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report, but submitted two, which were considered as affirmative and negative reports. The first-named favored the establishment of the parcels post upon rural free delivery routes as recommended by the Postmaster-General in his annual report for the year ending June 30, 1907, while the negative side "was opposed to any legislation looking to the establishment of a parcels carrying system in connection with the Post-office Department at this time.”
The discussion proved long and interesting, but the advocates of neither report were sufficiently numerous to secure its adoption by the necessary two-thirds vote. The differences of opinion still remain and the question was undecided, no official expression being given.
The question of amending the currency and banking laws secured the earnest attention of the meeting and resulted in the passage of a resolution recommending that Section 9, of the law of July 12, 1882, restricting the issue and retirement of National bank circulation, be repealed. The meeting also favored the issue of a properly safeguarded National bank emergency currency, without the deposit of any bonds, under rules and regulations to be established by the Comptroller of the Currency, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. This currency to be guaranteed by the Government and so taxed as to make its issuance and retirement contingent upon the emergency conditions.
At the time of issuing this annual report it is hard to say what is to be the outcome of the effort to secure some remedial legislation by Congress.
The views of the business public, as outlined by the expression given it through the action of trade and commercial organizations, seem divided, many holding that the stringency caused by hoarding having passed, no merely emergency measure is now necessary.
The Aldrich Bill, providing as a basis of an emergency currency the security of bonds other than National bonds, such as State, county and municipal bonds (railroad bonds, which were originally named, having been withdrawn), is being strongly opposed largely on the ground of furnishing only temporary relief and not going to the root of the evil.
The Fowler Bill, providing for the gradual change of all existing currency issued into one character of note with an accumulation of a gold fund as the ultimate basis of the entire issue of paper, is finding many advocates as to the principle involved, but as it provides such a radical change from the present established system to an experimental one, the more conservative hesitate before indorsing the measure in its present form, awaiting rather a more extended study and discussion of the bill.
Perhaps it were wiser to secure a crystallization of opinion upon the crucial questions whether the country is ready to adopt some further makeshiit legislation or prepared to consider a thorough revolutionizing of established conditions by the adoption of a financial system modeled after those of other nations which has been found to meet satisfactorily the demands of commerce and the needs of its people under all conditions, normal and during the press of financial disturbance.
While considerable time was given the discussion of the foregoing subjects, yet others such as the American merchant marine, Consular Service, corporation legislation and improvement of rivers and harbors received careful consideration, as shown by the action taken thereon in the resolutions adopted. While many instructive addresses were made during the discussions of the reports submitted, it may not seem out of place to mention the explanation of the conditions surrounding the American merchant marine in its competition with that of other nations offered by Mr. WM. HARRIS DOUGLASS, a delegate from the New York Produce Exchange, a former member of Congress and closely associated with the export trade of the port of New York.
While discussing the question of international arbitration, the Board was favored with an address by James Brown Scott, Esq., Solicitor for the Department of State. Mr. Scott was a delegate from the United States to The Hague Conference. He gave a brief account of its work and the results secured, particularly dwelling upon the adoption of a project for the establishment of a court of arbitration.
The fifth annual banquet was a most signal success, not only from the standpoint of the speakers, but also from the character of their addresses, which were admirable, forceful and in thorough keeping with the occasion.
From the opening remarks of President LA LANNE to the close of the last address, marked attention was paid the speakers, and their many and telling points bearing so intimately on the broad, National work of this organization met with generous and hearty applause.
Hon. C. W. Fairbanks, Vice-President of the United States, was the first to speak and showed by his remarks that he fully appreciated the value of the National Board of Trade. He said "there is much need for such an organization as this, devoted primarily to the consideration of great questions of trade and commerce. We get on by deliberating, by thinking. It is important that we should think and act. There are a great many people who act and think.” After the laughter which greeted this comparison, he said, “I see you understand the distinction.”
He closed by congratulating the Board upon its achievements.
As an evidence of the cosmopolitan feeling which pervades those associated with trade and commerce, the address of His Excellency, Baron Edmondo Mayor des Planches, Italian Ambassador, was received with especial favor and was greeted with marks of high appreciation and continued applause. His text was the con
tinued evidences of friendship between Italy and the United States, and the steadily growing exchange of the commodities of each with the other to the advantage of both.
Hon. Oscar S. Straus, Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Labor, made an interesting address, dwelling upon the functions of his Department and expressing the hope that through co-operation with the trade interests of the country of increasing its usefulness as an adjunct for the extension of our foreign commerce.
Hon. F. G. Newlands gave a lengthy and most interesting account of the work of the Inland Waterway Commission, appointed by the President, and of which he is a member. He emphasized the unbounded possibilities for the advancement of trade through the means of cheap water transportation, which would follow a broad and systematic improvement of the harbors and waterways of the country, and argued for a closer relationship between the plans of those interested in irrigation, the utilization of water power, the prevention of freshets and torrential flows of our water courses, the clarification of streams, forest preservation and all collateral subjects.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. Jos. G. Cannon, never spoke better, and he epigrammatically struck home in referring to the many phases of our National business life, Governmental methods and policies. He made it entirely clear that he fully understood his subject, and by reading between the lines one can well see that, while he listens to the arguments and petitions of those interested along special lines, they must all wait their turn, and that the treasury is to be protected and the taxpayer thought of and cared for in the appropriations to be made from time to time.
The closing address was made by Hon. J. Hampton Moore, who :spoke upon the proposed inland waterway along the Atlantic seaboard.
The addresseis made at the banquet are published in full and are well worth reading, as it is believed they will prove interesting and instructive.
The President, under authority of a resolution passed by the council, appointed the following Managers to serve during the current year:
JAMES F. PARKER, Chairman, New York Produce Exchange, New York; Capt. W. B. Rodgers, Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburg; L. L. GILBERT, Montgomery Commercial Club, Montgomery, Ala.; HARRY WEISSINGER, Louisville Board of Trade, Louisville Ky.; WILLIAM D. MULLEN, Wilmington Board of Trade, Wilmington, Del. ; Thos. J. BRODNAX, Kansas City Board of Trade.
WILLIAM R. TUCKER, of Philadelphia, has been continued as Secretary, and Albert M. READ, of No. 1140 Fifteenth street, N. W., Washington, D. C., as Commissioner.
In the continued effort to facilitate the business of the meetings and save much time heretofore given to the appointment of committees, arranging places and times of meetings, etc., a resolution
was adopted authorizing the President "to make his appointment and fix the hours and places of meetings of committees for our next session.”
This may be the means of securing the result aimed at, and with the co-operation of the delegates avoid the delay and confusion incident to the committee assignments.
The next annual meeting will be held in Washington, D. C., January 19, 1909.
W. R. T. PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 1908.