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1871.]

NEGRO CHARACTER.

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keep down the negroes and the carpet-baggers. In South Carolina and some other States the ex-Confederates are excluded from even the State Legislature, and the power of taxation is consequently thrown into the hands of men who have nothing themselves, and who can indulge themselves with a liberal public expenditure at the cost of their richer neighbours. A gentleman whom we met in the train gave us some not very agreeable accounts of negro character, illustrated by some of their proceedings in the time of the war, and some of their larcenies nowadays. He was clearly of opinion that free labour was more profitable than slave labour, and took us through an elaborate calculation which we could not exactly follow, but which went to show that, reckoning on one side the interest on the value of a gang of slaves, and the cost of keeping, raising, or replacing them, doctoring, clothing, &c.—all which expenses had to be borne in respect of the useless as well as the useful—and on the other side the cost of wages and rations and lodging to the actual working men, leaving them to provide for their own families, and to clothe themselves, the expenses of the slave system were as $250, and those of the free-labour system, with wages at $10 a-month, were as $120. Our friend was certainly no nigger-worshipper; but he had an object in making out the present system to be profitable, for he wanted to induce English capitalists to come and buy his land, of which he seemed to have a large amount, but to be without the capital to farm it with. He told us white labour was worth double the coloured labour, and that

they were gradually getting rid of the coloured men in Virginia—the best going North for domestic service, and the worst to the cotton States and rice-fields, where white men cannot work. Virginia should grow corn and fruit. The country looked very desolate; a great deal of uncleared land all along the line, and what was farmed seemed to be poorly managed. Returned to Washington by next boat.

At the close of all these sights and junketings they “ felt rather flat,” now that it was “high time to come home.” So the trip ended; the juleps were drunk, the strawberries eaten. Calypso consoled herself, or ne pouvait se consoler, and Ulysses came home in the Cuba, carrying the

pen that signed the treaty, and reflecting

“ We may proudly say, We too were there in that remembered May, And shared the work of Fish, the laurels of De Grey."

After the Washington adventures, official work at home reads rather tamely.

On his return from the visit to the States, Sir Stafford was not allowed to be idle. Mr Bruce (Lord Aberdare) invited him to preside over the Commission which was to inquire into the working of Friendly Societies. In them he was naturally interested. As he said at Stroud ten years later, “ They are admirable, because they spring from the people themselves; the scheme originally struck out by the people themselves, the difficulties faced by the

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1871.]

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES COMMISSION.

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people themselves, .. and they solve problems which are really problems of statesmen.”

When the Commission began its journeyings, Friendly Societies were in this position: They were certified by registrars, and tables for granting annuities were certified by an actuary. This, it was found, did not prevent the societies from being, occasionally, either fraudulently or incompetently managed. Mr Tidd Pratt, indeed, believed that the proportion of incompetent or dishonest business was terribly great. The questions arose, Could legislation

rove them? or, Should the Government certificates be dropped, as mere lures to ruin ? To answer these questions, local inquiries in towns were needed, the Friendly Societies also were thought to require inspection.

In September, Sir Stafford, with his fellow-commissioners, left for Edinburgh. His domestic letters give a few particulars about his tour: “We are doing useful work," he writes from a most depressing hotel in Glasgow. “Our work is very interesting, and we rake up some queer disclosures,” “ discover no end of jobs.” Bread and cheese were with difficulty procured on the voyage to Belfast. Dublin provided “the most luxurious hotel you can imagine.” “There is a richer vein of rascality in Glasgow than one could discover at Belfast, though 'promoters had used the blessed name of St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, to delude poor Catholics into joining a swindle.'” Is it safe to add that the Commissioners found the Liffey "a beastly ditch”? At Killarney the Commissioners learned that celebrity has its taxes to pay :

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“The distinction of being mounted, and accompanied not only by a gillie but by a bugler, drew upon us a tenfold share of attention, meaning solicitation, throughout the journey. The favourite requests were, 1st, that we would take a drop of mountain-dew, a compound of milk and whisky; and 2d, that we would exchange a shilling for a lucky sixpence. We accepted the mountain-dew twice-once to see what it was like, and once (by way of doch-an-dorroch) to 'make up' a young lady's 'marriage money. A very good-looking girl she was, and as merry as possible, not badly dressed, though of course without shoes or stockings, running laughing along by our side with a bottle of milk in one hand and of whisky in the other.

Shure I only want seven shillings to my marriage money. Shure ye'll take doch-an-dorroch. Shure the last drop's the sweetest.' I need not say we were softhearted. Since we came in, I have been rather troubled by hearing a Canadian gentleman, who it seems is married to an Irish wife, give an account of his having bestowed a sixpence on the same Miss Bridget, and of her then falling back and conversing in Erse with her sister, not knowing that the lady understood them. She expressed her opinion that her benefactor was a very soft gentlemanat least so his wife told him. What she must have said of us, who gave a shilling each! But perhaps the wife was jealous.

“We have decidedly met with more fun in the last three days than in the rest of our tour. Some of the rules which the Friendly Societies at Cork condescended'

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RULES OF CORK SOCIETIES,

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to were delicious. Think of this: “If any member is in the habit of striking and maltreating his wife (a most disgraceful and inexcusable practice, and one likely to lead to the worst consequences as regards the wife's health), he shall forfeit any benefit as respects the said wife.' In order to preserve peace and harmony, any member refusing to be silent when ordered, or any member challenging another to fight, is to be fined; and any member coming in with his face and hands dirty, or with a beard of extraordinary length, is to be excluded. “If any member come in intoxicated, yet so as to be able to conduct himself in conformity with these rules, he shall be allowed to sit; but if otherwise, he shall be marked "troublesome," and if any member be three times called “troublesome” by the president and marked so by the secretary, he shall be'I forget whether it is fined or excluded.”

At Liverpool “we are taking evidence showing the rascality of a lot of scamps, but I have great doubts whether it will lead to much good.” The journeyings ended safely, but a voyage from Pynes to town at the end of the year was marked by a railway accident, elsewhere described.

The results, the practical results of travelling much, and suffering many things of many witnesses, were expressed in the Friendly Societies Bill, which (to anticipate) Sir Stafford brought in, and withdrew in 1874, and which passed in 1875. A confidential minute of December 20, 1874, sets forth his ideas, his aims, means, and the possible objections to them: “The principal object of the bill may

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