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cinnamon, of sandal wood and gold," and without a doubt the islands of the South Sea, are of this description. The climate is unsurpassed in any part of the world, and is both conducive to health and Ion- 1 gevity. With the thermometer rarely below 65 degrees, and hardly ever reaching above 86 degrees, we have a perpetual summer of so delightful a temperature that working men of Europe or America may devote themselves to a life of pleasant and profitable labor all the year 'round. If we add to this, lands of inexhaustible fertility, we have within easy distance of our port millions on millions of acres of soil, far surpassing that of the famed West Indies.
When it is considered that the area of the latter islands is only about one-fiftieth of the islands of the South Sea, that the population exceeds that of the West Indies nearly eighteen times, that the exports and imports of the latter are over seventy-five millions per annum, some idea may be formed of the vast commercial interests that will arise from the occupation, development and trade with the islands of the Pacific.
With the exception of the more prominent islands put down on the list, already well known to the commercial world, the great majority remain as a sealed book, so far as their agricultural, mineral and other qualifications are concerned. In fact, if any trade has ever existed among them, it has been carried on by men without means, who have become tired of the sea, castaways, pirates and refugees. A class as much to be feared as the traditional man-eater. It is not strange, therefore, that the many valuable interests that could could be developed in these garden-spots of the world suffer and languish when under the control of such spirits.
THE JAPANESE BLACK STREAM.
San Francisco lies directly in the track of the great ocean current, that, like the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic, flows in the Pacific. This current is known as the Kuro Shiwo, or Japanese Black Stream. If we assume its point of commencement to be off the coast of Japan, it would trend northerly from that country, one portion flowing to and around the Aleutian Isles in Behring Sea, while the other, or main current, flows more to the east, towards our northern coast, which it reaches just south of Queen Charlotte Islands, off the coast of British Columbia. Running thence southerly along the shores of Washington Territory and Oregon, and along the coast of California, it turns south by west just off the harbor of San Francisco. Dividing again at this point, one stream flows by the Hawaiian Isles, and westerly among the islands of the North Pacific, and again northerly to the coast of Japan. The other division flows in a more southerly direction until the equator is reached, where it turns to the west, running among the myriads of islands in that region, turning to the north, and flowing by and to the east of the Philippines, reaching an assumed starting point off the coast of Japan. The Kuro Shiwo flows at the rate of ten to fifteen miles per day, and must in its great silent way render invaluable service in helping preserve the temperate climate along the coast as well as in the interior of the States bordering the Pacific. Its great value in favoring commerce to and from our port with the lands of the South Sea, can hardly be over estimated.
With the completion of the Panama and Nicaragua canals, great commercial gateways will be opened between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and a trade with the whole world offered to the islands of the Pacific that will in time become gigantic in its proportions. Tio encompass this, it is safe to predict that the great maratime powers will contend.
Commercial cities like New York, Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco will grasp at the facilities offered by the short routes created by the canals, and the sails of all nations will dot the southern seas. 9
A personal experience among the islands of the Pacific in commercial and other ventures, leads me to write on this subject, with a little knowledge and a great deal of interest. While it would take volumes to do justice to this subject, in a detailed account, it shall be my endeavor to present such features and facts in a condensed form as may interest and prove of value to many readers. Among the myriads of islands, which I have placed in groups, as will be seen in the tables, I have given but a short description of one or more in a group. It being understood that the description may be accepted as generally applicable to all the islands of a particular cluster, excepting perhaps, the number of inhabitants, size and locality.
SOUTH SEA BUBBLE.
One of the obstacles to be surmounted in favorably presenting the vast interests to be found in those garden-spots of the world, the Pacific Islands, is the ban put upon all concerted ventures that have been attempted in these regions by the great financial crash of the South Sea company in years long passed away. In fact, the term "South Sea Bubble" is generally used as a synonym for all enterprises not based upon solid foundations, the popular impression prevailing that the great failure of this company came from commercial and other ventures made in the South Sea. ,
The truth is, the company had no ventures or interests in that region resulting in failure, for if we except one vessel only, that made a trading voyage in 1717, and that, too, to Spanish South America, in the * interests of the corporation, there are no accounts of practical commercial operations entered into in the Pacific by this company. True, they had some valuable privileges from the English Government, as well as from Spain, that theory and misrepresentation easily built into a supposed practical trading monopoly, although their operations were principally financial and stock jobbing, and confined altogether to London.
The fabulous stories and traditions of the Spanish South American countries, among which were Chile and Peru, the vast wealth in gold, silver and jewels, to gether with well concocted stories of the wonderful pro ductions of the soil, and the supposed exclusive rights obtained from the king of Spain, formed the cornerstone of the South Sea Company. After the treaty of Utrecht, Spain withdrew all grants and privileges made to the corporation, yet the wealth and power of its directors, with the prestige of a long list of rich stockholders, enabled the company to retain a footing in great financial circles. As a valuable support to the schemes of the corporation, the wonderful products of the Pacific Islands, then making their way into all parts of Asia and Europe, were used as a lever in its advancement. The shells, pearls, fruits and spices, the whalebone and oil, the rich results of land and sea, were cunningly interwoven into a project that at one time set all Europe wild with greedy anticipation.
In 1711, the Earl of Oxford, who was Lord Treasurer of the Kingdom, finding the credit of the Government somewhat impaired, conceived the scheme , of funding a portion of the national debt of Great Britain, then amounting, in round numbers, to $155,000,000. Of this sum, he proposed to fund $50,000,000 by issuing bonds of the Government, which were to be paid, interest and principal, by special regular duties upon silks, wines, tobacco, and some of the other most valuable importations. Purchasers of the bonds were to receive a certain amount of South Sea stock with each Government bond, that stock being then considered of sufficient value to offer a tempting bait in attempting to float the amount required. The credit of the Government, with the six per cent, interest, together with the shares of the South Sea Company, and certain trading privileges allowed to the corporation in trade with South America, made it an easy matter to fund the $50,000,000.
Meantime, the company was using every influence to establish and enlarge its credit, and though partially opposed in its schemes by many of the great statesmen and financiers of Europe, the Bank of England and the East India Company, the advancement of the "bubble" interests met with a curious success on every hand. But it was not until 1720 that the company reached the zenith of its influence and power, which culminated in offering to take the whole national debt of Great Britain on its shoulders at a reduced interest, but otherwise on similar terms to the first
loan. In 1719, so many and great had become the •t