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HON. EDWIN W. HIGGINS.
Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Chairman, I ask to have read the resolutions which I send to the Clerk's desk.
The Clerk read as follows:
STATE OF CONNECTICUT,
January, A. D. 1907. Resolved by this assembly :
Whereas there is now pending before the House of Representatives of the United States a bill providing for the establishment, by purchase, of Federal forest reserves in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the southern Appalachian Mountains : Be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the general assembly of Connecticut that the establishment of these reserves is wise public economy, and that it is the opinion of this body that the interests of the State of Connecticut will be furthered by the protection of the forests at the headwaters of the Connecticut River, and that this general assembly urge upon Congress to pass the bill.
Passed house of representatives January 16, 1907.
Senate concurs January 16, 1907.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of record in this office.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said State at Hartford this 31st day of January, A. D. 1907. (SEAL.]
THEODOR BODENWEIN, Secretary. Mr. HIGGINS. Mr. Chairman, in response to these resolutions and in view of the importance of this legislation I feel that I would be lax in my duty to the people of the State that I in part represent, and who I know are intensely interested in this legislation, did I not call the attention of the House to this measure, now on the Calendar, and known as the "Appalachian and White Mountain Forest Reserve bill." This measure, proposed by the American Forestry Association and the National Board of Trade was recommended in the President's message and has been repeatedly indorsed by the Department of Agri(ulture and advocated by the press of the country. In the first session of this Congress this bill passed the Senate, and on May 22, 1906, was unanimously reported to this House by its ('ommittee on Agriculture.
This legislation, Mr. Chairman, in my judgment, is of more pressing and vital interest and importance to the thirteen States whose rivers rise in the Appalachian and White mountains than any that has been considered during this session of Congress, and in consequence is of interest to the entire country. It only carries out well-established principles and does not coinmit the Government to any new policy.
One is so overwhelmed with the multitude of general and special bills pending that it falls upon those, as it rightfully 7115
should, who have for special reasons, responsive to the needs of their constituencies, to be particularly interested in certain legislation to single that out and call it to the attenion of the entire body and urge its favorable consideration. President Roosevelt, in his message at the convening of this session of Congress, in referring to the Government forest reserves, said:
The forests of the White Mountains and Southern Appalachian regions should also be preserved, and they can not be unless the people of the States in which they lie, through their Representatives in Congress, secure vigorous action by the National Government.
Mr. Chairman, the particular branch of the National Government which at present needs to move is this House. All others have done their full duty.
This bill carries an appropriation of $3,000,000 and gives the Secretary of Agriculture the discretion to purchase such lands as may be readily acquired, and such as will be the best adapted to the purpose. The fact that the bill carries an appropriation ought not of itself to prevent recognition for its consideration by this House or militate against its passage if the proposition is in the interest of a wise economy and is right and just.
Mr. Chairman, when the other legislative branch has passed a measure I assume that no conclusive presumption exists per se that it has not had fair consideration by that body and its committees, especially so when the same proposition is considered and recommended by a great and painstaking committee of this House.
Abundant precedent can be found for this legislation. Millions of dollars have already been appropriated, and doubtless wisely spent, in he Reclamation Se ice. We have just appropriated over $80,000,000 for the iniprovement of our rivers and harbors; and there are now established and maintained by the Federal Government 138 forest reserves in seventeen different States and Territories of the Union, covering an area of 127,154,371 acres.
One is too apt to think of the forests either as a matter of sentiment or as something that has no end, and hence no need of protection. Yet, governors of States, legislatures, numerous commercial bodies, many granges, and large numbers of other organizations and individuals have prayed, petitioned, and resolved for the passage of this bill. I believe that the country. would have but little sympathy with the argument that the machinery of this House would have to be overworked, as has been said, to secure a vote upon this measure. What the country would be especially concerned about, I take it, is whether the bill is right in principle and would in its result promote the general welfare.
A prima facie case at least, for its consideration has been made out when two Presidents have urged the favorable consideration, the Senate has passed the bill in three different sessions, and the Committee on Agriculture have unanimously recommended its passage. Is it not at least worthy of some consideration by this body, directly responsible to the people? All that is asked is that this measure be fairly brought before this House for a vote.
Mr. Chairman, speaking for a constituency that is vitally interested in this measure, responsible directly to that constituency for my course, I ask for its consideration, in the
belief that the necessity and the wisdom of the enactment of the bill will appeal to the judgment and patriotism of the Members of this body. It ought not to be necessary to plead for the consideration of a measure of this importance, whose effect is so far-reaching. It almost seems needless and perhaps futile to give any extended reasons for the passage of this bill, for the wisdom of establishing these reserves has been so clearly demonstrated by actual test, not only by this country, but for years by other nations who were long ago compelled to recognize the necessity of supervision and control of their forests, as to challenge contradiction. Our supply of gold may diminish and our real wealth not decrease, but not so with our forests and all they do to conserve other natural forces necessary to our commercial life. The Connecticut River, wbich is 375 miles long and drains a basin of 677,178 acres in area, is absolutely dependent for its regulation upon the preservation of the forests of New Hampshire, as provided in this bill.
The committee, in making its report upon this bill, says: The Connecticut, speaking only of the main river, has a total of 2.038 feet and is capable of being rendered one of the most valuable rivers in the world.
And quoting another authority : "The power developed at Holyoke, Mass., is the largest in the country, except that at Niagara.” It is no wonder that this bill now on the Calendar has challenged the attention and won the approval of many not directly affected by its result. It offers the only means of protecting the territory covered by its provisions from the dire consequences of a deforested land. Already 24 per cent of the southern Appalachian region has lost the power to produce future forests, and in this section the rainfall is heavier than anywhere else on the continent, except on the northern Pacific coast. The New York Evening Post, in an editorial in its issue of December 28, 1906, says:
The rivers flowing into the Pacific have their headwaters protected by vast tracts of forest preserved from indiscriminate lumbering. Those flowing into the Atlantic, though their present commercial use is tenfold greater, rise in regions where the commercial lumberman generally has full sway. As the Senate committee reported last year, the New Hampshire rivers “contribute more largely to the prosperity of other States than hers. She ought not to be expected to burden herself with debt for the benefit of her neighbors : nor can they be expected to purchase land outside their own borders for the creation of a forest reserve."
And, further, the same article in the New York Evening Post adopts the language of the committee report in speaking for the Appalachian Reserve, and says:
The various States in which it is proposed to locate this reserve have already by legislative acts conferred upon the United States Govern. ment the right to acquire title to these lands and exempted them from taxation. They can not, because of the proposed location of the re. serve in more than one State and their own lack of funds, be expected to go much further.
And the Post closes its editorial by saying :
State cooperation is thus assured, and the project simply waits upon Congress.
All that has ever been urged in favor of a forest reserve, either on the floor of this House or elsewhere, can be said in support of this bill, for it affects a locality which is the most thickly settled in the Union and one where the natural resources are most dependent upon the preservation of the forests.