producers.

So, also, if we furnish better and cheaper facilities to the trade of our neighboring nations in the Pacific, we shall induce the trade of these countries to pass through our port, to the direct and indirect advantage of our people. As commerce has created these new lands on the water-front they should not be sold by the State to individuals, but be reserved and sacredly appropriated to commercial uses forever.

The education, therefore, which the State is bound to provide, must embrace only those branches of learning which are necessary parts of all systems of education; those only about whose utility and necessity there is a substantial agreement among all civilized peoples, among the adherents of all religions, and the membership of all sects. Such are reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, grammar, natural history, natural philosophy, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, civil engineering, etc. These and other cognate branches of science and art are neither Pagan, Mahomedan, nor Christian; they are neither Protestant nor Catholic. They are adapted to the wants and necessities of men and women, as human beings. And whether the men and women be Pagan, Mahomedan or Christian—Protestant or Catholic—they stand equally in need of the knowledge acquired by a study of these and cognate branches. To instruct in these is not to instruct in religion: yet such instruction is not antagonistic to religion, but harmonizes well with all religions, and with the doctrines of all branches of the church. t of which I should be glad to facilitate in any way within my power.

These lands are not needed for such purpose to any great extent but as our State and cities grow, the purposes for which different portions of them will be most useful will develop gradually, and a continuance of the wise policy which has reserved them will assign to each portion its proper share in serving the great commercial needs of the metropolis of the Pacific Coast.

NATIONAL POLITICS

It may be deemed that the affairs of our own State, at this time are of sufficient importance to engage the full time allotted to this occasion, without any allusion to national affairs. But I cannot forbear to notice the fact that in some of the States violence has been resorted to, and by threats thousands of voters have been prevented from exercising the constitutional right of suffrage; and more recently, in another State, a mere informality in the election returns, or a clerical error of a town meeting clerk, has been made the pretext to thwart the will of the people and annul their verdict.

A free, uncorrupted ballot is the great bulwark of constitutional liberty, and whenever it becomes apparent that in any State of this Union a result has been reached by violence or fraud, different from that which would have been attained if a fair election had been held, republican government is little more than a delusion and a farce; and I trust that the State of California will be ever ready to use all lawful power so to shape the administration of the National Government, that every citizen entitled to vote shall exercise that right securely under the protection of just and equal laws, and that the result of his vote shall be faithfully recorded and honestly returned as the expressed will of the people.

EDUCATION

The public system of education will demand at your hands much earnest and careful consideration. The framers of the Constitution of our State declare a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence to be essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people. Whatever power governs the schools shapes the intelligence of the generation. The destinies of a republic rests upon an intelligent suffrage, and the intelligence of the suffrage depends mainly upon the public school system. The changes in the system made necessary by the new Constitution presents an opportunity of a general review of the existing system, and such wise reconstruction and improvement as experience may have suggested or patient and earnest consideration may develop. A republican government will always be a perfect reflection to the true character of its people, and if we would attain that "righteousness which exalteth a nation," and avoid that "sin which is a reproach to any people," we must become, in its best and truest sense, an educated people.

Liberty will not decay so long as government is controlled and directed by virtue and intelligence, and in a State like ours, where the people are the source of governmental power, general education is the only means by which we may hope to transmit the free institutions under which we live in full vigor to succeeding generations. To neglect or abandon our system of public education, is a surrender to the ignorance and vice which usurp the reins of government when virtue and general intelligence are weakened or decay. Educate our people, and the liberties we enjoy will remain unshaken by the assaults of insidious usurpations and undiminished by the flight of time. The State University is the crowning glory of our educational system. The new Constitution wisely provides for its continuation as a public trust. By the terms of that instrument its government is to be perpetually continued in the character prescribed by the Organic Act, passed March twenty-third, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, and the several Acts amendatory thereof. It is now subject only to such legislative control as will insure compliance with the terms of its endowments. It is further provided that the funds derived from the sale of lands donated to the State by the Government of the United States shall be invested as directed by the Acts of Congress, and the interest accruing shall be devoted to the maintenance of a College of Agriculture, where such branches of learning as relate to scientific agriculture shall be taught. It will be the high privilege of this Legislature to devise the necessary details of legislation by which the object of the original grant or donation to this State shall be carried into execution, and I am happy to believe that this responsible duty will be esteemed a sacred privilege, and the obligations imposed will be discharged with that conscientiousness a true appreciation of the moral grandeur of the subject inspires.

AID TO ORPHANS

I commend to your generous sympathies the claims of the homeless children who, beneath the roofs of the many noble institutions philanthropy has builded, find the shelter denied them by the adverse fortunes of life. I most respectfully recommend the continuance of such judicious State aid as will second the efforts of our charitable citizens. Such aid will, in my humble opinion, do much to encourage and promote the spirit of charity among our people by arraying the testimony of the State on the side of Christian philanthropy.

CONCLUSION

At the threshold of the administrative duties into which by these ceremonies I am being inducted, I am conscious of a most earnest desire to discharge them as in the high court of truth, honor and justice. To achieve the distinction of an honorable position in the State may be the goal of self-love and pride; to rise equal to the high prerogative by the conscientious discharge of its duty, is the more worthy aspiration of ambition. For the brief term I shall enjoy the honors, and bear the responsibilities of this exalted office, I trust that my every thought shall be directed to the welfare of the State, and my every effort devoted to the promotion of peace and prosperity, the establishment of good government, and the advancement of Christian civilization.