1140-1141

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1140-1141 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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it necessary, a steamship engaged in the transportation business, to stop at any way port for coal. It is very seldom that they do that now.

The Chairman. Does the course of a vessel from San Francisco to Yokohama take in Honolulu?

Mr. Simpson. No; Honolulu does not lie in the direct course between San Francisco and Yokohama.

The Chairman. How far away is it?

Mr. Simpson. The Geodetic Survey people make it 952 miles.

The Chairman. How long would it take a steamer to make that distance, running at the ordinary rates at which they run in crossing the Pacific Ocean?

Mr. Simpson. The ships now in that traffic, when they go into Honolulu, lose an average of about three to three and a half days. Now, there is a point that comes up right there.

The Chairman. You are speaking now of Yokohama and San Francisco?

Mr. Simpson. Yes.

The Chairman. Suppose it were between Hong Kong and San Francisco?

Mr. Simpson. Those lines do not go to Hong Kong.

The Chairman. I mean, suppose there were a line between San Francisco and Hong Kong, would not that go by Honolulu?

Mr. Simpson. I am not sufficiently posted to say.

The Chairman. A steamship line from San Francisco to Australia, would go by the Sandwich Islands?

Mr. Simpson. It is in direct line.

The Chairman. So that a steamer going from Yokohama to San Francisco would have to leave its course about three days, if it had to go into Honolulu for refreshment, fuel, or anything else? That would be about the length of time?

Mr. Simpson. Yes. But it does not seem to me to be very much of a loss. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company and the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company, operating between San Francisco and Yokohama, are operating on an agreement between them whereby the ship of one line stops in at Honolulu one month and one of the other line the next month. They have a schedule of a year at a time, and by stopping in at Honolulu they do not make any more trips. Consequently the pay roll goes on the same. In reference to the pay rolls there is less difference between the money spent for labor on board those ships running to China and Japan than there is on the ships running from the American coast to the other points in the Pacific Ocean, for the reason that they employ Chinese and Japanese laborers, and get them very much cheaper. The cost of labor is only 5 per cent less than it is upon ships operating in the Atlantic Ocean and employing English labor; so that, for that reason, they only lose what coal is actually necessary for them to buy in making the trip.

The Chairman. The point of my inquiry was in reference to the advantage of the Hawaiian Islands-of course, Honolulu in particular-as a resting place, place of refreshment, place of repairs in case of any disaster to ships crossing from any portion of the United States to any of the large cities of Asia they might choose to enter. That was the point of my question-what you have to say on that subject. If you have anything to add you may proceed to state it.

Mr. Simpson. There can be no question about the advantage of the Hawaiian Islands in the case either of disaster to ships or the use of the islands as a coaling station for the Navy of this country. In a

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commercial way the loss of the principal lines in running from the United States to the Orient is practically confined to the extra coal that they may consume in making the trip, which, on the line now in operation between San Francisco and Yokohama, would be in the neighborhood of $600 or $900. Of course, the lines running from points between Vancouver and Yokohama are of no benefit; but the running between Vancouver and Australia, or San Francisco and lines Australia, or Nicaragua and the Orient, are of inestimable value.

The Chairman. If the Hawaiian group of islands were in charge of some great and powerful maritime government, in your opinion would it become a central distributing point of the commerce of the Pacific Ocean in almost every direction-a point of interchange and distribution? Of course, the idea which is couched in my question means that under such conditions would it be likely that Honolulu or the Hawaiian Islands might become a great commercial center?

Mr. Simpson. From a commercial sense, strictly speaking, the Hawaiian Islands can hardly be a commercial distributing point except for the goods used within their own country. But in so far as the protection of commercial shipping is concerned, the islands are certainly of great importance. That is to say, the Hawaiian Kingdom possessed by any maritime power would give to the ships of that nation a particular advantage in times of peril.

The Chairman. What is the objection to productions of India and China and Japan meeting the productions of Mexico and the United States and British America for exchange at Honolulu?

Mr. Simpson. That is a condition that more likely would have existed prior to 1850 than it is likely to exist there now, from the fact that in those days a line of clipper ships was in use, which made it advantageous for an interchange of commodities on through business. But now, with the railroad and steamship traffic, I can not see where it is going to be of any benefit to the commerce of the world, in a strictly commercial sense, in so far as making it a trading post is concerned.

The Chairman. You, therefore, assume that steam power is to supplant the sailing ship entirely?

Mr. Simpson. Certainly. In the days of sailing ships it was common to use that point as a base of supplies where ships were engaged in various kinds of traffic, as, witness the whaling trade. It was better to employ ships to transport the products which the whaling ships procured than it was to send those ships all the way around the Horn; it saved them considerable time for getting oil from the whale.

The Chairman. But transportation on sailing ships is cheaper than on steamers?

Mr. Simpson. That is true, of course, if limited to steady markets. But as that country stands there is no product that passes by that island, no two products, one growing in the Orient and one in the South American Continent, that are interchangeable as a common thing. The usual route of vessels engaged in that trade is, they start from England, go to Australia with commodities, and pick up a cargo there if possible. From there they go to some point on the Pacific coast, load a cargo, and return to the United Kingdom.

The Chairman. Perhaps I can illustrate my question to you better by supposing a case. Suppose you have your choice between sending a cargo of pig iron, hardware of the coarser kinds, heavier kinds, or steel bars for railways, or other material of that sort, on board a sailing ship or steamer?

Mr. Simpson. You mean commodities?


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