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it quite doubtful whether the evils of trusts and monopolies can be adequately treated through Federal action, unless they seek directly and purposely to include in their objects transportation or intercourse between States or between the United States and foreign countries.
"It does not follow, however, that this is the limit of the remedy that may be applied. Even though it may be found that Federal authority is not broad enough to fully reach the case, there can be no doubt of the power of the several States to act effectively in the premises, and there should be no reason to doubt their willingness to judiciously exercise such power."
The State legislation to which President Cleveland looked for relief from the evils of trusts has failed to accomplish fully that object. This is probably due to a great extent to the fact that different States take different views as to the proper way to discriminate between evil and injurious combinations and those associations which are beneficial and necessary to the business prosperity of the country.
The great diversity of treatment in different States arising from this cause, and the intimate relations of all parts of the country to each other without regarding State lines in the conduct of business, have made the enforcement of State laws difficult.
It is apparent that uniformity of legislation upon this subject in the several States is much to be desired. It is to be hoped that such uniformity founded in a wise and just discrimination between what is injurious and what is useful and necessary in business operations may be obtained, and that means may be found for the Congress within the limitations of its constitutional power so to supplement an effective code of State legislation as to make a complete system of laws throughout the United States adequate to compel a general observance of the salutary rules to which I have referred.
The whole question is so important and far-reaching that I am sure no part of it will be lightly considered, but every phase of it will have the studied deliberation of the Congress, resulting in wise and judicious action.
A review of our relations with foreign States is presented with such recommendations as are deemned appropriate.
The long-pending boundary dispute between the Argentine Republic and Chile was settled in March last by the award of an Arbitral Commission, on which the United States' Minister at Buenos Ayres served as umpire.
Progress has been made towards the conclusion of a Convention of Extradition with the Argentine Republic. Having been advised and consented to by the United States' Senate, and ratified by Argentina, it only awaits the adjustment of some slight changes in the text before exchange.
In my last Annual Message I adverted to the claim of the Austro-Hungarian Government for indemnity for the killing of certain Austrian and Hungarian subjects by the authorities of the State of Pennsylvania, at Lattimer, while suppressing an unlawful tumult of miners the 10th September, 1897. In view of the verdict of acquittal rendered by the Court before which the Sheriff and his deputies were tried for murder, and following the established doctrine that the Government may not be held accountable for injuries suffered by individuals at the hands of the public authorities while acting in the line of duty in suppressing disturbance of the public peace, this Government, after due consideration of the claim advanced by the Austro-Hungarian Government, was constrained to decline liability to indemnify the sufferers.
It is gratifying to be able to announce that the Belgian Government has mitigated the restrictions on the importation of cattle from the United States, to which I referred in my last Annual Message.
Having been invited by Belgium to participate in a Congress, held at Brussels, to revise the provisions of the General Act of the 2nd July, 1890, for the repression of the African Slave Trade, to which the United States was a Signatory Party, this Government preferred not to be represented by a Plenipotentiary, but reserved the right of accession to the result. Notable changes were made, those especially concerning this country being in the line of the increased restriction of the deleterious trade in spirituous liquors with the native tribes, which this Government has from the outset urgently advocated. The amended General Act will be laid before the Senate, with a view to its advice and consent.
Early in the year the peace of Bolivia was disturbed by a successful insurrection. The United States' Minister remained at his post, attending to the American interests in that quarter, and using besides his good offices for the protection of the interests of British subjects in the absence of their national Representative. On the establishment of the new Government our Minister was directed to enter into relations therewith.
General Pando was elected President of Bolivia on the 23rd October.
Our Representative has been instructed to use all permissible friendly endeavours to induce the Government of Bolivia to amend its marriage laws so as to give legal status to the non-Catholic and civil marriages of aliens within its jurisdiction, and strong hopes are entertained that the Boliviar law in this regard will be brought, as was that of Peru some years ago, into harmony with the general practice of modern States.
A Convention of Extradition with Brazil, signed the 14th May, 1897, has been ratified by the Brazilian Legislature.
During the past summer two national ships of the United States have visited Brazilian ports on a friendly mission and been cordially received. The voyage of the Wilmington up the Amazon River gave rise to a passing misunderstanding, owing to confusion in obtaining permission to visit the interior and make surveys in the general interest of navigation ; but the incident found a ready adjustment in harmony with the close relations of amity which this Government has always sedulously sought to cultivate with the commonwealths of the Western Continent.
The claim growing out of the seizure of the American-owned newspaper “ The Panamá Star and Herald” by the authorities of Colombia has been settled, after a controversy of several years, by an agreement assessing at 30,000 dollars the indemnity to be paid by the Colombian Government, in three instalments of 10,000 dollars each.
The good-will of Colombia towards our country has been testified anew by the cordial extension of facilities to the Nicaraguan Canal Commission in their approaching investigation of the Panamá Canal and other projected routes across the Isthmus of Darien.
Towards the end of October an insurrectionary disturbance developed in the Colombian Republic. This movement has thus far not attained any decisive result, and is still in progress.
