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FRENCH CAPITAL AND THE COLONIES.
"The British Government, by such immense work as outlined above and through the revenues which the capital employed in the undertaking of these works assures to its citizens, interests the English people in the colonies, whereas the French Government shows utter lack of interest in its transoceanic colonies which have become the vantage ground for the officials and the military establishment only.
DEVELOPMENT AND DIVERSIFICATION OF AGRICULTURE.
The development of agriculture follows immediately and imperatively the development of intercommunication. This is especially important in the development of colonial territory within the Tropics, where soil and climate are very productive, and labor, intelligently applied, produces greater proportionate results than elsewhere.
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS OF THE TROPICS REQUIRED IN THE TEMPERATE ZONE.
The fact that each year makes the great manufacturing regions of the temperate zone more and more dependent upon tropical territory for raw materials for manufacture, and for certain lines of foodstuffs, adds to the importance of intelligent agricultural development of the territory which is now attracting most attention from colonizing countries—the Tropics. The importation of tropical and subtropical products into the United States alone, including in the list raw silk, dyestuffs, and many classes of chemicals, now amounts to about $350,000,000 annually, and similar conditions exist in the other manufacturing and consuming countries of the world. The importance, therefore, of developing and encouraging the production of these agricultural and other natural products is apparent. On the other hand, certain important articles formerly exclusively of tropical origin are now being produced in great quantities in the temperate zone, notably sugar, and thus the former profits of agriculture in the Tropics greatly reduced. This fact increases the importance of a diversification of natural products and intelligent attention to agricultural development in tropical colonial territory.
DIVERSIFICATION OF PRODUCTS IN THE TROPICS.
In this, as in other matters of this character, it is interesting and instructive to note what has been accomplished in these lines by the various colonizing countries. Of these, England and the Netherlands have been the most active, though in recent years France, Germany, and Belgium have taken steps looking to the development of agricultural industries in the territories governed by them. In the English colonies, the decadence of profitable sugar production in the West Indies, consequent upon the abolition of slavery and the development of beet sugar production in the temperate zone, has led to a very thorough examination of the question of the steps necessary for the protection and improvement of agriculture in those colonies. A commission was appointed by the British Government in 1896 which visited the West India islands and thoroughly studied the subject, taking testimony, listening to the suggestions of all classes of the population, and publishing the results in a large volume of nearly one thousand pages. The commission which authorized this study recited that “Whereas representations have been made by the governors and legislative bodies, and by inhabitants of those of our West India colonies in which the cultivation and production of sugar forms the chief industry, that the sugar industry in those colonies is in a state of extreme depression and can no longer be carried on except at a loss; and whereas it is expedient that full and authentic information should be obtained as to the facts and causes of the alleged depression, we do hereby constitute and appoint you to be our commissioners to make full and diligent inquiry into the condition and prospects of certain of our colonies in the West Indies in which sugar is produced.” The result of that inquiry was a recommendation for the diversification of products and for definite and intelligent action by the home Government for the purpose of encouraging such diversification. These recommendations included the encouragement of individual ownership of land in small holdings by the natives, the establishment of central sugar factories, and of botanical stations by which the soil, climate, and conditions in each island could be studied and the intelligent introduction of plants best suited to those conditions encouraged. In several of the West India islands botanical stations have been established, which, in connection with the great Kew Botanical Gardens at London, and under the general direction of the superintendent of those gardens, now make a constant and intelligent study of conditions in those islands, and through cooperation with the natives have already greatly diversified production and laid the foundation for future prosperity. Some of these botanical stations, however, were in existence prior to the visit of the commission to these islands, and it was largely by reason of the benefits which their work had already proven to the agriculture of that island that the recommendations of the commission in favor of the enlargement of this work were made.
BENEFIT OF SYSTEMATIC STUDY OF PRODUCTIVE POWERS OF THE COLONY.
Examples of the benefits to the colony and to the world at large of this systematic study by the home Government of agricultural possibilities in the colonies and the encouragement of new industries are found in other colonies, especially the history of tea cultivation and production in India and Ceylon and of quinine in India and Java.
