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The Alaska Commercial Company

The Alaska Commercial Company image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

It may not bo generally known to tho outside world that the Alista Commnxial Company is rcally the ij&vcrnmentof Aladea, Yot such is the melancholy fact. As your readers aro a ware, therc is no government in this Torritory oxoept a semi-military, semi-commercial form, and both are cmbodied in tho flrm to which I havo alluded. Tho military department posseBses önly a shadow of power, but is content j with its ineasure, and cheerfuUy surrenders its prerogativcs to tho Alnska Commeroial Company. So with thn commercial body which is eoncontrated here, and with a few oxoeptior.s is merely B collection of disguiscd branches of thia protean institution. Tho company is de facto the Territorial goverument. Tliere is no appeal whatevor froin it, NominalLy, its monopoly i?, cenfined to tuo fur-soal rookeries of the islands oí' St. Goorgc a&d Kt Paul ; virtually it ha;' A MONOPOLY 01' TUE WHOLE TEttMTOitY. Go where you will and thorc are its agents. Tlie nativos, grown r.fraid of its power and the reekless exe.'ciso Lhereof, with which they have bftcöino familia, do its bidding effeotively, albeit in sullen silonce. If they aro told to elay the seals or othor fur bearing anima!:-, rcardless of their se?: orcondition, tliey simply obey the order, though they do not fail ta recognize the fact that when lbo lease of this company shall expire, the fur bearing aninittls will bo well-nigh extorminated, nvA the torritory, their birth-right, will have been exchanged for a mes3 of pottago indeed. As the slaugliter of the seals is now managed, one-tentb of tho skins aro wasted in the endonvor to procure such only as shall remin and tho highest pricos in the Europoan markets, and, it is s;ife to assume, beforo tho oxpiration of the company's lease, tho rookories will be exterminated beyond a possibility of re)nedy. In this connection there are rumors that GEN. GRAXT IS A PAUTXER IN THE FIRM. A1id tho rumors appour to be founded apon fact. I am told that when the company was organized it firesented the President with some, thirty thoutaní dóUarí toorth of stock, and thus, through his countenance, secured the acoeptance of its bid for the lease of the islands of St. Paul and St.Goorge. The fact that anotherfirm.that ofTaylor& Bunloli, of San Praneiaco, made a higher bid in money than did thiR company, besides offering greater advanin the way of building school-houses on the islands, and promoting othcrwiso the welfare and comfort of tbo natives, and had their bid rejectcd in favor of tha Commercial Company, appoars -to lend ft color of truth to the report of the President's connection with the business. It is au cxciicdingly profitable concern, this company, paying heavy dividends and control ling i vayt businem; and if President Grant is interested in it to the tune of i"0,000, however ho may have come .by that interest, then ho is to be congratulated upon the oxcellenc of his investmont - at least from a comraeicial point of view. But let it not bo sup posed that President alone of the White House party dexirce pncdiHary aid and comfiirt from the Alaska Commercial Company. Kim PEESENTS TO MR3. CHtANT. Mrs. Grant and the wife of anothor high official also come in for a share of the good things. Last month I was permitted to look upon tho rarest collection of sables which I have over seen outside of Eussia - largo, soft, volvfity skins, exquisitely matched, and the picked furs, doubtloss, of an immonse collection. Each of theso skins, singly, might be worth $75 in gold ; but each skin taken in such a company of choico compnnions a,cquires an added value - let ns say, then, and it will be a modest figure, that each ono is worth $100, gold. Wcll, thero are fifty of theso skins, valuo $5,000, and twentyfive of them go to the wivea of our imraaculate White House officials, as a sllght token of the Alaska Commercial Company's great esteeni- for their husbands. It would be a work of superrogation to add that commercial corporations are usually quite in the habit of parting with flve thousaid dollar prosents to ludios. The tribute nd its object may be coarso and rank in the nostrils of high-mindod people, but the furs are exquisite, let me assure you. A WALRUS MONOPOLY. The few citizens who do a precarious buünesa in this oity, defying tho Coramorcial Company and taking no account of its imperial frowns, watch these little strategie operations with a sharp vigilanco that is quickenod by their own inerest in the results that may follow them. I have said that the President and Secretary aro to be approached through the medium of valuable presenta to their respective wives ; now let me toll you what the company looks to accomplish as a reward of its delicate thoughtfulness. Thero is a general and certainly a mistakun impression that the fur-seal rookories of this Territory constituto its single preciou staple. It is not known that the profits of walrus hunting Fall scarcoly below tho othor, while the supply is almost inexhaustiblo. In a word, then, the Commercial Company aims to bring about for itself a legalized monopoly of the walrus as well as of the seals. It cannot fail to be pevceived that 11 tho government can be induced to put tho matter to Congress that proteetion oí the walrus of Alaska is iiocessary (that was the way of the propositioii for a monopoly of tho soals was put, I think,) anrl if Congress shnll authorize Mr.Boutwell to advertiso for bids for a leaso (precisoly as was done in the case of the seals) of that industry - it cannot fail to be perceived, I say, that the Alasca Commercial Company, stopping in with the statement that, being already in possession of tho major part of the Territory, it can best attend to the huntng of the walrus, and favored, bendes, ay President and Socretary - by virtue of thoso sables md another judicious present of its stook to these worthies- will carry evorytliing before it and secure to itsclf the desired privilege forpcrhaps less money than would certainly bo oliered by any of tho doztm othw firma who would undoubtedly put in bids also. THE PROI'ITS OF WALRUS JU'NTIXG. The hido of the walrus is used very much for polisliins purposes by cutlors gun-makers, and others. At present Ëngland supplies tho markets of the world, drawing her stock from the Wliiti Sea. Tho Alaska Commercial Company improving its opportunities, has diseovered that tho walrus abounds in Behriuf Soa and tho waters of Alaska, and propo ses to compete with England. In its greon state each hidc will weigh about two hundrod pounds, and the demand is shari at trom $1M to 3 a pound. Be sides this, each walrus will yield tea Ion? of oil. worth about 40o. per ::iUm and a pMr of ivory tusks worth upon an avenga $1. With ordiimvy t&oilitien aboat fivo thousand walrus might b Blaughtered ■ i - 1 ■ year; total gross valuo, over $'2,0011,000 a year. The vich plum is worth fighting for, and the Alaska Commeroiftl Company and its high official co-workers will not fail to fight for it. The Eiclimond JHspatrh says that Mr. Lincoln's dbath inilirt.'il greatei injuvy upon the Soutliern States (lian uptm the Northern, and it thinks that Ibero is now a general and sincere respoct in thai part of tho country for his memory.


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