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Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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English Coal in Germany. — In spite of freight reductions on coal all over
the Empire and attendant efforts to encourage the consumption of coal from
German mines, says Consul Monaghan, of Chemnitz, in a report dated
December 10, 1896, England sent Germany in 1895, 4,000,000 tons. Along
the Rhine, hitherto one of the greatest waterways for the transportation of
coal, only 15,000 tons passed in 1895; while three Rhine ports — Ruhrort,
Duisburg, and Hochfelden — in the first nine months of 1896, took 500,000
tons of German coal. The North Sea ports took 1,800,000 tons, and ports
on the Baltic 2, 1 66,666 tons of English coal. Hamburg alone took i ,400,000
tons; Stettin-Swinemunde, 800,000 tons; Danzig, a little more, and Kiel a
little less, than 250,006 tons; and Konigsberg-Pillau, about 250,000 tons.


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28o NOTES.

The rest was spread over the small ports. In 1896, the imports of coal
have gone up. Of the 341,000 tons increase for the first six months of 1896
almost all (over 90 per cent) came from England. Berlin, more than any
other city in the Empire, shows how powerful is English coal as a competitor
with that produced here. In the September quarter of 1896, the capital of
the Empire took, for local consumption, 127,000 tons, against 93,000 tons
for the same period of the year previous — 34,000 tons, or 40 per cent, in-
crease. These figures grow more important when one knows that the increase
of Berlin's consumption of German coal was from 304,000 tons (for the
period of time taken) to 339,000 tons, not fully 12 per cent, while the total
consumption (for the same time) increased from 397,000 tons to 466,000
tons — increase, 17 per cent. Berlin's increase is relatively smaller than that
indicated by the amounts credited above to the three Rhine ports. In the
first nine months of 1896, in these ports, the increase was 28 per cent, or
from 400,000 tons to 520,000 tons. The entire German increase in con-
sumption reached 200,000 tons, while that of the coal export was only
15,000 tons. Not the least interesting factor in forming an estimate of the
Empire's competing capacity is this of coal production, consumption, and
the amount imported. The cheaper labor, if it is cheaper than England's,
is ofttimes offset by just such items. England has here advantages over all
her continental rivals. Her coal is cheaper and better than theirs.

Potatoes in England, France, and Germany. — Under date of December 1 7,
1896, Consul Monaghan, of Chemnitz, writes:

The following figures show the quantity of potatoes planted and harvested
in one year in England, France, and Germany. They indicate the strides
the Germans have made in agriculture. Acres planted : England, 1,383,760;
France, 3,311,140; Germany, 7,413,000. Yield in bushels: England,
173,250,000; France, 370,500,000; Germany, 1,052,646,000. Bushels per
acre: England, 125; France, 112; Germany, 142. England, with a popu-
lation of 38,000,000, took for consumption and industral uses 2.5 cwts.
(247 pounds) per capita; France, with 35,000,000, 5.8 cwts. (St^S pounds);
Germany, with 50,000,000, 12.95 cwts. (1,425 pounds). France used
2,000,000 cwts. (3,667,000 bushels) for export and 8,000,000 cwts. (14,670,-
000 bushels) for manufacturing purposes in spirits and starch factories. Ger-
many exported nearly 12,000,000 cwts. (22,000,000 bushels) and used
30,000,000 cwts. (55,000,000 bushels) in spirits and starch factories. For
seed and consumption, England had to buy nearly 15,000 cwts. (27,500
bushels). It is a remarkable fact that the ground and climate of France are
better adapted for the cultivation of potatoes than are those of either Eng-
land or Germany, yet the output per hectare was very much less in France
than in either of the other countries named. To what this is due deserves
the attention of not only both countries, but of all lands in which the culti-
vation of potatoes is carried on extensively. To get out of the soil all it is

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NOTES. 281

capable of giving is at once the art and science of agriculture. My own

opinion is that Germany's most excellent agricultural schools, itinerant
lecturers, etc., have had a great deal to do with it.

