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

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

. (page 67 of 82)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 67 of 82)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

replace them. A part of the cargo which these ships take shall be put on board of the
launch until they have crossed the place in Lake Maracaibo called Tablazo, and where they
frequently get aground on account of the low draft of water which there exists. Messrs.
H. L. Boulton & Co. further state that the steamer shall have the launch in tow until the
Tablazo is crossed and then the portion of the cargo shall be transshipped to the steamer and
the launch shall continue in low as far as the island of San Carlos, where it will be left at
anchor under the guard of the custom-house officers until the return of the steamer, when it
will be again towed back to Maracailx), and so on.

This service they state to be indispensable for the good management of the company, as
it frequently happens that they are obliged to send for lighters to Maracaibo to put the ship
afloat, causing great drawbacks to commerce by the delay of the mails and cargo, and, fur-
thermore, the injury done to the hull every time it strikes shallow water.

The President of the Republic has considered these reasons, and, finding them to be just,
* * * has ordered ihe Maracaibo custom-house to allow the service of said launch to the
Red D Line, placing on board of the launch on every trip the custom-house officers whom they
may deem necessary to receive the cargo and see to the transshipment over the Tablazo bar.

The expenses for the transporting of the officers who go on board shall be for account of
the interested parties.

The company can by no means ship on board of the launch any imported or inland cargo
upon its return from San Carlos, which it shall always leave in ballast and always be towed
by the same steamers.

For the National Executive. H. P£REZ. B,

No. 199 3.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC



I have the honor to forward translation of an official notice in regard to
some articles which have not heretofore been mentioned in the customs
tariff of Venezuela, but have now been classified.


Maracaibo, January jo, iSgj, Consul,


Messrs. I>eseur Romer & Baasch, merchants of this city, have addressed themselves to the
Government, wishing to know the classification in the custom-house tariff of the merchandise
known under the name of "fluosilicatos" of aluminium, zinc, iron, magnesia, chrome, lead,
and copper. The President of the Republic, after having consulted with the director of the
national laboratory, decides that all kinds of fluosilicatos of aluminium, zinc, copper, etc., im-
ported into this Republic shall be classified under the third class.*^ Let it l)e so communicated
to the national custom-houses and published.

For the National Executive. C. BRUZUAL SERRA.


I inclose translation of a recent decree of the Government of Venezuela in
regard to the protection of rookeries of herons. These birds are plentiful
in this consular district along Lake Maracaibo and on Lake Sinamaica and
the lowlands at the entrance to Lake Maracaibo. The new decree in regard
to the control of the rookeries and protection of these valuable birds is a
judicious one. During last year, I had four American bird hunters here who
came especially from the United States to gather the plumes of the herons,
here known under the name of **garza.*' It seems that from each bird only
a few feathers are used, these being the fine, long ones that grow on the
back part of the neck.

I am informed that a pound of these feathers in the United States brings
from $180 to $200, and as it takes a great many to make a pound, the de-
struction must be great. The birds are very useful, as they destroy a great
quantity of vermin of all kinds which abound in these tropical lands.


Maracaiko, yirw^^rj' Tj, iSgy. Consul.


Owing to dispositions enacted in the civil code, and considering that the industry of bird
hunting is not subject to any regulations, especially that of herons, which are abundant in the

•Third class duly, 25 centimes (4.8 cents) per 2.2046 poimds.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


national territory, the President of the Republic decides that in order to protect this source of
territorial wealth said explorations will be subject to the following rules:

(i) The presidents of the states in which the rookeries of herons exist, be they located
on private or public lands, shall from this date keep a special book for statistical purposes.
This record shall l>e kept by the secretary of state and will contain the description of all
the places where these rookeries are situated, their boundaries, extent, etc., and also the <iuality
and quantity of plumes whic'.i each one of them produce, and the names of the persons who
collect the plumes; also, the method of collecting the plumes as well as any abuses committed
in obtaining them. Copies of this statistical report shall be forwarded to the Treasury De-

(2) It is absolutely prohibited to hunt herons with firearms, and also all acts that may tend
to destroy these birds.

(3) In order to obtain the plumes of herons, a license is required, and it shall be granted
free by the president of the Slate to any person engaged in the business, and for the term of one
year; these licenses shall be numbered, recorded, and presented to the nearest civil authority
of the place, who shall take note of them before allowing the gathering of the plumes.

(4) This certificate or license shall be written on official paper of the class established by
the law of the State, and a stamp of the value of I bolivar shall also be used on this document.

(5) Should the rookeries be private property, the owner will have the right to grant
said license or make contracts for the collection of the plumes, but subject to the same for-
malities and requisites established in this decree as those which the authorities have to observe
when granting said licenses, viz: Every license or contract shall be personal, for the term of
one year, registered with the secretary of state and presented to the nearest authority of the
place before proceeding to its execution.

