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The report of the Secretary of the Treasury shows that the total receipts of the Government from all sources for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1891, were $458,544,233.03, while the expenditures for the same period were $421, 304,470.46, leaving a surplus of $37,239,762.57.
The receipts of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1892, actual and estimated, are $433,000,000 and the expenditures $409,000,000. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, the estimated receipts are $455,336,350 and the expenditures $441,300,093.
Under the law of July 14, 1890, the Secretary of the Treasury has purchased (since August 13) during the fiscal year 48,393,113 ounces of silver bullion at an average cost of $1.045 per ounce.
The highest price paid during the year was $1.2025 and the lowest $0.9636. In exchange for this silver bullion there have been issued $50,577,498 of the Treasury notes authorized by the act. The lowest price of silver reached during the fiscal year was $0.9636 on April 22, 1891; but on November i the market price was only $0.96, which would give to the silver dollar a bullion value of 74 74 cents.
Before the influence of the prospective silver legislation was felt in the market silver was worth in New York about $0.955 per ounce. The ablest advocates of free coinage in the last Congress were most confident in their predictions that the purchases by the Government required by the law would at once bring the price of silver to $1.2929 per ounce, which would make the bullion value of a dollar 100 cents and hold it there. The prophecies of the antisilver men of disasters to result from the coinage of $2,000,000 per month were not wider of the mark. The friends of free silver are not agreed, I think, as to the causes that brought their hopeful predictions to naught. Some facts are known. The exports of silver from London to India during the first nine months of this calendar year fell off over 50 per cent, or $17,202,730, compared with the same months of the preceding year. The exports of domestic silver bullion from this country, which had averaged for the last ten years over $17,000,000, fell in the last fiscal year to $13,797,391, while for the first time in recent years the imports of silver into this country exceeded the exports by the sum of $2,745,365. In the previous year the net exports of silver from the United States amounted to $8,545,455. The production of the United States increased from 50,000,000 ounces in 1889 to 54,500,000 in 1890. The Government is now buying and putting aside annually 54,000,000 ounces, which, allowing for 7,140,000 ounces of new bullion used in the arts, is 6,640,000 more than our domestic products available for coinage.
I hope the depression in the price of silver is temporary and that a further trial of this legislation will more favorably affect it. That the increased volume of currency thus supplied for the use of the people was needed and that berfeficial results upon trade and prices have followed this legislation I think must be very clear to everyone. Nor should it
be forgotten that for every dollar of these notes issued a fult dollar's worth of silver bullion is at the time deposited in the Treasury as a security for its redemption. Upon this subject, as upon the tariff, my recommendation is that the existing laws be given a full trial and that our business interests be spared the distressing influence which threats of radical changes always impart. Under existing legislation it is in the power of the Treasury Department to maintain that essential condition of national finance as well as of commercial prosperity—the parity in use of the coined dollars and their paper representatives. The assurance that these powers would be freely and unhesitatingly used has done much to produce and sustain the present favorable business conditions.
I am still of the opinion that the free coinage of silver under existing conditions would disastrously affect our business interests at home and abroad. We could not hope to maintain an equality in the purchasing power of the gold and silver dollar in our own markets, and in foreign trade the stamp gives no added value to the bullion contained in coins. The producers of the country, its farmers and laborers, have the highest interest that every dollar, paper or coin, issued by the Government shall be as good as any other. If there is one less valuable than another, its sure and constant errand will be to pay them for their toil and for their crops. The money lender will protect himself by stipulating for payment in gold, but the laborer has never been able to do that. To place business upon a silver basis would mean a sudden and severe contraction of the currency by the withdrawal of gold and gold notes and such an unsettling of all values as would produce a commercial panic. I can not believe that a people so strong and prosperous as ours will promote such a policy.
The producers of silver are entitled to just consideration, but they should not forget that the Government is now buying and putting out of the market what is the equivalent of the entire product of our silver mines. This is more than they themselves thought of asking two years ago. I believe it is the earnest desire of a great majority of the people, as it is mine, that a full coin use shall be made of silver just as soon as the cooperation of other nations can be secured and a ratio fixed that will give circulation equally to gold and silver. The business of the world requires the use of both metals; but I do not see any prospect of gain, but much of loss, by giving up the present system, in which a full use is made of gold and a large use of silver, for one in which silver alone will circulate. Such an event would be at once fatal to the further progress of the silver movement. Bimetallism is the desired end, and the true friends of silver will be careful not to overrun the goal and bring in silver monometallism with its necessary attendants—the loss of our gold to Europe and the relief of the pressure there for a larger currency. I have endeavored by the use of official and unofficial agencies to keep a close observation of the state of public sentiment in Europe upon this question and have not found it to be such as to justify me in proposing an international conference. There is, however, I am sure, a growing sentiment in Europe in favor of a larger use of silver, and I know of no more effectual way of promoting this sentiment than by accumulating goid here. A scarcity of gold in the European reserves will be the most persuasive argument for the use of silver.
The exports of gold to Europe, which began in February last and continued until the close of July, aggregated over $70,000,000. The net loss of gold during the fiscal year was nearly $68,000,000. That no serious monetary disturbance resulted was most gratifying and gave to Europe fresh evidence of the strength and stability of our financial institutions. With the movement of crops the outflow of gold was speedily stopped and a return set in. Up to December i we had recovered of our gold lost at the port of New York $27,854,000, and it is confidently believed that during the winter and spring this aggregate will be steadily and largely increased.
