« EdellinenJatka »
ExecutIve MANsion, February 2, 1892. • To the Senate of the United States:
In reply to a resolution of the Senate of the 27th ultimo, requesting the President “to advise the Senate as to what action, if any, has been taken + 4 + to cause careful soundings to be made between San Francisco, Cal., and Honolulu + 4 + for the purpose of determining the practicability of laying a telegraphic cable between those two points, or between any point on the Pacific coast and the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands,” I inclose herewith a communication from the Secre
tary of the Navy, dated January 30, 1892. BENJ. HARRISON.
Executive MANsion, February 9, 1892. To the House of Representatives:
I transmit hérewith, in answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 13th of January last, a report from the Secretary of
State and accompanying papers.”
ExecutIve MANsion, February ro, 1892. To the Senate and House of Representatives:
I transmit herewith, as required by law, a communication of the 6th instant from the Secretary of the Interior, with the report of the Puyallup
Indian Commission and accompanying papers.
Executive MANsion, February 16, 1892. To the Senate and House of Representatives:
There was passed by the last Congress “An act for the protection of the lives of the miners in the Territories,” which was approved by me on the 3d day of March, 1891. That no appropriation was made to enable me to carry the act into effect resulted, I suppose, from the fact that it was passed so late in the session. This law recognizes the necessity of a responsible public inspection and supervision of the business of mining in the interest of the miners, and is in line with the legislation of most of the States.
The work of the miner has its unavoidable incidents of discomfort and danger, and these should not be increased by the neglect of the owners to provide every practicable safety appliance. Economies which involve a sacrifice of human life are intolerable.
*Correspondence with Spain, Brazil, Salvador, and the Dominican Republic relative to reciprocal trade relations; copies of commercial arrangements entered into with those countries; list of import and export duties imposed by Brazil, Salvador, and the Dominican Republic, and by Spain with respect to Cuba and Puerto Rico.
I transmit herewith memorials from several hundred miners working in the coal mines in the Indian Territory, asking for the appointment of an inspector under the act referred to. The recent frightful disaster at Krebs, in that Territory, in which sixty-seven miners met a horrible death, gives urgency to their appeal, and I recommend that a special appropriation be at once made for the salaries and the necessary expenses
of the inspectors provided for in the law. BENJ. HARRISON.
ExecutIve MANSION, February 17, 1892. To the Senate and House of Representatives:
The Indian appropriation bill which was approved March 3, 1891, contains the following provision:
And the sum of $2,991,450 be, and the same is hereby, appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to pay the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations of Indians for all the right, title, interest, and claim which said nations of Indians may have in and to certain lands now occupied by the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians under Executive order, said lands lying south of the Canadian River, and now occupied by the said Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians; said lands have been ceded in trust by article 3 of the treaty between the United States and said Choctaw and Chickasaw nations of Indians which was concluded April 28, 1866, and proclaimed on the Ioth day of August of the same year, and whereof there remains, after deducting allotments as provided by said agreement, a residue ascertained by survey to contain 2,393,160 acres; three-fourths of this appropriation to be paid to such person or persons as are or shall be duly authorized by the laws of said Choctaw Nation to receive the same, at such time and in such sums as directed and required by the legislative authority of said Choctaw Nation, and one-fourth of this appropriation to be paid to such person or persons as are or shall be duly authorized by the laws of said Chickasaw Nation to receive the same, at such times and in such surns as directed and required by the legislative authority of said Chickasaw Nation; this appropriation to be immediately available and to become operative upon the execution by the duly appointed delegates of said respective nations specially authorized thereto by law of releases and conveyances to the United States of all the right, title, interest, and claim of said respective nations of Indians in and to said land (not including Greer County, which is now in dispute), in manner and form satisfactory to the President of the United States; and said releases and conveyances, when fully executed and delivered, shall operate to extinguish all claim of every kind and character of said Choctaw and Chickasaw nations of Indians in and to the tract of country to which said releases and conveyances shall apply.
If this section had been submitted to me as a separate measure, especially during the closing hours of the session, I should have disapproved it; but as the Congress was then in its last hours a disapproval of the general Indian appropriation bill, of which it was a part, would have resulted in consequences so far-reaching and disastrous that I felt it my duty to approve the bill. But as a duty was devolved upon me by the section quoted, viz, the acceptance and approval of the conveyances provided for, I have felt bound to look into the whole matter, and in view of the facts which I shall presently mention to postpone any Executive action
until these facts could be submitted to Congress. Very soon after the passage of the law it came to my knowledge that the Choctaw Legislature had entered into an agreement with three citizens of that tribe to pay to them as compensation for procuring this legislation 25 per cent of any appropriation that might be made by Congress. The amount to be secured by these three agents under this agreement out of the threefourths interest in the appropriation of the Choctaw Nation is $560,896. I have information that a contract was made by the Chickasaws to pay about 10 per cent of their one-fourth interest to the agents and attorneys who represented them.
Within a month after the passage of the law R. J. Ward, one of the agents, who was to divide with his associates the enormous sum to be paid by the Choctaws, presented to me an affidavit dated April 4, 1891, which is herewith submitted. It appears from his statement that the action of the Choctaw Council in this matter was corruptly influenced by the execution of certain notes signed by Ward for himself and his associates in sums varying from $2,500 to $15,000. His associates deny any knowledge of this, but the giving and existence of these notes is not refuted. The statement of the two associates of Ward denying any knowledge or participation in this fraud is also submitted, together with other papers relating to the matter. Whatever may be the fact as to the use or nonuse of corrupt methods to secure this legislation from the Choctaw Council, I do not think the Congress of the United States should so legislate upon this matter as to give effect to such a contract, which I am sure must have been unnoticed when the measure was pending. If the relations of these Indians to the United States are those of a ward, Congress should protect them from such extortionate exactions. We can not assume that the expenses and services of a committee of threo persons to represent this claim before Congress should justly assume such proportions. The making of such a contract seems to convey implications which I am sure are wholly unjust.
