Trees And Men
( Originally Published 1918 )
Trees and prosperity. Lack of trees and poverty. Trees and uprightness. Lack of trees and crime. Trees and the poetry of ideals. Lack of trees and a barren soul.
In China has been remarkably demonstrated the unique relation between human well-being and trees.
China is a land of desperate toil. It would be hard to find in all the United States a man willing to accept the task of a horse and run through the streets and drag you behind him in a cart. And yet, in the city of Peking alone, there are more than forty thousand riksha runners. Streaming with perspiration, muscles straining, varicose veins bulging, they drag at a trot their exacting patrons from one end of the city to the other for a few cents. The average working term of a riksha runner is four years. He spends the rest of his life as an invalid. The chair-bearer is slightly better off in that he can support the strain of his work eight years before he is rendered helpless. An examination of carrying-coolies shows that only a slight proportion of them are free from heart trouble caused by the bearing of heavy loads.
What is the reason for this desperate cry for work, no matter how killing; for burdens, no matter how crushing? What lies back of it all? Many factors, but looming large among them lack of trees!
A Treeless Land Is a Hungry Land
China is a hungry land. Instead of the question, "How do you make your living?" the common query in one province of China is, " How do you get through the day? " It has been estimated that eighty per cent. of the conversation of the common Chinese has to do with food. So extreme is the demand, that everything at all eatable finds its way at last to the Chinese table. Camels, horses, mules, donkeys, dogs, rats, edible bird's nests, silkworms, pigskins all are food for the humble folk in this land where starvation forbids dainty choosing. Why is immense China, with her tremendous land area, in want of food? A major reason is lack of trees!
China is a land of pitiful thefts. A man will creep into your back yard to steal an empty, battered tin. can, or a piece of wood as big as a pencil. Bolts and plates are forever disappearing from the railroad track —later to appear again in the form of chisels, razors, and scissors. The old hair is stolen from the hides of camels, and I have been told of a famine refugee who, in desperation, slashed off the cue of a countryman and ran away with it, selling it at a hairshop for three cents. This does not mean that honesty is rare among the Chinese ; in a larger sense they are essentially honest. And yet these petty, pitiful thefts continue. The purloining of such trifles indicates the direst need on the part of those who do the stealing. And again, under and behind this need, we find as one of the dominating causes lack of trees!
Deforested Mountains Mean Floods and Famine
Why this strange dependence of labor, hunger, and crime upon what is apparently so impersonal a matter as lack of trees?
Imagine a mountain slope clothed with forest. A heavy rain falls. The drops percolate down through the leaves of the trees and find their way to the ground through a maze of grass and twigs. Slowly, very slowly, the water seeps down the mountainside through the obstructive tangle of underbrush. This process may take a week or more and the next heavy rain has come and gone before the water supplied by the first has finally reached the river in the valley. Thus the forest automatically regulates the flow, and month in and month out, the level of the river may never vary more than an inch or two. Moreover, the interlacing roots of the forest have held the soil firmly in place so that the springs and mountain rivulets could not wash it away. Hence, the river water is without sediment, clear, and pure.
Now imagine that same mountain slope entirely denuded of trees. There is not a green thing to be seen-the mountain is nothing but a gigantic pile of barren, tan-colored earth. A heavy rain falls and the water rushes down the slope with nothing to impede its progress; every gully, formerly dry, now accommodates a furious torrent; each particle of water tears up a particle of earth and carries it along. The result is that within a few hours thousands of gallons of water and thousands of tons of earth are dumped into the river in the valley. The river, lashed into a turbid rage, stampedes toward the sea. Every bare mountain along its course contributes fresh torrents. When the river at last reaches the plain, it has risen ten, twenty, or thirty feet above its ordinary level.
Now this river for ages has been bringing down vast quantities of sediment, which gradually built up the river-bed until at present the river flows along far above the heads of the inhabitants of the plain. As the sand-bars in the river have developed, the people, instead of digging out the bars, have simply built higher the banks. Thousands of miles of levees and dikes border the Hwangho, the Han, and other uplifted rivers of China. The country on either side slopes up to the river, as a roof slopes up to the ridge-pole--and along the ridge-pole flows the stream. It is a dangerous location for a stream.
