Charles Frederick Holder.

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He was thoroughly educated in the
doctrines of the Church and the rules
of his order. His zeal allowed him
no rest in his journeys, and his diplo-
macy in Mexico and in dealing with
the military and sailors, when he
chose to exercise it, was far superior
to the best among them. No man
could induce a refractory captain to
put to sea in winter weather or a
sulking soldier to labor as he could.
All love and gentleness with his

8 3 2


friends, he could rule with a rod of
iron when necessary.

His enthusiasm was so great at the
founding of a mission or when labor-
ing for converts that, hanging his
bells on the boughs, he would ring
them until exhausted, hoping that
the sounds might penetrate the whole
land and call all to the service of
God. His courage was beyond ques-
tion ; he, a non-combatant, had braved
death at all times and in every form
— hunger and thirst, the scurvy of
the ship, the wildness of unknown
mountains and the attacks of Indians
were all known to him, and one night
when huddled in a hut expecting
every moment an attack and massa-
cre he spent the long hours until
morning in recounting to his friends
the greater dangers he had passed
through in safety. It seemed at
times as if he courted martyrdom by
journeyings with only one companion
among hostile Indians, or through
unknown regions when sick unto
death and too weak to walk and
almost to ride. He was simple in
his tastes, dressed in the coarsest
gowns, and was abstemious in his
living. A man of reason also, for
when on the voyage from Spain all
were suffering from thirst and loudly
complaining he alone was silent, and
in reply he said substantially : " I do
not suffer from thirst so much be-
cause I have learned to eat little and
speak less and thereby save my
saliva." Though president of the
missions, he asked no man to do what
he would not do himself, and by his
constant daily labor in working the
soil, making bricks, and participating
in the details of building he stirred
all men to emulation.

He never sought for temporal pow-
er ; the presidency was conferred upon
him because of his merits and without
solicitation, and while he could have
probably been raised to a bishopric
he made no effort toward the same.

A salary was originally allowed
the priests from a fund known as the

Holy Fund, but he gave his to the
cause he worked for and died with-
out worldly wealth. His power as a
preacher in Spain and then in Mexico
gave him great fame. His earnest-
ness is shown in the lacerations of
the flesh before alluded to as a
means of more deeply impressing his
auditors. His life was a constant
struggle for existence against the
painful ulcer upon his limb, con-
tracted from a wound received while
journeying to Mexico. That he was
filled with enthusiasm and fully be-
lieved that the Lord was directly
assisting him to do his work cannot
be denied. Often, especially in his
younger days, he saw a miraculous
intervention in happenings where,
had he chosen to look deeper, a sim-
pler explanation might have been
found: for instance, when a man ap-
peared and rescued him from a flood
and then disappeared, he thought an
angel had been sent; when, the com-
mander being about to desert the
port of San Diego, he asked him for
an extension of time to a certain day,
and on that day the supply-ship was
seen, then disappeared and then three
days later came into port. The ves-
sel was passing on her way to Mon-
terey, but meeting with an accident
in the Santa Barbara Channel put
back to San Diego for repairs, and so
almost by a miracle saved the starv-
ing colony which had been unable to
reach Monterey. That in all things
he may not have acted as calmly and
soberly when harassed and thwarted
by unsympathetic military comman-
ders in defiance of what he honestly
and sincerely believed to be their
orders and their duty, may be true;
but that human foresight could do
more than he did under the condi-
tions in which he found himself
placed, or that one could be more
faithful to his trust, more sincere in
his beliefs, and fight the good fight
better than this old unconquered
priest is much to be* doubted and has
never been proved.

N a bulletin of the
United States Fish and
Fisheries Commission
there occurs a para-
graph which, though it
particularly concerns
the fish food supply of the Pacific
coast, is of national importance.
This paragraph refers to the methods
of fishing employed by the Chinese in
Californian waters. It appears that
these Mongolians are peculiarly fond
of shrimps and young fish — much too
young and small to be considered
available as a food product by Ameri-
cans or Europeans — and for the cap-
ture of such immature fishes, shrimps,
and prawns they use fyke and bag
nets, the meshes of which are so
small that " prodigious quantities of
small Crustacea and other small fry
such as large fish of commercial im-
portance subsist upon" are daily
taken from the waters around the
Californian coast.

