Report of the Secretary of the Interior/1879




Department of the Interior,

Washington, November 15, 1879.

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this department during the past year and such suggestions as in my judgment will promote the public interest:


The elaborate report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, herewith presented, gives an interesting account in detail of the conduct of the branch of the service in his charge and the condition of the Indian tribes.

The difficulties connected with what is called the “Indian problem” have been steadily growing from year to year, as the Western country formerly occupied as hunting grounds by Indians exclusively, is required for agricultural settlement and mining industry. In the same measure as white men and Indians more and more jostled one another their contact has been apt to result in collision. We are frequently told that the method followed by our Canadian neighbors in dealing with the Indians is much more successful than ours, and that we should shape our Indian policy after that model. Those who say so seem to forget that the condition of things in the British possessions on this continent has until recently been in an essential point different from that existing in the United States. In the British possessions the Indians occupied an immense territory, full of game, where they have long been permitted to roam at their pleasure, without being interfered with by the progress of settlement. There was comparatively little necessity on the part of the government of providing for the sustenance of the Indians, because they could almost wholly provide for themselves by hunting. Under such circumstances the Indian problem was very simple, and peace was easily maintained. Of late, however, as settlements spread and game becomes less abundant in their Indian country, our Canadian neighbors, if we may believe recent reports, begin to feel that difficulties similar to those we have so long had to contend with, are gradually coming upon them, and that thus they are just approaching the same Indian problem which has been disturbing us for so long a time in various forms. It is to be hoped that they will succeed in solving it with less trouble than it has brought upon us, but they themselves appear to see reason for apprehension.

Our Indians are scattered over an immense extent of country in tribes and bands of different size, with constantly growing and multiplying settlements of whites between them. The game upon which formerly most of them could depend for subsistence is rapidly disappearing. They occupy a number of reservations, some large and some comparatively small, some consisting in great part of fertile lands, some barren, many of which were secured to them for occupancy by treaties in times gone by. It may have been, and probably was, a great mistake to make such treaties with them as distinct nations; but those treaties were made and are entitled to respect. Many treaty reservations have turned out to be of far greater value in agricultural and mineral resources than they were originally thought to be, and are now eagerly coveted by the white population surrounding them. It is argued that the Indians cannot and will not develop those resources; that the country cannot afford to maintain large and valuable districts in a state of waste; and that therefore they should be thrown open to white people who can and will attend to their development. This demand becomes more pressing every year, and although in many cases urged entirely without regard to abstract justice, it is a fact with which we have to deal, and which must be taken into account in shaping an Indian policy.

Whatever troubles and perplexities the presence of the Indians among us may cause, every man who loves justice and who values the honor of the American name will admit that it is our solemn duty to leave nothing untried to prepare a better fate than extermination, and a better rule than that of brute force for the original occupants of the soil upon which so many millions of our people have grown prosperous and happy. That all the Indians on this northern continent have been savages and that many of them are savages now is true; but it is also true that many tribes have risen to a promising degree of civilization, and there is no reason to doubt that the rest, if wisely guided, will be found capable of following their example.

It is believed by many that the normal condition of the Indians is turbulence and hostility to the whites; that the principal object of an Indian policy must be to keep the Indians quiet; and that they can be kept quiet only by the constant presence and pressure of force. This is an error. Of the seventy-one Indian agencies, there are only eleven which have military posts in their immediate vicinity, and fourteen with a military force within one to three days' march. Of the 252,000 Indians in the United States, there have been since the pacification of the Sioux at no time more than a few hundred in hostile conflict with the whites. Neither does it appear that such partial disturbances have been provoked by the absence or prevented by the presence of a military force. Of the four disturbances that have occurred within the last two years, three broke out in the immediate presence of such a military force and only one without it. At this moment a band of less than eight hundred Utes, and another of about one hundred and fifty Indian marauders in New Mexico, in all less than one thousand of an Indian population of a quarter of a million, are causing serious trouble. In fact, the number of white desperadoes who were within the last twelve months banded togetherin New Mexico for murder and rapine was larger than that of the Indians recently on the war-path near the southern part of the Territory. While I am by no means disposed to belittle the deplorable nature of Indian disturbances or the great value of a military force in suppressing them, it is but just to the Indians to point out the important fact that disturbance and hostility is the exception and peaceable conduct the rule; that a very large majority of Indian reservations are in a condition of uninterrupted quiet without the presence of a coercing force, and the equally significant experience that the more civilized an Indian tribe becomes, the more certainly can its peaceable and orderly conduct be depended upon. The progress of civilization and the maintenance of peace among the Indians have always gone hand in hand.

It is frequently said that we have no Indian policy. This is a mistake, at least as far as this department is concerned.

If a policy consists in keeping a certain object in view and in employing all proper means at command to attain that object, then this department has one. The ends steadily pursued by it are the following:

1. To set the Indians to work as agriculturists or herders, thus to break up their habits of savage life and to make them self-supporting.

2. To educate their youth of both sexes, so as to introduce to the growing generation civilized ideas, wants, and aspirations.

3. To allot parcels of land to Indians in severalty and to give them individual title to their farms in fee, inalienable for a certain period, thus to foster the pride of individual ownership of property instead of their former dependence upon the tribe, with its territory held in common.

4. When settlement in severalty with individual title is accomplished, to dispose, with their consent, of those lands on their reservations which are not settled and used by them, the proceeds to form a fund for their benefit, which will gradually relieve the government of the expenses at present provided for by annual appropriations.

5. When this is accomplished, to treat the Indians like other inhabitants of the United States, under the laws of the land.

This policy, if adopted and supported by Congress and carried out with wisdom and firmness, will in my opinion gradually bring about a solution of the Indian problem without injustice to the Indians and also without obstructing the development of the country. It will raise them to a level of civilization at least equal to that of the civilized tribes in the Indian Territory and probably to a higher one, considering the stimulus of individual ownership in land. It will not take away from them by force what in justice and equity belongs to them, but induce them to part with what they cannot cultivate and use themselves, for a fair compensation. It will open to progress and improvement large districts now held by Indians, which will then be of no real advantage to them and are now to nobody else.

It must be kept in mind that this cannot be done in a day. We are frequently told that the tribal relations must be broken up; that the reservation system must be abandoned, &c. Whatever is to be the ultimate end and result of the policy stated, it is certain that habits grown up in the course of centuries will not at once yield to a mere word of command. It is equally certain that the introduction of industrial habits, that settlement in severalty, the foundation of permanent homes, the conferring of individual title, and thereby the practical individualization of the Indian, must be accomplished first, and in accomplishing these necessary ends the influence of tribal authority has in many, if not in most cases, whenever well taken advantage of, been found of great usefulness in the progress of improvement. An attempt to accomplish these objects at once all over the country, without the intermediate stages, by military force, would undoubtedly result in many cases in Indian wars of unprecedented magnitude and bitterness, which would require a much larger army than we at present possess, and prove in the end not only the most inhuman, but in blood and treasure the most expensive of all methods. Recent experience has convinced me that all the desirable ends can be most successfully reached by watching and improving every favorable opportunity for giving a wise and vigorous impulse and lending a helping hand to the best capacities of the Indians, and that this method will bring about general good results in a shorter time than would be reached by the heroic treatment.

In fact the progress made during the last two years has been greater than might have been anticipated, and it encourages the hope that the ends above indicated may be accomplished in a comparatively short space of time.

One of the peculiar disadvantages under which the conduct of the Indian service labors consists in the circumstance that every mishap, every untoward accident, whether the service be responsible for it or not, will at once attract public attention and criticism, the latter sometimes unreasoning and by no means based upon a sufficient knowledge of facts, while the good that is done and the success achieved are apt to pass entirely without public notice. Of the results of the policy pursued by this department, I can speak partly from personal observation made on a tour of inspection undertaken a few months ago, and partly from the reports furnished by the inspectors and agents in the service.


There has been much theoretical speculation as to what kind of practical work the Indians are best adapted for. By some men, whose views claim authority, it is asserted that the natural transition from the state of the savage hunter to that of the agriculturist is the pastoral pursuit, and that therefore the Indian must be made a herdsman and stock-raiser before he can be made a farmer. In theory this sounds well; but in practice it turns out that it cannot be generally applied. The possession of one or two cows does not make a man a herdsman. To make the Indians herders would require large quantities of cattle, so as to give a herd to every head of a family; and inasmuch as they do not possess that large quantity of cattle now, it would have to be furnished them by the government. Moreover, the pursuit of herding furnishes a steady occupation from day to day only to a comparatively very small number of persons. A few young men could attend to the herds of a large number of Indians, and the rest would, in the mean time, remain idle. If occupation is to be furnished to them it must be found in another direction, and that can be only agriculture on a larger or smaller scale. So it is clear that whatever virtue there may be in stock-raising, and however well adapted the Indian in the transition state might be to it, the pursuit of agriculture must necessarily accompany it to occupy the majority of them.

Farming is, of course, first begun on a small scale and in an imperfect way; but the number of Indians engaged in agricultural pursuits, the number of those who raise products sufficient for their own support and even a surplus for sale, and the aggregate quantity and value of these products, are probably larger than is generally understood.

For minute details I refer to the elaborate exhibit contained in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

As to the general progress of agricultural pursuits among the Indians, I may state that according to the statistics furnished to this department the Indians on reservations have under cultivation 157,056 acres; 24,270 acres have been broken this year by Indians themselves. A larger area would have been added but for the extraordinary drought which in several localities, especially in the Indian Territory, impeded agricultural enterprise.

The products raised by the reservation Indians this year amount to 328,637 bushels of wheat and 643,286 bushels of corn, 189,654 bushes of oats and barley, 390,698 bushels of vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, beans, &c.; 48,353 tons of hay cut. In addition to this, 4,677 acres were cultivated, and 2,861 broken on the government farms at the various agencies, for the benefit of the Indians, in part by Indian labor. The products raised on these farms amounted to 15,232 bushels of wheat, 16,814 bushels of corn, 17,023 bushels of oats and barley, 11,925 bushels of vegetables, and 4,698 tons of hay cut. This exhibit of products raised by Indian labor does not include the five civilized tribes in the Indian Territory, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, who cultivated 237,000 acres, and whose products are stated at 565,400 bushels of wheat, 2,015,000 bushels of corn, 200,500 bushels of oats and barley, 336,700 bushels of vegetables, and 176,500 tons of hay. At the same time the raising of stock has been encouraged as much as possible. There are now owned by reservation Indians 199,700 horses, 2,870 mules, 68,891 head of cattle, 32,537 swine, and 863,525 sheep, the latter principally by the Navajoes. The five civilized tribes in the Indian Territory are reported to have 45,500 horses, 5,500 mules, 272,000 head of cattle, 190,000 swine, and 32,400 sheep. Provision has been made for an additional distribution of 11,300 head of stock cattle among the uncivilized tribes, preference being given to those individual Indians who have taken the best care of their stock heretofore. The complaints frequently made in former times that the Indians would slaughter their cows and eat them has ceased almost entirely. On the contrary, it is found that they are beginning to take excellent care of their domestic animals, and to be proud of the increase of their stock. Many have commenced raising swine and poultry, and it is thought expedient to encourage such beginnings in every possible way. The cultivation of garden vegetables among them is also rapidly spreading. Preparations have been made to increase the area of cultivated soil very largely next year. Considerable quantities of agricultural tools and implements have been distributed, and the demand is constantly growing.

For the first time this year the uncivilized tribes in the Indian Territory were induced to take some part in the agricultural and industrial fair at Muskogee. Several of them sent delegations, and although their contributions were at first very limited it is expected that the repetition of the experiment will stimulate a spirit of rivalry among them. Another agricultural fair was held by the Chippewas on the White Earth reservation in Minnesota, where the contributions of agricultural products, of stock, and articles of domestic industry came exclusively from Indians, and where Indians acted as managers and judges. According to all accounts, the exhibition was surprisingly successful. Some of the Sioux chiefs in Southern Dakota on the occasion of my visit a few months ago expressed a desire to have an agricultural fair on their reservation next year, which might seem somewhat premature, as they are just starting in civilized pursuits; but their ambition in this respect is laudable and deserves every encouragement.

The building of houses to supersede the traditional wigwams and to cultivate the love of, and attachment to permanent and comfortable homes is pushed with energy wherever it is possible. Several of the more advanced tribes, not speaking of the civilized tribes of the Indian Territory, are all completely housed or nearly so, and other tribes will be in the same condition in less than a year.


Agriculture and herding, however, are not the only fields on which Indian labor has been introduced. In my last annual report I mentioned that late in the autumn of 1878 the conveyance of supplies from the Missouri River to the Sioux agencies recently established in Southern Dakota was intrusted to the Indians themselves. The department furnished wagons and harness and the Indians their ponies as draft animals. A shout of derision all along the Upper Missouri greeted the experiment. A disastrous failure was confidently predicted by those interested in the freighting business and many others. But not only did the Sioux succeed in keeping their agencies supplied during an uncommonly hard winter, taking their wagons over desolate plains without roads, a distance of 90 and 193 miles respectively from the river, but they have proved the most efficient, honest, and reliable freighters the Indian service ever had. Not a pound of freight was lost; although the Indian freighters, occasionally delayed by accidents or extraordinary difficulties on their weary way, were sometimes without provisions, not a cracker box nor a pork barrel was broken open. In the course of the year Indian freighting has been introduced at a large majority of the agencies this side of the Rocky Mountains which are at a distance from railroad depots and steamboat landings, and uniformly with the same success. There are now 1,356 wagons run by Indian teamsters in that occupation, and the overland freighting is done better, more faithfully, and far more economically by them than it ever was done for this department by white contractors. But for the difiiculties connected with the giving of bonds we should now be in a condition to have the Indians make bids for freighting contracts for other branches of the public service. The introduction of freighting among them has not only been a great success in itself, but has given a powerful impulse to the desire to work and to earn money among all the Indian tribes that have been so employed. It will be introduced at all the agencies where it is practicable.

The employment of Indians in the mills and workshops on the agencies has been tried with equal success. In some of our grist and sawmills Indians act as engineers. In the blacksmith shops, saddler shops and carpenter shops at the agencies 185 young Indians are instructed as apprentices and their number is being constantly increased. Some of the shops are successfully controlled by Indians as foremen and the employment of Indians as laborers in a variety of other ways has been generally introduced. On Indian reservations where suitable clay is at hand the establishment of brick yards to be worked by Indians is contemplated and will be begun next spring. On the Sioux reservations in Southern Dakota Indians are engaged in putting up telegraph lines. The building of houses for Indians by white contractors has been abandoned, and Indians are now constructing their houses themselves, window sash, shingles, and planks, the latter sawed in the mills on the reserves, being furnished to them. The old Indian prejudice that it is improper for men to do anything else than hunt and fight, and that squaws only should work, is being rapidly and very generally overcome. The progress made in this direction is indeed unequal on different reservations, but progress has been made almost everywhere and at many agencies it has been very great and surprisingly rapid. Only in very rare cases was any unwillingness or resistance shown by the Indians. It is reasonable to expect that if the present system be pursued with patience, attention, and energy, results still more satisfactory and general will be attained.


The education of Indian youth has been the subject of special solicitude, and I am very glad to record the fact that our efforts in this respect have been encouraged in a multitude of instances by exhibitions of urgent anxiety, even among the so-called wild tribes, on the part of Indian parents to have their children instructed in the ways and arts of civilized life, and especially in the English language. It is the experience of the department that mere day-schools, however well conducted, do not withdraw the children sufficiently from the influences, habits, and traditions of their home-life, and produce for this reason but a comparatively limited effect. The establishment of boarding-schools on the reservations for elementary and industrial instruction has therefore been found necessary, and as far as the means appropriated for educational purposes permit, this system is being introduced. In these schools children of both sexes are instructed, not only in the rudiments of knowledge and the English language, but also in the various branches of domestic industry. The number of children attending school in the uncivilized tribes was 6,229 last year; this year it is 7,193. In the five civilized tribes in the Indian Territory it was last year 5,993, and 6,250 this year. While thus progress is evident, yet my own personal observation has convinced me that many of the schools at the agencies are not as efficient in their working as they should be, and their improvement will be the subject of special care.

