United States. President.

A compilation of the messages and papers of the presidents (Volume 11) online

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Charles Ulrich








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Prepared Under the Direction of the Joint Committee

on Printing. o( the House and Senate,

Pursuant to an Act o( the Fifty-Second Congress

o( the United States

(With Additions and Encyclopedic Index
by Private Enterprise)





Copyright, 1897








The Senate Chamber Frontispiece

Diaz Leading French Prisoners to Mexico City .... 4641

Scenes Typical of Our Northernmost Territory, Alaska . . 4769

Grover Cleveland (portrait) 4881 B

(With sketch of his birthplace on tissue)

Frances Folsom Cleveland (portrait) 4881 D

Drexel Cottage at Mt. McGregor, N. Y., where Grant Died . 4927

Grant's Tomb, Morningside Heights, New York City . . 4943

The Inauguration of Grover Cleveland 539

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A-' Ji . t .9

Chester A. Arthur 4626

Germany have arisen during the year, and the causes of complaint, espe-
cially in Alsace and Lorraine, have practically ceased through the liberal
action of the Imperial Government in accepting our often-expressed
views on the subject. The application of the treaty of 1868 to the
lately acquired Rhenish provinces has received very earnest attention,
and a definite and lasting agreement on this point is confidently ex-
pected. The participation of the descendants of Baron von Steuben in
the Yorktown festivities, and their subsequent reception by their Amer-
ican kinsmen, strikingly evinced the ties of good will which unite the
German people and our own.

Our intercourse with Spain has been friendly. An agreement con-
cluded in February last fixes a term for the labors of the Spanish and
American Claims Commission. The Spanish Government has been
requested to pay the late awards of that Commission, and will, it is
believed, accede to the request as promptly and courteously as on former

By recent legislation onerous fines have been imposed upon American
shipping in Spanish and colonial ports for slight irregularities in mani-
fests. One case of hardship is specially worthy of attention. The bark
Masonic, bound for Japan, entered Manila in distress, and is there sought
to be confiscated under Spanish revenue laws for an alleged shortage in
her transshipped cargo. Though efforts for her relief have thus far
proved unavailing, it is expected that the whole matter will be adjusted
in a friendly spirit.

The Senate resolutions of condolence on the assassination of the Czar
Alexander II were appropriately communicated to the Russian Govern-
ment, which in turn has expressed its sympathy in our late national
bereavement. It is desirable that our cordial relations with Russia
should be strengthened by proper engagements assuring to peaceable
Americans who visit the Empire the consideration which is due to them
as citizens of a friendly state. This is especially needful with respect to
American Israelites, whose classification with the native Hebrews has
evoked energetic remonstrances from this Government.

A supplementary consular agreement with Italy has been sanctioned
and proclaimed, which puts at rest conflicts of jurisdiction in the case of
crimes on shipboard.

Several important international conferences have been held in Italy
during the year. At the Geographical Congress of Venice, the Benefi-
cence Congress of Milan, and the Hygienic Congress of Turin this coun-
try was represented by delegates from branches of the public service or
by private citizens duly accredited in an honorary capacity. It is hoped
that Congress will give such prominence to the results of their partici-
pation as they may seem to deserve.

The abolition of all discriminating duties against such colonial pro-
ductions of the Dutch Kast Indies as are imported hither from Holland

4627 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

has been already considered by Congress. I trust that at the present
session the matter may be favorably concluded.

The insecurity of life and property in many parts of Turkey has given
rise to correspondence with the Porte looking particularly to the better
protection of American missionaries in the Empire. The condemned
murderer of the eminent missionary Dr. Justin W. Parsons has not yet
been executed, although this Government has repeatedly demanded that
exemplary justice be done.

The Swiss Government has again solicited the good offices of our
diplomatic and consular agents for the protection of its citizens in coun-
tries where it is not itself represented. This request has, within proper
limits, been granted.

Our agents in Switzerland have been instructed to protest against the
conduct of the authorities of certain communes in permitting the emi-
gration to this country of criminals and other objectionable persons.
Several such persons, through the cooperation of the commissioners of
emigration at New York, have been sent back by the steamers which
brought them. A continuance of this course may prove a more effectual
remedy than diplomatic remonstrance.

Treaties of commerce and navigation and for the regulation of con-
sular privileges have been concluded with Roumania and Servia since
their admission into the family of European States.

As is natural with contiguous states having like institutions and like
aims of advancement and development, the friendship of the United States
and Mexico has been constantly maintained. This Government has lost
no occasion of encouraging the Mexican Government to a beneficial
realization of the mutual advantages which will result from more inti-
mate commercial intercourse and from the opening of the rich interior
of Mexico to railway enterprise. I deem it important that means be
provided to restrain the lawlessness unfortunately so common on the
frontier and to suppress the forays of the reservation Indians on either
side of the Rio Grande.

The neighboring States of Central America have preserved internal
peace, and their outward relations toward us have been those of intimate
friendship. There are encouraging signs of their growing disposition to
subordinate their local interests to those which are common to them by
reason of their geographical relations.

The boundary dispute between Guatemala and Mexico has afforded
this Government an opportunity to exercise its good offices for prevent-
ing a rupture between those States and for procuring a peaceable solution
of the question. I cherish strong hope that in view of our relations of
amity with both countries ci:r friendly counsels may prevail.

A social envoy of Guatemala has brought to me the condolences of
his Government and people on the death of President Garfield.

The Costa Rican Government lately framed an engagement with

Chester A. Arthur 4628

Colombia for settling oy arbitration the boundary question between those
countries, providing that the post of arbitrator should be offered succes-
sively to the King of the Belgians, the King of Spain, and the President
of the Argentine Confederation. The King of the Belgians has declined
to act, but I am not as yet advised of the action of the King of Spain.
As we have certain interests in the disputed territory which are protected
by our treaty engagements with one of the parties, it is important that
the arbitration should not without our consent affect our rights, and this
Government has accordingly thought proper to make its views known to
the parties to the agreement, as well as to intimate them to the Belgian
and Spanish Governments.

The questions growing out of the proposed interoceanic waterway
across the Isthmus of Panama are of grave national importance. This
Government has not been unmindful of the solemn obligations imposed
upon it by its compact of 1846 with Colombia, as the independent and
sovereign mistress of the territory crossed by the canal, and has sought
to render them effective by fresh engagements with the Colombian Repub-
lic looking to their practical execution. The negotiations to this end,
after they had reached what appeared to be a mutually satisfactory solu-
tion here, were met in Colombia by a disavowal of the powers which its
envoy had assumed and by a proposal for renewed negotiation on a
modified basis.

Meanwhile this Government learned that Colombia had proposed to
the European powers to join in a guaranty of the neutrality of the pro-
posed Panama canal a guaranty which would be in direct contravention
of our obligation as the sole guarantor of the integrity of Colombian ter-
ritory and of the neutrality of the canal itself. My lamented predecessor
felt it his duty to place before the European powers the reasons which
make the prior guaranty of the United States indispensable, and for
which the interjection of any foreign guaranty might be regarded as a
superfluous and unfriendly act.

Foreseeing the probable reliance of the British Government on the
provisions of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 1850 as affording room for
a share in the guaranties which the United States covenanted with
Colombia four years before, I have not hesitated to supplement the
action of my predecessor by proposing to Her Majesty's Government
the modification of that instrument and the abrogation of such clauses
thereof as do not comport with the obligations of the United States
toward Colombia or with the vital needs of the two friendly parties to
the compact.

