Page images

created forestry commissions for the purpose of protecting the forests, purchasing wooded lands and prohibiting the cutting of timber on State grounds. New York went so far as to recognize the question in her constitution of 1894, which is still in force.

Meanwhile the division of forestry had helped along the agitation by issuing pamphlets relating to forestry matters, and by publishing the results of timber tests, for the benefit of lumber dealers. That policy was a very wise one, as it proved the practical value of forestry methods. In 1898, the State of New York took an important step in the right direction by creating the State College of Forestry at Ithaca, as part of Cornell University. Of this college Dr. Fernow was unanimously elected director. In the following year, the legislature appropriated a large sum of money to purchase a forest of 30,000 acres in Franklin County, in the heart of the Adirondacks, for demonstration and experimental purposes, through which Director Fernow was expected to demonstrate that forestry really is a business. He received at the outset a working fund of $25,000, and was expected, in due time, to make the forest self-supporting. Of course, the land was also to be used as an object lesson for the college students.

During the

Even in the early stages the project seemed promising. first few years the number of students inceased to about eighty, and it was difficult to hold them until graduation, because the demand for skilled foresters from all parts of the country soon became so great that the young men received flattering offers even before they had attained the degree of forestry engineer. Suddenly, however, like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, news was received that Governor Odell, after the adjournment of the legislature, which had unanimously appropriated the usual sum of $10,000 for the support of the College, had vetoed this item in the annual supply bill. The dissatisfaction in some quarters, principally on the part of private landowners in the neighborhood, with the administration of the Axton forest was at the root of the matter. Instead of trying to abolish this part of the work, which had nothing to do with the college work proper, at Ithaca, it was deemed the safer way to withdraw all State support from the College itself. Of course, when the College ceased to exist, no demonstration forest was needed. So with one stroke of his pen, Governor Odell abolished our fine College of Forestry, and, so to say, threw eighty young men into the street. These men were obliged to go to Adrian, Michigan, or to Yale; but as most of them were New Yorkers, whose tuition in Ithaca was free of charge, it is evident that their parents were subjected to con

siderable expense if they wished their sons to finish their studies. Governor Odell, to this day, has failed to explain why he thus ruined an educational institution of so much value to the people.

Without this interference on the part of our governor, Cornell University would undoubtedly have demonstrated at St. Louis that we really know how to conduct and equip a college of forestry. The other two colleges just mentioned being still too young to compete with Germany in this respect, they preferred not to exhibit at all. But every American, and, above all, every New Yorker, knowing this little bit of history, will appreciate that, after all, we are not so far backward as we were made to appear.

Meanwhile, the United States Bureau of Forestry has been forging ahead in a most satisfactory manner. Dr. Fernow's successor at Washington, Mr. Gifford Pinchot, has effected great changes during his administration; the division of forestry having been raised to the dignity of a full-fledged bureau, the annual appropriation for which now reaches nearly half a million dollars, permitting the tests begun years ago by Dr. Fernow to be carried on upon a much larger scale. Tests of our timber-demonstrating resistance to pressure, the loading of beams, etc.— which constituted one of the main features of the American exhibit are of great value to the lumberman and the builder. These things were shown by means of a series of pictures, representing machinery and specimens, supplemented by statistical tables illustrating the commercial value of different kinds of timber. Among the collection of pictures were many colored ones representing typical scenes of American forests, camp life, hunting, and lumbering in all parts of our country, from Maine to the Pacific coast, and it is most interesting to compare these pictures with the corresponding ones of the German exhibit.

Within recent years, however, the scope of forestry work has become largely extended; private parties, clubs, and lumbermen owning large tracts of wooded lands having asked for assistance in laying out working plans with due regard for artificial and natural regeneration. In this respect, American forestry travels its own way, regardless of the methods of other countries, as it would not do for us to follow blindly in the footsteps of others. True, as in Germany, we have Government and State forest reservations, laws protecting forests against fires and wanton destruction by lumbermen, as well as game laws and game and fire wardens. But these merely represent police regulations. For administrative purposes we are to-day educating the foresters of the future, and are placing our chief reliance upon the sound business sense of our farmers, private

land owners, and wealthy clubs, to develop further such practical forestry methods as are adapted to our conditions. This important point has been recognized by the United States Bureau of Forestry, under the able leadership of Mr. Pinchot. On a map of huge dimensions, we were shown to what extent farmers, clubs, and lumber firms have, with the assistance of the bureau, already applied regular forestry methods. Applications for directions always receive ready response, it matters not how small the estate may be; a working plan being laid out in accordance with the conditions. If wealthy men or important firms desire to protect their interests by providing constant regeneration of the timber harvested, and if the forest area to be subjected to regular administration warrants the expense and labor, then careful surveys are made, elaborate administration plans based on detailed calculations are worked out, and roads (intended for the ready transportation of timber), gardens, plantation schools, etc., are provided for. If such an outlay is not warranted by the conditions, then the work is more superficially done. But in all cases the applicant receives some good advice and encouragement.

