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collection, which would then be easy of accomplishment, might reasonably be expected to result in diminishing the cost of such collection by at least two millions and a half of dollars, and in the retirement from office of from fifteen hundred to two thousand persons.

The system of excise duties has never commended itself to the favor of the American people, and has never been resorted to except for supplying deficiencies in the Treasury when, by reason of special exigencies, the duties on imports have proved inadequate for the needs of the gov ernment. The sentiment of the country doubtless demands that the present excise tax shall be abolished as soon as such a course can be safely pursued.

It seems to me, however, that, for various reasons, so sweeping a measure as the total abolition of internal taxes would for the present be an u wise step.

wo of these reasons are deserving of special mention:

First, it is by no means clear that even if the existing system of duties on imports is continued without modification, those duties alone will yield sufficient revenue for all the needs of the government. It is estimated that one hundred millions of dollars will be required for pensions during the coming year, and it may well be doubted whether the maximum annual demand for that object has yet been reached. Uncertainty upon this question would alone justify, in my judgment, the retention for the present of that portion of the system of internal revenue which is least objectionable to the people.

Second, a total abolition of excise taxes would almost inevitably prove a serious if not an insurmountable obstacle to a thorough revision of the tariff and to any considerable reduction in import duties.

The present tariff system is in many respects unjust. It makes unequal distributions both of its burdens and its benefits. This fact was practically recognized by a majority of each house of Congress in the passage of the act creating the Tariff Commission. The report of that commission will be placed before you at the beginning of this session, and will, I trust, afford you such information as to the condition and prospects of the various commercial, agricultural, manufacturing, mining, and other interests of the country and contain such suggestions for statutory revision as will practically aid your action upon this important subject.

The revenue from customs for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1879, amounted to $137,000,000.

It has in the three succeeding years reached, first, $186,000,000; then, $198,000,000; and finally, as has been already stated, $220,000,000.

The income from this source for the fiscal year which will end on June 30, 1883, will doubtless be considerably in excess of the sum last mentioned.

If the tax on domestic spirits is to be retained, it is plain therefore that large reductions from the customs revenue are entirely feasible. While recommending this reduction I am far from advising the abandonment of the policy of so discriminating in the adjustment of details as to afford aid and protection to domestic labor. But the present system should be so revised as to equalize the public burden among all classes and occupations, and bring it into closer harmony with the present needs of industry.

Without entering into minute detail, which, under present circumstances, is quite unnecessary, I recommend an enlargement of the free list so as to include within it the numerous articles which yield inconsiderable revenue, a simplification of the complex and inconsistent

schedule of duties upon certain manufactures, particularly those of cotton, iron, and steel, and a substantial reduction of the duties upon those articles, and upon sugar, molasses, silk, wool, and woolen goods. If a general revision of the tariff shall be found to be impracticable at this session, I express the hope that at least some of the more conspicuous inequalities of the present law may be corrected before your final adjournment. One of them is specially referred to by the Secretary. In view of a recent decision of the Supreme Court, the necessity of amending the law by which the Dutch standard of color is adopted as the test of the saccharine strength of sugars is too obvious to require comment.

From the report of the Secretary of War it appears that the only outbreaks of Indians during the past year occurred in Arizona and in the southwestern part of New Mexico. They were promptly quelled, and the quiet which has prevailed in all other parts of the country has permitted such an addition to be made to the military force in the region endangered by the Apaches that there is little reason to apprehend trouble in the future.

Those parts of the Secretary's report which relate to our sea-coast defenses and their armament suggest the gravest reflections. Our existing fortifications are notoriously inadequate to the defense of the great harbors and cities for whose protection they were built.

The question of, providing an armament suited to our present necessities has been the subject of consideration by a board, whose report was transmitted to Congress at the last session. Pending the consideration of that report, the War Department has taken no steps for the manufacture or conversion of any heavy cannon, but the Secretary expresses the hope that authority and means to begin that important work will be soon provided. I invite the attention of Congress to the propriety of making more adequate provision for arming and equipping the militia than is afforded by the act of 1808, which is still upon the statute-book. The matter has already been the subject of discussion in the Senate, and a bill which seeks to supply the deficiencies of existing laws is now upon its calendar.

The Secretary of War calls attention to an embarrassment growing out of the recent act of Congress making the retirement of officers of the Army compulsory at the age of sixty-four. The act of 1878 is still in force, which limits to four hundred the number of those who can be retired for disability or upon their own application. The two acts, when construed together, seem to forbid the relieving, even for absolute incapacity, of officers who do not fall within the purview of the later statute, save at such times as there chance to be less than four hundred names on the retired list. There are now four hundred and twenty. It is not likely that Congress intended this result, and I concur with the Secretary, that the law ought to be amended.

