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Received I^TSG-^^^CX , 189(0
Accession No.(0J2,3S?7 . Class No.







N. H.






Washington, D. (7., January 29, 1896.

SIR : I have the honor to submit the accompanying bulletin on Arbor
Day, prepared by your direction.

Its aim is to give an authentic account of the origin, history, and
uses of the day now observed throughout our country and also in
other lands which has been regarded with interest by the Department
ever since its observance began, and to offer such suggestions and helps
as may serve to increase its usefulness.

It is impossible to sketch the history of Arbor Day in even the brief-
est manner without frequent reference to the present Secretary of the
Department, with whom the day is so' intimately connected. If the
writer of this bulletin had felt at liberty to disregard the restraints
imposed by the official character of the work, a much more frequent
mention of Mr. Morton's name would have been the result.

Some of the illustrations in the bulletin, especially those of leaves,
are from Apgar's Trees of the Northern United States, copyright, 1892,
by the American Book Company, to whom thanks are due for permis-
sion to use them, it having been found impracticable to prepare original
figures of this character without delaying the bulletin until after the
arrival of the time set apart in many States for the observance of Arbor
Day. Similar thanks are due to others also for like favors.

I take occasion here also to thank the superintendents of public
instruction and others who have so readily and courteously responded
to my invitation and rendered aid, by suggestion or otherwise, in the
preparation of this publication. Wherever material from such or other
sources has been incorporated in these pages I have endeavored to give
credit to the respective authors. For the rest the writer is responsible.



Hon. CHAS. W. DABNEY, Jr.,

Assistant Secretary.



Commercial value of trees 5

Origin and history of Arbor Day 9

States and Territories observing Arbor Day 18

Arbor Day celebrations 19

Methods of observing Arbor Day 20

Addresses and extracts 22

Arbor Day Its origin and growth, by J. Sterling Morton 22

Observance of Arbor Day by schools, by Hon. B. G. Northrop 27

Arbor Day for the Common wealth, by Dr. E. E. Higbee 28

Value and uses of Arbor Day, by Prof. George Mull 29

Planting trees a patriotic duty 32

Schools of agriculture and horticulture, by Hon. Charles R. Skinner 34

Encouraging words for Arbor Day 36

Trees and schools 38

Trees as living things 39

Trees in masses forests ^ 43

Trees in their leafless state 46

Leaves, and what they do 47

The best use of Arbor Day 50

Tree planting 53

Street planting 55

Planting on school grounds 59

Planting on lawns and in parks 62

Aids to success in planting 63

Method of planting 64

Opinions of representative men 64

Suggestions for programmes 67

Miscellaneous readings 69

Selections for recitations 77

Topics for Arbor Day essays 80




Arbor Day, from being only a humble expedient of one of our
Western States a few years ago, has become a national holiday and one
of our important institutions. Its original design has been modified
since its observance has become associated with our schools. It is now
not only a day for tree planting for economic and aesthetic purposes, but
its observance has been made the means of securing much valuable
knowledge in regard to plant and tree life, of cultivating in the young
the powers of observation, and kindling in their minds an interest in
natural objects which will be a lifelong source of benefit and pleasure.

Is it too much to hope, also, that this Arbor Day festival, engaging
our children in its observance so generally and so pleasantly with songs,
recitations, and the planting of trees and shrubs around the school-
houses and along the streets or in public parks and other places, may
have the effect of developing in coming generations a keener apprecia-
tion of the value and the beauty of trees than has hitherto been felt in
our country, and that thus the reckless destruction of our forests, now
going on with such threatening consequences, may be arrested before
the calamities are upon us which have befallen other countries through
the loss of their trees I



