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For the last quarter of a century British commerce had sought, but not realized, the establishment of a route to India by way of the Euphrates and Persian gulf. For years past the transit of travel and trade breaking bulk from Alexandria to Suez has been first by an ordinary road, and now by railway. The ship canal will open a complete passage for ships passing from the Mediterranean down the Red sea to India. The existing status of that canal and term of transit are presented in the communication herewith, dated the 29th of August, 1867, at Paris, from M. De Lesseps, elicited by the kind intervention of the Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, in answer to inquiries from this office. That communication shows that the canal, at a cost of four hundred millions of francs, will be completed October 1, 1869 ; that it is now open from Port Said on the Mediterranean to the southern shore of Lake Temsah, a distance of 52.8 miles; the remainder of the canal, extending 45.3 miles to Suez, not to be opened until completion of the main canal, navigation for flat-boats in the mean time existing through the Sweet Water canal, or channel of fresh water connecting the Nile with the Red sea.
This republic is now a candidate for a full share of the trade of the East. The aggregate British import and exports from India and China for the five years ending with 1864 was £378,587,122, according to parliamentary papers of 1865.
The net British revenue from India for 1860 was £7,081,107, to which may be added individual savings in the Anglo-Indian empire of £7,536,443, making an aggregate of $73,090,750.
The tables herewith will show that upon the completion of our Pacific railway, and the development of our steam communication with Asia, San Francisco and New York will be nearer than London to a large number of Asiatic ports, both in time and distance, even with the advantage of the abbreviated Suez route.
These tables will show that, measuring from San Francisco, our superior advantage on the score of distance reaches across the Pacific and extends around the peninsula of Malacca to a point between Singapore and Penang; that starting from New York, our great commercial centre, 3,000 miles further eastward, our local advantage reaches beyond the Philippine islands, finding the point of equalization with British transit somewhere bei ween Manilla and Singapore, and that as to Melbourne, the commercial metropolis of Australia, London loses in comparison with San Francisco 3,379 miles, and in comparison with New York 379 miles.
These facts must lead to important results. They indicate a probable monopoly of the carrying trade of the Pacific by American bottoms.
The Pacific Mail Steamship Company, a great commercial line, established under authority of law and with liberal subsidies, have a line of steamers from San Francisco to Shanghai and Hong Kong via Yokohama in Japan. The first voyage of the pioneer steamer-the Colorado-to Shanghai, was accomplished in twenty-seven and one-fourth days; and on her return, with tenpestuous weather, reached San Francisco within three weeks from her departure from Yokohama. The completion of the Continental railway will place New York within twenty-six days and Liverpool within thirty-five days' travel of Japan.
From London to Yokohama by the shortest eastern line, via Marseilles and Suez, is a distance of 10,530 miles and fifty-three days travel, while the shortest line of continuous navigation, via Gibraltar and Suez, is 11,509 miles and over sixty days. The travel from Japan, Russian Asiatic possessions, Philippine islands, Eastern India, Indian Archipelago, and Australia, to Europe, must prefer the route by San Francisco and New York, if only on the score of economy in time. For the lighter and more costly articles of trade, the transportation of which forms but a small proportion of the price, the facilities afforded by our ocean and continental lines will largely supersede even the continuous navigation of the Suez canal route, which at any time is liable to interruption by Euro
pean hostilities. The rapidity of transit will, in a large number of instances, counterbalance the higher rates of railroad transportation and the double traushipment, first at San Francisco and then at New York.
It may be expected that a very considerable portion of the teas and silks of China will reach England and France after transit over our railways, and a corresponding amount of their higher-priced exports will reach Asia by the same route—the teas and silks imported into the British islands during the five years ending in 1864 having amounted to 541,428,329 pounds, valued at over two bundred and six millions of dollars. The foreign trade of Japan is of recent development, but rapidly growing in importance.
The Colorado on her recent return trip brought to San Francisco a freight nearly three times the value of the entire trade between that place and Japan during the first quarter of the year 1866, while our direct trade with China for 1866 was more than three times that of the previous year.
The precious metals, which in times past for greater promptitude and safety went to the Oriental ports via London, will be sent by our own more direct and speedier ocean routes at a saving of half the cost of transmission, besides the English assurance from London to China. This direct treasure shipment will make San Francisco and New York the financial centres, the clearing houses of the world's trade, controlling as they do the production of its metallic circulating medium.
