The Hand Clasp Of Neighbors
( Originally Published 1918 )
Anciently, one of the world's most magnificent races. Today, a race of timid, cringing, downtrodden serfs.
That in brief is the history of the Incas of Peru and Bolivia. The greatness of their ancestors is now only a tradition. More vivid to them are the tales of punishments meted out to leaders of the early uprisings tongues cut out, bodies torn limb from limb sights seen by grandfathers now living.
Kept in ignorance, exploited by provincial authorities, brutalized by alcohol for nearly three centuries, the Indian of Peru and Bolivia has become an apathetic beast of burden, virtually a slave.
Meanwhile his masters have lolled at ease. They have almost forgotten how to work. The fire of enterprise has died low in their souls. So long have they depended upon others to work for them that they have lost skill as well as energy. They have become enslaved in idleness and incompetence. There are a few, of course, who have resisted the deadening influences of an inherited life of ease.
Enslaved by Their Slaves
The world does not afford a more striking example of the boomeranging of evil. Much of the national weakness of these countries must be charged to the peonage system which has subjected the Indian to grinding toil and has, in turn, vitiated and undermined the character of the Spanish ruling class.
The ambition of the typical Spanish young man of this region is to acquire a farm and have a few hundred Indians work it for him, while he spends his time chatting over his liquor in the restaurants of the capital city.
To work is a sign of low breeding. To carry a pack-age the size of this book through the streets is a disgrace. If you buy two apples in the market you must drop them in the poncho of some Indian boy who will humbly carry them after you while you stalk empty-handed back to your residence. Empty-hand ednes is the national stamp of gentility. A Bolivian lady who could fry a steak or boil an egg would be ashamed to admit it. When she sees her friends corning to her front door she will run frantically through-out the house to find a servant rather than open the door herself. A gentleman was once excluded from a fashionable club for the real reason that he had been seen using a hand-saw in the patio of his house.
Serfs on Land They Once Owned
The condition of the Indian farmer is pitiful. On the way from Guaqui to La Paz our train was an hour and a quarter passing through the property of one landholder. This property was seventeen miles long by ten miles wide and it was dotted with more than one thousand houses of the Indians. These Indians formerly owned the land themselves, but on one pretext or another it was wrested from them. Now they must work for the owners day after day without payment, and in what little spare time they can get they may till a small patch of land for their own use. The owners rarely go near their farms. In some cases they are afraid to; their Indian slaves would kill them:
Two years ago a wholesale rebellion of the Indians was threatened. They came by night in great numbers and looked down over the edge of the pit at the bottom of which lies the city of La Paz, the proud capital of Bolivia. There was much frightened running to and fro in the streets. It was feared that the Indians might attack the city with bombs dropped from above. Stern measures were employed, the Indians were driven back to their tasks, soldiers guarded the edge of the Alto Plano or plateau above the city, and the rebellion was averted.
Signing Away Freedom for a Drink
The lot of the Indian industrial worker is little if any better than that of the farmer. The mines and mills have been accustomed to secure their Indian workmen by the enganche or "hook " system. A "hooker" as agent for his company goes into a little chicheria or tavern, talks to the men, treats them with liquor and tells them the wonders of the country from which he has come and where the industry he represents is located. He asks them if they would like to go and offers to advance money enough to pay their passage and to have a good time on before going. Offer money to a half drunken Indian and he will do anything you say. The victim signs a paper which requires that he shall work off his debt. When he sobers up and realizes what he has done, he may be reluctant about going. In that case he is simply attested and taken by force to his destination in factory or mine-gallery and notified that he will not be released from his work until the debt is fully paid. Then bis wages are placed at so low a figure and the charge made to him for provisions bought at the company's store is so high that the poor toiler is kept continually in debt.
Peru and Bolivia do not employ the word " slavery " as applied to these practises. But is there any other word more true and appropriate?
The Slavery of Children
There is another form of slavery even worse than the two described. This is the custom of the buying and selling of Indian children common in many of the inland cities.
Suppose, for example, you live in the city of Arequipa, Peru, and you want some one to do the house-work. Perhaps you say to the conductor of the train to the mountains: " I wish you would bring me down a boy."
A few days later a tearful and frightened Indian boy is brought to your door. Perhaps the conductor has paid the parents of the boy ten dollars, so you must pay the conductor that much and a little more to cover his trouble.
That boy is now absolutely your property from his present age, say eight, until he reaches twenty-one. At that time the government will want him for the army. In the meantime he is yours. You need not pay him a cent. You may dress him in any old rags; you may give him any odd corner to sleep in; you may starve and kick him ; you may work him as many hours a day as you please, and if he runs away the government will help get him back to you. If he refuses to work, he will be put into jail, mixed in with his elders but not betters, and kept there until he changes his mind.
The brutality to which he is often subject simply would not be believed in North America. An American in Arequipa told me of seeing a neighbor's slave, a little boy eight years old, frequently kicked in the stomach and sent sprawling as punishment for the most trivial mistakes. Finally the American inter fered. But he found he could do nothing, the law would not back him up, and his interference only cost the child more punishment.
The arguments, once familiar in our own South, are heard here in-defense of this bondage. " Some of the masters are kind.'' This, of course, is true. " The Indians learn to work." There are others who need this learning far more than do the Indians. " The system elevates the ideals of the Indians by bringing them into close contact with the civilization of the white man." What civilization!
Chile's Indian Ancestry an Asset
Is it any wonder that such practises are eating away the very foundation of character underlying the national life of Peru and Bolivia? This truth is illustrated in another way by the experience of. Chile. The Spanish conquerors who came to the land now known as Chile also found Indians, the fierce, warlike, reckless Araucanians. They were very different from the peaceful, industrious Incas of the Andean plateau. The Araucanians refused to be put out on the farms and subjected to a form of slavery while the masters took their. ease in the city. The white farm-owners were compelled to remain on their farms and take a vigorous share in the actual work. Thus Spanish character, strong to begin with, was further strengthened. The Araucanians were never really conquered. They gradually merged with the whites and the result is a mixed race, strong, energetic, and unafraid of work. The Italian foreman in an iron foundry of Valparaiso told me he had had as workmen Argentines, Peruvians, Bolivians, French, and English, but the Chileans were by far the best workmen of all. They were fearless and tireless. When asked if a job were too dangerous for them, they would say : "Soy hombre" (I am a man).
Because of the progressive and aggressive temper of the Chilean work-people, conditions among them are much more wholesome than in the northern countries. There is nothing in Chile that could reasonably be termed slavery. At the same time the condition of the worker is far from ideal. His hours are usually long, wages low, safeguards from accidents few, provisions for health and welfare lacking.
Living Higher Than in the North
Before one visits South America he is apt to take it for granted that the cost of living there is much less than in the United States. When he goes he is dismayed to find that provisions of nearly every sort cost substantially more in South America than in North America. Then are the wages for each kind of work higher than those paid in American cities? Not by any means. The average daily wage of Chile is calculated by our Consul-general at Valparaiso as being about sixty-three cents. In the nitrate fields, where the cost of store goods is almost prohibitive, the wage is little more than a dollar a day. Laborers on the farms are paid twenty-five cents and two plates of beans a day !
Since wages have not gone up in keeping with the continual advances in the prices of all the necessaries of life," reports Consul Davis J. Myers from Punta Arenas, " the laboring classes of this district have not enjoyed the great prosperity that has so favored the merchants and ranchmen. On the contrary they have felt severely a reduction both in the quality and the quantity of clothing and food which they were formerly able to purchase at the same wages." Mr. Myers states that within little more than a year after the beginning of the war, living expenses in this part of Chile had increased by the following percentages : rent, I; fuel, 83; clothing, 38; food, 72. The average of these is 76. The wealthier families are now paying three and a quarter times as much as in the year 1909 for the same comfort. The working families are not paying three and a quarter times as much because they have not the money to pay. Their only way of meeting the situation is to get along with three and a quarter times less comfort.
In Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil there is the same fundamental trouble a speeding up of the nations' work and a lagging behind in making proper provision for the worker.
