« PredošláPokračovať »
in a motor car which travels on the railway charge of selling the finished hemp to Ameritrack. This vehicle is very much like an can buyers. ordinary automobile except that it is equipped The plantation mills which strip the hemp with railway wheels. You leave this at the from the leaves are a revelation to an Ameristation and take a sort of small street car
With some exceptions, in the United which is pulled on a track narrower than a States it still seems to be an accepted tradistreet railway by a small and obstinate but tion that a factory should appear ugly, apparently tireless mule. In this car, which dirty, and forlorn. The hacienda mills of holds a dozen people, the mule hauls you
half Yucatan prove that there is no necessity for a mile or three or four miles, as the case may this, for they are clean and beautifully built be, to the hacienda buildings. This ranch structures of a kind of plaster or cement, railway is equipped with switches and is con- covered with vines and surrounded with trees. stantly crossing similar lines, penetrating in Near by, across a well-trimmed lawn, is all directions into the vast plain of gray-green usually the spacious home of the henequenero, henequen which is all about you.
where, after your inspection of the ranch is The henequen is usually grown from cut- completed, you slake your thirst with a drink tings or sprouts called hijos (children). In from a cocoanut just torn from the tree by the sixth year a few leaves are cut, just to an agile native. Then you sit down to a help the plant grow.
The first real cut of never-to-be-forgotten meal consisting of the leaves is in the seventh year, and thereafter excellent fish of the Yucatan coast, aguacate the plant is cut annually for from thirteen to salad, tortillas, and beans served as a kind eighteen years. By the time it is from of mush, which is indescribably better than twenty to twenty-five years old the plant anything that is ever done with beans in our has developed a hard, woody bar or pole country. which projects upwards from the center. The mere fact that some American jobbers The advent of this pole, called a varejón, and middlemen have been eliminated from means the end of the useful life of the plant. the henequen trade by the formation of the
On a well-kept plantation each plant is cut monopoly and that American manufacturers twice a year, a
ring” of leaves being cut have been forced to pay a higher price for each time. In all, from twenty to thirty sisal is not a sufficient argument for the leaves are taken from each plant annually, condemnation of the Reguladora. Nor is it a and every thousand leaves will yield seventy sufficient argument that the farmers of the or eighty pounds of hemp.
United States had to pay $4,000,000 more A few years ago the henequen laborer for their twine in 1916 than in 1915, and rarely was paid more than fifty centavos may have to pay a further increase of several (twenty-five cents gold) for each thousand millions in 1917. We must look deeper than leaves. But Governor Alvarado has fixed this. sixty centavos for each thousand leaves as After all, henequen is a product of Yucathe minimum wage of the State, and many tan, and the first thing to be considered in ranches pay per thousand as much as a peso, judging the merits of the sisal controversy is or almost fifty cents gold, for the peso is the welfare of the State of Yucatan. practically at par in Yucatan, although greatly For the average Yucatecan Governor Alvadepreciated everywhere else in Mexico. As rado's tight control of the henequen trade is a good laborer can cut three thousand leaves a good thing. This is so because for the a day, he can earn from ninety cents to a average Yucatecan Alvarado's administration dollar and a half gold a day.
is a good one, and the henequen monopoly is Each plantation in Yucatan has its own the very foundation of Alvarado's adminismill for stripping the hemp from the hene- tration. quên. This is done by a machine which The establishment of the Alvarado régime rips the pulp in each leaf away from the has simply meant the substitution of a strong fibers which run the whole length of the leaf despotism for a nominal despotism controlled and which are the valuable part. The fibers by the strings of an oligarchy. Before Alvaare then dried, bleached, and pressed into rado came to Yucatan the real power in the bales, when they are shipped off to Merida State was the commercial and social oligarchy or Progreso. Here the officials of the of the seventy-five richest families of henequen Reguladora weigh the bales, credit the planter planters, that is, the“ best people " of whom with his seven cents a pound, and take Americans hear much from aggrieved mem
THE GREEN GOLD OF YUCATAN
bers of this aristocracy who have fled to the Before Alvarado reorganized the RegulaUnited States for protection from the dora the buyers of henequen were well organ“rabble.”
