Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

admitting foreigners to citizenship. The of labor, created a State Department of
complete descriptive records kept of all im- Agriculture, Commerce, and Immigration,
migrants admitted will make it difficult to similar to the corresponding departments in
obtain or use certificates of naturalization other Southern States, and, with the aid of a
fund contributed by manufacturers, sent the
The number of immigrants arriving at commissioner of the department abroad to
ports of the United States now exceeds a start a current of migration to South Caro-
million a year.
This influx of foreigners lina, if possible in ships sailing directly to
makes plenty of work for the immigration Charleston. The commissioner advanced
officers. Intending immigrants who fail to the passage money and agreed to find em-
pass the inspectors are taken before a board ployment for the immigrants, but the lat-
of special inquiry. If this board decides to ter were under no obligation to work for any
exclude the applicant, he has the right of particular employer. The Attorney-General
appeal to the Secretary of Commerce and has sustained the solicitor's opinion that there
Labor, unless he is excluded by reason of a was no illegal contract involved, but he adds
contagious or loathsome disease, in which that under the more comprehensive terms of
case the board's decision is final. When an the immigration act of 1907 a repetition of
appeal is taken the local Commissioner of the proceeding would be illegal. Fortunate-
Immigration, after looking the applicant ly, however, the new act renders such State
over and talking with him, sends the case to action less necessary than before, by establish-
Washington with his recommendations; the ing within the Bureau of Immigration and
Commissioner-General then prepares his Naturalization a Division of Information to
opinion for the approval of the Secretary. promote a beneficial distribution of immi-
These appeals to the Secretary often number grants by making known the advantages of
thirty or thirty-five a day. Secretary Straus different sections of the country. Notwith-
says they provide him with good evening standing the pressing need for labor in the
South, more than seven-tenths of the immi-
grants admitted to the country now announce
their intention of settling in thickly populated
Northern States, and a distressingly large
proportion of them stay in the cities where
they are least needed. It is to remedy this
anomalous condition that immigration officers
have repeatedly asked for authority to pre-
sent, at Ellis Island, for example, the at-
tractions of distant sections and the demand
for labor where it exceeds the supply.

Some 12,000 intending immigrants are excluded yearly, the principal grounds of exclusion being pauperism, disease, and violation of the contract-labor laws. Notwithstanding the vigilance of the inspectors, it is often found that aliens have gained admission to the country unlawfully, and the year's work of the bureau includes the apprehension and expulsion of several hundred of these. For better preventing violations of law, Commissioner-General Sargent has recommended either that more severe penalties should be imposed upon offending steamship companies or that provision should be made for the inspection of immigrants by medical officers at the foreign ports of embarkation; and the new immigration law of 1907 provides that immigration officers and surgeons may be detailed for service in foreign countries.

Much discussion in the labor press and elsewhere has followed a recent decision of the department concerning the importation of foreign laborers by the State of South Carolina. This decision has been referred to as if it modified the contract labor laws, but in reality it was an opinion of the solicitor of the department to the effect that those laws did not apply to the case in question. The State of South Carolina, which has been suffering for some years from an insufficiency.

The annual reports of the CommissionerGeneral are mines of useful information regarding the nationalities, occupations, etc., of the immigrants admitted each year.


The Commissioner of Navigation has general jurisdiction over the commercial marine and the merchant seamen of the United States. He has charge of the registration of vessels, and prepares an annual list of American merchant vessels showing the tonnage of each. His reports contain quantities of interesting statistical information relating to the shipping industries. He also supervises the collection of the tonnage tax. He has power to change the names of vessels when necessary. He inquires into the operation of the laws relative to navigation, and suggests desirable amendments.

