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and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table; which latter motion was agreed to.

Mr. E. B. Washburne moved that the House proceed to the consideration of business on the Speaker's table; which was disagreed to. And then,

On motion of Mr. Robinson, the House, at 4 o'clock p. m., adjourned.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1868.

Mr. Paine, by unanimous consent, from the Select Committee on Reconstruction, reported a bill (H. R. 1484) to relieve from disabilities Franklin J. Moses, of South Carolina; which was read a first and second time. Ordered, That it be engrossed and read a third time.

Being engrossed, it was accordingly read the third time and passed, two-thirds voting in favor thereof.

Ordered, That the Clerk request the concurrence of the Senate therein. Mr. Ellihu B. Washburne, by unanimous consent, introduced a joint resolution (H. Res. 372) directing the sale of the steamer Atlantic; which was read a first and second time.

Ordered, That it be engrossed and read a third time.

Being engrossed, it was accordingly read the third time and passed. Mr. Washburne moved that the vote last taken be reconsidered, and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table; which latter motion was agreed to.

Ordered, That the Clerk request the concurrence of the Senate in the said joint resolution.

A message from the Senate by Mr. Hamlin, one of their clerks:

Mr. Speaker: The Senate have passed a bill of the following title, viz: S. 658. An act to relieve from disabilities Franklin J. Moses, a citizen of South Carolina;

in which I am directed to ask the concurrence of the House.

By unanimous consent, leave of absence was granted to Mr. Barnes until Tuesday next.

The Speaker, by unanimous consent, laid before the House a report from the Surgeon General of the expenditures for the completion of Providence Hospital up to December 1, 1868; which was referred to the Committee on Appropriations and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Bingham, from the Committee on Reconstruction, reported a bill (H. R. 1485) providing for an election in Virginia; which was read a first and second time.

Pending the question on its engrossment,

Mr. Washburne moved to amend the same by striking out, wherever occurring, "Wednesday, the 20th day of January," and inserting in lieu thereof 4th Thursday of May."

66

Pending which,

A message in writing was received from the President of the United States; which was handed in at the Speaker's table.

The Speaker, by unanimous consent, laid the said message before the House; which was read, and is as follows, viz:

Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Upon the reassembling of Congress, it again becomes my duty to call your attention to the state of the Union, and to its continued disorganized condition under the various laws which have been passed upon the subject of reconstruction.

It may be safely assumed, as an axiom in the government of States,

that the greatest wrongs inflicted upon a people are caused by unjust and arbitrary legislation, or by the unrelenting decrees of despotic rulers, and that the timely revocation of injurious and oppressive measures is the greatest good that can be conferred upon a nation. The legislator or ruler who has the wisdom and magnanimity to retrace his steps, when convinced of error, will sooner or later be rewarded with the respect and gratitude of an intelligent and patriotic people.

Our own history-although embracing a period less than a centuryaffords abundant proof that most if not all of our domestic troubles are directly traceable to violations of the organic law and excessive legislation. The most striking illustrations of this fact are furnished by the enactments of the past three years upon the question of reconstruction. After a fair trial they have substantially failed and proved pernicious in their results, and there seems to be no good reason why they should longer remain upon the statute-book. States to which the Constitution guarantees a republican form of government have been reduced to military dependencies, in each of which the people have been made subject to the arbitrary will of the commanding general. Although the Constitution requires that each State shall be represented in Congress, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas are yet excluded from the two houses, and, contrary to the express provisions of that instrument, were denied participation in the recent election for a President and Vice-President of the United States. The attempt to place the white population under the domination of persons of color in the South has impaired, if not destroyed, the kindly relations that had previously existed between them; and mutual distrust has engendered a feeiing of animosity which, leading in some instances to collision and bloodshed, has prevented that co-operation between the two races so essential to the success of industrial enterprise in the southern States. Nor have the inhabitants of those States alone suffered from the disturbed condition of affairs growing out of these congressional enactments. The entire Union has been agitated by grave apprehensions of troubles which might again involve the peace of the nation; its interests have been injuriously affected by the derangement of business and labor, and the consequent want of prosperity throughout that portion of the country.