TEA CULTURE IN THE COLONIES AND ITS EFFECT ON SUPPLY AND PRICES.
The cultivation of tea in Java was encouraged by the British Government about the middle of the nineteenth century, and India and Ceylon now rank among the most important tea-producing countries of the world. The development of this industry is illustrated by the fact that India and Ceylon in 1865 supplied but 3.2 per cent of the tea consumed in the United Kingdom, as against 92.2 per cent in 1900. The tea exports of India and Ceylon aggregated in 1899 about $50,000,000 in value. An indication of the growth in tea production in those countries is also shown in the fact that from India the tea exports have increased from 13,232,232 pounds in 1871 to 175,038,127 pounds in 1900; and from Ceylon they have advanced from 1,802 pounds in 1871 to 129,661,000 pounds in 1899. The tea exportation of the world has increased from 367,000,000 pounds in 1884 to about 555,000,000 pounds in 1899, and that of India and Ceylon from 63,000,000 to 290,000,000 pounds in the same time. Thus the percentage of the world's tea exportation supplied by India and Ceylon has increased from 17 per cent in 1884 to 52 per cent in 1899. Meantime great reductions in prices of tea have occurred, doubtless due not only to the great increase in production in India and Ceylon, but also to the introduction of machinery in curing and handling, by which the cost of production is greatly reduced.
QUININE CULTURE AND ITS EFFECT ON SUPPLY AND PRICES.
The great reduction in the price of quinine, which has occurred in the knowledge of the present generation despite the enormous increase in its use, is chiefly due to the intelligent development of its production in the colonies under the direction of their respective home Governments. Formerly the cinchona bark from which quinine is produced was obtained only from the dense forests of New Granada (now Colombia), Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, and could only be obtained by great toil and hardship, as the trees grew isolated or in small clumps, which had to be searched out by the Indian cascarilleros, and the bark after being thus obtained was transported by the most primitive methods. The enormous demand for the product of the cinchona bark led, about the middle of the last century, to experiments in the cultivation of the tree in Java and India. In 1854 the Dutch Government seriously undertook the task of introducing cinehona trees into the island of Java, and the experiment proved so successful that cinchona culture has become a very important and prosperous industry in that colony. A few years later the Indian government sent Dir. Clements R. Markham to South America to obtain young trees and convey them to India for experimental purposes. The enterprise proved immediately successful, and, according to Sir W. W. Hunter, in his Indian Empire, 1892, “has proved remunerative from a pecuniary point of view. A cheap febrifuge has been provided for the fever-etricken population of the Indian sufferers, while the surplus bark sold in Europe repays the interest on the capital expended. The headquarters of cinchona cultivation in southern India are on the Nilgiri hills, where the government owns four plantations from which seeds and plants are annually distributed to the public in large quantities, and there are already several private plantations rivaling the gorernment's estates in area, and are understood to be very valuable properties. A “quinologist” department is maintained, and quinine is being manufactured under its superintendence. The total area under cinchona in government and private plantations in India in 1891 was 13,407 acres in the Madras Presidency, while the success of the government plantation in Bengal rivals that of the original plantation on the Nilgiri. In 1891 four plantations on the Nilgiri hills contained 1,762,000 cinchona trees, and the total output of bark was 133,351 pounds. The government plantations in Darjiling contain 4, 155, S61 cinchona trees, which yield 913,972 pounds of bark, and the revenue derived from the sale of quinine, cinchona, febrifuge, and bark showed a large profit over the expense of the year's working of 17,000,000 rupees. The object of starting the cinchona plantations was not to aim at a profit, but to secure for the people a cheap remedy for fever, the most common of all tropical diseases. The quinine manufactured at the government factory can now be sold at 1 rupee per ounce, while quinine cost a good many rupees per ounce twenty-nine years ago, when the cinchona enterprise was initiated by the governor of Bengal. Hardly any greater blessing to a fever-stricken community can be imagined than cheap quinine. During the years in which cinchona febrifuge was issued the saving by its use in the place of imported quinine has been immense, and quinine and cinchona bark are now becoming an important staple of export trade.” The cultivation of cinchona has also been introduced in Ceylon, and proved equally successful. A recent report on Java published by the British Government says that the success in cinchona culture in Java has been very strongly marked, so much so that the Indian government recently sent its director of cinchona plantations to Java to study the cinchona cultivation for the benefit of that industry in India. The growth of this industry in Java is illustrated by the fact that the exportation of cinchona bark from Java to Amsterdam has increased from 7,342,000 pounds in 1893 to 11,221,000 pounds in 1899.
