This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 19/9/1881-4/3/1885
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

not assume to enforce; nor can it be enforced without resort to measures which would be in keeping neither with the temper of our people nor with the spirit of our institutions.

The power of Peru no longer extends over its whole territory, and in the event of our interference to dictate peace would need to be supplemented by the armies and navies of the United States. Such interference would almost inevitably lead to the establishment of a protectorate–a result utterly at odds with our past policy, injurious to our present interests, and full of embarrassments for the future.

For effecting the termination of hostilities upon terms at once just to the victorious nation and generous to its adversaries, this Government has spared no efforts save such as might involve the complications which I have indicated.

It is greatly to be deplored that Chile seems resolved to exact such rigorous conditions of peace and indisposed to submit to arbitration the terms of an amicable settlement. No peace is likely to be lasting that is not sufficiently equitable and just to command the approval of other nations.

About a year since invitations were extended to the nations of this continent to send representatives to a peace congress to assemble at Washington in November, 1882. The time of meeting was fixed at a period then remote, in the hope, as the invitation itself declared, that in the meantime the disturbances between the South American Republics would be adjusted. As that expectation seemed unlikely to be realized, I asked in April last for an expression of opinion from the two Houses of Congress as to the advisability of holding the proposed convention at the time appointed. This action was prompted in part by doubts which mature reflection had suggested whether the diplomatic usage and traditions of the Government did not make it fitting that the Executive should consult the representatives of the people before pursuing a line of policy somewhat novel in its character and far reaching in its possible consequences. In view of the fact that no action was taken by Congress in the premises and that no provision had been made for necessary expenses, I subsequently decided to postpone the convocation, and so notified the several Governments which had been invited to attend.

I am unwilling to dismiss this subject without assuring you of my support of any measures the wisdom of Congress may devise for the promotion of peace on this continent and throughout the world, and I trust that the time is nigh when, with the universal assent of civilized peoples, all international differences shall be determined without resort to arms by the benignant processes of arbitration.

Changes have occurred in the diplomatic representation of several foreign powers during the past year. New ministers from the Argentine Republic, Austria-Hungary, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Russia have presented their credentials. The missions of Denmark and Venezuela at this capital have been raised in grade. Switzerland has created a plenipotentiary mission to this Government, and an embassy from Madagascar and a minister from Siam will shortly arrive.

Our diplomatic intercourse has been enlarged by the establishment of relations with the new Kingdom of Servia, by the creation of a mission to Siam, and by the restoration of the mission to Greece. The Shah of Persia has expressed his gratification that a charge d’affaires will shortly be sent to that country, where the rights of our citizens have been hitherto courteously guarded by the representatives of Great Britain.

I renew my recommendation of such legislation as will place the United States in harmony with other maritime powers with respect to the international rules for the prevention of collisions at sea.

In conformity with your joint resolution of the 3d of August last, I have directed the Secretary of State to address foreign governments in respect to a proposed conference for considering the subject of the universal adoption of a common prime meridian to be used in the reckoning of longitude and in the regulation of time throughout the civilized world. Their replies will in due time be laid before you.

An agreement was reached at Paris in 1875 between the principal powers for the interchange of official publications through the medium of their respective foreign departments.

The admirable system which has been built up by the enterprise of the Smithsonian Institution affords a practical basis for our cooperation in this scheme, and an arrangement has been effected by which that institution will perform the necessary labor, under the direction of the Department of State. A reasonable compensation therefor should be provided by law.

A clause in the act making appropriations for the diplomatic and consular service contemplates the reorganization of both branches of such service on a salaried basis, leaving fees to inure to the benefit of the Treasury. I cordially favor such a project, as likely to correct abuses in the present system. The Secretary of State will present to you at an early day a plan for such reorganization.

A full and interesting exhibit of the operations of the Treasury Department is afforded by the report of the Secretary.

It appears that the ordinary revenues from all sources for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1882, were as follows:

From customs $220,410,730.25 From internal revenue 146,497,595.45 From sales of public lands 4,753,140.37 From tax on circulation and deposits of national banks 8,956,794.45 From repayment of interest by Pacific Railway companies 840,554.37 From sinking fund for Pacific Railway companies 796,271.42 From customs fees, fines, penalties, etc. 1,343,348.00 From fees–consular, letters patent, and lands 2,638,990.97 From proceeds of sales of Government property 314,959.85 From profits on coinage, bullion deposits, and assays 4,116,693.73 From Indian trust funds 5,705,243.22 From deposits by individuals for surveying public lands 2,052,306.36 From revenues of the District of Columbia 1,715,176.41 From miscellaneous sources 3,383,445.43 ______________ Total ordinary receipts 403,525,250.28

The ordinary expenditures for the same period were–

For civil expenses $18,042,386.42 For foreign intercourse 1,307,583.19 For Indians 9,736,747.40 For pensions 61,345,193.95 For the military establishment, including river and harbor improvements, and arsenals 43,570,494.19 For the naval establishment, including vessels, machinery, and improvements at navy-yards 15,032,046.26 For miscellaneous expenditures, including public buildings, light-houses, and collecting the revenue 34,539,237.50 For expenditures on account of the District of Columbia 3,330,543.87 For interest on the public debt 71,077,206.79 ______________ Total ordinary expenditures 257,981,439.57

Leaving a surplus revenue of $145,543,810.71, which, with an amount drawn from the cash balance in the Treasury of $20,737,694.84, making $166,281,505.55, was applied to the redemption–

Of bonds for the sinking fund $60,079,150.00 Of fractional currency for the sinking fund 58,705.55 Of loan of July and August, 1861 62,572,050.00 Of loan of March, 1863 4,472,900.00 Of funded loan of 1881 37,194,450.00 Of loan of 1858 1,000.00 Of loan of February, 1861 303,000.00 Of five-twenties of 1862 2,100.00 Of five-twenties of 1864 7,400.00 Of five-twenties of 1865 6,500.00 Of ten-forties of 1864 254,550.00 Of consols of 1865 86,450.00 Of consols of 1867 408,250.00 Of consols of 1868 141,400.00 Of Oregon War debt 675,250.00 Of old demand, compound-interest, and other notes 18,350 00 ______________ 166,281,505 55

The foreign commerce of the United States during the last fiscal year, including imports and exports of merchandise and specie, was as follows:

Merchandise $750,542,257 Specie 49,417,479 ___________ Total 799,959,736 Imports:
Merchandise 724,639,574 Specie 42,472,390 ___________ Total 767,111,964 =========== Excess of exports over imports of merchandise 25,902,683

This excess is less than it has been before for any of the previous six years, as appears by the following table:

——————————————————————— Year ended June 30– Excess of exports over imports of merchandise ——————————————————————— 1876 $79,643,481 1877 151,152,094 1878 257,814,234 1879 264,661,666 1880 167,683,912 1881 259,712,718 1882 25,902,683 ———————————————————————

During the year there have been organized 171 national banks, and of those institutions there are now in operation 2,269, a larger number than ever before. The value of their notes in active circulation on July 1, 1882, was $324,656,458.

I commend to your attention the Secretary’s views in respect to the likelihood of a serious contraction of this circulation, and to the modes by which that result may, in his judgment, be averted.

In respect to the coinage of silver dollars and the retirement of silver certificates, I have seen nothing to alter but much to confirm the sentiments to which I gave expression last year.

A comparison between the respective amounts of silver-dollar circulation on November 1, 1881, and on November 1, 1882, shows a slight increase of a million and a half of dollars; but during the interval there had been in the whole number coined an increase of twenty-six millions. Of the one hundred and twenty-eight millions thus far minted, little more than thirty-five millions are in circulation. The mass of accumulated coin has grown so great that the vault room at present available for storage is scarcely sufficient to contain it. It is not apparent why it is desirable to continue this coinage, now so enormously in excess of the public demand.

As to the silver certificates, in addition to the grounds which seemed last year to justify their retirement may be mentioned the effect which is likely to ensue from the supply of gold certificates for whose issuance Congress recently made provision, and which are now in active circulation.

You can not fail to note with interest the discussion by the Secretary as to the necessity of providing by legislation some mode of freeing the Treasury of an excess of assets in the event that Congress fails to reach an early agreement for the reduction of taxation.

I heartily approve the Secretary’s recommendation of immediate and extensive reductions in the annual revenues of the Government.

It will be remembered that I urged upon the attention of Congress at its last session the importance of relieving the industry and enterprise of the country from the pressure of unnecessary taxation. It is one of the tritest maxims of political economy that all taxes are burdensome, however wisely and prudently imposed; and though there have always been among our people wide differences of sentiment as to the best methods of raising the national revenues, and, indeed, as to the principles upon which taxation should be based, there has been substantial accord in the doctrine that only such taxes ought to be levied as are necessary for a wise and economical administration of the Government. Of late the public revenues have far exceeded that limit, and unless checked by appropriate legislation such excess will continue to increase from year to year. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1881, the surplus revenue amounted to $100,000,000; for the fiscal year ended on the 30th of June last the surplus was more than one hundred and forty-five millions.

The report of the Secretary shows what disposition has been made of these moneys. They have not only answered the requirements of the sinking fund, but have afforded a large balance applicable to other reductions of the public debt.

But I renew the expression of my conviction that such rapid extinguishment of the national indebtedness as is now taking place is by no means a cause for congratulation; it is a cause rather for serious apprehension.

If it continues, it must speedily be followed by one of the evil results so clearly set forth in the report of the Secretary.

Either the surplus must lie idle in the Treasury or the Government will be forced to buy at market rates its bonds not then redeemable, and which under such circumstances can not fail to command an enormous premium, or the swollen revenues will be devoted to extravagant expenditure, which, as experience has taught, is ever the bane of an overflowing treasury.

It was made apparent in the course of the animated discussions which this question aroused at the last session of Congress that the policy of diminishing the revenue by reducing taxation commanded the general approval of the members of both Houses.

I regret that because of conflicting views as to the best methods by which that policy should be made operative none of its benefits have as yet been reaped.

In fulfillment of what I deem my constitutional duty, but with little hope that I can make valuable contribution to this vexed question, I shall proceed to intimate briefly my own views in relation to it.

Upon the showing of our financial condition at the close of the last fiscal year, I felt justified in recommending to Congress the abolition of all internal revenue taxes except those upon tobacco in its various forms and upon distilled spirits and fermented liquors, and except also the special tax upon the manufacturers of and dealers in such articles.

I venture now to suggest that unless it shall be ascertained that the probable expenditures of the Government for the coming year have been underestimated all internal taxes save those which relate to distilled spirits can be prudently abrogated.

Such a course, if accompanied by a simplification of the machinery of collection, which would then be easy of accomplishment, might reasonably be expected to result in diminishing the cost of such collection by at least $2,500,000 and in the retirement from office of from 1,500 to 2,000 persons.

The system of excise duties has never commended itself to the favor of the American people, and has never been resorted to except for supplying deficiencies in the Treasury when, by reason of special exigencies, the duties on imports have proved inadequate for the needs of the Government. The sentiment of the country doubtless demands that the present excise tax shall be abolished as soon as such a course can be safely pursued.

It seems to me, however, that, for various reasons, so sweeping a measure as the total abolition of internal taxes would for the present be an unwise step.

Two of these reasons are deserving of special mention:

First. It is by no means clear that even if the existing system of duties on imports is continued without modification those duties alone will yield sufficient revenue for all the needs of the Government. It is estimated that $100,000,000 will be required for pensions during the coming year, and it may well be doubted whether the maximum annual demand for that object has yet been reached. Uncertainty upon this question would alone justify, in my judgment, the retention for the present of that portion of the system of internal revenue which is least objectionable to the people.

Second. A total abolition of excise taxes would almost inevitably prove a serious if not an insurmountable obstacle to a thorough revision of the tariff and to any considerable reduction in import duties.

The present tariff system is in many respects unjust. It makes unequal distributions both of its burdens and its benefits. This fact was practically recognized by a majority of each House of Congress in the passage of the act creating the Tariff Commission. The report of that commission will be placed before you at the beginning of this session, and will, I trust, afford you such information as to the condition and prospects of the various commercial, agricultural, manufacturing, mining, and other interests of the country and contain such suggestions for statutory revision as will practically aid your action upon this important subject.

The revenue from customs for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1879, amounted to $137,000,000.

It has in the three succeeding years reached, first, $186,000,000, then $198,000,000, and finally, as has been already stated, $220,000,000.

The income from this source for the fiscal year which will end on June 30, 1883, will doubtless be considerably in excess of the sum last mentioned.

If the tax on domestic spirits is to be retained, it is plain, therefore, that large reductions from the customs revenue are entirely feasible. While recommending this reduction, I am far from advising the abandonment of the policy of so discriminating in the adjustment of details as to afford aid and protection to domestic labor. But the present system should be so revised as to equalize the public burden among all classes and occupations and bring it into closer harmony with the present needs of industry.

Without entering into minute detail, which under present circumstances is quite unnecessary, I recommend an enlargement of the free list so as to include within it the numerous articles which yield inconsiderable revenue, a simplification of the complex and inconsistent schedule of duties upon certain manufactures, particularly those of cotton, iron, and steel, and a substantial reduction of the duties upon those articles and upon sugar, molasses, silk, wool, and woolen goods.

If a general revision of the tariff shall be found to be impracticable at this session, I express the hope that at least some of the more conspicuous inequalities of the present law may be corrected before your final adjournment. One of them is specially referred to by the Secretary. In view of a recent decision of the Supreme Court, the necessity of amending the law by which the Dutch standard of color is adopted as the test of the saccharine strength of sugars is too obvious to require comment.

From the report of the Secretary of War it appears that the only outbreaks of Indians during the past year occurred in Arizona and in the southwestern part of New Mexico. They were promptly quelled, and the quiet which has prevailed in all other parts of the country has permitted such an addition to be made to the military force in the region endangered by the Apaches that there is little reason to apprehend trouble in the future.

Those parts of the Secretary’s report which relate to our seacoast defenses and their armament suggest the gravest reflections. Our existing fortifications are notoriously inadequate to the defense of the great harbors and cities for whose protection they were built.

The question of providing an armament suited to our present necessities has been the subject of consideration by a board, whose report was transmitted to Congress at the last session. Pending the consideration of that report, the War Department has taken no steps for the manufacture or conversion of any heavy cannon, but the Secretary expresses the hope that authority and means to begin that important work will be soon provided. I invite the attention of Congress to the propriety of making more adequate provision for arming and equipping the militia than is afforded by the act of 1808, which is still upon the statute book. The matter has already been the subject of discussion in the Senate, and a bill which seeks to supply the deficiencies of existing laws is now upon its calendar.

The Secretary of War calls attention to an embarrassment growing out of the recent act of Congress making the retirement of officers of the Army compulsory at the age of 64. The act of 1878 is still in force, which limits to 400 the number of those who can be retired for disability or upon their own application. The two acts, when construed together, seem to forbid the relieving, even for absolute incapacity, of officers who do not fall within the purview of the later statute, save at such times as there chance to be less than 400 names on the retired list. There are now 420. It is not likely that Congress intended this result, and I concur with the Secretary that the law ought to be amended.

The grounds that impelled me to withhold my signature from the bill entitled “An act making appropriations for the construction, repair, and preservation of certain works on rivers and harbors,” which became a law near the close of your last session, prompt me to express the hope that no similar measure will be deemed necessary during the present session of Congress. Indeed, such a measure would now be open to a serious objection in addition to that which was lately urged upon your attention. I am informed by the Secretary of War that the greater portion of the sum appropriated for the various items specified in that act remains unexpended.

Of the new works which it authorized, expenses have been incurred upon two only, for which the total appropriation was $210,000. The present available balance is disclosed by the following table:

Amount of appropriation by act of August 2, 1882 $18,738,875 Amount of appropriation by act of June 19, 1882 10,000 Amount of appropriation for payments to J.B. Eads 304,000 Unexpended balance of former appropriations 4,738,263 __________ 23,791,138 Less amount drawn from Treasury between July 1, 1882, and November 30, 1882 6,056,194 __________ 17,734,944

It is apparent by this exhibit that so far as concerns most of the items to which the act of August 2, 1882, relates there can be no need of further appropriations until after the close of the present session. If, however, any action should seem to be necessary in respect to particular objects, it will be entirely feasible to provide for those objects by appropriate legislation. It is possible, for example, that a delay until the assembling of the next Congress to make additional provision for the Mississippi River improvements might be attended with serious consequences. If such should appear to be the case, a just bill relating to that subject would command my approval.

This leads me to offer a suggestion which I trust will commend itself to the wisdom of Congress. Is it not advisable that grants of considerable sums of money for diverse and independent schemes of internal improvement should be made the subjects of separate and distinct legislative enactments? It will scarcely be gainsaid, even by those who favor the most liberal expenditures for such purposes as are sought to be accomplished by what is commonly called the river and harbor bill, that the practice of grouping in such a bill appropriations for a great diversity of objects, widely separated either in their nature or in the locality with which they are concerned, or in both, is one which is much to be deprecated unless it is irremediable. It inevitably tends to secure the success of the bill as a whole, though many of the items, if separately considered, could scarcely fail of rejection. By the adoption of the course I have recommended every member of Congress, whenever opportunity should arise for giving his influence and vote for meritorious appropriations, would be enabled so to do without being called upon to sanction others undeserving his approval. So also would the Executive be afforded thereby full opportunity to exercise his constitutional prerogative of opposing whatever appropriations seemed to him objectionable without imperiling the success of others which commended themselves to his judgment.

It may be urged in opposition to these suggestions that the number of works of internal improvement which are justly entitled to governmental aid is so great as to render impracticable separate appropriation bills therefor, or even for such comparatively limited number as make disposition of large sums of money. This objection may be well founded, and, whether it be or not, the advantages which would be likely to ensue from the adoption of the course I have recommended may perhaps be more effectually attained by another, which I respectfully submit to Congress as an alternative proposition.

It is provided by the constitutions of fourteen of our States that the executive may disapprove any item or items of a bill appropriating money, whereupon the part of the bill approved shall be law and the part disapproved shall fail to become law unless repassed according to the provisions prescribed, for the passage of bills over the veto of the executive. The States wherein some such provision as the foregoing is a part of the fundamental law are Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. I commend to your careful consideration the question whether an amendment of the Federal Constitution in the particular indicated would not afford the best remedy for what is often a grave embarrassment both to members of Congress and to the Executive, and is sometimes a serious public mischief.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy states the movements of the various squadrons during the year, in home and foreign waters, where our officers and seamen, with such ships as we possess, have continued to illustrate the high character and excellent discipline of the naval organization.

On the 21st of December, 1881, information was received that the exploring steamer _Jeannette_ had been crushed and abandoned in the Arctic Ocean. The officers and crew, after a journey over the ice, embarked in three boats for the coast of Siberia. One of the parties, under the command of Chief Engineer George W. Melville, reached the land, and, falling in with the natives, was saved. Another, under Lieutenant-Commander De Long, landed in a barren region near the mouth of the Lena River. After six weeks had elapsed all but two of the number had died from fatigue and starvation. No tidings have been received from the party in the third boat, under the command of Lieutenant Chipp, but a long and fruitless investigation leaves little doubt that all its members perished at sea. As a slight tribute to their heroism I give in this communication the names of the gallant men who sacrificed their lives on this expedition: Lieutenant-Commander George W. De Long, Surgeon James M. Ambler, Jerome J. Collins, Hans Halmer Erichsen, Heinrich H. Kaacke, George W. Boyd, Walter Lee, Adolph Dressier, Carl A. Goertz, Nelse Iverson, the cook Ah Sam, and the Indian Alexy. The officers and men in the missing boat were Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, commanding; William Dunbar, Alfred Sweetman, Walter Sharvell, Albert C. Kuehne, Edward Star, Henry D. Warren, and Peter E. Johnson.

Lieutenant Giles B. Harber and Master William H. Scheutze are now, bringing home the remains of Lieutenant De Long and his comrades, in pursuance of the directions of Congress.

The _Rodgers_, fitted out for the relief of the _Jeannette_ in accordance with the act of Congress of March 3, 1881, sailed from San Francisco June 16 under the command of Lieutenant Robert M. Berry. On November 30 she was accidentally destroyed by fire while in winter quarters in St. Lawrence Bay, but the officers and crew succeeded in escaping to the shore. Lieutenant Berry and one of his officers, after making a search for the _Jeannette_ along the coast of Siberia, fell in with Chief Engineer Melville’s party and returned home by way of Europe. The other officers and the crew of the _Rodgers_ were brought from St. Lawrence Bay by the whaling steamer _North Star_. Master Charles F. Putnam, who had been placed in charge of a depot of supplies at Cape Serdze, returning to his post from St. Lawrence Bay across the ice in a blinding snowstorm, was carried out to sea and lost, notwithstanding all efforts to rescue him.

It appears by the Secretary’s report that the available naval force of the United States consists of 37 cruisers, 14 single-turreted monitors, built during the rebellion, a large number of smoothbore guns and Parrott rifles, and 87 rifled cannon.

The cruising vessels should be gradually replaced by iron or steel ships, the monitors by modern armored vessels, and the armament by high-power rifled guns.

The reconstruction of our Navy, which was recommended in my last message, was begun by Congress authorizing, in its recent act, the construction of two large unarmored steel vessels of the character recommended by the late Naval Advisory Board, and subject to the final approval of a new advisory board to be organized as provided by that act. I call your attention to the recommendation of the Secretary and the board that authority be given to construct two more cruisers of smaller dimensions and one fleet dispatch vessel, and that appropriations be made for high-power rifled cannon for the torpedo service and for other harbor defenses.

Pending the consideration by Congress of the policy to be hereafter adopted in conducting the eight large navy-yards and their expensive establishments, the Secretary advocates the reduction of expenditures therefor to the lowest possible amounts.

For the purpose of affording the officers and seamen of the Navy opportunities for exercise and discipline in their profession, under appropriate control and direction, the Secretary advises that the Light-House Service and Coast Survey be transferred, as now organized, from the Treasury to the Navy Department; and he also suggests, for the reasons which he assigns, that a similar transfer may wisely be made of the cruising revenue vessels.