Arbor Day has its abundant justification in the
surpassing value of trees from whatever point of
view they are considered. Their beauty is felt
by all. Nothing contributes so much to make the
world a pleasant place of abode for man. Just
as anyone has the true home feeling and seeks
to create a home for himself, he seeks the trees
as being an indispensable aid in the accom-
plishment of his purpose. He must have the
trees around his dwelling place. He must have
their shelter and their shade, their beauty of
form, of leaf, and blossom, and fruit, their ever-
varying aspect with every change of earth and
sky, of sunshine and cloud. In short, he must
have their companionship in his daily life. But
looked at apart from all such feeling and senti-
ment, looked at not in their living but in their
dead state, looked at as mere lumber or material for man's constructive
purposes, for the thousand uses of daily life, the trees have an almost
incomparable value. Estimated by their money value alone the prod-
ucts of the forest exceed those from almost any other source.

We speak of the " precious metals," gold and silver; and they are so
precious in the esteem of most persons that multitudes are ready to
forsake all other occupations and rush in pursuit of them wherever
they may be found or there is even a faint hope of finding them. Now
we give to the hunters of these precious metals special privileges in
the prosecution of their quest such as are not given to people engaged
in other employments. It would seem that the mining of gold and sil-
ver is the most important interest of the country. It certainly holds a
very prominent position in the public estimation.

But the last report of the Director of the Mint gives the value of the
product of the gold and silver mines of the United States for the year
1894 as follows: Gold, $39,500,000; silver, $3 1,422,000; total, $70,922,000.
At the same time, the most recent and careful estimates of the value of


the products of our forests during the same year make it $1,058,650,859,
or fifteen times that of gold and silver.

Another comparison is very significant. If we add to the gold and
silver products that of all other minerals, including such prominent
ones as iron, copper, lead, zinc, coal, lime, natural gas, petroleum, salt,
slate, building stones, and the twenty-five or more remaining, which
are less important, we shall have for the value of all our mineral prod-
ucts obtained during the year 1894, $553,352,996, or only about one-half
the value of our forest products.

Again, we may make a comparison in a different direction and with
no less striking results. The statistical report of the Department of
Agriculture gives the value of our cereal crops for the year 1894 as
follows :

Wheat $225,902,025

Com 554,719,162

Oats 214,816,920

Rye 13,395,476

Barley 27, 134, 127

Buckwheat 7, 040, 238

Total 1,043,007,948

or less by $15,000,000 than our one forest crop.

Is it not worth our while, therefore, to perpetuate if possible such
a crop, and to guard against anything which threatens to diminish it?
Ought we not, by every means within our control, to see that the
source of this most valuable supply is not lessened in its capability of
yielding such a preeminently valuable contribution to our welfare and

The need of tree planting, looked at in the wide view, results from
the fact that we have been and are depleting our forest area at an
unreasonable rate. The spread of population into the great treeless
plains beyond the Mississippi has made a largely increased demand
for lumber, and in response to that demand we have been for years
consuming our forests at a rate far beyond the supply furnished by
their annual growth. The best estimates make the annual consump-
tion of our forests, for fuel and lumber chiefly, 25,000,000,000 cubic
feet. To furnish this amount would require the produce of the annual
growth of 1,200,000,000 acres of woodland, whereas our total forest
area is less than 500,000,000 acres, which is no more than we need as
a permanent stock of woodland for the country. It will be seen, then,
that more than half of our annual consumption is a draft by so much
upon our forest capital, when we should be only drawing from the
forests the amount of their annual growth, or the interest of that capi-
tal. How long would it take a millionaire to become a bankrupt if he
should be annually trenching upon his money capital at a like rate?

Few persons realize the enormous and often wasteful that is, un-
necessary consumption of our forests. That consumption amounts


to 350 cubic feet per capita, as against 12 to 14 cubic feet per capita in
Great Britaiu and about 40 cubic feet in Germany.

