Seen in Jeonju

The Independent: Thursday, April 16, 1896

11th December 2011

Seoul Union Tennis Club

Local Items– We are pleased to remark that the ladies of the Seoul Union have put their shoulders to the wheel and handsomely papered the rooms of the Union. We congratulate them and ourselves on the improvement thus effected and are glad to hear that they intend to open the season tomorrow. Let every member be present with his tennis racquet and with a good stock of harmless gossip and show the ladies his appreciation of their efforts.

–It gives an unfavorable impression to officers of the army going about the streets either on public or private business attended by two or three soldiers who are used as menials and not as a proper escort. The government should impress upon the people the fact that a soldier’s position is an honorable one and while he should be kept strictly under the others of his superior he must not be treated as a menial and required to do work that only coolies should perform.

–A grave charge which we can scarcely credit is made against Koreans in Fusan that they are poisoning Japanese wells. When one of the culprits is caught, tried and convicted then it will be time to publish a report, but to circulate such a rumor without any confirmation can do no good and can only reflect upon those who invented it.

–The Independent will be sent to all provincial governors and all district magistrates through the Korean post office and the horse courier service from this day on at the request of the Minister of the Interior. We look upon this as a progressive move on the part of the Home Office and we believe that it has opened up the way to the accomplishment of one of the main objects contemplated in the starting of this paper, namely the bringing of the capital and the country into more intimate touch with each other. If a copy is on file in every magisterial office and the people learn that they can secure it regularly on application, an entering wedge will have been formed which will help materially in the harmonizing of the present discordant elements.

–Mr. Leigh Hunt, the representative of an American Syndicate in the matter of a Seoul-Chemulpo railroad, left Seoul on the 14th and will sail from Kobe on the 22nd for America. He will return sometime in the summer to commence operations. We wish him a pleasant voyage and a full accomplishment of his plan which will be of mutual advantage to the Korean People and to the company which undertakes the enterprise.

Communications–Notice to correspondents– No attention will be paid to anonymous communications. All letters or communications must be addressed to The Independent, Seoul, Korea, and all remittances should be made to the same.

–To the Editor of the Independent:  Dear sir, The only pleasant half hour’s walk in the vicinity of the foreign quarter is along the back of the Methodist Mission property and the French Legation but unfortunately the fence of the latter has been put out so far beyond the original limits that it is quite impossible for two people to walk side by side. This is a serious inconvenience to the large part of the foreign community and we feel sure that if our friends should rectify the mistake they would receive the unanimous thanks of the community.  Yours truly, A. Resident.

To the Editor of the Independent:  Dear sir, The governor of Tong Nai pretends to be a progressive man yet his actions are worse than those of the conservatives. He is continuously making people pay up their old debts, on commission the latter not being a fixed percentage of the sum but according to his own caprice. The government has regulated the tax rates but he collects according to the old system. If this sort of thing continues the people of Tong Nai District are likely to rise and take his life and by so doing show the Home Department that such fellow will not be acceptable as governors in country districts. Yours truly, Yi.

Editorial—The building of the railway between Seoul and Chemulpo deserves more than passing notice. As we stated a few days ago, the contract has been definitely made and it is expected that the surveys will begin sometime during the coming Summer. According to the terms of the contract the government cedes to the company the land forming the route between the two points; the company builds and equips the road and has complete control for fifteen years. At tat time the government has the option of buying the road from the company at a price to be agreed upon at that time by one representative from the government and one from the company. If they cannot agree upon a price it shall be referred to an umpire chosen by them. If at that time the government does not wish to buy, the road shall remain in the company’s during a further period of ten years when the government shall again have the option of buying. At the expiration of each ten years the government has the option of buying.

These terms appear to us to be extremely advantageous for both parties. Here we have a place where a railroad is a necessity. It is no speculation. With two such termini, one the capital of the country containing some 300,000 people, and the other the most flourishing port in the country and one whose importance is daily growing, we can readily believe that the element of chance is well nigh eliminated from the problem.

On the other hand however advantageous may seem the contract for the company there are other large considerations that may not be overlooked. The benefits that accrue to the people will more than counter-balance the seeming partiality. In the first place the work is to be done so far as possible by Korean workmen. Thousands of them will be employed. Not only in the work of construction but after it is finished, Koreans will be largely employed in less responsible positions in connection with the road. In the next place the value of real estate all along the line will be greatly enhanced and at the termini the rise in value will be very great. The government should recoup itself for the expense of getting the site for road bed for the company by buying further in the vicinity of the termini and profiting by the rise in value. Then again the government will save largely in the cost of transporting revenue rice from Chemulpo to the capital and in transportation of troops.

One of the advantages of the present arrangement is that the road will be in the hands of people belonging to a power which under no conceivable circumstances could be suspected of ulterior motives of a political nature. The road will always be worked in the interests of the Korean people. We presume that the agreement stipulates that the road shall never be allowed to pass into the hands of any other company, syndicate or power but shall be controlled permanently by the present contracting syndicate until the government wishes to purchase. This is implied in the stipulation that at the end of each ten years the government shall have the option of buying. On the whole this is the most satisfactory contract of a similar character the government ever made with a foreign firm. We congratulate the government, the company and those who acted as instruments for the fair and impartial manner in which this contract was made.

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