December 03, 1900
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
At the outgoing of the old and the incoming of the new century you begin the last session of the Fifty-sixth Congress with evidences on every hand of individual and national prosperity and with proof of the growing strength and increasing power for good of Republican institutions. Your countrymen will join with you in felicitation that American liberty is more firmly established than ever before, and that love for it and the determination to preserve it are more universal than at any former period of our history.
The Republic was never so strong, because never so strongly entrenched in the hearts of the people as now. The Constitution, with few amendments, exists as it left the hands of its authors. The additions which have been made to it proclaim larger freedom and more extended citizenship. Popular government has demonstrated in its one hundred and twenty-four years of trial here its stability and security, and its efficiency as the best instrument of national development and the best safeguard to human rights.
When the Sixth Congress assembled in November, 1800, the population of the United States was 5,308,483. It is now 76,304,799. Then we had sixteen States. Now we have forty-five. Then our territory consisted Of 909,050 square miles. It is now 3,846,595 square miles. Education, religion, and morality have kept pace with our advancement in other directions, and while extending its power the Government has adhered to its foundation principles and abated none of them in dealing with our new peoples and possessions. A nation so preserved and blessed gives reverent thanks to God and invokes His guidance and the continuance of His care and favor.
In our foreign intercourse the dominant question has been the treatment of the Chinese problem. Apart from this our relations with the powers have been happy.
The recent troubles in China spring from the antiforeign agitation which for the past three years has gained strength in the northern provinces. Their origin lies deep in the character of the Chinese races and in the traditions of their Government. The Taiping rebellion and the opening of Chinese ports to foreign trade and settlement disturbed alike the homogeneity and the seclusion of China.
Meanwhile foreign activity made itself felt in all quarters, not alone on the coast, but along the great river arteries and in the remoter districts, carrying new ideas and introducing new associations among a primitive people which had pursued for centuries a national policy of isolation.
The telegraph and the railway spreading over their land, the steamers plying on their waterways, the merchant and the missionary penetrating year by year farther to the interior, became to the Chinese mind types of an alien invasion, changing the course of their national life and fraught with vague forebodings of disaster to their beliefs and their self-control.
For several years before the present troubles all the resources of foreign diplomacy, backed by moral demonstrations of the physical force of fleets and arms, have been needed to secure due respect for the treaty rights of foreigners and to obtain satisfaction from the responsible authorities for the sporadic outrages upon the persons and property of unoffending sojourners, which from time to time occurred at widely separated points in the northern provinces, as in the case of the outbreaks in Sze-chuen and Shan-tung.
Posting of antiforeign placards became a daily occurrence, which the repeated reprobation of the Imperial power failed to check or punish. These inflammatory appeals to the ignorance and superstition of the masses, mendacious and absurd in their accusations and deeply hostile in their spirit, could not but work cumulative harm. They aimed at no particular class of foreigners; they were impartial in attacking everything foreign.
An outbreak in Shan-tung, in which German missionaries were slain, was the too natural result of these malevolent teachings.
The posting of seditious placards, exhorting to the utter destruction of foreigners and of every foreign thing, continued unrebuked. Hostile demonstrations toward the stranger gained strength by organization.
The sect, commonly styled the Boxers, developed greatly in the provinces north of the Yang-Tse, and with the collusion of many notable officials, including some in the immediate councils of the Throne itself, became alarmingly aggressive. No foreigner’s life, outside of the protected treaty ports, was safe. No foreign interest was secure from spoliation.
The diplomatic representatives of the powers in Peking strove in vain to check this movement. Protest was followed by demand and demand by renewed protest, to be met with perfunctory edicts from the Palace and evasive and futile assurances from the Tsung-li Yamen. The circle of the Boxer influence narrowed about Peking, and while nominally stigmatized as seditious, it was felt that its spirit pervaded the capital itself, that the Imperial forces were imbued with its doctrines, and that the immediate counselors of the Empress Dowager were in full sympathy with the antiforeign movement.
The increasing gravity of the conditions in China and the imminence of peril to our own diversified interests in the Empire, as well as to those of all the other treaty governments, were soon appreciated by this Government, causing it profound solicitude. The United States from the earliest days of foreign intercourse with China had followed a policy of peace, omitting no occasions to testify good will, to further the extension of lawful trade, to respect the sovereignty of its Government, and to insure by all legitimate and kindly but earnest means the fullest measure of protection for the lives and property of our law-abiding citizens and for the exercise of their beneficent callings among the Chinese people.
Mindful of this, it was felt to be appropriate that our purposes should be pronounced in favor of such course as would hasten united action of the powers at Peking to promote the administrative reforms so greatly needed for strengthening the Imperial Government and maintaining the integrity of China, in which we believed the whole western world to be alike concerned. To these ends I caused to be addressed to the several powers occupying territory and maintaining spheres of influence in China the circular proposals of 1899, inviting from them declarations of their intentions and views as to the desirability of the adoption of measures insuring the benefits of equality of treatment of all foreign trade throughout China.
With gratifying unanimity the responses coincided in this common policy, enabling me to see in the successful termination of these negotiations proof of the friendly spirit which animates the various powers interested in the untrammeled development of commerce and industry in the Chinese Empire as a source of vast benefit to the whole commercial world.