Under the Bureau of Navigation are ship

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ping commissioners at all the principal ports, who superintend the engagement and discharge of seamen and apprentices to the sea service, scrutinizing the terms of their contracts and seeing that the men and boys engaged through them actually go on board at the time required. They keep registers of the names and characters of seamen, and thus act as employment agencies for the merchant marine, with power to control the conditions of service in the interests of the seamen. Secretary Straus has ordered a general inspection of the shipping commissioners' offices along the Atlantic Coast; and the co-operation of foreign consuls at American ports will be sought in stamping out shanghaiing" and the "crimping" of seamen by boarding-house keepers and others. As these offenses are committed chiefly in shipping seamen on foreign tramp vessels, the shipping commissioners alone can do little to prevent them.


[ocr errors]

The Steamboat-Inspection Service, established for the security of life on board passenger vessels and now responsible for the safety of freighters also, is under the direction of a Supervising Inspector-General and ten supervising inspectors, who meet as a board at Washington once a year for consultation and the making of necessary regulations. Under each supervising inspector are local inspectors who examine the hulls, boilers, and equipment of all steamboats and all considerable sailing vessels, including foreign ships not sufficiently inspected at home, and issue certificates of approval. Generally speaking, the certificate states the number of passengers the vessel has accommodations for and can carry with safety, and this number must not be exceeded; but this provision of the law, unfortunately, does not apply to ferry-boats, so that the inspectors are powerless to prevent overcrowding where it is most common. Besides inspecting the vessels themselves, the inspectors examine all new life-preservers. Of those submitted for inspection and test last year, less than 1 per cent. were rejected, showing that manufacturers are now, as a rule, complying with the requirements of law. Boiler plates for marine boilers are also tested at the mills by assistant inspectors of the Steamboat Inspection Service; thus explosions are guarded against. The boards of local inspectors license and classify the officers, engineers, and pilots of the vessels subject to inspection, in

vestigate the causes of accidents, and often revoke or suspend the licenses of careless offi


Supervising Inspector-General Uhler has expressed the opinion that the annual inspection required by law is not a sufficient guaranty that the equipment of a vessel is maintained in proper condition throughout the year,, and. has urged the necessity of intermediate inspections. Hereafter it is hoped to inspect each vessel about three times a year; indeed, Secretary Straus has ordered that this be done at least in the case of excursion and ferry-boats.


The lighthouses, light-vessels, beacons, buoys, fog signals, and similar aids to navigation along the coasts of the United States and its principal rivers are under the supervision of a Lighthouse Board consisting of two officers of the corps of engineers of the army, two officers of the navy of high rank, and two civilians of high scientific attainments, together with an officer of the navy and an engineer officer of the army as secretaries. The Secretary of Commerce and Labor is ex-officio president of the Lighthouse Board, but the board elects one of its own number as chairman to preside at its quarterly and special meetings in the absence of the president.

The coasts and rivers under the charge of the Lighthouse Board are divided into sixteen districts, and an officer of the army or navy is assigned to each district as lighthouse inspector. The construction of lighthouses is superintended by officers of the engineer corps of the army detailed for that purpose from time to time. All the officers assigned to the Lighthouse Establishment serve without additional salary.

Some idea of the magnitude of the Lighthouse Service may be formed from the fact that the light-keepers and the officers and crews of light-vessels and tenders number about 3000 persons, and the laborers in the service over 3000 more. The coast line of the United States and its insular possessions. under the control of the Lighthouse Board measures 17,540 nautical miles.

An act passed last year requires any private agency erecting lights or other aids to navigation in the navigable waters of the United States to obtain permission from the Lighthouse Board; and the board has also issued regulations for the lighting of bridges across navigable rivers.


A survey of the coast of the United States was authorized by Congress just 100 years ago, in an act establishing the first scientific bureau of the Government. The organization of the Survey was delayed, however, by the necessity of obtaining instruments from abroad and by the War of 1812, until after the conclusion of that war; and for many years the Coast Survey was treated as a shuttle-cock and transferred back and forth between the Treasury, War, and Navy departments, but it found a resting-place under the Treasury Department from 1836 until the organization of the Department of Commerce and Labor, in 1903.

by Congress under its constitutional power to fix the standard of weights and measures was for many years assigned to the Superintendent of that Survey, but in 1901 an independent Bureau of Standards was created. Two substantial laboratory buildings have been erected on a beautiful site overlooking Washington, in a locality free from mechanical and electrical disturbances. The buildings and their surroundings suggest a university rather than a Government bureau, and indeed the Bureau of Standards is an important part of our national university, which is not quite such an institution as Washington planned, but is made up of the scientific bureaus of the Government. The use of the facilities of the Bureau of Standards and other scientific bureaus for research and study is granted by law to scientific investigators and to students of institutions of learning.

The Bureau of Standards has been organized by Prof. S. W. Stratton, who was called to the post of director from a professorship in the University of Chicago. His staff comprises physicists, chemists, laboratory assistants, computers, aids, laboratory apprentices, etc. The results of the purely scientific work of the bureau are published in bulletins and circulars. Annual conferences on the weights and measures of the United States are held under the auspices of the bureau. The most direct connection between the Bureau of Standards and the business world lies in the tests of instruments and materials made for manufacturers, who are thus enabled to offer for sale clinical thermometers, for example, officially guaranteed to be accurate within a very slight margin of error.

The work of the Coast and Geodetic Survey is of much practical value to navigation, for it includes the charting of the coasts of the United States and its possessions, including rivers to the head of ship navigation, and deep-sea soundings, tidal and astronomical observations, and the preparation of magnetic tables and tide tables. It includes also a great deal of work chiefly of scientific interest, such as trigonometric surveys by the method of triangulation, computations for determining the figure of the earth, the establishment of standard levels, etc. The Survey co-operates to a considerable extent with foreign governments. Special magnetic observations have been made in connection with the German Antarctic expedition, and copies of the magnetograms for certain days have been forwarded to Norway for use in the study of the relation of magnetism to the northern lights. Tide tables have also been furnished to foreign governments as distant as New Zealand. The surveying of international boundary lines is another part of The formerly independent Fish Commisthe work of this bureau. In re-marking the sion was transformed into a bureau of the boundary between the United States and Department of Commerce and Labor on its Canada west of the Rocky Mountains the organization. This bureau studies the waters Superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Director of the Geological Survey are the commissioners on the part of the United States; in the demarcation of the Alaska boundary the former officer acts alone for the United States, under the direction of the Secretary of State.


The Bureau of Standards is, in a sense, an off-shoot of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. The custody of the standards furnished by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and the execution of the laws made


of the United States and the biological and physical problems they present, including the life history of fishes of economic value and of the animals and plants upon which they feed; it propagates useful food fishes and shellfish and distributes them to various parts of the country, and it investigates the methods and apparatus in use by fishermen. The Bureau of Fisheries is a peculiarly American institution, which has achieved a worldwide reputation for its originality and enterprise. It furnishes many millions of fish eggs and young fish to State fish commissions every year, and also exchanges eggs

with foreign countries. It rescues fishes from lands temporarily overflowed, conducts experimental sponge farms in which sponges of special shapes are grown to meet the demands of the market, and experiments with the fattening of oysters much as the agricultural experiment stations do with the fattening of cattle. It also investigates the effects upon fishes of river pollution, especially by industrial wastes. Wastes from gas-works have been found to be especially fatal to fishes.

The aquarium of the Bureau of Fisheries is one of the interesting sights of Washington, although in its present building it cannot be developed so as to represent adequately the work of the bureau. The establishment of a national aquarium on a scale commensurate with the importance of the work done is a cherished ambition of the officers of the bureau.

The Bureau of Fisheries conducts investigations regarding the fur-seal herds of the Pribilof Islands and the Bering Sea, and has established a salmon hatchery on the coast of Alaska; but the administrative work in connection with both the fur-seal fisheries and the salmon fisheries of Alaska is under the direct supervision of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, who, in his efforts to check the indiscriminate slaughter of seals by foreign sealers, last year sent the solicitor of the department to Alaska to make a special investigation. The fur-seal herd has been greatly reduced in numbers, and it appears that the present laws for the protection of the seals are inadequate. The exclusive franchise of the North American Commercial Company for taking fur seals on the Pribilof Islands will expire three years hence. The salmon fisheries are so well under control that illegal fishing has become quite exceptional.


The Bureau of Standards and the Bureau of Fisheries are the only portions of the Department of Commerce and Labor which occupy Government buildings at Washington; the other bureaus are scattered about in rented quarters all the way from Capitol Hill to the Treasury. Including stables and storage rooms, no less than ten buildings and

parts of buildings are rented for the use of the department, at a cost of about $60,000 a year. In the endeavor to crowd the growing bureaus into their present quarters the department library has been abolished, and hallways are utilized for file cases and even for desks. Secretary Metcalf estimated that the scattered condition of the department cost more in messenger service and other wasted effort than the amount paid for rent. is very evident that the department needs a permanent home in which all the bureaus now occupying rented quarters can be brought under one roof.


This last addition to the Government ministries has made the most of its advantage as a new department in the selection of employees. Appointments have been made solely for fitness, political considerations being so far ignored that no one can tell whether Republicans or Democrats are in the majority. It is noticeably a department of young, energetic, and efficient men, with a large proportion of college, law-school, and university graduates, but also with as many as possible of the right kind of men drawn from the practical business world.

The appointment of the Hon. Oscar S. Straus as Secretary of Commerce and Labor has been universally commended as a most appropriate selection. Himself a merchant, a lawyer, and a scholar, twice Minister to Turkey, a member of the Court of Arbitration at the Hague, and president of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation, he combines in a marked degree the experience, ability, and wide sympathies needed in his difficult office. His aim is to conduct the department for the best interests of the industrial classes, employers and employees alike, doing for labor everything that the law permits and giving to manufacturers all the knowledge the department can secure, but without doing any of the business which individuals should transact for themselves. He has definite ideas about the proper limits of governmental activity, and will not allow the foreign agents of the department to be used as drummers by particular firms; American manufacturers must send their own representatives abroad if they would compete successfully with Europe.





HEN I was in Johannesburg three years ago I told the Boers that I would return in five years to find them "the most prosperous, the most contented, and the most loyal of all the subjects of King Edward." It seemed a bold prophecy at the time, but I knew my countrymen, and I knew my Boers. To-day no one doubts that I was right. The advent of General Botha's ministry is a notification to all the world that the Transvaal has been given back to the Boers; that, so far as is possible, the criminal work of the war has been undone, and Milnerism expelled root and branch from South Africa.

The British flag, it is true, waves over the Transvaal. The Boers are subjects of the British King, but to

ereign entails obedience to his ministers. Hence the Boers were taught that loyalty to the Queen involved submission to Lord Milner, to Mr. Chamberlain, and to Dr. Jameson. As a matter of fact, the more loyal a British subject is to his sovereign the more


be a subject of a British King is no strain upon any one's loyalty. For the loyalty of British subjects is only claimed by an ideal sovereign who can do no wrong. If any of those who wield his authority and act in his name do anything that is wrong or unjust, then the first duty which a loyal subject owes to his ideal sovereign is energetically to rid his actual monarch of these evil advisers. All or nearly all the trouble in South Africa arose from ignoring the difference between loyalty to the King and obedience to his satraps. The satrap always tries to make out that loyalty to the sov

violently must he revolt against the evil advisers of that sovereign who are doing wickedness in his name. In fact, disloyalty to an unjust or oppressive high commissioner or colonial secretary

is the necessary corollary of true loyalty to the ideal monarch, who by the law and the constitution is incapable of doing wrong.


It may be objected that the sacred right of insurrection may shelter itself under the guise of loyalty. The ob


jection is sound. The fact is true. Loyalty lingers in Great Britain as a useful political force because the Puritans discovered the secret of making war on the King in the name of the King. When once the Boers realized that fundamental truth in modern politics they had no longer any objection to profess loyalty to the King in the abstract, knowing that they thereby acquired a chartered right to oppose to the uttermost everything done in his name of which they disapproved.

Neither do they object to the British flag. That they love it no one pretends. For

« AnteriorContinuar »