again, many of the famous Rand mines are undoubtedly sound investments, provided they are not purchased in the market at inflated prices, and I hope later on to give a list of shares, with the prices at which they may be bought with comparative safety. I have already mentioned that some of the leading Indian mines are also investment securities, though there is a greater element of risk in them, inasmuch as the Colar gold-field is of a more patchy and less reliable character. And there are many others in various parts of the world, of which we hear very seldom, that make no big noise to attract us, that quietly pursue the even tenor of their prosperous ways, that have little or no influence in the mining market, that know but few fluctuations, simply because, though there may be no difficulty in finding buyers, the holders of them are disinclined to sell; they are far too valuable as investment securities.

Therefore, we see there is a radical difference between investment-buying and speculation. Speculative shares are tossed about from one person to another, and are seldom retained in anyone's possession for long. It is these shares that influence the mining market for good and evil, that frequently determine its present and future course, whereas investment shares, especially when they are taken off the market to be held securely for a prolonged period, have little influence upon the market, the prices of them eventually finding their proper level, and fluctuating but narrowly either way.

Owing to the risks connected with mining, it is not easy to affix the price at which shares may be purchased with safety. They naturally differ with circumstances. But, in every case, allowance ought always to be made for redemption of capital, and this it is that the majority of investors neglect to do. Though we cannot calculate the life of any mine with certainty, not even of a Rand mine, it is possible to tell by the quantity of ore in sight how many years it is certain to last, and therefore we may often calculate how much per cent. should be sunk every year for redemption of capital. Take the Mount Morgan mine, for instance. It has paid something like five and a half millions in dividends since 1886, and it is almost certain to last another fifty or sixty years. Therefore a buyer may easily calculate what amount of provision he should make to redeem the purchase price of his shares during that period.

But when we come to purchase such shares in the market, we find it somewhat difficult to get them, and hence the yield upon them at the price at which they are to be bought is small in comparison with the yield upon more speculative shares. At the moment of writing they stand at 4 1/2, at which price I consider them a good purchase, the yield being about 7 1/2 per cent., without making provision for redemption of capital. Most of the shares, however, being held by the directors and their friends, and the remainder being tightly held by holders all over the world, the shares are scarce, and therefore the market in them is a narrow one.

Still, when we come to weigh up the merits of mining shares and other shares as investments pure and simple, we find that there is not so much to choose between them, after all, provided we can put a fair amount of trust in the people who manage the companies. In time we get to know who are the rogues and scoundrels, and we naturally avoid them, or should avoid them, as we do the plague. There are many men at this moment whose names are household words, men who have ruthlessly ruined thousands of people who were imprudent enough to put their confidence in them, and who, in spite of the dishonours thick upon them, still unblushingly, and with that effrontery that is the distinguishing characteristic of every rogue, smile upon their victims, and still attempt to cajole them with those hypocritical blandishments in which they are past-masters. Therefore we have to learn from experience - that is, if we eventually recover from that experience - how to distinguish between the arrant knaves and the better men, those who have, at least, sufficient self-respect to save them from downright scoundrelism. And thus we may avoid many pitfalls. There are many, of course, who will not learn from experience, who ignore the counsel of common-sense, who will even shake hands with those who have robbed them'; but these are the hopeless cases, of which we need take no account, and to whom it is waste of labour to give any advice.

But if we wish only to speculate, to make our profits by buying and selling, the rogues will, of course, serve our turn as well as the honest men, and probably more effectively. All that we need know in that case is when to buy and when to sell, and therefore acquaintance with the methods of these men will undoubtedly assist us greatly. Even should these men float a wild-cat - indeed, it is only by accident that they float any other - it is not a bad speculation to subscribe to those shares at once, for it is as certain as not that they will be rigged to high premiums, in order that the promoters, vendors and others may get rid of them, and therefore a profit may be made with almost absolute certainty. It is not a pleasant truth to admit, and it gives me no pleasure in stating it, but, unfortunately, no high moral purpose will be served by suppressing it. This being so, there are many men who condemn mining wholesale, and assert that no self-respecting man ought so much as to buy a mining share. But I do not see why the sins of the dishonest should be visited upon the honest, or why there should be a sudden stoppage of the mining industry because swindlers make their fortunes out of it. It is as logical as to say that we ought not to drink water because murderers have drowned people in it. There are rogues and swindlers in every trade and industry, and we have been endowed with reason and intelligence to protect us from them. If we neglect to make use of these attributes we must abide by the consequences. We may be lured to our ruin, but we are not dragged into it against our wills, and the progress of the world should not be stayed by the feeble-willed, for that would be a grave injustice to the strong-willed.