« AnteriorContinuar »
Roosevelt; to continue it will take men inspired by the same unselfish devotion to the public good. I am not surprised that it has opponents as well as advocates. The stake is so great that it will require unyielding purpose and unflagging zeal to protect the wealth of the people against individual greed. Fortunately we have as a leader one who for years past has stood steadfast and firm in the interest of the people, One who in season and out of season has never faltered, but has ever upheld the banner of conservation, one who above A others is responsible for this great movement and who in my judgment represents the highest type of American citizenship. I refer to Gifford Pinchot. His greatest satisfaction in life is in serving others. What more need be said. It is now being argued in some quarters that President Taft is not in sympathy with the conservation movement; that those who have hitherto led and conducted this fight for the People and in their interest will not receive his support. On December 8, 1908, a joint conservation conference was held in the Belasco Theatre in the city of Washington, D. C. This meeting was presided over by then Judge (now President) Taft, President Roosevelt, Governor (now Senator) Chamberlain, of Oregon, and President-elect Taft were the Speakers. During the course of his remarks, Senator Chamberlain said: “Who doubts for a moment that State effort along these lines would have entirely failed, and, that but for the persistent, indomitable and intelligent effort of Mr. Gifford Pinchot, who deserves a very warm place in the hearts of his countrymen, even national effort would have Some to naught.” 4 : President Taft followed Senator Chamberlain; he said: The first thing I would like to say is in confirmation of * Governor Chamberlain has said as to the debt that * Public owe to Mr. Gifford Pinchot. * * * Mr. Pinchot's energy, I am sure President Roosevelt can testify, and everyone can testify who has had anything to do with Mr. Pinchot, in playing a part in the movement that he is conducting. * * * I shall content myself only with the statement of my deep sympathy with this movement and with my purpose, should the electors of the various States hit upon a suitable candidate, to do everything I can to carry on the work so admirably begun and so wonderfully shown forth by President Roosevelt.” In his first message to Congress, President Taft said: “The putting into force of laws which shall secure the conservation of our resources, so far as they may be within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, including the most important work of saving and restoring our forests and the great improvement of waterways, are all proper Government functions which must involve large expenditures if properly performed.” On April 30, 1909, President Taft wrote to Mr. A. W. Shaw, editor of “System,” Chicago, Ill., as follows: “The conservation of natural resources is a subject which will properly claim from the present administration earnest attention and appropriate legislation. The necessity for comprehensive and systematic improvement of our waterways, the preservation of the soil and of our forests, the securing from monopolistic private appropriation the power in navigable streams, the retention of the undisposed of coal lands of the Government from complete alienation, all these matters are vitally important to the people of the United States and to your constituency, the business men of the country. “Without the sources which make labor productive, American enterprise, energy and skill would not in the past have been able to make headway against hard conditions. Our children and their children will not be able to make headway if we leave to them an impoverished country. Our land, our waters, our forests, and our minerals are the sources from which come directly or indirectly the livelihood of all of us. The conservation of our natural resources is a question of fundamental importance to the United States now—to the business man today.” On April 20th of this year, in a conversation with the President on the subject of conservation, I asked him to state, if he had no objection, his attitude towards the conservation movement and at the same time requested the right to quote him. He said that he not only strongly favored it but intended to do everything in his power as President of the United States to support and forward it. Yet in the face of this perfectly consistent, straightforward record, there are those who regard the honor and word of a gentleman, yes, even one occupying the exalted position of President of this country, so lightly as to seek to make it appear that his statements were mere words signifying nothing. Conservation is being attacked as though it meant nonuse. Its friends are criticised as idealists, faddists, and doctrinaires, as men who would prevent development and retard progress. Every mistake is seized upon as proof positive that the work various departments have in charge is a failure. Congress, to show its unfriendliness either for the work, or those in charge, pays but slight attention to its needs or to the recommendations of those who have studied it most. Those enjoying special privileges and who wish to Secure more, are loudest in their outcries and most persistent inopposition. Therefore, those who stand for the public rights must gird on their armor and be up and doing. We owe our country much. There are ways to serve it in the paths of peace as well as war. It is not so hard to be a hero with the fire of battle in your blood, the sound of martial music in the ear, and the eyes of thousands of kindred spirits on you and the laurel wreath ready for your brow; but, it will be conceded there is more happiness and less misery in the paths of peace than in the furrows of the cannon wheels, and while there is less glamour, the services rendered more prosaic, it is none the less important. The people desire to follow sincere and unselfish men. Ex-President Roosevelt's popularity, his strength in the past and now with the people, is that they believe he is unselfishly devoted to their interests; they believe he has served them and is willing to serve, and because of this they are willing to follow him. We have today within the limits of this nation all the natural resources to make a happy, prosperous and contented people. How are we to treat this great trust? I do not know that we of today are any less devoted to our country than were our forefathers. Speaking as a native son of Oregon, the mother of this great State of Washington, I do know they gave us a beautiful and fruitful land; that they made untold sacrifices and endured hardships of every kind in order that their children might enjoy the fruit of their labors. We inherited a rich patrimony which their sacrifices made possible. Their ashes have again mingled with the land they loved so well and are now even a part of it. I know that men as brave, as self-sacrificing, as generous, as patriotic as they never intended that the family patrimony should be dissipated, wasted, or destroyed. We would not be true to their memories, true to ourselves, true to our country, if we in turn did not do all in our power to pass on to our children and their children forever the blessings which, through Divine Providence and the sacrifices and sufferings and the love of those who have gone before, we enjoy. (Prolonged applause.)
THE CONSERVATION MOVEMENT.
GoverNOR M. E. HAY, OF WASHINGTON.
Much to my regret, official duties that demand my presence at the Capital, have compelled me to forego the pleasure of attending the opening session of the First National Conservation Congress. Since I cannot attend in the flesh, I want to assure you that I am with you in spirit, and take this means of proclaiming my endorsement of the idea embodied in the purpose of your organization. The problems which this Congress have to consider are of the utmost importance to all sections of our country, and all attempts to arrive at a solution should be made in a broad, unselfish, non-sectional, and truly patriotic spirit. The delegates to this Congress will have the opportunity and advantage of listening to addresses by experts and authorities on all phases of conservation and I cannot, nor do I pretend to, pose as one of those. What few suggestions I have to make are presented as the ideas of a layman who has contrived to pause in the hurried labor of his daily routine and sit for fleeting intervals at the feet of the acknowledged oracles where were gathered the few crumbs of thought which are now humbly and diffidently offered here. You are shouldering an undertaking even greater than that which the National Irrigation Congress took up first in 1892. It will be necessary for you to appeal to and awaken that vast force designated as “public opinion” before you can hope for actual and tangible accomplishment. This will require much teaching, agitation, and campaigning. You will have to advance convincing arguments for the necessity of early action, and, above all, will have to present sound and