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occur on well-explored fishing grounds, but also by the multiplied dangers of shipwreck resulting from the want of accurate topographical knowledge—the only charts of those seas being imperfect and unsatisfactory. While many and deplorable losses were sustained by the fleets of 1849–50, we have already information of the loss of eleven vessels, one-thirteenth part of the whole fleet of 1851, many of which disasters might have been avoided had there been charts accurately indicating the shoals and headlands, and also places of sheltered anchorage near them. These facts are represented to us by the merchants, ship-owners, and underwriters, and are confirmed by Lieutenant Maury, who presides in this department of science in the navy, as well as in the labors and studies of the National Observatory. We want, then, not bounties nor protection, nor even an accurate survey, but simply an exploration and reconnoissance of those seas, which have so recently become the theatre of profitable adventure and brave achievement by our whale hunters. This service can be performed by officers and crews now belonging to the navy, in two or three vessels which already belong or may be added to it, and would continue at most only throughout two or three years. Happily, the measure involves nothing new, untried, or uncommon. To say nothing of our recent search for the lamented Sir John Franklin, nor of our great exploring expedition under Captain Wilkes, we are already engaged in triangulating a coast survey of the Atlantic shore. Charts, light-houses, and beacons, show the pilot his way, not only over that ocean and among its islands, but along all our rivers, and even upon our inland lakes. The absence of similar guides and beacons in the waters now in question, results from the fact, that the Pacific coast has but recently fallen under our sway, and Behring's Straits and the seas they connect have not until now been frequently navigated by the seamen of any nation. Certainly somebody must do this service. But who will ? The whalers cannot. No foreign nation will, for none is interested. The constitutional power and responsibility rest with the Federal Government, and its means are adequate.
California is near this fishing ground. Her enterprising citizens are already engaged in this pursuit, and henceforward the whale hunters of Nantucket must compete with new rivals, possessing the advantage of nearness to the scenes of their labors.
California, therefore, joins Massachusetts in this reasonable demand.
Mr. President, the small exploring fleet thus proposed would be obliged to quit the northern seas early in September, and could not return to them until the succeeding June. I propose that it shall spend that long season in performing a service not dissimilar under milder skies, in that part of the Pacific Ocean and its adjoining seas, which is usually traversed by vessels sailing from New York and San Francisco to China and the Indies. Remember, sir, if you please, that not only has no Asiatic prince, merchant, or navigator, ever explored this one of all the oceans, the broadest and most crowded and crowned with islands, but that they have forbidden that exploration by European navigators, who have performed whatever has been done at the peril, and often at the cost, of imprisonment and death. We have made no accurate survey, for we have only just now arrived and taken our stand on the Pacific coast. We are new on that ocean—nay, we are only as of yesterday upon this continent; and yet maps and charts are as necessary to the seafaring man on that ocean as on any other; and just as necessary on every ocean as monuments and guides are to him who traverses deserts of unimpressible sand or wastes of trackless snow.
Lieutenant Maury informs us that every navigator of those waters is painfully impressed with a sense of surrounding dangers —they exist, and yet the only charts that have been made fail to indicate in what forms or in what places they will appear. So imperfect is our topographical information, that a large island, called Ousima, supposed to be thickly inhabited and highly cultivated, lies in the fair way to China, and yet no vessel has ever touched or gone around it. It would repay tenfold the cost of the whole exploration if we should find on that island good harbor and a friendly people.* Horsbergh's charts of these passages are the best. But these are of old dates, and although they have been corrected from time to time, yet they are very imperfect. The shoals in the China Sea, the Sea of Japan, and the Straits of Gasper, are represented to us by navigators as being formed of coral, a mixture of animal and vegetable organization, and therefore increasing rapidly in magnitude as they approach
* Within the last year the Memnon, an American ship, valued with her cargo at $500,000, was lost in the Straits of Gasper.
near to the surface of the waters. It is particularly necessary to explore and note the shoals and islands lying between the coast of Palawan on the China Sea and that of Cochin China, and also the shoals in the vicinity of West London, Prince of Wales, and Paulo Sapata islands. The perils existing there oblige ships going up and coming down through those seas against the monsoons to beat at disadvantage, while an exploration would probably disclose eddies and currents which would allow of straight courses where now no one dares pursue them. Clement's Strait and the Caramata Passage are filled with the same dangers. Again, the great outlet from the China Sea into the Pacific Ocean by the Bahee, and adjacent passages between the islands of Luconia and the coasts of China and Formosa, need to be surveyed, although the islands are generally well designated on the maps. Then proceeding northwardly, a regard to the safety of the whaleman demands that the islands between the coasts of China and Japan, and from them to the Loo Choo islands, and so on to the Russian possessions, and along them eastwardly to Behring Straits, should be surveyed. The last attempt to perform that duty was made by a small Russian fleet, which was captured and destroyed, while its officers and crew were imprisoned by the Japanese. Lastly, as we advance eastwardly in the very track pursued by our whalers and Chinamen, we encounter islands, and many shoals imperfectly defined, and especially the Bonin islands; while prudence requires a careful reconnoissance also of the Fox islands, which, although lying somewhat northwardly of the passage, might, if well known, afford shelter in case of inclement weather. This reconnoissance
a temperate latitude is demanded by the merchants, underwriters, and navigators, in all our Atlantic as well as in our two principal Pacific ports, and the argument for it rests on the same foundation with that which supports the proposition for the more northwardly exploration. Your mails and passengers of a certain class will be carried between San Francisco and Shanghai in steamships. Nevertheless, without such a survey as this bill proposes, you cannot establish a coaling station on the way, although the
voyage exceeds seven thousand miles. Will you leave this survey and its benefits to England ?
