Impressions of the Two Principals,
Who Differ as to the Method
of Conserving America's
By JAMES A. EDGERTON.
and the president may have
gone to but the coun
try is not left without midsum
mer topics. We yet have Mr. Gifford
Pinchot and Mr. Richard Achilles Bal
linger, who have put on the official
gloves and will favor us**with a few
rounds to let us know that the gov
ernment still lives otherwise we
might have concluded that it had gone
on a vacation along with its chief of
Mr. Pinchot is our head tree planter
and knows more about forestry than
Willis Moore thinks he knows about
the weather. Pinchot did not write
"Woodman, Spare That Tree," but
might have done so if George P. Mor
jris had not beat him to it. Pinchot
has done more than write a poem. He
has made forestry an applied science
in this land that never did know what
.to do with a piece of woodland except
to clear it off. He has taught us that
'the presence or absence of forests de
termines the rain supply. In fact, he
has- made us look upon the tree as a
friend and brother, not a mere awning
or ornament. Many people have re
jgarded him as the most useful man in
the world. That is what Roosevelt
used to think when he wanted to play
tennis and could not find any other
available partner. Mr. Pinchot was
always ready to take a hand at the
game and thus became a far shining
figure in white flannels in the "tennis
cabinet." He has plenty of money
and thus can afford to hold office In
tWashington. He has many other dis
tinctions, such as being an expert
angler and a mighty hunter. Or per-
haps it is not strictly proper to speak
of other Nlmrods as "mighty hunters"
since Bwana Tumbo got into the
.game. Not wishing to be guilty of
leze majesty, I withdraw the adjec
tive and leave it in solitary state upon
the shoulders where it obviously and
exclusively belongs. Anyway, Mr.
Pinchot is a hunter and has trophies
nailed up all over the premises.
PRINCIPALS US' THE CONTROVERSY OVER CONSERVING NAT-
URAL RESOURCES, O THE UNITED STATES.
Father of Conservation Movement.
More important than all, Pinchot has
taught us how to conserve. Now, the
chief difference between him and Bal
Jinger seems to be that the secretary
of the interior also wants to conserve,
but he wants to be nice and legal about
lit, while Pinchot doesn't give a hang
.how he conserves so long as he does
it. That shows that he was not a
member of the Roosevelt "tennis cabi
oiet" in vain. He saw the way his for
mer chief did things and got the habit.
iBallinger also was a member of the
"'tennis cabinet," but he was a lawyer
still earlier, which somewhat neutral
ized the effects of that inspiring and
perspiring experience. It is hard to
teach on old lawyer new tricks, for
the reason that he knows them all.
Pinchot had nothing to restrain him,
.nd when he got to conserving did it
Jfor all he was worth.
President Roosevelt said that Pin
\chot started the conservation move
hnent, and that is glory enough to
ttnake a small man swell up. But Pin
chot did not swell. He simply went
ion conserving. He conserved not only
ithe forests, but the water and the
coal and everything else that he could
cfind that needed it and that had not
been gobbled up by the trusts. This
threw several kinds of rage into the
Jurnber barons, the timber thieves, the
coal trust, the power pirates and va
rious other malefactors of great
.wealth who wanted to grab off the
natural resources of the1
sell them by the bushel. It left Pin
chot staiidiu.2 all alone between tlv*
defenseless timber lands, coal tan-v-i
and water sites of the nation. i t\.
Side Lights on the Controversy Involv
ing the Chief of the Forestry
Bureauand the Secretary
of the Interior.
one hand, and, on the other, a large
collection of amiable gentlemen with
greedy eyes and yawning pocketbooks.
It was about this time that the gov
ernors foregathered in Washington at
the call of President Roosevelt and de
cided to take a hand in the conserving
game. So they made speeches, adopted
resolutions and appointed a commis
sion with Mr. Pinchot at its head.
Since that proud day the natural re
sources of the country have been able
to sleep nights without the harrowing
fear that they would be kidnaped be
In addition to all his other activities
Mr. Pinchot was made a member of
the country life commission, which
went about asking questions of the
American farmer and then returned
and told him what was the matter
with him. It was this commission
which made Uncle Joe Cannon grow
real sarcastic and say things that caus
ed glee in the hearts of the scoffers
and snickers on the back benches. The
only sort of "uplift" that Uncle Joe
ever practiced is that of the front end
of his cigar.
Ballinger Once a Cowboy.
Mr. Ballinger, the other end of this
difficulty, has lived pretty much all
over the face of the country. At one
time he was a cowboy in Kansas and
rode seventy miles every week to recite
Latin. At an earlier age he was at the
front with his father, who was colonel
of a negro regiment. The boy, though
only five or six years old, was sup
plied with a drum made out of a fig
box, on which he hammered away for
After the war the elder Ballinger
became a country editor in Illinois
and was appointed a postmaster.
Those Were the glad and happy days
when rival editors called each other
horse thieves, skunks, wind bags and
other amiable names, and it was Colo
nel Ballinger's proud duty one day to
kick his loathsome contemporary out
of the postofflce. Young Richard
Achilles learned to set type, sell pa
pers and tend sheep. Then he went to
Kansas and besides punching cattle
became a clerk and earned enough
money to take him to college. First
he attended the state university, but
on advice of John J. Ingalls went to
Williams, from which he graduated
at the age of twenty-six. In the class
behind him was James R. Garfield,
his predecessor as secretary of the
Returning to Illinois, he studied law,
as his father had done before him,
the elder Ballinger having read with
Abraham Lincoln. When admitted to
the bar the young man went to Ala
bama and started practice, but after
a few years returned and hung out
his shingle in Washington and finally
went to the state of Washington.
