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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The debt of the District is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1877_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 13, 1877_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


[A similar message was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, January 14, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the following resolution of the Senate:


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

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 18, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 23, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 29, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 11, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 20, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 20, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 27, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _March 21, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 25, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


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


_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _May 14, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _May 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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

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

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

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


WASHINGTON, _May 25, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _June 11, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 12, 1878_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _June 15, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


WASHINGTON, _June,7, 1878_.

_To the Senate_:

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


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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 28, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 6, 1878._

_To the House of Representatives:_

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

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

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

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

The bill is therefore returned for the further consideration of Congress.





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

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

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

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

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


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


By the President:
_Acting Secretary of State_.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, December 31, 1877_.

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

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 27, 1878_.

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

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W.K. ROGERS, _Private Secretary_.

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


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 2, 1878_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Secretary recommends–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These recommendations are all commended to your favorable consideration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _December 4, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


WASHINGTON, _December 9, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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


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

WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1878_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

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


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

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 17, 1878_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

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

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

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

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