This Government sees with great concern the continuance of the hos-
tile relations between Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. An early peace between
these Republics is much to be desired, not only that they may themselves
be spared further misery and bloodshed, but because their continued an-
tagonism threatens consequences which are, in my judgment, dangerous

4629 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

to the interests of republican government on this continent and cal-
culated to destroy the best elements of our free and peaceful civiliza^

As in the present excited condition of popular feeling in these coun-
tries there has been serious misapprehension of the position of the United
States, and as separate diplomatic intercourse with each through inde-
pendent ministers is sometimes subject, owing to the want of prompt
reciprocal communication, to temporary misunderstanding, I have deemed
it judicious at the present time to send a special envoy accredited to all
and each of them, and furnished with general instructions which will, I
trust, enable him to bring these powers into friendly relations.

The Government of Venezuela maintains its attitude of warm friend-
ship and continues with great regularity its payment of the monthly
quota of the diplomatic debt. Without suggesting the direction in
which Congress should act, I ask its attention to the pending questions
affecting the distribution of the sums thus far received.

The relations between Venezuela and France growing out of the same
debt have been for some time past in an unsatisfactory state, and this
Government, as the neighbor and one of the largest creditors of Vene-
zuela, has interposed its influence with the French Government with the
view of producing a friendly and honorable adjustment.

I regret that the commercial interests between the United States and
Brazil, from which great advantages were hoped a year ago, have suf-
fered from the withdrawal of the American lines of communication
between the Brazilian ports and our own.

Through the efforts of our minister resident at Buenos Ayres and the
United States minister at Santiago, a treaty has been concluded between
the Argentine Republic and Chile, disposing of the long-pending Pata-
gonian boundary question. It is a matter of congratulation that our
Government has been afforded the opportunity of successfully exerting
its good influence for the prevention of disagreements between these
Republics of the American continent.

I am glad to inform you that the treaties lately negotiated with China
have been duly ratified on both sides and the exchange made at Peking.
Legislation is necessary to carry their provisions into effect. The prompt
and friendly spirit with which the Chinese Government, at the request
of the United States, conceded the modification of existing treaties should
secure careful regard for the interests and susceptibilities of that Govern-
ment in the enactment of any laws relating to Chinese immigration.

Those clauses of the treaties which forbid the participation of citizens
or vessels of the United States in the opium trade will doubtless receive
your approval. They will attest the sincere interest which our people
and Government feel in the commendable efforts of the Chinese Govern-
ment to put a stop to this demoralizing and destructive traffic.

In relation both to China and Japan some changes are desirable in our

Chester A. Arthur 4630

present system of consular jurisdiction. I hope at some future time to
lay before you a scheme for its improvement in the entire East.

The intimacy between our own country and Japan, the most advanced
of the Eastern nations, continues to be cordial. I am advised that the
Emperor contemplates the establishment of full constitutional govern-
ment, and that he has already summoned a parliamentary congress for
the purpose of effecting the change. Such a remarkable step toward
complete assimilation with the Western system can not fail to bring
Japan into closer and more beneficial relationship with ourselves as the
chief Pacific power.

A question has arisen in relation to the exercise in that country of the
judicial functions conferred upon our ministers and consuls. The indict-
ment, trial, and conviction in the consular court at Yokohama of John
Ross, a merchant seaman on board an American vessel, have made it
necessary for the Government to institute a careful examination into the
nature and methods of this jurisdiction.

It appeared that Ross was regularly shipped under the flag of the
United States, but was by birth a British subject. My predecessor felt
it his duty to maintain the position that during his service as a regularly
shipped seaman on board an American merchant vessel Ross was subject
to the laws of that service and to the jurisdiction of the United States
consular authorities.

I renew the recommendation which has been heretofore nrged by the
Executive upon the attention of Congress, that after the deduction of
such amount as may be found due to American citizens the balance
of the indemnity funds heretofore obtained from China and Japan, and
which are now in the hands of the State Department, be returned to the
Governments of those countries.

The King of Hawaii, in the course of his homeward return after a jour-
ney around the world, has lately visited this country. While our rela-
tions with that Kingdom are friendly, this Government has viewed with
concern the efforts to seek replenishment of the diminishing population
of the islands from outward sources, to a degree which may impair the
native sovereignty and independence, in which the United States was
among the first to testify a lively interest.

