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zens are entering on exercise of their rights as a sacred duty, and through such community devices as municipal commissions, direct primaries and the gradual adoption of initiative and referendum and recall, they are rapidly restoring government of the people, by the people, for the people— the only form of government assuring perpetuity to a great and progressive country.
THE GROWTH OF ORGANIZ.ATION.
In a republic such as this, the state (including commonwealth and nation) merely sums the constituent individuals and families and communities, and—theoretically—organizes the popular will. Now, the hardest lesson of the long course of human progress is that of individual re. sponsibility for the general welfare, a responsibility first realized by the founders of the Republic and fully realized today by few of our citizens. But those are of the salt of the earth. Fortunately, our forebears saw the way to develop a responsible citizenry united in popular government, the chief requisite being the independent family home on land producing the prime necessaries of life; and such was the real foundation of the Republic. Later, manufacturing and transportation grew until a majority of our electors became industrial dependents and only a minority were primary producers. Still later, partly through the influence of a great governmental department under the leadership of a great farmer for fifteen years, agriculture has again become respectable, and the tiller of the soil is once more the exemplar of that citizenship on which the power and prestige of the Republic must ever depend. Thus far the movement “back to the farm” is hardly shown in population figures, though clearly indicated by farm values. During the decade 1900–1910, the farm area increased only 4.2 per cent and the acreage of improved farms only 15.2 per cent, while the acre value of farm lands increased 108.7 per cent and the aggregate value no less than 117.4 per cent. This increase is connected with the high cost of living, especially in cities, though the advance in prices has thus far benefited transportation and trade rather than the primary producers. In 1900 we paid our railways $1,650,000,000 and in 1910 about $2.750,000,000, 70 per cent of which was freightage—an advance of 67 per cent. Considered as a tax on improved land (justifiably, in that the cost of transportation limits production), this was $4.00 per acre in 1900 and $5.76 in 1910, an increase of 44 per cent, or as a per capita tax it was $21.74 in 1900 and $30.00 in 1910, an increase of 38 per cent—all of which ratios of increase are far higher than that of farm prices for farm products. Howsoever the factors of our recent growth are arranged, it is clear that primary production, fallen behind during recent decades, must be brought up—which can best be done by fertilizing the acres with brains, and so controlling natural forces and materials as to increase production both per acre and per worker.
THE FARMER'S RESOURCES.
It cannot be too strongly emphasized that if there be anything in the lessons of past human progress or in modern science, this is feasible. During the generations, natural productivity has been multiplied, and today the sun-power with which the farmer plays is over 1,700 horsepower per acre for each crop, so that the farmer has larger command over natural forces than any other industrian. Nor can it be too strongly emphasized, in the light of all human experience, that the needful apotheosis of agriculture will at once revive individual and family life, relieve the burden of living, and restore that independent citizenship without which the free government in which we so justly glory may hardly be conserved for the benefit of coming generations. Herein lies a sacred duty; it is the duty of the whole people forming the Republic, but especially of the farmer folk who furnish its strength.
This vast interior, of which the like is not to be found on earth, is the bread basket and meat hamper of the country. The career of the Nation is destined to be shaped largely by the teeming crops of its acres in foodstuffs and clothing wares, and yet more largely by that richer crop produced through union of man and earth, the strong manhood and gracious womanhood and prepotent childhood of the highest type of humanity the world has seen. Yet this consummation will not come without foresight and effort. The resources must be developed conservatively; lower nature must be further subjugated; sun-power must be better directed and water supply better used. The spirit of free citizenship must be fostered and the franchise exercised fully; tendencies of communities against public welfare must be counteracted; transportation must be cheapened by regulation and by proper use of the finest natural system of waterways on earth. Statesmen in sympathy with the people— and in a republic he is not a statesman who lacks that sympathy—must be developed in lieu of pseudo-statesmen serving special privilege. Laws must be enacted and executed in behalf of all the people, and special and class legislation must be checked. Public utilities must be controlled in the public interest and their conduct kept open to the public; corporations must be given opportunity second only to individuals, but must not be permitted to invade individuality, nor must partisan issues be allowed to delude the unwary. These are among the requisites for the continued welfare of this interior and for the perpetuity of this Nation. The duty and the responsibility devolve directly on the people; and it is the aim of conservation to fan and keep aflame the moral light behind the material movement.
President WHITE–Ladies and gentlemen, we are now ready to adjourn the morning session. We want you to be back here with all of your friends and everybody that you can get to come, at two o'clock sharp. The afternoon session is going to be a very interesting one. Everybody should be present. The Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Walter L. Fisher, will speak at 2:30. We stand adjourned.
President WHITE—Ladies and gentlemen, delegates to the Third National Conservation Congress, we will now come to order. Mr. Coburn will preside this afternoon, and will now take the Chair. (Applause)
Chairman CoBURN–Ladies and gentlemen, the meeting will be opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Munro, of Kansas City.
Our Gracious God and our Father, we thank Thee for the inexhaustible Iesources which Thou hast placed at our command. We thank Thee therefore for the infinite possibilities that are at our disposal. We pray, therefore, that we may use them wisely, doing those things that will serve and in themselves will glorify Thee. Not only do we seek Thy glory but we seek the betterment of mankind and the advancement of humanity and the elevation of our much loved land. Direct us therefore in all that we shall undertake to say or do this afternoon. We thank Thee that in order to make the best of what we have and what We are and what we possess, even our very circumstances, Thou hast sent Thine own dear Son to give His life for us that we might thus be able to reach the holest heights. Bless those who speak to us, and direct us in all our deliberations, we ask in Christ's name and for His sake. Amen.
|Here Mr. Bryan entered the room and was received with loud
Chairman CobURN—The first number on this program as presented to the Chair is entitled “Practical Methods of Soil Cultivation,” to be treated by Professor A. M. Ten Eyck, the very capable head of the Kansas Experimental station at Hays. I have pleasure in presenting him. (Applause)
[Prof. Ten Eyck's address will be found in Supplementary Proceedings.]
Prof. CoNDRA–I have in mind a resolution that I think this Congress, representing more than 1,200 conservation delegates, would like to adopt. There is a man in the far Northwest who has done much, in the way of labor and leadership, for the cause of conservation. Let us send greetings to the Hon. Gifford Pinchot. (Applause)
President WHITE–I second the motion.
Chairman CoBURN—You have heard the motion, which has been duly seconded. All of you in favor of its adoption please manifest it by saying aye. The motion is unanimously carried.
Chairman CobURN–Conservation and the National Domain. We are fortunate that this important subject is to be discussed here this afternoon by the Honorable, the Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Walter L. Fisher, whom I now have the pleasure of presenting. (Applause)
Mr. FISHER—Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Delegates of the National Conservation Congress: I am a conservationist who realizes that many of the problems of conservation have not yet been rightly solved, but who has no apologies to make. I am here by a very strenuous effort and the cancellation of a number of important engagements, in order to express my continued adherence to the general principles upon which this movement is founded, and to offer my assistance, officially and unofficially, in carrying those principles into execution. (Applause)
As I said a little while ago at another meeting, my statisticians who are traveling with me tell me I have covered something in the neighborhood of 16,000 miles in an effort to get a little better acquainted with a portion of the Department of the Interior. I presume that many of you would rather hear from me today about that country in the Far North, to which allusion has already been made, and upon which national attention has been so rightly concentrated. I refer to Alaska. However, it is my opinion that in that, as in all other matters, wisest conclusions will be reached when all the facts are known. I have spent a considerable amount of time in traveling through that portion of Alaska in which the most acute problems have arisen. I have been peculiarly fortunate in being able to cover much more territory than I had believed possible. And I think I have reached some general conclusions which, while they may be wrong, nevertheless are the conclusions which I expect to present to the President and to the Nation in proper time and form.
I would be perfectly willing to present them to this audience whose interests in the question I recognize, were it not for the fact that I am waiting for two reports upon the coal situation which I have not yet been able to receive. One of these reports is from the geological survey and one from the director of the bureau of mines, who is just now returning from the largest and probably the most important coal field in that country. I have gone over these matters somewhat in detail with the President of the United States, and am gratified to be able to say to you and to the public that there are no differences of opinion between him and me upon those questions—that he is ready, as am I, to suggest a solution which will at least recognize our obligation for constructive recommendations upon this important matter.
For I believe that the thing which is most important for conservationists to understand is that they cannot shirk their full share of the responsibility for constructive legislation. Criticism is justly levelled at a policy of inaction, and that criticism should be disarmed at once by the conscientious and sincere effort of men who are identified with this movement, to find a way out. (Applause) I believe that conservation in its last analysis means nothing but wise development, in the public interest. (Applause) And I believe that the first public interest is wise development, but that the emphasis should be put on the character of the development as much as upon development itself.
MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISREPRESENTED.
The difficulty with the conservation movement so far has been that it has been both misunderstood and misrepresented. There are those who profess allegiance to the principles for which you stand, and yet are quick to find objection to every concrete suggestion for carrying those principles into effect. There are those who find that the present situation presents many difficulties, but who content themselves with insisting merely upon sitting on the lid. I think the proper place for the conservation movement is with neither of those parties, but with the men who genuinely recognize that when we have worked out those principles under which development can go forward without danger of monopoly and for the public good, the conservation movement should get behind those policies and push them with all the strength that the public sentiment which has already been manifested to be behind this movement can exert. (Applause) The topic which has been assigned to me, as was first suggested, is “Conservation and the Public Domain.” It is a large subject, and as I have had no opportunity whatever to do more than to make a few casual notes on the train, you will have to pardon the informality and the inadequacy of the address which I shall present. I will probably make some mistakes in what I say; probably in the wording of some things I shall not be quite as accurate as I would like; but I reserve that right now, which I reserve at all times, to change my mind tomorrow morning if I see things differently then. (Applause) In the first place, the conservation movement is a thoroughly nonpartisan movement, and it should be distinctly so understood. Perhaps the best evidence of that that occurs to me upon the moment is that when the Conservation League of America was formed, at the instigation of Theodore Roosevelt, then President of the United States, he became honorary president, and Mr. Bryan and Mr. Taft became honorary vicepresidents. (Applause) While the position of president fell to me, John Mitchell and Gustave Schwab, perhaps representing the two extremes of industrial interest, were vice-presidents of the organization. In this way I think we presented in the organization of that particular association a thing which I wish to bring home, so far as I can, to the American people, namely, that there is no partisan politics of any kind in this movement, neither industrial politics, nor any other kind of politics, but that it is the interest of the people, and the whole people, and of no one but the whole people, that is at stake. The national domain naturally divides itself into the great subdivisions of lands, minerals, forests and water. If you will pardon me for a moment I will undertake to present, very candidly, some views of