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speculation within itself. These two causes, however, have involved us in a foreign indebtedness, contracted in good faith by borrower and lender, which should be paid in coin, and according to the bond agreed upon when the debt was contracted-gold or its equivalent. The good faith of the Government cannot be violated toward creditors without national disgrace. But our commerce should be encouraged; American ship-building and carrying capacity increased; foreign markets sought for products of the soil and manufactories, to the end that we may be able to pay these debts. Where a new market can be created for the sale of our products, either of the soil, the mine, or the manufactory, a new means is discovered of utilizing our idle capital and labor to the advantage of the whole people. But, in my judgment, the first step toward accomplishing this object is to secure a currency of fixed, stable value; a currency, good wherever civilization reigns; one which, if it becomes superabundant with one people, will find a market with some other; a currency which has as its basis the labor necessary to produce it, which will give to it its value. Gold and silver are now the recognized medium of exchange the civilized world over; and to this we should return with the least practicable delay. In view of the pledges of the American Congress when our present legal-tender system was adopted, and debt contracted, there should be no delay-certainly no unnecessary delay-in fixing, by legislation, a method by which we will return to specie. To the accomplishment of this end I invite your special attention. I believe firmly that there can be no prosperous and permanent revival of business and industries until a policy is adopted-with legislation to carry it out-looking to a return to a specie basis. It is easy to conceive that the debtor and speculative classes may think it of value to them to make so-called money abundant until they can throw a portion of their burdens upon others. But even these, I believe, would be disappointed in the result if a course should be pursued which will keep in doubt the value of the legal-tender medium of exchange. A revival of productive industry is needed by all classes; by none more than the holders of property, of whatever sort, with debts to liquidate from realization upon its sale. But admitting that these two classes of citizens are to be benefited by expansion, would it be honest to give it? Would not the general loss be too great to justify such relief? Would it not be just as honest and prudent to authorize each debtor to issue his own legaltenders to the extent of his liabilities? Than to do this would it not be safer for fear of over-issues by unscrupulous creditors-to say that all debt obligations are obliterated in the United States, and now we commence anew, each possessing all he has at the time free from incumbrance? These propositions are too absurd to be entertained for a moment by thinking or honest people. Yet every delay in preparation for final resumption partakes of this dishonesty, and is only less in degree as the hope is held out that a convenient
season will at last arrive for the good work of redeeming our pledges to commence. It will never come, in my opinion, except by positive action by Congress, or by national disasters which will destroy, for a time at least, the credit of the individual and the state at large. A sound currency might be reached by total bankruptcy and discredit of the integrity of the nation and of individuals. I believe it is in the power of Congress at this session to devise such legislation as will renew confidence, revive all the industries, start us on a career of prosperity to last for many years, and to save the credit of the nation. and of the people. Steps toward the return to a specie basis are the great requisites to this devoutly to be sought for end. There are others which I may touch upon hereafter.
A nation dealing in a currency below that of specie in value labors under two great disadvantages: First, having no use for the world's acknowledged medium of exchange, gold and silver, these are driven out of the country because there is no need for their use; second, the medium of exchange in use being of a fluctuating value-for, after all, it is only worth just what it will purchase of gold and silver; metals having an intrinsic value just in proportion to the honest labor it takes to produce them-a larger margin must be allowed for profit by the manufacturer and producer. It is months from the date of production to the date of realization. Interest upon capital must be charged, and risk of fluctuation in the value of that which is to be received in payment added. Hence, high prices, acting as a protection to the foreign producer, who receives nothing in exchange for the products of his skill and labor, except a currency good, at a stable value the world over. It seems to me that nothing is clearer than that the greater part of the burden of existing prostration, for the want of a sound financial system, falls upon the workingman, who must after all produce the wealth, and the salaried man, who superintends and conducts business. The burden falls upon them in two ways, by the deprivation of employment and by the decreased purchasing-power of their salaries. It is the duty of Congress to devise the method of correcting the evils which are acknowledged to exist, and not mine. But I will venture to suggest two or three things which seem to me as absolutely necessary to a return to specie payments, the first great requisite in a return to prosperity. The legal-tender clause to the law authorizing the issue of currency by the National Government should be repealed, to take effect as to all contracts entered into after a day fixed in the repealing act; not to apply, however, to payments of salaries by Government, or for other expenditures now provided by law to be paid in currency in the interval pending between repeal and final resumption. Provision should be made by which the Secretary of the Treasury can obtain gold as it may become necessary from time to time from the date when specie redemption commences. To this might and should be added a revenue
sufficiently in excess of expenses to insure an accumulation of gold in the Treasury to sustain permanent redemption.
I commend this subject to your careful consideration, believing that a favorable solution is attainable, and if reached by this Congress that the present and future generations will ever gratefully remember it as their deliverer from a thraldom of evil and disgrace.
With resumption, free banking may be authorized with safety, giving the same full protection to bill-holders which they have under existing laws. Indeed, I would regard free banking as essential. It would give proper elasticity to the currency. As more currency should be required. for the transaction of legitimate business, new banks would be started, and, in turn, banks would wind up their business when it was found that there was a superabundance of currency. The experience and judgment of the people can best decide just how much currency is required for the transaction of the business of the country. It is unsafe to leave the settlement of this question to Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Executive. Congress should make the regulation. under which banks may exist, but should not make banking a monopoly by limiting the amount of redeemable paper currency that shall be authorized. Such importance do I attach to this subject, and so earnestly do I commend it to your attention, that I give it prominence by introducing it at the beginning of this message.
