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Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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six months, has been modified by a new decree dated December 20, 1896,
by which this susj>ension is confined to the lard imported at the three custom-
houses at El Castillo, San Juan del Sur, and Corinto. As stated in my
report on the lard question in Nicaragua, dated November 13, 1896, the
measure was adopted simply on account of the scarcity of this article in
the interior of this country, where, during the coffee- picking season, the
laborers are furnished by the coffee planters with lard.

The recent published limitation to the three above-named ports of entry
shows that Bluefields and other ports of the Atlantic coast, where no scarcity
of lard prevails, as there are no coffee plantations in that part of the country,
are excluded from the benefit of the free importation of lard.

PAUL WIESIKE,

Mana(;ua, January d, i^g"/. Consul.



VANILUV CULTURE IN NICARAGUA.

I inclose a newspaper clipping in relation to vanilla. The article was
jniblished October 3, 1896, in the Bluefields Recorder.

THOMAS O'HARA,
San Juan del Norte, October 12, i8g6. Consul.



THE VANILLA BEAN — INI)UCF31KNTS FOR ITS CULTIVATION.

At the request of several persons who have unbounded confidence in the agricultural
possibilities of the country, and who believe that the systematic cultivation of the minor prod-
ucts of the agricultural industry tends to develop the resources of the plantations on which



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BRITISH GOODS IN NICARAGUA. 455

they are grown, enhance their value, and contribute substantially toward their financial suc-
cess, we take pleasure in producing hereunder a free translation of a decree issued by the
National Assembly on the l6th of March, 1895, whereby a premium is offered by the (Gov-
ernment for the cultivation of the vanilla bean and the plants from which the balsams of tolu,
copaiba, and others are extracted. The National Legislative Assembly decrees :

"(i) Any person who shall cultivate one thousand or more plants of vanilla or balsams
on lands belonging to the Republic shall be entitled to a premium of 10 cents for each plant,
payable once only.

"(2) This premium shall be paid five years after the plantations shall be established on
the usual footing.

" (3) The owners of these plantations, as well as the proprietors of plantations of cacao,
coffee, and india rubber, can obtain up to 140 hectares (about 346 acres) of national lands, the
value of which can be paid with the proceeds of the premium obtained for the plantations
established.

" (4) The denouncements of said lands shall be directed to the political chiefs, who shall
appoint a surveyor to measure the land at the expense of the parties interested.

** (5) In the event of there being no planting effected one year after the land shall have
been measured, the parties concerned shall lose their rights to the land, which may be de-
nounced anew by other persons.

** (6) The right to the premium mentioned in this law shall remain in force for a period
of ten years from the publication of these presents."

This decree, whenit shall have become known abroad, will not fail to bring about the result
anticipated — that is, induce not only local agriculturists, but foreigners who are desirous to
try their luck in tropical mvestments, to cultivate the economic plants mentioned therein on
an extensive and systematic scale, the only means whereby they can be made to yield appre-
ciable profits.

The vanilla, the balsams of peru, tolu, and copaiba 6nd ready sale and remunerative
prices in the markets of Europe and the United States. The demand for these tropical prod-
ucts, for which, as yet, there is no artificial substitute, is constantly increasing; it is therefore
evident that those who would take advantage of the liberal inducements contained in the decree,
which bears President Zelaya*s sanction as a voucher for its effective and practical execution,
will not only make a remunerative investment, but secure land at little or no cost to extend their
cultivations in more ways than one.



BRITISH GOODS IN NICARAGUA.

I inclose herewith clippings from the British Trade Journal and the
Bluefields Recorder. The article clipped from the British Trade Journal
relates to the exhibition in London of **a collection of samples of foreign
manufactures which compete with British goods in the West Indies.** The
article states :

There are among the collection some specimens of boots and shoes which makers in this
country Would regard it as disgraceful to ship, and it is a question whether it is worth while
in the long run to compete in the production of rubbish, which can not give lasting satisfac-
tion to the consumer.

