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the frontier or jeopardise the frontier settlement. Of course it is possible that Mr. Gladstone's policy may break down, and that the independent Afghanistan which he revived and placed under the protection of England may prove uncontrollable and a thorn in the side of India. In that case it will be necessary to reconsider our policy, but it may be hoped that in the meantime the loyalty with which Russia will have respected the limits to her influence which she has now for the first time accepted will inspire the British public with a new confidence in her good faith, and encourage our Government to revise the present settlement in a manner satisfactory to both sides.

I have endeavoured in this paper to show: (1) that the demarcation of the Afghan frontier was the necessary corollary to Mr. Gladstone's policy of guaranteeing the Amir from invasion; (2) that the demarcation, in spite of great difficulties, has been satisfactorily carried out; and (3) that there is a reasonable hope of the durability of the status quo. I have stated, fairly I hope, the probabilities of a peaceful issue, but I freely admit that there are possibilities of complications, and that my hopes-they are not predictions, I do not pretend to prophesy-may not be realised. However this may be, I am convinced that as with individuals in danger (real or imaginary), so with nations-a bold, resolute attitude is the most prudent as well as the most dignified. We have, moreover, every reason to be confident. In the East right and might are both on our side. The destinies of India are in the hands of a sagacious statesman, her armies are commanded by a distinguished general. The public may rest assured that neither of these illustrious men will sacrifice his well-won reputation before the brazen image of false economy, and that they will leave nothing undone which ought to be done, and (which is quite as important) do nothing which ought not to be done, in order to make the defences of India as impregnable as they can be made by human foresight and preparation.




THE London Docks are the scapegoat of competitive industry. They may be safely placed in the category of those unfortunate individuals. who are always in the wrong on the one hand they are expected to find work for all the failures of our society; on the other, they are roundly abused for doing so. Go to the docks' might be used for a nineteenth-century equivalent of a mediæval expression which has become meaningless in these agnostic days. For the popular imagination represents the dock labourer either as an irrecoverable ne'er-do-well, or as a down-fallen angel. It does not recognise that there are all sorts and conditions' here as elsewhere in the East End. And the companies that employ this unduly typified being stand, in the public mind, between two fires of contradictory criticism. The economist in his study frowns sternly as he deplores the attractions of low-class labour into London. The philanthropist, fresh from the dock gate, pleads with more sensational intonation the guilt of the dock and the waterside employer in refusing to this helpless labour more inducement to remain, more possibility to live decently and multiply freely. The indifferentist alone stands by the side of the existing institution, and talks glibly of the inevitable tendency of inevitable competition in producing an inevitable irregularity of employment; failing to realise that these so-called 'inevitables' mean the gradual deterioration of the brain and sinew of fellowcountrymen. But happily the democracy has a taste for facts, and we may hope a growing sense of proportion. I venture therefore to describe the life of the East London Docks, and to distinguish between and characterise the different classes of labour. And I am enabled, through the courtesy of dock officials, to give the actual numbers of those employed, and to preface this sketch by a short notice of the circumstances which have led to the present state and methods of employment.

The three docks of East London are the London and St. Katherine, the West and East India, and the Millwall. The two former were opened at the end of last and the beginning of this century respectively, and during the first fifty years of their existence possessed the virtual monopoly of the London trade. For in those days of large and easily earned profits companies were bolstered up by

extensive charters, and suicidal competition was as yet an undreamt of end to industrial enterprise. But towards the middle of this century the owners of the riverside woke up to the value of their possession. The small wharf which had sufficed for the unloading of the medieval craft and the eighteenth-century sailing vessel or barge, but which had been supplanted by the magnificent chartered premises of the inland dock, sprang again into active life. Restrictions were swept away, and in 1850 wharfingers were recognised by the Custom House authorities. From London Bridge to Woolwich, year by year, one by one, new wharves rose up out of the mud of the Thames bank-until the picturesque outline of broken-down building and shore was exchanged for one continuous line of warehouse and quay. In 1868 the Millwall Dock covered the space left over by the West and East India in the Isle of Dogs. The competition of the wharves had at that time become severe, and the Millwall was started with all the newest appliances and methods of saving labour and reducing the cost of operations. The trade of London was meanwhile advancing by leaps and bounds, and until, and for some years after, the opening of the Suez Canal profits increased and labour was freely employed. But even during the good times the two big companies were beginning to scrutinise their paymaster's sheets, for, with the daily increasing competition, the lavish and leisurely employment of unnecessary hands was no longer possible if these companies were to hold their supremacy of the London trade. In 1865 the directors of the London and St. Katherine introduced piece-work and the contract system. And the good times did not last. The tide of commerce turned against the greatest port in the world. The slow increase in the volume of goods handled was accompanied by shrinking values and rapidly declining profits. The opening of the direct route to the European Continent and foreign competition strengthened by foreign protection revolutionised the transhipment trade. Goods formerly housed in London were either unloaded straight from the oceanic vessel into the continental boat, or were never seen on the banks of the Thames. The loss of trade to the metropolitan port consequent on the development of the outports was intensified, as far as East London is concerned, by the opening of steam docks further down the river by the two great companies. Greater economy in the cost of operations became a life and death necessity to the dock and waterside employer. And the pressure came from below as well as from above, for the wages of all classes of employés had risen during the days of large profits. Corn and timber porters and stevedores were making 21. to 31. a week. In 1872 the casuals of London and St. Katherine's and of the West and East India had struck for and gained fivepence an hour in exchange for two shillings and sixpence a day. The Millwall, to defeat a combination among these men, had imported country labour. The masters

