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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/260

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

progress of the colony. Companies likewise expend large sums in many colonies. French and English companies embarked on American, Indian, African and island adventures at ruinous loss. Law's company withdrew from Louisiana, the New Zealand Company from New Zealand, and the Canterbury Association from Canterbury with a balance on the wrong side of the account. Wealthy individuals bear their part. Mr. Rhodes annually subsidizes the British Central African Protectorate, and King Leopold the Congo Free State. Colonial bishoprics have also been endowed and colonial cathedrals built, largely with the aid of voluntary contributions by sympathizers in the mother country.

The mother state sometimes gives the colonies the benefit of her financial good name. In 1869 England withdrew her regiments from New Zealand when the colony was still at war with the Maoris, and to salve the wounded feelings of the colonists she agreed (under pressure) to guarantee a loan of a million in aid of emigration and public works. Before the Canadian Pacific Railway could be completed the Imperial Government had to guarantee a loan of £3,600,000. Mr. Rhodes proposes (unsuccessfully, it now appears) that the Imperial Government, which contributed £200,000 to the cost of a railway from Kimberley to Buluwayo, should guarantee a loan of an enormous amount for the continuation of the African trunk railway from Buluwayo to Lake Tanganyika.

The mother country supports or aids its self-governing colonies through its capitalists. In order to execute public works—roads, bridges and railways—to assist immigration, to build fortresses, and sometimes to pay the interest on previous loans, all the colonies have habitual recourse to the British Stock Exchange. There are good reasons for this. The colonies have little capital of their own, for all their money has been used up from day to day. The English investor has an almost unlimited amount—the savings mainly of one industrious century—and he is prepared to lend it at a lower rate of interest than would content the colonial capitalist. Of over two thousand millions sterling which John Bull has out at usury all over the world, the total public and private indebtedness of the seven Australasian colonies alone, with a population of four millions, is stated to exceed three hundred and twenty millions, or at the rate of eighty pounds per head of these daring colonists. One half of this sum is due from colonial governments for the purposes already named. The half of it, due from banks, building companies, mercantile associations and mortgage agencies, excites no misgivings; these institutions can always go bankrupt, as many of them did in the financial collapse of 1891-'93. But it is not open to a British colony to file its schedules, or at least so we used to think; and so the Times said till the oldest of British colonies went bankrupt the other day. At all events, it is harder, and we con-