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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 6, 1908)
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PACES 1 TO 4.
Per all th Mowo
THE OMAHA DEB
Best A". Vest
VOL. XXXVIII NO.
OMAIIA, SUNDAY" MOKNINC5, DKCEMHKIi ., 1D0S.
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
COMMISSION TO STUDY COUNTRY LIFE IN UNITED STATES
Inquiry That May Bring Results of Greatest Good to Society in General Set on Foot by President Roosevelt As an Outcome of His Personal Study of Social Conditions in Rural Districts
Mich., outlined the work of the com
ml83lon which has since come into
being. He laid it down ac a funda
mental proposition that beyond the
Important business of producing good
crops It was of vastly more Importance
that the farms of the United States
should produce a crop of manhood
and womanhood. This may be stat
ing the problem in a very general way,
but reduced to Its lowest terms, there
are certain concrete things which
greatly simplify the whole.
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KENTON I BUTTER FIELD.
THAT the corn show Is Indeed national and sot sectional In
its scope has been proven in many ways, but nothing gives
greater emphasis to the fact than the decision of the
Commission on Country Life to give two days of the lim
ited time allowed It to conferences with the representative
men of the farm and allied Industries who will be In Omaha during
the coming exposition.
It is only recently that the commission was appointed and the
president has requested that they make a preliminary report by
January 1, that he may embody a portion at least of their recom
mendations In the message which he Is preparing to congress. With
tl.is time limit set upon them it may be seen that the estimate they
l.ave placed on the corn show is no slight one.
The Commission on Country Life was appointed as the result
of a widespread feeling, which President Roosevelt
ha felt snd voiced, that life In the country is not
as livable as it should and might easily be. There
me conditions, social, educational, sanitary and
"foromic which may be Improved with the result
t?a. dwellers away from the cities may have many
of lh- advantages and escape many of the discom
Tcrtf of urban life.
" 1 cnnmlssion will be In Omaha for two days
err' hey have set as their time the first two days
rf t e corn show, December 9 and 10. Invitations
IP" rifen issued to J50 representative men to Vt
men them informally and give the commission the " " ti .
Some of the subjects
which are being consid
ered by the commission
and which will be inves
tigated by them during
their stay in Omaha
may be enumerated
Improvement of coun
try schools so that It
will not be necessary for
farmers to move to
town or send the chil
dren there to get graded
or high school work.
The Improvement of country roads and establishing a better
system of caring for them.
Practical plans for the establishment of social centers in coun
try communities, which will be attractive enough to overcome the
tendency to move to the centers of population.
Increasing the practical usefulness of the country church.
Promotion of intellectual interests by the establishment of
libraries, lecture courses, farmers' Institutes and similar affairs.
Establishment of a system'of co-operative buying and market
ing among farmers, which will aid in making them independent of
middle men and troublesome problems of transportation.
The creation of a public sentiment which will demand and ob
tain a parcels post.
Encouragement of various formB of co-operation, such as
benefit of their knowledge and insight into the present conditions of mutUal Insurance companies, creameries and other Institutions
larm life and the improvement which are possible and practical. An lncrea8e of interest in the aesthetic and sanitary side of
I lie men W li U UKVO UCCU M&CU IU ucawao vw wuiu"owm
are ot threo classes. First of all are representatives of the farmers
themselves. Then there will be men who handle the products of
fl!.e larm, including the manufacturers of cereal products, and also
ttiere will be men who manage the leading papers devoted to agri
culture and rural life. It is the hope of the commission that the
hearings will be entirely Informal, that they meet those who best
km w and who can best Interpret the real conditions which now pre
vail en the farm and who can show in what ways they may be
lmj ro: ed.
1 he commission, as selected by the president, was most happily
ch rei . It is composed of men. each one of whom Is an expert in
his ov n l.ne. and all have proved their worth by the success they
have- i lade. As the commission now stands it consists of Prof. L. H.
B.-.ilej. d an of the New York Agricultural college, chairman; Henry
Yallae of Des Moines, a practical farmer and editor of the Wallace
Farmer; President Kenyon L. Butterfield of the Massachusetts Agri
cultural college; Gifford Plnchot, government forester; Walter H.
Page, editor of the World's Work, and W. A, Beard of Sacramento,
Pinchot An Enthusiast
Cf these men probably the one beBt known is Mr. Pinchot. He
is of Lti u.iuaual sart. First of all he is a close friend of President
KcdHct'elt, he u a millionaire, Is absolutely devoid of political ambi
tion a:id is an enthusiast on the subject of preserving and renewing
tte foittts of the nation. When he was a young man hi3 father, a
iiiulti-iuiiiionalre, sent him to Germany to round out his education
t.i out cf their best universities. While there Pinchot fell in love
.i . t'jat old German law which requires that when a tree is cut
co. u another must be planted in its place.
ho mute back to the United States thoroughly in love with the
suL.cU oi forestry and has made it the study of his life. Since be
uit ai pointed government forester, he has, with the approval and
buppoit cf the president, inaugurated a forestry policy which Is
mu.cal even to the point of being drastic, and pressure of every
col.- livable kind has been brought to have him modify it. But he is
a i -u whom it la not easy to get in a corner. He is rich enough
ibi . no money consideration can move him. He has no political
as. ;aucns and so escapes that usually vulnerable situation. He has
tu. ci.itiience of the president, with whom he is thoroughly In ac
c r J. He spends many times the salary he receives from the gov
ern., ent in paying assistants who could not be secured on the meager
j. ay tl o ccvernment allows.
In his studies of the forest situation he has been over the entire
co '. try. He has lived among the poorest and can tell of many
i l u i ent In seeking sleep on the bare floor of some cabin far
iro , iv.llzatlon. He knows ot the deadly monotony and the un
ending r. onotony which fills the lives of these people, and he be
1 evts that above the work of creating new institutions Is the work
i: eiucatlrtg the country dwellers to appreciate those they have and
l.'iin a public sentiment which will of itself cause them to demand
ard oMatn better conditions.
At the present time the commission to on the Pacific coast,
v. here they are holding conferences with the leading farmers and
r harj men of California. San Francisco. Sacramento and other
r!: ces have been visited and the return trip will be begun in time to
enable them to reach Omaha on the date announced.
:. Jj J
a problem which is admitted to be the
niost difficult of ell.
Thpse are some of the most salient
points which come up in such an In
vestigation as the commission Is now
making There are a thousand others
which will suggest themselves to even
a superficial student of the peculiar
conditions of country life, but enough
have been mentioned to give an Idea
of the scope of the work to be done
and Its Importance to those who till
the soil and provide the food of the
he said: "We must make our effort to keep the people on the farm
once they are there; not to toll them away from the city to the
Even a mere reading of the enun.erated objects which the com
mission now has under consideration will show that when they are
worked out and put into operation, even In the most gradual and
conservative manner, there is going to result a change In country life
which will amount to a social revolution, and some of the objects
proposed are certain to meet with vigorous and strenuous opposi
tion lrom those who are reaping benefits from the present organiza
tion of country life.
Consider the one project of co-operation among the farmers.
If this should be worked out until it becomes a nation-wide fact
instead of a theory, it will mean the death-knell of the country town.
These centers of life are primarily trading points
for the territory which they serve, and secondarily.
they furnish the social and educational featirea
which are demanded by the population immediately
surrounding them. The charge which is mads
against these towns is that they aro wasteful. They
put a heavy tax on the resources of the farmer
without any adequate recompense. They are charged
with being socially demoralizing, as failures as In
dustrial centers and unsatisfactory from an educa
tional standpoint. It is true their schools are better
than those in the country, but they are not good
and do not furnish the education which should be
WALTER H. PAGE.
believes, and so do
those whom he has ap
pointed on this commis
sion, that the city has
had its share of atten
tion. The problems of
the unemployed, the
sick and Indigent, the
criminal classes, over
houses, the fight against
the social evil and the
liquor traffic, all have
been studied for years. Men and women have given years of work
and money without end and no means have been spared to find some
solution of these evils. Books have been written, lecturers have
offered panaceas, pulpits have thundered with explanations, but to
many it has never even occurred that there may be problems of
country life which are equally Important and which will as well re
The commission has little faith in the various plans which have
been proposed to Induce people to leave the cities and locate on the
farm. The Salvation army and other philanthropic organization!
have from time to time undertaken this work and have established
colonies of various sorts, but no practical results have been obtained.
It Is one of the peculiarities of human nature that even the poorest
of the residents of the New York east side prefer their present abject
condition to life in the country, and even in Isolated cases where
they have been Induced to remove to a farm, the almost always
become dissatisfied and refuse to stay, and that ends the experiment
so far as they are concerned.
Mr. Pinchot stated the' feeling of the entire commission when
ft. i f yM"1 .' '.y'-
farm life, with reference to more attractive residences, lawns,
Plans for improving the condition of the women of the farm.
Followers of Vedanta at Worship
What They Expect to Do
But the question may well be asked: What is this commission
to do.' How are they going about thla great question of making
country life more pleasant, more attractive? What can they suggest
or ucWse which will be practical and at the same time effective?
ill it not result in a voluminous report, which will be filled vlth
statistics, but which will be of value from an academic standpoint
only? Will they be able to rise above merely material condition!
and prove equal to the task of appreciating the inner life of the men
and women who have lived face to face with the lonellnesa and,
otten. with the drudgery of the agricultural vocation?
Iu the minds of the few to whom this project Is not new or
novel, but to whom it ha been an ever-present problem for many
years, there is nothing vague or uncertain in the work which the
commission is to perform. A number of specific problems are In
volved, and while their handling will Involve much research, investi
gation and tact, yet the results aimed at are clear and well defined
and certain objects are being steadily worked for and never lost
Wore thaa a ta .president, la a speech at Lansing,
NEW YORK, Dec. 5. "A new re
ligion is born in New York every
bo one of the Vedantic faith ex
presses herself after the regular
Sunday morning service.
She points with pride to the fact that
Vedanta has flourished here since Swaml
Vlvekananda, the founder of the Manhattan
sect, came to deliver lectures In New York
as delegate to the Parliament of Religions
in 1894. At first the followers of Vedanta,
few in number, met here and there In hired
rooms and halls. In October, 1899, the
Vkdanta society established fixed headquar
ters, and the fine library, which is one of its
most salient features, had its beginning at
In tho spring of 1900, augmented and
strengthened by the addition of many new
members and students, the society took more
detlrable quarters at 102 Ea6t Fifty-eighth
street. Public lectures were given at Car
negie hall and other places and In 1904 the
society moved again to a large house at 62
West Seventy-first street. Lately, grown
still larger, it has moved to 135 West Eigh
There are approximately 150 members
on the rolls and many students who expect
to embrace the Vedantic faith. The fees of
members are small, only J 25 a year, pay
ment of which secures all the privileges of
the services and lectures, the library, talk!
with the residing Swamls and the classes in
Yoga and free use of the meditation room
The admission to membership is not ob
tained by the asking, but an examination la
made to determine whether the applicant Is
moved by mere curiosity or by some deepei
motive in seeking membership.
"We are not desirous of a large member
ship," one of the society explains; "In fact,
we look upon that as rather a detriment in
many ways. Vedanta Is the religion that
one cornea to after one has passed through
the preliminaries of other faiths, and so, in
the nature of things, it could not reach the
great mass of people."
The Sun reporter asks what the Vedan
tins think of the Emmanuel movement
ChiisHon Science and other similar creeds.
"Christian Science." one says quickly,
"la, at.ci all, biily the Americanized Budd
hism, or the religion of the Oriental brought
down to and adopted to our western condi
tions. Mrs. Mary Baker O. Eddy did not
, hesitate to admit in her earlier books the
help that ahe had obtained from Hindu
"When people come here and aay that
they have backachea or headaches and de
sire to ga'n relief we tell them very courte
ously that what they probably need Is the
Christian Science treatment or that ot the
Emmanuel, for we do not wish to have the
Vedantic religion connocted in the minds of
the public with physical ailment. Vedanta
does not turn Its back on such necessary
parts ot our existence as the physical help
in time of sickness, but wants to reach those
through the spiritual path."
As the conversation proceeds people begin
to drop in for the regular Sunday service.
Tbtre is a noticeable lack of the freakiuess
iu dress and manner that is associated in
th public mind with strange creeds.
The men, who predominate in number,
are of all ages, from the young business man
with alert glance and clear eyes to the ray
haired veteran who, to Judge from the ab
sence of worry lines, has certainly gained
some help from the Oriental doctrine. The
women wear up-to-date costumes.
The chairs in the two rooms are soon
Billed and at 11 precisely a young woman,
one of the officers of the society, enters with
a lighted taper. She approaches the altar
on the side on which are vases of Easter
lilies, sticks ot Incenso and candles in cobra
cat dlesticks. Having lighted candles and
incense, she takes her place with the rest
of the waiting members.
Besides tho altar, the room set apart for
worship la practically without ornament.
On a raised platform in the center is a high
chair with carved back and above it a star,
in the center of which is an inscription o'
which "I am He" is somewhat near a literal
rendering. The toning of the room, paper
and hangings is quiet and there Is a certain
atmosphere of peace apparent to even the
casual dropper-ln, while the members bask
in it viBlbly.
Someone leans over and explains the
symbols of worship.
"The altar stands far the altar of the
heart and is dedicated to the Supreme Spirit,
which is the soul of our souls and whose
nature is Absolute Existence, Intelligence
and Bliss. It Is dedicated to the self-effulgent
light of the Sun of Infinite Wisdom,
which dispels the darkness of ignorance in
the human heart,
"It is not meant for any individual spirit,
but for the Infinite spirit which is the source
of all personal manifestations and divine in
carnations. A worshipper of Christ should
think of Christ upon the altar, a worshipper
ef Buddha or Krishna, Shiva, Jehovah or
Allah should think of his ideal as seated
upon this symbolic altar of the heart.
"In every case it should be remembered
that the altar stands as the symbol ot the
heart of the worshipper. Names and forms
are merely the manifestations ot the one
nameless and formless infinite being to
whom the Vedanta altar Is dedicated."
The speaker slU back and loses herself
in a reverie that her explanation has evoked,
while on the other side a student takes up
tho lesson and proceeds with the explanation
of the other symbols.
"The light of the candle is the symbol
of the light of the Intellect. It is the light
of the pure Intellect that reveals the spirit
seated upon the altar of the heart. Purified
heart and intellect must be united before
spiritual .realization is attained. '
"Flowers ara symbolic ot the good
thoughts and pure feelings which should be
offered to the supreme spirit. When fruits
are offered they stand for the fruits of our
"The followers of Vedanta who live up
to their professed creed spend half an hour
every day In meditation. Meditation, we
bel'eve, is the most important step in the
path of spiritual progress."
Like the first speaker, the second whis
perer becomes suddenly quiet, lost in one of
the trances which pervade the assembly and
to which the perfume of flowers and Incense
Soft steps Approach. The worshippers
become more alert, although they do not
turn their heads. Coming through the side
dcor, tall, erect and graceful, Swaml Para
He does not look on close scrutiny more
than 25. His face is of the ageless type.
He Is a fine type of the intellectual Hindu.
' Without his saying a word his personality is
felt at once.
He sits In the carved chair, allows his
dark eyes to g'.ance over the worshippers
and, clasping his hands in front of him, in
vites to silence. ' His own eyes close and the
eyes of the worshippers follow suit.
Swaml Paramananda is robed in an apricot-colored
gown which falls a little below
tlii, knee and if fastened about the waist
with a sash of silk of the same color. Like
the later swarais who have come to America
and discarded the turban on account of tho
comment It excited, he has no head cov?ring
and his black hair is worn short. His re
pose is absolute, there Is not a motion of an
eyelath, not a twitch of a nervous muscle.
To all Intents and purposes he Is a bronze
idol, carved and curious, not a human being.
Finally, the long, tapering fingers on his
ki res unlace, the eyes open, he stands erect
and begins in a strange singsong recitative
to Intone a prayer 'In Sanskrit, which be
translates Into English with a slight accent:
May He protect us from all evils. May
both the teacher and the taught enjoy to
gether the blessings of the Lord. May what
ever we study be well studied and strength
ening to us. May we never hate each other.
Om. Santl, Santi, Santl. (Peace. Peaoe,
Peace.) O Light of the Universe from the'
UMeal to the real lead us. i-'rora darkness
to light lead us. From death to Immortal
ity lead us. Peace: Peace; Ptacei
The last "peace" dies away in the per
fumed silence. Asain the Swami invites to
rubdltution and again, Idol like, he gives ex
ample ot one of the most persistent articles
of the cult the need of absolute spiritual
relaxation and mental rest.
