Memoirs of Robert Dollar
Vol. 1 - Chapter Thirteen. Conditions Improve in China
arrived hack in Hong Kong on the 6th of February, 1909, visited Canton,
and spent several days in looking over our business interests and in
endeavoring to develop and increase them.
Kong has improved greatly m the past few ears. When we first visited
it we could look from the veranda of the Hong Kong Hotel over the bay,
but now it is built up solid for one block in front of it. The buildings
are from four to five stories, and all of them are of cut stone which
gives the city a solid appearance. The streets are well made and kept
clean. The hill rises so steep and close to the water that there will
never be street railways except on the two or three blocks fronting the
harbor. The Peak Railway, which operates by cable, to the top, is
perhaps the steepest road in operation.
a commercial point of view this is the best port in the world. It is a
free port in every sense, there being only a small hospital tax charged
to each shipabout $30.00 Mex. for a seven thousand ton steamer.
Pilotage is not compulsory; in fact pilots are not used or required
except to show the captains where they are to berth, and while all
vessels have to lay at anchor (there being only berth" at the Kowloon
wharves for four steamers), the manner and facilities for handling cargo
cannot be surpassed.
steamer "Bessie Dollar" arrived Saturday afternoon, too late to do
anything, aud as no work is allowed on Sunday she commenced to discharge
six thousand tons of coal, Monday. The following Saturday she sailed
with two thousand tons of cargo, having been in port just one week and
handled over eight thousand tons of cargo. All this accounts for this
port having risen to the second place in the world's commerce. No
quarantine officers, no customs officers, no restrictions whatever; just
come in and go to work getting out or receiving your cargo. Compare this
with Newcastle, Australia, where they thought they had done wonders for
us in loading six thousand tons of coal in twelve days, with its
quarantine restrictions; customs troubles, compulsory pilotage, and
compulsory tugboat assistance, all of which are no more necessary than
they are in Hong Kong. In fact, I consider it less difficult to navigate
a steamer into Svdney than into Hong Kong. So I came to the conclusion
thai Australia is a good place to keep away from.
visited the dockyard of the Taikoo Dockyard Co. (Butteriield & Swire),
who will have the most complete repair shops and ducks in the Far East.
Their large dock is complete, and in use it can take a ship eight
hundred feet long. Then they have three marine railways alongside of it
that can haul up vessels of three thousand tons gross. Their shops are
under construct!! Ľn where they will make every thing required for a
ship. They also propose to build river and coasting steamers. They have
spent over twelve million dollars gold, and everything is most
up-to-date and substantial as far as it is done. The dock is blasted out
of solid rock, and it will take from four to five months before
everything is in working order.
Canton is also growing, especially on the island where the foreigners
live. Many substantial buildings have been erected in the past three
years, and the "shameen" is kept clean and attractive. In the old city,
improvements are noticeable. especially the water pipes and sewers, as a
few years ago there were neither. The water was all drawn by buckets
from wells that had been m use many thousands of years. All the filth
had to be carried out of the city's gates, so that with every precaution
(which was not taken) it has been proverbially known as the "City of Bad
Smells"in fact, it does not smell very sweet now.
railway is making a great change in conditions. The railway across the
river on the Fati side is completed and in operation for thirty-five
miles, and is doing a great passenger business. This road it is hoped
will connect with the French railroads in Cochin, so that, ultimately,
rail communication will be established to Burmah. Its present terminus
is at Fatshan, a large and populous city. All along the line the
population is dense.
the Canton side of the river and directly opposite is the terminus of
the Canton- Hatikow Railroad, called the Kwong Tung Yueh Hau Railroad
Co. They have in operation forty-five miles of road and run four trains
a day each way, with eight large coaches to each train and crowded with
passengers. This part of the road is paying well. They are busy putting
in sidings, erecting buildings and extending the track. This road will
connect with the Peking-Hankow road at the latter place, which will make
it the through line to St. Petersburg, and therefore of great importance
to China, as when completed it will extend right through the center of
the Empire, which will open up and wake up the country as nothing else
could do. Then there is the Canton-Kowloon road that is being built to
connect Hong Kong with Canton. Several miles of road from the Kowloon
end is about completed. All this railroad work shows that this part of
China is on the move.
