Page images
PDF
EPUB

The following is a statement of receipts and disbursements from November 3, the date of my last message, to March 31: Funds on hand November 1, 1902..

$1,562, 942.05 Receipts: November, 1902.

$1, 156, 871.56 December, 1902

1,619, 305. 95 January, 1903

1,527, 407.59 February, 1903.

1,400, 137.56 March, 1903.

1, 457, 421.01

7, 161, 143. 67

8,724, 085, 72

Disbursements:

November, 1902.
December, 1902
January, 1903.
February, 1903
March, 1903.

975, 560.18 1,537, 676.60 1, 172, 449.21 1, 222, 705.63 1, 177, 157.77

6,085, 549. 39

On hand April 1, 1903..

2, 638, 536. 33 If we subtract from this money on hand about $1,000,000, more or less, the total sum of special allotments granted for public works and other things by laws of Congress and resolutions of the Executive (the latter per the authority of June 12 and September 5 and the allotment of $300,000) it results that we have at our disposal only about $1,600,000, and as a foreseeing prudence counsels a treasury reserve fund of never less than $1,500,000 to meet emergencies that might occur by unforeseen circumstances I, animated by the purest patriotism, do not hesitate for a moment to suggest to the Congress the advisability of not voting new appropriations unless they are recommended by the Executive and justified by reasons of urgent necessity. This suggestion is all the more proper considering that in a short while a heavy disbursement must be made for the purchase of horses, equipment, etc., for the rural guard and such things as may be necessary for the artillery corps, now pending organization. It must be borne in mind, also, that the ordinary expenses are much increased by the reform in the organization of the rural guard and that which is intended in the artillery, as well as by the fulfillment of article 84 of the constitution with respect to the municipal courts, which must be supported by the State.

The general auditing department of the State gives careful attention to the examination of accounts of internal revenues, postal revenues, State expenditures and property. This service, like the no less important ones of collection and disbursement of the public funds, is faithfully done by that office, the general treasury, and the central disbursing office, each in the sphere of its respective attributes.

Customs collectors and fiscal-zone administrators continue to discharge their duties with zeal and honesty. The payment of special and regular obligations has been effected with thorough punctuality and in conformity with the authority granted the Executive by the law of September 5, 1902, and the corresponding allotments. It can be assured that no disbursement in excess of the respective allotment has been made; on the contrary, there is a surplus from the allotments for said obligations.

The provisions of law in force on immigration have been fulfilled with all regularity, and that department, like the quarantine service attached to it at Triscornia, has effected important improvements. Other improvements to the benefit of those who by the immigration and sanitary laws have to reside at Triscornia for the time specified by those laws are contemplated.

The work on the railroad from Alto Cedro to Nipe Bay is well advanced, and as important properties of that district are under exploitation that port will soon have to be made a port of entry and export, to which end the Executive will issue in due time the proper orders.

The department of the treasury is engaged with interest in getting up the general inventory of State property and census, a work of unquestionable importance the data for which has been almost entirely gathered, thanks to the unceasing efforts that have been made. However, the work will be incomplete unless the lands which the State owns, unsurveyed in great part, above all in the province of Santiago, are not properly surveyed and their boundaries fixed so as to allow their free utilization for an advantageous colonization. Therefore it is the purpose of the Executive to organize a competent commission of land surveyors and experts, charged with effecting with the greatest possible accuracy the demarkation and survey of the lands mentioned. All the data and records that the Congress has asked for on this matter have been sent to it.

Statistics of the Republic's foreign commerce are still being published with the proper punctuality, and monthly financial statements are published in the Official Gazette and sent to both houses of the Congress.

The law authorizing the executive to contract a loan of $35,000,000 was published in the Gazette of February 28; the regulation for collecting the taxes for paying the interests and redemption has been drafted, and to begin to collect said taxes we are only waiting for Congress to make the necessary explanatory declaration relative to the power of the executive to at once begin said collection.