With the elements of success thus imperfectly glanced at, the United States are now entering upon an imperial chapter of national prosperity. The control of the eastern trade is at present what it was in the past, the basis of commercial ascendency. The supremacy it conferred was seen in the splendor of the Queen of the Adriatic in medieval ages. What it has aided in accomplishing is shown in the massive accumulations and proud corporations of merchant princes in the commercial centres of western Europe. What it will effect in the near future under a fully developed democratic civilization, with accumulating elements of progress, increased energies, and completeness of organization, will appear in the universally diffused material prosperity and intelligence, the extent of which the experience of the past affords no adequate bases to conjecture.
With this report will be found a paper prepared in this office, giving a brief view of the gold and silver-producing countries of the present day; the proportion contributed by each to the stock of the precious metals; total amount taken from the mines since the discovery of America, as estimated by various authorities, and the quantity now existing in the form of coin, plate, jewelry, and ornaments; the actual consumption for purposes other than money; the loss by abrasion ; with remarks in reference to the effect upon prices of the increased quantities of the precious metals produced at the present date, with a summary of the mineral wealth of the United States.
There is submitted herewith a map of the world on Mercator's projection, to show the geographical position of this Union, in reference to its commercial relations with the states of Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, the islands of the Caribbean sea and the Pacific, with names of the ports in certain eastern countries open to trade with the United States, as shown in the accompanying communications of the 7th and 12th of October, 1867, from the Secretary of State of the United States.
Accompanying this is a connected map of the United States, indicating the sites of all the land and surveyors generals' offices; the localities of the precious and useful metals in the public domain; the railway system, showing the routes, actual and projected, of the continental lines.
Also herewith are separate maps of the public land States and Territories of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Alabama, in which the surveys are completed, and of Louisiana and Florida, in which they are nearly so; with maps showing the extent of surveys in Minnesota, Dakota,
Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico; of Montana, in which the system has been but recently inaugurated; of Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington Territory; also of the Indian country, and of our Russian purchase.
There are also herewith a historical and statistical table; returns from the surveyors general; exhibits of the disposal of public lands under the various laws during the last fiscal year; a complete exhibit under twenty-two different heads, showing different ways in which the national territory has been disposed of since the foundation of the government; with exhibits of the concessions for the construction of wagon and military roads, railways and canals; these maps, tables, and exhibits illustrating operations under the land system. Respectfully submitted:
JOS. S. WILSON,
Commissioner. Hon. 0. H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, September 30, 1867. Sir: With reference to your application made previously to the 6th of August last for information concerning the Suez and Sweet Water canals, I transmit a copy of a despatch of the 12th instant, and of the papers which accompanied it, from our legation at Paris, giving the information desired. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Joseph S. Wilson, Esq.,
Commissioner of the General Land Office, Washington, D. C. ·
LEGATION OF THE UNITED States,
Paris, September 12, 1867. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a translation of a letter from Mr. Ferd. de Lesseps, president of the Suez canal, giving full information (for the Commissioner of the General Land Office) in regard to the Suez and Sweet Water canals asked for in your despatch of the 6th of August last, No. 104.
The reports referred to by Mr. Lesseps will go forward to the department in the despatch bag to-morrow. A chart of the canal addressed to the department was sent by the steamer that sailed from Brest on the 31st of August last. No expense has been incurred in gathering this information. I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,
WICKHAM HOFFMAN. Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.
PARIS, August 29, 1867. Monsieur LE MINISTRE : You have done me the honor to ask for replies to certain interrogations made by the Commissioner of the General Land Office of the United States, relative to the Suez canal.
I have just returned from Holland, and I hasten to give you the replies asked for, and for greater precision I bere reiterate the questions :
I. “Will the Lesseps canal be open to all nations, and what will be the probable tonnage toll exacted to pay interest on the total cost of the canal ?"
Answer. The maritime canal will be open as a neutral passage to all merchant vessels crossing from one sea to the other, without distinction or preferences of persons or nationality, on the payment of tolls and the observance of certain rules established by the company.
The tonnage necessary to pay the interest which will accrue to the shareholders upon the total cost of the canal will depend upon the tariff adopted.
Allowing, for example, that the tolls be fixed at ten francs per ton, the company having to pay interest on its capital stock, amounting to two hundred mil. lions, would have to calculate upon an annual passage through the canal of one million of tons to pay interest at five per cent.
Moreover, it would have to pay the expenses of working the canal and to provide for the interest of a loan of one hundred millions, which it is upon the eve of making
A passage of two millions of tons would, at ten francs per ton, giving twenty millions of revenue, be more than sufficient to remunerate the company ; but it is authorized to count upon a transit of more than two millions of tons when the canal shall have been completed.
