Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, December 07, 1881, Page 2, Image 2

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noino linvo escaped mid the majority
> t the tribu nro now on their retcrva-
lion ,
Tlioro is need of legislation to pro
Tent intrusion upon the hinds so
npart fur the Indians , A largo mill
. lary force at great expense is now ro
( [ Hired to patrol the boundary line bo
twcon Kansas ard the Indian terri
lory ; the ( inly punishment Unit can n
present bo inllictcd is the forcible ro
Jiiovnl of the intruder mid the imposi
tion of a pecuniary finn , which it
most cases it ifl impossible to collect.
There should l > o n penalty by impris
onniont in suuh cases.
Ilir. MOXAI. RKUVll'K.
The separate organization of HIP
aigiial service is advised 1)3 ) * the secre
tary of war , and n lull statement ol
the ndvnntimos of such a permanent
organization is presented in the rcporl
of4tho chief signal ollicer. A detailed
nlntemont of tlio usual work perf jrinod
l y the signal corps find the weather
liuroau is nlf.o given in that report.
1 nsk attention to the nlnlemonts
of the secretary of war regarding the
requisitions fro < | uontly made by the
Indian bureau upon the subsistence
department of the army for the casual
support of b.mds or tribes of Indians
for which appropriations are ex
hausted. The war departments should
not bo loft , by reason of inadequate
provision for . the Indian bu
reau , to contribute for the
maintenance of Indians.
The report of the chief engineer
furnishes n detailed account of oper
ations for the improvement of rivers
and harbors. I commend to your at
tention the suggestions contained in
. this report , in regard to the condi
tion of our fortifications , especially
our const defences , and recommend an
increase of the strength of the cngin-
oor battalion by which the elliciency of
our torpedo system would bo improv
I also 'call your attention to the re
marks upon the improvement of the
south pass of the Mississippi river ,
the proposed free bridge over the Po
tomac river at Georgetown , the im
portance of completing at an early
day the nortn wing of the department
building , and other recommendations
of the secretary of. wr which appears
in his report. The
of this department for the tlscal year
undini ; .Juno HO , 1881 , were $ -12,122-
201.It' ' ) . The appropriations for f'o
your 1882 were $ .l-l,88,72r.2. ! ) | The
estimates for l 8t : are S.Mfill,21) ) < UU.
The report of the secretary of the
navy exhibits the condition of that
brunch of the service and presents
valuable suggestions for its improve
ment. I call your especial attention ,
also , to the appended report , oi the ad
visory buard , which ho convened to
devise suitable measures for increas
ing the rfliciency of the navy , und
particularly to report as to the character -
, actor nnd number of vessels necessary
to place it upon a footing cunmionsu-
rate with the necessities of the gov
ernment. I cannot too strongly urge
, , upon you my conviction tluit every
IH consideration of national safety ,
; economy and honor imperatively do-
mauds a thorough rehabilitation of
our navy , with a full appreciation of
, the fact that compliance with the sug
gestions of the head of the depart
ment and of the advisory board must
involve a largo expenditure of the
public moneys. I earnestly recom
mend such appropriations as will ac
complish that which seems to bo de
sirable. Nothing can bo more incon
sistent with true public economy than
withholding the means necessary to
accomplish the objects intrusted by
the constitution to the national legis
lature. Ono of the objects , and ono
which is of paramount importance. , is
defined by our fundamental law to be
the provision for the "common da-
fence. " Surely nothing is more
essential to the defence of the
United Slates and of nil
our people than the elliciency of our
navy. We have for many years main
tained with foreign governments the
relations of honorable peace , and that
Buch relations may be permanent is
desired by every patriotic citizen of
the republic. But if wo read the
teaching of history wo shall not forget
that in tholifo of oi'ery nation einer-
goncys may arise when a resort to
arms din only save it from dishonor.
No danger from abroad now threatens
this people , nor have we any cause to
distrust the friendly professions of
other governments , but for avoiding ,
as we ) ) as for repelling , dangers that
may threaten in the lutnre , wo must
bo prepared to enforce any policy
which wo think wisu to adopt. Wo
must bo ready to defend our harbors
ayainst aggression , to protect by dis
tribution of our ships of war over the
highways of euinmerco the varied in
tcroita of our foreign tnulo and the
ponton and property of our citizens
abroad , to ni'iintiiin ' everywhere the
.honor of our ttiv * and the distinguished
od position which we may lightfully
claim among the nations of the world
The report of the pustmasto
general is A gratifying exhibit of the
growth and tflicioney uf the the pnsta
wJ service. The receipts from postage
[ ? t. mid other ordinary sources during
t.V' _ the past fiscal year wore $ > 3l-t81),8U ) ! .
