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

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

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Shovels

Spoons (tin)

Staples ,

Stoves —

Cook

Oil

Tape measures

Telegraph climbcry

Trays

Washboards

Washers

Wire-
Picture

Fence.



Quantity,




Cost 1


nU


niied


States


currency.






^.22H


I0.54


to


.70
•5a
.6254


.02


to


.08M


.36


to


.70


.65


to


I- as
.19


.12


to


.24


.i6


to


2.50
.70
.02


1.36


to


4.18
4.33


.20


to


.89
•39


•27


to


.621^

.26

.21


.0754 to


.20


.055410


.48






.375^






1.12H


.96


to


3,82


5.60


to


10,40
.16


3. xo


to


7.40
2.50



.15 to 2.00




.12


to


3.60
• 13


.30


to


.50


.15


to


.30


.18


to


.92


.06


to


• IS
6,00

.04


«3.50


to


15.45

.48


.31


to


.40
.18


.o6>^


to


.62

•75
6.00


.06 J^


to


.30
3-15

16,25


.80


to


1.50


.02


to


1.50
.83


.08


to


.54
1.87
.05^

.09










3.17



Digitized by VjOOQIC



458 COST OF GOODS DELIVERED IN NICARAGUA.

Cost of goods delivered in Xicaragua — Continued.
Articles. 1 Quantity.



Lamps, e'c. :

Burners Dozen.,

Chimneys Each..

Globes do..

Limps ..do..

Student ' ..do..

lanterns ..do..

..do..

Pound..



Shades

Wicking

Wicks-
Common

Do....
Rochester...
Leather, etc. :

Beits, women's..



Yard....
Gross..



Each...
Blacking (Acme) [ Dozen..



Common Tin...

Do ' Case..



Courier bags F.ach

Holsters ..do...

Ladies' handbags ' do...

Machine straps ' do...,

Polish ' Dozen...

Rubber boots ' Pairs

Rubbers I do...

Shoes : I

Children's do...

Men's ". do...

Women's ' do...

Canvas .' do...

Cloth ' do...

Wool ' do...

Shoe strings Gross

Slippers —



I^ither I Pair,



Velvet do

Lumber, etc., dressed boards (16 by 1) Each .,

Machines f sewing) ' do.

Musical instruments, etc. :

Accordions do..

Mouth organs Dozen..

Musical boxes E.Ach..

Strings do..

Oils, etc.:

Castor

Kerosene

Linsocd

Machine

Do

Turi>cntine

Paints, etc. :

Colors fm oil) ^ Pound can„

House paints —

While (;allon..

Yellow do-
Red -do..

Slating do..

Varnish^ do..

Paper, st.jtionery, etc. :

Pillheads Ream...

Cards (Christmas).. Clross.^,



(>aIlon

Ca%c of 10 gallons..

(JalL.n

do

Do/en bottles

Gallon



Cost in United
States currency.



►•33 to
.0454 to

.13 to

.15 to

1. 50 to

.30 to

.18 to



.03 to
.28 to
.50 to

.37^to

.80 to
.-4 to



.625^ to
.75 to
.85 to



■59
.90



.35 to
.6a to



#4.:5

.07 '.4

.38
4.00
3- as

.37?i

•35

•15

.o5«i

•73
1.50

•55
t.oo

■03,MI
a. 70
a. 78

•30
1.32

.06.^

«.75
3.00

.37H

t.25
a. 50
'•75
•73
1.05
1. 00
2.50

.70

2.70

.70

19.67



.06 to

.36 to

.06 to

.62 to

.^5 to

•39 to

.14 to

.50 to



8. Co
1. 17

.78
i.<,o
•45
.38
.75
.37



.07 to .-A

.90

1.25
X.70
s. 60
1.85



.30 lo



X.50

3-ao



Digitized by VjOOQIC



COST OF GOODS DELIVERED IN NICARAGUA.
Cost of goods delivered in Nicaragua — Continued.
Articles. I Quantity.



