Puslapio vaizdai

not now easy to discover the exact proportion-warmly resisted the proposal of the British government to withdraw, and independence had to be forced on them against their will. The authorities of the colony and the colonial office at home were, however, inexorable. They saw no use in keeping territories which involved great cost of defense against native raids, and from which little benefit was then expected. Hardly any notice was taken in Great Britain of the Sand River Convention, and when, at the instance of delegates sent home by those who in the Orange River territory desired to remain subject to the British crown, a motion was made in the House of Commons asking the Queen to reconsider the renunciation of her sovereignty over that territory, the motion found no support, and had to be withdrawn. So little did Englishmen then care for that South African dominion which they have subsequently become so eager to develop and extend.

From the convention of 1854 dates the beginning of the Orange Free State, which, increased by the acquisition of new territories in the south, has ever since remained perfectly independent and at peace with the British colonies. Its only serious troubles have arisen from native wars, and these have long ago come to an end. In 1854 an assembly of delegates enacted for it the republican constitution under which it has ever since been quietly and peaceably governed. It had the good fortune to elect as its president, in 1865, a lawyer of Cape Colony, of Dutch extraction, Mr. (afterward Sir John) Brand, who guided its course with great tact and wisdom for twenty-four years, and whose favorite expression, « All will come right,» now inscribed on his tombstone at Bloemfontein, has become throughout South Africa a proverbial phrase of encouragement in moments of difficulty.

Beyond the Vaal River things have gone very differently. The farmers of that region were more scattered, more rude and uneducated, and more prone to factious dissentions than those of the Free State. In 1858 an instrument called the «Grondwet,» or Fundamental Law, was drawn up by a body of delegates, which, though subsequently altered in some material points, is still the constitution of the country. It was, however, at first repudiated by two out of the three self-governing communities of which the state then consisted. Not till after the civil war of 1862 can the present South African Republic be 1 This was modified in 1884, but the interpretation of the modifying instrument has given rise to a controversy with which I have not space to deal. Great Brit

deemed to have been really established. The Volksraad, or representative assembly, proved an inefficient governing body, while the successive presidents, to whom, in the constant financial embarrassments and frequently recurring native wars, a great deal of control inevitably fell, were hampered by the resistance of hostile factions. At last, in 1877, the republic found itself in hopeless difficulties. The treasury was empty, the government was no longer obeyed, a formidable native chief was in arms in the northeast of the territory, and the power of the Zulus constituted a grave menace on the southeast. A British commissioner, who had been sent into the country on the ground that its condition had become a danger to its neighbors, proclaimed its annexation to the British crown, believing, it would appear, that the citizens were disposed by the troubles from which they could not extricate themselves to welcome the protection thus secured to them. The British government at home shared his opinion and approved his action. Probably the great majority of the Boers would have acquiesced had the British administration, which was thereupon set up, been prudently conducted. But the military governor who was soon afterward sent into the Transvaal irritated them, not only by a strict levy of taxes, a thing which the Boers resent even from their own Volksraad,-but also by delaying to give them such representative self-government as had been promised to them, and by his arrogant and distant treatment of men among whom a strong sense of republican equality had grown up. Discontent soon grew to disaffection, and at last broke out into revolt. In the end of 1880 the people rose in arms, and captured or drove out the small occupying force; and after some engagements on the Natal frontier, in which the British troops suffered heavily, the home government, perceiving that independence was desired by the large majority of the Transvaal people, and unwilling to accentuate race hatreds all over South Africa, recognized, in 1881, the independence, as regards internal government, of the South African Republic, while retaining a suzerainty as regards foreign relations.1 This canceling of the annexation was a magnanimous act, for the British troops in Natal had received reinforcements which would have made resistance by the Transvaal men hopeless. But it has not produced those results of good feeling between the Boers and ain retains an undoubted right of veto on any treaty concluded by the Republic, except one with the Orange Free State.

their neighbors of English race which were expected from it; and the rankling memories of the war of 1881 have had something to do with those very recent Transvaal troubles, which are too well known to need recounting here. The first result of the war and the recovery of self-government by the Boers was to intensify their sentiments of nationality, and dispose them to fresh enterprises. Their president, Mr. Stephen John Paul Krueger, who had been one of the three triumvirs by whom the insurrection was successfully guided, began to plan acquisitions of territory.

