Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Messages and Papers of Rutherford B. Hayes by James D. Richardson

Part 2 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

courts of the United States is now such that serious delays, to the
great injury, and even oppression, of suitors, occur, and a remedy
should be sought for this condition of affairs. Whether it will be
found in the plan briefly sketched in the report, of increasing the
number of judges of the circuit courts, and, by means of this addition
to the judicial force, of creating an intermediate court of errors and
appeals, or whether some other mode can be devised for obviating the
difficulties which now exist, I leave to your mature consideration.

The present condition of the Indian tribes in the territory of the
United States and our relations with them are fully set forth in
the reports of the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs. After a series of most deplorable conflicts--the
successful termination of which, while reflecting honor upon the
brave soldiers who accomplished it, can not lessen our regret at their
occurrence--we are now at peace with all the Indian tribes within our
borders. To preserve that peace by a just and humane policy will be
the object of my earnest endeavors. Whatever may be said of their
character and savage propensities, of the difficulties of introducing
among them the habits of civilized life, and of the obstacles they
have offered to the progress of settlement and enterprise in certain
parts of the country, the Indians are certainly entitled to our
sympathy and to a conscientious respect on our part for their claims
upon our sense of justice. They were the aboriginal occupants of the
land we now possess. They have been driven from place to place. The
purchase money paid to them in some cases for what they called their
own has still left them poor. In many instances, when they had settled
down upon land assigned to them by compact and begun to support
themselves by their own labor, they were rudely jostled off and thrust
into the wilderness again. Many, if not most, of our Indian wars have
had their origin in broken promises and acts of injustice upon our
part, and the advance of the Indians in civilization has been slow
because the treatment they received did not permit it to be faster
and more general. We can not expect them to improve and to follow our
guidance unless we keep faith with them in respecting the rights they
possess, and unless, instead of depriving them of their opportunities,
we lend them a helping hand.

I cordially approve the policy regarding the management of Indian
affairs outlined in the reports of the Secretary of the Interior and
of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The faithful performance of
our promises is the first condition of a good understanding with the
Indians. I can not too urgently recommend to Congress that prompt and
liberal provision be made for the conscientious fulfillment of all
engagements entered into by the Government with the Indian tribes.
To withhold the means necessary for the performance of a promise
is always false economy, and is apt to prove disastrous in its
consequences. Especial care is recommended to provide for Indians
settled on their reservations cattle and agricultural implements, to
aid them in whatever efforts they may make to support themselves, and
by the establishment and maintenance of schools to bring them under
the control of civilized influences. I see no reason why Indians who
can give satisfactory proof of having by their own labor supported
their families for a number of years, and who are willing to detach
themselves from their tribal relations, should not be admitted to the
benefit of the homestead act and the privileges of citizenship, and
I recommend the passage of a law to that effect. It will be an act
of justice as well as a measure of encouragement. Earnest efforts
are being made to purify the Indian service, so that every dollar
appropriated by Congress shall redound to the benefit of the Indians,
as intended. Those efforts will have my firm support. With an improved
service and every possible encouragement held out to the Indians
to better their condition and to elevate themselves in the scale of
civilization, we may hope to accomplish at the same time a good work
for them and for ourselves.

I invite the attention of Congress to the importance of the statements
and suggestions made by the Secretary of the Interior concerning the
depredations committed on the timber lands of the United States and
the necessity for the preservation of forests. It is believed that
the measures taken in pursuance of existing laws to arrest those
depredations will be entirely successful if Congress, by an
appropriation for that purpose, renders their continued enforcement
possible. The experience of other nations teaches us that a country
can not be stripped of its forests with impunity, and we shall
expose ourselves to the gravest consequences unless the wasteful
and improvident manner in which the forests in the United States
are destroyed be effectually checked. I earnestly recommend that
the measures suggested by the Secretary of the Interior for the
suppression of depredations on the public timber lands of the United
States, for the selling of timber from the public lands, and for the
preservation of forests be embodied in a law, and that, considering
the urgent necessity of enabling the people of certain States and
Territories to purchase timber from the public lands in a legal
manner, which at present they can not do, such a law be passed without
unavoidable delay. I would also call the attention of Congress to
the statements made by the Secretary of the Interior concerning the
disposition that might be made of the desert lands, not irrigable,
west of the one hundredth meridian. These lands are practically
unsalable under existing laws, and the suggestion is worthy of
consideration that a system of leasehold tenure would make them
a source of profit to the United States, while at the same time
legalizing the business of cattle raising which is at present carried
on upon them.

The report of the Commissioner of Agriculture contains the gratifying
announcement of the extraordinary success which has rewarded the
agricultural industry of the country for the past year. With the fair
prices which obtain for the products of the soil, especially for the
surplus which our people have to export, we may confidently turn to
this as the most important of all our resources for the revival of the
depressed industries of the country. The report shows our agricultural
progress during the year, and contains a statement of the work done
by this Department for the advancement of agricultural industry, upon
which the prosperity of our people so largely depends. Matters of
information are included of great interest to all who seek, by the
experience of others, to improve their own methods of cultivation.
The efforts of the Department to increase the production of important
articles of consumption will, it is hoped, improve the demand for
labor and advance the business of the country, and eventually result
in saving some of the many millions that are now annually paid to
foreign nations for sugar and other staple products which habitual use
has made necessary in our domestic everyday life.

The board on behalf of the United States Executive Departments at the
International Exhibition of 1876 has concluded its labors. The final
report of the board was transmitted to Congress by the President
near the close of the last session. As these papers are understood to
contain interesting and valuable information, and will constitute
the only report emanating from the Government on the subject of the
exhibition, I invite attention to the matter and recommend that the
report be published for general information.

Congress is empowered by the Constitution with the authority of
exclusive legislation over the District of Columbia, in which the seat
of Government of the nation is located. The interests of the District,
having no direct representation in Congress, are entitled to especial
consideration and care at the hands of the General Government. The
capital of the United States belongs to the nation, and it is natural
that the American people should take pride in the seat of their
National Government and desire it to be an ornament to the country.
Much has been done to render it healthful, convenient, and attractive,
but much remains to be done, which its permanent inhabitants are not
able and ought not to be expected to do. To impose upon them a large
proportion of the cost required for public improvements, which are
in a great measure planned and executed for the convenience of the
Government and of the many thousands of visitors from all parts of
the country who temporarily reside at the capital of the nation, is an
evident injustice. Special attention is asked by the Commissioners of
the District in their report, which is herewith transmitted, to the
importance of a permanent adjustment by Congress of the financial
relations between the United States and the District, involving
the regular annual contribution by the United States of its just
proportion of the expenses of the District government and of the
outlay for all needed public improvements, and such measure of
relief from the burden of taxation now resting upon the people of the
District as in the wisdom of Congress may be deemed just.

The report of the Commissioners shows that the affairs of the District
are in a condition as satisfactory as could be expected in view of the
heavy burden of debt resting upon it and its very limited means for
necessary expenses.

The debt of the District is as follows:

Old funded debt $8,379,691.96
3.65 bonds, guaranteed by the United States 13,743,250.00
Total bonded debt 22,122,941.96

To which should be added certain outstanding claims,
as explained in the report of the Commissioners 1,187,204.52
Making the total debt of the District 23,310,146.48

The Commissioners also ask attention to the importance of the
improvement of the Potomac River and the reclamation of the marshes
bordering the city of Washington, and their views upon this subject
are concurred in by the members of the board of health, whose report
is also herewith transmitted. Both the commercial and sanitary
interests of the District will be greatly promoted, I doubt not,
by this improvement.

Your attention is invited to the suggestion of the Commissioners and
of the board of health for the organization of a board of charities,
to have supervision and control of the disbursement of all moneys for
charitable purposes from the District treasury. I desire also to ask
your especial attention to the need of adding to the efficiency of the
public schools of the District by supplemental aid from the National
Treasury. This is especially just, since so large a number of those
attending these schools are children of employees of the Government.
I earnestly commend to your care the interests of the people of
the District, who are so intimately associated with the Government
establishments, and to whose enterprise the good order and
attractiveness of the capital are largely due; and I ask your
attention to the request of the Commissioners for legislation in
behalf of the interests intrusted to their care. The appropriations
asked for the care of the reservations belonging to the Government
within the city, by the Commissioner of Public Buildings and Grounds,
are also commended to your favorable consideration.

