United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

. (page 63 of 82)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 63 of 82)
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Hungary and Wallachia


Borneo and Celebes

China, Japan, and Sumatra..


Philippine Islands (hemp)....
Philippine Islands (sugar)....

Argentine Republic



Russia .,

Denmark and Sweden..

Great Britain..

London (coal)..

Argentine Republic.


Castile, Chile, Mexico, and Peru-..

Greece .,

Newfoundland (fish)..


Syria.- «










Lumber measure



American equivalent.

Square, 50 cubic feet;
unhewn, 40 cubic feet :
inch planks, 600 super-





Tonde (cereals)..









Cochin China


i do

Sp.ice measure







Argentine Republic.


Central America-

0.507 poimd.
8a| pounds.
39.37 inches.
4.68 miles
4.61 miles.
0.63 acre,
a. 7335 poimds.
3.84 pounds.
3.0817 pounds.
2.85418 pounds.

9.5 pints.
31^ inches.
135.64 pounds.
»33M pounds.
135. 1 pounds.

139.45 pounds.
140 pounds.
0.9478 foot.
0.91407 foot.
37.9 inches.
36.1x3 pounds.
1.I03 pounds.
8.953 bushels.
36 bushels,
lox .43 pounds.
X 30.06 pounds.
ioi.6t pounds.
133.3 pounds.
1X9 pounds.
100 pounds.
X95 pounds.

330.46 pounds.

6 pounds.
5)4 pounds.

7 feet.

490 pounds.

3.6 feet.

I pound 13 ounces.

10 inches.

X. 6 quarts.

165 cubic feet.

14 pounds.

3,700 cuadras {jttt ctM-

590.75 grains (troy).
0.35 acre.
3 pecks.
40 cubic feet.
3.94783 bushels.
1.36 acres.
6 feet square.
1.4X inches.
4.5 bushels.
1.33 acres.
34. iao8 inches.
0.914x17 yard.
38.874 inches.

Digitized by




Foreign weights and measures^ with American equivalents — Continued.


Where used.

Vara Chile and Peru ..

Do.~ Cuba

Do... Curasao

Do... Mexico

Do... ' Paraguay.„

Do Venezuela^

Vedro Russia

Vergees Kle of Jersey

Versl Russia....

Vlocka ' Russian Poland..

American equivalent.

33.367 inches.
33.384 inches.
33-375 inches.

33 inches.

34 Inches.
33.384 inches,
a. 707 gallons.
71.1 square rods.
0.663 mile.
41.98 acres.


Metric weights.

Milligram (x^^^^ gram) equals 0.0154 grain.

Centigram ( yj^ gram) equals 0.1543 grain.

Decigram (y'^ gram) equals 1.5432 grains.

Gram equals 15.432 grains.

Decagram (lo grams) equals 0.3527 ounce.

Hectogram (100 grams) equals 3.5274 ounces.

Kilogram (i,oco grams) equals 2.2046 f)ounds.

Myriagram (10,000 grams) equals 22.046 pounds.

Quintal (100,000 grams) equals 220.46 pounds.

Millier or tonnea — ton (1,000,000 grams) equals 2,204.6 pounds.

Metric dry measure.

Milliliter (jVff7 ^^^^^) equals 0.061 cubic inch.
Centiliter (y,^^ liter) equals 0.6102 cubic inch.
Deciliter (y^^ liter) etjuals 6.1022 cubic inches.
Liter equals 0.908 quart.
Decaliter (10 liters) equals 9.08 quarts.
Hectoliter (100 liters) equals 2.838 bushels.
Kiloliter (1,000 liters) equals 1.308 cubic yards.

Metric liquid measure.

Milliliter (y^g^ liter) equals 0.0388 fluid ounce.

Centiliter (^J^ liter) equals 0.338 fluid ounce.

Deciliter (y*^ liter) equals 0.845 g'^^-

Liter ecjuals 1.0567 quarts.

Decaliter (10 liters) equals 2.6418 gallons.

Hectoliter (100 liters) equals 26.418 gallons.

Kiloliter (loo liters) equals 264.18 gallons.

Metric measures of length.

Millimeter (j^^j^ meter) equals 0.0394 inch.

Centimeter (yj ^ meter) equals 0.3937 inch.

Decimeter ( ^^ meter) equals 3.937 inches.

Meter equals 39.37 inches.

Decameter (10 meters) eciuals 393.7 inches.