And so it happens that when the rainfall is heavy on the deforested mountains, the formerly peaceable river becomes a ruthless giant who surmounts or tears down the dikes, submerges thousands of acres of land under a foot or more of water, destroys millions of dollars' worth of agricultural products, the food of the people, and sends millions of jobless, homeless, famine-stricken people packing to the cities. There they must plead for any work, no matter how hard; for any food, no matter how meager or repellent; for any manner of existence, no matter if it be obtained by so contemptible a means as petty thievery or beggary.
Every year flood-born famine and pestilence stalk abroad in some part of China. Floods on the plains of the northern provinces of Kiangsu and Anhwei are so frequent and the famines so acute that now over this whole area the farmers do not average more than two crops in five years; whereas, if there were no floods, the normal condition would be a large crop every summer and a small crop every winter.
To rectify the present condition would mean, as a Red Cross engineer says : " The elimination of the suffering, starving, and degeneration of several millions of people who are now fast becoming beggars and robbers; the turning into producers millions who are now not only non-producers but are becoming a menace to the country." And the brunt of such calamities does not fall merely on the people in the famine districts.
In China, as elsewhere, man cannot live unto himself alone. Whenever part of the nation's food is destroyed and a group of the nation's workers rendered helpless and dependent, there is not a man, woman, or child in the entire republic who does not directly or indirectly suffer the resultant economic shock.
Wood as Precious as Money
Why are the Chinese mountains bare of trees? Is it because of poor soil or unfavorable climate? Neither. The soil and climate in most parts of China are excellent for agriculture, fruit-raising, and forest planting. Deforestation is rather due to the density of population and the tremendous demand for fuel. Not only the trees, but the shrubs, saplings, seedlings, and even the grasses are rooted up to be put in the, fires for the cooking of food. In the north of China every morning village-boys scale the mountains watching for the tiniest shoot of green projecting from the brown earth. So rare and precious is wood in some provinces that small bits of bamboo are used as currency.
The selfish and short-sighted government of the old days did not establish laws regulating the use of the forests or providing for the planting and protection, of saplings. For ages the process of stripping the hillsides went on unchecked until now extensive areas of the country, especially in the northern provinces, are completely bare. There is no more desolate looking landscape in any well-populated part of the world. than those stretches of gaunt yellow hills in North China. The process has gone on until the only material for firemaking in many sections is brush and weeds, and as for building lumber, that has to be imported from the United States, the Philippines, Hainan, Formosa, and Chosen.
What Bailie Saw under Straw Mats
And now we come to the wonder tale of the red bearded Irishman who thrust his burly head above the mental horizon of the Orient and by the light of his intelligence and the warmth of his sympathy awakened China to her great need.
That man was Joseph Bailie, who had been enrolled under an American mission board as a professor of mathematics in Nanking University.
One morning in 1910 Joseph Bailie went abroad in the city of Nanking, peeking under straw mats. Beneath lay the victims of famine, and the mats were their only shelter. More than one hundred thousand famine refugees were festering, like evil sores, in and about Nanking. It was a sight to stamp the memory for all time : the drawn faces of the living, the gray masks of the dead, the young girl rolling about in the dust in the delirium of fever; the mother and children sitting in dull hopelessness around the still body of the father; the baby boy tugging at his dead mother's rags and wailing because she would not get up and care for him; the wholesale fight of a crowd of men contesting for a dirt-ingrained scrap of bread not two inches square; the tragic, bewildered stare of the thousands who had given up and were merely waiting for the mist to close down over their eyes and over their pain.
These are the sights to be seen whenever the rivers overflow. The ordinary spectator saw and pitied; Bailie saw and thought.
He and other missionaries had been doling out food to some of these refugees. And yet how little impression had been made ! One missionary had been heard to say that he felt proud and grateful to have the opportunity of doing such work. Bailie did not feel proud and grateful; instead he felt humiliated and disgraced by the hopelessness and littleness of what he and the others had been doing.
