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Antonio Maximo Mora against the Government of Spain be communicated to it, if not incompatible with the public interests, I transmit herewith the report of the Acting Secretary of State on the matter.
To the Senate: Executive MANsion, June 27, 1892.
In response to the resolution of the Senate dated April 6, 1892, directing the Secretary of State to send to the Senate, if not incompatible with the public interests, copies of all commercial agreements made with other countries, and also to report what steps have been taken to negotiate a reciprocal commercial treaty with Mexico, I submit herewith the reply of the Acting Secretary of State to that resolution.
To the Senate: ExecutIve MANsion, July 1, 1892.
For the information of the Senate and in further response to the resolution of the Senate of February 24 last, I transmit herewith a communication of the 24th ultimo from Mr. Herbert, the acting representative of the British Government at this capital, addressed to Mr. Wharton, Acting Secretary of State, upon the subject of Canadian canal tolls; also a memorandum prepared and submitted to me by Mr. Adee, Second Assistant Secretary of State, reviewing the communication of Mr. Herbert, and a letter of the 28th ultimo from Mr. John W. Foster, who, as I have previously stated, with Mr. Blaine represented this Government in the conferences with the Canadian commissioners. The position taken by this Government, as expressed in my previous communication to the Senate, that the canal tolls and regulations of which complaint has been made are in violation of our treaty with Great Britain, is not shaken, but rather confirmed. There can be no doubt that a serious discrimination against our citizens and our commerce exists, and quite as little doubt that this discrimination is not the incident but the purpose of the Canadian regulation. It has not seemed to me that this was a case in which we could yield to the suggestion of further concessions on the part of the United States with a view to securing treaty rights for which a consideration has
already been given. BENJ. HARRISON.
Executive MANSION, July 21, 1892. To the Senate and House of Representatives: I herewith transmit, for the information of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of State, forwarding certain bulletins of the American
Republics. BENJ. HARRISON.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, To the Senate of the United States:
Washington, July 23, 1892. I transmit, in reply to the resolution of the Senate passed in executive session on the 21st instant and addressed to the Secretary of State, a report of that officer, with accompanying documents, in further relation to the nonacceptance of the Hon. Henry W. Blair as minister of the United States to the Government of China, which question was the occasion of my recent message to the Senate of the 4th of April last.*
To the Senate:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, July 25, 1892. I herewith transmit, in reply to the resolution of the Senate of June 6, 1892, a report from the Secretary of State, with its accompanying papers, in relation to guano deposits on Arcas Cays or Islands.
WASHINGTON, D. C.; July 27, 1892. To the Senate and House of Representatives:
I transmit herewith, with its accompaniments, a report from the Secretary of the Navy of the results of the survey made pursuant to the act of March 2, 1891, “to enable the President to cause careful soundings to be made between San Francisco, Cal., and Honolulu, in the Kingdom of the Hawaiian Islands, for the purpose of determining the practicability of the laying of a telegraphic cable between those points."
EXECUTIVE MANSION, July 19, 1892. To the Senate:
I return herewith without my approval the bill (S. 2729) entitled “An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to establish circuit courts of appeals, and to define and regulate in certain cases the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States, and for other purposes.'".
The original act to which this amendment is proposed, constituting an intermediate court of appeals, had for its object the relief of the Supreme Court by limiting the cases which might be brought up for hearing in that court. The first section of the bill under consideration allows ap. peals in criminal cases where the sentence imposes no imprisonment and the fine is as much as $1,000. The effect of this provision will be to
* See p. 5673
bring to the Supreme Court many cases that in my opinion should be finally determined in the intermediate appellate court, and so in part to defeat the general purpose of Congress in constituting the intermediate court. But this objection would not alone have sufficient weight in my mind to induce me to return the bill. Section 3 of the bill is as follows:
That no appeal shall hereafter be allowed from judgments of the Court of Claims in cases under the act of March 3, 1891, entitled "An act to provide for the adjudication and payment of claims arising from Indian depredations," except where the adjudication involves the construction or application of the Constitution or the validity or construction of a treaty or the constitutionality of a law of the United States: Provided, however, That upon such appeal it shall be competent for the Supreme Court to require, by certiorari or otherwise, the whole case to be certified for its review and determination upon the facts as well as the law.
I am advised by the Attorney-General that under the Indian-depredations act 8,000 cases, involving an aggregate of damages claimed of about $30,000,000, have already been filed. A number of these cases involve as much as $100,000 each, while a few involve as much as $500,000 each and one something over $1,000,000. The damages which may be awarded in these cases by the Court of Claims are to be paid out of the trust funds of the Indians held by the United States, or, if there are no such funds, out of the Treasury of the United States. The law referring these cases to the Court of Claims has had no judicial interpretation, and many novel and difficult questions are likely to arise. It is quite a startling proposition, and a very novel one, I think, that there shall be absolutely no opportunity for the review in an appellate court, in cases involving such large amounts, of questions involving the construction of the statute under which the court is proceeding, or those various questions of law, many of them new, which necessarily arise in such cases.
Neither the claimants, the Indians, nor the Government of the United States should be absolutely denied opportunity to bring their exceptions to review by some appellate tribunal. I would not suggest that an appeal should be allowed in all cases. Some limitation as to amount would be reasonable, and perhaps some discretion might be lodged in the Supreme Court as to granting appeals. The limitations, however, imposed by the section I have quoted are so severe and unreasonable, in my judgment, that I have felt compelled to return the bill to the Senate with a view to its reconsideration.
To the Senate:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, July 29, 1892. I return herewith without my approval the bill (S. 1958) entitled “An act to submit to the Court of Private Land Claims, established by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1891, the title of William McGarrahan to the Rancho Panoche Grande, in the State of California, and for other purposes."
This bill came to me on the 20tk instant, at a time when very many
other bills were submitted for my consideration, and it has not been posi sible for me to make such an examination of the history of Mr. McGarrahan's claim as would be necessary to form an intelligent judgment as to its merits and just extent. It is quite possible that he has been wronged and that he has a claim for some reparation from the Government. I can not, however, think that this bill proceeds upon a just basis. It provides that Mr. McGarrahan shall file his claim as the assignee of Gomez in the Court of Private Land Claims for the lands described in the title, and that if the court establishes the grant to Gomez it shall be confirmed to McGarrahan. No evidence that he is the assignee of Gomez is, I think, required by the bill, which assumes that fact instead of submitting it to the court. If the claim is established, it is provided in substance that all lands part of said grant which have been conveyed by the Government or are in the occupancy of actual settlers, or “upon which there are any smelting or reduction works, or the lands claimed in connection with such reduction or smelting works,” shall be excepted from the patent which the Secretary of the Interior is directed to issue to McGarrahan. By this provision the title of the New Idria Mining Company, which has long contested with McGarrahan the title to a large part of this property, is established and that company is relieved from any responsibility to account for the profits made in mining. On the other hand, the United States waives all benefit of judicial proceedings which have resulted in its favor and gives Mr. McGarrahan an opportunity de novo to try all such questions; and the decision, if in his favor, is not only to restore to him all the lands yet undisposed of, but the United States assumes to pay him the value of the lands appropriated by others and of their use for all these years and to account to him for all profits that have been made by the New Idria Mining Company or anyone else in quicksilver or other mining.
This seems to me to be wholly inadmissible. The amount involved must be enormously large, though at present incapable of any accurate estimate. If the title of the New Idria Company has been established by final decrees of court placing that title beyond question and that company beyond any call to respond for use and profits, why should the Government of the United States, waiving in its behalf these decrees, which would protect it also, assume a responsibility to account for the value of the lands and for their use and for the net value of minerals extracted by that company or others? It will be noticed in the quotation I have made from the act that this company is allowed to take all the land it may claim, but at the expense of the United States, not of Mr. McGarrahan.
The bill is so framed as to give full protection to the New Idria Mining Company to the full extent of its largest claim, while throwing upon the United States a responsibility which that company should bear if the title of Mr. McGarrahan is established.
The United States provided a proper tribunal for the trial of claims founded upon Mexican grants. This claim was there tried, and if fraud affected the judgment it is not, I think, chargeable to the Government; the contest was chiefly between rival claimants. In this state of the case it would seem that if the United States consents to open the litigation and to wipe out all judicial findings and decrees a less exacting measure of damages than that proposed in the bill should be agreed on.
It is not my purpose, as I have intimated, to express the opinion that Mr. McGarrahan is entitled to no relief. It seems to me, however, clear that he is not entitled to the relief given by this bill, and that it does not adequately protect the interests of the United States.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, August 3, 1892. To the Senate:
I return herewith without my approval the bill (S. 1111) entitled "An act to amend the act of Congress approved March 3, 1887, entitled 'An act to provide for the bringing of suits against the Government of the United States.'"
If I may judge from the very limited discussion of this measure in Congress, the sweeping effects of it upon the administration of the public lands could hardly have been fully realized. . From the beginning of the Government the administration of the public lands and the issuing of patents under the land laws have been an Executive function.
The jurisdiction of the courts as to contesting claims for patents has awaited the action of the General Land Office. Land offices have been established and maintained in all the districts where public lands were found, located with reference to the convenience of the settlers, and the proceedings have been informal and inexpensive. It is true that at times, by an administration of the Land Office unfriendly toward the settlers, unnecessary delays involving much hardship have intervened in the issuing of patents, but such is not the case now. The work of the Land Office within the last three years has been so efficient and so friendly to the bona fide settler that the large accumulation of cases there has been swept away, and the office, as I am informed by the Secretary of the Interior, is now engaged upon current business.
It seems to me that a transfer in whole or in part of this business to the courts, some of whose dockets are already loaded with cases, can not tend to expedition, while it is very manifest that, by reason of the greater formality in the taking and presentation of evidence which would be required in court and of the long distances which settlers would have to traverse in order to attend court, the costs in such cases would be enormously increased.
It is proposed by this hill to give what is called concurrent jurisdiction