J. Hampton (Joseph Hampton) Moore.

With Speaker Cannon through the tropics; online

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Containing Views of the Speaker upon
our Colonial Possessions, the Panama Canal
and Other Great Governmental Problems






Member of Congress, Third District, Pennsyluania


November, 1907



THAT fine quality of veneration which the American
people bestow upon Uncle Sam as a national type is
shared in large part by his sturdy prototype, the
Speaker of the House of Representatives. In quaintness of
manner, ruggedness of personality and keenness of intellect,
it is questionable how far our national idol has the advantage
of Mr. Cannon. Indeed, there are so many points of analogy
between Uncle Sam in metaphor and Uncle Joe in propria
persona, that we may readily account for the application to
the Speaker of that endearing soubriquet which has become
a household word in the United States.

It was not intended by Mr. McKinley, our host, nor by
any of his distinguished associates upon the voyage de-
scribed in this book, that anything should be written about
it. Nor have they sanctioned this publication. We were
all in search of rest and recreation; but it is inconceivable
that the wanderings of so typical and influential an Ameri-
can as Mr. Cannon, through our colonial and insular pos-
sessions, and under foreign flags, should not result in com-
ments worth recording. From scant notes (not having first
intended so to do) I have undertaken to tell the story of this
unusual trip. I have taken some liberties with the confi-



deuces and mannerisms of Mr. Cannon, and in some respects
may have obtruded too far upon his good-nature and that of
my colleagues, but our daily contact on shipboard and on
shore and the freedom of talk at table were strong tempta-
tions to write in keeping with the spirit of the occasion.

The problem of our colonial possessions and the possible
outcome of our efforts to complete the Panama Canal are
attracting wide attention; and American thought is being
directed to the establishment of friendlier relations with
Central and South America. We are also confronted with
that other important problem — the disposition of the Philip-
pines. These matters are of vital concern to progressive

It is not an unreasonable thought, therefore, that data re-
specting our insular possessions, obtained at first hand and
under exceptional circumstances as herein presented, should
be helpful and of general interest.



I. The Run TO St. Thomas i

II. Porto Rico 28

III. Martinique 58

IV. Barbados 85

V. Trinidad 106

VI. Venezuela 141

VII. Caracas 169

VIII. Jamaica 203

IX. Colon and Panama 235

X. The Panama Canal 260

XL Cuba 291

XII. Havana 314

XIII. Nassau 341

XIV. Homeward Bound • 372

XV. Conclusions 393




Hon. Joseph G. Cannon. Photo by Bachrach & Bro., Wash-
ington, D. C Frontispiece

The Speaker on Deck. Photo by J. F. Wellington 13

Native Divers. Photo by Mrs. George L. White 23

The Morro, San Juan. Photo by Walter Penn Shipley 29

Colon Plaza and Castle Cristobal, San Juan. Photo by

Hubert J. Somers 39

Governor's Palace, San Juan. Shipley 42

St. Pierre, Martinique, Before Destruction 59

Fort de France, Showing Old English Fort and Island

Opposite, v^herE the Empress Josephine was Born 64

Statue of Empress Josephine, St. Pierre. Mrs. White 65

Market Place, Fort de France. Dr. Joseph Stokes 68

Governor's Family (Martinique) and the Speaker. Photo

by J. C. Eversman 71

Native Sugar Vendors, Fort de France. Shipley 73,

Mountain View of St. Pierre. Stokes 75

Excavated Street, St. Pierre. Stokes 78

Street Scene, Bridgetown, Barbados. Shipley 83

Suburbs of Bridgetown. Shipley gi

Working in Sugar-Cane, Barbados. Shipley 93

Pitch Lake, La BrEa Point, Trinidad. Somers 107

East Indian Temple, Trinidad. Mrs. White 119




Cocoa Tree, Trinidad. Somers 121

Sam AN Tree and Park, Port oe Spain. Shipley 125

Cannon on the "Dreadnaught." Eversman .... 131

City oe Caracas from Mountain Road. Shipley 139

Mountain Road to Caracas. Shipley 147

Federal Palace, Caracas. From the Hand-book of Venezuela. . 151

Indian Village, Venezuela. Stokes 163

Street Scene, Caracas. Shipley : 167

La Guaira and Caracas Railway. From the Hand-book of

Venezuela 175

Luncheon Under Bamboo Trees, La Victoria, Venezuela.