In my last annual report I mentioned the experiment made by this department during the preceding year in sending fifty Indian boys and girls selected from different tribes to the Hampton normal and agricultural institute in Virginia, to receive an elementary English education, and also practical instruction in farming and other useful work. Under the wise and energetic guidance of Mr. Armstrong, the principal of the Hampton school, this experiment has led to very gratifying results. The progress made by the pupils in the acquisition of knowledge and of the habits and occupations of civilized life was of course unequal, but in all cases satisfactory and in some remarkable. During the summer vacation many of the youths were sent singly to farmers in the Eastern States, and their conduct, so far as I have been informed, has in all cases been favorably reported upon. A personal inspection of the Hampton school satisfied me that the number of Indian pupils there could be advantageously increased, which increase has been provided for. The success thus gained seemed to justify the extension of the experiment, and the Secretary of War, with a willingness for which I desire to express my grateful acknowledgments, consented at my request to turn over to the Interior Department the military barracks at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, no longer used by the army, for the establishment of an Indian school on a larger scale. Captain Pratt, who had already rendered valuable services to the cause of Indian education in Florida and at Hampton, was sent by this department to the various Indian agencies to select children of both sexes for the Carlisle school, and he, aided by Miss F. A. Mather, of Massachusetts, a lady of great merit, performed this task with energy and judgment. One hundred and fifty-eight Indian boys and girls, Sioux, Bannocks, Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Poncas, and Nez Percés, mostly the children of prominent men in their respective tribes, have been taken to Carlisle Barracks, and the school is now in full operation. Arrangements are also made to have a number of Indian boys and girls belonging to tribes on the Pacific Slope educated in like manner at Forest Grove, in Oregon. Their number will be increased as soon as sufficient means and accommodations can be found. If this experiment proves successful, of which there seems to be a very hopeful prospect, other public buildings not otherwise used should be placed at the disposal of this department for the same purpose. In my opinion the withdrawal of as large as possible a number of Indian youths from the influences of their more or less savage home surroundings, their education and training in useful knowledge and arts in the very atmosphere of civilization, and after a few years so spent their return among their people as teachers and examples can hardly fail to produce a salutary effect upon the whole Indian population. It has frequently been said that young Indians so educated will, after their return, speedily relapse into the barbarous habits of their tribes and leave these acquirements unused. This might have been the case when a young Indian of this description found himself with those acquirements in the midst of his people solitary and alone, Without sympathy and co-operation; but it will not be apt to happen if each tribe or band has in it a larger number of young men and women so educated who can lean upon and co-operate with one another and take advantage of that desire for education which now appears to be found among the Indians generally. It seems, therefore, important that the number of pupils at these schools be increased as much as possible.

Several Indian chiefs whose children are at Hampton and Carlisle have expressed a desire to visit those schools next spring and to bring their wives with them for that purpose — a sort of Indian visiting committee. It is thought that such a visit will be calculated to do much good, and it will therefore be encouraged within proper limits.

So far the policy above stated could be carried out with the means granted to this department. But other things equally important could not be done by this department without further essential legislation, which has been repeatedly recommended to the consideration of Congress, but, I regret to say, without success.


On some reservations lands have already been allotted to heads of families, and on several others the allotment will soon take place. According to the promise given by the government the lands occupied by the Brulé (Spotted Tail) Sioux at Rosebud, and by the Ogalallas (Red Cloud) at Pine Ridge Agency, have been surveyed and regularly laid out in farm lots. The “Sioux land-book” will now be opened according to the provisions of the treaty of 1868, and in the course of a few months we may expect to see those populous branches of the Sioux family, which but a few years ago were counted among the most restless, hostile, and untamable Indians, but whose progress during the last eighteen months has been surprisingly rapid, settled as farmers upon their lands. The desire for allotment of lands in severalty is now expressed by Indians on a considerable number of reservations with great urgency. On my visit to various tribes I was asked by a great many of them that “papers” be given them as soon as possible to show that the land they cultivate is their own; and in several instances they intimated that they would not feel secure in its possession and could not cultivate it with any certainty of being permitted to enjoy the fruit of their labor, until such papers were granted.

To make their settlement permanent, to cultivate among the Indians the pride of individual ownership of property and the love of a fixed home, and thus to encourage a feeling of independence of their tribal relations, it is necessary that by law a title in fee to the land thus allotted should be conferred upon them, and considering the improvident habits in which a large majority of the present generation have grown up, and it being a matter of experience that in many cases in which Indians had been invested with the fee title some of them were induced to part with it without proper equivalent, and a larger portion of them were robbed of it by fraudulent practices bearing upon their ignorance and credulity by unscrupulous white persons, it is essential that the title in fee be made inalienable for a certain period of time, say twenty-five years, when the growing generation may be expected to be sufficiently instructed to take care of their property. To this end a bill was submitted to Congress for two sessions providing that a fee title to the lands allotted to Indians inalienable for twenty-five years be conferred upon them individually, but I regret to say that this bill has never been acted upon. I would earnestly recommend that this matter be again urged upon the attention of Congress at the impending session.


If the Indians are to be advanced in civilized habits it is essential that they be accustomed to the government of law, with the restraints it imposes and the protection it affords. To meet this necessity a bill was introduced at the last session of Congress providing, 1. That the President be authorized to prescribe suitable police regulations for the government, of the various Indian reservations, and to provide for the enforcement thereof; 2. That the laws of the respective States and Territories in which Indian reservations are located, relative to certain crimes, shall be deemed and taken to be the law and in force within such reservations, and the district courts of the United States within and for the respective districts, and the Territorial courts of the respective Territories, in which such reservations may be located, shall have original jurisdiction over all such offenses committed within such reservations; 3. That in respect to all that portion of the Indian Territory not occupied by any of the five civilized tribes, the laws of the State of Arkansas relative to certain crimes shall be deemed and taken to be the law and in force therein, and the United States district court for the western district of Arkansas shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all such offenses arising in said portion of the Indian Territory; and, 4. That the place of punishment of any and all of such offenses shall be the same as for other like offenses arising within the jurisdiction of said respective courts. This bill was favorably reported upon by the Judiciary Committees of both Houses of Congress, but no action was taken thereon. In view of the importance of this subject, I earnestly recommend that it be urged upon the attention of Congress at the present session.


The organization of a police force consisting entirely of Indians, begun on a large scale two years ago, has been extended to almost all the agencies, and it has proved very salutary and effective in the maintenance of order and the protection of property. The police has throughout shown great fidelity to duty and zeal in executing the directions given by the officers of the government. It is essential that for this force young men be selected of intelligence, good habits, and respectable standing in their respective tribes, and this rule has been invariably observed. Considerable difficulty in making such selections is found in the circumstance that the pay of $5 per month provided by Congress for these policemen is entirely inadequate, for the reason that the class of men needed by the government for this service would, if not so employed, earn a much greater amount by work done for their own benefit. I earnestly concur, therefore, in the recommendation made by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that the pay of the policemen be sufficiently increased to enable them to devote their services to the government without loss to themselves. Only thus can we hope to keep the proper class of men in this branch of the service.


Whenever an Indian outbreak occurs the question is asked where the Indians obtain their arms and ammunition. For many years no arms have been furnished to Indians by the government, except to those who were in the government’s service as scouts or policemen. By the present administration of Indian affairs the Indian traders, as well as all other persons on Indian reservations, have been strictly prohibited to sell arms or ammunition to the Indians, and that prohibition has been rigorously enforced. The only way in which Indians can obtain fire-arms and ammunition is by purchase from persons outside of the reservations, over whom the Indian service has no control. There is nothing in the way of legislation prohibiting this obnoxious trade except a joint resolution passed by Congress in November, 1876, authorizing and requesting the President “to take such measures as in his judgment may be necessary to prevent metallic ammunition being conveyed to hostile Indians of the Northwest and to declare the same contraband of war in such district of country as he may designate during the continuance of hostilities,” and a proclamation of the President issued in pursuance thereof prohibiting the sale of fixed ammunition in any district of the Indian country occupied by hostile Indians or over which they roam, and declaring all such fixed ammunition introduced into such country and liable in any way to be received by such hostile Indians contraband of war, to be “seized by any military officer and confiscated”; this prohibition to apply “during the continuance of hostilities” to all Indian country, or country occupied by Indians or subject to their visits, within the Territories of Montana, Dakota, and Wyoming, and the States of Nebraska and Colorado.

It is evident that this prohibition, in which the sale of arms is not mentioned at all, is confined to the sale of fixed ammunition only during the continuance of hostilities in certain districts, when such fixed ammunition shall be seized and confiscated by military officers, and that it leaves the sale of arms and ammunition in any quantity to Indians outside of the reservations, where the Indian service has no authority in ordinary times, entirely free. If this trade is to be stopped, a more stringent and sweeping statute is absolutely required.


Last spring a movement was organized in some of the Western States for the invasion and occupation by unauthorized persons of certain lands in the Indian Territory, which had been ceded by the Cherokees to the government for the purpose of settlement by other Indian tribes. A large number of people, mostly from the States surrounding the Indian Territory, were discovered in the act of entering the Territory for the unlawful object stated. On the 20th of April last the President issued a proclamation warning all persons who were intending then to invade the Indian Territory against attempting to settle on any lands therein, and those who had already so offended, that they would be removed, if necessary, by military force. At the same time corresponding instructions were given to the Army, and with the diligent assistance of the military force in the Territory the invasion was speedily checked and the intruders removed.

While this was accomplished with comparative ease, owing to the promptness and vigor of the interference by the government, which repressed the mischief in its incipiency, it must be admitted that had the information which caused proper measures to be taken, in any way been delayed, or had any time been lost in acting upon it, the invasion of the Indian Territory, as planned, might in the mean time have assumed such proportions as to make its repression a matter of extreme difficulty. There is no doubt that many people in the Western States and Territories are eagerly watching every possible chance to obtain possession of the fertile lands of the Indian Territory for purposes of settlement as well as speculation, and it will require the utmost watchfulness on the part of the government to prevent lawless attempts to wrest from the Indian tribes the possession of lands guaranteed to them by treaty. This watchfulness will not be wanting, but it is also probable that the performance of this duty will become more difficult every year as the western country is more densely occupied.

When visiting the Indian Territory this autumn I deemed it proper to call the attention of the representative men of the civilized tribes whom I met at Muskogee, to this circumstance. I assured them that this Administration would meet any repetition of the lawless attempt witnessed this year with the same energy and fidelity, and I had no doubt its successors would endeavor to do the same; but that the difficulties of protecting the integrity of the Territory might in the course of time increase beyond control; that it would be wise for them to consider and provide for this emergency; that in my opinion the best thing they could do for themselves would be to divide their lands among their people in severalty in such lots as they might think best; to obtain individual title in fee like white men; and every member of their tribes being thus provided for, to consider how the rest of the lands not occupied and cultivated by themselves could for their benefit be disposed of to other settlers, so that if they did not keep those lands themselves they would at least secure their value in money; that an individual title to lands actually occupied by them would be under all circumstances safer to them than their national title without individual fee; that the individual ownership of land would also be calculated to stimulate their progress and prosperity; that as their friend I advised them to take this matter into serious consideration while under the assured protection of the government they were perfectly free to do so; that if they acted upon such advice the government would find itself far better able to secure to them the value of their lands than it would be to maintain the present state of things, if at some future day the flood of immigration should sweep over the borders of the surrounding States into the Indian Territory, finding them unprepared.

The idea of dividing their lands among them in severalty is probably not yet popular with a majority of the members of the civilized tribes in the Territory, but it is to be hoped that this important question thus brought to their attention will be taken up by them for discussion and serious consideration.


The history of the outbreak on the White River Ute Reservation in Western Colorado is given at length in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The Utes are one of the very few tribes of Indians who still find on and around their reservations game enough to enable them to live on hunting or to make hunting a profitable business. This is one of the reasons why they are less inclined to engage in occupations which require real work. On the borders of the Ute Reservation there are trading establishments carried on by white men who have made it their business to advise the Utes against going to work and encouraged them to devote themselves exclusively to the pursuit of hunting as of old, so that these traders might have the benefit of profitable traffic in skins with them for which they paid the Indians in various goods, arms, cartridges, and whisky. These traders being outside of the reservation the officers of the Indian service had no control over them, and as they attracted the Indians to their establishments by all sorts of allurements they made it extremely difficult to the agents to keep the Indians in proper discipline. The Indians therefore strayed off on all possible occasions, and deeming it prudent to spare the game on the reservation they extended their hunting excursions over the adjacent country, especially North and Middle Park, to the annoyance of the settlers. They also, in some instances, set fire to the grass and timber for the purpose of driving the game, and hence the devastation of several timber districts in Western Colorado may be ascribed to them. I have, however, many reports before me which show that a majority of the forest fires in Colorado are not attributable to the Indians but to white hunters, explorers and tourists who are almost uniformly in the habit of carelessly leaving their camp-fires burning when they go from one place to another.

The hunting expeditions of the Indians in North and Middle Parks led to frequent complaints on the part of settlers, and for more than two years a correspondence has been going on between this department and the military authorities about the practicability of locating a military post in the neighborhood of the White River Reservation for the purpose of preventing the excursions of the Indians beyond their borders. This correspondence led to no result, General Pope insisting that it would be better to remove all the bands of the Ute tribe to a consolidated reservation farther to the south, while General Sheridan expressed the opinion that an attempt to remove the Utes from their old hunting grounds, especially without their consent, would inevitably result in an Indian war. Both agreed, however, that they had not troops enough at their disposal to establish a new post near the White River Reservation. The complaints of the settlers, of the governor of Colorado, as well as of Agent Meeker, who had applied for military aid in keeping the Indians on the reservation, growing louder, the matter was referred in July last to Major Thornburgh, commanding at Fort Steele, for report. Major Thornburgh reported that the complaints about outrages committed by the Indians outside of the reservation were untrue; that the Utes had been merely on a hunting expedition but had harmed nobody, and “that he had never received any orders from his superiors to cause the Indians to remain on their reservation at the request of the agent, but was ready to attempt anything required of him.”

Then occurred the difficulty between Agent Meeker and some of his Indians in consequence of the plowing of a certain piece of land, the assault upon the agent, Mr. Meeker’s request for troops to restore order and to arrest the offenders, the advance of Major Thornburgh’s command upon the reservation, the fight in which Major Thornburgh and some of his men were killed, the massacre of Agent Meeker and the agency employés, the valiant defense of the surrounded troops under Captain Payne, the heroic feat of Captain Dodge and his company of colored cavalry, the splendid march of General Merritt for their relief, the advance to the agency and the sudden retreat of the Indians, as set forth in detail in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

As soon as the attack upon Major Thornburgh had become known to him, Ouray, the head chief of the Ute tribe, had sent his orders to the White River Utes to cease fighting, and to retreat before the military forces. The department received information of this fact on November 13, and on the same day I instructed Charles Adams, esq., of Colorado, an officer in the Post-Office Department, who at my request was, by the kindness of the Postmaster-General, detailed for temporary service in this department, a gentleman known by me to be well acquainted with the Ute chiefs and to possess their confidence, to proceed as a special agent to the Los Pinos Agency and to put himself in communication with Ouray, and eventually with the White River band of Utes. The end he was desired to accomplish was twofold: first, to effect the liberation of the wives and children of Agent Meeker and his employés whom the White River Utes had carried with them as captives; and, secondly, if possible, to prevail upon the White River Utes to surrender those of their number who were involved in the attack upon Major Thornburgh and the massacre of Agent Meeker and his employés. Mr. Adams acted in the performance of this task with an intrepidity and judgment worthy of the highest praise. He found in Chief Ouray a loyal and energetic friend, and then went personally to the camp of the White River hostiles on Grand River, where the captive women and children were given up to him. He then proceeded to General Merritt’s camp on White River to communicate to him what had happened and what he still hoped to accomplish. From there he returned by way of the hostile camp to Los Pinos for further conference with Ouray. As soon as the report of the liberation of the captive women and children was received by this department, Mr. Adams was instructed, October 27, to propose the following terms: that a commission, consisting of Brevet Major-General Hatch, Mr. Charles Adams, and Chief Ouray, be instituted to meet at the Los Pinos Agency to take testimony in order to ascertain the guilty parties among the White River Utes, those guilty parties so ascertained to be surrendered and dealt with as white men would be under like circumstances. These instructions had been, after consultation, approved by the President and General Sherman. On the day following a dispatch was received from Mr. Adams suggesting, upon conference with Ouray, the appointment of a commission in the same manner and to the same end. The commission was appointed, and entered upon its labors on November 14. It is hoped that it will accomplish its purpose.

While Mr. Adams was on his Way to effect the liberation of the captive women and children, military operations were suspended, but a considerable body of troops was concentrated in Southern Colorado, while General Merritt was held in the north near White River, so as to be ready for action in case of the failure of the negotiations.

The outbreak on the White River Reservation created in the State of Colorado intense excitement. The wildest rumors were set afloat, that the border settlements and mining camps were being attacked by the Indians, that the Uncompahgre Utes had in a body taken part in the attack on Major Thornburgh’s command, that the Uintah Utes, the Arapahoes, and Shoshones had re-enforced them, that a general Indian war was impending, and so on. All these rumors have proved entirely unfounded. It was also urgently demanded that military operations should go on while the captive women and children were still in the hands of the hostiles and Mr. Adams Was among the Indians to save them, and while it was absolutely certain that a continuation of military operations under such circumstances would have resulted in the sacrifice of those captives and Mr. Adams in addition. Such unreasoning appeals could of course not be heeded by those who had the responsibility of the conduct of affairs, and the result has amply justified their action. If the commission succeeds in its work, it will have saved the country an Indian war which would indeed have been destructive to the Indians engaged in it, but also calculated to drive into hostilities Indians originally desiring to remain peaceable, to expose our troops to a harassing and most difficult campaign on ground most favorable to the hostile Indians, and the western part of Colorado with its border settlements and mining camps to incalculable devastation by a savage foe. It was considered the duty of the government to leave no proper means untried to avert such a calamity. War ought always to be, not the first, but the last resort. Even if the commission should fail in its work, the temporary suspension of hostilities will at least have resulted in saving the lives of the captive women and children, and probably in limiting hostilities to that band of Indians which began the disturbance.

