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payments under the recent legislation. These payments, under the general law, have been for many years very large, as the pensions, when allowed, dated from the time of filing the claim, and most of these claims had been pending for years. The first payments under the law of June, 1890, are relatively small, and, as the per cent of these cases increases and that of the old cases diminishes, the annual aggregate of first payments is largely reduced. The Commissioner, under date of November 13, furnishes me with the statement that during the last four months 113,175 certificates were issued, 27,893 under the general law and 85,282 under the act of June 27, 1890. The average first payment during these four months was $131.85, while the average first payment upon cases allowed during the year ending June 30, 1891, was $239.33, being a reduction in the average first payments during these four months of $107.48.
The estimate for pension expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, is $144,956,000, which, after a careful examination of the subject, the Commissioner is of the opinion will be sufficient. While these disbursements to the disabled soldiers of the great civil war are large, they do not realize the exaggerated estimates of those who oppose this beneficent legislation. The Secretary of the Interior shows with great fullness the care that is taken to exclude fraudulent claims, and also the gratifying fact that the persons to whom these pensions are going are men who rendered, not slight, but substantial war service.
The report of the Commissioner of Railroads shows that the total debt of the subsidized railroads to the United States was, on December 31, 1890, $112,512,613.06. A large part of this debt is now fast approaching maturity, with no adequate provision for its payment. Some policy for dealing with this debt, with a view to its ultimate collection, should be at once adopted. It is very difficult, wellnigh impossible, for so large a body as the Congress to conduct the necessary negotiations and investigations. I therefore recommend that provision be made for the appointment of a commission to agree upon and report a plan for dealing with this debt.
The work of the Census Bureau is now far in advance and the great bulk of the enormous labor involved completed. It will be more strictly a statistical exhibit and less encumbered by essays than its immediate predecessors. The methods pursued have been fair, careful, and intelligent, and have secured the approval of the statisticians, who have followed them with a scientific and nonpartisan interest. The appropriations necessary to the early completion and publication of the authorized volumes should be given in time to secure against delays, which increase the cost and at the same time diminish the value of the work.
The report of the Secretary exhibits, with interesting fullness, the condition of the Territories. They have shared with the States the great increase in farm products and are bringing yearly large areas into cultivation by extending their irrigating canals. This work is being done by individuals or local corporations and without that system which a full preliminary survey of the water supply and of the irrigable lands would enable them to adopt. The future of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah in their material growth and in the increase, independence, and happiness of their people is very largely dependent upon wise and timely legislation, either by Congress or their own legislatures, regulating the distribution of the water supply furnished by their streams. If this matter is much longer neglected, private corporations will have unrestricted control of one of the elements of life and the patentees of the arid lands will be tenants at will of the water companies.
The United States should part with its ownership of the water sources and the sites for reservoirs, whether to the States and Territories or to individuals or corporations, only upon conditions that will insure to the settlers their proper water supply upon equal and reasonable terms. In the Territories this whole subject is under the full control of Congress, and in the States it is practically so as long as the Government holds the title to the reservoir sites and water sources and can grant them upon such conditions as it chooses to impose. The improvident granting of franchises of enormous value, without recompense to the State or municipality from which they proceed and without proper protection of the public interests, is the most noticeable and flagrant evil of modern legislation. This fault should not be committed in dealing with a subject that will, before many years, affect so vitally thousands of our people.
The legislation of Congress for the repression of polygamy has, after years of resistance on the part of the Mormons, at last brought them to the conclusion that resistance is unprofitable and unavailing. The power of Congress over this subject should not be surrendered until we have satisfactory evidence that the people of the State to be created would exercise the exclusive power of the State over this subject in the same way. The question is not whether these people now obey the laws of Congress against polygamy, but rather would they make, enforce, and maintain such laws themselves if absolutely free to regulate the subject? We can not afford to experiment with this subject, for when a State is once constituted the act is final and any mistake irretrievable. No compact in the enabling act could, in my opinion, be binding or effective.
I recommend that provision be made for the organization of a simple form of town government in Alaska, with power to regulate such matters as are usually in the States under municipal control. These local civil organizations will give better protection in some matters than the present skeleton Territorial organization. Proper restrictions as to the power to levy taxes and to create debt should be imposed.
If the establishment of the Department of Agriculture was regarded by anyone as a mere concession to the unenlightened demand of a worthy class of people, that impression has been most effectually removed by the great results already attained. Its home influence has been very great in disseminating agricultural and horticultural information; in stimulating and directing a further diversification of crops; in detecting and eradicating diseases of domestic animals; and, more than all, in the close and informal contact which it has established and maintains with the farmers and stock-raisers of the whole country. Every request for information has had prompt attention and every suggestion merited consideration. The scientific corps of the Department is of a high order and is pushing its investigations with method and enthusiasm.
