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than once, that public action for public benefit has a very much wider field and a much larger part to play than was the case when there were resources enough for everyone and before certain constitutional arrangements in this country of ours had given so tremendously strong a position to vested rights and property in general. President Hadley, of Yale, wrote an article in The Independent a year or more ago which has not attracted the attention it should. I hope it will be widely republished. The effect of it was that by reason of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution, property rights in the United States occupy a stronger position than in any other country in the civilized world. I want to add that it becomes then a matter of multiplied importance, of a thousandfold importance, if you like, to see, when property rights once granted are so strongly entrenched, that they shall be granted only under Such conditions as that the people shall get their fair share of the benefit which comes from the development of the country which belongs to us all. The time to do that is now. By so doing we shall avoid difficulties and conflicts which will Surely arise if we allow vested rights to accrue outside the possibility of government and popular control. These conservation ideas cover a wider field than the field of natural resources alone. Conservation means the greatest good to the greatest number for the longest time. One of its great contributions is that it has added to the worn and well-known phrase, “the greatest good to the greatest number,” the additional words, “for the longest time,” thus recognizing that this nation of ours is to endure and shall endure in the best possible condition for all its people. Conservation advocates the use of foresight, prudence, thrift, and intelligence in dealing with public matters, for the same reasons and in the same way that we use foresight, prudence, thrift, and intelligence in dealing with our own affairs. It proclaims the right and duty of the people to act for the benefit of the people. Conservation demands the application of common sense to the common problems for the common good.
The principles of conservation thus described have a general application which is growing wider and wider every day. The development of resources and the prevention of waste and loss, the protection of the public interests by foresight, prudence, and the ordinary business and home-making virtues, all these apply to other things as well as to the conservation of resources. There is no interest of the people to which the principles of conservation do not apply.
The conservation point of view is valuable for education as well as in forestry; it applies to the body politic as well as to the earth and its minerals. A municipal franchise is as properly within its sphere as a franchise for water power. The same point of view governs in both. It applies as much to the subject of good roads as to waterways, and the training of our people in citizenship is as germane to it as to the productiveness of the earth. The application of common sense to any problem for the Nation's good will lead directly to national efficiency wherever applied. In other words, and that is the burden of what I have to say this morning, we are coming to see that it is the logical and inevitable outcome, that these principles, which arose in forestry, and have their bloom in the conservation of natural resources, will have their fruit in the increase and promotion of national efficiency along other lines of national life.
The outcome of conservation, the inevitable outcome, is national efficiency. In the great commercial struggle between nations which is eventually to determine the welfare of all, national efficiency will be the deciding factor. So from every point of view conservation is a good thing for the American people. |
I am almost through. (Cries of “Go on.”) Just one word, if I may inject it, about the Forest Service, for of all conservation movements that is the closest and dearest to us. I wanted to say to this audience that the National Forest Service takes the following point of view in all the work it is doing. It may not apply it with absolute perfection or even with a reasonable approach to perfection; but this is what we are trying to do in the application of the principles of conservation. We are trying to be useful to the people of this Western country. We recognize, and recognize it more and more strongly all the time, that whatever this Service of Ours has done or is doing has just one object, and that object is the welfare of the plain American citizen, and that unless the Forest Service has served the people, and is able to contribute to the welfare of the plain American citizen, it has failed in its work and should be abolished; but that just So far as by cooperation, by intelligence, by attention to the work laid upon it, it contributes to the welfare of the plain American citizen, it is a good thing and should be allowed to go on with its work.
We have established headquarters throughout the Western country because we understand that our work cannot be done effectively and properly without the closest contact and the most hearty cooperation with the Western people. We try to see to it that the timber, water powers, mines, and every resource is used for the benefit of the people who live in the neighborhood or who may have a share in the welfare of each locality. We are trying to cooperate with the Western States. In many cases the forest officers are officers of the State for the enforcement of the game and stock laws. We are trying to adjust all difficulties, and, I think, with some success. In this State of Washington there has been a good deal of complaint that the school fund was being injured by the Forest Service, but I expect that, as far as the Service can go, this will be settled during the next few months, and the State of Washington will get the benefit of every acre of school lands in the National Forests to which it is entitled.
Let me repeat that however the Service may fail from time to time, and I think the failure is not all on its side, the thing it is trying to do is to work in cooperation with the Western people in carrying out the principles of the great movement of conservation which you represent.
We have heard this morning, and this is the last thing I want to say, a most welcome but not unexpected expression of opinion from the President of the United States on the matter of conservation, and those of us who know him well know where he stands on that subject. I think we, as a Nation, may congratulate ourselves at this time, as I said at Spokane, more than upon any other single matter, that the author of these Roosevelt policies which are summed up in conservation, that the great man who gave his name to these policies has for his successor another great President whose Administration is most solemnly pledged to support them. (Applause.)
CONSERVATION IN PENNSYLVANIA.
A. B. FARQUHAR, REPRESENTING THE Gover Nor of THE CoMMON WEALTH of PENNSYLVANIA, THE AMERICAN CIVIC ASSOCIATION, AND THE PENNSYLVANIA For ESTRY ASSOCIATION.
Greatly to the regret of all interested in this Congress, and especially of all Pennsylvanians, imperative official business has prevented our esteemed Governor, Hon. Edwin S. Stuart, from representing his State here today in person. He wished to come; his interest in the objects of the Congress is profound, and he gives additional evidence of it in his letters appointing me as his substitute. Delegated also to represent the American Civic Association and the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, I must act in some sort as official representative of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The story of our productiveness, mineral and industrial, is an old one, but its repetition in brief may explain the large claim we are making on your attention, and, perhaps, at the same time give Pennsylvania an added sense of responsibility for the best use of resources so unparalleled. I take a few facts from the recent work of James M. Swank, the veteran writer, for thirty-six years Secretary of the American Iron and Steel Association. Furnishing practically all the anthracite, and nearly two-thirds of the coke, produced in the country, our State also exceeds all others combined in mc st kinds of steel production, and approaches very near to half in pig iron, while not far from one-third in all kinds of rails. and in soft coal. The State has long been first in locomotives, and has recently undertaken silk manufacture, in which it is fast moving to a leading position. It is