H8 ; the receipts from the money orde
ti1 Ijusinoss were 8215,531. ; ! ! ) ; making i
total of saiysri.Mj.o ; . The \
ponditures for the liscil year wor
( > ! ) ,257,7150.40 ; the deficit supplied on
of the general treasury wai 82-lSO ,
129.35 , or G5 ! per cent , of th i amount
TJio receipts were $ : ,4(51),018 ( ) (13 ( in ex
cos ) of those of the previous your ant
? 1,575W7.07 : in excess of the esti
mate made two yearu ngo btfnro th
period of business prospcrit
njont begun. The whole nuui
her of letters mailed in this countr
in the hut Hucal year exceeded 1 ,
is reported to bo in excellent condi
lion , having been remodeled durin
tlie past four yea with good rcnulti
' The amount of registration foes col
Btit I | " looted during the last fiscal year tru
tit ' $712,882.20 , an increase over th
" fiscal year ending Juno UO , ] 8"7 , o
$345,443.40. The entire number o
letters and packages registered durin
the year wns S.MS.llin , of which
only 2,0(11 ( were destroyed or lost in
tiansit. The operations of
are multiplying yo.irly under the im
pulse of immieration and the rapid
development of the newer stales mid
territories , nnd the consequent de
mand for additional means of inter
communication and exchange. Dilr-
iiitt the p.istyciir55S ! ! additional money
order ollices have been established ,
making a total number of (5,40 ( ! ) in
operation at the date of this report.
During the year the domestic money
orders aggregated in value 105,07"-
7il.55.V ( ! modilicition of the nys >
tern is suggested , reducing the fcosfor
money orders not exceeding SO from
10 cents to P cents nnd making the
maximum limit 8100 in place of gfiO.
Legislation for the disposition of un
claimed money orders in the posses
sion of the pofltoflico department is
recommended in view of the f.iJt that
their total value exceeds 81,000,000.
rosT.u. HA visas IIANK.S.
The attention of congress is again
minted to the subject of establishing
i system of savings depositories in
connection with the postoflico doparl
iient. The statistics of
ihow that during the pant year rail
road routes haVe been increased in
eiigth ( ! ,2'1 ! ) miles and in cost $11-1 ,
182 , while steamboat routes have
icon decreased in leugih 2,182 miles
and in cost § 1.'M,05 . The so called
tar routes have been decreased in
enu'th 'lM , ! ! ) miles and in cost $ . ' 501 ,
10" Nearly all of the more tsxpon-
ivo routes have been miperscdcd by
railroad service. The cost of the star
orvico must therefore rapidly do-
reaso in the western stales nnd terii
orics. The postmaster general , how-
iver , calls attention to the constant-
y increasing cost of the railway mail
ervice as n serious difficulty in the
vay of making the department self-
nstaining. Our poslal
108 kept pace wibh the growth of thu
domestic service. Within the past
'ear several countries and colonies
mvu declared their adhesion to the
> ostal union. It now includes all
hose which have nn organized postal
iorrice , except liolivia , Costa Ilica ,
New Xoaland and the British colonies
n Australia.
ST. n iioirrr.
As has been already stated , , great
eductions have recently been made
n the expenses of the star route sor-
ico. The investigations of the do-
> artment of justice nnd the postoflico
epartmc'iit have resulted in the pro-
cntation of indictments ngainst per-
ons formerly .connected . With the sor-
ice , accusing thorn of offenses ngainst
ho United' States. I have enjoined
pen tjio olHcials who are charged
vith the conduct of the cases ( in the
> art of the goycriimcnt and upon the
nnnent counsel who before my ac-
ession to the presidency were called
0 their assistance , the d'uty of proso-
uling with the utmost vigor of the
aw all persona who ] iiny bo found
hnrgenule with frauds upon the postal
The acting attorney general calls nt-
ention to the necessity of modifying
lie present system of the courts of the
Jnitud States a necessity duo to the
ago increase 'of business , especially
1 the Supreme Court. Litigation in
ur federal tribunals became greatly
xpanded after the close of the late
irar. So long as that expansion might
o attributable to the abnormal condi-
on in which the community found
.self immediately after the return of
eaco , prudence required that no
liungo bo made in the constitution of
ur judicial tribunals. Hut it has
ow become apparent that an im-
lonso increase of litigation has di-
ectly resulted from the wonderful
rowth and development of the coun-
: y. There is no ground for belief
nat the businesiof the United States
Courts will ever bo loss in volume
linn at present. Indeed , that it is
ikely to bo much greater is generally
ecogniiied by the bench and bar. In
r-iow of the tact that congress has al-
oady given much consideration to this
