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jusqu'a quel point étaient unis la Louisiane et le Canada, au XVIII siècle, que de rappeler ce fait; que les deux pays ont eu, tour a tour, le même gouverneur, le marquis de Vaudreuil; celui-là même que vos historiens appellent: "le beau marquis.”
Enfin, messieurs, c'est chez vous que nos malheureux frères, les Acadiens exilés, trouvèrent, en 1765, grace à la généreuse hospitalité de vos maîtres, un refuge assuré. Le Canada ne l'oubliera jamais.
Aussi, croyez-le bien, messieurs, c'est avec bonheur que les Canadiens-Français suivent aujourd'hui les progrès remarquables de la Louisiane; qu'ils la voient marcher avec une fierté digne de sa noble origine, avec courage, hardiment toujours, malgré les épreuves, vers les destinées plus brillantes encore qui l'attendent.
Pour vous, Messieurs, et cela ne fait aucun doute, la NouvelleOrléans est la Reine du Mississippi. Son site sur ce fleuve géant, au bas de cette immense et fertile vallée, est unique; son port est l'un des plus beaux, des mieux protégés et des mieux outillés, du monde entier. Vraiment, l'avenir de cette ville ne peut être que magnifique,—et c'est avec plaisir que les Canadiens Français, en attendant la joie qu'ils auront le 24 juin prochain, de saluer au Congrès de la langue française de Québec le représentant de cet êtat, votre distingué président M. Alcée Fortier, et tous les Louisianais qui voudront bien l'accompagner; c'est avec plaisir que tous mes compatriotes disent, ce soir, avec nous :
Vive la Reine du Mississippi! Vive la Louisiane !
Je vous prie Mesdames et Messieurs de boire aux relations de bon voisinage et d'excellente amitié qui doivent toujours régner entre les Etats-Unis et le Canada.
Senor Ricardo Arias, Minister of Panama at Washington, made a very felicitous address, in acknowledgement of the toast to "Latin America.” He said:
Gentlemen :-Undeserved honor has been conferred on me, the representative of the youngest and one of the smallest Republics of this Continent, by being requested to respond to the call of "Latin America,” and as every human action has its motive, there must be one in this selection which I have striven hard to detect until at last I believe I have succeeded, as I will later on expose.
Extending from the northern boundary of Mexico to Cape Horn and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with its many thou
sands of miles of coast open to navigation the whole year around and free from treacherous icebergs, with its many natural harbors and its unsurpassed navigable rivers running from West to East, as do the mighty Amazon and the other large Brazilian Rivers; from North to South as run the La Plata and its tributaries, and from South northwards as do the Orinoco and the Magdalena, with its rich botanical and mineral resources, its fertile lands and its varied climates, most of them mild and many of them delightful, Latin America is today, undisputably, the most promising section of the world. It offers inviting advantages which civilized mankind is beginning to appreciate and doubtless the men, the wealth and the scientific energy of Europe and Saxon-America will go there in the near future in search of virgin and most profitable fields for their endeavors.
The strides made in this direction in the last quarter of a century are but a faint sample of what is to be in future years, and in this respect the twentieth century may well be called the Latin-American Century.
The progress of modern civilization in those countries has been retarded by unfavorable conditions that are unknown to their more fortunate northern neighbors; but the good influence of European immigration in some cases, the teachings of sad experiences in others and the extension of commercial intercourse and industrial developments, which are the most powerful and surest pacifiers the world has known, are bringing those countries one after the other to steady, orderly conditions, which are the main element of unrestricted progress.
Even today Latin America with its two thousand millions dollars of foreign commerce, is a potent factor in the trade of the world and its already named facilities coupled to its immense available area, nearly thrice as large as that of this country, give to it boundless future possibilities.
The world has been surprised at the wonderful development of this country, but progress is moving today at a greater pace than ever and will move henceforth at a speed yet unattained; therefore, the development of Latin America, once fully started, should be expected to move faster than that of this country in the past, and it will amaze the world.
The large improvements in port facilities, some accomplished and some yet in the way of construction, in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentine and Brazil; the construction of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway, which has opened up the interior table lands of Ecuador, the Switzerland of America, that follows in part the ancient road of the Incas; of that of Northern Guatemala, to be extended into Salvador and other Central American republics and thereby bring them to the very gates of your city; of the Tehuantepec Railroad, the powerful rival of that of Panama; of the Chile-Argentine Transandean Railroad, that opens a shorter route by thousands of miles than that of the Straits of Magellan, and which has brought Argentine closer to the Pacific and Chile within short distance of the La Plata river, and which has killed the rivalry between these two progressive countries by the binding of the steel bars and by the closest ties of social and commercial intercourse; the nearly finished Madeira-Mamore Railway that will open up a very extensive rich country and will tap the northern section of Bolivia towards the Amazon and the other rival lines of railroad that strive to drain the rest of the seven hundred thousand square miles of the marvelously rich Bolivian territory, not to mention minor enterprises, are evident signs of the traffic activities of this last decade in Latin America and precursors of what is yet to come in the future.
I have purposely excluded from the above enumeration the great undertaking of the century, the Panama Canal, for this stands unique in its general, far reaching importance, as ample as the two greatest oceans that it will unite. It will remove within the next year the Andean barrier that divided the extensive West coast of America from the channels of European and Saxon American trade and that will bring it nearer to their terminal ports by many thousands of miles
The commercial advantages that Latin-America will derive thereby, will not exceed in importance the moral benefits to be attained by bringing its inhabitants in closer intercourse with its Saxon neighbors, from which will spontaneously spring mutual acquaintance and hence friendship and love. The great trend of the world is to assimiliation; even the Chinese have adopted republican government, similar to yours, and have definitely dona away with their queues; in Latin America the assimiliation to your ways and customs will be accelerated by the above mentioned intercourse and at no distant date the inhabitants of either one of