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The bill requires “good faith," but it will be next to impossible for the officers of the Interior Department to show actual knowledge on the part of the claimant of the lines of the reservation. The case will practically be as to this matter in the hands of the claimant. But why should good faith at the moment of attempting the entry, without any requirement of expenditure, and followed, it may be, within twenty-four hours by actual notice that he was upon a reservation, give an advantage in the sale of these lands that may represent a very large sum of money?
In the second place, I do not think it wise, without notice even to the Indians, to segregate these lands from their reservation. It is true, I think, that they hold these lands by an Executive order, with a contract right to take allotments upon them, and that the lands in question are not likely to be sought as an allotment by any Indian. But the Indians have been placed on this reservation and its boundaries explained to them, and to take these lands in this manner is calculated to excite their distrust and fears, and possibly to create serious trouble.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, June 20, 1890. To the House of Representatives:
I return without my approval the bill (H. R. 3934) “to authorize the board of supervisors of Maricopa County, Ariz., to issue certain bonds in aid of the construction of a certain railroad."
This bill proposes to confer authority upon the supervisors of the county of Maricopa to issue county bonds at the rate of $4,000 per mile in aid of a railroad to be constructed from Phenix northwardly to the county line, a distance estimated at 50 miles, but probably somewhat longer. The bill seems to have passed the House of Representatives under an entire misapprehension of its true scope and effect. In the brief report submitted by the Committee on Territories it is said that "by the terms of the bill the county receives bonds in payment of the money proposed to be advanced,” and in the course of the debate the Delegate from Arizona mistakenly stated in response to a request for information that the bill proposed a loan by the county, in exchange for which it was to receive the bonds of the railroad company. In fact, the bill does not provide for a loan to be secured by bonds, but for a subscription of stock. How far this mistake may have affected the passage of the bill can not of course be known.
The bill does not submit the question of granting this aid to a vote of the people of the county, but confers direct authority upon the supervisors to issue the bonds. It is said, however, that in April, 1889, an election was held to obtain the views of the people upon the question. It does not appear from any papers submitted to me who were the managers of this so-called election; what notice, if any, was given; what qualifications on the part of voters were insisted upon, if any, or in what form the question was presented. There was no law providing for such an election. Being wholly voluntary, the election was, of course, under the management of those who favored the subsidy, and was conducted without any legal restraints as to the voting or certification. I have asked for a statement of the vote by precincts, and have been given what purports to be the vote at twelve points. The total affirmative vote given was 1,975 and the negative 134. But of the affirmative vote 1,543 were given at Phænix and 188 at Tempe, a town very near to Phoenix. If there were no other objections to this bill, I should deem this alone sufficient, that no provision is made for submitting to a vote of the people at an election, after due notice and under the sanction of law, the question whether this subscription shall be made.
But again, the bill proposes to suspend for this case two provisions of the act of Congress of July 30, 1886—first, that provision which forbids municipal corporations from subscribing to the stock of other corporations or loaning their credit to such corporations, and, second, that provision which forbids any municipal corporation from creating a debt in excess of 4 per cent of its taxable property as fixed by the last assessment. The condition of things then existing in Arizona had not a little to do with the enactment by Congress of this law, intended to give to the people of the Territories that protection against oppressive municipal debts which was secured to the people of most of the States by constitutional limitations. The wisdom of this legislation is not contested by the friends of this bill, but they claim that the circumstances here are so peculiar as to justify this exception. I do not think so. In the States the limitation upon municipal indebtedness is usually placed in the constitution, in order that it may be inflexible. If a showing of need, gain, or advantage is to overcome the barrier, then it is scarcely worth while to declare a limitation. Only a belief that the limit is inflexible will promote care and economy in administration. If this bill becomes a law, how can Congress refuse to any county in any of the Territories the right to subscribe to the stock of a railroad company, especially where the subscription would not exceed the debt limit, upon a showing of the advantages of better and cheaper communications?
Maricopa County is one of great extent. Its northern boundary is 95 miles long, its southern boundary 66, its eastern 45, and its western 102. This great area is to be taxed to construct a road which can, in the nature of things, be of advantage to but a fraction of it. There is no unity of interest or equality of advantage. It may very well be that a section of these lands along the line of the road, and especially town lots in Phoenix, would have an added value much greater than the increased burden imposed, but it is equally clear that much property in the county will receive no appreciable benefit.
The existing bonded indebtedness of Maricopa County is $272,000; the tax assessment of the county is about $5,000,000, and the population is estimated, by multiplying the vote cast in 1888 by 6, at about 12,000. It will be seen that the bonded debt, to say nothing of a floating debt, which is said to be small, is already largely in excess of the legal limit, and it is proposed to increase it by a subscription that will certainly involve $200,000, and possibly $250,000. If the bill becomes a law, the bonded indebtedness will very closely approximate 10 per cent of the assessed valuation of the property of the county.
The condition of things in the county of Yavapai, lying immediately north of Maricopa, and through which this road is also to run, though not directly affected by this legislation, is very instructive in this connection.
