Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 21
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OF DEBATES W COSTG&ESS.
Deo. 20, 1824.]
Occupation of the Mouth of the Oregon.
£H. of R.
spoken of; this, all know, was owing to the war, and the
embarrassed slate of things immediately preceding it;
that it has been gradually increasing, notwithstanding
the duty on some of the articles pay a higher tax than
similar fabrics from Europe.
The idea has been pretty generally spread abroad,
that nothing is taken in the Canton market but gold and
silver, ginseng, and furs. This I exp ained on a former
occasion, that, owing to the bulk and low price of bread
stuffs, &c. and their liability to spoil from so long a voy-
age, through a hot country, that they would not pay the
expense of freight. But, from the mouth of this river,
the voyage is short and safe, which will afford a good
profit for fiour, and all other articles the products of
agriculture. Cotton, too, has been sold there for a good
price; broken glass, leather, gin, brandy, and candles.
What a prospect for the tanner ! in a country abounding
in timber, of oak, and spruce pine, affording bark of the
best quality, as containing much of the tanning principle,
with skills ill inexhaustible abundance, from the plains
I have sought in vain for a correct statement as to the
number of sc-amen annually employed in this trade, but
can only find an imperfect account for the years 1819
to 1822'inclusive, making the number above 951 each
year. It will be seen, likewise, that the shipments to
South America are increasing; and will doubtless be
profitable, and increase the tonnage employed ill that
branch of business.
If the House will indulge me a few minutes, I will now
inake some exposition of the whale trade, and the trade
to the Western Ocean. For all I shall say, 1 have the
documents in my hand, and if there is an error, it is, I
know., in making the exposition less than the real fact;
but I deem it prudent to present the least favorable
view it is susceptible of. It is proper further to observe,
that this part of the subject may be better understood,
that the number of vessels here stated, regards the de-
parture and arrivals each year; though, it is believed,
that in some years there may be more at sea than in other
years, whicu, of course, would not be noticed that year,
which may, on the other hand, be counter-balanced
by the arrival of a vessel which that year cleared; yet it
is pretty accurate.
In the year 1819, there cleared from Boston, 8 ships,
engaged in the whale fishery, and commerce of the
Western Ocean, !tc. The tonnage of these ships amount-
ed to 2,171, navigated by 164 seamen. Their particu-
lar places of destination were Chili, Lima, Valparaiso,
Sandwich Islands, Western coast, &c. New Bedford,
twenty-eight ships, tonnage 7,379, seamen 552. F.dgar-
town, fourteen ships, tonnage 3,908, seamen 281. New-
port, one ship, tons 366, seamen 23. "'rovidcnce, three
ships, tons 520, seamen 27. New London, ships 4, tons
845, seamen 74. New York, one ship of 168 tons, and
21 seamen. There entered that year, 3.3 ships, 7,968
tons, and 557 seamen, making 118 ships, 20,428 tons, na-
vigated by 2,199 seamen. In the year 1820, there clear-
ed 103 ships, 25,118 tons, navigated by 2,063 seamen ;
and arrived 58 ships, 13,581 tons, and 946 seamen, mak-
ing 161 ships, 38,649 tons, and 3,009 seamen.
In 1821 there sailed 162 ships, tonnage 41,550, navi-
gated by 3192 seamen. There arrived that year, 53
ships, 12,908 tons, seamen not known, making 215 ships,
tonnage 54,450. In 1822 there sailed, 161 ships; ton.
nage 43,515; seamen 3,174. There arrived 80 ships,
tons 18,127; there is no note of the seamen who en-
tered, save 180 in New York; making, that year, 241
ships, tons 61,612. In 1823, there sailed ninety-five
ships, tons 25,079, and arrived 80 ships, tons 20,833 ;
making 175 ships; seamen not ascertained. In the year
1817, it is to be remembered, there was brought to Nan-
tucket, by 23 ships, tonnage 5,153, and 409 seamen,
5,771 barrels of whale oil; 15,401 barrels of Spermace-
ti ; 6,813 of head matter; 19,444 of wtiiile bone. In 1818,
brought by 21 ships 384 seamen, 5,492 tons, 13,426 bar-
rels of whale oi"; 10,496 Spermaceti; 4,378 head mat-
ter ; 65,446 whale bone. In 1820, there were 21 ships,
5,249 tons, and 391 seamen, bringing 11,737 barrels of
whale oil; 11,885 Spermaceti; 5,027 head matter;
59,794 whale bone. In the succeedingyears it was much
th?«ame. 0"e of the vessels arriving in 1823, reported
a list of 36 ships then in the Western Ocean, though
they did not know of any cargo except 35,200 barrels
of whale oil.
