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Again, with one or two exceptions, Railroad Commissions in the South have been less ambitious, and have, on the whole, exercised their powers with greater judgment and moderation than elsewhere. The Massachusetts Railroad Commission may be regarded as standing apart by itself, and as outside the scope of the present consideration. This is probably due to the exceptional personal ability of its representatives, as well as to the wise limitation of the powers granted them.

Moreover, there would seem to exist in the South a somewhat higher and more general appreciation of the great benefits conferred by railroads on States recovering from depression than is to be found in the Granger States; and consequently railroad corporations are dealt with in a fairer spirit. Granting that to-day the aggregate mileage of railroads in the South is somewhat in excess of the demand of the aggregate tonnage to be moved and travel to be accommodated, still there is a larger margin of undeveloped internal resources than in the Northern and Middle States. In short, the trade of the former is on the whole growing up to a remunerative point (so far as concerns railroads) at a more rapid rate of progression than the trade of the latter. Amongst other indications of prosperity, the mineral trade of the South shows a steady and encouraging advance.

To suppose that, because a given district discloses at any given time unusual wealth in mineral products, the whole active world of capital and energy will immediately migrate to that spot is of course visionary and absurd in the last degree. But it is probably true that, in the long run and after allowing a sufficient interval of time for transfer of capital and adjustment of the market, the sphere of cheap production will become to a greater or less extent the

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home of a successful cognate industry. Time is needed to bridge over a number of gaps in the process of transition; but sooner or later the laws of supply and demand, operating under the stress of keen competition, cause the producer to gravitate towards the centres of cheapest production.

To take a familiar instance: If it should hereafter be found that marketable pig-iron can be manufactured and marketable coal supplied in Alabama at a substantially lower price than in Northern States, it will pay the manufacturer of the Northern and Middle States to work up Southern iron, rather than to raise the raw material for himself. What is good for the trade of a State tends to the prosperity of its railroads. If, as some observers think, the rapidly growing city of Birmingham, Alabama, should hereafter become a centre of a “black country,' like its namesake in England, a great impulse will have been given to the energy and scope of Southern industry; and the importation of foreign capital and skilled labour will be ensured. The marketable products of the country will obtain a larger circulation, and progress in many industrial departments will follow the indications of success. Some assurance will be offered to capital that it is invested in rising not in sinking communities and near the cheapest known centres of production.

Though the coloured man has in many respects disappointed the lofty estimate formed of his capacity for the higher range of administrative functions, he is not on the whole a bad citizen or labourer, if properly directed. His sense of humour is not a myth. On the contrary, though in a rudimentary stage, it saves him from many extravagances, and supplies wholesome restrictions on his credulity when under treatment by the professional demagogue.

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Persons thoroughly familiar with his habits of thought are not over-much surprised at his practical common-sense in many departments of life. Tell him for instance that, according to the modern “high-toned ” view, you must seck political wisdom, not from educated and disciplined thought, but from the fresh impressions of the most ignorant people you can find. He replies: “If the poor white trash up in the piney woods know more than the bosses at Washington who are studying all the time, he guesses that it is not much good to starve himself to send the boys to school.” It would no doubt be easy for a competent debater to demonstrate on the spot that fresh impressions, being free from the restraints imposed by knowledge of facts are more trustworthy guides to the wise solution of difficult problems than the conclusions of educated reasoning. An eminent wit of old is reputed to have shrunk from reading a book before reviewing it, “because it prejudiced a fellow so.” In short, the real difficulty of handling a subject would seem to arise from the limitations imposed by knowledge rather than from those imposed by ignorance. This view is somewhat disappointing to old-fashioned people who had supposed that, by disbursing the tax-payer's money for compulsory education, they were converting capricious political aptitudes into permanent and valuable habits, and eventually promoting the cause of sound government.

Though the coloured labourer of the South is very apt to be both lazy and thriftless, the gradual acquisition of a little property has tended to steady and develope him. He is physically strong, remarkably enduring under the strain of a semi-tropical climate, very light-hearted, and almost entirely free from apprehensions concerning the future. His wants are extremely few and simple, and

he is willing to labour for a rate of compensation which his white brethren in the East or Far West would decline or resent. If, on the whole, he is a less competent labourer than the better class of white men, it is by no means clear that his labour is not better worth having at the price for which it can be obtained. The rate of wages which he demands is appreciably lower, and in the case of the farm labourer a good deal of it is paid in kind. On the whole, it is reassuring to persons interested in Southern undertakings to note that, if their enterprises, are in other respects sound and well conceived, their success will not be imperilled by the mere colour of the labour which they employ. From the point of view of the investor of new capital, a reasonable prospect of progressive increase in the value of his securities is a consideration of the first importance.

CHAPTER XVIII.

SOME IMPORTANT DECISIONS.

WITHOUT going so far as to say that the American Constitution is the investor's Bible, it would seem that a few salient provisions contained in it are of such importance as to deserve some consideration on the part of an enquirer interested in American railroad securities. Where any note has been appended to cited cases, it is not the purpose of the writer to attempt an analysis or summary of a case, but merely to direct the investor's attention to some one point which may seem to bear directly on a specific phase of his interest. For the purposes of convenient reference, short extracts are set forth.

1. Constitution of the United States, Art. I., Sec. 10.No State shall

make any ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts. 2. Id., Art. V.—No person shall

be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

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JURISDICTION.

3. Id., Art. III., Sec. 2.—The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to

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