459



Cost in United
States currency.



l*aper, stationery, etc. — Continued.

Envelopes

Erasers

Inks

Do.....

Carmine

Inkstands

Letter books

Manila

Notebooks

Pads

Lead pencils

Pencil protectors

Penholders *

Straw

Rules

Wax

Writing pap>er —

Fancy„

Note

Foolscap

Tobacco, etc. :

Cigar holders

Cigars

Pipes

Tobacco-
Chewing..

Smoking

Toys :

Dolb

Do

Gaines and blocks

Iron toys

Wooden toys

Wines, liquors, etc.:

Alcohols

Ale

Do

Anisette

Do

ApoUinaris

Beer

Do

Bitters

Brandy —

Hcnnessy„

Essence

Champagne

Do

Cherry cordial

Claret

Do

Cognac

Cura^io

Eau de vie de Dantzick

Gin..

Do

Ginger ale

Hock—

Still

Sparkling




Each....
i,ooo...,
Dozen..



Pound..
do..



Each....
Dozen...
Each....

do..

do-



Barrel

Dozen pints

Dozen quarts

Dozen bottles

Gallon

Case '

Case of I dozen pints }

Barrel of lo dozen pints. |
24 pints. „



Case

Pound

12 quarts

24 pints

Case

Case of 1 2 bottles..

Gallon

Case of I a bottles.,

do..

do..

.do..
Case of 15 bellies..
10 dozen pints..




•03

7-50

• OS



•IS

40.00
4.20



.18 to .40
.i3?ito 1. 00



to



•53
•31



.05

.15

.08 to 1,00

.01 to .20

.005^ to .60



16.50

J-15
1.68
4.92
1.85

11.25
1. 10

lo. 30

8.75



1.62

.45

.87

9.00
3- 50

7.80



to 10. 40
3-37



5.36 to

11.25 to

2.62 to

2. 20 to

.42 to



.16



4.60
6.66



20. 20
19.00

3-75
4-75
.98
7.6s
3.62
3.63

2.34
2.70
12.07

9.00
11.50



Digitized by VjOOQIC



460



COST OF GOODS DELIVERED IN NICARAGUA.
Cost of goods deHvtred in Nicaragua — ContiDued.
Articles. ' Quantity.



W incs, liquors, etc. — Continued.

Kumrael | la bottles..

Lemonade I -do

Madeira do

Maraschino | do

Moselle— |

Still I do

Sparkling.. I ..do

Oporto ! «do

Port ! ..do

Do ' Gallon

12 quarts...

12 pints

12 bottles..

.do

Gallon

12 bottles..

.do

do

Gallon

19 quarts...

Z2pints

19 bottles..

Gallon



Porter

Do

Red wine

Rum

Do «

Sauteme

Schnapps

Sherry

Do

Stout

Do

Vermouth

Do

Whisky— |

American 12 bottles..

Do \ Gallon



Irish

Scotch..



Do..



Irish..



X2 bottles..

..do

Gallon

„do



C<*sii
States


n United
currency.


$2-55


to


1. 18


2.25


to


3.90
9.50


4.60


to


9.00


6.66


to


XI. 50

5.60


a. 60


to


4.20


•5a


to


.6aJ^
1.72

X.X2
2.10


2.16


to


4.90


•3«


to


X.IO


2. 10


to


3.90


1.80
2.60


to
to


a. 95

4.38
.69M

X.72

1. 90


2. 10


to
to


4.05
.62H


3.«5


to


4.75


• 4*


to


I-I5


«.45


to


4.20


2.20


to


4.20


.57


to


X.30


.57


to


1.30



The favorite brands of flour are "Potomac," -sold by Holt & Co., of
New York, and ** Pickwick/* sold by J. B. Camors & Co., of New Orleans.

Anheuser-Busch beers are sold in Bluefields, but have not been sold in

San Juan del Norte since the suspension of work on the Nicaragua Canal.

