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nal at Geneva. I have caused my thanks to be suitably expressed for the readiness with which the joint request has been complied with, by the appointment of gentlemen of eminence and learning to these important positions.
His Majesty the Emperor of Germany has been pleased to comply with the joint request of the two governments, and has consented to act as the arbitrator of the disputed water boundary between the United States and Great Britain.
The contracting parties in the treaty have undertaken to regard as between themselves certain principles of public law, for which the United States have contended from the commencement of their history. They have also agreed to bring those principles to the knowledge of the other maritime powers and to invite them to accede to them. Negotiations are going on as to the form of the note by which the invitation is to be extended to the other powers.
I recommend the legislation necessary on the part of the United States to bring into operation the articles of the treaty relating to the fisheries, and to the other matters touching the relations of the United States toward the British North American possessions, to become operative so soon as the proper legislation shall be had on the part of Great Britain and its possessions. It is much to be desired that this legislation may become operative before the fishermen of the United States begin to make their arrangements for the coming season.
I have addressed a communication, of which a copy is transmitted herewith, to the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, urging upon the goveruments of those States, respectively, the necessary action on their part to carry into effect the object of the article of the treaty which contemplates the use of the canals, on either side, connected with the navigation of the lakes and rivers forming the boundary, on terms of equality by the inhabitants of both countries. It is hoped that the importance of the object and the benefits to flow therefrom will secure the speedy approval and legislative sanction of the States concerned.
I renew the recommendation for an appropriation for determining the true position of the forty-ninth parallel of latitude where it forms the boundary between the United States and the British North American possessions, between the Lake of the Woods and the summit of the Rocky Mountains. The early action of Congress on this recommendation would put it in the power of the War Department to place a force in the field during the next summer.
The resumption of diplomatic relations between France and Germany have enabled me to give directions for the withdrawal of the protection extended to Germans in France by the diplomatic and cousular representatives of the United States in that country. It is just to add that the delicate duty of this protection has been performed by the minister and the consul general at Paris, and the various consuls in France urder the supervision of the latter, with great kindness as well as with prudence and tact. Their course has received the commendation of the German government, and has wounded no susceptibility of the French.
The government of the Emperor of Germany continues to manifest a friendly feeling toward the United States, and a desire to harmonize with the moderate and just policy which this Government maintains in its relations with Asiatic powers, as well as with the South American republics. I have given assurances that the friendly feelings of that governinent are fully shared by the United States.
The ratifications of the consular and naturalization conventions with the Austro-Hungarian Empire have been exchanged.
I have been officially informed of the annexation of the States of the Church to the Kingdom of Italy, and the removal of the capital of that kingdom to Rome. In conformity with the established policy of the United States, I have recognized this change. The ratifications of the new treaty of commerce between the United States and Italy have been exchanged. The two powers have agreed in this treaty that prirate property at sea shall be exempt from capture in case of war betreen the two powers. The United States have spared no opportunity of incorporating this rule into the obligation of nations.
The Forty-first Congress at its third session made an appropriation for the organization of a mixed commission for adjudicating upon the claims of citizens of the United States against Spain growing out of the insurrection in Cuba. That commission has since been organized. I transmit herewith the correspondence relating to its formation and its jurisdiction. It is to be hoped that this commission will afford the claimants a complete remedy for their injuries.
It has been made the agreeable duty of the United States to preside over a conference at Washington between the plenipotentiaries of Spain and the allied South American republics, which has resulted in an armistice, with the reasonable assurance of a permanent peace.
The intimate friendly relations which have so long existed between the United States and Russia continue undisturbed. The visit of the third son of the Emperor is a proof that there is no desire on the part of his government to diminish the cordiality of those relations. The hospitable reception which has been given to the Grand Duke is a proof that on our side we share the wishes of that government. The inexeusable course of the Russian minister at Washington rendered it necessary to ask his recall, and to decline to longer receive that functionary as a diplomatic representative. It was impossible with selfrespect, or with a just regard to the dignity of the country, to permit Mr. Catacazy to continue to hold intercourse with this Government after his personal abuse of Government officials, and during his persistent interference, through various means, with the relations between the Cnited States and other powers. In accordance with my wishes, this Gorernment has been relieved of further intercourse with Mr. Catacazy, and the management of the affairs of the imperial legation has passed into the hands of a gentleman entirely unobjectionable.
With Japan we continue to maintain intimate relations. The cabinet of the Mikado has, since the close of the last session of Congress, selected citizens of the United States to serve in offices of importance in several departments of government. I have reason to think that this selection is due to an appreciation of the disinterestedness of the policy whieh the United States have pursued toward Japan. It is our desire to continue to maintain this disinterested and just policy with China as well as Japan. The correspondence transmitted herewith shows that there is no disposition on the part of this Government to swerve from its established course.
Prompted by a desire to put an end to the barbarous treatment of our shipwrecked sailors on the Corean coast, I instructed our minister at Peking to endeavor to conclude a convention with Corea for securing the safety and humane treatment of such mariners.
Admiral Rodgers was instructed to accompany him, with a sufficient force to protect him in case of need.
A small surveying party sent out, on reaching the coast, was treacherously attacked at a disadvantage. Ample opportunity was given for explanation and apology for the insult. Neither came. A force was then landed. After an arduous march over a rugged and difficult country, the forts from which the outrages had been committed were reduced by a gallant assault and were destroyed. Having thus punished the criminals, and having vindicated the honor of the flag, the expedition returned, finding it impracticable, under the circumstances, to conclude the desired convention. I respectfully refer to the correspondence relating thereto, herewith submitted, and leave the subject for such action as Congress may see fit to take.
