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available for the carrying of merchandise and passengers, the ton being equivalent to 100 cubic feet.)

The tonnage of vessels, including their repeated voyages, which entered and cleared at ports of the United States from foreign countries during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1897, comprised 11,143,470 tons American and 36,325,975 tons foreign vessels. These figures must be subjected to some analysis, if the elements of our strength and weakness as a maritime nation are to be accurately stated. Included in the figures above are the combined entries and clearances of American and Canadian vessels on the Great Lakes making short voyages between American and Canadian ports. This tonnage on fresh water for 1897 amounted to 3,894,845 American and 3,693,556 Canadian vessels. Though the figures are large, the shipping actually engaged in this trade across the lakes is not, by comparison to the volume of tonnage for the seaboard, considerable. The distance across the lakes is short, and the vessels engaged in this trade, as a rule, are not large. The heavy aggregate tonnage is made up by the frequency of entry and clearance. The amount of trade across the Great Lakes is inconsiderable when compared with the tremendous aggregate tonnage which moves from west to east and from east to west during the open season, nine-tenths of which are American.

Deducting the total fresh-water figures just given from the total tonnage of entries and clearances for the United States, there remain as a measure of the extent of our shipping on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans 7,248,625 tons American and 32,632,419 tons foreign shipping. These totals, also, must be scrutinized."


The short voyages from Seattle, Port Townsend, Tacoma, and other ports on the Pacific coast to Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, are not nautically different from coasting voyages, though on account of political divisions they are treated as foreign trade. The same may be said of short voyages from Eastport and Portland and other points on the northeast coast of New England to St. Johns, New Brunswick, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and other nearby ports of the Dominion of Canada. The tonnage of the combined entries and clearances of American vessels at ports of the United States from or for British Columbia in 1897 amounted to 2,143,034 tons, and of foreign vessels 576,208 tons. The tonnage built on the Pacific coast of British North America is insignificant, while American shipbuilding plants on the Pacific have already grown to formidable proportions. Thus, about 80 per cent of the shipping engaged in trade between the United States and British Columbia is American. On the Atlantic side the condition is not so favorable. Entries and clearances of American vessels at ports of the United States from and for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick amounted to 762,545 tons, while the foreign tonnage amounted to 1,239,253 tons.

In the trade with Cuba, American tonnage preponderates, owing, in a considerable measure, to the establishment of frequent mail services by contract, under the act of 1891, with American steamers. The total American tonnage entered and cleared at ports of the United States from and for Cuba during the fiscal year 1897 was 1,015,959 tons, compared with 820,954 tons foreign.

In round numbers, the ocean carrying trade between the United States and foreign ports within 500 nautical miles of an American

port, during the fiscal year 1897, comprised 3,930,000 tons American shipping and 2,750,000 foreign shipping, combined entries and clearances. The distance of 500 nautical miles from our coast marks the limits within which American tonnage exceeds foreign tonnage in the foreign trade. Tampico, in Mexico, falls within that limit, but its trade can not be readily separated from that of the rest of Mexico, and is excluded.

A second large division of our navigation comprises the tonnage of vessels entering from and clearing for foreign ports more than 500 miles distant by sea from the nearest American port and less than 1,500 miles distant. This division includes trade with Newfoundland, Mexico, Central America, the West Indies (except Cuba), and the Gulf and Caribbean coast of South America down to the mouth of the Orinoco. In trade with foreign ports in this belt, the tonnage of vessels entered and cleared at American ports amounted to 1,258,431 tons American and 2,576,978 tons foreign. Under the ocean-mail act of 1891 an American steam service was maintained to Mexican ports at a cost of $102,582 last year and an American steam service to Venezuela at a cost of $57,933. The war interfered considerably with these services for the last quarter of the year, and the figures for the year 1897-for the Mexican service, $130,104, and for the Venezuelan service, $81,288—are a more accurate measure of the Government's assistance to American shipping in this direction. This autumn another American steamship line, under the act of 1891, is to begin a mail service to Santiago and Jamaica, and an extension of our navigation must follow. The British Government, however, in December proposes to give its aid to four mail services by British vessels in this field. Subsidized lines of Great Britain, France, and Spain carry from this territory to Europe.