In this conclusion, which I had the gratification to announce as a completed engagement to the interested powers on March 20, 1900, I hopefully discerned a potential factor for the abatement of the distrust of foreign purposes which for a year past had appeared to inspire the policy of the Imperial Government, and for the effective exertion by it of power and authority to quell the critical antiforeign movement in the northern provinces most immediately influenced by the Manchu sentiment.
Seeking to testify confidence in the willingness and ability of the Imperial administration to redress the wrongs and prevent the evils we suffered and feared, the marine guard, which had been sent to Peking in the autumn of 1899 for the protection of the legation, was withdrawn at the earliest practicable moment, and all pending questions were remitted, as far as we were concerned, to the ordinary resorts of diplomatic intercourse.
The Chinese Government proved, however, unable to check the rising strength of the Boxers and appeared to be a prey to internal dissensions. In the unequal contest the antiforeign influences soon gained the ascendancy under the leadership of Prince Tuan. Organized armies of Boxers, with which the Imperial forces affiliated, held the country between Peking and the coast, penetrated into Manchuria up to the Russian borders, and through their emissaries threatened a like rising throughout northern China.
Attacks upon foreigners, destruction of their property, and slaughter of native converts were reported from all sides. The Tsung-li Yamen, already permeated with hostile sympathies, could make no effective response to the appeals of the legations. At this critical juncture, in the early spring of this year, a proposal was made by the other powers that a combined fleet should be assembled in Chinese waters as a moral demonstration, under cover of which to exact of the Chinese Government respect for foreign treaty rights and the suppression of the Boxers.
The United States, while not participating in the joint demonstration, promptly sent from the Philippines all ships that could be spared for service on the Chinese coast. A small force of marines was landed at Taku and sent to Peking for the protection of the American legation. Other powers took similar action, until some four hundred men were assembled in the capital as legation guards.
Still the peril increased. The legations reported the development of the seditious movement in Peking and the need of increased provision for defense against it. While preparations were in progress for a larger expedition, to strengthen the legation guards and keep the railway open, an attempt of the foreign ships to make a landing at Taku was met by a firefrom the Chinese forts. The forts were thereupon shelled by the foreign vessels, the American admiral taking no part in the attack, on the ground that we were not at war with China and that a hostile demonstration might consolidate the antiforeign elements and strengthen the Boxers to oppose the relieving column.
Two days later the Taku forts were captured after a sanguinary conflict. Severance of communication with Peking followed, and a combined force of additional guards, which was advancing to Peking by the Pei-Ho, was checked at Langfang. The isolation of the legations was complete.
The siege and the relief of the legations has passed into undying history. In all the stirring chapter which records the heroism of the devoted band, clinging to hope in the face of despair, and the undaunted spirit that led their relievers through battle and suffering to the goal, it is a memory of which my countrymen may be justly proud that the honor of our flag was maintained alike in the siege and the rescue, and that stout American hearts have again set high, in fervent emulation with true men of other race and language, the indomitable courage that ever strives for the cause of right and justice.
By June 19 the legations were cut off. An identical note from the, Yamen ordered each minister to leave Peking, under a promised escort, within twenty-four hours. To gain time they replied, asking prolongation of the time, which was afterwards granted, and requesting an interview with the Tsung-li Yamen on the following day. No reply being received, on the morning of the 20th the German minister, Baron von Ketteler, set out for the Yamen to obtain a response, and oil the way was murdered.
An attempt by the legation guard to recover his body was foiled by the Chinese. Armed forces turned out against the legations. Their quarters were surrounded and attacked. The mission compounds were abandoned, their inmates taking refuge in the British legation, where all the other legations and guards gathered for more effective defense. Four hundred persons were crowded in its narrow compass. Two thousand native converts were assembled in a nearby palace under protection of the foreigners. Lines of defense were strengthened, trenches dug, barricades raised, and preparations made to stand a siege, which at once began.
From June 20 until July 17, writes Minister Conger, “there was scarcely an hour during which there was not firing upon some part of our lines and into some of the legations, varying from a single shot to a general and continuous attack along the whole line.” Artillery was placed around the legations and on the over-looking palace walls, and thousands Of 3-inch shot and shell were fired, destroying some buildings and damaging all. So thickly did the balls rain, that, when the ammunition of the besieged ran low, five quarts of Chinese bullets were gathered in an hour in one compound and recast.
Attempts were made to burn the legations by setting neighboring houses on fire, but the flames were successfully fought off, although the Austrian, Belgian, Italian. and Dutch legations were then and subsequently burned. With the aid of the native converts, directed by the missionaries, to whose helpful co-operation Mr. Conger awards unstinted praise, the British legation was made a veritable fortress. The British minister, Sir Claude MacDonald, was chosen general commander of the defense, with the secretary of the American legation, Mr. E. G. Squiers, as chief of staff.
To save life and ammunition the besieged sparingly returned the incessant fire of the Chinese soldiery, fighting only to repel attack or make an occasional successful sortie for strategic advantage, such as that of fifty-five American, British, and Russian marines led by Captain Myers, of the United States Marine Corps, which resulted in the capture of a formidable barricade on the wall that gravely menaced the American position. It was held to the last, and proved an invaluable acquisition, because commanding the water gate through which the relief column entered.
During the siege the defenders lost 65 killed, 135 wounded, and 7 by disease, the last all children.