The grounds that impelled me to withhold my signature from the bill entitled "An act making appropriations for the construction, repair, and preservation of certain works on rivers and harbors," which became a law near the close of your last session, prompt me to express the hope that no similar measure will be deemed necessary during the present session of Congress. Indeed, such a measure would now be open to a serious objection in addition to that which was lately urged upon your attention. I am informed by the Secretary of War that the greater portion of the sum appropriated for the various items specified in that act remains unexpended.

Of the new works which it authorized, expenses have been incurred

upon two only, for which the total appropriation was $210,000. The present available balance is disclosed by the following table:

Amount of appropriation by act of August 2, 1882.
Amount of appropriation by act of June 19, 1882
Amount of appropriation for payments to J. B. Eads.
Unexpended balance of former appropriations

Less amount drawn from Treasury between July 1, 1882, and November 30, 1882....

$18,738, 875


304,000 4, 738, 263

23, 791, 138

6, 056, 194

17, 734, 944

It is apparent by this exhibit that, so far as concerns most of the items to which the act of August 2, 1882, relates, there can be no need of further appropriations until after the close of the present session. If, however, any action should seem to be necessary in respect to particular objects, it will be entirely feasible to provide for those objects by appropriate legislation. It is possible, for example, that a delay until the assembling of the next Congress to make additional provision for the Mississippi River improvements might be attended with serious consequences. If such should appear to be the case, a just bill relating to that subject would command my approval.

This leads me to offer a suggestion which I trust will commend itself to the wisdom of Congress. Is it not advisable that grants of considerable sums of money for diverse and independent schemes of internal improvement should be made the subjects of separate and distinct legislative enactments? It will scarcely be gainsaid, even by those who favor the most liberal expenditures for such purposes as are sought to be accomplished by what is commonly called the river and harbor bill, that the practice of grouping in such a bill appropriations for a great diversity of objects, widely separated, either in their nature or in the locality with which they are concerned, or in both, is one which is much to be deprecated unless it is irremediable. It inevitably tends to secure the success of the bill as a whole, though many of the items, if separately considered, could scarcely fail of rejection. By the adoption of the course I have recommended, every member of Congress, whenever opportunity should arise for giving his influence and vote for meritorious appropriations, would be enabled so to do without being called upon to sanction others undeserving his approval. So also would the Executive be afforded thereby full opportunity to exercise his constitutional prerogative of opposing whatever appropriations seemed to him objectionable, without imperiling the success of others which commended themselves to his judgment.

It may be urged in opposition to these suggestions that the number of works of internal improvement which are justly entitled to governmental aid is so great as to render impracticable separate appropriation bills therefor, or even for such comparatively limited number as make disposition of large sums of money. This objection may be well founded, and, whether it be or not, the advantages which would be likely to ensue from the adoption of the course I have recommended may perhaps be more effectually attained by another, which I respectfully submit to Congress as an alternative proposition.

It is provided by the constitutions of fourteen of our States that the Executive may disapprove any item or items of a bill appropriating money; whereupon the part of the bill approved shall be law, and the

part disapproved shall fail to become law, unless repassed according to the provisions prescribed for the passage of bills over the veto of the Executive. The States wherein some such provision as the foregoing is a part of the fundamental law are, Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. I commend to your careful consideration the question whether an amendment of the Federal Constitution in the particular indicated would not afford the best remedy for what is often a grave embarrassment both to members of Congress and to the Executive, and is sometimes a serious public mischief.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy states the movements of the various squadrons during the year, in home and foreign waters, where our officers and seamen, with such ships as we possess, have continued to illustrate the high character and excellent discipline of the naval organization.

On the 21st of December, 1881, information was received that the exploring steamer Jeannette had been crushed and abandoned in the Arctic Ocean. The officers and crew, after a journey over the ice, embarked in three boats for the coast of Siberia. One of the parties, under

the command of Chief Engineer George W. Melville, reached the land, and, falling in with the natives, was saved. Another, under LieutenantCommander De Long, landed in a barren region near the mouth of the Lena River. After six weeks had elapsed all but two of the number had died from fatigue and starvation. No tidings have been received from the party in the third boat, under the command of Lieutenant Chipp, but a long and fruitless investigation leaves little doubt that all its members perished at sea. As a slight tribute to their heroism I give in this communication the names of the gallant men who sacrificed their lives on this expedition: Lieutenant-Commander George W. De Long, Surgeon James M. Ambler, Jerome J. Collins, Hans Halmer Erichsen, Heinrich H. Kaacke, George W. Boyd, Walter Lee, Adolph Dressler, Carl A. Görtz, Nelse Iverson, the cook Ah Sam, and the Indian Alexy. The officers and men in the missing boat were Lieutenant Charles W. Chipp, commanding; William Dunbar, Alfred Sweetman, Walter Sharvell, Albert C. Kuehne, Edward Star, Henry D. Warren, and Peter E. Johnson..

Lieutenant Giles B. Harber and Master William H. Scheutze are now bringing home the remains of Lieutenant De Long and his comrades, in pursuance of the directions of Congress.

The Rodgers, fitted out for the relief of the Jeannette, in accordance with the act of Congress of March 3, 1881, sailed from San Francisco June 16, under the command of Lieutenant Robert M. Berry. On November 30 she was accidentally destroyed by fire, while in winter quarters in Saint Lawrence Bay, but the officers and crew succeeded in escaping to the shore. Lieutenant Berry and one of his officers, after making a search for the Jeannette along the coast of Siberia, fell in with Chief Engineer Melville's party, and returned home by way of Europe. The other officers and the crew of the Rodgers were brought from Saint Lawrence Bay by the whaling steamer North Star. Master Charles F. Putnam, who had been placed in charge of a depot of supplies at Cape Serdze, returning to his post from Saint Lawrence Bay across the ice in a blinding snowstorm, was carried out to sea and lost, notwithstanding all efforts to rescue him.

It appears by the Secretary's report that the available naval force of the United States consists of thirty-seven cruisers, fourteen single

turreted monitors, built during the rebellion, a large number of smoothbore guns and Parrott rifles, and eighty-seven rifled cannon.

The cruising vessels should be gradually replaced by iron or steel ships, the monitors by modern armored vessels, and the armament by high-power rifled guns.

The reconstruction of our Navy, which was recommended in my last message, was begun by Congress authorizing, in its recent act, the construction of two large unarmored steel vessels of the character recommended by the late Naval Advisory Board, and subject to the final approval of a new advisory board to be organized as provided by that act. I call your attention to the recommendation of the Secretary and the board, that authority be given to construct two more cruisers of smaller dimensions, and one fleet dispatch vessel, and that appropriations be made for high-power rifled cannon, for the torpedo service, and for other harbor defenses.

Pending the consideration by Congress of the policy to be hereafter adopted in conducting the eight large navy-yards and their expensive establishments, the Secretary advocates the reduction of expenditures therefor to the lowest possible amounts.

For the purpose of affording the officers and seamen of the Navy opportunities for exercise and discipline in their profession, under appropriate control and direction, the Secretary advises that the Light-House Service and Coast Survey be transferred, as now organized, from the Treasury to the Navy Department; and he also suggests, for the reasons which he assigns, that a similar transfer may wisely be made of the cruising revenue vessels.

The Secretary forcibly depicts the intimate connection and interdependence of the Navy and the commercial marine, and invites attention to the continued decadence of the latter and the corresponding transfer of our growing commerce to foreign bottoms.

This subject is one of the utmost importance to the national welfare. Methods of reviving American ship-building and of restoring the United States flag in the ocean carrying trade should receive the immediate attention of Congress. We have mechanical skill and abundant material for the manufacture of modern iron steamships in fair competition with our commercial rivals. Our disadvantage in building ships is the greater cost of labor, and in sailing them, higher taxes and greater interest on capital, while the ocean highways are already monopolized by our formidable competitors. These obstacles should in some way be overcome, and for our rapid communication with foreign lands we should not continue to depend wholly upon vessels built in the yards of other countries and sailing under foreign flags. With no United States steamers on the principal ocean lines or in any foreign ports, our facilities for extending our commerce are greatly restricted, while the nations which build and sail the ships and carry the mails and passengers obtain thereby conspicuous advantages in increasing their trade.

The report of the Postmaster-General gives evidence of the satisfactory condition of that department, and contains many valuable data and accompanying suggestions which cannot fail to be of interest.

The information which it affords that the receipts for the fiscal year have exceeded the expenditures must be very gratifying to Congress and to the people of the country.

As matters which may fairly claim particular attention, I refer you to his observations in reference to the advisability of changing the present basis for fixing salaries and allowances, of extending the money

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