On the 5th of July we shifted our settlement to Eden Vale. The ground was exactly measured, and on the shores of the lake the future town was marked out, with its streets, open spaces, public buildings, and places of recreation. In this projected town we allowed space for 25,000 family houses, each with a considerable garden; and this covered thirteen square miles. Outside of the building area—which could be afterwards enlarged at pleasure—2,500 acres were selected for temporary cultivation, and irrigated with a network of small canals; as soon as possible it was to be fenced in to protect it against the incursions of the numberless wild animals that swarmed around it, as well as from our domestic animals which, though shut up at night in a strong pen, were allowed during the day, when they were not in use, to pasture in the open country under the care of some of the Swahili men and the dogs.
In the meantime, the saw-mill, which had been set up in the Dana plateau, hard by the river, and had for its motive-power one of the rapid streams that came down from the hills, had begun its work. The first timber which it cut up was used in the construction of two large flat boats, in which the transportation of the building timber up the river to the Eden lake was at once begun. A few weeks later, on the shores of the lake, there had arisen forty spacious wooden buildings, into which we whites removed from the confined camp-tents we had previously occupied. The negroes preferred to remain in the grass huts which they had made for themselves in the shelter of a little wood. By this time the cattle were also furnished with their pen, which was high and strong enough to offer an insurmountable obstacle to any invasion by quadrupeds. In this pen there was room for about two thousand beasts, and it was, moreover, provided with a covered space for protection against rain.
By the 9th of July, our smiths, wheelwrights, and carpenters had converted ten of the ploughshares we had brought with us into ploughs, and by the same date the first consignment of cattle had come in from Kikuyu—120 oxen and 50 cows, together with 200 sheep and a large quantity of poultry. Ploughing was at once attempted, under the direction of our agriculturists. The Kikuyu oxen struggled a little against the yoke, and at first they could not be made to keep in the furrow; but in three days we were able to work them with ease in teams of eight to a plough. This expenditure of force was necessary, as the black fat soil, matted by the thick virgin turf, was extremely difficult to break up. At first it was necessary to have a driver to every pair of oxen, and the furrows were not so straight as if ploughed by long-domesticated oxen; but at any rate the ground was broken up, and in a comparatively short time the beasts got accustomed to their work and went through it most satisfactorily. On the 15th of July a fresh arrival of oxen brought fifteen more ploughs into use; and again on the 20th. By the end of the month, with these forty ploughs, some 750 acres had been broken up. This was at once harrowed and prepared for the seed. It was then sown with what seed-corn we had brought with us—chiefly wheat and barley—supplemented to the extent of about three-fourths by African wheat and mtama corn. The ground was then rolled again, and the work was finished in the second half of August. The whole of the cultivated area was then hedged in, and we cheerfully greeted the beginning of the shorter rainy season.
In the meantime a garden—provisionally of about twenty-five acres—had been laid out, a little farther from the precincts of the town than the arable land; for whilst the latter could easily be removed farther away as the town increased, it was necessary to find for the garden as permanent a site as possible—one therefore that lay outside of the range of the growth of the town. As we had among us no less than eighteen skilled gardeners, and as these had as much assistance as they required from the Swahili and Wa-Kikuyu, the twenty-five acres were in a few months planted with the choicest kinds of fruits and berries, vegetables, flowers—in short, with all kinds of useful and ornamental plants which we had brought from our old homes, had collected on our way, or had met with in the neighbourhoods in which we had settled. The garden also was covered with a network of irrigating canals, and enclosed against unwelcome intruders by a high and strong fence.
Against accidental inroads of monkeys there was no other protection than the vigilance of our dogs and the guns of the gardeners. A war of annihilation was therefore begun against the monkeys of the whole district, of which there were untold legions in the woods that girdled Eden Vale and in some small groves in the vale itself. While we shot other animals only when we needed their flesh, the monkeys were destroyed wherever they showed themselves in the neighbourhood of Eden Vale; and very soon the cunning creatures began carefully to avoid the inhospitable valley, whilst outside of it they retained their former daring. Several other animals were also excluded from the general law of mercy, and that even more rigorously than the monkeys, which were proscribed only within the boundaries of the valley. These animals were leopards and lions, against which we organised, whenever we had time, serious hunting expeditions. After a few months these animals entirely disappeared from the whole district; and subsequently they almost voluntarily forsook all the districts into which we penetrated with our weapons and with our noisy activity. They have room enough elsewhere, and hold it to be unnecessary to expose their skin to the bullets of white men. On the other hand, we did not molest the hyenas; the harm which they now and then did by the theft of a sheep was more than compensated for by their usefulness as devourers of carrion. They are shy, cowardly beasts, which do not readily attack anything that is alive; but in the character of unwearied sanitary police they scour field and forest for dead animals. In the list of beasts not to be spared stood at first the hippopotamuses, which haunted the Eden lake and the Dana in large herds. We should have had nothing to object to in these uncouth brutes if they had not molested our boats and behaved aggressively towards our bathers. But, after our shells had somewhat lessened their number, and in particular after certain uncommonly daring old fellows had been disposed of, the rest acquired respect for us and kept at a distance whenever they saw a man; we then relaxed our severity, and for the time contented ourselves with keeping them out of Eden Vale. But of course we showed no mercy to the numberless crocodiles that infested the lake and the river. We attacked these with bullet and spear, with hook and poison, day and night, in every conceivable way; for we were anxious that our women and children, when they came, should be able to bathe in the refreshing waters without endangering their precious limbs. As the district which these animals frequented was in the present case a very circumscribed one—fresh individuals could come neither down from the Kenia nor over the waterfall at the end of the great plateau—we soon succeeded in so thinning their numbers that only a few examples were left, the destruction of which we handed over to our Andorobbo huntsmen, whom we furnished with weapons for this Purpose, and to whom we offered a large premium for every crocodile slain in the Eden lake or in the Dana above the waterfall. As a fact, before the arrival of the first caravan of immigrants, the last crocodile had disappeared from Eden Vale and from the basin of the Dana.
Agriculture, gardening, and the chase had not absorbed all the strength at our disposal. We were at the same time busy constructing a number of practicable roads round the lake, along the river-bank to the east end of the plateau, and a number of branches from this main road to different parts of our district. It must not be imagined that these roads were works of art—they were merely fieldways, which, however, made it possible to carry about considerable loads without the expenditure of an enormous amount of force. In three places the Dana was bridged over for vehicular traffic, and in two others for foot traffic. Only in two places was much work required—at the end of the gorge through which the Dana passed from Eden Vale into the great plateau, and at a place where the Kenia cliffs touched the lake. At these places several cubic yards of rock had to be blown away, in order to make room for a road.
As in the meanwhile neither wheelwrights nor smiths had been standing still, when the roads were ready there were also ready for use upon them a number of stout waggons and barrows.
The construction of the flour-mill demanded a greater expenditure of labour. The mill was fixed on the upper course of the Dana, 1,100 yards above the entrance of the river into the Eden lake, and was furnished with ten complete sets of machinery. The site was chosen because just above there was a strong rapid, while below the Dana flowed calmly with a very trifling fall until it reached the great cataract. Thus we had, through the whole of the provisionally occupied district, a splendid waterway to the mill, and yet for the mill we could take advantage of the rapid flow of the upper Dana. We had brought from Europe the more complicated and delicate parts of this mill; but the wheels, shafts, and the ten millstones we manufactured ourselves. This mill—which was provisionally constructed of wood only—was ready by the end of September, thanks to the additional assistance of the two instalments of members which had reached us in the early part of the same month.
I have already mentioned that, as soon as we had reached the Kenia, I asked our committee for fresh supplies and a fresh body of pioneers; and that the committee had informed me that at the end of July there would start an expedition of 260 horsemen and 800 cwt. of goods upon 300 beasts. This expedition reached Mombasa on the 18th of August. Then it divided into two groups: one group, containing the most adventurous 145 horsemen, started at once on the 18th of August with fifty very lightly loaded led-horses—the whole of the 300 sumpter beasts were horses—without taking with them a single native except an interpreter. They relied upon the assistance of those of our men who were constructing the roads, and of the population friendly to us; but they were at the same time resolved to bear without murmuring any deprivations and fatigue that might await them. A forced ride of twenty days, with only a one day's rest at Taveta, brought these brave fellows among us on the 9th of September. Five horses had died, seven others had to be left behind knocked up; they themselves, however, all reached us, except one who had broken his leg in a fall, and was left in good hands in Miveruni, somewhat exhausted, but otherwise in good condition. The newly arrived joined us heartily in our work two days after. The 115 others reached us ten days later, with 250 sumpter horses and 100 Swahili drivers. The greater part of the goods they had given to Johnston on the way, who met with them at Useri, where he had been eagerly awaiting them. The articles brought to us at the Kenia—in all something over 300 cwt.—contained a quantity of tools and machinery; these, and especially the considerable addition of workmen, contributed in no small degree to expedite our various works.
