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today—Theodore Roosevelt (applause and cheers) and Gifford Pinchot (renewed applause). I now take great pleasure in presenting to you a typical southern gentleman, Governor Noel, of Mississippi (applause). Governor NoFL–Mr Chairman, Brother Governors, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen: Some months ago I received an invitation to attend this Congress, which I promptly accepted; also an invitation to deliver an address, which I immediately declined. Since entering tle hall this afternoon I have been informed of my selection for the first address on my State—each Governor speaking for his State in succession—and my State's views on questions pertaining to our natural resources. - Of course the greatest natural resource of every city and county, as of State and Nation, is the productive energies of its people. Their development, through proper training of mind and heart, should be the chief aim of all people and of the Government. In those resources, however, our interests are the same as those of all other parts of the country, and they open too broad a field for me to enter. When we take up the question of the natural resources pertaining to our domain, Mississippi occupies a widely different attitude from that of some States in the Northwest whose Governors are here to speak for them. We are an agricultural people. Not a city in Mississippi will much, if at all, exceed 30,000 inhabitants; more of its population and its wealth, proportionately, than of any other State in the Union are engaged in agriculture. We have no mines, no minerals except some clays and stone, no oil, no gas, no coal. We acquired agricultural lands, and our natural resources are from those lands as agricultural soil and standing timber. Before the question of Conservation was understood, or at least before it had become of any force in State or Nation, both Mississippi and the Federal Government had parted with their lands and with their forests. Much to our regret now, it is a question of the past, and has to be handled by individuals and by corporations, to whom our lands and timber chiefly, almost entirely, belong. We are interested; we try to regulate our resources in some measure, within the powers of the State Government; but our interest is largely confined to our public lands. We have no coal or metals, our streams are sluggish, and there are few water-power sites. We have little beyond the surface values of the timber and the soil. We are interested in coal because it is necessary for our industries; we are interested in oil because we need it; we are interested in all the elements of the soil spoken of this morning, phosphorus and all the rest. We are greatly interested in all these things nothwithstanding the land which contains them happens to be in other States. We have not lost interest in them on that account; and, speaking for our
State—which has stood for State rights as it understood them, and stands for State rights still—our only way of securing these rights we believe to be through the Federal Government (applause); our only voice must be through Congress and the President, and we do not care to surrender that to which the Government is now properly entitled. If the choice goes to the State we know how it will go, for past experience has taught that lesson well—local interests will control, and the general good will be subordinated to personal pride and local considerations. We have learned much and suffered much in that line. The Government gave to us, as to others, the sixteenth section of land in every township, one-thirty-sixth of the whole State. We put it in the power of a majority of the householders and patrons of schools in each township to vest the school lands by lease, thinking that local interests, being circumscribed and vitally concerned in education, would at least prevent spoliation of this magnificent donation to the school children; but we were mistaken. In a great many instances a few who were shrewd and sharp and designing used a law by which a lease could be made from one year to ninety-nine years, and until that law was repealed leased the lands for the largest possible term. We know that the smaller the area the greater the influence of personages, and of local and private considerations. Therefore, as we look on this question of the Conservation of our natural resources, it is a question of rights, and how those rights can best be maintained and perpetuated; the means, whether through State or Federal Government, is but a minor consideration; and believeing that our rights can best be preserved and utilized, now and for all time to come, without waste and without destruction, both for the present and in the future, we think it can best be done under Federal supervision (applause). The only rights we have in coal and oil and metals must be exercised through the Federal Government. We may not fully understand the water-power problem. It has been said to be only a local issue anyway. We do not understand it that way. The river which rolls by this city smiling, smooth, and clear, after it is joined to the Missouri is muddy, deep, and uncertain; not only all of your waters but all of the waters east of the Rocky Mountains roll past our western boundary. While at some seasons the water is low, at others it is over fifty feet higher, and more than onesixth in value of the land in our State is subject to overflow. Your waters, which through proper forestation and proper handling by dams and other means would give us a more equable flow throughout the year, come down upon us at a time when we do not need them, and in a degree greatly in excess of any possible need at any time, and we have to bear the sins of deforestation and all of the other evils that come from the wholesale spoliation and destruction of your forest lands (applause). We are vitally interested in that question. We believe in forest 1eservations: we are sorry we cannot furnish the basis for it in our own State, but so far as the Government lands we have can be availed of for that purpose, we would be more than glad to see the Government take hold of the matter and set our people an example of how forests should be handled and preserved for the present and for the future. When it comes to water-power, to me, at least, and to many of us, the question of conflict between State and Federal Governments, about which so much has been said—especially with a view of eliminating the Federal Government—we hardly understand that view of it. We trace our title through the Federal Government (applause). As a lawyer of more than thirty years' practice, whenever I have been given a question for investigation pertaining to the title of land, the first thing I have done was to examine the tract-books to see whether the Federal Government had ever parted legally with its title. If it had not, the question was ended; if it had, then we could proceed to deraign to those properly entitled to it. So when the Federal Government owned the lands and was the source of title, we do not understand how, even though the lands may be within the State, its right as a land-owner is less on a river bank than it is in the interior, or when the Federal Government, as the owner of the lands, should not exercise riparian rights which any other owner tracing title through it might exercise. Now, we would like cooperation of the States, but we would like the Federal Government to retain where it still possesses them those rights of which the people could not be robbed through control of State legislatures or local authorities (applause). You may say, What interest have we, who are not a manufacturing people, in the mines and the water-powers of other States? Why, we are all in a common country. State lines may be changed; they are accidental; they are artificial; but the national boundary is fixed. When we look for coal or iron, or commercial or industrial products which we do not manufacture, we must look, primarily, within the bounds of the United States. It is within the power of the Government and beyond ours practically, through tariff legislation, to exclude the minerals from outside. We have but one open field, we have but one certain route to any natural or manufactured product, and that is within the boundaries of the Union itself; and we do not want, through monopolization of either coal or oil or water-powers, to be hampered in the protection of the country as a whole so that as consumers we shall have to bear the brunt of evils from which the National Government, through the little influence we might have with it, might protect us, and of which our State government, in the past at least, has been very neglect ful. Hence we stand for State rights and Federal control in cooperation (applause). But if it is within the power of the Federal Government, through leasing or otherwise, to retain control of its mineral and coal lands and its water-power sites, to put them beyond the possibility of handling by a State and its legislature, to regulate corporations' rights so as to prevent momopolization, and at the same time to prevent the Nation as a whole from being deprived of any productive agency in our midst, we want the benefit of it. (Applause) Our patriotism on this score may be of that questionable type described by Artemus Ward, who said that during the Civil War, when the stress was great, he listened to a magnificent speech from an orator on the subject of enlistment, and became so enthused that when the call for volunteers came he, with others, went up to sign the roll: but when he observed that the orator had not signed nor was likely to sign, because his province was simply that of speaking while other's would be fighting, his own ardor was somewhat cooled, and when he reflected that the orator's eloquence had carried his hearers where he would not go himself, it became cooler and cooler. Still, his patriotism did not entirely vanish, for when his time came to sign the roll for enlistment, he signed it with the name of his mother-in-law and offered her as a sacrifice to his country (laughter). Yet we are not exactly in that category, though we may seem to view the situation from a local standpoint. But knowing of our own condition, knowing of the rights which the Federal Government conferred upon the school children of our State—the sixteenth section and other lands of which you heard in Senator Nelson's address today, and remembering how in a great many instances, through local influences, legislative or otherwise, the intended beneficiaries were largely deprived of the benefactions intended for them we really think, What has gone is gone, except as a lesson to us; and so far as we are concerned, we shall stand for the right of the people as a whole for the enjoyment of its great resources of coal, of oil, of water-power and other natural wealth, and we want to be protected in such a way that no State or local influence shall be able to take it from us forever (applause). That is our position on this question. In regard to the water-power question. Awhile ago I spoke of the Mississippi rolling by ; we have never been jealous of the Federal Government's dealings with that river, not a bit (laughter). We are not now. So far as we are concerned, we would be delighted if the Federal Government would acquire the riparian rights, with all the liabilitics, from one end of the State to the other (laughter). The county in which I live, that part of it in the Delta, as well as six or seven other counties, have had to keep up, without Federal aid until this year—and then only incidentally for the protection of navigation against some caving banks—for five years more than 200 miles of levee, and it has required an acreage tax of from three to five cents, an ad valoren tariff of about ten mills, and a cotton tax besides; and while some of this is among the finest agricultural land in the world, it is almost wrecked by the taxes on it. Missouri has fared better. Her levees are not as extensive as ours; her people put them in good condition, and the general government afterward took charge of them in the interest of navigation; and if the Government will relieve us of the whole burden from the waters which you send down upon us from the North and from east of the Rocky Mountains, and will take the riparian rights from end to end and preserve and use them for the benefit of the whole Nation, all the people of our State will greatly rejoice (applause), and not a voice will be raised on the question of State rights as to any use for the people as a whole to which the Government may put those lands.
So, as we come to voice our wishes, our interests, our desires, they are for cooperation of State and Federal Government, but of absolutely no relinquishment on the part of the Federal Government either of its water-power sites, its coal lands, its phosphate lands, or of any of those other natural resources to which the people of the whole country are looking for future development and prosperity (applause). We are in the country, we are a part of it; not merely a part of the Government of the States but a part of the Government of the whole Union (applause), and all that concerns the Union, or any part of it or any of its people, affects us to a greater or less degree. And speaking for our share and our part in the national destiny which invitingly presents itself before us, we say that we stand for Conservation of natural resources by all governmental agencies, State and Federal, which will not only develop now but protect in the future for the proper use and progressive benefit of the people of the whole country to whom they now belong and from whom they should never depart. (Applause)
Chairman STUBBs—Ladies and Gentlemen: I am very glad indeed to introduce to you as the speaker to follow our distinguished friend from Mississippi, the only other democratic Governor in the Congress, Governor Norris, of Montana. (Applause)
You will see whether the views of the southern democrat and the northern democrat are the same after the two get through speaking. (Laughter)
Governor NORRIS-Mr Chairman, and Ladies and Gentlemen : A feeling has prevailed in the West, or did a few days ago, to the effect that no enlarged opportunities were going to be given to express ideas here which were contrary to those held by the program committee of this Congress (laughter). However, I am pleased to note that such is not to be the case, and whether the conference of the Northwestern Governors at Salt Lake City, recently held, has had anything to do with it or not I don't know.