Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Message to the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina, Nov. 26, 1844 >> Page 82

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Page 82

Documents | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 82
(103,729 92), or about an average of thirty-seven
per cent. of the State taxes annually, which has been
assessed by the Commissioners of the Poor, of Public
Buildings, and of Roads and Bridges, in the different
Districts. I have had accurate accounts kept of the
taxes thus levied and collected for these years, that I
might apprise you of their great amount, and call
your attention to the propriety of providing for a
more strict accountability for their appropriation than
has been hitherto exacted. These Commissioners
have been required to report, some of them to the
Comptroller General, and some to the Clerks of the
Courts, and account with them for the monies received
and expended ; but I am not aware that it is regularly
done. If it was required of the Commissioners to
publish such reports, and circulate them through their
respective Districts, so that the people might be in-
formed of the purposes to which their money was
applied, it would be nothing more than is proper and
consistent with the spirit of our institutions. It is the
right of every citizen to know for what he is taxed ; to
judge of the propriety of it ; and to be assured that
the money has been used with discretion and economy.
And it is a right which cannot be too jealously
watched over.
I recommended to the last Legislature to take
speedy and effective measures for the payment of the
public debt, then amounting to three and a half
millions of dollars ($3,500,000), the interest on which,
including charges, exceeded one hundred and ninety
thousand dollars per annum (190,000). I proposed
that the Bank of the State should be directed to
redeem it, at the rate of five hundred thousand dollars