The Mountain Republics Of South America
( Originally Published Early 1912 )
ON the western slope of the Andes are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, which have been designated as the Mountain Republics. Of these Colombia is the northernmost and the only one touching both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. In a previous chapter we have gone somewhat into detail regarding the area, government, and resources of all the republics, and as for their history, it is identical with that of Peru, all of the republics between the Andes and the Pacific having once been comprised under that name.
Colombia is the South American Persia without Persia's excuse. It is a rich and fertile country, not a desert. There is scarcely anything that it can not produce from the fruits of the tropics to the grains of the temperate zones. It has thousands of miles of low-lying forests and pastures, capable of raising cattle for the Central American and West Indian markets, and bananas for the United States. It has thousands of square miles of higher valleys and mountain plateaus, thousands of feet high, where it is perpetual spring time. No country can produce better coffee and cocoa. It has the richest emerald mines in the world. Its total output of gold has been $639,000,000.
Asphalt, rubber, salt, coal, iron, and all that is necessary for the industrial independence of the country and for the large export trade are found in abundance. The whole country could be a garden. Great river systems provide means of communication and high-ways for trade. Steamboats on the Magdalena River can run from the sea to within eighty miles of the capital, and there are other navigable streams tributary to the Magdalena or running into the Orinoco, the Amazon, the Pacific Ocean, or the Caribbean Sea.
And yet this rich country is one of the most back-ward and decrepit nations in the world. She has a few little railroads, the longest of them only ninety-three miles, and all of these were built and many are owned by foreigners. She has only three or four high-ways, and two of them, the most important of all, from Cambao and Honda to Facatativa, are falling into ruin. One of them, the road from Honda, has already fallen. It never was a real road, but simply a mountain trail, paved in parts, for the use of saddle horses and pack-mules. For centuries this was the only road to the capital for all imports and for the people of most of the country. It was probably a better road a century ago than it is today, when the traveler finds it only a series of rocky inclines, the stone pavements broken up and the road for the fifty-six miles of its length, until it joins the Cambao road, worse even than any road in Persia. There is an automobile road built by Reyes as one of his spectacular achievements covering over his private looting, running eighty miles north of Bogota over the plain, but the country can be said to be without roads, more without them than Persia and Korea were ten years ago.
The cause of Colombia's special backwardness is not the character of the great mass of the people. We met no people in South America more hearty and amiable. One never asks help in vain. In some South American lands there is a great deal of the dourishness of the Indian. There is much Indian blood in the Colombian, but it is a good-hearted, friendly blood. The moral conditions are the same as elsewhere in South America. The control of marriage by the Roman Catholic Church and the use of this control by the priests as a source of income to the church have resulted, as the priests themselves admit, in a failure on the part of great masses of the population to get married. Men and women live together with no marriage ceremony. Sometimes the relation-ship is maintained, but the very nature of it makes fidelity too rare. In spite of the good nature of the people there is a great deal of want and suffering. In some sections goiter is almost universal, and there is the same lack of medical provision which is found in other South American lands. In the Bogota Hospital, crowded so full with its one thousand patients that some of them were laid on mattresses on the floor, we were informed that the death rate both in Bogota and in the country was abnormally high how high the doctors disagreed—and that in Bogota with one hundred thousand people there were one hundred eighty doctors and five , hundred seventy in the whole of Colombia, or one to each six thou-sand, as against one to each six hundred in the United States. In Colombia also we saw more poverty and suffering than anywhere else in South America. In Honda alone one afternoon more beggars came to us as we sat under a tree in front of the hotel after the ride down from Bogota, than we had seen in all the rest of our trip. Colombia is the South American land most praised by the Roman Catholic Church for its fidelity. The church has here a unique control and here least is done for the suffering and needy. We did not hear of an institution of any kind for the blind, for the cripple, for the aged. There are leper asylums, but the state has founded them. The women of Colombia are even more burdened than those of other countries. We saw women with pick and shovel working on the highway. The porter who came to take our bags to the station in Bogota was a woman. You may see women with week-old babies folded in their breasts, staggering along under a sack of coffee weighing 150 pounds, or a load of merchandise. The butchers in the market in Bogota were women. And I think one could find no sadder faces than those of the women in the Bogota Hospital. The curse of any land guilty of uncleanliness and untruth, is bound to fall heaviest on its best hearts, the hearts of the women. But Colombia is not behind the other South American countries because the people are immoral or more unworthy. They are probably of about the same morality and they are certainly more industrious and more kindly and more eager than many of the others.
The cause of Colombia's special backwardness is twofold. First, is the character of the governing class. No country, unless it has been Venezuela or Paraguay, has been more cursed by politicians, men who were concerned only to hold office, to have hands on the reins of government, but who did not use office for any public service or handle the reins of government to guide the nation into better things. Bogota is full of people who live on the state and talk politics and play at life. Politics to them means holding office and drawing salary and talking of the nation and its honor. It does not mean the development of its resources, the improvement of its communications, the education of its children, the progress of its industries. Each other South American country has had its men of the Bogota stamp, but contact with the outside world, the incoming of foreign capital, truer ideals of education, have crowded these men aside or checked them by the creation of another class who are engaged in the real work of the world, in producing wealth and promoting progress.
The other great cause of the special backwardness of Colombia is the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church, which holds the land in a grasp which she has been obliged to relax in other South American countries. In the first half of the last century the state asserted for itself a large freedom. It took over many of the great properties of the church, which the latter had acquired by its political character and put them to public uses. In Bogota the postoffice, some of the government buildings, the public printing office, the medical school and the hospital are all old convents. In 1888 the church came back into power through a concordat with the state. Since Ecuador threw off the dominion of the church there is not one South American country where the influence of Rome is so powerful as in Colombia. The archbishop and the papal delegate in Bogota are the most conspicuous figures after the president. The papal delegate is the head of the diplomatic corps, and it is said by many that there is nothing which the church desires that it can not do. The church controls education, and while the constitution proclaims religious liberty, the church exercises its authority to see that as far as it can order matters the liberty shall not be exercised by the people. The mission school for boys in Bogota was nearly wrecked in 1909, though its prospects seemed brighter than for some years, by the reissuance of a letter by the arch-bishop, first sent out ten years ago, in which he warned the people against the heretics who had come into the country, naming specifically the Presbyterians.
The Roman Church in Colombia has been a reactionary and obscurantist influence for centuries. At Cartagena, the best port of Colombia and the most picturesque city I saw, was the spat of the inquisition, where it is said 400.000 were condemned to death, and while that terror has long since passed away, the shadow of the church as a great repressive, deadening power has remained. The people have not been taught. Peonage has endured and in a modified form been sanctioned by law. The machinery of the church, it is charged, has been used in the interest of personal and commercial politics. In one word, the fact is that one of the best countries and peoples in South America, and the one most docile to the church and most under its control, is the most backward and destitute and pitiful.
Of Ecuador, the "Report of Trade Conditions in Central America and on the West Coast of South America," issued by the Department of Commerce and Labor in Washington, has this to say :
Ecuador and Colombia together may be regarded as among the most backward of the South American States. Their resources are undeveloped, their surplus products for export are far below the proportion which might be expected from their population, and their imports are correspondingly insignificant. Their importance in the commercial world lies rather in the possibility of future development than in their present status. Ecuador, with an area of 116,000 square miles and a population of 1,500,000, exported but $11,520,000 worth of goods in 1904, and imported to the value of only $7,670,000.
The reasons for Ecuador's backwardness are given as the unhealthfulness of the port of Guayaquil, notorious for its unsanitary condition as a pest hole of yellow fever, the vexatious government regulations, and the revolutionary spirit. Instead of improving the condition, the Republic absorbed the appropriations for the Guayaquil and Quito and Machala waterworks, the parks in Quito, and public roads, for the payment of current expenses of administration. Trade conditions are improving and things are looking up for Ecuador. Cocoa is the most important export of this Republic. In 1908, 6,400,000 pounds were shipped, of which the United States took about one-sixth. The total export of cocoa in 1910 was $7,896,057; of Panama hats, $1,258,575 worth were exported. Forty million pounds of rice are produced annually, but this is not enough to meet the demands of the home market.
The Montana, or forest region lying on the east-ern slope of the Andes and with its network of river basins stretching to the Amazon, is less exploited in the Ecuadorian than in the Peruvian territory. The rubber in these tropical forests will be secured in the process of time. The development of this region on the part of Ecuador is not remote. But there must be means of communication. The government, realizing this, decided to build a railway from Ambato, on the Guayaquil and Quito Railroad, one hundred miles to the Curarey River, a branch of the Amazon with head-waters near Iquitos in Peru. This line will enable that district to export its rubber through Guayaquil instead of out through the Atlantic Ocean. The railway route lies east of the Andes.
