Report of the Secretary of the Interior/1878
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
Department of the Interior,
Washington, November 1, 1878.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following summary of the operations of this department during the past year, together with such suggestions as seem to me worthy of consideration:
The report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs is herewith submitted.
In my last annual report I sketched a plan of an “Indian policy,” the principal points of which were the following:
1. The permanent location of the Indians on a smaller number of reservations containing a fair proportion of arable and pasture lands.
2. Encouragement of agricultural and pastoral pursuits by the furnishing of agricultural implements and domestic animals, and proper instructions by practical farmers.
3. The gradual allotment of small tracts of land to the heads of families, to be held in severalty under proper restrictions.
4. The discouragement of hunting, proper restrictions as to the possession of arms and ammunition by Indians, and a gradual exchange of ponies for cattle.
5. The extension of the laws of the United States over Indian reservations, to be enforced by proper tribunals, and the organization of an Indian police.
6. The labor of white men on Indian reservations as much as possible to be dispensed with, and proper discrimination to be made in the distribution of supplies and annuity goods and the granting of favors between Indians who work and those who live as idle vagabonds.
7. The establishment of schools for the instruction of Indian children in the English language, the elementary branches of knowledge, and especially in practical work.
8. Sufficient provision for the wants of the Indians until they become self-supporting.
This plan, put forth without any pretension to novelty, seemed to meet with general approval, as far as public opinion expressed itself, and I firmly believe that its execution, if properly aided by Congress and not interfered with by the white population of the Western States and Territories, would, in the course of time, bring forth satisfactory results.
Considerable progress has been made in the execution of the plan above stated, as far as it depends on the action of this department and the officers under its direction. The consolidation of a number of agencies has been undertaken, with a view to a better location of the Indians, which will at the same time simplify the service, render a more efficient supervision possible, reduce the expenses of the government, and lessen the opportunities for fraud and peculation. As far as the appropriations made by Congress would permit, agricultural implements and domestic cattle have been furnished to Indian tribes, to set the Indians to work for their own support and to encourage industrious habits. An Indian police has been organized at twenty-two agencies, and from all of them favorable reports as to the working of the new system have been received. The labor of white men on Indian reservations has as much as possible been supplanted by Indian labor. Instructions have been given to discriminate in the distribution of supplies and annuities, which are not actual necessaries, against individual Indians who show no disposition to work, thus discouraging idleness. Permission to send out hunting parties has been given only where without hunting the Indians would have been exposed to want. The rapid disappearance of game, however, in many parts of the western country will very soon stop this source of sustenance. The allotment of land among Indians on several reservations has been ordered and is in progress. The facilities of education have been extended as much as possible, and proper directions have been given for the instruction of Indian children in practical pursuits. Fifty Indian children, boys and girls, selected from different tribes, have been taken to the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia, where they will receive an elementary English education and thorough practical instruction in farming and other useful work, to be sent back to their tribes after the completed course. Captain Pratt, who was intrusted with the selection of these children, and who performed his task in a very satisfactory manner, reports that a continually increasing interest in education is shown by the Indians, and that they would have sent thousands of children with him had he been able to receive them. The result of this interesting experiment, if favorable, may be destined to become an important factor in the advancement of civilization among the Indians.
The Indian service has been reorganized in several of its branches. It was found necessary to remove a number of agents on account of improper practices or lack of business efficiency, and great care has been taken in filling their places with new men. Where mistakes were found to have been made in the new selections they have been promptly rectified. Important changes have been made in the contract system and in the methods of accountability; an active supervision has been exercised by inspectors and special agents; the detection of fraud has been followed by vigorous prosecution; and, on the whole, I feel enabled to say that the character of the service has been raised in point of integrity and efficiency.
I am, however, far from pretending that the present condition of Indian affairs is what it ought to be. The experience gained in an earnest effort to overcome difficulties and to correct abuses has enabled me to appreciate more clearly the task still to be accomplished. In my last annual report I stated frankly, and I have to repeat now, that, in pursuing a policy ever so wise and with a machinery ever so efficient, gradual improvement can be effected only by patient, energetic, and well-directed work in detail. An entirely satisfactory state of things can be brought about only under circumstances which are not and cannot be under the control of the Indian service alone. If the recurrence of trouble and disturbance is to be avoided, the appropriations made by Congress for the support of Indians who are not self-supporting must be liberal enough to be sufficient for that purpose, and they must be made early enough in the year to render the purchase and delivery of new supplies possible before the old supplies are exhausted.
2. The Indian service should have at its disposal a sufficient fund to be used, with proper accountability, at discretion in unforeseen emergencies.
3. The citizens of Western States and Territories must be made to understand that, if the Indians are to cease to be troublesome paupers and vagabonds, and are to become orderly and self-supporting, they must have lands fit for agriculture and pasturage; that on such lands they must be permitted to remain and to establish permanent homes, and that such a result cannot be attained if the white people insist upon taking from them, by force or trickery, every acre of ground that is good for anything.
The first two things can be accomplished by appropriate action on the part of Congress. The difficulties growing out of the continually-repeated encroachments by white people on the rights of the Indians may be lessened by the concentration of the Indians on a smaller number of reservations, but they can be entirely avoided even then only by the most energetic enforcement of the laws on the part of the general and local governments.
To this end it seems desirable that the southwestern tribes, whose present reservations appear insecure or otherwise unsuitable for their permanent settlement, should be gradually removed to the Indian Territory. The climate of the Indian Territory is congenial to them, while it has proved unwholesome to the northern Indians who were located there. The northwestern tribes will, in the course of time, have to be concentrated in similar manner on a few reservations east of the Rocky Mountains and on the Pacific slope.
To keep the Indians on their reservations and to prevent disturbance and conflicts, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs recommends the organization of a mounted body of “Indian auxiliaries,” to be drawn from the young men of the various tribes, and to be under the command of the military authorities. I heartily concur in this recommendation. The young men enlisted in such an organization, paid by the government, will be withdrawn from the fighting element of the Indian tribes and be disciplined in the service of peace and order. It is a matter of general experience that Indians so employed can be depended upon as to loyal fidelity to the duties assigned to them. But the principal end of our Indian policy cannot be promoted by police measures alone. That end consists in gradually introducing among the Indians the habits and occupations of civilized life, by inducing them to work for their own support, by encouraging the pride of the individual ownership of property, and by educating the young generation; and no efforts should be spared to bring to bear upon them proper moral influences in that direction. Such efforts should not be sneered at as mere sentimental fancies, nor should they be discouraged by the assertion that success is impossible. The advance made by some Indian tribes is sufficient proof that a similar advance may be made by others. Whatever may be accomplished by the employment of force, it is certain that only as the Indians progress in the ways of civilization they will cease to be a troublesome and disturbing element.
I beg leave to submit the following remarks concerning several tribes whose conduct and condition is of especial interest:
In accordance with the agreement made at the council held by the President with the Ogalalla and Brulé Sioux chiefs in September, 1877, the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Sioux were permitted to choose locations of their own selection on their great reservation in Dakota. To keep them near the Missouri River would have been convenient for the transportation of supplies and annuities, and, in pursuance of an act of Congress passed at the last session, a commission, consisting of General D. S. Stanley, U. S. A., Mr. J. M. Haworth, and Rev. A. L. Riggs, accompanied by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, was sent to the camps of the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Sioux for the purpose of ascertaining whether their choice could not be so directed as to bring their selection of their permanent abodes into accord with the convenience of the government. The Indians, however, were found to be quite determined to move westward, and the promise of the government in that respect was faithfully kept. The Spotted Tail Sioux are now located 65 miles west of the Missouri River, at the mouth of Rosebud Creek, while the Red Cloud Indians settled down still farther west, on White Clay Creek, at the mouth of Wolf Creek.
It gives me pleasure to say that these Sioux so far have given evidence of a loyal spirit, and that the rumors current for some time of a disposition on their part to break out in hostilities, proved entirely unfounded. When some of the Cheyennes who had escaped from the Indian Territory had taken refuge with Red Cloud, he sent word to the officers of this department that he held prisoners belonging to a tribe friendly to him, but hostile to the government, and that he was ready to give them up, which was faithfully done.
Great difficulty was encountered in sending supplies from the Missouri River to the new agencies. In consequence of a combination of transportation contractors to force the government to pay exorbitant prices, their bids were rejected, and the organization of wagon-trains, to be manned by Indians with their ponies, proceeded with, the same experiment having been tried on a large scale at another agency, at an earlier period this year, and having proved successful. The task to be performed by these wagon-trains between the Missouri River and the Sioux Agencies is a much larger and more difficult one, owing to the character of the country, and the circumstance that the grass has been burnt off the plains between the Missouri River and the new agencies, as rumor has it, by evil-disposed persons to bring about the failure of this experiment; but it has so far been successfully accomplished, and it is believed that the new Sioux Agencies will be sufficiently supplied during the winter season in that way.
The peaceful conduct of the Sioux during this year seems to justify the best hopes for the future.
THE PIMAS AND MARICOPAS.
A striking illustration of the perplexities the Indian service has sometimes to deal with is furnished by the present condition of the Pimas and Maricopas, in Arizona Territory. These tribes, numbering over 10,000, were located on a reservation, part of which was irrigated by the river Gila. Making use of the water of that river, these Indians were enabled to raise crops sufficient for their wants, so that the appropriations made by Congress for their support were very light. It may be said that these tribes were really self-supporting by their own labor and industry. Within a few years past mines were discovered on the upper course of the Gila River, and most of the water which formerly served to irrigate the fields of the Pimas and Maricopas was thus diverted for mining purposes, so that the water-supply no longer sufficed for the irrigation of the Indian lands under cultivation. The consequence was a failure of their crops, and, in fact, the impossibility of raising anything. The Indians found themselves compelled to leave their reservation and to seek new fields on the Salt River, where, however, white people set up claims to the land, and now loudly demand their removal. The result is that these Indians will starve on their reservation or be driven away if they attempt to settle down and cultivate the soil elsewhere, unless the government buys supplies to feed them, which would make thriftless paupers of industrious and hitherto self-supporting tribes. It is difficult to see how they can be placed in the Territory of Arizona elsewhere, without arousing against them fierce opposition on the part of white people. Inspector Watkins was sent to inquire into their condition, and reports in favor of their removal to the Indian Territory, for which, as he thinks, an appropriation of $25,000 will be sufficient. I concur in that recommendation.
The report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs gives an elaborate and very interesting account of the outbreak of the Bannocks last spring. It must be admitted that they were insufficiently supplied with food, which, however, was owing to an appropriation of money by Congress utterly inadequate to their wants. Formerly those Indians had supplied themselves in part by hunting, but in consequence of the Nez Percé war they were kept on their reservation, in order to avoid greater disorders. Thus they were deprived of that resource, and the money available for feeding them amounted only to less than 4½ cents a head per day. This created discontent among them; then a murder of a white man was committed by an Indian; the Indian was arrested, tried, and hung; the discontent grew into excitement; a military detachment attempted to disarm and dismount them, but with only partial success; and finally the events took place which appear in the Commissioner's report in a series of dispatches and letters, giving a full and circumstantial account of the causes, progress, and incidents of the trouble. To this account I would respectfully call your attention.
After a protracted pursuit and several encounters, the hostile Bannocks were dispersed, and most of them surrendered and are now held as prisoners. The military authorities have called upon the Interior Department to take them off their hands, and it is intended to transport them to the Yakama Reservation, and to put them under the charge of Mr. Wilbur, the most successful agent in the service.
THE NORTHERN CHEYENNES.
Another disturbance was created by a portion of the band of Northern Cheyennes, who, on the 9th day of September last, suddenly left their reservation, in the immediate vicinity of Fort Beno, in the Indian Territory, and marched northward, through Kansas and Nebraska, toward Dakota, committing many murders and other atrocities on their way. The causes which led to this trouble have been made the subject of special inquiry by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and his report is very complete and specific on that subject. It has been stated and widely believed that the Northern Cheyennes were driven to this outbreak by hunger, and that starvation was caused by a neglect on the part of the government officials to furnish them supplies according to treaty. From the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs it appears that they received the same rations which were furnished to the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahoes on the same reservation; that they received those rations with the same regularity; and that their supplies were not only fully up to but rather in excess of the quantity provided by treaty, such quantity being amply sufficient to satisfy their actual wants, and that the only articles withheld from them at any time were flour at two issues only, in consequence of late appropriations, which deficiency was made good by extra beef; and coffee, sugar, and tobacco withheld, according to law, from those who refused to do any work, which law the agent in charge of those Indians properly considered himself bound as much as possible to execute.