Due attention is being given to negotiation of the loan, and while it is not easy to prejudge a matter of such importance, indications are that it will be possible to effect the transaction on the terms tixed by the law. As soon as everything is ready to begin the collection of the taxes the conditions on which the loan will be contracted will be published.

It seems proper to call the attention of the Congress to the budgets presented in the first legislature, which, considering the present condition of the services shown therein and the circumstances attending their formation, do not fully meet the requirements they are to fulfill.

These budgets were gotten up very shortly after the Government of the Republic was inaugurated. They refer, the greater part of them, to services which were then in a period of organization on account of having been under the immediate jurisdiction of the military government, and the scope and development of which the present administration had not formed a perfect idea for lack of experience. This experience, later acquired, has demonstrated not only the defects in the organization of said services, but the rigidity with which certain requirements were considered (and which it has been necessary since to fulfill to greater extent) and the lack of foresight with respect to others which are not yet fulfilled and which demand the corresponding disbursements.

To prove the foregoing it suffices to cite as examples communications, sanitation, charities, prisons, public order, the diplomatic and consular service, artillery, navigation, etc., which to-day, by reason of their development and improvement, are far from being in the same status as they were when the budgets were made up.

It must also be remembererd that $1,200,000 was included in these budgets as a portion of the ordinary revenues, this sum having represented the increased duties on imported alcoholic beverages now comprised in the special taxes created by the loan law.

All the foregoing makes it clear that the budgets presented last November can not be applied to-day without provoking a disturbance in the services and that it is worth while to try by some means to remedy these serious objections.

I must also mention in this message another matter of great importance. I refer to the decrease noticed in silver money and the high price it is reaching as the natural result of that circumstance. The imperious need for this money as a constant medium of exchange in daily transactions and the fear that its scarcity will be felt more and more among us, since the only silver money we have comes from Spain and everything there decidedly points to the gold standard, are reasons warranting the recommendation that some measure be adopted in anticipation of the evil that might occur, be that measure to enact a law providing for the coinage of national silver money or any other which the good judgment of Congress may consider proper.

My duty under article 68 of the constitution having been complied with, it only remains for me to state to the Congress that I am convinced its work in the present legislature is to be of great benefit to the welfare of the country.

T. ESTRADA PALMA. PRESIDENTIAL PALACE, April 6, 1903.

Mr. Squiers to Mr. Tay. No. 712.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Habana, November 7, 1903. Sir: The President, in accordance with paragraph 4, article 68, of the constitution, which provides

He (the President) shall present to Congress at the opening of each legislative session, and at such other times as he may deem proper, a message relating to the acts of his administration, demonstrating the general condition of the Republic; and he shall furthermore recommend the adoption of such laws and resolutions as he may deem necessary or advantageous, addressed to Congress a message (translation inclosed herewith) setting forth in considerable detail "the acts of the administration” and “the general condition of the Republic,” but limiting his recommendations for future legislation to matters already touched upon in his previous messages or to questions of minor importance.

The message was laid before Congress Monday, November 2, the first day of the present session.

[blocks in formation]

The most satisfactory reference is to the financial condition. He shows an increase from April 1 to November 1 (his last message being dated April 6)—a period of seven months-of $1,204,903.06. The two most important matters now before the Cubans are the budget and the loan. Both have been reserved to a future time and message. I understand the budget is not to exceed $16,000,000, although the President has endeavored to limit the amount to $15,000,000.

The following is a brief summary of the various subjects mentioned:

With respect to the loan, the President says the commissioners sent to the United States returned with the impression that the loan could be secured in the American market. An increase of the artillery force is recommended, as well as a consolidation of the present armed forces.

Comparing the existing postal and telegraph service with that under the intervention, Mr. Palma is not generous enough to concede that we established this system and turned over to the Republic a wellfounded working basis. Additional postal treaties have been proposed and the telegraph lines are rebuilding. Sanitary laws must be reformed, though it is conceded that under their working health conditions are excellent.

