State of the Union Address
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
At the threshold of your deliberations you are called to mourn with
your countrymen the death of Vice-President Hobart, who passed from this
life on the morning of November 21 last. His great soul now rests in eternal
peace. His private life was pure and elevated. while his public career
was ever distinguished by large capacity, stainless integrity, and exalted
motives. He has been removed from the high office which he honored and
dignified, but his lofty character, his devotion to duty, his honesty of
purpose, and noble virtues remain with us as a priceless legacy and example.
The Fifty-sixth Congress convenes in its first regular session with
the country in a condition of unusual prosperity, of universal good will
among the people at home, and in relations of peace and friendship with
every government of the world. Our foreign commerce has shown great increase
in volume and value. The combined imports and exports for the year are
the largest ever shown by a single year in all our history. Our exports
for 1899 alone exceeded by more than a billion dollars our imports and
exports combined in 1870. The imports per capita are 20 per cent less than
in 1870, while the exports per capita are 58 per cent more than in 1870,
showing the enlarged capacity of the United States to satisfy the wants
of its own increasing population, as well as to contribute to those of
the peoples of other nations.
Exports of agricultural products were $784,776,142. Of manufactured
products we exported in value $339,592,146, being larger than any previous
year. It is a noteworthy fact that the only years in all our history when
the products of our manufactories sold abroad exceeded those bought abroad
were 1898 and 1899.
Government receipts from all sources for the fiscal year ended June
30, 1899, including $11,798,314,14, part payment of the Central Pacific
Railroad indebtedness, aggregated $610,982,004.35. Customs receipts were
$206,128,481.75, and those from internal revenue $273,437,161.51.
For the fiscal year the expenditures were $700,093,564.02, leaving a
deficit of $89,111,559.67.
The Secretary of the Treasury estimates that the receipts for the current
fiscal year will aggregate $640,958,112, and upon the basis of present
appropriations the expenditures will aggregate $600,958,112, leaving a
surplus of $40,000,000.
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1899, the internal-revenue receipts
were increased about $100,000,000.
The present gratifying strength of the Treasury is shown by the fact
that on December 1, 1899, the available cash balance was $278,004,837.72,
Of which $239,744,905.36 was in gold coin and bullion. The conditions of
confidence which prevail throughout the country have brought gold into
more general use and customs receipts are now almost entirely paid in that
The strong position of the Treasury with respect to cash on band and
the favorable showing made by the revenues have made it possible for the
Secretary of the Treasury to take action under the provisions of section
3694, Revised Statutes, relating to the sinking fund. Receipts exceeded
expenditures for the first five months of the current fiscal year by $13,413,389.91,
and, as mentioned above, the Secretary of the Treasury estimates that there
will be a surplus of approximately $40,000,000 at the end of the year.
Under such conditions it was deemed advisable and proper to resume compliance
with the provisions of the sinking-fund law, which for eight years has
not been done because of deficiencies in the revenues. The Treasury Department
therefore offered to purchase during November $25,000,000 of the 5 per
cent loan of 1904, or the 4 per cent funded loan of 1907, at the current
market price. The amount offered and purchased during November was $18,408,600.
The premium paid by the Government on such purchases was $2,263,521 and
the net saving in interest was about $2,885,000. The success of this operation
was sufficient to induce the Government to continue the offer to purchase
bonds to and including the 23d day of December, instant, unless the remainder
of the $25,000,000 called for should be presented in the meantime for redemption
Increased activity in industry, with its welcome attendant--a larger
employment for labor at higher wages--gives to the body of the people a
larger power to absorb the circulating medium. It is further true that
year by year, with larger areas of land under cultivation, the increasing
volume of agricultural products, cotton, corn, and wheat, calls for a larger
volume of money supply. This is especially noticeable at the crop-harvesting
and crop-moving period.
In its earlier history the National Banking Act seemed to prove a reasonable
avenue through which needful additions to the circulation could from time
to time be made. Changing conditions have apparently rendered it now inoperative
to that end. The high margin in bond securities required, resulting from
large premiums which Government bonds command in the market, or the tax
on note issues, or both operating together, appear to be the influences
which impair its public utility.
The attention of Congress is respectfully invited to this important
matter, with the view of ascertaining whether or not such reasonable modifications
can be made in the National Banking Act as will render its service in the
particulars here referred to more responsive to the people's needs. I again
urge that national banks be authorized to organize with a capital of $25,000.
I urgently recommend that to support the existing gold standard, and
to maintain "the parity in value of the coins of the two metals (gold and
silver) and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the market
and in the payment of debts," the Secretary of the Treasury be given additional
power and charged with the duty to sell United States bonds and to employ
such other effective means as may be necessary to these ends. The authority
should include the power to sell bonds on long and short time, as conditions
may require, and should provide for a rate of interest lower than that
fixed by the act of January 14, 1875. While there is now no commercial
fright which withdraws gold from the Government, but, on the contrary,
such widespread confidence that gold seeks the Treasury demanding paper
money in exchange, yet the very situation points to the present as the
most fitting time to make adequate provision to insure the continuance
of the gold standard and of public confidence in the ability and purpose
of the Government to meet all its obligations in the money which the civilized
world recognizes as the best. The financial transactions of the Government
are conducted upon a gold basis. We receive gold when we sell United States
bonds and use gold for their payment. We are maintaining the parity of
all the money issued or coined by authority of the Government. We are doing
these things with the means at hand. Happily at the present time we are
not compelled to resort to loans to supply gold. It has been done in the
past, however, and may have to be done in the future. It behooves us, therefore,
to provide at once the best means to meet the emergency when it arises,
and the best means are those which are the most certain and economical.
Those now authorized have the virtue neither of directness nor economy.
We have already eliminated one of the causes of our financial plight and
embarrassment during the years 1893, 1894, 1895, and 1896. Our receipts
now equal our expenditures; deficient revenues no longer create alarm Let
us remove the only remaining cause by conferring the full and necessary
power on the Secretary of the Treasury and impose upon him the duty to
uphold the present gold standard and preserve the coins of the two metals
on a parity with each other, which is the repeatedly declared policy of
the United States.
In this connection I repeat my former recommendations that a portion
of the gold holdings shall be placed in a trust fund from which greenbacks
shall be redeemed upon presentation, but when once redeemed shall not thereafter
be paid out except for gold.
The value of an American merchant marine to the extension of our commercial
trade and the strengthening of our power upon the sea invites the immediate
action of the Congress. Our national development will be one-sided and
unsatisfactory so long as the remarkable growth of our inland industries
remains unaccompanied by progress on the seas. There is no lack of constitutional
authority for legislation which shall give to the country maritime strength
commensurate with its industrial achievements and with its rank among the
nations of the earth,
The past year has recorded exceptional activity in our shipyards. and
the promises of continual prosperity in shipbuilding are abundant. Advanced
legislation for the protection of our seamen has been enacted. Our coast
trade, under regulations wisely framed at the beginning of the Government
and since, shows results for the past fiscal year unequaled in our records
or those of any other power. We shall fail to realize our opportunities,
however, if we complacently regard only matters at home and blind ourselves
to the necessity of securing our share in the valuable carrying trade of
Last year American vessels transported a smaller share of our exports
and imports than during any former year in all our history, and the measure
of our dependence upon foreign shipping was painfully manifested to our
people. Without any choice of our own, but from necessity, the Departments
of the Government charged with military and naval operations in the East
and West Indies had to obtain from foreign flags merchant vessels essential
for those operations.
The other great nations have not hesitated to adopt the required means
to develop their shipping as a factor in national defense and as one of
the surest and speediest means of obtaining for their producers a share
in foreign markets. Like vigilance and effort on our part cannot fail to
improve our situation, which is regarded with humiliation at home and with
surprise abroad. Even the seeming sacrifices, which at the beginning may
be involved, will be offset later by more than equivalent gains.
The expense is as nothing compared to the advantage to be achieved.
The reestablishment of our merchant marine involves in a large measure
our continued industrial progress and the extension of our commercial triumphs.
I am satisfied the judgment of the country favors the policy of aid to
our merchant marine, which will broaden our commerce and markets and upbuild
our sea-carrying capacity for the products of agriculture and manufacture;
which, with the increase of our Navy, mean more work and wages to our countrymen,
as well as a safeguard to American interests in every part of the world.
Combinations of capital organized into trusts to control the conditions
of trade among our citizens, to stifle competition, limit production, and
determine the prices of products used and consumed by the people, are justly
provoking public discussion, and should early claim the attention of the
The Industrial Commission, created by the act of the Congress of June
18, 1898, has been engaged in extended hearings upon the disputed questions
involved in the subject of combinations in restraint of trade and competition.
They have not yet completed their investigation of this subject, and the
conclusions and recommendations at which they may arrive are undetermined.
The subject is one giving rise to many divergent views as to the nature
and variety or cause and extent of the 111juries to the public which may
result from large combinations concentrating more or less numerous enterprises
and establishments, which previously to the formation of the combination
were carried on separately.
It is universally conceded that combinations which engross or control
the market of any particular kind of merchandise or commodity necessary
to the general community, by suppressing natural and ordinary competition,
whereby prices are unduly enhanced to the general consumer, ,,re obnoxious
not only to the common law but also to the public welfare. There must be
a remedy for the evils involved in such organizations. If the present law
can be extended more certainly to control or check these monopolies or
trusts, it should be done without delay. Whatever power the Congress possesses
over this most important subject should be promptly ascertained and asserted.
President Harrison in his annual message of December 3, 1889, says:
Earnest attention should be given by Congress to a consideration of
the question how far the restraint of those combinations of capital commonly
called 11 trusts" is matter of Federal jurisdiction. When organized, as
they often are, to crush out all 'healthy competition and to monopolize
the production or sale of an article of commerce and general necessity
they are dangerous conspiracies against the public good, and should be
made the subject of prohibitory and even penal legislation.
An act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and
monopolies was passed by Congress on the 2d of July, 1890. The provisions
of this statute are comprehensive and stringent. It declares every contract
or combination, in the form of a trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in the
restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign
nations, to be unlawful. It denominates as a criminal every person who
makes any such contract or engages in any such combination or conspiracy,
and provides a punishment by fine or imprisonment. It invests the several
circuit courts of the United States with jurisdiction to prevent and restrain
violations of the act, and makes it the duty of the several United States
district attorneys, under the direction of the Attorney General, to institute
proceedings in equity to prevent and restrain such violations. It further
confers upon any person who shall be injured in his business or property
by any other person or corporation by reason of anything forbidden or declared
to be unlawful by the act, the power to sue therefore in any circuit court
of the United States without respect to the amount in controversy, and
to recover threefold the damages by him sustained and the costs of the
suit, including reasonable attorney fees. It will be perceived that the
act is aimed at every kind of combination in the nature of a trust or monopoly
in restraint of interstate or international commerce.
The prosecution by the United States of offenses under the act of 1890
has been frequently resorted to in the Federal courts, and notable efforts
in the restraint of interstate commerce, such as the Trans-Missouri Freight
Association and the joint Traffic Association, have been successfully opposed
President Cleveland in his annual message of December 7, 1896 -- more
than six years subsequent to the enactment of this law -- after stating
the evils of these trust combinations, says:
Though Congress has attempted to deal with this matter by legislation,
the laws passed for that purpose thus far have proved ineffective, not
because of any lack of disposition or attempt to enforce them, but simply
because the laws themselves as interpreted by the courts do not reach the
difficulty. If the insufficiencies of existing laws can be remedied by
further legislation, it should be done. The fact must be recognized, however,
that all Federal legislation on this subject may fall short of its purpose
because of inherent obstacles, and also because of the complex character
of our governmental system, which, while making the Federal authority supreme
within its sphere, has carefully limited that sphere by metes and bounds
which cannot be transgressed. The decision of our highest court on this
precise question renders it quite doubtful whether the evils of trusts
and monopolies may be adequately treated through Federal action, unless
they seek directly and purposely to include in their objects transportation
or intercourse between States or between the United States and foreign
countries. It does not follow, however, that this is the limit of the remedy
that may be applied. Even though it may be found that Federal authority
is not broad enough to fully reach the case, there can be no doubt of the
power of the several States to act effectively in the premises, and there
should be no reason to doubt their willingness to judiciously exercise
The State legislation to which President Cleveland looked for relief
from the evils of trusts has failed to accomplish fully that object. This
is probably due to a great extent to the fact that different States take
different views as to the proper way to discriminate between evil and injurious
combinations and those associations which are beneficial and necessary
to the business prosperity of the country. The great diversity of treatment
in different States arising from this cause and the intimate relations
of all parts of the country to each other without regarding State lines
in the conduct of business have made the enforcement of State laws difficult.
It is apparent that uniformity of legislation upon this subject in
the several States is much to be desired. It is to be hoped that such uniformity
founded in a wise and just discrimination between what is injurious and
what is useful and necessary in business operations may be obtained and
that means may be found for the Congress within the limitations of its
constitutional power so to supplement an effective code of State legislation
as to make a complete system of laws throughout the United States adequate
to compel a general observance of the salutary rules to which I have referred.
