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These provisions have been a part of the fundamental law of the State since 1850.
In violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of these provisions of the constitution, laws have been passed from time to time by which railroad companies, express companies, telegraph and telephone companies now owning, according to their sworn returns, at least one-third of the property of this State, are required to pay only about one-twenty-sixth of the taxes levied for State, county and municipal purposes, leaving their just proportion of supporting our schools, asylums and other public institutions, and defraying the public expenses, to fall upon the farmers, laborers, manufacturers and other property owners of the State.
Taxation has, in many parts of the State, become in the nature of confiscation, the amount levied being greater than the property taxed can be made to produce.
I regard the situation as extraordinary and one that demands an imme. diate remedy which can only be given by the Legislature.
It is the duty of the Governor, under his oath of office, to see that the constitution of the State is obeyed and the laws faithfully executed, and to submit to the Legislature, from time to time, his views upon existing mischiefs so that a remedy can be provided.
In obedience to this duty I hereby call the Legislature of the State to meet in extraordinary session, on Tuesday, the twenty-second day of March, 1898, at noon of that day, to consider the question of the taxation of railroad companies, express companies, telegraph and telephone companies, and such other matters as shall be submitted by special message.
Given under my hand and the great seal of the State of Michigan, at
H. S. Pingree.
Secretary of State.
Deputy Secretary of State.
I, Samuel A. Kennedy, Deputy Secretary of State of the State of Michigan, do hereby certify, that I have compared the annexed copy of a proc. lamation issued by the Governor, convening extra session of the Legis. lature with the original now on file in this office and that it is a true and correct transcript therefrom, and of the whole of such original.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the
Samuel A. Kennedy,
The Speaker then addressed the House as follows:
I kindly greet you one and all, not with words only, but with hand and heart.
The unexpected has happened. When I laid the gavel down at the close of last session little did I think I would ever have the pleasure of serving you again in this capacity. At the close of the last session I parted from you with regret, and I greet you at this time with delight. But as I stand here and look into your kind and pleasant faces I am reminded that almost every happiness has its alloy of sorrow.
Our joy is marred by the fact that there are two vacant seats upon the floor, “the gentleman from Lapeer, Mr. Lee," and "the gentleman from Macomb, Mr. Rowley," two of our beloved colleagues, are gone.
Since we adjourned the Angel of Death has called the roll and two members of this House of Representatives have responded, they have been carried by the angels to that bright and beautiful land that is afar off, they have been exalted from this House to that grand and glorious House “not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," where they will sit in the presence of the Grand Presiding Officer of the Universe through all the years to come.
“The glories of our mortal state
Are shadows, not substantial things,
Death lays his icy hands on kings;" They are not with us, they have gone into that mysterious realm from which no traveler returns, but they are not forgotten. Their seats are empty, their voices are hushed and still forever, their names are dropped from our roll, they are dead, but they will live in the hearts of those who knew them best, for “they are they" who loved them most, and I desire to be included among that number. They have escaped from the strife and contention of this world, and they have entered upon a higher and a better life. They were true, honest and useful Legislators, loyal and patriotic American citizens. The State has lost two good citizens, two districts have lost faithful and earnest Representatives.
"There is no death! The stars go down
To rise upon some fairer shore,
They shine forevermore."
Another form and face will be missed by us. Our active and efficient Sergeant-at-Arms is not at his post; he, too, has gone to his long home. Sergeant-at-Arms Gibson was one of the most faithful officers this House ever had in that position. He did everything with military discipline and promptness. He wore upon his breast that badge of American nobility, the button of the Grand Army of the Republic. He fought the good fight for liberty and union, for humanity and a united country; a country so unified and universally patriotic today that if but the drum beat of a foreign foe be heard upon our coasts or borders announcing the approach of a foreign foe, or a single gun be fired upon our flag by Spain or any foreign power, ten millions of brave men, thousands of whom wore the blue, and thousands of whom wore the gray, will spring
to arms, coming from the North, South, East and West, the grandest army the world has ever known, and animated by a deathless loyalty to our flag and country will march forward to certain victory, keeping time to the mingled and inspiring strains of “Yankee Doodle" and “Dixie.” They will guard our coasts, man our ships and prove invincible on land or sea. R. H. Gibson was honored, while here, for his patriotic service and he will receive his reward in the heavenly land
“Columbia ere shall know them
And from her glittering towers
And send them wreaths of flowers,
Shall shine their starry claims
And God knows all their names." These thoughts, these memories, come to us all; let us meditate upon the lessons they teach. There is a mysterious something in these con. templations which seem too sacred and sanctified for speech; we are lifted up above the trials of earth and we feel the electric touch of something divine and heavenly. But one of our great poets has said:
“Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living Present!
