Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol 7 Part 2 by James D. RichardsonRutherford B. Hayes, March 4, 1877 to March 4, 1881

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Garcia and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. A COMPILATION OF THE MESSAGES AND PAPERS OF THE PRESIDENTS BY JAMES D. RICHARDSON Rutherford B. Hayes March 4, 1877, to March 4, 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware: Ohio, October 4, 1822. His father had died in
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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, David Garcia and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.



Rutherford B. Hayes

March 4, 1877, to March 4, 1881

Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Delaware: Ohio, October 4, 1822. His father had died in July, 1822, leaving his mother in modest circumstances. He attended the common schools, and began early the study of Latin and Greek with Judge Sherman Finch, of Delaware. Prepared for college at an academy at Norwalk, Ohio, and at a school in Middletown, Conn. In the autumn of 1838 entered Kenyon College, at Gambier, Ohio. Excelled in logic, mental and moral philosophy, and mathematics, and also made his mark as a debater in the literary societies. On his graduation, in August, 1842, was awarded the valedictory oration, with which he won much praise. Soon afterwards began the study of law in the office of Thomas Sparrow, at Columbus, Ohio, and then attended a course of law lectures at Harvard University, entering the law school August 22, 1843, and finishing his studies there in January, 1845. As a law student he had the advantage of friendly intercourse with Judge Story and Professor Greenleaf, and also attended the lectures of Longfellow on literature and of Agassiz on natural science, pursuing at the same time the study of French and German. In May, 1845, was admitted to practice in the courts of Ohio as an attorney and counselor at law. Established himself first at Lower Sandusky (now Fremont), where in April, 1846, he formed a law partnership with Ralph P. Buckland, then a Member of Congress. In the winter of 1849-50 established himself at Cincinnati. His practice at first being light, continued his studies in law and literature, and also became identified with various literary societies, among them the literary club of Cincinnati, where he met Salmon P. Chase, Thomas Ewing, Thomas Corwin, Stanley Matthews, Moncure D. Conway, Manning F. Force, and others of note. December 30, 1852, married Miss Lucy Ware Webb, daughter of Dr. James Webb, a physician of Chillicothe, Ohio. In January, 1854, formed a law partnership with H.W. Corwine and William K. Rogers. In 1856 was nominated for the office of common pleas judge, but declined. In 1858 was elected city solicitor by the city council of Cincinnati to fill a vacancy, and in the following year was elected to the same office at a popular election, but was defeated for reelection in 1861. After becoming a voter he acted with the Whig party, voting for Henry Clay in 1844, for General Taylor in 1848, and for General Scott in 1852. Having from his youth cherished antislavery feelings, he joined the Republican party as soon as it was organized, and earnestly advocated the election of Fremont in 1856 and of Lincoln in 1860. At a great mass meeting held in Cincinnati immediately after the firing on Fort Sumter was made chairman of a committee on resolutions. His literary club formed a military company, of which he was elected captain. June 7, 1861, was appointed by the governor of Ohio major of the Twenty-third Ohio Volunteers. September 19, 1861, was appointed by General Rosecrans judge-advocate of the Department of the Ohio. October 24, 1861, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In the battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862, distinguished himself by gallant conduct in leading a charge and in holding a position at the head of his troops after being severely wounded in his left arm. October 24, 1862, was appointed colonel of the Twenty-third Ohio. In July, 1863, while with the army in southwestern Virginia, caused an expedition of two regiments and a section of artillery under his command to be dispatched to Ohio for the purpose of checking the raid of the Confederate general John Morgan, and aided materially in preventing the raiders from recrossing the Ohio River and in compelling Morgan to surrender. In the spring of 1864 commanded a brigade in General Crook’s expedition to cut the principal lines of communication between Richmond and the Southwest. Distinguished himself by conspicuous bravery at the head of his brigade in storming a fortified position on the crest of Cloyd Mountain. Commanded a brigade in the first battle of Winchester. Took a creditable part in the engagement at Berryville, and at the second battle of Winchester, September 19, 1864, performed a feat of great bravery. Leading an assault upon a battery on an eminence, he found in his way a morass over 50 yards wide. Being at the head of his brigade, he plunged in first, and, his horse becoming mired at once, he dismounted and waded across alone under the enemy’s fire. Signaled his men to come over, and when about 40 had joined him he rushed upon the battery and captured it after a hand-to-hand fight. At Fishers Hill, September 22, 1864, being then in command of a division, executed a brilliant flank movement over mountains and through woods, took many pieces of artillery, and routed the enemy. At the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, his conduct attracted so much attention that his commander, General Crook, commended him, saying, “Colonel, from this day you will be a brigadier-general.” The commission reached him a few days afterwards. March 13, 1865, received the rank of brevet major-general “for gallant and distinguished services during the campaign of 1864 in West Virginia, and particularly at the battles of Fishers Hill and Cedar Creek, Virginia.” In August, 1864, while in the field, was nominated for Congress and elected. After the war, returned to civil life, and took his seat in Congress December 4, 1865. Voted with his party on questions connected with the reconstruction of the Southern States; supported a resolution declaring the sacredness of the public debt and denouncing repudiation, and also one commending President Johnson for declining to accept presents and condemning the practice; opposed a resolution favoring an increase of pay of members of Congress; introduced in a Republican caucus resolutions declaring that the only mode of obtaining from the States lately in rebellion irreversible guaranties was by constitutional amendment, and that an amendment basing representation upon voters instead of population ought to be acted upon without delay. In August, 1866, was renominated for Congress by acclamation, and was reelected. Supported the impeachment of President Johnson. In June, 1867, was nominated for governor of Ohio, and at the election defeated Judge Allen G. Thurman. In June, 1869, was again nominated for governor, and at the election defeated George H. Pendleton. At the expiration of his term as governor declined to be a candidate for the United States Senate against John Sherman. In 1872 was again nominated for Congress, but at the election was defeated. Declined the office of assistant treasurer of the United States at Cincinnati. In 1873 established his home at Fremont with the intention of retiring from public life. In 1875 was again nominated for governor of Ohio, and at the election defeated William Allen. Was nominated for President of the United States at the national Republican convention at Cincinnati on June 16, 1876. The Democrats selected as their candidate Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. The result of the election became the subject of acrimonious dispute. Each party charged fraud upon the other, and both parties claimed to have carried the States of Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. To avoid a deadlock, which might have happened if the canvass of the electoral votes had been left to the two Houses of Congress (the Senate having a Republican and the House of Representatives a Democratic majority), an act, advocated by members of both parties, was passed to refer all contested cases to a commission composed of five Senators, five Representatives, and five Justices of the Supreme Court, the decision of this commission to be final unless set aside by a concurrent vote of the two Houses of Congress. The commission, refusing to go behind the certificates of the governors, decided in each contested case by a vote of 8 to 7 in favor of the Republican electors, beginning with Florida on February 7, and on March 2 Mr. Hayes was declared duly elected President of the United States. Was inaugurated March 5, 1877. At the expiration of his term returned to his home at Fremont, Ohio. Was the recipient of various distinctions. The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Kenyon College, Harvard University, Yale College, and Johns Hopkins University. Was made senior vice-commander of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, commander of the Ohio commandery of the same order, first president of the Society of the Army of West Virginia, and president of the Twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteers Association. Was president of the trustees of the John F. Slater education fund; one of the trustees of the Peabody education fund; president of the National Prison Reform Association; an active member of the National Conference of Corrections and Charities; a trustee of the Western Reserve University, at Cleveland, Ohio, of the Wesleyan University, of Delaware, Ohio, of Mount Union College, at Alliance, Ohio, and of the Ohio State University. He died at Fremont, Ohio, January 17, 1893, and was buried there.


FELLOW-CITIZENS: We have assembled to repeat the public ceremonial, begun by Washington, observed by all my predecessors, and now a time-honored custom, which marks the commencement of a new term of the Presidential office. Called to the duties of this great trust, I proceed, in compliance with usage, to announce some of the leading principles, on the subjects that now chiefly engage the public attention, by which it is my desire to be guided in the discharge of those duties. I shall not undertake to lay down irrevocably principles or measures of administration, but rather to speak of the motives which should animate us, and to suggest certain important ends to be attained in accordance with our institutions and essential to the welfare of our country.

At the outset of the discussions which preceded the recent Presidential election it seemed to me fitting that I should fully make known my sentiments in regard to several of the important questions which then appeared to demand the consideration of the country. Following the example, and in part adopting the language, of one of my predecessors, I wish now, when every motive for misrepresentation has passed away, to repeat what was said before the election, trusting that my countrymen will candidly weigh and understand it, and that they will feel assured that the sentiments declared in accepting the nomination for the Presidency will be the standard of my conduct in the path before me, charged, as I now am, with the grave and difficult task of carrying them out in the practical administration of the Government so far as depends, under the Constitution and laws, on the Chief Executive of the nation.

The permanent pacification of the country upon such principles and by such measures as will secure the complete protection of all its citizens in the free enjoyment of all their constitutional rights is now the one subject in our public affairs which all thoughtful and patriotic citizens regard as of supreme importance.

Many of the calamitous effects of the tremendous revolution which has passed over the Southern States still remain. The immeasurable benefits which will surely follow, sooner or later, the hearty and generous acceptance of the legitimate results of that revolution have not yet been realized. Difficult and embarrassing questions meet us at the threshold of this subject. The people of those States are still impoverished, and the inestimable blessing of wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government is not fully enjoyed. Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the cause of this condition of things, the fact is clear that in the progress of events the time has come when such government is the imperative necessity required by all the varied interests, public and private, of those States. But it must not be forgotten that only a local government which recognizes and maintains inviolate the rights of all is a true self-government.

With respect to the two distinct races whose peculiar relations to each other have brought upon us the deplorable complications and perplexities which exist in those States, it must be a government which guards the interests of both races carefully and equally. It must be a government which submits loyally and heartily to the Constitution and the laws–the laws of the nation and the laws of the States themselves–accepting and obeying faithfully the whole Constitution as it is.

Resting upon this sure and substantial foundation, the superstructure of beneficent local governments can be built up, and not otherwise. In furtherance of such obedience to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, and in behalf of all that its attainment implies, all so-called party interests lose their apparent importance, and party lines may well be permitted to fade into insignificance. The question we have to consider for the immediate welfare of those States of the Union is the question of government or no government; of social order and all the peaceful industries and the happiness that belong to it, or a return to barbarism. It is a question in which every citizen of the nation is deeply interested, and with respect to which we ought not to be, in a partisan sense, either Republicans or Democrats, but fellow-citizens and fellow-men, to whom the interests of a common country and a common humanity are dear.

The sweeping revolution of the entire labor system of a large portion of our country and the advance of 4,000,000 people from a condition of servitude to that of citizenship, upon an equal footing with their former masters, could not occur without presenting problems of the gravest moment, to be dealt with by the emancipated race, by their former masters, and by the General Government, the author of the act of emancipation. That it was a wise, just, and providential act, fraught with good for all concerned, is now generally conceded throughout the country. That a moral obligation rests upon the National Government to employ its constitutional power and influence to establish the rights of the people it has emancipated, and to protect them in the enjoyment of those rights when they are infringed or assailed, is also generally admitted.

The evils which afflict the Southern States can only be removed or remedied by the united and harmonious efforts of both races, actuated by motives of mutual sympathy and regard; and while in duty bound and fully determined to protect the rights of all by every constitutional means at the disposal of my Administration, I am sincerely anxious to use every legitimate influence in favor of honest and efficient local _self_-government as the true resource of those States for the promotion of the contentment and prosperity of their citizens. In the effort I shall make to accomplish this purpose I ask the cordial cooperation of all who cherish an interest in the welfare of the country, trusting that party ties and the prejudice of race will be freely surrendered in behalf of the great purpose to be accomplished. In the important work of restoring the South it is not the political situation alone that merits attention. The material development of that section of the country has been arrested by the social and political revolution through which it has passed, and now needs and deserves the considerate care of the National Government within the just limits prescribed by the Constitution and wise public economy.

But at the basis of all prosperity, for that as well as for every other part of the country, lies the improvement of the intellectual and moral condition of the people. Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education. To this end, liberal and permanent provision should be made for the support of free schools by the State governments, and, if need be, supplemented by legitimate aid from national authority.

Let me assure my countrymen of the Southern States that it is my earnest desire to regard and promote their truest interests–the interests of the white and of the colored people both and equally–and to put forth my best efforts in behalf of a civil policy which will forever wipe out in our political affairs the color line and the distinction between North and South, to the end that we may have not merely a united North or a united South, but a united country.

I ask the attention of the public to the paramount necessity of reform in our civil service–a reform not merely as to certain abuses and practices of so-called official patronage which have come to have the sanction of usage in the several Departments of our Government, but a change in the system of appointment itself; a reform that shall be thorough, radical, and complete; a return to the principles and practices of the founders of the Government. They neither expected nor desired from public officers any partisan service. They meant that public officers should owe their whole service to the Government and to the people. They meant that the officer should be secure in his tenure as long as his personal character remained untarnished and the performance of his duties satisfactory. They held that appointments to office were not to be made nor expected merely as rewards for partisan services, nor merely on the nomination of members of Congress, as being entitled in any respect to the control of such appointments.

The fact that both the great political parties of the country, in declaring their principles prior to the election, gave a prominent place to the subject of reform of our civil service, recognizing and strongly urging its necessity, in terms almost identical in their specific import with those I have here employed, must be accepted as a conclusive argument in behalf of these measures. It must be regarded as the expression of the united voice and will of the whole country upon this subject, and both political parties are virtually pledged to give it their unreserved support.

The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party, the members of which cherish with ardor and regard as of essential importance the principles of their party organization; but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best.

In furtherance of the reform we seek, and in other important respects a change of great importance, I recommend an amendment to the Constitution prescribing a term of six years for the Presidential office and forbidding a reelection.

With respect to the financial condition of the country, I shall not attempt an extended history of the embarrassment and prostration which we have suffered during the past three years. The depression in all our varied commercial and manufacturing interests throughout the country, which began in September, 1873, still continues. It is very gratifying, however, to be able to say that there are indications all around us of a coming change to prosperous times.

Upon the currency question, intimately connected, as it is, with this topic, I may be permitted to repeat here the statement made in my letter of acceptance, that in my judgment the feeling of uncertainty inseparable from an irredeemable paper currency, with its fluctuation of values, is one of the greatest obstacles to a return to prosperous times. The only safe paper currency is one which rests upon a coin basis and is at all times and promptly convertible into coin.

I adhere to the views heretofore expressed by me in favor of Congressional legislation in behalf of an early resumption of specie payments, and I am satisfied not only that this is wise, but that the interests, as well as the public sentiment, of the country imperatively demand it.

Passing from these remarks upon the condition of our own country to consider our relations with other lands, we are reminded by the international complications abroad, threatening the peace of Europe, that our traditional rule of noninterference in the affairs of foreign nations has proved of great value in past times and ought to be strictly observed.

The policy inaugurated by my honored predecessor, President Grant, of submitting to arbitration grave questions in dispute between ourselves and foreign powers points to a new, and incomparably the best, instrumentality for the preservation of peace, and will, as I believe, become a beneficent example of the course to be pursued in similar emergencies by other nations.

If, unhappily, questions of difference should at any time during the period of my Administration arise between the United States and any foreign government, it will certainly be my disposition and my hope to aid in their settlement in the same peaceful and honorable way, thus securing to our country the great blessings of peace and mutual good offices with all the nations of the world.

Fellow-citizens, we have reached the close of a political contest marked by the excitement which usually attends the contests between great political parties whose members espouse and advocate with earnest faith their respective creeds. The circumstances were, perhaps, in no respect extraordinary save in the closeness and the consequent uncertainty of the result.

For the first time in the history of the country it has been deemed best, in view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, that the objections and questions in dispute with reference to the counting of the electoral votes should be referred to the decision of a tribunal appointed for this purpose.

That tribunal–established by law for this sole purpose; its members, all of them, men of long-established reputation for integrity and intelligence, and, with the exception of those who are also members of the supreme judiciary, chosen equally from both political parties; its deliberations enlightened by the research and the arguments of able counsel–was entitled to the fullest confidence of the American people. Its decisions have been patiently waited for, and accepted as legally conclusive by the general judgment of the public. For the present, opinion will widely vary as to the wisdom of the several conclusions announced by that tribunal. This is to be anticipated in every instance where matters of dispute are made the subject of arbitration under the forms of law. Human judgment is never unerring, and is rarely regarded as otherwise than wrong by the unsuccessful party in the contest.

The fact that two great political parties have in this way settled a dispute in regard to which good men differ as to the facts and the law no less than as to the proper course to be pursued in solving the question in controversy is an occasion for general rejoicing.

Upon one point there is entire unanimity in public sentiment–that conflicting claims to the Presidency must be amicably and peaceably adjusted, and that when so adjusted the general acquiescence of the nation ought surely to follow.

It has been reserved for a government of the people, where the right of suffrage is universal, to give to the world the first example in history of a great nation, in the midst of the struggle of opposing parties for power, hushing its party tumults to yield the issue of the contest to adjustment according to the forms of law.

