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sane when the deed was committed, although he did not then come personally in contact with her.
I accordingly appointed two doctors, of the highest standing, upon whose professional capacity, common sense and deep conscientiousness I could implicitly rely, and directed them to examine the accused to decide whether she was or had been insane. They reported to me that she was not insane; that she was sane at the time of the commission of the murder and before and since.
There is thus no question of the woman's guilt and no question of her sanity. All that remains is the question as to whether I should be justified in interfering to save a murderess on the ground of her sex when no justification would exist to interfere on behalf of a murderer. The only case of capital punishment which has occurred since the beginning of my term as Governor was for wife murder; and I refused to consider the appeals then made to me on behalf of the man who had killed his wife, after I became convinced that he had really done the deed and was sane.
In that case a woman was killed by a man; in this case a woman was killed by another woman. The law makes no distinction of sex in such a crime. This murder was one of peculiar deliberation and atrocity. To interfere with the course of the law in this case could be justified only on the ground that never hereafter, under any circumstances, should capital punishment be inflicted upon any murderess even though the victim was herself a woman and even though that victim's torture preceded her death.
There is but one course open to me. I decline to interfere with the course of the law.
LETTER TO WARDEN OF SING SING PRISON
RELATIVE TO EXECUTION OF MARTHA
STATE OF New York
Albany, March 16, 1899 0. V. SAGE, Esq., Warden Sing Sing Prison:
MY DEAR SIR:- In accordance with Mr. Collins' excellent suggestion of yesterday I desire to have a woman attendant with Mrs. Place. It might also be well to have one reputable woman physician. The district attorney, his assistant, the two clergymen nominated by Mrs. Place and any other witnesses entitled by law to enter, you will see are allowed in. As representatives of the press I desire you to have merely one representative of the Associated Press and one representative of the Sun and other nonassociated press papers; but I wish you also to see that no one of those otherwise admitted is a correspondent of any newspaper. I particularly desire that this solemn and painful act of justice shall not be made an excuse for that species of hideous sensationalism which is more demoralizing than anything else to the public mind.
Very truly yours.
MESSAGE RELATIVE TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN
Albany, March 22, 1899 TO THE LEGISLATURE:
I herewith transmit two documents from the Superintendent of Public Instruction in relation to the condition of the public schools of Rochester, which set forth a condition so serious that in my judgment it calls for immediate legislative action. These documents describe the public schools of Rochester as being in a shape which must be designated as appalling, because of the imminent danger to the health of the children and their exposure to wholesale destruction in the event of fire; and this aside from the fact that the facilities are so utterly inadequate that three thousand children are left wholly unprovided for. The local authorities have power to remedy this condition of affairs; but they refuse to act. Yet no such condition of affairs can with any propriety be allowed to exist, if a remedy can be found.
Accordingly I lay the matter before the Legislature with the hope that it will take immediate action to provide relief.
VETO OF ASSEMBLY BILL NO. 639, RELATIVE
STATE OF NEW YORK
Albany, March 27, 1899 TO THE ASSEMBLY:
Assembly bill, number 639, entitled “ An Act in relation to the wearing of gowns or other habits by the attorneys and counselors at law of the Supreme Court of the State", is herewith returned without approval.
This bill is obviously and utterly unnecessary. The whole subject should be left and can safely be left where it properly belongs — to the good sense of the judiciary.
MESSAGE RELATING TO TAX LAWS
STATE OF NEW YORK
Albany, March 27, 1899 TO THE LEGISLATURE:
The tax laws of this State are in an exceedingly unsatisfactory condition, and I do not see how they can be put upon a just and wise basis save, after careful investigation, by legislative action. At present the farmers, the market gardeners, and the mechanics and tradesmen having small holdings, are paying an improper and excessive portion of the general taxes, while at the same time many of the efforts to remedy this state of affairs, notably in the direction of taxing securities, are not only unwise, but inefficient, and often serve merely to put a premium upon dishonesty. It would not be well to make any class of our citizens feel immunity from paying taxes, for this would almost certainly result in extravagent expenditure both in the State and in the municipalities; against which the surest safeguard is the immediate pressure on the purses of the citizens. But though complete immunity from taxation by the people at large is not desirable, the fact remains that at present taxation is excessive and badly distributed.
There is evident injustice in the light taxation of corporations. I have not the slightest sympathy with the outcry against corporations as such, or against prosperous men of business. Most of the great material works by which the entire country benefits, have been due to the
made money for themselves by doing that which was in the interest of the people as a whole. From an armor plant to a street railway, no work which is really beneficial to the public can be performed to the best advantage of the public save by men of such business capacity that they will not do the work unless they themselves receive ample reward for doing it. The effort to deprive them of an ample reward, merely means that they will turn their energies in some other direction; and the public will be by just so much the loser. Moreover to tax corporations or men of means in such a way as to drive them out of the State works great damage to the State. To drive out of a community the men of means and the men who take the lead in business enterprises, would probably entail, as one of its first results, the starvation of a considerable portion of the remainder of the population.