OTHER SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS IN TROPICAL COLONLIL PRODUCTS.
Other experiments in the diversification of industries and the introduction for cultivation in the tropical colonies of valuable trees and plants, upon the natural productions of which the world has formerly relied, are being steadily and intelligently pursued. The French have introduced jute and manila hemp into Indo-China, the Dutch and English Governments have encouraged the introduction of rubber trees of the best varieties in their various East Indian possessions, the Germans have established botanical and agricultural stations in their several African colonies, the Belgians have established coffee and rubber plantations in the Kongo Free State, and the great botanical gardens of the British and Dutch-the one at London, with numerous branches in the colonies, and the other in Javaattest the intelligent interest which those experienced Governinents are manifesting in the diversification and increase of the natural products of their colonies. By way of illustration it may be said that rubber trees of the best quality known in South America, from which the highest grade rubber is now obtained, are being introduced for systematic cultivation in Java, Borneo, the Malayan Peninsula, and other parts of the East Indies, and that experiments in this line are also being encouraged by the Germans and Belgians in Africa. The Belgian Government, in its direction of the Kongo Free State, now requires that a certain number of rubber trees be planted for each tree destroyed, with the purpose of thus assuring the maintenance of the supply in that region. The Kew Gardens, at London, serve as an advanced horticultural school, at which men are trained for intelligent work in the colonies. “Some sixty men, trained at Kew," says the British Colonial Office List of 1901, are now in official employ in different parts of the Empire. Relations with the botanical institutions are maintained by semiofficial correspondence. With those of colonies more directly under control of the colonial office the communication is closer."
TRAINING SCHOOLS FOR COLONIAL AGRICULTURE.
British colonial botanical institutions fall roughly into three classes: Those of the first class are usually administered by a scientific director; those of the second class by a skilled superintendent, while the third class consists of botanical stations. These last are small and inexpensive gardens, devised in 1855, in order to afford practical instruction in the cultivation of tropical crops, and were intended to develop the agricultural resources, first of the smaller West Indian Islands, and subsequently of British possessions in tropical Africa. Each is in charge of a secretary, who is a gardener trained at Kew. In 1898, in accordance with the recommendation of the West Indian Royal Commission above referred to, a special department of agriculture, supported by imperial funds, was created for the West Indics, and placed in charge of a commissioner, Dr. D. Morris, C. M. G., with headquarters at Barbados. He is consulting officer to the governors at Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad, and in charge of the botanical gardens or stations for sugar-cane experiments, agricultural schools, and local experiment plots at Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts, and the Virgin Islands. The total appropriation by the British Government in support of the department in 1901-2 is £17,420.