The Secretary forcibly depicts the intimate connection and interdependence of the Navy and the commercial marine, and invites attention to the continued decadence of the latter and the corresponding transfer of our growing commerce to foreign bottoms.

This subject is one of the utmost importance to the national welfare. Methods of reviving American shipbuilding and of restoring the United States flag in the ocean carrying trade should receive the immediate attention of Congress. We have mechanical skill and abundant material for the manufacture of modern iron steamships in fair competition with our commercial rivals. Our disadvantage in building ships is the greater cost of labor, and in sailing them, higher taxes, and greater interest on capital, while the ocean highways are already monopolized by our formidable competitors. These obstacles should in some way be overcome, and for our rapid communication with foreign lands we should not continue to depend wholly upon vessels built in the yards of other countries and sailing under foreign flags. With no United States steamers on the principal ocean lines or in any foreign ports, our facilities for extending our commerce are greatly restricted, while the nations which build and sail the ships and carry the mails and passengers obtain thereby conspicuous advantages in increasing their trade.

The report of the Postmaster-General gives evidence of the satisfactory condition of that Department and contains many valuable data and accompanying suggestions which can not fail to be of interest.

The information which it affords that the receipts for the fiscal year have exceeded the expenditures must be very gratifying to Congress and to the people of the country.

As matters which may fairly claim particular attention, I refer you to his observations in reference to the advisability of changing the present basis for fixing salaries and allowances, of extending the money-order system, and of enlarging the functions of the postal establishment so as to put under its control the telegraph system of the country, though from this last and most important recommendation I must withhold my concurrence.

At the last session of Congress several bills were introduced into the House of Representatives for the reduction of letter postage to the rate of 2 cents per half ounce.

I have given much study and reflection to this subject, and am thoroughly persuaded that such a reduction would be for the best interests of the public.

It has been the policy of the Government from its foundation to defray as far as possible the expenses of carrying the mails by a direct tax in the form of postage. It has never been claimed, however, that this service ought to be productive of a net revenue.

As has been stated already, the report of the Postmaster-General shows that there is now a very considerable surplus in his Department and that henceforth the receipts are likely to increase at a much greater ratio than the necessary expenditures. Unless some change is made in the existing laws, the profits of the postal service will in a very few years swell the revenues of the Government many millions of dollars. The time seems auspicious, therefore, for some reduction in the rates of postage. In what shall that reduction consist?

A review of the legislation which has been had upon this subject during the last thirty years discloses that domestic letters constitute the only class of mail matter which has never been favored by a substantial reduction of rates. I am convinced that the burden of maintaining the service falls most unequally upon that class, and that more than any other it is entitled to present relief.

That such relief may be extended without detriment to other public interests will be discovered upon reviewing the results of former reductions.

Immediately prior to the act of 1845 the postage upon a letter composed of a single sheet was as follows:

If conveyed– Cents.

30 miles or less 6 Between 30 and 80 miles 10 Between 80 and 150 miles 12-1/2 Between 150 and 400 miles 18-3/4 Over 400 miles 25

By the act of 1845 the postage upon a single letter conveyed for any distance under 300 miles was fixed at 5 cents and for any greater distance at 10 cents.

By the act of 1851 it was provided that a single letter, if prepaid, should be carried any distance not exceeding 3,000 miles for 3 cents and any greater distance for 6 cents.

It will be noticed that both of these reductions were of a radical character and relatively quite as important as that which is now proposed.

In each case there ensued a temporary loss of revenue, but a sudden and large influx of business, which substantially repaired that loss within three years.

Unless the experience of past legislation in this country and elsewhere goes for naught, it may be safely predicted that the stimulus of 33-1/3 per cent reduction in the tax for carriage would at once increase the number of letters consigned to the mails.

The advantages of secrecy would lead to a very general substitution of sealed packets for postal cards and open circulars, and in divers other ways the volume of first-class matter would be enormously augmented. Such increase amounted in England, in the first year after the adoption of penny postage, to more than 125 per cent.

As a result of careful estimates, the details of which can not be here set out, I have become convinced that the deficiency for the first year after the proposed reduction would not exceed 7 per cent of the expenditures, or $3,000,000, while the deficiency after the reduction of 1845 was more than 14 per cent, and after that of 1851 was 27 per cent.

Another interesting comparison is afforded by statistics furnished me by the Post-Office Department.

The act of 1845 was passed in face of the fact that there existed a deficiency of more than $30,000. That of 1851 was encouraged by the slight surplus of $132,000. The excess of revenue in the next fiscal year is likely to be $3,500,000.

If Congress should approve these suggestions, it may be deemed desirable to supply to some extent the deficiency which must for a time result by increasing the charge for carrying merchandise, which is now only 16 cents per pound; but even without such an increase I am confident that the receipts under the diminished rates would equal the expenditures after the lapse of three or four years.

The report of the Department of Justice brings anew to your notice the necessity of enlarging the present system of Federal jurisprudence so as effectually to answer the requirements of the ever-increasing litigation with which it is called upon to deal.

The Attorney-General renews the suggestions of his predecessor that in the interests of justice better provision than the existing laws afford should be made in certain judicial districts for fixing the fees of witnesses and jurors.

In my message of December last I referred to pending criminal proceedings growing out of alleged frauds in what is known as the star-route service of the Post-Office Department, and advised you that I had enjoined upon the Attorney-General and associate counsel, to whom the interests of the Government were intrusted, the duty of prosecuting with the utmost vigor of the law all persons who might be found chargeable with those offenses. A trial of one of these cases has since occurred. It occupied for many weeks the attention of the supreme court of this District and was conducted with great zeal and ability. It resulted in a disagreement of the jury, but the cause has been again placed upon the calendar and will shortly be retried. If any guilty persons shall finally escape punishment for their offenses, it will not be for lack of diligent and earnest efforts on the part of the prosecution.

I trust that some agreement may be reached which will speedily enable Congress, with the concurrence of the Executive, to afford the commercial community the benefits of a national bankrupt law.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with its accompanying documents, presents a full statement of the varied operations of that Department. In respect to Indian affairs nothing has occurred which has changed or seriously modified the views to which I devoted much space in a former communication to Congress. I renew the recommendations therein contained as to extending to the Indian the protection of the law, allotting land in severalty to such as desire it, and making suitable provision for the education of youth. Such provision, as the Secretary forcibly maintains, will prove unavailing unless it is broad enough to include all those who are able and willing to make use of it, and should not solely relate to intellectual training, but also to instruction in such manual labor and simple industrial arts as can be made practically available.

Among other important subjects which are included within the Secretary’s report, and which will doubtless furnish occasion for Congressional action, may be mentioned the neglect of the railroad companies to which large grants of land were made by the acts of 1862 and 1864 to take title thereto, and their consequent inequitable exemption from local taxation.

No survey of our material condition can fail to suggest inquiries as to the moral and intellectual progress of the people.

The census returns disclose an alarming state of illiteracy in certain portions of the country, where the provision for schools is grossly inadequate. It is a momentous question for the decision of Congress whether immediate and substantial aid should not be extended by the General Government for supplementing the efforts of private beneficence and of State and Territorial legislation in behalf of education.

The regulation of interstate commerce has already been the subject of your deliberations. One of the incidents of the marvelous extension of the railway system of the country has been the adoption of such measures by the corporations which own or control the roads as have tended to impair the advantages of healthful competition and to make hurtful discriminations in the adjustment of freightage.

These inequalities have been corrected in several of the States by appropriate legislation, the effect of which is necessarily restricted to the limits of their own territory.