Native Social Movements
It must not be supposed that South America is entirely blind to the situation. There are many ameliorative efforts, such as the league against alcoholism, the national savings-banks, the building of model homes for workers, and a certain amount of welfare legislation, such as that which provides that mothers who have children under one year of age shall be permitted to spend one hour of the working day in caring for their children. Chile has recently enacted an employers' liability law and while it is of a type long ago. rejected in the United States and Europe, still it is much better than no law at all. It is one thing, how-ever, to enact a law and another thing to enforce it. One of the managers in a large Chilean industry was taking me over his plant. I asked him if it had been necessary for the company to make many readjustments to meet the requirements of the new law. He looked at me blankly and asked: " What law?
He was not even aware that the law existed.
The ameliorative attempts made by the governments of these countries, as well as by private agencies, are thus at present rather sporadic and uncertain.
The Example of North American Industry
There are, however, two forces which, by example and precept, are powerfully influencing South America's attitude toward her workers. These are North American industry and North American missions.
The example of American industrialists has not always been clear and shining wherever they have gone throughout the world. Of course in South America, too, there are North American industries which are squeezing the life out of their employees as a paper-mill squeezes the moisture out of pulp. Such industries, however, are extremely few. On the whole there is inspiration and hope in the splendid leadership in welfare which is being afforded by North American firms in South America.
In the best of the American companies the cholos work but eight hours, and receive from $1.50 to $4.50 a day. This is nothing short of revolutionary in a land where the twelve- or sixteen-hour day and fifty-cent wage are common.
Other nationalities have been somewhat prone to take advantage of the existing low standards. But American firms, such as the Cerro de Pasco Mining Company, in Peru, have followed a shrewder method and in the end gained a greater advantage.
This firm gave decent living wages when there was no demand for such wages, provided houses that were so much too good that some workmen took off the doors and window-sashes and burned them as fuel, equipped an excellent hospital, organized sanitary inspection, started schools, furnished necessities through, a commissary at the lowest possible prices, and then taught the cholos to quit coca-chewing long enough to learn to play football.
A Company Which Influences Two Nations
The campaign, as the manager himself admits, has been entirely selfish and it has been richly rewarded. The best workmen gravitate to this company. They work regularly,, whereas the Indian has formerly been accustomed to follow the example of his Spanish master and make riotous holidays of all feast days, of which there are' one or more every week. They rise to skilled work. The proportion of foreigners has steadily diminished as the natives have become proficient until now only a handful are of foreign birth. And the Cerro de Pasco Mining Company, through knowing how to utilize its human as well as its material resources, has become by far the most powerful industrial enterprise of Peru. The influence of its example simply cannot be calculated. We should not pretend to say that its slate is clean, but it is at least so nearly clean that all Peru looks upon it with wonder. The toiler in every shop and plantation and sugar-mill who feels that he is not squarely treated goes to his employer and reminds him of the conditions afforded by the Cerro de Pasco to their workmen. Greedy employers hate the name of that company. Humane employers study its methods and improve their own. The example of this powerful organization which owns scores of mines and employs tens of thousands of con-tented workmen is slowly but surely lifting the level of industrial welfare throughout both Peru and neigh-boring Bolivia.
The example of this company is being more or less duplicated by many other American interests in the oil-fields, the sugar-plantations, along the veins of silver and gold in the mountains, and on the American-operated railroads. I found everywhere that North American industry was held in high esteem. Some-times the beneficent character of the industry itself, as in the work of the J. G. White Company., engaged in the sanitation of the pestilential port of Guayaquil, Ecuador, is such as to inspire respect for those who are carrying it on. The Standard Oil Company, whatever may be our opinion of its history in the United States, is a blessing to workers of South America. Instead of taking advantage of the ignorance and helplessness of its employees, it is rather endeavoring to place them on a plane of intelligence and independence. The immense packing industry of Argentina and Uruguay is dominated by such firms as Armour's and Swift's, and which are setting a high standard in the treatment of labor. The American mines at Chuquicamata, Chile, are unique in that when a native becomes an employee he is apt to remain on the job the rest of his life, and often his son after him, because of the superior conditions offered. This is in striking contrast with the situation in the usual mining-camp where the miner is frequently a transitory character, coming today, working a brief while, and starting on his away again a few months hence.