When the company was organized, in 1858, it estimated at three millions of tons per annum the passage of vessels through the canal.
That estimate is now much below the figures, and the company to-day makes but a low estimate of its future revenue in doubling that tonnage.
Now six millions of tons at ten francs per ton would give a revenue of sixty millions. It appears, then, that not only will the revenue of the company
be sufficient, but that it will yield very large profits.
II. " What will be the total cost of the canal, and what time is its completion expected ?"
Answer. The canal will be completed the 1st October, 1869, and the total cost of its construction will be four hundred millions, represented thus : Capital stock...
200,000,000 Indemnity from the viceroy and certain payments made by the Egyptian government,
· Interest at five per cent. is payable upon the capital stock of two hundred millions. There is no interest payable upon the one hundred millions indemnity and payments by the Egyptian government. The loan of one hundred millions, , upon which interest is payable from its beginning, will be redeemable in a certain number of years.
III. “ Is the canal from Port Said to Suez now open for any kind of craft ?”
Answer. The maritime canal is open from Port Said to the southern extremity of Lake Temsah, a distance of eighty-five kilometres. The
remainder of the canal to Suez will not be opened until its completion, so that the progress of the work may not be interrupted. It would be useless to open sooner the second half of the maritime canal, because, commencing from Lake Temsah, the fresh water canal, which comes from the Nile, communicates by locks with the maritime canal, and receives all the merchandise which comes from Port Said, and is carried by it to Suez, and vice versa. At this moment there is a large transit of merchandise between the two seas by the double route that I have indicated, viz., partly by the maritime canal, partly by the fresh water canal. The ser
vice is performed by flat-boats, upon which they tranship the goods to Port Said and Suez. Thus, as has been remarked, this state of things will last until the work is completed—that is to say, until the first of October, 1869. On that date the maritime canal will be opened to navigation from the Mediterranean to the Red sea, and vice versa. It will be one hundred (100) metres in breadth at the water line; twenty-two (22) metres at the bottom, (ceiling) and eight metres in depth, so that all merchant vessels can easily pass through.
IV. “Is the sweet water (fresh water) canal now open for small craft ?”
Answer. The fresh water canal has an average of fifteen metres of width and about two metres of depth. It receives all craft which do not exceed these dimensions, and its business is very brisk.
Such, sir, is the information that I am glad to give you, and that I shall be obliged by your transmitting to the government of the United States.
I send with my letter several copies of a report (with maps) which I read at the general meeting of the stockholders of the company on the 1st of August last.
I will be gratified if you will present these reports to the departments of the government which you think would be interested in receiving them. Receive, &c.,
FERD. DE LESSEPS, President. General Dix, 8c., 8c., Sc., Paris.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 7, 1867. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th ultimo, requesting to be furnished with the names of the ports in certain eastern countries open to trade with the United States, under treaty or otherwise, and in reply to inform you that in China the ports of Canton and Chau-Chau or Swatow, in the province of Kwang-Tung; those of Amoy, Fuh-Chau and Tae wan, in Formosa, in the province of Fuh-Kien; the ports of Ningpo, in the province of Cheh-Kiang, and Shanghai, in the province of Kiang-su, and the ports of Chin-Kiang, Hankoa, Chee-Foo, Kin-Kiang, Newchwang, and Tient-sin, are open to trade. Hong Kong, which is also open, is a British colony. The ports in Japan now open are Simoda, Hakodadi, Kanagawa, and Nagasaki. Hiogo and Osacca will be open on the 1st of January next.
As we have no diplomatic or consular agents in Cochin China, I must refer you to the honorable the Secretary of the Treasury for information concerning trade with that country. I may remark, however, that in Siam, a part of the same peninsula, all of the seaports are open to American trade, under the treaty of the 20th of May, 1856. It is understood that in 1862 the three provinces of Bienhoa Saigon, and Mitho, and the island of Poulo Condore, forming the southern part of the peninsula, were formally ceded to France, and that still other acquisitions have been made by the same power there since.
As there are no treaty stipulations with France requiring her to throw open colonial ports to our trade, and as that country regulates the trade of each colonial dependency by such decrees as may seem best adapted to that purpose, and has not, as yet, communicated to this government any regulation affecting trade with her new possessions in Cochin China, I am unable to give you definitive information in the premises.
I have addressed an inquiry to the minister of France on the subject, and shall communicate to you the result.
With reference to your inquiry concerning the ports of the British East Indies, I have to state that all of the ports of those colonies are open to the