On July 14 the besieged had their first communication with the Tsung-li Yamen, from whom a message came inviting to a conference, which was declined. Correspondence, however, ensued and a sort of armistice was agreed upon, which stopped the bombardment and lessened the rifle fire for a time. Even then no protection whatever was afforded, nor any aid given, save to send to the legations a small supply of fruit and three sacks of flour.
Indeed, the only communication had with the Chinese Government related to the occasional delivery or dispatch of a telegram or to the demands of the Tsung-li Yamen for the withdrawal of the legations to the coast under escort. Not only are the protestations of the Chinese Government that it protected and succored the legations positively contradicted, but irresistible proof accumulates that the attacks upon them were made by Imperial troops, regularly uniformed, armed, and officered, belonging to the command of Jung Lu, the Imperial commander in chief. Decrees encouraging the Boxers, organizing them tinder prominent Imperial officers, provisioning them, and even granting them large sums in the name of the Empress Dowager, are known to exist. Members of the Tsung-li Yamen who counseled protection of the foreigners were beheaded. Even in the distant provinces men suspected of foreign sympathy were put to death, prominent among these being Chang Yen-hoon, formerly Chinese minister in Washington.
With the negotiation of the partial armistice of July 14, a proceeding which was doubtless promoted by the representations of the Chinese envoy in Washington, the way was opened for the conveyance to Mr. Conger of a test message sent by the Secretary of State through the kind offices of Minister Wu Ting-fang. Mr. Conger’s reply, dispatched from Peking on July 18 through the same channel, afforded to the outside world the first tidings that the inmates of the legations were still alive and hoping for succor.
This news stimulated the preparations for a joint relief expedition in numbers sufficient to overcome the resistance which for a month had been organizing between Taku and the capital. Reinforcements sent by all the co-operating Governments were constantly arriving. The United States contingent, hastily assembled from the Philippines or dispatched from this country, amounted to some 5,000 men, under the able command first of the lamented Colonel Liscurn and afterwards of General Chaffee.
Toward the end of July the movement began. A severe conflict followed at Tientsin, in which Colonel Liscurn was killed. The city was stormed and partly destroyed. Its capture afforded the base of operations from which to make the final advance, which began in the first days of August, the expedition being made up of Japanese, Russian, British, and American troops at the outset.
Another battle was fought and won at Yangtsun. Thereafter the disheartened Chinese troops offered little show of resistance. A few days later the important position of Ho-si-woo was taken. A rapid march brought the united forces to the populous city of Tung Chow, which capitulated without a contest.
On August 14 the capital was reached. After a brief conflict beneath the walls the relief column entered and the legations were saved. The United States soldiers, sailors, and marines, officers and men alike, in those distant climes and unusual surroundings, showed the same valor, discipline, and good conduct and gave proof of the same high degree of intelligence and efficiency which have distinguished them in every emergency.
The Imperial family and the Government had fled a few days before. The city was without visible control. The remaining Imperial soldiery had made on the night of the 13th a last attempt to exterminate the besieged, which was gallantly repelled. It fell to the occupying forces to restore order and organize a provisional administration.
Happily the acute disturbances were confined to the northern provinces. It is a relief to recall and a pleasure to record the loyal conduct of the viceroys and local authorities of the southern and eastern provinces. Their efforts were continuously directed to the pacific control of the vast populations under their rule and to the scrupulous observance of foreign treaty rights. At critical moments they did not hesitate to memorialize the Throne, urging the protection of the legations, the restoration of communication, and the assertion of the Imperial authority against the subversive elements. They maintained excellent relations with the official representatives of foreign powers. To their kindly disposition is largely due the success of the consuls in removing many of the missionaries from the interior to places of safety. In this relation the action of the consuls should be highly commended. In Shan-tung and eastern Chi-li the task was difficult, but, thanks to their energy and the cooperation of American and foreign naval commanders, hundreds of foreigners, including those of other nationalities than ours, were rescued from imminent peril.
The policy of the United States through all this trying period was clearly announced and scrupulously carried out. A circular note to the powers dated July 3 proclaimed our attitude. Treating the condition in the north as one of virtual anarchy, in which the great provinces of the south and southeast had no share, we regarded the local authorities in the latter quarters as representing the Chinese people with whom we sought to remain in peace and friendship. Our declared aims involved no war against the Chinese nation. We adhered to the legitimate office of rescuing the imperiled legation, obtaining redress for wrongs already suffered, securing wherever possible the safety of American life and property in China, and preventing a spread of the disorders or their recurrence.
As was then said, “The policy of the Government of the United States is to seek a solution which may bring about permanent safety and peace to China, preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity, protect all rights guaranteed to friendly powers by treaty and international law, and safeguard for the world the principle of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire.”
Faithful to those professions which, as it proved, reflected the views and purposes of the other co-operating Governments, all our efforts have been directed toward ending the anomalous situation in China by negotiations for a settlement at the earliest possible moment. As soon as the sacred duty of relieving our legation and its dependents was accomplished we withdrew from active hostilities, leaving our legation under an adequate guard in Peking as a channel of negotiation and settlement—a course adopted by others of the interested powers. Overtures of the empowered representatives of the Chinese Emperor have been considerately entertained.