ized, backed with much capital, and able to Before Alvarado came to Yucatan the fight; the sellers of henequen were badly trend of the henequen market was largely organized, without much capital, and unable determined by the International Harvester to fight. Inevitably, therefore, the buyers Company and the Plymouth Cordage Com- had the better of the sellers in fixing the pany, which bought about eighty per cent of price of the green gold. the sisal output between them. Their agents To a layman the present price of henequen and brokers in Yucatan seemed to have a seems justified by business conditions and working understanding; they quite naturally the laws of trade. In February and March, bought in accordance with the ordinary laws of 1902, when the henequen buyers were not supply and demand, and as these agents and so well organized as they later became, brokers bought so went the market. In those the price of sisal in New York was ten days the price paid to the planters for their cents a pound, or only three-eighths of sisal was two and a half to six cents a pound a cent less than it is to-day. Moreover,
that is, from four and a half to one cent a in determining the justice of the price of a pound less than they are getting now. But product, usually a fair criterion is the price many of these planters were able to make a of the articles in competition with that prodgreater profit then than now, because then uct. The competitors of sisal hemp are New they were not forced to pay their labor so Zealand hemp and Manila hemp. In the much as at present, then they were not forced opinion of experts, a fair price for sisal is a to support schools for their employees, then figure slightly less than the price of Manila, they had less taxes than at present.
In fact, and about the same as the price for New in general, then there were fewer obligations Zealand. From early in 1908, part way demanded by the State of the henequenero. into 1912, the price of sisal hemp in New It is just as plain why the average work
never more than a cent below ingman supports Alvarado as it is why the the price of current" Manila, and in the average planter prays or plans for his down- early months of 1910 it was actually higher fall.
than "current" Manila, although in these But whether he belongs to the larger class years the sisal producers were unorganized. which has benefited by the Governor's ad- To-day, with sisal hemp bringing 1038 cents ministration, or to the smaller class which has a pound in New York, “ current ” Manila is suffered by it, every Yucatecan will tell you bringing from 105,6 to 11/4 cents a pound, that the principle of the Reguladora is right. while a pound of New Zealand fiber sells at
The principle on which the Reguladora from 11 to 1214 cents. stands is simply the principle of organized Government ownership and Government production. It is the principle beneath the regulation are terms that frighten few intellifarmers' granges of our West, it is the prin- gent people to-day. Such people recognize ciple back of the butter artels of Siberia, it that this is an age of organization, and that a is the principle on which, recently, in many monopoly is not condemned by calling it a large American cities markets have been monopoly, but only by further describing it organized where the farmers sell their prod- as a bad monopoly. ucts directly to the consumers to the advan- It is not a sufficient condemnation of Cartage of both producers and consumers, and ranza and Alvarado to assert that they have to the discomfort only of middlemen.
established a henequen monopoly in Yucatan. Every school-boy who has finished ele- It is no condemnation at all. The fact is mentary economics knows that when the that in putting the henequen output under buyers organize the sellers must organize too. State control Carranza and Alvarado have
The founders of the Reguladora had two done only what England and Germany have things in mind: first to eliminate some mid- done with their resources in the crisis of war. dlemen and to sell their hemp as directly as And Mexico, it must be remembered, is still possible to the twine manufacturers; and, under military government. It is palpably second (and this they considered much more illogical to criticise Carranza in one breathi important), to organize the sellers of hene- for not restoring order in Mexico, and to quen so that they might get a good price from criticise him in the next breath for raising the organized buyers.
henequen to a price which even some Ameri
can experts have called reasonably fair in order to get money with which to restore order.
The question is not whether Government ownership and regulation is right or wrong, but whether the Government that is doing the owning and regulating is a good Government, and whether it is a Government which lends itself to the expression of the will of the people behind it.
The controversy over the merits of the Yucatan henequen monopoly really simmers down to the old question of good or bad government for Mexico.
Alvarado may or may not be a good Governor. It is the opinion of the writer, as stated in a former article, that, as Mexican rulers go, Alvarado is a good one, and that he is giving Yucatan the only form of government which can come to Mexicans from within while the country is in its present condition, namely, a benevolent despotism. But of course, from the point of view of Americans, an effective democracy is preferable to
any despotism, however benevolent. So the controversy over the merits of Alvarado's administration is, after all, a side issue. The main issue, one in which all Americans ought to be interested, is the struggle so to raise the standard of intelligence and public integ. rity in Mexico that real representative government, as we understand the term in its essentials, may come to be established with a minimum of delay.
In the meantime, so long as there is not such a further increase in the price of henequen as seriously to interfere with our harvests—that is, so long as a fair price is charged for the sisal, and so long as our legal machinery is well oiled to prevent an infringement of our anti-trust laws by the selling activities of the Reguladora in this country there seems no reason why the American public should become alarmed by the course of the henequen controversy. For, after all, it is not our henequen. It is the green gold of Yucatan.
GERMANY IN WAR
IN WAR TIME
BY MRS. H. H. GALLISON
This is the third and last of the series of articles by Mrs. Gallison describing her experiences in Germany during the summer of this year. The preceding articles will be found in the issues of The Outlook for November 29 and December 6.—THE. EDITORS.
ERMANY, through the insurance But what of the cripples, the mai med, and legislation inaugurated by Bismarck, the blind? This misery affects Germany, as
early laid the foundation for an it does the other belligerents, and taxes Empire of organized prosperity that should statesmanship anew. never know the dire want of the London How does Germany prevent the crippled slums or the poverty-stricken East Sides of soldier, who in ages gone has been an almsAmerican cities. Previous to the war, sta- gatherer, from becoming a burden to the tisticians from Continental Europe, England, state and himself ? How can the Fatherland and America frequently visited the Father- open up life to him again ? How can it land to study the German insurance sys- give limbs to the cripple, ears to the deaf, eyes tem-to-day a proved boon--and to gain to the blind, so that they can again rejoice in a comprehension of Germany's life-value, their manhood and take up successfully the old age, accident, health, Mutterschutz (moth- fight for an existence ? What the scientific erhood insurance), workman's compensation, world here and in Europe has produced the and general welfare legislation. These for- German Government utilizes, and again its eign observers have often expressed the con- genius for system makes smooth the way. viction that Germany might rightfully feel Broken of body and spirit, the badly that absolute want had been organized out damaged soldier is a double problem. The of existence within her boundaries.
Government sets out to reclaim him, first, by The war, however, has created new prob- restoring through care and nursing his genlems. The established systems contribute eral well-being, and then by instilling new greatly toward the internal economic strength hope. Definite steps are recognized in the of the Fatherland and mitigate its burdens. reclamation programme : recuperation of 1916
GERMANY IN WAR TIME
health, kindling new ambitions, energizing experience on the land. A position or an the will, employment during convalescence, opportunity was guaranteed him upon the counseling the patient on his future occupa- completion of the course. tion, reviewing the elementary educational Each soldier is carefully prepared to take factors, training him in the vocation selected, up his new work, and any manual training and guaranteeing him employment.
school, school of mechanic arts, university, or The nurses may feel sympathy, but may other educational institution is open to him. not show it. The early stages of nursing Many a man who had to earn his living before past, even while in bed the soldiers are em- the war by manual labor to-day realizes his ployed with papers of various colors and dream of a university education. This is the cardboards, and are led to make ornamental general scheme. The deaf, the blind, and the or useful things, games and toys for children; crippled are, as each case permits, subjected to carve wooden kitchen utensils or little to this régime. During all this time the objects of art ; to braid twine; and to make soldiers' families are provided for by the bags, mats, and nets. Thus they are taught Government, Frauenvereine, and relief clubs. to combat the ever-recurring question, The deaf are made to “hear” by their “What is to become of me?” All the en- eyes, by lip-reading. “Hearing " is thus recouragement of competition is afforded by stored to them by a three months' course. I exhibitions and sales of their products. Ma- visited the three grades that compose the curterials and tools are given to them, and the riculum, and was surprised to see how readily fruit of their work is, of course, also their the ability to converse is regained by the sol
diers. They are taught by pictures and blackWhile the soldier is thus occupied advisers board drawings, in easy stages, how the sounds come to him and, with infinite tact and kind- of the letters, of words, and eventually of ness, suggest to him, if he cannot possibly sentences are formed by the lips, tongue, take up his old occupation, to consider what palate, and larynx. I was able to converse new work he would like best to undertake. with the members of the graduating class, who As soon as he is up and walks about, training could lip-read so well that it was hard to bein his former occupation begins or the rudi- lieve that they had lost their hearing. ments of his new vocation are taught him. Perhaps the most humanly interesting exAll soldiers, no matter what their future perience in the two lower grades was to note work will be, receive lessons in the general the frank delight of the soldiers when they branches of education, German composition, found that they could convey the sounds they simple bookkeeping—their boyhood schooling could not hear. With what patience did they being thus reviewed with the aim of making watch a slow comrade ; how complete their the knowledge serviceable anew. Readings satisfaction when he too was able to repeat are given in courses adapted to each group the exercises, or, in the second class, to convey of beginners and for each trade or profes- the contents of the short stories that were sion. Those who wish it can study foreign systematically built up to keep nimble the languages or attend lectures on special soldier's brains ! topics.
The members of the senior class were very Of course the idea is to enable the badly much interested when I told them that I was damaged soldier to follow his old vocation. an American at home on a short visit. I When that is impossible, he receives gratui- asked them about themselves.
Not one tously special training in his new work. For would vouchsafe why he had received the Iron instance, I was present when a clerk, his Cross. What splendid men they were! What sight having been seriously impaired, was thoroughly good faces! What sturdy charadvised to become a farmer and a course of acters! What a pilgrimage this was to me! studies was planned for him. He was to The atmosphere of the school, its struggle, learn farm accounting, planting of grains and its perseverance, and its human conquest took truck, fruit culture, plant diseases and pest me off my feet. preventions, the science of soil culture, stock- The blind are made to “see” by their raising, dairying, the fattening of goats, sheep, hands, and, “ seeing,” to take their part in fowl, and pigs, marketing the produce, and the world's work. This was shown me in a the essentials of farm machinery and its use. home for the blind in Frankfort. A wealthy The course was to be made interesting by lady had given her house. It was a large practical illustrations or films and by actual mansion, situated in an expansive garden at
one end of which a spacious garden-house said, “ how your heart will be wrung when was turned into workshops.
The director you see the badly crippled-maimed men! of this home was himself blind. He told How will or can you bear it ?” And I me that America surpassed Germany in her thought my friends were right. But how treatment of the blind. America had even mistaken were we ! progressed so far that she taught different It is to the genius of Professor Dr. Biesalsports to them; Germany had not yet at- ski, her foremost orthopedist, that Germany tempted that.
owes many of her successes in her reclaThe soldiers were taught to read and write mation of damaged manhood. Under his again ; then to pursue their newly chosen supervision schools have been placed by the calling Carpentry, cabinetwork, weaving Government throughout the country for the mats, tuning pianos—these; the usual occu- crippled. His remarkable personality dompations of the blind, were being practiced. inates them, and their principals look to him Many of the blind soldiers were, however, for inspiration and guidance. I doubt being employed in the munition factories. whether any other man is so revered by his A number were studying at the universities. profession. He is one of the greatest idealThe case of an officer who was studying law ists. I have ever met, a man of few words, at Leipzig, his wife accompanying him to his tremendous energy, and enormous capacity lectures, especially interested me as a brave for work. His watchwords are “ will," struggle against great odds.
perseverance,” and “no sympathy." ProI shall never forget a blind young sculp- fessor Dr. Biesalski made it possible for me tor. In a somewhat larger and airier room, to see his special institution, the Oscar Helwhere I found several remarkable portrait enen Heim, near Berlin, where in times of busts and bas-reliefs, some completed and peace he prepared for the sublime work of some unfinished, the director explained that redeeming and remaking men after they have one of his pupils had been an engraver before been pitifully wounded. the war, and that, to amuse him, they had He is aided by the unusually brilliant sent him to a well-known sculptor, who was Director Hans Wuertz, a pedagogical genius willing to have him work in clay. He soon who is able to invent for each new problem had shown such skill in handling the material a new way of teaching. The impossible is and copying any model put before him that made possible by the co-operation of these he had aroused his professor's enthusiasm. two men, and the seed of their achievements The sculptor had instantly, upon his discov- is bearing fruit in institutions elsewhere. ery, assumed the responsibility of guarantee Professor Dr. Biesalski's theory is to deing him a good living in this most exacting velop and train the stump. The cripple is art.
firsť taught to use it, and it is wonderful how During the recital the door opened and the the stump can be made to do almost anyhero of the story himself entered with a laugh- thing. If the patient perseveres, the stump ing face.
He had just returned from the develops the same sense of feeling that studio. He shook hands and poured out to exists in the fingers. I saw a teacher who me all his exuberant joy at the realization of had one arm taken off above, the other below, his heart's desire, which the war and the loss the elbow. Consequently he had one long of his sight had brought him. Though he and one short stump. He seemed to do did not show his affliction, he was not hand- everything that a teacher usually does with some ; but, in spite of loss of sight and beauty, his hands. I saw him pick up a small piece he radiated the sunniest expression and the of chalk, go to the blackboard with it, and joy of a spiritual triumph.
write on it the arithmetic examples for his My friends could understand that I might class. want to visit the deaf or the blind, for at least The soldiers who perhaps do not have the the loss of one of the senses, they thought, time to develop their stump are provided left these unfortunates less able to react to a with special apparatus. Dr. Biesalski straps stranger's betrayal of pity—the pity that fills or screws on the tools of the particular trade your eyes or puts a lump in your throat, in which the soldier is to be employed. These whether you will it or not. * But visit the are called Prothesen. With the help of maimed, whose every sense is as keen as your these a man without an artificial limb or a own! How can you do it? Though you try man without hands can be trained to do a to fight off sympathy in their presence,” they great deal of manual labor. All the tools of