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a considerable part of the force engaged in examinations in the field was recalled and added to the working force of the office. The examination and adjudication of claims have by reason of improved methods been more rapid than ever before. There is no economy to the Government in delay, while there is much hardship and injustice to the soldier. The anticipated expenditure, while very large, will not, it is believed, be in excess of the estimates made before the enactment of the law. This liberal enlargement of the general law should suggest a more careful scrutiny of bills for special relief, both as to the cases where relief is granted and as to the amount allowed.
The increasing numbers and influence of the non-Mormon population of Utah are observed with satisfaction. The recent letter of Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon Church, in which he advised his people "to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the laws of the land,” has attracted wide attention, and it is hoped that its influence will be highly beneficial in restraining infractions of the laws of the United States. But the fact should not be overlooked that the doctrine or belief of the church that polygamous marriages are rightful and supported by divine revelation remains unchanged. President Woodruff does not renounce the doctrine, but refrains from teaching it, and advises against the practice of it because the law is against it. Now, it is quite true that the law should not attempt to deal with the faith or belief of anyone; but it is quite another thing, and the only safe thing, so to deal with the Territory of Utah as that those who believe polygamy to be rightful shall not have the power to make it lawful.
The admission of the States of Wyoming and Idaho to the Union are events full of interest and congratulation, not only to the people of those States now happily endowed with a full participation in our privileges and responsibilities, but to all our people. Another belt of States stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The work of the Patent Office has won from all sources very high commendation. The amount accomplished has been very largely increased, and all the results have been such as to secure confidence and consideration for the suggestions of the Commissioner.
The enumeration of the people of the United States under the provisions of the act of March 1, 1889, has been completed, and the result will be at once officially communicated to Congress. The completion of this decennial enumeration devolves upon Congress the duty of making a new apportionment of Representatives among the several States according to their respective numbers."
At the last session I had occasion to return with my objections several bills making provisions for the erection of public buildings for the reason that the expenditures contemplated were, in my opinion, greatly in excess of any public need. No class of legislation is more liable to abuse or to degenerate into an unseemly scramble about the public Treasury
than this. There should be exercised in this matter a wise economy, based upon some responsible and impartial examination and report as to each case, under a general law.
The report of the Secretary of Agriculture deserves especial attention in view of the fact that the year has been marked in a very unusual degree by agitation and organization among the farmers looking to an increase in the profits of their business. It will be found that the efforts of the Department have been intelligently and zealously devoted to the promotion of the interests intrusted to its care.
A very substantial improvement in the market prices of the leading farm products during the year is noticed. The price of wheat advanced from 81 cents in October, 1889, to $1.0034 in October, 1890; corn from 31 cents to 50% cents; oats from 1974 cents to 43 cents, and barley from 63 cents to 78 cents. Meats showed a substantial but not so large an increase. The export trade in live animals and fowls shows a very large increase. The total value of such exports for the year ending June 30, 1890, was $33,000,000, and the increase over the preceding year was over $15,000,000. Nearly 200,000 more cattle and over 45,000 more hogs were exported than in the preceding year. The export trade in beef and pork products and in dairy products was very largely increased, the increase in the article of butter alone being from 15,504,978 pounds to 29,748,042 pounds, and the total increase in the value of meat and dairy prodacts exported being $34,000,000. This trade, so directly helpful to the farmer, it is believed, will be yet further and very largely increased when the system of inspection and sanitary supervision now provided by law is brought fully into operation.
The efforts of the Secretary to establish the healthfulness of our meats against the disparaging imputations that have been put upon them abroad have resulted in substantial progress. Veterinary surgeons sent out by the Department are now allowed to participate in the inspection of the live cattle from this country landed at the English docks, and during the several months they have been on duty no case of contagious pleuropneumonia has been reported. This inspection abroad and the domestic inspection of live animals and pork products provided for by the act of August 30, 1890, will afford as perfect a guaranty for the wholesomeness of our meats offered for foreign consumption as is anywhere given to any food product, and its nonacceptance will quite clearly reveal the real motive of any continued restriction of their use, and that having been made clear the duty of the Executive will be very plain.
The information given by the Secretary of the progress and prospects of the beet-sugar industry is full of interest. It has already passed the experimental stage and is a commercial success. The area over which the sugar beet can be successfully cultivated is very large, and another field crop of great value is offered to the choice of the farmer.
The Secretary of the Treasury concurs in the recommendation of the
Secretary of Agriculture that the official supervision provided by the tariff law for sugar of domestic production shall be transferred to the Department of Agriculture.
The law relating to the civil service has, so far as I can learn, been executed by those having the power of appointment in the classified service with fidelity and impartiality, and the service has been increasingly satisfactory. The report of the Commission shows a large amount of good work done during the year with very limited appropriations.
I congratulate the Congress and the country upon the passage at the first session of the Fifty-first Congress of an unusual number of laws of very high importance. That the results of this legislation will be the quickening and enlargement of our manufacturing industries, larger and better markets for our breadstuffs and provisions both at home and abroad, more constant employment and better wages for our working people, and an increased supply of a safe currency for the transaction of business, I do not doubt. Some of these measures were enacted at so late a period that the beneficial effects upon commerce which were in the contemplation of Congress have as yet but partially manifested themselves.
