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must be administered to Utah, even if it is necessary to resort to such drastic measures as practically to disfranchise the State so long as polygamy is practised, and the law against “plural" marriages is not observed to the letter.
But in America, as I have before had occasion to point out, nearly all questions, whether of morals or business, are influenced by political considerations, and Mormonism is now involved in politics. Mr. Smoot was elected to the Senate as the result of a bargain between the Republican party and the Mormon church, the managers of the Republican party thinking it advisable to increase their strength in the Senate; and the church, caring nothing for politics, saw the wisdom of forming an alliance with the dominant party. The Mormon church absolutely controls Utah, and it exercises no inconsiderable influence in the near by States of Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado, those five States having seventeen votes in the “electoral college.” If the next Presidential election should be close, if, as some people believe, President Roosevelt should lose the votes of New York and New Jersey, and perhaps one of the large middle western States, the margin between the two parties might be so narrow that seventeen votes may be the weight to tilt the balance for or against parties. To the practical politician, therefore, seventeen votes are a stake large enough to be contested for.
The Republicans find themselves in a dilemma. If they were honest they would unseat Mr. Smoot, and serve notice on the State of Utah that so long as it permits polygamy it will remain unrepresented in the Senate ; but if that were done Utah would go Democratic next November, and all the influence of the Mormon church would be exerted in favour of the Democratic candidate. To avoid this risk the Republicans propose the policy of expediency, and to leave the final disposition of the case undetermined until the next session of Congress, which will not meet until December, or a month after the election. In the meantime the Republicans can hold Mr. Smoot as a threat over the head of the Mormon church. Unfortunately for the Republican peace of mind, the moral sentiment of the country does not sanction mixing morality and politics. It demands that judgment be rendered before Congress adjourns. The Republicans are between two fires. To antagonise the Mormon church is to run the risk of losing Mormon votes, to antagonise morality is to run the greater risk of losing votes in States even more important. The Republicans are trying to discover whether honesty or expediency is the best policy.
A. MAURICE LOW.
A BUSINESS VIEW OF THE CHINESE LABOUR PROBLEM
THE labour question in the Transvaal is now the subject of so much discussion in this country and has been brought so prominently before the public in recent debates in Parliament that it has occurred to me that the impressions gathered by a disinterested spectator recently returned from South Africa may be of interest. The subject has been most successfully used by the Liberal leaders in this country as a means of harassing the Government, and there is a danger, I think, of the true issue becoming obscured in the verbiage of Parliamentary dialectics. The economic condition of the Transvaal is too serious for any one, who knows anything about the real state of things throughout South Africa, to view with equanimity the possible consequences that may arise in the event of the people of England failing to realise the dangers of the present situation. I have only just come back from South Africa, where for several months I have been engaged on the business of an English company, which, I must at once state, had no connection with the mining industry. In fact, I will frankly confess that the depressed financial condition which I found everywhere existing was rather an assistance than otherwise in my business negotiations. My work brought me into touch with all classes of the white population in Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. I had the opportunity of hearing the views not only of officials, but also of the capitalists in Johannesburg and of many of the smaller traders, store-keepers and farmers, both English and Dutch. When I first arrived in South Africa in September 1903, I was at once struck by the fact that every kind of industry was at a standstill. The complaint on all sides was that nothing was doing, that trade was bad and that thousands of Europeans were unable to find work. After the restoration of peace it was generally supposed that there would be a boom in trade throughout South Africa. Lord Milner himself seems to have imagined that the country would almost immediately recover from the effects of the war, that the commercial progress of the new Colonies would proceed by leaps and bounds. There was an enormous increase in the white population of Johannesburg. New businesses were started, railways were projected ; the banks advanced money to assist the traders and store-keepers to meet the demands that were made upon them and to prepare for future emergencies. Subsequent events have shown that Lord Milner was rather too optimistic in supposing that the progress of the new Colonies would be so rapid. The expenditure has been on too liberal a scale in view of the financial depression of the country. It is a matter of common knowledge that the estimates for the railway traffic have been wrong, and that the purchases of farms made on behalf of the Government have been far from successful. Several of the projected railway extensions have had to be abandoned, because it has been found impossible to obtain a sufficient supply of labourers. In October 1903, Sir A. Lawley telegraphed to the Colonial Secretary that in view of the existing scarcity of labour he had decided that the railways must suffer to some extent, as well as the agricultural and commercial industries, and that the policy of the Government must be to go slowly at present. Even before the war the difficulty of obtaining labour was one of the most serious obstacles to be faced in the development of the Rand. The actual number of Kaffirs at present in the Transvaal is probably equal to the number in 1899, but the amount of