Report of the Secretary of the Interior/1880
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
Department of the Interior,
Washington, November 1, 1880.
Sir: In submitting to you my last annual report on the operations of this department, with such suggestions as, in my judgment, it would be profitable to the public interest to adopt, I beg leave to pass in rapid review the policies followed in some of the most important branches of the public service under my supervision during the period of the present administration.
When I took charge of this department the opinion seemed to be generally prevailing that it were best for the Indians to be gathered together, upon a few large reservations where they could be kept out of contact with the white population, and where their peaceful and orderly conduct might be enforced by a few strong military posts. It was, perhaps, natural that, with limited knowledge of the character and needs of the Indians, and no experience in their management, I should at first accept that opinion, for the very reason that it was entertained by many who might have been regarded as competent authorities upon the subject. This view had already been acted upon to some extent before this administration came into office. It involved the removal of Indian tribes and bands from the lands they occupied, with their consent freely or reluctantly and doubtfully given, and in some cases the breaking up of beginnings of civilized occupations in their old homes. It was believed that this policy would be apt to keep the Indians out of hostile collision with their white neighbors, and in exclusive and congenial contact with their own kind, and thus prevent disturbances on the part of the Indians themselves and encroachments by the whites. Some measures of this nature had been carried out, and others were, indeed, not initiated, but executed during the early part of this administration. I refer especially to the removal to the Indian Territory of the Pawnees, of the Northern Cheyennes, and the Poncas, which I have found good reason very much to regret.
More extensive observation and study of the matter gradually convinced me that this was a mistaken policy; that it would be vastly better for the Indians and more in accordance with justice as well as wise expediency to respect their home-attachments, to leave them upon the lands they occupied, provided such lands were capable of yielding them a sustenance by agriculture or pastoral pursuits, and to begin and follow up the practice of introducing among them the habits and occupations of civilized life on the ground they inhabited. It became also clear to me that the maintenance of the system of large reservations against the pressure of white immigration and settlement would in the course of time become impracticable. The policy of changing, shifting, and consolidating reservations for the purpose above stated was therefore abandoned, except in cases where the lands held by the Indians were not capable of useful development, and other lands better adapted to their advancement could be assigned to them.
The policy which, during the larger part of this administrative period, was pursued as a fixed line of conduct is the following: to respect such rights as the Indians have in the land they occupy; to make changes only where such lands were found to be unsuitable for agriculture and herding; to acquaint the Indians with the requirements of civilized life by education; to introduce among them various kinds of work, by practical impulse and instruction; gradually to inspire them with a sense of responsibility through the ownership of private property and a growing dependence for their support upon their own efforts; to afford to them all facilities of trade consistent with their safety, as to the disposition of the products of their labor and industry for their own advantage; to allot to them lands in severalty with individual ownership, and a fee-simple title inalienable for a certain period; then, with their consent and for their benefit, to dispose of such lands as they cannot cultivate and use themselves, to the white settlers; to dissolve, by gradual steps, their tribal cohesion, and merge them in the body politic as independent and self-relying men invested with all the rights which other inhabitants of the country possess.
Having thus fixed the ultimate end to be accomplished as well as indicated in general terms the means by which it is to be reached, in the shape of a clearly-defined policy, the department proceeded not only to continue the promotion of those civilizing influences which already had been set to work, but also to add others which so far had not been adopted.
AGRICULTURE AND HERDING.
In their agricultural pursuits the Indians have made commendable progress during the period of this administration. The uncivilized Indians have during the past year broken 27,105 acres of land; they have cultivated 168,340; they raised 408,812 bushels of wheat, 604,103 bushels of corn, 224,899 bushels of oats and barley, 375,843 bushels of vegetables; they cut 23,245 tons of hay; they owned 211,981 horses; they had 78,939 head of cattle, 40,381 swine, and 864,216 sheep; they occupied 12,507 houses, they built during the year 1,639. The civilized tribes in the Indian Territory cultivated this year 314,398 acres; raised 336,424 bushels of wheat, 2,346,042 bushels of corn, 124,568 bushels of oats and barley, 595,000 bushels of vegetables, cut 124,000 tons of bay, and raised 16,800 bales of cotton. The uncivilized and the civilized Indians, therefore, together cultivated 482,738 acres; that is about one and three-quarters acres to each man, woman, and child, assuming the estimate that the whole Indian population is about 250,000 to be correct. They raised 745,236 bushels of wheat, 2,950,145 bushels of corn, 349,467 bushels of oats and barley, 970,843 bushels of vegetables, and 16,800 bales of cotton; they cut 201,245 tons of hay. I find in the statistics of 1876, the year before this administration came into power, that the quantity of wheat raised was 483,619 bushels, inclusive of 20,365 raised by the government employés at the agencies; 2,257,428 bushels of corn, inclusive of 27,968 bushels raised by the government employés; 155,112 bushels of oats and barley, inclusive of 20,332 raised by government employés; 313,254 bushels of vegetables, inclusive of 35,205 bushels by government employés; 116,097 tons of hay cut, inclusive of 92,882 by government employés. In addition to that there were 354 tons of melons raised, inclusive of 51 by government employés, and 924 tons of pumpkins, inclusive of 48 raised by government employés. It would appear from these statistics that the agricultural labor by the Indians since 1876 has been well nigh doubled in quantity and value. It may be remarked here that with every year these statistics are becoming more accurate and reliable; formerly they consisted in great part of mere rough estimates.
It is my firm belief that the agricultural industry of the Indians would be greatly stimulated and its product very much increased if assurance were given to them that they will be secure in the possession of their lands. I find that in a considerable number of cases Indians are not as willing as they should be to make permanent improvements for the avowed reason that they entertain doubts as to whether those improvements will redound to their own benefit. From all sides requests made by Indians are brought to the knowledge of the department that the government should give them such a title to their lands as is held by white men. I consider it therefore of the highest importance that the measure I urgently recommended allotting agricultural lands among the Indians in severalty, and giving them individual title inalienable for a certain period, be enacted without delay. The number of those who still desire to adhere to their old habits of life, seeking their sustenance by the chase or depending entirely upon supplies furnished by the government is rapidly decreasing. Care has been taken to convince them that the disappearance of game and the constantly progressing settlement of the country by whites are rendering a change in their occupations absolutely inevitable; and that conviction is taking possession of their minds to a greater extent than ever before. It may be said that exceptions to this rule are becoming rare, and that if now proper measures are taken to secure them in the individual ownership of land, and to aid them liberally in their agricultural pursuits by furnishing them implements and cattle, they will in a comparatively short space of time result in the permanent settlement of most of those tribes and bands which but a few years ago were roaming through the country as savages.
OTHER THAN AGRICULTURAL PURSUITS.
One of the most fruitful measures of the present administration has been the introduction of freighting and mechanical pursuits among the Indians. In last year's report I had the pleasure to state that the experiment of employing Indians as freighters with their own ponies had been completely successful. This year's experience has been such as to confirm my conviction that this measure has in its effects been one of the most beneficent innovations ever made in Indian management. The Indians so employed have not only continued to prove themselves the most faithful, efficient, trustworthy, and economical freighters the government ever had, but they have become fond of this occupation, and gradually more skilled in carrying it on. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs reports that the Kiowas and Comanches in the Indian Territory, and the Sioux at the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Agencies, have transported during the past year not less than eight million pounds of supplies and annuity goods, over distances of 165, 160, 200, and 92 miles, respectively; and in compensation therefor, they have received the sum of $115,900, which, although appearing large, has been a considerable saving compared with the amounts formerly paid to white transportation contractors. "So popular has this branch of industry become, that the demands of the Indians for freighting are largely in excess of the quantity of government freight to be transported; and the letting of a transportation contract for Indian goods to a white man would be deemed an infringement on their rights and privileges." * * * "Skill and care in the management of their teams, despatch in the handling and forwarding of the freight, and absolute honesty and trustworthiness in the care of the goods in transitu, have characterized the Indian transportation service; not a package has been lost, not a case or bale broken open or tampered with. The success of the enterprise has made it a permanent feature in the policy of Indian civilization."
At the beginning of this administration no freighting was done by Indians. Last year the number of Indian freight wagons running was stated at 1,356. This year it has been nearly 2,000. Indian freighting has been gradually introduced at the Cheyenne and Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche, Devil's Lake, Sisseton, Fort Hall, Osage, Kaw, Pawnee, Ponca, Oakland, Sac and Fox, Pottawatomie, White Earth, Great Nemaha, Western Shoshone, Grand Ronde, Siletz, Warm Spring, Green Bay, Yakama, Shoshone, Rosebud, and Pine Ridge Agencies, and in addition to this the Uintah Utes have this fall undertaken to transport the goods and supplies purchased for them.
In several instances I have seen Indian freighters employed by white people living near the Indian camps, and I have no doubt that this industry can be greatly extended aside from the transportation of government goods. It has introduced thousands of Indians formerly idle and shiftless to habits of industry, inspired them with a desire to earn money and accustomed them to its prudent use.
In my report of last year I stated the number of Indian youth learning trades in various work-shops at the agencies and elsewhere as 185. This number has since been increased to 358. The policy of employing Indians as workmen and even as foremen and machinists at the agencies has been continued and extended with great success. Brick-making has been begun. Houses for the Indians are now almost exclusively built by the Indians themselves. The aptitude shown by the Indians for mechanical work has in many cases been surprising and deserves every possible encouragement.
Expressions of an anxious desire on the part of the Indians belonging to the so-called wild tribes to have their children instructed in the ways of civilized life have grown so numerous and urgent, that the inadequacy of the means placed at the disposal of the department for this purpose has become particularly painful. I stated in my last report that mere day schools upon the Indian reservations have, in many respects, proved an insufficient agency for the education of Indian youth. The simple reason is that they do not withdraw the pupils from the influences of their home surroundings in such a manner as to facilitate a change in their habits of daily life. To this end boarding-schools are required, where pupils can be instructed, not only in the elementary branches of knowledge, but also in house-work, mechanical pursuits, and other civilized occupations. In fact it is just as necessary to teach Indian children how to live as how to read and write. The appropriations made by Congress permitted the opening of only three additional boarding-schools during the past year; but arrangements were made for erecting eleven school buildings the coming season, and for the establishment of thirteen new schools of that kind, which, however, will satisfy the demands of only a limited number of Indians who have so far been without such facilities. In order to put these schools in full operation, further appropriations by Congress at the next session will be required. I desire to call special attention to the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs upon this subject. He sets forth plainly how utterly insufficient the means at the disposal of the department have been so far to afford to even one-half of the Indian children on the different reservations the most necessary educational facilities; and I deem it my duty to repeat that false economy in this respect at the present moment, when the desire for the education of their children is so general and so urgent among the Indians. would be particularly unwise.
In my report of last year I spoke of the promising results of Indian education at the normal school at Hampton, Va., under the direction of General Armstrong. The number of Indian children at that establishment is being considerably increased. The institution has been visited by many persons interested in that important work, and the gratifying results gained have been evident to all.
Last year I spoke also of the Indian school at Carlisle, then just established by this department, under the superintendency of Captain Pratt, as an experiment. It may now be said that it is a mere experiment no longer. The progress made by the Indian pupils there as well as at Hampton in the acquisition of elementary knowledge as well as in agricultural and mechanical work has been sufficient to demonstrate the capacity of the Indian for civilized pursuits. The pupils are instructed not only in the English language, in reading, writing, lower mathematics, geography, &c., but the girls are educated in household work, and a considerable number of the boys are employed as apprentices in blacksmithing, carpentering, shoemaking, harness making, wagon building, tin smithing, tailoring, in a printing office, and in farm work. The progress made by some of them has been remarkably rapid, and in almost all cases satisfactory. The number of pupils at Carlisle has been increased to 196. Some of the products of their labor were exhibited at the county fair, and attracted general and favorable attention. The school is now able to produce some articles to be used at the different Indian agencies, such as shoes, tin ware, harness, and wagons, and when the pupils return to their tribes they can be profitably employed, not only as practical mechanics but also as instructors of their people.
A similar school has been established at Forest Grove in Oregon, under the superintendency of Lieutenant Wilkinson, for the education of Indian boys and girls on the Pacific Coast. It has been in operation since February last, and is conducted upon the same principles and with equal success as the schools at Hampton and Carlisle. It has now 40 pupils, representing six different tribes, but the buildings erected are large enough to accommodate 150. There are many applications for admission which will be gratified as funds can be made available for that purpose. Instructions have been given to increase the number of pupils to one hundred. In addition to this, during last year 36 children have been selected from the tribe of Eastern Cherokees and placed in boarding schools in North Carolina, 12 girls at Asheville and 12 boys each at Weaverville and Trinity College, where, aside from elementary instruction, they are to receive training in industrial pursuits. The Indian pupils at Hampton represent thirteen different agencies. At Carlisle there are boys and girls belonging to various bauds of the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, Comanches, Pawnees, Menomonees, Iowas, Sac and Fox, Lipans, Poncas, Nez Percés, Wichitas, Apaches, and Pueblos. About two-thirds of them are children of chiefs and prominent men. A school committee of chiefs and headmen from nine Sioux Agencies on the Missouri River visited Carlisle and Hampton last summer. Likewise delegations from the Lake Superior Chippewas, the Crows, the Shoshones and Bannacks of Idaho, and the Cheyennes and Arapahoes of the Indian Territory. They were all highly delighted with the care taken of the children and the progress they had made in the arts of the white man, and promised their active support and co-operation.
The favor which these schools find with the influential men of the different Indian tribes is of great importance as to the effect to be produced upon the advancement of the Indians generally. Formerly it was thought that Indian children so educated would speedily relapse into the savage habits of their people as soon as they returned to them. This was true as long as all the home influences to be found among the Indian tribes were hostile to the education of any of their members, and those who had received such an education found themselves therefore isolated and despised. This obstructive spirit has now been superseded by a very general and anxious desire of Indian chiefs and influential men to see their children raised in the scale of civilization, and the same influences which formerly were so effective in driving educated Indians back into the savage habits of the multitude surrounding them are now employed in turning the education received by a comparatively few to the advantage of the many. The circumstances surrounding the educated Indian when now returning to his tribe are therefore radically changed. In the old time the educated Indian would have found his people thinking of nothing but their savage pursuits and pleasures, incapable of appreciating his superior knowledge and accomplishments, rather inclined to deride them as useless. Now he will find multitudes of parents anxious to have their children educated like him, and, if possible, to employ him for that purpose. An Indian wagon or harness maker returning to a wild Indian tribe years ago would have found no wagons or harness upon which to practice his skill; but sent back there now, when wagons and harness are in general and profitable use, that skill will be in active and general requisition. And so it is in many other things. I therefore feel warranted in saying that the results gained by this system of education will no longer be apt to pass away as before, but, if properly pursued, will be lasting and generally beneficial. It is, under such circumstances, scarcely necessary to characterize the charge recently made, that Indian children were taken to Hampton and Carlisle by force, against the will of their parents, as utterly groundless. On the contrary, the number of applications on the part of Indian parents to have their children admitted to these schools has been far in excess of our means to accommodate them.
A considerable number of the Indian boys and girls at Hampton and Carlisle have, during the summer vacation, been intrusted to the care of private families in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, where they have received very valuable lessons in household economy and farming,. and where they were under the elevating influence of cultivated homes. Their conduct has been generally commended. The number of Indian children educated in these schools is at present necessarily small in proportion to the whole number of children of school age; but the system is capable of great extension, if only the necessary means are provided. It is a mere question of money and of wise and active supervision. In no direction could money be more usefully employed. The success of the schools at Hampton and Carlisle has attracted the sympathy of many benevolent men and women throughout the country, and I have to express my thanks to them for valuable donations with which the schools have been aided. But the continuance and development of these government institutions cannot and ought not to depend upon private munificence. So far the expenses have been defrayed from the civilization fund at the disposal of this Department; but that fund has already beeu largely drawn upon in establishing and sustaining Indian education at these institutions, and cannot be depended upon to last much longer, especially if the system is extended as it should be. The continuance of this work will then depend upon specific appropriations by Congress, and I cannot too warmly recommend this subject to the favorable consideration of our legislators. As each school is capable of taking care of only a limited number of pupils, the number of such institutions should be increased. There are government buildings no longer used which might be profitably employed for that purpose, and they certainly can be used for no worthier object. It is in contemplation to establish another Indian school of this kind in some unoccupied public buildings id the neighborhood of Washington, where it would be easily accessible for the inspection of members of Congress, and I hope this plan may soon be carried out.
Another civilizing agency largely introduced under the present administration was the organization of a police force consisting of Indians. It has been put in operation at forty agencies and the force consists now of 162 officers and 653 privates. The duties of the policemen, performed under the direction of the agent, consist in acting as guards at annuity payments and rendering assistance and preserving order during ration issues and protecting agency buildings and property; in returning truant pupils to school; in searching for and returning lost or stolen property, whether belonging to Indians or white men; in preventing depredations on timber and the introduction of whisky on the reservation; in arresting or driving off whisky-sellers, horse and cattle thieves; in making arrests for disorderly conduct, drunkenness, wife-beating, theft, and other offenses; in turning over offenders to the civil authorities; in serving as couriers and messengers; in keeping the agents informed as to births and deaths in the tribe; in notifying him of the arrival on the reservation of strangers—whites or Indians; in accompanying and protecting surveying parties, and, in general, such other duties as in civilized communities are intrusted to an organized police force.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs states that "special reports as to the character and efficiency of the services rendered by the police have recently been called for from its agents by this bureau, and those reports bear uniform testimony to the value and reliability of the police service, and to the fact that its maintenance, which was at first undertaken as an experiment, is now looked upon as a necessity."
But no less important than the police services rendered is the moral influence which this institution is apt to exercise upon the tribes among which it is active. It impresses the minds of the Indians with the authority of law; it discountenances and discourages their traditional practice of taking personal revenge for injuries received; it imbues them with a sense of duty and individual responsibility; it accustoms a considerable number of young men among them to a moral discipline formerly unknown to them; it inspires them with the pride of good conduct, as only men of exemplary habits are kept in the police force, it being the rule that every one of them who renders himself guilty of any transgression affecting his character is immediately discharged; it strengthens the authority of the government as against that of the chiefs by the active support of the Indians themselves, and thus prepares them for the dissolution of their tribal relations and their incorporation in the great body of the American people. In all these respects the effect of the police service upon the tribes has been very marked. I have repeatedly recommended that the pay of Indian policemen, now fixed at $5 per month for privates and $8 for officers, be increased. It is essential that the best young men of each tribe be obtainable for the police force, but the rate of pay is so low that young Indians can easily earn much higher wages as freighters and laborers, and it is a subject of great dissatisfaction among them that a policeman, who considers himself the soldier of the government, should receive only one third of what an Indian scout in the military service receives for the discharge of duties no more important. The consequence is, that as the different tribes progress in civilization it becomes more difficult to obtain good young men for the police force. At two agencies the force had to be disbanded for this reason. I therefore repeat once more my urgent recommendation that the pay of policemen and their officers be remitted to the discretion of the Indian Office with a maximum to be fixed by law, and as that maximum I would suggest the pay of Indian scouts employed by the Army.
LAND TITLES IN SEVERALTY.
I mentioned before that the feeling of uncertainty which prevails among the Indians as to the premanency of their possession of the lands they occupy has proved in many cases a serious impediment to their improvement and progress. From all quarters we receive expressions of a desire on the part of the Indians to have the land they occupy and cultivate secured to them by the "white man's paper," that is, a patent equal in legal force to that by which white men hold title to their land. Bills have been submitted to Congress for two sessions providing for the division of farm tracts among the Indians in severalty on their respective reservations; the issuance of patents to them individually and their investment with a fee-simple title to their farms inalienable for a certain number of years until they may be presumed to have overcome the improvident habits in which a large part of the present generation have grown up; and, this being accomplished, for the disposition of the residue of the reservations not occupied and used by the Indians, with their consent and for their benefit, to white settlers. It was hoped that this measure would pass before the adjournment of the last session. Had it become a law a very large number of Indians would have been so settled by this time. In this expectation the issuance of patents not containing the important clause of temporary inalienability, which is authorized by a few Indian treaties, has been withheld until a general law should insure to all titles of greater security. It is to be hoped that this important measure will now receive the earliest possible consideration and action by Congress. I look upon it as the most essential step in the solution of the Indian problem. It will inspire the Indians with a feeling of assurance as to the permanency of their ownership of the lands they occupy and cultivate; it will give them a clear and legal standing as landed proprietors in the courts of law; it will secure to them for the first time fixed homes under the protection of the same law under which white men own theirs; it will eventually open to settlement by white men the large tracts of land now belonging to the reservations, but not used by the Indians. It will thus put the relations between the Indians and their white neighbors in the Western country upon a new basis, by gradually doing away with the system of large reservations, which has so frequently provoked those encroachments which in the past have led to so much cruel injustice and so many disastrous collisions. It will also by the sale, with their consent, of reservation lands not used by the Indians, create for the benefit of the Indians a fund, which will gradually relieve the government of those expenditures which have now to be provided for by appropriations. It will be the most effective measure to place Indians and white men upon an equal footing as to the protection and restraints of laws common to both. I desire also to call attention once more to the bill repeatedly introduced in Congress, extending over Indian reservations the government of the laws of the States or Territories in which such. reservations are located, giving the Indians standing in the courts and securing to them the full benefit of the laws. I venture to express the hope that Congress may not adjourn again without having taken action upon these important measures, so essential to the progress and security of our Indian wards.
