Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Theodore Roosevelt An Autobiography by Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt

Part 10 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

protection, I must decline transportation any combatants,
ammunition, arms, which might cause interruption to traffic or
convert line of transit into theater hostilities."


When the Government in nominal control of the Isthmus continually
besought American interference to protect the "rights" it could not
itself protect, and permitted our Government to transport Colombian
troops unarmed, under protection of our own armed men, while the
Colombian arms and ammunition came in a separate train, it is obvious
that the Colombian "sovereignty" was of such a character as to warrant
our insisting that inasmuch as it only existed because of our
protection there should be in requital a sense of the obligations that
the acceptance of this protection implied.

Meanwhile Colombia was under a dictatorship. In 1898 M. A. Sanclamente
was elected President, and J. M. Maroquin Vice-President, of the
Republic of Colombia. On July 31, 1900, the Vice-President, Maroquin,
executed a "coup d'etat" by seizing the person of the President,
Sanclamente, and imprisoning him at a place a few miles out of Bogota.
Maroquin thereupon declared himself possessed of the executive power
because of "the absence of the President"--a delightful touch of
unconscious humor. He then issued a decree that public order was
disturbed, and, upon that ground, assumed to himself legislative power
under another provision of the constitution; that is, having himself
disturbed the public order, he alleged the disturbance as a
justification for seizing absolute power. Thenceforth Maroquin,
without the aid of any legislative body, ruled as a dictator,
combining the supreme executive, legislative, civil, and military
authorities, in the so-called Republic of Colombia. The "absence" of
Sanclamente from the capital became permanent by his death in prison
in the year 1902. When the people of Panama declared their
independence in November, 1903, no Congress had sat in Colombia since
the year 1898, except the special Congress called by Maroquin to
reject the canal treaty, and which did reject it by a unanimous vote,
and adjourned without legislating on any other subject. The
constitution of 1886 had taken away from Panama the power of self-
government and vested it in Columbia. The /coup d'etat/ of Maroquin
took away from Colombia herself the power of government and vested it
in an irresponsible dictator.

Consideration of the above facts ought to be enough to show any human
being that we were not dealing with normal conditions on the Isthmus
and in Colombia. We were dealing with the government of an
irresponsible alien dictator, and with a condition of affairs on the
Isthmus itself which was marked by one uninterrupted series of
outbreaks and revolutions. As for the "consent of the governed"
theory, that absolutely justified our action; the people on the
Isthmus were the "governed"; they were governed by Colombia, without
their consent, and they unanimously repudiated the Colombian
government, and demanded that the United States build the canal.

I had done everything possible, personally and through Secretary Hay,
to persuade the Colombian Government to keep faith. Under the Hay-
Pauncefote Treaty, it was explicitly provided that the United States
should build the canal, should control, police and protect it, and
keep it open to the vessels of all nations on equal terms. We had
assumed the position of guarantor of the canal, including, of course,
the building of the canal, and of its peaceful use by all the world.
The enterprise was recognized everywhere as responding to an
international need. It was a mere travesty on justice to treat the
government in possession of the Isthmus as having the right--which
Secretary Cass forty-five years before had so emphatically repudiated
--to close the gates of intercourse on one of the great highways of
the world. When we submitted to Colombia the Hay-Herran Treaty, it had
been settled that the time for delay, the time for permitting any
government of anti-social character, or of imperfect development, to
bar the work, had passed. The United States had assumed in connection
with the canal certain responsibilities not only to its own people but
to the civilized world, which imperatively demanded that there should
be no further delay in beginning the work. The Hay-Herran Treaty, if
it erred at all, erred in being overgenerous toward Colombia. The
people of Panama were delighted with the treaty, and the President of
Colombia, who embodied in his own person the entire government of
Colombia, had authorized the treaty to be made. But after the treaty
had been made the Colombia Government thought it had the matter in its
own hands; and the further thought, equally wicked and foolish, came
into the heads of the people in control at Bogota that they would
seize the French Company at the end of another year and take for
themselves the forty million dollars which the United States had
agreed to pay the Panama Canal Company.

President Maroquin, through his Minister, had agreed to the Hay-Herran
Treaty in January, 1903. He had the absolute power of an
unconstitutional dictator to keep his promise or break it. He
determined to break it. To furnish himself an excuse for breaking it
he devised the plan of summoning a Congress especially called to
reject the canal treaty. This the Congress--a Congress of mere puppets
--did, without a dissenting vote; and the puppets adjourned forthwith
without legislating on any other subject. The fact that this was a
mere sham, and that the President had entire power to confirm his own
treaty and act on it if he desired, was shown as soon as the
revolution took place, for on November 6 General Reyes of Colombia
addressed the American Minister at Bogota, on behalf of President
Maroquin, saying that "if the Government of the United States would
land troops and restore the Colombian sovereignty" the Colombian
President would "declare martial law; and, by virtue of vested
constitutional authority, when public order is disturbed, would
approve by decree the ratification of the canal treaty as signed; or,
if the Government of the United States prefers, would call an extra
session of the Congress--with new and friendly members--next May to
approve the treaty." This, of course, is proof positive that the
Colombian dictator had used his Congress as a mere shield, and a sham
shield at that, and it shows how utterly useless it would have been
further to trust his good faith in the matter.

When, in August, 1903, I became convinced that Colombia intended to
repudiate the treaty made the preceding January, under cover of
securing its rejection by the Colombian Legislature, I began carefully
to consider what should be done. By my direction, Secretary Hay,
personally and through the Minister at Bogota, repeatedly warned
Colombia that grave consequences might follow her rejection of the
treaty. The possibility of ratification did not wholly pass away until
the close of the session of the Colombian Congress on the last day of
October. There would then be two possibilities. One was that Panama
would remain quiet. In that case I was prepared to recommend to
Congress that we should at once occupy the Isthmus anyhow, and proceed
to dig the canal; and I had drawn out a draft of my message to this
effect.[*] But from the information I received, I deemed it likely
that there would be a revolution in Panama as soon as the Colombian
Congress adjourned without ratifying the treaty, for the entire
population of Panama felt that the immediate building of the canal was
of vital concern to their well-being. Correspondents of the different
newspapers on the Isthmus had sent to their respective papers widely
published forecasts indicating that there would be a revolution in
such event.

[*] See appendix at end of this chapter.

Moreover, on October 16, at the request of Lieutenant-General Young,
Captain Humphrey, and Lieutenant Murphy, two army officers who had
returned from the Isthmus, saw me and told me that there would
unquestionably be a revolution on the Isthmus, that the people were
unanimous in their criticism of the Bogota Government and their
disgust over the failure of that Government to ratify the treaty; and
that the revolution would probably take place immediately after the
adjournment of the Colombian Congress. They did not believe that it
would be before October 20, but they were confident that it would
certainly come at the end of October or immediately afterwards, when
the Colombian Congress had adjourned. Accordingly I directed the Navy
Department to station various ships within easy reach of the Isthmus,
to be ready to act in the event of need arising.

These ships were barely in time. On November 3 the revolution
occurred. Practically everybody on the Isthmus, including all the
Colombian troops that were already stationed there, joined in the
revolution, and there was no bloodshed. But on that same day four
hundred new Colombian troops were landed at Colon. Fortunately, the
gunboat /Nashville/, under Commander Hubbard, reached Colon almost
immediately afterwards, and when the commander of the Colombian forces
threatened the lives and property of the American citizens, including
women and children, in Colon, Commander Hubbard landed a few score
sailors and marines to protect them. By a mixture of firmness and tact
he not only prevented any assault on our citizens, but persuaded the
Colombian commander to reembark his troops for Cartagena. On the
Pacific side a Colombian gunboat shelled the City of Panama, with the
result of killing one Chinaman--the only life lost in the whole

No one connected with the American Government had any part in
preparing, inciting, or encouraging the revolution, and except for the
reports of our military and naval officers, which I forwarded to
Congress, no one connected with the Government had any previous
knowledge concerning the proposed revolution, except such as was
accessible to any person who read the newspapers and kept abreast of
current questions and current affairs. By the unanimous action of its
people, and without the firing of a shot, the state of Panama declared
themselves an independent republic. The time for hesitation on our
part had passed.

My belief then was, and the events that have occurred since have more
than justified it, that from the standpoint of the United States it
was imperative, not only for civil but for military reasons, that
there should be the immediate establishment of easy and speedy
communication by sea between the Atlantic and the Pacific. These
reasons were not of convenience only, but of vital necessity, and did
not admit of indefinite delay. The action of Colombia had shown not
only that the delay would be indefinite, but that she intended to
confiscate the property and rights of the French Panama Canal Company.
The report of the Panama Canal Committee of the Colombian Senate on
October 14, 1903, on the proposed treaty with the United States,
proposed that all consideration of the matter should be postponed
until October 31, 1904, when the next Colombian Congress would have
convened, because by that time the new Congress would be in condition
to determine whether through lapse of time the French company had not
forfeited its property and rights. "When that time arrives," the
report significantly declared, "the Republic, without any impediment,
will be able to contract and will be in more clear, more definite and
more advantageous possession, both legally and materially." The naked
meaning of this was that Colombia proposed to wait a year, and then
enforce a forfeiture of the rights and property of the French Panama
Company, so as to secure the forty million dollars our Government had
authorized as payment to this company. If we had sat supine, this
would doubtless have meant that France would have interfered to
protect the company, and we should then have had on the Isthmus, not
the company, but France; and the gravest international complications
might have ensued. Every consideration of international morality and
expediency, of duty to the Panama people, and of satisfaction of our
own national interests and honor, bade us take immediate action. I
recognized Panama forthwith on behalf of the United States, and
practically all the countries of the world immediately followed suit.
The State Department immediately negotiated a canal treaty with the
new Republic. One of the foremost men in securing the independence of
Panama, and the treaty which authorized the United States forthwith to
build the canal, was M. Philippe Bunau-Varilla, an eminent French
engineer formerly associated with De Lesseps and then living on the
Isthmus; his services to civilization were notable, and deserve the
fullest recognition.

