State of the Union Address
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
The Congress assembles this year under the shadow of a great calamity.
On the sixth of September, President McKinley was shot by an anarchist
while attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, and died in that
city on the fourteenth of that month.
Of the last seven elected Presidents, he is the third who has been murdered,
and the bare recital of this fact is sufficient to justify grave alarm
among all loyal American citizens. Moreover, the circumstances of this,
the third assassination of an American President, have a peculiarly sinister
significance. Both President Lincoln and President Garfield were killed
by assassins of types unfortunately not uncommon in history; President
Lincoln falling a victim to the terrible passions aroused by four years
of civil war, and President Garfield to the revengeful vanity of a disappointed
office-seeker. President McKinley was killed by an utterly depraved criminal
belonging to that body of criminals who object to all governments, good
and bad alike, who are against any form of popular liberty if it is guaranteed
by even the most just and liberal laws, and who are as hostile to the upright
exponent of a free people's sober will as to the tyrannical and irresponsible
It is not too much to say that at the time of President McKinley's death
he was the most widely loved man in all the United States; while we have
never had any public man of his position who has been so wholly free from
the bitter animosities incident to public life. His political opponents
were the first to bear the heartiest and most generous tribute to the broad
kindliness of nature, the sweetness and gentleness of character which so
endeared him to his close associates. To a standard of lofty integrity
in public life he united the tender affections and home virtues which are
all-important in the make-up of national character. A gallant soldier in
the great war for the Union, he also shone as an example to all our people
because of his conduct in the most sacred and intimate of home relations.
There could be no personal hatred of him, for he never acted with aught
but consideration for the welfare of others. No one could fail to respect
him who knew him in public or private life. The defenders of those murderous
criminals who seek to excuse their criminality by asserting that it is
exercised for political ends, inveigh against wealth and irresponsible
power. But for this assassination even this base apology cannot be urged.
President McKinley was a man of moderate means, a man whose stock sprang
from the sturdy tillers of the soil, who had himself belonged among the
wage-workers, who had entered the Army as a private soldier. Wealth was
not struck at when the President was assassinated, but the honest toil
which is content with moderate gains after a lifetime of unremitting labor,
largely in the service of the public. Still less was power struck at in
the sense that power is irresponsible or centered in the hands of any one
individual. The blow was not aimed at tyranny or wealth. It was aimed at
one of the strongest champions the wage-worker has ever had; at one of
the most faithful representatives of the system of public rights and representative
government who has ever risen to public office. President McKinley filled
that political office for which the entire people vote, and no President
not even Lincoln himself--was ever more earnestly anxious to represent
the well thought-out wishes of the people; his one anxiety in every crisis
was to keep in closest touch with the people--to find out what they thought
and to endeavor to give expression to their thought, after having endeavored
to guide that thought aright. He had just been reelected to the Presidency
because the majority of our citizens, the majority of our farmers and wage-workers,
believed that he had faithfully upheld their interests for four years.
They felt themselves in close and intimate touch with him. They felt that
he represented so well and so honorably all their ideals and aspirations
that they wished him to continue for another four years to represent them.
And this was the man at whom the assassin struck That there might be
nothing lacking to complete the Judas-like infamy of his act, he took advantage
of an occasion when the President was meeting the people generally; and
advancing as if to take the hand out-stretched to him in kindly and brotherly
fellowship, he turned the noble and generous confidence of the victim into
an opportunity to strike the fatal blow. There is no baser deed in all
the annals of crime.
The shock, the grief of the country, are bitter in the minds of all
who saw the dark days, while the President yet hovered between life and
death. At last the light was stilled in the kindly eyes and the breath
went from the lips that even in mortal agony uttered no words save of forgiveness
to his murderer, of love for his friends, and of faltering trust in the
will of the Most High. Such a death, crowning the glory of such a life,
leaves us with infinite sorrow, but with such pride in what he had accomplished
and in his own personal character, that we feel the blow not as struck
at him, but as struck at the Nation We mourn a good and great President
who is dead; but while we mourn we are lifted up by the splendid achievements
of his life and the grand heroism with which he met his death.
When we turn from the man to the Nation, the harm done is so great as
to excite our gravest apprehensions and to demand our wisest and most resolute
action. This criminal was a professed anarchist, inflamed by the teachings
of professed anarchists, and probably also by the reckless utterances of
those who, on the stump and in the public press, appeal to the dark and
evil spirits of malice and greed, envy and sullen hatred. The wind is sowed
by the men who preach such doctrines, and they cannot escape their share
of responsibility for the whirlwind that is reaped. This applies alike
to the deliberate demagogue, to the exploiter of sensationalism, and to
the crude and foolish visionary who, for whatever reason, apologizes for
crime or excites aimless discontent.
The blow was aimed not at this President, but at all Presidents; at
every symbol of government. President McKinley was as emphatically the
embodiment of the popular will of the Nation expressed through the forms
of law as a New England town meeting is in similar fashion the embodiment
of the law-abiding purpose and practice of the people of the town. On no
conceivable theory could the murder of the President be accepted as due
to protest against "inequalities in the social order," save as the murder
of all the freemen engaged in a town meeting could be accepted as a protest
against that social inequality which puts a malefactor in jail. Anarchy
is no more an expression of "social discontent" than picking pockets or
The anarchist, and especially the anarchist in the United States, is
merely one type of criminal, more dangerous than any other because he represents
the same depravity in a greater degree. The man who advocates anarchy directly
or indirectly, in any shape or fashion, or the man who apologizes for anarchists
and their deeds, makes himself morally accessory to murder before the fact.
The anarchist is a criminal whose perverted instincts lead him to prefer
confusion and chaos to the most beneficent form of social order. His protest
of concern for workingmen is outrageous in its impudent falsity; for if
the political institutions of this country do not afford opportunity to
every honest and intelligent son of toil, then the door of hope is forever
closed against him. The anarchist is everywhere not merely the enemy of
system and of progress, but the deadly foe of liberty. If ever anarchy
is triumphant, its triumph will last for but one red moment, to be succeeded,
for ages by the gloomy night of despotism.
For the anarchist himself, whether he preaches or practices his doctrines,
we need not have one particle more concern than for any ordinary murderer.
He is not the victim of social or political injustice. There are no wrongs
to remedy in his case. The cause of his criminality is to be found in his
own evil passions and in the evil conduct of those who urge him on, not
in any failure by others or by the State to do justice to him or his. He
is a malefactor and nothing else. He is in no sense, in no shape or way,
a "product of social conditions," save as a highwayman is "produced" by
the fact than an unarmed man happens to have a purse. It is a travesty
upon the great and holy names of liberty and freedom to permit them to
be invoked in such a cause. No man or body of men preaching anarchistic
doctrines should be allowed at large any more than if preaching the murder
of some specified private individual. Anarchistic speeches, writings, and
meetings are essentially seditious and treasonable.
I earnestly recommend to the Congress that in the exercise of its wise
discretion it should take into consideration the coming to this country
of anarchists or persons professing principles hostile to all government
and justifying the murder of those placed in authority. Such individuals
as those who not long ago gathered in open meeting to glorify the murder
of King Humbert of Italy perpetrate a crime, and the law should ensure
their rigorous punishment. They and those like them should be kept out
of this country; and if found here they should be promptly deported to
the country whence they came; and far-reaching. provision should be made
for the punishment of those who stay. No matter calls more urgently for
the wisest thought of the Congress.
The Federal courts should be given jurisdiction over any man who kills
or attempts to kill the President or any man who by the Constitution or
by law is in line of succession for the Presidency, while the punishment
for an unsuccessful attempt should be proportioned to the enormity of the
offense against our institutions.
Anarchy is a crime against the whole human race; and all mankind should
band against the anarchist. His crime should be made an offense against
the law of nations, like piracy and that form of man-stealing known as
the slave trade; for it is of far blacker infamy than either. It should
be so declared by treaties among all civilized powers. Such treaties would
give to the Federal Government the power of dealing with the crime.
A grim commentary upon the folly of the anarchist position was afforded
by the attitude of the law toward this very criminal who had just taken
the life of the President. The people would have torn him limb from limb
if it had not been that the law he defied was at once invoked in his behalf.
So far from his deed being committed on behalf of the people against the
Government, the Government was obliged at once to exert its full police
power to save him from instant death at the hands of the people. Moreover,
his deed worked not the slightest dislocation in our governmental system,
and the danger of a recurrence of such deeds, no matter how great it might
grow, would work only in the direction of strengthening and giving harshness
to the forces of order. No man will ever be restrained from becoming President
by any fear as to his personal safety. If the risk to the President's life
became great, it would mean that the office would more and more come to
be filled by men of a spirit which would make them resolute and merciless
in dealing with every friend of disorder. This great country will not fall
into anarchy, and if anarchists should ever become a serious menace to
its institutions, they would not merely be stamped out, but would involve
in their own ruin every active or passive sympathizer with their doctrines.
The American people are slow to wrath, but when their wrath is once kindled
it burns like a consuming flame.
During the last five years business confidence has been restored, and
the nation is to be congratulated because of its present abounding prosperity.
Such prosperity can never be created by law alone, although it is easy
enough to destroy it by mischievous laws. If the hand of the Lord is heavy
upon any country, if flood or drought comes, human wisdom is powerless
to avert the calamity. Moreover, no law can guard us against the consequences
of our own folly. The men who are idle or credulous, the men who seek gains
not by genuine work with head or hand but by gambling in any form, are
always a source of menace not only to themselves but to others. If the
business world loses its head, it loses what legislation cannot supply.
Fundamentally the welfare of each citizen, and therefore the welfare of
the aggregate of citizens which makes the nation, must rest upon individual
thrift and energy, resolution, and intelligence. Nothing can take the place
of this individual capacity; but wise legislation and honest and intelligent
administration can give it the fullest scope, the largest opportunity to
work to good effect.
The tremendous and highly complex industrial development which went
on with ever accelerated rapidity during the latter half of the nineteenth
century brings us face to face, at the beginning of the twentieth, with
very serious social problems. The old laws, and the old customs which had
almost the binding force of law, were once quite sufficient to regulate
the accumulation and distribution of wealth. Since the industrial changes
which have so enormously increased the productive power of mankind, they
are no longer sufficient.