The Russian proposition looking to the restoration of the Imperial power in Peking has been accepted as in full consonance with our own desires, for we have held and hold that effective reparation for wrongs suffered and an enduring settlement that will make their recurrence impossible can best be brought about under an authority which the Chinese nation reverences and obeys. While so doing we forego no jot of our undoubted right to exact exemplary and deterrent punishment of the responsible authors and abettors of the criminal acts whereby we and other nations have suffered grievous injury.
For the real culprits, the evil counselors who have misled the Imperial judgment and diverted the sovereign authority to their own guilty ends, full expiation becomes imperative within the rational limits of retributive Justice. Regarding this as the initial condition of an acceptable settlement between China and the powers, I said in my message of October 18 to the Chinese Emperor: I trust that negotiations may begin so soon as we and the other offended Governments shall be effectively satisfied of Your Majesty’s ability and power to treat with just sternness the principal offenders, who are doubly culpable, not alone toward the foreigners, but toward Your Majesty, under whose rule the purpose of China to dwell in concord with the world had hitherto found expression in the welcome and protection assured to strangers. Taking, as a point of departure, the Imperial edict appointing Earl Li Hung Chang and Prince Ching plenipotentiaries to arrange a settlement, and the edict of September 25, whereby certain high officials were designated for punishment, this Government has moved, in concert with the other powers, toward the opening of negotiations, which Mr. Conger, assisted by Mr. Rockhill, has been authorized to conduct on behalf of the United States.
General bases of negotiation formulated by the Government of the French Republic have been accepted with certain reservations as to details, made necessary by our own circumstances, but, like similar reservations by other powers, open to discussion in the progress of the negotiations. The disposition of the Emperor’s Government to admit liability for wrongs done to foreign Governments and their nationals, and to act upon such additional designation of the guilty persons as the foreign ministers at Peking may be in a position to make, gives hope of a complete settlement of all questions involved, assuring foreign rights of residence and intercourse on terms of equality for all the world.
I regard as one of the essential factors of a durable adjustment the securement of adequate guarantees for liberty of faith, since insecurity of those natives who may embrace alien creeds is a scarcely less effectual assault upon the rights of foreign worship and teaching than would be the direct invasion thereof.
The matter of indemnity for our wronged citizens is a question of grave concern. Measured in money alone, a sufficient reparation may prove to be beyond the ability of China to meet. All the powers concur in emphatic disclaimers of any purpose of aggrandizement through the dismemberment of the Empire. I am disposed to think that due compensation may be made in part by increased guarantees of security for foreign rights and immunities, and, most important of all, by the opening of China to the equal commerce of all the world. These views have been and will be earnestly advocated by our representatives.
The Government of Russia has put forward a suggestion, that in the event of protracted divergence of views in regard to indemnities the matter may be relegated to the Court of Arbitration at The Hague. I favorably incline to this, believing that high tribunal could not fail to reach a solution no less conducive to the stability and enlarged prosperity of China itself than immediately beneficial to the powers.
Ratifications of a treaty of extradition with the Argentine Republic were exchanged on June 2 last.
While the Austro-Hungarian Government has in the many cases that have been reported of the arrest of our naturalized citizens for alleged evasion of military service faithfully observed the provisions of the treaty and released such persons from military obligations, it has in some instances expelled those whose presence in the community of their origin was asserted to have a pernicious influence. Representations have been made against this course whenever its adoption has appeared unduly onerous.
We have been urgently solicited by Belgium to ratify the International Convention of June, 1899, amendatory of the previous Convention of 1890 in respect to the regulation of the liquor trade in Africa. Compliance was necessarily withheld, in the absence of the advice and consent of the Senate thereto. The principle involved has the cordial sympathy of this Government, which in the reversionary negotiations advocated more drastic measures, and I would gladly see its extension, by international agreement, to the restriction of the liquor traffic with all uncivilized peoples, especially in the Western Pacific.
A conference will be held at Brussels December 11, 1900, under the Convention for the protection of industrial property, concluded at Paris March 20, 1883, to which delegates from this country have been appointed. Any lessening of the difficulties that our inventors encounter in obtaining patents abroad for their inventions and that our farmers, manufacturers, and merchants may have in the protection of their trade-marks is worthy of careful consideration, and your attention will be called to the results of the conference at the proper time.
In the interest of expanding trade between this country and South America, efforts have been made during the past year to conclude conventions with the southern republics for the enlargement of postal facilities. Two such agreements, signed with Bolivia on April 24, of which that establishing the money-order system is undergoing certain changes suggested by the Post-Office Department, have not yet been ratified by this Government. A treaty of extradition with that country, signed on the same day, is before the Senate.
A boundary dispute between Brazil and Bolivia over the territory of Acre is in a fair way of friendly adjustment, a protocol signed in December, 1899, having agreed on a definite frontier and provided for its demarcation by a joint commission.
Conditions in Brazil have weighed heavily on our export trade to that country in marked contrast to the favorable conditions upon which Brazilian products are admitted into our markets. Urgent representations have been made to that Government on the subject and some amelioration has been effected. We rely upon the reciprocal justice and good will of that Government to assure to us a further improvement in our commercial relations.
The Convention signed May 24, 1897, for the final settlement of claims left in abeyance upon the dissolution of the Commission of 1893, was at length ratified by the Chilean Congress and the supplemental Commission has been organized.
It remains for the Congress to appropriate for the necessary expenses of the Commission.