days before our arrival in Canton there had been a disastrous tire in
what are called the "Flower Boats," which are used as places of ill
repute. There are a great number of them made fast m rows about fifty
feet apart, extending out into the water about two hundred feet. The
boats are broadside on the shore and each row is made fast, side by
side, the whole secured by chams and anchored at the outer side to keep
them in position, A lamp exploded in one of them near the shore and the
tire speedily spread, first along the shore then out, so that the
inmates had the choice of being burned or drowned. It was reported that
six hundred girls and two hundred men lost their lives, but the bodies
recovered exceeded one thousand. Strange to say. the police prevented
any one going to the rescue and the victims died like rats in a trap.
place 'n the world has as many boats as Canton. The number of people
living in them is estimated now at seven hundred and fifty thousand. In
the evening there is a solid mass of them about two hundred feet wide
and six or seven males long. Every small boat has one family at least
living on it, and the large ones have several. Each family averages four
children. The boats are their homes, and they make their living by
carrying passengers and freight of all kinds. A great many of the boats
are stern wheelers, the motive power being men on a tread mill. They run
from twelve to forty men propelling each boat, and they seem to make
seven or eight miles an hour. The river is so crowded with boats of all
kinds and descriptions that it is with great difficulty' a stranger can
navigate through them, but like people in a crowded city street the
natives get or without many mixups.
noticed some improvements since I was here three years ago, and it
appears to have recovered from the boom it hail four or live years ago.
It is still the neatest and best kept city in China, and has unexcelled
facilities for handling its big trade- all that is required is to
develop it in large volume. An iron mine has been opened up, and they
claim to have a quality of ore that will produce good steel. They also
have good coking coal near by. If they could get some one to furnish the
money to start a furnace it would be the means of bringing more
industries and would make a place of it. So far they are depending
almost entirely on the products of the soil and not on manufacturing.
Coal has been developed very slowly. The first mined was of a fair
quality but too dirty, producing too much ash.
Shantung C German J Railroad is doing a good passenger traffic, but with
the exception of coal the freight is light. The present proposed
terminus is at Tsinanfu. Seventy miles will be built to connect it with
the Pukou, Tientsin Railroad, which is now being built from both ends,
so that probably in two years this road will be open from Shanghai to
Tientsin, with this connection to Tientsin. The distances as near as I
could get them are as follows:
Shanghai to Nanking, 150 miles (approximate) ; Nanking to Junction, 300
miles; Junction to Tientsin, 300 miles Shanghai to Tientsin,
750 miles. Junction to Tsinanfu, 70 miles; Tsinanfu, to Tsingtau, 230
milesfrom main line to Tsingtau, 300 miles.
call it by the name "Junction," as the connecting point is not named or
definitely located yet. This one railway system will open up a great and
populous country Christianity and the introduction of railways into the
interior is what will open up China.
noticed quite a number more regular steamers than there were three years
ago, and they seem to carry a lot of freight and passengers. The steamer
"Admiral von Tiipof" of the Hamburg-American Line had a full cargo of
freight all she could carryand a full list of passengers. Many left
the ship at Tsingtau, but au equal number got on.
we were at Tfingtau the equinoctial gales started, and it was with great
difficulty they got our steamer away from the wharf with the assistance
of a tug. When we got to the outside harbor it was blowing with
hurricane force, so we anchored for the night, proceeding the next
morning. Although it was still blowing, it had moderated some. When we
rounded the Shantung promontory the engines raced badly in the head sea.
we arrived at Chefoo we found eighteen steamers lying there. There were
two large steamers, all the rest being of the ordinary coastwise
sizeone thousand to fifteen hundred tons net. No work had been done for
three days, as all the lighters had gone to shelter. It was smooth
enough to work, but the lighters were all aground, the severity and long
continuance of the storm having so lowered the water in the Gulf that
they could not get any of them afloat, so we went on to Taku with one
hundred tons of Chefoo cargo on board.
learned that the navigation on the Malu to Antung opened March 22. The
waters of the China Sea and the Gulf of Pechili were quite yellow from
mud having been stirred from the bottom during the big storm.
