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The revenues of the Government from all sources for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1890, were $463,963,080.55 and the total expenditures for the same period were $358,618,584.52. The postal receipts have not heretofore been included in the statement of these aggregates, and for the purpose of comparison the sum of $60,882,097.92 should be deducted from both sides of the account. The surplus for the year, including the amount applied to the sinking fund, was $105,344,496.03. The receipts for 1890 were $16,030,923.79 and the expenditures $15,739,871 in excess of those of 1889. The customs receipts increased $5,835,842.88 and the receipts from internal revenue $11,725,191.89, while on the side of ex. penditures that for pensions was $19,312,075.96 in excess of the preceding year.
The Treasury statement for the current fiscal year, partly actual and partly estimated, is as follows: Receipts from all sources, $400,000,000; total expenditures, $354,000,000, leaving a surplus of $52,000,000, not taking the postal receipts into the account on either side. The loss of revenue from customs for the last quarter is estimated at $25,000,000, but from this is deducted a gain of about $16,000,000 realized during the first four months of the year.
For the year 1892 the total estimated receipts are $373,000,000 and the estimated expenditures $357,852,209.42, leaving an estimated surplus of $15,147,790.58, which, with a cash balance of $52,000,000 at the beginning of the year, will give $67,147,790.58 as the sum available for the redemption of outstanding bonds or other uses. The estimates of receipts and expenditures for the Post-Office Department, being equal, are not included in this statement on either side.
The act "directing the purchase of silver bullion and the issue of Treasury notes thereon," approved July 14, 1890, has been administered by the Secretary of the Treasury with an earnest purpose to get into circulation at the earliest possible dates the full monthly amounts of Treasury notes contemplated by its provisions and at the same tire to give to the market for the silver bullion such support as the law contemplates. The recent depreciation in the price of silver has been observed with regret. The rapid rise in price which anticipated and followed the passage of the act was influenced in some degree by speculation, and the recent reaction is in part the result of the same cause and in part of the recent monetary disturbances. Some months of further trial will be necessary to determine the permanent effect of the recent legislation upon silver values, but it is gratifying to know that the increased circulation secured by the act has exerted, and will continue to exert, a most beneficial influence upon business and upon general values.
While it has not been thought best to renew formally the suggestion of an international conference looking to an agreement touching the full use of silver for coinage at a uniform ratio, care has been taken to observe closely any change in the situation abroad, and no favorable opportunity will be lost to promote a result which it is confidently believed would confer very large benefits upon the commerce of the world.
The recent monetary disturbances in England are not unlikely to suggest a reexamination of opinions upon this subject. Our very large supply of gold will, if not lost by impulsive legislation in the supposed interest of silver, give us a position of advantage in promoting a permanent and safe international agreement for the free use of silver as a coin metal.
The efforts of the Secretary to increase the volume of money in circulation by keeping down the Treasury surplus to the lowest practicable limit have been unremitting and in a very high degree successful. The tables presented by him showing the increase of money in circulation during the last two decades, and especially the table showing the increase during the nineteen months he has administered the affairs of the Department, are interesting and instructive. The increase of money in circulation during the nineteen months has been in the aggregate $93,866,813, or about $1.50 per capita, and of this increase only $7,100,000 was due to the recent silver legislation. That this substantial and needed aid given to commerce resulted in an enormous reduction of the public debt and of the annual interest charge is matter of increased satisfaction. There have been purchased and redeemed since March 4, 1889, 4 and 42 per cent bonds to the amount of $211,832,450, at a cost of $246,620,741, resulting in the reduction of the annual interest charge of $8,967,609 and a total saving of interest of $51,576,706.
I notice with great pleasure the statement of the Secretary that the receipts from internal revenue have increased during the last fiscal year nearly $12,000,000, and that the cost of collecting this larger revenue rvas less by $90,617 than for the same purpose in the preceding year. The percentage of cos. of collecting the customs revenue was less for the last fiscal year than ever before.
The Customs Administration Board, provided for by the act of June 10, 1890, was selected with great care, and is composed in part of men whose previous experience in the administration of the old customs regulations had made them familiar with the evils to be remedied, and in part of men whose legal and judicial acquirements and experience seemed to fit them for the work of interpreting and applying the new statute. The chief aim of the law is to secure honest valuations of all dutiable merchandise and to make these valuations uniform at all our ports of entry. It had been made manifest by a Congressional investigation that a system of undervaluation had been long in use by certain classes of importers, resulting not only in a great loss of revenue, but in a most intolerable discrimination against honesty. It is not seen how this legislation, when it is understood, can be regarded by the citizens of any country having commercial dealings with us as unfriendly. If any duty is supposed to be excessive, let the complaint be lodged there. It will surely not be claimed by any well-disposed people that a remedy may be sought and allowed in a system of quasi smuggling.
The report of the Secretary of War exhibits several gratifying results attained during the year by wise and unostentatious methods. The percentage of desertions from the Army (an evil for which both Congress and the Department have long been seeking a remedy) has been reduced during the past year 24 per cent, and for the months of August and September, during which time the favorable effects of the act of June 16 were felt, 33 per cent, as compared with the same months of 1889.
The results attained by a reorganization and consolidation of the divisions having charge of the hospital and service records of the volunteer soldiers are very remarkable. This change was effected in July, 1889, and at that time there were 40,654 cases awaiting attention, more than half of these being calls from the Pension Office for information necessary to the adjudication of pension claims. On the 30th day of June last, though over 300,000 new calls had come in, there was not a single case that had not been examined and answered.
