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country are trying alike to solve, working from opposite horns of the dilemma. With thousands of hands begging for employment at one end, with thousands of jobs begging to be done at the other, it is not creditable to our initiative that we have not discovered some way to equalize the supply and demand of labor. We are already educating our country youth to stay on the farm; what we need further is a campaign of education to destroy the lure of the city, to teach men and women that there is plenty of work under wholesome conditions awaiting anyone who will take it, that those who cannot go the pace of the city can find pleasant, profitable living where there is time enough, and work enough for every one, if they will but go back to the soil.
The conclusions drawii from the investigations into rural conditions, which I have been able to make, have changed my opinion very materially. Life is not so sordid and hard, poverty is not so pinching as I had thought. That it is narrow and unnecessarily colorless is evident, and that much can be done to brighten it is certain, but just what form of help to offer is a grave question.
There is always needed a plan and the machinery to carry it through. I am not sure of name or method, but a central force there must be, whether of men or women—possibly it might be well to appeal to the woman, who makes the home life, to whom it is of so much importance.
From all our letters we note that the women love the country life, both for themselves and their children. They would doubtless be ready to take up any coöperative plan that might be suggested. Certain I am that no committee should be appointed to consider ways and means that did not have in its membership some thoughtful, progressive farm women. Towards this common end should be included also representatives from all the agencies making the community life educational and religious.
It is not difficult to draft a scheme, but it is essential that the elements most needed to carry it out should feel themselves vitally interested.
Horace Plunkett suggests “an institution which shall be scientific, philosophic, research-making.” His arguments are so entirely to the point that I quote some few sentences:
Every social worker knows how the knowledge of what others are doing will help him. It is strange how little the problems of the rural population have entered into the study of sociologists. At leading universities I have sought in vain for light. * * * The fact is the subject must be treated as a new one, and it is urgently necessary, if the work of the Country Life Movement is to be based on a solid foundation of fact, to make good the lack of information, which has resulted from the general lack of interest. * * * An institute is wanted to survey the field, to collect, classify and coordinate information and to supplement and carry forward the work of research and inquiry. The rural social worker requires as far as possible to carry exact statistical methods into his work, so that he may not have to depend on general statements, but mav have at his command evidence, the validity of which can be trusted, while its significance can be measured.
In agreeing with his desire for absolute data, let us not forget the human side, the personal evidence, which can never be obtained through an institute. May we hope that the Conservation Congress, which has ever shown a human interest in the conservation of vital force, will be the leader in bringing to its own the vital center of the country
President WALLACE—You will all agree with me, Ladies and Gentlemen, that we have had one choice treat tonight. There are two more coming. The Presbyterian Church of the United States has taken a very great deal of interest in the country church. Do you know that if the Presbyterians do not revive their country church there won't be a Presbyterian church in the next generation, for this reason, that the town, while it can get all the lawyers it wants, can grow them, and all the doctors, can't grow preachers enough to supply their own pulpits. (Applause) Now, we are to have before us here tonight Dr. Warren H. Wilson of New York City, the superintendent of the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church, and he will give us a new phase of conservation.
[Dr. Wilson's paper will be found in Supplementary Proceedings.]
President WALLACE—Here endeth the second lesson. (Applause) We have been told about society. We have heard about the practical everyday religion of feeding men. And now we are going to be told by Dr. Wiley how to keep healthy, so that we may enjoy our religion and feed more men. (Applause)
Dr. WILEY—Mr. President and Delegates of the third National Conservation Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen: My sermon is going to be short. I think a great many of these country churches were vacated by two and a quarter hour sermons. (Applause) I want to insist, however, that in this sermon I am going to preach I want to follow the steps of my illustrious predecessor. I have been preaching sermons for a number of years, and I think it is about time I was ordained. I believe in all the principles of conservation that you have taught this week and many previous weeks. I was an early and insistent and persistent conserver. I believe I have the honor of having delivered the first public address that ever took the term “conservation” as a text. In 1894 I delivered an address on the conservation of the fertility of the soil, and so, as well as my dear friends, the Presbyterians, I am a little bit conservative, too. (Applause) I am sorry that that condition has obtained which he described here, the empty country churches. But let me tell you they are no more empty than the country houses of this country. Everybody has been going to the town. They have taken the greater part of country boys who would have made good farmers and made pretty poor preachers out of them. On the whole the country boy thinks it is easier to preach once a week than it is to plow corn every day and feed the stock on Sunday. And naturally he chooses the line of least resistance to make a living. That is the reason that the country is becoming deserted, and just as long as it is easier to make a living in the city than it is in the country, the country is going to be empty, and all you preachers can't fill it up, and the object of these meetings is to make it easier to make a living in the country than in the city, and then you will see the tide flow the other way, and not before. (Applause) One reason people ought to live in the country is because they can be healthier there. I would rather be a healthy boy in the country than a sick boy in town. If I have equal health, I think I would rather stay in town, for a boy has more fun in town. If you take fun away from the boy you deboyize the boy. Another thing, there is too much demanizing, and dehorning, in the country life. I know about this Pennsylvania Dutch people, why they are so prosperous, because their home life is in their life in the country. It follows the Pennsylvania Dutchman to the grave. It is a pleasure to go to a funeral in that community. (Applause) It has got to be a burden, every time I am invited to a funeral, I don't want to go. When I was a boy I loved to go to a funeral. (Applause) They have a good custom up there among the Pennsylvania Dutch, too. They all go to the funeral, and nobody begins to cover up the grave until some neighbor goes up, takes off his hat and says a good word for the departed. Then they can fill up the grave. When old Jacob Shaffer died he was the meanest man in the community. He was buried on a cold, rainy day in November, when it was half rain and half sleet. They stood for ten or fifteen minutes, or half an hour, and nobody said a word. They had to stay there, and could not leave until the grave was filled up. Finally one neighbor, in despair, went up and took off his hat and said, “Well, I can say this about Jake: he wasn't always so mean as he was sometimes.” (Applause) Now, I want to say this about the preacher. He is not always so inhuman as he is sometimes. When I heard this sermon tonight I almost concluded that a minister of the gospel was a real human being. (Applause) I want to tell you that he was not that to me when I was a boy. I did not look upon him as the friend that he ought to have been to me. And that is the reason one boy did not go to the country church oftener.
CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION.
I believe in the conservation of the natural resources. I believe in the conservation of the coal and the forests. But conservation does not mean hoarding. It means utilization. I do not want to go through life with cold feet to save the Alaska coal and warm up somebody that is going to live a million years from now. (Applause) I want to get some of the benefit out of the coal while I am living, and out of the forest and out of the stream. My idea of conservation is to use the natural assets of this country for the benefit of the people, and not for some syndicate of rich men alone. (Applause) And I hope we won't spend all this generation quarreling about who is going to have the coal, but that we will find some way to get it out and use it before
it gets out of date. Because I want to tell you that we will not need coal much longer. The scientific men will find plenty of ways of finding heat and motive power when the coal is all gone. And if we do not use it now, it is going to become simply a specimen in the near future. (Applause) I want to say that we want to use the lumber, and use it wisely. There is no economy in allowing a tree to stand in the forest until it rots. We want to cut the old trees down just like Nature comes around and cuts down the old people and gets them out of the way. That is the way that science will provide lumber and at the same time continue to reduce the forests. Only the mineral resources are limited. There is just so much coal, just so much gold, and when they are used up, so far as I know, there is no more making, and they will be then gone. But do not have any fear. When the iron is all gone and the silver is all gone and the gold is all gone, there will be plenty of metals at the disposal of man, because we have found now how to convert clay into metal. I went into an automobile shop the other morning where they were making the frames out of pure aluminum. We have got enough clay in this country to last several years. (Applause) It will take the place of the steel and the iron and the gold and the silver and the copper. Have no fear of exhausting these supplies of humanity, but exhaust them for the benefit of the public. (Applause) If we could use one millionth part of the force of the wind we could turn every wheel of industry in the world, warm every house, cook every meal in this whole universe. And the wind and hot air shops are very abundant still. (Applause) There are no signs of it giving out in the near future, either. If the wind is going to blow and turn the wheels of commerce and industry, there are 24,000 wind mills with a dynamo attached to them and storage battery guaranteeing to the farmer all the light he wants in the barn, cooking stove, and turning the sewing machine and grindstone and engine every day of the year. Do not have any fear, ladies and gentlemen, that the natural powers of this world are going to be exhausted. They are here and here to stay, and here to be supplied by the advance of science in such a way that no matter how populous the world becomes in the future nobody is going to suffer for warmth or clothing or power in this world of ours, and we want to get so many people in this country that there won't be any complaint of vacant country churches. And there is no doubt that this country can supply the food and clothing for untold millions of people yet unborn. We can have every foot of our country as densely populated as Belgium and still have plenty for everybody, because advancing science will supply it. The capacity of a man's mouth is limited and constant, but the skill of his hands is unlimited. He has two hands, but only one mouth, and the advancing skill of his hand is going to fill the mouth.
President WALLACE—Turn around that way and face the audience, please. (Applause)
HEALTH, THE GREATEST ASSET.
Dr. WILEY—I would just as leave say it all over again if you didn't hear it. (Laughter) Now, there is one public asset of wealth that is rarely mentioned in these conservation congresses, and that is the public health. Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen (applause), it is worth in money more than all the gold and all the forests and all the water power combined. If a man boasts of the wealth of Kansas City he speaks of the railroads and the packing houses and the great centers of distribution and the wholesale commercial houses and the value of real estate. He never says a word about how much a people are worth in health. I asked the children in the Central High School today how much each one thought he was worth in money. They did not know. I told them that in a year or two every one of them would be capable of earning $50 a month. I think there are lots of parents in this town that would not take $12,000 for a single child they have. And every single child is worth in money, if it is developed into a man or woman, $12,000. And if you take all of the people of the country and value them at $12,000 apiece, all the rest of the wealth of this country sinks into insignificance. And I am satisfied that that is the value of every man who is able to earn a dollar.
Now, some people think women are worth nothing because they don't get paid much for their work. Housewives do not get a monthly salary usually from their husbands. She ought to, but she does not. Practically all of them ought to get a salary every month. (Applause) But that does not make any difference in the earning capacity of the housewife. She is worth more than $50—every one. So I would say that there are 40,000,000 of people in this country who are capable of earning $50 a month and do earn it. That, in my mind, will give you a good idea of the wealth of this country in health. But that wealth consists of health. If you impair the machine, the human machine, you impair the earning power of that machine, and thus you diminish its value. If you let the child die you rob the father of a great asset. And we are letting our children die every year. You may go into any graveyard in this country and count the little graves of children under five years of age, and three out of every five of them ought not to be there. The little body that is crumbling beneath that tombstone ought to be in the high school of the city or in the active walks of life. We let these children die and never think of the responsibility that rests upon us. How can we get to be healthy? Well, in the first place heredity. We have got to begin away back. That don't do us much good, but if we pay attention to it it will do future generations some good. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes I believe who said, “You have to begin to make a man when he was a marsupial possibility.” We have got to go way back now to shape the careers of men and women unborn. Heredity, a sound body is one of the rights of every human being who is born.