After the passage of the appropriation bill legislation was had by the Choctaw Nation looking to the completion of the contract made with their delegates as to the payment of this money; but subsequently, when it was supposed that this extraordinary arrangement might require me to bring the matter to the attention of Congress, an act was passed by the Choctaw General Council, approved October 19, 1891, declaring all contracts made by the Choctaw delegates with any attorneys in connection with this appropriation void and of no effect. A copy of this law will be found with the papers submitted. There has also been submitted to me an unofficial copy of the opinion of the attorney-general of the Choctaw Nation holding that this last legislation is unconstitutional and void. I am of the opinion that if this appropriation is to stand provision should be made for protecting these tribes against extortionate claims for compensation in procuring action by Congress. Copies of the several laws passed by the Choctaw Nation with reference to this matter will be found in the accompanying papers. It will be noticed that the distribution proposed is limited to Choctaws by blood, excluding the freedmen and the white men who have been given full citizenship from any participation. A protest against this method of distribution has been filed by a white citizen of the tribe, and also a representation by Hon. Thomas C. Fletcher, their attorney, on behalf of the freedmen. In view of the fact that the stipulations of the treaty of 1866 in behalf of the freedmen of these tribes have not, especially in the case of the Chickasaws, been complied with, it would seem that the United States should in a distribution of this money have made suitable provision in their behalf. The Chickasaws have steadfastly refused to admit the freedmen to citizenship, as they stipulated to do in the treaty referred to, and their condition in that tribe and in a lesser degree in the other strongly calls for the protective intervention of Congress.
After a somewhat careful examination of the question I do not believe that the lands for which this money is to be paid were, to quote the language of section 15 of the Indian appropriation bill, already set out, “ceded in trust by article 3 of the treaty between the United States and said Choctaw and Chickasaw nations of Indians which was concluded April 28, 1866,” etc. It is agreed that that treaty contained no express limitation upon the uses to which the United States might put he territory known as the leased district. The lands were ceded by terms sufficiently comprehensive to have passed the full title of the Indians. The limitation upon the use to which the Government might put them is sought to be found in a provision of the treaty by which the United States undertook to exclude white settlers and in the expressions found in the treaties made at the same time with the Creeks and other tribes of the purpose of the United States to use the lands ceded by those tribes for the settlement of friendly Indians.
The stipulation as to the exclusion of white settlers might well have reference solely to the national lands retained by the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, and the reason for the nonincorporation in the treaty with them of a statement of the purpose of the Government in connection with the use of the lands is well accounted for by the fact that as to these lands the Government had already, under the treaty of 1855, secured the right to use them perpetually for the settlement of friendly Indians. This was not true as to the lands of the other tribes referred to. The United States paid to the Choctaws and Chickasaws $300,000, and the failure to insert the words that are called words of limitation in this treaty points, I think, clearly to the conclusion that the commissioners on the part of the Government and the Indians themselves must have understood that this Government was acquiring something more than a mere right to settle friendly Indians, which it already possessed, and something more than the mere release of the right which the Choctaws and Chickasaws had under the treaty of 1855 to select locations on these lands if they chose.
Undoubtedly it was the policy of this Government for the time to hold these and the adjacent lands as Indian country, and many of the expressions in the proclamations of my predecessors and in the reports of the Indian Bureau and of the Secretary of the Interior mean this and nothing more. This is quite different from a conditional title, which limits the grant to a particular use and works a reinvestment of full title in the Indian grantors when that use ceases. But those who hold most strictly that a use for Indian purposes, where it is expressed, is a limitation of title seem to agree that the United States might pass a fee absolute to other Indian tribes in the lands ceded for their occupancy. Certainly it was not intended that in settling friendly Indians upon these lands the Government was to be restrained in its policy cf allotment and individual ownership. If for an adequate consideration, by treaty, the United States placed upon these lands other Indian tribes, it was competent to give them patents in fee for a certain and agreed reservation. This being so, when the policy of allotment is put into force the compensation for the unused lands should certainly go to the occupying tribe, which in the case supposed had paid a full consideration for the whole reservation.
It will hardly be contended that in such case this Government should pay twice for the lands. In the appropriation under discussion this principle is in part recognized, for no claim is made by the Choctaws and Chickasaws for the lands allotted to the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. The claim is for unallotted or surplus lands. The case of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes is this: In consideration of other lands the Government gave them a treaty reservation in the Cherokee Outlet, but never perfected it by paying the Cherokees the stipulated price and placing these Indians upon it. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes declined to go upon the strip and located themselves farther south, where they now are. The Government subsequently recognized their right to remain there, and set apart the lands now being allotted to members of that tribe and the lands for which payment is now claimed by the Choctaws and Chickasaws as the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Reservation. I think the United States must be held to have assented to the substitution of these lands for the treaty lands in the Cherokee Strip, and that being true, when the reservation is broken up, as now, by allotments, it would seem that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes were entitled to be compensated for these surplus lands. In fact, a commission which has been dealing with the tribes in the Indian Territory has concluded an arrangement with them by which the Government pays $1,500,000 for these surplus lands and for the release of any claiin to the Cherokee Strip, so that in fact in this agreement with the Cheyennes and Arapahoes the Government has paid for the lands for which payment is now claimed by the Choctaws and Chickasaws.
It should not be forgotten also that the allotment to the Cheyennes