The fundamental laws were thus expressed:
1. Every inhabitant of Freeland has an equal and inalienable claim upon the whole of the land, and upon the means of production accumulated by the community.
2. Women, children, old men, and men incapable of work, have a right to a competent maintenance, fairly proportionate to the level of the average wealth of the community.
3. No one can be hindered from the active exercise of his own free individual will, so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.
4. Public affairs are to be administered as shall be determined by all the adult (above twenty years of age) inhabitants of Freeland, without distinction of sex, who shall all possess an equal active and passive right of vote and of election in all matters that affect the commonwealth.
5. Both the legislative and the executive authority shall be divided into departments, and in such a manner that the whole of the electors shall choose special representatives for the principal public departments, who shall give their decisions apart and watch over the action of the administrative boards of the respective departments.
In these five points is contained the whole substance of the public law of Freeland; everything else is merely the natural consequence or the more detailed expression of these points. Thus the principles upon which the associations were based—the right of the worker to the profit, the division of the profit in proportion to the amount of work contributed, and freedom of contract in view of special efficiency of labour—are naturally and necessarily implied in the first and third fundamental laws. As the whole of the means of labour were accessible to everyone, no one could be compelled to forego the profit of his own labour; and as no one could be forced to place his higher capabilities at the disposal of others, these higher capabilities—so far as they were needed in the guidance and direction of production—must find adequate recompense in the way of freedom of contract.
With reference to the right of maintenance given to women, children, old men, and men incapable of working, by the second section, it may be remarked that this was regarded, in the spirit of our principles, as a corollary from the truth that the wealth of the civilised man is not the product of his own individual capabilities, but is the result of the intellectual labour of numberless previous generations, whose bequest belongs as much to the weak and helpless as to the strong and capable. All that we enjoy we owe in an infinitely small degree to our own intelligence and strength; thrown upon these as our only resources, we should be poor savages vegetating in the deepest, most brutish misery; it is to the rich inheritance received from our ancestors that we owe ninety-nine per cent. of our enjoyments. If this is so—and no sane person has ever questioned it—then all our brothers and sisters have a right to share in the common heritage. That this heritage would be unproductive without the labour of us who are strong is true, and it would be unfair—nay, foolish and impracticable—for our weaker brethren to claim an equal share. But they have a right to claim a fraternal participation—not merely a charitable one, but one based upon their right of inheritance—in the rich profits won from the common heritage, even though it be by our labour solely. They stand towards us in the relation, not of medicant strangers, but of co-heirs and members of our family. And of us, the stronger inheritors of a clearly proved title, every member of the common family demands the unreserved recognition of this good title. For we cannot prosper if we dishonour and condemn to want and shame those who are our equals. A healthy egoism forbids us to allow misery and its offspring—the vices—to harbour anywhere among our fellows. Free, and 'of noble birth,' a king and lord of this planet, must everyone be whose mother is a daughter of man, else will his want grow to be a spreading ulcer which will consume even us—the strong ones.
So much as to the right of maintenance in general. As to the provision for women in particular, it was considered that woman was unfitted by her physical and psychical characteristics for an active struggle for existence; but was destined, on the one hand, to the function of propagating the human race, and, on the other hand, to that of beautifying and refining life. So long as we all, or at least the immense majority of us, were painfully engaged in the unceasing and miserable struggle to obtain the barest necessities of animal life, no regard could be paid to the weakness and nobility of woman; her weakness, like that of every other weak one, could not become a title to tender care, but became inevitably an incitement to tyranny; the nobility of woman was dishonoured, as was all purely human and genuine nobility. For unnumbered centuries woman was a slave and a purchasable instrument of lust, and the much-vaunted civilisation of the last few centuries has brought no real improvement. Even among the so-called cultured nations of the present day, woman remained without legal rights, and, what is worse, she was left, in order to obtain subsistence, to sell herself to the first man she met who would undertake to provide and 'care for' her for the sake of her attractions. This prostitution, sanctioned by law and custom, is in its effects more disastrous than that other, which stands forth undisguised and is distinguished from the former only in the fact that here the shameful bargain is made not for life, but only for years, weeks, hours. It is common to both that the sweetest, most sacred treasure of humanity, woman's heart, is made the subject of vulgar huckstering, a means of buying a livelihood; and worse than the prostitution of the streets is that of the marriage for a livelihood sanctioned by law and custom, because under its pestilential poison-breath not only the dignity and happiness of the living, but the sap and strength of future generations are blasted and destroyed. As love, that sacred instinct which should lead the wife into the arms of the husband, united with whom she might bequeath to the next generation its worthiest members, had become the only means of gain within her reach woman was compelled to dishonour herself, and in herself to dishonour the future of the race.
Happiness and dignity, as well as the future salvation of humanity, equally demanded that woman should be delivered from the dishonourable necessity of seeing in her husband a provider, in marriage the only refuge from material need. But neither should woman be consigned to common labour. This would be in equal measure prejudicial both to the happiness of the living and to the character and vigour of future generations. It is as useless as it is injurious to wish to establish the equality of woman by allowing her to compete with man in earning her bread—useless, because such a permission, of which advantage could be taken only in exceptional cases, would afford no help to the female sex as a whole; injurious, because woman cannot compete with man and yet be true to her nobler and tenderer duties. And those duties do not lie in the kitchen and the wardrobe, but in the cultivation of the beautiful in the adult generation on the one hand, and of the intellectual and physical development of the young on the other. Therefore, in the interests not only of herself, but also of man, and in particular of the future race, woman must be altogether withdrawn from the struggle for the necessaries of life; she must be no wheel in the bread-earning machinery, she must be a jewel in the heart of humanity. Only one kind of 'work' is appropriate to woman—that of the education of children and, at most, the care of the sick and infirm. In the school and by the sick-bed can womanly tenderness and care find a suitable apprenticeship for the duties of the future home, and in such work may the single woman earn wages so far as she wishes to do so. At the same time, our principles secured perfect liberty to woman. She was not forbidden to engage in any occupation, and isolated instances have occurred of women doing so, particularly in intellectual callings, but public opinion in Freeland approved of this only in exceptional cases—that is, when special gifts justified such action; and it was our women chiefly who upheld this public opinion.
The fact that the maintenance allowance for women was fixed at one-fourth less than that for men—and the constituent assembly confirmed not only the principle, but the proposed ratio of the different maintenance allowances—was not the expression of any lower estimate of the claim of woman, but was due simply to the consideration that the requirements of woman are less than those of man. We acted upon the calculation that a woman with her thirty per cent. of the average labour-earnings of a Freeland producer was as well provided for as a maintenance-receiving man with his forty per cent.; and experience fully verified this calculation.
Not only had the single woman or the widow a right to a maintenance, but the married woman also had a similar right, though only to one-half the amount. This right was based upon the principle that even the wife ought not to be thrown upon the husband for maintenance and made dependent upon him. As in housekeeping the woman's activity is partly called forth by her own personal needs, it was right that some of the burden of maintenance should be taken from the husband, and only a part of it left as a common charge to both. With the birth of children, the family burden is afresh increased, and, as this is specially connected with the wife, we increase her maintenance allowance until it reaches again the full allowance of a single woman—that is, thirty per cent. The allowances would be as follows:
A childless family 15 per cent. A family with one child 20 " " " two children 25 " " " three or more children 30 " A working widow with a child 5 " " " " two children 10 " " " " three or more children 15 " An independent woman 30 " " " " with a child 35 " " " " with two children 40 " " " " with three or more children 45 "
Just as the women's and children's maintenance-claims accumulated according to circumstances, so was it with those claims and the claims of men unable to work, and old men. The maximum that could be drawn for maintenance was not less than seventy per cent. of the average income, and this happened in the cases—which were certainly rare—in which a married man who had a claim had three or more children under age.
The fourth fundamental principle—the extension of the franchise to adult women—calls for no special comment. It need only be remarked that this law included the negroes residing in Freeland. This was conditioned, of course, by the exclusion from the exercise of political rights of all who were unable to read and write—an exclusion which was automatically secured by requiring all votes to be given in the voter's own handwriting. We took considerable pains not only to teach our negroes reading and writing, but also to give them other kinds of knowledge; and as our efforts were in general followed by good results, our black brethren gradually participated in all our rights.
