Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

BY J. C. MOLONY.

RS. Humphrey Ward begins her "Recollections "* with a half-playful-apology for the inevitable garrulity of old age. Such apology is needless in this particular case; for if some might in malice suggest the sub title "Great People I have known" for Mrs. Ward's literary autobiography, the great people presented to the reader, at any rate in the earlier part of the book, are well worth reading about. Towards the close, the aristocratic atmosphere becomes somewhat oppressive; one would welcome the appearance of a pawnbroker named Miggs as a relief to the glittering procession of ambassadors, cardinals, and statesmen.

Mrs. Ward is a grand-daughter of Thomas Arnold, whom "Tom Brown's Schooldays" immortalised as "The Doctor." It is interesting to learn how the great "Doctor's " bent of mind was reproduced in his descendants. The young Arnolds essayed sundry callings, but what was bred in the bone was sure to come out in the flesh, and the Doctor's sons soon busied themselves about education. Mathew, the eldest, and best known to the outside world, became a school inspector, and there, Mrs. Ward seems to think, did his most worthy and enduring work. William Arnold reached India as a subaltern in the army; in a few years he was Director of Public Instruction in the Punjab. Thomas Arnold, Mrs. Ward's father, like the hero of Clough's "Bothie "-probably "Philip" of the "Bothie" is Thomas Arnold-" rounded the sphere to New Zealand," intending there to dig and hew, subdue the earth and his spirit; in a short time he was called to Tasmania, there to organise primary education. Mrs. Ward admits that without the constant promptings to action of J. R. Green she herself would in all probability have ended a mere bookworm, a student lost in blissful enjoyment of old and out-of-the way

64

A Writer's Recollections.-Mrs. Humphrey Ward. (London, W. Collins, Sons & Co., Ltd.)

chronicles in the Bodleian Library. From Tasmania to the Bodleian is certainly a far cry, and the story of how and why Mrs. Ward as a small child accomplished the journey is not the least interesting part of her book. "The Doctor" had been a doughty champion of English Protestantisin, and in "The Oxford Malignants" he lustily smote Newman and Newman's followers. . His son at Oxford "had only once crossed the high street to hear Newman preach, and felt no interest in the sermon "; in his early days at the antipodes so aloof did he stand from dogma and ritual that he would scarce agree to the baptism of his children. But "under the surface an extraordinary transformation was going on." At Hobart, in 1854, young Thomas Arnold was received into the Church of Rome: two years later on reaching England he announces the fact to Father Newman, and receives the following letter: "How strange it seems! I knew your father a little, and I really think I never had any unkind feeling towards him. In seeing you I have a sort of pledge that he at the moment of his death made it all up with me.."

Religious feeling ran high in those days. Conversion to Catholicism meant for Mr. Arnold the loss of his Tasmanian appointment: he re-crossed the seas, and spent the best of his life in teaching at Birminghan, Oxford, and Dublin, in laborious study, and in the editing of ancient records. A temporary reaction against Catholicism brought him to Oxford, and incidentally, shaped Mrs. Ward's career. Mrs. Ward's first vision of Oxford can scarcely have decreased her sympathy with her father's temporary lapse from faith. "There," said Mr. Arnold pointing to a window, "lives the arch-heretic." It was Jowett's window; and Jowett's salary as Professor of Greek had been withheld from him for years 66 on theological grounds" by a governing body which contained Canon Liddon and Dr, Pusey. There are

doubtless many methods of upholding the orthodox faith, but repudiation of a lawful debt is surely one of the strangest.

