"There is probably no land on earth of equal area possessed of equal natural wealth. For two centuries it was the richest colony in the New World, pouring inexhaustible riches into the treasuries of Spain and France. Columbus, Napoleon and Cromwell considered it worth all the rest of America. Magnificent estates dotted its savannahs, mighty engineering works covered its plains, its mountains pierced by innumerable mines, and its harbors thronged with richly laden ships.
"That was in the days when Hayti was a colony, first of Spain and afterward of France. Since the revolt of the slaves and the gaining of 'independence' through a series of the most bloody and brutal wars that ever raged on earth, the island has been shunned by the ships of white men, and the negroes upon it have been abandoned to their own devices. Innumerable half-savage chieftains have wrestled for authority in it. In the eastern and less populous portion of the island - that portion which is called Santo Domingo, where Spanish is spoken - something like a settled government has been established. In the western, French-speaking and principal portion - in Hayti proper - continuous revolutions have decimated the population, devastated the land and wrecked the cities, while the state of society has drifted back until to-day it is a close approximation to primitive African savagery.
"The story of Hayti's wrecking is one of the most sanguinary, as it is one of the most lamentable, chapters in human history. It is decorated with the names of the monster Dessalines, the arch-brute Cristophe, the inhuman tyrant Soulouque, and relieved by that alone of Toussaint L'Ouvcrture. It is the story of the extinction of two populations and civilizations, and the horrible degeneration of a third. Where the white man had exterminated the Carib, the African slaughtered the European, and now fights his own fierce battles in a land soaked with the blood of all".
The vital interest in this whole matter is not only that we are the causes of all this frightful barbarism, but that Hayti bears a commensal relation to the United States, in that each needs the other's products and each suffers for the damage done to the other. We are being punished for our neglect of natural duty. Self-interest and the interests of Haytians themselves both demand that a stable government be formed by Anglo-Saxon brains.
What is said of the sad condition of Hayti can be also said of the other alleged republics of Central and South America. They, too, are commensal organisms necessary for our preservation, buffers between us and harm, yet we have so neglected them that we are now suffering for their products. They are wonderfully rich in all the tropical things we need. Colombia even tried to stop the course of civilization of the world in her barbarous attitude toward the Panama Canal. Venezuela is not a republic at all, but a turbulent mob without organization, because there are not brains to organize the units. Murder, pillage and freebootery dominate it from end to end. Neither life nor property are safe. Population and industries are declining. Investors are excluded just when their investments are to turn out mutually beneficial. It has brought us to the verge of war more than once. It is, then, not fanciful to picture the United States as the policeman of the Caribbean using a "big stick" to threaten the nations into decency. It is a living necessity and forerunner of more complete mutual relations in the future.*
* Judge Lambert Tree, speaking of the fact that white men cannot live in the West Indies, says:
"As the white man loses his grip the black man tightens his, and hence is perceived everywhere, substantially, negro control.
"Thus, in that precious republic, Hayti, the white man is not permitted to hold real estate, and a number of other privileges are denied him which are permitted to the black citizen. Judging from the examples of negro rule in Hayti and Santo Domingo, as well as from the social and political conditions in other of the West Indies where they are in partial control, it would seem that the negro is seen at his best where he is under the influence and control of a considerable body of white men.
Among the Mexican peasants of Indian blood there has arisen a curious but perfectly natural resistance to the American invasion. They claim that they do not want any of the things we take there to sell, and that they do not desire the material prosperity thrust on them. Their wants are very few and they are happy if left alone, so they are agitating the expulsion of Americans. They are perfectly right - if they win - but they must submit to the course of civilization, like every other lower race. The late Mary H. Kingsley * was about the only one who keenly appreciated the reasons for the expansion of the white races. "This Teutonic race is a strong one, with the habit, when in the least encouraged by peace and prosperity, of producing more men to the acre than the acre can keep. Being among themselves a kindly, common-sense race, it seems to them more reasonable to go and get more acres elsewhere than to kill themselves off down to a level which their own acres could support." She also saw the impossibility of living in the tropics, yet the necessity of holding them for their products and to sell them goods. "Men's blood rapidly putrefies under the tropic zone." "Tropical conditions favor the growth of pathogenic bacteria." She quotes both as a rose by another name. So that it is best to stay at home, sell goods and buy food from abroad, and this is the keynote of England's policy in holding Africa. "Lancashire, for example, turns out more human beings than can comfortably exist there, so does she turn out more manufactured articles than can be consumed there".
"By himself, it is nearly, or quite, self-evident that he is not capable of administering government for the general welfare of the people over whom he rules. The negro is an imitator, and with the influence and example of the white men absent, racial instincts beyond his control seem to draw him back, as by the 'call of the wild.' His idea of government in the republics in the West Indies he rules over is to plunder the weak. 'Might makes right' is the rule of the barbaric, and this is the rule of those whence he sprang and toward whom he is again drifting. If the negro is left to himself much longer in Hayti and Santo Domingo, all government will ultimately disappear except that of the tribal relation. Nothing is more clear than that he is retrograding in that direction".
* "West African Studies," Macmillan, 1899.
Best of all Miss Kingsley's remarkable observations is the discovery (page 402) that England's policy demands that the English and African cooperate for their mutual benefit and advancement. There will be more goods sold from Lancashire and more happiness and more population, if there are more prosperous negroes in Africa to buy these goods, paying with exports. She has a curious little whimper about the rewards of killing off people. The civil servant in Africa says: "Oh, if a man comes here and burns half a dozen villages he gets honors; while I, who keep the villages from wanting burning, get nothing." The old, old rule.
In the chapter describing the law of mutual aid, we have mentioned many other instances of the dependence of all nations upon each other, and we can now rest assured that control of the tropics is not the white man's burden, but the white man's necessity. The more it is developed, the more will both white and brown man prosper.