The insurrectionary movement which disturbed Colombia in the latter part of 1899 has been practically suppressed, although guerrillas still operate in some departments. The executive power of that Republic changed hands in August last by the act of Vice-President Marroquin in assuming the reins of government during the absence of President San Clemente from the capital. The change met with no serious opposition, and, following the precedents in such cases, the United States minister entered into relations with the new de facto Government on September 17.
It is gratifying to announce that the residual questions between Costa Rica and Nicaragua growing out of the Award of President Cleveland in 1888 have been adjusted through the choice of an American engineer, General E. P. Alexander, as umpire to run the disputed line. His task has been accomplished to the satisfaction of both contestants.
A revolution in the Dominican Republic toward the close of last year resulted in the installation of President Jimenez, whose Government was formally recognized in January. Since then final payment has been made of the American claim in regard to the Ozama bridge.
The year of the exposition has been fruitful in occasions for displaying the good will that exists between this country and France. This great competition brought together from every nation the best in natural productions, industry, science, and the arts, submitted in generous rivalry to a judgment made all the more searching because of that rivalry. The extraordinary increase of exportations from this country during the past three years and the activity with which our inventions and wares had invaded new markets caused much interest to center upon the American exhibit, and every encouragement was offered in the way of space and facilities to permit of its being comprehensive as a whole and complete in every part.
It was, however, not an easy task to assemble exhibits that could fitly illustrate our diversified resources and manufactures. Singularly enough, our national prosperity lessened the incentive to exhibit. The dealer in raw materials knew that the user must come to him; the great factories were contented with the phenomenal demand for their output, not alone at home, but also abroad, where merit had already won a profitable trade.
Appeals had to be made to the patriotism of exhibitors to induce them to incur outlays promising no immediate return. This was especially the case where it became needful to complete an industrial sequence or illustrate a class of processes. One manufacturer after another had to be visited and importuned, and at times, after a promise to exhibit in a particular section had been obtained, it would be withdrawn, owing to pressure of trade orders, and a new quest would have to be made.
The installation of exhibits, too, encountered many obstacles and involved unexpected cost. The exposition was far from ready at the date fixed for its opening. The French transportation lines were congested with offered freight. Belated goods had to be hastily installed in unfinished quarters with whatever labor could be obtained in the prevailing confusion. Nor was the task of the Commission lightened by the fact that, owing to the scheme of classification adopted, it was impossible to have the entire exhibit of any one country in the same building or more than one group of exhibits in the same part of any building. Our installations were scattered on both sides of the Seine and in widely remote suburbs of Paris, so that additional assistants were needed for the work of supervision and arrangement.
Despite all these drawbacks the contribution of the United States was not only the largest foreign display, but was among the earliest in place and the most orderly in arrangement. Our exhibits were shown in one hundred and one out of one hundred and twenty-one classes, and more completely covered the entire classification than those of any other nation. In total number they ranked next after those of France, and the attractive form in which they were presented secured general attention.
A criterion of the extent and success of our participation and of the thoroughness with which our exhibits were organized is seen in the awards granted to American exhibitors by the international jury, namely, grand prizes, 240; gold medals, 597; silver medals, 776; bronze medals, 541, and honorable mentions, 322—2,476 in all, being the greatest total number given to the exhibit of any exhibiting nation, as well as the largest number in each grade. This significant recognition of merit in competition with the chosen exhibits of all other nations and at the hands of juries almost wholly made up of representatives of France and other competing countries is not only most gratifying, but is especially valuable, since it sets us to the front in international questions of supply and demand, while the large proportion of awards in the classes of art and artistic manufactures afforded unexpected proof of the stimulation of national culture by the prosperity that flows from natural productiveness joined to industrial excellence.
Apart from the exposition several occasions for showing international good will occurred. The inauguration in Paris of the Lafayette Monument, presented by the school children of the United States, and the designing of a commemorative coin by our Mint and the presentation of the first piece struck to the President of the Republic, were marked by appropriate ceremonies, and the Fourth of July was especially observed in the French capital.
Good will prevails in our relations with the German Empire. An amicable adjustment of the long-pending question of the admission of our life-insurance companies to do business in Prussia has been reached. One of the principal companies has already been readmitted and the way is opened for the others to share the privilege.
The settlement of the Samoan problem, to which I adverted in my last message, has accomplished good results. Peace and contentment prevail in the islands, especially in Tutuila, where a convenient administration that has won the confidence and esteem of the kindly disposed natives has been organized under the direction of the commander of the United States naval station at Pago-Pago.
An Imperial meat inspection law has been enacted for Germany. While it may simplify the inspections, it prohibits certain products heretofore admitted. There is still great uncertainty as to whether our well-nigh extinguished German trade in meat products can revive tinder its new burdens. Much will depend upon regulations not yet promulgated, which we confidently hope will be free from the discriminations which attended the enforcement of the old statutes.
The remaining link in the new lines of direct telegraphic communication between the United States and the German Empire has recently been completed, affording a gratifying occasion for exchange of friendly congratulations with the German Emperor.
Our friendly relations with Great Britain continue. The war in Southern Africa introduced important questions. A condition unusual in international wars was presented in that while one belligerent had control of the seas, the other had no ports, shipping, or direct trade, but was only accessible through the territory of a neutral. Vexatious questions arose through Great Britain’s action in respect to neutral cargoes, not contraband in their own nature, shipped to Portuguese South Africa, on the score of probable or suspected ultimate destination to the Boer States.