He came to the grounds of the old examination halls. Here a Chinese relief agency, the Chung Ren Tang or Guild of Mercy, was distributing rice gruel to twenty thousand people every day. What a splendid service ! And yet how " splendid " ? To be sure, some lives were saved. But the work was so slight in proportion to the problem that in most cases it merely accomplished a postponement of death for a few days, so that a man, instead of dying on Monday, died on Friday. And the next year there would probably be another famine and more food would be doled out, and this would be repeated the next year, and the next year, and the next.
The Best Cure Is Prevention
There are two ways of attending to a leaky pail. One is to keep pouring water into it everlastingly so that it may remain full. The other is to plug up the leak. Surely there can be no question as to which method is the more sensible. And yet the best citizens and foreigners in Nanking, their hearts thrilling to the nobility of their task, continued to pour a pitiful stream of rice porridge down the bottomless throat of Famine.
Upon reaching the ancient examination halls, Bailie was met by a guard of soldiers armed with heavy sticks and led through the frantic, starving mob until' he reached the battalion of immense pots or kangs containing the rice porridge.
He was brought to a Mr. Chang, a fine old Chinese, who was directing the work. Bailie sincerely complimented him upon the good that he was doing, for Bailie knew that to feed the hungry is always good work, even though there may sometimes be a better work.
Then the substance of the conversation was about as follows:
" What steps," said Bailie, " are being taken to avert another such disaster ?
Mr. Chang shrugged his shoulders.
" That must be done by the officials," he answered. " No private person dare attempt any such thing,"
' Bailie now spoke aloud the great idea that had been taking form in his mind during the last few days.
"There is plenty of waste land yonder," he said, pointing to Purple Mountain which reared its immense bulk just beyond the edge of the city. " Why could not some of these people be put to work in breaking up and planting some of that land? The money that is now being spent in giving rice might be used in paving them. After the lands have been improved they can be given to refugees who have no land, and in that way a large number of these people can be put beyond want and made permanently self-supporting."
"But I have not the- power to secure these lands," said Mr. Chang, and turned back to his work.
Paupers Made Self-Supporting Farmers
Bailie had no more power than Mr. Chang, but he did not give up so easily. It took nearly three years of hard fighting to obtain enough money from foreign friends and to bring enough pressure to bear upon local officials to secure those lands. Then Professor Bailie organized a local branch of the Chinese Colonization Association and placed in its hands one thou-sand English acres of land on the slope of Purple Mountain. Wealthy Chinese, who had formerly op-posed his project, were impressed by his indomitable perseverance, and now cheerfully became members of the new organization. Although the flood of the year 1910 was a thing of the past, its victims had not all disappeared and new floods had added to their numbers. Bailie had no difficulty in finding seven hundred starving men who were willing and eager to come out and till the land of Purple Mountain. The Colonization Association paid them a wage and thus they and their wives and children, several thou-sand people in all, were immediately lifted out of pauperism.
Professor Bailie's plan was to clear and drain a tract of land, using famine refugee laborers working in gangs under supervision. The men on this work were to be watched, and from them would be selected a few who with their families, would be put in tentative occupation of farms from twenty to fifty mow in area, with the prospect, if they proved industrious and honest, of becoming settled tenants.
The tenants would be assisted until the first crop was harvested and would thereafter be expected to support themselves and, in addition, to pay taxes sufficient to meet any government tax on the property, and interest on the money expended, in giving them a start until the whole sum was repaid.
Of course Bailie could not rehabilitate all the famine refugees of China. He could directly help only a few hundred or a few thousand at most. But he had sufficient faith in his experiment to believe that its success would establish a method which the central government, as well as private agencies, could apply elsewhere throughout China and thus help the millions.
Ancestor Worship versus Bailie Logic
When Bailie set out to till his land, his first problem was graves. Many of the good, level, tillable spaces on the mountainside were covered with the homes of the dead. China, of course, is the land of ancestor-worship and to desecrate the abiding place of the worshiped beings would be quite out of the question. Bailie, however, was fully accustomed to doing things that were apparently out of the question. He set his men to work digging up the graves.
