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into working order, it is early to anticipate the results of the change. I would remind you, however, that this is the first time any scheme of administration has ever been framed, for hitherto the residents in each State have worked without reference to their neighbors' action. I trust that in future, at any rate, a nearer approach to uniformity will be secured. The other advantages of union and a sympathetic control of Malay affairs will easily occur to you. The rulers of the four States (for Sungei Ujong and Negri Sembilan are now one) understand very well the objects of this new treaty, its provisions, and the effect likely to be produced in the peninsula; but certainly one of the principal reasons why they so readily subscribed to it is, that while they undertake to give each other financial and other assistance, under advice of the resident-general, they will now at least be consulted in the matter.
This federation has united the interests of all the Malay States, from the confines of Siamese influence in the north to Johor in the south. Less than two months ago Her Majesty's Government concluded an important treaty with France concerning their respective interests on the borders or in the neighborhood of Siamese territories. I wish only to allude to one provision of this treaty, and that is, that the French and English undertake to recognize and practically guarantee the independence of what may be called Central Siam. That is a very useful provision, for it prevents any possibility of conterminous boundaries between France and England. To the north of Pahang and east of Perak there are two independent Malay States, Trengganu and Kelantan, where flourish all those abuses and cruelties that have been swept away from the States under our control. I suppose it is absolutely certain that these States will in time come under British intiuence. Under present conditions they are bad neighbors; they harbor murderers and bal characters of all sorts, and they have already caused the other States a great deal of trouble and expense. To go further than this would be to indulge in speculations that the Siamese might consider hardly friendly. Everyone can best draw his own conclusions after a careful study of the map of the peninsula; but the conditions of life in some of the small States to the north of Kelantan are such that one may well hesitate to say that Siam claims to exert any influence within them.
One thing, however, is certain, that no connection can at present be made between Malayan and Burmese systems of railway and telegraph without going through territory over which Siam claims suzerain rights, though the land is actually part of Malaya. We are already within measurable distance of a through railway from Province Wellesley to Port Dickson, and if Englishmen in the Straits of Malacca had shown anything like the energy exhibited in Africa or Australia a port of such commanding importance as Singapore would have years ago become the terminus of a Malay Peninsula railway that would at least have traversed the whole of the western States. As the eastern States develop under British control an east-coast railway will possibly be the great civilizing influence on that side, and the systems of west and east coast united would naturally, by a short northern extension, join the railway scheme of Burma, where the gauge is the same as ours. By means of a railway service across the peninsula and a line of fast steamers from the east coast through the Torres Straits it is said that the journey from England to Australia can be materially shortened. What is true of railways is equally true of the telegraphı, and it might in time of war be of great Imperial importance to have an unbroken land line from India to Singapore.
THE BRITISH OFFICIAL AND THE PUBLIC.
So far I have described to you the results of a unique and most interesting experiment, and I have, I hope, proved to you that in the face of special difficulties we have secured the happiness, the prosperity, and the confidence of all classes of natives in the protected Malay States, because we have observed those principles which, I believe, must always bring them an equally good result.
In conclusion, I wish to say one word about the European and the manner in which he should be treated by Government officers, in order that he also may share in the advantages that can be gained by risking his life and fortune in a new country. I have heard Europeans, especially Frenchmen and Germans, say that they would rather live in a British colony than in one governed by officials of their own nationality. They give many reasons for the view they hold, and it is only necessary to mention here one of them: It is the general statement that British officials are more "get-at-able,” more practical, more sympathetic, and more businesslike than either French or German colonial officers. In spite of that independent testimony-on the correctness of which I can hardly, with propriety, offer an opinion-I think that the English official has something to learn in his treatment of men of his own color who approach him in his oflicial capacity. In Malaya so much has been done by Orientals that the achievements of the white man look very small indeed. Roughly speaking, the Chinaman has supplied the revenues, and the Government, under the direction of British oflicers, has laid the money out and made the country what it is. Of private European enterprise, except in planting and a few mines, there has been practically none. I think there would have been more if further encouragement had been offered, but some British officials appear to acquire, in the course of their service, a habit of looking with suspicion on all their own countrymen who have any official dealingg with them. It seems remarkable that it should be so, but almost anyone can bear out my statement; and I think everyone who has influence should use it to discourage an attitude which, if assumed by a senior officer, will very soon be imitated by his juniors.