It may be added that while a little less than 300 Northern Cheyennes broke out, 4,700 Northern and Southern Cheyennes and Arapahoes remained on the reservation perfectly quiet, having received the same treatment.
The report of the Commissioner also states, as the true cause of the outbreak, that the Northern Cheyennes had, very soon after their arrival on that reservation, shown a spirit of discontent, saying that they came to stay only as long as they liked it; that they insisted upon having their rations issued, not to heads of families, according to law, but to the chiefs of bands in bulk, which the agent very properly refused to do; that differences arose between the discontented element and the rest of the Indians on the reservation, which resulted in bad feeling; and that in consequence of these things finally the outbreak took place.
It has also been said these Indians were furnished with arms by the agent himself, or through his connivance with other evil-disposed persons. The report of the Commissioner states that the arms in the possession of these Indians consisted of about one hundred Springfield carbines taken from General Custer's command, and that with those arms they had a large quantity of ammunition; from which it would appear that the disarming of these Indians before they were located on the reservation near Fort Reno had been very incomplete. While in many other instances Indian outbreaks are traceable to the treatment they receive at the hands of the whites, it appears from the information quoted that in this case the outbreak was owing to the mischievous spirit of bad men among the Indians themselves, and their determination to return northward to their old hunting-grounds.
Nearly all of these runaway Cheyennes have been captured, or have surrendered, and are now held as prisoners by the military authorities. In the interest of general discipline, and in order to show the Indians that nothing can be gained by such disorderly conduct, it is thought best to return them to their reservation in the Indian Territory, after having given the civil authorities of the State of Kansas an opportunity to identify those who committed murders and other crimes while passing through that State, so that they may be dealt with according to law.
Congress, at its last session, passed an act directing the Secretary of the Interior to appoint a commission to treat with the Utes, in the State of Colorado, for a cession of a large portion of their reservation, and their settlement upon White River, in that State, if such settlement should prove advisable. The commission was to report before final action should be taken. That report has not yet been rendered, but, as I am informed, will be ready for transmission to Congress during the coming session.
The report of the Commissioner of Lands, which I herewith present, gives an abstract of the operations of the General Land Office under the laws relating to the survey and disposal of public lands during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878.
During the year ending June 30, 1878, public lands were disposed of as follows:
|An increase over the previous fiscal year of 136,868.57 acres.|
|An increase of 2,240,336.75 acres.|
|An increase of 1,349,760.79 acres.|
|This being the first entire year of the operation of the act of March 3, 1877.|
|Agricultural-college scrip location||640.00|
|A decrease of 640 acres.|
|A decrease of 12,480 acres.|
|State selections approved:|
|For school indemnity||50,142.59|
|For internal improvements||17,420.39|
|For agricultural colleges||24,097.40|
|For salt springs||24,114.56|
|For public buildings||29,146.33|
|An increase of 59,354.80 acres.|
|Locations of scrip in lieu of lands embraced in private land-claims||83,143.60|
|Approved or patented to States as swamp||202,925.85|
|A decrease of 211,492.51 acres.|
|Certified for railroad purposes||606,340.65|
|A decrease of 94,451.31 acres.|
|Certified for canal purposes||5,628.00|
preceding year. This increase is in the homestead entries for actual settlement and for timber culture.
The cash receipts were $2,022,532.16, an increase of $569,562.93.
During the year 8,041,011.83 acres were surveyed, making, with the quantity previously surveyed, 724,311,477 acres, and leaving yet to be surveyed 1,090,461,171 acres.
In my last annual report I called attention to the necessity of rigorous measures for the suppression of depredations upon the timber lands of the United States. During the past year the employment of special agents for that purpose was continued, and proceedings against depredators instituted, as far as existing laws and the appropriations made by Congress would permit. I regret to say that at times the operations of the department were seriously hampered by the lack of available funds, but appropriations made on April 30 and June 20,1878, rendered the employment of a larger number of agents possible, as well as the making of surveys in the preparation of evidence to sustain prosecutions. The report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office gives a detailed statement of the settlements made, verdicts obtained, and suits still pending.
It was to be expected that the measures taken by this department for the protection of the public timber lands would meet with stubborn opposition on the part of lumbermen and others directly or indirectly interested in those depredations. Here and there the proceedings of the special agents of the department were complained of as oppressive and otherwise improper, and in every instance careful inquiries into the facts were instituted. Such inquiries resulted almost uniformly in the vindication of the agents employed. When it was found that private property had been seized, together with timber unlawfully taken from the public lands, or with lumber manufactured therefrom — which was sometimes unavoidable — prompt restitution was ordered.
An officer of the Treasury Department, detailed for that purpose, was sent to the State of Louisiana, where charges of improper practices on the part of our timber agent had been preferred with particular urgency. The elaborate report rendered by that officer not only justifies the conduct of the agent of this department employed in that State, who while in the discharge of his duty fell a victim to the yellow fever, but it puts the extent of the depredations committed there and the necessity of their suppression in the clearest light. Complaint was also made that our efforts to arrest the wanton destruction of the forests in some of the mountainous Territories of the Northwest had inflicted great hardship upon the settlers there. But there is information in possession of this department showing that no such hardship resulted from the measures taken; that the price of firewood remained the same; that the settlers were not hindered in providing for their actual necessities, and that the measures of the department were directed only against a class of persons who made the unlawful taking and selling of timber from the public lands in large quantities a regular business and a source of profit to themselves. In several States, especially in the South, the local authorities were resorted to by interested parties for the purpose of hampering and baffling the efforts of this department by a variety of expedients, in some instances not without effect. In spite of these difficulties it may be said that, in some parts of the country at least, the depredations on the timber lands of the United States have already been greatly limited in extent. But we cannot close our eyes to the fact that anything like complete success in suppressing these unlawful practices is impossible, unless the efforts made by this department for the protection of the public property meet with hearty co-operation on the part of the legislative branch of the government. Actual experience enables me to say that the want of such co-operation has been and will always be an encouragement to the depredators to persist in their lawless operations and to defy the authorities.
As to the importance of this subject I shall add but little to what I said in my last annual report. The disastrous consequences which always follow the destruction of the forests of a country are known to every well-informed man. These consequences will inevitably come upon us in a comparatively short period of time, considering the rapidity with which the timber growth of this country is being swept away, unless legislation be adopted systematically to arrest this indiscriminate spoliation. In accordance with the suggestions which, in this respect, I offered in my last annual report, a bill was introduced in the Senate (Senate bill No. 609) which provides that all timber-bearing lands, chiefly valuable for the timber upon them, shall be withdrawn from sale or other disposition under existing laws, and be held by the government with a view to preventing indiscriminate destruction and waste, and to the preservation of the young timber and the reproduction of the forests. The bill further provides ample means by which settlers on the public lands and miners can procure timber and firewood to supply their wants, with or without the soil, at minimum rates. It also provides for the sale of timber at reasonable prices for manufacturing purposes and for export. It finally provides for the appointment of a number of officers to execute its provisions under the direction of this department.
While I have no doubt that this bill may be improved in many respects, I adhere to the opinion that it is practicable and that its enactment into a law and its faithful execution would bring a large revenue into the Treasury, while averting from this country very disastrous experiences and securing great and lasting benefits to our people. This bill was not acted upon at the last session of Congress, and I again invite to it that attention which the importance of this great public interest merits.
While no legislation applicable to all parts of the country with regard to this subject was had, two bills of a local character were passed, one “authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and remove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes,” and one “for the sale of timber lands in the States of California and Oregon and in Washington Territory.”
In the opinion of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, which is on record in this department, these two acts are more calculated to hasten the destruction of the forests in the States and Territories named than to secure the preservation of them. The first above-mentioned act provides in its first section —
That all citizens of the United States and other persons, bona fide residents of the State of Colorado or Nevada, or either of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Dakota, Idaho, or Montana, and all other mineral districts of the United States, shall be, and are hereby, authorized and permitted to fell and remove, for building, agricultural, mining, and other domestic purposes, any timber or other trees growing or being on the public lands, said lands being mineral, and not subject to entry under existing laws of the United States, except for mineral entry, in either of said States, Territories or districts in which such citizens or persons may be at the time bona fide residents, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe for the protection of the timber and of the undergrowth growing upon such lands, and for other purposes: Provided, That the provisions of this act shall not extend to railroad corporations.
The second section makes it
the duty of the register and receiver of any local land office in whose district any mineral land may be situated, to ascertain from time to time whether any timber is being cut or used upon such lands, except for the purposes authorized by this act, within their respective land districts, and, if so, they shall immediately notify the Commissioner of the General Land Office of that fact.
Of this act the Commissioner of the General Land Office, in a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Interior, expresses the following opinion:
It is a fact well known that while almost all the timber-bearing land in those States and all the Territories, except Dakota and Washington, is regarded as mineral, only a small portion is so in reality. The effect of this bill will, in my opinion, be to prevent the survey and sale of any of the timber lands, or the timber upon the lands, in the States and Territories named, thus cutting off large prospective revenues that might and should be derived from the sale of such lands or the timber upon them. It is equivalent to a donation of all the timber lands to the inhabitants of those States and Territories, which will be found to be the largest donation of the public domain hitherto made by Congress. This bill authorizes the registers and receivers of the land offices in the several districts in which the lands are situated to make investigations without any specific directions from the Secretary of the Interior or the Commissioner of the General Land Office, to settle and adjust their own accounts, and retain from the moneys coming into their hands arising from sales of lands such amounts as they may expend or cause to be expended. This method will be found exceedingly expensive and result in no good. Experience has shown that the machinery of the land offices is wholly inadequate to prevent depredations.
The “Rules and Regulations” issued in pursuance of the first section of this act are to be found in the report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, herewith presented. These rules, drawn up “with a view to and the intention of preserving the young timber and undergrowth upon the mineral lands of the United States, and to the end that the mountain sides may not be left denuded and barren of the timber and undergrowth necessary to prevent the precipitation of the rain-fall and melting snows in floods upon the fertile arable lands in the valleys below, thus destroying the agricultural and pasturage interests of the mineral and mountainous portions of the country,” make it the duty of registers and receivers to see to it that trespassers upon timber lands, not mineral, be duly reported, that upon mineral lands only timber of a certain size be cut, and that young trees and undergrowth be protected, and that timber be cut only for the purposes mentioned in the act. These “Rules and Regulations” will be enforced with all the power left to this department to that end, in order to save what may be saved. But I deem it my duty to call attention to the fact that, as set forth by the Commissioner in the letter above quoted, the machinery of the land offices is utterly inadequate to accomplish the object in view.
After a careful consideration of the above-named act and its probable effects, I venture the prediction that the permission given the inhabitants of the States and Territories named therein, to take timber from the public lands in any quantity and wherever they can find it, for all purposes except export and sale to railroads, will be taken advantage of, not only by settlers and miners to provide economically for their actual current wants, but by persons who will see in this donation a chance to make money quickly; that it will stimulate a wasteful consumption beyond actual need and lead to wanton destruction; that the machinery left to this department to prevent or repress such waste and destruction through the enforcement of the rules above mentioned will prove entirely inadequate; that as a final result in a few years the mountain sides of those States and Territories will be stripped bare of the timber now growing upon them, with no possibility of its reproduction, the soil being once washed off from the slopes, and that the irreparable destruction of the forests will bring upon those States all the calamities experienced from the same causes in districts in Europe and Asia similarly situated.
It appears to me, therefore, that the repeal of the above-named act, and the substitution therefor of a law embodying a more provident policy, similar to that of the above-mentioned Senate bill No. 609, is in the highest degree desirable. If the destruction of the forests in those States be permitted, the agricultural and pasturage interests in the mountainous regions will inevitably be sacrificed, and the valleys in the course of time become unfit for the habitation of men.
The act for the sale of timber lands in the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada, and in Washington Territory, passed by Congress at its last session, is, in a letter addressed to this department, commented upon by the Commissioner of the General Land Office in the following language:
It is a bill of local and not general application to the timber lands of the United States, and adds one more to the already numerous special acts for the disposal of the public domain. The price fixed is too low, as much of the land is worth from five to fifty dollars per acre.
Under the provisions of the bill the timber lands will, in my opinion, be speedily taken up and pass into the hands of speculators, notwithstanding the provisions to prevent such result. The soil should not be sold with the timber where the land is not fit for cultivation. Only the timber of a certain size should be sold, and the soil and young timber retained with a view to the reproduction of the forests. The bill should have limited the sale of the lands to persons who have farms and homes within the State or Territory, and it ought to have required the purchasers to show affirmatively that they had need of timber for domestic uses.
The last clause of the second section will permit any person applying for a tract of timber land and securing a certificate from the register, to sell his right and interest therein immediately, and the purchaser, although it may have been obtained by perjury, may be entitled to a patent for the land.
Section 5 provides that any person prosecuted under section 2461 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, may be relieved of the penalty by the payment of two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per acre for the land trespassed upon. This is objectionable, for the reason that the penalty fixed is altogether inadequate, and does not require the payment of costs of prosecution, which are often greater than the penalty to be collected. It should require that the trespasser should pay for the entire subdivision trespassed upon.
There can be no doubt that if this bill becomes a law it will be taken advantage of, by persons who want to make money quickly, to acquire the timber lands under its provisions at a very low price, and strip the mountain sides of their forest growth as rapidly as possible. How disastrous such a result will be to these States and Territories need not be detailed here.
I fully concur with the Commissioner of the General Land Office in his opinion thus expressed.
The traditions of a time are still alive when the area covered with virgin forest in this country was so great that the settler might consider the trees on the land he occupied as a mere difficulty to be overcome and to be swept out of his way. But circumstances have very materially changed. We are now rapidly approaching the day when the forests of this country will no longer be sufficient to supply our home wants, and it is the highest time that the old notion that the timber on the public lands belongs to anybody and everybody, to be cut down and taken off at pleasure, should give way. A provident policy, having our future wants in view, cannot be adopted too soon. Every year lost inflicts upon the economical interests of this country an injury, which in every part of the country will be seriously felt, but in the mountainous regions threatens to become especially disastrous and absolutely irreparable. We ought to learn something from the calamitous experiences of other parts of the world. If the necessity of such a provident policy be not recognized while it is time, the neglect of it will be painfully appreciated when it is too late. I am so deeply impressed with the importance of this subject, that as long as I remain entrusted with my present duties I shall never cease to urge it upon the attention of Congress.
In my last annual report I called your attention to the imperative necessity for some legislation by Congress to provide a way for the more speedy settlement of the private land-claims in the territory (except California) acquired from Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and the Gadsden treaty of 1853, than is now provided by law. The reasons then given for asking such legislation were:
First. The slow progress made under existing laws in the settlement of said claims.
Second. The large number of claims still remaining unsettled, covering large tracts of land, which interfere with and retard the sale and disposal of the public lands.
Third. The want of harmony between the land system of the United States and the system under which said grants were made, which engenders strife and conflict between the grant claimants and settlers.
To remedy these evils and avert further difficulties, I recommended the passage of an act providing for the appointment of a commission with full power to hear and determine the validity of all such claims within the territory named, subject to an appeal to the United States courts.
No law was enacted by Congress at its last session for the more speedy settlement of said claims, although a bill was introduced in the Senate which, had it been enacted, would, in my opinion, have accomplished the desired object.
All the reasons which existed one year ago, making such legislation necessary, still exist, and the last is intensified by the disorders and bloodshed which have occurred in New Mexico during the last year, most of which are traceable directly to the conflicting interests of grant claimants and settlers.
The following sections were accepted by the President at the dates given, and on the roads specified below:
On the 23d of January last, so much of the fifth section of the Southern Pacific Railroad of California, constructed under the act of March 3, 1871, as lies between the beginning of said section and the point where it crosses the western boundary of Fort Yuma military reservation, California; on the 13th of February, 1878, the tenth section of the main line of said road, 41.66 miles; on the 7th of May, 1878, part of the sixth, all of the seventh, and part of the eighth section of the said road, formerly known as the California and Oregon, now by consolidation part of the Central Pacific Railroad of California; and on the 11th of July, 1878, the seventh, eighth, and ninth sections of the Oregon and California Railroad.
BUREAU OF RAILROAD ACCOUNTS.
The act of Congress approved June 19, 1878, established a Bureau of Railroad Accounts in this department for the purpose of having all matters relating to indebted Pacific Railroad companies, and certain land-grant railroad companies taken cognizance of, examined, investigated, and reported upon. The following abstract of the operations of this bureau since its organization on July 1, 1878, is presented:
The Auditor of Railroad Accounts in making his first annual report states the immediate causes which led to the establishment of the bureau, and gives a review of legislation in regard to reports and investigations of subsidized railroads had and proposed since the incorporation of the Union Pacific Railroad Company in 1862. The government directors of the Union Pacific Bailroad Company, in their report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, strongly recommended, the establishment of such a bureau in this department. In view of the condition of the affairs of all the Pacific Railroad companies, and the discussions relative to their indebtedness and operations, the recommendation of the government directors met with my full concurrence. The necessity that exists for some officer of the government, specially charged with such duty, to examine the books and accounts of these railroad companies, and to see that the provisions of the act approved May 7, 1878, for the establishment of a sinking fund in the national Treasury to provide for the payment of the indebtedness of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad Companies to the United States, are properly complied with, is fully confirmed by his report. Other reasons, however, demanded that it be made the duty of some officer of the government to familiarize himself with the affairs of these railroad companies, and to verify the correctness of their reports by personal examination of their books and records. The act of Congress approved June 22, 1874, by which the Secretary of the Treasury is directed to make demand upon the Pacific Railroad companies for the payment of 5 per cent. of their net earnings due and unapplied, made it a necessity that the amount thereof should be properly ascertained. Under the same act the Attorney-General has instituted suits against the Union Pacific Railroad Company and others, which are still undecided; the one, however, against the Union Pacific Railroad Company, involving an amount of nearly $2,500,000, has reached the Supreme Court of the United States — the lower courts having given judgment in favor of the government, both as to date of completion of the railroad and as to the amount claimed on account of 5 per cent. of net earnings, and as soon as determined further settlements with all of these companies must be made and become the duty of some officer of the government. In this and the other suits of the same kind, the bureau just organized has been and will be able to give its assistance to the Department of Justice. It has also been of some service in the suit of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad Company vs. The United States, in which questions have arisen involving not only the rights of the United States under the condition attached to the land-grant, but also what constitutes “a fair deduction for the use of a railroad as a public highway by the United States free of toll or other charge,” under the recent decision of the Supreme Court.
The gathering of facts and statistics bearing upon the establishment of sinking-funds for the payment of the indebtedness of the Kansas Pacific, Sioux City and Pacific, and the Central Branch Union Pacific Companies, as well as the question of “pro-rate and continuous operation” of the Pacific Railroads, and future questions in regard to cost and other matters which are likely to arise, all of which require special and careful investigation, will be better accomplished, undoubtedly, if intrusted to this bureau, the necessity of which in such regard has been long felt.
The geographical limits named in the act include all subsidized railroads, in whole or in part, west, north, or south of the Missouri River. This construction of the act is objected to by the counsel of some of the land-grant railroad companies.
The land granted by the general government to certain States for railroad purposes was in most cases granted with the condition that the road should be and remain a public highway for the use of the United States, free from toll or other charge for the transportation of any property or troops of the United States. This condition has been decided by the court of last resort to give to the United States only the free use of the roadway, not to include that of the equipment, rolling-stock, &c.; and the court awarded compensation for transportation over these roads subject to a fair deduction for the free use of the road way under the law. The value of this condition, therefore, under the decision of the court, becomes a question for special inquiry and determination, involving the cost of construction, equipment, and other matters relating to the earnings and operations of a railroad.
Some companies, again, have made answer that their books are not kept in such a way as to enable them to furnish the required information. As to this, it has been, and will be for the future, the desire of this department to cause, if possible, no additional expense or trouble to the companies, so long as the information furnished satisfies the requirements of law, and is sufficient to enable an intelligent opinion to be formed in regard to their condition and operation.
The Union Pacific Railroad Company has rendered reports to the Auditor, under a reservation explained by a letter of the president of the company, a copy of which is given in the appendix to the Auditor's report. One thousand and thirty-eight and sixty-eight one-hundredths miles of this road were subsidized by an issue of bonds, in addition to the land-grant, of which five miles are leased to the Central Pacific Railroad Company and 1,033.68 miles operated by itself. The company owns 178 locomotives, 128 passenger-cars, 41 baggage, mail, and express cars, and 3,357 freight and other cars. The stock subscribed amounts to $36,783,000; stock issued to $36,762,300. The par value of shares is $100. The subsidy bonds amount to $27,236,512; the funded debt to $51,116,200; total stock, subsidy bonds, and funded debt is $115,115,012. Floating debt and interest accrued on subsidy and other bonds to June 30, 1878, amount to $17,683,394.07; bonds and stocks of and investments in other companies amount to $4,916,229.77; cash, material, and accounts due amount to $10,195,160.15. The cost of road, equipment, and Missouri River bridge, as appears on the company's books, is $120,627,064.69. The earnings for the year ending June 30, 1878, were: From passengers, $3,259,223.42; from freight, $7,573,105.21; miscellaneous earnings, $1,951,812.59; total earnings, $12,784,141.22. The operating expenses of the road were $5,803,266.95, and the net earnings, $6,980,874.27. The interest paid is $3,402,891.58. The dividends paid amounted to $2,204,700. Ten million seven hundred and sixty-four thousand nine hundred and forty-seven acres of land granted to this company remain unsold.
The Auditor further states that, under the laws in force to June 30, 1878, there will be retained probably of the amount due the Union Pacific Railroad Company, $616,066.93, as one-half of the amount due for transportation, and $352,330.17 as 5 per cent. of net earnings; total, $968,397.10, applicable on account of subsidy bonds; the remainder of government transportation account for the year payable to the company being $263,736.76; and the total government transportation being $1,232,133.86.
If the sinking-fund act had been in force during the last fiscal year there would have been retained, $616,066.93, one-half of transportation, and $106,660.49, cash payment on account of 5 per cent. of net earnings; total, $722,727.42, which, if deducted from the above amount of $968,397.10, leaves $245,669.68 as the amount to the disadvantage of the government under the new law, so far as a direct payment for the use of the United States is concerned, although $616,066.93 being required for the sinking-fund, the total payment by the company becomes more than was required under previous laws by the sum of $370,397.25.
From the statement of the Auditor it also appears that under the sinking-fund act the net earnings at the disposal of the company for the last fiscal year would have amounted to $4,016,383.04, and that this sum would have enabled the company to pay interest on all its bonds, land-grant, sinking-fund, and bridge bonds, and dividends on par value of its capital stock of very nearly 6 per cent.
The Central Pacific Railroad Company has not complied with the law requiring reports to be made to the Auditor, and certificates as to their neglect to do so have been submitted to me. A report of this company, under section 20 of the act of 1862, and under the act of June 25, 1868, which have been repealed, was, however, received by this department, and referred to the Auditor. From this report and other unofficial sources the following facts and figures are compiled: Miles subsidized, 860.66; miles operated, 2,074; number of locomotives, 227; passenger-cars, 235; baggage, mail, and express cars, 49; freight and other cars, 4,913; stock subscribed, $62,608,800; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $54,275,500; subsidy bonds, $27,855,680; funded debt, $55,045,00; floating debt, $11,534,206.07, not including accrued interest on the subsidy bonds amounting to $15,225,431.38; total debt, $109,660,317.45; total stock and debt, $163,935,817.45. Cost of road equipment and real estate, $147,000,000; cash, material, sinking-fund accounts, $7,827,987.33. For the year ending June 30, 1878, passenger earnings were $5,367,663.20; freight earnings, $10,160,055.11; no data given or obtainable as to miscellaneous earnings; total earnings, as far as reported, $15,527,718.31; operating expenses, $9,988,386.67; net earnings, $5,539,324.64; interest paid (estimated), $3,700,000; dividends paid, $4,342,040; lands unsold, 11,300,000 acres. As there appeared a great discrepancy between the sworn statement of the president of the company as to net earnings given above, and one made up from the figures given in the printed report of the officers of the company to the stockholders, an explanation has been called for by the Auditor. Correspondence in regard to this discrepancy is given in the appendix to the Auditor's report. The facts that the floating debt of this company seems to be increasing over what it ought to be; that for the calendar year 1877 this increase amounted to $5,310,169.37, and that the directory nevertheless saw fit to pay out over $4,000,000 in dividends, while the annual interest charge had increased over $300,000, are reported by the Auditor.