The coffins were removed to a cemetery. Wherever a coffin was taken out, the spot was marked with a number and the new grave was marked with the same number. In most cases, however, the graves were so ancient that no trace of coffin or corpse was visible. Very soon the inevitable happened. The gentry of the countryside held a meeting and from this meeting a deputation was sent to reason with Professor Bailie.
" How is it," said their spokesman, "that you, being a good man and wanting to benefit our country, have come out here to tear up these graves?"
Bailie carries a spirit of hearty good-fellowship around with him. He welcomed his visitors cordially and invited them to go up and examine the graves for themselves. He was genial and they had such a good time that it is probable he had them practically won over to his point of view even before he told them what his point of view was. There are personalities who are capable of that. When they had looked about he said to them :
" As you see, these graves are very old and have no owners. In most cases there is no trace of occupancy, but whenever any remains are found they are respectfully boxed up and buried in a cemetery. More, over, gentlemen, these dead do not require so much land, whereas these hundreds of families who are breaking up the land are dying from hunger."
" Uai kueh ren pub tso," said the spokesman, turning to his colleagues. " The foreigner isn't far astray." And after chatting a while longer with Bailie and some of his men, they all went away satisfied.
Dead Are More Important Than the Living
This question of graves has a vital bearing upon the subsistence of the workers of China, and Bailie feels very strongly about it. He says : " The present system, or lack of system, of burial in China is a curse to the country. Public cemeteries should be laid out and properly beautified and the people should be compelled to bury their dead there; to move those buried in other places to their family plot in the cemetery, and should be placed under a heavy fine if they refuse to do so. ,Failing this, it is next to impossible to use the vacant lands of these provinces, as there are so many graves scattered about in whatever place the fung-shui doctrine determined. No sooner does any one begin to use the land near the grave than some wicked, designing person who wants to blackmail the really good workingmen, raises a hornet's nest, and so fearful do all become of seeming to be employed in the leveling of graves that rather than bear the odium attached to it, they simply leave the whole district undeveloped. The country that attaches more importance to the graves of the dead than it does to the lives of its present inhabitants, and will allow the grave of General Wong to occupy ten mow of good land maintained in an unkempt condition while the Chen family of seven mouths have a hut on a corner of this same grave, and attempt to support themselves by digging roots of trees and the like from this and the hundreds of graves surrounding-while they are most anxious to break up and cultivate some of this very land the country, I say, that does this is committing suicide and will have its land full of the graves of the wealthy dead and the poor provided for. Surely it is time for China to wake up on this question. If she does not use these lands in time to come some other people will."
So successful was Bailie's colonization work that not only did the Chinese government give the Association an additional ten thousand acres of Purple Mountain, but another large tract of land was secured at Lai An Hsien and another branch association was organized there.
Formerly this country was infested with robbers. Now robbery is almost unknown. And Bailie ascribes as the explanation the fact that the Association is employing and feeding the robbers ! Now, at Purple
Mountain and Lai An Hsien, the huts of colonists and their well-tilled fields cover thousands of acres that were formerly waste lands and considered absolutely worthless for cultivation. Starving, penniless refugees have been financially helped in beginning homes and farms, and have later paid back with interest all that was expended upon them. Paupers, beggars, and robbers have been transformed into self-respecting, self-reliant citizens.
Mr. Bailie demonstrated to the Chinese government, which was watching his experiment closely, three things: first, that much land now regarded as useless is fit for agriculture; second, that agricultural loans are fully practicable; third, that honest work will do more than alms for famine refugees.
Giving China a Lesson in Forestation
But Bailie did not stop there. He knew that while it is better to employ than to pauperize a famine victim, it would be even better to prevent the famine. He knew that behind famine is flood and behind flood is lack of trees. Therefore he resolved that there should be set before the eyes of China a great object-lesson in forestation.
Accordingly, he looked about for a place to establish a tree nursery. The task must have seemed hopeless enough to his companions, for Purple Mountain was a barren hill and there was no soil that was good enough to serve the purposes of a first-class nursery, but Bailie, as usual, soon had an inspiration. Not far away was a large, stagnant pond which went under the inappropriately attractive name of Lotus Lake. Bailie put a regiment of his one-time paupers, now eager, competent workers, on the job of digging up the humus from the bottom of Lotus Lake, breaking it into fine particles, mixing it with heavy clay soil and a little sand, and carting it to the site chosen for the nursery. Thus Bailie took up the floor of a lake and plastered it on the mountainside half-way up to serve as a breeding-ground for his forests. When three thousand cart-loads of the material had been deposited, seeds were planted, and after the seedlings had attained some growth they were transplanted in the cruder soil of the mountain. Thousands upon thou-sands of lusty young trees, black locust, walnut, yellow pine, white pine, ginkgo, candleberry trees, maple, Osage orange, apple, pear, peach, persimmon, apricot, plum, prune, cherry, fig, and many others were so planted.
But even the course of common sense does not always run quite smoothly. Superstition entered the scene and in a few hours destroyed two hundred thousand of Bailie's trees. An old woman burning paper money at the grave of her ancestors inadvertently started a fire which before it could be put out, burnt over the entire flank of the mountain.
Needless to say, this disaster did not halt Bailie but merely gave him another of his inevitable inspirations. He would plant more trees and, at regular intervals, make long, treeless strips or fire-breaks forty feet wide, just wide enough so that no ordinary fire could jump them. Moreover, up and down these strips he would build brick houses in which would be established colonists who would cultivate the land of the fire-breaks, and incidentally guard the forest in their vicinity. Thus the work of forest protection would be automatic and would cost nothing.
This plan was carried out, and when Joseph Bailie took me to his mountain one rainy, midsummer day in 1915, I saw rising up into the shower a giant of nature wearing a striped dress of green and yellow, the green being forest and the yellow the fire-breaks. Occasionally on the fire-breaks appeared a red spot which marked the brick home of a colonizing family. We tramped through the rain and mud from house to house. I have never seen broader smiles than those which greeted Bailie. No man ever got a more heart-felt welcome than did this big, genial Irishman in his rough clothes and rubber boots up to his knees Bailie the farmer, but also Bailie the mathematician, who knew how to put two and two together to make human happiness.
The Nation's First Arbor Day
Without any apparent reason Mr. Bailie led me through a series of mud-holes to a small knoll where, so far as one could make out, there was absolutely nothing to see. Almost under foot was an unimportant-looking sprig a few inches tall. " This," said Bailie, " is the most distinguished tree on the whole mountain."
After he had told me its story I realized that probably he should have called it not merely the most distinguished tree on the mountain, but the most distinguished in all China. That little sprig represented the first official tree-planting in the history of China. On the day that it was put in the ground, Arbor Day was established for the whole nation. The tree was planted by the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce of the Chinese Republic. His Excellency Chang Chien, had long been watching and admiring Bailie's work and at his request the distinguished man made a special trip to Nanking and with many other prominent officials visited Purple Mountain, where he took the chief part in a formal ceremony of tree-planting, which, as he said, was symbolical, for it was the be-ginning and example of a great movement. In his address following the ceremony he expressed his hope that the particular tree which he had planted would live and grow, and his greater hope that the idea which the tree represented would also live and would scatter its seed in the farthest reaches of the re-public.
It is interesting to note that the day which Irish wit had suggested as the national Arbor Day of China was already a national holiday called Ching Ming, upon which occasion multitudes of people were accustomed to go out into the country and burn bushes, or chop down small trees or shrubs that had grown up around the graves of their ancestors. Now the day of forest destruction had been converted, by authority of the Chinese government, into a day of protection and propagation.
A New Vocation for China's Youth
There was another event that the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce celebrated during his visit to Nanking. This was the fruition of another of Bailie's dreams the official opening of the School of Forestry of the University of Nanking, the first school of its kind in China. Bailie had not been content to present his afforested mountain as a great example to China. He wanted to train young forestry experts who would take the message of forestation to the farthest parts of the republic.
In organizing this project he was aided by the advice and cooperation of Major Ahern, Director of the Bureau of Forestry of the Philippines. The new school of forestry opened on March 15, 1915, with an initial enrolment of seventeen students. The Chinese government made an appropriation of three thousand dollars to the school and substantial help was also given by the Famine Relief Committee, the governor of Anhwei, the governor of Shantung, and others.
At first the students were put to work on the study of English. A knowledge of English was necessary before the literature of forestry could be studied, since there is no literature of value on that subject in the Chinese language. In the meantime, however, the students were given practical field work and plenty of it. The thousands of workmen engaged in agri. culture, tree planting, and building on Purple Mountain, required supervision. The students soon learned that supervision did not mean standing on a hilltop and shouting orders. It meant getting right down among the coolies and doing everything from digging fertilizer and carrying bricks, to preparing chicken feed. In China it has been considered a disgrace to work with the hands. Fine gentlemen permit their finger nails to grow out slender and fragile an inch or two in length to serve as an indication that they never do any manual work. What an experience it was for the sons of nobility, and the grandson of a cabinet official, who was one of the pupils, to get their hands blistered and bleeding, and their delicate bodies sweating in common labor, shoulder to shoulder with an army of illiterate famine refugees! But Bailie did it, too, and he was stern in the requirements that he made upon his young foresters, coolie and gentleman alike.
The Day of Long Finger Nails Is Passing
" The credit for taking care of cattle and fowls," Bailie wrote to a Chinese newspaper, " for digging a drain, plowing a furrow, preparing land for a nursery, planting the seeds and trees, and pruning trees, will count just as much as knowledge of agronomy or plant physiology. The student who will not learn the use of the pick and shovel, the plow, the seeder, and the mower will be treated in the Department of Agriculture just as a student who will not learn to use the knife or the forceps in the Department of Medicine would be treated. The decision as to whether a student will be permitted to take his second and third years' course will depend to a great extent on how he has learned his field work during the first year, and especially on his practical efficiency. We want to train men who can go out and take charge of a school and experimental station on an estate, and a man who is accustomed to take responsibility while in school will find no difficulty in the transition from Nanking to a new post. Men who are looking forward to making the knowledge gained at our school a means of gaining an official position, or of acquiring any situation by which they can sit in an office and get other men to do the actual work, will be disappointed if they apply and are admitted. There are, according to to-day's paper (May 14, 1914) one hundred and ten thousand office seekers in Peking now, which is sufficient, whereas I don't know of one hundred and ten men qualified actually on the job in industrial concerns. Any fellow who has the grit to work and isn't afraid to dirty his hands and shoes when the occasion demands it, will find himself in congenial company among us."
The introduction of the conception of the dignity of labor is one of the finest of Bailie's' achievements. China will not move ahead industrially until her men of education learn that to practise coal-mining, agriculture, and other industries of the shovel and hoe, is just as worthy as to practise the dainty art of calligraphy with a gold-mounted brush.
Scholar as Well as Farmer
However, although Bailie believed in plenty of field work, he also believed that practical efficiency must be backed up by a thorough training in theory. His class work is as stiff as his field work. Here, for example, are some of the courses of study' prescribed for his students in agriculture and forestry during their term of four years in the University : English, Chinese, biology, inorganic chemistry, geology, soil technology, surveying, qualitative chemical analysis, botany, farm crops, silvics, meteorology, quantitative chemical analysis, entomology, horticulture, plant physiology, manures and fertilizers, principles of forestry, agricultural chemistry, economic entomology, taxonomy of the higher plants, economics, animal husbandry, rural economics, fish culture, methods of experimentation, farm management, poultry management, pomology, irrigation and drainage, rural social conditions, plant breeding, forest seeding and planting, dendrology, forest laws, forest utilization, forest physiography, forest entomology, history of forestry, forest mensuration, forest finance, wood technology, forest pathology, wood preservation, forest-working plans.
Bailie has not only proved himself to be a good mathematician, a scientific farmer, and a great humanist with a practical working sympathy for China's millions of non-producers, who he thinks can be made happy and efficient producers, but he has also shown himself to be a thorough scholar and educator.