The whole question is so important and far-reaching that I am sure no
part of it will be lightly considered, but every phase of it will have
the studied deliberation of the Congress, resulting in wise and judicious
A review of our relations with foreign States is presented with such
recommendations as are deemed appropriate.
The long-pending boundary dispute between the Argentine Republic and
Chile was settled in March last by the award of an arbitral commission,
on which the United States minister at Buenos Ayres served as umpire.
Progress has been made toward the conclusion of a convention of extradition
with the Argentine Republic. Having been advised and consented to by the
United States Senate and ratified by Argentina, it only awaits the adjustment
of some slight changes in the text before exchange.
In my last annual message I adverted to the claim of the Austro-Hungarian
Government for indemnity for the killing of certain Austrian and Hungarian
subjects by the authorities of the State of Pennsylvania, at Lattimer,
while suppressing an unlawful tumult of miners, September 10, 1897. In
view of the verdict of acquittal rendered by the court before which the
sheriff and his deputies were tried for murder, and following the established
doctrine that the Government may not be held accountable for injuries suffered
by individuals at the hands of the public authorities while acting in the
line of duty in suppressing disturbance of the public peace, this Government,
after due consideration of the claim advanced by the Austro-Hungarian Government,
was constrained to decline liability to indemnify the sufferers.
It is gratifying to be able to announce that the Belgian Government
has mitigated the restrictions on the importation of cattle from the United
States, to which I referred in my last annual message.
Having been invited by Belgium to participate in a congress, held at
Brussels, to revise the provisions of the general act Of July 2, 1890,
for the repression of the African slave trade, to which the United States
was a signatory party, this Government preferred not to be represented
by a plenipotentiary, but reserved the right of accession to the result.
Notable changes were made, those especially concerning this country being
in the line of the increased restriction of the deleterious trade in spirituous
liquors with the native tribes, which this Government has from the outset
urgently advocated. The amended general act will be laid before the Senate,
with a view to its advice and consent.
Early in the year the peace of Bolivia was disturbed by a successful
insurrection. The United States minister remained at his post, attending
to the American interests in that quarter, and using besides his good offices
for the protection of the interests of British subjects in the absence
of their national representative. On the establishment of the new Government,
our minister was directed to enter into relations therewith.
General Pando was elected President of Bolivia on October 23.
Our representative has been instructed to use all permissible friendly
endeavors to induce the Government of Bolivia to amend its marriage laws
so as to give legal status to the non-Catholic and civil marriages of aliens
within its jurisdiction, and strong hopes are entertained that the Bolivian
law in this regard will be brought, as was that of Peru some years ago,
into harmony with the general practice of modern States.
A convention of extradition with Brazil, signed May 14, 1897, has been
rati6ed by the Brazilian Legislature.
During the past summer two national ships of the United States have
visited Brazilian ports on a friendly mission and been cordially received.
The voyage of the Wilininglon up the Amazon River gave rise to a passing
misunderstanding, owing to confusion in obtaining permission to visit the
interior and make surveys in the general interest of navigation, but the
incident found a ready adjustment in harmony with the close relations of
amity which this Government has always sedulously sought to cultivate with
the commonwealths of the Western Continent.
The claim growing out of the seizure of the American-owned newspaper
"The Panama Star and Herald" by the authorities of Colombia has been settled,
after a controversy of several years, by an agreement assessing at $30,000
the indemnity to be paid by the Colombian Government, in three installments
of $10,000 each.
The good will of Colombia toward our country has been testified anew
by the cordial extension of facilities to the Nicaraguan Canal Commission
in their approaching investigation of the Panama Canal and other projected
routes across the Isthmus of Darien.
Toward the end of October an insurrectionary disturbance developed in
the Colombian Republic. This movement has thus far not attained any decisive
result and is still in progress.
Discussion of the questions raised by the action of Denmark in imposing
restrictions on the importation of American meats has continued without
substantial result in our favor.
The neighboring island Republic of Santo Domingo has lately been the
scene of revolution, following a long period of tranquility. It began with
the killing of President Heureaux in July last, and culminated in the relinquishment
by the succeeding Vice-President of the reins of government to the insurgents.
The first act of the provisional government was the calling of a presidential
and constituent election. Juan Isidro Jimenez, having been elected President,
was inaugurated on the 14th of November. Relations have been entered into
with the newly established Government.
The experimental association of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Salvador, tinder
the title of the Greater Republic of Central America, when apparently on
the threshold of a complete federal organization by the adoption of a constitution
and the formation of a national legislature, was disrupted in the last
days of November, 1898, by the withdrawal of Salvador. Thereupon Nicaragua
and Honduras abandoned the joint compact, each resuming its former independent
sovereignty. This was followed by the reception of Minister Merry by the
Republics of Nicaragua and Salvador, while Minister Hunter in turn presented
his credentials to the Government of Honduras, thus reverting to the old
distribution of the diplomatic agencies of the United States in Central
America for which our existing statutes provide. A Nicaraguan envoy has
been accredited to the United States.
An insurrectionary movement, under General Reyes, broke out at Eluefields
in February last, and for a time exercised actual control in the Mosquito
Territory. The Detroit was promptly sent thither for the protection of
American interests. After a few weeks the Reyes government renounced the
conflict, giving place to the restored supremacy of Nicaragua. During the
interregnum certain public dues accruing under Nicaraguan law were collected
from American merchants by the authorities for the time being in effective
administrative control. Upon the titular government regaining power, a
second payment of these dues was demanded. Controversy arose touching the
validity of the original payment of the debt to the de facto regent of
the territory. An arrangement was effected in April last by the United
States minister and the foreign secretary of Nicaragua whereby the amounts
of the duplicate payments were deposited with the British consul pending
an adjustment of the matter by direct agreement between the Governments
of the United States and Nicaragua. The controversy is still unsettled.
The contract of the Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua was declared
forfeited by the Nicaraguan Government on the Tenth of October, on the
ground of nonfulfillment within the ten years' term stipulated in the contract.
The Maritime Canal Company has lodged a protest against this action, alleging
rights in the premises which appear worthy of consideration. This Government
expects that Nicaragua will afford the protestants a full and fair hearing
upon the merits of the case.
The Nicaragua Canal Commission, which bad been engaged upon the work
of examination and survey for a ship-canal route across Nicaragua, having
completed its labors and made its report, was dissolved on May P, and on
June To a new commission, known as the Isthmian Canal Commission, was organized
under the terms of the act approved March 3, 1899, for the purpose of examining
the American Isthmus with a view to determining the most practicable and
feasible route for a ship canal across that Isthmus, with its probable
cost, and other essential details.
This Commission, under the presidency of Rear-Admiral John G. Walker,
U. S. N. (retired), entered promptly upon the work intrusted to it, and
is now carrying on examinations in Nicaragua along the route of the Panama
Canal, and in Darien from the Atlantic, in the neighborhood of the Atrato
River, to the Bay of Panama, on the Pacific side. Good progress has been
made, but under the law a comprehensive and complete investigation is called
for, which will require much labor and considerable time for its accomplishment.
The work will be prosecuted as expeditiously as possible and a report made
at the earliest practicable date.
The great importance of this work cannot be too often or too strongly
pressed upon the attention of the Congress. In my message of a year ago
I expressed my views of the necessity of a canal which would link the two
great oceans, to which I again invite your consideration. The reasons then
presented for early action are even stronger now.
A pleasing incident in the relations of this Government with that of
Chile occurred in the generous assistance given to the war ship Newark
when in distress in Chilean waters. Not alone in this way has the friendly
disposition of Chile found expression. That country has acceded to the
convention for the establishment of the Bureau of the American Republics,
in which organization every independent State of the continent now shares.
The exchange of ratifications of a convention for the revival of the
United States and Chilean Claims Commission and for the adjudication of
claims heretofore presented but not determined during the life of the previous
Commission has been delayed by reason of the necessity for fresh action
by the Chilean Senate upon the amendments attached to the ratification
of the treaty by the United States Senate. This formality is soon to be
In view of disturbances in the populous provinces of northern China,
where are many of our citizens, and of the imminence of disorder near the
capital and toward the seaboard, a guard of marines was landed from the
Boston and stationed during last winter in the legation compound at Peking.
With the restoration of order this protection was withdrawn.
The interests of our citizens in that vast Empire have not been neglected
during the past year. Adequate protection has been secured for our missionaries
and some injuries to their property have been redressed.
American capital has sought and found various opportunities of competing
to carry out the internal improvements which the Imperial Government is
wisely encouraging, and to develop the natural resources of the Empire.
Our trade with China has continued to grow, and our commercial rights under
existing treaties have been everywhere maintained during the past year,
as they will be in the future.
The extension of the area open to international foreign settlement at
Shanghai and the opening of the ports of Nanking, Tsing-tao (Kiao chao),
and Ta-lien-wan to foreign trade and settlement will doubtless afford American
enterprise additional facilities and new fields, of which it will not be
slow to take advantage.
In my message to Congress of December 5, 1898, 1 urged that the recommendation
which had been made to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by the
Secretary of the Treasury on the 14th of June, z898, for an appropriation
for a commission to study the commercial and industrial conditions in the
Chinese Empire and report as to the opportunities for, and obstacles to,
the enlargement of markets in China for the raw products and manufactures
of the United States, should receive at your hands the consideration which
its importance and timeliness merited, but the Congress failed to take
I now renew this recommendation, as the importance of the subject has
steadily grown since it was first submitted to you, and no time should
be lost in studying for ourselves the resources of this great field for
American trade and enterprise.
The death of President Faure in February last called forth those sincere
expressions of sympathy which befit the relations of two Republics as closely
allied by unbroken historic ties as are the United States and France.
Preparations for the representation of the industries, arts, and products
of the United States at the World's Exposition to be held in Paris next
year continue on an elaborate and comprehensive scale, thanks to the generous
appropriation provided by Congress and to the friendly interest the French
Government has shown in furthering a typical exhibit of American progress.
There has been allotted to the United States a considerable addition
of space, which, while placing our country in the first rant among exhibitors,
does not suffice to meet the increasingly urgent demands of our manufacturers.
The efforts of the Commissioner General are ably directed toward a strictly
representative display of all that most characteristically marks American
achievement in the inventive arts, and most adequately shows the excellence
of our natural productions.
In this age of keen rivalry among nations for mastery in commerce, the
doctrine of evolution and the rule of the survival of the fittest must
be as inexorable in their operation as they are positive in the results
they bring about. The place won in the struggle by an industrial people
can only be held by unrelaxed endeavor and constant advance in achievement.
The present extraordinary impetus in every line of American exportation
and the astounding increase in the volume and value of our share in the
world's markets may not be attributed to accidental conditions.
The reasons are not far to seek. They lie deep in our national character
and find expression year by year in every branch of handicraft, in every
new device whereby the materials we so abundantly produce are subdued to
the artisan's will and made to yield the largest, most practical, and most
beneficial return. The American exhibit at Paris should, and I am confident
will, be an open volume, whose lessons of skillfully directed endeavor,
unfaltering energy, and consummate performance may be read by all on every
page, thus spreading abroad a clearer knowledge of the worth of our productions
and the justice of our claim to an important place in the marts of the
world. To accomplish this by judicious selection, by recognition of paramount
merit in whatever walk of trade or manufacture it may appear, and by orderly
classification and attractive installation is the task of our Commission.
The United States Government building is approaching completion, and
no effort will be spared to make it worthy, in beauty of architectural
plan and in completeness of display, to represent our nation. It has been
suggested that a permanent building of similar or appropriate design be
erected on a convenient site, already given by the municipality, near the
exposition grounds, to serve in commemoration of the part taken by this
country in this great enterprise, as an American National Institute, for
our countrymen resorting to Paris for study.
I am informed by our Commissioner-General that we shall have in the
American sections at Paris over 7,000 exhibitors, from every State ill
our country, a number ten times as great as those which were represented
at Vienna in 1873, six times as many as those in Paris in 1878, and four
times as many as those who exhibited in Paris in 1889. This statement does
not include the exhibits from either Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Hawaii, for
which arrangements have been made.
A number of important international congresses on special topics affecting
public interests are proposed to be held in Paris next summer in connection
with the exposition. Effort will be made to have the several technical
branches of our administration efficiently represented at those conferences,
each in its special line, and to procure the largest possible concourse
of State representatives, particularly at the Congresses of Public Charity
Our relations with Germany continue to be most cordial. The increasing
intimacy of direct association has been marked during the year by the granting
permission in April for the landing on our shores of a cable from Borkum
Emden, on the North Sea, by way of the Azores, and also by the conclusion
on September 2 of a Parcels Post Convention with the German Empire. In
all that promises closer relations of intercourse and commerce and a better
understanding between two races having so many traits in common, Germany
can be assured of the most cordial cooperation of this Government and people.
We may be rivals in many material paths, but our rivalry should be generous
and open, ever aiming toward the attainment of larger results and the mutually
beneficial advancement of each in the line of its especial adaptabilities.
The several governments of the Empire seem reluctant to admit the natural
excellence of our food productions and to accept the evidence we constantly
tender of the care with which their purity is guarded by rigid inspection
from the farm, through the slaughterhouse and the packing establishments,
to the port of shipment. Our system of control over exported food staples
invites examination from any quarter and challenges respect by its efficient
It is to be hoped that in time the two Governments will act in common
accord toward the realization of their common purpose to safeguard the
public health and to insure the purity and wholesomeness of all food products
imported by either country from the other. Were the Congress to authorize
an invitation to Germany, in connection with the pending reciprocity negotiations,
for the constitution of a joint commission of scientific experts and practical
men of affairs to conduct a searching investigation of food production
and exportation in both countries and report to their respective legislatures
for the adoption of such remedial measures as they might recommend for
either, the way might be opened for the desirable result indicated.
Efforts to obtain for American life insurance companies a full hearing
as to their business operations in Prussia have, after several years of
patient representation, happily succeeded, and one of the most important
American companies has been granted a concession to continue business in
I am also glad to announce that the German insurance companies have
been readmitted by the superintendent of insurance to do business in the
State of New York.
Subsequent to the exchange of our peace treaty with Spain, Germany acquired
the Caroline Islands by purchase, paying therefore $5,000,000. Assurances
have been received from the German Government that the rights of American
missionaries and traders there will be considerately observed.
In my last annual message I referred to the pending negotiations with
Great Britain in respect to the Dominion of Canada. By means of an executive
agreement, a joint High Commission had been created for the purpose of
adjusting all unsettled questions between the United States and Canada,
embracing twelve subjects, among which were the questions of the fur seals,
the fisheries of the coast and contiguous inland waters, the Alaskan boundary,
the transit of merchandise in bond, the alien labor laws, mining rights,
reciprocity in trade, revision of the agreement respecting naval vessels
in the Great Lakes, a more complete marking of parts of the boundary, provision
for the conveyance of criminals, and for wrecking and salvage.
Much progress had been made by the Commission toward the adjustment
of many of these questions, when it became apparent that an irreconcilable
difference of views was entertained respecting the delimitation of the
Alaskan, boundary. In the failure of an agreement as to the meaning of
Articles III and IV of the treaty of 1825 between Russia and Great Britain,
which defined the boundary between Alaska and Canada, the American Commissioners
proposed that the subject of the boundary be laid aside, and that the remaining
questions of difference be proceeded with, some of which were so far advanced
as to assure the probability of a settlement. This being declined by the
British Commissioners, an adjournment was taken until the boundary should
be adjusted by the two Governments. The subject has been receiving the
careful attention which its importance demands, with the result that a
modus vivendi for provisional demarcations in the region about the head
of Lynn Canal has, been agreed upon; and it is hoped that the negotiations
now in progress between the two Governments will end in an agreement for
the establishment and delimitation of a permanent boundary.
Apart from these questions growing out of our relationship with our
northern neighbor, the most friendly disposition and ready agreement have
marked the discussion of numerous matters arising in the vast and intimate
intercourse of the United States with Great Britain.
This Government has maintained an attitude of neutrality in the unfortunate
contest between Great Britain and the Boer States of Africa. We have remained
faithful to the precept of avoiding entangling 'alliances as to affairs
not of our direct concern. Had circumstances suggested that the parties
to the quarrel would have welcomed any kindly expression of the hope of
the American people that war might be averted, good offices would have
been gladly tendered. The United States representative at Pretoria was
early instructed to see that all neutral American interests be respected
by the combatants. This has been an easy task in view of the positive declarations
of both British and Boer authorities that the personal and property rights
of our citizens should be observed.
Upon the withdrawal of the British agent from Pretoria the United States
consul was authorized, upon the request of the British Government and with
the assent of the South African and Orange Free State Governments, to exercise
the customary good offices of a neutral for the care of British interests.
In the discharge of this function, I am happy to say that abundant opportunity
has been afforded to show the impartiality of this Government toward both
For the fourth time in the present decade, question has arisen with
the Government of Italy in regard to the lynching of Italian subjects.
The latest of these deplorable events occurred at Tallulah, Louisiana,
whereby five unfortunates of Italian origin were taken from jail and hanged.
The authorities of the State and a representative of the Italian Embassy
having separately investigated the occurrence, with discrepant results,
particularly as to the alleged citizenship of the victims, and it not appearing
that the State had been able to discover and punish the violators of the
law, an independent investigation has been set on foot, through the agency
of the Department of State, and is still in progress. The result will enable
the Executive to treat the question with the Government of Italy it) a
spirit of fairness and justice. A satisfactory solution will doubtless
The recurrence of these distressing manifestations of blind mob fury
directed at dependents or natives of a foreign country suggests that the
contingency has arisen for action by Congress in the direction of conferring
upon the Federal courts jurisdiction in this class of international cases
where the ultimate responsibility of the Federal Government may be involved.
The suggestion is not new. In his annual message of December 9, 1891, my
predecessor, President Harrison, said:
It would, I believe, be entirely competent for Congress to make offenses
against the treaty rights of foreigners domiciled in the United States
cognizable in the Federal courts. This has not, however, been done, and
the Federal officers and courts have no power in such cases to intervene
either for the protection of a foreign citizen or for the punishment of
his slayers. It seems to me to follow, in this state of the law, that the
officers of the State charged with police and judicial powers in such cases
must, in the consideration of international questions growing out of such
incidents, be regarded in such sense as Federal agents as to make this
Government answerable for their acts in cases where it would be answerable
if the United States had used its constitutional power to define and punish
crimes against treaty rights.
A bill to provide for the punishment of violations of treaty rights
of aliens was introduced in the Senate March 1, 1892, and reported favorably
March 30. Having doubtless in view the language of that part of Article
III of the treaty of February 26, 1871, between the United States and Italy,
which stipulates that " The citizens of each of the high contracting parties
shall receive, in the States and Territories of the other, most constant
protection and security for their persons and property, and shall enjoy
in this respect the same rights and privileges as are or shall be granted
to the natives, on their submitting themselves to the conditions imposed
upon the natives," the bill so introduced and reported provided that any
act committed in any State or Territory of the United States in violation
of the rights of a citizen or subject of a foreign country secured to such
citizen or subject by treaty between the United States and such foreign
country and constituting a crime under the laws of the State or Territory
shall constitute a like crime against the United States and be cognizable
in the Federal courts. No action was taken by Congress in the matter.
I earnestly recommend that the subject be taken tip anew and acted
upon during the present session. The necessity for some such provision
abundantly appears. Precedent for constituting a Federal jurisdiction in
criminal cases where aliens are sufferers is rationally deducible from
the existing statute, which gives to the district and circuit courts of
the United States jurisdiction of civil suits brought by aliens where the
amount involved exceeds a certain sum. If such jealous solicitude be shown
for alien rights in cases of mere]y civil and pecuniary import, how much
greater should be the public duty to take cognizance of matters affecting
the lives and the rights of aliens tinder the settled principles of international
law no less than under treaty stipulation, in cases of such transcendent
wrong. doing as mob murder, especially when experience has shown that local
justice is too often helpless to punish the offenders.
After many years of endeavor on the part of this Government to that
end the Italian Government has consented to enter into negotiations for
a naturalization convention, having for one of its objects the regulation
of the status of Italians (except those of an age for active military service)
who, having been naturalized in the United States, may revisit Italy. It
is hoped that with the mutually conciliatory spirit displayed a successful
conclusion will be reached.
The treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and
Japan on November 22, 1894, took effect in accordance with the terms of
its XIXth Article on the 17th of July last, simultaneously with the enforcement
of like treaties with the other powers, except France, whose convention
did not go into operation until August 4, the United States being, however,
granted up to that date all the privileges and rights accorded to French
citizens under the old French treaty. By this notable conventional reform
Japan's position as a fully independent sovereign power is assured, control
being gained of taxation, customs revenues, judicial administration, coasting
trade, and all other domestic functions of government, and foreign extra-territorial
rights being renounced.
Comprehensive codes of civil and criminal procedure according to western
methods, public instruction, patents and copyrights, municipal administration,
including jurisdiction over the former foreign settlements, customs tariffs
and procedure, public health, and other administrative measures have been
proclaimed. The working of the new system has given rise to no material
complaints on the part of the American citizens or interests, a circumstance
which attests the ripe consideration with which the change has been prepared.
Valuable assistance was rendered by the Japanese authorities to the
United States transport ship Morgan City while stranded at Kobe. Permission
has been granted to land and pasture army horses at Japanese ports of call
on the way to the Philippine Islands. These kindly evidences of good will
are highly appreciated.
The Japanese Government has shown a lively interest in the proposition
of the Pacific Cable Company to add to its projected cable lines to Hawaii,
Guam, and the Philippines a branch connection with the coast of Japan.
It would be a gratifying consummation were the utility of the contemplated
scheme enhanced by bringing Japan and the United States into direct telegraphic
Without repeating the observations of my special message of February
10, 1899, concerning the necessity of a cable to Manila. I respectfully
invite attention to it.
I recommend that, in case the Congress should not take measures to bring
about this result by direct action of the Government, the Postmaster General
be authorized to invite competitive bids for the establishment of a cable;
the company making the best responsible bid to be awarded the contract;
the successful company to give ample bonds to insure the completion of
the work within a reasonable time.
The year has been marked by constant increase in the intimacy of our
relations with Mexico and in the magnitude of mutually advantageous interchanges.
This Government has omitted no opportunity to show its strong desire to
develop and perpetuate the ties of cordiality now so long happily unbroken.
Following the termination on January 20, 1899, by Mexico of the convention
of extradition of December 11, 1861, a new treaty more in accordance with
the ascertained needs of both countries was signed February 22, 1899, and
exchanged in the City of Mexico on the 22d of April last. Its operation
thus far has been effective and satisfactory. A recent case has served
to test the application of its IVth Article, which provides that neither
party shall be bound to deliver up its own citizens, but that the executive
authority of each shall have the power to deliver them up if in its discretion
it be deemed proper to do so.
The extradition of Mrs. Mattie Rich, a citizen of the United States,
charged with homicide committed in Mexico, was after mature consideration
directed by me in the conviction that the ends of justice would be thereby
subserved. Similar action, on appropriate occasion, by the Mexican Executive
will not only tend to accomplish the desire of both Governments that grave
crimes go not unpunished, but also to repress lawlessness along the border
of the two countries. The new treaty stipulates that neither Government
shall assume jurisdiction in the punishment of crimes committed exclusively
within the territory of the other. This will obviate in future the embarrassing
controversies which have heretofore arisen through Mexico's assertion of
a claim to try and punish an American citizen for an offense committed
within the jurisdiction of the United States.
The International Water Boundary Commission, organized by the convention
of March 1, 1889, for the adjustment of questions affecting the Rio Grande
frontier, has not yet completed its labors. A further extension of its
term for one year, until December 24, 1899, was effected by a convention
signed December z, 1898, and exchanged and proclaimed in February last.
An invitation extended to the President of Mexico to visit Chicago in
October, on the occasion of laying the corner stone of the United States
Government building in that city, was cordially accepted by him, with the
necessary consent of the Mexican Congress, but the illness of a member
of his family prevented his attendance. The Minister of Foreign Relations,
however, came as the personal representative of President Diaz, and in
that high character was duly honored.
Claims growing out of the seizure of American sealing vessels in Bering
Sea have been under discussion with the Government of Russia for several
years, with the recent happy result of an agreement to submit them to the
decision of a single arbitrator. By this act Russia affords proof of her
adherence to the beneficent principle of arbitration which her plenipotentiaries
conspicuously favored at The Hague Disarmament Conference when it was advocated
by the representatives of the United States.
A suggestion for a permanent exposition of our products and manufactures
in Russia, although not yet fully shaped, has been so cordially welcomed
by the Imperial Government that it may not inaptly take a fitting place
in whatever legislation the Congress may adopt looking to enlargement of
our commercial opportunities abroad.
Important events have occurred in the Samoan Islands. The election,
according to the laws and customs of Samoa, of a successor to the late
King, Malietoa Laupepa, developed a contest as to the validity of the result,
which issue, by the terms of the General Act, was to be decided by the
Chief justice. Upon his rendering a judgment in favor of Malietoa Tanu,
the rival chief, Mataafa, took up arms. The active intervention of American
and British war ships became imperative to restore order, at the cost of
sanguinary encounters. In this emergency a joint commission of representatives
of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain was sent to Samoa to investigate
the situation and provide a temporary remedy. By its active efforts a peaceful
solution was reached for the time being, the kingship being abolished and
a provisional government established. Recommendations unanimously made
by the commission for a permanent adjustment of the Samoan question were
taken under consideration by the three powers parties to the General Act.
But the more they were examined the more evident it became that a radical
change was necessary in the relations of the powers to Samoa.
The inconveniences and possible perils of the tripartite scheme of supervision
and control in the Samoan group by powers having little interest in common
in that quarter beyond commercial rivalry had been once more emphasized
by the recent events. The suggested remedy of the joint Commission, like
the scheme it aimed to replace amounted to what has been styled a tridominium,
being the exercise of the functions of sovereignty by an unanimous agreement
of three powers. The situation had become far more intricate and embarrassing
from every point of view than it was when my predecessor, in 1894, summed
up its perplexities and condemned the participation in it of the United
The arrangement under which Samoa was administered had proved impracticable
and unacceptable to all the powers concerned. To withdraw from the agreement
and abandon the islands to Germany and Great Britain would not be compatible
with our interests in the archipelago. To relinquish our rights in the
harbor of Pago Pago, the best anchorage in the Pacific, the occupancy of
which had been leased to the United States in 1878 by the first foreign
treaty ever concluded by Samoa, was not to be thought of either as regards
the needs of our Navy or the interests of our growing commerce with the
East. We could not have considered any proposition for the abrogation of
the tripartite control which did not confirm us in all our rights and safeguard
all our national interests in the islands.
Our views commended themselves to the other powers. A satisfactory arrangement
was concluded between the Governments of Germany and of England, by virtue
of which England retired from Samoa in view of compensations in other directions,
and both powers renounced in favor of the United States all their rights
and claims over and in respect to that portion of the group lying to the
east of the one hundred and seventy-first degree of west longitude, embracing
the islands of Tutuila, Ofoo, Olosenga, and Manua. I transmit to the Senate,
for its constitutional action thereon, a convention, which besides the
provisions above mentioned also guarantees us the same privileges and conditions
in respect to commerce and commercial vessels in all of the islands of
Samoa as those possessed by Germany.
Claims have been preferred by white residents of Samoa on account of
injuries alleged to have been suffered through the acts of the treaty Governments
in putting down the late disturbances. A convention has been made between
the three powers for the investigation and settlement of these claims by
a neutral arbitrator, to which the attention of the Senate will be invited.
My annual message of last year was necessarily devoted, in great part
to a consideration of the Spanish War and of the results it wrought and
the conditions it imposed for the future. I am gratified to announce that
the treaty of peace has restored friendly relations between the two powers.
Effect has been given to its most important provisions. The evacuation
of Puerto Rico having already been accomplished on the x8th of October,
1898, nothing remained necessary there but to continue the provisional
military control of the island until the Congress should enact a suitable
government for the ceded territory. Of the character and scope of the measures
to that end I shall treat in another part of this message.
The withdrawal of the authority of Spain from the island of Cuba was
effected by the 1st of January, so that the full re-establishment of peace
found the relinquished territory held by us in trust for the inhabitants,
maintaining, under the direction of the Executive, such government and
control therein as should conserve public order, restore the productive
conditions of peace so long disturbed by the instability and disorder which
prevailed for the greater part of the preceding three decades, and build
up that tranquil development of the domestic state whereby alone can be
realized the high purpose, as proclaimed in the joint resolution adopted
by the Congress on the 19th of April, 1898, by which the United States
disclaimed any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction,
or control over Cuba, except for the pacification thereof, and asserted
its determination when that was accomplished to leave the government and
control of the island to its people. The pledge contained in this resolution
is of the highest honorable obligation and must be sacredly kept.
I believe that substantial progress has been made in this direction.
All the administrative measures adopted in Cuba have aimed to fit it for
a regenerated existence by enforcing the supremacy of law and justice;
by placing wherever practicable the machinery of administration in the
hands of the inhabitants; by instituting needed sanitary reforms; by spreading
education; by fostering industry and trade; by inculcating public morality,
and, in short, by taking every rational step to aid the Cuban people to
attain to that plane of self-conscious respect and self-reliant unity which
fits an enlightened community for self-government within its own sphere,
while enabling it to fulfill all outward obligation.
This nation has assumed before the world a grave responsibility for
the future good government of Cuba. We have accepted a trust the fulfillment
of which calls for the sternest integrity of purpose and the exercise of
the highest wisdom. The new Cuba yet to arise from the ashes of the past
must needs be bound to us by ties of singular intimacy and strength if
its enduring welfare is to be assured. Whether those ties shall be organic
or conventional, the destinies of Cuba are in some rightful form and manner
irrevocably linked with our own, but how and how far is for the future
to determine in the ripeness of events. Whatever be the outcome, we must
see to it that free Cuba be a reality, not a name, a perfect entity, not
a hasty experiment bearing within itself the elements of failure. Our mission,
to accomplish which we took up the wager of battle, is not to be fulfilled
by turning adrift any loosely framed commonwealth to face the vicissitudes
which too often attend weaker States whose natural wealth and abundant
resources are offset by the incongruities of their political organization
and the recurring occasions for internal rivalries to sap their strength
and dissipate their energies. The greatest blessing which can come to Cuba
is the restoration of her agricultural and industrial prosperity, which
will give employment to idle men and re-establish the pursuits of peace.
This is her chief and immediate need.
On the 19th of August last an order was made for the taking of the census
in the island, to be completed on the 3oth of November. By the treaty of
peace the Spanish people on the island have until April 11, 1900, to elect
whether they will remain citizens of Spain or become citizens of Cuba.
Until then it cannot be definitely ascertained who shall be entitled to
participate in the formation of the government of Cuba. By that time the
results of the census will have been tabulated and we shall proceed to
provide for elections which will commit the municipal governments of the
island to the officers elected by the people. The experience thus acquired
will prove of great value in the formation of a representative convention
of the people to draft a constitution and establish a general system of
independent government for the island. In the meantime and so long as we
exercise control over the island the products of Cuba should have a market
in the United States on as good terms and with as favorable rates of duty
as are given to the West India Islands under treaties of reciprocity which
shall be made.
For the relief of the distressed in the island of Cuba the War Department
has issued supplies to destitute persons through the officers of the Army,
which have amounted to 5,493,ooo rations, at a cost Of $1,417,554.07.
To promote the disarmament of the Cuban volunteer army, and in the interest
of public peace and the welfare of the people, the sum Of $75 was paid
to each Cuban soldier borne upon the authenticated rolls, on condition
that he should deposit his arms with the authorities designated by the
United States. The sum thus disbursed aggregated $2,547,750, which was
paid from the emergency fund provided by the act of January 5, 1899, for
Out of the Cuban island revenues during the six months ending June 30,
1899, $1,712,014.20 was expended for sanitation, $293,881.70 for charities
and hospitals, and $88,944.03 for aid to the destitute.
Following the exchange of ratifications of the treaty of peace the two
Governments accredited ministers to each other, Spain sending to Washington
the Duke of Arcos, an eminent diplomatist, previously stationed in Mexico,
while the United States transferred to Madrid Hon. Bellamy Storer, its
minister at Brussels. This was followed by the respective appointment of
consuls, thereby fully resuming the relations interrupted by the war. In
addition to its consular representation in the United States, the Spanish
Government has appointed consuls for Cuba, who have been provisionally
recognized during the military administration of the affairs of that island.
Judicial intercourse between the courts of Cuba and Puerto Rico and
of Spain has been established, as provided by the treaty of peace. The
Cuban political prisoners in Spanish penal stations have been and are being
released and returned to their homes, in accordance with Article VI of
the treaty. Negotiations are about to be had for defining the conventional
relations between the two countries, which fell into abeyance by reason
of the war. I trust that these will include a favorable arrangement for
commercial reciprocity under the terms of sections 3 and 4 of the current
tariff act. In these, as in all matters of international concern, no effort
will be spared to respond to the good disposition of Spain, and to cultivate
in all practicable ways the intimacy which should prevail between two nations
whose past history has so often and in so many ways been marked by sincere
friendship and by community of interests.
I would recommend appropriate legislation in order to carry into execution
Article VII of the Treaty of Peace with Spain, by which the United States
assured the payment of certain claims for indemnity of its citizens against
The United States minister to Turkey continues, under instructions,
to press for a money payment in satisfaction of the just claims for injuries
suffered by American citizens in the disorders of several years past and
for wrongs done to them by the Ottoman authorities. Some of these claims
are of many years' standing. This Government is hopeful of a general agreement
in this regard.
In the Turkish Empire the situation of our citizens remains unsatisfactory.
Our efforts during nearly forty years to bring about a convention of naturalization
seem to be on the brink of final failure through the announced policy of
the Ottoman Porte to refuse recognition of the alien status of native Turkish
subjects naturalized abroad since 1867. Our statutes do not allow this
Government to admit any distinction between the treatment of native and
naturalized Americans abroad, so that ceaseless controversy arises in cases
where persons owing in the eye of international law a dual allegiance are
prevented from entering Turkey or are expelled after entrance. Our law
in this regard contrasts with that of the European States. The British
act, for instance, does not claim effect for the naturalization of an alien
in the event of his return to his native country, unless the change be
recognized by the law of that country or stipulated by treaty between it
and the naturalizing State.
The arbitrary treatment, in some instances, of American productions
in Turkey has attracted attention of late, notably in regard to our flour.
Large shipments by the recently opened direct steamship line to Turkish
ports have been denied entrance on the score that, although of standard
composition and unquestioned purity, the flour was pernicious to health
because of deficient “elasticity" as indicated by antiquated and untrustworthy
tests. Upon due protest by the American minister, and it appearing that
the act was a virtual discrimination against our product, the shipments
in question were admitted. In these, as in all instances, wherever occurring,
when American products may be subjected in a foreign country, upon specious
pretexts, to discrimination compared with the like products of another
country, this Government will use its earnest efforts to secure fair and
equal treatment for its citizens and their goods. Failing this, it will
not hesitate to apply whatever corrective may be provided by the statutes.
The International Commission of Arbitration, appointed under the Anglo-Venezuelan
treaty of 1897, rendered an award on October 3 last, whereby the boundary
line between Venezuela and British Guiana is determined, thus ending a
controversy which has existed for the greater part of the century. The
award, as to which the arbitrators were unanimous, while not meeting the
extreme contention of either party, gives to Great Britain a large share
of the interior territory in dispute and to Venezuela the entire mouth
of the Orinoco, including Barima Point and the Caribbean littoral for some
distance to the eastward. The decision appears to be equally satisfactory
to both parties.
Venezuela has once more undergone a revolution. The insurgents, under
General Castro, after a sanguinary engagement in which they suffered much
loss, rallied in the mountainous interior and advanced toward the capital.
The bulk of the army having sided with the movement, President Andrade
quitted Caracas, where General Castro set up a provisional government with
which our minister and the representatives of other powers entered into
diplomatic relations on the 20th of November, 1899.
The fourth section of the Tariff Act approved July 24, x897, appears
to provide only for commercial treaties which should be entered into by
the President and also ratified by the Senate within two years from its
passage. Owing to delays inevitable in negotiations of this nature, none
of the treaties initiated under that section could be concluded in time
for ratification by the Senate prior to its adjournment on the 4th of March
last. Some of the pending negotiations, however, were near conclusion at
that time, and the resulting conventions have since been signed by the
plenipotentiaries. Others, within both the third and fourth sections of
the act, are still under consideration. Acting under the constitutional
power of the Executive in respect to treaties, I have deemed it my duty,
while observing the limitations of concession provided by the fourth section,
to bring to a conclusion all pending negotiations, and submit them to the
Senate for its advice and consent.
Conventions of reciprocity have been signed during the Congressional
recess with Great Britain for the respective colonies of British Guiana,
Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, and Turks and Caicos Islands, and with the
Republic of Nicaragua.
Important reciprocal conventions have also been concluded with France
and with the Argentine Republic.
In my last annual message the progress noted in the work of the diplomatic
and consular officers in collecting information as to the industries and
commerce of other countries, and in the care and promptitude with which
their reports are printed and distributed, has continued during the past
year, with increasingly valuable results in suggesting new sources of demand
for American products and in pointing out the obstacles still to be overcome
in facilitating the remarkable expansion of our foreign trade. It will
doubtless be gratifying to Congress to learn that the various agencies
of the Department of State are co-operating in these endeavors with a zeal
and effectiveness which are not only receiving the cordial recognition
of our business interests, but are exciting the emulation of other Governments.
In any rearrangement of the great and complicated work of obtaining official
data of an economic character which Congress may undertake it is most important,
in my judgment, that the results already secured by the efforts of the
Department of State should be carefully considered with a view to a judicious
development and increased utility to our export trade.
The interest taken by the various States forming the International Union
of American Republics in the work of its organic bureau is evidenced by
the fact that for the first time since its creation in i8go all the Republics
of South and Central America are now represented in it.