The American vessels employed in foreign trade within the first zone of 500 miles are frequently engaged also in the coasting trade of the United States, and the privilege of entering that trade is a substantial advantage in their competition with foreign vessels. American vessels within the second zone of trade, comprising foreign ports from 500 miles to 1,500 miles distant from the United States, also engage occasionally in the coasting trade, but the privilege is of less value than to vessels engaged in the foreign trade nearer home. The privilege of entering the coasting trade is of relatively little value to vessels usually engaged in navigation to foreign ports more than 1,500 miles distant from the United States.

If a line be drawn everywhere 1,500 nautical miles distant from the seacoast of the United States the trade by sea between foreign ports inside that line and ports in the United States for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1897, comprised 5,179,969 American tonnage and 5,213,393 foreign tonnage combined entries and clearances and repeated voyages of the same vessel. American shipping and foreign shipping in trade between this zone and the United States are practically equal in volume. American vessels during 1897 received $357,960 for mail service within these limits.

Outside the limit of 1,500 miles from our coast the conditions and results of competition between American and foreign shipping are radically different. Outside that limit lie the continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia, Australia, and the islands of the Pacific, and South America south of the Caribbean on the Atlantic, and the entire Pacific coast of that continent. Navigation between foreign ports in these relatively distant continents and American ports comprised

American tonnage amounting to 2,068,656 tons and foreign tonnage amounting to 27,419,026 tons entered and cleared at ports of the United States during the fiscal year 1897. The share of our shipping in this great trade between the continents and the United States is not only barely 7 per cent of the total, but in the trade between one foreign continent and another, where formerly the United States was well represented, our portion is now too small to be specially indicated in most reports of foreign governments. The relative share of American and foreign shipping in the various geographical zones of trade may be seen from the following summaries of combined tonnage entered and cleared at ports of the United States during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1897:

Total navigation.

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3,894, 845
3,693, 556

7,588, 401

500 to 1,500

1,258, 431
2,576, 978

3,835, 409

7,248, 625 32, 632, 419

39,881, 044

Over 1,500 miles.

2,068,656 27, 419, 026

29,487, 682

Our weakness as a maritime power lies in the unimportant position we hold in trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific trade, indicated by the last of the six summaries above. Conditions of competition on the Atlantic and on the Pacific differ in many essential respects, and this last summary, therefore, requires analysis.

The aggregate tonnage of American vessels entered and cleared at ports of the United States from and for Europe in 1897 was only 899,081 tons, while foreign vessels aggregated 23,014,093 tons, the share in the trade under the American flag being less than 4 per cent. This percentage is delusive if it be taken as a measure of the investment of American capital or of profits obtained by Americans in this trade, as American capital owns and controls a larger transAtlantic tonnage under foreign flags than under the flag of the United States. Navigation between the United States and Europe can not, moreover, be intelligently considered by itself. The entries of foreign vessels from Europe amounted to 10,490,468 tons, while the clearances of foreign vessels for Europe amounted to 12,523,625 tons. Thus over 2,000,000 tons of foreign shipping entered the United States from some other continent, took on cargo, and then returned to Europe. It will be conceded that we can not hope to overcome the great lead which British and German shipping have acquired in the direct trade with

Europe until we have extended our maritime representation in trades not so fully occupied by our rivals. The indirect navigation, indicated by the 2,000,000 tons of foreign shipping just noted, must be considered closely in any project for the development of our merchant marine. The excess of foreign clearances for Europe over entries from Europe is explained by the facts of navigation with South America. The tonnage of foreign vessels entered the United States from South America was 1,758,420 and the tonnage of foreign vessels cleared for South America was only 988,810. More specifically, over 500,000 tons of foreign shipping entered the United States in ballast from Brazil alone. The vessels comprising this tonnage had cleared from European ports with cargo for South America, thence proceeded to the United States in ballast, and at our ports had taken on cargo for the return voyage to Europe.

South American ports on the Atlantic below Cape St. Roque are as near to ports of Europe as to ports of the United States, and for the direct trade with those ports foreign vessels from European ports possess the same advantages as for trade with the United States. The following table of distances shows at a glance the relations of South American ports to seaports of the United States and Europe:

New York
New Orleans


Pernam- Rio Monte- Buenos
buco. Janeiro. video. Ayres.

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Strait of Magellan.

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The distance from New York to Rio de Janeiro is thus only 300 miles or a day and a half's slow steaming-less than from Liverpool. Even with the increase of our export coal trade to South America, which is probable, American vessels will find difficulty, unsupported, in carrying from New York to Rio, for example, against British vessels now able to carry from Liverpool and in addition to run nearly 4,800 miles to New York in ballast at a loss. Trade with Africa presents the same special feature, the total tonnage from Africa arriving in the United States amounting to 746,611 tons, while only 256,910 tons departed for Africa. Of the tonnage entered, 405,339 tons were foreign steamers in ballast, carrying cargoes from Europe to Africa, proceeding thence at a loss without cargo to the United States, and from this country returning laden to Europe. When to these statements is added the fact that of 9,725,201 tons of foreign steam tonnage entering the United States from Europe, 2,605,721 tons entered in ballast, the inadequacy of any project based on additional duties on imports to increase American shipping seems obvious.


The analysis of mercantile navigation between the United States and foreign ports shows that legislation designed to promote American shipping and shipbuilding should address itself to certain phases of that navigation and not to the entire subject. The Falls of Niagara

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have imposed an effectual obstacle to foreign competition with American shipping on the great fresh-water lakes of this continent. The utmost that law can perform at present is to improve the channels there, and thus permit the construction of larger vessels, which may ultimately enter into transoceanic competition when the Great Lakes are effectively united to the sea. The law reserving the coasting trade to American vessels, and the fact that the United States is the only country of the Western Hemisphere with natural facilities for shipbuilding, have given to us material advantages in competition with foreign shipping for the carrying trade between our own country and nearby foreign ports. These two elements are already sufficient to secure our control of shipping along the Pacific coast from Panama to Alaska. On the Atlantic coast these two elements are not sufficient to produce a similar result, and the situation is not so favorable. Within the Atlantic zone comprising foreign ports not more than 500 miles distant we conduct an ocean carrying trade with our own country nearly equal in volume to that of all our competitors combined. Toward maintaining this equality the Government, in the form of mail contracts, contributes directly about $75,000 annually to the service to Cuba, and incidentally for its service to Mexico by way of Havana. Political considerations, based on the events of the summer, suggest the propriety of increasing the proportion of American shipping within this zone, and this result can be attained without difficulty. The Spanish Government imposed annual charges of $102,000 on Cuba and $12,750 on Porto Rico for the maintenance of Spanish mail steamers between ports of the Spanish Antilles and Mexico, besides a considerable portion of the subsidies paid to the Compania Transatlantica for its service to Spain and to New York. The aggregate annual contributions of Cuba to contract mail service by Spanish vessels was $581,776, and of Puerto Rico, $125,655, while in 1897 the entire contribution of the United States for its ocean mail contracts amounted to only $1,177,548. Whatever the final destiny of Cuba may be, American shipping will quickly, to a great extent, supersede Spanish shipping in the trade between Cuban ports and the other ports of the hemisphere.

Foreign shipping exceeds American shipping two to one in trade between the United States and foreign ports situated in the zone over 500 miles and less than 1,500 miles distant from an American port. Toward the support of American shipping in this trade the United States paid in 1897 for its mail service to Mexico, via Havana, $130,104; to Venezuela, $81,288; to Colon, $45,948; to Central America, $15,300; to Panama, $5,434, and a few insignificant sums based on postal rates. By the permanent occupation of Porto Rico and by changed relations. to Cuba the United States has established a center of political and commercial influence in this zone which will require increased American facilities for communication. Under powers incidental to the prosecution of war, the President has already directed that trade between Porto Rico and the United States, in pursuance of our traditional policy and to meet obvious exigencies of the situation, shall be carried on in American vessels exclusively. It is assumed that this action will be approved and the rule will be permanently established. The combined entries and clearances in the United States of vessels from and for Porto Rico in 1897 amounted to 37,173 tons American and 82,407 tons foreign. The opportunity for increased American tonnage in direct trade with the island, though of appreciable value,

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