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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 recommend that all such salaries now below $5,000 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 toward 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 everyone 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 37 serviceable ships, and though 4 have since been added to the list, the total has not been increased, because in the meantime 4 have been lost or condemned. Twenty-six additional vessels have been authorized and appropriated for; but it is probable that when they are completed our list will only be increased to 42—a gain of 5. 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 8 armored ships, 3 gunboats, and 5 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 4 officers and 47 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 headmen have deprived the individual of every incentive to the exercise of thrift, and the annuity has contributed an affirmative impulse toward 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 wilderness, 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 farm, and for the child to place him in a school.
School attendance should be promoted by every moral agency, and those failing should be compelled. The national schools for Indians have been very successful and should be multiplied, and as far as possible should be so organized and conducted as to facilitate the transfer of the schools to the States or Territories in which they are located when the Indians in a neighborhood have accepted citizenship and have become otherwise fitted for such a transfer. This condition of things will be attained slowly, but it will be hastened by keeping it in mind; and in the meantime that cooperation between the Government and the mission schools which has wrought much good should be cordially and impartially maintained.
The last Congress enacted two distinct laws relating to negotiations with the Sioux Indians of Dakota for a relinquishment of a portion of their lands to the United States and for dividing the remainder into separate reservations. Both were approved on the same day, March 2. The one submitted to the Indians a specific proposition; the other (section 3 of the Indian appropriation act) authorized the President to appoint three commissioners to negotiate with these Indians for the accomplishment of the same general purpose, and required that any agreements made should be submitted to Congress for ratification.
On the 16th day of April last I appointed Hon. Charles Foster, of Ohio, Hon. William Warner, of Missouri, and Major-General George Crook, of the United States Army, commissioners under the last-named law. They were, however, authorized and directed first to submit to the Indians the definite proposition made to them by the act first mentioned, and only in the event of a failure to secure the assent of the requisite number to that proposition to open negotiations for modified terms under the other act. The work of the commission was prolonged and arduous, but the assent of the requisite number was, it is understood, finally obtained to the proposition made by Congress, though the report of the commission has not yet been submitted. In view of these facts, I shall not, as at present advised, deem it necessary to submit the agreement to Congress for ratification, but it will in due course be submitted for information. This agreement releases to the United States about 9,000,000 acres of land.
The commission provided for by section 14 of the Indian appropriation bill to negotiate with the Cherokee Indians and all other Indians owning or claiming lands lying west of the ninety-sixth degree of longitude for the cession to the United States of all such lands was constituted by the appointment of Hon. Lucius Fairchild, of Wisconsin, Hon. John F. Hartranft, of Pennsylvania, and Hon. Alfred M. Wilson, of Arkansas, and organized on June 29 last. Their first conference with the representatives of the Cherokees was held at Tahlequah July 29, with no definite results. General John F. Hartranft, of Pennsylvania, was prevented by ill health from taking part in the conference. His death, which occurred recently, is justly and generally lamented by a people he had served with conspicuous gallantry in war and with great fidelity in peace. The vacancy thus created was filled by the appointment of Hon. Warren G. Sayre, of Indiana.
A second conference between the commission and the Cherokees was begun November 6, but no results have yet been obtained, nor is it believed that a conclusion can be immediately expected. The cattle syndicate now occupying the lands for grazing purposes is clearly one of the agencies responsible for the obstruction of our negotiations with the Cherokees. The large body of agricultural lands constituting what is known as the “Cherokee Outlet” ought not to be, and, indeed, can not long be, held for grazing and for the advantage of a few against the public interests and the best advantage of the Indians themselves. The United States has now under the treaties certain rights in these lands. These will not be used oppressively, but it can not be allowed that those who by sufferance occupy these lands shall interpose to defeat the wise and beneficent purposes of the Government. I can not but believe that the advantageous character of the offer made by the United States to the Cherokee Nation for a full release of these lands as compared with other suggestions now made to them will yet obtain for it a favorable consideration.
Under the agreement made between the United States and the Muscogee (or Creek) Nation of Indians on the 19th day of January, 1889, an absolute title was secured by the United States to about 3,500,000 acres
of land. Section 12 of the general Indian appropriation act approved March 2, 1889, made provision for the purchase by the United States from the Seminole tribe of a certain portion of their lands. The delegates of the Seminole Nation, having first duly evidenced to me their power to act in that behalf, delivered a proper release or conveyance to the United States of all the lands mentioned in the act, which was accepted by me and certified to be in compliance with the statute.
By the terms of both the acts referred to all the lands so purchased were declared to be a part of the public domain and open to settlement under the homestead law. But of the lands embraced in these purchases, being in the aggregate about 5,500,000 acres, 3,500,000 acres had already, under the terms of the treaty of 1866, been acquired by the United States for the purpose of settling other Indian tribes thereon and had been appropriated to that purpose. The land remaining and available for settlement consisted of 1,887,796 acres, surrounded on all sides by lands in the occupancy of Indian tribes. Congress had provided no civil government for the people who were to be invited by my proclamation to settle upon these lands, except as the new court which had been established at Muscogee or the United States courts in some of the adjoining States had power to enforce the general laws of the United States.
In this condition of things I was quite reluctant to open the lands to settlement; but in view of the fact that several thousand persons, many of them with their families, had gathered upon the borders of the Indian Territory with a view to securing homesteads on the ceded lands, and that delay would involve them in much loss and suffering, I did on the 23d day of March last issue a proclamation * declaring that the lands therein described would be open to settlement under the provisions of the law on the 22d day of April following at 12 o'clock noon. Two land districts had been established and the offices were opened for the transaction of business when the appointed time arrived.
It is much to the credit of the settlers that they very generally observed the limitation as to the time when they might enter the Territory. Care will be taken that those who entered in violation of the law do not secure the advantage they unfairly sought. There was a good deal of apprehension that the strife for locations would result in much violence and bloodshed, but happily these anticipations were not realized. It is estimated that there are now in the Territory about 60,000 people, and several considerable towns have sprung up, for which temporary municipal governments have been organized. Guthrie is said to have now a population of almost 8,000. Eleven schools and nine churches have been established, and three daily and five weekly newspapers are published in this city, whose charter and ordinances have only the sanction of the voluntary acquiescence of the people from day to day.
*See pp. 5450-5453. MP-VOL VIII—7.