much the duty of Government to render prompt justice against itself, in favor of citizens, as it is to administer the same between private individuals. The investigation and adjudication of claims in their nature belong to the judicial department; besides, it is apparent that the attention of Congress will be more than usually engaged for some time to come with great nation questions. It was intended by the organization of the Court of Claims mainly to remove this branch of business from the halls of Congress; but while the court has proved to be an effective and valuable means of investigation, it in great degree fails to effect the object of its creation for want of power to make its judgments final.
Fully aware of the delicacy, not to say the danger, of the subject, I commend to your careful consideration whether this power of making judgments final may nor properly be given to the court, reserving the right of appeal on questions of law to the Supreme Court, with such other provisions as experience may have shown to be necessary.
I ask attention to the report of the Postmaster-General, the following being a summary statement of the condition of the Department:
The revenue from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1861, including the annual permanent appropriation of $700,000 for the transportation of "free mail matter," was $9,049,296.40, being about 2 per cent. less than the revenue for 1860.
The expenditures were $13,606,759.11, showing a decrease of more than 8 per cent. as compared with those of the previous year, and leaving an excess of expenditure over the revenue for the last fiscal year of $4,557,462.71.
The gross revenue for the year ending June 30, 1863, is estimated at an increase of 4 per cent. on that f 1861, making $8,683,000, to which should be added the earnings of the Department in carrying free matter, viz, $700,000, making $9,383,000.
The total expenditures for 1863 are estimated at $12,528,000, leaving an estimated deficiency of $3,145,000 to be supplied from the Treasury, in addition to the permanent appropriation.
The present insurrection shows, I think, that the extension of this District across the Potomac River at the time of establishing the capital here was eminently wise, and consequently that the relinquishment of that portion of it which lies within the State of Virginia was unwise and dangerous. I submit for your consideration the expediency of regaining that part of the District, and the restoration of the original boundaries thereof, through negotiations with the State of Virginia.
The report of the Secretary of the Interior, with the accompanying documents, exhibits the condition of the several branches of the public business pertaining to that Department. The depressing influences of the insurrection have been especially felt in the operations of the Patent and General Land Offices. The cash receipts from the sales of public lands during the past year have exceeded the expenses of our land system only about $200,000. The sales have ben entirely suspended in the Southern States, while the interruptions to the busineson of large numbers of men from labor to military service have obstructed settlements in the new States and Territories of the Northwest.
The receipts of the Patent Office have declined in nine months about $100,000, rendering a large reduction of the force employed necessary to make it self-sustaining.
The demands upon the Pension Office will be largely increased by the insurrection. Numerous applications for pensions, based upon the