So impressed was the Chinese government by the nature of the training that was being given at Nan-king University, that they finally proposed to disband the Government School of Forestry which they had been maintaining in Peking, and to send twenty-four of their best students to Nanking where they would continue their work under the direction of Professor Bailie. The Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, in suggesting the change, told Mr. Bailie frankly that the Government School, in spite of all the money that had been put into it, was not as efficient as his, and spoke of the Nanking school in flattering terms. Thus Bailie's school was indorsed as the pivotal institution of the nation for the teaching of agriculture and forestry.
Thinking in Terms of Men, Not Trees
It is characteristic of Bailie that he never thinks merely in terms of trees, or plows, or vegetables, but always in terms of the human element, the workers of China and those who should be workers and are not. This appears in his colonization work for giving jobs to people who had none, and in his forestation work for preventing flood and famine from taking away jobs from people who had them.
The same spirit is evident in his establishment of a so-called 'Tree-Seed Exchange." He was not particularly interested in tree-seeds, but in the people who would gather them. His proposal was that the poor of China should collect seeds and send them to him to be paid for at a good rate, and that the seeds should be used either in his own forestation projects or sold in the open market.
His reasons for purchasing Chinese seeds in preference to buying from foreign countries were given by him as follows:
"1. All the money paid goes to help the poor of China.
"2. This is in reality creating a new industry and one badly needed to help us in forestry work.
3. We shall enlist the services of the very poor and of those who are now destitute. These people are at present the greatest enemies to forestry in China, as the poor creatures cut down and dig up roots to sell for a few cents with which to purchase food to keep themselves alive. Now if we can enlist great numbers of these, even for a short time every year, in collecting tree-seeds for which we pay a fair price, they will soon begin to realize that it is to their own advantage to protect the trees. As most of the seeds would be collected by the children we would be educating the rising generation in forestry. The purchasing of native tree seeds would convert the greatest enemies of forestry into our best friends and coworkers.
" 4. The native trees are more likely to succeed than those imported.
" 5. The seeds purchased from foreign countries cost, laid down here, from ten to five hundred times the cost of native seeds, of the very same kinds, and at the same time a very big risk is run in importing seeds, since a great many lose their power of germination in crossing the ocean.
"6. Now that the vacant hills are so many and the seed-bearing trees so few, compared with the great areas to be planted, we need to conserve all the seeds we can, of course using judgment in the selection of the seeds that we handle. Every one hundred dollars spent this coming autumn in purchasing seeds from the poor in China, not only relieves that much want, but makes it possible to have several millions of young trees for planting.
" Let us all join in developing the natural resources of China, using the things that are running to waste around us to help in making this country what it must one day become, the greatest and most beautiful country on God's earth."
Securing Action on the Part of the Government
In all his activities it was Professor Bailie's ambition to stimulate to action the Chinese government which, being the most powerful agency in the nation, was best fitted to spread the gospel of the conservation of life and labor throughout China. This ambition is being realized. Provincial governors are coming from afar to look at Bailie's work, and they go back and start similar or related work in their own provinces. The Governor of Anhwei requested Bailie's assistance in starting no less than seven great enter-prises in his province : I, the afforestation of the mountains of the province; 2, the development of a stock ranch and general farm; 3, the development of the alkali beds of the province; 4, the development of a tannery; 5, the development of the manufacture of phosphorus from bones and the manufacture of bone manure; 6, the manufacture of straw hats; 7, the development of the manufacture of paper. Professor Bailie cooperated in this plan by securing Christian experts from America to head these industries.
The Chinese Arbor Day, conceived by Joseph Bailie, inaugurated on the slope of Purple Mountain, was later officially established by Presidential mandate, and is now observed annually throughout the republic. The government issues a pamphlet in which a planting ceremony is outlined and the following suggestions are given:
" After the planting ceremony is over the students might be given an opportunity to write or to discuss the importance of forest trees; how they supply material for homes, for fuel, and for thousands of industries; how they store water for streams to quench men's thirst, to irrigate their lands, to drive their mills, and to fill their river streams for vast traffic of inland navigation; how they influence rainfall, humidity, sanitation; and how they protect useful wild life and increase the beauty of the country."