I have never been able to sympathize with this frame of mind myself, because I have, I am glad to say, in a somewhat long experience, never seen anything to justify it. Ten men may ask a Government official for something, undertaking on their part something in return. Nine may fulfill their promises and the tenth may fail. Because of that one failure, or even if the proportion were higher, it is not a sufficient reason for the oflicial to regard all future comers as untrustworthy. I don't think anyone who knows my official life will accuse me of want of sympathy for the native. I have been trying to tell you how absolutely necessary I think it is for the successful government of natives, but those to whom the administration is intrusted must not ignore Europeans. Government officials are there as the temporary stewards of a property-the servants of the public. It should be their object to encourage every ligitimate enterprise for the advancement of the country and the profit and prosperity of those who dwell therein. I trust I shall not be understood as advocating extravagance or carelessness for the interests intrusted to us, but between due caution and restrictions which make profitable enterprise almost impossible, there appears to me to lie the whole art of successful government. It would perhaps seem absurd to remind Government officers that they have not inherited their positions, nor do they hold them for their own benefit or for the indulgence of any personal caprice. Beyond the preservation of peace and the protection of life and property, to which I do not refer, the oflicial is there to open the country by great works--roads, railways, telegraphs, wharves. He is there to encourage capital, and to do everything in his power to make the lives of the people of all classes and nationalities safe, pleasant, and profitable. The climate of the Malay Peninsula, especially to those who must go out of their houses and work in it, is not by any means a good one for Europerns. It is hot, damp, and enervating; full of malaria, and those who live there are constantly exposed to all the diseases common to the Tropics. With proper care, of course, most of the risk may be avoided, but careful precaution is a necessity:
Now, with these attractions on the one hand and Africa on the other, is it likely that any rich, able, energetic Englishman will hurry to the Malay Peninsula to invest his capital and devote his energies to a life in that distant and unknown region? If, however, he does go there, it he is willing to take all the risks, what do you suppose it is for? Not, I imagine, in order that he may lose his health and his money in some fruitless attempt to achieve the impossible, nor yet that he may, by toiling for the rest of his life, secure a return of 5 or 6 per cent on his money. He goes to what is called “make his fortune;" and I greatly regret that, though every colony in Australia, though South Africa, America, and numbers of other countries, have produced thousands of wealthy men to be the best form of advertisement of the advantages offered, the Malay Peninsula has, hitherto, done little more for European investors than absorb their money. It is a curious fact that, so far as I know, Crown colonies hardly ever produce really rich colonists, while the constitutionally governed colonies can tell them by hundreds and thousands. I believe the reason is that in Crown colonies there is a narrowness and want of liberality in the treatment of bona fide commercial undertakings that makes it impossible to obtain much success, and in consequence the capital, the energy, and the brains go elsewhere.
I have laid stress on this point, because think that it is one of the most important. There is probably no one so keenly interested in Malaya as I am. My connection with the protected States has never ceased since I went to Perâk, in January, 1874. I have watched the conversion of the various States from jungle places into a country that some of us are almost proud of, and I do not wish now to see advancement checked. I hardly think this is a time to be less liberal, for I do not believe that any country can develop into greatness when it has to rely for prosperity on one industry, especially when that industry is practically limited to the praiseworthy efforts of thousands of Chinese to win from the soil alluvial tin by methods which, if they are successful, are certainly primitive.
THE FIJI ISLANDS.
DESCRIPTION OF TIIE METHODS BY WHICH THE PEOPLE ARE GOVERNED AND THE ISLANDS DEVELOPED UNDER BRITISH COLONIAL RULE.