Looking for the guidance of that Divine Hand by which the destinies of nations and individuals are shaped, I call upon you, Senators, Representatives, judges, fellow-citizens, here and everywhere, to unite with me in an earnest effort to secure to our country the blessings, not only of material prosperity, but of justice, peace, and union–a union depending not upon the constraint of force, but upon the loving devotion of a free people; “and that all things may be so ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations.”

MARCH 5, 1877.




Whereas the final adjournment of the Forty-fourth Congress without making the usual appropriations for the support of the Army for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, presents an extraordinary occasion requiring the President to exercise the power vested in him by the Constitution to convene the Houses of Congress in anticipation of the day fixed by law for their next meeting:

Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, do, by virtue of the power to this end in me vested by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress to assemble at their respective chambers at 12 o’clock noon on Monday, the 15th day of October next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as in their wisdom their duty and the welfare of the people may seem to demand.

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 5th day of May, A.D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and first.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas it is provided in the Constitution of the United States that the United States shall protect every State in this Union, on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence; and

Whereas the governor of the State of West Virginia has represented that domestic violence exists in said State at Martinsburg, and at various other points along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in said State, which the authorities of said State are unable to suppress; and

Whereas the laws of the United States require that in all cases of insurrection in any State or of obstruction to the laws thereof, whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, 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 all persons within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States against aiding, countenancing, abetting, or taking part in such unlawful proceedings; and I do hereby warn all persons engaged in or connected with said domestic violence and obstruction of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before 12 o’clock noon of the 19th day of July instant.

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 18th day of July, A.D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and second.


By the President:
_Acting Secretary of State_.



Whereas it is provided in the Constitution of the United States that the United States shall protect every State in this Union, on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence; and

Whereas the governor of the State of Maryland has represented that domestic violence exists in said State at Cumberland, and along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in said State, which the authorities of said State are unable to suppress; and

Whereas the laws of the United States require that in all cases of insurrection in any State or of obstruction to the laws thereof, whenever, in the judgment of the President, it becomes necessary to use the military forces to suppress such insurrection or obstruction to the laws, 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 all persons within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States against aiding, countenancing, abetting, or taking part in such unlawful proceedings; and I do hereby warn all persons engaged in or connected with said domestic violence and obstruction of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before noon of the 22d day of July instant.

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 21st day of July, A.D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and second.



By the President:
_Secretary of State_.



Whereas it is provided in the Constitution of the United States that the United States shall protect every State in this Union, on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence; and

Whereas the governor of the State of Pennsylvania has represented that domestic violence exists in said State which the authorities of said State are unable to suppress; and

Whereas the laws of the United States require that in all cases of insurrection in any State or of obstruction to the laws thereof, whenever, in the judgment of the President, it becomes necessary to use the military forces to suppress such insurrection or obstruction to the laws, 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 all persons within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States against aiding, countenancing, abetting, or taking part in such unlawful proceedings; and I do hereby warn all persons engaged in or connected with said domestic violence and obstruction of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before 12 o’clock noon of the 24th day of July instant.

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 23d day of July, A.D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and second.



By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 9, 1877_.

SIR:[1] The President directs me to say that the several Departments of the Government will be closed on Wednesday, the 30th instant, to enable the employees to participate in the decoration of the graves of the soldiers who fell during the rebellion.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

W.K. ROGERS, _Secretary_.

[Footnote 1: Addressed to the heads of the Executive Departments, etc.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 26, 1877_.

_Secretary of the Treasury_.

MY DEAR SIR: I have read the partial report of the commission appointed to examine the New York custom-house. I concur with the commission in their recommendations. It is my wish that the collection of the revenues should be free from partisan control, and organized on a strictly business basis, with the same guaranties for efficiency and fidelity in the selection of the chief and subordinate officers that would be required by a prudent merchant. Party leaders should have no more influence in appointments than other equally respectable citizens. No assessments for political purposes on officers or subordinates should be allowed. No useless officer or employee should be retained. No officer should be required or permitted to take part in the management of political organizations, caucuses, conventions, or election campaigns. Their right to vote and to express their views on public questions, either orally or through the press, is not denied, provided it does not interfere with the discharge of their official duties.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, June 22, 1877_,

SIR:[2] I desire to call your attention to the following paragraph in a letter addressed by me to the Secretary of the Treasury on the conduct to be observed by officers of the General Government in relation to the elections:

No officer should be required or permitted to take part in the management of political organizations, caucuses, conventions, or election campaigns. Their right to vote and to express their views on public questions, either orally or through the press, is not denied, provided it does not interfere with the discharge of their official duties. No assessment for political purposes on officers or subordinates should be allowed.

This rule is applicable to every department of the civil service. It should be understood by every officer of the General Government that he is expected to conform his conduct to its requirements.

Very respectfully,


[Footnote 2: Addressed to Federal officers generally.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _August 7, 1877_.

By virtue of authority conferred upon the President of the United States by the provisions of section 2132, Revised Statutes of the United States, as follows:

The President is authorized, whenever in his opinion the public interest may require the same, to prohibit the introduction of goods, or of any particular article, into the country belonging to any Indian tribe, and to direct all licenses to trade with such tribe to be revoked and all applications therefor to be rejected. No trader to any other tribe shall, so long as such prohibition may continue, trade with any Indians of or for the tribe against which such prohibition is issued–

the introduction into the Indian country, for the purpose of sale or exchange to or with Indians, of any breech-loading firearms, and of any special ammunition adapted to such arms, and the sale and exchange to Indians in the Indian country of any such arms or ammunition, is hereby prohibited; and it is hereby directed that all authority under any license to trade in such arms or ammunition is hereby revoked.

The introduction into the country or district occupied by any tribe of hostile Indians, for the purpose of sale or exchange to them, of arms or ammunition of any description, and the sale or exchange thereof to or with such Indians, is hereby prohibited; and it is hereby directed that all license to trade in arms or ammunition of any description with such tribe be revoked.

By virtue of section 2150, Revised Statutes, as follows:

The military forces of the United States may be employed in such manner and under such regulations as the President may direct–

* * * * *

Third. In preventing the introduction of persons and property into the Indian country contrary to law, which persons and property shall be proceeded against according to law.

* * * * *

All military commanders are hereby charged with the duty of assisting in the execution of the above order and of Executive order of November 23, 1876,[3] the provisions of which are extended to include all Indian country within the Territories of Idaho, Utah, and Washington and the States of Nevada and Oregon.


[Footnote 3: See pp. 398-399.]


WASHINGTON, _October 15, 1877._

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The adjournment of the last Congress without making appropriations for the support of the Army for the present fiscal year has rendered necessary a suspension of payments to the officers and men of the sums due them for services rendered after the 30th day of June last. The Army exists by virtue of statutes which prescribe its numbers, regulate its organization and employment, and which fix the pay of its officers and men and declare their right to receive the same at stated periods. These statutes, however, do not authorize the payment of the troops in the absence of specific appropriations therefor. The Constitution has wisely provided that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law;” and it has also been declared by statute that “no department of the Government shall expend in any one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress for that fiscal year.” We have, therefore, an Army in service, authorized by law and entitled to be paid, but no funds available for that purpose.

It may also be said, as an additional incentive to prompt action by Congress, that since the commencement of the fiscal year the Army, though without pay, has been constantly and actively employed in arduous and dangerous service, in the performance of which both officers and men have discharged their duty with fidelity and courage and without complaint. These circumstances, in my judgment, constituted an extraordinary occasion requiring that Congress be convened in advance of the time prescribed by law for your meeting in regular session. The importance of speedy action upon this subject on the part of Congress is so manifest that I venture to suggest the propriety of making the necessary appropriations for the support of the Army for the current year at its present maximum numerical strength of 25,000 men, leaving for future consideration all questions relating to an increase or decrease of the number of enlisted men. In the event of the reduction of the Army by subsequent legislation during the fiscal year, the excess of the appropriation could not be expended; and in the event of its enlargement the additional sum required for the payment of the extra force could be provided in due time. It would be unjust to the troops now in service, and whose pay is already largely in arrears, if payment to them should be further postponed until after Congress shall have considered all the questions likely to arise in the effort to fix the proper limit to the strength of the Army.

Estimates of appropriations for the support of the military establishment for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, were transmitted to Congress by the former Secretary of the Treasury at the opening of its session in December last. These estimates, modified by the present Secretary so as to conform to present requirements, are now renewed, amounting to $32,436,764.98, and, having been transmitted to both Houses of Congress, are submitted for your consideration.

There is also required by the Navy Department $2,003,861.24. This sum is made up of $1,446,688.16 due to officers and enlisted men for the last quarter of the last fiscal year; $311,953.50 due for advances made by the fiscal agent of the Government in London for the support of the foreign service; $50,000 due to the naval-hospital fund; $150,000 due for arrearages of pay to officers, and $45,219.58 for the support of the Marine Corps.

There will also be needed an appropriation of $262,535.22 to defray the unsettled expenses of the United States courts for the fiscal year ending June 30 last, now due to attorneys, clerks, commissioners, and marshals, and for rent of court rooms, the support of prisoners, and other deficiencies.

A part of the building of the Interior Department was destroyed by fire on the 24th of last month. Some immediate repairs and temporary structures have in consequence become necessary, estimates for which will be transmitted to Congress immediately, and an appropriation of the requisite funds is respectfully recommended.

The Secretary of the Treasury will communicate to Congress, in connection with the estimates for the appropriations for the support of the Army for the current fiscal year, estimates for such other deficiencies in the different branches of the public service as require immediate action and can not without inconvenience be postponed until the regular session.

I take this opportunity also to invite your attention to the propriety of adopting at your present session the necessary legislation to enable the people of the United States to participate in the advantages of the International Exhibition of Agriculture, Industry, and the Fine Arts which is to be held at Paris in 1878, and in which this Government has been invited by the Government of France to take part.

This invitation was communicated to this Government in May, 1876, by the minister of France at this capital, and a copy thereof was submitted to the proper committees of Congress at its last session, but no action was taken upon the subject.

The Department of State has received many letters from various parts of the country expressing a desire to participate in the exhibition, and numerous applications of a similar nature have also been made at the United States legation at Paris.

The Department of State has also received official advice of the strong desire on the part of the French Government that the United States should participate in this enterprise, and space has hitherto been and still is reserved in the exhibition buildings for the use of exhibitors from the United States, to the exclusion of other parties who have been applicants therefor.

In order that our industries may be properly represented at the exhibition, an appropriation will be needed for the payment of salaries and expenses of commissioners, for the transportation of goods, and for other purposes in connection with the object in view; and as May next is the time fixed for the opening of the exhibition, if our citizens are to share the advantages of this international competition for the trade of other nations the necessity of immediate action is apparent.

To enable the United States to cooperate in the international exhibition which was held at Vienna in 1873, Congress then passed a joint resolution making an appropriation of $200,000 and authorizing the President to appoint a certain number of practical artisans and scientific men who should attend the exhibition and report their proceedings and observations to him. Provision was also made for the appointment of a number of honorary commissioners.

I have felt that prompt action by Congress in accepting the invitation of the Government of France is of so much interest to the people of this country and so suitable to the cordial relations between the Governments of the two countries that the subject might properly be presented for attention at your present session.

The Government of Sweden and Norway has addressed an official invitation to this Government to take part in the International Prison Congress to be held at Stockholm next year. The problem which the congress proposes to study–how to diminish crime–is one in which all civilized nations have an interest in common, and the congress of Stockholm seems likely to prove the most important convention ever held for the study of this grave question. Under authority of a joint resolution of Congress approved February 16, 1875, a commissioner was appointed by my predecessor to represent the United States upon that occasion, and the Prison Congress having been, at the earnest desire of the Swedish Government, postponed to 1878, his commission was renewed by me. An appropriation of $8,000 was made in the sundry civil act of 1875 to meet the expenses of the commissioner. I recommend the reappropriation of that sum for the same purpose, the former appropriation having been covered into the Treasury and being no longer available for the purpose without further action by Congress. The subject is brought to your attention at this time in view of circumstances which render it highly desirable that the commissioner should proceed to the discharge of his important duties immediately.

As the several acts of Congress providing for detailed reports from the different Departments of the Government require their submission at the beginning of the regular annual session, I defer until that time any further reference to subjects of public interest.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, D.C., October 17, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of a board of inquiry appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to examine into the causes of the fire which destroyed a part of the Interior Department building on the 24th of last month.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, D.C., October 17, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of the Navy, setting forth the particulars with reference to the existing deficiencies in the Navy Department.


WASHINGTON, _November 12, 1877_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 1st instant, I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War, with their accompanying papers.[4]


[Footnote 4: Correspondence relative to Mexican border troubles.]

WASHINGTON, _November 12, 1877_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th instant, I transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, with their accompanying documents.[5]


[Footnote 5: Correspondence relative to the imposition of a differential duty of 50 cents per ton upon Spanish vessels entering ports of the United States.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _November 12, 1877_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 16th of October, 1877, I have the honor to transmit herewith a statement of the appropriations and expenditures by the Navy Department from the 4th of March, 1789, to June 30, 1876.

A similar statement for the War Department is being prepared as rapidly as the limited clerical force in the Treasury Department will permit, and when completed will be transmitted to the Senate.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _November 12, 1877_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 30th of October, 1877, I have the honor to transmit herewith a statement of the annual appropriations and expenditures for army and navy pensions, showing also the repayments, the amounts carried to the surplus fund, and the net expenditures under each appropriation from March 4, 1789, to June 30, 1876.


WASHINGTON, _November 14, 1877_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, I transmit herewith a report[6] from the Secretary of State.


[Footnote 6: Stating that the information relative to the forcible rescue of two prisoners from the jail of Starr County, Tex., by an armed band of Mexicans had been transmitted by the President to the House of Representatives on the 12th instant.]

WASHINGTON, D.C., _November 15, 1887_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to its resolution of the 12th instant, a report[7] from the Secretary of State.


[Footnote 7: Relating to the indemnity paid by Spain on account of the execution of General Ryan and others at Santiago de Cuba.]

WASHINGTON, _November 20, 1877_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a joint resolution of the House of Representatives of the 6th instant, requesting the opinions of the heads of the Departments respecting the obligatory use of the metrical system of weights and measures, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, _November 27, 1877_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a declaration between the United States and the Government of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, for the reciprocal protection of the marks of manufacture and trade in the two countries, signed on the 24th of October, 1877.





The completed circle of summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, has brought us to the accustomed season at which a religious people celebrates with praise and thanksgiving the enduring mercy of Almighty God. This devout and public confession of the constant dependence of man upon the divine favor for all the good gifts of life and health and peace and happiness, so early in our history made the habit of our people, finds in the survey of the past year new grounds for its joyful and grateful manifestation.

In all the blessings which depend upon benignant seasons, this has indeed been a memorable year. Over the wide territory of our country, with all its diversity of soil and climate and products, the earth has yielded a bountiful return to the labor of the husbandman. The health of the people has been blighted by no prevalent or widespread diseases. No great disasters of shipwreck upon our coasts or to our commerce on the seas have brought loss and hardship to merchants or mariners and clouded the happiness of the community with sympathetic sorrow.

In all that concerns our strength and peace and greatness as a nation; in all that touches the permanence and security of our Government and the beneficent institutions on which it rests; in all that affects the character and dispositions of our people and tests our capacity to enjoy and uphold the equal and free condition of society, now permanent and universal throughout the land, the experience of the last year is conspicuously marked by the protecting providence of God and is full of promise and hope for the coming generations.

Under a sense of these infinite obligations to the Great Ruler of Times and Seasons and Events, let us humbly ascribe it to our own faults and frailties if in any degree that perfect concord and happiness, peace and justice, which such great mercies should diffuse through the hearts and lives of our people do not altogether and always and everywhere prevail. Let us with one spirit and with one voice lift up praise and thanksgiving to God for His manifold goodness to our land, His manifest care for our nation.

Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, do appoint Thursday, the 29th 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 29th day of October, A.D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and second.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, D.C., November 2, 1877_.

I lament the sad occasion which makes it my duty to testify the public respect for the eminent citizen and distinguished statesman whose death yesterday at his home in Indianapolis has been made known to the people by telegraphic announcement.

The services of Oliver P. Morton to the nation in the difficult and responsible administration of the affairs of the State of Indiana as its governor at a critical juncture of the civil war can never be overvalued by his countrymen. His long service in the Senate has shown his great powers as a legislator and as a leader and chief counselor of the political party charged with the conduct of the Government during that period.

In all things and at all times he has been able, strenuous, and faithful in the public service, and his fame with his countrymen rests upon secure foundations.

The several Executive Departments will be closed on the day of his funeral, and appropriate honors should be paid to the memory of the deceased statesman by the whole nation.



DECEMBER 3, 1877.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:_

With devout gratitude to the bountiful Giver of All Good, I congratulate you that at the beginning of your first regular session you find our country blessed with health and peace and abundant harvests, and with encouraging prospects of an early return of general prosperity.

