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gress, whom I have the pleasure of seeing beside me, have already seen it. I saw it four months ago and I was astonished at the magnitude of the scale on which that work is being carried on and the extraordinary skill and energy which are being applied to its completion. [Applause.] It is not too much to say that the whole world admires and appreciates what you are doing in Panama and looks for great and noble results from it. [Applause.]
The TOASTMASTER.-Ladies and gentlemen, it is a splendid sign of the times when we hear the Ambassador of Great Britain enunciate in such happy words the good friendship existing between our two great countries, and his reference to the treaty which the two countries have entered into lately. While an American may think that the Ambassador's country made the better bargain than we made in the recent treaty, we are glad that his country got such a splendid bargain, and there is no envy in the American heart that Great Britain got the better of us.
Ambassador Bryce.-That remains to be proved.
The TOASTMASTER.-But we bow to the inevitable, because when we agree to make a treaty and we get the worst of it we abide by the consequences.
Now, gentlemen, the National Board of Trade, always alive to the interests of the country, have thought it our province to call, in the interest of proper monetary legislation, a Monetary Day and with the approval of Senator Aldrich and Mr. Vreeland, the National Board of Trade concluded that the right way was to get the business men interested in what would be the best monetary legislation for our country. We did not wish to dictate to the Monetary Commission, but we felt that we could be a strong auxiliary to the magnificent work which that Commission has been doing. Consequently, the National Board of Trade, in correspondence with nearly two hundred of the most important chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the United States, and after numerous conferences with Senator Aldrich, Mr. Vreeland and others, concluded that if our chambers of commerce would carefully examine the very valuable publications
of the Monetary Commission, which showed the workings of the various monetary systems of the world, the business men of America, through their boards of trade, would become better conversant with what the country needs and with what other countries are doing. Consequently, a year ago the National Board of Trade entered into this educational campaign with very great success.
The result is that of our 200 most prominent chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the United States, 125 of them have at our request accepted the publications of the Monetary Commission. Many of them have appointed as delegates leading men familiar with finance and deeply interested in currency reform. Both Senator Aldrich and Representative Vreeland have expressed their appreciation of what you have done. Here at our monetary conference today we have had representatives from the Pacific coast, from the Atlantic coast and from the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes, and all of them have had a very active part in framing a resolution which I believe represents the concrete opinion of the business interests of our country.
I am very glad to say, gentlemen of the National Board of Trade, that the resolutions, adopted after the most careful consideration, coincided almost identically with the suggestions made by Senator Aldrich in the pamphlet which he issued yesterday.
It was my pleasure last week to call upon our Secretary of the Treasury. I explained to him what we were doing, and he has kindly consented to come and dine with us to-night. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have the great pleasure of presenting to you the Honorable Franklin MacVeagh, Secretary of the Treasury. [Applause.]
RESPONSE OF SECRETARY MACVEAGH.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I do not know what your resolutions were and, of course, I cannot speak to them. I am sure the National Board of Trade will not think it necessary-if you are like other great volunteer organizations to tell you that you are a very important body. [Laughter and applause.] I have, however, known
of your importance and have been impressed by it for a long time. You will perhaps not think it very clever to have made this discovery, but I should like to mention the circumstances for what it may be worth. At any rate, it is a pleasant subject.
You discovered very early-among the earliest—the essential value of volunteer organizations, such as you instituted. You are in a sense a pioneer in a development of non-partisan oversight of government that has had great influence upon the progress of the nation. [Applause.] Mere governmental instrumentalities, whether in Federal, State or city affairs, have been immensely benefited, stimulated and made progressive by the organized help of the unofficial people. In no other part of the world has this added estate been so effective as in America, and of course nowhere has it been so extraordinarily instituted and developed. Your organization runs a long way back, and has not only created its own efficiency, but has been to a considerable degree an example and a leader.