Such consignments in British ships, by which alone direct trade is kept up between our ports and Southern Africa, were seized in application of a municipal law prohibiting British vessels from trading with the enemy without regard to any contraband character of the goods, while cargoes shipped to Delagoa Bay in neutral bottoms were arrested on the ground of alleged destination to enemy’s country. Appropriate representations on our part resulted in the British Government agreeing to purchase outright all such goods shown to be the actual property of American citizens, thus closing the incident to the satisfaction of the immediately interested parties, although, unfortunately, without a broad settlement of the question of a neutral’s right to send goods not contraband per se to a neutral port adjacent to a belligerent area.
The work of marking certain provisional boundary points, for convenience of administration, around the head of Lynn Canal, in accordance with the temporary arrangement of October, 1899, Was completed by a joint survey in July last. The modus vivendi has so far worked without friction, and the Dominion Government has provided rules and regulations for securing to our citizens the benefit of the reciprocal stipulation that the citizens or subjects of either power found by that arrangement within the temporary jurisdiction of the other shall suffer no diminution of the rights and privileges they have hitherto enjoyed. But however necessary such an expedient may have been to tide over the grave emergencies of the situation, it is at best but an unsatisfactory makeshift, which should not be suffered to delay the speedy and complete establishment of the frontier line to which we are entitled under the Russo-American treaty for the cession of Alaska.
In this relation I may refer again to the need of definitely marking the Alaskan boundary where it follows the one hundred and forty-first meridian. A convention to that end has been before the Senate for some two years, but as no action has been taken I contemplate negotiating a new convention for a joint determination of the meridian by telegraphic observations. These, it is believed, will give more accurate and unquestionable results than the sidereal methods heretofore independently followed, which, as is known, proved discrepant at several points on the line, although not varying at any place more than 700 feet.
The pending claim of R. H. May against the Guatemalan Government has been settled by arbitration, Mr. George F. B. Jenner, British minister at Guatemala, who was chosen as sole arbitrator, having awarded $143,750.73 in gold to the claimant.
Various American claims against Haiti have been or are being advanced to the resort of arbitration.
As the result of negotiations with the Government of Honduras in regard to the indemnity demanded for the murder of Frank H. Pears in Honduras, that Government has paid $10,000 in settlement of the claim of the heirs.
The assassination of King Humbert called forth sincere expressions of sorrow from this Government and people, and occasion was fitly taken to testify to the Italian nation the high regard here felt for the memory of the lamented ruler.
In my last message I referred at considerable length to the lynching of five Italians at Tallulah. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Federal Government, the production of evidence tending to inculpate the authors of this grievous offense against our civilization, and the repeated inquests set on foot by the authorities of the State of Louisiana, no punishments have followed. Successive grand juries have failed to indict. The representations of the Italian Government in the face of this miscarriage have been most temperate and just.
Setting the principle at issue high above all consideration of merely pecuniary indemnification, such as this Government made in the three previous cases, Italy has solemnly invoked the pledges of existing treaty and asked that the justice to which she is entitled shall be meted in regard to her unfortunate countrymen in our territory with the same full measure she herself would give to any American were his reciprocal treaty rights contemned.
I renew the urgent recommendations I made last year that the Congress appropriately confer upon the Federal courts jurisdiction in this class of international cases where the ultimate responsibility of the Federal Government may be involved, and I invite action upon the bills to accomplish this which were introduced in the Sen. ate and House. It is incumbent upon us to remedy the statutory omission which has led, and may again lead, to such untoward results. I have pointed out the necessity and the precedent for legislation of this character. Its enactment is a simple measure of previsory justice toward the nations with which we as a sovereign equal make treaties requiring reciprocal observance.
While the Italian Government naturally regards such action as the primary and, indeed, the most essential element in the disposal of the Tallulah incident, I advise that, in accordance with precedent, and in view of the improbability of that particular case being reached by the bill now pending, Congress make gracious provision for indemnity to the Italian sufferers in the same form and proportion as heretofore.
In my inaugural address I referred to the general subject of lynching in these words: Lynching must not be tolerated in a great and civilized country like the United States; courts, not mobs, must execute the penalties of the law. The preservation of public order, the right of discussion, the integrity of courts, and the orderly administration of justice must continue forever the rock of safety upon which our Government securely rests. This I most urgently reiterate and again invite the attention of my countrymen to this reproach upon our civilization.
The closing year has witnessed a decided strengthening of Japan’s relations to other states. The development of her independent judicial and administrative functions under the treaties which took effect July 17, 1899, has proceeded without international friction, showing the competenceof the Japanese to hold a foremost place among modern peoples.
In the treatment of the difficult Chinese problems Japan has acted in harmonious concert with the other powers, and her generous cooperation materially aided in the joint relief of the beleaguered legations in Peking and in bringing about an understanding preliminary to a settlement of the issues between the powers and China. Japan’s declarations in favor of the integrity of the Chinese Empire and the conservation of open world trade therewith have been frank and positive. As a factor for promoting the general interests of peace, order, and fair commerce in the Far East the influence of Japan can hardly be overestimated.
The valuable aid and kindly courtesies extended by the Japanese Government and naval officers to the battle ship Oregon are gratefully appreciated.