A more detailed explanation is, however, required by the fifth section of the fundamental laws, according to which the community exercised their control over all public affairs not through one, but through several co-ordinated administrative boards, elected separately by the community. To this regulation the administrative authorities of Freeland owed their astonishing special knowledge of details, and the public life of Freeland its equally unexampled quiet and the absence of any deeply felt, angry party passions. In the States of Europe and America, only the executive consists of men who are chosen—or are supposed to be thus chosen—on account of their special knowledge and qualification for the branches of the public service at the head of which they respectively stand. Even this is subject to very important limitations; in fact, with respect to the parliamentary constitutions of Europe and America, it can be truthfully asserted that those who are placed at the head of the different branches of the administration only too often know very little about the weighty affairs which they have to superintend. The assemblies from which and by whose choice parliamentary ministers are placed in office are, as a rule, altogether incapable of choosing qualified men, for the reason that frequently there are none such in their midst. It does not follow from this that parliamentary orators and politicians by profession do not generally understand the duties of their office better than those favourites of power and of blind fortune who hold the helm in non-parliamentary countries; but experts they are not, and cannot be. Yet, as has been said, the organs of the executive at least ought, to be such, and by a current fiction they are held to be such; and a man who specially distinguishes himself in any department thereby earns a claim—though a subordinate one—to receive further employment in that department of the public service. For the legislative bodies outside of Freeland, on the other hand, special knowledge is not even theoretically a qualification. The men who make laws and control the administration of them, need, in theory, to have not the least knowledge of the matters to which these laws refer. The support of the electors is usually quite independent of the amount of such knowledge possessed by the representatives, who are chosen not as men of special knowledge, but as men of 'sound understanding.'
But this is followed by a twofold evil. In the first place, it converts the public service into a private game of football, in which the players are Ignorance and Incapacity. The words of Oxenstiern, 'You know not, my son, with how little understanding the world is governed,' are true in a far higher degree than is generally imagined. The average level of capacity and special knowledge in many of the branches of public service in the so-called civilised world is far below that to be found in the private business of the same countries. In the second place, this centralised organisation of the public administration, with an absence of persons of special qualification, converts party spirit into an angry and bitter struggle in which everything is risked, and the decision depends very rarely upon practical considerations, but almost always upon already accepted political opinions. Incessant conflict, continuous passionate excitement, are therefore the second consequence of this preposterous system.
An improvement is, however, simply impossible so long as the present social system remains in force. For, so long as this is the case, the public welfare is better looked after by ignorant persons who act independently of professional knowledge than it would be if professional men had power to further the interests of their own professions at the expense of the general public. For the interests of specialists under an exploiting system of society are not merely sometimes, but generally, opposed to those of the great mass of the people. Imagine a European or American State in which the manufacturers exercised legislative and executive control over manufactures, agriculturists over agriculture, railway shareholders over the means of transport, and so forth—the specialist representatives of each separate interest making and administering the laws that particularly concerned their own profession! As under the exploiting system of society the struggle for existence is directed towards a mutual suppression and supplanting, so must the consequences of such a 'constitution' as we have just supposed be positively dreadful. In those cases which are grouped together under the heading of 'political corruption,' where isolated interests have succeeded in imposing their will upon the community, the shamelessness of the exploitage has exceeded all bounds.
But it is different in Freeland. With us no separate interest is antagonistic to or not in perfect harmony with the common interest. Producers, for example, who in Freeland conceive the idea of increasing their gains by laying an impost upon imports, must be idiotic. For, to compel the consumers to pay more for their manufactures would not help them, since the influx of labour would at once bring down their gains again to the average level. On the other hand, to make it more difficult for other producers to produce would certainly injure themselves, for the average level of gain—above which their own cannot permanently rise—would be thereby lowered. And exactly the same holds good for all our different interests. In consequence of the arrangement whereby every interest is open to everyone, and no one has either the right or the might to reserve any advantage to himself alone, we are fortunately able to entrust the decision of all questions affecting material interest to those who are the most directly interested—therefore, to those who possess the most special knowledge. Not merely do the legislature and the executive thereby acquire in the highest degree a specialist character, but there disappears from public life that passionate prepossession which elsewhere is the characteristic note of party politics. As a well-understood public interest and sound reason decide in all matters, we have no occasion to become heated. At our elections our aim is not 'to get in one of our party,' but the only thing about which opinions may differ is which of the candidates happens to be the most experienced, the most apt for the post. And as, in consequence of the organisation of our whole body of labour, the capabilities of each one among us must in time be discovered, mistakes in this determining point in our public life are scarcely possible.
As the constituent assembly retained the twelvefold division of the governing authority, there were henceforth in Freeland, besides the twelve different executive boards—which in their sphere of action were to some extent analogous to the ministries of Western nations—twelve different consultative, determining, and supervising assemblies, elected by the whole people, in place of the single parliament of the Western nations. These twelve assemblies were elected by the whole of the electors, each elector having the right to give an equal vote in all the elections; but the distribution of the constituencies was different, and the election for each of the twelve representative bodies took place separately. Some of these elections—those, namely, for the affairs of the chief executive and finance, for maintenance, for education, for art and science, for sanitation and justice—took place according to residence; the elections in the other cases according to calling. For the latter purpose, the whole of the inhabitants of Freeland were divided, according to their callings, into larger or smaller constituencies, each of which elected one or more deputies in proportion to its numbers. Of those callings which had but few followers, several of the more nearly allied were united into one constituency. Membership of the respective constituencies depended upon the will of the elector—that is, every elector could get his or her name entered in the list of any calling with which he or she preferred to vote, and thus exercise the right of voting for the representative body elected by the members of that calling.
The highest officers in the twelve branches of the executive were appointed by the twelve representative bodies; the appointment of the other officers was the business of the chiefs of the executive. In all the more important matters all these had to consult together beforehand upon the measures that were to be laid before the representative bodies.
The discussions of the different representative bodies, as a rule, took place apart, and generally in sessions held at different periods. Several of the bodies sat permanently, others met merely for a few days once a year. The numerical strength of these specialist parliaments was different: the smallest—that for statistics—consisted of no more than thirty members, the four largest of a hundred and twenty members each. When matters which interested equally several different representative bodies had to be discussed, the bodies thus interested sat together. Disputes as to the competency of the different bodies were impossible, as the mere wish expressed by any representative body to take part in the debates of another sufficed to make the subject under consideration a common one.
The natural result of this organisation was that every inhabitant of Freeland confined his attention to those public affairs which he understood, or thought he understood. In each branch of the administration he gave his vote to that candidate who in his opinion was the best qualified for a seat in that branch of the administration. And this, again, had as a consequence a fact to Western ideas altogether incredible—namely, that every branch of the public administration was in the hands of the most expert specialists, and the best qualified men in all Freeland. Very soon there was developed a highly remarkable kind of political honour, altogether different from anything known in Western nations. Among the latter, it is held to be a point of honour to stick to one's party unconditionally through thick and thin, to support it by vote and influence whether one understands the particular matter in question or not. The political honour of a citizen of Freeland demands of him yet more positively that he devote his attention and his energy to public affairs; but public opinion condemns him severely if—from whatever motive—he concerns himself with matters which he plainly does not understand. Thus it is strictly required that the elector should have some professional knowledge of that branch of the administration into which he throws the weight of his vote. The elections, therefore, are in very good hands; attempts to influence the electors by fallacious representations or by promises would, even if they were to be made, prove resultless. There is no elector who would vote in the elections of the whole twelve representative bodies. The women, in particular, with very few exceptions, refrain from voting in the elections in which the separate callings are specially concerned; on the other hand, they take a lively interest in the elections in which the electors vote according to residence; and in the elections for the board of education their votes turn the scale. Their passive franchise also comes into play, and in the representative bodies that have charge of maintenance, of art and science, of sanitation and justice, women frequently sit; and in that which has charge of education there are always several women. They never take part in the executive. By way of completing this description, it may be mentioned that the elected deputies are paid for their work at the rate of an equivalent of eight labour-hours for each day that they sit.
After the constituent assembly had passed the constitution it dissolved itself, and the election of the twelve representative bodies was at once proceeded with. Punctually on the 20th of October these bodies met, and the committee handed its authority over into their hands. The members of the committee were all re-elected as heads of the different branches of the administration, except four who declined to take office afresh. The government of Freeland was now definitively constituted.
In the meantime, the three expeditions sent to discover the best route for a railway to the coast had returned. The expedition which had been surveying the shortest route—that through the Dana valley to the Witu coast—had met with no exceptional difficulty as to the land, and the expectation that this, by far the shortest, would prove to be also technically preferable had been verified. Nor in any other respect had any serious difficulty been encountered within about 125 miles from Kenia. But from thence to the coast the Galla tribes offered to the expedition such a stubborn and vicious opposition that the hostilities had not ceased at the end of two months, and several conflicts had taken place, in which the Galla tribes had always been severely punished; but this did not prevent the expedition from having to carry out its thoroughly peaceful mission in perpetual readiness to fight. A railway through that region would have had to be preceded by a formal campaign for the pacification or expulsion of the Galla tribes, and could then have been constructed only in the midst of a permanent preparedness for war. This route had therefore, provisionally at least, to be rejected.
