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tially these words: “This note is a legal tender for all debts, public and private, except duties on imports and interest on the public debt.” So that these revenue officers are required to take payment of dues in gold coin for the express purpose of assuring the world at large that these 346,000,000 demand notes, as they are now, shall be paid in gold coin, and that the bonds of the Government—or at least the interest—shall be payable in gold. Hence the National bank circulation is redeemable legally, as I understand it, in the greenback dollars, which are receivable for every purpose except those I have named.
I appreciate the dilemma in which Mr. ZUCCA and his associates were placed only a few months ago. But it it not unlike an attempt on the part of the Government to furnish umbrellas to every citizen. If that were done, I am afraid every man would leave his umbrella in his office or at his home, so that even if we all had umbrellas when the next storm came we would get wet. If we adopt the proposition some will be inconvenienced the same way. So it seems to me that it is better for us to ask Congress to remove perhaps the causes that brings about this condition, to which Mr. Zucca refers, and ask for the return of that large amount of greenback dollars that are simply promises to pay and against which we are carrying a reserve of $150,000,000 in gold, and which in trying times are a menace to the business interests of the nation. What Mr. ZUCCA complains of is only the symptom of the disease. We should cure by getting at the root of the trouble.
Mr. HAMLIN.-I have a suggestion to make which may perhaps be accepted by all. This long preamble states a great many questions of fact. Concerning the law connected with those facts there may be a difference of opinion, and I therefore move to substitute the following resolution, which is in the exact words of the proposition from the Italian Chamber of Commerce :
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury should be authorized to instruct collectors of customs duties and internal revenues to accept in payment of duties and revenues, in time of money stringency or other events, certified checks on national banks, thus avoiding the acuminat
ing of a crisis, due to financial panic, and the increase of premium on currency, as has just happened.
If that authority is given the Secretary of the Treasury, of course he would not exercise it except where the Treasury was unable to supply the gold. That might possibly be the means of alleviating the necessities of the merchants. It seems to me that by striking out the preamble and giving the Secretary of the Treasury this power it meets what we all want done in times of stress.
The PRESIDENT.—The Chair understands that the mover of the resolution accepts the new form.
Mr. ZUCCA.— It is the same thing.
Mr. Estes.—Mr. President, this may be entirely satisfactory to this body, and I judge it from the expressions I have heard, and therefore I do not expect to consume time in argument. Yet I do not see how the United States Government would, upon the adoption of such a policy as is outlined in that, ever be subjected to embarrassment. The Secretary of the Treasury is necessarily entrusted with the disposition of Government funds and the handling of the financial affairs of the country, and he could certainly be trusted to discharge and administer this part of the financial policy of the country as wisely as any other man could. Whenever we actually needed gold or currency, of course he would not authorize these payments to be made in bank checks. Take the condition that existed in October and November, when nobody was demanding gold and when the Government was discharging all its obligations in checks; that was a purely artificial condition, creating a hardship upon everybody who had internal and customs duties to pay. In my opinion it was an unnecessary hardship. The Government did not require the currency. It was doing all it could to get the currency out of its vaults and into circulation, and yet this arbitrary condition was forcing the money back into the Government vaults. I say it was an unnecessary condition, and I think the adoption of the resolution giving the Secretary of the Treasury this discretion will be invaluable, not only for the purpose of relieving all
men who pay these customs dues, but will be a general benefit to the country.
The question was called for.
The PRESIDENT.—Mr. HAMLIN's proposed substitute is the same in sense exactly.
The SECRETARY.-Shall I read it?
The PRESIDENT.—The Chair thinks it would be well to read it.
The Secretary read as follows:
That the Secretary of the Treasury should be authorized to instruct, in his discretion, collectors of customs duties and internal revenues to accept in payment of duties and revenues, in time of money stringency or other events, certified checks on national banks, thus avoiding the acuminating of a crisis due to financial panic and the increase of premium on currency, as has just happened.
The resolution was adopted.
AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE.
The following report of the Committee on American Merchant Marine was read and submitted by Mr. G. WALDO SMITH, of New York:
The National Board of Trade believes that the greatest commercial question, involving the interest of the entire country, is the re-creation of the Merchant Marine, and it deplores that no action has been taken by Congress.
The carrying trade of the nited States is practically monopolized by aliens, who have established their lines from its ports to all parts of the world.
This Board strongly urges the immediate establishment of American mail and freight lines to South and Central America, Australasia, South Africa, China, India and Japan, and to our dependencies.
The Board further advocates that proper encouragement should be given to creating an American-built sail and steamer tonnage, so necessary to the extension and protection of the commercial growth of the country.
An adequate merchant marine is of inestimable value in time of peace, and absolutely essential in time of war; therefore be it
Resolved, That in our judgment the commercial interests of the country require prompt legislation such as will result in the re-establishment of an American merchant marine.
Signed: G. WALDO SMITH,
WM. HARRISON DOUGLAS,
F. H. VIAUX.
Mr. Douglas, of New York.–Gentlemen, I would like to congratulate the National Board of Trade by reason of the fact that there is no resolution before this Board from the constituent organizations that is not thoroughly in accord with the principles as elucidated in that resolution. I also wish to congratulate the President of our organization for the very able remarks he made in his opening address to us on that subject.
The general question of the rehabilitation of the American Merchant Marine has been so thoroughly discussed before this body and before our constituent organizations, and so thoroughly debated in the papers, that I shall confine myself strictly to the resolution presented to this Board.
You will note that the first clause calls attention to the fact that at present the carrying trade of this country is pracically monopolized by foreign and alien ships; that under the favored-nation clause of the Constitution we have given to the nations of the world the right to enter our ports and have the same privileges as American shipping. We have also extended to them the courtesy of lading with the same privileges that are extended to our own ships. I do not think there is any man here or any man in this country who ever assumed that when we extended those privileges to other nations we meant that those nations should come here and establish their premanent lines. That is a far different proposition, and one which assails the commercial interests of this country in a very vital way. England would never have been satisfied, and neither would Germany or France, to have American
vessels enter their ports and become permanent fixtures there, and this country should not be satisfied.
It is only necessary to give one slight illustration. English and German lines run their vessels out of Bremen, Southampton and London to different parts of the world, and those same lines send vessels here and establish themselves permanently at our ports. Now, it stands to reason that if there are large contracts being let in Africa, India, China and elsewhere, it becomes a very important question as to who will secure those contracts, whether Germany, America or England. Why should we place it in the power of aliens controlling foreign shipping lines from New York and our other seaports, as well as from Bremen and London, to take those contracts away from us and place them elsewhere to our detriment? That is the reason why we put that first clause in our resolution.
The second clause deals with the establishment of mail and freight lines. It goes without saying that mail lines must first be established and then freight lines will follow. It is well known that England, who has given great attention to this important subject, by reason of her geographical position and interests, as well as by reason of her large colonial possessions, has in all cases been free to give subsidies to mail lines. That was for her interest. But, gentlemen, she has veiled and closely guarded the fact that she has always given her subventions conditionally upon sail vessels, built in her yards, should also go to the various ports. I was told by a gentleman connected with what is now called the Union Plant Line that when he received the first Government subvention, although his vessels then only steamed thirteen or fourteen knots, it was distinctly understood that the line was to follow those mail steamers by tramp steamers, which would take the surplus products of the English nation to her benefit.
Now, if we will simply follow along those lines and establish commercial relations with foreign ports, diversifying our interests by establishing from New York such lines as would necessarily have to be established, and then take the west coast of China and Australasia and the southern ports of South America, the West Indies, Panama, and going to Boston and elsewhere, we will establish a connected chain with other