There he became judge of the superior
court, United States court commission
er, mayor of Seattle and finally com
missioner of the general land office at
Washington. It was Garfield that got
him Into the last named job, and Bal
linger accepted against his wishes. He
told President Roosevelt a story of his
cowboy experiences in Kansas, which
related to three rattlesnakes he had
dispatched on the prairie one night
before he could go to sleep. Ttoose
velt convinced him that there were
some snakes to kill in the land office,
and that induced him to accept the
place. He held it only one year, but
during that time be thoroughly reor
ganized the office. His motto then
and probably now was, "I hate a
While mayor of Seattle Mr. Ballin
ger Concluded the town was too wool
ly even for the wild west, so he took
off some of the hair. Those were the
Klondike days, and everything was
wide open. Mayor Ballinger hot only
closed the worst of the dives, but
made Seattle a model city. His life
was threatened) often, but that is a
tribute offered everjr man who does
real work. Ballinger's life was threat
ened in Alabama also by a "colonel"
who wanted to iiull a gun on him and
was made to desist only by a little
judicious choking. The secretary of
the interior does not like to have these
old stories told of him now, it is said.
But why did he get into the cabinet if
he did not want to be talked about?
The Point at Issue.
Having introduced the two princi
pals In the "mill," it may be as well to
tell what, the row is all about. Prima
rily it is over one of the Roosevelt poli
cies. Just before the ex-president left
office he withdrew nearly a million
acres of timber and water site lands
from public entry. The ostensible rea-'
son was to preserve the forests, but
the real purpose was to protect the
water power sites on a portion of this
domain. Hardly had Secretary Ballin
ger entered office than he again threw
this land open to entry. Mr. Pinchot
thereupon appealed to President Taft.
with the result that 25,000 acres, con
taining some of the most valuable wa
ter sites, was a second time with
At the national Irrigation convention
recently held at Spokane and at the
transmississippi congress, still more
recently in session at Denver, Mr.
Pinchot defended his conservation pol
icy amid immense enthusiasm. He
was especially cheered when he assert
ed that conservation of natural re
sources is a Roosevelt policy that Taft
is pledged to carry out. In his Spo
kane address he boldly asserted that a
power trust is being formed in the
country which is seeking to obtain
possession of the government water
site lands, leaving the inference plain
that Ballinger's action in throwing
open these lands left the way clear for
their acquisition by the trust. This
was universally construed into an at
tack on Ballinger. At the same con
vention ex-Governor Pardee of Cali
fornia assailed the secretary of the in
terior openly for having played into
the hands of private interests as
against the public weal.
The Legal End of It.
The defense offered by the friends of
Mr. Ballinger is that he is himself an
ardent conservationist, but that he is
only trying to obey the law. They say
that this is a lawyer's administration
and that stridt construction is the rule.
Thus the difference is more apparent
than real, being one of method rather
than of principle.
The opinion is expressed that this is
the view President Taft himself takes
of the matter. Rumors have been per
sistent that he has sought to make
peace between the two officials and in
the main has succeeded. As the ques
tion involves two opposing forces and
as the conflict between these two has
in nowise abated, such a peace can
scarcely be permanent. So loug as
there is opposition between private
selfishness and public good so long
will the movement for conservation of
natural resources be endangered by
combinations of capital that seek to
exploit these resources for their own
Of the great conservation crusade
Gifford Pinchot has been the virtual
creator. Theodore Roosevelt became
its ardent champion. Despite legal
technicalities and the antagonism of
special interests, it will go on, for the
reason that it is meant to protect the
rights of the people and to benefit the
future. This nation is learning, as
older nations have learned, that it can
not eat its cake and have it, that it
cannot waste its resources without im
poverishing the unborn. In so mighty
and meritorious a work individuals
are nothing the cause is everything.
It is above politics and above men.
Coal Fields Also Involved.
An interesting sidelight thrown on
the question has come out of Alaska.
There immensely rich coal fields were
a few years ago discovered, and a
number of individuals at once filed
claims. It is now asserted that before
making their entries these individuals
organized a syndicate, to which the
lands would be turned over, a plan
clearly against the law. The case has
been pending in the interior depart
ment since the days of Hitchcock.
After resigning from the general land
office Mr. Ballinger became the attor
ney of these coal land claimants. Now
as secretary of the Interior he finds the
case before him as judge in which he
was before interested as counsel. To
his credit be it said that he has turned
the decision over to his assistant sec
retary, but nevertheless, the matter is
being crowded to trial. It forms one
more of the complications In this na
tion wide controversy.
Discussion is rife as to what action
the president will finally take in the
matter, if any. The general belief is
that he must stand by his secretary
of the interior, but this view does not
take into account that he is also
pledged to the Roosevelt conservation
program. If he should uphold Bal
linger, will that mean the dismissal
of Pinchot? Were the forester direct
ly under the secretary of the interior
it probably would, but as he belongs
to the agricultural department Secre
tary Wilson, who upholds Pinchot,
will have a word to say in the mat
Frederick H. Newell, the head of
the reclamation service, is also in
volved in the controversy, and as he
Is directly under Ballinger it is cur
rently reported that his removal has
already been decided upon. Newell is
a-scientist, not a politician. He has
stood between the public interests and
the selfish grabbers, and he has been
actively identified with the govern
menfs immense irrigation projects
from the beginning.
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