As to the cause of the trouble, it remains only to be said that it not be found in any just complaint on the part of the Utes. While two years ago they were for a short time insufficiently supplied in consequence of the delinquency of a transportation contractor, who subsequently has been prosecuted by this department and tried and convicted for grave offenses, the White River Utes have since then been amply supplied with all they needed. Their hunting parties are known to have left the carcasses of the game killed in large quantities on the ground, taking merely the skins for trading. Such things are not done by hungry people. Agent Meeker was known as a man of unimpeachable integrity. When he endeavored to plow land for agricultural purposes, which furnished the immediate occasion for the first assault on him, he did it for the benefit of the Indians, and not for himself. The same thing has been done at a large number of agencies without the least opposition from the Indians, and with great success. The real cause of the trouble is, in my opinion, to be found in the fondness of the mountain Indians for their old wild habits, stimulated by the abundance of game in that part of the country, their disinclination to submit to any civilizing restraint, the apprehensions produced among them by the rapid advance of settlements and mining camps encroaching upon their hunting-grounds, the evil influence exercised upon them by whites living upon the borders of the reservation, and the advantage taken of a temporary excitement by the mischievous characters among them upon the approach of a military force.

It is expected that the occurrence of this trouble and the transactions following thereupon will result in such arrangements as will be calculated to prevent, for the future, hostile contact between the white inhabitants and the Indians in that part of the country. Every proper effort will be made by this department to that end.


I beg leave to invite attention to the statement made by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs concerning an agreement made in 1878 by a commission appointed in pursuance of law with three bands of Utes living on the southern strip of the Ute reservation. By that agreement a large tract of land was ceded by the Indians to be sold, and the proceeds thereof, after deducting the expenses of survey and sale, to be invested for the benefit of the Indians; the Indians then to have a new agency on the headwaters of the Piedra, San Juan, Blanco, Navajo, and Chama Rivers. The agreement was submitted to Congress and no action taken thereon. Part of this agreement provided in particular for the sale of an exceptionally valuable tract of four miles square for the sum of $10,000. Congress at its last session was asked to make appropriation therefor, but failed to do so. Inasmuch as this tract has in the mean time, in great part, been occupied by white settlers, without the government performing its part of the bargain by the payment of the stipulated sum of money, the failure of the appropriation constitutes a just grievance of the Indians, which in justice should be speedily redressed. I therefore earnestly recommend that the necessary appropriation be made.


The Commissioner of Indian Affairs gives in his report an elaborate account of the wanderings, removal, settlements, escapes, and marauding expeditions during several years of certain bands of Southern Apaches. Victoria, one of their chiefs, came, on the 30th of June last, with a small number of men, to the Mescalero Agency, in New Mexico, and after a conference with the agent promised to stay there quietly, whereupon arrangements were made to bring to them their wives and children, from whom they had been long separated, then living on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona; but the consequences of their former reckless life and misdeeds suddenly turning up, upset all these arrangements and good intentions. In July last, three indictments had been found against them in Grant County, New Mexico, for horse stealing and murder; and believing themselves pursued by the officers of the law, they effected their escape from a military guard watching them, and took with them other Southern Apaches from that reservation. Then their old marauding life began again, and they committed a number of murders and robberies in Southern New Mexico. The vigorous pursuit by a military force under Major Morrow succeeded, after rapid and difficult movements, to drive them across the Mexican border, and they are now on foreign soil. These small bands, living in a country now and then infested by gangs of white desperadoes, who make marauding a profession, are vagabonds by lifelong habit, and in view of the atrocities committed by them, should be dealt with in the severest manner should they ever appear on our territory again.


The troubles and tribulations to which Chief Moses and the bands of Indians that recognize him as their chief have been exposed for some time past, are fully set forth in the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. I invite attention to his narrative as furnishing a fair illustration of the difficulties the Indian service has to contend with in its efforts to prevent collision between Indians and white settlers when the latter are determined, upon any pretext and by any means, to drive the Indians from the lands they occupy. The Commissioner states in detail how Moses, at that time not living on any reservation nor under the control of any agent, was charged with complicity in a murder; how he was waylaid, arrested, thrown into jail and threatened with death, and how at a critical moment this department interposed, ordering him to come to Washington, to have his case inquired into. After several conferences with him, in the course of which he produced the impression that he was an innocent man, an impression confirmed by information received from Washington Territory, especially from military officers, it was agreed that he and his people should occupy a tract of land adjoining the Colville Reservation in Washington Territory, set apart for them by executive order. The delegation then returned to Washington Territory, and it required special precautions on the part of the department commander, General Howard, and the governor of the Territory, to have them safely conveyed to their new place of abode.

The murder case in which Moses had been charged with complicity has since been tried, and, while three Indians were convicted of the crime, Moses was found entirely guiltless.

There never was any trustworthy information in the possession of this department to justify any suspicion as to the conduct or intentions of this Indian chief. On the contrary, he is known to have rendered good service during the Bannock trouble in maintaining peace and good order among the Indians under his influence. But the efforts to take his life or at least his liberty, or to drive him into hostilities, appeared to be so persistent that it required the most watchful and active interposition on the part of the government to prevent a conflict. On several occasions I requested the governor of the Territory to give his personal attention to this matter, and to him, as well as to General Howard, I have to express my acknowledgments for prompt and effective co-operation with this department in the measures taken to effect a peaceable solution of the difficulty.

At present Moses and his people are on their reservation, but this department is informed that new attempts are made to draw them into trouble, which attempts, it is hoped, will result in failure.


That the Poncas were grievously wronged by their removal from their location on the Missouri River to the Indian Territory, their old reservation having, by a mistake in making the Sioux treaty, been transferred to the Sioux, has been at length and repeatedly set forth in my reports as well as those of the Commissioner of Indian Aifairs. All that could be subsequently done by this department in the absence of new legislation to repair that wrong and to indemnify them for their losses, has been done with more than ordinary solicitude. They were permitted to select a new location for themselves in the Indian Territory, the Quapaw Reserve to which they had first been taken, being objectionable to them. They chose a tract of country on the Arkansas River and the Salt Fork northwest of the Pawnee Reserve. I visited their new reservation personally to satisfy myself of their condition. The lands they now occupy are among the very best in the Indian Territory in point of fertility, well watered and well timbered and admirably adapted for agriculture as well as stock-raising. In this respect their new reservation is unquestionably superior to that which they left behind them on the Missouri River. Seventy houses have been built by and for them of far better quality than the miserable huts they formerly occupied in Dakota, and the construction of a larger number is now in progress, so that, as the agent reports, every Ponca family will be comfortably housed before January. A very liberal allowance of agricultural implements and stock cattle has been given them, and if they apply themselves to agricultural work there is no doubt that their condition will soon be far more prosperous than it has ever been before. During the first year after their removal to the Indian Territory they lost a comparatively large number of their people by death in consequence of the change of climate, which is greatly to be deplored; but their sanitary condition is now very much improved. The death rate among them during the present year has been very low and the number of cases of sickness is constantly decreasing. It is thought that they are now sufficiently acclimated to be out of danger.

About the 1st of May last “Standing Bear,” a chief of a band, with some twenty Indians, left the reservation in the Indian Territory to return to the Missouri River. As has always been done in similar cases, they were arrested at the request of this department to be taken back to their reservation. Application was made by citizens of Nebraska in the United States court at Omaha for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted by the court, and Standing Bear and his followers were set at liberty. Efforts have been made in various places to raise a subscription for the purpose of testing in some way the question whether Indians can, by governmental action, be removed from lands once confirmed to them by treaty, and whether they can be arrested and returned to a reservation on which they have not by treaty bound themselves to remain. It would, perhaps, be well to have the rights of Indians defined and fixed by judicial decisions; but I do not think that, as seems to be believed by many people, such decisions will “solve the Indian question.” The solution of the Indian question depends upon the civilization of the Indians and their ability to take care of themselves, to which “the definition of the Indians' rights” will probably contribute but very little. If judicial proceedings should result in spreading among the Indians the impression that they can leave their places of abode and roam about at pleasure, the effect would only be disastrous to them. If, for instance, the scheme which has been publicly advertised, to induce the Poncas, by emissaries sent among them, to leave their present reservation, with its houses and other improvements, where they are rapidly becoming acclimated, and to return to Dakota, where all this work would have to be done anew, should be carried out, it would probably injure only the Poncas themselves. This department has done all that was in its power to indemnify the Poncas for the wrong done them. No tribe of Indians has been more liberally cared for and provided with everything that can make them comfortable and prosperous. If all this should now be undone, and they be obliged to start afresh, it would be a matter for grave consideration whether the injury to them would not be much greater than a mere vindication of a right to a piece of land on the Missouri River could possibly remedy. Whatever might or should have been done, while their removal to the Indian Territory was still an open question, their present condition should not be left out of view in determining what is to be done now.

I have been informed on good authority that emissaries have also been sent among the Sioux in Southern Dakota, who are now contented, and have made a very hopeful beginning in doing useful work for themselves, for the purpose of “teaching them their rights,” and inducing some of them to withdraw themselves from the authority of the government, and to leave their reservation so that another “test case” may be made up. Such schemes are mischievous and reprehensible, and should be discountenanced and resisted by all well-meaning citizens. If they are set on foot in the name of philanthropy, it is a philanthropy most hurtful to those it pretends to benefit. True philanthropy will use every effort to accomplish that which is really best for the Indians, to make those who are well settled stay quietly where they are, avail themselves of the means offered for their improvement, cultivate their fields and take good care of their stock, devote themselves to useful work, send their children to school, and submit to the discipline which is necessary for their advancement in civilized life. This will be better for the Indians than an agitation calculated to divert their minds from that which is really needful.


On the whole, it may be said, notwithstanding the isolated disturbances which have occurred in Colorado and New Mexico, that the general temper and disposition of the Indians as to their willingness to work and to abandon the ways of savage life has greatly changed for the better. I do not mean to say we shall have no further trouble, but there is abundant evidence that at present the government possesses the confidence of the Indians in a greater measure than for a long time past, and that directions issued by the government are far more generally received by them with respect and obedience. We must not expect of them more than in the nature of things they are capable of doing. They must be treated not only with justice but also with patience. It may be necessary to repeat to some of them the same lesson again and again before they comprehend it, which requires persevering as well as intelligent work. But the progress made by some of the wildest tribes within my own official experience is most encouraging. When I entered upon my present duties I was told by men of long experience in Indian affairs that we would never be able to do anything with the Spotted Tail and Red Cloud Sioux “until they had received another thorough whipping.” Since that time they have twice been obliged to change their location. A general outbreak was predicted a year ago. When I visited them this autumn I found their freighting wagons by hundreds on the road with their young warriors on the box, their chiefs with their people making hay and cultivating fields on the bottom lands, many of them building houses for their families; anxious to have their children educated; many requesting that their boys and girls be taken to our schools in the East, and the universal wish to be permanently settled and led on “in the white man’s way.” Only one slight disorder interrupted their general good conduct. Similar things may be said of many other tribes. The rapid disappearance of game, which is to them a blessing in disguise, will greatly facilitate the introduction of civilized pursuits among several tribes which at present still prefer hunting to regular work. There is good reason to hope that if Congress will aid the carrying out of the policy above indicated by the enactment of legislation essential to its success, and if the citizens of the West will make up their minds to it that the Indians must have at least some land worth cultivating, We shall in another year make another long step toward that solution of the Indian problem which consists in so settling the Indians that they may become self-supporting, and that their presence among us will cease to be a disturbing element in American society.

In justice to the Indian service as at present constituted, I feel it my duty to say, that while it has been found necessary for the reformation of abuses to visit severe punishment not only on grave violations of duty, but even upon minor irregularities, and thus to make many removals and changes, such delinquencies have grown steadily less in number as well as gravity, and are now of very rare occurrence. Complaints, formerly so frequently heard, whether justly or unjustly, that supplies and annuity goods appropriated for by Congress and purchased for the Indians by the Indian Office, were not delivered to them, or that such goods and supplies were of bad quality, have almost entirely ceased.

It is a pleasant duty to acknowledge the valuable services rendered by the Board of Indian Commissioners in supervising the making of contracts and purchases, as well as the harmonious and effective co-operation of the War Department and the military authorities on all occasions when their assistance was requested.


The report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office gives an abstract of the operations of his office under the laws relating to the survey and disposal of public lands during the year ending 30th June, 1879.

During the year ending 30th June, 1879, public lands were disposed of as follows:

For cash 622,573.96
A decrease of 254,981.18 acres, as compared with the previous fiscal year. Of this quantity 165,996.53 acres were entered under the desert-land act.
Under homestead laws 5,260,111.29
An increase of 841,766.37 acres as compared with the previous fiscal year.
Under timber-culture laws 2,766,573.93
    An increase of 896,139.75 acres, as compared with the previous fiscal year.
Agricultural-college scrip locations 960.00
Bounty-land Warrant locations 50,820.00
A decrease of 33,900 acres as compared with the previous fiscal year.
State selections:
School indemnity 85,474.65
Internal improvements 81,400.46
Agricultural colleges 680.00
Salt springs 18,836.62
A decrease of 28,600.80 acres as compared with the previous fiscal year.
Scrip locations:
Sioux half-breed scrip 1,879.05
Chippewa half-breed 640.00
Valentine scrip 1,417.70
Porterfield scrip 240.00
Cole scrip 480.00
Scrip located under acts of June 2, 1858, and June 22, 1860 87,573.44
An increase of 4,429.84 acres as compared with the previous fiscal year.
Under the swamp act 75,388.08
A decrease of 127,537.77 acres.
Certified for railroad purposes 278,334.11
A decrease of 328,006.54 acres.
Total 9,333,383.29
A quantity greater by 647,204.41 acres than that disposed of the previous fiscal year. This increase is largely due to the greater quantity taken under the homestead and timber-culture acts.

The cash receipts were $1,883,113.56, a sum less by $139,418.60 than that received the previous fiscal year.

During the fiscal year 8,445,781.64 acres of public lands were surveyed, and 1,039,214.26 acres of private land claims, a quantity of public lands greater by 414,769 acres than that surveyed the previous year. The entire quantity surveyed is 734,591,236 acres, leaving of the public domain yet to be surveyed 1,080,197,686 acres.

The report of the Commissioner recites the appropriation for the survey of public lands and private land claims, and the distribution of the appropriation among the sixteen surveying districts. It also contains the report by the surveyors-general of surveying operations in their respective districts, and the statement that the boundary line between Colorado and Utah Territory has been surveyed and marked.

The applications for certified copies of patents, papers, &c., have greatly increased. As the compensation received for such copies under the law must be turned into the Treasury, the Commissioner suggests an amendment, so that the moneys received for such copies may be made applicable for the payment of copyists employed upon the work.

He suggests that abandoned military reservations that are found to have no value greater than other lands should be disposed of under the general land laws. The lots contained in the Detroit Arsenal grounds, Michigan, can by law be sold only at public offering. So few of them have been sold as to render certain the fact that they were appraised at too high figures. He suggests that Congress provide for a reappraisement and the disposal at private sale at the appraised value of such lots as remain unsold after public offering. He renews his recommendation that Congress should take action as to railroad grants that have long since lapsed by non-completion of the roads, and either enforce a forfeiture of the lands granted or extend the time for the completion of the roads. As they now stand, large bodies of land are withheld from sale or entry, and there is no mode by which actual settlers can obtain title to them.

The consolidation of the pre-emption and homestead laws is again recommended by the Commissioner as demanded by the public interests.

He expresses the opinion that in view of recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in the cases of Atherton vs. Fowler and Hosmer vs. Wallace, there should be additional legislation in order to protect settlers in good faith on the public lands.

These recommendations have the approval of the department.


I deem it my duty again to invite the attention of Congress to the depredations committed on the timber lands of the United States and the necessity of the enactment of laws calculated to arrest the indiscriminate distruction of our forests, especially in the mountainous regions of the country. Since my last annual report the only action taken by Congress toward the suppression of timber depredations consisted in the appropriation of $40,000, provided for by the act of March 3, 1879. Under this appropriation a maximum force of fifteen special timber agents was employed to investigate trespasses in the various public land States and Territories. These agents were from time to time transferred from one field to another as it was thought that they could best serve the public interests.

