1144-1145

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Reports of Committee on Foreign Relations 1789-1901 Volume 6 pp1144-1145 300dpi scan (VERY LARGE!)

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The Chairman. You mean irrigation brought on the land by ditches?

Mr. Simpson. No; but they allow the water to stand until the crop ripens, then they draw it off. If they can not, the men go on and do it in rubber boots. Most of that rice is milled by one concern at Honolulu, and very little of it is shipped to the United States in the condition of what is known as paddy. It enters successfully in competition with Japanese and other Oriental rice on the Pacific coast, and very rarely does any rice from the Atlantic seaboard, South Carolina, or Louisiana reach the Pacific coast. I do not know of but one season where any was shipped there, and that was three years ago when there was an enormous crop in the South and they could not find a market.

The next interest of importance in the Hawaiian Islands is the banana business. In the Hawaiian Islands they are raised usually in very small patches by Chinese. They are handled through a middleman, and the cost on board ship at Honolulu is about 100 per cent more for bananas than it is in any of the West India countries. In 1892 there were $175,000 worth of bananas shipped from the Hawaiian Islands. Ten years before there were none. With the decline of the sugar products in the Hawaiian Islands the people have no alternative except to turn their attention to raising of coffee and fruits. It will require some years to bring coffee to a distinctively commercial point, as that requires a system of individuality which fruit does not need. However, experiments are now being made and organized plantations are going into the matter in a scientific way. The fruit culture in the islands will unquestionably take lead in the new departure for other goods to raise beside sugar and rice. That is from the fact that there is no other commodity they can raise and which will have so great and popular a market, particularly, as bananas.

To illustrate that, in 1882 there were 35,000 bunches of bananas landed at New York City. In 1891 there was an average of 35,000 bunches per day arrived in New York City. Today the banana in the New England States is the poor man's food. Down to eight years ago the banana was unknown except as a curiosity, and now they buy them by the carload. I am told that they affect the trade in flour, bacon, and other common foods of the people. One pound of bananas has as much nourishment in it as 4 pounds of bread. There is a great market west of the Missouri River, which is practically virgin, and the cost of raising bananas in the Hawaiian Islands will be undoubtedly decreased with the scientific growing of them, and the conditions are such that they can be transported to points east of the Pacific slope and west of the Missouri River as cheap as they can be brought from west of the Atlantic and east of the Mississippi. At present a bunch of bananas from Honolulu, sold in the markets of the Pacific Slope outside of San Francisco, will bring from $3 to $4.50.

The Chairman. Are not bananas raised abundantly and profitably in southern California?

Mr. Simpson. No; no more than they can be raised profitably in the southern part of Florida. I have seen them raised in Florida, but their growth was stunted. While they are in the same latitude that the Hawaiian Islands are the conditions seem to be different. The pineapple is another food which is being raised systematically, more so probably than bananas. They can raise and mature pineapples every month in the year. That is also true of bananas. It is different in the Hawaiian Islands from what is in any other portion of the world. This would insure a high price in the markets of the Pacific coast. In two months of the year, in August and September, the pineapples

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are an overproduction, and until a treaty is effected with the United States on a much broader plan than the one now in effect, the raising of these fruits, and especially pineapples, will not be so great a success. The present treaty with the United States admits comparatively a few of the Hawaiian articles into the United States and all of the articles produced and manufactured in the United States into Hawaii, with the possible exception of spirits and tobaccos.

Until a treaty is effected whereby manufactures of all descriptions and canned goods are placed on the free list from that country no marked improvement can be made. The general impression in the Hawaiian Islands when I was there was that when the treaty runs out in 1894, when canned goods in the Hawaiian Islands would certainly go on the free list, the effect would be to accelerate the trade to a greater extent than any other method that could be adopted. Strange as it may seem, the Hawaiian Islands are entirely dependent upon the Pacific coast for their supplies of every kind and description.

The Chairman. What do you mean by supplies? They do not depend upon the Pacific coast for taro?

Mr. Simpson. Of every class and description. That is to say, the chief subsistence are the articles which are procured from the Pacific coast. Of course, the most indigenous article of food the natives live on is what is commonly called poi, a pasty stuff that is made from taro and raw fish. But in spite of that fact, of the 92,000 people in all the islands, they are known as the greatest consumers per capita of any people in the world.

The Chairman. Do you mean of provisions?

Mr. Simpson. Of everything. There is more stuff bought and taken in there than in any other place in the world. To illustrate a little more fully, I will cite some of the articles which I sold while I was there. Brick, lime, apples, potatoes, butter, eggs, fire wood, beer, banana crates, flour, whole barley, rolled barley, chopped feed, cracked corn, bran, shorts, feed wheat, oats, timothy hay, wheat hay, alfalfa, carrots, mules, coal (steam and stove), plaster, shingles, salmon (canned and salted), coarse sand, wire nails, onions, sash, doors, and blinds, crackers, provisions, hardware, etc.

The Chairman. With what do they pay for all this?

Mr. Simpson. The manner of doing business in the Hawaiian Islands is, these principal houses pay cash for what they get; that is to say, nearly all of them carry their profits to San Francisco. One of the large houses showed me its books, disclosing that he had not, since he had been in business, had less than $34,000 of cash on deposit in San Francisco. Goods are paid for in cash in San Francisco when they go on board the ship and discounted.

The Chairman. Is the money actually shipped to San Francisco, or is there exchange?

Mr. Simpson. No; it is carried there.

The Chairman. How do they get hold of this money?

Mr. Simpson. The money that they get from the sale of sugar is deposited to the credit of these concerns in San Francisco, and they pay their bills in that manner.

The Chairman. Is there enough commerce in the Hawaiian Islands to enable them to become the largest consumers per capita in the world?

Mr. Simpson. Yes. The figures that I have heretofore submitted to you prove that assertion, showing that since the year 1870 there has


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