Shipley 194

Horse-Car, La Victoria. Mrs. White 196

Under the Bamboo Tree, La Victoria. Photo by B. F. Wild. . . 197

The Family Wash, Jamaica. Shipley 201

Ruins oe Myrtle. Bank Hotel, Kingston. Mrs. White 214

Statue oe Victoria, Kingston, Showing How It was Turned

ON Its Base by the Earthquake. Mrs. White 216

Work oe the Earthquake, Kingston. Shipley 219

Earthquake Wreck, Kingston. Shipley >.:..■ 230

American Repaying in Panama City. From the President's

Illustrated Message 233

A Sanitary Squad Prepared for Action, Panama. Photo by

A. Bienkowski 251

Village of Gatun, Panama. Shipley 254

Houses in Gatun, Panama. From the President's Illustrated

Message 256

CuLEBRA Cut, Panama Canal. Shipley 261



Inspecting Steam Shovee Near Culebra Cut. From the Presi-
dent's Illustrated Message .271

Ancon Hospital and Capitae oe Canal Zone. Bienkowski. .. .275

Cabana and the Morro, Havana. Somers 289

MoRRO Castee, Havana. Mrs. White 295

Wreck op the "Maine/' Havana. Somers 297

Native Funeral, Havana. Somers 315

Approach to Colon Cemetery, Havana. Somers 320

Patio in Residence oe U. S. Minister, Havana. Photo by

Richard Harding Davis 337

A Group on the "Colonia." Photo by J. J. Sullivan 342

On the "Colonia" Beeore the Storm. Stokes 347

Marooned Passengers Returning to thb» Ship (Nassau).

Shipley 369

Congressional Party Homeward Bound. Shipley 373

Burning the Bark. Shipley 381




Making up for Departure — New York Letter Carriers' Farewell —
Impressions of Congress — The Scene at the Death — Power of
the Press — The Five O'Clock-Gridiron-Burton Dinner — Under
the Grrman Flag — A Lesson in Ship Subsidies — The Speaker
Slumbers — Tawney Disturbed — Mann on the Food Supply —
Passengers Becoming Acquainted — Reception to the Speaker —
Arrival at St. Thomas — "Toss de Coin, Massa !" — A Sunday
Parade in Colors — Cable Company Courtesies — Danish West
Indian Prison — Our First Consular Experience — The Popular
Post Card.

''It looks good to me !"

My friend Kendrick had attended the Five O'clock
Club-Gridiron Dinner in honor of Mr. Burton, of the
Rivers and Harbors Committee; he had taken a berth
on the 12.35 train from Washington that he might see
me oflf; he had joined Speaker Cannon and the others
of the McKinley party at breakfast in Jersey City, and he
now stood upon the promenade deck of the Bhiecher, aft,
overlooking the passengers, who were saying good-bye to
the friends who had received the first summons to go ashore.
My old friend, Dr. Keely, of the first Peary Relief Expedi-
tion, had introduced us to some of the mysteries of the
ship (to be sure, he had the assistance of Bilderbeck, of
the Customs Service, whose participation in the ill-fated
DeLong expedition had served as a talisman), and be had
discovered a few Philadelphians on the passenger list and
in the passage-ways. The indefatigable Eversman, who
was to superintwd the McKinley party, had lined up the


trunk man; the deck-chair man, and others having to do
with the comfort of the party, and ''Uncle Joe" was the
center of an admiring group of ladies and letter carriers,
the latter having brought aboard a large floral horseshoe,
with silken ribbons inscribed with the names of the Con-
. gressional party, in recognition of their support of the
increase-of-pay bill, just passed by Congress.

On all sides bustle and activity, salutations and blessings !
The great ship — one of the finest of the Hamburg-American
Line — was clean as a new pin. And the officers and crew !
Who, after one swift glance at the nobby uniforms, the
slick hairdressing, the Emperor William mustachios, the
trim beards, and the ''present arms" appearance of the
entire outfit, could ever forget the picture? There they
were, all of the same mould, officers, men, musicians — if not
the Kaiser's kin, surely the Kaiser's kind. No Hoboken
for theirs — they were German to the- core. And so polite !
Nothing too difficult, nothing too troublesome. A noble-
man here, with the military posture and a gracious "Yes,
madam" ? No, only a room steward standing guard over
milady's trunks. An ambassador, at the gang-plank yonder,
exchanging a few parting words with the American society
lady? No, only a subordinate officer receiving final instruc-
tions (and something on the side) to keep an eye upon the
young gentleman in 743.