The flour-mill was—as has been stated—ready by the end of September. It at once found abundant employment. It is true that our harvest was not yet gathered in; but we had been gradually purchasing different kinds of grain—to the amount of 10,000 cwt.—of the Wa-Kikuyu, and had stored it near the lake in granaries, for which the saw-mill had supplied the building material. All this grain was ground by the end of October; and, even if our harvest had failed, the first few thousands of those who were coming would not have had to suffer hunger.
But our harvest did not fail. A few weeks after the beginning of the hot season—which begins in October—the fertile soil, which had been continuously kept moist by our system of irrigation, blessed us with a crop that mocked all European conceptions. Every grain sowed yielded on an average a hundred and twenty fold. Our 750 acres yielded 42,000 cwt. of different kinds of grain, for each haulm ended, not in single lean ears, but in thick heavy bunches of ears—our European wheat and barley not less than the African kinds. We had fortunately made ample preparation for the work of the harvest. Before the end of August a machine-factory had been erected a few hundred yards above the flour-mill. Water-power was used, and the work of manufacture began at once. Partly of materials brought with us, but mainly of materials prepared by ourselves, we had constructed several reaping-machines and two threshing-machines, worked by horse-power.
Our factories were able to produce these machines because our geologists had discovered, among other valuable mineral treasures, iron and coal in our district. The coal lay in one of the foot-hills of the Kenia, on the Dana plateau, nearly two miles from the river; the iron in one of the foot-hills which the Dana in its upper course had cut through, a mile and a quarter above Eden Yale. The coal was moderately good anthracite, and the iron ore was a rich forty-percent. ferro-manganese. A smelting and refining furnace, as well as an iron-works, were at once put up near the source of the iron; they were of a, primitive and provisional character, but they sufficed to supply us with serviceable cast and wrought iron, and thus to make us at once independent of the supplies brought from Europe. We now possessed a small but independent iron industry, and this enabled us to gather in and work up within a few weeks the unexpectedly rich harvest.
A further use which we immediately made of our increased powers of production was to put up two new saw-mills and a brewery. The saw-mills were needed to supply material for the shelter of the continually increasing stream of fresh arrivals; and the brewery was intended to serve as a means of agreeably surprising the new-comers with a welcome draught of a familiar beverage with which most of them would be sorry to dispense. As soon as the barley was cut and threshed, it was malted. Our gardeners had grown hops of very acceptable quality on the sides of the Kenia foot-hills; and soon a cool cellar, made by utilising some natural caverns, was filled with casks of the noble drink.
By the end of October we were able to contemplate our four months' labours with a restful satisfaction. Six hundred neat block-houses awaited as many families; 50,000 cwt. of corn and flour, copious supplies of cattle for slaughter and draught, building material and tools, were ready for the food, shelter, and equipment of many thousands of members. The garden had been not less successfully cultivated, and its dainty gifts were already beginning to be enjoyed. Our own garden-produce did not, as yet, suffice to cover our anticipated requirements; but it continued to be supplemented by a brisk barter trade with the Wa-Kikuyu. For these natives we had established a regular weekly market in Eden Vale, which several hundreds of them attended, bringing with them their goods upon ox-carts, the use of which we had introduced among them and had made possible by means of the roads our engineers had constructed through their country. Since we had set up our iron-works, the Wa-Kikuyu came to us principally for iron either in a raw condition or made up into tools. For this they at first bartered cattle and vegetables; afterwards, when we no longer needed these things, they offered mainly ivory, of which we had already acquired 138 tons, partly through our trade with the Wa-Kikuyu and the Andorobbo, and partly as the fruits of our own hunting. For ivory is as cheap here as blackberries; the Wa-Kikuyu and the Andorobbo are glad to buy our wrought iron for double its weight in the material which is so valuable in the West. An iron implement, whether hammer, nail, or knife, is exchanged for from ten to twenty times its weight in ivory. Thus almost the whole cost of our expedition was already covered by our ivory—the cattle and provisions, the implements and machinery, not to speak of the land, being thrown in gratis.
Whilst we at the Kenia were thus busily preparing a comfortable home for our brethren who were expected from the Old World, our colleagues, under the direction of Demestre and Johnston, were working not less successfully on the tasks allotted to them.
Demestre had nothing to do with the construction of roads within the Kenia district; his work began with the great forests that girdled this district. The execution of the work from thence to the boundary between Kikuyu and Masailand, at Ngongo, he deputed to the engineer Frank, an American; the second section, from Ngongo to Masimani in Masailand, midway between Ngongo and Taveta, was allotted to the engineer Moellendorf, a German; the third section, from Masimani to Taveta, to Lermanoff, a Russian, as his name shows; the last and most difficult section, from Taveta to Mombasa, including two of the worst deserts, Demestre reserved to himself. To each of the four sections five whites were appointed. His 200 Swahili, strengthened by double that number of Wa-Kikuyu hired on the march through their land, Demestre divided between the first two sections, allotting 50 Swahili and 300 Wa-Kikuyu to the first in Kikuyuland, and 150 Swahili and 100 Wa-Kikuyu to the second in Masailand. The third section was organised from Taveta. Lermanoff and a companion rode thither from Kenia, by making use of our courier-stages, in six days. He engaged 100 Swahili men in Taveta—where Swahili caravans are always to be met with—and 250 natives in Useri and Chaga. In the meantime his four colleagues had arrived and brought with them the pack-horses allotted to his—as to each—section; and the work from Taveta to Useri was begun on the 15th of July. Demestre also made use of the courier-stages, and rode, with no other breaks than night-rests, first to Teita, where he hired 400 Wa-Teita, whom he at once set to work, under the direction of one of his colleagues, upon the road between Teita and Taveta. He then hastened on to Mombasa, and by the 20th of July he was able to put 500 people of the coast upon the most difficult part of the work—the road from Mombasa to Teita.
The work to be done in all cases was threefold. First, in the places where there was a deficiency of water—of which places there were several in the lower sections, particularly in the deserts of Duruma, Teita, and Ngiri—wells had to be dug and, where there was no spring-water, cisterns made capacious enough to supply water sufficient not merely for the workmen during the construction of the road, but afterwards for the men and cattle of the caravans that passed that way. As there occur in Equatorial Africa at all seasons of the year heavy storms of rain, which in the so-called hot season are only much less frequent than in the so-called rainy season, there was no danger that large cisterns draining the rain-water from a sufficiently wide area would be exhausted even in the hot months; but the cisterns had to be protected from the direct rays of the sun as well as from impurities. The former was effected by providing the cisterns with covering and shelter; the second by making the rain-water filter through layers, several yards thick, of sand and gravel. The natural water-holes, which are found in all deserts, but which dry up in times of protracted drought, indicated the spots where it would be most practicable to construct cisterns, for such spots were naturally the lowest points. The larger of these water-holes needed only to be deepened, the evaporation of the water guarded against, and the cisterns surrounded by the above-mentioned natural filter, and the work was then finished. Of these in the different sections twenty five were dug, with a depth of from nine to sixteen yards and a diameter of from two to nine yards. Of ordinary wells with spring-water thirty-nine were made. Each of these artificial supplies of water was placed under the protection of a watchman.
In the second place, there was the road-making itself. In general, the route which the expedition had taken from Mombasa to the Kenia was chosen, and merely freed from obstacles and widened to twice its original width where it led through bush. But at certain places, particularly where steep heights had to be traversed, it was necessary to look for a fresh and less hilly track. That several bridges had to be built scarcely need be mentioned.
The third part of the work consisted in the erection of primitive houses of shelter, at suitable places, for both men and cattle. Accommodation for several hundred men, pens for cattle, and storehouses for provisions, were constructed at sixty-five stations, at distances varying from seven to twelve miles.
These works were all completed between Mombasa and Teita by the end of September, and in all the other sections fourteen days later. The workmen, however, were not discharged, as a part of them were required for guarding and maintaining the road and buildings, and another part found occupation in the transport service on the newly made highway. The cost of construction for the whole by no means small undertaking was 14,500L, half of which went in wages and half in rations; the material used in the work cost nothing.
By this time Johnston had completed the purchase of the draught-beasts required for the transport service, and had organised the commissariat of the caravans. His Masai friends procured for him in a few weeks the originally ordered 5,000 head of cattle; and as every despatch from the committee of the Free Society reported a larger and larger number of members on their way to the settlement, our order was increased to 9,000, exclusive of the 750 head of cattle, the unused remnant of our presents which we had left behind us in Useri and Masailand. As the committee had reason to anticipate that by the end of October the number of members intending at once to join the colony would reach 20,000, they had enlarged their orders for waggons to 1,000, and announced that fact to us in the course of September. Therefore, as every waggon—which weighed 14 cwt., and would carry ten persons, with 20 cwt. of luggage—would require four yoke of oxen, the total number of draught-oxen needed would be 8,000, in addition to a reserve of 200 head, and 1,550 oxen and cows for slaughter. Johnston received this message on the southern frontier of Masailand, and, as there was not time to return, he had to complete his provisioning in the districts of Kilima and Teita. Nevertheless he succeeded in collecting the full number of cattle and distributing them along the sixty-five stages between Mombasa and the Kenia without materially raising prices by his purchases in these favoured districts. He bought 8,500 oxen and 500 cows, and the cost—including the travelling expenses and wages of the buyers and drivers—amounted to no more than 8,650L—that is, the goods which we bartered for them had cost us this amount. Each head of cattle cost on the average a little over eight shillings, half of which represented incidental expenses, the bare selling price being less than four shillings a head.