RAILROADS THROUGH INDIAN RESERVATIONS.
It has been the policy of this department to facilitate the building of railroads through Indian reservations as much as laws and treaties permitted, at the same time in every instance protecting the interests and rights of the Indians. In a few cases a certain prejudice prevailing among the Indians against the establishment of thoroughfares of trade through their reservations had to be overcome. But it was made clear to them that it is important for their security and well-being not to provoke hostile feelings on the part of the white people by needlessly offering obstacles to the progress of civilization and to the execution of enterprises generally useful. Neither can it be doubted that it will ultimately be best for the Indians to come into contact with truly civilizing agencies. In the same measure as the Indians become producers, agriculturists, and herders, the proximity of railroads will become important to facilitate the transportation, and thereby enhance the value, of their products. When application is made by railroad companies for permission to pass through an Indian reservation, the Indians are assembled in council and consulted as to their views and wishes, and as to the measure of compensation to be paid by the railroad company seeking the privilege. In this way the assent of the Indians has, so far, in every case been readily obtained, and the required compensation paid by the respective companies. Rights of way have thus been granted through the Sisseton Reserve, in Dakota, to the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway Company; through the Otoe and Missouria Reserve, in Nebraska, to the Republican Valley Railroad Company; through the Winnebago and Omaha Reserve, in Nebraska, to the Saint Paul and Sioux City Railroad Company; and through the Walker River Reservation, in Nevada, to the Carson and Colorado Railroad Company.
The Dakota Central and the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railroads are now making preliminary surveys, with the consent of the Indians and under an escort of Indian police, through the great Sioux Reservation, in Dakota, to connect the mining districts of the Black Hills with the Missouri River and Eastern railroad systems. Negotiations with the Indians for the right of way are now pending, and a satisfactory adjustment of the question of compensation is expected in the near future.
From its very beginning the Indian service may be said to have been the "best abused" branch of the government. While the Indian question is discussed by conscientious and well-informed persons with good judgment and a fair appreciation of circumstances, and their praise and censure are alike valuable, the number of American citizens "who know all about Indian matters" without ever having given a moment's study to that large and complicated subject, has been incredibly great, and the readiness and volubility of their criticism, mostly condemnatory of everything that is done, seems inspired by an inexhaustible fertility of imagination as to facts. No story, ever so extravagant and absurd, can be told about Indian management without finding ready belief. But recently I saw a statement, seriously put forth in respectable newspapers, that the guns and ammunition with which the Indians fight our soldiers are to this day regularly furnished to the savages by the Indian Bureau, or are permitted to be sold to them by licensed traders on the Indian reservations. Whenever an Indian misconducts himself, or the greed or recklessness of white men provoke an Indian trouble, an outcry follows about the disgraceful remissness of the government, and it is at once proclaimed that we are as far as ever from the solution of the Indian problem.
No doubt the history of Indian management, under military as well as civil control, shows many instances of mistake, failure, and wrongdoing; but no fair-minded man can examine that history or the present state of things without admitting that the government has had to contend against enormous difficulties, and that the greatest of these and the most prolific of trouble was the pushing of settlements into the country inhabited by the Indians and the crowding out of the latter, regardless of their rights of occupancy, in many cases guaranteed by treaties. This difficulty could in many instances not be controlled by the Indian Department, which was held responsible for many complications and evils not in its power to avert. It must also be acknowledged that while every disturbance was generally and loudly noticed and commented upon, the good things done escaped in many, if not most cases, public observation and recognition.
It cannot be my purpose, however, here to go into a minute review of the past. Looking at the present condition of things it may be said, without exaggeration, that on the whole the Indian situation is now more hopeful than ever before. The desire of the Indians to maintain friendly relations with their white neighbors, to go to work for their own support, to cultivate the soil, to acquire permanent homes, to have their children educated, and to assimilate themselves to the civilization of the country, is growing stronger and more general every day. The measures prosecuted and in part originated under this administration, which have been mentioned before: the enlargement of the agricultural activity of the Indians; the distribution of cattle among them to promote the industry of herding; the extensive introduction of the freighting business; the encouragement of mechanical industry; the institution of the Indian police, stimulating their respect for law and authority; the increase of their educational facilities, notably among them the education of Indians at Hampton and in North Carolina, and the establishment, by the government, of the Indian schools at Carlisle and Forest Grove, may be said to have been very effective in this direction. When, in addition to all this, the bill advocated by this department to allot lands among the Indians in severalty, and to confer upon them individual title in fee simple, inalienable for a certain period, shall have been made a law, and that law shall have been applied among all the Indian tribes, which, in my opinion, it can be in a few years, and the rights of the Indians are accorded equal protection in the courts of the country with those of white men, then it may be said that all essential measures will have been taken to solve the Indian problem, and the time may be confidently looked for when the Indian population may be merged in the great body of American citizenship. We are on the straight road to that solution and nearer to its accomplishment than is generally supposed. It is essential, however, that the policy here set forth should be carefully protected against hostile interferences and guarded against ill-advised precipitancy.
The management of Indian affairs has to deal with two distinct currents of sentiment in this country. The one is that Indians will not work; that to recognize any rights of the Indians is a wrong to the white people; that to secure them in the possession of lands, whatever title they may have to them, is an obstruction to the progress of the country, by depriving whites of the lands they ought to have for their use; and that the only proper thing to do is to get the Indians out of the way altogether. This theory, I regret to say, is most strongly upheld in that part of the country which is inhabited by most of the Indians themselves. The pressure of the white population upon Indian reservations, animated with this spirit, has, in fact, been the principal source of our Indian troubles. It is scarcely necessary to point out to fair-minded men the injustice and inhumanity of such principles, or to show to those who have the experience of the past before their eyes that to act upon those principles would not only be a great wrong to the race which was the original occupant of this continent, but must also lead to most costly and disastrous conflicts with them. The other current of opinion is that the Indians, even as they now are, must at once be relieved of all restraints to which white people are not subjected, and must, without further preparation, be accorded the enjoyment and exercise of all the rights which the civilized citizens of this country enjoy and exercise. This view is entertained and advocated most warmly in that part of the country which is farthest removed from the ground upon which the Indian problem has to be solved. While this will certainly be the ultimate end of a wise policy, and should be applied to all who are capable of intelligently exercising and enjoying such rights, it must be admitted that the number of Indians fitted for their intelligent enjoyment and exercise, and, in fact, even for an intelligent understanding and appreciation of them, is still comparatively small, and that to throw the uncivilized red man, such as he now is, into the struggles and competitions of life with his white neighbor, without sufficient preparation and active care and guidance on the part of the government during the intermediate period, would be the greatest cruelty to him. The adoption of the principles first mentioned would keep the Indians in barbarism for the purpose of accelerating their extinction; but general and premature action upon the second would precipitate upon them a conflict with overwhelming superior forces, unprotected and unguided by the hand of a friendly power, and thus accelerate their destruction likewise.
While the government, therefore, must recognize its duty to protect the rights of the Indian, it should at the same time not forget that, during the period of transition from savage life to civilization, he stands very much in need of its care and guidance. That period is one of hope, but at the same time one of great danger. Then the picturesque, warlike, self-relying Indian of the wilderness gradually disappears. He enters into conditions and relations of life entirely new to him; his self-reliance gives way; he does not know whether that which he learns is good or evil; he is liable to acquire with the virtues of civilization its vices, and the latter more easily than the former; he is a mere child, alike accessible to evil and to good influences; if prematurely relieved of all restraints of intercourse, he is apt in the sparsely-settled countries of the far West to fall first into the hands of elements of population whose influence upon him will not be elevating; he is in danger of becoming a drunkard before he is able to measure the evils of drunkenness; he is liable to be tricked out of his property before he has a full estimate of its value; he has to overcome his life-long habit of careless improvidence as to the coming day; his first introduction into the contests of civilized life will be likely to overwhelm him with a feeling of helplessness, and he naturally looks up to the “Great Father” for a protecting and guiding hand. That hand must not be prematurely withdrawn on the theory that the mere recognition of the Indian's rights will be sufficient to enable him intelligently to exercise and to maintain them.
We must not expect too much of his first efforts. If the results of those efforts do not speedily rise to the white man's standard, patient help must be given to raise them to the level which they can attain. Neither must we indulge in the hope that the Indian, however hopeful his progress at the beginning, will very soon become as useful a citizen as the average of his neighbors; but we may certainly hope to see a large number of them gradually raise themselves to that position in a working and productive community which many Indians in the Indian Territory, in Indiana, Michigan, and other States have already reached. There are many among them who are now intelligent and useful citizens, many others rapidly qualifying themselves for citizenship, and there is no reason to doubt that this class may in the course of time be largely increased.
Experience has strengthened my conviction, which, this being my last report, I now feel at greater liberty to express, that while the guiding care of the government is necessary, that task should be intrusted to the civil and not to the military branch of the public service. The history of Indian management shows many failures and miscarriages, which patriotic citizens look back upon with keen regret; but it is a mistaken opinion that these failures and miscarriages would have been avoided had the control of Indian affairs been intrusted to another branch of the public service than that which now conducts it. The period during which the management of Indian affairs was in military hands need only be carefully studied to cure any fair-minded man of such a delusion.
Last year I set forth the fact that the normal condition of the Indians is not, as is believed by many, turbulence and hostility to the whites; that it must not be the only nor the principal object of an Indian policy merely to keep the Indians quiet, and that to keep them quiet the constant presence and pressure of force is not required; that of the 71 Indian agencies then existing, now reduced to 67, there are only 11 which have military posts in their immediate vicinity, and only 14 with a military force within one to-three days' march; that those in a state of hostility usually form but a very small percentage of the whole Indian population; that of the 250,000 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; that such partial disturbances have not been provoked by the absence nor prevented by the presence of a military force; that of the four disturbances which occurred within the last three years three broke out in the immediate presence of such a military force, and only one without it; that a very large majority of Indian reservations are in a condition of uninterrupted quiet without the presence of a soldier; that the more civilized an Indian tribe becomes, the more certainly can its peaceable and orderly conduct be depended upon, and that the progress of civilization and the maintenance of peace among the Indians have always gone hand in hand. I am by no means unmindful of the difficulties connected with the management of the Indians by civil officers, which difficulties consist partly in finding men peculiarly qualified for so delicate a task, and in maintaining the integrity and working efficiency of the service. These difficulties, formidable as they may appear, can be and have been in a great measure overcome by constant watchfulness and careful direction. Complaints that the Indians do not obtain the goods appropriated for by Congress, or obtain them only in inferior quality, are disappearing. Cases of peculation and gross misconduct on the part of Indian agents have become exceedingly rare, so much so that even the reports of military officers who had been the most watchful, ever ready and willing critics of the Indian service while in the hands of civilians, have become almost entirely silent upon this subject as to the present management. I do not see any reason why this condition of things cannot be maintained in the future by the application of the same means, and why the same pride of calling which inspires other branches of the service should not be kept alive among the officials of the Indian Department. That the service is not perfect, as, perhaps, no service is, I willingly concede; but I am also convinced that the substitution of military management would not in itself obviate existing difficulties, but would add others in effect likely to prove still more serious.
A careful investigation of the subject will convince any fair-minded inquirer that military management will not be more economical in the point of pecuniary outlays than the civil management is now. Of greater importance is the ascertained fact that the Indians have generally a strong dislike for military control—not for the mere reason that the presence of an armed force is distasteful to them, for the success of our Indian police system shows that they submit to the restraints imposed upon them by such a force with great willingness, and exercise the police regulations under the direction of prudent agents with great alacrity; but there is a variety of other reasons for their repugnance which it would lead me too far to mention. It is easy to understand that if the management of Indian affairs were turned over to the military service the interests of the Indians and the interests and convenience of the Army might not always agree; and it is from no disrespect to the Army when I express the opinion that under such circumstances it might sometimes be questionable which interests would have the preference. It is certainly true, and within my own knowledge, that some military officers have shown great aptitude for the management of Indians in their peaceful pursuits and relations; but it is also true that the very spirit of the calling of military men is apt to suggest the application of force as one of the first resorts, even in the cases where peaceful teaching and patient guiding are most required. There have been many instances of this kind. Without going into a full statement of all the reasons upon which my conviction in this respect is based, I will simply quote, with the strongest possible approval, the recommendation of the Peace Commission of 1868, couched in the following language: “This brings us to consider the much mooted question whether the bureau should belong to the civil or military department of the government. To determine this properly we must first know what is to be the future treatment of the Indians. If we intend to have war with them, the bureau should go the Secretary of War; if we intend to have peace, it should be in the civil department. Under the plan which we have suggested, the chief duties of the bureau will be to educate and instruct in the peaceful arts; in other words, to civilize the Indians. The military arm of the government is not the most admirably adapted to discharge duties of this character. We have the highest possible appreciation of the officers of the Army, and fully recognize their proverbial integrity and honor; but we are satisfied that not one in a thousand would like to teach Indian children to read and write, or Indian men to sow and reap. These are emphatically civil, and not military, occupations.” This report was signed by William T. Sherman, then Lieutenant-General of the Army, Brig. Gen. William S. Harney, Bvt. Maj. Gen. Alfred H. Terry, and Bvt. Maj. Gen. C. C. Augur.
Under the circumstances described in this report, it must be evident that the mission of Indian management will henceforth be, more than ever, a mission of peace and not a mission of war. The principal agencies which must be depended upon for the solution of the Indian problem are work, education, the permanent settlement upon agricultural and pasture lands, security of title, and equal protection of the law. All these are civil agencies, and the more the land interests of the Indians press into the foreground, the more necessary will it be that Indian management be connected with that branch of the service which has the administration of public lands under its special control.
It has also been suggested that the Indian service, owing to its importance, should cease to be a mere bureau in the Interior and be intrusted to an independent department. I should consider this advisable only if the head of that department could at the same time hold a place in the Cabinet, enabling him to make his views heard in its deliberations and to communicate on equal terms with the heads of the other departments of the executive branch of the government. But this would involve the larger question whether it would be wise to increase the number of Cabinet officers, and until this question is decided in the affirmative it would in my opinion be most advantageous to the public interest to permit the Indian service to remain under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, to be thus represented in the executive council.
Finally, I desire to say that it has not been the policy of this department under my administration, while avoiding all unnecessary outlays of money, to cut down expenses merely for the purpose of making a striking exhibition of economy. The history of Indian affairs shows that ill-judged parsimony has not unfrequently led to serious trouble and very costly complications. I am now convinced that generous appropriations for agricultural implements, for stock cattle to be distributed among Indians, and for educational facilities, made at this time, when the temper of our whole Indian population is such as to receive such aid in the right spirit, and to use the advantages conferred for general and rapid advancement, will produce results certain to accelerate the solution of the greatest difficulties we have so far been contending with, and, consequently, to bring about a great saving of money in the future. When an Indian lives in a house which he considers his own and that of his family, as now thousands of families are living and many more thousands desire to live; when he cultivates his acres, has them fenced by his own labor, and enjoys the product of his agricultural work, either by his own consumption or the sale of a surplus; when he owns his plow and his wagon, and uses the latter, with his ponies, in freighting, by which he earns liberal wages; when he has his cows, and swine, and poultry on his land, the care of which he finds useful and profitable; when he can send his children to school, and begins to hope that they may become as civilized and prosperous as white people, he will soon cease to think of leading the life of a nomad, and the thought of war will no longer have any charm for him. He will gradually become ashamed of being a beggar, as many of them have expressed themselves already, and feel a pride formerly little known to him, to depend for his own sustenance and that of his family upon his own efforts. This is not a mere fancy picture, for I have myself observed a multitude of examples of this kind, and manifestations of urgent desire in this direction on the part of Indians are coming to this department in constantly increasing numbers. It appears, therefore, of the highest importance that the government should promptly take advantage of this disposition and stimulate it with generous aid until the final solution of the problem is reached.
At the time I rendered my last report, the settlement of the difficulties which had occurred on the Ute Reservation in September, 1879, was still the subject of negotiations between the Ute tribe and the commission appointed for that purpose, consisting of General Hatch, Mr. Adams, and Chief Ouray. Those negotiations resulted in the surrender of Chief Douglass, of the White River Utes, to the authorities of the United States. The commission recommended that a delegation, representing the various bands of the Ute tribe, be permitted to visit Washington for the purpose of effecting such a settlement as would prevent further troubles. Several headmen of the Southern Utes, under the leadership of their chief, Ignacio, and of the Uncompahgre Utes, headed by Ouray, as well as of the White River Utes, were received here, and after prolonged negotiations these representatives of the Ute tribe consented to the surrender of the whole Ute Reservation in Colorado, on condition that the Ute Indians be settled in severalty, with an individual title in fee simple to their farms on certain small tracts of land in that reservation and immediately adjoining it, the White River Utes to go to the Uintah Reservation, and that the annuities due be paid to them, and further annuities be provided for; the Utes thenceforth to be as individuals occupying their farm tracts respectively under the jurisdiction of local laws and courts. This arrangement was considered a measure of great importance, not only for the reason that it would be apt to prevent a costly and destructive Indian war, but also that for the first time in the history of Indian management it provided for the formal discontinuance of the tribal existence of an Indian nation and for their individual settlement as farmers like other inhabitants of the country under the laws of the land. This agreement was not to have binding force until ratified by three-fourths of all the male adult members of the different bands of the Ute tribe, the ratification to be supervised by a commission which, after the completed ratification, was also to make the payments agreed upon and to superintend the settlement of the Indians upon the farm lands designated for them. This agreement was submitted to Congress with the draught of a bill to give it the force of law. Prompt action was repeatedly urged, so that its most important provisions might be carried out before the winter season should set in; but action was had only after a delay of many weeks. The commission provided for by law, composed of Messrs. George W. Manypenny, John B. Bowman, John J. Russell, Alfred B. Meacham, and Otto Mears, proceeded to the Ute Reservation to carry the law into effect. In order to obtain the ratification of the agreement it was necessary to call together the Indians who were scattered over a large extent of country. The sudden and deplorable death of Chief Ouray, a man of advanced views, great sagacity, remarkable tact and noble impulses, indeed probably the wisest Indian of this generation, whose influence upon his people had always been in favor of peace, good order, and progress, seemed for a time to render the success of the labors of the commission doubtful. But the ratification of the agreement was finally signed by the requisite number of Indians within the limitation of time specified by the act of Congress. The commission reported that the Indians, presumably guilty of the murder of Agent Meeker and the agency employes, had fled beyond the boundaries of the United States. The payment of annuities due has been proceeded with according to law. It would have been possible to make the necessary preparations for the individual settlement of the Ute Indians upon the farm lands designated for them had not the winter season intervened. This delay is to be regretted, and I can only say that it would have been avoided had Congress acted as promptly upon the agreement as was repeatedly and urgently recommended by this department.
A new trouble threatened seriously to disturb peace and quiet on the Ute Reservation again, after the ratification of the agreement had been obtained, and everything seemed to favor a final and prosperous settlement of the trouble. On the evening of the 29th of September, a young Ute Indian, son of a chief, was killed by a young man named Jackson, belonging to a party of freighters. It has been alleged by some that the Indian fired first at the white men, and that Jackson killed him in self-defense. On the other hand, the report of Major Offley, Nineteenth Regiment United States Infantry, represents the conduct of the Indian as friendly and peaceable, and, in the language of Captain Pollock, Third United States Infantry, whom Major Offley quotes, calls the deed “a wanton and unprovoked murder of an Indian by a reckless, halfdrunken teamster.” Jackson was arrested, and, under the escort of three white citizens of Colorado and one Indian, he was to be taken to Gunnison City to be tried; but the party was intercepted on its way, by a number of Indians and white men; the prisoner was taken from them, and his fate is not known, although the probability is that he was killed. In Major Offley's report the opinion is expressed that this was done at the instigation of some white men, possibly freighters, who deemed the killing of the murderer of the young Indian necessary to protect themselves in the pursuit of their business from the possible revenge of the Indians. Captain Pollock calls this “a clear case of lynching, which, as much as it might be deplored, is not an uncommon occurrence throughout the country in the midst of civilization and enlightenment.” Great excitement ensued in the settlements near the Ute Reservation; and the trial of Mr. Berry, the United States Indian agent, was vociferously demanded on the ground that he, in confiding Jackson to the escort of three white men and one Indian, had deliberately betrayed him into the hands of Indians eager to avenge the death of one of their people. Mr. Berry was subsequently arrested by the United States marshal, and taken before the United States district court at Denver, where his case is now pending. Before his arrest he showed great skill and influence over the Indians, in keeping them quiet and preventing further disturbance on their part. It is to be hoped that the State and local authorities in Colorado will use their best judgment and endeavors to allay the excitement existing in that State, so as to restrain evil-disposed persons from invading the Indian reservation and provoking collisions with the Indians, which would be especially deplorable at a time when the so-called Ute problem is on the point of successful solution by just and peaceable agencies and in accordance with an agreement successfully concluded.