Hectometer (100 meters) equals 328 feet i inch.

Kilometer ( 1,000 meters) e(]uals 0.62137 mile (3,280 feet 10 inches).

Myriameter (10,000 meters) equals 6.2137 miles.

Metric surface measures.

Centare (I square meter) equals 1,550 square inches.
.Are (100 square meters) equals 119.6 square yards.
Hectare (10,000 square meters) ecjuals 2.471 acres.
No. 199 HI.

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Vol. LIII. APRIL, 1897. No. 199.



A presidential decree was published August 19, 1896, establishing duties
on wines, beers, and spirituous liquors imported into Nicaragua. All con-
flicting laws and decrees are repealed. A synopsis of the decree is as fol-
lows :

(i) Duties shall be calculated according to gross weight, including inside and outside
packages of every description.

(2) The duty on wines not exceeding 20° alcoholic strength shall be 6 cents (2.982 cents
United States currency) per libra (1.043 l>ounds).

The duty per libra on wines exceeding 20° alcoholic strength shall be 6 cents (2.982 cents
United States currency), plus as many cents as the degrees of alcoholic strength shall exceed

(3) The duty on mixed liquors not exceeding 20° alcoholic strength shall be 12 cents
(5.964 cents United States currency) per libra (1.043 pounds) ; and on mixed liquors of greater
alcoholic strength shall be I cent (0.00497 cent United States currency) additional per libra
for each degree above 20®.

(4) Mixed wines and spirits exceeding 30° and not above 50° alcoholic strength shall be
classed as "pure foreign spirits" and be subject to a duty of 30 cents (14.91 cents United
States currency) per libra (1.043 pounds).

(5) The duty on "pure foreign spirits" not exceeding 50° alcoholic strength shall be 30
cents (14.91 cents United States currency) per libra (1.043 pounds); and on such spirits of
greater strength shall be I cent (0.00497 cent United States currency) additional per libra for
each degree al)ove 50°.

(6) The duty on beer shall be 4 cents (1. 988 cents United States currency) per libra
(1.043 pounds); and on champagne and other eflervescent wines shall be 12 cents (5.964
cents United States currency) per libra.

(7) The alcoholic strength of such liquids shall be ascertained by means of the alcohol-
ometer, or "ebullioscopio," according to the centesimal scale of Gay-Lussac.

No. 199 1. 447

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The foregoing rates have been reduced to United States currency accord-
ing to the last published estimate of the Director of the United States Mint,
such estimate placing the value of the Nicaraguan peso, or dollar, at 49. 7
cents United States currency.

The only coins minted by Nicaragua are i, 5, 10, and 20 cent pieces.
The silver sol of Peru and the silver peso of Chile circulate freely in Nicara-
gua, and are the hard dollars of the country.

The sol and peso each pass in Nicaragua for 100 cents, but whether it be
in payment for provisions, clothing, medicines, or labor, 100 cents of the
United States will go further to-day in Nicaragua than 200 Nicaraguan cents
of either paper or silver. Gold coins are seldom seen in the country.

A year ago, a draft on New York for $100 in United States currency
could be purchased in San Juan del Norte for from ^191 to ^197 in Nicara-
guan currency, but in all local transactions, an American dollar was the
equivalent of two Nicaraguan dollars.

To-day, it requires ^2.15 local silver or paper to purchase what ^i in
United States currency will purchase, while a New York draft for ^100 costs
from ^225 to 1 233 in Nicaraguan currency. In most cases, drafts can only
be purchased with full- weight soles and pesos.

The ordinary market value in New York and New Orleans of these so-
called dollars is from 47 to 49 cents.

Since March i, 1896, about 60,000 soles and pesos have been shipped
from San Juan del Norte to New York, merchants finding it cheaper to ship
silver specie than to buy drafts at the current rates.


During the year ended June 30, 1895, 251 barrels of alcohol, 1,307 pack-
ages of beer, 2,421 packages of wines, and 4,570 packages of spirituous
liquors were landed at San Juan del Norte. The packages were of various
sizes, those containing spirituous liquors being as follows: Cases of 12 bot-
tles each, 2,057; cases of 15 bottles each, 2,017; barrels, 206; demijohns,
194; quarter casks, 46; puncheons, 25; casks, 15; hogsheads, 8; kegs, 2;
total, 4,570-

I have not had an opportunity to examine the bills of lading for the year
ended June 30, 1896, but a conservative estimate of the annual importations
of spirituous liquors is 5,000 packages, large and small.

