Page:Writings and Speeches of Grover Cleveland.djvu/472

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village be allowed to incur any indebtedness, except for county, city, town, or village purposes.

At the same meeting of your honorable body the following resolution was passed:

That the City Clerk be and is hereby directed to draw a warrant on the Fourth of July Fund for five hundred dollars, to the order of J. S. Edwards, Chairman of the Decoration Day Committee of the Grand Army of the Republic, for the purpose of defraying the expenses attending a proper observance of Decoration day.

I have taxed my ingenuity to discover a way consistently to approve of this resolution, but have been unable to do so.

It seems to me that it is not only obnoxious to the provisions of the Constitution above quoted, but that it also violates that section of the charter of the city which makes it a misdemeanor to appropriate money raised for one purpose to any other object. Under this section I think money raised "for the celebration of the Fourth of July, and the reception of distinguished persons," cannot be devoted to the observance of Decoration day.

I deem the object of this appropriation a most worthy one. The efforts of our veteran soldiers to keep alive the memory of their fallen comrades certainly deserve the aid and encouragement of their fellow-citizens. We should all, I think, feel it a duty and a privilege to contribute to the funds necessary to carry out such a purpose. And I should be much disappointed if an appeal to our citizens for voluntary subscription for this patriotic object should be in vain.

But the money so contributed should be a free gift of the citizens and taxpayers, and should not be extorted from them by taxation. This is so, because the purpose for which this money is asked does not involve their protection or interest as members of the community, and it may or may not be approved by them.

The people are forced to pay taxes into the city treasury only upon the theory that such money shall be expended for