The case of the Poncas has continued to be a subject of public as well as private attention, on account of the hardships suffered by that tribe in consequence of its removal from Dakota to the Indian Territory. I have repeatedly in my reports expressed the opinion that the Poncas had a serious grievance on account of that removal, and that a generous indemnity was due to them. I am free to say, also, that a clear knowledge of their case at the time of their removal, which happened at the very beginning of the present administration, would have induced me then to oppose it to the extent of the discretion permitted by existing law to this department in such cases. The question how that grievance was to be redressed admitted of two different answers. One was that they should be returned to Dakota and the other that their condition be made as comfortable and prosperous as possible on their new location in the Indian Territory. There were several reasons against their return to Dakota. Their lands in Dakota had, by the treaty of 1868, been ceded to the Sioux, who had been their old enemies, and whose hostile incursions in, years past had called forth among the Poncas themselves a desire to get out of their way by removal. The great problem in the management of Indian affairs at that time was to insure the general pacification of the Sioux tribes, in all over 30,000 souls strong. The Sioux occupied the Ponca Reserve for some time in 1877, shortly after the removal of the Poncas to the Indian Territory had taken place. Two large Sioux bands, numbering over 13,000, are now permanently located in the southern part of the great Sioux Reservation, at a distance from the old Ponca Reserve, but within comparatively easy reach. The Poncas could not be moved back to their old lands without a previous agreement with the Sioux. While it is said that the latter are now more favorably disposed toward the Poncas, and while the conduct of that branch of the Sioux Nation is now very satisfactory, yet it is also a matter of experience that old grudges among Indians, although smoothed over, are apt to be revived by reckless individuals among them, in which case the Poncas, numbering only a few hundreds, would be at a great disadvantage compared with their powerful neighbors. Moreover, Congress had granted neither authority nor money for the removal of the Poncas back to Dakota. I should willingly have recommended the passage of a law and appropriation to that end, there being no interest nor any pride of opinion in the Department that could possibly have prevented such a step—for in the very first report rendered by me after the removal of the Poncas, and after I had become fully aware of the whole character of the transaction, the wrong done to them was frankly acknowledged—had there not been other considerations of superior weight against it. The principal injury suffered by them immediately after their removal, by disease and the death of many of their people, could not be repaired. When they were once settled in the Indian Territory upon land which is acknowledged to be excellent for agricultural and herding purposes, and had made new beginnings in civilized pursuits and the promotion of their well-being, those beginnings would have been destroyed by a second removal, and the whole operation would have had to be repeated. It is but natural that frequent removals of an Indian tribe should have a disastrous effect upon their advancement in civilization and prosperity.
According to the latest reports, their condition is now very much improved. How much better they are situated in a sanitary point of view than immediately after their arrival in the Indian Territory appears from the fact that, according to the returns for the year just passed, there were during that year eleven deaths and fifteen births in the tribe, so that the Poncas have been actually increasing in numbers. Most of them are now living in houses, are tilling the soil, and have been provided with stock cattle for herding. They have school facilities for the education of their children. Their progress would have been greater had they not been kept in a state of restlessness by reports from the outside that they would soon be returned to Dakota, and that therefore they need not apply themselves to the improvement of their condition on the soil they occupy in the Indian Territory. Instead of benefiting them, such reports have evidently inflicted upon them an injury. Nothing would have been more apt to improve their health, raise their spirits, and promote their well-being than steady and fruitful work. That the Poncas feel this themselves appears from a petition which on the 29th of October they addressed to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and in which they say “that their young men are unsettled while they think they have a right to their land in Dakota,” and that “their tribe will not be finally settled until they have a title to their present reservation and have relinquished all right to their Dakota land.” They therefore earnestly request that they be given an opportunity for “signing away all their right to all lands in Dakota and to obtain a title to their present reservation.” They desire to visit Washington for the purpose of “convincing the government that it is their intention to remain where they are, and requesting the aid of the government in obtaining more teams, wagons, harness, and tools with which to work their land.” This petition is signed by all the chiefs and headmen of the Ponca tribe, and it would seem to show that the Poncas themselves understand their own interests better than they are understood by some of their sincere but ill-advised friends. Their request “that the chiefs of the Ponca tribe be permitted to visit Washington the coming winter” for the purpose indicated in their petition has been complied with, and it is hoped that arrangements generally satisfactory will be arrived at.
But there is another reason why I could not conscientiously recommend the return of the Poncas to their old reserve in Dakota, and that reason is perhaps less appreciated by the general public than it is by those who bear the responsibility for the whole management of Indian affairs at large, and who have to take care of the welfare not of the Poncas alone, but of all the Indian tribes, of whom the Poncas form only a very small part.
It is a well-known fact that the Indian Territory is exposed to constant invasions on the part of white people who strive to possess themselves of certain unoccupied lands therein, which are held for Indian settlement in the future. To defeat such invasions, and to maintain the integrity of the Indian Territory, has been a subject of constant solicitude by the government; it required the greatest watchfulness and energy on the part of officers and troops of the United States in arresting and turning back the invaders, to prevent the success of those lawless attempts. Whatever the ultimate fate of the Indian Territory may be, it would be a great disaster to the Indians now inhabiting it, were the stream of immigration, which is constantly threatening to break its barriers, permitted to enter before the Indians are settled there in severalty, with such individual title to their lands as will stand under the protection of the laws and courts of the country in the same light and with the same security as the land titles of white people. The tracts in the Indian Territory mainly coveted by those who strive to enter without warrant of law, are held against intruders on the ground that they are reserved for Indian occupation according to the original intention. What the consequence would be if, just at the time when the struggle for the integrity of the Indian Territory is on our hands, the government itself organized an emigration of Indians from the Indian Territory, and from the vicinity of the same lands that are held for Indian settlement against intruders, it is easy to conjecture. If the Poncas were removed back to Dakota, nothing is more certain than that this very fact would make other Northern Indians who have been taken into the Indian Territory, restless with a desire to follow their example, such as the Northern Cheyennes, and possibly the Pawnees. I could, therefore, not have recommended the return of the Poncas to Dakota without at the same time keeping in view the probable necessity of returning other Indian tribes from the Indian Territory to the region originally inhabited by them. This would, in all probability, result in an extensive evacuation of the Indian Territory, and just of that part of it which contains the lands coveted by the intruders, and which lands are held against them on the ground that they are reserved for Indian settlement. It is obvious that the evacuation by the Indians of the region held for Indian settlement, and defended on that very ground against intruders, would be apt greatly to encourage and stimulate the projects of invasion which, although repeatedly repelled, are pursued by evil-disposed persons with persistent activity. The defense of the Indian Territory against that invasion would inevitably become much more precarious, and the breaking down of all barriers before the Indian tribes inhabiting the Territory are prepared for such an event, would, in all probability, be most disastrous to them. While the original removal of the Poncas from the North to the Indian Territory was an injustice to them, yet, that removal and their settlement in the Indian Territory accomplished, the aspect of the question changed very materially, inasmuch as the measure intended to right their wrongs by their return, would be apt to bring a new wrong upon Indian tribes far more numerous, a wrong greater than the injury originally suffered by the Poncas themselves. These are the reasons why, although recognizing the hardships endured by the Poncas, I could not conscientiously recommend their return to Dakota. There is a bill now before Congress providing for that return. If it is to become a law, it should not be without a clear view of the probable consequences. Recommendation has repeatedly been made by this department that Congress provide an appropriation for the purpose of amply indemnifying the Poncas, and that recommendation is now urgently repeated.
VICTORIA'S BAND OF APACHES.
The long guerrilla warfare carried on by Victoria's band of hostile Indians in New Mexico has at last come to a close by the death of Victoria, and the destruction of the larger part of his followers on Mexican soil. In my last annual report, and that of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the circumstances which led to the outbreak of hostilities between Victoria's band and the forces of the United States were elaborately set forth. As appears therefrom those circumstances did not consist, as alleged in the report of a military officer, in the persistent efforts to remove Victoria and his followers to the San Carlos Agency, for while such a project was formerly entertained, it had been given up at the time when the outbreak occurred. Victoria had come on the 13th of June, 1879, with a small number of followers to the Mescalero Agency in New Mexico, and upon a conference with the Indian Agent, given his promise to stay there quietly. That promise had been accepted and arrangements were in progress to bring to them their wives and children, who at that time were living on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. But the appearance of some officers of the law on the reservation, whom the Indians suspected of having come there for the purpose of arresting them under indictments found against them for horse-stealing and murder, Victoria and his men effected their escape, suddenly left the Mescalero Reservation, took with them other southern Apaches, and resumed their old marauding practices until after many fights and vicissitudes they came to their end. Some remnants of his band seem to be still at large, but it is thought that they can easily be overcome and caught, and that then peace will be restored on our southern frontier.
THE LEMHI AND FORT HALL INDIANS.
Congress at its last session passed an act providing for the settlement of the Lemhi Indians upon Fort Hall Reservation, and also for the cession of a part of that reservation to the United States in consideration of certain annuities to be paid to the Indians affected thereby, subject to the consent of the latter. I had a personal conference with the chiefs of the Lemhi and Fort Hall Indians at the agency of the latter in August last, in which a majority of the Lemhi Chiefs and headmen declared their unwillingness to abandon their present abode. Their consent to their removal provided for in the law not being obtained, no further steps were taken in that direction. The Fort Hall Indians, on the other hand, declared themselves satisfied with the arrangements made; and it will therefore be necessary so to change the law as to adapt it to this new state of circumstances, which is hereby respectfully recommended.
Early last winter Chief Winnemucca, his daughter, Sarah Winnemucca, and some headmen of the Pi-Utes, asked permission to come to Washington for the purpose of making certain arrangements for the permanent settlement of their people. That permission was granted and they represented that most of the Pi-Utes scattered over Nevada and Southern Oregon, as well as those settled on the Yakama Reservation in Washington Territory, were desirous to move to the Malheur Reservation in Oregon, for the purpose of cultivating the soil and establishing permanent homes. They received the assurance that this department would facilitate such a movement, provided the Indians concerned really desired it, and that in such case their settlement upon the Malheur Reservation would be aided in every possible manner, but that those Pi-Utes who were at present working for wages, or who were settled on the Yakama Reservation or other lands, and did not desire to remove to the Malheur Reservation, should in no way be forced to do so. On the occasion of my visit to the Pyramid Lake Reservation in Nevada, where I met several chiefs and headmen of the Pi-Utes, I discovered that among those Pi-Utes who were scattered among the white population and working for wages the desire to remove to the Malheur Agency did not exist, as had been represented to me; that, on the contrary, they wished to continue in their present condition. A great many of them are employed by white people in chopping wood or doing other jobs of work, for which they are sufficiently paid to make a living; thus they appear to be self-supporting. I met many white men among whom those Indians lived, who declared themselves well satisfied with their presence, and desired that they should stay. Information was also received from Washington Territory, through General Howard, as well as from Agent Wilbur, that the removal of the Pi-Utes—who in consequence of the Bannock war had been taken to the Yakama Reservation—from their present abode to the Malheur Agency would be attended with great danger to the Indians, as well as lead to the breaking up of those beginnings in agricultural work which they had made on the establishment of homes at Yakama. Under such circumstances it was thought best to give up the project of their removal from the Yakama Agency, and the settlement of the other Pi-Utes on the Malheur Reserve as an improper experiment. Arrangements have been begun to establish for the Pi-Utes living in that neighborhood a boarding school at the Pyramid Lake Agency, where their children can receive the benefits of education, which otherwise would not be easily obtainable by them. A special agent was sent to the Malheur Agency for the purpose of ascertaining whether that establishment could not be dispensed with, and its business is now being wound up.
With a delegation of the chiefs and headmen of the Crows in Montana, who visited Washington last winter, an agreement was made, providing for the relinquishment of a part of their reservation not used by the Indians, but valuable for its mineral resources; in compensation therefor an annuity was agreed upon to be paid to the Crow Indians. When the chiefs laid this agreement before their people in order to obtain their consent, the latter insisted upon a modification of the agreement, somewhat changing the boundaries of the ceded tract. It is thought that this change will be mutually advantageous, and the bill now before Congress giving to the agreement the force of law should be altered in that respect. While visiting the Crow Reservation, I had conferences with many of the chiefs and headmen of that tribe, who all expressed themselves satisfied with this arrangement, and also desirous of having lands allotted to them in severalty and to receive title therefor. I informed them that their wishes in that respect coincided entirely with the policy of this department, and would be promptly complied with as soon as Congress should have passed a bill submitted to it, giving the department the necessary authority to that end.
Of all Indian tribes, the Sioux Nation has for a long time been regarded as the most important, not only on account of their numerical strength and warlike qualities, but also on account of their geographical location and the many conflicts which for years have disturbed our relations with them. One after another the different bands composing that nation have been pacified, until finally only one of their prominent men, Sitting Bull, and with him a number of restless spirits belonging to different bands, appear to be the only nucleus of a hostile organization. When this administration came into office Sitting Bull with his warriors had fled across the line of the British possessions. A commission, with General Terry at its head, was sent there with the offer that the hostiles might return to the United States if they would give up their arms and horses and consent to be distributed among the different Sioux agencies. That offer was rejected, and it was then hoped that Sitting Bull and his followers might be kept on British territory without a further serious interruption of the peace of our northern frontier. But it soon appeared that the British authorities could not, at any rate did not, keep Sitting Bull and his band of hostiles on the northern side of the line, and that the latter, driven by want, would come upon the territory of the United States for the purpose of hunting, on which occasions they caused much annoyance to the white settlers as well as to our friendly and peaceable Indians. In September last I visited Fort Keogh for the purpose of informing myself of the condition of things in that region, and it became clear to me that Sitting Bull and his band, although they had been repeatedly driven back, would remain a cause of disquietude in the Upper Missouri country until the British authorities could be induced to remove them into the interior of the British possessions far from the American line and there subsist them, which hope it seemed useless to entertain any longer, or until on this side of the line their surrender to the authorities of the United States could be effected. As at last the latter seemed to be the only solution of the problem, measures were pushed to effect the disintegration of that hostile band, and to bring them gradually under the control of this government. A large number of them have surrendered to the military posts near the northern frontier, especially at Fort Keogh, and under the direction of General Miles have been successfully set to work there. It is hoped that the small remnant of them still under the control of Sitting Bull will gradually follow that example. When that is accomplished, measures are to be taken so to locate them that they may become permanently settled and cease to be a disturbing element.
The other bands of the Sioux Nation, comprising nearly nine-tenths of its whole numerical strength, located at different agencies in the northern, eastern, and southern part of Dakota, have made very encouraging progress in the pursuits of civilized life. Many of them havedevoted themselves to agriculture, herding, freighting, and mechanical pursuits with remarkable energy and success.
At the Santee, Sisseton, and Devil's Lake Agencies they are virtually self-supporting. They are located in severalty, living in houses, wear white man's dress, are well provided with farming implements and stock cattle, and their crops during the past year will average ten bushels of wheat, live bushels of corn, and sixteen bushels of vegetables to each member of the tribe. They are still receiving some aid from the government, but are at the same time investing their surplus crops largely in farming implements, cattle, and other appliances of civilized life. At Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Standing Rock, and Lower Brulé, where a few years ago the progress of the Indians was seriously retarded by the Sioux war, they have erected 718 houses, broken a large tract of land, and this year raised 41,000 bushels of wheat and corn and 12,000 bushels of vegetables. The Ogalala and Brulé Sioux, whose chiefs, Red Cloud and Spotted Tail, are well known, removed to the locations they occupy at present in 1878. They now have 700 log houses, cultivate 2,200 acres of land, own 300 mules, 5,600 head of cattle, and 280 swine, in addition to many thousands of horses. This year their crops were seriously injured by an early drought, which caused great disappointment, but they have bestowed great care upon their stock cattle, and should be encouraged by the government in this respect as much as possible. Instead of living together as formerly in crowded camps and villages, they are now scattering over a large extent of ground, locating farms and building homes upon them. Their success in the pursuit of freighting with their own horses has been particularly remarkable. Their conduct, with the exception of one or two inconsiderable disturbances, has been peaceful and satisfactory in every respect. One of these occurrences is worthy of special notice. A small party of Brulé Sioux, consisting of six young men, stole some horses and shot a white man in Nebraska. Although they were all great favorites with the chiefs and headmen, they were without resistance arrested by the Indian police and turned over to the civil authorities for trial. In the first week of October I received a letter from Chief Spotted Tail inclosing a check for $332.80, with the request to employ that money, which had been collected by the Indians among themselves, in procuring an attorney to assist the six young Indians, so that while they should be punished if guilty, they might if not guilty have “the chance of a white man” for acquittal. This is one of the signs indicating that the respect for law and authority, and a desire to accommodate themselves to the white man's ways, is rapidly growing among the same Sioux, a large part of whom were still in arms against the government a comparatively short time since, and who, two years ago, according to the predictions of some, could never be depended upon as peaceable Indians “unless they received another thorough whipping.”
THE INVASION OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY.
Attempts by evil-disposed persons to invade the Indian Territory and to take possession of certain unoccupied lands there have so far been successfully frustrated by the prompt action of the government, but they have been as persistently repeated. It is reported that another attempt is in preparation now. The military forces of the United States in the Territory are instructed to arrest the intruders and to take proper measures to bring them to justice as they have done heretofore. But it is evident that the penalty imposed upon repeated intrusion into the Indian Territory, which penalty consists in a mere fine and is difficult of enforcement, is not sufficient to deter lawless characters from such undertakings. I concur with the Commissioner in recommending that a law be passed adding the penalty of imprisonment to that of a fine. If this is done invaders will know that such attempts are not without serious risks to them.
In conclusion I desire to express to the War Department my grateful acknowledgments for cordial and prompt co-operation whenever the exigencies of the service called for it.
During the last fiscal year public lands were disposed of as follows:
|An increase of 228,166.67 acres on the sales of the previous year.|
|An increase of 785,459.31 acres.|
|Timber culture entries||2,193,184.12|
|A decrease of 573,389.81 acres.|
|Approved to States as swamp||3,757,888.99|
|An increase of 3,682,500.91 acres.|
|Grants to railroads||1,157,375.01|
|An increase of 879,040.90 acres.|
|Grants to wagon roads||19,485.14|
|Agricultural college scrip locations||1,280.00|
|An increase of 320 acres.|
|Located with military warrants||88,522.00|
|An increase of 37,702 acres.|
|School indemnity||206,089. 06|
|An increase of 6,249 acres.|
|Scrip locations under the acts of June 2, 1858, and June 22, 1860||||195,516.92|
|An increase of 107,943.48 acres.|
|Under settler's relief act of March 3, 1875||160.00|
|A quantity greater by 5,458,988.36 acres than that disposed of the preceding year.|
The cash receipts were $2,290,161.60, an increase of $407,048.04. During the fiscal year 15,699,253 acres of public lands were surveyed, and 652,151.37 acres of private land claims, an increase of 7,253,471 acres. The total area of public lands surveyed up to 30th June last is 752,557,195 acres, leaving still unsurveyed an estimated area of 1,062,231,729 acres.
PUBLIC LANDS COMMISSION.
The Public Lands Commission, appointed in conformity with the act of March 3, 1879, and consisting of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, the Director of the Geological Survey, and Messrs. John A. Powell, A. T. Britton, and Thomas Donaldson, was duly organized on July 8, 1879, and submitted to me on the 24th of February, 1880, its preliminary report, which I had the honor to transmit to you on the 24th of February, 1880, for submission to Congress.
In compliance with the provisions of the law, the work was subdivided into two principal parts—first, the codification of the present laws relating to the survey and disposition of the public domain; and, second, investigation of the whole subject, with a view to recommend new legislation.
The preliminary report above referred to contains a carefully-prepared bill providing for the survey and disposal of the public lands of the United States.
Before preparing the bill the commission distributed a circular letter making inquiries of various intelligent persons throughout the States and Territories as to what legislation might be required regarding the disposal of the public domain.