During the past year nothing has occurred to disturb the general friendly and cordial relations of the United States with other powers.
The correspondence submitted herewith between this Government and its diplomatic representatives, as also with the representatives of other countries, shows a satisfactory condition of all questions between the United States and the most of those countries, and with few exceptions, to which reference is hereafter made, the absence of any points. of difference to be adjusted.
The notice directed by the resolution of Congress of June 17, 1874, to be given to terminate the convention of July 17, 1858, between the United States and Belgium has been given, and the treaty will accordingly terminate on the 1st day of July, 1875. This convention secured to certain Belgian vessels entering the ports of the United States excepOther feattional privileges which are not accorded to our own vessels. ures of the convention have proved satisfactory, and have tended to the cultivation of mutually beneficial commercial intercourse and friendly relations between the two countries. I hope that negotiations which have been invited will result in the celebration of another treaty which may tend to the interests of both countries.
Our relations with China continue to be friendly. During the past year the fear of hostilities between China and Japan, growing out of the landing of an armed force upon the island of Formosa by the latter, has occasioned uneasiness. It is earnestly hoped, however, that the difficulties arising from this cause will be adjusted, and that the advance of
civilization in these empires may not be retarded by a state of war. consequence of the part taken by certain citizens of the United States in this expedition, our representatives in those countries have been instructed to impress upon the governments of China and Japan the firm intention of this country to maintain strict neutrality in the event of hostilities, and to carefully prevent any infraction of law on the part of our citizens.
In connection with this subject I call the attention of Congress to a generally-conceded fact-that the great proportion of the Chinese immigrants who come to our shores do not come voluntarily to make their homes with us and their labor productive of general prosperity, but come under contracts with head-men who own them almost absolutely. In a worse form does this apply to Chinese women. Hardly a perceptible percentage of them perform any honorable labor, but they are brought for shameful purposes, to the disgrace of the communities where settled and to the great demoralization of the youth of those localities. If this evil practice can be legislated against, it will be my pleasure as well as duty to enforce any regulation to secure so desirable an end.
It is hoped that negotiations between the government of Japan and the treaty powers, looking to the further opening of the empire, and to the removal of various restrictions upon trade and travel, may soon produce the results desired, which cannot fail to inure to the benefit of all the parties. Having on previous occasions submitted to the consideration of Congress the propriety of the release of the Japanese gov ernment from the further payment of the indemnity under the convention of October 22, 1864, and as no action had been taken thereon, it became my duty to regard the obligations of the convention as in force;. and as the other powers interested had received their portion of the indemnity in full, the minister of the United States in Japan has, in behalf of this Government, received the remainder of the amount due to the United States under the convention of Simonoseki. I submit the propriety of applying the income of a part if not of the whole of this fund to the education in the Japanese language of a number of young men to be under obligations to serve the Government for a specified time as interpreters at the legation and the consulates in Japan. A limited number of Japanese youths might at the same time be educated in our own vernacular, and mutual benefits would result to both governments. The importance of having our own citizens, competent and familiar with the language of Japan, to act as interpreters and in other capacities connected with the legation and the consulates in that country, cannot readily be overestimated.
The amount awarded to the government of Great Britain by the mixed commission organized under the provisions of the treaty of Washington in settlement of the claims of British subjects arising from acts committed between April 13, 1861, and April 9, 1865, became payable, under the terms of the treaty, within the past year, and was paid upon
the 21st day of September, 1874. In this connection, I renew my recommendation, made at the opening of the last session of Congress, that a special court be created to hear and determine all claims of aliens against the United States arising from acts committed against their persons or property during the insurrection. It appears equitable that opportunity should be offered to citizens of other states to present their claims, as well as to those British subjects whose claims were not admissible under the late commission, to the early decision of some competent tribunal. To this end, I recommend the necessary legislation to organize a court to dispose of all claims of aliens of the nature referred to, in an equitable and satisfactory manner, and to relieve Congress and the Departments from the consideration of these questions.
The legislation necessary to extend to the colony of Newfoundland certain articles of the treaty of Washington of the 8th day of May, 1871, having been had, a protocol to that effect was signed in behalf of the United States and of Great Britain, on the 28th day of May last, and was duly proclaimed on the following day. A copy of the proclamation is submitted herewith.
A copy of the report of the commissioner appointed under the act of March 19, 1872, for surveying and marking the boundary between the United States and the British possessions, from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, is herewith transmitted. I am happy to announce that the field-work of the commission has been completed, and the entire line, from the northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, has been run and marked upon the surface of the earth. It is believed that the amount remaining unexpended of the appropriation made at the last session of Congress will be sufficient to complete the office-work. I recommend that the authority of Congress be given to the use of the unexpended balance of the appropriation in the completion of the work of the commission in making its report and preparing the necessary maps.
The court known as the Court of Commissioners of Alabama Claims, created by an act of Congress of the last session, has organized and commenced its work, and it is to be hoped that the claims admissible under the provisions of the act may be speedily ascertained and paid. It has been deemed advisable to exercise the discretion conferred upon the Executive at the last session, by accepting the conditions re-" quired by the government of Turkey for the privilege of allowing citizens of the United States to hold real estate in the former country, and by assenting to a certain change in the jurisdiction of courts in the latter. A copy of the proclamation upon these subjects is herewith communicated.
There has been no material change in our relations with the independ ent states of this hemisphere which were formerly under the dominion of Spain. Marauding on the frontiers, between Mexico and Texas, still frequently takes place despite the vigilance of the civil and military