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snit in the Court of Claims for such extras and was defeated. I can not gather from the facts I have been able to collect concerning this appropriation that it is justified on any ground.

In 1890 my immediate predecessor vetoed a bill allowing the matter to be examined again by the Court of Claims.*

If the additional payment proposed in this bill was made, the cost of the battery in question would be almost double that of the contract price.

I have determined to submit this incomplete presentation of my objections to this bill at once in order that the Congress may act thereon without embarrassment or the interruption of plans for an early adjournment.

GROVER CLEVELAND.

muse of Represithout my apport Omaha

EXECUTIVE MANSION, June 10, 1896. To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without my approval House bill No. 225, entitled "An act to provide for the lease of Fort Omaha Military Reservation to the State of Nebraska.”

This bill authorizes and directs the Secretary of War, when Fort Crook, near the city of Omaha, is ready for occupancy, to lease for a nominal rent to the State of Nebraska the possession of Fort Omaha Military Reservation, containing about 80 acres, with all the buildings, appurtenances, and improvements thereof. It is declared that the lease shall be conditional upon the use of said reservation by the State of Nebraska as a place of rendezvous and school of instruction for the National Guard of said State; that the State of Nebraska shall while it is in possession of said reservation keep the buildings and improvements thereon in as good condition and repair as at the date it shall enter into possession thereof, and that at any time when, in the judgment of the Secretary of War, the interests of the United States shall require such action he shall take possession of said military reservation for the use of the Government, together with all the buildings, appurtenances, and improvements thereon.

On the 23d day of July, 1888, an act was passed authorizing the Secretary of War to purchase suitable grounds, of not less than 640 acres in extent, to be situate within 10 miles of the city of Omaha, and to construct the necessary buildings thereon for a ten-company military post, to be known as Fort Omaha, and a necessary sum, not exceeding $200,000, was appropriated to enable the Secretary of War to carry out the provisions of said act.

The said act also authorized the Secretary of War, when the purchase of the new site should be effected, to sell the military reservation known as Fort Omaha and such of the buildings and improvements thereon as could not be economically removed to the new site, and to cause the said reservation, for the purposes of said sale, to be platted in blocks, streets, MP-VOL VIII-47

•sca D. 5528. .

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stiffered. Of course the original claimants have for years been beyond the reach of relief; but as their descendants in each generation become more numerous the volume of advocacy, importunity, and accusation correspondingly increases. If injustice has been done in the refusal of these claims, it began early in the present century and may be charged against men then in public life more conversant than we can be with the facts involved and whose honesty and sense of right ought to be secure from suspicion. As early as 1802 a committee of the House of Representatives reported the facts connected with these claims, but apparently without recommendation. No action was taken on the report. In 1803 a resolution declaring that indemnity ought to be paid was negatived by a vote of the same body. A favorable committee report was made in 1807, but it seems that no legislative action resulted. In 1818 an adverse report was made to the Senate, followed by the passage of a resolution declaring “that the relief asked by the memorialists and petitioners ought not to be granted.” In 1822 and again in 1824 adverse committee reports on the subject were made to the House, concluding with similar resolutions. The presumption against these claims arising from such unfavorable reports and resolutions and from the failure of Congress to provide for their payment at a time so near the events upon which they are based can not be destroyed by the interested cry of injustice and neglect of the rights of our citizens. Until 1846 these claims were from time to time pressed upon the attention of Congress with varying fortunes, but never with favorable legislative action. In that year, however, a bill was passed for their ascertainment and satisfaction, and $5,000,ooo were appropriated for their payment. This bill was vetoed by President Polk,” who declared that he could “perceive no legal or equitable ground upon which this large appropriation can rest.” This veto was sustained by the House of Representatives. Nine years afterwards, and in 1855, another bill was passed similar to the one last mentioned, and appropriating for the settlement of these claims a like sum of money. This bill was also vetoed,f President Pierce concluding a thorough discussion of its demerits with these words: In view of what has been said there would seem to be no ground on which to raise a liability of the United States, unless it be the assumption that the United States are to be considered the insurer and the guarantor of all claims, of whatever nature, which any individual citizen may have against a foreign nation. This veto was also sustained by the House of Representatives. I think it will be found that in all bills proposed in former times for the payment of these claims the sum to be appropriated for that purpose did not exceed $5,000,ooo. It is now estimated that those already passed upon, with those still pending for examination in the Court of

