SALVADOR, Central America, is a good example of what years of peace will accomplish. This little country has only 7,200 square miles of territory, yet its population is over 1,000,000 people, while next to it is Honduras with 46,000 square miles, or over six and a half times the size of Salvador, and only 500,000 population. If Honduras had the population proportionally that Salvador has, there would be nearly 7,000,000 people, and it would have if it had a strong government, such as a joint protectorate by the United States and Mexico would give.
In this world there are millions of people who would like to go to a country like Honduras if it had a stable government, and it would mean a great deal to our prosperity if 7,000,000 people lived in Honduras instead of 500,000.
With a joint protectorate of the United States and Mexico over Honduras, there is no doubt but that in one year land values would increase $50,000,000. In that country, people who are now land poor would be rich, and on the other side what would be the loss? Perhaps fifty officials out of work; a loss in salaries of say $1,500 each per year, or $75,000. That might be a loss to some government officials, but if they were proper people, they would no doubt be allowed to remain in office, and if so, their compensation would be twice what it is now.
Railroad lines would be built, banks would be started, steamship lines would be crowded, taking settlers there. The great gold belt would take new life and old mines would be re-opened. And if the land laws were to be modeled after the laws of Salvador, preventing large holdings, it would be a great benefit.
Our trade with little Salvador, with only 7,200 square miles, is nearly $2,500,000 per year, while with Honduras it is only about a million dollars more, although Honduras is six and a half times as large.
The examples mentioned in the preceding chapters and this one prove that a good government or only a fair government in Central America leads to prosperity, not only for the country having it, but for our own land.
Costa Rica with only 341,000 population has a trade with us of about $5,000,000 per year, while Guatemala, with a population nearly five times as great, has a trade with us of about the same amount.
Civilization develops trade, increases values, lengthens life, blesses all.
There is ample room in Central America for 15,000,000 people, and if Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua were only to have a population per square mile anywhere near equal to that of Salvador, the population would be about 15,000,000.
Suppose a bank in some small city in England has a capital of 100,000 pounds, and the control is bought up by one of the large London banks, as has been the case in a number of instances. The same directors remain as the local advisors, the same manager remains. Who has been hurt? Everything is the same; same building, same depositors, same man at the head. But now great strength is back of the institution, which was not before. All has been gain, there has been no loss to any one.
Make the governments of Central America, Venezuela and Colombia strong and the world will take a great step forward and all will be blessed.