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In November, 1902, the Attorney-General directed that a bill for an injunction be filed in the United States Circuit Court at San Francisco against the Federal Salt Company-a corporation which had been organized under the laws of an Eastern State, but had its main office and principal place of business in California—and against a number of other companies and persons constituting what was known as the salt trust. These injunctions were to restrain the execution of certain contracts between the Federal Salt Company and the other defend. ants, by which the latter agreed neither to import nor buy or sell salt, except from and to the Federal Salt Company, and not to engage or assist in the production of salt west of the Mississippi River during the continuance of such contracts. As the result of these agreements the price of salt had been advanced about four hundred per cent. A temporary injunction order was obtained, which the defendants asked the court to modify on the ground that the anti-trust law had no application to contracts for purchases and sales within a State. The Circuit Court overruled this contention and sustained the Government's position. This practically concluded the case, and it is understood that in consequence the Federal Salt Company is about to be dissolved and that no further contest will be made.
The above is a brief outline of the most important steps, legislative and administrative, taken during the past eighteen months in the direction of solving, so far as at present it seems practicable by national legislation or administration to solve, what we call the trust problem. They represent a sum of very substantial achievement. They represent a successful effort to devise and apply real remedies; an effort which so far succeeded because it was made not only with resolute purpose and determination, but also in a spirit of common-sense and justice, as far removed as possible from rancor, hysteria, and
unworthy demagogic appeal. In the same spirit the laws will continue to be enforced. Not only is the legislation recently enacted effective, but in my judgment it was impracticable to attempt more. Nothing of value is to be expected from ceaseless agitation for radical and extreme legislation. The people may wisely, and with confidence, await the results which are reasonably to be expected from the impartial enforcement of the laws which have recently been placed upon the statute books. Legislation of a general and indiscriminate character would be sure to fail, either because it would involve all interests in a common ruin, or because it would not really reach any evil. We have endeavored to provide a discriminating adaptation of the remedy to the real mischief.
Many of the alleged remedies advocated are of the unpleasantly drastic type which seeks to destroy the disease by killing the patient. Others are so obviously futile that it is somewhat difficult to treat them seriously or as being advanced in good faith. High among the latter I place the effort to reach the trust question by means of the tariff. You can, of course, put an end to the prosperity of the trusts by putting an end to the prosperity of the nation; but the price for such action seems high. The alternative is to do exactly what has been done during the life of the Congress which has just closed—that is, to endeavor, not to destroy corporations, but to regulate them with a view of doing away with whatever is of evil in them and of making them subserve the public use. The law is not to be administered in the interest of the poor man as such, nor yet in the interest of the rich man as such, but in the interest of the law-abiding man, rich or poor. We are no more against organizations of capital than against organizations of labor. We welcome both, demanding only that each shall do right and shall remember its duty to the Republic. Such a course we consider not merely a benefit to the poor man, but a
benefit to the rich man. We do no man an injustice when we require him to obey the law. On the contrary, if he is a man whose safety and well-being depend in a peculiar degree upon the existence of the spirit of law and order, we are rendering him the greatest service when we require him to be himself an exemplar of that spirit.
AT MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, APRIL 4, 1903
My fellow-citizens :
At the special session of the Senate held in March the Cuban reciprocity treaty was ratified. When this treaty goes into effect, it will confer substantial economic benefits alike upon Cuba, because of the widening of her market in the United States, and upon the United States, because of the equal widening and the progressive control it will give to our people in the Cuban market. This treaty is beneficial to both parties and justifies itself on several grounds. In the first place, we offer to Cuba her natural market. We can confer upon her a benefit which no other nation can confer; and for the very reason that we have started her as an independent republic and that we are rich, prosperous, and powerful, it behooves us to stretch out a helping hand to our feebler younger sister. In the next place, it widens the market for our products, both the products of the farm and certain of our manufactures; and it is therefore in the interests of our farmers, manufacturers, merchants, and wage workers. Finally, the treaty was not merely warranted but demanded, apart from all other considerations, by the enlightened consideration of our foreign policy. More and more in the future we must occupy a preponderant position in the waters and along the coasts in the region south of us; not a position of control over the republics of the South, but of control of the military situation so
as to avoid any possible complications in the future. Under the Platt amendment Cuba agreed to give us certain naval stations on her coast. The Navy Department decided that we needed but two, and we have specified where these two are to be. President Palma has concluded an agreement giving them to us—an agreement which the Cuban legislative body will doubtless soon ratify. In other words, the Republic of Cuba has assumed a special relation to our international political system, under which she gives us outposts of defence, and we are morally bound to extend to her in a degree the benefit of our own economic system. From every standpoint of wise and enlightened home and foreign policy the ratification of the Cuban treaty marked a step of substantial progress in the growth of our nation toward greatness at home and abroad.
Equally important was the action on the tariff upon products of the Philippines. We gave them a reduction of twenty-five per cent., and would have given them a reduction of twenty-five per cent. more had it not been for the opposition, in the hurried closing days of the last session, of certain gentlemen who, by the way, have been representing themselves both as peculiarly solicitous for the interests of the Philippine people and as special champions of the lowering of tariff duties. There is a distinctly humorous side to the fact that the reduction of duties which would benefit Cuba and the Philippines as well as ourselves was antagonized chiefly by those who in theory have been fond of proclaiming themselves the advanced guardians of the oppressed nationalities in the islands affected and the ardent advocates of the reduction of duties generally, but who instantly took violent ground against the practical steps to accomplish either purpose.
Moreover, a law was enacted putting anthracite on the free list and completely removing the duties on all other kinds of coal for one year.