1903 New Orleans Boll Weevil Convention. (1st : Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Proceedings of the boll weevil convention called by Governor W. W. Heard in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, 1903 online

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Online Library1903 New Orleans Boll Weevil Convention. (1st : Nov. 30-Dec. 1Proceedings of the boll weevil convention called by Governor W. W. Heard in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, 1903 → online text (page 1 of 11)
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Boll Weevil Convention


Governor W* W. Heard UBRARY



New Orleans, Louisiana,

Nor. 30th and Dec. Jst, J903.


Temporary Chairman.

Bfeuanert Chairman.

j. Secretary.

'ant Secretary.

Issued by the Burcu u ^ Agriculture and Immigration,







All Books, Manuscripts, Drawings, Engravings, Paintings, Models, Fur-
niture, and other articles appertaining ro the Library, shall be confined
to the special care of the Committee on the Library.


When any books or publications are added to the Library, a list thereof
shall be posted up in the Library Room, aud all such additions shall be
withheld from circulation for the term of one month.


The following Books of Record shall be kept:
A Catalogue ot the Books.
A Catalogue of the Manuscripts, Drawings, Engravings, Paint-

ings, Models, and all other articles.
No. 3. A list of all Donations, Bequests, Books, or other articles pre-
sented to the Society, with the date thereof, and the name
and residence of the donor.


Rare and costly books shall not be taken from the Library Room. A
list of such works as are to be withheld from circulation shall be made
out from time to time by the Library Committee, and placed in the hands
of the Librarian.


No more than two volumes shall be taken out by any member at one
time, or retained longer than three weeks; and for each volume retained
beyond that time a fine of ten cents per week shall be paid by the person
so retaining it. And a fraction of a week shall be reckoned as a whole
week in computing fines.


Every Book shall be returned in good order (regard being had to the
necessary wear thereof with proper usage), and if any Book shall be lost
or injured, the person to whom it stands charged shall, at the election of
the Committee on the Library, replace it by a new volume or set, or pay
for it at its value to the Society.


All Books shall be returned to the Library for examination on or before
the first Saturday in July, annually, aud remain until after the third Sat-
urday of said month, and every person neglecting to return any Book or
Books charged to him as herein required, shall pay a fine of twenty cents
per week, for every volume so retained. Aud if at the re-opening of the
Library, any Book shall still be unreturned, the person by whom it is
retained shall pay for the said Book or set, as provided in Article VI,
together with any tines which may have accumulated thereon; and a
notice to this effect shall be forthwith mailed to him by the Librarian.


No member shall loan a book to any other person, under the penalty of
a tine of $1.00.


When a written request shall be left at the Library for a particular
Book then out, it shall be retained for the person requiring it, for one
week after it shall have been returned.


Every book shall be numbered in the order in which it is arranged in
the Books of Record, and also have a copy of the foregoing regulations
affixed to it.


In a^ conference at the St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, La., on Nov.
i3th, 1903, between His Excellency W. W. Heard, Governor of Louisiana,
and committees from the Shreveport Board of Trade, the North Louisi-
ana Cotton Planters' Association and the New Orleans Cotton Exchange
it was decided to call a convention of the planters, farmers and all others
interested in the Cotton Industry, to meet in New Orleans, Nov. 30th,
and Dec. 3ist, 1903, for the purpose of discussing the boll weevil question
and considering the advisability of requesting the Governor to call an early
session of the General Assembly to enact such laws as may be necessary
to protect this State from the invasion of the Mexican Boll Weevil.

In accordance with this conference, Gov. Heard by official proclama-
tion, called together this convention. Appropriate committees secured a
suitable hall for the meeting, obtained reduced hotel rates and railroad
transportation and prepared the following program for the meeting:




Louisiana Boll Weevil Convention


(Opposite Lafayette Square),
November 30th and December 1st.


HON. ABE BRITTIN, President Cotton Exchange, Temporary Chairman.

COL. CHARLES SCHULER, of DeSoto Parish, Permanent Chairman.

HON. N. S. DOLGHERTY, of Baton Rouge, Secretary.