In Chile's vast nitrate fields, from which comes the nitrate to make the ammunition without which this war could not go on, one of the best of the one hundred and seventy different plants is said to be that of the Du Pont Powder Company. One concern which was continually losing its best men to the Du Pont Company, finally, in desperation, sent a man to the United States to study welfare methods so that he might install them in its plant, in order that it might meet the competition of the American firm. Other plants also are beginning, either through inclination or necessity, to incorporate the Du Pont methods.
A Mine Which Mothers Twenty Thousand People
It was a memorable trip I took from Santiago up among the peaks of the Andes to visit the Braden Copper Company, a Guggenheim concern. It was the wild and wintry month of June (corresponding to December in northern latitudes) and a white storm swept along with our train up to the peaks where the mining-camp lay almost smothered in snow. You may get some idea of the snowfall from the fact that the tennis-court (when the summer comes in December) always lies buried under about twenty feet of hard-packed snow. It is necessary to saw the snow into blocks, load it on flat cars and haul it away before the boys can play tennis !
But the twenty thousand people who are dependent upon the Braden Copper Company are well protected from the rigors of Andean weather. Their houses are warm and tight. Besides, a great many of them work underground where the temperature is always the same, winter and summer. The huge mountain rises like an immense bee-hive. It is honeycombed with more than a hundred miles of tunnels, and these tunnels are being extended at the rate of a mile a day. The tunnels are arranged on various levels, nearly twenty in all, with elevators and chutes running from one level to another. The mountain, to change the figure, is like an apartment house half a mile high. Ore from the upper stories is dumped into chutes like dumb-waiter shafts (" vultures " they are called because of the readiness with which they will swallow a miner if he makes a misstep) and is dropped to the basement level, where it is carried away like the ashes of an apartment-house. But these are precious ashes ! They are taken to the smelter where pure copper is extracted to the tune of two million dollars' worth or more every month. Five thousand tons of ore are mined every day and the capacity of the plant is to be increased to ten thousand tons.
Night and day thousands of men are burrowing with air drills and pickaxes ; seventeen underground electric trains thunder from one subterranean community of workers to another, while an indicator in the office above the earth constantly shows the exact location of each train; twenty underground telephones flash their messages through miles of rocky tunnels; American foremen from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, sit at their desks typewriting their reports in neat, boarded, blueprint hung offices a half mile under the surface of the earth; and underground repair shops, carpenter shops, compression rooms and power-plants add to the uncanny din echoing through the hundred miles of streets of this subterranean city.
Doubling the Average Wage of Chile
Life here is necessarily hard and dangerous. But the Braden Copper Company has not hidden behind this excuse. All South America respects the welfare record which has been established by this concern. Great credit is due to Mr. S. S. Sorenson, the general manager, and to his superintendent of welfare, Mr. Colley, as well as to Mr. Graham and Mr. Turner, superintendents of the mine and smelter. They are all welfare superintendents at heart. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that they are all great industrialists who know very well that complete efficiency in industry is impossible unless strict attention is paid to the welfare of the worker.
Formerly the work of the mine was done in two twelve-hour shifts, the one a day and the other a night shift. But it was found that twelve hours of continuous work led to exhaustion from which it was difficult to recuperate, and which often led to disease. Accordingly the order was changed to three eight-hour shifts, so that no man should work more than eight hours out of the twenty-four. The result was an immediate brightening and quickening of the men. That was significant from a human standpoint. The significant fact from the industrial standpoint was that within a few days after the change was made production had increased thirty per cent !
Common workmen in this mine receive about one dollar and seventy-five cents a day. This is more than double, the average wage of Chile. And yet the Braden Copper Company finds that it pays. They believe that a workman cannot keep decent on an in-decent wage.
There was no ignorance here concerning the provisions of the new accident law. But at the same time there will be no struggle to conform with its provisions, because of the simple fact that for many years the Braden Copper Company has been doing far more than this law demands. Accidents are largely prevented. When they do occur, the injured man is given the best of medical attention and, if permanently disabled, is supported indefinitely by the company. Men who are too old to work are also supported. The company has, as Mr. Graham expressed it, " a good many old horses turned out to pasture." This care of the workman who has become worth-less would, of course, be unique even in North America, and in South America it has formerly been unheard of.