Taku the water was low on account of the long continued northerly gale.
We crossed the bar and came to Tongku in a launch, which took us two and
a quarter hours. We got the train immediately, and reached Tientsin at
noon the 26th of March. At the mouth of the Peiho I saw considerable
loose drift ice on the shores.
Chinese lady called at the Dollar Company's yard, desiring to purchase
lumber. She was Mrs. Dr. Kin, a graduate of a New York medical college
and well and favorably known in China. She invited me to visit her
place, which had been founded by the Emperor as an orphanage m 1834. A
stone tablet in the yard testifies to this. The orphans, three hundred
and fifty :n number, were removed to another place a short distance away
and the buddings were being turned into a hospital and medical college
for women only, to be conducted entirely by Chinese. This is the first
to be established in China, and is another instance of the great change
that is taking place.
present Dr. Kin has a class of thirty-five young ladies fitting
themselves to be doctors. They had been specially selected, and looked
to be a very intelligent class of girls, as they came from some of the
best families in China. There were several patients in the hospital, and
the dispensary was crowded with women and girls getting medicine for
outdoor patients. In showing us what lumber was required, she showed us
one room with a very good concrete floor, for which she wanted a pine
floor, remarking: "This is one of the effects of civilization, it has
been good enough for one hundred and seventy-five years but it is not
good enough now."
visit impressed me by the fact that the Chinese are reaching out to help
themselves. Dr. Kin receives $750.00 gold from the Government every
month. She said it comes from the funds of the Government salt monopoly.
When leaving, she said this was a woman's enterprise and I was the only
man that had had the privilege of being shown through the building.
here late Saturday night and went to the Presbyterian Mission compound
Sunday. Being a stranger to them all I felt somewhat out of place.
However, they made me feel very much at home, and at n o'clock we went
to the new Chinese Church on the grounds. The service was altogether in
Chinese, but I was interested m all 1 saw. The church was comfortably
tilled. There were about three hundred men and boys and one hundred
women, all sitting on the left side of the church. The hymns were all
sung to our old familiar tunes. The congregational singing was
excellent, much better than m an ordinary American church They elected
an elder, and baptized and received into the church four men, three boys
and three women, and baptized one infant. Then they had Communion
Service. The women all walked out first and then the men. Like the
dismissal of a school. After service the missionary in charge invited me
to lunch, where I met several missionaries.
mission suffered terribly from the Boxers. The buildings and contents
were totally destroyed, not a brick remaining on another, and
the converts were nearly all killed, so they are just getting back to
where they were. Their buildings are a good deal better than the old
ones. I was sorry to see a men's building standing vacant for the want
of a doctor. One in here is learning the language, and will open it next
year. It's a great expense to teach men the language, as it takes two
years at least before one can learn sufficient to do much.
visited the Theological Seminary, which has fine build-:ngs
now, and is just getting started. I then went to the Union Church for
Europeans, where they also had a full house. After the meeting I met
several men of world-wide reputation: Dr Smith, who has written several
books on China; Dr. Martin, who has been over fifty years in China; Dr.
Sheffield, w-ho served through our Civil War and then came here, and
Monday I called on Ambassador Rockhill. and had a very interesting talk
with him on matters Chinese. One matter of interest in this city that
differs from all others is the different methods of locomotion. Here we
see camels by the hundred carrying all kinds of merchandise and people;
then the horse and pony, either carrying burdens on their backs, or
drawing the peculiar carts with wheels strong enough to carry several
carts are short bodied and covered over with blue cloth, and are high
enough for one to sit upright on a that. There are no springs of any
kind. In hauling loads they are sometimes drawn tandem by three or four
horses, asses or mules, then others have three or four abreast.
are much used for sitting. It seems odd to see a great big man on a
donkey the size of an overgrown Newfoundland dog. Then there are horses
and coupes, victorias, and the toniest rigs of modern Europe. I also saw
a few automobiles in use. Rickshaws are plentiful everywhere; sedan
chairs and wheelbarrow? are for the common people. Sometimes one man
wheels along six people, and sometimes trundles along with a big load.
Wheelbarrows are the vehicles of commerce in the country where there are
only paths. The ever present "John," with the bamboo pole and two
baskets or other merchandise, is always to be seen.
Peking is unlike other Chinese cities, in that it has very wide
streetsseveral ninety feet and generally straight. The ordinary city
has narrow, crooked streets, many very large cities not having streets
wide enough for even rickshaws.
the way to Hankow, on leaving Peking, the fields were just commencing to
get green. As we approached Hankow, the grass and grain were a foot
high. As the railroad runs nearly south, the climate changes
considerably. The country looks beautiful, a perfect garden all the way,
with level and rich agricultural land in the highest state of
cultivation, nearly all worked by hand. I saw a man and a donkey hitched
together pulling a harrow, and it is averycommon sight to see one or two men drawing
water 111 buckets from the wells for irrigating purposes. One fast train
a week makes the eight hundred miles from Peking to Hankow -n thirty
hours, running sleepers and dining cars Belgian style, not nearly tip to
our ideas; ordinary trains run every day.
city- has grown more in the three years since I visited it last, than
any city I have visited. At that time the Japanese had just gotten their
concession, but now it is well built up; a stone wall the whole length
protects it from the river's encroachment. Several streets have been
built up with houses. The Consulate and Yokohama Specie Bank are quite
imposing buddings. The German and French concessions are built up nearly
solid, as are also the British and Russian concessions. There is
practically no vacant ground. The native city has outgrown itself inside
the walls, and there are as many people living outside of it, as the
buildings extend up the Han River about three miles and well back.
a party of the principal Chinese merchants at the Chinese Chamber of
Commerce, which is outside of the walled city. The President,
Vice-President and several bankers were present. They seemed pleased
with the opportunity of discussing matters of general interest to both
countries. They are co-operating with the Shanghai Chamber in getting a
party of merchants from the Pacific Coast to visit them.
Chamber of Commerce building is peculiar; in fact, it is three very
large buildings, and is used entirely :n the interests of
trade and commerce. It has a frontage of over two hundred feet by about
forty feet. There 'S a space of about thirty feet made into a flower
garden: then another building two hundred feet by forty feet; then
another space, and a rear building, the same size as the other two, all
connected in the center by a wide covered walk crossing each building.
The buildings are divided into a great many rooms, large and small, for
committee and general meetings of the different Guilds. All the
buildings are of two stories.
Grain en route to market on wheelbarrowsthe wind
being utilized for power
native city fronts on the Yangtsze and the River Han. mostly the latter,
while the foreign settlements are all fronting on the Yangtsze, from the
native- city down in the following order: British, which is built solid
tip to the old city wall: Russian, French, German and Japanese, farthest
down the river. Hanyang is across the Han River, opposite the old city
River Han is fully a quarter of a mile wide, but used so much by junks
and boats that blockades occur. Coming down it the other day we got into
a jam and it took our steam launch an hour before it could force a way
through. The whole river as far as I could seeone and one-half
mileswas a solid mass of junks, sampans and boats of every description;
also large lighters and steam launches carrying freight of all kinds for
export and import. The large junks carry Chinese freight to all the
coast ports of the Empire both north and south of Shanghai. As it is
over six hundred miles to the ocean, with at times a six-mile current to
stem, you can understand how slow and tedious the trip must be.
many of the craft trade up the river, a distance of over eight hundred
miles from Hankow. They have to be towed through the rapi Is, which
takes several hundred men to pull some of them up. When passing along
the streets I saw many hundreds of men carrying a large shipment of
sessimum seed. The sacks weigh about one hundred and fifty pounds each.
