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These qualities, added to the strictest integrity, had become so well known, and were so highly appreciated by the people of Pennsylvania, that in 1829, they elected Mr. Wolf governor of the commonwealth. So far from having been an aspirant to this distinguished station, there is the best authority for saying, that he was placed in nomination by the state convention entirely without his knowledge. He yielded to the wishes of the people, who had selected him for their chief magistrate, and, abandoning a lucrative practice in his profession, entered upon his official duties as governor in the latter end of December, 1829. He found the state embarked in an extensive scheme of internal improvement, by which the eastern and western waters were intended to be united. The public improvements of Pennsylvania were designed to be connected with those of New York; thus affording to each state increased advantages. The friends of the system, paralyzed by a powerful opposition to this important and splendid undertaking, had been deterred from adopting efficient measures to provide adequate resources for the expenditure. On the 17th November, 1829, at an extra session called by governor Shulze, an act was passed, authorizing a temporary loan of one million of dollars, at an interest of five per cent., to relieve the public from present embarrassments, and to enable the state to carry on her improvements. But the credit of the state was so depressed, that capitalists were unwilling to advance funds on the proposed security. A resort was therefore had, on the 7th December, 1829, to a compulsory loan from all the banks in the commonwealth, whose charters required them to loan money to the state, for the several sums prescribed in their respective acts of incorporation. In this depressed state of the public credit, many of the most zealous friends of the improvement system hesitated in their course. But Governor Wolf, as soon as he came into office, by a bold and decided message, recommended a vigorous effort to complete the work which had been commenced, and without looking to the right or to the left, for that “mushroom popularity which is gained without merit and lost without crime," but with an eye single to the public good, and the honor and credit of the commonwealth, recommended a system of taxation which should be adequate to the public wants. The bold and fearless manner in which he met the crisis, had an almost instantaneous effect upon the public credit. So implicit and abiding has been the public confidence in his capacity and integrity, that laws for raising by taxation the funds necessary for the current expenses of government, and the payment of interest upon loans, were immediately passed ; the improvement system was prosecuted with renewed vigor, and capitalists, instead of hesitating to advance funds on loan to the state, became so anxious for the opportunity of making investments, so safe and permanent, that the premium offered and paid for the privilege of lending to the state at an interest of five per cent., has averaged, for some years past, from fourteen to fifteen per cent.

In the spring of 1832, another important crisis in the improvement system occurred, and was as promptly met, as it had been in 1829. On the 30th March, near the close of the session of the legislature, an act was passed for completing certain portions of the public works, leaving numerous contractors on other portions to go unprovided for, and the work itself, notwithstanding the immense expenditure already incurred, to go to decay. He returned the bill with his signature, but accompanied with a message, so characteristic of the known firmness and steadiness of purpose for which he is remarkable, that another act was immediately passed, making the necessary provisions to sustain the honor of the state, by completing the work already under contract.

Mr. Wolf had not taken the responsibility of originating the improvement system, but finding that the work had been undertaken and adopted as a measure of Pennsylvania policy, upon which large sums had been expended, and the public faith pledged, he considered it due alike to the interests and honor of the commonwealth, that the most energetic measures should be pursued for its completion.

Although Governor Wolf was a supporter of General Jackson, on each of the occasions when that individual was before the American people for the distinguished station of president of the United States, still, there were some important measures of public policy, in which he entertained opinions somewhat at variance with those of the president. Believing the United States bank to possess a salutary influence in regulating the currency of the country, he approved and signed a resolution of the Pennsylvania legislature, in favor of re-chartering that institution. After the publication of General Jackson's celebrated veto, and during the progress of the electioneering campaign, some of the friends of the bank endeavored to procure from the governor an expression of opinion adverse to the reëlection of General Jackson. But Governor Wolf's opinion of the qualifications of Andrew Jackson for the presidency, at that critical period of the history of the country, did not depend upon the views entertained by the general on the bank question. Under these circumstances, the friends of the bank in Pennsylvania, in order the more effectually to reach General Jackson, at the election which was to take place in November, 1832, united with the anti-masonic and anti-improvement party, in opposing the reëlection of Governor WOLF, which took place in the October preceding. Notwithstanding this procedure on the part of the friends of the bank, Governor WOLF, on his reëlection, in his first message to the legislature, reiterated his opinions in favor of the United States bank. It was remarked by a member of the legislature, (an opponent of the bank,) in reference to this high minded and magnanimous proceeding, that “it added one more to the many evidences already before the people of Pennsylvania, that their affairs were safely confided to the care of a chief magistrate, whose exalted purity of motive and unflinching firmness, in the pursuit of what he believed to be right, placed him above the storm of party excitement, and beyond the reach of those influences which are too apt to agitate, and render unsteady in their purposes, the rest of mankind.”

At the last session of the legislature, numerous bills for the establishment of banks throughout the state were under consideration, and several of them were passed and sent to him for his signature. But he made no scruple to exercise the veto power, reposed in him by the constitution, whenever, in his judgment, the interests of the country required it. At different periods during the session, he returned, with his objections, three bills for the establishment of banks, and one for withdrawing from the cognizance of the supreme court, certain claims for canal damages. On each of these occasions, attempts were made to procure the passage of the bills by the votes of two thirds — the number required by the constitution to pass a law without the approbation of the governor. But so forcible were his arguments, and so abiding the confidence in his judgment and devotion to the public interests, that he was constantly sustained by a majority of the house in which the bills originatedthat body, on receiving the governor's objections, uniformly receding from the bills which had previously received their sanction.

In this brief sketch, enough has been given to illustrate the happy results of our republican institutions, and to add one more to the number of proud examples contained in our country's history, teaching to the emulating youth of America this salutary lesson, that virtue and industry may win their way from the humblest walks in society, to the most distinguished stations in the republic.

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