Report on

The Single Tax and Fels Fund Conference

Clarence E. Todd, Secretary

[ From the minutes take by Mr. Todd, at the conference held in San Francisco, California, 1915. Reprinted from the Single Tax Review, July-August 1915]

In place of filling in the details in these notes of the San Francisco Conference so as to provide a running story, we present, with but slight modifications, the minutes as received. These, with the excerpts from a number of the speeches, give a not unfair impression of an interesting and successful Conference. - Editor Single Tax Review.

August 23rd, 10 A.M.

The meeting was called to order by temporary Chairman Daniel Kiefer, who paid tribute to the work of Joseph Fels which is now being advanced by Mrs. Fels. Mrs. Alice Thatcher Post was chosen permanent Chairman of the Conference. Sylvester McAtee represented Mayor Rolph in welcoming the members of the Conference to San Francisco and A. L. Cowell gave special greeting from the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

Mrs. Clarence E. Todd was then elected recording secretary of the Conference.

Mrs. Fels spoke in reference to the most effective propaganda for Single Tax work, and to the present world status of the Single Tax. A letter was read from Governor Hiram W. Johnson regretting his necessary absence, as were also cablegrams from John Paul and British co-workers, and from the Argentine Single Tax League.

Mr. Kiefer read a statement of receipts and disbursements of the Fels Fund Commission.

Dr. C, K. Hale asked just what the Ground Hog has been doing to justify expense of the Fels Fund in its behalf. Here followed a discussion of the merits of the Single Tax paper, the Ground Hog. Among those who spoke were: Mrs. Cridge, Mr. J. L. Howe, Mr. Edmund Norton, Mrs. Fels, Mr. E. O. F. Ames, Miss Parker, Mr. Adelman. The discussion was postponed to 2 P.M.

Mr. Susuki, President of the Japanese Friendly Society, the organization which in Japan corresponds to the American Federation of Labor, was introduced to the Conference.

Mr. Troy spoke on the timber harvest tax, saying that it is not a Single Tax measure.

The meeting then adjourned to 2 P.M.

August 23rd, 2 P.M.

The Conference convened again at 2 P.M.

It was moved by Dr. Hale, seconded by Mr. A. T. Ames, that it be the sense of the meeting that the support of the Ground Hog be continued for six more months.

The Chairman accepted the motion on condition that it be understood that it was merely an advisory motion.

Mrs. Fels said that there was no question of future support of the Ground Hog by the Fels Fund Commission. Whereupon Dr. Hale withdrew his motion with consent of Mr. Ames. There was further discussion of the merits of the Ground Hog by Messrs. John McGauran, J. G. Wright, Isidor Jacobs ; Mr. Kiefer asked for a fuller discussion and Dr. Hale's motion was re-introduced with Mr. Ames' amendment that the discussion be limited to half an hour. Dr. Eggleston, Mrs. Fels, Mr. Keegan, Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Post, Mr. McGauran and Mr. Hall then spoke.

The motion was amended to read: "Be it moved that it is the sense of this meeting that the support of the Ground Hog be recommended to Single Taxers generally." In this form it was carried.

Dr. Kallen, of the University of Wisconsin, spoke on Zionism and the Single Tax.

Reports were made by Mr. Calahan of Arizona. S. P. Elias of Modesto Irrigation District, C. E. Todd and E. P. E. Troy, for the California League for Home Rule in Taxation, Hugh Craig of Piedmont, Mrs. Lona Ingham Robinson, Judge Robt. L. Hubbard and Edmund Norton of Los Angeles. Mr. Kiefer read a letter from James H. Griffes, of Los Angeles. It was moved by Mr. U'Ren and duly seconded that the discussion raised by the reports be tabled till Tuesday morning. Carried. Miss Parker moved to reconsider the motion to lay on the table - ^motion carried. The matter was taken from the table. It was moved by Mr. Post, seconded by Mr. U'Ren, that Mr. Troy have the floor for five minutes. This carried. Mr. Troy spoke and Mr. Post followed, suggesting that reports of political campaigns come up as another part of the programme. Mr. Kiefer moved that a committee of three, including the chairman, be appointed to arrange a programme for the following day. The motion was duly seconded and carried.

The Conference then adjourned till 10 A.M., August 24th.



At the big mass meeting Monday Evening, the large' Auditorium Hall was crowded. Isidor Jacobs presided.

Wm. S. U'Ren, the first speaker, describing the measure to be submitted to the people of Oregon, said that they did not intend to talk the fiscal side of the Single Tax; they were going right after the ground rents of Oregon for the people of Oregon. They may decide to go after the whole thing at one time, although their measure, as at present drawn called for only 90c. on every dollar of ground rent. Two-thirds of the revenue obtained from their measure, if adopted, they proposed to distribute amongst the taxing powers in the same proportion as the 1916 taxes will be distributed. The other one-third was to go into what would be called the Home Makers' Loan Society, the object of which was to help the young men and women who hap- pened to be engaged in making homes, either in the city or the country districts. On these loans to home-makers no interest was to be charged the first five years. "We have subsidized," said Mr. U'Ren, "the ship owners and monopolists of every kind at the expense of those who want to make homes. Now we intend to reverse this situation and subsidize, encourage, the makers of homes."

Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of Labor, said that if Oregon adopted the measure it will have made much greater advance along Single Tax lines than any other part of the world. The measure was not ideal, but it made a long jump. Touching on the name "Single Tax," Mr. Post said it made little difference what the name was. Any man who would be hurt by the Single Tax would recognize it no matter what the name and those who would be helped by it would not recognize its value until they turned around and looked at it. After telling the story of Mr. H. F. Ring's conversion and of his early exuberant faith that he could convert all Houston to the Single Tax in a day -- which he now knew he couldn't -- Mr. Post closed with a short and brilliant explanation of how the taxation of land values would work out. We could not expect this measure to be quickly adopted. A lot of propaganda work had to be done. All forms of propaganda were like the old Scotchman's whiskies. "Some whiskies are better than others," the Scotchman said, "but all whiskies are good."

Dr. John W. Slaughter of London spoke on the conditions in England. Referring to the reports that English workmen were showing disloyalty by striking, he referred to the abnormal profits that many of the manufacturers had made, especially in the early stages of the war, as justifying dissatisfaction on the part of the men, whose wages had not increased to offset the growing cost of living. One of the instances he mentioned was the case of a milling company in the south of England which paid in dividends since the war began, an amount equal to its capitalization! Taxes were becoming heavier and heavier. Everything, except land values, was taxed to the hilt, and as the British people had learned, in their famous budget fight of 1910, to appreciate the value of this source of revenue, there were hopes that the Government would be forced to turn to it at the end of the war. One big step had been made in the ending of the veto power of the House of Lords. "The British people are very slow to move, but when they do move," he said, ^'something had better get out of the way."

Oliver T. Erickson of Seattle spoke of the need of patience and persistence in our campaigns and said the criticism of the recent campaign in California should not be taken too seriously. It was not always practicable to fight for the Single Tax blood raw. He had fought for municipal ownership in his city because he felt there was no force so corrupt in our city life as the corporation. A straight Single Tax campaign in the State of Washington was impracticable. He thought Single Tax should be taken into politics. Club meetings were frequently ineffective. There came to them only those who were converted, not the new people.

Mrs. Fels, who was honored by a rising vote, counseled at this meeting as she did on several other occasions, straight Single Tax campaigns wherever practicable.

J. H. Ralston, J. Stitt Wilson and ex-Mayor Cotterill of Seattle also spoke, but very briefly on account of the lateness of the hour.

August 24, 10 A.M.

The Conference was called to order August24, at 10 A.M. The Chairman called for a report of the Committee on programme for the day. Mr. Todd reported that the Committee proposed that discussion of propaganda methods be taken up August 24th, at 3 P.M., as a special order of business.

Here, at the suggestion of Mr. Kiefer, Mr. U'Ren read a motion which he will make at 3 P.M. The motion reads as follows:

"Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Conference that Single Taxers should hereafter propose nothing less than constitutional amendments for the full measure of State- wide Single Tax, and that every such amendment should be sufficiently complete in detail to be self-operative, without further legislation after its adoption by the people."