The Kansas Pacific Railway Company have rendered and are rendering reports in conformity with law. On November 3, 1876, Carlos S. Greeley and Henry Villard were appointed receivers of this company and operated the road until removed by the United States circuit court in October, 1878. The Auditor reports the business of this road as rapidly improving; and the following facts and figures are gathered from his report: Miles subsidized, 638.34; miles operated, 672.06; number of locomotives, 89; number of passenger-cars, 51; baggage, mail, and express cars, 17; freight and other cars, 1,323; stock subscribed, $9,992,500; stock issued, $9,689,950; subsidy bonds, $6,303,000; fimded debt, $22,180,600; floating debt, $4,755,010.22, not including $1,915,356.94 accrued interest on subsidy bonds; total debt, $35,153,967.16; total stock and debt, $44,843,917.16; cost of road, $34,359,540.66. For the year ending June 30, 1878, passenger earnings were $698,710.45; freight earnings, $2,348,388.86; miscellaneous earnings, $252,938.50; total earnings, $3,300,037.81; operating expenses, $2,125,832.80; net earnings, $1,174,205.01; interest paid, $613,316.32; lands unsold, 4,803,933 acres.
The Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company and the receivers who have operated this road since April 2, 1878, have rendered the reports required from them. This company has suffered a considerable decrease in its gross earnings, in consequence of the opening of the Colorado Central, a branch of the Union Pacific Railroad. The following facts are reported: Miles subsidized, 105.89; miles operated, 105.89; number of locomotives, 6; passenger-cars, 4; baggage, mail, and express cars, 4; freight and other cars, 32; stock subscribed, $4,000,000; stock issued, $4,000,000; funded debt, $2,350,000; floating debt, $189,382.65; total debt, $2,539,382.65; total stock and debt, $6,539,382.65; cost of road, $6,495,350. For the year ending December 31, 1877, passenger earnings were $106,633.32; freight earnings, $161,950.38; miscellaneous earnings, $33,262.61; total earnings, $244,727.97; operating expenses, $141,093.74; net earnings, $103,634.23; interest paid, $111,167.87; lands unsold, 950,000 acres. Complete reports as to operations and affairs for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, were not received in time for this report.
The Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad Company has signified its intention to render reports. The following is from unofficial sources: Miles subsidized, 100; miles operated, 100; number of locomotives, 6; passenger-cars, 6; baggage, mail, and express cars, 3; freight and other cars, 127; stock subscribed, $1,000,000; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $980,600; subsidy bonds, $1,600,000; funded debt, $1,600,000; floating debt, including $1,000,000 accrued interest on subsidy bonds, is $1,567,800; total debt, $4,767,800 ; total stock and debt, $5,748,400 ; cost of road, $2,548,707.36, to which should be added the discount on bonds and stock issued. For the year ending June 30, 1877. passenger earnings were $40,409.87; freight earnings, $130,819.27; miscellaneous earnings, $25,815.12; total earnings, $197,044.26; operating expenses, $153,206.88; net earnings, $43,837.38 ; interest paid, $45,344.73; lands unsold, 116,165 acres. These figures differ somewhat from-those given in the last annual report of the department. Business operations for year ending June 30, 1878, were not reported in time to be embodied in the Auditor's annual report.
The Sioux City and Pacific Railroad Company has fully and promptly complied with every requirement of the law. The statement as to this road shows: Number of miles subsidized, 101.77; miles operated, 106.82; number of locomotives, 13; passenger-cars, 9; baggage, mail, and express cars, 6; freight and other cars, 218; stock subscribed, $4,478,500; par value of shares, $100; preferred stock issued, $169,000, drawing 7 per cent. interest per annum, secured by mortgage on the Missouri Valley connection; other stock issued, $1,899,400; subsidy bonds, $1,628,320; funded debt, $1,628,000; floating debt, $30,000, not including over $900,000 accrued interest on subsidy bonds; total debt, $4,186,720; total stock and debt, $6,255,120; cost of road, $5,337,627.41. For June 30, 1878, passenger earnings were $83,600.83; freight earnings, $197,309.18; miscellaneous earnings, $89,755.35; total earnings, $370,665.36; operating expenses, $330,473.22; net earnings, $40,190.14; interest paid, $111,654.50.
The Texas and Pacific Railway Company rendered its customary report to the department on October 5, 1878, which was referred to the Auditor. This officer called for explanations as to the report, so as to bring the information therein contained within the requirements of the act of 1871, and repeated his requests for reports under the act of June 19, 1878. These explanations, it is understood, will be furnished by the company, but it has so far declined to report under the act of June 19, 1878. From the report and other unofficial sources the following is compiled for the year ending June 30, 1878: Miles subsidized, 443.86; miles operated, 443.86; number of locomotives, 49; passenger-cars, 32; baggage, mail, and express cars, 11; freight and other cars, 986; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $7,018,500; funded debt, $18,488,000; floating debt, $1,255,113.60; total debt, $19,743,113.60; total stock and debt, $26,761,613.60; cost of road, $26,540,239.61; passenger earnings, $594,030.84; freight earnings, $1,644,753.03; miscellaneous earnings, $77,787.88; total earnings, $2,316,571.75; operating expenses, $1,448,329.66; net earnings, $868,242.09; interest paid, $659,461.89; granted lands unsold, 18,000,000 acres.
The Southern Pacific Railroad Company has referred the law and the requirements made under it by the Auditor to its law officers and has not made any report. The following facts and figures have been compiled from unofficial sources for the year ending June 30, 1877: Miles subsidized, 711.95; miles operated, 711.95; number of locomotives, 43; passenger-cars, 69; baggage, mail, and express cars, 10; freight and other cars, 1,024; stock subscribed, $38,122,000; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $36,763,900; funded debt, $29,300,000; floating debt, $994,861.03; total debt, $30,294,861.03; total stock and debt, $67,058,761.03; cost-of road, $66,495,837.04; passenger earnings, $598,529.49; freight earnings, $654,303.78; miscellaneous earnings, $2,300,171.29; total earnings, $3,553,004.56; operating expenses, $1,724,174.41; net earnings, $1,828,830.15; interest paid, $1,817,449.50; lands unsold, 12,061,206 acres.
The Northern Pacific Railroad Company has made full and acceptable reports. The following facts are shown: For the year ending June 30, 1878, miles subsidized estimated at 2,000; miles operated, 555; number of locomotives, 48; passenger-cars, 22; baggage, mail, and express cars, 24; freight and other cars, 1,196; stock authorized, $100,000,000; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $68,438,543.11; floating debt, $320,125.50; total stock and debt, $68,758,668.61; cost of road, $20,872,051.58; passenger earnings, $318,745.82; freight earnings, $745,517.28; miscellaneous earnings, $80,502.61; total earnings, $1,144,765.71; operating expenses, $608,788.99; net earnings, $535,976.72; lands unsold, 45,000,000 acres.
The Saint Louis and San Francisco Railway Company of Missouri, purchaser of the Missouri portion of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, and successor of that company, has complied with the law and rendered reports. The following is compiled therefrom for the year ending December 31, 1877: Miles subsidized, 202.50; miles operated, 363.50; number of locomotives, 28; passenger-cars, 10; baggage, mail, and express cars, 8; freight and other cars, 738; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $21,289,608; funded debt, $5,278,982.26; floating debt, $19,612; total debt, $5,328,594.26; total stock and debt, $26,618,202.26; cost of road, $26,734,718.15; passenger earnings, $230,242.57; freight earnings, $1,023,909.89; miscellaneous earnings, $69,791.30; total earnings, $1,323,943.76; operating expenses, $584,816.91; net earnings, $739,126.85; interest paid, $734,740.91, annual interest payment being $549,340 in gold; lands unsold, 915,654 acres.
The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company in Nebraska at first complied with the requirements of the law, but, acting under legal advice, the president of this company referred further requests to the directors for a final decision.
The Oregon and California Railroad Company has complied with the law and rendered reports accordingly. The following facts are shown for the year ending June 30, 1878: Miles subsidized, estimated at 300; miles operated, 200; number of locomotives, 14; passenger cars, 11; baggage, mail, and express cars, 3; freight and other cars, 227; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $20,000,000; funded debt, $10,950,000; floating debt, $800,000; total debt, $11,750,000; total stock and debt, $31,750,000; cost of road, $5,422,958.32; passenger earnings, $227,524.15; freight earnings, $402,286.07; miscellaneous earnings, $37,381.18; total earnings, $667,191.40; operating expenses, $396,000; net earnings, $271,191.40; interest paid, $158,775; lands unsold, 3,000,000 acres.
The Oregon Central Railroad Company has rendered reports to the Auditor. For the year ending June 30, 1878, the following is reported: Miles subsidized, 47.50; miles operated, 47.50; locomotives, 4; passenger cars, 2; baggage, mail, and express cars, 2; freight and other cars, 62; stock subscribed, $5,000,000; par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $4,980,050; funded debt, first-mortgage bonds, $4,695,000, issued and delivered to trustees as security for $1,000,000 borrowed money; floating debt, $1,182,507.58, including $1,000,000 secured by first-mortgage bonds; total debt, $5,877,507.58; total stock and debt, $10,857,557.58; cost of road, $1,201,927.97; passenger earnings, $25,337.05; freight earnings, $44,532.27; miscellaneous earnings, $2,397.07; total earnings, $72,266.39; operating expenses estimated at $72,266.39; interest paid, $98,000; lands unsold, 1,200,000 acres.
Of the railroad companies which have received grants of land from the United States through State or Territorial governments, the following have not rendered reports by reason of interruption of business during the past four months in consequence of the prevalence of yellow fever in the Southwestern States, viz: The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad Company, the Vicksburgh, Shreveport and Texas Railroad Company, the managers of Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company.
The following have complied in a measure with the requests of the Auditor, viz: The Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad Company, the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad Company, the Missouri River, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad Company, the North Wisconsin Railroad Company, the Winona and Saint Peter Railroad Company, the Southern Minnesota Railway Company, and the Saint Paul and Duluth Railroad Company.
The following railroad companies are preparing to comply with the requests of the Auditor, viz: The Little Rock and Fort Smith Railway Company, the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad Company, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad Company, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.
Four months only having elapsed since the establishment of the bureau, most of which time has been consumed in organizing and in correspondence with railroad companies, it became questionable whether any report of its operations could be made at so early a day, and in consequence it is necessarily incomplete.
The Auditor's report is accompanied by an appendix, containing statements and compilations of facts relating to the Pacific and land-grant railroad companies, the laws affecting them, official correspondence, statements of the affairs of the companies, their receipts, expenditures, and operations, the accounts between the United States and the Pacific Railroad companies, the condition of the respective land-grants, and other matters of general interest in respect to railroad companies.
It will be seen from Appendix C of the Auditor's report, that about 196,424,800.68 acres of land have been granted for railroad purposes, of which, to June 30, 1878, 31,014,496.7 acres were patented. The acts of Congress making these large grants were passed with conditions intended, in a measure, to repay the people for such valuable donations; but, until the passage of the act creating the Bureau of the Auditor of Railroad Accounts, the government had no certain way of ascertaining whether these conditions were complied with, nor was it possible to know what they were worth.
The recommendations of the Auditor in regard to legislation are worthy of consideration.
THE PRO-RATE QUESTION.
The suit of the Kansas Pacific Railway Company et al. vs. The Union Pacific Railroad Company, instituted January 21, 1875, in the United States circuit court of the district of Nebraska, commonly known as “the pro-rate case,” has not been determined. In view of this fact, and the fact that legislation bearing upon this question is now pending in Congress, and that much complaint continues to be made against the Union Pacific Railroad Company for non-compliance with the requirements of law in this respect, it is hoped that the whole subject will receive early consideration by Congress, so that some final settlement of those difficulties may be had.
THE GOVERNMENT DIRECTORS.
The report of the government directors of the Union Pacific Railroad Company has not yet been received, but it is understood that it will be shortly made, and will be laid before Congress during the present session.
The number of unsettled pension claims of all classes at the beginning of the year was 91,444, of which 49,369 were original Army invalid claims, 5,610 invalid increase; 32,969 original widows, dependent relations, and minors, 907 widows increase; 1,053 original Navy invalid, 65 invalid increase; 485 original widows, dependent relations, and minors, 1 widow increase; 448 survivors War of 1812, and 537 widows.
During the year there were 67,218 new pension claims of all classes filed, of which 18,812 were original Army invalid, 21,915 invalid increase; 6,661 original widows, dependent relations, and minors, 516 widows increase; 300 original Navy invalid, 182 invalid increase; 131 original widows, dependent relations, and minors, 14 widows increase; 2,789 survivors War of 1812, and 15,898 widows. There were filed in addition 291 claims for bounty land warrants. Besides these, 5,095 claims of the several classes which had been rejected were reopened for further consideration.
