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various commonwealths. Every State as well as the Nation itself should have a distinct and separate department empowered to deal with all these problems. It matters but little how it should be designated, though it would serve all purposes best to be known as a Conservation Commission. But it is of vital importance that the agency should be given sufficient authority and funds, so as to enlist the strongest and best men in the Conservation service. That such commissions would have sufficient work, and that from an economic standpoint they would constitute good investments, there is and can be no question. Minnesota, as a distinctly progressive State and a recognized leader in the Conservation movement, heartily welcomes this Congress with its noted guests and speakers. We have the special honor of entertaining and hearing the three truly great men who have contributed so much to the actual achievements of the Conservation movement, and they are the three most distinguished guests of this Congress, President Taft (applause and the Chautauqua salute), Colonel Roosevelt (applause and cheers), and James J. Hill. Minnesota appreciates this honor and will prove herself worthy thereof. As her Chief Executive, I earnestly hope that the deliberations of this Congress may bring results far beyond our hopes or expectations. I am intensely interested in the Conservation of our resources, and will use all my efforts in securing and enforcing the best possible legislation, believing firmly that the Conservation movement, as here outlined, will promote the general public welfare in a far greater degree than any other, and that it is destined to mark the twentieth century as an era of the greatest industrial achievement for the benefit of all mankind. The people of Minnesota feel keenly their duties and responsibilities with reference to their great heritage of unsurpassed natural resources, and will continue as leaders in the only movement that can insure the perpetuation of our country as the greatest agricultural, industrial and commercial nation in the world. On their behalf, I welcome you to the State. I thank you. (Applause)
President BAKER—It is now my pleasure to call upon his Honor, Mayor Herbert E. Keller, who will welcome you on behalf of the great city of Saint Paul. (Great applause and cheers)
Mayor KELLER—Mr President, Delegates to the Second National Conservation Congress, and Guests: Upon me, as Chief Executive of the city where this body will carry on its labors, the honor of welcoming you devolves. It is a great privilege and pleasure to discharge this duty, and yet my greeting can but inadequately convey to you the appreciation felt by all Saint Paul at being selected as the scene of this great Congress, whose deliberations mark the commencement of a new epoch in the history of our country. (Applause)
The Conservation to and by ourselves as trustees, and the dedication and perpetuation to our children and our children's children as beneficiaries, of the tremendous natural resources of our country is a duty and trust too sacred and too imperative to be disregarded or lightly considered, once the situation stands revealed in its true light. It is purely and simply a proposition of the greatest good for the greatest number, and the sound judgment of a great people, with the patriotism and unselfish devotion to duty of the founders of our country ever before them, must and shall consider the greatest number to be the countless millions of population to follow after us, and to whom must be handed down a heritage not diminished or impoverished by us, the temporary executors. We may be likened to children turned loose in some vast Midas treasurehouse and told to go where we would and take what we pleased. A knock at the doors of Congress, a State legislature, or a city council, gives the magical “Open Sesame!” And behold! the lavishing on some private interest or individual of a great National or State property or municipal right or franchise! The Nation's bounty and generosity has been limitless, for the entire previous history of the whole world provides no precedent for a guide. But, fortunately, thoughtful minds began to work, awakened to what was being done, and the result is the present all-pervasive sentiment and determination to economize, to check improvidence and waste, and to establish a policy whereby future generations, as well as the present, may have equal opportunities to enjoy our natural benefits and advantages; and Conservation is now more than a mere issue: it is an assured, established, sane and universal desire to preserve and perpetuate for ourselves and posterity the treasures of our country. And so I bid you welcome to the city of Saint Paul. May your labors be fruitful of great good. I know that your stay with us will be enjoyable. Our city limits may be somewhat circumscribed for the immense crowds here this week, but our hospitality and good wishes are as limitless as the ocean. (Applause)
President BAKER—Fellow delegates, I am sure we all extend to his Honor, Mayor Keller, a hearty vote of thanks for what he has done in preparing for this Congress.
