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

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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Vanilla is principally exported to the United States — about
$2,000,000 worth per annum.

I write this article to answer in a general way the many inquiries
addressed to me concerning this industry. Now that our people
are embarking in it, I look for improyed methods that will increase
the production and simplify the process of curing.

A. B. Jones,
TuxPAN, January 30^ iSpp, Consul.


Under date of February 13, 1899, Consul Kindrick writes from
Ciudad Juarez, in answer to inquiries by the editor of a Massachu-
setts trade journal,* as follows:

Under present conditions* the shoe trade of Mexico does not offer
very flattering prospects to American manufacturers. They can not
hope for considerable sales in the cheaper grades of foot wear, and
must content themselves with supplying a first-class shoe to meet the
demand of a restricted number of the people — those only, in fact,
who can afford to wear a United States shoe of the first quality.

It is universally admitted in the Republic of Mexico that the
American shoe is without a rival as to style, quality, and finish.
First-class shoes of European or of Mexican manufacture can not
compete with them. But this shoe is necessarily worn by the
minority of Mexicans — those who can afford the luxury of a shoe that
costs from $3 to $^ in gold; therefore, the trade in Mexico in Amer-
ican shoes is limited to a certain grade of shoe worn by a certain class
of people.

The laboring classes in the United States wear shoes that cost
from $1 up, while the laboring classes in Mexico wear shoes that
cost $4t the dozen. The duty on American shoes is from 30 to 60
cents per pair. The Mexican laborer, the maximum cost of whose

*To whom copy of the letter has been forwarded,
t Prices are all stated in United States currency.

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shoes, is 50 cents, can not be considered a customer for American
shoes that would cost from $1 to $3.

A large class of Mexicans, commonly called peons, wear a kind
of sa4idal. These are called **guaroches," and consist of a simple
sole of leather held to the feet with strings which pass between the
toes and are tied abouV the ankle.

The cheaper grades of shoes made in the United States are not
imported into Mexico. It is improbable they could be success-
fully introduced here, even if not subject to a high tariff. It is
needless to speak of the difference in quality and durability. The
price of any common article of daily use appeals first to the poor
Mexican. His daily wage will not permit him to consider durability,
when the difference in price is great.

Taking into consideration the population of Mexico and the uni-
versal need for such a common article, the imports of American
boots and shoes are small. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898,
the importations at this port amounted to $19,000.*

There are no large factories for making shoes in Mexico, as in
the United States. There are extensive establishments in Leon,
Mexico City, and Guadalajara*; but they are not exactly factories.
The shoes are made under a kind of tenement system. Workmen
receive a stipulated sum for each pair of shoes made, according to

There is an establishment in Chihuahua where sandals, or **guar-
oches," are made. The work is done by hand.

The limited number of boots and shoes imported into Mexico
from the United States comes from Boston and St. Louis. American
capital has not attempted to establish shoe factories in the Republic ;
but it is quite possible that such an industry, using all the modern
labor-saving devices and producing a cheap shoe, would prove a suc-
cessful investment.


Consul Pollard, of Monterey, on January 25, 1899, writes:
A firm in Pennsylvania having written for information touching
the importation of glass bottles into Mexico, I instituted inquiries
in the premises, and the result seems of such general interest to those
engaged in the trade in the United States that I deem proper to reply
to the firm referred to in a formal report.

The brewery in this city purchases a large quantity of bottles

•The total exports of boots and shoes from the United States to Mexico during the year ended
June 30, 1898, were valued at |88,ooo, according to the returns of the Bureau of Suttstics, Treasury

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annually, and, in a few months, will greatly increase this consump-
tion. The bottles used here are nearly all purchased in Germany.
The manager states that he has not been able to induce manufac-
turers in the United States to sell him bottles at reasonable rates,
and that he has therefore been forced to resort to Germany, where
he can purchase them to much better advantage.