English, German, and American beers are imported, those bottled by H.

Clausen & Son, Obermeyer & Liebmann, and Joseph Schlitz being the

principal American beers. Jung, of Cincinnati, and the Budweiser Brewing

Company, of Brooklyn, have introduced their beers.

THOMAS O'HARA,

Consul,
San Juan dki. Nc^rte, March iS, i8q6.



EXPLANATORY.

Our merchants desire to know the kinds and quantities of goods sold in
foreign countries, the cost of such goods delivered to the dealers, and the
prices for which they are commonly sold at retail. With fairly reliable in-
formation of this character regarding any country, an American merchant



Digitized by VjOOQIC



PORT OF SAN JUAN AND THE SAN JUAN RIVER. 46I

or manufacturer, after consulting railway and steamship tariffs, ought to be
able to determine whether he can successfully compete for a portion of that
country's trade. The foregoing report is not a mere copy of the inventory
mentioned in it. The inventory fills a small book and its items are neither
grouped nor listed as the same items appear in the report.

The inventory was taken in the usual manner, the clerks commencing at
one end of the store or warehouse and listing the articles in the order in
which they were shelved or stored, canned tomatoes being as apt as anything
else to be listed immediately under an entry of machetes or hairpins.

All the inventory entries were copied and then slipped. The slips were
arranged alphabetically, and, to make the report embrace nearly everything
that is imported here, the cost prices of articles not mentioned in the in-
ventory were obtained from other merchants handling such articles.

I respectfully suggest that there is not so much difference between freight
rates to San Juan del Norte and freight rates to other Caribbean ports as to
render a table of cost prices of goods in San Juan del Norte of no value
to American merchants anxious to carry American trade into other countries
touching the Caribbean.

The goods sold in Nicaragua, too, are not unlike the goods sold in the
other Central American States and in the northern part of South America.

Believing, as the Department does, that the manufacturer who, in a small
way, makes a specialty of scrub brushes, or some other modest manufacture,
is as much interested as the barbed-wire or cotton manufacturer in knowing
what his wares might be sold for in these countries, I have deemed it proper
to include all articles finding a market here.

THOMAS O'HARA,

Consul,
San Juan del North, May ./, i8g6.



PORT OF SAN JUAN AND THE SAN JUAN RIVER.

I inclose herewith a translation of a communication published in El Fer-
rocarril of April 18, 1896, in relation to the port of San Juan del Norte and
the San Juan River.

THOMAS O'HARA,

Consu/,
San Juan del North, May 4, 18(^6,



San Juan dkl Nurtk, ^j>nl <?, i8g6.
To the Editor of El l-'errocarriiy Bltiefields.

In the columns of El Diario Nicaraguense appears a communication contributed by one
who contends that preference should b2 given the port of Sun Juan del Sur as being the
one best calculated for the commerce of the eastern division of the Republic.

The port of Corinto being closed for reasons which need not be dilated upon, the shallow-
ness of the San Juan River is ari;ued as an insurmountable objection to such preference being
given to San Juan del Norte. Observing the manifest tendency of the people of the interior to



Digitized by VjOOQIC



462 PORT OF SAN JUAN AND THE SAN JUAN RIVER.

patronize any route whatsoever having the Pacilic as its terminus, it would occur to a foreigner
that vast and important must be the social, political, and commercial intercourse which this
country maintains with those whose shores are washed by the ripples of that ocean. Thus
has it always l>een the policy of previous administrations to be in (juest of a route on the
Pacific side, forgetting, with unjustifiable heedlessness, that which Dame Nature has gratui-
tously endowed the country with.

Considering the interest which has always been evinced in Nicaragua toward giving
preference to the ports on the Pacific, one would imagine that her commerce is principally
connected with China, Japan, Australia, and the Philippine Islands. It may be that in those
countries the products of Nicaragua — her coffee, rubber, indigo, hides, etc. — arc consumed
and used ; that their i>eople accommodate us with credit in exchange for those products, and
that they supply us with their textile fabrics for our clothing, boots, machinery, and agri-
cultural implements. Should this not be the case, however, the logic of such a course may
only be explained by showing either that on the Atlantic side, there is not a convenient way,
or, if a way, that it is fraught with insurmountable difficulties. On the other hand, if such
difficulties exist, they are nothing but natural imi>ediments which no one has ever cared to
remove or endeavored to improve.

In Costa Rica, several millions of dollars have been spent in establishing communication
with the x\tlantic seaboard. In Nicaragua, where a natural and available route exists, all
eyes are turned toward the Pacific. Such an anomaly may be logical to those capable of
comprehending it, but I must confess the absence of such capacity.

IJut it is not my purpose just now to deal with what might have been done or what has
been left undone ; nor to discuss whether the commercial interests of Nicaragua are with
China and Japan or with ICurope and the United States. I have been requested to coniril>-
ute suggestions looking toward the amelioration of the lamentable condition and gloomy
future of San Juan del Norte, and I will now do so in the way and manner compatible with
the degree of comprehension bestowed ujxjn me by the All Wise.

The alluring prospect of the more or less immediate resumption of the Nicaragua Canal
works should not lull into a slumber of illusion those who, full of hoj^e, deprive themselves
of everything and indulge in the expectation of what might occur. * * * I am of
the opinion that, with or without a canal, the urgent requirement of San Juan del Norte is
unquestionably the improvement of the harbor.

I mean by this that the bar should be given a depth of 15 to 20 feet. With a dredge
which could be obtained in England for from $50,000 to ^75,000 (gold), such a desirable
result would be easily and immediately attained. The opening of the port would, as a natural
conscjiuence, develop the at;ricultural resources of this locality, inasmuch as extensive tracts
of land of unquestionable fertility and in close proximity to the port could immediately l>e
converted into magnificent plantations of exjwrtable products.

The present deplorable aspect and sad condition of San Juan del Norte might, with ener-
getic labor and active enterprise, be comi^lctely transformed into one of satisfaction and joy
at the manifestation of such signs of prosperity and well-being.

Of the exportable fruits, in the cultivation of which capital could more especially be
invested, a marked preference would undoubtedly be given to the banana, and the reasons
therefor are obvious. There are lands easily approachable, where the cost of production
would be a mere trifle; and these conditions are naturally and essentially required for the
cultivation of that fruit. I know of what I treat, and my assertion is not made at random.
I have as much knowledge as any of the planters in Rama of the cultivation of the banana.

The entry at San Juan del Norte being made practicable to steamers of 14 to 16 feet draft,
the exportation of bananas within three years would amount to nearly one million bunches.
1 entertain the hope that capital will be available, even in Nicaragua, to bring about the
realization of such an enterprise. The land would cost nothing, and if i)erchance the Gov-
ernment should impose a tax thereon, so insignificant would it be that it would have no in-
fluence on the results, when such results, whether good or bad, were determined.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



PORT OF SAN JUAN AND THE SAN JUAN RIVER. 463

It should lje borBe in mind that what remains of commerce to-day at San Juan del Norte
is due to the limited local trade still existing between that port and the interior of the Repub-
lic through the San Juan River. This trade could be increased considerably if certain natural
impediments to the rapid transit of goods to the interior were removed. I am of the opinion
that with a more rapid and effective means of transix)rtation, the port of San Juan del Norte
would, ere long, became the most important in Nicaragua. To explain this is not difficult.
t Notwithstanding the obstacles to be contended with at present, the rates of freight that way
are the cheapest in the country. With navigation on the river facilitated, the actual trade
would increase in proportion to the facilities and conveniences available until almost all the
trade of the Republic with Europe and the United States could be diverted that way.

The impediments to navigation on the San Juan River are not of so serious a nature as to
render illusory or hopeless the task of overcoming them — if not completely, ^t least by lessen-
ing them in such a manner that they might no longer be an obstacle to the requirements of
an increasing trade and of a service of transportation adequately equipped.

From what has been said, it can be understood that, with proper and convenient port
facilities, San Juan del Norte could attain a desirable status of prosperity, inasmuch as the
development of its agricultural resources alone would be sufficient to enhance its commercial
activity. *

If with the foregoing is considered the present local trade with the interior of the Repub-
lic, as well as the increase to that trade consequent upon the improvements in navigation on
the river, it may not be venturesome to affirm that at no distant date, San Juan del Norte
would become the most prosperous locality in this country.

In my judgment, the opening of the port is the point of paramount interest. This achieved,
San Juan del Norte (without relying on extraneous aid) could hold its own and insure its
existence by virtue of an agricultural production which could be developed in the extensive
tracts of fertile and accessible lands, adaptable to the cultivation on an extensive scale of
bananas, the fruit which undoubtedly would be preferred by all those who would desire to invest
capital and obtain quick returns and positive gain. Attention might also be given to the
cacao bean, a fruit which can be grown in these regions of a very superior quality, with the
advantages of finding in the country itself a very good market and favorable prices. The
outlet for these products would be by the San Juanillo, whose navigation offers no difficulty
whatever to tugs and barges, and where there is never less than 7 to 10 feet of water.

It may not be impossible to obtain Government assistance of a fixed amount to help pur-
chase the dredge and to extend the breakwater built by the canal company, thanks to which
we have been able during these later years to have more or less water at the bar, according
to the season of the year.

The commerce of this port with the outer world can be estimated to-day at 6,000 to 7,000
tons of cai^o annually. With navigation on the San Juan River improved, this amount would
increase to 20,000 tons; in no event would it be below 15,000 tons.

This should be boldly urged. Each of the former administrations committed a grave
mistake. They neglected and abandoned the natural as well as the most advantageous route
in the country — that of the Atlantic — and, latterly, Nicaragua has borne the consequences of
so inexplicable a blunder.

I am a foreigner, without any material interest in the country. My sojourn therein may
be very limited; consequently, I am not actuated or guided by any particular motive or
interest.

In the latest commercial statistics of this country, San Juan del Norte hardly represents
one-fifth of her imports and exports, whereas, by the natural order of things, that place should
be the principal artery in the commercial life of Nicaragua.

I believe that a tax of 15 cents per quintal on goods imported and produce exix)rted would
provide the means necessary for the maintenance of the dredge and the payment of its value.
This estimate is based on the present commercial statistics. Besides, it can safely be asserted
that, with the entry of steamers at this port, the cultivation and export of bananas would



Digitized by VjOOQIC



464 THE PORT OF BLUEKIELDS.

create a revenue of no mean importance, if a moderate export tax be imposed, as, for instance,
2 cents per bunch, a rate which should never be increased.

Therefore, if to the opening up of the |.x)rt are to be added the improvements to naviga-
tion on the San Juan River and the better condition of the enterprise carrying on the trafBc
thereon — the latter the natural consequence of the former — I firmly believe that such an
undertaking would yield a revenue of the highest importance, that the capital invested therein
would produce a most lucrative remuneration, and that San Juan del Norte would soon
become a focus of prosperity and well-being.

The diflficullies to navigation on the San Juan River are not of any great importance.
Undoubtedly they have been exaggerated, and are much less than what they are represented
to be. As far as I can understand, the whole thing'may perhaps consist in removing certain
rocks in the rapids at Machuca, Las Balas, and £1 Toro, and an operation of this kind
Intrusted to an expert and by means of dynamite is neither difficult nor costly.

It is indeed painful to observe how, till this day, this route, which is the natural outlet on
the Atlantic side of the country, has been cast into oblivion. I think, nevertheless, there is
time yet, or, to put it better, there is always time to rectify the evils of the past. If ever they
are corrected, I shall have the satisfaction of having contributed in some way toward the
advancement of Nicaragua, whose prosperity and good fortune I desire with all my heart.
*♦%:•*■»•»♦

A FOREIGNER.



THE PORT OF BLUEFIELDS.

Referring to my dispatch of May 4, 1 have the honor to herewith inclose
a clipping from the Bluefields Recorder of May 2, 1896.

THOMAS O'HARA,

Consul.
San Juan del North, May /j, i8g6.



The arguments adduced by our corresixjndent " Foreigner," of San Juan del Norte, and
published in our last issue, in support of his plea for the deepening of that harbor, thereby
making it accessible to ocean vessels, could, to a large extent, be applied to the port of Blue-
fields, which is slowly but surely being filled up, there being no contrivance or apparatus to
remove the siUing which accumulates continually. Nor is any effort being made to remedy
an evil which, although buried under the waters of the lagoon, is none the less seriously felt
by those directly concerned. Should the prevailing incuriousness continue for any length of
time, traders will have no other alternative but to abandon this port completely and seek
other places more easy of access and where expenses are, as a matter of course, proportion-
ately less.

The opening up of the neighboring harbors at Puerto Cortez and l*ucrto Barrios may
divert a large share of our fruit trade, if wo do not make it our business to come up to their
standard. These ix)rts, that they might bo on a par wilh Colon, Port Limon, and Bocas del
Toro, will, we understand, ba given great depth, and thus permit of vessels of all drafts to
be berthed to the wharves. The advantages of this to shippers of produce, fruit especially,
are obvious. As the wharves will be but the prolonijalion of the railways, which, at both the
two first named places will lead to the interior, the fruit will be taken from the cars to the
vessel and a lot of unnecessary handling dispensed with. On the other hand, when it is
taken into account that Puerto ( orlez and Puerto Ban ios are very much nearer than ours to
New Orleans and Mobile, that the banana is being cultivated in these localities to an enor-



Digitized by VjOOQIC



STEAMBOAT SERVICE IN NICARAGUA. 465

mous extent, it stands to reason thai we shall inevitably Ik; left in the lurcli, if timely raeasureu
be not taken to improve our situation.

It is useless blinking the fact that unless such measures are taken, our fruit trade will in-
evitably dwindle to its most simple expression. A large proportion of the planers depend on
foreign buyers; these, when they shall perceive that other parts, in closer proximity with the
United States markets, ofifer to them appreciable advantages, will naturally al)andon us to our
fate. Such a calamitous event can only be conjured by cooperative action on the part of the
planters; they should leave no stone unturned until they shall have consolidated in order to
be prepared for eventualities. The Compai^ia Agricola Mercantil moved in that direction,
but appears now to be between tlie horns of a dilemma. The sister company, the IJananera,
could bring al)out that consolidation, whereby we would cease lo be at the mercy of foreign
purchasers, possessing, as they do, ample funds. That that company is still in the embryonic
state is due to causes which may yet be surmounted ; and any action taken by them in this
direction would certainly contribute to the future enfranchisement of the planters.

But to return to our premises. As is the case with San Juan del Norte, our great, urj;ent,
indispensable want is a marine dredge. With such an apparatus, the Blueficlds bar could
be given the requisite depth to permit of ocean steamers crossing it and coming to an anchor
at the Bluff", and the advent of these vessels, laden with the products of the great Euroi)ean
marts, would not only bring about a reduction of the prices of the necessaries of life, but
revolutionize our commercial situation in toto.

Our interest, therefore, lies in joining hands with our brothers of San Juan del Norte, and,
jt)intly with them, concert a plan whereby tbe means could be raised or arrangements made
lo puichase a dredge. The matter should be taken in hand earnestly, with that determina-
tion which indicates confidence and steadfastness of purpose, and no time should be lost in
I he convoking of a conference of merchants, planters, and other public men of both localities



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 60 of 102)