(From paper on the methods of government in the Fiji
Islands, presented by Dr. M. I. Finucane. medical officer and provincial inspector, Fiji Islands, before the
Royal Colonial Institute, London, November 27, 1900.] In no other part of our colonial empire will be found such diversified characters of government as are depicted in our possessions in the southern hemisphere. For instance, due west and to the southwest of the group, a distance of 1,900 miles and about seven days' steam from Suva, the capital of Fiji, is the vast continent of Australia, containing the representative governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia. To the south of the continent is the island of Tasmania. Almost due south of the group, a distance of 1,200 miles and five days' steam from Suva, is New Zealand, a colony held to be of a more advanced type even than her sister colonies to the westward, the majority of which have agreed to emerge out of their isolated strength and experience to enter a united and powerful commonwealth, as States welded together for mutual peace and prosperity: New Zealand has not yet joined the commonwealth. To the north west is the vast possession of British New Guinea, managed and financed by three of our Australian colonies-- New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland--and administered on the same principles as a Crown colony, though no doubt beneficially influenced in such government by the advice, assistance, and sympathy of the parent colonies of Australia.
Passing to the eastward of New Guinea, and still lying northwest of the Fiji group, are the long fringe of Southern Solomon Islands, which for the most part are under the protectorate of the British flag and governed by a resident commissioner under the high commissioner, who is also the governor of Fiji. The jurisdiction of the high commissioner extends to certain islands in the New Hebrides, to the southwest of the Fiji group, as also to Tonga or the Friendly Islands in the same direction, over which latter place we seem to have lately strengthened our relations by the dispatch of a mission to the present king.
To the north of the Fijian group we are in touch with Samoa, of the Navigator Islands, where, although our commercial interests are largely bound up with the prosperity of these islands, we have, out of political exigencies, relaxed our sway. Still farther north are the Tokelau, or Union group, and the Ellice and Gilbert groups--all under a British protectorate. To the southward are the Cook Islands, administered through the government of New Zealand.
A MODEL GOVERNMENT FOR AN UNDEVELOPED PEOPLE.
It may be said without fear of contradiction that the Crown colony of the Fiji Islands, outside of the above-named self-governing neighboring colonies, is the parent, model, and pioneer of those later and younger civilizations going on with success in some rapid, in others slower—as shown in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, the Union, and other groups; and therefore it is that a brief consideration of the Fiji Islands, in the past and present, is not inopportune for enabling us to see how far the new imperial expansion in these seas is likely to benefit civilization, and may not indirectly bear on the future policy of the Australian commonwealth in its relation to neighboring groups under the British flag in the near or distant future. The Fiji group of islands, then, numbering between 200 and 250, is situated between latitude 15° and 22° S., and between longitude 177° W. and 175° E., as will be seen by reierring
The population in the group of the various races is as follows: Europeans, 4,000; half-castes, 1,500; Indians, 13,000; Polynesians, 2,074; Fijians, 98,950; Rotumahans, 2,200; others, 1,100. Total population, 122,824. * *
to the map.
INDUSTRIES OF THE COLONY.
The principal industries of the colony are the following: (1) The cultivation and manufacture of raw sugar. (2) The making of copra, the dried nut from the cocoanut palm. (3) The cultivation and export of green fruit. (4) The manufacture of distilled spirit, a by-product from sugar. (5) The export of the peanut, prized for its oil and in the manufacture of confectionery. ,(6) Pearl shell, turtle shell, and bêche-de-mer. (7) The growth and manufacture of superior classes of tobacco. (8) Rice is also largely cultivated.
Having enumerated the chief industries of the group, which by no means exhausts the list, it is necessary to consider for a few moments some points connected with the chief ones.
The wealth and future prosperity of the colony undoubtedly depend on the output of sugar, and it has been shown that in the Fiji Islands sugar cane is capable of high cultivation and growth in nearly every district with profit to the cultivator in spite of the falling prices in raw sugar. The sugar industry is entirely in the hands of the wealthy Colonial Sugar Refining Company, who possess practically the monopoly for the supply of sugar in the whole of Australasia, and are even now sending Fijian grown sugar into Canada. The system adopted is that of local planters-European, Indian, and Fijian-cultivating areas of cane land and selling the product to the central mills of the company; proper cultivation of the lands is brought about by the terms in the company's contracts with the growers, by which they are paid, not in accordance with the quantity of cane grown and delivered to the mills, but on the percentage of raw sugar obtained by analysis of the cane supplied, with a sliding scale.
