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of the Legislature," and I having received no such request from either of them, but because the duties of the office of Attorney General are so numerous, important and arduous as to require, in their discharge, quite or nearly his entire time and attention, thereby not admitting, without great prejudice to them, of his bestowing much, if any, upon those not required of him by law. Indeed, my own experience has conclusively demonstrated to my mind, that the faithful and effective performance of the duties of the office, demand a close observance of the rule or course adopted by me in this case. And, in this connection, it perhaps may not be amiss for me to say, as I think I safely can, that no other State officer is called upon to do more, if as much, not constituting a part of his official duties, as the Attorney General. Judging from the number and character of the demands made upon him, because he is such officer, he is emphatically not only the attorney of the people collectively, but individually also, and unofficially as well as officially. No day passes, more or less of the incidents of which do not forcibly remind him of the truth of these remarks. That in these regards, it will be different in the future from what it has been in the past, I do not hope, or even expect. And I make these remarks, not at all in the spirit of complaint, but to indicate the cares of the office, and because it is believed that these considerations may be deemed worthy of some weight in the judgment of the Convention which shall come next year to revise our State Constitution, and in fixing & salary more in proportion to the duties, labors and importance of the office.
Mention is also made on page 18, of my Annual Report for last year, of the case of the State, complainant, against Dewey, Hazelton, et. al., defendants, still pending in the Circuit Court for the County of Genesee, in Chancery; and to which your
notice is likewise called. For the reasons there stated, which have applied with equal force throughout the present year, as also for those given in the above mentioned Cashman case, so to call it, this case, early last summer, was put into the charge of the Prosecuting Attorney of Genesee County, who still has control of it.
On page 14, of my Annual Report for last year, the case of Edmund H. Hazelton, et. al., for the use and benefit of the State, against the Flint and Pere Marquette Railway Company, is mentioned; and to which I respectfully invite your attention. On the 20th day of September, 1865, as there stated, the sum of $5,400 59 was paid to the State on the judgment rendered in this case; and on the 19th day of September last, the further sum of $6,000 was thus paid. The confidence expressed in my Report of 1865, as to the payment of this judgment, has not in the least been shaken, but strengthened; and it is pleasing to be able to assure you, that I regard this claim of the State as perfectly safe, and that the balance due upon the judgment will no doubt be paid before the close of next year.
At the last October term of the Supreme Court, I appeared and argued, on the part of the people, the case of Woodward and Rich, impleaded with Hughes, plaintiffs in error, against the People, defendants in error. From the record certified to the above named Court, from the Circuit Court for the county of Oakland, it appeared that the plaintiffs in error, at the last March term of the Court below, impleaded as aforesaid, were tried and convicted, under the provisions of Sec. 5724, Compiled Laws, of an assault with intent to commit the crime of murder; and that the information upon which this trial was had, charged that the respondents, at the time and place therein mentioned, “with force and arms, in and upon one Charles Parsons, then and there being, did make an assault, and him, the said Charles Parsons, then and there did beat, wound and bruise, with intent, him, the said Charles Parsons, then and there to kill and murder, and other injuries to him, the said Charles Parsons, then and there did, contrary to the form of the statute,” &c. The record further showed, that the information was verified before “J. D. Bateman, Clerk”-no demurrer being filed, or motion made to quash the information before the jury 'were sworn, or at any time thereafter, for or on account of any al
leged formal defect apparent on the face of the information, or its verification. On the argument before the Supreme Court, and in pursuance of the errors assigned upon the said record, it was claimed by the plaintiffs in error, that the information was fatally defective; because, first, no name was signed to the jurat, it being insisted, under certain election cases in this State, that where only the initials of the Christian name are given, it is no name; the Court holding, on this assignment of errer, that those decisions would not be extended to embrace other cases, and that the signing of the jurat was sufficient; and, second, that the information did not charge the assault to have been committed “feloniously, willfully and of malice aforethought;" the court holding, on this objection, that under our statute these words were not necessary to the information, but that the offense being a statutory one, was sufficiently charged in the words of the statute. Every essential word contained in said section 5724, which prescribes the punishment of said offense, being used and appearing in the information, the judgment of the Court below was, therefore, affirmed.