Johnston so arranged the transport service that every day twenty-five waggons left Mombasa, and at every one of the sixty-five stations found fresh draught-oxen ready. Arrived at Eden Vale, the waggons had to return to Mombasa in the same manner. By this simple and practical arrangement, all the waggons were kept constantly in motion between Mombasa and the Kenia, whilst the draught-oxen merely moved to and fro in fixed teams between neighbouring stations. In this way 250 persons could be conveyed every day, and to convey 20,000—the total number of members reported by the committee—would require eighty days, unless some of them made the journey on horseback.
The waggons constructed in England, America, and Germany arrived punctually at Mombasa. They were in every respect models of skilful construction, solidly and yet, in proportion to their size, lightly built, affording many conveniences without sacrificing simplicity. Each one accommodated ten persons with sitting space in the day and with good sleeping space at night. By a very simple alteration of the seats, room could be made for ten persons—four above and six beneath. Strong springs made the riding easy, a movable leathern covering gave shelter from rain or sun, and the mattrasses which served as beds at night were by day so buckled on the under-side of the leathern covering as to afford double protection against the heat of the sun. Accommodation for the baggage was provided in a similarly practical manner.
The first ship, with 900 members, arrived on the 30th of September. This ship, like all that followed, was the property of the Society. Anticipating that the stream of emigrants would not soon cease, would probably continue to increase, and desirous to keep the transportation of the emigrants as much as possible in their hands, the Society had bought twelve large, swift-sailing steamships, averaging 3,500 tons burden, and had had them adapted to their purpose. They could do this without overstraining their resources; for, though the 940,000L which these twelve steamers cost exceeded the amount actually in hand, the Society could safely reckon that the deficit would soon be made good by the contributions of new members, to accommodate whom the vessels and all the other provisions were intended. In fact, by the middle of September the number of members exceeded 20,000, and the property of the Society had grown to 750,000L. Of this amount, however, 150,000L had been spent independently of the purchase of the ships, and a similar amount would in the immediate future be required for the general purposes of the Society; thus less than half of the cost of the ships was in hand and available for payment. But the sellers readily gave the Society credit, and handed over the vessels without delay, even before any money was paid. They risked nothing by this, for the Society's executive were fully justified in calculating that the future income from new members would be at least 100,000L a month, while the Society's property was quite worth all the money they had hitherto spent upon it.
The chief thing, however, was that people were getting to have more and more faith in the success of the Society's undertaking, and to look upon that undertaking as representative of the great commonwealth of the future. Several governments already offered their assistance to the committee, who accepted those offers only so far as they afforded a moral support. A number of scientific and other public associations took a most lively interest in the aims of the Society. For example, the Geographical Societies of London and Rome gave, the one 4,000L and the other 50,000 lires, merely stipulating in return that a periodical report should be sent to them of all the scientifically interesting experiences of the Society. That the business world should also interest themselves in the Society's doings is not surprising. For the vessels which had been bought the Society made an immediate payment of forty per cent., and undertook to pay the remainder within three years. The whole was, however, paid off before the end of the second year.
The ships thus bought were employed to convey the emigrant members from Trieste to Mombasa. As each vessel carried from 900 to 1,000 passengers, while the waggons could convey 200 persons daily from Mombasa to the settlement, it was necessary that two ships should reach Mombasa per week; it being assumed that a part of the emigrants would prefer to travel from Mombasa on horseback. And as the average length of a voyage to Mombasa and back was thirty-five days, the twelve vessels were sufficient to maintain a continuous service, with an occasional extra voyage for the transport of goods, particularly of horses. There was no distinction of class on board the vessels of the Society; no fee was taken from anyone, either for transport or for board during the whole voyage, and everyone was therefore obliged to be content with the same kind of accommodation, which certainly was not deficient in comfort. On deck were large dining-rooms and rooms for social intercourse; below deck was a small sleeping-cabin for each family, comfortably fitted up and admirably ventilated. The members were received on board in the order in which they had entered the Society, the earlier members thus having the priority. Of course it was optional for any member to make the voyage on any ship not belonging to the Society, without losing his place in the list of claimants when he arrived at Mombasa.
At Mombasa everyone was at liberty to continue his journey either on horseback or in a waggon. The horsemen might either accompany the caravans or ride in advance in such stages as they pleased, only the horses must be changed regularly at the sixty-five stations, provision being made for a sufficient supply of horses. The travellers in waggons had, moreover, the option of going on night and day uninterruptedly, pausing only to effect the necessary changes of oxen; or of travelling more deliberately, halting as long as they pleased at the midday or the night stations. In the former case they could, in favourable weather, reach Eden Vale in fourteen days, or even less; in the latter case twenty days or more would be spent on the journey.
All the arrangements were perfectly carried out. There was no hitch anywhere. The commissariat left nothing to be desired. An escort of ten Masai, which Johnston had organised for each station, kept guard against wild beasts during the night journeys, and had to serve as auxiliaries in any difficulty; while four commissioners sent from among our members, and located respectively at Teita, Taveta, Miveruni, and Ngongo, superintended the whole. The natives greeted the first train of waggons with jubilant astonishment, but received all with the greatest friendliness and helpfulness. Particularly the Wa-Taveta, the Sultan of Useri, and the Masai tribes did not fail to overwhelm our travellers with proofs of their respect and love for the white brethren who had 'settled on the great mountain.'
The first new arrivals—among them our beloved master—entered Eden Valley on the 14th of October; they were followed by an uninterrupted series of fresh companies. But, before the story of this new era in the history of our undertaking is told, a brief account must be given of what had been taking place at the Kenia.
As early as August, a numerous deputation of Masai tribes from Lykipia—the country to the north-west of the Kenia—and from the districts between the Naivasha and the Baringo lakes, arrived at Eden Vale offering friendship, and asking to be admitted into the alliance between us and the other Masai. This very affecting request was made with evident consciousness of its importance, and the granting of it certainly placed us under new and heavy obligations. Yet I granted it without a moment's hesitation, and my act received the approval of all the members. For the pacification of the most quarrelsome and unquestionably the bravest of all the tribes of the equatorial zone was not too dearly bought by the sacrifice of a few thousand pounds sterling per annum. We now had a satisfactory guarantee that civilisation would gradually develop in these regions, which had hitherto been cursed by incessant feuds and pillage; that we should be able so to educate the black and brown natives that they would become more and more useful associates in our great work; and that, in proportion as we taught them to create prosperity and luxury for themselves, we should be increasing the sources of our own prosperity. So I addressed to the brown warriors a flattering panegyric, declared myself touched by the friendly sentiments they had expressed, and promised with all speed to send an embassy to them in order to conclude the treaty of alliance and to do them honour. They were sent away richly laden with presents; and they on their part had not come empty-handed, for they brought with them a hundred choice beasts, and two hundred fat-tailed sheep. Johnston, whom I at once informed of the incident, undertook the fulfilment of the promise I had given. I have already stated that for this purpose he provided himself with a full supply of the necessary goods from the baggage of the expedition which he met with in September on its way to the Kenia. When his task in the road-stages was finished, he started, about the beginning of October, for the Naivasha lake, and went thence through the extensive and, for the most part, exceedingly fertile high plateau—6,000 feet above the sea—which, bounded by hills from 3,300 to 6,600 feet higher, contains the elevated lakes of Masailand—namely, not only the Naivasha lake, the marvellous Elmeteita lake, and the salt lake of Nakuro, but also a series of smaller basins. On the 20th of October he reached the Baringo lake, on the northern limit of Masailand, a lake that covers 77 square miles in a depression of the land not more than 2,500 feet above the sea. Thence, in a westerly direction, he went over ground, rising again, past the grand Thomson Falls, through the wooded and well-watered Lykipia, and in the second week of November he reached us at the Kenia, having on the way contracted alliance with all the Masai tribes through whose lands he had passed, as well as with the 'Njemps' at the Baringo lake.