To complete and make permanent the pacification of the country continues to be, and until it is fully accomplished must remain, the most important of all our national interests. The earnest purpose of good citizens generally to unite their efforts in this endeavor is evident. It found decided expression in the resolutions announced in 1876 by the national conventions of the leading political parties of the country. There was a widespread apprehension that the momentous results in our progress as a nation marked by the recent amendments to the Constitution were in imminent jeopardy; that the good understanding which prompted their adoption, in the interest of a loyal devotion to the general welfare, might prove a barren truce, and that the two sections of the country, once engaged in civil strife, might be again almost as widely severed and disunited as they were when arrayed in arms against each other.

The course to be pursued, which, in my judgment, seemed wisest in the presence of this emergency, was plainly indicated in my inaugural address. It pointed to the time, which all our people desire to see, when a genuine love of our whole country and of all that concerns its true welfare shall supplant the destructive forces of the mutual animosity of races and of sectional hostility. Opinions have differed widely as to the measures best calculated to secure this great end. This was to be expected. The measures adopted by the Administration have been subjected to severe and varied criticism. Any course whatever which might have been entered upon would certainly have encountered distrust and opposition. These measures were, in my judgment, such as were most in harmony with the Constitution and with the genius of our people, and best adapted, under all the circumstances, to attain the end in view. Beneficent results, already apparent, prove that these endeavors are not to be regarded as a mere experiment, and should sustain and encourage us in our efforts. Already, in the brief period which has elapsed, the immediate effectiveness, no less than the justice, of the course pursued is demonstrated, and I have an abiding faith that time will furnish its ample vindication in the minds of the great majority of my fellow-citizens. The discontinuance of the use of the Army for the purpose of upholding local governments in two States of the Union was no less a constitutional duty and requirement, under the circumstances existing at the time, than it was a much-needed measure for the restoration of local self-government and the promotion of national harmony. The withdrawal of the troops from such employment was effected deliberately, and with solicitous care for the peace and good order of society and the protection of the property and persons and every right of all classes of citizens.

The results that have followed are indeed significant and encouraging. All apprehension of danger from remitting those States to local self-government is dispelled, and a most salutary change in the minds of the people has begun and is in progress in every part of that section of the country once the theater of unhappy civil strife, substituting for suspicion, distrust, and aversion, concord, friendship, and patriotic attachment to the Union. No unprejudiced mind will deny that the terrible and often fatal collisions which for several years have been of frequent occurrence and have agitated and alarmed the public mind have almost entirely ceased, and that a spirit of mutual forbearance and hearty national interest has succeeded. There has been a general reestablishment of order and of the orderly administration of justice. Instances of remaining lawlessness have become of rare occurrence; political turmoil and turbulence have disappeared; useful industries have been resumed; public credit in the Southern States has been greatly strengthened, and the encouraging benefits of a revival of commerce between the sections of the country lately embroiled in civil war are fully enjoyed. Such are some of the results already attained, upon which the country is to be congratulated. They are of such importance that we may with confidence patiently await the desired consummation that will surely come with the natural progress of events.

It may not be improper here to say that it should be our fixed and unalterable determination to protect by all available and proper means under the Constitution and the laws the lately emancipated race in the enjoyment of their rights and privileges; and I urge upon those to whom heretofore the colored people have sustained the relation of bondmen the wisdom and justice of humane and liberal local legislation with respect to their education and general welfare. A firm adherence to the laws, both national and State, as to the civil and political rights of the colored people, now advanced to full and equal citizenship; the immediate repression and sure punishment by the national and local authorities, within their respective jurisdictions, of every instance of lawlessness and violence toward them, is required for the security alike of both races, and is justly demanded by the public opinion of the country and the age. In this way the restoration of harmony and good will and the complete protection of every citizen in the full enjoyment of every constitutional right will surely be attained. Whatever authority rests with me to this end I shall not hesitate to put forth.

Whatever belongs to the power of Congress and the jurisdiction of the courts of the Union, they may confidently be relied upon to provide and perform; and to the legislatures, the courts, and the executive authorities of the several States I earnestly appeal to secure, by adequate, appropriate, and seasonable means, within their borders, these common and uniform rights of a united people which loves liberty, abhors oppression, and reveres justice. These objects are very dear to my heart. I shall continue most earnestly to strive for their attainment. The cordial cooperation of all classes, of all sections of the country and of both races, is required for this purpose; and with these blessings assured, and not otherwise, we may safely hope to hand down our free institutions of government unimpaired to the generations that will succeed us.

Among the other subjects of great and general importance to the people of this country, I can not be mistaken, I think, in regarding as preeminent the policy and measures which are designed to secure the restoration of the currency to that normal and healthful condition in which, by the resumption of specie payments, our internal trade and foreign commerce may be brought into harmony with the system of exchanges which is based upon the precious metals as the intrinsic money of the world. In the public judgment that this end should be sought and compassed as speedily and securely as the resources of the people and the wisdom of their Government can accomplish, there is a much greater degree of unanimity than is found to concur in the specific measures which will bring the country to this desired end or the rapidity of the steps by which it can be safely reached.

Upon a most anxious and deliberate examination, which I have felt it my duty to give to the subject, I am but the more confirmed in the opinion which I expressed in accepting the nomination for the Presidency, and again upon my inauguration, that the policy of resumption should be pursued by every suitable means, and that no legislation would be wise that should disparage the importance or retard the attainment of that result. I have no disposition, and certainly no right, to question the sincerity or the intelligence of opposing opinions, and would neither conceal nor undervalue the considerable difficulties, and even occasional distresses, which may attend the progress of the nation toward this primary condition to its general and permanent prosperity. I must, however, adhere to my most earnest conviction that any wavering in purpose or unsteadiness in methods, so far from avoiding or reducing the inconvenience inseparable from the transition from an irredeemable to a redeemable paper currency, would only tend to increased and prolonged disturbance in values, and unless retrieved must end in serious disorder, dishonor, and disaster in the financial affairs of the Government and of the people.

The mischiefs which I apprehend and urgently deprecate are confined to no class of the people, indeed, but seem to me most certainly to threaten the industrious masses, whether their occupations are of skilled or common labor. To them, it seems to me, it is of prime importance that their labor should be compensated in money which is itself fixed in exchangeable value by being irrevocably measured by the labor necessary to its production. This permanent quality of the money of the people is sought for, and can only be gained by the resumption of specie payments. The rich, the speculative, the operating, the money-dealing classes may not always feel the mischiefs of, or may find casual profits in, a variable currency, but the misfortunes of such a currency to those who are paid salaries or wages are inevitable and remediless.

Closely connected with this general subject of the resumption of specie payments is one of subordinate, but still of grave, importance; I mean the readjustment of our coinage system by the renewal of the silver dollar as an element in our specie currency, endowed by legislation with the quality of legal tender to a greater or less extent.

As there is no doubt of the power of Congress under the Constitution “to coin money and regulate the value thereof,” and as this power covers the whole range of authority applicable to the metal, the rated, value and the legal-tender quality which shall be adopted for the coinage, the considerations which should induce or discourage a particular measure connected with the coinage, belong clearly to the province of legislative discretion and of public expediency. Without intruding upon this province of legislation in the least, I have yet thought the subject of such critical importance, in the actual condition of our affairs, as to present an occasion for the exercise of the duty imposed by the Constitution on the President of recommending to the consideration of Congress “such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

Holding the opinion, as I do, 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, I must ask your indulgence to a brief and definite statement of certain essential features in any such legislative measure which I feel it my duty to recommend.

I do not propose to enter the debate, represented on both sides by such able disputants in Congress and before the people and in the press, as to the extent to which the legislation of any one nation can control this question, even within its own borders, against the unwritten laws of trade or the positive laws of other governments. The wisdom of Congress in shaping any particular law that may be presented for my approval may wholly supersede the necessity of my entering into these considerations, and I willingly avoid either vague or intricate inquiries. It is only certain plain and practical traits of such legislation that I desire to recommend to your attention.

In any legislation providing for a silver coinage, regulating its value, and imparting to it the quality of legal tender, it seems to me of great importance that Congress should not lose sight of its action as operating in a twofold capacity and in two distinct directions. If the United States Government were free from a public debt, its legislative dealing with the question of silver coinage would be purely sovereign and governmental, under no restraints but those of constitutional power and the public good as affected by the proposed legislation. But in the actual circumstances of the nation, with a vast public debt distributed very widely among our own citizens and held in great amounts also abroad, the nature of the silver-coinage measure, as affecting this relation of the Government to the holders of the public debt, becomes an element, in any proposed legislation, of the highest concern. The obligation of the public faith transcends all questions of profit or public advantage otherwise. Its unquestionable maintenance is the dictate as well of the highest expediency as of the most necessary duty, and will ever be carefully guarded by Congress and people alike.

The public debt of the United States to the amount of $729,000,000 bears interest at the rate of 6 per cent, and $708,000,000 at the rate of 5 per cent, and the only way in which the country can be relieved from the payment of these high rates of interest is by advantageously refunding the indebtedness. Whether the debt is ultimately paid in gold or in silver coin is of but little moment compared with the possible reduction of interest one-third by refunding it at such reduced rate. If the United States had the unquestioned right to pay its bonds in silver coin, the little benefit from that process would be greatly overbalanced by the injurious effect of such payment if made or proposed against the honest convictions of the public creditors.

All the bonds that have been issued since February 12, 1873, when gold became the only unlimited legal-tender metallic currency of the country, are justly payable in gold coin or in coin of equal value. During the time of these issues the only dollar that could be or was received by the Government in exchange for bonds was the gold dollar. To require the public creditors to take in repayment any dollar of less commercial value would be regarded by them as a repudiation of the full obligation assumed. The bonds issued prior to 1873 were issued at a time when the gold dollar was the only coin in circulation or contemplated by either the Government or the holders of the bonds as the coin in which they were to be paid. It is far better to pay these bonds in that coin than to seem to take advantage of the unforeseen fall in silver bullion to pay in a new issue of silver coin thus made so much less valuable. The power of the United States to coin money and to regulate the value thereof ought never to be exercised for the purpose of enabling the Government to pay its obligations in a coin of less value than that contemplated by the parties when the bonds were issued. Any attempt to pay the national indebtedness in a coinage of less commercial value than the money of the world would involve a violation of the public faith and work irreparable injury to the public credit.

It was the great merit of the act of March, 1869, in strengthening the public credit, that it removed all doubt as to the purpose of the United States to pay their bonded debt in coin. That act was accepted as a pledge of public faith. The Government has derived great benefit from it in the progress thus far made in refunding the public debt at low rates of interest. An adherence to the wise and just policy of an exact observance of the public faith will enable the Government rapidly to reduce the burden of interest on the national debt to an amount exceeding $20,000,000 per annum, and effect an aggregate saving to the United States of more than $300,000,000 before the bonds can be fully paid.

In adapting the new silver coinage to the ordinary uses of currency in the everyday transactions of life and prescribing the quality of legal tender to be assigned to it, a consideration of the first importance should be so to adjust the ratio between the silver and the gold coinage, which now constitutes our specie currency, as to accomplish the desired end of maintaining the circulation of the two metallic currencies and keeping up the volume of the two precious metals as our intrinsic money. It is a mixed question, for scientific reasoning and historical experience to determine, how far and by what methods a practical equilibrium can be maintained which will keep both metals in circulation in their appropriate spheres of common use.

An absolute equality of commercial value, free from disturbing fluctuations, is hardly attainable, and without it an unlimited legal tender for private transactions assigned to both metals would irresistibly tend to drive out of circulation the dearer coinage and disappoint the principal object proposed by the legislation in view. I apprehend, therefore, that the two conditions of a near approach to equality of commercial value between the gold and silver coinage of the same denomination and of a limitation of the amounts for which the silver coinage is to be a legal tender are essential to maintaining both in circulation. If these conditions can be successfully observed, the issue from the mint of silver dollars would afford material assistance to the community in the transition to redeemable paper money, and would facilitate the resumption of specie payment and its permanent establishment. Without these conditions I fear that only mischief and misfortune would flow from a coinage of silver dollars with the quality of unlimited legal tender, even in private transactions.

Any expectation of temporary ease from an issue of silver coinage to pass as a legal tender at a rate materially above its commercial value is, I am persuaded, a delusion. Nor can I think that there is any substantial distinction between an original issue of silver dollars at a nominal value materially above their commercial value and the restoration of the silver dollar at a rate which once was, but has ceased to be, its commercial value. Certainly the issue of our gold coinage, reduced in weight materially below its legal-tender value, would not be any the less a present debasement of the coinage by reason of its equaling, or even exceeding, in weight a gold coinage which at some past time had been commercially equal to the legal-tender value assigned to the new issue.

In recommending that the regulation of any silver coinage which may be authorized by Congress should observe these conditions of commercial value and limited legal tender, I am governed by the feeling that every possible increase should be given to the volume of metallic money which can be kept in circulation, and thereby every possible aid afforded to the people in the process of resuming specie payments. It is because of my firm conviction that a disregard of these conditions would frustrate the good results which are desired from the proposed coinage, and embarrass with new elements of confusion and uncertainty the business of the country, that I urge upon your attention these considerations.

I respectfully recommend to Congress that in any legislation providing for a silver coinage and imparting to it the quality of legal tender there be impressed upon the measure a firm provision exempting the public debt heretofore issued and now outstanding from payment, either of principal or interest, in any coinage of less commercial value than the present gold coinage of the country.

The organization of the civil service of the country has for a number of years attracted more and more of the public attention. So general has become the opinion that the methods of admission to it and the conditions of remaining in it are unsound that both the great political parties have agreed in the most explicit declarations of the necessity of reform and in the most emphatic demands for it. I have fully believed these declarations and demands to be the expression of a sincere conviction of the intelligent masses of the people upon the subject, and that they should be recognized and followed by earnest and prompt action on the part of the legislative and executive departments of the Government, in pursuance of the purpose indicated.

Before my accession to office I endeavored to have my own views distinctly understood, and upon my inauguration my accord with the public opinion was stated in terms believed to be plain and unambiguous. My experience in the executive duties has strongly confirmed the belief in the great advantage the country would find in observing strictly the plan of the Constitution, which imposes upon the Executive the sole duty and responsibility of the selection of those Federal officers who by law are appointed, not elected, and which in like manner assigns to the Senate the complete right to advise and consent to or to reject the nominations so made, whilst the House of Representatives stands as the public censor of the performance of official duties, with the prerogative of investigation and prosecution in all cases of dereliction. The blemishes and imperfections in the civil service may, as I think, be traced in most cases to a practical confusion of the duties assigned to the several Departments of the Government. My purpose in this respect has been to return to the system established by the fundamental law, and to do this with the heartiest cooperation and most cordial understanding with the Senate and House of Representatives.

The practical difficulties in the selection of numerous officers for posts of widely varying responsibilities and duties are acknowledged to be very great. No system can be expected to secure absolute freedom from mistakes, and the beginning of any attempted change of custom is quite likely to be more embarrassed in this respect than any subsequent period. It is here that the Constitution seems to me to prove its claim to the great wisdom accorded to it. It gives to the Executive the assistance of the knowledge and experience of the Senate, which, when acting upon nominations as to which they may be disinterested and impartial judges, secures as strong a guaranty of freedom from errors of importance as is perhaps possible in human affairs.

In addition to this, I recognize the public advantage of making all nominations, as nearly as possible, impersonal, in the sense of being free from mere caprice or favor in the selection; and in those offices in which special training is of greatly increased value I believe such a rule as to the tenure of office should obtain as may induce men of proper qualifications to apply themselves industriously to the task of becoming proficients. Bearing these things in mind, I have endeavored to reduce the number of changes in subordinate places usually made upon the change of the general administration, and shall most heartily cooperate with Congress in the better systematizing of such methods and rules of admission to the public service and of promotion within it as may promise to be most successful in making thorough competency, efficiency, and character the decisive tests in these matters.

I ask the renewed attention of Congress to what has already been done by the Civil Service Commission, appointed, in pursuance of an act of Congress, by my predecessor, to prepare and revise civil-service rules. In regard to much of the departmental service, especially at Washington, it may be difficult to organize a better system than that which has thus been provided, and it is now being used to a considerable extent under my direction. The Commission has still a legal existence, although for several years no appropriation has been made for defraying its expenses. Believing that this Commission has rendered valuable service and will be a most useful agency in improving the administration of the civil service, I respectfully recommend that a suitable appropriation, to be immediately available, be made to enable it to continue its labors.

It is my purpose to transmit to Congress as early as practicable a report by the chairman of the Commission, and to ask your attention to such measures on this subject as in my opinion will further promote the improvement of the civil service.

During the past year the United States have continued to maintain peaceful relations with foreign powers.

The outbreak of war between Russia and Turkey, though at one time attended by grave apprehension as to its effect upon other European nations, has had no tendency to disturb the amicable relations existing between the United States and each of the two contending powers. An attitude of just and impartial neutrality has been preserved, and I am gratified to state that in the midst of their hostilities both the Russian and the Turkish Governments have shown an earnest disposition to adhere to the obligations of all treaties with the United States and to give due regard to the rights of American citizens.

