Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

were happy and contented, despite the ceeds of this transaction will be devoted almost universal state of disease and pov to road-building. erty. Shortly after the transfer of the

An American company has succeeded island I asked a number of peons what the French corporation in the control of they would like most of all, with the un

the railroad. The disjointed sections derstanding that the range of the inquiry have been connected and there is now a was limitless. In every case the wish was continuous line from Carolina, through for something material, and the most am

San Juan, Arecibo, Mayaguez, and other bitious was for a set of furniture. I important towns, to Ponce. Several could not find any desire for education, branches to interior points have also been perhaps because they knew practically constructed. American locomotives have nothing of it, and must confess to sur replaced the toy engines which were incesprise at the quick response to the oppor. santly breaking down, and the permanent tunities we have put in the way of these way and general equipment have been extraordinarily illiterate people.

greatly improved. The line has only Spain turned over to us one public completed half the proposed circuit and school building. Now the whole country it is far from being perfect in operation is dotted with schoolhouses, so that one is or fully adequate in service, but it marks within easy reach of every soul in the a great advance in transportation faciliisland. And the pupils, as a rule, show ties over the old conditions. remarkable aptitude and inclination to San Juan and Ponce both have modern learn. The census of 1910 will show that electric street railway systems, the latter we have wiped out the reproach of super- extending out two miles to La Playa, the lative illiteracy under which Porto Rico Port town. An electric line is in course has lain for generations. But education of construction to run from the capital is a sorry adjunct to an empty stomach. over the route of the military road to The combination breeds agitators and Aibonito. anarchists. Happily we are working quite Those who are thoroughly familiar with as effectually to improve the material con the island and its resources express the dition of the Porto Ricans. The steam- opinion that it will easily support a popuroller and the schoolmaster were brought lation of two millions when the road sysinto play simultaneously and the good tem is completed. As fast as the highworks of both are bearing early fruit.

ways are opened to traffic, the lands adNo other factor is comparably potent joining rise greatly in value and are imwith transportation facilities in promot mediately put under cultivation. There ing the welfare of an agricultural people. has been a general enhancement of real The physical peculiarities of Porto Rico estate values, and land that lacked buyers will tend to confine its railroads to the at $10 and $15 an acre now sells for $50 coastal line designed to encircle the an acre. Following the increase in transisland, and short loops and branches of portation facilities, marked improvements it. The lines of communication and in plantations were made at many points, transportation in the interior must al and it is noticeable that the narrow-tire, ways be mainly cart roads. The cost of two-wheeled ox-cart is gradually giving constructing these averages $10,000 a mile place to the American wagon. and their maintenance is proportionally With the expansion of agricultural inexpensive, but the commerce and indus- dustries, in which nearly all the people try generated by their existence would are interested, wages have more than make them worth while at a quadrupled doubled and the masses have adopted a outlay.

higher standard of living. In 1906, Porto Spain left 171 miles of main highway Rico took from us three hundred thou

We have already added more sand pairs of shoes and this represented than three hundred miles as part of a a great advance in consumption. Last system which is planned to supply the year the shipments included just twice as needs of every part of the island. The many pairs and the general quality was treasurer of Porto Rico recently disposed better. The imports of the last few years of $1,000,000 of the island's bonds at a show enormous increases in foodstuffs, premium in New York. The entire pro- clothing, tools and furniture, much the

in use.

greater part being in response to the de can consumer is not likely to be considmand of the peasant class.

ered by Congress. The prosperity, or otherwise, of an The problem of the resuscitation of the agricultural people may be unmistakably coffee industry is an intricate and a read in the records of their commerce. momentous one. It is safe to say that During the last half century of Spanish one-fourth of the population would be rule, there were but four years in which benefited by a revival of the old-time the balance of trade was in favor of Porto source of prosperity, and a large proporRico. In 1900 the value of the exports tion of these are people whom it will be to the United States from the island were difficult to make prosperous in any other slightly in excess of $3,000,000, and of the way. Coffee may be cultivated with comexports from the United States to Porto paratively little outlay of capital and it Rico, somewhat more than $4,500,000. is grown to advantage on the interior eleThe shipments from the United States to vations, which are adapted to no other Porto Rico for the fiscal year ending June product. This will account for the fact 30, 1907, were $25,686,285 as against that, despite the severe depression, the $19,224,556 for the previous year. The plantations have not been abandoned, as shipments from Porto Rico to the United much as one hundred and eighty-five States for the same years were $22,070,- thousand acres still lying under the bush. 133 and $19,142,461 respectively. The The total value of the coffee exported in total export trade of the island for 1907 the last fiscal year was $4,693,004 as coinwas $26,996,300, a gain of $3,738,770 over pared with a valuation of $12,222,599 in 1906.