The average annual importation of beers and wines is 1,200 and 2,500
l)ackages, resi:)ectively.

Assuming that cases of 12 bottles contain 2^8 gallons each and that cases
of 15 bottles of gin contain about 6 gallons each, the average annual impor-
tation of spirituous liquors is 35,000 gallons.

The average annual importation of beers and wines may be estimated at
15,000 and 12,000 gallons, respectively.

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The present population of San Juan del Norte does not exceed 1,200.
Everything consumed in the place is consumed either by the inhabitants of
the town or by travelers passing through it, as the surrounding country is

Travel is limited. Very few native travelers have any money to spend,
and most of the foreigners passing through are either "strapped" or next
door to it.

There are twenty-six drinking saloons, or cantinas, every store in town but
the drug stores selling liquors by the glass. Cognac is the favorite stimulant
of the natives. The Jamaica negroes usually call for rum or gin. Although
there are twenty-six cantinas in town, and no farmers to speak of within 50
miles, it is far from being **a good saloon town." Most of the inhabitants
are both abstemious and impecunious. But three of the cantinas do what
Americans would consider ^a paying business. The three in question are run
in connection with the three principal stores. The bars are but a few feet
from the silk counters and are patronized chiefly by Jamaica negroes.

The license fee for a cantina is ^50 per annum, equivalent, according to
the aforementioned official estinmte, to $24.85 in United States currency.

One hundred dollars looks big to a man or woman whose daily food con-
sists principally of plantains and beans; and the average keeper of a cantina
is well satisfied if the year's profit amounts to anything above $25 (gold).
The cantinas, as a rule, are owned by men who work at odd jobs, their
wives running the cantinas during their absence. It may safely be estimated
that two-thirds of the wines, beers, and spirituous liquors imported into San
Juan del Norte is sold and shipped to dealers at other points. Gin and rum
in considerable quantities are shipped to Honduras. Small shipments of
liquors are occasionally made to Nicaraguan towns and settlements lying
north of San Juan del Norte, but most of the beer, wine, whisky, and brandy
shipped from San Juan del Norte is sent to the interior by way of the San
Juan River.


Alcohol may lawfully be imported by any person into the free port of
San Juan del Norte. In all other parts of the country, however, its intro-
duction is a Government monopoly. Goods shipped from San Juan del
Norte to other parts of the Republic are no more exempt from the payment
of full import duties than goods shipped from foreign countries. There is
a custom-house at the little town of Castillo, on the San Juan River. All
freights from San Juan del Norte to the interior must necessarily pass Castillo,
as there are neither railways nor wagon roads between San Juan del Norte
and Lake Nicaragua. All boats, whether large or small, are required to
stop at Castillo in order that the custom-house officers may ascertain whether
dutiable goods are on board and collect the proper duties.

Considerable smuggling is done on the San Juan River, and it is probable
that most of the alcohol entered at San Juan del Norte finds its way to the

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interior of the country. It is probably true also that a large part of the
liquors shipped from San Juan del Norte to the interior passes Castillo with-
out adding to the public revenues. These operations have not been confined
to Castillo. There is reason to believe that they have been practiced also at

Since the inauguration of the movement to abolish the free port and to
collect duties at San Juan del Norte, measures have been taken by the local
authorities to prevent the making of false manifests and invoices of goods
shipped from the port. Prior to that time, no attention was paid to such
manifests and invoices, and there are no official records showing the true
quantities of goods of any kind shipped from San Juan del Norte.


An English traveler representing Evariste Dupont & Co. , of Bordeaux,
France, was in San Juan del Norte this week. He offered cognac at 50 francs
(^9.65 United States currency) per case of 1 2 bottles, and sauterne and other
French vintages at 25 francs ($4.82 J^o United States currency) per case of 1 2
bottles. When he was shown Hamburg invoices for 3*** cognac at 3.90
marks (92.8 cents United States currenc);) per case and sauterne and other
alleged French vintages at 6 marks ($1,428 United States currency) per case,
Xhe bills payable in six months and a discount of 5 per cent allowed if paid
within that time, he declared that he could not compete with such prices,
and that his house would not handle that class of goods.

