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PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS
AT TIIE COMMENCEMENT OF TIIE
SECOND SESSION OF THE FORTY-NINTH CONGRESS,
REPORTS OF THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS
SELECTIONS FROM ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTS.
BEN: PERLEY POORE.
Prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Statutes, approved June 23, 1874.
Sec. 75. The Joint Committee on Public Printing shall appoint a competent person, who shall edit such portion of the documents accompanying the annual reports of the Departments as they may deem suitable for popular distribution, and prepare an alphabetical index thereto.
Sec. 136. The head of each Department, except tho Department of Justice, shall furnish to the Congressional Prirter copies of the documents usually accompanying his annual report on or before the first day of November in each year, and a copy of his annual report on or before the third Monday of November in each year.
Sec. 3799. Of the documents named in this section there shall be printed and bound, in addition to the usual number for Congress, the following number of copies, namely:
Second. Of the President's message, the annual reports of the Executive Departments, and the abridgment of accompanying documents, unless otherwise ordered by either house, ten thousand copies for the use of the members of the Senate and twentyfive thousand copies for the use of the members of the House of Representatives.
To the Congress of the United States:
In discharge of a constitutional duty, and following a well established precedent in the Executive office, I herewith transmit to the Congress at its re-assembling, certain information concerning the state of the Union, together with such recommendations for legislative consideration, as appear necessary and expedient.
Our Government has consistently maintained its relations of friendship toward all other powers, and of neighborly interest toward those whose possessions are contiguous to our own. Few questions have arisen during the past year with other governments, and none of those are beyond the reach of settlement in friendly counsel.
We are as yet without provision for the settlement of claims of citizens of the United States against Chile for injuries during the late war with Peru and Bolivia. The mixed commissions, organized under claims conventions, concluded by the Chilean government with certain European states, have developed an amount of friction which we trust can be avoided in the convention which our representative at Santiago is authorized to negotiate.
The cruel treatment of inoffensive Chinese, has, I regret to say, been repeated in some of the far western states and territories, and acts of violence against those people, beyond the power of the local constituted authorities to prevent, and difficult to punish, are reported even in distant Alaska. Much of this violence can be traced to race prejudice and competition of labor, which cannot, however, justify the oppression of strangers whose safety is guaranteed by our treaty with China equally with the most favored nations.
In opening our vast domain·to alien elements, the purpose of our Law-givers was to invite assimilation, and not to provide an arena for endless antagonisms. The paramount duty of maintaining public order and defending the interests of our own people, may require the adoption of measures of restriction, but they should not tolerate the oppression of individuals of a special race. I am not without assurance that the government of China, whose friendly disposition towards us I am most happy to recognize, will meet us half way in
devising a comprehensive remedy, by which an effective limitation of Chinese emigration, joined to protection of those Chinese subjects who remain in this country, may be secured.
Legislation is needed to execute the provisions of our Chinese convention of 1880 touching the opium traffic.
While the good will of the Colombian government toward our country is manifest, the situation of American interests on the Isthmus of Panama has at times excited concern, and invited friendly action looking to the performance of the engagements of the two nations concerning the territory embraced in the interoceanic transit. With the subsidence of the Isthmian disturbances, and the erection of the State of Panama into a federal district under the direct government of the constitutional administration at Bogotá, a new order of things has been inaugurated which, although as yet somewhat experimental and affording scope for arbitrary exercise of power by the delegates of the national authority, promises much improvement.
The sympathy between the people of the United States and France, born during our colonial struggle for independence and continuing to-day, has received a fresh impulse in the successful completion and dedication of the colossal statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World" in New York harbor—the gift of Frenchimen to Americans.
A convention between the United States and certain other powers for the protection of submarine cables was signed at Paris on March 14, 1884, and has been duly ratified and proclaimed by this Government. By agreement between the high contracting parties this convention is to go into effect on the ist of January next, but the legislation required for its execution in the United States has not yet been adopted. I earnestly recommend its enactment.
Cases have continued to occur in Germany giving rise to much correspondence in relation to the privilege of sojourn of our naturalized citizens of German origin revisiting the land of their birth, yet I am happy to state that our relations with that country have lost none of their accustomed cordiality.
The claiins for interest upon the amount of tonnage dues illegally exacted from certain German steamship lines were favorably reported in botlı Houses of Congress at the last session, and I trust will receive final and favorable action at an early day.
The recommendations contained in iny last annual message lation to a mode of settlement of the fishery rights in the waters of British North America-so long a subject of anxious difference between the United States and Great Britain-was-inet by an adverse vote of the Senate on April 13th last; and thereupon negotiations were instituted to obtain an agreement with Her Britannic Majesty's government for the promulgation of such joint interpretation and definition of the article of the Convention of 1818, relating to the territorial waters and inshore fisheries of the British Provinces, as should secure the Canadian rights from encroachment by United States fishermen, and, at the same time, ensure the enjoyment by the latter of the privileges guaranteed to them by such convention.
The questions involved are of long standing, of grave consequence, and from time to time for nearly three-quarters of a century, have given rise to earnest international discussions, not unaccompanied by irritation.
Temporary arrangements by treaties have served to allay frictionwhich, however, has revived as each treaty was terminated. The last arrangement, under the treaty of 1871, was abrogated after due notice by the United States on June 30, 1885, but I was enabled to obtain for our fishermen for the remainder of that season, enjoyment of the full privileges accorded by the terminated treaty.
The Joint High Commission by whom the treaty had been negotiated—although invested with plenary power to make a permaneut settlement-were content with a temporary arrangement, after the termination of which the question was relegated to the stipulations of the treaty of 1818, as to the first article of which no construction satisfactory to both countries lias ever been agreed upon.
The progress of civilization and growth of population in the British Provinces to which the fisheries in question are contiguous, and the expansion of commercial intercourse between them and the United States, present to-day a condition of affairs scarcely realizable at the date of the negotiations of 1818.
New and vast interests have been brought into existence; inodes of intercourse between the respective countries liave been invented and multiplied ; the methods of conducting the fisheries have been wholly changed ; and all this is necessarily entitled to candid and careful consideration in the adjustment of the terms and conditions of intercourse and commerce between the United States and their neighbors along a frontier of over 3,500 miles.
This propinquity, community of language and occupation, and similarity of political and social institutions, indicate the practicability and obvious wisdom of maintaining mutually beneficial and friendly relations.
Whilst I am unfeignedly desirous that such relations should exist between us and the inhabitants of Canada, yet the action of their