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the most valuable timber lands that ever grew on this continent were conveyed to the Southern Pacific Railway, in a certain sense in trust, to be conveyed to actual settlers at not less than $2.50 per acre, but that no actual settlers ever went upon that land. It is not charged that the State of California was in any way responsible. There was a case where the Federal Government, and the Federal Government alone, was involved; and yet that valuable property passed into the hands of that railroad which is the imperial controller of almost everything in California. In the course of the discussion yesterday in reference to the regulation of oil and gas lands it was stated that in California alternate sections had been conveyed to that great organization, and was out of the control of the Federal Government. That is another case where, if California, a sovereign State, had dealt with those things at the proper time and at the inception, it might have been saved some of the great burdens that now rest upon the people of that State.
They speak of four great water-power companies in California, and two water-power trusts. I thoroughly investigated that subject, spending over six months on it three years ago, and I found that water was king in California, yet the water is owned by these four imperial companies. One-half of my life and of my most valuable treasure is my son and his family, now in the San Joaquin valley; and every crevice and cañon, in the mountains, almost, has been pre-empted by these great water-power combinations, and it costs fifty dollars per horsepower per annum for the use of it for pumping or for any other purpose. If the State of California had been alert, and had had proper regulation, it would have seen to it that these monopolies could not take possession of all these cañons and control the water-power against the interests of the people. A board of most distinguished army engineers reported two or thiee years ago that the cost of generating one electrical horsepower at the falls of Saint Anthony-within ten miles of where I stand—was less than $6 per annum, and that in the city of Minneapolis to generate one horsepower by steam costs $42. Is there any reason why these great monopolies that can generate horsepower by water at an expense of from five to six dollars—and I think in California at less—should put it to the people at fifty dollars per horsepower? I hope that one of the results of this Congress will be earnest cooperation between the States and the Federal Government. Let each one be alert.
When the Civil War broke out and President Lincoln called for 75,000 men, the Governors of the different States in the North did not hesitate, nor the Governors in the different States in the South; they immediately began calling for volunteers, making all arrangements to take care of the soldiers, and not an hour was lost. Governor Alexander Ramsey, of Minnesota, tendered a regiment to President Lincoln within an hour after the firing upon Fort Sumter (applause). It was
a day for the earnest cooperation of all the States with the Federal Government. And we are confronting a condition of that kind, commercially and legally, today; and it needs cooperation, without bickering and without lack of confidence, in the most earnest manner, to pass such State laws as are proper and right, and to pass such laws of Congress as will (so far as the General Government has not parted with its rights) control the streams, the lakes, the waters, and the various natural resources in the West. (Applause)
Chairman CONDRA—It is now long after six oclock; and the Congress is adjourned, to reassemble tomorrow morning at 9.30.
FIFTH SESSION The Congress was called to order in the Auditorium, Saint Paul, on Wednesday, September 7, 1910, at 9.30 a.m.
President BAKER-Ladies and Gentlemen : The State Delegations are requested to hand the Secretary, soon as possible, the names of their nominees for Vice-Presidents of the Congress.
The Committee on Resolutions are anxious to have all resolutions submitted to them at the earliest possible moment in order that they may receive full consideration.
It has been arranged to renew the Call of the States tomorrow afternoon. The first Call of the States was made on Governors' Day (the Second Session), when preference was given to the Governors. Delegations are requested to have a speaker from their State prepared to respond to the call at the Thursday afternoon session.
Now that Delegations are assembled, the Right Reverend Samuel Cook Edsall, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church for Minnesota, will ask the blessing of our Heavenly Father.
O, Almighty and everlasting God, Who art the giver of every good and perfect gift, we render unto Thee our most humble and hearty thanks for all the blessings which Thou hast vouchsafed unto our country, for our resources of soil, forest, mine, and stream, which Thou hast given into our hands; and we humbly beseech Thee that Thou wilt give unto the President of the United States, the Governors of our States, our legislators in National Congress and in State Legislatures, and unto all those who are in authority, as well as unto all the people whether in public or in private station, the graces of unselfishness and wisdom; that they may rightly use these bounties to Thy honor and glory and for the good of all mankind; and that Thou wilt so bless and guide the deliberations of this Congress that by all that may be here said and done our minds may be illumined and our hearts stirred to righteousness and obedience to Thy law—through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
President BAKER—Ladies and Gentlemen : We have with us today a truly representative man of our Southland, Mr W. W. Finley, President of the Southern Railway Company, who will address us on "The Interest of the Railways of the South in Conservation." (Applause)
Mr FINLEY—Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen : The interest of the Railways of the South in Conservation and the interest of the people of the South in Conservation are identical. I will go farther, and state my unqualified conviction that any economic or governmental policy that is, in the last analysis, to the best interest of the people of any community is to the best interest of the railways by which that community is served. Conversely, my conviction is equally strong that any economic or governmental policy that is harmful to the railways is harmful to the communities served by them.
Therefore, Mr President, in all that I say on the topic assigned to me—"The Interest of the Railways of the South in Conservation"I must be understood as presenting what I believe to be the interest of the southern people.
I am not sure that the expression "Conservation of natural resources” is everywhere understood in its broadest sense. I think that to some minds it conveys only the narrow idea of the withdrawal from present use of some part of those resources. However important that kind of Conservation may be in some localities and under some circumstances, I do not believe there is much occasion for its application in the part of the United States for which I am expected to speak the States south of the Ohio and Potomac rivers and east of the Mississippi. I would define the type of “Conservation of natural resources” that should be applied in that section as being the wise use of those resources. In some cases it may involve a measure of present self-denial, as when, in the case of an owner of forest lands, it impels him to cut only the matured timber and leave standing immature trees that have a present market value; but, in that case, it leaves him with an asset which increases in value with each year's growth of the standing timber. In some cases Conservation may mean the use of resources so as to obtain the maximum present profit, as in the case of soils; for I believe that I am supported by the best scientific and practical authority in saying that soils not only preserve, but increase, their productivity when so handled, in the application of fertilizers, the rotation of crops, and the growing of live stock, as to yield the maximum present profit.