Tobacco is grown in the north near the coast for home consumption. Sugar-cane is cultivated successfully on the nearer border of the Montana and also nearer the coast, but it will be a long time before Ecuador exports sugar in appreciable quantities. This may be less true of cotton, which is becoming a national industry. A fine quality is grown in the north-ern districts, of which Ibarra is the center, and cot-ton flourishes in other sections. The mills, which employ the cheap labor of the native Indian women, have proved successful, and they find a profitable home market, though it will be many years before the mills of the New England States will be seriously hurt by their output.
The minerals of the country are principally in the southern zone, though there are rich places in the rivers of the north. The southern province, of which Zaruma is the center, in the last century was famous for its gold mines, and it is still known as El Oro, or the gold country. In late years little has been done, though the quartz veins have been worked intermittently and in some of the streams gold-washing has been carried on. Minerals are abundant further south in the district of which Loja is the center. Some copper is found, and there are deposits of iron and anthracite coal, silver, and lead.
In proportion to its size, Ecuador, though sparsely settled, is as well inhabited as other South American countries. The population is very largely Indian with the usual Spanish intermixture. The total number of inhabitants is 1,275,000. The whites and the mestizos, or mixed bloods, comprise about twenty-five per cent of the population. The central plateau easily could sustain an agricultural population of twice that number.
Of recent years Ecuador has maintained political equilibrium, if not absolute political stability. President Alfaro during his term was compelled to combat the reactionaries and the church party, but the pro-gram of Liberal measures was sustained. The greatest progress that has been made is toward financial stability. The money of the country was put on the gold basis, and that having been maintained for several years, the promise of its continuance is encouraging. The standard of coinage is the gold condor, equal to the English sovereign in weight and fineness. The common circulating medium is the silver sucre, ten of which constitute the condor, or the pound sterling. The sucre is equal to 48.66 cents. Paper money is circulated, but the outstanding issue is not very large. There are two banks of emission, each of which has a capital of 3,000,000 sucres.
The Ecuador banks do a profitable business in international exchange. The Guayaquil institutions regularly pay 14 and 15 per cent dividends, and their deposits are constantly on the increase.
The key to the industrial growth of Peru and to the mastering motives of her national policy is found in the knowledge of the three zones into which the country is naturally divided. The zones of the Coast Region, relatively fifteen hundred miles in length, varying in width from twenty to eighty miles, and extending from the foot of the Coast Range to the Pacific; the Sierra, or Cordilleras of the Andes, including the vast tablelands, averaging three hundred miles in breadth; and the misnamed Montana, or mountain region, actually the land of tropical forest, and plains extending from the eastern slope of the Andes to the Amazon basins. The settlement of the boundary disputes with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia have reduced Peru by 500,000 square miles of territory, which Peru claims as her area yet. The wealth of this vast region is in rubber and the varied products of tropical agriculture. The Sierra, in the future as in the past, is for the minerals, with alpaca wools and live-stock as an agricultural addition.
The Coast Region is for tropical and temperate products. The principal ones,— wheat, corn, oats ; grapes and the generality of fruit; rice, tobacco, sugar and cotton. Except in reference to the two great world staples, they may be viewed almost solely in the light of domestic consumption. Sugar and cotton are on a different plane.
Peruvian cotton production can not become large enough to affect the world's markets, yet it may be a gain to the national wealth in the quantity which can be raised for export and also for the domestic spindles. The sands of Piura which stretch from the coast at Paita back to the Cordilleras, have in them possibilities that are yet undreamed of. The cotton tree of Piura amazes the beholder when he sees it in all stages of production—in bud, in fleecy bloom, and in seed. The quality surprises the expert. It is finer than the finest Egyptian and is equal to certain grades of wool. It is known variously as vegetable wool and as wool cotton. Irrigation is employed to a limited extent. One ambitious scheme which was to bring 60,000 acres under cultivation was stopped for lack of capital.
Cotton of good quality is raised in the central district of Lima and in the southern region of Pisco and Ica. While rains are not common in these districts, the fogs at certain seasons are heavy enough to be accounted rainfall, and the moisture in the air is precipitated in quantities sufficient for the product, taken with the somewhat restricted means of irrigation employed on the plantations. The cotton plant, no longer the cotton tree as in Piura, is met with for fifty miles north of Lima, and especially in the neighborhood of Ancon. The plantations lie under and between the overlapping sand-hills, side by side with fields of sugar-cane.