And now comes a privilege of which I am very proud—as a southern man all my life—that of presenting to you the President of this great Nation. (Great applause and cheers, the audience rising)
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Ladies and Gentlemen: Before beginning my formal address, I should like to extend to the President and the Managers of this Congress, to Governor Eberhart, and to the Mayor of the city, my sincere and cordial thanks for the opportunity to come here and address this magnificent audience, and to reach the people of the United States on a subject of the utmost interest to them and to every patriot. (Applause) Conservation, as an economic and political term, has come to mean the preservation of our natural resources for economical use, so as to Secure the greatest good to the greatest number. In the development of this country, in the hardships of the pioneer, in the energy of the settler, in the anxiety of the investor for quick returns, there was very little time, opportunity, or desire to prevent waste of those resources supplied by nature which could not be quickly transmuted into money; while the investment of capital was so great a desideratum that the people as a community exercised little or no care to prevent the transfer of absolute ownership of many of the valuable natural resources to private individuals, without retaining some kind of control of their use. The impulse of the whole new community was to encourage the coming of population, the increase of settlement, and the opening up of business; and he who demurred in the slightest degree to any step which promised additional development of the idle resources at hand was regarded as a traitor to his neighbors and an obstructor to public progress. But now that the communities have become old, now that the flush of enthusiastic expansion has died away, now that the would-be pioneers have come to realize that all the richest lands in the country have been taken up, we have perceived the necessity for a change of policy in the disposition of our natural resources so as to prevent the continuance of the waste which has characterized our phenomenal growth in the past. Today we desire to restrict and retain under public control the acquisition and use by the capitalists of our natural resources. The danger to the State and to the people at large from the waste and dissipation of our national wealth is not one which quickly impresses itself on the people of the older communities, because its most obvious instances do not occur in their neighborhood, while in the newer part of the country the sympathy with expansion and development is so strong that the danger is scoffed at or ignored. Among scientific men and thoughtful observers, however, the danger has always been present; but it needed some one to bring home the crying need for a remedy of this evil so as to impress itself on the public mind and lead to the formation of public opinion and action by the representatives of the people. Theodore Roosevelt (great and prolonged applause) took up the task in the last two years of his second administration, and well did he perform it. (Great and prolonged applause) As President of the United States I have, as it were, inherited this policy, and I rejoice in my heritage (great applause). I prize my high opportunity to do all that an Executive can do to help a great people to realize a great national ambition; for Conservation is National. It affects every man of us, every woman, every child. What I can do in the cause I shall do, not as President of a party, but as President of the whole people (enthusiastic applause and cheers). Conservation is not a question of politics, or of factions, or of persons. It is a question that affects the vital welfare of all of us—of our children and our children's children. I urge that no good can come from meetings of this sort unless we ascribe to those who take part in them, and who are apparently striving worthily in the cause, all proper motives (applause), and unless we judiciously consider every measure or method proposed with a view to its effectiveness in achieving our common purpose, and wholly without regard to who proposes it or who will claim credit for its adoption (great applause). The problems are of very great difficulty, and call for the calmest consideration and clearest foresight. Many of the questions presented have phases that are new in this country, and it is possible that in their solution we may have to attempt first one way and then another. What I wish to emphasize, however, is that a satisfactory conclusion can only be reached promptly if we avoid acrimony, imputations of bad faith and political controversy (cries of “Hear, hear,” and great applause). The public domain of the Government of the United States, including all the cessions from those of the thirteen States that made cessions to the United States, and including Alaska, amounts in all to about 1,800,000,000 acres. Of this there is left as purely Government property outside of Alaska something like 700,000,000 acres. Of this the national forest reserves in the United States proper embrace 144,000,000 acres. The rest is largely mountain or arid country, offering some opportunity for agriculture by dry farming and by reclamation, and containing metals as well as coal, phosphates, oils, and natural gas. Then the Government owns many tracts of land lying along the margins of streams that have water-power, the use of which is necessary in the conversion of the power into electricity and its transmission. I shall divide my discussion under the heads of (1) agricultural lands; (2) mineral lands—that is, lands containing metalliferous minerals; (3) forest lands; (4) coal lands; (5) oil and gas lands; and (6) phosphate lands. I feel that it will conduce to a better understanding of the problems presented if I take up each class and describe, even at the risk of tedium, first, what has been done by the last Administration and the present one in respect to each kind of land; second, what laws at present govern its disposition; third, what was done by the present Congress in the matter; and fourth, the statutory changes proposed in the interest of Conservation.
The original Homestead Law, with the requirements of residence and cultivation for five years, much more strictly enforced now than ever before. The Enlarged Homestead Act, applying to non-irrigible lands only, requiring five years' residence and continuous cultivation of one-fourth of the area. The Desert-land Act, which requires on the part of the purchaser the ownership of a water-right and thorough reclamation of the land by irrigation, and the payment of $1.25 per acre. The Donation or Carey Act, under which the State selects the land and provides for its reclamation, and the title vests in the settler who resides upon the land and cultivates it and pays the cost of the reclamation. The National Reclamation Homestead Law, requiring five years' residence and cultivation by the settler on the land irrigated by the Government, and payment by him to the Government of the cost of the reclamation. There are other acts, but not of sufficient general importance to call for mention unless it is the Stone and Timber Act, under which every individual, once in his lifetime, may acquire 160 acres of land, if it has valuable timber on it or valuable stone, by paying the price of not less than $2.50 per acre, fixed after examination of the stone or timber by a Government appraiser. In times past, a great deal of fraud has been perpetrated in the acquisition of lands under this Act, but it is now being much more strictly enforced, and the entries made are so few in number that it seems to serve no useful purpose and ought to be repealed. (Applause) The present Congress passed a bill of great importance, severing the ownership of coal by the Government in the ground from the surface and permitting homestead entries upon the surface of the land, which, when perfected, gives the settler the right to farm the surface, while the coal beneath the surface is retained in ownership by the Government and may be disposed of by it under other laws. There is no crying need for radical reform in the methods of disposing of what are really agricultural lands. The present laws have worked well. The Enlarged Homestead Law has encouraged the successful farming of lands in the semi-arid regions. Of course the teachings of the Agricultural Department as to how these sub-arid lands may be treated and the soil preserved for useful culture are of the very essence of Conservation. Then the conservation of agricultural lands is shown in the reclamation of arid lands by irrigation, and I should devote a few words to what the Government has done and is doing in this regard. By the Reclamation Act a fund has been created of the proceeds of the public lands of the United States, with which to construct works for storing great bodies of water at proper altitudes from