Items of Interest

Senator Frye of Maine and Senator Hanna of Ohio managed to get a hearing for the ship subsidy bill in the Senate last week. The bill provides for paying subsidies or bounties to American vessels engaged in foreign trade calculated to offset the difference in the cost of building and navigating American vessels as compared with British vessels, in order to encourage American capitalists to build up the American merchant marine, which now is so inadequate that American ships at the present time carry only nine per cent of the enormous exports and imports of the United States. The bill provides that the maximum subsidy payable in any one year shall be nine million dollars. At present the expenditure would be about half that sum. Under the provisions of the bill a 10-knot ship with a mileage of 42,000 per annum would earn $48,300. A 15-knot ship with a mileage of 63,000 miles per annum would earn $141,750. A 21-knot ship with a mileage of 88,200 miles per annum would earn $304,290. All vessels receiving subsidy would be required to carry the ocean mails of the United States free of charge, and would be subject to being impressed into the service of the navy as auxiliary cruisers or transports, if required.

The army reorganization bill, which provides for a regular standing army of 96,000 men, and containing a clause abolishing the army canteen, was passed by the lower house of Congress on December 6, by a vote of 166 to 133. The debate brought out the surprising statement from Representative McCall of Massachusetts that if the bill should become a law the military expenses of the United States would be greater each year than the joint military expenses of France and Germany, the two countries whose army establishments are usually pointed to as extreme examples of the evils of militarism. He said: "The French army costs $125,000,000 a year, the German, $130,000,000; the British, $100,000,000, and the Russian $153,000,000. These figures include pensions and fortifications. If this bill passes the War Department will need $113,000,000. We are appropriating for pensions $145,000,000 a year. Our total charges therefore for military purposes are $260,000,000 per year."

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The President's Message
December 13, 1900
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