Altogether, a pretty scene — husbands and wives, sweet-
hearts and beaux, young and old, some for rest and some
on pleasure bent, nearly three hundred in all, married and
single, the Congressional party held in leash by admiring
friends and serenaded by the Letter Carriers' Band, the
ship's band alternating, until the last bugle call — no wonder
Kendrick, bright, athletic, handsome, no wonder he gave
vent to his feelings.


*'It looks good to me, too/' I said, ''but what about the
rest the doctor ordered?"

Kendrick didn't answer, for the movement toward the
gang plank cut short all further talk. The hawsers came
up, and in a few moments the great ship, with her three
hundred passengers, her crew of nearly five hundred, and
her cargo of provisions and coal for a month's voyage, was
steering out of the Hudson River, through the picturesque
Xew York Harbor, into the Atlantic Ocean. But we were
not to go unheralded. The letter carriers are a persistent
lot. They had fought many long years for an increased
compensation, and they rightfully believed that every
Congressman on board had been their friend. Most men
who seek favors of public officials are inclined to forget
what has been done for them when the object sought has
been attained, but the letter carriers of New York appar-
ently were not of that stripe, and they wanted Speaker
Cannon to know it. They wanted Senator Curtis, of Kansas,
to know it ; they wanted Mr. Sherman, of New York, Chair-
man of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee,
and in Congress, Chairman of the Committee on Indian
Affairs, to know it ; they wanted Mr. Tawney, of Minne-
sota, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, to
know it ; they wanted their particular friend, Mr. Olcott,
of Xew York, to know it ; they wanted Mr. Loudenslager,
Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, to know it. They
knew what a great objector Mr. Mann, of Illinois, was,
and they wanted him to know how they appreciated his
support of the measure; and they were especially anxious
to let Mr. McKinley, of Illinois, the host of this 'distin-
guished party, know how glad they were to have the oppor-
tunity, under his auspices, to express their gratitude. So,
after they had left the great ship, with its five hundred and


twenty-five feet of length and sixty-two feet of beam, they
took their band and their megaphone, captured Congress-
man Calder, of New York, boarded a tug, and set up a
vokmtary escort out to quarantine.

This was the morning of Tuesday, March 5th, 1907.
The day before had been a busy one in National affairs.
The Constitution provides that Congress shall adjourn
March 4th. All work must be done by high noon. I was
filliiog an unexpired term and had served but three months.
I had never seen a Congress die. Throughout the session
the proceedings had greatly interested me. I had been
impressed by the wonderful grasp of public affairs
exhibited by the older men. Their knowledge of law and
of precedent had admonished me to study, to read, to think.
Apart from the many exactions of my own district and the
hurried researches necessary to a crude understanding of
the practice and privileges of the House, I had come to
respect the personnel of the House and to appreciate the
learning, ability and patriotism of the leaders. The pro-
fessional writer's estimate of the Congressman no longer
affected me. I had attempted a few things which I believed
to be in the interest of my constituency, and soon learned
that patience and diplomacy were valuable adjuncts. It
was not wise, I found, to assume too much, and did not. •
The men, whose colleague I had become, were picked men ;
here and there, owing to peculiar political conditions, there
were some who might not stand in the rank of Clay or
Webster, but there were few, very few, who were to be
set down as weaklings. Before I knew the Speaker very
well, I had heard him, in public utterance, present the
situation :

"These men have been sent to Congress by the people of
the various Districts. Theirs is the responsibility of repre-


senting the people as the people desire to be represented.
If they come back, it's a pretty fair sign that the people are
satisfied. If the people are not satisfied, the chances are
they will not send them back."

This is not an exact quotation, but it is very like. I have
often used the argument with regard to municipal and
State legislators, and now believe it to be true of the
National legislature — that the masses of the people are fairly
represented in legislative bodies. It may shock the gram-
marian that an unlettered man may go into the City
Councils, or the State legislature, but it will generally be
found that the representative who is not pleasing to the
social leader is the choice of a District which has no social
aspirations, and that he is closer to the body of the people
than the safi/ant would be.

I say the personnel of Congress impressed me. As I
looked about, listened and studied, pondering over the sig-
nificance and magnitude of the proceedings, marveling at
the development of the country from the four-million-per-
annum, eight-per-cent. -interest, mule-train days of the
founders of the nation, to the billion-dollar days of scientific
agriculture, varied manufactures, vast transportation facili-
ties, enormous trade and wealth of eighty millions of people,
I could not believe that the JefTersons, the Adamses, the
Hamiltons, the Clays and the Websters were all dead. I
believed we had them in all their strength and learning
and patriotism ; had them in such profusion that, because
of their numbers only, they must travel along with the
multitude, dependent for their halo upon the opportunity
which now of necessity must come to the few.

It was agreeable to meet and hear the men, some of
whom I had known only through the newspapers. To
watch the Speaker and the leaders upon either side was a


study of itself. The ''pulling and hauling" of the com-
mittee chairmen was amusing and interesting. Every
Congressman, whether first termer or not, gets a little of it,
too. As his influence increases, he gets more; and so,
experience and observation are valuable to him. He learns
to be amiable ; he learns to promise little. After one or two
rubs he learns to go slow.

''Better feel your way, young man ; don't do it all at once.
The nation's gone along fairly well during the last century —
better not upset it right oiT!"

I heard an old-timer apply this advice to a young mem-
ber — I suspect he was a reformer — and I guess the advice
was good. Come to think of it, the nation has done tolerably

But I am thinking of the last day in Congress. It was
a day of excitement. All was tension on the floor of the
House; the galleries were packed to- the doors; Speaker
Cannon and the leaders had been under heavy pressure for
the past week ; they had crowded their work into nights and
Sundays, and at times had been under such stress for a
quorum that dinner parties were broken up and homes were
invaded to bring the weary members in. Through it all
the Speaker had suffered from an attack of the grip, which
quickened his desire to close the session successfully.

And now the last bit of buttonholing had been done, the
last report had been filed. The trophy of his affectionate
colleagues had been presented to General Grosvenor, of
Ohio; the usual felicitous speeches of Mr. Williams, the
leader of the Opposition, and of the Speaker had been made ;
business and partisanship had been given over to sentiment
and brotherhood, and the American Congress was about
to quit.

As the gavel of the Speaker fell the House broke into


song, the crowded galleries catching up the refrain. Demo-
crats and Republicans, mingling with each other and with
their troops of friends, waved tiny American flags, shook
hands in good old American fashion, said their fond "good-
byes," and sang the short and busy second session of the
59th Congress to its death. It was grateful to many,
^ but some were not to return — some whose associa-
tions and services had endeared them to the House — and
so a touch of sadness at the parting was easily detected in
the closing hymn, "God be with you till we meet again."

But we were out upon the broad Atlantic. The morning
newspapers, God bless them, w^e had barely seen
them, were now being opened, the last time, perhaps,
for thirty days. Think of it ! Going out of news-
paper range for a full month ! The Speaker of the
House of Representatives, members of the Senate and
House, and nearly three hundred other active spirits
addicted to the newspaper habit, living upon newspapers, in
fact, cut oflf entirely from their favorite morning diversion !
We had the Marconi, and we expected to make a few stops,
but where would the big events in the world's daily routine
catch up to us? Perhaps it was a good thing. The reading
habit is like the tobacco habit — like every other habit — it
becomes a part of the nature of a man. If you can shake
it off now and then the change may be good for you. On
one occasion I accompanied the Pennsylvania Editors'
Association on an annual excursion to Long Branch and
Coney Island. The ladies and gentlemen of the party were
having a good time, and when, in the course of their
wanderings, they met the Mayor of Newark — a Mr. Haines,.
I think — they insisted upon a speech. The Mayor didn't
want to speak, but the editors persisted. At last the Mayor
lifted his silk hat and began. He jollied the ladies and
praised the men.


''And do I understand," he said, suavely, ''that Coney
Island, whose hospitality I am myself enjoying, has the
honor of entertaining the entire editorial force of Penn-

A youthful enthusiast answered "Yes."

"Then I am thinking," added the Mayor, "what a great
relief it must be to the grand old Keystone Commonwealth !"

The power of the press ! In its province is the making
or breaking of reputations, homes, business ; and yet, if the
truth be known, there is a deal of satisfaction to most men
in having their names in print. We may go a step farther,
and suggest that the passion for newspaper notoriety is
sometimes so great that men would rather be assailed in
public than not be mentioned at all.

But I had not intended to fathom the depths of newspaper
ethics. The papers, this morning, were doing all I could
wish them to do; they were giving full reports of the Five
O'clock Club-Gridiron Dinner and, incidentally, were vindi-
cating again the great power of the press to mould public
sentiment. I found Speaker Cannon and the rest of the
party interested in what they were saying. For several
years the necessity for deepening the channel of the Dela-
ware had been urged upon Congress. That it was not
deepened as rapidly as commerce seemed to demand was
generally attributed to Chairman Burton, of the Rivers and
Harbors Committee. The more Chairman Burton stuck to
what he believed to be equitable in the general treatment
of rivers and harbors, including the Delaware, the more
insistent the newspapers of Philadelphia became. They
made the fight; commercial and trades bodies followed
They attacked Burton, and so did the trades bodies. The
harder they hit the more determined they made the Chair-
man and the tighter around him they bound the leaders of


Congress. The bitterness of the fight was manifested in
the session just closed. At last, Mr. Burton was sustained
by the House. The great majority of the members believed
him to be right. But the fight was not lost. In the closing
days of the session the newspapers were appealed to ; so
was Mr. Burton. The Philadelphia Five O'clock Club
dinner to the famous Gridiron Club, of Washington, was
coming on to put the finishing touches to the last day of
Congress. Mr. Burton accepted the invitation to attend;
so did the newspaper editors of Philadelphia.

The retiring Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Shaw, opened
the speech-making with a farewell to official life; the
redoubtable Champ Clark, and his veteran, but admiring,
antagonist. General Grosvenor, followed. Then came a
long list of distinguished speakers, men conspicuous in the
popular eye; the former Speaker of the House of Repre-
sentatives, General Keifer, of Ohio; Congressman Nicholas
Longworth, son-in-law of President Roosevelt; Richmond
P. Hobson, whose individual heroism at Santiago had
attracted the attention of the world, and who had since been
elected a member of Congress ; Senator Scott, of West Vir-
ginia, the bosom friend of President McKinley, and of the
late Senator Hanna; Judge Dimner Beeber, President of
the Union League, of Philadelphia; eloquent, forceful,
witty — all en rapport with the spirit of the meeting. Inter-
spersing the speeches were occasional features of the two
distinguished clubs, led by President Blythe, of the Gridiron,
and President Blankenburg, of the Five O'clock, and then
the pitting against each other in song of the two Vice-
Presidents, Henry and McCall.

The famous newspaper writers of the Capital, and visiting
editors of great newspapers, vied with the statesmen and
the politicians in the good fellowship of the moment. In


this delightful presence, Mr. Burton — the bitterly assailed
Chairman of the Rivers and Harbors Committee — was
introduced as the guest of the evening. If ever the bitter-
ness of a strong heart might be forever banished and the
spirit of good fellowship admitted, here was the opportunity
for it. Mr. Burton rose.; he had promised to talk of the
great subject he had made his life study, and he launched
it immediately. His deep knowledge, his unquestioned
sincerity, were at once manifest. The whole subject was
hurriedly gone over, the importance of the development
was clearly stated, and then he touched upon the Delaware.
At this the Philadelphians cheered. Then came the long-
looked-for promise — the promise that when certain rea-
sonable conditions were complied with, the great river of
shipbuilding, of manufacturing and of commerce should
be reached. It was the coming together of two imperious
bodies. The Philadelphians were made happy, and Mr.
Burton sat down satisfied. Good feeling had been restored.

Then Speaker Cannon added a little oil to the hitherto
troubled waters, with praise for the Chairman of the Rivers
and Harbors Committee and praise for Philadelphia and
her great manufacturing and commercial interests. ''Great
city, Philadelphia," said the Speaker, ''worthy of all that
Congress may do for it, and, in the fullness of time, she
will come into possession of her own."

The man whose power in the United States is second
only to that of the President; the Chairman of the Appro-
priations Committee, which had just disposed of nearly a
billion dollars for the needs of the Government ; the
Chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee,

Online LibraryJ. Hampton (Joseph Hampton) MooreWith Speaker Cannon through the tropics; → online text (page 1 of 26)