There are sixteen breweries in the Republic of Mexico, viz, one
in Leon, one in Merida, three in Mexico City, one in Puebla, one in
Jalapa, one in Oaxaca, one in Guadalajara, one in Orizaba, one
in San Luis Potosi, one in Germosillo, one in Chihuahua, one in
Toreon, one in Toluca, and one in Monterey, the last being the

Besides the breweries, there are three sod^-water factories, two
wholesale druggists, and several other industries, including a distill-
ery, which use bottles extensively in Monterey. In all the cities
named, there are similar industries in which bottles are used in large
numbers. It is therefore, it seems to me, to the interest of those
engaged in the bottle industry in the United States to turn their at-
tention to this country and, by reducing their prices to confcfrm to
those of Germany, capture this immense market. It is suggested
that if a factory wishing to export bottles to this country employs a
competent man, conversant with the Spanish language and Mexican
customs, success is almost certain.

John K. Pollard,

Monterey, January 25*, j8gg. Consul- GeneraL

Under date of January 27, Consul Kindrick, of Ciudad Juarez,
says :

I have no means ot ascertaining the total amount of importations
into the Republic of Mexico from Europe and the United States,
but it is estimated by dealers that glass bottles to the value of more
than Jioo,ooo (United States currency)* are annually imported.

At present, there is not a bottle factory in Mexico, though I am
reliably informed that a plant is soon to be put into operation in the
city of Chihuahua.

Europe enjoys the largest share of this trade, the imported bot-
tles coming principally from Belgium and Germany. The importa-
tions at this port for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898, amounted
to $8,000 (United States currency). The bottles entered at the
custom-house in this city are mainly from the United States.

♦ According^ to official returns, the imports of bottles (for wine, spirits, and beer) into Mexico were
valued at $83,560 (United States currency) during the first six months of 1898, or at the rate of
$r67,xao per annum.

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The tariflf on bottles used for wine, beer, and liquors is a trifle
less than one-fourth of i cent per pound.

As indicated by the figures above, giving the importations at this
place, it will be seen there is quite a demand for glass bottles in
northern Mexico. The ones chiefly used are the common beer bottles.
The brewery at Chihuahria probably purchases the bulk of these.
Common beef bottles are also used for cheap clarets, and tequila,
which are J^ottled here by the dealers.

Pittsburg, Pa., is the point in the United States from which bot-
tles have been chiefly shipped to Mexico.

Ketelsen & De^etau, of this city, are wholesale dealers and sup-
ply the local demands in this section.


As a result of the growth of Casas Grandes, the terminus of the
Rio Grande, Sierra Madre, and Pacific Railroad, which runs south-
west from this city into Mexico, a number of enterprises are pend-
ing. The town of Casas Grandes is the base of operations for the
new mining country recently opened, and is rapidly developing.
The demand for vehicles of all kinds and for furniture and build-
ing materials — like sashes, doors, and blinds — has become so brisk
that capital has sought the field as one promising profitable invest-

The Mormon colonists near Casas Grandes have a small furniture
factory, which turns out a cheap grade to supply local demands.

A factory has recently been established in the city to make
wagons, buggies, sashes, doors, and blinds, and is now ready to be put
into operation. It is owned and controlled by the Casas Grandes
Industrial Company, which is capitalized at $25,000. Mr. J. P.
Ramsey, general manager of the Rio Grande, Sierra Madre, and
Pacific Road, is president, and the stockholders are principally offi-
cials of that line. A concession was obtained from the State of
Chihuahua which exempts the plant from taxation for five years.
The machinery was purchased at St. Louis at a cost of $10,000.

The factory will furnish employment at first to about twenty men.
Most of them will be skilled laborers from the United States. It is
the intention of the company to merely supply the demand in the
vicinity of Casas Grandes and in the mining districts. Heavy
wagons, adapted for long hauling over rough mountain roads, are
especially necessary for use at the mines. The hickory and oak used
in the construction of the wagons and other vehicles will be pur-
chased at Memphis, Tenn. The timber in the Sierra Madre Moun-

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tains is not available, and will not be until there is an extension of
the Rio Grande, Sierra Madre, and Pacific Road, which is a proba-
bility of the immediate future.