By this time the worshippers themselves
have lost any semblance of restlessness.
Like the Swaml, they are able to attain per
fect rigidity of body while the mind rests.
"You cannot." he says a little later to them,
"think along straight lines unless you sit
straight, unless you walk erect." There are
no drooping shoulders visible, even those ot
(Continued oa Page Two. J,
C. S. BARRETT.
given to the boys and the girls who are to be the farmers of the next
The decline of the country town is further forecasted by tho
extension of co-operation in buying and selling the necessities and
products of the farm. Rural free delivery has already shown how
this is becoming true. The parcels post will augment this condition
and the establishment of a postal savings bank would withdraw an
other important prop, as it would enable the farmer to handle his
money in a manner entirely independent of the local financial in
stitutions. The establishment of social centers In the country, along with
the improvement of the country schools, is anether long step in tho
same direction. Farmers' social clubs, with well furnished rooms,
pool and billiard tables and reading rooms, have already become an
established fact In many places, and as the idea grows and acquires
a foothold in the country generally it will be no longer necessary
for the farmer to go to the county seat or nearest town to meet his
friends and acquaintances or to enjoy social Intercourse, As lecture
courses are added, libraries extended and institutes are formed, he
will find the social life be desires almost at his door and with the
establishment of township graded and high schools with courses
adapted to the community the advantage of the small town as tho
educational center shall have passed away.
Instead of the usual cut-and-drled curriculum as now offered In
the town schools. It is expected that there will be an effort to add
subjects of direct Interest and value to the children who live and
who expect to live on the farm. Elemental chemistry, the adaptation
of some knowledge of geology to the study of soil conditions, prac
tical botany and horticulture; these and many other lines as yet
unthought of, would add an element of Interest and practical worth
to the schools which has never heretofore been supplied.
, Good Roads Problem
The good roacs problem which the commission is taking up Is'
by no means new. For years the agitation has been spreading and
every means possible has been employed to awaken an intelligent
public interest in the subject, though the success thus far has been
indifferent. And yet, good roads are the very foundation without
which none of the other betterments for farm dwellers are possible.
The ideal school system, the lecture courses, the cluo rooms, even
the co-operative business projects, will fall abort of the mark unless
there are good roads.
In the cities this problem has already been satisfactorily worked
out In the majority of cases. In the case of country roads, however,
the solution Is more difficult. One great reason for this is that it la
a work which must be carried on with state aid, through the instru
mentality of the state legislatures, and this has often been rendered
impossible through the Indifference of the farmers themselves.
In the minds of many good roads enthusiasts, the problem will
be best worked out through the co-operation of the national, tho
state and the local governing units. Much along this line has been
already accomplished. In many states the national government has
furnlBhed experts to aid the local authorities In building tho best
possible roads with the material and the resources available. An
other proposition which is being enthusiastically advocated by Con
gressman Anthony of Kansas, iia well as others, is for the govern
ment to build a great military highway from Fort Leavenworth to
Fort Riley through the state of Kansas. They are the two largest
military posts in the United States, and it Is argued that such a road
would be a national example of tho benefit which would accrue
from national and state, as well as local co-operation.
In the minds of the commission nothing Is of more importance
than the good roads movement and no subject will receive mors
careful attention from them. f
The report which the commission will make next month will bo
merely preliminary and Indeed It Is in this light that all the work
so far accomplished is regarded, for it is recognized that it will bo a
matter ot years to bring about the changes and improvements which
will have been mentioned.
Commissioner Wallace is authority for the statement that tho
first report will recommend better roads, a better system of country
schools, a postal savings bank and a limited parcels post as tho ob
jects to be first sought by those who would make country life more
attractive. Mr. Wallace further says that the president will send to
congress a special message urging legislation along the lines de
manded by the farmers.
In the United States the farmers hold the balance of power and
if through this commission and in other ways they come to a realiza
tion of what they may and should have, all the things sought for
will be realized and the conditions of rural life will quietly but cer
tainly change to an extent which can bo described only as social