Commenting upon this condition
of affairs, Mr. Richard Rathbun, in
the paragraph to which I have re-
ferred, says that the fishing methods
of the Chinese " for shrimp and small
fish" should be restricted "not only
because of their great value as arti-
cles of food and profit to mankind
directly, but also for the reason that
they form a very important part of
the food of fishes — the supply of


which has become very nearly ex-
hausted in San Francisco Bay."

Surely no subject should demand
more attention from the legislature
of the State of California than this.
It affects not alone the food supply
of the State, but importantly con-
cerns the prosperity of one of Cali-
fornia's greatest export industries.
State legislation, stringently en-
forced, can alone put a stop to this
wholesale capture of immature fishes
and fish food; and in order that the
seriousness of the position may be
better understood, I shall briefly ex-
plain the extent of the Chinese fish-
eries on the Pacific coast, the kinds






of fishes sought for, the methods
employed for their capture, and the
uses to which they are put.

The entire number of fishermen
employed in the fishing industry of
San Francisco and the adjacent re-
gions embraced in this section is
2,512, of which 807 are Chinese.
Only 620 are American-born, and the
remainder is comprised of natives of
British Provinces, Portugal, Sweden,
Norway, Italy, and of almost every
nation of Europe. It will, therefore,
be seen that the Chinese fishermen
form nearly one-third of the entire
number engaged in the fisheries, and
as we proceed it will be evident to
the most obtuse reader that the
energies of this one-third are chiefly
directed toward capturing those small
fishes which in time supply the wa-
ters with fishes of commercial im-
portance, and which form the chief
part in the food supply of these fishes.
In this connection Captain J. W.
Collins says : " It is generally agreed
that the Chinese fishermen have little
regard for the law (if they can evade
it) and absolutely no consideration
for the preservation of young fish
from destruction. 'All is fish that
comes to their net, ' in the strictest
sense of the term, and the apparatus

they use is specially designed to take
the smallest forms of aquatic life."
They capture a good many sturgeon
and flounders, in fact all kinds of fish
that frequent the Californian coast
are taken by them ; but their princi-
pal catch consists of shrimp, small
fishes, and prawns — without respect
to season, size, or quality.

Describing their apparatus, the
report of the United States Com-
missioner of Fish and Fisheries says
that " it varies in character, is ex-
ceedingly destructive of minute forms
of marine life, particularly young
fish, and is generally distinctively
Oriental." The bag-net is the form
most extensively used ; but they also
use fykes, sturgeon trawls (most de-
structive as well as inhuman contri-
vances), and many other modes of
fishing, "either to obtain the best
results or to secure secresy, since the
Chinese common/y use illegal forms of
apparatus. " The bag-net itself, which
is allowed by the existing laws, is
a most formidable as well as destruc-
tive fishing appliance. This net is
usually about forty-two feet long and
is formed like a great cone-shaped




sack or bag. It is twenty-four feet
wide at the mouth and tapers toward
the end or apex, where it is from
three to four feet wide. The end is
open when not in use, and is tied up
with a " puckering string" when set.
Half of the net, next the mouth, has
a two-inch mesh ; the middle section
(about twelve feet) has a one-inch
mesh, and the remainder, forming
the lower end, has a mesh measuring
only one-fourth to one-half inch.
" Considering the contraction caused
by tying up the smaller end of the
bag, it will readily be seen that
scarcely any marine life is minute
enough to pass through the meshes."
The Chinese do not affiliate with
the other fishermen, but form colo-
nies of their own race close to the
fishing-grounds. These settlements
are called "camps;" they are devoid
of all suggestion of comfort or clean-
liness and afford the most meagre
shelter for the Mongolian fishermen,
who, as a rule, remain but a few
seasons, and then return to China
with the proceeds of their illegal and

destructive fishing. Mr. W. A. Wil-
cox estimates that the number of bag-
nets in use averages " five or six to a
man ;" so that there are employed in
the fishing industry of San Francisco
and the adjacent regions at least four
thousand of these most destructive
fishing appliances. The favorite
method of setting these nets is to set
them in rows, the mouth of each
fastened between two poles driven
into the bottom. By this means the
mouth of the net is fully distended,
while the body of it swings away
with the tide. In some localities
these bag-nets completely cover the
bottom "across a wide area," so that
no kind of marine life that comes in
or goes out with the tide can escape.
When the Chinese use gill-nets
their mode of fishing is very peculiar
and amusing. Having set the nets
they remain close by in their boats
to watch the approaching schools of
fish ; if they see the fish close to the
net but not disposed to enter, they
set up a terrific babel of shouting,
pounding the sides of the boat with