The Casas Grandes Industrial Company has every promise of
success. In the first place, the plant is exempt from taxation for a
period of five years. The machinery used for the manufacture of
the objects for which the plant is established was admitted free
of duty. There is no tariff duty on wood imported as raw material.
At this port, during the past year, jp22,oqo worth of wagons and
other vehicles were imported. The duty assessed upon these objects
varies from $10 to $50 for each vehicle.

On account of these facts, such an establishment promises to
prove a good investment.

Charles W. Kindrick,

CiUDAD Juarez, February ^j, /<Ppp. ConsuL


It is well, perhaps, to state before discussing this subject that the
law of England only applies to England and Wales, and that Scot-
land, Ireland, the isles of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey each has its
ow'n laws, and the judgment of a civil court in England would be
ineffective there.

The collection of debts may be held to embrace claims arising
under wills, deeds, settlements, intestate estates, infancy, master and
servant, landlord and tenant, bankruptcy, marriage, fraud, and many
other matters which form a large proportion of the litigation calling
in aid the immense jurisprudence of the country. These matters it
would be impossible to go into in a short disquisition, as they are
in themselves subjects involving a large acquaintance with the com-
mon law and statute law of the land, and are treated of in some
thousands of standard works, too numerous even to refer to; there-
fore, in writing this article I shall refer only to such debts as are
incurred in the ordinary way of trade and usually arise from the re-
lation of vender and purchaser, or, speaking commercially, between
manufacturer or merchant and customer.

First, then, to recover a claim, proceedings must be taken by the
proper person and in the country in which the debt is owed.

It is necessary next to inquire, Who can bring an action to re-

• NoTB BY THK CoNsuL. — TWs Tcport was made in response to a request from the director of the
Philadelphia Commeipial Museum; but as American trade is becomini^ so important a factor in
England, information about the collection of debts may prove of general interest, and I inclose a
copy of the ab^ract sent to the museum.

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cover a debt? The answer is, Any person not suffering under disa-
bility and of full age. A person bringing an action must be of full
age — /. ^.,21 years — but an infant may sue by his or her next friend,
who would have to give security for costs. A lunatic could only
bring an action by his or her committee appointed by the court. A
married woman may bring an action in her own name in all matters
affecting her separate estate, or she may be sued in a like manner.

Assuming, then, that there is no disability, a creditor residing in
America can bring an action to recover money due in Great Britain;
but it is always open to a defendant to apply to the court for secu-
rity for costs from the plaintiff, which would be granted because the
plaintiff resides out of the jurisdiction of the court.

There is no jneans of compelling a debtor to pay the costs of col-
lecting a debt, unless such costs are incurred in an action to recover
the money in some court.

Debts are recovered either in the supreme court of judicature, or
in the county court of the district where the defendant resides,
or where the cause of action arises.

The initial step to the recovery of a debt is a clear statement of
the circumstances under which the claim arises, for the guidance
of the solicitor taking up the case, accompanied by a detailed ac-
count of the claim, setting out fully the dates of claims and the
consideration for them.

The name and address of the plaintiff and of the defendant, both
Christian 'and surnames, must be given in full ; and it must be stated,
if they are women, whether married or single. In case«the Christian
name is not given in full, the sex of the plaintiff or defendant is
required. With the instructions for the action, all documents in
writing affecting tTie claim and all letters passing between the parties,
with copies of letters where the originals can not be sent, and espe-
cially such letters as contain an admission of the debt, should be
sent. In the case of a limited-liability company, it can sue and
be sued in the name of the company. The same remark applies to
private firms and joint-stock companies; but it is always best to give
the individual names of members of a firm where this is possible,
as the information can be obtained under order of the court, and,
if it becomes necessary to issue exiccution, it makes the duties of the
sheriff easier. In case of an American firm suing, it is well to give
the names of the firm, and, should it be a joint-stock company, all
information as to its constitution and officers and any company by-
laws under which these officers act. This information maybe asked
for, and, if given in the first instance, the three weeks' time of trans-
Atlantic correspondence will have been saved.

