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ADMINISTRATION OF THE QUARANTINE.
MR. Ring on behalf of the same committee also presented the following report and moved its adoption:
To the Chamber of Cominerce :
A communication has been received from the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, requesting the co-operation of the Chamber in affecting certain sanitary reforms which would facilitate the administration of the quarantine laws of this country.
In his communication, the Surgeon General says :
“There are unquestionably one or more foreign ports which are today infected with rodent plague, the fact being either unknown or else unreported. On the other hand there is one port, Liverpool, England, in which, during the last five or six months, at least three rats have been found to be infected with plague, out of a total number of rats examined which is so small as to present a percentage of infection which warrants the utmost care in the handling of vessels leaving Liverpool for our shores.
“Since the Bureau learned of the infection at Liverpool, it has consistently urged the wholesale destruction of rats upon vessels leaveing that port for ports in the United States or else preventive measures against the ingress of rats into the vessels while at the Liverpool docks. So far these measures have been successful from a sanitary standpoint. On the other hand, they have provoked many misunderstandings, have been received with a certain apathy, and in some instances, even criticism from unenlightened sources, due it is believed to a lack of proper knowledge of the real facts.
“It has always been the policy of the Bureau to explain its methods to the laity in general, and to the shipping world in particular, in order that their co-operation could be gained, but it is desired that the scope of this policy be extended. It was thought therefore that perhaps, through the intermediary of the various Chambers of Commerce in the principal ports, the above mentioned effect, the bringing together of the commercial, shipping, and maritime quarantine interests, might be effected. The results to be obtained might be summarized as follows:
“ The individual Chamber of Commerce might through its influence with similar bodies in foreign ports effect certain sanitary reforms which would enable the modification of many of the quarantine measures which otherwise are imperatively demanded under our national law. These suggested reforms are as follows:
1. The systematic catching of rats on the wharves and along the water front of ports, the bacteriological examination of the rodents found, and a weekly report rendered through the local health authorities for the use of the Bureau in determining the sanitary status of the port.
2. Structural arrangements of wharves and docks which would afford the least facilities for rat infestation.
3. The crating or boxing of goods for export or import in such manner as to prevent rats seeking entrance to individual parcels.
4. Structural alterations in ocean carriers tending not only to decrease the chances of rat infestation but to afford means of catching those rodents which had entered vessels.”
The Surgeon General says that the Bureau is not organized so that it can get into as close touch with the mercantile interests as could a Chamber of Commerce and therefore he “appeals to the New York Chamber of Commerce, on account of the fact that it is one of the most important commercial bodies in the world.”
Your committee regard this of such high importance as to call for the co operative action of our Chamber, and it recommends that the conditions outlined in the communication from the Surgeon General be brought to the attention of the Chambers of Commerce of the leading sea ports of the world, and that the Secretary of the Chamber be instructed to send a copy of this report to those commercial bodies and to take such other measures as may seem necessary to bring the facts to the attention of merchants and shipping men.
THE PRESIDENT. — We will now take up the unfinished business, that which was in order when the November meeting adjourned, the report submitted by the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws on the l'anama Canal.
The question was on the adoption of the report made by the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws adverse to the resolution offered by MR. Nixon.
The resolution offered by Mr. Nixon was as follows:
“Whereas, The approval by the President of the United States of the Panama Canal Bill bas been criticized by the foreign press and foreign commercial bodies as an act in violation of the HaY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York approves and endorses the statement of the President that there is no provision in the HaY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty that forbids the United States from regulating its commerce by remitting tolls on American ships using the canal."
We have, gentlemen, in the last Bulletin copies of the CLAYTONBulwer Treaty, and of the HAY-PAUNCEFOTE Treaty which superseded it. I think that if you have studied those treaties, you will be able to form very readily an intelligent opinion as to whether MR. Nixon is right, or whether the Committee is correct in advising that no further action be taken by this Chamber.
REMARKS OF JACOB H. SCHIFF, ESQ.
MR. SCHIFF.—Mr. President, and gentlemen of the Chamber. I was not present at the last meeting of the Chamber, and did not listen personally to the debate, but I have very carefully studied the proceedings as reproduced in this Monthly Bulletin. I believe opinions in this Chamber are very much divided, as to the advisability and justification for the so-called Panania Canal Administration Bill. A great many of the members of the Chamber, and others outside of it, believe that it has been hasty and unfortunate legislation, and that it will bring us before the Hague Tribunal. Others again, whose opinion is entitled to weight, all over the country, believe that the legislation has been justified. I am frank to say that I side with those who believe that it is unfortunate legislation, not only in respect to the noncharging of tolls for American domestic or coastwise shipping, but also because it prohibits the pass:ige of certain steamers through the Canal.
I believe that the result will be that some of our existing domestic shipping will either be driven out of business or will be driven into foreign hands, which would be worse. But, be this as it may, I feel that it has been unfortunate, and perhaps not entirely justifiable to have this discussion brought into this (hamber, and that an effort has been made to commit the (hamber, as a body, either to the support or Dol-support, of this legislation. Since this has resulted in a reference to the Foreign Commerce Committee, which has reported adversely to the motion, and probably could not have otherwise reported,—we see the position in which the Chamber is placed. There is not only a possibility, but a probability, that our government will be brought before the Hague Tribunal in consequence of this legislation. If we pass the report of the committee, the first thing that will be held up
in the face of the delegate of our government, or the representative of our government, will be: Here, see, your own most important commercial body in the United States has by indirection said that this legislation is all wrong. Now, we don't want to place our government in such a position.
This is the law of the land now, and whether we are in favor of it or whether, we consider it unfortunate legislation, our first duty, as loyal American citizens, is the support of the government in its defense of the laws of the land.
I therefore move that both the resolution and the report be laid on the table. [Applause.]
A standing vote was taken and Mr. Schiff's motion was carried by 164 ayes to 22 noes.
THE PRESIDENT.-It is pleasant to notice that among the nays are gentlemen on both sides of the controversy. They evidently feel that the discussion should proceed further, and yet I know a good many of them are perfectly well satisfied with the disposition now made. think we may all rejoice that so happy a solution has been found of the difficulty, for it could not be otherwise than as Mr. SCHIFF said, that if we had done anything, we might have placed either the government or ourselves in a somewhat embarrassing position.
PUBLICATION OF SENATOR ROOT'S SPEECH IN THE BULLETIN.
Mr. Nixon.-May I ask one question?
THE PRESIDENT.-Certainly, Mr. Nixon.
Mr. Nixon.—Referring to the publication of Senator Root's banquet speech in the Bulletin; what effect has that had ?
Tue PRESIDENT.—I should not suppose that that would have any effect; and I would like to say in regard to it, that Senator Root's only suggestion was that the matter should be allowed to go to the tribunal of the Hague in case England should so wish, which seems a perfectly reasonable proposition, without in any way reflecting upon the merits of the case.
I would like to make a personal explanation in that respect. I was unaware that any part of that speech was to be published, until I saw it in the Bulletin. Indeed I was not aware that some other things were to be published, but the coinpiler of the Bulletin evidently picked out the things that he thought would be of immediate interest to the Chamber. I am sure there was no thought in publishing that in any way to prejudice the situation to-day. MR. PRATT says that he informed MR. Nixon that it was to appear in the Bulletin and MR. Nixon thought it was quite desirable that it should appear.
Mr. Nixon.—I wanted to debate Senator Root's statement. It was absolutely unfounded upon the facts of history. He has nothing to support his contention, and I intended to reply to him before this Chamber as a body of open minded men. I say now, that the point of view taken by him now stands as being endorsed by this Chamber, but I have not questioned the publication.
MR. Ring. I think the gentleman is out of order in discussing it any further.
A. BARTON HEPBURN.-It has been a rule of this Chamber from time immemorial to publish in full in the annual report the speeches made at the annual banquet; and it has been the custom since the Bulletin was established, -—and that was one of the purposes of itto publish the salient features of speeches and actions in this Champer, and especially at the annual banquet. That was what the Executive Committee had in mind when the publication of the Bulle. tin was authorized. So the Secretary was strictly within the rules adopted by the Executive Committee, and approved by the Chamber, in the action that he has taken. [Applause.]
Mr. Nixon.—I do not propose to be put in the unfair position of having criticized the publication. I said it stated certain facts which I was prepared to answer, and those facts have been unanswered ; and I wish the opportunity to contradict them. I did not criticize the publication.
William H. DOUGLAS. What I desire to say, I wish to say in all good nature, that this is the second or third time that members of the Chamber bave taken upon themselves to call attention to certain extracts which went into our Monthly Bulletin in relation to matters which are before this Chamber. I do not know, and I have not been able to find out, and even the remarks of Mr. HEPBURN at this minute have not made it clear, exactly who does have the right to put into the Bulletin what they desire. I believe that when questions are before the Chamber it is not either desirable or right that any man in this Chamber can go to the Secretary and through the Secretary put into the Bulletin anything which might preclude free and fair discussion on this floor. Therefore, I hope the Executive Committee in their judgment will kindly take this matter into consideration, and hereafter when a public question is before the Chamber, will see that the Bulletin at least is non-committal, and while they give us the facts,