« AnteriorContinuar »
ing at Victoria, find it easy to pass our border, owing to the impossibility, with the force at the command of the customs officers, of guarding so long an inland line. The Secretary of the Treasury has authorized the employment of additional officers who will be assigned to this duty, and every effort will be made to enforce the law. The Dominion exacts a head tax of fifty dollars for each Chinaman landed, and when these persons, in fraud of our law, cross into our territory and are apprehended, our officers do not know what to do with them, as the Dominion authorities will not suffer them to be sent back without a second payment of the tax. An effort will be niade to reach an understanding that will remove this difficulty.
The proclamation required by section 3 of the act of March 2, 1889, relating to the killing of seals and other fur-bearing animals, was issued by me on the 21st day of March, and a revenue vessel was dispatched to enforce the laws and protect the interests of the United States. The establishment of a refuge station at Point Barrow, as directed by Congress, was successfully accomplished.
Judged by modern standards, we are practically without coast defenses. Many of the structures we have would enhance rather than diminish the perils of their garrisons if subjected to the fire of improved guns; and very few are so located as to give full effect to the greater range of such guns as we are now making for coastdefense uses. This general subject lias had consideration in Congress for some years, and the appropriation for the construction of large rifled guns, made one year ago, was, I am sure, the expression of a purpose to provide suitable works in which these guns might be mounted. An appropriation now made for that purpose would not advance the completion of the works beyond our ability to supply them with fairly effective guns.
The security of our coast cities against foreign attack should not rest altogether in the friendly disposition of other nations. There should be a second line wholly in our own keeping. I very urgently recommend an appropriation at this session for the construction of such works in our most exposed harbors.
I approve the suggestion of the Secretary of War that provision be made for encamping companies of the National Guard in our coast works for a specified time each year, and for their training in the use of heavy guns. His suggestion that an increase of the artillery force of the Army is desirable is also in this connection commended to the consideration of Congress.
The improvement of our important rivers and harbors should be promoted by the necessary appropriations. Care should be taken that the Government is not committed to the prosecution of works not of public and general advantage, and that the relative usefulness of works of that class is not overlooked. So far as this work can ever be said to be completed, I do not doubt that the end would be sooner and more economically reached if fewer separate works were undertaken at the same time, and those selected for their greater general interest were more rapidly pushed to completion. A work once considerably begun should not be subjected to the risks and deterioration which interrupted or insufficient appropriations necessarily occasion.
The assault made by David S. Terry upon the person of Justice Field, of the Supreme Court of the United States, at Lathrop, California, in August last, and the killing of the assailant by a deputy United States marshal who had been deputed to accompany Justice Field and to protect him from anticipated violence at the hands of Terry, in connection with the legal proceedings which have followed, suggest questions which, in my judgment, are worthy of the attention of Congress.
I recommend that more definite provision be made by law, not only for the protection of Federal officers, but for a full trial of such cases in the United States courts. In recommending such legislation I do not at all impeach either the general adequacy of the provision made by the State laws for the protection of all citizens or the general good disposition of those charged with the execution of such laws to give protection to the officers of the United States. The duty of protecting its officers, as such, and of punishing those who assault them on account of their official acts, should not be devolved expressly or by acquiescence upon the local authorities.
Events, which have been brought to my attention, happening in other parts of the country, have also suggested the propriety of extending, by legislation, fuller protection to those who may be called as witnesses in the courts of the United States. The law compels those who are supposed to have knowledge of public offenses to attend upon our courts and grand juries and to give evidence. There is a manifest resulting duty that these witnesses shall be protected from injury on account of their testimony. The investigations of criminal offenses are often rendered futile, and the punishment of crime impossible, by the intimidation of witnesses,
The necessity of providing some more speedy method for disposing of the cases which now come for final adjudication to the Supreme Court becomes every year more apparent and urgent. The plan of providing some intermediate courts, having final appellate jurisdiction of certain classes of questions and cases, has, I think, received a more general approval from the bench and bar of the country than any other. Without attempting to discuss details, I recommend that provision be made for the establishment of such courts.
The salaries of the judges of the district courts in many of the districts are, in my judgment, inadequate. I recoinmend that all such salaries now below five thousand dollars per annum be increased to that amount. It is quite true that the amount of labor performed by these judges is very unequal, but as they can not properly engage in other pursuits to supplement their incomes, the salary should be such in all cases as to provide an independent and comfortable support.
Earnest attention should be given by Congress to a consideration of the question how far the restraint of those combinations of capital commonly called “trusts” is matter of Federal jurisdiction. When organized, as they often are, to crush out all healthy competition and to monopolize the production or sale of an article of commerce and general necessity, they are dangerous conspiracies against the public good, and should be made the subject of prohibitory and even penal legislation.