In the vicinity of all the mills large areas of native lands are held in common by the various village communities, and the systematic cultivation of this product is insisted upon by government as an important means of inculcating industry among a race naturally lazy, and also as a means of paying the native taxes necessary for their specialized form of government, and increasing their communal and individual wealth.
The regular growing and cultivation of cane by Fijians has until quite recently been neglected, but under the new régime of our present governor greatly increasing areas have been put in and are properly attended to, thereby yielding good profits both to individuals and to the community, and adding many of the comforts necessary to life among this race, the absence of which comforts has influenced in the past their rapid decrease. The methods of cultivation are carried out under skilled advice by the company's servants, and in the case of government cultivation by the native Fijians under skilled agriculturists called native tax inspectors. The land being virgin soil, in most instances yields good natural crops, and the frequent changing where native lands are available prevents the soil from being worn out.
The cocoanut palm and its products is the second most important industry in Fiji; it abounds in all the South Sea islands, and in none more so than in Fiji, and yields a good profit to the grower; the contract price for Government-grown copra-the dried fruit of the cocoamut-was la t year £10 155. a ton; in the windward Islands of the group, where there is a large output, the native taxes are almost entirely paid in copra, and the tax refunds after paying the assessment for each town last year resulted in the largest refund from taxes ever known in the colony, with great material advantage to the Fijian. The planting of large areas of waste native lands with the cocoanut palm has been insisted upon by the Government, which will in time mean a considerable amount of wealth to the colony, and in any case supply the gaps nccessarily left in this product after each hurricane, to which the group is unfortunately periodically liable. There ought also to be to capitalists and those understanding the business a good trade in coir fiber, manufactured from the dried husks of the cocoanut, at present freely used by the natives for making sinnet” and other rope which largely enters into their housebuilding. Cocoanut oil is largely made, and is being turned to good account in the manufacture of soap, both in Fiji and the colonies. The output of copra is of course very dependent upon the absence of hurricane seasons.
The cultivation of the banana, which a few years back was on an ever-increasing scale and represented in value a yearly sum of £70,000, came almost to a standstill by reason of banana-leaf disease. Since then fresh areas of new land have been opened out by a large company and other capitalists and the scientific culture and care of the banana taught the native. The Fiji Banana Company at the Nadi and Sigatoka rivers have entered into thousands of contracts with the neighboring native owners of land, by which, at a fixed sum, they grow the fruit and transport it down from the "hinterland” in flat-bottomed punts to the mouths of the Siagtoka and Nadi
rivers to meet the steamers which call regularly every fortnight for them. This state of affairs is extremely advantageous to the native owners, as, being away from sugar-growing districts and the soil in this part of Viti Levu being unsuitable for the growth of the cocoanut, poverty and all it brings in its train was largely the cause of the great mortality amongst Fijians in these districts. Already ihe material wealth derived from the growth and sale of bananas has given to the people better houses, clothes, and food, and must influence their future considerably.
Indian corn is grown in large quantities in Fiji and seems to thrive in any part of the group. It is largely grown by coolies, and is in the inland and mountain towns grown as a tax product.
Coffee grows well in Fiji, both the Liberian and Arabian varieties, and does best in shaded mountainous districts, such as are found in the upper reaches of the Wainibuka in Viti Levu. Wide areas have been put in by the Fijians as an addition in future years for the payment of their taxes and self-betterment.
Vanilla grows well, and has realized good prices in the open market.
Tobacco is very largely grown by the Fijians as a tax product, and under proper and skilled cultivation and curing has found much favor by experienced European smokers. Already there is a company engaged in growing and manufacturing cigars in Viti Levu. Ramie fiber, cocoa, cinchona, tea, and india rubber are all to be found in Fiji.
Tea does exceedingly well, and has a delicious flavor. There were, when I went to the colony, two flourishing estates with a perfect soil and altitude for the growth of this plant. At present the local consumption of the product is entirely drawn from the group, and it is also exported to New Zealand and Australia.
Raw rubber is also found in the islands, and has been collected as a tax product from the Fijian in some of the mountain towns of Viti Levu.
The enumeration of the foregoing products is but a small record of what can be done under the tropical clime and fertile soil of Fiji, but it by no means comprises the full list. No consideration, however, of these would be sufficient without a reference to labor, without which the most fertile soil would never yield its products.
