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payers of the two nations. We know —or we ought to know—what that would mean in the way of expense, delay, waste of time and money; and endless political jobbery. It ought not to be forgotten that certain great railway enterprises in East and West Africa undertaken by Whitehall and Downing Street cost the taxpayer far more than they should have done. A million was wasted here, three hundred thousand pounds elsewhere. The projects afforded many opportunities to bureaucracy to “place” its incompetent nephews and cousins, sons, or brothers-in-law, most of whom had to be shed or politely dispensed with by the contractors or managers, their unnecessary engagement having led to much waste of time and numerous expensive mistakes. Even if the enterprise is to be the joint property—as it must be—of the two Governments, it should be entrusted to a body of business men to construct, whose own interest it shall be that no needless cost shall be incurred. Once it is made, the gain in time and comfort will be enormous. Thousands of “foreigners” will flock to Britain who have hitherto been deterred by the hateful discomfort and weather ob
structions of the Channel passage; The London Chronicle.
millions of British will be additionally impelled to enlarge their minds and their commerce by travel abroad.
Whilst the British climate is what it is—and it will be long before man can sensibly control and improve it— there will be an ever-increasing desire to mitigate the miseries of an English or Scottish winter and spring by holidays—brief, but healing—in the warm lands of the Mediterranean; and to all such who may as permissibly spend their saved money in this way, as on doctors and nursing homes, on a London season, or on dispensable frivolities, it would be a great added comfort and health-preserver to enter one's railway compartment in London, in Paris, or at Rome or Nice, and not leave it till the destination, or the first long stage in the destination was reached.
The Channel Tunnel means the most important link in the through railway communication between England and India, between London and the Cape of Good Hope, between England and China, London and Singapore. There will still be need for all the fleets of large and small ships to convey about the world the raw materials of our industries, and the heavier masses of our manufactured goods.
(The colossal expenditures of the war, and the pressing problems which confront the different Governments and the financiers and business interests of the different countries are of so profound national concern that THE LIVING AGE proposes to print for the present, from week to week, a department specially devoted to their consideration.—Editor of THE LIVING AGE.)
THE Dominion's RAILway IDEA.
National ownership is recommended in the Majority Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into the Railways and Transportation in Canada. Management by a national and polit
ically independent board of trustees, with a representative of the railway workers themselves on the board, is, however, a fundamental part of the scheme recommended by the Commissioners to consolidate 25,000 miles
of transcontinental and branch lines into a nationally-owned Dominion Railway Company.
The situation in Canada is that the growth of mileage has far outstripped the growth of population. Canada has three transcontinental railway systems. There is sufficient traffic for two good systems—the Canadian Pacific Railway and another--but not enough for three. In round figures the Canadian railway mileage is 40,000 miles, and the population of Canada is assumed to be something like 7,500,000 at the present time. The railway mileage is roughly equal to that of the German Empire—with 67,000,000 inhabitants. Canada has nearly one sixth of the railway mileage of the United States; it has less than one fourteenth of the population. Canada has only 185 inhabitants to support each mile of railway; the United States has 400 inhabitants per mile of line. The status of the Canadian railways is further affected by the existence of a magnificent internal system of natural waterways, which compete with the railways for traffic during the season of navigation.
The Commissioners find that “the net return is so low as to prove that more railways have been built than can be justified on commercial grounds under present conditions.” The total amount of public capital involved in direct construction of Government lines, and cash aid, land grants and bond guarantees to private companies is $968,451,000—not counting the value of lands still unsold. Public aid to the principal companies, including subsidies, land grants, and bond guarantees amounts to over $680,000,000. In the case of the Grand Trunk Pacific it amounts to nearly two-thirds of the total investment; in the case of the Canadian Northern to over three-quarters.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, with
a mileage of 12,900 miles, the first in the field, economically built and managed, is a highly profitable system. It is the strongest railway in Canada, and its ramifications are world-wide. The Grand Trunk Pacific system, with a mileage (excluding Branch Lines Co.) of 1,964 miles, has cost nearly $200,000,000. Its interest charges amount to over $8,800,000 per annum. Its net income last year was $826,653. The Grand Trunk Company is liable to pay over $5,000,000 per annum of the Grand Trunk Pacific interest charges, according to the Report of the Railway Inquiry Commission; and in 1923, when the Canadian Government's obligation to pay interest ceases, the private company would be liable for over $7,000,000 annually.
