THE COASTWISE TRADE OF THE PACIFIC COAST AND THE INTERCOASTAL TRADE.
|Beginnings of the intercoastal trade , 358.|
|Effect of the discovery of gold in California in 1848, 358.|
|Entrances of vessels at San Francisco , 1850-1853, 359.|
|Coastwise trade of the Pacific coast, 359.|
|Intercoastal trade , 1869-1913, 361.|
|Traffic via Cape Horn and via Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 362.|
|General effect of the Panama Canal on the intercoastal traffic, 363.|
Until after the United States acquired possession of California in 1848 the commerce of that portion of the Pacific coast between the present northern and southern boundaries of the United States was of small volume. The country contained but few people and was for the most part in an early stage of economic development. In the Oregon country the only commerce of importance was that carried on in connection with the operations of Russian, British, and American fur companies, which established posts at various points along the coast or navigable streams during the latter part of the eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century. The only industries of importance in California were agriculture and stock-raising. This province had by 1848 built up a small trade with England and the United States, exchanging small quantities of wool, hides, tallow, grain, and fruit for manufactured goods and miscellaneous merchandise. For the most part, the commerce was carried on by vessels engaged in the trade with the Hawaiian Islands and the Orient, or by whaling vessels which visited the Pacific hunting-grounds.
The interest of the people of the United States in the region along the Pacific coast was greatly stimulated by the controversy with Great Britain over the Oregon territory, which was settled in 1846, and by the occupation of California by the United States troops during the Mexican War. An important question with which the Government had to deal was that of establishing a more effective system of transportation and communication between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In 1846 a treaty was negotiated with New Granada in which the Government of New Granada guaranteed to the Government of the United States--
"that the right of way or transit across the Isthmus of Panama upon any modes of communication that now exist, or that may be hereafter constructed, shall be open and free to the Government and citizens of the United States, and for the transportation of any articles of produce, manufactures, or merchandise, of lawful commerce, belonging to the citizens of the United States; that no tolls or charges shall be levied or collected upon the citizens of the United States, or their said merchandise thus passing over a road or canal that may be made by the Government of New Granada, or by the authority of the same, than is, under like circumstances, levied upon and collected from the Granadian citizens."1