The growth of cities has gone on beyond comparison faster than the growth
of the country, and the upbuilding of the great industrial centers has
meant a startling increase, not merely in the aggregate of wealth, but
in the number of very large individual, and especially of very large corporate,
fortunes. The creation of these great corporate fortunes has not been due
to the tariff nor to any other governmental action, but to natural causes
in the business world, operating in other countries as they operate in
The process has aroused much antagonism, a great part of which is wholly
without warrant. It is not true that as the rich have grown richer the
poor have grown poorer. On the contrary, never before has the average man,
the wage-worker, the farmer, the small trader, been so well off as in this
country and at the present time. There have been abuses connected with
the accumulation of wealth; yet it remains true that a fortune accumulated
in legitimate business can be accumulated by the person specially benefited
only on condition of conferring immense incidental benefits upon others.
Successful enterprise, of the type which benefits all mankind, can only
exist if the conditions are such as to offer great prizes as the rewards
The captains of industry who have driven the railway systems across
this continent, who have built up our commerce, who have developed our
manufactures, have on the whole done great good to our people. Without
them the material development of which we are so justly proud could never
have taken place. Moreover, we should recognize the immense importance
of this material development of leaving as unhampered as is compatible
with the public good the strong and forceful men upon whom the success
of business operations inevitably rests. The slightest study of business
conditions will satisfy anyone capable of forming a judgment that the personal
equation is the most important factor in a business operation; that the
business ability of the man at the head of any business concern, big or
little, is usually the factor which fixes the gulf between striking success
and hopeless failure.
An additional reason for caution in dealing with corporations is to
be found in the international commercial conditions of to-day. The same
business conditions which have produced the great aggregations of corporate
and individual wealth have made them very potent factors in international
Commercial competition. Business concerns which have the largest means
at their disposal and are managed by the ablest men are naturally those
which take the lead in the strife for commercial supremacy among the nations
of the world. America has only just begun to assume that commanding position
in the international business world which we believe will more and more
be hers. It is of the utmost importance that this position be not jeoparded,
especially at a time when the overflowing abundance of our own natural
resources and the skill, business energy, and mechanical aptitude of our
people make foreign markets essential. Under such conditions it would be
most unwise to cramp or to fetter the youthful strength of our Nation.
Moreover, it cannot too often be pointed out that to strike with ignorant
violence at the interests of one set of men almost inevitably endangers
the interests of all. The fundamental rule in our national life --the rule
which underlies all others--is that, on the whole, and in the long run,
we shall go up or down together. There are exceptions; and in times of
prosperity some will prosper far more, and in times of adversity, some
will suffer far more, than others; but speaking generally, a period of
good times means that all share more or less in them, and in a period of
hard times all feel the stress to a greater or less degree. It surely ought
not to be necessary to enter into any proof of this statement; the memory
of the lean years which began in 1893 is still vivid, and we can contrast
them with the conditions in this very year which is now closing. Disaster
to great business enterprises can never have its effects limited to the
men at the top. It spreads throughout, and while it is bad for everybody,
it is worst for those farthest down. The capitalist may be shorn of his
luxuries; but the wage-worker may be deprived of even bare necessities.
The mechanism of modern business is so delicate that extreme care must
be taken not to interfere with it in a spirit of rashness or ignorance.
Many of those who have made it their vocation to denounce the great industrial
combinations which are popularly, although with technical inaccuracy, known
as "trusts," appeal especially to hatred and fear. These are precisely
the two emotions, particularly when combined with ignorance, which unfit
men for the exercise of cool and steady judgment. In facing new industrial
conditions, the whole history of the world shows that legislation will
generally be both unwise and ineffective unless undertaken after calm inquiry
and with sober self-restraint. Much of the legislation directed at the
trusts would have been exceedingly mischievous had it not also been entirely
ineffective. In accordance with a well-known sociological law, the ignorant
or reckless agitator has been the really effective friend of the evils
which he has been nominally opposing. In dealing with business interests,
for the Government to undertake by crude and ill-considered legislation
to do what may turn out to be bad, would be to incur the risk of such far-reaching
national disaster that it would be preferable to undertake nothing at all.
The men who demand the impossible or the undesirable serve as the allies
of the forces with which they are nominally at war, for they hamper those
who would endeavor to find out in rational fashion what the wrongs really
are and to what extent and in what manner it is practicable to apply remedies.
All this is true; and yet it is also true that there are real and grave
evils, one of the chief being over-capitalization because of its many baleful
consequences; and a resolute and practical effort must be made to correct
There is a widespread conviction in the minds of the American people
that the great corporations known as trusts are in certain of their features
and tendencies hurtful to the general welfare. This springs from no spirit
of envy or uncharitableness, nor lack of pride in the great industrial
achievements that have placed this country at the head of the nations struggling
for commercial supremacy. It does not rest upon a lack of intelligent appreciation
of the necessity of meeting changing and changed conditions of trade with
new methods, nor upon ignorance of the fact that combination of capital
in the effort to accomplish great things is necessary when the world's
progress demands that great things be done. It is based upon sincere conviction
that combination and concentration should be, not prohibited, but supervised
and within reasonable limits controlled; and in my judgment this conviction
It is no limitation upon property rights or freedom of contract to require
that when men receive from Government the privilege of doing business under
corporate form, which frees them from individual responsibility, and enables
them to call into their enterprises the capital of the public, they shall
do so upon absolutely truthful representations as to the value of the property
in which the capital is to be invested. Corporations engaged in interstate
commerce should be regulated if they are found to exercise a license working
to the public injury. It should be as much the aim of those who seek for
social- betterment to rid the business world of crimes of cunning as to
rid the entire body politic of crimes of violence. Great corporations exist
only because they are created and safeguarded by our institutions; and
it is therefore our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony
with these institutions.
The first essential in determining how to deal with the great industrial
combinations is knowledge of the facts--publicity. In the interest of the
public, the Government should have the right to inspect and examine the
workings of the great corporations engaged in interstate business. Publicity
is the only sure remedy which we can now invoke. What further remedies
are needed in the way of governmental regulation, or taxation, can only
be determined after publicity has been obtained, by process of law, and
in the course of administration. The first requisite is knowledge, full
and complete--knowledge which may be made public to the world.
Artificial bodies, such as corporations and joint stock or other associations,
depending upon any statutory law for their existence or privileges, should
be subject to proper governmental supervision, and full and accurate information
as to their operations should be made public regularly at reasonable intervals.
The large corporations, commonly called trusts, though organized in
one State, always do business in many States, often doing very little business
in the State where they are incorporated. There is utter lack of uniformity
in the State laws about them; and as no State has any exclusive interest
in or power over their acts, it has in practice proved impossible to get
adequate regulation through State action. Therefore, in the interest of
the whole people, the Nation should, without interfering with the power
of the States in the matter itself, also assume power of supervision and
regulation over all corporations doing an interstate business. This is
especially true where the corporation derives a portion of its wealth from
the existence of some monopolistic element or tendency in its business.
There would be no hardship in such supervision; banks are subject to it,
and in their case it is now accepted as a simple matter of course. Indeed,
it is probable that supervision of corporations by the National Government
need not go so far as is now the case with the supervision exercised over
them by so conservative a State as Massachusetts, in order to produce excellent
When the Constitution was adopted, at the end of the eighteenth century,
no human wisdom could foretell the sweeping changes, alike in industrial
and political conditions, which were to take place by the beginning of
the twentieth century. At that time it was accepted as a matter of course
that the several States were the proper authorities to regulate, so far
as was then necessary, the comparatively insignificant and strictly localized
corporate bodies of the day. The conditions are now wholly different and
wholly different action is called for. I believe that a law can be
framed which will enable the National Government to exercise control along
the lines above indicated; profiting by the experience gained through the
passage and administration of the Interstate-Commerce Act. If, however,
the judgment of the Congress is that it lacks the constitutional power
to pass such an act, then a constitutional amendment should be submitted
to confer the power.
There should be created a Cabinet officer, to be known as Secretary
of Commerce and Industries, as provided in the bill introduced at the last
session of the Congress. It should be his province to deal with commerce
in its broadest sense; including among many other things whatever concerns
labor and all matters affecting the great business corporations and our
The course proposed is one phase of what should be a comprehensive and
far-reaching scheme of constructive statesmanship for the purpose of broadening
our markets, securing our business interests on a safe basis, and making
firm our new position in the international industrial world; while scrupulously
safeguarding the rights of wage-worker and capitalist, of investor and
private citizen, so as to secure equity as between man and man in this
With the sole exception of the farming interest, no one matter is of
such vital moment to our whole people as the welfare of the wage-workers.
If the farmer and the wage-worker are well off, it is absolutely certain
that all others will be well off too. It is therefore a matter for hearty
congratulation that on the whole wages are higher to-day in the United
States than ever before in our history, and far higher than in any other
country. The standard of living is also higher than ever before. Every
effort of legislator and administrator should be bent to secure the permanency
of this condition of things and its improvement wherever possible. Not
only must our labor be protected by the tariff, but it should also be protected
so far as it is possible from the presence in this country of any laborers
brought over by contract, or of those who, coming freely, yet represent
a standard of living so depressed that they can undersell our men in the
labor market and drag them to a lower level. I regard it as necessary,
with this end in view, to re-enact immediately the law excluding Chinese
laborers and to strengthen it wherever necessary in order to make its enforcement
The National Government should demand the highest quality of service
from its employees; and in return it should be a good employer. If possible
legislation should be passed, in connection with the Interstate Commerce
Law, which will render effective the efforts of different States to do
away with the competition of convict contract labor in the open labor market.
So far as practicable under the conditions of Government work, provision
should be made to render the enforcement of the eight-hour law easy and
certain. In all industries carried on directly or indirectly for the United
States Government women and children should be protected from excessive
hours of labor, from night work, and from work under unsanitary conditions.
The Government should provide in its contracts that all work should be
done under "fair" conditions, and in addition to setting a high standard
should uphold it by proper inspection, extending if necessary to the subcontractors.
The Government should forbid all night work for women and children, as
well as excessive overtime. For the District of Columbia a good factory
law should be passed; and, as a powerful indirect aid to such laws, provision
should be made to turn the inhabited alleys, the existence of which is
a reproach to our Capital city, into minor streets, where the inhabitants
can live under conditions favorable to health and morals.
American wage-workers work with their heads as well as their hands.
Moreover, they take a keen pride in what they are doing; so that, independent
of the reward, they wish to turn out a perfect job. This is the great secret
of our success in competition with the labor of foreign countries.