This circular letter contained, among many others, inquiries in regard to rainfall, irrigation, water rights, the area of pasturage, timber, and mineral lands; also as to the climatic conditions in various localities, and so on. The commission visited all the Western States and Territories, and as much as possible personally informed themselves upon these various topics on the ground.
The proposed legislation as embodied in the bill accompanying the report is predicated upon the information elicited by the circular, as well as personal inspection and investigation.
The importance of the passage of this or some similar bill by Congress cannot be overestimated. Existing laws for the survey and disposal of the public domain, were enacted mainly while the government was disposing of public lands east of the Missouri River. The climate, soil, and products of the lands west of the 100th meridian are so entirely different from those east of it, as to require legislation specifically applying thereto. This whole subject is so fully discussed by the commission, and by the persons answering their circular letters of inquiry, which has been before reported to Congress, that I deem no further reference to that subject necessary in my report.
The codification by the commission of nearly three thousand acts of Congress which had been enacted since the beginning of the public land system has been a work of very great and painstaking professional labor, and will be submitted to Congress by the 1st of January next. The work will be comprised in three volumes of several hundred pages each. These will contain a statistical history of the public land system, a codification of the existing laws, general and permanent in their character, and a compilation in chronological order, State by State, of all local and temporary legislation affecting the titles therein. To these will be attached a table of cited cases referring to the construction these laws have received by judicial and executive authorities. Easy reference in compact form will thus be accessible with regard to laws and decisions applicable to the country at large, as well as to those upon which the titles in each State may severally depend. An analysis of the military reservations in the United States, an index to all Indian treaties, and much other valuable information not heretofore compiled, will also be presented.
Early action upon the bill drafted by the Public Lands Commission and submitted to Congress at its last session is urgently demanded by the public interests as the settlement of our Western Territories progresses, and I beg that the attention of Congress be invited to that important subject.
PRIVATE LAND CLAIMS.
Sections 206 to 219, inclusive, of a bill reported by the public lands commission, and printed as House bill No. 4805, now pending before Congress, are liberal translations of a bill introduced in the Senate during the present Congress by Hon. George F. Edmunds. This bill provides for settlement of private land claims in all the territory derived from Mexico, except in California.
The present basis for the settlement of these claims is the 8th section of the act of July 22, 1854, which makes it the duty of the surveyors general to report the origin, nature and extent of all claims to lands, under the laws, usages, and customs of Spain and Mexico, and to report his conclusions to Congress for its direct action upon the question of confirmation or rejection.
The law is singularly defective in the machinery for its administration, and imposes no limitation of time in the presentation of claims, and no penalty for failure to present them. Its operation has been a failure, amounting to a denial of justice, both to claimants and to the United States.
After a lapse of nearly thirty years, more than one thousand claims have been filed with the surveyors-general, of which less than 150 have been reported to Congress, and of the number so reported Congress has finally acted upon only 71. The construction of railroads through Xew Mexico and Arizona, and the consequent influx of population in those Territories, renders it imperatively necessary that these claims should be finally settled with the least possible delay. I have, therefore, the honor to recommend that the attention of Congress be called especially to this subject, with a view to securing action upon the claims pending before it, and upon the pending bill providing for the settlement of the remaining claims.
REDWOOD AND BIG TREES.
In my last annual report I called attention to the fact that the waste and destruction of the redwood and the "big trees" of California have been and continue to be so great as to cause apprehension that in the course of years these magnificent species may entirely disappear unless some measure be taken to preserve at least a portion of them. I recommended at the same time 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 upon which these interesting trees grow. That bill has not yet been acted upon, and it seems important that if any measure for the preservation of these species of trees is to be taken at all, it should be done as soon as possible. I therefore once more commend this subject to the attention of Congress.
In my first annual report I had the honor to present to you in 1877, and every successive year thereafter, I invited attention to the extensive depredations committed on the timber-lands of the United States, and the rapid and indiscriminate destruction of our forests, especially in the South and in the States and Territories of the West. Referring to the warning example furnished by other parts of the world, where the disappearance of the forests had been followed by the most deplorable consequences: the drying up of springs; the irregularity of the water-supply in navigable rivers; the frequency of destructive freshets and inundations; the transformation of once productive and flourishing agricultural districts into barren wastes, almost uninhabitable to man—I showed that the same results would inevitably befall certain parts of this country, if so short-sighted and reckless a practice be persisted in as is now prevailing. I set forth as a universally acknowledged fact that especially in our mountainous regions the stripping of the slopes of their timber would be an irreparable injury, inasmuch as the rainfall and the water from melting snows would wash down the soil, transform brooks and rivulets running regularly while the forests stand, into raging torrents at certain seasons, and sweeping masses of gravel and loose rock into the valleys below, apt to render them incapable of cultivation, while on the mountain sides the forests once destroyed would in most cases never grow up again. Measures instituted at the beginning of this administration to discourage and lessen such evil practices by bringing large depredators to punishment and seizing quantities of timber taken from the public lands for mercantile purposes, were at first received with widespread discontent and opposition.
Gradually the wisdom of the policy which dictated such measures began to be recognized even in many of the districts where the operations of this department had taken place. In every one of my reports I urged this important subject upon the attention of Congress and the country, and now it may be observed that there is scarcely a responsible journal in the United States that has not during the last two years from time to time published articles on the injury inflicted upon the country by rapid and indiscriminate destruction of its forests and the necessity of preserving a fair proportion of them. Many letters from the Western States and Territories are coming to this department, urgently asking that existing evils in this respect be remedied by proper changes in the laws. While this wholesome sentiment upon this important question is rapidly growing up, I regret to say that in spite of the repeated recommendation of the passage of a law to facilitate the prevention of the wasteful devastation of the public timber-lands, and to enable the government to dispose of timber to settlers and miners, as well as for legitimate mercantile purposes under such regulations as would prevent the indiscriminate and permanent destruction of our forests, almost all the legislation that has been had upon this subject consisted in acts relieving those who had committed depredations in the past of their responsibility, and protecting them against the legal consequences of their trespasses. Such laws authorizing the composition of past offenses, might not have appeared objectionable in themselves had they been accompanied by other legislation regulating the cutting of timber on the public lands or the selling of timber from them in such a manner as to render possible at the same time the preservation of such a proportion of the forests as appears necessary for the public good; but without such additional provisions they constituted only an encouragement to trespassers, inasmuch as they were apt to encourage the hope that at a future time similar acts condoning their offenses would be passed. In the absence of the desired legislation nothing remained to this department but to make every possible effort even under such discouraging circumstances, at least to limit the extent of the work of lawless and dangerous destruction, as far as it could be done by executive action with the small means at our disposal.
When I took charge of the Interior Department the only regulation with regard to this subject then in force consisted in a general circular issued on the 24th of December, 1855, by the then Commissioner of the General Land Office. In this circular the Commissioner referred to the various opinions of Attorney-Generals construing the act of March 2, 1831, entitled “An act to punish offenses committed in cutting, destroying or removing live-oak and other timber or trees reserved for naval purposes”; and also the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the United States vs. Ephraim Briggs (9 Howard, page 3, 1851), in which the Supreme Court decided that the said act authorized the prosecution and punishment of all trespassers on the public lands for cutting timber whether such timber was fit for naval purposes or not. This circular was addressed to the registers and receivers of local land offices throughout the United States charging them with the duty of investigating depredations and prosecuting trespassers; but it was found that the sums recovered in accordance with this circular were very small compared with the damages committed by trespassers upon the public lands during the period intervening between the publication of the circular and the incoming of this administration, and that the evil had grown rather than diminished in extent.
The present Commissioner of the General Land Office having submitted to me a report upon this subject, I addressed to him, on the 5th day of April, 1877, a letter expressing the opinion that the system theretofore adopted had failed to accomplish the desired purpose; that the interest of the government demanded an entire change in the mode of procedure, and that more effective measures should be adopted to compel an observance of the law, in order that the public lands might be protected from waste and spoliation. I further directed that agents should be employed for this purpose by the Commissioner of the General Land Office to be borne on his rolls as clerks or employés, and to be detailed for special duty to act under his instructions in ascertaining when, where, and by whom depredations had been committed on the public lands, and to report the facts in each case. Secondly, that if upon examination of the reports so obtained the facts elicited in any case were found to warrant the institution of legal proceedings to punish the trespassers, or to collect damages for the waste already committed, or both, report should be made to this department with the opinion of the Commissioner thereon, in order that such further proceedings might be had in the premises as the case required. Thirdly, that no agent so employed should be permitted to make any compromise for depredations on the public lands, but if any propositions for settlement were submitted to them, the agents were to be instructed to report the same to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, with a full statement of the facts in the case, showing the nature and extent of said depredations, when and by whom committed, the quantity and value of the timber, when cut, and the value of the land in its present and former condition, all of which, together with the opinion of the Commissioner thereon, was to be transmitted to this department for further consideration. Fourthly, that if in any case the emergencies should seem to require more prompt action than contemplated in the above directions in order to arrest the offender or to secure the government for the damages suffered, the agents were instructed to apply to the United States district attorney for the district in which the waste was committed to institute the proper legal proceedings for that purpose, which course, however, should be taken only in cases where the evidence was clear and indisputable. This letter has since formed the basis of all action of this department, having in view the prevention of trespasses upon the timber of the public lands and the collection of the value of the timber cut and the prosecution of the offender.
The appropriations for keeping these special agents in the field were very limited; for the year ending June 30, 1877, $12,500; for the year ending June 30, 1879, $25,000; and for the year ending June 30, 1880, $40,000; making a total down to June 30, 1880, of $77,500 since the inauguration of the present policy. Considered from the standpoint of a mere financial transaction, the operations of the department have been very successful. During the twenty-two years from December 24, 1855, to the 5th of April, 1877, while all action as to timber depredations took place under the circular of 1855 first mentioned, the sums recovered and turned into the Treasury amounted in gross to $248,795.68. During three years and three months from April 5, 1877, to the 30th of June, 1880, the proceeds from the same source amounted to $242,376.68 actually collected. It must be considered, however, that the amount for which judgment has been obtained—but not yet collected—is about as much more. The proceeds of the last three years and a half have therefore been much larger than those of the twenty-two years preceding.
The net money thus realized, however, forms no considerable and certainly not the most important part of the benefits derived from the appropriations made by Congress for that purpose. The repression and prevention of depredations on the public timber-lands on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts constitutes the chief and most beneficial result. At the time of the inauguration of the present system the export trade in timber had grown to enormous proportions on those coasts. Whole fleets of vessels entered the harbors of Puget Sound, the Columbia River, Pensacola, Sabine Pass, Atchafalaya, and places along the shore, whose cargoes consisted mainly of timber taken from the public lands, for which no compensation was paid to the government, and which was not used for the domestic or mining purposes of our own people, but for export to foreign countries. If this trade has not been entirely arrested, it has at least been very materially diminished. From the best sources of information at my command, I am able to report that little if any timber unlawfully taken from the public lands is now being shipped to foreign countries. While it was not the policy to interfere with the necessary use of timber by the settler or miner for domestic use or purposes immediately connected with mining business, it was thought but just to the people of the United States that extensive trading in stolen timber by large firms, and especially the exporting to foreign countries of timber unlawfully taken from the government lands to the detriment of the public interest, should be effectually arrested. Whatever our success in this respect may have been so far, it is certain that the evil will spring up again if the efforts of the government to arrest it should be in the least relaxed in the future, or if Congress should fail, by leaving the laws of the country in their present condition, to show an active sympathy with this policy. To that want of proper legislation I have each successive year called attention in my reports to you, as well as by direct appeals to Congress. The main features of the legislation urged by this department are very simple. They consist in two propositions: First, that the government should be authorized to sell timber from lands principally valuable for the timber growing upon them—that is to say, not agricultural nor mineral—at reasonable, perhaps even at merely nominal, rates to supply all domestic needs and all the wants of local business enterprise, as well as of commerce, the latter so far as compatible with the public interest; and, secondly, that these sales of timber be so regulated as to preserve the necessary proportion of the forests on the public lands from waste and indiscriminate destruction. Such a policy can, in my opinion, be carried out without great cost, with a simple machinery, and in perfect justice to the wants of settlers and the business enterprises of the country. It is virtually the policy proposed to Congress by the Public Lands Commisson in the report and the bill submitted to Congress at its last session.
I would also urge once more upon Congress the importance of the passage of a law, repeatedly recommended in my reports, prescribing a severe penalty for the willful, negligent, or careless setting of fires upon public timber-lands of the United States, and also providing for the recovery of damages thereby sustained. The extensive as well as wanton destruction of the timber upon public lands, by the willful or negligent and careless setting of fires by hunters or prospectors or tourists, is a matter of general notoriety. The destruction caused in this way from year to year is almost beyond calculation. While in several, if not in all of the States, such acts are made penal offenses by statute, no law of the United States provides specifically for their punishment when committed upon the public lands. If forest-fires in the Western States and Territories cannot be wholly prevented by such a law, the punishment of some offenders here and there will certainly make the class of persons most liable to commit such offenses more careful, and thereby at least limit the extent of the immense damage now caused by negligence or recklessness.
The question of the preservation of forests in just proportion to the area of the country is engaging the attention of prudent men in every civilized nation. By competent authorities it is estimated that this proportion should be about one-fourth of the whole. In some foreign countries the injury caused by the barbarous ignorance and improvidence of past times has become already too great to be repaired, and the evil consequences are keenly felt. In the United States the consumption of timber is enormous and rapidly increasing. It is in the nature of things that where timber is taken from the public lands without restraint the process is attended with the most reckless waste. No attention is paid to the preservation of young trees or of anything that is not immediately used. What is looked upon as everybody's property is apt to be in nobody's care. Thus, our forests are disappearing with appalling rapidity, especially in those parts of the country where they will not renew themselves when once indiscriminately destroyed. Like spendthrifts, we are living not upon the interest but upon the capital. The consequences can easily be foreseen. They will inevitably be disastrous, unless the Congress of the United States soon wakes up to the greatness of the danger and puts this ruinous business upon a different footing by proper legislation, either according to the principles advocated by this department and the Public Lands Commission, or upon others that may be found equally effective. The action of the government will apply only to the public lands; but those portions of the country in which the great body of the public lands is situated stands most in need of speedy and energetic action. I have considered it my duty to call attention to this subject upon every proper occasion, and that duty has been performed. All further responsibility will rest with the legislative branch of the government. It is to be hoped that the voice of warning will be heeded before it is too late.
BUREAU OF RAILROAD ACCOUNTS.
The report of the Auditor of Railroad Accounts, herewith presented, gives the operations of his office during the year ending June 30, 1880, under the law relating to indebted Pacific railroad companies and certain land-grant railroads.
The Auditor and railroad engineer made two inspections of railroad property—one during the months of August and September, 1880, the detailed results of which are embodied in his report. About 6,655 miles of railroads, coming under the operations of the bureau, have been inspected.
The Auditor reports a gratifying improvement in the condition of railroad property, more especially in that of the Union and Central Pacific Companies. The largely increased earnings of the companies have enabled them to maintain and improve their property to a much greater extent than heretofore.
Among the properties included in the inspections, aside from the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, were those of the Southern Pacific, Atlantic and Pacific, and Northern Pacific Companies, in all of which the government is more or less interested, either as creditor or otherwise. They are all making increased earnings, although rates both for freight and passengers have been reduced, and it is believed that as the country west of the Missouri River fills up there will be remunerative business enough for each one of them.
Particular attention is invited to the remarks of Mr. Nichols, the railroad engineer, in regard to the important subject of railroad accidents and their prevention, and the statistics furnished relative thereto.
As to the large increase of business on the railroads of the United States, the Auditor remarks that it has been mainly on the railroads of the Middle, Western, and Southwestern States, business on the railroads of the New England and Southern States not having materially increased. A comparative statement of the business of many principal lines east and west of the Mississippi River is also submitted.
The passenger traffic on the Union Pacific, Central Pacific, and Kansas Pacific Railroads reached its maximum in 1875, since which time it has greatly decreased, while the earnings for freight have continued to grow.
The business of the Sioux City and Pacific and Central Branch Union Pacific Railroads has increased to such an extent that an annual payment can be made hereafter by those companies on account of “5 per cent. of net earnings,” to be applied in liquidation of their debt due the United States.
Attention is called to the fact that many of the roads included in the act creating the bureau have neglected to furnish the reports called for; and it is suggested that patents for lands be refused to such companies as do not comply with the law.
The total amount of the “five per centum of net earnings” of the subsidized Pacific Railroads to December 31,1879, has reached the sum of $5,355,150.08, being an increase since last report of $638,884.85, while the debt of the same companies for bonds issued is as follows:
|Total debt, principal and interest, to June 30, 1880||$112,213,373 30|
|Total credits, transportation and money in Treasury, June 30, 1880||15,385,261 13|
|Balance due the United States||96,828,112 17|
The Auditor gives detailed statements in regard to the sinking funds of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Companies, showing the character and amount of investments; and, in view of the many difficulties attending a fair and equitable investment of these moneys, suggests that amounts covered into the sinking funds be credited, with interest at 6 per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually. The Auditor also calls attention to the delay in the settlement of the companies' accounts for transportation, the balance of unsettled accounts being so large as to be a serious loss to the companies in the matter of interest.
The Auditor publishes in his report departmental circulars affecting Pacific and other railroads, laws of the United States affecting railroads and telegraphs, and recent decisions of the Supreme Court relating to the same subjects.
Under the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Thomas vs. West Jersey Railroad Company, any unauthorized lease entered into by railroad companies must be canceled.
Another important decision is that of the Court of Claims, No. 11471, in the case of The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad Company vs. The United States, in which the court holds that 50 per cent, of its gross earnings is a fair compensation to the company for the actual cost of transportation and such part of the profits upon transportation as are earned by the company from the government.
Particular attention is called to the circular of the Treasury Department dated November 29, 1879, giving notice to all government officers and employes that no money payments for transportation can be made to Pacific Railroads which have been subsidized with bonds.
On January 26,1880, articles of consolidation were filed in this department in accordance with law, in which the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Kansas Pacific Railway Company, and the Denver Pacific Railway and Telegraph Company are consolidated under the name of "The Union Pacific Railway Company."
THE UNION PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
The property and business of the Union Pacific Railway Company is reported on in full, and has been found in good condition, with business increasing. Under the sinking-fund act of May 7, 1878, the "25 per cent, of net earnings" found due the United States by the company amounts to $1,532,916.12.
The Union Pacific Railway Company furnishes reports from which the following statements are derived:
|Length of line subsidized with bonds|||
|Length of line subsidized with lands|
|Leased to Central Pacific|
|Operated by Union Pacific|
|United States subsidy bonds|
|Other funded debt|
|Total stock and debt|
|Floating debt and interest account to June 30,1880, on subsidy and other bonds|
|Bonds and stock of, and investments, in other companies|
|Material on hand|
|Cash on hand|
|Cost of road and equipment and Missouri River bridge, per company's books|
|Operating expenses||3,048,029 14|
|Net earnings||5,232,532 18|
Since the consolidation the Union Pacific Eailway Company has had earnings to June 30, 1880, as follows:
|Total for 5 months||8,976, 007 10|
|Operating expenses||4,312,500 15|
|Net earrings||4,663,506 95|
|Interest paid||$3,390,595 36|
|Dividends paid||2,489,134 50|
|Acres of land unsold||15,933,007 28|
Under the act of May 7, 1878, the earnings for the year ending December 31, 1879, have been as follows:
|Ordinary net earnings||||$7,768,224 47|
|Less interest on first-mortgage bonds||1,636,559 99|
|Net earnings under the law||6,131,664 48|
|One-half transportation, applied to interest||$574,844 01|
|One-half transportation, applied to sinking fund||574,844 00|
|Five per cent, under acts of 1862 and 1864, applied to interest||306,583 22|
|Additional payment under act May 7, 1878, for sinking fund||76,644 89|
|Total, 25 per cent, of net earnings to December 31, 1879||1,532,916 12|
CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY.
The property of this road is referred to in detail by the railroad engineer, and is in good condition and well maintained. The company has opened a new and shorter route from Sacramento to San Francisco, via Benicia, over which the bulk of the overland traffic is now done. In view of the fact that this is not a subsidized road, and that the debt due to the United States by this company is still quite large, the Auditor questions whether two or three hours quicker transportation of the mails is more to be considered than the retention of a greater or less proportion of compensation, for carrying the mails, to be applied on the debt. When the junction of the lines of this company from Goshen is effected with those of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Company in New Mexico, the diverted traffic will doubtless considerably reduce the amount to be applied on the debt due the government by both the Union and the Central Pacific Eailroad Companies.
