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port for the islands beyond the equator, in search of bêches-de-mer, pearls, oyster and turtle shells, sharks' fins, the esculent bird-nest, and sandalwood. The following list, transcribed from the manuscript in our possession, will show at once the nation, the tonnage,
In what Trade. Louisa 221 American
California Volunteer 256
California Sultan 285
Chinese Chinchilly 147
Fijee Islands Chance 45
Sandwich Islands Convoy 147
67 Sandwich Islands North-west Coast Dolly or Daule 182
Society Islands Griffin
North-west Coast Truro
Society Islands Denmark Hill 252 British
Fitting out for whale
fishery Alpha 101 Sandwich Islands Wallace -- Island
93 American Central America
The ships of the Hudson's Bay Company, on their passage from England to the Columbia River, touch at Honoruru for provisions and salt, which latter article can be procured from lakes or manufactured from the sea water. American, French, and other foreign vessels, after disposing of their general cargoes on the Spanish Main, sometimes return home by the way of China, in which case they occasionally touch at the Sandwich cluster to sell the residue of their goods. But perhaps the greatest degree of importance ought to be attached to the whalers, who make this station their principal rendezvous twice a-year, at each of which seasons not fewer than seventy sail remain at anchor in one of the ports six or eight weeks. As many as eighty have been seen at once, though a number proceed to Hido and Lahaina, where supplies are procured at a lower rate. It is unnecessary to add that shipwrights, carpenters, painters, sailmakers, and other mechanics, have settled in considerable numbers at the principal harbours.
Considering that the Sandwich Islands were discovered by Captain Cook, and twice formally ceded to Great Britain, first by Tamehameha to Vancouver, and next by Rihoriho, who made a voyage to England in order to ratify the acknowledgment of his vassalage to our sovereign, it must be little gratifying to learn that the Americans enjoy four-fifths of the trade, which is carried on as well with their own country as with Mexico and China. For a time, commerce under the British flag was restricted by the privileges of the East India Company, which made it necessary for our vessels to sail under that of the native government; an inconvenience which was sometimes attended with positive loss. For example, an English sloop was burnt, the crew murdered, and the cargo plundered at Otaheite, by order or at least with the approbation of the queen, because the master refused to pay what he considered unjustifiable charges. The commander of her Britannic Majesty's ship Comet, which was then on the coast, did not deem it expedient to interfere, for, though he might know the property belonged to his countrymen, he observed that the colours were those of the Sandwich Islanders.
The trade of the Pacific has hitherto been nothing compared to its capability of future extension under judicious management. The Society Islands, in particular, have been long celebrated for their prolific soil and beautiful scenery. Replenished with luxuriant woods and a splendid vegetation, and enjoying, at the same time, the benefit of numerous streams, Otaheite, from the summit of its mountains to the seashore, produces every where in abundance choice food for its inhabitants, as well as the materials of an extensive traffic. To the breadfruit-tree may be added the sugar-cane, said to be superior to that of any other country, the vegetables called panare and apé, and the vee, a delicious kind of apple; all of which are indigenous and grow spontaneously. Sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, arrowroot, the ti-plant, the pine, the custard-apple, the mulberry, guava, orange, lime, citron, grape, Cape-gooseberry, and water-melon, are also among the gifts which
come from the hand of nature. Pigs, goats, poultry, and horned cattle are now sufficiently numerous; and the pork is celebrated among seamen for its fine flavour. The same islands furnish also a variety of excellent timber for building, whether ships or houses. The tamonee, the trunk of which is sometimes eight feet in diameter and twenty in circumference, gives a close finegrained wood, being more durable and of better appearance than mahogany. It is so hard, indeed, that the joiner finds great labour in converting it into furniture. The purou, another species of tree, supplies an excellent material for boats, being so tough as never to split, and so elastic as hardly ever to wear out. Both kinds grow in great abundance, and might be exported to a very large extent. It is, perhaps, of more importance to observe, that both the earth and the atmosphere are favourable to the growth of the vine, cotton, coffee, and sugar, the cultivation of which would afford a lucrative employment to the people, augmenting the small returns which they already derive from arrow-root and palm-oil.