Into the learned life of Oxford Mrs. Ward plunged with the delight of a young retriever fetching his first stick from a pond. So modestly does she write of her own achievements that one scarcely visualises her as anything more than a young lady with a taste for serious reading. But there must have been something vastly more than a mere blue-stocking tinge in a girl of 18 who became the intimate friend of Jowett and Mark Pattison, whose writings on early Spanish kings and bishops were solemnly weighed and not found wanting by Bishop Stubbs, and to whom Creighton paid such a compliment as "tell her to go on. There is nobody but Stubbs doing such work in Oxford now." One story of this historical period is worth repeating; it illustrates amusingly Freeman and his eternal bugbear James Anthony Froude. In a letter to Mrs. Ward dealing with Spanish Historical Geography, á propos more or less of nothing, Freeman suddenly observes, "I have always held that the nursery account of Henry VIII

topics which then interested the thinking public; "Robert Elsmere" had the good fortune to interest Mr. Gladstone, whose notice probably did much more for Mrs. Ward than the intrinsic merits of the novel. For though Mrs. Ward's books, unlike those of modern ladynovelists, are built on a solid foundation of learning and reflection, there is in them little artistry. They are "serious" and "thoughtful," but they are painfully lacking in charm and in the magic of style. The fact is illustrated by the occasion which Mrs. Ward finds to quote certain passages from "Marius the Epicurean "; these catch the eye as gleaming threads of silk in the homely worsted of Mrs. Ward's prose.

Most interesting are the writer's criticisms of her contemporary workers in fiction. She has known them all; she is unfailingly generous, and as a rule shrewd and instructive. Henry James, one suspects, she over-rates somewhat; in later years did not his genius rather lose itself in a waste of words? Mrs. Ward considers the Portrait of a Lady the masterpiece of James' earlier manner; of the same book R. L. Stevenson said in a letter to the author, "I can't stand your having written it; and I beg you will write no more of the like." Meredith, Mrs. Ward admires with a somewhat qualified admiration: "the man is great enough, and rewards the reader's effort to understand him with a sense of hightened power, just as a muscle is strengthened by exercise;" a strange testimonial. To Kipling she is more kind than was Stevenson in this judgment; "he is all smart journalism and cleverness, it is all bright and shallow and limpid, like a business paper." On H. G. Wells this is surely an excellent pronouncement; "Mr. Wells seems to me a journalist of very great powers, of unequal education, and much crudity of mind, who has inadvertently strayed into the literature of imagination."

And Henry the Eigth was as fat as a pig

is to be preferred to Froude's version. For though inadequate, it is true as far as it goes." Not without reason did Froude on returning to Oxford as Professor of history express the pious hope that the ghost of Freeman might not haunt him.

Miss Arnold married Mr. Humphrey Ward, Fellow and Tutor of Boasenose: after a few years her husband became a leader writer in the "Times," and she left Oxford for good. Thereafter the book tells of the success of Mrs. Ward as a novelist, of a full and busy life, of solid and well rewarded work. But interest wanes; for one hardly thinks that Mrs. Ward the novelist will live in literature. "Robert Elsmere," "David Gueve," "Helbeck of Bannisdale," dealt with

66

But quotation cannot do justice to these Recollections." Mrs. Ward has met most people worth meeting, read most things worth reading, written honestly and well, if a trifle heavily and uninspiredly. Her present book is the interesting record of a well-filled, well-spent life.

BY PROF. BRIJ NARAIN

is

HE Report of the Industrial Commission not altogether disappointing. But having said that, one may still doubt whether the recommendations made by the Commission for assisting Indian Industries, if accepted in their entirety by the Government, would tend to make India self-contained to any substantial extent. This is because foreign competition is a more formidable obstacle in our way than the lack of banking facilities, the shyness of our capital or the inefficiency of our labour, and it was not within the scope of the Commission to deal with this aspect of the question. It can, in fact, be shown that to some extent foreign competition is responsible for the shyness of our capital, if not also for the fact that our labour is still untrained. Our money, says the Commission, has been invested in commerce rather than industries and only those industries have been taken up which appeared to offer safe and easy profits. This is only natural. If, on account of foreign competition, profits in certain industries are small and unsafe, those industries will attract little capital. Our capital is shy because profits in Indian Industries which have to compete with imported manu factures are uncertain. If this element of uncertainty could be somehow removed, capital would be less shy than it is. The point is simple. Suppose I have ten lakhs of rupees which I am willing to invest for the sake of profit. But how shall I invest the money? If I set up a match factory, I must be able to manufacture matches at about the same cost as the Japanese, Swedish, Austrian or British manufacturer in order to earn substantial profits. I should earn good profits even if my cost of production were slightly higher than that of the foreign manufacturers, for he has to pay the cost of transportation of his product to the Indian market, which I save; but if the difference between my cost of production and

his is much greater than this, it is obvious that I cannot afford to sell at the price that he charges. Also remember that the foreign manufacturer can lower his prices, for a time, just to destroy his rivals. In these circumstances, I should think twice before I invested my money in the match industry. That is also how other investors would argue, and it will be said that the lack of capital hampers the development of the match industry• But there would be no lack of capital for this and other industries if the price of the product was not fixed for the Indian manufacturer by his foreign rival, that is, if prices were higher and if profits were large and not uncertain.

That our capital is not inherently shy is shown by the fact that during the war several new industries have been started with Indian capital. To take an example. No lammetta was manufactured at Delhi before the war. The imports of lammetta before the war came chiefly from France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and the United Kingdom. When the war broke out, imports from enemy countries ceased altogether, and imports from France and the United Kingdom fell off The price of imported lammetta in the markets of Delhi rose rapidly and continuously; and within a few months after the outbreak of the war, lammetta was selling in Delhi at about three times the pre-war price. The process of manufacturing lammetta is not very complicated and more than one factory was set up at Delhi for its manufacture. The price was much higher than cost of production and profits realised after the payment of wages, etc., were good. One of the manufacturers showed the writer over his factory. When asked about the prospects of the new industry after the war, the manufacturer explained how he was utterly unable to compete with foreign maņufacturers. He could go on so long as prices did not fall and imports continued to be small. As

soon as foreign competition began and prices fell, he would simply be unable to produce. Well, he had no difficulty in finding capital for his factory when the price of lammetta was rising. Whether he would be willing to invest any of his capital in the industry after the war or whether he would be able to induce others to place their capital at his disposal, is a matter of the greatest doubt.

Our capital in this respect is not peculiar. Capital all over the world seeks those industries in which it can earn the greatest profit. Expectation of profit breaks the shyness of capital. otherwise, capital remains shy. This may be shown by an American example-the growth of the iron and steel industry of the United States of America under protection. In 1870, Great Britain was the greatest producer of iron and steel; the United States "held but a distant second place." In that year, a duty of $7.00 per ton was imposed on pig iron imported into the United States, and the production of pig iron in the United States began to increase by leaps and bounds. In 1890, the American output exceeded the English production and in 1910 the production of the United States was double that of England. The British out-put increased from 5,963,000 tons in 1870 to 10,012,000 tons in 1910, but during the same period, the American output increased from 1,665,000 tons to 27,304,000 tons. "If as the extreme protectionists contend," says Taussig in his "Some Aspects of the Tariff Question," "the growth of domestic industry is in itself proof of the success of their policy, a degree of success was attained in this case that could admit of no cavil."

The production of steel rails was insignificant in 1870; it increased to 1,000,000 tons by 1880 and 2,000,000 tons by 1890. "So far as the increase of domestic production is concerned, the protectionist may well point with pride."

A free trader might urge that the growth of the American iron trade was due not so much to

protection as to other causes-cheap transportation, large scale production, the boundless extent of the American market, the enterprising nature of the American people and their inventive spirit, and lastly the natural resources of the country. Protection or no protection, it might be said, the American industry was bound to grow. Taussig admits that the free trader's argument "is not without show of reason." But it is difficult to say what would have been, and he thinks it to be improbable that the productive forces of the United States would "have turned in this direction so strongly and unerringly" without protection against foreign competition. "Beyond question the protective system caused high profits to be reaped in the iron and steel establishments of the central districts; and the stimulus from great gains promoted the unhesitating investment of capital on a large scale." If prices had been lower, profits would have been smaller and the American capitalists would have been less eager to invest capital in this industry and the American manufacturers, to exploit the natural resources of the country.