It has been established also by the Commission that the operation of the Canadian Northern for the year ending June 30th, 1916, resulted in a deficit of over $5,000,000. The Commission finds that the total sum of money that could possibly have gone into the Canadian Northern system is $370,302,451; and of this possible total a sum no less than $298,253,263 is shown to have been provided by public credit and subsidies.
With the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk Pacific companies facing such heavy annual deficits, and the public credit so heavily involved, heroic measures are demanded of the Government of Canada
—and demanded without delay. The Railway Inquiry Commission is not in favor of direct Government ownership and management. The Commissioners say: "We do not consider that operation by a Minister directly responsible to Parliament would be in the public interest. It would not secure better service or lower rates."
The possibility of the Grand Trunk, Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian
stantially the same as that of judges of the Supreme Court.
Northern Companies being allowed to go into the hands of a receiver is also rejected. The Commission recommends that these three companies be transferred to a new body. Having come to the conclusion that direct ownership and operation by the Government is to be avoided, and that ownership and operation by a commercial company is not possible, the Commission recommends that a new Public Authority, a Board of Trustees, be incorporated by Act of Parliament as the “Dominion Railway Company''; and that the Canadian Northern, Grand Trunk, and Grank Trunk Pacific be transferred to this body.
Under the scheme worked out by the Commission the Government would assume responsibility to the Dominion Railway Company for the interest on the existing securities of the transferred companies. The Governmentowned Intercolonial and National Transcontinental Railways, stretching from Halifax to Winnipeg, would also be transferred to the Dominion Railway Company. There would then be a nationally-owned railway system covering the whole of Canada—from Halifax on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver and Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast. The Dominion's railway would be operated by the trustees as one united system, on a commercial basis, “under their own politically undisturbed management, on account of, and for the benefit of, the people of Canada."
Thereupon follows the clause relating to the trustees:
It is further recommended that the original trustees retire after three, four, five, six, and seven years respectively, according to a prescribed scheme; and that they be eligible for reappointment; and that all appointments subsequent to the original statutory appointments be by the Governor-General in Council on the nomination of the trustees themselves.
The Commissioners lay stress on the importance of the Board being nonpolitical, permanent, and self-perpetuating; and in this connection point to the experience of the Australian State Railways.
The Dominion's Railway idea is big, and the Commissioners reflect courage and breadth of vision in their recommendations. The proposal to give the railway workers a direct share of control in the management is a practical expression of an idea which is coming to be much discussed in democratic countries. In Canada the Labor movement has practically no representation politically. On the assumption that economic power must precede political power, if the status of Labor is to be raised, the recommendation of the Railway Inquiry Commission might be regarded as a great step forward. The New Statesman.
We recommend that there be five trustees, three railway members, one member selected on the ground of business and financial experience, and one as especially possessing the confidence of the railway employees;
ees. that the original trustees be named in the Act constituting the Board; and that their tenure of office be sub
LABOR IN AMERICAN SHIPYARDS.
During the last two years the output and equipment of American shipbuilding yards have been multiplied by three; if the Shipping Board's new program is to be carried out in time to have a decisive influence on the war there will need to be another multiplication by three. So great an " expansion in industry involves grave labor difficulties, and we are glad to have particulars from that well-known
authority, Mr. Edward Porritt (the Glasgow Herald, October 2d), of the steps being taken by the Government departments to anticipate their difficulties before they become acute. On August 25th a joint agreement was signed by the representatives of all the labor unions concerned, and by the Navy Department, the Shipping Board, and the Emergency Fleet Corporation (an offshoot of the Shipping Board). The agreement provides that all disputes which arise concerning wages, hours, or conditions in shipyards and shipbuilding plants shall be determined by a Committee of Three-one representing the Emergency Fleet Corporation, one the public (nominated by Mr. Wilson), and the third Labor, nominated by Mr. Samuel Gompers, the all-powerful president of the American Federation of Labor. Here we have a very small committee of arbitration, with full powers to settle disputes arising out of all Government shipbuilding work except the purely Navy work. The Navy yards enjoy the distinction of never having had any strikes, so that they are quite capable of looking after their own labor. At the time when the agreement was signed disputes were delaying work in the shipyards, and it is confidently hoped, now that The Economist.
