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i 1L L U G [

MAY 30, 1916.


We p. re celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary
of the historic city of Tuscaloosa and the eightyfifth annual commencement of our great University. Although upon such an occasion our thoughts naturally
take a retrospective turn, I shall not in my remarks
dwell upon the past, rich as it is with lessons of its
trials and triumphs, nor will I pose as a prophet and
attempt to rent the veil of the distant future.


shall speak instead of the present and of that immediate future which lies within our horizon, and which
we can make what wo vail.


We are living in a most critical period of the

-2world's history, a stupendous era, full of opportunity
and fraught with graresponsibility,,

The frightful

holocaust on thb other side of the Atlantic, with its
appalling sacrifice of human life, with its enormous waste
and with its pandemonium of calamity and woe, has
aroused in the hearts of the people of this country
mingled feelings of horror and of pity, but also it has
instilled in our minds a better and higher appreciation
of our duty to ourselves, to our country and the world.
No longer are we lulled into a false sense of security
because of our splendid isolation, no longer do we feel
that we enjoy permanent immunity because of the three
thousand miles of ocean waves that separate us from the
shores of Europe;

but we have as a nation come to

realize that our surest guaranty of peace lies in preparedness for war.

The first steps for military and

naval preparedness have already been.taken, and because
of this we are confident that we shall escape any part
of the tragedy now being enacted on the three continents
of the old world.

This confidence is intensified be-

cause of the calm judgment and consummate skill of the
President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who has

so successfully handled, a grave international crisis,
maintaining friendly relations, while preserving our
national honor and dignity,,

It is not necessary, there-

fore, to discuss at length at this time and place, preparedness from a military sense, hut it is well that we
should consider it from a commereia,! and industrial
( II.)


Out of the misfortunes of others has come to a
great extent the marvelous prosperity with which this
country is blessed today.

The temporary depression in

the United States which followed immediately the outbreak of the war and which was due to the sudden and complete collapse of credits and to the interruption of the
accustomed means of transportation and communication
throughout the world, was followed by a speedy readjustment which brought with it from the warring nations and
from non-combatant countries whoso trade had been principally with the powers at war, millions upon millions
of dollars worth of orders, not only for munitions but
also for the ordinary necessities of life, which have
been pouring in upon this country so that it has been

enriched, according to the estimate of some authorities,
to the extent of about three "billions of dollars.


golden flood has fairly deluged some of the states to the
north and west of us.

Alabama and her sister states of

thd South, while feeling to some extent the impetus of
better times, have not received their fair proportion,


The South, since that day, back in 1881, when we
members of that Glass made our final bows upon the rostrum in Woods' Hall, has made great progress in all lines
of industry, in agriculture, in manufacturing, in mining,
in banking and in commercial pursuits, as may be exemplified by the statement that the banking power of the
Southern states is now greater than that of the entire
United States at that remote day.

But our section, never-

theless, has not yet become highly specialised in the
arts and sciences, and in manufacturing, but is still essentially an agricultural region and still has cotton as
its principal money crop.

Because of the inability of

the central powers to import cotton on account of the
rigid blockade v/hich is being maintained, the South has,
during the past year, been deprived of a market for nearly
one-fourth of its export crop, so that neither its

manufacturers nor its farmers have reaped that measure
of profit whi6h has come to the same classes in other

The South is, however, an important part of

the United States, and is interested in common with all
other sections, in the maintenance of national prosperity.

Already there arc some indications that a

wearied Europe is beginning to turn its thoughts toward
peace, and perhaps it may be the mission of our Southern
born President to point out the way.
Restoration of peace will necessarily bring about
important changes in the worlds trade and just what
these changes will be and how they will affect business
conditions in this county, are problems which are being
studied carefully by publicists and business men.


are vital questions hero in the South as in other parts
of the country, although we may not be as directly affected as other sections for the reason that a smaller
part of our business has come from foreign countries or
has been connected with war material.

We should, how-

ever, stand ready to support the Government in any
measures that it may be necessary to adopt in order to •
retain the legitimate foreign trade that we have already


secured, to extend still further our business intercourse
with South American countries, "besides maintaining a
proper balance in our trade relations with the nations
now at war*

American bankers are permitted under the

Federal Reserve Act to establish branches in foreign
countries %nd can thereby facilitate transactions involving the importation or exportation of goods, and it is
practically certain that a law will soon be on our
statute books creating a tariff commission, whose duty
will be to make a close study of changing conditions and
to recommend from time to time such modifications of
our present tariff laws as may be advisable.

I do not

speak authoritatively, but I hope that as a measure of
commercial preparedness, steps will be taken to encourage
the manufacture of dye stuffs in this country, to protect American firms against foreign dumping and to provide heavy penalties for foreign concerns engaged in unfair competition in the United States.

American merchants

and manufacturers seeking to compete with those of other
nations in the markets of the world should be permitted
to engage in the contest on equal terms with their com- .
petitors, and we should, therefore, favor some arrangement

that will enable American exporters to secure foreign
trade in competition with the cartels and combinations
of Germany and other countries. •
A serious drawback to the development of our foreign
trade is the utter inadequacy of our American Merchant

The South has felt this perhaps as keenly as

any other section of the country.

We have been handicapped

very greatly in exporting cotton by lack of ship room
and by abnormally high ocean freights.

Rates to liver-

pool on cotton have for several months past, frequently
ruled as high as $15*00 per bale, or

per pound, or

about 10 times the normal rate, and this excess has, to
a great extent, come out of the pockets of the Southern

American ship yards have been very busy for

the past year or more, as private capital has been
attracted to shipping by the unusual profits obtainable,
but in normal times this activity cannot be expected to
Our wage scales are much higher than those of foreign
countries, whose shipping is also, in many cases, subsidized, and, in order to establish an American Merchant

Marine which can be used in the carrying trade in time
of peace and as a naval auxiliary in time of war,
Government intervention and aid seems necessary.


shipping hill passed the House of Representatives a
few days ago, with the support of practically all the
Southern members, and will, in all probability, pass
the Senate and become a law before the adjournment of


Another measure of supreme importance to the South
is now in conference, -- the rural credits bill*


South for a great many years has labored under the curse .
of absentee landlordism and it has suffered from the
evils of the tenant farming system.

Hardly more than a

tithe of its productive capacity has been utilized, for
lack of both capital and labor.

With the exception of

Texas, the Southern states have not attracted their
proper share of immigration, either foreign or domestic.
Too many of our rural population have found it impossible
to make any substantial headway, and finding themselves
year after year lacking all of the luauries and many of
the necessities of life, have lost ambition and have

settled down to breathe the sodden atmosphere of a hopeless and aimless existence.

The rural credits act will

open the way for the organization of national farm loan
associations which, in cooperation with the twelve
Federal land banks fco be established, will make loans
on farm lands oil long time;

payments being amortized

so that the total annual installment, including interest
and reduction of principal, will amount to not more
than 3% of the principal, the interest in no case to
exceed 6%.

Land owners will thus be afforded an op-

portunity of improving their farms by ditching, fencing
and by the erection of silos and buildings, diversification of crops will be encouraged, cattle raising v/ill be
promoted, and the thrifty tenant farmer v/ill be given
an opportunity of becoming his own landlord.

Many who

have heretofore been without hope or definite ambition,
will find a new incentive to work and to accumulate with
a view to ultimate independence.

Southern agriculture

will thus receive a wonderful stimulus, and many of the
young men growing up on the farms whose ambition now is
to go to a town, will find it to their advantage to make
a study of scientific farming and to practice it as a

-10life vocation.

Better living conditions in farming

districts and greater prosperity for the farmer mean
decreased cost of living, less concentration of population in the towns and cities, more schools, better
morals, and a happier and more contented people.


perity on the farms means larger orders for the merchant, the coal operator, the lumberman and for the

more business for the railroads, steadier

employment of labor, increased deposits for the banks
and a greater demand for loans.

Consider what Europe

has done for its farmers and how, up to the outbreak of
the deplorable war, it had improved their condition,
and how the continental powers have been able, through
scientific farming methods, to support themselves during
abnormal conditions.

While the methods adopted in

Europe may not be best adapted to the United States,
surely with some modifications they can be made effective

Nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, Oliver

Goldsmith wrote his greatest poem, 7'The Deserted Village."

It was a striking exposition of English history

and a remarkable forecast of the future.


"111 fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere Englandrs griefs began,
When every rood of land maintain*d its man:
For him light labor spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, but gave no more;
His best companions, innocence and health,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alterld; traders unfeeling train
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scatterrd hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose,
An$: every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that askTd but little room,
Those healthful sports that graced the peaaeful scene,
Lived in each look, and brighten1d all the green;
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more."

Have we not in American been drifting into the conditions
so graphically described?

let us never lose sight of

the fact that farming is the most important industry in
the world.

Without the farm all other business would

stagnate and die, the railroads would cease to run, the
banks and mercantile establishments could no longer
operate, and grass would grow in the streets of our
cities, which would no longer be thriving marts of
commerce but would become, through famine, whited

sepulchers of the dead.

Wo other "business can succeed

without the farmer, but the farming business can survive, if left unfettered, without the aid of any other
business(VII.) WATER POWERS.
Let us now consider for a moment the subject of

For some years past, we in Alabama have heard

a great deal about another liquid, and I am sure that
it will be refreshing to turn our thoughts to pure and
unadulterated waters

We need not discuss its superla-

tive merits as a beverage or as a cleansing agent, but
rather let us consider its utility as a means of transportation and as a source of power.

Bountiful nature

has favored our State in the matter of waterways.
Through the Warrior, the Tombigbee, the Alabama and the
Coosa, the waters springing from the hills in the
mineral regions flow through rich agricultural sections
and discharge themselves into the Gulf of Mexico.


work of nature has been supplemented by the National
Government and by means of locks and darns on the
Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers, perennial navigation h%s
been provided from the coal fields to the Gulf.


barges laden with black diamonds pass every day down
the river just below the University, bound for Mobile
and New Orleans.

Through a beautiful valley in northern

Alabama, flows the great Tennessee River, a majestic
stream which springs from the mountains of North
Carolina and Virginia, and flowing through east Tennessee, enters our State near its northeastern corner,
and leaving it at its northwestern extremity, turns
again through Tennessee and, passing through Kentucky,
unites with the Ohio and finally discharges its waters
into the mighty Mississippi.

Most of this wonderful

stream is already open to commerce, but in its course
through Alabama, its waters plunge through a series
of shoals and rapids, known as Muscle Shoals, which

block navigation, but which, if properly harnessed, will

furnish one of the greatest water powers in the
United States.

Locks and dams at Muscle Shoals would

render the Tennessee River navigable from Knoxville to
Paducah, and would, at the same time, offer to industries electric energy of approximately 500,000 horsepower.

When we speak of Muscle Shoals, there results

a triangulation of ideas.

On one side is transportation,

-14on another the fertilization of our farms, and on the
third, military preparedness.

We all know that nitre,

or saltpetre, is a:a essential ingredient in the manufacture of gunpowder and of fertilizers, and that the
world*s great natural deposits of nitre are in northern Chilec

We know furthermore, that the oxygen in

the air we breathe is heavily diluted with nitrogen,
and that science has found the way, through mechanical
means, of accomplishing the fixation of air nitrogen
into nitrates.

The marvelous efficiency of Germany

as a nation is admitted by her friends and enemies
alike, by her sympathizers and by her critics.


years ago German manufacturers began, under adverse
conditions, the manufacture of nitrates from the air.
When I refer to adverse conditions, I mean that this
process of fixation requires enormous power and calls
for a tremendous expenditure of energy;

and in a

country like Germany, having no great water powers, this
energy can be supplied at high cost only by the consumption of an enormous amount of fuel.

I understand

that not less than 300,000 horse-power must be produced in order to manufacture air nitrates on a

-15commercial scale, and the only nitrate manufacturing
plant on the American continent is located on the
Canadian side at Niagara Falls,

The bill that has

recently passed both houses of Congress to increase
the efficiency of the military establishment of the
United States, recognizes the necessity of an adequate nitrate supply and empowers the President of
the United States to make such investigation as he
may deem

to be necessary to determine the best,

cheapest and most available means for the production
of nitrates and other products for munitions of war
and useful in the manufacture of•fertilizers by
water power, and he is further authorized and empowered to "designate for the exclusive use of the
United States, such site or sites upon any navigable
or non-navigable river, as may, in his opinion be
necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act, and
he is further authorized to construct, maintain and
operate, at any site or sites so designated, dams,
locks, improvements to navigation, power houses, and
other plants and equipment, or other means than water
power as in his judgment is the best and cheapest,

-16necessary or convenient for the generation of electrical or other power and for the production of nitrates or other products needed for munitions of war
and useful in the manufacture of fertilizers and
other products*n The bill furthermore appropriates
the sum of twenty million dollars, available until
expended, to enable the President of the United
States to secure this nitrate supply.

I do not know

what recommendations the War Department will make to
the President, nor can I predict what his choice of
a site will be, but I do know that no site in the
United States is superior to Muscle Shoals from the
standpoint of strategic location, the power that can
be generated and the proximity to large deposits of
phosphate rock.

I wish that I were a word painter,

so that I could picture to you the great opportunity
that is presented to the people of Alabama, and the
far reaching results that would come from the location
of this nitrate plant within the borders of our State.
Imagine a gigantic dam across a broad and majestic
river, a great power house, and beyond, a nitrate,
plant, on one side of which will be built a large

-17• factory where nitric acid will be produced for use in
the manufacture of explosives;

on the other side

works for the production of ammonium phosphate, where
the phosphate rock brought from nearby fields will be
combined with the nitrates and converted into that
important ingredient of all commercial fertilizers,
ammonium phosphate.

The waters of the Tennessee in

their ceaseless flow toward the Ohio and the Mississippi
can generate at a minimum cost after the initial
expenditure has been made, the large amount of power
necessary for the operation of these plants.


power, contrary to the fears of many, would not interfere with the consumption of Alabama coal, for it would
develop an entirely new industry which cannot be established if dependent upon coal as a fuel.

I wish

that I could picture to you the other important industries that would follow the establishment of this


plant, such as electric furnaces for the manufacture of
the finest grades of steel, establishments for the
production of aluminum from the vast deposits of
bauxite which abound in east Alabama.

I would point out

to you the wonderful opportunity that would thus be

opened to the young men of Alabama, and I can see in
my mind's eye a great school of technology here at the
University, where future generations can be taught the
principles of efficiency and of applied science, which
have done so much for the development of Germany during
the past forty years.

Surely every man of influence

in Alabama will do all in his power to induce the president to locate this plant on the banks of the Tennessee. Many other states have eligible locations
to offer, though none in my opinion can at all compare
v/ith the one at Muscle Shoals.

Every possible in-

fluence will be brought to bear by these states to present their own locations in the most favorable light,
and it behooves the people of Alabama during the next
few months to work as they have never worked before, if
we wish to win this great prize, which would mean an
immediate expenditure within our borders of twenty
million dollars, with industries to follow which will
cost at least thirty millions more,


There has been too much talk about the great
natural resources of Alabama.

The time has come for


We must develop them!

About two months before

the surrender of the armies of the Confederacy, a conference was held by Abraham Lincoln with three. Confederate Commissioners, at Hampton Roads.

I do not know

whether it is history or whether it is fiction, but the
story is that at that conference Mr. Lincoln, holding
a sheet of white paper in his hand, said to Alexander
H. Stephens, "Let me write Union on this paper and you
may write whatever else you please," If this story be
founded on fact, what an opportunity for the South was
lost! If we could bring the people of Alabama to a
proper realization of the importance of hard work, of
constant and unflagging effort and of efficiency in

if we could be justified in taking a map of

Alabama and in writing across that map in outstanding
letters reaching from the Tennessee to the Gulf, and
from Georgia to Mississippi, the word "Efficiency,"
we would have a great and prosperous State no matter
what else might be written there.

In the South today,

our economies as a rule are neither scientific nor
potentially efficient, nor do our activities contribute
to stop waste and to increase efficiency.

We find

-20.waste and. more waste everywhere.

We have made only a

beginning in the manufacture of by-products,-- we can
see in half a day's journey, thousands of coke ovens,
illuminating the midnight skies with flames which contain many elements of wealth, but which are absolutely
thrown away.

Because of the nitrogen which it contains,

a million tons of cotton seed meal is put back every
year into the soil of the cotton fields of the South, •

although overhanging every acre there are over thirtythree thousand tons of atmospheric nitrogen which the
water powers of Alabama now going to waste could take
out of the air and fix ready for use as a fertilizer
for increasing our production of agricultural staples.


But waste and inefficiency are not to be found
alone in agriculture.

They are found in the forest and

in the factory, as well as on the farm;

in mechanical

arts and in scientific achievements we lag behind. The
Secretary of the Navy, a Southern man by birth and
rearing, of ardent Southern sympathies, recently selected twenty-three engineers and scientists as a civil
naval advisory or efficiency board, not one of viiom was
taken from any activity or association of the Southern


We are proud of our traditions, yet we have

seen other states forge ahead, even the arid states in
the rainless regions of the west, which have in twentyyears secured from the Federal Treasury one hundred and
sixteen million dollars for the accomplishment of
their irrigation projects.

We are afflicted too much

with traditions, resignation, indifference and inefficiency.

Too many of the sons of Alabama have left

their paternal roof-trees and have sought their fortunes in other states.

We must do something, not only

to make it to the interest of the young men of Alabama
to remain at home, but something that will induce the
best elements of the citizenship of other states to
cast their lot amongst us.

According to a poetic fancy

the name "Alabama" signifies "here we rest."

It is too

bad that any should think this means nhere we do not.

here we take our ease," and we should seek to

justify the construction of the word "rest" as meaning

so that the name of Alabama henceforth shall

signify, as a matter of choice, and because of the
glorious opportunities offered, "hence we will not go;
here we remain."