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TAFT’S TARIFF VETOES.
They first attacked the wool problem cedure, and, in the lapse of years, and succeeded by midsummer, with might prove to be the only just and the help of the Progressives, in com- equitable basis for tariff building; but piling a bill that reduced the former what the people demanded just at that average duty on wools from 44 per moment was relief from burdens that cent. to 29 per cent. This and the added to the “ higher cost of living.” free list bill, which took the duty off This phrase touched a very sore and many articles used by farmers, es- painful spot not only in social and in
, pecially agricultural implements, were dividual life but in the issues of the vetoed by the President on August 11, day. 1911, on the ground that both meas- On the same day that the two vetoes ures were loosely drawn, and that were written, another bill was comneither himself nor Congress had as pleted and sent to the President, who vet adequate information as a guide promptly vetoed it on the same to the real merits of any tariff meas- grounds as the previous bills, adding ure. The only trustworthy data, he that experts had discovered ludicrous asserted, regarding the “ difference discrepancies which made the bill, as in cost of production at home and he afterward declared, “ impossible.” abroad ” and other necessary items, This was the "cotton schedule" were being prepared by the tariff bill, which proposed much lower rates board, and he requested Congress to in cotton duties and included amendawait with patience the report or- ments reducing the iron and steel dered to be made in December. Then, schedule, the chemical schedule, and to prevent log-roiling, revision was to the duties on all machinery used in be taken up systematically, scien- cotton manufacture.
cotton manufacture. This bill may tifically, schedule by schedule.
have justified, more than the others Whatever else may be said about had done, President Taft's insistence these vetoes and their effect, the large on a tariff board; but no one had fact seems to be that Mr. Taft had claimed for any of these bills perfecshut his eyes to the verdict of the tion or finality. All they were decountry the previous year, which de- signed for was to meet a persistent manded, if it demanded anything, a public demand, although it cannot be general downward revision of tariff denied that there was in them also an rates by a Democratic Congress, and element of political play. could not see that the present mood In December of 1911 the tariff board of the public was one of quick impa- had made its report on the wool schedtience with a slow,“ scientific” treat- ule, which was exhaustive and volumiment of the subject by an academic nous, going even into the details of board under Republican direction. sheep-raising and the manufacture of Theoretically this was an ideal pro- wools of all variety. The President claimed that the report proved con- may be said to have received its first clusively that the previous revision impulse from the visit of Mr. Elihu had been founded on insufficient data Root, then Secretary of State, to Otand, in particular, had not made ac- tawa. The next step was taken at the curate discriminations between grades “Albany Conference” of March 30, of wool -- the " washed” and “un- 1910, when President Taft, Earl Grey, washed,” for instance; and he Governer-General of Canada, and the strongly recommended a new revision Canadian Minister of Finance, Mr. of this schedule as also of cotton, on W. S. Fielding, entered into a “genwhich the board made a report early tleman's agreement ’’ to open negotiain 1912. The Democrats, assisted by tions for the drafting of a reciprocity many Progressives,”'. accordingly treaty. Duplicate drafts were sent to essayed revision on wool, cotton, chem- the Senate and Parliament in January icals, iron and steel, sending a wool of 1911. The failure of the Senate to bill and an iron and steel bill to the
pass the bill at the regular session was President who promptly vetoed them made an occasion by the President to on the ground that their low rates call Congress in special session on would bring disaster to, or at least in- April 4 of that year. The measure sufficiently protect, home industries. was pushed to a conclusion and was The House passed both these tariff-re- signed by the President in August, vision bills over the President's veto, and the country waited with much but the Senate refused to do so. interest and curiosity for the action
Other important events of the year of the Canadian Parliament. were on the plane of statesmanship Bitter as was the opposition in the rather than of politics — the reciproc- United States, that aroused on the ity negotiations with Canada and an other side of the border was still more effort to arrange arbitration treaties intense. In the United States the obwith Great Britain and France. Both jections, though inherently political, failed of direct results, but were moves were nominally economic, the claim in the right direction, and it is not im- being the betrayal of the principles of probable that the way has been paved protection and the injury done the for more successful attempts later. farmers by having to meet the com
Since the termination of the Cana- petition of fertile farms worked by dian treaty in 1866,* several overtures relatively cheaper labor, and, in New
, looking to new tariff arrangements England and the States of the Northhave come to us from Canada, but ac- west bordering on Canada, the chief complished nothing, and the later opposition was against the free admiseffort to establish closer relations sion of Canadian wheat and grain.
The admission of paper and wood * For the history of this and other reciprocity treaties see that title in index.
pulp, which was not dependent upon
PEACE TREATIES WITH FRANCE AND ENGLAND.
the acceptance of the reciprocity Canada and rough lumber coming into agreement by Canada, aroused much the United States. antagonism in Congress, and for this “ Twice within the last twelve and other reasons the measure did months the President of the United not receive the support of the Pro- States has sketched out a step in adgressives.
vance more momentous than any one In Canada the opposition to the thing that any statesman in his posimeasure, though in part economic, was tion has ventured to say before." imperialistic, for it was made to ap- These are the words of Sir Edward pear that the United States was seek- Grey, British Secretary of Foreign ing to weaken Canada's bonds to Affairs, regarding an act of the highGreat Britain with a view to future est statesmanship, for which the adannexation, or at least such intimate ministration of President Taft will union with her powerful neighbor undoubtedly be most celebrated in hisas would detract from her econ- tory. It was the successful terminaomic loyalty to England. The result tion of long negotiations for the arof this feeling was seen in an over- rangement of “ peace treaties” with whelming vote on September 21 that Great Britain and France. These proelected a new Parliament oposed to vided for arbitration through the reciprocity. But the bill passed by usual channels of all “justiciable” Congress and signed by President disputes that might arise between the Taft is still in force, and there are not United States and either of the other wanting signs of a gradual change of countries, and arranged that, in case sentiment north of the border that of doubt as to whether any particumay yet reverse previous action. lar grievance was or was not justici
The bill provided for the free inter- able, a joint high commission should change of the natural products of both be named to pass upon the question. countries, especially of food, and the The treaties were signed on August reduction of rates upon the manufac
3, 1911, on the part of the United tures of such products. Such food States by Philander C. Knox, Secreproducts were:
wheat and other tary of State, and on behalf of Enggrains, fresh fruits and vegetables, land and France by their respective dairy products, fish, eggs, poultry, cat- ambassadors, James Bryce and Jean tle, sheep, and other live animals. Jules Jusserand. The promulgation Agricultural implements imported of these treaties aroused great public from the United States met lower interest in the three countries conCanadian duties, and specified prod- cerned. ucts that are now free in one country When signed, the treaties were sent were to find admission to the other, as, to the Senate, whose members, always for instance, cotton-seed oil going into sensitively jealous of anything that
looked like infringement upon sena- Another matter arose in our fortorial dignity and “ rights,” began to eign relations that was of more than take exceptions. The treaties were in ordinary importance. It concerned two divisions, the first containing the Russia, which has long discriminated ordinary provisions for bringing be- not only against certain classes of her fore the Hague Tribunal all justi- own population but against members ciable questions arising between the of these classes bringing passports respective countries, even
from other countries. So many Jews of vital interest and national honor." from the United States designing to It was this point that occasioned a travel in Russia have been denied the parting of the ways for many public right, that the matter finally reached men, including Mr. Roosevelt. The the diplomatic stage in 1911, and alsecond part of the treaties contained though, early in that year, announcedetailed provisions for a joint high' ment was sent out from St. Peterscommission to decide, when disputes burg that more liberal
liberal treatment arose, whether any specific action was would hereafter be accorded to Jewjusticiable and so subject to arbitra- ish travelers, formal protest was made tion. Although the Senate was safe- to Russia that her autocratic claims guarded by its “ consent ” to the ap- and discriminations were contrary to pointment of the United States por- the terms of the treaty of commerce tion of the commissioners, as well as and navigation of 1832. This treaty to every subsequent action of the stipulated that the inhabitants of both tribunal, the fear that the joint high the United States and Russia should commission might prove to be a usur- mutually have liberty to enter the pation of senatorial treaty-making ports, places and rivers of the terriprivileges aroused jealous antagon- tory of each party wherever foreign ism. The following amendment was commerce is permitted. On the antherefore made and incorporated in
nounced contention of Russia that the treaty, on March 5, 1912, to the
her hesitation to admit American Jews effect that this country
was due to the fact that she would not
extend to Jews of other countries “Would not authorize submission to arbitration of aliens into the United States, or the admis
rights and privileges which she sion of aliens to the educational institutions of
denied to Jews of her own country, a the several States, or the territorial integrity of bill was introduced in the House of the several States or the United States, or con
Representatives and promptly passed, cerning the question of the alleged indebtedness or moneyed obligation of any State of the United calling for a revision of the treaty of States, or any question which depends upon or 1832. But the wording of the bill was involves the maintenance of the traditional atti.
so radical as to receive a formal intude of the United States concerning American
timation that it was offensive to Rusquestions commonly described as the Monroe doctrine or other purely governmental policy.” sia; whereupon President Taft diplo
OTHER MEASURES AND POLICIES.
matically sent a message to the Senate drawal remains effective until reon December 18, 1911, notifying that voked by the President or Congress, body that, owing to Russia's construc- but the lands withdrawn are open to tion of the treaty, the instrument was exploration and to the purchase of regarded by this Government as with- minerals other than coal, oil, gas and out effect, thus, by executive action, phosphates.” The Administration giving the stipulated one year's notice will be favorably remembered, too, of its final abrogation. The Senate on for its sincere efforts to economize in the following day ratified his action administrative lines, and much real without a dissenting vote, and the next progress was made in greater effiday the House adopted the Senate's ciency and economy in the work of resolution.
the departments, many millions of These are the great overtopping dollars being saved thereby. Among measures and policies — tariff revis
other achievements, the post-office defion, prosecution of the trusts, the icit was, for a year, transformed into Mann-Elkins bill, Canadian reciproc- a surplus. The cause of civil service ity overtures, and negotiations of the was advanced by an executive order peace treaties — that will be associ- placing the fourth-class postmasters ated with the Administration of Presi- under the classified service. Perhaps dent Taft. These formed the back- more open to question, though of unbone of achievement or well-inten- doubted patriotic purpose, was the intioned attempts toward accomplish- crease of 20 per cent. in pensions over
. ment to which he pointed as a the previous budget of $160,000,000.
during his campaign for reëlec- As commendable measures of admintion. Yet there were many others of istrative policy were the establishless importance, not so conspicuously ment of a Bureau of Mines under the in the public eye — homely “every- oversight of the Interior Department; day ” measures, like the bills for par- the creation, in the Department of cels post and postal savings banks, Commerce and Labor, of a Children's that may, after all, be found to be of Bureau whose province was defined large, practical utility, to which any to be “investigating and reporting administration might “point with upon all matters pertaining to the pride.” The public lands act was welfare of children and child lifealso beneficent, by which the Presi- infant mortality, the birth rate, physdent was authorized “ at any time at ical degeneracy, orphanage, juvenile his discretion to temporarily with- courts, desertion, dangerous occupadraw any of the public lands of the tions, accident and disease, employUnited States, and reserve the same ment and legislation affecting chilfor water power sites, irrigation and dren;" and a much desired concen
" other public purposes.
The with- tration of responsibility in a single