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Mr. STARACE.-Yes sir. I move its adoption.
The report of the committee was adopted.
NATIONAL PURE FOOD LAW.
Mr. STARACE, from the Committee on National Pure Food Law, submitted the following report:
Your committee, assigned to the consideration of Subject LXV, National Pure Food and Drug Act, respectfully reports that it considers the National act a great step forward in establishing new standards for the protection of the business community and the public.
Experience, however, has shown defects in the language of the act, and the system of administration has produced too much litigation, too many prosecutions, and some conflicting decisions. At the same time, the permission to label goods in special ways, such as compound, often defeats the purpose of the act.
Your committee recommends that the Congress should in the near future reconstruct this act, profiting by experience already gained, and hopes for a model law that can be copied by the various States, so as to secure uniformity.
The business interests of the country have co-operated to a great extent in assisting the officers of the National Government charged with enforcing this act, and future legislation should be so constructed that, while preventing imitations being offered for sale, it will not hamper the legitimate trade of the country,
The report of the committee was adopted.
ORDER OF BUSINESS.
The SECRETARY.-The next committee is Government Inspection of Grain. Is that ready to report?
A DELEGATE.-It is ready, but the Chairman is not here. The SECRETARY.-Is the Committee on Immigration ready? The PRESIDENT.-There is no response.
The SECRETARY.-Committee on Administration of Patent Laws. Mr. FISH has charge of that and he will be back in a little while. Now, gentlemen, we have gone over the list of committees once.
AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE.
Mr. W. H. DOUGLAS, from the Committee on American Merchant Marine, made the following report :—
The National Board of Trade:
Your Committee on American Merchant Marine begs to reaffirm the resolutions passed last year by the National Board of Trade as follows:
The National Board of Trade believes that our greatest commercial question involving the interest of the entire country is the recreation of the American merchant marine, and it deplores that no action has been taken by Congress.
The carrying trade of the United States is practically monopolized by aliens who have established their lines from its ports to all parts of the world.
The Board advocates that proper encouragement be given to creating an American-built steam and sail tonnage so necessary to the extension and protection of the commercial growth of the country.
An adequate merchant marine is of inestimable value in times of peace, and absolutely essential in times of war; therefore, be it Resolved, By the National Board of Trade :
First. That in our judgment the commercial interests of the country require prompt legislation, such as will result in the re-establishment of the American merchant marine.
Second. That we ask of Congress not only the immediate establishment of American owned and managed mail and freight lines to our dependencies and the leading commercial countries of the world, but also proper legislation which will enable our citizens to build, operate and maintain steamers and sailing vessels on an equal footing with any other maritime power.
WM. HARRIS DOUGLAS, Chairman,
W. B. LIVEZEY,
E. R. WOOD,
EDWARD H. HORWOOD,
G. WALDO SMITH,
Mr. DOUGLAS, of New York. In regard to this report, I would like to say just a word. My only excuse for saying even a few words is my intense interest in the American merchant marine and the fact that I never lose an opportunity, if it presents itself, to speak in favor of the re-establishment of American commerce on the seas.
I am glad to say that this organization, the National Board of Trade, has always been as loyal to the idea of re-establishing American shipping on the ocean as they have been loyal to the development of our commercial interests on land, and we have been stout advocates in demanding that some action be taken by Congress to bring about a better condition.
Last year I had the pleasure, through the courtesy of the Board, to make an address covering the points at issue. Therefore I will not refer to them again this evening, leaving it to others who may speak, I hope, to throw some light on the great necessities which confront us.
I look upon the fact that we have no merchant marine as one of the broken links in the chain of prosperity which this country so greatly enjoys, and I believe, unless we are mindful of the warnings which have been so forcibly put before the American people, and unless Congress is also mindful of the requests which have been made, and the chain in this weak point is not strengthened, that this country will awaken some day to seriously regret that action has not been taken before and that we will suffer greatly in a business way through our neglect.
I hope that some of the gentlemen present will say a few words on this subject, as I think one or two of them promised to do, including Mr. WOOD, if he is present.
The PRESIDENT.-Is Mr. Wood here?
Mr. DOUGLAS.-I think Mr. WOOD said he would speak on the subject. Before closing, I would ask, however, that the report should be presented to the meeting as read, after debate has taken place.