By the terms of the treaty defining the rights, immunities, and privileges of consuls, between Italy and the United States, ratified in 1868, either Government may, after the lapse of ten years, terminate the existence of the treaty by giving twelve months’ notice of its intention. The Government of Italy, availing itself of this faculty, has now given the required notice, and the treaty will accordingly end on the 17th of September, 1878. It is understood, however, that the Italian Government wishes to renew it in its general scope, desiring only certain modifications in some of its articles. In this disposition I concur, and shall hope that no serious obstacles may intervene to prevent or delay the negotiation of a satisfactory treaty.

Numerous questions in regard to passports, naturalization, and exemption from military service have continued to arise in cases of emigrants from Germany who have returned to their native country. The provisions of the treaty of February 22, 1868, however, have proved to be so ample and so judicious that the legation of the United States at Berlin has been able to adjust all claims arising under it, not only without detriment to the amicable relations existing between the two Governments, but, it is believed, without injury or injustice to any duly naturalized American citizen. It is desirable that the treaty originally made with the North German Union in 1868 should now be extended so as to apply equally to all the States of the Empire of Germany.

The invitation of the Government of France to participate in the Exposition of the Products of Agriculture, Industry, and the Fine Arts to be held at Paris during the coming year was submitted for your consideration at the extra session. It is not doubted that its acceptance by the United States, and a well-selected exhibition of the products of American industry on that occasion, will tend to stimulate international commerce and emigration, as well as to promote the traditional friendship between the two countries.

A question arose some time since as to the proper meaning of the extradition articles of the treaty of 1842 between the United States and Great Britain. Both Governments, however, are now in accord in the belief that the question is not one that should be allowed to frustrate the ends of justice or to disturb the friendship between the two nations. No serious difficulty has arisen in accomplishing the extradition of criminals when necessary. It is probable that all points of disagreement will in due time be settled, and, if need be, more explicit declarations be made in a new treaty.

The Fishery Commission under Articles XVIII to XXV of the treaty of Washington has concluded its session at Halifax. The result of the deliberations of the commission, as made public by the commissioners, will be communicated to Congress.

A treaty for the protection of trade-marks has been negotiated with Great Britain, which has been submitted to the Senate for its consideration.

The revolution which recently occurred in Mexico was followed by the accession of the successful party to power and the installation of its chief, General Porfirio Diaz, in the Presidential office. It has been the custom of the United States, when such changes of government have heretofore occurred in Mexico, to recognize and enter into official relations with the _de facto_ government as soon as it should appear to have the approval of the Mexican people and should manifest a disposition to adhere to the obligations of treaties and international friendship. In the present case such official recognition has been deferred by the occurrences on the Rio Grande border, the records of which have been already communicated to each House of Congress in answer to their respective resolutions of inquiry. Assurances have been received that the authorities at the seat of the Mexican Government have both the disposition and the power to prevent and punish such unlawful invasions and depredations. It is earnestly to be hoped that events may prove these assurances to be well founded. The best interests of both countries require the maintenance of peace upon the border and the development of commerce between the two Republics.

It is gratifying to add that this temporary interruption of official relations has not prevented due attention by the representatives of the United States in Mexico to the protection of American citizens, so far as practicable; nor has it interfered with the prompt payment of the amounts due from Mexico to the United States under the treaty of July 4, 1868, and the awards of the joint commission. While I do not anticipate an interruption of friendly relations with Mexico, yet I can not but look with some solicitude upon a continuance of border disorders as exposing the two countries to initiations of popular feeling and mischances of action which are naturally unfavorable to complete amity. Firmly determined that nothing shall be wanting on my part to promote a good understanding between the two nations, I yet must ask the attention of Congress to the actual occurrences on the border, that the lives and property of our citizens may be adequately protected and peace preserved.

Another year has passed without bringing to a close the protracted contest between the Spanish Government and the insurrection in the island of Cuba. While the United States have sedulously abstained from any intervention in this contest, it is impossible not to feel that it is attended with incidents affecting the rights and interests of American citizens. Apart from the effect of the hostilities upon trade between the United States and Cuba, their progress is inevitably accompanied by complaints, having more or less foundation, of searches, arrests, embargoes, and oppressive taxes upon the property of American residents, and of unprovoked interference with American vessels and commerce. It is due to the Government of Spain to say that during the past year it has promptly disavowed and offered reparation for any unauthorized acts of unduly zealous subordinates whenever such acts have been brought to its attention. Nevertheless, such occurrences can not but tend to excite feelings of annoyance, suspicion, and resentment, which are greatly to be deprecated, between the respective subjects and citizens of two friendly powers.

Much delay (consequent upon accusations of fraud in some of the awards) has occurred in respect to the distribution of the limited amounts received from Venezuela under the treaty of April 25, 1866, applicable to the awards of the joint commission created by that treaty. So long as these matters are pending in Congress the Executive can not assume either to pass upon the questions presented or to distribute the fund received. It is eminently desirable that definite legislative action should be taken, either affirming the awards to be final or providing some method for reexamination of the claims. Our relations with the Republics of Central and South America and with the Empire of Brazil have continued without serious change, further than the temporary interruption of diplomatic intercourse with Venezuela and with Guatemala. Amicable relations have already been fully restored with Venezuela, and it is not doubted that all grounds of misunderstanding with Guatemala will speedily be removed. From all these countries there are favorable indications of a disposition on the part of their Governments and people to reciprocate our efforts in the direction of increased commercial intercourse.

The Government of the Samoan Islands has sent an envoy, in the person of its secretary of state, to invite the Government of the United States to recognize and protect their independence, to establish commercial relations with their people, and to assist them in their steps toward regulated and responsible government. The inhabitants of these islands, having made considerable progress in Christian civilization and the development of trade, are doubtful of their ability to maintain peace and independence without the aid of some stronger power. The subject is deemed worthy of respectful attention, and the claims upon our assistance by this distant community will be carefully considered.

The long commercial depression in the United States has directed attention to the subject of the possible increase of our foreign trade and the methods for its development, not only with Europe, but with other countries, and especially with the States and sovereignties of the Western Hemisphere. Instructions from the Department of State were issued to the various diplomatic and consular officers of the Government, asking them to devote attention to the question of methods by which trade between the respective countries of their official residence and the United States could be most judiciously fostered. In obedience to these instructions, examinations and reports upon this subject have been made by many of these officers and transmitted to the Department, and the same are submitted to the consideration of Congress.

The annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the state of the finances presents important questions for the action of Congress, upon some of which I have already remarked.

The revenues of the Government during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, were $269,000,586.62; the total expenditures for the same period were $238,660,008.93, leaving a surplus revenue of $30,340,577.69. This has substantially supplied the requirements of the sinking fund for that year. The estimated revenues of the current fiscal year are $265,500,000, and the estimated expenditures for the same period are $232,430,643.72. If these estimates prove to be correct, there will be a surplus revenue of $33,069,356.28–an amount nearly sufficient for the sinking fund for that year. The estimated revenues for the next fiscal year are $269,250,000. It appears from the report that during the last fiscal year the revenues of the Government, compared with the previous year, have largely decreased. This decrease, amounting to the sum of $18,481,452.54, was mainly in customs duties, caused partly by a large falling off of the amount of imported dutiable goods and partly by the general fall of prices in the markets of production of such articles as pay _ad valorem_ taxes.

While this is felt injuriously in the diminution of the revenue, it has been accompanied with a very large increase of exportations. The total exports during the last fiscal year, including coin, have been $658,637,457, and the imports have been $492,097,540, leaving a balance of trade in favor of the United States amounting to the sum of $166,539,917, the beneficial effects of which extend to all branches of business.

The estimated revenue for the next fiscal year will impose upon Congress the duty of strictly limiting appropriations, including the requisite sum for the maintenance of the sinking fund, within the aggregate estimated receipts.

While the aggregate of taxes should not be increased, amendments might be made to the revenue laws that would, without diminishing the revenue, relieve the people from unnecessary burdens. A tax on tea and coffee is shown by the experience not only of our own country, but of other countries, to be easily collected, without loss by undervaluation or fraud, and largely borne in the country of production. A tax of 10 cents a pound on tea and 2 cents a pound on coffee would produce a revenue exceeding $12,000,000, and thus enable Congress to repeal a multitude of annoying taxes yielding a revenue not exceeding that sum. The internal-revenue system grew out of the necessities of the war, and most of the legislation imposing taxes upon domestic products under this system has been repealed. By the substitution of a tax on tea and coffee all forms of internal taxation may be repealed, except that on whisky, spirits, tobacco, and beer. Attention is also called to the necessity of enacting more vigorous laws for the protection of the revenue and for the punishment of frauds and smuggling. This can best be done by judicious provisions that will induce the disclosure of attempted fraud by undervaluation and smuggling. All revenue laws should be simple in their provisions and easily understood. So far as practicable, the rates of taxation should be in the form of specific duties, and not _ad valorem_, requiring the judgment of experienced men to ascertain values and exposing the revenue to the temptation of fraud.