(6) As soon as the plumes are collected, the civil authority shall grant a pass, giving the
name and address of the person, the number of. the license. or contract, the name of
the rookery, the quality of plumes, and the date. Possessing this document, any kind
of transaction or sale of the article can be performed in the Republic.

(7) The collectors of customs of the Republic shall not allow the exportation of heron
plumes to persons who are not provided with a pass, as copies of same have to be taken in a
special book and one sent to the Treasury Department on the 1st day of every month.

(8) Any transaction performed as to heron plumes without previous compliance with the
formalities above mentioned will be considered as void and of no value. The violators will
be subject to the loss of the article and also to a fine of not less than 400 bolivars or projwr-
tional imprisonment. Persons caught in the act or shown to be obtaining plumes through
improper means and destroying the birds shall be handed over to the courts so that the
corresponding penalty may be imposed.

(9) All pul)lic authorities are bound to enfore strict compliance with this decree, notifying
this department of all steps taken by them in the matter.

(10) The National Executive will also appoint special commissioners, who will cooperate
with the authorities of the States where rookeries exist and will also see to the strict fulfillment
of this decree and correct all misunderstandings which may occur.

For the National Executive. A. SMITH.


In view of the widespread movement in the United States to open busi-
ness connections with the countries of South America, and the fact that the
average merchant in the United States seems to think that this can be accom-
plished by the exertions of American consuls in the distribution of trade
circulars and price lists printed in English, I have thought that an article on
this subject for publication in the Consular Reports might not be out of

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


place. I might as well say at the outset that South America is by no means
an unexplored region, but, on the contrary, is a territory hotly contested by
the representatives of leading European mercantile houses. There are Eng-
lish and German banking houses scattered throughout the entire eastern and
western coasts in almost every city. These banks, while doing a general
exchange business, are placed here especially for the benefit of the trade of
their own people, which, as a matter of course, is a great advantage to them.
The people of this portion of the continent prefer to do business with the
United States, but they are not willing to buy our wares at higher prices than
the same things can be procured from other people. Then comes in the
matter of the style of goods, together with the manner of packing and
the terms of payment, about which so much has been written from time to
time by the United States consuls.

The South American markets can be procured for our surplus manufac-
tures on the same conditions as for other nations. Suitable goods in con-
venient packages to be carried hundreds of miles into the interior on pack
horses, on terms as good as the English, German, and French merchants
furnish, can be sold all through this country by competent men who come
prepared to become acquainted with the people, learn their ways and tastes,
and at the same time find out th€ desirability of the custom of the individual
merchant, or, in other words, men who can speak the language and can
*'drum" for the trade just in the same way as has been found so effective in
every other part of the world.

I have lately seen a great many suggestions on the extension of American
trade, and among these is one to turn a United States consulate into a sort
of sales room, in which samples of goods are to be kept on exhibition, with
the consul as a kind of salesman. This, to my mind, will not meet the re-
quirements of the case, and would soon lead to endless squabbles. One
merchant would soon be charging the consul with having treated his wares
unfairly for the benefit of another. Besides, the consul is a servant of his
Government, and should not be used for the furtherance of any one's interest
to the detriment of another's.


Pernambuco, October 8, i8g6. Consul,


In the effort now being made by merchants and manufacturers in the
United States, individually and collectively, to extend our commercial inter-
ests in all directions, I fear too much dependence is being placed upon cir-
culars, catalogues, price lists, etc. These are all well enough in their place,
and often furnish the information sought at the consulate; but, as a writer
in El Comercial Americano says —

In order to succeed, .\merica must send competent representatives to these markets, bear-
»nnr in mind that the German, French, and English traveling agents of commercial, industrial.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


or financial concerns are well-informed men, familiar with the customs and business methods
of the country and with the Spanish language. They raust be men of accomplishments and
tact, who can be received everywhere — a requisite of the first importance — where character,
conduct, and manners of strangers are closely scniiinized before that attention and regard are
won, whhout which the best-equipped salesman will often prove a failure. They must also
be men who are financially well supported, enabling them to represent their firms in a proper
and creditable manner, and who, while working for orders, are expected to study and report
the needs, tastes, and preferences of the people.

In no other way save through personal and direct work can the trade be
secured. Circulars and catalogues alone are of little value. Merchants and
manufacturers should have impressed upon them that which the consular serv-
ice seems powerless to make understood, to wit, that these goods must be
manufactured and selected with an eye single to the tastes, needs, and pref-
erences of the people. They must be packed in parcels, boxes, etc., in size,
shape, and weight to suit the trade. All must be packed in a way to, in
part at least, insure against loss during transportation and to be as nearly
waterproof as possible.