The report of the joint commission created by the act approved 2d of
August, 1876, entitled "An act providing for the completion of the
Washington Monument," is also herewith transmitted, with accompanying
documents. The board of engineer officers detailed to examine the
monument, in compliance with the second section of the act, have
reported that the foundation is insufficient. No authority exists for
making the expenditure necessary to secure its stability. I therefore
recommend that the commission be authorized to expend such portion of
the sum appropriated by the act as may be necessary for the purpose.
The present unfinished condition of the monument, begun so long ago,
is a reproach to the nation. It can not be doubted that the patriotic
sense of the country will warmly respond to such prompt provision
as may be made for its completion at an early day, and I urge upon
Congress the propriety and necessity of immediate legislation for this

The wisdom of legislation upon the part of Congress, in aid of the
States, for the education of the whole people in those branches of
study which are taught in the common schools of the country is no
longer a question. The intelligent judgment of the country goes still
further, regarding it as also both constitutional and expedient for
the General Government to extend to technical and higher education,
such aid as is deemed essential to the general welfare and to our due
prominence among the enlightened and cultured nations of the world.
The ultimate settlement of all questions of the future, whether of
administration or finance or of true nationality of sentiment, depends
upon the virtue and intelligence of the people. It is vain to hope
for the success of a free government without the means of insuring
the intelligence of those who are the source of power. No less than
one-seventh of the entire voting population of our country are yet
unable to read and write.

It is encouraging to observe, in connection with the growth of
fraternal feeling in those States in which slavery formerly existed,
evidences of increasing interest in universal education, and I shall
be glad to give my approval to any appropriate measures which may be
enacted by Congress for the purpose of supplementing with national aid
the local systems of education in those States and in all the States;
and, having already invited your attention to the needs of the
District of Columbia with respect to its public-school system, I here
add that I believe it desirable, not so much with reference to the
local wants of the District, but to the great and lasting benefit
of the entire country, that this system should be crowned with a
university in all respects in keeping with the national capital, and
thereby realize the cherished hopes of Washington on this subject.

I also earnestly commend the request of the Regents of the
Smithsonian Institution that an adequate appropriation be made for
the establishment and conduct of a national museum under their

The question of providing for the preservation and growth of the
Library of Congress is also one of national importance. As the
depository of all copyright publications and records, this library has
outgrown the provisions for its accommodation; and the erection, on
such site as the judgment of Congress may approve, of a fireproof
library building, to preserve the treasures and enlarge the usefulness
of this valuable collection, is recommended. I recommend also such
legislation as will render available and efficient for the purposes
of instruction, so far as is consistent with the public service, the
cabinets or museums of invention, of surgery, of education, and
of agriculture, and other collections the property of the National

The capital of the nation should be something more than a mere
political center. We should avail ourselves of all the opportunities
which Providence has here placed at our command to promote the general
intelligence of the people and increase the conditions most favorable
to the success and perpetuity of our institutions.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith, for the information of Congress, a copy of the
report of the commission appointed by me on the 27th of September,
1877, to examine the several public buildings in this city
and determine the nature and extent of their security against
conflagrations and the measures to be taken to guard the buildings and
their contents from destruction or damage by fire.

The records of the Government constitute a most valuable collection
for the country, whether we consider their pecuniary value or their
historical importance; and it becomes my duty to call your attention
to the means suggested for securing these valuable archives, as well
as the buildings in which they are stored. The commissioners
have performed their duties intelligently and faithfully. Their
recommendations are fully concurred in by me and commended to the
favorable consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith an additional report (and an
accompanying statement) addressed to me by the commissioners appointed
under the act of Congress approved July 19, 1876, authorizing the
repavement of that part of Pennsylvania avenue lying between the
Treasury Department and the Capitol Grounds.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 13, 1877_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a special report upon the subject of forestry by
the Commissioner of Agriculture, with the accompanying documents.


[A similar message was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 3d
ultimo, requesting to be furnished with the correspondence between the
Government of Venezuela and that of the United States had since the
adjournment of the first session of the Forty-fourth Congress in
relation to the Venezuela Mixed Claims Commission, I transmit the
report of the Secretary of State, together with its accompanying


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, January 14, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the following resolution of the Senate:

_December 11, 1877._

_Resolved_, That the President be respectfully requested
to inform the Senate, with the view to the transaction of
its executive business, whether in any of the instances of
nominations hitherto sent to the Senate stated to be for
appointment in place of officers removed such removals had
been made at the time of sending such nominations to the

In reply I would respectfully inform the Senate that in the instances
referred to removals had not been made at the time the nominations
were sent to the Senate. The form used for such nominations was one
found to have been in existence and heretofore used in some of
the Departments, and was intended to inform the Senate that if the
nomination proposed were approved it would operate to remove an
incumbent whose name was indicated.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In response to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th November last
calling for information concerning the cause, numbers engaged, number
of lives lost, and probable cost of the late so-called Nez Perce War,
I have the honor to submit the accompanying communication from the
General of the Army and an extract from the annual report of that
officer. Upon the subject of the cost of the Nez Perce War, I submit
reports from the Quartermaster-General and the Commissary-General of


WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship and commerce between the United
States and the Government of the Samoan Islands, signed on the 17th


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 18, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of December 6, 1877, I
inclose a report made to me by the Attorney-General, the results
of which seem to be correct, and which affords the information[8]


[Footnote 8: Operation of the Union Pacific Railroad and its branches.]

[A similar message was sent to the House of Representatives, in answer
to a resolution of that body of November 27, 1877.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 23, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of November 16, 1877,
I transmit reports[9] made to me by the Attorney-General and the
Secretary of the Navy.


[Footnote 9: Relating to the seizure of logs, lumber, and naval stores
suspected or having been taken from the public lands.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 29, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In response to a resolution of the Senate of the 10th ultimo, I
transmit herewith copies of reports[10] of the Commissioners of
Indian Affairs and General Land Office, dated 9th and 21st instant,


[Footnote 10: Relating to payments to the Ute Indians under the fourth
article of the agreement of September 13, 1873, and to the occupancy
of lands ceded by said Indians.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The commission appointed under the act of Congress approved March
3, 1873, entitled "An act to authorize inquiries into the causes of
steam-boiler explosions," have addressed a report of progress, made to
date thereof, to the Secretaries of the Treasury and Navy Departments,
which has been transmitted to me by these officers. The commission
also present a copy of a report dated February 27, 1877, which they
say "was mislaid and did not reach the President." These reports are
respectfully submitted for the information of Congress.

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with a resolution of the Senate of
the 6th of December last, a report from the Secretary of State and its
accompanying papers.[11]


[Footnote 11: Correspondence relative to the Franco-German War.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 11, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of Congress entitled "Joint
resolution accepting a painting[12] tendered to Congress by Mrs.
Elizabeth Thompson," approved by me on the 1st instant, I have this
day caused a copy of the resolution to be delivered to Mrs. Thompson.


[Footnote 12: Carpenter's painting of President Lincoln and his Cabinet
at the time of his first reading of the Proclamation of Emancipation.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 20, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In response to the resolution of the Senate of January 30, 1878,
I transmit herewith a report,[13] dated the 16th instant, from the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs.


[Footnote 13: Relating to the survey of lands in the Indian Territory,

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 20, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate dated December 7, 1877,
I transmit herewith reports from the General of the Army, the
Quartermaster-General, the Commissary-General of Subsistence, and the
Chief of Ordnance, showing what has been the cost (estimated) of the
late war with the Sioux Indians, and what the casualties of rank and
file among the soldiers engaged in said Sioux War.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 27, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the information of the Senate, the reply of
the Commissioner of Agriculture to a resolution of the Senate of the
20th instant, "relative to the disease prevailing among swine," etc.


WASHINGTON, _March 21, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 11th of March
instant, I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State,
with accompanying documents.[14]


[Footnote 14: Correspondence relative to the appointment of a third
commissioner under the twenty-third article of the treaty with Great
Britain of May 8, 1871, on the question of the fisheries.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 25, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In further answer to the resolution of the Senate of December 7,
1877, as to the cost of the Sioux War, I transmit copies of additional
reports on the subject received from the Military Division of the


WASHINGTON, D.C., _March 27, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the Senate's resolution of the 14th ultimo, requesting to
be furnished with a copy of correspondence between the Government of
the United States and that of China respecting the "Ward" claims and
the claim of Charles E. Hill, I herewith submit a letter from the
Secretary of State, together with its accompanying papers.


WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with a resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 21st ultimo, a report from the Secretary of
State and its accompanying papers.[15]


[Footnote 15: Correspondence with Spain relative to the seizure of the
steamer _Virginius_, etc.]


_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of April 16, 1878,1 transmit
herewith reports[16] made to me by the Secretary of the Treasury and
the Attorney-General.


[Footnote 16: Relating to the defalcations of William R. Whitaker while
collector of internal revenue for the first district of Louisiana and
while assistant treasurer of the United States at New Orleans.]

WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention defining the rights, immunities, and
privileges of consular officers, between the United States and His
Majesty the King of Italy, signed on the 8th instant.


WASHINGTON, _May 14, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 29th ultimo, I
transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with its
accompanying papers.[17]


[Footnote 17: Correspondence relative to the terms and conditions under
which the Cuban insurgents surrendered and to the policy of Spain in
the government of Cuba.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _May 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit, for your appropriate action, a communication
from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the result of the
deliberations of the Fishery Commission appointed under certain
provisions of the treaty of Washington, with the accompanying

Article XXII of the treaty provides that any sum of money which the
commissioners may award shall be paid by the United States Government
in a gross sum within twelve months after such award shall have been

The commission announced the result of its deliberations on the 23d
day of November last year, and an appropriation at the present session
of Congress will be necessary to enable the Government to make the
payment provided for in the treaty.

I respectfully submit to the consideration of Congress the record
of the transaction as presented upon the papers, and recommend an
appropriation of the necessary sum, with such discretion to the
executive government in regard to its payment as in the wisdom of
Congress the public interests may seem to require.


WASHINGTON, _May 25, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to its
ratification, a consular convention between the United States and the
Netherlands, signed on the 23d instant.


WASHINGTON, _June 11, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
27th May ultimo, I transmit the response of the Secretary of State,
accompanied by a copy of the papers[18] called for by the resolution.


[Footnote 18: Relating to the convention of May 20, 1875, for the
establishment of an international bureau of weights and measures.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 12, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In transmitting herewith to Congress a communication from the
Secretary of State on the subject of the conference provided for
in the act of February 28, 1878, entitled "An act to authorize the
coinage of the standard silver dollar and to restore its legal-tender
character," I respectfully recommend that an adequate appropriation be
made for certain expenses of the conference and of the commissioners
attending the same on behalf of the United States, as suggested in the
communication of the Secretary of State.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 15, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the board for
testing iron, steel, and other metals, as requested in the resolution
of the House of Representatives dated April 27, 1878.


WASHINGTON, _June,7, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 27th of May ultimo,
I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents.[19]


[Footnote 19: Correspondence, etc., relative to the selection of M.
Maurice Delfosse as one of the commissioners under the treaty with
Great Britain of May 8, 1871, on the fisheries question.]


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 28, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

After a very careful consideration of the House bill No. 1093,
entitled "An act to authorize the coinage of the standard silver
dollar and to restore its legal-tender character," I feel compelled
to return it to the House of Representatives, in which it originated,
with my objections to its passage.

Holding the opinion, which I expressed in my annual message, that
"neither the interests of the Government nor of the people of the
United States would be promoted by disparaging silver as one of the
two precious metals which furnish the coinage of the world, and that
legislation which looks to maintaining the volume of intrinsic money
to as full a measure of both metals as their relative commercial
values will permit would be neither unjust nor inexpedient," it has
been my earnest desire to concur with Congress in the adoption of such
measures to increase the silver coinage of the country as would not
impair the obligation of contracts, either public or private, nor
injuriously affect the public credit. It is only upon the conviction
that this bill does not meet these essential requirements that I feel
it my duty to withhold from it my approval.

My present official duty as to this bill permits only an attention to
the specific objections to its passage which seem to me so important
as to justify me in asking from the wisdom and duty of Congress that
further consideration of the bill for which the Constitution has in
such cases provided.

The bill provides for the coinage of silver dollars of the weight of
412-1/2 grains each, of standard silver, to be a legal tender at their
nominal value for all debts and dues, public and private, except where
otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract. It is well known that
the market value of that number of grains of standard silver during
the past year has been from 90 to 92 cents as compared with the
standard gold dollar. Thus the silver dollar authorized by this bill
is worth 8 to 10 per cent less than it purports to be worth, and
is made a legal tender for debts contracted when the law did not
recognize such coins as lawful money.

The right to pay duties in silver or in certificates for silver
deposits will, when they are issued in sufficient amount to circulate,
put an end to the receipt of revenue in gold, and thus compel the
payment of silver for both the principal and interest of the public
debt. One billion one hundred and forty-three million four hundred
and ninety-three thousand four hundred dollars of the bonded debt now
outstanding was issued prior to February, 1873, when the silver dollar
was unknown in circulation in this country, and was only a convenient
form of silver bullion for exportation; $583,440,350 of the funded
debt has been issued since February, 1873, when gold alone was the
coin for which the bonds were sold, and gold alone was the coin in
which both parties to the contract understood that the bonds would
be paid. These bonds entered into the markets of the world. They were
paid for in gold when silver had greatly depreciated, and when no one
would have bought them if it had been understood that they would be
paid in silver. The sum of $225,000,000 of these bonds has been sold
during my Administration for gold coin, and the United States received
the benefit of these sales by a reduction of the rate of interest to
4 per cent. During the progress of these sales a doubt was suggested
as to the coin in which payment of these bonds would be made. The
public announcement was thereupon authorized that it was "not to be
anticipated that any future legislation of Congress or any action
of any department of the Government would sanction or tolerate the
redemption of the principal of these bonds or the payment of the
interest thereon in coin of less value than the coin authorized by law
at the time of the issue of the bonds, being the coin exacted by the
Government in exchange for the same." In view of these facts it will
be justly regarded as a grave breach of the public faith to undertake
to pay these bonds, principal or interest, in silver coin worth in the
market less than the coin received for them.

It is said that the silver dollar made a legal tender by this bill
will under its operation be equivalent in value to the gold dollar.
Many supporters of the bill believe this, and would not justify an
attempt to pay debts, either public or private, in coin of inferior
value to the money of the world. The capital defect of the bill
is that it contains no provision protecting from its operation
preexisting debts in case the coinage which it creates shall continue
to be of less value than that which was the sole legal tender when
they were contracted. If it is now proposed, for the purpose of taking
advantage of the depreciation of silver in the payment of debts, to
coin and make a legal tender a silver dollar of less commercial value
than any dollar, whether of gold or paper, which is now lawful money
in this country, such measure, it will hardly be questioned, will,
in the judgment of mankind, be an act of bad faith. As to all debts
heretofore contracted, the silver dollar should be made a legal tender
only at its market value. The standard of value should not be changed
without the consent of both parties to the contract. National promises
should be kept with unflinching fidelity. There is no power to compel
a nation to pay its just debts. Its credit depends on its honor. The
nation owes what it has led or allowed its creditors to expect. I can
not approve a bill which in my judgment authorizes the violation of
sacred obligations. The obligation of the public faith transcends
all questions of profit or public advantage. Its unquestionable
maintenance is the dictate as well of the highest expediency as of
the most necessary duty, and should ever be carefully guarded by the
Executive, by Congress, and by the people.

It is my firm conviction that if the country is to be benefited by a
silver coinage it can be done only by the issue of silver dollars of
full value, which will defraud no man. A currency worth less than it
purports to be worth will in the end defraud not only creditors, but
all who are engaged in legitimate business, and none more surely than
those who are dependent on their daily labor for their daily bread.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 6, 1878._

_To the House of Representatives:_

I return herewith House bill No. 3072, entitled "An act to authorize
a special term of the circuit court of the United States for the
southern district of Mississippi to be held at Scranton, in Jackson
County," with the following objections to its becoming a law:

The act provides that a special term of the circuit court of the
United States for the southern district of Mississippi shall be held
at Scranton, in Jackson County, Miss., to begin on the second Monday
in March, 1878, and directs the clerk of said court to "cause notice
of said special term of said court to be published in a newspaper in
Jackson, Miss., and also in a newspaper in Scranton, at least ten days
before the beginning thereof."

The act can not be executed, inasmuch as there is not sufficient time
to give the notice of the holding of the special term which Congress
thought proper to require.

The number of suits to be tried at the special term in which the
United States is interested is forty-nine, and the amount involved
exceeds $200,000. The Government can not prepare for trial at said
special term, because no fund appropriated by Congress can be made
available for that purpose. If, therefore, the Government is compelled
to go to trial at the special term provided for by this bill, the
United States must be defeated for want of time and means to make
preparation for the proper vindication of its rights.