The most vital problem with which this country, and for that matter
the whole civilized world, has to deal, is the problem which has for one
side the betterment of social conditions, moral and physical, in large
cities, and for another side the effort to deal with that tangle of far-reaching
questions which we group together when we speak of "labor." The chief factor
in the success of each man--wage-worker, farmer, and capitalist alike--must
ever be the sum total of his own individual qualities and abilities. Second
only to this comes the power of acting in combination or association with
others. Very great good has been and will be accomplished by associations
or unions of wage-workers, when managed with forethought, and when they
combine insistence upon their own rights with law-abiding respect for the
rights of others. The display of these qualities in such bodies is a duty
to the nation no less than to the associations themselves. Finally, there
must also in many cases be action by the Government in order to safeguard
the rights and interests of all. Under our Constitution there is much more
scope for such action by the State and the municipality than by the nation.
But on points such as those touched on above the National Government can
When all is said and done, the rule of brotherhood remains as the indispensable
prerequisite to success in the kind of national life for which we strive.
Each man must work for himself, and unless he so works no outside help
can avail him; but each man must remember also that he is indeed his brother's
keeper, and that while no man who refuses to walk can be carried with advantage
to himself or anyone else, yet that each at times stumbles or halts, that
each at times needs to have the helping hand outstretched to him. To be
permanently effective, aid must always take the form of helping a man to
help himself; and we can all best help ourselves by joining together in
the work that is of common interest to all.
Our present immigration laws are unsatisfactory. We need every honest
and efficient immigrant fitted to become an American citizen, every immigrant
who comes here to stay, who brings here a strong body, a stout heart, a
good head, and a resolute purpose to do his duty well in every way and
to bring up his children as law-abiding and God-fearing members of the
community. But there should be a comprehensive law enacted with the object
of working a threefold improvement over our present system. First, we should
aim to exclude absolutely not only all persons who are known to be believers
in anarchistic principles or members of anarchistic societies, but also
all persons who are of a low moral tendency or of unsavory reputation.
This means that we should require a more thorough system of inspection
abroad and a more rigid system of examination at our immigration ports,
the former being especially necessary.
The second object of a proper immigration law ought to be to secure
by a careful and not merely perfunctory educational test some intelligent
capacity to appreciate American institutions and act sanely as American
citizens. This would not keep out all anarchists, for many of them belong
to the intelligent criminal class. But it would do what is also in point,
that is, tend to decrease the sum of ignorance, so potent in producing
the envy, suspicion, malignant passion, and hatred of order, out of which
anarchistic sentiment inevitably springs. Finally, all persons should be
excluded who are below a certain standard of economic fitness to enter
our industrial field as competitors with American labor. There should be
proper proof of personal capacity to earn an American living and enough
money to insure a decent start under American conditions. This would stop
the influx of cheap labor, and the resulting competition which gives rise
to so much of bitterness in American industrial life; and it would dry
up the springs of the pestilential social conditions in our great cities,
where anarchistic organizations have their greatest possibility of growth.
Both the educational and economic tests in a wise immigration law should
be designed to protect and elevate the general body politic and social.
A very close supervision should be exercised over the steamship companies
which mainly bring over the immigrants, and they should be held to a strict
accountability for any infraction of the law.
There is general acquiescence in our present tariff system as a national
policy. The first requisite to our prosperity is the continuity and stability
of this economic policy. Nothing could be more unwise than to disturb the
business interests of the country by any general tariff change at this
time. Doubt, apprehension, uncertainty are exactly what we most wish to
avoid in the interest of our commercial and material well-being. Our experience
in the past has shown that sweeping revisions of the tariff are apt to
produce conditions closely approaching panic in the business world. Yet
it is not only possible, but eminently desirable, to combine with the stability
of our economic system a supplementary system of reciprocal benefit and
obligation with other nations. Such reciprocity is an incident and result
of the firm establishment and preservation of our present economic policy.
It was specially provided for in the present tariff law.
Reciprocity must be treated as the handmaiden of protection. Our first
duty is to see that the protection granted by the tariff in every case
where it is needed is maintained, and that reciprocity be sought for so
far as it can safely be done without injury to our home industries.
Just how far this is must be determined according to the individual case,
remembering always that every application of our tariff policy to meet
our shifting national needs must be conditioned upon the cardinal fact
that the duties must never be reduced below the point that will cover the
difference between the labor cost here and abroad. The well-being of the
wage-worker is a prime consideration of our entire policy of economic legislation.
Subject to this proviso of the proper protection necessary to our industrial
well-being at home, the principle of reciprocity must command our hearty
support. The phenomenal growth of our export trade emphasizes the urgency
of the need for wider markets and for a liberal policy in dealing with
foreign nations. Whatever is merely petty and vexatious in the way of trade
restrictions should be avoided. The customers to whom we dispose of our
surplus products in the long run, directly or indirectly, purchase those
surplus products by giving us something in return. Their ability to purchase
our products should as far as possible be secured by so arranging our tariff
as to enable us to take from them those products which we can use without
harm to our own industries and labor, or the use of which will be of marked
benefit to us.
It is most important that we should maintain the high level of our present
prosperity. We have now reached the point in the development of our interests
where we are not only able to supply our own markets but to produce a constantly
growing surplus for which we must find markets abroad. To secure these
markets we can utilize existing duties in any case where they are no longer
needed for the purpose of protection, or in any case where the article
is not produced here and the duty is no longer necessary for revenue, as
giving us something to offer in exchange for what we ask. The cordial relations
with other nations which are so desirable will naturally be promoted by
the course thus required by our own interests.
The natural line of development for a policy of reciprocity will be
in connection with those of our productions which no longer require all
of the support once needed to establish them upon a sound basis, and with
those others where either because of natural or of economic causes we are
beyond the reach of successful competition.
I ask the attention of the Senate to the reciprocity treaties laid before
it by my predecessor.
The condition of the American merchant marine is such as to call for
immediate remedial action by the Congress. It is discreditable to us as
a Nation that our merchant marine should be utterly insignificant in comparison
to that of other nations which we overtop in other forms of business. We
should not longer submit to conditions under which only a trifling portion
of our great commerce is carried in our own ships. To remedy this state
of things would not .merely serve to build up our shipping interests, but
it would also result in benefit to all who are interested in the permanent
establishment of a wider market for American products, and would provide
an auxiliary force for the Navy. Ships work for their own countries just
as railroads work for their terminal points. Shipping lines, if established
to the principal countries with which we have dealings, would be of political
as well as commercial benefit. From every standpoint it is unwise for the
United States to continue to rely upon the ships of competing nations for
the distribution of our goods. It should be made advantageous to carry
American goods in American-built ships.
At present American shipping is under certain great disadvantages when
put in competition with the shipping of foreign countries. Many of the
fast foreign steamships, at a speed of fourteen knots or above, are subsidized;
and all our ships, sailing vessels and steamers alike, cargo carriers of
slow speed and mail carriers of high speed, have to meet the fact that
the original cost of building American ships is greater than is the case
abroad; that the wages paid American officers and seamen are very much
higher than those paid the officers and seamen of foreign competing countries;
and that the standard of living on our ships is far superior to the standard
of living on the ships of our commercial rivals.
Our Government should take such action as will remedy these inequalities.
The American merchant marine should be restored to the ocean.
The Act of March 14, 1900, intended unequivocally to establish gold
as the standard money and to maintain at a parity therewith all forms of
money medium in use with us, has been shown to be timely and judicious.
The price of our Government bonds in the world's market, when compared
with the price of similar obligations issued by other nations, is a flattering
tribute to our public credit. This condition it is evidently desirable
In many respects the National Banking Law furnishes sufficient liberty
for the proper exercise of the banking function; but there seems to be
need of better safeguards against the deranging influence of commercial
crises and financial panics. Moreover, the currency of the country should
be made responsive to the demands of our domestic trade and commerce.
The collections from duties on imports and internal taxes continue to
exceed the ordinary expenditures of the Government, thanks mainly to the
reduced army expenditures. The utmost care should be taken not to reduce
the revenues so that there will be any possibility of a deficit; but, after
providing against any such contingency, means should be adopted which will
bring the revenues more nearly within the limit of our actual needs. In
his report to the Congress the Secretary of the Treasury considers all
these questions at length, and I ask your attention to the report and recommendations.
I call special attention to the need of strict economy in expenditures.
The fact that our national needs forbid us to be niggardly in providing
whatever is actually necessary to our well-being, should make us doubly
careful to husband our national resources, as each of us husbands his private
resources, by scrupulous avoidance of anything like wasteful or reckless
expenditure. Only by avoidance of spending money on what is needless or
unjustifiable can we legitimately keep our income to the point required
to meet our needs that are genuine.
In 1887 a measure was enacted for the regulation of interstate railways,
commonly known as the Interstate Commerce Act. The cardinal provisions
of that act were that railway rates should be just and reasonable and that
all shippers, localities, and commodities should be accorded equal treatment.
A commission was created and endowed with what were supposed to be the
necessary powers to execute the provisions of this act. That law was largely
an experiment. Experience has shown the wisdom of its purposes, but has
also shown, possibly that some of its requirements are wrong, certainly
that the means devised for the enforcement of its provisions are defective.
Those who complain of the management of the railways allege that established
rates are not maintained; that rebates and similar devices are habitually
resorted to; that these preferences are usually in favor of the large shipper;
that they drive out of business the smaller competitor; that while many
rates are too low, many others are excessive; and that gross preferences
are made, affecting both localities and commodities. Upon the other hand,
the railways assert that the law by its very terms tends to produce many
of these illegal practices by depriving carriers of that right of concerted
action which they claim is necessary to establish and maintain non-discriminating
The act should be amended. The railway is a public servant. Its rates
should be just to and open to all shippers alike. The Government should
see to it that within its jurisdiction this is so and should provide a
speedy, inexpensive, and effective remedy to that end. At the same time
it must not be forgotten that our railways are the arteries through which
the commercial lifeblood of this Nation flows. Nothing could be more foolish
than the enactment of legislation which would unnecessarily interfere with
the development and operation of these commercial agencies. The subject
is one of great importance and calls for the earnest attention of the Congress.
The Department of Agriculture during the past fifteen years has steadily
broadened its work on economic lines, and has accomplished results of real
value in upbuilding domestic and foreign trade. It has gone into new fields
until it is now in touch with all sections of our country and with two
of the island groups that have lately come under our jurisdiction, whose
people must look to agriculture as a livelihood. It is searching the world
for grains, grasses, fruits, and vegetables specially fitted for introduction
into localities in the several States and Territories where they may add
materially to our resources. By scientific attention to soil survey and
possible new crops, to breeding of new varieties of plants, to experimental
shipments, to animal industry and applied chemistry, very practical aid
has been given our farming and stock-growing interests. The products of
the farm have taken an unprecedented place in our export trade during the
year that has just closed.