It is probably true that many British manufacturers ** would regard it as
disgraceful to ship" boots and shoes similar to the specimens mentioned.
Some very good shoes are imported into Nicaragua from England, but they
do not begin to be as popular as American-made shoes. It is a fact, too,
notwithstanding the commendable faith which the British Trade Journal has



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456 BRITISH GOODS IN NICARAGUA.

in the honesty of British manufacturers, that the very poorest shoes imported
into Nicaragua are English. I have seen children's shoes that had paper
soles, heels, and counters. A single wetting would finish them. Accord-
ing to the invoices shown me, the shoes came from England, and I have no
reason to believe that the invoices were fraudulent. In the United States,
our tailors assure us that certain English and French woolens will hold color.
Most of the woolens sold in San Juan del Norte are said to be English.
I have bought nine or ten pieces for suits, and, with but one exception, they
have faded inside of two months.

I am reasonably certain that the author of the article in the Bluefields
Recorder has "an axe to grind," and that the decline in British trade "in
these parts" may not distress him as much as he imagines. I do not pre-
tend to know whether the goods in question are English or German. It
would please me to know that they are neither one nor the other, and I am
very glad that no one believes them to be of American manufacture. If
such goods are manufactured in England, the journals and manufacturers
of that country throw consistency to the winds when they talk about German
shoddies.

THOMAS O'HARA,

San Juan del Norte, October 12 , i8g6. Consul,



[From ihc British Trade Journal, September i, 1896.]
FOREIGN SAMPLES FROM THE COLONIES.

There is now on view in London a collection of samples of foreign manufactures which
compete with British goods in the West Indies. They have been sent, in reply to Mr. Cliam-
berlain's circular, from Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Among
the goods represented are axes, saws, files, chisels, locks, twine, boots and shoes, hosiery,
wearing apparel, cotton blankets, and counterpanes, the countries of origin being Germany,
the United States, P' ranee, and Austria. In many cases they are excellently made, and em-
l)ody improvements in form or make, but in others the quality is so decidedly inferior that it
will be difficult to persuade British firms of good standing to produce it. With regard to
several lines in the hardware section, British manufacturers might take a hint as to the pat-
terns which the United States have produced. In nearly every case the prices and quality
are remarkably low ; but in the absence of any certified copies of invoices, the quotations
given must be received with the greatest caution, if not skepticism. All buyers know how
difficult it is even at home to obtain genuine bottom figures, and there are obvious reasons
why the prices attached to these samples should be so remarkably low, though it may be con-
ceded that they would be somewhat lower than those quoted in connection with goods from
this country. But we would recommend manufacturers not to be debarred by the cheapness
of the foreign goods from endeavoring to reproduce their general appearance and form in
somewhat better quality. There are among the collection some specimens of boots and shoes
which makers in this country would regard it as disgraceful to ship, and it is a question
whether it is worth while in the long run to compete in the production of rubbish, which can
not give lasting satisfaction to the consumer. In considering the quotations, it must also be
asked to what extent these have been influenced by cheap transit on Government railways
and by the bounties on shipping and the high prices which the manufacturer is able to procure
in the home and protected market. It is patent that many of the samples of American hard-



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BOOKS AND PAPER FOR THE NICARAGUAN TRADE. 457

ware arc offered at considerably less than they would fetch in the United States. The col-
lection is the first of a series to arrive from all parts of the colonies, and it should prove the
nucleus of an interesting and useful commerciid museum. But we would advise those who
are responsible to furnish some kind of assurance that the prices given are within reasonable
distance of the real market rates.



[From the Bluefields Recorder, September 26, 1896.]

A San Juan correspondent writes :

** The English manufacturer has just cause for complaint at the falling off of British ex-
ports during the past few years.

" This decline in the trade is due to unscrupulous merchants pushing inferior German
products and selling them as English or French for the sake of extra gain. This becomes
the more despicable when practiced by British consuls engaged in business in these parts.

•* It is the duty of consuls to look after the trade of their respective countries and foster
and encourage, rather than hamper it. It has been our misfortune, however, to see consuls and
vice-consuls in trade in this country palm off German shoddy as pure English wool. So long
as consuls are allowed to trade, this state of things will exist, and the English manufacturer
will have to grin and bear it.'*



BOOKS AND PAPER FOR THE NICARAGUAN TRADE.