were powerless to reduce wages. They gave the usual alternative answer-more efficient management, labour-saving machinery and piece-work, meaning to the manual worker the same or even higher wages calculated by the hour, but fewer hands, harder worked, and more irregularly employed.

And the fierce competition for a declining business was not the only agency at work in producing spasmodic and strained demands for labour. The substitution of steam for sailing vessels, while it distributes employment more evenly throughout the year, increases the day to day and hour to hour uncertainty. In bygone days at certain seasons of the year a fleet of sailing vessels would line the dock quay. The work was spread over weeks and months, and each succeeding day saw the same number of men employed for the same number of hours. At other periods of the year there was no work, and the men knew it. Now the scene is changed. Steamers come and go despite of wind and tide. The multitudinous London shipowners show no sign of wishing to organise their business so as to give as regular employment as is practicable. And the value of a steamer to its owner does not admit of leisurely discharge. The owner insists that the steamer shall be out in so many hours; and a tonnage which a few years ago would have taken so many weeks to unload is now discharged in a day and night worked on end at high pressure. Hence the introduction of steam, besides the indirect effect of heightening competition, has a special influence in reducing the number of hands needed, in increasing the irregularity of the hours, and in rendering casual labour still more casual and uncertain.

Such, in briefest outline, are the trade events which have helped to bring about the present state of dock employment in East London, and which are still at work effecting further transformation. The futility of the attempt to separate the labour question from the trade question is becoming every day more apparent; and unless we understand the courses of trade we shall fail to draw the correct line between the preventable and the inevitable in the deepening shadows of East End existence. For all things are in the process of becoming, and the yesterday vies with the to-day as a foreteller of the to-morrow. And I think it will add reality to a picture of life in and about the docks if the reader will follow me in a short account of the actual work undertaken by the docks, the different varieties of which have an important bearing on the classes of men employed and on the methods of employment.

Dock labour in London is, properly speaking, the employment offered by the import trade. In the export trade the shipowners contract directly with a body of skilled men called stevedores, for whose work the dock company are in no way responsible. These men act under master stevedores, and are the only section of dock or waterside workmen who have formed themselves into a trades union.


The import work of the docks consists of five operations. first instance the sailing vessel or steamer enters the dock waters i charge of the transport gang, and is placed in the proper berth fo discharging. In old days there she would have waited until suited the dock company to pay her some attention. Now, at what ever time of day, and, in the case of steamers, at whatever time o night, the vessel settles into her berth, the ship-gangers with the men swarm on to her deck and into her hold. Then begins th typical dock labour-work that any mortal possessed of will an sinew can undertake. The men run up and down like the inhab tants of an ant-hill burdened with their cocoons, lifting, carrying balancing on the back, and throwing the goods on the quay. It true that in the discharging of grain and timber special strength o skill is required. With timber a growth on the back of the nec called a hummie,' the result of long friction, is needful to enable man to balance a plank with any degree of comfort. But timbe and grain are in East London practically confined to the Millwa Docks, and it will be seen that more difficulty in the work means higher class of men, and in the case of timber porters of a body men who stand outside the competition of low-class labour. Now leaving the dock quay, we watch the warehousing gang. Her again, is heavy, unskilled work. To tip a cask, sack, or bale on to truck, and run it into a warehouse or down into a vault, or on to th platform of a crane, to be lifted by hydraulic power into an uppe chamber, is the rough and ready work of the warehousing gang Next, under the direction of the warehouse or vault keeper, th goods are stowed away awaiting the last and final operation. F the dock company not only shelter the wares committed to the charge, but prepare them for sale, and in some instances make the merchantable.' A large body of coopers mend the casks and plu them, after Government officials have tested the strength of th contents. The company's foremen sort and sample all articles f the importing merchant, and in some cases operate on the good under his directions. For instance, sugar is bulked which ha been partially washed'; rum vatted, coloured, and reduced standard strength. It is in these various operations that the dock prove their capacity for absorbing all kinds and degrees of huma faculty. The well-educated failure, that unlucky production the shallow intellectualism of our Board schools, can earn fivepen an hour as tally-clerk, setting down weights and measures, and copy ing invoices. Aged men and undeveloped boys are equal to th cleaning and the sorting of spices. The Wools' and the Tea attract the more vigorous portion of irregular labour; for the sal of these articles take place at certain fixed periods of the year, and th employment dependent on those sales is heavy, worked under pre sure for time, and during long hours. And the work of the docks

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