The bill is therefore returned for the further consideration of





Whereas it is provided in the laws of the United States that whenever,
by reason of unlawful obstructions, combinations or assemblages of
persons, or rebellion against the authority of the Government of the
United States, it shall become impracticable, in the judgment of the
President, to enforce by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings
the laws of the United States within any State or Territory, it shall
be lawful for the President to call forth the militia of any or all
the States and to employ such parts of the land and naval forces of
the United States as he may deem necessary to enforce the faithful
execution of the laws of the United States or to suppress such
rebellion, in whatever State or Territory thereof the laws of the
United States may be forcibly opposed or the execution thereof
forcibly obstructed; and

Whereas it has been made to appear to me that, by reason of unlawful
combinations and assemblages of persons in arms, it has become
impracticable to enforce by the ordinary course of judicial
proceedings the laws of the United States within the Territory of New
Mexico, and especially within Lincoln County therein, and that the
laws of the United States have been therein forcibly opposed and the
execution thereof forcibly resisted; and

Whereas the laws of the United States require that whenever it may be
necessary, in the judgment of the President, to use the military force
for the purpose of enforcing the faithful execution of the laws of
the United States, he shall forthwith, by proclamation, command such
insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes
within a limited time:

Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United
States, do hereby admonish all good citizens of the United States,
and especially of the Territory of New Mexico, against aiding,
countenancing, abetting, or taking part in any such unlawful
proceedings; and I do hereby warn all persons engaged in or connected
with said obstruction of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to
their respective abodes on or before noon of the 13th day of October

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, this 7th day of October, A.D. 1878,
and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and


By the President:
_Acting Secretary of State_.



The recurrence of that season at which it is the habit of our people
to make devout and public confession of their constant dependence upon
the divine favor for all the good gifts of life and happiness and
of public peace and prosperity exhibits in the record of the year
abundant reasons for our gratitude and thanksgiving.

Exuberant harvests, productive mines, ample crops of the staples of
trade and manufactures, have enriched the country.

The resources thus furnished to our reviving industry and expanding
commerce are hastening the day when discords and distresses through
the length and breadth of the land will, under the continued favor
of Providence, have given way to confidence and energy and assured

Peace with all nations has been maintained unbroken, domestic
tranquillity has prevailed, and the institutions of liberty and
justice which the wisdom and virtue of our fathers established remain
the glory and defense of their children.

The general prevalence of the blessings of health through our wide
land has made more conspicuous the sufferings and sorrows which the
dark shadow of pestilence has cast upon a portion of our people. This
heavy affliction even the Divine Ruler has tempered to the suffering
communities in the universal sympathy and succor which have flowed to
their relief, and the whole nation may rejoice in the unity of spirit
in our people by which they cheerfully share one another's burdens.

Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United
States, do appoint Thursday, the 28th day of November next, as a day
of national thanksgiving and prayer; and I earnestly recommend that,
withdrawing themselves from secular cares and labors, the people of
the United States do meet together on that day in their respective
places of worship, there to give thanks and praise to Almighty God for
His mercies and to devoutly beseech their continuance.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.


Done at the city of Washington, this 30th day of October, A.D. 1878,
and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, December 31, 1877_.

_Marshal of the United States for the
District of Rhode Island, Providence, R.I._

SIR: By virtue of the authority conferred upon me by section 5287 of
the Revised Statutes of the United States, and in execution of the
same, you are hereby empowered and directed to take possession of the
steamer _Estelle_, now or lately lying at Bristol, in Rhode Island,
and to detain the same until further orders from me concerning the
same, and to employ such portion of the land and naval forces of the
United States as may be necessary for that purpose.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 27, 1878_.

SIR:[20] I am directed by the President to say that the several
Departments of the Government will be closed on Thursday, the 30th
instant, in respect to the memory of those who fell in defense of the
Union, and to enable the employees to participate in the commemorative
ceremonies of the day.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W.K. ROGERS, _Private Secretary_.

[Footnote 20: Addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, etc.]


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 2, 1878_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Our heartfelt gratitude is due to the Divine Being who holds in His
hands the destinies of nations for the continued bestowal during the
last year of countless blessings upon our country.

We are at peace with all other nations. Our public credit has greatly
improved, and is perhaps now stronger than ever before. Abundant
harvests have rewarded the labors of those who till the soil, our
manufacturing industries are reviving, and it is believed that general
prosperity, which has been so long anxiously looked for, is at last
within our reach.

The enjoyment of health by our people generally has, however, been
interrupted during the past season by the prevalence of a fatal
pestilence (the yellow fever) in some portions of the Southern States,
creating an emergency which called for prompt and extraordinary
measures of relief. The disease appeared as an epidemic at New Orleans
and at other places on the Lower Mississippi soon after midsummer.
It was rapidly spread by fugitives from the infected cities and
towns, and did not disappear until early in November. The States of
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee have suffered severely. About
100,000 cases are believed to have occurred, of which about 20,000,
according to intelligent estimates, proved fatal. It is impossible
to estimate with any approach to accuracy the loss to the country
occasioned by this epidemic. It is to be reckoned by the hundred
millions of dollars. The suffering and destitution that resulted
excited the deepest sympathy in all parts of the Union. Physicians and
nurses hastened from every quarter to the assistance of the afflicted
communities. Voluntary contributions of money and supplies, in every
needed form, were speedily and generously furnished. The Government
was able to respond in some measure to the call for help, by providing
tents, medicines, and food for the sick and destitute, the requisite
directions for the purpose being given in the confident expectation
that this action of the Executive would receive the sanction of
Congress. About 1,800 tents, and rations of the value of about
$25,000, were sent to cities and towns which applied for them,
full details of which will be furnished to Congress by the proper

The fearful spread of this pestilence has awakened a very general
public sentiment in favor of national sanitary administration, which
shall not only control quarantine, but have the sanitary supervision
of internal commerce in times of epidemics, and hold an advisory
relation to the State and municipal health authorities, with power
to deal with whatever endangers the public health, and which the
municipal and State authorities are unable to regulate. The national
quarantine act approved April 29, 1878, which was passed too late in
the last session of Congress to provide the means for carrying it into
practical operation during the past season, is a step in the direction
here indicated. In view of the necessity for the most effective
measures, by quarantine and otherwise, for the protection of our
seaports and the country generally from this and other epidemics,
it is recommended that Congress give to the whole subject early and
careful consideration.

The permanent pacification of the country by the complete protection
of all citizens in every civil and political right continues to be of
paramount interest with the great body of our people. Every step
in this direction is welcomed with public approval, and every
interruption of steady and uniform progress to the desired
consummation awakens general uneasiness and widespread condemnation.
The recent Congressional elections have furnished a direct and
trustworthy test of the advance thus far made in the practical
establishment of the right of suffrage secured by the Constitution to
the liberated race in the Southern States. All disturbing influences,
real or imaginary, had been removed from all of these States.

The three constitutional amendments which conferred freedom and
equality of civil and political rights upon the colored people of the
South were adopted by the concurrent action of the great body of good
citizens who maintained the authority of the National Government and
the integrity and perpetuity of the Union at such a cost of treasure
and life, as a wise and necessary embodiment in the organic law of the
just results of the war. The people of the former slaveholding States
accepted these results, and gave in every practicable form assurances
that the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, and laws
passed in pursuance thereof, should in good faith be enforced, rigidly
and impartially, in letter and spirit, to the end that the humblest
citizen, without distinction of race or color, should under them
receive full and equal protection in person and property and in
political rights and privileges. By these constitutional amendments
the southern section of the Union obtained a large increase of
political power in Congress and in the electoral college, and the
country justly expected that elections would proceed, as to
the enfranchised race, upon the same circumstances of legal and
constitutional freedom and protection which obtained in all the other
States of the Union. The friends of law and order looked forward to
the conduct of these elections as offering to the general judgment of
the country an important opportunity to measure the degree in which
the right of suffrage could be exercised by the colored people and
would be respected by their fellow-citizens; but a more general
enjoyment of freedom of suffrage by the colored people and a more just
and generous protection of that freedom by the communities of which
they form a part were generally anticipated than the record of the
elections discloses. In some of those States in which the colored
people have been unable to make their opinions felt in the elections
the result is mainly due to influences not easily measured or remedied
by legal protection; but in the States of Louisiana and South Carolina
at large, and in some particular Congressional districts outside
of those States, the records of the elections seem to compel the
conclusion that the rights of the colored voters have been overridden
and their participation in the elections not permitted to be either
general or free.

