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Memoirs of Robert Dollar
Vol. 1 - Chapter Ten. A Continued Round of Entertainments

That evening the Bankers Club gave us a banquet. Baron Takahashi presiding. At this banquet, by request of the Japanese. I delivered an address on shipping. address before the bankers club...

Your Excellencies and Gentlemen :

The subject assigned to me this evening is "Shipping." I consider this one of the most important that our respective countries have before them.

I know you don't want to hear any ancient history, but by way of illustration, permit me to take a few seconds in tracing the history of shipping as it has affected the nations of the world.

When the Assyrians were the leading nation their mer chant marine was the greatest, centering in the Fersiari Gulf and extending their operations to China. After their decline the center of commerce was transferred to the Egyptians, who had many ships in the Red Sea as well as on the Mediterranean. Then the Phoenicians got the largest merchant marine and became the greatest commercial nation in the world, the center of their commerce being the great cities of Tyre and Sidon. Their country was very small, not much larger than the Island of Kiusha, but their ship* made them great merchants. Then followed in succession Rome, Spain and Holland, the last two named sent ships as far as Nagasaki. These in turn declined and the prize was won by Great Britain, which stdl retains :t by all odds, she having as much steam tonnage as all the other nations put together, and to illustrate that it is not the size of the country that counts, we could put Great Britain in our Lake Superior and there would still be room enough for navigation.

This brings me to the Pacific Ocean, and I want to make this prediction, that just as sure as the center of commerce shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, so sure will it shift to this Pacific Ocean. When this takes place the right to this commerce belongs to Japan and the United States of America, as we are on its shores.

In looking at the map of Asia I cannot help thinking what a similar position Japan occupies to Asia that Great Britain occupies to Europe. Japan is well named the Britain of the Orient, and you are making determined efforts to increase your merchant marine.

Turning to America, it looks discouraging. But we will yet have a merchant marine worthy of our country and will assist you, or should I rather say work hand in hand with you to develop and hold what rightly belongs to us both. We once had the largest and best merchant marine in the world, but various causes combined to change our position. The Civil War was the principal cause of the change; then the evolution from wood to steel, and next the development of our continent in the way of railroads, et cetera, all of which fully occupied our attention.

You older men will recollect when you learned geography at school, there was a blank space, about one thousand miles wide by nearly two thousand miles long, that was marked the "Great American Desert." That has now been changed to populous and prosperous cities, with railroads running through il in all directions. That was the work we were doing while we neglected both our foreign trade and Ships. Now the time has come when we need foreign trade and the building of ships will follow.

It is a common thing for merchants to say that it does not matter what nationality the ship is that carries the freight. This is a mistaken idea, as the owners of ships are bound to work up business for their own country. An owner's financial existence depends on procuring cargoes for his ships and keeping them going, and it often happens when the owner can't get cargoes he is forced to buy them on his own account, thereby stimulating- and increasing trade And, as shown in the first part of my address, the nation that has the largest merchant marine is the greatest nation.

One of a Group of Three in the Temple at Mendoet—Java

This has been the history of every nation from earliest times to the present. So let our respective countries build up our merchant marines. Let us have fair and honorable competition.

Competition is said to be the life of trade. The more honest competition we have the better friends we will be, thereby strengthening the ties that bind us together, namely, Trade, Commerce and Shipping: of the three, the greatest of these is Shipping.

Ship-building and ship-owning is in a constant state of evolution, and unless we keep up-to-date we become a back number. A modern steamer is no sooner completed than some one builds a better and more economical one. You all recollect when we had the one-cylinder condensing engine. This was superseded by the two-cylinder compound, which we thought perfection in the way of economy, but it was no time till the triple expansion engine was invented, which uses the steam three times. Now we have the turbine for fast steamers. It is still in its infancy and experimental stage, and we will see great changes in it in the near future

So, to sum up, the individual and the nation that can build, man and manage their vessels iu the cheapest and most economical way will be first in the world's commerce, and the nation that has the largest merchant marine will certainly be the greatest, so I conclude by wishing you every success in upbuilding your merchant marine.

'What a sad commentary on our Congress. Since this speech was delivered many bad and vicious laws have been passed to further tie up the bands of American shipowners, while Japan, appreciating the Importance of a merchant marine, has enacted favorable laws and hap done everything possible to help their shipowners.

The Department of Commerce gives us the results of trade to and from the United State? as follows:

Before the war, Japanese vessels. 26.05%
May 1, 1917, .Japanese vessels, 50.90%
Before the war. American vessels, 26.10%
May 1, 1917. American vessels, 1.97%

Surely comment is unnecessary with such a showing as this.

This banquet was served American style. All representatives of the press were excluded, to which they took great exception, but the bankers wanted to have a heart to heart talk with the Americans and it was well the representatives of the press were not there as the Japanese insisted on our telling them why the Japanese merchants were so unpopular throughout the world, which we did. The bankers stated they were of the same opinion, and were doing all they could to remedy matters. (1 am very pleased to say that to a -very great extent this has been accomplished.) This meeting was productive of beneficial results to both parties.

The following day we were entertained at lunch by Baron Shibusawa, rightly called the "Grand Old Man of Japan." at his beautiful home on the outskirts of Tokio. His large grounds were beautifully decorated. Luncheon was served, and afterwards a great theatrical performance was given us. After the luncheon, the Baron delivered an address.

A coincidence, which occurred while we were in Tokio. was the arrival of the American fleet on its way around the world, which put in at Yokohama while we were there. This added greatly to the interest in American affairs at this time.

We were entertained in the grounds of Baron lwasaka. His are probably the largest private grounds in Northern Japan. They are beautifully laid out with small lakes and streams in the Japanese style. At this time Baron lwasaka was President of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha.

On our return to the hotel from this visit we had our greatest surprise. Four gorgeously decorated and electrically lighted cars, that had been trimmed at an expense of $400.00 each by the Tokio Railway Company, were waning for us, the street car service was suspended, and we were taken all over the city car system. Both sides of the streets were lit up n a multitude of colors, and we were told afterwards that the people were all requested by the police to stand on the sides of the streets until our cars passed. We did not know this for some time, but we had noticed the crowds in passing along and had come to the conclusion that the whole great population of Tokio was standing on the various streets to see us pass. This was the climax, and none of us (I think I am quite safe -n saving; had previously seen anything to come up to such a demonstration and perhaps never will again.

We. were then taken to the Chamber of Commerce building, where a great platform had been erected for our accommodation in front of the bidding. When we arrived the passing of the guilds began in a great lantern procession which was a wonderful transparency. We sat there for three hours while the multitude passed before us. There were many thousands of them, sometimes twenty-four abreast, so one can imagine the number that passed in three hours' time. From there we went to the theater where another great demonstration awaited us.

Mr. Asano, President of the Tokio Kisen Kaisha, gave us a luncheon at his beautiful mansion, and Admiral Togo, the hero of the Russian fleet battle, gave us a reception at his residence where we were entertained by the Admiral and Countess Togo.

We then left Tokio for Kyoto, stopping at the various large cities on the way. This city, like all the others we had visited, was beautifully decorated. We were accommodated in two hotels.

The day after our arrival we were taken to Nodzugaw a at the head of the long rapids, where gaily decorated boats were provided and we were run through the rapids, which was a unique experience. A Japanese gentleman was in the boat with me, and after looking at me for a long time he said, "I think you are Mr. Dollar." I learned that he was Dr. Harada. President of Doshesha College, one of the most prominent men of Japan.

Our becoming acquainted was in a way that neither of us would forget, because he was one of the passengers on the steamer "Roon" which I rescued and took to Moji on the steamer "M. S. Dollar," We have been the best of friends ever since.

The next evening we arrived at Osaka. The entire city was illuminated, and presented a beautiful appearance as we passed through on the tra-n. Here we were given a banquet on our arrival at the hotel where I addressed the assembly. The large hall was full to overflowing and it was difficult to make all hear.

Address at dinner. Asaka, October 30, 1908.

Mr. Chairman:

We are very pleased to be in your city tonight for various reasons. First, on account of your ancient history- which your President tells us dates back about two thousand years, and still more modern when the present city was established about three hundred years ago. Our country is very much younger, as it is only a little over four hundred years since Columbus discovered America.

Your President has also told us that the civilization of Japan came from this town as you have always taken an active part in politics, literature, religion and economics. In the last named you excel all the other cities of Japan, and we in America consider the city of Osaka of greater importance than any other city in Japan from a manufacturing standpoint as well as a commercial center.

Out of the goodness of your hearts you have shown us the most beautiful places in your country, and I am sorry we did not have more time to see and study your manufactures, as, being all practical men. we are especially interested in your city.

When we received your invitation you stated that the object of our visit would be to establish more friendly relations and that the two nations should get better acquainted with each other. We followed the text of your invitation to the letter and intended to confine our efforts to the one object; namely, to increase the friendship between us. We had not been in your country more than three days when we discovered that the friendship existing between the two nations, especially on your part, was so great that any efforts we might make would be superfluous. The receptions which you have given us and the cordial manner in which we have been received everywhere, from the highest to the lowest, have convinced us beyond a question of a doubt that the friendship between us is firmly established.

The Seat of Government when Admiral Perry Opened the Ports of Japan to the Commerce of the World

Escorting Mr, and Mrs. Dollai and Friends Through Their Garden

We have had ovations, which no member of our commission has ever seen excelled, in any country. The enthusiasm which has been displayed all over your country convinces us that your reception has been genuine and there is no doubt existing in our minds but that you are sincere and that it comes from your hearts. The reception given us on your streets tonight I am quite safe in saying was greater than was ever given a body of commercial men in the modern history of the world.

We thoroughly appreciate, however, that the great demonstrations which we have received everywhere are not on account of us personally, as we would be undeserving of any part of it, being only merchants and citizens like yourselves, but we understand that the great receptions have been tendered us on behalf of our country from your nation.

When we found that we could do nothing more in the way of friendship, we looked forward to see how we could better our commercial relations. We, as a nation, are extremely anxious to increase the commerce between our countries. and we hope before we leave you to learn something that will enable us to accomplish this result. We will be very pleased also to give you any and all information in our possession and to assist you in arriving at this desirable result.

The trade between our countries has been steadily growing but our wish is that it will grow faster, and we look to the merchants of Osaka to a great extent to accomplish this result.

Seeing that you are the great manufacturing center of this country, you have justly been called the "Manchester of Japan." Osaka is the greatest ship-owning port in Japan, and on account of this you may hope to increase your trade, as the city that has the largest amount of shipping is always the greatest, commercially. Being a shipowner myself, I condole with my fellow shipowners on account of the depressed condition of business, but we have reached bottom and will soon have an improvement.

In conclusion, I would impress on you this fact, that before nations can increase their commercial relations they must be friendly. This Commission has come to the conclusion that nothing more can be. done in the way of increasing our friendly relations. Friendship has reached its zenith here. Therefore, all that remains for us on both sides of the Pacific is to strain every nerve in our power to increase commerce.

We are sorry that we have not more time at our disposal to study more fully the conditions in your city so that we could better understand what you want to buy and sell.

By this time our party had been worked to death and we were all worn out. The next day we. spent visiting the sights of Kobe where there was much of interest to be seen. The great shipyards, cotton mills and various industries, in both Osaka and Kobe gave us a good insight into the great manufacturing possibilities of this country.

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