Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/614

This page has been validated.

and reorganize this industry on a most gigantic scale as a condition of continued existence. Thus, for example, although the business of cane-sugar production was commenced more than three hundred years ago on the island of Cuba, the grinding of the cane by animal or "wind" power, and the boiling and granulating by ancient, slow, and wasteful methods, were everywhere kept up until within a very recent period, as they still are by small planters in every tropical country. But at the present time, upon the great plantations of Cuba and some other countries, the cane is conveyed from the fields by a system of railroads to manufacturing centers, which are really huge factories, with all the characteristics of factory life about them, and with the former home or rural idea connected with this industry completely eliminated. In these factories, where the first cost of the machinery plant often represents as large a sum as $200,000 to $250,000, with an equally large annual outlay for labor and other expenses, all grades of sugar from the "crude" to the "partially refined" are manufactured at a cost that once would not have been deemed possible. In Dakota and Manitoba the employment on single wheat estates of a hundred reapers and an aggregate of three hundred laborers for a season has been regarded as something unprecedented in agricultural industry; but on one sugar estate in Cuba—"El Balboa"—from fifteen hundred to two thousand hands, invariably negroes, are employed, who work under severe discipline, in watches or relays, during the grinding season, by day and night, the same as in the large iron-mills and furnaces of the United States and Europe. At the same time there are few village communities where a like number of people experience the same care and surveillance. The male workers occupy quarters walled and barricaded from the women, and the women from the men. There are in every village an infirmary, a lying-in hospital, a physician, an apothecary, a chapel, and priest. At night and morning mass is said in chapel, and the crowds are always large. There is of a Sunday less restraint, though ceaseless espionage is never remitted. On these days and in parts of holidays there are rude mirth, ruder music, and much dancing. This picture is given somewhat in detail, because it illustrates how all-pervading and tremendous are the forces that are modifying society everywhere, in civilized, partially civilized, and even barbarous countries, conjointly with the new conditions of production and consumption.


The English Society for Promoting the Growth of Industrial Villages has been formed to counteract the tendency of workingmen to huddle themselves in the slums of cities, and to encourage suburban settlements. Its report cites, in illustration of the practical working of this thought, the example of a manufacturing firm in London, which has placed many of its hands in the country, and sends out material to them to be returned manufactured, paying them full wages.