The school books in use here are made in the United States, Mexico,
and France. But few other books are sold. Most of the blank books come
from the United States. Complaint is made that most of the printed books
are poorly bound. It is alleged that the pastes and glues used are of inferior
quality, and I am inclined to believe it. The covers fall from the books in a
very short time, and there is every evidence of inferior work. Most of my
books were made in the United States, and I have very few expensive books.
Although my books are cheap and some of the covers have lost color, the
books have not fallen apart. In that respect, they are as good as ever.
Wire stitched or fastened books soon fall to pieces in this climate. The
wire rusts, and a wired book in constant use will not last more than a few
months. Sheets are inclosed herewith which have fallen from a wire-fastened
record book in this office.* The first entry in the book was made in 1892,
and I am advised that the leaves commenced to fall in 1893. Cockroaches
and the climate play havoc with most cloth-covered books.

Red and green are popular colors here, but a book having either red or
green cloth covers soon ceases to be a thing of beauty. Three days ago I
received two volumes of Commercial Relations of the United States, 1894
and 1895. The red-cloth covers were in good condition when the books
came from the post-office. The covers are mottled now, and in less than a
month will look as if they had been sprayed with a strong acid. I inclose
herewith specimens of covers taken from books in this office.* The books
have been kept in a walnut bookcase having a glass front. The people here



* Filed in Bureau of Statistics, Uepariment of Stale.



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458



TRANSPORTATION AND TRADE AT BLUEFIELDS.



are fond of bright colors. It may be impossible to make red, blue, and
green book covers that will hold color in this climate and be cockroach
proof, and if they can be made it would pay to introduce them here.

THOMAS 0*HARA,
San Juan del Norte, October 26 y i8g6. Consul.



TRANSPORTATION AND TRADE AT BLUEFIELDS.

A description of the town of Bluefields and its harbor is given in my
dispatch of February 26, 1896.* All goods are lightered between the
custom-house and the town, a distance of about 5 nwles. The lighterage
charges are as follows :



Description.



Lumber per i.ooofcct...

Merchandise per package not exceeding loo pounds...

Do per package exceeding loo pounds...



Nicara-
guan cur-
rency.


United
States cur-
rency.


$3.00


$1,491


. 10


.0497

(*)



♦Special rate.

Freight and passenger rates on the Bluefields or Escondido River are as
follows :



Description.



Bluefields to Cama :
Passenger —

First class

Second class

Freight per i,ooo pounds

Bluefields to Kama :
Passenger —

First class

Second class ,

Freight per 1,000 pounds

Cattle per head

Meals—

At table

On deck :

Berth



Nicara-


United


guan cur-


States cur-


rency.


rency.


j^.oo


^■994


1.50


•7455


•30


. 1491


3.50


1.7395


2.00


•994


•50


•2485


5.00


2-485


•75


.37275


.50


.3485


1. 00


.497



Steamships arriving at Bluefields with merchandise for Rama are now
required to discharge it at the Bluefields custom-house.

It not infrequently happens that an incoming steamer remains at Blue-
fields a day or more before proceeding upriver to load with bananas. It is
claimed by Rama merchants that, in such cases, there is ample time for the
examination at the custom-house of the goods brought in for Rama, and



♦ Printetl in C<^Nsi!LAK Rkpokts No. 190 (July, 1896), pp. 423-451.



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FOREIGN SETTLERS IN NICARAGUA.



459



that upon such examination and the payment of duties, the goods should be
allowed to be taken upriver by the steamers bringing them in. The Gov-
ernment, however, has not seen fit to accede to such proposition.

During the six months ended June 30, 1896, vessel arrivals at Bluefields
were as follows :

Coasting vessels (3 to 20 tons burden) 357

Sailing vessels from the United States 2

Steamships from the United States 87

Total 446

Eighty-two cargoes of bananas were shipped from the port during the
six months; the number of bunches was 1,071,000, an average per cargo of
13,062 bunches.

THOMAS O'HARA,

San Juan del Norte, October 28, j8g6. ConsuL



FOREIGN SETTLERS IN NICARAGUA.

Numerous inquiries are made as to the number of Americans in Nicaragua.
My dispatches of February 12 and 26* give the foreign population of San
Juan del Norte and Bluefields. In 1892, the Government of Nicaragua pub-
lished a list of foreigners residing in the departments of Carazo, Chinandega,
Chontales, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva
Segovia, and Rivas. The names of foreigners without a trade, profession, or
other regular occupation were not included in the list. The total number
reported was 371, of whom 107 resided in the department of Managua.
Most of the others resided in Leon, Chontales, Chinandega, and Matagalpa.
The list also purports to show in most instances the approximate value of the
property owned by each individual.

