Open main menu

Page:Quarterlyoforego10oreg 1.djvu/292

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
268
F. G. Young

There were provisions pertaining to finance incorporated in other articles of the constitution, notably in that containing the bill of rights and in one on corporations and internal im- provements. All these taken together determined the nature of the financial system the state must of necessity develop. The general character of that system will be sketched presently.

The records of the deliberations of the convention clearly indicate that a consciousness of the necessity of closest econ- omy was present in the minds of the great majority to a degree as to make it of the nature of an obsession. The sup- port of a political establishment comprising all the features of an American state by less than fifty thousand widely scattered people was a pretentious undertaking. The disposition to simplify for economy's sake, to consolidate offices that older states had kept distinct and that should be so held, to reduce salaries to a minimum, so dominated the attitude taken by the great majority on every proposition as to draw from the president of the convention about the middle of its work the following querulous remark:

"Every question which comes up here is first discussed on the ground of its expense — as though a government could be devised without expense."

The suggested consolidations of offices seriously considered by the convention included the making of the governor also the treasurer, and the county judge also county treasurer. Some would have limited the county board to the county judge and others urged the elimination of the grand jury through the substitution of examinations before a magistrate for pre- sentment by grand jury. Among the consolidations effected were the making of the governor superintendent of public instruction, the circuit judges justices of the supreme court and the county clerk also clerk of the circuit court.

Other manifestations of this ever present consciousness of the necessity of the strictest limitation of the cost of the pro- posed state government are seen in the recurrent and pro- tracted discussions of the salary schedule. It went without