The intensity of foreign competition explains why Indian capital does not readily flow into manufacturing industries.

This is, in a way, admitted by the Commission. "Of the readiness to invest money in industries which can already claim a number of successes, we have had abundant evidence; indeed, this tendency has had the unfortunate effect, in some instances, of creating more individual undertakings, than the industry can support. This seems, at any rate, to indicate that there is capital seeking industrial outlets, and that the directions in which it can be employed are at present, from the point of view of the Indian investor, insufficient." Again, the labourer is trained in the factory by doing the work. The greater the intensity of foreign competition the more limited

will be the scope for the scientific training of labour in the methods of industrial work.

It seems to me that, unless the intensity of foreign competition can in some way be lessened, the industrialisation of India is an impossible task. Foreign competition has destroyed many of our indigenous industries, and it has seriously retarded the growth of factory industries. As regards the Punjab, the indigenous paper industry is gone, the wire drawing industry is gone and it is with the greatest difficulty that the weaver makes a living. There is the Sialkot Sports goods industry which has grown up in spite of foreign competition. The measure of success which has been achieved in this case is due to the enterprise of certain Panjabee manufacturers whose names are well known throughout India, but even in this case, but for foreign competition, the industry would develop much more rapidly than at present. One finds the Lahore market flooded with British sports goods of all kinds. Sialkot has shown what it can do and what it is capable of; it has become the home of the Indian Sports goods industry. If it could be protected for some time against foreign competition, it might be able to supply, in time, most kinds of sports goods of the same quality as imported goods, at even cheaper prices. Take another example. Very good gold and silver thread is made at Delhi. But the work is done by hand, and lately, the Delhi manufacturers have been finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the imported gold and silver thread. In 191314, gold and silver thread of the value of £262,000 was imported from France, £25,000 from Germany, £5,000 from Austria-Hungary and £3,000 from the United Kingdom; the value of the home production is not known. During the war the imports have decreased, but after the war foreign competition will begin again. It is too much to hope that the Delhi manufacturers who employ hand labour, will not

be undersold by their foreign rivals who employ power-driven machinery. It would be different if our manufacturers could substitute machinery for hand labour, but machinery has to be imported for that purpose from foreign countries and the substitution cannot be easily effected. Unless they were protected during the period of transition, they would be ruined by foreign competition long before they were ready to compete with the foreigner on equal terms.

The effect of foreign competition upon the wire and tinsel industry of the Punjab is described in a Monograph by Mr. E. Burden, I. C. S. (published by authority).

"that

"While it cannot be said " Mr. Burden says, the demand for tinsel made from drawn wire has in any way decreased, there is no doubt that the indigenous wire drawing industry is and has for some years been declining and indications are not wanting that it may in time disappear altogether."

The importance of this industry to the 'Delhi people may be judged from the fact that not long ago about 300,000 miles of gold and silver wire were turned out annually in Delhi, and that about one hundred thousand men, women and children in Delhi and the surrounding villages were dependent upon this industry.

The cessation of imports from Germany during the war revived the industry. Its fate after the war when German competition begins again, can be easily imagined.

I have described the effect of foreign competition upon some of our industries. The case of other industries is similar. The lack of technical education, the shyness of capital, the lack of banking facilities, the inefficiency of labour, the aversion from industrial pursuits of the educated Indian are undoubtedly great evils, but the greatest of all evils is foreign competition.

Foreign competition cannot altogether be abolished. In the first place, it is impossible; in the second place, it is not desirable in the interests of the Indian consumer. But foreign competition should be brought under con

« AnkstesnisTęsti »