The native chief who had threatened the republic on the northeast was gone; a British force had overcome him in 1879. The Zulu power was gone on the southeast, Cetewayo having been overthrown and carried off prisoner in the same year, 1879. Thus the republic, though penniless, had been freed by British arms from its chief dangers. Its ambitions have been successful in the south, where it has acquired a large slice of Zululand, and on the east, where the British government (by a treaty signed in 1894) has given it virtual control over the rich district of Swaziland. But on the west its attempts to raid and conquer some of the tribes of Bechuanaland were checked in 1884, while its hopes of annexing the vast territories which, on the north, lie between it and the Zambesi were dissipated by the declaration, in 1888, that those territories were to be deemed to lie within the sphere of British influence, and by their occupation, in 1890, by the pioneers of the British South Africa Company.

These events complete the story of the relations of the Dutch and English races in South Africa so far as the determination of the territorial limits of the colonies and republics is concerned. Of their present political attitude toward each other, and the tendencies that are at work to shape the political future of both, it will be necessary to speak later. The problems which that

future opens are complicated by the facts that the Dutch element is still very powerful within Cape Colony itself; that a large British population has recently migrated into the mining districts of the Transvaal Republic; and that the British power, which surrounds the Transvaal on the north, west, and south, does not surround it on the east, where it is divided from the sea by a comparatively narrow strip of Portuguese territory, through which a railway runs from Pretoria, the capital, and the mining districts to the port of Lourenço Marques, on Delagoa Bay.


The fourth and last European race that has entered South Africa is the German. Besides her East African dominions, which, since they lie north of the Zambesi, do not here concern us, Germany took possession, in 1884, of a stretch of country on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean between the Orange River and the West African possessions of Portugal. The limits of her claims there have been defined by agreements made with Portugal in 1886, and with Britain in 1890. Under these she is mistress of some 340,000 square miles; but the native population does not exceed 200,000, and the country is so bare and waterless as to be wholly unfit for agriculture, and in most places unfit even for ranching. over, the only tolerable harbor, Walfish Bay, belongs to Cape Colony. There is, therefore, little prospect that any German population will spring up on these unattractive coasts, and if Germany plays any part in South African politics, she will not do so, at least for a long time to come, in respect of her Southwest African possessions. It is rather to the east side of the continent, and in particular to the Transvaal, that her eyes seem to have been recently directed. But the question of her plans and desires, as well as the other problems which the economical prospects of South Africa, and the relations of the white and colored races, suggest for discussion, must be reserved for a concluding article.

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T. LOUIS, in more than one sense, must be accorded a central place in the series of great American towns. It is not only central by virtue of its geographical situation, but it is also more typically American than any other of our large communities, by reason of the blending of the several American types of population. The process of assimilation has been more complete than in the Northwestern towns, and distinctions of race and class are less sharp than in most Eastern cities. St. Louis is comparatively an old community. It has succeeded fairly well in reducing New Englanders, Virginians, New Yorkers, men from the Gulf States, Kentuckians, Northwesterners, Missourians, the Illinois contingent, the Texans, and the Irish and Germans as well, into a body of progressive yet conservative Americans, to which each element has contributed something, while losing the sharp edges of its own eccentricities. There results a community that is typically American, and more completely representative of our whole country, such as it is, than any other one of the dozen largest American cities. It also happens that St. Louis is the most satisfactory exponent of what may be called the distinctively American system of city government that the country affords on any similar scale of magnitude. If the analogy of our National and State organizations is to be followed at all in municipal government, it ought to be followed so intelligently and logically as to retain the merits along with the complications and inconveniences. This is what the St. Louis system, more than any other in the country, has succeeded in doing. The one great achievement for which St. Louis is to be praised is the completeness with which it has won its liberty, and stands for the principle of municipal home rule. It is entitled to be called a «free city. Even its charter was not made for it and conferred upon it by the legislature, or by any State agency, but was made by a local body of citizens elected for that purpose, and was then adopted by the voters of St. Louis at a special election.