It will be for the Congress for which these elections were held to
make such examinations into their conduct as may be appropriate to
determine the validity of the claims of members to their seats. In
the meanwhile it becomes the duty of the executive and judicial
departments of the Government, each in its province, to inquire into
and punish violations of the laws of the United States which have
occurred. I can but repeat what I said in this connection in my last
message, that whatever authority rests with me to this end I shall not
hesitate to put forth; and I am unwilling to forego a renewed appeal
to the legislatures, the courts, the executive authorities, and the
people of the States where these wrongs have been perpetrated to
give their assistance toward bringing to justice the offenders and
preventing a repetition of the crimes. No means within my power will
be spared to obtain a full and fair investigation of the alleged
crimes and to secure the conviction and just punishment of the guilty.

It is to be observed that the principal appropriation made for the
Department of Justice at the last session contained the following

And for defraying the expenses which may be incurred in the
enforcement of the act approved February 28, 1871, entitled
"An act to amend an act approved May 31, 1870, entitled 'An
act to enforce the rights of citizens of the United States
to vote in the several States of this Union, and for other
purposes,'" or any acts amendatory thereof or supplementary

It is the opinion of the Attorney-General that the expenses of these
proceedings will largely exceed the amount which was thus provided,
and I rely confidently upon Congress to make adequate appropriations
to enable the executive department to enforce the laws.

I respectfully urge upon your attention that the Congressional
elections, in every district, in a very important sense, are justly a
matter of political interest and concern throughout the whole country.
Each State, every political party, is entitled to the share of power
which is conferred by the legal and constitutional suffrage. It is the
right of every citizen possessing the qualifications prescribed by
law to cast one unintimidated ballot and to have his ballot honestly
counted. So long as the exercise of this power and the enjoyment of
this right are common and equal, practically as well as formally,
submission to the results of the suffrage will be accorded loyally and
cheerfully, and all the departments of Government will feel the
true vigor of the popular will thus expressed. No temporary or
administrative interests of Government, however urgent or weighty,
will ever displace the zeal of our people in defense of the primary
rights of citizenship. They understand that the protection of liberty
requires the maintenance in full vigor of the manly methods of free
speech, free press, and free suffrage, and will sustain the full
authority of Government to enforce the laws which are framed to
preserve these inestimable rights. The material progress and welfare
of the States depend on the protection afforded to their citizens.
There can be no peace without such protection, no prosperity without
peace, and the whole country is deeply interested in the growth and
prosperity of all its parts.

While the country has not yet reached complete unity of feeling
and reciprocal confidence between the communities so lately and so
seriously estranged, I feel an absolute assurance that the tendencies
are in that direction, and with increasing force. The power of public
opinion will override all political prejudices and all sectional or
State attachments in demanding that all over our wide territory the
name and character of citizen of the United States shall mean one and
the same thing and carry with them unchallenged security and respect.

Our relations with other countries continue peaceful. Our neutrality
in contests between foreign powers has been maintained and respected.

The Universal Exposition held at Paris during the past summer has been
attended by large numbers of our citizens. The brief period allowed
for the preparation and arrangement of the contributions of our
citizens to this great exposition was well employed in energetic and
judicious efforts to overcome this disadvantage. These efforts, led
and directed by the commissioner-general, were remarkably successful,
and the exhibition of the products of American industry was creditable
and gratifying in scope and character. The reports of the United
States commissioners, giving its results in detail, will be duly laid
before you. Our participation in this international competition for
the favor and the trade of the world may be expected to produce useful
and important results--in promoting intercourse, friendship, and
commerce with other nations.

In accordance with the provisions of the act of February 28, 1878,
three commissioners were appointed to an international conference on
the subject of adopting a common ratio between gold and silver, for
the purpose of establishing internationally the use of bimetallic
money and securing fixity of relative value between those metals.

Invitations were addressed to the various governments which had
expressed a willingness to participate in its deliberations. The
conference held its meetings in Paris in August last. The report
of the commissioners, herewith submitted, will show its results.
No common ratio between gold and silver could be agreed upon by the
conference. The general conclusion was reached that it is necessary to
maintain in the world the monetary functions of silver as well as of
gold, leaving the selection of the use of one or the other of these
two metals, or of both, to be made by each state.

Congress having appropriated at its last session the sum of $5,500,000
to pay the award of the joint commission at Halifax, if, after
correspondence with the British Government on the subject of the
conformity of the award to the requirements of the treaty and to
the terms of the question thereby submitted to the commission, the
President shall deem it his duty to make the payment, communications
upon these points were addressed to the British Government through
the legation of the United States at London. Failing to obtain the
concurrence of the British Government in the views of this Government
respecting the award, I have deemed it my duty to tender the sum named
within the year fixed by the treaty, accompanied by a notice of the
grounds of the payment and a protest against any other construction
of the same. The correspondence upon this subject will be laid before

The Spanish Government has officially announced the termination of
the insurrection in Cuba and the restoration of peace throughout that
island. Confident expectations are expressed of a revival of trade
and prosperity, which it is earnestly hoped may prove well founded.
Numerous claims of American citizens for relief for injuries
or restoration of property have been among the incidents of the
long-continued hostilities. Some of these claims are in process of
adjustment by Spain, and the others are promised early and careful

The treaty made with Italy in regard to reciprocal consular privileges
has been duly ratified and proclaimed.

No questions of grave importance have arisen with any other of the
European powers.

The Japanese Government has been desirous of a revision of such parts
of its treaties with foreign powers as relate to commerce, and it is
understood has addressed to each of the treaty powers a request to
open negotiations with that view. The United States Government has
been inclined to regard the matter favorably. Whatever restrictions
upon trade with Japan are found injurious to that people can not but
affect injuriously nations holding commercial intercourse with them.
Japan, after a long period of seclusion, has within the past few years
made rapid strides in the path of enlightenment and progress, and, not
unreasonably, is looking forward to the time when her relations with
the nations of Europe and America shall be assimilated to those which
they hold with each other. A treaty looking to this end has been made,
which will be submitted for the consideration of the Senate.

After an interval of several years the Chinese Government has again
sent envoys to the United States. They have been received, and a
permanent legation is now established here by that Government. It is
not doubted that this step will be of advantage to both nations in
promoting friendly relations and removing causes of difference.

The treaty with the Samoan Islands, having been duly ratified and
accepted on the part of both Governments, is now in operation, and a
survey and soundings of the harbor of Pago-Pago have been made by a
naval vessel of the United States, with a view of its occupation as
a naval station if found desirable to the service.

Since the resumption of diplomatic relations with Mexico
correspondence has been opened and still continues between the two
Governments upon the various questions which at one time seemed to
endanger their relations. While no formal agreement has been reached
as to the troubles on the border, much has been done to repress and
diminish them. The effective force of United States troops on the Rio
Grande, by a strict and faithful compliance with instructions, has
done much to remove the sources of dispute, and it is now understood
that a like force of Mexican troops on the other side of the river is
also making an energetic movement against the marauding Indian tribes.
This Government looks with the greatest satisfaction upon every
evidence of strength in the national authority of Mexico, and upon
every effort put forth to prevent or to punish incursions upon our
territory. Reluctant to assume any action or attitude in the control
of these incursions by military movements across the border not
imperatively demanded for the protection of the lives and property
of our own citizens, I shall take the earliest opportunity consistent
with the proper discharge of this plain duty to recognize the ability
of the Mexican Government to restrain effectively violations of
our territory. It is proposed to hold next year an international
exhibition in Mexico, and it is believed that the display of the
agricultural and manufacturing products of the two nations will tend
to better understanding and increased commercial intercourse between
their people.

With Brazil and the Republics of Central and South America some
steps have been taken toward the development of closer commercial
intercourse. Diplomatic relations have been resumed with Colombia and
with Bolivia. A boundary question between the Argentine Republic and
Paraguay has been submitted by those Governments for arbitration
to the President of the United States, and I have, after careful
examination, given a decision upon it.

A naval expedition up the Amazon and Madeira rivers has brought back
information valuable both for scientific and commercial purposes. A
like expedition is about visiting the coast of Africa and the Indian
Ocean. The reports of diplomatic and consular officers in relation
to the development of our foreign commerce have furnished many facts
that have proved of public interest and have stimulated to practical
exertion the enterprise of our people.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury furnishes a detailed
statement of the operations of that Department of the Government and
of the condition of the public finances.

