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FIRST SESSION, DECEMBER 4, 1905, TO JUNE 30, 1906.
President Roosevelt's Statement. “In the session that has just closed the Congress has done more substantial work for good than any Congress has done at any session since I became familiar with public affairs. The legislation has been along the lines of real constructive statesmanship of the most practical and efficient type, and bill after bill has been enacted into law which was of an importance so great that it is fair to say that the enactment of any one of them alone would have made the session memorable; such, for instance, as the railroad rate bill, the meat inspection measure, the pure food bill, the bill for free alcohol in the arts, the consular reform bill, Panama Canal legislation, the joint Statehood bill, and the naturalization bill.
“I certainly have no disposition to blink at what there is of evil in our social, industrial or political life of today, but it seems to me that the men of genuine patriotism who genuinely wish well to their country have the right to feel a profound satisfaction in the entire course of this Congress. I would not be afraid to compare its record with that of any previous Congress in our history, not alone for the wisdom, but for the disinterested high-mindedness which has controlled its action. It is noteworthy that not a single measure which the closest scrutiny could warrant us in calling of doubtful propriety has been enacted; and, on the other hand, no influence of any kind has availed to prevent the enactment of the laws most vitally necessary to the nation at this time.”
Speaker Cannon's Statement. “In my judgment, the work done and the legislation enacted in the session just closed exceeds in importance, for the best interests of all the people of the Republic, the work of any session during my thirty years of public life. I have not time to make a complete review of all the legislation. Suffice it to say that the legislation covering appropriations and authorization of public expenditures has been most carefully considered and wisely enacted. The legislation commonly referred to as the rate legislation, the pure food bill, the inspection feature of the agricultural bill, are all measures that affect the interests of all the people, and while nothing perfect can be enacted, I am satisfied that the operation of these laws will demonstrate their wisdom. And I believe if nothing else had been accomplished than the enactment of these three measures, they alone would be sufficient to make the first session of the Fifty-ninth Congress a memorable one in the history of the Republic."
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT LAWS ENACTED,
Fifty-ninth Congress, First Session, December 4, 1905, to
June 30, 1906. The achievements of the Fifty-ninth Congress in its first session, lasting seven months, constitute a remarkable record.
To the people this session must have clearly demonstrated the signal advantage to the nation of party unity in the executive and both legislative branches of the Government.
Among the principal laws enacted are the following:
Railway rates to be fixed by enlarged Interstate Commerce Commission; rebates and other discriminations penalized; sleeping cars, express companies and pipe lines made common carriers; railway passes prohibited.
Panama Canal to have 85-foot level, with locks; Panama Canal bonds to enjoy same privileges as all other United States bonds; Panama Canal supplies to be domestic products.
Pure Food: Label must tell the truth, especially on popular remedies.
Meat inspection, “from hoof to can,” at Government expense. Free alcohol, denatured, for use in the arts.
Oklahoma (including Indian Territory) admitted to the Union, and Arizona (with New Mexico) if they agree to union.
Consular service reorganized on merit basis.
Alaska allowed a Delegate in the House. Alaska liquor revenue devoted to schools and road building. Prohibition of aliens fishing in Alaskan waters.
Naturalization safeguarded and made more difficult.
Steamboat inspection made more rigid, due to General Slocum loss. Motor boats operated for profit required to have federal licenses.
The Philippines: Application of Coastwise law postponed until April 11, 1909. Minor tariff modifications made, and ratio of gold and silver in insular coinage changed. Batan coal mines to belong to Government. Tariff duties collected before 1902 legalized. Naval vessel for Philippine Naval Militia.
Gold bullion reserve in excess of $50,000,000 to be coined. National bank liabilities limited to 30 per cent. of capital.
Employers' Liability Statute: Negligent common carriers within United States jurisdiction liable for damages to employes.
Federal donations to State Agricultural Experiment stations increased so that within ten years they shall each receive $30,000 annually.
President's travelling expenses defrayed to the extent of $25,000 annually.
American representative at Constantinople made Ambassador, and $150,000 appropriated to purchase Legation property.
Production of pure domestic sweet wines encouraged by reduced taxation. Immunit
cases limited (Anti-"Immun. ity Bath' United
court officers for China, and additional
hern District, provided. Destruc
ited States lands forbidden and the
-quire lands which have his
toric value. Mariposa big tree grove accepted from California.
Trade-mark law amended.
Secretary of Interior authorized to establish town sites of not more than 160 acres each in irrigated areas.
Unlawful wearing of insignia of G. A. R. and other soldier organizations forbidden.
Secretary of the Navy given greater discretion in suppressing bazing at Annapolis.
Falsely marked articles of gold or silver or their alloys not to be imported, exported or carried.
Sponge growing in American waters protected.
Extending period for continuous shipment of cattle to thirtysix hours.
To destroy derelicts, $250,000 steam vessel authorized.
Census Office directed to collect and publish vital, social and other statistics.
Waste in public printing cut down one-third.
For District of Columbia, a Juvenile Court, compulsory education, sale of poisons restricted.
Grave of Andrew Jackson, with fifteen acres of land, made a national cemetery. Marking graves of Confederate soldiers.
Jamestown Exposition, 1907, given aid.
Monuments Authorized: King's Mountain battleground, South Carolina, $30,000; landing of the Pilgrims, at Provincetown, Mass., $40,000; Princeton battleground, New Jersey, $30,000; John Paul Jones, in Washington, $50,000; Commodore John Barry, in Washington, $50,000; H. W. Longfellow, in Washington, $4,000 for pedestal.
Incorporations: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning; Archæological Institute of America, and Ohio and Lake Erie Canal Company.
Thanks of Congress extended to General Horace Porter for recovering body of John Paul Jones.
Restrictions on Cabinet Officers to prevent deficiencies of appropriation.
Sixty-nine laws enacted authorizing bridges or dams across navigable rivers.
Forty-three acts for the government of the District of Columbia. Three hundred and twenty public acts altogether.
Three thousand six hundred and ninety Civil War pension acts. Six hundred and ninety-six private pension acts.
Bills Introduced: House, 20,475; Senate, 6,551.
Number of pages of Congressional Record, over 10,000—a new record.
Measures Left Over to Next Session.
Prohibiting corporation campaign contributions.
WHAT CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT HAVE DONE.
It is a record of great achievement which the first session of the Fifty-ninth Congress leaves behind it. We may question, indeed, whether there has been a Congress session since the Civil War that has more closely held the public attention or dealt affirmatively with so many matters of vital public interest. Let us catalog the more important enactments of the session:
The power of the Government Commission to fix maximum railroad rates within the limits of reasonableness has been restored in the interstate commerce law, and Government control of railroads otherwise greatly extended.
Federal inspection of foods the sources of interstate supply, with restrictions in regard to adulterations, has been enacted after years of fruitless agitation in Congress.
The meat-packing industry has been brought under far closer federal inspection and restriction.
There has been enacted, also after years of fruitless effort, a provision freeing from prohibitive internal revenue taxes alcohol for use in manufactures, the arts, and as a source of energy for heating, lighting and motor purposes—a provision of incalculable importance for many industries.
Oklahoma and Indian Territory have been admitted to the Union of the States, and a conditional admission of Arizona and New Mexico provided.
A national employers' liability act, affecting railroads chiefly, has been passed, modifying radically in the interests of employes the loose common-law rules regarding the same.
Measures have also been passed restricting within what are deemed constitutional bounds the immunity privilege in trust and railroad prosecutions; permitting national banks to lend 10 per cent. of capital and surplus to a single borrower, instead of 10 per cent. of capital alone, the loan in no case to exceed 30 per cent. of capital; and providing for an enlargement in the circulation of money of small denominations.
As against these acts of commission there have been acts of omission. But of great matters before Congress what was left un. done is insignificant compared with what has been done, ---Springfield Republican,
PEECH OF REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES E. TOWNSEND, OF MICHIGAN, JUNE 26, 1906, CONCERNING WORK OF FIFTY-NINTH CONGRESS. Mr. Townsend said: Mr. Chairman, the wise business man at he end of the year or on the completion of an enterprise stops ind takes account of stock and considers results. It seems to me not unwise during the last days of this session to pause a moment and review the records of what has been done.
This I believe will be recorded as one of the most important sessions, measured by real benefit to all of the people, that has ever been held by the American Congress. It has not only enacted wise and beneficial legislation, but it has established principles of great and lasting importance. (Applause.)
Republican Credit. The Government has been Republican in all of its branches. That party must stand and answer for whatever of good or bad has been accomplished. The minority in Congress may claim credit if it chooses for helping or hindering; but the majority has been sufficient to accomplish what has been done, and every great law has been enacted by votes enough in number to have carried the measure had every Democrat in each House voted against it.
It is due the minority to say it has demonstrated unusual and unexpected statesmanship and patriotism by going with the majority and making some of the votes unanimous, but the result would have been the same had it seen fit to do otherwise.
When the fifty-ninth Congress assembled in December, 1905, it was presented with some of the most important problems ever offered to the National Legislature.
Panama Canal. The Panama Canal, the largest enterprise in the world's history, had been determined upon, but the organization of the ways and means for its construction had not been accomplished. This stupendous undertaking had no precedent in history upon which the Administration could rely for guidance.
The great problems of sanitation, labor, and type of canal were not solved when this Congress convened. The President and the Fiftyninth Congress have solved them now, and the canal is an assured fact and already under construction. The expenses to date have been paid, and provisions have been made for the ensuing year. The money will be expended under laws insuring honesty and economy.
Railroads. Responding to its duty to promote the general welfare, the Congress under authority of the commerce clause of the Constitution has established by enactment into law the great and all-important principle that public service corporations are corporations for public service, and while sanely and wisely recognizing the necessity of these organizations and the importance of their success, it has served notice upon greedy, avaricious, and unconscionable corporate wealth and power that this is to be a government of law and order, administered for the benefit of all the people. (Applause.)
The bill will, in my judgment, secure to a large degree equality and justice to all.
Do not understand me as saying that the measure will be all that some of its advocates desire or think. But so great and important is the subject, so complex in its nature, and so great a departure in many respects from past methods that it is best to administer the law as enacted, in order to determine what, if any, change shall be made hereafter.
Conceded evils of transportation have existed for many years. Other Congresses, Democratic and Republican, have had opportunities to deal with them. Several Congresses have passed laws regulating carriers, all of which were beneficial, but none of them sufficient to meet the crying needs of the present. It became the privilege of certain Republicans of the Fifty-eighth Congress to press the proposition for regulating interstate car.