I concur in the recommendations of the Secretary that adequate and regular appropriations be continued for coast-defense works and ordnance. Plans have been practically agreed upon, and there can be no good reason for delaying the execution of them, while the defenseless state of our great seaports furnishes an urgent reason for wise expedition.
The encouragement that has been extended to the militia of the States, generally and most appropriately designated the “National Guard," should be continued and enlarged. These military organizations constitute in a large sense the Army of the United States, while about fivesixths of the annual cost of their maintenance is defrayed by the States.
The report of the Attorney-General is under the law submitted directly to Congress, but as the Department of Justice is one of the Executive Departments some reference to the work done is appropriate here.
A vigorous and in the main an effective effort has been made to bring to trial and punishment all violators of the law, but at the same time care has been taken that frivolous and technical offenses should not be used to swell the fees of officers or to harass well-disposed citizens. Especial attention is called to the facts connected with the prosecution of violations of the election laws and of offenses against United States officers. The number of convictions secured, very many of them upon pleas of guilty, will, it is hoped, have a salutary restraining influence. There have been several cases where postmasters appointed by me have been subjected to violent interference in the discharge of their official duties and to persecutions and personal violence of the most extreme character. Some of these cases have been dealt with through the Department of Justice, and in some cases the post-offices have been abolished or suspended. I have directed the Postmaster-General to pursue this course in all cases where other efforts failed to secure for any postmaster not himself in fault an opportunity peacefully to exercise the duties of his office. But such action will not supplant the efforts of the Department of Justice to bring the particular offenders to punishment.
The vacation by judicial decrees of fraudulent certificates of naturalization, upon bills in equity filed by the Attorney-General in the circuit court of the United States, is a new application of a familiar equity jurisdiction. Nearly one hundred such decrees have been taken during the year, the evidence disclosing that a very large number of fraudulent certificates of naturalization have been issued. And in this connection I beg to renew my recommendation that the laws be so amended as to require a more full and searching inquiry into all the facts necessary to naturalization before any certificates are granted. It certainly is not too much to require that an application for American citizenship shall be heard with as much care and recorded with as much formality as are given to cases involving the pettiest property right.
At the last session I returned without my approval a bill entitled “An act to prohibit bookmaking and pool selling in the District of Columbia," and stated my objection to be that it did not prohibit but in fact licensed what it purported to prohibit.* An effort will be made under existing laws to suppress this evil, though it is not certain that they will be found adequate.
The report of the Postmaster-General shows the most gratifying progress in the important work committed to his direction. The business methods have been greatly improved. A large economy in expenditures and an increase of four and three-quarters millions in receipts have been realized. The deficiency this year is $5,786,300, as against $6,350,183 last year, notwithstanding the great enlargement of the service. Mail routes have been extended and quickened and greater accuracy and dispatch in distribution and delivery have been attained. The report will be found to be full of interest and suggestion, not only to Congress, but to those thoughtful citizens who may be interested to know what business methods can do for that department of public administration which most nearly touches all our people.
The passage of the act to amend certain sections of the Revised Statutes relating to lotteries, approved September 19, 1890, has been received with great and deserved popular favor. The Post-Office Department and the Department of Justice at once entered upon the enforcement of the law with sympathetic vigor, and already the public mails have been largely freed from the fraudulent and demoralizing appeals and literature emanating from the lottery companies.
The construction and equipment of the new ships for the Navy have made very satisfactory progress. Since March 4, 1889, nine new vessels have been put in commission, and during this winter four more, including one monitor, will be added. The construction of the other vessels
* See pp. 5228-5229.
authorized is being pushed both in the Government and private yards with energy and watched with the most scrupulous care.
The experiments conducted during the year to test the relative resisting power of armor plates have been so valuable as to attract great attention in Europe. The only part of the work upon the new ships that is threatened by unusual delay is the armor plating, and every effort is being made to reduce that to the minimum. It is a source of congratulation that the anticipated influence of these modern vessels upon the esprit de corps of the officers and seamen has been fully realized. Confidence and pride in the ship among the crew are equivalent to a secondary battery. Your favorable consideration is invited to the recommendations of the Secretary.
The report of the Secretary of the Interior exhibits with great fullness and clearness the vast work of that Department and the satisfactory results attained. The suggestions made by him are earnestly commended to the consideration of Congress, though they can not all be given particular mention here.
The several acts of Congress looking to the reduction of the larger Indian reservations, to the more rapid settlement of the Indians upon individual allotments, and the restoration to the public domain of lands in excess of their needs have been largely carried into effect so far as the work was confided to the Executive. Agreements have been concluded since March 4, 1889, involving the cession to the United States of about 14,726,000 acres of land. These contracts have, as required by law, been submitted to Congress for ratification and for the appropriations necessary to carry them into effect. Those with the Sisseton and Wahpeton, Sac and Fox, Iowa, Pottawatomies and Absentee Shawnees, and Caur d'Alene tribes have not yet received the sanction of Congress. Attention is also called to the fact that the appropriations made in the case of the Sioux Indians have not covered all the stipulated payments. This should be promptly corrected. If an agreement is confirmed, all of its terms should be complied with without delay and full appropriations should be made.
The policy outlined in my last annual message in relation to the patenting of lands to settlers upon the public domain * has been carried out in the administration of the Land Office. No general suspicion or imputation of fraud has been allowed to delay the hearing and adjudication of individual cases upon their merits. The purpose has been to perfect the title of honest settlers with such promptness that the value of the entry might not be swallowed up by the expense and extortions to which delay subjected the claimant. The average monthly issue of agricultural patents has been increased about 6,000.
The disability-pension act, which was approved on the 27th of June last, has been put into operation as rapidly as was practicable. The increased clerical force provided was selected and assigned to work, and
*See p. 5484.