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

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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to impress our people again with the wisdom of deviating, in many
ways, from the methods which win success in our own country.
They should remember that there is strong competition here; that
it costs a great deal to return goods; and that it is often difficult
for strangers to ascertain the business reliability of persons or firms
willing to handle the goods.

The experience of every passing month confirms my opinion that
special lines should be handled by special agents on the ground, and
that staples should be handled through well-known and firmly estab-
lished commission houses. I know of American articles the agencies
of which have been secured by firms, seemingly for the very pur-
pose of keeping them from competing with goods of like character;
and I also know of firms that have lost heavily by trying to **deal
direct," with a view of saving the usual commission-house charge.

Losses through business with the well-established commission
houses are very rare, while losses from efforts to deal direct with
strangers halfway around the world, while certainly not frequent,
are not unusual, and when they do come, they wreck much of the
good will and confidence that wiser methods have established.

Geo. W. Bell,

Sydney, January 16, iSpp. Consul,

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Korea should ordinarily be avoided during the months of July
and August, when the excessive rains flood the country and make
travel very difficult and disagreeable.

English and Japanese are the languages most needed. English
is usually ample for all purposes.

During June, July, and August, the lightest clothing is worn.
White duck suits are the common dress of foreigners. For April,
May, September, and October, which are delightful months in Korea,
ordinary-weight clothing, with good woolen underwear for the cold
nights, is best. During the, latter part of November, as well as
during December, January, and February, the very heaviest clothing
is essential. Many people wear thick sweaters for undershirts
during the coldest weather. The winters are usually dry, cold, and
clear, and, with warm clothing, the climate is delightful.

Commercial travelers should carry United States passports for
purposes of identification ; these are visaed in case of a trip to the
interior. Passports are not needed for the ports or within an area
of 34 miles therefrom, which includes the capital, Seoul.

Travelers are subject to no tax in Korea, and personal luggage
is not dutiable at the customs. Luggage of Americans is seldom
even examined.

Hotel accommodation at present leaves much to be desired. At
Chemulpo, there are two comfortable hotels. One is kept by Japa-
nese — Hotel Daibutsu — a three-story brick house with a good view,
clean rooms, and fair beds, but indifferent table. The other —
Steward's Hotel — is owned and conducted by English-speaking
Chinese, and has the reputation of serving better food than the
first, though the rooms and beds are said not to be so good. Seoul
has a purely Japanese hotel, where foreign food is served, if desired.
The beds are in the Japanese style — on the clean matted floor. Ho-
tel Bijno, Seoul, is a stopping place in the foreign quarter, where four
rooms over a dining room and provision store afford all the comfort
that an accommodating Italian and his wife can furnish. Prices at all
these stopping places are at present 4 yen ($2 gold) per day. Travel
in Seoul is by jinrikisha, electric railroad, and sedan chair. To and
from Chemulpo, it is by chair, pony, jinrikisha, or boat. A railroad
will soon be completed connecting the two places, after which it is
supposed that better hotel accommodations will be provided.

I do not think a four weeks* stay in Seoul or Chemulpo should

• This report was made in answer to inquiries by tlie director of the Philadelphia Museums, to
whom Advance Sheets have been forwarded.

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cost over $ioo gold, exclusive of the purchase of curios and personal

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation has an agency
in Chemulpo, as also in several places in America, notably New
York and San Francisco. Japanese banks are to be found in Seoul
and Korean ports. Japanese notes are freely current in Korea.
American money might be difficult to exchange.

In reply to the question as to whether a drawback is allowed on
the withdrawal of samples from the country, I would say there
would be no difficulty in securing such a drawback, if the samples
were of so extensive a nature as to fail to pass as passengers' luggage.

I would not recommend a journey from the United States to
visit Korea as a commercial traveler without especial inducement.
However, as the steamers from Japan to North China stop usually
for twenty-four hours at Chemulpo, a commercial traveler could
very well see the principal importers during that time and be able
to judge for himself whether it would be wise to stop over a steamer
(say a fortnight) or not.

