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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant by James D. Richardson

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By an act approved on the 14th day of February last Congress made
provision for completing, jointly with an officer or commissioner
to be named by Her Britannic Majesty, the determination of so much
of the boundary line between the territory of the United States
and the possessions of Great Britain as was left uncompleted by the
commissioners appointed under the act of Congress of August 11, 1856.
Under the provisions of this act the northwest water boundary of the
United States has been determined and marked in accordance with the
award of the Emperor of Germany. A protocol and a copy of the map upon
which the line was thus marked are contained in the papers submitted

I also transmit a copy of the report of the commissioner for marking the
northern boundary between the United States and the British possessions
west of the Lake of the Woods, of the operations of the commission
during the past season. Surveys have been made to a point 497 miles west
of the Lake of the Woods, leaving about 350 miles to be surveyed, the
field work of which can be completed during the next season.

The mixed commission organized under the provisions of the treaty of
Washington for settling and determining the claims of citizens of either
power against the other arising out of acts committed against their
persons or property during the period between April 13, 1861, and April
9, 1865, made its final award on the 25th day of September last. It was
awarded that the Government of the United States should pay to the
Government of Her Britannic Majesty, within twelve months from the date
of the award, the sum of $1,929,819 in gold. The commission disallowed
or dismissed all other claims of British subjects against the United
States. The amount of the claims presented by the British Government,
but disallowed or dismissed, is understood to be about $93,000,000. It
also disallowed all the claims of citizens of the United States against
Great Britain which were referred to it.

I recommend the early passage of an act appropriating the amount
necessary to pay this award against the United States.

I have caused to be communicated to the Government of the King of Italy
the thanks of this Government for the eminent services rendered by
Count Corti as the third commissioner on this commission. With dignity,
learning, and impartiality he discharged duties requiring great labor
and constant patience, to the satisfaction, I believe, of both
Governments. I recommend legislation to create a special court, to
consist of three judges, who shall be empowered to hear and determine
all claims of aliens upon the United States arising out of acts
committed against their persons or property during the insurrection.
The recent reference under the treaty of Washington was confined to
claims of British subjects arising during the period named in the
treaty; but it is understood that there are other British claims of a
similar nature, arising after the 9th of April, 1865, and it is known
that other claims of a like nature are advanced by citizens or subjects
of other powers. It is desirable to have these claims also examined and
disposed of.

Official information being received from the Dutch Government of a state
of war between the King of the Netherlands and the Sultan of Acheen, the
officers of the United States who were near the seat of the war were
instructed to observe an impartial neutrality. It is believed that they
have done so.

The joint commission under the convention with Mexico of 1868, having
again been legally prolonged, has resumed its business, which, it
is hoped, may be brought to an early conclusion. The distinguished
representative of Her Britannic Majesty at Washington has kindly
consented, with the approval of his Government, to assume the arduous
and responsible duties of umpire in this commission, and to lend the
weight of his character and name to such decisions as may not receive
the acquiescence of both the arbitrators appointed by the respective

The commissioners appointed pursuant to the authority of Congress to
examine into the nature and extent of the forays by trespassers from
that country upon the herds of Texas have made a report, which will be
submitted for your consideration.

The Venezuelan Government has been apprised of the sense of Congress in
regard to the awards of the joint commission under the convention of
25th April, 1866, as expressed in the act of the 25th of February last.

It is apprehended that that Government does not realize the character of
its obligations under that convention. As there is reason to believe,
however, that its hesitancy in recognizing them springs, in part at
least, from real difficulty in discharging them in connection with its
obligations to other governments, the expediency of further forbearance
on our part is believed to be worthy of your consideration.

The Ottoman Government and that of Egypt have latterly shown a
disposition to relieve foreign consuls of the judicial powers which
heretofore they have exercised in the Turkish dominions, by organizing
other tribunals. As Congress, however, has by law provided for the
discharge of judicial functions by consuls of the United States in that
quarter under the treaty of 1830, I have not felt at liberty formally
to accept the proposed change without the assent of Congress, whose
decision upon the subject at as early a period as may be convenient is
earnestly requested.

I transmit herewith, for the consideration and determination of
Congress, an application of the Republic of Santo Domingo to this
Government to exercise a protectorate over that Republic.

Since the adjournment of Congress the following treaties with foreign
powers have been proclaimed: A naturalization convention with Denmark; a
convention with Mexico for renewing the Claims Commission; a convention
of friendship, commerce, and extradition with the Orange Free State, and
a naturalization convention with Ecuador.

I renew the recommendation made in my message of December, 1870, that
Congress authorize the Postmaster-General to issue all commissions to
officials appointed through his Department.

I invite the earnest attention of Congress to the existing laws of the
United States respecting expatriation and the election of nationality
by individuals. Many citizens of the United States reside permanently
abroad with their families. Under the provisions of the act approved
February 10, 1855, the children of such persons are to be deemed and
taken to be citizens of the United States, but the rights of citizenship
are not to descend to persons whose fathers never resided in the United

It thus happens that persons who have never resided within the United
States have been enabled to put forward a pretension to the protection
of the United States against the claim to military service of the
government under whose protection they were born and have been reared.
In some cases even naturalized citizens of the United States have
returned to the land of their birth, with intent to remain there, and
their children, the issue of a marriage contracted there after their
return, and who have never been in the United States, have laid claim to
our protection when the lapse of many years had imposed upon them the
duty of military service to the only government which had ever known
them personally.

Until the year 1868 it was left, embarrassed by conflicting opinions of
courts and of jurists, to determine how far the doctrine of perpetual
allegiance derived from our former colonial relations with Great Britain
was applicable to American citizens. Congress then wisely swept these
doubts away by enacting that--

Any declaration, instruction, opinion, order, or decision of any officer
of this Government which denies, restricts, impairs, or questions the
right of expatriation is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of
this Government.

But Congress did not indicate in that statute, nor has it since done so,
what acts are to be deemed to work expatriation. For my own guidance
in determining such questions I required (under the provisions of the
Constitution) the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each
of the Executive Departments upon certain questions relating to this
subject. The result satisfies me that further legislation has become
necessary. I therefore commend the subject to the careful consideration
of Congress, and I transmit herewith copies of the several opinions of
the principal officers of the Executive Departments, together with other
correspondence and pertinent information on the same subject.

The United States, who led the way in the overthrow of the feudal
doctrine of perpetual allegiance, are among the last to indicate how
their own citizens may elect another nationality. The papers submitted
herewith indicate what is necessary to place us on a par with other
leading nations in liberality of legislation on this international
question. We have already in our treaties assented to the principles
which would need to be embodied in laws intended to accomplish such
results. We have agreed that citizens of the United States may cease to
be citizens and may voluntarily render allegiance to other powers. We
have agreed that residence in a foreign land without intent to return,
shall of itself work expatriation. We have agreed in some instances upon
the length of time necessary for such continued residence to work a
presumption of such intent. I invite Congress now to mark out and define
when and how expatriation can be accomplished; to regulate by law the
condition of American women marrying foreigners; to fix the status of
children born in a foreign country of American parents residing more or
less permanently abroad, and to make rules for determining such other
kindred points as may seem best to Congress.

In compliance with the request of Congress, I transmitted to the
American minister at Madrid, with instructions to present it to the
Spanish Government, the joint resolution approved on the 3d of March
last, tendering to the people of Spain, in the name and on the behalf of
the American people, the congratulations of Congress upon the efforts to
consolidate in Spain the principles of universal liberty in a republican
form of government.

The existence of this new Republic was inaugurated by striking the
fetters from the slaves in Porto Rico. This beneficent measure was
followed by the release of several thousand persons illegally held as
slaves in Cuba. Next, the Captain-General of that colony was deprived of
the power to set aside the orders of his superiors at Madrid, which had
pertained to the office since 1825. The sequestered estates of American
citizens, which had been the cause of long and fruitless correspondence,
were ordered to be restored to their owners. All these liberal steps
were taken in the face of a violent opposition directed by the
reactionary slaveholders of Havana, who are vainly striving to stay the
march of ideas which has terminated slavery in Christendom, Cuba only
excepted. Unhappily, however, this baneful influence has thus far
succeeded in defeating the efforts of all liberal-minded men in Spain to
abolish slavery in Cuba, and in preventing the promised reform in that
island. The struggle for political supremacy continues there.

The proslavery and aristocratic party in Cuba is gradually arraigning
itself in more and more open hostility and defiance of the home
government, while it still maintains a political connection with the
Republic in the peninsula; and although usurping and defying the
authority of the home government whenever such usurpation or defiance
tends in the direction of oppression or of the maintenance of abuses,
it is still a power in Madrid, and is recognized by the Government.
Thus an element more dangerous to continued colonial relations between
Cuba and Spain than that which inspired the insurrection at Yara--an
element opposed to granting any relief from misrule and abuse, with
no aspirations after freedom, commanding no sympathies in generous
breasts, aiming to rivet still stronger the shackles of slavery and
oppression--has seized many of the emblems of power in Cuba, and,
under professions of loyalty to the mother country, is exhausting the
resources of the island, and is doing acts which are at variance with
those principles of justice, of liberality, and of right which give
nobility of character to a republic. In the interests of humanity,
of civilization, and of progress, it is to be hoped that this evil
influence may be soon averted.