ubjoct , I make no suggestion as to
letiiil , but express the fiopo that your
loliberations may result in such legis-
ation as will give early relief to our
The .acting attorney general also
calls attention to" the disturbance of
ho public tranquility during the past
, 'enr in the territory of An/.onn. A
Kind of armed desperadoes known as
; cow boys , " probably numbering from
ifty to ono hundred men , have been
engaged for months in committing
icts of lawlessness and brutality ,
which the local authorities have been
unable to repress. The depredations
of these "cow boys" have also been
extended into Mexico , which the
marauders reach from the Arizona
frontier. With every disposition t <
meet the exigencies of the cnse , I am
embarrassed by lack of authority to
deal with them effectually. The pun
ishment of crimes committed within
Ari/.uiu should ordinarily , of course ,
bo loft to the territorial authorities
but it is worthy of considoratior
whether nets which necessarily torn
to embroil the United States will
neighbrtrini , ' governments shduld no *
bo declared crimes against the United
States. Some of the incursions al
ludiul to may , perhaps , bo within the
scope of the law , Hevised Statutes
Kuction 020i , ( , forbidding military ex
pedition or enterprises against friendly
states--but in view ot the epecdj
assembling of your body , I have preferred
ferred to await such legislation as ii
your wisdom the occasion may seem
to demand. It may perhapi bo though
proper to provide that the setting 01
foot within our own territory o
brigandage and armed marauding expeditions
peditions auuinst friendly nations
and their citizens shall bo punislmhh
as an utfonse iigninst the Unitei
SUtes. 1 will add tlmt in the even
of a request from thu territorial gov
eminent for protection by the Unitec
Stutea against "domestic violence , '
this government would bo poworlrs
to render assistance , The ac
of 1705 , cliaptor tlG , passed at
a time when territorial government
received little attention ( com con
grogs , enforced this duty of the Unitoi
Hiatus only as to state governments
and the act of 1807. chapter 'JU , np
plied also to territories. The law
stums to have remained in force unti
thn revision of the statute * , when the
proviMon for iho temtorie.i was
dropped. I mn not adv'inod whether
this alteration was intentional or ac
cidcnlat , but ns it seems to mo that
the territories should bo offered the
protection which i * accorded to status
liy the constitution , F suggest legisla
lion to that end. It seems to mo
that whatever views may prevail as to
the policy of recent legislation by
which th'i nrmy linn ceaied to bo a
jiart of the pos o coniitatim , an exccp
lion might well bo made for
pcrmiHing the military to iissi
iho civil territorial authorities in en
rorclng thu lawn of the United States
This USD of lilt ) army would not fsoein
: o bo within the alleged evil ngainst
which that legislation was mined ,
i'rom spnrscni'SS of population nnd
ithorcircumstnnces it is often quite
mpraclicablo to snininons a civil poise
n places where dlllcers of justice re
] uiro assislnnce and whore a military
'orco is within easy reach.
Tho1 repot t of the secretary of the
nterior , with accompanying docu
ments , presents nn elaborate account
) f thu business of that department.
A summary of it would be too ex
tended for this placo. I ask your
careful attention to the report iteelf.
I'roniincnt : nnong thu matter which
challenues the attention of congress at
ts present nession is the management
) f our nilUirs. While this
liicstion hai been a cause of trouble
ind embarrassment from the infancy
> f the government , it , is but recently
that any etloits have beeii'tnado for its
solution , at once suriom , determined
ind consiHtent , and promising success.
It him been easier to resort to con
venient makoxhifls for tiding over the
temporary difliculties than to grapple
with thu fjreut permanent problem ,
xnd accordingly the easier course has
ilmost invatiably been pursued. It
was natural at a time when the na
ional territory acemcd almost illim
jablo and contained many mil-
ions of acres far beyond
he bounds of civilized sot-
rletnonts , that a policy
should have been initiated which
nore than aught else has boon the
ruitful source of our Indian compli
cations. 1 refer , of course , to the
lolicy of dealing with the various In-
linn tribes as separate nationalities ,
> f regulating them by treaty stipula-
ions , to the occupancy of immense
reservations in the west , and of en
couraging them to live undisturbed by
my earnest and well-directed ellbrts
o bring them under thu inlluenecs of
civilization. The unsatisfactory re-
ults which huvo sprung from this
tolicy are becoming apparent to all.