International relations are entirely satisfactory. Museums in Cuban consulates, where the country's products can be exhibited, are under study.

Political relations with the United States are progressing satisfactorily. The President has great faith in the early approval of the reciprocity treaty, and expresses appreciation of the generous support of the President of the United States. Treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation are under way, as are also some extradition treaties. The Cuban Republic has been invited to participate in numerous expositions. The judiciary is satisfactory, but better salaries are needed in order to secure better officials. "The department of public works has done much and has much room to do more, and at least $1,500,000 should be spent in improvements for some years to come. The department of agriculture has discharged its routine duties, and attention is invited to the possibilities of this department. The department of public instruction is commended, though some minor changes in the law are necessary to insure a disinterested selection of teachers. I have, etc.,

H. G. SQUIERS.

[Inclosure.--Translation.]

President Palma to the Cuban ('ongress.

PRESIDENT'S PALACE, Habana, November 2, 1903.

To the Congress:

PEACE AND ORDER.

Three and a half months have elapsed since the last session of the national Congress ended. The public administration has continued in its regular course. The love of our people for the institutions that rule us and their firm purpose not to permit anyone nor anything to place them in danger has grown from day to day. Our people are thoroughly identified with the Republic. They consider it their own incarnation and they are extremely zealous for its preservation. Our people understand that the greatest guarantees of the stability of the Republic are peace and order, and consider any act directed to perturbation of public tranquillity a criminal attempt on the existence of their patria. Thus is to be explained the cry of indignation that resounded from one end of the island to the other on its becoming known about the middle of September that several armed men had tried to provoke a perturbation in the country. All classes of society, all the people, moved by the impulse of a single sentiment—their unblemished love for Cuba-hastened to energetically protest against that iniquitous attempt and to demonstrate with eloquent manifestations of adhesion to the legitimately constituted government their firm resolution to contribute at all costs to the preservation of order and thus maintain unimpaired the prestige of the Cuban nation. This noble attitude of our people honestly measures its political morality, its sound patriotism, and capacity for self-government. Be this reason for congratulation on the part of all, of just pride for our race, and of full confidence in our future.

RECENT DISTURBANCES.

The following is an ex position of what happened in consequence of the nonsensical act I have mentioned.

Several men, belonging or not to the liberating army, conceived, by their own initiative or influence of others, the absurd idea of gathering together 400 or 500 armed men, and, taking advantage of my visit to the eastern provinces, of presenting themselves to me in Santiago, demanding the immediate payment of the army. Did those men really believe that they would in that manner secure the immediate payment or did that ignoble and absurd purpose, necessarily rejected by the noble veterans of our wars of independence, cover some other purpose? Be the purpose that guided them what it may, hardly had they begun to put it into execution when they became convinced that agitators and disturbers have no place in Cuba; that here, without exception of classes, we are all equally subject to the requirements of the laws, under the action of the authorities, who have the people to rely upon as their most firm support.

On Sunday, September 13, the leaders of the movement gathered together in Sevilla, a ward of Caney. On that day and the following one they succeeded in getting to join them sixty or seventy men, the majority armed, some compelled by force and others attracted by deceptive methods. But on that same day, the 13th, the colonel, chief of the rural guard, in accord with the civil governor of the province, had taken proper steps to pursue the secessionists and prevent any other heedless fellows or others in harmony from joining them. Those measures and others adopted resulted on the 14th in the capture of four armed men; on the 15th in the band being fired upon and the seizure of horses, saddles, and a rifle; on the 16th mistrust and division now reigning between the leaders themselves, in them firing on each other, one being killed, another wounded; in all those men who had joined through deception or against their will taking advantage of the occasion to escape and make their way to their homes; and, after an active pursuit day and night, in the capture on the 21st and 22d of the remaining leaders. In this manner and a short space of time an end was put to the disturbance, which has served to demonstrate once more the efficacy of the rural guard, its discipline and the high opinion it has of its duties as an organization for public security (which duties it performs foreign to everything but obedience to the Government)—that is to thoroughly satisfy the honorable and patriotic ends of that institution. The only remaining trace of that incident is the judicial proceeding initiated to the end that the courts of justice may apply to the guilty ones the punishment prescribed by law.

