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or other reformatory institutions, from letting by contract the labor of any convict confined within such institutions. This radical departure from the existing contract system will impose upon your honorable bodies the necessity of providing by law how the laber of the convicts in our prisons and reformatories shall be utilized so as not to become a standing charge upon the treasury of the State. Either such criminals are to be hereafter supported in all respects as criminals in civilized nations, with due regard to the moral and christian sentiments of the age in which we live, in idleness, or they are, instead of becoming a charge upon taxes collected from honest people, to be made self-supporting.
In August, 1887, two hundred and sixty-seven convicts at Joliet will be discharged from contract labor under the amendment. Other existing contracts for convict labor will not in that prison expire before another meeting of the General Assembly. Contracts for the labor of four hundred and six convicts at Chester (the whole number under contract at that prison), will also not expire before the meeting of the next General Assembly. Should existing contracts continue and hold good, provision will have for the present to be made only for the excess of convicts in both prisons over demands for the same under existing contracts. The number may be large or small in either, as various and unknown circumstances may determine. It is, of course, impossible to foresee what such number to be provided for may be. It would seem, therefore, to result that something like a consistent and well defined plan or system ought to be provided before the adjournment of the present session, to meet such expected contingency. It will not do to adjourn and leave the officials of the State without a plan and without means to meet conditions liable to arise at any moment of such serious import as not unlikely to cause an extra session of the General Assembly, if such plan, system, or appropriations shall not be available to meet such expected crisis.
Various notions, opinions and suggestions are afloat upon this interesting subject in the public mind. It would be a task beyond the limits of a biennial message to undertake to deal with them all. A few may be mentioned. The State account; the piece price ; labor contract; trades to be taught to each convict; the lease; the hiring out of all convicts to work on highways, canals, railroads, in mines, in quarries, upon farms; the shot drill ; the tread mill, etc. I can not conceive it possible that the people of the State would with any patience tolerate the spectacle of convicts in prison garb, with ball and chain, driven under guard through our public thoroughfares, over our fields, or into our mines to labor. Such an exhibition, I take it, would be too revolting to be endured for an hour. The shot drill and tread mill device are equally contemptible. The lease system was tried in this State for more than forty years, and was long ago condemned by an intelligent public opinion to, as was supposed, eternal dismissal.
But four plans remain to be considered. First, the State is engaged to teach each convict a trade; old or young, for a long or
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short sentence, it matters not, each convict is to be taught a trade ; not a part of a trade, but a trade in full. Each one is to become a carpenter, cabinet-maker, type-setter, shoemaker, tailor, blacksmith, wagon-maker, painter, or skilled in some like useful trade. This plan utterly ignores the progress made in mechanics, invention, art and machinery, by which the old useful trades are largely superseded and supplanted; nor does it take any account of the vast expense such a plan would entail upon the State in providing shops and skilled workmen in those various trades to impart the necessary supervision and instruction each would require, while the product of such trades would, for any purposes of maintaining the expenses of a penitentiary, be of little if any value whatever.
If there is any substantial distinction between the contract and the piece price plan, so far as the product of either is to be considered as coming in conflict with outside skilled labor, and to be considered as injurious and detrimental to such labor, I fail to recognize it. In one instance the contractor provides the plant and material, in the other, the State may do so, but in either case the product of convict labor is put upon the market, not by the State directly, but by the contractor, either of the convict labor by which it was made, or of the material after its completion in the prison by convict labor. It is not believed the piece price plan has received sufficient recognition to commend it to universal
even partial acceptance as a substitute for either the contract or State account system.
As the contract labor plan is prohibited positively, and the piece price plan substantially, by the late constitutional amendment, it would seem the State account is the only remaining tangible and available system to be considered. The whole subject is beset with no inconsiderable difficulty, and will require the patient and considerate attention of the Legislature for satisfactory solution. I do not believe the people will endure for any great length of time any tentative or puerile system, or one which will be considered as excusing idleness in convicts, or great expense to the State. In any event large appropriations seem indispensible to inaugurate any new scheme. The fault of the last attempt of the State to
penitentiary on State account was largely attributed to the limited appropriations allowed for the purpose. If the State is to become a competitor in the field of trade and commerce with individual enterprise for the sale of its manufactured products, it must equip itself with abundance of means to meet every contingency of trade, as every other manufacturer is obliged to do, or reconcile itself to constant and very considerable annual loss. Even under the most favorable management, it is gravely to be doubted if the State account plan can ever be made self-sustaining. The different views prevalent in the public mind as to definite, indefinite or indeterminate sentences, conditional liberation or discharge from prison on parole, the separation of the young and unpracticed from the old and hardened criminals, and other kindred and undefined ideas, will doubtless be brought to your attention one way or another.
I leave for the present this vast and inviting field to the investigating and inquiring mind of the moralist and legislator, who may find time and inclination to give patient examination to these interesting and worthy subjects of thought and inquiry.