Vs the white settlements have crowded
ho borders of the reservations , the
ndians , Eomo times contentedly and
omo times against their will , have
teen tiansfcrrod to other hunt-
ng grounds , from which they
nivo agai i been dislodged whenever
heir now found homes have boon do-
ired by the adventurous settlers ,
'heao removals and the advent of
rentier colonists by whom they have
ften been succeeded , have led to fro-
nont and disastrous conflicts between
he races. It is prolitk-Bs to discuss
icro which of them have boon chiefly
espon&iblo for the disturbances whoso
ecital occupies so largo a space in the
irogress of our history. Wo .have to
lotail with the appalling fact that
housands of lives have boon sacrificed
nd hundreds of millions of dollars cx-
londed in the attempt to solve the
ndian problem. It had until within
ho past few years seemed scarcely
learer a solution thanjit was half a ccn-
ury ago ; but the government lias of
ate been cautiously but steadily feei
ng its way to the adoption of a policy
vliich has already produced gratify-
ng results , and which in my judgment
s likely , if congress and the executive
are in accord in its support to relieve
is era long from the difliculties which
lave hitherto besot us. For the suc-
CSB of the efforts now making to in-
reduce among the Indians the cus-
oniH and pursuits of civilized life ,
nd gradually to absorb thorn into the
nass of our citizens , sharing their
ights and holding to the rospoiisibili-
ies , there is imperative need for log-
slativo action. My suggestions in
hat respect will bo chiefly such as
mvu been already called to the atton-
ion of congress and have received to
some extent its consideration.
First. I recommend the passage of
an act making the laws of the various
states and territories applicable to the
Indian reservations within their bord
ers and extending the laws of the
state of Arkansas to the portion of In
dian territory not occupied by the five
civilized tribes. Ttio Indian should
receive the protection of the law. Ho
should bo allowed to maintain in
court his rights of person and proper
ly. Ho has repeatedly begged for
this privilege. Its exorcise would bo
very valuable in his progress low.ird
Second. Of the measure which has
boon frequently recommended by my
predecessors in olh'co , and in the fur
therance of which several bills have
been from time to timu introduced in
both houses of congress. The enactment
mont of a general law permitting the
allotment in severally , to such Indians
at least ai desire it , of a reasonable
quantity of land secured to them by
patent and for their own protection
and made alienable for from twenty or
twenty-five years , is demanded for
their present welfare and their per
nmnoiit advancement. In return for
such considerate action on the nnrt of
the government , there is reason to
believe tlmt the Indians in largo
numbers would bo persuaded to sever
their tribal relations apd to ongatro at
once in agricultural pursuits. They
would ( see that their roaming days
were over , and that it in now lei
their best interests to conform their
manner of life to the now order of
things. Uy no greater inducement
than the assurance of permanent title
of the soil can they bo led to engage
in the occupation of tilling it. The
well attested reports of their increas
ing interest in husbandry justify the
hopoand belief that thu enactment ol
sucli a statute as 1 recommend wniih'
be at oncu attended with gratifying
results. A resort to the allotmenl
system would have a direct and
powerful iulluonco in disolving the
tribal band , which is a promineiil
feature of iiavago lifo am :
which tends so strongly to
perpetuate them. I advise a libcru
appropriation for the uupport of In
dian ( schools , because of my conOden' '
belief that such acourso is consistent
with the winest economy. Kvcn
among the most uncultured Indian
tribes , there is reported to bo a general -
oral desire on thopart of the chiif-t
and older members for thn education
of tliuircliildron. ItinunforMiiiiUe ,
in view of this fact , that during the
past years the means which have boon
at the command of the interior de
partment for the purpose ot Indian
instruction have proved to bo utterly
inadequate. The success of the
schools which are in operation at
Hampton , Catlisle , and Forest
Orovo should not only oncoiirauu a
more gonerou * provision for th sup
port of these institutions , but should
prompt the establishment of others of
similur character. They are doubtless -
loss much more potent for good than
the day schools upon thu reservations ,
ai the pupils are altogether separated
from the surroundings of the tough
life , and brought into constant con
tact with civilization. There nre
many other phases of this subject
which are of urcat interest , but which
cannot bo included within thu becom
ing limits of this communication.
They are discussed ablyin the report *
of the secretary of the interior and of
thu commissioner of Indian nfl'iirx ,
Till ! MultMOS gt'KHTIJ.V.
For many years the ox"culivo in
his annual message to congress has
suggested flui necessity ot stringent
legislation for the suppression of po
lygamy in the territories , especially in
Utah. Thu existing statute for the
punishment of this odious crime , HO
revolting to the moral and reliuions
sense of Christianity , has been persis
tently and contemptuously violated
evur since its enactment. Indeed , in
spite of commendable efforts on the
part of the authorities who represent
thu United States in that territory ,
the Jaw has , in very rare ; instances ,
been enforced , and for a cause to
which reference will presently bo
made , is practically a dead loiter.
Thu fact that adherents of iho Mor
mon church , which rests up"on polyga
my as its corner stone , have recently
been peopling'in largo numbers , Ida
ho , Arizona and othcr'of our western
territories , is woJJ.calculated to excite
the liveliest interest and apprehension ,
[ t imposes upon congress and the ex
ecutive the duty of using against this
barbarous system all the power which
under the constilulion and the law
: hey can wield for its destruction ,
lletcronce has already boon made to
lie obstacles the United States officers
mvo encountered in their efforts to
Hiniah violators of the law. Promi-
lent among the obstacles is the difli
culty of procuring legil evidence sufli-
ciont to warrant a conviction even in
the case of the most notori
ous offenders. Your attention
s called to the report
of the supreme court of the United
States , , explaining its judgment of re
versal in the casu of Miles , who had
joen convicted of big.uny in Utah.
