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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1138-1139 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. Have they many open mines in the State of Washington?

Mr. Simpson. Quite a number; I should say in the neighborhood of 40 or 50. But there are not many of them that are worked. The fact is, the coal deposits are so great that it does not pay to work them, except they have a guaranteed channel for their trade. Nearly all the coal mines are owned or controlled by large corporations, such as the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the Union Pacific Railroad Company, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, the Great Northern, and the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. They are large users of coal, and nearly all of them have gone into the coal business, because they wish to make the profit.

The Chairman. As the mines are worked deeper does the quality of the coal improve?

Mr. Simpson. That is the general belief. Of course, where coal deposits run, as you might say, along the surface, they do not increase; they are rarely worked; they do not bother with them.

The Chairman. What was to be the tonnage of the ships that you were to send out on this line?

Mr. Simpson. About 3,000 gross.

The Chairman. How much of that would be occupied in carrying fuel to and from Honolulu?

Mr. Simpson. Do you mean for the use of the ship?

The Chairman. Yes.

Mr. Simpson. We figured that we would put in 1,000 tons of coal.

The Chairman. That would leave how much room for freight-about 1,000 to 1,200 tons?

Mr. Simpson. Yes.

The Chairman. About one-half your cargo would consist of fuel for the ship?

Mr. Simpson. The size of ship we proposed to operate.

The Chairman. That would be still greater on a smaller ship?

Mr. Simpson. The proportion would be still greater.

The Chairman. So that, in making a voyage in a steamship from Puget Sound to Honolulu and return, you would make the calculation that one-half your space in going out to Honolulu and one-fourth of it returning would be occupied by fuel?

Mr. Simpson. In a general way; yes.

The Chairman. How would the cost of coal, if you had to purchase it in Honolulu, compare with what you would have to give for it, say, in Victoria?

Mr. Simpson. A good steam coal sold by the dealers in Honolulu would cost us $14 to $21 a ton, according to the man's ability to make a trade with those fellows. But that is a contingency we would not meet?

The Chairman. What did it cost in Victoria?

Mr. Simpson. The best coal that we could put on at Victoria would cost us $3.50 a ton.

The Chairman. In both cases do you mean on board ship?

Mr. Simpson. Alongside the ship, on a lighter. The Roslyn coal would cost us a trifle more than that; and there is another still nearer the coast, known as the South Prairie coal, which carries a high proportion of steam properties. But it is a small mine, and we could not probably get very much of it. If we could get any we would put that coal on board the ship from coal bunkers at about $3 a ton. Do you want the coal proposition of the Pacific Ocean?


The Chairman. I want to know what acquaintance you have with steam communication between the eastern and western shores of the Pacific Ocean. I want to know generally what your acquaintance with the subject is.

Mr. Simpson. The way it is operated now is by two lines of ships from San Francisco to China and Japan, making Yokohama the port of entry, making one line from San Francisco to Australia, stopping at Honolulu, Samoa, Apia, New Zealand, and Sidney; and a line of ships to Vancouver, British Columbia, to China and Japan, operated by the Canadian Steamship Company, and also under subsidy from the English Government and Canadian Government-heavy subsidies, too-and a line of steamships from Tacoma to Yokohama and Hong Kong.

The Chairman. Have you ever had any business connection with any of the trans-Pacific lines?

Mr. Simpson. I have imported a few goods, but nothing of any importance. I have never been employed by any of them.

The Chairman. As a rule, what is the tonnage of ships that cross the Pacific Ocean?

Mr. Simpson. Ships running from San Francisco to Yokahoma, on the Oriental and Occidental line, average from 4,000 to 5,000 gross tonnage. On the Pacific Mail, operating between the same points, they run from 3,000 to 5,000. On the Spreckles line, between San Francisco and Australia, they run about 5,000 tons, and they have one ship that runs only between San Francisco and Honolulu, 3,500 tons. One of the ships of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company, operating between Vancouver, China, and Japan, the Empress of India, is about 14,000 gross tons, and the ships running between Vancouver and Australia on the Canadian Pacific line are about 5,000 gross tons, and those between Tacoma and China and Japan are from 3,000 tons to 5,500 tons.

The Chairman. Would all these ships on leaving the American coast take coal for the entire voyage across the Pacific Ocean?

Mr. Simpson. That is according to circumstances. Possibly I can give you full information in reference to that subject. The ships running from San Francisco to Yokahoma, as a rule, only carry enough coal to take them to China and Japan, except the coal market in Yokahoma for Hong Kong is such as to to warrant them in carrying coal from San Francisco, provided they have plenty of space to carry it. They usually take from San Francisco a coal supply for twenty days. The ship going from San Francisco to Yokahoma takes about sixteen days out and about fourteen days to return, and they consume in round numbers from 40 to 50 tons of coal per day. That coal costs them in San Francisco from $6.50 to $7.50 per ton, and they purchase whichever coal is most advantageous to them in price and quality. Coal is taken to Australia from San Francisco, from England, and from the Pacific northwest coast. The prices are of various kinds, averaging about the same; that is, for some coals. Of course, cannel coal for stove or grate purposes from the English mines runs higher. The manner in which that coal is taken from San Francisco is by the operation of established lines of colliers between San Francisco and the mines of the Pacific northwest by ships going from England to San Francisco or points on the Pacific coast, bringing coal in ballast, and by ships carrying lumber from the Pacific northwest to Australia and securing a return cargo of coal.

The Chairman. Is that a large trade?

Mr. Simpson. Quite a large trade. It is very rarely that a ship finds

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