The wisdom of the last legislature in creating a Board of Live Stock Commissioners has been amply vindicated. The live stock interest of the State is so vast and of such immense value, it seems high time to give to it the attention and protection of judicious legislation. Contagious or epidemic diseases, unless carefully looked after and provided against, may at any time inflict incalculable injury and loss upon this great industry. The ample police powers of the State afford a sound basis upon which to fix all needful self-protecting legislation, even though in the interest. of the general welfare of the State it may seem to grate harshly upon individual interests. It will not do to suffer fatal contagious diseases to find permanent lodgment within the borders of the State, if by prudent forecast and sound and just laws such calamity may be avoided, or if not entirely avoided, so regulated, restrained and confined as not to spread to any seriously injurious extent. Timely appropriation of money, though seemingly large, wisely expended under prudent and lawful regulations, will doubtless avoid in the end large sums to cure evils which may be restrained, if not wholly eradicated, by prompt action.
You will notice in the annual report of the Board, that prior to September last it was thought contagious pleuro-pneumonia had entirely disappeared from the State. The supplemental report, however, discloses an alarming state of affairs in connection with that pest. The Board, with the means at hand, has dealt vigorously with the disease, and seem again to have it under control. Large expenditure of money became necessary to meet the critical conditions which have existed from September up to the present time. The Board had to contend with a mixed public opinion upon the question of the contagious character, even the existence of the epidemic disease. Dealers in live stock are loth to admit that disease exists at any time, and especially such serious disease as contagious pleuro-pneumonia. Breeders and feeders know better, and take care to know more, about such fatal diseases, and as a general rule are willing to make sacrifices to meet and deal with them. The evidences submitted in the supplemental report establish, I think, beyond reasonable question, that contagious pleuro-pneumonia exists to-day in Cook county; that it has prevailed there since September last to an alarming extent; that it has been imported into this State from outside sources; that it did not originate here, and that many other States and Territories, taking alarm from its existence here, have taken the usual steps in such cases to fortify against its introduction into their
territories, and to that extent have limited and embarrassed the live stock trade in this State. It is plain enough such trade bas been most injuriously affected here.
It would seem to result as a dictate of common prudence that our State ought to take the earliest practical steps to eradicate the disease and to restore this valuable trade to our people. Chicago is the center of the live stock--certainly of the cattle and porktrade of the world. Every reasonable encouragement should be given to support and sustain that great central market. I do not doubt but that as a matter of safety and precaution it will be proper to make the appropriation of $200,000 suggested by the Live Stock Board. It is of course understood such appropriation is to be conditional and contingent, not to be drawn against except upon unforeseen conditions which may arise to make such appropriation needful and indispensable. I am satisfied also that an appropriation of $20,000 should be made for the next two years to pay expenses of the board, the veterinary surgeon and assistants, together with other indispensable necessities as they may arise, not only in executing but in defending the law, should it be, as it has already been, attacked in our courts of justice; and I especially recommend the immediate passage of a law to enable the board to continue its labors until July 1st, when the regular appropriations will become available for the next two years.
The appropriation of $10,000 for the two years ending July 1st, 1887, was exhausted the 1st of this month. No further explanation of this fact is required than a statement of the unusual expenditures required to meet the recent outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia in Cook county.
I also recommend the passage of an act, at the earliest possible day, to appropriate all moneys received by the board from the sale of slaughtered animals, and paid directly into the treasury by the board, to enable it to meet, promptly as possible, the demands against the State arising from the slaughter of animals, such sum to be in aid of the $50,000 contingent fund appropriated last session to pay for slaughter of animals exposed to disease.
Prior to the act of 1885, our legislation proceeded upon the theory that diseased animals, when slaughtered by State authority, should be appraised and paid for out of the State treasury. The act referred to changes the theory, prohibits payment for the slaughter of diseased animals, but makes provision for payment, upon conditions therein prescribed, for all animals slaughtered which have been exposed to contagious and infectious diseases. I doubt the wisdom of refusing a reasonable and fair compensation for slaughter of diseased animals, and respectfully invite a reconsideration of the subject by the present General Assembly. In the case of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, the fact, I apprehend, will always be found that the number of animals actually affected with the disease will always have a very limited relation to the number to be slaughtered which may have been exposed to the contagion. Ani
mals with any contagious disease are as much to be dreaded as
The mode of appraisement of stock should be more clearly defined. The power to establish and maintain quarantine and to prescribe regulations in relation to the same, and the extent of territory to be included within fixed limits for such purpose, should be clearly defined. In view of the several suggestions submitted by the Board, a careful review and reconsideration of all laws upon the subject would be most expedient.
I respectfully recommend that appropriation be made to pay the Commissioners a reasonable compensation for the time actually given by each of them to the performance of the delicate and perplexing duties required of them by law. Up to the present time they have been frequently called upon to absent themselves from their personal business affairs, for days and weeks together. The circumstances have been unusual, and in many instances most exacting, and it would seem to be proper, under such circumstances, to fairly recompense such services.
It will be observed I have discussed the subject in its relation to the State alone; ought it not to be considered in a broader and National light? The disease of contagious pleuro-pneumonia may well be considered a National pest; it pays little heed to State lines, and has no respect for State rights. The fulminations of contradictory and irreconcilable State proclamations against its ravages and inroads can not be as effective as a National and uniform law upon the subject by the United States. A shipment of stock across the country would have to run the gauntlet of State police regulations and proclamations, very seriously to the detriment of such inter-state commerce. Under a National law, applicable to all States and territories, a uniform system of inspection and quarantine would remove all local delays and hindrances resulting from State reguilations upon the subject. Should the United States make suitable provisions for the extermination of all epidemic or contagious diseases among live stock, the burden to be borne by the State for