The steamer _Virginius_ was on the 26th day of September, 1870, duly
registered at the port of New York as a part of the commercial marine
of the United States. On the 4th of October, 1870, having received the
certificate of her register in the usual legal form, she sailed from
the port of New York and has not since been within the territorial
jurisdiction of the United States. On the 31st day of October last,
while sailing under the flag of the United States on the high seas, she
was forcibly seized by the Spanish gunboat _Tornado_, and was carried
into the port of Santiago de Cuba, where fifty-three of her passengers
and crew were inhumanly, and, so far at least as relates to those who
were citizens of the United States, without due process of law, put to

It is a well-established principle, asserted by the United States from
the beginning of their national independence, recognized by Great
Britain and other maritime powers, and stated by the Senate in a
resolution passed unanimously on the 16th of June, 1858, that--

American vessels on the high seas in time of peace, bearing the
American flag, remain under the jurisdiction of the country to which
they belong, and therefore any visitation, molestation, or detention
of such vessel by force, or by the exhibition of force, on the part
of a foreign power is in derogation of the sovereignty of the United

In accordance with this principle, the restoration of the _Virginius_
and the surrender of the survivors of her passengers and crew, and a due
reparation to the flag, and the punishment of the authorities who had
been guilty of the illegal acts of violence, were demanded. The Spanish
Government has recognized the justice of the demand, and has arranged
for the immediate delivery of the vessel, and for the surrender of the
survivors of the passengers and crew, and for a salute to the flag, and
for proceedings looking to the punishment of those who may be proved to
have been guilty of illegal acts of violence toward citizens of the
United States, and also toward indemnifying those who may be shown to be
entitled to indemnity. A copy of a protocol of a conference between the
Secretary of State and the Spanish minister, in which the terms of this
arrangement were agreed to, is transmitted herewith.

The correspondence on this subject with the legation of the United
States in Madrid was conducted in cipher and by cable, and needs the
verification of the actual text of the correspondence. It has seemed
to me to be due to the importance of the case not to submit this
correspondence until the accurate text can be received by mail. It is
expected shortly, and will be submitted when received.

In taking leave of this subject for the present I wish to renew the
expression of my conviction that the existence of African slavery in
Cuba is a principal cause of the lamentable condition of the island.
I do not doubt that Congress shares with me the hope that it will
soon be made to disappear, and that peace and prosperity may follow
its abolition.

The embargoing of American estates in Cuba, cruelty to American citizens
detected in no act of hostility to the Spanish Government, the murdering
of prisoners taken with arms in their hands, and, finally, the capture
upon the high seas of a vessel sailing under the United States flag
and bearing a United States registry have culminated in an outburst
of indignation that has seemed for a time to threaten war. Pending
negotiations between the United States and the Government of Spain on
the subject of this capture, I have authorized the Secretary of the
Navy to put our Navy on a war footing, to the extent, at least, of the
entire annual appropriation for that branch of the service, trusting
to Congress and the public opinion of the American people to justify
my action.

Assuming from the action of the last Congress in appointing a Committee
on Privileges and Elections to prepare and report to this Congress a
constitutional amendment to provide a better method of electing the
President and Vice-President of the United States, and also from the
necessity of such an amendment, that there will be submitted to the
State legislatures for ratification such an improvement in our
Constitution, I suggest two others for your consideration:

First. To authorize the Executive to approve of so much of any measure
passing the two Houses of Congress as his judgment may dictate, without
approving the whole, the disapproved portion or portions to be subjected
to the same rules as now, to wit, to be referred back to the House in
which the measure or measures originated, and, if passed by a two-thirds
vote of the two Houses, then to become a law without the approval of the
President. I would add to this a provision that there should be no
legislation by Congress during the last twenty-four hours of its
sitting, except upon vetoes, in order to give the Executive an
opportunity to examine and approve or disapprove bills understandingly.

Second. To provide by amendment that when an extra session of Congress
is convened by Executive proclamation legislation during the continuance
of such extra session shall be confined to such subjects as the
Executive may bring before it from time to time in writing.

The advantages to be gained by these two amendments are too obvious for
me to comment upon them. One session in each year is provided for by the
Constitution, in which there are no restrictions as to the subjects of
legislation by Congress. If more are required, it is always in the power
of Congress, during their term of office, to provide for sessions at any
time. The first of these amendments would protect the public against the
many abuses and waste of public moneys which creep into appropriation
bills and other important measures passing during the expiring hours of
Congress, to which otherwise due consideration can not be given.


The receipts of the Government from all sources for the last fiscal
year were $333,738,204, and expenditures on all accounts $290,345,245,
thus showing an excess of receipts over expenditures of $43,392,959.
But it is not probable that this favorable exhibit will be shown for the
present fiscal year. Indeed, it is very doubtful whether, except with
great economy on the part of Congress in making appropriations and the
same economy in administering the various Departments of Government,
the revenues will not fall short of meeting actual expenses, including
interest on the public debt.

I commend to Congress such economy, and point out two sources where it
seems to me it might commence, to wit, in the appropriations for public
buildings in the many cities where work has not yet been commenced; in
the appropriations for river and harbor improvement in those localities
where the improvements are of but little benefit to general commerce,
and for fortifications.

There is a still more fruitful source of expenditure, which I will point
out later in this message. I refer to the easy method of manufacturing
claims for losses incurred in suppressing the late rebellion.

I would not be understood here as opposing the erection of good,
substantial, and even ornamental buildings by the Government wherever
such buildings are needed. In fact, I approve of the Government owning
its own buildings in all sections of the country, and hope the day is
not far distant when it will not only possess them, but will erect
in the capital suitable residences for all persons who now receive
commutation for quarters or rent at Government expense, and for the
Cabinet, thus setting an example to the States which may induce them to
erect buildings for their Senators. But I would have this work conducted
at a time when the revenues of the country would abundantly justify it.

The revenues have materially fallen off for the first five months of
the present fiscal year from what they were expected to produce, owing
to the general panic now prevailing, which commenced about the middle
of September last. The full effect of this disaster, if it should not
prove a "blessing in disguise," is yet to be demonstrated. In either
event it is your duty to heed the lesson and to provide by wise and
well-considered legislation, as far as it lies in your power, against
its recurrence, and to take advantage of all benefits that may have

My own judgment is that, however much individuals may have suffered, one
long step has been taken toward specie payments; that we can never have
permanent prosperity until a specie basis is reached; and that a specie
basis can not be reached and maintained until our exports, exclusive
of gold, pay for our imports, interest due abroad, and other specie
obligations, or so nearly so as to leave an appreciable accumulation
of the precious metals in the country from the products of our mines.

The development of the mines of precious metals during the past year and
the prospective development of them for years to come are gratifying in
their results. Could but one-half of the gold extracted from the mines
be retained at home, our advance toward specie payments would be rapid.

To increase our exports sufficient currency is required to keep all the
industries of the country employed. Without this national as well as
individual bankruptcy must ensue. Undue inflation, on the other hand,
while it might give temporary relief, would only lead to inflation
of prices, the impossibility of competing in our own markets for the
products of home skill and labor, and repeated renewals of present
experiences. Elasticity to our circulating medium, therefore, and just
enough of it to transact the legitimate business of the country and to
keep all industries employed, is what is most to be desired. The exact
medium is specie, the recognized medium of exchange the world over. That
obtained, we shall have a currency of an exact degree of elasticity.
If there be too much of it for the legitimate purposes of trade and
commerce, it will flow out of the country. If too little, the reverse
will result. To hold what we have and to appreciate our currency to that
standard is the problem deserving of the most serious consideration of

The experience of the present panic has proven that the currency of the
country, based, as it is, upon the credit of the country, is the best
that has ever been devised. Usually in times of such trials currency
has become worthless, or so much depreciated in value as to inflate the
values of all the necessaries of life as compared with the currency.
Everyone holding it has been anxious to dispose of it on any terms.
Now we witness the reverse. Holders of currency hoard it as they did
gold in former experiences of a like nature.