Public opinion throughout the United States has moved steadily toward
a just appreciation of the value of forests, whether planted or of natural
growth. The great part played by them in the creation and maintenance of
the national wealth is now more fully realized than ever before.
Wise forest protection does not mean the withdrawal of forest resources,
whether of wood, water, or grass, from contributing their full share to
the welfare of the people, but, on the contrary, gives the assurance of
larger and more certain supplies. The fundamental idea of forestry is the
perpetuation of forests by use. Forest protection is not an end of itself;
it is a means to increase and sustain the resources of our country and
the industries which depend upon them. The preservation of our forests
is an imperative business necessity. We have come to see clearly that whatever
destroys the forest, except to make way for agriculture, threatens our
The practical usefulness of the national forest reserves to the mining,
grazing, irrigation, and other interests of the regions in which the reserves
lie has led to a widespread demand by the people of the West for their
protection and extension. The forest reserves will inevitably be of still
greater use in the future than in the past. Additions should be made to
them whenever practicable, and their usefulness should be increased by
a thoroughly business-like management.
At present the protection of the forest reserves rests with the General
Land Office, the mapping and description of their timber with the United
States Geological Survey, and the preparation of plans for their conservative
use with the Bureau of Forestry, which is also charged with the general
advancement of practical forestry in the United States. These various functions
should be united in the Bureau of Forestry, to which they properly belong.
The present diffusion of responsibility is bad from every standpoint. It
prevents that effective co-operation between the Government and the men
who utilize the resources of the reserves, without which the interests
of both must suffer. The scientific bureaus generally should be put under
the Department of Agriculture. The President should have by law the power
of transferring lands for use as forest reserves to the Department of Agriculture.
He already has such power in the case of lands needed by the Departments
of War and the Navy.
The wise administration of the forest reserves will be not less helpful
to the interests which depend on water than to those which depend on wood
and grass. The water supply itself depends upon the forest. In the arid
region it is water, not land, which measures production. The western half
of the United States would sustain a population greater than that of our
whole country to-day if the waters that now run to waste were saved and
used for irrigation. The forest and water problems are perhaps the most
vital internal questions of the United States.
Certain of the forest reserves should also be made preserves for the
wild forest creatures. All of the reserves should be better protected from
fires. Many of them need special protection because of the great injury
done by live stock, above all by sheep. The increase in deer, elk, and
other animals in the Yellowstone Park shows what may be expected when other
mountain forests are properly protected by law and properly guarded. Some
of these areas have been so denuded of surface vegetation by overgrazing
that the ground breeding birds, including grouse and quail, and many mammals,
including deer, have been exterminated or driven away. At the same time
the water-storing capacity of the surface has been decreased or destroyed,
thus promoting floods in times of rain and diminishing the flow of streams
In cases where natural conditions have been restored for a few years,
vegetation has again carpeted the ground, birds and deer are coming back,
and hundreds of persons, especially from the immediate neighborhood, come
each summer to enjoy the privilege of camping. Some at least of the forest
reserves should afford perpetual protection to the native fauna and flora,
safe havens of refuge to our rapidly diminishing wild animals of the larger
kinds, and free camping grounds for the ever-increasing numbers of men
and women who have learned to find rest, health, and recreation in the
splendid forests and flower-clad meadows of our mountains. The forest reserves
should be set apart forever for the use and benefit of our people as a
whole and not sacrificed to the shortsighted greed of a few.
The forests are natural reservoirs. By restraining the streams in flood
and replenishing them in drought they make possible the use of waters otherwise
wasted. They prevent the soil from washing, and so protect the storage
reservoirs from filling up with silt. Forest conservation is therefore
an essential condition of water conservation.
The forests alone cannot, however, fully regulate and conserve the waters
of the arid region. Great storage works are necessary to equalize the flow
of streams and to save the flood waters. Their construction has been conclusively
shown to be an undertaking too vast for private effort. Nor can it be best
accomplished by the individual States acting alone. Far-reaching interstate
problems are involved; and the resources of single States would often be
inadequate. It is properly a national function, at least in some of its
features. It is as right for the National Government to make the streams
and rivers of the arid region useful by engineering works for water storage
as to make useful the rivers and harbors of the humid region by engineering
works of another kind. The storing of the floods in reservoirs at the headwaters
of our rivers is but an enlargement of our present policy of river control,
under which levees are built on the lower reaches of the same streams.
The Government should construct and maintain these reservoirs as it
does other public works. Where their purpose is to regulate the flow of
streams, the water should be turned freely into the channels in the dry
season to take the same course under the same laws as the natural flow.
The reclamation of the unsettled arid public lands presents a different
problem. Here it is not enough to regulate the flow of streams. The object
of the Government is to dispose of the land to settlers who will build
homes upon it. To accomplish this object water must be brought within their
The pioneer settlers on the arid public domain chose their homes along
streams from which they could themselves divert the water to reclaim their
holdings. Such opportunities are practically gone. There remain, however,
vast areas of public land which can be made available for homestead settlement,
but only by reservoirs and main-line canals impracticable for private enterprise.
These irrigation works should be built by the National Government. The
lands reclaimed by them should be reserved by the Government for actual
settlers, and the cost of construction should so far as possible be repaid
by the land reclaimed. The distribution of the water, the division of the
streams among irrigators, should be left to the settlers themselves in
conformity with State laws and without interference with those laws or
with vested fights. The policy of the National Government should be to
aid irrigation in the several States and Territories in such manner as
will enable the people in the local communities to help themselves, and
as will stimulate needed reforms in the State laws and regulations governing
The reclamation and settlement of the arid lands will enrich every portion
of our country, just as the settlement of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys
brought prosperity to the Atlantic States. The increased demand for manufactured
articles will stimulate industrial production, while wider home markets
and the trade of Asia will consume the larger food supplies and effectually
prevent Western competition with Eastern agriculture. Indeed, the products
of irrigation will be consumed chiefly in upbuilding local centers of mining
and other industries, which would otherwise not come into existence at
all. Our people as a whole will profit, for successful home-making is but
another name for the upbuilding of the nation.
The necessary foundation has already been laid for the inauguration
of the policy just described. It would be unwise to begin by doing too
much, for a great deal will doubtless be learned, both as to what can and
what cannot be safely attempted, by the early efforts, which must of necessity
be partly experimental in character. At the very beginning the Government
should make clear, beyond shadow of doubt, its intention to pursue this
policy on lines of the broadest public interest. No reservoir or canal
should ever be built to satisfy selfish personal or local interests; but
only in accordance with the advice of trained experts, after long investigation
has shown the locality where all the conditions combine to make the work
most needed and fraught with the greatest usefulness to the community as
a whole. There should be no extravagance, and the believers in the need
of irrigation will most benefit their cause by seeing to it that it is
free from the least taint of excessive or reckless expenditure of the public
Whatever the nation does for the extension of irrigation should harmonize
with, and tend to improve, the condition of those now living on irrigated
land. We are not at the starting point of this development. Over two hundred
millions of private capital has already been expended in the construction
of irrigation works, and many million acres of arid land reclaimed. A high
degree of enterprise and ability has been shown in the work itself; but
as much cannot be said in reference to the laws relating thereto. The security
and value of the homes created depend largely on the stability of titles
to water; but the majority of these rest on the uncertain foundation of
court decisions rendered in ordinary suits at law. With a few creditable
exceptions, the arid States have failed to provide for the certain and
just division of streams in times of scarcity. Lax and uncertain laws have
made it possible to establish rights to water in excess of actual uses
or necessities, and many streams have already passed into private ownership,
or a control equivalent to ownership.
Whoever controls a stream practically controls the land it renders productive,
and the doctrine of private ownership of water apart from land cannot prevail
without causing enduring wrong. The recognition of such ownership, which
has been permitted to grow up in the arid regions, should give way to a
more enlightened and larger recognition of the rights of the public in
the control and disposal of the public water supplies. Laws founded upon
conditions obtaining in humid regions, where water is too abundant to justify
hoarding it, have no proper application in a dry country.
In the arid States the only right to water which should be recognized
is that of use. In irrigation this right should attach to the land reclaimed
and be inseparable therefrom. Granting perpetual water rights to others
than users, without compensation to the public, is open to all the objections
which apply to giving away perpetual franchises to the public utilities
of cities. A few of the Western States have already recognized this, and
have incorporated in their constitutions the doctrine of perpetual State
ownership of water.
The benefits which have followed the unaided development of the past
justify the nation's aid and co-operation in the more difficult and important
work yet to be accomplished. Laws so vitally affecting homes as those which
control the water supply will only be effective when they have the sanction
of the irrigators; reforms can only be final and satisfactory when they
come through the enlightenment of the people most concerned. The larger
development which national aid insures should, however, awaken in every
arid State the determination to make its irrigation system equal in justice
and effectiveness that of any country in the civilized world. Nothing could
be more unwise than for isolated communities to continue to learn everything
experimentally, instead of profiting by what is already known elsewhere.
We are dealing with a new and momentous question, in the pregnant years
while institutions are forming, and what we do will affect not only the
present but future generations.
Our aim should be not simply to reclaim the largest area of land and
provide homes for the largest number of people, but to create for this
new industry the best possible social and industrial conditions; and this
requires that we not only understand the existing situation, but avail
ourselves of the best experience of the time in the solution of its problems.
A careful study should be made, both by the Nation and the States, of the
irrigation laws and conditions here and abroad. Ultimately it will probably
be necessary for the Nation to co-operate with the several arid States
in proportion as these States by their legislation and administration show
themselves fit to receive it.
In Hawaii our aim must be to develop the Territory on the traditional
American lines. We do not wish a region of large estates tilled by cheap
labor; we wish a healthy American community of men who themselves till
the farms they own. All our legislation for the islands should be shaped
with this end in view; the well-being of the average home-maker must afford
the true test of the healthy development of the islands. The land policy
should as nearly as possible be modeled on our homestead system.
It is a pleasure to say that it is hardly more necessary to report as
to Puerto Rico than as to any State or Territory within our continental
limits. The island is thriving as never before, and it is being administered
efficiently and honestly. Its people are now enjoying liberty and order
under the protection of the United States, and upon this fact we congratulate
them and ourselves. Their material welfare must be as carefully and jealously
considered as the welfare of any other portion of our country. We have
given them the great gift of free access for their products to the markets
of the United States. I ask the attention of the Congress to the need of
legislation concerning the public lands of Puerto Rico.
In Cuba such progress has been made toward putting the independent government
of the island upon a firm footing that before the present session of the
Congress closes this will be an accomplished fact. Cuba will then start
as her own mistress; and to the beautiful Queen of the Antilles, as she
unfolds this new page of her destiny, we extend our heartiest greetings
and good wishes. Elsewhere I have discussed the question of reciprocity.
