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come so used and accustomed to listening to speeches that you would be content to remain until morning if you knew a few more Congressmen were yet to be heard. [Laughter.]
I have had some misgivings this evening, since the first speech, with regard to the aims and purposes of the National Board of Trade. Its President is a gentleman whose public service, given voluntarily from his private station, is to be highly commended; but in his reflections upon the part that members of Congress have taken with regard to the consular service in the past, he has seemed to indicate a sort of fellow feeling or sympathy for the suggestions made by the honorable Ambassador of Great Britain, when he said he was once the President of a board of trade that had seemed to control the executive, administrative and legislative affairs of England. [Laughter.] I assume that your President is looking forward to the future and that he has been somewhat inspired by the example of the Board of Trade of Great Britain, which does take an active, practical interest in public affairs. Just what the Secretary of the Treasury meant when he commended my distinguished friend, the President of the Board of Trade, and the members of this distinguished body "to their own admiration," I dare not say. [Laughter.] It may have been in line with the thought that animated President LA LANNE when he applauded so vigorously the suggestions of the Ambassador with regard to the possibilities of a Board of Trade in the United States, meeting at the Capital, where it might advise the National legislators exactly what they should do. [Applause and laughter.]
Most of the addresses this evening have pertained to the disposition we should make of our money. The Secretary of the Treasury, in his most learned and forceful address, has commented somewhat upon the effect of panics and has referred slightly to the come-and-go process of panics as they affect us in the United States. Let me commend you to an experience that came to me in my humble capacity as an agitator for better waterways in this country, at a small seaport on the cost just after the panic of 1907. We had landed in that little town and were obliged to remain
over night. We met the townspeople. They complained that the channel leading into their town was not sufficient to permit them to entertain a National, let alone an international, commerce. They intimated that they were glad to see members of Congress, and that they welcomed them.
I said to one of them, a representative man of the town, "How is business in this city of yours?" "Well," said he, "there ain't much change in this town from one end of the year to the other."
I said, "How has your trade been? I see you have one or two stores, one or two lawyers, one or two doctors and one or two preachers. You have a place where you deposit your money. How has trade been?" He said, "There ain't much change in this town from one end of the year to the other."
I said, "Weren't you struck by the panic of 1907?" He said, "No, it didn't strike us in this town. We heard there was a panic, but it had no effect on us."
I said, "Why, how do you account for that? We were all affected in other parts of the country; even in the remotest hamlet, the effects of the panic of 1907 were felt." He said, "Mr. Congressman, I will explain it to you. Most of the money that comes into this town comes in from the life-saving men, the men who work upon the engineers' boats, the man who runs the rural delivery wagon and the collector of customs at this port, and all of them get paid in Government warrants, which come regularly every month. There ain't been no change in our financial condition, and while the Government holds out there ain't likely to be." [Laughter.]
Now there is the condition that I commend to the American Monetary Commission, regarding which there has been much concern, as to the recommendations it will make. Senator Aldrich is not with us this evening, very much to our regret, because his great ability has been felt in the halls of Congress and throughout this nation, but there is left to us here to-night the Vice-Chairman of the commission, the distinguished gentleman who spoke so eloquently and forcefully this afternoon (Mr. Vreeland), and his colleague, Mr.
Weeks, of Massachusetts, both of whom may profit by this illustration of the manner in which panics do not affect certain localities in this country. [Laughter.]
You have been discussing the means of distributing the wealth of the land. I would like to discuss the means of creating the wealth of the land. I believe that you cannot distribute much unless you create something. There are two or three departments of the Government that represent the creation of wealth. One of them is the great Department of Agriculture, which knocked at the door of Congress for a hundred years before it was recognized with a seat at the Cabinet table. Yet it is one of the greatest producing factors in the United States. [Applause.] Commerce and Labor, representing trade and industry, knocked at the door of Congress for more than a hundred years in order that they might obtain recognition for another great wealth producing factor of the Government, and in those days when the President of your Board of Trade was a mere child, carrying back the 8 per cent. message from Drexel to his employer, no recognition was given to these important elements in our country's progress and welfare. Not until 1903 were we given a seat at the Cabinet table of the nation for this important arm of progress, the development of commerce and industry.
