Page images
PDF
EPUB

to the islanders the control of their own government. It would be very difficult to find a parallel in the conduct of any other great state that has occupied such a position as ours. We have kept our word and done our duty, just as an honest individual in private life keeps his word and does his duty.

Be it remembered, moreover, that after our four years' occupation of the island we turn it over to the Cubans in a better condition that it ever has been in all the centuries of Spanish rule. This has a direct bearing upon our own welfare. Cuba is so near to us that we can never be indifferent to misgovernment and disaster within its limits. The mere fact that our administration in the island has minimized the danger from the dreadful scourge of yellow fever, alike to Cuba and to ourselves, is sufficient to emphasize the community of interest between us. But there are other interests which bind us together. Cuba's posi. tion makes it necessary that her political relations with us should differ from her political relations with other powers. This fact has been formulated by us and accepted by the Cubans in the Platt amendments. It follows as a corollary that, where the Cubans have thus assumed a position of peculiar relationship to our political system, they must similarly stand in a peculiar relationship to our economic system.

We have rightfully insisted upon Cuba adopting toward us an attitude differing politically from that she adopts toward any other power; and in return, as a matter of right, we must give to Cuba a different--that is, a better -position economically in her relations with us than we give to other powers. This is the course dictated by sound policy, by a wise and far-sighted view of our own interest, and by the position we have taken during the past four years. We are a wealthy and powerful country, dealing with a much weaker one; and the contrast in wealth and strength makes it all the more our

duty to deal with Cuba, as we have already dealt with her, in a spirit of large generosity.

This Exposition is rendered possible because of the period of industrial prosperity through which we are passing. While material well-being is never all-sufficient to the life of a nation, yet it is the merest truism to say that its absence means ruin. We need to build a higher life upon it as a foundation; but we can build little indeed unless this foundation of prosperity is deep and broad. The well-being which we are now enjoying can be secured only through general business prosperity, and such prosperity is conditioned upon the energy and hard work, the sanity and the mutual respect, of all classes of capitalists, large and small, of wage workers of every degree. As is inevitable in a time of business prosperity, some men succeed more than others, and it is unfortunately also inevitable that when this is the case some unwise people are sure to try to appeal to the envy and jealousy of those who succeed least. It is a good thing when these appeals are made to remember that, while it is difficult to increase prosperity by law, it is easy enough to ruin it, and that there is small satisfaction to the less prosperous if they succeed in overthrowing both the more prosperous and themselves in the crash of a common disaster.

Every industrial exposition of this type necessarily calls up the thought of the complex social and economic questions which are involved in our present industrial system. Our astounding material prosperity, the sweep and rush rather than the mere march of our progressive material development, have brought grave troubles in their train. We cannot afford to blink these troubles, any more than because of them we can afford to accept as true the gloomy forebodings of the prophets of evil. There are great problems before us. They are not insoluble, but they can be solved only if we approach them in a spirit

of resolute fearlessness, of common sense, and of honest intention to do fair and equal justice to all men alike. We are certain to fail if we adopt the policy of the demagogue who raves against the wealth which is simply the form of embodied thrift, foresight, and intelligence; who would shut the door of opportunity against those whose energy we should especially foster, by penalizing the qualities which tell for success. Just as little can we afford to follow those who fear to recognize injustice and to endeavor to cut it out because the task is difficult or even--if performed by unskilful handsdangerous.

This is an era of great combinations both of labor and of capital. In many ways these combinations have worked for good; but they must work under the law, and the laws concerning them must be just and wise, or they will inevitably do evil; and this applies as much to the richest corporation as to the most powerful labor union. Our laws must be wise, sane, healthy, conceived in the spirit of those who scorn the mere agitator, the mere inciter of class or sectional hatred; who wish justice for all men; who recognize the need of adhering so far as possible to the old American doctrine of giving the widest possible scope for the free exercise of individual initiative, and yet who recognize also that after combinations have reached a certain stage it is indispensable to the general welfare that the Nation should exercise over them, cautiously and with self-restraint, but firmly, the power of supervision and regulation.

Above all, the administration of the Government, the enforcement of the laws, must be fair and honest. The laws are not to be administered either in the interest of the poor man or the interest of the rich man. They are simply to be administered justly; in the interest of justice to each man be he rich or be he poor-giving immunity to no violator, whatever form the violation may assume.

Such is the obligation which every public servant takes, and to it he must be true under penalty of forfeiting the respect both of himself and of his fellows.

And now, my fellow-countrymen, in closing, I am going to paraphrase something said by Governor Aycock last night. I have dwelt to-day upon the fact that we are indeed a reunited people; that we are indeed and forever one people. The time was when one could not have made that statement with truth; now it can be truthfully said. There was a time when it was necessary to keep saying it, because it was already true, and because the assertion made it more true; but the time is at hand, I think the time has come, when it is not necessary to say it again. Proud of the South! Of course we are proud of the South; not only Southerners but Northerners are proud of the South. Proud of your great deeds! Of course I am proud of your great deeds, for you are my people. I thank you from my heart for the welcome you have given me, and I assure you that few experiences in my life have been more pleasant than the experiences of these two days that I have spent among you.

II

AT PROVIDENCE, R. I., AUGUST 23, 1902

Mr. Governor; and you, my fellow-citizens :

We are passing through a period of great commercial prosperity, and such a period is as sure as adversity itself to bring mutterings of discontent. At a time when most men prosper somewhat some men always prosper greatly; and it is as true now as when the tower of Siloam fell upon all alike, that good fortune does not come solely to the just, nor bad fortune solely to the unjust. When the weather is good for crops it is good for weeds. Moreover, not only do the wicked flourish when the times are such that most men flourish, but, what is worse, the spirit of envy and jealousy springs up in the breasts of those who, though they may be doing fairly well themselves, see others no more deserving, who do better.

Wise laws and fearless and upright administration of the laws can give the opportunity for such prosperity as we see about us. But that is all that they can do. When the conditions have been created which make prosperity possible, then each individual man must achieve it for himself, by his own energy and thrift and business intelligence. If when people wax fat they kick, as they have kicked since the days of Jeshurun, they will speedily destroy their own prosperity. If they go into wild speculation and lose their heads, they have lost that which no laws can supply. If in a spirit of sullen envy they

« PreviousContinue »