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HoN. HENRY A. BARKER, R Hope IsIAND.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
When I arrived in Seattle a very few hours ago and very, very late, I was handed a programme which said that I was to join with the people from other States in telling what Conservation is doing in my State. I tried to think what Conservation was doing in my State, and it seems to me that | could say a few things on what conservation has not done in Rhode Island but what previous lack of conservation has done in Rhode Island and southern New England. We did not know what conservation was until a short time ago, but we are starting to do lots of things now. We have been going on blindly and have been mightily interested in the development of some things, curiously neglecting others. For example, the manufactures of Rhode Island doubled between 1899 and 1906, the employees in textile mills grew from 60,000 to 137,000 in the same time, and the deposits in banks gained 317 per cent in ten years according to Dun's Agency. We have the most splendid bay on the Atlantic Coast, except New York, but we are doing nothing in commerce or public docks, and whatever growth we have had has been in spite of ourselves. As regards the agriculture of Rhode Island—and since I see no other speakers from southern New England, I may say that the same conditions apply in Massachusetts and Connecticut—this is conducted on eighteenth century principles, and the inquisitive city chap is told that farming does not pay. Our ancestors robbed the soil of its fertility. But the agricultural college can show how to put it back if the people want to know. We are making Some attempt to conserve the oyster crop and are sue. ceeding in making ten lobsters grow where one grew before, and that is not so bad.
The State of Rhode Island is noted for its beauty and recreative value to the people of half a continent. There is a beautiful combination of river, bay, and ocean shore. But development has been practically unknown. We have a population of a density far greater than any other State in the Union, and conservation is really necessary, for the entire area could not possibly provide its people fully with the products of forest or field, while all the waters would be inadequate to supply the cities with every atom of power needed. Here is the strange anomally: our State has more unused ground than any other State in the Union. Proportionately, there is more land unused in Rhode Island and the production is always diminishing. (Applause.)
Mr. Barrett, Chairman, having another engagement, Mr. B. N. Baker, of Maryland, hereupon took the chair.
HON. WATSON C. SQUIRES, CONNECTICUT.
Mr. Chairman, Ladics and Gentlemen:
It is really a very unexpected honor to appear before you this afternoon. I have nothing to say in particular except to wish you well and to express my great sympathy with the objects of this meeting. As the president has informed you, my residence is here, and has been for thirty years. This State was a Territory when I came here. But I am a New Yorker by birth and received my college education in Connecticut. It so happens that I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the celebrated University called the Wesleyan University of Connecticut. I have been elected by the alumni for about thirty-five years and the president of that college recently addressed a letter to me requesting me to be present and represent that university at this Congress, so I presented my credentials as addressed to me by the President, and thus I find myself in rather a peculiar position
I have not heard from many of the universities or colleges who may have sent their representatives here, but I think I noticed that there were some institutions that had done so, though I have not met any of these gentlemen yet. I do not know to what extent this great agitation has reached the great universities and colleges of the land. I believe, however, that we may as citizens of our country expect the cooperation of our great institutions of learning and I, for one, as a representative of one of these institutions, wish to express my earnest desire that this movement may go on. There are many branches of conservation we have in Connecticut. We have had an Experiment Station connected with the Wesleyan University for many years, in charge of W. C. Atwater, whose work is so well known in the chemistry of foods. This is assuredly a branch of conservation. There are a great many branches of this subject, in fact, it is almost universal in its scope, so much so that it touches alike forests, coal, minerals, infant life, youthful education. It is a wide-world subject, and I wish to express my sincere thanks to you for listening to me and to say to you now that I shall be happy to assist in every way I can in the promotion of the objects of this Congress. (Applause.)
HON. HENRY E. HARDTNER, LOUISIANA.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Judging from the arrangement of the speakers you might think that Louisiana was at the foot of the class in the conservation of natural resources, but I want to disabuse your minds of that. Louisiana has more miles of navigable rivers than any State in the Union. We have more miles of irrigation canals than any of the States of the great West. We spend more money on the protection of our rivers and harbors than perhaps any State in the Union, and we confidently expect that, with the completion of the Panama Canal, our great city of New Orleans will be a close second to Seattle. We have great salt works in Louisiana which we mine as you do coal or iron. It would surprise you to see the immensity of these salt works: they seem to be one of the resources that may never be exhausted. Sulphur is pumped from the bowels of the earth, and Louisiana today produces more sulphur than any nation on earth. Our oil fields are very extensive, and natural gas is a very important natural resource of Louisiana. We have two wild gas wells that are belching forth gas at a tremendous rate. It will, perhaps, surprise you when I tell you that.these two gas wells produce more gas than is necessary to supply the entire manufacturing interests of the Pacific Coast. But they are going to waste. The Conservation Commission of Louisiana is offering a bonus of $50,000 to any man who will undertake to close those two wild wells. Think of what that waste means. If converted into coal it would mean 150 carloads of coal a day going to waste. Therefore I feel safe in saying that Louisiana has the greatest natural gas fields, not only in the United States, but in the world. Our fisheries are very extensive. Fish of all kinds abound, and we are doing what we can to conserve the fishing industry. Lignite is also one of our important products. We also have marble deposits. But our greatest industry is the lumber industry. The great State of Washington produces about four billion feet of lumber per year, but the little State of Louisiana is second and produces three billion feet. It is remarkable, and while we never expect to pass Washington—Washington will be the first for all ages—Louisiana will be a close second. Our forests possess hardwoods of all kinds, I think. We have paid very little attention to the forests heretofore, yet the people have taken hold of the movement and we expect great results in the near future. In 1908 the General Assembly of the State provided for the appointment of a Conservation Commission, and in December last the Governor of the State appointed that Commission, with myself as chairman. We also have a Forestry Association, of which I have the honor to be president. It is the duty of the Conservation Commission to report to the next General Assembly, in 1910, as to the resources of the State, with recommendations as to how they can be conserved. It is a very grave duty which we must look forward to. A great responsibility rests upon us, and we hope before the next session of the Legislature to conduct such a campaign of education, going to every city and hamlet in the State and educating the people on the subject of forestry, that there will be a general demand, a unanimous demand, of the people for legislation that will tend to conserve these resources. I want to say that I happen to be a lumberman and I have destroyed my part of the forests of Louisiana. But during the last five years I awoke to the necessity of conserving these forests, and today I am cutting 30,000 acres as carefully as I can, with the idea of getting a crop from my lands every ten years. In conclusion, let me say that the people of Louisiana, acting in conjunction with that high prophet, Mr. White, of Missouri, expect to frame such laws as will be calculated to protect the forests of Louisiana. (Loud applause.)