The federal Constitution-the magna charta of American rights, under whose wise and salutary provisions we have successfully conducted all our domestic and foreign affairs, sustained ourselves in peace and in war, and become a great nation among the powers of the earth-must assuredly be now adequate to the settlement of questions growing out of the civil war waged alone for its vindication. This great fact is made most manifest by the condition of the country when Congress assembled in the month of December, 1865. Civil strife had ceased; the spirit of rebellion had spent its entire force; in the southern States the people had warmed into national life, and throughout the whole country a healthy reaction in public sentiment had taken place. By the application of the simple yet effective provisions of the Constitution, the executive department, with the voluntary aid of the States, had brought the work of restoration as near completion as was within the scope of its authority, and the nation was encouraged by the prospect of an early and satisfactory adjustment of all its difficulties. Congress, however, intervened, and refusing to perfect the work so nearly consummated, declined to admit members from the unrepresented States, adopted a series of measures which arrested the progress of restoration, frustrated all that had been so successfully accomplished, and, after three years of agitation and strife, has left the country further from the attainment of union and fra

ternal feeling than at the inception of the congressional plan of reconstruction. It needs no argument to show that legislation which has proluced such baneful consequences should be abrogated, or else made to conform to the genuine principles of republican government.

Under the influence of party passion and sectional prejudice, other acts have been passed not warranted by the Constitution. Congress has already been made familiar with my views respecting the "tenure of office bill." Experience has proved that its repeal is demanded by the best interests of the country, and that while it remains in force the President cannot enjoin that rigid accountability of public officers so essential to an honest and efficient execution of the laws. Its revocation would enable the executive department to exercise the power of appointment and removal in accordance with the original design of the federal Constitution.

The act of March 2, 1867, making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending June 30, 1868, and for other purposes, contains provisions which interfere with the President's constitutional functions as commander-in-chief of the army, and deny to States of the Union the right to protect themselves by means of their own militia. These provisions should be at once annulled; for while the first might, in times of great emergency, seriously embarrass the Executive in efforts to employ and direct the common strength of the nation for its protection and preservation, the other is contrary to the express declaration of the Constitution, that "a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

It is believed that the repeal of all such laws would be accepted by the American people as at least a partial return to the fundamental principles of the government, and an indication that hereafter the Constitution is to be made the nation's safe and unerring guide. They can be productive of no permanent benefit to the country, and should not be permitted to stand as so many monuments of the deficient wisdom which has characterized our recent legislation.

The condition of our finances demands the early and earnest consideration of Congress. Compared with the growth of our population, the public expenditures have reached an amount unprecedented in our history.

The population of the United States in 1790 was nearly four millions of people. Increasing each decade about thirty-three per cent., it reached in 1860 thirty-one millions-an increase of seven hundred per cent. on the population in 1790. In 1869 it is estimated that it will reach thirtyeight millions, or an increase of eight hundred and sixty-eight per cent. in seventy-nine years.

The annual expenditures of the federal government in 1791 were four million two hundred thousand dollars; in 1820, eighteen million two hundred thousand dollars; in 1850, forty-one millions; in 1860, sixtythree millions; in 1865, nearly thirteen hundred millions; and in 1869 it is estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury, in his last annual report, that they will be three hundred and seventy-two millions.

By comparing the public disbursements of 1869, as estimated, with those of 1791, it will be seen that the increase of expenditure since the beginning of the government has been eight thousand six hundred and eighteen per centum, while the increase of the population for the same period was only eight hundred and sixty-eight per centum. Again, the expenses of the government in 1860, the year of peace immediately preceding the war, were only sixty-three millions; while in 1869, the year

of peace three years after the war, it is estimated they will be three hundred and seventy-two millions—an increase of four hundred and eightynine per centum, while the increase of population was only twenty-one per centum for the same period.

These statistics further show that in 1791 the annual national expenses, compared with the population,were little more than one dollar per capita, and in 1860 but two dollars per capita; while in 1869 they will reach the extravagant sum of nine dollars and seventy-eight cents per capita. It will be observed that all these statements refer to and exhibit the disbursements of peace periods. It may, therefore, be of interest to compare the expenditures of the three war periods-the war with Great Britain, the Mexican war and the war of the rebellion.

In 1814 the annual expenses incident to the war of 1812 reached their highest amount-about thirty-one millions; while our population slightly exceeded eight millions, showing an expenditure of only three dollars and eighty cents per capita. In 1847 the expenditures growing out of the war with Mexico reached fifty-five millions, and the population about twenty-one millions, giving only two dollars and sixty cents per capita for the war expenses of that year. In 1865 the expenditures called for by the rebellion reached the vast amount of twelve hundred and ninety millions, which, compared with a population of thirty-four millions, gives thirty-eight dollars and twenty cents per capita.