There were not less weighty reasons against the route over Ukumbani along the Athi river. Along the river-valley the road could have been made without special technical difficulty, but, particularly on the second half of it, the route lay through unhealthy swamps and jungles, which could not immediately be brought under cultivation. And if a route were chosen which would leave the valley proper and pass among the adjoining hills, the technical conditions would not be more favourable, nor the estimated cost less, than a line along the third route following the old road to Mombasa. This third route was therefore unanimously fixed upon. It had in its favour the important circumstance that it passed through friendly districts, which at no very distant future would most probably be settled by Freeland colonists. That it was the longest and the most expensive of the three could not, therefore, prevent us from giving it the preference, unless the difference in cost proved to be too great—which, as the event showed, was not the case.
The work was begun forthwith. Powerful and novel machines of all kinds were, in the meantime, constructed in great number by our Freeland machine-factories, and, furnished with these, 5,000 Freeland and 8,000 negro workers began the work at eighteen different points, not including the eleven longer and the thirty-two shorter tunnels—with a total length of twenty-four miles—each of which formed a separate part of tin work. The rails, of the best Bessemer metal, were partly made by ourselves, and were partly—those for the distance between Mombasa and Taveta—brought from Europe. Two years after the turning of the first sod the part between Eden Vale and Ngongo was ready for traffic; three months later the part between Mombasa and Taveta; and nine months later still the middle portion between Ngongo and Taveta. Thus exactly five years after our pioneers had first set foot in Freeland, the first locomotive, which the day before had seen the waves of the Indian Ocean breaking upon the shore at Mombasa, greeted the glaciers of the Kenia with its shrill whistle.
That this extensive work could be completed in so short a time and with so little expenditure of labour we owed to our machinery; which also enabled us to keep the cost within comparatively moderate limits, despite the fact that we had necessarily to pay our workers at a rate at which no railway constructors were ever paid before. Our Freeland railway constructors, who had at once formed themselves into a number of associations, earned in the first year 22s. a day each, and in the third year 28s. a day, though they worked only seven hours a day. Notwithstanding this, the whole 672 miles, most of it tolerably difficult work through hills, cost only 9,500,000L, or a little over 14,000L per mile. Our 13,000 workers did more with their magnificent labour-sparing machines than 100,000 ordinary workers could have done with pick and barrow; and the employment of this colossal 'capital'—valued at 4,000,000L—was profitable because labour was paid at so high a rate.
As a matter of course, a telegraph was laid between Eden Vale and Mombasa together with this double-railed railway.
Whilst these works were in progress and the incessantly growing population of Freeland was brought into closer connection with the old home, important changes had been brought about in our relations with our native African neighbours—changes in part pacific, in part warlike, and which exercised a not less important influence upon the course of development of our commonwealth.
In the first place, the Masai of Lykipia and the lake districts between Naivasha and Baringo, had, at their own initiative and at their own cost, though under the direction of some of our engineers, constructed a good waggon-road, 230 miles long, through their whole district from the Naivasha lake northwards, and then eastwards through Lykipia as far as Eden Vale. They declared that their honour and their pride were offended by having to pass through a foreign district when they wished to visit us, the only practicable road having been one through the country of the Wa-Kikuyu. So strong was their desire to be in immediate touch with our district that, when a part of the hired Wa-Taveta road-makers, on account of some misunderstanding, left them in the lurch, the Masai themselves took their places, and, taking turns to the number of 3,000, they carried on the work with an energy which no one could have supposed to be possible in a people who not long before had been so averse to labour. We decided to reward this proof of strong attachment and of great capacity by an equally striking act of recognition. When the Masai road was finished, and a deputation of the elders and leaders of all the tribes made a jubilant and triumphant entry by it into Eden Vale, we received them with great honour, and gave them presents for the whole Masai people which were worth about as much as the new road had cost. In addition, the 6,500 Werndl rifles, which had hitherto been only lent to the Masai, and 2,000 horses were given them as their own property in token of our friendship and respect. It goes without saying that the weapons were received by this still martial people with great enthusiasm. And the horses were almost more valuable still in their eyes; for riding was the one among all our arts which the Masai most admired, and among all our possessions which they esteemed most highly were our horses. But we had hitherto been very frugal with our horses, and we had given away only a few to individual natives in Masailand and Taveta in recognition of special services. The number of horses in Freeland had, partly by breeding, but mainly by continuous systematic importation, increased during the first two years to 26,000; but we expected at first to make more use of horses than was afterwards found to be necessary, and that was the reason why this noble animal, which we had been the first to establish in Equatorial Africa, was still a much-admired rarity everywhere outside of Freeland, particularly in Masailand, where the horse was regarded as the ideal of martial valour.
In the second place, it should be mentioned that the civilisation of the Masai, as well as of the other tribes in alliance with us, made rapid progress. The el-moran, when once they had become accustomed to light work, and had given up their inactive camp-life, allowed themselves to be induced by us to enter early upon the married state. Our women succeeded in uprooting the Ditto abuse. Several of the ladies, with Mrs. Ney at their head, undertook a tour through Masailand, and offered to every Masai girl who made a solemn promise of chastity until marriage, admission into a Freeland family for a year, and instruction in our manners, customs, and various forms of skilled labour. So great was the number who accepted this offer, that they could not all be received into Freeland at once, but had to be divided into three yearly groups. Yet even those who could not be immediately received were decorated with the insignia of their new honour—a complete dress after the Freeland pattern, their barbarian wire neck-bands, leg-chains, and ear-stretchers, as well as their coating of grease, being discarded—and they were solemnly pronounced to be 'friends of the white women.' So permanent was the influence of this distinction upon the Masai girls, who had not given up their ambition along with their licentious habits, that not one of them proved to be unworthy of the friendship of the virtuous white ladies. The Masai youth were so zealous in their efforts to win the favour of the girls who were thus distinguished, that the latter were all very soon married. That at the end of the year there was an eager competition for the girls who were returning home is as much a matter of course as that those who in the meantime had married, even if they had had children, had not forfeited their right to a residence in Freeland—a circumstance that led to not a few embarrassments. The ultimate result was that in a very short time the once so licentious Masailand was changed into a model country of good morals. The hitherto prevalent polygamy died out, and several hundred good schools arose in different parts of the country, which in that way made gigantic strides towards complete civilisation.
In the meantime, in the north-west, among our Kavirondo friends on the north shore of the Victoria Nyanza, events of another kind were preparing. The Kavirondo, a very numerous and peaceable agricultural and pastoral tribe, touched Uganda, where, during recent years, there had been many internal struggles and revolutions. Unlike the other peoples whom we have become acquainted with, and who lived in independent, loosely connected, small tribes under freely elected chiefs with little influence, the Wangwana (the name of the inhabitants of Uganda) have been for centuries united into a great despotically governed State under a kabaka or emperor. Their kingdom, whose original part stretches along the north bank of the Victoria Nyanza, has been of varying dimensions, according as the fierce policy of conquest of the kabaka for the time being was more or less successful; but Uganda has always been a scourge to all its neighbours, who have suffered from the ceaseless raids, extortions, and cruelties of the Wangwana. Broad and fertile stretches of country became desert under this plague; and as for many years the kabaka had been able, by means of Arab dealers, to get possession of a few thousand (though very miserable) guns, and a few cannons (with which latter he had certainly not been able to effect much for want of suitable ammunition), the dread of the cruel robber State grew very great. Just at the time of our arrival at the Kenia there was an epoch of temporary calm, because the Wangwana were too much occupied with their own internal quarrels to pay much attention to their neighbours. After the death of the last kabaka his numerous sons terribly devastated the country by their ferocious struggles for the rule, until in the previous year one of the rivals who was named Suna (after an ancestor renowned both for his cruelty and for his conquests) had got rid of most of his brothers by treachery. The power was thenceforward concentrated more and more in the hands of this kabaka, and the raids and extortions among the neighbouring tribes at once recommenced. Suna's anger was directed particularly against the Kavirondo, because these had allowed one of his brothers, who had fled to them, to escape, instead of having delivered him up. Repeatedly had several thousand Wangwana fallen upon the Kavirondo, carried off men and cattle, burnt villages, cut down the bananas, destroyed the harvests, and thus inflicted inhuman cruelty. In their necessity the Kavirondo appealed to the northern Masai tribes for help. They had heard that we had supplied the Masai with guns and horses; and they now begged the Masai to send a troop of warriors with European equipments to guard their Uganda frontier. As payment, they promised to give to every Masai warrior who came to their aid a liberal maintenance and an ox monthly, and to every horseman, two oxen.
Less on account of this offer than to gratify their love of adventure, the Masai, having first consulted us in Freeland, consented. We saw no sufficient reason to keep them from rendering this assistance, although we were by no means so certain as to the result as were our neighbours, who considered themselves invincible now they were in possession of their new weapons. We offered to place several experienced white leaders at the head of the troops they sent to Kavirondo; but as we saw that our martial friends looked upon this as a sign of distrust and were a little displeased at the offer, we simply warned them to be cautious, and particularly not to be wasteful of the ammunition they took with them.