Sir, have you looked recently at the China trade? It reaches already seven millions in value annually. Have you watched the California trade? Its export of bullion alone already exceeds
fifty millions of dollars annually, and as yet the mineral development of that state has only begun. The settlement of the Pacific coast is in a state of sheer infancy. There is, speaking relatively, neither capital nor labor there adequate to exhibit the forces of industry that might be employed in that wonderful region. Nor is California yet conveniently accessible. The railway across Panama is not yet completed. The passage through Nicaragua is not perfect ; that which leads through Tehuantepec is not begun; nor have we yet extended, even so far as to the Mississippi, the most important and necessary one of them all, the railroad across our own country to San Francisco. The emigrant to the Atlantic coast arrives speedily and cheaply from whatever quarter of the world; while he who would seek the Pacific shore, encounters charges and delays which few can sustain. Nevertheless, the commercial, social, political movements of the world, are now in the direction of California. Separated as it is from us by foreign lands, or more impassable mountains, we are establishing there a custom-house, a mint, a dry dock, Indian agencies, and ordinary and extraordinary tribunals of justice. Without waiting for perfect or safe channels, a strong and steady stream of emigration flows thither from every state and every district eastward of the Rocky Mountains. Similar torrents of emigration are pouring into California and Australia from the South American states, from Europe, and from Asia. This movement is not a sudden, or accidental, or irregular, or convulsive one; but it is one for which men and nature have been preparing through near four hundred years. During all that time merchants and princes have been seeking how they could reach cheaply and expeditiously, “ Cathay," “ China,” “the East,” that intercourse and commerce might be established between its ancient nations and the newer ones of the west. To these objects Da Gama, Columbus, Americus, Cabot, Hudson, and other navigators, devoted their talents, their labors, and their lives. Even the discovery of this continent and its islands, and the organization of society and government upon them, grand and important as these events have been, were but conditional, preliminary, and ancillary to the more sublime result, now in the act of consummation—the reunion of the two civilizations, which, having parted on the plains of Asia four thousand years ago, and having travelled ever afterward in opposite directions around the world, now meet again on the
coasts and islands of the Pacific Ocean. Certainly, no mere human event of equal dignity and importance has ever occurred upon the earth. It will be followed by the equalization of the condition of society and the restoration of the unity of the human family. We see plainly enough why this event could not have come before, and why it has come now. A certain amount of human freedom, a certain amount of human intelligence, a certain extent of human control over the physical obstacles to such a reunion, were necessary. All the conditions have happened and concurred. Liberty has developed under improved forms of government, and science has subjected nature in Western Europe and in America. Navigation, improved by steam, enables men to outstrip the winds, and intelligence conveyed by electricity excels in velocity the light. With these favoring circumstances there has come also a sudden abundance of gold, that largely relieves labor from its long subjection to realized capital. Sir, this movement is no delusion. It will no more stop than the emigration from Europe to our own Atlantic shores has stopped, or can stop, while labor is worth there, twenty cents and here fifty cents a day. Emigration from China cannot stop while labor is worth in California five dollars a day, and in the West Indies ten dollars a month, and yet is worth in China only five dollars for that period. Accordingly, we have seen sixty-seven ships filled, in three months of the present year, with seventeen thousand emigrants in the ports of Hong Kong, Macao, and Whampoa, and afterward discharge them on the shores of California, and of Cuba, and other islands of the West Indies.
Sir, have you considered the basis of this movement, that this continent and Australia are capable of sustaining, and need for their development, five hundred millions, while their population is confined to fifty millions, and yet that Asia has two hundred millions of excess ? As for those who doubt that this great movement will quicken activity and create wealth and power in California and Oregon, I leave them to consider what changes the movements, similar in nature but inferior in force and slower in effect, have produced already on the Atlantic coast of America. As to those who cannot see how this movement will improve the condition of Asia, I leave them to reflect upon the improvements in the condition of Europe since the discovery and colonization of America. Who does not see, then, that every year hereafter