From the tenor of these suggestions it may be concluded that the government has caught a very real glimpse of the significance of forestation. The observance of Arbor Day will spread this knowledge, which has already been gained by the officials, throughout the great mass of the people.
Day of Uprooting Made a Day of Tree-Planting
In 1916 tens of thousands of trees were planted by school children, and by the military in all sections of China. In the Province of Kiangsi alone twelve thousand trees were planted on the day formerly observed for tree destruction. When Arbor Day came around in the year 1917, the festival was personally attended for the first time by the President of the republic in the sacred grounds of the Temple of Heaven where emperors used to bend their knees in the worship of heaven, and earth, and the gods of war. Although the day of gold brocade, chants, and burnt offerings is past, still the modern ceremony of tree-planting was conducted not without some quaint touches of Oriental dignity. Here is the official pro-gram as published in the Peking Gazette on the morning of Arbor Day:
" When the President arrives the band plays music and all the officials will rise and take off their hats. The Minister of Agriculture and Commerce will escort the President to the restroom. The official in charge will then report to the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce that everything is ready, upon which the latter escorts the President to the ground for tree-planting. The President will be followed in the procession by the premier, the cabinet ministers, and other officials. When the President arrives at the ground, one official in charge will support the tree to be planted while another requests the President to perform the ceremony. The President will then personally dig the ground and plant the tree. He also waters the tree three times. This ceremony will be reported by the premier and other officials. The President will leave the ground with the band playing and the officials baring their heads."
Many hundreds of trees were planted on that day. A large part of the grounds of the Temple of Heaven had been permanently set aside for afforestation and experimentation. Places formerly occupied by the trappings of ceremonial worship were now taken up by agricultural exhibits consisting of samples of lumber, seeds, trees, and plants collected from all parts of China. At the present time the trees that have been taken from the nurseries of the Temple of Heaven and transplanted on the hills near Peking number consider-ably more than half a million. Arbor Day has be-come firmly established. And in many parts of China the people do not even wait for Arbor Day. Many occasions of rejoicing, such as marriages, births, and festivals, are commemorated by a tree-planting. China is getting the tree-planting habit.
Experimental Stations Established
Another reaction of Bailie's work upon those in authority is seen in the establishment by the government of forestry experimental stations in many parts of China. No station was opened in Kiangsi, but Bailie's mountain was officially named as the experimental station for that province.
Recently a regular Forest Service, with large scope, has been inaugurated. Its stated purpose is to reforest waste lands, thus aiding the common people by relieving the present scarcity and high price of timber and fire-wood; to reforest the more important river sheds, thus preventing the rivers from flooding and wiping out the employment of hundreds of thousands of the nation's producers; to protect the existing forests; to encourage private parties to take up forestry as a profitable business; to conduct a vigorous pro-forestry publicity campaign for the education of all classes of the people; and to train up a corps of young Chinese experts to help direct the colossal job of reforesting China.
Thus Bailie's work is being multiplied. It is doubtful if any other one man has done as much for the workers of China.
Lifting the Eyes of China's Toilers
Look again at the picture of the past. Floods dumped millions of people jobless on the cities. They glutted the labor market. They brought down wages by their competition. They increased the number and decreased the pay of riksha runners, domestic servants, and factory workers. They indulged in petty theft in order to keep alive. They raised the cost of farm products by their natural demand for food while their farms, which should have been producing food, were lying idle.
Now turn to the picture of the future. In a reforested China it will be possible for these people to remain in employment on their farms. They will keep low the national cost of living by their uninterrupted production of foodstuffs. Because they stay out of the cities, competition there will be less severe, wages higher, treatment of employees better, hours shorter, and toil in general less grinding.
It should be with a sense of divine assurance that Joseph Bailie, true Christian missionary, continues his loving labor of unbending the backs of China's toilers so that they may stand erect for the first time; may lift up their eyes from the dirt of the struggle for existence; may gaze out with enlightened vision over an unfamiliar world of knowledge; perhaps even may look up and see the stars !