Of the same practical nature was another feature of the American forestry exhibition, namely, the open-air exhibit. Here the practical farmer could observe for himself how, through the planting of strips of trees, he can best protect his fields against storms, and at the same time provide for fuel and wood for household purposes. A whole model prairie farm in miniature was reproduced to show the best methods to be followed under different conditions. Seed beds of all sorts of forest plants taught the farmer how to raise young plants, what shade they require, how they must be treated in dry or wet soil, etc. As it is impossible here to explain all the details it may suffice to say that the open-air exhibit of the United States Bureau of Forestry was to be counted among the most valuable exhibits of the whole Fair as far as the advantages to be derived by the American farmer are concerned. May it be found that the splendid forestry exhibit at St. Louis has given fresh impetus to the introduction of sound forestry methods in our country! GUENTHER THOMAS.


WITH the recent death of Herbert Bismarck, the reign of the "Dynasty Bismarck," as it has been called, is definitely over and done with. Fourteen years have passed since the Iron Chancellor himself retired, leaving a clear field for his one-time pupil, young Emperor William II. The old man himself died in 1898. His eldest son and chief heir, Herbert, has now followed him. His younger son, William, is an intellectual nonentity, and the present Prince Bismarck is but a seven-yearold boy.

Within the lapse of those fourteen years, the international situation has completely changed for Germany. If the grim old chancellor were still alive and in full vigor of mind and body, it is doubtful whether he would be able to accommodate himself to the new order of things. I judge so from Bismarck's intense surprise at the outbreak of the SpanishAmerican War, and from the views he voiced when I conversed with him on that topic, in May, 1898, just a couple of months before his death. He said to me on that occasion:

This whole war is indefensible on grounds of international equity. It is a war of pretext. . . . Spoils, spoils, all else is pretence. That, too, is seen by your procedure in the Philippines. The Americans call this Europe of ours effete. Well, there must be some truth in it, or else there would have been a united European front to oppose and hinder this unrighteous war.

And the Monroe Doctrine having been broached, he said:

That is a species of arrogance peculiarly American and inexcusable. You in the United States are like the English in that respect: you have profited for ages from dissensions and ambitions on the continent of Europe. That insolent dogma, which no single European power has ever sanctioned, has flourished on them.

No, I am inclined to think Bismarck would not have been able to "find himself" anew in these totally novel conditions which have been projected upon the world's stage since his time, nay, even since his death. For all his convictions and experiences had root in conditions now outworn and outlived.

It was at the Congress of Berlin, in 1878, that Germany and Bis

marck were on the summit of power. Bismarck then was enthroned like Zeus on high Olympus. True, he modestly spoke of himself as the "honest broker" (ehrliche Makler) in international affairs, but in reality he felt himself the arbiter of Europe. The United States at that time was not yet in world politics - she held aloof from it, in fact and the Monroe Doctrine still meant solely mutual non-interference, i.e., noninterference by Europe in American matters, and non-interference by the United States in European as well as Asiatic and African matters. The first departure by us from that rule, at that period still universally accepted both by the Republican and the Democratic party, came with the creation of the Congo Free State - largely at the instance of Washington statesmen and the establishment of a modus vivendi in Samoa by the tripartite agreement between this country, England, and Germany.

Well, in 1878 Germany was "on top." The Congress of Berlin was dominated by Bismarck. It was the simple recognition of an acknowledged fact which made Anton von Werner, the noted historical painter, produce that famous canvas now hanging in the great hall of the Chancellerie in Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin, showing Bismarck towering as a giant over the other statesmen and diplomats forming part of that gathering. France was still on her knees and in daily mortal terror of an attack from her conqueror; the French army only in process of formation and complete reorganization; her finances exhausted by the enormous war indemnity; her spirit crushed. Russia, though just issuing from a successful war with Turkey, had strained all her resources, military and monetary, to the utmost to achieve this barren victory, and was absolutely in no condition to refuse the "advice" of England, Austria, and Germany, which bade her be content with the mere "glory" of having vanquished the Moslem padishah. Russia had overreached herself at San Stefano and now had to pay the penalty. Austria and Italy were about to form the Triple Alliance with Germany. Austria was still bleeding from her own hostile encounter with Prussia in 1866, and dependent on her quondam foe to throw her, too, a sop in the shape of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a welcome result of Russia's struggle with Turkey, and with her clever premier, Count Andrassy, looking up to Bismarck as the unexcelled master of statecraft. Italy, after straining every nerve to the breaking point to attain to the rank of a great Power, having very recently won her consolidation and independence, naturally looked to her Prussian ally of 1866 to vouchsafe her existence.

And finally England. Though Disraeli's consummate skill in foreign politics had again and again temporarily checked Russia in her

« PreviousContinue »