THE LABOR QUESTION.
The labor of the colony is derived chiefly from the immigrant Indian and Polynesian races and the local Fijian. The principal labor on the larger estates is, of course, coolie labor, carried on by the Government annual importation and indenture to the various employers who apply for men, to whom they are bound for a period of five years, after which the Indian immigrant has to live a further period of five years in the colony, but is a free agent to reindenture if he likes, or go and work where he pleases. The preliminary cost of introduction of coolie labor to the employer is about £15 per head. This sum covers the cost of passage, of recruiting in India, detention in depot for quarantine and allotment purposes, medical inspection fees, and return passage to India, to part of which Government contributes, as under contract with the government of India the colony is liable for their return at the end of their ten years' residence. The annual average wages of the coolie is about £18 per annum. They can be employed on time or task work, and the more skilled and experienced hands enjoy better wages as masters of steam launches and responsible work in the mills. The women and children, when suitable, are also employed and paid in proportion to the work they do. Time-expired indentured Indians take up areas of land of their own and do well as freemen in the colony, growing bananas, rice, sugar cane, maize, and such products. Others enter into domestic service, and many are prosperous and industrious shopkeepers and rearers of cattle and live stock. They are, as a rule, a tine hard-working lot of men, and the tendency nowadays is to replace all other native labor by them. The use of them in any numbers is necessarily restricted to employers having available capital at hand when they require them, by reason of the heavy introduction fees; but of recent years there has been a marked diminution in the cost, which must still further diminish as time goes on. The number of immigrants on order for the various estates in 1900 amounted to over 1,000. The actual Indian population in the islands at the end of 1899 was about 13,000. The birth rate among adults under indenture is 6.18 per cent. The adult death rate of Indians in the colony is about 1.04 per cent, and among children 12.34 per cent. This must be regarded as satisfactory in view of the disease to which this race is so liable and the negligence and apathy of parents.
The coolie laborer in Fiji is surrounded by protective legislation of a stringent character during the whole period of his indenture, by which his health, home, food, work, wages, and life are regulated. The immigration ofhce of the colony has a number of inspectory who reside on the larger estates to look after his interests, and the medical service is almost wholly taken up with his sanitary and medical
Good feeling exists between employers and employed, mainly due to the tact, moderation, and good sense of the Government servants employed in the work. The employers are, without exception, high-minded, honorable men who recognize the necessity of Government control in a race unable to regulate their own conduct and interests. Both Government and employers unite in putiing forward schemes advantageous to the important industries concerned and the people employed in bringing about its prosperity.
Other labor of the colony is carried on by Polynesian immigrants recruited from the Solomon and Hebrides group in Melanesia, and is under Government supervision and control; the period of indenture is for three years, and the average rate of wages between £5 and £10 per annum. The introduction fees are about £15, which include the return passage. Many of these inimigrants settle afterwards in the colony and reindenture themselves; they are very adaptable to the country, and like the work of making copra, tending cattle, or growing bananas. The immigration of Polynesians, however, has of late years not been popular, as, speaking generally, they are unsuitable for every kind of work and proportionately expensive; the more active government of their various islands, resulting in a more settled state and the diminution of tyranny by the native chiefs, thanks to the influence of Mr. Commissioner Woodlord, has also tended to limit the number of these immigrants. The Polynesian in Fiji is a docile and law-abiding subject, and his care and welfare has been provided for in a very comprehensive ordinance, adininistered under the immigration oflice.
The Fijian labor of the colony is derived from the native population, and in many districts, where local conditions are unfavorable to the raising of the various products for tax and local requirements, large numbers are indentured to European settlers on annual agreements, the rate of wages being £5 to £8 per annum. For heavy clearing work the Fijian is eminently suitable, but he is not capable of sustained attention, and for skilled labor is quite unsuitable. Under the communal system of government of the Fijians the absence of able-bodied adults is a loss for local productive and other absolutely necessary work connected with village housebuilding, etc. Where there is no real reason for it, Government does not encourage Fijians going out to work for Europeans, but in one or two provinces nearly the whole of their taxes and refund for self-betterment is derived from this source.
COMMERCE OF THE COLONY.
The trade of the colony is carried on almost entirely with the Australasian colonies and New Zealand. The imports in 1899 amounted in value to £263,043 16s. 7d., the exports in the same year to £481,856 99. 8d., the total to £744,980 69. 8d. There has been a steady increase of tonnage, five-sixths being British, during the past ten years, the figures being in 1899: Entered, 128,791 tons; cleared, 126,656 tons.
The revenue of the colony has been making enormous strides during the past three years, owing principally to the absence of any severe hurricane, the revenue in 1899 being £98,621 and expenditure £95,567. Of the total revenue £50,000 was derived from customs.
The cultivated land amounts to 48,803 acres and the uncultivated to 4,905,117 acres.
The education of the natives is carried on almost entirely by the missionary bodies; Government aid is extended to the public schools of Suva and Levuka, where the children of Europeans and half-castes attend. Affiliation has lately been brought about with the colony of Victoria for these schools, which are annually inspected by one of the inspectors of the Victorian Government, a much-needed reform which has already worked wonders for the pupils. For a period of twenty-five years Fijians have been governed through a native commissioner, with the aid of the native chiefs, who have occupied oflicially and by virtue of their hereditary rank the position of lieutenant-governors to the various provinces, where they have full power. This patriarchial form of government has been satisfactory in so fix as a large population, formerly of a wild class, have been converted into the most law-abiding subjects of Her Majesty; and further, this system of government has enabled the administration to collect a large revenue-about £20,000 a year—which otherwise would have been unavailable to meet the necessary expenditure connected with their government. Further, it has fostered a system oi comparative industry and mutual help such as to draw forth from a recent distinguished American lately visiting the group the opinion “that as the result of an investigation undertaken by him of the conditions of Government prosperity and well-being of the natives under various administrations in this hemisphere, that of Fiji most nearly approaches the ideal philanthropic care in these times expected from sovereign European powers to colored races."
Further, the system in vogue in Fiji must have much to commend it when the triumvirate of powers in Samoa, as a result of their investigations into the late troubles in those islands, recommended the powers to follow the methods existing in Fiji for the pacification and government of that group by “a council of district chiefs, presided over by the administrator of the colony," and the doing away with the kingship. *
In so far Britain has loyally done her duty to the Fijians on matters of general government, but where she has lamentably failed has been in what I may term the closer domestic interierence, which can not be separated from the duties of a State if the individual welfare and the perpetuation of the race are to be an actuality.
OLD CUSTOMS DISAPPEARING.
The Fijians have progressed little since annexation either socially or domestically, have clung with tenacity to their old customs and habits, and bid fair to disappear at no very distant date from these beautiful islands. Their internal administration has been the ancient one of ceremonial, and beyond the raising of the local tax, the maintenance of quiet and peace in each province, the planting of a present sufficiency of food for individuals, no heed was given of to-morrow, the systematic cultivation and development of the soil was neglected, and all progressive industry was at a standstill. This chameleon-like existence of the Fijian has stamped itself on the national character, cramped his psychological expansion, and has developed insouciance, lethargy, improvidence, and laziness to such a degree as to batlle all attempts in the past to bring about improvement. ** * The influence of the missionary bodies has been great in Christianizing the people, and it is largely due to them that there is so little crime among the natives, but unfortunately they have not stayed their decrease, and they would now be the first to admit that their methods of education have been faulty in that direction. Indeed, they might have done more but for the undoubted policy hitherto pursued in Fiji, viz, the discouragement of all European interference or association among the natives by the governing power.