The South is interested in the application of Conservation to the wise use to its soils, its minerals, its timber, and its streams. Notwithstanding the wonderful industrial development of the South since 1880, it is still pre-eminently an agricultural section. It is a section, therefore, in which the conservation of the soil is of the highest
importance. There is a prevalent belief that the productivity of the soils in those parts of the United States that have been longest under cultivation has been seriously impaired. Statistics do not confirm this belief. Estimates of productions of staple crops per acre have been compiled in the United States only since 1867, and, as there are often wide fluctuations between successive seasons—due to differences in rainfall and temperature—the period covered has not been long enough to afford a basis for definite conclusions. There is also the fact that all available figures are estimates, and consequently are not exact. On their face, however, they do not prove a decline in productivity. This may be illustrated by comparing the production of wheat per acre for ten-year periods since 1867. In the decade from 1867 to 1876 the average for the United States was estimated at 12 bushels; from 1877 to 1886, 12.5 bushels; from 1887 to 1896, 12.7 bushels; from 1897 to 1906, 13.8 bushels, and for the three years since 1906, 14.6 bushels. So far, then, as these figures can be relied upon, they tend to show an increase in productivity, especially as an analysis by groups of States shows the larger and more uniform increases to have been in some of the older sections of the country.
Similar figures for corn do not show an increase for the United States as a whole, but they show very little decrease. From 1867 to 1876 the average production of corn per acre was estimated at 26.2 bushels; from 1877 to 1886, 23.1 bushels; from 1887 to 1896, 24.1 bushels; from 1897 to 1906, 25.4 bushels, and for the three years since 1906, 25.8 bushels. It is proper to note, in connection with the apparent decline in the fourth decade as compared with the first, that the poorest yield in the entire period was in 1901, when abnormal weather conditions brought the estimated average for the United States down to 16.7 bushels, thus pulling down the average for the entire decade. It is also proper to note that Dr Whitney, Chief of the Bureau of Soils in the United States Department of Agriculture, in discussing these figures, expresses the opinion that, on account of a readjustment of the basis of the Department's estimates in 1881 as a result of the reports of the census of 1880, the figures before that year, both for wheat and corn, were relatively too high.
Estimates of cotton yield per acre have been made by the United States Agricultural Department since 1866. Ten-year averages for the full decades up to 1903 are as follows: 1866 to 1875, 176.4 pounds of lint cotton per acre; 1876 to 1885, 171.4 pounds; 1886 to 1895, 175.9 pounds; 1896 to 1905, 182.6 pounds, and for the four years since 1905, 183.1 pounds. These figures are subject to the same question as to their accuracy that apply to the estimates of wheat and corn production, but, on their face, they do not indicate any impairment of the productivity of the cotton soils of the South. It is noteworthy that the larger and more uniform increases in vield
per acre shown by the Department's figures are in the older cotton States.
While statistics of crop yields in the United States do not cover a sufficient period to be of great value in determining the effect of long use on soil productivity, some light is thrown on the subject by comparing yields per acre in the United States with those in other countries where lands have been under cultivation for centuries. Thus, for the ten-year period from 1897 to 1906, inclusive, the average yield of wheat per acre in the United States was 13.8 bushels, in France 19.8 bushels, in Germany 28 bushels, and in the United Kingdom 32.2 bushels. In Germany, statistics are available from 1883 to 1906, inclusive, showing increases in the average yields of wheat from 18.2 to 30.3 bushels, of rye from 15.4 to 25.1 bushels, and of oats from 27.6 to 55.7 bushels. Similar figures might be cited for other European countries, but perhaps the most conclusive statistics are those collected by Kellerman, a German student of this question, who gives the yield per acre for a large number of German estates, covering long periods of time. I shall cite but one of these-a Schmatzfeld estate with records extending back to 1552. In the period between 1552 and 1557 the annual yields reduced to bushels per acre, were, wheat 12.5, rye 13.2, barley 14.2, and oats 14.8. In the period from 1897 to 1904 these yields were, wheat 45.1, rye 34, barley 50.4, and oats 69.1.
Taking all these figures together, I believe the conclusion is inevitable that, while abuse of soils may impair their productivity, their wise use increases it, and the longer they are properly used the more productive they become. Proper use, such as conserves and increases soil productivity, involves the most approved cultural methods, the application of such fertilizers as may be required for varying soil conditions, the raising of live stock, and, above all, the scientific rotation of crops. There can be little question that the most unwise use to which a soil can be subjected is the raising of the same crop for a long series of years. Some very interesting experiments in continuous cropping and crop rotation, covering a period of sixty-five years, have been carried on at Rothamsted. England. On one plot potatoes were grown for fifteen years. All the end of that period the soil was in such condition that it would not grow potatoes at all. It was then planted in barley, and produced an excellent yield. Another crop followed the barley, and the soil was then in condition to grow potatoes again. On this same experimental farm wheat has been sown for fifty years on the same land without fertilizers, and the yield has gone down from 30 bushels to 12 bushels. On another tract wheat has been grown continuously for fifty years with the use of a complete fertilizer, and an average yield of about 30 bushels has been maintained. On another tract wheat lias been grown for fifty years in rotation with other crops