In case it should become necessary to send to England any legal

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document intended as an authorization or as proof (such as statutory
declaration), it is desirable not only to have such document attested
before a notary public, but that official's signature and his authority
to act should be verified by a British consul, who will sign and affix
his seal. By reference to the Register issued by the Department of
State of the United States, or upon application to the Department
itself, the name and place of residence of the nearest British consul
can be obtained.

Having sent these particulars, with the defendant's address, to
the solicitor engaged for the pteintiff, an application is usually made
by him in writing for the payment, which frequently brings the money
or raises the issue between the parties, if there is a dispute.

The solicitor will, in case proceedings become necessary, then '
decide in what court they shall be taken. If the amount involved
is large, the action will be brought in the superior court; but if a
small one, in a county court. On action being taken, a debtor
usually takes one of the Ihree courses — he pays the money, defends
the action, or becomes bankrupt.

If he pays the money, he usually pays only taxed costs as between
party and party, and the solicitor would have some small amounts,
not allowed against a defendant, to charge his client with; these
would vary according to the work and trouble.

If a defendant puts in a defense to the action, he may plead
'* never indebted" and put the plaintiff to proof of his claim, be-
sides getting security for costs. If the plaintiff is put to proof he
must either attend the court personally in England, or his solic-
itor must get an order from the court in England to take his evi-
dence under commission by some person appointed by the court.
This procedure involves considerable outlay, as it is necessary to
settle interrogatories and matters relating to the action, and it is
never so satisfactory as personal attendance, because the impression
conveyed to the court by a witness often decides the fate of the

If proceedings go to trial in a supreme court, such trial would be
before a judge of assize, either in London or in the country assize,
usually held in the large cities and county towns. The expenses of
a trial at assizes may be large, as only barristers can plead before
such courts, and they are paid large fees. Barrister's fees range
from 5, ID, 15, 20, to 100 guineas, and even more in large trials. A
guinea is practically $5. 10.

If a trial is successful, the plaintiff has always to pay some solic-
itor, and client costs to his own solicitor (the defendant only paying
taxed costs as between party and party) ; but if unsuccessful, he
would have his own costs and those of the defendant also to pay.
No. 224 II.

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and these costs vary and are affected by the number of witnesses and
the amount of evidence adduced at the trial.

Only very clear and important cases should be fought out to the
bitter end, and undertaken only after having obtained the best legal

It frequently, and indeed most frequently, happens that the pro-
ceedings in a superior court begin and end with the writ of summons,
which costs from jQt, to jQs ($H-6o to $24.33).

Having obtained judgment, the next proceeding is to obtain satis-
faction of the debt, either by process against the defendant's person
or his goods.

Imprisonment for debt, except in small county-court cases, is
done away with in England. In a small county court, judgments
and executions can be issued against the person, after a summons
has been issued and heard by the judge for commitment. The judge
hears the' evidence as to defendant's position, and then makes such
an order as defendant's means will allow, such as 5s. or 10s. a month ;
and in default of payment, a committal is usually made for twenty-
one days to the debtors* prison of the district.

Where a defendant has goods, such as furniture or other effects,
these may be seized, under an execution jsxecuted in the superior
court cases, by the sheriff, who holds the money recovered for four-
teen days, during which time a bankruptcy petition may be filed
by or against the debtor.

Where it is known that money is owed a debtor, it is possible to
attach the money in or towards satisfaction of the debt, and a gar-
nishee summons is issued against the person owing the money to the
debtor, which is heard by the registrar of the court, who usually
makes a garnishee order on proof of the indebtedness of the debtor.

Where a debtor becomes a bankrupt, he has to file accounts and
submit at once to an examination before the official receiver in bank-
ruptcy, who publishes to each one of the creditors a statement of the
debtor's assets and liabilities and his account of the reason of his
failure to meet his engagements; and in the course of a few weeks
after filing such accounts as the court considers necessary, he is ex-
amined in open court before the judge, who does not give him a dis-
charge unless his position is solely in consequence of misfortune,
and in no case (except with the consent of the creditors) unless his
estate pays at least los. in the pound, or 50 per cent.

In nine cases out of ten, if a defendant becomes insolvent, the
best course is to accept a ** composition on the debt" in preference
to the bankruptcy, as it seldom happens that an estate yields much
for the creditors after the expenses of the bankruptcy are paid.

It sometimes happens that goods seized in execution arexlaimed

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by third persons, and in such a case the ownership of the goods is
tried upon an interpleader summons before the judge, who hears
evidence and makes such order as the facts warrant. Such claims
are frequently made where the man and his wife both carry on sepa- .
rate businesses. It is very important to know that by virtue of the
statute of limitations, the right to bring an action on simple-contract
debts is barred in England after six years from the last payment on
account or from the last payment of interest on a debt, and that a
defense of the statute is a bar to the action where it is properly

If an action is brought on a bill of exchange, unless the defend-
ant disputes the signature, there is no defense to it, and judgment
maybe obtained summarily; so that where a bill of exchange or
some admission of the debt can be obtained, it facilitates the recov-
ery considerably.

It not infrequentlyliappens that an execution issued by the sheriff
is met with a bill of sale, and, if this is regular and properly regis-
tered, there is no alternative but to withdraw. Executions are also
frequently defeated by a landlord who has a prior claim to rent,
within certain limits.

There are trade gazettes published in England which give a list
of all bills of sale registered and of all bankruptcies, county-court
judgments, and other matters, and, as these are issued weekly, the
commercial world is pretty well posted as to the status of its debtors.

Legal proceedings for the recovery of debts in England are some-
what perplexing and slow, but the courts and officers are absolutely
beyond reproach, so far as justice and integrity are concerned.

The above article, treating in condensed form and for American
use of the practical points of law and methods of procedure for the
collection of business debts here, was prepared, with my aid and
suggestive assistance, by my vice-consul, F. M. Burton, esq., who
is also an English solicitor and has had much practice in that line.

Marshal Halstead,

Birmingham, October 14, i8q8. Consul.


Consul Wilbour sends from Dublin the following report, pre-
pared at the instance of the Philadelphia Museums, to which copy
has been sent:

In Ireland, aliens do not suffer any disability in proceedings for
the recovery of debts due them. The laws affecting the recovery of
debts are equally applicable to all.

Debts may arise either upon goods accepted, or upon goods

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bargained for; upon loans of money borrowed by the debtors;
upon checks, notes, acceptances, mortgages, or other instrument
legally conferring upon the holder a right of deferred or immediate
action against the debtor.

All debts, securities for debts, checks, bills, post-office orders,
or any other rights or powers which confer upon the possessor or
holder the means of procuring future payments of money, are called
**choses in action," as distinguished from choses in possession.
Therefore, choses in action are a species of property which may be
bought, sold, or given away, like any other personal property, for
the benefit of the purchaser or recipient.

As soon as a common debt is completely incurred, the creditor's
right of action immediately accrues; and in all actions of contract,
time runs from the breach, and not from the making, of the con-
tract. In actions of accounting between principal and agent, time
runs from the demand made.

The statute of limitations runs from the time the action might
have been brought. A claim for common debt can not be enforced
more than six years after it has been incurred or acknowledged.
Part payment within six years takes the case out of the statute of
limitations, and payment of interest within six years has the like

Lapse of time does not extinguish the debt, for all the statutes

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 20 of 92)