At first everything went well. Wherever the Wangwana marauders showed themselves they were sent home with bleeding heads, even when they appeared in large numbers; and after a few months it seemed almost as if these severe lessons had induced the Wangwana to leave the Kavirondo alone in future, for a long time passed without any further raids. But suddenly, when we were busy getting in our October harvest, there reached us the startling news of a dreadful catastrophe which had befallen our Masai friends in Kavirondo. The kabaka Suna had only taken time to prepare for an annihilating blow. While the former raids had been made by bodies of only a few thousand men, this time Suna had collected 30,000, of whom 5,000 bore muskets; and, placing himself at their head, he had with these fallen upon the Kavirondo and Masai unexpectedly. He surprised a frontier-camp of 900 Masai with 300 horses when they were asleep, and cut them to pieces before they had time to recover from their surprise. The Masai thus not only lost more than a third of their number, but the remainder of them were divided into two independent parts, for the surprised camp was in the middle of the cordon. But, instead of hastily retreating and waiting until the remaining force had been able to unite before taking the offensive, one of the Masai leaders, as soon as he had hurriedly got some 500 men together, was led by his rage at the overthrow of so many of his comrades to make a foolhardy attack upon the enormously over-numbering force of the enemy; he thereby fell into an ambush, and, after having too rashly shot away all his cartridges, was, together with his men, so fearfully cut down that, after a most heroic resistance, only a very few escaped. Our friend Mdango, who now took the command, was able to collect only 1,100 or 1,200 Masai on the other wing; and with these he succeeded in making a tolerably orderly retreat into the interior of Kavirondo, being but little molested by Suna, whose eye was kept mainly fixed upon collecting the colossal booty.
Our ultimatum was despatched to Suna on the very day on which we received this sad news. We told the Masai, who offered to send the whole body of their warriors against Uganda, that 1,000 men, in addition to the 1,200 at present in Kavirondo, would be sufficient. We placed these 2,200 Masai under our Freeland officers, chose from among ourselves 900 volunteers, including 500 horsemen, and added twelve cannons and sixteen rockets, together with thirty elephants. On the 24th of October Johnston, the leader of this campaign, started for Kavirondo along the Masai road.
There he found, around the camp of the el-moran—now, when it was too late, very carefully entrenched and guarded—unnumbered thousands of Kavirondo and Nangi, armed with spear and bow. These he sent home as a useless crowd. On the 10th of November he crossed the Uganda frontier; six days later Suna was totally overthrown in a brief engagement near the Ripon falls, his host of 110,000 men scattered to the winds, and he himself, with a few thousand of his bodyguard armed with muskets and officered by Arabs from the coast, taken prisoner.
On the second day after the fight our men occupied Rubaga, the capital of Uganda. Thither came in rapid succession all the chief men of the country, promising unconditional submission and ready to agree to any terms we might offer. But Johnston offered to receive them into the great alliance between us and the other native nations—an offer which the Wangwana naturally accepted with the greatest joy. The conditions laid upon them were: emancipation of all slaves, peaceful admission of Freeland colonists and teachers, and reparation for all the injury they had done to the Kavirondo and the Masai. In this last respect the Wangwana people suffered nothing, for the countless herds of cattle belonging to their kabaka which had fallen into our hands as booty amply sufficed to replace what had been stolen from the Kavirondo and as indemnity for the slain Kavirondo and Masai warriors. Suna himself was carried away as prisoner, and interned on the banks of the Naivasha lake.
The subsequent pacific relations were uninterrupted except by an isolated attempt at resistance by the Arabs that had been left in the country; but this was promptly and vigorously put down by the Wangwana themselves without any need of our intervention. What contributed largely to inspire respect in the breasts of the Wangwana were a military road which the Kavirondo and Nangi constructed from the Victoria Nyanza to the Masai road on the Baringo lake, and a Masai colony of 3,000 el-moran on the Kavirondo and Uganda frontier. But on the whole, after the battle at the Ripon falls, the mere sound of our name was sufficient to secure peace and quiet in this part also of the interior of Equatorial Africa. All round the Victoria Nyanza, whose shores from time immemorial had been the theatre of savage, merciless fighting, humane sentiments and habits gradually prevailed; and as a consequence a considerable degree of material prosperity was developed with comparative rapidity among what had previously been the wildest tribes.
Even apart from its size, the Victoria Nyanza is the most important among the enormous lakes of Central Africa. It covers an area of more than 20,000 square miles, and is therefore, with the exception of the Caspian, the Sea of Aral, and the group of large lakes in North America, the largest piece of inland water in the world. It is larger than the whole of the kingdom of Bavaria, and its depth is proportionate to its size, for the plummet in places does not touch the ground until it has sunk 250 fathoms; it lies 4,400 feet above the sea-level—more than 650 feet above the Brocken, the highest hill in Middle Germany. This lake is nearly encircled by ranges of hills which rise from 1,500 to 5,000 feet above its surface; so that the climate of the immediately contiguous country, which is healthy without exception and quite free from swamp, is everywhere temperate, and in some districts positively Arcadian. And this magnificent, picturesque, and in many places highly romantic lake is the basin source of the sacred Nile, which, leaving it at the extreme northern end by the Ripon falls, flows thence to the Albert Nyanza, which is 1,500 feet lower, and thence continues its course as the White Nile.
Two months after we had established ourselves in Kavirondo and Uganda a screw steamer of 500 tons burden was ploughing the sea-like waves of the Victoria Nyanza, and before the end of the next year our lake flotilla consisted of five ships. These were well received everywhere on the coast, and the brisk commerce created by them proved to be one of the most effective of civilising agencies. The fertility of the lands surrounding this splendid lake is positively unbounded. A few hundred square yards of well-watered ground are sufficient to supply the needs of a large family; and when we had once instructed the natives in the use of agricultural implements, the abundance of the choicest field and garden produce was unexampled. But the growth of higher needs, particularly among the tribes that dwelt on the western shores of the lake, remained for a long time remarkably behind the improvement in the means of production. These simple tribes produced more than sufficient to supply their wants, almost without any expenditure of labour, and often out of mere curiosity to see the results of the improved implements which had been furnished to them. As they had no conception of property in land, and the non-utilisable over-production could not, therefore, with them—as would unquestionably have happened elsewhere—beget misery among the masses, here for years together the fable of the Castle of Indolence became a reality. The idea of property was almost lost, the necessities of life became valueless, everyone could take as much of them as he wished to have; strangers travelling through found everywhere a well-spread table; in short, the Golden Age seemed about to come to the Victoria Nyanza. This absolute lack of a sense of higher needs, however, proved to be a check to further progress, and we took pains—not altogether without regret—so far to disturb this paradisiacal condition as to endeavour to excite in the tribes a taste for what they had not got. Our endeavours succeeded, but the success was long in coming. With the advent of more strongly felt needs a higher morality and intellectual culture at once took root in this corner of the earth.
One of the principal tasks of the Freeland government, and one in which, as a rule, the ministries for art and science and for public works co-operated, was the thorough investigation and survey of our new home: first of the narrower district of the Kenia, and then of the neighbouring regions with which we were continually coming into closer relationship. The orographic and hydrographic systems of the whole country were determined; the soil and the climate were minutely examined. In doing this, both the higher scientific standpoint and that of prosaic utility were kept in view. For scientific purposes there was constructed an accurate map of the whole of the Masai and Kikuyu territories, showing most of the geographical details. All the more prominent eminences were measured and ascended, the Kenia not excepted.
The view from the Kenia is magnificent above measure; but, apart from the mountain itself and its glaciers, it offers little variety. In a circle, as far as the eye can reach, spreads a most fertile country, intersected by numerous watercourses, which nowhere, except in a great trough-like basin of about 1,900 square miles in extent in the north-west, give rise to swamps. The most striking feature of the whole region is the tableland falling away in a number of terraces, and broken by the shoulders of massive hills. The foot-hills proper of the Kenia begin with the highest terrace, where they form a girdle of varying breadth and height around the central mass of the mountain, which rises with a steep abrupt outline. This central mass, at a height of from 16,000 to 18,000 feet, bears a number of gigantic glacier-fields, from the midst of which the peak rises abruptly, flanked at some distance by a yet steeper, but small, horn.