I would like to-night to discuss waterways, to which I am assigned, but that is a long and a deep subject. [Laughter.] And at this hour it might not be as entertaining as it ought to be. But transportation is a factor essential to the production, as it is to the distribution, of our National wealth. Transportation has become restricted. It has come to be so restricted in certain sections of the country that relief for the productive and creative forces of the country is absolutely necessary, else those sections of the country must retrograde and go into the realm of back numbers. [Applause.]
I am an ardent advocate of improved channels along the long neglected Atlantic seaboard. Recently I came up the Mississippi and I observed that in the little town of Jackson, Miss., there were six railroads carrying the commerce
of that region back and forth. Then I recalled that in the city of Bangor, Me., where people are supposed to be intelligent and industrious and mentally and industrially active, they have but one railroad upon which to come and go, and an insufficient waterway with which to get to the sea.
I proceeded further, to the city of St. Louis, and observed that there were eighteen railroads, controlled by different companies, upon which the people and their commerce come and go. Yet in the great city of Boston, which boasts of its intelligence, culture and its industry, there is but one system of railroads upon which the products of that great centre can be moved to the markets. [Applause.] Boston boasts that it is an industrial hub; and New England boasts that it produces more shoes than any other section of the country, yet I found in St. Louis, in the Middle West, remote from proud old New England, that they are producing more shoes to-day than any town or city in New England is producing. They have more transportation and they are displaying more energy than the people of the older communities along the Atlantic seaboard have any notion of.
I will not proceed further along this line, except to say that there are some men, even in many of your boards of trade and chambers of commerce, who have a notion that it is wrong to insist that, if you have only one way to get out with the product of your mill, you shall be given the right to get a second way out, even if you can produce twice as much in your mill with two means of transportation as you could produce with only one. To those gentlemen who still think back in the days when FRANK D. LA LANNE was a boy running to Drexels to find out what the exchange was upon the notes that came up from North Carolina, I desire to say that every new ship that comes into an American river and every new barge that passes along an American canal carries more freight and more business for a railroad to carry, and will compel it in spite of itself to build new sidings, new tracks, new rails, new cars, and thus contribute to the upbuilding of our common country [Applause.]
The Panama Canal has been referred to in complimentary terms by that great man who represents Great Britain in this country. It has been regarded with pride by American citizens who have thought only of the American pluck and genius entering into its construction, enabling this proud country to boast that it has done something which other nations undertook and failed to do. [Applause.] I place a higher estimate upon the importance of the Panama Canal than the mere vainglory of an American achievement. The completion of the Panama Canal is a broader proposition than can be celebrated in New Orleans or in San Francisco, to be forgotten, possibly, when the doors of the exposition close. The completion of the Panama Canal is an American tribute to the world's commerce.
But are we prepared for the world's commerce in our boards of trade and in the legislation thus far enacted creating departments and bureaus in the Government? Is the consular service, which has been so ably referred to here to-night, prepared to cope with the great question of developing throughout the world the power and thè genius of the American industrialist, manufacturer and agriculturist, to create and distribute our share of the wealth of the world? I want to see a broader conception of the Panama Canal than a mere spectacular celebration for any city. I want to see the completion of the Panama Canal recognized by the Government of the United States by some great, lasting memorial here in the Capital City, dedicated to the promotion of commerce and industry in the United States and throughout the world. [Applause.] Have you a single institution under public auspices in this great country of 90,000,000 of people where you can go to see with your own eyes the samples that are necessary for you to trade with foreign competitors? Is there a place established officially by the Government where you may secure all the geographical and commercial information necessary for you to understand the trade and commerce regulations, rates, tariffs, banking conditions and methods of exchange that are in use where you would like to do business? Think it over, whether we ought not to bring here to the city of Washington, as an international