Small quantities of cognacs and whiskies are imported occasionally which
cost, respectively, from $7.65 to $10.80 (United States currency) and from
I4. 20 to $4.75 (United States currency) per case of 12 bottles delivered in
warehouse at San Juan del Norte. The liquors chiefly handled, however,
cost as follows, in United States currency:

Cognac per case of 12 bottles... $2.20

Gin do 1. 16

Do per case of 15 bottles... 1.60

Rum per case of 12 bottles... 2.16

Do per gallon... .32

Whisky do $0.42 to .57

Do per case of 12 bottles... 2.20

These figures represent the cost of such liquors delivered in warehouse
or store at San Juan del Norte.


The retail prices of liquors, etc., which are commonly sold are as follows
in Nicaraguan currency, $1 of which, as already stated, is estimated to be
equivalent to 49.7 cents in United States currency:

Cognac and whisky l^er bottle of one-fifth gallon... $1.00 to I1.25

Rum and gin per bottle... .60 to 1. 00

Claret and vermouth do 75 to 1.25

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Beer per bottle of i pint... ^.25 to ^.30

Cognac and whisky per drink... .10 to .25

Rum and gin do 05 to . 15

Beer is not sold by the glass.


Connoisseurs, perhaps, may smile at mention of bogus seals and labels
for wines and liquors. But few persons, however, are able when blindfolded
to sample wine and give the latitude and longitude of the vineyard in which
the grapes were grown. With the average man, and even an occasional
"connoisseur," it is too apt to be the case that a label is a label and a seal
is a seal. There is reason to believe that many of the wines, beers, and
liquors consumed in Nicaragua are falsely labeled. Most of the goods so
labeled are spurious and come from Hamburg. In two cases, however,
genuine goods are sold under false labels. A certain brand of Irish whisky
is imported. The labels are then removed and counterfeit labels of a better
brand of the same whisky substituted.

A certain beer is imported which is made specially for cheap trade. It
costs about $2 (Nicaraguan currency) less per barrel of 10 dozen bottles than
the manufacturer charges for the same brand of beer when made for other
markets. Essences, extracts, oils, etc., are kept in certain stores, and
''doctored*' rums, brandies, and whiskies are occasionally sold.

While gathering materials for my report, I was shown about one hundred
different labels which had been sent as specimens by a German dealer in
labels. At the same time I was permitted to read two letters from Hamburg
offering to put up brandies, whiskies, wines, and beers in imitation of any
brands desired.

The letters stated that customers rfeed not forward samples of well-known
brews and vintages, but that orders for imitations of brands having but a
local reputation should be accompanied by samples in order that color, taste,
etc., might be skillfully duplicated.


Although 4,570 packages of spirituous liquors were imported during the
year ended June 30, 1895, the register of landing certificates shows that but
184 barrels, 5 casks, and 24 cases of American whiskies were landed at San
Juan del Norte between November i, 1890, and April 16, 1896, a period of
almost five and a half years. The register contains no mention either
of whiskies not entitled to drawback or those received from Bluefields, Nica-
ragua, and registered at that port, but such importations are small, nine-tenths
of the American whiskies imported into San Juan del Norte being entitled
to registry there. With the exception of a small consignment of " Claxton "
whisky, no American whisky has been bought in Bluefields during the past
year by San Juan del Norte merchants. Prior to that time, " Jud Clayton '*

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whisky was occasionally introduced. ** Claxton " whisky retails in San Juan
del Norte for about $i (United States currency) a bottle.

I reported to the Department April i6, 1896, that the Cook & Bern-
heimer Company had advised the New York commission house of Andreas
^ Co. that after a certain date the exportation of American whiskies would
not be profitable, and that the house would not fill orders for such whiskies
for export after the date mentioned. At the same time I reported that one
of the San Juan del Norte merchants had been handling an American whisky
which cost him 29 cents (United States currency) per gallon. Since the
receipt of the Cook & Bernheimer letter, 70 barrels of American whisky,
costing 27^ cents (United States currency) a gallon, have been imported
into San Juan del Norte.

A dealer in San Juan del Norte who has bottled liquors shipped to him
in casks, says that when ordered in small lots the cost of 12 bottles and 12
straw caps or bonnets is about 40 cents. Allowing the same for Hamburg
packages, the cost of the liquor is 53 cents, or less than 23 cents a gallon.
A few cents more must be chopped off for corks, seals, labels, case, labor,
cartage, and, possibly, wharfage. The selling price of the cognac which
costs J2. 20 (United States currency) per case delivered in San Juan del
Norte, is about 70 cents (United States currency) per gallon, less the cost of
packages, etc. Better brands of cognacs, as already stated, are imported in
small lots, but the bulk of the trade in San Juan del Norte is in cheap liquors.
Com])etition with so cheap a rival as 23-cent cognac is out of the question,
but American whiskies might hold their own against certain other brands of
cognacs, and, in time, supplant them. New whiskies, if shipped in wood
and bottled after a reasonable length of time, might be sold at fair profits.