A very different character marks the next in importance of the mountain-formations that belong to the district of Freeland—namely, the Aberdare range, about forty-five miles west of the Kenia, and stretching from north to south a distance of more than sixty miles, with an average breadth of twelve and a-half miles. The highest peak of this chain reaches nearly 15,000 feet above the sea; and while the Kenia everywhere bears an impress of grandeur, a ravishing loveliness is the great characteristic of the Aberdare landscapes. It is true that here also are not wanting colossal hills that produce an overwhelming impression, but the chief peculiarity is the charming variety of romantic billowy-outlined hills, intermingled with broad valleys, covered in part with luxuriant but not too dense forests, in part spreading out into emerald flowery pastures everywhere watered by numberless crystal-clear brooks and rivers, lakes and pools. This mountain-district of nearly 800 square miles resembles a magnificent park, from whose eminences the mighty snow-sea of the Kenia is visible to the east, and the emerald-and-sapphire sheen of the great Masai lakes—Naivasha, El-Meteita, and Nakuro—to the west. And this marvellously lovely landscape, which combines all the charms of Switzerland and India, bears in the bosom of its hills immense mineral treasures. Here, and not at the Kenia, as our geologists soon discovered, was the future seat of the Freeland industry, particularly of the metallurgic industry. Beds of coal which in extent and quality at least equalled the best of England, magnetite containing from fifty to seventy per cent. of iron, copper, lead, bismuth, antimony, sulphur in rich veins, a large bed of rock-salt on the western declivity just above the salt lake of Nakuro, and a number of other mineral treasures, were discovered in rapid succession, and the most accessible of them were at once taken advantage of. In particular, the newly opened copper-mines had a heavy demand made upon their resources when the telegraph was laid to the coast; the demand was still heavier as electricity became more and more largely used as a motive force.
For great changes had meantime taken place at the Kenia. New-comers continued to arrive in greater and greater numbers. At the close of the fourth year the population of Freeland had risen to 780,000 souls. A great part of Eden Vale had become a city of villas, which covered forty square miles and contained 58,000 dwelling-houses, whose 270,000 occupants devoted themselves to gardening, industrial, or intellectual pursuits. The population of the Dana plateau had risen to 140,000, who, besides cultivating what land was still available there for agriculture, gave by far the greater part of their attention to various kinds of industries. The main part of the agriculture had been transferred to a plain some 650 feet lower down, beyond the zone of forest. This lower plateau extended, with occasional breaks, round the whole of the mountain, and offered in its 3,000 square miles of fertile soil abundant agricultural ground for the immediate future.
Here some 240,000 acres were at first brought under the plough after they had—like all the cultivated ground in Freeland—been protected against the visits of wild animals by a strong timber fence. The smaller game, which could not be kept away from the seed by fencing, had respect for the dogs, of which many were bred and trained to keep watch at the fences as well as to guard the cattle. This protection was amply sufficient to keep away all the creatures that would have meddled with the seed, except the monkeys, some of which had occasionally to be shot when, in their nocturnal raids, they refused to be frightened away by the furious barking of the four-footed guardians.
Steam was still provisionally employed as motive power in agriculture; but provision was being made on a very large scale to substitute electric for steam force. The motive power for the electric dynamos was derived from the Dana river where, after being supplemented by two large streams from the hills just below the great waterfall, it was broken into a series of strong rapids and cataracts as it hurried down to the lower land. These rapids and cataracts were at the lower end of the tableland which, as indicative of the use we made of it, we named Cornland. It was these rapids and smaller cataracts, and not the great waterfall of 800 feet, that were utilised for agricultural purposes. These afforded a total fall of 870 feet; and, as the river here already had a great body of water, it was possible, by a well-arranged combination of turbines and electro-motors, to obtain a total force of from 500,000 to 600,000 horse-power. This was far more than could be required for the cultivation of the whole of Cornland even in the intensest manner. The provision made for the next year was calculated at 40,000 horse-power. Well-isolated strong copper wires were to convey the force generated by twenty gigantic turbines in two hundred dynamos to its several destinations, where it had to perform all the labours of agriculture, from ploughing to the threshing, dressing, and transport of the corn. For a network of electrical railways was also a part of this system of agricultural mechanism.
The great Dana cataract, with what was calculated to be a force of 124,000 horse-power, was utilised for the purposes of electric lighting in Eden Vale and in the town on the Dana plateau. For the time being, for the public lighting it sufficed to erect 5,000 contact-lamps a little more than 100 feet high, and each having a lighting power of 2,000 candles. These used up a force of 12,000 horse-power. For lighting dwelling-houses and isolated or night-working factories, 420,000 incandescent-lamps were employed. This required a force of 40,000 horse-power; so that the great cataract had to supply a force of 52,000 horse-power to the electro-motors. This was employed during the day as the motive power of a net of railways, with a total length of a little over 200 miles, which traversed the principal streets and roads in the Dana plateau and Eden Vale. In the evening and at night, when the electricity was used for lighting purposes, the railways had to be worked by dynamos of several thousand horse-power. In this way altogether nearly two-fifths of the available force was called into requisition at the close of the fifth year; the remaining three-fifths remained for the time unemployed, and formed a reserve for future needs.
The fourth and fifth years of Freeland were also marked by the construction of a net of canals and aqueducts, both for Eden Vale and for the Dana plateau. The canals served merely to carry the storm-water into the Dana; whilst the refuse-water and the sewage were carried away in cast-iron pipes by means of a system of pneumatic exhaust-tubes, and then disinfected and utilised as manure. The aqueducts were connected with the best springs in the upper hills, and possessed a provisional capacity of supplying 22,000,000 gallons daily, and were used for supplying a number of public wells, as well as all the private houses. By the addition of fresh sources this supply was in a short period doubled and trebled. At the same time all the streets were macadamised; so that the cleanliness and health of the young towns were duly cared for in all respects.
The board of education had made no less vigorous efforts. A public opinion had grown up that the youth of Freeland, without distinction of sex and without reference to future callings, ought to enjoy an education which, with the exception of the knowledge of Greek and Latin, should correspond to that obtainable, for example, in the six first classes in a German gymnasium. Accordingly, boys and girls were to attend school from the age of six to that of sixteen years, and, after acquiring the elements, were to be taught grammar, the history of literature, general history, the history of civilisation, physics, natural history, geometry, and algebra.
Not less importance was attached to physical education than to intellectual and moral. Indeed, it was a principle in Freeland that physical education should have precedence, since a healthy, harmoniously developed mind presupposed a healthy harmoniously developed body. Moreover, in the cultivation of the intellect less stress was laid upon the accumulation of knowledge than upon the stimulation of the young mind to independent thought; therefore nothing was more anxiously and carefully avoided than over-pressure of mental work. No child was to be engaged in mental work—home preparation included—longer than at most six hours a day; hence the hours of teaching of any mental subject were limited to three a day, whilst two other school hours were devoted daily to physical exercises—gymnastics, running, dancing, swimming, riding; and for boys, in addition, fencing, wrestling, and shooting. A further principle in Freeland education was that the children should not be forced into activity any more than the adults. We held that a properly directed logical system of education, not confined to the use of a too limited range of means, could scarcely fail to bring the pliable mind of childhood to a voluntary and eager fulfilment of reasonably allotted duties. And experience justified our opinion. Our mode of instruction had to be such as would make school exceedingly attractive; but, when this had been achieved, our boys and girls learnt in half the time as much, and that as thoroughly, as the physically and intellectually maltreated European boys and girls of the same age. For health's sake, the teaching was carried on out of doors as much as possible. With this in view, the schools were built either in large gardens or on the border of the forest, and the lessons in natural history were regularly, and other lessons frequently, given in connection with excursions into the neighbourhood. Consequently our school children presented a different appearance from that we had been accustomed to see in our old home, and especially in its great cities. Rosy faces and figures full of robust health, vigour, and the joy of living, self-reliance, and strong intelligence were betrayed by every mien and every movement. Thus were our children equipped for entering upon the serious duties of life.
Naturally such a system of instruction demanded a very numerous and highly gifted staff of teachers. In Freeland there was on an average one teacher to every fifteen scholars, and the best intelligence in the land was secured for the teaching profession by the payment of high salaries. For the first four classes, which were taught chiefly by young women—single or widowed—the salaries ranged from 1,400 to 1,800 labour-hour equivalents; for the other six classes from 1,800 to 2,400. In the fifth year of the settlement these salaries, reckoned in money, amounted to from 350L to 600L.
But even such a demand for high intelligence Freeland was determined to meet out of its own resources. In the third year, therefore, a high school was founded, in which all those branches of knowledge were taught which in Europe can be learnt at the universities, academies, and technical colleges. All the faculties were endowed with a liberality of which those outside of Freeland can have scarcely any conception. Our observatories, laboratories, and museums had command of almost unlimited means, and no stipend was too high to attract and retain a brilliant teacher. The same held good of the technical, and not less of the agricultural and commercial, professorial chairs and apparatus for teaching in our high school. The instruction in all faculties was absolutely untrammelled, and, like that in the lower schools, gratuitous. In the fifth year of the settlement the high school had 7,500 students, the number of its chairs was 215; its annual budget reached as high as 2,500,000L, and was rapidly increasing.