The company is making many important improvements in their property—new car-shops and other buildings at Ogden; new passenger and freight depots at Sacramento; extensive renewals in the snow galleries; and a costly permanent embankment for a wharf and tracks at Oakland, instead of the present pile and trestle work.
This company also leases and operates 550 miles of the Southern Pacific Eailroad.
Under the sinking-fund act of May 7, 1878, the “25 per cent. of net earnings” found due the United States by this company to December 31, 1879, amounted to $899,563.92.
The following statements are taken from reports furnished by the company:
|The number of miles subsidized is||860.66|
|The number of miles owned is||1, 204.50|
|The average number of miles operated during the calender year of 1879 was||2,316|
|Locomotives owned, 226; leased, 48; total||274|
|Passenger cars owned, 261; leased, 37; total||298|
|Baggage, mail, and express cars owned, 56; leased, 12; total||68|
|Freight and other cars owned, 5,311; leased, 894; total||6,205|
|Stock subscribed||$62,608,800 00|
|Par value of shares||100 00|
|Stock issued||59,275,500 00|
|Increase of stock during the year||5,000,000 00|
|Subsidy bonds outstanding||$27,855,680 00|
|Funded debt||56,830,000 00|
|Floating debt||5,640,685 00|
|Interest due and accrued on funded debt||1,484,345 00|
|Balance of interest due and accrued on United States bonds||20,106,781 81|
|Total debt||111,917,491 81|
|Total stock and debt||$171,192,991 81|
|Cost of road proper||$136,558,752 45|
|Real estate||2,560,396 81|
|Total cost of road and equipment, &c||147,164,411 36|
|Cash, materials, and sinking funds||$7,975,230 72|
|Bonds and stocks||773,590 30|
|Miscellaneous investments||1,560,432 10|
|Passenger earnings||$5,235,573 62|
|Freight earnings||10,900,932 47|
|United States mail||488,610 32|
|Miscellaneous earnings||1,177,331 75|
|Operating expenses and rentals||11,618,830 55|
|Ordinary net earnings||6,183,617 61|
|Interest paid||$3,781,825 96|
|Dividends paid||$1,628,265 00|
|Acres of land unsold||10,995,865 46|
CENTRAL BRANCH UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD.
Since the Auditor's last report, important changes have occurred in the affairs of the company owning this road. The engineer reports its property in good condition, with large additions to the equipment during the year. This road, with the leased lines controlled by it, is now operated by the Missouri Pacific Railway Company.
From reports made, the following statements are derived:
|Miles owned and subsidized||100|
|Stock issued||$1,000,000 00|
|Subsidy bonds||1,600,000 00|
|Funded debt||2,225,218 14|
|Floating debt||569,630 45|
|Interest on funded and floating debt||5,221 87|
|Interest on subsidy bonds||1,207,259 66|
|Total debt||5,601,418 76|
|Stock and debt||$6,601,418 76|
|Cost of road and equipment||3,962,974 75|
|Passenger earnings for year ending June 30, 1880||$208,866 26|
|Freight earnings||754,757 75|
|Miscellaneous earnings||54,260 38|
|Operating expenses||774,384 22|
|Net earnings||333,500 17|
KANSAS PACIFIC RAILWAY.
The Kansas Pacific Railway Company was consolidated with the Union Pacific Railroad Company, January 26,1880. This report is therefore for the seven months ending January 30, 1880:
|Miles subsidized with lands||638.5 |
|Miles subsidized with bonds||394|
|Number of locomotives||105|
|Baggage, mail, and express cars||23|
|Freight and other cars||1,691|
|Stock subscribed||$9,992,500 00|
|Par value of shares||50 00|
|Stock issued||9,689,950 00|
|Subsidy bonds||6,303,000 00|
|Funded debt||24,373,825 12|
|Floating debt||1,961,197 62|
|Interest on funded and floating debt||1,090,450 00|
|Interest on subsidized bonds||3,723,553 17|
|Total debt||37,452,025 91|
|Stock and debt||$47,141,975 91|
|Cost of road and equipment||34,359,540 66|
|Passenger earnings for seven months ending January 30, 1880||$690,669 71|
|Freight earnings||2,300,625 01|
|Miscellaneous earnings||155,139 25|
|Total||3,146 433 97|
|Operating expenses||1,841,571 38|
|Net earnings||1,304,862 59|
|Interest paid||$27,175 89|
|Acres of land unsold||4,566,046 68|
SIOUX CITY AND PACIFIC RAILROAD.
The reports of this company show length of road operated, 217.14 miles; road owned, 107.42; subsidized line, 101.77; number of locomotives, 13; number of passenger cars, 9; number of baggage, mail, and express cars, 6; number of freight and other cars, 233. Stock subscribed, $2,068,400; stock issued, $2,068,400; funded debt, $1,628,000; United States subsidy bonds, $1,628,320; floating debt, $278,592.05; accrued interest on funded debt, $51,165; accrued interest on United States subsidy bonds, $1,171,199.87; total debt, $4,757,276.92; stock and debt, $6,825,676.92; cost of road, $5,355,551.28. Passenger earnings for year ending June 30, 1830, $130,193.17; freight earnings, $392,513.73; miscellaneous earnings, $21,136.58; total earnings, $543,843.48; operating expenses, $421,232.03; net earnings, $122,611.45; interest paid, $98,119.90.
TEXAS AND PACIFIC RAILWAY.
For the fiscal year ending June 30,1880, the company reports: Miles of road owned and operated, 483.86; number of locomotives, 54; passenger cars, 32; baggage, mail, and express, 11; freight and other cars, 1,060. Stock issued, $8,653,500; par value, $100. Funded debt, $20,418,997.68; floating debt, $398,621.43; unpaid interest, $2,122,720; total debt, $22,940,339.11; stock and debt, $31,593,839.11. Cost of road, $28,925,840.90. Passenger earnings, $466,736.78; freight earnings, $2,075,993.44; miscellaneous earnings, $80,536.55; total earnings, $2,623,266.77; operating expenses, $1,542,899.44; net earnings, $1,080,367.33; interest paid, $662,520. Lands unsold (granted by State of Texas), 4,755,862 acres.
SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD.
From reports made to the Auditor the following figures are obtained: Miles operated, 160.89; miles owned, 711.56; leased to Central Pacific, 550.67 miles; number of locomotives, 48; passenger cars, 77; baggage, mail, and express cars, 14; freight and other cars, 1,156. Stock subscribed, $36,763,900; stock issued, $36,763,900. Funded debt, $28,872,000; floating debt, $554,815.07; accrued interest on funded debt, $219,450; total debt, $29,426,815.07. Stock and debt, $66,410,165.07. Cash, material, and accounts due, $703,872.11. Cost of road, $62,307,813.98; cost of equipment, $1,848,533.51; total cost of road and equipment, $64,156,347.49. Passenger earnings, $399,349.34; freight earnings, $455,382.51; miscellaneous earnings and rent of road, $1,680,149.56; total earnings, $2,534,881.41; operating expenses, including taxes and insurance, $756,683.88; net earnings, $1,778,197.53; interest paid, $1,872,480.39. Lands unsold, 9,240,376 acres.
THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY.
The entire property of this company has been inspected by the engineer, and is in good condition. A detailed statement of his observations will be found in his report.
The company is constructing at Saint Paul a handsome building to be used as general operating offices, and as soon as the requirements of traffic demand, proposes to build an iron bridge across the Missouri River at Bismarck.
The Auditor calls particular attention to the character of the lands of this company, they being much above the average of those granted the other Pacific railroad companies.
Under the present management the general condition of the company has greatly improved, and vigorous measures have been adopted to push the work to a successful completion.
The following statement is taken from reports furnished by the company:
Average number of miles operated, 781; miles owned, 637.98; stock authorized, $100,000,000; common stock issued, $49,000,000; preferred stock issued, $43,412,645.12; total stock issued, $92,412,645.12. Number of locomotives, 58; passenger-cars, 25; baggage, mail, and express, 12; freight and other cars, 1,671. Funded debt, $3,881,834.41; floating debt $1,405,867.10; tatal debt, $5,287,701.51; stock and debt, $97,700,346.63. Cost of road, $95,697,159.04; cost of equipment, $1,243,531.05; cost of road and equipment, $97,920,120.57. Passenger, freight, and miscellaneous earnings, $2,230,577.37; operating expenses, $1,409,422.62; net earnings, $821,154.75. Acres of land unsold, 39,406,016.
THE ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY AND SAINT LOUIS AND SAN FRANCISCO RAILWAY COMPANY.
The former company has been revitalized, and has begun the construction of its road west of Albuquerque, N. Mex.
Fifty miles of railroad are completed, and are reported ready for the examination of commissioners to be appointed by the President of the United States for that purpose. A portion of the original road is now owned and operated by the Saint Louis and San Francisco Eailway Company. The property of that company is in fair condition. The net earnin gs for the fiscal year ending June 30,1880, amounted to $1,252,863.69; against $575,734.77 for the corresponding period of 1879.
The company reports as follows:
Number of locomotives, 49; number of passenger cars, 10; baggage, mail, and express cars, 19; freight and other cars, 2,135. Stock issued, $23,803,462; funded debt, $16,771,286.96; floating debt, $542,950.27; unpaid interest, $220,513.50; total debt, $17,534,750.73; stock and debt, $41,338,212.73. Cost of road and franchises, $36,143,950.32. Net earnings, $1,252,863.69; interest paid, $654,239.23. Acres of land unsold, 49,244,803.
OREGON AND CALIFORNIA RAILROAD.
From reports made by this company the following figures are given:
Number of miles operated, 197.36; number of locomotives, 14; passenger cars, 9; baggage, mail, and express, 6; freight and other cars, 306. Par value of shares, $100; stock issued, $20,000,000; funded debt, $10,950,000; floating debt, $918,602.52; total debt, $11,868,602.52; total stock and debt, $31,868,602.52; cost of road, $4,873,369.96; cost of equipment, $590,434.80; cost of road and equipment, $5,463,804.76. Passenger earnings, $192,183.75; freight earnings, $247,009.63; miscellaneous earnings, $66,439.06; total earnings, $505,632.44; operating expenses, including taxes, $383,579.16; net earnings, $122,053.28.
WESTERN OREGON RAILROAD.
This company furnishes the following report:
Miles operated, 49.76; number of locomotives, 7; passenger cars, 4; baggage, mail, and express cars, 2; freight and other cars, 171. Par value of shares, $100. Stock issued, $10,001,000; funded debt, $4,695,000; floating debt, $16,088.16; total debt, $4,711,088.16; total stock and debt, $14,712,088.16. Cost of road, $1,202,866.42. Passenger earnings, $34,895.20; freight earnings, $72,822.86; miscellaneous earnings, $5,410.48; total earnings, $113,128.54; operating expenses, including taxes, $114,584.80.
THE MISSOURI, KANSAS AND TEXAS RAILWAY.
The properties of this road have been inspected and found in good condition.
The business of the company is in a flourishing condition and is increasing rapidly. The net earnings of the company for the fiscal year ending June 30,1880, amounted to $2,158,324.40, being an increase of nearly 50 per cent. over the corresponding period for 1S79, when they amounted to $1,129,365.97.
THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND SANTA FÉ RAILROAD.
This road was examined in May, but owing to lack of facilities afforded the inspection was very unsatisfactory.
The business of the company is in a prosperous condition, the net earnings for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, amounting to $1,588,806.05, against the sum of $931,786.40 for the corresponding period of 1879.
APPENDIX, TABLES, &C.
The Auditor's report is accompanied by an appendix and tables, containing statements and compilations of facts relating to the Pacific and land-grant railroad companies, the laws affecting them, statements of their affairs, 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 interest to railroad companies.
The recommendations of the Auditor as to future legislative enactments in regard to subsidized and land-grant railroads are rospectfully submitted to the consideration of Congress.
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
The first annual report of the director of the United States geological survey, which I have the honor herewith to submit, is of so unusual an interest that an abridgment of it cannot be undertaken without doing it an injustice. The various geological and geographical surveys and exploring expeditions, which for many years had been carrying on their work without unity of aim and direction, each one operating upon a plan of its own and not unfrequently overlapping and duplicating each other, were at last merged in an homogeneous organization by the act of March 3, 1879. For the first time in our history a geological exploration of the public domain has been organized upon a comprehensive scale and a systematic basis. The report sets forth that in order to avoid possible conflicts of jurisdiction, the purpose for which the geological survey was organized under the law creating it, namely, the classification of public lands, and, secondly, the examination of the geological structure and the mineral resources of the public domain, were so construed as not to interfere with the business of the General Land Office, and not to extend the operations of the office over the whole area of the United States, but to confine them to the so-called public land States and Territories.
With regard to the classification of the public lands the report says: “The Public Lands Commission, created by Congress in the same law which organized the geological survey, carefully examined into the question of classification and disposition of the public lands. In the deliberate opinion of that body it has been adjudged impracticable for the Geological Survey or any other branch of the Interior Department to execute a classification in advance of sale without seriously impeding the rapid settlement of the unoccupied lands. I have therefore concluded that the intention of Congress was to begin a rigid scientific classification of the lands of the national domain, not for purposes of aiding the machinery of the General Land Office by furnishing a basis of sale, but for the general information of the people of the country, and to produce a series of maps which should show those features upon which intelligent agriculturalists, miners, engineers, and timbermen might hereafter base their operations, and which would obviously be of the highest value for all students of the political economy and resources of the United States. Studies of this sort entirely aside from the administration of the land office can be made of the highest practical value, and to this end a careful beginning has been made.”
As to the operations of the Geological Survey proper, the practice formerly followed of starting out campaign parties for the West in the spring, to return in the late autumn to Washington, has been abandoned. The Director of the Geological Survey divided the region west of the one hundred and first meridian into four large geological districts, with fixed headquarters. The first of these divisions is that of the Rocky Mountains, embracing within its boundaries Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana, and a small part of Dakota, an area inclosing the whole of the great Rocky Mountain chain. He placed at the head of that division, as geologist in charge, Mr. S. F. Emmons, with his main office at Denver, Col. The second division is that of the Colorado, embracing the remarkable plateau and cañon country which lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin. At the head of this division he placed, as geologist in charge, Capt. C. E. Dutton, United States Ordnance Corps, with headquarters at Salt Lake City. The third division is that of the Great Basin, the tract of country bounded on the east by the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado plateau, and on the west by the country of the Sierra Nevada, Cascade, and Pacific Coast ranges, which lie between it and the Pacific Ocean—a country of the highest importance from its abundant silver districts. To this district was assigned G. K. Gilbert, as geologist in charge, whose headquarters were, for convenience of access, also placed at Salt Lake City. The fourth division is that of the Pacific, and embraces the whole of Washington Territory, that part of Oregon which lies west of the Blue Mountains, and all of California except the desert region lying east of the Sierra Nevada and south of the 38th parallel. Mr. Arnold Hague, as geologist in charge, has his headquarters at San Francisco. The director states that “as soon as the work upon the cañons and plateaus of Colorado is done, it is intended to discontinue that division and to divide it on the line of the Colorado River between the divisions of the Rocky Mountains and that of the Great Basin.
The corps of the geological survey, as now organized, is divided into two classes: First, members of the regular and permanent corps, who are nominated by the director and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, their appointments being made out and oaths of office being filled in the appointment office, Department of the Interior; second, temporary appointments, which the director is authorized to make and to revoke. Appointments to positions requiring scientific knowledge and practical experience are made only after a severe scrutiny of the qualifications of the applicant. Applicants for appointment under the division of general geology are required to furnish proper evidence of a good working knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, and mineralogy. Such evidence will consist of degrees of universities, or the testimony of experts in the required branches, or the result of a written examination. Applicants for appointment under the division of mining geology must furnish equivalent evidence of a working knowledge of mathematics, mechanics, mining geology, chemistry, metallurgy, and the mineralogy of economic mineral products. The corps consists of the director, eight geologists, five assistant geologists, one chief topographer, four topographers, two assistant topographers, one chemist, one photographer, one chief disbursing clerk, one disbursing clerk, three clerks, two messengers, and two watchmen. The appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, was $100,000, and the amount expended from this appropriation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, was $79,375.57, and the amount remaining unexpended June 30, 1880, but required to meet outstanding liabilities, $20,624.43.
There are among the members of the geological survey men of established and recognized eminence in their profession. With the approval of the Secretary of the Interior the geological survey was entrusted by the superintendent of the census with the collection of statistics of the precious metals, iron, coal, petroleum, copper, lead, quicksilver, and zinc, for the census. In order to conform to the requirments of laws governing the census and the survey, the geological director and several of the corps of geologists have been constituted special agents of the census without pay from the census appropriation, and in addition to this small staff experts, duly appointed by the superintendent of the census, have been detailed from the census bureau and ordered to report to the geological director. By this combination of forces the census with the survey, the director will furnish the census bureau and Congress with a thorough exposition of the production of metals, coal and petroleum, and the most important branches of the mineral industry. In this combined labor care has been exercised that only census employés should be detailed to work in the region east of the one-hundredth meridian. The work of gathering the statistics proper is fast approaching completion.
The report of the Director contains preliminary statements of the several geologists, presenting highly interesting accounts of their operation in the field, their various investigations, and the methods followed in collecting statistics for the census. As to the forthcoming publications giving the results of these labors, the Director remarks: “The organization of the survey immediately followed the date at which the first appropriation of one hundred thousand dollars became legally available, and, as that fell in midsummer, only half the ordinary time which the seasons permit was left for field operations. At the close of the present summer, therefore, the scientific staff will have labored only one and a half field seasons—a very short time to bring their special works to completion. Realizing very fully, however, the natural desire of Congress and the administration to see actual results and apply the test of a critical examination to the fruits of the new bureau, I have called upon the members of the corps for an energy and intensity of labor which should not be greatly prolonged, and which affords no measure of the rate of progress on small appropriations hereafter. The gentlemen of the corps have responded with such cheerfulness and enthusiasm that I am able to promise between the close of field work this autumn and the opening of next spring's campaign the completion of twelve volumes of practical and general geology and palaeontology.”
The range of the investigations carried on by the geological survey is indicated by the subjects treated in the volumes promised. They are the following: “Geology and mining industry of Leadville, Col.,” by S. F. Emmons. “Geology of The Eureka mining district in Nevada,” by Arnold Hague, geologist in charge. “The copper rocks of Lake Superior, and their continuation through Minnesota,” by Prof. Rowland D. Irving. “The Comstock Mines,” by Eliot Lord. “The Comstock Lode,” by George F. Becker, geologist in charge. “The mechanical appliances used in mining and milling on the Comstock lode,” by W. R. Eckart, chief engineer. “The coal of the United States,” by Raphael Pumpelly, geologist in charge. “The iron in the United States,” by Raphael Pumpelly. “The precious metals,” by Clarence King, director. “Lesser metals and general mineral resources,” by Raphael Pumpelly. “The Uinkaret Plateau,” by Capt. C. E. Dutton, geologist in charge. “Lake Bonneville,” by G. K. Gilbert, geologist in charge. “The Dinocerata, a monograph oil an extinct order of ungulates,” by Prof. O. C. Marsh, palæontologist.
The act of March 3, 1879, providing for the organization of the Geological Survey contains the following clause: “For the expenses of the Geological Survey and the classification of the public lands and examining geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, one hundred thousand dollars.” Careful not to extend the Geological Survey beyond these limits which Congress may have intended to impose upon its operations, the term “national domain” was, as above mentioned, construed to apply only to the public land States and Territories, although geological investigations in the States which no longer contain public lands are equally interesting and important to industry as well as science. In view of the uncertainty of the meaning of the term “national domain” the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives caused to be offered in the House of Eepresentatives resolution No. 116 extending the field of the Geological Survey over the whole of the United States. That resolution was promptly passed in the House, but is still pending in the Senate. Not feeling warranted in anticipating the action of the Senate by practical operations outside of the public land States and Territories, but desirous of preparing for such work if Congress should grant authority for it, the Director of the Geological Survey has laid down in his report his plan of dividing that part of the United States east of the 102d meridian into divisions in which the work might severally be carried on to advantage. One division would embrace Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and the New England States; the other West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky—the two together the great Appalachian system of mountains extending from New Brunswick to Alabama. The great basin of the Mississippi is also divided into two grand divisions: first the division of the North Mississippi, bounded west of the Mississippi and the south by a line including Missouri and Kansas to the intersection of the 39th parallel with the 102d meridian. East of the Mississippi River the Ohio forms the dividing line between the northern and southern districts.
I beg leave to call the especial attention of Congress to the remarks made by the Director on the important benefits which the extension of the Geological Survey over the whole area of the United States would confer upon the industrial interests of the American people. He sets forth that in the realm of mineral productions the only efforts made to acquire any positive knowledge have been the highly useful but feebly endowed work of the late mining commissioners, whose investigations were suffered to end for lack of appropriations; that to-day no one knows, with the slightest approach to accuracy, the status of the mining industry, either technically, as regards the progress and development making in methods, or statistically, as regards the sources, amounts, and valuation of the various productions; that considering the extent of country over which our minerals occur, their wonderful variety, and yet unmeasured amounts, it cannot fail to be apparent that no private individual or power is competent to do what long since ought to have been done, namely, to sustain a thoroughly practical investigation and exposition of the mineral industry; that even the results of associated efforts, as in the instance of the “Iron and Steel Association,” however valuable, must inevitably be fragmentary and imperfect, and that “the Federal Government alone can successfully prosecute the noble work of investigating and making known the natural mineral wealth of the country, current modes of mining and metallurgy, and the industrial statistics of production.” Selecting the subject of iron as an example, he shows by an elaborate exposition how “hopeless it is to look to any other source than the government for this service.” With regard to the question whether the government has any constitutional power to extend such investigations over the several States, it is urged that “from every analogy of past legislation, Congress has clearly assumed to possess the requisite authority;” that “if it can investigate agricultural industry and maintain a department to execute that branch of inquiry, it can investigate mineral industry; if it can make a coast and geodetic survey over the whole United States, it can make a geological survey.” The cost of carrying on a geological survey covering the whole of the United States is estimated by the director at the same sum which is annually expended by the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The importance of the results of the collection and dissemination of such information as the geological survey would gather can scarcely be overestimated. Being now so fortunate as to have in the service of the government a corps of scientific men of signal ability and energy to undertake this important work, under a direction eminently capable to give system of action and harmony of purpose to their operations, there is but little doubt that the American people would willingly approve an expenditure small in proportion to the general benefit to be expected. I therefore earnestly commend the suggestions of the Director of the Geological Survey to the consideration of Congress.
Since the beginning of the present administration the organization of the pension service has undergone some important changes. Better methods of adjudication, involving more care in the examination of claims and a more perfect system of files and records, have been adopted. The most radical change was the consolidation of pension agencies, which took place in 1877, under the Executive order of May 7 of that year. The 58 agencies then in existence were reduced to 18, and new districts conforming to the change were created. The advisability of the consolidation was questioned at the time, but actual experience has proven its wisdom. Prompt payments, an improved system of accountability, uniformity of practice in disbursements, a more effective supervision by the Pension Office, greater convenience in handling reports and accounts, and the annual saving of $142,000 on salary account alone are among the substantial results of the consolidation.
The total number of claims settled during the four years preceding June 30, 1880, was 74,179, an increase of 26,536 over the previous four years. On the 30th of June, 1876, the number of pensioners borne upon the rolls was 232,137, and the payments for the year which then closed amounted to $28,351,599.69. On the 30th of June, 1880, the number was 250,802 and the payments $57,240,540.14. The large increase, as shown between the two periods, is due to the fact that the payments of the last year include the arrears of pension allowed under act of March 3, 1879.
The Commissioner estimates that upwards of $50,000,000 will be required to pay the pensions of the curreut year, and that a like amount will be needed for the year following.
The magnitude of the interests involved iu this branch of the service can be understood by the presentation of these figures, and it needs no argument to prove that the adoption of the very best attainable system of adjudication is a necessity.
While the sacred obligations represented by these enormous sums of money should be promptly paid, and every honest pensioner receive his or her dues with as little delay as possible, the greatest precaution should be exercised on the part of the government to prevent the admission or payment of fraudulent claims. The present system of adjudication, based almost wholly upon ex parte testimony, is admittedly defective. Perjured witnesses appear as well on paper as honest ones, and where no official record corroborates the evidence given, deception is not only easy, but the temptation to practice it very strong. A change of method in this direction is, in my opinion, absolutely essential to prevent fraud. It is not necessary to wait until a perfect system is presented before authorizing a departure from the present one. The plan proposed by the Commissioner of Pensions and recommended by him in his annual reports since 1876 looks to the correction of existing evils. It is not claimed as perfect; it may have faults which only a practical test can determine, but tbe importance of the work it proposes to do, and the large interests which depend upon the character of this work, should commend it to the earnest consideration of Congress and insure for it a fair trial. I am convinced that it is much better than the present system, and that any faults which actual experience might develop in it could be easily corrected, either by additional legislation or by the exercise of administrative discretion.
The report of the Commissioner contains an interesting array of facts and figures. On the 30th of June last the pension list consisted of 133,212 Army invalids; 78,772 Army widows, minor children, &c.; 2,060 Navy invalids; 1,870 Navy widows, minor children, &c.; 10,138 surviving soldiers and sailors of the war of 1812, and 24,750 widows from that war, a total of 250,802—an increase since last year of 8,047.
During the year, 19,545 new pensions were allowed, and 1,377 pensioners previously dropped restored; 12,875 were dropped.
The annual pensions average $103.34—an aggregate for all of $25,917,906.60. Exclusive of the arrears, the payments for the year amounted to $37,046,185.89, of which $12,468,191.20 was accrued pension in the new cases.
The payment of arrears commenced in May, 1879. There was paid in May and June of that year $3,933,386.63, and $19,980,808.23 during the last fiscal year. The total amount paid out for pensions during the year was $57,026,994.12.
The number of cases in which arrears of pension have been allowed up to November 1, the date of the report, is 43,917. The average in each case is $560.15. These cases were settled from the beginning, so as to distribute them in equal proportions throughout the country, month by month, as the work progressed.
During the 19 years from June, 1861, to July, 1880, 412,459 Army and Navy claims for invalid pension were filed, and 278,488 claims in behalf of Army and Navy widows, minor children, and dependent relatives; 168,856 of the invalids and 193,494 of the other classes were placed on the pension-rolls. Under the acts of February 14, 1871, and March 9, 1878, granting pensions on account of service in the war of 1812, 34,339 survivors presented claims, and 40,020 widows; 25,470 of the survivors and 29,898 widows have been pensioned. There were, on the 30th of June, 282,597 unsettled claims for pension of the Army and Navy classes, and 17,749 claims for pension on account of service in the war of 1812, for bounty-land warrants and for increase of pension. There were allowed during the year 14,631 original pensions of the Army and Navy classes, a larger number than has been allowed in any year since 1871. Annexed to the report is a number of valuable statistical tables, which cannot be given in full, but one of them is worthy of particular mention, showing the number of pensioners borne upon the rolls at the end of each fiscal year from 1861 to 1880, and the amount of money paid out for pensions each year. The total amount for the twenty years is $455,718,505.70.
The Commissioner refers to the new record of claims which has been in course of preparation for many months, and now approaching completion, which classifies the claimants by their proper military organization. These records when completed will comprise 176 volumes of 250 pages each, and contain a record of the claims on account of service in 2,268 regiments, 194 battalions, 706 independent companies, 708 batteries, and 46 staff corps.
The reorganization in November last of the office force engaged in settling the Army claims for service in the war of the rebellion, with rearrangement of the files to correspond, has been of great advantage to the service.
The report refers to the subject of Indian pensions, on account of service in three regiments of Indian home guards, raised in the Indian Territory. In 1879 the Commissioner detailed two special agents to visit the Territory and investigate the claims upon their merits. The investigation was successful and the claimants are about to be paid their dues; a large sum of accrued pension is due in each case, which, under the law, must be paid by check issued by the pension agent. The Commissioner says that there are no banks or other financial institutions in the Territory upon which the pensioners can depend to exchange at a reasonable rate current money for their pension checks, and the pensioners are in danger of being overreached and defrauded of their pensions by unscrupulous speculators and adventurers, who infest the Indian and border settlements, unless some precaution shall be taken for their protection, and he recommends legislation to authorize the accrued pension to be paid in installments not to exceed $200 each, as a measure of protection.
There are about 2,450 pensioners residing at the various branches of the homes for disabled volunteer soldiers, whose pensions annually amount to about $300,000, which have been paid to the treasurer of the home and disbursed under the direction of the managers, who claim that this course is justified by the law and necessary in order to secure proper discipline and good order among the inmates. The Commissioner is of opinion that the law does not provide for the payment of these pensions in this manner, and requests that the subject be brought to the attention of Congress, so that the duties of the Commissioner of Pensions and managers of the home in relation to these pensions be more clearly defined.
Legislation to authorize the payment of the pensions to the wives and children of insane or imprisoned invalid pensioners is recommended.
The report also recommends legislation to authorize the pensions of minor children to be commenced at the date of the last payment to the widow of the soldier in cases where she has remarried and concealed the fact, and continued to draw the pension.
It also recommends legislation to enable the Commissioner to dispose more equitably of claims for increase of pension than can now be done under the law, and providing for the review of unjust rates of pension which have been established under a mistake.
The report next deals with the subject of attorneys' fees. It calls attention to the fact that since the act of June 20, 1878, there is doubt whether the penal provisions of section 4785, Revised Statutes, can be enforced against attorneys, and recommends an amendment to dispose of the doubtful construction.
It also recommends legislation to protect the department and claimants against disbarred attorneys, who continue to solicit and receive fees in cases wherein they are no longer recognized.
Referring to the operations of the office in the investigation of frauds, he presents a table showing that the expenses of the year were $26,466.19; that there was saved directly to the government by the investigation $451,775.65.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that the great number of frauds discovered year by year, when it is considered that their discovery by the office is in a large degree chargeable to accident, or to voluntary information, is quite conclusive evidence that but a small percentage of the frauds committed have been discovered.
The Commissioner is of opinion that the compensation of pension agents is too small, and recommends a revision of the law fixing their compensation and increasing it by extending to them the right to use the official penalty envelope in their official correspondence. He also recommends that an additional fee of twenty cents be paid them for their services in paying the arrears.
The report closes with a recommendation for an increase in the number of clerkships of the classes 1, 2, 3, and 4, and also for an increase in the salaries of chiefs of division, appeal clerk, chief clerk, deputy commissioner, and Commissioner.
The report of the Commissioner of Patents shows an increase in the work of the office for the year ending June 30, 1880, over that of the previous year.
The number of applications for patents was 20,990, being 1,690 more than the previous year. The number of applications for design patents was 681; for the reissue of patents 598; number of caveats filed 2,680; number of applications for registration of trade marks 732; number of applications for registration of labels 479; number of disclaimers filed 11; number of appeals on the merits 781.
Number of patents granted, including reissues and designs, 13,649, being 1,178 more than the previous year. The number of trade-marks registered was 515; labels registered 307; patents withheld for non-payment of final fee 1,313; number of patents expired 3,364.
The total receipts of the office were $730,547.12, being $27,400.33 more than the previous year.
The expenditures for the year were $538,926.43; the expenditures for the year ending June 30,1879, were $548,651.37, $5,000 of this being for the repair of models damaged by fire and not chargeable to the current expenses of the office.
The current expenditures of the office were $9,725.04 less than the year before. This gives a net gain in excess of receipts over expenditures of $37,125.37. The total excess of receipts over expenditures is $191,620.69.
The Commissioner makes several recommendations worthy of special attention. He calls special attention to the inadequacy of the rooms provided for the use of the office. He also calls attention to the great need of a system of digests of inventions. To carry out this suggestion would require special appropriation or an increase in the working force of the office, in order that a portion thereof might be detailed for that purpose.
The interests of the service, in his judgment, demand an additional force of clerks and examiners, and in submitting his estimates for the fiscal year ending July 1, 1882, he recommends an increase of one principal examiner, three first assistant examiners, three second assistants, and three third assistants beyond what was provided for in the appropriation bill for the present fiscal year. For the purpose of a better organization of the office he, in the same connection, recommends that there be created three chiefs of divisions at a salary of $2,000 each, who shall take the place of an equal number of fourth-class clerks. He also recommended a small increase in the number of clerks, and that the salaries thereof be readjusted to correspond with the character of work performed. To do this an increase of about $50,000 in the appropriation for salaries is required.
The Commissioner reports satisfactory results in the work of his bureau. During the year 87,304 documents, circulars, and letters were sent to correspondents at home and abroad. During the same period 19,654 were received by the office.
The office library contains about 12,000 volumes and 25,000 pamphlets.
Attention is called to the marked improvement in the methods of teaching, especially in rural schools, and the gratifying growth of public sentiment throughout the country in favor of our public school system.
The laudable efforts in the direction of industrial education are noticed, and the excellent work being done by colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts is commented upon.
The Commissioner renews his recommendation for the passage by Congress of some act of financial aid which should be distributed at first on the basis of the percentage of illiterate persons to the total population, and, substantially, on the plan adopted by the trustees of the Peabody Fund.
He refers to the interesting information received respecting the efforts made to establish schools in Alaska. The Eusso-Greek bishop sends word of his desire to co-operate, if any plan for public schools be adopted by the government. The schools at Sitka and Wrangel, especially the girls' boarding-school at the latter place, report good progress; the children are managed easily and learn readily.
Evidence increases that these natives need only to be instructed in letters, industry, and conduct to become useful members of the community. They will care for themselves, preserve the peace, and aid in the material development of their country. The Commissioner states that all efforts in their behalf at present are made under the most discouraging circumstances, there being no law for the protection of life or property, and no authority to organize schools. He appreciates the difficulties which beset the organization of any local government for Alaska; but from information received believes that if proper laws were passed by Congress, it would suffice to provide for their temporary execution by a governor, a judge, a superintendent of instruction, and a secretary of the Territory, who jointly should constitute a council of administration and be held to proper accountability.
The papers accompanying the Commissioner's report comprise abstracts of all State, Territorial, and city school reports published during the time covered thereby, and statistics collected by the office directly from 8,000 schools and institutions of learning of various grades and kinds.
Since the last annual report of the department, tbe Tenth Census of the United States has been taken.
The provisions of the acts of March 3, 1879, and April 20, 1880, have been found very efficient in securing a prompt and exact enumeration of the people, while the various classes of vital, social, and industrial statistics, which are gathered in connection with the enumeration of inhabitants, have been very satisfactorily obtained through the special agencies which have for the first time been put in operation under the above-mentioned acts.
Much surprise has been created, and not a little unfavorable criticism excited in the newspaper press, by reported gains of population in certain States which were far in excess of what was anticipated from the known conditions of settlement and occupation in the regions concerned.
Wherever the face of the returns afforded good reasons for doubting the accuracy of the enumeration, an investigation under competent agents has been had, and in some instances a thorough re-enumeration has been ordered of the district or districts in question. Thus far these investigations have shown that the original enumeration was substantially correct, and that the apparent cause for complaint was largely due to defects in the census of 1870; arising partly from the disturbed state of society existing at that time, and partly from the insufficient and inappropriate agencies then in use, which have now been superseded by the more efficitent agencies established by acts of Congress of the present and the past year. I am satisfied that the enumeration conducted during the present year has been more thorough and exact than any taken under the act of 1850 could be, and that no reason exists for distrusting its essential soundness. The letter of the Superintendent concerning the census of South Carolina, with a report of the special agent sent to investigate the extraordinary gains of population in that State, will be found among the documents accompanying this report.
The Superintendent of Census anticipates being able to make a complete report of the operations of the census, so far as the enumeration of inhabitants is concerned, during the coming month of December. Out of nearly 31,500 enumeration districts formed for the purpose of this census, complete returns have been received from all but 7 small districts, in which unavoidable accidents, such as the loss of matter in the mails, deaths of enumerators, or the delinquency of individual officials, have thus far prevented the completion of the work, which, however, it is expected will be brought to a conclusion within the course of the next few days.
I am gratified to report that the expenditures of the census have been kept within the limits prescribed by the act of March 3, 1879; and it is believed that a sufficient amount remains out of the sums appropriated for this service to complete the compilation and tabulation of the numerous classes of statistics collected.
The exigencies of the service since the first of May have required a considerable clerical force to be maintained upon work at night.
It is the view of the Superintendent that the compilation and publication of the several classes of statistics should be pushed forward with the utmost expedition.
While the census will always remain of value for purposes of comparison with preceding periods, its first and greatest service is its immediate use not only for determining the distribution of political power, according to the provisions of the Constitution, but also for directing State and national legislation, and for guiding individual and social effort for the promotion of public interests, and for the amelioration of the condition of the criminal, afflicted, and dependent classes.
Every year and every month, therefore, which can be saved in the compilation and publication of the census statistics adds especially to their value.
The authority conferred by the eighteenth section for the appointment of special agents to collect the manufacturing statistics of cities and considerable towns has been made use of by this office to the extent of appointing such agents in 276 cities and towns, the total number of such agents appointed being 365. From 260 of these cities and towns full returns have been already received, and an examination of the schedules shows that the value of the manufacturing statistics of the present census has been vastly enhanced by the system thus adopted.
In the remaining sixteen, embracing the largest cities of the country, from which returns, on account of the great number of establishments to be canvassed, are not yet fully due, the work is, according to full and frequent advices received, progressing in the most satisfactory manner. All the returns within this department of the census will, it is believed, be in possession of the office during December, when the compilation of the manufacturing statistics will be pushed rapidly forward.
The work of paying the enumerators for their services has been carried on with the utmost expedition which was consistent with justice to the census and to the Treasury.
It has been necessary to ascertain that each part of the enumerator's work has been properly done before he could safely be paid, and it has also been necessary to guard each statement and payment of account with all the checks which would have been necessary in case of much larger payments. The accounts of 28,410 enumerators have already been stated and settled, involving a total expenditure of $1,820,027.34; of the remaining 2,855 cases the accounts of 1,242 have been stated, and vouchers have been mailed to the enumerators for their signatures. In 1,199 cases the accounts are now in course of adjustment. In 414 cases accounts have been suspended, owing to deficiencies or irregularities in returns, or to the failure of supervisors to make the required statements of time occupied or work done, or to the necessity of still further investigating matters connected with the enumeration. I have no reason to doubt that the present month will see all the enumerators paid for their services, except only in cases where a suspension is required for reasons which are unmistakably connected with some fault, more or less serious, on the part of the enumerator himself.
The total disbursements on account of the Tenth Census to December 1, 1880, are as follows:
|Supervisors of census:|
|Clerk-hire and miscellaneous||54,801 12|
|Special agents for the collection of the manufacturing statistics of individual cities:|
|Office rent and miscellaneous||3,825 66|
|Special agents at large for the collection of industrial and social statistics:|
|Traveling expenses||55,733 01|
|Office rent and miscellaneous||16,903 66|
|Rent and fuel||5,769 55|
|Furniture and fittings||25,942 09|
|Printing and binding||63,310 33|
|Traveling expenses and miscellaneous||8,750 42|
conferred by the twenty-third section of the act of March 3, 1879, for the removal of supervisors and the appointment of their successors, and in neither of these cases were the causes requiring removal such as to reflect upon the personal or official integrity of the supervisor so removed.
Attention is respectfully invited to the remarks of the Superintendent of the Census on the necessity of promptness in the publication of the census reports, and also to his recommendation as to their publication by special contract. It appears highly desirable that this subject should have early consideration in Congress.
The United States Entomological Commission had a prolonged session immediately after the adjournment of Congress, and perfected plans for carrying to completion the work with which it is charged. As during the previous year, the labor was divided so that Professor Riley had charge of that part of the work in which the cotton planter is concerned, while Doctor Packard and Professor Thomas had charge of the work in the West, relating to the Rocky Mountain locust. Professor Thomas made an exploration of those parts of Dakota and British America which embrace some of the most important regions in the permanent breeding- grounds of the locust. Dr. Packard visited Wyoming and Utah, collecting information regarding the locust; and his assistant traveled over two months in different parts of Montana, ascending the Yellowstone River, crossing the country to Bozeman and Helena, and returning through Eastern Idaho. Other agents of the commission collected locust data in Utah. All this region, usually affording the most favorable breeding-grounds for the locust, was remarkably free from them this season, so that the commission believe that there is little likelihood of injury from locusts in the West in 1881.
The second report of the commission is now just ready for distribution, and treats very fully of the locust problem, especially as to the future prospects in the great Northwest, the best means of averting locust injury there, and preventing migrations therefrom into the more fertile States to the east and south; also how the government can best aid in obtaining beneficial results.
Professor Riley, with a corps of able assistants, has conducted the investigation of the cotton-worm, and the results of his work will doubtless tend to lessen the destruction of the cotton-plant.
In addition to the second report, the commission has issued three special bulletins during the year, one by Professor Riley, on the cotton-worm; one by Professor Thomas, on the chinch-bug; and one by Doctor Packard, on the Hessian-fly. They are illustrated summaries of all that is known of these injurious insects, and have been in such demand that Congress ordered extra editions of the two first mentioned, and all three are exhausted, so that further demands cannot be supplied. The third report of the commission is being prepared, and also a special and final memoir on the insects of the cotton-plant, the publication of which I commend to Congress.
HOT SPRINGS RESERVATION.