From the beginning to the end our course was straightforward and in
absolute accord with the highest of standards of international
morality. Criticism of it can come only from misinformation, or else
from a sentimentality which represents both mental weakness and a
moral twist. To have acted otherwise than I did would have been on my
part betrayal of the interests of the United States, indifference to
the interests of Panama, and recreancy to the interests of the world
at large. Colombia had forfeited every claim to consideration; indeed,
this is not stating the case strongly enough: she had so acted that
yielding to her would have meant on our part that culpable form of
weakness which stands on a level with wickedness. As for me
personally, if I had hesitated to act, and had not in advance
discounted the clamor of those Americans who have made a fetish of
disloyalty to their country, I should have esteemed myself as
deserving a place in Dante's inferno beside the faint-hearted cleric
who was guilty of "il gran rifiuto." The facts I have given above are
mere bald statements from the record. They show that from the
beginning there had been acceptance of our right to insist on free
transit, in whatever form was best, across the Isthmus; and that
towards the end there had been a no less universal feeling that it was
our duty to the world to provide this transit in the shape of a canal
--the resolution of the Pan-American Congress was practically a
mandate to this effect. Colombia was then under a one-man government,
a dictatorship, founded on usurpation of absolute and irresponsible
power. She eagerly pressed us to enter into an agreement with her, as
long as there was any chance of our going to the alternative route
through Nicaragua. When she thought we were committed, she refused to
fulfil the agreement, with the avowed hope of seizing the French
company's property for nothing and thereby holding us up. This was a
bit of pure bandit morality. It would have achieved its purpose had I
possessed as weak moral fiber as those of my critics who announced
that I ought to have confined my action to feeble scolding and
temporizing until the opportunity for action passed. I did not lift my
finger to incite the revolutionists. The right simile to use is
totally different. I simply ceased to stamp out the different
revolutionary fuses that were already burning. When Colombia committed
flagrant wrong against us, I considered it no part of my duty to aid
and abet her in her wrongdoing at our expense, and also at the expense
of Panama, of the French company, and of the world generally. There
had been fifty years of continuous bloodshed and civil strife in
Panama; because of my action Panama has now known ten years of such
peace and prosperity as she never before saw during the four centuries
of her existence--for in Panama, as in Cuba and Santo Domingo, it was
the action of the American people, against the outcries of the
professed apostles of peace, which alone brought peace. We gave to the
people of Panama self-government, and freed them from subjection to
alien oppressors. We did our best to get Colombia to let us treat her
with a more than generous justice; we exercised patience to beyond the
verge of proper forbearance. When we did act and recognize Panama,
Colombia at once acknowledged her own guilt by promptly offering to do
what we had demanded, and what she had protested it was not in her
power to do. But the offer came too late. What we would gladly have
done before, it had by that time become impossible for us honorably to
do; for it would have necessitated our abandoning the people of
Panama, our friends, and turning them over to their and our foes, who
would have wreaked vengeance on them precisely because they had shown
friendship to us. Colombia was solely responsible for her own
humiliation; and she had not then, and has not now, one shadow of
claim upon us, moral or legal; all the wrong that was done was done by
her. If, as representing the American people, I had not acted
precisely as I did, I would have been an unfaithful or incompetent
representative; and inaction at that crisis would have meant not only
indefinite delay in building the canal, but also practical admission
on our part that we were not fit to play the part on the Isthmus which
we had arrogated to ourselves. I acted on my own responsibility in the
Panama matter. John Hay spoke of this action as follows: "The action
of the President in the Panama matter is not only in the strictest
accordance with the principles of justice and equity, and in line with
all the best precedents of our public policy, but it was the only
course he could have taken in compliance with our treaty rights and

I deeply regretted, and now deeply regret, the fact that the Colombian
Government rendered it imperative for me to take the action I took;
but I had no alternative, consistent with the full performance of my
duty to my own people, and to the nations of mankind. (For, be it
remembered, that certain other nations, Chile for example, will
probably benefit even more by our action than will the United States
itself.) I am well aware that the Colombian people have many fine
traits; that there is among them a circle of high-bred men and women
which would reflect honor on the social life of any country; and that
there has been an intellectual and literary development within this
small circle which partially atones for the stagnation and illiteracy
of the mass of the people; and I also know that even the illiterate
mass possesses many sterling qualities. But unfortunately in
international matters every nation must be judged by the action of its
Government. The good people in Colombia apparently made no effort,
certainly no successful effort, to cause the Government to act with
reasonable good faith towards the United States; and Colombia had to
take the consequences. If Brazil, or the Argentine, or Chile, had been
in possession of the Isthmus, doubtless the canal would have been
built under the governmental control of the nation thus controlling
the Isthmus, with the hearty acquiescence of the United States and of
all other powers. But in the actual fact the canal would not have been
built at all save for the action I took. If men choose to say that it
would have been better not to build it, than to build it as the result
of such action, their position, although foolish, is compatible with
belief in their wrongheaded sincerity. But it is hypocrisy, alike
odious and contemptible, for any man to say both that we ought to have
built the canal and that we ought not to have acted in the way we did

After a sufficient period of wrangling, the Senate ratified the treaty
with Panama, and work on the canal was begun. The first thing that was
necessary was to decide the type of canal. I summoned a board of
engineering experts, foreign and native. They divided on their report.
The majority of the members, including all the foreign members,
approved a sea-level canal. The minority, including most of the
American members, approved a lock canal. Studying these conclusions, I
came to the belief that the minority was right. The two great traffic
canals of the world were the Suez and the Soo. The Suez Canal is a
sea-level canal, and it was the one best known to European engineers.
The Soo Canal, through which an even greater volume of traffic passes
every year, is a lock canal, and the American engineers were
thoroughly familiar with it; whereas, in my judgment, the European
engineers had failed to pay proper heed to the lessons taught by its
operation and management. Moreover, the engineers who were to do the
work at Panama all favored a lock canal. I came to the conclusion that
a sea-level canal would be slightly less exposed to damage in the
event of war; that the running expenses, apart from the heavy cost of
interest on the amount necessary to build it, would be less; and that
for small ships the time of transit would be less. But I also came to
the conclusion that the lock canal at the proposed level would cost
only about half as much to build and would be built in half the time,
with much less risk; that for large ships the transit would be
quicker, and that, taking into account the interest saved, the cost of
maintenance would be less. Accordingly I recommended to Congress, on
February 19, 1906, that a lock canal should be built, and my
recommendation was adopted. Congress insisted upon having it built by
a commission of several men. I tried faithfully to get good work out
of the commission, and found it quite impossible; for a many-headed
commission is an extremely poor executive instrument. At last I put
Colonel Goethals in as head of the commission. Then, when Congress
still refused to make the commission single-headed, I solved the
difficulty by an executive order of January 6, 1908, which practically
accomplished the object by enlarging the powers of the chairman,
making all the other members of the commission dependent upon him, and
thereby placing the work under one-man control. Dr. Gorgas had already
performed an inestimable service by caring for the sanitary conditions
so thoroughly as to make the Isthmus as safe as a health resort.
Colonel Goethals proved to be the man of all others to do the job. It
would be impossible to overstate what he has done. It is the greatest
task of any kind that any man in the world has accomplished during the
years that Colonel Goethals has been at work. It is the greatest task
of its own kind that has ever been performed in the world at all.
Colonel Goethals has succeeded in instilling into the men under him a
spirit which elsewhere has been found only in a few victorious armies.
It is proper and appropriate that, like the soldiers of such armies,
they should receive medals which are allotted each man who has served
for a sufficient length of time. A finer body of men has never been
gathered by any nation than the men who have done the work of building
the Panama Canal; the conditions under which they have lived and have
done their work have been better than in any similar work ever
undertaken in the tropics; they have all felt an eager pride in their
work; and they have made not only America but the whole world their
debtors by what they have accomplished.



The rough draft of the message I had proposed to send Congress ran as

"The Colombian Government, through its representative here, and
directly in communication with our representative at Colombia, has
refused to come to any agreement with us, and has delayed action
so as to make it evident that it intends to make extortionate and
improper terms with us. The Isthmian Canal bill was, of course,
passed upon the assumption that whatever route was used, the
benefit to the particular section of the Isthmus through which it
passed would be so great that the country controlling this part
would be eager to facilitate the building of the canal. It is out
of the question to submit to extortion on the part of a
beneficiary of the scheme. All the labor, all the expense, all the
risk are to be assumed by us and all the skill shown by us. Those
controlling the ground through which the canal is to be put are
wholly incapable of building it.

"Yet the interest of international commerce generally and the
interest of this country generally demands that the canal should
be begun with no needless delay. The refusal of Colombia properly
to respond to our sincere and earnest efforts to come to an
agreement, or to pay heed to the many concessions we have made,
renders it in my judgment necessary that the United States should
take immediate action on one of two lines: either we should drop
the Panama canal project and immediately begin work on the
Nicaraguan canal, or else we should purchase all the rights of the
French company, and, without any further parley with Colombia,
enter upon the completion of the canal which the French company
has begun. I feel that the latter course is the one demanded by
the interests of this Nation, and I therefore bring the matter to
your attention for such action in the premises as you may deem
wise. If in your judgment it is better not to take such action,
then I shall proceed at once with the Nicaraguan canal.

"The reason that I advocate the action above outlined in regard to
the Panama canal is, in the first place, the strong testimony of
the experts that this route is the most feasible; and in the next
place, the impropriety from an international standpoint of
permitting such conduct as that to which Colombia seems to
incline. The testimony of the experts is very strong, not only
that the Panama route is feasible, but that in the Nicaragua route
we may encounter some unpleasant surprises, and that it is far
more difficult to forecast the result with any certainty as
regards this latter route. As for Colombia's attitude, it is
incomprehensible upon any theory of desire to see the canal built
upon the basis of mutual advantage alike to those building it and
to Colombia herself. All we desire to do is to take up the work
begun by the French Government and to finish it. Obviously it is
Colombia's duty to help towards such completion. We are most
anxious to come to an agreement with her in which most scrupulous
care should be taken to guard her interests and ours. But we
cannot consent to permit her to block the performance of the work
which it is so greatly to our interest immediately to begin and
carry through."

Shortly after this rough draft was dictated the Panama revolution
came, and I never thought of the rough draft again until I was accused
of having instigated the revolution. This accusation is preposterous
in the eyes of any one who knows the actual conditions at Panama. Only
the menace of action by us in the interest of Colombia kept down
revolution; as soon as Colombia's own conduct removed such menace, all
check on the various revolutionary movements (there were at least
three from entirely separate sources) ceased; and then an explosion
was inevitable, for the French company knew that all their property
would be confiscated if Colombia put through her plans, and the entire
people of Panama felt that if in disgust with Colombia's extortions
the United States turned to Nicaragua, they, the people of Panama,
would be ruined. Knowing the character of those then in charge of the
Colombian Government, I was not surprised at their bad faith; but I
was surprised at their folly. They apparently had no idea either of
the power of France or the power of the United States, and expected to
be permitted to commit wrong with impunity, just as Castro in
Venezuela had done. The difference was that, unless we acted in self-
defense, Colombia had it in her power to do us serious harm, and
Venezuela did not have such power. Colombia's wrongdoing, therefore,
recoiled on her own head. There was no new lesson taught; it ought
already to have been known to every one that wickedness, weakness, and
folly combined rarely fail to meet punishment, and that the intent to
do wrong, when joined to inability to carry the evil purpose to a
successful conclusion, inevitably reacts on the wrongdoer.

For the full history of the acquisition and building of the canal see
"The Panama Gateway," by Joseph Bucklin Bishop (Scribner's Sons). Mr.
Bishop has been for eight years secretary of the commission and is one
of the most efficient of the many efficient men to whose work on the
Isthmus America owes so much.



There can be no nobler cause for which to work than the peace of
righteousness; and high honor is due those serene and lofty souls who
with wisdom and courage, with high idealism tempered by sane facing of
the actual facts of life, have striven to bring nearer the day when
armed strife between nation and nation, between class and class,
between man and man shall end throughout the world. Because all this
is true, it is also true that there are no men more ignoble or more
foolish, no men whose actions are fraught with greater possibility of
mischief to their country and to mankind, than those who exalt
unrighteous peace as better than righteous war. The men who have stood
highest in our history, as in the history of all countries, are those
who scorned injustice, who were incapable of oppressing the weak, or
of permitting their country, with their consent, to oppress the weak,
but who did not hesitate to draw the sword when to leave it undrawn
meant inability to arrest triumphant wrong.

All this is so obvious that it ought not to be necessary to repeat it.
Yet every man in active affairs, who also reads about the past, grows
by bitter experience to realize that there are plenty of men, not only
among those who mean ill, but among those who mean well, who are ready
enough to praise what was done in the past, and yet are incapable of
profiting by it when faced by the needs of the present. During our
generation this seems to have been peculiarly the case among the men
who have become obsessed with the idea of obtaining universal peace by
some cheap patent panacea.

There has been a real and substantial growth in the feeling for
international responsibility and justice among the great civilized
nations during the past threescore or fourscore years. There has been
a real growth of recognition of the fact that moral turpitude is
involved in the wronging of one nation by another, and that in most
cases war is an evil method of settling international difficulties.
But as yet there has been only a rudimentary beginning of the
development of international tribunals of justice, and there has been
no development at all of any international police power. Now, as I
have already said, the whole fabric of municipal law, of law within
each nation, rests ultimately upon the judge and the policeman; and
the complete absence of the policeman, and the almost complete absence
of the judge, in international affairs, prevents there being as yet
any real homology between municipal and international law.

Moreover, the questions which sometimes involve nations in war are far
more difficult and complex than any questions that affect merely
individuals. Almost every great nation has inherited certain
questions, either with other nations or with sections of its own
people, which it is quite impossible, in the present state of
civilization, to decide as matters between private individuals can be
decided. During the last century at least half of the wars that have
been fought have been civil and not foreign wars. There are big and
powerful nations which habitually commit, either upon other nations or
upon sections of their own people, wrongs so outrageous as to justify
even the most peaceful persons in going to war. There are also weak
nations so utterly incompetent either to protect the rights of
foreigners against their own citizens, or to protect their own
citizens against foreigners, that it becomes a matter of sheer duty
for some outside power to interfere in connection with them. As yet in
neither case is there any efficient method of getting international
action; and if joint action by several powers is secured, the result
is usually considerably worse than if only one Power interfered. The
worst infamies of modern times--such affairs as the massacres of the
Armenians by the Turks, for instance--have been perpetrated in a time
of nominally profound international peace, when there has been a
concert of big Powers to prevent the breaking of this peace, although
only by breaking it could the outrages be stopped. Be it remembered
that the peoples who suffered by these hideous massacres, who saw
their women violated and their children tortured, were actually
enjoying all the benefits of "disarmament." Otherwise they would not
have been massacred; for if the Jews in Russia and the Armenians in
Turkey had been armed, and had been efficient in the use of their
arms, no mob would have meddled with them.

Yet amiable but fatuous persons, with all these facts before their
eyes, pass resolutions demanding universal arbitration for everything,
and the disarmament of the free civilized powers and their abandonment
of their armed forces; or else they write well-meaning, solemn little
books, or pamphlets or editorials, and articles in magazines or
newspapers, to show that it is "an illusion" to believe that war ever
pays, because it is expensive. This is precisely like arguing that we
should disband the police and devote our sole attention to persuading
criminals that it is "an illusion" to suppose that burglary, highway
robbery and white slavery are profitable. It is almost useless to
attempt to argue with these well-intentioned persons, because they are
suffering under an obsession and are not open to reason. They go wrong
at the outset, for they lay all the emphasis on peace and none at all
on righteousness. They are not all of them physically timid men; but
they are usually men of soft life; and they rarely possess a high
sense of honor or a keen patriotism. They rarely try to prevent their
fellow countrymen from insulting or wronging the people of other
nations; but they always ardently advocate that we, in our turn, shall
tamely submit to wrong and insult from other nations. As Americans
their folly is peculiarly scandalous, because if the principles they
now uphold are right, it means that it would have been better that
Americans should never have achieved their independence, and better
that, in 1861, they should have peacefully submitted to seeing their
country split into half a dozen jangling confederacies and slavery
made perpetual. If unwilling to learn from their own history, let
those who think that it is an "illusion" to believe that a war ever
benefits a nation look at the difference between China and Japan.
China has neither a fleet nor an efficient army. It is a huge
civilized empire, one of the most populous on the globe; and it has
been the helpless prey of outsiders because it does not possess the
power to fight. Japan stands on a footing of equality with European
and American nations because it does possess this power. China now
sees Japan, Russia, Germany, England and France in possession of
fragments of her empire, and has twice within the lifetime of the
present generation seen her capital in the hands of allied invaders,
because she in very fact realizes the ideals of the persons who wish
the United States to disarm, and then trust that our helplessness will
secure us a contemptuous immunity from attack by outside nations.

The chief trouble comes from the entire inability of these worthy
people to understand that they are demanding things that are mutually
incompatible when they demand peace at any price, and also justice and
righteousness. I remember one representative of their number, who used
to write little sonnets on behalf of the Mahdi and the Sudanese, these
sonnets setting forth the need that the Sudan should be both
independent and peaceful. As a matter of fact, the Sudan valued
independence only because it desired to war against all Christians and
to carry on an unlimited slave trade. It was "independent" under the
Mahdi for a dozen years, and during those dozen years the bigotry,
tyranny, and cruel religious intolerance were such as flourished in
the seventh century, and in spite of systematic slave raids the
population decreased by nearly two-thirds, and practically all the
children died. Peace came, well-being came, freedom from rape and
murder and torture and highway robbery, and every brutal gratification
of lust and greed came, only when the Sudan lost its independence and
passed under English rule. Yet this well-meaning little sonneteer
sincerely felt that his verses were issued in the cause of humanity.
Looking back from the vantage point of a score of years, probably
every one will agree that he was an absurd person. But he was not one
whit more absurd than most of the more prominent persons who advocate
disarmament by the United States, the cessation of up-building the
navy, and the promise to agree to arbitrate all matters, including
those affecting our national interests and honor, with all foreign

These persons would do no harm if they affected only themselves. Many
of them are, in the ordinary relations of life, good citizens. They
are exactly like the other good citizens who believe that enforced
universal vegetarianism or anti-vaccination is the panacea for all
ills. But in their particular case they are able to do harm because
they affect our relations with foreign powers, so that other men pay
the debt which they themselves have really incurred. It is the
foolish, peace-at-any-price persons who try to persuade our people to
make unwise and improper treaties, or to stop building up the navy.
But if trouble comes and the treaties are repudiated, or there is a
demand for armed intervention, it is not these people who will pay
anything; they will stay at home in safety, and leave brave men to pay
in blood, and honest men to pay in shame, for their folly.

The trouble is that our policy is apt to go in zigzags, because
different sections of our people exercise at different times unequal
pressure on our government. One class of our citizens clamors for
treaties impossible of fulfilment, and improper to fulfil; another
class has no objection to the passage of these treaties so long as
there is no concrete case to which they apply, but instantly oppose a
veto on their application when any concrete case does actually arise.
One of our cardinal doctrines is freedom of speech, which means
freedom of speech about foreigners as well as about ourselves; and,
inasmuch as we exercise this right with complete absence of restraint,
we cannot expect other nations to hold us harmless unless in the last
resort we are able to make our own words good by our deeds. One class
of our citizens indulges in gushing promises to do everything for
foreigners, another class offensively and improperly reviles them; and
it is hard to say which class more thoroughly misrepresents the sober,
self-respecting judgment of the American people as a whole. The only
safe rule is to promise little, and faithfully to keep every promise;
to "speak softly and carry a big stick."

A prime need for our nation, as of course for every other nation, is
to make up its mind definitely what it wishes, and not to try to
pursue paths of conduct incompatible one with the other. If this
nation is content to be the China of the New World, then and then only
can it afford to do away with the navy and the army. If it is content
to abandon Hawaii and the Panama Canal, to cease to talk of the Monroe
Doctrine, and to admit the right of any European or Asiatic power to
dictate what immigrants shall be sent to and received in America, and
whether or not they shall be allowed to become citizens and hold land
--why, of course, if America is content to have nothing to say on any
of these matters and to keep silent in the presence of armed
outsiders, then it can abandon its navy and agree to arbitrate all
questions of all kinds with every foreign power. In such event it can
afford to pass its spare time in one continuous round of universal
peace celebrations, and of smug self-satisfaction in having earned the
derision of all the virile peoples of mankind. Those who advocate such
a policy do not occupy a lofty position. But at least their position
is understandable.

It is entirely inexcusable, however, to try to combine the unready
hand with the unbridled tongue. It is folly to permit freedom of
speech about foreigners as well as ourselves--and the peace-at-any-
price persons are much too feeble a folk to try to interfere with
freedom of speech--and yet to try to shirk the consequences of freedom
of speech. It is folly to try to abolish our navy, and at the same
time to insist that we have a right to enforce the Monroe Doctrine,
that we have a right to control the Panama Canal which we ourselves
dug, that we have a right to retain Hawaii and prevent foreign nations
from taking Cuba, and a right to determine what immigrants, Asiatic or
European, shall come to our shores, and the terms on which they shall
be naturalized and shall hold land and exercise other privileges. We
are a rich people, and an unmilitary people. In international affairs
we are a short-sighted people. But I know my countrymen. Down at
bottom their temper is such that they will not permanently tolerate
injustice done to them. In the long run they will no more permit
affronts to their National honor than injuries to their national
interest. Such being the case, they will do well to remember that the
surest of all ways to invite disaster is to be opulent, aggressive and

Throughout the seven and a half years that I was President, I pursued
without faltering one consistent foreign policy, a policy of genuine
international good will and of consideration for the rights of others,
and at the same time of steady preparedness. The weakest nations knew
that they, no less than the strongest, were safe from insult and
injury at our hands; and the strong and the weak alike also knew that
we possessed both the will and the ability to guard ourselves from
wrong or insult at the hands of any one.

It was under my administration that the Hague Court was saved from
becoming an empty farce. It had been established by joint
international agreement, but no Power had been willing to resort to
it. Those establishing it had grown to realize that it was in danger
of becoming a mere paper court, so that it would never really come
into being at all. M. d'Estournelles de Constant had been especially
alive to this danger. By correspondence and in personal interviews he
impressed upon me the need not only of making advances by actually
applying arbitration--not merely promising by treaty to apply it--to
questions that were up for settlement, but of using the Hague tribunal
for this purpose. I cordially sympathized with these views. On the
recommendation of John Hay, I succeeded in getting an agreement with
Mexico to lay a matter in dispute between the two republics before the
Hague Court. This was the first case ever brought before the Hague
Court. It was followed by numerous others; and it definitely
established that court as the great international peace tribunal. By
mutual agreement with Great Britain, through the decision of a joint
commission, of which the American members were Senators Lodge and
Turner, and Secretary Root, we were able peacefully to settle the
Alaska Boundary question, the only question remaining between
ourselves and the British Empire which it was not possible to settle
by friendly arbitration; this therefore represented the removal of the
last obstacle to absolute agreement between the two peoples. We were
of substantial service in bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the
negotiations at Algeciras concerning Morocco. We concluded with Great
Britain, and with most of the other great nations, arbitration
treaties specifically agreeing to arbitrate all matters, and
especially the interpretation of treaties, save only as regards
questions affecting territorial integrity, national honor and vital
national interest. We made with Great Britain a treaty guaranteeing
the free use of the Panama Canal on equal terms to the ships of all
nations, while reserving to ourselves the right to police and fortify
the canal, and therefore to control it in time of war. Under this
treaty we are in honor bound to arbitrate the question of canal tolls
for coastwise traffic between the Western and Eastern coasts of the
United States. I believe that the American position as regards this
matter is right; but I also believe that under the arbitration treaty
we are in honor bound to submit the matter to arbitration in view of
Great Britain's contention--although I hold it to be an unwise
contention--that our position is unsound. I emphatically disbelieve in
making universal arbitration treaties which neither the makers nor any
one else would for a moment dream of keeping. I no less emphatically
insist that it is our duty to keep the limited and sensible
arbitration treaties which we have already made. The importance of a
promise lies not in making it, but in keeping it; and the poorest of
all positions for a nation to occupy in such a matter is readiness to
make impossible promises at the same time that there is failure to
keep promises which have been made, which can be kept, and which it is
discreditable to break.