Of the new claims, 18,240 were under the act of March 9, 1878.
During the year, 43,370 pension claims of the various classes and 394 claims for bounty land warrants were settled.
The whole number of unsettled pension claims at the close of the year was 120,387.
As shown by an actual count in all the agencies, there were at the beginning of the year 226,643 pensioners on the rolls. At the close of the year there were on the rolls 223,998 pensioners, a decrease of 2,645.
Owing to the large number of 1812 claims, which will be settled within the year, it is probable that there will be a considerable increase in the number of pensioners during the current year.
The amount appropriated for pensions for the year ending June 30, 1878, exclusive of surgeons' fees and the salaries and fees of the agents for paying pensions, was $27,850,000, of which $26,530,792.10 were disbursed for pensions, leaving unexpended $1,319,207.90.
For a more particular statistical account of the transactions of the Pension Bureau, reference is made to the Commissioner's annual report.
The special service division of the office investigated during the year 1,830 cases, resulting in a total saving to the government, by dropping from the rolls the names of those not entitled to receive pensions, the rejection of cases presented in proper form but found to be without merit, the reduction of pensions already granted, and the refunding of money improperly collected by pensioners, with one year's pension added in each case, of $402,090.95.
The total cost of the investigations to the fund appropriated for the expenses of the special service was $38,235.80
In referring to this special work of his office the Commissioner says:
Considering the extraordinary opportunities for the successful prosecution of fraudulent or unmeritorious claims which exist under the present system of adjudication, in connection with the fact that the Commissioner of Pensions has no authority to go out and hunt for fraud, but is limited by the statute to the investigation of such cases only as suspicion attaches to in the usual routine of the office, the investigations of the last year, as well as those of the preceding year, furnish a very suggestive lesson. I am convinced that a great number of persons have been pensioned who had no just title, and that the number of that class is being constantly increased in the settlements which are now going on, and this must continue to be the case until some measure shall be adopted by which the truth of the parol testimony which is offered can be tested. No such test is possible under the present system.
The annual expenditure of so large an amount of public money should certainly have thrown about it all the safeguards that are attainable by improved methods of settlement and payment. The greatest care should be taken to establish beyond doubt the right of a claimant to pension money; for, once allowed, it becomes through a long series of years an annual tax upon the government.
The results of investigation into a limited number of claims which have attracted suspicion appear to justify the conclusion arrived at by the Commissioner, that the present system of examining the evidence on which pension is allowed is defective and ought to be corrected.
In two previous annual reports the Commissioner recommended the substitution of a corps of efficient surgeons, to be assigned by districts throughout the country and assisted by competent clerks, for the present unwieldy and unreliable system of medical examination, which requires the services of over 1,500 examining surgeons.
By the system proposed, the claimants and their witnesses would be brought face to face with the officers of the government, a more accurate knowledge would be received by the facts set forth, and more reliable data than can be now obtained would be secured for the settlement of claims. In his present report he states that another year's observation and experience have only tended to confirm his previous opinion that the change of system proposed is necessary and that it is both feasible and economical.
The magnitude of the interests involved commends this proposed system to the considerate attention of Congress. If on examination it is found to be an improvement on the present one, no time should be lost in securing the legislation necessary to the change.
The consolidation of pension agencies, which went into effect July 1, 1877, has proved satisfactory. Pensions are now paid at 18 agencies with equal promptness and less inconvenience than when the number was 58. A more uniform system of payment has been secured, at a reduction on salary account alone of $142,000.
The Commissioner reports an increased efficiency in the clerical force of his bureau, and attributes it to the comparatively few changes in the personnel of the office. Merit has been regarded as the basis of retention and promotion, and this has tended to dispel the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity in relation to the tenure of office.
The Commissioner makes the following recommendations:
1. The amendment of section 4702 Revised Statutes, by adding a proviso, that when a widow remarries the children entitled to pension should be paid from the date of last payment to their mother.
Under the law as it now stands the children are entitled from the date of remarriage, so that through concealment of the fact subsequent payments may be made, which, although used for the support of the children, cannot be deducted from the amount found due them under the present law.
2. Repeal of section 4717 Revised Statutes, which bars the admission of claims not prosecuted to successful issue within five years from the date of filing, without record evidence from the War or Navy Department of the injury or disease which resulted in the disability or death of the person on whose account the claim is made.
It is claimed that this section works great hardship to many claimants, in whose cases the records are alleged to be incomplete or not in accordance with the facts.
3. The amendment of section 4698½ Revised Statutes, which prescribes that no increase of an invalid pension, except in cases of “specific disabilities,” shall commence prior to the date of the medical examination upon which the claim is adjusted.
The application of this is attended by considerable confusion and often by injustice. It prevents an increase, in many cases covering a period wherein the disability was clearly in excess of the pension paid, or a low rate was allowed on the mistaken opinion of an examining surgeon or a misapprehension of the case by the Commissioner. The statute should be so amended as to extend to this class of claims the exception made in specific disability cases.
As the amendments commend themselves on the grounds of necessity and justice, I earnestly recommend them to the favorable consideration of Congress.
The report of the Commissioner of Patents shows a gratifying increase of the business of the office for the year ending June 30, 1878.
The number of original applications received for patents was 19,657; for design patents, 722; for reissue of patents, 627; for registration of trade-marks, 1,536; for registration of labels, 727; caveats filed, 2,737.
Patents granted, including reissues and designs, 14,100; trade-marks registered, 1,505; labels registered, 492; forfeited for non-payment of final fee after allowance, 668.
The total receipts from all sources $734,887.98, an increase over last year of $19,923.25. Total expenditures, including $50,000 for repair of models, $665,906.02; leaving an excess of receipts over expenditures of $68,981.96.
The treaty between the United States and Great Britain for the reciprocal protection of the marks of manufacture and trade in the two countries, proclaimed by the President July 17, 1878, has already produced good results, mutually advantageous to the citizens of both nations.
During the year duplicate copies of all British patents have been received. The contribution is a valuable one, especially to the examining corps of the office.
The Commissioner reports the restoration of 18,563 models damaged by the fire of September, 1877. A careful record has been kept of the repaired models, showing the condition of each when taken up for repair.
The work has been skillfully done and reflects credit on those employed.
The necessity of additional room is daily growing more apparent. The various divisions are suffering front this cause, some of them lacking the proper space for the desk-room needed for the transaction of business. The continued accumulation of applications, works of reference, copies of drawings and specifications, models, &c., will in the near future crowd the working force out of the building, unless relief is found by providing the additional room needed.
Previous recommendations are renewed by the Commissioner for liberal appropriations for the purchase of books of reference for the library and for the preparation of complete digests of United States patents. As the office yields a handsome revenue over and above all its expenditures, it would appear but simple justice to the inventors who contribute to this revenue that a portion of the surplus should be yearly appropriated for the improvement of its scientific library and for the preparation of such digests of patents as will facilitate the work of examination and make its results more accurate and valuable.
The Commissioner of Education reports increased attention to the collection of statistics and increased use by the public of the facts thus collected. He states that the small force of his office has been unequal to the performance of its regular current business, and that he has been compelled to delay special reports or set them aside for the time.
A special report is being prepared on Indian education from the sixteenth century to the present time.
The amount of lands and money hitherto granted by the general goverment to the several States for the benefit of education, and the amount realized by each State from its educational land grants, have formed the subject of another report now in hand.
The preparation of the report on industrial and high art education in the United States, including the subject of drawing in the public schools, the history and present condition of all public art educational institutions in the United States, as well as of all public art collections, is substantially ready for the press.
The Commissioner alludes to the interruption of work caused by the recent removal of his office to new quarters, but observes that the rooms now assigned, though inadequate, afford some additional advantages, especially as they allow him to bring the collection illustrating the condition, progress, methods, and appliances of education belonging to his office into close proximity to its library. The benefits to accrue from a national collection illustrating the improvements in these appliances can hardly be overestimated. The valuable library has now more commodious quarters. Since its removal, the books, numbering 10,000 volumes, and nearly the entire collection of pamphlets, numbering 25,000 (with 10,000 duplicates), have been re-examined, classified and arranged, and rendered convenient for use.
During the year the office has issued Circular of Information No 1, 1878, a pamphlet of thirty-six pages, relating to the training of teachers in Germany; Circular No. 2, 1878, relating to education in London, is now in press. The special articles which appeared in the education report for 1876 has been reprinted, in order to supply many requests for them.
The office has sent about 20,000 communications and 15,000 packages of documents; it has received about 24,000 communications and 6,000 packages of documents.
The tendency to modify instruction so as to connect with it industrial training has increased, and several special schools for this purpose have been established. The colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts have supplied successfully many wants of this kind.
The pecuniary embarrassment of the country has continued to reduce the amount of money expended for school purposes. Reduced salaries in some places have, in the opinion of the Commissioner, had the effect of increasing the number of incompetent teachers, and in many communities the total lack of funds has caused the schools to be closed.
The friends of educational progress both in France and this country looked forward with interest to the International Exposition at Paris; and particularly so, because education was made so prominent a part of the scheme. Dr. John D. Philbrick, of Boston, was requested to take oharge of the educational section of the American exhibit, and the Bureau of Education afforded him all the assistance it could. The result of the exposition has been very gratifying. Although the section of education occupied a space of only 550 square feet, the number of premiums awarded to the exhibitors was 121 — about one-sixth of the whole number awarded to exhibitors of the United States; and of these, 27 were gold medals, three of which were awarded to the Bureau of Education. The Commissioner reports that the Government of France has established in the ministry of public instruction a bureau similar in its objects to the United States Bureau of Education, and that the federal government of Switzerland proposes to do the same.
The pleasant intercourse of the office with foreign educators continues. Many important letters have been received and answered. Forty-five foreign periodicals are examined regularly, and important works and reports on education in all the languages of Western Europe are procured as soon as possible, are carefully read, and the most valuable parts are translated or summarized.
Officers in charge of school systems and schools in the regions lately afflicted by the yellow fever report that it has been impossible to give instruction up to the present time; that the orphan asylums are over-crowded, and that there are many destitute children left parentless by the fever, for whom no provision has been made as yet. Correspondence has been had through the office with a view to a partial relief by their reception into institutions for destitute children in other parts of the country which may be so situated as to be able to receive them.
The Commissioner urgently renews his recommendation that appropriations be made sufficient to do the work of the office with reasonable facility, and that Congress devise some plan for the aid of education throughout the country.
The near approach of the tenth census renders it important that the question of a new census law should be considered by Congress at its next session. If the additional legislation which seems to be required to secure statistical results commensurate with the expense of enumeration be put over to the first regular session of the Forty-sixth Congress, it must suffer from inadequate consideration and hasty action, while the postponement of the initial preparations to so late a date will inevitably enhance the cost of the census and impair the value of the returns.
A work of such extent and complexity, the administrative machinery of which has to be built up for the occasion wholly from the ground, whose agents, or the greater part of them, can, from the nature of the case, have had no experience of such duties, should be carefully planned; every arrangement should be made considerately; every appointment should be thoroughly canvassed; every spot where exceptional liability to failure or error exists should be known and covered by special provisions; and the central statistical office should stand organized and ready to take up the returns as fast as they come in, to sift and sort them with intelligence and without delay, and to digest, compile, and publish them in the briefest time compatible with accuracy. All this can be fully and satisfactorily done only in case ample time is allowed, after the passage of the act, before the commencement of the enumeration. If the department is to remain uncertain whether the census is to be taken under the act of 1850 or under a new law till the February of the census year — as was the case in 1870 — the work must suffer both through enhanced cost and through impaired value.
As to the considerations which seem to demand new legislation, in the interest alike of economy and of the improvement of the statistical results, I respectfully refer to the report of the Superintendent of Census, which is annexed hereto.
The law of May 23, 1850, was passed in the very infancy of statistical science. In the period that has intervened the demands of Congress and the country for statistical information have greatly increased, and new schedules and new inquiries are needed to satisfy those demands.
Better methods of enumeration have become known, through our own experience at three censuses taken under the act of 1850, and through the experiences of other nations in conducting similar services. Even the conditions of the country have greatly changed. While our population was more easily classified in 1850, it now contains elements which vastly increase the labor of enumeration and multiply the liabilities to error. Large numbers of immigrants have been added to our population on the one hand, and five millions of freedmen, who were formerly reported at the census promptly and intelligently by their masters, are now left to speak for themselves under the gravest disadvantages. The very conditions of life among our people have undergone great changes. The interior movements of population have become more rapid and extensive, and half a million of square miles are now settled more or less densely, which in 1850 were unsurveyed, or even unexplored.