So far as such mischiefs affect commerce between the States or between any one of the States and a foreign country, they are subjects of national concern, and Congress alone can afford relief.

The results which have thus far attended the enforcement of the recent statute for the suppression of polygamy in the Territories are reported by the Secretary of the Interior. It is not probable that any additional legislation in this regard will be deemed desirable until the effect of existing laws shall be more closely observed and studied.

I congratulate you that the commissioners under whose supervision those laws have been put in operation are encouraged to believe that the evil at which they are aimed may be suppressed without resort to such radical measures as in some quarters have been thought indispensable for success.

The close relation of the General Government to the Territories preparing to be great States may well engage your special attention. It is there that the Indian disturbances mainly occur and that polygamy has found room for its growth. I can not doubt that a careful survey of Territorial legislation would be of the highest utility. Life and property would become more secure. The liability of outbreaks between Indians and whites would be lessened. The public domain would be more securely guarded and better progress be made in the instruction of the young.

Alaska is still without any form of civil government. If means were provided for the education of its people and for the protection of their lives and property, the immense resources of the region would invite permanent settlements and open new fields for industry and enterprise.

The report of the Commissioner of Agriculture presents an account of the labors of that Department during the past year and includes information of much interest to the general public.

The condition of the forests of the country and the wasteful manner in which their destruction is taking place give cause for serious apprehension. Their action in protecting the earth’s surface, in modifying the extremes of climate, and in regulating and sustaining the flow of springs and streams is now well understood, and their importance in relation to the growth and prosperity of the country can not be safely disregarded. They are fast disappearing before destructive fires and the legitimate requirements of our increasing population, and their total extinction can not be long delayed unless better methods than now prevail shall be adopted for their protection and cultivation. The attention of Congress is invited to the necessity of additional legislation to secure the preservation of the valuable forests still remaining on the public domain, especially in the extreme Western States and Territories, where the necessity for their preservation is greater than in less mountainous regions, and where the prevailing dryness of the climate renders their restoration, if they are once destroyed, well-nigh impossible.

The communication which I made to Congress at its first session, in December last, contained a somewhat full statement of my sentiments in relation to the principles and rules which ought to govern appointments to public service.

Referring to the various plans which had theretofore been the subject of discussion in the National Legislature (plans which in the main were modeled upon the system which obtains in Great Britain, but which lacked certain of the prominent features whereby that system is distinguished), I felt bound to intimate my doubts whether they, or any of them, would afford adequate remedy for the evils which they aimed to correct.

I declared, nevertheless, that if the proposed measures should prove acceptable to Congress they would receive the unhesitating support of the Executive.

Since these suggestions were submitted for your consideration there has been no legislation upon the subject to which they relate, but there has meanwhile been an increase in the public interest in that subject, and the people of the country, apparently without distinction of party, have in various ways and upon frequent occasions given expression to their earnest wish for prompt and definite action. In my judgment such action should no longer be postponed.

I may add that my own sense of its pressing importance has been quickened by observation of a practical phase of the matter, to which attention has more than once been called by my predecessors.

The civil list now comprises about 100,000 persons, far the larger part of whom must, under the terms of the Constitution, be selected by the President either directly or through his own appointees.

In the early years of the administration of the Government the personal direction of appointments to the civil service may not have been an irksome task for the Executive, but now that the burden has increased fully a hundredfold it has become greater than he ought to bear, and it necessarily diverts his time and attention from the proper discharge of other duties no less delicate and responsible, and which in the very nature of things can not be delegated to other hands.

In the judgment of not a few who have given study and reflection to this matter, the nation has outgrown the provisions which the Constitution has established for filling the minor offices in the public service.

But whatever may be thought of the wisdom or expediency of changing the fundamental law in this regard, it is certain that much relief may be afforded, not only to the President and to the heads of the Departments, but to Senators and Representatives in Congress, by discreet legislation. They would be protected in a great measure by the bill now pending before the Senate, or by any other which should embody its important features, from the pressure of personal importunity and from the labor of examining conflicting claims and pretensions of candidates.

I trust that before the close of the present session some decisive action may be taken for the correction of the evils which inhere in the present methods of appointment, and I assure you of my hearty cooperation in any measures which are likely to conduce to that end.

As to the most appropriate term and tenure of the official life of the subordinate employees of the Government, it seems to be generally agreed that, whatever their extent or character, the one should be definite and the other stable, and that neither should be regulated by zeal in the service of party or fidelity to the fortunes of an individual.

It matters little to the people at large what competent person is at the head of this department or of that bureau if they feel assured that the removal of one and the accession of another will not involve the retirement of honest and faithful subordinates whose duties are purely administrative and have no legitimate connection with the triumph of any political principles or the success of any political party or faction. It is to this latter class of officers that the Senate bill, to which I have already referred, exclusively applies.

While neither that bill nor any other prominent scheme for improving the civil service concerns the higher grade of officials, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, I feel bound to correct a prevalent misapprehension as to the frequency with which the present Executive has displaced the incumbent of an office and appointed another in his stead.

It has been repeatedly alleged that he has in this particular signally departed from the course which has been pursued under recent Administrations of the Government. The facts are as follows:

The whole number of Executive appointments during the four years immediately preceding Mr. Garfield’s accession to the Presidency was 2,696. Of this number 244, or 9 per cent, involved the removal of previous incumbents.

The ratio of removals to the whole number of appointments was much the same during each of those four years.

In the first year, with 790 appointments, there were 74 removals, or 9.3 per cent; in the second, with 917 appointments, there were 85 removals, or 8.5 per cent; in the third, with 480 appointments, there were 48 removals, or 10 per cent; in the fourth, with 429 appointments, there were 37 removals, or 8.6 per cent. In the four months of President Garfield’s Administration there were 390 appointments and 89 removals, or 22.7 per cent. Precisely the same number of removals (89) has taken place in the fourteen months which have since elapsed, but they constitute only 7.8 per cent of the whole number of appointments (1,118) within that period and less than 2.6 of the entire list of officials (3,459), exclusive of the Army and Navy, which is filled by Presidential appointment.

I declare my approval of such legislation as may be found necessary for supplementing the existing provisions of law in relation to political assessments.

In July last I authorized a public announcement that employees of the Government should regard themselves as at liberty to exercise their pleasure in making or refusing to make political contributions, and that their action in that regard would in no manner affect their official status.

In this announcement I acted upon the view, which I had always maintained and still maintain, that a public officer should be as absolutely free as any other citizen to give or to withhold a contribution for the aid of the political party of his choice. It has, however, been urged, and doubtless not without foundation in fact, that by solicitation of official superiors and by other modes such contributions have at times been obtained from persons whose only motive for giving has been the fear of what might befall them if they refused. It goes without saying that such contributions are not voluntary, and in my judgment their collection should be prohibited by law. A bill which will effectually suppress them will receive my cordial approval.

I hope that, however numerous and urgent may be the demands upon your attention, the interests of this District will not be forgotten.

The denial to its residents of the great right of suffrage in all its relations to national, State, and municipal action imposes upon Congress the duty of affording them the best administration which its wisdom can devise.

The report of the District Commissioners indicates certain measures whose adoption would seem to be very desirable. I instance in particular those which relate to arrears of taxes, to steam railroads, and to assessments of real property.

Among the questions which have been the topic of recent debate in the halls of Congress none are of greater gravity than those relating to the ascertainment of the vote for Presidential electors and the intendment of the Constitution in its provisions for devolving Executive functions upon the Vice-President when the President suffers from inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office.