In the case of Cuba, however, there are weighty reasons of morality and
of national interest why the policy should be held to have a peculiar application,
and I most earnestly ask your attention to the wisdom, indeed to the vital
need, of providing for a substantial reduction in the tariff duties on
Cuban imports into the United States. Cuba has in her constitution affirmed
what we desired. that she should stand, in international matters, in closer
and more friendly relations with us than with any other power; and we are
bound by every consideration of honor and expediency to pass commercial
measures in the interest of her material well-being.
In the Philippines our problem is larger. They are very rich tropical
islands, inhabited by many varying tribes, representing widely different
stages of progress toward civilization. Our earnest effort is to help these
people upward along the stony and difficult path that leads to self-government.
We hope to make our administration of the islands honorable to our Nation
by making it of the highest benefit to the Filipinos themselves; and as
an earnest of what we intend to do, we point to what we have done. Already
a greater measure of material prosperity and of governmental honesty and
efficiency has been attained in the Philippines than ever before in their
It is no light task for a nation to achieve the temperamental qualities
without which the institutions of free government are but an empty mockery.
Our people are now successfully governing themselves, because for more
than a thousand years they have been slowly fitting themselves, sometimes
consciously, sometimes unconsciously, toward this end. What has taken us
thirty generations to achieve, we cannot expect to have another race accomplish
out of hand, especially when large portions of that race start very far
behind the point which our ancestors had reached even thirty generations
ago. In dealing with the Philippine people we must show both patience and
strength, forbearance and steadfast resolution. Our aim is high. We do
not desire to do for the islanders merely what has elsewhere been done
for tropic peoples by even the best foreign governments. We hope to do
for them what has never before been done for any people of the tropics--to
make them fit for self-government after the fashion of the really free
History may safely be challenged to show a single instance in which
a masterful race such as ours, having been forced by the exigencies of
war to take possession of an alien land, has behaved to its inhabitants
with the disinterested zeal for their progress that our people have shown
in the Philippines. To leave the islands at this time would mean that they
would fall into a welter of murderous anarchy. Such desertion of duty on
our part would be a crime against humanity. The character of Governor Taft
and of his associates and subordinates is a proof, if such be needed, of
the sincerity of our effort to give the islanders a constantly increasing
measure of self-government, exactly as fast as they show themselves fit
to exercise it. Since the civil government was established not an appointment
has been made in the islands with any reference to considerations of political
influence, or to aught else Save the fitness of the man and the needs of
In our anxiety for the welfare and progress of the Philippines, may
be that here and there we have gone too rapidly in giving them local self-government.
It is on this side that our error, if any, has been committed. No competent
observer, sincerely desirous of finding out the facts and influenced only
by a desire for the welfare of the natives, can assert that we have not
gone far enough. We have gone to the very verge of safety in hastening
the process. To have taken a single step farther or faster in advance would
have been folly and weakness, and might well have been crime. We are extremely
anxious that the natives shall show the power of governing themselves.
We are anxious, first for their sakes, and next, because it relieves us
of a great burden. There need not be the slightest fear of our not continuing
to give them all the liberty for which they are fit.
The only fear is test in our overanxiety we give them a degree of independence
for which they are unfit, thereby inviting reaction and disaster. As fast
as there is any reasonable hope that in a given district the people can
govern themselves, self-government has been given in that district. There
is not a locality fitted for self-government which has not received it.
But it may well be that in certain cases it will have to be withdrawn because
the inhabitants show themselves unfit to exercise it; such instances have
already occurred. In other words, there is not the slightest chance of
our failing to show a sufficiently humanitarian spirit. The danger comes
in the opposite direction.
There are still troubles ahead in the islands. The insurrection has
become an affair of local banditti and marauders, who deserve no higher
regard than the brigands of portions of the Old World. Encouragement, direct
or indirect, to these insurrectors stands on the same footing as encouragement
to hostile Indians in the days when we still had Indian wars. Exactly as
our aim is to give to the Indian who remains peaceful the fullest and amplest
consideration, but to have it understood that we will show no weakness
if he goes on the warpath, so we must make it evident, unless we are false
to our own traditions and to the demands of civilization and humanity,
that while we will do everything in our power for the Filipino who is peaceful,
we will take the sternest measures with the Filipino who follows the path
of the insurrecto and the ladrone.
The heartiest praise is due to large numbers of the natives of the islands
for their steadfast loyalty. The Macabebes have been conspicuous
for their courage and devotion to the flag. I recommend that the Secretary
of War be empowered to take some systematic action in the way of aiding
those of these men who are crippled in the service and the families of
those who are killed.
The time has come when there should be additional legislation for the
Philippines. Nothing better can be done for the islands than to introduce
industrial enterprises. Nothing would benefit them so much as throwing
them open to industrial development. The connection between idleness and
mischief is proverbial, and the opportunity to do remunerative work is
one of the surest preventatives of war. Of course no business man will
go into the Philippines unless it is to his interest to do so; and it is
immensely to the interest of the islands that he should go in. It is therefore
necessary that the Congress should pass laws by which the resources of
the islands can be developed; so that franchises (for limited terms of
years) can be granted to companies doing business in them, and every encouragement
be given to the incoming of business men of every kind.
Not to permit this is to do a wrong to the Philippines. The franchises
must be granted and the business permitted only under regulations which
will guarantee the islands against any kind of improper exploitation. But
the vast natural wealth of the islands must be developed, and the capital
willing to develop it must be given the opportunity. The field must be
thrown open to individual enterprise, which has been the real factor in
the development of every region over which our flag has flown. It is urgently
necessary to enact suitable laws dealing with general transportation, mining,
banking, currency, homesteads, and the use and ownership of the lands and
timber. These laws will give free play to industrial enterprise; and the
commercial development which will surely follow will accord to the people
of the islands the best proofs of the sincerity of our desire to aid them.
I call your attention most earnestly to the crying need of a cable to
Hawaii and the Philippines, to be continued from the Philippines to points
in Asia. We should not defer a day longer than necessary the construction
of such a cable. It is demanded not merely for commercial but for political
and military considerations.
Either the Congress should immediately provide for the construction
of a Government cable, or else an arrangement should be made by which like
advantages to those accruing from a Government cable may be secured to
the Government by contract with a private cable company.
No single great material work which remains to be undertaken on this
continent is of such consequence to the American people as the building
of a canal across the Isthmus connecting North and South America. Its importance
to the Nation is by no means limited merely to its material effects upon
our business prosperity; and yet with view to these effects alone it would
be to the last degree important for us immediately to begin it. While its
beneficial effects would perhaps be most marked upon the Pacific Coast
and the Gulf and South Atlantic States, it would also greatly benefit other
sections. It is emphatically a work which it is for the interest of the
entire country to begin and complete as soon as possible; it is one of
those great works which only a great nation can undertake with prospects
of success, and which when done are not only permanent assets in the nation's
material interests, but standing monuments to its constructive ability.
I am glad to be able to announce to you that our negotiations on this
subject with Great Britain, conducted on both sides in a spirit of friendliness
and mutual good will and respect, have resulted in my being able to lay
before the Senate a treaty which if ratified will enable us to begin preparations
for an Isthmian canal at any time, and which guarantees to this Nation
every right that it has ever asked in connection with the canal. In this
treaty, the old Clayton-Bulwer treaty, so long recognized as inadequate
to supply the base for the construction and maintenance of a necessarily
American ship canal, is abrogated. It specifically provides that the United
States alone shall do the work of building and assume the responsibility
of safeguarding the canal and shall regulate its neutral use by all nations
on terms of equality without the guaranty or interference of any outside
nation from any quarter. The signed treaty will at once be laid before
the Senate, and if approved the Congress can then proceed to give effect
to the advantages it secures us by providing for the building of the canal.
The true end of every great and free people should be self-respecting
peace; and this Nation most earnestly desires sincere and cordial friendship
with all others. Over the entire world, of recent years, wars between the
great civilized powers have become less and less frequent. Wars with barbarous
or semi-barbarous peoples come in an entirely different category, being
merely a most regrettable but necessary international police duty which
must be performed for the sake of the welfare of mankind. Peace can only
be kept with certainty where both sides wish to keep it; but more and more
the civilized peoples are realizing the wicked folly of war and are attaining
that condition of just and intelligent regard for the rights of others
which will in the end, as we hope and believe, make world-wide peace possible.
The peace conference at The Hague gave definite expression to this hope
and belief and marked a stride toward their attainment.
This same peace conference acquiesced in our statement of the Monroe
Doctrine as compatible with the purposes and aims of the conference.
The Monroe Doctrine should be the cardinal feature of the foreign policy
of all the nations of the two Americas, as it is of the United States.
Just seventy-eight years have passed since President Monroe in his Annual
Message announced that "The American continents are henceforth not to be
considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power."
In other words, the Monroe Doctrine is a declaration that there must be
no territorial aggrandizement by any non-American power at the expense
of any American power on American soil. It is in no wise intended as hostile
to any nation in the Old World. Still less is it intended to give cover
to any aggression by one New World power at the expense of any other. It
is simply a step, and a long step, toward assuring the universal peace
of the world by securing the possibility of permanent peace on this hemisphere.
During the past century other influences have established the permanence
and independence of the smaller states of Europe. Through the Monroe Doctrine
we hope to be able to safeguard like independence and secure like permanence
for the lesser among the New World nations.
This doctrine has nothing to do with the commercial relations of any
American power, save that it in truth allows each of them to form such
as it desires. In other words, it is really a guaranty of the commercial
independence of the Americas. We do not ask under this doctrine for any
exclusive commercial dealings with any other American state. We do not
guarantee any state against punishment if it misconducts itself, provided
that punishment does not take the form of the acquisition of territory
by any non-American power.
Our attitude in Cuba is a sufficient guaranty of our own good faith.
We have not the slightest desire to secure any territory at the expense
of any of our neighbors. We wish to work with them hand in hand, so that
all of us may be uplifted together, and we rejoice over the good fortune
of any of them, we gladly hail their material prosperity and political
stability, and are concerned and alarmed if any of them fall into industrial
or political chaos. We do not wish to see any Old World military power
grow up on this continent, or to be compelled to become a military power
ourselves. The peoples of the Americas can prosper best if left to work
out their own salvation in their own way.