The Hot Springs Reservation is located in Garland County, Arkansas. In October, 1875, the United States Supreme Court decided that the title to that portion of the lands which had been in dispute for more than fifty years vested in the United States. A receiver was appointed by the court, and the rentals collected by him and covered into the Treasury amounted to $33,744.78.
Under the act of March 3, 1877, the office of receiver was abolished, and a commission was appointed to lay out the lands of the reservation into convenient squares, blocks, lots, avenues, streets, and alleys; designate the tract, including the Hot Springs Mountain, which was to be reserved from sale; show by metes and bounds, on a properly prepared map, the parcels or tracts of land claimed by reason of improvement or occupation; hear any and all proof offered by claimants and occupants and the United States in respect to said lands and improvements; 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.
The commissioners were also authorized to condemn and remove all buildings or obstructions upon the reservation when necessary, fix the value of the property condemned, issue certificates therefor, and at the conclusion of their labors to make a full report of their proceedings to the Secretary of the Interior.
On the 30th of March, 1877, the President appointed as members of the commission, A. H. Cragin, of New Hampshire; John Coburn, of Indiana; and M. L. Stearns, of Florida. They were reappointed December 16, 1878, for one year, and submitted their final report December 11, 1879.
The following papers, documents, records, maps, and plats accompanied the report, and are now on file in this department:
1st. All of the petitions filed with the commission for the right to purchase land, and for condemned buildings, with the testimony offered by the claimants in the several claims, and the findings of the commission.
2d. A record of all the proceedings of the commission, which includes all the orders and findings made by the commission in the several claims.
3d. A docket of all the petitions or claims filed, furnishing a reference to the orders of the commission in each claim.
4th. A schedule, as provided by law, showing the name of each claimant, and of each lot or parcel of land, the appraised value thereof, and numbers to correspond with such claim upon the map.
5th. Appraisement books, containing the valuation of each lot or tract of land in the reservation remaining to be sold, and of the improvements thereon.
6th. A map of the entire reservation of four sections, as provided by law, accompanied by maps of the several quarter sections in the reservation showing, the alignment of the streets by distances, angles, and curves, the dimensions and areas of lots, the position of monuments, and other details.
7th. Maps in sections, showing the several claims, as nearly as possible, as originally made by the claimants.
The number of certificates issued by the commission for the preference right to purchase was 647, covering an aggregate area of 699.81 acres.
The number of certificates issued for condemned buildings was 172, with a total valuation of $74,696.
In accordance with the provisions of the act of March 3, 1877, the officers of the Little Rock land office were instructed to allow the lands to be entered by those in whose favor they were adjucated.
The thirty days allowed the Secretary of the Interior to instruct the land officers were extended by Congress sixty days from January 14, 1880.
March 16,1880, the local officers at Little Rock were notified to carry into effect the instructions previously given.
By an act of Congress, approved June 16, 1880, the valuation of the awarded lands as fixed by the commission was reduced to forty per cent, of the original appraisement.
The certificates issued for condemned buildings, with one exception, were made receivable for entries and purchase money for lands in Hot Springs Reservation.
Those divisions of the reservation known as North Mountain, West Mountain, and Sugar Loaf Mountain, were reserved from sale and dedicated to public use as parks attached to the permanent reservation.
The title to the cemetery lot within the limits of the town was transferred to the corporation of Hot Springs on condition that the bodies now buried within the inclosure should be decently interred in a suitable burying-ground elsewhere, and that the said lot should be used forever as a town or city park.
The Secretary of the Interior was authorized to designate six lots for schools, and one lot for the Baptist Church of Hot Springs, the edifice of the latter having been destroyed by fire.
The streets, courts, and alleys were ceded to the town of Hot Springs.
The lots not awarded to claimants, or otherwise disposed of by law, were to be sold at public auction, at the discretion and under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, after the usual notice, at a price not less than the appraised valuation, and all moneys received were to be held as a special fund for the improvement and care of the permanent reservation, and for the maintenance of free baths for the invalid poor of the United States.
By the provisions of this act the appraised valuation of awarded lands was reduced from $224,819 to $89,927.60, a reduction of $134,891.40.
The appraised valuation of the unawarded lands was $105,499. As the mountains reserved from sale by the act of June 16, 1880, were appraised at $62,200, the available aggregate of unawarded lands amounts to $43,299. The total valuation of awarded and unawarded lands, exclusive of the mountain reservations, is $133,226.60. As certificates for condemned buildings, amounting to $52,696, are receivable as money for payment of these lots, the cash returns, if all lots are sold at their present appraised valuation, will be $80,530.60.
The appropriation for salaries and other expenses of the Hot Springs Commission amounted to $82,000.
The dates and amounts of the separate appropriations were as follows: May 26, 1877, $27,500; December 22, 1877, $15,000; March 10, 1879, $12,000 (deficiency); March 10, 1879, $27,500.
The amount of money received from the rental of waters during the year ending June 30, 1880, was $2,774.03; expenditures during same period, $2,550.
The flow of hot water having been found insufficient to supply the daily demands made upon it during the few hours devoted to bathing, a reservoir has recently been constructed to store sufficient water to accommodate all the bath-houses now in operation or likely to be established for some years to come. It is a substantial structure, built of brick, and cost $3,034.86.
THE YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.
The building of the Utah and Northern Railroad has made the Yellowstone National Park more accessible; and it may be assumed that the number of visitors would now rapidly increase if the park itself were provided with facilities of travel. The original intention of Congress in reserving that interesting region from sale or other disposal was undoubtedly that it should become a popular place of resort by the people of the United States. This was a wise measure; but a personal inspection convinced me that very much remains to be done to give that measure the desired effect. The Yellowstone Park covers an area of over 3,000 square miles. Its western part contains the largest known geysers in the world, far grander than those of Iceland, California, New Zealand, and Formosa; and hot springs of signal beauty and remarkable mineral properties. It is in this respect certainly the most interesting region on this continent, and, perhaps, on the face of the earth; and the medicinal qualities of its waters, so far only in part analyzed and ascertained, may render it one of the most important restorative resorts for the afflicted. At the same time, it presents mountain scenery of peculiar beauty, north, west, and south of Yellowstone Lake; while the grotesque rock formations, and the intense coloring of the grand cañon of the Yellowstone River, present a spectacle in the highest degree grand and unique. So far, the larger part of the park has remained an almost unbroken wilderness. A wagon-road has been constructed from the Mammoth Hot Springs, near the northern border, to the geyser basins, a distance of about 55 miles, which, however, is very rough and imperfect in grading. The Shoshone and Yellowstone Lakes, the magnificent falls of the Yellowstone river, and some of the most interesting mountains and valleys are accessible only by trails and bridle-paths, in part of difficult passage. There is not a single hotel in the park to accommodate travelers; and while a stage line has been established to take visitors to the geyser basins, they are left there without any further means of conveyance. To accomplish the object for which the reservation was intended it is indispensably necessary that the road connecting the Mammoth Hot Springs with the geyser basins should be greatly improved; that wagon-roads should be constructed from there to Shoshone and Yellowstone Lakes; that a bridge should be built across the Yellowstone River above its falls; and that a further system of wagon-roads be laid out in the direction of the mountain ranges south, east, and north of Yellowstone Lake. It is also necessary, in my opinion, that the department be authorized to lease little tracts of land at different points of interest to private persons willing to erect hotels, under such regulations as may be devised for the protection and convenience of the public. The law as it stands authorizes this department to conclude such leases for ten years; but it will be difficult to find responsible persons willing to erect suitable buildings on so short a tenure. Only one proposition of this kind has reached the department. I would, therefore, recommend that the department be authorized to make the leases for a term of at least thirty years, upon such conditions as, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, the interests of the traveling public may require. I have no doubt that if the territory of the park were disposed of by sale or otherwise to private persons, private enterprise would soon furnish all the conveniences necessary without any outlay on the part of the government; but it is also probable that under such circumstances the traveling public would be subjected to tolls and extortions of so annoying and burdensome a nature that thereby the original intention of Congress would be virtually defeated and the park become a place of resort only to persons of large means. I deem it, therefore, important, if the intention with which the reservation was originally made is not to be defeated, that the government retain control of the park; but if it does, it is also the plain duty of the government to take such measures as are necessary to make it practically accessible to the people. To this end an appropriation for next year of at least $50,000 for the construction of a suitable system of roads and bridges would seem advisable.
I would also make the following recommendations:
First. That a board of three competent persons be appointed by the President to superintend the laying out and building of roads and bridges and to make plans for further improvements, and to make the necessary contracts, and to audit the accounts therefor; the members of such board to receive no salary, but to have their actual expenses allowed while engaged in the discharge of their duties; that this board be authorized to employ a competent person as custodian of the park, at a salary of —— dollars, and also to organize a police force of at least ten members, to afford visitors the necessary protection and aid, to protect the craters of the geysers and basins of the hot springs from destruction and defacement, and to enforce the regulations mentioned below.
Secondly. That the Secretary of the Interior be authorized to invite the Academy of Science to designate a proper person to observe the extraordinary volcanic phenomena in the park, to analyze its waters, and to make a report thereon, a suitable compensation therefor to be fixed by this department.
In view of the fact that the destruction of game is going on in the Western country at a rapid rate; that some of the valleys of the National Park have for years been favorite places for the wholesale slaughter of elk and deer; that it would be desirable to preserve in some locality specimens of the more notable wild animals of that region, and that the Yellowstone Park appears to be a very suitable place for that purpose, I have deemed it proper, under the law authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to make regulations for the government of the park, to prohibit the hunting and killing of game in it altogether; while fishing, except with nets and seines, is to be left free. Regulations have also been made concerning the grazing of cattle on the pasture lands of the park. As the enforcement of some of these regulations will require the enactment of a law providing a penalty for their violation, a draught of a bill to that end will be submitted to the consideration of Congress.
The report of the inspector of gas and meters shows that the gas companies of the District of Columbia have generally during the year furnished gas in purity and illuminating power equal to the requirements of the act of June 23, 1874.
The report of the inspector sets forth the results of experiments made in the early part of the present year to determine the quantity of light given by different burners consuming the same amount of gas, which will be of interest to the public.
The inspector suggests that the law should be so modified as to require the gas companies of the District, within a specified time, to replace all meters now in use which have not been inspected with meters which have been inspected, proved, and sealed, and, also, to require that when, for any purpose whatever, the heads of meters which have been inspected are removed by the company to which they belong, such meters should again be inspected before being placed in service.
It is suggested that the law does not specify the person whose duty it shall be to institute proceedings to recover the penalty for failure to supply gas of the required purity and illuminating power. The law should be amended in this respect, and also should set forth more particularly the manner in which the penalty should be recovered.
Receipts and expenditures of the office:
|Cash on hand July 1, 1879||$1,057 07|
|Received during the year||716 36|
|Expended on the laboratory and apparatus||1,141 59|
|Cash on hand July 1, 1880||631 84|
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS.
The report of the Architect of the Capitol sets forth the improvements which have been made during the year in the Capitol, the Capitol grounds, the Government Printing Office, and the City Hall.
He calls attention to the fact that it was not possible to execute the act passed at the last session of Congress providing for the construction of an elevator for the south wing of the Capitol, for the reason that the proviso to this act required that it should be so located as not to interfere in anywise with the lighting and ventilation of the building, and it was found that it could not be so located as to comply with these conditions. He expresses the hope that Congress will so amend the law as to remove the restriction referred to, so that the appropriation made for the elevator can be used during the present fiscal year, there being a necessity for its construction.
The Architect recommends that the police of the Capitol grounds be attached as special police to the Metropolitan department.
He renews his recommendations that the old hall of the House of Representatives and rooms adjoining be made fire-proof.
The Electrician to the House of Representatives reports that the method of lighting the gas by the dynamo-electrical machines effects an annual saving of $1,000 or $1,200 over the old method of lighting by batteries. The experiments made with the electric light do not warrant him in recommending it for the legislative halls. He recommends its use in the Capitol grounds and adjoining parks.
The amount expended on the Capitol Extension for the year ending June 30,1880, was $50,000, the amount appropriated for this purpose. The expenditures on account of improvement of the ventilation of the Hall of the House of Representatives were $30,000, the amount of the appropriation.
The expenditures on account of the heating apparatus for Senate Chamber were $4,000, the amount appropriated.
The expenditures for lighting the United States Capitol and grounds were $30,516.01. The appropriation was $32,400. Balance to be returned to the Treasury, $1,883.99.
The expenditures on account of the Capitol grounds were $60,000, the amount of the appropriation.
The expenditures during the year on account of the extension of the Government Printing Office, which is now finished, were $29,039.24. The amount expended during the previous year was $14,244.57. Of the appropriation ($43,800), $516.19 remain to be returned to the Treasury.
NEW PUBLIC BUILDINGS.
The Interior Department has in the course of time grown to be so large an institution that the Patent-Office building is altogether too small to accommodate more than one-half of its records and its clerical force. The inconveniences suffered on account of the insufficiency of room are a constant source of complaint. Only four of the eight bureaus of the Interior Department are accommodated in the building, namely, the Patent Office, the Land Office, the Indian Bureau, and the Bureau of Railroad Accounts. And even these four are so cramped for room that the halls and corridors must be used for the storing of valuable records, some of which are in daily use, and that the crowding together of the clerical force is such as not only to cause very serious discomfort but also to interfere with the transaction of the public business. Four bureaus of the Interior Department, namely, the Pension Office, the Census Office, the Bureau of Education, and the Office of the Geological Survey are located in different parts of the city, in buildings rented for that purpose. The Interior Department, inclusive of the Census Office, pays this year $44,900 in rents. The scattering of the different bureaus constituting this department in widely separated locations causes much delay and circumstance in the correspondence between the bureau chiefs and the head of the department, which should always be easy and rapid. A large correspondence and valuable papers have to be carried to and fro for signature and inspection, and are in their transit liable to be lost or damaged. The crowding together of a large number of clerks in small rooms is dangerous to health, and sometimes seriously interferes with the performance of duty. The file rooms are so packed that we find it sometimes difficult to get at documents necessary for the prosecution of business. Almost every foot of space, not only in the halls and corridors, but under stairs and arches, and in nooks and corners from the basement to the roof of the building has had to be used for storing papers and records. We have been obliged to use even one of the new model halls recently restored for the accommodation of the copying force, putting in wooden partitions and covering the room destined for the exhibition of models with desks and office furniture. It is evident that the erection of a new edifice for the accommodation of the Interior Department will soon be recognized as an absolute necessity. The Patent Office alone will in the course of time, with its accumulating records and models, occupy the whole of the present Interior Department building.
I am informed that similar complaints come from other departments of the government; that the Post-Office Department finds its present quarters insufficient; that a large portion of the force of the Treasury Department is located outside of the main building; that the Department of Justice is in a rented house; and that the new edifice erected for the Departments of State, War, and of the Navy will not be large enough to accommodate all the offices belonging to those branches of the public service. Under such circumstances it appears that the exigencies of the government call for the erection of not only one but of several public buildings, for the Interior Department, for the Post-Office Department, for the accommodation of the Department of Justice, and for different offices connected with the War and Navy Departments which do not find accommodation in the buildings now existing and in progress of construction.
In view of this fact I beg leave to repeat some remarks I had the honor to address to the Hon. George L. Converse, chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, House of Representatives, on the 18th of May last, in reply to a letter of inquiry from him:
If such public buildings are constructed upon a harmonious plan, they will contribute much to the public convenience, as well as to the beauty of the national capital. I would respectfully recommend, therefore, that the following suggestion be considered:
It being desirable that the executive departments should be located in as close proximity as possible to each other, as well as to the Executive Mansion, it would seem to me that no better place for the construction of new buildings for them could be found than the blocks surrounding Lafayette Square on the east, north, and west, opposite the Treasury, the Executive Mansion, and the State, War, and Navy Departments, leaving the square itself undisturbed. A group of four public buildings surrounding that square, erected upon an harmonious plan as to architecture, would, with the buildings now existing, probably become one of the most imposing and beautiful groups of public edifices in the world. The purchase of the lots surrounding Lafayette Square would indeed be somewhat costly, but the public convenience, as well as the architectural beauty of the group mentioned, would no doubt compensate for an expenditure but little larger than would be occasioned by the purchase of property in other parts of the city. These buildings could be erected one after another, as the necessities of the case may require, but a harmonious plan for the whole group should be made by competent architects and accepted by the government before commencing the erection of any one of them. I respectfully submit this suggestion to your consideration and that of Congress, believing as I do that the erection of the public buildings that are now and will become necessary, upon such a plan as here stated, will finally be more satisfactory to the people of the United States than would be the scattering of a number of public offices in places more or less accidentally chosen, and thus losing much of their architectural effect, while being but little less costly. I would add that if such a project be entertained it can be initiated and partly executed at much less expense now than will be possible ten or fifteen years hence, when its non-adoption at a time like this might possibly become a matter of very general regret.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT BUILDING.
The reconstruction of that portion of the building which was destroyed by fire, is, with the exception of a few minor details, completed. The amount of money appropriated by Congress for this work was $250,000. The change of the plans originally authorized by Congress, June 20, 1878, necessitated certain expenditures which reduced the available balance to $244,920.48. The estimate submitted of the cost of the reconstruction under the plans authorized by act of March 3, 1879, was $250,000, and it is gratifying to state that the expenditures have not exceeded the available balance, above stated. The architect in charge estimates that $5,915 will be required to complete the ornamentation, construction of gallery-rails, furnishing rubber plates for steps, and for other necessary work which remains to be done.
The halls are a decided improvement over the old ones, being beautiful in design and more commodious in general arrangement. The additional gallery adds one-third to the space hitherto available, while the light is better than before. Credit is due to the architects and engineer in charge, not only for the original design, but for the fidelity with which the work has been supervised.
The supervising board appointed by Congress, consisting of the Commissioner of Patents, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Engineer in charge of public buildings, is entitled to no less credit for keeping the expenditures within the appropriation, and for the general management of the work.
The south and east halls are at present in a very insecure condition. Faulty construction has developed defects in the arches, which may prove of a serious character unless promptly remedied. In my last report I called attention to the insecure roof which now covers these two wings. It is little better than a tinder-box, and covering imperfect and badly constructed flues, may at any time endanger the safety of the building. The changes necessary to construct a fire-proof roof, and remedy the evils growing out of a faulty plan, would be so radical and expensive that I deem it in the interest of public economy to recommend the reconstruction of both wings on the plan adopted in the rebuilding of the north and west halls.
The sum of $90,000 has been asked for to carry out this plan on the south wing, and I earnestly hope that Congress may deem it advisable to appropriate the amount.
The walls and ceilings of the halls and rooms immediately under the reconstructed model-halls were seriously damaged by heat and water at the time of the fire.
The estimated cost for the necessary repairs is $10,000, and an appropriation of this amount is recommended.
An appropriation of $80,000 was made at the last session of Congress, to be used in fitting up the model-halls with fire-proof cases. Contracts have been entered into for the construction of as many as can be obtained for the amount named. As the original estimate for this purpose was $160,000, an additional sum of $80,000 will be needed to supply both halls with the number of cases required.
HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE.
The number of patients in the hospital June 30, 1879, was 819, of whom 617 were males and 202 females.
The number admitted during the year was 225, of whom 181 were males and 44 females. The number discharged as having recovered was 52, improved 33, unimproved 3; 46 males and 13 females died.
The number remaining in the hospital June 30, 1880, was 897, of whom 691 were males and 206 females. Of those under treatment during the year, 529 were from the Army, 53 from the Navy, 462 from civil life.
The report of the Board of Visitors gives a synopsis of the operations of the hospital during the whole period of its existence.
The records show that of the 4,940 cases treated in the hospital during the twenty-five years of its existence, 2,095 recovered.
The estimates for the next fiscal year are as follows:
|For the support, clothing, and treatment of the insane||$196,875|
|For general repairs and improvements||10,060|
|For special improvements||40,000|
One purpose for which the last-mentioned appropriation is asked is to furnish the hospital with a supply of pure water. The hospital has hitherto been supplied with water from the Anacostia River, immediately in front of the hospital grounds. It evidently contains impurities rendering it unfit for use, and these impurities will increase year by year. It is estimated that $25,000 will be required to connect the hospital with the water supply of the city of Washington.
In my opinion this improvement should be made without delay.
The hospital farm has not sufficient accommodations for the shelter of stock and the proper protection of the harvested crops.
An appropriation of $5,000 is asked for additional farm buildings. I recommend that this appropriation be made.
The Board of Visitors also recommend the erection of a suitable mortuary building, a greenhouse, and a kitchen detached from the main building. I concur in these recommendations, and also in the recommendation that provision be made for the erection of a distinct hospital building for the female insane, to cost $250,000, to be completed in three years, and that the sum of $75,000 be appropriated for this purpose for the year ending June 30, 1882.