On one lot was stenciled a firm's name in Rotterdam. The police keep the
loaded men going down on one side, and the others return on the opposite
side, while vehicles keep in the middle of the road. The men were as
close together as they could walk, the distance being about four blocks.
You can imagine the number employed. Each man shoulders his bag at the
warehouse and receives a bamboo check on passing on board the steamer.
Returning, he delivers his bamboo check, for which he receives one cash,
the value of which, at this time, was one thirteen hundredth part of a
dollar. T saw another string going to another steamer marked Trieste; so
the seed is going well over Europe. This is a commodity of recent
production in China, but it has grown to large proportions in a very few
river at this point rises fifty feet every year. The water is now four
feet above low water, therefore forty-six feet from high water. A vessel
drawing eighteen feet could come up the river, hut with no greater
draft; yet the river steamer "Tuck Wo," I came down on, was drawing
twelve and one half feet and had a full cargo of two thousand tons.
There are tFrty-three regular passenger steamers now running between
Shanghai and Hankow owned by Chinese. British, Germans, French and
Japanese. The river steamer business was started under the American flag
and for many years no other flag was seen 011 the river, but as on the
ocean our great country is completely out of it.
word means great smelter, and is the great iron ore mine of China. It is
sixty miles down the River Yangtsze from Hankow, to the landing called
Hwangshikiang. From this place a railroad fourteen miles long connects
it with the mine. The road is owned by the Han Yang Iron Works, and is
used for hauling the ore and passengers. The road is level, has few
curves and a very fair roadbed. There are two places, two miles apart,
from which they are taking out ore. One is only being opened, while the
other has been a mine for so many centuries that there is no record of
when it was first worked, but the name has come down through the ages. I
saw them making a roadway, cutting their way through a bill of slag.
From the size of some of the pieces rt looked as if the
furnaces had been about the size of an ordinary barrel. No doubt iron
was made here two thousand years before the Christian era, as the grand
canal was dug 1000 B. C. and the tools with which the work was done were
very likely made at this place. So much for ancient history.
we find at both mines a solid mountain of ore rising from the valley
about six hundred feet. The mountains are of reddish brown color; solid
ore running from 60% to 6yfc of pure iron. They work it from a
perpendicular face. At one place they were blasting on a cliff two
hundred feet high. When the blasts went off the dislodged ore went down
to the railroad track, where it was loaded into the cars. They are using
a few compressed an" drills. But as ordinary labor costs them five cents
gold a day, labor saving devices are not necessary. The mining is all
done by contract, the rate paid being 270 cash a ton of 2240 pounds,
being at the present rate of exchange, 10 cents U. S. gold f. o. b.
cars. The}' have made no investigation as to the depth of the ore under
the surface, as there is plenty in sight on the surface to last a
more ideal mine could not well be imagined, and it looks as if it is the
best in the world, just twelve miles from where for eight months a year
vessels drawing twenty-six feet of water can load for any port in the
world The quality of the ore, the low cost of mining, and the facilities
for shipping, all combine to make it one of the best iron ore
propositions in the world. The Japanese Government has been buying ore
here for some time for their steel works at Wakamatsu. near Moji. Last
year they shipped 135.000 tons, and had a large quantity on the bank of
the river ready for shipment. The rest of the output goes to Hanyang. At
the mine the valley is quite narrow, a few hundred yards wide, and
opposite the iron mine is a ridge of limestone so pure that some of it
is marble. The rock ore ;s pure white and in great contrast
to the dark colored iron, so side by side are the two great ingredients
for the manufacture of iron. Then, half way to the landing, is a ridge,
of dolomite, which they use in the manufacture of steel.
lading on steamers or barges is done by coolies with baskets, as m
Japanese coaling ports. They can load from one thousand to fifteen
hundred tons a day. At the present price of labor it is the cheapest and
most expeditious way of handling it, especially on account of the
fifty-foot rise and fall of the river, It would be difficult to make
permanent bunkers to suit all stages of the river, but coolies with
baskets meet all conditions. Iron and coal are the valuable assets of
China that will be heard from in the near future.