In the next place an account has to be given of the successful attempts made, at the instigation of our two ladies, to tame several of the wild animals indigenous to the Kenia. The idea was originated by Miss Fox, who in the first instance wished merely to provide pleasure for the women and children of the expected new arrivals. Miss Fox won over my sister, a great friend to animals, to this idea; and so they hired several Andorobbo and Wa-Kikuyu to capture monkeys and parrots, of which in Eden Vale there were several very charming species. The attempts to tame these creatures were successful beyond expectation—so much so that after a few weeks the captives, when let loose, voluntarily followed their mistresses. This excited the ambition of both of the ladies, and the Andorobbo were commissioned to capture some specimens of a particularly pretty species of antelope, which our naturalists decided to be a variety of the tufted antelope (Cephalophus rufilatus), which is almost peculiar to Western Africa. This attempt was also successful. It is true that the old animals proved to be so shy and intractable that they were at last allowed to go free; but several young ones became attached to their guardians with surprising rapidity, and followed them like dogs. These antelopes are not larger than a medium-sized sheep, and the young ones in particular look exceedingly pretty with their red tufts, and disport themselves like frisky kids. Miss Ellen and my sister soon had about them a whole menagerie of antelopes, monkeys, and parrots, trained to perform all sorts of tricks for the delectation of the children who were expected.
Thus matters stood when one of the elephant-keepers whom Miss Ellen had brought with her to the Kenia, and who had given up all thoughts of returning to their home, ventured to ask his 'mistress'—for the Indians could not accustom themselves to the idea that they were perfectly independent men—whether she would not like an elephant-baby also as a pet? Receiving an affirmative answer, he undertook to capture one or more, if he were allowed to go with the four elephants and their keepers into the woods for a few days. As Miss Ellen had allowed her elephants to be employed in the building operations, where these interesting colossi were of invaluable service, and as the work could not be interrupted for the sake of a plaything, she told the Indian that she would forego her wish, or at least would wait until the elephants could be more easily spared from the work. The Indian went away, but the idea that his beloved mistress should be deprived of anything that would—as he had at once perceived—have given her great pleasure, roused him out of his customary fatalistic indolence. He brooded over the matter for a couple of days, and on the third he appeared with the proposal to make good the loss of time occasioned by the temporary absence of the four elephants by capturing, with the aid of the other Cornaks, not only a young elephant, but also several old elephants, and training them for work. 'But African elephants cannot be trained like the Indian ones,' objected Miss Ellen. The Indian ventured to question this, and his seven colleagues were all of his opinion. Elephants were elephants; they would like to see an animal with a trunk that they could not tame in a few weeks if he only got into their hands. 'If it is really so, why have you not said so before; for you must have seen what good use can be made of elephants here?' asked the American, and received for answer merely a laconic 'Because you have not asked us.'
Miss Ellen did not know what to do. The idea of furnishing the colony of Eden Vale with herds of tame elephants—for if these animals could be tamed, there might as well be thousands as one—did not allow her to rest. On the other hand, she remembered to have read, in her natural-history studies, that African elephants were untameable. We all, when she asked us, were obliged to affirm that there were no tame elephants anywhere in Africa. She thought over this problem until she began to grow melancholy; evidently she was anxious that a trial should be made. But the Indians insisted upon the impossibility of capturing wild elephants without the assistance of the tame ones; and she shrank the more from using the latter in a doubtful attempt at a time when work urgently required doing, because the tame elephants were her own property, and therefore the decision depended entirely upon herself. Just then our zoologist, Signor Michaele Faenze, returned from a long excursion to the central mass of the Kenia; and when Miss Fox took him into her confidence, he at once sided with the Indians. He admitted that, as a matter of fact, there were no tame African elephants; but he maintained that this was simply because the Africans had forgotten how to make the noble beast serviceable to man. The reason did not lie in the character of the African elephant, for in the days of the Romans trained elephants were as well known in Africa as in Asia. They should let the Indians make an attempt; if the latter understood their business they would succeed as well in Africa as in India.
And so it turned out. The eight Cornaks with their four elephants went into the neighbouring forests; and when, as soon happened, they had found a herd of wild elephants, they did with them exactly as they had learnt to do at home. The tame elephants were sent without their attendants into the midst of the herd of wild ones, by whom they were at first greeted with some signs of surprise, but were ultimately received into companionship. The crafty animals then fixed their attention upon the leader of the herd, the strongest and handsomest bull, caressed him, whisked the flies off him, but in the meantime bound, with some strong cord they had taken with them, one of his legs to a stout tree. Having done this, they uttered their cry of alarm—a sharp trumpet-like sound—and ran off as if they had discovered some danger. On this signal, the Indians rushed forward with loud cries and the firing of guns, and thus caused the whole herd to rush off after the tame elephants. The poor prisoner, of course, could not run off with the rest, desperately as he strained at the ropes; and the Indians allowed him to stamp and trumpet, without for a while troubling themselves about him. Their next care was to follow the track of the escaped herd. In the course of an hour they had again crept up to it, to find that in the meantime the four tame elephants had repeated the same trick with a new victim, which was also fettered and then left in the same manner. In the course of the day three more elephants shared the same fate; and by that time the herd appeared to have grown suspicious, for their betrayers returned alone to their keepers.
Now first was a visit paid to the five captives, among whom was a female with a yearling about the size of a half-grown calf. The tame elephants went straight to the captives straining at the ropes, and bound their fore-feet tightly together. This was not done without furious resistance on the part of the betrayed beasts; but this resistance was overcome in a most brutal way by strokes of the trunk and by bites. Thereupon the merciless captors busied themselves removing from within their victims' reach everything that is pleasant to an elephant's palate—grass, bushes, and tree-twigs; and what their trunks could not do they enabled the keepers to do with axe and hatchet by dragging the captives down upon their sides.
When night came, all five captives were securely bound and deprived of every possibility of getting food. They were watched, however, to secure them from being attacked by lions or leopards. The next morning the tame elephants again visited their captive brethren one after the other, helped the fallen ones to get up—which was not effected without a good deal of thrashing and pushing—and then again left them to their fate.
This went on for three days; the poor captives suffered from hunger and thirst, and received barbarous blows from their treacherous brethren whenever the latter came near them. By the fourth day they had become so weak and subdued that they no longer roared, but pitifully moaned when their tormentors approached, which nevertheless fell upon them fiercely with trunk and teeth. Now a rescuing angel appeared to them, in human form. An Indian, with threatening actions and several noisy blows, drove the captors from their victim, and offered to the latter a vessel of water. If the wild elephant, struck with astonishment, took time to survey the situation, the tragi-comedy was over—the beast was tamed. For, in this case, he would, after a little hesitation, accept the proffered drink, and then a little food; he could afterwards be fed and watered without danger, and, under the escort of the tame elephants, led home for further training. If, on the contrary, the sight of the man maddened him—as was the case with three out of the five—the thrashing-and-hunger treatment had to be continued until the elephant began to understand that release from his situation could be afforded only by the terrible biped.
At last all the captives submitted to their fate. The only danger in this process consists in the necessity, on the part of the hunter, of relying upon the accuracy of his judgment concerning the captive's character when he first approaches him. It is true that the tame elephants stand by observant and ready to help; but as a single thrust of the tusk of an enraged animal may be fatal, the business requires a great deal of courage and presence of mind. However, the Indians asserted that anyone only partially accustomed to the ways of elephants could tell with certainty from the look of the animal what he meant to do; it was therefore necessary merely to take the precaution not to get very close to a captive elephant before reading in his eye submission to the inevitable, and then there was nothing to fear.
After an absence of six days, the expedition returned with the five captives, which were certainly not yet trained and serviceable for work, but were so far tame that they quietly allowed themselves to be shut up, fed, watered, and taught. In the course of another fortnight they were ready for use in all kinds of work, particularly when they had one of the veterans by their side. Miss Ellen had a double triumph: she possessed a charming baby elephant, which was certainly a little too clumsy for a lap-dog, but was nevertheless as droll a creature as could be, and soon made itself the acknowledged favourite of all Eden Vale; and she had besides opened out for the Society an inexhaustible source of very valuable motive power, of which no one would have thought but for her.
From that time forth we actively carried on the capture of elephants, so that in a little while the elephant was the chief draught-beast in the Kenia, and could be employed wherever heavy weights had to be removed to short distances or to places inaccessible to waggons.
This successful experiment with the elephants suggested to us the taming of other animals, for purposes, not merely of pleasure, but of utility. The first attempt was made upon the zebra, and was successful. Though the old animals were useless, the foals, when captured quite young, were tolerably tractable and not particularly shy; and in the second generation our tame zebras were not distinguishable from the best mules, except in colour. Ostriches and giraffes came next in the order of our domestic animals; but our trainers achieved their greatest triumph in taming the African buffalo. This is the most vicious, uncontrollable, and dangerous of all African beasts; and yet it was so thoroughly domesticated that in the course of years it completely supplanted the common ox as a draught-beast. The bulls that had grown up in a wild condition were, and remained, perfect devils; but the captured cows could be so thoroughly domesticated that they would eat out of their attendants' hands, and the buffaloes bred in a state of domestication exhibited exactly the same character as the ordinary domestic cattle. The bulls, especially when old, continued to be somewhat unreliable; but the cows and oxen, on the other hand, were as gentle and docile as any ruminant could be. They were never valued among us as milch kine—for, though their milk was rich, it was not great in quantity—but they were incomparable as draught-beasts. They were higher by half a foot than the largest domestic cattle; they measured two feet across the shoulders, and their horns were too thick at the base to be spanned by two hands. No load was too heavy for these gigantic beasts; two buffaloes would keep up their steady pace with a load that would soon have disabled four ordinary oxen. They bore hunger, thirst, heat, and rain better than their long-domesticated kindred; in short, they proved themselves invaluable in a country where good roads were not everywhere to be found.