labourers available for the mines is still considerably under what it was then and seems unlikely to increase to any great extent. The mines are 30, ooo natives short of the number employed before the war, though the machinery is now capable of producing 60 per cent. more than before. It has been suggested that the reason for this decrease in the number of Kaffir labourers is due to the fact that the native chiefs have forbidden their followers to work in the mines on account of the ill-usage they received. This suggestion appears to be absolutely untrue, and I could find no kind of foundation for so sensational a report. It has also been urged that the great mortality amongst the natives employed in the gold mines is another cause of the present scarcity of labour, which could easily be avoided if greater care were taken of them. The rate of mortality in the gold mines is undoubtedly very high. It is a good deal higher than in the diamond mines at Kimberley, but the reasons for this are quite clear. At Kimberley the labourers are for the most part Basutos, who belong to the finest physical race in South Africa. The nature of their employment makes it absolutely essential that they should be made to live in a compound, where they are most carefully looked after by the De Beers Company. In the gold mines, on the contrary, the Kaffirs are allowed much more freedom. They certainly live in compounds, but they are left very much to their own resources. It must also be remembered that they are recruited from all parts of Africa, and are of a much lower caste than the Basutos. It is a curious fact that about 88 per cent. come from Portuguese territory. A manager of one of the mines told me a story about some of these natives who came from Central Africa, which may perhaps account for the heavy mortality, and which is at any rate typical of the ignorance and stupidity of the black labourers employed on the Rand. On their arrival at the mines they were given warm clothes, and it was explained to them how necessary it was to wear them as a protection against the cold. The natives were careful to obey orders whilst they were working in the mines, but when their day's work was finished and the night came on, they divested themselves of their attire, with the natural consequence that the great majority died of cold and exposure. As far as I could gather, the two real reasons for the difficulty in increasing the number of Kaffir labourers are the war and the growth in the white population which immediately followed upon the close of hostilities. During the war the Government paid enormously high wages to the native drivers whom they employed. The Kaffir, who is a man of primitive tastes, has a natural disinclination to work when he can afford to be idle ; he no doubt made considerable savings out of the money which a too generous British Government lavished upon him, and is in no hurry to exchange his simple domestic life for uncongenial work in the mines. The white population of Johannesburg since the war has risen to about 95, ooo as against 50,000 in 1897. When it is remembered that in South Africa every white man requires at least one black man to wait upon him, it is not surprising that the supply of labourers for the mines does not increase, for it is a mistake to suppose that the mine-owners, although they undoubtedly pay higher wages than are given by the farmers, can yet afford to pay more to their employés than the ordinary black servant TeCelVeS. It would be an exaggeration to imagine that the present supply of Kaffir labour is absolutely insufficient to continue working the mines already opened. But even gentlemen like Messrs. Quinn and Whiteside, the two members of the Labour Commission who signed the minority report, admitted that there was a large deficit in the number of native labourers. It is most important also in this connection to bear in mind a fact which the British public are apt to forget, namely, that the Rand is not composed of a few rich mines capable of making enormous profits. The bulk of its returns are derived from the low-grade mines, to the owners of which the increase of two or three shillings per ton in the cost of production would mean an enormous loss. I should also like to point out that it takes roughly a million of money, and from three to five years' hard work before it is possible to convert a first-class mining “proposition,” as it is called, into a paying concern. The present supply of black labour in the mines is quite inadequate to make it possible for mine-owners to open up new mines with any prospect of financial success. Two remedies have been suggested to meet the acknowledged shortage of labour. First, to increase the number of native labourers; second, to employ more unskilled white labour. It has been argued both in South Africa and also in this country that the mine-owners could obtain as many native labourers as they liked if they only took the trouble to look for them. The minority report of the Labour Commission recommended that the supply of labour to be obtained in Central and South Africa was sufficient to meet present requirements and for all reasonable demands in the future. I confess that at first this view of the situation appeared to me a reasonable one, particularly in view of the further suggestion that native labour could also be supplemented by unskilled white labour. It was soon made clear to me that this latter proposal was impracticable, for, putting aside for a moment the question of the increased expense, it is almost impossible in a country like South Africa to expect white men and natives to do the same kind of work in the mines. Wherever white and black labour come in contact, the white labourer will always refuse to do certain classes of work performed by the black. Various attempts have nevertheless been made to employ unskilled white labour in conjunction with native labour, the most noticeable of which was the experiment made by Mr. Cresswell at the Village Main Reef, an experiment which by many people is supposed to have been successful. “I do not advocate dispensing with all our native labour,” said Mr. Cresswell in his evidence before the Labour Commission. “It is a most valuable asset to tide us over till conditions very materially alter,