I trust that no embarrassments may result from a failure to determine these questions before another national election.

The closing year has been replete with blessings, for which we owe to the Giver of All Good our reverent acknowledgment. For the uninterrupted harmony of our foreign relations, for the decay of sectional animosities, for the exuberance of our harvests and the triumphs of our mining and manufacturing industries, for the prevalence of health, the spread of intelligence, and the conservation of the public credit, for the growth of the country in all the elements of national greatness–for these and countless other blessings we should rejoice and be glad. I trust that under the inspiration of this great prosperity our counsels may be harmonious, and that the dictates of prudence, patriotism, justice, and economy may lead to the adoption of measures in which the Congress and the Executive may heartily unite.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 6, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 4th instant, and its accompanying papers, in which it is recommended that section 1216, Revised Statutes, be so amended as to include in its provisions the enlisted men of the Army, and that section 1285, Revised Statutes, be modified so as to read:

A certificate of merit granted to an enlisted man for distinguished service shall entitle him thereafter to additional pay, at the rate of $2 per month, while he is in the military service, although such service may not be continuous.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 6, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 4th instant, setting forth certain facts respecting the title to the peninsula of Presque Isle, at Erie, Pa., and recommending that the subject be presented to Congress with the view of legislation by that body modifying the act of May 27, 1882, entitled “An act to authorize the Secretary of War to accept the peninsula in Lake Erie opposite the harbor of Erie, in the State of Pennsylvania” (17 U.S. Statutes at Large, p. 162), so as to authorize the Secretary of War to accept title to the said peninsula, proffered by the marine hospital of Pennsylvania pursuant to an act of the legislature of that State approved by the governor May 11, 1871.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 6, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, inclosing one from the commanding general Department of the Missouri, indorsed by the division commander, urging the advisability of prompt action in the matter of perfecting the title to the site of Fort Bliss, Tex.

Accompanying also is a copy of Senate Executive Document No. 96, Forty-seventh Congress, first session, which presents fully the facts in the case, as well as the character of the legislation necessary to secure to the United States proper title to the land in question.

The Secretary of War expresses his concurrence in the views of the military authorities as to the importance of this subject and urges that the requisite legislation be had by Congress at its present session.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 8, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior, with a draft of a bill and accompanying papers, to accept and ratify an agreement made by the Pi-Ute Indians, and granting a right of way to the Carson and Colorado Railroad Company through the Walker River Reservation, in Nevada.

The subject is presented for the consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, December 13, 1882_.

_To the House of Representatives:_

In response to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 30th of January, 1882, on the subject of the tariff of consular fees, I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 15, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, inclosing a copy of a letter from the acting governor of New Mexico, in which he sets forth reasons why authority should be given and provision made for holding a session of the Territorial legislature of New Mexico in January, 1883, or soon thereafter.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 19, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, upon the subject of abandoned military reservations, and renewing his former recommendation for such legislation as will provide for the disposal of military sites that are no longer needed for military purposes.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 21, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior of the 18th instant, with accompanying papers, submitting a draft of a bill “for the relief of the Nez Pierce Indians in the Territory of Idaho and of the allied tribes residing upon the Grande Ronde Indian Reservation, in the State of Oregon.”

The subject is presented for the consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 27, 1882_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I submit herewith a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, inclosing a communication from the secretary of the Territory of New Mexico, who has custody of the public buildings at Santa Fe, in which are set forth reasons why an appropriation should be made for the completion of the capitol at Santa Fe, and commend the same to the consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 5, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior, together with a letter from the Superintendent of the Census, requesting an additional appropriation of $100,000 to complete the work of the Tenth Census, and recommend the same to Congress for its favorable consideration.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 5, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 2d instant, and inclosing one from Lieutenant Robert Craig, Fourth Artillery, indorsed by the Chief Signal Officer of the Army, recommending that Congress authorize the printing and binding for the use of the Signal Office of 10,000 copies of the Annual Report of the Chief Signal Officer for the fiscal year 1882, and inclosing a draft of a joint resolution for the purpose.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 9, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior, submitting a report, with accompanying papers, regarding the condition of the several libraries of said Department and the consolidation of the same.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, January 10, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

The Senate having by executive resolution of the 20th ultimo returned to me the supplemental convention of extradition signed August 7, 1882, in order that certain verbal changes therein might be made, as requested by the Spanish Government, as explained in the letter of the Secretary of State to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate dated the 15th ultimo, I now lay the said convention so modified before the Senate, with a view to its ratification.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 11, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 10th instant, inclosing one from the Chief of Ordnance, together with one from Lieutenant-Colonel D.W. Flagler, commanding the Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., setting forth the insufficiency of the sum appropriated by the sundry civil appropriation act of August 7, 1882, for the deepening of the water-power tail-race canal at that arsenal, and recommending that a special appropriation of $20,000 be made for the completion of said work.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 12, 1883_.

_To the House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State and accompanying papers, furnished in response to the resolution of the House of Representatives of July 15, 1882, calling for any information in the possession of the Department of State in reference to any change or modification of the stipulations which the French Cable Company made with the Government.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 17th instant, inclosing, with other papers on the subject, a petition of Thomas Mulvihill, of Pittsburg, Pa., praying for the repossession of certain shore lands at Pittsburg erroneously conveyed by him to the United States.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication, dated the 18th instant, from the Secretary of the Interior, with accompanying papers, in relation to the request of the Cherokee Indians in the Indian Territory for payment for lands in that Territory west of the ninety-sixth degree west longitude, the cession of which to the United States for the settlement of friendly Indians thereon is provided for in the sixteenth article of the treaty of July 19, 1866.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 17th instant, inclosing copies of letters respectively from the Chief of Engineers and Colonel A.F. Rockwell, in charge of public buildings and grounds in this city, urging the importance of an immediate appropriation of $1,000 for removing snow and ice from the walks and pavements in and around the various public reservations under his control during the remainder of the present fiscal year.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I have carefully considered the provisions of Senate bill No. 561, entitled “An act for the relief of Robert Stodart Wyld.”

I am of the opinion that the general statute is sufficiently liberal to provide relief in all proper cases of destroyed United States bonds, and I believe that the act above referred to constitutes an evil precedent. It is not, however, so objectionable as to call for my formal disapproval, and I have allowed it to become a law under the constitutional provision, contenting myself with communicating to the Senate, in which the bill originated, my disapproval of special legislation of this character.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 18th instant, inclosing an extract copy of a report of the Adjutant-General respecting the military reservation of Fort Cameron, Utah Territory, and recommending that authority be granted during the present session of Congress for the disposal of said reservation, it being no longer needed for military purposes.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior, with a draft of a bill, and accompanying papers, to accept and ratify an agreement with the confederated tribes of Flathead, Kootenay, and Upper Pend d’Oreille Indians for the sale of a portion of their reservation in the Territory of Montana, required for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and to make the necessary appropriation for carrying the same into effect.

The subject is presented for the consideration of the Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, January 23, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

In response to the resolution of the Senate of the United States dated January 5, 1883, requesting “that the Secretary of State be directed to transmit to the Senate copies of any letters on file in his Department from the consular service upon the subject of the shipment and discharge of seamen or payment of extra wages to seamen,” I have to transmit a report of the Secretary of State on the subject.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 25, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of State, concerning the character and condition of the library of the Department of State.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 26, 1883_.

