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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/300

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

the conservation of natural resources. Acceding to the request, the president has invited all the governors of states and territories (each with three advisers) to convene in the White House in May next and discuss ways and means of conserving the waters and other resources of the country with him and with those cabinet officers, justices of the supreme court, senators, and representatives whose duties may permit attendance—and nearly all the executives have already accepted and named their coadjutors.

So the events of the young century strikingly duplicate those immediately succeeding American Independence: Again questions of commerce and interstate relations have become paramount—and in multiplied magnitude and complexity; again it has become necessary to take stock of those material possessions on which the perpetuity of our people must depend—though now the possessions comprise not only the land areas contemplated by the founders but the still greater values residing in waters and woods and mines and soils, which were inchoate then but have come into actuality and dominance through the natural growth and orderly development of the nation; again it seems necessary for a waterways commission to appeal from its own court to an interstate conference representing that highest tribune, the poeple—though now the appeal can not result in a federal constitution (which came from the former in such perfection as to meet all later needs), yet can hardly fail to bring about a closer readjustment of the magnified sovereignties and multiplied possessions developed on that fundamental platform. The president has expressed the feeling that the May conference promises to be one of the most important assemblages in our history; and the people and the press have concurred with a unanimity seldom evoked, and giving assurance that the anticipation will be realized.

Nor is it to be forgotten that in advocating the development of our natural channels of commerce, Roosevelt is but following the footsteps of Washington and Jefferson, and Root but treading the path blazed by his early predecessor Gallatin; though they are supported in cabinet, notably by the progressive Secretaries Garfield and Wilson, far more vigorously than were the pioneers—indeed, never before have a people and an administration been so firmly united in efforts to improve an "oppressed and degraded state of commerce" with the attendant conditions of national prosperity.

 

The Need for Navigation

The most pressing demand of the day connected with our inland waterways is for navigation and carriage of freight. The need is urgent. The notably reserved and cautious Interstate Commerce Commission has just declared: