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The report of the Secretary of the Navy shows a gratifying increase of new naval vessels in commission. The Newark, Concord, Bennington, and Miantonomoh have been added during the year, with an aggregate of something more than 11,000 tons. Twenty-four war ships of all classes are now under construction in the navy-yards and private shops, but, while the work upon them is going forward satisfactorily, the completion of the more important vessels will yet require about a year's time. Some of the vessels now under construction, it is believed, will be triumphs of naval engineering. When it is recollected that the work of building a modern navy was only initiated in the year 1883, that our naval constructors and shipbuilders were practically without experience in the construction of large iron or steel ships, that our ergine shops were unfamiliar with great marine engines, and that the manufacture of steel forgings for guns and plates was almost wholly a foreign industry, the progress that has been made is not only highly satisfactory, but furnishes the assurance that the United States will before long attain, in the construction of such vessels, with their engines and armaments, the same preëminence which it attained when the best instrument of ocean commerce was the clipper ship and the most impressive exhibit of naval power the old wooden three-decker man-of-war. The officers of the Navy and the proprietors and engineers of our great private shops have responded with wonderful intelligence and professional zeal to the confidence expressed by Congress in its liberal legislation. We have now at Washington a gun shop, organized and conducted by naval officers, that in its system, economy, and product is unexcelled. Experiments with armor plate have been conducted during the year with most important results. It is now believed that a plate of higher resisting power than any in use has been found and that the tests have demonstrated that cheaper methods of manufacture than those heretofore thought necessary can be used.

I commend to your favorable consideration the recommendations of the Secretary, who has, I am sure, given to them the most conscientious study. There should be no hesitation in promptly completing a navy of the best modern type, large enough to enable this country to display its flag in all seas for the protection of its citizens and of its extending commerce. The world needs no assurance of the peaceful purposes of the United States, but we shall probably be in the future more largely a competitor in the commerce of the world, and it is essential to the dignity of this nation and to that peaceful influence which it should exercise on this hemisphere that its navy should be adequate, both upon the shores of the Atlantic and of the Pacific.


The report of the Secretary of the Interior shows that a very gratifying progress has been made in all of the bureaus which make up that complex and difficult Department.

The work in the Bureau of Indian Affairs was perhaps never so large as now, by reason of the numerous negotiations which have been proceeding with the tribes for a reduction of the reservations, with the incident labor of making allotments, and was never more carefully conducted. The provision of adequate school facilities for Indian children and the locating of adult Indians upon farms involve the solution of the "Indian question.” Everything else

“ rations, annuities, and tribal negotiations, with the agents, inspectors, and commissioners who distribute and conduct them—must pass away when the Indian has become a citizen, secure in the individual ownership of a farm from which he derives his subsistence by his own labor, protected by and subordinate to the laws which govern the white man, and provided by the General Government or by the local communities in which he lives with the means of educating his children. When an Indian becomes a citizen in an organized State or Territory his relation to the General Government ceases, in great measure, to be that of a ward; but the General Government ought not at once to put upon the State or Territory the burden of the education of his children. It has been my thought that the Government schools and school buildings upon the reservations would be absorbed by the school systems of the States and Territories; but, as it has been found necessary to protect the Indian against the compulsory alienation of his land by exempting him from taxation for a period of twenty-five years, it would seem to be right that the General Government, certainly where there are tribal funds in its possession, should pay to the school fund of the State what would be equivalent to the local school tax upon the property of the Indian. It will be noticed from the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that already some contracts have been made with district schools for the education of Indian children. There is great advantage, I think, in bringing the Indian children into mixed schools. This process will be gradual, and in the meantime the present educational provisions and arrangements, the result of the best experience of those who have been charged with this work, should be continued. This will enable those religious bodies that have undertaken the work of Indian education with so much zeal, and with results so restraining and beneficent, to place their institu

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tions in new and useful relations to the Indian and to his white neighbors.

The outbreak among the Sioux, which occurred in December last, is as to its causes and incidents fully reported upon by the War Department and the Department of the Interior. That these Indians had some just complaints, especially in the matter of the reduction of the appropriation for rations and in the delays attending the enactment of laws to enable the Department to perform the engagements entered into with them, is probably true; but the Sioux tribes are naturally warlike and turbulent, and their warriors were excited by their medicine men and chiefs, who preached the coming of an Indian Messiah who was to give them power to destroy their enemies. In view of the alarm that prevailed among the white settlers near the reservation and of the fatal consequences that would have resulted from an Indian incursion, I placed at the disposal of General Miles, commanding the Division of the Missouri, all such forces as were thought by him to be required. He is entitled to the credit of having given thorough protection to the settlers and of bringing the hostiles into subjection with the least possible loss of life.

The appropriation of $2,991,450 for the Choctaws and Chickasaws, contained in the general Indian appropriation bill of March 3, 1891, has not been expended, for the reason that I have not yet approved a release (to the Government) of the Indian claim to the lands mentioned. This matter will be made the subject of a special message, placing before Congress all the facts which have come to my knowledge.