San Juan del Norte, September 24y i8g6. Consul.


The Government of Nicaragua has changed the tariff on the imiX)rtation
of tobacco, and I inclose a copy of the original decree, which was furnished
me by Sefior Fuljensia Mayorga, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and a
translation thereof. According to this decree, the duty on imported tobacco,
which heretofore has been a special duty of $1.50 (silver) for tobacco and
%2 for cigars per pound, has been reduced to 60 cents (silver) per pound
gross weight for raw and manufactured tobacco of all kinds imported from
other countries, except from the Central American States, where the duty is
regulated by mutual treaties.

This lower tariff will, without doubt, give tobacco dealers in the United
States a good opportunity to extend their trade to Nicaragua.


Managua, October 23 ^ i8g6. Consul.

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With this date will go into eflfect the decree, which says :

The President of the Republic, by authority vested in him, has issued the following decree :

(1) The tobacco imported into this Republic after the publication of this decree shall pay
at the customhouses 60 cents (silver) duty for each pound gross weight; this relates to tobacco
imported in bulk as well as to manufactured tobacco.

(2) The tobacco coming from the republics of Central America shall enjoy the privileges
existing between these countries and regulated by mutual treaties.

(3) Any other resolution affecting this subject is abolished by this decree.


Until a short time ago, the price of lard in Managua was not more than
30 cents a quart bottle, and this has been the highest ever paid for the article,
which is one of the first necessaries throughout the country. The late rev-
olution on one hand and the continuous dryness for the want of rain during
this winter on the other, have caused a scarcity of corn and other grains used
for feeding hogs, etc., and, as the result, have occasioned a rise in the price
of lard heretofore unprecedented. Lard is now sold at the rate of 60 cents
a bottle, which contains, more or less, i pound in the liquid state. In con-
sequence of the scarcity of the article in question, the Government of this
Republic has issued the following decree, thereby declaring the introduction
of lard free of custom-house duties for six months, taking effect from the
date of issue. The decree appeared in the Diario Official.


The President of the State, in consideration that the scarcity of lard has caused a very
high price for this article, which is a necessary of life for the poorer class of people and ought to
be within reach of them, has, by the powers vested in him, enacted the following: During
the next six months after the publication of this decree, the duties on importation of hog lard
to this country shall be rescinded.

The high price is general throughout the whole Republic, with a tend-
ency to a still higher rise on account of the approaching coffee crop, during
which more laborers will be employed on the coffee plantations and will have
to be furnished with lard as an ingredient of their food.

Nicaragua has, approximately, 400,000 inhabitants, and her nearest neigh-
bor, through the facilities of quick communication, is the United States.
It is for United States exporters to profit most by the concessions made in
the foregoing decree.

The lard used hereabouts is obtained by the most primitive process : the
small strips of fat are simply fried, and, without any clarification whatsoever
which would separate the sediment of small particles of scum, etc., from
the boiling mass, is put up in discarded kerosene tins, and then again, for
retail, in common quart bottles and thus sold to the consuming public.
These practices give the lard an ashy hue, which, to say the least, is very dis-
agreeable to the eye, and an unsavory taste ; still, in this state, it is sold and
used everywhere.

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Lard shipped from the United States could be disposed of to advantage
both to seller and consumer. Of course, there is a certain prejudice against
the imported article, but the public once convinced of its purity and cleanli-
ness would readily take to it.

For export to Nicaragua, it would be advisable to ship lard in tins of 50
or 25 pounds weight, well sealed ; in barrels, it would spoil very soon and
become rancid and also would be subject to losses by leakage on account of
the extreme heat.

Referring to cotton-seed oil as a substitute of lard for cooking purposes,
be it remembered — as lard is exclusively used in liquid state throughout Cen-
tral America — a Central American shows a great repugnance for oils of any
kind and uses them only for medicinal purposes.


Mana(;ua, Nai^ember /j, i8g6. Consul.


I have the honor to report that the decree of the 31st of October, 1896,
susi>ending the duties on the importation of lard into Nicaragua for the next

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 63 of 82)