The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 01, 1914, Page 9, Image 9
'9$F$Wrr The Commoner n 9 DECESIBER, 1914- ' buy old, secondhand vessels and use them In dangerous waters, at a high cost for repair and for services for which they wero not designed. Neither the American people nor congress desiro that lives shall continue to bo sacrificed when measures can be taken which will stop the sac rifice at trifling cost. Both congress and the American people are willing to spend for need ful work well done whatever that work requires for its reasonable performance. There is 'so much talk about governmental extravagance that thp people hardly understand that some of their services are run upon a basis that it would be lavish to call frugal. They do not want their officers who must stay at sea to .be obliged to eat and- sleep and wash in the same room as they are now obliged to do. They are just as anxious that their seamen shall have sufficient room and air in which to sleep as they are that their children shall be provided with air in schoolhouses. It has been suggested as per haps a1 kindly criticism of administrative officers that they are properly enthusiastic over their own-work, but no such disclaimer will do away with hard facts, When a steamer must do work at sea that has not sufficient power for steerage way in heavy-weather, the risk and responsibil ity can not lie upon this department, but must rest with those, to whom, when the- facts are plainly statqd, is given the honorable duty of providing funds that such conditions shall' no longer exist. It is a shameful thing to send officers of the United States to sea ,in such ships as the Endeav or, the Gedney, and the McArthur. To require the continued use of these ships is but little re moved in wisdom from a policy which would re fuse to build a modern battleship because the old Constitution was still in existence. With a loyal willingness to' accept the dolo handed them by a" grdat government, the service has continued these 'ships in Use. It can do so little longer. By the time new vessels dan be built to replace tliem it will; be a grave question whether these stiips can b& Sent to sea at all and whether the important work they do must nbt be stopped till safe' vessels are provided. '"If fflr aMpoment.i' were conceded, which it is notr that the coast au'd geodetic survey was itself negligent, and .extravagant, there would remain lftTredsoimble qxqfse,,for the continued use of these ships.' They are expensive luxuries, posting largely for maintenance, extravagant in the vyasto of time and fjiel and likely to be even more extravagant lin the waste of lives. $ . These old, obsolete ships, without wireless equipment and deficient in many modern appli ances, can. not be safely used except in protected wafers, The .expepse of repairing them is great and becoming greater. The Endeavor, now working, in sheltered waters on our Atlantic coast, can not be, sent to the Pacific, since she qould not survive the voyage. The steamers Gedney and McArthur, while still employed on surveys in sheltered waters in the Pacific, are unfit 'for service. These three' old steamers are, respectively, 52, 39, and 38 years old, are single screw, single-cylinder, and single-boiler coal burning vessels, without electricity for wireless or for lighting, without refrigerating plants, without condensers to make fresh drinking water, and with quarters such as were, indeed, permissible at a somewhat remote age in our marine development but which, like their other equipment, are now medieval. .There is a very large amount of survey work heeded all along the Pacific coast, especially on banks and reefs as yet only imperfectly developed- Such are Blunts Iteef, off Cape Mendo cino; Hoceta Bank, off the Suislaw river; and a bank. 12 miles off the Alseya river. The off shore work from the Mexican boundary all the way to Cape Elizabeth, Wash., a stretch of 1,200 miles, Is incomplete, and there is one reach of 150 miles from Cape Blanco to Cape Lookout where no systematic. work has been done. De tailed development work is needed off all the projecting points of the coast, such as Points Conception, Buchon, Lopez, Cape Mendocino, Eel river, Humbolt bay, Trinidad point, St. George, Cape Blanco, Cape Lookout, etc: The entire Pacific coast will not be' as safe as it ought to be till this work is done. For it strong,, sea worthy vessels with ample power and wide steaming radius are necessary. 'Neither of the three old ships mentioned can be risked in sucli service. But the restrictions placed upon the coast and geo'detic survey througli ancient' vessels are not all the ' burdens this service' has to ' bear It is not provided with the necessary apparatus for making the soundings which it Is required by law to carry on and for which it exists. Sad experience has shown that tho ordinary sound ing apparatus will not dotect that dangerous fo0 of tho navigator tho pinnacle rock. On various points of our coast sharp spines of rock project from tho bottom with points so small that a Bounding lino glances off. Two such have with in recent years caused serious Iobsos. One was the means of sinking tho lighthouso tender America on May 20, 1912, causing a loss of $175,000, and another Bank tho steamship Stato of California on August 17, 1913, with a loss of 31 lives and $350,000 valuo in property. Half tho cost of these two wrecks used in surveying with the only apparatus for tho purpose would have gone far to making tho coast of Alaska safe. In cases of this kind the use of what is known as a "wire drag" is essential to make channels and harbors safe for vessels. There Is no other method by which safety can bo assured, and the extension of this work is an urgent ne cessity not only in Alaska but along other por tions of our coast. " The wire 'drag is a device by which a long wire, maintained at any desired distance below tho surface of the water, is towed over the area to be examined. The action of one of the many buoys which support the wire indicates tho presence of an obstruction and its location. This device surely finds such obstructions. Noth ing else will do so. As the speed at which such a device can bo towed is but from 1 to 2 miles an hour, to which must be added the time taken in buoying the obstructions met and in deter mining their exact depth and position, tho work is necessarily slow though thorough.- . The plan of discovering hidden rocks by run ning vessels on them is still in vogue. This does not commend Itself as a business proposition, apart from the humanity of the case. It has been such common practice, however, that rocks are commonlv named after tho steamqr which hit them. For example, in , Tongass Narrows, Alaska, are Idaho, rock, Ohio, rock, Potter, rock, and California rock, each named af.tqr the vessel which discovered it by striking it. We have never sized up the work of survey ing the dangerous coast of Alaska on a scale as largo .