One rate for round trip by all railroads. Tickets good from 28th November to
December 3d. Hotels will give special rates. Headquarters : St. Charles

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30th, 1903, 12 m.

Convention called to order by temporary chairman, Hon. Abe Brittin, presi-
dent Cotton Exchange.

Introduction of permanent chairman, Col. Chas. Schuler, of DeSoto Parish.

"The Boll Weevil," Prof. 3. H. Connell, secretary Texas Boll Weevil Conven-
tion, Dallas, Tex.

"How to Protect Louisiana Against the Invasion of the Boll Weevil," Prof
II. A. Morgan, entomologist of Louisiana Experiment Stations, Baton Rouge, La.

Appointment of Committees Committee on credentials, committee on reso-
lutions, committee on legislation ; other committees.
Recess till 2 p. m.

"National Aid in Fighting the Boll Weevil," Hon. Jas. Wilson, Secretary of
Agriculture, Washington, D. C. ; Hon. Phaneor Brazeale, of Natchitoches, La. ;
Hon. Jas. E. Randell, of Lake Providence, La.

"Legislation Required to Meet Our Emergencies," Judge John C. Pugh, of
Shreveport, La.

"Constitutionality of Proposed Legislation," Judge Walter A. Guion, Attorney
General of Louisiana, New Orleans.



"Planters' Interest in Repelling the Boll Weevil," Hon. F. P. Stubbs, Sr.,
Monroe, La.

"Merchants' Interest," Mr. Jno. M. Parker, New Orleans, La.

"Bankers' Interest," Hon. Sam'l McC. Lawrason, St. Francisville, La.

"Oil Mills' Interest," Mr. S. P. Sullivan, Alexandria, La.

"Birds in Relation to Boll Weevil," Mr. F. M. Muller, president Audubon
Societies, New Orleans.


Reports of committees. Discussion of reports. Appointment of permanent
committees. Unfinished business. New business. Adjournment.

The railroads will give one fare for the round trip. Tickets on sale Novem-
ber 28th and 29th, and good till December 3rd inclusive. Headquarters, St.
Charles Hotel. Hotels will give special rates.


A large number of delegates representing nearly every Cotton Parish
in the State, were present testifying their interest in the objects of the

At noon on the 3Oth Nov., the Convention was called to order in the
Odd Fellows Hall, in the City of New Orleans, by the temporary chair-
man, Abe Brittin, President of the N. O. Cotton Exchange, who spoke
as follows :

"I bring you


which extends you its privileges while you are in the city, and will co-
operate with you in any movement for the extermination of the Mexi-
can cotton boll weevil.

''You are called upon to consider ways and means for arresting the
further progress of the pest. More than this, you are expected to devise
means to permanently exterminate the weevil. It is folly to say that this
cannot be accomplished. It can be accomplished; it must be accom-
plished; it will be accomplished. When the vineyards of France were
threatened, France produced her Pasteur, and the vineyards were saved.
America will produce her Pasteur, and the cotton fields will be saved.

"'Last September I said that the most momentous peril involved in
the cotton outlook was the Mexican cotton boll weevil. The evil is
spreading, and eventually it will spread from Texas to other States
The seriousness of the situation should be brought to the attention of
the Government.

"With the increased acreage, improved fertilizers and methods of
culture, we are to-day five years away from the production of a maxi-
mum crop. This has not occurred in twenty-five years, and, if we except
the period of the Civil War, it has never occurred in the history of the
South. Production is not keeping pace with consumption, and if this con-
dition be not relieved, some other section of the world will produce the
cotton needed. This should not be. This may be a time for the States
to hedge the weevil in or out, but the paramount responsibility rests
upon the National Government. And we need not go to Congress as
mendicants, but, with heads erect, present the situation, and say that if
it would protect the industry, a remedy must be found.

"It is almost impossible to imagine what would have occurred to the
trade of this country if the cotton crop had failed last year as completely
as the corn crop did. There is not a financial institution in this country
that would not have been shaken to its very foundation. So the east is
more interested in the matter than the South, for the South, without
cotton could, by other resources, stand alone. But the Nation's contmerce
must be maintained, and if it costs a million or five millions to destroy
the weevil, it would pay the Government to do so."