No system of State education has been given to native Fijians, their education having been left to the missionary bodies, whose efforts have been directed more successfully to the soul than the body. Therefore it is not remarkable to find that in the past the local internal government of Fijians should have been absolutely neglected, as is so fully evidenced by the terrible state of sanitary neglect of their towns, their wretched houses, the neglect of all the laws of health, the absence of all European medical attendance or supervision, the prevalence of loathsome contagious diseases, and the slavery to native customs untouched, resulting in a tremendous mortality of infant life, easily preventable. *
METHOD OF GOVERNMENT. The native Fijian population amounts to about 98,000, scattered over as many as 80 islands. The group is divided into 14 provinces, each province roughly containing about 6,000 people, presided over by a roko, or hereditary chief, having under him heads of districts and towns, and a large native staff of officers, scribes, and native magistrates. European magistrates are resident in parts of the group, and exercise judicial functions for the more serious offenses committed among the natives. Minor offenses are dealt with by natives themselves in native courts. European magistrates have till now been discouraged from in any way interfering in the administration of the provinces. In the past the native administration has been corrupt, inefficient, unreliable, and in a great many instances oppressive by reason of the exactions of chiefs, instability of the native character, and want of direct supervision by European officers. The central native administration from the native office has been in the past hidebound and a victim to a perpetuation of the native satus quo, resulting in conditions most unsatisfactory to the native individually and to the continued development of the race.
All that is now changed, and the new system is shortly this: Traveling inspectors are appointed in the various provinces, vested with judicial and administrative powers, whose duty it is to travel about, attain an intimate knowledge of the different districts and villages, the people, their language, customs, habits, condition of life, sanitary state of their towns and houses; to inquire into the water supply to each village and submit schemes for the supply of good wholesome water where possible; the isolation and treatment of contagious endemic diseases; the establishment of provincial hospitals in the natives' midst, with competent European medical attendants; the supervision of native oflicials, and the correction of abuses and exactions and oppression by the chiefs; the abolition of native customs where prejudicial to public health or progress, and the practical enforcement of the excellent native regulations which, in the hands of an indifierent native administration, have been virtually dead letters up to now. The provincial inspector comes actually into contact with all classes of the community, is as accessible to the weak as the strong, and accords a ready hearing and remedy to the grievances, real or fanciful, of all. He has no office hours, is ubiquitous in his movements, and is a great power in ameliorating the condition of the commoner of the land who, by a cruel despotism, may be and has been for so long a prey to real tyranny by superior
a chiefs. His presence in the province is the dread of evil doers, and has led successfully to the exposure of dishonest native officials. The crass ignorance and superstition and slavery to custom of Fijian women in the rearing, feeding, and care of infant life, the evil practices flourishing among native “wise women, resulting in a large stillborn mortality, have all been successfully attacked during the past year. The "condition of women,” their work and status, has been dealt with and improved, and a general incentive to industry and providence given by a vigorous campaign against the native custom of kerekere (the mutual beyging and appropriation of property). The material wealth of the different districts has been studied, and government put into a better position to develop the country for reproductive tax work and for the people's own self-betterment.
The planting up of large areas of waste lands with cocoanuts, hitherto neglected, the encouragement given to individual natives by the personal assessment of work done by each individual, and consequent increase of personal wealth, instead of the dividing of the "tax refund” among the community as formerly, are steps of social political economy hitherto quite overlooked, and which must in time completely metamorphose the character of the Fijian and their material condition for the better. That with this improvement we may hope for an alteration in their decrease is not chimerical; but in any case, as Sir George O'Brien said in his late message to council,
Government was bound to see that the large amount of labor annually wasted and the unproductive character of that labor was so altered as to give the Fijian a chance." The measure of success in these directions already attained by provincial inspectors gives reason to justify such a hope, aided as they now are by hygienic women's missions (European) from the Wesleyan and Roman Catholic bodies, þy large water schemes to the various districts, and by the establishment of provincial hospitals, by the education of the Fijian in the benefits and uses of milk and cows, and in a hundred and one other things.
CONDITIONS IN THE BRITISH WEST INDIES.
THE DIVERSIFICATION OF PRODUCTS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF NATIVE INDUSTRY.
The following is condensed from the report of the British commission which visited the British West Indies in 1896 to inquire into conditions in those islands and the methods which should be adopted for their improvement: May it please Your Majesty:
We, the undersigned commissioners appointed to consider the condition and prospects of the West India colonies in which sugar is produced, humbly desire to submit to Your Majesty, the following report:
The orders which we received from Your Majesty directed us to make an inquiry into the condition and prospects of the colonies of
Jamaica, British Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and the Leeward Islands, and to suggest such measures as appeared calculated to restore and maintain the prosperity of these colonies and of their inhabitants.
