Commercial Geography Part 38

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From Commercial Australia find the trade of the United States with the Commonwealth.


From a cyclopaedia read the history of Australia as a convict colony.

Commercial Australia.


[1] If the edition for free distribution is exhausted, these may be purchased from the Superintendent of Doc.u.ments, Public Printer, Washington, D.C.

[2] The greatness of Palmyra was due to the trade along this route, and its decay began when the route was abandoned. The present town of Tadmor is near the ruins of the former city.

[3] Cosmas Indicopleustes--in early life a merchant, in later years a monk--visited India and Ceylon during the first part of the sixth century. His writings contain much valuable knowledge, but in the main they are theological arguments intended to disprove the Geography written by Ptolemy.

[4] The date is variously given as 1169, 1200, and 1241.

[5] To Waldemar III. of Denmark it dictated terms that made its power in Scandinavia supreme.

[6] For a complete list of books for reference, see p. xii.

[7] The record time on this route was made by the Lucania in five days, seven hours, and twenty-three minutes, from Daunts Rock, Queenstown, to Sandy Hook light. The fastest day's run yet recorded was made by the Deutschland--601 nautical miles, a speed of 24.19 knots.

[8] In Congress the River and Harbor Bill always receives a generous appropriation.

[9] In many instances goods designed for the spring trade in the Western States are started via the ca.n.a.l in October, reaching their destination at Chicago some time in April, the cargo having been frozen up in one or another of the ca.n.a.l basins during the winter. The rate paid for this slow transit is considerably less than the amount which otherwise would have been paid for storage; moreover, it is nearly all clear profit to the ca.n.a.l boatmen.

[10] The minimum depth of the ca.n.a.l is 22 feet; its width at the bottom is 160 feet. It was begun September, 1892, and completed January 2, 1902, at a cost of thirty-four million dollars. More than forty million cubic yards of earth and rock were excavated. All the bridges crossing it are movable.

[11] This is on the supposition that night travel will be too dangerous a risk. With a continuous travel the time would be about thirty-three hours.

[12] On one great trunk system the average ton-mile rate in 1870 was one and one-seventh cents; in 1900 it was just one-half that sum.

[13] The modern steam-making boiler has from thirty to one hundred or more tubes pa.s.sing through it from end to end. The heat from the fire-box as a rule pa.s.ses under the boiler and through the tubular flues; it thus increases the heating surface very greatly. The forced draught is made by allowing the exhaust steam to escape into the smokestack, thereby increasing the draught through the fire-box.

[14] A single locomotive of the New York Central has hauled 4,000 tons of freight at a speed of twenty-five miles an hour. A "camel-back" of the Philadelphia & Reading hauled 4,800 tons of coal from the mines to tide-water without a helper.

[15] The Vanderbilt boiler with cylindrical corrugated fire-box invented by Cornelius Vanderbilt, great-grandson of the founder of the New York Central, marks an important step in locomotive building. The cylindrical form largely obviates the necessity of an array of stay-bolts to prevent warping; the corrugated surface gives greater heating power.

[16] The Central-Atlantic type of locomotive ill.u.s.trates a modern improvement. The driving-wheels are placed a little forward of their usual position, while the fire-box, formerly set between the wheels, now overhangs each side of a pair of low trailing-wheels. By this means the heating surface of the fire-box is increased nearly one-half. A lever controlled by the engineer enables the latter to transfer 5,000 pounds weight from the trucks to the driving-wheels when a grade is to be surmounted. The daily run of such a locomotive is greatly increased.

(_See cut, p. 61._)

[17] A line from Vienna to Triest was opened about 1854; Germany was joined to Italy across Brenner Pa.s.s in 1868; France was connected with Italy through a tunnel near Mont Cenis in 1871; in 1882 the traffic of Germany was opened to Mediterranean ports by a tunnel under St.

Gotthard. In this manner trunk systems have gradually developed.

[18] The building of the West Sh.o.r.e Railroad is an ill.u.s.tration. After both roads had suffered tremendous losses the New York Central settled the matter by purchasing the West Sh.o.r.e. This was one of a great number of similar cases both in the United States and Europe.