As to the opening for American goods, I should say that cotton
and cotton manufactures would be the most promising line, since
the whole population of 8,000,000 to 12,000,000 dress in cotton cloth,
which is padded with cotton in the winter. They raise little cotton,
and every individual probably wears at least one garment that is
made of imported cotton sheeting. The Koreans are fond of watches
and clocks. Needles, thread, matches, dyes, etc., are all imported.
Knives made to suit Korean uses should find a market here, as should
cheap low shoes and socks. Tinned milk, butter, and provisions are
in steadily increasing demand. Farmers, in some districts, are said
to be inquiring for the simplest agricultural implements of American
manufacture; but something in the way of a revolution in customs
must take place before foreign agricultural implements will be used
in Korea to any great extent.

Korea is an agricultural country. Rice and beans are the chief
crops and form the heaviest items of export. Manufacturing is done
crudely by hand, and the articles of native manufacture are exceed-
ingly expensive, so that foreign-made articles usually have an easy
entrance, if they are in demand and appeal to the natives. When
the crops are good and the export is heavy, buying is free; the
contrary is the case when the crops are short. The absence of native
banks and the liability to lose money by extortion tempts the com-
mon man who has a little money to spend it and get the benefit of
it before it is lost. They are therefore free buyers, when they have
the money.

Horace N. Allen,

Seoul, January 23, iSgp. Consul- General,

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Consul Cunningham sends the following from Aden, under date
of January 20, 1899:*

Commercial travelers would find it best to come to Aden in the
winter season, from about the ist of October to the last of April.
During these months, they would find the climate good, and, from
what I am told, they would get the best result from a trip at this
season of the year. If any preference is to be given these months,
it would be best to come during February or March.

As to the language, a traveler ought to be able to speak either
Arabic or Hindustani in addition to English. He might be able to
get" along in a half-satisfactory way with English alone, as shops
which seek the European trade usually have someone in them who
speaks English ; but certainly, a man with a knowledge of one of the
foreign languages (Arabic is preferable) would have an immense

During the months named, the clothing worn by Europeans here
is a flannel suit for the day, and in the evening something slightly
heavier, similar to a light tweed suit at home. It is advisable that
a person should also wear some light woolen underwear, the more
so if he is not accustomed to the cold winds which are liable to arise
here at any time in the day. It is imperative that he should provide
himself with a good sun hat, or '*topi."

No passport of any kind is required here, and he need carry no
papers except such as are necessary to establish his identity. A
commercial traveler is not subject to any special tax at Aden.

The hotel accommodations are very poor; there are three, and
there is little choice between them. They are conducted somewhat
on the American plan. The expense of such accommodations as are
afforded by them would be from 42 to 50 rupees ($13.44 to $16) per
week, and no reduction for longer stay. The other expenses would
not be great ; coolie and servant hire would be from i to i ^ rupees
(32 to 48 cents) per day each. If occasion arises (as is frequently
the case) to use a native broker, he would only demand his broker-
age commission. When it is necessary to use a carriage (there are
no tram cars), it will cost 4 rupees ($1.28) per day. Other inci-
dentals, as wines, liquors, cigars, and the like, would not be more
expensive than in the United States.

♦This report was made in answer to inquiries by the director of the Philadelphia Museums, to
whom Advance Sheets have been forwarded.

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There seems to be no established rule for the admission of sam-
ples as distinguished from other merchandise ; but, as this is practi-
cally a free port, it is not an important matter. Duty is imposed
only on liquors, cigars, manufactured tobacco, firearms, and am-

If a traveler has no local connection, he should provide himself
with English sovereigns or American $5 gold pieces (sovereigns are
the best). Bank notes should never be carried, but drafts or letters
of credit, payable at the National Bank of India, are good, provided
identification can be furnished here.

I would strongly recommend that all commercial travelers be able
to quote prices in English pounds sterling.