Good houses, baths, club-rooms, libraries, moving-picture shows, restaurants, an excellent hospital, and a well-conducted store are supplied for the comfort of the workmen.
" Whisky Guards" to Enforce Prohibition
A model is set not only for South America but for North America in the fact that the use of liquor is absolutely prohibited among the workmen of this company. Nor is this prohibition merely on paper. Fifty guards, or " whisky hounds," stand sentinel on the mountains round about the camp watching for " whisky runners." The methods used by the whisky runners in their attempts to smuggle liquor into the camp are ingenious. One day some men were seen carrying a tool chest into camp. Presently they were seen carrying it out again. After a time they brought it in again. Suspicious guards stopped the party this time and examined the chest. It was full of tools. Several more trips were made and then the guards again halted the party and made a more thorough investigation. This time they found that the chest contained a false bottom under which were stored bottles of whisky.
One whisky runner conceived the idea of taking the works out of a Singer sewing-machine and then filling the machine with bags of whisky. Bottles have come to camp concealed within large cabbages, and at one time eighty-four bottles were discovered in the water-tank of a locomotive. The most common method is to wear a light jacket under the coat and fill the pockets of the jacket with bottles.
But although a little liquor is brought in, the very ingenuity that is required to smuggle it in proves the strictness of the rules. Drunkenness is practically unknown. Any workman discovered with liquor would be promptly discharged. The American foremen and superintendents have no special privileges in this mat-ter. One American who considered the rules good enough for the Chileans but too good for him came to work one morning with a whisky breath. He was sent to the United States on the next ship.
Murder Stays Out When Whisky Stays Out
The result of this strictness is that the men work through all holidays and feast days without a mur-mur, whereas these days in other camps are given up to idleness and wild debauch. Although this camp, like all other mining-camps, contains many rough and criminal characters who have formerly had much experience in handling a knife or a revolver, murder is , extremely rare, and there is not more than one serious fight in a year. Contrast this with the situation in Rancagua, a town not more than forty miles away, where there are almost as many murders as there are days in the year, and where, along the car tracks, one may see shrine after shrine made of Standard Oil tins decorated with wreaths and crosses inside, a candle or tin can of oil with a wick in it to be kept burning at night each shrine marking the spot where a murder has been committed.
The company also encourages saving. The men have been educated as to the importance of saving until now approximately ten per cent. of the total amount paid to the men is brought by them to be placed , to their account in the branch savings-bank fostered by the company. The Valparaiso manager of the National Bank of Savings of Chile said later to me : " In promoting saving among the working people, we get much better cooperation from American companies in Chile than from any other source."
I asked the mine superintendent for his opinion of Chilean workmen. " Well," he said, " a man's ideas concerning the natives depends on how long he has been here. During the first three months he swears at them. After he has been here twelve months he swears by them. When a Chilean distrusts you he will be found very hard to manage. After he comes to have confidence in you there is nothing in the world he won't do for you, no matter how hard or how dangerous. The more you give these people the more they will give you that's all."
Missions Aid Business in Planting Democracy
What cooperation, if any, have these American concerns had from American missions?
A very definite piece of constructive work in this connection is being carried on by the American Institute in La Paz. This school draws its students from two classes, the highest and the lowest, the lily-fingered sons of Spain and the callous-fisted Indians. To bring together these two extreme classes and make them work in harmony and train them both up to competent citizenship is a remarkable achievement.
Sons of wealthy deputies and leading citizens of Bolivia who attend the school are not only learning how to use their hands. They are learning to appreciate the Indian. They are making remarkable discoveries as to the character of these people whom they have thought to be nothing better than a race of slaves.
One Indian boy came to the school followed by his father, who, not being able to afford to hire a donkey, carried the lad's trunk on his own back. That boy, at the end of the year, took first honors in English, forging ahead of all his fellow students. An-other Indian boy joined the Institute football team.
When he appeared in football clothes to take part in the game with a rival school, there were roars of derision from the crowd that had gathered to see the match. The Indian paid no attention and the game began. Soon the taunts of the crowd were changed to shouts of applause. There was not another man on either team who played a better game than the Indian half-back, and when the match was over he had won a new respect, not only for himself, but for his race. Three years later this Indian graduated from the commercial department with first honors.