The work of upbuilding the Navy must be steadily continued. No one point
of our policy, foreign or domestic, is more important than this to the
honor and material welfare, and above all to the peace, of our nation in
the future. Whether we desire it or not, we must henceforth recognize that
we have international duties no less than international rights. Even if
our flag were hauled down in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, even if we
decided not to build the Isthmian Canal, we should need a thoroughly trained
Navy of adequate size, or else be prepared definitely and for all time
to abandon the idea that our nation is among those whose sons go down to
the sea in ships. Unless our commerce is always to be carried in foreign
bottoms, we must have war craft to protect it.
Inasmuch, however, as the American people have no thought of abandoning
the path upon which they have entered, and especially in view of the fact
that the building of the Isthmian Canal is fast becoming one of the matters
which the whole people are united in demanding, it is imperative that our
Navy should be put and kept in the highest state of efficiency, and should
be made to answer to our growing needs. So far from being in any way a
provocation to war, an adequate and highly trained navy is the best guaranty
against war, the cheapest and most effective peace insurance. The cost
of building and maintaining such a navy represents the very lightest premium
for insuring peace which this nation can possibly pay.
Probably no other great nation in the world is so anxious for peace
as we are. There is not a single civilized power which has anything whatever
to fear from aggressiveness on our part. All we want is peace; and toward
this end we wish to be able to secure the same respect for our rights from
others which we are eager and anxious to extend to their rights in return,
to insure fair treatment to us commercially, and to guarantee the safety
of the American people.
Our people intend to abide by the Monroe Doctrine and to insist upon
it as the one sure means of securing the peace of the Western Hemisphere.
The Navy offers us the only means of making our insistence upon the Monroe
Doctrine anything but a subject of derision to whatever nation chooses
to disregard it. We desire the peace which comes as of right to the just
man armed; not the peace granted on terms of ignominy to the craven and
It is not possible to improvise a navy after war breaks out. The ships
must be built and the men trained long in advance. Some auxiliary vessels
can be turned into makeshifts which will do in default of any better for
the minor work, and a proportion of raw men can be mixed with the highly
trained, their shortcomings being made good by the skill of their fellows;
but the efficient fighting force of the Navy when pitted against an equal
opponent will be found almost exclusively in the war ships that have been
regularly built and in the officers and men who through years of faithful
performance of sea duty have been trained to handle their formidable but
complex and delicate weapons with the highest efficiency. In the late war
with Spain the ships that dealt the decisive blows at Manila and Santiago
had been launched from two to fourteen years, and they were able to do
as they did because the men in the conning towers, the gun turrets, and
the engine-rooms had through long years of practice at sea learned how
to do their duty.
Our present Navy was begun in 1882. At that period our Navy consisted
of a collection of antiquated wooden ships, already almost as out of place
against modern war vessels as the galleys of Alcibiades and Hamilcar--certainly
as the ships of Tromp and Blake. Nor at that time did we have men fit to
handle a modern man-of-war. Under the wise legislation of the Congress
and the successful administration of a succession of patriotic Secretaries
of the Navy, belonging to both political parties, the work of upbuilding
the Navy went on, and ships equal to any in the world of their kind were
continually added; and what was even more important, these ships were exercised
at sea singly and in squadrons until the men aboard them were able to get
the best possible service out of them. The result was seen in the short
war with Spain, which was decided with such rapidity because of the infinitely
greater preparedness of our Navy than of the Spanish Navy.
While awarding the fullest honor to the men who actually commanded and
manned the ships which destroyed the Spanish sea forces in the Philippines
and in Cuba, we must not forget that an equal meed of praise belongs to
those without whom neither blow could have been struck. The Congressmen
who voted years in advance the money to lay down the ships, to build the
guns, to buy the armor-plate; the Department officials and the business
men and wage-workers who furnished what the Congress had authorized; the
Secretaries of the Navy who asked for and expended the appropriations;
and finally the officers who, in fair weather and foul, on actual sea service,
trained and disciplined the crews of the ships when there was no war in
sight--all are entitled to a full share in the glory of Manila and Santiago,
and the respect accorded by every true American to those who wrought such
signal triumph for our country. It was forethought and preparation which
secured us the overwhelming triumph of 1898. If we fail to show forethought
and preparation now, there may come a time when disaster will befall us
instead of triumph; and should this time come, the fault will rest primarily,
not upon those whom the accident of events puts in supreme command at the
moment, but upon those who have failed to prepare in advance.
There should be no cessation in the work of completing our Navy. So
far ingenuity has been wholly unable to devise a substitute for the great
war craft whose hammering guns beat out the mastery of the high seas. It
is unsafe and unwise not to provide this year for several additional Battle
ships and heavy armored cruisers, with auxiliary and lighter craft in proportion;
for the exact numbers and character I refer you to the report of the Secretary
of the Navy. But there is something we need even more than additional ships,
and this is additional officers and men. To provide battle ships and cruisers
and then lay them up, with the expectation of leaving them unmanned until
they are needed in actual war, would be worse than folly; it would be a
crime against the Nation.
To send any war ship against a competent enemy unless those aboard it
have been trained by years of actual sea service, including incessant
gunnery practice, would be to invite not merely disaster, but the bitterest
shame and humiliation. Four thousand additional seamen and one thousand
additional marines should be provided; and an increase in the officers
should be provided by making a large addition to the classes at Annapolis.
There is one small matter which should be mentioned in connection with
Annapolis. The pretentious and unmeaning title of "naval cadet" should
be abolished; the title of "midshipman," full of historic association,
should be restored.
Even in time of peace a war ship should be used until it wears out,
for only so can it be kept fit to respond to any emergency. The officers
and men alike should be kept as much as possible on blue water, for it
is there only they can learn their duties as they should be learned. The
big vessels should be manoeuvred in squadrons containing not merely battle
ships, but the necessary proportion of cruisers and scouts. The torpedo
boats should be handled by the younger officers in such manner as will
best fit the latter to take responsibility and meet the emergencies of
Every detail ashore which can be performed by a civilian should be so
performed, the officer being kept for his special duty in the sea service.
Above all, gunnery practice should be unceasing. It is important to have
our Navy of adequate size, but it is even more important that ship for
ship it should equal in efficiency any navy in the world. This is possible
only with highly drilled crews and officers, and this in turn imperatively
demands continuous and progressive instruction in target practice, ship
handling, squadron tactics, and general discipline. Our ships must be assembled
in squadrons actively cruising away from harbors and never long at anchor.
The resulting wear upon engines and hulls must be endured; a battle ship
worn out in long training of officers and men is well paid for by the results,
while, on the other hand, no matter in how excellent condition, it is useless
if the crew be not expert.
We now have seventeen battle ships appropriated for, of which nine are
completed and have been commissioned for actual service. The remaining
eight will be ready in from two to four years, but it will take at least
that time to recruit and train the men to fight them. It is of vast concern
that we have trained crews ready for the vessels by the time they are commissioned.
Good ships and good guns are simply good weapons, and the best weapons
are useless save in the hands of men who know how to fight with them. The
men must be trained and drilled under a thorough and well-planned system
of progressive instruction, while the recruiting must be carried on with
still greater vigor. Every effort must be made to exalt the main function
of the officer--the command of men. The leading graduates of the Naval
Academy should be assigned to the combatant branches, the line and marines.
Many of the essentials of success are already recognized by the General
Board, which, as the central office of a growing staff, is moving steadily
toward a proper war efficiency and a proper efficiency of the whole Navy,
under the Secretary. This General Board, by fostering the creation of a
general staff, is providing for the official and then the general recognition
of our altered conditions as a Nation and of the true meaning of a great
war fleet, which meaning is, first, the best men, and, second, the best
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 9,
The Naval Militia forces are State organizations, and are trained for
coast service, and in event of war they will constitute the inner line
of defense. They should receive hearty encouragement from the General Government.
But in addition we should at once provide for a National Naval Reserve,
organized and trained under the direction of the Navy Department, and subject
to the call of the Chief Executive whenever war becomes imminent. It should
be a real auxiliary to the naval seagoing peace establishment, and offer
material to be drawn on at once for manning our ships in time of war. It
should be composed of graduates of the Naval Academy, graduates of the
Naval Militia, officers and crews of coast-line steamers, longshore schooners,
fishing vessels, and steam yachts, together with the coast population about
such centers as lifesaving stations and light-houses.
The American people must either build and maintain an adequate navy
or else make up their minds definitely to accept a secondary position in
international affairs, not merely in political, but in commercial, matters.
It has been well said that there is no surer way of courting national disaster
than to be "opulent, aggressive, and unarmed."
It is not necessary to increase our Army beyond its present size at
this time. But it is necessary to keep it at the highest point of efficiency.
The individual units who as officers and enlisted men compose this Army,
are, we have good reason to believe, at least as efficient as those of
any other army in the entire world. It is our duty to see that their training
is of a kind to insure the highest possible expression of power to these
units when acting in combination.
The conditions of modern war are such as to make an infinitely heavier
demand than ever before upon the individual character and capacity of the
officer and the enlisted man, and to make it far more difficult for men
to act together with effect. At present the fighting must be done in extended
order, which means that each man must act for himself and at the same time
act in combination with others with whom he is no longer in the old-fashioned
elbow-to-elbow touch. Under such conditions a few men of the highest excellence
are worth more than many men without the special skill which is only found
as the result of special training applied to men of exceptional physique
and morale. But nowadays the most valuable fighting man and the most difficult
to perfect is the rifleman who is also a skillful and daring rider.
The proportion of our cavalry regiments has wisely been increased. The
American cavalryman, trained to manoeuvre and fight with equal facility
on foot and on horseback, is the best type of soldier for general purposes
now to be found in the world. The ideal cavalryman of the present day is
a man who can fight on foot as effectively as the best infantryman, and
who is in addition unsurpassed in the care and management of his horse
and in his ability to fight on horseback.
A general staff should be created. As for the present staff and supply
departments, they should be filled by details from the line, the men so
detailed returning after a while to their line duties. It is very undesirable
to have the senior grades of the Army composed of men who have come to
fill the positions by the mere fact of seniority. A system should be adopted
by which there shall be an elimination grade by grade of those who seem
unfit to render the best service in the next grade. Justice to the veterans
of the Civil War who are still in the Army would seem to require that in
the matter of retirements they be given by law the same privileges accorded
to their comrades in the Navy.