Some specifications may help us to apprehend the situation. Our
railroads consume, on an average, annually for their construction
500,000,000 cubic feet of our very best timber. Our mines use for
internal props and for the reduction of their ores immense amounts.
One mine may be taken as an illustration. The Anaconda Mining
Company, of Montana well named Anaconda, in view of its enormous
capacity for swallowing the forests whole, as it were made a state-
ment four years ago, now on file in one of the Departments of the Gov-
ernment, from which it appears that during a period of six months it
consumed 05,000 cords of wood and 18,500,000 feet of lumber. At the
same time the company stated that its daily consumption hereafter
would be, wood 700 cords, lumber 100,000 feet, and its consumption
for the year 1892 would be, wood 255,000 cords, lumber 40,000,000 feet.
This lumber is mostly in the form of timber used as mine props.

Most of the wood and timber used by this. and other mines in the
Kocky Mountain and other western regions is cut from the public
lands. Such is the indulgence shown by the Government that those
engaged in mining or even prospecting for mines are allowed to cut
and consume the timber on the public lauds free of cost and with only
such restrictions as may be made by the Secretary of the Interior.
These restrictions are not close or narrow in character, and are easily
evaded if not absolutely ignored, and so are to a great extent prac-
tically inoperative. The scanty appropriations of Congress do not
allow the Secretary of the Interior to retain a sufficient number of
inspectors to watch the immense extent of territory occupied by the
forests and take notice of the depredations which may be made upon
them, and even Avhen depredations are occasionally discovered it is
very difficult to secure a conviction and inflict the penalty prescribed
for the offense.

To show the extent of these depredations and the scale on which the
forests are consumed, may be instanced the case of one mining company
in Dakota against which the Government has brought suit for the sum
of $088,000, this being the alleged value of the trees cut less than 8
inches in diameter, which restriction had been placed upon the permit
to cut. What must have been the number and value of the larger trees
cut and consumed by this company? The operations of the Anaconda
Company are carried on upon so large a scale that it is said they refuse
to make a contract for less than 40,000 cords of wood in any single
case, and their contracts range from that amount to 200,000 cords,
while nearly 1,000,000 cords are constantly kept on hand. The company
held last year a permit from the Secretary of the Interior to cut from
four sections of public land within twelve months 14,000,000 feet of
timber. The great Coinstock Lode of Nevada is, if possible, a greater
anaconda, whole mountains of forest having gone into its capacious


maw, the growth of two or three centuries having been swept away in
a few years.

Figures are impotent to give one a full apprehension of the work of
forest destruction that is wrought by these and other mining compa-
nies and the lumbering establishments which help them to their sup-
plies. One needs to see with his own eyes the work as it is going on
and the track of desolation which it leaves, to have an adequate notion
of the destruction thus accomplished. One company, miscalled a devel-
opment company, which is one of the agencies through which the Ana-
conda secures its supplies, has a daily capacity of 120,000 feet of

It is to be considered also that not only the consumption of the
forests incidental to mining operations but that resulting from ordi-
nary lumbering is marked by great wastefulness. We throw away
often more material than we use. A great portion of the substance of
the trees cut in the forests is left there to decay or to be consumed by
the flames. It is estimated that on the average not more than three-
eighths of what we cut in the forests is utilized, five-eighths of the mate-
rial being wasted. In the great redwood forests of the Pacific Coast
such is the wasteful method of operation, it is said, that in procuring a
railroad tie worth 35 cents, $1.87 worth of the substance of the tree is
wasted. In Europe it is estimated that seven-eighths of the forest
material is made use of and the waste is only one-eighth.

A conspicuous case of wastefulness is worth noting in this connection,
not only as an instance of wastefulness, but for the great and direct dam-
age resulting from it. To meet the demands of a great mining company
on one of the Sierra Nevada ranges a band of men, numbering thousands
in all, were sent with their axes into a forest district in that vicinity. It
was an extensive region and the forest presented a stand of trees
not excelled, perhaps, in quality in all the country. Every condition of
climate and soil had been favorable for their growth. They stood thick
and stalwart.