Everything for the manufacture of iron is in this vicinity, even coal,
though that is undeveloped. The Pinshang coal rr.ines are so good, they
claim to have coal in sight to last fifty or sixty years without further
prospecting. This coal costs about $1.50 gold a ton delivered at Hanyang.
There is a sixty-mile railroad from the mine to the water, and from
there the coal is taken aboard barges and junks for transport down the
returned to Shanghai, remaining there ten days. While there I gave a
banquet to the members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and at that
meeting they decided to send an invitation to the Chambers of Commerce
of the Pacific Coast, to pay them a visit at some later time. As nothing
of this kind had ever been attempted it took the Chinese a long while to
fully grasp the significance of it. However, I succeeded in convincing
them of the benefit it would be to the two nations.
following extract from the Shanghai ''Tunes" describes quite fully the
dinner which I gave on the 26th of April, 1909, to Chinese friends:
Friday evening last, Mr. Robert Dollar gave an interesting dinner at the
Palace Hotel, to representatives
of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The President, Mr Chow, and the
Vice-President, Mr. Lee. together with the
President and Vice-President of the preceding year, and several other
leading Chinese commercial men were present. Mr. Charles Denby, U. S.
Consul-General, who had expected to be present, was unavoidably
detained. At the close of the dinner, Mr. Dollar proposed the health of
the President of the Chamber of Commerce and his associates in the
following speech, which was translated into Chinese by Dr.J. C. Ferguson.
pleased to have so many of you to honor me with your presence tonight.
His Excellency Sheng Kung Pao could not come on account of coughing so
much, and Mr. Denby was giving a dinner at his house tonight. As I am
about to return to America, it would not be out of place to talk of
matters in which both countries are interested.
HAN YANG IRON AND STEEL WORKS The Only Blast Furnace
Plant on the Continent of Asia
manner of admitting merchants and those entitled to land in the United
States has been changed, so there is no delay or trouble now. The law is
the same as it always has been, but the administration of it is changed,
for which we have to thank our ex-President, Mr. Roosevelt, so none of
you need be afraid to visit us. Along with Mr. Denby, I have tried to
get a party of our merchants to visit you during May, but the notice was
too short and arrangements could not be carried out in time. I would
request you to allow the invitation to stand, and I will do my best to
get a representative body of our merchants to visit you either in
September or October, or during April and Ma)- next. I want them to
visit you when the weather is most favorable. Japan derived much benefit
from our visit to them last October, and now a large number of Japanese
merchants are preparing to leave Japan on a return visit to America. I
am extremely anxious that China should benefit as much as Japan has
great aim of the Chambers of Commerce in both countries is to promote
and increase commercial relations, and in no better way can this be
accomplished than by meeting each other and getting better acquainted.
In a few years the center of the world's commerce will be transferred
from the Atlantic to the pacific. This will be hastened by the
completion of the Panama Canal, which we hope will be opened for traffic
in four years. So the two great nations that are on each side of that
ocean should now be preparing to take their share of the trade which
naturally belongs to thein, and to accomplish this, one of the first
steps for China to take should be to put her finances on a solid basis.
Without this you cannot hope for great success in the world's commerce.
I know it is a difficult problem, but all the other nations have had to
grapple with it, and China can and will succeed when she goes resolutely
conclusion, I ask for our two countries closer and more friendly
relations, thereby increasing our commerce, and to accomplish this I can
assure you I will do my utmost."