Recent Decrees in Madagascar. — Under date of November 2, 1896, Con-
sul Wetter, of Tamatave, writes :

I have the honor to report that the rumor that the entire interior of the
island of Madagascar, as far as the Hova and Betsileo country is concerned,
had been placed under martial law has been confirmed. For your informa-
tion I have inclosed duplicate copies of the Journal Oficial, which has replaced
the Gasety Ny Malagasy as the official organ. You will find many articles
of interest therein. I would particularly call attention to article 9 of the
order of September 27, 1896, placing Imerina and Betsileo in a state of siege;
also, to the order of September 26, 1896, proclaiming the abolition of slavery
in Madagascar (translation inclosed herein); and to the circular of October
5, 1896, relative to the schools in Madagascar.*


Article, i. All the inhabitants of Madagascar are free.

Art. 2. Traffic in human beings is forbidden. Every contract of whatever form it may
be, written or verbal, stipulating, the sale of human beings is null and its authors will be pun-
ished by a fine of 500 to 2,000 francs and by imprisonment for from two months to two years.
In case of second offense, these penalties will be tripled. They will be applicable likewise
to the public official convicted of having registered the contract or of having given his coop-
eration to facilitate its execution.

Art. 3. The maximum of the same penalties will fall upon every person who shall have
used compulsion to drag away another beyond his province with intention of selling him there,
and upon the public official who, informed of this compulsion, shall not have done his utmost
to hinder same.

Art. 4. Persons rendered free by the favor of the present law, but who shall have been
heretofore in a condition of slavery, retain their legitimate ownership of chattels, movable or
immovable, which they have purchased or inherited ; the immovables and the movables in
natural status which they hold through the liberality of their former masters can be retaken
by the latter.

Art. 5. Persons rendered free by the favor of the present law who found themselves here-
tofore in a condition of slaves to a master whom they are not desirous of separating themselves
from can remain at the house of their former masters by mutual consent.

Art. 6. France interdicts herself from imposing upon the people of Madagascar any ex-
traordinary war tax. Succor in the form of territorial concessions may be accorded to dis-
possessed owners who may be known to be in need thereof.

Under date of December 3, 1896, Consul Wetter transmits translations
of two recent enactments or orders emanating from the resident-general at
Antananarivo, viz, (i) a notice imposing certain licenses or taxes upon every
person doing business in Madagascar, and (2) a notice laying a tax of 25

• The order relating to schools prohibits interference by teachers in political affairs and urges instruction
in the French language.

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francs upon every male Asiatic and Ethiopian in Madagascar over i8 years
of age and assessing an additional tax upon his calling or business. The
notices (translated) are, in part, the following:

[Extract from notice of November 3, relative to licenses.]

From the 1st of November, 1896, each individual carrying on a business, an industry, or
profession in Madagascar, not included in the exemptions set up by the 1 resent notice, shall
be subjected to a license (contribution). This contribution consists of a fixed tax, regulated
according to the nature of the calling and of the population of the place where the same is
exercised. The various callings are classified in the following manner :

Extra class. — Banks, houses of discount, houses of exchange and credit, insurance com-
panies, manufactures.

First class. — Wholesale merchants — that is to say, those selling principally to other mer-
chants — distillers, and manufacturers of spirituous drinks.

Second class. — Wholesale and retail merchants — ^ihat is to say, those selling usually both
to retailers and to consumers — restaurants, and hotel keepers.

Third class. — Retail merchants — that is to say, those selling habitually to consumers —
counselors and attorneys at law, commercial agents, brokers and other liberal callings not
exempted, druggists, retailers of drinks, cafe and tavern keepers.

Fourth class. — Building contractors, mechanics, and artisans of all kinds who have a
shop and employ ordinarily more than two workmen.

The tax rate is fixed comformably to the following table:

Tabic showing rate of taxation.

Population rate
of place.

Extra class.

First class.



Third class.

Fourth class.

In to was of more
than 5,000 in-



1,000 '$193.00


400 1 #77- 20









In towns of from


1,000 to 5,000


In towns of less
than 1,000 in-

1,000 193.00

1,000 1 193.00


10. 30












Are exempted from licenses, salaried functionaries and employees of the State, school-
masters and teachers, artists, manufacturers working alone or with not more than two work-
men or by the day, vendors established in the markets or selling in lx)oths, agriculturists, or
mining concessionaries.