The means for all this enormous outlay was furnished in rich abundance by the tax levied on the total income of all producers; for this income grew amazingly under the double influence of the increasing population and the increasing productiveness of labour. When the railway to the coast was finished and its results had begun to make themselves felt, the value of the average profit of a labour-hour quickly rose to 6s.; and as at this time, the end of the fifth year in Freeland, 280,000 workers were productively engaged for an average of six hours a day—that is, for 1,800 hours in the year—the total value of the profit of labour that year in Freeland amounted to 280,000 x 1,800 x 6s.—that is, to a round sum of 150,000,000L. Of this the commonwealth reserved thirty-five per cent. as tax—that is, in round figures, 52,500,000L; and this was the source from which, after meeting the claims for the maintenance allowances—which certainly absorbed more than half—all the expenses it was held desirable to indulge in were defrayed.
In fact, the growth of revenue was so certain and had reached such large proportions that, at the end of the fifth year, the executive resolved to place before the representative bodies, meeting together for the purpose, two measures of great importance: first, to make the granting of credits to the associations independent of the central authority; and, secondly, to return the free contributions of the members who had already joined, and in future to accept no such contributions.
For the reasons given in the eighth chapter, the amount and order of the loans for productive purposes had hitherto been dependent upon the decision of the central authority. The stock of capitalistic aids to labour, and consequently the productive means of the community, had now, however, reached such a stage as to make any limit to the right of free and independent decision by the workers themselves quite unnecessary. The associations might ask for whatever they thought would be useful to themselves, the capital of the country being considered equal to any demands that could be reasonably anticipated. And this confidence in the resources of Freeland proved to be well grounded. It is true that twice, in the years that immediately followed this resolution, it happened that, in consequence of unexpectedly large demands for capital, the portion of the public revenue used for that purpose considerably exceeded the normal proportion; but, thanks to the constant increase in all the profits of production, this was borne without the slightest inconvenience. Later, the reserves in the hands of the commonwealth sufficed to remove even this element of fluctuation from the relations between the demand for capital and the public revenue.
On the other hand, this resolution called forth a remarkable attempt to swindle the commonwealth by means of the absolute freedom with which loans were granted. In America a syndicate of speculative 'men of business' was formed for the purpose of exploiting the simple-minded credulity of us 'stupid Freelanders.' Their plan was to draw as large a sum as possible from our central bank under the pretence of requiring it to found an association. Forty-six of the cleverest and most unscrupulous Yankees joined in this campaign against our pockets. What they meant to do, and how far they succeeded, can be best shown by giving the narrative written by their leader, who is at present the honoured manager of the great saltworks on the Nakuro lake:
'After we had arrived in Eden Vale, we decided to try the ground before we proceeded to execute our design. We noticed, to our great satisfaction, that the mistrust of the Freelanders would give us very little trouble. The hotel in which we put up supplied us with everything on credit, and no one took the trouble to ask we were. When I remarked to the host in a paternal tone that it was a very careless procedure to keep a pump indiscriminately free to any stroller who might come along, the host—I mean the director of the Eden Vale Hotel Association—laughed and said there was no fear of anyone's running away, for no one, whoever he might be, ever thought of leaving Freeland. "So far, so good," thought I; but I asked further what the Hotel Association would do if a guest could not pay? "Nonsense," said the director; "here everyone can pay as soon as he begins to work." "And if he can't work?" "Then he gets a maintenance allowance from the commonwealth." "And if he won't work?" The man smiled, slapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Won't work won't last long here, you may rely upon it. Besides, if one who has sound limbs will be lazy—well, he still gets bed and board among us. So don't trouble yourself about paying your score; you may pay when you can and will."
'He made a curious impression upon us, this director. We said nothing, but resolved to sound these Freelanders further. We went into the great warehouses to get clothes, linen, &c., on credit. It succeeded admirably. The salesmen—they were clerks, as we found—asked for a draft on the central bank; and when we replied that we had no account there as yet, they said it did not matter—it would be sufficient if we gave a written statement of the amount of our purchases, and the bank, when we had an account there, would honour it. It was the same everywhere. Mackay or Gould cannot get credit in New York more readily than we did in Freeland.
'After a few days, we began to take steps towards establishing our association. As I have said, we had at first no fear of exciting distrust. But it was inconvenient that the Freeland constitution insisted upon publicity in connection with every act, date, and circumstance connected with business. We knew that we had nothing to fear from police or courts of justice; but what should we do if the Freeland public were to acquire a taste for the proposed association and wish to join it? Naturally we could not admit outsiders as partners, but must keep the thing to ourselves, otherwise our plan would be spoilt. We tried to find out if there were any means of limiting the number of participators in our scheme. We minutely questioned well-informed Freelanders upon the subject. We complained of the abominable injustice of being compelled to share with everybody the benefit of the splendid "idea" which we had conceived, to reveal our business secrets, and so forth. But it was all of no use. The Freelanders remained callous upon this point. They told us that no one would force us to reveal our secrets if we were willing to work them out with our own resources; but if we needed Freeland land and Freeland capital, then of course all Freeland must know what we wanted to do. "And if our business can employ only a small number of workers—if, for example, the goods that we wish to make, though they yield a great profit, yet have a very limited market—must we also in such a case let everybody come in?" "In such a case," was the answer, "Freeland workers will not be so stupid as to force themselves upon you in great numbers." "Good!" cried I, with dissembled anger; "but if more should come in than are needed?" The people had an answer even to this; for they said that those workers that were not needed would withdraw, or, if they remained, they would have to work fewer hours, or work in turns, or do something of that sort; opportunity of making profitable use of spare time was never lacking in Freeland.
'What was to be done? We should be obliged to give our plans such a character as to prevent the Freeland workers from having any wish to share in them. But this must not be done too clumsily, as the people would after all smell a rat, or perhaps join us out of pure philanthropy, in order to save us from the consequences of our folly. We ultimately decided to set up a needle-factory. Such a factory would be obviously—in the then condition of trade—unprofitable, but the scheme was not so absolutely romantic as to bring the inquisitive about our necks. We therefore organised ourselves, and had the satisfaction of having no partners except a couple of simpletons who, for some reason or other, fancied that needle-making was a good business; and it was not very difficult to pet rid of these two. The next thing was to fix the amount of capital to be required for the business—that is, the amount of credit we should ask for at the central bank. We should very naturally have preferred to ask at once for a million pounds sterling; but that we could not do, as we should have to state what we needed the money for, and a needle-factory for forty-eight workers could not possibly have swallowed up so much without bringing upon us a whole legion of investigating critics in the form of working partners. So we limited our demand to 130,000L, and even this amount excited some surprise; but we explained our demand by asserting that the new machines which we intended to use were very dear.
'But now came the main anxiety. How were we to get this 130,000L, or the greater part of it, into our pockets? Our people had elected me director of the first "Eden Vale Needle-factory Association," and, as such, I went the next day into the bank to open our account there and to obtain all the necessary information. The cashier assured me that all payments authorised by me should be at once made; but when I asked for a "small advance" of a few thousand pounds, he asked in astonishment what was to be done with it. "We must pay our small debts." "Unnecessary," was his answer; "all debts are discharged here through the bank." "Yes, but what are my people and I to live upon in the mean time, until our factory begins to work?" I asked with some heat. "Upon your work in other undertakings, or upon your savings, if you have any. Besides, you cannot fail to get credit; but we, the central bank, give merely productive credit—we cannot advance to you what you consume."
'There we were with nothing but our credit for 130,000L, and we began to perceive that it was not so easy to carry off the money. Certainly we could build and give orders for what we pleased. But what good would it do us to spend money upon useless things?
'The worst was that we should have to begin to work in earnest if we would not after all excite a general distrust; so we joined different undertakings. But we would not admit that we were beaten, and after mature reflection I hit upon the following as the only possible method of carrying out the swindle we had planned. The central bank was the channel through which all purchases and sales were made, but, as I soon detected, did not interfere in the least with the buyer or the person who ordered goods in the choice of such goods as he might think suitable. We had, therefore, the right to order the machinery for our needle-factory of any manufacturers we pleased in Europe or America, and the central bank would pay for it. We, therefore, merely had to act in conjunction with some European or American firm of swindlers, and share the profits with them, in order to carry off a rich booty.