Our well-informed exporters raust know that a wharf where vessels can
land goods in safety is a thing almost wholly unknown in Spanish America.
Nearly everywhere, merchandise is conveyed from the ships to the shore in
small boats, through many hundred yards of surf. One often sees bales and
packages of goods literally floated ashore — even hardware, cutlery, etc., in-
cluding the ever-present ** machete," are packed in waterproof, and therefore
not injured by salt water in the process of ** landing."

A thoroughly qualified agent, by direct contact with the people, and
through the instrumentality of properly worded and illustrated catalogues,
can greatly increase our trade from the outset. These people are thoroughly
friendly to Americans, and really wish to increase their commercial relations
with us.

However the situation may be viewed by my countrymen, I can assure
them that in this effort at education they must begin at home. The manu-
facturer and merchant must be taught how to pack goods for Spanish- American
markets. They must learn that the bulk of exports, to reach the consumer
in the rural districts, must at some point of the route be packed upon bron-
chos and mules and transported over mountain and canyon, where trails are
dignified with the name of road and where wheels are unknown. They
must learn that a merchant in making his purchases will not buy a case large
and unwieldy, necessitating unpacking, and consequent risk, when the same
goods, or *'just as good," can be had packed in small waterproof packages
of convenient shape and weight. They should know that goods of one class
only should be put in a package. If a dutiable article, however small, is put
into a package of goods on which there is no duty, the whole package would
become dutiable at the rate of duty on said small article. Different classes
of goods have different rates of duty, and when those of a low rate of duty
are packed with articles having a high rate of duty all are assessed at the
highest rate.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


Above all, our merchants should be careful that each case, bundle, or
box is true to brand in quality and quantity. The selling of barrels of pork
and beef short in weight is a poor and shortsighted way of building up a
trade with a stranger. Yet I often have my attention called to this fact by


Utilla, January 2j, iSgy, Consul.


Ever since the emancipation of the negro from slavery in 1889 the prin-
cipal problem before the Brazilian legislator and the preeminent class of
coffee planters has been to devise a substitute for the bondsman, who, freed
from the former constraint and discipline, was rapidly abandoning the ardu-
ous labors of the field, or at least relaxing in application, in order to lead a
more indolent life. The solution of this question became more pressing
from the enormous expansion of coffee planting in recent years, when the
depreciated currency conferred almost incredible profits. The relief lay
evidently in promoting immigration, and, faithful to this programme, the State
and federal governments have voted endless sums and measures to draw
foreigners to these shores. The prevalent method was to make contracts
with an immigration or steamship agency, to whom a bonus per head intro-
duced was paid. The Italians were brought at $23.75 each, other national-
ities were worth J28.75, while Canadians cost J45 each on contract terms.

In the year 1896, a total of 87,686 immigrants entered this State through
Santos, of which 29,950 had been contracted for by the Union, 27,048 by
this State, and 3 1 , 288 came spontaneously. Against these arrivals, the depar-
ture of 32,608 must l)e noted, of whom 20,454 returned to Europe and 9,234
headed for the River Plate, leaving a net gain of 55,678 for the year. The
nationalities were distributed as follows: Italians, 40,412; Spaniards, 11,760;
Austrians, 3,191; Portuguese, 2,630; Canadians, 471, etc. Agricultural
laborers were 35,160, and without profession 22,065. The total number of
immigrants from 1882 to 1896, inclusivie, foots up to 553,105. Immigration
depots were erected at elevations safe from the dreaded yellow fever, and
arrivals during eight days were given free board and lodging to choose among
the offers that farmers, in perpetual need of hands, were competing to make.
Considering the marvelous spontaneous flow of home seekers to the United
States, Brazil can not be judged as very successful until now.

Owing to greater similarity of climate, race, and language, the Italians
were in preponderant numbers among the immigrants; however, the numl)er
of people landed proved not only insufficient for the growing needs of the
districts coming into cultivation, but the Italians showed some of the defects
of the Chinese — were restless, wandered back and forth to and from their
native country, spent very little, sent their savings home, forsook farm work,
and congregated in towns. The difficulty encountered in obtaining accessi-

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


ble land at low prices and the burdens and taxes levied by law may be as
much responsible for these habits as temperament.