The ordinary revenues from all sources for the fiscal year ended June
30, 1878, were $257,763,878.70; the ordinary expenditures for the same
period were $236,964,326.80, leaving a surplus revenue for the year of
$20,799,551.90. The receipts for the present fiscal year, ending June
30, 1879, actual and estimated, are as follows: Actual receipts for
the first quarter, commencing July 1, 1878, $73,389,743.43;
estimated receipts for the remaining three quarters of the year,
$191,110,256.57; total receipts for the current fiscal year, actual
and estimated, $264,500,000. The expenditures for the same period will
be, actual and estimated, as follows: For the quarter commencing July
1, 1878, actual expenditures, $73,344,573.27; and for the remaining
three quarters of the year the expenditures are estimated at
$166,755,426.73, making the total expenditures $240,100,000, and
leaving an estimated surplus revenue for the year ending June 30,
1879, of $24,400,000. The total receipts during the next fiscal year,
ending June 30, 1880, estimated according to existing laws, will be
$264,500,000, and the estimated ordinary expenditures for the same
period will be $236,320,412.68, leaving a surplus of $28,179,587.32
for that year.

In the foregoing statements of expenditures, actual and estimated,
no amount is allowed for the sinking fund provided for by the act
approved February 25, 1862, which requires that 1 per cent of the
entire debt of the United States shall be purchased or paid within
each fiscal year, to be set apart as a sinking fund. There has been,
however, a substantial compliance with the conditions of the law. By
its terms the public debt should have been reduced between 1862
and the close of the last fiscal year $518,361,806.28; the
actual reduction of the ascertained debt in that period has been
$720,644,739.61, being in excess of the reduction required by the
sinking fund act $202,282,933.33.

The amount of the public debt, less cash in the Treasury, November 1,
1878, was $2,024,200,083.18, a reduction since the same date last year
of $23,150,617.39.

The progress made during the last year in refunding the public debt at
lower rates of interest is very gratifying. The amount of 4 per cent
bonds sold during the present year prior to November 23, 1878, is
$100,270,900, and 6 per cent bonds, commonly known as five-twenties,
to an equal amount, have been or will be redeemed as calls mature.

It has been the policy of the Department to place the 4 per cent bonds
within easy reach of every citizen who desires to invest his savings,
whether small or great, in these securities. The Secretary of the
Treasury recommends that the law be so modified that small sums may
be invested, and that through the post-offices or other agents of the
Government the freest opportunity may be given in all parts of the
country for such investments.

The best mode suggested is that the Department be authorized to issue
certificates of deposit, of the denomination of $10, bearing interest
at the rate of 3.65 per cent per annum and convertible at any time
within one year after their issue into the 4 per cent bonds authorized
by the refunding act, and to be issued only in exchange for United
States notes sent to the Treasury by mail or otherwise. Such a
provision of law, supported by suitable regulations, would enable any
person readily, without cost or risk, to convert his money into an
interest-bearing security of the United States, and the money so
received could be applied to the redemption of 6 per cent bonds.

The coinage of gold during the last fiscal year was $52,798,980. The
coinage of silver dollars under the act passed February 28, 1878,
amounted on the 23d of November, 1878, to $19,814,550, of which amount
$4,984,947 are in circulation, and the balance, $14,829,603, is still
in the possession of the Government.

With views unchanged with regard to the act under which the coinage of
silver proceeds, it has been the purpose of the Secretary faithfully
to execute the law and to afford a fair trial to the measure.

In the present financial condition of the country I am persuaded that
the welfare of legitimate business and industry of every description
will be best promoted by abstaining from all attempts to make radical
changes in the existing financial legislation. Let it be understood
that during the coming year the business of the country will be
undisturbed by governmental interference with the laws affecting it,
and we may confidently expect that the resumption of specie payments,
which will take place at the appointed time, will be successfully and
easily maintained, and that it will be followed by a healthful and
enduring revival of business prosperity.

Let the healing influence of time, the inherent energies of our
people, and the boundless resources of our country have a fair
opportunity, and relief from present difficulties will surely follow.

The report of the Secretary of War shows that the Army has been well
and economically supplied; that our small force has been actively
employed and has faithfully performed all the service required of it.
The morale of the Army has improved and the number of desertions has
materially decreased during the year.

The Secretary recommends--

1. That a pension be granted to the widow of the late Lieutenant Henry
H. Benner, Eighteenth Infantry, who lost his life by yellow fever
while in command of the steamer _J.M. Chambers_, sent with supplies
for the relief of sufferers in the South from that disease.

2. The establishment of the annuity scheme for the benefit of the
heirs of deceased officers, as suggested by the Paymaster-General.

3. The adoption by Congress of a plan for the publication of the
records of the War of the Rebellion, now being prepared for that

4. The increase of the extra per diem of soldier teachers employed in
post schools, and liberal appropriations for the erection of buildings
for schools and libraries at the different posts.

5. The repeal or amendment of the act of June 18, 1878, forbidding the
use of the Army "as a _posse comitatus_, or otherwise, for the
purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such
circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly
authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress."

6. The passage of a joint resolution of Congress legalizing the issues
of rations, tents, and medicines which were made for the relief of
sufferers from yellow fever.

7. That provision be made for the erection of a fireproof building for
the preservation of certain valuable records, now constantly exposed
to destruction by fire.

These recommendations are all commended to your favorable

The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows that the Navy
has improved during the last fiscal year. Work has been done on
seventy-five vessels, ten of which have been thoroughly repaired
and made ready for sea. Two others are in rapid progress toward
completion. The total expenditures of the year, including the
amount appropriated for the deficiencies of the previous year, were
$17,468,392.65. The actual expenses chargeable to the year, exclusive
of these deficiencies, were $13,306,914.09, or $767,199.18 less than
those of the previous year, and $4,928,677.74 less than the expenses
including the deficiencies. The estimates for the fiscal year ending
June 30, 1880, are $14,562,381.45, exceeding the appropriations of
the present year only $33,949.75, which excess is occasioned by the
demands of the Naval Academy and the Marine Corps, as explained in the
Secretary's report. The appropriations for the present fiscal year are
$14,528,431.70, which, in the opinion of the Secretary, will be ample
for all the current expenses of the Department during the year. The
amount drawn from the Treasury from July 1 to November 1, 1878, is
$4,740,544.14, of which $70,980.75 has been refunded, leaving as the
expenditure for that period $4,669,563.39, or $520,899.24 less than
the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

The report of the Postmaster-General embraces a detailed statement of
the operations of the Post-Office Department. The expenditures of
that Department for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1878, were
$34,165,084.49. The receipts, including sales of stamps, money-order
business, and official stamps, were $29,277,516.95. The sum of
$290,436.90, included in the foregoing statement of expenditures, is
chargeable to preceding years, so that the actual expenditures for the
fiscal year ended June 30, 1878, are $33,874,647.59. The amount drawn
from the Treasury on appropriations, in addition to the revenues of
the Department, was $5,307,652.82. The expenditures for the fiscal
year ending June 30, 1880, are estimated at $36,571,900 and the
receipts from all sources at $30,664,023.90, leaving a deficiency to
be appropriated out of the Treasury of $5,907,876.10. The report calls
attention to the fact that the compensation of postmasters and of
railroads for carrying the mail is regulated by law, and that the
failure of Congress to appropriate the amounts required for these
purposes does not relieve the Government of responsibility, but
necessarily increases the deficiency bills which Congress will be
called upon to pass.

In providing for the postal service the following questions are
presented: Should Congress annually appropriate a sum for its expenses
largely in excess of its revenues, or should such rates of postage be
established as will make the Department self-sustaining? Should the
postal service be reduced by excluding from the mails matter which
does not pay its way? Should the number of post routes be diminished?
Should other methods be adopted which will increase the revenues or
diminish the expenses of the postal service?

The International Postal Congress which met at Paris May 1, 1878, and
continued in session until June 4 of the same year, was composed of
delegates from nearly all the civilized countries of the world. It
adopted a new convention (to take the place of the treaty concluded
at Berne October 9, 1874), which goes into effect on the 1st of April,
1879, between the countries whose delegates have signed it. It was
ratified and approved, by and with the consent of the President,
August 13, 1878. A synopsis of this Universal Postal Convention will
be found in the report of the Postmaster-General, and the full text
in the appendix thereto. In its origin the Postal Union comprised
twenty-three countries, having a population of 350,000,000 people.
On the 1st of April next it will comprise forty-three countries and
colonies, with a population of more than 650,000,000 people, and will
soon, by the accession of the few remaining countries and colonies
which maintain organized postal services, constitute in fact as well
as in name, as its new title indicates, a universal union, regulating,
upon a uniform basis of cheap postage rates, the postal intercourse
between all civilized nations.