From the 4th day of March, 1789, to the 30th of June, 1861, the entire expenditures of the government were seventeen hundred millions of dollars. During that period we were engaged in wars with Great Britain and Mexico, and were involved in hostilities with powerful Indian tribes; Louisiana was purchased from France at cost of fifteen millions of dollars; Florida was ceded to us by Spain for five millions; California was acquired from Mexico for fifteen millions, and the territory of New Mexico was obtained from Texas for the sum of ten millions. Early in 1861 the war of the rebellion commenced; and from the 1st of July of that year to the 30th of June, 1865, the public expenditures reached the enormous aggregate of thirty-three hundred millions. Three years of peace have intervened, and during that time the disbursements of the government have successively been five hundred and twenty millions, three hundred and forty-six millions, and three hundred and ninety-three millions. Adding to these amounts three hundred and seventy-two millions, estimated as necessary for the fiscal year ending the 30th of June, 1869, we obtain a total expenditure of sixteen hundred millions of dollars during the four years immediately succeeding the war, or nearly as much as was expended during the seventy-two years that preceded the rebellion, and embraced the extraordinary expenditures already named.

These startling facts clearly illustrate the necessity of retrenchment in all branches of the public service. Abuses which were tolerated during the war for the preservation of the nation will not be endured by the people, now that profound peace prevails. The receipts from internal revenues and customs have, during the past three years, gradually diminished, and the continuance of useless and extravagant expenditures will involve us in national bankruptcy, or else make inevitable an increase of taxes, already too onerous and in many respects obnoxious on account of their inquisitorial character. One hundred millions annually are expended for the military force, a large portion of which is employed in the execution of laws both unnecessary and unconstitutional; one hundred and fifty millions are required each year to pay the interest on the public debt; an army of tax-gatherers impoverishes the nation; and

public agents, placed by Congress beyond the control of the executive, divert from their legitimate purposes large sums of money which they collect from the people in the name of the government. Judicious legislation and prudent economy can alone remedy defects and avert evils which, if suffered to exist, cannot fail to diminish confidence in the public councils, and weaken the attachment and respect of the people towards their political institutions. Without proper care the small balance which it is estimated will remain in the treasury at the close of the present fiscal year will not be realized, and additional millions be added to a debt which is now enumerated by billions.

It is shown, by the able and comprehensive report of the Secretary of the Treasury, that the receipts for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1868, were $405,638,083, and that the expenditures for the same period were $377,340,284, leaving in the treasury a surplus of $28,297,798. It is estimated that the receipts during the present fiscal year ending June 30, 1869, will be $341,392,868, and the expenditures $336,152,470, showing a small balance of $5,240,398 in favor of the government. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1870, it is estimated that the receipts will amount to $327,000,000, and the expenditures to $303,000,000, leaving an estimated surplus of $24,000,000.

It becomes proper, in this connection, to make a brief reference to our public indebtedness, which has accumulated with such alarming rapidity and assumed such colossal proportions.

In 1789, when the government commenced operations under the federal Constitution, it was burdened with an indebtedness of $75,000,000, created during the war of the revolution. This amount had been reduced to $45,000,000, when in 1812 war was declared against Great Britain. The three years' struggle that followed largely increased the national obligations, and in 1816 they had attained the sum of $127,000,000. Wise and economical legislation, however, enabled the government to pay the entire amount within a period of 20 years, and the extinguishment of the national debt filled the land with rejoicing, and was one of the great events of President Jackson's administration. After its redemption a large fund remained in the treasury, which was deposited for safe-keeping with the several States, on condition that it should be returned when required by the public wants. In 1849—the year after the termination of an expensive war with Mexico-we found ourselves involved in a debt of $64,000,000; and this was the amount owed by the government in 1860, just prior to the outbreak of the rebellion. In the spring of 1861 our civil war commenced. Each year of its continuance made an enormous addition to the debt; and when, in the spring of 1865, the nation successfully emerged from the conflict, the obligations of the government had reached the immense sum of $2,873,992,909. The Secretary of the Treasury shows that on the 1st day of November, 1867, this amount had been reduced to $2,491,504,450; but at the same time his report exhibits an increase during the past year of $35,625,102; for the debt on the 1st day of November last is stated to have been $2,527,129,552. It is estimated by the Secretary that the returns for the past month will add to our liabilities the further sum of $11,000,000-making a total increase during 13 months of $46,500,000.

In my message to Congress December 4, 1865, it was suggested that a policy should be devised which, without being oppressive to the people, would at once begin to effect a reduction of the debt, and, if persisted in, discharge it fully within a definite number of years. The Secretary of the Treasury forcibly recommends legislation of this character, and justly urges that the longer it is deferred the more difficult must become

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