As the quickest and easiest way of getting out the largest trees,
which were the ones wanted for the miners' use, the forest was cut
clean and leveled with, the ground. Then, the timber having been
removed, the remaining trees, spread over miles and miles of the
mountain side, were given to the flames. The fire not only consumed
the trees, but burned up the soil beneath them the rich leaf mold,
which was the accumulation of centuries of tree growth. The very
rocks beneath it were so heated by the mighty mass of burning fuel
that, in many places, they crumbled to gravel. When the rains came
and the snows melted rapidly in springtime having no sheltering
foliage of the trees to protect them from the rays of the sun the ashes
of the burned trees, and what was left of the soil, together with the
rocky gravel, were swept down the mountain side with torrent swift-
ness and force, overflowing the banks of the water courses, tearing


them from their places, and pouring out the debris of disintegrated
rock upon the fertile meadows below to the depth of many feet.

The settlers in the peaceful valleys at the foot of the mountains, to
whom the dense forests had sent from their saturated spongy soil and
the slowly melting snows under their protecting shade a steady and
sufficient supply of water to enable them to prosecute their farming
operations in that arid region with an assurance of success nowhere
surpassed, now found themselves at the mercy of torrents in the spring
season and droughts in the summer time, and were forced to abandon
their no longer productive farms. Those green mountain slopes which
it had taken centuries of growth to prepare as the guarantee of fertil-
ity to the fields below are gone. Naked rocks only are now to be seen
in their place. It will take centuries to clothe them again with trees,
and meanwhile the valleys and plains below will remain the desert
which the greed and recklessness of man have created there.

With the enormous consumption of our forests now going on and
rapidly increasing and the consequent diminution of our forest area,
the need of tree planting becomes greater with every passing year, and
the importance of Arbor Day constantly increases. Its great value, as
has been said, is not so much in the number of trees planted on Arbor
Day as in the tree sentiment created and stimulated by the Arbor Day
observances, which will be helpful in arresting the wasteful destruction
of our forests and lead on in due time, it is to be hoped, to all private
and public tree planting which our interests demand.


The first to call attention in this country, in an
impressive way, to the value and absolute need of
trees their value not merely on account of their
beauty or their adaptation for purposes of orna-
mental planting and mechanical utility, but for
their connection as forests with climatic influ-
ences, with the flow of streams, and their conse-
quent connection with the large interests of
agriculture and commerce, in short, with the
general welfare of all classes of people was
that eminent scholar and wise observer, Mr.
George P. Marsh, for many years our worthy representative at the
courts of Italy and Turkey. His residence in those older countries was
calculated to draw his attention to the subject as it would not have
been drawn had he always lived in his native land. *

Ours was a remarkably well- wooded country. From Maine to the
Gulf and from the Atlantic coast to the Alleghanies stretched an
almost continuous forest, which at the beginning of white settlements


here and long afterwards was an impediment to agricultural develop-
ment. The pioneer was obliged to clear a space among the trees to
make room in which to cultivate his crops, and it is a significant sign
of that early condition of things that the coat of- arms of one of our
States bears the emblem of a sturdy yeoman with uplifted ax. Under
such circumstances, it is no wonder that the people of this country in
former time had no very favorable estimate of trees and little apprecia-
tion of their value, except for fuel and the supply of timber for house
building and certain other uses, or that they were willing that their
consumption by the ax should be aided and accelerated by forest fires.
Comparatively few persons until a recent period realized the serious
inroads which, with a rapidly increasing population, had been made
upon our forest resources or apprehended the dangers which were
threatening us in the future as the consequences thereof.