The Conference then proceeded to regular business.

Mr. Todd read letters from:

  1. Jas. G. Maguire, bearing the kind remembrance of Mr. H. W. McFarlane to the members of the Conference.
  2. From the San Jose Chamber of Commerce.
  3. From Wm. Kent in regard to the cutting of timber in Humboldt County.
  4. From the Wellington, New Zealand, S. T. Conference and from members of the Delaware Single Tax Society.

On motion of Mr. Kiefer, duly seconded and passed, a letter from Mr. Hemingway in regard to Washington, D. C. was referred to a committee of three appointed by the chair. Messrs. John Salmon, Louis F. Post and Daniel Kiefer were appointed on the Committee.

On motion of Mr. Sample, duly passed, all other letters of length were referred to this Committee.

Mr. Kiefer read letters from Brand Whitlock commending the Public, from John Z. White on the Pueblo campaign, from J. J. Pastoriza advocating support of work in Pueblo by Single Taxers. Mr. Kiefer suggested that this recommendation be brought up at the afternoon session in the regular order of business at 3 o'clock.

Mr. Kiefer proceeded to read letters from the Single Tax Club of Pittsburgh, from Mme. Bjomer of Denmark, from A. G. Huie of the Sydney, New South Wales* Single Tax League, and from the Single Tax League of South America.

On motion of Mr. U'Ren, duly carried, other letters, except the briefest, were referred to the Committee on Communications.

Mr. Kiefer read a transcription made by Will Atkinson from a Spanish letter, and then letters from J. Darien of France and from Herbert Quick.

On motion, time was extended indefinitely to Dr. L. Gutierrez de Lara, who spoke in behalf of the Mexican people, stating that the present Revolution, as well as the two preceding ones, was due to the system of feudal land tenure which has prevailed in Mexico; that is, in behalf of agrarian reform, and that the Revolution has already accomplished three results, (1) the closing of the Catholic Church as an exploiting organization, (2) the abolition of the old Federal army, (3) agrarian democracy. He prophesied that there will be no more so-called "strong men" in Mexico, but that there will be instead, a strong Mexican people. Questions were asked of Dr. de Lara, and Mr. Post rose to a point of order that time had not been extended indefinitely for the purpose of questions.

On request of Mr. Kiefer, Mrs. Anna de Mille, daughter of Henry George, rose to greet the Conference.

It was moved by Dr. Eggleston, duly seconded and passed, that a committee be appointed by the Chair to draft resolutions on the loss to the Single Tax movement in the death of Joseph Fels, and it was moved by Dr. Eggleston, duly seconded and passed that this, or another committee, be appointed by the Chair to draft resolutions endorsing the peace policy of President Woodrow Wilson.

The Chair appointed on the first conmittee, Messrs. Jas. H. Barry, of San Francisco, J. B. Howarth, of Detroit, and Bolton Hall, of New York, and on the second committee. Dr. Eggleston of San Francisco, Mrs. Lona Ingham Robinson of Los Angeles, and Otto Cullman of Chicago. It was moved by Mr. Kiefer, duly seconded and passed, that a committee be appointed to consider methods of assuring permanent peace, suggesting that Dr. Logan be appointed a member and that the resolutions of this committee be brought up on August 25th. The Chair appointed Dr. C. L. Logan of Chicago, Chairman, J. Stitt Wilson of Berkeley, and Earl Barnes of Philadelphia, on this committee.

Mr. Post moved that except on a three-quarter vote the five minute rule be in order with one exception, that of Judge Jas. G. Maguire, to whom unlimited time should be accorded.

Mr. Kiefer made an amendment to this motion that the Chair be allowed to rule arbitrarily on time. This amendment was lost. The movement was then duly seconded and passed. The Chairman then announced that there would be a special session at 8.00 P.M., August 24th.

The meeting adjourned to reassemble at 2 P.M.

August 24th, 2 P.M.

The order of the day was broken in order that Mr. Post make a motion that a committee be appointed to draw resolutions of recognition of the death of Mr. James Bellangee and of appreciation of his work. Dr. Eggleston suggested that the name of the late John S. Crosby be referred to the same committee, and Mr. Kiefer added the names of Mrs. Avery, and of Levi H. Turner of Boston, and proposed that all other names of Single Taxers who have died recently be passed to this committee. The motion was duly seconded and passed. The Chair appointed to this committee, Mrs. Lona L Ingham Robinson of Los Angeles, Mr. P. Y. Albright of Fairhope, Mr. Bolton Hall of New York, Mr. Daniel Kaefer of Cincinnati, Mr. Stanley Bowmar of Chicago, and Mr. J. C. O'Brien of Boston.

The order of the day was then resumed. Mr. Albright reported for Alabama.

Judge James G. Maguire spoke, stating that in Henry George*s time no one expected that by 1915, the Single Tax would reach the state of world- wide advancement now existing. J. G. McGauran, of Colorado, was called and found absent.

Mr. John Salmon reported for Washington, D. C. and Maryland.

Mr. R. N. Douglas of Iowa was not present and Mr. Miller spoke in his place. A report from Illinois was made by Dr. Logan of Illinois and by Otto Cullman, President of the Chicago Single Tax Club. Mr. McGuaran of Colorado, spoke of the work in Denver and Pueblo.

Mr. J. B. Howarth of Detroit spoke for Michigan.

At 3 P.M. the matter of methods of propaganda came before the meeting. Mr. J. Stitt Wilson moved, and it was duly seconded and passed, that speakers be allowed ten minutes with extension at the will of the meeting.

The Chairman stated that discussion would be limited to two themes. 1st, a discussion of doctrinal bases, and, 2nd, a discussion of what we have a right to do in the future as Single Taxers.

Mr. U'Ren made a motion that in the opinion of this Conference, any constitutional amendment intended to advance the Single Tax principle, in States that have the Constitutional Initiative, should be so complete in detail that it will be self-operative, without further legislation after its adoption by the people.

Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Post, Mr. Zant, Mr. Norton, Judge Hubbard, Mr. Craig, Miss Parker, Mr. Cridge, and Mr. Teel, spoke to the question. The motion was duly seconded and carried.

Mr. Troy read a letter from E. Yancy Cohen, written from Merriewold Park, in regard to making a Single Tax group in each political party. Here the Chair appointed Mr. Erickson in Dr. Eggleston's place on the committee, to approve the President's Peace Policy, as Dr. Eggleston had asked to be excused. Disciission was then continued by J. Stitt Wilson, W. S. U'Ren, Herman Gutstadt, John W. Slaughter, Louis F. Post, Walter P. Lowenstein.

Mr. Post moved this resolution:

Resolved, (1) That it is the sense of this Conference that the question of organizing the Single Taxers of the United States is ripe for consideration; (2) that a committee be organized for the purpose of considering this question; (3) that such committee consist of forty-nine members, one from each State and one from the District of Columbia; (4) that the committee be appointed on or before October 1, 1915, by the Chairman of this Conference in conjunction with the Joseph Fels Fund Commission; (5) that in case of favorable consideration, such committee proceed to a provisional organization of the Single Taxers of the United States; (6) that such provisional organization be based upon the Single Tax platform which was prepared by Henry George as chairman of the platform committee of the first Single Tax Conference, and adopted by that Conference at Cooper Union, New York, in 1891, and reaffirmed by the third Fels Fund Conference which was held at Boston in 1912.

This matter was made matter of special business for 9 P.M.

Mr. Kiefer asked the privilege of the floor for Mr. de Lara, who spoke of the financing of his book.

The Conference then adjourned to 8 P.M.

August 24th, 8 P.M.

The Conference reassembled at 8 P.M. Order of business was a continuation of reports.

Reports from Oregon-were made by Mr. Cridge of Portland, and I. H. Teel of Grant's Pass.

Mr. Kiefer reported for Ohio.

Prof. Earle Barnes reported for Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bolton Smith reported for Tennessee.

Mr. Oliver T. Erickson and Mr. Verral reported for the State of Washington. Mr. Rand spoke for Victoria.

Dr. J. W. Slaughter spoke for Western Canada.

Dr. Curry for Missouri.

Special Order, 9 P.M.

