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A very material reduction was also made in the flat tax imposed upon domestic and foreign corporations. Wherefore, it will not be necessary to go to Wyoming to secure corporate powers at bargain rates.
An appropriation was also made by which Colorado can be decently represented at the World's Fair at St. Louis. An obligation so manifestly imposed upon the State that claims to be the bright particular star of the Louisiana Purchase that the necessity of including it in the call for a special session as an overlooked item of business must have been humiliating to the Governor, 'as it was to all public-spirited citizens.
The act looking towards the construction of State Canal No. 3, while commendable in purpose, may prove to be untimely in view of the recent appropriation by Congress of the revenues arising from the sale of public lands for the construction of irrigating works. As to the particular improvement contemplated; namely, driving a tunnel for the diversion of the waters of the Gunnison River to the valleys of Montrose and Delta counties, it is one of the few enterprises in Colorado that can and ought to be undertaken by National aid.
The acts to which I have referred, together with one in relation to the fencing of railroads and liability for the killing of stock, comprise the legislation of the extra session.
There were several matters upon which, under the terms of the call, action might have been taken. The various Constitutional
. amendments proposed by the session of 1901 might have been recalled or rescinded, but nothing was done and we therefore have for our patient and patriotic consideration, to be voted on at the next annual election, all of the proposed amendments hereafter mentioned.
The most notable of these is that which will introduce what is popularly called the "single tax.” The theory of taxation involved in this amendment is deemed so radical that it will doubtless be made the subject of much immature and intemperate discussion during the coming campaign. As the members of the Association are personally interested in the basis and method of taxation, we
have deemed it wise to have the measure discussed by those who will give it a calmer and more judicial treatment than it will receive on the huskings. The author of the bill, a distinguished member of our Association, has kindly consented to tell us why we should vote for the amendment, and other equally distinguished members of the Association will tell us why we should not. Courtesy will, of course, require us to follow the advice of each. I
presume that, as President, I should give my views upon this important piece of legislation, but so that our friends may have an unbiased audience, I refrain.
The other amendments proposed relate to the consolidation of the City of Denver and the County of Arapahoe; the limitation of labor to eight hours per day; the election of district attorneys and county judges for four years, the former being still required to possess all the qualifications of judges of the District Court, while apparently the latter need not; increasing the number of commissioners in counties of over seven thousand population; providing for the election, instead of the appointment, of a county attorney and increasing the number of justices of the peace.
I call these proposed amendments to your attention so that you may make them the subject of informal discussions between sessions and possibly obtain thereby a clearer view of what should be done in the premises.
Notwithstanding all that is claimed for the initiative and referendum, our experience teaches us that but few ever seriously consider or act upon amendments to our organic instrument.
While the foregoing covers all that was or was not done in the way of legislation, the special session evidently did not consider itself restrained by the narrow limits fixed by the Governor's call. In other words, it followed the fashion of the day and expanded. If it could not legislate in its own proper person, it could at least become an advisory body to some other legislative assembly.
It therefore sent four separate memorials to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, in the first of which it advised Congress against the proposed reduction of the tariff on Cuban sugar; in the second requested the speedy passage of a law appropriating money for the construction of reservoirs, etc. ; in the third prayed that certain reservoir sites on the Rio Grande River be restored to private entry for their development; and the fourth, after deploring our present relation to the Philippines and the consequent effect upon our fundamental laws and principles, resolves that our highest national honor and duty require us to declare our policy and to aid the Filipinos in forming a government of their own.
What influence these several appeals had upon Congress cannot be determined, but the result as to the first two must certainly be satisfactory to the memorialists.
But Congress was not the only object of solicitude.
By House Concurrent Resolution No. 2, the findings of the majority of the Court of Inquiry sitting in response to the request of Mr. Schley, was condemned, and that of the minority approved, this gracious act being expressed in the following words:
"Whereas, the findings of a majority of the Court of Inquiry stand for those who fight battles upon paper, and the findings of the minority stand for those who fight battles with guns.”
