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President BAKER—Mr J. B. White, Chairman of our Executive Committee, will discuss the queston of taxation, especially in relation to woodlands. (Applause) Chairman WHITE--Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen: We have listened to a great paper upon this subject of taxation. It is a subject difficult to analyze and very difficult to apply, because each section of the country requires a different form of taxation; each State has different views, and each should apply the remedy according to the local conditions. I speak as a representative lumberman, and as Chairman of the Conservation Committee of the Lumber Manufacturers of the United States. Now, the lumbermen have asked for nothing in regard to taxation excepting what they have incorporated in a resolution, part of the preamble to which I read: Whereas, there is a great and growing need for uniform laws among the States in the interest of forest growth, conservation, and protection from forest fires, and for an equitable and helpful system of taxation which will make possible the conservative handling of standing timber. That is the declaration of the preamble. It asks simply a uniform system of taxation. I want to say a word for our fathers and grandfathers who have been called the ruthless destroyers of the forests, and I want to say in their behalf that they committed no sin which shall be visited upon their children or their children's children (applause). They cut the forests to make homes for the people; they cut the forests to build our cities and our towns; they sold all they could, they saved all they could, they committed no waste; and it should not be imputed to them that there is a penalty to be paid by their children or their children's children upon the forests that now stand. (Applause) Taxation is regarded everywhere as a part of the cost of a commodity. Every person that buys a foot of lumber, every person that buys a yard of cloth, every person that buys a suit of clothes, or groceries, or anything that is manufactured, is the one who pays the taxes (applause). We are all consumers. We pay each other's taxes, and there is no way of avoiding taxation. It is said that death and taxation are sure. There is no way of avoiding either. The consumer must pay the tax because it is part of the cost. Now, in regard to the system of taxation; every Nation has its own form. When it is necessary to encourage the growth or manufacture of a product, the States of the world have some way of encouraging it by relief from taxation. Germany has a law putting a duty on American wheat in order that every nook and corner of the waste land of Germany may be made to grow wheat. Now, that is a tax. The people of Germany pay that tax, but it encourages the farmer to grow wheat. And in our own country, when it is necessary to encourage the farmer in the beet-sugar, or any related industry, the
Government gives a bounty, and people pay it, and the money is kept at home instead of going abroad for the product. So in timber taxation, it would seem to me that the reasonable way is to tax it as it is cut—let the tax follow the saw. Of course every State will apply the remedy according to local conditions. Louisiana has applied the remedy. She has passed some very good laws, and we are going to hear from the representatives of that State, before this Congress adjourns. We want to consider these things. There are now so many substitutes for lumber that there will be inducements to let trees stand if they are not overtaxed. A tree must have a hundred years' growth before it can be utilized in the shape of clear lumber in the upper grades. If you tax the tree every year, you are putting one hundred years' taxes upon the timber. We must be reasonable about these things if we would encourage the growing of trees. Any other commodity in the United States pays a tax annually upon the crop, but here, in growing timber, we are paying for a hundred years where we should only pay for one. (Applause) Some States will not grow trees. Illinois will not grow trees. It would prefer to grow corn. Its land is too rich to grow timber, and the people will grow corn and exchange it for the product of other States which are better adapted to tree-growing and not so well adapted to agriculture. The lands west of the Cascade Range are well adapted to tree-growing on account of the great rainfall, and not so well adapted for other uses. A tree will grow there in forty years to as great a size as it will in eighty years on this side of the Cascade Range. In short, trees will be grown where it pays to grow them, where they are encouraged to be grown, where the people want then grown. We cannot grow trees on sentiment; tree-growing will have to pay; it will have to stand upon a commercial basis. The Government cannot grow trees without its costing something to grow them. Conservation has been wrongly understood. The great leader of American forestry, Gifford Pinchot, is in favor of development (applause). He said in his speech at Seattle a year ago that there could be greater waste by non-development and by non-use than there had been by the wastefulness of the past. That is true. By non-development and non-use we commit sometimes more waste than we did in the past, for we could not waste when things were not worth anything; a thing that isn't worth saving and whose by-product cannot be utilized is not wasted even if it goes to the burning ground or lies in the woods. (Applause)
President BAKER—Ladies and Gentlemen: You will all be glad to hear from the greatest, grandest, noblest work of God, our good women. I have the pleasure of introducing Mrs George O. Welch, of Fergus Falls, representing the General Federation of Women's Clubs. (Applause).
Mrs WELCH-Mr President, Delegates to the Second National Conservation Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen: In the preparations for this great Congress, there seems to have been no possible item omitted which could in any way contribute to the pleasure or edification of visitors, save in two particulars; and with these the management had nothing to do. The first is the unavoidable absence of the President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Mrs Philip N. Moore, resulting from the accident which befell her in Cincinnati last May, from which she has not fully recovered. The second is due to those two elements which have for years uncounted interfered with man's proposals—time and tide. It is because time must be consumed in crossing the Atlantic and tide reckoned with on the voyage that Mrs Emmons Crocker, of Boston, is not able to be present to speak on “Woman's Influence in National Questions.” Her absence is indeed to be regretted, since influence is today women's best asset.
Because of these two regrettable occurrences a great honor and pleasure has fallen upon me. I am proud to be the bearer of greetings to the Second National Conservation Congress from the General Federation of Women's Clubs, an organization 800,000 strong, that may justly claim kinship with this body, since its watch-words for years have been Conservation and Service, which are the impulse and purpose of this great Congress.