The process of elimination of the least fit should be conducted in a
manner that would render it practically impossible to apply political or
social pressure on behalf of any candidate, so that each man may be judged
purely on his own merits. Pressure for the promotion of civil officials
for political reasons is bad enough, but it is tenfold worse where applied
on behalf of officers of the Army or Navy. Every promotion and every detail
under the War Department must be made solely with regard to the good of
the service and to the capacity and merit of the man himself. No
pressure, political, social, or personal, of any kind, will be permitted
to exercise the least effect in any question of promotion or detail; and
if there is reason to believe that such pressure is exercised at the instigation
of the officer concerned, it will be held to militate against him. In our
Army we cannot afford to have rewards or duties distributed save on the
simple ground that those who by their own merits are entitled to the rewards
get them, and that those who are peculiarly fit to do the duties are chosen
to perform them.
Every effort should be made to bring the Army to a constantly increasing
state of efficiency. When on actual service no work save that directly
in the line of such service should be required. The paper work in the Army,
as in the Navy, should be greatly reduced. What is needed is proved power
of command and capacity to work well in the field. Constant care is necessary
to prevent dry rot in the transportation and commissary departments.
Our Army is so small and so much scattered that it is very difficult
to give the higher officers (as well as the lower officers and the enlisted
men) a chance to practice manoeuvres in mass and on a comparatively large
scale. In time of need no amount of individual excellence would avail against
the paralysis which would follow inability to work as a coherent whole,
under skillful and daring leadership. The Congress should provide means
whereby it will be possible to have field exercises by at least a division
of regulars, and if possible also a division of national guardsmen, once
a year. These exercises might take the form of field manoeuvres; or, if
on the Gulf Coast or the Pacific or Atlantic Sea- board, or in the region
of the Great Lakes, the army corps when assembled could be marched from
some inland point to some point on the water, there embarked, disembarked
after a couple of days' journey at some other point, and again marched
inland. Only by actual handling and providing for men in masses while they
are marching, camping, embarking, and disembarking, will it be possible
to train the higher officers to perform their duties well and smoothly.
A great debt is owing from the public to the men of the Army and Navy.
They should be so treated as to enable them to reach the highest point
of efficiency, so that they may be able to respond instantly to any demand
made upon them to sustain the interests of the Nation and the honor of
the flag. The individual American enlisted man is probably on the whole
a more formidable fighting man than the regular of any other army. Every
consideration should be shown him, and in return the highest standard of
usefulness should be exacted from him. It is well worth while for the Congress
to consider whether the pay of enlisted men upon second and subsequent
enlistments should not be increased to correspond with the increased value
of the veteran soldier.
Much good has already come from the act reorganizing the Army, passed
early in the present year. The three prime reforms, all of them of literally
inestimable value, are, first, the substitution of four-year details from
the line for permanent appointments in the so-called staff divisions; second,
the establishment of a corps of artillery with a chief at the head; third,
the establishment of a maximum and minimum limit for the Army. It would
be difficult to overestimate the improvement in the efficiency of our Army
which these three reforms are making, and have in part already effected.
The reorganization provided for by the act has been substantially accomplished.
The improved conditions in the Philippines have enabled the War Department
materially to reduce the military charge upon our revenue and to arrange
the number of soldiers so as to bring this number much nearer to the minimum
than to the maximum limit established by law. There is, however, need of
supplementary legislation. Thorough military education must be provided,
and in addition to the regulars the advantages of this education should
be given to the officers of the National Guard and others in civil life
who desire intelligently to fit themselves for possible military duty.
The officers should be given the chance to perfect themselves by study
in the higher branches of this art. At West Point the education should
be of the kind most apt to turn out men who are good in actual field service;
too much stress should not be laid on mathematics, nor should proficiency
therein be held to establish the right of entry to a corps d'elite. The
typical American officer of the best kind need not be a good mathematician;
but he must be able to master himself, to control others, and to show boldness
and fertility of resource in every emergency.
Action should be taken in reference to the militia and to the raising
of volunteer forces. Our militia law is obsolete and worthless. The organization
and armament of the National Guard of the several States, which are treated
as militia in the appropriations by the Congress, should be made identical
with those provided for the regular forces. The obligations and duties
of the Guard in time of war should be carefully defined, and a system established
by law under which the method of procedure of raising volunteer forces
should be prescribed in advance. It is utterly impossible in the excitement
and haste of impending war to do this satisfactorily if the arrangements
have not been made long beforehand. Provision should be made for utilizing
in the first volunteer organizations called out the training of those citizens
who have already had experience under arms, and especially for the selection
in advance of the officers of any force which may be raised; for careful
selection of the kind necessary is impossible after the outbreak of war.
That the Army is not at all a mere instrument of destruction has been
shown during the last three years. In the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto
Rico it has proved itself a great constructive force, a most potent implement
for the upbuilding of a peaceful civilization.
No other citizens deserve so well of the Republic as the veterans, the
survivors of those who saved the Union. They did the one deed which if
left undone would have meant that all else in our history went for nothing.
But for their steadfast prowess in the greatest crisis of our history,
all our annals would be meaningless, and our great experiment in popular
freedom and self-government a gloomy failure. Moreover, they not only left
us a united Nation, but they left us also as a heritage the memory of the
mighty deeds by which the Nation was kept united. We are now indeed one
Nation, one in fact as well as in name; we are united in our devotion to
the flag which is the symbol of national greatness and unity; and the very
completeness of our union enables us all, in every part of the country,
to glory in the valor shown alike by the sons of the North and the sons
of the South in the times that tried men's souls.
The men who in the last three years have done so well in the East and
the West Indies and on the mainland of Asia have shown that this remembrance
is not lost. In any serious crisis the United States must rely for the
great mass of its fighting men upon the volunteer soldiery who do not make
a permanent profession of the military career; and whenever such a crisis
arises the deathless memories of the Civil War will give to Americans the
lift of lofty purpose which comes to those whose fathers have stood valiantly
in the forefront of the battle.
The merit system of making appointments is in its essence as democratic
and American as the common school system itself. It simply means that in
clerical and other positions where the duties are entirely non-political,
all applicants should have a fair field and no favor, each standing on
his merits as he is able to show them by practical test. Written competitive
examinations offer the only available means in many cases for applying
this system. In other cases, as where laborers are employed, a system of
registration undoubtedly can be widely extended. There are, of course,
places where the written competitive examination cannot be applied, and
others where it offers by no means an ideal solution, but where under existing
political conditions it is, though an imperfect means, yet the best present
means of getting satisfactory results.
Wherever the conditions have permitted the application of the merit
system in its fullest and widest sense, the gain to the Government has
been immense. The navy-yards and postal service illustrate, probably better
than any other branches of the Government, the great gain in economy, efficiency,
and honesty due to the enforcement of this principle.
I recommend the passage of a law which will extend the classified service
to the District of Columbia, or will at least enable the President thus
to extend it. In my judgment all laws providing for the temporary employment
of clerks should hereafter contain a provision that they be selected under
the Civil Service Law.
It is important to have this system obtain at home, but it is even more
important to have it applied rigidly in our insular possessions. Not an
office should be filled in the Philippines or Puerto Rico with any regard
to the man's partisan affiliations or services, with any regard to the
political, social, or personal influence which he may have at his command;
in short, heed should be paid to absolutely nothing save the man's own
character and capacity and the needs of the service.
The administration of these islands should be as wholly free from the
suspicion of partisan politics as the administration of the Army and Navy.
All that we ask from the public servant in the Philippines or Puerto Rico
is that he reflect honor on his country by the way in which he makes that
country's rule a benefit to the peoples who have come under it. This is
all that we should ask, and we cannot afford to be content with less.
The merit system is simply one method of securing honest and efficient
administration of the Government; and in the long run the sole justification
of any type of government lies in its proving itself both honest and efficient.
The consular service is now organized under the provisions of a law
passed in 1856, which is entirely inadequate to existing conditions. The
interest shown by so many commercial bodies throughout the country in the
reorganization of the service is heartily commended to your attention.
Several bills providing for a new consular service have in recent years
been submitted to the Congress. They are based upon the just principle
that appointments to the service should be made only after a practical
test of the applicant's fitness, that promotions should be governed by
trustworthiness, adaptability, and zeal in the performance of duty, and
that the tenure of office should be unaffected by partisan considerations.
The guardianship and fostering of our rapidly expanding foreign commerce,
the protection of American citizens resorting to foreign countries in lawful
pursuit of their affairs, and the maintenance of the dignity of the nation
abroad, combine to make it essential that our consuls should be men of
character, knowledge and enterprise. It is true that the service is now,
in the main, efficient, but a standard of excellence cannot be permanently
maintained until the principles set forth in the bills heretofore submitted
to the Congress on this subject are enacted into law.
In my judgment the time has arrived when we should definitely make up
our minds to recognize the Indian as an individual and not as a member
of a tribe. The General Allotment Act is a mighty pulverizing engine to
break up the tribal mass. It acts directly upon the family and the individual.
Under its provisions some sixty thousand Indians have already become citizens
of the United States. We should now break up the tribal funds, doing for
them what allotment does for the tribal lands; that is, they should be
divided into individual holdings. There will be a transition period during
which the funds will in many cases have to be held in trust. This is the
case also with the lands. A stop should be put upon the indiscriminate
permission to Indians to lease their allotments. The effort should be steadily
to make the Indian work like any other man on his own ground. The marriage
laws of the Indians should be made the same as those of the whites.
In the schools the education should be elementary and largely industrial.
The need of higher education among the Indians is very, very limited. On
the reservations care should be taken to try to suit the teaching to the
needs of the particular Indian. There is no use in attempting to induce
agriculture in a country suited only for cattle raising, where the Indian
should be made a stock grower. The ration system, which is merely the corral
and the reservation system, is highly detrimental to the Indians. It promotes
beggary, perpetuates pauperism, and stifles industry. It is an effectual
barrier to progress. It must continue to a greater or less degree as long
as tribes are herded on reservations and have everything in common. The
Indian should be treated as an individual--like the white man. During the
change of treatment inevitable hardships will occur; every effort should
be made to minimize these hardships; but we should not because of them
hesitate to make the change. There should be a continuous reduction in
the number of agencies.
In dealing with the aboriginal races few things are more important than
to preserve them from the terrible physical and moral degradation resulting
from the liquor traffic. We are doing all we can to save our own Indian
tribes from this evil. Wherever by international agreement this same end
can be attained as regards races where we do not possess exclusive control,
every effort should be made to bring it about.
I bespeak the most cordial support from the Congress and the people
for the St. Louis Exposition to commemorate the One Hundredth Anniversary
of the Louisiana Purchase. This purchase was the greatest instance of expansion
in our history. It definitely decided that we were to become a great continental
republic, by far the foremost power in the Western Hemisphere. It is one
of three or four great landmarks in our history--the great turning points
in our development. It is eminently fitting that all our people should
join with heartiest good will in commemorating it, and the citizens of
St. Louis, of Missouri, of all the adjacent region, are entitled to every
aid in making the celebration a noteworthy event in our annals. We earnestly
hope that foreign nations will appreciate the deep interest our country
takes in this Exposition, and our view of its importance from every standpoint,
and that they will participate in securing its success. The National Government
should be represented by a full and complete set of exhibits.
The people of Charleston, with great energy and civic spirit, are carrying
on an Exposition which will continue throughout most of the present session
of the Congress. I heartily commend this Exposition to the good will of
the people. It deserves all the encouragement that can be given it. The
managers of the Charleston Exposition have requested the Cabinet officers
to place thereat the Government exhibits which have been at Buffalo, promising
to pay the necessary expenses. I have taken the responsibility of directing
that this be done, for I feel that it is due to Charleston to help her
in her praiseworthy effort. In my opinion the management should not be
required to pay all these expenses. I earnestly recommend that the Congress
appropriate at once the small sum necessary for this purpose.
The Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo has just closed. Both from the
industrial and the artistic standpoint this Exposition has been in a high
degree creditable and useful, not merely to Buffalo but to the United States.
The terrible tragedy of the President's assassination interfered materially
with its being a financial success. The Exposition was peculiarly in harmony
with the trend of our public policy, because it represented an effort to
bring into closer touch all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere, and
give them an increasing sense of unity. Such an effort was a genuine service
to the entire American public.
The advancement of the highest interests of national science and learning
and the custody of objects of art and of the valuable results of scientific
expeditions conducted by the United States have been committed to the Smithsonian
Institution. In furtherance of its declared purpose--for the "increase
and diffusion of knowledge among men" --the Congress has from time to time
given it other important functions. Such trusts have been executed by the
Institution with notable fidelity. There should be no halt in the work
of the Institution, in accordance with the plans which its Secretary has
presented, for the preservation of the vanishing races of great North American
animals in the National Zoological Park. The urgent needs of the National
Museum are recommended to the favorable consideration of the Congress.
Perhaps the most characteristic educational movement of the past fifty
years is that which has created the modern public library and developed
it into broad and active service. There are now over five thousand public
libraries in the United States, the product of this period. In addition
to accumulating material, they are also striving by organization, by improvement
in method, and by co-operation, to give greater efficiency to the material
they hold, to make it more widely useful, and by avoidance of unnecessary
duplication in process to reduce the cost of its administration.
In these efforts they naturally look for assistance to the Federal library,
which, though still the Library of Congress, and so entitled, is the one
national library of the United States. Already the largest single collection
of books on the Western Hemisphere, and certain to increase more rapidly
than any other through purchase, exchange, and the operation of the copyright
law, this library has a unique opportunity to render to the libraries of
this country--to American scholarship--service of the highest importance.
It is housed in a building which is the largest and most magnificent yet
erected for library uses. Resources are now being provided which will develop
the collection properly, equip it with the apparatus and service necessary
to its effective use, render its bibliographic work widely available, and
enable it to become, not merely a center of research, but the chief factor
in great co-operative efforts for the diffusion of knowledge and the advancement
For the sake of good administration, sound economy, and the advancement
of science, the Census Office as now constituted should be made a permanent
Government bureau. This would insure better, cheaper, and more satisfactory
work, in the interest not only of our business but of statistic, economic,
and social science.
The remarkable growth of the postal service is shown in the fact that
its revenues have doubled and its expenditures have nearly doubled within
twelve years. Its progressive development compels constantly increasing
outlay, but in this period of business energy and prosperity its receipts
grow so much faster than its expenses that the annual deficit has been
steadily reduced from $11,411,779 in 1897 to $3,923,727 in 1901. Among
recent postal advances the success of rural free delivery wherever established
has been so marked, and actual experience has made its benefits so plain,
that the demand for its extension is general and urgent.
It is just that the great agricultural population should share in the
improvement of the service. The number of rural routes now in operation
is 6,009, practically all established within three years, and there are
6,000 applications awaiting action. It is expected that the number in operation
at the close of the current fiscal year will reach 8,600. The mail will
then be daily carried to the doors of 5,700,000 of our people who have
heretofore been dependent upon distant offices, and one-third of all that
portion of the country which is adapted to it will be covered by this kind
The full measure of postal progress which might be realized has long
been hampered and obstructed by the heavy burden imposed on the Government
through the intrenched and well-understood abuses which have grown up in
connection with second-class mail matter. The extent of this burden appears
when it is stated that while the second-class matter makes nearly three-fifths
of the weight of all the mail, it paid for the last fiscal year only $4,294,445
of the aggregate postal revenue of $111,631,193. If the pound rate of postage,
which produces the large loss thus entailed, and which was fixed by the
Congress with the purpose of encouraging the dissemination of public information,
were limited to the legitimate newspapers and periodicals actually contemplated
by the law, no just exception could be taken. That expense would be the
recognized and accepted cost of a liberal public policy deliberately adopted
for a justifiable end. But much of the matter which enjoys the privileged
rate is wholly outside of the intent of the law, and has secured admission
only through an evasion of its require. merits or through lax construction.
The proportion of such wrongly included matter is estimated by postal experts
to be one-half of the whole volume of second-class mail. If it be only
one-third or one-quarter, the magnitude of the burden is apparent. The
Post-Office Department has now undertaken to remove the abuses so far as
is possible by a stricter application of the law; and it should be sustained
in its effort.
Owing to the rapid growth of our power and our interests on the Pacific,
whatever happens in China must be of the keenest national concern to us.
The general terms of the settlement of the questions growing out of
the antiforeign uprisings in China of 1900, having been formulated in a
joint note addressed to China by the representatives of the injured powers
in December last, were promptly accepted by the Chinese Government. After
protracted conferences the plenipotentiaries of the several powers were
able to sign a final protocol with the Chinese plenipotentiaries on the
7th of last September, setting forth the measures taken by China in compliance
with the demands of the joint note, and expressing their satisfaction therewith.
It will be laid before the Congress, with a report of the plenipotentiary
on behalf of the United States, Mr. William Woodville Rockhill, to whom
high praise is due for the tact, good judgment, and energy he has displayed
in performing an exceptionally difficult and delicate task.
The agreement reached disposes in a manner satisfactory to the powers
of the various grounds of complaint, and will contribute materially to
better future relations between China and the powers. Reparation has been
made by China for the murder of foreigners during the uprising and punishment
has been inflicted on the officials, however high in rank, recognized as
responsible for or having participated in the outbreak. Official examinations
have been forbidden for a period of five years in all cities in which foreigners
have been murdered or cruelly treated, and edicts have been issued making
all officials directly responsible for the future safety of foreigners
and for the suppression of violence against them.
Provisions have been made for insuring the future safety of the foreign
representatives in Peking by setting aside for their exclusive use a quarter
of the city which the powers can make defensible and in which they can
if necessary maintain permanent military guards; by dismantling the military
works between the capital and the sea; and by allowing the temporary maintenance
of foreign military posts along this line. An edict has been issued by
the Emperor of China prohibiting for two years the importation of arms
and ammunition into China. China has agreed to pay adequate indemnities
to the states, societies, and individuals for the losses sustained by them
and for the expenses of the military expeditions sent by the various powers
to protect life and restore order.
Under the provisions of the joint note of December, 1900, China has
agreed to revise the treaties of commerce and navigation and to take such
other steps for the purpose of facilitating foreign trade as the foreign
powers may decide to be needed.
The Chinese Government has agreed to participate financially in the
work of bettering the water approaches to Shanghai and to Tientsin, the
centers of foreign trade in central and northern China, and an international
conservancy board, in which the Chinese Government is largely represented,
has been provided for the improvement of the Shanghai River and the control
of its navigation. In the same line of commercial advantages a revision
of the present tariff on imports has been assented to for the purpose of
substituting specific for ad valorem duties, and an expert has been sent
abroad on the part of the United States to assist in this work. A list
of articles to remain free of duty, including flour, cereals, and rice,
gold and silver coin and bullion, has also been agreed upon in the settlement.
During these troubles our Government has unswervingly advocated moderation,
and has materially aided in bringing about an adjustment which tends to
enhance the welfare of China and to lead to a more beneficial intercourse
between the Empire and the modern world; while in the critical period of
revolt and massacre we did our full share in safe-guarding life and property,
restoring order, and vindicating the national interest and honor. It behooves
us to continue in these paths, doing what lies in our power to foster feelings
of good will, and leaving no effort untried to work out the great policy
of full and fair intercourse between China and the nations, on a footing
of equal rights and advantages to all. We advocate the "open door" with
all that it implies; not merely the procurement of enlarged commercial
opportunities on the coasts, but access to the interior by the waterways
with which China has been so extraordinarily favored. Only by bringing
the people of China into peaceful and friendly community of trade with
all the peoples of the earth can the work now auspiciously begun be carried
to fruition. In the attainment of this purpose we necessarily claim parity
of treatment, under the conventions, throughout the Empire for our trade
and our citizens with those of all other powers.
We view with lively interest and keen hopes of beneficial results the
proceedings of the Pan-American Congress, convoked at the invitation of
Mexico, and now sitting at the Mexican capital. The delegates of the United
States are under the most liberal instructions to cooperate with their
colleagues in all matters promising advantage to the great family of American
commonwealths, as well in their relations among themselves as in their
domestic advancement and in their intercourse with the world at large.
My predecessor communicated to the Congress the fact that the Weil and
La Abra awards against Mexico have been adjudged by the highest courts
of our country to have been obtained through fraud and perjury on the part
of the claimants, and that in accordance with the acts of the Congress
the money remaining in the hands of the Secretary of State on these awards
has been returned to Mexico. A considerable portion of the money received
from Mexico on these awards had been paid by this Government to the claimants
before the decision of the courts was rendered. My judgment is that the
Congress should return to Mexico an amount equal to the sums thus already
paid to the claimants.
The death of Queen Victoria caused the people of the United States deep
and heartfelt sorrow, to which the Government gave full expression. When
President McKinley died, our Nation in turn received from every quarter
of the British Empire expressions of grief and sympathy no less sincere.
The death of the Empress Dowager Frederick of Germany also aroused the
genuine sympathy of the American people; and this sympathy was cordially
reciprocated by Germany when the President was assassinated. Indeed, from
every quarter of the civilized world we received, at' the time of the President's
death, assurances of such grief and regard as to touch the hearts of our
people. In the midst of our affliction we reverently thank the Almighty
that we are at peace with the nations of mankind; and we firmly intend
that our policy shall be such as to continue unbroken these international
relations of mutual respect and good will.