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tween Memphis and Vicksburg. The chief claim of this colony to importance, in any consideration of American Italians, lies in the fact that among them all it has been the most widely advertised as a failure, while in truth it is outranked by few, if any, as a success. I have been familiar with its history since its foundation, and when I began the preparation of a paper on the negro's economic future it was to Sunnyside that I at once turned, as to an object lesson illustrative of the possibilities of white competition with the negro in the latter's ancient and strongest field.
This colony had its inception in a plan of the late Austin Corbin, of New York, to sell to Italians a large body of cotton land in Arkansas. This tract comprises several thousand acres, and represents the consolidation of several plantations. Mr. Corbin's experiment as a non-resident Southern cottonplanter was not a success, but by the expenditure of large sums of money he developed a highly improved piece of property. He failed with the free negro, and turned to the convict, under an arrangement with the Arkansas penitentiary. He finally hit on the scheme of selling the land to Italians, it being commonly understood at the time that Prince Ruspoli, of Rome, was interested in the venture. Mr. Corbin has been bitterly denounced, often by men, Italians and others, who knew nothing of the facts, for attempting to impose on the ignorance of these peasants, in the matter of the price charged for the land. The figure was high at the time, it is true, but the terms were liberal, and Mr. Corbin knew that the land would yield to its new tenant-owners a far larger revenue than any similar investment they could make at home. As an experiment on this line the effort was a failure, but the fault did not wholly lie with Mr. Corbin. Converted, as it has been, into a colony of tenant-farmers, e has been no more signal success in the Southern cotton-belt.
I was acquainted with the ups and downs. of the original colony, and had read many accounts of its failure. Time and again I had seen it referred to as proof conclusive, the ultimate demonstration, of the utter inability of the white foreigner to compete with the negro as a cotton-grower. But I was not prepared for an experience which befell me while on my way to Baltimore in December, 1905, to read before the American Economic Association the paper based to some extent on the outcome of the Corbin ex
periment. We were some hours out of Atlanta, going through the red fields of north Georgia. Some one in the smoking compartment remarked, as he glanced through the window at a particularly forlorn-looking village, squatting in the midst of a field of
bumble-bee" cotton, that Georgia and the South would never be what they should be until they introduced foreign and Northern farmers to properly develop the agricultural resources of the country. The remark was like a spark in a magazine, and before I realized it I was listening to another "absolutely authentic and first-hand account of the miserable failure of just such an effort." It was Sunnyside again. It was a mean thing to do, but I waited until the somber picture of my Italian colony was completed, and the audience thoroughly satisfied that it was hopeless to think of trying to make cotton-growers out of "Dago organ-grinders and fruit-peddlers." Then I sent for my bag and produced the figures which I had prepared for the American Economic Association, some of which are given here. The innocent author of the trouble looked his gratitude, the New York gentleman expressed his thanks for being set right, and the subject was dropped.
"" FARMERS UNSKILLED AT FARMING. It is an old and a true adage that one cannot make a silk purse of a sow's ear. It is equally as true that not even a man of Austin Corbin's capacity could convert a heterogeneous collection of butchers, bakers, tailors, shoemakers, etc., fresh from Italy, into a colony of satisfied and efficient Arkansas cottongrowers. Yet this is just what was originally attempted at Sunnyside. It is no purpose of this article to locate the responsibility, but from personal observation I can say that these so-called Italian farmers represented as variegated an assortment of occupations and trades as one could find in any single collection of individuals. And here was the real foundation of the trouble.
I have seen these "farmers leave the field and go to the office and besiege the bookkeeper for permission to make him a pair of shoes. Tailors among them were equally as importunate. On one occasion I noticed one of them wheeling a very peculiar looking barrow along the road. On examination it proved to be a dismantled cotton-planter of the latest and most expensive type. It had been turned over to him to use in planting his crop, and he had at once converted it into a vehicle with which he was more familiar.
The terms under which land was sold to these people provided that they were to be given employment at daily wages, in so far as possible, and that half the money thus earned was to be paid them in cash, and half to be applied to the debts incident to their transportation. I happened to be present one payday, and witnessed an incident which of itself stamped the word failure on the enterprise: A group of Italians who had been engaged in "day work" came to the office and demanded all cash for their week's earnings. It was in vain that the interpreter pointed to the clause in their contracts, printed in duplicate in Italian and English, which provided for only half cash, and reminded them that time and again they had accepted payment according to its terms. Their leader was a great, broad-shouldered, blue-eyed, and fairhaired giant. He would listen to neither reason nor argument, and finally, with gestures which all present understood, in a burst of rage, he threatened to "burn every building on Sunnyside" if their demands were not complied with. One or two of the plantation managers were present, and they offered to dispose of the matter at once, if only given permission. But the office management took counsel with officials higher up, with the result that full payment was made, and discipline and order hopelessly impaired.
Space forbids an enumeration of all the troubles which beset the situation. But the management could not be charged with failure to provide for the general welfare of the community. Several miles of railroad were constructed, connecting the various parts of the property. A. school was built and Catholic sisters engaged to teach the children of the colony. A church was provided and a priest employed to look after its spiritual needs. On Sundays a church train" was run, to convey worshipers to and from their devotions, and during the week a "school train," morning and afternoon, gathered and redistributed the children who attended school. There was sickness, it is true, during the process of acclimatization, and before the newcomers learned to properly take care of themselves. But there were also Italians in nearby towns who told the colonists that they were being defrauded and imposed upon, and these whisperings did their part in breeding discontent. After Mr. Corbin's death a policy of drift was pursued. The shoemaker and the tailor and the tinker removed to places which furnished a better
tion. Some of the colonists returned to Italy. Some went off to nearby plantations, in Arkansas and Mississippi, and became tenants and purchasers of land, upon which have grown up other groups of peasant farmers. Some went to another part of Arkansas, and founded the flourishing colony of Tontitown, of which the Italian Ambassador has written glowingly in certain Italian magazines. Some remained. The ranks thus thinned were filled by negroes, and thus was developed an opportunity for making the fairest test with which I am acquainted of the relative merits and efficiency of the negro and Italian as growers of the staple which contributes most to the maintenance of our favorable balance of trade.
A FAIR TEST OF THE TWO RACES.
It was in 1898 that the Corbin estate entered into a business agreement with Messrs. O. B. Crittenden & Co., cotton factors, of Greenville, Miss., under which that firm assumed entire charge of the property. For the first time since Austir. Corbin's original purchase the business of planting cotton on Sunnyside was in the hands of practical cottonplanters, rather than under the control of very excellent civil engineers from New England and the North. When Crittenden & Co. took charge there were 38 Italian squads on the place, with 200 working hands, cultivating 1200 acres of cotton. There were 203 negro squads, with 600 working hands, cultivating 2600 acres of cotton. At the end of 1905, after cight years, the cotton acreage had increased to 3900 acres. Of this we find 900 acres cultivated by 38 negro squads, with 175 working hands, while 107 Italian squads, with 500 working hands, cultivated 3000 acres. The change in the relative numbers of the two races has been accomplished through entirely normal processes, and therein lies the real secret of the success of the new colony upon the identical ground which was the scene of the failure of the old. The average plantation negro in this. section of the South is constantly shifting his base. The paramount difficulty is that of securing reliable tenants. The Italians who were on Sunnyside in 1898 did so well under the new régime that they not only remained themselves, but of their own volition sent to Italy for their families and friends. When a negro moved out an Italian moved in. The new management knew nothing about Italians. They knew the general history of the
was not calculated to prejudice them in favor of the foreigner. But they were practical business men, and in looking at the work and results of two classes of labor could easily "tell a hawk from a handsaw." It is interesting to glance at some of these results.
COMPARISON OF PRODUCTIVE POWERS.
The figures for the first year were not obtainable when I made my investigation, and the year 1905 had not then closed. Hence the period covered was for six years, 1899 to 1904, inclusive. During these years the Italians made an annual average of 2584 pounds of lint cotton per working hand, and the negroes an average of 1174 pounds. The average lint production per acre was for the Italians 403 pounds, and 233 pounds for the negro. The average cash product value (cotton and seed) was $277.36 per hand for the Italians, and $128.47 for the negro. These values per acre were for the Italians $44.77; for the negro, $26.36. The Italian produced 1410 pounds more lint per hand than the negro, equal to 120.1 per cent., while he raised 170 pounds, or 72.9 per cent., more lint per acre. This represents a difference in money value, including cotton-seed, of $148.89 per hand, or 115.8 per cent., in favor of the Italian, and of $18.41, or 69.8 per cent., in value per acre. The Italian cultivated 6.2 acres per working hand, and the
of $587.35 per squad. In 1904 there were 110 negro squads on the place, and of these, two drew balances amounting to $480.50, while more than $6,000.00 had to be carried over for the others, or charged off to profit and loss. The net result of these operations may be illustrated in another way: At the end of 1905 there were 107 Italian squads, and of these 104 owned 123 head of work stock, and other live stock in addition, to the total value of $23,400. Only three squads out of the total number owned no stock. At the close of 1905 there were 38 negro squads still on the property, and of these 21 owned stock to the value of $3360, while 17 had nothing at all. Expressed in percentages, only 2.8 per cent. of the Italians failed to share the community prosperity, while among the negroes 44.7 per cent. found themselves in this condition.