_To the House of Representatives:_

It is hereby announced to the House of Congress in which it originated that the joint resolution (H. Res. 190) to refer certain claims to the Court of Claims has been permitted to become a law under the constitutional provision. Its apparent purpose is to allow certain bankers to sue in the Court of Claims for the amount of internal-revenue tax collected from them without lawful authority, upon showing as matter of excuse for not having brought their suits within the time limited by law that they had entered into an agreement with the district attorney which was in substance that they should be relieved of that necessity. I can not concur in the policy of setting aside the bar of the statute in those cases on such ground, but I have not deemed it necessary to return the joint resolution with my objections for reconsideration.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 30, 1883._

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit herewith a copy of a communication to me from the Secretary of the Treasury.[14]

I have acted in conformity with the recommendations, oral and written, which are therein set forth, concerning the action suggested to be that which would best effectuate the purpose of section 1768 of the Revised Statutes of the United States and be most considerate of the reputation and interests of the public officer to be affected and most subservient to the public interest.


[Footnote 14: Relating to the suspension of William H. Daniels, collector of customs for the district of Oswegatchie, N.Y.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 3, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit to the Senate, for consideration with a view to ratification, the treaty of commerce which was signed in duplicate January 20, 1883, by commissioners on the part of the United States and Mexico, with accompanying papers.

The attention of the Senate is called to the statement in the third protocol as to the insertion of the word “steel” in item No. (35) 66 of the list appended to article 2 of the treaty. No further information as to the possible correction therein referred to has yet reached me; but as the session of the Senate will soon terminate, I deem it advisable to transmit the treaty as signed, in the hope that its ratification may be assented to.

While the treaty does not contain all the provisions desired by the United States, the difficulties in the way of a full and complete settlement of matters of common interest to the two countries were such as to make me willing to approve it as an important step toward a desirable result, not doubting that, as time shall show the advantages of the system thus inaugurated, the Government will be able by supplementary agreements to insert the word “steel” and to perfect what is lacking in the instrument.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 3, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior of the 1st instant, submitting a report made by the commission appointed under the provisions of the act of August 7, 1882, to treat with me Sioux Indians for a modification of their existing treaties, together with a copy of the agreement negotiated by that commission.

The subject is presented for the favorable consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 5, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated the 2d instant, in relation to the subject of invasion of the Indian Territory, and urging the importance of amending section 2148 of the Revised Statutes so as to impose a penalty of imprisonment for unlawful entry upon the Indian lands.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 5, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the ‘United States:_

Referring to my message to the Senate of the 3d instant, wherewith was transmitted, for consideration with a view to ratification, the treaty of commerce between Mexico and the United States which was signed at Washington on the 20th ultimo, I have now to inform the Senate that this Government is officially advised by that of Mexico, through its minister at this capital, that it assents to the insertion of the word “steel” in item No. (35) 66 of the list appended to article 2 of that treaty.

It is desired that the treaty be returned to me that the amendment may be made, after which it will be again sent to the Senate for final action.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 6, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I retransmit to the Senate the commercial treaty recently signed in this city by the commissioners of the United States and Mexico, as amended by the insertion of the word “steel” in item (35) 66 of the list appended to article 2 thereof.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 7, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication of the 3d instant, With accompanying papers, from the Secretary of the Interior, being a partial report upon the Cherokee Indian matters required under a clause in the sundry civil appropriation act of August 7, 1882.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 8, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of the Interior of the 7th instant, with accompanying papers, setting forth the urgent necessity of stringent measures for the repression of the rapidly increasing evasions and violations of the laws relating to public lands, and of a special appropriation for the purpose both in the current and approaching fiscal years.

The subject is presented for the consideration of Congress.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 9, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a convention between the United States of America and the French Republic, for extending the term of the French and American claims convention, concluded at Washington on the 8th day of February, 1883.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 10, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the information of Congress, a copy of the report of the Board of Indian Commissioners for the year 1882. The report accompanies the message to the House of Representatives.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 10, 1883_.

_To the House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, in response to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 25th ultimo, a report of the Secretary of State, in relation to export duties levied in foreign countries having commercial relations with the United States.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 12, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith a communication of the 8th instant, with accompanying papers, from the Secretary of the Interior, comprising the further report in relation to matters of difference between the Eastern and Western bands of Cherokee Indians required by an item in the sundry civil act approved August 7, 1882 (pamphlet statutes, page 328).


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 15, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit herewith, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of December 18, 1882, the report of Mr. George Earl Church upon Ecuador, which I have this day received from the Secretary of State.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 20, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a letter from the Secretary of War, dated the 19th instant, inclosing a copy of one from Major George L. Gillespie, Corps of Engineers, dated the 15th instant, referring to the insufficiency of the sum ($39,000) appropriated by the sundry civil bill of August 7, 1882, for building the sea wall on Governors Island, New York Harbor, together with a copy of the indorsement of the Chief Engineer, showing the necessity for an additional appropriation of $15,000 for this purpose. The Secretary of War recommends that said additional sum of $15,000 be appropriated at the present session of Congress for the object stated.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 23, 1883_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States of America:_

With reference to my message of the 12th ultimo on the same subject, I transmit herewith a further report of the Secretary of State, furnishing additional papers received since the date of his former report in response to a resolution of the House of Representatives of July 5, 1882, calling for any information in the possession of the Department of State in reference to any changes or modifications of the stipulations which the French Cable Company made with this Government.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 26, 1883_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives:_

I transmit herewith, for the information of Congress, a copy of the annual report of the Government directors of the Union Pacific Railway Company, under date of the 19th instant.

The copy of the report referred to accompanies the message to the House of Representatives.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 27, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of State, furnished in response to the resolution of the Senate of February 26, 1883, requesting information touching an alleged joint agreement between the ministers of the United States, of Great Britain, of France, and of Italy now serving in Peru.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 1, 1883_.

_To the Senate of the United States:_

Having approved the act recently passed by Congress “to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States,” I deem it my duty to call your attention to the provision for the employment of a “chief examiner” contained in the third section of the act, which was the subject of consideration at the time of its approval.

I am advised by the Attorney-General that there is great doubt whether such examiner is not properly an officer of the United States because of the nature of his employment, its duration, emolument, and duties. If he be such, the provision for his employment (which involves an appointment by the Commission) is not in conformity with section 2, Article II of the Constitution. Assuming this to be the case, the result would be that the appointment of the chief examiner must be deemed to be vested in the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, since in such case the appointment would not be otherwise provided for by law. Concurring in this opinion, I nominate Silas W. Burt, of New York, to be chief examiner of the Civil Service Commission.





Whereas by the eighth section of an act entitled “An act to encourage the holding of a World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in the year 1884,” approved February 10, 1883, it was enacted as follows:

That whenever the President shall be informed by the said board of management that provision has been made for suitable buildings, or the erection of the same, for the purposes of said exposition, the President shall, through the Department of State, make proclamation of the same, setting forth the time at which the exhibition will open and the place at which it will be held; and such board of management shall communicate to the diplomatic representatives of all nations copies of the same and a copy of this act, together with such regulations as may be adopted by said board of management, for publication in their respective countries.

And whereas the duly constituted board of managers of the aforesaid World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition has informed me that provision has been made for the erection of suitable buildings for the purposes of said exposition:

Now, therefore, I, Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States of America, by authority of and in fulfillment of the requirements of said act approved February 10, 1883, do hereby declare and make known that the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition will be opened on the first Monday in December, 1884, at the city of New Orleans, in the State of Louisiana, and will there be holden continuously until the 3ist day of May, 1885.

In testimony 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 10th day of September, 1883, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and eighth.



