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Britain herself. This and other similar discriminations resulted in that destruction of American trade, which was made an item in the complaints recited in the Declaration of Independence and advanced as a justification for the cause of which that immortal document is the exponent.
Throughout the eighteenth century the British Government banned all carriage between England and her colonies except by English bottoms. But England discarded that policy years ago. Instead, she threw her home ports wide open to the ships of the world. As a result, her position among the nations was strengthened to an unprecedented degree.
The objections of the Filipinos to the extension of the coastwise laws are readily stated. They contend:
First, that the extension is unnecessary. For reasons of national gratitude the preference of Filipino shippers would always be for American bottoms, circumstances being equal. No legislation from this side is necessary to compel them to give their goods to American bottoms for transportation when it is known that the rates charged by those bottoms are lower than or equal to the rates charged by foreign bottoms, and when the service afforded is satisfactory.
Secondly, the extension of the law would be injurious to Philippine trade and commerce. The benefits alleged are conjectural, while the damages will be of stupendous proportions. If the famous Navigation Act of Cromwell in 1651 made England the mistress of the seas and put her rival, Holland, out of business, it, however, wounded the feelings of her colonies and deprived them of the chance to vitalize their economic life through their own resources, genius, and enterprise.
The law indirectly makes the Filipinos pay for the maintenance of American vessels plying between the United States and the Philippine Islands. This should not be. It finds no justification whatever. It is inconsistent with the primordial policy of treating the Filipino people liberally and generously.
The immediate effect of the application of the law would be to isolate Manila from other steamship lines. HongKong and Singapore are free ports. If
Manila is to be made a distributing center, able to compete with them, it must have equal advantages, which it certainly would not have if the shipping between the Philippines and the United States were monopolized. In this event, Philippine goods will be unequivocably placed at the mercy of American shipowners, to be transported only at their will and advisability.
If it can be guaranteed that sufficient ships will forever be available, and that the rates will forever be reasonable, there would perhaps be less reason why the extension of the law should be opposed. Such a guaranty, however, cannot be had. The volume of Philippine-American trade will never be stationary. It is destined to increase year after year, and the time will not be far distant when American bottoms alone cannot accommodate it. In this sense, ocean accommodations for the Philippine Islands will be restricted by the extension of the law when it is to their advantage always to have ampler and ampler accommodations. This can be attained only if the economic forces are given free play; that is, by allowing vessels of all countries free competition.
Establish a monopoly, and in no time rates will go skyward. Higher transportation rates will mean increased cost of marketing; hence increased market prices, and therefore fewer profits. Under the new law the time may come when because of increased freight rates the Philippines cannot successfully compete with other Oriental countries now having trade also with the United States.
Even now the rates charged by the vessels of the United States Shipping Board are much higher than those of other lines. This is shown by the fact that for one bale of hemp from Manila to San Francisco the charge is $1.50 gold as against $1.25 charged by others; and for one ton of tobacco leaf, $15 gold as against $10 charged by other vessels. In Porto Rico, where the American coastwise shipping law has been in force for many years, that country being much nearer to the United States than the Philippines, the freight charged by American bottoms from Porto Rico to New York is higher than that charged from Manila to San Francisco.
The construction of vessels in the United States costs more than in any other country. This alone will have a great deal to do toward making the rates in American bottoms higher than those charged by other lines. The cost of maintenance of American vessels is also higher than the cost of maintenance of foreign vessels; it is said that this is the reason why Captain Robert Dollar has made it a point to register his boats under the British flag.
A monopoly on land is the natural sequel to the monopoly on sea. A sinister precedent will have been established in favor of commercial expediency. More legislations like this will come, especially when the commercial value of the Philippines to the United States is more fully realized.
Not only that. The extension of the law will inevitably make the cost of living in the Philippines much higher, and the Filipinos who have to live and do business in their country are justified in considering how they are going to fare under the altered conditions, and take action accordingly.
True, America must have easy access to the raw material available in the Philippines, but the way to get it is to establish superior and more advantageous steamship service across the Pacific to beat England and Japan at their own game. A certain class of commerce will not go to a certain port just because there are ships ready; neither will it go to a certain destination just because the trade and market for the goods are there, unless there is expectation of greater profit than in other ports. In short, commerce cannot be built up by artificial means.
Thirdly, the objection of the Filipinos is that the Philippine clause of the Merchant Marine Law was passed against the will and over the protest of the Philippine Government. When the section was being considered, Congress had before it many protests from the Philippine Islands, principally from the council of state, from the Philippine legislature, from the Philippine chamber of commerce, from American merchants, and from other mercantile associations in the islands. The secretary of war and the chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs,
as well as the acting governor-general of the Philippines, also registered their objections in due time.
Despite all these, the clause was inserted. The principle of consent of the governed was therefore wantonly disregarded.
"Courtesy, at least," said the Hon. Pardo de Tavera, "should have compelled the United States Congress to consult the Philippines previous to the enactment of the law."
But the unkindest cut of all is that the extension of the coastwise law would be a jab against the autonomy of the Philippine Government. From the year 1900 the Philippine Government has regulated both inter-island and foreign shipping in so far as they affected the Philippine Islands. This power would not only be encroached upon by the proposed extension of the coastwise law, but would be completely abrogated. Both interisland and foreign shipping will be under the control of the instrumentalities in charge of the application and enforcement of the coastwise laws.
The feelings of the Filipinos are hurt. And naturally so, because, as Senator Thomas has said on the floor of the Senate:
As regards the Philippines, it is perhaps a pertinent question whether they should still be considered as an American possession. We are trying to give them self-government; they expect to enjoy complete independence of the United States in the course of a comparatively few years, and we are constantly justifying that anticipation. I should like to see them emancipated tomorrow, if it were possible; I hope their emancipation will not be delayed one instant beyond that period of time when it seems safe to make the experiment.
Clearly, the proposed extension is against the spirit of the Jones law of August 29, 1916, which embodies the primordial and consistent policy of the United States gradually to loosen the ties between America and the Philippines and then make the islands a sovereign country. "We cannot and we must not remain half-free and halfannexed," was the way Senator Palma put it before the convention of the Nacionalista party at Manila.
This would practically be our status the moment the coastwise law of the United States became operative here, for our coasts and our ports would then be considered as integral parts of America. To me the application of the law in the Philippines has only one aspect-the political aspect. It might be that the application of the law here is economically advantageous, and then it may be not. To me this is immaterial. What care we if we pay one peso more or one peso less for the products we export or for the products we import? What should concern us most is the loss of our national independence, the paralysis of our national aspirations, and the practical withdrawal of the promises made to us.
The Philippines "Free Press":
If the law does not exactly make of the Philippines a commercial vassal of the United States, it certainly does not tend toward either economic independence or that political independence which time and again has been solemnly promised to the Filipino people.
It seems, indeed, as if henceforth the United States would utilize the islands for the furtherance of her own trade interests primarily, while, in fact, the policy has always been and should continue to be one which places the interests of the Filipinos first.
That the legislation "smacks strongly of Spanish colonialism" is the indictment of the measure by the Hon. Chas. Emmett Yeater, Vice-Governor-General of the Philippine Islands.
Lastly, the extension of the law may react against American trade itself. If canned milk, for example, may be brought from Europe at cheaper rates and sold in the Philippines at a lower retail price than a similar American product, foreign goods will replace those from America. Mr. Quezon declares:
The increase of freight rates may rise up so high that with all the protection given by .the tariff laws to American goods, exports from Europe to the Philippines may increase
at the expense of the exports from the United States, and, conversely, Philippine hemp, oil and tobacco, if not the sugar, too, may find a more profitable market in Europe than in the United States.
Said a committee of American business men in the island in a resolution:
While we sympathize with the efforts to build an American Merchant Marine, we are at the same time convinced that the application of the American coastwise laws to the Philippine Islands would retard instead of aid the accomplishment of that purpose. We are convinced that it would reduce the volume of commerce between the Philippines and the United States, which has increased from something like five per cent. in the beginning to about sixty-five per cent. of the total commerce of the islands, and while we have no authority to speak for the Government of the Philippine Islands, we would much prefer that such government, by direct appropriation from its treasury, should subsidize a sufficient number of American steamers plying directly between the Philippine Islands and the United States to assure the rapid and regular transportation of passengers and freight.
The conclusion is unavoidable. The Philippine clause of the Merchant Marine Law should be repealed. The interests of America's protégés should be placed above those of the pocket-book of her shipping adventurers. This is the only course consistent with her vaunted policy of altruism.
Every Filipino would like to see the American flag fly proudly in every harbor and the ships of her merchant marine dot the seven seas. He would like to see this institution so fostered that it would be impregnable to competition. In fact, he rejoices at every achievement of American genius, and would like to see America excel all other nations in every enterprise. But he is not willing to see the interests of his own country jeopardized, and he knows that every fair-minded American will not expect him to. do otherwise.
By KATHARINE BERRY JUDSON
LD OREGON," or "the Oregon Country," as that vast stretch was called in the days when four nations claimed it and none owned it, was a glorious country. Romance and beauty, aside from all other interests, had a powerful influence in the contest over Oregon.
It is a glorious country yet. Beauty and romance still live on the densely forested mountain-sides, above which tower snowy peaks, ever gleaming white; in the dashing torrents thundering down to join the sweep of mighty rivers; in the broad stretches of salt-water bordered by long lines of mountains, behind whose jagged sky-lines the setting sun leaves marvelous shadows in the soft light of that North country.
It was a vast country. A thousand miles its southern border stretched, from the crest of the main range of the Rockies, over many a lesser range, over deep valleys, over the jagged, cut-rock country so desolate that even game could not live there and early travelers of the Oregon trail "had only songs for supper." On it swept westward, over a seeming desert of semi-arid country, but needing only water to blossom into richness; again over a mountain-range dotted with great snow peaks, and through the tremendous forests of the Pacific Northwest. Its eastward border was the crest of the Rockies, trending sharply to the northwestward. At the north there was no line whatever, though later Russia drew that well-known line of "fifty-four forty." All of what is now British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana west of the Rockies, and even a tiny bit of Wyoming, was once "the Oregon Country."
The fur-trade really made it known. First came the Spanish explorers up
from Mexico, doing little but sail up and down in their slow, leaky vessels; then Captain James Cook, in 1778, with his English and Yankee officers happily unaware of the Civil War raging on the other side of the continent. And Cook started the fur-trade. His men bought quantities of furs, preparatory to their venture into the Arctic. They needed them, for they were just from the South Seas, having only just rediscovered and named the Sandwich Islands. They sold the furs in China for a small fortune, and both John Bull and Jonathan, their war being ended, started for the furtrade of the Pacific Northwest.
John Bull was first, and America's first claim to any part of that great Northwest came from the daring venture of Captain Robert Gray, in 1792, in sailing the Columbia through those terrific, crashing waves beating upon the bars which blocked the mouth of a mysterious "bay." No man had yet dared them. When Gray did cross them,they ran seven miles north and south, and were three miles wide, America registered her first claim to any point on the Pacific Ocean.
Up and down the coast sailed the British and the Americans. They prowled around the inlets and harbors, guarding against unknown rocks and treacherous currents; against treacherous winds, dealing with still more treacherous Indians, many of whom, on that Northern coast, were head-hunters and cannibals. They struggled with storms and tempests and with ice-imprisonment in Alaskan waters; they battled with Oriental hurricanes and with Chinese pirates on their voyages to China with their furs, with only occasional breathing spells in the quiet waters and sunny skies of the Sandwich Islands, which quickly became a rendezvous for all the vessels, whalers included, of the Pacific Ocean.
Then came the days of land tradingposts, when John Jacob Astor, in 1811, founded Astoria on the steep hillside and amidst the tremendous trees of a point just inside the bar of the Columbia. One has only to look at the trees of that region to-day to know with what they wrestled. So when ship after ship failed to come, and the War of 1812 broke out, the Astorians sold out to their rivals, the North West Company of Montreal, who had wisely flung out one tradingpost after another, in military fashion, on that long, long trail from Montreal across the continent, over plain and mountain. There was nothing to do but to sell out.
. The first effort of the American furtrade in Old Oregon had failed. The Canadian effort, however, met failure, too. Their supplies were hampered in crossing the continent, and their trade interfered with by their rivalry with the Hudson's Bay Company, ending with actual bloodshed in the Red River
Valley and the order of Parliament that the two companies merge. And so they did, under the name of the older and more famous of the two companies.
Romance lived in that old-time furtrade. Everywhere, even to-day, are heard the echoes of those old days when the blue-coated, brass-buttoned Hudson's Bay Company men followed the forest trails. In summer it was through the dim, cool light sifting down through tall fir and hemlock, whose green canopies were often one hundred and fifty feet or two hundred feet above them. In winter, on snow-shoes, they plunged through the same forests, heavily laden, or with pack-ponies, when every bump of the baggage-laden Indian horses against the tree-trunks brought down masses of wet snow upon the cold and drenched men beneath them.
The river trade was more romantic, with its many portages, or the long stretches of foaming rapids down which the skilful voyageurs shot their canoes.