But, in most respects, New Zealand presents the greatest facility for commerce as well as for establishing a valuable emporium between the Leeward groups of the Pacific and the shores of Europe. The number of ships which now touch at the Bay of Islands, Auckland, and Wellington, exceed any expectation that could have been entertained even ten years ago. In the course of four months have been reckoned nearly a hundred, including the whalers, chiefly Americans, who buy and sell to a considerable extent. The exports to Australia are becoming every day of more consequence, consisting of flax, maize, bark, pigs, pork, oil, lard, fish, potatoes, hams, mats, whalebone, seal-skins, timber, and planks. These transactions are important, not only in a commercial point of view, but also as a certain test of the progress made by the natives in civilisation and the arts of social life. In the year 1829, the articles chiefly in demand at the trading-ports were gunpowder, muskets, pistols, bullets, cartouch-boxes, flints, lead, and some cases of hatchets and nails. At present the most marketable goods are bales of clothes, blankets, prints, haberdashery, packets of slop-clothing, brushes, and blacking. There is also a demand for “ boxes of scap;" for the people are not only very careful of their dresses, but much improved in their habits of cleanliness and health. They purchase, also, though in small quantities, tea, sugar, biscuits, and floor. Ironmongery is in great request; pots of different kinds ; some tin-wares and a little crockery ; spades for the cultivation of their ground, bill-hooks, axes, and aws. In the list from which these details are copied, we find fourteen cases of books, and nineteen of stationery.
The whale-trade, however, stands prominent in point of importance compared with all the other sources of wealth and naval power which have opened in New Zealand. Hitherto, it must be acknowledged, the mother-country has not availed herself, to the full extent, of the advantages which the new colonies have presented, especially in regard to the enlargement of the mercantile navy, viewed as a nursery for seamen. Several years ago, the Americans could boast of having in the South Sea fishery about two hundred and fifty ships, each from three to five hundred tons burden. The officers and crew of every vessel amounted, on the average, to twenty-five individuals, five of whom may be considered as never having been at sea before. The voyage lasts generally about three years, nearly the whole of which the sailors are afloat, exposed to all climates and to every vicissitude of weather; the tempests of Cape Horn, the squalls of the tropics, the hurricanes of California, and the typhoons of Japan, being equally familiar to them. The employment of whale-fishing, more perhaps than any other, habituates the men to danger, and calls forth such a degree of dexterity, skill, nerve, and presence of mind, as renders them well fitted for the duties of an armed ship. It deserves to be mentioned, too, that nearly half of the black oil obtained by the adventurers of Nantucket and New Bedford is conveyed to England, and sold there at a profit of fifty per cento, even after paying the duty chargeable on it as a foreign commodity. This fact, if it does not prove a great relaxation of enterprise on our side, leaves no doubt as to the increasing activity and success of the shipping interest in the United States, the natives of which at once increase their wealth and add immensely to the future resources of their country.*
This subject merits attention on the part of our rulers, who are not ignorant that, while the foreign trade has increased, the number of vessels employed by our merchants has rather diminished. If we look to the export and tonnage returns, it will be found that our maritime resources during the last forty years have been far from keeping pace with our commercial growth, and that our exports to the countries which we have made the greatest sacrifices to propitiate have been constantly declining, while those to our colonies, for whose interests we have done so little, have been as rapidly increasing ; and that it is the extension of the latter which has concealed and counterbalanced the decay of the former. The truth of these remarks will appear from the subjoined statement :
Exports. Imports. Tonnage. 1802 £38,309,980 £29,826,210 2,167,000
105,170,5491 61,268,320 2,890,601 BRITISH SHIPS.
FOREIGN SHIPS. Vessels. Tons. Vessels, 1 Tons. 1802 7,806 1 1,333,005 3,728 480,251 1838 16,119 | 2,785,387 8,679 1,211,066
Thus, while the British tonnage during this interval has advanced in the proportion of 13 to 27, the foreign
from 48 to 121, that is, nearly threefold. The British and foreign shipping engaged in the trade with Prussia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, since 1820, is as follows :British declined with Prussia from .........539 to 270
Denmark............... 57 - 16
* Manuscript Journal.