The labors of these agents have been fruitful of good results in two directions: first, in collecting testimony for the prosecution of trespassers and for the recovery of the value of timber unlawfully taken from the public lands. It was predicted by many opponents of the policy pursued in this respect by the department that the cost of the investigations and prosecutions would not be covered by the proceeds, and that therefore the money appropriated and spent for this purpose would in great part be money thrown away. This prediction has not been justified by results. The sum covered into the Treasury during the last fiscal year on account of timber depredations was largely in excess of the sum appropriated, and a considerable number of cases is still pending in the courts awaiting trial, which will, when judgment is obtained, very much increase the amount already recovered. The details are presented in the report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office. The prosecution of depredators on the public timber lands has, therefore, been a well-paying business to the government.

This, however, is the least important result of the operations of the department in this respect. Of far greater consequence is the fact that the investigation of trespasses and the prosecution of depredators, carried on with vigor and earnestness, although with very limited means, have created in some of the localities where the depredations had been most extensive, a wholesome respect for the law, and strengthened the desire of good citizens, who have the interests of the country at heart, to see the unlawful destruction of the public timber cease. It is indeed gratifying to observe that the interest in this important question which the measures adopted by the government have awakened, and the discussions which have followed, have greatly weakened the opposition which existed at the beginning to the policy pursued by this department. Even in the States and Territories where the timber necessary for domestic and business purposes can be obtained only from the public lands, unless imported from a distance, a healthy public opinion seems to be springing up which recognizes that an indiscriminate destruction of the forests, and especially the denudation of the mountain slopes of the timber growth covering them, must inevitably result in incalculable and irreparable injury to the economical interests of those States and Territories, and become ultimately destructive to the prosperity of their people.

This is an observation which by painful experience has forced itself upon every civilized nation on earth; and it is to be hoped that the American people will become mindful of it while it is yet time to remedy the evil already wrought by the reckless improvidence which has so far prevailed. `

While the measures taken by this department have undoubtedly produced a good effect in many localities, it must be kept in mind that the limited means allowed by Congress permitted only a comparatively small field to be covered by its operations. The greatest danger of a wholesale destruction of our forests, and of the disastrous consequences that destruction will bring after it, exists in those States and Territories where the timber indispensably required for domestic use and local industry must be taken from the public lands, there being no timber lands in private possession, and the public lands being mostly unsurveyed and not subject to purchase or entry.

In my last annual report I discussed the inadequacy of the laws enacted by the last Congress “authorizing the citizens of Colorado, Nevada, and the Territories to fell and remove timber on the public domain for mining and domestic purposes,” and providing “for the sale of timber lands in the States of California and Oregon and in Washington Territory.” The opinion I then ventured to express, that the first of these acts would be taken advantage of not only by settlers and miners to provide economically for their actual current wants, but by persons who would see in this donation a chance to make money quickly; that it would stimulate a wasteful consumption beyond actual need and lead to wanton destruction, and that the machinery left to this department to prevent or repress such waste and destruction through the enforcement of rules to be made by the Commissioner of the General Land Office would be found insufficient for that purpose, has already in many places been verified by experience; also the predictions made by the Commissioner of the General Land Office with regard to the effect of the second one of the above-named acts. Referring to what was said about these laws in my last annual report, I repeat my earnest recommendation that they be repealed, and that more adequate legislation be substituted therefor.

It is by no means denied that the people of the above-named States and Territories must have timber for their domestic use as well as the requirements of their local industries. Neither is it insisted upon that the timber so required should be imported from a distance, so that the forests in those States and Territories might remain intact. This would be unreasonable. But it is deemed necessary that a law be enacted providing that the people may lawfully acquire the timber required for their domestic use and their local industries from the public lands under such regulations as will prevent the indiscriminate and irreparable destruction of forests, with its train of disastrous consequences. It is thought that this end will be reached by authorizing the government to sell timber from the public lands principally valuable for the timber thereon, without conveying the fee, and to conduct such sales by government officers under such instructions from this department as will be calculated to prevent the denudation of large tracts, especially in those mountain regions where forests once destroyed will not reproduce themselves. I have no doubt that under such a law, well considered in its provisions, the people of those States and Territories would be enabled to obtain all the timber they need for domestic as well as industrial purposes at reasonable rates, and that at the same time the cutting of timber can be so regulated as to afford sufficient protection to the existence and reproduction of the forests, which is so indispensable to the future prosperity of those regions. I venture to express the opinion that the enactment of such a law has become a pressing necessity, and cannot much longer be delayed without great and irreparable injury to one of the most vital interests of the people. I therefore again commend to the consideration of Congress the bill introduced as Senate bill No. 609 in the last Congress.

The subject of the destruction of forests by fire also calls for early and earnest attention. In most, if not all, of the States where timber lands are in private possession, the setting of fires in them is made a highly penal offense by statute. But there is no law of the United States providing specifically for the punishment of such offenses when committed on the public lands. It is a matter of experience that such fires on the public lands of the Western States and Territories are sometimes set by Indians, but in a majority of cases by hunters, mining prospectors, and tourists who negligently leave their camp-fires burning when moving from place to place, as well as by persons who deliberately set timber on fire for the purpose of deadening and thus preparing it for particular use. It is said that larger areas of timber land are devastated by such fires than by all other kinds of depredation, and this is probably true. I therefore repeat the recommendation made in my first annual report, that a law be enacted prescribing a severe penalty for the willful or negligent setting of fires upon the public lands of the United States, and also for the recovery of all damages thereby sustained. It may in many cases be difficult to obtain the testimony necessary for the conviction of persons guilty of this offense; but if the law is successfully enforced only in some instances, it will serve to direct general attention to the danger to which any one who willfully or negligently sets fire to public timber exposes himself, and thus to make many persons, who so far have given no thought to the possible consequences of their negligence or recklessness, more careful in the future.

I would also repeat the recommendation made in former reports that the President be authorized to appoint a commission, composed of qualified persons, to study the laws and practices adopted in other countries for the preservation and cultivation of forests, and to report to Congress a plan for the same object, applicable to our circumstances. The time is fast approaching when forest-culture will be to the people of the United States as important a question as it is in older countries; and then it will be a subject of painful wonder to thinking men, how it could have been so long neglected.


The waste and destruction of the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and “big trees” (Sequoia gigantea) of California have been and continue to be so great as to cause apprehension that these species of trees, the noblest and oldest in the world, will entirely disappear unless some measure be soon taken to preserve at least a portion of them. I am informed that in the more inaccessible sections of the coast range in the northern and on the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the southern section of California, some forests of these trees still remain, that may and should be preserved, either wholly or at least in part. The importance of preserving these species of trees in sufficient quantity to serve to this and coming generations as an illustration of the magnificence of the grandest of primeval forests, is so great as to have attracted the attention of men of science in both Europe and America, from some of the most eminent of whom I have received communications on this subject. It is especially desirable that the big trees in the above named localities be preserved, as the “Mariposa Grove” now celebrated for specimens of that species, is small and many of the large trees in it are injured by ire.

I would therefore recommend that the President be authorized to withdraw from sale or other disposition an area at least equal to two townships in the coast range in the northern, and an equal area in the southern part of the State of California, the precise form and location of the tracts to be determined at his discretion.


In each of my annual reports I have called your attention to the necessity for legislation by Congress, providing 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 1818, and the Gadsden treaty of 1853, than is now provided by law.

The reasons for asking such legislation are —

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 land claimants and settlers.

No law has thus far been enacted by Congress to provide a more speedy settlement of such claims since I first called your attention to the subject, although several bills have been introduced looking to that end.

All of the reasons to which I have heretofore invited your attention still exist, and the rapid settlement of said territory, both for agricultural and mining purposes, has greatly intenisfied the necessity for such a law.


Under the provisions of an act of Congress approved March 3, 1879, the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, and the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, hitherto conducted under the supervision of the Department of the Interior, were discontinued on the 30th of June, 1879. The office of Director of the Geological Survey was established by the same act, and $100,000 were appropriated for the expenses of said survey and for the classification of the public lands and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.

In accordance with the provisions of the act, the President appointed, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, Mr. Clarence King, a gentleman eminently qualified, to conduct the survey. No report can yet be made of his operations in the field; but advices received indicate a season of successful labor and satisfactory results.


The act of March 3, 1879, authorized the appointment by the President of three persons, to form, in connection with the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the Director of the Geological Survey, a commission on the codification of existing laws relating to the survey and disposition of public lands. It was made the duty of the commission to report to Congress within one year from the time of its organization: First, a codification of the present laws relating to the survey and disposition of the public domain; second, a system and standard of classification of public lands, as arable, irrigable, timber, pasturage, swamp, coal, mineral lands, and such other classes as may be deemed proper, having due regard to humidity of climate, supply of water for irrigation, and other physical characteristics; third, a system of land parceling surveys adapted to the economic uses of the several classes of lands; and fourth, such recommendations as they may deem wise in relation to the best method of disposing of the public lands of the western portion of the United States to actual settlers.

The following named gentlemen were appointed as members of the commission July 1, 1879: J. W. Powell, A. T. Britton, Thomas Donaldson. The commission, consisting of the above named, together with Commissioner of the General Land Office and Director of the Geological Survey, organized on the 8th of July last, and has since been continuously at work discharging the duties imposed by the law.

The commission has visited all the Territories and the Pacific States, and taken much testimony as to the character and the classification which should be made of the public lands in the various localities visited.

It is believed by the commission that it will be able to report on the classification of the lands, and the proposed changes in the laws for the survey and sale of the same, on or about January 1, 1880. The work of codifying existing land laws will require a much greater length of time for its completion.


The report of the Auditor of Railroad Accounts herewith presented gives an abstract of the operations of his office under the laws relating to indebted Pacific Railroad Companies and certain Land-grant Railroad Companies during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1879.

The necessity which existed for the creation of this bureau was pointed out in my last annual report, and is more fully shown by the experience of last year.

It is suggested by the Auditor in regard to the accounts for services performed by the Pacific Railroad Companies that they be referred by the several accounting officers to this Department or to the First Auditor of the Treasury for revision, record, and report, before payment is made, for the reason that only in this or some similar way the interests of the government in this respect can be protected or a statement of the account between these companies and the United States be given.

In performing his duties under the law the Auditor has, during the last fiscal year, traveled over many thousand miles of railroad.

In passing over these railroads and examining into their condition, he has found the strongest evidence of returning prosperity and increased immigration in the Western and Pacific States. The many rapidly-growing new settlements insure permanent improvement to the business of both the railroads and the adjacent country.

The growth of towns is mentioned by him as the result of a liberal policy and effort of the western railroad companies — showing what the cultivation of good relations between the railroads and the people may accomplish.

These efforts of the railroad companies as well as the yearly increasing harvests, the great development of the mineral wealth of the West, and the returning confidence in the stability of values, constitute mainly, in his opinion, the basis of the improvement in the business of the railroads.

The increase of construction, business, and profit, during the year 1878 is shown to have been particularly large on the railroads west of the Mississippi; as to railroad construction, it is stated that for ten months, ending October 31, 1879, there were built in the United States 2,900 miles of new railroad, of which over 2,000 miles were west of the Mississippi, while the average new construction for the five years previous — taking, of course, only the first ten months of each year — amounted to only 1,600 miles.

It is remarkable, however, that, notwithstanding the large increase of population in the West, the facilities afforded for travel, reduction in rates, and a general increase in railroad business, passenger traffic has decreased, indicating, as the auditor believes, either that the people could not afford to travel, or that the railroad companies have not yet solved the problem of passenger transportation.

The regular work of reporting to the Auditor’s office by the railroad companies has been simplified and reduced to a single semi-annual return, and the great desirability to the railroad companies themselves is pointed out of keeping their books and accounts in such a manner as to be able to make full and satisfactory reports, since it will enable them to know just what it costs to do certain work, where to retrench, or where to improve.

In this regard the Auditor deems it well if some line were drawn either by State or National authority, so that certain information, absolutely necessary for a stockholder or creditor to know the condition of a company’s property and affairs, or such as may be required for the Census or State and National legislatures can be easily and promptly furnished. Reports of railroad companies, if not uniform as to time or facts, are almost valueless for publication or comparison.

In order to protect the interests of the government, it has been found necessary that the Pacific Railroad Companies keep separate accounts of the business of the subsidized and unsubsidized portions of their roads, and the Auditor has therefore required them to be so kept.

A compendium of the laws of the United States relating to the Pacific Railroad Companies has been made and appended to the report, which will be valuable for reference in all the departments of the government.

The more important decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in cases affecting the Pacific Railroad Companies are printed in full in his report, as well as a synopsis of the decisions in all other cases relating to them.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad Company has a suit against the United States now pending in the Court of Claims, relating to the question of the amount of deduction to which the government is entitled for the use of its railroad free of toll or other charge. The Union Pacific also has a suit pending in the same court touching the right of the United States to fix the rate of compensation for carrying the mails on the Pacific Railroad. When these questions are finally determined the Auditor sees no cause for further contests before the courts, and no reason why the relations between the government and the subsidized and land-grant railroads should not be such as to secure to the government service by the railroads at the lowest rates, and to the railroad companies prompt settlement and payment for the same.

It appears that to March 3, 1871, over two hundred million acres of the public lands had been granted to States and corporations for railroad purposes, of which over forty-four million acres have been patented, and of which more than thirty-one million acres were for railroads “in whole or in part west, north, or south of the Missouri River.”

The money value of these thirty-one million acres of land, at the average price heretofore obtained, the Auditor states to be over one hundred and forty million dollars. He deems it questionable, in view of the conditions attaching to these grants, whether their proceeds can be used for any other purpose than the construction of the railroad for which the grant was made (as, for distribution among the stockholders, or in building oth er railroads), and calls attention to the further fact that the laws making such grants provide that the United States mail shall, at all times be transported at such price as Congress may by law direct.

The amount of the United States bonds issued to the Pacific Railroads is $64,623,512; the miles of railroad so subsidized is 2,495.0525; and the average of this money subsidy is $25,900.66210 per mile.

The miles of railroad subsidized by land grants under the Pacific Railroad acts — the Pacific Railroad and branches — are 3,035.85; the quantity of land already patented to the companies being 6,517,075.04 acres, the money value of which at $5 per acre is $32,585,375.20, or $10,733.52 per mile.

The principal of the bonds issued to the Pacific Railroad Companies is $64,623,512 00
Interest at 6 per cent. to June 30, 1879 43,712,450 58
Total, principal and interest $108,335,962 58
The total amount of compensation for services rendered by the companies covered into the Treasury to June 30, 1879, was $12,915,591 27
Of which there is applicable to payments of bonds and interest 8,387,296 78
To payment of 5 percent. net earnings 4,201,348 50
To payment into sinking fund 326,945 99

The interest belonging to the sinking fund was $1,202.50, and the total balance against the railroad companies was $95,419,168.81.

The amount due by the government on December 31, 1878, and withheld from the Union and Kansas Pacific Companies on account of transportation, will more than offset the $2,737,576.85 payable by them on account of the “five per cent.” of their net earnings; but of the amount payable by the Central Pacific, $1,978,688.38, the amount withheld for transportation is insufficient by the sum of $648,271.96[1], payment of which amount in cash the Auditor has required of the company.

The result of the “5 per cent.” suit against the Union Pacific Railroad Company has been that the United States obtained judgment for $1,208,337.34, which is $1,029,547.08 more than the company admitted to owe; and the result of the examination of the accounts of the Central Pacific, undertaken by the Auditor immediately after the decision of the “sinking-fund case” by the Supreme Court, has been that the amount due by that company from November 6, 1869, to December 31, 1878, is $1,978,688.38, or $745,391.86 more than the company’s own statement admitted.

It is considered important that the sinking fund be credited promptly with all transportation moneys to which it is entitled; otherwise the companies will have just cause for complaint, as the act requires money deposits by the companies to be made at a given time in each year.

Under the present practice of the departments, by which many of these accounts do not even reach the accounting-officers by the time named in the act, it will be almost impossible for these settlements to be consummated within the period stated in the act — namely, calendar-year settlements — to be made by the first day of February in the following year.

Mr. A. B. Nichols, of Philadelphia, was appointed to the position of railroad engineer in the office of the Auditor of Railroad Accounts on August 18, 1879, and has since then examined into the condition of the subsidized and land-grant railroads. His report is given with that of the Auditor.

During the annual inspection it was found that improved business, especially on the Western roads, had induced great improvement in the condition of road-bed, track, bridges, and equipment of the railroads visited.

Many defects have been pointed out by the engineer, which it is expected the companies will remedy. The general condition of the Pacific Railroads is better than was anticipated.

Since 1876 the local business on all of these railroads has improved, but more particularly on the Kansas Pacific, the Central Branch Union Pacific, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé, and the Burlington and Missouri River Railroads, located in the States of Kansas and Nebraska.