Mission Graduates Are Bolivia's Future Leaders
From the Institute's remarkable commercial department (commerce was formerly a thing in which no young man with a waxed mustache could be induced to engage) men go out who are beginning to lead the business life of the country. They are stepping into positions of trust at salaries which make older men blink with envy. One lad who, upon graduation, was given work by the Bolivian Railway Company has had his salary multiplied by seventeen in less than three years, and the process of multiplication shows no sign of abating. Other graduates in the employ of the same company, on account of their fine training, are forging ahead almost as rapidly.
One day a number of the older employees of this firm made a protest to the manager concerning the favoritism that was being shown to these young upstarts. The manager explained that there was no favoritism. These young men knew their jobs. It was simply plain business sense to push such workers ahead.
And to one of the missionary professors of the American Institute this manager said :
" I have been in the railroad business in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia for fifteen years. Excepting men whom I have brought over from England, I have never found help to equal the boys the American Institute has sent me. I should like to fill my office with such boys. I will take every one you can recommend from your graduating class this year, even if I have to hold some of them on salary until I can find places for them."
Likewise in the commercial houses, banks, and mines, the manager who can land a graduate. of the American Institute is regarded as fortunate. The demand for graduates is far greater than the school can possibly fill.
Suiting Education to the Needs of the Country
Of special interest is the scientific training afforded by the school. Bolivia is preeminently a mining country. Therefore the chemistry and physics in the Institute are not like those found in the schools of the United States but are a chemistry and physics definitely applied to the mining industry. The analysis of ores is a constant subject for laboratory experiment.. Geological expeditions are made to the near-by mountains. Every boy who takes these subjects gets a working knowledge. of tungsten, wolfram, tin, copper, silver, and gold, and the graduates of such training will set a new pace among the native mining experts and assayers of the country.
The director of the Institute has a dramatic dream for the future. At present Bolivia has almost no native manufactures. She exports her wool to England, where it is made up into clothing and returned to Bolivia. Consequently a man in Bolivia must pay fifty dollars for a suit of clothes that would not have cost more than fifteen dollars if it could have been made inside the country. It is so with tin, copper, iron, silver, leather, rubber, and other materials. They are all exported and later received back in manufactured form at ruinous prices.
The idea of the director is to teach some particular industry as, for example, soap making, and then establish the graduates of this course in the soap business. This, if successful, would mean the end of paying sixty cents for soap which ought to cost not more than twenty cents. Likewise the manufacture of garments, shoes, metal-ware, and of many other necessities might gradually be added to the list of native industries through this method.
If the American Institute can send out young men trained to think of all men as their brothers, trained in Christian ideals and scientific methods and the co-related use of mind and hand, the democratizing influence exerted by American companies will be 'strongly reenforced.
Welfare Work Serves Both Church and Industry
A missionary by the name of Foster, stationed at Arequipa, Peru, observed that young workingmen had no place to spend their evenings except in the cantinas and vicious resorts. Accordingly, he started a club for them and soon had a membership of more than sixty. His club was a recreation center, but it was more than that. He made it a place where character should be trained and studious habits cultivated. Forga and Company, cotton manufacturers, employed one of the boys and found him so studious that finally they asked him where he had obtained his training. He told them of Foster's club. Representatives of the company came to Mr. Foster and made arrangements to secure the services of twenty more of the boys. They were taken into permanent employment, and an adobe room near the factory was built, lighted, and equipped for them to use as a club room. There they are continuing their studies, and as rapidly as Mr. Foster can develop new boys in character and integrity, Forga and Company are only too glad to receive them.
The direct Christian reaction of such work may be seen in the fact that in this city, where it has been extremely difficult to win any converts, Mr. Foster has taken eight new members into the church during the past year. Five of these had been members of his club. Even greater significance lies in the fact that every boy who passed through that club, even though he did not actually join the church, had his character strongly influenced and molded after the Christian pattern and will carry the effects into the industrial life of Peru.
In Valparaiso, the Young Men's Christian Association and a large Presbyterian school are carrying on many interesting activities, one of them being a night school for domestic servants. Household drudges who have not even known how to hold a pencil are being trained for positions of independence. Also the Young Men's Christian Association holds courses of lectures for workingmen, treating such practical subjects as thrift, home buying, home making, sanitation, civic responsibility, and other subjects of a similar nature.
