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colonies and of the United States, but which have become a model to all free countries all over the world. [Applause.] Those are things which all the people of the United States owe to Great Britain in past times, and in that sense, even if she was not the home of the ancestors of some of you, she was the home of those ideas and institutions and the birthplace of that literature which have been and are so much to all of us and will be to those who come after us, here and in England. [Applause.]
Mr. President and gentlemen, I have been particularly happy in finding myself able at this time to accept the kind invitation you sent me to be with you at your annual gathering. It was not my good fortune to be here when you asked me before. I am particularly happy to be with you this evening because I, myself, too, have once been connected with a board of trade. I was for some time in England, now sixteen years ago, president of her Board of Trade, which is a Government department, charged with a great variety of functions. I do not know if I can remember them all. First of all, there is the control of the whole railway system of Great Britain and Ireland, which is a pretty large business by itself. Then there is shipping, then there are labor questions, conciliations, labor legislation. Then there are copyrights and patents, weights and measures, the regulation of tramways and of the supply of. electricity and all questions relating to statistics, tariffs, the control of all legislation relating to incorporated companies, their liquidation and the whole law of bankruptcy. Those are a few of the many functions with which the Board of Trade is charged, and you will easily believe that its presiident does not become himself personally conversant with all those subjects. He has to rely, as the head of every Government department has to rely, very largely upon the staff of his office. At the time I was president of the Board of Trade we had a staff of, I think, between three and four hundred clerks, and many of those, the heads of different departments, were men of great ability and experience. My presidency of the Board of Trade did not indeed teach me to be a man of business, as you are, but it did give me some
notions about boards of trade, and it gave me a very strong sense of the immense importance of trade, not only to a country, but to the manner and organization and mechanism and machinery of whole world. Trade, that is, the interchange of commodities, has become the centre of the material life of the world, and that to a far greater extent in our own time than it ever was before.
Now, what is trade but exchange, and what is international trade except the application, as between countries and peoples, of the principles of barter and exchange, based on the division of labor which we apply among ourselves. And that system, the existence of this exchange inside a country, between the different people who produce different things, between different countries which themselves produce different products and are the home of different manufactures and industries, is the basis of the industrial system of the whole world; and not only of its industrial system, but of what may be called the unity of the world as a great community, formed of minor communities. There is a famous passage in an ancient poet, which I will not weary you by repeating-I dare say it is familiar to many of your minds -in which he speaks of the way in which nature has assigned different products to different places. He says the hills of Asia Minor sends us their spices and Ethiopia sends us her incense and her myrrh and India sends us her ivory, and iron we get from the rugged shores of the Euxine Sea, and so on, pursuing thus those different commodities and products which, to the small ancient world, represented many of the important articles that filled their marts, and with which the process of exchange went on. That process has become to us far more vast and now there is no part of the world which does not exchange its products with every other part. It is upon that fact that the welfare and progress of the world are very largely based.
For my part, if I may venture so say so, I think it would be a great misfortune if every country produced everything, if every country could be self-contained and could produce for itself, whether by the resources of its soil or by the arms and science of its people, all the commod
ities that it required; because then it would live isolated, as China and Japan formerly did, stagnating in its own isolation and cut off from that intercourse with and stimulation by the other countries of the world, which is the very life blood of progress. [Applause.] I cannot see why a country should wish to be entirely dependent upon its own products any more than why science should wish to confine itself to a particular country, instead of availing itself of the discoveries that are made everywhere else, or any more than the readers and authors of a country should think only of their own people, the authors producing only for the readers of that country and the readers reading nothing except what their own authors produce. How much poorer our literature would be, how much more barren our science would be if we had not that intercourse with other minds in other countries which has enabled literature and science to advance! And so it is not going too far to say that we cannot have too much trade. The more trade the better.