8 S 6


clubs and splashing oars in the water
"to frighten the fish, so that they
will, in their wild rush to escape,
plunge into the meshes of the nets."
This custom is decidedly Oriental;
for in a report of the Inspector-Gen-
eral of Maritime Customs of China I
find mention made of many devices
used for this purpose in China — nota-
bly trained otters, who drive the
fish into the nets with the same skill
and patience that a collie dog drives
sheep into a fold.

Having briefly explained the num-
bers and conditions of the Chinese
fishermen, the kinds of fishes they
capture, and the methods they em-
ploy, I shall now describe their
peculiar and interesting method of
curing their captures for export to
China. And I shall explain, as well
as I have been able to estimate it —
from an examination of the reports
of the San Francisco customs and of
the Inspector-General of Maritime
Customs of Shanghai, China — the
extent of the exports of shrimp and
small fish by Chinamen from San
Francisco to the Flowery Kingdom.

As shrimp is their chief capture
and forms the bulk of their export
business with China, and other fishes
are cured and dried by them in almost
precisely the same Way, a descrip-
tion of their method of preparing
shrimp for export will here suffice.
Mr. Alexander says, however, that
the curing of the immense quantities
of small fish from one to two inches
in length " is performed in a very
discreet manner, especially when an
unusual amount of illicit fishing has
been going on. "

The shrimp are first placed in a
vat of boiling water, where they re-
main for about ten minutes. They
are then spread " to dry, upon gently
declining or level stretches of hard
ground which has been previously
stripped of grass and rendered quite
smooth." For this purpose a hoe-
like broom is used in order that the
layers of shrimp can be properly ad-
justed without bruising or mutilation.

When they have been exposed to the
sun for four or five days they are
considered to be sufficiently dried,
and they are then crushed under
large wooden pestles or trod upon by
the Chinese, who wear wooden shoes
specially made for the purpose. This
crushing process is for the purpose of
loosening the meat from the outer
chitinous covering. The shrimp are
then taken up and placed in baskets
which are violently shaken until the
shells are removed from the meats ;
but the most approved method is to
remove the shells by placing the
dried shrimp in a winnowing ma-
chine. Mr. Rathbun says that " this
fanning mill, which is a rather crude
affair, is constructed of wood by the
Chinese on precisely the same prin-
ciple as the one used for winnowing
grain." The meats and shells are
then packed for exportation, reserv-
ing a small quantity for sale among
the Chinese of San Francisco. The
shrimp shells are utilized in China
as a fertilizer for the tea plant, rice,

The determination of the exact
amount of shrimp and other kinds of
fishes captured by the Chinese can
only be approximated, for they never
give true returns, not even of their
exports to the customs authorities.
They know that they have fished
illegally, and are consequently " disin-
clined to discuss what they have
done, " evidently " dreading ill-treat-
ment at the hands of the legal au-
thorities or others. " In this respect
the Chinese fishermen of California
seem to rival " Ah Sin" of card fame ;
they are accomplished liars, and
seem to be able to hide illicit cap-
tures and nets with quite as much
ease as he is supposed to have hidden
the cards. However, from the cus-
toms returns we can safely estimate
upon Captain Collins' calculation
that in 1888 there were shipped to
China 769, 660 pounds of shrimp meat,
valued at $76,966, and 3,842,200
pounds of shrimp shells, valued at
$38,422. Besides this there were used




in and around San Francisco 290,000
pounds, valued at $23, 200 ; so that the
estimated shrimp catch of the Chinese
in that one year amounted to over
1,000,000 pounds of shrimps, worth
$138,588. The quantity of small fish
captured by them is unascertainable;
and I am forced to believe that even
the figures given by Captain Collins
are far behind the true quantities
shipped to China.

All of the shrimp imported into
China " from foreign ports " comes
from San Francisco, and here is a
summary of the amounts which I
have culled from the voluminous
reports of the Inspector-General of
Imperial Maritime Customs at Shang-
hai. I was forced to select the re-
ports for the first two quarters of
1892, as no details of individual
imports were previously given; but
from my examination of those of
1885, '86, '87, and '88, 1 feel convinced
that these figures will very nearly
average the imports of 1 888. The re-
turns include reports from the twenty
treaty ports and ports of entry ; but
only eight of these seem to have re-
ceived shrimps, viz., Ichang, Kin-
kiang, Ningpo, Foochow, Tamsui,

Tainan, Swatow, and Chunking.
For the six months ending June 30th,
1892, there were received into these
eight ports, from San Francisco,
9,974 piculs of dried shrimp and
prawns, or about 1,239,864 pounds;
and estimating that the imports for
the other half of the year would be
twenty-five per cent less (although
in the third quarter the imports of
Tamsui and Foochow were more than
double the previous two), we have
an importation into China of about
2,000,000 pounds as against the San
Francisco customs estimate of 769,-
660 pounds.

There is a grave error somewhere
unless the returns of the Shanghai
inspector-general included the shells
with the meats ; but this would not
balance the account, for the average
amount of shells annually exported
from San Francisco exceeds 2,000,000
pounds, and this would make the
quantity received in China nearly a
million pounds less than the amount
exported from California. But it
would be impossible to discover the
exact amount of either shrimp or any
other fish captured by the Chinese,
and we may safely lay our forced
ignorance of the matter at the doors
of those cunning Mongolian fisher-
men who "for ways that are dark"
certainly excel their compatriot,


8 S S


"Ah Sin." In 1891 there were 284,-
676 piculs and 35 catties of "fish and
fishery products" imported into China
from "foreign countries," or in other
words 12,316,007 pounds, valued at
2,640,444 haikwan taels, or $3,168,520.
This did not include bitche de mer, isin-
glass, or seaweed, which come chiefly
from Japan ; and I think it can be safe-
ly assumed that many thousands of
pounds of immature Californian fish

tchatka. The Chinese dry and salt
the meats and send them to China,
where they are much prized ; but the
chief value of this fishery lies in the
.shells, which are used for ornaments
and even jewelry — a fine, well-pol-
ished haliotis shell being worth any-
where from $1 to $25. In 1888 there
w T ere 2,600,000 pounds of shells and
meats, valued at $55,000, collected
on the Californian coast, nearly all


were included in that immense im-
portation of fish and fishery products.
There is still another fishing in-
dustry of the Pacific coast which is
almost wholly confined to the Chi-
nese, and in this they pursue the
same ruthless capture that I have
shown marks their bag-net fisheries.
This is the collection of haliotis, or
abalone shells. These shells are
not found on the Atlantic coast nor
anywhere in South America, but
they are very abundant on the Pacific
from Cape Saint Lucas to Kam-

of which went to China — only selected
shells being purchased by dealers in
San Francisco. This shell is the
mother-of-pearl or " Norman shell"
of old English writers, and is found
in abundance in the Channel islands.
The Indians of the Pacific coast use
haliotis shells as ornaments, and they
were formerly used by some of the
tribes, cut into different sizes, as coins.
The present market value is $90 per
ton for the shells and $40 per ton for
the meats. But, as with all fisheries
on our coast which are controlled by



the Chinese, the haliotis or abalone
fishery is so depleted by their inde-
fatigable exertions that "fears are
felt for its future, and these mollusks
are being rapidly exterminated along
the whole coast."

The question, therefore, arises:
What could or should be done to pre-
serve the Pacific fisheries from the
ravages of the Chinese? But before
suggesting a remedy, I shall recapitu-
late what I have written and add
new evidence of the enormous dam-
age done to the prosperity of the
Californian fisheries by the unre-
stricted extermination of food-fish
and fishes' food in these waters.

The total value of the fisheries of
San Francisco in 1888 was $4,463,-
369, of which $2,-
49o,373 was for
whalebone, whale
oil, and furs; leav-
ing $1,972,996 as
the value of the
Californian coast
fisheries. Of this
$5°9, I 75 was for
oysters and $372,-
423 for crustaceans
and mollusks —
chiefly shrimp,
prawn, haliotis,
and clams ; so that
there remains $1,-
091,398 worth of
fishes of different
kinds — salmon,
shad, etc., etc. It
is this last class
that forms the
chief fish food sup-
ply of the Western
States; the quanti-
ties obtainable
were far greater
ten years ago than
they are to-day, and
one and all of the
representatives of
the United States
Fish and Fisheries
Commission lay
this depletion and


deterioration of the fisheries at the
door of the destructive and illegal
fishing of the Chinese. As Mr. Rath-
bun says, " The supply [of food-fishes]
has become very nearly exhausted in
San Francisco Bay," and he adds that
this is caused by the Chinese methods
of fishing — capturing, as they do, not
alone edible shrimp and other fishes,
irrespective of their condition and
size, but also all minute marine life
which forms the most important and
practically the sole food of salmon,
shad, and other commercially valua-
ble fishes.

Commenting upon the growing
scarcity of fish in Californian waters,
a writer in the San Francisco Bulletin
says: "Another explanation which
is now given is the
ravages which the
Chinese are mak-
ing upon the young
fish. Hundreds
. . . are employed
constantly in
catching the young
fish, including
every species in
the bay, just devel-
oped from the ova,
in which work they
employ fine nets,
scoops, and other
effective methods.
This material is
esteemed a prime
delicacy among the
heathen, large
quantities being
consumed in the
city, and the busi-
ness of preserving
the young fish and
shipping them to
China has become
an important in-
dustry. Thousands
of young salmon,
from two to four
inches in length,
may be found
among the large
supplies brought



in daily to the fish shops in the Chi-
nese quarters, and this is undoubtedly
the true explanation of the alarming
decline in the quantities of the best
fish. The process continued for a
few years will render salmon and
other favorite species a rarity in these
waters." Mr. Alexander says that
the Chinese " seem to take pride in
transgressing all laws established by
the State." The question naturally
arises: Why are these laws not
strictly enforced? Or, if they are in-
adequate to cope with the "scourge,"
why does not the California State
Legislature enact some measure to
afford the food-fishes protection from
those Chinese depredators?

It has been estimated that if the
fisheries of California were properly
conserved by judicious State legisla-
tion {which should be strictly enforce a),

the quantity of salmon, shad, etc.,
obtainable in these waters could be
more than trebled in a few years. I
believe that there cannot be a doubt
about this, i.e., if the Chinese are
prevented from using such fine-
meshed nets and the indiscriminate
capture of immature fish and fish-eggs
and fry is made punishable by severe
fines and imprisonment. It seems
to me to be the duty of the State to
insist upon the passage of some such
law. This fishery affects the people
of a very large territory outside Cali-
fornia; but it chiefly concerns the
people of this State, and I cannot see
why the legislature of California does
not take prompt and energetic steps
to protect an industry which would
yield to its citizens an increased fish
production of from two to three mil-
lion dollars annually.



Thou silent watcher o'er a sleep-bound world,
Thou fount of mystic faith and hope and fear!
Beneath thy silvery mellowing rays unfurled,
Life's rugged outlines molded soft appear.
I love to watch thy restful, changeless way
Across the ever-changing, restless sky,
And after each uncertain, troublous day,
To feel thy love beam softly from on high.
While God, in his all-wondrous majesty,
His symbol in the Orb of Day doth place,
The tender love that lights his heart and face
He leaves for gentle Night to show in thee,
As on thou sailest in thy starlit grace,
Thou radiant Queen of Night and Destiny.



r?RRIGATION has become
one of the chief factors
in the development of
irtS* fell California. Much has al-
ready been accomplished
through this agency,
but the improvement
through irrigation is
small compared with
what will be accom-
the same agency during
the coming century. So far the em-
ployment of irrigation in this State
has been rather local than general.
Its use has been confined chiefly to
districts in which the rainfall is too
scanty or uncertain for safe and profit-
able farming or fruit-growing. But
gradually knowledge of the benefits
of irrigation is extending, and the

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 112 of 120)