I have the authority of a respectable newspaper for
saying, that, within the period of three years, viz.-in
1820, '21, and '22, there arrived at Nantucket, 2,101,292
gallons ofpermaceti oil; and, for the same three years,
at New Bedford. 1,407,797 gallons, this being but one
item in the trade During these years there went to
Canton, in furs and sandal wood, from hat coast and
sea, including some fur likewise shipped from N. York,
that which sold for the incredible amount of 1,494,397
dollars! There was exported to that sea, in that year,
17,544 dollars' worth of domestic fabrics, and 9,417 of
foreign merchandise. To the Western coast, 113,746
domestic and 193,363 foreign merchandise. We have,
from the year 1805 to 1822, inclusive, shipped to the Pa-
cific, in domestic and foreign merchandise, 520,295 dol-
lars ; and, to the Western Coast, in the same articles, for
the same period,4,557,078 dollars; making 5 077,371 dol-
lars ; yet, by this trade we obtain the valuable furs, sold
for such enormous amounts in China; our exports to that
coast amounting, in twenty years, to 5,077,371 dollars.
What a wonderful profit must there be, when the furs
alone, in the Canton market, for the season 1821, '22,
sold for half a million of dollars ! The exports for the
year 1820, to the Western Coast, in ;,rticles the growth,
produce, and manufacture, of the United Mates, only
amounted to 41,068 dollars! consisting of 797 quintals
of dried fish, 3,729 pounds of hams and bacon, hats, leath-
er, boots, beer, spirits from molasses, nails, refined su-
gar, brass, gunpowder, tobacco 26 hogsheads ; but the
most important article seems to be, the different kinds of
manufacture from wood ; this item amounts to 983 dol-
lars ; hence, it is evident, that it is the most valuable
commerce known to the United States, as it creates its
own capital, and enriches by its labor, and the sale of
nails, tobacco, leather, hats, and blue beads. For the
yea? 18 >1, the exports to that coast amounted to 94,493
dollars, and, for 1822, they amounted to 54,799, The
goods, wares, and merchandise, the growth, produce,
and manufacture, of foreign countries, exported to that
country or coast, amounted, in the year 1820, to 193,3<j3:
dollars; consisting of different sorts" of wine, brandy, &c-
tea, coffee, sugar, cassia, gunpowder, lead, shot, iron,
black bottles, and leather. In 1821, the exports amount-
ed to 282,505 dollars, in much the same articles, also in
eluding some China ware, silks, teas, &c. For 1822,
the amount was 110,790 dollars. ' Great as this trade is-,
all our seaports do not participate in it equally: for, Nan-
tucket alone, owns 83 of these ships.
Why should we not protect and cherish this trade?
Was there evera nation on earth which bought so much,
with so little ? The fisheries, which have occupied so
large a space in our negotiations for many years, only
yielded us, in the year 1816, the sum of 1,331,000 dol-
lars, employing tons of shipping; this also includ-
ed tons of shipping engaged in the whale trade.
Under this view of the subject, I think, Mr. Chairman,
you will agree with me, that " our interests on the Pa-
cific Ocean, are not so minute" as to be unworthy of in-
vestigation, as has been said in a recent negotiation, by
a personage in no very subordinate station. This trade,
yielding such vast sums upon the capital and labor em-
ployed; giving employment to 45,000 tons of shipping,
and upwards of 3,000 seamen ; ought to be looked to
with care, and fostered with solicitude. Besides bring-
ing us great wealth, it is the finest nursery for seamen ii>.
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/15/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.