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The actual loss in the manipulation of over $600,000 worth of silver bullion being $11 96. The legal limit of silver wastage is "two thousandths of the whole amount," which would be $1,310 79. The coiner's actual loss was, consequently, but nine-tenths of one per cent. of the legal limit. The statement of the melter and refiner exhibits a corresponding nicety of manipulation and diminution of loss—the more remarkable as the operations of melting and refining involve a greater degree of wastage than coinage.
The whole amount of gold bullion delivered to this official, during the year 1865, was 1,834,524 ounces, valued at $34,130,683. The amount returned by him, was 1,834,371 ounces, valued at $34,127,849; showing a difference of 152 ounces; loss, $2,833 68. The law allows the melter and refiner a wastage of '' two thousandths of the whole amount of gold and silver bullion" received, which would be over 868,000. The actual loss was but four and one eighth per cent. of that amount—$65,000 less than the limit allowed by law.
The whole amount of silver bullion delivered to him, was 821,704.21 ounces, valued at $956,164 91; the amount returned, was 826,035.23 ounces, valued at $961,204 62; the results obtained having been even more favorable than those attending the melting and refining of the gold. The exhibit for 1866 did not differ essentially in the results obtained from that of 1865, only the quantity of bullion coined was some $7,000,000 less.
Of these metals coined at the Branch Mint since its opening in 1854 to the close of 1867, $236,224,656 81 were gold, and $5,861,957 17 silver. The number of pieces coined amounted to 23,057,233, of which 10,832,651 were double eagles; 335,326 were eagles; 429,308 were half eagles; 62,100 were three dollar pieces; 314,502 were quarter eagles, and 87,502 were dollar pieces.
The San Francisco Branch Mint derives its crude deposits from the several States and Territories west of the Rocky Mountains. Since 1864 the Denver Mint has absorbed much of the Colorado product—about one million during three years—and has taken some from Montana, although not equal to the amount received during the same period by the San Francisco institution. The following are the approximate figures of the bullion received at the Branch Mint, from various localities, since 1854, up to and including the year 1867: From California, $201,411,644 73, besides silver partings, $3,140,259 78; from Colorado Territory, during 1862-63, (none since), $60,152; from the State of Nevada, $121,824 37, (the most of the bullion from that State, which consist of silver, being sent off in bars); from Dacotah, $5,760, (received in 1863); from Washington Territory, $35,132 94; from Idaho, beginning in 1864 $9,657,881 84; from Arizona, beginning in 1865, $74,237 67; and from Montana, beginning in 1865, $1,129,131 12.
In 1854, all of the chemicals, acids, alloys, and other supplies used in refining, parting and curing, were shipped from the East. Now, with the exception of delicate machinery—sent from the parent Mint in Philadelphia, or imported from Europe,—the supplies are drawn from indigenous sources. A San Francisco manufacturing company furnishes the acids; borax and the other articles of necessary consumption being also of home production, and furnished at prices lower than the imported article. The Mint is characteristically Californian—is self-supporting, although its revenue is confined to a coinage of onehalf of one per cent., and the charge for "parting" gold and silver— which, in the language of the Mint Law,— "shall be equal to, but not exceed the actual cost of the operation, including labor, wastage, use of machinery and materials," etc. This charge, at the recommendation of the present Superintendent, R. B. Swain, was recently reduced from fourteen to eleven cents. Among the many other improvements due to this officer, is the increase of the Bullion Fund, by which depositors are enabled to receive the value of their bullion immediately after the assay is determined.
The value of Mint charges are as follows: On bullion, under 300 parts gold, 3 cts. per ounce; finer, 300J to 600 gold, 5 cts. per ounce; finer, 600K to 750 gold, 7 cents per ounce; finer, 750\ to 945\ gold, 11cts. per ounce; finer, 950 and above, no charge.
The present executive officers of this institution are: Superintendent, Robert B. Swain; Treasurer, D. W. Cheesman; Melter and Refiner, J. M. Eckfeldt; Assayer, B. T. Martin; Coiner, William Schmolz. With the exception of the office of Melter and Refiner, made vacant by the death of Walter S. Denio, and filled by his assistant, Mr. Eckfeldt, there have been no changes in these officials since 1863. From the well known San Francisco merchant who stands at the head of the establishment, to his subordinates, the officers seem to have enjoyed— as they have doubtless deserved—the fullest confidence of the Federal Government and the business community.
ADVANTAGES OF POSITION—FOREIGN COMMERCE AND DOMESTIC TRADE—BULLION PRODUCTS—PASSENGER ARRIVALS.
Before remarking on the trade and commerce of San Francisco, its singularly fortunate geographical position will excuse a brief allusion to its advantages in this respect, all of which become strikingly obvioua, if we but glance at the map of the north Pacific and the countries adjacent to it. The natural advantages of this port, growing out of its situation and surroundings, point to it as the inevitable entrepot of the eastern Asiatic, Japanese, Australasian, and north Pacific traffic, as well as the necessary receptacle of the whole coastwise and inland trade of the western slope of the continent. For the greater portion of the latter, it is already the depot and principal port of supply, though not yet in railroad connection with more than a few of the localities consuming largely in the distant interior. It seems to have been the intention of nature that a truly metropolitan city should grow up on the shores of this magnificent bay. Hence, centrality of position, good depth of water, generous proportions, and ample protection, have been duly attended to. standing half way between the great bights that cut the continent almost in two, and the Arctic regions where it finds an end; at the outlet of two great rivers which serve as communicating channels with and give drainage to an imperial realm; with other navigable streams and bays connecting, affording further facilities for inland traffic; standing on the shores of an outlying ocean, furnishing highways for easy intercourse with all parts of the world; with a climate so genial that none ever complain of heat or cold; so healthful that endemic disease is wholly unknown, and, withal . so energizing that the human system retains its vigor in an unwonted degree; receiving the ice, furs, and fishing products of the frozen north; the gold, grain, and mineral wealth of the vast countries that back it on the east, and the tropical fruits sent from the south, it seems destined to become, at no remote period, one of the great marts and manufacturing cities of the world.
