Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

reservoirs that men may build (applause). We want those waters. The water that comes from our mountains and is conserved under those forests is the very life-blood of the State of Montana. Would you take the water away and stop the reclamation of the arid West? I know you would not; yet you would do so did you not at the same time that you were saving the timber make a provision that the rights to water for power purposes should forever be subject to the rights for irrigation purposes.

Bear this in mind, also. The doctrine of riparian rights does not prevail in the arid West; therefore the owning of the soil on each side of the stream does not convey the right to have the water flow down that stream undiminished in quantity or quality. In other words, the first appropriator is the first in right. I think there has been a misunderstanding as to the position of the West in this respect, as to why we are insisting upon the rights of the State. We insist upon the right of the State to control the waters of the State, not the waterpower particularly. There is a decided difference between the waters and the water-power. The waters will irrigate land, the water-power will develop electricity. Such is the position the West takes. Will you not help us in that, and so help develop the land and make it productive? Do you know it is your own salvation to do so? Ye people of the populous East, where is the produce to come from to feed the ever-increasing millions, unless it be from the reclamation of the arid lands of the West ? The time will soon be here, and it is not over four years removed, when we will cease to be a wheat-exporting nation, and in only a few years it must come that the children will cry for bread, and the land must be made to produce it. Therefore we must husband our resources and conserve our water for use for the purpose which will permit the growing of something that will feed human beings; and pine trees do not do it (applause). You of the Mississippi valley who for years have wept great crocodile tears that your lands have been cleared, suppose those lands had not been cleared, whence would come the produce to feed the millions of today? So bear these things in mind that when you come to conclusions you will take all these questions into consideration. And I want to say to you that in the future, as in the past, Montana will not lag in the Conservation movement, but will continue to lead the Federal Government (applause).

A DELEGATE–Mr Chairman, are the propositions advanced by the Governors to be discussed I see no reference in the program to such discussion, and ask for information.

Chairman STUBBS—The understanding of the Chair is that this afternoon was turned over to the Governors. The intention is to give them an opportunity to relieve their minds this afternoon (applause) and get the way clear for the greatest man you will hear talk in thirty years—Theodore Roosevelt (applause). We are clearing out the brush and getting ready for the real thing that you will have tomorrow. (Laughter and applause) You can readily see that they have too much water in the South and not quite enough water in the Northwest, judging by the views of the last two speakers. I now have the pleasure of introducing one of the greatest Governors in the United States, and of one of the greatest States in the Union, Governor Deneen, of Illinois (applause).

Governor DENEEN–Fellow Delegates, and Ladies and Gentlemen: The Governors here have been somewhat confused reregarding this program. I was invited by my good friend Governor Eberhart, of this State, to prepare a speech. I have it concealed about my person like a deadly weapon, and I have been wondering whether I dare read it; for if I do, those who follow me will, I fear, have no audience to address, while if I do not follow the text already given to the printer there will be the traditional print-shop “devil” to pay; but I have concluded to talk rather than read, and I hope that my good friends the reporters will publish what I should have said rather than what I shall say. I will follow the example of a very distinguished statesman in our State, who on a great occasion handed his speech to the reporters and said, “Now, having given my speech to the reporters, I shall proceed to ramble;” and so he did. (Laughter)

It is a pleasure to follow the two distinguished gentlemen who have preceded me, the Governor of Mississippi and the Governor of Montana. It is a pleasure to note how the conditions have reversed the attitude of their States regarding State rights (laughter and applause). I am interested in both States. A year or more ago I purchased a farm in Montana where the three rivers join to form the Missouri river, and I discovered after the spring freshets that I now have a farm scattered all the way from Montana to Mississippi (laughter). I am interested in all the States because of that, because I now own property in all. But I cannot quite agree with my distinguished predecessor about the Legislature—we, too, have a legislature (laughter), and whatever value it may have had at one time it is not considered at par at present. (Laughter and applause)