THIS was in 1876. The State of Missouri had been holding a constitutional convention, and the convention had found itself face to face with the problem how to deal with the government of Missouri's chief municipality. Much confusion had arisen from the illogical and overlapping dual government of the county of St. Louis and the city of St. Louis. The county debt was a large and growing one, while the city debt was in the same process of extravagant increase. A rough-and-ready method for the limitation of local indebtedness was fixed upon by the convention. It was ordained in the State constitution that such local debts should not become greater in the aggregate than five per cent. of the assessed valuation of local property. As regards St. Louis, it was provided that the city and county governments might, if they chose, agree to hold a special election in order to choose thirteen men, who should be empowered (1) to draw up a scheme for the entire separation of the city from the county, and (2) to draft a charter for the reconstituted city. This program was carried out. The scheme of separation greatly increased the municipal area, and fixed the bounds now existing. County buildings, with other county property inside the limits of the city, were all transferred to the municipality, and in return the city assumed the entire county debt.

The popular house of the Municipal Assembly, known as the House of Delegates, was made to consist of twenty-eight members, one from each ward, elected for two years, all retiring together. The upper chamber of the Assembly, known as the Council, was to consist of thirteen members, elected for four-year terms on a general city ticket. The president of the Council was to be specifically elected to that position. Of the remaining twelve members six were to retire every two years. The municipal elections were ordered to be held in April, and were thus kept distinct from State and National elections, which occur in November. The mayor was to be elected for a term of four years, and other general officers, to be elected at large for four-year

terms, were as follows: controller, auditor, treasurer, register, collector, recorder of deeds, inspector of weights and measures, sheriff, coroner, president of Board of Assessors, and president of the Board of Public Improvements.


THE assessment of property for purposes of taxation is deemed in every American city one of the municipal functions most vitally affecting the municipal corporation on the one hand and the individual citizen on the other. The St. Louis plan provides for the election by all the voters, for each quadrennial period, of the president of the Board of Assessors. The Municipal Assembly lays out the town into a number of assessment districts, and for each district an assessor is appointed by the mayor, and confirmed by the Council. At present the number of districts is nine. The assessors do their work under the absolute direction of the president of the Board of Assessors, who maintains a large office, with numerous deputies, draftsmen, and clerks, all of whom he is authorized to appoint, subject only to the approval of the mayor. Having directed the whole work of annual reassessment of property, and obtained results as uniform as possible, the president of the board acts as president of the Board of Equalization, his fellow-members of that board being four real-estate owners of the city, who must have lived in St. Louis at least ten years, and who derive their appointments from the concurrent action of the judges of the Circuit Court. Thus the delicate business of finding the yearly tax-basis is satisfactorily safeguarded, and it is sufficient to say that the collection, care, and disbursement of the public revenue is also managed upon an orderly and well-devised system.

The Board of Public Improvements is a body of very exceptional importance, and one which, in the St. Louis plan of municipal administration, holds an altogether peculiar place. The president of this board, like that of the Board of Assessors, is popularly elected. He has general executive oversight of public buildings, street improvements, and public works of all kinds. His associates in the Board of Public Improvements are five officials, known as the Street Commissioner, the Sewer Commissioner, the Water Commissioner, the Harbor and Wharf Commissioner, and the Park Commissioner. These five are appointed for four-year terms by the mayor, subject to the confirmation of the Council. Each com

missioner is at the head of the working department indicated by his title, and each one appoints the entire body of subordinate officials employed in his department, subject only to the approbation of the mayor.

This Board of Public Improvements, acting through its president, lets all contracts for public work, subject to the final approval of the mayor and the Council, and takes full charge of street openings, the extension of paving, sewerage, or water-supply, and all kindred matters. The existing membership is of high character and ability, and the general reputation of the board for the twenty years of the working of the present charter seems to have been high. Thus the Municipal Assembly is ready to leave matters of detail very largely to the judgment of this expert board.


AMONG other appointive officers, in addition to the five department heads and the district assessors already specified, are the city counselor, the superintendents of the workhouse, the house of refuge, and the fire and police telegraph system, two police justices, a board of charity commissioners, a public library board, a commissioner of supplies, and an assessor of water-rates. These are all named directly by the mayor, and all of them are subject to confirmation by the Council; that is to say, the upper branch of the Municipal Assembly. The host of minor office-holders are, under the charter, subject to appointment and removal by the heads of their respective departments, the mayor alone having power to interpose an objection.