The unanimous recommendation of the International American Conference,
providing for the International Union of American Republics, stated that
it should continue in force during a term of ten years from the date of
its organization, and no country becoming a member of the union should
cease to be a member until the end of said period of ten years, and unless
twelve months before the expiration of said period a majority of the members
of the union had given to the Secretary of State of the United States official
notice of their wish to terminate the union at the end of its first period,
that the union should continue to be maintained for another period of ten
years, and thereafter, under the same conditions, for successive periods
of ten years each.
The period for notification expired on July 14, 1899, without any of
the members having given the necessary notice of withdrawal. Its maintenance
is therefore assured for the next ten years. In view of this fact and of
the numerous questions of general interest and common benefit to all of
the Republics of America, some of which were considered by the first International
American Conference, but not finally settled, and others which have since
then grown to importance, it would seem expedient that the various Republics
constituting the Union should be invited to hold at an early date another
conference in the capital of one of the countries other than the United
States, which has already enjoyed this honor.
The purely international character of the work being done by the bureau
and the appreciation of its value are further emphasized by the active
co-operation which the various Governments of the Latin. American Republics
and their diplomatic representatives in this capital are now exhibiting
and the zealous endeavors they are making to extend its field of usefulness,
to promote through it commercial intercourse, and strengthen the bonds
of amity and confidence between its various members and the nations of
The act to encourage the holding of the Pan-Amencan Exposition on the
Niagara frontier, within the county of Erie or Niagara, in the State of
New York, in the year 1901, was approved on March 3, 1899.
This exposition, which will be held in the city of Buffalo, in the near
vicinity of the great Niagara cataract, and within a day's journey of which
reside 40, 000, 000 Of our people, will be confined entirely to the Western
Hemisphere. Satisfactory assurances have already been given by the diplomatic
representatives of Great Britain, Mexico, the Central and South American
Republics, and most of the States of the United States that these countries
and States will make an unique, interesting, and instructive exhibit, peculiarly
illustrative of their material progress during the century which is about
The law provides an appropriation Of $500,000 for the purpose of making
an exhibit at the exposition by the Government of the United States from
its Executive Departments and from the Smithsonian Institution and National
Museum, the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, the Department
of Labor, and the Bureau of the American Republics. To secure a complete
and harmonious arrangement of this Government exhibit a board of management
has already been created, and charged with the selection, purchase, preparation,
transportation, arrangement, and safe-keeping of the articles and materials
to be exhibited. This board has been organized and has already entered
upon the performance of its duties, as provided for by the law
I have every reason to hope and believe that this exposition will tend
more firmly to cement the cordial relations between the nations on this
In accordance with an act of Congress approved December 21, 1898, and
under the auspices of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, a most interesting
and valuable exposition of products and manufactures especially adapted
to export trade was held in Philadelphia from the 14th of September to
the 1st of December, 1899. The representative character of the exhibits
and the widespread interest manifested in the special objects of the undertaking
afford renewed encouragement to those who look confidently to the steady
growth of our enlarged exportation of manufactured goods, which has been
the most remarkable fact in the economic development of the United States
in recent years. A feature of this exposition which is likely to become
of permanent and increasing utility to our industries is the collection
of samples of merchandise produced in various countries with special reference
to particular markets, providing practical object lessons to United States
manufacturers as to qualities, styles, and prices of goods such as meet
the special demands of consumers and may be exported with advantage.
In connection with the exposition an International Commercial Congress
was held, upon the invitation of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum, transmitted
by the Department of State to the various foreign Governments, for an exchange
of information and opinions with the view to the promotion of international
trade. This invitation met with general and cordial acceptance, and the
Congress, which began its sessions at the exposition on the 13th of October
proved to be of great practical importance, from the fact that it developed
a general recognition of the interdependence of nations in trade and a
most gratifying spirit of accommodation with reference to the gradual removal
of existing impediments to reciprocal relations, without injury to the
industrial interests of either party.
In response to the invitation of His Majesty, the Emperor of Russia,
delegates from twenty-six countries were assembled at The Hague on the
18th of May, as members of a conference in the interest of peace. The commission
from the United States consisted of the Hon. Andrew D. White, the Hon.
Seth Low, the Hon. Stanford Newel, Captain Alfred T. Mahan, of the United
States Navy, Captain William Crozier, of the United States Army, and the
Hon. Frederick W. Holls, secretary. The occasion seemed to be opportune
for the serious consideration of a plan for the pacific adjustment of international
differences, a subject in which the American people have been deeply interested
for many years, and a definite project for a permanent international tribunal
was included in the instructions to the delegates of the United States.
The final act of the conference includes conventions upon the amelioration
of the laws and customs of war on land, the adaptation to maritime warfare
of the principles of the Geneva Convention of 1864, and the extension of
judicial methods to international cases. The Convention for the Pacific
Settlement of International Conflicts embodies the leading features of
the American plan, with such modifications as were rendered 'necessary
by the great diversity of views and interests represented by the delegates.
The four titles of the convention provide for the maintenance of general
peace, the exercise of good offices and mediation, the formation of commissions
of inquiry, and international arbitration.
The mediation provided for by the convention is purely voluntary and
advisory, and is intended to avoid any invasion or limitation of the sovereign
rights of the adhering States. The commissions of inquiry proposed consists
of delegations to be specifically constituted for particular purposes by
means of conventions between the contesting parties, having for their object
the clear understanding of international differences before resorting to
the use of force. The provision for arbitration contemplates the formation
of a permanent tribunal before which disputed cases may be brought for
settlement by the mutual consent of the litigants in each separate case.
The advantages of such a permanent tribunal over impromptu commissions
of arbitration are conceived to be the actual existence of a competent
court, prepared to administer justice, the greater economy resulting from
a well-devised system, and the accumulated judicial skill and experience
which such a tribunal would soon possess.
While earnestly promoting the idea of establishing a permanent international
tribunal, the delegation of the United States was not unmindful of the
inconveniences which might arise from an obtrusive exercise of mediation,
and in signing the convention carefully guarded the historic position of
the United States by the following declaration:
Nothing contained in this convention shall be so construed as to require
the United States of America to depart from its traditional policy of not
intruding upon, interfering with, or entangling itself in the political
questions or policy or internal administration of any foreign state; nor
shall anything contained in the said convention be construed to imply a
relinquishment by the United. States of America of its traditional attitude
toward purely American questions.
Thus interpreted, the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International
Conflicts may be regarded as realizing the earnest desire of great numbers
of American citizens, whose deep sense of justice, expressed in numerous
resolutions and memorials, has urged them to labor for this noble achievement.
The general character of this convention, already signed by the delegates
of more than twenty sovereign States, further commends it to the favorable
action of the Senate of the United States, whose ratification it still
Since my last annual message, and in obedience to the acts of the Congress
of April 22 and 26, 1898, the remaining volunteer force enlisted for the
Spanish War, consisting Of 34,834 regulars and 110,202 volunteers, with
over 5,000 volunteer officers, has been discharged from the military service.
Of the volunteers, 667 officers and 14,831 men were serving in the Philippines,
and 1,650 of the regulars, who were entitled to be mustered out after the
ratification of the treaty of peace. They voluntarily remained at the front
until their places could be filled by new troops. They were returned home
in the order in which they went to Manila, and are now all of them out
of the service and in the ranks of citizenship. I recommend that the Congress
provide a special medal of honor for the volunteers, regulars, sailors,
and marines on duty in the Philippines who voluntarily remained in the
service after their terms of enlistment had expired.
By the act of March 2, 1899, Congress gave authority to increase the
Regular Army to a maximum not exceeding 65,000 enlisted men, and to enlist
a force of 5,000 volunteers, to be recruited from the country at large.
By virtue of this authority the Regular Army has been increased to the
number of 61,999 enlisted men and 2,248 officers, and new volunteer regiments
have been organized aggregating 33,05o enlisted men and 1,524 officers.
Two of these volunteer regiments are madeup of colored men, with colored
line officers. The new troops to take the places of those returning from
the Philippines have been transported to Manila to the number of 581 officers
and 26,322 enlisted men of the Regular Army and 594 officers and 15,388
enlisted men of the new volunteer force, while 504 officers and 14, 119
men of the volunteer force are on the ocean en route to Manila.
The force now in Manila consists Of 905 officers and 30,578 regulars,
and 594 officers and 15,388 of the volunteers, making an aggregate of 1,499
officers and 45,966 men. When the troops now under orders shall reach Manila
the force in the archipelago will comprise 2,051 officers and 63,483 men.
The muster out of the great volunteer army organized for the Spanish War
and the creation of a new army, the transportation from Manila to San Francisco
of those entitled to discharge and the transportation of the new troops
to take their places have been a work of great magnitude well and ably
done, for which too much credit cannot be given the War Department.
During the past year we have reduced our force in Cuba and Puerto Rico,
In Cuba we now have 334 officers and 10,796 enlisted men; In Puerto Rico,
87 officers and 2,855 enlisted men and a battalion of 400 men composed
of native Puerto Ricans; while stationed throughout the United States are
910 officers and 17,317 men, and in Hawaii 12 officers and 453 enlisted
The operations of the Army are fully presented in the report of the
Secretary of War. I cannot withhold from officers and men the highest commendation
for their soldierly conduct in trying situations, their willing sacrifices
for their country, and the integrity and ability with which they have performed
unusual and difficult duties in our island possessions.
In the organization of the volunteer regiments authorized by the act
of March 2, 1899, it was found that no provision had been made for chaplains.
This omission was doubtless from inadvertence. I recommend the early authorization
for the appointment of one chaplain for each of said regiments. These regiments
are now in the Philippines, and it is important that immediate action be
In restoring peaceful conditions, orderly rule, and civic progress in
Cuba, Puerto Rico, and, so far as practicable, in the Philippines, the
rehabilitation of the postal service has been an essential and important
part of the work. It became necessary to provide mail facilities both for
our forces of occupation and for the native population. To meet this requirement
has involved a substantial reconstruction. The existing systems were so
fragmentary, defective, and inadequate that a new and comprehensive organization
had to be created. American trained officials have been assigned to the
directing and executive positions, while natives have been chiefly employed
in making up the body of the force. In working out this plan the merit
rule has been rigorously and faithfully applied.
The appointment of Director-General of Posts of Cuba was given to an
expert who had been Chief Post-Office Inspector and Assistant Postmaster-General,
and who united large experience with administrative capacity. For the postmastership
at Havana the range of skilled and available men was scanned, and the choice
fell upon one who had been twenty years in the service as deputy postmaster
and postmaster of a large city. This principle governed and determined
the selection of the American officials sent not only to Cuba, but to Puerto
Rico and the Philippines, and they were instructed to apply it so far as
practicable in the employment of the natives as minor postmasters and clerks.
The postal system in Cuba, though remaining under the general guidance
of the Postmaster-General, was made essentially independent. It was felt
that it should not be a burden upon the postal service of the United States,
and provision was made that any deficit in the postal revenue should be
a charge upon the general revenues of the island.
Though Puerto Rico and the Philippines hold a different relation to
the United States, yet, for convenience of administration, the same principle
of an autonomous system has been extended to them. The development of the
service in all of the islands has been rapid and successful. It has moved
forward on American lines, with free delivery, money order, and registry
systems, and has given the people mail facilities far greater and more
reliable than any they have ever before enjoyed. It is thus not only a
vital agency of industrial, social, and business progress, but an important
influence in diffusing a just understanding of the true spirit and character
of American administration.
The domestic postal service continues to grow with extraordinary rapidity.
The expenditures and the revenues will each exceed $100,000,000 during
the current year. Fortunately, since the revival of prosperous times the
revenues have grown much faster than the expenditures, and there is every
indication that a short period will witness the obliteration of the annual
deficit. In this connection the report of the Postmaster-General embodies
a statement of some evils which have grown up outside of the contemplation
of law in the treatment of some classes of mail matter which wrongly exercise
the privilege of the pound rate, and shows that if this matter had been
properly classified and had paid the rate which it should have paid, instead
of a postal deficit for the last fiscal year of $6,610,000, there would
have been on one basis a surplus of $17,637,570, and on another Of $5,733,836.
The reform thus suggested, in the opinion of the Postmaster-General, would
not only put the postal service at once on a self-sustaining basis, but
would permit great and valuable improvements, and I commend the subject
to the consideration of the Congress.
The Navy has maintained the spirit and high efficiency which have always
characterized that service, and has lost none of the gallantry in heroic
action which has signalized its brilliant and glorious past. The Nation
has equal pride in its early and later achievements. Its habitual readiness
for every emergency has won the confidence and admiration of the country.
The people are interested in the continued preparation and prestige of
the Navy and will justify liberal appropriations for its maintenance and
improvement. The officers have shown peculiar adaptation for the performance
of new and delicate duties which our recent war has imposed.