Mr. Post's motion of the afternoon session was again laid before the house, seconded by J. W. O'Brien. Messrs. Erickson, Sahnon, U'Ren, Judge Hubbard, Prof. Barnes, Mr. Cridge, Mr. Troy, Mr. Post, and Mr. Norton spoke to the motion. An amendment was passed to vote on the whole resolution at once. Mr. Zion moved an amendment that there be not more members of the committee than one from each State and that all States need not necessarily be represented. Carried. The question of the whole resolution as amended was put and carried. The Conference adjourned till 10 o'clock, August 25th, to meet again at the Recital Hall, Exposition Grounds.

Special Order for 9 P.M., August 24.

The house was thrown open for the discussion of Louis F. Post's resolution which has been drafted to sound the sentiment of the Conference regarding the advisability of effecting an organization of Single Taxers.

Mr. Post read the resolution, which has been divided into six headings to facilitate discussion. He then explained that the Fels Fund Commission had thought it possible to formulate a more democratic means of administering the Fund than was provided in the present plan. Hence the resolutions.

Mr. Erickson of Seattle, took the floor and expressed the opinion that such an organization would do more harm than good because a centralized body could hardly adapt itself to meet the varying conditions in the several States.

Mr. Kiefer arose to explain that the Fels Fund Commission had been characterized as an arbitrary commission ; and that Mr. Fels had hoped before his death to organize Single Taxers so as to make the administration of the Fund more democratic.

Mr. Erickson then continued. After paying tribute to the work of such men as Barry, Maguire, Leggett, Todd and Troy, who in spite of their self- sacrificing work had been criticized time and again, he suggested that the Fels Fund Commission should not feel hurt if its labors were often criticized. In conclusion, he expressed himself ?s in favor of leaving the administration of the fund in the hands of the present commission.

Mr. U'Ren expressed the opinion that a body of 49 men would never be able to accomplish anything. The leaders of the Single Tax movement are learning by their failures. After each failure, it is only natural that they should be criticized. He thinks the Fels Fund Commission is unduly sensitive when it heeds the criticism that it is undemocratic, as none of the critics have been able to offer a better plan. He suggested leaving the fund in the hands of the present commission.

Mr. Kiefer interrupted to ask the speaker what he would advise the Commission to do for instance in the case of the controversy between the Los Angeles and the San Francisco factions in the California movement.

Mr U'Ren replied that in his opinion the two factions should be left to settle their own differences; and that after they had come to an agreement, the Commission could then consider the advisability of aiding them in their plans.

Judge Hubbard of Los Angeles, took the floor in favor of a compact national organization. He thought such a step indispensable to the furtherance of the movement; but would leave the administration of the fund in the hands of the present Commission. The national organization would act mainly in an advisory capacity.

Prof. Earl Barnes pointed out that while the tendency of the world today is toward collectivism, Single Taxers are working against the current in striving for absolute individualism.

He added furthermore that the Single Tax, like many other radical movements, tends to produce little more than "intensive pleasurable excitation" by discussion among its members instead of active propaganda work among outsiders. For the purpose of carrying on effective propaganda organization is necessary.

After paying a glowing tribute to Joseph and Mary Fels for having spent all their income except a small allowance for living expenses, in the promotion of the Single Tax, he pointed out that large masses of individualized wealth, such as several of the immense private foundations for educational purposes, are a distinct menace to progress; and he thought it possible that the Fels Fund itself might some day degenerate into such a menace unless the manner of its administration was made more democratic. Mr. Barnes then expressed the opinion that no great reform had been brought about by the backing of an organization.

Mr. U'Ren arose to point out that the Australian ballot and Initiative, Referendum and Recall, had been introduced in many States by the efforts of individuals working in harmony, but not bound together into any definite organization.

Mr. A. R. Cridge, after explaining that he had had wide experience's an organizer not only in Single Tax work, but for several fraternal orders also, expressed the opinion that organization among Single Taxers would facilitate the work. He advocated, first, however, organization by municipalities, counties and districts, and the formation of a national organization on that foundation. At present, Single Taxers must work through the Socialist, Prohibition, Labor Union or other organizations in order to gain strength. They should have their own organization, but the organization should grow from the bottom up, and not from the top down.

Edw. P. E. Troy compared the operations of the proposed commission of forty-nine members to the old convention system which has been done away with in many States. He thought the interests might organize to control such a commission. He pointed out also that the expense of assembling such a large body composed of members from each of the States, would pay the cost of a State- wide campaign for the Single Tax. He thought it better to allow each State to follow out such plans of organization as it thinks necessary, and sees no need for changing the present system.

Herman Gutstadt failed to understand how anyone can oppose the plan for organization. The Australian ballot would never have been adopted in California if there had not been a strong organization back of it. California had a strong Single Tax organization 25 years ago with branches all over the State, and was as strong at that time as it is now. The machinery back of the popular legislation was organized labor. There would be no Home Rule League in California today if there had not first been a Single Tax organization.

Mr. Teel of Oregon, spoke in favor of organization and then asked the previous question.

Mr. Zant pointed out that it was contrary to parliamentary provision to ask the question after having spoken on it.

Before the Chair could rule on the matter, Mr. Teel withdrew his motion with the consent of his second.

Mr. Ericksen arose to point out that it was evident that the intent of the resolution under discussion was not entirely clear. He had opposed it because he thought it proposed a national organization. Others had handled the matter as though the object was local organization.

Mr. Post formulated the intent of the resolution as follows: Shall we abandon our past more or less planless policy or shall we endeavor to lay plans for a coherent organization from the bottom up? Is the time ripe for real organization? Has a change come over the situation that would make it possible to form a real organization in place of the paper organizations that always resulted from similar efforts in the past?

August 25th, 10 A.M.

The Conference reassembled in Recital Hall, at 10 A.M. The Recording Secretary read the minutes of the preceding day. Reports of committees were in order. At suggestion of the Chairman, Mr. John Salmon, Mr. Post read the report of the Committee on Communications. The report was adopted. Mr. Erickson reported for the Committee to approve President Wilson's Peace Policy, and moved that the report be adopted. Carried. Mr. Salmon moved that this report be sent to the press. Amendment was made by the Secretary that the report be sent directly to the President. The motion was carried as amended.

For the Committee on Memorial Resolutions Mr. Post spoke in memory of Mrs. Susan Look Avery, and Mr. Kiefer added a short tribute to her democratic spirit; Mr. Albright and Mrs. Robinson spoke of Mr. James Bellangee, Mr. J. Z. O'Brien of Levi H. Turner, Mr. Norton of Mme. Caroline M. Severance, and Mr. Bowmar was called on to speak on other names, but said that none had been reported to him. Mr. Bolton Hall read a tribute to Joseph Fels, as the report of the Committee headed by J. H. Barry. This report was accepted by rising vote.

Prof. Barnes reported for the Committee on Plans for Permanent Peace that the Committee was agreed that in the present state of international affairs, this is not the time for this body to take action on this matter. Adopted.

Mr. Bolton Hall reported for New York and New Jersey, and incidentally spoke of the colony plan.

Mrs. Fels spoke on the work of the women of New York. It was voted to hold an afternoon session. Mr. Post moved to reopen the question of organization. Carried. Mr. J. Salmon moved that this business be made special order for the afternoon session; motion lost. The Chair moved that the five minute rule apply. Mr. Post spoke to the effect that the question resolved itself simply into parts (1) do we want any organization whatever, municipal, state or national; (2) if so, what kind of an organization do we want. Mr. Post then moved that the first clause of the motion which had passed the previous evening be taken up separately at this time, as he was convinced that there had been a mistaken idea, in that he had not intended to propose any special method of organization. Mr. Post said that something must be effected in the nature of democratic organization. Mr. Gutstadt moved an amendment that a special form of organization be considered. The Chair ruled that this amendment was not germane. The first clause of the motion in question was read and passed by the house. Mr. Post's motion that the second clause be adopted, was carried.

Mr. M. L. Gable moved that the Chair appoint a committee of five to report to the afternoon meeting a method of organization. Mr. Norton seconded the motion. A motion to act as a committee as a whole on the matter was: lost Mr. Salmon moved a substitute -- that a committee of five be appointed by the Chair, to confer with the Fels Fund Commission in regard to the best methods of Single Tax organization. This was carried.

Mr. Cowell announced that the Y. M. C. A. Assembly Hall might be used by the Conference for the afternoon meeting. Mr. Kiefer's motion to adjourn at 12.30 was carried.

Invitations were now read to the Conference for next year's meeting- from Baltimore, Niagara, New York City, Providence, R. I., Cleveland and Detroit.

Those were asked to stand who could attend at each city and the result was as follows: Baltimore, 10; Niagara, 9; New York City, 6; Providence, 9; Cleveland, 4; Detroit, 7.

Mrs. Robinson moved that there be a committee of ten, five of whom should be appointed by this body and five by the Chair, to discuss organization with the Fels Fund Commission. Mr. U'Ren moved to lay this matter on the table indefinitely. Carried.

Mr. Troy moved that the Chair appoint a committee to investigate the application of the Single Tax to timber lands and to report their findings to the Fels Fund Commission as soon as possible, suggesting the names of W. S. U'Ren and Mayor Cottrell, of Washington. Carried. Mr. Post suggested that Mr. Murphy be on this committee. Mr. Post moved to make this a committee of five. Carried. Mr. Sahnon suggested that Mr. Troy be appointed on this committee.

The meeting then adjourned to 2 P.M., to meet in the Y. M. C. A. Building.

August 25th, 2 P.M.

The Convention reassembled at 2 P.M. The Chair appointed a committee of E. P. E. Troy, Louis Murphy, W. S. U'Ren, Adella M. Parker, Wm. Kent, to investigate the application of the Single Tax to timber lands.

Discussion was then reopened on the subject of methods of propaganda. Mr. J. Stitt Wilson was called upon to speak as he had said that he had further engagements for the afternoon, but he was not present.

Mr. Kiefer read a letter from the San Diego Single Tax League, urging a straight Single Tax measure for California. Mr. Wilson was now present, and spoke in behalf of a land movement in California. Mr. Jacobs spoke in behalf of Home Rule in Taxation. Miss Parker urged that we note that the socialist point of view, that every man should have what he produces, is exactly what Single Taxers urge. Mr. Norton spoke for a straight land platform. Mrs. Robinson reported the sentiment of the Los Angeles League. Mr. Salmon spoke for the taxation of land values. Mr. Cridge urged organization in the by-ways. Mr. Lowenstein spoke for Single Tax straight. Mr. Zant spoke in favor of Home Rule in Taxation. Mr. J. G. Wright spoke in favor of sending men into the by-ways to urge the land for the people. Mr. U'Ren spoke in behalf of teaching Single Tax to the young. Mr. Post spoke for Home Rule in Taxation and for all other steps necessary to the advancement of the Single Tax. Resolution: That the question of the character of political campaigns be referred to the Single Taxers of the political subdivisions respectively to which such campaigns from time to time relate. Carried.

Mr. Salmon made this motion:

Resolved, by the Single Tax Conference, that we recommend the separate assessment of land, and the publication of assessment foils by States and municipalities. Carried. Mr. Salmon moved: Resolved, That whereas the present system of general taxation has failed, producing the grossest inequalities, and

Whereas, taxes should be levied only according to benefits conferred; and, whereas, site values alone shows the benefit conferred from Government activities, and

Whereas, rent being the product of site value bears all taxes in the last analysis; therefore.

Be it resolved, that a direct Single Tax on rent would simplify administration and promote equality, and we recommend its adoption as soon as possible in all States and municipalities.

Amended to the effect that copies be sent to all papers by the Secretary. Carried.

Mrs. Fels spoke urging that the Single Tax be not veiled. Mr. McGauran reported on the effect of work in Pueblo.

Mr Troy moved that the Joseph Fels Fund and Single Tax Conference at the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco, extend greeting to Dr. W. E. Macklin at Nanking, China, and thank him for the Single Taxers of the world for his translation of Progress and Poverty and Henry George's Protection and Free Trade into Chinese, and for his many Single Tax pamphlets printed in Chinese, and be it further resolved, that we congratulate Dr. Macklin and other brethren in that country on the progress which the Single Tax has made in China.

Mr. Kiefer suggested that all reports and letters not read be officially acknowledged by this body.

Mr. J. Z. O'Brien moved that this Conference place a tablet on the house where Henry George wrote Progress and Poverty. The motion fell, as there was no particular house where he wrote this book.

Mr. Norton moved that this Conference urge that the Modesto Circular be no longer circulated. The motion was tabled.

Mr. Teel made this motion:

Resolved, That the members of this Conference hereby express their grateful appreciation for Mrs. Post's excellent service as its presiding officer, and to Daniel Kiefer for suggesting her name for that position; to Mrs. Todd for her effective work as Recording Secretary of the Conference, and in keeping the record clear and up to the minute at all times; to Mr. Todd and his committee for their full and complete plan and arrangement of the programme and work of the Conference; to His Honor, the Mayor of San Francisco, and to the management of the Exposition and to the Single Taxers of California, for their hospitable welcome and for many courtesies extended to this Convention. Carried.

Motion to dispense with reading of the final minutes carried. Mr. Jacobs moved that the Chair appoint a committee of three to draw up resolutions of appreciation of the work of Mr. Frank Walsh, and to send them to him. Carried. The Chair appointed Mr. Barnes, Mr. Post, and Mr. Kiefer on this Committee.

Mr. Post moved that this Conference express satisfaction and gratification with the editorial and business management of the Public, Carried.

Mr. Kiefer moved that appreciation be expressed of the work of the Single Tax Review and the San Francisco Star.

The Conference then adjourned.


The National Single Tax Conference and meeting of the Joseph Fels Fund was brought to a brilliant close on Wednesday evening by a banquet at Campi's. Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of Labor, was toastmaster.

Introducing Mrs. Mary Fels, Mr. Post said: Mr. Fels was the only man of modem times who, a large money earner himself, devoted all his wealth to the cause he believed in, and gave his life to. No person could be a more appropriate speaker for the evening than Mrs. Fels.

Mrs. Fels said Mr. Fels was an ideal democrat. Kings and waiters were all the same to him. He would shake hands with the stewards on the liners, and the whole conduct of his life indicated that he felt that if anyone had to apologize it was he and not the workers -- apologize for possessing wealth he knew he had not earned. Many amusing incidents could be related to illustrate his life outlook. Rich people were not good enough for him. They were often poor company.

Mr. Post here presented the medal from the Panama Pacific Exposition to Mrs. Fels.

Mr. Post now introduced Mr. Bolton Hall, who said:

I have very little to say, but perhaps a story I will tell will 'say some- thing.' Here is my story, in memory of James T. Bamett: A man had a herd of half-starved cattle; over the fence there was a rich pasture. The owner, being charitable, put grass through the fence. Someone suggested taking the fence down, but the owner replied, "I don*t think pasture will cure all the ills these cattle are heir to. Quit your suggesting and help me pull grass for the hungry calves." The moral is that housing, tenement regulation, palliatives of any kind are feeding the grass through the fence.

J. Stitt Wilson, the next speaker, said: All the people looking and working for freedom should find a common ground. A farmer who knew cows, horses and sheep, was sure there was no such thing as a giraffe. In the same way, some people are positive there is no such thing as a Socialist- Single Taxer. There is. I am one.

Living in a democracy, the speaker continued, we will not need brute force as a solvent but political action ; also we need a revolt of women, maybe even a revolt of the children. Touching on co-operation, he said:

Social beings must co-operate. I am an individualist as well as a Socialist. But I would rather go to hell with my fellows than to Heaven alone!

Alice Thacher Post, Chairman of the Conference, was the next speaker, and gave to the audience a beautiful, colorful picture of what our political economy phrases, translated into life, really mean. **We should begin," she said, "by taking the land, the natural resources, terminal facilities, franchise values - ^what dead, colorless phrases! But when we have learned to think of these phrases, we must remember the grass and flowers of the earth, the cascades, the rivers wide and deep, sweeping to the ocean. Without these life would be nothing, and it is this message of what the earth, warm and friendly, responsive and beautiful, will give to us and our children, abroad or at home, and even to our brethren of the past -- it is this message that we must bring to the people."

