« PreviousContinue »
earns them or gets them as a charity dole.... But if he earns them he ought to be able to get them as a right, and not as a privilege under an employer's patronage. If he does not earn them, then he is the petty beneficiary of a degrading charity system. In our view every man who works earns more than his wages plus all the altruistic benefits he receives, and though we offer no condemnation of charitable intervention while workers are plundered to the extent of impoverishment, we do not hesitate to denounce devices which, in the guise of charity or the name of altruism, serve to deaden the public conscience while universal robbery through special privilege is perpetrated."
The recent experience in Australia seems also to condemn the policy of making temporary provision for the granting of old-age pensions, which went into effect in Victoria on January 1, 1901. The sum of £75,000 was provided, which the government thought would be sufficient for the half year. Before the time expired, however, the appropriation was exhausted by the claims. The Charity Review of Melbourne states that the immediate effect of the act has been to pauperize many of the recipients. It continues: “However, for good or ill, the step has been taken, and such steps cannot be retraced. We must go forward; the tendency will be to increase the area over which the pensions are spread and we may eventually arrive at the Universal Old Age Pension advocated by Charles Booth and other English authorities. In any case, certain subsidiary legislation is already strongly indicated as highly desirable, if not absolutely necessary, especially in the following instances : Adults should (as in Canada is already the law) be compelled to support their aged parents uniess sufficient cause be shown to the contrary. An inebriates' asylum act should be passed and provision made for the support of the inmates, either by their own labor, by any pension they may be entitled to, or by their children or other near relations." The necessity of the second provision is shown by the claim prominently put forward in Victoria that the pensions would eventually mean a big government bonus to the saloons. See VICTORIA.
PERRY, WILLIAM FLAKE, Confederate brigadier-general, died at Bowling Green, Ky., December 18, 1901. He was born in Jackson County, Ga., March 12, 1823, and was educated at Brownwood Academy. After teaching for six years, he was in 1854 chosen to organize the educational system of Alabama. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Confederate army, and rose in rank to brigadier-general. While in command of a regiment he was engaged in the battles of Chickamauga, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor, and in the operations at Petersburg and Appomattox. From 1883 he was professor of English and philosophy at Ogden College, Bowling Green, Ky.
PERSEUS, NEW STAR IN. See AsTRONOMICAL PROGRESS.
PERSIA, an independent Asiatic monarchy extending from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Oman. The capital is Teheran.
Area, Population, etc.—The estimated area is 628,000 square miles and the estimated population between 9,000,000 and 9,500,000. Not more than 1,000 of the inhabitants are Europeans. Teheran has about 250,000 inhabitants; Tabriz, 180,000; and Ispahan, 80,000. Nearly 90 per cent. of the people belong to the Shiah sect of the Mohammedans. There are a number of schools receiving state aid, but education is in a backward condition. A writer stated in 1901 that there are few schools in Persia “save here and there chattering groups around a village priest, or worse than mediæval groups around a mesjid and a mujtahid.” The condition of the prisons is said to be wretched, while the courts are "half civil, half ecclesiastical, irregular, and with no written codes, no jury system, no pleading, no testimony save the eloquence and evidence of bribes."
Government and Finance.-The shah, or king, is an absolute monarch so far as his rulings do not conflict with the principles of the Koran. The present shah is Muzaffar-ed-din, who ascended the throne May 1, 1896. The grand vizier since August 11, 1898, has been Mirza Ali Asghar Khan. The army is stated to number 105,500 men, but the regular or standing army does not exceed 24,500.
The monetary standard is silver, and the unit of value the kran, worth 7.9 cents on October 1, 1901. About 15 per cent. of the revenue is derived from customs and the remainder from posts, telegraphs, government concessions, etc. All the customs are leased. For the fiscal year 1900 the revenue was estimated at less than $7,300,000. Financially the government is under Russian influence.