The presence of a large cash surplus in the Treasury has for many years been the subject of much unfavorable criticism, and has furnished an argument to those who have desired to place the tariff upon a purely revenue basis. It was agreed by all that the withdrawal from circulation of so large an amount of money was an embarrassment to the business of the country and made necessary the intervention of the Department at frequent intervals to relieve threatened monetary panics. The surplus on March 1, 1889, was $183,827,190.29. The policy of applying this surplus to the redemption of the interest-bearing securities of the United States was thought to be preferable to that of depositing it without interest in selected national banks. There have been redeemed since the date last mentioned of interest-bearing securities $259,079,350, resulting in a reduction of the annual interest charge of $11,684,675. The money which had been deposited in banks without interest has been gradually withdrawn and used in the redemption of bonds.
The result of this policy, of the silver legislation, and of the refunding of the 472 per cent bonds has been a large increase of the money in circulation. At the date last named the circulation was $1,404,205,896, or $23.03 per capita, while on the ist day of December, 1891, it had increased to $1,577,262,070, or $24.38 per capita. The offer of the Secretary of the Treasury to the holders of the 472 per cent bonds to extend the time of redemption, at the option of the Government, at an interest of 2 per cent, was accepted by the holders of about one-half the amount, and the unextended bonds are being redeemed on presentation.
The report of the Secretary of War exhibits the results of an intelligent, progressive, and businesslike administration of a Department which has been too much regarded as one of mere routine. The separation of Secretary Proctor from the Department by reason of his appointment as a Senator from the State of Vermont is a source of great regret to me and to his colleagues in the Cabinet, as I am sure it will be to all those who have had business with the Department while under his charge.
In the administration of army affairs some especially good work has been accomplished. The efforts of the Secretary to reduce the percentage of desertions by removing the causes that promoted it have been so successful as to enable him to report for the last year a lower percentage of desertion than has been before reached in the history of the Army. The resulting money saying is considerable, but the improvement in the morale of the enlisted men is the most valuable incident of the reforms which have brought about this result.
The work of securing sites for shore batteries for harbor defense and the manufacture of mortars and guns of high power to equip them have made good progress during the year. The preliminary work of tests and plans which so long delayed a start is now out of the way. Some guns have been completed, and with an enlarged shop and a more complete equipment at Watervliet the Army will soon be abreast of the Navy in gun construction. Whatever unavoidable causes of delay may arise, there should be none from delayed or insufficient appropriations. We shall be greatly embarrassed in the proper distribution and use of naval vessels until adequate shore defenses are provided for our harbors.
I concur in the recommendation of the Secretary that the three-battalion organization be adopted for the infantry. The adoption of a smokeless powder and of a modern rifle equal in range, precision, and rapidity of fire to the best now in use will, I hope, not be longer delayed.
The project of enlisting Indians and organizing them into separate companies upon the same basis as other soldiers was made the subject of very careful study by the Secretary and received my approval. Seven companies have been completely organized and seven more are in process of organization. The results of six months' training have more than realized the highest anticipations. The men are readily brought under discipline, acquire the drill with facility, and show great pride in the right discharge of their duty and perfect loyalty to their officers, who declare that they would take them into action with confidence. The discipline, order, and cleanliness of the military posts will have a wholesome and elevating influence upon the men enlisted, and through them upon their tribes, while a friendly feeling for the whites and a greater respect for the Government will certainly be promoted.
The great work done in the Record and Pension Division of the War Department by Major Ainsworth, of the Medical Corps, and the clerks under him is entitled to honorable mention. Taking up the work with nearly 41,000 cases behind, he closed the last fiscal year without a single case left over, though the new cases had increased 52 per cent in number over the previous year by reason of the pension legislation of the last Congress.
I concur in the recommendation of the Attorney-General that the right in felony cases to a review by the Supreme Court be limited. It would seem that personal liberty would have a safe guaranty if the right of review in cases involving only fine and imprisonment were limited to the circuit court of appeals, unless a constitutional question should in some way be involved.
The judges of the Court of Private Land Claims, provided for by the act of March 3, 1891, have been appointed and the court organized. It is now possible to give early relief to communities long repressed in their development by unsettled land titles and to establish the possession and right of settlers whose lands have been rendered valueless by adverse and unfounded claims.
The act of July 9, 1888, provided for the incorporation and management of a reform school for girls in the District of Columbia; but it has remained inoperative for the reason that no appropriation has been made for construction or maintenance. The need of such an institution is very urgent. Many girls could be saved from depraved lives by the wholesome influences and restraints of such a school. I recommend that the necessary appropriation be made for a site and for construction.
The enforcement by the Treasury Department of the law prohibiting the coming of Chinese to the United States has been cffective as to such as seek to land from vessels entering our ports. The result has been to divert the travel to vessels entering the ports of British Columbia, whence passage into the United States at obscure points along the Dominion boundary is easy. A very considerable number of Chinese laborers have during the past year entered the United States from Canada and Mexico.
The officers of the Treasury Department and of the Department of Justice have used every means at their command to intercept this immigration; but the impossibility of perfectly guarding our extended frontier is apparent. The Dominion government collects a head tax of $50 from every Chinaman entering Canada, and thus derives a considerable revenue from those who only use its ports to reach a position of advantage to evade our exclusion laws. There seems to be satisfactory evidence that the business of passing Chinamen through Canada to the United States is organized and quite active. The Department of Justice has construed the laws to require the return of any Chinaman found to be unlawfully in this country to China as the country from which he came, notwithstanding the fact that he came by way of Canada; but several of the district courts have in cases brought before them overruled this view of the law and decided that such persons must be returned to Canada. This construction robs the law of all effectiveness, even if the decrees could be executed, for the men returned can the next day recross our border. But the only appropriation made is for sending them back to China, and the Canadian officials refuse to allow them to reenter