My attention has been called during the recess of Congress to abuses existing in the collection of the customs, and strenuous efforts have been made for their correction by Executive orders. The recommendations submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury by a commission appointed to examine into the collection of customs duties at the port of New York contain many suggestions for the modification of the customs laws, to which the attention of Congress is invited.

It is matter of congratulation that notwithstanding the severe burdens caused by the war the public faith with all creditors has been preserved, and that as the result of this policy the public credit has continuously advanced and our public securities are regarded with the highest favor in the markets of the world. I trust that no act of the Government will cast a shadow upon its credit.

The progress of refunding the public debt has been rapid and satisfactory. Under the contract existing when I entered upon the discharge of the duties of my office, bonds bearing interest at the rate of 4-1/2 per cent were being rapidly sold, and within three months the aggregate sales of these bonds had reached the sum of $200,000,000. With my sanction the Secretary of the Treasury entered into a new contract for the sale of 4 per cent bonds, and within thirty days after the popular subscription for such bonds was opened subscriptions were had amounting to $75,496,550, which were paid for within ninety days after the date of subscription. By this process, within but little more than one year, the annual interest on the public debt was reduced in the sum of $3,775,000.

I recommended that suitable provision be made to enable the people to easily convert their savings into Government securities, as the best mode in which small savings may be well secured and yield a moderate interest. It is an object of public policy to retain among our own people the securities of the United States. In this way our country is guarded against their sudden return from foreign countries, caused by war or other disturbances beyond our limits.

The commerce of the United States with foreign nations, and especially the export of domestic productions, has of late years largely increased; but the greater portion of this trade is conducted in foreign vessels. The importance of enlarging our foreign trade, and especially by direct and speedy interchange with countries on this continent, can not be overestimated; and it is a matter of great moment that our own shipping interest should receive, to the utmost practical extent, the benefit of our commerce with other lands. These considerations are forcibly urged by all the large commercial cities of the country, and public attention is generally and wisely attracted to the solution of the problems they present. It is not doubted that Congress will take them up in the broadest spirit of liberality and respond to the public demand by practical legislation upon this important subject.

The report of the Secretary of War shows that the Army has been actively employed during the year, and has rendered very important service in suppressing hostilities in the Indian country and in preserving peace and protecting life and property in the interior as well as along the Mexican border. A long and arduous campaign has been prosecuted, with final complete success, against a portion of the Nez Perce tribe of Indians. A full account of this campaign will be found in the report of the General of the Army. It will be seen that in its course several severe battles were fought, in which a number of gallant officers and men lost their lives. I join with the Secretary of War and the General of the Army in awarding to the officers and men employed in the long and toilsome pursuit and in the final capture of these Indians the honor and praise which are so justly their due.

The very serious riots which occurred in several of the States in July last rendered necessary the employment of a considerable portion of the Army to preserve the peace and maintain order. In the States of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois these disturbances were so formidable as to defy the local and State authorities, and the National Executive was called upon, in the mode provided by the Constitution and laws, to furnish military aid. I am gratified to be able to state that the troops sent in response to these calls for aid in the suppression of domestic violence were able, by the influence of their presence in the disturbed regions, to preserve the peace and restore order without the use of force. In the discharge of this delicate and important duty both officers and men acted with great prudence and courage, and for their services deserve the thanks of the country.

Disturbances along the Rio Grande in Texas, to which I have already referred, have rendered necessary the constant employment of a military force in that vicinity. A full report of all recent military operations in that quarter has been transmitted to the House of Representatives in answer to a resolution of that body, and it will therefore not be necessary to enter into details. I regret to say that these lawless incursions into our territory by armed bands from the Mexican side of the line, for the purpose of robbery, have been of frequent occurrence, and in spite of the most vigilant efforts of the commander of our forces the marauders have generally succeeded in escaping into Mexico with their plunder. In May last I gave orders for the exercise of the utmost vigilance on the part of our troops for the suppression of these raids and the punishment of the guilty parties, as well as the recapture of property stolen by them. General Ord, commanding in Texas, was directed to invite the cooperation of the Mexican authorities in efforts to this end, and to assure them that I was anxious to avoid giving the least offense to Mexico. At the same time, he was directed to give notice of my determination to put an end to the invasion of our territory by lawless bands intent upon the plunder of our peaceful citizens, even if the effectual punishment of the outlaws should make the crossing of the border by our troops in their pursuit necessary. It is believed that this policy has had the effect to check somewhat these depredations, and that with a considerable increase of our force upon that frontier and the establishment of several additional military posts along the Rio Grande, so as more effectually to guard that extensive border, peace may be preserved and the lives and property of our citizens in Texas fully protected.

Prior to the 1st day of July last the Army was, in accordance with law, reduced to the maximum of 25,000 enlisted men, being a reduction of 2,500 below the force previously authorized. This reduction was made, as required by law, entirely from the infantry and artillery branches of the service, without any reduction of the cavalry. Under the law as it now stands it is necessary that the cavalry regiments be recruited to 100 men in each company for service on the Mexican and Indian frontiers. The necessary effect of this legislation is to reduce the infantry and artillery arms of the service below the number required for efficiency, and I concur with the Secretary of War in recommending that authority be given to recruit all companies of infantry to at least 50 men and all batteries of artillery to at least 75 men, with the power, in case of emergency, to increase the former to 100 and the latter to 122 men each.

I invite your special attention to the following recommendations of the Secretary of War:

First. That provision be made for supplying to the Army a more abundant and better supply of reading matter.

Second. That early action be taken by Congress looking to a complete revision and republication of the Army Regulations.

Third. That section 1258 of the Revised Statutes, limiting the number of officers on the retired list, be repealed.

Fourth. That the claims arising under the act of July 4, 1864, for supplies taken by the Army during the war, be taken from the offices of the Quartermaster and Commissary Generals and transferred to the Southern Claims Commission, or some other tribunal having more time and better facilities for their prompt investigation and decision than are possessed by these officers.

Fifth. That Congress provide for an annuity fund for the families of deceased soldiers, as recommended by the Paymaster-General of the Army.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows that we have six squadrons now engaged in the protection of our foreign commerce and other duties pertaining to the naval service. The condition and operations of the Department are also shown. The total expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, were $16,077,974.54. There are unpaid claims against the Department chargeable to the last year, which are presented to the consideration of Congress by the report of the Secretary. The estimates for the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1878, are $16,233,234.40, exclusive of the sum of $2,314,231 submitted for new buildings, repairs, and improvements at the several navy-yards. The appropriations for the present fiscal year, commencing July 1, 1877, are $13,592,932.90. The amount drawn from the Treasury from July 1 to November 1, 1877, is $5,343,037.40, of which there is estimated to be yet available $1,029,528.30, showing the amount of actual expenditure during the first four months of the present fiscal year to have been $4,313,509.10.

The report of the Postmaster-General contains a full and clear statement of the operations and condition of the Post-Office Department. The ordinary revenues of the Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, including receipts from the money-order business and from official stamps and stamped envelopes, amounted to the sum of $27,531,585.26. The additional sum of $7,013,000 was realized from appropriations from the general Treasury for various purposes, making the receipts from all sources $34,544,885.26. The total expenditures during the fiscal year amounted to $33,486,322.44, leaving an excess of total receipts over total expenditures of $1,058,562.82, and an excess of total expenditures over ordinary receipts of $5,954,737.18. Deducting from the total receipts the sum of $63,261.84, received from international money orders of the preceding fiscal year, and deducting from the total expenditures the sum of $1,163,818.20, paid on liabilities incurred in previous fiscal years, the expenditures and receipts appertaining to the business of the last fiscal year were as follows:

Expenditures $32,322,504.24 Receipts (ordinary, from money-order business and from official postage stamps) 27,468,323.42 _____________ Excess of expenditures 4,854,180.82

The ordinary revenues of the Post-Office Department for the year ending June 30, 1879, are estimated at an increase of 3 per cent over those of 1877, making $29,034,098.28, and the expenditures for the same year are estimated at $36,427,771, leaving an estimated deficiency for the year 1879 of $7,393,672.72. The additional legislation recommended by the Postmaster-General for improvements of the mail service and to protect the postal revenues from the abuses practiced under existing laws is respectfully commended to the careful consideration of Congress.

The report of the Attorney-General contains several suggestions as to the administration of justice, to which I invite your attention. The pressure of business in the Supreme Court and in certain circuit