By an act of the legislature of Arizona passed the year before the act of Congress to which I have referred Yavapai County was authorized to subscribe $4,000 per mile to this line of road. The total length of the road in the county was 147 miles, and 74 miles, to Prescott, have been constructed. The secretary of the Territory, in response to an inquiry, states the debt of Yavapai County at $563,000 and the assessment for taxation at “between six and seven millions." There are 73 miles of road yet to be built from the present terminus, Prescott, to the south line of the county, for which Yavapai County must make a further issue of bonds of $292,000, making a total county debt of $855,000, or above 13 per cent upon the taxable assessment (taking that at $6,500,000), and a per capita county debt of nearly $85, taking the population at about 10,600, as stated in the report of the Senate committee. Surely no one will insist that the true and permanent prosperity of these communities will be promoted by loading their energies and their industries with these great debts. I feel the force of the suggestion that the freight charges now imposed upon the farm and orchard products of Maricopa County by the railroads now in operation are oppressive. But this bill does not afford much relief even in that direction. There would be but one competing point, viz, Phænix. At all other points on the proposed road the people would be subject to the exaction of just such rates as are demanded by the other lines. If this bill contained some effective provision to secure reasonable freight rates to the people who are to be taxed to build the road, it would go far to secure my favorable consideration for it.
I have carefully examined the reports of the committees and every argument that has been submitted to me by the friends of the bill, but I can not bring myself to believe that the permanent welfare of the communities affected by it will be promoted by its passage.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, July 9, 1890. To the House of Representatives:
I return herewith without my approval the bill (H. R. 5974) entitled "An act extending the time of payment to purchasers of land of the Omaha tribe of Indians in Nebraska, and for other purposes."
The United States holds the legal title of these lands, which have been sold for the benefit of the Omaha Indians to secure the unpaid purchase money, the time of payment of which it is proposed by this act to extend. There is no objection tłuat I know of, either on the part of the United States or of the Indians, to the extension of the unpaid installments due from purchasers. This relief is probably due to the purchasers. The bill, liowever, contains the following provision:
That all the lands the payment for which is hereby extended shall be subject to taxation in all respects by and in the State of Nebraska as if fully paid for and patents issued.
Now, while it is entirely proper that the interest of the purchasers in these lands should share the burdens of the communities in which the lands are located, the title of the United States and the beneficial interest of the Indians in the lands should not be subjected to sale for the delinquency of the purchasers in paying tax assessments levied upon the lands. The effect of the provision which has been quoted would, in my opinion, give to the purchaser at a tax sale a title superior to the lien of the Government for purchase money. The bill should have contained a proviso that only the interest of the purchasers from the Government could be sold for taxes, and that the tax sale should be subject to the lien of the United States for unpaid purchase money.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, September 30, 1890. To the House of Representatives:
I return herewith without my approval the joint resolution (H. Res. No. 39) declaring the retirement of Captain Charles B. Stivers, of the United States Army, legal and valid, and that he is entitled as such officer to his pay.
Captain Stivers was dismissed the service summarily by order of the President on July 15, 1863. A subsequent examination into the causes leading to this action seems to have satisfied the President that an injustice had been done to the officer, and on the 11th day of August, 1863, an order was issued revoking the order of dismissal and restoring Captain Stivers to duty as an officer of the Army. On December 30, 1864, by a proper order from the War Department, after examination, Captain Stivers was placed upon the retired list of the Army.
The Supreme Court has decided in the case of The United States vs. Corson (114 U.S. Reports, 619):
First. That at the time of the issuance of the order of dismissal the President had authority under the law to summarily dismiss an officer, and that the effect of such an order was absolutely to separate the officer from the service.
Second. That having been thus separated from the service he could not be restored except by nomination to the Senate and its advice and consent to the appointment.
Mr. Garland, as Attorney-General, gave an opinion to the Secretary of War in the case of Captain Stivers, based upon the decision of the Supreme Court to which I have referred, holding that Captain Stivers was not an officer on the retired list of the Army. The present Attorney-General, with whom I have conferred, takes the same view of the law. Indeed, the decision of the Supreme Court to which I have referred is so exactly in point that there can be no doubt as to the law of the case. It is undoubtedly competent for Congress by act or joint resolution to authorize the President, by and with the advice of the Senate, to appoint Captain Stivers to be a captain in the Army of the United States and to place him upon the retired list. It is also perfectly competent by suitable legislation for Congress to give to this officer the pay of his grade during the interval of time when he was improperly carried upon the army lists. But the joint resolution which I herewith return does not attempt to deal with the case in that way. It undertakes to declare that the retirement of Captain Stivers was legal and valid and that he always has been and is entitled to his pay as such officer. I do not think this is a competent method of giving the relief intended. The retirement under the law as it then existed was not legal and valid, as the highest judicial tribunal under the Constitution has declared, for the reason that Captain Stivers was not then an officer on the active list. That being so, it follows, of course, that he was not entitled to draw the pay of an office he did not hold.
The relief should have taken the form usual in such cases, which is to authorize the appointment of the officer to a place made for him on the retired list.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, October 1, 1890. To the Senate:
I return to the Senate without my approval the bill (S. 473) "for the relief of the Portland Company, of Portland, Me."
This bill confers upon the Court of Claims jurisdiction to inquire into and determine how much certain steam machinery built for the United States under contract, and to be used in the vessels Agawam and Pontoosuc, cost the contractors over and above the contract price and any allowances for extra work which have been made, and requires the court to enter judgment in favor of the claimant for the excess of cost above such contract price and allowances.
The bill differs from others which have been presented to me, and one of which I have approved, in that it does not make the further allowance to the contractors contingent upon the fact that the additional expense was the result of the acts of the Government through its officers' causing delays and increased cost in the construction of the work.