During the early part of the year 1905, the strain on the civilized
world caused by the Russo-Japanese War became serious. The losses of
life and of treasure were frightful. From all the sources of
information at hand, I grew most strongly to believe that a further
continuation of the struggle would be a very bad thing for Japan, and
an even worse thing for Russia. Japan was already suffering terribly
from the drain upon her men, and especially upon her resources, and
had nothing further to gain from continuance of the struggle; its
continuance meant to her more loss than gain, even if she were
victorious. Russia, in spite of her gigantic strength, was, in my
judgment, apt to lose even more than she had already lost if the
struggle continued. I deemed it probable that she would no more be
able successfully to defend Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria
than she had been able to defend Southern Manchuria and Korea. If the
war went on, I thought it, on the whole, likely that Russia would be
driven west of Lake Baikal. But it was very far from certain. There is
no certainty in such a war. Japan might have met defeat, and defeat to
her would have spelt overwhelming disaster; and even if she had
continued to win, what she thus won would have been of no value to
her, and the cost in blood and money would have left her drained
white. I believed, therefore, that the time had come when it was
greatly to the interest of both combatants to have peace, and when
therefore it was possible to get both to agree to peace.

I first satisfied myself that each side wished me to act, but that,
naturally and properly, each side was exceedingly anxious that the
other should not believe that the action was taken on its initiative.
I then sent an identical note to the two powers proposing that they
should meet, through their representatives, to see if peace could not
be made directly between them, and offered to act as an intermediary
in bringing about such a meeting, but not for any other purpose. Each
assented to my proposal in principle. There was difficulty in getting
them to agree on a common meeting place; but each finally abandoned
its original contention in the matter, and the representatives of the
two nations finally met at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire. I previously
received the two delegations at Oyster Bay on the U. S. S. Mayflower,
which, together with another naval vessel, I put at their disposal, on
behalf of the United States Government, to take them from Oyster Bay
to Portsmouth.

As is customary--but both unwise and undesirable--in such cases, each
side advanced claims which the other could not grant. The chief
difficulty came because of Japan's demand for a money indemnity. I
felt that it would be better for Russia to pay some indemnity than to
go on with the war, for there was little chance, in my judgment, of
the war turning out favorably for Russia, and the revolutionary
movement already under way bade fair to overthrow the negotiations
entirely. I advised the Russian Government to this effect, at the same
time urging them to abandon their pretensions on certain other points,
notably concerning the southern half of Saghalien, which the Japanese
had taken. I also, however, and equally strongly, advised the Japanese
that in my judgment it would be the gravest mistake on their part to
insist on continuing the war for the sake of a money indemnity; for
Russia was absolutely firm in refusing to give them an indemnity, and
the longer the war continued the less able she would be to pay. I
pointed out that there was no possible analogy between their case and
that of Germany in the war with France, which they were fond of
quoting. The Germans held Paris and half of France, and gave up much
territory in lieu of the indemnity, whereas the Japanese were still
many thousand miles from Moscow, and had no territory whatever which
they wished to give up. I also pointed out that in my judgment whereas
the Japanese had enjoyed the sympathy of most of the civilized powers
at the outset of and during the continuance of the war, they would
forfeit it if they turned the war into one merely for getting money--
and, moreover, they would almost certainly fail to get the money, and
would simply find themselves at the end of a year, even if things
prospered with them, in possession of territory they did not want,
having spent enormous additional sums of money, and lost enormous
additional numbers of men, and yet without a penny of remuneration.
The treaty of peace was finally signed.

As is inevitable under such circumstances, each side felt that it
ought to have got better terms; and when the danger was well past each
side felt that it had been over-reached by the other, and that if the
war had gone on it would have gotten more than it actually did get.
The Japanese Government had been wise throughout, except in the matter
of announcing that it would insist on a money indemnity. Neither in
national nor in private affairs is it ordinarily advisable to make a
bluff which cannot be put through--personally, I never believe in
doing it under any circumstances. The Japanese people had been misled
by this bluff of their Government; and the unwisdom of the
Government's action in the matter was shown by the great resentment
the treaty aroused in Japan, although it was so beneficial to Japan.
There were various mob outbreaks, especially in the Japanese cities;
the police were roughly handled, and several Christian churches were
burned, as reported to me by the American Minister. In both Russia and
Japan I believe that the net result as regards myself was a feeling of
injury, and of dislike of me, among the people at large. I had
expected this; I regarded it as entirely natural; and I did not resent
it in the least. The Governments of both nations behaved toward me not
only with correct and entire propriety, but with much courtesy and the
fullest acknowledgment of the good effect of what I had done; and in
Japan, at least, I believe that the leading men sincerely felt that I
had been their friend. I had certainly tried my best to be the friend
not only of the Japanese people but of the Russian people, and I
believe that what I did was for the best interests of both and of the
world at large.

During the course of the negotiations I tried to enlist the aid of the
Governments of one nation which was friendly to Russia, and of another
nation which was friendly to Japan, in helping bring about peace. I
got no aid from either. I did, however, receive aid from the Emperor
of Germany. His Ambassador at St. Petersburg was the one Ambassador
who helped the American Ambassador, Mr. Meyer, at delicate and
doubtful points of the negotiations. Mr. Meyer, who was, with the
exception of Mr. White, the most useful diplomat in the American
service, rendered literally invaluable aid by insisting upon himself
seeing the Czar at critical periods of the transaction, when it was no
longer possible for me to act successfully through the representatives
of the Czar, who were often at cross purposes with one another.

As a result of the Portsmouth peace, I was given the Nobel Peace
Prize. This consisted of a medal, which I kept, and a sum of $40,000,
which I turned over as a foundation of industrial peace to a board of
trustees which included Oscar Straus, Seth Low and John Mitchell. In
the present state of the world's development industrial peace is even
more essential than international peace; and it was fitting and
appropriate to devote the peace prize to such a purpose. In 1910,
while in Europe, one of my most pleasant experiences was my visit to
Norway, where I addressed the Nobel Committee, and set forth in full
the principles upon which I had acted, not only in this particular
case but throughout my administration.

I received another gift which I deeply appreciated, an original copy
of Sully's "Memoires" of "Henry le Grand," sent me with the following
inscription (I translate it roughly):

PARIS, January, 1906.

"The undersigned members of the French Parliamentary Group of
International Arbitration and Conciliation have decided to tender
President Roosevelt a token of their high esteem and their
sympathetic recognition of the persistent and decisive initiative
he has taken towards gradually substituting friendly and judicial
for violent methods in case of conflict between Nations.

"They believe that the action of President Roosevelt, which has
realized the most generous hopes to be found in history, should be
classed as a continuance of similar illustrious attempts of former
times, notably the project for international concord known under
the name of the 'Great Design of Henry IV' in the memoirs of his
Prime Minister, the Duke de Sully. In consequence they have sought
out a copy of the first edition of these memoirs, and they take
pleasure in offering it to him, with the request that he will keep
it among his family papers."

The signatures include those of Emile Loubet, A. Carnot,
d'Estournelles de Constant, Aristide Briand, Sully Prudhomme, Jean
Jaurés, A. Fallieres, R. Poincare, and two or three hundred others.

Of course what I had done in connection with the Portsmouth peace was
misunderstood by some good and sincere people. Just as after the
settlement of the coal strike, there were persons who thereupon
thought that it was in my power, and was my duty, to settle all other
strikes, so after the peace of Portsmouth there were other persons--
not only Americans, by the way,--who thought it my duty forthwith to
make myself a kind of international Meddlesome Mattie and interfere
for peace and justice promiscuously over the world. Others, with a
delightful non-sequitur, jumped to the conclusion that inasmuch as I
had helped to bring about a beneficent and necessary peace I must of
necessity have changed my mind about war being ever necessary. A
couple of days after peace was concluded I wrote to a friend: "Don't
you be misled by the fact that just at the moment men are speaking
well of me. They will speak ill soon enough. As Loeb remarked to me
to-day, some time soon I shall have to spank some little international
brigand, and then all the well-meaning idiots will turn and shriek
that this is inconsistent with what I did at the Peace Conference,
whereas in reality it will be exactly in line with it."

To one of my political opponents, Mr. Schurz, who wrote me
congratulating me upon the outcome at Portsmouth, and suggesting that
the time was opportune for a move towards disarmament, I answered in a
letter setting forth views which I thought sound then, and think sound
now. The letter ran as follows:

September 8, 1905.

My dear Mr. Schurz: I thank you for your congratulations. As to
what you say about disarmament--which I suppose is the rough
equivalent of "the gradual diminution of the oppressive burdens
imposed upon the world by armed peace"--I am not clear either as
to what can be done or what ought to be done. If I had been known
as one of the conventional type of peace advocates I could have
done nothing whatever in bringing about peace now, I would be
powerless in the future to accomplish anything, and I would not
have been able to help confer the boons upon Cuba, the
Philippines, Porto Rico and Panama, brought about by our action
therein. If the Japanese had not armed during the last twenty
years, this would indeed be a sorrowful century for Japan. If this
country had not fought the Spanish War; if we had failed to take
the action we did about Panama; all mankind would have been the
loser. While the Turks were butchering the Armenians the European
powers kept the peace and thereby added a burden of infamy to the
Nineteenth Century, for in keeping that peace a greater number of
lives were lost than in any European war since the days of
Napoleon, and these lives were those of women and children as well
as of men; while the moral degradation, the brutality inflicted
and endured, the aggregate of hideous wrong done, surpassed that
of any war of which we have record in modern times. Until people
get it firmly fixed in their minds that peace is valuable chiefly
as a means to righteousness, and that it can only be considered as
an end when it also coincides with righteousness, we can do only a
limited amount to advance its coming on this earth. There is of
course no analogy at present between international law and private
or municipal law, because there is no sanction of force for the
former, while there is for the latter. Inside our own nation the
law-abiding man does not have to arm himself against the lawless
simply because there is some armed force--the police, the
sheriff's posse, the national guard, the regulars--which can be
called out to enforce the laws. At present there is no similar
international force to call on, and I do not as yet see how it
could at present be created. Hitherto peace has often come only
because some strong and on the whole just power has by armed
force, or the threat of armed force, put a stop to disorder. In a
very interesting French book the other day I was reading how the
Mediterranean was freed from pirates only by the "pax Britannica,"
established by England's naval force. The hopeless and hideous
bloodshed and wickedness of Algiers and Turkestan was stopped, and
could only be stopped, when civilized nations in the shape of
Russia and France took possession of them. The same was true of
Burma and the Malay States, as well as Egypt, with regard to
England. Peace has come only as the sequel to the armed
interference of a civilized power which, relatively to its
opponent, was a just and beneficent power. If England had disarmed
to the point of being unable to conquer the Sudan and protect
Egypt, so that the Mahdists had established their supremacy in
northeastern Africa, the result would have been a horrible and
bloody calamity to mankind. It was only the growth of the European
powers in military efficiency that freed eastern Europe from the
dreadful scourge of the Tartar and partially freed it from the
dreadful scourge of the Turk. Unjust war is dreadful; a just war
may be the highest duty. To have the best nations, the free and
civilized nations, disarm and leave the despotisms and barbarisms
with great military force, would be a calamity compared to which
the calamities caused by all the wars of the nineteenth century
would be trivial. Yet it is not easy to see how we can by
international agreement state exactly which power ceases to be
free and civilized and which comes near the line of barbarism or
despotism. For example, I suppose it would be very difficult to
get Russia and Japan to come to a common agreement on this point;
and there are at least some citizens of other nations, not to
speak of their governments, whom it would also be hard to get

This does not in the least mean that it is hopeless to make the
effort. It may be that some scheme will be developed. America,
fortunately, can cordially assist in such an effort, for no one in
his senses would suggest our disarmament; and though we should
continue to perfect our small navy and our minute army, I do not
think it necessary to increase the number of our ships--at any
rate as things look now--nor the number of our soldiers. Of course
our navy must be kept up to the highest point of efficiency, and
the replacing of old and worthless vessels by first-class new ones
may involve an increase in the personnel; but not enough to
interfere with our action along the lines you have suggested. But
before I would know how to advocate such action, save in some such
way as commending it to the attention of The Hague Tribunal, I
would have to have a feasible and rational plan of action

It seems to me that a general stop in the increase of the war
navies of the world /might/ be a good thing; but I would not like
to speak too positively offhand. Of course it is only in
continental Europe that the armies are too large; and before
advocating action as regards them I should have to weigh matters
carefully--including by the way such a matter as the Turkish army.
At any rate nothing useful can be done unless with the clear
recognition that we object to putting peace second to

Sincerely yours,

HON. CARL SCHURZ, Bolton Landing,
Lake George, N. Y.