In Europe Mr. Marsh found the Governments of Italy and Germany, as
well as those of other countries, making active endeavors and at great
expense to rehabilitate their forests which had been depleted centuries
before, to guard them from depredation and, instead of leaving them to
be consumed at the bidding of personal greed or recklessness, cherish-
ing them as among their most precious possessions. He found the
forests regarded as the most valuable crop which the ground can pro-
duce, and every effort made to stimulate their growth to the utmost. He
found schools, of a grade corresponding to our colleges, established for
the special purpose of training men for the successful planting and cul-
tivation of forests. He found the growth of trees in masses and their
maintenance reduced to a science and the management of the wood-
lauds constituting one of the most important departments of state.

Such discoveries were well calculated to fix his attention upon the
very different condition of the forests in his own country, and to con-
vince him that the reckless destruction of them then going on here, if
not checked, would bring upon this land the same calamities which had
befallen countries of the Old World in past centuries, and from which
only the most enlightened nations of Europe are now recovering through
the arduous efforts of many decades, and at great pecuniary cost. The
result of Mr. Marsh's observations was the publication of a volume
entitled "The Earth and Man, 77 and that admirable chapter in it on "The
woods," to which, more than to any other source perhaps, we are indebted
for the awakening of attention here to our destructive treatment of the
forests, and the necessity of adopting a different course if we would
avert most serious consequences, threatening more than anything else,
possibly, our material welfare.

Other thoughtful and observing men at home became aware from
time to time that we were wasting our tree heritage, and in one way or
another they were urging the necessity of caution and economy in the
treatment of the forests. It is remarkable, indeed, that as early as the
colonial period some of our States New Hampshire and New York, for


example became somewhat alarmed by the inroads which were even
then being made upon their forests, and made enactments for their pro-
tection. This action was exceptional, however, and little was done to
draw attention to the rapid and dangerous depletion of our forests and
awaken public sentiment on the subject until within the comparatively
recent period of which we have just spoken.

For the purpose of securing a supply of timber for naval construction
the Government, at the beginning of the present century, purchased
certain tracts of live-oak timber, and about twenty-five years later, by
an act of Congress, the President was authorized to take measures for
their preservation. About the same time the Massachusetts Society
for Promoting Agriculture offered prizes for forest planting, and thirty
years later the State ordered a survey of her timber lands. Thirty
years later still, acts began to be-passed for the encouragement of tim-
ber planting, chiefly in the treeless Western States. The well-known
timber- culture act was one of these. It made a free gift of the public
lands to the successful planter of forest trees on one-fourth of his entry.

About twenty years ago the subject of forest destruction and its
detrimental results came before the American Association for the
Advancement of Science for consideration, and as the result of its dis-
cussions the association memorialized Congress, asking that measures
be taken for the protection of the public timber lands. In consequence
of this, a committee of the House of Representatives was appointed for
the purpose of considering the establishment of a forestry department
of the Government, and two years later the Commissioner of Agricul-
ture was authorized to appoint a forest commissioner, which was the
foundation of the present Forestry Division in the Department of Agri-
culture. The commissioner, the late Dr. F. B. Hough, made protracted
inquiries into the condition of the forests in this country and in Europe,
and published a voluminous report on the subject, which is altogether
the most complete and valuable publication on forestry which has
appeared in this country.

It was at about this time, or a few years earlier, that a practical
movement was inaugurated by the present Secretary of Agriculture,
the Hon. J. Sterling Morton, which has done more for the protection of
our forests and the encouragement of tree planting than all our legis-
lation. This was the establishment of Arbor Day, or tree-planting day.
It was the happy thought of this pioneer settler on the treeless plains of
Nebraska, who knew and felt the value of trees about the home, as well
as their importance for the many uses of life, to enlist his neighbors
and his fellow settlers throughout the State, by a common impulse,
growing out of common wants and feelings, in the work of tree planting
on one and the same given day. The wise suggestion was brought before
the State board of agriculture in the form of a resolution designating a
certain day for the inauguration of the tree-planting movement. The
resolution was readily adopted. The appeal to the popular feeling and


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Online LibraryNathaniel Hillyer EglestonArbor day: its history and observance → online text (page 1 of 10)