« PreviousContinue »
LIST OF PAPIRS, WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THEIR CONTENTS, AND FOL-
LOWED BY AN ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
The reports of the heads of the several Executive Departments, required by law to be submitted to me, which are herewith transmitted, and the reports of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney-General, made directly to Congress, furnish a comprehensive view of the administrative work of the last fiscal year relating to internal affairs. It would be of great advantage if these reports could have an attentive perusal by every member of Congress and by all who take an interest in public affairs. Such a perusal could not fail to excite a higher appreciation of the vast labor and conscientious effort which are given to the conduct of our civil administration.
The reports will, I believe, show that every question has been approached, considered, and decided from the standpoint of public duty and upon considerations affecting the public interests alone. Again I invite to every branch of the service the attention and scrutiny of Congress.
The work of the State Department during the last year has been characterized by an unusual number of important negotiations and by diplomatic results of a notable and highly beneficial character. Among these are the reciprocal trade arrangements which have been concluded, in the exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the tariff law, with the Republic of Brazil, with Spain for its West India possessions, and with San Domingo. Like negotiations with other countries have been much advanced, and it is hoped that before the close of the year further definitive trade arrangements of great value will be concluded.
In view of the reports which had been received as to the diminution of the seal herds in the Bering Sea I deemed it wise to propose to Her Majesty's Government in February last that an agreement for a closed season should be made, pending the negotiations for arbitration which then seemed to be approaching a favorable conclusion. After much correspondence, and delays for which this Government was not responsible, an agreement was reached and signed on the 15th of June, by which Great Britain undertook, from that date and until May 1, 1892, to prohibit the killing by lier subjects of seals in the Bering Sea, and the Government of the United States, during the same period, to enforce its existing prohibition against pelagic sealing and to limit the catch by the Fur Seal Company upon the islands to 7,500 skins. If this agreement could have been reached earlier, in response to the strenuous endeavors of this Government, it would have been inore effective ; but, coming even as late as it did, it unquestionably resulted in greatly diminishing the destruction of the seals by the Canadian sealers.
In my last annual message I stated that the basis of arbitration proposed by Her Majesty's Government for the adjustment of the long-pending controversy as to the seal fisheries was not acceptable. I am glad now to be able to announce that terms satisfactory to this Government have been agreed upon and that an agreement as to the arbitrators is all that is necessary to the completion of the convention. In view of the advanced position which this Government has taken upon the subject of international arbitration, this renewed expression of our adherence to this method for the settlement of disputes such as have arisen in the Bering Sea will, I doubt not, meet with the concurrence of Congress.
Provision should be made for a joint demarcation of the frontier line between Canada and the United States, wherever required by the increasing border settlements, and especially for the exact location of the water boundary in the straits and rivers.
I should have been glad to announce some favorable disposition of the boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela, touching the western frontier of British Guiana, but the friendly efforts of the United States in that direction have thus far been unavailing. This Government will continue to express its concern at any appearance of foreign encroachment on territories long under the administrative control of American States. The determination of a disputed boundary is easily attainable by amicable arbitration, where the rights of the respective parties rest, as here, on historic facts, readily ascertainable.
The law of the last Congress providing a system of inspection for our meats intended for export and clothing the President with power to exclude foreign products from our market in case the country sending them should perpetuate unjust discriminations against any product of the United States, placed this Government in a position to effectively urge the removal of such discriminations against our meats. It is gratifying to be able to state that Germany, Denmark, Italy, Austria, and France, in the order named, have opened their ports to inspected American pork products. The removal of these restrictions in every instance was asked for and given solely upon the ground that we had now provided a meat inspection that should be accepted as adequate to the complete removal of the dangers, real or fancied, which had been previously urged. The State Department, our ministers abroad, and the Secretary of Agriculture have coöperated with unflagging and intelligent zeal for the accomplishment of this great result. The outlines of an agreement have been reached with Germany, looking to equitable trade concessions in consideration of the continued free importation of her sugars, but the time has not yet arrived when this correspondence can be submitted to Congress.
The recent political disturbances in the Republic of Brazil have excited regret and solicitude. The information we possessed was too meager to enable us to form a satisfactory judgment of the causes leading to the temporary assumption of supreme power by President Fonseca ; but this Government did not fail to express to him its anxious solicitude for the peace of Brazil and for the maintenance of the free political institutions which had recently been established there, nor to offer our advice that great moderation should be observed in the clash of parties and the contest fot leadership. These counsels were received in the most friendly spirit, and the latest information is that constitutional government has been reestablished without bloodshed.
The lynching at New Orleans in March last of eleven men of Italian nativity by a mob of citizens was a most deplorable and discreditable incident. It did not, however, have its origin in any general animosity to the Italian people, nor in any disrespect to the Government of Italy, with which our relations were of the most friendly character. The fury of the mob was directed against these men as the supposed participants or accessories in the murder of a city officer. I do not allude to this as mitigating in any degree this offense against law and humanity, but only as affecting the international questions which grew out of it. It was at once represented by the Italian minister that several of those whose lives had been taken by the mob were Italian subjects, and a demand was made for the punishment of the participants and for an indemnity to the families of those who were killed. It is to be regretted that