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To complete this review of the commerce of Chili, we have only to add that the mercantile navy comprised several hundred ships, which, immediately after the war broke out, temporarily changed their flag, to resume in proper time their nationality. From the report of the Secretary of State in the marine department, presented to the Chilian Congress August 4, 1858, it appears that the mercantile navy of Chili, which in 1848 consisted of only 105 vessels, tonnage, 12,628, numbers at present 269 vessels, tonnage 62,209; showing an increase in ten years of 164 vessels, and of 49,581 tons. The coast trade of the Chilian flag exclusively presents the progressive increase shown in the following table:

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In the province of Chiloé 1,958 small vessels were (August 4, 1858) employed in domestic traffic, with a crew of 9,000 men.

The following table shows the navigation of Chili in 1857:

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2,789 797,341 2,785 799,542

125 40,000 120 37,000

2,914 837,341 2,905 836,542

Finally, the number of vessels which entered and sailed from the ports of Chili in 1864, and their tonnage, is shown by the following figures:

2830 vessels, with 1,011,702 tons.


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In the good old times of the Spaniards, when Chili was to America, more or less, what Spain is now to Europe, there was only a yearly direct communication with the mother country, when el cajon del Rey, (the King's box) was received with due ceremony, containing a few hundreds of letters from merchants or relatives abroad. Today a single Company on the coast of Chili possesses no less than eighteen splendid steamers, with an aggregate tonnage of quite as many thousands. We do not believe, indeed, that there is in Europe or the United States a company possessing so large a number of ships, except,

perhaps, that of the Messageries Imperiales in the Mediterranean.

The first attempt to introduce steam navigation in Chili was made, in 1835, by the well-known and enterprising Mr. Wheelwright, an American citizen from Newburyport, R. I. Mr. Wheelwright was to establish a line of two small steamers, of three hundred tons each, under certain conditions. But it was not until 1840 that he was able to carry out his enterprise, establishing a northerly communication between Valparaiso and Panamá with two little steamers built in England, the Chili and the Perú That was the humble beginning of the now prosperous, and gigantic Pacific Steam Navigation Company.

It is a rather singular fact that this enterprise, having originated in an American merchant, has been developed entirely through English capital and English skill, to the continued exclusion of American interest, which says but little in favor of the energy and clearsightedness of the great Commodores of the United States.

The first voyage of the English steamers between Valparaiso and Panamá took place, to the great delight of the inhabitants along the whole Pacific coast, in October, 1840. Eight years afterwards (January, 1847), four steamers commenced to run between those two and the intermediate ports, and later, (in May, 1860,) a weekly communication was established between Valparaiso and Callao, touching at the following ports:-Tongoy, Coquimbo, Huasco, Carrizal, Caldera, Chañaral and Taltal, in Chili; Cobija and Tocopilla in Bolivia; Yquique, Mejillones, Pisagua, Arica, Ylo, Islay, Quilca, Chala, Pisco and the Chincha Islands in Perú.

At the same time the flourishing Company succeeded in establishing a new line of steamers from Valparaiso, southward, as far as Valdivia (1853), and afterwards to Puerto Montt (1858), receiving a subsidy of $40,000 yearly from the Chilian Government, as a liberal or rather prodigal encouragement for that remunerative service.

The Company now receives a heavy subsidy from th English Government; the post-office of Chili pays a fixed sum of $16,800 yearly for the carrying of the mails, without taking into consideration a fixed postage paid to the Company on the letters; and besides all these advantages, it possesses another and greater, viz.: a monopoly-its man

agers having had the foresight and wisdom to buy off all rival enterprises, particularly those attempted on a small scale between the United States and Chili.

The Pacific Steam Navigation Company deserves much credit for the skill, energy and liberality with which it has been kept up and improved. But the commerce of Chile and Peru has always looked with anxiety for the benefits of competition, principally from the American side, and there has always existed an unheeded but just complaint, on the part of South American travelers, that no attention is paid to their peculiar habits and tastes, everything on board the steamers-the food, hours for meals, night regulations, and above all, the independent brusqueness of the petty officers-being those of the most stringent old English style, so that it often happens that there are fifty or a hundred Chilian or Peruvian passengers who are obliged to fare entirely in the English fashion, so little acceptable to meridional palates, while there are few or perhaps no English on board.

In this respect there is, undoubtedly, great need of re-. form and improvement, but in every other, the English Company, for the capacity and quality of its vessels, the regularity and punctuality of the service, the professional merits of the commanders and officers, leaves nothing to be desired.

At present the Company possesses eighteen ships,__and every year three or four new ones are launched in England and added to the line. The beautiful steamers Santiago, Limeña, and Pacific, are of 2,000 tons each, and were built in Liverpool in 1865. Of the balance, there are seven with a tonnage of from 1,000 to 1,800 tons, and eight with a varied tonnage of from 200 to 1,000 tons. The aggregate capacity of the fleet is 17,956 tons.

The number of passengers transported by this line in 1861, between Valparaiso and Panamá, was, 7,263, of which 1,997 were cabin passengers, and 5,266 steerage.

But this number, during the subsequent years, has been more than doubled, and of course the transportation of troops, which forms a heavy item of revenue, particularly in Perú, is not included in the above number. In 1860, the sum of $18,000 was paid by President Castillo for the transportation of a single battalion of infantry from Guayaquil to Callao. Lately, in 1865, a little steamer, be

longing to the Company, was chartered on account of the Chilian Government, to carry the news of the sailing of the Spanish fleet from Callao to Chili, for $7,000. The Paita, the swiftest of the steamers on the line, was chartered from Callao to Paita, in November last, for the sum of $15,000, to carry important despatches, and performed that service in thirty hours, at an expense, perhaps, of two or three thousand dollars. Another steamer, the Quito, now the Chalaco, which cost the company from $250,000 to $300,000, was sold, after a good deal of service to the Peruvian Government for $600,000.

Another source of profit to the Company is the service of the mails.

The number of letters transported during the last five year's (1859, 1863) shows, in a manner not at all flattering to the United States, how slight her intercourse with Chile has been as compared with that of other countries.

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About the profits on freight, which yields by far the greater part of the revenue of the Company, there can be no perfect knowledge; but the profits must be enormous, particularly if we consider the large dividends paid to the shareholders, which, with a reticence worthy of the American system of keeping the public ignorant of all transactions for which the public nevertheless have to pay, are religiously kept secret.

Nevertheless, some idea of this extraordinary business may be had from the following facts:

In 1851, a few merchants of Valparaiso formed a Company under the name of La Sociedad Anónima del Paquete del Maule, with a capital of $74,000, for the purpose of running a little steamer between some of the intermediate ports of Chili south of Valparaiso.

The steamer Paquete del Maule made her first trip on the line about the middle of 1861, and eighteen months aiterwards (December, 1862), the shareholders divided a

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