As the census of a great nation is a very practical work, into which theory and preconceived notions should enter as little as possible, it would seem that such great changes of condition, as well as the advances made meanwhile in the science of legislation and in the art of government, justify and require a new census law.
The duties of the Census Office, such as the correspondence supplying information asked for, and care of records and documents, have been satisfactorily performed during the year by the clerk in charge. No settlements have been made of the unpaid claims of the assistant marshals at the eighth and ninth censuses owing to the failure of Congress to provide for their payment.
It is to be hoped that such provision will be made at the coming session, in accordance with the recommendation of the department.
GEOLOGICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL SURVEY.
During the past season the work of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey, under the direction of Prof. F. V. Hayden, was continued northward into portions of Wyoming and Montana Territories. The usual appropriation for the survey was not passed by Congress until July, rendering the field season very short, yet the results were of considerable magnitude and of much importance.
The survey proper was divided into four parties, one of which was devoted to the extension of the primary triangulation to the northward, two were engaged in topographic and geologic work, and the fourth performed photographic and special geologic duty. All the parties left the Union Pacific Railroad from Point of Rocks and Green River Stations about July 25, and proceeded northward toward the Yellowstone National Park. To the second division was assigned the duty of making an exhaustive survey of the park and its surroundings, and to the third the exploration of the Wind River Range and the Snake River country. The primary triangulation was extended over about twelve thousand square miles. Eight primary stations were occupied, among them Wind River, Fremont's and Grand Teton Peaks, which are among the most difficult and hazardous of ascent on the continent. This division would have performed double this amount of work had a band of hostile Indians not robbed it of its entire outfit about the middle of the season.
The second division made a very detailed survey of the National Park, securing the materials for the preparation of a topographical and geological map on a scale of one mile to one inch. The geologist not only studied the geology minutely, but also sketched every square mile of the area. An unusually interesting and valuable collection of volcanic rocks and hot-spring specimens was obtained. The entire collections of the survey, which are of a varied character, will amount to about three tons weight.
The third division explored with equal care the Wind River and Teton Ranges of mountains, a region of which comparatively little was previously known. The peak named by the survey Fremont's Peak was found to be over 14,000 feet in height above the sea, with no trace that any human being had ever previously reached its summit. Three complete glaciers were discovered on the east side of the Wind River Mountains, the first ever known to exist east of the Pacific coast. The old glaciated rocks and morainal deposits were found on a remarkably grand scale in both the Wind River and Teton Ranges.
The object of again surveying the Yellowstone Park was to bring it under the system of triangulation which had been employed with so much success in Colorado and to make the entire work uniform. All the old hot-spring basins were resurveyed in great detail, and several new ones were discovered and mapped. Soundings and temperatures of several thousand hot springs were taken. The history and habits of the geysers were carefully studied.
The photographer of the survey obtained over fifty fine views of the bowls and other curious ornamental details of the Hot Springs.
The results of the season's labors, though a short one, have been on the whole very satisfactory. About 12,000 square miles of very difficult country were surveyed, much of it in minute detail, and a mass of observation secured for the twelfth annual report, which will make it of more general interest and value than any of the preceding.
The district assigned to this survey by this department for the next Atlas comprises all the area of the Territories of the United States north of latitude 41° 45', east of meridian 117° and west of meridian 94°. It is estimated that the mapping of this area will occupy five years more, and when this is completed, the survey will have mapped over one-fourth the territory of the United States west of the one hundredth meridian.
GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION.
Major Powell reports that early in July the parties of this survey again took the field. A new base-line has been measured at Kanab, in Southern Utah, on ground better adapted to the requirements of the trigonometric operations than the one formerly established in that vicinity. This line has been connected with the one previously measured at Gunnison by a complete chain of triangles having artificial points. Thus a geodetic basis has been given to the whole geographic work south of the 40th parallel sufficiently refined for all the purposes for which the survey is made.
The topographic and geologic work has been prosecuted south and east of the Colorado River. District 106 has been completed and much work done in district 105. The topographic methods employed were essentially the same as those of the previous season, that is, the plane-table and orograph were used in conjunction, the results of each being complementary to the other.
The hypsometric work rests on the base at Kanab, which had been previously established by long series of barometric observations.
The region surveyed embraces the elevated plateaus south of the Grand Cañon of the Colorado, and the plateaus and desert valleys stretching to the eastward. Very little irrigable land has been found, less than one-fourth of one per cent., as the tributaries of the Colorado are all very small and the great river itself runs at a profound depth below the general surface of the country, so that it cannot be used. Extensive and valuable grazing lands are included in the survey and some valuable forests of pine, spruce, and fir, the extent and characteristics of which have been carefully determined.
As the work has progressed from year to year it has been found that important economic questions relating to the future industries of the far West demanded more thorough investigation. The mineral resources, the extent, and practicability of the irrigable lands, pasturage lands, and timber lands have been regarded as questions of prime importance, and the researches of the survey have been more and more directed to their solution.
For accurate knowledge and clearly defined statements relating thereto, it was found that the geographic work must be improved, and this has been done by using instruments of greater precision and methods of greater refinement.
The geology of the country has proved to be of much interest. The great faults north of the Colorado have been traced southward, and extensive volcanic formations in that region have been studied. A relief map and a stereogram of the high plateaus of Utah have been constructed for the purpose of a more thorough discussion and illustration of the geologic structure of the district. By these, three important purposes are served. The great accumulation of facts derived from the elaborate system of mensuration used in the geographic work are made available for the determination of geologic structure, the exaggeration and distortion which too often characterize the results of research in this department of investigation are avoided; and the stereogram affords a method of graphically presenting a multiplicity of facts and details that in the texts but serve to obscure the more salient features. Both of these methods have been previously employed in the work with satisfactory results.
Ethnologic researches have been continued among the Utes, Shoshonis, Gosiats, Poncas, Omahas, Iowas, Dakotas, and many other tribes, and much material has been collected relating to their languages, social and governmental institutions, mythology, customs, habits, &c.
During the year the office has been engaged in the construction of a map of the United States, intended to represent the distribution of the various tribes of Indians when they were first discovered by Europeans. This map is near completion and will accompany a report on the classification of the North American Indians, by linguistic affinities, now in course of preparation. Much progress has been made in the preparation of a bibliography of North American linguistics, which will constitute an appendix to the same report.
During the past year the office work has been vigorously prosecuted, and charts, on a scale of four miles to the inch, delineating the geography of the entire region previously embraced in the survey have been completed. The engraving of these charts is rapidly progressing. The drainage and contour lines are finished and the rock and hill work is now in progress. This engraving has been done on copper plates in order that the maps might be put in permanent form for the use of the government in time to come, as well as for the purpose of illustrating the reports of the survey itself. Thus the results of the work will have enduring value.
During the year the following reports have been prepared: Report on the arid lands of the United States, 4°, printed; report on the high plateaus of Utah, 4°; report on the geology of the Black Hills, 4°; report on the Indians of Oregon and Washington Territory, 4°.
Much has been done toward the preparation of subsequent reports on geology and ethnology. Thus it will appear that valuable contributions have been made to geography, geology, and ethnology. In botany and zoology no work has been done.
The United States Entomological Commission, attached to the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, has issued its first report on the Rocky Mountain locust, or destructive grasshopper of the West, a volume of some 700 pages, fully illustrated with maps, plates, and wood-cuts.
The favorable predictions made by the commission last winter had an encouraging effect, and stimulated the immigration to the country of late years ravaged by locusts. The statement which a full survey of the field enabled the commission to make in advance, viz, that there would be no serious injury in 1878, has been fully verified. The commissioners have continued their labors during the past summer, confining their attention to that northwestern portion of the country which they have designated as the Permanent Region, the object being to gather further knowledge of that region, with a view of preventing the ravages of the Rocky Mountain locust therein and its migration therefrom.
The problem of destroying the young insects as they hatch out in the more fertile country in the Southeast is virtually solved in the report which the commission has already issued, and the task which they now undertake is to endeavor to prevent the migration of the winged insects from the Permanent Region into the more thickly settled country.
An appropriation of $25,000 was asked of the last Congress for the completion of the work mapped out, and $10,000 were appropriated, and this only toward the end of the fiscal year. The commissioners ask for the additional sum of $15,000, in order that they may be able to continue their investigation until the practical work is accomplished. It was too late in the season when the last appropriation was obtained to permit the completion of the work this year, but with such means as they have husbanded added to the additional appropriation asked for, and with promised assistance by the Dominion authorities, they will be enabled, by getting into the field early the coming spring, to complete fully the work assigned to them.
HOT SPRINGS COMMISSION.
It is greatly regretted that the act for the continuation of the Hot Springs Commission which passed both Houses at the last session of Congress failed to receive the President's signature because of an omission in engrossing the bill. The portion of the bill incorporated in the engrossed copy is practically inoperative, being strangely mixed with a provision directing the National Academy of Sciences to report to Congress the most practicable plan for surveying and mapping the Territories of the United States, and also the most suitable plan for the publication and distribution of the reports, maps, and documents, and other results of said surveys. As a complete suspension of the work already done by the commission would have been followed by serious embarrassment of the interests of a large population as well as those of the government, I requested — by direction of the President under date of June 25, 1878 — the late commissioners to take charge of the records of the proceedings had before them while acting as a commission, and to perform such work as would facilitate the early adjudication of the claims, expressing the hope that Congress at its next session would adopt such legislation as might be needed to confirm the acts done, and provide for a due compensation for their services. The late commissioners complied with the request, had the records of the commission and all the testimony and other papers brought to Washington, and, as will be seen by reference to their report, have rendered valuable service which will greatly facilitate the final adjudication of the cases, when empowered by the law to act. Stenographic notes not before written out, amounting to about 3,000 pages of foolscap, have been transcribed and properly briefed and filed. Careful consideration and much study have been given to the subjects of laying out, widening, and straightening streets, and such other duties have been performed as could be, properly, under the letter of instructions. They have devoted their time and money to the service of the government, and although no legal obligation has been incurred to repay them, yet, under the circumstances, I feel warranted in earnestly recommending that the expenses incurred by them while acting, and pay, at the rate formerly given, be allowed them for the time they have served.
The Hot Springs Reservation contains about 2,565 acres. The Hot Springs Mountain, containing about 265 acres, from whence the supply of water is received, has been set apart as a permanent reservation, to be owned and held by the United States; this will leave about 2,300 acres to be disposed of under the provisions of the act of March 3, 1877.
Before the expiration of their term of office, the commissioners had
closed the work of taking testimony from the claimants in interest.
More than six months were occupied in this; 2,750 witnesses were
examined in 897 cases. The oral testimony and documentary evidence are
reported to be equal to 25,000 pages of legal cap. Accurate surveys have
been made of the entire tract; boundaries have been
permanent monuments erected on the exterior and section lines and
corners. Monuments have also been set at each angle of the permanent
reservation. Claims of individuals have been surveyed and pl
sixteen large maps, representing the quarter-sections. A topographical
survey has been made of the entire reservation, and three maps prepared
and photolithographed — one topographical map, one claim map, and
the third combining the two.
From this it will be seen that the work left unfinished by reason of the clerical omission in the enrollment of the sundry civil bill is of vital importance, not only to the citizens of Hot Springs, but to the government itself. It is earnestly urged that the act be renewed as soon as possible upon the reassembling of Congress, to the end that all pending claims may be adjudicated, and improvements completed, as contemplated by the act of March 3, 1877.
The commissioners report the following work remaining unfinished:
First. Straightening and widening old streets; laying out new streets, avenues, and alleys in the town of Hot Springs.
Second. Hearing of arguments in contested claims, and the final adjudication in 897 cases.
Third. The appraisal of each lot awarded.
Fourth. Resurvey of each lot after adjudication of the claims, in order to define the lines and ascertain the exact amount of ground to be certified to each claimant as required by the law.
Fifth. The appraisal of improvements upon each lot awarded.
Sixth. The division of the land not claimed or awarded into lots, squares, or blocks, and appraisal of the same.
Seventh. Preparing and issuing certificates to each claimant who is adjudged the right to purchase, being evidence of claimants on which to base patent.
Eighth. Condemnation and appraisal of all buildings on permanent reservation and issuing certificates therefor.
