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The Congress convened in Convention Hall, Kansas City, Missouri, on the morning of September 25, 1911, President Henry W. Wallace in the chair.
President WALLACE—The convention will come to order and will be opened with an invocation by the Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Lillis, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
President WALLACE—An address of welcome will now be delivered on behalf of Kansas City by its Mayor, the Honorable Darius A. Brown. (Applause)
Mayor BRowN—Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: In the very brief time in which I have to speak to you, if there is one fact of which I want to convince you it is that I am absolutely not responsible for the condition of the weather this morning. Convention Hall, the walls of it, have probably enclosed many important conventions and congresses, but I do not believe in the entire history of the institution, or of Kansas City, that there has ever gathered here a congress or convention whose deliberations and conclusions are of such vital importance to the great mass of people as that which will soon convene here this morning. We have had all sorts of conventions for the purpose of discussing ways and means of pursuing their public avocations, and how to best carry, on the business in which they are engaged, but this is a Congress which is not gathered for the purpose of determining how it is best to make money or to carry on business, but for the purpose of solving some of the great problems which are necessary to be solved in order that we should go forward in the way in which this Nation should go forward.
Beginning with a strong desire to prevent waste of some of the lands and natural resources of this country, the principle of conservation has been so extended and its scope so widened that today it is only limited by the bonds of human activity, and this principle of conservation is certainly of vital importance to the great cities of this country, and it has lately come to be given a practical application in the saving and preventing from waste of the valuable rights which the people of great cities have in their streets and public thoroughfares. For a long time past when private individuals sought certain valuable rights in the streets and thoroughfares of our great cities it has been the custom to give them for the asking, but now has come a time when the minds of the people are turned to the principles which demand that none of these things should be wasted or granted away unless there is a fair and just return to the people for the rights which are granted. There is another application of this principle of conservation in the life of our great cities. Conditions have arisen and exist today, and have existed, the cause of which has not yet been definitely determined, whereby the lives and the health and the morals of the people are being wasted; and so the thinking patriotic people of every city in this country are directing their minds, not so much to anything that is the result of these conditions as to get directly at the cause and prevent the results which are flowing from the causes which have existed. And the officers of this Congress have become so saturated and so imbued with this principle of conservation that the secretary, in sending out his notices to those who have been selected to deliver these addresses of welcome this morning, inserted therein a clause wherein he said there will be five addresses for the morning session, and therefore all of them will necessarily have to be brief; and the secretary was right. And it is absolutely right that it should be so, for many reasons, particularly two: Because there will assemble here this morning and during the days of these sessions some of the most distinguished, able and learned men of the United States, men who have shown their right to speak authoritatively on these great subjects; men who have devoted their time, energy, their lifetime, to the study of the proper solution of the great problems of American life; men who are coming here with a message to deliver to the people of this Congress and to the people of this great country; and therefore it is not right and proper that their time and the time of the people who have come here to listen should be wasted by an address of welcome.
And it has been suggested that on account of the fact that possibly some of those who are to deliver these addresses of welcome have caused considerable delay, that they ought to be abolished altogether. There is another reason why no time should be wasted in hearing addresses of welcome. I do not know why this custom has grown up in this country that when any considerable body of citizens of one part of the country gathers in another part that it is necessary for some high dignitary or executive of the city to deliver an address of welcome. Perhaps it came from the older countries of the world, where the provinces and the mun'. ipalities and states were clutching at each other's throats, and they built great walls around the city, and when one man wanted to visit another community it was necessary for him to go to the gate and rap on it and have some high dignitary bid him enter. In this great country of ours we have been drawn so closely together by the influence of the newspapers, the magazines, the railroads, telephone and telegraph that today we are one great common people, actuated by the same great motives and inspired by the same high ideals, and so a citizen of one portion of this country today is just as welcome in another portion of the country as the rising sun in the morning. (Applause) And so I say it is not necessary for any representative of the city to say to this gathering that they are welcome in Kansas City, or to say that the arms of the people of Kansas City are extended in a hearty welcome, because we believe that the result of the deliberations which you will hold here and the conclusions which you will reach will not only be of lasting and vital benefit to the people of this city, but to the people all over this country. And it is an encouraging sign of the times that in every branch of human endeavor the people are gathering periodically, yearly or monthly, or biennially, for the purpose of discussing the questions which affect them in their peculiar avocations. It has been said a great many times that perhaps democracy is a failure, that the people all have shown themselves incapable of governing themselves. But the most prolific cause of that opinion has been that in the past the public servants have been selected and the public questions have been solved by a small body of men, sometimes too many of which are actuated only by a desire for their personal aggrandizement.
And the great rank and file of the citizenship, the individual citizen, has not seen fit to devote any of his time to a study of any of those problems, but has left the whole government of the people to be done by this small coterie of men. The people are awakening to their responsibility as citizens of this country: they are beginning to ally themselves with some such organization as this, which has for its purpose the study and solution of these problems, and day by day, more and more, by enactment of Congress, amendments of constitution, state legislative action, amendments of city charters, more and more of these great questions are being submitted directly to the people for solution, and so I say, when the time comes through this awakening which we have seen, when the individual citizen will come to a full appreciation of his responsibility, and these problems are submitted to them, they will all be solved right and properly. And I want to say in conclusion that I hope, and I express the hope of every good citizen of Kansas City, that this Congress will achieve great things, will do more than has ever been done before to solve these great problems that are clamoring for solution. I thank you. (Applause)
President WALLACE—On behalf of the Commercial Club of this city an address of welcome will be delivered by Mr. John C. Lester, its honored president.
Mr. Lester spoke as follows:
Mr. President and Members of the National Conservation Congress: I bear to you the greetings of the Commercial Club and the other industrial and civic organizations of Kansas City. We find nothing in our annals which is a greater source of pride than our part in bringing this Congress to Kansas City. We are proud to welcome an assembly of men and women who are devoted to the idea of the salvation of the physical resources of the nation, which means the physical salvation of our part of the race. The moral benefit to ourselves of trying to do something for others, is taught in an age-old lesson. What better way of illustrating that principle, and securing that good than by teaching that the spendthrift energies of this generation must be curbed in order that more be left for the vital sustenance of the next. What more inspiring sight than this great audience, drawn from the four quarters of the Nation with minds intent on that one principle? We easily recognize the great impulses and movements for the good of the race. They stand out in history like mile-stones. Among them the cause of your meeting, the cause of conservation is a pillar of fire. You are rightfully appalled by waste and are fighting it as sin. You are fully conscious from the story of life on this earth, of what a proper use of his resources means to man. You are fully conscious of the folly of destroying today what will be needed to save life tomorrow. Your theme is Conservation. You tremble at conditions and seek a remedy. To you the glory of the harvest, the wealth of the mine, the roar of the falling water, the shadows of the forests, the flow of the streams, means more than the happiness of today: you would also have them the joy of tomorrow. If the world heeds your advice the day of the last man will be put off for countless ages. The products of the soil and the forest, in seeking a market, seek the sea and its highways as naturally as do the waters of the streams. In obedience to this law, this community is now engaged in an effort to solve one of the great practical problems of conservation—that is, the conservation of power in transportation. We are devoted to the idea of the practical use of the Missouri River as a freight carrier. You have taught us that saving coal means saving life. You have also taught us that the same power required to move 8 tons on steel rails will move 34 tons on water; hence who dares say that our ambition to reach the sea by water with our products is an idle dream, or that the immutable laws of Nature are not on our side? Our critics are fighting the eternal verities They might as well fulminate against the law of gravitation! The Missouri River is and will be navigated. In this effort we claim kinship with all the sons and daughters of Conservation. As that eminent Frenchman and conservator of peace, Baron Destournelles, recently our guest, in writing a short time ago about this city and its relation to the Missouri River, pointed out, the river and the railroads have their separate burdens to bear, one class of freight will always seek the quicker transit of the rails, another class will always seek the vastly cheaper transportation afforded by a water channel.
But I must not anticipate a possible subject of your deliberations. Pardon me, if I feel impelled when addressing conservationists to prove a strong local bond of sympathy'
As apostles of conversation-conservation, you, at your third annual meeting, have made a splendid beginning. You have supported precept by example in that you have selected a place for your Congress, just 125 miles east of the geographical center of the United States. You have thus conserved both the time and money of your members in meeting at Kansas City!—a most excellent centre from which easily radiate all influences for good, either moral or commercial |
It is my part, however, on behalf of all our civic organizations, to supplement and, if possible, strengthen your official welcome. You are thrice welcomed; first, because we are proud to honor as great a nucleus of brains and character as ever assembled under Convention Hall; second, because we know your purpose and your work and believe in them; and, third, because we expect to learn from you how to conserve the health of our children, how to conserve the purity of the streams from which we must drink, how to conserve the fertility of our soil from the exhausting wastes of ignorance, how to conserve the happiness of the country home, and turn the tide back from the cities—all save this one perhaps—and in all things to live in and enjoy this world so that the generations that come after will bless us and the great doctrines of conservation.
We are honored by your presence. May we all follow the banner bearing your motto, “The greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time.”
President WALLACE—An address of welcome will now be delivered by the Honorable Herbert S. Hadley, Governor of Missouri, on behalf of that great state. Governor Hadley. (Applause)
Governor HADLEY-Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: His Honor, the Mayor, and the President of the Commercial Club have made welcoming on my part a work of supererogation. I know, of course, that you are welcome, and you know are welcome, or you would not be here. The President of the Commercial Club has referred to you and to himself as apostles of conversation as well as apostles of Conservation. And so it is upon that suggestion, I suppose, that in making speeches of welcome, we are making speeches in discussion of the subject that has brought them here. I take it, however, the explanation of my presence on the program this morning, is not for the purpose of welcoming you here to the State of Missouri, because you were welcomed here when you decided to come. I am here among these apostles of conservation and apostles of conversation simply for the purpose of giving a little variety to the program. It seemed well to