We have a water-power proposition, too, strange to say, even in the flat, level, horizontal State of Illinois. Some time ago when the Government was considering the matter of the Lakes-toGulf Waterway, our State supplemented the investigation of the Government in considering the by-products of that great channel which was to be built (and I hope will be built), and we proceeded on the theory announced by the President this morning; instead of going from agitation to legislation, we considered it better to oro on this theorv : investigation then agitation. and later legislation. So our State appointed a very distinguished commission to investigate some of the by-products that would accrue to Illinois by reason of the Lakes-to-the-Gulf deep waterway. We soon found we had several questions. First, the matter of reclamation. We have the problem they have in Mississippi, of too much water for too much time out of the year; an even 5,000 square miles of our State is under water too much of the time—an area larger than the State of Connecticut or the island of Porto Rico. We worked out a plan by which, as an incident to the great waterway, we expect to reclaim land which has been estimated to be of the value of $150,000,000 to the State. Then we found that in part of that waterway (in 6212 miles of it from Lockport to Utica) there is a fall of 106 feet, and that water-power can be created to the amount of about 130,000 horsepower, worth about $2,500,000 or $2,750,000 a year to begin with, and our engineers estimated that by availing ourselves of that power we would be able to contribute to the Government the entire expense of the waterway between Lockport and Utica, and could afford to expend $20,000,000 in doing so by reason of the by-product that would come to us; and that we would be able, if the Legislature did as it should do, and the Governor did as he should do, and the commission to be appointed would do as it should do—to repay that vast expense in fourteen years as a minimum period, and that in fact we could loan our credit and have the water-power pay for the bonds as they matured. The question was submitted to the people, and after an exhaustive discussion they approved the plan by the largest majority ever registered on any issue in Illinois or in any State in the Union, a majority of nearly 500,000 (I believe it was 497,345 to be exact). Then we presented it to our Legislature. Now, this is the point. When we presented it to our Legislature, what do you think has happened : Why, nothing happened. (Sensation) We have talked, and talked, and talked, but we haven't acted. We have had several sessions, regular and irregular (laughter), on this subject, general and special, but we have failed to act. After the failure of the regular session to act, on December 14 last I called an extra session to determine the State's part in this water-power and waterway subject. It adjourned on March 2 following (I want you to keep these dates in mind because they are significant); the Legislature was in a deadlock—I am not blaming the republicans for this, although Illinois is a republican State, and I am not blaming the democrats; the fact is that a band of republicans and a band of democrats joined to repudiate the pledges of both parties, and they did it, effectually did it. They adjourned on March 2; on April 29 following (this year) a little corporation with a huge name was formed in our State—the Illinois Valley Gas, Light & Electric Power Company, I believe is the name— you are nearly compelled to take a vacation to pronounce the name all at once—with a capital stock of only $1000; a huge name for very small capital. Then, on May 12 following—thirteen days later—the organizers of the corporation met, and decided they had made a mistake in capitalizing at $1000; so they made the capital accord with the dignity and length of the name and increased it from $1000 to $6,250,000. Since that time they have acquired fifty-year franchises in the following cities: Joliet, Morris, Seneca, Ottawa, Wilmington, Streator, Dwight, Odell, Gardner, Pontiac, Plainview, Yorkville, Coal City, and Bridgewood. Now that has been doing a good deal of work in a warm, humid atmosphere, such as we have in the summer time in Illinois (laughter). They have not only done that, but they have also acquired the other corporations that have had to do with the developing of water-power in Illinois; and not only that, but they have reached out and acquired certain riparian rights necessary to develop fully the power at Marseilles. Now, what will happen? Our sanitary district of Chicago has already expended $53,000,000 on this channel, and will expend $20,000,000 more in its full development, and our State will spend $20,000,000 on its part. In other words, Illinois will contribute $100,000,000 to this Lakes-to-Gulf Deep Waterway, and a corporation which has not expended one dollar to create this power comes along and puts a toll-gate across it and collects the toll. Bear in mind that none of this power is created by the surface or drainage water of the State; all of it is created by diverting the waters of Lake Michigan to the Illinois and the Mississippi. What would be thought, for instance, if our State. should expend $100,000,000 in building a road from Chicago to Saint Louis and then some one who had not expended a dollar would throw a toll-gate across it and collect a toll of every person and vehicle that passed, and then when he tried to buy our own road back, charge us $100,000,000 for it? That would be going some, even in these days of “frenzied finance,” wouldn't it? Yet that is exactly what they are doing with the water-power situation in our State. For several reasons (fancied or otherwise; it doesn't take much of a reason to occasion debate) there is a strong effort being made to prevent the State from acting, and our State is in the situation (and Chicago will be in the same situation soon) where we will be compelled, in order to acquire the riparian rights, to condemn them at their market value, and you can see, from the array of towns I read you, that the market value is steadily increasing (I collected their names about two weeks ago, and had not time this morning to wire inquiring whether it was up to date, but give you the list as an indication). The point I want to make is that our State is a good deal like many other States: we are neither abnormally good nor abnormally bad—just an average. Sometimes we are attending to things in such a way that we would prefer to have no metropolitan newspapers to circulate and mislead us; at other times we do things in a grand style in that great State, and we are then very glad that we have such means of disseminating knowledge about what is being done. In regard to the Conservation movement: I sympathize very strongly with my good friends here from the West. It has been a delightful pleasure to meet them on a number of occasions, on the waterway trip down the Mississippi from Saint Louis to Memphis, then at New Orleans, and again at Washington, where we were all together at the Conservation Conference in Washington called by Theodore Roosevelt. I believe that the Government should not interfere to prevent the full development of the States. A long time ago it was said that he was a benefactor who made two blades of grass grow where only one had grown before, and the man who can put two acres in cultivation where only one was cultivated before is certainly a friend of mankind. So I think we want all the acres put in cultivation by irrigation or dry farming. But the general Government owns certain things: it owns coal lands, oil lands, gas lands, phosphate lands, and forest lands. We heard the President say this morning that the Government owns about a third of the forests that we must have in the north in order to allow the Mississippi to have enough water. The Government owns about a third of the coal, and if I recall correctly, about a third of the phosphate lands, which will become more and more necessary as we develop our agricultural resources. Now the Federal Government should not permit itself to be put in a position where these great natural resources could be wasted (great applause); it ought to be in a position to develop the States by irrigation, and in all possible ways, but it should not permit itself to be put in the position where a Legislature of a State would take from it power to control some of the very necessities of advanced civilization (applause). They can have a crop of corn every year, they can turn on and off water-power every year, and the rains will come again; if by lack of attention the forests are burned or removed, they can be grown again; but the great Creator provided there should be just one crop of coal for all time, and provided, so far as we know now, that there would be just a certain amount of phosphate lands, and they are for all time and all men. These crops are not growing in Montana just now, they are not growing in other States; and because they were meant for us all, this great continental Republic ought to be able to conserve them so they shall not be abused. We all have the right to use them now, and the Government, in my judgment, should see that there is no possibility of abuse.

« AnteriorContinuar »