Discussion of the questions raised by the action of Denmark in imposing restrictions on the importation of American meats has continued without substantial result in our favour.
The neighbouring island Republic of Santo Domingo has lately been the scene of revolution, following a long period of tranquillity. It began with the killing of President Heureaux in July last, and culminated in the relinquislıment by the succeeding Vice-President of the reins of government to the insurgents. The first act of the provisional Government was the calliug of a presidential and constituent election. Juan Isidro Jimenez, having been elected President, was inaugurated on the 14th November. Relations have been eutered into with the newly-established Government.
The experimental association of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Salvador, under the title of the Greater Republic of Central America, when apparently on the threshold of a complete federal organization by the adoption of a constitution and the formation of a national Legislature, was disrupted in the last days of November 1898, by the withdrawal of Salvador. Thereupon Nicaragua and Honduras abandoned the joint compact, each resuming its former independent sovereignty. This was followed by the reception of Minister Merry by the Republics of Nicaragua and Salvador, while
Minister Hunter in turn presented bis credentials to the Government of Honduras, thus reverting to the old distribution of the Diplomatic Agencies of the United States in Central America for which our existing statutes provide. A Nicaraguan Envoy has been
. accredited to the United States.
An insurrectionary movement, under General Reyes, broke out at Bluefields in February last, and for a time exercised actual control in the Mosquito Territory. The Detroit was promptly sent thither for the protection of American interests. After a few weeks the Reyes Government renounced the conflict, giving place to the restored supremacy of Nicaragua. During the interregnum certain public dues accruing under Nicaraguan law were collected from American merchants by the authorities for the time being in effective administrative control. Upon the titular Government regaining power a second payment of these dues was demanded. Controversy arose touching the validity of the original payment of the debt to the de facto regent of the territory. An arrangement was effected in April last by the United States' Minister and the Foreign Secretary of Nicaragua whereby the amounts of the duplicate payments were deposited with the British Consul pending an adjust. ment of the matter by direct agreement between the Governments of the United States and Nicaragua. The controversy is still unsettled.
The contract of the Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua was declared forfeited by the Nicaraguan Government on the 10th October, on the ground of non-fulfilment within the ten years' term stipulated in the contract. The Maritime Canal Company has lodged a protest against this action, alleging rights in the premises which appear worthy of consideration. This Government expects that Nicaragua will afford the protestants a full and fair bearing upon
the merits of the case. The Nicaragua Canal Commission, which had been engaged upon the work of examination and survey for a ship-canal route across Nicaragua, having completed its labours and made its report, was dissolved on the 31st May, and on the 10th June a new Commission, known as the Isthmian Canal Commission, was organized under the terms of the Act approved the 3rd March, 1899, for the purpose of examining the American Isthmus with a view to determining the most practicable and feasible route for a ship canal across that Isthmus, with its probable cost, and other essential details.
This Commission, under the presidency of Rear-Admiral John G. Walker, U.S.N. (retired), entered promptly upon the work intrusted to it, and is now carrying on examinations in Nicaragua along the route of the Panamá Canal, and in Darien from the Atlantic, in the neighbourhood of the Atrato River, to the Bay of Panamá, on
the Pacific side. Good progress has been made, but under the law a comprehensive and complete investigation is called for, which will require much labour and considerable time for its accomplishment. The work will be prosecuted as expeditiously as possible and a report made at the earliest practicable date.
The great importance of this work cannot be too often or too strongly pressed upon the attention of the Congress. In my Message of a year ago I expressed my views of the necessity of a canal which
I would link the two great oceans, to which I again invite your consideration. The reasons then presented for early action are even stronger now.
A pleasing incident in the relations of this Government with that of Chile occurred in the generous assistance given to the war-ship Newark when in distress in Chilean waters. Not alone in this way bas the friendly disposition of Chile found expression. That country has acceded to the Convention for the establishment of the Bureau of the American Republics, in which organization every independent State of the continent now shares.
The exchange of ratifications of a Convention for the revival of the United States' and Chilean Claims Commission, and for the adjudication of claims heretofore presented but not determined during the life of the previous Commission, has been delayed by reason of the necessity for fresh action by the Chilean Senate upon the amendments attached to the ratification of the Treaty by the United States' Senate. This formality is soon to be accomplished.
In view of disturbances in the populous provinces of northern China, where are many of our citizens, and of the imminence of disorder near the capital and towards the seaboard, a guard of marines was landed from the Boston and stationed during last winter in the Legation compound at Peking. With the restoration of order this protection was withdrawn.
The interests of our citizens in that vast Empire have not been neglected during the past year. Adequate protection has been secured for our unissionaries, and some injuries to their property have been redressed.
American capital has sought and found various opportunities of competing to carry out the internal improvements which the Imperial Government is wisely encouraging, and to develop the natural resources of the Empire. Our trade with China has continued to grow, and our commercial rights under existing Treaties have been everywhere maintained during the past year, as they will be in the future.
The extension of the area open to international foreign settlement at Shanghae, and the opening of the ports of Nanking, Tsing-tao (Kiao chao), and Ta-lien-wan to foreign trade and settlement, will