The relation of the five civilized tribes now occupying the Indian Territory to the United States is not, I believe, that best calculated to promote the highest advancement of these Indians. That there should be within our borders five independent States, having no relations, except those growing out of treaties, with the Government of the United States, no representation in the National Legislature, its people not citizens, is a startling anomaly.

It seems to me to be inevitable that there shall be before long some organic changes in the relation of these people to the United States. What form these changes should take I do not think it desirable now to suggest, even if they were well defined in my own mind. They should certainly involve the acceptance of citizenship by the Indiansand a representation in Congress. These Indians should have opportunity to present their claims and grievances upon the floor rather than, as now, in the lobby. If a commission could be appointed to visit these tribes to confer with them in a friendly spirit

upon this whole subject, even if no agreement were presently reached, the feeling of the tribes upon this question would be developed and discussion would prepare the way for changes which must come sooner or later.

The good work of reducing the larger Indian reservations, by allotments in severalty to the Indians and the cession, of the remaining lands to the United States for disposition under the homestead law, has been prosecuted during the year with energy and success. In September last I was enabled to open to settlement in the Territory of Oklahoma 900,000 acres of land, all of which was taken up by settlers in a single day. The rush for these lands was accompanied by a great deal of excitement, but was, happily, free from incidents of violence.

It was a source of great regret that I was not able to open at the same time the surplus lands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Reservation, amounting to about 3,000,000 acres, by reason of the insufficiency of the appropriation for making the allotments. Deserving and impatient settlers are waiting to occupy these lands, and I urgently recommend that a special deficiency appropriation be promptly made of the small amount needed, so that the allotments may be completed and the surplus lands opened in time to permit the settlers to get upon their homesteads in the early spring.

During the past summer the Cherokee Commission have completed arrangements with the Wichita, Kickapoo, and Tonkawa tribes, whereby, if the agreements are ratified by Congress, over 800,000 additional acres will be opened to settlement in Oklahoma.

The negotiation for' the release by the Cherokees of their claim to the Cherokee Strip has made no substantial progress, so far as the Department is officially advised, but it is still hoped that the cession of this large and valuable tract may be secured. The price which the Commission was authorized to offer—one dollar and a quarter per acre-is, in my judgment, when all the circumstances as to title and the character of the lands are considered, a fair and adequate one and should have been accepted by the Indians.

Since March 4, 1889, about 23,000,000 acres have been separated from Indian reservations and added to the public domain for the use of those who desired to secure free homes under our beneficent laws. It is difficult to estimate the increase of wealth which will result from the conversion of these waste lands into farms, but it is more difficult to estimate the betterment which will result to the families that have found renewed hope and courage in the ownership of a home and the assurance of a comfortable subsistence under


free and healthful conditions. It is also gratifying to be able to feel, as we may, that this work has proceeded upon lines of justice towards the Indian, and that he may now, if he will, secure to himself the good influences of a settled habitation, the fruits of industry, and the security of citizenship.

Early in this administration a special effort was begun to bring up the work of the General Land Office. By faithful work the

. arrearages have been rapidly reduced. At the end of the last fiscal year only 84, 172 final agricultural entries remained undisposed of, and the Commissioner reports that, with the present force, the work can be fully brought up by the end of the next fiscal year.

Your attention is called to the difficulty presented by the Secretary of the Interior as to the administration of the law of March 3, 1891, establishing a Court of Private Land Claims. The small holdings intended to be protected by the law are estimated to be more than fifteen thousand in number. The claimants are a most deserving class and their titles are supported by the strongest equities. The difficulty grows out of the fact that the lands have largely been surveyed according to our methods, while the holdings, many of which have been in the same family for generations, are laid out in narrow strips a few rods wide upon a stream and running back to the hills for pasturage and timber. Provision should be made for numbering these tracts as lots and for patenting them by such numbers, and without reference to section lines.


The administration of the Pension Bureau has been characterized during the year by great diligence. The total number of pensioners upon the roll on the 30th day of June, 1891, was 676,160. There were allowed during the fiscal year ending at that time 250,565

Of this number, 102,387 were allowed under the law of June 27, 1890. The issuing of certificates has been proceeding at the rate of about 30,000 per month, about 75 per cent of these being cases under the new law. The Commissioner expresses the opinion that he will be able to carefully adjudicate and allow 350,000 claims during the present fiscal year. The appropriation for the payment of pensions for the fiscal year 1890-'91 was $127,685,793.89 and the amount expended $118,530,649.25, leaving an unexpended surplus of $9, 155, 144.64.

The Commissioner is quite confident that there will be no call this year for a deficiency appropriation, notwithstanding the rapidity with which the work is being pushed. The mistake which has been made by many in their exaggerated estimates of the cost of pensions is in not taking account of the diminished value of first

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