The PRESIDENT.-Mr. WALDO SMITH has the floor.
Mr. G. WALDO SMITH, of New York. Thus suddenly and unexpectedly called upon to speak on a subject with which
I used to be familiar, but have not thought about for some time, I happen to find an article that I once wrote for one of the New York papers, which, with your permission, I will now read rather than make any other remarks.
The PRESIDENT.-I remember that article. It was very strong.
Mr. WALDO SMITH read the following paper:
While for the last few months the one question that has seemed to occupy the public mind almost to the exclusion of all others has been that of tariff revision and while Congress has been called to an extra session in order to consider and act upon it, yet there is another great public question about which little has been said in the public press and to which very little attention has been given, and yet it is one of supreme importance and one in which every good American should be greatly interested.
It seems to me that it is very humiliating to our National pride to know that our merchant marine, once so prosperous and once occupying such a dominant position on the waters of the earth, should have nearly reached the vanishing point and that the American flag that once could be seen flying from the mizzen peak of our merchantmen in every port in all the world was not seen by any of the 15,000 sailors who made up the crew of the great naval fleet that has just returned from its voyage around the entire earth.
While we have conceived and carried out the greatest naval voyage ever made by any nation of the world, yet it is humiliating to know that the voyage could not have been made without the aid of 27 foreign ships that had to be employed to wait upon our ships and supply them with coal and other commodities that were required to make the voyage possible, and if the transports had been called home by their own government for any purpose, our great navy would have been left in a helpless condition in some far distant port.
In 1810, with a population of 7,200,000 and with an accumulated wealth of one billion of dollars, we had 981,619 tons of American built vessels sailing under the American flag, manned by American sailors and carrying more than 90 per cent. of our foreign trade; while in 1904 with a population of 80,000,000 and an accumulated wealth of 116 billion of dollars, we had but 888,628 tons of ships engaged in the same trade with more than 90 per cent. of the business being done by foreign ships.
While in Washington in January last I heard a member of the National Board of Trade say that there would be more than 4,000,000 barrels of cement needed to finish the Panama Canal, and that all or nearly all, would have to be carried in foreign ships. There are many other points of the same nature that could be stated, but let
these suffice to show to what a low condition our merchant marine has fallen. The causes of this decline are many and diverse. Ships can be built abroad for from 20 to 40 per cent. less than we can build them here. Wages paid to foreign sailors are much less than our ship owners have to pay and the food used on foreign ship costs much less than that used by American seaman, and in addition to all this foreign nations that have succeeded in building up a large ocean carrying trade have given a subsidy or subvention to all or nearly all ships so employed, and some nations have paid a certain amount per ton for all ships built for this purpose. This has resulted in making us pay the enormous sum of $150,000,000 per annum to the owners of foreign ships for carrying our export and import trade, our passengers and our mails. This is but one of the great losses we have sustained. Suppose one of our great department stores in New York city should give up doing their own delivery business and should depend upon a rival concern on the opposite side of the street to do it for them; how long do you suppose it would be before their business would begin to suffer and decline? Complaints would soon be heard of tardy delivery, of broken packages and of lost goods, and the business would suffer for the want of a first-class delivery system under their own control. This is one of the great obstacles we have to contend with in trying to build up our export trade, as more than 90 per cent. of the goods we sell abroad have been sent by a foreign delivery system. The ships that do all this business are built and owned abroad, and all supplies are furnished by foreign merchants, as the only thing they buy in America is coal. They buy nearly all their supplies in the home markets, bring them here and place them in bonded warehouses and withdraw them when needed, and thus we see it is that but a very little of the money earned by carrying American merchandise is spent in America.
The officers, managers and clerks who transact their business are aliens almost to a man.
I have sailed over many seas in the ships of the North German Lloyd and the Hamburg-American lines, and in every port we have entered we have always found that they maintained an office manned by German managers and clerks. Suppose we had our line running to foreign ports; how many of our bright intelligent, ambitious young men could find a splendid career in filling positions in foreign ports that our merchants would have at their disposal.
Anyone at all familiar with the history of England during the eighteenth century, and even to this day, knows that thousands of their best young men were sent to India, China and elsewhere as representatives of their great commercial houses, and that they often achieved high positions and great success.
Suppose that the vast sum now paid to foreign ship owners could be spent in building and running our own ships, what an impetus