The colonies may, as a whole, be described as eminently suited, both by climate and soil, for the growth of special tropical products such as sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, logwood, nutmegs, and various descriptions of fruit, of which the most important are bananas, oranges, cocoanuts, and pineapples.
In some of the islands cattle and horses can be profitably reared, but the raising of stock is never likely to be of more than local importance. There are extensive savannas in the interior of British Guiana which are said to be well suited for this purpose, but they can not be utilized until means of access from the coast are provided.
There is no prospect of manufacturing industries being established on any considerable scale, nor is there any mineral wealth of importance known to exist, with the exception of asphalt, which is obtained from the well-known Pitch Lake of Trinidad, and the gold which has been exported in considerable quantities from British Guiana in recent years.
Owing to the nature of the soil and climate such articles of human food as are yielded by cultivation in the Tropics can, as a rule, be readily produced in large quantities, and there is consequently no likelihood of any permanent deficiency of the bare necessaries of existence for the laboring classes. For this class of food, which includes yams, sweet potatoes, and generally what is known in the West Indies as ground provisions, there is, however, no foreign market of any importance. For articles of food which can only be produced in temperate climates, and for manufactured goods, including clothes, and generally, for the purchase of imports of any kind, Your Majesty's West Indian possessions are dependent on being able to find a profitable foreign market for the special tropical products. It is, moreover, only by means of such an export trade that the population can be maintained in such a condition of prosperity as will permit of sufficient revenue being raised to meet the cost of a civilized government.
We do not consider it necessary to treat at any length of the economic history of the West Indies, seeing that the special causes of the present depression have only begun seriously to affect the sugar-producing colonies within the last fifteen years; and the tables of statistics which we shall submit are therefore confined to that period, commencing with the year 1882.
The prosperity of the West Indies in former times was mainly due to sugar and rum, and the production of these commodities attained such dimensions as to dwarf, and, at one time, almost to extinguish every competing industry. For many years the sugar industry has, from various causes, been growing less profitable than it used to be, and the production for export of such articles as cocoa and fruit has made considerable progress in some of the islands; but the extent to which Your Majesty's possessions in the West Indies are dependent, even in the present day, on the cultivation of the sugar cane is clearly indicated in the following table, which shows approximately the amount and percentage of the total exports of each possession in the year 1896 which was due to that industry.
The total value of the sugar products exported was about £3,250,000, the value of the sugar being some £2,790,000, of the rum £265,000, and of the molasses £195,000.
It will be seen that in most of Your Majesty's possessions in the West Indies the products of the sugar cane, though they are now valued at prices which are much below those which prevailed a few years ago, still form by far the larger portion of the total exports of native produce.
EFFECT OF FAILURE OF SUGAR PRODUCTION.
The gravity of the immediate danger to the welfare of each colony which would arise from a failure of the sugar-cane industry may, for practical purposes, be measured by the proportion which the exports of sugar, rum, and molasses bear to the total exports of that colony.
In such an event the welfare of each colony would, in the long run, however, depend on the extent to which it might be found possible to establish other industries.
There has been a great increase in the total production of sugar, and to that increase, which has been accompanied by a progressive economy in production, must the fall in the price of sugar be mainly attributed. The chief increase has been in beet sugar, which is alleged to be the dominant factor in regulating the price in the present day. The production of beet sugar has been stimulated by the grant of bounties, and within the past year Gerinany and Austria have doubled their bounti•g on the export of sugar, and France has very largely increased hers.
Dealing broadly with the whole question, we may say at once that, looking to the low prices now prevailing and to the probabilities as to the future of prices, which we have just discussed, the sugar-cane industry of the West Indies is threatened with such reduction in the immediate future as may not, in some of the colonies, differ very greatly from extinction, and must seriously affect all of them, with the single exception of Grenada, which no longer produces sugar for export.
If such reduction or extinction of the industry occurs, and if its place can not be adequately filled by the substitution of other industries, the consequences are likely to be of a very serious character.
The remedies which may be applied to the state of things which we have shown to exist, or to be rapidly approaching, may be discussed under one or other of the three heads:
(a) The restoration of the sugar industry to a condition in which it can be profitably carried on.