It is patent to the most casual observer that much more currency, or
money, is required to transact the legitimate trade of the country
during the fall and winter months, when the vast crops are being
removed, than during the balance of the year. With our present system
the amount in the country remains the same throughout the entire year,
resulting in an accumulation of all the surplus capital of the country
in a few centers when not employed in the moving of crops, tempted
there by the offer of interest on call loans. Interest being paid,
this surplus capital must earn this interest paid with a profit. Being
subject to "call," it can not be loaned, only in part at best, to the
merchant or manufacturer for a fixed term. Hence, no matter how much
currency there might be in the country, it would be absorbed, prices
keeping pace with the volume, and panics, stringency, and disasters
would ever be recurring with the autumn. Elasticity in our monetary
system, therefore, is the object to be attained first, and next to that,
as far as possible, a prevention of the use of other people's money in
stock and other species of speculation. To prevent the latter it seems
to me that one great step would be taken by prohibiting the national
banks from paying interest on deposits, by requiring them to hold their
reserves in their own vaults, and by forcing them into resumption,
though it would only be in legal-tender notes. For this purpose I would
suggest the establishment of clearing houses for your consideration.

To secure the former many plans have been suggested, most, if not all,
of which look to me more like inflation on the one hand, or compelling
the Government, on the other, to pay interest, without corresponding
benefits, upon the surplus funds of the country during the seasons when
otherwise unemployed.

I submit for your consideration whether this difficulty might not be
overcome by authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to issue at any
time to national banks of issue any amount of their own notes below
a fixed percentage of their issue (say 40 per cent), upon the banks'
depositing with the Treasurer of the United States an amount of
Government bonds equal to the amount of notes demanded, the banks to
forfeit to the Government, say, 4 per cent of the interest accruing on
the bonds so pledged during the time they remain with the Treasurer
as security for the increased circulation, the bonds so pledged to be
redeemable by the banks at their pleasure, either in whole or in part,
by returning their own bills for cancellation to an amount equal
to the face of the bonds withdrawn. I would further suggest for your
consideration the propriety of authorizing national banks to diminish
their standing issue at pleasure, by returning for cancellation their
own bills and withdrawing so many United States bonds as are pledged
for the bills returned.

In view of the great actual contraction that has taken place in the
currency and the comparative contraction continuously going on, due
to the increase of population, increase of manufactories and all the
industries, I do not believe there is too much of it now for the dullest
period of the year. Indeed, if clearing houses should be established,
thus forcing redemption, it is a question for your consideration whether
banking should not be made free, retaining all the safeguards now
required to secure bill holders. In any modification of the present
laws regulating national banks, as a further step toward preparing
for resumption of specie payments, I invite your attention to a
consideration of the propriety of exacting from them the retention as a
part of their reserve either the whole or a part of the gold interest
accruing upon the bonds pledged as security for their issue. I have not
reflected enough on the bearing this might have in producing a scarcity
of coin with which to pay duties on imports to give it my positive
recommendation. But your attention is invited to the subject.

During the last four years the currency has been contracted, directly,
by the withdrawal of 3 per cent certificates, compound-interest notes,
and "seven-thirty" bonds outstanding on the 4th of March, 1869, all of
which took the place of legal-tenders in the bank reserves to the extent
of $63,000,000.

During the same period there has been a much larger comparative
contraction of the currency. The population of the country has largely
increased. More than 25,000 miles of railroad have been built, requiring
the active use of capital to operate them. Millions of acres of land
have been opened to cultivation, requiring capital to move the products.
Manufactories have multiplied beyond all precedent in the same period
of time, requiring capital weekly for the payment of wages and for
the purchase of material; and probably the largest of all comparative
contraction arises from the organizing of free labor in the South. Now
every laborer there receives his wages, and, for want of savings banks,
the greater part of such wages is carried in the pocket or hoarded until
required for use.

These suggestions are thrown out for your consideration, without any
recommendation that they shall be adopted literally, but hoping that
the best method may be arrived at to secure such an elasticity of the
currency as will keep employed all the industries of the country and
prevent such an inflation as will put off indefinitely the resumption
of specie payments, an object so devoutly to be wished for by all,
and by none more earnestly than the class of people most directly
interested--those who "earn their bread by the sweat of their brow."
The decisions of Congress on this subject will have the hearty support
of the Executive.

In previous messages I have called attention to the decline in American
shipbuilding and recommended such legislation as would secure to us our
proportion of the carrying trade. Stimulated by high rates and abundance
of freight, the progress for the last year in shipbuilding has been very
satisfactory. There has been an increase of about 3 per cent in the
amount transported in American vessels over the amount of last year.
With the reduced cost of material which has taken place, it may
reasonably be hoped that this progress will be maintained, and even
increased. However, as we pay about $80,000,000 per annum to foreign
vessels for the transportation to a market of our surplus products, thus
increasing the balance of trade against us to this amount, the subject
is one worthy of your serious consideration.

"Cheap transportation" is a subject that has attracted the attention of
both producers and consumers for the past few years, and has contributed
to, if it has not been the direct cause of, the recent panic and

As Congress, at its last session, appointed a special committee to
investigate this whole subject during the vacation and report at this
session, I have nothing to recommend until their report is read.

There is one work, however, of a national character, in which the
greater portion of the East and the West, the North and the South, are
equally interested, to which I will invite your attention.

The State of New York has a canal connecting Lake Erie with tide water
on the Hudson River. The State of Illinois has a similar work connecting
Lake Michigan with navigable water on the Illinois River, thus making
water communication inland between the East and the West and South.
These great artificial water courses are the property of the States
through which they pass, and pay toll to those States. Would it not be
wise statesmanship to pledge these States that if they will open these
canals for the passage of large vessels the General Government will look
after and keep in navigable condition the great public highways with
which they connect, to wit, the Overslaugh on the Hudson, the St. Clair
Flats, and the Illinois and Mississippi rivers? This would be a national
work; one of great value to the producers of the West and South in
giving them cheap transportation for their produce to the seaboard and
a market, and to the consumers in the East in giving them cheaper food,
particularly of those articles of food which do not find a foreign
market, and the prices of which, therefore, are not regulated by foreign
demands. The advantages of such a work are too obvious for argument.
I submit the subject to you, therefore, without further comment.

In attempting to regain our lost commerce and carrying trade I have
heretofore called attention to the States south of us offering a field
where much might be accomplished. To further this object I suggest
that a small appropriation be made, accompanied with authority for the
Secretary of the Navy to fit out a naval vessel to ascend the Amazon
River to the mouth of the Madeira; thence to explore that river and its
tributaries into Bolivia, and to report to Congress at its next session,
or as soon as practicable, the accessibility of the country by water,
its resources, and the population so reached. Such an exploration would
cost but little; it can do no harm, and may result in establishing a
trade of value to both nations.

In further connection with the Treasury Department I would recommend
a revision and codification of the tariff laws and the opening of more
mints for coming money, with authority to coin for such nations as may


The attention of Congress is invited to the recommendations contained
in the report of the Secretary of War herewith accompanying.

The apparent great cost of supporting the Army is fully explained by
this report, and I hope will receive your attention.

While inviting your general attention to all the recommendations made by
the Secretary of War, there are two which I would especially invite you
to consider: First, the importance of preparing for war in time of peace
by providing proper armament for our seacoast defenses. Proper armament
is of vastly more importance than fortifications. The latter can be
supplied very speedily for temporary purposes when needed; the former
can not. The second is the necessity of reopening promotion in the staff
corps of the Army. Particularly is this necessity felt in the Medical,
Pay, and Ordnance departments.

At this time it is necessary to employ "contract surgeons" to supply the
necessary medical attendance required by the Army.

With the present force of the Pay Department it is now difficult to make
the payments to troops provided for by law. Long delays in payments are
productive of desertions and other demoralization, and the law prohibits
the payment of troops by other than regular army paymasters.

There are now sixteen vacancies in the Ordnance Department, thus leaving
that branch of the service without sufficient officers to conduct the
business of the different arsenals on a large scale if ever required.


During the past year our Navy has been depleted by the sale of some
vessels no longer fit for naval service and by the condemnation of
others not yet disposed of. This, however, has been more than
compensated for by the repair of six of the old wooden ships and by the
building of eight new sloops of war, authorized by the last Congress.
The building of these latter has occurred at a doubly fortunate time.
They are about being completed at a time when they may possibly be much
needed, and the work upon them has not only given direct employment
to thousands of men, but has no doubt been the means of keeping open
establishments for other work at a time of great financial distress.

Since the commencement of the last month, however, the distressing
occurrences which have taken place in the waters of the Caribbean Sea,
almost on our very seaboard, while they illustrate most forcibly the
necessity always existing that a nation situated like ours should
maintain in a state of possible efficiency a navy adequate to its
responsibilities, has at the same time demanded that all the effective
force we really have shall be put in immediate readiness for warlike
service. This has been and is being done promptly and effectively, and
I am assured that all the available ships and every authorized man of
the American Navy will be ready for whatever action is required for
the safety of our citizens or the maintenance of our honor. This, of
course, will require the expenditure in a short time of some of the
appropriations which were calculated to extend through the fiscal year,
but Congress will, I doubt not, understand and appreciate the emergency,
and will provide adequately not only for the present preparation, but
for the future maintenance of our naval force. The Secretary of the Navy
has during the past year been quietly putting some of our most effective
monitors in condition for service, and thus the exigency finds us in a
much better condition for work than we could possibly have been without
his action.