It cannot be doubted that Congress will at once make necessary provision
for the armor plate for the vessels now under contract and building. Its
attention is respectfully called to the report of the Secretary of the
Navy, in which the subject is fully presented. I unite in his recommendation
that the Congress enact such special legislation as may be necessary to
enable the Department to make contracts early in the coming year for armor
of the best quality that can be obtained in this country for the Maine,
Ohio, and Missouri, and that the provision of the act of March 3, 1899,
limiting the price of armor to $300 per ton be removed.
In the matter of naval construction Italy and Japan, of the great powers,
laid down less tonnage in the year 1899 than this country, and Italy alone
has less tonnage under construction. I heartily concur in the recommendations
for the increase of the Navy, as suggested by the Secretary.
Our future progress and prosperity depend upon our ability to equal,
if not surpass, other nations in the enlargement and advance of science,
industry, and commerce. To invention we must turn as one of the most powerful
aids to the accomplishment of such a result. The attention of the Congress
is directed to the report of the Commissioner of Patents, in which will
be found valuable suggestions and recommendations.
On the 30th of June, 1899, the pension roll of the United States numbered
991,519. These include the pensioners of the Army and Navy in all our wars.
The number added to the rolls during the year was 40,991. The number dropped
by reason of death, remarriage, minors by legal limitation, failure to
claim within three years, and other causes, was 43, 186, and the number
of claims disallowed was 107,gig. During the year 89,054 pension certificates
were issued, of which 37,077 were for new or original pensions. The amount
disbursed for army and navy pensions during the year was $138,355,052.95,
which was $1,651,461.61 less than the sum of the appropriations.
The Grand Army of the Republic at its recent national encampment held
in Philadelphia has brought to my attention and to that of the Congress
the wisdom and justice of a modification of the third section of the act
of June 27, x8go, which provides pensions for the widows of officers and
enlisted men who served ninety days or more during the War of the Rebellion
and were honorably discharged, provided that such widows are without other
means of sup, port than their daily labor and were married to the soldier,
sailor, or marine on account of whose service they claim pension prior
to the date of the act.
The present holding of the Department is that if the widow's income
aside from her daily labor does not exceed in amount what her pension would
be, to wit, $96 per annum, she would be deemed to be without other means
of support than her daily labor, and would be entitled to a pension under
this act; while if the widow's income independent of the amount received
by her as the result of her daily labor exceeds $96, she would not be pensionable
under the act. I am advised by the Commissioner of Pensions that the amount
of the income allowed before title to pension would be barred has varied
widely under different administrations of the Pension Office, as well as
during different periods of the same administration, and has been the cause
of just complaint and criticism.
With the approval of the Secretary of the Interior the Commissioner
of Pensions recommends that, in order to make the practice at all times
uniform and to do justice to the dependent widow, the amount of income
allowed independent of the proceeds of her daily labor should be not less
than $250 per annum, and he urges that the Congress shall so amend the
act as to permit the Pension Office to grant pensionable status to widows
under the terms of the third section of the act of June 27, 1890, whose
income aside from the proceeds of daily labor is not in excess of $250
per annum. I believe this to be a simple act of justice and heartily recommend
The Dawes Commission reports that gratifying progress has been made
in its work during the preceding year. The field-work of enrollment of
four of the nations has been completed. I recommend that Congress at an
early day make liberal appropriation for educational purposes in the Indian
In accordance with the act of Congress approved March 3, 1899. the preliminary
work in connection with the Twelfth Census is now fully under way. The
officers required for the proper administration. of the duties imposed
have been selected. The provision for securing a proper enumeration of
the population, as well as to secure evidence of the industrial growth
of the Nation, is broader and more comprehensive than any similar legislation
in the past. The Director advises that every needful effort is being made
to push this great work to completion in the time limited by the statute.
It is believed that the Twelfth Census will emphasize our remarkable advance
in all that pertains to national progress.
Under the authority of the act of Congress approved July 7, 1898, the
commission consisting of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney-General,
and the Secretary of the Interior has made an agreement of settlement,
which has had my approval, of the indebtedness to the Government growing
out of the issue of bonds to aid in the construction of the Central Pacific
and Western Pacific rail. roads. The agreement secures to the Government
the principal and interest of said bonds, amounting to $58,812,715.48.
There has been paid thereon $11,762,543.12, which has been covered into
the Treasury, and the remainder, payable within ten years, with interest
at the rate Of 3 per cent per annum, payable semiannually, is secured by
the deposit of an equal amount of first-mortgage bonds of the Pacific Railway
companies. The amounts paid and secured to be paid to the Government on
account of the Pacific Railroad subsidy claims are:
Union Pacific, cash $58,448,223.75
Kansas Pacific, cash 6,303,000.00
Central and Western Pacific, cash 11,798,314.14
Notes, secured 47,050,172.36
Kansas Pacific--dividends for deficiency due United States, cash 821,897.70
Making a total of 124,421,607.95
The whole indebtedness was about $130,000,000, more than half of which
consisted of accrued interest, for which sum the Government has realized
the entire amount less about $6,000,000 within a period of two years.
On June 30, 1898, there were thirty forest reservations (exclusive of
the Afognak Forest and Fish Culture Reserve in Alaska), embracing an estimated
area Of 40,719,474 acres. During the past year two of the existing forest
reserves, the Trabuco Canyon (California) and Black Hills (South Dakota
and Wyoming), have been considerably enlarged, the area of the Mount Rainier
Reserve, in the State of Washington, has been somewhat reduced, and six
additional reserves have been established, namely, the San Francisco Mountains
(Arizona), the Black Mesa (Arizona), Lake Tahoe (California), Gallatin
(Montana), Gila River (New Mexico), and Fish Lake (Utah), the total estimated
area of which is 5,205,775 acres. This makes at the present time a total
of thirty-six forest reservations, embracing an estimated area Of 46,021,899
acres. This estimated area is the aggregated areas within the boundaries
of the reserves. The lands actually reserved are, however, only the vacant
public lands therein, and these have been set aside and reserved for sale
or settlement in order that they may be of the greatest use to the people.
Protection of the national forests, inaugurated by the Department of
the Interior in 1897, has been continued during the past year and much
has been accomplished in the way of preventing forest fires and the protection
of the timber. There are now large tracts covered by forests which will
eventually be reserved and set apart for forest uses. Until that can be
done Congress should increase the appropriations for the work of protecting
The Department of Agriculture is constantly consulting the needs of
producers in all the States and Territories. It is introducing seeds and
plants of great value and promoting fuller diversification of crops. Grains,
grasses, fruits, legumes, and vegetables are imported for all parts of
the United States. Under this encouragement the sugar-beet factory multiplies
in the North and far West, semitropical plants are sent to the South, and
congenial climates are sought for the choice productions of the far East.
The hybridizing of fruit trees and grains is conducted in the search for
varieties adapted to exacting conditions. The introduction of tea gardens
into the Southern States promises to provide employment for idle hands,
as well as to supply the home market with tea. The subject of irrigation
where it is of vital importance to the people is being carefully studied,
steps are being taken to reclaim injured or abandoned lands, and information
for the people along these lines is being printed and distributed.
Markets are being sought and opened up for surplus farm and factory
products in Europe and in Asia. The outlook for the education of the young
farmer through agricultural college and experiment station, with opportunity
given to specialize in the Department of Agriculture, is very promising.
The people of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands should be
helped, by the establishment of experiment stations, to a more scientific
knowledge of the production of coffee, India rubber, and other tropical
products, for which there is demand in the United States.
There is widespread interest in the improvement of our public highways
at the present time, and the Department of Agriculture is co-operating
with the people in each locality in making the best possible roads from
local material and in experimenting with steel tracks. A more intelligent
system of managing the forests of the country is being put in operation
and a careful study of the whole forestry problem is being conducted throughout
the United States. A very extensive and complete exhibit of the agricultural
and horticultural products of the United States is being prepared for the
On the 10th of December, 1898, the treaty of peace between the United
States and Spain was signed. It provided, among other things, that Spain
should cede to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine
Islands, that the United States should pay to Spain the sum of twenty millions
of dollars, and that the civil rights and political status of the native
inhabitants of the territories thus ceded to the United States should be
determined by the Congress. The treaty was ratified by the Senate on the
6th of February, 1899, and by the Government of Spain on the 19th of March
following. The ratifications were exchanged on the 11th of April and the
treaty publicly proclaimed. On the 2d of March the Congress voted the sum
contemplated by the treaty, and the amount was paid over to the Spanish
Government on the 1st of May.
In this manner the Philippines came to the United States. The islands
were ceded by the Government of Spain, which had been in undisputed possession
of them for centuries. They were accepted not merely by our authorized
commissioners in Paris, under the direction of the Executive, but by the
constitutional and well-considered action of the representatives of the
people of the United States in both Houses of Congress. I had every reason
to believe, and I still believe that this transfer of sovereignty was in
accordance with the wishes and the aspirations of the great mass of the
From the earliest moment no opportunity was lost of assuring the people
of the islands of our ardent desire for their welfare and of the intention
of this Government to do everything possible to advance their interests.
In my order of the 19th of May, 1898, the commander of the military expedition
dispatched to the Philippines was instructed to declare that we came not
to make war upon the people of that country, " nor upon any party or faction
among them, but to protect them in their homes, in their employments, and
in their personal and religious rights." That there should be no doubt
as to the paramount authority there, on the I 7th of August it was directed
that 11 there must be no joint occupation with the insurgents "; that the
United States must preserve the peace and protect persons and property
within the territory occupied by their military and naval forces; that
the insurgents and all others must recognize the military occupation and
authority of the United States. As early as December 4, before the cession,
and in anticipation of that event, the commander in Manila was urged to
restore peace and tranquility and to undertake the establishment of a beneficent
government, which should afford the fullest security for life and property.
On the 21st of December, after the treaty was signed, the commander
of the forces of occupation was instructed 11 to announce and proclaim
in the most public manner that we come, not as invaders and conquerors,
but as friends to protect the natives in their homes, in their employments,
and in their personal and religious rights." On the same day, while ordering
General Otis to see that the peace should be preserved in Iloilo, he was
admonished that: 11 It is most important that there should be no conflict
with the insurgents." On the 1st day of January, 1899, urgent orders were
reiterated that the kindly intentions of this Government should be in every
possible way communicated to the insurgents.
On the 21st of January I announced my intention of dispatching to Manila
a commission composed of three gentlemen of the highest character and distinction,
thoroughly acquainted with the Orient, who, in association with Admiral
Dewey and Major-General Otis, were instructed "to facilitate the most humane
and effective extension of authority throughout the islands, and to secure
with the least possible delay the benefits of a wise and generous protection
of life and property to the inhabitants." These gentlemen were Dr. Jacob
Gould Schurman, president of Cornell University; the Hon. Charles Denby,
for many years minister to China, and Prof. Dean C. Worcester, of the University
of Michigan, who had made a most careful study of life in the Philippines.
While the treaty of peace was under consideration in the Senate, these
Commissioners set out on their mission of good will and liberation. Their
character was a sufficient guaranty of the beneficent purpose with which
they went, even if they had not borne the positive instructions of this
Government, which made their errand pre-eminently one of peace and friendship.
But before their arrival at Manila the sinister ambition of a few leaders
of the Filipinos had created a situation full of embarrassment for us and
most grievous in its consequences to themselves. The clear and impartial
preliminary report of the Commissioners, which I transmit herewith, gives
so lucid and comprehensive a history of the present insurrectionary movement
that the story need not be here repeated. It is enough to say that the
claim of the rebel leader that he was promised independence by an officer
of the United States in return for his assistance has no foundation in
fact and is categorically denied by the very witnesses who were called
to prove it. The most the insurgent leader hoped for when he came back
to Manila was the liberation of the islands from the Spanish control, which
they had been laboring for years without success to throw off.
The prompt accomplishment of this work by the American Army and Navy
gave him other ideas and ambitions, and insidious suggestions from various
quarters perverted the purposes and intentions with which he had taken
up arms. No sooner had our army captured Manila than the Filipino forces
began to assume an attitude of suspicion and hostility which the utmost
efforts of our officers and troops were unable to disarm or modify. Their
kindness and forbearance were taken as a proof of cowardice. The aggressions
of the Filipinos continually increased until finally, just before the time
set by the Senate of the United States for a vote upon the treaty, an attack,
evidently prepared in advance, was made all along the American lines, which
resulted in a terribly destructive and sanguinary repulse of the insurgents.
