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roads,” he declared, “that has been put upon the statute books during the last six years has been a step in advance in the right direction. ... There can be no swerving from the course that has thus been marked out in the legislation actually enacted and in the messages in which I have asked for further legislation. We best serve the interests of the honest railway men when we announce that we will follow out precisely this course. It is the course of real, of ultimate conservatism. There will be no halt in the forward movement toward a full development of this policy; and those who wish us to take a step backward or to stand still, if their wishes were realized, would find that they had incited an outbreak of the very radicalism they fear.”
Speaking at Keokuk, Iowa, on October 2, 1907, he said: “A year or two ago certain representatives of labor called upon me and in the course of a very pleasant conversation told me they regarded me as the 'friend of labor.' I answered that I certainly was, and that I would do everything in my power for the laboring man except anything that was wrong. I have the same answer to make to the business man. I will do everything I can do to help business conditions, except anything that is wrong."
He made similar speeches in Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.
His annual message to Congress, December 3, 1907, was even longer than usual, for all his annual messages were long, and gave more space than in previous messages to the subject of governmental regulation of corporations. “Until the National Government,” he said, “assumes proper control of interstate commerce, in the exercise of the authority it already possesses, it will be impossible either to give to or to get from the railroads full justice. The antitrust law should not be repealed, but it should be made both more efficient and more in harmony with actual conditions. It should be so amended as to forbid only the kind of combination which does harm to the general public, such amendment to be accompanied by, or to be an incident of, a grant of supervisory power to the Government over these big concerns engaged in interstate commerce business. This should be accompanied by a provision for the compulsory publication of accounts and the subjection of books and papers to the inspection of Government officials."
In his letter to Congressman Sherman, quoted in the preceding chapter, the President had spoken of Harriman as "at least as undesirable a citizen as Debs, or Moyer, or Haywood." This called forth a letter from a labor leader in Chicago, to which the President replied in a letter which won hearty approval throughout the country. In it he said:
THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON,
April 22, 1907. Dear Sir:
I have received your letter of the 19th instant, in which you enclose the draft of the formal letter which is to follow. I have been notified that several delegations, bearing similar requests, are on the way hither. In the letter you, on behalf of the Cook County Moyer-Haywood conference, protest against certain language I used in a recent letter which you assert to be designed to influence the course of justice in the case of the trial for murder of Messrs. Moyer and Haywood. I entirely agree with you that it is improper to endeavor to influence the course of justice, whether by threats or in any similar manner. For this reason I have regretted most deeply the action of such organizations as your own in undertaking to accomplish this very result in the very case of which you speak. For instance, your letter is headed “Cook County Moyer-Haywood-Pettibone Conference," with the headlines: “Death-can not-will not-and shall not claim our brothers!” This shows that you and your associates are not demanding a fair trial, or working for a fair trial, but are announcing in advance that the verdict shall only be one way and that you will not tolerate any other verdict. Such action is flagrant in its impropriety, and I join heartily in condemning it.
But it is a simple absurdity to suppose that because any
man is on trial for a given offense he is therefore to be freed from all criticism upon his general conduct and manner of life. In my letter to which you object, I referred to a certain prominent financier, Mr. Harriman, on the one hand, and to Messrs. Moyer, Haywood and Debs on the other, as being equally undesirable citizens. It is as foolish to assert that this was designed to influence the trial of Moyer and Haywood as to assert that it was designed to influence the suits that have been brought against Mr. Harriman. I neither expressed nor indicated any opinion as to whether Messrs. Moyer and Haywood were guilty of the murder of Governor Steunenberg. If they are guilty they certainly ought to be punished. If they are not guilty they certainly ought not to be punished. But no possible outcome either of the trial or the suits can affect my judgment as to the undesirability of the type of citizenship of those whom I mentioned. Messrs. Moyer, Haywood and Debs stand as representatives of those men who have done as much to descredit the labor movement as the worst speculative financiers or most unscrupulous employers of labor and debauchers of legislatures have done to discredit honest capitalists and fair-dealing business men. They stand as the representatives of those men who by their public utterances and manifestoes, hy the utterances of the papers they control or inspire, and by the words and deeds of those associated with or subordinated to them, habitually appear as guilty of incitement to or apology for bloodshed and violence. If this does not constitute undesirable citizenship, then there can never be any desirable citizenship. The men whom I denounce represent the men who have abandoned that legitimate movement for the uplifting of labor, with which I have the most hearty sympathy; they have adopted practices which cut them off from those who lead this legitimate movement. In every way I shall support the law-abiding and upright representatives of labor; and in no way can I better support them than by drawing the sharpest possible line between them on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those preachers of violence who are themselves the worst foes of the honest laboring man.
(The letter is published in full in Roosevelt's 'Autobiography' and also in his 'Addresses and State PapersP. F. Collier & Sons.)
WORLD VOYAGE OF THE NAVY
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT always regarded his sending of the battle fleet of the navy around the world as a most important service to peace. He decided upon it at a critical moment in the relations between the United States and Japan. Throughout the entire year of 1907 he was endeavoring with zeal and infinite patience to induce the California Legislature to refrain from violently offensive action on the subject of Japanese immigration and the treatment of Japanese children who had been excluded from the public schools. In the end he succeeded completely, both in Congress and in California. Writing from Oyster Bay to Secretary Root, on July 13, he refers to his plan in regard to the fleet:
“I am more concerned over the Japanese situation than almost any other. Thank Heaven we have the navy in good shape. It is high time, however, that it should go on a cruise around the world. In the first place I think it will have a pacific effect to show that it can be done; and in the next place, after talking thoroughly over the situation with the naval board I became convinced that it was absolutely necessary for us to try in time of peace to see just what we could do in the way of putting a big battle fleet in the Pacific, and not make the experiment in time of war.
“Aoki and Admiral Yamamoto were out here yesterday at lunch. Aoki is a singularly cool and wise old boy. I am afraid he is much more so than his fellow countrymen. Yamamoto, an ex-Cabinet Minister and a man of importance, evidently had completely misunderstood the situation here and what the possibilities were. I had a long talk with him through an interpreter.