-as, is .necessary. We .have- gone at tho matter on a scale as futile' as the poor woman's attempt to sweep back tho Atlantic with a broom. Wo put thirty millions into a railway to develop a growing national possession from which wo have drawn hundreds of millions in value without providing the ordinary apparatus required to make surveys to insure safety in waters known to bo dangerous by their contin uing terrible record. Under these circumstances it will ask con gress for a sufficient further sum to permit keep ing its vessels in operation throughout the year, to provide for the early building of new ships to take the place of the three which are anti quated and dangerous, and for the use of a wire-drag apparatus in Alaskan waters through out the short season incident to that territory. It earnestly hopes that the cogent reasbns that have been given will lead to" the providing of tho necessary funds. This will call for an in crease of the appropriation for Pacific waters of from $105,000 to $225,000 and for an appro priation of $500,000 for tho construction of vessela. BUREAU OF FOREICN AND DOMESTIC , COMMERCE At a' recent interview between the Argentine ambassador and Secretary Redfield, an import ant cable message from the Argentine govern ment bearing upon the commercial relations be tween tho two countries was presented. Through the courtesy of the Argentine ambassador, and with the consent of his government, this aa patch, a cablegram, dated October 31, 1914, from the minister of foreign relations of Ar gentina to the ambassador of that country, has been given publicity. It is as follows, and its importance is obvious: "Thero Is at present no congestion of mer chandise in our ports. Wheat and flour are not exported at present because of the embargo es tablished by the executive power on those prod ucts. Corn, meat, and wool are exported with out, great difficulty, but we fear the scarcity of the means of transportation for our production in the near future. A very effective outlet would be tile arrival of steamers from the United States -'with usual cargoes that is', to say, 1m piird naptha, wood, Iron, agricultural machines affair implements, petroleum, furniture, lubricat ing oils, etc. Those boats would return with our-products that Is to say, meat, wool, hide, quebracho, livestock, etc. American manufac turers can occupy tho place loft vacant by Euro pean industry in all tho branches that have been served by It. The present moment offers to American manufacturers very appreciable ad vantages for occupying positions, profiting by the present European Inability. Irt order to get thcHo advantages they must tako the Initiative themselves, sending, at least, small cargoes and also agents, and oBpcdnlly adapting themselves to tho custom of not demanding cash payment, as lias been practiced by others With very well known success." The department of commerce hopes and ox pocts that American manufacturers will take full advantage of the opportunity thus extended them through the courtesy of the Argentine government. That Latin American countries are looking to tho United States for tho, capital and the market for their products which they formerly found In Europo is emphasized in a pamphlot just issued by tho bureau of foreign and domestic commerce giving the addresses made by representatives of Latin American countries at a conference with American business men recently held In Wash ington. Tho pamphlet, entitled "Statements on the Latin American Trade Situation," contains the statements made' by the ministers from Bo livia, Uruguay, Peru, nnd Cuba to tho United States, tho consuls general of Costa Rica and Colombia In New York, tho minister from' Ecu ador to'England, and others, besides tho open fug remarks of Secretary of State William J. Bryan, and a statement by Secretary Redfield. Many obstacles to the development of Latin American trade with the United States were commented on, notably tho matter of credits and that of a proper understanding of tho Latin American way of doing business on the part 'of business men in tho United States. THE NATION'S GROWTH An epitomized record of our nation's growth in area, population, and resources is contained in the "Statistical Record of the Progress of tho United States, 18 00-1 9 11," a recent publica tion of the bureau. In all cases whore the sta- tistlcal data permit, tho- tablps cover more than 'a century; the later Inauguration of ccr.tain lines vof, statistics necessarily restricts, In tjtpso cases, tho period cov.erod. , Since 1850 tho population of the United States has more than quadrupled, being approximately 100 million at tho present time. In the same period, however, foreign commerco has grown from 318 million to 4,259 million dollars and tho per capita of exports from $16.90 to $23.27. National wealth has Increased from 7 billion dollars In 1870 to approximately 140 billion; money in circulation, from 279 million to 3,419 million; and the New York bank clearings from approximately 5 billion to over JS billion dol lars, while for the entire country bank clearings have grown from 52 billion in 1837, the earliest year for which figures are available, to 174 billion in 1913. Evidences of improved social conditions among the people are also found. Thero are 19 million children now enrolled in public schools and about 200,000 students In colleges and other higher institutions of learning, and the total expenditures on behalf of education now ap proximate $500,000,000 a year, the result being a rapid increase in general intelligence and a marked decrease in illiteracy. Over 22,000 newspapers and periodicals arc now published, and a steady growth is shown in the number or; libraries in the country. In 1850 depositors in savings banks numbered 251,000; today the number Is 11 million with deposits, exclusive of those in other savings institutions, aggregating 4 billion dollars, or more than 100 times as much as at the middle of the last century Increased activity on the farms, in the fac tories, and in the great transportation indus tries has also -developed during the last half century. The value of farms and farm property increased from 4 billions in 1850 to 41 billions in 1910; the value of manufactures, from 1 billion to over 20 billion; and the number of miles of railway in operation, from 9,021 in 1850 to 258,033 In 1912. In the last quarter century the number of passengers carried has increased from 492 million to- 1,004 million, and the volume of freight handled from 632 million to 1845 million short tdns. The'.'range of subjects extends fo many other factors of national life, and broad outlines are shown with respect to the world's' de'veldftment in population, production, commerce, carrying power, etc. .