A complete exhibit is presented in the accompanying report of the
Postmaster-General of the operations of the Post-Office Department
during the year. The ordinary postal revenues for the fiscal year ended
June 30, 1873, amounted to $22,996,741.57, and the expenditures of
all kinds to $29,084,945.67. The increase of revenues over 1872 was
$1,081,315.20, and the increase of expenditures $2,426,753.36.

Independent of the payments made from special appropriations for mail
steamship lines, the amount drawn from the General Treasury to meet
deficiencies was $5,265,475. The constant and rapid extension of our
postal service, particularly upon railways, and the improved facilities
for the collection, transmission, distribution, and delivery of the
mails which are constantly being provided account for the increased
expenditures of this popular branch of the public service.

The total number of post-offices in operation on June 30, 1873, was
33,244, a net increase of 1,381 over the number reported the preceding
year. The number of Presidential offices was 1,363, an increase of 163
during the year. The total length of railroad mail routes at the close
of the year was 63,457 miles, an increase of 5,546 miles over the year
1872. Fifty-nine railway post-office lines were in operation June 30,
1873, extending over 14,866 miles of railroad routes and performing an
aggregate service of 34,925 miles daily.

The number of letters exchanged with foreign countries was 27,459,185,
an increase of 3,096,685 over the previous year, and the postage thereon
amounted to $2,021,310.86. The total weight of correspondence exchanged
in the mails with European countries exceeded 912 tens, an increase of
92 tons over the previous year. The total cost of the United States
ocean steamship service, including $725,000 paid from special
appropriations to subsidized lines of mail steamers, was $1,047,271.35.

New or additional postal conventions have been concluded with Sweden,
Norway, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Newfoundland, and Japan, reducing
postage rates on correspondence exchanged with those countries; and
further efforts have been made to conclude a satisfactory postal
convention with France, but without success.

I invite the favorable consideration of Congress to the suggestions
and recommendations of the Postmaster-General for an extension of the
free-delivery system in all cities having a population of not less than
10,000; for the prepayment of postage on newspapers and other printed
matter of the second class; for a uniform postage and limit of weight on
miscellaneous matter; for adjusting the compensation of all postmasters
not appointed by the President, by the old method of commissions on the
actual receipts of the office, instead of the present mode of fixing
the salary in advance upon special returns; and especially do I urge
favorable action by Congress on the important recommendations of the
Postmaster-General for the establishment of United States postal savings

Your attention is also again called to a consideration of the question
of postal telegraphs and the arguments adduced in support thereof, in
the hope that you may take such action in connection therewith as in
your judgment will most contribute to the best interests of the country.


Affairs in Utah require your early and special attention. The Supreme
Court of the United States, in the case of Clinton _vs_. Englebrecht,
decided that the United States marshal of that Territory could not
lawfully summon jurors for the district courts; and those courts hold
that the Territorial marshal can not lawfully perform that duty, because
he is elected by the legislative assembly, and not appointed as provided
for in the act organizing the Territory. All proceedings at law are
practically abolished by these decisions, and there have been but few or
no jury trials in the district courts of that Territory since the last
session of Congress. Property is left without protection by the courts,
and crimes go unpunished. To prevent anarchy there it is absolutely
necessary that Congress provide the courts with some mode of obtaining
jurors, and I recommend legislation to that end, and also that the
probate courts of the Territory, now assuming to issue writs of
injunction and _habeas corpus_ and to try criminal cases and questions
as to land titles, be denied all jurisdiction not possessed ordinarily
by courts of that description.

I have become impressed with the belief that the act approved March 2,
1867, entitled "An act to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy
throughout the United States," is productive of more evil than good at
this time. Many considerations might be urged for its total repeal, but,
if this is not considered advisable, I think it will not be seriously
questioned that those portions of said act providing for what is called
involuntary bankruptcy operate to increase the financial embarrassments
of the country. Careful and prudent men very often become involved in
debt in the transaction of their business, and though they may possess
ample property, if it could be made available for that purpose, to meet
all their liabilities, yet, on account of the extraordinary scarcity
of money, they may be unable to meet all their pecuniary obligations
as they become due, in consequence of which they are liable to be
prostrated in their business by proceedings in bankruptcy at the
instance of unrelenting creditors. People are now so easily alarmed as
to monetary matters that the mere filing of a petition in bankruptcy
by an unfriendly creditor will necessarily embarrass, and oftentimes
accomplish the financial ruin, of a responsible business man. Those who
otherwise might make lawful and just arrangements to relieve themselves
from difficulties produced by the present stringency in money are
prevented by their constant exposure to attack and disappointment by
proceedings against them in bankruptcy, and, besides, the law is made
use of in many cases by obdurate creditors to frighten or force debtors
into a compliance with their wishes and into acts of injustice to other
creditors and to themselves. I recommend that so much of said act as
provides for involuntary bankruptcy on account of the suspension of
payment be repealed.

Your careful attention is invited to the subject of claims against the
Government and to the facilities afforded by existing laws for their
prosecution. Each of the Departments of State, Treasury, and War has
demands for many millions of dollars upon its files, and they are
rapidly accumulating. To these may be added those now pending before
Congress, the Court of Claims, and the Southern Claims Commission,
making in the aggregate an immense sum. Most of these grow out of the
rebellion, and are intended to indemnify persons on both sides for
their losses during the war; and not a few of them are fabricated and
supported by false testimony. Projects are on foot, it is believed, to
induce Congress to provide for new classes of claims, and to revive old
ones through the repeal or modification of the statute of limitations,
by which they are now barred. I presume these schemes, if proposed, will
be received with little favor by Congress, and I recommend that persons
having claims against the United States cognizable by any tribunal or
Department thereof be required to present them at an early day, and that
legislation be directed as far as practicable to the defeat of unfounded
and unjust demands upon the Government; and I would suggest, as a means
of preventing fraud, that witnesses be called upon to appear in person
to testify before those tribunals having said claims before them for
adjudication. Probably the largest saving to the National Treasury can
be secured by timely legislation on these subjects of any of the
economic measures that will be proposed.

You will be advised of the operations of the Department of Justice by
the report of the Attorney-General, and I invite your attention to the
amendments of existing laws suggested by him, with the view of reducing
the expenses of that Department.


The policy inaugurated toward the Indians at the beginning of the
last Administration has been steadily pursued, and, I believe, with
beneficial results. It will be continued with only such modifications
as time and experience may demonstrate as necessary.

With the encroachment of civilization upon the Indian reservations and
hunting grounds, disturbances have taken place between the Indians and
whites during the past year, and probably will continue to do so until
each race appreciates that the other has rights which must be respected.

The policy has been to collect the Indians as rapidly as possible on
reservations, and as far as practicable within what is known as the
Indian Territory, and to teach them the arts of civilization and
self-support. Where found off their reservations, and endangering the
peace and safety of the whites, they have been punished, and will
continue to be for like offenses.

The Indian Territory south of Kansas and west of Arkansas is sufficient
in area and agricultural resources to support all the Indians east of
the Rocky Mountains. In time, no doubt, all of them, except a few who
may elect to make their homes among white people, will be collected
there. As a preparatory step for this consummation, I am now satisfied
that a Territorial form of government should be given them, which will
secure the treaty rights of the original settlers and protect their
homesteads from alienation for a period of twenty years.

The operations of the Patent Office are growing to such a magnitude and
the accumulation of material is becoming so great that the necessity of
more room is becoming more obvious day by day. I respectfully invite
your attention to the reports of the Secretary of the Interior and
Commissioner of Patents on this subject.

The business of the General Land Office exhibits a material increase
in all its branches during the last fiscal year. During that time
there were disposed of out of the public lands 13,030,606 acres, being
an amount greater by 1,165,631 acres than was disposed of during the
preceding year. Of the amount disposed of, 1,626,266 acres were sold for
cash, 214,940 acres were located with military land warrants, 3,793,612
acres were taken for homesteads, 653,446 acres were located with
agricultural-college scrip, 6,083,536 acres were certified by railroads,
76,576 acres were granted to wagon roads, 238,548 acres were approved
to States as swamp lands, 138,681 acres were certified for agricultural
colleges, common schools, universities, and seminaries, 190,775 acres
were approved to States for internal improvements, and 14,222 acres
were located with Indian scrip. The cash receipts during the same time
were $3,408,515.50, being $190,415.50 in excess of the receipts of the
previous year. During the year 30,488,132 acres of public land were
surveyed, an increase over the amount surveyed the previous year of
1,037,193 acres, and, added to the area previously surveyed, aggregates
616,554,895 acres which have been surveyed, leaving 1,218,443,505 acres
of the public land still unsurveyed.