The sum of $143,000 was appropriated for the support of patients during the present fiscal year. It is estimated that $175,000 will be required for this purpose, and that an additional sum of $5,000 will be required for ordinary repairs and improvement to keep the property from deterioration. The board asks for a deficiency appropriation of $37,000.
The detailed statement of the receipts and expenditures of the hospital for the last fiscal year, required by the act of June 4, 1880, is attached to the report of the board.
COLUMBIA INSTITUTION FOR THE DEAF AND DUMB.
The number of pupils under instruction during the year was 128. Of these 79 were in the collegiate department, representing twenty-four States and the District of Columbia, and 49 were in the primary department.
The general health of the pupils has been good, and but one death has occurred.
Instruction in articulation has been continued with increasing success.
A diploma and silver medal were received from the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878, in recognition of the remarkable advance made by the collegiate department.
The president of the institution visited Europe during the summer for the purpose of attending an international convention of instructors of the deaf and dumb, held in Milan, Italy, early in September.
The receipts of the institution amounted to $53,522.06, and the expenditures to $52,290.37, of which $29,444.48 were for salaries and wages.
The estimates for next year are for current expenses and repairs $53,500, the same amount as that appropriated for the present year; and $15,242.07 for the completion of the gymnasium, the erection of a barn, cow-houses, etc., and for the improvement and inclosure of the grounds.
Congress at its last session made provision for the care and education of the feeble-minded children belonging to the District of Columbia, the expenses of the same to be defrayed out of the appropriation for the support of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. One applicant has been placed in the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-minded Children, at Media, near Philadelphia.
Twenty blind children belonging to the District of Columbia have been under instruction the past year in the Maryland Institution for the Blind, at Baltimore, as beneficiaries of the United States.
The whole number of patients in the hospital during the year was 1,119. The number in the hospital June 30, 1879, was 217; the number admitted during the year was 902; 139 died; 752 were discharged, leaving 228 in the hospital at the close of the last fiscal year. About two-thirds of the patients were colored persons.
Of those who were discharged, 585 are reported cured.
A dispensary has been carried on in connection with the hospital, upon the books of which for the year are borne the names of 1,949 patients.
This hospital subserves an urgent need of this community, and the continuance of provision for it is commended to the attention of Congress.
The expense of the support and medical treatment of each patient in this hospital is about fifty cents a day.
The governor of Utah reports a falling off in the number of agricultural claims initiated in the Territory as compared with the preceding year.
The number of mineral applications has largely increased, more than doubling that of any previous year, and the number of mineral entries exceeds that of the preceding year by about 24 per cent.
The number of cattle is about 200,000, while there have been driven from the Territory during the year not less than 50,000, at an average price of $15.50 per head. The number of sheep is fully 500,000, with a yield of about 2,000,000 pounds of wool, disposed of at about 20 cents per pound. To prevent a decrease in the business of stock raising, the governor favors legislation which will allow stock-raisers to obtain rights other than those given by common consent and by existiug law.
Notwithstanding the drought during the summer of 1879, the yield of the cereals proved to be an average one.
The crops of 1880 have, however, been somewhat injured by the dearth of water during the summer of 1879, followed by a severe and prolonged winter. Dry farming has greatly increased by reason of the rapidly increasing population and the cost and difficulty in constructing irrigating canals.
While this is true, the area reached by irrigating canals is yearly being increased, and much land hitherto untitled is by means of irrigation being brought under cultivation and dotted with farm-houses. The population of the Territory is 145,000, showing an increase of 60 per cent. over that of ten years ago. About one-half of this increase has been drawn by the mines of the Territory. The remaining half has been the result of natural increase by birtb, together with the proselyting work of the missionaries sent out by the Mormon Church.
The governor believes that the mines of Utah will prove among the richest and most productive of any in the West.
Responsible mining men are reducing mining enterprises to a practical business basis, and many good mining districts heretofore inaccessible are now by railroads brought into close connection with the markets, and much of the ore, which on account of its low grade was unprofitable, has now by the superior methods of reducing and extracting become profitable and is being worked. The estimated product of the mines of the Territory up to the end of 1875 was $21,000,000; since January, 1876, it has been, in round numbers, $24,000,000, or $6,000,000 yearly, made up of gold, silver, lead, and copper. Silver takes precedence, considerably more than half the value named being in that metal. Lead ranks second, and copper the lowest in the value of its production.
The number of miles of railroad opened during the past year is reported at 792, which tends to show the rapidly developing business interests of the Territory.
The relations with the Indians are reported as in general satisfactory, many of them having abandoned their tribal relations and engaged in farming and stock-raising.
The conduct of those at the Uintah Agency during the White River troubles has been specially commended by the agent at that place.
The governor in his report dwells at length on the social condition of the Territory as resulting from the teachings of “the Church of the Latter-Day Saints,” and invites attention to the constant violation of law in the practice of polygamy. With a law of Congress forbidding polygamy and prescribing penalties, which law has by the Supreme Court of the United States been adjudged constitutional, the practice has been and continues to be tolerated in the Territory, though elsewhere in the country it would speedily meet the punishment prescribed.
Polygamy is not only tolerated in Utah, but, because of the power and influence of the organization in which it is practiced, it is made the shibboleth to position and power. Besides being in direct violation of law, it tends toward a union of church and state too intimate to accord with the spirit of our institutions.
The governor urges that time will not prove the remedy for the evil, which can be reached and averted only by a rigid execution of the laws.
The enactment of additional laws to secure the enforcement of the act approved July 1, 1862, to prevent and punish the practice of polygamy in the Territories of the United States and other places, is earnestly commended to the attention of Congress.
The governor reports a steady advance of the Territory in population and wealth. Grazing, to which the country is well adapted, is the foremost interest. The number of cattle in the Territory is estimated at 540,000, and of sheep at 375,000.
Owing to the lack of confidence in the possibility of successful agriculture at so great an elevation as 5,000 to 7,000 feet above the level of the sea, this industry advances but slowly. In some portions of the Territory fine crops have been produced without irrigation. This, however, can be expected only in the more favorable seasons, but with a proper supply of water there are millions of acres which can be cultivated with a certainty of liberal profits.
The governor suggests that some provisions of the existing timber laws of the United States are embarrassing to the people and a great hinderance to the improvement of the Territory, and that while the interests of the future demand that the forests on the public domain should be protected, something should be done in the interests of those engaged in opening up the new portions of the country. He suggests that the laws relating to timber and timber lands be so modified as—
1st. To insure to settlers, wherever their numbers are sufficient to warrant the survey, the opportunity to purchase timber lands in small tracts and at fair prices, graded and classified within fixed maxima and minima according to relative value.
2d. To allow, in districts where surveys have not been made and lands cannot be purchased, the cutting of necessary timber, at moderate rates for stumpage and under proper regulations, for other than the personal use of those cutting it, that is, for the purchase and use within the Territory of any resident thereof, or of any person or corporation non-resident, yet engaged in making improvements therein.
3d. To prohibit, under any circumstances or conditions, the cutting or removing or the causing to be cut or removed from the public lands of this region, any green timber, of whatever size, where sound, dead timber, falling or standing, and suitable for the purpose, can be had.
4th. To grant the freest possible use of any fallen timber wherever found.
5th. To afford yet greater security against forest fires by enactment of more stringent laws, with severe penalties against carelessness in the kindling of fires and against the neglect to extinguish fires already kindled which have served their lawful purpose. The governor remarks that while much destruction of timber on the public lands has resulted from the cupidity and reckless waste of persons using and speculating on the products of our forests, all these depredations combined have been as nothing compared with the waste by fires.
The governor remarks that the surveys of the public lands lag behind the public demand, and expresses the hope that Congress will remove a source of embarrassment to the people by making more liberal provisions for their survey. He also urges that the existing laws of the United States relative to the disposal of the public lands are not suited to the requirements of the territory, for the reason that they do not provide against a monopoly of the water-courses by the few who locate upon the borders of the streams. The necessity for irrigating the soil to make it productive seems to require that some system for disposing of the public lands should be devised by which the water of the streams can be made available to those who may desire to cultivate lands by irrigation. Under the present system the whole Territory will, in time, virtually be in the possession of those few persons who may own strips of land along the streams.
Attention is also called to the present faulty constitution of the Territorial courts, and the lack of proper definiteness in relation to their powers and the manner of their exercise. These courts are anomalous in character, and there appears never to have been a proper consideration of the peculiar circumstances and conditions under which they must act. The method of compelling the attendance of jurors and witnesses, of empaneling juries, the suitable compensation of marshals required to travel in pursuit of witnesses, jurors, and criminals, over great distances, as well as the present embarrassment attendant upon bringing witnesses from remote parts of the country, all these, with yet others, are matters concerning which the laws are faulty. The courts are of a mixed or twofold character, being at once Territorial and Federal. The organic acts of this Territory and of others declare that “the jurisdiction of the several courts herein provided for, both appellate and original, * * shall be as limited by law.” The law, as said before, is not only wanting in definiteness on this subject, leaving the courts ofttimes in doubt on the question of how to proceed in Federal cases, but is so far wanting as to leave the courts to such inconvenient and embarrassing use as they may find it possible to make of the Territorial law and its machinery. In fact what is wanted is not so much deflniteness in the matter of jurisdiction as a procedure, fixed by law of Congress, in accordance with which the Territorial courts may proceed when exercising the jurisdiction of circuit and district courts of the United States.
It is also suggested whether some better system should not be provided for determining cases on appeal from the district courts of the Territories. Under the present system one of the three judges who form the court of appeal is the person from whose judgment the appeal is taken. A court so constituted does not seem to supply the place of a supreme court.
A revision of all the laws relating to the Territories, with a view to secure greater harmony, consistency, and adaptation to the existing condition of affairs is recommended.
The governor reports a rapid extension of railroads in the Territory, and that prosperous towns are springing up upon all the lines of travel. The Northern Pacific Railroad Company has four hundred miles of road in operation in Dakota at present, and it is expected that it will be completed to the western line of the Territory during this year.
The governor estimates the white population of the Territory at the close of the fall of the present year at 150,000.
Advance in the development of the mining resources of the Territory is reported, and the opiuion is given that the Black Hills will yield large quantities of gold and silver for generations to come.
The governor alludes to the great destruction of timber in the pine forests around the Black Hills by fires started during the dry season either by carelessness or with criminal intent, and recommends that measures be taken for the protection of the government timber, and that an agent be appointed to sell the same for mining and building purposes. He suggests that a small sum expended in protecting the timber will save millions of feet annually, and that unless something is done to this end mining operations will soon be checked by scarcity of timber. He also suggests that the laws now in force are not adequate for the protection of the sections donated by Congress for educational purposes.
The Territory of Dakota having no penitentiary, it has been necessary to transport its convicts to Detroit, Mich., for imprisonment at an expense of nearly $10,000 yearly to the people of the Territory. It is estimated that $40,000 will build a penitentiary of sufficient capacity for the present requirement of the Territory. The penitentiaries in other Territories have been built at the expense of the general government, and the propriety of making an appropriation for the building of one in Dakota is submitted for the consideration of Congress.
The financial condition of the Territory has improved so that it is expected that at the close of the present year it will be free from debt.
The governor of Idaho reports that about one-third of the 55,000,000 acres in the Territory may be considered suitable for agriculture and grazing, besides about one-fifth which might be reclaimed by irrigation. About one-sixth of the Territory is timber land, one-eighth mineral lands, and the balance is mostly arid, being destitute of mineral, timber, or vegetation of any kind.
The soil is generally sandy, with an intermixture of loam in the valleys. In its varied and beautiful scenery, Idaho is perhaps unsurpassed by any State or Territory in the country. Among the wonders in natural scenery may be mentioned the great Shoshone Falls of Snake River, one of the greatest cataracts in the world, equal in height and volume to Niagara.
About one-third of the population are engaged in farming and stock-raising. The past year has been a remunerative one to farmers; good crops have been raised, and good prices have been obtained therefor. Only in the northwestern portion of the Territory is the rainfall during the growing season sufficient, however, to insure good crops without irrigation. The governor states that when sufficient moisture is had, either from rains or irrigation, the yield of all kinds of grain (except corn) and of vegetables is unsurpassed in quantity and quality. Wheat, he states, yields readily an average of 40 bushels per acre. Oats average 60 to 70 bushels, and barley 30 to 40 bushels.
Timothy and clover hay of good quality and large growth are produced; fruit trees and vines grow rapidly and produce abundantly.
The extension of the lines of government survey in certain portions of the Territory is urged, as immigrants are slow to settle upon and improve lands, however desirable, to which they cannot initiate claims under the pre-emption or homestead laws.
Stock raising is becoming one of the considerable industries of the Territory, attention being turned chiefly to cattle, though the climate and soil are well adapted to sheep and wool growing. It is estimated that not less than 40,000 head of cattle have, during the past season, been sold and driven from the Territory, at an average of about $12.50 per head.
The mineral-resources of the Territory constitute its chief interest, and the one upon which all other interests largely depend.
Gold and silver in paying quantities were discovered within its limits as long ago as 1852, ten years prior to the formation of the Territory, but the mines were, to some extent, abandoned for those more recently discovered in localities where prospecting and mining could be carried on with less danger from hostile Indians. More recently, however, this danger having been removed, important discoveries have been made, and the industry has revived until now there is scarcely a county in the Territory that does not contain one or more mining camps or towns.
In addition to gold, silver, lead, copper, and other metals and ores, coal beds and rich deposits of lire and pottery clay of the finest quality have been found. Since the discovery of gold and silver in the Territory its mines have contributed to the material wealth of the country not less than $75,000,000.
The relations with the Indians have, during the past year, been very satisfactory. There have been no disturbances, and no depredations have been committed by them, the people having enjoyed unusual security, even in the localities most exposed to danger. Although since the Nez Percé and Bannock wars the reservation Indians have remained more generally upon their reservations, yet large parties of them almost constantly roam over the Territory hunting, fishing, and begging. The visits of these roaming parties naturally tend to create a feeling of uneasiness in the minds of the settlers, especially in remote and isolated settlements.
The feeling of insecurity thus caused is liable to result in the organization of the settlers to drive the Indians away, and from such collisions often commence bloody and devastating Indian wars.
Another question presents itself for consideration. Long before the Fort Hall Reservation was set apart for the Bannock Indians there were numerous settlers upon portions of the territory selected who still remain within the bounds of the reservation, which fact is liable to cause trouble. The governor suggests that these settlers should be paid for their improvements and removed, or stipulation should be made with the Indians by which that portion of the reservation settled by the whites may be ceded to the government. There is ample room on the reservation to admit of the latter course, and he thinks the Indians would readily consent, upon reasonable terms, to such a plan. He also believes that many of the Indians, especially of the Nez Percés, many of whom are now thrifty farmers, could be prevailed upon without difficulty to select lands in severalty. Could this be accomplished a large portion of the Nez Percé Reservation, which embraces an extended area of valuable agricultural land, might be restored to the public domain.
The greater portion of the timber in the Territory is in the mountains, and consists principally of pine, fir, and cedar, though it is found to some extent along the rivers and smaller streams.
To prevent the destruction of timber in violation of law, the governor recommends the amending of the act of Congress of June 3, 1878, so as to provide for the survey and sale of the timber on the public lands, say every alternate section, with a heavy penalty for cutting or destroying the timber on the sections reserved by the government. This would supply the people and create an interest which it is thought would prevent the wanton destruction of timber.
The population has increased from 20,588, in 1870, to about 40,000, including Indians, in 1880, a gain of nearly 100 per cent.
With the opening up of railroads, it is reasonable to expect a much
larger gain in the next decade. There is at present but one railroad
into the Territory—the Utah and Northern, a narrow guage, running
through the eastern part, though other lines have been projected, the
most important of which is one to run from Ogden, Utah, to some point
on the Pacific coast in the State of Oregon. Though lacking in railroad
facilities, the Territory is well provided with first-class stage routes to
all the important points. As before suggested, much of the land in
Idaho, suitable for agriculture, cannot be made available except by
irrigation, and development in this way will be very slow so long as
individuals are so restricted in the amount of land which they can enter.
Under existing laws individual interests cannot be large enough to
warrant irrigation on auy very large scale. The propriety of so amending
the desert land laws as to permit the disposal of this class of lands
in large quantities to persons or corporations pledging themselves to
the building of canals for their reclamation, and restricting them as to
withdrawal of the lands from the market and as to the maximu
at which they should be sold, is suggested.
The number of children between the ages of five and twenty-one is about 6,000, and the annual revenues raised for school purposes is about $25,000. The necessity for making some provision in the interest of public schools in the Territories is urged upon Congress.
It may be said in general of the Territory that its affairs are in a highly satisfactory condition. Good health has prevailed during the year. Agriculture, stock raising, and mining have prospered. Crime is not more common than in older communities in the East, and, with one exception, infractions of the law meet with as sure and speedy punishment. The one exception is the utter failure or inability of the officers of the law in certain counties to punish violations of the law of July 1, 1862, against polygamy. Further legislation is earnestly recommended looking to the effectual suppression of this vice, which, under the guise of religion, is spreading throughout these Territories in violation of law and in direct opposition to the moral sense of the people of the country.
In the estimates of expenditures for the next fiscal year I have recommended an increase in the salaries of various officers and clerks in this Department, and in the report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, presented herewith, there will be found an elaborate and instructive letter addressed to me by that officer upon this subject. There is no doubt in my mind after the experience of nearly four years in the conduct of this Department, that the pay allowed to almost all the higher grades of its officers and clerks is entirely out of proportion to the ability required in the discharge of their duties, the labor exacted, and the great responsibility borne by them. The duties performed by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior are such that I see no reason why his salary should be less than those of the Assistant Secretaries of the Treasury. I am, on the contrary, of the opinion that all the assistant secretaries are underpaid. The public interest demands that those places be filled by men who in the absence of the respective Secretaries may be trusted temporarily to perform their duties and to discharge their responsibilities. Their compensation should be at least equal to that of the Comptrollers of the Treasury.
The office of Commissioner of Indian Affairs is one of the most arduous places in the government, devolving upon him probably more work and responsibility than falls to the lot of any bureau chief in any of the executive departments. Of the Commissioner of the General Land Office and of the Commissioner of Pensions almost the same can be said. These positions require great knowledge of affairs and more than ordinary executive ability. The Commissioner of Patents is a little more favored in point of salary; but, considering the cost of living here, I do not think that in any great government in the world officers of the same rank, discharging the same high order of duties, and bearing the same responsibilities, are as badly paid in proportion. Not one of them should, in my opinion, have less than $5,000 a year. If the American people desire that the public business be well done, and that the high places of the government be filled with men of corresponding character and ability, the salaries ought to be such as to command what is required in that respect. Most of the division chiefs in the General Land Office, such as the chiefs of the Mineral Division, the Division of Private Land Claims, the Railroad Division, the Swamp Land Division, the Public Lands Division, &c., have to prepare legal decisions in cases which in the aggregate are of greater number and involve property of greater value than the cases decided by any State supreme court in the country. It is true that the decisions prepared by those different chiefs are not final, being subject to revision by the Commissioner and to appeal; but nobody acquainted with the business of this or any other department need be told that the preparation of those decisions, which requires a thorough knowledge of questions of fact and of law as well as of the history of legislation and of judicial proceedings, is a task of the highest importance. Most of these division chiefs are mere clerks, receiving at the very highest eighteen hundred dollars a year, and in some cases less. It would seem superfluous to say that in those places the highest degree of integrity as well as large legal acquirements are needed. In every great government in the world that I know of, officers performing these functions would hold a rank high above that of mere clerks, a tenure not subject to the mere arbitrary pleasure of a superior officer, and salaries in proportion to the duties imposed upon them. Of the division chiefs in the Secretary's office and in the Indian office the same may be said. The consequence is that in many cases men, fully up to the requirements of their positions, find occasion to better their condition by going into the service of private corporations or becoming members of private business firms. It is a mere question of opportunity, and it is only to be wondered at that such things do not happen still more frequently. During the hard times now behind us many persons of ability have sought and obtained employment in the government offices; but now, since all the business interests of the country have revived and the salaries of able men in private concerns are rising again to a more remunerative point, the probability is that the government offices will be more and more drained of the ablest public servants, and that it will be difficult to fill their places unless their pay be made reasonably sufficient to compensate them for their work and they have the prospect of an assured tenure. In this respect good pay is the best economy. I therefore urgently recommend that the salaries proposed in the estimates of this Department for the coming fiscal year be granted not as the maximum but as the minimum pay which those officers and clerks ought to have.
I am, sir, very respectfully your obedient servant,
- The President.
- Also reported in the number of acres reported as unsold, belonging to the Union Pacific Railway Company.