The court refers to the fact that the
secrecy attending the colubr.xtion of
uarringes in that territory makes that
art of polygamy very iliflicult , nnd
, ho propriety is suggested of modify-
ng that law of evidence which now
nakos a wife incompetent to testify
ngainat her husband. This suggestion
s approved. I , recommend also the
lassing of an act providing that in iho
.erritorics . ot the United States , the
'act ' that a woman has boon married to
i person charged with bigamy shall
lot disqualify hoijas a witness upon
iis trial for tmjU'olFenso. I further
recommend legislation by which any
lorsou solemnizing a marriage in any
if the territories shall bo required
under stringent penalties for neglect
or refusal to file a certificate of such
narriago in the supreme court of the
erritory , unless congress make or
devise other practicable measures for
> bviating the difliculties which have
litherto attended the efforts to sup-
> ress this iniquity. I assure you of
liy determined purpose to co-operate
with you in any lawful and discreet
noasures which may be proposed to
hat end.
Although our system of government
does not contemplate that the nation ,
should provide or support n system
'or the education of our people , no
noAsurcs calculated to promote that
general intelligence and virtue upon
vliich the perpetuity of our institu-
, ions so greatly depends , have over
jeen regarded with indifleronce by
congress or the executive. A largo
> ortbu of the public domain has been
From time to time devoted to the pro
motion of education. There is now
especial occasion why , by setting
ipart the'proceeds of its sales of pub
ic lands or by some other course , the
jovcrnmont should aid the work of
jducation. Many who now exercise
the right of miliragu are unable to
.read the ballot .which they
cast. Upon many who had
just emerged from a condition
if ulavery where suddenly
devolved the responsibilities of citi
zenship in that portion of the country
most impoverished by war , I have
been pleased to learn from the report
of the commissioner of cducition that
there has boon lately a commendable
increase of interest and effort for their
instruction ; but all that can bo done
by local legislation and private gen
erosity should bo supplemented by
such aid as can be constitutionally
aifimlcd by the national government.
I would suggest that if 'any fund bo
dedicated to this purpose , it may bo
wisely distributed in the different
states according to the ratio of illiter
acy , as by thh means those locations
which are most in neml of such assist
ance will reap its separate bonelils.
The report of tlio commissioner of
agriculture exhibits results of the ex
periments in which that department
has boon engaged during the past year ,
and imikes important suugcstioiis in
reference to the agricultural development -
mont of the country. The steady in
crease of our population , and the con
sequent addition to the numbers of
those engaged in the pursuit of hus
bandry are giving to this department
a growniir dignity and importance.
The commissioner's suggestions touch-
i ng its capacity for greater usefulness
deserve attention , as it more and
more commends itaolf to the intercut
which it was created to promote.
It appears from the report of the
commissioner of pensions that since
I860 , 780,0(13 ( original pension claims
have boon tiled ; 450,010 of these have
been allowed and inscribed on the
pension roll ; 72,0151) ) have boon re-
joctcd and abandoned , being ! ' ) plus
per cent of the whole number of
cl.ums settled , There nro no * pending
ing fur settlement 2tiio7R ( originnl
pot.siou claims2,701 of which were
filed prior to July 1 , 1880. These ,
when allowed , will invoke the pay
ment of arrears from the date of d'n-
charge in the case of nn invalid , and
from thu date of death or termination
of a prior right in nil other cases.
From all the data obtainable it is es
timated that 15 per cent of the num
ber of clainn now pending will bo re
jected or ahutdoncd. This would
show the probable rejection of 01,010
ciscs and the probable ndd !
tion of lit ; ) , 000 claim * , nil
of which involves the pay
ment of nrrear "of pension. With
the present force employed the num
ber of adjudications remaining the
tnnic and no now business interven
ing , this number of claims (1 ( ! > ; > ,000) )
could be acted upon in a period of > x
years , and taking iliintiury 1 , 1831 , as
n near period from which to estimate
in each case an average amount of
arreaw , it is found that every case
allowed would require for the first
payment upon it the aum of $1,050.
Multiplying this amount by the whole
number of probable admissions gives
8250,000,000 ns the sum required for
the first payments. This represents
the sum which must bo paid upon
cl.iims which were filed beloro .Inly 1 ,
1880 , and are now pending and enti
tled to the benefits of the arrears act.
From this amount ( $250,000,000) ) maybe
bo deducted from § 10,000,000 to
815,000,000 for cases where the claim
ant dying there is no person who , un
der the law , would bo entitled to such
pension , leaving $2155,000,000 as the
probable amount to bo paid.