The increased and steadily increasing facilities for reaching our
unoccupied public domain and for the transportation of surplus products
enlarge the available field for desirable homestead locations, thus
stimulating settlement and extending year by year in a gradually
increasing ratio the area of occupation and cultivation.

The expressed desire of the representatives of a large colony of
citizens of Russia to emigrate to this country, as is understood, with
the consent of their Government, if certain concessions can be made to
enable them to settle in a compact colony, is of great interest, as
going to show the light in which our institutions are regarded by an
industrious, intelligent, and wealthy people, desirous of enjoying civil
and religious liberty; and the acquisition of so large an immigration of
citizens of a superior class would without doubt be of substantial
benefit to the country. I invite attention to the suggestion of the
Secretary of the Interior in this behalf.

There was paid during the last fiscal year for pensions, including the
expense of disbursement, $29,185,289.62, being an amount less by
$984,050.98 than was expended for the same purpose the preceding year.
Although this statement of expenditures would indicate a material
reduction in amount compared with the preceding year, it is believed
that the changes in the pension laws at the last session of Congress
will absorb that amount the current year. At the close of the last
fiscal year there were on the pension rolls 99,804 invalid military
pensioners and 112,088 widows, orphans, and dependent relatives of
deceased soldiers, making a total of that class of 211,892; 18,266
survivors of the War of 1812 and 5,053 widows of soldiers of that war
pensioned under the act of Congress of February 14, 1871, making a total
of that class of 23,319; 1,430 invalid navy pensioners and 1,770 widows,
orphans, and dependent relatives of deceased officers, sailors, and
marines of the Navy, making a total of navy pensioners of 3,200, and
a grand total of pensioners of all classes of 238,411, showing a net
increase during the last fiscal year of 6,182. During the last year the
names of 16,405 pensioners were added to the rolls, and 10,223 names
were dropped therefrom for various causes.

The system adopted for the detection of frauds against the Government in
the matter of pensions has been productive of satisfactory results, but
legislation is needed to provide, if possible, against the perpetration
of such frauds in future.

The evidently increasing interest in the cause of education is a most
encouraging feature in the general progress and prosperity of the
country, and the Bureau of Education is earnest in its efforts to give
proper direction to the new appliances and increased facilities which
are being offered to aid the educators of the country in their great

The Ninth Census has been completed, the report thereof published
and distributed, and the working force of the Bureau disbanded. The
Secretary of the Interior renews his recommendation for a census to be
taken in 1875, to which subject the attention of Congress is invited.
The original suggestion in that behalf has met with the general approval
of the country; and even if it be not deemed advisable at present to
provide for a regular quinquennial census, a census taken in 1875,
the report of which could be completed and published before the one
hundredth anniversary of our national independence, would be especially
interesting and valuable, as showing the progress of the country during
the first century of our national existence. It is believed, however,
that a regular census every five years would be of substantial benefit
to the country, inasmuch as our growth hitherto has been so rapid that
the results of the decennial census are necessarily unreliable as a
basis of estimates for the latter years of a decennial period.


Under the very efficient management of the governor and the board of
public works of this District the city of Washington is rapidly assuming
the appearance of a capital of which the nation may well be proud.
From being a most unsightly place three years ago, disagreeable to
pass through in summer in consequence of the dust arising from unpaved
streets, and almost impassable in the winter from the mud, it is now one
of the most sightly cities in the country, and can boast of being the
best paved.

The work has been done systematically, the plans, grades, location of
sewers, water and gas mains being determined upon before the work was
commenced, thus securing permanency when completed. I question whether
so much has ever been accomplished before in any American city for the
same expenditures. The Government having large reservations in the
city, and the nation at large having an interest in their capital,
I recommend a liberal policy toward the District of Columbia, and that
the Government should bear its just share of the expense of these
improvements. Every citizen visiting the capital feels a pride in its
growing beauty, and that he too is part owner in the investments made

I would suggest to Congress the propriety of promoting the establishment
in this District of an institution of learning, or university of the
highest class, by the donation of lands. There is no place better suited
for such an institution than the national capital. There is no other
place in which every citizen is so directly interested.


In three successive messages to Congress I have called attention to the
subject of "civil-service reform."

Action has been taken so far as to authorize the appointment of a board
to devise rules governing methods of making appointments and promotions,
but there never has been any action making these rules, or any rules,
binding, or even entitled to observance, where persons desire the
appointment of a friend or the removal of an official who may be
disagreeable to them.

To have any rules effective they must have the acquiescence of Congress
as well as of the Executive. I commend, therefore, the subject to your
attention, and suggest that a special committee of Congress might confer
with the Civil-Service Board during the present session for the purpose
of devising such rules as can be maintained, and which will secure the
services of honest and capable officials, and which will also protect
them in a degree of independence while in office.

Proper rules will protect Congress, as well as the Executive, from much
needless persecution, and will prove of great value to the public at

I would recommend for your favorable consideration the passage of an
enabling act for the admission of Colorado as a State in the Union.
It possesses all the elements of a prosperous State, agricultural and
mineral, and, I believe, has a population now to justify such admission.
In connection with this I would also recommend the encouragement of a
canal for purposes of irrigation from the eastern slope of the Rocky
Mountains to the Missouri River. As a rule I am opposed to further
donations of public lands for internal improvements owned and controlled
by private corporations, but in this instance I would make an exception.
Between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains there is an arid belt
of public land from 300 to 500 miles in width, perfectly valueless for
the occupation of man, for the want of sufficient rain to secure the
growth of any product. An irrigating canal would make productive a belt
as wide as the supply of water could be made to spread over across this
entire country, and would secure a cordon of settlements connecting the
present population of the mountain and mining regions with that of the
older States. All the land reclaimed would be clear gain. If alternate
sections are retained by the Government, I would suggest that the
retained sections be thrown open to entry under the homestead laws,
or sold to actual settlers for a very low price.

I renew my previous recommendation to Congress for general amnesty. The
number engaged in the late rebellion yet laboring under disabilities is
very small, but enough to keep up a constant irritation. No possible
danger can accrue to the Government by restoring them to eligibility to
hold office.

I suggest for your consideration the enactment of a law to better secure
the civil rights which freedom should secure, but has not effectually
secured, to the enfranchised slave.



WASHINGTON, _December 2, 1873_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to Congress a report, dated the 2d instant, with
accompanying papers,[76] received from the Secretary of State, in
compliance with the requirements of the sixteenth and eighteenth
sections of the act entitled "An act to regulate the diplomatic and
consular systems of the United States," approved August 18, 1856.


[Footnote 76: Report of fees collected, etc., by consular officers of the
United States for 1872, list of consular officers and their official
residences, and tariff of consular fees.]

WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a convention for the surrender of criminals between the
United States of America and the Republic of Honduras, which was signed
at Comayagua on the 4th day of June, 1873.


WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In my annual message of December last I gave reason to expect that when
the full and accurate text of the correspondence relating to the steamer
_Virginius_, which had been telegraphed in cipher, should be received
the papers concerning the capture of the vessel, the execution of a part
of its passengers and crew, and the restoration of the ship and the
survivors would be transmitted to Congress.

In compliance with the expectations then held out, I now transmit the
papers and correspondence on that subject.

On the 26th day of September, 1870, the _Virginius_ was registered in
the custom-house at New York as the property of a citizen of the United
States, he having first made oath, as required by law, that he was "the
true and only owner of the said vessel, and that there was no subject or
citizen of any foreign prince or state, directly or indirectly, by way
of trust, confidence, or otherwise, interested therein."

Having complied with the requisites of the statute in that behalf, she
cleared in the usual way for the port of Curacoa, and on or about the
4th day of October, 1870, sailed for that port. It is not disputed that
she made the voyage according to her clearance, nor that from that day
to this she has not returned within the territorial jurisdiction of the
United States. It is also understood that she preserved her American
papers, and that when within foreign ports she made the practice of
putting forth a claim to American nationality, which was recognized by
the authorities at such ports.

When, therefore, she left the port of Kingston, in October last, under
the flag of the United States, she would appear to have had, as against
all powers except the United States, the right to fly that flag and to
claim its protection, as enjoyed by all regularly documented vessels
registered as part of our commercial marine.

No state of war existed conferring upon a maritime power the right to
molest and detain upon the high seas a documented vessel, and it can not
be pretended that the _Virginius_ had placed herself without the pale of
all law by acts of piracy against the human race.

If her papers were irregular or fraudulent, the offense was one against
the laws of the United States, justiciable only in their tribunals.

When, therefore, it became known that the _Virginius_ had been captured
on the high seas by a Spanish man-of-war; that the American flag had
been hauled down by the captors; that the vessel had been carried to a
Spanish port, and that Spanish tribunals were taking jurisdiction over
the persons of those found on her, and exercising that jurisdiction upon
American citizens, not only in violation of the rules of international
law, but in contravention of the provisions of the treaty of 1795,
I directed a demand to be made upon Spain for the restoration of the
vessel and for the return of the survivors to the protection of the
United States, for a salute to the flag, and for the punishment of the
offending parties.