The inception of the General Federation of Women's Clubs was due to the recognition of the necessity of conserving the energy and strength wastefully expended by scattered clubs remote from each other, which concentrated, might make a tremendous influence for the development of good fellowship and good citizenship. That the General Federation has become of great force I think you will admit, since its President was invited to be one of that first notable Conference called by the President of the United States in 1908 to consider the problems which this Congress is hoping to solve. She was the only woman invited to that Conference of Governors, and it is not vain pride which prompts the mention of the great honor thus conferred upon the General Federation—it is rather an humble sort of pride, since recognition of the work which Women's Clubs are doing carries with it an obligation to greater effort and greater achievement.
The General Federation of Women's Clubs has long been teaching
the necessity of Conservation, not only of the natural recources on which the material prosperity of this country depends, but of that vital force which means public health and all that goes with it: of that intellectual force which means education; and of that spiritual force which makes for higher ideals, wider sympathies, and fuller appreciation of our responsibility for the welfare of our fellow-beings.
In the matter of the Conservation of natural resources, the one which claimed our earliest attention was that of forestry. As far back as 1900 the forestry committee in the General Federation served to bring into mutual recognition and helpfulness the efforts of all the clubs engaged in the work for the protection of forests; and I was proud of the praise given us yesterday by our most distinguished visitor for Minnesota's successful efforts to preserve a large acreage of white pine timber as a National forest reserve. It was a fine and inspiring example to other States engaged in a warfare against the devastating hand of commercialism (applause). And it is another matter of pride that for four years the chairman of the forestry committee of the General Federation was a Minnesota woman, Mrs Lydia Phillips Williams (applause), whose life was devoted to the promulgation of forestry education, and to whose untiring efforts very much of the splendid work done for forestry by Women's Clubs is attributable. Perhaps the most signal of the triumphs won by the Women's Clubs in the line of foresty was the saving of the big trees of California, after a fight lasting nine years (applause). Those were years of great stress for the women, but we are willing to fight nine years more if need be for the right sort of protection to the forests in the White Mountains and Appalachian ranges (applause). Today we are fighting not alone for the trees that are standing, but for the reforestation of devastated lands and for a stay of the wanton waste of forest products. At our recent biennial convention a whole session was devoted to this phase of the work, showing that our interest is practical as well as sentimental. Since the conserving of forests and the conserving of water supplies are interdependent, the General Federation of Women's Clubs through its committee on waterways is disseminating information, creating interest, and urging legislation for the further protection of these resources. But the Conservation of natural resources, important as it is, is not the work which represents our heart interest, which appeals to our highest nature; it is not the thing for which we make our greatest effort. It is the problems of life, those affecting the home, society, our children, to which we give our most earnest endeavor. There never was a convention of Women's Clubs anywhere that did not in some way stress the Conservation of the home, the family, the school, as our greatest need; and it is because we are aware of the grave dangers threatening them, dangers born of our times and fostered by our rapid material growth, that we are endeavoring through organization and concentration of forces to turn the tide into safer channels. The child has always been the central figure in our deliberations, the one for whom our hardest battles have been fought. The General Federation, through its committees on health, education, and household economy, is carrying on a campaign of education which will give to all children greater opportunity for normal, helpful, happy development. To the child himself, through its department of civics, the
Federation is teaching his duty to society and his responsibility to the future. Through its committee on industrial and social conditions it is trying to secure for him safety and efficiency in the great industrial struggle; to protect him against the forces that are pushing him, imperfectly prepared, into the great maelstrom of the workaday world, wasting his young life, minimizing his chances for happiness and usefulness. As long ago as the Los Angeles convention in 1902, Jane Addams, our greatest American woman (applause), pleaded for the protection of the child against the awful economic waste of child labor (applause). She told of little lives by scores and hundreds yearly sacrificed to the god of greed ; of conditions in some of the industrial pursuits where for want of a few dollars expended in safety devices, many children were yearly killed outright, or maimed for life. She so touched the hearts of her hearers that a committee on child labor was there created, whose province it was to discover if possible a remedy for these crying evils; at any rate to inform the public of their existence. Women have worked long and earnestly to ameliorate these conditions, but they must depend on the mutual action of earnest, interested men, such as are sitting in this Congress today, for the enactment and enforcement of the laws necessary to improve a state of things which women have only the power to point out. In the particular case of child labor there can be no accusation of exaggeration or hysteria, since from so unemotional a source as the Federal Government we learn that its recent investigation of child labor shows need of a strenuous and continued effort for the conservation of child life. In the cotton textile industry alone, and along the line of age-limit and illiteracy alone, its statistics show that in a group of States having no age-limit for child laborers, there are over 10 percent of female workers under fourteen years of age, and that in those same States over 50 percent of the children of both sexes so employed are unable to read or write. What worth have forests or mines or any material wealth, gained at the sacrifice of so much vital force? For the welfare of women and girls, as well as for children, the General Federation is working with all its energy and strength. For moral and social as well as industrial protection it begs cooperation. Against the black plague as well as the white plague it is waging its warfare. For better housing in cities, for improved conditions in rural and remote communities, it is using all its power. What conservation and concentration of effort can do it is trying to accomplish, but it must as yet find its work constantly hampered and hindered by its inability to press to their ultimate accomplishment things which only legislation can effect. A club woman has wisely said that as conditions are today it is the women who suggest and initiate, the men who adopt and complete. This is true; for, after all, women can only point the way.