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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/507

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THE LABOR PROBLEM IN THE TROPICS.

age, native place, with the same information in regard to the man's wife. He could also make out an account showing every day the man had worked during the term of his indenture, and the reasons why he had not worked on the other days, with the exact amount earned on each working day. In addition to this he could state how many days the man had spent in the estate's hospital and what was the matter with him on those occasions, besides furnishing a copy of every prescription made up for the man in the estate's dispensary.

A striking evidence of the desire of the Government to protect the coolies from ill treatment of any kind is afforded by the rule of the immigration department that, if any overseer on an estate is convicted of an offense against an indentured immigrant, the dismissal of the offender is demanded, and each estate in the colony is warned that if it employ the man the supply of immigrants will be cut off.

The coolies are given every facility to complain of ill-treatment or breach of contract on the part of the planters, for, in addition to the opportunity afforded by the regular visits of the subagents, the right is secured to them by law of leaving any estate without permission in order to visit the agent general or the nearest magistrate; and either of these officials has the power to issue all process of law free of cost to any coolie who satisfies him that there is a prima facie cause of complaint.

Such, in brief, are the features of the East Indian immigration system of British Guiana.[1]

Those who approach the question of the labor supply for the American colonies with an unprejudiced mind will see that there is


  1. To those who are interested in the subject of indentured labor in the tropics, the following statistics, compiled by me from official sources, may be of interest. The figures relate to British Guiana:
     
    Year. Number of
    indentur'd
    laborers
    imported
    from India
    Number of
    time-ex-
    pired im-
    migrants
    who re-
    turned to
    India.
    Value In dol-
    lars of money
    and orna-
    ments carried
    back to India
    by returning
    immigrants.
    Number of
    East In-
    dian de-
    positors in
    the Gov't
    Savings
    Bank.
    Total amount
    of their de-
    posits, in
    dollars.
    Number of
    planters
    convicted
    of offenses
    against im-
    migrants.
    Death rate
    per 1,000
    among in-
    dentured
    laborers.
    General
    death rate
    of the
    colony.
    1886 4,796 1,889 111,775 5,558 425,956 8 27.40 25.56
    1887 3,928 1,420 92,613 5,821 438,600 4 23.20 32.41
    1888 2,771 1,938 95,074 5,904 457,886 1 19.73 29.27
    1889 3,573 2,042 112,124 6,802 513,220 1 1,257 2813
    1890 3,432 2,125 142,611 7,269 558,734 3 20.40 39.80
    1891 5,229 2,151 134,225 6,398 515,246 2 20.40 37.00
    1892 5,241 2,014 97,529 6,085 527,203 1 25.20 39.00
    1893 4,146 1,848 104,763 6,179 544,420 1 24.91 35.00
    1894 9,585 1,998 113,308 6,128 529,161 2 24.22 33.53
    1895 2,425 2,071 119,289 4,950 453,950 1 20.36 29.58
    1896 2,408 2,059 7,6470 4,520 434,759 1 16.50 24.10