In such a wide association as you have it is quite possible -and you have found it so-to legitimately look after the interests of the private pursuits of your membership, while you conserved and promoted the general good. And having long ago arrived at public recognition and approval, I commend you confidently to your own admiration. [Laughter and applause.]
Your latest conspicuous public interest I especially and highly approve. Nothing could be more appropriate than the particular interest of the National Board of Trade in the rehabilitation of our banking and currency system and in the distinguished work and methods of the Monetary Commission. Your dedication of one of the three days of your present annual meeting to this great matter, in connection with your previous well-directed efforts to broaden and intensify public interest in the immense issues involved, is a striking evidence of the enlightenment and public spirit of your organization.
Your example, too, will have an excellent effect. The great subject of monetary reform ought to have the widest
attention and the keenest public interest. The importance of the forthcoming report of the Monetary Commission should be more and more widely and keenly felt and understood. And the strikingly intellectual and scientific character of the procedure and work of that commission needs to be understood as you are seeking to make it understood; for no investigation of our monetary system has ever before approached that of the Monetary Commission in thoroughness and breadth of view. We do not know what the report of that commission will be-though its general features are probably foretold in the very elaborate and interesting suggestions made public yesterday by the commission's distinguished Chairman, whose absence from his place on this occasion because of ill health causes us all the keenest regret. [Applause.] Senator Aldrich has performed a remarkable service by his statement. He has brought the great subject out of its vagueness and from its waiting condition into concrete form and to the threshold of action. And I am clear as to this, that the commission and its Chairman have entitled themselves, by the large spirit and the broad methods with which they have approached the subject, to a cordial and friendly consideration of whatever it may either tentatively or finally propose.
Notwithstanding the interest already aroused, it is still true that it is not generally understood how universally the people of this country are involved in our monetary question. It is not a question for bankers alone-very far from it. It is not a question for the widespread business communities alone. Far more of us are involved. And not even the larger and more comprehensive body of depositors, little and large, in all kinds of banks embraces all who are concerned. The truth is that there is no man, woman or child in the whole nation-rich or poor, poor or poorer-who is not involved in the question of whether or not we shall have a proper and adequate and safe monetary system. [Applause.]
The universality of the banking and currency situation in this country is easily overlooked. It is called a banking matter, and it is very natural to limit its operations to the
banks and the financial community. But, of course, the banks are only the instruments of the whole people to perform certain functions in its economic life. And if the matter be analyzed, it will be found that the bankers probably suffer less from our present monetary system than any other kind of people. In the extreme stress of financial weather it has been the habit-and this habit has been acquiesced in by the public-for the solvent banks to largely furl their sails, slow down and ride out the storm, while the insolvent banks-those who were really exhausted before the storm began go to pieces at the cost not of the other banks, but of the public who have trusted them. And the real consequences-the dire consequences of these periods of financial storm and stress are shown in the prostration of business-sometimes for long subsequent periods-in the reduction of incomes and wages and in the spread of discomfort and suffering to every limit and confine of society. [Applause.] A disaster so universal as this is borne with comparative ease by the very rich and the rich; and increases its relative burden and suffering as it penetrates to the peopleof small and smaller means. [Applause.] No trouble in our National life spreads itself so universally throughout society as the troubles which grow out of our defective monetary system. Epidemics of disease have a limited field. Great fires and earthquakes are confined to localities. Bad sanitation and practically all the other ills of our National life are "cribbed, cabined and confined," compared to the universal and lasting reach of a panic. No district is too remote, no family is too insignificant, to be reached by the tide of such a disaster. [Applause.]
This reform of our banking and currency system, therefore, has a profound universal interest. It is a popular necessity. It, of course, is not the only reform that is demanded by the interests of all the people. It is not the only reform where the existing burden is relatively heavier upon the poor than it is upon the rich. But there is none where the situation is more universal or where the interests involved are actually more popular. This, I think, it is right to assume, is not generally understood. And I think