The republic of Mexico has not yet repealed the very objectionable laws establishing what is known as the "Free Zone," on the frontier of the United States. It is hoped that this may yet be done, and also that more stringent measures may be taken by that republic for restraining lawless persons on its frontiers. I hope that Mexico, by its own action, will soon relieve this Government of the difficulties experienced from these causes. Our relations with the various republics of Central and South America continue, with one exception, to be cordial and friendly.
I recommend some action by Congress regarding the overdue installments under the award of the Venezuelan claims commission of 1866. The internal dissensions of this government present no justification for the absence of effort to meet their solemn treaty obligations.
The ratification of an extradition treaty with Nicaragua has been ex changed.
It is a subject for congratulation that the great empire of Brazil has taken the initiatory step toward the abolition of slavery. Our relations with that empire, always cordial, will naturally be made more so by this act. It is not too much to hope that the government of Brazil may hereafter find it for its interest as well as intrinsically right to advance toward entire emancipation more rapidly than the present act contemplates.
The true prosperity and greatness of a nation is to be found in the elevation and education of its laborers.
It is a subject for regret that the reforms in this direction, which were voluntarily promised by the statesmen of Spain, have not been carried out in its West India colonies. The laws and regulations for the apparent abolition of slavery in Cuba and Porto Rico leave most of the laborers in bondage, with no hope of release until their lives becoine a burden to their employers.
I desire to direct your attention to the fact that citizens of the United States, or persons claiming to be citizens of the United States, are large holders, in foreign lands, of this species of property, forbidden by the fundamental law of their alleged country. I recommend to Congress to provide, by stringent legislation, a suitable remedy against the holding, owning, or dealing in slaves, or being interested in slave property in foreign lands, either as owners, hirers, or mortgagers, by citizens of the United States.
It is to be regretted that the disturbed condition of the island of Cuba continues to be a source of annoyance and of anxiety. The existence of a protracted struggle in such close proximity to our own territory, without apparent prospect of an early termination, cannot be other than an object of concern to a people who, while abstaining from interference in the affairs of other powers, naturally desire to see every country in the undisturbed enjoyment of peace, liberty, and the blessings of free institutions.
Our naval commanders in Cuban waters have been instructed, in case it should become necessary, to spare no effort to protect the lives and property of bona fide American citizens, and to maintain the dignity of the flag.
It is hoped that all pending questions with Spain growing out of the affairs in Cuba may be adjusted in the spirit of peace and conciliation which has hitherto guided the two powers in their treatinent of such questions.
To give importance, and to add to the efficiency of our diplomatic relations with Japan and China, and to further aid in retaining the good opinion of those peoples, and to secure to the United States its share of the commerce destined to flow between those nations and the balance of the commercial world, I earnestly recommend that an appropriation be made to support at least four American youths in each of those countries, to serve as a part of the official family of our ministers there. Our representatives would not even then be placed upon an equality with the representatives of Great Britain and of some other powers. As now situated, our representatives in Japan and China hare to depend, for interpreters and translators, upon natives of those countries who know our language imperfectly, or procure for the occasion the services of employés in foreign business houses, or the interpreters to other foreign ministers.
I would also recommend liberal measures for the purpose of supporting the American lines of steamers now plying between San Francisco and Japan and China, and the Australian line-almost our only remaining lines of ocean steamers—and of increasing their services.
The national debt has been reduced to the extent of eighty-six mil. lion fifty-seven thousand one hundred and twenty-six dollars and eighty cents during the year, and by the negotiation of national bonds at a lower rate of interest, the interest on the public debt has been so far diminished that now the sum to be raised for the interest account is nearly seventeen million dollars less than on the 1st of March, 1869. It was highly desirable that this rapid diminution should take place, both to strengthen the credit of the country, aud to convince its citizens of their entire ability to meet every dollar of liability without bankrupting them. But in view of the accomplishment of these desirable ends; of the rapid development of the resources of the country; its increasing ability to meet large demands, and the amount already paid, it is not desirable that the present resources of the country should continue to be taxed in order to continue this rapid payment. I therefore recommend a modification of both the tariff and internal tax laws. I recommend that all taxes from internal sources be abolished, except those collected from spirituous, vinous, and malt liquors, tobacco in its various forms, and from stamps.
In re-adjusting the tariff, I suggest that a careful estimate be made of the amount of surplus revenue collected under the present laws, after providing for the current expenses of the Government, the interest account, and a sinking fund, and that this surplus be reduced in such a manner as to afford the greatest relief to the greatest number. There are many articles not produced at home, but which enter largely into general consumption through articles which are manufactured at home, such as medicines compounded, &c., &c., from which very little revenue is derived, but which enter into general use. All such articles I recommend to be placed on the “free list.” Should a further reduction prove advisable, I would then recommend that it be made upon those articles which can best bear it without disturbing home production, or reducing the wages of American labor.
I have not entered into figures, because to do so would be to repeat what will be laid before you in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury. The present laws for collecting revenue pay collectors of customs small salaries, but provide for moieties (shares in all seizures) which, at principal ports of entry particularly, raise the compensation of those officials to a large sum. It has always seemed to me as if this system