The principles upon which these demands rested could not be seriously
questioned, but it was suggested by the Spanish Government that there
were grave doubts whether the _Virginius_ was entitled to the character
given her by her papers, and that therefore it might be proper for the
United States, after the surrender of the vessel and the survivors, to
dispense with the salute to the flag, should such fact be established to
their satisfaction.

This seemed to be reasonable and just. I therefore assented to it, on
the assurance that Spain would then declare that no insult to the flag
of the United States had been intended.

I also authorized an agreement to be made that should it be shown to the
satisfaction of this Government that the _Virginius_ was improperly
bearing the flag proceedings should be instituted in our courts for the
punishment of the offense committed against the United States. On her
part Spain undertook to proceed against those who had offended the
sovereignty of the United States, or who had violated their treaty

The surrender of the vessel and the survivors to the jurisdiction of the
tribunals of the United States was an admission of the principles upon
which our demands had been founded. I therefore had no hesitation in
agreeing to the arrangement finally made between the two Governments--an
arrangement which was moderate and just, and calculated to cement the
good relations which have so long existed between Spain and the United

Under this agreement the _Virginius_, with the American flag flying, was
delivered to the Navy of the United States at Bahia Honda, in the island
of Cuba, on the 16th ultimo. She was then in an unseaworthy condition.
In the passage to New York she encountered one of the most tempestuous
of our winter storms. At the risk of their lives the officers and crew
placed in charge of her attempted to keep her afloat. Their efforts were
unavailing, and she sank off Cape Fear. The prisoners who survived the
massacres were surrendered at Santiago de Cuba on the 18th ultimo, and
reached the port of New York in safety.

The evidence submitted on the part of Spain to establish the fact that
the _Virginius_ at the time of her capture was improperly bearing the
flag of the United States is transmitted herewith, together with the
opinion of the Attorney-General thereon and a copy of the note of the
Spanish minister, expressing on behalf of his Government a disclaimer
of an intent of indignity to the flag of the United States.


WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States of America and the
Republic of Salvador, which was signed at San Salvador on the 12th of
May last, stipulating for an extension of the period for exchanging the
ratifications of the treaty of amity, commerce, and consular privileges
concluded between the two countries on the 6th December, 1870.


WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States of America and
the Republic of Salvador, which was signed at San Salvador on the
12th of May last, for an extension of the period for exchanging the
ratifications of the treaty for the extradition of criminals concluded
between the two countries on the 23d of May, 1870.


WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate an "agreement," signed at Lima on the 5th of
June last by Mr. Francis Thomas, envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary of the United States, and Mr. Jose de la Riva Aguero,
minister for foreign affairs of Peru, providing for an extension of the
time for the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty of friendship,
commerce, and navigation and the treaty of extradition between the
United States and Peru of the 6th and 12th of September, 1870,
respectively. The limit of the proposed extension is to be nine months
from the time when the Senate of the United States may approve thereof.
The expediency of this approval is consequently submitted to the
consideration of the Senate. The instruments themselves were approved by
that body on the 31st of March, 1871, and they were ratified by me in
order that our ratifications might be ready for exchange for those of
Peru. The omission of the latter seasonably to perform that act is
understood to have been occasioned solely by the delay in the meeting
of the Congress of that Republic, whose sanction, pursuant to its
constitution, was necessary.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, January 7, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th
of last December, requesting a revision of the estimates for the
expenses of the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, I
have the honor to transmit herewith amended estimates and replies from
the several Departments.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 8, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the act of Congress approved March 3, 1873, entitled
"An act to authorize inquiries into the causes of steam-boiler
explosions," I directed the Secretaries of the Treasury and Navy
Departments to create a commission to conduct the experiments and
collect the information contemplated by the act. Such a commission was
created, and I have the honor to submit herewith a report of the result
of their labors to the present time.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 13, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Since nominating the Hon. Caleb Gushing for Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of the United States information has reached me which induces me
to withdraw him from nomination as the highest judicial officer of the
Government, and I do therefore hereby withdraw said nomination.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _January 19, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, requesting
information "relative to any unauthorized occupation or invasion of or
encroachment upon the Indian Territory, so called, by individuals or
bodies of men, in violation of treaty stipulations," I have the honor to
submit herewith the reply of the Secretary of the Interior, to whom the
resolution was referred.


WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to its
ratification, a protocol relative to a claim on the Government of Chile
in the case of the ship _Good Return_.


WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to their
resolution of the 16th ultimo, a report from the Secretary of State,
with accompanying papers.[77]


[Footnote 77: Correspondence relative to the refusal of the United States
consul at Cadiz, Spain, to certify invoices of wine shipped from that
port, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a copy of a communication, dated the 22d ultimo,
received from the governor of the State of New York, in which it is
announced that, in accordance with the invitation of Congress as
expressed in the act approved July 2, 1864, that State now presents for
acceptance a bronze statue of George Clinton, deceased, one of its
distinguished citizens.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 9, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the Secretary of the
Department of the Interior, to whom was referred the resolution of the
House of Representatives of January 7, requesting "a statement of the
extent and nature of the contracts, purchases, and expenditures for the
Indian service made since July 1, 1873, setting forth which, if any,
of them were made or entered into without conference with the Board
of Indian Commissioners appointed by the President, and the extent and
description of contracts and vouchers objected to by said board, stating
to what extent payments have been made thereon against their


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 10, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith reports from the Secretaries of
the War Department and Department of the Interior, to whom were referred
the resolutions of the House of Representatives of the 7th of January
last, requesting "copies of all the correspondence between the different
Departments of the Government and the peace commissioners during the war
with the Modoc Indians in southern Oregon and northern California during
the years 1872 and 1873; also copies of all the correspondence with and
orders issued to the military authorities engaged in said war up to the
period of the removal of said Modoc Indians from the States of Oregon
and California."


WASHINGTON, _February 17, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication from the Secretary of State and
accompanying papers.[78]


[Footnote 78: Report of John M. Thacher, United States delegate to the
International Patent Congress held at Vienna in August, 1873, and

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _February 19, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a memorial upon the "cultivation
of timber and the preservation of forests," and a draft of a joint
resolution prepared by the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, together with a communication from the Commissioner of the
General Land Office upon the same subject.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, February 25, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor herewith to submit the report of the Centennial
Commissioners, and to add a word in the way of recommendation.

There have now been international expositions held by three of the great
powers of Europe. It seems fitting that the one hundredth anniversary of
our independence should be marked by an event that will display to the
world the growth and progress of a nation devoted to freedom and to the
pursuit of fame, fortune, and honors by the lowest citizen as well as
the highest. A failure in this enterprise would be deplorable. Success
can be assured by arousing public opinion to the importance of the

To secure this end, in my judgment, Congressional legislation is
necessary to make the exposition both national and international.

The benefits to be derived from a successful international exposition
are manifold. It will necessarily be accompanied by expenses beyond the
receipts from the exposition itself, but they will be compensated for
many fold by the commingling of people from all sections of our own
country; by bringing together the people of different nationalities; by
bringing into juxtaposition, for ready examination, our own and foreign
skill and progress in manufactures, agriculture, art, science, and

The selection of the site for the exposition seems to me appropriate,
from the fact that one hundred years before the date fixed for the
exposition the Declaration of Independence, which launched us into the
galaxy of nations as an independent people, emanated from the same spot.

We have much in our varied climate, soil, mineral products, and skill of
which advantage can be taken by other nationalities to their profit.
In return they will bring to our shores works of their skill and
familiarize our people with them, to the mutual advantage of all

Let us have a complete success in our Centennial Exposition or suppress
it in its infancy, acknowledging our inability to give it the
international character to which our self-esteem aspires.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, D.C., March 4, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith replies from the several
Departments, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 16th of January last, requesting a list of all expenses incurred
by the various Departments for transportation of any matter which before
the abolition of the franking privilege was carried in the mails.


WASHINGTON, _March 20, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the consideration of the Senate and with a view
to its ratification, a convention concluded between the United States
and Belgium on the 19th March, 1874, concerning extradition.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _March 23, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith the report of the board of
commissioners on the irrigation of the San Joaquin, Tulare, and
Sacramento valleys, of the State of California, and also the original
maps accompanying said report.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 18, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Herewith I transmit the report of the Civil Service Commission
authorized by the act of Congress of March 3, 1871, and invite your
special attention thereto.

If sustained by Congress, I have no doubt the rules can, after the
experience gained, be so improved and enforced as to still more
materially benefit the public service and relieve the Executive, members
of Congress, and the heads of Departments from influences prejudicial to
good administration.