In 1876. In 1878.
The gross earnings of the Central Branch Union Pacific being $172,852 68 $624,953 77
The gross earnings of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé being  2,486,582 67    3,950,868 09
The gross earnings of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, about  900,000 00 1,921,350 00

The Auditor further shows, by a statement regarding the business of most of the railroads in the United States, that while the gross earnings of these roads for the year 1878 increased about 3⅝ per cent. over those of 1877, the increase of net earnings was nearly 9¾ per cent., indicating greater economy in operating expenses.


The report of the engineer shows that the line and grade of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the road-bed and track, can be improved in many respects.

The road has now 460 miles of track laid with steel. Iron bridges are being substituted for wooden. The equipment of the road is in good condition, and a full supply of every kind on hand.

About 30 per cent. of the operating expenses, that is to say, $1,654,795.82, were expended during the calendar year of 1878 on the maintenance of way, bridges, and buildings.

It is contemplated to build a new passenger depot at Ogden, and to improve the arrangement of yard, engine-houses, and shops.

Among the most valuable assets of this company are its coal mines at Carbon, Almy, and Rock Springs, the product of which it will be to the interest of the company to furnish at the lowest rate possible to settlers and others on its line.

The Union Pacific Railroad Company furnishes reports from which the following statements are derived:

Length of subsidized line 1,038.68
Leased to Central Pacific 5.00
Operated by Union Pacific    1,033.68

The company owns:

Locomotives 172
Passenger cars 124
Baggage, mail, and express cars  41
Freight and other cars 3,216

And its reports show:

Stock subscribed $36,783,000 00
Stock issued 36,762,300 00
Par value 100 00
United States subsidy bonds 27,236,512 00
Other funded debt 50,188,000 00
Total stock and debt 114,186,812 00
Floating debt and interest accrued to June 30, 1879, on subsidy and other bonds  17,090,718 92
Bonds and stock of, and investments in other companies $6,973,847 49
Material on hand $872, 670 02
Cash on hand 939,302 65
Accounts receivable 3,522,597 78
$5,334,570 45
Cost of road, equipment and Missouri River bridge, as per company’s books  $120,472,198 02
Earnings, year ending June 30, 1879 — Passenger $3,128,373 12
Earnings, year ending June 30, 1879 — Freight 8,397,935 14
Earnings, year ending June 30, 1879 — Miscellaneous 1,378,548 82
Total earnings $12,904,857 08
Operating expenses 5,398,295 63
Net earnings $7, 506, 561 45
Interest paid $4,237,149 66
Dividends paid $1,661,722 50
Acres land unsold 10,460,703 02

The Auditor further states that under the act of May 7, 1878, the 25 per cent. of net earnings for the year ending June 30, 1879, would be as follows:

Ordinary net earnings $7,506,561 45
Less interest on first mortgage bonds 1,633,860 00
Net earnings under the law $5,872,701 45
One-half transportation applied to interest $538,505 06
One-half transportation to sinking fund 538,505 06
Five per cent. under acts of 1862 and 1864 applied to interest  293,635 07
Additional payment under act of May 7, 1878, for sinking fund  97,530 17
Total: twenty-five per cent. of net earnings $1,468,175 36

Under the laws in force to June 30, 1878, there would have been —

Retained half transportation $538,505 06
And five per cent. net earnings  375,328 07
Total $913,833 13

It appears also that, under the sinking fund act, the net surplus at the disposal of the company for the last fiscal year after payment of interest and dividend would be $725,010.07.

Your attention is also invited to the recommendations and views of the Auditor regarding money invested by this company in branch railroads, its express business, Pullman sleeping-car arrangement, and to the suggestion that the company should run a fast through mail and passenger train.


The Central Pacific Railroad Company has, since the last report of the Auditor, complied with the law and furnished such statements as have been required. From these statements it appears that —

The number of miles subsidized is 860.66
The number of miles operated 2,323.61
Locomotives owned, 227; leased, 35; total 262
Passenger cars owned, 261; leased, 37; total 298
Baggage, mail, and express, cars owned, 56; leased, 12; total  68
Freight and other cars owned, 4,641; leased, 887; total 5,528
Stock subscribed $62,608,800 00
Par value of shares 00 00
Stock issued $54,275,500 00
Subsidy bonds $27,855,680 00
Funded debt 56,394,000 00
Floating debt 6,936,089 00
Interest due and accrued on funded debt 1,608,438 00
Balance of interest due and accrued on United States bonds  16,089,537 00
Total debt $108,883,744 00
Total stock and debt  $163,159,244 00
Cost of road proper $134,921,352 00
Equipment 8, 014, 644 00
Real estate 1,499,432 00
Total cost of road and equipment, &c. $144,435,428 00
Cash, materials, and sinking funds $6,256,374 00
Bonds and stocks 162,044 00
Miscellaneous investments 2,502,975 00

For year ending June 30, 1879:

Passenger earnings $5,185,802 00
Freight earnings 10,655,733 00
United States mail 507,040 00
Miscellaneous earnings  1,263,106 00
Total  $17,611,681 00
Operating expenses 8,730,384 00
Ordinary net earnings $8,881,297 00
Interest paid $3,747,666 00
Lands unsold (acres) 11,464,575
Transportation withheld in excess of the amounts authorized to be 
   retained under the acts of July 1, 1862, and July 2, 1864 $1,454,268 44
Due United States on account of 5 per cent. of net earnings to
   June 30, 1878 $1,871,430 00
Same to December 31, 1878 107,258 38
Due United States on account of transportation requirement for
   sinking fund, under act May 7, 1878 123,852 02
Due United States as additional payment to make 25 per cent. of 
   net earnings under act of May 7, 1878 [2]181,329 51
Total due United States  $2,283,869 91

Further details as to the settlement of these accounts and the difficulties under which they were made are given in the Auditor’s report.

From the statement of the engineer it appears that many tunnels on this road should be improved by masonry lining instead of timber; that track and road-bed are in good condition; and that many bridges and much of the trestle work need renewing and improving.

The Auditor highly commends the hospital of the company at Sacramento, and the service and condition of the great snow gallery on the Sierra Nevada Mountains extending over 28 miles.

The equipment of the road is in good condition. The remarks of the Auditor regarding second-class sleeping-cars, ferry service of the company between Oakland and San Francisco, the filling up of a portion of the long wharf at Oakland, and the new mammoth train transfer steamer “Solano,” the sleeping and parlor car business, and increase of speed are also interesting and worthy of consideration.

Particular attention is invited to the fact that the total amount of the 5 per cent. of the net earnings, as ascertained by the Auditor, from November 6, 1869, to December 31, 1878, is $1,978,688.38, or $745,391.86 in excess of the company’s statement; also to the fact, quite as important, that the money is all in the Treasury of the United States.


The Kansas Pacific Railway Company have continued to make reports as called for.

Miles road operated 772.8
Miles owned 672.6
Miles subsidized with lands 638.6
Miles subsidized with bonds 394   
Number of locomotives 89
Passenger-cars 41
Baggage, mail, and express-cars  17
Caboose-cars 41
Freight and other cars 1,531
Stock subscribed  $9,992,500 00
Par value of shares 100 00
Stock issued $9,689,950 00
Subsidy bonds $6,303,000 00
Funded debt $22,130,100 00
Floating debt 1,219,080 00
Interest on funded and floating debt 5,621,366 00
Interest on subsidy bonds 2,291,702 00
Total debt $37,565,248 00
Stock and debt $47,255,198 00
Cost of road and equipment  $34,359,540 00
Passenger earnings for year ending June 30, 1879  $1,005,900 59
Freight earnings 3,033,421 50
Miscellaneous earnings 246,861 62
Total [3]$4,286,183 71
Operating expenses $2,327,925 51
Net earnings $1,958,258 20
Interest paid $1,180,043 00
Acres of land unsold 4,569,483

This company having defaulted in the payment of interest on its bonds, receivers were appointed and operated the road from November 21, 1876, to June 17, 1879, since which time it has been operated by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. The road is reported in good condition, wooden bridges being replaced by iron ones, and transportation service prompt and safe.

The company operates its own Express, but runs Pullman sleeping-cars. Its account with the United States regarding 5 per cent. of net earnings and the half transportation compensation withheld has not yet been adjusted.


This company has rendered but very meager reports, which, with other information, show the following facts: Miles operated, 100; miles operated under lease, 158; gross earnings, $624,953.77; operating expenses, $360,630.52; net earnings, $264,323.35; amount expended for new equipment, $140,000; rentals of leased lines, $66,000; taxes, $24,000.

The engineer’s report shows that the subsidized line of this company is not in good condition and that it is not up to the standard required, many bridges requiring immediate attention. The building of branch roads during the last two years has so increased its business that large additions to equipment have been required.

The transportation account and the 5 per cent. account of this company are still unsettled.


The condition of the property of this company in Iowa is reported as good, but the condition of the property in Nebraska is reported as inferior, requiring immediate and extensive repairs. The reports of the company show length of road operated, 158.13 miles; road owned, 107.04; subsidized line, 101.77; number of locomotives, 13; number of passenger cars, 10; number of baggage, mail, and express cars, 5; number of freight and other cars, 194.

Stock subscribed, $2,068,400; stock issued, $2,068,400; funded debt, $1,628,000; subsidy bonds, $1,628,320; floating debt, $126,283; accrued interest on funded debt, $50,115; accrued interest on subsidy bonds, $981,753; total debt, $4,414,451; stock and debt, $6,482,851; cost of road, $5,350,138. Passenger earnings for the year ending June 30, 1879, $86,187; freight earnings, $185,640; miscellaneous earnings, $81,502; total earnings, $353,329; operating expenses, $247,173; net earnings, $106,156; interest paid, $110,695; deficit, $4,539.


The usual report of this company for the year ended June 30,1879, to this department was received and referred to the Auditor of Railroad Accounts on October 25, 1879. The company owns and operates 443.86 miles of road. Number of locomotives, 49; passenger cars, 29; baggage, mail, and express cars, 13; freight and other cars, 972. Stock issued, $6,996,000; par value, $100. Funded debt, $l9,123,406; floating debt, $1,278,813; unpaid interest, $292,595; total debt, $20,694,814; stock and debt, $27,690,814. Cost of road, $26,906,901. Passenger earnings, $456,576; freight earnings, $1,582,926; miscellaneous earnings, $96,641; total earnings, $2,136,143; operating expenses, $1,397,514; net earnings, $738,629; interest paid, $712,417. Lands unsold granted by State of Texas, 4,756,130 acres.


From reports made to the Auditor regarding this road the following figures are obtained: Miles operated, 161.14; miles owned, 711.95; leased to Central Pacific, 550.81 miles; number of locomotives, 44; passenger cars, 62; baggage, mail, and express cars, 18; freight and other cars, 1,157. Stock subscribed, $36,763,900; stock issued, $36,477,000. Funded debt, $29,186,000; floating debt, $963,068; accrued interest on funded debt, $409,410; total debt, $30,558,478; stock and debt, $67,035,000 Cash, material, and accounts due, $219,889. Cost of road, $64,813,154; cost of equipment, $1,902,124; total cost of road and equipment, $66,715,278 Passenger earnings, $477,925; freight earnings, $471,262; miscellaneous earnings and rent of road, $3,350,208; total earnings, $4,299,395; operating expenses, including taxes and insurance, $2,588,297; net earnings, $1,711,098; interest paid, $1,890,237. Lands unsold, 9,245,118 acres.


This company furnishes the Auditor with statements as follows: Miles of road operated, 720; miles owned, 560. Stock authorized, $100,000,000; common stock issued, $27,812,700; preferred stock issued, $46,346,094; total stock issued, $74,158,794 Number of locomotives, 55; number of passenger cars, 23; baggage, mail, and express cars, 11; freight and other cars, 1,303. No funded debt. Preferred stock unissued used as collateral for moneys borrowed; floating debt, $974,019; stock and debt, $75,132,813 Cost of road, $20,931,966; earnings ten months to June 30, 1879, $1,167,262; operating expenses, $711,464; net earnings, $455,798. Lands unsold, 44,687,781 acres.


This company’s reports furnish the following information: Miles operated, 472.05; miles owned, 292.5. Number of locomotives 29; number of passengers cars, 10; baggage, mail, and express cars 8; freight and other cars 836; Stock issued, $21,642,100; funded debt, $5,292,000; floating debt, $73,436; unpaid interest, $216,999; total debt, $5,582,435; stock and debt $27,224,535; cost of road, $26,198,626; cost of equipment, $729,166; cost of road and equipment, $26,927,792. Passenger earnings to December 31, 1878, $195,133; freight earnings, $947,378; miscellaneous earnings, $59,140; total earnings, $1,201,651; operating expenses, $598,134; net earnings, $603,517; interest paid, $546,965. Acres of land unsold, including grant to Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, 41,784,253.


This company has neglected to make reports. The Auditor furnishes the following figures from other sources: Miles operated, 443; miles owned, 190.5. Number of locomotives, 29; passenger cars, 16; baggage, mail, and express cars, 12; freight and other cars, 1,230. Stock issued, $9,390,800; funded debt, $10,933,300; floating debt, $629,581; unpaid coupons, $255,222; total debt, $11,818,103; stock and debt, $21,208,903; cost of road and equipment, $20,541,852. Earnings for the year ending December 31, 1878: From passengers,$352,000; from freight,$1,385,000; miscellaneous earnings, $184,350; total earnings, $1,921,350; operating expenses, $618,677; net earnings, $1,302,673; interest paid, $673,798; dividends, $241,512. Acres of land unsold estimated 1,000,000.


From reports made by the receiver of this road, the following figures are given: Miles of road operated, 132.89; road owned and subsidized with lands, 105.89. Number of locomotives, 6; passenger cars, 4; baggage, mail, and express cars, 3; freight and other cars, 75. Stock subscribed and issued, $4,000,000; funded debt, $2,271,000; floating debt, $173,130; total debt, $2,444,130; total stock and debt, $6,444,130. Cost of road, $6,495,350; passenger earnings to June 30, 1879, $60,965.57; freight earnings, $106,887.47; miscellaneous earnings, $20,737.46; joint traffic earnings, $64,265.44; total earnings, $252,855.94; operating expenses, including taxes, $113,346.75; net earnings, $139,509.19. Acres of land unsold, 908,347.95.


From reports made by this company and other sources the following figures are given: miles subsidized, estimated at 300; miles operated, 200; number of locomotives, 14; passenger cars, 11; baggage, mail, and express cars, 4; freight and other cars, 215; 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; $4,806,208.98; cost of equipment, $499,497.64; cost of real estate, $189,907.64; passenger earnings, $232,860.76; freight earnings, $345,482.17; express and mail earnings, $30,414.60; miscellaneous earnings, $39,359.35; total earnings, $648,116.88; operating expenses, including taxes, $410,451.03; net earnings, $237,665.35.


From reports furnished and other sources the following is compiled: Miles subsidized and operated, 47.50; number of locomotives, 4; passenger cars, 2; baggage, mail, and express cars, 2; freight and other cars, 42; stock subscribed, $5,000,000; par value of shares, 100; stock issued, $4,980,050; funded debt, $4,695,000; floating debt, $1,189,002.72; total debt, $5,884,002.72; total stock and debt, $10,864,052.72; cost of road, $l,202,262.97; passenger earnings, $26,001.60; freight earnings, $41,460.07; miscellaneous earnings, $2,658.93; total earnings, $70,120.60; operating expenses, including taxes, $69,849.82; net earnings, $270.78.


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, 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 to railroad companies.

The Auditor submits several recommendations of importance, to which attention is invited. He recommends that the Pacific Railroad acts be amended so that any of these companies which may abandon any portion of the subsidized railroad, or which may divert their business from a subsidized to an unsubsidized railroad, be required to transfer the lien and condition attached to the subsidized to the new and unsubsidized line, in order that the interests and rights of the United States may be protected; or, if that is not done, that all through traffic be required to be done only on the subsidized line.

The question involved is a new one and seriously affects the rights of the United States.

Another recommendation is submitted relative to the practical working of the sinking-fund act approved May 7, 1878. It appears that it will be impossible to have the settlements made as contemplated under the provisions of that act in time for the money requirements to be paid into the Treasury by the first day of February in each year; the Auditor therefore recommends that the day be changed to the first day of April in each year; and also that the settlements and payments for the sinking fund be required to be made semi-annually instead of annually.

He further recommends that the investments of the sinking-fund be authorized to be made in the first-mortgage bonds of the respective companies, or in such United States bonds as the Secretary of the Treasury may select.

Sinking funds are also recommended by him to be established for the Kansas Pacific, Central Branch Union Pacific, and Sioux City and Pacific Railroad Companies.

In order to prevent misunderstanding as to the locality of his office, and to make the title uniform with those of other bureau officers of this department, it is recommended that the title of the office of the Auditor of Railroad Accounts be changed to “Commissioner of Railroad Affairs.”