Ninth. Preparation of a map embodying the results of the whole work to be filed with the Secretary of the Interior, accompanied by the schedule provided for by law.
The superintendent of the Hot Springs Reservation reports that during the year he has had removed from the permanent reservation some three or four hundred people encamped thereon. The erection of comfortable barracks and suitable pools for their use, and the expenses of the removal, were provided for by private contributions. The reservation is now practically free from all nuisances. Reference is made in the report to the destructive fire which destroyed a large portion of the town of Hot Springs, and to the means employed to prevent the introduction of yellow fever. For the year ending June 30, 1878, the total amount collected for water-rent was $5,260.
Recommendation is made that the present rental of $5 a month for each tub in use be maintained in the future.
The superintendent of the Yellowstone Park reports the construction of about sixty miles of wagon-road within the park during the present season. Although the work was somewhat retarded by the presence of hostile Indians, it was accomplished without loss of life or property. He refers to complications likely to arise with parties who claim to have made improvements within the park, and suggests the early consideration of the questions involved.
For the protection of the park and for the continuation of improvements during the next fiscal year, he recommends the appropriation of $25,000.
CAPITOL BUILDING AND GROUNDS.
The Architect of the Capitol reports the completion of the improvements in the heating and ventilating apparatus of the House. The commission, appointed by the House of Representatives having been continued, will give further consideration to this important subject with a view of remedying existing defects. Attention is called to the insecure condition of the wall, ceiling, and roof of the old Hall of Representatives, and the combustible material of which they are composed. The Architect says, “The construction of this portion of the building is such that, should a fire take place in any of the rooms adjoining the wall, it would in all probability ascend to the roof.” He recommends that all the wooden construction be taken out and fire-proof material substituted. The mere mention of a liability of destruction by fire should be sufficient to secure a thorough investigation of this and other portions of the building, with a view to guarding against even the possibility of such an occurrence.
The attention of Congress is called to the necessity of providing suitable quarters for the store-yards and workshops connected with the Capitol. As the ones now in use are rented, and notice to vacate may at any time be received, it would appear to be both a precautionary and economical measure for the government to provide quarters of its own. Suitable lots can be secured adjoining the government property, on Delaware avenue, near C street north, on which are situated the Senate stables and fire-engine house.
The improvement of the Capitol grounds has steadily progressed during the year, in accordance with the plans proposed. The roadways, footwalks, and walls appear to be constructed in a substantial manner and of durable material. The stone work around the Naval monument has been completed, the only work remaining to be done being the introduction of water and the erection of the bronze figures and lamps.
The purchase by the government of the property on Pennsylvania and Maryland avenues at their junction with First street west, enables the architect to complete the proposed circle according to the original design. It is recommended that a more suitable dwelling-house be erected for the superintendent of the Botanical Garden, the house now occupied being on damp ground and unfit for a healthy residence. The architect reports considerable damage to the bases of the columns of the east portico by reason of the meetings held there from time to time. The material of which the columns are made is a soft sandstone, easily defaced by the feet. He recommends that the practice of holding meetings at this place be forbidden.
The expenditures on account of the Capitol extension for the year ending June 30, 1878, were $64,000. Improvement of grounds, $138,762.24. For ventilation of House of Representatives, $22,970.70. For lighting Capitol and grounds, and other expenses connected therewith, $31,048.95.
In compliance with instructions from Congress authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to ascertain as near as may be what would be the probable cost, either through direct purchase from the owner or condemnation for public use, of land adjoining the Capitol grounds on the north, east, and south sides, to the extent required for a proper site for the Congressional Library, and to report to Congress the desired information, I have had prepared plats of the several squares located on the north, east, and south sides of the Capitol, and a full report, as near as could be ascertained, of the area of each lot, its present owner, the assessed valuation of last year, also that of the present year, and the price at which the same can be purchased. The report, together with accompanying papers, will be laid before Congress on the first day of the session as required by law.
PURCHASE OF PROPERTY AT THE INTERSECTION OF MARYLAND AND PENNSYLVANIA AVENUES AND FIRST STREET WEST.
By a provision of the act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the year ending June 30, 1879, and for other purposes, the Secretary of the Interior was directed to purchase portions of lots numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, in square 575, and a portion of lot 9, in square 576, in order to enlarge the circle, and to give proper width to the roadway and sidewalk at the intersection of Maryland and Pennsylvania avenues and First street west.
To carry out the provisions of this law abstracts of the titles of the several lots, portions of which were to be purchased, were prepared by the direction of this department, and were, on the 15th of August, transmitted to the Attorney-General with the request that he would cause to be prepared and presented to the supreme court of the District of Columbia the necessary petition for the appraisement of the several interests of the owners of the real estate, and the improvements thereon, to be taken for the public use. Messrs. William B. Webb, William H. Clagett, B. H. Warner, S. T. G. Morsell, and Elias E. White, were appointed by the court to make the appraisements.
The notification required by the law having been given, the commissioners proceeded under oath to perform their duty. They reported to the court that, taking into view all the benefits and advantages arising from the improvement,
Lot 1, in square 575, was damaged to the amount of $12,000.
Lot 2, in square 575, was damaged to the amount of $11,000.
Lot 3, in square 575, was damaged to the amount of $10,500.
Lot 4, in square 575, was damaged to the amount of $8,500.
Lot 5, in square 575, was damaged to the amount of $3,000.
Lot 9, in square 576, was damaged to the amount of $5,233.60.
The report of the commissioners was ratified by the court, no exception thereto having been taken.
No demand having been made upon the Secretary of the Interior for the assessed value of any portion of the property, within fifteen days after the appraisement, the full amount of the assessed values was, in accordance with the law, deposited in the court to the credit of the owners of the lots and improvements. The title to the property is, therefore, now vested in the United States.
The following allowances were made by the court for costs and fees: To the United States district attorney, $300; to the marshal of the court, $99; to the clerk, $22.05; to the National Republican and the Law Reporter, for advertising, $57.50. The court allowed the commissioners $200 each for their services. From the order making this allowance an appeal has been taken on the ground that it is excessive.
The department paid to M. Ashford, esq., for making the abstracts of titles, $220.
GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE.
The twenty-third annual report of the Board of Visitors is one of unusual interest. It is accompanied by tables showing the number of patients treated during the year, also the number treated from the beginning; their sex, nativity, duration of the mental disease of those admitted, also those who died, forms of disease, age of patients when admitted.
The whole number under treatment during the year ending June 30, 1878, was 947; admitted during the year, 182. The number of males was 721; females, 226. Discharged, recovered, 60; improved, 41; unimproved, 7; died, 46.
The average number of patients treated daily during the year was 781, a larger average than ever before recorded. The accommodations are intended for 563 patients, so that the present necessity for more room is both evident and urgent. It is gratifying to note that, in the face of this overcrowded condition of the hospital, the general health of the inmates is excellent, the percentage of death being but 4.85, the lowest, with the exception of a single year, in the history of the institution.
The products of the farm and garden are estimated at $23,844.83. The total expenditures for the year were $174,276.52. This includes all the expenses of the hospital and care of grounds and buildings.
The estimates for the year ending June 30, 1880, are as follows:
1st. For the support, clothing, and treatment of the insane, $179,250.
2d. For general repairs and improvements, $10,000.
3d. For airing courts for the recreation of the inmates, for the completion of rooms in the upper story of the bakery, for changing roof of portion of the building, and providing accommodations for employés and for erection of hay barracks, $10,500.
4th. For a fire-pump and additional pipe and hose, $3,500.
5th. For reservoirs and filter-beds to provide pure water for the hospital, including pipes and a tank, $9,500.
6th. For the extension of the accommodations of the hospital by the erection of a building for female patients, $300,000, one-third of which is asked for expenditure during the next fiscal year.
7th. For the erection of a suitable structure for the immediate relief of 250 patients of the chronic class, $30,000.
ASYLUM FOR THE DEAF AND DUMB.
The number of pupils remaining in the institution July 1, 1877, was 81; admitted during the year, 15; from July 1, 1878, to November 1, 21; total, 117. Of this number, 103 were males and 14 females.
The sanitary condition of the institution has been excellent, the report showing exemption from disease of any serious nature, with but a single exception.
All the buildings are now completed; the total expense of completing the college edifice, together with connections with the main building, and the remodeling of the roof of the old edifice, including fixtures of a permanent character, having been $125,060.64.
The receipts of the institution for the year were $51,578.06, $48,000 of which was by appropriation from Congress. The expenditures were $50,277.03, and of this amount $28,253.69 were for salaries and wages.
The receipts on account of extension and refitting of buildings were $72,036.86; expenditures, $71,996.50.
The estimates for the next fiscal year are, for the support of the institution, including salaries and incidental expenses, $51,000, and for the erection of a gymnasium, bath-house, and for improvement and inclosure of the grounds, $15,500.
The whole number of patients in hospital from June 30, 1877, to June 30, 1878, was 807; of this number, 530 were admitted during the year. The number remaining in hospital June 30, 1878, was 231.
The Colored Orphans' Home and Asylum, containing 115 children and attendants, has been supplied with medicines and furnished with medical treatment during the year. In the dispensary department 1,083 patients have been treated and about 4,000 prescriptions prepared for their use.
The number of deaths during the year was 118. The average daily cost of supporting a patient, as given in the surgeon's report, is 46 cents. As the Freedmen's Hospital is the only one in the District, under government control, where all classes of patients can be treated, its usefulness should not be crippled by inadequate appropriations.
COLUMBIA HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN.
The reports from this institution show that during the year the hospital has been free from any of the diseases usually occurring in lying-in asylums, no adult death being recorded in the obstetrical department. Only one death is recorded in the medical and surgical division, although many of the operations performed were regarded as among the most severe and dangerous in surgery.
The number of patients treated in hospital during the year was 294; the daily average was 29.48. The number treated in the dispensary was 485.
In response to a letter addressed to the governors of the several Territories, reports relating to their present condition, resources, &c., have been received from Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and Washington Territories, and will repay careful perusal. Utah is represented as rich in minerals and the precious metals — gold, silver, copper, zinc, iron, coal, sulphur, and salt being found in various parts of the Territory. The lands fitted for agricultural purposes are mostly taken up and are now under cultivation. There are vast tracts of land which might be valuable for cultivation if properly irrigated, but as the water would have to be brought through canals for long distances, the chances of their redemption are remote. The larger portion of the lands of the Territory is represented as of no value except for grazing purposes.
Agricultural pursuits in Utah are followed almost exclusively by Mormons, while the mining enterprises are conducted by the anti-Mormon population. As a rule the farms are small, owing to the expense and difficulty of irrigating the land. About three-fourths of the population is represented to be foreign born or of foreign-born parentage, representing nearly all the European nations, the Sandwich Islands, and China, while it is claimed from the best attainable information that about nine-tenths of the people are Mormons.
For school purposes the legislature has imposed a direct tax upon all taxable property of three mills on the dollar. Owing to the fact that the schools are controlled by the Mormons and none but Mormon teachers are employed, the Gentiles decline to send their children to the public schools, patronizing instead private institutions conducted under the supervision of the various religious denominations.
The Uintah Indian Reservation is the only one within the Territory. The Indians thereon are represented to be well behaved, many of them having adopted the habits of civihzation and have built comfortable houses for their use. They are engaged in cultivating the soil, raising stock, and give promise of being self-sustaining in a few years. The governor ascribes their present condition as due to good management and to the fact that they have been isolated and under no influences other than those of the officers of the agency.
The difficulty of securing conviction in criminal cases is referred to, and, in the opinion of the governor, is due to the defective jury law in force. Certain suggestions are made looking to the proper remedy, which should receive the consideration of Congress.