The following statement shows the number of foreigners residing in the
eleven departments mentioned and the approximate value of property owned
by them as published in such list:



Nationality.



Austria

Belgium

Chile

China

Colombia

Denmark

Ecuador

France

Germany

Great Britain,
Holland



Number.


Value of
property.


3

I
4


l53,oa>


54 » 250


3

4




30,000


3


110



Nationality.



52 1

6 I



285,600
1,151,800

5«4,5oo
105,000



I Italy

Jamaica

I Mexico

Peru

Russia

Spain

Switzerland

United States..

Venezuela



Number.

69
3

4



Value of
property.



^1,232,000

6,000
8,400
5,000



25

6
60 I



301,000
109,000
349.500



Total..



4,305,160



•Printed in Consular Reports No. 190 (July, 1896).



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460



FOREIGN SETTLERS IN NICARAGUA.



The values of property are expressed in Nicaraguan currency. As $1 in
Nicaraguan currency was worth but 61.3 cents in United States currency
January i, 1893, the total reported value of property owned by foreigners
in western Nicaragua was 12,577,763.08 in United States currency. The
occupations reported were:





Nationality.


Occupations.


France.


Ger-
many.


Great
Britain.


Italy.


Spain.


United
States.


Another
coun-
tries.


Total.


Actors 1






4
5




4
64


Agriculturists


9


15


7


5


16


7


Architects




Artisans


3
I








3


Bakers







I






Bank cashiers




I




Bookbinders i














Bookkeepers


M


6


a


I


^


3
I
I


26


Capitalists




Carpenters _ '














Chemists '




I
2
4










Civil engineers . .


9


2
2




2
3






Clerks ^ t




X


3<)


Commission agents









Consular aeents...,.


t














Cooks 1










I
I




Dentists










I
6






1


3


I
2




10




1













I






Oovernroent emnlovees...




J




I
I








Hotel keepers „ i


2


5

I
9







2










I
3


z


3


I






6

I
z
I
4


21




3

X






Machinists


X

a
•17

9

1




I
5
3


3

9

..


Mechanics i


I
II

2
2


Merchants


'


2





Merchants and agriculturists...




6

I









4 I


ao










a




5
2




3


3
























'

















I






I










3
6






2 ;■


'..; ._."




X






3

I


2




Priests .






I



3


2


Saddlers


I








2


Sailors


I


X

I


3
9




^


10




3




! ;








I














I






Tailors '










I




Teachers '








'


I






Tinsmiths . 1 i






6x








1










Total


''


89


47


7>


25


43


37>





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HONEYBEES IN NICARAGUA.



461



The list contains the names and occupations of 469 foreigners in San
Juan del Norte and places the value of their property at ^386,500 in Nica-
raguan currency, or ^236,924.50 in United States currency.

Taxes for local purposes are higher in San Juan del Norte than in any
other part of Nicaragua, with the possible exception of Bluefields, figures
showing the receipts and expenditures of which are not at hand. Accord-
ing to the last published statement which I have seen of local taxes, the
annual tax per capita of population in the several departments and districts
is as follows:



San Juan del Norte...
Cape Gracias-&-Dios..

Managua

Chinandega

Granada

Leon

Rivas

Masaya

Jinotcga

Chontales

Nueva Segovia

Matagalpa



District*.



Nicaraguan
currency.


United

States cur-

rency.


^26. 435
4.56


^"•953
2.234


»-53

.785

f -575


.75
.385
.282


•555


..•7a


.44


.216


.225


.11


.215


.105


.19
.»75


.093
.086


.105


.052



San Juan del Norte, Noi^ember 20 y i8g6.



THOMAS O'HARA,



Consul.



HONEYBEES IN NICARAGUA.

I have received a letter from Mr. A. F. Brown, of Huntington, Fla.,
who is a bee keeper and fruit grower. He states that *'in February, 1895,
Florida's orange industry was swept away and that it will take ten years for
the industry to recover.** He fears that what happened in 1895 ^^Y ^^P"
pen again, and he is anxious to settle south of the frost line. He makes
sixteen inquiries regarding Nicaragua. I have replied quite fully to all the
inquiries but one. The exception is as follows : " Do honeybees seem to
thrive? Are many wild in the woods or kept in hives?*'

I have never seen a bee in Nicaragua. Wild honey is found occasionally
in the woods near San Juan del Norte. It is said to be of poor quality and
of unpleasant taste. I met a gentleman this morning who is from the in-
terior. He informs me that he has never seen a beehive in Nicaragua, but
that wild honey is sold in most of the interior towns. Strained honey is
imported into this country, but most of the people are too poor to buy it.