The tax is reduced one-half for butchers, bakers, and other merchants or makers of
articles of consumption, except drinks.

If a licensee has several establishments, a distinct tax is due for each of them, but the
full tax is only due upon the principal establishment, the other taxes being reduced one-half.

If a licensee exercises several callings in the same establishment, a single tax is due and
for the highest-taxed profession.

The license contribution is due annually. It can be acquitted in full at once, but is not
exigible, because of existing circumstances, except quarterly and on the first day of each

Nothing in this notice shall annul or change article 27 of the law promulgated in the
Ofiicial Journal of July 31, 1896, fixing at 1,800 francs the annual license tax for traders in
precious metals and stones.

The present notice is not applicable to the dependencies of Madagascar, wherein the tariffs
in force shall continue to be applied.

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NOTES. 283

[ Extract from notice of the 3d of November imposing a tax upon Asiatics and Africans.]

From the 1st of November, 1896, every foreigner of Asiatic and African origin who desires
to reside in the colony of Madagascar and its dependencies must present himself at the resi-
dency of the circumscription within the three days following his landing, in order to there
make a written demand for authorization to reside there.

He must furnish all information necessary to establish his identity, must declare his pro-
fession, and the locality where he desires to reside.

He must renew his declaration the 1st of January of each year and each time that his pre-
ceding declaration shall become inexact from whatever cause.

Authorization to reside will be accorded by the resident of the circumscription, who will
deliver to the applicant a residence permit good for one year.

The delivery of this permit is subordinated to the payment of an annual tax, which will
consist of —

(i) A fixed tax of 25 francs ($4,825), due by every stranger of the masculine sex more
than 18 years of age, in lieu of the forced labor to which all natives are subjected.

(2) A supplementary tax due by each stranger exercising a calling or trade subject to the
local license tariiT and fixed at 50 francs (I9.65) for licenses of the first and second classes
and 25 francs ($4,825) for those of the third and fourth classes.

The rate of taxation is established according to the declarations made by the stranger.
Each inexact or incomplete declaration having for its object the exoneration from all or a
part of the tax will be punished by a penalty equal to double of the defrauded tax.

The present notice is not applicable to military men in active service nor to laborers en-
gaged by the public service.

Proposed Railroad in Mozambique. — Consul HoUis, of Mozambique, writes,
under date of November 20, 1896:

I have the honor to report that the obstructions to navigation, shoals,
rapids, etc., on the Zambesi River have always contributed largely toward
the excessive cost of transport from the coast to British Central Africa. It
is now proposed to construct a railway from Kiliman to a point on the Brit-
ish Central African border just above the rapids on the Ruo River, a distance
of about 190 or 200 miles. A decree of the Lisbon Government has just
been published authorizing the Zambesi Railway Company, a Portuguese
corporation, to issue 4 per cent bonds to the amount of ;^i, 400,000
($6,813,100), redeemable at par in sixty-five years or less. This sum will
constitute the capital of the company and will be expended (so reads the
decree) in constructing and working the said railway, which must be com-
pleted by the end of the year 1900. This is all concerning the proposed
line that I can report on from here. Any manufacturer of railway supplies
or equipment wishing to do business with this company must go to Lisbon,
where the head offices are located, and there negotiate with the leading

Tariff Changes in Curacao. — Under date of December 24, 1896, Consul
Spencer, of Curasao, sends the following:

I send a list of import charges at this island, but not at the dependencies
thereof, where there has been no modification of the tariff, and I inclose a

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284 NOTES.

copy of the ordinance which went into effect on the 17th of December,
1896.* The import charges are one-half of i per cent of the value on raw
cotton, cocoa, divi-divi, goatskins, hides, quinia bark, dyewoods of all kinds,
and lignum-vitae; 5 per cent of the value on cattle, sheep, and mules; 10
per cent of the value on horses; and 3 per cent of the value on all other
goods, with the exception of salt.

Trade Catalogues in Foreign Languages. — Consul Tucker writes from St.
Pierre, Martinique, December 16, 1896:

I have the honor to call the attention of the Department to the fact that
many sales of different kinds of merchandise are lost to the merchants of the
United States by reason of their catalogues being printed in the English
language only. Catalogues, in order to be of service here, should be printed
in French, as French is the only language spoken. In this connection, I
would further state that the mayor of the city of St. Pierre has informed
me that the municipality of St. Pierre desired to purchase one or mor^ steam
fire engines, also an assortment of stationery, and would like to deal with
American firms, but could not obtain either catalogues or price lists printed
in French from American manufacturers. Inquiries have also been made
regarding the purchase of carriages and buggies. I have written to different
manufacturers in the United States, setting forth these facts, without any
result arising therefrom, and would therefore call attention to this matter as
being of great importance to our trade.

Consul Ridgely, of Geneva, writing on the same subject, under date of
January 6, 1897, says:

I have the honor to report that during the year 1896 the increased
activity of American merchants and manufacturers in invading the foreign
markets was manifested in this consular district by the distribution of nuner-
ous catalogues, pamphlets, and other printed matter, most attractively and
artistically prepared, but, unhappily, not likely to be effective in obtaining
business, for the reason that all of them were in the English language. I
therefore consider it expedient to suggest that hereafter our merchants and
manufacturers be advised to have all commercial literature intended for dis-
tribution in continental Europe printed in French, German, and Italian. I
am certain that if all the literature distributed through this consulate during
1896 had been printed in French instead of English there would have been
at least some encouraging results.

New Spinning Mill at Crefeld. — Under the name and firm of Crefeld
BaumwoU-Spinnerei (Crefeld Cotton-Spinning Mill), writes Consul Deuster,
December 21, 1896, a company with a capital of 1,800,000 marks ($428,400)
has recently been organized in the city of Crefeld. It was quite awhile

* Ordinance filed in Bureau of Statistics, Department of State.

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NOTES. 285

before all the stock of the new company (1,800 shares at 1,000 marks each)
was disposed of. Up to date, only a site for the necessary buildings has been
selected, and it is questionable whether the company will commence with
the construction of said buildings before next spring. The new company
intends at first to spin Nos. 30, 40, and 50. The necessary machinery has
not as yet been contracted for. In connection with this, it may be of some
interest to state, further, that the cotton yarns used in Crefeld and its vicinity
for the manufacture of half silks and velvets are but rarely under No. 40 ;
from this number to No. 120 and upward are mostly used, of which yarns
the greater part is imported from England and some from Miihlhausen, in
Alsace. For these yarns, Egyptian cotton is generally preferred, since its
quality is regarded far superior to Indian and American cotton. There
are several other cotton-spinning mills in this consular district (Viersen and
M. Gladbach) spinning yarns from No. 4 to No. 30, English, of Indian and
American cotton, bought according to immediate, momentary prices, quali-
ties, freights, and duty thereon. Another cotton-spinning mill at Uerdingen,
on the Rhine, near Crefeld, is under construction and will probably be in
operation within a year. This will spin yarns of lower numbers, so that
American cotton could be used. It is to be regretted that but small quanti-
ties of American cotton are used in this manufacturing district — a district
where the export of cotton and cotton-mixed goods to the United States
amounts to enormous figures. In order to increase the consumption of
American cotton and yarns in this district, it would prove advantageous to
consign a stock of such goods to a trustworthy person or firm in any city in
the district where cotton and yarns are used, so that smaller quantities could
be obtained by manufacturers, if desired, as such is at present the case with
English yarns, obtainable from consignees in bundles of but 10 pounds.

Packing of Goods for Chile. — Consul Dobbs writes from Valparaiso, De-
cember 21, 1896:

I have the honor to report the following on the subject of packing Ameri-
can goods: Many American manufacturers still do not seem to realize the harm
they are doing themselves and American trade generally by putting up their
goods in too slight packages. Shirts, soap, toilet articles, and many kinds
of canned goods, just exactly the packages which offer most temptation,
often come in very thin boxes, without any protection in the way of wire or
sheet-iron bands, nailed with short, wire nails, easily drawn, and the Chilean
longshoreman or lighterman, expert in the use of the short, strong knife
he carries, often makes a nice plunder right under the eyes of the officers of
the steamers. Then, again, in heavier articles, which offer no temptation to
theft, the cases are not strong enough to withstand the very rough handling
they receive. The peon likes to see a good smash, and not only handles the
cases roughly, but if he is not watched, will deliberately drop a case in such
a way as to smash it, just to see it break, and with the same enjoyment that a

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286 NOTES.

small boy throws stones through a window. Whenever possible, packing
should be done in such a manner that the package could not be broken open
by ordinary means or by being dropped. A case in point occurred the
other day. A lot of miscellaneous bronze and brass repairs for mining ma-
chinery came in what was a little stronger than a cracker box. It broke
open in the ship's hold, and certainly many small parts were lost, probably
some of them of vital importance. A peon was detected in carrying off some
small castings in his bundle, not that they were of any use to him, but simply
apparently for the sake of stealing. A prominent Chilean importer of
American goods said to me the other day: **If American manufacturers
only knew how to pack goods as well as they know how to make them,
American trade in South America would very soon make a better comparison
with English and German trade than it does to-day."

Concessions in Nicaragua. — Under date of December 21, 1896, Consul
O'Hara, of San Juan del Norte, writes:

Alfred Raymond Fornaris, a citizen of the United States, has been
granted a concession to construct and operate a steam tramway between the
town of Bluefields and the Bluefields custom-house. The custom-house is
situated at the mouth of the harbor. The concession was granted November
3, 1896, and is published in Diario Oficial of December 6. A concession
to build and operate a railway between Rama and San Ubaldo was granted
November 12, 1896, to Henry A. Barling and Frank H. Davis, citizens of
the United States. The concession appears in full in the Diario Oficial
of November 24. It is rumored that a contract to deepen the harbor en-
trance at San Juan del Norte has been let to Frank E. Keen, a British subject.
Mr. Keen has represented that, with but little outlay, the harbor may be
opened to vessels drawing 18 feet. He is not an engineer. The concessions
mentioned have not been ratified by the Congress, but will be ratified as a
matter of course. So little has ever been done in Nicaragua under any
Government concessions, big or little, that it seems a waste of time to enter
into the details of any concession without positive proof that it is to be
pushed. Mr. Barling says that the Rama-San Ubaldo Railway will be built.
He is said to be in touch with capital in New York and New Jersey. His
address is Rivas, Nicaragua. Mr. Fornaris lives in Bluefields and Mr. Keen
in San Juan del Norte.

Banana and Coffee Lands in Nicaragua. — Consul O'Hara, of San Juan
del Norte, under date of November 5, 1896, reports as follows upon the
banana, orange, and coffee lands of Nicaragua :

The Bluefields River is the only one in the country that can be entered
by steamers large enough for the fruit trade. Bananas and plantains may
be grown on any of the river lands in eastern Nicaragua, but these lands are

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NOTES. 287

of little value owing to the sand bars at the mouths of the rivers. Plan-
tains and bananas are of but little account when they can not be marketed.
Several land companies organized to sell banana, orange, and coffee lands in
Mexico and Central America do a legitimate business, these lands being well
situated and of the character advertised, but the officers and agents of many
other companies are less scrupulous. Our people can not be too cautious in
buying such lands. No matter how fertile and productive the land may
be, fruit lands on rivers having impassable bars and coffee lands in regions
without either railways or wagon roads are not the lands our people want.
There are desirable lands in all these countries, but not an acre should be
purchased without either a personal examination or a report made by some
person with whom the would-be purchaser is acquainted and in whom he
has the utmost confidence. Many of the so-called concessions from these
governments may be had for the asking and confer no special privileges.

Building Slates for Ireland. — Due to the troubles which the Welsh slate
quarries are encountering, says Consul Ashby, of Dublin, under date of Jan-
uary 7, 1897, the Dublin slate trade is beginning to cast about for new
sources from which to draw the supplies required in the building trade and
the importers of slates are looking favorably toward the United States. Two
inquiries have reached this office quite recently for a list of exporters of

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 40 of 82)