[19] In Great Britain the ton-rate is about $2.30 per hundred miles; in Germany, $1.75; in Russia, $1.30; in the United States, $0.70. The difference is due as much to the length of distance hauled as to economical management.

[20] Thus, A, B, and C are roads whose chief terminal points are Chicago and New York City. The road C is the shortest of the three lines, but its grades are very heavy. B is, say, one hundred miles longer, but has no heavy grades. A is a very indirect route, and its New York traffic must be trans-shipped at Boston, or perhaps at New London, and sent a part of the way by water. If now an absolute ton-mile rate is fixed for either road, it is evident that neither of the others can carry through freight without altering rates. If C fixes a rate, then A and B must either charge higher rates between Chicago and Montreal, or Chicago and Albany, than between their terminals. And although this is illegal in most States, the laws are evaded by "rebate," or repayment of a certain sum to the shipper. Of the three roads B, on account of easy grades, is in the best position to fix rates. It therefore makes, not the lowest rate, but the one that will yield the best returns. C conforms to this, and A takes what it can get, hauling at a very small profit. But if A happens to be outside of the limits of the United States, it may openly cut rates, because pretty nearly all the through freight it gets is clear profit, and inasmuch as none of the laws of a State apply to the Canadian portion of the road, it may do what the others cannot. And while B is struggling with A, the three roads X, Y, and Z are perhaps endeavoring to have some of the freight sent from Buffalo eastward over their own lines. In instances similar to the foregoing it is customary for B and C to divide the through business and to allow a "differential"

to A--that is, on account of its slower delivery of through freight, to carry it at a slightly lower rate. B then adjusts its traffic with X, Y, and Z in a similar manner; and on the whole this is the fairest way to all concerned.

The following, one of many instances, shows the difficulties in fixing rates that will not be unjust to either party: Danville and Lynchburg compete for a certain trade. The Southern Railway pa.s.ses through both cities, but the Chesapeake & Ohio makes Lynchburg by another route; Danville, therefore, is not a competing point, while Lynchburg is. As a result, the Southern Railway charged $1.08 for a certain traffic from Chicago to Danville and only 72 cents to Lynchburg, some distance beyond, this being the rate over the other road. The matter finally reached the Court of Appeals, and the latter sustained the Southern Railway. The rate to Danville was shown to be not excessive, but if the railway were required to maintain a rate to Lynchburg higher than 72 cents, it would lose all its traffic to that point, amounting to $433,000 yearly. In a case of this kind there can be no help except by a consolidation of the two roads; by virtue of the consolidation all the Lynchburg freight will then go over the line having the easiest haul.

[21] That is, the Government pledged its credit for the money borrowed, and in addition gave the companies alternate sections of public land on both sides of the proposed line, the land-grants being designed partly to encourage immigration and partly to increase the building funds of the various companies. In several instances both the land-grants and the money subsidies were scandalously used. At least one road used its earnings to build a competing line and, after disposing of the land-grant and pocketing the proceeds, allowed the Government to foreclose the mortgage and sell the original road.

[22] From the Latin "castra," a camp.

[23] In 1897 the world's crop was 2,226,750,000 bushels, and as a result, the countries in which the crop was short suffered from high prices. Had it not been for the prompt carrying service of railways and steamships famine would have resulted.

[24] In order to yield a crop of twenty-five bushels per acre the soil must supply 110 lbs. of nitrogen, 45 lbs. of phosphoric acid, 30.5 lbs.

of lime, 14.5 lbs. of magnesia, and 142 lbs. of potash; these are approximately the mineral elements taken out of the soil with each crop, and it is needless to say that they must be replaced or the grain will starve for want of nutrient substances.