Tautai Chow, through his interpreter, Mr. Chu, made the following
Dollar, and Gentlemen: On behalf of the Presi dent, Vice-President and
other members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, I have to thank you
most sincerely for the great honor you have conferred upon us to be your
guests this evening, which we take not so much as a compliment to
ourselves but to the Chinese commercial community which we have the
honor of representing. Mr. Dollar, you have been amongst us only a short
time, but you have already become known to many of us, and we have been
most favorably impressed by your courtesy, public spirit and evident
desire, both of doing well to your own country and to advance the
interests of the country to which your steamships are running, and we
have good cause to believe that your sojourn amongst us has strengthened
the great feelings of friendship between the merchants of the two
nations. China's connections with America are not of recent growth, as
for many years there has been an interchange of products. China is not
yet a great manufacturing country, but we export to America large
quantities of our raw materials which you need for manufacture, either
directly or indirectly You, in turn, send us the finest articles you
China develops, tastes and needs are more and more in consonance with
those of the western nations, and we naturally hope that the great
country in the western hemi sphere will supply us with still more and
more of those products. So there is no country with which greater trade
could be developed than with America. More especially the passage
between the two nations w ill be rendered much more expeditious by the
cutting through of the Panama Canal, which undertaking has already been
begun, and we welcome the undertaking and its success as a sign of the
possibilities of the future.
conclusion, again, Mr. Dollar, we express our sense of appreciation for
your kindness to us this evening; in the meantime, we take the
opportunity of wishing you a happy voyage home and the rapid increase of
the commercial intercourse between the great commonwealth you represent
and the great country of which we are proud to be citizens."
Taotai Shen Tun he followed with an able speech in which he said that it
would be the aim of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to send a delegation
to America to visit the chief commercial centers and thus strengthen
left Shanghai on our way home, stopping off in Japan, where I paid a
visit to the Island of Hokkaido. I was looking out for return cargoes
for our steamers, and found that the only way this could be done with
any certainty of success would be for us to go into the forest and buy
the oak timber and lumber and have it shipped by rail to Muroran,
establishing there a depot so that whenever one of our ships was short
of a cargo she could call in there and fill up. This arrangement has
worked out very satisfactorily, and a good business was established on
the American side for the manufacture of furniture, interior finish of
houses, shipbuilding, and for many other purposes which made it of great
value to this country.
left Kobe at 6 o'clock p. m. for Tokio. getting a compartment with a
Japanese, his wife and baby. The sleeping compartments are very- small
and cramped. Arrived at Tokio at
q o'clock a. m. where we endeavored to get a
sleeping car to Amori, but everything was taken. I had a letter of
introduction to the station master, who had an official to receive me,
he having had telegraphic advice to lf>ok after me. I said that as we
had to go, we would take a first-class compartment and sleep as best we
could, but on investigation found the cars would be crowded and that
there would be no opportunity to lie down. The station master
recommended our leaving earlier by way of the northwest coast, and
although there was no sleeper- nor dining car. he could
reserve a seat for us. I accepted his suggestion, as we would arrive in
Amon in time to get to Hakodate on the same boat as by the other line.
When we boarded the train we found he had sent two pairs of new blankets
and otherwise provided for our comfort, and Mitsui & Co. had sent us a
basket of eatables, so we got along very well
ferry arrived at Hakixlate at 3
o'clock a. in., and Mr King came on board and took us to his home. At
10:30 o'clock we took the train for Otaru, arriving there at n o'clock
p. m., a long, tiresome rifle. The cars were crowded all the way, and
about every man and woman was smoking. We Smelted like red herring and
felt about the same, when we laid down on the floor at midnight in a
Japanese hotel. Friday it was raining very hard and Mowing a gale and
very cold. I spent all forenoon tramping round in the mud and rain
attending to business.