In my Annual Report for last year, on pages 8 and 9, will be found a statement of the case of Aaron Lang, Moses Lang and John S. Crellin, plaintiffs in error, against the people, defendants in error, argued by me, on the part of the People, before the Supreme Court at the October term thereof, 1865, and to which statement I respectfully invite your attention. This case was not disposed of by the court named, till the last July term thereof. Upon the question presented for adjudication, by the record in this case, to-wit: “Whether the statute of 1861, p. 136, permitting the entering up of judgments summarily, and without suit or notice, upon a criminal recognizance, two days after forfeiture is entered of record, unless cause to the contrary be shown, by the recognizors, is constitutional ?" the court were equally divided. In view of this result, I respectfully submit, that it would, perhaps, be advisable to so amend the said act of 1861, as to require, before and as a foundation for the rendition of judgments in such cases, that the recognizors be served
with notice, by some process or otherwise, as shall be prescribed, of the time and place, when and where judgment will be rendered against them, according to the tenor and effect of the recognizance therein mentioned, they then and there failing to show good cause to the contrary. Such an amendment, called for as it now seems to be, would, I apprehend, relieve the Supreme Court of the embarrassment incident to the difference of opinion referred to, and still retain, in the hands of the public authorities, a remedy which would be sufficiently ample, simple and summary for all the purposes of justice in such cases.
The four suits mentioned in my last Annual Report on pages 17 and 18, being one in the Circuit Court for the county of Tuscola, in Chancery; two in the same court for the county of Bay, and one in the same court for the county of Wayne, are still pending. My impressions there expressed of them, by further examination and consideration, have been strengthened; and, hence, there has not been that anxiety for a disposition of them, that otherwise would have been.
During the year, five statements, each embracing a proposed charter for an insurance company, to be organized under Act No. 262, p. 1079, of the Laws of 1859, of this State, have been presented to, examined and certified by me, as contemplated by this Act. At least an equal number of such companies, in the same period, have laid before me proposed amendments to their charters, which also have been examined and certified by me, as required by law. The observations of this year, of the operations of many of these companies, induce me to repeat, with emphasis, all I said concerning them in my Annual Reports of 1864 and 1865; and to which I respectfully solicit your attention. The solvency and business management of these companies cannot be too carefully and thoroughly scrutinized by all who are solicited to insure in, or become members of them. A neglect in this regard, may be attended with a loss of the benefits which should flow from a policy of insurance. The exercise of caution and deliberation in procuring an insurance, or selecting a company therefor, will be found, when the prop
erty insured has turned to ashes, to have been most wisely expended. I cannot, therefore, but earnestly commend such prudence to the good judgment of all who would realize relief from such sources, when adversity from fire falls upon them.
The official correspondence of the office during the year, as heretofore, has demanded much time and attention. Every day has brought more or less communications, each of which required an expenditure of labor. Generally they related to matters of public concern; and of the opinions solicited and given, no one now occurs to me which I would wish to either change or modify.
Among the opinions solicited this year, however, there is no one which has been called for as frequently or more anxiously, than the one that appears as the Appendix of this Report. Indeed, so general and earnest has been the desire for information in relation to the rights and duties of all classes of persons therein referred to as effected by Congressional Legislation and the proclamation of the President, whether they be such disfranchised persons, inspectors of elections or persons only anxious to preserve the purity of the ballot-box, that I have felt it incumbent upon me, in no small degree, to give it a place in this Report; and, therefore, herewith respectfully submit it, for the purpose indicated, having taken the liberty, not to change or modify its positions or conclusions, but simply to somewhat revise it.
At an early day, blanks were furnished to all the Prosecuting Attorneys in the State, to be used by them in making their Annual Reports, as required by law. I transmit herewith, an abstract of such Reports as they have made and filed in my office. From an inspection of them, it will be observed that crime has increased in the State, since my last Annual Report was made. No additional legislation, however, occurs to me, that could have prevented this result. Nothing but a more certain and rigid enforcement of our Statutes for the suppression of crime and vice, and particularly the liquor law, so called, could have prevented the increase. Intemperance, the mother