In thcso estimates no account has
been taken of the 158,500 cases filed
since Juno . ' 50 , 1880 , and now pend
ing , which must receive attention. It
is cm rent business but dees not in
volve payment of any ivrears beyond
the date of the tiling of the cl im. Of
this number it is estimated that 80
per cent , will bo allowed and na has
been stated with the present force
of the pension bureau (070 ( clerks ) it
is estimated that it will take six years
to dispose of the claims now nondincr.
It is stated by the Commissioner of
Pensions that by an addition of 250
clerks ( increasing the adjudicary force
rather than the mechanical ) ' double
the amount of work could 'be accom
plished , so that those cases could
bo acted upon within three
years. Aside ; from the considerations
of justice which may bo urged for a
speedy settlement of the claims now
on the tiles of the pension oflicc , it is
no less important on the score of
economy , inasmuch as fully one-third
if the clerical force of the otlico is
now wholly occupied in giving atten
tion to correspondence with the thou
sands of claimants , whoso cases have
been on file for the past eighteen
years. The fact that n sum so enor
mous may bo expended by the gov-
mentgin paying 'for arrears of pen
sions is an admonition to congress
ind the executive to give cautious
consideration to any similar project
in the future. The great temptation
to the presentation of fictitious claims
afforded , by the fact the average sum
obtained upon each application is
SliOO ; , leads to the suggestion of the
propriety of making some special ap
propriation for the prevention of
: raud.
I advise appropriation for such in
ternal improvements as in the wisdom
jf congress may seem to bo of public
importance. The necessity of im-
iroving the navigation of the Missis-
u'ppi river justifies a special allusion
; o that aubjuct. I suggest the adop
tion of some measure for the removal
of obstructions which now impede the
navigation of that great channel of
In my letter accepting the nomina
tion for vice president , I stated that
in my judgment "no man should bo in
cumbent of office , the duties of which
ho is for any cause unlit to perform ;
who is lacking in the ability , fidelity
or integrity which a proper adminis
tration of such oflico demands. This
sentiment would doubtless meet with
[ , 'anoral acquiescence , but opinion has
been widely divided upon the wisdom
and practicability of the. various re
formatory schemes which have been
suggested , ana . .of certain proposed
regulation governing the appointment
to public oflico. The elliciency
of such regulations has been
distrusted mainly because
they have Scorned to exalt the more
educational and nbstract tests above a
general business capacity and oven
special fitness for the particular work
in hand. It seems to mo that the
management of the public service may
properly conform in the main to such
iis regulate the condition of successful
private business. Original appoint
ments should bo based upon ascertain-
d fitness. Tlio tenure of oflicu should
bu stable ; positions of responsibility
should be filled by the promotion of
worthy and ctlicient officers. The in
vestigation of all complaints
and the punishment of nil
flicial miscoonduct , should bo
prompt and thorough. " The views
expressed in the foregoing letter are
those which will govern my adminis
tration of the executive oflice. They
nro doubtless shared by all intelligent
and patriotic citizens , however diverg
ent in their opinion as to the best
methods of putting them into
practical operation. For exam
ple , the assertion that
an original appointment should bo
based upon ascertained lit HUBS is not
open to dispute , but thn question as
to how in practice such fitness be
most effectually ascertained is ono
which has for years excited interest
and discussion. The measure which ,
with slight variations in its details ,
has lately been urged upon the atten
tion of congress and the executive 'has '
for its principal feature thu scheme
of competitive examination. With
certain exceptions , which need not
hero bo specified , this plan would
allow admission to the service only at
its lowest gradoand would accordingly
demand that all vacancies in higher
positions should bo tilled by promo
tion alono. In those particulars it is
in conformity with the existing civil
service system of Great Britain , and
indeed the success which hai nttondnd
that system in the country of its birth
is the strongest argument which has
been urged for its adoption hero. The
fact should not , however , bo
overlooked that there are certain
features of the English system whioh
have not ireiiorally been received with
favor in this country , oven among the
foremost advocates of civil service re
form. Among thnm are (1 ( , ; a tenure
of oflico which is substantially a life
tenure ; (2 ( , ) a limitation of the
maximum age at which an applicant
can outer the servicewlmroby all men
in middle lifo or under are with some
exceptions , rigidly excluded ; ( fta /
retiring allowance upon going out of
oflice. Thcso throe elements are as
important factors of the problem as
nny of the others. To eliminate tham
from the English system would effect
a most radical change in its theory
and prnctico. The nvownd purposi
of that nystom is to induce educated
young men of the country to devote
their lives to public employment by
an assunuico that having once entered
upon it they need never leave it , and
that after voluntary retirement they
shall be recipients of an an
nual pension. That this system
ai an entirety has proved very
successful in Great Ikitain seems to
bo generally conceded by those who
onca opposed its adoption. Its ndpata
tion to a state which should incorpo
rate nil its essential features , 1 should-
fool bound to give my approval ; but
whether it would bo lor the best in
terests of the public to tix upon
in expedient tor immediate and ex ten
sive application , which embraces cer
tain features of the English system ,
but excludes or ignores others of equal
importance , may bo seriously doubted
oven by those impressed , as 1 am my
self , with the grave importance of cor
recting the evils which are in the
present methods of appointment. If ,
for example , the English rule which
shuts out persons above the ago of
25 years from a largo number of pub
lic employments is not made an essen
tial part of our system ,
it is questionable whether
the attainment of the highest
number of marks at a competitive
examination should bo the criterion
by which all applications for appoint
ment should bo put to test and under
similar conditions it inay also bo
questioned whether admission to the
service should bo strictly limited to
its lowest rank. There are very many
characteristics which go to make a
model civil service. Prominent among
them are probably industry , good
sense , good habits , good temper , pa
tience , order , courtesy , , tact , self-re
liance , manly deference to superior
officers and manly considerations for
inferiors. The absence of these traits
is not uupplied by wide _ knowledge of
books , or by promptitude in answer
ing questions , or by any other quality
likely to bo brought to light
by a competitive examination. To
make success in such a contest ,
therefore , an indispensable condition
of public employment , would very
likely result in the practical exclusion
of the older applicants , even though
they might possess qualifications far
superior to their younger nnd more
brilliant competitors. These sugges
tions must not be regarded as evincing
any spirit of opposition to thu com
petitive plan , which has been to some
extent successfully employed already
and which may hereafter vindicate )
the claim of its earnest supporters ,
but it oui'ht to bo seriously considered
whether tlio application of the same
educational standard to persons of
mature years and to yotina men fresh
from school and college would
not bo likely to exalt
mere intellectual proficiency above
other qualities of equal or greater
importance. Another feature of the
proposed system is the election for
promotion of all officers of the gov
ernment above the lowest grade , ex
cept such as would fairly bo regarded
as exponents of the policy of the executive -
ecutivo and the principles of the dom
inant party. To afford encourage
ment to laithful public servants by
exciting in their minds the hope of
promotion if they are found to merit
it , is much to bo desired , but would
it bo wise to adopt a rule so rigid as
to permit no other mode of supplying
the intermediate ranks of the service ?
There are many persons who fill sub
ordinate positions with great credit ,
but lack these qualities which are
requisite for the higher posts of duty ,
and besides the modes of thought and
action of ono whose service
in a govermental bureau has been
long continued are often so cramped
by routine procedure as almost to
disqualify him from instituting the
changes required by the public
interests , and the infusion of now
blood from timu to time into the
middle ranks of the service might bo
very beneficial in its results. The
subject under discussion is ono of
grave importance. The evils which
are complained of cannot bu | eradi
cated at onco. The work miidt bo
gradual. _ The 'present English
system is a growth of years
and was not created by
a tingle stroke of executive
or legislative actions. Its beginnings
are found in an order in council
promulgated in 1855 , and it was , af
ter patient and courteous scrutiny of
its workings , that fifteen years later
it took its present shape. Five years
after the isntanco of the order in
council , and at a time when result
had been made to competitive exuni-
inations a ) an experiment much more
extensively than has yet been the
case in this country , a select commit-
tci > of the house of commons made a
report to that house whioh , declaring
its approval of the competitive
method , deprecated , nevertheless , any
precipitancy in ilH general adoption as
likely to endanger its ultimate
success. Dunn * , ' this tentative period
the results of the two methods of pass
examination and competitive ) exami
nation closely watched and com
pared. It iiay | bo that bcforo wocon-
fiuo ourselves upon this important
question within the stringent bounds
of statutory enactment , wo may pro
fitably await the result of further in
quiry and u < q > erimeiit , The subniin-
faion of a portion of the nominations tea
a central board of examiner. ) selected
solely for testing thu qualifications of
applicants , may , perhaps , without ro-
sorttothu competitive test , put an
end to the mischief which attends the
present oystem of appointment
and it may bo feasible to vest in
such a board a wide discretion ,
to ascertain the characteristics
and attainments of candidates in these
particulars which 1 have- already ref -
f erred to us being no less important
than mere intellectual acquirements.