The general trade and industrial conditions throughout the country during the year have shown a marked improvement. For many years prior to 1888 the merchandise balances of foreign trade had been largely in our favor, but during that year and the year following they turned against us. It is very gratifying to know that the last fiscal year again shows a balance in our favor of over $68,000,000. The bank clearings, which furnish a good test of the volume of business transacted, for the first ten months of the year 1890 show as compared with the same months of 1889 an increase for the whole country of about 8.4 per cent, while the increase outside of the city of New York was over 13 per cent. During the month of October the clearings of the whole country showed an increase of 3.1 per cent over October, 1889, while outside of New York the increase was 11.5 per cent. These figures show that the increase in the volume of business was very general throughout the country. That this larger business was being conducted upon a safe and profitable basis is shown by the fact that there were 300 less failures reported in October, 1890, than in the same month of the preceding year, with liabilities diminished by about $5,000,000.
The value of our exports of domestic merchandise during the last year was over $115,000,000 greater than the preceding year, and was only exceeded once in our history. About $100,000,000 of this excess was in agricultural products. The production of pig iron, always a good gauge of general prosperity, is shown by a recent census bulletin to have been 153 per cent greater in 1890 than in 1880, and the production of steel 299 per cent greater. Mining in coal has had no limitation except that resulting from deficient transportation. The general testimony is that labor is everywhere fully employed, and the reports for the last year show a
smaller number of employees affected by strikes and lockouts than in any year since 1884. The depression in the prices of agricultural products had been greatly relieved and a buoyant and hopeful tone was beginning to be felt by all our people.
These promising influences have been in some degree checked by the surprising and very unfavorable monetary events which have recently taken place ir England. It is gratifying to know that these did not grow in any degree out of the financial relations of London with our people or out of any discredit attached to our securities held in that market. The return of our bonds and stocks was caused by a money stringency in England, not by any loss of value or credit in the securities themselves. We could not, however, wholly escape the ill effects of a foreign monetary agitation accompanied by such extraordinary incidents as characterized this. It is not believed, however, that these evil incidents, which have for the time unfavorably affected values in this country, can long withstand the strong, safe, and wholesome influences which are operating to give to our people profitable returns in all branches of legitimate trade and industry. The apprehension that our tariff may again and at once be subjected to important general changes would undoubtedly add a depressing influence of the most serious character.
The general tariff act has only partially gone into operation, some of its important provisions being limited to take effect at dates yet in the future. The general provisions of the law have been in force less than sixty days. Its permanent effects upon trade and prices still largely stand in conjecture. It is curious to note that the advance in the prices of articles wholly unaffected by the tariff act was by many hastily ascribed to that act. Notice was not taken of the fact that the general tendency of the markets was upward, from influences wholly apart from the recent tariff legislation. The enlargement of our currency by the silver bill undoubtedly gave an upward tendency to trade and had a marked effect on prices; but this natural and desired effect of the silver legislation was by many erroneously attributed to the tariff act.
There is neither wisdom nor justice in the suggestion that the subject of tariff revision shall be again opened before this law has had a fair trial. It is quite true that every tariff schedule is subject to objections. No bill was ever framed, I suppose, that in all of its rates and classifications had the full approval even of a party caucus. Such legislation is always and necessarily the product of compromise as to details, and the present law is no exception. But in its general scope and effect I think it will justify the support of those who believe that American legislation should conserve and defend American trade and the wages of American workmen.
The misinformation as to the terms of the act which has been so widely disseminated at home and abroad will be corrected by experience, and the evil auguries as to its results confounded by the market reports, the savings banks, international trade balances, and the general prosperity of our people. Already we begin to hear from abroad and from our customhouses that the prohibitory effect upon importations imputed to the act is not justified. The imports at the port of New York for the first three weeks of November were nearly 8 per cent greater than for the same period in 1889 and 29 per cent greater than in the same period of 1888. And so far from being an act to limit exports, I confidently believe that under it we shall secure a larger and more profitable participation in foreign trade than we have ever enjoyed, and that we shall recover a proportionate participation in the ocean carrying trade of the world.
The criticisms of the bill that have come to us from foreign sources may well be rejected for repugnancy. If these critics really believe that the adoption by us of a free-trade policy, or of tariff rates having reference solely to revenue, would diminish the participation of their own countries in the commerce of the world, their advocacy and promotion, by speech and other forms of organized effort, of this movement among our people is a rare exhibition of unselfishness in trade. And, on the other hand, if they sincerely believe that the adoption of a protectivetariff policy by this country inures to their profit and our hurt, it is noticeably strange that they should lead the outcry against the authors of a policy so helpful to their countrymen and crown with their favor those who would snatch from them a substantial share of a trade with other lands already inadequate to their necessities.
There is no disposition among any of our people to promote prohibitory or retaliatory legislation. Our policies are adopted not to the hurt of others, but to secure for ourselves those advantages that fairly grow out of our favored position as a nation. Our form of government, with its incident of universal suffrage, makes it imperative that we shall save our working people from the agitations and distresses which scant work and wages that have no margin for comfort always beget. But after all this is done it will be found that our markets are open to friendly commercial exchanges of enormous value to the other great powers.
From the time of my induction into office the duty of using every power and influence given by law to the executive department for the development of larger markets for our products, especially our farm products, has been kept constantly in mind, and no effort has been or will be spared to promote that end. We are under no disadvantage in any foreign market, except that we pay our workmen and workwomen better wages than are paid elsewhere-better abstractly, better relatively to the cost of the necessaries of life. I do not doubt that a very largely increased foreign trade is accessible to us without bartering for it either our home market for such products of the farm and shop as our own people can supply or the wages of our working people.
In many of the products of wood and iron and in meats and breadstuffs we have advantages that only need better facilities of intercourse and transportation to secure for them large foreign markets. The reci.