The governor of Montana gives a glowing account of the present condition of the Territory. Its climate is represented as mild and healthy; its water courses, of purest water, frequent and convenient; its soil rich in all the elements of productiveness; its mines of precious metals rich and profitable, and its educational facilities, considering the means at the disposal of the Territory, equal to those of the most favored State. The average production of wheat to the acre is claimed to be larger than any of the great grain-producing States of the Northwest. Agricultural lands are abundant in all the valleys, and, for fertility, are represented to be unsurpassed. The development of the mineral resources of the Territory is still in its infancy. The absence of railroads makes the transportation of machinery and ores very expensive, and thus retards the growth of one of the leading industries. The product of the gold and silver mines for the present year is estimated at $7,000,000. The completion of the Utah Northern Railroad, running from Ogden, Utah, to Helena, Mont., and now in course of construction, will lead to a much larger development of the mining interest. Coal abounds in paying quantities, and timber of fair quality and of commercial value is found in nearly all parts of the Territory. Stock-raising is a growing industry, Montana offering advantages possessed by few sections of the country. The grass is abundant and of good quality; the winters mild; the valleys are protected by the high mountains, and water is found where needed. Since the settlement of the Territory the loss of stock from the severity of the winters has not exceeded 3 per cent. per annum. The governor says, “It is believed that the bunch grass is worth more to the Territory than its mines of gold and silver. This peculiar grass starts up early in the spring, reaches maturity in July, and cures where it stands, thus affording a ready supply of food for stock during the autumn and winter months.” The exports from the Territory are gold and silver bullion, cattle, wool, robes, hides, and furs. The wool-clip for the year reached 1,000,000 pounds. In speaking of the people of Montana, the governor says, “They are mainly from the Middle and Western States, are energetic, enterprising, intelligent, law-abiding, liberal, and patriotic, and are of the right kind of material to found the leading commonwealth of the great New Northwest.”
The present school law provides for the levy of a tax of from three to five mills upon all the taxable property of the counties. The money collected is apportioned among the various school districts by the county superintendents of public instruction, and drawn from the treasury on order of the district trustees, countersigned by the clerk of the district. Each district is empowered to levy special taxes for building school-houses or extending the school term after the public money is exhausted. One of the most pleasing indications of the prosperous condition of Montana is to be found in her excellent school system and the popular interest manifested in its rapid development. But little benefit has been derived from the provisions of the organic act, which sets apart sections 16 and 36 of each township as a reserve for school purposes. Practically, the law is inoperative at the present time. In referring to this subject the governor says:
Many of these lands are mineral-bearing, and our local land office holds that they may be patented by individuals, and we have recourse only to the location of other lands in lieu of those thus patented. Unfortunately, neither the superintendent of public instruction nor any one else in the Territory has authority of law to thus relocate lands in such emergencies. Immigrants are rapidly securing the best sections, and if this evil is not promptly remedied it will not be long before the lands left us to choose from will be comparatively worthless.
The report concludes with a statement of the present condition of the Indian tribes within the Territory, their relations to the whites, accompanied by suggestions as to their future government, which should receive the candid consideration which their importance demands.
The governor of Idaho reports gold and silver as the leading resources of the Territory; all other industries are subsidiary to the production of the precious metals. The greater portion of the Territory is unfitted for cultivation by reason of the mountains and desert plains, too elevated to admit of irrigation. The valleys where water abounds, or where irrigation can be profitably carried on, produce in rich abundance the cereal grains, vegetables of all kinds, and fruits in their perfection. Beyond producing for home consumption there is but little inducement for agricultural enterprises, the means for transportation being extremely limited.
It is to be regretted that the cause of education receives but indifferent attention. The lands reserved for school purposes are not available as a source of revenue, so that what is done in the^ educational line depends upon the direct tax collected for that purpose. The Territory has no benevolent or charitable institutions and no asylums for the unfortunate of any class. In referring to the Indian tribes within the Territory the governor says:
Whatever policy may be adopted toward the native tribes, it cannot be concealed that the steady encroachments of the white settlements are rendering their condition distressing and their vicinity more dangerous. Seeing themselves surrounded and circumvented, their hunting-grounds overrun, and their means of subsistence cut off, they become desperate and aggressive and mutual wrongs lead to war.
The governor expresses the opinion that our border population and the Indians cannot dwell near each other in peace under existing relations. He thinks a remedy may be found in the division of Indian lands into homesteads; the breaking up of tribal relations, and the extension over them of the laws of the United States and of the Territories. Reference is made to the extreme difficulty in traveling in the Territory, and an illustration of this is given in the statement that the members of the general assembly from Lemhi County, about 160 miles in a direct line from the capital, are paid mileage for 1,124 miles each way. They are forced to go through portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, while the members from North Idaho pass through Washington Territory and the State of Oregon, a distance of 610 miles, the direct line being but 130 miles. The suggestion is made that the extra cost for transportation, both for Army and other stores, would build a substantial military road from Fort Boisé to Fort Lapwai. The policy of liberal land-grants to railroads is favored by the governor, who believes that only through such grants the necessary roads can be built. A revisal and consolidation of the laws governing the Territories are recommended. There is a necessity for defining more carefully the rights and limitations of local legislation and of holding officers to a stricter accountability.
The governor of Washington Territory presents a report of Territorial prosperity quite as pleasing as that from Montana. The Territory is divided by the Cascade Range of mountains into two nearly equal divisions, known as Eastern and Western Washington, differing in soil, climate, and productions. A large portion of the western division is covered with dense forests of fir trees, averaging in height more than 200 feet. For ship-building this timber is unequaled, and for many years past heavy shipments have been made, not only to cities upon our own coast but to those of England and France. The governor says that —
It has been estimated that the cost of building ships here is 35 per cent. less than the cost at Bath, Me., or at any other Atlantic ship-yard. In the near future ship-building on Puget Sound will constitute one of the most important branches of productive industry in the Territory.
The principal resources of the Territory are coal and lumber, the present annual production of the latter being about 250,000,000 feet. Of this quantity more than 200,000,000 feet are exported to San Francisco, South America, the Sandwich Islands, and other points.
There has been but a partial development of the coal-fields, although coal has been found in nearly every county of Western Washington. The value of the exportations from Western Washington is given at $5,000,000. While the western division of the Territory cannot properly be classed as agricultural, yet it has an area of at least 5,000 square miles of excellent farming land.
Puget Sound is the attractive feature of the Territory. It extends from the British line in the north and from the Straits of Juan de Fuca on the west to Olympia, in the interior, and has a coast line of 1,594 miles. It can be navigated at all seasons of the year and by all classes of vessels. Severe storms on its waters are unknown. From the Pacific Ocean to Olympia, a distance of more than 200 miles, it is free from bars, shoals, rocks, or other obstructions. The climate of Western Washington is mild, ice and snow being seldom seen. The average winter temperature is 39° that of summer 63°. The warmest days in summer are accompanied by cool and refreshing nights.
Unlike Western Washington, the eastern division has but little timber. Its vast rolling prairies make it peculiarly fitted for grazing purposes, and for wheat-growing it has few equals on the continent. It is estimated that its area of wheat-land is sufficient to produce, with ordinary culture, more than 100,000,000 bushels annually. The present yield for the season is estimated at 1,500,000 bushels. All the fruits, except tropical, and all vegetables of superior quality, are grown in great abundance. The soil and climate are well adapted to the production of peaches and grapes. For stock-raising this section of the Territory is unsurpassed, there being an unlimited supply of bunch-grass growing spontaneously over many thousand square miles on Puget Sound. The completion of the canals around the obstructions on the Columbia River will largely reduce the rates of transportation, and give a new impetus to the agricultural interest of Eastern Washington.
In referring to these improvements the governor says:
There is no work of internal improvement now carried on by the government which is of more importance than these canals. When completed there will he uninterrupted steamboat navigation from the wheat-growing regions of Eastern Washington and Oregon, and Western Idaho, to the Pacific Ocean.
The average temperature is as follows: Spring, 52°; summer, 73°; autumn, 53°; winter, 34°.
The report is silent upon educational matters, with the exception of a reference to the Territorial University, located at Seattle. The university was erected from the proceeds of the sales of university lands donated by the General Government, and is supported by appropriations from the Territorial treasury, and is under the management of a board of regents. It is reported as being in a prosperous condition.
The conclusion of the report refers to Indian affairs. Strong feeling exists against the reservation system, due to a great extent to the outbreak in Idaho last year, and to Indian troubles in Oregon during the present year. It is represented that a feeling of insecurity exists among the settlers throughout the Territory caused by the disaffection and discontent among the Indians. The governor favors the breaking up of all tribal relations; the extension of homestead and pre-emption rights to the Indians, and would have them made amenable to the laws of the United States and of the Territory.
The governor of Arizona presents an interesting report descriptive of the soil, climate, and resources of the Territory. Although geographically located on the direct line between the populous Atlantic States and Southern California, it is shut out from lines of travel and barred against progress by its inaccessibility. There are neither railroads to it, in it, nor any roads other than those afforded by the natural surface of the ground, and these are rendered difficult to travel by the hot, dry, and sandy or stony ground over which lie the approaches to the settled portions of the Territory. The Little Colorado and Salt River regions are reported to be the granaries of the Territory. The soil is extremely fertile, and the bordering mountains well adapted for stock-raising. The governor estimates the farming and grazing lands of the Territory as about equal in area to the State of Nev York. Heat is a dominant feature of the climate. In the dry valley of the Colorado the summer heat is intense and of long duration. It is a noticeable fact that the heat of the sun does not produce the fatal effects of extreme heat in the moist climate of the Atlantic coast.
The chief industry of Arizona is the development of its mineral wealth, gold, silver, and copper being found in large quantities. The difficulties of transportation deter the growth of population and the investment of outside capital. Reference is also made to the insecurity of titles as one of the causes operating against immigration and the influx of money. The public schools of the Territory are reported to be in a good condition, and the progress made in education satisfactory. The governor discusses the Indian question, the condition of the tribes within the Territory, their wants, &c., and makes certain suggestions as to their future treatment. The concluding portions of the report are devoted to the presentation of facts relating to projected railroad routes and suggestions thereon, together with a suggestion that competent persons be employed to examine “the structure of the country” and make experiments from time to time with the view of indicating to the people the situations and depths at which water, whether by artesian wells or other means, may be found.
As reports had not been received from the governors of Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico at the time of preparing this report, no reference has been made to their present condition and resources. Should they be received in time they will be printed, so that the series of reports from the several Territories may be complete.
RESTORATION OF INTERIOR DEPARTMENT BUILDING.
At its last session Congress appropriated $600 to enable the Secretary of the Interior to secure competitive plans for the repairing and reconstruction of the Interior Department building. It also authorized the appointment of a commission of three practical men skilled in the art of building to make report and submit specifications upon the plans secured, and appropriated for the work of restoration the sum of $100,000.
On the 14th of June, 1878, a circular was sent to many of the leading architects of the country, and to all who expressed a desire to compete, calling for plans for the restoration and reconstruction of the building.
Among the requirements were:
1. A design for the restoration of the building substantially as it stood before the fire.
2. A design for the conversion of the former model-rooms in the north and west wings into office-rooms, and the addition of a model-room above the offices and around the whole building, or over the north and west wings, without, however, changing the present architectural appearance from the street; also design for an additional story.
3. Designs for an entire new roof for the whole building; also, elevators for the north and south wings; also, for a structure connecting the north and south wings through center of court-yard.
Six hundred dollars were offered for the design deemed best and recommended by the skilled architects acting as a commission for the examination of the plans submitted.
The commission consisted of James K. Wilson, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Richard M. Upjohn, of New York, and H. W. Hartwell, of Boston, Mass.
These gentlemen entered upon their duties on the 22d of July, and after a careful examination and earnest consideration of the various plans before them submitted a unanimous report on the 9th of August, recommending the design which had been submitted by J. A. Vrydagh, of Terre Haute, Ind. All the plans were examined by the commission without knowledge on their part of the names of the competing architects. The award was thereupon made to Mr. Vrydagh, and $600 paid to him in accordance with the terms of the circular and the act authorizing the payment. He was invited to visit Washington for the purpose of conferring with the department in relation to the work, and was subsequently authorized to complete the detailed drawings and submit estimates of the work in detail; also, the total cost of the reconstruction.
This labor was performed, and the detailed drawings, together with the estimates, were received at the department on the 14th of the present month. The total cost of the reconstruction upon the plan recommended by the commission is estimated at $973,931.90. The reconstruction of the building upon this plan would secure an addition of at least seventy commodious rooms and other conveniences not now possessed, and would make the entire structure practically fire-proof.
In view of the short time intervening between the completion of the detailed drawings and the meeting of Congress, and the further fact that no obligations can be incurred beyond the amount of money appropriated, I have deemed it proper to delay further action until the plans and estimates shall have been submitted to Congress, and such additional legislation had as will provide for the prompt prosecution of the work. While I recognize the absolute necessity of providing more room for the growing wants of the department, I have not felt authorized to begin a work the completion of which would so materially change the style and architectural proportions of the building as it now stands.
The plans, estimates, and all facts necessary to a thorough understanding of the work will be transmitted to Congress at an early day, with the recommendation that, in the event of the design being approved or other direction given, a sufficient appropriation be made to cover the estimated cost of the improvement, so that the reconstruction of the building be no longer delayed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of the Interior.
- The President.