At the conclusion of his remarks, Mr. Brittin introduced the perma-
nent Chairman,

who spoke as follows :

"Gentlemen of the Convention and Brother Farmers Interested in the
Culture of Cotton : This Convention has been called by His Excellency,
the Governor of this State, with a view to consulting with the people
most interested in the welfare of the State and the cotton industry, to see
whether it is necessary to call an extra session of the Legislature to take
steps and pass laws by which to check the progress of the insect that
is threatening the welfare not only of the State, but of the country.

"The State of Louisiana is threatened on the west by an insect known
as the Mexican cotton-boll weevil. It has been a mystery to me that the
great State of Texas, with its immense territory from west to east, would
permit an insect to destroy millions of its property without any effort, so
far as I know, on the part of the State to check its course. How was it
that the veterans who sacrificed their property and their lives to drive
back the human vermin that infested their State would suffer this insect
to overwhelm them? If we consider the amount of money that is in
circulation; if we consider the number of people that live upon the pro-
duction and handlings of this staple, we can realize the immense import-
ance of the crop.

"I am not going to suggest any method of combating the insect, or to
describe his habits. I want to call your attention to the fact that this is
not a personal and individual or even a State matter, but a national con-
cern, and I think it will be the greatest of calamities if this great Govern-
ment of ours does not check the advance of the insect.

"Mr. R. H. Edmunds, editor of the Manufacturers' Record, in a recent
article, makes the statement that from the year 1881 to the year 1900, the
export value of cotton and its products, manufactured and otherwise,
reached, in round numbers, the enormous sum of $5,900,000,000. He also
gave figures to prove that the export value of wheat, corn and flour in
the same period only amounted to $4,150,000,000. The great European
centers of France, Germany, Belgium and Australia encourage the rais-
ing of the beet sugar by a large bounty, not to encourage the production
for home consumption, but to balance the account of nations.

"A few months ago the Secretary of the Treasury, in order to afford
financial help, in a period of monetary stringency, distributed among the
national depositors $100,000,000. This great sum had the effect of bal-
ancing trade conditions and preventing what would have been a great
national calamity. The export


during the month of October, in this last year one month, no more
amounted to $60,000,000. Does any individual, knowing this, think that


the National Government could afford to keep hands off and not render
help in this crisis? Some of us who are old enough remember the effect
on the National Treasury when the exportation of cotton was prohibited
by blackade.

"From 1881 to 1900 the cotton growers suffered with low prices. It
was during this time that cotton .reached the phenomenally low price of
4 and 5 cents ; yet, during that time, the export value of cotton amounted
to $1,750,000,000 more than the combined export value of corn, wheat and

"Why has the consumption of cotton increased? In 1881 the cotton
crop of the United States amounted to a fraction over 6,000,000 bales. In
1902 the cotton crop amounted to 11,000,000 bales and yet there was no
surplus. With the vast territory now being opened to trade, the 600,000,-
ooo inhabitants of China and the territory of the Philippine Islands and
Asia, can it be supposed for a moment that the consumption will not be
further and vastly increased?

"Sometimes we hear of men saying that it will be a blessing in dis-
guise; that we cotton planters ought to learn to plant lettuce, cabbage,
onions, etc., in order to make a profit. Now, every cotton planter here
present knows how absolutely foolish this is. Others say that it will
prove a blessing in disguise, because we can get 50 cents a pound for
cotton. But they forget that the balance of the world is making heroic
efforts to grow this very staple in other portions of the world.

"My friends, I will not keep you longer. The object I had in view was
to impress upon you the immense importance of getting both the State
and the nation to take decisive action. The National Government can do
nothing until the State acts. It, therefore, rests with you, gentlemen of
the Convention, as to whether you want anything done or not."

The Chairman then introduced


Secretary of the Texas Boll Weevil Convention, at Dallas, who spoke as
follows: In point.

"I extend to this Convention the good wishes and godspeed of a neigh-
boring State. We know the seriousness of the problem that you have
met to consider. The burned child dreads the fire. We have been in
close contact with the problem that now threatens you, and the result we
have seen may be of interest and importance to the agricultural and cot-
ton interests of Louisiana. Whatever we have learned is freely at the
disposal of the Louisiana business interests.

"A few years ago the farmers of the southern part of Texas found a
little insect that preyed upon cotton. There were all kinds of conjec-
tures about this insignificant insect, some absurd, all far astray. At that
time nothing was known about the insect, exactly upon what it feeds,
how it multiplies and spreads abroad. When, therefore, the Texas


planter first saw that same little insect that had bored in the stalk, they
thought that it laid eggs in the stalk and that it was a kind of tree insect.
The Government sent Dr. W. D. Hunter down to investigate, and he
found that it was a false alarm, and that this false alarm on account of
the tree insect was creating considerable trouble.

"One idea I want to impress on you is that all the breadstuffs, meat and
other products, of the United States do not equal a single export cotton
crop. Therefore, the interest that the United States general Government:
has taken in the matter is not only reasonable, but necessary.

'On his recent visit to the boll weevil region of my State, Secretary
Wilson assured us that the


with us. Just what form that co-operation will take I am unable to say,
for we have been as yet unable to fix upon a definite plan of co-operation.
It is from such a meeting as this that the people conclude what it is the\
want; and we have found in Texas before this that the United States
Government is willing to meet us half way. I have no doubt that this
experience will be repeated here.

"Let me call your attention briefly to some questions in reference to the
life of the weevil. First, in what kind of land does he thrive most? In
what kind of land does he create the greatest devastation? Living, as it
does, in timber, trash and foul lands, those cotton lands near the timber
are most injuriously affected. Since it is an insect that depends upon
moisture during the summer season, those counties that receive the most
rain are most injuriously affected. Since moisture is absolutely necessary
we find that there is a difference in soils with the same annual rainfall,
between the naturally dry and naturally wet sorts. Take our dry, hard
prairie soil; the weevil does not multiply nearly so rapidly as it does in
the alluvial land. It is a fact that has been frequently demonstrated by
the thousands of observations in Texas. Whether or not you will find
other conditions that will limit the weevil to Texas I am not able to say.
We are inclined to assume that the northward march and spread of the
weevil is much slower than the eastward spread. But this has very little
consolation for Louisiana.

"During the present year the weevil has advanced more than twenty-
five miles to the north. During that time he has reached more than two
hundred miles to the eastward, and he has it will go as far to the north,
into Oklahoma and Arkansas, we cannot tell; but reached as far to the
westward. Whether these are interesting facts with reference to the


"How it comes into Texas nobody seems to know. The furtherest
south cotton crop in Texas was 250 miles from the nearest Mexican cot-
ton, across burning sand and desolate wastes. Whether a cyclone beat


them up and carried them across, or whether some Mexican greaser
packed them up and carried them into Texas, when he went to pick cot-
ton, is not known, and in all probability never will be.

"Now, how does the weevil come into a community? Let me tell you
how it appeared in Texas. After a dozen or more false specimens are
brought in town by anxious farmers, finally a real weevil is brought in.
The farm from which this specimen came is watched with a great deal
of solicitude by the business men of the town.


a farm or infected place. Familiarity with the habits of the weevil
explains this. We have to look over the field with a microscope, a tele-
scope, and comb the field with a fine-toothed comb before we can find the
boil weevil, and it may be that while we are watching and examining one
rield another two miles away may be full of them.

"However it happened, for two years the cotton crop continued to grow
less. The farms have difficulty in securing tenants, and have to reduce
their rent; the merchants extend time on the land, and when the time
comes around they are unable to meet their obligations and have to give
up their holdings; and as a result of this state of things, men dropping
out of business in every direction, you will find certain towns in well
established boll weevil regions that have decreased as to volume of busi-
ness fully 50 per cent, in the past four years. In order that this may not
come about in your own fair State, this shrinking of towns and dwind-
ling of resources, you must recognize, gentlemen of Louisiana, the fact
that cotton is the basic principle in all interests of the South.

"Let me call to your attention the cotton production by counties of
certain portions of Texas for the past few years in regions in which the
boll weevil has become established. Travis County in 1899 produced 60,-
ooo bales of cotton, in 1900, 71,000; in 1901, 40,994, and in 1902, 28,382.
Reduced more than half in these four years. Fayette produced in 1899
73,238; in 1902, 31,200 bales. Washington in 1899 produced 49>7Qi> in
1902, 19,532.

"These are typical counties. The figures are not yet in for these coun-
ties for 1903. Ellis County, which stood first in all the world for produc-
tion of cotton, and Navajo County, which stood third, have fallen far, far
down in the list. The boll weevil has been in them for a number of
years. You can see the destruction to the business interests of
Texas that has been wrought, and will continue unless the
methods suggested by the United States Government are fully
and generally carried out. But the ordinary farmer is a very hard
person to influence, and to induce him to turn his old methods inside out,
as it will be necessary to do, is an extremely difficult task.


"Some people seem to think that the boll weevil is about as big as one's
fist. Financially he is much bigger, but physically he is not quite that
large. But the boll weevil is not all bad. Occasionally we get a little fun
out of him. A farmer told a story about trying to exterminate the boll
weevil on his farm which has some elements of humor. He said that
he gathered all the insects in his crop and put them in a glass jar, put
the jar under a brush heap and set the brush heap afire. When the heap
burned down he raked the ashes over with a rake. He said he found the
jar red hot and the weevils inside, red hot, too. He thought they were
dead, but he opened the jar and the weevils flew out. 'And confound
them,' he said, tearfully afterward, 'they flew into my barn and set it

"The weevil is a hidden foe. He


We cannot poison him, or least, we have not found out so far how to
do it. The eggs are laid inside the boll, and mature on the ground after
the boll has -fallen off, out of the reach of poison. By following improved
methods, it is possible to produce a crop even in the infected districts. If
all the fallen bolls are picked off the ground and burned, and the weevils
not allowed to mature, methods of culture, to produce, at an slight in-
crease to the cost of production. It is possible, by following improved
methods of culture to produce, at an added cost of $2 or $3 per acre,
an average crop of from one-half to three-quarters of a bale. The dif-
ficulty is in persuading the average farmer to follow improved methods.

"[ am unable to express an opinion on the best methods of keeping the
boll weevil out of Louisiana. But whatever we can do in Texas, in
co-operation with you and the Government, you may rest assured that
the Executive Committee of the Texas Boll Weevil Commission will be
pleased to lend a helping hand in all that vou undertake."

The next speaker was :


one of the United States entomologists in the Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Hunter said in part:

"The boll weevil was probably brought into the United States by being
transported from the cotton region of Mexico in the boats that were used
to carry freight across the Rio Grande, in cotton that was bound for
Brownsville to be ginned and baled. The weevil was carried across 200

"The farmers of that region wrote to the Department of Agriculture
that some strange insect had appeared down there that was ruining the
cotton. This awakened interest in the Department, and in March, 1895,


they sent a man down there who spent some time investigating the life
history of the insect, in order to know what were the weakest points of
the insect. At the same time, realizing the importance of the insect to
Texas, and seeing that it threatened the crop throughout the United
States, another man was sent to Central America, where the weevil has
its home, in order to find out two points : First, if any cotton grown
there was immune, and second, to determine what natural conditions
would hold the insect in check. This investigation has as yet led to no
tangible results, although it has been carried on in the native home of the

"In Texas the progress of the insect has been marked very carefully, in
order to study the manner in which the insect reaches out across new terri-
tory. Maps have been drawn showing what counties have been infested
each year. After a few investigations, it became quite evident that no
efficacious means had yet been devised. The conclusion has been reached

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Online Library1903 New Orleans Boll Weevil Convention. (1st : Nov. 30-Dec. 1Proceedings of the boll weevil convention called by Governor W. W. Heard in New Orleans, Louisiana, Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, 1903 → online text (page 1 of 11)