On the 30th of June, 1879, there were 242,755 pensioners, divided as follows: Army invalids, 125,150; Army widows, children, and dependent relatives, 81,174; Navy invalids, 1,844; Navy widows, children, and dependent relatives, 1,772; surviving soldiers of 1812, 11,621; widows of deceased soldiers of that war, 21,194.

During the year 31,346 new names were added to the list; 908, formerly dropped, were restored; 13,497 were dropped. `

The aggregate amount of one year's pension is $25,493,742.15. The actual payments, however, during the year largely exceeds that sum, as nearly all the claims admitted embrace several years accrued pension. The aggregate amount paid to new pensioners during the year was $5,763,758.60.

The number of unsettled pension claims on the 30th of June last was 136,645, exclusive of claims for arrears.

If new original claims continue to be filed as rapidly during the remainder of the year, as they have been for the past nine months, the Commissioner estimates the number of unsettled cases that will be pending at the close of the year at 250,000.

Since the passage of the “Arrears” act, the claims for pension have come in at an unprecedented rate, the invalids nearly double that ever known before in the history of the office.

This large inflow of claims and the consequent accumulation of work has given rise to complaints and much embarrassment, and these must continue until Congress authorizes the employment of a force sufficient to prevent the accumulation of claims.

A new and better system for recording the claims received has been devised, and, when completed and in operation, will facilitate greatly the labors of the office.

It appears evident that the present force of the Pension Office is not adequate for the prompt disposition of the business before it, and I therefore concur in the Commissioner’s recommendation for an additional appropriation of $50,000, to be immediately available for the current year. The Commissioner suggests that the clerical force of the offices of the Adjutant-General and Surgeon-General is not sufficient to enable them to respond with promptness to the large number of callls made upon them.

The Commissioner again calls attention to the present defective system of setting claims, and renews his recommendation that the plan hitherto presented by him be adopted. In this connection he says:

“Besides being cumbersome and expensive, the present system is an open door to the Treasury for the perpetration of fraud. The affidavits in support of the claims have the same appearance to the officers of the bureau whether false or true. The rules which are established in relation to the production of evidence in attempting to exclude the frauds often work a hardship upon the honest claimant. He finds himself, through the death or imperfect recollection of witnesses or for some other cause, unable to comply with them, is often defeated, while the fraudulent claimant, who will manufacture the necessary testimony to meet them, succeeds in his claim. * * * On the other hand, the change proposed will possess the following advantages over the present system:

1. The testimony and proceedings to establish the pension claims will be public and of a reliable character. This will facilitate prompt, more just, and more liberal decisions, and protect the Treasury from frauds, while the claimant’s expenses will not be increased, but rather diminished.

2. The medical examinations being made by unprejudiced government officials, whose sworn duty it will be to find out and report the exact truth, both the claimants and the government will be relieved from the now too common danger of being made the victims of the ignorance, prejudice, or carelessness of a neighborhood examining surgeon.

3. The special investigation of cases by the special agents will be dispensed with as no longer necessary for the detection of fraud. The publicity of the proceedings in the neighborhood where the claimants reside will operate to restrain the presentation of unmeritorious and fraudulent claims, and furnish ample protection to the government against the successful prosecution of any such which may be presented.

But the great point, and the one to which every other consideration should yield, is that the new system, through its public proceedings among the claimant’s neighbors, will obtain the truth in the cases in such reliable form that prompt justice will be done to the deserving.”

The magnitude of the interests involved commends this system to the considerate attention of Congress. It is evident that the present system, based upon ex-parte testimony, exposes the government to fraud, and makes its detection very difficult. I therefore concur in the opinion expressed by the Commissioner that a change is essential for the better protection of the government in the payment of pensions.

The Commissioner reports the satisfactory condition of the pension agencies and calls attention to what he deems the inadequate compensation of the agents. In the passage of the act fixing their pay, many expenses incurred by them were not estimated upon, and to afford them relief he recommends that the law be so amended as to allow them eighteen instead of fifteen dollars for each one hundred vouchers prepared and paid.

Appended to the report are interesting tables under the following heads: Number of pension claims received, disposed of, and remaining on hand; number of pensions allowed and increased during the year, with their annual value, together with the yearly value of all pensions on the roll, and the amount paid for pensions during the year; number of pensioners dropped from the rolls during the year, and the cause; appropriations for the payment of pensions for the year, and the amount of disbursements; pension agents' name, location, geographical limits, and amount of funds on hand June 30, 1879; operation of Special Service Division for the year; comparative statement by agencies of the number of pensioners on the rolls at the beginning and close of the year; arrears payments made at each agency, and number of invalids, widows, children, dependent fathers and mothers, respectively; monthly receipt and disposal of claims for twenty-eight months succeeding June 30, 1877; pension claims filed and allowed since 1862; number of pensioners on the roll at the termination of each fiscal year since 1861. These statements give a correct exhibit of the work of the Pension Office, past and present, and afford valuable information to those who are interested in the subject.


The report of the Commissioner of Patents shows a slight decrease of the work of the office for the year ended June 30, 1879. The number of applications for patents was 19,300, being 357 less than the previous year. The number for design patents was 697; for reissue, 639; for registration of trade-marks, 1,465; for registration of labels, 631; caveats filed, 2,674.

The number of patents granted, including reissues and designs, was 12,471, being 1,629 less than the previous year. The number of trademarks was 1,144; labels registered, 403; patents withheld for non-payment of final fee, 828.

The total receipts of the office were $703,146.79, being $31,741.19 less than those of the previous year.

The expenditures for the year were $548,651.47. This includes $5,000 appropriated for the repair of models damaged by the fire, and is not properly chargeable to the current expenses of the office.

The expenditures for the previous year were $665,906.02; $50,000 of this being for the repair of models. Excluding the amount appropriated for the repair of damaged models in both years, the current expenditures of the office were $72,254.55 less than those of the previous year. In referring to this reduction the Commissioner says:

This decrease in the expenditures has been enforced by the reduction of the appropriations, which has been carried so far as seriously to cripple the office and injure the public interests.

The excess of receipts over expenditures was$154,495.32.

The Commissioner makes several recommendations worthy of special attention. He deems the excess of receipts over expenditures as an unjust tax upon inventors, and favors its reduction either by exacting lower fees or by expending the surplus in improving the facilities for transacting the business of the office. He recommends the latter course. He calls attention to the inadequacy of the rooms provided for the use of the office, and recommends that temporary accommodations be provided in that portion of the building now being reconstructed.

In his opinion, the interest of the service demands an additional force of clerks and examiners, and to this end he recommends that provision be made by law for ten additional clerks of class one, three of class two, two of class three, one of class four, and fifteen assistant examiners. He suggests also that a portion of the surplus revenues of the office be used annually for the purpose of making additions to the technical library of the office, and for increasing the compensation of the clerks and employes, who,while forced to remain in the lower grade because of inadequate appropriations, are showing efficiency entitling them to higher pay.

The Commissioner refers to the present system of preserving models and regards their accumulation as a serious evil, which in time must call for correction. In his opinion, the system is radically defective, and ought without further delay to give place to one more permanent.

The experience of the English demonstrates that drawings which conform to a high standard and show the vital features of an invention are sufficient for such examination as their system requires. There are many inventions which could be better shown by a model than by the most accurate scale-drawing. The right to call for a model should be reserved to the office, but none should be filed unless upon the written certificate of the examiner, or upon the special order of the Commissioner.

To secure this better system, statutory provisions are needed and recommended. To better guard models removed from the office for the purpose of duplication or repair, the Commissioner recommends the enactment of a law authorizing the employment of skilled workmen to make copies of models for official certification, who shall be required to take the oath of office and file bonds, and whose compensation shall be such as may be approved by the Commissioner of Patents, to be paid by those for whom the work was performed.

The Commissioner calls attention to the necessity of some provision being made by which the testimony of foreigners required in proceedings in the Patent Office, and taken in foreign countries, may be subject to the pains and penalties of perjury. This cannot be secured, or even asked, from foreign governments unless proffered by our own. Recommendation is therefore made that a law be passed authorizing the execution by United States commissioners, or other United States officers, of commissions issued by foreign governments to take testimony in the United States to be used before foreign patent offices and before all judicial, legislative, and executive departments of foreign governments, and to punish perjury committed in such testimony; the law to be operative only in favor of such governments as shall make like provision for taking testimony in foreign countries, to be used in like manner in the United States.

As to the work of reproducing drawings by photolithography, the Commissioner expresses the opinion that the highest standard possible in the art could be secured at the lowest cost by the establishment of a division in some one of the executive departments, where photolithographic work could be executed for any branch of the service that might require it.

Recommendation is made for an appropriation of $50,000 for printing the specifications of patents-issued prior to November, 1866; also for an appropriation of $10,000 for the publication of the general index of patentees, from 1790 to 1873. The work is nearly completed and will soon be ready for the printer.

For the reproduction of illustrations for the Patent Office Report for the year 1870, $6,000 is asked for.

For the reproduction of drawings destroyed by tire it is estimated that an appropriation of $60,000 will be necessary, and the urgency of the work suggests that the amount be made immediately available.

The Commissioner also recommends that the law relating to the payment of the final fee within six months of the allowance of a patent be so amended as to make the execution of the law possible in all cases. Under the present law, requiring a patent to be dated within six months of its allowance, the payment of the fee on the last day of the prescribed time makes it impossible to conform to the law without resorting to the fiction of a new allowance, made upon payment of the final fee too late to admit of the preparation of the patent before the expiration of the six months. The extension of the time, within which a patent may be dated, to seven months from the date of its allowance would obviate the present difficulty.


The Commissioner of Education states that the demand upon his office for information relating to educational matters has been greater during the past year than ever before. He reports that the collection of educational appliances and illustrations in the possession of the office has received numerous visits and proved extremely useful, and recommends that provision be made for its better exhibition, cataloguing, and increase; also, that a librarian be allowed by law, the library of his office containing at the present time 11,000 volumes and 22,000 pamphlets.

The office has sent to correspondents 40,000 pieces of matter, of which there were —

Of letters, circulars, and inquiries    16,000
Documents (packages) 30,000

and has received from its correspondents 30,000 pieces of mail matter, of which

Letters, circulars, receipts, and replies numbered    27,000
Documents (packages) 3,000

The printing of the circulars of information has been more than doubled during the year, and yet this work is much behind.

The Commissioner notes a marked advance in the adoption of the most approved methods of teaching.

Not least among the progressive movements of institutions for superior instruction is the extension of their advantages to women, adding to the provisions secured by colleges endowed especially for them, facilities in connection with some of the oldest and wealthiest foundations for young men.

The colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts are making commendable advance in their appointed province. Great industrial interests are beginning to acknowledge the benefits received from their researches and from the trained experts they are sending out. In this work they are ably supplemented by the technical and industrial schools. sustained by private endowments.

The increasing practice by professors in our scientific schools of supplementing ordinary class work with extensive held teaching, he notes as an interesting example of the tendency toward original investigation developing among our educators.

In professional training some efforts are being made to increase preliminary qualifications, to extend the professional course to at least three years in all ordinary cases, and to so grade the studies as to permit term examinations instead of postponing all these severe tests to the end of the entire course.

He notes also the progress made in training in special industries, as wood-carving, industrial drawing, cookery, nursing, &c.

The Commissioner expresses the opinion that population in the Territories has outstripped the number of school-houses and teachers, and that the present Territorial provisions for education are inadequate. He renews his recommendation that greater importance be given to educational office in the Territories.

In the continued embarrassed condition of education in the Territories and in the South he finds reason for earnestly renewing his recommendation of the passage by Congress of some measure of financial aid, which he suggests might, at first, be distributed on the basis of illiteracy.


In the last annual report of the department it was recommended that new legislation be had in provision for the approaching tenth census of the United States. The considerations which, in the interest alike of economy and of sound statistics, seemed to require that the census should not continue to be taken under the act of May 23, 1850, were set forth at length in the papers accompanying the report. By act of March 3, 1879, Congress instituted a new system of enumeration, and made provision for the tenth and subsequent censuses upon principles widely different from those of the act of 1850. The careful and detailed consideration which has been given to this enactment in the preparations making for carrying its provisions into effect, and the experience which has been had of the workings of the system so far as it has already become operative, have confirmed me in the belief that the new legislation was wise and salutary, and that the results of the census soon to be taken under its provisions and sanctions will fully justify its wide departure from the methods previously in use.

No defect has appeared which in an appreciable degree threatens the integrity of the enumeration, nor has any change in any essential feature of the scheme suggested itself to the department as likely to result in an improvement in the quality of the statistics to be obtained.

The Superintendent of Census in his report recommends that the benefit of the franking privilege be extended to mail matter addressed to the Census Office in response to its inquiries, or in compliance with its requests, by persons not officers of the government; and that one interrogatory, which by the act of March 3, 1879, was introduced for the first time into the so-called population schedule, viz, as to the holders of the public debt, be dispensed with, as unlikely to secure results of value and as certain to hinder the progress of the enumeration if not to engender animosity.

These recommendations meet the approval of the department.

The report of the Superintendent raises the question whether a copy of the returns of enumerators should be provided for by new legislation.

It appears that a copy of the returns would probably cost $130,000 as a minimum. In his opinion such an expenditure, if it were to be incurred, would properly be looked upon wholly as a measure of insurance against the accidental destruction of the original schedules. The use to which the copy would be put, except in case of such destruction of the originals, would be far too slight to justify the great cost of making the copy.

In fact this use may be regarded, in the consideration of this subject, as absolutely nil. The danger to be apprehended to the schedules is not that of their loss prior to or during transmission to the Census Office, for such losses cannot reasonably be supposed to occur with respect to any but small, fractional portions, which could be replaced by a new enumeration at a cost of a few hundreds, or, possibly, thousands of dollars.

The only appreciable danger to be apprehended affects the accumulated stock of the returns after their receipt at the Census Office.

It is doubtless true, as shown by the Superintendent, that the danger of such destruction during the few months necessary to complete the compilation of the most important statistical results, those which relate to the population of States, counties, cities, and towns, and which classify the population according to color, age, sex, race, and nationality, would be very slight, and that exceptional provisions against such danger could be made at a cost small in comparison with the first cost of a copy of the returns; but it is my opinion that in dealing with a matter so fundamental in our political system as the decennial enumeration of the people for the purpose of apportioning representation among the States, considerations of economy in expenditure should be subordinate, and I recommend that a copy of all the returns made by enumerators, under the act of March 3, 1879, be authorized, and appropriation made therefor.

The report of the Superintendent contains an account of the organization and operations of the Census Office subsequently to the passage of the act of March 3, 1879, sufficiently in detail to exhibit the novel features which have been introduced into that service by the express provisions of the act, or in the exercise of the large discretion vested in the Superintendent relative to the agencies to be employed in collecting statistics not directly political in their character.

The operations of that office naturally divide themselves into two groups, those which are preparatory and preliminary to the count of the people, to take place next summer, and those which are directed to the collection of statistics relating to the current twelve months.

Under the act of 1879, as under that of 1850, there is, as the Superintendent remarks, a census day and a census year. The census day is June 1, 1880. The census year comprises the period June 1, 1879 to May 31, 1880; and for the whole of this period the law requires certain very important classes of statistics to be collected relating to agriculture, manufactures, mining, and the fisheries, to taxation and public education, to pauperism and crime, to mortality and the causes of death, &c. The act of 1879 differs from that of 1850, by authorizing the employment of experts and special agents at the discretion of the Superintendent of Census, for the collection of these classes of statistics.

Under this provision, several special investigations of a very wide reach have been already set on foot, and others will probably be instituted as the occasion arises.

In making these arrangements careful consideration has been had of the maximum limit of expenditure fixed by the act of March 3, 1879.

It is not my expectation to be obliged to present to Congress any request for a deficiency appropriation under the law as it stands, and I am satisfied that the Superintendent, in all his plans, is legally observing the conditions thus imposed by the law creating his office and providing for the approaching census.

In the preparations for the enumeration which is to be commenced on the first of June, progress has been made to the point of apportioning among the States and Territories the aggregate of 150 supervisorships, authorized by the act of March 3, and dividing the States to which supervisorships in excess of the minimum were assigned into districts of a corresponding number. The duty which the law imposes on the department, of fixing the rates of compensation to be paid to enumerators, is one of great nicety and difficulty.

The conditions, geographical and other, of each section of the country which bear on the facility of enumeration are being thoroughly and systematically studied, in order that the greatest economy and efficiency of service may be combined with the highest attainable equity toward the agents of the government performing this arduous and responsible work.


The United States Entomological Commission has continued its investigations into the habits of the Rocky Mountain locust or grasshopper, in the permanent Northwest breeding-grounds of the species. The principal aim of the commission has been to get more accurate knowledge of the limits and extent of those breeding-grounds, with a view of preventing the migrations of the winged insects therefrom.

Congress at its last session enlarged the field of the co1nmission’s labors by requiring an investigation into the habits of the cotton worm, and of, other insects injurious to the cotton-plant and to agriculture. The work in the West and Northwest is being continued by Dr. Packard and Professor Thomas, while Professor Riley has taken charge of the work in the Southern States, and has been industriously pursuing it. Some of the discoveries and practical results have already been embodied in a special bulletin. The losses which insects inflict on the crops of the country amount to many million dollars annually, and the well-directed efforts of intelligent entomologists in endeavoring to prevent these losses have already resulted in much good.

The Southern States have suffered severely from the cotton-worm alone, and are directly interested in this branch of the work of the commission.

A sufficient sum is asked for, to complete in a satisfactory manner the investigations now being prosecuted, and to publish a report thereon for distribution among those interested in the success of the work.


The Hot Springs of Arkansas are situated in a narrow ravine between two rocky ridges in one of the lateral ranges of the Ozark Mountains.

The reservation contains about 2,565 acres. The mountain on which the springs are found, and which has been reserved from sale, under the act of March 3, 1877, contains about 265 acres.

Previous to October, 1875, the title to the most valuable portion of the land had been in dispute for more than fifty years. The controversies which existed were finally brought before the United States Court of Claims under the act of May 31, 1870, the provisions of the act giving the right to any person claiming title, either legal or equitable, to the whole or any part of the four sections of land known as the Hot Springs Reservation, in the State of Arkansas, to prosecute to final decision any suit that may be necessary to settle the same.

The various parties setting up a claim filed their petitions in the Court of Claims, the cases were consolidated, and after a full investigation, the court rendered a decree in favor of the United States, and adverse to all the claimants. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, and after able arguments by distinguished counsel on both sides, Justice Bradley, in October, 1875, delivered the unanimous opinion of the court, affirming the decree of the Court of Claims.

The act which authorized these suits also provided that if, upon the final hearing of any cause provided for in the act, the court should decide in favor of the United States, it should order the lands into the possession of a receiver, to be appointed by the court, who should take charge of and rent out the same for the United States, until Congress should by law direct how they should be disposed of.

The receiver was duly appointed, and according to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, the rentals collected by said receiver and covered into the Treasury amounted to $33,744.78.

Under the act of March 3, 1877, the office of receiver was abolished and the President was authorized to appoint three discreet, competent, and disinterested persons, who should constitute a board of commissioners, whose duty it was to lay out the lands of the reservation into convenient squares, blocks, lots, avenues, streets, and alleys; designate the tract, including the Hot Springs Mountains, which was to be reserved from sale; to show by metes and bounds, on a properly prepared map, the parcels or tracts of land claimed by reason of improvement made thereon, or occupied by each and every such claimant and occupant on said reservation; to hear any and all proof offered by such claimants and occupants and the United States, in respect to said lands and the improvements thereon, and to finally determine the right of each claimant or occupant to purchase the same, or any portion thereof, at the appraised value fixed by said commissioners. They were also vested with the power to condemn and remove all buildings or obstructions upon the reservation, when the same were necessary to carry out the provisions of the act; fix the value of property condemned, and to issue a certificate or certificates therefor to persons owning the same. It was made the duty of the Secretary of the Interior within thirty days after said commissioners filed their report and map in his office, to instruct the land officers of Little Rock land district to allow the lands to be entered, and to cause a patent to be issued therefor; the claimant or occupant, his heirs, or legal representatives, in whose favor said commissioners had adjudicated, having the sole right to enter and pay for, within twelve months of public notice of right to enter, at the price fixed by said commissioners, the amount of land that they were entitled to purchase, as shown in the certificate issued in their favor. Upon failure to pay the valuation appraised, within the time prescribed, the said lands, together with all other lands, that no one has an adjudicated right to purchase under the act, are to be sold at public sale to the highest bidder for not less than their appraised valuation.

The moneys obtained from the sale of these lands are to be paid into the Treasury in the same manner as other moneys arising from the sale of public lands, and held for the purpose specified and for the further disposal of Congress.

Under the provisions of the act cited, the President, on the 30th March, 1877, appointed the following commissioners: A. H. Cragin of New Hampshire, John Coburn of Indiana, and M. L. Stearns of Florida. Their term of office was for one year, and in 1878 provision was made by Congress for an extension of their time, but owing to an unfortunate omission in the engrossing of the bill, the proviso relating to the Hot Springs failed to become a law; Congress, however, on the 16th of December, 1878, authorized the continuance of the commission for one year, and the same gentlemen were re-appointed by the President.

A preliminary report recently received from the commissioners justifies the belief that their work is about completed and that the requirements of the statute relating to their duties will be fully complied with before the expiration of their term of office. Their labors have been arduous, and, from their nature, somewhat embarrassing; yet they appear to have been performed with a conscientious desire to do justice to all claimants without doing injustice to the interests of the government. If the final results of their labor shall prove as satisfactory as the zeal and good judgment already shown, they will be entitled to great credit for the just settlement of vexed questions and for the laying out of a plan which, if carried out by the citizens of Hot Springs, will make that place a most attractive resort for those who seek its pure air and curative waters.

The efficacy of the waters of Hot Springs has been conclusively proven by the many remarkable cures which have followed their judicious use. When their virtues become more widely known, these springs will doubtless be visited by thousands who are now strangers to their curative powers. To secure to invalids the fullest possible benefit of these waters, without incurring those impositions which too often mark the possessory rights of monopolies, was doubtless one of the principal objects which prompted Congress to reserve from sale this reservation by the act of 1832, and to direct the permanent reservation of the mountain upon which the springs are located in the act of March 3, 1877.

The reservation of these springs by the United States imposes upon the government certain responsibilities which it cannot, or ought not avoid. A town, doubtless at no distant day to be a city, is growing up around the borders of this reserved tract, and entirely dependent upon it for its prosperity. Whatever can be done properly by the government to secure and retain the full benefit of the waters under its control for the use of the people and the preservation of other health auxiliaries which are now in its possession should not be overlooked. In my opinion, all the mountains within the four townships should be withdrawn from sale. Their only value is in the fine growth of timber which covers them, and this timber is needed to protect the valley of Hot Springs and adjoining lands from the fierce rays of the sun. It would be impossible to foretell the result which would follow the denuding of these mountains; certainly it would be most disastrous. It is the opinion of scientific men resident in the valley, and others who have considered the subject, that the wooded heights surrounding Hot Springs are of vital importance to the comfort and health of its inhabitants, and that the government could confer no greater boon on the town than to secure by reservation the forests which crown the mountains in their vicinity. In this opinion I fully concur, and recommend that authority be given for the withdrawal from sale of these mountain tracts.

Provision should also be made for the reservation of a tract from the unadjudicated lands sufficient for the erection of a hospital for the use of the Army and Navy. The importance of this will sooner or later be recognized, and the United States should retain, while it has the opportunity, the land necessary for the purpose.

Authority should also be given to reserve for the use of the town, as a public park, the land now occupied as a cemetery. To place this on the market for sale for business or speculative purposes would be repugnant to the people whose friends and kindred are buried within the inclosure. While the necessity exists for the removal of the cemetery from its present site, the location should be given to the town whose dead it contains, with such restrictions as would secure its use for a public park. A site should also be retained for the erection of a charity hospital, whenever private or State benevolence provides the funds necessary for the purpose. Hundreds of the afflicted poor yearly seek these waters as a last resort. Many become paupers on the town or depend upon private charity for their daily bread. What is now felt as a hardship will in time become an unbearable evil, unless some organized effort is made to properly care for those whose poverty and sufferings commend them to public sympathy. To provide for this growing necessity a suitable tract should be reserved from sale.

The west line of the permanent reservation forms the east line of Valley street, the principal business throughfare in the town. A substantial stone wall, to retain the filling in of earth necessary to elevate the line of the reservation to the grade adopted by the commissioners, should be built at as early a day as possible. As this wall would be located on the permanent reservation, the expense of its construction should be borne by the United States. A plan has been submitted by the superintendent showing extent and cost of the improvements. It will call for about 72,000 cubic feet of masonry, and would cost about $15,000. Recognizing the importance of this work, and the propriety of its cost being borne by the United States, I recommend that the money collected for rents of Hot Springs and covered into the Treasury by the late receiver, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be appropriated by Congress for the building of this wall, and for grading the ground within the permanent reservation so as to conform to the proposed grade of Valley street.

The law governing the sale of the Hot Springs property should be so modified as to permit entry upon and purchase, within three months of date of notice, of the lands that no one has an adjudicated right to purchase. As the law now stands these tracts of land cannot be sold until after the expiration of fifteen months, so that the growth of the town, so far as the occupation of new land goes, must be practically suspended during that time.

While there are good reasons for allowing a year's time for payment to those who have an adjudicated right to purchase, I can conceive of none for withholding all the lands from sale during this year of grace, and three months beyond, to cover period of public notice.

The necessity for this modification is so apparent that I recommend it to the early and favorable consideration of Congress.

The reduction of the water rents at the last session of Congress has made it impossible to carry out the projected improvements upon the reservation, the amount received being barely sufficient to pay the salary of and expenses incurred by the superintendent. If the reduction was intended to benefit those who use the waters, it has failed in its purpose, for the charge for bathing remains the same, and the only ones favored are the bath-house keepers. Considering the necessity for a reliable and sufficient revenue to maintain and improve the reservation, I recommend that the old rates be reëstablished, so as to secure the funds necessary for the improvement of the reservation and the proper care and supervision of the grounds.


The superintendent of the Yellowstone Park reports the continuation of improvements by the opening of new roads and trails, building of bridges, and the construction of necessary buildings within the park for the accommodation of the force employed and protection of the property of the United States.

It has been suggested that measures should be taken to preserve upon this reservation specimens of the notable wild animals common to the country, but fast disappearing from the forests, mountains, and plains of the West. The American bison and buffalo, the elk, moose, and deer, and mountain sheep would thrive in the Yellowstone Park, and I am informed that certain portions of it could, with but little trouble, be so protected as to secure their immunity from destruction. The suggestion is a good one, and early direction should be given to carry it into practical effect.


The architect of the Capitol reports the completion, during the year, of many needed improvements in the Capitol building. He again calls attention to the insecure condition of the old Hall of Representatives, which, from its wooden partitions and roof, is liable to destruction by fire. Prompt measures should be taken to make this portion of the Capitol as nearly fire-proof as possible. The architect calls attention to the means employed for the ventilation of the building, and, for the purpose of securing a supply of purer air, suggests that the strip of government land running from the Botanical Garden to the government reservation at the junction of New Jersey and Virginia avenues be thickly planted with trees so, as to deflect any currents of air, tainted with malaria, which may come from the low lands along the Potomac. He reports the Capitol as in good repair, and suggests the importance of providing additional room for the growing demands of Congress. In his opinion the projection of the center portion of the building at the eastern front would be in accord with architectural beauty of proportion and furnish the room required.

As provided by the act of March 3, 1879, a fire-proof extension has been erected to the Government Printing Office.

Attention is called to the lighting of the Capitol by means of electricity. The voltaic battery formerly used in lighting the gas-jets has been superseded by the more economical dynamo-electric machines. Experiments are being conducted with a view to secure a steady electric light for the rotunda and the two chambers of Congress. Advances have been made in this direction, promising complete success, but no change in the method of lighting will be made until a steady electric light is secured.

Satisfactory work has been done upon the Capitol grounds in accordance with the plans originally adopted. The walks and pavements already laid thus far have proven durable, with a few exceptions; trees and shrubbery have been planted, and the general design of improvements is approaching completion. Since the introduction of the police, good order has been maintained upon the grounds and but little damage has been sustained by depredations.

The architect reports certain repairs upon the court-house of the city of Washington, and calls attention to the insecure condition of the land records of the District of Columbia stored therein. A large part of the upper story of this building is of wooden construction, and liable to fire. Greater security could be obtained at a small cost by removing the land records from the upper to the lower or basement floor, which is substantially fire-proof.

The expenditures on the Capitol Extension account for the year ended June 30, 1879, were $55,000, the amount of the appropriation.

The appropriation for extension of Government Printing Office was $43,800; amount expended to July 1, $14,244.57; leaving an unexpended balance at that time of $29,555.43. `

The expenditures on account of lighting the Capitol and grounds were $27,000, the amount of the appropriation.

The expenditures on account of the improvement of the Capitol grounds were $100,000.


The report of the Board of Visitors of the Hospital for the Insane contains interesting information pertaining to the condition and management of the institution.

The whole number of patients under treatment during the year was 1,015. Admitted during the year, 222. Males treated, 769; females, 246. The number discharged was, of recoveries, 92; improved, 37; unimproved, 4; died, 63; remaining in hospital June 30, 1879, 819, an excess of 26 over the same time last year.

The patients treated were, from the Army, 491; Navy, 51; civil life, 473. A statement is given of the sanitary history of those who died during the years 1878 and 1879; also in relation to the duration of their mental diseases. A table is given showing the nativity, as far as could be ascertained, of the 4,715 cases treated since the opening of the institution, together with the form of disease of those admitted. A tabular statement is also submitted showing the time of life at which the 4,715 cases became insane.

Carefully prepared tables are also submitted showing the history of the annual admissions since the opening of the hospital, with the discharges and deaths, and the number of patients of each year remaining June 30, 1879; also showing the mean annual mortality, proportion of recoveries, per cent. of the discharges, including deaths, for each year since the opening of the hospital. Attention is called to the crowded condition of the hospital and to the temporary arrangements made for the accommodation of some of the patients.

During the year buildings have been erected for hospital use; also for a bakery and laundry. They have been substantially built, and will prove of great service to the institution. Ample precautions have been taken to guard against fire by the erection of new hydrants, cisterns, and force-pumps, and by providing the necessary hose, ladders, buckets, and extinguishers.

The farm and garden belonging to the institution are reported as a source of health and profit. The products of both for the year are valued at $17,559.20, exclusive of products consumed on the farm, and valued at $5,421.

The receipts for the institution for the year were $176,809.41; $150,000 being from the Treasurer of the United States.

The estimates for the next fiscal year are, for support, clothing, and treatment of the insane, $175,000. For general repairs and improvements, $10,000. For special improvements, reservoirs and filters, additional accommodation for cattle, storage for hay, &c., a kitchen and scullery detached from main hospital, a “mortuary building,” and greenhouse, $25,000. For furnishing and fitting the relief building for occupation, $15,000. Good reasons are given for the appropriations asked for, and I recommend them to the favorable consideration of Congress.

The board of visitors refer to the necessity of having separate quarters provided for the female patients, and submit at length their own views, and those of the Association of Medical Superintendents of Institutions for the Insane, showing that separate accommodation for the sexes renders their care and treatment more easy and successful. I renew in this the recommendation formerly made in favor of the erection of the additional building for the accommodation of female patients. Aside from the advantages which must come from the separation of the sexes, the additional building is needed to provide for the growth of the institution. It is thought that at least three years will be required to complete the proposed edifice, and such appropriation as may be needed to begin the work should be made without delay.

The sanitary condition of the hospital, considering its overcrowded wards, has been excellent, and its general management has been creditable to those having charge of its affairs.


The twenty-second annual report of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb shows a favorable condition of its affairs. The total number of pupils in the institution at the date of the report, October 28, 1879, was 118, an increase of 48 since July 1, 1878.

The sanitary condition of the institution has been excellent, no death having occurred during the year, and no serious cases of sickness reported.

The course of instruction is essentially the same as that of previous years, and the educational progress of the pupils is reported as more gratifying than ever before. Instruction in articulation under Bell's system of visible speech has been satisfactory in all cases.

The receipts of the institution for the year ended June 30, 1879, were $55,202.56, of which $51,000 was from direct appropriation by Congress. The expenditures during the same period were $54,773.69, of which $29,348.71 was for salaries and wages.

The amount expended for improvements on buildings and grounds was $5,040.36

The estimates for the next fiscal year are, for the support of the institution, $53,500; for erection and fitting up of a gymnasium, and for improvements of the inclosure of the grounds, $14,388.60.


The report of the Freedmen’s Hospital shows the whole number of patients in the hospital during the year ended June 30, 1879, 904.

Admitted during the year, whites, 190; colored, 452; transients, 31; total, 673. Of this number 136 were white males, 34 white females; colored males, 247; females, 205. During the year 422 were discharged cured; 90 were relieved, and 140 died.

The Colored Orphans' Home and Asylum, containing 115, was furnished with medicines during the year.

Twenty-two hundred and seventy-four patients have been treated outside of the hospital, and about four thousand prescriptions have been put up for their use.

The report contains tables showing the place of nativity of the patients admitted, and the diseases for which they were treated both in the hospital and dispensary. The average cost of each patient, for subsistence, medicines, nursing, and clothing, is given at forty-five cents per day. The surgeon-in-chief concludes his report with the statement: “This is the only general hospital for the reception of all classes of patients within the District. Many of the patients are non-residents, and must be provided for somewhere by the general government when they fall sick in this city. The location of the hospital is central and healthy. Not a case of original malarial disease has been known to occur within the premises since they have been occupied for their present purpose, and only one case of typhoid fever.”