Some embarrassment has arisen out of the conflict between the customs
laws of this country and the provisions of the Postal Convention in
regard to the transmission of foreign books and newspapers to this
country by mail. It is hoped that Congress will be able to devise some
means of reconciling the difficulties which have thus been created, so
as to do justice to all parties involved.

The business of the Supreme Court and of the courts in many of the
circuits has increased to such an extent during the past year that
additional legislation is imperative to relieve and prevent the
delay of justice and possible oppression to suitors which is thus
occasioned. The encumbered condition of these dockets is presented
anew in the report of the Attorney-General, and the remedy suggested
is earnestly urged for Congressional action. The creation of
additional circuit judges, as proposed, would afford a complete
remedy, and would involve an expense, at the present rate of salaries,
of not more than $60,000 a year.

The annual reports of the Secretary of the Interior and of the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs present an elaborate account of the
present condition of the Indian tribes and of that branch of the
public service which ministers to their interests. While the conduct
of the Indians generally has been orderly and their relations with
their neighbors friendly and peaceable, two local disturbances have
occurred, which were deplorable in their character, but remained,
happily, confined to a comparatively small number of Indians. The
discontent among the Bannocks, which led first to some acts of
violence on the part of some members of the tribe and finally to the
outbreak, appears to have been caused by an insufficiency of food
on the reservation, and this insufficiency to have been owing to the
inadequacy of the appropriations made by Congress to the wants of the
Indians at a time when the Indians were prevented from supplying the
deficiency by hunting. After an arduous pursuit by the troops of
the United States, and several engagements, the hostile Indians
were reduced to subjection, and the larger part of them surrendered
themselves as prisoners. In this connection I desire to call attention
to the recommendation made by the Secretary of the Interior, that
a sufficient fund be placed at the disposal of the Executive, to be
used, with proper accountability, at discretion, in sudden emergencies
of the Indian service.

The other case of disturbance was that of a band of Northern
Cheyennes, who suddenly left their reservation in the Indian Territory
and marched rapidly through the States of Kansas and Nebraska in the
direction of their old hunting grounds, committing murders and other
crimes on their way. From documents accompanying the report of the
Secretary of the Interior it appears that this disorderly band was as
fully supplied with the necessaries of life as the 4,700 other Indians
who remained quietly on the reservation, and that the disturbance
was caused by men of a restless and mischievous disposition among the
Indians themselves. Almost the whole of this band have surrendered to
the military authorities; and it is a gratifying fact that when some
of them had taken refuge in the camp of the Red Cloud Sioux, with whom
they had been in friendly relations, the Sioux held them as prisoners
and readily gave them up to the officers of the United States, thus
giving new proof of the loyal spirit which, alarming rumors to the
contrary notwithstanding, they have uniformly shown ever since the
wishes they expressed at the council of September, 1877, had been
complied with.

Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of War unite
in the recommendation that provision be made by Congress for the
organization of a corps of mounted "Indian auxiliaries," to be under
the control of the Army and to be used for the purpose of keeping the
Indians on their reservations and preventing or repressing disturbance
on their part. I earnestly concur in this recommendation. It is
believed that the organization of such a body of Indian cavalry,
receiving a moderate pay from the Government, would considerably
weaken the restless element among the Indians by withdrawing from it
a number of young men and giving them congenial employment under
the Government, it being a matter of experience that Indians in our
service almost without exception are faithful in the performance of
the duties assigned to them. Such an organization would materially
aid the Army in the accomplishment of a task for which its numerical
strength is sometimes found insufficient.

But while the employment of force for the prevention or repression
of Indian troubles is of occasional necessity, and wise preparation
should be made to that end, greater reliance must be placed on humane
and civilizing agencies for the ultimate solution of what is called
the Indian problem. It may be very difficult and require much
patient effort to curb the unruly spirit of the savage Indian to the
restraints of civilized life, but experience shows that it is not
impossible. Many of the tribes which are now quiet and orderly and
self-supporting were once as savage as any that at present roam
over the plains or in the mountains of the far West, and were then
considered inaccessible to civilizing influences. It may be impossible
to raise them fully up to the level of the white population of the
United States; but we should not forget that they are the aborigines
of the country, and called the soil their own on which our people have
grown rich, powerful, and happy. We owe it to them as a moral duty to
help them in attaining at least that degree of civilization which they
may be able to reach. It is not only our duty, it is also our interest
to do so. Indians who have become agriculturists or herdsmen, and feel
an interest in property, will thenceforth cease to be a warlike and
disturbing element. It is also a well-authenticated fact that Indians
are apt to be peaceable and quiet when their children are at school,
and I am gratified to know, from the expressions of Indians themselves
and from many concurring reports, that there is a steadily increasing
desire, even among Indians belonging to comparatively wild tribes, to
have their children educated. I invite attention to the reports of
the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
touching the experiment recently inaugurated, in taking fifty Indian
children, boys and girls, from different tribes, to the Hampton Normal
Agricultural Institute in Virginia, where they are to receive an
elementary English education and training in agriculture and other
useful works, to be returned to their tribes, after the completed
course, as interpreters, instructors, and examples. It is reported
that the officer charged with the selection of those children might
have had thousands of young Indians sent with him had it been possible
to make provision for them. I agree with the Secretary of the
Interior in saying that "the result of this interesting experiment,
if favorable, may be destined to become an important factor in the
advancement of civilization among the Indians."

The question whether a change in the control of the Indian service
should be made was at the last session of Congress referred to a
committee for inquiry and report. Without desiring to anticipate
that report, I venture to express the hope that in the decision of so
important a question the views expressed above may not be lost sight
of, and that the decision, whatever it may be, will arrest further
agitation of this subject, such agitation being apt to produce
a disturbing effect upon the service, as well as on the Indians

In the enrollment of the bill making appropriations for sundry civil
expenses, at the last session of Congress, that portion which provided
for the continuation of the Hot Springs Commission was omitted. As
the commission had completed the work of taking testimony on the many
conflicting claims, the suspension of their labors, before determining
the rights of claimants, threatened for a time to embarrass the
interests, not only of the Government, but also of a large number
of the citizens of Hot Springs, who were waiting for final action on
their claims before beginning contemplated improvements. In order
to prevent serious difficulties, which were apprehended, and at
the solicitation of many leading citizens of Hot Springs and others
interested in the welfare of the town, the Secretary of the Interior
was authorized to request the late commissioners to take charge of
the records of their proceedings and to perform such work as could
properly be done by them under such circumstances to facilitate the
future adjudication of the claims at an early day and to preserve
the status of the claimants until their rights should be finally
determined. The late commissioners complied with that request, and
report that the testimony in all the cases has been written out,
examined, briefed, and so arranged as to facilitate an early
settlement when authorized by law. It is recommended that the
requisite authority be given at as early a day in the session
as possible, and that a fair compensation be allowed the late
commissioners for the expense incurred and the labor performed
by them since the 25th of June last.

I invite the attention of Congress to the recommendations made by
the Secretary of the Interior with regard to the preservation of the
timber on the public lands of the United States. The protection of
the public property is one of the first duties of the Government. The
Department of the Interior should therefore be enabled by sufficient
appropriations to enforce the laws in that respect. But this matter
appears still more important as a question of public economy. The
rapid destruction of our forests is an evil fraught with the gravest
consequences, especially in the mountainous districts, where the rocky
slopes, once denuded of their trees, will remain so forever. There
the injury, once done, can not be repaired. I fully concur with
the Secretary of the Interior in the opinion that for this reason
legislation touching the public timber in the mountainous States and
Territories of the West should be especially well considered, and
that existing laws in which the destruction of the forests is not
sufficiently guarded against should be speedily modified. A general
law concerning this important subject appears to me to be a matter of
urgent public necessity.

From the organization of the Government the importance of encouraging
by all possible means the increase of our agricultural productions
has been acknowledged and urged upon the attention of Congress and the
people as the surest and readiest means of increasing our substantial
and enduring prosperity.

