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Message to Congress Transmitting the Annual Report of the World's Columbian Commission and Other Supplemental Reports

February 24, 1892

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith, for the information of Congress, the annual report of the World's Columbian Commission; a supplementary report of the same commission, submitted February 16, 1892; the report of the board appointed by me under section 16 of the act of April 25, 1890, to have charge of the exhibit to be made by the Executive Departments, the Smithsonian Institution, the Fish Commission, and the National Museum; and the report of the board of lady managers, provided for by section 6 of the act referred to.

The information furnished by these reports as to the progress of the work is not only satisfactory, but highly gratifying. The plan and scope adopted and the site and buildings selected and now being erected are fully commensurate with the national and international character of the enterprise contemplated by the legislation of Congress. The Illinois corporation has fully complied with the condition of the law that $10,000,000 should be provided, and the Government commission reports that "the grounds and buildings will be the most extensive, adequate, and ornate ever devoted to such purposes." It seems, however, that from five to eight millions of dollars more will, in the opinion of the local board and the national commission, be necessary to prepare the exposition for a complete and successful inauguration. It will be noticed from the reports that it was first proposed by the local commission to ask of Congress a loan of $5,000,000, to be repaid from receipts, and that the national commission approved this suggestion. Subsequently the Illinois exposition corporation reconsidered its action and determined to ask a subscription of $5,000,000.

The supplementary report of the national commission seems to approve this amended proposition. I have not myself that detailed information as to the financial necessities of the enterprise which would enable me to form an independent judgment of the additional amount necessary, and am not, therefore, prepared to make any specific recommendation to Congress upon the subject. The committees of Congress having this matter in charge will undoubtedly obtain full and accurate information before final action. The exposition, notwithstanding the limitations which the act contains, is an enterprise to which the United States is so far committed that Congress ought not, I think, to withhold just and reasonable further support if the local corporation consents to proper conditions.

Liberality on the part of the United States is due to the foreign nations that have responded in a friendly way to the invitation of this Government to participate in the exposition, and will, I am sure, meet the approval of our people. The exposition will be one of the most illustrious incidents in our civic history.

I transmit also certain resolutions adopted by representatives of the National Guard of the various States appointed by the governors to attend a convention which was held in Chicago on the 27th of October, 1891, with a view to consider the subject of holding a military encampment at Chicago during the exposition.


Benjamin Harrison, Message to Congress Transmitting the Annual Report of the World's Columbian Commission and Other Supplemental Reports Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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