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WHAT I SAW IN THE MIDDLE WEST._IV
CLARENCE POE. MUCH as 1 HAVK said about the significance of what 1 saw in the West, I am still con vinced that the biggest lesson our Southern farmers can learn is from what I did not see. And for the purpose of emphasizing this negative teaching of Western agriculture, I am going to re peat and emphasize some of the things I have al ready said that I did not see in this progressive and prosperous agricultural section. J* It has .come to my attention that one of my leaders has objected to this summary of things I did not see ns "a reflection on the South.” And this leads me to say that there is hardly anything else in Southern life that makes me so exceed ingly weary ns Just this attitude toward every frank criticism of Southern conditions. What I said about the criticism of Dr. Stiles some months nge Is as appropriate as anything I could say in reply to this critic of mine, and I am going to reprint herewith the paragraph I published at that Iline. "It Is high time, anyhow, for the South to get over this morbid and babyish sensitive ness about the publication of every satlstical fact that doesn't please our passing fancy. The true Southerner, the man we ought to honor and follow, is the man who looks an unpleasant fact squarely in the face nnd sets about getting a remedy. In Heaven's name, let's have done with our quack, popularity hunting doctors and leaders who tell us there is nothing the matter with us, that we are the greatest and happiest people on earth, and that all we need to do Is to keep on for ever In our old ruts of Illiteracy, undeveloped resources, and out-of-date farming methods. I,et us rather follow the doctor nnd the leader who loves the South with all his heart, but who loves her too well not to use the knife of criticism and reform upon the cancers that are sapping her economic life and general well-being.’’ Jft In love for the South I yield to no man living. If I have any master passion. It Is the desire to make my life of some service to her and her peo ple My father fought In her nrmles. and I pity the man who does not respond to the patriotism of Senator ('armnrk's eloquent declaration: "I was born of that land; I was nurtured at her bosom, and to her every drop of my blood, overy fiber of my being, every pulsation of my heart, Is But how are we going to serve the South? Cer tainly It will never he by playing the ostrich and hiding our heads In the sand in order to keep from seeing fnrts as they are The miserable flatteries that the Southern people have tolerated so long In a certain type of politician and demagogue make me wonder sometimes If Dante was not right af ter all In putting flatterers In one of the lowest hells along with thieves un I forgers. If you are going Into training to struggle for the mastery with some powerful nnd musculnr wrestler, that man is not your friend who flatters you with a thousand lulling compliments nbout your strength and your superiority over your opponent, and how needless It is for you to fear opposition. Your real friend is the man who tells you the exact truth about the strength of your rival, who tells you how necessary it Is that you put yourself In the very best of training, on the very nest of diet, nnd who urges you day nfter day to avoid every weakening and debilitating influence, who encour ages you. Indeed, for every well-meant effort you put forth, but who never lulls you Into n sense of ease and false security that would only ruin you in the end. If I know my own heart, It Is this sort of friend I wish to be to our Southern tanner ioih, ana i hope I shall always be too true to them to flatter them Ah one of our Tennessee correspondents said the other day: "My heart goes out to all Southern farming people The prosperous and enterprising ones I admire, and the poor and back ward ones I sympathise with even more than 1 ad mire the rich anti prosperous." Hut the host way to help both classes Is to spur them on to doing ns good work as that done by farmers anywhere on earth. With so much said In explanation of my atti tude, let me turn now to some comment on some "f the things I said in the beginning that I did not see. I. • Haiti | nan no cabins. We cannot hope to get - I thrifty and progressive tenants on our Southern farms until we provide a better type of houses for these tenants to live in. II. I said that I saw no gullies. The farmers in the W est keep the lands filled with humus, keep the land growing something all the year round, and so it does not wash away. We must grow winter co\er crops in the South, and we must also use more soiling crops and more stable manure, there by getting humus into the land to hold the soil to gether. Commercial fertilizers furnish no humus. Hefore many years land is going to become too valuable in the South for anybody to let it wash away. Hut the difficulty is that great areas are already ruining before that time comes. III. I said that I saw no forest fires. Our careless ness with regard to forest fires in the South is al most a disgrace to our people. If a man by his carelessness started a fire which burned up your smoKe-nouse or barn, you would raise a great disturbance, but some worthless vagabond may start a forest fire that will do damage equal to the value of a dozen smoke-houses or barns and noth ing 1b ever done about it. Timber is becoming scarcer and scarcer every year, and our farmers must begin to realize that the timber crop is just as valuable and Just as surely a money-making ‘ crop.” even if it does grow more slowly, as any other crop. The thing to do is to begin putting these men who are careless with fire behind prison bars. A few of them wearing stripes would teach a very valuable lesson. IV. I said that 1 saw no big plantations. The hope of the South lies in the breaking up of our big plantations cultivated by shiftless, unintelligent la bor and the development of a great democracy of thrifty and Intelligent white farmers, owing their cwn homes. In saying white farmers, I do not mean any tll-wlll toward our colored farmers, but it is best for them and best for every interest in the South