By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



In furtherance of the custom of this people at the closing of each year to engage, upon a day set apart for that purpose, in a special festival of praise to the Giver of All Good, I, Chester A. Arthur, President of the United States, do hereby designate Thursday, the 29th day of November next, as a day of national thanksgiving.

The year which is drawing to an end has been replete with evidences of divine goodness.

The prevalence of health, the fullness of the harvests, the stability of peace and order, the growth of fraternal feeling, the spread of intelligence and learning, the continued enjoyment of civil and religious liberty–all these and countless other blessings are cause for reverent rejoicing.

I do therefore recommend that on the day above appointed the people rest from their accustomed labors and, meeting in their several places of worship, express their devout gratitude to God that He hath dealt so bountifully with this nation and pray that His grace and favor abide with it forever.

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 26th day of October, A.D. 1883, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and eighth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE, _Washington, March 26, 1883_.

SIR:[15] It is my melancholy duty to inform you that the Hon. Timothy O. Howe, Postmaster-General, and lately a Senator of the United States, died yesterday at Kenosha, Wis., at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. By reason of this afflicting event the President directs that the Executive Departments of the Government and the offices dependent thereon throughout the country will be careful to manifest by all customary and appropriate observances due honor to the memory of one so eminent in successive offices of public esteem and trust and so distinguished and respected as a citizen.

To this end the President directs that the Post-Office Department and its dependencies in this capital shall be draped in mourning for a period of thirty days; that the several Executive Departments shall be closed on Wednesday next, the day of the funeral of the deceased, and that on all public buildings of the Government throughout the United States the national flag shall be draped in mourning and displayed at half-mast.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


[Footnote 15: Addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, etc.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 2, 1883_.

Under the provisions of section I of the “act making appropriations for the naval service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1884, and for other purposes,” approved March 3, 1883, the following-named officers of the Army and Navy will constitute a board for the purpose of examining and reporting to Congress which of the navy-yards or arsenals owned by the Government has the best location and is best adapted for the establishment of a Government foundry, or what other method, if any, should be adopted for the manufacture of heavy ordnance adapted to modern warfare, for the use of the Army and Navy of the United States, the cost of all buildings, tools, and implements necessary to be used in the manufacture thereof, including the cost of a steam hammer or apparatus of sufficient size for the manufacture of the heaviest guns:

Commodore Edward Simpson, United States Navy; Captain Edmund O. Matthews, United States Navy; Colonel Thomas G. Baylor, Ordnance Department, United States Army; Lieutenant-Colonel Henry L. Abbot, Engineer Corps, United States Army; Major Samuel S. Elder, Second Artillery, United States Army; Lieutenant William H. Jacques, United States Navy.



In the exercise of the power vested in the President by, the Constitution, and by virtue of the seventeen hundred and fifty-third section of the Revised Statutes and of the civil-service act approved January 16, 1883, the following rules for the regulation and improvement of the executive civil service are hereby promulgated:


No person in said service shall use his official authority or influence either to coerce the political action of any person or body or to interfere with any election.


No person in the public service shall for that reason be under any obligations to contribute to any political fund or to render any political service, and he will not be removed or otherwise prejudiced for refusing to do so.


It shall be the duty of collectors, postmasters, assistant treasurers, naval officers, surveyors, appraisers, and custodians of public buildings at places where examinations are to be held to allow and arrange for the reasonable use of suitable rooms in the public buildings in their charge, and for heating, lighting, and furnishing the same for the purposes of such examinations; and all other executive officers shall in all legal and proper ways facilitate such examinations and the execution of these rules.


1. All officials connected with any office where or for which any examination is to take place will give the Civil Service Commission and the chief examiner such information as may be reasonably required to enable the Commission to select competent and trustworthy examiners; and the examinations by those selected as examiners, and the work incident thereto, will be regarded as a part of the public business to be performed at such office.

2. It shall be the duty of every executive officer promptly to inform the Commission, in writing, of the removal or discharge from the public service of any examiner in his office or of the inability or refusal of any such examiner to act in that capacity.


There shall be three branches of the service classified under the civil-service act (not including laborers or workmen or officers required to be confirmed by the Senate), as follows:

1. Those classified in the Departments at Washington shall be designated “The classified departmental service.”

2. Those classified under any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or appraiser in any customs district shall be designated “The classified customs service.”

3. Those classified under any postmaster at any post-office, including that at Washington, shall be designated “The classified postal service.”

4. The classified customs service shall embrace the several customs districts where the officials are as many as fifty, now the following: New York City, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Francisco, Cal.; Baltimore, Md.; New Orleans, La.; Chicago, Ill.; Burlington, Vt.; Portland, Me.; Detroit, Mich.; Port Huron, Mich.

5. The classified postal service shall embrace the several post-offices where the officials are as many as fifty, now the following: Albany, N.Y.; Baltimore, Md.; Boston, Mass.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Kansas City, Mo.; Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans, La.; New York City, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburg, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; St. Louis, Mo.; San Francisco, Cal.; Washington, D.C.


1. There shall be open competitive examinations for testing the fitness of applicants for admission to the service. Such examinations shall be practical in their character and, so far as may be, shall relate to those matters which will fairly test the relative capacity and fitness of the persons examined to discharge the duties of the branch of the service which they seek to enter.

2. There shall also be competitive examinations of a suitable character to test the fitness of persons for promotion in the service.


1. The general examinations under the first clause of Rule VI for admission to the service shall be limited to the following subjects: (1) Orthography, penmanship, and copying; (2) arithmetic–fundamental rules, fractions, and percentage; (3) interest, discount, and elements of bookkeeping and of accounts; (4) elements of the English language, letter writing, and the proper construction of sentences; (5) elements of the geography, history, and government of the United States.

2. Proficiency in each of these subjects shall be credited in grading the standing of the persons examined in proportion to the value of a knowledge of such subjects in the branch or part of the service which the applicant seeks to enter.

3. No one shall be entitled to be certified for appointment whose standing upon a just grading in the general examination shall be less than 65 per cent of complete proficiency in the first three subjects mentioned in this rule, and that measure of proficiency shall be deemed adequate.

4. But for places in which a lower degree of education will suffice the Commission may limit the examinations to, first, penmanship, copying, and orthography; second, the fundamental rules of arithmetic; but no person shall be certified under this examination of a less grading than 65 per cent on each subject.

5. The Commission may also order examinations of a higher grade or upon additional or special subjects, to test the capacity and fitness which may be needed in any special place or branch of the service.


No question in any examination or proceeding by or under the Commission of examiners shall call for the expression or disclosure of any political or religious opinion or affiliation, nor shall any discrimination be made by reason thereof if known; and the Commission and its examiners shall discountenance all disclosure before either of them of such opinion by or concerning any applicants for examination or by or concerning anyone whose name is on any register awaiting appointment.


All regular applications for the competitive examinations for admission to the classified service must be made on blanks in a form approved by the Commission. All requests for such blanks and all applications for examination must be addressed as follows: (1) If for the classified departmental service, to the United States Civil Service Commission, Washington, D.C.; (2) if for the classified postal service, to the postmaster under whom service is sought; (3) if for the classified customs service, to the head of either customs office in which service is sought. All officers receiving such applications will indorse thereon the date of the reception thereof and transmit the same to the proper examining board of the district or office where service is sought or, if in Washington, to the Civil Service Commission.


Every examining board shall keep such records and such papers on file and make such reports as the Commission shall require, and any such paper or record in the charge of any examining board or any officer