[25] In the United States there are about seven wheat-districts, each characterized by particular varieties that grow best in the given locality. In the New England and most of the middle Atlantic division Early Genesee Giant, Jones Winter Fife, and Fultz are chiefly grown. In the Southern States Fultz, Fulcaster, Purple Straw, and May are foremost. In the north central group of States Early Red Clawson, Poole, Dawson's Golden Chaff, Buda Pest, and Fultz are common. In the Dakotas and Minnesota Scotch Fife and Velvet Blue Stem (both spring wheats) are generally planted. In Kansas and Texas and the adjacent locality the princ.i.p.al varieties are Turkey, Fulcaster, and Mediterranean (all winter wheats). In California and the southern plateau region Sonora, California Club, and Defiance are the princ.i.p.al kinds (all winter wheats). In Washington and Oregon Little Club, Red Chaff, and Blue Stem (which are either winter or spring) are the main varieties.

[26] Sometimes the owner sends it to the nearest elevator at tide-water where the grain is stored, not in bulk, but in the original packages, subject to his demand. In the course of a month or six weeks it absorbs so much moisture that the gain in weight more than pays the storage charges.

[27] The elevators are equipped with "legs" or long spouts, within which belts with metal scoops transfer the grain from car to vessel or _vice versa_. The elevators at Buffalo will fill a ca.n.a.l-boat in an hour's time, or load six grain-cars in five minutes. A large whaleback steamship may be relieved of its 200,000 bushels in about three hours.

Most of the east-bound wheat of the Middle West is transferred to the seaboard by rail, but that of the northwest, which forms the chief part of the crop, is shipped from Duluth through the St. Marys Falls Ca.n.a.l to Buffalo, where it is transferred to cars or to ca.n.a.l-boats. New York is the leading export market, but Boston, New Orleans, Galveston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia are also important shipping ports.

[28] The following is approximately the yield of the chief wheat-growing countries in bushels per acre:

Denmark 42 England 29 New Zealand 26 Germany 23.2 Holland & Belgium 21.5 Hungary 18.5 France 19.5 Austria 16.3 Canada 15.5 United States 12.3 Argentina 12.2 Italy 12.1 Australia 10 India 9.2 Russia 8.6 Algeria 7.5

The low average in Australia, India, and Algeria is due mainly to lack of rainfall; in the United States and Russia, mainly to unskilful cultivation.

[29] It seems to have been introduced into Turkey from India about the latter part of the fifteenth century, after which it was occasionally heard of in Europe as "Turkey corn."

[30] The "tortilla," the national bread of the Mexican, consists of a thick corn-meal paste pressed into thin wafers between the hands, and baked on hot slabs of stone. The corn-meal "mush" of the American, the "polenta" of the Italian, and the "mamaliga" of the Rumanian are all practically corn-meal boiled to a thick paste in water.

[31] The gin, invented by Eli Whitney in 1793, enabled one man to do by machinery about the same amount of work as previously had required one hundred laborers. For want of the laws necessary to protect his invention, Whitney was defrauded of the profits arising from it. Neither Congress nor the courts gave him any relief from the numerous infringements, and he died a poor man.

[32] The commercial distinction is a sensible one: hair is hard, crisp, straight, and does not felt; wool is soft, curly, and felts readily.

[33] An ounce of eggs produces about forty thousand worms, and these, during the grub stage, require about fifteen hundred pounds of leaves, about one-half of which is actually consumed.

[34] Charles II. of England also forbade its use (1675) and attempted to close the coffee-houses that had sprung up in London, but in spite of the ban and the prohibitive tax laid upon it, the use of coffee became general. Similar efforts to close the coffee-houses in Constantinople failed.

[35] The full-grown leaf attains a length of from four to nine inches; those picked rarely exceed one-and-a-half inches in length.

[36] Brick tea consists of leaves moulded into bricks under heavy pressure. Refuse and stems are also thus prepared for the cheaper grades.

[37] The following are the chief rubber-producing trees: _Siphonia elastica_, or _Hevea brasiliensis_, Amazon forests, yields Para rubber; _Manihot Glaziovii_, also a tapioca-producing shrub, Ceara province, Brazil, furnishes Ceara rubber; _Castilloa elastica_, Central American States, Nicaragua rubber; _Ficus elastica_, British India, and _Urceola elastica_, Borneo, Indian rubber. There are rubber-producing trees in Florida, but they have little commercial value at the present time.

African rubber is taken from a variety of plants.

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Commercial Geography Part 38 summary

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