In the above estimate, I have used the rupee, it being the coin in
general use here, and in the reductions to United States gold its
value has been taken at 32 cents. It will vary some, but probably
not more than i cent up or 4 cents down.


In my report* on the commerce and industries of Turkey, I
endeavored to convince the business men of the United States that
a direct steamship line was indispensable to the growth of American
commerce in Turkey, and that, by combining orders, such a line
would have all the freight it could carry.

After long negotiation with many steamship companies, Messrs.
Barber & Co., of New York, have been induced to start a direct line.
The first steamer — the Athalie — has come with 15,000 bags of Amer-
ican flour and gone with a good share of Constantinople, Smyrna,
and Grecian freight. The Britannic and Cape Comorin^ of this line,
are already on their way, loaded with American machinery, oil, and
other goods. The Stalheim will sail for this port the last of Feb-

If American exporters will give this new line their business for
Mediterranean ports, it will soon be a permanent success and open
excellent markets for American goods in Turkey, Bulgaria, Rou-
mania, and southern Russia. The new line will need American
patronage, for the Cunard and three other copipanies carrying
freight to the United States by transshipment at Liverpool have
already combined, and orders have come from Liverpool to make
any cut in rates that may be necessary **to kill the Yankee line."

The opinion here is unanimous that if direct communication can

♦See Consular Reports No. 22a (March, i8<)9), p. 401. Mr. Dickinson's report will appear in full
in the forthcoming Commercial Relations, Vol. II.

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be maintained, American merchants and manufacturers will soon
have a substantial share of the business of this region. The manager
of the largest department store in this city says :

If the Americans get a direct line of steamers to these ports, the German drum-
mer may as well pack up his samples and leave the country.

The Athalie discharged her freight hardly ten days ago, and al-
ready American flour sells at a higher price than any other in this
market. It is the talk of the town. Fully 80 per cent of the bakers
and consumers are asking for it, and this consulate-general has been
visited by several of the leading flour dealers, who are anxious to
purchase or secure the agency for American flour. The local millers
have reduced their price for grinding 50 per cent, in order to meet the
new competition ; but they can not succeed, for they have neither
the clean, assorted wheat nor the improved machinery with which
to equal the American product. But they do not propose to have
the market cut from under them without a struggle. The custom-
house officials have been led to believe that the whole population
would be poisoned, if they should eat bread made of American
flour; so they rejected as **deleterious to health" 991 bags of the
15,000 brought on the Athalie.

This same action, however, had been taken two months ago, when
a sample lot of flour was brought in, and the United States minister
had obtained, in the meantime, a general order from the Porte, fixing
the minimum of dry gluten in imported flour at 9 per cent and pro-
viding that a chemist selected by the consul of the country to which
the owners of the flour belong should be present at the inspection.
The result, therefore, of the condemnation of the 991 bags without
my delegate being present was an order from the Grand Vizier to
deliver the flour and let the chemical analysis take place afterward.
The flour has been delivered, and, as it is from a famous Minnesota
firm and is certified to contain 14 per cent of dry gluten, we have no
doubt as to what the analysis will show.

Chas. M. Dickinson,

Constantinople, February 75, 18^9. Consul- General,

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At the request of parties in the United States interested in jute
manufacturing, the following report* is made, which may be of gen-
eral interest to those in that business:

The number of tons of jute grown annually in the last five years
was about 1,070,000. The quantity consumed in India in the manu-
facture of gunny bags and burlaps during the last five years was
about 410,000 tons annually. The quantity exported to the United
States and other countries was about 554,000 tons annually. The
planting is entirely done by small growers, and there are no large
planters of jute. Growing is confined almost entirely to Bengal
and parts of Assam.

There are thirty-three jute mills, all in Bengal. With one ex-
ception, they are owned and operated by foreign capital. The nom-
inal capital — figures incomplete — is about Ji 5,000,000. The number
of persons employed is 88,222. The average wages paid in the mills
is I ^ to 4^ rupees (40 cents to $1.44) per week.f

The quantity of gunny bags and cloth exported to the United
States and other countries during the last three years is shown below :





New York.

San Francisca....
South America...
Other countries.-.







M7» 750*000



It will be seen by the above figures that about 60 per cent of the
jute manufactures goes to the United States in the form of gunny
bags and burlaps. The approximate value of exports of raw jute
and bags and burlaps in 1897-98 to the United States and other coun-
tries was $50,000,000. The average value was: In 1896, 9^ rupees
($2.96); 1897, S}4 rupees ($2.72); 1898, 8 rupees ($2.56) — per 100
yards. The annual increase in mills the last ten years has been 30
to 40 per cent.

Practically, no stocks of manufactures are kept on hand, as the
goods, as a rule, are sold before manufactured ; sometimes, a year
or more in advance.

• Advance Sheets have been sent the correspondent.
t The consul values the rupee at 32 cents.

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The expansion in the trade in gunny cloths is remarkable. In
five years,* the value of exports has increased from Ji, 750,000 to
$6,700,000, and last year it represented 31.6 per cent of the jute
manufactures. The exports of gunny bags have increased in the
same period from $8,900,000 to $11,600,000. The noticeable ad-
vance in last year's exports may be attributed to the larger amount
of machinery at work in India, the cheapness of raw jute, and the
fall in the price of manufactures.

R. F. Patterson,

Calcutta, January 10, i8q^. Consul- General,


At Seraing, a city of about 35,000 inhabitants, on the Meuse
River, 5 miles above Liege, are located the extensive works of the
Soci6t6 John Cockerill, founded by John Cockerill, of England, in
the year 1825. During 1898, there were employed in these works
9,849 workmen, and the engines in use had an indicated horsepower
of 23,000. The company has a capital of $13,000,000, and is one of
the largest of the kind in Europe. The greater portion of the coal
consumed in the works is mined on the premises from three separate
mines, which produced during 1898 more than 260,000 tons. During
1898, the works consumed 300,000 tons of iron ore, which in the
main came from Bilbao, Spain, and 220,000 tons of pig iron.

Among the most important productions of this company for
1898 was one of the two immense dredges that are being constructed
for the Russian Government at a total cost of 2,900,000 francs
($559,700). The one just completed is called the Volga, since it is
to be used by the Russian Government in digging the extensive
ship canal to connect the Baltic Sea with the Volga River, which is
one of the greatest engineering projects now under consideration on
this continent, involving the deepening and widening of the Volga
its entire length.

The dredge is constructed on the principle of the dredge Beta,
in use in the Mississippi, but is very much larger, being able to re-
move 4,000 cubic yards of sand, gravel, clay, or similar material per
hour to a distance of 700 feet. The earth is cut up and mixed with
water by revolving trepans, until it is of a consistency that can readily
be forced up by two powerful steam pumps of 1,428 horsepower each.

The dredge has an electrical plant, to provide light and to run
several small motors for the more delicate parts of the machinery.

The dredge is 214 feet 6 inches long, 61 feet 6 inches wide, and,
when ready for work, draws 4 feet 6 inches of water. It can excavate

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a channel nearly 80 feet wide and 14 feet deep at one cutting. The
fuel used is naphtha, and when the dredge is in full blast it consumes
about 1,200 gallons per hour. Tanks are provided that hold suffi-
cient fuel to run the dredge at full pressure for twenty-four hours.
When in full operation, it will give employment to 36 men, as fol-
lows: Stewards, 6; engineers, 12; and laborers, 18.

The dredge will be given a trial on the River Scheldt, near Ant-
werp, Belgium, beginning about March i, 1899. From there, it will
be towed to the vicinity of St. Petersburg, where it will begin its

Alfred A. WfNSLow,

Liege, February p, i8gg. Consul.


IN 1898.

An official report, giving the data concerning the harvest of cere-
als in European Russia for 1898, as compared with 1897, exclusive
of the Caucasus and Poland, which has just been made public, in-
cludes all the cereals and shows an average of about 40 poods per
dessiatine (53 pounds per acre). Last year, the harvest amounted
to 35 poods per dessiatine (47 pounds per acre). The harvest for
1898 was better than that for 1897 for winter cereals by 17 per cent;
spring cereals, 14 per cent; and cereals in general, by 14 per cent.

In the governments of Vologda, Kostroma, Saratov, Simbirsk,
Viatka, Kazan, Perm, Samara, and Ufa, the crop amounted to less
than half of that of 1897. In three governments — viz, Nizhni Nov-
gorod, Penza, and St. Petersburg — the yield was equal to that of
1897, and in the remaining thirty-eight governments, better than
in 1897.

In the various districts of the fifty governments, the harvest was
as follows:






Unsatisfactory and middling






In 1898, there was a bad harvest, yielding 20 poods per dessiatine
(27 pounds per acre) in 15 per cent of the total area; in 1897, 31
per cent; a middling crop in 1898, ^d percent; in 1897, 37 percent;

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a good crop in 1898, 49 per cent of the area; and in 1897, only 32 per

This year's harvest was not uniform. In the greater part of the
black-earth belt, and in many governments of the nonblack-earth re-
gion, in the same district and even sometimes on one and the same
farm by the side of a good crop were found unsatisfactory and even
bad crops. This variety is attributed to an unequal distribution of the
atmospheric deposits, to topographic conditions, to noxious insects,
and similar reasons. The yield of cereals in European Russia is
classed as ** middling." The harvest of spring and winter cereals
in the large region covering the Kazan, Samara, Viatka, Simbirsk,
Ufa, and in the greater parts of the Saratov, Orenburg, Nizhni Nov-
gorod governments, the eastern districts of the Penza government,
the western and southwestern districts of the Perm government, the
northern parts of the Don region, and some districts of the Tula,
Vladimir, and Kostroma governments, was bad.

In other parts of the Empire, the yield of cereals, especially rye,
was satisfactory ; and in the southwestern, some of the Lithuanian,
White Russian, and Vistula governments the crops were very good.

Winter-wheat crop was good in all localities where the rye was
good, but unsatisfactory in the central governments and the Don
region, and in the remaining localities the crop was ** above mid-

The spring cereals — oats, barley, spring wheat, millet, and
maize — gave on the average a satisfactory crop. The pease and
buckwheat crop was above middling.

In regions where the crop of spring cereals was bad and unsat-
isfactory, the yield was less than in the region of winter cereals
where similar conditions prevailed. This includes the central Volga
region, Samara, and Urals, as well as the governments of Tambov,
Riazan, Tula (where the oats and barley crop was unsatisfactory),
Vladimir, Kostroma, and some of the districts of Vologda. On the
remaining area of European Russia, the spring cereals gave a satis-
factory crop, and in many of the Novorossisk, Little Russia, south-
western, White Russian, Lithuanian, and Vistula governments the
harvest was ** above middling."

The sunflower crop was satisfactory in the southwestern and Lit-
tle Russian governments; but in the remaining area where it is
cultivated, the yield was unsatisfactory.

The potato harvest was unsatisfactory and bad in the central
agricultural and central Volga governments, middling in the black-
earth governments, and satisfactory and even good in the nonblack-
earth governments.

Owing to dry weather, the harvest of vegetables was hardly sat-
No. 224 6.

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isfactory. The crop of cucumbers was everywhere good at the be-
ginning of summer, but later on, owing to the lack of rain and the
heat, they perished. The cabbage suffered greatly from heat and
noxious insects, yielding an unsatisfactory crop. Watermelons were
abundant, but small.

The following table shows the harvest of cereals in 1898:







Central ag^culturaL,

Central Volga

Lower Volga.



Little Russian


White Russian.



Lake ....














Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 11 of 92)