'At the same time, it occurred to me that it would be infinitely stupid to make use of such a method. It was quite plain that very little was to be gained in that way; but, even if it had been possible for each of us to embezzle a fortune, I had lost all desire to leave Freeland. The chances were that I should be a loser by leaving. I was a novice at honest work, and any special exertion was not then to my taste. Yet I had earned as much as 12s. a day, and that is 180L a year, with which one can live as well here as with twice as much in America or England. Even if I continued to work in the same way, merely enough to keep off ennui, my income would very soon increase. In the worst case, I could live upon my earnings here as well as 400L or 500L would enable me to live elsewhere; and there was not the slightest prospect of being able to steal so much. The result was that I declined to go away. Firstly, because I was very happy here; intercourse with decent men was becoming more and more pleasant and attractive to the scoundrel, which I then was; and then—it struck me as rather comical—I began to get ashamed of my roguery. Even scoundrels have their honour. In the other parts of the world, where everyone fleeces his neighbour if he can, I did not think myself worse than the so-called honest people: the only difference was that I did not adhere so closely to the law. There, all are engaged in hunting down their dear neighbours; that I allowed myself to hunt without my chart did not trouble my conscience much, especially as I only had the alternative of hunting or being hunted. But here in Freeland no one hunted for his neighbour's goods; here every rogue must confess himself to be worse than all the rest, and indeed a rascal without necessity, out of pure delight in rascality. If one only had the spur of danger which in the outer world clothed this hunting with so much poetry! But here there was not a trace of it! The Freelanders would not even have pursued us if we had bolted with our embezzled booty; we might have run off as unmolested as so many mangy dogs. No; here I neither would nor could be a rascal. I called my companions together to tell them that I resigned my position as director, withdrew altogether from the company, and meant to devote myself here to honest work. There was not one who did not agree with me. Some of them were not quite reconciled to work, but they all meant to remain. One specially persistent fellow asked whether, as we were once more together by ourselves, and might not be so again, it would not be a smart trick if we were to embezzle a few thousand pounds before we became honest folks; but it did not even need a reference to the individual responsibility of the members of the association for the debts that the association contracted in order to dispose of the proposition of this last adherent to our former rascality. Not only would they all stay here, but they would become honest—these hardened rogues, who a few weeks before were wont to use the words honest and stupid as synonyms. So it came to pass that the fine plan, in devising which the "smartest fellows" of New England had exhausted their invention, was silently dropped; and, if I am well informed, not one of the forty-six of us has ever uttered a complaint.'
The second proposal brought before the united representatives of Freeland—the repayment of the larger or smaller contributions which most of the members had up to then paid on admission into the Society—involved the disbursement of not less than 43,000,000L. The members had always been told that their contributions were not repayable, but were to be a sacrifice towards the attainment of the objects of the Society. Nevertheless, the government of Freeland considered that now, when the new commonwealth no longer needed such a sacrifice, it was only just to dispense with it, both prospectively and retrospectively. The generous benefactors had never based any claim to special recognition or higher honour upon the assistance they had so richly afforded to the poorer members; in fact, most of them had even refused to be recognised as benefactors. Neither was this assistance in any way inconsistent with the principles upon which the new community was founded; on the contrary, it was quite in harmony with those principles that the assistance afforded by the wealthy to the helpless should be regarded as based upon sound rational self-interest. But when the time had come when, as a consequence of this so generously practised rational egoism, the commonwealth was strong enough to dispense with extraneous aids, and to repay what had been already given, it seemed to us just that this should be done.
This proposal was unanimously accepted without debate, and immediately carried into execution. All the contributors received back their contributions—that is, the amounts were placed to their credit in the books of the central bank, and they could dispose of them as they pleased.
With this, the second epoch of the history of Freeland may be regarded as closed. The founding of the commonwealth, which occupied the first epoch, was effected entirely by the voluntary sacrifices of the individual members. In the second period, this aid, though no longer absolutely necessary, was a useful and effective means of promoting the rapid growth of the commonwealth. Henceforth, grown to be a giant, this free commonwealth rejected all aid of whatever kind that did not spring out of its regular resources; and, recompensing past aid a thousand-fold, it was now the great institution upon whose ever-inexhaustible means the want and misery of every part of the world might with certainty reckon.
Twenty years have passed away—twenty-five years since the arrival of our pioneers at the Kenia. The principles by which Freeland has been governed have remained the same, and their results have not changed, except that the intellectual and material culture, and the number and wealth of the inhabitants have grown in a continually increasing ratio. The immigration, by means of fifty-four of the largest ocean steamers of a total of 495,000 tons register, had reached in the twenty-fifth year the figure of 1,152,000 heads. In order to convey into the heart of the continent as quickly as possible this influx to the African coast from all parts of the world, the Freeland system of railways has been either carried to or connected with other lines that reach the ocean at four different points. One line is that which was constructed in the previous epoch between Eden Vale and Mombasa. Four years later, after the pacification of the Galla tribes, the line to the Witu coast through the Dana valley was constructed. Nine years after that, a line—like all the other principal lines in Freeland, double-railed—along the Nile valley from the Victoria Nyanza and the Albert Nyanza, through the equatorial provinces of Egypt, Dongola, the Soudan, and Nubia, was connected with the Egyptian railway system, and thus brought Freeland into railway communication with the Mediterranean. Finally, in the twenty-fourth year, the finishing touch was given to the great Equatorial Trunk Railway, which, starting from Uganda on the Victoria Nyanza, and crossing the Nile where it leaves the Albert Nyanza, reaches the Atlantic Ocean through the valleys of the Aruwhimi and the Congo. Thus we possess two direct railway communications with the Indian Ocean, and one each with the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Naturally, the Mombasa line was largely superseded by the much shorter Dana line; our passenger trains run the 360 miles of the latter in nine hours, while the Mombasa line, despite its shortening by the Athi branch line, cannot be traversed in less than double that time. The distance by rail between Eden Vale and Alexandria is 4,000 miles, the working of which is in our hands from Assuan southward. On account of the slower rate of the trains on the Egyptian portion, the journey consumes six days and a half; nevertheless, this is the most frequented route, because it shortens the total journey by nearly two weeks for all the immigrants who come by the Mediterranean Sea—that is, for all Europeans and most of the Americans. The Grand Equatorial Trunk Line—which, by agreement with the Congo State, was constructed almost entirely at our cost and is worked entirely by us—has a length of above 3,000 miles, and travellers by it from the mouth of the Congo can reach Eden Vale in a little less than four days.
Eden Vale, and the Kenia district generally, have long since ceased to receive the whole influx of immigrants. The densest Freeland population is still to be found on the highlands between the Victoria Nyanza and the Indian Ocean, and the seat of the supreme government is now, as formerly, in Eden Vale; but Freeland has largely extended its boundaries on all sides, particularly on the west. Freeland settlers have spread over the whole of Masailand, Kavirondo, and Uganda, and all round the shores of the Victoria Nyanza, the Mutanzige, and the Albert Nyanza, wherever healthy elevated sites and fruitful soil were to be found. The provisional limits of the territory over which we have spread are formed on the south-east by the pleasant and fertile hill-districts of Teita; on the north by the elevated tracts between the lakes Baringo and Victoria Nyanza and the Galla countries; on the west by the extreme spurs of the Mountains of the Moon, which begin at the Albert lake; and on the south by the hilly districts stretching to the lake Tanganika. This makes an area of about 580,000 square miles. This area is not, however, everywhere covered with a compact Freeland population; but in many places our colonists are scattered among the natives, whom they are everywhere raising to a higher and freer civilisation. The total population of the territory at this time under Freeland influence amounts to 42,000,000 souls, of whom 26,000,000 are whites and 10,000,000 black or brown natives. Of the whites 12,500,000 dwell in the original settlement on the Kenia and the Aberdare range; 1,500,000 are scattered about over the rest of Masailand, on the north declivities of the Kilimanjaro and in Teita; the hills to the west and north of Lake Baringo have a white population of 2,000,000; round the Victoria Nyanza have settled 8,500,000; among the hills between that lake and Lakes Mutanzige and Albert 1,500,000; on the Mountains of the Moon, west of Lake Albert Nyanza, 3,000,000; and finally, to the south, between these two lakes and Lake Tanganika, are scattered 2,000,000.
The products of Freeland industry comprehend almost all the articles required by civilised men; but mechanical industry continues to be the chief branch of production. This production is principally to meet the home demand, though the productive capacity of Freeland has for years materially surpassed that of all the machine-factories in the rest of the world. But Freeland has employment for more machinery than the whole of the rest of the world put together, for the work of its machines takes the place of that of the slaves or she wage-labourers of other countries; and as our 26,000,000 whites—not to reckon the civilised negroes—are all 'employers,' we need very many steel and iron servants to satisfy our needs, which increase step by step with the increase of our skill. Therefore comparatively few of our machines—except certain specialties—go over our frontiers. On the contrary, agriculture is pursued more largely for export than for home consumption; indeed, it can with truth be asserted that the whole of the Freeland corn-produce is available for export, since the surplus of the corn-production of the negroes which reaches our markets is on an average quite sufficient to cover our home demand. In the twenty-fourth year there were 22,000,000 acres of land under the plough, which in the two harvests produced 2,066,000,000 cwt. of grain and other field-produce, worth in round figures 600,000,000L. To this quantity of agricultural produce must be added other export goods worth 550,000,000L; so that the total export was worth 1,150,000,000L. On the other hand, the chief item of import goods was that of 'books and other printed matter'; and next to this followed works of art and objects of luxury. Of the articles which in other countries make up the chief mass of outside commerce, the Freeland list of imports shows only cotton goods, cotton being grown at home scarcely at all. This item of import reached the value of 57,000,000L. The import of books—newspapers included—reached in the previous year 138,000,000L, considerably more than all the rest of the world had in that same year paid for books. It must not be inferred that the demand for books in Freeland is entirely, or even mainly, covered by the import from without. The Freeland readers during the same year paid more than twice as much to their home publishers as to the foreign ones. In fact, at the date of our writing this, the Freelanders read more than three times as much as the whole of the reading public outside of Freeland.
The above figures will show the degree of wealth to which Freeland has attained. In fact, the total value of the productions of the 7,500,000 producers during the last year was nearly seven milliard pounds sterling (7,000,000,000L.) Deducting from that amount two milliards and a-half to cover the tax for the purposes of the commonwealth, there remained four milliard and a-half as profit to be shared among the producers, giving an average of 600L to each worker. And to produce this we worked only five hours a day on the average, or 1,500 hours in the year; so that the average net value of an hour's labour was 8s.—little less than the average weekly wage of the common labourer in many parts of Europe.
Almost all articles of ordinary consumption are very much cheaper in Freeland than in any other part of the civilised world. The average price of a cwt. of wheat is 6s; a pound of beef about 2-1/2d., a hectolitre (twenty-two gallons) of beer or light wine 10s., a complete suit of good woollen clothing 20s. or 80s., a horse of splendid Arab stock 15L, a good milch cow 2L, &c. A few articles of luxury imported from abroad are dear—e.g. certain wines, and those goods which must be produced by hand-labour—of which, however, there are very few. The latter were all imported from abroad, as it would never occur to a Freelander to compete with foreigners in hand-labour. For though the harmoniously developed, vigorous, and intelligent workers of our country surpass two- or three-fold the debilitated servants of Western nations in the strength and training of their muscles, they cannot compete with hand-labour that is fifty- or a hundred-fold cheaper than their own. Their superiority begins when they can oppose their slaves of steel to the foreign ones of flesh and bone; with these slaves of steel they can work cheaper than those of flesh and bone, for the slaves which are set in motion by steam, electricity, and water are more easily satisfied than even the wage-labourers of 'free' Europe. These latter need potatoes to fill their stomach, and a few rags to cover their nakedness; whilst coal or a stream of water stills the hunger of the former, and a little grease suffices to keep their joints supple.
This superiority of Freeland in machinery, and that of foreign countries in hand labour, merely confirms an old maxim of experience, which is none the less true that it still escapes the notice of the so-called 'civilised nations.' That only the relatively rich nations—that is, those whose masses are relatively in the best condition—very largely employ machinery in production, could not possibly long escape the most obtuse-minded; but this undeniable phenomenon is wrongly explained. It is held that the English or the American people live in a way more worthy of human nature than, for example, the Chinese or the Russians, because they are richer; and that for the same reason—namely, because the requisite capital is more abundant—the English and Americans use machinery while the Chinese and Russians employ merely human muscles. This leaves unexplained the principal question, whence comes this difference in wealth? and also directly contradicts the facts that the Chinese and the Russians make no use of the capital so liberally and cheaply offered to them, and that machine-labour is unprofitable in their hands as long as their wage-earners are satisfied with a handful of rice or with half-rotten potatoes and a drop of spirits. But it is a part of the credo of the orthodox political economy, and is therefore accepted without examination. Yet he who does not use his eyes merely to shut them to facts, or his mind merely to harbour obstinately the prejudices which he has once acquired, must sooner or later see that the wealth of the nations is nothing else than their possession of the means of production; that this wealth is great or small in proportion as the means of production are many and great, or few and small; and that many or few means of production are needed according as there is a great or a small use of those things which are created by these means of production—therefore solely in proportion to the large or small consumption. Where little is used little can be produced, and there will therefore be few instruments of production, and the people must remain poor.
Neither can the export trade make any alteration; for the things which are exported must be exchanged for other things, whether food, or instruments of labour, or money, or some other commodity, and for that which is imported there must be some use; which, however, is impossible if there is no consumption, for in such a case the imported articles will find as little sale as the things produced at home. Certainly those commodities which are produced by a people who use neither their own productions nor those of other people, may be lent to other nations. But this again depends upon whether foreigners have a use for such a surplus above what is required at home; and as this is not generally the case, it remains, once for all, that any nation can produce only so much as it has a use for, and the measure of its wealth is therefore the extent of its requirements.
Naturally this applies to only those nations whose civilisation has reached such a stage that the employment of complex instruments of labour is prevented, not by their ignorance, but simply by their social political helplessness. To such nations, however, applies in full the truth that they are poor simply because they cannot eat enough to satisfy themselves; and that the increase of their wealth is conditioned by nothing else than the degree of energy with which the working classes struggle against their misery. The English and the Americans will eat meat, and therefore do not allow their wages to sink below the level at which the purchase of meat is possible; this is the only reason why England and America employ more machinery than China and Russia, where the people are contented with rice or potatoes. But we in Freeland have brought it to pass that our working classes are secure of obtaining the whole profit of their labour, however great that profit may be; what, therefore, could be more natural than that we should employ as much machinery as our mechanicians can invent?
Nothing can permanently prevent the operation of this first law of economics. Production exists solely for the sake of consumption, and must therefore—as ought long since to have been seen—depend, both in its amount and in the character of its means, upon the amount of consumption. And if some tricksy Puck were to carry off overnight to some European country all our wealth and all our machinery, without taking to that country our social institutions as well, it is as certain that that country would not be a farthing richer than it was before, as it is that China would not be richer if all the wealth of England and America were carried thither without allowing the Chinese labourers more than boiled rice for food and a loin-cloth for clothing. Just as in this case the English and American machinery would become mere useless old iron in China, so in the former case would our machinery in Europe or America. And just as the English and the Americans, if their working classes only retained their present habits, would very quickly produce fresh machinery to take the place of that which had been spirited away to China, and would thereby regain their former level of wealth, so it would not be difficult for us to repeat what we have already effected—namely, to place ourselves afresh in possession of all that wealth which corresponds to our habits of life. For the social institutions of Freeland are the true and only source of our wealth; that we can use our wealth is the raison d'etre of all our machinery.
Under the name of machinery we here include everything which on the one hand is not a free gift of nature, but the outcome of human effort, and on the other hand is intended to increase the productiveness of human labour. This power has grown to colossal dimensions in Freeland. Our system of railways—the lines above-named are only the four largest, which serve for communication with other countries—has reached a total length of road of about 358,000 miles, of which less than 112,000 miles are main lines, while about 248,000 miles are lines for agricultural and industrial purposes. Our canal system serves mainly for purposes of irrigation and draining, and the total length of its numberless thousands of larger and smaller branches is beyond all calculation, but these canals are navigable for a length of 86,000 miles. Besides the passenger ships already mentioned, there are afloat upon the seas of the world nearly 3,000 of our freight steamers with a total registered tonnage of 14,500,000. On the lakes and rivers of Africa we possess 17,800 larger and smaller steamers with a total register of 5,200,000 tons. The motive power which drives these means of communication and the numberless machines of our agriculture and our factories, our public and private institutions, reaches a total of not less than 245,000,000 horse-power—that is, fully twice the mechanical force employed by the whole of the rest of the world. In Freeland there is brought into use a mechanical force of nearly nine and a-half horse-power per head of the population; and as every registered horse-power is equal to the mechanical force of twelve or thirteen men, the result in labour is the same as if every Freelander without exception had about 120 slaves at his disposal. What wonder that we can live like masters, notwithstanding that servitude is not known in Freeland!
The value of the above enormous investments of all kinds can be calculated to a farthing, because of the wonderful transparency of all our industrial operations. The Freeland commonwealth, as such, has, during the twenty-five years of its existence, disbursed eleven milliards sterling for investment purposes. The disbursement through the medium of associations and of individual workers (the latter in relatively insignificant numbers) has amounted to twenty-three milliards sterling. So that the total investments represent a sum of thirty-four milliards, all highly profitable capital, despite—or rather because of—the fact that it belongs to no one particular owner; for this very absence of private proprietorship of the total productive capital is the reason why any labour power can avail itself of those means of production by the use of which the highest possible profit can be realised. Every Freelander is joint-possessor of this immense wealth, which amounts—without taking into account the incalculable value of the soil—to 1,300L per head, or 6,000L per family. Thus, in these twenty-five years we have all become in a certain sense quite respectable capitalists. This capital does not bear us interest; but, on the other hand, we owe to it the labour-profit of seven milliards sterling, which gives an average of 270L per head for the 26,000,000 souls in Freeland.