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add more and more of brain to the muscle when they till the soil; that the character of the work is to be dignified and elevated just as in the factories we have found the character of the work constantly lifted up as larger and larger intelligence is brought into play in our industries. I expect to see this on the farm. But more than that, I expect to see the farmer a larger political factor in his government with the rising intelligence of the farmer boy. (Applause)
The farmer has suffered; if you ask me why it is that we have the young men drifting into the city, why we have seen so many farms abandoned, or regarded as less desirable, I say that one of the reasons is that our consideration has been given to the things of the city, and not to the things of the country. Our laws have been made for the factory and not for the farm. (Applause) The men who represent industry in the city have been more numerously represented in the halls of legislation than the men who represent industry upon the farm, and one of the results of this higher education of our farmer boys will be in my opinion, an increasing influence of the agricultural classes in all matters of legislation. I mention these as some of the subjects that are brought to our attention as we consider the various phases of this work of conservation. I am a believer in doing everything that can be done to make the farm an attractive place. It is the nursery of our great men and great women. It is the place where we train men in industry, in self-reliance, and in character. The man who comes nearest to nature has a tremendous advantage in the years of his youth. He deals with the works of the Almighty, while the boy in the town deals with the work of man. Is it strange that from the country and from the country life come the strength, the purity, the character that help to make our city strong, without which our cities would not be what they are today? (Applause)
TO M A KE FARMS AT TRACTIVE.
him constantly. The man in the city puts his eyes upon a man-made machine; the man upon the farm comes daily in contact with those irresistible forces that lie back of all the products of the farm and the orchard. It is a splendid training; we cannot allow it to be destroyed. Tributes for the farm have come from the poets of every land: “Princes and Lords may flourish or may fade, A breath can make them, as a breath has made: But a bold peasant, a nation's pride, When once destroyed, can never he supplied.” Take from any nation its bold peasantry, and you have impoverished it to an extent that figures cease to be valuable. What will make our farms more attractive? It seems to me that just now there are a number of things that conspire to add to the attractiveness of the farm. Invention has already added largely to the comforts and the conveniences of the farmer. I live nearly four miles from the city. The telephone enables me to send and receive telegrams; it enables me to call the physician in a moment. I know of no one thing that hung more heavily on the mother than the fact when sickness came, or accident, it took so long to secure a physician. Today, with the telephone, we cut half in two, at least, the time between the accident and the relief. We find improvements that can be carried to the farm. Water in the house, light as good in the country as in the city. The light that I use in the country is as good as I ever had in the city, and it can now be furnished in small quantities, so that even the smallest house may be supplied. We find the rural free delivery grown until now in almost every section of our land the country is supplied as well as in the city. The good roads movement is a growing movement, and will grow because the farmers (applause) will not long be content to have a “mud embargo.” upon their liberty, so large a part of the year. It is not a matter of economy merely. I believe the good roads movement is a social need as well as an economic requirement. With the good road you can have the union school, the community library; you can have a place for the farmers and their wives to meet other farmers and their wives; where you can have entertainment brought to them; where more light can be put into the life, and larger opportunity for social communion be had. Electric lines are bringing the country and city nearer together. All these things are possible. All these things are coming, and with their coming I hope to see the tide turn and the farm population increase rather than decrease in proportion to the urban population.
But, my friends, I have saved for the last the suggestion that I regard as most important. I have mentioned some of these things that have contributed to the desertion of the farm, some of the things which I hope will accelerate the return to the farm. I am interested in everything that has been said by those of whose speeches I have only heard, and by others to whose speeches I have listened. I believe in all of these things, but I believe there is one thing that we cannot neglect. I am not sure but it is the most important factor in this whole discussion, the great need of the human race, less in this country than in any other, but a need here as well, is a proper conception of the dignity of labor. (Loud applause) The struggle of mankind has been to avoid work. It has been to put the drudgery of life on somebody else, and Tolstoi has well said that, as soon as we can make somebody else do the unpleasant work we do not want to do, we then look down upon them and regard them as of a different class. Lack of sympathy is the chief cause of human injustice and human misery. I repeat that what the world needs, and we as well as the rest of the world, though not so much, for we have made more progress here than anywhere else in the world, is a proper conception of the dignity of labor. (Applause) Our education is at fault if it separates the idea of intellectual progress from the idea of moral advancement. Sometimes our children are taught that they should get an education in order that they may escape from work that seems unpleasant. Education will not be a blessing to the world, but instead a curse, if it lifts man above the willingness to toil. (Applause)
THE NECESSITY OF TOIL.
The most important thought that can be put into the mind of any child is that his education is to enlarge his capacity for work, not to relieve him from the necessity of toiling. (Applause) We find in the cities young men earning small wages in a store where they can wear good clothes, keep their hands clean and do a work that is considered more respectable, when they might earn larger wages if they were willing to bear a larger share of the manual labor of the world. (Applause) Not only do they escape from manual labor, but they miss the physical development that that toil brings. We find young men upon the farms taught that, if they manifest a little brightness, if they are a little more ambitious than those about them, they should look to the law, to medicine, to journalism, to the ministry or to politics—that they must get away from the farm. I hope our conservation congresses will not overlook the fact that we shall make little progress towards making farm homes more inviting until we teach men that the farm with all its toil and drudgery gives them a position where they can be independent, and give their children an environment that contributes to stature and character. (Applause) I believe that we shall only be doing our duty to ourselves, to our fellow man, to our country and to posterity when we emphasize the fact that it is the idler, and not the man who toils, who is a disgrace to society.
Here is a place where all of us can work; here is a public opinion which we can all join in cultivating. The mother who has a daughter approaching womanhood's estate can help when she teaches that daughter that she ought to be more willing to link her fortunes with the fortunes of a poor young man, with high aspirations, education, ambition, good health and character, than to seek an alliance with an idle degenerate who spends the money somebody else has earned. (Applause) The father can do his duty, and can help, when he teaches the son that he is more proud of him when he sees him at work, trying to become a useful factor in society, than when he is simply waiting for some money to be left him that he may squander it, and be the worse for having had it. (Applause) Every member of society everywhere can serve in this great war upon the largest enemy we have to meet. The teacher in the college has his work to do; the preacher in the pulpit—oh, what an opportunity he has to present to his congregation, Sunday after Sunday, the idea that Christ Himself made a living reality, that greatness is to be measured by the service rendered, and that happiness, as well as greatness, depends on the contribution one makes to the world. (Applause) Here is a work that is large enough for us all. Here is something that invites us, an opportunity as large as we can crave.
MAN AND SOCIETY.
I present, therefore, as the most important thing that the conservation movement can consider, the raising up of an ideal of life that will give a man a proper conception of his relation to society. Where better than on the farm can a man learn God's law 2 What is the Divine law of reward? God wrote it upon the face of the earth; He proclaimed it from the clouds; He burns it into us through the rays of the sun, namely, that God has given us the material and that in proportion as man shows industry and intelligence in converting natural resources into usable wealth he can rightfully draw from the common store of the world. That is God's law of rewards. If a man lack intelligence, God punishes him by failure. If he lack industry, God whips him into poverty by laws that are inexorable. That is the Divine plan, but we have allowed the speculative craze to take its place, and man, instead of earning his bread in the sweat of his brow, rushes into the city to get some short cut to riches, and society has given respectability to the man who goes on the Board of Trade at 10 o'clock and by betting on what the farmers raise makes more than he can make raising it, while it looks down upon the people who feed us and clothe us. (Applause)
But, my friends, I have already talked longer than I intended to when I came. (Cries of Go on Go on 1)
I am here because I am interested. I am here because I am a debtor to society. Who in all this land has been placed under greater obligations than I? Who is more bound in duty to contribute as best he can to any improvement that is possible? This is one of the great avenues of effort; one of the great reform movements. It enlarges as you consider it. I am here to testify to my interest; I am here to listen to those who speak that I may gather from their matured thought ideas that I can put into use. My part is an humble part; it is not to discuss any question at length; it is not to speak as an expert upon any branch of conservation; it is rather to come and emphasize, so far as I can, the work that others have done—to show you how large it is, to increase your interest in it, to quicken your zeal, and to have you go from here determined, as I go determined, to contribute more largely than in the past, not only to this, but to every movement that has for its object the elevation of the human race and the advancement of the civilization of the world.
I thank you. (Continued applause)
On motion of Professor Condra, duly seconded, the Congress adjourned subject to the call of the executive committee.