National Geographic : 1904 Oct
EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CONGRESS HE Eighth International Geo graphic Congress was formally opened by Commander R. E. Peary, President of the Congress, Thurs day morning, September 8, in the large hall of George Washington University. Hon. Charles D. Walcott, as the personal representative of President Roosevelt, welcomed the Congress to the United States. Mr Walcott, in his brief remarks, em phasized the fact that the practical side of geographical science had been spe cially followed in this country : " We have, with our Canadian and Mexican neighbors, a large country, containing a great variety of geographic features, and in the work of making it a fit place of abode for the American people geographic factors have had much influence. Hence the study of our own geography has had a practical bearing, as well as a theoretical interest to us, and it has received much attention. " Recent events, moreover, have in tensified the interest of the American people in geography and expanded the field of their study to the limits of the earth. The United States has recently been placed in a position involving wide spread duties and responsibilities. While other countries have for generations borne the burden of policing the remoter parts of the earth, this country has until recently taken little part in those labors. " The expansion of the country has increased the geographic knowledge of the mass of the people, for the country's welfare holds the attention of every cit izen. Our interests in the Philippines have quickened our thought concerning the problems of all the East. While all aspects of geography have had a great revival among us, we are, perhaps, espe cially and most directly concerned with the commercial aspects of the science." Dr G. K. Gilbert, Acting President of the National Geographic Society, wel comed the Congress on behalf of the Society. " Your visit to our land finds us in the midst of a period of exceptional growth of geographic interest. As you have just been told in the message brought by Dr Walcott from the President of the United States, our geographic outlook as a nation has been revolutionized by the recent acquisition of a number of in sular dependencies. While our people as individuals are divided in opinion as to the advantage of that acquisition, we are of one mind in accepting the respon sibility involved and in recognizing the need of a colonial policy and a colonial system. With that acceptance and that recognition comes a new need for broad geographic knowledge, and the nation is eager, as never before, for information on a wide range of geographic subjects and an important array of geographic problems. " In the field of physical geography we have long been active, and we have felt that we were measurably in touch with the geographic scholars of other lands, but in the geography of countries, in the geography of industries, and in the geographic problems of administration we are the merest tyros. And now that you, the geographers of the Old World, have come to our shores, we are eager to listen to all that you have to tell us. "The National Geographic Society, having its home at the seat of govern ment, and including in its membership the official geographers of the nation, is peculiarly appreciative of the opportuni ties afforded by this occasion, is pecu liarly grateful that you have consented to favor us by your presence. On behalf of that society I offer you a hearty wel come to our land and to our city."