If congress should deem it advisable
at the proiont session to establish
competitive tests for admission to the
service , no doubts such as have been
suggested shall deter me from giving
the mensuro my earnest support , and
I urgently recommend , should there
bo a failure to p s any
other act upon this Mibjoct , that an
appropriation of $25,000 per year bo
made for the enfoicuneitt of tection
1.7o.5 of the Hevised Statutes. With
the aid thus afforded mo I slmll sit ivo
to execute the provisions of that law
according to its letter and spirit. I
am unwilling , in juetico to the pres
ent civil servants of the government ,
to dismiss this subject wiihioit declar
ing my dissent from the suvoic nnd
almost indiscriminate ceimuru with
which they have been recently as-
.sailed that thoynre , as a class , indo
lent , inefficient and corrrupt. It is a
statement which has been often madu
and widnly credited , hut when the ex
tent , variety , dolicncy und impoitauco
of their duties aru considered , the ma
jority of the employes of the govern
ment are , in my judgment , deserving
of commendation ,
The continuing decline of the mer
chant ninrino of the United States
is to bo greatly deplored. In view of
the fact that wo turnish so large a
proportion of the freights of the
commercial world , and that our ship
ments are steadily and rapidly inctuas-
ingit is a cause ot surprise. Not only is
our navigation interest diminishing ,
but it is less than when our exports
and imports were not. half so largo aa
now , cither in bulk or in v.Uue.
There must be a peculiar hindrance to
the development of this interest , or
the enterprise and energy of Ameri
can mechanics and capitalists would
have kept this country at least abreast
of our rivals in the friendly contest
for ocean supremacy. The substitu
tion of iron for wood , and of steam
for eail , havo"wrought a ureat revolu
tion -in the trade of the world ,
but these changes could not have been
adverse to Americans if wo had given
to the navigation interests a portion
of the aid nnd protection which have
been so wisely bestowed upon our
nianiifacturern , I commend the whole
subject to the wisdom of congress ,
with the suggestion that no question
of greater magnitude or frrther reach
ing importance can engage their at
Ill 1875 the supreme court of the
United States declared unconstitu
tional the statutes or certain stalest
which imposed upon shipowners and
consignees a tav of § 1 50 for each pas
senger arriving from a foreign coun
try , or in lieu thereof required a bond
to indemnify the stale and local au
thorities ngainst expense for the future
relief or support of such passenger.
Since this decision the expense at
tending the care and supervision of
immigrants has fallen on the states
at whoso ports they have landed. As
a largo majority of such immigiants
immediately upon their airi-
val proceed to the inland
states and the territories to seek
permanent homes , it is manifestly un
just to impose upon the stale whose
shores they first reach tlio burden
which it now boars. For this reason ,
and because of the national import
ance of the subject , I recommend
legislation regarding the supervision
to transitory cares of immigrants in
the ports ot dekxrkati in.
I regret to state that tho' people of
Alaska have reason to cotnolain that
they are as yet unprovided with any
form of government by which lifo or
property can bo protecled. While
the extent of this population docs not
justify the application of the costly
machinery of territorial administra
tion , there is immediate necessity for
constituting such a form of govern
ment as will promote the education
of the peopla and secure the ad
ministration of justice.
The senate at its last session passed
a bill providing for thu construction
of a building for the library of con
gress , but it failed to become a law.
The provision of suitable protection
for this great collection of books and
for the copyright department connect
ed with it has become a subject of
national importance and should receive
prompt attention.
The report of the commissioners of
the District of Columbia herewith
transmitted will inform you fully of
the condition of the affairs of the Dis
trict. The vital importance of legis
lation for the reclamation and im
provement of tlie marshes and for the
establishment of the harbor lines
along the Potomac river fron
is presented. In their preset !
condition these marshes seriously af
fect tlio health of the residents of the
adjacent parts of the city and they
greatly mar the general aspect of the
park in which stands the Washington
monument. This improvement would
add to that park and the park youth of
the executive mansion , a largo nro a
of valuable land , and would transform
what is now believed to bo a danger
ous nuisance into an attractive landscape -
scapo extending to the river front.
They recommend the removal of the
steam railway lines from the surface
of the streets of the city , and the loca
tion of the ncceesary oepots in such
places as may be convenient for the
public accommodation. They call
attention to the deficiency of the water
supply which seriously atfects the
material prosperity of the city , and
the health and comfort of its inhabi
tants. I commend these subject to
your favorable consideration.
The importance of timely legisla
tion with respect to thu ascertainment
nnd declarations of the vote for presi
dential electors , was sharply called to
the attention of the people more than
four years ago. It is to bo hoped
tint some well-defined measure may
bo devised before another national
election , which will render unneces
sary a resort to any expedient of a
temporary character for the determin
ation of questions upon contested re
Questions which concern the very
existence of the government and the
liberties of the people were suggested
by the prolonged illness of the late
president and his consequent inca-
pi''ity ; ' to perform the functions of his
oflico. It is provided by the second
article of the constitution in the fifth
clause of its first section , that in ca&o
of the removal of the president from
oflico or of his death , assassination or \
inability to discharge the powers and
duties of said ofl'ni , tbo nine plmU r > > -