1897. Planters are almost unanimous in The most remarkable changes have the opinion that the salvation of the intaken place in the industrial economy of dustry depends upon securing the United the island during the past few years. In States market, or in some form of protecthe final period of Spanish rule coffee tion, but the investigators at the experiwas by far the principal product of Porto ment station of Mayaguez are sanguine of Rico. Nearly half of the entire area un finding a solution to the difficulty in imder cultivation was devoted to it and in proved methods of cultivation and prepathe exports it represented a value more ration for market. than twice as great as that of all the other Fortunately, we have effected an offset shipments combined. Of the eight hun to the coffee collapse in the expansion of dred thousand peons, one-third, at least, the sugar and tobacco industries, with the were dependent, directly or indirectly, prospect of a profitable fruit trade in the upon the coffee industry.

near future. American capital and methUpon annexation to the United States ods have worked wonders in these respects the protected markets of Spain and Cuba and the principal products of the island were closed to the Porto Rican planter now enjoy an assured position. and the utmost endeavors have failed to The sugar business is undergoing an secure a sale for his product in the United entire reorganization on the most scienStates. The insular coffee is better than tific and economical lines. Formerly the Brazilian bean and fully equal to the sugar, as an article of Porto Rican exCosta Rican “Mocha and Java,” which port, was far behind coffee. Now it has cor itute the bulk of our supply. But considerably passed the highest mark ever Americans have almost as poor taste in attained by the berry. Practically all the the matter of coffee as they have in that land adapted to the growth of the cane is of tea, and the only hope for the island under cultivation, but it is believed that industry would appear to lie in such in the crop may be trebled under improved tensive cultivation as will greatly increase conditions. Porto Rico, like the Hawaiian the yield to the acre and allow of the out. Islands, has its wet and dry sides. The put being sold in competition with the southern valleys, which embrace a great cheap, low-grade products of South part of the sugar belt, need irrigation, America. The proposition to put a five- and the United States Reclamation Serv . cent duty on foreign importations and so ice is investigating the subject with promprotect the Porto Rican berry at an an ise of satisfactory results. nual expense of $50,000,000 to the Ameri. Under Spain the tobacco crop of Porto

Rico was hardly worth consideration. were able to show a profit of one hundred Last year the export of cigars alone ap- per cent on the investment the first year. proximated $5,000,000 in value and there Porto Rico is not at present, whatever is every indication of a large expansion it may be under greater development, a of the industry. The most approved country for the small capitalist. He may methods of cultivation and manufacture go to Cuba and do very well, securing are in practice. Around Caguas, which is land at one-third the price that he would the center of the tobacco district, one have to pay for it in Porto Rico. Nor can finds hundreds of acres under one cover the mechanic or farmer be advised to emi. in several instances. High-grade wrap- grate to this one of our insular possespers are thus grown in large quantities. sions. The former could not live on the

A new but promising industry is that wages paid for skilled labor and the latter of fruit growing, which, as in Cuba, is would find the venture unprofitable until mainly in the hands of Americans. There after the interior is better supplied with are now upward of six thousand acres in roads, and markets are more extensively oranges and a considerable area devoted established. Ultimately Porto Rico may to pineapples and grapefruit. Oranges afford homes to a large number of our grow wild in the hill region and on the agricultural population. west and south coasts. They are very Many promising industries have not sweet and of fine flavor but require care yet been incepted. The systematic cultiful packing. This has prevented their vation of the cocoanut palm for copra exportation until our own people took the would undoubtedly prove profitable, and task in hand. At present about two hun the necessary land can be had cheaply. dred and fifty thousand boxes are shipped Porto Rico only needs a line of fast and annually, but with improved cultivation regular steamers to supply the United and greater transportation facilities, both States with a large quantity of vegetables, inland and ocean, the shipments will be and in a dozen different directions new very largely increased. Pineapple cul- industries may be expected to arise as the ture has become quite extensive during constantly improving economic and agrithe past two years. The plantations are cultural conditions warrant. chiefly on the north coast and in the Even allowing for the splendid natural Mayaguez district. In connection with resources of the island and its previous these, several large canning factories have stagnation, we have made a splendid recbeen established. The industry has proved ord in Porto Rico, and one that probably very profitable to the planters. Many of is unparalleled in the history of colonizathem who paid $50 an acre for their land tion.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

WEST

BY

HOWARD B. GROSE

T

HAT is the strangest man I ever quiet, devoted to his profession, working met. You can't make any sort of member of his church, with special fondtrade with him; you can't ap ness for a class of young men; utterly

proach him on the side of per- unknown to the great public — that sonal advantage; you can't seem to touch brings us down to 1905. his political ambition. He is beyond me.

II. The fool simply does right the whole time!"

That year 1905 gave a terrific shock to This was the verdict of a noted poli- the world-conscience in its revelations of tician who had vainly tried to secure business corruption and the betrayal of Governor Hughes' support for a per- fiduciary trusts by men in high positions. sonal scheme. That last sentence tells the The gas investigation, which came first, story.

was but a prelude. It marked Counsel 1.

Hughes, however, as the man who knew It is the story of American possibilities how to ask questions. Behind the questold once more. Here are the outlines: tions lay a knowledge of the intricacies Born in Glens Falls, New York, April 11, of gasmaking and gas-stock manipulating 1862; son of a Baptist minister who came that made gas magnates gasp, while the to this country from England in 1855; enforced answers gave away their iniquifather Welsh; mother Dutch-Scotch tous and plundering schemes. The result English-Irish; a precocious child, read was the first notable victory of the people ing at three and a half; presenting to his over monopoly, and the enactment of father a full-blown course of home study laws, drafted by Mr. Hughes, which creat five, because so much time was wasted ated a gas commission and put the state by repetition in the kindergarten; taught in proper control of the situation. mathematics and elementary studies by This matter out of the way, Mr. Hughes his mother, and a master of fractions at went to Switzerland to climb mountains seven; taught the classics by his father; and among their heights forget the fitted for college at fourteen; graduate depths of metropolitan financiering of Brown University with high honors at Meanwhile, the Equitable disclosures had eighteen; academy teacher for a year; stirred the legislature, and the ArmColumbia Law School graduate in 1884, strong Insurance Investigating Commitcapturing fellows' prize of $500 a year tee needed a counsel. The chairman for three years; at twenty-two in a law knew whom he wanted, and cabled Mr. office, and presently made partner, later Hughes. He accepted on the one condimarrying senior partner's daughter; tion that the probing was to be thorough, thorough student with unusual powers of and not to be stopped by any consideraacquisition and application; for two tion whatever, financial, social or political, years (1891-3) professor of commercial regardless of where it led. It was fortuand contract law at Cornell; again in nate that he made the condition, for as he active practice in New York, this time foresaw, the time came when he had to head of a firm; known among lawyers for hold the committee to it. It was when he amazing knowledge of contract and con had discovered the book kept by Mr. stitutional law, and keen discernment of Perkins, containing the secret contributhe pith of a case; earning a good in tions of policyholders' money to the Recome, in part as consulting counsel; publican campaign funds through Mr. domestic, with charming family; moun Odell and Senator Platt. This was the tain-climber in summer vacation time; crisis. Ex-Governor Odell, political boss,

friend of Harriman, tried to stop things and a determining sense of duty so rare at this point, intimating broadly that to as to attract scarcely less attention than go on might lead even to the White House his wonderful power of probing after condoor. Mr. Hughes compelled the produc- cealed facts. While the investigation was tion of the book. Then he prepared to in progress he was nominated for mayor put Mr. Odell and Senator Platt on the of New York, but declined because, as he witness stand, and Mr. Creelman de- said, “I have simply to do my duty as I scribes what followed in this way:

see it. In my judgment I have no right A member of the committee demurred. to accept the nomination. A paramount “I think it would be a mistake to call public duty forbids it." either Mr. Odell or Senator Platt,” he The public hailed this decision with said.

gladness. It was no light thing to turn Mr. Hughes smiled and showed his down a nomination to an office greater upper row of big, flat buck-teeth.

in power than many a governorship. But Of course the committee is always in here was a man not to be diverted from control of its counsel," he said, in a doing his duty. That sounded a new steady, even tone, “but it must not be note, for which the newly aroused conforgotten that it was expressly agreed science of the people was ready. The rethat if I should find myself unable to sult was that when Mr. Hughes had made carry out the committee's instructions I his report, the reformatory laws which might resign my fee and make public my followed placed New York in the front reasons for so doing.”

rank for effective control of the life inNo member of the committee ever again surance business, and the interests of the suggested the sparing of any individual policyholders were safeguarded. or the covering up of a fact; and the tracing of campaign contributions to Bliss

III. and Cortelyou, of the National Committee, Nothing was more natural than that the made no difference to the pitiless man people should name him for Governor of with the probe. Odell and Platt had to New York, when it came time for nominatake their place among the others on the tions, and it was seen that Hearst was to witness stand. The blasting of reputa- represent the radical element. The party tions was appalling, and public confidence leaders were against Hughes, and it was shaken as perhaps never before in our looked as though he had no chance, when history. Merciless as death seemed the overnight the opposition sentiment vancalm, immovable, imperturbable Question- ished, and he was nominated by acclamamark incarnate.

tion. He had lent no help to the moveHis powers of physical and mental en ment in his favor. He said with absolute durance were almost beyond belief. Night sincerity that he preferred his profession after night he would work with his as to public office, but if the people sumsistants and stenographers until two, moned him, his duty as a citizen was parathree and four o'clock, following up the mount to his preferences. Further than clues gained from the testimony of the that he would not go. day preceding, mastering the involved Notified of his nomination, as he sat in bookkeeping which expert accountants his library on West End Avenue, he telehad failed to comprehend, framing the graphed to the convention this acceptance: interrogations and course of procedure "The Republican party has been called for the following session; then snatching to defend the honor of the state and to a few hours of sleep, and appearing at the represent the common sense of the people investigation cool, collected, alert, every and the cause of decent government.

I faculty in full play. He was a marvel to shall accept the nomination without pledge all who witnessed the scenes in that com other than to do my duty according to my mittee room. He spared no witness. Yet conscience. If elected, it will be my ambithere was no passion, no personal animus. tion to give the state a sane, efficient and

This period can not be passed over with honorable administration, free from taint less detail, because in that investigation of bossism or servitude to any private incame out all the qualities of the man, in terest." cluding a sturdiness of moral character That very night he mapped out a cam

« AnteriorContinuar »