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to China. The California, Oregon, and Mexico Steamship Company dispatch a vessel monthly to the following ports on the coast of Mexico, viz: Cape St. Lucas, Mazatlan, Guaymas, and La Paz; also, tri-monthly to Portland, Oregon; bi-monthly to Trinidad, Crescent City, and Umpqua river; monthly to Victoria, Alaska, and Sandwich Islands; tri-monthly to Santa Barbara, San Pedro, and San Diego, and weekly to Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo. The North American Steamship Company send a steamer bi-monthly to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, touching at Manzanillo, the steamers of this company sometimes sailing alternately to San Juan and Panama.
According to a recent report made to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company by the President thereof, this company have assets valued at $28,000,000. They are the owners of a large number of first class ocean going steamers, it having been their policy to sell off their older and inferior vessels, and build others of greater speed, strength, and capacity—twelve of this description, together with two large propellers and a powerful steam-tug, having been constructed by them during a little more than six years following May 1st, 1861. The expensive line to China and Japan, inaugurated January 1st, 1867, is understood to be yielding the company fair returns, in view of the profitable trade they are building up for the future. The steamers employed on this route are of the largest and staunchest kind ever built, being a credit to our naval architecture and the country they represent.
What promises to be of special benefit to this service, is the probability that petroleum will soon be substituted for coal as a steam generating fuel, whereby much of the s now required for that article can be devoted to the carriage of additional cargo, while the expense for this item will be materially reduced. Should this substitution be successfully effected, the gains to this company would be immense, as the great length of the voyage—there being no coaling station on the route—compels the allotment of nearly half the ship's carrying capacity for fuel stores alone, thereby diminishing her earnings in a like ratio, since it is upon the heights that most reliance is made for profits. Petroleum can probably be supplied in California as cheaply as in any other country, when there shall be a large home consumption created for this article, was capital embarking extensively in its manufacture. The crude material, of the best quality for the purpose above indicated, exists at various points in the State in the greatest profusion, and under circumstances rendering the supply certain and its collection inexpensive. The prospect of our extensive petroleum deposits being used as a steam producing fuel, imparts to them a new and peculiar value.
The California Steam Navigation Company own nearly all the vessels running on the routes into the interior. In their service steamers leave San Francisco daily for Sacramento and Stockton, where they connect with smaller vessels running to points still further inland. Small steamers also run daily from San Francisco to Suisun, Benicia, Martinez, Mare Island, Napa, Petaluma, San Rafael, Alviso, and other points about the bay, there being steam ferries that constantly ply between the metropolis and Oakland, Alameda, and other towns situated on the opposite shore of the bay.
Notwithstanding the high prices of labor and certain classes of material there has been a good deal of ship building carried on at San Francisco, and at various points along the northern coast during the past six or eight years, the amount of repairing done at the port of San Francisco having always been large. For the past three years the business of constructing new vessels has been slack here as well as in all other parts of the United States. But it is believed it will soon experience a revival, the demand for new vessels being considerable on this coast, while the advantages enjoyed here in the matter of cheap lumber and certain other requisite material, will be likely to more than off-set the somewhat higher prices of capital and labor.
From a report lately made by C. T. Hopkins and Joseph Ringot to the Board of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco, it appears that there are owned in that city 136 vessels, having a total capacity of 53,312 tons, and of the aggregate market value of $1,679,000. Of this number, 21 are ships of the average age of 20 years, 76 are barks of the average age of 15 7-10th years, and 39 are brigs of the average age of 11 l-5th years.
