THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
A Document of More Than Ordinary Interest.
THE NATION'S PROSPERITY.
Some Valuable Hints Re-garding Mexico.
POINTS FOR NAVAL MEN TO STUDY.
How he Treats the Question of Polygamy.
The President's message opens by congrat-ulating Congress upon the favorable aspect of our domestic and foreign affairs, and no-tice of the termination of the fisheries articles of the treaty of Washington as given to the British government, and their operations will cease July 1st, 1885. After referring to the importance of our fishing industry the Presi-dent suggests that Congress create a com-mission to consider the general question and the means of opening to our citizens the richly stocked fishing waters and sealing grounds of British North America. Ref-erence is made to the shipment to this country from the British Isles of persons unable to gain a living and become a burden on the community here, and the mes-sage says a revision of our legisla-tion on this subject may be deemed advisable. France has repealed her legislation against the importation of pre-prepared swine products from the United States, but Germany still prohibits the intro-duction of all swine products from America. The President's friendly invitation to Ger-many to send experts here and to inquire into the subject was declined. The Pres-ident believes it of such importance, however, that the exact facts should be ascertained that he has appointed a competent commis-sion to make a thorough examination of the subject. The peculiar methods of adminis-tration in Cuba necessitate constant discussion and appeal on our part, and the President regrets that the first protests of this govern-ment have not as yet produced satisfactory results. The commission appointed to decide certain claims of our citizens against the Spanish government has finally adjourned. Some of its awards, though made more than two years ago, haven't yet been paid, their speedy payment is expected, claims to a large amount have been diplomatically pre-sented to the Spanish government and full reparation for the injuries sustained by our citizens, should be no longer delayed. The President suggest that he be given au-thority to establish a Consulate General at the Bulgarian capitol to better protect interests of American missionaries and teachers in Bulgaria. In the revision of tariffs in the Ottoman Empire the United States has op-posed the oppressive storage tax upon petro-leum entering the ports of Turkey. At no time in our national history has there been more manifest need of close and lasting relations with a neighboring state than now exists with respect to Mexico. The provision for a reciprocal crossing of the frontier by troops in pursuit of Indians has been prolonged for another year. Several of the most dangerous bands of Indians have been captured or dispersed by the skill and valor of United States and Mexican soldiers fighting in a common cause. The message then outlines the basis of peace between Chili and Peru, and says when the will of the Peruvian people shall be manifested the President will not hesitate to recognize the government approved by them. It renews the Presi-dent's suggestion of last year, that the exist-ing reciprocity treaty with Hawaii be modi-fied. There is good reason to believe that officials of China have violated the law restricting the immigration of Chinese. Measures have been taken to ascertain the facts and it is believed the Chinese govern-ment will co-operate with the United States in securing the faithful observance of the law. This government cannot be indifferent to the opening of commerce in the rich and populous valley of the Congo in Africa and it may become advisable for us to co-operated with other powers in promoting the rights of trade there, free from interference or political control of any one nation. After alluding to the vexatious restrictions put on our trade by Brazil, Turkey and other countries, the President asks if it is not advisable to pro-vide some measures of retaliation, such as ap-plying to certain foreign vessels the same rules and scale of penalties as they apply to ours. The report of the Secretary of Treasury is then re-viewed showing that the revenues from all sources for the year ended June 30, 1883, was $398,287,581, and ordinary ex-penditures $265,408,137, leaving a surplus revenue of $132,874,444. Revenue for present year, actual and estimated, $343,000,000, and ex-penses $258,000,000, and including the amount devoted to the sinking fund, receipts should exceed ordinary expenditures by sixty million dollars. Speaking of the reduction made in the revenue the President says that while he has no doubt that still further reductions may be wisely made, he does not advise the adoption at this session of any measures for a large diminuition of the National revenues. A portion at least of our surplus rev-enues might be applied to rehabilitating our navy and coast defences. On the ques-tion of the National Currency the Pres-ident endorses one of two courses, suggested for averting a threatened contraction of the currency, viz; The enactment of a law re-pealing the tax on circulation and permitting banks to issue notes for an amount equal to 90 per cent. of the market value instead of as now the face value of their deposit-ed bonds. The trade dollar should not be longer permitted to embarrass our cur-rency, and the President recommends that the Treasury should receive them as bullion at a small percentage above the cur-rent market price of silver. Attention is again called to the weakness of our coast defenses and the belief is expressed that encour-agement of state militia organizations by the National Government would be followed by very gratifying results. The President also calls at-tention to the suggestion of the Secretary of the Navy urging the immediate construction of an interior coastline of water ways across Florida, along the coast from Florida to Hampton Roads, between Chesapeake Bay and Delaware river, and through Cape Cod. The President also feels bound to impress upon Con-gress the necessity of continued progress in the reconstruction of the navy. In reviewing the Postmaster General's report the President says he is confident that a reduction to one cent on local letters might safely be made. In regard to postal telegraphy the President's views have not changed since he dissented last year from the recommend-ation of the Postmaster General that the govern-ment assume the same control over the telegraph that it has over the mail. After reviewing the various schemes that have been proposed, how-ever, be avows his belief that the govern-ment should be authorized by law to exercise some sort of supervision over inter-state telegraphic communication, and hopes that Congress may devise some measure to attain that end. The President agrees with the Attorney General in the belief that the statutes should be revised regulating fees of jurors. District Attorneys and Marshals, in Federal courts. The latter should be paid wholly in salaries, instead of in part by fees. At-tention is particularly called to the report of the Secretary of the Interior. His presentation of the Indian question, his recommendation for the repeal of the Pre-emption and Timber Culture acts, and for more stringent legislation to pre-vent frauds under the pension laws.
Reference is made to the alarming state of illiteracy in portions of the country, and the Presi-dent submits for consideration of Congress whether some Federal aid should be expended to public primary education wherever adequate provisions have not been made. Recent efforts for suppression of polygamy in Utah have been practically use-less, and the President is convinced that polyg-amy has become so strongly entrenched there that it is profitless to attack it with any but the stoutest constitutional measures. The Presi-dent therefore favors the repeal of the act upon which the existing government depends the assumption by Congress of the en-tire political control of the territory and the es-tablishment of a commission with such powers and duties as shall be delegated to it by law. The establishment of a civil government tor Alaska is recommended. The message discusses the complaints against carrying companies, states that people must be protected in their interstate traffic and says the question of how far National government can go in controlling such traffic is worthy of consideration. The President renews his recommendation that the Executive be empowered to veto objectionable portions of laws passed. He concludes his mes-sage by referring to the recent Supreme Court de-cision on the Civil Rights bill, and by saying that any law to supplement the guarantees afforded colored people in the Fourteenth Amendment will receive his unhesitating approval.
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