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extension of payments and postponement of payments. There have also been non-payments and attempted evasions of contracts of all kinds on purely technical grounds. Recognition of such demands and requests and the granting of them would cause widespread mercantile disaster and disturb the foundations of credit. Such organizations as yours have it within their power to do much towards remedying trade abuses to which I have referred. They can also do much towards cultivating and maintaining a high standard of mercantile honor among their members. Those who insist that business obligations shall be fully met may be regarded with disiavor by delinquents, but they are entitled to the hearty support of their associates and all good men. The delinquent only should be regarded with disfavor.
For our mutual protection we should unite and stand back to back for sound business principles. They will insure greater safety and preserve honor and credit, and I take it that it is the ambition of the larger part of those engaged in business to uphold the honor and the credit of American business men and to give courage and support to those who insist upon the enforcement of these principles. The maintenance of a high standard of mercantile honor is essential to high credit, and our material prosperity is largely dependent upon both. While insisting upon the inviolability of mercantile obligations, we are forced to admit that there are such things as accidents, misfortunes, losses and failures which bring to grief honest, capable, and well-meaning men. These have claims upon us for assistance which deserve and in most cases cheerfully receive recognition. The views I have previously expressed are not intended to warrant a declination to extend such accomodations as properly belong to the amenities of business relations.
At the close of my business career I would like to have it said of me that I had never attempted to evade a just obligation or failed to meet one, even though such an expression should be coupled with the assertion that I had insistent upon the fulfillment of obligations to me.
President HARTSHORNE. The highest development of civilization on its commercial side rests upon the foundation of faith of man in man. This faith must be that of the optimist who can at least see the doughnut if not the hole in it, rather than that of the carping pessimist who may see the hole but never the doughnut. It is to the wise man who can see and point out both, that the public turns with confidence when he rises to speak, either by word of mouth or through the press. Such a man we have with us tonight, a successful banker, a man whose wisdom in financial matters has merited not only the confidence of his fellow men, but notably that of the Federal Government.
I have great pleasure in introducing to you HENRY CLEWS, L.L.D. of New York City. (Applause.)
THE FINANCIAL AND TRADE SITUATION
HENRY Clews, LL. D., New York City. In familiarizing myself with the history, scope and objects of the distinguished organization I have the honor to address The National Association of Cotton Manufacturers — I was impressed by the vast extent and importance of the interests it represents through its membership, which covers not only New England but the whole manufacturing world of the United States, to say nothing of foreign countries in which it has a notable representation.
Such an organization is obviously capable of exerting great and lasting power for good in the improvement and development of the cotton manufacturing industry in this country, and incidentally it cannot fail to benefit all the manufacturing interests, for their are ties, visible and invisible, that bind them all together in a bond of mutual sympathy.
How immense these interests are is almost beyond computation; but we may form some idea of them from the fact that the capital stock of the textile mills, print works and bleacheries represented by your association's own members alone, aggregates no less than $334,500,000, without counting their surplus.
Your statistics further tell us that in these mills are 17,157,637 spindles, 1,472 sets of woolen and worsted cards, 5,849 knitting machines and 67 printing machines. These figures are eloquently suggestive of the country's manufacturing enterprise and skill, which have kept pace with its rapid growth, and the progress of mechanical science.
Beyond all this, you have $400,075,000 more capital in the affiliated manufacturing industries of cotton cloth, cotton textile machinery, mill supplies and the like, represented by your associate members. This indeed is a grand exhibit.
So your Association is the representative of $734,586,000 of capital, a large item in the national wealth of the United States. But, great as it is, it will continue to grow with this great and ever-growing nation, and with it will come still further improvements in mechanical processes, methods and machinery, and a far wider foreign market for our manufactures, especially in the Orient and South America, where the British and the Germans have dominated trade in the past.
This Association in its work for the advancement of cotton manufacturing interests, and particularly in the promotion of their commercial relations, and whatever relates to improvements in manufacture, is a valuable ally of the motive power that turns the wheels and runs the machinery of the mills; and I congratulate you on being united for a purpose so conductive to both the prosperity of a great manufacturing interest and the national welfare.
I will now turn to the main subject, the financial and trade situation, present and prospective, in which I find much that is encouraging and favorable to a general betterment of conditions from this time forward. Hear! Hear !
With regard to business conditions and prospects, the general sentiment of both Wall street and the rest of the country is optimistic, and to this may be attributed the extensive recovery of the stock market that has already taken place, since the crisis that began in October. Although the dealings in stocks have been very largely professional, the improvement reflects the confidence in the situation of the rich Wall street men who have led the movement, and confidence, like distrust, is contagious.
The absence of any considerable buying by the outside public has been conspicuous, but so also, since the end of 1907, has been forced or voluntary liquidation. Hence, there being no pressure to sell actual stock, it was easy for the powerful bull party at work to advance prices against the short interest, which was very large; and the bears were driven to cover their contracts at a heavy sacrifice of their previous paper profits. But, like the poor, the bears are always with us, and their expressed views as to trade conditions and prospects are, of course, as pessimistic as those of the majority are the reverse. But the majority rule, and Wall street never fails to discount the future. It is the great financial barometer of the United States.
Leaving sentiment aside, there is ample scope for differences of opinion as to the exact situation and the future, so conflicting are the reports that come to us. In some sections, and some industries, very different conditions are reported than those that prevail elsewhere, and bankers, merchants and manufacturers in the same towns disagree as to things as they are.
This shows that we are in that uncertain transition period which always follows panic; and how long it will last, is the problem that business men all over the country are now trying to solve. Meanwhile the rise in stocks, which has been encouraged by the banking interest largely for the sake of its influence in promoting confidence among the people of all classes, may fairly be looked upon as the precursor of substantial improvement in general business.
Yet, however much we may hope for quick recovery from the effects of the crisis, we should always look unfavorable facts squarely in the face, for self-deception is the worst kind of folly. We must consider the worst, as well as the best, features of the situation, in order to gauge it correctly; and the reduction of ten per cent. in the wages of cotton mill operatives in New England, and the working of many cotton, woolen and other mills on part time only, and the shutting down of others, show how much the manufacturing industry there, as well as elsewhere, has been affected by the severe ordeal we have passed through.
But, so far as the banking institutions were concerned, Boston enjoyed a larger degree of immunity from trouble during the crisis, than any other city, a fact that bears testimony to their soundness and conservatism. Boston may, therefore, well pride