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sented a handsome appearance as it filed past and thundered out a Presidential salute. Many distinguished guests were present, and all without exception spoke of the steady improvement in our navy as a whole. President Roosevelt was equally enthusiastic, and well he might be, for he had used every means in his power to make our navy all it should be.
Late in September President Roosevelt returned to Washington, and on October 15 delivered the principal address at the unveiling of a statue of that grand military hero, General Sherman.
Here once more he was listened to with tremendous interest, delivering a speech that was patriotic to the core and full of inspiration.
For some time past matters in Colombia had been in a very mixed-up condition. The United States were willing to take hold of the Panama Canal, as already mentioned, but although a treaty had been made to that effect, the Colombian government would not ratify the agreement.
On November 3, the trouble in Colombia reached its culminating point. On that day the State of Panama declared itself free
and independent. The people of that State wanted the canal built by the United States, and were very angry when the rest of the Colombian States would not agree to the treaty which had been made.
At once there were strong rumors of war, and a few slight attacks were really made. The United States forbade the transportation of soldiers on the Panama railroad, and a few days later recognized Panama as an independent republic. The new republic was likewise recognized by France, and, later still, by England. On November 9, Panama appointed a commission to negotiate a canal treaty with our country, and this treaty was signed and sealed at Washington by Secretary of State Hay, acting for the United States, and M. Bunau-Varilla, acting for Panama.
The President's next message to Congress went at great length into the question of the Panama Canal, and in defence of the recognition of the new republic. It also told of what the new Department of Commerce and Labor had accomplished, especially the branch devoted to corporations.
66 We need not be over-sensitive about the
Photograph by Clinedinst, Washington, D.C.
STATUE OF GENERAL SHERMAN.
welfare of corporations which shrink from the light,” wrote Mr. Roosevelt. And in this statement every one who had the best interests of our nation at heart agreed. To accomplish great works great corporations are often necessary, but they must conduct business in such a fashion that they are not ashamed to show their methods to the public at large.
At the opening of the year 1904 there were strong rumors of a war between Japan and Russia, over the occupation of Korea, and this war started early in February by a battle on the sea, wherein the Russian fleet lost several war-ships. This contest was followed by others of more or less importance, and it looked as if, sooner or later, other nations might become involved in the struggle.
“ We must keep our hands off," said President Roosevelt, and at once issued a proclamation, calling on all good citizens to remain strictly neutral, and warning those who might take part that they could hope for no aid from the United States should they get into trouble personally or have any property confiscated.