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Claims, may amount to $25,000,ooo. This indicates either that the actual sufferers or those nearer to them in time and blood than the present claimants underestimated their losses or that there has been a great development in the manner of their presentation. Nothwithstanding persistent efforts to secure payment from the Government and the importunity of those interested, no appropriation has ever been made for that purpose except a little more than $1,300,ooo, which was placed in the general deficiency bill in the very last hours of the session of Congress on March 3, 1891. In the long list of beneficiaries who are provided for in the bill now before me on account of these claims 152 represent the owners of ships and their cargoes and 186 those who lost as insurers of such vessels or cargoes. These insurers by the terms of their policies undertook and agreed “to bear and take upon themselves all risks and perils of the sea, menof-war, fire, enemies, rovers, thieves, jettison, letters of mart and counter mart, surprisals, takings at sea, arrests, restraints, and detainments of all kings, princes, or people of what nation, condition, or quality whatsoever.’’ The premiums received on these policies were large, and the losses were precisely those within the contemplation of the insurers. It is well known that the business of insurance is entered upon with the expectation that the premiums received will pay all losses and yield a profit to the insurance in addition; and yet, without any showing that the business did not result in a profit to these insurance claimants, it is proposed that the Government shall indemnify them against the precise risks they undertook, notwithstanding the fact that the money appropriated is not to be paid except “by way of gratuity—payments as of grace and not of right.” The appropriations to indemnify against insurance losses rest upon weaker grounds, it seems to me, than those of owners; but in the light of all the facts and circumstances surrounding these spoliation claims, as they are called, none of them, in my opinion, should be paid by the Government. Another item in this bill which seems to me especially objectionable is an appropriation in favor of Charles P. Chouteau, survivor, etc., of $174,445.75, in full satisfaction of all claims arising out of the construction of the ironclad steam battery Etlah. The contract for the construction of this battery was made by the Government with Charles W. McCord during the war, and he was to be paid therefor the sum of $386,ooo. He was paid this sum and $210,991 for extras, and in May, 1866, gave his receipt in full. The assignee of McCord in bankruptcy assigned to Chouteau and his associates in 1868 all claims of McCord against the United States for the precise extras for which he had receipted in full two years before. Chouteau brought

smit in the Court of Claims for such extras and was defeated. I can not gather from the facts I have been able to collect concerning this appropriation that it is justified on any ground. In 1890 my immediate predecessor vetoed a bill allowing the matter to be examined again by the Court of Claims.” If the additional payment proposed in this bill was made, the cost of the battery in question would be almost double that of the contract price. I have determined to submit this incomplete presentation of my objections to this bill at once in order that the Congress may act thereon without embarrassment or the interruption of plans for an early adjournment.

GROVER CLEVELAND.

ExecutIve MANsion, June 10, 1896. To the House of Representatives: I herewith return without my approval House bill No. 225, entitled “An act to provide for the lease of Fort Omaha Military Reservation to the State of Nebraska.” This bill authorizes and directs the Secretary of War, when Fort Crook, near the city of Omaha, is ready for occupancy, to lease for a nominal rent to the State of Nebraska the possession of Fort Omaha Military Reservation, containing about 8o acres, with all the buildings, appurtenances, and improvements thereof. It is declared that the lease shall be conditional upon the use of said reservation by the State of Nebraska as a place of rendezvous and school of instruction for the National Guard of said State; *hat the State of Nebraska shall while it is in possession of said reservation keep the buildings and improvements thereon in as good condition and repair as at the date it shall enter into possession thereof, and that at any time when, in the judgment of the Secretary of War, the interests of the United States shall require such action he shall take possession of said military reservation for the use of the Government, together with all the buildings, appurtenances, and improvements thereon. On the 23d day of July, 1888, an act was passed authorizing the Secretary of War to purchase suitable grounds, of not less than 640 acres in extent, to be situate within Io miles of the city of Omaha, and to construct the necessary buildings thereon for a ten-company military post, to be known as Fort Omaha, and a necessary sum, not exceeding $200,ooo, was appropriated to enable the Secretary of War to carry out the provisions of said act. The said act also authorized the Secretary of War, when the purchase of the new site should be effected, to sell the military reservation known as Fort Omaha and such of the buildings and improvements thereon as could not be economically removed to the new site, and to cause the said reservation, for the purposes of said sale, to be platted in blocks, streets,

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