Relations of unimpaired amity have been maintained throughout the
year with the respective Governments of Austria-Hungary, Belgium,
Denmark, Hayti, Paraguay and Uruguay, Portugal, and Sweden and
Norway. This may also be said of Greece and Ecuador, although our
relations with those States have for some years been severed by the
withdrawal of appropriations for diplomatic representatives at Athens
and Quito. It seems expedient to restore those missions, even on a
reduced scale, and I decidedly recommend such a course with respect to
Ecuador, which is likely within the near future to play an important part
among the nations of the Southern Pacific.

Messages and Papers of the Presidents

At its last extra session the Senate called for the text of the Geneva
convention for the relief of the wounded in war. I trust that this action
foreshadows such interest in the subject as will result in the adhesion o r
the United States to that humane and commendable engagement.

I invite your attention to the propriety of adopting the new code of
international rules for the prevention of collisions on the high seas and
of conforming the domestic legislation of the United States thereto, so
that no confusion may arise from the application of conflicting rules
in the case of vessels of different nationalities meeting in tidal waters.
These international rules differ but slightly from our own. They have
been adopted by the Navy Department for the governance of the war
ships of the United States on the high seas and in foreign waters, and,
through the action of the State Department in disseminating the rules
and in acquainting shipmasters with the option of conforming to them
without the jurisdictional waters of the United States, they are now very
generally known and obeyed.

The State Department still continues to publish to the country the
trade and manufacturing reports received from its officers abroad. The
success of this course warrants its continuance and such appropriation as
may be required to meet the rapidly increasing demand for these publi-
cations. With special reference to the Atlanta Cotton Exposition, the
October number of the reports was devoted to a valuable collection of
papers on the cotton-goods trade of the world.

The International Sanitary Conference for which, in 1879, Congress
made provision assembled in this city early in January last, and its ses-
sions were prolonged until March. Although it reached no specific
conclusions affecting the future action of the participant powers, the
interchange of views proved to be most valuable. The full protocols of
the sessions have been already presented to the Senate.

As pertinent to this general subject, I call your attention to the
operations of the National Board of Health. Established by act of
Congress approved March 3, 1879, its sphere of duty was enlarged by
the act of June 2 in the same year. By the last-named act the board
was required to institute such measures as might be deemed necessary
for preventing the introduction of contagious or infectious diseases from
foreign countries into the United States or from one State into another.

The execution of the rules and regulations prepared by the board and
approved by my predecessor has done much to arrest the progress of
epidemic disease, and has thus rendered substantial service to the nation.

The International Sanitary Conference, to which I have referred,
adopted a form of a bill of health to be used by all vessels seeking to
enter the ports of the countries whose representatives participated in
its deliberations. This form has since been prescribed by the National
Board of Health and incorporated with its rules and regulations, which"
have been approved by me in pursuance of law.

Chester A. Arthur 4632

The health of the people is of supreme importance. All measures
looking to their protection against the spread of contagious diseases and
to the increase of our sanitary knowledge for such purposes deserve
attention of Congress.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury presents in detail a highly
satisfactory exhibit of the state of the finances and the condition of the
various branches of the public service administered by that Department.

The ordinary revenues from all sources for the fiscal year ending June
30, 1881, were:

From customs $198, 159, 676. 02

From internal revenue 135, 264, 385. 51

From sales of public lands 2, 201,863. 17

From tax on circulation and deposits of national banks 8, 116, 115. 72

From repayment of interest by Pacific Railway companies 810,833.80

From sinking fund for Pacific Railway companies 805, 180.54

From customs fees, fines, penalties, etc I, 225, 514. 86

From fees consular, letters patent, and lands 2, 244, 983. 98

From proceeds of sales of Government property 262, 174. oo

From profits on coinage 3, 468, 485. 61

From revenues of the District of Columbia 2,016, 199. 23

From miscellaneous sources 6,206,880. 13

Total ordinary receipts 360, 782, 292. 57

The ordinary expenditures for the same period were:

For civil expenses $17,941, 177.19

For foreign intercourse i, 093, 954. 92

For Indians 6, 514, 161. 09

For pensions 50, 059, 279. 62

For the military establishment, including river and harbor improve-
ments and arsenals 40,466,460.55

For the naval establishment, including vessels, machinery, and improve-
ments at navy-yards 15, 686, 671. 66

For miscellaneous expenditures, including public buildings, light-houses,

and collecting the revenue 41,837,280.57

For expenditures on account of the District of Columbia 3i543i9 I2 -3

For interest on the public debt 82, 508, 741. 18

For premium on bonds purchased 1, 061, 248. 78

Total ordinary expenditures 260, 712, 887. 59

lyeaving a surplus revenue of $100,069,404.98, which was applied as

To the redemption of

Bonds for the sinking fund $74, 371, 200. oo

Fractional currency for the sinking fund 109,001.05

I/aanof February, 1861 7,418,000.00

Ten-forties of 1864 2, 016, 150. oo

Five-twenties of 1862 18, 300. oo

Five-twenties of 1864 3, 400. oo

Five-twenties of 1865 37, 300. oo

Consols of 1865 143, 150. oo

Consols of 1867 959, 150. oo

Consols of 1868 , . 337,400.00

Texan indemnity stock i, ooo. oo

Old demand, compound-interest, and other notes 18, 330. oo

And to the increase of cash in the Treasury 14, 637, 023. 93

loo, 069, 404. 98

The requirements of the sinking fund for the year amounted to
$90,786,064.02, which sum included a balance of $49,817,128.78, not

4633 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

provided for during the previous fiscal year. The sum of $74,480,201.05
was applied to this fund, which left a deficit of $16,305,873.47. The
increase of the revenues for 1881 over those of the previous year was
$29,352,901.10. It is estimated that the receipts during the present
fiscal year will reach $400,000,000 and the expenditures $270,000,000,
leaving a surplus of $130,000,000 applicable to the sinking fund and the
redemption of the public debt.

I approve the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury that
provision be made for the early retirement of silver certificates and that
the act requiring their issue be repealed. They were issued in pursu-
ance of the policy of the Government to maintain silver at or near the
gold standard, and were accordingly made receivable for all customs,
taxes, and public dues. About sixty-six millions of them are now out-
standing. They form an unnecessary addition to the paper currency,
a sufficient amount of which may be readily supplied by the national

In accordance with the act of February 28, 1878, the Treasury Depart-
ment has monthly caused at least two millions in value of silver bullion
to be coined into standard silver dollars. One hundred and two millions
of these dollars have been already coined, while only about thirty-four
millions are in circulation.

For the reasons which he specifies, I concur in the Secretary's recom-
mendation that the provision for coinage of a fixed amount each month
be repealed, and that hereafter only so much be coined as shall be neces-
sary to supply the demand.

The Secretary advises that the issue of gold certificates should not for
the present be resumed, and suggests that the national banks may prop-
erly be forbidden by law to retire their currency except upon reasonable
notice of their intention so to do. Such legislation would seem to be
justified by the recent action of certain banks on the occasion referred to
in. the Secretary's report.

Of the fifteen millions of fractional currency still outstanding, only
about eighty thousand has been redeemed the past year. The sugges-
tion that this amount may properly be dropped from future statements
of the public debt seems worthy of approval.

So also does the suggestion of the Secretary as to the advisability of
relieving the calendar of the United States courts in the southern district
of New York by the transfer to another tribunal of the numerous suits
there pending against collectors.

The revenue from customs for the past fiscal year was $198, 159,676.02,
an increase of $11,637,611.42 over that of the year preceding. One hun-

Online LibraryUnited States. PresidentA compilation of the messages and papers of the presidents (Volume 11) → online text (page 1 of 50)