The want of steady, faithful settlers was felt very acutely in this State,
where coffee planting in the last seven years was attaining its golden era of
prosperity, during which high prices ruled almost without interruption — 50
per cent higher in gold value than at present — brought about by a progress-
ing consumption, the production outside of Brazil being limited to much
smaller areas, and contending with the same difficulty of obtaining labor,
common to all tropical countries. The fact that the coffee tree bears fruit
only in the third or fourth year after setting debars the colonist without other
resources from raising coffee, deprives this product of the elasticity with
which wheat or cotton can in acreage be adapted to new conditions of price,
and has prevented the growth of coffee from keeping step with the increased
demand. The steadily high prices have had the effect of luring all agricul-
tural forces to the exclusive cultivation of this bean to the neglect of even
the food products, which have to be imported from abroad at exorbitant

In order to relieve this hardship, the Government conceived the idea of
establishing colonies which, fostered by public favors, would be completely
self-sustaining and able to supply vegetables and breadstuffs. This plan
was to mark a new departure, and the desire arose to try new material — a
fresh race of men. The result was a contract with an Italian agency for the
introduction of 10,000 Canadians. Before the S^o Paulo government had
matured its projects for their reception, the agency, by the distribution of
glowing promises i|i print, had found 1,000 Canadians ready to come. When
the British authorities learned of this propaganda, they tried in every way to
dissuade the adventurous, pointing to a previous disastrous experiment with
English emigrants in 1891, when they had repatriated the decimated survivors
of that expedition, completely broken down in spirits, if not in health.
Quickened probalily by the wish to preserve all valid forces to so new and
sparsely populated a country as Canada, these warnings were preached from
the pulpit, placarded in the post-offices, and finally a letter from the British
consul-general in Rio de Janeiro was advertised and read on the steamship
wharf whence the hopeful ones were embarking. The effect was that of the
1,000 ready ones only 471 were carried away on the Moravia ^ and landed
here early in October last.

It was soon discovered that they were a motley, though well-dressed,
crowd, representing all nationalities — the Arab, Irish, Italian, American,
etc. — and that they were no such picked lot, fit for agricultural purposes, as
their destination required, but collected indiscriminately, at haphazard,
probably in consequence of the system that paid the agent per head imported,
concerning himself merely with the number to be gathered and without regard
to the riffraff that he might offer.

As the officials were not ready with the organization of the colonies in
contemplation, these so-called Canadians were taken lathe usual dt^)ot and

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


eagerly ]>rocured by planters. The inrroigrants were crestfallen* Some had
the pluck to accept work on plantations, but many refused as physically
unfit and insisted on nothing less than the fulfillment of the promises that
had enticed them, or on the realization of what their heated imaginations had
expected. Their demands found no consideration beyond offers of farm
work, and those that would not or could not accept such work were, after
some delay, turned adrift out of the refuge. Between 360 and 400 have now
found their way back to this port to tell harrowing tales of disappointment,
losses, and privations, and imploring aid to regain their northern homes,
which has been accorded through the British and French consuls, assisted by
private channels.

This second attempt to introduce an Anglo-Saxon element into this dis-
trict must be pronounced a distinct failure. The fault for this fiasco rests
l)artly with the immigrants in having been incapable and too credulous, partly
with those who made deceptive promises, and an unscrupulous choice of the
wrong class of people. The ne'er-do-weels in a young democracy will gen-
erally remain inane transplanted anywhere ; and those that in Canada had
become skilled mechanics found wages here lower, the cost of living much
higher, the golden fruit to be reaped from coffee planting too remote, and
their surroundings too onerous and uncongenial. Opportunities for work
exist here in abundance, but a hairdresser and waiter can seldom be made
hardy and experienced enough by the possibilities of the soil to bear a
pioneer's life, to till the field exposed to a tropical sun, unacclimated, and
thrown entirely on his own resources for the raising and shaping of every
necessity of life. I, for one, confess to my individual w^nt of such adapta-
bility, or that a brilliant offer to teach Chinese could make me competent
without a period of preparation.

Upon an intimation from the British minister, this State has abandoned
further expeditions from the same source. Learning, however, that, in view
of the resistance by the British and Canadian governments, an attempt is to
be made to induce emigrants from or via the United States, I can not too
strongly warn Americans against yielding to the enticement without being
fully equipped and prepared for an undertaking of this kind. Coffee raising
is no doubt a very profitable pursuit for those able to cope with the climate,
experienced in agriculture, ready for a pioneer's life with all its hardships,
provided with funds to acquire ground, persevering through the four years
requisite for the maturing of the plant, and competent to cultivate other crops
meanwhile for sustenance. These in the end are almost sure to be rewarded
by prosperity. The last two trials have, however, shown that as an agricul-
tural laborer the Anglo-Saxon can not here compete successfully with the
Italian, who arrives with the advantages of a kindred language, of having
worked under warmer skies, and who will put up with conditions of life so
bare, rude, and primitive as to seem unbearable to those of our race who
have tried the experiment. As skilled mechanics, they are paid here much
less thaii at home. A carpenter earns here about $1 to J 1.20 a day ; a brick-

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


layer less than $1 on an average. In the interior, wages are generally one-
third less, while in the United States the cost of living has been greatly
reduced in recent years. The heavily fluctuating paper currency has raised

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 67 of 82)