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In constructing legislation of this description it should not be forgotten that the rights and interests of the Indians are important in every view and should be scrupulously protected.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 23, 1895.

, To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith without approval House bill No. 5740, entitled "An act incorporating the Society of American Florists."

No sufficient reason is apparent for the incorporation of this organization under Federal laws. There is not the least difficulty in the way of the accomplishment under State laws by the incorporators named in the bill of every purpose which can legitimately belong to their corporate existence. The creation of such a corporation by a special act of Congress establishes a vexatious and troublesome precedent.

There appears to be no limit in the bill to the value of the real and personal property which the proposed corporation may hold if acquired by donation or bequest. The limit of $50,000 applies only to property acquired by purchase.

A conclusive objection to the bill is found in the fact that it fails to carry out the purposes and objects of those interested in its passage. The promoters of the bill are florists, who undoubtedly seek to advance floriculture. The declared object of the proposed incorporation is, however, stated in the bill to be the elevation and advancement of horticulture in all its branches, to increase and diffuse the knowledge thereof, and for kindred purposes in the interest of horticulture.”

It is entirely clear that the interests of florists would be badly served by a corporation confined to the furtherance of garden culture.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 23, 1895. To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith without approval House bill No. 4658, entitled "An act granting a pension to Hiram R. Rhea and repealing an act approved March 3, 1871."

The person named in the title of this bill was pensioned under the provisions of a private act passed March 3, 1871. In 1892 a letter from the Commissioner of Pensions was presented to Congress exhibiting facts which established in a most satisfactory manner that the claim for persion allowed by said special act was a barefaced and impudent fraud, supported by deliberate perjury. This letter appears to be the moving cause of the passage of the bill now before me. Payment of pension under the fraudulent act has been suspended since January 28, 1893, and

since that time no information has been received from the fraudulent pensioner.

The circumstances developed called for the repeal of the law of 1871 placing him upon the pension roll. This is accomplished in the second section of the bill under consideration, which section I would be glad to approve. This repeal, however, is accompanied by a provision in the first section of the bill directing the Secretary of the Interior to place upon the pension roll this identical fraudulent pensioner, under a certificate numbered precisely the same as that heretofore issued to him, “at a rate proportionate to the degree of disability from such gunshot wounds as may be shown to the satisfaction of said Secretary to have been received At the hands of Confederate soldiers or sympathizers while said Rhea was attempting to cooperate with the Union forces,” etc.

Inasmuch as the letter of the Commissioner of Pensions to which reference has been made, and which forms part of the committee's report on this bill, is the basis of this repealing provision, and inasmuch as this letter furnishes evidence that the pensioner was when injured a very disreputable member of a band of armed rebels and was wounded by Union soldiers, I can not understand why the same bill which for this reason purges the pension rolls of his name should in the same breath undo this work and direct his name to be rewritten on the rolls.

If the facts before Congress justify the repeal of the law under which this man fraudulently received a pension for nearly twenty-two years, they certainly do not justify the provision directing his name to be put on the rolls again with a view to further examination of his case or for any other purpose.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 27, 1895. To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith without approval House bill No. 2051, entitled "An act to grant a pension to Eunice Putman."

This bill provides for a pension to the beneficiary therein named as the helpless daughter of John Putman, who served as a private in the War of the Rebellion from August 27, 1864, to June 2, 1865. In 1870, when the beneficiary was not 2 years old, her mother died, and her father married again in 1872. He applied for a pension in 1884, but died the same year. His claim was allowed, however, in 1891, and his pension which had accrued between the date of his application and his death was paid to his widow, Jeanette S. Putman. Immediately thereafter a pension was allowed the widow in her own right, dating from the soldier's death, in 1884, with $2 additional per month for each of the two minor children. The beneficiary was not included because she had reached the age of 16 years prior to her father's death.

The report of the committee to whom this bill was referred states that no claim for pension on account of the soldier's death has ever been filed in the Pension Bureau, and it seems that upon this theory it was proposed to pension the daughter. I do not suppose it was intended that a double pension should be allowed. In point of fact, the widow has already been pensioned, and no such pension allowance has been made for the minor children. There is no suggestion that the widow has died or remarried.

If this bill should become a law, two full pensions would be in force at the same time, one to the widow and another to the daughter, each predicated upon the services and death of the same soldier.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 27, 1895. To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 6868, entitled "An act for the relief of Catherine Ott, widow of Joseph Ott.”

An application by the beneficiary named in this bill, under the law of 1890, was rejected on the ground that her husband died in the service, and therefore had not been honorably discharged, as required by that law.