THOMAS O'HARA,

San Juan del Norte, October 26, j8g6. ConsuL



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462 COFFEE CROP OF NICARAGUA.



INDEMNITY LOAN OF NICARAGUA.

I inclose a decree* of the President of Nicaragua calling for a national loan
to pay the debts this Government incurred under President Zarasa with the
Bank of Tx)ndon in Salvador, or rather its manager, Sefior A. Guirola, in
order to meet the claims of Great Britain for arresting Consul Hatch in Blue-
fields. The fact that this decree has been issued by President Zelaya upon
the urgent request of leading men of all parts of Nicaragua, coupled with the
further fact that President Zelaya on the 2d of this month issued a general
amnesty for all those who had been connected with the late revolution in
February and the attempted revolution in September, shows that it is the
earnest intention of the present administration of Nicaragua to keep peace
by all means, and that the people in general have confidence in its efforts.

PAUL WIESIKE,

Managua, November <9, i8g6. Consul,



COFFEE CROP OF NICARAGUA.

The harvesting of the coffee crop of Nicaragua for 1896-97 has now
been almost completed, and a small portion of it has gone forward to market
in New York and Europe. Owing to the lack of rainfall in a portion of
the coffee-growing section of the country — that portion nearest the Pacific
Ocean — during the last three years, the crop is not a full one. The quality
has also suffered in a slight degree. The planting of young trees has gone
right along from year to year, so that, with a good season and a full crop,
Nicaragua would have produced this year, it is estimated by good judges,
fully 50,000 sacks, or 5,000,000 pounds, more than at any time heretofore.

The Matagalpa region, in which is located the American colony, is in
the interior of the country, and it has been benefited by the rains which
come up to it from the Caribbean Sea. Consequently, the crop of that
region is double that of last year. This year, the export from that section
will reach 1,000,000 pounds, against about 500,000 pounds in 1895-96.

As going to illustrate the growth of this industry in that section, I note
that when I came here four years ago there were but twenty-eight Ameri-
cans — men, women, and children; there are now in the colony ninety
Americans. One, and only one, American child has been born in the
colony — a daughter to Isaac A. Manning and wife, in June, 1896. At that
time (1893), the number of coffee trees, but few yet in bearing, was reported
to be less than 50,000; at this time, the number exceeds 7,000,000. With
a good season, it is estimated that the crop next year will, owing to the
young trees coming into bearing, reach the amount of 4,000,000 pounds.

♦Filed in Bureau of Statistics, Department of State.



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COFFEE CROP OF NICARAGUA. 463

The American capital represented about Matagalpa in 1893 did not ex-
ceed ^50,000 (United States currency). At the present time, the invest-
ments in coffee culture of American com])anies aggregate $405,000, and
individual investments $155,000, making a total of $560,000 (gold), a gain
of $510,000 within four years.

The quality of the Matagalpa coffee is equal to the best Costa Rica and
Guatemala article, which, in the markets of the world, is ''equaled by few
and excelled by none."

As to the healthfulness of that region, the Manning Bros., to whom I am
indebted for the figures and general information in this dispatch, say:

After a residence of four years here, we can testify as to the absolute absence of "miasma"
in this region. The general health of the colony is and has been very good. There has
been no sickness among the members traceable to the climate. There have l^en but three
deaths among the Americans in five years, none of which were due in any measure to climatic
influences.

The climate is agreeable, the thermometer ranging from 65° to 85° F.

The principal population of the district is Indian, of whom there are
believed to be more than 40,000. They furnish the principal and best labor.
They are easily led, but can not be driven.

As to wages, the Messrs. Manning write:

Common laborers on the coffee estates are paid from 30 to 50 cents per day ; teamsters,
$12 to $20 per month ; plantation foremen, $20 to $30; caq)enters,^i 10^^1.50 per day. We



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 64 of 82)