The Santiago College for Girls, in which the daughters of the finest families of Chile are enrolled, is teaching the dignity of work. The Instituto Ingles of Santiago and the Ward School, of Buenos Aires, and similar schools elsewhere furnish good commercial training. Also in Buenos Aires the Salvation Army and some splendid institutional churches are doing a large work among the poorer classes of workers. Five thousand children whose families are too poor to afford them an education are being trained by a splendid Anglican missionary, Mr. William Morris, who, through academic and trade schools, is lifting at least this part of the new generation into competence and self-reliance. Christian love is the driving power of the enterprise and is bound to be carried over into the industry and trade of Argentina through the lives of the graduates of this school.
A Human Dynamo of Service
In beautiful Rio de Janeiro there is a remarkable example of what missions may do to better the lot of the workers. Dr. H. C. Tucker, a modest, plain dynamo of a man, went to Brazil as agent for the American Bible Society. He did good work in that connection, but that work was not enough for him. The slums of Rio de Janeiro, where many of the unskilled workers of the city live, got on his conscience. Finally he opened a mission hall there and held evangelistic services. This led him to begin to study the social conditions of the working people.
The first thing that struck Dr. Tucker, as a result of his investigations, was the prevalence of tuberculosis. So he printed a card dealing with tuberculosis and had it distributed broadcast. Then he sent to-Josiah Strong and got an illustrated lecture on the disease, which he gave in his mission hall. Impressed by the lecture, the president of the board of health asked Dr. Tucker to deliver it in all the public schools and public squares of the city, which he did, telling his story and showing his pictures to tens of thousands. Finally an anti-tuberculosis association was started in connection with the board of health, and Dr. Tucker's dispensary was given a government appropriation to help in an organized campaign against the disease.
The vista of need among the laboring classes led Dr. Tucker into a great many other lines of endeavor. He started a day-school in the slum district. He put in not only the " three R's," but a daily tooth-brush drill and some vigorous courses in physical exercise. But somehow his teachers were unable to get a quick intellectual and moral response from the children. The little tots were as limp as wilted flowers.
This perplexed Dr. Tucker until he thought to investigate the meals of his students. He found that most of the children were trying to get through the day on a cup of black coffee and a pickle ! No won-der they reacted like rusty hinges instead of like steel springs which children usually simulate. So he instituted a noon lunch of whole-wheat mush with milk and sugar.
At the end of a month the school children showed an average increase in weight of two and a fifth pounds, the general physical condition was better, and what was more important the teachers reported an improvement in response that was nothing short of remarkable.
There was a playground in connection with the, school, but its cement pavement was too hard for the children's thinly-soled feet. The ingenious missionary decided on a mixture of asphalt, cork, and sand, which would make a soft, springy pavement. He went to a paving concern, but their price was prohibitive. So he visited the manager of the Anglo-Mexican Products Company, and that worthy, as soon as he had grasped the sensibleness of Tucker's enterprise, contributed two tons of asphalt. Another firm likewise contributed the cork, another the sand, another the coal for fuel, and still another laid the pavement without charging a penny!
Brazil's First Public Playground Work of Missionary
It was not long after this that he scandalized the mayor and the superintendent of parks with the suggestion that a large portion of the city park, which was fenced in with iron rails and protected with " keep off the grass " signs, should be thrown open and equipped as a playground and athletic field for the use of the workers of Rio.
When they got over their shock for a park in Brazil has traditionally been a thing to look at, not to use the mayor and superintendent pulled up at Tucker's door in their most de luxe auto, sumptuously whirled him to the park, allowed him to select one of the choicest tracts, and promised it to him—on one condition.
The condition was that he should equip it ! That meant swings, chutes, bars, tennis outfits, apparatus for football, baseball, basketball, and other outing games, for Tucker's plans were by no means as modest as the man himself.
But how could a poor missionary handle this expensive task ?
Tucker saw some men tearing up the street-car tracks. He went to the manager of the- light and power company and said: May I have the old rails? "
The manager evinced interest. What were these old rails wanted for? Swing supports and apparatus for an athletic field? Pshaw, they weren't good enough. Only the best that money could buy were good enough.
" But I have no money to buy them," Tucker explained.
Well, what equipment is needed? "
" I can show you in a Spalding catalog."
Bring it in."
The catalog was brought in. A little later the manager took a trip to New York. When he came back he brought with him the receipt for seven hundred and forty dollars' worth of the finest apparatus obtain-able in New York City paid for out of his own pocket.
The apparatus was installed, dedication day was announced, the crowds gathered, the Brazilian flag was unfurled, the band played, the mayor made a speech, and the first public playground in Brazil was opened.
A well-to-do man who had been present at the dedication met Tucker on the street.
" What's your purpose in all this? " he asked.
" My purpose is to save men for Jesus Christ and I believe Christ came to save the entire man, body as well as soul."
" Where do you get the money? "
I have none, it comes in voluntary contributions." " The next time you want to start anything like this," said the man, as he walked away, " let me know. I never understood missions before."
The playground was a tremendous success. And now Tucker's help has been enlisted in planning playgrounds to be organized in connection with all the public schools.
He Believes in Saving Both Body and Soul
It would, be impossible here to tell adequately of all this man's activities. He has kept in mind the need of the workers for good food, good clothing, and good training. Accordingly he has established a cooking school with gas stoves donated by the gas company ! A sewing school with machines donated by the Singer sewing-machine company ! A typewriting school with typewriters donated by the Remington company!
Because of the fact that Brazil's public school system is still so incomplete that illiteracy runs over seventy per cent., and the great majority of the working people never have an opportunity to improve their condition through education, Dr. Tucker has secured the organization of an educational association, the purpose of which is to obtain funds from wealthy Brazilians and establish schools in quarters not reached by the public schools.
Screenless Rio is now receiving its first education with regard to the fly as a carrier of disease. Formerly people didn't care whether the fly wiped his feet before coming into the house or not. Even meat and provision shops were unprotected. Through the board of health, Dr. Tucker has projected an educational campaign that is already bringing about a radical change of sentiment toward the fly.
He has also made a first move in the face of the appalling infant mortality of Brazil by publishing and distributing by the thousands a simple statement of instructions for mothers on the care of infants.
And he has recently begun, with the aid of a corps of trained workers, an investigation of industries in Brazil; and such subjects as hours of work, wages, child labor, woman labor, working conditions, and workers' homes are receiving attention.
Many a man who " never understood missions be-fore " has come to believe thoroughly in all that Tucker represents. He has captured the devotion of the people; they love him more than the most beautifully carved saint in the cathedral; they are ready to follow him in anything he may suggest, and the name " missionary " has a tender and honored significance in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Grenfell of Labrador once said: "When you set out to commend your gospel to men who don't want it, there is only one way to go about it-do something for them that they'll understand."
Missions and Industry Must Cooperate
American industries and American missions are doing things for the South Americans that they can understand. The genuine warmth and helpfulness in the North American hand clasp is felt and appreciated by our neighbor of the South. One result is the beginning of a revolution in the attitude of the people toward Protestant missions. When they see a missionary, they no longer begin to look for his horns. The day of stiff opposition is passing and the missionaries have not only themselves to thank, but they must thank the men who have guided the policies of the great North American industries in South America.
There should be larger cooperation between the industrial and the missionary forces. If the missionary boards really desire to better the lot of the workers, they might well join in the appointment of a publicity agent who should keep the newspapers of the continent supplied with stories of the most advanced welfare methods, in conjunction with stories of the value of Christian character in industry. Many good-hearted native employers would be quick to introduce up-to-date methods of betterment if they knew just how to go about it. Other employers, not so good-hearted, would respond if the example of others combined with the pressure of public sentiment through the press were brought to bear upon them.
South America stands in great need of labor legislation. There are no adequate laws for the protection of the workers. It is not the business of the missionary to go into politics and lobby for better laws. It is, however, his business to be intelligent on labor questions, to encourage publicly those employers, either native or foreign, who are stepping ahead of their time, to make widely known for the benefit of others any good thing that is done, and to spread a democratic Christianity, of which Christian legislation will in time be the natural outcome.