organized labor has been fully recognized and joined in the responsibility of the Committee of Three, that there will be fewer disputes "in these times,” to use Mr. Porritt's words, "of unprecedented pressure on American shipyards, and of almost bewildering activity in the organization of new shipbuilding companies, and the installation of new shipbuilding plants." The agreement is accepted by Mr. Gompers and his associates in the American Federation of Labor as a full and complete recognition of the labor unions, and of standard of wages and of conditions which are in accord with fair dealing. This war will be won in the shipyards of Great Britain and America. The United States has now a shipbuilding capacity of over 1,500,000 gross tons a year—as compared with about 500,000 tons two years ago—but it will need to get rapidly up to a rate of four million gross tons a year if the American Army is to have sufficient means of transport. The Americans can do this if they realize to the full that the war is now one of shipbuilding against U-boats, and bend all their energies to the task. The Government's agreement with Labor, if it be fairly worked on both sides, should be of the greatest help.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
The Page Company adds “Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago," by Evaleen Stein, to its Little Cousins of Long Ago series; and “Our Little Roumanian Cousin,” by Clara Vosstrovsky Winlow to its Little Cousins series. Both are attractively illustrated, and, like their predecessors in the series, serve a useful purpose in bringing before young readers the conditions of child life in far off countries and times.
The reader who is attracted by the title of Cosmo Hamilton's "Scandal" will find what he is looking for. The heroine is the superlatively fascinating daughter of a New York millionaire, who disarms her parents' criticism of her conduct in visiting at midnight, uncompanioned, the studio of a notorious artist, by professing herself, on the spur of the moment, secretly married to the man of their choice, and calling on him, as "a good sport,"
to back her up. The plot is sustained at habits of the young. The Century the same sordid and suggestive level Co. for nearly four hundred pages. Little Lovers of incorrigible optimism count Brown & Co.
"Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley” in the Dedicated to Eden Phillpotts, at same class with "Polyanna” and “Mrs. whose suggestion its author has turned Wiggs," and they will give a hearty aside from history for an experiment welcome to the “further joyous record" in fiction, The Pope's Favorite,” in which Belle K. Maniates tells the by Joseph McCabe, is a brilliant experiences of "Amarilly in Love." piece of work. It is a story of the The Jenkinses, large and small, are Borgia period, with Alexander VI its now established in a big, tumbledown leading figure, and its opening chap- house in the country, where "Ma" ters describe his election. The plot has developed “an acute case of telefollows the familiar ecclesiastical and phonitis." Amarilly-her college days political intrigues of the time, but the over-stays at home just long enough episodes added by imagination are to be pronounced "folksey, jest the artistically fitted in, and the historical way she uster be,” and then strikes and fictitious characters meet on more out for herself in the near-by city, equal terms than is usually the case. where she first becomes typewriter That the story should be full of vivid to a playwright, and then writes a color and startling incident was to play of her own. The artist who paid have been expected, but there is a for her education in the earlier volume, live human interest not often achieved and a mysterious recluse who buys an in novels of this sort. Dodd, Mead abandoned farm just beyond “Ma's” & Co.
are rival lovers, and Amarilly's decision A well-known French compilation
is not reached till the last chapter.
The episode in the show-window of by Jean Henri Fabre, “The Story
the Belgrade Bazaar is uncommonly Book of Science," has been translated
ingenious and readable. Little, Brown by Florence Constable Bicknell. The rendering into English is well done; but the aroma of the French remains, Large business enterprises-mines, whether intentionally or not, and the manufactures, railroads and the like talk of the Uncle, with his nieces and often figure in current fiction, reprenephews, on Science remains the talk sented both by employers and emof a Parisian, not an American. The ployees. But intimate studies of usual sugar-coat is bountifully ap- individuals halfway up the business plied and the mass of information dis- ladder, such as Stacy Aumonier has guised, as usual, under the form of a made in the little volume of short story. Perhaps children are deceived stories called “The Friends,” are not by this sort of thing—perhaps not! common. Mapleson, manager of the At any rate, being French, the author brass-bed department at Taunton's, does his trick with grace and clever- the largest Furnishing Emporium in ness. The subjects flow out of the Bloomsbury; White, agent for a firm natural ongoing of country life; cows; of wire-mattress manufacturers in the sheep; poisonous insects, serpents, and city; Bultishaw, manager of the linoplants; fleece, flax, hemp; so on through leum department at Cotterway's, and the list. The scientific information is Ticknett, in charge of the "soft goods" accurate, and great care has been given for the same firm; Thomas Pinwell, to making it useful for the health and salesman for Dollbone's in trimmings,