It appears that after he had served a number of years in a cavalry regiment, and having been once discharged for reenlistment, he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps and was in that service at the time of his death.

In these circumstances the rejection of the beneficiary's claim on the ground stated is held, under present rulings of the Pension Bureau, to have been erroneous, and such claim can now be favorably adjudicated upon proof of continued widowhood of the applicant and the lack of other means of support than her daily labor.

If such proof is supplied, she would be entitled to a pension dating from July 14, 1890, which would be much more advantageous than the relief afforded hy the bill herewith returned.

If the beneficiary can justly claim a pension dating from her application to the Pension Bureau in 1890, the benefits accruing to her there from should not be superseded by this special legislation, which allows relief only from the date of its enactment.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 28, 1895. To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 8681, entitled "An act authorizing the Arkansas Northwestern Railway Company to con

struct and operate a railway through the Indian Territory, and for other purposes."

The contemplated route of this railway, so far as it is disclosed in the bill, would run from a point in the southwestern corner of the State of Missouri, across the northeastern corner of the Indian Territory, to a point in the southeastern part of the State of Kansas. This route necessarily runs through the lands of the Cherokee Indians or through the small reservations of the Quapaws, the Peorias, the Ottawas, the Wyandottes, and the Senecas.

There is no provision in the bill requiring the consent of the Indians whose lands are to be thus traversed.

There is no provision requiring the entire line to be located and approved by the Secretary of the Interior before the work of building is commenced.

The bill provides for compensation to individual occupants or allottees by a process of appraisal by referees, with the right of appeal to the district court held at Fort Smith, in the State of Arkansas.

In the case of allotted land or land held in individual occupancy by the Indians great care should be exercised in interfering with their holdings. Their land is given them for cultivation and with a view of making them self-supporting and industrious citizens. If their land is invaded and cut up by railroads, the purpose of allotment is in danger of being defeated. Money compensation is of but little use to them, and no amount can compensate for the disturbance in the cultivation of their lands and their consequent discontent and discouragement.

These considerations, it seems to me, emphasize the necessity of the exact location of the entire line of the contemplated railroad and such control over it by the Secretary of the Interior as will enable him to avoid as much as possible interference with individual Indian occupants and other difficulties.

This supervision and regulation of the line can be done with much more safety and effectiveness in considering the entire line than it can be done in sections of 25 miles each, as is provided in the bill.

The United States circuit and district courts for the districts of Kansas and the district of Arkansas and such other courts as may be authorized by Congress are given concurrent jurisdiction of all controversies arising between the railway company and the nations and tribes of Indians through whose territory the railway shall be constructed, or between said company and the members of said nations or tribes, without reference to the amount in controversy, and the civil jurisdiction of said courts is extended within the limits of said Indian Territory, without distinction as to the citizenship of parties, so far as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of the act.

The requirement that an Indian shall be obliged to seek a distant court for the adjudication of his rights in his controversies, great and small, with this railway company would result in many cases to a denial of justice.

I am convinced of the growing necessity, in this period of change in our relations with the Indians, of caution and certainty in the grants given to railroads to pass through Indian lands and of the exercise of care in allowing interference with their occupation.


EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 28, 1895. To the House of Representatives:

I herewith return without approval House bill No. 5624, entitled "An act to authorize the Oklahoma Central Railroad to construct and operate a railway through the Indian and Oklahoma Territories, and for other purposes."

The railroad proposed to be built under authority of this bill commences at a point in the Creek Nation called Sapulpa and runs through the Indian Territory to Oklahoma City, in Oklahoma, and thence through the Kiowa and Comanche Reservation to a point at or near the Red River, on the west line of said reservation.

There is no provision in this bill requiring the consent of the Indians through whose lands it is proposed to build the road.

The character and situation of these Indians are such as to make this consent important.

The first section gives the railroad company the right to build not only its line of road, but “such tracks, turn-outs, branches, sidings, and extensions as said company may deem it to their interest to construct."

If under an apparent grant to build a railroad the route of which is in a general way defined this company is to be allowed to build such branches and extensions as it may deem it to its interest to construct, the grant, I am sure, is more comprehensive than was intended by the Congress.

It seems to me that the entire line of the proposed railroad should be precisely located and subjected to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior before the work of construction is entered upon. This bill provides that it shall be approved in sections of 25 miles before construction on such sections shall be commenced.

Our relations to the Indians on reservations and their welfare and quiet are better preserved and protected when the entire line of road can be settled upon at one time and all uncertainty and doubt on the subject removed. The object sought by submitting the line to the supervision and determination of the Secretary of the interior can be better and more intelligently accomplished if it is dealt with in its entirety instead of in sections.


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