Complaint was made last summer of the discriminatory enforcement of a bubonic quarantine against Japanese on the Pacific coast and of interference with their travel in California and Colorado under the health laws of those States. The latter restrictions have been adjudged by a Federal court to be unconstitutional. No recurrence of either cause of complaint is apprehended.
No noteworthy incident has occurred in our relations with our important southern neighbor. Commercial intercourse with Mexico continues to thrive, and the two Governments neglect no opportunity to foster their mutual interests in all practicable ways.
Pursuant to the declaration of the Supreme Court that the awards of the late joint Commission in the La Abra and Weil claims were obtained through fraud, the sum awarded in the first case, $403,030.08, has been returned to Mexico, and the amount of the Weil award will be returned in like manner.
A Convention indefinitely extending the time for the labors of the United States and Mexican International (Water) Boundary Commission has been signed.
It is with satisfaction that I am able to announce the formal notification at The Hague, on September 4, of the deposit of ratifications of the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes by sixteen powers, namely, the United States, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Persia, Portugal, Roumania, Russia, Siam, Spain, Sweden and Norway, and the Netherlands. Japan also has since ratified the Convention.
The Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration has been organized and has adopted rules of order and a constitution for the International Arbitration Bureau. In accordance with Article XXIII of the Convention providing for the appointment by each signatory power of persons of known competency in questions of international law as arbitrators, I have appointed as members of this Court, Hon. Benjamin Harrison, of Indiana, ex-President of the United States; Hon. Melville W. Fuller, of Illinois, Chief justice of the United States; Hon. John W. Griggs, of New Jersey, Attorney General of the United States; and Hon. George Gray, of Delaware, a judge of the circuit court of the United States.
As an incident of the brief revolution in the Mosquito district of Nicaragua early in 1899 the insurgents forcibly collected from American merchants duties upon imports. On the restoration of order the Nicaraguan authorities demanded a second payment of such duties on the ground that they were due to the titular Government and that their diversion had aided the revolt.
This position was not accepted by us. After prolonged discussion a compromise was effected under which the amount of the second payments was deposited with the British consul at San Juan del Norte in trust until the two Governments should determine whether the first payments had been made under compulsion to a de facto authority. Agreement as to this was not reached, and the point was waived by the act of the Nicaraguan Government in requesting the British consul to return the deposits to the merchants.
Menacing differences between several of the Central American States have been accommodated, our ministers rendering good offices toward an understanding.
The all-important matter of an interoceanic canal has assumed a new phase. Adhering to its refusal to reopen the question of the forfeiture of the contract of the Maritime Canal Company, which was terminated for alleged nonexecution in October, 1899, the Government of Nicaragua has since supplemented that action by declaring the so styled Eyre-Cragin option void for nonpayment of the stipulated advance. Protests in relation to these acts have been filed in the State Department and are under consideration. Deeming itself relieved from existing engagements, the Nicaraguan Government shows a disposition to deal freely with the canal question either in the way of negotiations with the United States or by taking measures to promote the waterway.
Overtures for a convention to effect the building of a canal under the auspices of the United States are under consideration. In the meantime, the views of the Congress upon the general subject, in the light of the report of the Commission appointed to examine the comparative merits of the various trans-Isthmian ship-canal projects, may be awaited.
I commend to the early attention of the Senate the Convention with Great Britain to facilitate the construction of such a canal and to remove any objection which might arise out of the Convention commonly called the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty.
The long-standing contention with Portugal, growing out of the seizure of the Delagoa Bay Railway, has been at last determined by a favorable award of the tribunal of arbitration at Berne, to which it was submitted. The amount of the award, which was deposited in London awaiting arrangements by the Governments of the United States and Great Britain for its disposal, has recently been paid over to the two Governments.
A lately signed Convention of Extradition with Peru as amended by the Senate has been ratified by the Peruvian Congress.
Another illustration of the policy of this Government to refer international disputes to impartial arbitration is seen in the agreement reached with Russia to submit the claims on behalf of American sealing vessels seized in Bering Sea to determination by Mr. T. M. C. Asser, a distinguished statesman and jurist of the Netherlands.
Thanks are due to the Imperial Russian Government for the kindly aid rendered by its authorities in eastern Siberia to American missionaries fleeing from Manchuria.
Satisfactory progress has been made toward the conclusion of a general treaty of friendship and intercourse with Spain, in replacement of the old treaty, which passed into abeyance by reason of the late war. A new convention of extradition is approaching completion, and I should be much pleased were a commercial arrangement to follow. I feel that we should not suffer to pass any opportunity to reaffirm the cordial ties that existed between us and Spain from the time of our earliest independence, and to enhance the mutual benefits of that commercial intercourse which is natural between the two countries.
By the terms of the Treaty of Peace the line bounding the ceded Philippine group in the southwest failed to include several small islands lying westward of the Sulus, which have always been recognized as under Spanish control. The occupation of Sibutd and Cagayan Sulu by our naval forces elicited a claim on the part of Spain, the essential equity of which could not be gainsaid. In order to cure the defect of the treaty by removing all possible ground of future misunderstanding respecting the interpretation of its third article, I directed the negotiation of a supplementary treaty, which will be forthwith laid before the Senate, whereby Spain quits all title and claim of title to the islands named as well as to any and all islands belonging to the Philippine Archipelago lying outside the lines described in said third article, and agrees that all such islands shall be comprehended in the cession of the archipelago as fully as if they had been expressly included within those lines. In consideration of this cession the United States is to pay to Spain the sum of $100,000.
A bill is now pending to effect the recommendation made in my last annual message that appropriate legislation be had to carry into execution Article VII of the Treaty of Peace with Spain, by which the United States assumed the payment of certain claims for indemnity of its citizens against Spain. I ask that action be taken to fulfill this obligation.
The King of Sweden and Norway has accepted the joint invitation of the United States, Germany, and Great Britain to arbitrate claims growing out of losses sustained in the Samoan Islands in the course of military operations made necessary by the disturbances in 1899.
Our claims upon the Government of the Sultan for reparation for injuries suffered by American citizens in Armenia and elsewhere give promise of early and satisfactory settlement. His Majesty’s good disposition in this regard has been evinced by the issuance of an irade for rebuilding the American college at Harpoot.
The failure of action by the Senate at its last session upon the commercial conventions then submitted for its consideration and approval, although caused by the great pressure of other legislative business, has caused much disappointment to the agricultural and industrial interests of the country, which hoped to profit by their provisions. The conventional periods for their ratification having expired, it became necessary to sign additional articles extending the time for that purpose. This was requested on our part, and the other Governments interested have concurred with the exception of one convention, in respect to which no formal reply has been received.
Since my last communication to the Congress on this subject special commercial agreements under the third section of the tariff act have been proclaimed with Portugal, with Italy, and with Germany. Commercial conventions tinder the general limitations of the fourth section of the same act have been concluded with Nicaragua, with Ecuador, with the Dominican Republic, with Great Britain on behalf of the island of Trinidad, and with Denmark on behalf of the island of St. Croix. These will be early communicated to the Senate. Negotiations with other Governments are in progress for the improvement and security of our commercial relations.
The policy of reciprocity so manifestly rests upon the principles of international equity and has been so repeatedly approved by the people of the United States that there ought to be no hesitation in either branch of the Congress in giving to it full effect.
This Government desires to preserve the most just and amicable commercial relations with all foreign countries, unmoved by the industrial rivalries necessarily developed in the expansion of international trade. It is believed that the foreign Governments generally entertain the same purpose, although in some instances there are clamorous demands upon them for legislation specifically hostile to American interests. Should these demands prevail I shall communicate with the Congress with the view of advising such legislation as may be necessary to meet the emergency.
The exposition of the resources and products of the Western Hemisphere to be held at Buffalo next year promises important results not only for the United States but for the other participating countries. It is gratifying that the Latin-American States have evinced the liveliest interest, and the fact that an International American Congress will be held in the City of Mexico while the exposition is in progress encourages the hope of a larger display at Buffalo than might otherwise be practicable. The work of preparing an exhibit of our national resources is making satisfactory progress under the direction of different officials of the Federal Government, and the various States of the Union have shown a disposition toward the most liberal participation in the enterprise.
The Bureau of the American Republics continues to discharge, with the happiest results, the important work of promoting cordial relations between the United States and the Latin-American countries, all of which are now active members of the International Union. The Bureau has been instrumental in bringing about the agreement for another International American Congress, which is to meet in the City of Mexico in October, 1901. The Bureau’s future for another term of ten years is assured by the international compact, but the congress will doubtless have much to do with shaping new lines of work and a general policy. Its usefulness to the interests of Latin-American trade is widely appreciated and shows a gratifying development.
The practical utility of the consular service in obtaining a wide range of information as to the industries and commerce of other countries and the opportunities thereby afforded for introducing the sale of our goods have kept steadily in advance of the notable expansion of our foreign trade, and abundant evidence has been furnished, both at home and abroad, of the fact that the Consular Reports, including many from our diplomatic representatives, have to a considerable extent pointed out ways and means of disposing of a great variety of manufactured goods which otherwise might not have found sale abroad.
Testimony of foreign observers to the commercial efficiency of the consular corps seems to be conclusive, and our own manufacturers and exporters highly appreciate the value of the services rendered not only in the printed reports but also in the individual efforts of consular officers to promote American trade. An increasing part of the work of the Bureau of Foreign Commerce, whose primary duty it is to compile and print the reports, is to answer inquiries from trade organizations, business houses, etc., as to conditions in various parts of the world, and, notwithstanding the smallness of the force employed, the work has been so systematized that responses are made with such promptitude and accuracy as to elicit flattering encomiums. The experiment of printing the Consular Reports daily for immediate use by trade bodies, exporters, and the press, which was begun in January, 1898, continues to give general satisfaction.
It is gratifying to be able to state that the surplus revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1900, were $79,527,060.18. For the six preceding years we had only deficits, the aggregate of which from 1894 to 1899, inclusive, amounted to $283,022,991.14. The receipts for the year from all sources, exclusive of postal revenues, aggregated $567,240,851.89, and expenditures for all purposes, except for the administration of the postal department, aggregated $487,713,791.71. The receipts from customs were $233,164,871.16, an increase over the preceding year Of $27,036,389.41. The receipts from internal revenue were $295,327,926.76, an increase Of $21,890,765.25 over 1899. The receipts from miscellaneous sources were $38,748,053.97, as against $36,394,976.92 for the previous year.
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