The subject of an international copyright has been frequently commended to the attention of Congress by my predecessors. The enactment of such a law would be eminently wise and just.
Our naturalization laws should be so revised as to make the inquiry into the moral character and good disposition towards our Government of the persons applying for citizenship more thorough. This can only be done by taking fuller control of the examination, by fixing the times for hearing such applications, and by requiring the presence of some one who shall represent the Government in the inquiry. Those who are the avowed enemies of social order, or who come to our shores to swell the injurious influence and to extend the evil practices of any association that defies our laws, should not only be denied citizenship but a domicile.
The enactment of a national bankrupt law of a character to be a permanent part of our general legislation is desirable. It should be simple in its methods and inexpensive in its administration.
The report of the Postmaster-General not only exhibits the operations of the Department for the last fiscal year, but contains many valuable suggestions for the improvement and extension of the service, which are commended to your attention. No other branch of the Government has so close a contact with the daily life of the people. Almost every one uses the service it offers, and every hour gained in the transmission of the great commercial mails has an actual and possible value that only those engaged in trade can understand.
The saving of one day in the transmission of the mails between New York and San Francisco, which has recently been accomplished, is an incident worthy of mention.
The plan suggested of a supervision of the post-offices in separate ' districts that shall involve instruction and suggestion and a rating of the efficiency of the postmasters would, I have no doubt, greatly improve the service,
A pressing necessity exists for the erection of a building for the joint use of the Department and of the city post-office. The Department was partially relieved by renting outside quarters for a part of its force, but it is again overcrowded. The building used by the city office never was fit for the purpose, and is now inadequate and unwholesome.
The unsatisfactory condition of the law relating to the transmission through the mails of lottery advertisements and remittances is clearly stated by the Postmaster-General, and his suggestion as to amendments should have your favorable consideration.
The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows a reorganization of the Bureaus of the Department that will, I do not doubt, promote the efficiency of each.
In general, satisfactory progress has been made in the construction of the new ships of war authorized by Congress. The first vessel of the new Navy, the Dolphin, was subjected to very severe trial tests and to very much adverse criticism. But it is gratifying to be able to state that a cruise around the world, from which she has recently returned, has demonstrated that she is a first-class vessel of her rate.
The report of the Secretary shows that while the effective force of the Navy is rapidly increasing, by reason of the improved build and armament of the new ships, the number of our ships fit for sea duty grows very slowly. We had, on the 4th of March last, thirtyseven serviceable ships, and though four have since been added to the list, the total has not been increased, because in the mean time four have been lost or condemned. Twenty-six additional vessels
FR 89 II
have been authorized and appropriated for, but it is probable that when they are completed our list will only be increased to forty-two, a gain of five. The old wooden ships are disappearing almost as fast as the new vessels are added. These facts carry their own argument. One of the new ships may, in fighting strength, be equal to two of the old, but it can not do the cruising duty of two. It is important, therefore, that we should have a more rapid increase in the number of serviceable ships. I concur in the recommendation of the Secretary that the construction of eight armored ships, three gun-boats, and five torpedo-boats be authorized.
An appalling calamity befell three of our naval vessels on duty at the Samoan Islands, in the harbor of Apia, in March last, involving the loss of four officers and forty-seven seamen, of two vessels, the Trenton and the Vandalia, and the disabling of a third, the Nipsic. Three vessels of the German Navy, also in the harbor, shared with our ships the force of the hurricane and suffered even more heavily. While mourning the brave officers and men who died, facing with high resolve perils greater than those of battle, it is most gratifying to state that the credit of the American Navy for seamanship, courage, and generosity was magnificently sustained in the storm-beaten harbor of Apia.
The report of the Secretary of the Interior exhibits the transactions of the Government with the Indian tribes. Substantial progress has been made in the education of the children of school age and in the allotment of lands to adult Indians. It is to be regretted that the policy of breaking up the tribal relation and of dealing with the Indian as an individual did not appear earlier in our legislation. Large reservations, held in common, and the maintenance of the authority of the chiefs and head-men have deprived the individual of every incentive to the exercise of thrift, and the annuity has contributed an affirmative impulse towards a state of confirmed pauperism.
Our treaty stipulations should be observed with fidelity, and our legislation should be highly considerate of the best interests of an ignorant and helpless people. The reservations are now generally surrounded by white settlements. We can no longer push the Indian back into the wilderuess, and it remains only, by every suitable agency, to push him upward into the estate of a self-supporting and responsible citizen. For the adult, the first step is to locate him upon a farın, and for the child, to place him in a school.