The President at Buffalo
At the Pan-American exposition yesterday,
President McKinley made an [sic] notable address. It was
not one of those perfunctory speeches usual on occasions of such
a character, but an eloquent declaration of principles and purposes
that must appeal to the heart and sense of every true American.
While the spirit of the address, so far as it deals with foreign
concerns is eminently patriotic, it is in no sense aggressive. Indeed,
though thoroughly American, the president shows himself to be heartily
in favor of amity between the nations, which he believes can be
developed and fostered by commerce, backed by good will.
On this point the president is especially
and convincingly explicit. He says: “The period of exclusiveness
is past. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing
problem. Commercial wars are unprofitable. A policy of good will
and friendly trade relations will prevent reprisals. Reciprocity
treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times; measures of
retaliation are not.”
That is a perfectly plain and logical
conclusion. This country cannot hope forever to sell its products
in foreign countries and buy nothing in return. International trade
is an exchange by which all the parties to it are benefited. By
increasing this trade we will not only add to own property [sic],
but aid in promoting that of the countries with which we have commercial
The president did not fail to call
attention to one of the greatest needs of the nation—an adequate
steamship service to carry our freights to and from foreign ports.
There is abundant capital seeking investment, yet it is not used
for the development of our merchant marine doubtless because of
the small return that is possible under present conditions. When
Congress takes proper action, as the president seems hopeful it
will, the $150,000,000 now paid annually for the transportation
of ocean freights will not go almost entirely to the owners of foreign
ships as at present.
President McKinley’s address as a
whole is inspiring and uplifting and proves, though no proof was
needed, that he is a statesman as well as a patriot.