CULTIVATION OF WASTE CORNERS.
There are many queer illustrations of the traits which lie behind the showing made by these transplanted children of sunny Italy. Some years ago, under the old régime, I was making a trip over the property, on the plantation train, with the resident general manager. We saw an Italian some distance ahead of us wildly signaling for us to stop. In an excited tone, and in broken but clearly intelligible English, he told the manager that he wanted the trains discontinued until he had COMPARATIVE RECORDS AS TO THRIFT AND and he had not even begun to pick. It was gathered his crop. It was then only August,
negro 5.1 acres.
The matter of efficiency as between the European and the negro is no longer a debatable question among those familiar with the two classes of labor. The true and far deeper significance attaches to the uses to which the two put their respective earnings. Stated briefly, from the exhibit before us, the Italian saved and the negro did not. Of the 110 Italian squads who began crops in 1905, .44 were new arrivals. Yet of the total number, 65 squads, or 59 per cent., made no accounts for supplies during the year. This means that practically all those who made crops on the place in 1904 brought themselves to a state of independence for 1905. In 1905, 61 negro families began crops on the property, of whom but two, or 3.2 per cent., were independent. We may understand this better when we know that to the 66 Italian squads who made crops in 1904 there was paid in cash balances above all accounts the sum of $38,764.58, an average
out of the question to comply with his demand, but he soon made us appreciate the ground of his complaint. With infinite pains, and evidently at the cost of much careful work with his hands, he had planted and cultivated cotton between the projecting ends of the cross-ties, right up to the rails. This cotton was now tall enough to be swept by the cars in passing, and he wanted an end put to the nuisance which promised to damage his crop. It was explained that the railroad right-of-way was not his. He replied that he had been told that his land extended to the track, and he had simply planted accordingly. For my part I thought he should have been reimbursed. Such an example should not have gone without its reward. They planted on Sunnyside the banks of streams which had never before known the touch of a plow. They plant ditch banks and fence rows with equal care, and cultivate every square foot of soil on which they are paying rent.
They were often the butt of ridicule by both white and black at first. I recall one who went to his daily work with an umbrella attached to the handles of his plow. He was jeered by every negro who saw the novel spectacle, and it was freely predicted that he would soon." play out." He is there yet, and some months ago he informed me, with all the pride of successful achievement, that he "could buy out every 'negar' in Chicot County." But the day has long since passed when their methods of farming or living excite unfavorable comment. The few figures given here are a guaranty of that fact. They live well, for the most part. A friend of mine, who has but recently introduced them, told me that he did not expect to live long enough to become accustomed to ordering Italian wine from New Orleans for tenants on his plantation. They all have wine, but drink it in moderation. They all have gardens, and in them raise enough to furnish their tables in season, and also largely to carry them through the winter. They seem to be able to cure almost anything they grow. I have eaten meals in their houses in January, and been astonished at the variety of vegetables set before me.
It is not within the scope of this sketch to attempt a discussion of even the local effect of the Italian on the negro. Some negroes, I know, have been spurred to greater effort by the example set by the stranger. One of these, a gray-haired veteran of many a hardplowed field, talked over the matter with me somewhat on this wise:
I 'lowed to Marthy, when I heered dem Dagoes had done bought de jinin' tract, dat I was gwine ter show de white folks dat here was one nigger what wouldn' lay down in front er no I done it, too, plumb till pickin' time. It blowed man livin', when it come to makin' cotton. En me, too, sho's you bawn; blowed me mightily. But jis ez I thought I had um bested, what you reckon happened? I'z a natchel-bawn cottonpicker, mysef, and so is Marthy, and right dar is whar I 'lowed I had um. But 'tother night when me an de ole 'oman 'uz drivin' back fum church, long erbout 12 o'clock, en er full moon, what you reckon I seen, boss?"
I assured him of my utter inability to even guess at the possibilities presented by such a situation. He dropped his voice almost to a whisper as he continued:
fo' chillun wuz pickin' cotton by de moonlight. Fo' Gawd in Heaven dat Dago en his wife en I do' 'no' how it looks to you, but I calls dat er underhanded trick myse'f.
PROTECTING THE FARMER AGAINST FRAUD.
BY JOHN PHILLIPS STREET.
stations in Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico.