Ten days later an order of the insurgent government was issued to its
adherents who had remained in Manila, of which General Otis justly observes
that "for barbarous intent it is unequaled in modern times." It directs
that at 8 o'clock on the night of the 15th of February the “territorial
militia" shall come together in the streets of San Pedro armed with their
bolos, with guns and ammunition where convenient; that Filipino families
only shall be respected; but that all other individuals, of whatever race
they maybe, shall be exterminated without any compassion, after the extermination
of the army of occupation, and adds: "Brothers, we must avenge ourselves
on the Americans and exterminate them, that we may take our revenge for
the infamies and treacheries which they have committed upon us. Have no
compassion upon them; attack with vigor." A copy of this fell by good fortune
into the hands of our officers and they were able to take measures to control
the rising, which was actually attempted on the night of February 22, a
week later than was originally contemplated. Considerable numbers of armed
insurgents entered the city by waterways and swamps and in concert with
confederates inside attempted to destroy Manila by fire. They were kept
in check during the night and the next day driven out of the city with
This was the unhappy condition of affairs which confronted our Commissioners
on their arrival in Manila. They had come with the hope and intention of
co-operating with Admiral Dewey and Major General Otis in establishing
peace and order in the archipelago and the largest measure of self-government
compatible with the true welfare of the people. What they actually found
can best be set forth in their own words:
Deplorable as war is, the one in which we are now engaged was unavoidable
by us. We were attacked by a bold, adventurous, and enthusiastic army.
No alternative was left to us except ignominious retreat. It is not to
be conceived of that any American would have sanctioned the surrender of
Manila to the insurgents. Our obligations to other nations and to the friendly
Filipinos and to ourselves and our flag demanded that force should be met
by force. Whatever the future of the Philippines may be, there is no course
open to us now except the prosecution of the war until the insurgents are
reduced to submission. The Commission is of the opinion that there has
been no time since the destruction of the Spanish squadron by Admiral Dewey
when it was possible to withdraw our forces from the island either with
honor to ourselves or with safety to the inhabitants.
The course thus clearly indicated has been unflinchingly pursued. The
rebellion must be put down. Civil government cannot be thoroughly established
until order is restored. With a devotion and gallantry worthy of its most
brilliant history, the Army, ably and loyally assisted by the Navy, has
carried on this unwelcome but most righteous campaign with richly deserved
success. The noble self-sacrifice with which our soldiers and sailors whose
terms of service had expired refused to avail themselves of their right
to return home as long as they were needed at the front forms one of the
brightest pages in our annals. Although their operations have been somewhat
interrupted and checked by a rainy season of unusual violence and duration,
they have gained ground steadily in every direction, and now look forward
confidently to a speedy completion of their task.
The unfavorable circumstances connected with an active campaign have
not been permitted to interfere with the equally important work of reconstruction.
Again I invite your attention to the report of the Commissioners for the
interesting and encouraging details of the work already accomplished in
the establishment of peace and order and the inauguration of self-governing
municipal life in many portions of the archipelago. A notable beginning
has been made in the establishment of a government in the island of Negros
which is deserving of special consideration. This was the first island
to accept American sovereignty. Its people unreservedly proclaimed allegiance
to the United States and adopted a constitution looking to the establishment
of a popular government. It was impossible to guarantee to the people of
Negros that the constitution so adopted should be the ultimate form of
government. Such a question, under the treaty with Spain and in accordance
with our own Constitution and laws, came exclusively within the jurisdiction
of the Congress. The government actually set up by the inhabitants of Negros
eventually proved unsatisfactory to the natives themselves. A new system
was put into force by order of the Major-General Commanding the Department,
of which the following are the most important elements:
It was ordered that the government of the island of Negros should consist
of a military governor appointed by the United States military governor
of the Philippines, and a civil governor and an advisory council elected
by the people. The military governor was authorized to appoint secretaries
of the treasury, interior, agriculture, public instruction, an attorney-general,
and an auditor. The seat of government was fixed at Bacolod. The military
governor exercises the supreme executive power. He is to see that the laws
are executed, appoint to office, and fill all vacancies in office not otherwise
provided for, and may, with the approval of the military governor of the
Philippines, remove any officer from office. The civil governor advises
the military governor on all public civil questions and presides over the
advisory council. He, in general, performs the duties which are performed
by secretaries of state in our own system of government.
The advisory council consists of eight members elected by the people
within territorial limits which are defined in the order of the commanding
The times and places of holding elections are to be fixed by the military
governor of the island of Negros. The qualifications or voters are as follows:
(i) A voter must be a male citizen of the island of Negros. (q) Of the
age Of 21 years. (3) He shall be able to speak, read, and write the English,
Spanish. or Visayan language, or he must aw.12 real property worth $500,
or pay a rental on real property of the value of $1,000. (4) He must have
resided in the island not less than one year preceding, and in the district
in which he offers to register as a voter not less than three months immediately
preceding the time he offers to register. (5) He must register at a time
fixed by law before voting. (6) Prior to such registration he shall have
paid all taxes due by him to the Government. Provided, that no insane person
shall be allowed to register or vote.
The military governor has the right to veto all bills or resolutions
adopted by the advisory council, and his veto is final if not disapproved
by the military governor of the Philippines.
The advisory council discharges all the ordinary duties of a legislature.
The usual duties pertaining to said offices are to be per. formed by the
secretaries of the treasury, interior, agriculture, public instruction,
the attorney-general, and the auditor.
The judicial power is vested in three judges, who are to be appointed
by the military governor of the island. Inferior courts are to be established.
Free public schools are to be established throughout the populous districts
of the island, in which the English language shall be taught, and this
subject will receive the careful consideration of the advisory council.
The burden of government must be distributed equally and equitably among
the people. The military authorities will collect and receive the customs
revenue, and will control postal matters and Philippine inter-island trade
The military governor, subject to the approval of the military governor
of the Philippines, determines all questions not specifically provided
for and which do not come under the jurisdiction of the advisory council.
The authorities of the Sulu Islands have accepted the succession of
the United States to the rights of Spain, and our flag floats over that
territory. On the 10th of August, 1899, Brig. Gen. J. C. Bates, United
States Volunteers, negotiated an agreement with the Sultan and his principal
chiefs, which I transmit herewith. By Article I the sovereignty of the
United States over the whole archipelago of Jolo and its dependencies is
declared and acknowledged.
The United States flag will be used in the archipelago and its dependencies,
on land and sea. Piracy is to be suppressed, and the Sultan agrees to co-operate
heartily with the United States authorities to that end and to make every
possible effort to arrest and bring to justice all persons engaged in piracy.
All trade in domestic products of the archipelago of Jolo when carried
on with any part of the Philippine Islands and under the American flag
shall be free, unlimited, and undutiable. The United States will give full
protection to the Sultan in case any foreign nation should attempt to impose
upon him. The United States will not sell the island of Jolo or any other
island of the Jolo archipelago to any foreign nation without the consent
of the Sultan. Salaries for the Sultan and his associates in the administration
of the islands have been agreed upon to the amount of $760 monthly.
Article X provides that any slave in the archipelago of Jolo shall have
the right to purchase freedom by paying to the master the usual market
value. The agreement by General Bates was made subject to confirmation
by the President and to future modifications by the consent of the parties
in interest. I have confirmed said agreement, subject to the action of
the Congress, and with the reservation, which I have directed shall be
communicated to the Sultan of Jolo, that this agreement is not to be deemed
in any way to authorize or give the consent of the United States to the
existence of slavery in the Sulu archipelago. I communicate these facts
to the Congress for its information and action.
Everything indicates that with the speedy suppression of the Tagalo
rebellion life in the archipelago will soon resume its ordinary course
under the protection of our sovereignty, and the people of those favored
islands will enjoy a prosperity and a freedom which they have never before
known. Already hundreds of schools are open and filled with children. Religious
freedom is sacredly assured and enjoyed. The courts are dispensing justice.
Business is beginning to circulate in its accustomed channels. Manila,
whose inhabitants were fleeing to the country a few months ago, is now
a populous and thriving mart of commerce. The earnest and unremitting endeavors
of the Commission and the Admiral and Major-General Commanding the Department
of the Pacific to assure the people of the beneficent intentions of this
Government have had their legitimate effect in convincing the great mass
of them that peace and safety and prosperity and stable government can
only be found in a loyal acceptance of the authority of the United States.
The future government of the Philippines rests with the Congress of
the United States. Few graver responsibilities have ever been confided
to us. If we accept them in a spirit worthy of our race and our traditions,
a great opportunity comes with them. The islands lie under the shelter
of our flag. They are ours by every title of law and equity. They cannot
be abandoned. If we desert them we leave them at once to anarchy and finally
to barbarism. We fling them, a golden apple of discord, among the rival
powers, no one of which could permit another to seize them unquestioned.
Their rich plains and valleys would be the scene of endless strife and
bloodshed. The advent of Dewey's fleet in Manila Bay instead of being,
as we tope, the dawn of a new day of freedom and progress, will have been
the beginning of an era of misery and violence worse than any which has
darkened their unhappy past. The suggestion has been made that we could
renounce our authority over the islands and, giving them independence,
could retain a protectorate over them. This proposition will not be found,
I am sure, worthy of your serious attention. Such an arrangement would
involve at the outset a cruel breach of faith. It would place the peaceable
and loyal majority, who ask nothing better than to accept our authority,
at the mercy of the minority of armed insurgents. It would make us responsible
for the acts of the insurgent leaders and give us no power to control them.
It would charge us with the task of protecting them against each other
and defending them against any foreign power with which they chose to quarrel.
In short, it would take from the Congress of the United States the power
of declaring war and vest that tremendous prerogative in the Tagal leader
of the hour.
It does not seem desirable that I should recommend at this time a specific
and final form of government for these islands. When peace shall be restored
it will be the duty of Congress to construct a plan of government which
shall establish and maintain freedom and order and peace in the Philippines.
The insurrection is still existing, and when it terminates further information
will be required as to the actual condition of affairs before inaugurating
a permanent scheme of civil government. The full report of the Commission,
now in preparation, will contain information and suggestions which will
be of value to Congress, and which I will transmit as soon as it is completed.
As long as the insurrection continues the military arm must necessarily
be supreme. But there is no reason why steps should not be taken from time
to time to inaugurate governments essentially popular in their form as
fast as territory is held and con. trolled by our troops. To this end I
am considering the advisability of the return of the Commission, or such
of the members thereof as can be secured, to aid the existing authorities
and facilitate this work throughout the islands. I have believed that reconstruction
should not begin by the establishment of one central civil government for
all the islands, with its seat at Manila, but rather that the work should
be commenced by building up from the bottom, first establishing municipal
governments and then provincial governments, a central government at last
Until Congress shall have made known the formal expression of its will
I shall use the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes
to uphold the sovereignty of the United States in those distant islands
as in all other places where our flag rightfully floats. I shall put at
the disposal of the Army and Navy all the means which the liberality of
Congress and the people have provided to cause this unprovoked and wasteful
insurrection to cease. If any orders of mine were required to insure the
merciful conduct of military and naval operations, they would not be lacking;
but every step of the progress of our troops has been marked by q humanity
which has surprised even the misguided insurgents. The truest kindness
to them will be a swift and effective defeat of their present leader. The
hour of victory will be the hour of clemency and reconstruction.
No effort will be spared to build up the waste places desolated by war
and by long years of misgovernment. We shall not wait for the end of strife
to begin the beneficent work. We shall continue, as we have begun, to open
the schools and the churches, to set the courts in operation, to foster
industry and trade and agriculture, and in every way in our power to make
these people whom Providence has brought within our jurisdiction feel that
it is their liberty and not our power, their welfare and not our gain,
we are seeking to enhance. Our flag has never waved over any community
but in blessing. I believe the Filipinos will soon recognize the fact that
it has not lost its gift of benediction in its world-wide journey to their
Some embarrassment in administration has occurred by reason of the peculiar
status which the Hawaiian Islands at present occupy under the joint resolution
of annexation approved July 7, 1898. While by that resolution the Republic
of Hawaii as an independent nation was extinguished, its separate sovereignty
destroyed, and its property and possessions vested in the United States,
yet a complete establishment for its government under our system was not
effected. While the municipal laws of the islands not enacted for the fulfillment
of treaties and not inconsistent with the joint resolution or contrary
to the Constitution of the United. States or any of its treaties, remain
in force, yet these laws relate only to the social and internal affairs
of the islands, and do not touch many subjects of importance which are
of a broader national character. For example, the Hawaiian Republic was
divested of all title to the public lands in the islands, and is not only
unable to dispose of lands to settlers desiring to take up homestead sites,
but is without power to give complete title in cases where lands have been
entered upon under lease or other conditions which carry with them the
right to the purchaser, lessee, or settler to have a full title granted
to him upon compliance with the conditions prescribed by law or by his
particular agreement of entry.
Questions of doubt and difficulty have also arisen with reference to
the collection of tonnage tax on vessels coming from Hawaiian ports , with
reference to the status of Chinese in the islands, their entrance and exit
there from; as to patents and copyrights; as to the register of vessels
under the navigation laws; as to the necessity of holding elections in
accordance with the provisions of the Hawaiian statutes for the choice
of various officers, and as to several other matters of detail touching
the interests both of the island and of the Federal Government.