Taken as a whole, the advantages of Peru as a cotton-producing country are a suitable climate, the alluvial soil of the valleys, the facilities for irrigating the sandy plains, and a sufficiency of fairly cheap labor. The price of the land is a fraction of the value of similar soil in Egypt. An official publication of the government places the yield per acre at 630 pounds, of which 250 pounds is lint cotton.
Peru has produced sugar for many years, and the industry has had the usual ups and downs, but it has capabilities of increase. About 125,000 acres were under cultivation in 1905, and 2,500 persons found employment on the plantations and in the mills. Both natives and Chinese coolies form the field hands. The production for export in recent years has varied from 100,000 to 125,000 tons, and it is gradually advancing to 200,000.
The treasure beds of the Andes, as they have been exploited for centuries, are in the Sierra, though the output of the precious metals in the Coast Region has been great. The Department of Ancachs, which comes down to the sea, has enormous mineral wealth. The district lies within the two Andean chains which parallel the Pacific, and which are known as the White Cordillera and the Black Cordillera, the latter being nearest the coast. Silver, gold, and copper are the chief sources of mineral wealth. In the Cerro de Pasco district, since control was secured by the American syndicate, the copper output is more important than the silver production.
The petroleum deposits are in the north between Tumbez and Paita, around Tolara, Zorritos, and Cape Blanco. Several of the English companies were not very successful, owing to bad management. The supply which is now obtained is utilized as fuel on the railways and in many of the smelters. The value of the annual production is approximately $750,000.
Livestock or grazing may be said to be one of the industries of the Sierra, but in relation to the foreign commerce of the country it does not promise to be an appreciable source, of national gain. Sheep-raising alpacas, vicunas-is of the highest plains. With the increase in the population at these altitudes through mining settlements, the flocks are not likely to grow extensively. The vicuna, not being domesticated, is more apt to recede before the advance of civilization. Such growth as the live-stock industry may have in the Cordillera region may be looked upon chiefly as a means of supplying local consumption. The exports of hides and wool, while not necessarily stationary, do not indicate a heavy increase.
The world does not yet fully grasp the possibilities and limitations of the Amazon rubber production, but the Peruvian government has a proper conception of it and has enacted legislation both to secure the development of the gum forests and to preserve them from heedless destruction. The rubber region within Peruvian territory has its main extension in the department of Loreto and in the provinces of that interior country, but the area reaches almost to Cuzco and Lake Titicaca. All of it is within the Montana or forest region. In the Loreto region the population does not exceed 100,000 inhabitants, if it reaches that number. The productive forests lie along the banks of the rivers. The jebe is obtained from incisions made in the tree, while the caucho is the sap that is had from cutting down the tree which produces it and then extracting the milk.
The Peruvian government, having adopted effective measures for the protection of the rubber forests from prodigal destruction, also has sought to aid the various private enterprises by supervising the supply of labor. This is a much more difficult problem. The native Indians and the cholo are hardly numerous enough to meet the needs of the industry in its present state, and both persuasion and compulsion are exerted in order to force them to work. This condition of affairs has recently been exploited at great length through the public press and investigations have proved that much cruelty is practiced. The ultimate solution of the problem and the full exploitation of the rubber wealth of Peru must rest on the colonization of the trans-Andean region, and a gradual trans-formation into tropical agriculture of the districts which are not unfit for habitation and cultivation by the annual high-water overflows of the Amazon affluents. But for this river region, as for the other regions of Peru, there is no artificial aid which can compare with the Panama Canal.
The Great Central Plateau, where is located the Republic of Bolivia, because of its mineral riches, has been called by a noted geographer a gold table with silver legs. Once the bed of a vast inland sea, the tableland now forms the Titicaca basin and lies between the Oriental and Occidental Cordilleras. Its surface is broken by many conical hills and small Sierras, supposedly the result of volcanic eruptions, yet it comes within the definition of level country as level country is understood in the Andine regions.
Life in Bolivia is a primitive pastoral existence, and while not a joyous existence, does not appear to be too somber. The religious festivals here are celebrated with undeviating punctuality. No matter how small the collection of huts, somewhere among them is a church, and each group of cabins has its own cure. I remarked everywhere the grass cross over the dwellings. It was very rare to find a hut without this symbolism. It seemed to indicate great devoutness, but what I have already seen of the cures and their flocks made me doubt whether this was the correct explanation. The cross, I was told, was blessed by the priest, and then it kept out the rain, which at times is very heavy. One old man, who after pretending that he knew nothing but the Aymará tongue, had talked very well in Spanish, was asked if the crosses really did keep out the rain. He replied gravely, "Yes, if the roof is a good one."
Among the native population of Bolivia the cholos are easily distinguished. They are the migratory classes who live in the larger towns and some of whom work in the mines. Many of them are freighters. They have a distinctive dress; the loose cotton trouser, widening below the knee and with a V-strip of different cloth in either side. They are a political power, for while they take little part in the elections, they are not unready to share in a disturbance.
The aboriginal native yet preserves many customs distinct from the cholo. He wears a cap or gorro, which was worn in the time of the Incas, and he contents himself with a blanket instead of trousers if he can not afford the latter. The pure-blood Indians are the best for the freight caravans where the llamas are employed, for they can manage those whimsical beasts of burden as no one else can. The llama feeds as it goes along, and a born manager of animals is needed to handle a tropa, or drove of them, and keep them moving in regular order. The life of the freighter is a hard one, tramping all day and at night sleeping in the corral with the beasts.
The Indian woman in Bolivia occupies a plane on equality with the man. She has no lord and master, as has the American Indian woman in the noble red man of the West. She works; but he also must work. She accompanies him with the pack trains, all the while that she is trudging along twirling her spools and winding the wool into yarn. It is rare to see an Indian woman without her spools unless she is weaving at the loom. Walking and talking, gossiping and scolding, shouting at the llamas, tramping over the sharpest mountain passes or plunging down into the gorges, she manages to keep the spool always twirling. It is a most peculiar process, and would drive a small boy who has a notion of spinning a top on the end of his finger wild with emulation, though he hardly would be able to imitate the process.
Marriage bonds among the Indians are not loose ties. In all the settled communities where the little church has been planted, the priest sees that the ceremony is performed, for it means a fee to him. But when the man wanders away for work and is gone for years, as sometimes happens, it is no interruption to the family bond that on his return a brood of children greet him. He resumes the matrimonial relation and accepts the children without question.
There is a prevalent delusion that in these altitudes the birth rate is very low, and, moreover, that many of the children come into the world deaf or lose the sense of hearing soon after birth. While the families are not so large as in the tropics or lower altitudes, they are numerous enough, and it is said that the report about deafness and the excessive rate of infant mortality does not bear the scrutiny of scientific investigation.
Bolivia is called the Mexico of South America, and her mines have yielded precious metals for hundreds of years. Not only gold, silver, copper and iron are her heritage, but that rarest of all minerals, tin, is found there. Bolivia was the casket of gems held in pawn by the Spanish Crown. She poured the riches of prodigal Mother Nature into the lap of the mother country.
Of the world's total tin output, say 100,000 tons, the Bolivian production under the present conditions may be placed at from 9,000 to 10,000 tons, or more than equal that of Cornwall and Australia combined. Since the United States consumes 43 per cent of the entire production of tin, the importance of the development of the deposits in Bolivia and of the transportation facilities should be appreciated.
Besides its mineral productions, Bolivia is also rich in agricultural resources, and it is this possession of varied resources that gives it the name of ,the Mexico of South America.
Chile ranks second to Brazil in its enterprise and progressiveness, and has many features similar to that Republic and to the Argentine. And yet its similarities are more in commercial progressiveness and industry, while the contrasts between the two countries in their physical conditions are markedly noticeable. One lies almost wholly within the tropics ; the other almost wholly in the temperate zone. One is as wide as it is long, and the other is a thin strip one hundred or so miles broad, stretched along the coast for 2,500 miles. The area of Brazil in round numbers is 3,220,000 square miles, and of Chile 300,000, about one-eleventh the size of Brazil. The wealth is agricultural, while of the 750 square kilometers of Chile only 20,000 are cultivated lands ; 100,000 are semi-arid, 200,000 forest, and 430,000 sterile. Yet Chile's wealth is in these sterile lands, embracing fifty-seven per cent of the territory, for there are the great nitrate beds, and the varied mineral veins. In Brazil every-thing is spread out, expansive ; in Chile, drawn in and compacted. Brazil is so big that it does not know it-self. Distant provinces are like small independent governments. Chile is highly centralized, with all its activities focussed in the capital and ordered by a small class of men. The Brazilian is placid and tranquil; the Chilean energetic and enduring. "By reason or by force," is the motto stamped on Chilean coins.
"Progress and order" are the words on the flag of Brazil. In Brazil the population is a composite mixture with a large immigration and a strong African element. In Chile it is largely homogeneous, with a negligible immigration and no negro element whatever. The fundamental problems are closely akin in the two countries, but the contrasts serve to give an edge to the facts.
Chile is made up climatically of at least three countries. (1) There is the southern section, reaching roughly from Cape Horn to Valdivia, a land of forest and rain and storm. In this section are the sheep-lands of Patagonia, Magallanes, and Terra del Fuego. In the province of Magallanes or Magellan, there is an area larger than the state of New York, wind-swept and fog-covered, but well adapted to sheep pasture. There are now millions of sheep here, and besides the receipts for wool, mutton is the great staple of export. In 1905, the shipments from Chile. amounted to 75,000 frozen carcasses that were shipped from Punta Arenas. In 1908, one plant just east of Punta Arenas froze and shipped 196,000 sheep. (2) The real Chile lies between Valdivia and Santiago. Four-fifths of the population live in this central section. It is the cultivated section, though there is much waste land even here. In the provinces of this section the population varies from five to forty-seven per square kilometer. The average would be near twenty. It is full of cities and towns and villages, readily accessible, railroads running up and down and to and fro across it, and all parts not reached by rail are possible of an access which would be deemed very easy in Bahia or Persia. This section is one long valley, with subordinate valleys, covering a region probably 500 by 100 miles, perhaps a little more than this, perhaps a little less. The southern half of this section, from Valdivia to Concepcion, is still frontier. The remnants of the Araucanian Indians, a race whom the Spaniards could not conquer, live in the midst of this southern half. (3) The rest of Chile is the dry land to the north, from Santiago and Valparaiso, latitude 33°, to Tacna, at the northern boundary at 18°. At Valdivia it rains 172 days a year, and the rainfall is 2841.1 m.m. At Santiago it rains 31 days, and the rainfall is 264 m.m. At Antofagasta and Iquique it never rains at all. The nitrate and borax are piled in the open with no fear even of a shower, and the shops display no umbrellas. Here in the north among the nitrate officinas and at the copper mines, an unstable population comes and goes, with more money than in the south, and with the freedom of opinion of such a moving company detached from old moorings.
The great curse of Chile is alcoholism. In Santiago, a city with a population of 332,724, it was found recently, when the municipality took up the matter, that there were six thousand places where liquor was sold, and in Valparaiso, we were told, there was one saloon to every twenty-four men. Mr. Akers, in A History of South America, 1854-1004, says that Valparaiso, with a population of 140,000, shows six hundred more cases of drunkenness reported to the police than in all London, with five million souls. Drink has nearly wiped out the Indians. The land is cursed with drink, and foreigners are manufacturing it, or a good part of it.
The general hygienic conditions also are appalling. Smallpox is practically endemic in Valparaiso and Santiago. There were many deaths daily when we were in Santiago, and smallpox sufferers would be seen even on the streets or on the street-cars, and the pest-house was in constant use. The conventicles, or tenements, in a land where all such houses are only one story high and there is no excuse for congestion, are simply breeding-places for disease and killing-grounds for little children. Open sewers run down the uncovered gutters before the long rows of sunless rooms. Seventy-five or eighty per cent of the children die under two years of age, and the general rate of mortality is nearly double that of Europe. Well-informed men declare that the population is stationary.. The census reports, which show a population in 1875 of 2,075,991, in 1885 of 2,527,300, in 1895 of 2,712,-145, and in 1907 of 3,249,279, do not confirm this impression of stagnancy, but the ablest and best-informed men recognize the evil of the national suicide through alcoholism and dirt, the uncleanness of the houses and the murderous ignorance of the care of little children. Property under $2,000 is not taxed, and on property above that the maximum tax rate is three per mille, or about one-tenth of what we pay in many communities in the United States. There is none of that spirit toward public interests which makes their tax bills the most grateful expenditure of many Americans.
Nevertheless it is a wonderful little republic, patriotic to the last fiber, with many capable and public-spirited men, but without the political or moral spirit in the mass of the nation capable of sustaining representative institutions or creating a progressive state.