The rules, as they have heretofore been enforced, have resulted
beneficially, as is shown by the opinions of the members of the Cabinet
and their subordinates in the Departments, and in that opinion I concur;
but rules applicable to officers who are to be appointed by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate are in great measure impracticable,
except in so far as they may be sustained by the action of that body.
This must necessarily remain so unless the direct sanction of the Senate
is given to the rules.

I advise for the present only such appropriation as may be adequate to
continue the work in its present form, and would leave to the future
to determine whether the direct sanction of Congress should be given
to rules that may, perhaps, be devised for regulating the method of
selection of appointees, or a portion of them, who need to be confirmed
by the Senate.

The same amount appropriated last year would be adequate for the coming
year, but I think the public interest would be promoted by authority
in the Executive for allowing a small compensation for special service
performed beyond usual office hours, under the act of 1871, to persons
already in the service of the Government.


WASHINGTON, _April 21, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate and House of Representatives a
communication from the Secretary of State and the report by which it is
accompanied, upon Samoan or Navigators Islands.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 23, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith the papers called for by the resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 20th instant, requesting all correspondence by
telegraph or otherwise between the persons claiming to be governor of
Arkansas and myself relating to the troubles in that State, together
with copies of any order or directions given by me or under my direction
to the military officer in charge of the garrison or in command of the
United States troops at Little Rock.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 28, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit herewith additional correspondence received
since my communication of the 23d instant, in reply to the resolution of
the House of Representatives of the 20th instant, requesting copies of
correspondence between persons claiming to be governor of Arkansas and
myself relating to troubles in that State.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 30, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In pursuance of the resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 15th instant, requesting to be informed "what geographical and
geological surveys under different Departments and branches of the
Government are operating in the same and contiguous areas of territory
west of the Mississippi River, and whether it be not practicable to
consolidate them under one Department or to define the geographical
limits to be embraced by each," I have the honor to transmit herewith
the views of the officers of the War and Interior Departments on the
subjects named in the said resolution, and invite attention thereto.

Where surveys are made with the view of sectionizing the public lands,
preparatory to opening them for settlement or entry, there is no
question but such surveys and all work connected therewith should be
under the direct control of the Interior Department or the Commissioner
of the General Land Office, subject to the supervision of the Secretary
of the Interior. But where the object is to complete the map of the
country; to determine the geographical, astronomical, geodetic,
topographic, hydrographic, meteorological, geological, and mineralogical
features of the country--in other words, to collect full information of
the unexplored or but partially known portions of the country--it seems
to me a matter of no importance as to which Department of the Government
should have control of the work. The conditions which should control
this subject are, in my judgment, first, which Department is prepared
to do the work best; second, which can do it the most expeditiously
and economically.

As the country to be explored is occupied in great part by uncivilized
Indians, all parties engaged in the work at hand must be supplied with
escorts from the Army, thus placing a large portion of the expense upon
the War Department; and as the Engineer Corps of the Army is composed of
scientific gentlemen, educated and practiced for just the kind of work
to be done, and as they are under pay whether employed in this work or
not, it would seem that the second condition named would be more fully
complied with by employing them to do the work. There is but little
doubt that they will accomplish it as promptly and as well, and much
more economically.


WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith, in answer to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 9th instant, a report[79] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying papers.


[Footnote 79: Relating to the involuntary deportation to the United
States of foreign convicts, paupers, idiots, insane persons, etc., and
transmitting correspondence relative thereto.]

WASHINGTON, _May 25, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In response to the resolution of the Senate of the 15th instant, I have
the honor to transmit herewith "all papers and correspondence relating
to the troubles in the State of Arkansas not heretofore communicated to
either House of Congress."


WASHINGTON, _May 25, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to transmit, in response to the resolution of the
Senate of the 18th instant, requesting "the answers in full received
by the Civil Service Commission in reply to their circular addressed
to the various heads of Departments and bureaus requesting a report as
to the operation and effect of the civil-service rules in the several
Departments and offices," a copy of a letter received from the chairman
of the Civil Service Commission, to whom the resolution was referred.


WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, and
accompanying it copies of all papers on file or on record in the
Department of State respecting the claim on Brazil concerning the


WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the Senate and House of Representatives a
communication from the Secretary of State and a copy of the report of
the commissioners to inquire into depredations on the frontiers of Texas,
by which it is accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _June 15, 1874_.

_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 the Emperor of Russia, concluded and signed at St. Petersburg
on the 16/28 day of March last.


WASHINGTON, _June 18, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The plenipotentiaries of Her Britannic Majesty at Washington have
submitted to the Secretary of State, for my consideration, a draft of a
treaty for the reciprocal regulation of the commerce and trade between
the United States and Canada, with provisions for the enlargement of the
Canadian canals and for their use by United States vessels on terms of
equality with British vessels. I transmit herewith a report from the
Secretary of State, with a copy of the draft thus proposed.

I am of the opinion that a proper treaty for such purposes would result
beneficially for the United States. It would not only open or enlarge
markets for our products, but it would increase the facilities of
transportation from the grain-growing States of the West to the

The proposed draft has many features to commend it to our favorable
consideration; but whether it makes all the concessions which could
justly be required of Great Britain, or whether it calls for more
concessions from the United States than we should yield, I am not
prepared to say.

Among its provisions are articles proposing to dispense with the
arbitration respecting the fisheries, which was provided for by the
treaty of Washington, in the event of the conclusion and ratification of
a treaty and the passage of all the necessary legislation to enforce it.

These provisions, as well as other considerations, make it desirable
that this subject should receive attention before the close of the
present session. I therefore express an earnest wish that the Senate may
be able to consider and determine before the adjournment of Congress
whether it will give its constitutional concurrence to the conclusion of
a treaty with Great Britain for the purposes already named, either in
such form as is proposed by the British plenipotentiaries or in such
other more acceptable form as the Senate may prefer.


WASHINGTON, _June 18, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State and its
accompanying papers.[80]


[Footnote 80: Report of the United States delegates to the eighth session
of the International Statistical Congress, held at St. Petersburg,
Russia, in August, 1872, and appendix.]

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, June 20, 1874_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I respectfully invite the attention of Congress to one feature of the
bill entitled "An act for the government of the District of Columbia,
and for other purposes." Provision is therein made for the payment of
the debts of the District in bonds to be issued by the sinking-fund
commissioners, running fifty years and bearing interest at the rate of
3.65 per cent per annum, with the payment of the principal and interest
guaranteed by the United States.

The government by which these debts were created is abolished, and no
other provision seems to be made for their payment. Judging from the
transactions in other bonds, there are good grounds, in my opinion, for
the apprehension that bonds bearing this rate of interest when issued
will be worth much less than their equivalent in the current money of
the United States. This appears to me to be unjust to those to whom
these bonds are to be paid, and, to the extent of the difference between
their face and real value, looks like repudiating the debts of the
District. My opinion is that to require creditors of the District of
Columbia to receive these bonds at par when it is apparent that to be
converted into money they must be sold at a large discount will not only
prove greatly injurious to the credit of the District, but will reflect
unfavorably upon the credit and good faith of the United States.

I would recommend, therefore, that provision be made at the present
session of Congress to increase the interest upon these bonds, so that
when sold they will bring an equivalent in money, and that the Secretary
of the Treasury be authorized to negotiate the sale of these bonds at
not less than par and pay the proceeds thereof to those who may be
ascertained to have valid claims against the District of Columbia.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, April 10, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to herewith return to you without my approval House
bill No. 1224, entitled "An act for the relief of William H. Denniston,
late an acting second lieutenant, Seventieth New York Volunteers,"
for the reasons set forth in the accompanying letter of the Secretary
of War.


WAR DEPARTMENT, _Washington, D.C., April 8, 1874_.


SIR: I have the honor to return House bill No. 1224, "for the relief of
William H. Denniston, late an acting second lieutenant, Seventieth New
York Volunteers," with the remark that the name of William H. Denniston,
as an officer or private, is not borne on any rolls of the Seventieth
New York Volunteers on file in the Department. Of this fact the
Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives was
informed by letter from the Adjutant-General's Office dated December
19, 1873.

No vacancy existed in Company D (the company claimed) of this regiment
for a second lieutenant during the period claimed, Second Lieutenant
J.B. Zeigler having filled that position to May 6, 1862, and Second
Lieutenant James Stevenson from that date to June 25, 1862. On
regimental return for July, 1862, Edward Shields is reported promoted
second lieutenant June 15, 1862.

There is no evidence in the Department that he actually served as a
second lieutenant for the time covered by the bill herewith, and it is
therefore respectfully recommended that the bill be returned to the
House of Representatives without approval.