The inspection by this Departinent of cattle and pork products intended for shipment abroad has been the basis of the success which has attended our efforts to secure the removal of the restrictions maintained by the European governments.
For ten years protests and petitions upon this subject from the packers and stock-raisers of the United States have been directed against these restrictions, which so seriously limited our markets and curtailed the profits of the farm. It is a source of general congratulation that success has at last been attained, for the effects of an enlarged foreign market for these meats will be felt, not only by the farmer, but in our public finances and in every branch of trade. It is particularly fortunate that the increased demand for food products, resulting from the removal of the restrictions upon our meats and from the reciprocal trade arrangements to which I have referred, should have come at a time when the agricultural surplus is so large. Without the help thus derived, lower
H. Ex. 1, pt 1-iii
prices would have prevailed. The Secretary of Agriculture estimates that the restrictions upon the importation of our pork products into Europe lost us a market for $20,000,000 worth of these products annually.
The grain crop of this year was the largest in our history, 50 per cent greater than that of last year, and yet the new markets that have been opened and the larger demand resulting from short crops in Europe have sustained prices to such an extent that the enormous surplus of meats and breadstuffs will be marketed at good prices, bringing relief and prosperity to an industry that was much depressed. The value of the grain crop of the United States is estimated by the Secretary to be this year five hundred million dollars more than last; of meats, one hundred and fifty millions more, and of all products of the farm, seven hundred millions more. It is not inappropriate, I think, here to suggest that our satisfaction in the contemplation of this marvelous addition to the national wealth is unclouded by any suspicion of the currency by which it is measured and in which the farmer is paid for the product of his fields.
The report of the Civil Service Commission should receive the careful attention of the opponents, as well as the friends, of this reform. The Commission invites a personal inspection by Senators and Representatives of its records and methods; and every fair critic will feel that such an examination should precede a judgment of condemnation, either of the system or its administration. It is not claimed that either is perfect, but I believe that the law is being executed with impartiality, and that the system is incomparably better and fairer than that of appointments upon favor. I have during the year extended the classified service to include superintendents, teachers, matrons, and physicians in the Indian service. This branch of the service is largely related to educational and philanthropic work and will obviously be the better for the change.
The heads of the several Executive Departments have been directed to establish at once an efficiency record as the basis of a comparative rating of the clerks within the classified service, with a view to placing promotions therein upon the basis of merit. confident that such a record, fairly kept and open to the inspection of those interested, will powerfully stimulate the work of the Departments and will be accepted by all as placing the troublesome matter of promotions upon a just basis.
I recommend that the appropriations for the Civil Service Commission be made adequate to the increased work of the next fiscal year,
I have twice before urgently called the attention of Congress to the necessity of legislation for the protection of the lives of railroad employees, but nothing has yet been done. During the year ending
. June 30, 1890, 369 brakemen were killed and 7,841 maimed while engaged in coupling cars. The total number of railroad employees killed during the year was 2,451, and the number injured, 22,390. This is a cruel and largely a needless sacrifice. The Government is spending nearly one million dollars annually to save the lives of shipwrecked seamen; every steam vessel is rigidly inspected and required to adopt the most approved safety appliances. All this is good; but how shall we excuse the lack of interest and effort in behalf of this army of brave young men who in our land commerce are being sacrificed every year by the continued use of antiquated and dangerous appliances ? A law requiring of every railroad engaged in interstate commerce the equipment each year of a given per cent of its freight cars with automatic couplers and air brakes would compel an agreement between the roads as to the kind of brakes and couplers to be used and would very soon and very greatly reduce the present fearful death rate among railroad employees.
The method of appointment by the States of electors of President and Vice President has recently attracted renewed interest by reason of a departure by the State of Michigan from the method which had become uniform in all the States. Prior to 1832 various methods had been used by the different States and even by the same State. In some the choice was made by the legislature; in others electors were chosen by districts, but more generally by the voters of the whole State upon a general ticket. The movement towards the adoption of the last-named method had an early beginning and went steadily forward among the States, until in 1832 there remained but a single State, South Carolina, that had not adopted it. That State, until the civil war, continued to choose its electors by a vote of the legislature, but after the war changed its method and conformed to the practice of the other States. For nearly sixty years all the States save one have appointed their electors by a popular vote upon a general ticket, and for nearly thirty years this method was universal.
After a full test of other methods, without important division or dissent in any State and without any purpose of party advantage, as we must believe, but solely upon the considerations that uniformity was desirable and that a general election in territorial divisions not subject to change was most consistent with the popular character