I am reminded of a trivial anecdote which some of you may have heard before, but it is so short that I will not fear to repeat it, of an old darkey who, being told of some occasion on which a number of negro boys had greatly overeaten, because, said the narrator, there were too many watermelons, interposed by saying, "Dar cain't be too much water million; dar may have been too few boys." [Laughter.] And trade is one of those things so good that you cannot have too much of it, and I think we ought to rejoice at the immense expansion of international trade (as well as National trade) which we see going on over the world.
It is an obsolete and indeed an ignorant notion to suppose that what is for the good of one country is for the ill of another. On the contrary, the interests of all the countries are bound up together, and it is the interest of the United States and of England and of Germany that every one of these other great countries, commercial competitors though they are, should be great and prosperous. [Applause.] They are all better customers of one another, they are all better able to take one another's goods when they are themselves rich and prosperous, and I rejoice to
think that riches and prosperity are not confined to my country nor to your country, but have spread over the world, and I believe that in their stead is to be found also one of the strongest guaranteees for general peace. [Applause.]
Every country has a strong and growing interest in peace with every other country if it feels that the cessation of trade with that country would mean material injury to itself. Therefore I believe that the existence of an active and increasing trade between the great countries of the world is a very secure pledge of peace. Happily, as between your country and mine, there is no need for those pledges, nor even of those pledges which are a part of the numerous treaties which we have ratified from time to time. We believe that peace, unity, concord and friendship between the United States and Great Britain are based upon even deeper foundations than mutual interests or than any solemnity which treaties do give. [Applause.] But I do say, speaking of Europe and speaking of the rest of the world, that the existence of an active and increasing commerce is a very considerable additional security for peace between the great nations of the earth. It is also a great advantage,
even in minor cases.
I remember an interesting illustration of what the prospect of trade may do. Fifteen or twenty years ago we had very great difficulties in Northeastern Africa, where we had been obliged to go in, to endeavor to recover some territories which had belonged to Egypt which had been overspread by savage barbarism, and there we came in contact with certain marauding tribes, very bold, courageous fellows, who loved fighting and who for the want of anything else to do, because their soil was scanty and their rainfall still more scanty, were almost driven to fight to make a living. We could not do anything with them, because we found that they enjoyed and loved fighting. At last it occurred to one sensible administrator on the frontier that if he could induce them to trade, if he could show them that they would get good prices for whatever articles they brought into our lines, he might do more than he was doing by fighting. Accordingly, that policy was adopted, and as soon as we suc
ceeded in establishing a trade with those people, because they had some things to barter with us and because the prices which we gave for those things were well worth their having, and the articles that they could get from us were the very articles they desired, they very soon became peaceful and we were saved all the expense and vexation of those endless frontier wars and trade became far better, and the result was mutual good. [Applause.]
It is a great satisfaction to me, gentlemen, to think that you here have realized the great advantages that are to be obtained by the extension in every direction of international trade; and just before I sit down, I would mention two things that occur to me in that connection.
One is the policy which your President has very wisely adopted and in which I venture to believe he has the general sentiment of the nation with him, in endeavoring to have some arrangements with the Dominion of Canada under which there will be more trade between the two countries. [Applause.] I do not yet know exactly what point the negotiations on this subject have reached, but I do know that both the Canadian negotiators and His Majesty's Government on the one hand and your negotiators on the other, have been animated by the most friendly and cordial spirit, and that they both speak of the attitude of the other party to the negotiations in terms of cordial appreciation; and under those circumstances I sincerely hope that the issue may be such as will give pleasure to us all. [Applause.]
The other point to which I refer is the magnificent work that you are doing on the Isthmus of Panama. [Applause.] You are there opening a new channel for the trade of the world, such as never has been opened or could have been opened anywhere else. You are overcoming nature by making a great waterway nearly sixty miles long, between two oceans, through which great commerce will no doubt before long begin to find its way, and the trade routes and trade lines of the whole earth will be modified and reorganized to take advantage of it. That is a work whose magnitude no one can appreciate until he has seen it. I have no doubt many of you gentlemen, and especially those members of Con