It was after this expression that the President considered the matter settled.
House Joint Resolution No. 2 condemned the employment of Japanese labor in certain coal mines.
House Joint Resolution No. 4 was, by whereas and resolution, a sweeping condemnation of bills pending in Congress to retire the greenback and redeem silver dollars in gold, couched in language which was an echo of that formerly applied to the “Act of 1873," of which we have all heard. The second whereas of this resolution assumes such a Providential interest in our welfare that I make bold to read it.
"Whereas, through the interposition of Providence in their behalf (i. e. the people of Colorado) in their unprecedented economic struggle, new and unexpected discoveries of gold, of oil and other natural resources essential to a permanent restoration of a beneficent prosperity, have been multiplied until the State of Colorado is now upon the threshold of an unequalled development in every one of her industries."
The reading of these very interesting extra legislative remarks led me to examine contributions of like character by previous General Assemblies. The busy lawyer, consulting the statutes, would not be apt to discover the rhetoric which bears the impress of the member introducing the resolution, which appears on the last pages of the proceedings of each session.
The wonder is whether questions of national concern have been so fearlessly and vehemently disposed of by the legislatures of other States as by that of Colorado. Nevertheless in these particulars, as in all others, the legislature means well, and with the Westward movement of the center of politics and wealth, their expressions will doubtless some time count well.
But I am entirely losing sight of our own organization and its doings since our last meeting.
Until the events occurred of which I shall make mention, the principal work of the Association had been the cleaning up of the profession and giving it, so far as possible, a more wholesome standing in our own and the public mind. Soon after our last meeting it became evident that our work must be extended. Rumors of misdoings in the criminal division of the District Court of Arapahoe County became current, and in course of time the full extent and nature thereof were made known by the affidavits of jurors and others concerned. As these discoveries showed a corrupt, if not corrupting condition of the court and its attaches, the Grievance Committee felt it necessary, in the name of the Association, to demand of the other judges the calling of a grand jury, to which should be given the task of ascertaining and reporting the facts.
The details of what was done by the Association and the obstructions interposed and overcome have been so fully set forth in the daily press, and will be so far noticed by the report of the Grievance Committee that I need not refer to them now. What I wish particularly to notice is the demonstration then made of the value and force of this organization in the purification of the judiciary. I may safely say that, excepting for our intervention, no progress would have been made in securing a thorough investigation, and the offenses committed would long since have been condoned by public silence.
The principal discovery made in connection with our work was the extent to which we could fortify and maintain an honest judge in his desire to cleanse the court of which he is a member. One can scarcely appreciate the position of a judge desirous of doing the right thing, who is beset by those who would have him do nothing unless he has had the experience then furnished the members of the Grievance Committee. Until the proceedings incident to an investigation have gone so far as to make an issue and thereby give the judge the assistance of counsel maintaining the interest of the community, he must proceed upon his unaided judgment, and if honest results are to be obtained, must do what, to the careless observer, may seem the act of a prosecutor rather than of a judge.
With all the forces at the command of those who have violated the law directed against him, with astute counsel challenging his honest motives, with insinuating suggestions that he may himself become befouled, and with the usual apathetic condition of the public confronting him, the judge who stands firm against all and maintains himself to the end is certainly entitled to some little measure of commendation. That the annals of this Association may not seem lacking in appreciation of the first requisite of a judge—honesty—I think it proper to say that Judge Frank T. Johnson of Denver is entitled to our confidence and respect.
The ever recurring question of an appointed, as distinguished from an elected judiciary, has presented itself to my mind in connection with the operations of the past year. While I shall not assert that any better men would have been appointed than have been elected to fill the many judicial positions in this State, I feel that my increasing experience and more extended observation justify me in claiming that the judiciary of the State would be greatly elevated in dignity and force, and therefore in effectiveness, if appointed, above what it is as elected. The realization of a change in this respect is, of course, very remote, but multiplying reasons will finally bring it about. The observations of a former President of this Association, himself at one time an elected judge, as set