The third incident—But this really concerns only me personally, and belongs to this narrative merely so far as it relates to the mode of life and the social conditions of Eden Vale. It will therefore be best if I next tell how we lived, what our habits were, and how we worked in the new home, before the arrival of the main body of our brethren.
The colonists in Eden Vale looked upon me—the Society's plenipotentiary, who had organised our expedition to the Kenia and procured the necessary means—as their president in the full sense of the word: I might have commanded and I should have been obeyed. But, on the other hand, I acted not only in harmony with my own inclination, but also according to the evident intention of the committee, when I assumed merely the position of president of an association of men who had power to manage their own affairs. Whenever it was possible, I consulted my colleagues previous to making any arrangements, and acted in accordance with the will of the majority; and only in the most urgent cases, or when orders had to be given to persons who were absent, did I act independently. The distribution of the work to different groups was made by arrangement between all the members concerned, and the superintendents of the several branches of work were elected by their special colleagues. Though in all essential matters the views and proposals of myself and of those more particularly in my confidence were always carried out (so that if in what I have written I had, for brevity's sake, said 'I arranged,' 'I designed,' it would have been essentially correct), yet this was due entirely to the fact that my confidants were the intellectual leaders of the colony, and the others voluntarily subordinated themselves to them. Moreover, we all knew that the present was only a provisional arrangement. In the meanwhile, no one worked for himself; all that we produced belonged not to the producer, not even to the whole of the producers, but to the undertaking upon the common property of which we were, in return, all living. In a word, the Free Society which we wished to found was not yet founded—it was in process of forming; and for the time we were, in reference to it, nothing more than persons employed according to the old custom, and differed from ordinary wage-earners simply in the fact that it was left to ourselves to decide what we should keep for our own maintenance and what we should set apart as the employer's share of the gains. If any evil-intentioned colleague had compelled me to do so, I not only had the right, but was resolved, to assume the attitude of the 'plenipotentiary.' That I was able to avoid doing this contributed no little to heighten the mutual pleasure we all experienced, and very materially facilitated the transition to the ultimate form of our organisation; but this did not alter the fact that our life and work, both on the journey and at the Kenia, were carried on under the social forms of the old system.
During this period the hours of work, whether of overseer or simple workman, white or negro, at Eden Vale were alike for all—from 5 A.M. to 10 A.M. and from 4 P.M. to 6 P.M.; only in the harvest-time were one or two hours added. All work ceased on Sundays.
The order of the day was as follows: We rose about 4 A.M. and took a bath in Eden Lake, where several bathing houses had been constructed. The washing and repairing of clothes was attended to—under the superintendence of a member who was an expert in such matters—by a band of Swahili, to whom this work was allotted as their sole duty. We wore every day the clothes which had been cleansed on the previous day, and which were brought to the owner in the course of the day to be ready for him in the morning. After the toilet came the breakfast, the preparation of which, as well as of all the other meals, was also the special duty of a particular band of Swahili. In initiating them into the mysteries of French cookery my sister was of great service. This first breakfast consisted, according to individual taste, of tea, chocolate, coffee—black or au lait—milk, or some kind of soup; to these might be added, according to choice, butter, cheese, honey, eggs, cold meat, with some kind of bread or cake. After this first breakfast came work until 8, followed by a second breakfast, consisting of some kind of substantial hot food—omelets, fish, or roast meat—with bread, also cheese and fruits; the drinks were either the delicious spring-water of our hills, or the very refreshing and agreeable banana-wine made by the natives. Fifteen or twenty minutes were usually spent over this breakfast, and work followed until 10 A.M. Then came the long midday rest, when most of us, particularly in the hotter months, took a second bath in the lake, followed by private recreation, reading, conversation, or games. As a rule, the heat in this part of the day was great; in the hot season the thermometer frequently measured 95 deg. Fahr. in the shade. It is true that the heat out of doors was prevented from becoming unendurable by cool breezes, which, in fine weather, blew regularly between 11 A.M. and 5 P.M. from the Kenia, and these breezes were the stronger the hotter the day; but it was most agreeable and most conducive to health to spend the midday hours under cover. At 1 P.M. the principal meal was taken, consisting of soup, a course of meat or fish with vegetables, sweet pastry, and fruit of many kinds, with banana-wine or, when our brewery had been set to work, beer. The meal over, some would sleep for half an hour, and the rest of the time would be filled up with conversation, reading, and games. When the fiercest heat was over, the two hours of afternoon work would be gone through. After this a few indulged in a third and hasty bath. At 7 P.M. a meal similar to the first breakfast was taken, out of doors if it did not rain, and in large companies. It should be stated that, with reference to the meals and to all other means of refreshment, everyone could choose what and how much he pleased. It was only in the matter of alcoholic drinks that there was any restriction, and that for easily understood reasons. Later, when everyone acted for himself, even in this matter there was perfect liberty; but so long as we were under the then existing obligations to the Society it was necessary to observe restrictions for the sake of the negroes.
The evenings were generally devoted to music. We had some very skilful musicians, an excellent orchestra of wind and string instruments numbering forty-five performers, and a fine choir; and these performed whenever the weather permitted. The air would grow cool two or three hours after sunset; on some nights the thermometer would measure over 70 deg. Fahr., but it occasionally sank to less than 60 deg. Fahr., so that the night-rest was always refreshing.
Sundays were given up to recreation and instruction: excursions into the adjoining woods, hunting expeditions, concerts, public lectures, addresses, &c.
The block-houses in which we dwelt were intended to serve each family as a future—though merely provisional—home. Each stood in a garden of 1,200 square yards; and with its six rooms—living-room, kitchen, and four bedrooms—covered 150 square yards. At this time each such house was occupied by four of us; to the two women and Sakemba—the latter had been visited by her parents and their family, and had induced them to put up their grass hat in Eden Vale—a separate house was of course allotted.
This last arrangement, however, did not please my sister at all. During the journey she had yielded to the necessity of being separated from me, the darling ward given into her charge by our sainted mother. Arrived at Eden Vale, she expected to resume her old rights of guardianship and domestic superintendence; but she found herself prevented from carrying out her wishes by her duty towards a second, who in the meantime had become a favourite with her—namely, Miss Fox. She could not possibly leave this young woman alone among so many men; but as little could she bring us both into the same house, though in her eyes we were mere children. What would her friends in Paris have said to that? I spent all my leisure time in the women's house, whither I was unconsciously more and more strongly attracted, not less by the young American's conversation—which was a piquant mixture of animated controversy and unaffected chatter—than by her harp-playing and her clear alto voice. But this did not satisfy sister Clara, who at last hit upon the plan of marrying us. Our common 'foolishness'—that is, our social ideas—made us, she thought, mutually suitable; and though, in her opinion, we should make a pair entirely lacking in sound domestic common sense, she was there to think and act for both of us.
Having once conceived this purpose, she, as a prudent and discreet person who rightly foresaw that in this matter she could not expect implicit obedience from either Miss Fox or myself, placed us under close observation. Though she was peculiarly lacking in personal experience in matters of love, yet, by means merely of that delicate sensibility peculiar to woman, she made the startling discovery that we were already over head and ears in love with each other. At first she was so astonished at this discovery that she would not believe her own eyes. But the thing was too clear to make mistake possible. We two lovers had ourselves not the remotest suspicion of our condition; but to anyone who knew Miss Fox so well as several months of unbroken companionship with the open-hearted and ingenuous young American had enabled my sister to do, there could be no difficulty in understanding what was the matter when a young woman, who had hitherto lived only for her ideals, freedom and justice, whose idol had been humanity, but who had shown no interest in any individual man apart from the ideas to which he devoted himself, was thrown into confusion as often as she heard the footsteps of a certain man, and in her confidential intercourse with my sister, instead of talking of the grandeur of our principles, preferred to talk of the excellences of him who in Eden Vale was the leading exponent of those principles. As to my own feelings, sister Clara knew too well that hitherto woman had interested me merely on account of her position in human society not to feel as if scales had fallen from her eyes when one day, after long and devotedly watching Miss Fox as she was busying herself about something, I broke out with the words, 'Is not every movement of that girl music?'
So my sister took us each aside and told us we must marry. But she met with a check from both of us. On hearing of the proposal, Miss Ellen, though she became alternately crimson and pale, at once exclaimed that she would rather die than marry me. 'Would not those arrogant men who deny us women any sense of the ideal, any capacity for real effort, and look upon us as the slaves of our egoistic impulses—would they not triumphantly assert that my pretended enthusiasm for our social undertaking was merely passion for a man; that it was not for the sake of an idea, but for the sake of a man, that I had run off to Equatorial Africa? No—I don't love your brother—I shall never love, still less marry!' This heroic apostrophe was, however, followed by a flood of tears, which, when sister Clara wished to interpret them in my favour, were declared to be signs of emotion at the offensive suspicion. I received the proposal in a similar way. When Clara hinted to me that I was in love with Miss Fox, I laughed at her heartily, and declared that what she took to be symptoms of my passion were merely signs of psychological interest in a woman who was capable of a genuine enthusiasm for abstract ideas.
But a motherly sister who has once conceived the purpose of getting her brother—and her female friend as well—married, is not so easily driven from the field: at least, not when she has such good and manifold grounds to adhere to her intention. As she could not gain her end in a direct way, she tried a circuitous one—not a new one, but one often tried: she made us both jealous. She told each of us in confidence that she had given up her 'stupid plan,' as the other party was no longer free. As she slily added to me that she had devised her project merely to be able to come into my house with my young wife and to resume her motherly care over me, and as this was evidently the truth, I also gave credence to the invention that Ellen had left a betrothed lover in America, who was about to appear in Eden Vale. 'Only think, Ellen never made this confession until I approached her with my plan of getting her married! It is very lucky that you, my boy, care nothing for the sly little creature; it would have been a pretty business if you had set your heart upon Ellen!'
I declared myself perfectly satisfied with this turn of affairs; but at the same time I felt as if a knife had pierced my heart. Suddenly my love stood clear and distinct before my mind's eye—a glowing boundless passion, such as he only can feel whose heart has remained six-and-twenty years untouched. It seemed to me an unalterable certainty that, though I might still live and struggle, I could never more enjoy life and life's battles! But was my fate so certain and inevitable? Was it not possible to drive from the field this lover who had exposed his betrothed to all the dangers of an adventurous journey, to all the temptations of her unprotected condition, and who was now about to appear and snatch the bliss from my Eden? Was it at all conceivable that Ellen—this Ellen—such as I had known her for months, would love such a wretched fellow? Away to her, to learn the truth at any price!
I rushed over to the neighbouring house. There in the meantime my sister had been telling a similar tale to Ellen. She had, she said to Ellen, conceived the idea of making us man and wife; and therefore, in the hope that my wooing would overcome her (Ellen's) resistance, she had also told me of her plan; and when I hesitated she had urged it more strongly, until at last I had confessed that, unknown to her, I had become betrothed in Europe. The bride would reach Eden Vale with the next party that arrived.... Clara had got so far when my appearance interrupted the story.
Deadly pale, Ellen turned towards me. She tried to speak, but her voice failed her. My half-sad, half-angry inquiry after the American betrothed first gave her speech. In a moment she found the key to the situation—that I loved her, and that my sister had deceived us both. What followed can be easily imagined. Thus it came to pass that Ellen was my betrothed when Dr. Strahl arrived at Eden Vale; and this is the third incident which I was about to narrate above.
Whether the joy with which I for the first time pressed to my heart the woman of my love was greater than that with which I welcomed the friend of my soul, the idol of my intellect, to the earthly paradise to which he had shown us the way—this I cannot venture to decide.
When, in the eyes of my revered friend, as he looked upon our new home and the strongly pulsing joyous life that already filled it, I saw tears of joy, and in those tears a sure guarantee of immediate success, I was not seized with such an extravagant delight—almost more than the breast which felt it for the first time could bear—as I felt a few days before when my beloved revealed to me the secret of her heart. But when my hair shall have grown white and my back shall be bent with years, and the recollection of those lover's kisses may no longer drive my blood so feverishly through my veins as to-day, yet the thought of the hour in which, hand in hand with my friend, I experienced the proud pure joy of having accomplished the first and most difficult step towards the redemption of our suffering disinherited brethren out of the tortures of many thousands of years of bondage—the thought of that hour will never lose its bliss-inspiring power as long as I am among the living.
Long, long stood the master on the heights above Eden Vale, eagerly taking in every detail of the charming picture. Then, turning to us standing around him he asked if we had given a name to the country that stretched out before us on all sides, and which was to be our home. When I said that we had not, and added that to him, who had given words to the idea that had led us hither, also belonged the office of finding a word for the country in which that idea was to be realised, he cried out: 'Freedom will find its birthplace in this country; FREELAND we will name it.'
We now resume the thread of our narrative where Ney's journal left off.
With the President there had arrived in Eden Vale three members of the executive committee; five others followed a few days after with the first waggon-caravan from Mombasa; so that, including Ney, Johnston, and Demestre (the last of whom had been co-opted at the suggestion of the two former), twelve were now in Freeland. As hie committee at that time consisted of fifteen members, there still remained three at a distance, of whom one was in London, another at Trieste, and the third at Mombasa, at which places they were for the present to act as the committee's authorised agents in the foreign affairs of the Society. Their duty was to receive fresh members, to collect and provisionally to have charge of the funds, and to superintend the emigrations to Eden Vale.
Their instructions respecting applications for membership were to receive every applicant who was not a relapsed criminal, and who could read and write. The former condition needs no justification. We had an unqualified confidence in the ennobling influence of our social reforms, because those reforms removed the motive that impelled to most vices; we were perfectly satisfied that Freeland would produce no criminals, and would even, if it were not beyond the bounds of possibility, wean from vice those who had been previously made criminals by misery and ignorance; but we wished, in the beginning, to avoid being swamped by bad elements, and, in view of the excusable attempts of certain States to rid themselves in some way or another of their relapsed criminals, we were compelled to exercise caution.
It may seem a greater hardship that the perfectly illiterate were excluded. But this was a necessary requirement of our programme. We wished to transfer the right of the absolute free self-control of the individual to the domain of labour from that of the relation of servitude which had existed for thousands of years. We wished to transform the worker who had been dependent upon his employer for his bread into the independent producer acting at his own risk in free association with free colleagues. It follows, as a matter of course, that in this our work we could use only such workers as were raised above at least the lowest stage of brutality and ignorance. That we thus excluded the most miserable of the miserable, is true; but, apart from the fact that generally the ignorant man lacks a clear consciousness of his misfortune and degradation, and his sufferings are therefore, as a rule, rather of a physical than of a moral nature, we could not allow ourselves to be so led astray by pity as to endanger the success of our work. The ignorant man must be under authority; and as it was not our purpose to educate our members gradually to become free producers, but to introduce them immediately to a system of free production, we were compelled to protect ourselves against ignorance as well as against crime.
Should it, on the other hand, be contended that ability to read and write is of itself by no means a sufficient evidence of the possession of that degree of culture and intelligence which must be presupposed in men who are to exercise control over their own work, the answer is that for such a purpose a very high degree of intelligence is certainly requisite, yet not in all, but only in a relatively not large number of the workers, who thus organise themselves, whilst the majority need not possess more than that moderate amount of mental capacity and mental training which is enough to enable them to look after their own interests. When a hundred or a thousand workers unite to work for their common profit and at their common risk, it is not every one of them that can or need have the abilities requisite to organise and superintend this common production—it is merely necessary that a very few possess this higher degree of intelligence; whilst it is enough for the majority that they are able rightly to judge what ought to be and is the result of the production in common, and what characteristics those must possess in whose hands the guardianship of the common interest is placed. But just here is the knowledge of letters absolutely indispensable, for it is the printed word alone which makes man and his judgment independent of the accidental influences of immediate surroundings and first opens his mind to instruction. It will later on be seen in how large a measure the most comprehensive publicity of all the proceedings connected with this productive activity—a publicity possible only through writing and print—contributed to the success of our work.
Of course these two conditions which applicants for membership had to satisfy had from the beginning been insisted upon by the committee, and the second condition at first very strictly so. It had been found, however, that the intellectual level of most of the applicants was surprisingly high. In the main, from among the class of manual labourers it was only the elite, who in any numbers interested themselves in our undertaking; and as, when the membership had gone beyond 20,000, a slight leaven of ignorance could not be very dangerous, the committee contented itself with requiring that the application should be made in the applicant's own handwriting.
The number of applicants—women and children are always reckoned in—continued to increase, particularly after the publication of the first report of the settlement of the colony at the Kenia. When the committee—with the exception of the delegates left behind—embarked at Trieste, the rate of increase of members had reached 1,200 weekly; three months later it had risen to 1,800 weekly. The European agents had to register the new members—as had previously been done with the old members—carefully, according to sex, age, and calling, and at every opportunity to despatch the lists to Freeland; they had also to organise and superintend the transport to Mombasa, which in all cases was gratuitous; and they were authorised to pay all necessary expenses, in case of need even to buy new ships, subject to subsequent examination and approval of the accounts. It was also the duty of the agents to advise and help the members when they were preparing for the journey; and they had authority to give material assistance to needy comrades. The members' contributions showed a tendency to increase similar to that of the number of members. It was evident that the interest in and the understanding of the character of our undertaking grew not merely among the working classes, but also among the wealthy; the weekly addition to the funds increased from 20,000L at the end of September to 30,000L at the end of December. These funds, after payment of the expenses incurred by the agents, were under the control of the committee, whose executive organ, however, in this respect also, for the payment of debts incurred outside of Freeland, were the delegates who had been left behind.
On the 20th of October the committee held its first sitting in Eden Vale, for the purpose of drawing up such rules as were required to regulate the constitution of the free associations that were henceforth to be responsible for all production in Freeland. Hitherto the sittings of the committee had been so far public that every member of the Society had access to them, and this was to continue to be the case; but a provisional regulation was now adopted by which the audience might take part in the proceedings, though simply as consultative members. This regulation was to be in force until the press could perform its news-spreading and controlling functions. At the same time it was found that, whilst the committee had long been unanimous in holding that the Society's programme—that is, the organisation of production upon the basis of absolute individual independence on the one hand, and the securing to every worker the full and undiminished produce of his work on the other hand—should be carried out as soon as the committee had reached the new home, a part of the members of the Society still wished to continue the provisional organisation for at least a few months. In favour of this it was alleged that the executive knew best what were the needs as well as the capabilities of the gradually assembling community; the colonists should be allowed time to become accustomed to their new conditions and to acquire confidence in themselves; the committee had hitherto exhibited so much discretion in all their measures, that it was their duty to keep for some time longer the absolute direction of affairs in their own hands. It was particularly the members who had just arrived in Eden Vale who exhibited this dread of immediate and absolute independence. They thought they should not be able at once to act wisely for themselves; it would be cruel to pitch them as it were head-over-heels into the water, forcing upon them the alternative of swimming or sinking, when they themselves did not know whether they could swim or not. Ney, as the director of the works at the Kenia, was especially importuned by these faint hearted ones to manage their affairs for them, and not to force upon them an independence for which they did not yet feel themselves qualified.
The committee were prepared for this demand, and had no difficulty in dispelling the fears thus expressed. In the first place, the timid members were made to understand that to continue production as the common undertaking of the whole community after the Society, as such, had settled in Freeland, would be sheer Communism. The 200 pioneers of the first expedition, and the 260 of the second, were simply functionaries appointed by the Society, whose relation to the Society was not altered in the least by the fact that they were at the Kenia, while the committee were in Europe. The pioneers were well aware of this before they left the Old World. But the case was different with all who now came to the settlement. Those who came now were not the officials, but the members of the Society; they did not come to do something at the bidding of the Society, but to work on their own account on the basis of the Society's principles of organisation. We had therefore no further right to utilise the first comers for the benefit of those who came after them. Even if we had such a right, it would be a fatal mistake to exercise it. For those that came now were no longer the carefully selected small band with whom we formerly had to do, but persons who, though influenced by one great common idea, were yet a thoroughly heterogeneous crowd accidentally thrown together, whom it would be a very dangerous experiment to entrust with an anti-egoistic system of production. The first 400 were—at least, in their character of workers—mainly men of one mould, similar in their capacities and in their requirements; the few leaders found ready obedience because no one questioned their intellectual superiority, and chiefly because every one who took part in the two expeditions was, as it were, pledged beforehand to obedience. The new-comers, on the contrary, were persons of very various capacities, and still more diverse in their requirements: there were among them women and old persons, fathers with numerous children. There might also be among them—and this was the greatest danger—ambitious persons, to whom one could not assign the right place because their capacities would not be known, and who would certainly refuse to obey.
Thus, Communism would most probably in a very short time produce universal dissatisfaction, and that would lead to chaos. Consequently we had as little power as we had right to introduce it. But we had not the least occasion to do so. Why should not that take place at once which must take place sooner or later—namely, the organisation of free labour, with all the profits taken by the workers themselves? Because there was not yet enough human material for the organisation of all the branches of industry? What necessity was there to organise all branches at once; and, on the other hand, what certainty was there that it would be possible or useful to do so in the course of several weeks or months? To take an example: there were several weavers among us, for whom at present there were no companions, and who therefore were not in a position to start their industry with reasonable hopes of success. What was there to prevent these weavers, in the meantime, from engaging in some other occupation; and who would guarantee that a little later on there would be weavers enough to set up a factory; and that, should such a factory be set up, the conditions of the settlement would be such as to make weaving sufficiently profitable to justify the carrying of it on? And while it was admitted that there would be at first more such torsos—such insufficient fragments—of future branches of industry than there would be later on, this inconvenience was more than counterbalanced by the fact that it was easier to begin a new organisation among a small than among a large number of men. In every respect it appeared advisable at once to organise production upon the basis of free individual action. Of course it did not follow that the committee did not possess, not merely the right, but also the duty, of making all the provision in its power to facilitate and promote the work of organisation. They would not confine themselves to the work of smoothing the way for the members of the Society, but would utilise their knowledge and experience in pointing out to the members the best way. They would assume no compelling authority, but claimed to be the best—because the best-informed—advisers of the members. Further, there was no doubt that the whole of the hitherto acquired property, whether derived from the contributions of the members or created in Freeland, since it belonged to the whole community and not to the individual members, was at the disposal of the committee, and that the committee would make a legitimate use of this its responsibility. The members might therefore rest assured that no one should be left uncared for or exposed to blind accident. The committee would act as advisers and helpers to anyone who wished for their advice and help, not only now, but at any time. In truth, what the committee purposed to do—conformably to the Society's programme—differed from the above-mentioned demands in only two points. The committee offered their advice, whilst they were asked to command and to allow no scope to other and probably, in many points, better counsel; and they offered both advice and help in the interest of each separate individual, whilst they were asked to act in the interest of the whole community alone.
These explanations gave general satisfaction, and afterwards, when those detailed regulations had been decided upon which were partly in contemplation and partly already in operation for the establishment of the new forms of organisation, the last remnant of fear and hesitation vanished.
The fundamental feature of the plan of organisation adopted was unlimited publicity in connection with equally unlimited freedom of movement. Everyone in Freeland must always know what products were for the time being in greater or less demand, and in what branch of production for the time being there was a greater or less profit to be made. To the same extent must everyone in Freeland always have the right and the power—so far as his capabilities and his skill permitted—to apply himself to those branches of production which for the time being yield the largest revenue, and to this end all the means of production and all the seats of production must be available to everyone. The measures required, therefore, must first of all have regard to these two points. A careful statistical report had to register comprehensively and—which is the chief point—with as much promptitude as possible every movement of production on the one hand and of consumption on the other, as well as to give universal publicity to the movement of prices of all products. In view of the great practical importance of this system of public advertisement, care would have to be taken to exclude deception or unintentional errors—a problem which, as what follows will show, was solved in the most perfect yet simple manner.
And in order that the knowledge thus made common to everyone may be actually and profitably made use of by everyone—which is possible only when everyone is placed in a position to apply his capabilities to those among the branches of labour in which he is skilled, and which for the time being yield the highest revenue—provision must be made that everyone shall always be able to obtain possession of the requisite means of production. Of these means of production there are two classes—the powers of nature and capital. Without these means of production, the most exact information as to which are the branches of labour whose products are in greatest demand, and which, therefore, yield the highest profits, would be of as little use as the most perfect skill in such branches of production. A man can utilise his power to labour only when he has command both of the materials and forces supplied by nature, and of the appropriate instruments and machines; and if he is to compete with his fellow-workers he must possess both classes of the means of production as fully and as completely as they. In order to grow wheat, a man must not only have land at his command, but he must have land that is equally good for growing wheat as is the land of the other wheat-growers, otherwise he will labour with less profit and possibly with actual loss. And possession of the most fertile land will not make the work possible, or at any rate equally profitable, unless the worker possesses the requisite agricultural implements, or if he possesses them in a less degree than his competitors.
Then as to capital: the Free Society undertook to place it at the disposal of everyone who wished for it, and that without interest, on condition that it was reimbursed out of the proceeds of production within a period the length of which was to be determined by the nature of the proposed investment. As the instruments of labour and the other capitalistic aids to labour could be provided to any amount and of any quality, one part of the problem was thereby solved.
The case was different with the natural powers, as representative of which we will take the land with which those powers are bound up. No one has produced the land, therefore no one has a claim of ownership upon it, and everyone has a right to use it. But not merely has no one produced the land, no one can produce it; the land, therefore, exists in a limited quantity, and, moreover, the existing land is not all of the same quality. Now, in spite of all this, how is it possible to satisfy everyone's claim not merely to land, but to produce-bearing land?
In order to make this clear, the third and, in reality, most fundamental predicate of economic justice must be expounded. When every worker is promised the undiminished produce of his own labour, it is necessarily assumed that the worker himself is the sole and exclusive producer of the whole of this produce. But this he was, by no means, according to the old economic system. The worker as such produced only a part of the product, while another part was produced by the employer, whether he was landowner, capitalist, or undertaker. Without the organising disciplinary influence of the latter the toil of the worker would have been fruitless, or at least much less fruitful; formerly the worker supplied merely the power, while the organising mind was supplied by the employer.
It is not implied by this that the more intellectual element in the work of production was formerly to be found exclusively or necessarily on the side of the employer: the technicians and directors who superintend the great productive establishments belong essentially to the wage-earners; and it will be readily admitted that in many cases the higher intelligence is to be found not in the employers, but in the workers. Nevertheless, in all cases where a number of workers have had to be brought together and accustomed to work in common, this work of organising has been the business of the employer. Hitherto the worker has been able to produce for himself only in isolation; whenever a number had to be brought together, in one enterprise, a 'master' has been necessary, a master who with the whip—which may be made either of thongs or of the paragraphs in a set of factory regulations—has kept the rebellious together, and therefore—not because of his higher intelligence—has swept the profits into his own pocket, leaving to the workers, whether they belonged to the proletariat or to the so-called intelligent classes, only so much as sufficed to sustain them. Hitherto the workers have made no attempt to unite their productive labours without a master, as free, self-competent men, and not as servants. The employment of those powerful instruments and contrivances which science and invention have placed in the hands of men, and which so indefinitely multiply the profits of human activity, presupposes the united action of many; and hitherto this united action has been taken only hand in hand with servitude. The productive associations of a Schulze-Delitzsch and others have effected no change in the real character of servitude; they have merely altered the name of the masters. In these associations there are still the employers and the workers; to the former belongs the profit, the latter receive stall and manger like the biped beasts of burden of the single employer or of the joint-stock societies whose shareholders do not happen to be workers. In order that labour may be free and self-controlling, the workers must combine as such, and not as small capitalists; they must not have over them any employer of any land or any name, not even an employer consisting of an association of themselves. They must organise themselves as workers, and only as such; for only as such have they a claim to the full produce of their labour. This organisation of work without the slightest remnant of the old servile relationship to an employer of some kind or other, is the fundamental problem of social emancipation: if this problem be successfully solved, everything else will follow of itself.
But this organisation was not nearly so difficult as it appears to be at first sight. The committee started from the principle that the right forms of the organisation of free labour were best found through the free co-operation of all those who shared in this organisation. No special difficulties were discovered in this. The questions which had to be dealt with were of the simplest nature. For example: in order to set up an iron-works, it was not at all necessary that the workers should all understand the whole mechanism of the manufacture of iron. Two things only were necessary—first, that the men should know what sort of persons they ought to set at the head of their factory; and, secondly, that on the one hand they should give those persons sufficient authority properly to control the work, and, on the other hand, they should reserve to themselves sufficient authority to hold the reins of their undertaking in their own hands. Doubtless, very serious mistakes might be made in the organisation of the managing as well as of the overlooking organs—there might be a serious misproportion in the powers conferred. But the previously mentioned unlimited publicity of all productive operations, which on other grounds also would be demanded in the interest of the commonwealth, materially lightened the task of the associations of workers; and as all the members of each such productive association had in this decisive point exactly the same interests, and their whole attention was always directed to these interests, they learnt with remarkable speed to correct the mistakes they had made, so that after a few months the new apparatus worked tolerably well, and in a remarkably short time reached a high degree of perfection. From the beginning there was nothing left to desire in the industry and diligence of all the associates—a fact which might have been anticipated in view of the full play given to self-interest as well as of the incessant mutual encouragement and control of men who had equal rights and were equally interested.
The committee therefore drew up a 'Model Statute' for the use of the associations, not at all anticipating that it would really be preserved as a model, but merely for the sake of making a beginning and of providing a formula which the associations might use as the skeleton of the schemes of organisation that their experience would enable them to devise. As a matter of fact this 'Model Statute,' which was at first accepted almost unaltered by all the associations, was in less than twelve months so much altered and enlarged that little more than the leading principles of its original form remained. These, however, were the following:
1. Admission into every association is free to everyone, whether a member of any other association or not; and any member can leave any association at any time.
2. Every member has a claim upon such a share of the net profits of the association as is proportionate to the amount of work he has contributed.
3. Every member's contribution of work shall be measured by the number of hours he has worked; the older members receiving more than those who have joined the association later, in the proportion of a premium of x per cent. for every year of seniority. Also, a premium can be contracted for, in the way of free association, for skilled labour.
4. The labour contribution of superintendents or directors shall, according to a voluntary arrangement with every individual concerned, be reckoned us equal to a certain number of hours of work per day.
5. The profits of the association shall be calculated at the end of every year of business, and, after deducting the repayment of capital and the taxes paid to the Freeland commonwealth, divided. During each year the members shall receive, for every hour of work or of reckoned work, advances equal to x per cent. of the net profits of the previous year.
6. The members shall, in case of the dissolution or liquidation of on association, be liable for the contracted loan in equal proportions; which liability, so far as regards the still outstanding amount, attaches also to newly entering members. When a member leaves, his liability for the already contracted loan shall not cease. This liability for the debts of the association shall, in case of dissolution or liquidation, be in proportion to the claim of the liable member upon the existing property.
7. The highest authority of the association is the general meeting, in which every member possesses an equal active and passive vote. The general meeting carries its motions by a simple majority of votes; a majority of three-fourths is required for the alteration of statutes, dissolution, or liquidation.
8. The general meeting exercises its rights either directly as such, or through its elected functionaries, who are responsible to it.
9. The management of the business of the association is placed in the hands of a directorate of x members, elected for x years by the general meeting, but their appointment can be at any time rescinded. The subordinate business functionaries are nominated by the directorate; but the fixing of the salaries—measured in hours of work—of these functionaries is the business of the general assembly on the proposition of the directorate.
10. The general meeting annually elects a council of inspection consisting of x members, to inspect the books and take note of the manner in which the business is conducted, and to furnish periodical reports.
It will strike the reader at once that only with reference to the possible dissolution of an association (section 6) is there a mention of what should apparently be regarded as the principal thing—namely, of the 'property' of the associations and of the claims of the members upon this property. The reason of this is that any 'property' of the association, in the ordinary sense, does not exist. The members, it is true, possess the right of usufruct of the existing productive capital; but as they always share this right with every newly entering member, and are themselves bound to the association by nothing except their interest in the profits of their labour, so there can be no property-interest in the association so long as they are carrying on their work. And, in fact, that which everyone can use cannot constitute property, however useful it maybe. There are no proprietors—merely usufructuaries of the association's capital. And should it be thought that this is in contradiction to the obligation to reimburse the loaned productive capital of the associations, it ought not to be overlooked that even this repayment of capital—except in the already mentioned case of a liquidation—is done by the members merely in their capacity of usufructuaries of the means of production. As the reimbursed capital is derived from the profits, and these are divided among the members in proportion to each one's contribution of work, every member contributes to the reimbursement in proportion to the amount of work he does. And when the subject is looked at more closely it will be seen that the repayments are ultimately derived from the consumers of the commodities produced by the associations; they form, of course, a part of the cost of production, and must necessarily be covered by the price of the product. That this shall take place fully and universally is ensured with infallible certainty by the free mobilisation of labour. A production in which these repayments were not completely covered by the price of the commodities produced would fail to attract labour until the diminished supply of the commodities had produced the requisite rise in price. When the repayments have all been made, this part of the cost of production ceases; the association capital may be regarded as amortised, and the prices of the commodities produced sink—again under the influence of the free mobilisation of labour; so that the members of the association individually profit as little by the employment of burdenless capital as they suffered before by the liquidation of their burden. Profit and loss are always distributed—still thanks to the mobilisation of labour—equally among all the workers of Freeland.
Thus it is seen that, in consequence of this simple and infallibly operative arrangement, productive capital is, strictly speaking, as ownerless as the land; it belongs to everyone, and therefore to no one. The community of producers supplies it and employs it, and it does both in exact proportion to the amount of work contributed by each individual; and payment for the expenditure is made by the community of consumers—again by each one in exact proportion to the consumption of each individual.
That an absolute and universally uniform level of profits should result from this absolutely free mobility of labour neither was expected, nor has it been attained. Often the inequality is not discovered until the balance-sheets are drawn up, and therefore cannot until then be removed by the ebb and flow of labour. But, besides this, there is an important and continuous difference of gains—a difference which it is impossible to equalise, and which has its intrinsic foundation in the difference in the amount of effort and inconvenience involved in engaging in the different branches of labour. Certainly it is not the same in Freeland as in other parts of the world, where only too often the burden of labour is in inverse ratio to its profitableness; with us difficult, burdensome, unpleasant kinds of labour must without exception obtain larger gains than the easier and more agreeable—so far as the latter do not demand special skill—otherwise everyone would at once forsake the former and apply themselves to the latter. Moreover, the premium allowed to the older members in section 3—which varies in different associations from one to three per cent. for each year, and therefore, in cases of long-continued labour, amounts to a very respectable sum, and is intended to attach the proved veteran of labour to the undertaking—prevents an absolute equalisation of gains even in associations of exactly similar constitution.