James H. Barry, of the San Francisco Star, said he had the honor to set type on the author's edition of Progress and Poverty. With all of the other intelligent printers he had wondered what license Henry George had to write a book. After George had marked the proofs until the printers couldn't read them, they used to remark: "Ah! who will read that book but that little red- headed 'son-of-a-gun' himself." Every broken down printer claims to have set type on Progress and Poverty, but the speaker never took that as personal! He didn't consider himself a broken down printer!

Telling how he became a Henry George man, Mr. Barry said: "Judge Maguire once brought to my office an article. I said I could not print it because it favored confiscation. We did print it, but with a note of explanation, saying that it would be answered later. We slunk out and bought a copy of Progress and Poverty." That article of Judge Maguire's was never answered!

Mr. Oliver T. Erickson, President of the City Council of Seattle, spoke on the question of getting support from all types of organizations, and illustrated his point with this story: A boy dropped potatoes down the chimney of an old woman's hut. He peeped in the window. The old woman was thanking the Lord for the potatoes. "The Lord did not give them to you," called the boy. The old woman replied, "I prayed to the Lord for them, and I don't care if the devil brought them."

Mr. Post, introducing Dr. John W. Slaughter, of London, told Judge Maguire's story of "seeing the cat." Judge Maguire saw a crowd around a window, looking for a cat in a picture. The enthusiastic crank in the crowd said, "Don't you see the claw, the face, etc," and at last he did see them, and could see nothing else. The cat got him and it got Dr. Slaughter when he lived with Mr. and Mrs. Fels in London. Dr. Slaughter made some of the five minute rules of the Conference. He felt like the cabby who met a funeral procession and shouted "why don't you wait, your party ain't in a hurry!" He also offered some new Commandments: 1. Let another Single Taxer live. 2. Thou shalt work for a Home Rule Amendment if thou wantest to. 3. Don't argue.

Dr. Gutierrez de Lara, author of The Mexican People and Their Struggles for Freedom, said he felt somewhat like the old Mexican who became ill because everyone told him he was sick. When he (de Lara) came to the U.S., the first man said, "you Mexicans are lazy;" the second said "you don't work;" the third, "you're hopeless." Booker T. Washington said in a lecture: "Mexicans are worse than the negroes." Mexicans portrayed in books on Mexico were not like any of the natives he had ever seen.

Mr. W. S. U'Ren, Mr. J. B. McGuaran and Mrs. Lona Ingham Robinson also spoke.


I will not call you ladies and gentlemen. I know you too well for that. Henry George has always been to me one of the supreme heroes of humanity. There are patriots you know of countries -- patriots belonging merely to their national allegiance; then there are others who rise to a high and beautiful atmosphere and look upon the human race as one family. These are patriots of humanity.

Now, without detaining you very long, I will read to you a verse of mine which I have been asked to read. It is entitled "A Comrade Called Back." If Henry George had been the one at that time in my mind the poem should have been directed to him. It was instead written for one of the noblest men that has ever appeared upon this planet; a man who is known to every one of you.

I am not so specially concerned about the particular kind of dogma or doctrine that a man holds, so long as he holds to it with all his soul. The great trouble is that the most of us are too comfortable ourselves to take a vital interest in our pressing social problems. Ernest Crosby is the exception. Crosby, poet and reformer, died January 3d, 1907. He is one of the beautiful memories of my life. I like to look back on that high erected spirit, that beautiful face so perfectly frank and so absolutely concentrated on some- thing bigger than the individual. Little souls, you know, are concentrated on themselves. We must become concentrated on something bigger than ourselves in order to live a true human life, and that was the case with this beautiful spirit that I shall never forget until the River of Death closes over me.



Mr. de Lara said he came from his brothers in Mexico who were trying to solve the land problem for their country. In the United States we had the ballot by which sociological problems can be settled, but in Mexico they had the same problems, more pressing, but they did not have the ballot. It had been absolutely refused them. They were compelled to appeal to revolution.

It was wonderful to see how in the history of Mexico, since the conquest of Spain, all social movements ran round one pivot, the land question. Five years ago, four hundred families controlled the great bulk of the land and allied to them were all other privileged classes. They were supported by the psychological force of the Catholic Church. The Catholic clergy used their religious influence to hold down the large majority of the people. They preached submission.

Referring to Carranza, Mr. de Lara said that he may have done well or badly, but that did not concern him. What have the people accomplished? That was the question. Answering his own query the speaker said, "the people had overthrown the Catholic Church. The bishops had fled. In San Antonio, where he had recently been, there were twenty-three bishops -- the whole gang were there." The priests of Mexico had grown rich at the expense of the common people, but the common people had now kicked them out. Still the majority of the people were Catholics and would continue to be, but they are going to have no more mediaeval superstition in the name of religion. These things had not been accomplished by Mr. Caranza or Mr. Villa or by Madero, but by the common people. In the old times, everywhere you could see being taken for the army the strongest men -- taken from their wives and families. That system was gone. Now men fought for Mexico because of their will to fight, not because they were forced to. Today the lands of Mexico were in the hands of the people. The farm products do not now go to a few land owners, but to the man who tills the soil. The feudal class was gone, but they had the speculator, and these speculators are the men who are making all the trouble in Mexico today.

In reply to a question with reference to Villa, the speaker said he had proved a wonderful organizer and fighter, but the propertied class had got his ear. They backed Villa. One Los Angeles wealthy man gave Villa $5,000,000 in one day. This was the beginning of Villa's defeats. He became a strong man, an iron leader. But the day of the strong man in Mexico was gone. The people were awakening to their own power. Never in history has a revolution been the work of one man. It has always been a social growth. Revolution was always the work of purification. So it was in Mexico. Americans should not be impatient. Mexicans were not impatient of American revolutions -- and reforms!

The present revolution would bear wonderful fruit -- the people would reap the harvest. In the two previous revolutions, the fruits had been lost to the people because of foreign intervention. Now Europe was too busy to bother about Mexico, and the United States, with Wilson at the head, could be trusted. If they were allowed to finish this revolution, violence in Mexico would be a thing of the past.



Hon. J. J. Pastoriza.

I regret exceedingly that my duties as tax commissioner prevent me from remaining in San Francisco so as to be present at the Convention, or rather Single Tax Conference. No doubt everyone who attends the Conference has been a reader of the Public, and therefore is posted as to the progress of the Houston plan of taxation up to the time of the suit which was filed by five land speculators of the city of Houston. They succeeded in getting an order from the Court, instructing me to assess all forms of property according to the Constitution. This I have done, but the people, that is, the taxpayers, decided differently. (^The great majority, while accepting our full valuation on lands, stubbornly resisted the assessment of buildings at their full value. So, I have about decided, as chairman of the board of appraisement, to listen to the voice of the people rather than to the order of Court, and when the assessments for 1915 are completed, I rather suspect that land will be assessed at its full value and buildings at from forty to fifty per cent, of their value, and while we have made a great effort to assess all forms of personal property this year, I firmly believe that next year there will be no personal property assessed that was exempted under the Houston plan of taxation. This is the will of the people, and certainly coincides with my desire. If the aforesaid five tax kickers don't like what the people have decreed why I will then give them another opportunity to file suit to destroy the "people's plan" of taxation for the City of Houston. The only difference between what I call the "people's plan of taxation" and the Houston plan of taxation is that under the people's plan of taxation, the buildings will be assessed at 10 or 15 per cent, higher than they were under the Houston plan of taxation, while the personal property exempted by the Houston plan will still be exempted by the people's plan. An amusing thing about it all is, that the very fellows who filed the suit against the Houston plan, when they found out that they could not get their land assessed at less than full value, took an oath that their buildings were not worth more than 25 to 50 per cent, of their real value. Some of them assessing at 25%; some at 40%, some at 50%. Not one of them assessed their buildings at over $.50 on the dollar.