As to the question of civil-service reform, no merit system has yet been adopted either by the State of Missouri or by the city of St. Louis. A change of administration always means, ultimately, a very large change in the body of office-holders. The present administration of St. Louis is strongly Republican. Every one of the thirteen members of the Council is a Republican, and twenty-four of the twenty-eight members of the House of Delegates belong to that party. The mayor is one of the leading members of his party in the State. Mayor C. P. Walbridge, who came to St. Louis perhaps twenty years ago fresh from the law school at Ann Arbor, entered upon his public career through a term or two in the House of Delegates. Subsequently he was elected president of the Council, serving four years in that capacity. In the spring of 1893 he was elected mayor, and his term will expire next year.

An interesting feature of the St. Louis charter is its requirement that the mayor shall not make appointments (except to fill vacancies) until the beginning of his third year. Thus, under Mayor Walbridge's administration, the Democratic heads of departments held over until the spring of 1895, when a sweeping change was made, and Republicans were installed in most of the desirable places. Mr. Walbridge's appointments in general, so far as I have been able to judge, will bear close inspection. Mr. Holman, the water commissioner, was very properly reappointed. Mr. Stone, the new harbor and wharf commissioner, had been engaged in educational work for many years, had served in the House of Delegates, and confers honor upon the municipal administration of St. Louis. Mr. Saunders, the mayor's representative on the Board of Election and Registration Commissioners, is a journalist of high character and qualifications. The health commissioner in turn enjoys a high reputation. The Library Board is admirably constituted, and others of Mr. Walbridge's appointees merit similar indorsement.


It is highly instructive to note the great difference in the personnel of the House of Delegates, elected on the ward system, and of the Council, composed of men elected at large. The present Council has for its president Mr. Charles Nagel, a lawyer, a man of education and culture, and a citizen of high standing, who enjoys the confidence of the community. One of the members of the Council is Mr. Halsey S. Ives, who is known throughout the country for his services as the efficient director of the Fine Arts Department of the Columbian Exposition; and he is at once the head of art education in St. Louis, and a citizen well versed in public affairs. Other members of the Council are gentlemen of repute and character. The integrity and general intelligence of the Council are not often very seriously questioned. There have been times, under the present charter, when the group of men in the upper branch of the Municipal Assembly would have done credit to any legislative body in the land.

While pleasant things may be said touching the capacity and character of some individual members of the House of Delegates, the impression that the body, as a whole, makes upon the visitor is that of a very ordinary, in fact, a very unprepossessing group.

Both the House of Delegates and the Council meet regularly two evenings every week.

The members also have a large amount of committee work to do, and thus the city affairs absorb a great deal of their time and attention. Their compensation is only three hundred dollars a year. I have the impression that it would be better if the compensation were either made much larger or else abolished altogether. If considerably larger it might stimulate a better class of men to seek election to the House of Delegates, while if abolished it might keep some undesirable candidates out of the field.

Except as a training-school for young politicians, I do not think the House of Delegates serves any useful purpose. If it were abolished altogether, and if the Council were then considerably enlarged, members of the Council serving for six years instead of four, and one third of the body retiring every two years, all members as at present being elected at large, St. Louis would, in my opinion, have not only a simpler, but also a much better plan of municipal government.

When the worst has been said about the Municipal Assembly of St. Louis, it remains true that it is a body of altogether as high character and ability as the legislature of the State of Missouri. The great boon which the charter confers lies in the fact that so far as city affairs are concerned the Assembly is a fully empowered deliberative body. Many hundreds of bills affecting the city of New York are introduced into the legislature at Albany at every annual session. The very matters dealt with in these bills are, for the most part, the kind of matters that in St. Louis are under constant discussion in the Municipal Assembly, which has full authority to deal with them. Such discussion is with open doors, and the daily papers are always represented by their regular reporters. Inasmuch as there is no dispensing with the deliberative function in the conduct of the Municipal affairs of a great city, it is always an advantage to have that function exercised (1) by men expressly selected for that purpose, and (2) under the immediate observation of the people concerned.

HOW ST. LOUIS ACQUIRED GOOD STREETS. THROUGH most of its history St. Louis had been unpleasantly but distinctly famous for its mud. For the better part of a century, visitors whose published notes of travel included some account of St. Louis had not failed to dwell upon the frightful condition of the streets in wet weather. The original mud was clayey, clinging, and bottomless.

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