Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/499

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
481
THE LABOR PROBLEM IN THE TROPICS.

on the ancient limestones that here underlie the lavas at no great depth; outcrops of these limestones occur only a few miles away at the mouth of Soda Butte Creek. This gas must emanate from fissures in the rock just above the bears, and on still nights it may accumulate to a depth of two or three feet in the ravine, settling in a heavy, wavy stratum, and probably rolling slowly down the bed of the rill into the valley below. The accompanying photographs were made during our visit.

 

THE LABOR PROBLEM IN THE TROPICS.
By W. ALLEYNE IRELAND.

A GREAT deal of space has been devoted in American magazines and newspapers recently to the question of how this country has become a colonial power. Destiny and duty, strength and weakness, accident and design, honesty and corruption have been called on by writers, singly and in various combinations, to bear the responsibility of the new departure in the national policy.

Whatever interest such speculations may possess for the student who seeks to discover in the events of history some indication of the evolution of national character, there can be little doubt that the eyes of the people at large are turned in another direction.

What are our new possessions worth? is the question which intelligent men of all classes are beginning to ask; and it is not surprising, in view of the comparative isolation of this country in the past, that there are few who have sufficient confidence in their own opinion to answer the query.

In England, whose colonial and Indian empire embraces nearly one fourth of the population of the globe, there is an astounding lack of knowledge in relation to colonial affairs; and those who follow the debates in the House of Commons will have noticed that when the colonies are the subject under discussion the few members who remain in their seats seldom fail to exhibit a degree of ignorance which must be most disheartening to the able and learned Colonial Secretary.

It is not to be wondered at, then, that in the United States, where the people have been too much occupied with the problems continually arising at home to pay any attention to affairs which, until very recently, have appeared entirely outside the range of practical politics, there should be few men who have given their time to that careful study of tropical colonization which alone can impart any value to opinions in regard to the practical issues involved in the colonial ex-