Industry and Commerce.-Agriculture is carried on to some extent, and cereals, gums, cotton, sugar, opium, and tobacco are produced. Persia possesses valuable mineral resources, including petroleum, coal, iron, copper, argentiferous lead, and other minerals; some of these are worked in primitive fashion by the natives, but actual development awaits the introduction of better transport facilities. The most important manufactures are silk and carpets. The principal imports are cotton and woollen goods, provisions, hardware, etc.; and the leading exports are cotton, wool,
tobacco, opium, dried fruits, silk, and carpets. In 1899 the share of British shipping in the trade of the southern ports amounted to 82.2 per cent. In the same year the value of the imports at these ports amounted to £2,276,157, of which the imports from India were represented by £1,053,242, and those from Great Britain by £602,308. The exports from these ports amounted to £1,342,849, of which India received £487,589, and Great Britain £94,430. The aggregate value of the imports and exports for the fiscal year ending March 21, 1901, was reported to be about £8,000,000, exclusive of some £800,000 representing the greater part of the pearl trade and the trade across the Kurdistan and Baluchistan frontiers and through Mohammerah, where the customs system has not yet been established. Of the £8,000,000, 56 per cent. represent Russian trade, 24 per cent. British, 6 per cent. Turkish, 52 per cent. French, 4 per cent. Chinese and Japanese, 2/2 per cent. Austrian, and %2 per cent. German.
The trade of northern Persia is largely in the hands of Russians, while that of the southern part of the country is controlled chiefly by Indian merchants (British subjects). Russian steamships touch at Enzeli, a town on the Caspian, about 20 miles from Resht. The Russians in 1899 completed a wagon road from Enzeli through Resht to Kazvin, and a wagon road, 200 miles in length, constructed with Russian capital, has been opened from Resht to Teheran. These roads constitute the principal commercial routes in northern Persia ; but the old route from Trebizond, on the Black Sea, passing through the important province of Azerbaijan, is still used to some extent. Trade in the Persian Gulf is carried on by British steamships from Bander Abbas to Basra. From Bander Abbas in Laristan and Bushire in Farsistan, important caravan routes lead to the interior. Since transportation by caravan is very expensive, the English are attempting to utilize the Chat-el-Arab (the union of the Tigris and Euphrates) and its affluent, the Karoun; the latter is navigable as far as Ahwaz, about 100 miles from its mouth. From that town a caravan road to Ispahan, the winter residence of the Shah, was opened in 1900.
Communications.- Transportation is effected chiefly by pack mules and camels. There are only six miles of railway in operation, from Teheran to Shah-Abdul-azim. Besides those mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the only wagon roads in the country are from Teheran to Kom and from Teheran to Kazvin, each about 90 miles in length. In September, 1901, it was semi-officially announced that work had been begun at several points on the proposed Russo-Persian railway; this line is projected to connect Tabriz, in Azerbaijan, with Hamadan (a branch line extending thence to Teheran) and Julfa, a suburb of Ispahan, and it may be carried as far as Bander Abbas. It was announced in the fall of 1901 that the construction of a railway under Russian auspices would be at once begun, to connect the Russian trans-Caspian line at Askabad with the Persian province of Khorasan at Meshed.
There are about 4,800 miles of telegraph line. In 1901 the Persian and British governments agreed upon the construction by the latter of a three-wire telegraph line from Kashan to Jask, the line running by way of Kirman and Bampur. From Jask telegraphic communication has hitherto been continued by cable up the Persian Gulf. The purpose of the new line, besides facilitating communication with southeastern Persia, is to make the Indo-European system independent of the Gulf cable.
History.--11 February, 1901, a Russian line of steamers was established between Odessa and the Persian Gulf. Hitherto Great Britain has controlled the trade of southern Persia, and Russia will be at a serious disadvantage, not only on this acount, but because Russian goods are generally inferior to British. Moreover, since Persia produces little that is needed in Russia, the return cargoes will be small. Recognizing these facts Russia has subsidized the new line. The steamers carry to Persia chiefly sugar, cotton goods, and petroleum.
In her search for an ice-free port, Russia has not been unmindful of the possibilities of the Persian Gulf, and for two years or more it has appeared that she has been gradually absorbing Persia by various means, direct and indirect, including loans and railway concessions, and more recently by the appointment of consuls to most of the large Persian cities and the establishment of a subsidized steamship line, mentioned above. There are Russian consuls at Bushire, Basra, and Bagdad (in Turkish territory), there is a Russian cruiser in the Gulf, and in 1901 a Russian "botanical zoological" expedition made a thorough survey for the proposed Russian line of railway from Meshed to Bander Abbas. With regard to the growth of Russian influence at the expense of British, the position was held in some quarters in 1901 that since Great Britain's interest in Persia is commercial and not, as Russia's may be, both commercial and political, any attempt to forbid Russia access to the Persian Gulf would be “to play the dog-in-the-manger;" an obstructive course on the part of Great Britain, it was held, would be inconsistent, since there seemed to be acquiescence, on the part of the British government, in the German scheme of reaching the Gulf by the Bagdad railway.
On the other hand, arguments were brought forward to show that Great Britain,