By the resolution of annexation the President was directed to appoint
five commissioners to recommend to Congress such legislation concerning
the islands as they should deem necessary or proper. These commissioners
were duly appointed and after a careful investigation and study of the
system of laws and government prevailing in the islands, and of the conditions
existing there, they prepared a bill to provide a government under the
title of "The Territory of Hawaii." The report of the Commission, with
the bill which they prepared, was transmitted by me to Congress on December
6, 1898, but the bill still awaits final action.
The people of these islands are entitled to the benefits and privileges
of our Constitution, but in the absence of any act of Congress providing
for Federal courts in the islands, and for a procedure by which appeals,
writs of error, and other judicial proceedings necessary for the enforcement
of civil rights may be prosecuted, they are powerless to secure their enforcement
by the judgment of the courts of the United States. It is manifestly important,
therefore, that an act shall be passed as speedily as possible erecting
these islands into a judicial district, providing for the appointment of
a judge and other proper officers and methods of procedure in appellate
proceedings, and that the government of this newly acquired territory under
the Federal Constitution shall be fully defined and provided for.
A necessity for immediate legislative relief exists in the Territory
of Alaska. Substantially the only law providing a civil government for
this Territory is the act of May 17, 1884. This is meager in its provisions,
and is fitted only for the administration of affairs in a country sparsely
inhabited by civilized people and unimportant in trade and production,
as was Alaska at the time this act was passed. The increase in population
by immigration during the past few years, consequent upon the discovery
of gold, has produced such a condition as calls for more ample facilities
for local self-government and more numerous conveniences of civil and judicial
administration. Settlements have grown up in various places, constituting
in point of population and business cities of thousands of inhabitants,
yet there is no provision of law under which a municipality can be organized
In some localities the inhabitants have met together and voluntarily
formed a municipal organization for the purposes of local government. adopting
the form of a municipal constitution and charter, under which said officials
have been appointed; and ordinance creating and regulating a police force,
a fire department, a department of health, and making provision for the
care of the insane and indigent poor and sick and for public schools, have
been passed. These proceedings and the ordinances passed by such municipalities
are without statutory authority and have no sanction, except as they are
maintained by the popular sentiment of the community. There is an entire
absence of authority to provide the ordinary instruments of local police
control and administration, the population consisting of the usual percentage
of lawless adventurers of the class that always flock to new fields of
enterprise or discovery, and under circumstances which require more than
ordinary provision for the maintenance of peace, good order, and lawful
The whole vast area of Alaska comprises but one judicial district, with
one judge, one marshal, and one district attorney, yet the civil and criminal
business has more than doubled within the past year, and is many times
greater both in volume and importance than it was in 1884. The duties of
the judge require him to travel thousands of miles to discharge his judicial
duties at the various places designated for that purpose. The Territory
should be divided into at least two districts, and an additional judge,
district attorney, marshal, and other appropriate officers be provided.
There is practically no organized form of government in the Territory.
There is no authority, except in Congress, to pass any law, no matter how
local or trivial, and the difficulty of conveying to the Congress an adequate
conception and understanding of the various needs of the people in the
different communities is easily understood. I see no reason why a more
complete form of Territorial organization should not be provided. Following
the precedent established in the year 1805, when a temporary government
was provided for the recently acquired territory, then known under the
name of Louisiana, it seems to me that it would be advantageous to confer
greater executive power upon the governor and to establish, as was done
in the case of the Territory of Louisiana, a legislative council having
power to adopt ordinances which shall extend to all the rightful subjects
of local legislation, such ordinances not to take effect until reported
to and approved by the Congress if in session, and if that body is not
in session then by the President. In this manner a system of laws providing
for the incorporation and government of towns and cities having a certain
population, giving them the power to establish and maintain a system of
education to be locally supported, and ordinances providing for police,
sanitary, and other such purposes, could be speedily provided. I believe
a provision of this kind would be satisfactory to the people of the Territory.
It is probable that the area is too vast and the population too scattered
and transitory to make it wise at the present time to provide for an elective
legislative body, but the conditions calling for local self-government
will undoubtedly very soon exist, and will be facilitated by the measures
which I have recommended.
I recommend that legislation to the same end be had with reference to
the government of Puerto Rico. The time is ripe for the adoption of a temporary
form of government for this island; and many suggestions made with reference
to Alaska are applicable also to Puerto Rico.
The system of civil jurisprudence now adopted by the people of this
island is described by competent lawyers who are familiar with it, as thoroughly
modern and scientific, so far as it relates to matters of internal business,
trade, production, and social and private right in general. The cities
of the island are governed under charters which probably require very little
or no change. So that with relation to matters of local concern and private
right, it is not probable that much, if any, legislation is desirable;
but with reference to public administration and the relations of the island
to the Federal Government, there are many matters which are of pressing
urgency. The same necessity exists for legislation on the part of Congress
to establish Federal courts and Federal jurisdiction in the island as has
been previously pointed out by me with reference to Hawaii. Besides the
administration of justice, there are the subjects of the public lands;
the control and improvement of rivers and harbors; the control of the waters
or streams not navigable, which, under the Spanish law, belonged to the
Crown of Spain, and have by the treaty of cession passed to the United
States; the immigration of people from foreign countries; the importation
of contract labor; the imposition and collection of internal revenue; the
application of the navigation laws; the regulation of the current money;
the establishment of post-offices and post-roads; the regulation of tariff
rates on merchandise imported from the island into the United States; the
establishment of ports of entry and delivery; the regulation of patents
and copyrights; these, with various other subjects which rest entirely
within the power of the Congress, call for careful consideration and immediate
It must be borne in mind that since the cession Puerto Rico has been
denied the principal markets she had long enjoyed and our tariffs have
been continued against her products as when she was under Spanish sovereignty.
The markets of Spain are closed to her products except upon terms to which
the commerce of all nations is subjected. The island of Cuba, which used
to buy her cattle and tobacco without customs duties, now imposes the same
duties upon those products as from any other country entering her ports.
She has therefore lost her free intercourse with Spain and Cuba without
any compensating benefits in this market. Her coffee was little known and
not in use by our people, and therefore there was no demand here for this,
one of her chief products. The markets of the United States should be opened
up to her products. Our plain duty is to abolish all customs tariffs between
the United States and Puerto Rico and give her products free access to
As a result of the hurricane which swept over Puerto Rico on the 8th
of August, 1899, over 100,000 people were reduced to absolute destitution,
without homes, and deprived of the necessaries of life. To the appeal of
the War Department the people of the United States made prompt and generous
response. In addition to the private charity of our people, the War Department
has expended for the relief of the distressed $392,342.63, which does not
include the cost of transportation.
It is desirable that the government of the island under the law of belligerent
right, now maintained through the Executive Department, should be superseded
by an administration entirely civil in its nature. For present purposes
I recommend that Congress pass a law for the organization of a temporary
government, which shall provide for the appointment by the President, subject
to confirmation by the Senate, of a governor and such other officers as
the general ad. ministration of the island may require, and that for legislative
purposes upon subjects of a local nature not partaking of a Federal character
a legislative council, composed partly of Puerto Ricans and partly of citizens
of the United States, shall be nominated and appointed by the President,
subject to confirmation by the Senate, their acts to be subject to the
approval of the Congress or the President prior to going into effect. In
the municipalities and other local subdivisions I recommend that the principle
of local self-government be applied at once, so as to enable the intelligent
citizens of the island to participate in their own government and to learn
by practical experience the duties and requirements of a self-contained
and self-governing people. I have not thought it wise to commit the entire
government of the island to officers selected by the people, because I
doubt whether in habits, training, and experience they are such as to fit
them to exercise at once so large a degree of self-government; but it is
my judgment and expectation that they will soon arrive at an attainment
of experience and wisdom and self-control that will justify conferring
upon them a much larger participation in the choice of their insular officers.
The fundamental requirement for these people, as for all people, is
education. The free schoolhouse is the best preceptor for citizenship.
In the introduction of modern educational methods care, however, must be
exercised that changes be not made too abruptly and that the history and
racial peculiarities of the inhabitants shall be given due weight. Systems
of education in these new possessions founded upon common-sense methods,
adapted to existing conditions and looking to the future moral and industrial
advancement of the people, will commend to them in a peculiarly effective
manner the blessings of free government.
The love of law and the sense of obedience and submission to the lawfully
constituted judicial tribunals are embedded in the hearts of our people,
and any violation of these sentiments and disregard of their obligations
justly arouses public condemnation. The guaranties of life, liberty, and
of civil rights should be faithfully upheld, the right of trial by jury
respected and defended. The rule of the courts should assure the public
of the prompt trial of those charged with criminal offenses, and upon conviction
the punishment should be commensurate with the enormity of the crime.
Those who, in disregard of law and the public peace, unwilling to await
the judgment of court and jury, constitute themselves judges and executioners
should not escape the severest penalties for their crimes.
What I said in my inaugural address of March 4, 1897, I now repeat:
The constituted authorities must be cheerfully and vigorously upheld.
Lynchings must not be tolerated in a great and civilized country like the
United States. Courts, not mobs, must execute the penalties of the laws.
The preservation of public order, the right of discussion, the integrity
of courts, and the orderly administration of justice must continue forever
the rock of safety upon which our Government securely rests.
In accordance with the act of Congress providing for an appropriate
national celebration in the year 1900 of the establishment of the seat
of Government in the District of Columbia, I have appointed a committee,
consisting of the governors of all the States and Territories of the United
States, who have been invited to assemble in the city of Washington on
the 21st of December, 1899, which, with the committees of the Congress
and the District of Columbia, are charged with the proper conduct of this
Congress at its last session appropriated five thousand dollars "to
enable the Chief of Engineers of the Army to continue the examination of
the subject and to make or secure designs, calculations, and estimates
for a memorial bridge from the most convenient point of the Naval Observatory
grounds, or adjacent thereto, across the Potomac River to the most convenient
point of the Arlington estate property." In accordance with the provisions
of this act, the Chief of Engineers has selected four eminent bridge engineers
to submit competitive designs for a bridge combining the elements of strength
and durability and such architectural embellishment and ornamentation as
will fitly apply to the dedication, "A memorial to American patriotism."
The designs are now being prepared, and as soon as completed will be submitted
to the Congress by the Secretary of War. The proposed bridge would be a
convenience to all the people from every part of the country who visit
the national cemetery, an ornament to the Capital of the Nation, and forever
stand as a monument to American patriotism. I do not doubt that Congress
will give to the enterprise still further proof of its favor and approval.
The executive order of May 6, 1896, extending the limits of the classified
service, brought within the operation of the civil-service law and rules
nearly all of the executive civil service not previously classified.
Some of the inclusions were found wholly illogical and unsuited to the
work of the several Departments. The application of the rules to many of
the places so included was found to result in friction and embarrassment.
After long and very careful consideration, it became evident to the heads
of the Departments, responsible for their efficiency, that in order to
remove these difficulties and promote an efficient and harmonious administration
certain amendments were necessary. These amendments were promulgated by
me in executive order dated May 29, 1899.
The principal purpose of the order was to except from competitive examination
certain places involving fiduciary responsibilities or duties of a strictly
confidential, scientific, or executive character which it was thought might
better be filled either by noncompetitive examination, or in the discretion
of the appointing officer, than by open competition. These places were
comparatively few in number. The order provides for the filling of a much
larger number of places, mainly in the outside service of the War Department,
by what is known as the registration system, under regulations to be approved
by the President, similar to those which have produced such admirable results
in the navy-yard service.
All of the amendments had for their main object a more efficiency and
satisfactory administration of the system of appointments established by
the civil-service law. The results attained show that under their operation
the public service has improved and that the civil service system is relieved
of many objectionable features which here tofore subjected it to just criticism
and the administrative officers to the charge of unbusinesslike methods
in the conduct of public affairs. It is believed that the merit system
has been greatly strengthened and its permanence assured. It will be my
constant aim in the administration of government in our new possessions
to make fitness, character, and merit essential to appointment to office,
and to give to the capable and deserving inhabitants preference in appointments.
The 14th of December will be the One Hundredth Anniversary of the death
of Washington. For a hundred years the Republic has had the priceless advantage
of the lofty standard of character and conduct which he bequeathed to the
American people. It is an inheritance which time, instead of wasting, continually
increases and enriches. We may justly hope that in the years to come the
benignant influence of the Father of his Country may be even more potent
for good than in the century which is drawing to a close. I have been glad
to learn that in many parts of the country the people will fittingly observe
this historic anniversary,
Presented to this Congress are great opportunities. With them come great
responsibilities. The power confided to us increases the weight of our
obligations to the people, and we must be profoundly sensible of them as
we contemplate the new and grave problems which confront us. Aiming only
at the public good, we cannot err. A right interpretation of the people's
will and of duty cannot fail to insure wise measures for the welfare of
the islands which have come under the authority of the United States, and
inure to the common interest and lasting honor of our country. Never has
this Nation had more abundant cause than during the past year for thankfulness
to God for manifold blessings and mercies, for which we make reverent acknowledgment.