11 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 14



SIB,,—Permit me briefly to call attention to one curious mis- take into which Mr. Ralph Stokes—in your last issue—and almost all the gentlemen who are in favour of Chinese labour —in other issues of your paper—appear to me to fall. He says : " The arguments anent semi-serfage' scarcely call for serious consideration. Let people at home waste no pity over the well-paid and overfed Chinaman." May I ask : is he under the impression that this matter• of food, or even money, affects the issue, and does a man cease to be a serf, or a "semi-serf," when he is well fed and provided with money ? It is true that slavery loses then its most obvious horrors, and those to which the lovers of freedom most often point; but if the Chinese in South Africa were not semi-serfs—which they are—but slaves, and bought and sold as such, they might yet be well fed and provided with money. The South African mine-owner is too astute a man to deal over harshly with the Chinaman as yet. Let freedom go first.—I am, Sir, &c.,