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very seriously centered upon the task of interfering with the labor of the farms as little as possible, and under the new draft regulations I believe that the farmers of the country will find that their supply of labor is very much less seriously drawn upon than it was under the first and initial draft, made before we had our present full experience in these perplexing matters. The supply of labor in all industries is a matter we must look to and are looking to with diligent care.
And let me say that the situation of the agencies I have enumerated has been responded to by the farmers in splendid fashion. I dare say that you are aware that the farmers of this country are as efficient as any other farmers in the world. They do not produce more per acre than the farmers in Europe. It is not necessary that they should do so. It would perhaps be bad economy for them to attempt it. But they do produce by two to three or four times more per man, per unit of labor and capital, than the farmers of any European country. They are more alert and use more laborsaving devices than any other farmers in the world. And their response to the demands of the present émergency has been in every way remarkable. Last spring their planting exceeded by 12,000,000 acres the largest planting of any previous year, and the yields from the crops were recordbreaking yields. In the fall of 1917 a wheat acreage of 42,170,000 was planted, which was 1,000,000 larger than for any preceding year, 3,000,000 greater than the next largest, and 7,000,000 greater than the preceding five-year average.
But I ought to say to you that it is not only necessary that these achievements should be repeated, but that they should be exceeded. I know what this advice involves. It involves not only labor but sacrifice, the painstaking application of every bit of scientific knowledge and every tested practice that is available. It means the utmost economy, even to the point where the pinch comes. It means the kind of concentration and self-sacrifice which is involved in the field of battle itself, where the object always looms greater than the individual. And yet the Government will help and help in every way that is possible. The impression which prevails in some quarters that while the Government has sought to fix the prices of foodstuffs it has not sought to fix
other prices which determine the expenses of the farmer is a mistaken one. As a matter of fact, the Government has actively and successfully regulated the prices of many fundamental materials underlying all the industries of the country, and has regulated them, not only for the purchases of the Government, but also for the purchases of the general public, and I have every reason to believe that the Congress will extend the powers of the Government in this important and even essential matter, so that the tendency to profiteering, which is showing itself in too many quarters, may be effectively checked. In fixing the prices of foodstuffs the Government has sincerely tried to keep the interests of the farmer as much in mind as the interests of the communities which are to be served, but it is serving mankind as well as the farmer, and everything in these times of war takes on the rigid aspect of duty.
I will not appeal to you to continue and renew and increase your efforts. I do not believe that it is necessary to do so. I believe that you will do it without any word or appeal from me, because you understand as well as I do the needs and opportunities of this great hour when the fortunes of mankind everywhere seem about to be determined and when America has the greatest opportunity she has ever had to make good her own freedom and in making it good to lend a helping hand to men struggling for their freedom everywhere. You remember that it was farmers from whom came the first shots at Lexington, that set aflame the revolution that made America, free. I hope and believe that the farmers of America will willingly and conspicuously stand by to win this war also.
The toil, the intelligence, the energy, the foresight, the selfsacrifice, and devotion of the farmers of America will, 1 believe, bring to a triumphant conclusion this great last war for the emancipation of men from the control of arbitrary government and the selfishness of class legislation and control, and then, when the end has come, we may look each other in the face and be glad that we are Americans and have had the privilege to play such a part.
White House Pamphlet.
80. HONOR TO THE RED CROSS
(May 18, 1918)
ADDRESS TO THE PUBLIC MEETING IN NEW YORK, OPENING
A CAMPAIGN FOR THE SECOND RED CROSS FUND
I should be very sorry to think that Mr. Davison in any degree curtailed his exceedingly interesting speech for fear that he was postponing mine, because I am sure you listened with the same intent and intimate interest with which I listened to the extraordinarily vivid account he gave of the things which he had realized because he had come in contact with them on the other side of the water. We compassed them with our imagination. He compassed them in his personal experience.
I am not come here to-night to review for you the work of the Red Cross. I am not competent to do so, because I have not had the time or the opportunity to follow it in detail. I have come here simply to say a few words to you as to what it all seems to me to mean.
It means a great deal. There are two duties with which we are face to face. The first duty is to win the war. The second duty, that goes hand in hand with it, is to win it greatly and worthily, showing the real quality of our power not only, but the real quality of our purpose and of ourselves. Of course, the first duty, the duty that we must keep in the foreground of our thought until it is accomplished, is to win the war. I have heard gentlemen recently say that we must get five million men ready. Why limit it to five million? I have asked the Congress of the United States to name no limit, because the Congress intends, I am sure, as we all intend, that every ship that can carry men or supplies shall go laden upon every voyage with every man and every supply she can carry.
And we are not to be diverted from the grim purpose of winning the war by any insincere approaches upon the subject of peace. I can say with a clear conscience that I have tested those intimations and have found them insincere. I now recognize them for what they are, an opportunity to have a free hand, particularly in the East, to carry out purposes of conquest and exploitation. Every proposal with regard to accommodation in the West involves a reservation with regard to the East. Now, so far as I am concerned, I intend to stand by Russia as well as France. The helpless and the friendless are the very ones that need friends and succor, and if any man in Germany thinks we are going to sacrifice anybody for our own sake, I tell them now they are mistaken. For the glory of this war, my fellow citizens, so far as we are concerned, is that it is, perhaps for the first time in history, an unselfish war. I could not be proud to fight for a selfish purpose, but I can be proud to fight for mankind. If they wish peace, let them come forward through accredited representatives and lay their terms on the table. We have laid ours, and they know what they are.
But behind all this grim purpose, my friends, lies the opportunity to demonstrate not only force, which will be demonstrated to the utmost, but the opportunity to demonstrate character, and it is that opportunity that we have most conspicuously in the work of the Red Cross. Not that our men in arms do not represent our character, for they do, and it is a character which those who see and realize appreciate and admire, but their duty is the duty of force. The duty of the Red Cross is the duty of mercy and succor and friendship.
Have you formed a picture in your imagination of what this war is doing for us and for the world? In my own mind I am convinced that not a hundred years of peace could have knitted this Nation together as this single year of war has knitted it together; and better even than that, if possible, it is knitting the world together. Look at the picture! In the center of the scene, four nations engaged against the world, and at every point of vantage, showing that they are seeking selfish aggrandizement; and against them, twenty-three governments, representing the greater part of the population of the world, drawn together into a new sense of community of interest, a new sense of community of purpose, a new sense of unity of life. The Secretary of War told me an interesting incident the other day. He said when he was in Italy a member of the Italian Government was explaining to him the many reasons why Italy felt near to the United States.
He said, “If you want to try an interesting experiment, go up to any one of these troop trains and ask in English how many of them have been in America, and see what happens.” He tried the experiment. He went up to a troop train and he asked, “How many of you boys have been in America?” and he said it seemed to him as if half of them sprang up: “Me from San Francisco,” “Me from New York,”—all over. There was part of the heart of America in the Italian Army, --people that had been knitted to us by association, who knew us, who had lived amongst us, who had worked shoulder to shoulder with us, and now, friends of America, were fighting for their native Italy.
Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. And this intimate contact of the great Red Cross with the peoples who are suffering the terrors and deprivations of this war is going to be one of the greatest instrumentalities of friendship that the world ever knew; and the center of the heart of it all, if we sustain it properly, will be this land that we so dearly love.
My friends, a great day of duty has come, and duty finds a man's soul as no kind of work can ever find it. May I say this: The duty that faces us all now is to serve one another. No man can afford to make a fortune out of this war. There are men amongst us who have forgotten that, if they ever saw it. Some of you are old enough--I am old enough—to remember men who made fortunes out of the Civil War, and you know how they were regarded by their fellow citizens. That was a war to save one country. This is a war to save the world. And your relation to the Red Cross is one of the relations which will relieve you of the stigma. You cannot give anything to the Government of the United States. It will not accept it. There is a law of Congress against accepting even services without pay. The only thing that the Government will accept is a loan and duties performed, but it is a great deal better to give than to lend or to pay, and your great channel for giving is the American Red Cross. Down in your hearts you can not take very much satisfaction in the last analysis in lending money to the Government of the United States, because the interest which you draw will burn your pockets. It is a commercial transaction, and some