THE establishment in Connecticut in 1875 of the first American agricultural ex- One of the impelling purposes leading to periment station was the beginning of a new the establishment of these stations was the era in the history of agriculture in this coun- constantly increasing use of commercial fertry. The good example of Connecticut was tilizers by the American farmer. The necesfollowed by other States, the station in North sity for testing their effectiveness in actual Carolina being established in 1877, the New field practice, and the importance of educatYork (Cornell) station in 1879, and the ing the farmer as to their rational use and of New Jersey station in 1880. Under the protecting him against fraudulent mixtures. Hatch bill, passed by the federal Congress in and exorbitant charges, made a thorough in1887, similar experiment stations were estab- spection of the fertilizers offered for sale a lished in every State of the Union in connec- paramount duty of the experiment stations in tion with the land-grant colleges acting un- their early days. Nor has this duty lessened der the act of 1862. Certain of the States in as the years have passed; for while the activwhich experiment stations had been already ities of the stations have progressed along established continued to maintain the older broader and more scientific lines, the necesinstitutions, Alabama, Connecticut, New Jer- sity for protecting the farmer in the pursey, and New York each having two, and chase of his farm supplies has never been lost Louisiana three, so that at the present time sight of. there are 56 of these institutions scattered The fertilizer industry in America is
time it has reached colossal proportions; so that the annual expenditure for fertilizers exceeds $50,000,000. At first the commercial fertilizers were brought into strong competition with the manures of the farm, and excessive, and even fraudulent, claims were made for them. It was for the experiment stations to point out that a fertilizer was valuable chiefly for the available nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash which it contained. Whether these were secured by the mixing of raw materials into a commercial fertilizer or through the natural processes of animal digestion, it was the amount of these fertilizing elements, elements which repeated experiments had shown were essential for plant growth, that determined the fertilizer's value. The use of commercial fertilizers being a new venture for the farmer, the multiplicity of brands, their frequently misleading names, and the tendency to utilize any sort of waste product, regardless of its fertilizing value, in the manufacture of fertilizers, soon made it apparent that a systematic inspection and control of these materials were necessary for the farmer's protection.
Accordingly, laws regulating the sale of fertilizers were passed successively in every State east of the Mississippi, and in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, California, and Texas. While no two State laws are exactly alike, they agree in general in requiring that to each package of fertilizer shall be attached a statement as to its guaranteed composition, the name and address of the manufacturer, and the net weight of the package. The inspection official is authorized to issue licenses or certificates allowing the sale of the fertilizer, to collect samples, make analyses of the same, publish the results, with such comments as he may deem necessary, and prosecute violators of the law. The laws differ in the amount and manner of levying the tax, the method of stating the guaranty, the materials exempt from inspection, and the penalty for violation. While the inspection is committed to different officials in the various States, commissioners of agriculture, State chemists, directors of experiment stations, the great bulk of the actual analytical work is performed in the laboratories of the experiment stations. Certain materials like lime, land plaster, wood ashes, cottonseed meal, agricultural salt, barnyard manure, marl, castor pomace, tobacco stems, and unmixed fertilizing materials are exempt from the provisions of the law in many of the States, while in New Jersey imported guanos
are also exempted. In North Carolina the law protects brand names or trademarks, and in nearly all the States any fertilizer selling for $10 or less per ton does not come within the law. In certain States, as Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, when leather, hair, wool waste, or other inert products are used in manufacturing a fertilizer the fact must be clearly stated in a printed certificate, or their sale is interdicted.
The variability of the State laws has occasioned much criticism on the part of certain of the larger manufacturers, and not unjustly, for the expense of printing different statements on the bag for different States where thousands of tons are sold is heavy, and confusion and uncertainty are almost sure to result. To meet this objection a standard law has been proposed by a joint committee of the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations and the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, after conference with the manufacturers. The purpose of this law is to encourage uniformity, simplicity, and definiteness of statement, so that States contemplating new laws or amending existing laws may use it as a guide.
The important point, however, is not so much the nature of the laws and their provisions as what has been their effect. Unquestionably they have been of the greatest benefit to the American farmer and the honest fertilizer manufacturer. In the first place, the published analyses show exactly how much nitrogen, phosphoric acid, or potash the fertilizers contain, and whether the amounts supplied agree with those promised by the manufacturers. In the early days of fertilizer inspection wide variations from the guaranties were common, arising either from carelessness or ignorance on the part of the manufacturer, or from a deliberate intention to deceive the intending purchaser. It must be admitted that even at the present time these variations have not ceased to exist, nor is it probable that they ever will; but deliberate fraud is the exception, not the rule. The publication of the results of the inspections permits the farmer not only to verify the guaranty given with the goods which he purchased, but also to compare its analysis with that of other brands, thereby affording him the opportunity of making a wise choice in his future purchases. A good analysis is one of the best of advertisements for the manufacturer, while a poor showing is correspond