National Geographic : 1902 Aug
VOL. XIII, No. 8 WASHINGTON AUGUST, 1902 ... ATIONAL PROBLEMS OF THE PACIFIC-THE COM MERCE OF THE GREAT OCEAN* BY HON. O. P. AUSTIN, CHIEF OF BUREAU OF STATISTICS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT T HE problem of the Pacific, from the commercial standpoint, seems at first sight a difficult one. To transport commerce across a great ocean which stretches literally half way round the globe is no small under taking. And to do this in competition with countries lying thousands of miles nearer to that great and exacting mar ket of the Orient is a task which would scarcely be undertaken by other than American energy and by the descendants of those older commercial nations-Eng land and Germany-whose ships now penetrate every sea, and whose com mercial representatives are found in every country. Even American energy and commercial enterprise have looked askance at this great task during the years in which the problems of the home market and home development were under consideration. Railroads were needed to develop the great interior of our own country, and their construction was followed by the development of the farms and forests and mines of the great interior and the manufacture of the natural products with which this great country had been so lavishly endowed. But these great undertakings have been accomplished. The country has been gridironed with railroads. Six great transcontinental lines connect ocean with ocean, and others connect the Lakes with the Gulf, while their lateral branches leave scarcely a material section of the country without direct and cheap transportation to the water's edge. The producing areas thus opened, whether agricultural, forest, or mining, have poured out their treasures; the ready capitalist and the busy workman, aided by the genius of the scientist and the inventor, have turned these natural products into form ready for consump tion. The great home market has been supplied, and the producer, the manu facturer, and the capitalist are now seek ing new worlds to conquer. The bound less energy which constructed railroads, developed farms, opened mines, invaded forests, and constructed factories, hav- * An Address before the National Geographic Society, April 2, 1902.