Wayne Paulin

In 1910 Pittsburgh had one of the most inequitable systems of taxation in the country. There were three classifications of real estate, urban, rural and agricultural. Urban embraced the closely built up district and was assessed at full value. Rural embraced the suburban districts and was assessed at about two-thirds of its value. Agricultural embraced large tracts of vacant land which was assessed at half its value. Aside from this each ward of the city was a government unto itself regarding the conduct of the schools. The school directors of each ward had absolute control of the collection and expenditure of school funds. As a result each ward in the city had a different school tax rate, and as the number of children in each ward was not proportionate to the assessed valuation, the school taxes were inequitable. An analysis of the above system showed that as usual the burden fell heavily upon the small home owner, whereas the owners of vacant tracts escaped lightly. Further, an Act of the Legislature exempted from taxation the real estate of the Public Utilities within the city.

The awakening came in 1909 when the Pittsburgh Board of Trade launched a movement to abolish the three classifications. Other civic organizations joined in the demand for tax reform so that in 1911 the Pittsburgh Civic Commission, the Allied Boards of Trade, the Chamber of Commerce, the Pittsburgh Teachers Association and the Federation of Women's Clubs massed their forces before the State Legislature and secured from it abolition of the classifications and a new school code which provided a uniform school tax rate throughout the city. A bill was also put through exempting machinery from taxation in second class cities. This latter enactment was the beginning of the policy of exempting industry from taxation, which was closely followed up in 1913 by what is known as the Graded Tax Law for second class cities.

Shortly after the Legislature of 1911 adjourned, the Pittsburgh Civic Commission began a thorough analysis of the taxation system of the city with the end in view of lifting the burden of taxation from industry and placing more of it upon the great land holders of the city, who were impeding the city's progress by holding the land at prices prohibitive to industries and residents. To bring about this result the committee which made the investigation, recommended that all buildings in the city be taxed at a rate 10% less than land values the first year, 20% the second year, 30% the third year and so on until the tax rate on buildings would be one-half that on land values, at which time it was expected that the plan would have so far justified itself, that at one more step buildings would be entirely exempted from taxation. The report of the committee, together with its recommendation, was printed and widely circulated. The attention of Mayor Magee was enlisted and his support to a bill embodying the recommendation of the committee was secured, so that in 1913 the bill was introduced into the Legislature as an administration measure. However, before passage it was found necessary to modify it so that instead of reducing the rate on buildings 10% each year it was reduced 10% each triennial assessment or every three years. In this shape the bill was passed, and became a law. Effects of the law were almost immediately apparent, many properties which would not have paid a sufficient return under the old system were built upon and improved profitably under the new, so that in 1913 and 1914, while other industries of the city lagged, the building business flourished. However, the effect was also felt by the large land owners who set about to secure the repeal of the law. The support of our stupid Mayor, Mr. Armstrong, and his majority in the City Council was secured for the repealer and as a city administration measure it was passed by the Legislature of 1915, against the determined and stubborn opposition of the Pittsburgh Civic Commission, the Allied Boards of Trade, the Pittsburgh Realty Owners Association, the North Side Chamber of Commerce, the Pittsburgh Single Tax Club and other organizations. Fortunately, however, for the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the first time in many years, has a real Governor, who vetoed the repealer. In vetoing the bill Governor Burnbaugh said:

"This bill is a repealer. It applies only to cities of the second class. It repeals the Graded Tax Law in these cities. The present tax law, passed in 1913, makes a separation of land and of buildings for taxable purposes, and reduces triennially ten per cent, the tax on buildings until the minimum of 50% is reached.

"The act of 1913 was urged by all parties in interest. This repealer is opposed by the largest group of protestants that have been heard on any bill. It is advocated by those now in charge of the fiscal policy of one of the two cities concerned.

"Inasmuch as there is such a conflict of opinion, and inasmuch as the law has scarcely yet been tried, it is well to allow it to operate until a commanding judgment decrees its fate. Let the people concerned study freely and fairly the operations of the present law and, if found after two years to be inadequate to the needs of the cities or unfair in its provisions, it can then be repealed. To disturb it now when a preponderance of opinion favors it is unwise. For these reasons the bill is not approved."

Whether or not the bill will have to be defended before each successive Legislature until 1926 is a matter of conjecture; however, it seems reasonable to suppose that with each additional 10% exemption the large land owners will feel the pinch more seriously and will make redoubled efforts to secure the repeal of the measure. But this activity should be more than offset by the support enlisted throughout the city by the beneficial results accruing to the actual operation of the law. To this also should be added the support of two or three friendly newspapers and an active body of favorable opinion among the civic organizations.


Since we are not to have the privilege of a personal representation at this gathering of fellow workers, to whom the Henry George disciples in Denmark send their very best wishes, let this report carry some evidence of our modest efforts. Since 1887, when Henry George ideas were first brought before the Danish people, by Jakob E. Lange, in a series of weekly articles in Hojsholebladet, a periodical which has later given much space to this subject, thousands of articles, speeches and discussions have kept the name of Henry George and the principles he stood for before the public.

After the first common interest in the subject had waned and the first passionate opposition had subsided, there was a period of quiet growth. A small number of faithful disciples kept up the literary work. J. Lange and one or two others gave lectures and kept up the discussions. Several of the leaders of our High Schools -- which are free institutions, conducted independently -- had been possessed by the views of Henry George, and year after year these schools sent out young men and women whose minds had been imbued with these views. In certain parts of the country, where this quiet propaganda had its centers, societies were formed. In 1902, when the present Henry George Society was formed by a small group of men from different parts of the country, the propaganda took on a new phase. In connection with the leaders of the newly organized small farmers' movement, Mr. Sophus Berthelsen, a young lawyer of great ability, brought new energy into the movement and gave excellent support to J. Lange, who was still pushing the cause, as he had been from the first. The Single Tax periodical, Ret, was started by Mr. Berthelsen, with the support of the Henry George Society, which organization in the course of a few years gathered in those who had been won to active interest by the educational work of the pioneers. A number of new lecturers and writers came forward, and, with the small means at its disposal, the society helped along the good work.

Then, in 1909, came a new force to help us, when Joseph Fels, on a visit to Denmark, gave us his spirited example, sensible advice and financial support. The different institutions of the movement were brought into closer co-operation. A central office was established in Copenhagen, to be supported by the Fels Fund. A commission to take charge of the Fund was elected, and now the propaganda work was carried on on a much larger scale, though much along the same lines. Especially the newspaper work took on larger dimensions, so that clippings from practically all the newspapers of the country brought back items and articles sent out by the office. This office has been kept up since, now mainly supported by the Henry George Society, which has a membership of about 3,000, in 82 leagues all over the country. The Society now publishes its own periodical, a fortnightly paper called Den lige Veg, edited by member of "Yolkebinget," Dr. Phil. Starcke. Meantime the monthly. Ret, has won such support on its own merit that it carries on its educational work independently, in the charge of Mr. Berthelsen.

Moreover, the small farmers, through the programme of their organization, which numbers 40,000, demand the solving of the land and the labor question by means of taxing land values and untaxing industry, thus deliberately making Henry George's proposition their own. The movement, as represented by the Henry George Society and the Small Farmers' League is, of course, non-partisan. But several political parties have taken up a measure of our proposal, in proportion, of course, to the liberality of their platform. The present government party, the radicals, are in strong support, urged on particularly by the rural contingent.

During the first term of its government, the radical party carried and completed a sample valuation of land values. A bill was brought forward proposing separate valuation of all land values, with a view to changing the real estate taxes to land values taxes. This has not been carried, as the former Landsting, then ruled by land monopolists, opposed the bill, but it is expected to be taken up presently.

The whole land question will loom up in connection with the tariff revision, which normally should take place next year. The large majority of our people are absolute free traders and the abolition of duty taxes necessitates considering the taxation of land values. The difficulties of the present situation, which requires strong co-operation of all parties for the preservation of peace, keeps the government from urging, at present, such measures as would be likely to break into present party arrangements and result in new party alignments. Therefore it is quite possible that the whole question, land and tariff reform, will have to wait until conditions outside are more favorable.

But since our new charter amendment, which was given this June 5th, has deprived the large landowners of their special political privileges and given equal suffrage to all men and women, we can afford to wait until the time is ripe, always hoping that we may prove ourselves worthy of the peace we are having by faithful adherence to just principles and consistent progress toward the light of freedom.

C. Macintosh.

Progress here is now being made along satisfactory lines.

The oldest of the present day advocates of the reform is Dr. Felix Vitale, of Montevideo, followed by Dr. Manuel Herrera y Reissig. also of Montevideo.

In Argentine, the movement is of recent date -- but its progress has been very gratifying. Propaganda work was being carried on by Mr. Robert Balmer, a Canadian and Mr. Charles N. Macintosh, a New Zealander. The work done by these two began to take root. Later the late Joseph Fels kindly placed, through the Spanish League, literature in Spanish and the sum of [unreadable] 30, at the disposal of the latter. The outcome was the formation of the "Liga Argentina para el Impuesto Unico."

This organization has its headquarters in Buenos Aires, at 56 Calle San Martin.

The outstanding features of the South American movement are:

  1. The steady support given to the taxation of land values in the Brazilian Province of Rio Grande do Sul. The Governor of that Province, Dr. Borges de Madeira, is a staunch and declared supporter of land value taxation.
  2. The adoption by the Chambers of the Legislature of Uruguay of a law taxing the Dept. of Montevideo on the value of land, as distinct from the value of land and improvements, thus applying the same system of taxation to the Capital as rules in the rural areas of Uruguay, i.e., The land tax is there levied on land values only.
  3. The adoption for the year 1916 of Taxation of Land Values in the rural parts of the Province of Cordoba as the basis of raising the provincial revenue required to replace the amounts derived in former years from taxes on cattle, grains, skins, etc. The Minister of Finance of the Province of Cordoba, in introducing the bill, already approved, promised that during 1915-1916 the valuation of the land as apart from improvement will be made in the municipalities of the Province and that for the 1917 income, the provincial authorities will be able to levy the provincial tax in rural and municipal areas on the basis of the value of the land as apart from improvements.

In Buenos Aires, the Liga Argentina para el Impuesto Unico has promoted meetings of the representatives of most of the leading organizations, with the object of taking joint action in elections for the Municipal Council and for representatives in the Legislature. The League is well organized, directed by men who understand the question and its difficulties; while each Sunday public meetings are addressed by various members of the Society.

With a view to operating in a wider sphere on this continent, the Comite Sud Americano para el Impuesto Unico has been formed, with headquarters in Buenos Aires. Dr. Felix Vitale is president, with Ingeniero Angel Silva (Argentina), Ingeniero Luis Lavadenz (Bolivia), Sr. Octaviano Alves de Lima (Brazjl), Dr. Manuel Herrera y Reissig (Uruguay), as vice presidents, with Sr. A. de Queiros Telles, Jr., as secretary. This committee is pushing the discussion of fiscal systems in the various republics of South America and endeavors to form Leagues in each Republic.

E. J. Craigie.

The Single Tax League of South Australia desires me to convey fraternal greetings to the Single Taxers who will assemble at San Francisco, and trusts that the gathering will be very successful, and be the means of providing a source of inspiration for all those who are privileged to attend.

The propaganda on our part takes various forms. Chief among them is the writing of letters to the daily papers, a weekly letter to the country press, open air meetings each Sunday afternoon in the Botanic Park, and addresses in halls before members of literary, debating and trade societies. The newspaper work is very important, as in this way we reach a lot of people, and the requests which we get for literature and for further information on the Single Tax question is sure proof that the letters are read, and doing good work.

Special propaganda work is undertaken in connection with Land Values Rating for Local Government Purposes. First we send literature explaining the principle to every member of the Council, accompanied by a leaflet dealing with the machinery clauses of the Land Values Assessment Acts. We endeavor to get the Councils to agree to a poll being taken, so that ratepayers shall have the opportunity of saying how revenue for local government purposes shall be raised. If we are successful in this respect, a tentative assessment has to be prepared showing the rates now paid by each citizen, and the amount each would pay under land values if the poll should be successful. This assessment must be open to the public for at least 21 days before the taking of the poll. We go through these tentative assessments and take the names and addresses of every ratepayer whose rates will be reduced under the proposed system, and send them a post card stating the amount of rates now paid, also the financial gain to them in the event of the poll being carried. Literature explaining the principle is sent to every person on the roll, and we urge the people to go and record their votes.

As a result of our work, twelve municipalities in South Australia are now raising all their revenue from land values only, and we are hopeful that others will fall into line at the elections next December.

The Land Values Assessment Acts have been hedged around by all sorts of restrictions to prevent the system being adopted. This was done by the Landlord party in our Upper House which is elected on a property qualification. Before the poll can be effective, at least 25 per cent, of the actual ratepayers on the roll must vote in the affirmative. Then again, the power of deciding whether a poll shall be taken rests entirely with the Council. Every other ratepayer may desire to effect the change, but should the members of the Council be antagonistic, they can block the will of the people. We are endeavoring to secure an amendment of the Act from the present government.

In connection with our State revenue, we now levy one-half penny in the pound ordinary tax on land values, an additional half-penny on all estates over £5,000, with 20 per cent, extra added for absentees. An absentee is one who for a period of 12 months is absent from the State. The total amount of revenue collected from land values during the year was £141,807. We are hoping that in the future a larger proportion of revenue will be collected from this source. At the last general election in March last, the Labor party secured a majority of representatives in the House of Assembly, and their taxation proposals provided for an increase in the land values tax on the all round principle, coupled with the abolition of certain stamp duties, the lifting of the income tax exemption from £200 to £300; and the reduction of the railway freights and fares, the deficiency to be made good by making the interest on the capital cost of construction a charge on land values. We shall use every effort to see that the government fulfill their pledges. £ The present government are also pledged to put through a measure providing for proportional representation during the first session of Parliament.

If this becomes law it will be a big step forward for the cause of democracy, as it will enable Single Taxers to secure direct representation in the legislative halls of the State. The chief advantage of such representation would be that it would enable our people to have someone who would receive the benefit of the free railway pass granted to all legislators, and with this pass we could get out into the country districts at much less expense than at present. We should therefore be able to do much more effective work for the Single Tax movement.

We watch with interest the account of the work done by co-workers in America, and are pleased to note that it is bearing fruit.



Representing the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, I am here today to speak to you of the Modesto Irrigation District, of its single land tax, and of the effect of the latter upon the development and progress of the community.

Through the publicity given to it in the writings of the chairman of your Speaker's Committee, the Modesto Irrigation District has become famous for its experiment in taxation, by the adoption of the single land tax, and I feel safe in asserting that this District was the first public corporation in the United States to adopt under permissive State law this sort of a tax on land as the exclusive means of raising revenue. Naturally, therefore, the experiment would be fraught with great interest to students of taxation and of economics generally.

Ignoring for the moment the discussion of the land tax of the Modesto Irrigation District, I desire to say by way of introduction, that Stanislaus County presents in its industrial and economic revolution, an interesting study. Its history exhibits the transition from a virgin and primitive state to one of intense cultivation of the soil and a high grade of civilization. Running parallel with this transition and development appears the desire on the part of the people for a more just method of taxation in the Irrigation District -- a method which at once would prove more equitable and further promotive of urban development.

Originally settled by the miners who came down from the mountains that skirt the eastern extremity of the State -- men who sought the new Eldorado after the privation of travel in the early days -- grazing and stock raising were the industries of the sparse and scattered population of Stanislaus County at the earliest period of its history. As additional population came down from the mines, new lands were preempted from the Government and the large ranges divided into wheat ranches. By the year 1868, Stanislaus County had become the banner wheat growing district of California -- and this leadership in wheat extended over a period of twenty years. As the constant growing of wheat had robbed the soil of its nutriment, it became apparent to the land owners that irrigation was a manifest necessity to restore the soil and to retain productivity and prosperity. In 1886, therefore, the Legislature enacted the Wright Irrigation Law, under which the Modesto Irrigation District -- the first in the State -- was organized. This law provides for the public ownership by the people of water for irrigation purposes. After years of litigation, the law was safely settled, and the works of the district completed. This law permits a public corporation to organize in such a manner as to build irrigation canals, ditches, dams and all other necessary works for the distribution of water for irrigation purposes. This law also gives to such a corporation the power to tax for these purposes.

It was over ten years ago that the waters were first turned into the canals from the massive dam at La Grange. Then came an unexampled era of progress and development in the Modesto Irrigation District. With the land owning the water, and each acre entitled to water in proportion to the tax that it paid, and fructified by the waters from the canals, it blossomed forth with a fertility unparalleled. The progress of the district under irrigation is shown in the advancement made by the City of Modesto alone.

Ten years ago. Modest) was. a typically quiet country village of a little over 1,700 people. Today it is a bustling cosmopolitan city -- one of the cleanest and prettiest of the modem cities in the State -- with a population of 8,000 people and a tributary population of over 10,000 or more. Its growth has been due exclusively to irrigation. So rapid has been this growth in this short period of time that it has been a Herculean task for the school authorities to provide accommodations for the yearly increasing numbers desiring to take advantage of Modesto's excellent educational departments.

While the Wright Irrigation Law was the first enactment of its kind in the United States providing for the municipal ownership of water primarily for irrigation purposes and while the Modesto Irrigation District was likewise the first quasi-public corporation in the country to adopt this plan of public ownership and distribution of water as provided therein, the operation of the law produced a widespread economic effect. It showed plainly the effect of increased taxation upon relatively non-productive property, and its ownership.

In order to complete the irrigation works required, it was necessary to levy a yearly increase in tax upon property in the district. This tax running as high as from three to four per cent, upon assessed valuation in the early period of the District's existence, it fell heavily upon many of the large landholdings to such an extent as to make their continued ownership unprofitable under the then mode of cultivation. The result was the placing upon the market for sale at reasonable prices many of these large tracts of land. This made possible the subdivision of the large land holdings to such an extent as to increase the population of the district by the smaller farmer and tenant. The result was a more intensive cultivation of the soil, thereby increasing its productivity and rendering the land and its adjoining holdings more valuable. With an increased population living together in closer proximity -- many parts of the district appearing upon first view to be but a scattered city -- came other social and economic demands, which were quickly satisfied. In other words, the first fruits of the operation of the Irrigation Law were the subdivision of the land, the influx of population, the intensive cultivation of the soil, increased property valuations, the imperceptible blending of city and country life to the advantage of each socially. It is evident therefore, that the legitimate use of the sovereign taxing power by the people frequently operates beneficially as it has done in Irrigation Law.

It was early seen in the workings of the Irrigation Law, that while the development of the district was fairly rapid, the tax system hampered progress to a very large extent, and in fact, was alleged by many thoughtful persons to retard development. The plan of the Irrigation Law was to tax similarly to the system generally in vogue, land and improvements thereon, though no personal property was ever taxed. When the irrigation tax amounted from three to four per cent, of assessed valuation, and when this per cent, was added to the tax on the land, it fell heavily upon the farmer who wished to improve as it did upon the city dweller who desired to build. It helped the owner who erected a mere shack upon his place or held the land back for increased valuation due to increasing population. To remedy this evil, an enactment of the legislature was procured permitting irrigation districts to exempt improvements from tax whenever the voters choose to adopt the plan.

The Modesto Irrigation District was the first in the State to adopt this plan in the year 1911 and the Single Land Tax has been in operation since the year 1912, when it went into effect in this district. In 1911, Modesto district's country real estate was assessed for $3,795,050; city real estate for $848,545; improvements in country $525,280; improvements in city $854,690, making a total assessment of $6,235,565. The tax rate was three per cent. in this year. The following year of 1912, when the Single Land Tax went into effect, country real estate was assessed at $5,358,790, and the city real estate at $1,590,330, a total of $6,949,120.. It is evident that the assessed valuation of improvements was the following year under the operation of the Single land tax, thrown back upon the land, although the assessed valuation of the land increased only by a total of over $900,000, as against the loss of the previous assessed valuation of improvements of over $1,200,000. The tax on improvements has ever since been thrown back upon the land exclusively. The tax rate for the year 1912 was 2-%. This reduction in the tax rate was not caused by the adoption of the Single Tax, but was due to the fact that no special assessment was levied during that year. The total assessed valuation for 1914 is country real estate, $5,362,390, city real estate, $1,598,855; total $6,961,245.

The result of the adoption of the Single Land Tax in the Modesto Irrigation district may be briefly summarized. It promoted and encouraged development from the outset. Under the old scheme when the farmer borrowed money with which to improve his holdings, his improvements were subject to a tax. This really penalized improvement in that it added the tax per cent, to the interest already being paid, resulting practically in an increased interest in proportion to percentage of tax imposed. With the tax on improvements removed, improvements progressed rapidly and in the city of Modesto, nearly two large blocks of business houses including two new hotels, and a number of new and beautiful residences were erected. It likewise helped the small homeowner, for it removed his improvement tax.

It compelled a large number of land owners to immediately dispose of their land which theretofore had been idle upon the market or to devote it to more productive purposes. It also placed upon an equality the man who improved with the man who failed to improve, for each holding was taxed according to the value of the land and not according to improvements thereon. Throughout the district and in the city of Modesto, it encouraged building -- and what was more desirable, the erection of substantial homes and other creditable improvements upon the farms. It can be truthfully said that the single land tax has had a most salutary effect upon the development of the district and on the city of Modesto. It has worked well in the Irrigation District.

I am frank enough to say that Modesto during the past several years has given to the Single Tax as applied to the Irrigation District the credit for most of its prosperity, and I will also say that the people of the Modesto Irrigation District are highly pleased with its operation.

In conclusion I desire to invite the members of the convention to visit Modesto and the Modesto Irrigation District. You will have presented to you in a concrete form an illustration of the industry and development which in this latter day is weaving and producing the material greatness of the Golden State of California.


In Memory of Joseph Fels.

The only resolution that would have pleased Joseph Fels is the resolution that we would carry the torch that he never laid down but passed on into our hands.

The only Memorial that seemed to him worth while is that monument in which he, though dead, is, like every other working Single Taxer, now and always, a living stone.

In Joseph Fels' removal we recognize that our loss is simply a personal one and that his spirit goes on with us toward certain victory.

In the midst of battle is no time to grieve for the fallen ; it is rather the time to cheer the advancing guard, and especially her who must do double duty because her comrade and ours has dropped out of the visible ranks. Therefore, be it resolved that our Memorial Resolution to Joseph Fels be the determination to redouble our support to Mary Fels and the Single Tax.

James H. Barry / John B. Howarth / Bolton Hall

Commending President Wilson's Peace Policy

Resolved, That the Fels Fund Commissioners and Single Taxers national conference assembled, express their grateful appreciation of the faithful and persistent efforts of President Wilson in preserving the peace of our country, during one of the most trying times in its history.

Oliver T. Erickson, Chairman. / Otto Cullman / Lona Ingham Robinson.


Hon. Frank P. Walsh,

Chairman Commission on Industrial Relations,
Kansas City, Mo.

The members of the Fels Fund-Single Tax Conference assembled in San Francisco, wish to express to you their admiration for the fearless and effective manner in which you have conducted the investigations entrusted to your Commission.

During these later years individuals and corporations have gained a monopoly of most of the natural resources of this country. Aided by their wealth and by the brains which they can, unfortunately, command, they have placed themselves above the laws and beyond the reach of ordinary public opinion. Our officials and servants have not dared to call these exploiters of the public to account and it has been impossible for an individual or for any group of individuals to ascertain the titles on which these monopolies rested, the actual conduct of industrial struggles or the personal attitude of such exploiters toward the public.

Pushing aside outworn methods of inquiry, ignoring the sacred majesty of money, regardless of your own personal or political future, actuated as we firmly believe only by a desire to free the earth for its children, you have brought to the light and have given to the public a body of facts concerning the iniquitous means by which great monopolies have been created and maintained; you have shown us the accompanying wretchedness and misery of the exploited masses and you have compelled corporations and men ordinarily inaccessible to the public to face their acts, recognize their responsibilities, and speak like ordinary men.

In this work, if you have won the hatred of the few, the kings and potentates of the modem industrial world, you have won the esteem, the affection and the lasting gratitude of helpless millions and you have given to us the facts which we pledge you we will use in all legitimate ways until the earth is returned to those who must live on its bounty or perish miserably that a few may corrupt the world and destroy themselves with excessive and corrupt wealth.

Louis F. Post, Chairman of the Committee / Earl Barnes / Daniel Kieper