Let us, then, be about the people's business. Some of the people opposed this extraordinary session for the reason that they did not desire to bear the expense of the session. Let us endeavor to reduce the expense to a minimum, to the very lowest possible figure; we can do this only by faithful and energetic service; we must waste no time, we must not be prodigal with the people's money. The measures likely to come before us for consideration will probably be important and perhaps complex. It will take time, I fully realize, to examine, to investigate and obtain facts and figures upon which to base our judgments. Let there be no hasty and important action relative to affairs of such moment.
Let us consider everything that is laid before us pertaining to proposed legislation, investigate for ourselves, listen to debate, and then as members of this independent branch of our State government be frank and brave enough to express our honest conclusions by word and vote. Act. ing with the intention of doing equal and exact justice to all, let us manfully and courageously do the right as the All Wise One gives us to see the right. There will be no committee work for many members; let those who are not upon committees spend their time in informing themselves and helping the work along, and then business can be expedited in an intelligent, wise and safe manner.
Let each and every one of us be on duty from roll call until recess or adjournment, and give our undivided time and attention to the business of the people.
So long as I occupy this position, I will endeavor to do the business of this House rapidly, fairly and economically,
What is the pleasure of the House?
Mr. Foote offered the following:
Whereas, By visitation of Divine Providence the late Sergeant-at-Arms of this House has been called to his final rest and thereby the position of Sergeant-at-Arms left vacant; therefore,
Resolved, That William E. Stocking be and is hereby elected Sergeantat-Arms;
The question being on the adoption of the resolution,
The Speaker declared William E. Stocking duly elected to the office of Sergeant-at-Arms of the House.
The Sergeant-at-Arms announced a committee from the Senate who announced that that body was ready for business, and retired.
Mr. Adams offered the following:
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed by the Speaker to wait upon the Senate and to inform that body that a quorum of the House is present and is ready to proceed to business;
Which was adopted.
The Speaker announced as such committee, Messrs. Adams, Hammond and Donovan.
After a short absence the committee returned and reported that they had performed the duty assigned them and were discharged.
Mr. Atkinson offered the following:
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to act with a like committee from the Senate to wait upon his Excellency, the Governor, and to inform him that a quorum of each house is present and ready to receive any communication which he may be ready to make;
Which was adopted.
The Speaker announced as such committee, Messrs. Atkinson, Crippen and Bricker.
After a short absence the committee returned and reported that they had performed the duty assigned them, and that the Governor would be pleased to meet the two houses in joint convention at 2:30 o'clock this p. m.; and were discharged.
The Speaker announced the following:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Lansing, Mich., March 22, 1898. Hon. W. D. Gordon, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Dear Sir-I have the honor to notify you that I have this day received from Hon. W. R. Edgar a letter, of which the annexed is a true copy and the same is now on file in this office.
Samuel A. Kennedy,
Deputy Secretary of State. (Copy.)
Lyons, O., March 18, 1898. Hon. Washington Gardner, Secretary of State, Lansing, Mich.
Dear Sir, I have this day received your letter notifying me of the call for an extra session. And now inform you that I am no longer a resident of the State of Michigan, but am a "Buckeye” full fledged.
I am somewhat sorry that I am not able to be with the body in this special call. As it is I am out of politics and attending strictly to business and find financially it pays better. I may run over when things warm up.
I remain, very truly yours,
W. R. Edgar, M. D.,
Lyons, Fulton Co., Ohio.
The Speaker also announced the following telegram:
Stephenson, Mich., March 21, 1898. Hon. William D. Gordon: Cannot reach Lansing until Thursday; death in family.
Wm. J. Oberdorffer.