In my own judgment the most important service that I rendered to peace
was the voyage of the battle fleet round the world. I had become
convinced that for many reasons it was essential that we should have
it clearly understood, by our own people especially, but also by other
peoples, that the Pacific was as much our home waters as the Atlantic,
and that our fleet could and would at will pass from one to the other
of the two great oceans. It seemed to me evident that such a voyage
would greatly benefit the navy itself; would arouse popular interest
in and enthusiasm for the navy; and would make foreign nations accept
as a matter of course that our fleet should from time to time be
gathered in the Pacific, just as from time to time it was gathered in
the Atlantic, and that its presence in one ocean was no more to be
accepted as a mark of hostility to any Asiatic power than its presence
in the Atlantic was to be accepted as a mark of hostility to any
European power. I determined on the move without consulting the
Cabinet, precisely as I took Panama without consulting the Cabinet. A
council of war never fights, and in a crisis the duty of a leader is
to lead and not to take refuge behind the generally timid wisdom of a
multitude of councillors. At that time, as I happen to know, neither
the English nor the German authorities believed it possible to take a
fleet of great battleships round the world. They did not believe that
their own fleets could perform the feat, and still less did they
believe that the American fleet could. I made up my mind that it was
time to have a show down in the matter; because if it was really true
that our fleet could not get from the Atlantic to the Pacific, it was
much better to know it and be able to shape our policy in view of the
knowledge. Many persons publicly and privately protested against the
move on the ground that Japan would accept it as a threat. To this I
answered nothing in public. In private I said that I did not believe
Japan would so regard it because Japan knew my sincere friendship and
admiration for her and realized that we could not as a Nation have any
intention of attacking her; and that if there were any such feeling on
the part of Japan as was alleged that very fact rendered it imperative
that that fleet should go. When in the spring of 1910 I was in Europe
I was interested to find that high naval authorities in both Germany
and Italy had expected that war would come at the time of the voyage.
They asked me if I had not been afraid of it, and if I had not
expected that hostilities would begin at least by the time that the
fleet reached the Straits of Magellan? I answered that I did not
expect it; that I believed that Japan would feel as friendly in the
matter as we did; but that if my expectations had proved mistaken, it
would have been proof positive that we were going to be attacked
anyhow, and that in such event it would have been an enormous gain to
have had the three months' preliminary preparation which enabled the
fleet to start perfectly equipped. In a personal interview before they
left I had explained to the officers in command that I believed the
trip would be one of absolute peace, but that they were to take
exactly the same precautions against sudden attack of any kind as if
we were at war with all the nations of the earth; and that no excuse
of any kind would be accepted if there were a sudden attack of any
kind and we were taken unawares.

My prime purpose was to impress the American people; and this purpose
was fully achieved. The cruise did make a very deep impression abroad;
boasting about what we have done does not impress foreign nations at
all, except unfavorably, but positive achievement does; and the two
American achievements that really impressed foreign peoples during the
first dozen years of this century were the digging of the Panama Canal
and the cruise of the battle fleet round the world. But the impression
made on our own people was of far greater consequence. No single thing
in the history of the new United States Navy has done as much to
stimulate popular interest and belief in it as the world cruise. This
effect was forecast in a well-informed and friendly English
periodical, the London /Spectator/. Writing in October, 1907, a month
before the fleet sailed from Hampton Roads, the /Spectator said/:

"All over America the people will follow the movements of the
fleet; they will learn something of the intricate details of the
coaling and commissariat work under warlike conditions; and in a
word their attention will be aroused. Next time Mr. Roosevelt or
his representatives appeal to the country for new battleships they
will do so to people whose minds have been influenced one way or
the other. The naval programme will not have stood still. We are
sure that, apart from increasing the efficiency of the existing
fleet, this is the aim which Mr. Roosevelt has in mind. He has a
policy which projects itself far into the future, but it is an
entire misreading of it to suppose that it is aimed narrowly and
definitely at any single Power."

I first directed the fleet, of sixteen battleships, to go round
through the Straits of Magellan to San Francisco. From thence I
ordered them to New Zealand and Australia, then to the Philippines,
China and Japan, and home through Suez--they stopped in the
Mediterranean to help the sufferers from the earthquake at Messina, by
the way, and did this work as effectively as they had done all their
other work. Admiral Evans commanded the fleet to San Francisco; there
Admiral Sperry took it; Admirals Thomas, Wainwright and Schroeder
rendered distinguished service under Evans and Sperry. The coaling and
other preparations were made in such excellent shape by the Department
that there was never a hitch, not so much as the delay of an hour, in
keeping every appointment made. All the repairs were made without
difficulty, the ship concerned merely falling out of column for a few
hours, and when the job was done steaming at speed until she regained
her position. Not a ship was left in any port; and there was hardly a
desertion. As soon as it was known that the voyage was to be
undertaken men crowded to enlist, just as freely from the Mississippi
Valley as from the seaboard, and for the first time since the Spanish
War the ships put to sea overmanned--and by as stalwart a set of men-
of-war's men as ever looked through a porthole, game for a fight or a
frolic, but withal so self-respecting and with such a sense of
responsibility that in all the ports in which they landed their
conduct was exemplary. The fleet practiced incessantly during the
voyage, both with the guns and in battle tactics, and came home a much
more efficient fighting instrument than when it started sixteen months

The best men of command rank in our own service were confident that
the fleet would go round in safety, in spite of the incredulity of
foreign critics. Even they, however, did not believe that it was wise
to send the torpedo craft around. I accordingly acquiesced in their
views, as it did not occur to me to consult the lieutenants. But
shortly before the fleet started, I went in the Government yacht
Mayflower to inspect the target practice off Provincetown. I was
accompanied by two torpedo boat destroyers, in charge of a couple of
naval lieutenants, thorough gamecocks; and I had the two lieutenants
aboard to dine one evening. Towards the end of the dinner they could
not refrain from asking if the torpedo flotilla was to go round with
the big ships. I told them no, that the admirals and captains did not
believe that the torpedo boats could stand it, and believed that the
officers and crews aboard the cockle shells would be worn out by the
constant pitching and bouncing and the everlasting need to make
repairs. My two guests chorused an eager assurance that the boats
could stand it. They assured me that the enlisted men were even more
anxious to go than were the officers, mentioning that on one of their
boats the terms of enlistment of most of the crew were out, and the
men were waiting to see whether or not to reenlist, as they did not
care to do so unless the boats were to go on the cruise. I answered
that I was only too glad to accept the word of the men who were to do
the job, and that they should certainly go; and within half an hour I
sent out the order for the flotilla to be got ready. It went round in
fine shape, not a boat being laid up. I felt that the feat reflected
even more credit upon the navy than did the circumnavigation of the
big ships, and I wrote the flotilla commander the following letter:

May 18, 1908.

My dear Captain Cone:

A great deal of attention has been paid to the feat of our
battleship fleet in encircling South America and getting to San
Francisco; and it would be hard too highly to compliment the
officers and enlisted men of that fleet for what they have done.
Yet if I should draw any distinction at all it would be in favor
of you and your associates who have taken out the torpedo
flotilla. Yours was an even more notable feat, and every officer
and every enlisted man in the torpedo boat flotilla has the right
to feel that he has rendered distinguished service to the United
States navy and therefore to the people of the United States; and
I wish I could thank each of them personally. Will you have this
letter read by the commanding officer of each torpedo boat to his
officers and crew?

Sincerely yours,

Commanding Second Torpedo Flotilla,
Care Postmaster, San Francisco, Cal.

There were various amusing features connected with the trip. Most of
the wealthy people and "leaders of opinion" in the Eastern cities were
panic-struck at the proposal to take the fleet away from Atlantic
waters. The great New York dailies issued frantic appeals to Congress
to stop the fleet from going. The head of the Senate Committee on
Naval Affairs announced that the fleet should not and could not go
because Congress would refuse to appropriate the money--he being from
an Eastern seaboard State. However, I announced in response that I had
enough money to take the fleet around to the Pacific anyhow, that the
fleet would certainly go, and that if Congress did not choose to
appropriate enough money to get the fleet back, why, it would stay in
the Pacific. There was no further difficulty about the money.

It was not originally my intention that the fleet should visit
Australia, but the Australian Government sent a most cordial
invitation, which I gladly accepted; for I have, as every American
ought to have, a hearty admiration for, and fellow feeling with,
Australia, and I believe that America should be ready to stand back of
Australia in any serious emergency. The reception accorded the fleet
in Australia was wonderful, and it showed the fundamental community of
feeling between ourselves and the great commonwealth of the South
Seas. The considerate, generous, and open-handed hospitality with
which the entire Australian people treated our officers and men could
not have been surpassed had they been our own countrymen. The fleet
first visited Sydney, which has a singularly beautiful harbor. The day
after the arrival one of our captains noticed a member of his crew
trying to go to sleep on a bench in the park. He had fixed above his
head a large paper with some lines evidently designed to forestall any
questions from friendly would-be hosts: "I am delighted with the
Australian people. I think your harbor the finest in the world. I am
very tired and would like to go to sleep."

The most noteworthy incident of the cruise was the reception given to
our fleet in Japan. In courtesy and good breeding, the Japanese can
certainly teach much to the nations of the Western world. I had been
very sure that the people of Japan would understand aright what the
cruise meant, and would accept the visit of our fleet as the signal
honor which it was meant to be, a proof of the high regard and
friendship I felt, and which I was certain the American people felt,
for the great Island Empire. The event even surpassed my expectations.
I cannot too strongly express my appreciation of the generous courtesy
the Japanese showed the officers and crews of our fleet; and I may add
that every man of them came back a friend and admirer of the Japanese.
Admiral Sperry wrote me a letter of much interest, dealing not only
with the reception in Tokyo but with the work of our men at sea; I
herewith give it almost in full:

28 October, 1908.

Dear Mr. Roosevelt:

My official report of the visit to Japan goes forward in this
mail, but there are certain aspects of the affair so successfully
concluded which cannot well be included in the report.

You are perhaps aware that Mr. Denison of the Japanese Foreign
Office was one of my colleagues at The Hague, for whom I have a
very high regard. Desiring to avoid every possibility of trouble
or misunderstanding, I wrote to him last June explaining fully the
character of our men, which they have so well lived up to, the
desirability of ample landing places, guides, rest houses and
places for changing money in order that there might be no delay in
getting the men away from the docks on the excursions in which
they delight. Very few of them go into a drinking place, except to
get a resting place not to be found elsewhere, paying for it by
taking a drink.

I also explained our system of landing with liberty men an unarmed
patrol, properly officered, to quietly take in charge and send off
to their ships any men who showed the slightest trace of
disorderly conduct. This letter he showed to the Minister of the
Navy, who highly approved of all our arrangements, including the
patrol, of which I feared they might be jealous. Mr. Denison's
reply reached me in Manila, with a memorandum from the Minister of
the Navy which removed all doubts. Three temporary piers were
built for our boat landings, each 300 feet long, brilliantly
lighted and decorated. The sleeping accommodations did not permit
two or three thousand sailors to remain on shore, but the ample
landings permitted them to be handled night and day with perfect
order and safety.

At the landings and railroad station in Yokohama there were rest
houses or booths, reputable money changers and as many as a
thousand English-speaking Japanese college students acted as
volunteer guides, besides Japanese sailors and petty officers
detailed for the purpose. In Tokyo there were a great many
excellent refreshment places, where the men got excellent meals
and could rest, smoke, and write letters, and in none of these
places would they allow the men to pay anything, though they were
more than ready to do so. The arrangements were marvelously

As soon as your telegram of October 18, giving the address to be
made to the Emperor, was received, I gave copies of it to our
Ambassador to be sent to the Foreign Office. It seems that the
Emperor had already prepared a very cordial address to be
forwarded through me to you, after delivery at the audience, but
your telegram reversed the situation and his reply was prepared. I
am convinced that your kind and courteous initiative on this
occasion helped cause the pleasant feeling which was so obvious in
the Emperor's bearing at the luncheon which followed the audience.
X., who is reticent and conservative, told me that not only the
Emperor but all the Ministers were profoundly gratified by the
course of events. I am confident that not even the most trifling
incident has taken place which could in any way mar the general
satisfaction, and our Ambassador has expressed to me his great
satisfaction with all that has taken place.

Owing to heavy weather encountered on the passage up from Manila
the fleet was obliged to take about 3500 tons of coal.

The Yankton remained behind to keep up communication for a few
days, and yesterday she transmitted the Emperor's telegram to you,
which was sent in reply to your message through our Ambassador
after the sailing of the fleet. It must be profoundly gratifying
to you to have the mission on which you sent the fleet terminate
so happily, and I am profoundly thankful that, owing to the
confidence which you displayed in giving me this command, my
active career draws to a close with such honorable distinction.

As for the effect of the cruise upon the training, discipline and
effectiveness of the fleet, the good cannot be exaggerated. It is
a war game in every detail. The wireless communication has been
maintained with an efficiency hitherto unheard of. Between
Honolulu and Auckland, 3850 miles, we were out of communication
with a cable station for only one night, whereas three [non-
American] men-of-war trying recently to maintain a chain of only
1250 miles, between Auckland and Sydney, were only able to do so
for a few hours.

The officers and men as soon as we put to sea turn to their
gunnery and tactical work far more eagerly than they go to
functions. Every morning certain ships leave the column and move
off seven or eight thousand yards as targets for range measuring
fire control and battery practice for the others, and at night
certain ships do the same thing for night battery practice. I am
sorry to say that this practice is unsatisfactory, and in some
points misleading, owing to the fact that the ships are painted
white. At Portland, in 1903, I saw Admiral Barker's white
battleships under the searchlights of the army at a distance of
14,000 yards, seven sea miles, without glasses, while the
Hartford, a black ship, was never discovered at all, though she
passed within a mile and a half. I have for years, while a member
of the General Board, advocated painting the ships war color at
all times, and by this mail I am asking the Department to make the
necessary change in the Regulations and paint the ships properly.
I do not know that any one now dissents from my view. Admiral
Wainwright strongly concurs, and the War College Conference
recommended it year after year without a dissenting voice.

In the afternoons the fleet has two or three hours' practice at
battle maneuvers, which excite as keen interest as gunnery

The competition in coal economy goes on automatically and reacts
in a hundred ways. It has reduced the waste in the use of electric
light and water, and certain chief engineers are said to keep men
ranging over the ships all night turning out every light not in
actual and immediate use. Perhaps the most important effect is the
keen hunt for defects in the machinery causing waste of power. The
Yankton by resetting valves increased her speed from 10 to 11 1/2
knots on the same expenditure.

All this has been done, but the field is widening, the work has
only begun.

* * * * * * *


When I left the Presidency I finished seven and a half years of
administration, during which not one shot had been fired against a
foreign foe. We were at absolute peace, and there was no nation in the
world with whom a war cloud threatened, no nation in the world whom we
had wronged, or from whom we had anything to fear. The cruise of the
battle fleet was not the least of the causes which ensured so peaceful
an outlook.

When the fleet returned after its sixteen months' voyage around the
world I went down to Hampton Roads to greet it. The day was
Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1907. Literally on the minute the
homing battlecraft came into view. On the flagship of the Admiral I
spoke to the officers and enlisted men, as follows:

"Admiral Sperry, Officers and Men of the Battle Fleet:

"Over a year has passed since you steamed out of this harbor, and
over the world's rim, and this morning the hearts of all who saw
you thrilled with pride as the hulls of the mighty warships lifted
above the horizon. You have been in the Northern and the Southern
Hemispheres; four times you have crossed the line; you have
steamed through all the great oceans; you have touched the coast
of every continent. Ever your general course has been westward;
and now you come back to the port from which you set sail. This is
the first battle fleet that has ever circumnavigated the globe.
Those who perform the feat again can but follow in your footsteps.

"The little torpedo flotilla went with you around South America,
through the Straits of Magellan, to our own Pacific Coast. The
armored cruiser squadron met you, and left you again, when you
were half way round the world. You have falsified every prediction
of the prophets of failure. In all your long cruise not an
accident worthy of mention has happened to a single battleship,
nor yet to the cruisers or torpedo boats. You left this coast in a
high state of battle efficiency, and you return with your
efficiency increased; better prepared than when you left, not only
in personnel but even in material. During your world cruise you
have taken your regular gunnery practice, and skilled though you
were before with the guns, you have grown more skilful still; and
through practice you have improved in battle tactics, though here
there is more room for improvement than in your gunnery.
Incidentally, I suppose I need hardly say that one measure of your
fitness must be your clear recognition of the need always steadily
to strive to render yourselves more fit; if you ever grow to think
that you are fit enough, you can make up your minds that from that
moment you will begin to go backward.

"As a war-machine, the fleet comes back in better shape than it
went out. In addition, you, the officers and men of this
formidable fighting force, have shown yourselves the best of all
possible ambassadors and heralds of peace. Wherever you have
landed you have borne yourselves so as to make us at home proud of
being your countrymen. You have shown that the best type of
fighting man of the sea knows how to appear to the utmost possible
advantage when his business is to behave himself on shore, and to
make a good impression in a foreign land. We are proud of all the
ships and all the men in this whole fleet, and we welcome you home
to the country whose good repute among nations has been raised by
what you have done."



[Written when Mr. Taft's administration brought suit to dissolve the
steel corporation, one of the grounds for the suit being the
acquisition by the Corporation of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company;
this action was taken, with my acquiescence, while I was President,
and while Mr. Taft was a member of my cabinet; at the time he never
protested against, and as far as I knew approved of my action in this
case, as in the Harvester Trust case, and all similar cases.]

The suit against the Steel Trust by the Government has brought vividly
before our people the need of reducing to order our chaotic Government
policy as regards business. As President, in Messages to Congress I
repeatedly called the attention of that body and of the public to the
inadequacy of the Anti-Trust Law by itself to meet business conditions
and secure justice to the people, and to the further fact that it
might, if left unsupplemented by additional legislation, work
mischief, with no compensating advantage; and I urged as strongly as I
knew how that the policy followed with relation to railways in
connection with the Inter-State Commerce Law should be followed by the
National Government as regards all great business concerns; and
therefore that, as a first step, the powers of the Bureau of
Corporations should be greatly enlarged, or else that there should be
created a Governmental board or commission, with powers somewhat
similar to those of the Inter-State Commerce Commission, but covering
the whole field of inter-State business, exclusive of transportation
(which should, by law, be kept wholly separate from ordinary
industrial business, all common ownership of the industry and the
railway being forbidden). In the end I have always believed that it
would also be necessary to give the National Government complete power
over the organization and capitalization of all business concerns
engaged in inter-State commerce.

A member of my Cabinet with whom, even more than with the various
Attorneys-General, I went over every detail of the trust situation,
was the one time Secretary of the Interior, Mr. James R. Garfield. He
writes me as follows concerning the suit against the Steel

"Nothing appeared before the House Committee that made me believe
we were deceived by Judge Gary.

"This, I think, is a case that shows clearly the difference between
destructive litigation and constructive legislation. I have not
yet seen a full copy of the Government's petition, but our papers
give nothing that indicates any kind of unfair or dishonest
competition such as existed in both the Standard Oil and Tobacco
Cases. As I understand it, the competitors of the Steel Company
have steadily increased in strength during the last six or seven
years. Furthermore, the per cent of the business done by the Steel
Corporation has decreased during that time. As you will remember,
at our first conference with Judge Gary, the Judge stated that it
was the desire and purpose of the Company to conform to what the
Government wished, it being the purpose of the Company absolutely
to obey the law both in spirit and letter. Throughout the time
that I had charge of the investigation, and while we were in
Washington, I do not know of a single instance where the Steel
Company refused any information requested; but, on the contrary,
aided in every possible way our investigation.

"The position now taken by the Government is absolutely destructive
of legitimate business, because they outline no rule of conduct
for business of any magnitude. It is absurd to say that the courts
can lay down such rules. The most the courts can do is to find as
legal or illegal the particular transactions brought before them.
Hence, after years of tedious litigation there would be no clear-
cut rule for future action. This method of procedure is dealing
with the device, not the result, and drives business to the
elaboration of clever devices, each of which must be tested in the

"I have yet to find a better method of dealing with the anti-trust
situation than that suggested by the bill which we agreed upon in
the last days of your Administration. That bill should be used as
a basis for legislation, and there could be incorporated upon it
whatever may be determined wise regarding the direct control and
supervision of the National Government, either through a
commission similar to the Inter-State Commerce Commission or

Before taking up the matter in its large aspect, I wish to say one
word as to one feature of the Government suit against the Steel
Corporation. One of the grounds for the suit is the acquisition by the
Steel Corporation of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company; and it has
been alleged, on the authority of the Government officials engaged in
carrying on the suit, that as regards this transaction I was misled by
the representatives of the Steel Corporation, and that the facts were
not accurately or truthfully laid before me. This statement is not
correct. I believed at the time that the facts in the case were as
represented to me on behalf of the Steel Corporation, and my further
knowledge has convinced me that this was true. I believed at the time
that the representatives of the Steel Corporation told me the truth as
to the change that would be worked in the percentage of the business
which the proposed acquisition would give the Steel Corporation, and
further inquiry has convinced me that they did so. I was not misled.
The representatives of the Steel Corporation told me the truth as to
what the effect of the action at that time would be, and any statement
that I was misled or that the representatives of the Steel Corporation
did not thus tell me the truth as to the facts of the case is itself
not in accordance with the truth. In /The Outlook/ of August 19 last I
gave in full the statement I had made to the Investigating Committee
of the House of Representatives on this matter. That statement is
accurate, and I reaffirm everything I therein said, not only as to
what occurred, but also as to my belief in the wisdom and propriety of
my action--indeed, the action not merely was wise and proper, but it
would have been a calamity from every standpoint had I failed to take
it. On page 137 of the printed report of the testimony before the
Committee will be found Judge Gary's account of the meeting between
himself and Mr. Frick and Mr. Root and myself. This account states the
facts accurately. It has been alleged that the purchase by the Steel
Corporation of the property of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company
gave the Steel Corporation practically a monopoly of the Southern iron
ores--that is, of the iron ores south of the Potomac and the Ohio. My
information, which I have every reason to believe is accurate and not
successfully to be challenged, is that, of these Southern iron ores
the Steel Corporation has, including the property gained from the
Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, less than 20 per cent--perhaps not
over 16 per cent. This is a very much smaller percentage than the
percentage it holds of the Lake Superior ores, which even after the
surrender of the Hill lease will be slightly over 50 per cent.
According to my view, therefore, and unless--which I do not believe
possible--these figures can be successfully challenged, the
acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company's ores in no way
changed the situation as regards making the Steel Corporation a
monopoly.[*] The showing as to the percentage of production of all
kinds of steel ingots and steel castings in the United States by the
Steel Corporation and by all other manufacturers respectively makes an
even stronger case. It makes the case even stronger than I put it in
my testimony before the Investigating Committee, for I was
scrupulously careful to make statements that erred, if at all, against
my own position. It appears from the figures of production that in
1901 the Steel Corporation had to its credit nearly 66 per cent of the
total production as against a little over 34 per cent by all other
steel manufacturers. The percentage then shrank steadily, until in
1906, the year before the acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron
properties, the percentage was a little under 58 per cent. In spite of
the acquisition of these properties, the following year, 1907, the
total percentage shrank slightly, and this shrinking has continued
until in 1910 the total percentage of the Steel Corporation is but a
little over 54 per cent, and the percentage by all other steel
manufacturers but a fraction less than 46 per cent. Of the 54 3/10 per
cent produced by the Steel Corporation 1 9/10 per cent is produced by
the former Tennessee Coal and Iron Company. In other words, these
figures show that the acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron
Company did not in the slightest degree change the situation, and that
during the ten years which include the acquisition of these properties
by the Steel Corporation the percentage of total output of steel
manufacturers in this country by the Steel Corporation has shrunk from
nearly 66 per cent to but a trifle over 54 per cent. I do not believe
that these figures can be successfully controverted, and if not
successfully controverted they show clearly not only that the
acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and Iron properties wrought no
change in the status of the Steel Corporation, but that the Steel
Corporation during the decade has steadily lost, instead of gained, in
monopolistic character.

[*] My own belief is that our Nation should long ago have adopted the
policy of merely leasing for a term of years mineral-bearing land;
but it is the fault of us ourselves, of the people, not of the
Steel Corporation, that this policy has not been adopted.

So much for the facts in this particular case. Now for the general
subject. When my Administration took office, I found, not only that
there had been little real enforcement of the Anti-Trust Law and but
little more effective enforcement of the Inter-State Commerce Law, but
also that the decisions were so chaotic and the laws themselves so
vaguely drawn, or at least interpreted in such widely varying
fashions, that the biggest business men tended to treat both laws as
dead letters. The series of actions by which we succeeded in making
the Inter-State Commerce Law an efficient and most useful instrument
in regulating the transportation of the country and exacting justice
from the big railways without doing them injustice--while, indeed, on
the contrary, securing them against injustice--need not here be
related. The Anti-Trust Law it was also necessary to enforce as it had
never hitherto been enforced; both because it was on the statute-books
and because it was imperative to teach the masters of the biggest
corporations in the land that they were not, and would not be
permitted to regard themselves as, above the law. Moreover, where the
combination has really been guilty of misconduct the law serves a
useful purpose, and in such cases as those of the Standard Oil and
Tobacco Trusts, if effectively enforced, the law confers a real and
great good.

Suits were brought against the most powerful corporations in the land,
which we were convinced had clearly and beyond question violated the
Anti-Trust Law. These suits were brought with great care, and only
where we felt so sure of our facts that we could be fairly certain
that there was a likelihood of success. As a matter of fact, in most
of the important suits we were successful. It was imperative that
these suits should be brought, and very real good was achieved by
bringing them, for it was only these suits that made the great masters
of corporate capital in America fully realize that they were the
servants and not the masters of the people, that they were subject to
the law, and that they would not be permitted to be a law unto
themselves; and the corporations against which we proceeded had
sinned, not merely by being big (which we did not regard as in itself
a sin), but by being guilty of unfair practices towards their
competitors, and by procuring fair advantages from the railways. But
the resulting situation has made it evident that the Anti-Trust Law is
not adequate to meet the situation that has grown up because of modern
business conditions and the accompanying tremendous increase in the
business use of vast quantities of corporate wealth. As I have said,
this was already evident to my mind when I was President, and in
communications to Congress I repeatedly stated the facts. But when I
made these communications there were still plenty of people who did
not believe that we would succeed in the suits that had been
instituted against the Standard Oil, the Tobacco, and other
corporations, and it was impossible to get the public as a whole to
realize what the situation was. Sincere zealots who believed that all
combinations could be destroyed and the old-time conditions of
unregulated competition restored, insincere politicians who knew
better but made believe that they thought whatever their constituents
wished them to think, crafty reactionaries who wished to see on the
statute-books laws which they believed unenforceable, and the almost
solid "Wall Street crowd" or representatives of "big business" who at
that time opposed with equal violence both wise and necessary and
unwise and improper regulation of business-all fought against the
adoption of a sane, effective, and far-reaching policy.

It is a vitally necessary thing to have the persons in control of big
trusts of the character of the Standard Oil Trust and Tobacco Trust
taught that they are under the law, just as it was a necessary thing
to have the Sugar Trust taught the same lesson in drastic fashion by
Mr. Henry L. Stimson when he was United States District Attorney in
the city of New York. But to attempt to meet the whole problem not by
administrative governmental action but by a succession of lawsuits is
hopeless from the standpoint of working out a permanently satisfactory
solution. Moreover, the results sought to be achieved are achieved
only in extremely insufficient and fragmentary measure by breaking up
all big corporations, whether they have behaved well or ill, into a
number of little corporations which it is perfectly certain will be
largely, and perhaps altogether, under the same control. Such action
is harsh and mischievous if the corporation is guilty of nothing
except its size; and where, as in the case of the Standard Oil, and
especially the Tobacco, trusts, the corporation has been guilty of
immoral and anti-social practices, there is need for far more drastic
and thoroughgoing action than any that has been taken, under the
recent decree of the Supreme Court. In the case of the Tobacco Trust,
for instance, the settlement in the Circuit Court, in which the
representatives of the Government seem inclined to concur, practically
leaves all of the companies still substantially under the control of
the twenty-nine original defendants. Such a result is lamentable from
the standpoint of justice. The decision of the Circuit Court, if
allowed to stand, means that the Tobacco Trust has merely been obliged
to change its clothes, that none of the real offenders have received
any real punishment, while, as the New York Times, a pro-trust paper,
says, the tobacco concerns, in their new clothes, are in positions of
"ease and luxury," and "immune from prosecution under the law."

Surely, miscarriage of justice is not too strong a term to apply to
such a result when considered in connection with what the Supreme
Court said of this Trust. That great Court in its decision used
language which, in spite of its habitual and severe self-restraint in
stigmatizing wrong-doing, yet unhesitatingly condemns the Tobacco
Trust for moral turpitude, saying that the case shows an "ever present
manifestation . . . of conscious wrong-doing" by the Trust, whose
history is "replete with the doing of acts which it was the obvious
purpose of the statute to forbid, . . . demonstrative of the existence
from the beginning of a purpose to acquire dominion and control of the
tobacco trade, not by the mere exertion of the ordinary right to
contract and to trade, but by methods devised in order to monopolize
the trade by driving competitors out of business, which were
ruthlessly carried out upon the assumption that to work upon the fears
or play upon the cupidity of competitors would make success possible."
The letters from and to various officials of the Trust, which were put
in evidence, show a literally astounding and horrifying indulgence by
the Trust in wicked and depraved business methods--such as the
"endeavor to cause a strike in their [a rival business firm's]
factory," or the "shutting off the market" of an independent tobacco
firm by "taking the necessary steps to give them a warm reception," or
forcing importers into a price agreement by causing and continuing "a
demoralization of the business for such length of time as may be
deemed desirable" (I quote from the letters). A Trust guilty of such
conduct should be absolutely disbanded, and the only way to prevent
the repetition of such conduct is by strict Government supervision,
and not merely by lawsuits.

The Anti-Trust Law cannot meet the whole situation, nor can any
modification of the principle of the Anti-Trust Law avail to meet the
whole situation. The fact is that many of the men who have called
themselves Progressives, and who certainly believe that they are
Progressives, represent in reality in this matter not progress at all
but a kind of sincere rural toryism. These men believe that it is
possible by strengthening the Anti-Trust Law to restore business to
the competitive conditions of the middle of the last century. Any such
effort is foredoomed to end in failure, and, if successful, would be
mischievous to the last degree. Business cannot be successfully
conducted in accordance with the practices and theories of sixty years
ago unless we abolish steam, electricity, big cities, and, in short,
not only all modern business and modern industrial conditions, but all
the modern conditions of our civilization. The effort to restore
competition as it was sixty years ago, and to trust for justice solely
to this proposed restoration of competition, is just as foolish as if
we should go back to the flintlocks of Washington's Continentals as a
substitute for modern weapons of precision. The effort to prohibit all
combinations, good or bad, is bound to fail, and ought to fail; when
made, it merely means that some of the worst combinations are not
checked and that honest business is checked. Our purpose should be,
not to strangle business as an incident of strangling combinations,
but to regulate big corporations in thoroughgoing and effective
fashion, so as to help legitimate business as an incident to
thoroughly and completely safeguarding the interests of the people as
a whole. Against all such increase of Government regulation the
argument is raised that it would amount to a form of Socialism. This
argument is familiar; it is precisely the same as that which was
raised against the creation of the Inter-State Commerce Commission,
and of all the different utilities commissions in the different
States, as I myself saw, thirty years ago, when I was a legislator at
Albany, and these questions came up in connection with our State
Government. Nor can action be effectively taken by any one State.
Congress alone has power under the Constitution effectively and
thoroughly and at all points to deal with inter-State commerce, and
where Congress, as it should do, provides laws that will give the
Nation full jurisdiction over the whole field, then that jurisdiction
becomes, of necessity, exclusive--although until Congress does act
affirmatively and thoroughly it is idle to expect that the States will
or ought to rest content with non-action on the part of both Federal
and State authorities. This statement, by the way, applies also to the
question of "usurpation" by any one branch of our Government of the
rights of another branch. It is contended that in these recent
decisions the Supreme Court legislated; so it did; and it had to;
because Congress had signally failed to do its duty by legislating.
For the Supreme Court to nullify an act of the Legislature as
unconstitutional except on the clearest grounds is usurpation; to
interpret such an act in an obviously wrong sense is usurpation; but
where the legislative body persistently leaves open a field which it
is absolutely imperative, from the public standpoint, to fill, then no
possible blame attaches to the official or officials who step in
because they have to, and who then do the needed work in the interest
of the people. The blame in such cases lies with the body which has
been derelict, and not with the body which reluctantly makes good the

A quarter of a century ago, Senator Cushman K. Davis, a statesman who
amply deserved the title of statesman, a man of the highest courage,
of the sternest adherence to the principles laid down by an exacting
sense of duty, an unflinching believer in democracy, who was as little
to be cowed by a mob as by a plutocrat, and moreover a man who
possessed the priceless gift of imagination, a gift as important to a
statesman as to a historian, in an address delivered at the annual
commencement of the University of Michigan on July 1, 1886, spoke as
follows of corporations:

"Feudalism, with its domains, its untaxed lords, their retainers,
its exemptions and privileges, made war upon the aspiring spirit
of humanity, and fell with all its grandeurs. Its spirit walks the
earth and haunts the institutions of to-day, in the great
corporations, with the control of the National highways, their
occupation of great domains, their power to tax, their cynical
contempt for the law, their sorcery to debase most gifted men to
the capacity of splendid slaves, their pollution of the ermine of
the judge and the robe of the Senator, their aggregation in one
man of wealth so enormous as to make Croesus seem a pauper, their
picked, paid, and skilled retainers who are summoned by the
message of electricity and appear upon the wings of steam. If we
look into the origin of feudalism and of the modern corporations--
those Dromios of history--we find that the former originated in a
strict paternalism, which is scouted by modern economists, and
that the latter has grown from an unrestrained freedom of action,
aggression, and development, which they commend as the very ideal
of political wisdom. /Laissez-faire/, says the professor, when it
often means bind and gag that the strongest may work his will. It
is a plea for the survival of the fittest--for the strongest male
to take possession of the herd by a process of extermination. If
we examine this battle cry of political polemics, we find that it
is based upon the conception of the divine right of property, and
the preoccupation by older or more favored or more alert or richer
men or nations, of territory, of the forces of nature, of
machinery, of all the functions of what we call civilization. Some
of these men, who are really great, follow these conceptions to
their conclusions with dauntless intrepidity."

When Senator Davis spoke, few men of great power had the sympathy and
the vision necessary to perceive the menace contained in the growth of
corporations; and the men who did see the evil were struggling blindly
to get rid of it, not by frankly meeting the new situation with new
methods, but by insisting upon the entirely futile effort to abolish
what modern conditions had rendered absolutely inevitable. Senator
Davis was under no such illusion. He realized keenly that it was
absolutely impossible to go back to an outworn social status, and that
we must abandon definitely the /laissez-faire/ theory of political
economy, and fearlessly champion a system of increased Governmental
control, paying no heed to the cries of the worthy people who denounce
this as Socialistic. He saw that, in order to meet the inevitable
increase in the power of corporations produced by modern industrial
conditions, it would be necessary to increase in like fashion the
activity of the sovereign power which alone could control such
corporations. As has been aptly said, the only way to meet a billion-
dollar corporation is by invoking the protection of a hundred-billion-
dollar government; in other words, of the National Government, for no
State Government is strong enough both to do justice to corporations
and to exact justice from them. Said Senator Davis in this admirable
address, which should be reprinted and distributed broadcast:

"The liberty of the individual has been annihilated by the logical
process constructed to maintain it. We have come to a political
deification of Mammon. /Laissez-faire/ is not utterly blameworthy.
It begat modern democracy, and made the modern republic possible.
There can be no doubt of that. But there it reached its limit of
political benefaction, and began to incline toward the point where
extremes meet. . . . To every assertion that the people in their
collective capacity of a government ought to exert their
indefeasible right of self-defense, it is said you touch the
sacred rights of property."

The Senator then goes on to say that we now have to deal with an
oligarchy of wealth, and that the Government must develop power
sufficient enough to enable it to do the task.

Few will dispute the fact that the present situation is not
satisfactory, and cannot be put on a permanently satisfactory basis
unless we put an end to the period of groping and declare for a fixed
policy, a policy which shall clearly define and punish wrong-doing,
which shall put a stop to the iniquities done in the name of business,
but which shall do strict equity to business. We demand that big
business give the people a square deal; in return we must insist that
when any one engaged in big business honestly endeavors to do right he
shall himself be given a square deal; and the first, and most
elementary, kind of square deal is to give him in advance full
information as to just what he can, and what he cannot, legally and
properly do. It is absurd, and much worse than absurd, to treat the
deliberate lawbreaker as on an exact par with the man eager to obey
the law, whose only desire is to find out from some competent
Governmental authority what the law is, and then to live up to it.
Moreover, it is absurd to treat the size of a corporation as in itself
a crime. As Judge Hook says in his opinion in the Standard Oil Case:
"Magnitude of business does not alone constitute a monopoly . . . the
genius and industry of man when kept to ethical standards still have
full play, and what he achieves is his . . . success and magnitude of
business, the rewards of fair and honorable endeavor [are not
forbidden] . . . [the public welfare is threatened only when success
is attained] by wrongful or unlawful methods." Size may, and in my
opinion does, make a corporation fraught with potential menace to the
community; and may, and in my opinion should, therefore make it
incumbent upon the community to exercise through its administrative
(not merely through its judicial) officers a strict supervision over
that corporation in order to see that it does not go wrong; but the
size in itself does not signify wrong-doing, and should not be held to
signify wrong-doing.

Not only should any huge corporation which has gained its position by
unfair methods, and by interference with the rights of others, by
demoralizing and corrupt practices, in short, by sheer baseness and
wrong-doing, be broken up, but it should be made the business of some
administrative governmental body, by constant supervision, to see that
it does not come together again, save under such strict control as
shall insure the community against all repetition of the bad conduct--
and it should never be permitted thus to assemble its parts as long as
these parts are under the control of the original offenders, for
actual experience has shown that these men are, from the standpoint of
the people at large, unfit to be trusted with the power implied in the
management of a large corporation. But nothing of importance is gained
by breaking up a huge inter-State and international industrial
organization /which has not offended otherwise than by its size/, into
a number of small concerns without any attempt to regulate the way in
which those concerns as a whole shall do business. Nothing is gained
by depriving the American Nation of good weapons wherewith to fight in
the great field of international industrial competition. Those who
would seek to restore the days of unlimited and uncontrolled
competition, and who believe that a panacea for our industrial and
economic ills is to be found in the mere breaking up of all big
corporations, simply because they are big, are attempting not only the
impossible, but what, if possible, would be undesirable. They are
acting as we should act if we tried to dam the Mississippi, to stop
its flow outright. The effort would be certain to result in failure
and disaster; we would have attempted the impossible, and so would
have achieved nothing, or worse than nothing. But by building levees
along the Mississippi, not seeking to dam the stream, but to control
it, we are able to achieve our object and to confer inestimable good
in the course of so doing.

This Nation should definitely adopt the policy of attacking, not the
mere fact of combination, but the evils and wrong-doing which so
frequently accompany combination. The fact that a combination is very
big is ample reason for exercising a close and jealous supervision
over it, because its size renders it potent for mischief; but it
should not be punished unless it actually does the mischief; it should
merely be so supervised and controlled as to guarantee us, the people,
against its doing mischief. We should not strive for a policy of
unregulated competition and of the destruction of all big
corporations, that is, of all the most efficient business industries
in the land. Nor should we persevere in the hopeless experiment of
trying to regulate these industries by means only of lawsuits, each
lasting several years, and of uncertain result. We should enter upon a
course of supervision, control, and regulation of these great
corporations--a regulation which we should not fear, if necessary, to
bring to the point of control of monopoly prices, just as in
exceptional cases railway rates are now regulated. Either the Bureau
of Corporations should be authorized, or some other governmental body
similar to the Inter-State Commerce Commission should be created, to
exercise this supervision, this authoritative control. When once
immoral business practices have been eliminated by such control,
competition will thereby be again revived as a healthy factor,
although not as formerly an all-sufficient factor, in keeping the
general business situation sound. Wherever immoral business practices
still obtain--as they obtained in the cases of the Standard Oil Trust
and Tobacco Trust--the Anti-Trust Law can be invoked; and wherever
such a prosecution is successful, and the courts declare a corporation
to possess a monopolistic character, then that corporation should be
completely dissolved, and the parts ought never to be again assembled
save on whatever terms and under whatever conditions may be imposed by
the governmental body in which is vested the regulatory power. Methods
can readily be devised by which corporations sincerely desiring to act
fairly and honestly can on their own initiative come under this
thoroughgoing administrative control by the Government and thereby be
free from the working of the Anti-Trust Law. But the law will remain
to be invoked against wrongdoers; and under such conditions it could
be invoked far more vigorously and successfully than at present.

It is not necessary in an article like this to attempt to work out
such a plan in detail. It can assuredly be worked out. Moreover, in my
opinion, substantially some such plan must be worked out or business
chaos will continue. Wrongdoing such as was perpetrated by the
Standard Oil Trust, and especially by the Tobacco Trust, should not
only be punished, but if possible punished in the persons of the chief
authors and beneficiaries of the wrong, far more severely than at
present. But punishment should not be the only, or indeed the main,
end in view. Our aim should be a policy of construction and not one of
destruction. Our aim should not be to punish the men who have made a
big corporation successful merely because they have made it big and
successful, but to exercise such thoroughgoing supervision and control
over them as to insure their business skill being exercised in the
interest of the public and not against the public interest.
Ultimately, I believe that this control should undoubtedly indirectly
or directly extend to dealing with all questions connected with their
treatment of their employees, including the wages, the hours of labor,
and the like. Not only is the proper treatment of a corporation, from
the standpoint of the managers, shareholders, and employees,
compatible with securing from that corporation the best standard of
public service, but when the effort is wisely made it results in
benefit both to the corporation and to the public. The success of
Wisconsin in dealing with the corporations within her borders, so as
both to do them justice and to exact justice in return from them
toward the public, has been signal; and this Nation should adopt a
progressive policy in substance akin to the progressive policy not
merely formulated in theory but reduced to actual practice with such
striking success in Wisconsin.

To sum up, then. It is practically impossible, and, if possible, it
would be mischievous and undesirable, to try to break up all
combinations merely because they are large and successful, and to put
the business of the country back into the middle of the eighteenth
century conditions of intense and unregulated competition between
small and weak business concerns. Such an effort represents not
progressiveness but an unintelligent though doubtless entirely well-
meaning toryism. Moreover, the effort to administer a law merely by
lawsuits and court decisions is bound to end in signal failure, and
meanwhile to be attended with delays and uncertainties, and to put a
premium upon legal sharp practice. Such an effort does not adequately
punish the guilty, and yet works great harm to the innocent. Moreover,
it entirely fails to give the publicity which is one of the best by-
products of the system of control by administrative officials;
publicity, which is not only good in itself, but furnishes the data
for whatever further action may be necessary. We need to formulate
immediately and definitely a policy which, in dealing with big
corporations that behave themselves and which contain no menace save
what is necessarily potential in any corporation which is of great
size and very well managed, shall aim not at their destruction but at
their regulation and supervision, so that the Government shall control
them in such fashion as amply to safeguard the interests of the whole
public, including producers, consumers, and wage-workers. This control
should, if necessary, be pushed in extreme cases to the point of
exercising control over monopoly prices, as rates on railways are now
controlled; although this is not a power that should be used when it
is possible to avoid it. The law should be clear, unambiguous,
certain, so that honest men may not find that unwittingly they have
violated it. In short, our aim should be, not to destroy, but
effectively and in thoroughgoing fashion to regulate and control, in
the public interest, the great instrumentalities of modern business,
which it is destructive of the general welfare of the community to
destroy, and which nevertheless it is vitally necessary to that
general welfare to regulate and control. Competition will remain as a
very important factor when once we have destroyed the unfair business
methods, the criminal interference with the rights of others, which
alone enabled certain swollen combinations to crush out their
competitors--and, incidentally, the "conservatives" will do well to
remember that these unfair and iniquitous methods by great masters of
corporate capital have done more to cause popular discontent with the
propertied classes than all the orations of all the Socialist orators
in the country put together.

I have spoken above of Senator Davis's admirable address delivered a
quarter of a century ago. Senator Davis's one-time partner, Frank B.
Kellogg, the Government counsel who did so much to win success for the
Government in its prosecutions of the trusts, has recently delivered
before the Palimpsest Club of Omaha an excellent address on the
subject; Mr. Prouty, of the Inter-State Commerce Commission, has
recently, in his speech before the Congregational Club of Brooklyn,
dealt with the subject from the constructive side; and in the
proceedings of the American Bar Association for 1904 there is an
admirable paper on the need of thoroughgoing Federal control over
corporations doing an inter-State business, by Professor Horace L.
Wilgus, of the University of Michigan. The National Government
exercises control over inter-State commerce railways, and it can in
similar fashion, through an appropriate governmental body, exercise

Book of the day: