« EdellinenJatka »
intervenes, I believe that very soon commercial conditions will compel the now reluctant governments to unite with us in this movement to secure the enlargement of the volume of coined money needed for the transaction of the business of the world.
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will attract especial interest in view of the many misleading statements that have been made as to the state of the public revenues. Three preliminary facts should not only be stated but emphasized before looking into details: First, that the public debt has been reduced since March 4, 1889, $259,074,200, and the annual interest charge $11,684,469; second, that there have been paid out for pensions during this Administration up to November 1, 1892, $432,564,178.70, an excess of $114,466,386.09 over the sum expended during the period from March 1, 1885, to March 1, 1889; and, third, that under the existing tariff up to December i about $93,000,000 of revenue which would have been collected upon imported sugars if the duty had been maintained has gone into the pockets of the people, and not into the public Treasury, as before. If there are any who still think that the surplus should have been kept out of circulation by hoarding it in the Treasury, or deposited in favored banks without interest while the Government continued to pay to these very banks interest upon the bonds deposited as security for the deposits, or who think that the extended pension legislation was a public robbery, or that the duties upon sugar should have been maintained, I am content to leave the argument where it now rests while we wait to see whether these criticisms will take the form of legislation.
The revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, from all sources were $425,868,260.22, and the expenditures for all purposes were $415,953,806.56, leaving a balance of $9,914,453.66. There were paid during the year upon the public debt $40,570,467.98. The surplus in the Treasury and the bank redemption fund passed by the act of July 14, 1890, to the general fund furnished in large part the cash available and used for the payments made upon the public debt. Compared with the year 1891, our receipts from customs duties fell off $42,069,241.08, while our receipts from internal revenue increased $8,284,823.13, leaving the net loss of revenue from these principal sources $33,784,417.95. The net loss of revenue from all sources was $32,675,972.81.
The revenues, estimated and actual, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, are placed by the Secretary at $463,336,350.44, and the expenditures at $461,336,350.44, showing a surplus of receipts over expenditures of $2,000,000. The cash balance in the Treasury at the end of the fiscal year it is estimated will be $20,992,377.03. So far as these figures are based upon estimates of receipts and expenditures for the remaining months of the current fiscal year, there are not only the usual elements of uncertainty, but some added elements. New revenue legislation, or even the expectation of it, may seriously reduce the public revenues during the period of uncertainty and during the process of business adjustment to the new conditions when they become known. But the Secretary has very wisely refrained from guessing as to the effect of possible changes in our revenue laws, since the scope of those changes and the time of their taking effect can not in any degree be forecast or foretold by him. His estimates must be based upon existing laws and upon a continuance of existing business conditions, except so far as these conditions may be affected by causes other than new legislation.
The estimated receipts for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1894, are $490, 121,365.38, and the estimated appropriations $457,261,335.33, leaving an estimated surplus of receipts over expenditures of $32,860,030.05. This does not include any payment to the sinking fund. In the recommendation of the Secretary that the sinking-fund law be repealed I concur. The redemption of bonds since the passage of the law to June 30, 1892, has already exceeded the requirements by the sum of $990,510,681.49. The retirement of bonds in the future before maturity should be a matter of convenience, not of compulsion. We should not collect revenue for that purpose, but only use any casual surplus. To the balance of $32,860,030.05 of receipts over expenditures for the year 1894 should be added the estimated surplus at the beginning of the year, $20,992,377.03, and from this aggregate there must be deducted, as stated by the Secretary, about $44,000,000 of estimated unexpended appropriations.
The public confidence in the purpose and ability of the Government to maintain the parity of all of our money issues, whether coin or paper, must remain unshaken. The demand for gold in Europe and the consequent calls upon us are in a considerable degree the result of the efforts of some of the European Governments to increase their gold reserves, and these efforts should be met by appropriate legislation on our part. The conditions that have created this drain of the Treasury gold are in an important degree political, and not commercial. In view of the fact that a general revision of our revenue laws in the near future seems to be probable, it would be better that any changes should be a part of that revision rather than of a temporary nature.
During the last fiscal year the Secretary purchased under the act of July 14, 1890, 54,355,748 ounces of silver and issued in payment therefor $51,106,608 in notes. The total purchases since the passage of the act have been 120,479,981 ounces and the aggregate of notes issued $116,783,590. The average price paid for silver during the year was 94 cents per ounce, the highest price being $1.0234 July 1, 1891, and the lowest 83 cents March 21, 1892. In view of the fact that the monetary conference is now sitting and that no conclusion has yet been reached, I withhold any recommendation as to legislation upon this subject.
The report of the Secretary of War brings again to the attention of Congress some important suggestions as to the reorganization of the
infantry and artillery arms of the service, which his predecessors have before urgently presented. Our Army is small, but its organization should all the more be put upon the most approved modern basis. The conditions upon what we have called the “frontier” have heretofore required the maintenance of many small posts, but now the policy of concentration is obviously the right one. The new posts should have the proper strategic relations to the only “frontiers" we now have—those of the seacoast and of our northern and part of our southern boundary. I do not think that any question of advantage to localities or to States should determine the location of the new posts. The reorganization and enlargement of the Bureau of Military Information which the Secretary has effected is a work the usefulness of which will become every year more apparent. The work of building heavy guns and the construction of coast defenses has been well begun and should be carried on without, check.
The report of the Attorney-General is by law submitted directly to Congress, but I can not refrain from saying that he has conducted the increasing work of the Department of Justice with great professional skill. He has in several directions secured from the courts decisions giving increased protection to the officers of the United States and bring. ing some classes of crime that escaped local cognizance and punishment into the tribunals of the United States, where they could be tried with impartiality.
The numerous applications for Executive clemency presented in behalf of persons convicted in United States courts and given penitentiary sentences have called my attention to a fact referred to by the AttorneyGeneral in his report, namely, that a time allowance for good behavior for such prisoners is prescribed by the Federal statutes only where the State in which the penitentiary is located has made no such provision. Prisoners are given the benefit of the provisions of the State law regulating the penitentiary to which they may be sent. These are various, some perhaps too liberal and some perhaps too illiberal. The result is that a sentence for five years means one thing if the prisoner is sent to one State for confinement and quite a different thing if he is sent to another. I recommend that a uniform credit for good behavior be prescribed by Congress.
I have before expressed my concurrence in the recommendation of the Attorney-General that degrees of murder should be recognized in the Federal statutes, as they are, I believe, in all the States. These grades are founded on correct distinctions in crime. The recognition of them would enable the courts to exercise some discretion in apportioning punishment and would greatly relieve the Executive of what is coming to be a very heavy burden-the examination of these cases on application for commutation.
The aggregate of claims pending against the Government in the Court
of Claims is enormous. Claims to the amount of nearly $400,000,000 for the taking of or injury to the property of persons claiming to be loyal during the war are now before that court for examination. When to these are added the Indian depredation claims and the French spoliation claims, an aggregate is reached that is indeed startling. In the defense of all these cases the Government is at great disadvantage. The claimants have preserved their evidence, whereas the agents of the Government are sent into the field to rummage for what they can find. This difficulty is peculiarly great where the fact to be established is the disloyalty of the claimant during the war. If this great threat against our revenues is to have no other check, certainly Congress should supply the Department of Justice with appropriations sufficiently liberal to secure the best legal talent in the defense of these claims and to pursue its vague search for evidence effectively.
The report of the Postmaster-General shows a most gratifying increase and a most efficient and progressive management of the great business of that Department. The remarkable increase in revenues, in the number of post-offices, and in the miles of mail carriage furnishes further evidence of the high state of prosperity which our people are enjoying. New offices mean new hamlets and towns, new routes mean the extension of our border settlements, and increased revenues mean an active commerce. The Postmaster-General reviews the whole period of his administration of the office and brings some of his statistics down to the month of November last. The postal revenues have increased during the last year nearly $5,000,000. The deficit for the year ending June 30, 1892, is $848,341 less than the deficiency of the preceding year. The deficiency of the present fiscal year it is estimated will be reduced to $1,552,423, which will not only be extinguished during the next fiscal year, but a surplus of nearly $1,000,000 should then be shown. In these calculations the payments to be made under the contracts for ocean mail service have not been included. There have been added 1,590 new mail routes during the year, with a mileage of 8,563 miles, and the total number of new miles of mail trips added during the year is nearly 17,000,000. The number of miles of mail journeys added during the last four years is about 76,000,000, this addition being 21,000,000 miles more than were in operation in the whole country in 1861.
The number of post-offices has been increased by 2,790 during the year, and during the past four years, and up to October 29 last, the total increase in the number of offices has been nearly 9,000. The number of free-delivery offices has been nearly doubled in the last four years, and the number of money-order offices more than doubled within that time.
For the three years ending June 30, 1892, the postal revenue amounted to $197,744,359, which was an increase of $52,263,150 over the revenue for the three years ending June 30, 1888, the increase during the last three years being more than three and a half times as great as the increase during the three years ending June 30, 1888. No such increase as that shown for these three years has ever previously appeared in the revenues of the Department. The Postmaster-General has extended to the postoffices in the larger cities the merit system of promotion introduced by my direction into the Departments here, and it has resulted there, as in the Departments, in a larger volume of work and that better done.
Ever since our merchant marine was driven from the sea by the rebel cruisers during the War of the Rebellion the United States has been paying an enormous annual tribute to foreign countries in the shape of freight and passage moneys. Our grain and meats have been taken at our own docks and our large imports there laid down by foreign shipmasters. An increasing torrent of American travel to Europe has contributed a vast sum annually to the dividends of foreign shipowners. The balance of trade shown by the books of our custom-houses has been very largely reduced and in many years altogether extinguished by this constant drain. In the year 1892 only 12.3 per cent of our imports were brought in American vessels. These great foreign steamships maintained by our traffic are many of them under contracts with their respective Governments by which in time of war they will become a part of their armed naval establishments. Profiting by our commerce in peace, they will become the most formidable destroyers of our commerce in time of war. I have felt, and have before expressed the feeling, that this condition of things was both intolerable and disgraceful. A wholesome change of policy, and one having in it much promise, as it seems to me, was begun by the law of March 3, 1891. Under this law contracts have been made by the Postmaster-General for eleven mail routes. The expenditure involved by these contracts for the next fiscal year approximates $954,123.33. As one of the results already reached sixteen American steamships, of an aggregate tonnage of 57,400 tons, costing $7,400,000, have been built or contracted to be built in American shipyards.
The estimated tonnage of all steamships required under existing contracts is 165,802, and when the full service required by these contracts is established there will be forty-one mail steamers under the American flag, with the probability of further necessary additions in the Brazilian and Argentine service. The contracts recently let for transatlantic seryice will result in the construction of five ships of 10,000 tons each, costing $9,000,000 to $10,000,000, and will add, with the City of New York and City of Paris, to which the Treasury Department was authorized by legislation at the last session to give American registry, seven of the swiftest vessels upon the sea to our naval reserve. The contracts made with the lines sailing to Central and South American ports have increased the frequency and shortened the time of the trips, added new ports of call, and sustained some lines that otherwise would almost certainly have been withdrawn. The service to Buenos Ayres is the first to the Argentine Republic under the American flag. The service to Southampton,