The work of these agricultural and experiment stations in the West Indies is illustrated by some statements made before the royal commission which visited the West Indies in 1898, as above indicated. Mr. W. Fawcett, director of the Jamaica public gardens and plantations, in his testimony before that commission, said:
“The object of maintaining a garden in a colony like Jamaica is for the introduction of new plants, to give information about plants generally to the planters and people of all sorts, and to do what we can in the way of training men and boys in agricultural pursuits. We have in our work men who have been trained at Kew, practical gardeners, and after some time, with the experience they get in the Tropies, they can instruct the people all over the country. We have just sent the superintendent who was in charge of a part of our gardens to take charge of the botanical station in British Ilonduras. A short time before we sent the headman, a black man who had been at work in the gardens for a period of twenty-four years, to work in the west coast of Africa, to take charge of the labor in the gardens there under a Kewman. We have also trained two apprentices who were sent by the Government to Lagos fortwo or three years. A former superintendent here is now in charge of the botanical gardens in Ceylon, and his successor is now in charge of the gardens at Trinidad, while still another is superintendent in Demerara. We have an industrial school to which the waify and strays and orphans committed by the resident magistrates receive instruction in agriculture in the gardens. All the boys under 12 years of age get a half-hour lecture in the garden daily, have three hours' work in the school and work about the grounds adjoining the school, while those above 12 get two hours in the school and the rest of the time in the gardens. They take a great deal of interest in the lectures, and it is their ambition to go to the higher grades. Part of the work of the gardens is the distribution of plants and trees of various kinds. There were formerly scarcely any nutmeg trees in Jamaica, but we have distributed between 50,000 and 100,000 plants. We started the orange gardens about a year and a half ago, and in one year's time distributed 16,000 plants. We have received and distributed Liberian coffee plants, and have rece ly received from Kew a still better coffee, which is to be distributed in the form of plants. We are distributing cocoa plants, and greatly improving the grade of production by sending an instructor through the various parishes where there are cocoa lands, and showing the people how to plant and cultivate them. We are also importing tobacco seeds from Habana, and although the tobacco soon degenerates here, if we get fresh seeds every year from Habana it will probably keep up the reputation of the Jamaica tobacco, which is already very good.”
SMALL HOLDINGS OF LAND AND DIVERSIFIED INDUSTRIES RECOMMENDED FOR THE WEST INDIES ESPECIALLY.
Sir Charles Dilke, in his Problems of Greater Britain, 1890, in which discussing conditions in the colonies following several visits to them, takes a decidedly hopeful view of the conditions and prospects in the West Indies, and expresses the belief that the subdivision of the land into small individual holdings for the colored citizens, and coupled with this an enlargement of the powers of self-government, would prove advantageous. He especially calls attention to the diversification of industries which has already begun, and which he says is due in part to the fall in price of sugar and in part to the subdivision of the formerly large estates and their lease or sale to the negro inhabitants. “Although sugar production still constitutes the staple product of several of the British West Indian colonies,” he says, “it no longer occupies the position of universal predominance. Cacao competes with sugar in Trinidad, while in Grenada it takes a foremost place; Jamaica and Dominica possess vast resources as yet almost wholly undeveloped, and while coffee cultivation may be extended, there is a possible future in many of the islands for tobacco and tea. As tea has partly replaced coffee in Ceylon, and fiber is making the prosperity of the Bahamas, so in the West Indies a transformation of estates as regards their produce is now in progress. Oranges, bananas, and other fruits, mostly sent to the United States, form the chief articles of export from Jamaica. The rapid increase in the growth of fruit production has becn partly caused by the depression of the sugar industry, and in part also the result of the division of property among negro peasant owners, to whom fruit growing presents no difficulties. The fruit trade of Jamaica has given an immense impetus to the prosperity of the small landlowners of that colony. The very natural land hunger of the sons of the emancipated slaves has led to the rise of a class of small proprietors whose existence seems likely to become in the British islanıls, as it is already in the French, the dominant factor of the West Indian problem. The white population of the island, both British and French, is on the decline; the black and colored population is increasing. Sir George Baden-Powell and Sir William Crossman, in the report of the royal commission, estimate that thirty days labor on an acre of good land in Jamaica will, in addition to providing a farnily with food for the year, yield a surplus saleable in the market for from £10 to £30. It is no wonder that under such conditions the small holders who own their land and till it by their exertions should thrive, where great proprietors, who have to make use of hired labor, too often fail. It is chiefly to the success of the small holders that must be attributed the remarkable increase in revenues of the West Indian colonies during the last half century, in spite of the losses which the planters have incurred. It has been computed that while the revenue of the slave colonies at the time of emancipation amounted to less than £150,000, it had in 1887 risen to £2,000,000, or more than four times as much as in the days of slavery. The revenue is raised mainly by means of import duties, the burden of which falls upon the masses of the negro people, and were it not for an immense improvement in their condition, consequent upon the firm hold which they have acquired of the land, no such increase would have been possible.”
Mr. Hugh Edward Egerton, in his History of British Colonial Policy, 1897, commenting upon conditions in the West Indies, says: “To a great extent the burden of the West Indies is not want of development, but overdevelopment in a particular direction. Never, certainly, has the situation of the West Indian sugar grower appeared so serious, since it is now doubtful whether under the most favored conditions of economic production the West Indian grower can hold his own, confronted as he is by hostile European bounties and a public taste which prefers a more attractive looking though less good article. It would seem as though, if the West Indies are ever to prosper, new products and industries will have to supersede over large areas the sugar cultivation which was largely the outcome of negro slavery.”
EXPERT TESTIMONY FROM THE BRITISH WEST INDIES.
A paper read before the Royal Colonial Institute, London, April 14, 1891, by Dr. D. Morris, director of experimental stations in the British West Indies, has the following:
The production of sugar can by no means occupy all the available lands suitable for cultivation in the West Indies. It is well that it is so. What is wanted is a diversified system of cultural industries, so that there may be no collapse of prosperity as at present on account of fluctuation in the price of any single article. The physical configuration of the West India Íslands, where there are all gradations from plains to slopes and mountain sides, point to this conclusion. We can not do better, therefore, than take these as they are, and endeavor to cultivate them in such a skillful and suitable manner as to render them a source of wealth and prosperity to the community.
MANY SOURCES OF WEALTII OPEN TO THE NATIVE. On lands not already occupied with sugar, and where sugar growing does not prove remunerative, there are numerous industries that might be successfully established. What has been accomplished in this respect at Jamaica and other West Indian Islands is a sufficient proof that a system of diversified industries is in the long run the best and most lasting. Besides sugar, then, we should endeavor to select a number of industries well suited to the soil and climate. Of these none are perhaps more promising at present than coffee. There are two sorts of cofiee-the Liberian coffee, for warm, humid valleys, and the Arabian coffee, for hilly slopes up to 2,000 or 3,000 feet. The mountains of Dominica could grow as fine a coffee as any in the world. While people are investigating remote parts of the world for suitable cofiee lands, here within easy reach of us are some of the finest coffee lands to be found in any part of the Tropics. At least from 5,000 to 10,000 acres could be established with coffee in this one island. There are, besides, the highlands of Montserrat, of St. Kitts-Nevis, and the hills of Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Cacao is easy of culture, and thrives in the rich soil of humid valleys. These are to be had in Dominica in abundance, and they are not wanting also in Montserrat and St. Kitts. Spices, such as nutmeg and mace, vanilla, black pepper, cubeb pepper, long pepper, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamoms, are already introduced to this part of the world. The demand for spices is increasing, and these islands could grow every one of those mentioned if only the people would give their attention to them and treat them according to their special requirements. A great factor in the future development of these islands is the growing of fruit. They are geographically the Channel Islands of the northern continent, and their manifest destiny is to grow such special products and such fruits and vegetables as the more temperate countries are unable to produce for themselves. Bananas are in great demand in the United States and Canada. The production of these is already large, but evidently the trade is only in its infancy. Jamaica alone exports nearly a quarter of a million sterling worth of bananas every year, but the northern people want more and more. Bananas yield a crop in a year or so. The bunches sell for about £7 to £10 per hundred, for which ready money is paid. The planter can thus clear £15 to £20 per acre for his fruit, while under the shade of the banana plants he is establishing his land with cacao, coffee, spices, or other permanent subjects. Besides bananas there are many fruits in great demand, such as oranges, pineapples, shaddocks, forbidden fruit, sapodilla, mango, avocado pear, granadilla, watermelon, tamarind, guava, cocoanut, star apple, papaw, sweet sop, sour sop, sugar apple, mammee apple, Barbados cherry, lime, lemon, grapes, figa, cashew nut, ground nut, loquat, Malay apple, rose apple, pomegranate, almond, genip, damson plum, balata, breadfruit, date, mangosteen, and durian. All these and many more are found in these islands-are found, indeed, in the small island of Dominica, but some are at present practically unknown to northern people. Then besides fruits there are abundant supplies of vegetables, which could be shipped to reach northern markets in the depth of winter and realize good prices. The finest green peas, the best new potatoes, the most luscious tomatoes are obtainable here a fortnight before Christmas, and the supply is limited only by the means at hand for disposing of them and getting them quickly and freshly into the proper market.