The annual report of this institution shows a gratifying condition of its affairs during the past year. Out of 299 cases treated in the hospital, only one death has occurred during the year.

The sanitary condition of the hospital is reported as satisfactory, and the general management of the surgeon in charge is commended by the board of directors and by the advisory board. The number of patients admitted during the year was 280. In hospital July 1, 1878, 19; total treated, 299; discharged, 272; remaining in hospital July 1, 1879, 27. The number treated in the dispensary connected with hospital, in addition to those admitted, was 418. Attention is called to the insufficiency of the present appropriation, and an additional amount is asked for the next fiscal year.


By act of July 1, 1879, the Secretary of the Interior Was authorized and directed to procure suitable and necessary rooms for the use and accommodation of the Court of Claims. In compliance with this requirement the first floor of the Freedmen’s Bank building was selected as offering the most available rooms that could be obtained in a fire-proof structure. A lease from October 1, 1879, to the end of the current fiscal year was entered into, and the rooms having been suitably fitted up and furnished, so far as the limited appropriation would permit, are now occupied by the court.



The governor of Utah reports unusual drought during the past season, and serious effects therefrom on the crops of the Territory; the production in grain, vegetables, fruit, and hay being not more than one-half the usual amount.

The snows which fall in the mountains and remain there during the summer provide the main supply of water necessary for irrigation. During last winter but little snow fell, hence the short supply and the deficiency in the crops. Some of the largest streams in the Territory have gone dry; something never before known to the oldest settlers. Even the Great Salt Lake has fallen four or five feet. Stock has suffered severely on the mountain ranges. Despite the season's failure it is believed that the production will be sufficient to supply the wants of the people during the year.

On the subject of grazing lands the governor favors the adoption of some system by which title can be secured to larger tracts than are now allowed by law. Attention is called to the defects in the present mining laws, and suggestions are made as to the amendments necessary. The governor holds that “a man’s patent to his mine should be a perfect title to the property covered by his patent, and parties purchasing patented mines should be required to trace titles no further than to the patentees.” He also favors the granting of a larger surface area, and the confinement of rights within the lines granted. In other words, a mining claim should be as definite, so far as its boundaries go, as that of a city lot, and the right to work should be confined within the perpendicular lines of its side and end. Following the dip of mineral veins on the ground of other parties is, in his opinion, the fruitful source of litigation.

Peaceful relations have been maintained with the Indians during the past year. A majority have abandoned their tribal relations, and have taken up small farms in various localities, which are being worked to advantage.

The mining interests of Utah are reported as in a most excellent condition; the introduction of new methods of reducing ore causing larger profits to be realized than were possible in former years.

From the year 1870 to 1878, inclusive, the Utah board of trade reports, as taken from the books of the Utah Central Railroad, the shipment from Salt Lake City of 76,912 tons of lead ore, 109,276 tons of argentiferous lead bullion, and 8,197 tons of lead, worth in the aggregate about $40,000,000 The value of the ores taken out during the past three years was $18,558,805.48; of this, $5,379,446 was lead, the remainder being the precious metals.

The finances are reported in good condition. There is no indebtedness unprovided for. Territorial scrip which four years ago sold for 40 cents on the dollar, to-day is worth 98. Taxation is equitable, and provides for the necessary expenses of the Territory.

During the past year one hundred and fifty miles of additional railroad have been built.


The governor of Washington Territory reports satisfactory advancement in the development of the agricultural, manufacturing, mining, and commercial resources of the Territory. Its isolated position and the misconception existing in relation to its climate and productions have tended to prevent its rapid growth.

Situated between the forty-sixth and forty-ninth degrees of north latitude, its climate is generally believed to be cold, and yet the results of careful observation show that the climate of Western Washington is mild, during the winter months the temperature seldom falling below the freezing point. A tabular statement is given, showing the character of the climate throughout the year, based on accurate meteorological observations taken at Port Blakeley, on Puget Sound, in latitude 47° 36'. It would appear from this statement that the lowest temperature during a period of twenty-six months was 25° above zero. The highest in 1877 was 88°; in 1878, 94°; and in 1879, 86°.

The average rainfall is about the same as in the Eastern and Western States. The mildness of the climate is due to the presence of the thermal current, having its origin at the equator, near the one hundred and thirtieth degree of east longitude, Greenwich, and which flows northwardly to the Aleutian Islands, where it separates one branch flowing eastwardly, along the peninsula of Alaska, and then southwardly, along the coast of British Columbia, Washington Territory, and Oregon.

The prevailing winds during the winter are from the southwest, and those of the summer from the northwest.

The temperature of Eastern Washington as compared with the western division is slightly higher during the summer and lower during the winter.

The average annual temperature is reported as follows: Spring, 52°, summer, 73°, autumn, 53°, winter, 34°.

All the cereals, fruits, and vegetables grown within the temperate zone can be raised in Washington Territory. Eastern Washington is the great wheat field of the Territory, with a capacity for upwards of one hundred millions of bushels. The average yield is twenty-five bushels to the acre.

The exportation of wheat during the present year will be upwards of 60,000 tons. Transportation facilities are inadequate to the demand and will so continue until the obstructions are removed at the Dalles, Cascades, and other points on the Columbia River. To secure the removal of these obstructions, liberal appropriations should be made by Congress.

The exports of the Territory have been the cereals and wool, flour, live stock, canned salmon, fish, lumber, coal, potatoes, hops, hides, barrels, lime, &c.

The export of coal during the year was 190,000 tons; lumber, 150,000,000 feet; salmon, 160,000 cases of forty-eight cans each, or a total of 7,680,000 cans.

The population of the Territory on the first of May last, was 57,784, an increase of 7,273 over last year.

The recent transfer of the non-treaty Indians in Eastern Washington to a reservation on the west side of the Okinakane River, has removed all danger of collision between the two races, and will no doubt prevent difficulty in the future.


The report from New Mexico gives interesting and valuable information relative to the resources of that Territory.

The three leading interests are mineral, grazing, and agricultural; manufacturing is confined almost exclusively to jewelry, of which very exquisite work in filigree is produced in Santa Fé, mostly from gold and silver native to the Territory.

But little advancement has been made in agriculture. Its present condition is very primitive, the old Mexican wooden plow still holding preference with the farmers. The little produced is with a view to satisfy local consumption. Wheat and oat fields, as rich as any in Illinois and Minnesota, may be seen six or seven thousand feet above the level of the sea. The grape is easily raised, is free from disease, and affords a good quality of wine.

The area of agricultural production cannot be even approximately given. All irrigable lands, wherever found in the Territory, may be classed as productive or farming land.

The Rio Grande Valley, about four hundred miles in length by an average of five in width, has a soil light, warm, and surpassingly rich. Not more than one-tenth of this land is occupied. Fruits succeed admirably in this locality, although the varieties at present cultivated, except the grape, are of the poorest kind.

The valley of the Pecos River is almost entirely devoted to grazing purposes. Like the valley of the Rio Grande its soil is rich when properly irrigated, and its climate healthy and delightful.

The Mesilla Valley, like the two mentioned, is inviting both for agricultural and grazing purposes. The vast tracts of table lands bordering the valleys are too high for irrigation, but yield grasses of the richest kind for cattle and sheep raising. With such unlimited ranges, stock raising has become a profitable industry, with promise of substantial growth in the future.

In relation to the mineral resources, the governor is of the opinion that New Mexico will compare favorably with her neighbors in the yield of precious metals.

Although the era of prospecting has hardly given place to that of development, enough is already known to warrant the assertion that the Territory is well stored with gold, silver, iron, copper, lead, zinc, mica, gypsum, coal, marble, and precious stones.

The coal croppings in Socorro and Colfax Counties, and on the Galisteo River, indicate an inexhaustible supply both of bituminous and anthracite. Cannel coal is also found in the Territory. No attention is being paid to the production of iron, although it is to be found, more or less, in every mountain range.

The same may be said of copper, lead, and mica, while gypsum is so common that it is hardly a merchantable commodity.

Silver and gold are to be found in many localities, and many mines are being worked to advantage. The great drawback at the present time is the want of water.

Mention is made of the numerous hot springs in the Territory.

The waters of many of these have well-determined curative properties, and at Las Vegas elaborate preparations are being made for the care and entertainment of guests and invalids.

An approximate estimate gives the territory a population of 125,250. The Pueblo or town Indians are estimated at 9,000, and the wild Indians at 14,500.

The school system established in 1871 shows commendable progress, although much remains yet to be done. No steps have been taken to make available the lands set apart for the schools of the Territory.

The Territory is without benevolent institutions, nor is there a penitentiary within its borders.

The latter is a necessity that should be provided for without delay.

Neglect to erect a suitable institution for the keeping of criminals has been a fruitful source of crime. The governor recommends that Congress take immediate steps to provide a suitable building for the purpose named.

The report concludes with a statement giving the results of certain observations relating to the climate of the Territory.

From this it would appear that the central portion has a delightful and healthy climate. The prevailing diseases are rheumatism and catarrh, while consumption is almost unknown.


Dakota is the largest of the organized Territories, containing about 150,000 square miles, or an area nearly equal to Pennsylvania, New York, and all the New England States combined.

The governor reports the present year as on of unexampled prosperity. Although the crops in some of the southeastern counties were partially destroyed by drought and grasshoppers, those of other sections have been excellent.

The products of the Black Hills mines are estimated at $3,000,000 for the past year. Immigration has been larger than in previous years. In the absence of accurate returns, the population of the Territory can only be approximately given at 160,000.

Railroad facilities are being largely increased, about 400 miles being already completed, with a promise of at least 500 miles by January next.

The educational interests of the Territory are in a satisfactory condition, the schools having increased in number and improved in character. Churches have multiplied, and greater respect is shown for the law than formerly.

The present need of the Territory, and one that Congress should supply at an early day, is a suitable penitentiary for the confinement of criminals.

An institution for the care and education of the deaf and dumb and the blind is also needed. It is suggested that provision should be made for the organization of at least three companies of militia: one for Southeastern Dakota, one for Northern Dakota, and one for the Black Hills.

The governor concludes his report by giving his views on the question of erecting within the present limits of Dakota other territorial governments. He favors the division, and is of the opinion that two or three Territories could be advantageously formed out of the present area.


The governor of Idaho reports the year as one of thrift and prosperity. Agriculture and mining have been remunerative, schools have been encouraged, and good health has prevailed. With the advent of railroads and improvements in highways a large immigration may reasonably be expected.

The numerous streams of Idaho afford facilities for irrigation in those sections where rain is infrequent, while the lands of Northern Idaho can be cultivated without resort to artificial means. The governor describes the methods employed for irrigation and the encouraging results which ensue therefrom. He favors government aid in the effort to reclaim lands for cultivation, and the adoption of some system by which large tracts may be secured by individuals willing to expend their capital in building the necessary works for irrigating purposes. The reasons given for the inauguration of a more liberal public policy in the disposal of lands that can be profitably worked only by an expensive system of irrigation are worthy of special consideration.

The timber supply of the Territory is abundant, but a reckless disregard for the public interests has marked its destruction for years past. In addition to the waste of timber by man, the fires which constantly sweep the mountains destroy a greater amount than is taken for consumption by the entire population.

He recommends taking prompt steps to prevent wanton destruction, and thinks this can best be done by transferring the ownership of timbered lands from the government to the people most interested in their use and preservation, under a system which will provide for inspection and valuation, for their sale at entry or auction, at or above minimum prices carefully adjusted.

Since 1863 the gold and silver product of Idaho has amounted to about $67,000,000. As there is no law requiring miners or public officers to make returns, only approximate estimates can be given. The improved methods employed in reducing the ores and the increasing facilities for transportation will in the future largely augment the annual yield of the precious metals.

The condition of the Indians of Idaho remains substantially as at the date of last year's report. Few depredations have been committed, and these by detached parties not under the control of agencies. The people, consequent upon the disturbances of 1877 and 1878, cherish a bitter feeling against all Indians, and this oftentimes leads to great injustice. In this connection the governor says: “It is not well to disguise the fact that there is among our population a chronic feeling of distrust and hostility towards all Indians, so active in possible results that, in a recent interview with a body of Shoshone and Bannock Indians at the Fort Hall Agency, I made it my duty to warn them to remain upon their reservation and refrain from visiting white settlements unprotected.”

The remedy suggested by the governor for existing evils and growing embarrassments is the early abolition of tribal relations, the giving of lands to the Indians in severalty, with restrictions upon their alienation, the doing away with extensive reservations, and the extension over all Indians of the laws of the United States, with rights and obligations suitable to their condition and future wants.

The governor discusses the theory of Territorial government, the necessity which gave rise to its organization, and the crude national and local legislation which from time to time has been had to provide for its necessities. He says “there is no compacted and consistent body of national law concerning the Territories. Acts have been passed, sections amended, overlapped, and repealed, and special features introduced to fit special cases, until they lie along the pages of our legislative history in broken fragments like wrecks on the seashore after a storm. Common people, whose interests are in daily jeopardy, cannot understand them; lawyers are paid for disagreeing on their meaning, and judges, when failing from its obscurity to ascertain what the law is, are compelled to decide what it ought to be.”

The mining laws especially need revision; and in the governor’s opinion Congress should pass a comprehensive and carefully-revised act, covering the mining field, clearly defining all rights and remedies, and leaving but little scope for local legislation. It is also suggested that Congress interpose for the protection of agricultural interests by preventing the monopoly of the streams of the Territory by private individuals or corporations. The usufruct of natural streams should be guarded by stringent laws, so that the water needed by the many should not be monopolized by the few. The laws relating to the holding of the United States courts need revision. The powers and duties of judges, especially in vacation; the mode of enforcing attendance of jurors and witnesses; the manner of impaneling grand and petit juries should be made more effective, and be more clearly defined.

The inadequacy of present compensation to public officials in the Territory, and the insufficient appropriations for contingent expenses, are alluded to as sources of much embarrassment.

The finances of the Territory are reported to be in a satisfactory condition, and the debt of the Territory is gradually being reduced.

No reports have as yet been received from the governors of Arizona, Wyoming, and Montana.


The restoration of the Interior Department building is progressing as rapidly as the nature of the work of reconstruction will permit. The roof on the north wing is completed, and that of the west wing will soon be finished. The engineer in charge expresses the opinion that both wings will be ready for occupancy before the close of the present fiscal year, and that the cost of the work will not exceed the amount appropriated.

This portion of the building, when completed, will be substantially fire-proof, will contain about one-third more case-room than was before available, and, both in architectural beauty and in durability of construction, will be a great improvement over the old halls.

Under the capable management of Adolph Cluss, who designed the plan for reconstruction, and who was appointed engineer by the commission having the restoration in charge, the work thus far has been well and economically done.

The attention of Congress is called to the necessity of authorizing the construction of a new and fire-proof roof for the south and east wings, similar to the one designed for the north and west wings. The roof which now covers this portion of the building is little better than a tinder-box, and is liable at any time to be destroyed by fire. The copper roofing is laid upon a covering of boards, and these are fastened to light wooden rafters. The space beneath is traversed by numerous smoke-flues, many of which run horizontally for considerable distances. These imperfect and badly constructed flues are liable at any time to get out of order and endanger the safety of the building. I regard the recovering of this portion of the building with a fire-proof roof as absolutely necessary, and earnestly recommend that an appropriation sufficient for the purpose be made at as early a day as possible.

It is deemed advisable to substitute for the rotten wooden joists and lathing of the ceilings of the first story of the north wing, iron lathing fastened to iron frames; replaster and repaint the rooms and hall damaged by the fire, and to repair the brickwork and plastering of the arched ceiling of the west wing. This work was not included in the original estimates for the reconstruction of the building, and therefore an additional appropriation of $10,000 is asked for.

An appropriation of $6,000 is also recommended for the construction of a hydraulic elevator in the north wing, with approved safety apparatus, including a steam-boiler of steel, water-supply, steam-pump pressure, and discharge tanks, all of sufficient size to work, if necessary, two elevators and the necessary machinery.

It is estimated that it will cost $160,000 to properly fit up the two reconstructed wings with fire-proof model-cases, consisting of wrought-iron frames and doors, plate-glass fronts, and fluted-glass shelves. The necessary cases of hard wood finished in good style would cost about $90,000, but, as these would supply an amount of combustible material which might at any time endanger the best system of fire-proof construction, their adoption is not deemed advisable. Although the difference in cost between iron and wood cases would appear considerable, I am satisfied that it would be wise economy to have all model-cases in the future constructed of iron, and I therefore recommend that the necessary appropriation be made for this purpose.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


The President.
  1. This amount has been already deposited in the Treasury by the Central Pacific Railroad Company.
  2. This amount has been already deposited in the Treasury by the Central Pacific Railroad Company.
  3. This amount has been already deposited in the Treasury by the Central Pacific Railroad Company.