has trebled its size since we were here last. The breakwater is
completed on one side and they are commencing on the other side. When it
is completed they will have a good harbor, and it will be a port of
left Otaru in the afternoon by train for Sappopa. We stayed in a
Japanese hotel, and as they had forwarded a table and two chairs, we
were able to eat our supper in American style, but for want of a bed bad
to get down on the floor to sleep. Arose at 4:30 o'clock a. m. to get
the train leaving at 5 o'clock for Mororan. Had breakfast and lunch out
of our basket. We had no opportunity of seeing what progress or
improvements had been made, but I noticed the very fine railroad depot
which replaced the old one that bad burned down. Snow was still visible
in many places, and it was just early spring time. The fruit trees were
;n bloom, and farmers were beginning to cultivate their
Hokkaido there is a great deal of the very best farming land to be had
anywhere, and it produces great crops and is already exporting grain and
fruit to Nippon and elsewhere. We left the train at Tumakomi station,
where the Government is erecting a large paper mill to
manufacture paper from woo<l pulp. We went by a tramway lumber car
hauled by a horse, eighteen miles to Mukawa, situated at the mouth of
the Mu River, which is quite a large stream. Large quantities of timber
and ties had been floated here two and three years ago, to he loaded on
steamers in this open roadstead, but this was found impracticable, hence
the building of a light railroad to haul them to the main line, thence
illustrate the strange methods used when the Government owns the
railroadsthis branch is a private road built by Mitsui In a shed they
have three nice new Porter locomotives, but the Government refuses to
give them permission to use them, yet raises no objection to their using
horses. So they have from forty to fifty horses hauling the cars, with
one man to each horse. Another subject came to my notice The Government
owns the telephones and puts them in when they get good and ready,
telling the public to put in their applications and each one will be
treated with, when they come to it in regular rotation. As they were
about a year behind, you can imagine the inconvenience to a large firm
changing locations. This has developed a new calling. Men, who call
themselves telephone brokers, flood the Government with applications for
telephones for fictitious persons. These brokers make it their business
to find out who wants phones, and then sell them the turn of one of
their fictitious applicants for sums varying from one hundred to three
hundred dollars, according to the urgency of the case. Now, the
Government advertises that any one wanting to get a phone must accompany
the application with $185.00 in advance, and if the applicant already
has a phone in use the modest sum of $150.00 will be charged for each
additional phone. So, when government ownership of public utilities is
proposed, you need not hesitate to say very emphatically, "No!"
finished my business at Muroran, and, as it only rained in showers, had
an opportunity of seeing what improvements had taken place since I was
here three years ago The large steel works built by the steel company
and the three blast furnaces erected by the Tanko company, all of which
are about ready to go into operation, have caused a village to spring up
larger than the old one. The old town has increased to more than double
its former size. The harbor is being dredged and great improvements are
visible in all directions. If this iron and steel plant succeeds this
will be both a large city and an important seaport. They expect to get
the iron out of the sand from the <H*ean beach, which many claim will
not be a success. Then, as Japan has no iron ore in large enough
quantities, it: will have to be brought from Tab Yeh, on the Yangtsze,
in China. As the Chinese are waking up, they may extend their boycott or
export duty to prohibit its export. It w ill be interesting to watch the
progress of this great plant, said to have cost twenty million dollars
(gold), [At this writing, 1917, my prediction came to pass and so far
the enterprise has been a complete failure.]
Hokkaido we returned to Tokio, where I was the. guest of the Chamber of
sailed for San Francisco on the 15th of May, 1909, and were glad to be
home once more after a trip of nine strenuous months.
Japanese were not long in making us a return visit, as they arrived in
Seattle September 1, 1909. Their visit to this country- was taken in
hand by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, headed by Mr. Lewman. who was
then the President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce. The visitors
were taken to the principal cities of the United States, and the whole
trip was carried out very much to the credit of the Seattle Chamber of
Commerce, whose men gave their time, energy and money to make it a
success. Their party was headed by Baron Shibusawa.
the past two years I had been a Director and Vice-President of the
Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Merchants Exchange, m San
San Francisco we received and entertained them as well as we could, but
what we did for them appeared to be insignificant in comparison to what
they had done for us. It would be practically impossible, in this
country, to give them such entertainment as they gave us.
November 30th a reception was held on the steamer, when they were about
to sail for Japan. Baron Shibusawa delivered an address of which the
following is a synopsis:
the course of this memorable trip we have visited fifty odd cities,
great and small, everywhere inspecting industrial plants and financial
establishments, educational institutions and charity organizations. We
have met and talked with thousands of people, including the President,
and many other men prominent in every walk of life.
have thus had an unique opportunity of getting an insight into not only
America's industrial, commercial and educational progress, but also of
the great personal factors shaping the destiny of this republic. We know
America better than when we came, and I trust many an American knows the
Japanese better because of this visit."
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