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Public Lands. Pacific Railways and Telegraph.
the valuable information and important recommendation relating to the public lands, Indian affairs, the Pacific Railroad, and mineral discoveries contained in the report of the Secretary of the Interior, which is here with transmitted, and which report also embraces the subjects of the patents, pensions, and other topics of public interest pertaining to his Department.
"The quantity of public land disposed of during the five quarters ending on the 30th of September last, was 4,221,342 acres, of which 1,538,614 acres were entered under the Homestead law. The remainder was located with military land warrants, agricultural script certified to States for railroads, and sold for cash. The cash received from sales and location fees was $1,019,446. The income from sales during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1864, was $678,007 21, against $136,077 95, received during the preceding year. The aggregate number of acres surveyed during the year has been equal to the quantity disposed of, and there are open to settlement about 133,000,000 acres of surveyed land.
"The great enterprise of connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific States by railways and telegraph lines has been entered upon with a vigor that gives assurance of success, notwithstanding the embarrassments arising from the prevailing high prices of materials and labor. The route of the main line of the road has been definitely located for one hundred miles westward from the initial point at Omaha City, Nebraska, and a preliminary location of the Pacific Railroad of California has been made from Sacramento eastward to the great bend of Mucker river, in Nevada. Numerous discoveries of gold, silver and cinnabar mines have been added to the many heretofore known, and the country occupied by the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains and the subordinate ranges now teems with enterprising labor which is richly remunerative. It is believed that the products of the mines of precious
Last Annual Message.
The Indian System.
metals in that region have, during the year reached, if not exceeded, $100,000,000 in value.
"It was recommended in my last annual message, that our Indian system be renoddled. Congress, at its last session, acting upon the recommendation, did provide for reorganizing the system in California, and it is believed that under the present organization the management of the Indians there will be attended with reasonable success. Much yet remains to be done to provide for the proper government of the Indians in other parts of the country, to render it secure for the advancing settler and to provide for the welfare of the Indian. The Secretary reiterates his recommendations, and to them the attention of Congress is invited.
"The liberal provisions made by Congress for paying pensions to invalid soldiers and sailors of the Republic, and to the widows, orphans and dependent mothers of those who have fallen in battle, or died of disease contracted, or of wounds received in the service of their country, have been diligently administered.
"There have been added to the pension rolls during the year ending the thirtieth day of June last, the names of 16,770 invalid soldiers, and of 271 disabled seamen, making the present number of army invalid pensioners 22,767, and of navy invalid pensioners 712. Of widows, orphans and mothers, 22,198 have been placed on the army pension rolls, and 248 on the navy rolls.
"The present number of Army pensioners of this class is 25,433, and of Navy pensioners 793. At the beginning of the year, the number of revolutionary pensioners was 1,430. Only twelve of them were soldiers, of whom seven have since died. The remainder are those who, under the law, receive pensions because of relationship to revolutionary soldiers.
"During the year ending the thirtieth of June, 1864, $4,504,616 92 have been paid to pensioners of all classes.
"I cheerfully commend to your continued patronage the
Last Annual Message.
benevolent institutions of the District of Columbia, which have hitherto been established or fostered by Congress, and respectfully refer for information concerning them, and in relation to the Washington Aqueduct, the Capitol, and other matters of local interest to the report of the Secretary.
"The Agricultural Department, under the supervision of its present energetic and faithful head, is rapidly commending itself to the great and vital interest it was intended to advance. It is peculiarly the People's Department, in which they feel more directly concerned than in any other, I commend it to the continued attention and fostering care of Congress.
"The war continues. Since the last annual message, all the important lines and positions then occupied by our forces. have been maintained, and our armies have steadily advanced, thus liberating the regions left in the rear, so that Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of other States have again produced reasonably fair crops.
"The most remarkable feature in the military operations of the year, is General Sherman's attempted march of three hundred miles directly through insurgent regions. It tends to show a great increase of our relative strength, that our General-in-chief should feel able to confront and hold in check every active force of the enemy, and yet to detach a wellappointed, large army to move on such an expedition. The result not being yet known, conjecture in regard to it is not here indulged.
'Important movements have also occurred during the year to the effect of moulding society for ductility in the Union. Although short of complete success, it is much in the right direction that twelve thousand citizens in each of the States of Arkansas and Louisiana, have organized loyal State governments with free Constitutions, and are earnestly struggling to maintain and administer them.
"The movement in the same direction, more extensive,
though less definite, in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, should not be overlooked.
"But Maryland presents the example of complete success. Maryland is secure to liberty and union for all the future. The genius of rebellion will no more claim Maryland. Like another foul spirit, being driven out, it may seek to tear her but it will rule her no more.
"At the last Session of Congress, a proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States, passed the Senate, but failed, for lack of the requisite. two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress, and nearly the same members, and without question on the patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the consideration and passage of the measure at the present session.
"Of course the abstract question is not changed, but an intervening election shows almost certainly that the next Congress will pass the measure, if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the States for their action; and as it is to go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their votes any further than as an additional element to be considered. Their judgment may be affected by it.
"It is the voice of the people, now for the first time heard upon the question. In a great national crisis like ours, unanimity of action among those seeking a common end is very desirable, almost indispensable, and yet an approach to such unanimity is attainable, only as some deference shall be paid to the will of the majority, simply because it is the will of the majority.
"In this case, the common end is the maintenance of the Union, and among the means to secure that end, such will. through the election, is most clearly declared in favor of such
Last Annual Message.
The Union to be Maintained.
Constitutional Amendment. The most reliable indication of public purpose in this country is derived through our popular election. Judging by the recent canvass and its result, the purpose of the people within the loyal States to maintain the integrity of the Union was never more firm nor more nearly unanimous than now.
"The extraordinary calmness and good order with which the millions of voters met and mingled at the polls, give strong assurance of this. Not only those who supported the 'Union Ticket,' so called, but a great majority of the opposing party also, may be fairly claimed to entertain and to be actuated by the same purpose. It is an unanswerable argument to this effect that no candidate to any office whatever, high or low, has ventured to seek votes on the avowal that he was for giving up the Union.
"There has been much impugning of motives, and heated controversy as to the proper means and best mode of advancing the Union cause, but in the distinct issue of Union or no Union, the politicians have shown their distinctive knowledge that there is no diversity among the people. In affording the people a fair opportunity of showing one to another and. to the world this firmness and unanimity of purpose, the election has been of vast value to the National cause.
"The election has exhibited another fact not less valuable to be known in the fact that we do not approach exhaustion in the most important branch of the national resources, that of living men. While it is melancholy to reflect that the war has filled so many graves, and carried mourning to so many hearts, it is some relief to know that, compared with the surviving, the fallen have been so few. While corps, and divisions, and brigades, and regiments have formed, and fought and dwindled, and gone out of existence, a great majority of the men who composed them are still living. The same is true of the naval service. The election returns prove this. So many votes could not else be found. The States regularly