From the same report it appears that there have been built on this coast, since 1859, twenty eight vessels, the capacity of which has ranged from 83 to 298 tons; costing from $9,000 to $25,000 each. The most of these vessels were built at San Francisco and Coos Bay, one at Oakland, and the balance at Novarro river, Umpqua, and various other points along the northern coast; the lumber used being chiefly pine, with a little teak, oak, laurel and cedar. A much greater proportion of small craft, ranging in burden from ten up to seventy or eighty tons, is built in California than of larger vessels. The keels for a considerable number of ferry boats and steamers for navigating the inland waters of the State are laid every year at San Francisco or other places about the bay, or along the navigable streams of the interior; all this class of vessels, with a few ocean going steamers, having been built in the country. Some idea of the extent of this branch of ship building may be gained from the fact that the California Steam Navigation Company have retired over one hundred steamers within the past ten years, being vessels owned by rival companies which they have bought and tied up, or hired to lie idle.
No country in the world offers anything like the natural advantages for ship building that are to be found along the northern coast of California and the southern coast of Oregon, along the Columbia river, and more especially about Puget Sound, timber of good quality and of the most desirable size being everywhere abundant and convenient to deep water. So decided are these advantages, taken in connection with the superior climate, admitting of labor being prosecuted the year through without interruption, that the authors of the report alluded to suggest to the Board of Underwriters, the policy of the shipping and insurance interest on the coast aiding practical builders in establishing an extensive ship yard at some eligible point, or perhaps several, with a view to building vessels not only for home service, but for sale in foreign markets; satisfied that, if embarked in on a large scale and sustained by ample capital, the enterprise could not fail to prove highly remunerative to parties concerned and extremely beneficial to the public.
The Telegraph system of this coast was inaugurated by the organization in September, 1862, of the California State Telegraph Company. Its lines originally extended from San Francisco to Marysville, there being then but three other offices opened, viz: at San Jose, Stockton and Sacramento. Now the Company own over five thousand miles of wire and nearly two hundred offices, while their lines extend to all the important points in this State, Washington Territory, British Columbia and Nevada, and as far east as Great Salt Lake City. It consolidated in 1860 with the Alta California Telegraph Company, reaching eastward to Sonora and Downieville, and in 1861 with the telegraph lines in Oregon, and.with those of the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company, then completed from San Francisco to Los Angeles. In 1861 the Overland line to the Atlantic was inaugurated, with the aid of subsidies from the Federal and State governments. It was commenced in April, 1861, and finished on the 25th day of October of that year to Salt Lake, there connecting with the Western Union Telegraph Company. In 1862 the Overland Company was consolidated with the State Company, and in 1867 the entire lines of the latter were leased by the Western Union Telegraph Company, which, with this addition, is said to have more than one hundred thousand miles of wire. In fact, the history of telegraphing on this coast, as everywhere else, is only a series of unions, showing seemingly a constant tendency in short, isolated lines, to merge into and disappear before extensive and united systems.
GOLD PRODUCT OF CALIFORNIA.
The following table exhibits the total and annual product of gold in the State of California, from the time of its discovery to the end of 1867, a period of twenty years. The figures, though not perhaps absolutely correct, approximate exactness as nearly, no doubt, as any estimates extant:
STATE AND COUNTY FINANCES.
From the last report of the State Controller, it appears that the total indebtedness of the State of California amounted, on the 1st November, 1867, to $5,126,500, which has since been reduced to a little less than $4,700,000. The State revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1867, amounted to $3,595,232.06, the expenditures for the same period having been $2,954,233.79. The total receipts of the State for 1868 were estimated by this official at $2,394,440, and the expenditures at $2,246,630.
The following table exhibits the amount of indebtedness, rate of interest, assessed value of property, rate of taxation, and estimated population in all the counties in the State, with the few exceptions apparent therein.
Many of the counties have assets to meet a portion of their indebtedness, the aggregate value thereof being estimated at $2,450,000, which, deducted from the above figures, leaves a balance to represent the actual indebtedness of the counties of about $7,000,000. If to this be added the State debt, $4,700,000, and say $4,000,000 for debts due by cities and towns in their corporate capacity, and $1,000,000 for debts of counties omitted in the above table, we have a total indebtedness of nearly $17,000,000.
• Real and Personal Property.