that our white population should in crease by immigration and natural increase until the proportion of negroes in no State is large enough to be oppressive. The chief reason why so many of our white farmers have gone to town has been a lack of adequate white society in the country districts. When the farms are smaller and the farm homes closer together, as they would be with a great body of 80- to 100-acre farms, the situation will be materially changed. V. I said that I saw no stumps in th« fields. Hav ing just made a trip through six Southern States this fact impressed me especially. A stumpy field means that the farmer must use the most expen sive labor and tools. The saving that would result from the use of labor-saving tools and machinery would soon pay the whole cost of taking out the stumps—to say nothing of the increase in the crop from the greater area of land made available by removing these obstructions to progress and productivity. VI. I said that 1 saw no farm homes unpainted. With the increasing prosperity of the South there is no reason why we should not have the same beautiful farm homes one sees in Wisconsin and Illinois. The whole farm looks different when it is set off by a beautifully painted farm home, and it seems to me that if must make a difference in the spirit of every member of the family. A pretty home inspires an atmosphere of pride and 1’lit t I I ll l lit “n wimu win uui fenc j - certain added dignity but also make everybody on the place do better work. It is a common say ing that where a good road is put alongside a shabby house, the owner of the house is very quick to make improvements, so as to have his home in harmony with the good road. And on the same principle, if a man has a beautiful home he is likely to begin to improve his farming practice nnd quit any piddling and shiftless methods that would be out of keeping with his house. VII. I said that 1 saw no one-room school houses. And when 1 say this I mean also that I saw noth ing of that indifference to public education of which the one-room school house is an index. In (Continued on page 424.) \ v * “What’s The News?” Bt CLARENCE POE. — ■■ _=J The Week's Happenings. HEAT PREPARATION is making for the re turn of Mr. Roosevelt to New York City, June 18th. He will be given a magnificent reception. He has accepted an invitation to speak in Atlanta this fall in behalf of the Uncle Remus Memorial Association. Mr. Roosevelt created a considerable sensation in London by declaring that England had not been firm enough jn its government of Egypt. “You have tried to do too much,” he said “in the Inter est of the Egyptians themselves. Those who have to do with uncivilized peoples, especially fanatical peoples, must remember that in such a situation as that which faces you in Egypt, weakness, timidity and sentimentality may cause infinitely more harm than violence and injustice. Sentimentality is the most broken reed on which righteousness can I_ft Missouri Democrats have started a boom for ex-Governor Folk for President. He declares that the issue is government by privilege for the ben efit of a few, or government by the people for the benefit for all. He denounces the protective tariff as a system of special privilege, “enriching a few by taking from all,” as a degrading and corrupt ing influence largely responsible for the growth of graft and corporate dishonesty. Thomas E. Watson, long Populist leader, an nounces his return to the Democratic Party. He says: “Every energy of my heart and soul will be consecrated henceforth to doing something for the good of the country, through the Democratic Party. Stern experience has taught me that no other method can succeed in the South.” Gifford Pinchot, who w'ent abroad to meet Pres ident Roosevelt, has returned to the United States and will enter actively into conservation work. He is very much gratified that President Roosevelt is to speak before the National Conservation Asso ciation at its meeting in St. Paul the first week in September. It iw fAiiornllv holiovori that Sonrotarv Ralllneer will resign after the investigating committee makes its report. That the Republican majority will give him a verdict of “not guilty” is taken for granted, but his reputation has been too badly damaged for him to remain in the Cabinet. The advocates of international peace are very much delighted over the whole-hearted support given the movement by President Taft. He de clares that not only other sources of disagreement but questions supposed to involve “national hon or” should also be submitted to arbitration. The Railroad Rate bill, after being so amend ed as to win the support of all the Insurgent Re publicans, ha passed the Senate. The previous day railroads filed notice with the Inter-State Com merce Commission of proposed increases in freight rates ranging from 3 to 31 per cent and affecting nearly all the North and West. Dr. Robert Koch, the famous German scientist, died a few days ago. In 1882 he discovered the tuberculosis bacillus, thereby demonstrating that consumption is a germ disease. The scientific treatment of consumption dates from this dis covery. oo scarce is cuiiuu iuiu uve uiuuoauu uaico shipped out ol' the South to Liverpool are even now on their way back here to supply the impera tive needs of Southern mills. Glenn H. Curtis is much in the public eye by reason of his recent flight in an aeroplane, going from New York City to Albany, 137 miles, in two hours and 32 minutes. Because of its name, there is interest in the an nouncement that the battleship South Carolina has established a new world’s record for big gun shooting. The struggle is still on between the Govern ment and the Insurgents in Nicaragua and in the latest battles Estrada was victorious. The New York Senate, by a vote of 16 to 30, has defeated the proposition to submit the woman’s suffrage amendment to popular vote. State Senator Holstlaw of Illinois, has confessed to taking a bribe of $2,500 given him for his vote for Senator Lorimer. Wm. J. Bryan sharply criticises Governor Har mon, of Ohio, for not favoring a Senatorial pri mary. Major Page N. Baker, Editor of the New Or leans Times-Democrat, died a few days ago.