Identical was the result of another attempt at disturbance, which, in the middle of last July, was initiated by four men of doubtful morality if not of bad antecedents,

who, starting from Vicana, in the district of Manzanillo, entered the district of Bayamo. They seized arms and effects in a shop in the ward of Bueycito and also proclaimed the payment of the army. They also sought irresponsibles who would follow them. The civil governor of the province and the chief of the rural guard issued orders that they be relentlessly pursued. The rural guard, efficiently aided by people of the surroundings, veterans of independence, overtook the band on the 26th and made one of them a prisoner. On the following day the band was again engaged, the leader and two conipanions being killed in the firing that took place.

The audiencia of Santiago de Cuba at once named a special judge to take cognizance of the affair.

It attracts attention that first the outlaws of Vicana and then those of Sevilla both gave the seditious cry of “the payment of the army.” It can easily be supposed that behind those who had the holdness to show their faces and take the consequences were others less courageous but more responsible, genuine producers of both attempts at disturbing the public order. Be that as it may, the perpetrators of the deed in both cases, as well as the instigators, if instigators there were, tried to soil the clean history of the liberating army, villianously endeavoring to convert the sacred standard of the solitary star into the ignominous flag of vulgar and odious mercenaries. The pretext, further than being infamous and criminal, seemed to absolutely have some foundation.

LIQUIDATION OF THE ARMY DEBT.

The executive placed in the hands of commanders of great prestige, under the presidency of one of the most illustrious treasures of both wars of independence, the important mission of liquidating the army debt. The work was done without interruption, from August of 1902 up to July of the present year, resulting in a total of 53,774 men being recognized as members of the liberating army, whose pay has been liquidated in due form.

Liquidation for officers in civil capacities with military ranks remaining undone, the executive duly informed the Congress, which by a resolution of July 24 of the present year directed the appointment of another commission charged with terminating pending work and passing upon claims presented in a specitic period. In compliance with this resolution, the names of those who had obtained the liquidation of their pay, and those whose claims had not been approved, have been published in the official gazette since July 31, and by groups.

The period prescribed for reclamations was then opened at once; rules were published for the better understanding of the various directions comprised in the resolution mentioned, and finally a new commission was appointed, assuming office on September 24.

TAE LOAN.

The special tax law of February 27 last, to meet interests on and redeem the $35,000,000 loan for the payment of the army, having been enacted, this matter has not been neglected for a moment. The most efficacious means of collecting the taxes and adoption of preliminary measures for enforcing the law from the first of this month have been studied with the greatest interest. At the same time the executive, considering it most important to send abroad a commission composed of one or two members of each house or of one of them, and of distinguished leaders of the liberating army, asked to that end, in a message of July 13, that Congress vote the necessary appropriation. This was done. The commission having been formed in the manner contemplated, it set out for New York on September 12, where it arrived on the 15th on precisely the same day that news of the trouble at Sevilla was given to the four winds. Fortunately the good judgment abroad in the good sense of the Cuban people, and to which they are entitled by prior proofs of love of order and exemplary patriotism, contributed not a little, together with the personal prestige of our commissioners, toward promptly causing to vanish the bad impression produced by the reports when first received and their not being an obstacle to the commission at once taking up its work. I will shortly report to the Congress, by a special message, the result obtained by the commissioners, who have already returned, considering it unnecessary to continue on to Europe, and the loan secured in the American market. By the preceding succinct statement of matters proof is given of the zeal and interest of the executive power in giving at the earliest date possible a satisfactory solution to the national problem of the payment of the army, which has served as a peace-breaking pretext to turbulent spirits, entirely foreign to the sublime ideals of the martyrs of independence and the noble patriots who struggled on and off the field of armed contention to establish, with an orderly and pacific

« PreviousContinue »