The words of Washington are as applicable to-day as when, in his
eighth annual message, he said:

It will not be doubted that, with reference either to
individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary
importance. In proportion as nations advance in population
and other circumstances of maturity this truth becomes more
apparent, and renders the cultivation of the soil more and
more an object of public patronage. Institutions for promoting
it grow up, supported by the public purse; and to what object
can it be dedicated with greater propriety? Among the means
which have been employed to this end none have been attended
with greater success than the establishment of boards
(composed of proper characters) charged with collecting and
diffusing information, and enabled by premiums and small
pecuniary aids to encourage and assist a spirit of discovery
and improvement. This species of establishment contributes
doubly to the increase of improvement, by stimulating to
enterprise and experiment, and by drawing to a common center
the results everywhere of individual skill and observation
and spreading them thence over the whole nation. Experience
accordingly hath shewn that they are very cheap instruments of
immense national benefits.

The preponderance of the agricultural over any other interest in the
United States entitles it to all the consideration claimed for it by
Washington. About one-half of the population of the United States is
engaged in agriculture. The value of the agricultural products of the
United States for the year 1878 is estimated at $3,000,000,000. The
exports of agricultural products for the year 1877, as appears from
the report of the Bureau of Statistics, were $524,000,000. The great
extent of our country, with its diversity of soil and climate, enables
us to produce within our own borders and by our own labor not only the
necessaries, but most of the luxuries, that are consumed in civilized
countries. Yet, notwithstanding our advantages of soil, climate, and
intercommunication, it appears from the statistical statements in the
report of the Commissioner of Agriculture that we import annually from
foreign lands many millions of dollars worth of agricultural products
which could be raised in our own country.

Numerous questions arise in the practice of advanced agriculture
which can only be answered by experiments, often costly and sometimes
fruitless, which are beyond the means of private individuals and are
a just and proper charge on the whole nation for the benefit of the
nation. It is good policy, especially in times of depression
and uncertainty in other business pursuits, with a vast area of
uncultivated, and hence unproductive, territory, wisely opened to
homestead settlement, to encourage by every proper and legitimate
means the occupation and tillage of the soil. The efforts of
the Department of Agriculture to stimulate old and introduce new
agricultural industries, to improve the quality and increase the
quantity of our products, to determine the value of old or establish
the importance of new methods of culture, are worthy of your careful
and favorable consideration, and assistance by such appropriations of
money and enlargement of facilities as may seem to be demanded by the
present favorable conditions for the growth and rapid development of
this important interest.

The abuse of animals in transit is widely attracting public attention.
A national convention of societies specially interested in the subject
has recently met at Baltimore, and the facts developed, both in regard
to cruelties to animals and the effect of such cruelties upon the
public health, would seem to demand the careful consideration of
Congress and the enactment of more efficient laws for the prevention
of these abuses.

The report of the Commissioner of the Bureau of Education shows
very gratifying progress throughout the country in all the interests
committed to the care of this important office. The report is
especially encouraging with respect to the extension of the advantages
of the common-school system in sections of the country where the
general enjoyment of the privilege of free schools is not yet

To education more than to any other agency we are to look as the
resource for the advancement of the people in the requisite knowledge
and appreciation of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and
I desire to repeat the suggestion contained in my former message in
behalf of the enactment of appropriate measures by Congress for
the purpose of supplementing with national aid the local systems of
education in the several States.

Adequate accommodations for the great library, which is overgrowing
the capacity of the rooms now occupied at the Capitol, should be
provided without further delay. This invaluable collection of books,
manuscripts, and illustrative art has grown to such proportions, in
connection with the copyright system of the country, as to demand the
prompt and careful attention of Congress to save it from injury in its
present crowded and insufficient quarters. As this library is national
in its character, and must from the nature of the case increase even
more rapidly in the future than in the past, it can not be doubted
that the people will sanction any wise expenditure to preserve it and
to enlarge its usefulness.

The appeal of the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the means
to organize, exhibit, and make available for the public benefit the
articles now stored away belonging to the National Museum I heartily
recommend to your favorable consideration.

The attention of Congress is again invited to the condition of
the river front of the city of Washington. It is a matter of vital
importance to the health of the residents of the national capital,
both temporary and permanent, that the lowlands in front of the city,
now subject to tidal overflow, should be reclaimed. In their present
condition these flats obstruct the drainage of the city and are a
dangerous source of malarial poison. The reclamation will improve the
navigation of the river by restricting, and consequently deepening,
its channel, and is also of importance when considered in connection
with the extension of the public ground and the enlargement of the
park west and south of the Washington Monument. The report of the
board of survey, heretofore ordered by act of Congress, on
the improvement of the harbor of Washington and Georgetown, is
respectfully commended to consideration.

The report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia presents
a detailed statement of the affairs of the District.

The relative expenditures by the United States and the District for
local purposes is contrasted, showing that the expenditures by the
people of the District greatly exceed those of the General Government.
The exhibit is made in connection with estimates for the requisite
repair of the defective pavements and sewers of the city, which is
a work of immediate necessity; and in the same connection a plan is
presented for the permanent funding of the outstanding securities of
the District.

The benevolent, reformatory, and penal institutions of the District
are all entitled to the favorable attention of Congress. The Reform
School needs additional buildings and teachers. Appropriations which
will place all of these institutions in a condition to become models
of usefulness and beneficence will be regarded by the country as
liberality wisely bestowed.

The Commissioners, with evident justice, request attention to the
discrimination made by Congress against the District in the donation
of land for the support of the public schools, and ask that the same
liberality that has been shown to the inhabitants of the various
States and Territories of the United States may be extended to the
District of Columbia.

The Commissioners also invite attention to the damage inflicted upon
public and private interests by the present location of the depots and
switching tracks of the several railroads entering the city, and ask
for legislation looking to their removal. The recommendations and
suggestions contained in the report will, I trust, receive the careful
consideration of Congress.

Sufficient time has, perhaps, not elapsed since the reorganization
of the government of the District under the recent legislation
of Congress for the expression of a confident opinion as to its
successful operation, but the practical results already attained are
so satisfactory that the friends of the new government may well
urge upon Congress the wisdom of its continuance, without essential
modification, until by actual experience its advantages and defects
may be more fully ascertained.



WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a declaration respecting trade-marks between the United
States and Brazil, concluded and signed at Rio de Janeiro on the 24th
day of September last.


WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a convention revising certain portions of existing
commercial treaties and further extending commercial intercourse
between the United States and Japan, concluded and signed at
Washington on the 25th day of July last.


WASHINGTON, _December 9, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, together
with the copies of papers[21] therein referred to, in compliance with
the resolution of the Senate of the 27th of May last.


[Footnote 21: Correspondence relative to claims of United States
citizens against Nicaragua.]

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
5th instant, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State,
with its accompanying papers.[22]


[Footnote 22: Correspondence relative to the expulsion from the German
Umpire of Julius Baumer, a naturalized citizen of the United States.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant,
requesting the transmission to the Senate of "any information which
may have been received by the Departments concerning postal and
commercial intercourse between the United States and South American
countries, together with any recommendations desirable to be submitted
of measures to be adopted for facilitating and improving such
intercourse," I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of State
and the Postmaster-General, with accompanying papers.

The external commerce of the United States has for many years been
the subject of solicitude because of the outward drain of the precious
metals it has caused. For fully twenty years previous to 1877 the
shipment of gold was constant and heavy--so heavy during the entire
period of the suspension of specie payments as to preclude the hope of
resumption safely during its continuance. In 1876, however, vigorous
efforts were made by enterprising citizens of the country, and have
since been continued, to extend our general commerce with foreign
lands, especially in manufactured articles, and these efforts have
been attended with very marked success.

The importation of manufactured goods was at the same time reduced in
an equal degree, and the result has been an extraordinary reversal
of the conditions so long prevailing and a complete cessation of
the outward drain of gold. The official statement of the values
represented in foreign commerce will show the unprecedented magnitude
to which the movement has attained, and the protection thus secured to
the public interests at the time when commercial security has become

The agencies through which this change has been effected must be
maintained and strengthened if the future is to be made secure. A
return to excessive imports or to a material decline in export trade
would render possible a return to the former condition of adverse
balances, with the inevitable outward drain of gold as a necessary
consequence. Every element of aid to the introduction of the
products of our soil and manufactures into new markets should be made
available. At present such is the favor in which many of the products
of the United States are held that they obtain a remunerative
distribution, notwithstanding positive differences of cost resulting
from our defective shipping and the imperfection of our arrangements
in every respect, in comparison with those of our competitors, for

Book of the day: