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country. It is a subject of paramount importance. It points to the possibility of increasing at least twofold the productiveness of our present acreage.
It will not be considered as digressing if I refer in this connection to the Agricultural Department at Washington and the state agricultural colleges, boards and societies as having conferred incalculable benefit through work in this line on the people and the country. Well would it be, too, if the suggestion of President Taft, made in the course of his address in this hall last Monday evening, could be realized and the Agricultural Department represented among the people by an intelligent and practical farmer in each county of the several states. It would bring directly to the notice of farming communities the most approved means of cultivating the soil and lead to wholesome emulation in restoring its fertility and insuring abundant crops. I am strongly optimistic in regard to the natural resources of the country and would not venture to set bounds to the possibilities of our soil and climate. We know historically that for thousands of years untold millions of people have lived on the same land in China, Japan, Egypt and Europe. They have treated it as a living thing, feeding it with the elements requisite for its productiveness. So judiciously and systematically has this been done that in some quarters it yields twice as much to the acre as the average of our own land. I venture to predict, however, that the present movement toward soil enrichment will not fall short of attaining to a like standard of productiveness. While the restoration of soil fertility has fittingly been the dominant theme of these proceedings, I am pleased to observe that they have taken a much wider range. Thus are vastly broadened the activities and usefulness of this body, and correspondingly is strengthened its claim upon the confidence, approval and coöperation of the public. So much has been said in relation to the conservation of health, morality, religion, municipal government, deep waterways and the public welfare that it would be superfluous, even if time permitted, to touch again upon these subjects. I may be pardoned, however, for referring somewhat specifically to education in the light of its saving and helpful influence. It inquires into, searchingly examines and intelligently determines what to do in the practical phases of conservation. It penetrates proposed plans and theories and warns against mistakes, waste and extravagance. With the diversification and expansion of labor in the industrial domain its products became marvelously varied in form and utility. With the machinery which labor invented and introduced one man could accomplish tenfold as much in a given time as could previously be done by hand. The things produced by labor were thus enormously multiplied and cheapened, and this very fact, as in the case of land superabundance, led to deplorable waste and senseless extravagance. Ignorance may appropriately be called the mother of these evils. Education is the antithesis of ignorance and may be depended upon to curb them. Ignorance is imitative rather than original, and the wastefulness attendant upon it grows with the expansion of luxury. The wage or income of unfortunates upon whom it has set its mark usually passes through their hands as freely as water through a conduit, often going for the purchase of things unnecessary and tawdry, if not actually harmful.
But they are not alone in this regard. It happens that no matter what may be the income of some men it goes promptly forth again on its merry round, and they are as poor at the end of the month or year as they were at its beginning. The cause ordinarily lies in absurd vanity or inexcusable wastefulness and argues lack of self-control and COmmon SenSe.
Edison is credited with having recently stated as the result of his observations abroad that a French family could live comfortably on what an American family throws away. Other travelers have spoken to like effect, but with remarks applicable to Europe generally. It must be admitted, however, that the French rank first in this respect or in the practical application of domestic science and economy. They have evidently learned to apply the principle of conservation in the management of kitchen, dining room, household and purchases in the market. Were we to use like foresight, discrimination and economy the cost of living might be reduced from one-third to one-half. Would not this be an easily achievable and reasonably satisfactory solution of the harassing problem of high prices?
The knowledge that creditably adorns the mind and makes for independence should show the wisdom of such economy and not be humiliated by betrayal into imitation of the reckless extravagance characterizing the vulgar rich in pomp, dress and prandial excesses. Intelligently and sagaciously inculcated along these lines, such knowledge would revolt at the conditions indicated. To this end education of wider scope and a more practical turn is needed. It should be of a nature capable of grappling successfully with such problems and conditions.
Education, genuine and practical, is the most precious of possessions, surpassing in value to honorable and useful manhood all the vulgar hoards of selfish and pleasure-seeking wealth. True education teaches independence and self-respect and scorns temptation to compete with showy vulgarism in dress, dining and deportment. It is the key that unlocks the arcana of knowledge and surpasses all the dross of mine or mountain in bringing man into soulful communion with God. It makes clearer and more acceptable the duties we owe to country and to one another. It teaches courage in adversity and fortitude in affliction. It is a light that penetrates the gloom of doubt and makes plain the path of honor and usefulness. It illuminates in all directions the activities of this great movement and I congratulate you upon having recognized the fact and so generously acclaimed it in the proceedings of this Congress. (Applause)
President WHITE–I now take pleasure in introducing to the audience United States Senator Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma. (Applause)
Senator OWEN–Ladies and gentlemen, and delegates of the Conservation Congress, when called on to pay my respects to this great meeting for the purpose of bringing about a public sentiment which should sustain the conservation movement, I felt in duty bound to respond, and for that reason I delayed my departure from this city to spend a few moments to present my respects, my sympathies, and my support to this movement. (Applause) I believe in the conservation of our national resources, and I believe that no government should go beyond the sentiment of the people, of the Republic, in the direction of conservation, or of any other important progressive policy. (Applause) This audience, therefore, and this Congress, have a duty to perform, and that duty is to sustain public opinion upon these important matters, and give it a concrete form, that will make its impress upon the legislative and administrative branches of this government. I believe in the conservation of our forests; in the conservation of our land; the reclamation of arid lands; the reclamation of swamp lands; making accessible the lands that we have, by good roads and by the improvement of waterways. I believe in the conservation of our water powers, that they shall not pass into private hands for speculative purposes, but I believe above and beyond all in every form of conservation that may be well discussed. I believe in the conservation, above all other things, of human life and human efficiency. (Applause) It was for that reason that I took occasion to draft a bill, providing for a department of health with a secretary in the cabinet at the head of it. (Applause) And I was actuated to do that by the pitiful history which we had recorded in the last great war, the war with Spain. I remember so well that over 000 of our chosen young men, those who had offered their lives upon the altar of patriotism, those who were willing to fight the battles of the Republic, instead of being able to die in the service of their country upon the battle field, facing a hostile foe, were laid in their graves by a malignant disease, at Chickamauga. We lost nearly a thousand of our best men at Chickamauga. And why? Because of the gross, unspeakable ignorance of those who were charged with the preservation of the lives of those young men. (Applause) It is a noted fact that the flies came from the cesspools where the offal and waste of the camp was thrown, came from those cesspools, with the slime on their feet, with typhoid germs on their feet to poison the chosen youth of our land by thousands. That is not only a national tragedy, it is a national humiliation, and it is a disgrace to this Nation. Therefore I desire, together with thousands of other men, to put an
end to that sort of thing by a department of health. I remember Herman Biggs' map of lower New York where in a single house twentythree cases of tuberculosis were recorded, and in the house next to it eighteen cases. So that those houses where the poor workmen go, without notice, were in fact nothing but charnal houses where they went to their death. We ought not, in a civilized nation, to permit that to continue. And I glory in the man who has been trying to preserve the health of this Nation. I glory in our magnificent Dr. Wiley. (Applause) And I feel a sense of personal happiness that the millions of microbes that move and have their being in impure food and drinks, did not get Wiley's goat. (Applause) I am reminded in this connection of one of the stories of the champion of health, Mr. Lutz, of Indiana. It is called the story of the "Little Mother and the Fat Hog.” There was a little mother in Indiana. She was only twenty-three years old. She had three children. She began to notice that she was feeling ill, that the children, in whom she had had great happiness, were commencing to worry her, and become a care. She knew that she must be sick, and she went to the doctor. He looked at her and said, “You are all run down.” He gave a prescription in Latin. It was a little ginger, and a little alcohol, and a little water and some other things. She paid a dollar for it at the drug store, and she took it, but did not get well. She checked her strength out in a little while, and then one day she felt a sharp pain in her breast, a coughing spell came on, and putting her handkerchief to her mouth, it became covered with blood. She had a hemorrhage. She sat down and wrote a letter to the secretary of health of Indiana: “My dear sir:— I am a little mother of Indiana. I have three children, I would like to raise to be good citizens of Indiana. I have just had a hemorrhage. Can you tell me what to do or where to go, so that I may get well? I do not want to die now.” He wrote her back an official letter right away in typewriting, and said something like this: “My dear madam, the state of Indiana does not make any provision for a case like you have described, but in case you die the state of Indiana will take care of your three children until some good people can be found who will take them from the asylum. Yours respectfully, Secretary.” (Applause) A fat hog squealed in the back yard of a man, and the hired man looked at him and he said, “He has got the cholera.” The man said, “Telegraph to Uncle Jimmy Wilson right away.” And he did. And a man came with a little black satchel marked D. V. S., with a bunch of serum in one hand and a syringe in the other, and he shot a load into the hog and the hog got well. MORAL: Be a hog and worth saving. (Applause) Now, last year as a United States Senator from Oklahoma, I had the opportunity and I sent out 25,000 bulletins on how to take care of the hog. And I didn't have a single bulletin on how to take care of babies. I believe that the babies and the youth of this land ought to be given the preference, if necessary, over the swine family. (Applause) In New Zealand they have a death rate of 9.5 per thousand. In this Republic, where we have the fancy that we know more than other people do, and where it is largely a matter of fancy and not one of reality, we have a death rate of 16.5 to the thousand. In other words we lose by death from preventable causes seven persons to the thousand that we might save. That makes a vast army of 630,000 human being who march to their graves every year from preventable causes. And we have on an average nearly three millions of people who are sick on an average throughout the United States from preventable causes. A careful calculation on a money basis, putting each individual as worth $1,700 apiece, and I do not think that is a high estimate for an American—it would make a loss of four thousand million to this Republic every year. And I think that is worth conserving. (Applause) Therefore in the few moments which I have at my disposal I call the attention of this great audience to its duty as American citizens, and I call the attention of this great Conservation Congress to its duty to this Republic to put on record a declaration in favor of a department of health. I thank you for your attention. (Applause)
President WHITE–Ladies and gentlemen, I now take pleasure in presenting to you an American citizen who in all this broad land requires no introduction. (Applause)
Mr. BRYAN—Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I am sure that whatever you may think of my speech you will agree with me that I was justified in asking you to listen to these other speakers. (Applause) I believe in the Conservation Congress. The good that it does is difficult to calculate. How many of the thousands who are assembled tonight have given to the subject of conservation the thought or study that it deserves. The arguments that are presented at such a meeting as this help make up the public opinion that controls our governments, state and national. A large number of subjects are brought before a Congress for its attention. The speeches made present the subject from different points of view, and each one turns upon the subject the light of his intelligence, and the warmth of his heart. When we go from such a meeting, we go enlightened, and with our views enlarged. We go prepared to communicate to others something of the information that we have received, and to impart to them something of the zeal that we feel. A number of subjects have been presented here, and I am sure that this meeting will be worth all that it has cost those who have brought it about or participated in it.
Take the thought, for instance, that has been presented by Senator Owen. I am so glad that I insisted upon his speaking, for his ability and public spirit are only equaled by his modesty, and if I had not insisted, I am afraid you would have lost the benefit of the speech that