What must contribute to secure this end in a marked degree, is the fact that San Francisco can have no rival on this side of the continent, or, at least, none that it need fear for a long time to come—if, indeed, it will not be impossible for any city on the coast to ever become so far a competitor as to essentially impair the force of this fact. The absence of good harbors elsewhere on the coast, and the interposition of mountain barriers at most points, cutting off communication between tide water and the interior, to say nothing of other disadvantages, would be sufficient to prevent any such rivalship ever attaining to formidable proportions. This natural superiority of San Francisco, already fortified by the construction of a few short railroads extending to points in the immediate vicinity, will be immeasurably strengthened by the completion of other and more important roads, one of which, the Central Pacific, is now being pushed forward with an energy that cannot fail to insure its speedy completion.
With the concentration here of many local, and ultimately of several trans-continental railroads, with powerful steamers traversing the ocean in every direction; with the rapid growth of vast and diversified industries, and the accumulation of values to the amount of several hundred millions, its commercial predominance would seem to be already secured.
But a few years ago California was dependent on other countries for almost its entire supply of manufactured wares, groceries, and all other staples of subsistence. With the exception of the precious metals, vegetables, fruits, and breadstuffs, it produced but few of the common necessaries of life. Its exports, with the exception of bullion, were few and unimportant . Ships leaving San Francisco were compelled to depart in ballast, there being no available exports for lading. Now all this is changed, California sending abroad a great variety of commodities, besides its gold and silver, the value of its grain shipments alone having amounted, in 1867, to $13,000,000. Besides the product of its flocks, herds, mines, and soil, it has become an exporter of many other kinds of raw material, and to some extent even of manufactured wares. The extent of its trade, both foreign and local, and the rate of its increase may be gathered from the following brief statements, exhibiting the total imports and exports, arrivals and departures, treasure movements, etc., at San Francisco, its principal maritime city.
The arrivals in that harbor from all quarters, including domestic Atlantic, domestic Pacific, and foreign ports, during the year 1867, numbered 2,677, with a capacity of 909,025 tons, being 520 arrivals, and 160,752 tons in excess of 1866, showing a large increase on the figures of any preceding year. Of these arrivals, 141,865 tons were from domestic Atlantic; 42/J, 272 tons from domestic Pacific, and 334,447 from foreign ports, the largest increase being in the tonnage of home ports; the augmented receipts of coal, lumber, and other coastwise products tending to swell this branch of our commerce. Of foreign arrivals, a large share is composed of steam tonnage, consisting of the regular lines that ply between San Francisco and Panama, San Juan del Sur, Victoria, and ports on the western coast of Mexico, the aggregate amounting for the year to 152,400 tons.
The arrivals from our chief points of supply indicating the course of the import trade were as follows:
Showing a total of 290 vessels and 255,666 tons. The receipts of merchandise, via the Isthmus of Panama, for the years below indicated were as follows: 1863, 28,151 tons; 1864, 31,348 tons; 1865, 24,927 tons; 1866, 32,866 tons; 1867, 31,769 tons
The amounts of money paid on freights of merchandise arriving at the port of San Francisco during the three years ending with December, 1867, were as follows:
1865 I860 1867
From Domestic Atlantic Ports $3,266,534 $2,537,390 $2,992,475
From Panama, per steamers 1,886,613 2,250,174 2,144,702
From Principal Foreign Ports 1,228,355 1,327,417 1,402,874
From other Foreign Ports 392,990 602,541 400,541
Total freights on cargoes $6,774,492 $6,717,522 $6,940,592
Our exports of merchandise and commodities, being the product of California during the year 1867, show a considerable increase on those of any previous year, as appears by the annexed table:
1865 1866 1867
To New York, etc $6,270,412 $5,744,384 $6,760,378
To Great Britain 1,175,658 2,609,262 8,318,642
To Mexico 2,082,704 1,703,201 1,992,862
To South America 541,538 381,132 770,509
To Hawaiian Islands 748,142 894,891 665,366
To China ^ 1,233,272 1,518,178 1,325,336
To British Columbia 1,257,029 1,073,347 978,993
To Japan 122,061 123,702 811,063
To Australia, etc 546,808 2,666,455 62,999
To Other Countries 575,322 688,466 778,755
Totals $14,554,406 $17,303,018 $22,465,903
The value of shipments to New York, as above presented, represents both those by sailing vessels proceeding around Cape Horn, and by the Panama and Nicaragua steamers. The exports for 1867 were made up of a considerable variety of articles, of which wheat and flour, barley and oats constituted the principal items. The table appended shows the quantity and destination of grain and flour sent away during that year: