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(Dr. Cook is on the right of the picture and Mr. Browne is seated in the center of the group.)
about ten miles farther down the Yentna to a prospector's camp called "Youngstown." Here the party was later met by the launch, which Dr. Cook and two companions, having crossed the difficult country between the East and West Branches of the Yentna, brought down the river from the base camp where it had been left several weeks before.
Mr. Porter, the topographer of the expedition, with one companion, two horses, and supplies, remained in the region about 30 miles southwest of Mt. McKinley. It was his intention to work his way slowly across the country, selecting advantageous points of observation, and so filling in the topographic details of this unmapped section. It was planned that he should meet the launch at "Youngstown" the last of September.
On August 2 all of the party, with the exception of one member who was left with the horses at "Youngstown," took the launch and carried by the swift current sailed rapidly down the Yentna. Tyonek was reached on the evening of August 3, just two months after the time of leaving. While crossing Cook Inlet a terrific storm was encountered, and it was only through the heroic efforts of Dr. Cook, Mr. Browne, and several other
members of the party that the expedition was finally landed in safety at Tyonek.
Taking the S. S. Bertha from Seldovia on August 8, the writer returned to Seattle on the 22d. It was the intention of Dr. Cook and Mr. Browne to return to "Youngstown," and taking the pack train by the route traversed in 1903, cross the Alaska Range by the pass at the head of the Kichatna River, and make a brief exploring trip in the region near the headwaters of the Kuskokwim.
The section of Alaska traversed by the expedition, the region north of Cook Inlet between the Yentna River on the west and the Chulitna on the east, presents great difficulties to either the explorer or prospector. Among the southern foothills of the Alaska Range, however, a country of considerable beauty and great interest is found. Here on the lower hills the vegetation is often luxuriant, the grass sometimes attaining a height of 5 or 6 feet, and in such places it is difficult to realize the proximity of the Arctic Circle. Many prospectors visited the region. during the present season. Their reports
were not encouraging, however, very few having found gold in paying quantities, and the great majority being very much dissatis
fied with the general indications from a mineralogical point of view.
After the writer had left the expedition Dr. Cook modified somewhat the plans for further exploration. Only two members of the party were sent into the Kichatna region, two more going to the mouth of the Mantanuska River, while Dr. Cook and two companions returned with the launch by way of the Chulitna River to a point near the previous camp at the foot of the glacier, from which the reconnoitering trips were made, the purpose being the exploration of the glaciers to the southeast of Mt. McKinley as a possible route to the top for an expedition the following year.
on top of the ridge, which was about 12,000 feet high. Continuing on with one companion, Edward Barill, a way was found around the cliff by cutting steps in cornices of ice, and a climb of 2,000 feet made the fifth day. On both the sixth and seventh days a gain of 2,000 feet was made and a point attained very near the summit. Starting early on the morning of the eighth day a dash was made for the top. Two peaks were encountered and the southwestern chosen. At 10 o'clock on the morning of September 16, the top was reached, but only the briefest stay could be made. In four days the mountain was descended and the homeward journey commenced.
To any one familiar with the conditions and topography on this side of Mt. McKinley such a trip must certainly seem a most brilliant achievement of mountaineering and exploration. Unfortunately, however, no accurate information can be gained with regard to the altitude of the mountain, except from the results of Mr. Porter's triangulations.
By chance, however, the party happened to come upon a glacier that sweeps the upper eastern slope of Mt. McKinley and of fered an excellent highway to the mountain. In three days after leaving the boat, this glacier was explored and the party came upon the northeastern edge. Here the position was so favorable that Dr. Cook decided to push on notwithstanding the lateness of the season. On the fourth day after leaving The writer had in his possession the hypthe launch the top of the ridge was gained sometric instruments with which it had been and the party were confronted by a granite intended to determine the elevation in case cliff which rose some 4,000 feet into the air the summit had been reached.
PREPARING THE CANVAS CANOE FOR AN EXPLORING TRIP ON THE UPPER WATERS OF THE YENTNA.
(Dr. Cook is standing in the bow of the canoe. Mr. Porter is on the shore In the center of the picture.)
BY CHARLES F. SPEARE.
BILLION dollars' worth of mining securities was created in 1906, and most of it since spring. The market value of these stocks has appreciated at varying rates of from 50 and 100 to several thousand per cent. Some have started at a few cents and grown to as many dollars; others have sold at from double to 5 and 15 and even 20 times their par. It is estimated that $100,000,000 has been realized from Nevada gold-mining shares and that the "paper profits on the Canadian cobalt and silver stocks have been $50,000,000. One mine of the latter kind grew from a $5,000,000 to a $40,000,000 proposition in a season. The New York market has been dealing in a quarter of a million shares a day. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston contribute an aggregate nearly as large. In San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Goldfield, Nev., the buying and selling has reached such enormous proportions that mining exchanges have been forced to close for days at a time to allow brokers to catch up with their orders.
THE DANGEROUS CRAZE FOR MINING CERTIFICATES.
These are incidents of the mining craze of 1906. They are similar to those of the great boom year of 1873. No more credulity was exhibited in the days of John Law and the tulip madness than is being shown now by men and women from one end of the country to the other as they transfer securely invested funds into mining certificates, many of which are of absolutely no value. Two centuries ago an Englishman offered shares in a company the nature of which will, in due season, be revealed." He was flooded with applications for the stock.
This episode is frequently cited by economists to illustrate the lengths to which a speculative mania will go in a boom period. At such times people go into syndicates for extracting oil from sun flowers and for making salt water fresh. Macaulay said of the seventeenth-century period: Every day some new bubble was puffed into existence, rose buoyant, shone bright, burst, and was forgotten." Yet, within a few weeks, a company offered participation in a $5,000,000
mining enterprise and claimed subscriptions for $25,000,000. All it professed to own was some claims, and it would not even give their location.
The period of inflation of railroad stocks occurred in 1901 and 1902. Average prices have gradually gone higher during 1906 than they were then, but dividends and equities have multiplied. The boom in improved
real estate in cities, in suburban lots, and in farm land began in 1904. In the East it reached the apex six months ago. Highest prices occurred at about the time the man of small means began to draw down his savings-bank account, which paid him 31⁄2 to 4 per cent. a year, to buy a lot among the sand dunes or in the scrub oaks of Long Island which he can never sell for the purchase price and on which taxes accumulate. In one week last July $10,000,000 was withdrawn from New York City institutions to apply on this account. Unimproved land values became inflated, the private-car trips. of real-estate syndicates brought no buyers, the builder had a great deal of trouble getting loans, and, slowly but surely, the boom receded.
Having witnessed the period of overvaluation of railroad securities and of land, we now come around to the cycle of inflation of mining shares. We are of a time when men are taking their money from the savings banks to buy 30-cent treasury" stock; when property-owners are applying to building and loan associations for mortgages on their homes, the proceeds to go into gaudily printed certificates of alluring promise; when the talk is of mines, of claims, of strikes, of this one or that one who has made a million, and when it seems as though the diviningrod might become the people's scepter.
The craze is general. Nearly every one has a touch of it. It has affected bank presidents as well as messenger boys, doctors, lawyers, ministers, school-teachers. Likewise waiters, hack drivers, and porters are floating along on the tide which may lead to fortune, but which, in many cases, will end "in shallows and in miseries." One of the wisest mining experts in the country said the other day, in sounding a note of caution, that the proportion of good to bad mines was one
in 300. Careful investigation of the claims of 500 Nevada gold-mining companies has led to the statement that one-third have no ore prospects, while a large percentage of the Canadian cobalt and silver securities in the New York market represents men's hopes rather than their accomplishments. Too many of them are selling on the basis of profitable production. The temptation to "salt "a mine is to-day as great as was the temptation to pour oil in the shallow drill hole of a well in the days of the Pennsylvania and Ohio craze.
Good mining properties will take care of themselves. They do not have to be exploited. There is always a market for them. Tom, Dick and Harry are not asked to subscribe. It is estimated that from $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 has been taken out of New York City alone in the past six months and forwarded to mining camps for development purposes. Most of it came from persons who had sent mining experts ahead of their subscriptions and had as good an idea of what ore-producing prospects were as humankind ever can have of a mine. The multitude of small subscriptions that go through the mails to the houses that advertise mining stocks for sale never get much beyond the reach of the promoter. The other day one of these men, whose prospectus had been very convincing, fled with $300,000. He was nothing but a cold-blooded schemer, without even a hole in the ground" back of him. He had sized up the situation accurately and had found that the public wanted to gamble in mining stocks. There are always plenty of such men around. They understand human nature and those psychological manifestations expressed by the itching palm" and are just as ready to provide patent medicines or pickles as minings shares if the people want them. All they ask in return is a clear profit of 75 cents for every dollar they extract from their patrons.
EASTWARD PROGRESS OF THE BOOM.
to even larger proportions. Seats on the mining exchange have risen from $3,000 to $10,000 since August. In Goldfield they have been doing business by the light of the moon and trading through a good part of the night. All through the Northwest the craze is rampant. Duluth is one of the hotbeds of speculation. St. Louis and Chicago have been infected, and the South has been shifting cotton money into gold and silver certificates. Pittsburgh is said to have put $40,000,000 into mining shares and Philadelphia $60,000,000, while Boston, the birthplace of copper stock, has temporarily abandoned that slow-moving issue for the rapid money-maker of Cobalt. Canada, prosperous after a long, hard pull, is gambling wildly on the Toronto and Montreal exchanges. Probably £10,000,000 has been invested by British operators in American mines, and French, Dutch, and German money has been going into them. The fact that Kaffir shares showed a depreciation of $650,000,000 in the big slump that has not yet culminated does not check the Englishman's proclivity to gamble in "mines." There is even the suggestion that New York, instead of London, may be the future mining-stock center of the world.
The mining business is legitimate. one questions that fact. The trouble is that it is the illegitimate in mining that presents the boldest front and gets the public's dollars. It may be set down as a safe theorem that, where exploitation of stock is most vigorous, where the advertising is of the most lurid character, and where investors are told to subscribe to-day at 20 cents, as the price will be advanced next week to 40 cents, there is little in the way of development work in sight, and the question of dividend-paying ore is irrelevant.
EVANESCENT NATURE OF MANY MINE FLO
Every method of selling mining shares. known to human ingenuity is adopted, and those that will not sell on one title or on a certain price are given new names and offered at new figures. Many of them disA peculiar feature of the present mining appear altogether after a little flurry. As boom is that it has worked from the West to many as 15 or 20 new issues have appeared the East. Almost always the trend of in- in the New York curb market in a single flation of American values is in the opposite day. This means that nearly as many new direction. San Francisco was in the midst faces are to be found in the crowd of brokof a mining craze, paralleling that of the ers. A large percentage of the stocks as 80's, when the earthquake checked it. The well as the vendors quickly disappears. The speculation has been renewed and has grown public does not always bite. It sometimes
happens that, when the buyer tries to get his stock transferred, no one is found to stand sponsor. Then the bubble bursts. After one dull period recently 23 of 45 new issues that had been brought out faded away.
EXTRAORDINARY VOLUME OF BUSINESS.
The daily transactions in gold and silver mining shares in the Eastern cities have amounted to half a million shares. In addition, houses that have advertised Nevada and Cobalt stocks have received subscriptions for from 25,000 to 50,000 shares within 48 hours. A promoter with good banking connections secured underwriting for 150,000 shares between lunch hour one day and the closing of business the next. This sort of thing does not figure in the daily newspaper accounts of mining-stock excitement. It, however, suggests the powerful undercurrent of speculation. It helps to absorb capital into enterprises that will be a long while developing.
After the first of January, dividends and interest on corporation securities, amounting to $150,000,000, will be paid. Many millions will be released to savings-bank depositors. The mining promoter has his eye on this vast sum, and it is very well known that many persons have promised to go into deals just as soon as they can get their money out of bank and not lose their interest.
HOW FAR IS SPECULATION JUSTIFIED? The present speculation is primarily in gold and silver shares. The wonderful discoveries in the Tonopah, Goldfield, and Bullfrog districts have justified a considerable part of this enthusiasm. Nevada is a State that will figure large in the world's gold production of the next generation. It is now yielding nearly as much as Alaska, and the proportion of increase will be greater than in the Territory. The methods of development are intelligent. Some prop erties there will pay back in dividends the amount of their capitalization, and that within a few years. But, as is always the case, promoters use the prestige of a substantial property to exploit a claim or even an option that may be on ground contiguous to the dividend-earner. Inasmuch as in mining nothing proves the worth of a property except actual ore in sight, the next-door neighbor to a producer may be valueless. Of 200 Cobalt companies incorporated, and trying to sell their stocks to investors, less than 10 per cent. were in December ship
ping ore. There are many properties which the unwary is led to believe are turning out mineral by the carload, and whose shafts, to quote, "look like the bottom of a jewelcase," that have not seen a pick or shovel, much less the elementary parts of mining machinery. They have second-hand reputations based on the record of Nipissing, a property that depreciated $26,000,000 in market value in a few days because of disputed title.
Practically all of the enthusiasm shown over the Nevada properties is due to the remarkable record of a few mines. Mohawk, a stock that was promoted by Philadelphia banking people, rose from 40 cents in the summer of 1905 to $18 a share. Nipissing Mines was hawked around the financial centers of New York and Boston for months. About every other man one meets in Wall Street now has a doleful story of how he had the "tip" to buy it at $3 a share, but didn't, and saw it go ten times higher. I feel rather mortified myself, for, seven years ago, in the summer of 1899, I went in a canoe through the lake district around Cobalt, where Nipissing is located, and saw three French-Canadians digging ore from a tunnel they had made in a hillside. They were 50 miles from civilization and 100 miles from a railroad. Their faith kept them alive. I hope they have had more than the usual proportion of profit coming to the inventor or the discoverer.
In the case of Nipissing the buyers took the property for $250,000 as a cobalt proposition. It turned out to be extremely rich in silver. Silver was beginning to rise to a level the highest in nearly 15 years. As the veins broadened and the price of the metal rose a speculation developed that, within a few months, overdiscounted all of the benefits that could possibly accrue in as many years. It is because mining shares are cheap in dollars and cents that the public is dazzled. They do not take into consideration the fact that Nipissing at its high price has risen 725 per cent., or that the market appreciation of Mohawk is nearly 4500 per cent. Allowing for low capitalization, this is inflation of the sort that, applied to Stock Exchange shares, would lead to tremendous shrinkage when the day of reckoning came.
HIGH PRICES OF METALS AS A STIMULUS.
It must be admitted that the mining mania. has had a powerful incentive in the high price for all kinds of metals. This has given