The cultivation of the West Indian lime has already been discussed. This is essentially an industry of these islands, and it deserves to be fostered as one of the many elements conducive to their future prosperity.
Of fibers suited for cordage and weaving purposes there are at least a score or two that could be easily grown. I need only give a brief enumeration of them. Sisal hemp (Agave) is now being largely taken up in the neighboring Bahamas. If more land is required to grow this fiber there are thousands of acres in Anguilla and the Virgin Islands exactly suited to its requirements. This might be had at possibly one-third or one-half the present price of the Bahamas' lands. Mauritius hemp (Furcrae) could be grown at Anguilla and elsewhere, and there are cheap machines manufactured in Mauritius that will clean it. Bowstring hemp plants of a special kind are found growing wild in parts of Antigua. The fiber is excellent, and as it is suitable for weaving purposes the demand for it is not likely to be influenced in any way by the production, however large, of sisal or Mauritius hemps. There is Egyptian cotton and ordinary cotton to be tried at Antigua, St. Kitts, and Anguilla; tobacco at St. Kitts, where long ago it was a staple industry; cocoanuts for fresh nuts, for oil, for fiber, and for cocoanut butter in all islands possessing sandy beaches. And besides these there are industries in arrowroot, in cola nut, in fruit syrups, in preserved and dried fruits, in silk raising, in resins, gums, india rubber, scent plants, and numerous medicinal plants. A promising new industry for the West Indies is that of gambier. This, as already mentioned, is an extract from the leaves of a plant (Uncaria gambier), and since the people of the United States have taken to using it for tanning purposes the price has gone up considerably: Plants of gambier were forwarded from Kew to the West Indies last November. They arrived there safely, and are now in course of being propagated for general distribution.
THE DUTY OF THE COLONIAL GOVERNMENT IS TO AID DIVERSIFIED INDUSTRIES.
This is a sketch only of what may be done in these islands. What is necessary is to select some half a dozen of the most promising industries and prosecute them with energy and enterprise. A few years ago there were only two botanical establishments in the West Indies; now there are eleven. The new additions consist of a series of botanical stations, which may be described as botanical institutions of a simple and unassuming character, whose functions are useful rather than ornamental. They are specially charged with the work of growing and distributing economic plants and giving practical information respecting their growth and treatment. This information is put forth in the form of bulletins, which are widely and regularly disseminated among the people. The curators also, by precept and example, diffuse a thorough knowledge of horticultural methods as applied to tropical plants. This scheme of botanical stations has been assiduously fostered at Kew for many years, and it was in connection with the final organization of it I was invited to visit the West Indies during the winter. There are botanical stations in the Leeward Islands at Dominica, liontserrat, Antigua, and St. KittsNevis. Already there are thousands of valuable economic plants ready for distribution at these stations, and the men in charge (mostly trained at Kew) are capable of giving information and assistance respecting the special industries suited to each island.
NATIVE LABOR IS SUFFICIENT IF PROPERLY ENCOURAGED.
As regards labor, I am satisfied that there is enough already in the islands to start many new industries. It can, I believe, be shown that the labor is in excess of the demand, or at least in excess of the capital, when, as in Dominica, the value of the yearly exports fails so low as £1.6 per head of population. In Montserrat it is only £2.5 per head, while in Antigua and St. Kitts-Nevis, where more systematic inciustries are pursued, it rises, respectively, to £7,6 and £7.8 per head. In both these cases, however, it is far below what it is at Trinidad. There the value of the annual exports reach the high rate of £11.7 per head of population. These figures are more clearly set forth in the following table, compiled from the Colonial Office List for the current year:
It is the opinion of some that a system of negro peasant proprietors is best suited to the requirements of the West Indies. I am strongly of opinion that such a system universally applied would be very injurious to the negroes themselves and most detrimental to the future of the islands. It will be noticed that in the islands above mentioned, such as the Virgin Islands, Dominica, and Montserrat, where there are most peasant proprietors or freeholders, there the value of exports is lowest.