When the records of the War Department, prepared under laws and
regulations having in view the establishment and preservation of data
necessary to the protection of the public interests as well as that of
the claimants, fail to show service, it is a subject of importance to
legalize a claim wherein the military department of the Government
has not seen the order under which the alleged service may have been
claimed. A precedent of the kind is beyond doubt an injury to the public
interest, and will tend to other special acts of relief under which
thousands of muster rolls certified at the date, under the Articles of
War, as exhibiting the true state of the command will be invalidated,
and large appropriations of money will be required to settle claims the
justness of which can not always be determined at a date so remote from
their origin.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


_Secretary of War_.

EXECUTIVE MANSION, _April 22, 1874_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Herewith I return Senate bill No. 617, entitled "An act to fix the
amount of United States notes and the circulation of national banks,
and for other purposes," without my approval.

In doing so I must express my regret at not being able to give my assent
to a measure which has received the sanction of a majority of the
legislators chosen by the people to make laws for their guidance, and
I have studiously sought to find sufficient arguments to justify such
assent, but unsuccessfully.

Practically it is a question whether the measure under discussion would
give an additional dollar to the irredeemable paper currency of the
country or not, and whether by requiring three-fourths of the reserve to
be retained by the banks and prohibiting interest to be received on the
balance it might not prove a contraction.

But the fact can not be concealed that theoretically the bill increases
the paper circulation $100,000,000, less only the amount of reserves
restrained from circulation by the provision of the second section. The
measure has been supported on the theory that it would give increased
circulation. It is a fair inference, therefore, that if in practice the
measure should fail to create the abundance of circulation expected of
it the friends of the measure, particularly those out of Congress, would
clamor for such inflation as would give the expected relief.

The theory, in my belief, is a departure from true principles of
finance, national interest, national obligations to creditors,
Congressional promises, party pledges (on the part of both political
parties), and of personal views and promises made by me in every annual
message sent to Congress and in each inaugural address.

In my annual message to Congress in December, 1869, the following
passages appear:

Among the evils growing out of the rebellion, and not yet referred to,
is that of an irredeemable currency. It is an evil which I hope will
receive your most earnest attention. It is a duty, and one of the
highest duties, of Government to secure to the citizen a medium of
exchange of fixed, unvarying value. This implies a return to a specie
basis, and no substitute for it can be devised. It should be commenced
now and reached at the earliest practicable moment consistent with a
fair regard to the interests of the debtor class. Immediate resumption,
if practicable, would not be desirable. It would compel the debtor
class to pay, beyond their contracts, the premium on gold at the date
of their purchase, and would bring bankruptcy and ruin to thousands.
Fluctuation, however, in the paper value of the measure of all values
(gold) is detrimental to the interests of trade. It makes the man of
business an involuntary gambler, for in all sales where future payment
is to be made both parties speculate as to what will be the value of
the currency to be paid and received. I earnestly recommend to you,
then, such legislation as will insure a gradual return to specie
payments and put an immediate stop to fluctuations in the value of

I still adhere to the views then expressed.

As early as December 4, 1865, the House of Representatives passed a
resolution, by a vote of 144 yeas to 6 nays, concurring "in the views
of the Secretary of the Treasury in relation to the necessity of a
contraction of the currency, with a view to as early a resumption of
specie payments as the business interests of the country will permit,"
and pledging "cooperative action to this end as speedily as possible."

The first act passed by the Forty-first Congress, [approved] on the 18th
day of March, 1869, was as follows:

AN ACT to strengthen the public credit.

_Be it enacted, etc._, That in order to remove any doubt as to the
purpose of the Government to discharge all just obligations to the
public creditors, and to settle conflicting questions and
interpretations of the law by virtue of which such obligations have
been contracted, it is hereby provided and declared that the faith of
the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment in coin or its
equivalent of all the obligations of the United States not bearing
interest, known as United States notes, and all the interest-bearing
obligations of the United States, except in cases where the law
authorizing the issue of any such obligation has expressly provided that
the same may be paid in lawful money or in other currency than gold and
silver; but none of the said interest-bearing obligations not already
due shall be redeemed or paid before maturity unless at such time United
States notes shall be convertible into coin at the option of the holder,
or unless at such time bonds of the United States bearing a lower rate
of interest than the bonds to be redeemed can be sold at par in coin.
And the United States also solemnly pledges its faith to make provision
at the earliest practicable period for the redemption of the United
States notes in coin.

This act still remains as a continuing pledge of the faith of the United
States "to make provision at the earliest practicable period for the
redemption of the United States notes in coin."

A declaration contained in the act of June 30, 1864, created an
obligation that the total amount of United States notes issued or
to be issued should never exceed $400,000,000. The amount in actual
circulation was actually reduced to $356,000,000, at which point
Congress passed the act of February 4, 1868, suspending the further
reduction of the currency. The forty-four millions have ever been
regarded as a reserve, to be used only in case of emergency, such as
has occurred on several occasions, and must occur when from any cause
revenues suddenly fall below expenditures; and such a reserve is
necessary, because the fractional currency, amounting to fifty millions,
is redeemable in legal tender on call.

It may be said that such a return of fractional currency for redemption
is impossible; but let steps be taken for a return to a specie basis and
it will be found that silver will take the place of fractional currency
as rapidly as it can be supplied, when the premium on gold reaches a
sufficiently low point. With the amount of United States notes to be
issued permanently fixed within proper limits and the Treasury so
strengthened as to be able to redeem them in coin on demand it will then
be safe to inaugurate a system of free banking with such provisions as
to make compulsory redemption of the circulating notes of the banks in
coin, or in United States notes, themselves redeemable and made
equivalent to coin.

As a measure preparatory to free banking, and for placing the Government
in a condition to redeem its notes in coin "at the earliest practicable
period," the revenues of the country should be increased so as to pay
current expenses, provide for the sinking fund required by law, and also
a surplus to be retained in the Treasury in gold.

I am not a believer in any artificial method of making paper money equal
to coin when the coin is not owned or held ready to redeem the promises
to pay, for paper money is nothing more than promises to pay, and is
valuable exactly in proportion to the amount of coin that it can be
converted into. While coin is not used as a circulating medium, or the
currency of the country is not convertible into it at par, it becomes an
article of commerce as much as any other product. The surplus will seek
a foreign market as will any other surplus. The balance of trade has
nothing to do with the question. Duties on imports being required in
coin creates a limited demand for gold. About enough to satisfy that
demand remains in the country. To increase this supply I see no way open
but by the Government hoarding through the means above given, and
possibly by requiring the national banks to aid.

It is claimed by the advocates of the measure herewith returned that
there is an unequal distribution of the banking capital of the country.
I was disposed to give great weight to this view of the question at
first, but on reflection it will be remembered that there still remains
$4,000,000 of authorized bank-note circulation assigned to States having
less than their quota not yet taken. In addition to this the States
having less than their quota of bank circulation have the option of
twenty-five millions more to be taken from those States having more than
their proportion. When this is all taken up, or when specie payments are
fully restored or are in rapid process of restoration, will be the time
to consider the question of "more currency."


EXECUTIVE MANSION, _Washington, May 12, 1874_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I return herewith without my signature House bill No. 1331, entitled
"An act for the relief of Joab Spencer and James R. Mead for supplies
furnished the Kansas tribe of Indians." I withheld my approval of said
bill for reasons which satisfy me the claim should not be allowed for
the entire amount stated in the bill, and which are set forth in the
letter of the Secretary of the Interior of the 7th instant, a copy of
which, with the accompanying papers, is herewith transmitted.



_Washington, D.C., May 7, 1874_.


SIR: I have the honor to return herewith engrossed bill H.R. 1331,
entitled "An act for the relief of Joab Spencer and James R. Mead for
supplies furnished the Kansas tribe of Indians," and to state that
said bill was the subject of a report made to the Department by the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs on the 11th ultimo, with which he
submitted letters from Enoch Hoag, superintendent of Indian affairs,
and Mahlon Stubbs, Indian agent, representing that the justness and
correctness of the claim of Spencer & Mead had not been established, and
suggesting that further proceedings in the premises be deferred until a
thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of the case could
be had.

The suggestion of the Indian agent received the concurrence of the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the approval of this Department, and
on the 17th ultimo the attention of Congress was invited to the subject
in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by
the Secretary of the Interior. At the latter date the bill appears to
have been pending in the Senate, of which fact this Department at that
time was not informed.

On the 5th instant the engrossed bill (H.R. No. 1331) was received by
reference from the Executive Office, and forwarded to the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs for a further report on the subject, and on the 6th
instant that officer returned said bill to this Department with a letter
presenting his views in relation to the matter and suggesting that the
rights of the Indians and of Messrs. Spencer & Mead would be fully
protected by a modification of the bill authorizing the Secretary of the
Interior to pay such amount of their claim as might be found to be due.
The suggestion meets the approval of this Department.

Copies of the papers connected with this claim are herewith
submitted.[81] I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient


_Acting Secretary_.

[Footnote 81: Omitted.]

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