Peasant proprietors, consisting entirely of negroes, when removed from the influence and example of Europeans, quickly lose heart. They gradually exhaust their land and grow little beyond what will supply them with the bare necessaries of life. If peasant proprietors become the rule, the European must perforce retire. He can only exist where the land is laid out in large and systematic plantations and where labor is available for their maintenance and support.
The people mostly wanted in the West Indies are Europeans with capital who will work hard themselves and supervise the labor of the people. I do not recommend white settlers with little or no capital to go out to these islands. The experiment has been tried more than once, and it has signally failed. The European should bring his capital and be the employer and controller of the labor and not be a laborer himself, even on his own allotment. The climate and circumstances of tropical life are all against him.
As regards the negroes, much could be done to teach and train them in cultural pursuits. At present the education they receive tends, I fear, to take them away from the land and to crowd them into towns to become needy clerks and shopmen instead of prosperous and contented cultivators.
Efforts are being made to start industrial schools and to train negro boys as gardeners at the botanical stations. Such efforts in time must produce a change, but meantime the present labor supply must be judiciously utilized and the land so cultivated as to be retained in a continual state of fertility:
More labor will probably be required in time, and there are means for obtaining this labor for the Leeward Islands as it is obtained for Trinidad, British Guiana, or any other West Indian colony.
Dr. Morris, in a paper read before the Royal Colonial Institute at London in 1887, said on this subject:
From the eastern tropics I would ask you to go with me to the western tropics, and especially to those beautiful islands dotted over the Caribbean Sea. While the west has given to the east the pineapple, the banana, and the guava, it has received in return the orange, lime, shaddock, and mango, and its fertile soils and sunny climates have greatly improved them. The Bahamas were the first of the West India Islands to give attention to the cultivation and export of fruit. The first cargo of pineapples was shipped to England in 1842. In 1855 the shipments consisted of 16,469 dozens, of the value of £3,415; in 1864, of 61,500 dozens, and of the value of £8,516. To keep the fruit for a voyage of almost twenty-eight days by sailing vessels the whole plant was taken up and shipped. This was rather an expensive system, as the planters lost the suckers or shoots for replenishing their fields, and the quantity taken at one shipment was necessarily small.
Oi late years the bulk of the Bahamas fruit is shipped to the United States, and in 1885 the statistics as regards pineapples stood as follows: To Great Britain, 31,900 dozen, valued at £1,785; to the United States, 424,065 dozen, valued at £16,062. The total value of the fruit esports of the Bahamas averages about £54,000 annually.
These consist of oranges, shaddocks, avocado pears, bananas, cocoanuts, and sapodillas. Canned or preserved pineapples are also exported, but it would appear that much more might be done in this direction. From a letter received recently from a correspondent at the Bahamas I learn thatEleuthera and Long Island have done very well this year, selling their pines at 2 shillings per dozen. But Cat Island, with a population of 5,000, nearly all engaged in pine growing, has done very badly. The people had plenty of pines, but could not sell them. When I was there in the beginning of August there were several thousand dozens still in the fields, and the people would gladly have sold them at 4} or 6 pence per dozen, a price which would barely cover their carriage to the beach. But no sale could be made even at that price. The prospects of the orange crop are good, but so long as the fruit is sent to market in bulk in the holds of schooners good prices can not be obtained, and many cargoes are damaged and lost.”. From another source I learn that fully one-third of the fruit crop of the Bahamas is lost through want of care in properly picking and shipping the fruit.”
The other West Indian islands, with the exception of Jamaica, of which I shall speak presently, have not been able to establish an appreciable fruit industry. The difficulty is not in growing fruit, but in securing regular and suitable means of transit. The intercolonial steamers of the Royal Mail Company can not be utilized, as they have a purely local itinerary. What are wanted are rapid steamers connecting directly with the United States or Europe, and provided with suitable accommodation for carrying fruit. The fruit trade of the several islands at present is as follows: Trinidad, chiefly cocoanuts, £43,000; Tobago, chiefly cocoanuts, £2,600; Grenada, £390; St. Lucia, £104; Barbados, chiefly tamarinds, £1,305; Dominica, $3,444; Montserrat, limes and lime juice, £11,000; St. Kitts and Nevis, £1,078; Antigua, chietiy pineapples, £156.
Although Jamaica embarked in the fruit industry much later than most of the others it now occupies the first place as a fruit-exporting country. The value of its shipments are not far short of £250,000 annually, which go principally to the United States. The chief fruit exported is the banana, which in 1885 reached a value of £130,000. Next comes the orange, to the value of £34,000. Other fruits exported are pineapples, limes, mangoes, cocoanuts, shaddocks, and tamarinds. The Jamaica bananas are cultivated by both Europeans and negroes, and, according to the season, sell locally for £7 10s. to £10 per hundred hunches. Small bunches, less than seven hands, are not saleable. The bulk of the orange crop is yielded by self-sown trees, growing in pastures or native gardens. When the fruit is carefully picked by hand, graded according to size and degree of ripeness, and well packed, it finds a ready market. The demand for Jamaica fruit is necessarily affected by the Florida crop, but latterly the trade is somewhat brisk, and good prices are realized. Even with the trees at present existing, if attention were seriously given to the subject, the exports of oranges from Jamaica might be increased fourfold. It reflecis somewhat unfavorably on the West Indian Islands, which can grow this fruit so successfully and readily, that oranges from Sicily are still being imported into New York and New Orleans, and that aiter crossing the Atlantic they are placed in the market in a better and more acceptable condition for buyers than West Indian fruit. This is a matter which, with a little more experience and knowledge on the part of growers, might be greatly changed. With suitable storage in cool chambers, Jamaica could supply the English market with pineapples, oranges, cherimoyers, watermelons, sweet cups, tree tomatoes, rose apples, limes, mangoes, and many others. As regards mangoes, thousands of tons are produced annually, and I have elsewhere suggested that, aiter exporting the best in a green state, using other for chutneys, pickles, and preserves, the rest might be utilized in the production of a useful spirit or in the manufacture of glucose.
The rapid rise of the fruit trade in Jamaica is due to the enterprising counsels of the late governor, Sir Anthony Musgrave, who secured regular and rapid communication with the States by subsidized steamers, and connected the fruit ports by telegraph and extended the railways. Much is still needed in the way of roads for opening up fruit districts, and for bringing them into closer communication with the coast. By such means the fruit would be cheaply and expeditiously brought to the port of shipment, and the small settlers encouraged to embark in fruit culture.
What Sir Anthony Musgrave did for Jamaica, Sir Frederick Barlee appears to have done for British Honduras. The establishment of a regular mail service between Belize and New Orleans was the first step in making British Honduras a fruit exporting colony. In 1880 it exported no fruit except cocoanuts. Last year it exported fruits, consisting of bananas, limes, mangoes, oranges, avocado pears, pineapples, and tamarinds, to the value of £14,464.
A very interesting attempt was made last year to iniport fresh tropical fruit from British Guiana by Messrs. Scrutton & Sons, who had one of their steamers fitted with a cool chamber specially for the purpose. Bananas and many delicate fruits were received from the West Indies during the course of the exhibition in excellent condition. It is to be hoped that all connected withif this interesting experiment will resolve to make it a permanent feature in West Indian trade, and induce the English to become as large consumers of bananas and other tropical fruit as the people in the States,
Before closing my remarks upon the West Indian fruit trade, I would mention that the growing of fruit for export has initiated quite a new departure in the methods of local trade. It is true that fruit growing in itself is somewhat uncertain, and apt to suffer sudden reverses, but the fact remains that it enables some thousands of small growers to place land under cultivation and to utilize what otherwise would be simply wasted.
Again, a trade in fruit has introduced a system of cash payments on the spot, with the result that the cultivator is placed at once in possession of means for continuing planting operations and extending them to the fullest extent. As a case in point I might mention that the fruit trade in Jamaica is the means of circulating nearly £250,000 annually among all classes of the community, and this large sam is immediately available, without the vexatious delays formerly experienced in establishing other and more permanent industries.